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Out and About – Week of March 3rd

March 4, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

I’d like to speak to anyone who thinks there is nothing to do here in Three Rivers. Beginning April 15, 2006, I started informing the fine citizens of this community of things to do right here in St. Joseph County. I have never run out of things to write about. Since that time, I’ve modified the column to include some personal experiences, a few helpful hints, and a bit of humor to lighten things up. Nothing depresses me more than bad news. If you want that, watch the evening news on television.

Speaking of things to do around here, how many of you attended any of the local high school sporting events this year? We had the opportunity, and made the time, to attend one of the Varsity Girls’ games a couple of weeks ago. They played with their hearts, and they trounced their opponent. The sad thing about that evening, was that there were plenty of empty seats available in the gym. They didn’t have a lucky night; they are just a good team. They even went on to advance to the District Playoffs. My point is this: for a few bucks, you can get out and support our high school students. They need our support, and the support is appreciated. I’ll try to attend more games next year.

The month of March is special. Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday, March 9, which means we set our clocks ahead one hour. So we lose an hour’s worth of sleep. We’ve had the cold, dark winter to sleep, so we should all be ready to rise and shine. As March moves along, the chance of hearing about the wind chill is less and less. We can’t forget about St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. Too bad it doesn’t fall on a Friday or Saturday; that way the revelers would have a day to regain their composure.

A pessimist might complain about the amount of rain we will be blessed with, plus the chance of an occasional snowfall. The optimist, on the other hand, would be thinking about the buds and blossoms that are starting to appear on the foilage, a sure sign that spring will soon be here. We’ve had a tough winter, but we are survivors, and we did just that.

If you read this column early enough, you’ll know that the Trinity Episcopal Church, 321 North Main Street, here in Three Rivers, is hosting their annual Shrove Pancake Supper, this evening, March the fourth, from 5 until 7 PM. It’s a great opportunity to take the family out to breakfast at dinner time. Tickets are available at the door for $6 for adults and $2 for children. If you happen to have three or more children dining with you, the cost is only $5 for the kids.

My friend, Mary Ann, is directing the next production out at the Players’ Theatre here in Three Rivers. Cheaper by the Dozen is the play, and auditions are being held at the theatre this evening, Tuesday, March 4, and tomorrow evening, Wednesday, March 5. Both evenings’ auditions will begin promptly at 7 PM. Mary Ann is looking for actors of all ages, so here’s your chance to act on stage, or help in one of the many other ways with the production. The theatre is located at 15526 Millard Road, directly behind Dairy Queen.

We’re approaching that time of the year when the maple trees are tapped for that ingredient that makes delicious maple syrup possible. In celebration of the season, the Maple Row Sugarhouse will host Maple Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, March 15 and 16. Maple Row Sugarhouse is located at 12684 Born Street, near Jones. You won’t want to miss the homemade pancake breakfast at 7 AM on Saturday, the fifteenth, followed by tours of the sugarhouse. The cost for breakfast is $7 for adults; children under three years old, eat for FREE. The hours on Saturday are from 7 AM until 4 PM, and if you decide to come out on Sunday just for the tours, they will run from 10 AM until 4 PM.

Making sure that I end this week’s column on a happy note, here are several more of “Life’s Little Instructions”:

Think big thoughts, but relish small pleasures.

Floss your teeth.

Ask for a raise, when you feel you’ve earned it.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of February 24th

February 25, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

This winter has been brutal for all of us. We’ve received plenty of snow, which pleases more than just a few of us. I’m not to be included in the group I just referred to. This is, after all, Michigan, the land of four seasons. Sometimes we can experience several of those seasons in a matter of hours, rather than weeks. A week ago, we had temperatures near or below zero, and several days later, we experienced a balmy forty degrees. Go figure.

What I’m leading up to is that we have more of a chance of injuring ourselves during the winter, than in most other seasons. I’m referring to falling the wrong way, or lifting too much at the wrong time, or in the wrong way. I did just that. While shoveling snow, I lifted a shovel full and turned in such a way that my back said, “What the heck are you doing to me? For being stupid, I’ll cause you some discomfort.” A similar situation occurred a couple of years ago, when I decided to drive to Seattle and back while sitting on my wallet. Since then, my back pockets have remained empty. In both cases, I’ve spent time visiting the physical therapists at HealthTRAC. It’s pretty sad when you walk in and most of them remember your name. What’s worse is knowing that you have your very own reserved parking space in the parking lot. Anyway, these “Angels of Mercy” have worked miracles with my pain. I thank them, and my insurance provider thanks them. I have a whole new feeling, whenever someone refers to me as being a pain in the neck. I guess the moral of all this might be, whenever you get Out and About, be careful where and how you go.

I love getting something for FREE. When I hear about a FREE thing, I try my best to share it with everyone. A great example would be the upcoming Hunter Safety Classes being presented by the St. Joe County Conservation and Sportsman Club. Classes are scheduled for March 13, 14, and 15, and will be held on the club grounds, located at 23640 Featherstone Road, which is east of Shimmel Road and west of Fair Road, east of Centreville. The classes and study material are FREE, and students who register MUST attend all three classes. The classes are led by Certified Hunter Safety Instructors. By attending and completing these classes, students will be able to acquire the needed licenses with which to hunt this hunting season. Registration for this class will be held Thursday, March 6, from 7 to 8 PM. Students under eighteen years old, must have a parent accompany them for registration. These classes fill quickly, so be on time for registration. Classes normally run from 5 to 9 PM.

I gather several times a week with buddies of mine for coffee. We’ve come close to being asked to leave the establishment, because we, at times, get a bit rowdy. Part of our reason for gathering, is to discuss the world situation, and also to share how we feel about life in general. I feel brave enough to share with you readers some of our ideas:

We all agree that we never know when it will happen, but there comes a moment at work, when we know that we just aren’t going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

Most of us keep people’s phone numbers in our phone, just so we know not to answer, should they call. Voice mail is one of the greatest things to come down the pike in years.

We have wondered why the freezer doesn’t have a light like the refrigerator. It deserves one.

I’m not sure if I’m the only one that does this, but I find myself looking at my watch at least three consecutive times, and I still do not know what time it is.

Super Books are now available locally. The Three Rivers Lions Club has Super Books available at Lowry’s Books and More, People’s Federal Savings, 123 Portage Avenue, and at Southern Michigan Bank and Trust, at the Westland Branch. All locations are in Three Rivers. Super Books sell for $40 and consist of coupons for “buy one, get one free”. Coupons are for dining establishments, and recreational activities in St. Joe County, as well as the Kalamazoo and Portage areas, and are valid until March of 2015. Commissions received from the sale of Super Books go towards various projects of the Three Rivers Lions Club.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of February 17th

February 18, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

There is a very well-known support group that holds regular meetings for those individuals in need. I’m not sure if there is a special group for individuals who have my disease, but if there is, I’d be interested in hearing about it. I think that if I were to attend such a meeting, I’d stand and say, “Hello, my name is Norm, and I’m a “Foodaholic”. Like I said, I’m not sure if there is such a thing, but the fact is that I love to eat, and if not handled properly, this can really be a problem.

I was recently told by a highly respected doctor that I must lose some weight. To successfully do this, I should cut back on my carb intake, and stay completely away from sweets. This didn’t sound too difficult, but then he said that I MUST also cut back on the amount of food I consume at one sitting. This really hurt, because I’m not used to doing this. What hurt the worst was when he referred to me as being obese.

Since my visit with Dr. Respected, I’ve done my best to heed his advice. It has been a rough road, and I haven’t been the most pleasant person to be with, but I have a very caring wife, who was told by Dr. Respected that she has his permission to slam me with her cast iron skillet, should I reach for a cookie or candy bar. I’ve also heeded the advice of my other doctor, who said that one should eat in moderation. Watch your carbs and sugars, and the amount of food you consume at one sitting. I feel proud of my accomplishments so far. I’m losing weight gradually and have not taken my anger out on the cat. If anyone needs a cast iron skillet, I have one that I’ll gladly give away, but you mustn’t tell my wife where you got it. I will soon be a lean, mean hungry machine.

Speaking of eating, it’s that time again for the Annual Swiss Steak Dinner, hosted by the Ninth Street United Methodist Church. Located at 700 Ninth Street, in Three Rivers, the church will host this delicious dinner next Saturday, February 22, from 5 to 7 PM. The cost for adults is $8; children ages twelve and under may eat for $5. Oh yes, take-outs will be available. For more information, you may call 269-273-2065.

Blood donors have at least two more opportunities to donate their blood before the end of February. The next opportunity is tomorrow, Wednesday, February 19, from 11:30 AM until 5:15 PM. The American Red Cross will be set up at JOCO Hall, 805 Wood Street, here in Three Rivers, for your donation. Another blood donation opportunity will be a week from today, Tuesday, February 25, from noon to 5:45 PM, at the UAW Local 2093 Union Hall, 15802 Hoffman Road, on the northwest side of Three Rivers. This blood drive is also hosted by the American Red Cross.

If you missed last weekend’s performance, at the Players’ Theatre in Three Rivers, you have one more weekend to catch The Most Interesting Dinner Party…..That Never Really Happened. Playwright Shannon Michelle Piper has the uncanny ability to bring out the laughter in everybody, and her latest production will prove it. The final run of this play is Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, February 21, 22, and 23. The lights come up at 7:30 PM for the Friday and Saturday performances, and the Sunday matinee begins promptly at 2 PM. Adult tickets are $15. and tickets for students and senior citizens may be purchased for $13. Tickets are available at Beam Sound and Video, located on West Michigan Avenue, Three Rivers, and will also be available at the door. As always, advance ticket purchase is advised.

If doggie boots for your pet dog aren’t in your budget, you may protect those precious paws by coating them with nonstick cooking spray before those winter walks. Doing this also helps prevent snow from packing between pads.

Your car would really appreciate it if, after a snowfall, and if your car sits outside, you might consider letting your engine warm up a bit before starting out. This would also give you the opportunity to make sure ALL your car windows are cleared of snow. Other drivers would also appreciate it.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of February 10th

February 11, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

There’s an old saying that goes something like this: “You can’t go home again.” If you were to take this literally, you would find it to be absolutely wrong. After all, we can pretty much go anywhere we want to these days. I’m pretty sure that it meant you can never go home and find it the way you left it. I left Three Rivers in 1963 and returned in 1996. Boy, it had really changed while I was away.

John Ed Pearce probably said it best when he said, “Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to go back to.” Since I’ve returned, I’ve come to realize that things have changed, and there’s nothing I can do about that. There still remains the “Hometown Spirit” that I grew up with. This spirit exists only in a town the size of Three Rivers. Here, when you’re Out and About, you are constantly meeting up with people you know, and you always exchange a friendly greeting. Making a normal trip to the post office can sometimes take the better part of an hour. This small town spirit doesn’t happen in the bigger urban areas. That’s just one of many reasons I’ve decided to live out the rest of my life here in Wildcat country. Three Rivers isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we can all work hard to make it a community where everyone has that “Hometown Spirit”.

It’s very difficult to be Out and About without hearing someone comment on the amount of snow we’ve had lately. I’m sure the owners of the local ski resorts are elated, as are their customers. If you own a snowmobile, you couldn’t be happier, and if you are in the snow plowing business, you’re doing quite well financially, but are probably tired of working through the night. The weather is usually the first topic on the five o’clock news, and the weather portion of the broadcast has been getting more attention than the sports segment. I find it fascinating that we are all drawn to news about the weather, knowing that there is absolutely nothing we can do about it, except to complain. Yes, we have had our share of snow this year, but those living in the eastern states have had more than their share. St. Joe County is fortunate most of the time. We’re in sort of a bubble. Bad weather normally stops at the Cass and Kalamazoo County lines. If you’re a Liberal, our Congress is at fault for the weather. If you’re Conservative, President Obama has done something to upset Mother Nature. I wish I had some control over the weather. If I could control it, I’d be very popular and very rich. Then I’d really have problems. I’m sure the only solution is to just deal with it. After all, in five months we’ll be complaining about the heat and lack of rain.

I’m pretty sure that savings bonds are a thing of the past, and are no longer available. If, by chance, you do still have some in your safe deposit box, and want to know their value, just go to treasurydirect.gov/BC/SBCPrice. Enter the series, denomination, serial number, and issue date for the value. You may then cash out at your bank, with proper ID, of course.

As ppromised, here are the final four suggestions from, my pet friend, Mr. Canine:

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want is buried, dig deep until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these suggestions and will put them to good use. Whether you’re a dog lover, or a cat lover, it has been said that owning such a pet will add years to your life. They give love unconditionally, and ask nothing in return, except for a little food and water, and a warm place to rest.

I’ll close this week with four more of “Life’s Little Instructions”:

Strive for excellence, not perfection.

Plant a tree on your birthday.

Return borrowed vehicles with the gas tank full.

Leave everything a little better than you found it.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of February 4th

February 4, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

Probably the most popular topic of conversation these days is the weather. If you are a regular reader of this column, then you are aware of my dislike of the winter season. I vent regularly about the frequency of snowfalls, but I do realize that Mother Nature couldn’t care less about how I feel about the cards that I’m dealt in the game of weather. I also realize that no one is forcing me to live here in “Pure Michigan”. I choose to live here, because this is where I was raised, and it is where I’ll spend the rest of my life. I keep telling myself, “It’s winter, and this is Michigan. Pull your big-boy pants up and deal with it.” This winter is like the winters we used to have back in the day. We could be living in Buffalo, New York, where this is considered rather mild, as far as weather is concerned. Keep in mind that, in five months, we’ll be complaining about the heat and humidity.

This happens way too often, and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it. As humans, we are mortal, and because of this, we will all pass on into eternity. Eternity can be what your faith says it will be, and I truly believe that. On Friday, January 24, another person I admired and respected passed away. Charles “Chuck” Daugherty lived a happy life filled with family and friends, and I consider myself fortunate to have known him for over 55 years. I admired him, because he was truly a family man, who enjoyed the same things as his children. He was a musician, engineer, and a lover of aviation. I sort of envied Pat, Penny, Jim, and Larry, because he always took the time to share in their interests, The last time I saw him was at the last concert put on by the Glenn Miller Orchestra at the historic Riviera Theater, here in Three Rivers. He loved the “Big Band” sound, and he shared this event with three of his four kids.

One special fact about Chuck, was that, during World War II, he was a Naval Flight Instructor, and he trained pilots in the T-6 Texan, a vintage aircraft of the day. That, in my mind, made him “cool”. I’ll miss Mr. Daugherty, as will many others. I salute you, Chuck, for your service to our country, and I commend you for being a good father, husband, and friend.

A week from Friday is Valentine’s Day. February 14 is the date, so you gentlemen have just ten days to select that perfect card, or make special plans for that love of your life. Might I suggest an evening at the theatre? The Three Rivers Community Players have scheduled Valentine’s Day for the opening of another hit by local playwright, director, and actor, Shannon Michelle Piper. The title of her latest play is “RSVP: The Most Interesting Dinner Party That Never Really Happened”. If you know Ms. Piper, you know that she loves to laugh, and more than that, she loves to make others laugh. From the title of the play, I think she has succeeded once again.

“RSVP…..” will run February 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, and 23. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7:30 PM, and the two Sunday matinees start at 2 PM. The Players Theatre is located at 15526 Millard Road, directly behind Dairy Queen, in Three Rivers. For ticket purchase information, you may visit the Players’ website at trcommunityplayers.org. Tickets will also be available at the door prior to each performance. As always, advance ticket purchase is advised.

Here are the next four suggestions from my friend, Mr. Canine. If you recall, he’s the dog, who is also a teacher. For a dog, he’s pretty smart, and he has some great ideas on how we, as humans, can get more out of life, and get along better with each other. Here are this week’s four ideas:

On warm days, lie on your back in the grass. On hot days, drink lots of water and find the shade.

Keep your private area clean as much as you can.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Enjoy long walks.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of January 27th

January 28, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

Some would say that it’s just a sign of the times, and there really isn’t anything we can do about it. I’m referring to acts of chivalry. I have a feeling that “Ladies” and “Gentlemen” have been replaced by just “Women” and “Guys”. Gentlemen open doors for Ladies, and Ladies prefer to have a Gentleman help them get seated, or hold a coat for them as they put it on. A Gentleman insists that a Lady order first when dining out. I could go on and on.

Manners and respect for our elders can only be found in history books, because it is not taught in our homes or in our schools. This is not true in all homes, which is a good thing. When was the last time, a child asked permission to be excused from the dinner table? Better than that, when was the last time your family had a meal at home together, and not in front of the TV? I mention all of this, because I wonder sometimes if we’ve really progressed, or if we’ve just adjusted our values a bit. Am I the only one who feels that we have slipped, as far as social graces are concerned? When was the last time you took pride in your appearance when going to church or out to see a play? I’ve attended many weddings and funerals lately, where shorts and flip-flops were the accepted attire. That’s progress?

This is the final week of January. It has been a tough month weather-wise, and February will probably continue with more snow and cold. A good way to keep your mind off of the weather is to do something good for your fellow humans. Donating blood is a very thoughtful thing to do, and it’s something that should be done on a regular basis. The American Red Cross will provide that opportunity next Tuesday, February 4, from noon to 5:45 PM, at the Centreville United Methodist Church, on East Main Street, in Centreville. What a fantastic way to get the shortest month of the year started.

There’s nothing like a hot bowl of soup to warm one’s body and soul. The 19th Annual Empty Bowls Community Dinner takes place next Thursday, February 6, from 5 to 7 PM, at the Three Rivers High School Cafeteria, on Sixth Avenue, in Three Rivers. As usual, there will be a raffle and silent auction for everyone to participate in. I’m pretty sure a donation will cover your cost to attend. This fundraiser will benefit the Emergency Care Network (ECN) of Three Rivers. The ECN can always use your donation of food. The next time you are shopping at a store that offers “Buy One, Get One Free” deals, pick up a couple of extra items and drop them off at the ECN.

A week ago, our gas fireplace stopped. My wife thought that I had turned it off, because I sit closer to it, and I get warm faster. I reassured her that I hadn’t turned it off. Our next step was be to call the person who had restarted the pilot light before. He came out, but he had to order a new thermocouple. He eventually returned about four days later and brought the fireplace back to life. I can’t recall the last time I watched TV wearing my knit cap, two pairs of socks, and an extra sweatshirt. Our family room’s only source of heat is from the fireplace, and I never really appreciated it until we didn’t have its use. I also gained a lot more respect for the homeless people in St. Joe County. I complain about having to clear the snow from our driveway, but we are fortunate to have a driveway to clear, and a home to come into to get warm.

Here are four more suggestions from Mr. Canine on how we can get along better with each other, and get more out of life:

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

If you’re confused about the above section, you might want to check last week’s column. I’ll have another four suggestions next week.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

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