10 Ways To Help Bees And Butterflies Thrive

May 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

Here’s news that’s created a buzz. Three-quarters of the world’s flowering plants and food crops rely on pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies to help them reproduce. Unfortunately, bee populations are being threatened by a range of issues such as colony collapse disorder, pesticides, mites, disease and climate change. Butterfly populations are also at risk. The good news is that gardeners can help restore balance by creating habitats that encourage pollinators to thrive. Bees and butterflies need places to live and breed in, and food to eat. The plants that provide this food also need pollinators to help them reproduce, so planting gardens that are friendly to bees and butterflies is a win-win situation. Pollination occurs naturally as small creatures forage for food, carrying pollen from plant to plant as they go. That is why it’s important to offer them a “buffet” of attractive flowers throughout the seasons, and to have sufficient natural habitats so that they don’t have to travel far to find what they need. Here are 10 easy ways to help: 1)    BEE friendly to bees! Honeybees are not aggressive; they sting only as a defense mechanism. 2)    Plant trees, shrubs and flowering plants to increase food and shelter for bees and butterflies. 3)    Create a seasonal buffet for pollinators by planting perennial flowers with a mix of colors, shapes and scents in containers, window boxes and plant beds. 4)    Choose perennials with simple, single rather than double flowers to make nectar and pollen more accessible to bees and butterflies. 5)    Cut and use garden flowers for bouquets to encourage re-blooming and to prolong the foraging window for pollinators. 6)    Use beautiful native plants such as echinacea, coreopsis, sunflowers and butterfly milkweed for at least 75 percent of your garden. 7)    Water, weed and fertilize soil appropriately to create a healthy garden that minimizes pests and diseases. 8)    Provide clean water for insects in shallow bowls, birdbaths and ponds, or let fresh water drip over stones. 9)    Imperfection is OK! Bees and butterflies may damage leaves and flowers while breeding and feeding. Create areas of natural habitat with old stumps, fallen branches and tall grass for nesting. 10) Help convert small parcels of land into community gardens and green spaces to […]

Dear Editor,

May 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

In your April 23 issue, the article “When kids don’t want to read” has a huge and important factor left out! Having been a teacher with special needs students, adults, and “normal” people, with being a retired licensed mental health professional, I take issue with the article. The first problem is not being addressed. It is not that some don’t like to read, it is that they cannot read! Yes, this might not be in all cases but the issue is there and needs to be addressed. I have had many a person, young and old, student or non-student speak to me of their lack of ability to read. This was not spoken of in the article or asked about even in all their years of schooling. It is ignored or not seen. I can mention many clients who spoke of this. In one class I was in, high school juniors and seniors, one girl came out of the blue and stated, “I don’t like to read”. My response was, “Is it difficult for you?” As we spoke, it was because she could not comprehend what she was reading and consequently did not read or like to. I asked her if she had spoken to a school counselor about her reading problem. She stated that she had and then was placed in two more English classes! Nothing was done about her true problem or spoken of. Years ago my son came home mentioned a friend of his could not read. He was in the seventh grade and had gone long without it being noted. He was compensating or as said many times, faking it. This is not unusual. The first thing to do is to find out why the person does not like to read. Use this knowledge to then assist them in the issue. I don’t know who wrote the article, no byline, but it is a disservice to those who have difficulty reading. No matter what is done as stated in the article, the root cause needs to be found. If not the person becomes more frustrated and angry along with hose attempting to assist them. A little more research would have helped in writing this so it could have been expanded to […]

The Big Green Egg took up so much space in the family van that Muffin had to drive home

May 6, 2015 // 0 Comments

Randy Joldersma, of Caledonia, was one of the demonstrating grillers. His secret hint is to cook on a slab of Himalayan pink salt. His tilapia fillets were perfectly seasoned without adding any other ingredients.   A couple enjoys a sample of tilapia the Joldersma cooked up. They said it was delicious.   A Grillapalooza visitor tastes another secret ingredient used in the demonstrations Saturday. The secret spice, called Magic, is a salt and garlic blend with other ingredients.   Brian and Leda VanderLaan, in ReMax shirts and jackets, demonstrate cooking up several ingredients for the crowd.     Grillapalooza 2015 to feature food, flavors, Big Green Egg raffle for archery program   ‘Eggheads’ and world-class youth archers to be at event   Last year the winners of the Big Green Egg raffle were the Sims family, visiting from the UP. Also winners were the local organization that benefited from the raffle of the egg, donated by Herman’s Boy (the fifth they have donated for good causes). This year the West Michigan Archery Center’s youth program will receive 100-percent of all of the sales of raffle tickets. The tickets are only $25 each and are limited to 200 total for the world-famous Big Green Egg valued at $1,200. And finally big winners were anyone who showed up to enjoy the days activities, including delicious free samples of grilled and smoked treats and other samples. The only way you won’t be a winner is if you don’t go, although you need not be present to win the Big Green Egg if your ticket is drawn. This year’s Grillapalooza at Herman’s Boy, 220 Northland Drive, will be Saturday, May 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This kick-off to the summer season of grilling is an eye and mouth-opener featuring all sorts of treats brought to you and cooked in front of you by real Herman’s Boy Big Green Egg customers (Eggheads) who can answer questions and recommend their “secret recipe.” Last year Randy Joldersma gave his secret tip: he grills in the egg on a slab of Himalayan pink sea salt. The fish he offered was absolutely delicious with no other preparation. This year represents a milestone for the Havemeier family as it is the tenth annual […]

Eighty degrees to five in one long drive, continued

May 6, 2015 // 0 Comments

  By BETH ALTENA   Time sure flies. Plus there has been a ton of news in our lovely city, filling up the Squire pages since the first of the year. Your editor wrote about a short vacation that started the day after Christmas 2014 and took us on an interesting road trip. We enjoy sharing our itineraries in case other residents might want to consider following our route or taking a similar sight-seeing journey. To catch you up, the last article saw our group of Beth, Bill, son Will and his friend John hitting the road Christmas day night and going straight through to Gatlinburg Tennessee, home of Smokey Mountains National Park where we enjoyed some breath-taking hiking. It was exciting to find such an amazing destination less than one (full) days drive. This continuation comes at a good time as your editor is out of the country on another trip to be shared with you (hint, our two destinations include proximity to Buckingham Palace and then the chance to visit the Ann Frank house). We took to the road the third day, leaving Gatlinburg, since it was raining anyway and drove in shifts until we hit the Atlantic Ocean town of St. Augustine, Florida with a final destination of St. Augustine Beach. It was a surprise to discover that St. Augustine is actually our country’s oldest European settled town. On August 28, 1565, the King of Spain sent his most experienced general to explore and settle the area. The day was the Feast Day of St. Augustine, thus the name. Eleven days later the general and 600 men landed at the Timucuan Indian Village of Seloy and they never left. The city of St. Augustine was established 42 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. The town is bustling, but retains many original features, from the fort built in 1500s to the Old House, which is the oldest house in the nation, with a museum and other tours available. The first Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum is there, as well as the Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth. The town advertises its heritage well with many maintained old facilities, including a centuries old jail, dry goods store and homesteads. […]

Cannon Township identifies condos, multi-family development as needed

April 24, 2015 // 0 Comments

Undeveloped Town Square identified as most critical issue   By BETH ALTENA   Cannon Township Planning Commission spent an enlightening evening going over the township’s final version of the Five Year Master Plan which goes before the regular board at the next meeting for approval or changes. According to Paul LeBlanc, township planner, the document is significant in that it is now all one comprehensive piece, not a document scattered with ammendments. In attendance were LeBlanc, Julie Lovelace, trustees Mike Warmbier, Steve Mulder, Chad Sosnowski, Jessica Leja and Michael Hanna. Absent was Dale Potter, and also absent was ? who resigned from the board due to changes in his schedule at work. There were four members of the public in the audience. In opening with a prayers, Sosnowski asked for heavenly help in finding a new person to replace Wilcowski, an employment strategy that bears monitoring for success rate. Lovelace told commissioners that for the next few weeks the township will take applications prior to beginning the interview process. Sosnowski described to the audience and fellow commissioners the importance of the master plan t the township and noted the commission and LeBlanc have been working on the document a year and a half. “Michigan has a planning enabling act required to be used for zoning and it requires updating the Master Plan every five years,” presenter LeBlanc stated. “In many case when the review is done, things have changed.” He said this review follows the 2010 census, allowing the Plan to include updated demographics. “One of the directives from the Planning Commission was to take several documents, update and include in the Master Plan, including what Cannon Township is and wants to be in the future. We looked at the vision statement and goals and the need to refresh that.” LeBlanc said he emphasized what he called “Motherhood and apple pie goals… that Cannon Township is a wonderful place to live, work and play. “Well, who can argue with that, but what exactly does that mean?” he asked the commissioners. “The vision page plan was one and a half pages long, trying to be all things to all people. We had to get rid of words like beaucolic. This is a tranquil community, we want […]

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