Good News November 2023

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November 2023




november 2023

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November 2023


Remember When A trip to the mall for many Michiganders included a visit to Hot Sam for a warm, flavorful soft pretzel treat. You couldn’t escape the tempting aroma of fresh baked pretzels permeating the mall corridor where the Hot Sam was located. Soft pretzels originally gained their popularity through street vendors, but once America’s love for shopping malls grew during the 1960’s-1980’s, pretzels went from carts on street corners to kiosks and storefronts in almost every indoor mall in America. Hot Sam led the pretzel pack. The first Hot Sam store opened right here in Michigan, in a suburb of Detroit, at the Livonia Mall in 1967, which was one of the first indoor shopping malls in the state. The business was founded by Julius Young and was headquartered in Southfield. Hot Sam had locations in West Main Mall in Kalamazoo and at the Crossroads Mall location, which opened in 1980 with Connie Martin as Manager and Jason Fox as Assistant Manager, and became one of the top producing stores in the company. A contributor on the Vanished Kalamazoo website said, “We would walk barefoot on hot coals for Connie, and the crew was always challenging each other to do better.” When the store first opened, they served just soft drinks, one size of pretzel and one topping, cheddar cheese. Five years later the menu expanded to offer popcorn, three pretzel sizes (regular, large & pretzel sticks), along with 6 toppings that including the original cheddar cheese, nacho cheese, cream cheese, pizza sauce, strawberry sauce and chocolate sauce. During my college years when I worked at Macy’s at Crossroads mall,

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I often made a meal out of a Hot Sam and a Coke, it was an economical option for my limited budget. The pretzels were not hand-made at the kiosk, they were pre-made in the factory, flash-frozen, and shipped to all their stores, and the stores themselves “baked” the pretzels in ovens that had rotating drums that took about16 minutes to properly bake. They always had a few in their pretzel warmer, ready to be served. I can’t imagine anyone waiting 16 minutes for a soft pretzel today. Many fondly remember the décor at Hot Sam’s, the orange-red brick interior that made you feel like you stepped right into a 1970’s cozy kitchen. Hot Sam was sold to General Host, the same company that owned Frank’s Nursery & Crafts in 1971 and didn’t skip a beat, continuing to operate in just about every Michigan Mall. During their heyday in 1985, the Hot Sam chain was 175 stores strong with locations around the country, raking in $30-$50 million. This same year the chain was sold to Mrs. Fields (known for their cookies), who also acquired Pretzel Time and merged the two together, assuming the Pretzel Time name. Before the food court explosion during the late 1980’s – 90’s, Hot Sam filled the mall food void for a quick snack that would fill you up and not slow you down. The food court model later offered additional quick food options, such as McDonalds, Sbarro, a Chinese restaurant option and other fast foods. By 2005 there were only 10 Hot Sam locations left around the states, but within the year, Mrs. Fields

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converted all of them to Pretzel Time and Hot Sam was no more. Pretzel Time subsequently became Pretzelmaker. Hot Sam lives on in the memories of those from that era, including myself. The brand recently re-emerged during Season 3 of Stranger Things, when the plot location revolved around a 1980’s mall recreation, (Starcourt Mall), complete with a quick cameo of a Hot Sam replica. Hot Sam can be attributed to put-

ting the soft pretzel business on the map nationwide and for paving the way for other soft pretzel makers to come on the scene. I recently noticed soft pretzels at some college and major league sport venues, selling for upwards of $8-$12 a piece! Jackie Merriam Sources:,,,



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November 2023


The Best Bird-Friendly Garden Ideas to Try This Fall How can you encourage birds to visit your backyard? Create a birdfriendly habitat, of course! Leave a treasure trove of food, nesting materials, and shelter for birds in your garden this fall; in other words, don’t make things too tidy! 1. Leave the Leaves If raking leaves tops your fall garden chore list, give your back a break and pick up your binoculars instead. You might spot birds feasting on critters who make their homes in leaves, as well as in the rich soil leaf-mulch produces as it decomposes. Decaying leaves and fallen debris serve as a natural mulch, reducing unwanted weed growth, protecting plant roots from extreme temperatures, and retaining moisture in the soil. This natural leaf mulch also serves as a perfect habitat for invertebrates that birds eat, including the pupae of moth caterpillars, a favorite food source for baby birds. Consider raking leaves into flower

Football season is upon us and this year I know more about the game than ever be-

beds or gardens, where they can work their magic decomposing into nutrient-rich soil while also harboring essential food sources for birds. 2. Save the Seeds One of the easiest ways to entice birds to dine in your garden is to save seed heads. Instead of deadheading annuals and perennials in the fall, do nothing. Allow seed heads to remain on the plants as natural bird feeders. Smaller species, like goldfinches, cling to plants to pluck seeds, while larger, groundeating birds hunt for fallen seeds in garden beds. Plus, hollow stems of perennial plants make great homes for insects to overwinter, which will continue to whet the birds’ appetite. A slightly messy, less-than-pristine garden means a fall and winter filled with color and life—from visiting birds! Put down the pruners, grab your camera—and enjoy the show. (Plus, many perennials and grasses add interest to winter gardens, adding movement and texture.)

fore. My grandsons are obsessed with the game and they always want us to play in the yard with them when they are visiting. Thank goodness it’s two-hand touch football, which sounds harmless, but in reality, it’s more like two-hand push football, ha! Anyways, their interest in football has fueled mine and I’m becoming a fan now that I know more about what’s going on in the game. Learning terms like (Q.B.), the abbreviation for quarterback, and plays such as the flea flicker, the statue of liberty, and the bomb. It seems I’m not the only one taking more of an interest in football these days. Taylor Swift’s latest romance with NFL tight end, Travis Kelce, has ignited atten-

3. Appreciate the Beauty of Dead Trees Unless your

home is in danger, leave dead trees standing. Your back (or your bank account) will thank you, as will the more than 80 species of birds that rely on dead trees—called snags— for nesting, storing food, hunting, roosting, and resting. Standing tree trunks provide homes for many cavity-nesting species. Woodpeckers often create or enlarge cavities in dead trees, but many bird species will nest in them, including chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, bluebirds, tree swallows, great crested flycatchers, wood ducks, and American kestrels. 4. Build a brush pile. Collect fallen tree branches, cuttings from shrubs, and even non-diseased veggie plants that you’ve cleared from the kitchen garden to create a shelter for birds and wildlife. A brush pile provides shelter for birds, protecting them from bad weather and preda-

tors. Never add diseased plants to a compost pile as the diseases can live in soil, affecting next year’s garden health. If you decorate a live Christmas tree over the holidays, give it a renewed purpose after the New Year by adding it to the brush pile. It’s a fun post-holiday tradition to decorate the repurposed tree with birdseed ornaments or cranberry garlands before adding it to a brush pile. The birds will appreciate the shelter—and the snacks. So, grab your camera or binoculars and relax – the birds will thank you for your slightly wild, less-than-perfect fall garden. Credit: National Garden Bureau Terrie Schwartz Wedel’s Nursery, Florist & Garden Center

tion and attendance at the Kansas City Chiefs stadium from non-football fans. Whether they are taking a real interest or just hoping for a glimpse at the top pop singer, remains to be seen. There are many spoofs circulating crediting Swift for Kelche’s’ popularity, which he’s already earned as one of the top NFL players. Whatever your reason for enjoying football- playing, tail-gating, watching the game or Taylor Swift cheering, be sure to enjoy one of America’s favorite pastimes. Happy Fall! Jackie Merriam Cover Photo courtesy of Laura Kurella

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November 2023


November 22, 2023 the 60th Anniversary of the JFK Assassination

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discounted by the authorities at that time. Another source of early information on the assassination is attorney Jim Garrison’s book “On the Trail of the Assassins.” He was the only lawyer to bring a lawsuit regarding the assassination investigation. At the time, I thought the assassination of a President could never happen again but attempts on Presidents Regan and Ford have proved otherwise. One way to avoid a future tragedy is to educate ourselves about how things happened in the past and why they happened. My generation had its heart broken in 1963. Don’t let it happen to your generation. Walter_Cronkite#:~:text=In%20 a%202003%20CBS%20 special,um%2C%20hard%20to%20 come%20by.


A thought-provoking struggle about your right to choose.

questions and theories I had about the identity of the several shooters who shot at Kennedy and who they may have been working for. After seeing the movie, I was finally able to let go of the deepest part of my grief. Over the years the movie has been criticized, and then the critics of the movie have been criticized. But IMHO “JFK” is still the best movie so far (and I’ve watched many) about the assassination plot regarding the who and the why. Still to this day, Thanksgiving reminds me of our young dead president and how the world would now be a very different place if he’d lived. There were many witnesses to the assassination who were virtually ignored by the investigators and committees. Therefore their key pieces of evidence were not widely circulated. If you’d like to know more about the JFK assassination and form your own opinion, doing an internet search for witness Ed Hoffman is a good place to start. Mr. Hoffman was a highly intelligent deaf person who witnessed one of the shooters firing a rifle toward Kennedy’s limousine from the grassy knoll. He communicated in sign language and his eyewitness account was basically

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It’s the afternoon of November 22, 1963, and I was in class at school when our school Superintendent made an unusual PA announcement. He usually gave short concise announcements but was having a hard time with this one and seemed to be rambling. I have no memory of what happened after that, I think I blocked it out, until I was home with my family watching a repeat of newsman Walter Cronkite crying and saying, “President Kennedy died at one p.m. Central Standard Time, two o’clock Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.” That is when everything became crystal clear - our beloved President had been assassinated. A lot of the kids in my school were fans of President Kennedy. He was

young, good looking, and a “people person.” Even more important to kids and young adults was that by establishing the Peace Corps, JFK made us feel that our country needed and wanted us to travel, do good deeds, and help the world. “The toughest job you will ever love,” the Peace Corps gave us one more option for what we could do after graduation, and it sounded exciting and fulfilling. Unrecognized by me at the time was from that day in 1963 and for 28 years afterward, I’d been suffering from long-term low-level grief about the assassination. When I was a young working adult, going to WMU and living on peanut butter and ramen, I began collecting books about the assassination that eventually filled half of my bookcase. I educated myself on the evidence and the many theories. I contemplated buying a copy of the Warren Commission report, but it was too large for my bookcase and for my student’s budget. Finally in 1991 Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK” came out and resolved many




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November 2023


CoCoRaHS We’ve all heard the humorous quip: “Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” Well, now we can at least help. With satellites, far more sophisticated technology, radar, and computers, weather forecasts are more accurate than ever — at a regional level. Who hasn’t had the experience of standing in sunshine and watching it rain just across the street. Weather forecasts are based on probabilities using geographic averages—not specific locations. In the aftermath of a devastating flood that hit Fort Collins, Colorado in1998, two meteorologists, Nolan Doesken and Henry Reges, from Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science, recognized a crucial lack of precipitation data that contributed to insufficient warning about the storm’s significant flooding potential. As a result, CoCoRaHS, short for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network, emerged as a citizen-scientist grassroots effort that revolutionizes the way we collect timely and pinpoint precipitation data. Initially, CoCoRaHS was a local volunteer-based network to collect precipitation data in Colorado. Volunteers were provided with rain gauges and training to accurately measure and report rainfall, hail, and

snowfall. This movement quickly gained momentum and expanded well beyond Colorado’s borders to now include volunteers in all fifty states. There are more than 20,000 everyday citizens and enthusiasts who daily track, monitor, and report rain showers and snowfall. These volunteers gather and provide daily information on the amount of precipitation, its type (rain, snow, hail), and other relevant observations. CoCoRaHS’s primary mission is to enhance the accuracy of precipitation measurements to improve our understanding of weather patterns crucial for agriculture, disaster management, and climate research. Anyone can become a CoCoRaHS volunteer. Volunteers register online, purchase a rain and snow gauge through the organization, and partake in online CoCoRaHS training to properly install gauge and learn how to accurately measure and report precipitation. The only obligation in order to participate is that volunteers commit to measure and report precipitation data every day – typically at the same time each day – and then submitted their data online through to the CoCoRaHS website or phone app. Through this accurate data collection and reporting, CoCoRaHS not only benefits meteorologists and

scientists but also aids in disaster preparedness, water resource management, drought monitoring, and agricultural decision-making. The network is an excellent example of how a collective effort can have a significant impact on our understanding of the natural world, one rain gauge at a time. In high school, I often had lunch with a fellow classmate, Paul, who carried a little notebook and every day at lunch he entered that day’s weather. At the time, I thought it curious and just something he enjoyed doing. Sixty years later, I wonder he continued that daily habit and how CoCoRaHS would have been a perfect fit for him. To learn more about CoCoRaHS, visit The organization sells a combination rain and snowfall gauges for around $40 and provides tips on how to set it up and install. CoCoRaHS has come a long way

from its modest beginnings in Colorado. It has evolved into a widespread community of citizen scientists who actively participate in weather monitoring. Each individual becomes a vital part of a network of people who help advance our ability to predict the weather. For families, it could also be a great educational opportunity to engage their children in tangible research. As of the end of September, there were 1,633 CoCoRaHS stations (volunteer locations) in Michigan and of those, a dozen located within Kalamazoo County. The first Kalamazoo County station appeared in June of 2008 and has continued to faithfully report data. So, if you are one of those people who talk about the weather, her is a fun and interesting way to do something enormously beneficial about it. James D. Coppinger

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November 2023


October 2023

Wil Wildfir dfire: e: A No Nov vel Hannah Grace (Atria)

The Top T Ten en Adult Fiction and Nonfiction Chosen Monthly by America's Library Staff

This fun summer camp sports romance is a perfect beach read. The characters are complex, and the men (other than the ‘bad guys’) are written to be very respectful of and thoughtful to the women in their lives, whether in friendship or romance. The book is also very sex-positive. Readers who missed the first book in this series won’t feel like they are missing anything, but will want to catch up!

For book recommendations from Find out more at your Kalamazoo Public Library Staff go to

—Jennifer Lizak, Chicago Public Library, IL NoveList read-alike: Never Been Kissed by Timothy Janovsky

Let Him In William Friend (Poisoned Pen Press)

The Hurricane W Wars ars Thea Guanzon (Harper Voyager)

After the death of their mother, young twins Sylvie and Cassia find comfort in an imaginary friend, but their father begins to worry as things escalate. Grief and the paranormal are central to this book, and the story will leave readers questioning reality. This unsettling gothic read will keep readers turning the pages!

As enemies sworn to destroy one another, Alaric and Talasyn seem like unlikely allies, let alone candidates for a political marriage. This Asian-inspired fantasy series takes all the elements needed for a new world—alliances, royalty vs. rebels, magic powers, a fierce orphan with a secret destiny, and enemies-to-lover tension—then sets them in a world of horrific storms and a kingdom under siege. —Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, TX NoveList read-alike: Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

—Kristin Skinner, Flat River Community Library. MI NoveList read-alike: We Hear Voices by Evie Green

The L Lefto eftov ver W Woman: oman: A No Nov vel Jean Kwok (William Morrow) A Chinese woman desperate to find with the daughter adopted without her consent makes a dangerous journey to the U.S. Her story intersects explosively with that of an editor eager to recover from a career-ending scandal. Kwok hooks readers with an emotionally gripping story of two mothers willing to risk everything to protect what they love, skillfully balancing perspectives to a riveting climax. —Mara Bandy Fass, Champaign Public Library, IL NoveList read-alike: Say Her Name by Dreda Say Mitchell

Better Hate T Than han Ne Nev ver Chloe Liese (Berkley)

West Heart Kil Killl Dann McDorman (Knopf)

A Ho Hollly Jo Jollly Ev Ever er A After: fter: A Christmas Notch Novel

Neighbors Kate and Christopher grew up together and over the years, snarky comments and shenanigans ensue until Kate flees home. When she returns years later, the animosity between them hasn’t waned. With their families begging for peace, they determine they need to get along. Which they do...too well. Readers will find watching them fall in love to be nothing short of magical.

In this twist on the trope of a locked room mystery, a private eye is trapped in an exclusive hunting cabin in the Adirondacks during a major storm with three dead bodies, while finding he is as much a suspect as the rest of the elite set of guests. A great original debut!

When rule-follower Winnie decides to take part in a steamy Christmas movie, she doesn't have a clue how to perform racy scenes. She asks co-star Kallum, the former chubby goofball member of a boy band, for sexy practice sessions. As the two grow closer, can they get past their issues and have a real relationship?

—Taylor Banze, St. Charles City-County Library, MO NoveList read-alike: Kiss Me Catalina by Priscilla Oliveras

Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone

— Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library. NJ NoveList read-alike: The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

—Jessica C Williams,Tiffin-Seneca Public Library, OH NoveList read-alike: Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade

Let Us Descend: A No Nov vel Jesmyn Ward (Scribner)

Midnight is the Dark Darkest est Hour Ashley Winstead (Sourcebooks Landmark)

On the long treacherous journey to the New Orleans slave markets, Annis turns inward, speaking to her lost mother and revisiting the stories of her African warrior grandmother. Ward’s fluid prose assists the reader to travel alongside Annis, flowing between hell on earth and the comfort of memory. For fans of She Would Be King by Wayetu Moore.

In this small corner of Louisiana, religion runs deep. As a teenager, the reverend's daughter Ruth becomes summer friends with Everett,and begins seeing the truth through his eyes. Ruth chose to follow the word of the church and stay put while Everett seeks more. However, when a skull is found in the swamp, Ruth begins questioning everything she thought she knew.

Julianna’s Restaurant

—KC Davis, LibraryReads Ambassador, CT NoveList read-alike: Beloved by Toni Morrison

Bonus pick:

SeniorMenu Lunch Menu Senior (Catapult)

65 and older

When her grandmother dies, June worries about falling prey to the family curse of hallucinations, which stole the sanity of her mother and grandmother. When a door opens leading to the past, June learns more about her family and discovers unexpected truths about herself—and her place in time.

Celebrate the Season with Beautiful A g r n i r v a i n g g s k ements n a h T —Nanette Donohue, Champaign Public Library, IL

—Andrea Galvin, Mt. Pulaski Public Library, IL NoveList read-alike: The Toll by Cherie Priest

Straw Dogs of the Universe: A Novel Ye Chun

The Unmaking of June F Farr arro ow: A No Nov vel Adrienne Young (Delacorte Press)

NoveList read-alike: The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

Notable Nonfiction:

The Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year Margaret Renkl (Spiegel & Grau)

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November 2023


Vintage Tin Toys B

A As the Christmas season approaches, many are filled with nostalgia for the traditions of previous eras. This can also include nostalgia for vintage playthings. Due to their proliferation and sturdy construction, tin lithographic toys are some of the most popular vintage toys with collectors. Inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to work with, tin plate had often been used in the fabrication of oil cans. It soon became a favorite of toy manufacturers, as its sturdiness allowed it to withstand the wear and tear of children’s play activities. At first tin toys were hand enameled or spray painted. Advances in photolithography allowed makers to print designs onto sheets of tinplated steel. These plates would then be diecut, folded, and assembled. German manufacturers introduced

tin plate toys around 1874, where they led the market until the First World War. Following the war, German toy production fell behind. The tin toy industries of England, France, and the United States came to the fore in the post-war era. American Midwest company American Flyer Manufacturing set up shop around 1910. American Flyer became known for its toy trains and train layout accessories and buildings. Ohio Art entered the toy trade in 1917, first producing windmills. In 1919 they introduced a climbing monkey. This was soon followed by drum and tea sets. Brooklyn-born Louis Marx established Louis Marx & Company in 1919 and would later go on to dominate the toy industry. By 1950 Marx was the largest toy manufacturer in the

world. Realizing in the 1930s that looming war might lead to metal shortages, Marx started developing plastics. In 1948 Marx began issuing play sets. Play sets featured a lithographed tin structure like a barn or castle. Accompanying each structure would be dozens of plastic figures in keeping with theme. 1948 also saw Marx’s introduction of friction-based toys, such as trains, cars, and tanks. In 1955, Time Magazine featured Louis Marx on its cover, proclaiming him the Toy King. However, by the late 1960s, Japanese companies had flooded the markets with low cost tin toys. By the 1970s, plastics, and not metals, were king. Today, vintage tin toys are found in a range of prices. Ohio Art tea sets from the 1920s and 1930s can fetch from $150 to $200. American Flyer train prices can range into the thousands. An American Flyer model railroad freight station will cost from $10 to $40. Marx Toys made many items popular with collectors. Because they were so widely produced, quality must be high to get top prices. Some classics were reproduced in the 1980s, shortly

before the company went out of business. These replicas will go for much lower prices. The Marx Mineral City western town set, based on the Roy Rogers TV program, can go for $150 or more in top condition. A particularly popular wind-up toy was the Marx Merry Makers. It featured mice musicians dressed in tuxedos and was inspired by the Big Bands of the era. In good condition, the Merry Makers can sell for $800 or more. Contrary to the Merry Makers, the Marx Bunny Express, an Easter-themed train set, did not sell well. Its rarity makes it much sought after today. It can fetch $1200 and up. Hunting for and collecting tin toys continues to provide enjoyment. Because these playthings are so durable, whatever toy from whatever era that inspires your nostalgia can most likely still be found today. Bridget Klusman Owner, Retro Estate Sales A. American Flyer Freight Station B. Marx Merry Makers

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November 2023

A Westnedge Avenue is the busiest surface street in the Kalamazoo area, serving as a thoroughfare for upwards of 40,000 vehicles daily. Fifteen miles long, it’s just two lanes wide at its north and south ends but widens to seven in its busy commercial stretch near I-94. The north end extends to Cooper Township, and the south to where withdrawing glaciers left Gourdneck Lake in their wake more than 10,000 years ago. You can tell if a person isn’t a native of our area by the way they pronounce “Westnedge.” Some TV announcers who live who-knowswhere pronounce it “West Nedge.” Our GPS pronounces it “Westa-nedge.” But you and I know it’s “WESTnedge.” The street was given its uncommon name over 100 years ago, and I think it’s good to know how the name originated, and about the uncommon



Westnedge: Uncommon Name, Uncommon Valor

family to whom the street name pays tribute. Richard Burchnall Westnedge (born in 1871) and his younger brother Joseph Burchnall Westnedge (born in 1872) were born in Kalamazoo and raised on Portage Street south of the city along with their sisters, Alice, Caroline, and Sarah. Both brothers attended Kalamazoo College and were members of the school’s very first football team in 1892. Joseph played halfback and later led the team to an undefeated season in 1895. After attending K-College, Richard attended Rush Medical College in Chicago. He married Alice May Gould of Chicago and practiced medicine in Dubuque, Iowa for about a year before joining the U.S. Army. He served in Philippines during the Spanish-American War as a regimental surgeon. In that role, Lt. Richard Westnedge died of typhoid fever at age 28 in 1899, just two years after marrying Alice. He was the first person from Kalamazoo to die in the war. Like Richard, Joseph served in the Army in the Spanish-American War. Joseph returned home and worked for a paper company, marrying Eva May Sebring in 1900. He remained in the National Guard and was a lieutenant colonel during the Jack-

B son prison riot of September 1912. In 1916, he was called to duty again with the Michigan National Guard to defend the border with Mexico against raids by Pancho Villa. That service on the Mexican border, at a time when few other American troops were prepared for war, resulted in “Colonel Joe’s” Red Arrow Division being one of the first units sent to Europe in World War I as part of the Allied Expeditionary Forces (AEF). They participated in a number of key offensives in the summer and fall of 1918. After exposure to a mustard gas attack, Joseph was sent to a hospital in Nantes, France, where he died eighteen days after the armistice at age 46. November 29, 2023 marks the 105th anniversary of his death. Joseph was initially buried in France, but two years later, his body was returned home. Thousands of people lined the streets of Kalamazoo to pay their respects during the funeral procession. Joseph was buried

next to his wife Eva and brother Richard in Riverside Cemetery on Gull Road. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and French Croix-de-Guerre. And West Street, which had originally denoted the western boundary of the city, was renamed Westnedge to honor Colonel Joe. I drive on Westnedge Avenue almost every day, and each time, I try to remember the good soldier and family for whom the street was named. Tony Ettwein A. U.S. Army portrait of Col.

Joseph Westnedge. Courtesy Kalamazoo Public Library. B. Thousands line the streets during the funeral procession of “Colonel Joe” Westnedge, 1920. Courtesy Kalamazoo Public Library. C. The grave of Col. Joseph B. Westnedge, Riverside Cemetery


Indoor Holiday Market

Produce - Artisans-Baked Goods Crafts - Woodworking and more! Farmers’, Artisan & Craft Market Saturdays 10-2 • Nov. 4-Dec. 9

City Hall, 211 N. Main St. 269-685-6821 •


November 2023

be ART ful

“Art is too important not to share.” -Romero Britto Murals are one of the oldest forms of visual art, dating back to more than 30,000 years ago when humans would paint images on cave walls and other natural surfaces. Today, murals continue to be relevant in our contemporary world. More popular than ever, they are a powerful tool to help make a city more vibrant, engaging and a more meaningful place to live. Murals invite conversation by commanding attention and giving the audience an effective means to inspire creativity and wonder.

A mural is any large-scale public work of art applied directly onto a permanent surface. This type of art can serve as an aesthetic component by revitalizing a town in an imaginative way. Murals contribute to the success of communities and businesses in an ever-changing environment. The economic benefits include new jobs and increased tourism. Publicly displayed art also breathes new life into urban surroundings by making them feel safer as more people are drawn to the rich and beautified spaces. Property that was once on the decline is now a local hotspot.

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GOOD NEWS Welcoming and walkable, it’s a kind of art that can generate change with a positive impact. They transform communal areas and individual lives. Murals offer encouragement and hope while combating feelings of anxiety and social isolation. They have a way of making people feel happy. So let’s talk about a happy little city who has encompassed all of the above by creating an unmistakeable sense of pride in their community. About an hour to our east you’ll find Jackson, Michigan. A local group of 14 young professionals took on an ambitious 5 year project. From 2018-2022 (and during the pandemic) they brought an annual public art and mural festival into the heart of their downtown. Cleverly known as Bright Walls, these volunteers ignited a passion in their community and brought their artistic vision to life. Hosting artists from around the globe, more than 75 murals now have an everlasting home in their downtown district. This group of volunteers have manifested and created a new destination to be enjoyed by all. I found out about this festival through social media right from the start. It’s a quick road trip to Jackson and my family and I were able to enjoy the festivities and watch artists in action. We have found ourselves returning multiple times to revisit some of our favorites, especially for photo ops. Murals are a fantastic backdrop for photos. Here are a few tips and

tricks for your Instagram worthy pics! Try looking elsewhere other than the camera. Interact with the art, strike a pose or incorporate movement. Use interesting angles and play with scale. Blur the background and focus on the person. Utilize contrast and go for a monochromatic wardrobe to stand out against a colorful backdrop. Capture your moment and enjoy! xo -Bridget For more information on the Jackson murals, please visit: https://www. Email: Social: bridgetfoxkzoo

November 2023

The elders are the history and mirror of the living past. Study them to brighten your life and future. ― Ehsan Sehgal In a recent dialogue with someone we were talking about aging. The art of being a wise elder. Translation. A time to share wisdom and a time to be quiet for ears not ready to listen. And the grace of aging that has a way of bringing successive generations back in appreciation to the footsteps that came before. Below is an excerpt from a recent story submitted in my writing class, scripted in epistolary (letter) form. My return in appreciation. Dear Great Grandpa, Hello. I’ve been sitting pen held to paper wrestling with how to begin. My only memories of you are from photographs. September 19, 1968. In the pho-


Piece by Piece tograph in a newspaper article, you are holding a certificate in each hand. Awarded for crossing the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day, an annual event when hundreds of people walk the full expanse. You did it not once, but twice, on Labor Day 1968. The newspaper article stated you would have walked it a third time but that you “didn’t want to crowd the deadline”. since the event ended at noon. You walked forty-four days shy of your 80th birthday. I hadn’t noticed before re-reading the article days ago. You walked the bridge the year I was born. The newspaper article highlighted how you would walk the gravel roads into town and home again, eight miles round trip. And how you would often walk to your son’s house, five miles away. How you had been walking for years. I didn’t know that

about you. I am now thinking that my love of long-distance hiking has ancestral roots. I had thought it was just me. The article shared what training you would do for next time. Did you walk the bridge again before your passing 9 years later, at the age of 88 or 89? October 12, 2013. I ran across the Mackinac Bridge during a sunrise race. The same day grandma (your daughter) passed away. She was 94. I think vigor and longevity are my birthrights to cultivate. The bridge walks were timed. The first walk took you sixty-five minutes. The second walk you beat your time by a minute. You were quoted as saying “I could have done better the first time if I had a better start.” By at least five minutes. I don’t remember the time it took me to run across the bridge. I know it was timed, but for

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me, a race or a hike has never been about beating my time. Maybe I’ll feel different when I’m 80. The article also stated you wore high top shoes that you had for 10 years. The next time I have someone tell me that I “should” replace my shoes sooner, I’m going to tell them about you hiking a bridge twice with a pair of decade-old shoes! I close this letter with a smile thinking about how my footsteps were 4th generation crossing that five-mile expanse that October morning. Thank YOU for the steps you took before me. Your great-granddaughter, Christine May the blessings of wisdom and grace be yours this Thanksgiving season. Christine Hassing


November 2023


HEALTH The Eyes Have It

And mine certainly do. This is about dry eye symptoms. It’s really bothersome to be reading or looking at my tablet and have the page or the screen get blurry. I’ve known that I had this condition for several years, but it had recently become worse. Naturally I was keen on reading about the condition in the September 2023 issue of AARP Bulletin. The article reminds us to take dry eyes seriously. It goes on to say that when your eyes are working correctly, they will constantly produce tears that keep eyes moist and comfortable. Dry eyes happen when either you don’t produce enough tears or your tears evaporate too quickly because your oil glands are clogged. Left untreated, dry eye can lead to an infection, damage to your cornea, or vision loss. What are some of the causes of dry eye? There are several. Medications, such as antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, and sleep aids Laser or refractive eye surgery Age related hormonal changes, including menopause. Contact lenses Clogged tear ducts Smoking or exposure to second hand smoke Fortunately, there are a number of ways dry eye can be treated, most of which are simple fixes. These include:

Eye drops and ointments. The package should say “lubrication” or “artificial tears.” Stay away from products that specify “redness relief.”

once at night is the typical application. However, if you need drops more than four times a day, it’s recommended that you switch to

Drops are the handiest, coming in either single-use vials or one-third ounce bottles. Ointments and gels are also available over-the-counter. However, since their viscosity is heavier than drops, they only should be used at night since they often result in blurry vision. Use of a sleep mask will keep the gel or ointment in place throughout the night. Drops once in the morning and

preservative-free drops that come in single-use vials. If you’re at your computer screen, make sure your screen is below eye level. Research shows that your eye-blink rate falls 66% when you’re staring at a screen. Ducts along the edges of your eyelids generate oils to keep your tears from evaporating too fast. To keep them flowing, lay a warm, moist

washcloth on your eyes for a few minutes and lightly massage for a few minutes. A humidifier adds moister to dry air. Put one near your favorite chair and one in your bedroom when you sleep. Air blowing into your eyes irritates your eyeballs and causes tears to evaporate more quickly. Even a ceiling fan can dry out your eyes while you sleep. While driving or riding in a car point the air vents away from your face. Move furniture away from HVAC vents in your home, and don’t forget glasses or sunglasses on windy days. If you wear contacts, they have a tendency to make dry eye symptoms worse. Maybe ask your doctor about scleral lenses. They have a water reservoir that constantly bathe your eyes in fluid. A doctor can put “punctal plugs” in the tiny corner of your eye that normally drain your tears. It’s a painless procedure that’s similar to putting a stopper in a drain so your tears don’t go down it. Hope this helps. I know the punctal plug procedure really helped me. Till next time, remember to MAKE it a good day and make a special effort to be kind. Ken Dettloff ACE Personal and Brain Health Trainer

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November 2023

Recipes Turkeys have been the traditional centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal for centuries, and while this quintessential feast food has flown a far distance in advancements and improvements, we’ve somehow managed to flutter our way through three full centuries only to glide gracefully back where we first started cooking those birds! An American staple since colonial times, in the Midwest during the 1800s, domestic turkeys were so abundant that they were herded across the range like cattle, and as such, so plentiful that they were considered suitable for only the lower classes. Since this was prior to modern power plants and gas pipelines, meat was traditionally cooked over open fires, cured in smokehouses or simply dried like leather into jerky. Lacking the standards we have in recipe writing today, people often


Talk Turkey! relied on what was known as receipts, which were longhand, written instructions that were often hard to follow, but better than nothing because they would often offer tips such as it being wise to withhold feeding the turkey the day before butchering to help ensure the bird’s digestive tract was clear, or to feed the turkey some hard liquor to help sedate it, and marinade the meat the day before butchering. According to instructions found in The Good Housekeeper (1804), cooking a turkey was simple, “Dredge the turkey over with flour then lay it before the fire.” There were also tips such as, “A strip of paper may be put on the breast to prevent scorching.” In the 1900’s the advent of indoor utilities gave our favorite feathered food a chance to roost and roast inside! The new breeding advancements of the time, which brought us bigger birds that needed lower temperatures and longer cooking times, made roasting big birds in newfangled indoor appliances a “must!”

Old-fashioned Smoked Turkey Prep: 20 mins; Cook:10 hrs; Total:10 hrs 20 mins. Yield: 2 servings per pound of cooked meat. 1 (10 pound) whole turkey, neck and

giblets removed 4 cloves garlic, crushed 2 tablespoons seasoned salt 1/2 cup butter


Gliding alongside the creation of the recipe format we still use to this day, ways to select and cook your turkey were flying in from directions! In a 1930’s Women’s World readers were advised that old turkeys were unfit for roasting and must be braised with thin slices of salt pork over the breast and legs and then covered with a strong sheet of oiled paper that is then bound tightly to the bird with string before being fit to roast. Then, as we gobbled our way into the later 1900’s, America’s love for white meat brought us birds with breasts so big that male birds were no longer able to mate! Turkey parts also went a la carte, providing us with the ability to purchase only the parts we like, and to buy a turkey fresh, eliminating the need for those timely long thaws. When the calendar flipped to this century Americans found themselves looking for leaner birds and lower cooking times, which caused us to come full circle and return our turkeys to the great outdoors!

Cooking smaller, younger turkeys at higher heats does maximize flavor and minimize cooking times, especially if you deep fry! The same can be said for grilling, which makes me (and many others) wonder why we ever trotted our turkeys indoors in the first place. Thank God for hindsight! In the end, I think that the best way for us to cook our turkeys on Thanksgiving is the way your family likes to eat it best. Here now is a feathery flight that’ll fly your bird into any cooking era you likeHappy Thanksgiving!

12 fluid ounces cola-flavored carbonated beverage 1 apple, quartered 1 onion, quartered 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon ground black pepper Preheat the smoker to 225 to 250 degrees. Rinse turkey under cold water, and pat dry. Rub the crushed garlic over the outside of the bird, and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Place

in a disposable roasting pan. Fill the turkey cavity with butter, cola, apple, onion, garlic powder, salt, and ground black pepper. Cover loosely with foil. Smoke at 225 to 250 degrees for 10 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees when measured in the thickest part of the thigh. Baste the bird every 1 to 2 hours with the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan.

Laura Kurella is an award-winning recipe developer and author of the new culinary memoir, “MIDWEST MORSELS,” which celebrates all the flavors, past and present, of our Great Lakes region. She welcomes comments at

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November 2023



1900’s style Roast Stuffed Turkey

1900’s style Roast Stuffed Turkey

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Yield: 2 servings per pound of cooked meat. 12-pound whole turkey 2 loaves white bread 1/2 cup butter 1 medium onion 1 tablespoon mint 1 tablespoon marjoram 1 medium onion 1/4-pound bacon Tear the bread into pieces, and place back into the bags overnight. Dice the onion, and leave covered on the counter. The next day, saute the diced onion in butter with the bacon till brown and crispy. Stir in mint, marjoram, and water. Cook for five minutes. Place the bread pieces in a large

mixing bowl, pour onion mixture onto the bread and stir. Rinse and dry the bird. Push the stuffing into the carcass, until you can’t get anymore in. The tighter you push it in, the more moist the stuffing will be. Stuff the neck cavity. Wrap the legs and wings with foil, they will cook quickly. Put a piece of loose foil over the entire bird. Roast at 325 for about 3 hours. Remove foil, set it aside and roast for another hour. If the turkey does not have a pop-up timer, use a meat thermometer. When done, set the turkey out on the counter and cover loosely with the foil, let it stand 20 minutes for a moist bird. Remove the stuffing from the bird.

Yield: 2 servings per pound of cooked meat. 12-pound whole turkey 2 loaves white bread 1/2 cup butter 1 medium onion 1 tablespoon mint 1 tablespoon marjoram 1 medium onion 1/4-pound bacon Tear the bread into pieces, and place back into the bags overnight. Dice the onion, and leave covered on the counter. The next day, saute the diced onion in butter with the bacon till brown and crispy. Stir in mint, marjoram, and water. Cook for five minutes. Place the bread pieces in a large

mixing bowl, pour onion mixture onto the bread and stir. Rinse and dry the bird. Push the stuffing into the carcass, until you can’t get anymore in. The tighter you push it in, the more moist the stuffing will be. Stuff the neck cavity. Wrap the legs and wings with foil, they will cook quickly. Put a piece of loose foil over the entire bird. Roast at 325 for about 3 hours. Remove foil, set it aside and roast for another hour. If the turkey does not have a pop-up timer, use a meat thermometer. When done, set the turkey out on the counter and cover loosely with the foil, let it stand 20 minutes for a moist bird. Remove the stuffing from the bird.

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November 2023




Burnout and How to Deal with it. What is Burnout? Burnout can happen to anyone, no matter your socioeconomic situation. It doesn’t discriminate. It is an emotional, mental, and physical state causing exhaustion, which stems from prolonged or repeated stress. Many often think burnout stems from work, but other factors lead to burnout as well, such as: • Parenting • Caretaking • Romantic relationships • Juggling to many tasks • Long work hours • Lack of support • Health problems • Financial Issues A mountain of stress can lead to stress-causing somatic symptoms such as: • Headaches • Fatigue • Stomachaches • Increased drinking • Overeating or undereating • Insomnia • Weakness • Aches/pains • Shortness of breath How to Know if you are experiencing burnout? You may be mentally or physically exhausted. It may take time to pay

attention. Sometimes, you may notice you are feeling irritable or have less compassion. Getting out of bed to leave for work or do things you enjoy doing may become difficult if you feel burnout. You may be depressed, and notice anxiety related to whatever is causing you burnout. Burnout occurs for an extended time, whereas stress is short-term or tied to a goal. It could be related to burnout if you are experiencing stress but are feeling empty or hopeless. Some roles have people experience higher levels

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of burnout, such as, but not limited to: • Medical Professionals • Law Enforcement • Priests, Pastors, etc.. • Attorneys • Automotive Industry • Teachers How to Decrease Burnout When you are experiencing signs of burnout, it is crucial to take care of yourself. Look at the things in your life that bring you joy and spend more time doing that. Ensuring that you have a purpose, a purpose, doesn’t

need to be a grandiose goal, but small things within your day can create meaning. Maybe you are experiencing burnout because you are not challenged, or you don’t feel appreciated. Draw boundaries, look for ways to say no, or ask for help. Take breaks within your schedule, have start and stop times, minimize multi-tasking, reduce your workload, and prioritize levels of importance’s. Burnout can lead to broken down relationships, loss of job, and feeling like a lousy parent, friend, or child. If someone feels burnout, they may keep this feeling to themselves; talking about how you think is essential. If you don’t feel you can trust anyone to discuss your feelings of burnout, reach out to a therapist who can provide you with strategies to decrease your feelings of burnout. Don’t ignore signs of burnout. They can have detrimental consequences, and remember, it is vital to take care of yourself. Your phone battery won’t work if you don’t charge it. The same goes for you; if you don’t care for yourself, you have less energy to give to work, family, friends, and most of all yourself. Dr. Julie Sorenson, DMFT, MA, LPC.


November 2023


parenting Ways to Calm Big Emotions and Behaviors

Ever find yourself trying to control an out-of-control child or the big emotions and behaviors they are expressing? Feeling big emotions as the caregiver can lead us to react with an attempt to regain control. The minute we shift into a power struggle we disconnect from working as a team leaving our child alone in those big feelings and behaviors. Here are some activities to join our children in their big feelings while working as a team to calm our bodies (quick tip… doing these things together is the magical component): • Be Playful: engage in expressing the emotion charade style, take turns seeing who can find the biggest/silliest/quietest/most formal way to express the emotion, make a fort or container to hold the big feelings, create a game to blow a feather/bubble the farthest or blow out a candle with the biggest/fastest breath • Create & Express: write it out using colors/sizes/shapes to show how big it feels, create collages or images to show the experience, paint or use modeling clay to create a image outside of the body, charades, use toy figures/dolls to tell the story of what your child is

feeling, write the big things on a paper then create a paper airplane and throw it as far away as it will go Get Physical: get those bodies moving to release the physiological component of big emotions. Have a jumping contest, find something appropriate to destroy together (e.g., smashing pumpkins), offer a giant bear hug, rearrange some furniture while helping your kiddo find their strength by asking for a little help, tug of war or push against

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each other’s hands while seated to see who will fall back first. Extra benefit for any physical activities that also include playfulness or inversions: down dog yoga pose, cartwheels/somersaults, headstand/handstand against a wall, freeze dance party while singing out loud (even if it is an angry song/dance), a race using only a silly style of moving (e.g., crab walk) Go Outside: change the scenery, go on a nature scavenger hunt using the 5 senses, go for a bike

ride, skip some rocks, explore different fragrances that exist in your yard, discover a local nature trail or fish hatchery, climb a tree or a big hill • Seek Sensations: experiment with making and squishing dough (2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 1 cup water; get creative with colors and scents), blow and pop bubbles (experiment with only popping with elbows or feet), cool shower/ bath with favorite toys or music playing, make a calm down jar and time how long for the glitter to settle (any sealable jar with colored water and glitter), rock in a rocking chair or swing it out, pop bubble wrap Being with our children when they are feeling out of control can test our own emotional regulation skills, but it also the perfect opportunity to model and practice how to feel big emotions. The more you engage in the activity to help calm your emotion, the more they will want to join you in practicing some fun and playful emotional regulation skills. Christina Thomason, LMSW Acacia: A Place for Personal & Family Development

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November 2023


Fueling Play: Nutrition Tips for Active Kids Active kids are a dynamic force of nature. Their boundless energy, curiosity, and enthusiasm for play make them a joy to watch and a challenge to keep up with. To ensure they have the stamina and strength for all their adventures, it’s crucial to provide them with the right nutrition. In this article, we’ll explore some essential nutrition tips for active kids that will help them grow, thrive, and stay energized.

that childhood brings. Remember that nutrition is an ongoing journey, and it’s essential to provide a positive and supportive environment for kids to explore new foods and develop healthy eating habits. With the right nutrition, active kids can flourish and enjoy a vibrant and active childhood.

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Balanced Diet is Key

A balanced diet is the foundation of good health for active kids. It should consist of a variety of foods that offer a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Carbohydrates provide energy, while protein supports growth and repair. Healthy fats are necessary for brain development and overall health. Fruits and vegetables offer essential vitamins and minerals.

Start the Day Right with Breakfast

Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. It kick-starts your child’s metabolism and provides the energy they need for school and play. Opt for whole-grain cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, or whole-grain toast with peanut butter to ensure a nutritious morning meal.

Snack Wisely

Active kids often need snacks to keep their energy levels stable. Instead of processed snacks high in sugar and empty calories, provide nutrient-dense options. Examples include fruit slices, yogurt, cheese, nuts, and whole-grain crackers. These choices provide a steady supply of energy and essential nutrients.

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is vital for active kids, especially when they’re playing sports or engaging in physical activities. Encourage them to drink water throughout the day and make water the go-to beverage. For intense activities, a sports drink may be suitable to replenish lost electrolytes, but water should remain the primary choice.

Healthy Protein Sources

Growing bodies need protein for muscle development and repair. Offer lean protein sources like chicken, tur-

Banana Berry Smoothie

key, fish, beans, lentils, and tofu as part of their meals. These options provide essential amino acids without excessive saturated fat.

Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks

Excess sugar can lead to energy spikes and crashes, which can be particularly challenging for active kids. Limit sugary foods and drinks such as sodas, candies, and sugary cereals. Encourage natural sources of sweetness like fresh fruit.

Include Fiber-Rich Foods

Fiber is crucial for digestion and helps kids feel full longer. Incorporate whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and whole-grain bread into their meals. Fruits and vegetables are also excellent sources of fiber.

Get Creative with Veggies

It’s no secret that many kids are picky eaters when it comes to vegetables. Get creative by incorporating veggies into their favorite dishes. For instance, blend spinach into a smoothie, add grated carrots to pasta sauce, or create colorful veggie skewers for a fun snack.

Family Meals Matter

Eating together as a family can positively impact a child’s eating habits. It provides an opportunity for parents to model healthy eating behaviors and encourages kids to try new foods. Family meals also foster connection and communication.

Listen to Their Hunger Cues

Teaching kids to listen to their bodies is essential. Encourage them to eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. Avoid using food as a reward or punishment, which can lead to unhealthy associations with eating. Active kids need proper nutrition to support their growth, development, and boundless energy. By following these nutrition tips, parents and caregivers can ensure that their children have the fuel they need for play, learning, and all the adventures

1 medium banana ⅔ cup mixed berries frozen ⅓ cup greek yogurt 1 ½ cups milk 2 teaspoons honey Instructions Slice the banana Place all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until thick and creamy Pour mixture into glasses and serve.

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November 2023



heart of the home An Entryway that Makes a Statement

Even before you walk up to the threshold, the front door of your home is the first impression guests see. It sends a message. What that message might be is up to you, the homeowner. Color, surrounding plants and decorations, mats, house numbers, all can send a message about the personality of the homeowners within. Doors can vary greatly in material— wood, steel, fiberglass—and in cost. But once that entry door is in place, there is more you can do to express the spirit of the home. The entry door

is your palette. The color of the door is usually the first consideration. Browns and grays are an easy choice, but a bold color can make a bold statement and attract the eye of anyone passing by. Be brave. A red door on a house of earth tones can be a bold choice, but other brighter colors can be equally interesting. Consider a bright blue or green. Perhaps even a rosy hue or a golden tone. The rainbow is yours. Adding plants can make a door more inviting, too. Whether hanging plants or placing potted plants

in large planters either side or a mix of both can brighten your entrance. Think about what kind of exposure your plants will receive when choosing type—whether they will be exposed to sunshine all day or under cover of a shady porch. You may also consider growing a decorative or flowering vine to wrap around your entryway. Lighting can change the entire look of an entryway, especially once daylight wanes. Lighting can also make the entryway safer. Sconces on either side of the door can brighten the way, or a hanging fixture just above, if there is a porch covering over the door. Choose styles that match your interior. House numbers are a fun way to attract the eye to an entry as well as make locating you for first-time guests easier. Rather than the usual ironwork, you may want to look for something more artistic. Making colorful and larger numbers can even be a fun craft for children or grandchildren by painting wooden or ceramic numbers or making them out of a mosaic. Most everyone has a doorbell, but

a door knocker can be a more unique addition to your door. Choices are endless, from lion’s heads to pineapples to gargoyles to whatever catches your fancy. What reflects you and your style? And oh, the holidays! Time to have fun. Every holiday comes with its own décor—pumpkins and fall sprays in the autumn, winter wreaths with colorful berries, spring flowers with tiny birds’ nests, summer with its endless bounty of options. Purchase a wreath you like or have even more fun creating one of your own. You don’t have to wait for a holiday, either—your door décor can be a year-round message about a cause or event important to you. Add a welcome mat to send a message to your guest or delivery person, and you can create a seasonal doorway of welcome. Zinta Aistars

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November 2023


Neighborhood Businesses Prepare For Holidays Amid Construction Just a block north of Kalamazoo Avenue is the Northside Cultural Business District, home to local gems like Boneyard BBQ and Victorian Bakery. In preparation for the busy holiday season, Northside business owners are planning to serve thousands of customers over the next few months. However, this Fall also includes construction along Ransom St and Park St for future street, sewer, and lighting upgrades, which can pose challenges for small businesses in the short-term. Concerns like required temporary water shut offs or other utility disruption, and construction detours can often worry business owners. Businesses and organizations like Park Street Market and the Northside Association for Community Development provide important access to services and resources for

many residents on the Northside and beyond. How does the City, utility providers, and businesses find solutions to these concerns? We come up with a plan together! When planning for construction projects city staff consider anyone that may be impacted by detours or other changes to services. This could range from residents and businesses to school bus drivers and emergency medical services. City staff then connects with each stakeholder to talk about any concerns and special needs. This information helps city staff figure out the best detour routes or ideas to support a smooth process during the construction. For the upcoming construction on Park St. Consumers Energy, city staff, and business owners met to discuss the proposed detour routes and ideas to help businesses communicate these detours to their customers and clients. As a result of the meeting, city staff have now developed local detours for those that live in and near the neighborhood; and additional temporary signage will be installed by Consumers Energy to direct people to businesses within the area of the construction site. Sometimes an issue

comes up during construction projects that might impact someone’s access or ability to do tasks if water has to be shut off temporarily. During any construction project, if residents observe an unexpected issue or have additional questions, call 3-1-1. Jae Slaby, City of Kalamazoo Neighborhood Activator

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November 2023


Give the Squirrel a Bone? I’m amazed at how fast my seasonal thinking can change. Last week, I thought that it was just the start of autumn (which is true, based on the calendar), but suddenly, I find my thoughts steering me to consider such tasks as checking whether I’ve signed the snowplow service contract and making sure the ice scraper is in the car. The same must be true of our animal neighbors. Birds are picking at my spent summer flowers with gusto. Seeds are a great source of minerals and fats for many feathered friends, and although they aren’t beautiful, those seed heads are vital for providing calories that will help wildlife survive the winter. Mice invaded the shed and took up residence in a stored bucket of rags. Yuck! And the cranky bees have kicked the now-unnecessary drones from the hive so their honey stores will last a bit longer until the spring nectar flows. In other words, lots of serious business is taking place in the yard. I was surprised just a few weeks ago to notice the antics of four baby squirrels. They are darling! Scampering to and fro, one being chased by its siblings, then turning the tables and becoming the chaser. They were having a ball, free from care - careless, in fact, about street precautions. Thankfully, I don’t think any of them were hit by cars. Seeing such young squirrels so late in the season was what caught my attention. Baby squirrels, or kits (or kittens), are entirely dependent on their mothers for about three months until they leave the nest and are then expected to live independently. They often build solitary nests near those of their mothers, but they’re on their own for the most part. We expect babies in the spring when I suspect it would be easier to forage. Having a litter so close to the dearth period of winter seems a dicey pros-

pect for those little ones and nutritionally exhausting for the mother. So, of course, I did some research. It is not unusual for “mature” female squirrels (I read that as old!) to bear a second litter of kits late in the summer season. This second effort required mating about this past July and occurs often in years with plenty of resources and favorable weather conditions. My flower garden was prolific this past summer, and according to the Michigan Farm News, this year’s grain crop yields are on track to be above average, although a bit late due to our early season rain scarcity. These observations support the notion that there is plenty of food to nurture these young ones, although their survival is certainly not assured. They have limited time to fatten up before the weather changes. Since the kits will not be fully mature for another five or six months, their growth may be stunted if their winter food stores are inadequate. Although I mentioned that squirrels live singly in their nests, they sometimes “buddy up” and live in small groups in harsh conditions. Perhaps my babies will take this advantage. Squirrels, contrary to popular belief, do not hibernate. They remain active throughout the winter months and may inhabit several nests throughout the season. These nests, visible when the leaves have fallen, are built thick with twigs, leaves, and vegetation, usually at a junction with several branches for support in high winds. Food is stored by “caching,” hiding food for later retrieval. Just as we might stock up on, in my case, tomato soup when it’s on sale, squirrels bury seeds and nuts in a general area that they will revisit sometime in the future. Research suggests that the spatial memory of a squirrel is pretty good. They can locate their cache within a few centimeters (unlike me and the tomato soup).

Since they have many buried items, if other squirrels find some, it is equally likely that they will find some other squirrel’s “stash.” A favorite cache item for squirrels is acorns. An important source of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, they store well in harsh conditions for months. Researchers from The Ohio State University published an article in 1986 proposing that stored acorns are better, health-wise, for squirrels than fresh. Oak trees and their seeds are high in tannins. These biologically active compounds are one reason oak leaves resist decay. They are acidic and somewhat bitter, great in wines (aged in oak casks), but fresh acorns are high enough in tannins that water absorption in the squirrel gut is disrupted, leading to intestinal upset. Merely letting the acorns “age” under soil or leaf litter for a week or so allows some of the tannins to leach out and dramatically improves the digestibility of the nuts. Perhaps the most amazing sight I’ve observed from my bunch of squirrels (properly called a scurry) occurred when I watched one venture onto the porch where I’d left out a hollow dog bone. I have since seen several - furtively, purposefully - sidle up to the bone and have a nibble. Upon inspection, the end of the bone is clearly marked with lines where the teeth have scraped the bone as a food source. Who knew?! Again, thanks to Google, I learned that it is not unusual for squirrels to eat bone if it is available. Most of their diet is rich in essential nutrients but deficient in calcium and phosphorus, two of the major components

of animal bone. For pregnant and lactating females, these minerals are vital for developing the skeletons of kits in utero and producing milk after birth. Wow! Softie that I am, I have decided to hang a corn feeder for the squirrels. I realize it will be another task I need to support, restocking every few days, at least for the next few months, but I hate to think of those poor babies starving. I also plan to add a twist tie to hold that bone to the feeder. If they stay out of my attic and away from the electrical wires in my car, we can all be happy! Cheryl Hach Retired Science Teacher Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center References: (n.d.). What controls the caching behaviour of squirrels & how do they find their buried nuts? Wildlife Online. Retrieved October 8, 2023, from https://www.wildlifeonline. (n.d.). Squirrel Food & Feeding Bone-eating. Wildlife Online. Retrieved October 7, 2023, from https:// article/squirrel-food-feeding-boneeating Somerville, D. (2021, January 2). When do Squirrels Have Babies and How Many Are In A Litter? Squirrels at the Feeder. Retrieved October 7, 2023, from https://www.

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November 2023


FREE november Events virtual

Museum to Host March 6 Through December, 2023 Exhibit: Wonder Media: Ask The Questions, KVCC Museum

Saturday, November 4 2nd Annual Open House,126pm, Creative Memories, Gobles

Through January 7 Exhibit: Splat! The Buzz About Fly Swatters, KVCC Museum

Saturday, November 4 Loaves & Fishes Benefit Concert Presented by K’Zoo Folklife Organization, Trinity Lutheran Church, S. Westnedge Ave., Doors open at 5pm, concert at 5:30pm

Wednesdays, Nov. 1 & 15 Mugs & Hugs, 10-10:45am, Stories & more, Vicksburg Library Wednesday, November 1 Meet MI Authors: Viola Shipman A.K.A. Wade Rouse, 6-7pm Richland Community Library Wednesdays, Nov. 1,8,15,29 Village Playdates, ages infant-4, 10-11am, Rootead, 505 E. Kalamazoo Ave. Wednesdays, Nov. 1,8,15,22,29 Final Goofery Comedy Night 8-10pm, Final Gravity Kal. Thursdays, Nov. 2,9,16,23,30 Euchre Tournament, 7-10pm, Final Gravity Brewing

Sundays, Nov. 5,12,19,26 Portage Farmers Market 9am-1pm, 7900 S. Westnedge Sunday, November 5 Guest Artist Recital, Rebecca Johnson, Flute & Magie Beck, Clarinet, 5pm, Dalton Center Lecture Hall Mondays, Nov. 6,13,20,27 Parchment Update Interviews Mondays, Nov. 6,13,20,27 Family Storytime, 10-10:30am Vicksburg District Library

Friday, November 10 Adult Coloring, hot drinks & Conversation, 10:30 – 11:30am Vicksburg District Library

Fri., Nov. 17 – Sat., Nov. 18 50th Holiday Art Sale Fri. 5-8pm, Sat., 9am-3pm, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Friday, November 10 Ladies, Leaves & Laughter 3-8pm, downtown Plainwell

Saturday, November 18 Maple Hill Holiday Parade & A full day of family fun, 11am5:30pm, Downtown Kalamazoo

Saturday, November 11 Your Story! Public Media Network, 10am-Noon, Make a Video, Epic Center, Kalamazoo Saturday, November 11 Internet Users Group, 10am-Noon, Paw Paw Library Saturday, November 11 Art Detectives: Inside Cat By Brendan Wenzel, 10:30amNoon, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Sunday, November 12 Live Concert: Joshua Tree 2pm, Parchment Library

Sunday, November 19 WMU Symphonic Band & Wind Symphony, 3pm, Miller Aud.

Sunday, November 12 WMU Symphony Orchestra, 3pm, Dalton Recital Hall

Monday, November 20 STEAM Event, 11am-Noon Vicksburg District Library Tuesday, November 21 Lego Club, 1-2pm & 5:306:30pm, Vicksburg Library

Thursday, November 2 Open Mic Hosted by Lackback Easy, Dormouse Theatre, 7-9pm

Mondays, Nov. 6,13,20,27 Team Trivia at Old Burdick’s Wings West, Kalamazoo, 7-9pm

Thursdays, Nov. 2, 9,16,23,30 Jazz Jam, 9:30-11:pm, Hopcat

Tuesday, November 7 ARTbreak: Befriending Death, 12pm, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Monday, November 13 Parchment Book Group: The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain, Parchment Library

Tuesdays, November 7,14,21 Big Furry Friends: Meet a therapy Dog, 4:30-6:30, Parchment Library

Tuesday, November 14 ARTbreak: Chinese Calligraphy 12pm, Kalamazoo Institute of Art

Tuesdays, Nov. 7,14,21,28 Theme Trivia Tuesdays, 7-9pm Revel and Roll West, Register: (269) 488-3800

Tuesday, November 14 Adult Craft: Origami, 1-3pm Vicksburg District Library

Friday, November 3 KalamaTopia Outdoor Holiday Market, 5-8pm, Kalamazoo Mall Fridays, Nov. 3,10,17,24 Trivia Fridays, 7-8:30pm Valhalla Horse Nectar Meadery Saturdays, Nov. 4,11,18,25 Kalamazoo Farmers Market 7am-2pm, 1204 Bank St. Saturday, November 4 Church Bazaar, 9am-2pm, baked goods, sloppy joe’s, Scotts UM Church, 8458 Walleen St.

Wednesday, November 8 Bird & Coffee Chat: Owls: Barred,Great Horned, Screech & Snowyowls,, 10am on Zoom, Register:, Kellogg Bird Sanctuary Wednesday, November 8 Evening Writers’ Motivational Group – troubleshoot & Brainstorm, 5:30-6:30pm Vicksburg District Library Thursday, November 9 Teen Break & Bulldog Break, 2:45-5:45, Vicksburg Library

Saturday, November 4 Harvest Market, 9am-3pm Kalamazoo County Expo Center

Thursday, November 9 STEAM Event, 6-7pm Vicksburg District Library

Saturday, November 4 Fall Coin Show, 9am-3pm Kalamazoo County Expo Center

Thursday, November 9 Comedy Open Mic Night, 9-11pm, Valhalla/Norse Nectar Meadery

Saturday, November 18 WMU Percussion Ensemble 7:30pm, Dalton Center Hall Sunday, November 19 Public Tour :Unveiling American Genius, 1:30pm, Kalamazoo Institute of Art

Monday, November 6 Make & Take Coaster, 6pm Register ahead, Parchment Library

Friday, November 3 Art Hop, downtown Kalamazoo & Vine area, 5-8pm

Sat., Nov. 18 – Sun. Nov. 19 Holiday Craft Show, 11/18 9am-5pm, 11/19 9am-3pm, Kalamazoo County Expo Center

Sunday, November 12 Public Tour: KNAS Facility Review 1:30pm, Kalamazoo Institute of Art

Thursdays, Nov. 2,9,16,22,29 Trivia Night, 7pm, Gull Lake Distilling Company, Galesburg

Friday, November 3 Memory Café for people w/ mild Dementia & their care partners, 10:30am-Noon, Paw Paw Library

Saturday, November 18 Friends of the Library Book Sale, 9am-12pm, Parchment Library

Tuesday, November 14 Mystery Book Club – SJ Bennett Series: All the King’s Men, 6:30pm Parchment Library

Tuesday, November 21 WMU Multimedia Concert, 7:30pm, Dalton Recital Hall Sunday, November 26 Holiday Bizarre Bazaar 12-5pm, Bells Eccentric Café Monday, November 27 Movie Club: 12 Angry Men, 1-3pm, Vicksburg Library Monday, November 27 WMU Jazz Combo Showcase, 5pm, Dalton Recital Hall

Tuesday, November 14 Middle School Honor Band & WMU Concert Band, 7pm, Miller Auditorium

Tuesday, November 28 ARTbreak: Native Art Now, 12pm, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Wednesday, November 15 Book Discussion: The Cloisters By Katy Hays, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Wednesday, November 29 Team Trivia, 6:30-7:30pm, Register ahead: 629-9085 Richland Community Library

Wednesday, November 15 RCL Film Club: Persepolis, 6-7pm, Richland Community Library

Thursday, November 30 Birdwatchers/Nature-Watchers 1-2pm, Vicksburg Library

Thursday, November 16 Hearbreak Book Club: Would You Rather by Allison Ashley, 6:30-7:30pm, Paw Paw Library

Thursday, November 30 Between the Lines Book Club: Virgil Wander by Leif Enger Paw Paw District Library

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