Southwest Michigan Spark-November 2022

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Hearing Health

Q: What can I do to prevent hearing loss?

Funeral Services

Q: How did the Langeland Family get started?

Audiologist, Kim Kragt, M.A., CCC-A

A. One of the best ways to prevent hearing loss is to be conscious of the noise around you and to protect your ears. If you have to shout to be heard, then the environment is too loud and it could damage your hearing. It is best to wear ear protection when mowing the lawn, vacuuming, going to concerts, sporting events, and gyms. There are many options available for hearing protection so if you are unsure what is best for you, see an audiologist. There are even custom options for those that have difficulty wearing over the counter products.

Constance Brown Hearing Centers

1634 Gull Road, Ste 201 Kalamazoo, MI 49048 (269) 343-2601

4855 W. Centre Avenue Portage, MI 49024 (269) 372-2709


Q: I hear that Sherriff Goslin Roofing uses their own unique shingle. Can you tell me more about this shingle?

planner, consulting your physician, and connecting with residents in a community to learn of their experiences.

Justin Reynolds Manager

A: The Art Loc shingle is SherriffGoslin’s original patented shingle. It can be used as a re-roofing shingle over another layer of existing shingles, or as a primary shingle over roof sheathing. It assures a smooth, windproof and watertight job. The Art Loc shingle provides a unique appearance and lends character with distinction to any home.

Today’s Art Loc shingle has been modified to include an ingredient known as an SBS (Styrene-ButadieneStyrene) polymer, which is used to alter the properties of asphalt, making the asphalt tougher and more flexible. This polymer dramatically slows down the aging process of the asphalt, providing superior waterproofing, low temperature flexibility, impact resistance, high wind endurance and extended life expectancy. Call us at (269) 342-0153 or visit us at worryfreeroof. com today to learn more.

Sherriff-Goslin Roofing Co.




A: Langelands began serving the Kalamazoo community in 1934. Times were tough then, but Langelands treated everyone like family regardless of the services chosen. Our reputation grew from there, and now moving into our fourth generation, it is still our mission to serve your family with compassion, honor, and respect. This is our life’s work: taking care of you and your family with service second to none.

Langeland Family Funeral Homes

“Quiet dignity with compassion” has meant so much for many people... for many years. 4 locations to serve you 269-343-1508 •

Health Food

Q: Do you carry all natural baking products for the holidays?

A: Yes we do. We carry vegan and gluten free pie crusts and a variety of alternative baking flours. We carry organic sugars, baking chocolate, and dye free natural food coloring. In our bulk we have a variety of organic raw nuts, dried fruit and spices. We carry a great selection of alternative sweeteners and many items for those with food sensitivities and restrictions. Mon-Sat. 8am-9pm, Sun. 10am-6pm

Sawall Health Foods

Oakwood Plaza • 2965 Oakland Dr. at Whites Rd. • 343-3619 •

Home Builders Association of Greater Kalamazoo Insurance Q: My goodness Medicare insurance is getting complicated! How do I know which type of plan works for me? A: Yes it is complicated! If you call me I can go over this with you either by phone
a face to face appointment at our office or your home. 269-323-7888 Charley Endres, CPIA Endres Insurance Agency 6660 S. Westnedge Ave., Portage • 269-323-7888
Endres Transitions Q: What is the best age to move into Independent living at a senior living community? A: Most senior living communities are designed for people 60 and over. The right age for you depends greatly on your finances, health, and lifestyle preferences. I highly recommend meeting with a financial
Duncan Director of Sales and Marketing Friendship Village “Where Connections Matter” 1400 North Drake, Kalamazoo 269-381-0560


On the Road Again!

traveling but the long trips to get to the destination can somtimes be daunting.

past couple months have included a few with Jackie, her daughter Lauren and her sons’ Lucas (10) and Emmett (9).

This past August, we all crammed into Lauren’s Toyota Camry and drove 410 miles to south of St Louis, Missouri for a family gathering. I doubt we could have fit even another matchstick into the car.

I am not allowed to drive because I’m told I drive too slow and stop at too many roadside attractions.

We barely made it to the Indiana border just 75 miles into the trip when a bathroom break was necessary. We stopped at an old Indiana rest stop that had a separate snack building that resembled a giant flying saucer - I would love to know the history behind these snack huts.

Stopping for food can often be a challenge to get a carload to agree on one fast food option. We luckily landed on a McDonalds with a Subway next door, which made everyone happy.

Prior to our lunch stop, we were telling stories and the topic of kids getting their mouths washed out with soap in the old days

came up when the boys were arguing in the back seat.

While they were getting food, I snuck over to a motel next door and grabbed a couple small bars of soap from the cleaning person and placed them on the dash in clear view as a deterrent to bad behavior. This definitely got their attention and the conversation about this practice ensued. After a while, Emmett was getting bored and mentioned that he might be willing to a take small bite to try it.


In October we drove 530 miles to Franklin Tennessee (south of Nashville) for a wedding. This drive went off without incidence and was very enjoyable.

We played a game where each person could pick a song to play, which would be on a rotation. This was a big hit with everyone and we all expanded our musical horizons. We sang along to Sugar Sugar by the Archies, Just My Imagination by the Temptations and laughed along to Jingle Farts.

On the way home we boogied to songs that we danced to at the wedding. I tried to sneak in some history questions, which created laughter when the guess of who invented the lightbulb was Thomas Einstein.

We made it home safe and sound and in good spirits! Steve Ellis, SPARK Publisher

Laura Kurella.

Provided by Laura Kurella.

NOVEMBER 2022 3 SPARK To advertise in upcoming SPARK publications, contact: Steve Ellis, 269.720.8157, Lee Dean: “Did you enjoy your stay?” That depends .................................................................. 4 Spark Recipe: Turkey-cooking crib notes ...................6 Wednesday Warriors ........................................................7 Nature: Leave the leaves this fall ................................8 History: Count Lorenz Brentano.....................................9 Cover Story: Laura Kurella ............................................10 Spark Movie Reviews.....................................................12 Volunteer: Caroline Meyers..........................................13 Spark Book Reviews .......................................................14 Business Profile: Summer Thyme Cafe .......................15 Healthy Living ..................................................................17 Tales from the Road: Grayling, Michigan ...............18 SPARK accepts advertising to defray the cost of production and distribution, and appreciates the support of its advertisers. The publication does not specifically endorse advertisers or their products or services. Spark is a publication of Ellis Strategies, LLC. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission from the publisher.
and Publisher: Steve Ellis Graphic & Page Development: CRE8 Design, Kalamazoo Content/Photography: Lauren Ellis Writers and Contributors Include: Area Agency on Aging, Steve Ellis, Lee Dean, Laura Kurella, Richard Martinovich Dave Person, Kalamazoo Nature Center, Kalamazoo Public Library, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Portage Public Library, Senior Services of Southwest Michigan, YMCA INDEX NOVEMBER 2022 ON THE COVER: 20,000 readers, 650 locations and online at Like us on Facebook at

‘Did you enjoy your stay?’ That depends

If you do enough business and personal travel, you will encounter a variety of hotels, motels, bed and breakfast inns, and other assorted places to park your carcass for the night. These establishments are often excellent, but not always.

Scary hotels are a cultural motif. Alfred Hitchcock knew this when he created the creepy Bates Motel in “Psycho.” Don Henley of the Eagles sang this unsettling line about the Hotel California: “You can check in any time you like, but you can never leave.”

Business travel is anything but glamorous. My companies were fiscally prudent (i.e., “cheap”) and had no good reason to put me up in a five-star establishment. I never complained because I was there to work. All I needed was a roof, a bed, good internet, reasonably edible food, and the absence of six-legged creatures to share quarters with.

The worst part of business travel was checking in. Check-in needed to be smooth, especially if you are arriving

after a long flight or drive.

After leaving the front desk, you are so tired you can hardly take another step. You drag luggage to the elevator, which in my case was often suitcase, CPAP, computer, video camera, and tripod.

The elevator doors open and you look for that little sign with the numbers and arrows. You find your room number and start walking…and walking…and walking. Is my room in another time zone?

At last, you arrive at the room. Relief! All you must do is fish out the key card and swipe to trigger the green light and an open door. Instead, this happens:

• Swipe, swipe, swipe.

• Red, red, red.

• Leave luggage in the hall and go get another key card. If the luggage is gone when you return, so be it. You’re too tired to care.

The worst business travel calamity at any of my companies did not happen to me. The owner and sales manager were working a huge trade show in New York City. After an exhausting day, they needed to find a room. They finally found a vacancy in a sketchy New Jersey locale

After a long day working a massive trade show, you desperately need a shower. My boss stepped into the shower, closed the

curtain, picked up the soap and nearly gagged. There, embedded within the cake of soap, was a giant hair.

Personal travel has had its own charms. On the most recent vacation with my wife, the Viking Goddess, we checked into the most economical (i.e., “cheap”) place we could find. I sat on the bed, shuffled my feet, and heard a loud “BONNNNGGGGG!”

“What was THAT?” the VG asked.

I bent down and saw that the bed was not mounted on wood, as is common practice. This bed was mounted on a piece of sheet metal. If you touched it at all, you created a metallic reverberation that would serve as the soundtrack from the Revelation of John.

Try as I might, for the next two nights, I could not avoid hitting that stupid piece of metal with my heel. When an ambulance came to take an overdose victim out, we decided to make an exit ourselves.

Two things had to happen before we left. First, I checked out and asked the desk clerk if he had any idea who the genius was who decided to place a bed on a piece of thin sheet metal. I received no answer the clerk, who looked less alert than that poor OD case. Then I let that

piece of metal have it once more, on purpose and with feeling.

Travel brochures occasionally offer coupons to stay at selected inns. We found one and presented it at a hotel in Kentucky. The clerk reacted as if we had insulted her dog and grudgingly accepted the coupon. We asked for a nonsmoking room. She put us in a room with overwhelming tobacco stench, no doubt to get us to check out. We called management instead and got the room changed.

I do have a gold star for one group of hospitality employees: the housekeeping staff. No one works harder than they do. Every room I have ever stayed in was cleaned properly, and all belongings were undisturbed.

One hotel experience shines above the others. One winter day, I hopped the Amtrak to Chicago to help an old friend. We shared a room (separate beds) and fell asleep for the night. At 2 a.m., the fire alarm sounded. The two of us wrapped ourselves in one blanket and stepped outside into the chill.

“I wonder who pulled that alarm,” my friend said.

“I don’t know, but it was the best $20 I ever spent,” I said to my blanket buddy the future Viking Goddess.

The huddled masses standing outside wondered whether I was serious. I didn’t say one way or the other – and never will.


Turkey-cooking crib notes!

While most anyone who finds themselves in a kitchen on Thanksgiving Day likely has both knowledge and experience with cooking a turkey, the question of how to improve upon turkey-cooking skills remains to be the top Thanksgiving question I get asked each year. Flocked with flavor, here now is a special way to cook up a spectacular bird. Happy Thanksgiving!

Flavor-infused Roast Turkey


10 fresh thyme sprigs

6 fresh sage sprigs

4 fresh rosemary sprigs

5 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon celery seed

1 cup unrefined mineral sea salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorn 3 tablespoons sugar


1 turkey, neck and giblets removed

1 yellow onion, quartered

1 garlic head, halved crosswise

1 bunch fresh thyme

1 bunch fresh sage

1 bunch fresh rosemary

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth, plus more as needed

To make the rub, in a food processor, strip petals from thyme, sage, and rosemary sprigs. Add garlic, celery seeds and peppercorns then pulse until a coarse paste forms. Add salt and sugar then pulse until blended, about 30 seconds. Rub mixture all over turkey then refrigerate it, uncovered, for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours before cooking.

When ready to cook, using cold water, rinse, rub off the turkey then pat dry with paper towels.

Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 425 degrees.

Stuff the turkey cavity with the onion, garlic, thyme, sage and rosemary then, working from the neck end of the turkey, loosen skin from the breasts and rub butter under the skin and then all over the outside of the turkey. Pour broth into the bottom of the pan then place turkey in the oven for 30 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees, and cover the roaster with a tight-fitting lid.

Continue roasting, basting the turkey with the pan juices every 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone, registers 130 degrees.

Remove cover from roaster and raise oven temperature to 375 degrees. Continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone, registers 160 degrees. If the skin begins to brown too quickly in areas, simply tent those areas with foil.

Once the turkey reaches 160 degrees, transfer to a carving board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 30 minutes before carving. Use a pan and juice in it to make gravy.

Laura Kurella is an award-winning food columnist, recipe developer, and home cook who loves life in Michigan. She welcomes your comments at


Our founding Wednesday Warrior, Stan Rajnak, has many talents including a flair for poetry. Here are two of his gems, showing what some of us think about as we bustle about in the preserves of the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, working to give nature a boost to get the land back into good health.

Kristi Chapman, volunteer, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy


Standing on the ridge my eyes hold onto the view slowly scanning again and again. Below, yellowing sedge meadows surrounded by hundred foot pines, backed by shiny granite mountains. Big, awesome Mother Nature. After some time, the green moss and purple beetle at my feet remind me — don’t forget about us little guys.


Out with their cameras as leaves fall on leaves fall on leaves. Red, yellow, and orange covering last year’s broken brown layer. Further down, the soil slowly turns older leaves into black humus. Ugly to photographers but beautiful to worms, plants, and gardeners


Leave the leaves this fall!

There, they’ll provide overwintering shelter for small animals and invertebrates such as moths that spend the winter as caterpillars.

In fact, during winter, studies show that birds such as chickadees, titmice and nuthatches derive up to 50 percent of their diet from moth caterpillars, which produce an antifreeze-type substance to keep them dormant.

For the other 50 percent of their diet, you can increase birds’ survival rate with a backyard bird feeder. And, if you have a bird feeder visible from your window at home or at work, consider participating in KNC’s Winter Feeder Survey. Once a month from November through April, the information that you submit is valuable for protecting birds and their habitats. Also, join other bird enthusiasts across the country with the Annual Christmas Bird Count organized by the National Audubon Society. It’s the nation’s longest-running community science bird project.

Yardwork is a year-round reality for Michigan residents. We’re resilient folk; snow shoveling in the winter, lawn maintenance in the spring and summer, and leaf raking in the fall. The laborious task of pushing the lawn mower in the sweltering heat during the height of summer rivals the back breaking chore of raking and packing autumnal leaves in October and November. Although the hues of leaves this time of year are majestic, and the cooler crisp air is a welcome change, leaf removal is a

dreaded activity for many home owners. So, this season, why not give yourself a break and “leave some leaves” to benefit your garden and wildlife?

Jen Mellinger, Kalamazoo Nature Center’s community science director, offers two good reasons to skip your fall raking duties. The first is to let fallen leaves break down in your garden beds where they’ll return nutrients to the soil. Second, If you can’t leave the leaves where they lie, relocate them to an area without turfgrass.

For over 60 years, Kalamazoo Nature Center has been dedicated to bird conservation. Our legacy and commitment to avian research is documented in our first ever Kalamazoo Valley Bird Observatory, (KVBO) annual report. It highlights the extensive work of our avian research team from this past year. Take a look at the comprehensive publication at


Count Lorenz Brentano Kalamazoo’s Revolutionary Brewer

Folks have been brewing beer in and around Kalamazoo for the better part of two centuries. In fact, the art of crafting fine (and some perhaps otherwise) beers and ales can be traced to Kalamazoo’s earliest days as a frontier village.

Most of Kalamazoo’s early brewers were of English origin and as such preferred English style beers and ales. During the 1840s and 1850s, however, the influx of German immigrants significantly altered the local beer brewing landscape. German style lager quickly became the beverage of choice among the working class.

One of the community’s most popular early breweries was established by Count Lorenz Brentano, a political refugee from Germany. Brentano’s Kalamazoo Brewery was built about 1857 along the south side of Walnut Street on a portion of the old denBleyker homestead just east of John Street where Bronson Hospital’s emergency room is now located.

Born Laurentius Peter Carl Brentano in Mannheim, Germany, in November 1813, Brentano studied law at the universities of Heidelberg and Freiburg and earned degrees from Heidelberg and Giessen. He was widely recognized for his rhetorical skills and sharp logic as a supreme court lawyer in Germany. During the early part of his career, he became a leader of Baden’s democratic left and was an

outspoken critic of the moderate German government.

Brentano was an active supporter and participant in the 1848 revolution against Germany’s conservative aristocracy and in 1849, he was elected president of the short-lived provisional republic. The revolution failed, however, and Brentano was sentenced to life in prison for high treason, but he fled to Switzerland and from there sought refuge in the United States.

After arriving in New York in 1849, he settled in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, where he became a journalist and publisher of the German anti-slavery journal, Der Leuchtturm.

After a year or so in Pennsylvania, Brentano bought a farm near Kalamazoo, where he worked the land and sharpened his skills as a brewer. According to the Detroit Free Press, “His life in Michigan was a very quiet one.”

By the end of 1857, Brentano had settled in the village of Kalamazoo having assumed “the entire

control” of the new “Kalamazoo Brewery” on Walnut Street. Brentano wrote that his “excellent establishment (was) prepared to fill all orders for his celebrated Bavarian lager beer and ale,” which he would deliver free of charge if ordered at the brewery, or Stofel’s Lager Beer Saloon on Burdick Street. While offering to pay the “highest market price” for hops and barley, Brentano called special attention to his “choice article of Ale and Beer, expressly for family use… (an) excellent, wholesome, healthy beverage.” Indeed, his life in Kalamazoo was a far cry from his past as a political activist and revolutionary in his homeland.

Nevertheless, Brentano operated his Kalamazoo Brewery for about a year before turning it over to fellow local brewer and later real estate dealer Nicholas Baumann in 1859. Brentano’s brewery was off to a strong start, though. After changing hands another time or two, the brewery on Walnut Street eventually became the second largest brewery in the village.

Meanwhile, Lorenz Brentano moved on to Chicago where he eventually became a prominent politician. He was elected to the Illinois state legislature in 1862 and to the Forty-fifth Congress of the United States in 1876. Brentano died in Chicago in 1891.

More at



sion, and I do it through food,” says Kurella, who is celebrating 20 years of sharing stories and recipes in numerous publications, primarily in the Midwest.

Spark magazine and its sister publication, Good News, are among those that carry her recipes.

She also is a culinary correspondent for The Food Channel, sharing recipes, columns and photographs.

Kurella, who called St. Joseph County home for several years and began her career as a food columnist there, currently lives in Wellston, between Cadillac and Manistee, with her husband, RIchard Taylor.

show, an event staple all five years, will be from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

At the free event, Kurella will release her latest cookbook, Midwest Morsels: Memorable Recipes and Reflections.

“It’s a memoir of my life as told through recipes,” she says.

Kurella, 61, who has two daughters and seven grandchildren in the Cincinnati area, realized the importance of healthy eating when her father died suddenly of a heart attack when she was in her teens.

“My father was a healthy man for the most part, and he was only 58,” she says.

Self-taught cook and food columnist Laura Kurella is on a mission to help people improve their health through the food they eat.

“I work to make a positive difference in the lives of others; that is my mis-

Kurella will be returning to her former stomping grounds in Southwest Michigan Nov. 6 for the 5th annual Happy Holidays Community Expo and Cooking Show at Constantine High School.

The expo, featuring local artisans, crafters and businesses, will be from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Kurella’s cooking

But he did not have a healthy diet. “He loved everything that had fat,” she says.

“You can’t consume all that animal fat and not have consequences,” Kurella says. “It ended up causing me to look at food differently.”

A native of northwest Indiana, Kurella owned and operated a tool business


there, and although she was careful with her food intake, she developed other bad habits and ended up having a stress-induced “cardiac event” of her own when she was in her 30s.

“I was living a very stressful life and I was consuming caffeine all day long. I started with a pot of coffee, not a cup, in the morning, and in the afternoon I switched over to Coca Cola,” she says.

After her health scare, she started eating herbal foods, and in 2001 she purchased a summer getaway in Colon.

A reporter for the Colon Express suggested she write a column for the newspaper, which she did, called “Folk Medicine.”

“By November I was picked up … by the Sturgis Journal,” she says. “The following spring the editor there said I was getting so many requests for recipes that I should really be writing a food column. … So I started providing recipes.”

Her new column, Vitality Cuisine, soon started running in the Hammond Times and South Bend Tribune

“I went from being read by a thousand people a week in the Colon Express to being read by 100,000 in a year’s time,” she says.

Other requests followed.

“It just all came flooding in and I could

not say no to any of them. My life was just a blur. I ended up moving to Michigan full time and closing up the tool store.”

After Kurella and Taylor married seven years ago, they lived in Wisconsin for a while before moving to Wellston.

“I promote Michigan agri-tourism in my work,” she says. “I combined my work of eating healthily with the amazing produce you can get in the state of Michigan.”

“I never stop thinking about recipes or food,” she adds. “It is the actual food itself that is the catalyst. …. My recipes (often) begin with finding this awe-

some piece of fruit at the farm stand.

“I’m just looking to make food that makes you feel good, and is helpful to the body instead of harmful.”

Taylor tends a large garden and he and Kurella take advantage of the proximity of fresh Michigan fruits such as cherries, apples, peaches, pears and plums. “We can subsist off the land as far as food goes,” she says.

The fresh fruit and vegetables also find their way into her recipes and columns.

“Michigan’s got such fantastic produce I can’t not write about it,” she says. Kurella has won numerous awards for

her recipes, and this year, for the third time, will have a recipe entered in the World Food Championships.

The recipe, for Popped Espresso Mocha Pillow Crisps, won a “People’s Choice” award through the Minnesota Cultivated Wild Rice Council.

Kurella says she accidentally discovered popped wild rice by putting the rice in something else she was cooking and finding it popped into a more tender and tastier version of its original state.

She buys a container of Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream (“If you’re going to eat ice cream, buy the best,” she says), cuts it into four slices, adds a stick like a popsicle, covers it with dark chocolate and then presses it into the popped wild rice for a delicious treat.

Mocha pillow crisps follow a similar recipe, but marshmallows take the place of the ice cream. After being dipped in dark chocolate they are rolled in chopped wild rice and espresso powder.

Kurella takes pride in the fact she is self-taught. “I’m not trained in any of the fields in which I work,” she says. “I’ve never even taken a cooking class.

“My work has just evolved over the course of time through experience. …

I never planned for any of this.”


Featuring the most unique and affecting use of sound as a narrative device since the advent of the talkies, 2019’s Sound of Metal traces the journey of a musician whose sudden hearing loss leads to unexpected resolutions. Awardnominated Riz Ahmed is Ruben, a noise-metal drummer who travels from gig to gig with his bandmate and partner Lou (Olivia Cooke) in their custom RV. Setting up for a show, Ruben experiences a painful ringing in his ears, after which he can’t clearly hear his surroundings, or his performance. While diagnosed as less than total, Ruben’s loss of hearing jeopardizes his career and relationship. Recovering addicts, Ruben and Lou seek help at a sober house for Deaf people run by Joe (award-nominated Paul Raci, a child of Deaf adults). Ruben’s commitment to the program, and acceptance of life as a Deaf person, comes into question as he secretly considers surgery for cochlear implants. The movie’s sound design places the viewer in different listening situations (director Darius Marder calls it “point of hearing”) – surrounding sounds can be distorted or muffled; verbal conversations are sometimes inaudible without subtitles; American Sign Language conversations are shown with or without translation. These effects pull the viewer into the characters’ experiences and emotions in ways not often explored in American cinema. Thoughtful and challenging, Sound of Metal’s impact

Movie Reviews

Studio 666

Rock and roll legend tells of a house in Los Angeles west of the Hollywood Hills between Studio City and Sunset Strip owned by none other than Rick Rubin. Prior to that, the property was once rented by Harry Houdini, whose widow would live there for years following his death. Destroyed in the 1959 Laurel Canyon Fire, it was rebuilt and now serves as a historic recording venue known simply as “The Mansion”. When Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded Blood Sugar Sex Magik there in 1991, they reported strange happenings and drummer Chad Smith refused to live there. This is undoubtedly the historical kernel at the center of Studio 666. This absurdly appropriate horror/comedy stars the Foo Fighters (Dave Grohl, Pat Smear, Taylor Hawkins, Rami Jaffee, Chris Shiflett, and Nate Mendel) as themselves, who are looking for the perfect place to record their 10th studio album. When their manager (Jeff Garlin) says he’s got the perfect place, the Foos get way more than they bargained for as they set up shop in a mansion in Encino – a mansion where 30 years before a musician horribly slaughtered his entire band. Blood, gore, hilarity, and rock and roll references ensue. With October approaching, fans of This Is Spinal Tap or Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny ought to keep this one on their short list for their Halloween watch parties.

NOVEMBER 2022 12
the film goes silent. – Submitted by Karl Knack Reviews submitted by Ryan Gage. These great titles and others are available at the Kalamazoo Public Library.

“You might call it a calling”– Caroline Meyers

When one enters the ministry, it is often referred to as a “calling” – that inner voice which leads to serving others. Caroline Meyers followed her inner voice to enroll in Yale Divinity School. Following graduation, she came to work at Kalamazoo College for a year, and then at Portage United Church of Christ, where she was ordained in 1987. Four years later, Caroline returned to the east coast to pursue her ministry and, over the years, relocated for clergy positions in other communities including the west coast.

In 2014, Caroline’s son enrolled at K College and she and her husband decided to permanently move to Kalamazoo and call it home. “We’re staying,” Caroline says.

Caroline’s dedication to ministry remained steadfast and she became a palliative care Chaplain for a venture with Bronson Hospital and Hospice Care (now Centrica Care Navigators). She provided in-home palliative care for patients from Athens (Calhoun County) to Lawrence (Van Buren County). She says it was wonderful to be part of a fantastic team.

Caroline says, “It’s all about relationships – the key to life.” Relationships play an enormous role in healing. She says just having human contact with someone who calls you by your name and is there to talk with, means everything.

Through her in-home palliative work Caroline came in contact with Milestone Senior Services and Meals

on Wheels. Many of her patients received Meals on Wheels and Caroline witnessed how much that meant to her patients who knew these volunteers by name and were always delighted to see them. Caroline realized then that Meals on Wheels was so much more than nutrition.

When she retired from palliative care in 2021, her experience seeing Meals on Wheels at the homes of her patients, once again sparked that inner voice which prompted her to volunteer with Meals on Wheels. Caroline does so every Wednesday. She is teamed up with a remarkable fellow, Gary, who is the driver.

Caroline says Gary has incredible skills navigating the most efficient delivery route and has created a system to know just which meal to deliver to each person on the list – the envy of any delivery operation. Caroline volunteers with Meals on Wheels through AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP program.

Caroline says the comradery among Milestone volunteers is its own reward. She also notes many married couples volunteer as teams, as do parents with older children, and pairs of close friends.

Caroline is also a quilter. As part of a 7-person preaching team at First Congregational Church, she used colorful scraps from hundreds of COVID masks she made early in the pandemic to sew individual, beautiful, handmade stoles for each preacher. No doubt these will be lifelong keepsakes.

Caroline says, through volunteering, it’s gratifying to meet people you may have never otherwise known.

Milestone (previously known as Senior Services of Southwest Michigan) is an AmeriCorps Seniors grantee. AmeriCorps Seniors empowers people age 55 and older to serve their communities. AmeriCorps Seniors helps people find a volunteer opportunity that fits their passion. There are currently opportunities in Kalamazoo County and Calhoun County. Volunteers are needed with Meals on Wheels, Companionship phone calls or visits with Seniors, Transportation for seniors, Milestone Home Repair, and with community partners. Regular, flexible schedules available. Contact Milestone at 269-382-0515 or apply to volunteer at


Book Reviews


Paul Hollywood

Like any good supervillain and/or reality TV judge, Paul Hollywood is an easy target for anger. On television’s gentlest show, The Great British Bake Off , Hollywood plays the bad cop to co-judge Prue Leith’s good cop, jabbing his pointer finger into fresh-baked bread loaves. But, he knows what he’s doing. In Bake, learn straight from the pro as he teaches you how to make some of his favorites including a Victoria Sandwich cake and numerous sweet and savory pastries.

Adult Assembly Required Abbi Waxman

When Laura Costello moves to Los Angeles, trying to escape an overprotective family and the haunting memories of a terrible accident, she doesn’t expect to be homeless after a week. She also doesn’t expect to find herself adopted by a rogue bookseller, installed in a lovely but completely illegal boardinghouse, or challenged to save a losing trivia team from ignominy. Add a regretful landlady, a gorgeous housemate and an ex-boyfriend determined to put himself back in the running and you’ll see why Laura isn’t really sure

she’s cut out for this adulting thing. Luckily for her, her new friends Nina, Polly and Impossibly Handsome Bob aren’t sure either, but maybe if they put their heads together they’ll be able to make it work for them. So if you are looking for something sweet and fun, with a swoon-worthy romance, but even more, with a great gang of friends who it’s easy to cheer for, then look no further.

Gwendy’s Final Task

Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

When she was 12 years old, a mysterious man showed up at Gwendy’s house and gave her a box with many buttons. He told her that she could keep it, but that it was powerful and owning it meant came with a great deal of responsibility. Eventually she relinquished the box so others could look after it, but not before she explored its powers and saw its dangers. Now 64-years old, Gwendy is a novelist and a United States senator, Gwendy is given another task by that same man. This time: dispose of it forever. Since she was invited to go on a space shuttle, so it is the perfect opportunity to get rid of it. However, other, powerful, evil people know about the box and want it for themselves. This is an engaging, fast-moving story with memorable characters and an exciting plot.

Book Reviews by the Portage District Library staff
All these titles are available at the Portage District Library. For more information about programs and services available at PDL, go to

Summer Thyme Café

Summer is a distant memory but driving by Summer Thyme Café, the Ella Fitzgerald song suddenly runs through my head, “Summertime and the living is easy,” making me wistful for the warm breezes and long sunny days gone by. The bright sign along the road lightens my mood and lures me in for dinner.

Summer Thyme Café has been a restaurant staple on Portage Street for decades; a cozy family-run diner serving up meals for all seasons.

As the temperature cools, there are hearty dinners like Homemade Meatloaf and Homemade Pot Roast to warm your insides, and hot sandwiches...BBQ Pork, Reuben and French Dip.

For lunch, a favorite is the Birdie Sandwich; homemade chicken salad, Danish Havarti, apple slices and mayo. There are paninis and wraps, like the Milwood Wrap -- chicken breast, bacon and cheddar with Ranch -- a nod to the area neighborhood surrounding the café. The menu includes a large selection of “Fresh Greens” – salads with healthy ingredients; Harvest Salad with chicken, strawberries, mandarin oranges, apples, seasoned berries and walnuts. Fall is considered soup season and Summer Thyme Café has delicious homemade soups. Creamy tomato and chili are always available, and several more choices are added weekly!

Pies and cakes are very popular at Summer Thyme. They make their own and you can purchase them whole or get a slice of pie, or a “chunk of cake” for dessert. Dessert bars like the lemon bar or turtle brownie are also a delicious choice.

Summer Thyme has weekly specials, sometimes inspired by a fun theme such as the Netflix series “Friday Night Lights” when they offered The Tim Riggins Texas BBQ --- barbeque pork, cheddar on onion bun served with chilled baked beans, and a Tami Taylor Book Club Favorite – chicken salad, Havarti on cranberry walnut bread! Beverages include smoothies, like the Strawberry Bomb, sold year around!

3928 Portage Street 269-552-4500 Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Digital Detoxing: Taking a Break from Technology

The fact that you’re reading a printed, hard copy magazine is cause for celebration! Not just because this is a cool magazine, (it definitely is!) But it safely means that you’re likely not staring at a smart phone or some other digital device. (Unless of course, the TV is on in the background.)

Screen time. Ugh. It’s so unavoidable. And it’s so not good for us. The list of negative effects of too much screen time event as adults is sobering:

• Physical strain on the eyes and body

• Sleep deprivation

• Increased risk of obesity

• Susceptibility to chronic health conditions

• Loss of cognitive ability

• Impaired socializing skills

• Weakened emotional judgement

• Lower self-esteem

What exactly is “too much” screen time? Did you know that the generalconsensus about what is ideal screen time for adults is two hours a day? Including television watching! Oh boy. That doesn’t bode well for a lot of us.

Taking control of our technology intake is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So when was the last time you took a purposeful break from your smartphone, computer, or television… for an entire day? Okay, maybe that is drastic (though temporary abstinence is a great way to reset our digital intake!) But maybe it’s time to give our bodies and brains regular long time-periods to rest from digital life?

Both physical and mental benefits can come from simply taking a break. It’s important that we carve out space to think clearly and focus on connecting with ourselves, our physical surroundings, and real-life, real-people interactions. Taking long breaks from technology can also lead to building stronger relationships and a healthier mindset.

Digital detoxing may be a lot easier said than done. So, how do we break free and curb our addictions to screen time? Consider these ideas. Implement them by taking small steps toward finding a healthy balance:

• Turn off alerts/ notifications on your electronic devices

• If you’re still in the workforce, separate home and work technology

• Don’t get sucked into reels, videos, and YouTube. Establish special days like “NO TIKTOK TUESDAYS”, for example.

• Avoid sleeping and eating next to your phone and with the TV on

• Set time limits

• Identify ‘no technology’ zones (dinner table, nature walks, etc.)

• Turn of the TV set for 24 hours once a week. No movies. No documentaries. Nothing.

You might come up with a few other ways to reduce screen time.

At any rate. Here you are. Reading a good old fashioned magazine. Good for you. Keep reading! Keep flipping the pages (instead of scrolling through or surfing the web.) Right now, this very moment, you’re on track to being digital free. You can do it!


Tales roadFROM THE

grayling, Michigan

Michael Sloat Hartwick was Grayling’s first settler and built a log hotel near the railroad tracks. The railroad company platted out 40 acres near the hotel. Grayling had various names through the years. It was called “AuSable”, “Forest”, “Crawford Station”, and during the lumbering era “Milltown”

Fish in the nearby rivers were identified as grayling fish and residents preferred the name Grayling to the others and renamed the area after the fish.

Grayling’s proximity to the Au Sable and Manistee Rivers and the vast forests around it, made it important in the lumber era.

The Grayling Fish Hatchery was founded in 1914 by timber baron Rasmus Hanson. His goal was to to restore the grayling fish to the Au Sable River system; ironically its disappearance was caused, in part, by the massive destruction caused by logging. Sadly, the grayling became extinct in Michigan. The Hatchery is now privately owned but is still open to the public and is a popular tourist attraction.

With its lakes, rivers and forests, Grayling became a popular tourist destination for the multitudes of Detroit area folks, heading up north for year-round recreation.

Since 1947, Grayling has been the starting point of the Au Sable River Canoe Marathon which is held every year on the last weekend of July. This is the longest nonstop canoe race in North America.

This past September, I headed up to Grayling for a couple great days of hiking, golf, disc golf and kayaking with old friends.

The Rolling Oak Brewing Co was recommended for good local beer, which we enjoyed over games of corn hole. The Brewery is located in a century old building that was once an ice house that stored ice packed in sawdust from Lake Margrethe. The beer enticed us back for the following night as well.

Across from the brewery we noticed Goodale’s Bakery, one of the largest and most popular bakeries in the state. We struggled to make our sweet tooth choices because of their huge selection of donuts, pastries and breads. We stopped every morning for donuts and one day even returned for lunch to feast on chicken pasties, smothered with homemade gravy. The Rolling Oak Brewery supports the bakery with their special Donut Beer.

On the way into town, we stopped at at Wimpy’s for lunch on M-72. It is hard to miss the large, colorful barn shaped building that has been serving up great burgers, hot dogs and ice cream treats since 1976.

We stayed at the Finley’s Riverside Cabins right on the Au Sable River, just a short walk to Downtown Grayling. The large rooms were clean and modern and Phil and Brenda were great hosts.

Downtown Grayling offers some interesting and unique businesses including the classic RialtoTheatre, Rotten Princess Records and Tip’n the Mitten with great Michigan items.

We enjoyed omelette’s at the Grayling Restaurant on Main Street, where they’ve been serving up great meals since 1937. Another morning we chose a diner near our cabin, The Westside Diner that did not disappoint.

In 1916, Hanson donated 13,826 acres of cut-over land in Crawford County to the state of Michigan for use as a forest game preserve and military reservation. This land became the first state-owned game preserve. The area south of Lake Margrethe (named after Hanson’s wife) continues to be used as a National Guard base.

We enjoyed our visit to Hartwick Pines State Park, just north of town, hiking the moderate 3.2 mile AuSable River Trail, through rows of ancient pines. On our next visit, we plan to add the 1.2 mile Old Growth Forest Trail to our hiking plans.

A local friend of ours met up with us for dinner, suggesting the famous, Spikes Keg O Nails. Founder, Harold “Spike “ MacNeven opened Spikes the day after prohibition ended in 1933 and it has been serving up great food and drinks ever since.

The Harrison Hills Recreation Area, near downtown, sports a fun 18-hole disc golf course and the challenging Treetops Resort in Gaylord kept us on searching for our balls on the tough course that is one of best one of the best in Michigan.

If you enjoy kayaking, Carlisle Canoe Livery offers a scenic, leisurely 2 1/2 hour kayak ride down the AuSable River. We rented kayaks for $30 each.

Grayling proved to be the perfect place to enjoy our favorite pastimes: golf, kayaking, good food, craft beer & more!

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