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High School Simply Hers Magazine is extending the opportunity for Hillsdale and Lenawee County high school creative writing or English students to print a local human interest story in our magazine. For more information, interested teachers should email marlanea@simplyhers.net.

ICan’t I don’t Believe in

By Rachel Mitchell, Hillsdale High School student Photo by Alycia Wainscott, Hillsdale High School student

Inspirational, loving, strong—these three words encapture Alexis Kozub, age 67, of Hillsdale. From day one, Alexis has overcome struggles and made the best of her situation. Alexis never really knew her parents; her father was in the Korean War and her mother did not want children. From ages eight to 21, she lived in eight different homes. People did not believe in her, and they could not see the passion and determination in her heart. She became accustomed to people saying “you can’t,” but Alexis does not know the words “I can’t.” Instead, she lives her life proving those people wrong.

Alexis lives with cerebral palsy, but that certainly does not stop her from living a full and eventful life. Until age 15, Alexis received no education and lived life doing chores and working in the garden, but she made the best of every situation. Just like every other child, she made time for the little things she enjoyed like riding her bike and playing in the snow. At age 15, she was enrolled at Reading High School where she overcame her greatest challenge, graduating. “I tell my story to inspire others. What people say doesn’t matter, that’s not who I am.” After high school, Alexis’ guidance counselor set her up with a job at the Mitchell Public Library, as she had always wanted to be a librarian. She worked there for over 38 years. Her passion does not stop there. Alexis lives an eventful life of faith, and lives to serve God and the people around her. She has been an active member of the Kiwanis Club for over 20 years. Through this organization, she helps many. Alexis collects pop tabs and baby necessities for Mott’s Children’s Hospital, and helps at an annual Christmas party for those in need through the Kiwanis Club. She is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and attends the Hillsdale United Brethren Church as a regular guest. At the Hillsdale United Brethren Church, Alexis assists with the Awana’s Cubbies program (ages three to four), and helps at regular potlucks. Alexis has overcome challenges from cerebral palsy and childhood struggles to lead an exciting and eventful life. Her kind-hearted spirit and warming smile bring joy to everyone she meets. This is a woman who truly cares for those around her through thick and thin. She is the most inspiring and kind women you will ever have the pleasure of knowing. Loved by many, Alexis leaves these words of wisdom, “Depend on God to lead you, when you follow Him it is a life worth living”.


trip on a tank

a trip to the

middle Mitten of the

By Sarah Gray, Simply Hers Magazine

by Sarah Gray

Gambling at the casino may be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about taking a trip north to Mt. Pleasant, but once there it is easy to see that the middle of the Mitten has so much more to offer. Located due north on 127, 135 miles from Hillsdale and 140 miles from Adrian, Mt. Pleasant is a city that has a lot to see and do, whether it’s a trip for two or a getaway for the whole family.

Museums and shopping Mt. Pleasant features a wide variety of museums and galleries showcasing its local history and artistry. The Ziibiwing Cultural Center is Michigan’s premier American Indian Museum, sharing the rich culture of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian tribe of Michigan. The museum has many exhibits on display following the history and traditions of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian from their earliest days in mid-Michigan to the present. For more information, hours and admission visit www.sagchip.org/ziibiwing. Mt. Pleasant is also home to Central Michigan University, one of the largest universities in the state. On campus, visitors will find the Museum of Cultural and Natural History. The museum is free, open to the public and supports research and teaching in cultural and natural history and serves as a laboratory for students enrolled in the museum studies program at CMU. Located at the heart of CMU’s campus is the University Art Gallery which features students’ work as well as professional pieces. For more information visit www.cmich. edu. 38

Downtown Mt. Pleasant boasts more than 130 businesses including specialty shops, art galleries and unique dining. Art Reach of Mid-Michigan showcases local artists’ works, offers classes to the community in sculpture, painting, photography and writing and sells pieces from artists throughout the state. Enjoy dining from upscale to casual including Brass Café, Max and Emily’s Eatery and Mt. Town Station Brewing Co. and Steakhouse. Festivals and events Mt. Pleasant and surrounding areas are busy year-round with festivals. Get into the Irish spirit in Clare at their annual Irish Festival, March 16-19, just a 15-minute drive north of Mt. Pleasant. This year’s events feature an Irish recipe contest, live music, craft show, carnival and Irish bed race. Shepherd, located 9 miles south of Mt. Pleasant, has been celebrating its Maple Syrup Festival the last weekend in April since 1958. This year’s festivities will take place April 21-24 and feature carnival rides, an arts and craft show, a parade and lots and lots of local maple syrup and maple candy for sale. The Middle of the Mitt:

she go into business for herself and open her own real estate office. “I never had a dream to open my own office,” she said, “but it became apparent that the time was now to do so.” With the help and support of her husband, family and friends, Mary leased a building in downtown Jonesville and Playford Real Estate was born. “As I look back now, I can say it was the best decision I could have made. Of course, life is full of adventure and stepping stones to get you to your next destination!” “When establishing my office, I knew the historical significance of my name in Jonesville.” The Playford family has a proud history of business owners in this area. This dates back to her great grandfatherin-law (Playford’s Neighborhood Grocery), grandfather-in-law (Playford Auto Parts), great uncle-in-law (Playford Dodge) and her father-in-law (Playford Music). With this rich history in the Jonesville area, she knew she wanted her name to be a cornerstone of the business like the family before her. “The Playford name makes me very proud. It’s a well-known name with a good reputation.” Mary is carrying on that good reputation with her business, and if the yellow Playford signs in and around Hillsdale County are any indication, the Playford name is continuing to do very well. Now, four years later, she has purchased the building, has seven realtors on her team and recently completed a total renovation of the office. “It is crazy how it all worked out,” she says. She said the first three years have been very challenging with lots of start up costs, getting her broker’s license and establishing a new business in the community. She knows she would not be where she is today without the support and encouragement of Bryan, who is now the principal at Jonesville Middle School. “He is my inspiration,” she says. “He is the man behind the scenes and always has an open ear.” When she’s not at the office or out showing a property, Mary and Bryan can usually be found sitting in the bleachers cheering on their three children Koryn, Kaden and Carson in their many sporting events. “We are gym rats,” she says with a smile. They also dedicate time volunteering to coach, work concession stands and other opportunities that come along. “When people ask me if I ever sit still or stay home, I typically say ‘work, hard, play hard!’ I work

very hard but I also have lots of fun with my family and friends. Watching my kids play their sports and just enjoying every day with them is my life.” Mary and Bryan love entertaining in their home and always have a full house. She has three brothers who live within minutes of her, and she loves being an aunt to her nieces and nephews. She is also thankful to have her mom and dad just down the road. “We love traveling and going up north,” she says. The Playfords have also hosted three exchange students who Mary says are now part of their family. “Our family loves them and we Skype with them all the time and are looking forward to someday traveling to Europe to see them all again and visit.” Working hard at the office is something Mary and her agents strive for each day. She says the real estate market is continually improving and she and her staff are busy selling commercial and residential properties, as well as vacant land. “The competition is stiff,” she says, adding that if a property is priced right, it’s on the market 60 days or less. Playford Real Estate works hard to stay on top of changes in the industry by taking continuing education classes. She and her agents also pride themselves on their availability to their clients. The PRE agents know how stressful buying or selling can be, and they are there to answer questions or give advice day or night. “We are very accessible thanks to today’s technology,” she says. “I can be anywhere and still have the capability of communicating with clients through email, phone or text.” A top producer in Hillsdale County for the past 13 years, Mary is very proud of the name she has made for herself and the team she has cultivated over the past three years. Her agent Tom Dunn was named Hillsdale County Board of Realtors 2014 Rookie of the Year, and in 2015, Playford Real Estate agent TJay Fitton was also named Rookie of the Year. “We are on the

right path,” Mary says of her and her staff. “I am very proud of them all.” Tami Lehman, Brian Coe, Jennifer Rodgers, Amanda Ryan, Racheal Hugenell are also members of Mary’s team. Mary takes her role as a business owner in the community very seriously. She is a board member for the Hillsdale County Board of Realtors, committee chairman for the board of affairs, chairman for the public relations committee and a member of the grievance committee. She also knows the importance of giving back. Being a native to the area, she is very proud of the Jonesville community and donates to many different local programs as well as supporting the schools through donations, sponsorships, advertising and speaking to classes. After three years in her location, Mary finally feels like it is truly her own. Through the fall, the office was completely remodeled and now reflects the modern sophisticated business she envisioned when she first opened her doors. “It is a statement of who we are,” she says. After talking with her agents, she went for an open concept look allowing the agents to access one another and Mary easily. The glass-walled conference room, exposed brick and open ductwork give the office an industrial look. And don’t forget that splash of yellow through the office. “I have always loved the rays of yellow, it’s my favorite color,” she says. Mary is thankful to M&S Construction, G&G Glass and Stanton Custom for all of their work in completing the renovation in a timely manner. 2015 ended for Playford Real Estate with 177 SOLD properties and $20,715,000. in volume/sales. 2016 looks to be another great year for Playford Real Estate, and Mary and her team are excited to help the community continue to grow and thrive. n To talk with Mary or one of her agents, call 517-849-7622 or visit her website www. maryplayfordsoldit.com. Playford Real Estate can also be found on Facebook.


Buying and Selling Real Estate Using a Land Contract What can you do if you are having trouble selling your house? What can you do if you would like to buy property but cannot qualify for a traditional loan? A land contract is one alternative solution. It is an installment contract often used to purchase vacant land, residential property and commercial property. By Timothy Dixon Simply Hers Magazine

Timothy E. Dixon Licensed Michigan Attorney Law Office of Timothy E. Dixon 27 N. Broad St. Hillsdale, MI 49242 Ph: (517) 437-4070 Fx: (517) 437-4062

Buyers benefit because, when compared with traditional financing, land contracts are quicker, simpler and less stringent. Traditional financing involves a credit history review, a minimum credit score and an acceptable employment history. In addition, traditional financing often includes expenses for appraisals, title insurance, mortgage insurance, flood insurance, points and closing fees, all of which may be negotiated or avoided through a land contract. Sellers benefit because land contracts increase the number of potential buyers, thereby making it easier to sell the property. Sellers may also benefit from the income stream, interest income and quicker closing potential. The buyer and seller negotiate and agree upon the land contract’s terms and conditions. The negotiated terms include the down payment, payment frequency and amount, where and how payments are made, whether a title policy is required and when it is provided, interest rates, who pays taxes and insurance, whether escrow for taxes and insurance is included, etc. Some of the land contract’s negotiated terms are restricted or controlled by state and federal law. For instance, Michigan law prohibits interest charges above eleven percent per annum, which incorporates finance charges in this calculation. Michigan law also controls the seller’s remedies and the buyer’s rights if default occurs.


A land contract separates the property’s equitable and legal title. The equitable title passes to the buyer and provides the right to obtain legal title. The legal title remains with the seller until the buyer satisfies the land contract’s terms and conditions. The seller’s interest is secured by his or her legal title in the property. Because legal title remains with the seller, however, he or she is subject to financial injury. The cost of reacquiring the property is a potential loss. Also, nonpayment of taxes and/or insurance could also cause significant loss. If property taxes are unpaid for several years, the property may be completely taken through forfeiture. If property insurance does not provide adequate coverage or is terminated, the property may suffer significant loss in value from fire, flood or other casualty. Land contracts usually define who pays taxes and maintains insurance. A typical land contract requires the buyer to pay taxes, insurance and provide proofs to the seller. If the seller fails to require and view proofs, the taxes or insurance could go unpaid and undiscovered until forfeiture proceedings begin or structural damages occur. While infrequently used in land contracts, an escrow agreement may be used to ensure taxes are paid and adequate insurance coverage is in force. Land contract payments are typically made in person or through the mail; however, a designated bank account could be set up to receive payments from the buyer as an effective alternative. The buyer pays his or her installment payments directly into the account, which ensures the payments are received, and that the amount and date of each payment is recorded accurately.

up-cycled Screen Doors With imagination and elbow grease, you can transform that old door into a one-of-a-kind piece that’s both useful and beautiful.


hese ideas are sure to transform your living space and make the old new once again! Whether it’s to get your family organized or to add some new decor to your bedroom, screen doors can be used in many creative ways. Take a second look before tossing out an old household item - you never know what you could make it into.


Control kitchen chaos

Create a one-of-a-kind kitchen pot rack! It looks whimsical hanging in the kitchen and is very functional.

A charming hamper

Why buy a typical plastic laundry basket when you can create your own? This idea from Apartment Therapy uses door screens for the sides!

Outdoor ambiance

Outdoor space can sometimes be difficult to decorate. This project came together by removing the screens from the door and adding some rustic touches!

Spice up the pantry

Try repurposing an old door with a bright color and some chalkboard paint for your kitchen pantry. It’s a bold piece and the perfect spot to keep your grocery list.

Need a place to hang winter wear?

Door frames can easily be transformed into a funky wall piece. With a fresh coat of paint and brackets to mount, you can make an inviting coat rack that will have people talking about how creative you are!

Family message center

This old door was transformed into a family message center! It’s perfect for giving the impression of organized chaos and looks great in the home.


This screen door was upcycled for a baby’s nursery! It gives the privacy of a door, but the screens allow parents to hear their crying baby easily.



DIY Geometric Wood Floor

Ever have a small space that just called for something more? Here is a simple idea that can instantly transform any wall, table or floor. This project is EXTREMELY simple, its just really repetitive. It is so fun when people see it to find out what shape they see, the star? The tumbling blocks? Or the triangles? Maybe a new floor isn’t up your DIY alley, but um…can you image this pattern on a wall or a table top?! Dreamy.

To make all of the triangles the same I marked a line on the saw base. Then after I made a cut I would rotate the board and line it up. Using a 1×4 gave us the perfect sized triangles

PROJECT: Geometric floor covering SKILL LEVEL: Beginner TIME: Varies on area WHAT YOU’LL NEED 1” x 4” wood boards miter saw finishing nails paper & marker sandpaper

Once I knew what pattern I wanted, it was just a matter of cutting the wood. The triangles needed to have 30 and 120 degree angles.

Working on the edges wasn’t as hard as you might think. We made a template of the triangle out of paper and after lining it up, folded the paper so that we could see the exact angle that needed to be cut.

Each triangle got a light sanding on the edges and knots to get rid of any splinters, and then it was time to start laying it down! You want to work in kind of a big section as opposed to fitting and nailing down each triangle on its own, that way you can make sure that everything is lined up before you commit. Once we were happy with it, we used a finishing nailer to nail it to the floor on each corner. We used 2” finishing nails. We used wood filler to fill all of the nail holes and finished it off with a few coats of satin polyacrylic.


*One thing to note, when you are working on a miter saw, 90 degrees is 0, you subtract your angle from that. So to cut a 30 degree angle, I needed to set my saw blade at 60 degrees. Because 30 + 60 is 90. (The reason most people overlook this is because the most common angle is 45 and that is exactly 1/2 of 90, so you set your blade at 45.)

Marriage Matters Jackson announces Expansion into Lenawee & Hillsdale Counties

Beginning this spring, residents in Lenawee and Hillsdale Counties will have a chance to strengthen their marriages through a weekly workshop: Building Better Marriages. Made possible through the efforts of Marriage Matters Jackson (MMJ), Building Better Marriages is an ongoing, drop-in workshop opened to people who want to strengthen their relationships. “For nearly 10 years, Marriage Matters Jackson has had the opportunity to provide affordable and high-quality marriage and relationship education through a variety of events and workshops in Jackson County,” states Shelby Raines, MMJ’s Executive Director. “Now we are looking forward to expanding our weekly marriage-strengthening workshop, Building Better Marriages, into Lenawee and Hillsdale Counties, thanks to our generous donors and venue sponsors.” Building Better Marriages weekly workshop in Adrian begins Tuesday, March 1, 6-8 p.m. at The Centre, 1800 West US-223, Adrian. Building Better Marriages weekly workshop in Hillsdale begins Monday, May 2, 6-8 p.m. at The Hub Activity Center, 240 S. Howell St., Hillsdale. In Jackson county, Building Better Marriages is offered Monday evenings, 6-8 p.m., at the United Way Center, 536 N. Jackson St., and Tuesday evenings, 6-8 p.m., at the Northwest Schools Administration Building, 6900 Rives Junction Rd. Few marriages are so good or so bad that they can’t benefit from the Building Better Marriages workshop, and people may come by themselves to take home usable techniques and insight to help strengthen their relationship. Topics change each week and cover important relationship issues, such as personality differences, understanding expectations, and money matters, just to name a few. An experienced MMJ facilitator leads the group each week using a positive and relaxed approach.

marriage for the benefit of adults and children, decrease unnecessary divorce, and measurably impact our community today and for future generations. MMJ provides marriage education, not counseling. It teaches research-proven relationship skills to build and enhance marriages. MMJ’s work helps couples create stronger, more satisfying marriages, which results in healthier families and communities. In its nearly 10-year history, MMJ has served thousands of people in Jackson County and beyond through a wide variety of workshops and events. Marriage Matters Jackson works with both faith-based and community-based organizations. It is funded by a wide variety of sources including community foundations, grants, businesses and numerous individual donors. Building Better Marriages is MMJ’s weekly marriage education workshop offered throughout the year. This workshop is ideal for the following groups: Healthy Marriages Couples who are doing fine get great encouragement and tips at MMJ’s weekly Building Better Marriages workshop. Hurting Marriages Many people will go, have gone, or are going through tough times. Relationships can be complicated. Each person brings a history and expectations to the mix, then add in some life events (babies, in-laws, job changes), stir, and you have the perfect recipe for marital stress. Tips and tools you gain at Building Better Marriages help marriages thrive, not just survive. Individuals When one half of a couple learns skills and gains information, the relationship can improve or grow even stronger. People often come by themselves to MMJ’s weekly Building Better Marriages workshops and take home usable techniques and insight to help their relationship.

Everyone is welcome to attend with no pressure to “share.” The marriage education workshops are offered every week throughout the year (with the exception of major holidays), and there is no cost to attend. A $5 per person donation is suggested but not mandatory.

Dating couples Although MMJ believes in and promotes the benefit of lifelong marriage, there is no “marriage license check” at the door -- relationship skills help everybody.

Marriage Matters Jackson is a non-profit organization formed to promote, prepare, and preserve healthy marriages. The MMJ mission is to strengthen

More information is available at MarriageMattersJackson.com or BuildingBetterMarriages.org or by calling the MMJ at (517) 796-5116.


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Simply hers lr 0316  

Local women's lifestyle magazine.

Simply hers lr 0316  

Local women's lifestyle magazine.