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A few reasons when we only need one

By Adam Droscha Contributing Writer Two weekends ago during Charlotte’s annual Frontier Days Parade watchers likely noticed many usual sights — marching bands, horses, tractors, fire trucks, children waving from their floats,...

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A few reasons when we only need one

By Adam Droscha Contributing Writer Two weekends ago during Charlotte’s annual Frontier Days Parade watchers likely noticed many usual sights — marching bands, horses, tractors, fire trucks, children waving from their floats,...

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Charlotte

Charlotte

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Hospital renovation project reaches final phase

Amy Jo Parish
Contributing Writer

Driving by the corner of Harris Street and Lansing Road in Charlotte gives spectators a whole new view. Demolition began a few weeks ago on a large portion of Sparrow Eaton Hospital and gave a view into the rooms from the street.
Linda Frederickson, Community Development Consultant for the hospital said the demolition is only slightly behind schedule, and the project should be completed early next spring.
Landscaping and the completion of a gateway tower is part of this final phase. She said the gateway will create a welcoming atmosphere for those entering town via Lansing Road.
“It’s kind of exciting as we have transitioned into Sparrow Eaton and now the campus is getting refreshed and tidied,” said Frederickson.
The demolition and building of the tower is part of the $9 million Project Promise that began in May of 2018.
A new surgery center and Heritage Hall Lobby were also part of Project Promise.
Frederickson said she is looking forward to the improvements the last phase of the project will add to the facility and is certain it will be a positive addition to the community.
“It will be a beautiful gateway coming in the community,” she said.

Olivet

Olivet

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Gardener’s grave blankets bring comfort during cold winter months

The December chill doesn’t quite have the same sting as it once did for Monica Lee, a resident of Battle Creek. Kathy Gardener, an Olivet resident, has made sure of that.

It’s been 12 years since Kathy reached out to Monica unexpectedly with a special gift — one that brings Monica tremendous comfort every December.

Kathy, who started making grave blankets more than 30 years for her daughters who passed as small children, donated a grave blanket to Monica in 2006 after hearing how she had tragically lost her only daughter.

“To think she was thinking about someone else at that time,” Monica recalls. “Kathy is a beautiful woman. My baby is warm every year. It gives me a warm feeling.”

Monica has ordered a grave blanket for her daughter ever since, and has added a grave blanket for her mother as well. Monica said it brings her great comfort to know her daughter, who died on Dec. 2, is warmed by the blanket throughout the cold months.

Kathy said she identified with Monica’s story after hearing about it on the news and knew she needed to reach out to her. 

“I’ve been there, losing someone close to you,” Kathy said. 

She started making grave blankets after losing two daughter 35 years ago. Her daughters passed in October and she said she recalls thinking about how they were going to be cold all winter. That’s when she first learned about grave blankets, and the concept brought a feeling of comfort for her daughters. It’s a feeling she said people often convey to her about her creations.

“I hear a lot that blankets are a comfort,” Kathy said. “Our loved ones aren’t with us physically, but they are always in our hearts. The blankets provide a comfort to us and color to the cemetery.”

Kathy donates at least one grave blanket each year, often to a family like Monica’s. 

“It changed my life losing my girls,” Kathy said. “This is a legacy I can carry on through my daughters.”

The blankets are made from fresh pine branches and weigh 25-30 pounds. They are anchored in the ground before it freezes. Kathy said she is very particular about the colors she adds through flowers and bows. Each takes about an hour to create. She said she cuts down about 11 big trees from a local tree farm each year.

To order a grave blanket for your loved one, call Kathy at (269) 274-3266.

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Bellevue

Bellevue

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Bronco basketball teams look to cap off perfect regular seasons

The road to perfect regular seasons for both the Bellevue boys and girls varsity basketball teams could go through Athens. 

The Bronco boys were 18-0 heading into its toughest remaining regular season test, a Friday, Feb. 22 showdown at Athens High School. Bellevue defeated Athens, which was undefeated at the time, earlier this season, 68-62 in Bellevue. The game could be much more difficult in a hostile environment.

The Lady Broncos, meanwhile, host Athens on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Bellevue defeated Athens on the road in their tightest contest of the season, 37-36. The girls were 16-0 heading into their game at Climax on Thursday, Feb. 21. Bellevue defeated Climax 49-15 at home earlier this season.

In their most recent action, Bellevue guards Wyatt Waterbury and Gino Costello led the Broncos to a 60-73 win over Climax, securing a third-straight SCAA West Division title. Waterbury paced the Broncos with 20 points, 6 steals and 4 assists. Costello added 14 points, and 4 assists. Carson Betz recorded a double-double, finishing with 10 points, 14 rebounds and 5 steals.

The team travels to Jackson Christian High School on Monday, Feb. 25 to open District play against Tekonsha.

In the girls most recent victory, Morgan Messenger led the way with 13 points as Bellevue defeated Waldron, 33-30. Mikayla Crawley finished with 10 points, 3 steals and 2 assists. 

The Lady Broncos host Colon on Saturday, Feb. 23, and finish off the regular season with home games against Athens on Tuesday, Feb. 26 and Tekonsha on Thursday, Feb. 28.

The team opens District play at Athens High School on Monday, March 4 against Battle Creek St. Philip.

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Eaton County

Eaton County

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Courtship complete: HGB officially becomes Sparrow Eaton Hospital

The sun set on Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital Monday, Sept. 30, giving life to the sunrise of Sparrow Eaton Hospital as Tuesday, Oct. 1 marked the end of a three-year transition to become a member of the Sparrow Health System. 

“HGB celebrates falling gracefully and willfully into Sparrow Eaton’s spring,” said Matt Rush, President of Sparrow Eaton. “Even as we change our name to Sparrow Eaton Hospital we’re not going to lose who we are in becoming all we can be. That’s who we’ve always been.”

Hayes Green Beach entered into an official affiliation agreement with Sparrow three years ago, working to transition to become a Sparrow Community Hospital. The mutual courtship came about as both organizations believed they could provide some aspects of patient care better together, said Richard Bruner, Chair of the Sparrow Health System Board of Directors.

“What we’ve discovered during these years is that the needs, wants and patients in Charlotte and Eaton County are similar to what we see at Sparrow’s 115 other sites of care throughout Mid-Michigan,” Bruner said. “We have the joining of two communities whose thoughts and ideas about how health care should be delivered are well matched.”

Bruner said he believes that all that is good about Hayes Green Beach will continue at Sparrow Eaton with the potential for even more positive outcomes in the future.

Ed Dobbs, Chair of the Sparrow Eaton Board of Directors, said the partnership with Sparrow Health System will ensure Charlotte area’s local hospital will thrive in the future and continue to be the community’s gateway to health.

“It will ensure our sustainability, enhance our scale, secure our debt and further strengthen our financial position,” Dobbs said. 

Dobbs said the transition has seen numerous successes, from improved care for patients presenting at Hayes Green Beach with chest pain or stroke symptoms to implementing Sparrow’s Electronic Medical Record system at the Charlotte hospital so that providers from throughout the region can better collaborate on care.

Dr. Kim Friar, Sparrow Eaton Hospital Physician Leader, has been with HGB for nearly 20 years and said the transition to Sparrow Eaton Hospital, while emotional for her in many respects, is vital for the organization’s ability to provide excellent patient care. She said the transition has been made easier by recognizing the synergies between HGB and Sparrow. 

“Along with the changing times in health care, it became apparent that in order to serve our community and fulfill our mission, which we all know is to enhance the overall health and vitality of the people in the communities we serve, we needed more than collaboration and cooperation, we needed to become a family member of a larger health system, and the obvious choice was Sparrow.”

Friar said the organizations’ mission statements and core values are congruent.

For more information on Sparrow Eaton and Sparrow’s other Community Hospitals, go to Sparrow.org.

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Vermontville

Vermontville

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Grease is still the word at Maple Valley High School

Amy Jo Parish
Contributing Writer

Greased Lightning will be revved and ready to run when the cast of Maple Valley High School’s Grease takes to the stage.
Director Julie Nelson has been working with the students to prepare the show and said their hard work and dedication is paying off, and audiences are in for a treat.
“They are focused and dedicated,” Nelson said. “When you add that focus to an already talented cast; they are going to blow their audiences away.”
Nelson said the senior students are the ones tasked with choosing the show each year, and they could not be more enthusiastic to bring the story and songs alive.
“This year’s seniors really wanted to perform Grease,” explained Nelson. “The excitement over the show they picked carries over onto the stage.”
The story centers around a group of high school students as they navigate through life at Rydell High. Sandy and Danny meet over the summer and are reunited at school to find it can be harder to be themselves when on home turf. Will Danny drop his macho-man bravado and show his feelings for Sandy? Will Sandy be able to accept Danny as he is when his friends are around? Will Kenicke ever get Greased Lighting running? These questions and more will be answered Nov. 14-16 with shows at 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. matinees on Nov. 16-17.
Nelson said the cast has created a unique experience that is sure to thrill those in attendance.
“Audiences can expect Maple Valley’s modest stage to overflow with talent and energy, and they will fall in love with Grease all over again,” she said. “I know I have.”
Maple Valley High School’s Grease will be presented at the high school, and tickets are available at the door. For more information, send an email to mvtheater@yahoo.com.

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Potterville

Potterville

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New Potterville High School boys varsity basketball coach sets first camp

Newly hired Potterville High School boys varsity basketball coach, Jacob Briney, and his entire coaching staff, is offering a four-day basketball camp for area youth in second through 12th grade. The camp will be held four consecutive Sundays beginning July 21 in the Potterville High School gymnasium.

Students entering ninth through 12th grade will attend from 2 to 4 p.m. July 21, July 28, Aug. 4 and Aug. 11. Students entering sixth through eighth grade will attend from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and students entering second through fifth grade will attend from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The cost of the camp is $50 per participant, which includes access to all four Sundays, and a custom Moneyball practice jersey. Checks should be made payable to Potterville Public Schools, attention Boys Basketball.

Registration forms must be completed before the start of camp and are available in the Potterville High School athletic office. There will also be an opportunity to register your child on Sunday, July 21 prior to the start of camp.

For more information, contact coach Briney via email at coachbriney@yahoo.com.

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Eaton Rapids

Eaton Rapids

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MI Heroes Haven in ER serves first responders and veterans

Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

As a former Lansing police officer, Kyle Hein, the founder of the nonprofit organization known as MI Heroes Haven in Eaton Rapids, knows personally the stress and trauma many first responders face. He saw the need for a place first responders and veterans could go to deal with the trauma they experienced. He envisioned a place to help them handle the stresses that can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), family breakups and mental health issues. He created MI Heroes Haven, also known as simply Heroes Haven, to fill this need.
Hein’s father, Kevin Hein, owns the Eaton Stamping/FASCO building on Haven Street in Eaton Rapids. He encouraged his son to be “part of the solution, not the problem.” Kevin Hein offered 4,500 square feet in the building to house the services that Kyle Hein proposed, and the project began about two years ago.
Kyle uses non-clinical and creative ways to connect with those who visit Heroes Haven and stresses that it is not a “good old boys club.”
You will find men and women there, along with at-risk youth.
“Trauma is trauma, and we want to provide solutions,” Kyle explained. “We are all-inclusive and want to give everyone a sense of purpose.”
He said they currently serve 20-45 people a week.
The coffee pot is always on, in an area set up like a coffee shop. He describes the services at Heroes Haven as “a VFW for veterans and first responders that is dry.”
Coffee and conversation are part of the ‘therapy’ offered, he added. He noted that Heroes Haven provides a place to go for those with a need to get out of the house.
‘Mail Call’ is a unique service they offer. Bad news often comes in the mail, Kyle explained, whether it be bills, divorce documents, a job loss or something else negative. Once a week they offer the chance for attendees to bring in and sort their personal mail and process how it impacts them.
Lack of childcare can’t be used an excuse, he added, as they also offer a ‘Kids Haven’ — a playroom for children while their parent(s) are busy with a program. Morgan’s Hugs, another local nonprofit, helped outfit the room.
There is an accredited veterans service officer from the State of Michigan that comes in on Mondays.
Strength training is used to offset the effects of trauma and daily stressors for participants. The HOOK program matches up first responders, at-risk youth and veterans for team building and a sense of purpose in the functional fitness area. Team River Runner also offers kayaking experiences facilitated by a veteran for the participants.
Employment assistance is another service offered at Heroes Haven, including resume writing. Kyle said there is a small business incubator for those looking to create their own business. For those who need it, Heroes Haven also has a small food pantry, stocked by Family Fare and Morgan’s Hugs.
“Our goal is to have people to leave here feeling better than when they came in,” Kyle said. “I know this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
MI Heroes Haven is also a drop-off point for new and gently used winter gear for homeless veterans. Contact them at (517) 706-1200 or stop by 402 E. Haven St. in Eaton Rapids.

Sunfield

Sunfield

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Mulliken

Mulliken

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Dimondale

Dimondale

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Beloved Dimondale restaurant to reopen

With a sigh of relief and a round of applause, residents of Dimondale, and the surrounding areas, celebrated at Mike’s Village Restaurant Wednesday, June 27 as Lori Conarton announced she’d be reopening the Dimondale favorite....

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