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Eaton Rapids

Eaton Rapids

Featured Story

An Inspiration to a Call of Action

Stacy Holbrook
Contributing Writer

(Photo provided)

Lee Ann Maul personally knew the struggles of life, as many of us have, and recalls how the community and family helped her and her family through hard times. Now, her children are grown, thoughts of how to give back to her beloved community, in a different way utilizing services and bring people together. Lee Ann felt a calling and had a vision which included community involvement, non-profit, and food supplies. The Earth to Table Urban Garden came to life. Now in the fourth season, Lee Ann (Founder) started solo, with ten raised beds. Mary Brewer (Treasurer), Wayne Ash and community people joined her team; forming a committee of five to visualize, plan and implement action. This year, Earth to Table grows 100 hot and sweet peppers, 80 tomato plants, multiple types of squash, cucumbers, a verity of greens, potatoes, strawberries, sunflowers, green beans, herbs and melons. A pollinator garden and food forest, including apple trees has been added. They post on their Facebook Page, Earth to Table Urban Garden, a Community Volunteer Day twice a month, inviting people join in and help, young and old, families. No one is turned away.

The “Earth to Table” puts up a booth at the Community Farmers Market handing out free produce, donations are accepted and appreciated. This year, part of the garden was started from seeds, and some came from local people donating plants. Some of the seedlings were sold for donation as a fundraising effort, at the farmers market. Everything in this project is 100% donated. They offer monthly presentations for free with the assistance of Liam Britton to learn and grow together.

Lee Ann would like to see this be a destination location in this area; a cottage/urban atmosphere with fencing and gates, beautiful flower areas. A temporary Eden on Earth. She has seen this garden has connected people, built friendships and bonds, building life skills, pride and value in accomplishments and community. Additional plans include adding mulberry trees and cherry trees, a library for people to learn and share different ways of gardening, and other life lessons, the pollinating garden with patio viewing, a pantry built by the Teen Space in the downtown area, with approval from the city, a children’s garden, additional work with students in horticulture, the FFA club, and the Lions club, showcasing a greenhouse and other types of gardening.

A special recognition and thank you to: Steve and Sue Nobach (landowners) for the use of this land; Caleb (The Flower Garden) for donations; Lions Club for volunteering and assisting with the non-profit side; Marilyn (Pettit Hardware) for equipment and support; Laura (DeLong Real Estate) and Korey (City Consignment) for pantry and support; Wayne Ash (Teen Space, Park and Planning) for our garden needs and extensive time; City of Eaton Rapids for water hydrant; Eaton Community Bank and the Community for volunteering and support; Liam Britton (MSUE Master Gardener) for guidance. Brooke Aclala (EtT VP), and Taylor Vanderpool (Secretary).

Mason

Mason

Featured Story

Vietnam Veterans Annual Picnic

Christi Whiting 

Editor

(Photo Provided)

 

This year’s picnic is planned for August 26 at noon at Bennett Park in Charlotte. All Vietnam vets and their spouses are invited and should bring a dish to pass. Whistlepig BBQ in Charlotte will be furnishing pulled pork for the group, with water and place settings also provided. “As long as you guys meet, I’ll help you out,” Whistlepig BBQ owner Jason Strotheide told Jerry Taylor, one of the organizers of the now-annual event. “The guys appreciate this very much,” Taylor added. The last picnic was held in 2022 with 38 people attending.

Many veterans remember some tough stuff about their experience in the military during the Vietnam war. How they were treated when they returned home is especially painful. There were no parades or welcoming parties. Many were treated disrespectfully due to the war being so unpopular. They learned to hide their veteran status, and many have refused to discuss their experience in Vietnam over the years because of the attitudes that were directed toward them. 

Jerry Taylor, Dave Smith, Fred Meyers, and Darrell Gingrich – all Eaton County Vietnam veterans – decided to do something about it and started this back in 2017. They set out to bring as many Eaton County Vietnam veterans as possible together, as a kind of reunion, to talk, share stories, and reminisce about their mutual experiences. They organized a Vietnam veterans’ picnic and invited everyone that they knew to be a veteran of the conflict. “The stories and the camaraderie are what keep many vets coming back,” Taylor said. Taylor is the last man still alive from his unit, so there’s no chance of a reunion with those with whom he served. “We don’t want to see it end,” said Taylor. “We look forward to it.”

In addition to the annual picnic at Bennett Park, a group of Vietnam veterans also meets at the Charlotte Big Boy restaurant about 8 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. They have breakfast, and sit and talk about a little of everything, Taylor said, and they welcome others to join them.

They also utilize the services of Thomas Lewis, Veterans Service Officer for Eaton County. Lewis provides services for veterans and their spouses. “He’s great at helping folks out,” explained Taylor, “whether it’s death benefits, housing, education, insurance, pensions, or medical care, he’s there for us.”

For additional information about the veterans’ events contact Jerry Taylor at 517-242-3048.

DIMONDALE

Dimondale

Featured Story

Cottage Gardens growing strong after 100 years

Christine Terpening
Contributing Writer

(Photo Provided: Cottage Gardens has take over the BestMaze and it will now be called BestMaze II.)

To be in business one hundred years is no small feat. We have endured four pandemics, a Great Depression, six foreign wars, ups and downs in the economy that were tough times for small business as well as conglomerates. Perhaps the secret of success for a time-tested business is strong roots. Cottage Gardens has served Mid Michigan and beyond since 1923. 100 years of growth in large part due to the care of their roots which is something they know a lot about.

Cottage Gardens was founded by Nick Kriek in 1923. It all began with a small but growing farm and landscape business. Kriek passed the business down to his daughter and son-in-law Wilma and Harold Hicks. Cottage Gardens remains in the Hicks family to this day.

“We started off as a small farm in Lansing and now have several growing locations throughout the country, Lansing being the original location and only retail facility,” said retail manager Britney Keiffer. “We sell landscape ready trees, shrubs and perennials. We also have annuals and Christmas greens, too.”

“We work hard to supply the highest quality in plant material for all of their (the public) landscape needs. As we continue to grow as a business our goal is to create more environments that bring our communities together in fun and unique ways, such as our new adventure BestMaze ll Corn Maze now at our Lansing location.” Keiffer informed.

Indoor and outdoor plants, perennials, trees and shrubs cover the grounds in vast variety. Trees make any home or business more inviting. Cottage Gardens carries a seemingly never-ending selection of trees from Maple, Oak, and Beech to Pine, Willow and fruit trees. Your grounds will be the prettiest around with one shopping spree at Cottage Gardens.

House plants have been known to reduce stress, boost mood, possibly stave off depression and improve indoor air quality. However, the massive variety and different needs of individual plants can be daunting and overwhelming. Cottage Gardens vast knowledge of plants can turn even the least skilled horticulturist into a successful plant owner. Some plants require little care while others require great care. The staff can see that you are paired with the species of plant that suits your style.

As a pet owner, the health and safety of your furry loved one is of great importance. Cottage Gardens carries safe plants for reptile enclosures and also are knowledgeable in which plants are safe to have in a home with dogs and cats and which plants could pose a danger to them.

BestMaze ll is the newest expansion at the locale. What was once hosted at the Benjamin Farm in Williamston, Cottage Gardens is proud to carry on the fun family attraction. BestMaze ll is a corn maze with a garden theme. For admission prices, group rates, field trips and other inquiries call (517)882-5728, extension 7. The maze is open Friday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Cottage Gardens is located at 2611 South Wavery in Lansing. Their hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Check them out at cottagegardenslansing.com for a database of in-depth information on the varieties of trees, shrubs and plants that are available.

 

Eaton County

Eaton County

Featured Story

The story and life of Darryl Miller

Renee Sevenski
Contributing Writer

(Photo Provided)

In June of 2024 I was given a task to put together a few words to announce in a press release that The Ella Sharp Museum in Jackson, MI has accepted a sculpture created by Darryl Miller, a 1968 graduate of Charlotte High School. In beginning the process of putting such an article together and gathering information I reached out to Darryl Miller directly, thinking that I would receive the information straight from the sculptor himself. He spoke to me in a humble way as I carried on asking questions. I quickly found myself intrigued with the account of his journey toward becoming a sculptor. I scribbled many notes and ended the conversation saying that I would be in touch with final article for him to proof. I started writing and putting my notes together. This included me not having trust in myself to correctly spell a few names of places, people, an artist that he had mentioned. A few spell checks turned into hours of enjoyable reading and ended up sparking more questions for Darry Miller. I immediately identified that this would not be a simple story about a local museum receiving a local sculptor’s piece of art.

This is a story of Darryl Miller, one of Charlotte’s own, a local sculptor, who has traveled internationally, and would like to share his work etched in history.

I invite you to take a walk through the life of Darryl Miller with me.  Here is where his story begins.

Darryl Miller was born in our beautiful town of Charlotte in 1950 at the old mansion Hayes -Green -Beech Hospital. His mother said at the exact moment of his birth, a train sped by blowing its whistle. He was born into a working-class family. His father worked as a letter carrier to provide the necessities of life for his family.  His mother was a hard worker as well, at jobs including Murphys Dime Store and Wilcox Gay Company where they made radios and transcription recorders here in Charlotte. Darryl has a brother who is retired from GM, and a sister, a talented ballerina, who tragically died at the age of 22 leaving behind her husband and two young children. Darryl adds that he has taken inspiration from her as many of his works involve the dance.

Darryl attended Galewood Elementary where he was praised for his drawings by his classmates and teachers at a very young age. He mentions that he liked the feeling of that praise which spurred him on, and that art was the only thing he thought he could do well. He was an average student, very small and although he loved sports was terrible in playing them.

At the age of ten Darryl discovered the work of Michelangelo Buonarotti (1475-1564), an Italian Renaissance artist and inventor known as one of the most highly productive painters and sculptors in history. Michelangelo once said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and that it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Darryl was thunderstruck by Michelangelo’s abilities. He could identify with Michelangelo’s depictions of suffering and his power to portray it whether in fresco or marble.  Here was someone to learn from!

While attending Galewood Elementary, Darryl was nurtured by his 6th grade teacher, Louise Barbour who encouraged him to draw.  He remembers her covering the wall with eight foot by three foot paper and letting Darryl work on his drawing as others studied academics.  After spending an hour a day for a few weeks, he had completed his own masterpiece. At the Parents-teacher conferences Mrs. Barbour displayed Darryl’s work, “The Sistine Chapel.”  One of Darryl’s classmates stated that Mrs. Barbour was overheard telling another teacher as they were admiring the artwork, “Darryl will do great things.”  Years later when Louise Barbour heard that Darryl had received his master’s degree, she broke down and cried.

Darryl attended Charlotte High School, and once again in his senior year, 1968, was encouraged by his art teacher Leta Sullins. She allowed him to paint a copy of Michelangelo’s, “Creation of Adam” on the art room wall. Darryl holds fond memories of how Louise Barbour and Leta Sullins were great influences; both saw great potential in him. After Darryl discovered Michelangelo, he was determined to be an artist.  His other influences are the ancient Greeks, Renaissance sculptor Donatello, modern artist Giacomo Manzú, and the sculptor August Rodin.

After graduation Darryl received a call from a sign shop saying that they had found his sketchbook in a building at the Eaton County fairgrounds where he had been working designing the Charlotte homecoming football float. After seeing his drawings, the sign company was determined to hire Darryl as an apprentice sign painter. Darryl accepted their offer.  At the same time, he entered a new government program which required that Darryl must take a class at Lansing Community College. There he took his first class in sculpture. Upon taking this class he met a professor who saw his work and called him brilliant. He had never heard this before! From there, he created a sculpture called “Struggle,” inspired by the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago that same year he graduated from high school.

This is only the beginning of Darryl’s fascinating journey which will take us  across the country in many ways. It all started right here in Eaton County. Stay tuned for more!

Onondaga

Onondaga

Featured Story

Vietnam Veterans Annual Picnic

Christi Whiting 

Editor

(Photo Provided)

 

This year’s picnic is planned for August 26 at noon at Bennett Park in Charlotte. All Vietnam vets and their spouses are invited and should bring a dish to pass. Whistlepig BBQ in Charlotte will be furnishing pulled pork for the group, with water and place settings also provided. “As long as you guys meet, I’ll help you out,” Whistlepig BBQ owner Jason Strotheide told Jerry Taylor, one of the organizers of the now-annual event. “The guys appreciate this very much,” Taylor added. The last picnic was held in 2022 with 38 people attending.

Many veterans remember some tough stuff about their experience in the military during the Vietnam war. How they were treated when they returned home is especially painful. There were no parades or welcoming parties. Many were treated disrespectfully due to the war being so unpopular. They learned to hide their veteran status, and many have refused to discuss their experience in Vietnam over the years because of the attitudes that were directed toward them. 

Jerry Taylor, Dave Smith, Fred Meyers, and Darrell Gingrich – all Eaton County Vietnam veterans – decided to do something about it and started this back in 2017. They set out to bring as many Eaton County Vietnam veterans as possible together, as a kind of reunion, to talk, share stories, and reminisce about their mutual experiences. They organized a Vietnam veterans’ picnic and invited everyone that they knew to be a veteran of the conflict. “The stories and the camaraderie are what keep many vets coming back,” Taylor said. Taylor is the last man still alive from his unit, so there’s no chance of a reunion with those with whom he served. “We don’t want to see it end,” said Taylor. “We look forward to it.”

In addition to the annual picnic at Bennett Park, a group of Vietnam veterans also meets at the Charlotte Big Boy restaurant about 8 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. They have breakfast, and sit and talk about a little of everything, Taylor said, and they welcome others to join them.

They also utilize the services of Thomas Lewis, Veterans Service Officer for Eaton County. Lewis provides services for veterans and their spouses. “He’s great at helping folks out,” explained Taylor, “whether it’s death benefits, housing, education, insurance, pensions, or medical care, he’s there for us.”

For additional information about the veterans’ events contact Jerry Taylor at 517-242-3048.

Charlotte

Charlotte

Featured Story

The story and life of Darryl Miller

Renee Sevenski
Contributing Writer

(Photo Provided)

In June of 2024 I was given a task to put together a few words to announce in a press release that The Ella Sharp Museum in Jackson, MI has accepted a sculpture created by Darryl Miller, a 1968 graduate of Charlotte High School. In beginning the process of putting such an article together and gathering information I reached out to Darryl Miller directly, thinking that I would receive the information straight from the sculptor himself. He spoke to me in a humble way as I carried on asking questions. I quickly found myself intrigued with the account of his journey toward becoming a sculptor. I scribbled many notes and ended the conversation saying that I would be in touch with final article for him to proof. I started writing and putting my notes together. This included me not having trust in myself to correctly spell a few names of places, people, an artist that he had mentioned. A few spell checks turned into hours of enjoyable reading and ended up sparking more questions for Darry Miller. I immediately identified that this would not be a simple story about a local museum receiving a local sculptor’s piece of art.

This is a story of Darryl Miller, one of Charlotte’s own, a local sculptor, who has traveled internationally, and would like to share his work etched in history.

I invite you to take a walk through the life of Darryl Miller with me.  Here is where his story begins.

Darryl Miller was born in our beautiful town of Charlotte in 1950 at the old mansion Hayes -Green -Beech Hospital. His mother said at the exact moment of his birth, a train sped by blowing its whistle. He was born into a working-class family. His father worked as a letter carrier to provide the necessities of life for his family.  His mother was a hard worker as well, at jobs including Murphys Dime Store and Wilcox Gay Company where they made radios and transcription recorders here in Charlotte. Darryl has a brother who is retired from GM, and a sister, a talented ballerina, who tragically died at the age of 22 leaving behind her husband and two young children. Darryl adds that he has taken inspiration from her as many of his works involve the dance.

Darryl attended Galewood Elementary where he was praised for his drawings by his classmates and teachers at a very young age. He mentions that he liked the feeling of that praise which spurred him on, and that art was the only thing he thought he could do well. He was an average student, very small and although he loved sports was terrible in playing them.

At the age of ten Darryl discovered the work of Michelangelo Buonarotti (1475-1564), an Italian Renaissance artist and inventor known as one of the most highly productive painters and sculptors in history. Michelangelo once said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and that it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Darryl was thunderstruck by Michelangelo’s abilities. He could identify with Michelangelo’s depictions of suffering and his power to portray it whether in fresco or marble.  Here was someone to learn from!

While attending Galewood Elementary, Darryl was nurtured by his 6th grade teacher, Louise Barbour who encouraged him to draw.  He remembers her covering the wall with eight foot by three foot paper and letting Darryl work on his drawing as others studied academics.  After spending an hour a day for a few weeks, he had completed his own masterpiece. At the Parents-teacher conferences Mrs. Barbour displayed Darryl’s work, “The Sistine Chapel.”  One of Darryl’s classmates stated that Mrs. Barbour was overheard telling another teacher as they were admiring the artwork, “Darryl will do great things.”  Years later when Louise Barbour heard that Darryl had received his master’s degree, she broke down and cried.

Darryl attended Charlotte High School, and once again in his senior year, 1968, was encouraged by his art teacher Leta Sullins. She allowed him to paint a copy of Michelangelo’s, “Creation of Adam” on the art room wall. Darryl holds fond memories of how Louise Barbour and Leta Sullins were great influences; both saw great potential in him. After Darryl discovered Michelangelo, he was determined to be an artist.  His other influences are the ancient Greeks, Renaissance sculptor Donatello, modern artist Giacomo Manzú, and the sculptor August Rodin.

After graduation Darryl received a call from a sign shop saying that they had found his sketchbook in a building at the Eaton County fairgrounds where he had been working designing the Charlotte homecoming football float. After seeing his drawings, the sign company was determined to hire Darryl as an apprentice sign painter. Darryl accepted their offer.  At the same time, he entered a new government program which required that Darryl must take a class at Lansing Community College. There he took his first class in sculpture. Upon taking this class he met a professor who saw his work and called him brilliant. He had never heard this before! From there, he created a sculpture called “Struggle,” inspired by the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago that same year he graduated from high school.

This is only the beginning of Darryl’s fascinating journey which will take us  across the country in many ways. It all started right here in Eaton County. Stay tuned for more!

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