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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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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.

Mason

Mason

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Mason

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Mason DDA hosts Chocolate Walk through downtown

Thursday, May 11, from 2 to 5 p.m. residents and visitors are invited to Mason for a Chocolate Walk through downtown. The Mason Downtown Development Authority is putting on the event to bring attention to the unique businesses and opportunities that exist all within a short walking distance in the downtown area.

Walkers will start at Mason City Hall, receive a map and a chocolate-collecting bag, and start the trek through downtown. With 37 stops along the way, walkers will consume and take home a variety of chocolate treats, as well as special gifts and offers from the participating businesses.

“(This may) give them a reason to come back to Mason,” said Jamie Robinson, chair of the Mason DDA.

As owner of a couple Mason favorites, Bestsellers Books and Coffee Co. and the Vault Delicatessen, Robinson knows the great potential the downtown has for attracting newcomers. A chocolate walk through some of Mason’s finest businesses combined with a special gift or discount for products is a sure to bring visiting walkers back to the historic town, according to Robinson.

The idea of the chocolate walk came from one such event held in Old Town Lansing. Robinson and others saw the kind of crowds and enthusiasm the Old Town chocolate walk brought to one historic district, and brought the idea back to Mason.

“Chocolate is appealing to a vast majority of people,” said Robinson.

Walkers will be fortunate to have a variety of finely made chocolates from Hanover’s Michigan Mints, Fabiano’s Candies, and more. Although chocolate will be the primary treat for the event, walkers can look forward to a number of other delicious delights as well.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to view new spaces in the Mason downtown. One stop along the chocolate trail will be the new Dart Bank building, in which walkers will get a tour of the lobby area. Another highly anticipated stop will be the Michigan Barn Salvage, where walkers will get a sneak peak at the new business.

Tickets to the Mason Chocolate Walk are $25 with advance order and $30 on the day of the event. Readers can buy tickets online at the Mason DDA website, or buy tickets at Bestsellers Books and Coffee Co, or purchase tickets at Mason City Hall the day of the event.

For more event information readers can visit masondda.com.

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....

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. For 50 years Mike’s was a staple of the village of Dimondale, serving baked goods and homestyle fare. Dimondalians knew owner Mike Chappell and his staff and took comfort in the food, friendliness, and simplicity. Many, far and wide, were saddened when Mike announced he’d be closing the restaurant, and Conarton was one of the many.

Saddened by the news as she was, Conarton decided to let the announcement be the catalyst for fulfilling one of her lifelong dreams — to own her own local diner, especially one she was familiar with. Conarton and her mother were regulars at Mike’s, and she couldn’t stand the thought of losing another gem of Dimondale’s main street, especially one that had lasted in the village through many storms and changing times.

“The day he (Mike) made the announcement, I started thinking about it,” said Conarton.

It wasn’t long before she and Chappell had made arrangements. Pieces are currently in motion to have the same, familiar restaurant reopened in August. Many familiar faces and dishes will return to Mike’s, but a few things will be different. Mike’s will have a facelift, with new paint and flooring. The hours will also change, with restaurant no longer offering dinner. Still, the menu will have many of its essential favorites, as well as the small town charm any diner needs.

The reopening of Mike’s, however, is less about the food and walls, to Conarton, and more about the people. Conarton not only was a regular customer at the village restaurant, she also worked at Mike’s during her high school and college years. To her, and to so many patrons, Mike’s was a place for community togetherness, early employment, and fond memories.

“In every community there’s a restaurant people go to regularly. There’s a sense of community and friendliness,” said Conarton. “It’s a friendly atmosphere, everybody knows your name, you feel at home there… That’s so important to us.”

The concept of the community restaurant isn’t just important to Conarton and Chappell, it’s important to many Dimondale residents. Conarton has received dozens of encouraging and grateful emails, messages, and phone calls regarding her announcement. Mike’s absence may have been short, but it left an impact on the community. Residents are eager to have their beloved restaurant reopened, and hopefully ready for another 50 years of service.

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.

Onondaga

Onondaga

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Onondaga

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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.

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