LowellArts Fallasburg Virtual Arts Festival 2020 Plans Finalized
A New Format For 52nd Annual Event
Lowell, Michigan -|Event organizers have finalized plans for the LowellArts Fallasburg Virtual Arts Festival 2020. Due to restraints from the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, it was announced earlier this month that a virtual version of the event would be held. With a new format, the 52nd annual event will consist of many of the same traditions people enjoy about the festival. This year, visitors will walk through the festival via an on-line, interactive map that will “open” at 10:00 am on September 19, the original start date and time for the festival. The map will be available at http://www.lowellartsmi.org, and will include links to explore artwork, music, children’s creations, craft demonstrations, and more. Festival organizers want to create an on-line experience for visitors that makes them feel like they are “there.” To make this virtual experience a success, organizers are asking for help from the community to engage in several activities being offered before, and in association with, the virtual event. ARTISTSEach of the 100+ talented artists that were juried into the 2020 festival will be represented on the interactive map, in their virtual booth location. On-line visitors can click on the artists’ booths to see more information about that artist and images of their artwork. If visitors are interested in purchasing artwork from an artist, they can connect with that artist through additional links to the artists’ website or other on-line sale platform. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to the artists. LIVE MUSICLive music will be played on both September 19 and 20, available for free to on-line visitors. A limited number of tickets will be sold to visitors who wish to experience the live music in-person. Three shows, with multiple groups presenting at each show, will be showcased at a new, outdoor performance venue in Lowell called Camp Clear Sky. Showtimes are Saturday, September 19, 12:00-4:00pm and 6:00-10:00pm and Sunday, September 20, 12:00pm-4:00pm. Ticket prices and ticket sale date to be announced. ARTIST DEMONSTRATIONS / PUMPKIN DECORATING / FOOD BOOTHSPrerecorded fine craft demonstrations will be featured as part of the on-line festival experience, as well as the opportunity for children (of any age) to create a “character” pumpkin and have a photo of their creation on the website as part of the virtual event. Pumpkins will be available free of charge at the LowellArts Gallery (223 W Main St, Lowell) beginning August 29 during regular gallery hours. Food booths will also be represented on the interactive map, with highlights about how these non-profit organizations that typically benefit from the proceeds of festival food sales impact our community. QUILT RAFFLEThe festival would not be complete without the annual quilt raffle. As always, a beautiful quilt was created exclusively for the 2020 festival. This year’s quilt “Blue Lagoon” was created by Dawn Ysseldyke. The quilt can be viewed in-person at the LowellArts Gallery (223 W Main St, Lowell) beginning August 4. Raffle tickets for the quilt will be available for purchase soon and will be available through festival weekend. On September 20 at 5:00pm, a live-streamed “pulling of the winning ticket” ceremony will be held to announce the winner of the quilt. LowellArts would like to thank this year’s Fallasburg Virtual Arts Festival 2020 Sponsors – Fifth Third Bank, Meijer, Litehouse Foods, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
Fallasburg Virtual Arts Festival 2020 Sponsors:
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Frank and Lynn Mason run for political seats in Ionia County on different party tickets
By Emma Palova
Belding, MI – Frank and Lynn Mason not only share the same apples at Mason Orchards, but also the same passion for people and the place where they live. They’ve been married for 40 years and they have two adult children and three grandchildren. Both worked for the Belding Area Schools. But Frank & Lynn also share their differences in politics.
They are both vying for political seats in Ionia County on different party tickets. Frank Mason is running as a Republican for the Otisco Township supervisor, Lynn Mason is running on the Democratic ticket for the Ionia County Commission, District 1. They are both running in the contested Aug. 4th primary; Frank Mason is running against newcomer Republican Desmond Pike (R) and Lynn against incumbent board chair, Dave Hodges (R).
Frank Mason, Republican candidate for Otisco Township supervisor
“I am not going to make any promises that I cannot keep, or say anything that I can’t back up.”
While no rookie to the Otisco Township politics, Frank Mason is running for an elected position on the board for the first time. Since the incumbent supervisor Joseph Daller is not running again, Frank Mason decided to throw his hat in the ring in April.
“People asked me to run for supervisor,” Frank said in a recent interview. “We have a good situation here, and I want to it keep that way.”
Frank Mason has 24 years of training experience for the top post in the township; he has served on the Board of Review, Zoning Board of Appeals and on the planning commission.
“It’s taught me how a township needs to be run,” he said. “Since, I’ve retired I have time to put into the supervisor position.”
Otisco Township with the city of Belding in its center and the newly rebuilt Whites Bridge as its focal point, is a rural township with amber waves of grain, apple orchards, soybeans and cornfields.
“I want to make sure we keep the rural integrity of the township,” Frank said.
With potentially three to four new members on the township board, this may take some leadership and cohesiveness to work on the same page, according to Frank.
Some of the township issues include the maintenance of roads. However, there is a dedicated millage for the roads.
Frank considers the following among the top priorities for the township:
Improving coordination between all staff and elected officials, following the township Master Plan, promoting and preserving the rural character of the township.
He will also make himself available to the citizens by having regular hours at the township hall.
“I think it’s important to keep our township a place where people are proud to live,” he said.
COVID-19 has made campaigning tougher. For a month, Frank knocked door to door keeping social distance, but when Gov. Whitmer issued the executive order to “Mask Up, Michigan,” on July 10, he stopped.
“I have covered most of the township and answered questions on the questionnaires for the papers,” he said.
The team also put up signs around the township in Belding schools’ colors.
Frank is familiar with most of the people in the township due to his involvement with the Belding schools. He worked as a bus driver for 15 years, and a game manager for 30 years.
“I am not going to make any promises I cannot keep, or say anything that I can’t back up.”
Lynn Mason, Democratic candidate for the Ionia County Board of Commissioners, District 1
“People consider me an advocate even though I am not there, so why not be there.”
Unlike her husband Frank, Lynn Mason is a veteran politician. She was surprised when Frank announced his candidacy for the Otisco Township supervisor two weeks prior to her own filing.
She served four two-year terms on the Ionia County Board of Commissioners from 2006 to 2014.
In 2014, Lynn gave up the commissioner’s seat because she ran for the State House, she ran again for the State House in 2016.
“I came in second,” she laughed in a recent interview.
Lynn Mason, a retired educator from Belding Area Schools, was the president of the Belding Education Association (BEA) during her teaching career at BAS. She served on the negotiating team.
Lynn is running for the District 1 commissioner seat because she is tired of seeing what the current board is doing.
“There are no checks and balances,” she said. “They all have the same opinion.”
According to Lynn, due to the lack of check and balances, the Ionia County Board of Commissioners agreed to dissolve the Ionia County Road Commission last year.
“If I am elected, I have decided to build relationships first between the management and the employees,” Lynn said.
One of the purposes why Lynn is running is to protect the rights of the citizens.
Lynn cited as an example putting together a policy for expressing action on the county property.
She offers to the board her experience and advocacy.
“People know that I am a trustworthy source,” she said. “They consider me an advocate even though I am not there, so why not be there.”
Lynn said when she’s a commissioner, she’s always there. Based on her previous experience, she plans to use the following slogan in her campaign:
“What are we going to do with Lynn?’
Lynn supports both millages for seniors and for 911.
Lowell, MI- I did my citizen’s duty and went testing for COVID-19 at Metro Health in Caledonia, MI this morning.
Shortness of breath and coughing prompted me to action last Friday as I called our family doctor in Lowell. We had a tele consultation to protect everyone. Following is the message I have received from our doctor.
“Thank you for your virtual visit with Metro Health on 7/24/2020. In addition to looking after your own well-being, you helped protect others by relying on a virtual visit that reduces opportunities for the spread of influenza and the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.
Metro Health looks forward to resuming office visits once the coronavirus crisis is past. However, the advanced technology we’ve implemented in the form of e-visits, televisits and new virtual visits will continue to give you access to your providers in the ways that are most convenient for you.”
After arriving at Metro Health in Caledonia, I just stayed in the car and waited for the assistant to come out and take a nasal swab. It caused my eyes to tear and I started caughing, but it didn’t take too long to recover. The test results should take two days.
My husband got tested on July 1 after traveling internationally to Czech Republic and experiencing a persistent cough. He tested at the Kent County Health Department on Kalamazoo Ave in a testing tent outside. It took more that two weeks to get the results. That was his second COVID-19 test, because he had to have a negative test before traveling to Czech Republic. Both tests were negative.
As of early July the state of Michigan is averaging 19,000 tests per day with the goal of testing 900,000 people per month.
Note: I also write about preserving Czech traditions in the U.S. in my new upcoming book–the Greenwich Meridian Memoir. This year, the festival always held on the first Sunday in August, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Enjoy the story and make the Czech traditional fare at home and listen to the WOES radio program this Sunday at 2:30 pm.
What is the flagship Czech dish? It is pork, sauerkraut and dumplings washed down with Pilsner beer and complimented by a kolache dessert. I deeply admire both the women and the men of the ZCBJ Lodge for keeping the Czech traditions alive.
Harvest Festival on radio WOES 91.3 FM on Aug. 2
There will be a program about the Harvest Festival in Bannister this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on WOES 91.3 FM. Chairman Tom Bradley will talk about the festival and play Czech music. Both Diane and Tom are co-founders of the Harvest Festival in Bannister, although the festival started in Owosso.
By Emma Palova
I went to a traditional Czech costumed wedding called “veselka” approximately 30 years ago. It was in a castle in the small town of Holesov. The bride Miroslava was 17 and the groom was 27. His name was Vojtech and he was from the region where these customs originate right on the border of Moravia and Slovakia.
By Czech standards it was a huge wedding of close to 100 people. They had a classic polka band with accordions and trumpets. The acoustics in the castle were amazing. The men wore hats called “burinka,” embroidered vests with ribbons on them. The women had festive costumes and small caps on their heads. After years I finally remembered the significance of the cap as opposed to a wreath from fresh flowers on younger women. The cap signifies that a woman is married, while the women with fresh flowers are single. Many years later, as I watched the dancers in Bannister this past Sunday, listened to the accordions, enjoyed Czech food, and checked out the old paintings in ZCBJ Lodge in the middle of nowhere, I admired the people behind this event. Most of them have never been in Czech Republic let alone at a classic “veselka.”
What they have recreated, preserved and continue to carry on to next generations is more than triumphant. I can safely say that most people in the old country don’t know how to dance polka, czardas, or mazurka. The Czech Harvest in Bannister is a testimony that human spirit will always prevail.
According to the chairman of the festival Tom Bradley’s “Pamatnik” published for the 100th anniversary of the ZCBJ Lodge in 2011,the Czechs and Slovaks immigrated to Central Michigan around 1904 from Chicago and Cleveland. They were recruited to work the sugar beet fields. Eventually they worked on their own farms. And the recruiters had to look for different workers from big cities.
Whenever I seek inspiration for my writings, I look up to my father and I know I will find it. My father, former math professor at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, turned 86 on this lovely summer day. He is active, loving and most of all inspiring by his words and actions.
On any given day, you will find him either solving or proposing math problems for math journals or doing simple things like canning, picking blueberries and making jams and marmelades with mom Ella.
Dad is a typical Leo, strongly independent and likes to take charge of everything with great enthusiasm. Behind these character traits lies the fact that dad doesn’t trust anyone else would do an equally good job.
And he is right. No one can beat his solutions to any problems, be it maintenance issues around the house, cars or plumbing. He is logical, rational and precise, always a step ahead of the game.
Dad has a good sense of humor and knows how to start a conversation at a party with strangers.
“How do you do it, dad?” I asked him.
“Well, if I know the guy is a dentist, I start talking about teeth,” he laughed.
Like a good Leo, he is always prepared for anything that might come his way.
He was born in Brest, former Czechoslovakia in 1934 as the second oldest child out of five. Due to the lack of finances, his parents, who were also educators, enrolled my dad and Uncle Tony in the Archibishop Gymnasium-Boys’ Seminary in Kromeriz right after the end of WWII.
To this day, my dad credits all his accomplishments to this renowned institution led by priests. Although he was bullied for his height, it didn’t leave any marks on him.
“I’ve learned discipline that stayed with me for the rest of my life,” he said. “I even got beaten up by other kids.”
It was discipline that carried him through the tough times of twice emigrating from former communist Czechoslovakia to pursue his dream of independence and teaching in the USA without the fear of being persecuted for his religious beliefs.
Dad is a true self-made man, not overly embellished with medals or honors, but with degrees from various universities in Czechoslovakia and the USA, achieved by honesty and hard work.
However, his solutions to math problems were published in Crux Mathematicorum of the Canadian Mathematical Society in the 1990s. Dad received an Honourable Mention for participating in the solutions.
Love you dad. May you continue to inspire all of us. We wish you many healthy and optimistic years ahead.
My father and mother are the main characters in my upcoming book- the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” now available for preorder on Amazon.
Stay tuned for news about my upcoming new book, the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir.” I had to sold off on publishing it due to the COVID-19 situation. But since we’re going nowhere with that, I am moving forward with publishing the memoir in August.
It is now available for preorder on Amazon. Just click on the link below: