Stay-at-home order tightens restrictions on stores, no exceptions for golf courses, construction and landscaping
By Emma Palova
Food and medicine will be the only commodities for box stores left to sell, according to the extended stay-at-home order by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Only four customers per 1,000 square feet are allowed with social distancing markings. Only one person from the household should be running the errands.
“We have to double down to save lives, “ Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.
All private and public gatherings are prohibited, although recreational activities are permitted within the social distancing limitations.
As of today, Michigan has had 1,076 positive Coronavirus cases and 117 deaths.
Michigan is expected to reach peak in the Coronavirus cases this weak, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Guard turned the Suburban Collection showplace into a field hospital in Detroit. The USDA will provide snack benefits for kids who were taking reduced cost lunches at school when it was session. This aid translates into $193 per child per month.
Whitmer said the state is now fighting two crisis: health and economic.
“We are in control of our fate,” Whitmer said. “The numbers represent people’s lives. If we all take this crisis seriously, we will come out of it robustly.
“This has been a hard month. This virus is holding a mirror to our society and its inequities.”
Whitmer referred to the fact that people of color have been hit the hardest with 40 percent of Afro-American deaths.
“We will come out of this having learned something, as we recover from COVID-19,” she said. “We will be working on long term solutions. It is time to intensify our efforts.”
According to Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, it is necessary to double down to slow the spread of the disease, while building up the hospital capacity. However more medical professions are needed mainly respiratory therapists and registered nurses.
“This disease is incredibly deadly,” Whitmer said. “Any exceptions would make it porous. Landscaping and golf courses are not critical infrastructure.”
The Easter Triduum starts today with Holy Thursday.
Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the Coronavirus crisis.
Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
The day after Christmas we headed Up North 150 miles into Antrim County, an outdoors lover’s paradise. We made our base in Mancelona with its proximity to the Shanty Creek mountain system: Summit and Schuss mountains.
We stayed at a chalet in the Lakes of the North community; a sprawling development in the woods complete with an indoor pool inside a clubhouse.
A network of trails weaved through the entire area making it ideal for snowmobiling, Nordic skiing or snowshoeing.
Shanty Creek Resorts near Bellaire were approximately 20 minutes away. Schuss Mountain with 450 feet of vertical drop offered downhill skiing for both kids and adults. The “Bunny Hill” was serviced by a Magic Carpet; moving escalator on the ground. The Cedar Creek Lodge at the foot of the hill offered respite from the brisk wind. A shuttle communted between Schuss and the lodge.
The ski school was in full swing with people falling all over tied to their skiis. We wanted to do dog sledding on Saturday, but due to low snow cover, it was postponed.
Any winter sport including mountain biking on a fatty bike could be spotted here. We ate our lunch at the River Bistro inside the lodge beautifully decorated for Christmas.
Jake with family explored Summit Mountain which brough back memories. Back in the 1990s, it was only known as Shanty Creek. That’s where Jake learned how to ski. Coming full circle, he was now teaching his own kids, Josephine and Dominik, the old skiing tricks.
As the saying around Shanty Creek Resorts goes: “Teaching new pups old tricks.”
Little town of Bellaire
Bellaire is probably best known for Short’s Brewery, Bee Well Meadery, Hello Vino and stores like Little Treasures and the Flying Pig. When the snow conditions are not good for skiing, Bellaire provides a back-up plan.
“We call it Halloween here, when the slopes are deserted,” said the clerk at the meadery.
Some of the sweet mead creations here were: Apple Pie and Cherry Vanilla.
The town of Central Lake is home to Bachmann’s General Stores and Mammoth Distilling; both are great sites to explore.
“If we don’t have it, you don’t need it,” read the storefront.
Truly, you could find here anything from hardware to books, and everything in between.
The “Cherry Bounce” bourbon was one of the many hand-hewn products at Mammoth with the actual still in the back.
Discoveries “Chain of Lakes”
Our team’s biggest discovery was the “Chain of Lakes,” a natural waterway traversing 80 miles across 14 lakes and rivers. The chain starts in Elk Rapids and ends in Ellsworth.
Recently, it was designated as the first water trail in northern Michigan to encourage water preservation and engagement with nature. According to the DNR, it will positively impact local economies of towns along the water trail and encourage healthy lifestyle.
The water trail was designed for non-motorized watercraft and fishing. The water trail has 81 access sites managed by 16 governmental jurisdictions and non-profit organizations that stretch through four counties: Antrim, Charlevoix, Kalkaska and Grand Traverse.
“We’re coming back in the summer,” was the consensus of our team.
I have just glanced at my Jan. 19 Taurus Horoscope to see if I am on track. Without the Blink of an eye this is what I found out.
I have enrolled in Spanish classes together with Ludek. I will be teaching ESL English as a Second Language and writing classes in the Grand Rapids area. My new column about Czech heritage is coming up in the Western Fraternal Life Herald, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
My next book signing of Shifting Sands Short Stories will take place at the LowellArts downtown gallery on Main Street on Feb. 3 from 1 to 4 pm. I will be offering tips on how to start and finish your book in 2018. Sign up on Facebook @emmapalova to win a free book.
For more info on the Western Fraternal Life Association and the Fraternal Herald monthly magazine go to:
You may be intrigued by the prospects of enrolling in a course of study today, but you’re determined to specifically learn something that can contribute to your material success. Although your practical …
Lowell, MI- Big birthdays. We all have them. What is a big birthday? Do you remember your big birthdays, what did you do, where, with whom and what happened?
If you can answer the questions above, without looking at photos, it was a big birthday.
Today, on March 1st, our son Jakub Pala is celebrating his 30th birthday with the slogan:
“Got 30, Jake?”
He was born on a chilly damp Sunday morning in former Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia in 1987. So, says his birth certificate. Neither the city nor the country exist under those names. They are now, the city of Zlin, Czech Republic, which is part of the European Union.
In 1987, the “Porodnice” or the birthing center was on the cutting edge with the “rooming in” accommodations for the newborns with their mothers. Before that, the babies were separated from their mothers, and the nurses brought out the babies to their mothers only for nursing. The babies were all changed, snug and clean. They were only crying because they were hungry.
Speaking ironically of the “bad communist” healthcare in former Czechoslovakia, we stayed in the hospital for a week, before we were released for home. The staff washed and folded the cloth diapers and newborn shirts in the traditional birthing centers.
I’ve had it both ways; traditional and “rooming-in.” Each was an experience to remember, as any mom can attest to that, in any country, and in any regime.
With the first baby “Doc Emma” born in April 1979, husband and daddy Ludek came to say hi to us under the windows of the “Porodnice” in Gottwaldow surrounded by pine trees.
Daddies and families were not allowed inside. Ludek had to give the flowers to the nurse, who set them in a vase on my bedside stand, along with a novel. I am trying to remember what I was reading back then. I could use it now on the “Goodreads” platform, for a book review. Just, kidding. However, I do think it was in that birthing room in 1979, that I decided I wanted to write for a living, to make other people happy.
I came home with “Doc Emma” on Easter weekend in 1979 to the smell of hot homemade chicken soup with dumplings that I will never forget, after the awful tomato gravies at the hospital.
Mom Ella made the soup, all worried about the new addition to the family house hold. We lived in a four-bedroom flat at the housing mega complex known as “Southern Slopes” or “Jizni Svahy” in Gottwaldov.
The “Southern Slopes” complex still exists and it’s growing. I witnessed that during my most recent visit to Czech Republic in January.
Eight years later, with the second baby, now regional distribution manager “Hotshot Jake,” daddy Ludek and “Doc Emma” came to say hi to the window of the “rooming-in” birthing center on the grounds of the Gottwaldov Hospital, still surrounded by pine trees.
“Oh, mom,” he’s ugly,” said “Doc Emma” throwing her big red hair around.
Yeah, “Hotshot Jake” wasn’t the best looking baby having the newborn jaundice, few hairs sticking out, screaming and kicking like crazy.
“Is he eating and when are you coming home,” Daddy Ludek, always practical, asked.
Ludek was all giddy, that we had a boy. He had visions of paying for a big drinking round at the pub “U Byka” aka “At the Bull” in his hometown of Stipa.
“Hopefully soon,” I answered.
The second delivery at the cutting edge “rooming in” birthing center, still in communist Gottwaldov, wasn’t as convenient as the one with “Doc Emma.”
There were seven mothers with their babies in one big room. That’s 14 bodies; I don’t think anyone had twins. We had the cribs with the infants by our beds. The nurses came in only to assist “as needed.” Whatever that means. In the morning, we all faced together the feared “rounds” known as visitation. In vain, we were hoping we would be released that same day.
If a baby was screaming loud enough that it kept awake the entire building, then the nurse would take the “culprit” with her to the nurses’ quarters somewhere down the hall, where it smelled of disinfectants.
If the babies slept after nursing, we folded the cloth diapers and the tiny shirts for newborns. We ate in the room whatever the hospital cooked for all patients. No, menu style here. I just remember, the horrid tomato soup or gravy, with the soggy dumplings sprawled all over the plate.
With the release from the “Porodnice” after a week-long drill of learning how to take care of the newborn, I breathed with relief stating:
Today, from a distance of 30 plus years and 6,000 kilometers, I look back at that time in “Porodnice” in communist Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia, with a smile on my face.
The “babies” have grown up into colorful characters, fashionable, cute “Doc Emma” who resides in France, and handsome “Hotshot Jake.”
They will soon be leaving with their spouses for a big 30th birthday trip, to Bali in Indonesia. The exotic trip comes as a compliment of the ever-generous “Doc Emma.”
In the meantime, we get to watch their extensions for continued joy.
Some of you know them. They bring joy to our lives. Say hi to them when you see them out and about.
Thank you for the beautiful tapestry, called life.
Copyright (c) 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Lowell, MI- As we draw closer to this Christmas, which here “up north” in Michigan, is white and cold, thoughts of peace resonate inside me.
In spite of the world’s aches and pains including my own, I have been able to put myself in the Christmas spirit.
Every year, Christmas for me is different. I can’t say that I have a consistent attitude toward this time of the year. It actually runs the gamut; from being tired of the ubiquitous commercialism and exploitation of the Christian holiday to embracing it in its entirety without fighting something I cannot change.
That is human nature.
I cannot change that parents are desperate because they can’t find the latest fad in toys the Hatchables, and that some woman hoarded them somewhere in her closet.
I am sure that problem will have been resolved in the next 10 years.
I cannot change that people are dying in Aleppo and that people died in the Berlin shooting at a Christmas market on Dec. 19. I cannot change that the Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was assassinated in Ankara on Monday. I cannot change that electors have indeed confirmed president-elect Mr. Donald Trump as the next 45th president of the USA in spite of the ongoing protestors who are in denial of reality.
I cannot change the consequences of the above mentioned actions because I am not in any place that would slightly resemble power.
Except for one: the power of the written word.
Historically, the power of the written word and its transformation over the centuries into different media platforms has influenced the thinking of most.
The first thing that comes to my mind is the most read book in this world, and that is the Bible. According to accounts, many authors took part in composing this book.
This year, some motels and hotels took the Bible out of their room furnishings not to offend anyone. Money talks. After all travelers are of all religious denominations and atheists.
But, I took offense. What if I only wanted to read the Bible for comfort of a weary traveler or for inspiration of an inquisitive writer? Thank you for reminding me, I know I have my cell phone, tablet and a laptop with me in the various hotel rooms. I can also get the Amazon or Google talking “Bubble.”
After all some stories in the Old & New Testaments are very violent.
The next thing that comes to my mind are the Greek mythology mega-works such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey that have inspired a myriad of films. I deeply love all of them for the magic minds behind these works.
Some stories in Greek mythology are very violent.
The third thing that comes to mind in the powerful word trio are the works of Italian poet Dante Alighieri and French novelist Honore de Balzac.
Dante’s “Divine Comedy” with depictions of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven has inspired generations of artists.
Balzac wrote about the human experience in “La Comedie Humaine.”
Some stories in these epic accounts are very violent.
While perusing through modern works of art or living them, I arrived along with millions of others to the following conclusion:
Most stories in modern works depict prolific violence and human suffering.
“Why,” the public asks, “are all the stories even around Christmas violent?”
Because of the never-changing human nature.
“All the people around the world are the same,” my dad Vaclav says.
According to accounts from universities, my mom Ella’s and my own observations, my dad is a very smart man.
The overwhelming saturation of violence in the media has come to a point where some networks instituted an inspiring finale story that leaves us all with an overall good feeling that erases the previous footage of horror.
“Hail to them, because it works.”
I’d rather leave for bed with a story about a gentleman who finally got his degree at 80 or the Hungarian socialite Zsa ZsaGabor dying at 99, than with a story about a wedding party being trampled over by a tree or Kanye (the husband of Kim Kardashian) having “some kind of a mental breakdown.”
The social media and the Internet have designed a class for a group of people who influence others: the Influencers.
Although, we cannot ignore the realities in this world, it is our choice what we focus on.
As we head both into the happy and sad time of the year known as Christmas, I have to quote my Gemini friend:
“Life is for the living, we’re only ants on logs.”
Lowell, MI- It is Day 395 of the 30 Day Content Challenge that officially ended last year in December.
But, Annie Conboy of Hebden Bridge, United Kingdom is still burning the midnight oil as she cranks out post #395, “Dreaming of a Peaceful World.”
Conboy is a medium and the founder of “Down 2 Earth Medium.” Her major focus is to channel for energy beings, such as angels, archangels and fairies.
She reached her one year anniversary of daily blogging on Nov. 15 with post #365, “First Year Done and Dusted.”
“I need to clear my head, so I can sleep,” she said in a recent Skype interview about her writing schedule.
“It’s felt a bit strange today. I’ve done something I’m really proud of. My writing has been happening for a full year. I have written every day than just the monthly articles I started in June 2015.”
Before starting the challenge in November of 2015, rookie writer and blogger Conboy wrote a few pieces for Valley Life.
“Then out of cyberspace I got an invite from my lovely friend Jan to join her in a 30 day blogging challenge. And I said yes. Now I’m a year on and amazed that I had all those words inside me. I have to say I don’t feel like I’m done yet either,” Conboy wrote in the anniversary post, “First Year Done and Dusted.”
Conboy has realized the challenge came at the right time for her.
“I was invited, it felt good, I was supporting a friend,” Conboy said. “I knew there would be discipline because it was every day, and I wrote every single day.”
And when she couldn’t physically write on the computer, Conboy wrote a post on a piece of paper.
“It helped me make a commitment to me,” she said.
Like for many writers, the first challenge was to find the right time to write. Conboy chose to write as the last thing at night.
“The clicks came quickly,” she said, “as I continued through the month I was sleeping better because I was clearing up the clutter in my head. I was clearing the day of everything that had happened.”
During the last week of the challenge, Conboy felt she had acquired a distinct voice in writing that was very specific.
“If I was to continue to write, I needed a commitment, a goal,” she said. “I decided I was going to blog for 1001 days.”
“Why in the world,” I asked, “Would anyone want to take part in the challenge beyond the designated 30 days?”
I participated in the original 30 Day Content challenge along with some 600 other bloggers from around the world, including Australia. Sometimes, Bradley Will, the founder of LearntoBlog, posted the daily guidelines and the themes 24 hours early “for the Ozzies.”
But, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I wrote posts in the morning, just like my regular writing. Every morning a new theme for the day awaited in the inbox. That part was exciting.
And the time was of the essence for the challenge due to the intensity and the synergy of the group. I felt like back at the university cramming for the final exams. Also the timing was unbeatable, since the challenge ran in a framework when all the catastrophes in this world seemed to happen, and during the Thanksgiving holiday in the USA.
To be continued………………..
Copyright (c) 2016. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Lowell, MI- I woke up this morning at 4:30 a.m. shivering with cold. I slept covered by two blankets and it was 13 F outside. I quickly turned on the additional water heating we use on top of our wood stove and propane. It was still cold.
The forecast called for the extreme chill, coming over the North Pole from Russia, but that didn’t make it any easier. Ludek hauls in the wood before he heads off to work. That helps, I don’t have to go out to the shed in that cold.
Luckily, we didn’t cave into the Arrowhead Meadows neighborhood association’s pick of Darin, the snowplow man. Two years ago when we had the polar vortex, the snowplow man plowed, after everybody got home from work including himself.
Although, Darin didn’t plow on weekends, he managed to pound on the door on a Sunday morning to pick up his check. So Ludek finally said, “I’ll do it myself, we got the jeep.” My 1998 Jeep Wrangler, our workhorse came in handy again. Now, I call it the “Blades of Glory.”
I sat by the wood stove in Ludek’s wicker rocking chair to warm up and to clear up the sinus cold that’s been gripping me since last Friday. As I watched the flames I contemplated today’s writing strategy.
“No, I am not going to check my e-mails, because that either makes me angry or puts me behind in writing.
“However, should I or should I not fill out a slip of paper with today’s predictions and seal them into an envelope only to read them tonight?” I asked myself.
Instead, I picked up the phone to check the notifications on Facebook. I kind of knew about the upcoming full moon from friends in Europe, but it was my Arizona friend and owner of Beutiful Body, Mind, Spirit Nan Raden who confirmed with the beautiful pictures of the moon over the majestic saguaro cacti with the following post:
“Full moon in Gemini-on December 14th. This full moon is occurring on the cusp of the Winter Solstice, which is Dec. 21st.
“Gemini rules the mind and is mentally razor-sharp. It is inventive, playful, childlike and communicative. Gemini loves to widen your perspective by integrating information. Mercury, the ruling planet for Gemini, will be going retrograde five days after this Full Moon, right before the Winter Solstice.
“Your thoughts, ideas and how you think about life are going to deepen, while you integrate a new heart-centered awareness.
“This Full Moon in Gemini happens on Dec. 14th at 12:04 a.m. in London, England and in the Americas on Dec. 13th in the late afternoon and evening.”
According to the full post, year 2017 is the Year of Money, Miracles and Manifestation.
“With number 17 activated, you will get a preview of the leadership, abundance and immortality themes that will inspire us all next year.”
And now, Nan asked:
“How are you going to share in a way that allows you to feel happy and empowered?”
The post continued: During this Full Moon thoughts will be transmitted very quickly and effortlessly, so you want to listen in and tune in to new perspectives and your perception about life.
“Have a happy and engaging Gemini Full Moon.”
As I sat by the wood stove, of course I didn’t read the entire post. I just glanced at the beautiful photo that warmed me up. I shared it, and that was it. And I didn’t fill out the prediction slip, because predictions were already piling up in my head.
“Oh, I am going to face another long phone call, and I’ll have to deal with IT stuff. I am not going to finish the story about blogger “Annie.”
For the rest of the morning, I continued to work with my back to the wood stove sitting on the brick ledge; my mind spinning. I did all the social media marketing work, I needed to do for the day.
I took a photo of the wood stove and I posted it enhanced on Instagram with this caption:
“My work station by the wood stove, until May.”
My friend, a Gemini, responded with:
And after her, many others followed.
I found a way to make a miserable cold wintry morning in West Michigan dissipate in warm thoughts, and I shared them.
And after that I discovered Nan’s Facebook post in its entirety and wrote all 779 words of “In my winter dreams.”
Well. there goes my answer to Nan’s question.
“Thank you, Nan for sharing. Thank you, Full Moon.”