Tag Archives: Lowell

Loyal public servant

Note: This article is part of a new series “Inspiring Communities.” This is the second installment following the article about Arctic Heating & Cooling owner Evert Bek “Installing water filters in Haiti.”

Nominate a person who has inspired you.

Former Lowell mayor Jim Hodges retires

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – After 23 years of public service, former Lowell mayor Jim Hodges has decided it is time to move on. He officially retired from the Lowell City Council on Nov. 6, 2017.

EW Jim Hodges retires
Former mayor Jim Hodges retires from the Lowell City Council after 23 years.

He started his successful career in public service in 1982 as the director of YMCA, which at the time functioned as the city recreational department.

“A connection with the city was established,” he said, “I attended meetings.”

In 1991, Hodges became the chairperson for the Lowell Area Schools millage campaign. He helped pass two millage proposals.

He applied for the city council seat in 1988, and he was elected to two four-year terms. In 1997, he was defeated in an election by 20 votes. Hodges took a break from the Lowell City Council for six years.

In 2004, he became a city council member all over again after being asked to run by Jeanne Shores, who became the mayor twice through 2009. Shores was the only female mayor the city of Lowell has ever had.

“Because of my loyalty and friendship, I encouraged Jeanne to run,” Hodges said.

“I have always encouraged women to run. It’s crazy not to. Everybody needs to be involved in politics to get a better balance and diversity in the society. Otherwise you’re cutting your assets in half.”

Due to Shores’ sickness, Hodges became the acting mayor in 2008.

All throughout his public service, Hodges believed in respecting others opinions and diversity.

“I have three big takeaways from my public service,” he said.

The first takeaway was to pay tribute to Shores; Hodges arranged for her to run her last meeting on Dec. 21 in 2009 from a wheelchair and named her mayor emeritus.

The second takeaway was negotiating for Dave Pasquale, manager of 23 years, to take retirement.

The third takeaway was putting a traffic light at the intersection of Bowes Road and Alden Nash.

“As the mayor, you have to be less bold and more proper than as a council member,” he said.

In an era of corrupt politics and improper behavior of various officials, Hodges was one of a kind. He was always diplomatic and smiling his impeccable smile.

Public service came with the good and the bad: the deaths of mayor emeritus Shores and council member Jim Hall, as well as the clash between the personalities on the city council.

There were some controversies during the more than two decades of service in a relatively quiet community on the banks of the Flat and Grand rivers.

Some pertained to the firing of the previous city manager Mark Howe. Other controversies involved the police chiefs; one had resigned, the other chief Steve Bukala was put on first paid administrative leave in April, and on unpaid leave in June as investigation into misusing police database and subsequent charges took place.

Since, then Bukala has been reinstated.

“It will make him a better police chief,” said Hodges. “It adds another dimension of being a better professional. We have a solid team of people working together. Steve brings leadership to them as we move forward.”

Hodges had the vision to locate the chamber building on the current Riverwalk in downtown Lowell.

And would Mr. Hodges do it all over again?

“Absolutely,” he said smiling. “I would like to think that I have helped. I like a variety of people and this has given me the chance to meet many different people.”

Hodges also takes pride in being able to balance his third shift work at Amway with his public service which included meetings in the evening or in the morning.

“You have to be disciplined,” he said.

He plans on traveling with his wife Chris and enjoying their grandson.

“I hope I have added some humor and entertainment,” he said.

Following are some moments in time from Hodges’ tenure with the city of Lowell. Hodges participated in countless city parades and in the Riverwalk flushing of the city manager.

A Loyal public servant.

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Friday delights

Fridays work for me, how about you

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

These are the things I found delightful today, so again this is no ordinary or gray Friday even though it was cloudy.

This morning during my routine inspirational check-up on the social media, I found a delight:

The Ability Weavers store offers hand-woven rugs by adults with all abilities right in my hometown of Lowell. They also offer rug weaving classes.
Their motto is:
“Weaving with a purpose.”

wp-1493390802495.

I am planning a visit downtown Lowell soon to the newest venues dotting the Main Street along with the blossoming trees. Follow me for the spring outing on Main.

But before the Ability Weavers, I delighted in Google Doodle Cheese Doodle, celebrates Marie Harel, the inventor of Camembert Cheese.

After all, who doesn’t like a great piece of cheese. Nothing beats Camembert. I can eat entire wheels of it straight from the cheese maker in Camembert, Normandy.

More in the lines of gray, but definitely delightful was the poem by Emma White Darling in memory of her friend of 40 years.
Darling painted beautiful tulips to accompany the poem.

Here it is:

Eulogy for a Friend

So many moments we take for granted,
because we assume there will be so many more.
They say don’t assume
because tomorrow is never promised.
We know this is too true when a dear friend is suddenly taken.
May choirs of angels escort you into paradise, dear Hermie.
We rejoice your suffering wasn’t prolonged but we miss you already
and imagine our world as less without you.
You, Hermie:
Faithful husband,
dedicated father,
doting grandfather,
stalwart friend,
devout believer,
passionate advocate of the working man,
creative gardener,
tireless caregiver to the elderly,
generous cook,
and so much more.
Through a lens of loss, we view our many memories.
It breaks us to realize no more memories will be made
and causes our tears to flow like water.
It’s hard to get our hearts and heads around a future without you, dear friend.
Softly, gratefully we cradle the gift of friendship that was
and lament.
Lament
Lament
-Emma Darling

I wrote this also in response to the Daily Post prompt @gray
Gray

Thank you Emma White Darling for sharing your talents with us.

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Stormed out

Mother Nature shows her way leaving devastation behind

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Hastings, MI- As I drove north to Lowell through the Barry County farmlands on Wednesday, 54-mile wind gusts were throwing the small orange Dart across the country road. Broken limbs and twigs were hitting the dancing car in the wind.

The forecast didn’t sound as bad as it was, otherwise I would have stayed at the “Pala fortress” near the Yankee Springs Recreation Area.

We stationed ourselves at the “fortress” for a week-long stint last Saturday to watch the grand kids. Our son Jake with wife Maranda took off to Bali, Indonesia to celebrate his 30th birthday.

Early spring storms in the Midwest on the Great Lakes can be vicious with freezing rain and power outages lasting for days. These however make for beautiful waves and vistas on the nearby Lake Michigan.

Above photos of the March 8th storm damage in the Lowell area are by Amanda Schrauben of Lowell.

The featured photo by Bob Walma shows waves sweeping over the Grand Haven lighthouse on Wednesday. The pier and the boardwalk were completely covered by water all day, according to friends living in Grand Haven.

Right off the bat near Hastings, the traffic lights swaying in the wind went out. I was holding on tight to the steering wheel to keep the car on the road.

When I got out of the car at a gas station on the I-96 freeway, I almost got swept away. The wind picked up grains of sand and whipped them into my face.

The weekly meeting was cancelled due to power outage, and I couldn’t get to my home base Lowell office because a tree had fallen into the roadway.

“The office is closed, they have no power,” a friend hollered into the wind.

Neighbor Catherine had already reported a power outage on Tuesday, with the new one on its way. To make things worse, the forecast called for more freezing temperatures overnight, and we did not have the house in Lowell wintered for another freezing spell.

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Hastings Public Library

I finished the International Women’s Day post “Be Bold for Change” at the Lowell KDL library yesterday, one of few places left in the area that still had the Internet.

I drove back to Hastings in worsening conditions, wondering if I should turn back, but I had nowhere to go, since the power was out at the Lowell home as well.

Some roads were completely blocked with trees in the way. When I finally got to the “fortress”, I couldn’t open the garage door, so I knew the power was out here as well, some 50 miles down south from home.

Moreover, the Consumers predicted that the power in both places, at the Hastings fortress and at the Lowell home, would be out until Saturday.

“I got to go back to Lowell to get the generator,” husband Ludek snapped angrily at me, because our lines of communication went bad, and we missed each other’s calls.

“Why doesn’t Jake have a generator here in this Hicksville, anyways?”

Probably for the same reason we didn’t have one for 10 years at the Lowell home, until the April freezing rain in 2002 knocked out the power for five days. That year, we almost froze to death.

Back in Lowell on Downes Road, Ludek and other neighbors couldn’t get to the houses because of fallen wires across the roads, and a fire truck blocking the way.

Ludek pioneered the way to the houses using the neighbor’s backyards, in spite of complaints.

“Hey, you can’t walk across that wire,” yelled a firefighter at this relentless man.

Swearing, Ludek loaded the generator, let the water out of the pipes, and headed back to Hastings.

Meanwhile, the kids and I were eating cold meatloaf with mashed potatoes just as the lights went back on.

“Why did they say the power wasn’t going to be up until Saturday?” Ludek continued to swear at Consumers as he made his grand entrance.

“You live in the boondocks,” I said. “You gotta have a generator.”

Luckily, we made it out alive and with roofs over our heads at both places, cars and garages intact. Ludek reported a semi-truck knocked on the side by the Caledonia exit off the I-96 freeway.

This morning at the Hastings Library, I went through the Facebook reports from friends in Lowell.

“I am cold,” neighbor Catherine wrote. “No power until Saturday, please don’t let that be true.”

The local Meijer store had no electricity but stayed open. There were even waves on the tiny Stoney Lake.

The wind gusts uprooted trees, knocked down roofs, sidings, glass doors and created havoc across Michigan. Close to 600, 000 people were left without power.

“Thousands of people are without power,” said the Consumers recorded message last night. “We have no more restoration information.”

It was one of the biggest storms in the last 25 years, according to meteorologists.

There are several upsides to this windstorm of 2017, such as that I get to know my local libraries.

Yes, kids. March is the reading month. And libraries are very cool. Visit them always, not just during storms. They are here for us to embrace for work and for fun.

Thank you Hastings and Lowell libraries for staying open.

 

Copyright © 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Lowell artist inspires generations

IW Inspiring Women – Jan Y. Johnson

Longtime artist inspires generations embedded in Lowell area

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Note: The IW winter series, which leads up to the International Women’s Day on March 8, features women from all walks of life who continue to inspire others in our communities.

Inspiring women
Inspiring women

Their positions in the society are not measured by money or the accolades they receive, but by contributions to progress and well-being of all.

Nominate a woman who has inspired you for the series.

Lowell, MI – Artist Janet Y. Johnson, 86, is an icon. Together with artists late David Davis and current Kathleen Mooney, they have created an artistic legacy for generations embedded in the greater Lowell area.

Lowell artist Janet Johnson has created a legacy.
Lowell artist Janet Johnson has created a legacy.

Johnson has been a staple at the Flat River Gallery & Framing in downtown Lowell with countless exhibits of watercolor and acrylic paintings.

The gallery will celebrate its fourth anniversary with the “Let’s celebrate” event with champagne and chocolates on Feb. 11 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Johnson recalls all the great years of exhibiting and painting in the Lowell area.

“They’re all realistic paintings,” said Johnson about her work.

Some of them go as far back as to the heydays of another icon, the Lowell Showboat on the Flat River in the 1950s.

“I used to sing on it, and then I painted it,” Johnson said during a recent interview at her home.

As we looked at the dark blue watercolor painting of the Showboat with strings of lights floating on the Flat River hanging in the detached studio, one could imagine the lively atmosphere on the deck.

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Iconic Lowell Showboat with windows into the past by Jan Y. Johnson

You could almost hear the voices singing:

“Here comes the Showboat.”

Circus elephants by artist Jan Johnson of Lowell.
Circus elephants by artist Jan Johnson of Lowell.

Johnson sold two paintings of the Showboat and bought one back when the owner stated, that the painting should stay in the Lowell area.

Johnson has lived in the Lowell area for 57 years.

Growing up on a farm in Alto, Johnson acquired a natural affinity to all animals.

Johnson studied animal drawing at the Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, FL and graduated in 1951.

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Miller Circus at Lowell Fairgrounds, 2016

Prior to that, she studied at the Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids, and worked as a publication designer for Amway in the 70s.

“It was a wonderful place to work,” she said.

Among her favorites are vivid paintings of exotic animals in circus settings.

Work in progress by Jan Johnson.
“A friend’s boat,” work in progress by Jan Johnson.

Johnson’s most recent watercolor painting is of the Miller Circus which performed in Lowell last August after the fair. She will hang the painting of the circus at the gallery for the new February show.

According to Johnson, the circus ringmaster at the Miller Circus was connected to  the Ringlings.

Johnson spent most of 2016 illustrating the children’s book  “Gertie Goose.”

“It’s a story about bullying,” said Johnson.

Pat Markle, former teacher of Hastings Schools, wrote the book. This was the third project for the author illustrator duo during the last decade.

The book is available at the Lowell Arts and at the Flat River galleries for $15.

“Gertie Goose” was published by J-Ad Graphics of Hastings in 2016.

“They do a good job,” said Johnson.

For more info on publishing go to www.http://www.j-adgraphics.com/

It is also available on Jan’s Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/janet.johnson.96742277

Johnson’s art will be at the ArtPrize 2017 from Sept. 20 through Oct. 8.

ArtPrize: https://www.artprize.org/jan-y-johnson

For more info on the Flat River Gallery go to: http://www.flatrivergalleryandframing.com

info@flatrivergalleryandframing.com

Copyright (c) 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this story or its photos may be reproduced without the written consent of author Emma Palova. @EmmaPalova

Finding peace in Christmas

Dreaming of a peaceful Christmas

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

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.

Peace in Christmas
Hometown Christmas in Lowell.

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.

Christmas bouquet with cutout ornaments.
Christmas bouquet with cutout ornaments.

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.”

Christmas peace
Hometown Christmas by the wood stove.

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:

Hometown Christmas.
Hometown Christmas “Up North.”

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.

Go figure.

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.”

Live your life, don’t consume it.

 

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

IW Inspiring Women- Artist Linda Kropf Phillips

Dear friends,

I am bringing back the popular IW Inspiring Women series for the winter. The series carries the logo of the enigmatic orchids which come in a thousand of varieties, each bringing joy with her own beauty. Much like the women in this world.

Orchids in full bloom
Enigmatic orchids

In this series I bring to you the stories of women who inspire others with their character, actions and the love for what they do. As daughters, mothers, grandmothers and wives, they all make a difference in their own way.

All of them juggle different responsibilities; to themselves, to the families and to the society at large.

Their value is not listed in dollars they bring to the economy, but in their contribution to bettering the lives of other people.

Meet artist turned hunter Linda Kropf Phillips

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- I first met artist Linda Kropf Phillips, owner of Natures Serenity, at a little known bazaar in the historic village of Fallasburg two years ago.

She was manning the booth with her brother Jerry Kropf. Most people in the area know the name Kropf, as the well- established owners of the Kropf apple orchards.

“Are you related to the Kropfs?” was one of my questions during a recent interview with Linda.

Natures Serenity
Artist Linda Kropf Phillips with first sketches.

“Which ones?” she asked.

“The apple farmers?”

“My father was the carpenter in the family,” Linda said.

It was her father Bob Kropf ,who not only inspired Linda, but who also taught her perfection in glass etching of gun cabinets and everything else in business, like reasonable pricing.

“My dad challenged me,” she said. “I worked in his wood shop for 20 years at Murray Lake. He taught me a lot of woodwork. I taught myself glass etching on china and glass cabinets.”

Yes, there was no challenge too big for Linda to handle, whether it was the etching of a standing bear and a partridge flying over his head, or other intrinsic scenes from nature.

Linda Kropf Phillips
Linda Kropf Phllips hunting Up North.

“I found a picture of a standing bear in a magazine,” Linda said.

One of her first drawings was a sketch of the GI Joe doll. Some four decades later, Linda easily found the pencil drawing at the house.  And it was not just the doll, but also some sketches of the Beatles.

Linda started drawing when she was 11 years old. Growing up as a 4-H girl and doing rodeo, she loved to draw horses.

She went to the Alton country school from 1964 to 1968 prior to going to the Lowell public schools.

“I rode my horse to school,” she laughed.

But, sometimes it was mom Jan Kropf who played the bus driver loading up the kids in a car and hauling them to school.

Archery hunting.
Linda Kropf Phillips prefers to hunt with bow & arrow.

Linda graduated from the Lowell High School in 1976, and she received the perfect graduation gift.

It was tuition for one year at the Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids. She had already taken advanced ceramics and design classes in high school. In sixth grade, Linda also took art classes from local artist Jan Johnson.

Four years ago, Linda started her Natures Serenity line of artwork on slab and drift wood.

“I love being outside, hunting, taking pictures of nature and kayaking,” she said.

While kayaking on the Flat River on the morning the Whites Bridge in Smyrna burnt, Linda found pieces of driftwood and metal from the bridge down the river.

She painted the covered Whites Bridge on a piece of driftwood and hung it on the metal from the bridge. First the driftwood had to dry out and Linda coated it with three to four coats of polyurethane to preserve them.

One of the early trophy deer.
One of the early trophy deer.

The two pieces sold at the Danish Festival in 2014 in Greenville with half of the proceeds going to the “Rebuild Whites Bridge” organization.

Artist Linda is also an avid hunter, who annually heads out into the woods in the Upper Peninsula with her husband Scott. Naturally, she would not reveal their “sacred hunting grounds” somewhere northwest of Marquette.

Scott has been hunting for the last 45 years, while Linda started hunting 11 years ago. Before that Linda rabbit hunted with her brother. She took her first deer with a gun, when she was three months pregnant in 1986.

For Linda, family always comes first.

Artist Linda Kropf Phillips with family.
Artist Linda Kropf Phillips with family.

 

“I started going with Scott with my camera and took my artwork with me,” she said. “We go during the gun season hunting for bear, and I bow hunt for deer.”

Naturally, Linda who took up bow hunting three years ago, is inspired by the great outdoors and what it has to offer. Her booth at the Dec. 3 Rogue River Arts Show was an amazing display of nature’s scenes on wood. Everything from deer, fowl, fish, Queen Anne’s lace to footprints captured on a wooden slab. Some of the artwork boasted 3D imagery in detailed foliage and branches during different seasons.

“I like the fall, so bow and arrow wins,” she said. “I feel safer.”

One of her scariest experiences was while hunting on the ground.

“I had a wolf behind sniffing at me,” she said. “I was nervous. I thought it was just a squirrel crinkling again.”

Well that “crinkling squirrel” turned out to be a 157 pound black bear. But, these adventures do not prevent Linda from going “Up North” to hunt in the “sacred land.”

Deer art by the Kropfs.
Deer art by Jerry Kropf.

“We stay in a camper, 10 days at a time depending on the weather,” she said. “Sometimes it’s two hours to the closest processor.”

And back home in Lowell, the dinner always features some wild game, whether deer, bear, fish or fowl in the form of burger, roast or steaks.

“We have deer all the time,” Linda said.

Most recently, based on popular demand from the less macho side of the population, Linda added to her wildlife art portfolio paintings of chickadees and cardinals.

 

“It runs the gamut from deer, moose, bass and I added flowers, “she said.

Natures Serenity artwork is available at Bodacious in Rockford and at Pinky’s Place Antique & Artisan Market in Grand Rapids.

Her busy art show season starts in July with the Fourth of July Artist Show in the UP, Lake Odessa Arts in the Park on Aug. 5th, Danish Festival on Aug. 19th & Aug. 20th and Rockford on Sept. 10th

The last show of the season is always the Rogue River Arts & Artisan Show on the first Saturday in December at the Lowell High School.

Linda Kropf Phillips Natures Serenity artwork can be viewed at lindakropfphillips@Facebook.com.

Nominate a woman who has in any way inspired you this year or in the past. In the IW women’s series, I have featured artists like Kathleen Mooney, entrepreneur Station Salon’s owner Nancy DeBoer, hiker Gail “Chosen” Lowe who has hiked all five national trails in the USA, Lowell Area Chamber director Liz Baker, former Lowell city clerk Betty Morlock, trail developer Carolyn Kane, founder of SowHope Mary Dailey Brown and many others.

E-mail Emma via the contact page or on Facebook at emmapalova@Facebook.com

 

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In nature’s harmony

Hunting season 2015 opens strong, artist inspired by hunting

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- Today is the opening day of the firearm hunting season in the Midwest. It will last until the end of November.

It may or may not mean anything to big city folks, but out here in the country it is a big deal.

Some school districts like Portland schools in Ionia County close for the opening day, so kids can go out and hunt with their dads.

Although I am not a hunter, I have so many friends, both female and male, who are hunters that I had to post this to honor their passion.

The first who comes to my mind is my artist hunter friend Linda Kropf Phillips of Lowell. Inspired by nature and hunting, Phillips has created a line of slab wood paintings “Natures Serenity.”

Natures Serenity
Natures Serenity art by Linda Kropf Phillips and Jerry Kropf @fallasburg.

The second hunter is a long-time friend from former Czechoslovakia,  Miroslav Hlavenka.  He now resides in Montreal, Canada. Hlavenka is an awesome chef a la naturelle.

Both are hunting now, as I write this post that could also be called “Living in harmony with nature.”

Annually, the sports hunting industry fuels the economy in many ways from direct hunting permits, & gear to indirect sports hunting tourism.

Hunter Miroslav Hlavenka.
Miroslav Hlavenka with his deer and a dog.

And the experts predict a good hunting season due to unseasonably mild weather.

“The deer had a lot to feed on,” said TV sports commentator.

This morning opened strong with clear skies and 50 degree temperatures. Hundreds of hunters in camouflage headed out into the woods.

As I drove to an appointment through the country, I could see cars parked by public hunting lands.

One opening day, I actually headed out into the Lowell State Game Area and joined a local hunter for a great experience, and a great story.

Archery hunting.
Some hunters’ gear.

We always took photos of proud hunters who brought their deer in at the various newspapers that I have worked for.

Phillips of Lowell is already in  Upper Peninsula with four guys determined to get their deer.

We postponed our interview for IW Inspiring Women series until Phillips returns in December.

Phillips fascinates me that she is both an avid hunter and a very apt nature artist and she shows that off in  “Natures Serenity.”

She was one of the first artists at the Fallasburg Village Bazaar last year.

Hlavenka used to hunt already back in former Czechoslovakia. He picked back up his passion in Quebec, as he heads out into the woods.

Nature' Serenity.
Deer art by the Kropfs.

Back in Czech Republic, hunters and public at large celebrated the hunting season with the annual Hunter’s Ball in the winter months.

The hunters wore their green uniforms and made hunter’s goulash for the occasion. It was either venison, boar and rabbit stew or steaks with potato dumplings and red cabbage.

There is something about hunting that’s inherent to human kind. That’s how we survived in the first place all the earth’s elements, agriculture came later.

Whenever I see deer in my garden feasting on apples or turkeys running in the cornfields, there’s joy in my heart, that peace will prevail.

With the upcoming Thanksgiving next week, there is a lot to be thankful for.

Driving through the woods and the fields on a beautiful sunny November morning, crossing the Thornapple, Grand and Flat rivers, I realized how grateful I am for the surrounding nature, for the harmony, for the fall abundance and the co-existence of it all.

Send me a picture of you and your deer and I will post it on my Emma Blogs, LLC portfolio of sites.

Watch for a recipe for Hunter’s Stew coming up.

Also in the works are stories in the IW Inspiring Women winter series. They have the logo of the orchids.

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Election 2016 unleashes the force of democracy

Election 2016  attracts voters in droves, creates tension

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Grand Rapids, MI – Voting in small towns of America, and everywhere else, matters.

I voted today at 11 a.m. in precinct 1 at the Vergennes Township Hall in Kent County. There were no parking spaces left, and there was a steady stream of voters.

I was voter no. 471 in what the media dub as an “unprecedented & unpredictable” election.

Both candidates Mr. Donald Trump and Mrs. Hillary Clinton stumped heavily in Michigan, which is traditionally a blue state.

Hillary (2)

 

Clinton spoke at a rally of 4,000 people at the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) on Nov.7th.

Trump held his final rally on election eve at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There was a massive crowd for the event estimated at 10,000. People lined up on the bridge over the Grand River to get into the hall carrying their coolers packed with food.

donald (2)

Political pundits are calling Election 2016, a consequential election.

“This election is between division and strong leadership, the opposition is a loose cannon,” said spokesperson for Clinton’s campaign “Stronger Together.”

Trump called himself an agent of change at the Grand Rapids rally last night.

“Today is our Independence Day,” he said. “My only special interest is to you.”

What some call an insurgent candidacy, Trump made 14 campaign stops in 72 hours.

“Will this be an end to the insurgence by Trump and will Hillary be able to shatter that glass ceiling,” political analysts asked these questions.

I’ve been voting since I became an American citizen through the naturalization process at the Grand Rapids Ford Museum in 1999, along with my daughter Emma Palova Chavent, MD.

But, I’ve never been nervous about it until the eve of the election and today. Actually the anxiety sank in last week, after reading through hundreds of election-related Facebook posts.

I even received texts from my Czech friends asking about the integrity of the election.

“The Czech media favor Hillary,” wrote Ales Kobylik. “They keep this inflated bubble that there is no way that Donald Trump could win. In all respect what do you think?”

And my Czech- Canadian friend D.P. even bought a small TV, so she could follow the candidates’ campaigns and the election in the USA. That’s a big honor of our election system because D.P. does not watch TV.

“I bought that TV because of you,” she laughed.

“Really, you are that interested in our election?” I said uneasily.

“Sure, because Trump might close the borders,” D.P. said.

And now we have it all laid out in front of us after months of campaigning, rhetoric and derogatory language from both sides, the GOP and the Dems.

At one point, as the campaigning progressed throughout the summer and fall, I arrived to a fleeing conclusion that I wasn’t going to vote.

From a moral and character stand point of view, I don’t believe in either one of the candidates, Mrs. Hillary Clinton or Mr. Donald Trump.

They both have proven that they are unfit to lead this country. Mrs. Clinton’s past as the First Lady and as the Secretary, as well as having the private server and the 33,000 erased emails speak for themselves.

As for Mr. Trump, if his present roughness is any indicator of his potential future leadership skills, then the country would get the “perfect” dictator.

“Stalin or Ceausescu?” you ask.

“Take your pick, they were all the same,” I answer. “And they never quit.”

Mr. Trump would first get away with our democracy, waving his hand:

“What a nuisance,” he would say.

Much like the Mexican illegal immigrants, or any other ones for that matter.

Bouncing back to Mrs. Hillary through the eyes of my friend Sheryl G. from Iowa who posted this:

“As you go to the polls this Tuesday, do your due diligence and your homework,” she wrote.” Hillary Clinton is the first and only First Lady to come under criminal investigation while serving as First Lady. Washington and Jefferson must be rolling over in their graves.”

However, to answer Ales’ question about Mr. Trump having a chance.

In spite of the polls and other opinions, both candidates may stand very well the same chance.

But, the real horror is regardless who becomes the 45th president:

“Is this the beginning of an end of an empire?”

“Look back over the past with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future too.”

                                      -Marcus Aurelius

Copyright (c) 2016. Emma Blogs, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Reliving it with ghosts

Ghostbusters at Fallasburg

Note: The reason I put this post on my mostly Greenwich Meridian (c) memoir related content blog is because it relates to my past. My husband Ludek Pala and I met at the ZDS school in Stipa, former Czechoslovakia.

Last Saturday, after 41 years, we again sat behind the  desks inside the same school together. This time it was at the one room Fallasburg schoolhouse for a ghost hunting (EVP) Electronic Voice Phenomenon session for the Fallasburg Historical Society.

“You get me to all these weird things that I would have never gone to, if it wasn’t for you,” Ludek  said later.

“You should be grateful then,” I said. “Who else would get you into something like this?”

Speaking about a time machine…hmmmmmmmmm

“Does it exist?”

“This could become our Halloween tradition.”

Pss…photos from the EVP sessions currently not available due to ghosts. Stay tuned for the pics later.

By Emma Palova

EWEmma’s Writings

Fallasburg, MI-

“Put your cell phones in the airplane mode,” advised Edwin Lelieveld, Michigan Paranormal Alliance (MPA) team member.

It was a spooky Saturday night before Halloween at the Fallasburg historical village.

Ken Tamke
FHS President Ken Tamke during shooting footage by WZZM.

The Michigan Paranormal Alliance (MPA), the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) and their followers conducted a paranormal investigation inside the Fallasburg museum buildings.

“This has been two years in the making,” said Tina Siciliano Cadwallader, FHS event organizer.

Cadwallader put the first time event together as a fundraiser for the historical society.

The MPA started with an introduction inside the Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse museum. We filed in the old creaking and squeaky desks much like the students did some 150 years ago. The classroom filled up and there was standing room only.

The ghost detecting equipment such as gauss meters, temperature gauges and nitrogen goggles laid on a separate table by the old piano.

Fallasburg Historical Society
Fallasburg School museum

After 41 years, my husband Ludek Pala and I were inside the same school again. This time in the Fallasburg one room schoolhouse for some ghost hunting. Our  teachers  were the  FHS president Ken Tamke and the MPA members.  Our classmates were members of the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) and other organizations.

And overlooking it all was the principal, that is the ghost of Ferris Miller.

The MPA team set up laser purple dot grids and EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) equipment at each location of the paranormal investigation. That is the Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse, John Wesley Fallass House and David Misner House, all of which sit on the Covered Bridge Road. An MPA team member was at each location to interpret the recordings of the EVP sessions.

We divided into three groups, each led by an FHS docent.

Ludek and I were in the BCBS group with  Tamke as docent. We walked down the Covered Bridge Road lighting our way with flashlights. We briefly paused at the Tower Farm, better known as the Tower House. We could not go inside because of its dilapidated interior.

“Two sisters lived here,” said Tamke. “At the time it was normal.”

According to Tamke  there have been reports of haunting at the Tower House.

Local resident Addie Tower Abel, who went to the one-room schoolhouse, said there has been a lot of activity.

“I know about the Tower House, I lived there. So, did my son, they saw a lot of activities,” Abel wrote on Facebook.

Lie Kotecki of MPA conducted the EVP session inside the 1842 John W. Fallass house. The temperature gauge in the middle of the completely restored living room showed 66.6 F. According to the MPA, the temperature drops when ghosts are present causing cold spots. The ghosts also give out electromagnetic fields.

“Drop the temperature if you are inside the house with us,” challenged Lie.

The temperature dropped slightly to 66.2 F.

“Did you live in this house?” she asked. “We have no bad energy.”

Tamke explained the historical facts at each paranormal investigative location aka museum building.

“The furniture was built from the lumber out of a sawmill at Fallasburg,” he said. “Orwin Douglas built the Tower House and John Waters built the David Misner House.”

Back at the schoolhouse, Rosemary Leleiveld reported various ghost encounters.

“I felt a female spirit here,” she said. “Missy or Melissa…..”

But, Tamke said it could have been the ghost of Fallasburg resident Ferris Miller, who had died within the last five years.

The next EVP session followed at the Misner House. The MPA members usually turn off the lights for the sessions.

“The atmosphere veil becomes thinner,” said Peggy Kotecki, MPA team member. “We use radio frequencies and cameras,” she said.

Jason Kotecki, IT engineer at VanAndel Institute, analyzed the EVP recording at the Misner House and reported about other findings. The MPA team conducted an investigation in Allegan.

“Have you been to the old Allegan county jail?” Jason asked.

“Not yet,” said Ludek  smiling.

“Well, we heard a giggle there,” he said.

Peggy, a nurse at Spectrum, said that sometimes she questions her sanity.

“It’s mostly a boring thing to do,” she said. “We do a lot of recordings and a lot of listening. But, you go for the whole package and you relive it.”

During the EVP session, Peggy asked questions:

“What is your name? Did you live here? Did you have children? Did they go to the schoolhouse down the road?”

The MPA does not solicit business and the paranormal alliance does not charge for their investigations.

“The purpose of the investigation is two-fold,” Rosemary Leleiveld said. “We do ghost hunting and we have ghost hunting equipment at each location. You do a ghost walk and learn more of a history of a location. The architecture draws me in.”

For more info on Fallasburg go to www.fallasburgtoday.org and www.fallasburg.org

For more info on MPA go to: www.m-p-a.org

Copyright (c) 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Earth Day 2016

Celebrate Earth Day every day

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI-I am always inspired by the annual Earth Day which falls on April 22, although some countries observe this during the spring equinox.

It’s not just about planting trees around this time of the year. The celebration of Earth Day is a wholesome awareness and appreciation of where we live and how we live.

I live in the country in West Michigan and love every moment of it. I am surrounded by farmers and their love for the land. Living close to nature gives me the fuel to create. I do plant trees in honor of new life coming to this Earth.

Down to earth
Wittenbach Wege agriscience center on Earth Day 2014

It’s a Czech tradition to plant a tree for every newborn. We planted the royal purple smoke tree for Ella in 2010.

In 2014, we planted a flowering willow tree in honor of Josephine Marie Palova.

Later, that year we planted a magnolia for Samuel Chavent.

Sam's magnolia
Sam’s magnolia

This year we will plant a flowering cherry blossom tree or any flowering tree or shrub that does well in clay soil to honor Dominic born in August of 2015.

Our favorite gardening  place  is near Fennville, the Huntree Nursery. Here we get our currant bushes, that are a great source of vitamin C.

Red currant bush. The berries are a great source of vitamin C.
Red currant bush. The berries are a great source of vitamin C.

I am always humbled by the sign in front of the Wittenbach Wege Agriscience Center in Lowell, Michigan that reads:

May Peace Prevail on Earth.

“Look deeper into the nature and you will understand everything better.”

Albert Einstein

Happy Earth Day to all,

Emma’s Blogs

For more info on Huntree Nursery go to:: http://www.huntree.com

 

Copyright (c) 2016. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved,