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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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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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Charlotte

Charlotte

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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.

Olivet

Olivet

Featured Story

Gardener’s grave blankets bring comfort during cold winter months

The December chill doesn’t quite have the same sting as it once did for Monica Lee, a resident of Battle Creek. Kathy Gardener, an Olivet resident, has made sure of that.

It’s been 12 years since Kathy reached out to Monica unexpectedly with a special gift — one that brings Monica tremendous comfort every December.

Kathy, who started making grave blankets more than 30 years for her daughters who passed as small children, donated a grave blanket to Monica in 2006 after hearing how she had tragically lost her only daughter.

“To think she was thinking about someone else at that time,” Monica recalls. “Kathy is a beautiful woman. My baby is warm every year. It gives me a warm feeling.”

Monica has ordered a grave blanket for her daughter ever since, and has added a grave blanket for her mother as well. Monica said it brings her great comfort to know her daughter, who died on Dec. 2, is warmed by the blanket throughout the cold months.

Kathy said she identified with Monica’s story after hearing about it on the news and knew she needed to reach out to her. 

“I’ve been there, losing someone close to you,” Kathy said. 

She started making grave blankets after losing two daughter 35 years ago. Her daughters passed in October and she said she recalls thinking about how they were going to be cold all winter. That’s when she first learned about grave blankets, and the concept brought a feeling of comfort for her daughters. It’s a feeling she said people often convey to her about her creations.

“I hear a lot that blankets are a comfort,” Kathy said. “Our loved ones aren’t with us physically, but they are always in our hearts. The blankets provide a comfort to us and color to the cemetery.”

Kathy donates at least one grave blanket each year, often to a family like Monica’s. 

“It changed my life losing my girls,” Kathy said. “This is a legacy I can carry on through my daughters.”

The blankets are made from fresh pine branches and weigh 25-30 pounds. They are anchored in the ground before it freezes. Kathy said she is very particular about the colors she adds through flowers and bows. Each takes about an hour to create. She said she cuts down about 11 big trees from a local tree farm each year.

To order a grave blanket for your loved one, call Kathy at (269) 274-3266.

Advertisement: Readers: since many ads are from outside the local area, please know what you are buying before sending money.

Bellevue

Bellevue

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Bronco basketball teams look to cap off perfect regular seasons

The road to perfect regular seasons for both the Bellevue boys and girls varsity basketball teams could go through Athens. 

The Bronco boys were 18-0 heading into its toughest remaining regular season test, a Friday, Feb. 22 showdown at Athens High School. Bellevue defeated Athens, which was undefeated at the time, earlier this season, 68-62 in Bellevue. The game could be much more difficult in a hostile environment.

The Lady Broncos, meanwhile, host Athens on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Bellevue defeated Athens on the road in their tightest contest of the season, 37-36. The girls were 16-0 heading into their game at Climax on Thursday, Feb. 21. Bellevue defeated Climax 49-15 at home earlier this season.

In their most recent action, Bellevue guards Wyatt Waterbury and Gino Costello led the Broncos to a 60-73 win over Climax, securing a third-straight SCAA West Division title. Waterbury paced the Broncos with 20 points, 6 steals and 4 assists. Costello added 14 points, and 4 assists. Carson Betz recorded a double-double, finishing with 10 points, 14 rebounds and 5 steals.

The team travels to Jackson Christian High School on Monday, Feb. 25 to open District play against Tekonsha.

In the girls most recent victory, Morgan Messenger led the way with 13 points as Bellevue defeated Waldron, 33-30. Mikayla Crawley finished with 10 points, 3 steals and 2 assists. 

The Lady Broncos host Colon on Saturday, Feb. 23, and finish off the regular season with home games against Athens on Tuesday, Feb. 26 and Tekonsha on Thursday, Feb. 28.

The team opens District play at Athens High School on Monday, March 4 against Battle Creek St. Philip.

Advertisement: Readers: since many ads are from outside the local area, please know what you are buying before sending money.

Eaton County

Eaton County

Featured Story

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.

Advertisement: Readers: since many ads are from outside the local area, please know what you are buying before sending money.

Vermontville

Vermontville

Featured Story

JoLei’s Diner opens in downtown Vermontville

Crissta Ames

Contributing Writer

When looking for a delicious place to eat, check out Vermontville’s newest restaurant, JoLei’s Diner. The farm-themed diner, which had its grand opening on Saturday, June 8, serves breakfast and dinner foods like skillets, omelettes, country fried steak, a variety of sandwiches, pizza, and more. If you’re in the mood for chicken and waffles, they’ve got that too! 

The owner, Denna Matonis, managed the Maple Leaf for five years and has been in the Vermontville area for about 10 years. 

“I like this community. I try to help out with the community as much as I can, with the schools, volunteer coaching, doing Vermontville days,” Matonis said. “The community needed a restaurant.” 

Matonis has been asked many times if she is JoLei, but she is not. However, the name of her restaurant has a very personal meaning. 

“When we decided to purchase the restaurant, we obviously had to come up with a name.  I wanted a name that differentiated the restaurant from anything it was in the past. I wanted a name that was personal and had meaning,” Matonis said. “I have two wonderful children. Joseph is 9 and Leigha is 7.  These two are my world. Therefore, I decided to name my new labor of love, after my forever loves. ‘Jo’ for Joseph, and ‘Lei’ for Leigha.” 

She also chose the word “Diner” to give the restaurant a cozy, small-town feel and absolutely succeeds in doing so, with warm red walls, fresh flowers, and cute animal decor all around. 

“I get a lot of compliments on my decor, and I have the barn door to stand out,” said Matonis. The front barn door follows right along with the farmhouse theme so visitors can spot it from the road and know that’s where JoLei’s Diner is.

While brainstorming for the diner’s menu, Matonis wanted to create foods that were unique and not easy to find in the area, like cheese curds, chicken and waffles, and tater tot tumblers. Tater tot tumblers are a mixture of mashed potatoes, hash browns, bacon, cheese and onion, all deep-fried together. 

“We tested a lot of things.” Matonis said. The diner opened shortly before Syrup Festival and that served as a little trial run for the business, and it’s done well in the meantime. “I’m happy with it. It’s been a fun venture.” 

JoLei’s Diner is located at 174 S. Main Street in Vermontville, and hours can be found on their Facebook page.

Advertisement: Readers: since many ads are from outside the local area, please know what you are buying before sending money.

Potterville

Potterville

Featured Story

New Potterville High School boys varsity basketball coach sets first camp

Newly hired Potterville High School boys varsity basketball coach, Jacob Briney, and his entire coaching staff, is offering a four-day basketball camp for area youth in second through 12th grade. The camp will be held four consecutive Sundays beginning July 21 in the Potterville High School gymnasium.

Students entering ninth through 12th grade will attend from 2 to 4 p.m. July 21, July 28, Aug. 4 and Aug. 11. Students entering sixth through eighth grade will attend from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and students entering second through fifth grade will attend from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The cost of the camp is $50 per participant, which includes access to all four Sundays, and a custom Moneyball practice jersey. Checks should be made payable to Potterville Public Schools, attention Boys Basketball.

Registration forms must be completed before the start of camp and are available in the Potterville High School athletic office. There will also be an opportunity to register your child on Sunday, July 21 prior to the start of camp.

For more information, contact coach Briney via email at coachbriney@yahoo.com.

Advertisement: Readers: since many ads are from outside the local area, please know what you are buying before sending money.

Eaton Rapids

Eaton Rapids

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Eaton Rapids

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ERFD Marks 18th Anniversary of 9-11

Deb Malewski

Contributing Writer

September 11, 2001 is still fresh in the minds of the members of the Eaton Rapids Fire Department. With each anniversary of that date they remember their brotherhood of 343 firefighters, 60 law enforcement officers, eight EMT’s and paramedics and almost 3,000 civilians who were lost, using their fire equipment as a symbolic gesture of respect and remembrance.

The ERFD aerial platform ladder truck sits in front of the department building on Line Street with its ladder extended 30 feet or so, holding the American flag. In front of it stands a flagpole with a second flag flying at half-mast. An addition to the annual display this year is a quotation on the Public Safety message board from Elmer Davis (1890–1958), a news reporter, author, the Director of the United States Office of War Information during World War II and a Peabody Award recipient. “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”

“Everyone says don’t forget 9-11. The firefighters probably never will,” said Fire Chief Roger McNutt. “Everyday we still relate to the incident. One of our firefighters, Kevin Towsley, even went to Ground Zero for two weeks back then, helping dig through the rubble.”

Linda McNutt, the wife and mother of firefighters, still feels the heartbreak of the event, she said, and the display brings back a lot of memories. 

“If something happened there, it could happen here,” she said. “Every time the tone drops, I hold my breath till they come home. The idea of losing two—I just couldn’t take it.”

Hamlin Township Fire Rescue on Clinton Trail has also set up a similar memorial at their Fire Station. They remind us on their Facebook page: “Tonight as you go to sleep in preparation for your life tomorrow, kiss the ones you love, snuggle a little tighter, and never take one second of your life for granted.”

Sunfield

Sunfield

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Mulliken

Mulliken

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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....

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