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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Antrim County breast cancer mortality rate drops from 1st in the state to 33rd. in just two years

Pat, shown here with ACHT co founder Dee Lynch, stresses the importance of being your own advocate. "You know your body better than anyone, don't be afraid to have that mammogram. Detecting and treating breast cancer early, is key to survival."

Three women, three lives, forever changed by breast cancer.
                               by Priscilla Miller

In 2009 Antrim County, had the unwelcome distinction of having the highest breast cancer mortality rate in the State of Michigan. Last year that number dropped to 12th in the state and this year, it’s down again, to 33rd. Credit for this decrease in breast cancer deaths, may very well be attributed to the combined efforts of the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, Munson Hospital, and the Antrim County High Tea for Breast Cancer Prevention, an all volunteer, 501c3 organization.

 This unique partnership between the public, and private sector, provides uninsured, and under insured Antrim County residents, with free mammograms. It’s driving force, is an extensive education program, which emphasizes, the importance of breast health, and stresses awareness of the importance of early detection, in the prevention of breast cancer deaths.

Within the last 12 months the following three women, had their lives altered forever by breast cancer. All sought and received assistance, from the the Antrim County High Tea for Breast Cancer Prevention.

Pat, underwent surgery for thyroid cancer, while still in her twenties. Eleven years ago, she discovered a lump during her monthly breast exam. When nothing showed up on the mammogram that followed, Pat who was living in the Detroit Metro area at the time, should have been relieved, but she says, “I figured I knew my body, better than anyone, and I knew something wasn’t right, so I got a second opinion.  It’s so very important to be your own advocate. If I hadn’t, gone for that second opinion, I wouldn’t be here today, because an ultrasound revealed not one, but two tumors.” She underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery on her right breast, followed by eight rounds of chemotherapy. The biopsy on the tumors produced surprising and extremely rare results, because each tumor contained a different types of cancer cell. In reality, Pat had been simultaneously stricken with two forms of breast cancer.

Pat moved to Bellaire in 2010. While having her annual mammogram at the Smith Family Breast Center, in Traverse City, this past July, she says, “I knew something was wrong, when the technician came back into the room to take additional views and then told me to sit down, that someone would be in to talk with me.”  Within minutes her worse fears were realized, the biopsy results confirmed that once again, at the age of 55, she had breast cancer.

Pat had implicit faith in the surgeon who had performed her first mastectomy. In September, she traveled down state, where her surgeon performed another mastectomy and reconstruction, of her left breast. According to Pat, ACHT helped with gas cards for her trip there, with lodging for her follow up visit to  the surgeon, and with co pays for medical services and prescriptions. She also has peace of mind, knowing if she needs help with anything, or just needs to talk, someone from ACHT, is only a phone call away.

Over the years, Ila, a 77 year old Mancelona resident, had undergone several breast biopsies, so when another lump appeared she wasn’t overly concerned, because a mammogram taken just six months earlier of the same breast, had been diagnosed as scar tissue from a previous biopsy.

 She underwent a biopsy of the lump and a few days later, heard the words, every woman fears. This time, the biopsy results indicated that she had breast cancer. A lumpectomy followed, but when her Oncologist told her she had to undergo 20 radiation treatments, at the Biederman Cancer Treatment Center, in Traverse City, Ila didn’t know what she was going to do. As a senior living on a fixed income, she couldn’t afford the gas for the 77 mile round trip, to Traverse City, each day.

In desperation, she went to the County Building in Bellaire, seeking assistance, only to be informed there were no programs available that could help her. An office clerk there, suggested she contact Antrim County High Tea for Breast Cancer Prevention’s cofounder, Dee Lynch, and gave her the number. Ila says, “When Dee said, they could help me, I was so relieved to know, that someone was concerned about me and really cared. They provided gas for all twenty visits to the treatment center.”

Thanks to early detection, Ila’s cancer is now in remission and says, “I take life, one day at a time. They said they could help me, and they did. I thank God, for those wonderful people. I don’t know what I would have done without their help.”

Last October, 48 year old Tonda, discovered a lump in her breast. With a family history of breast cancer, (her maternal grandmother had it.) Tonda knew she needed a mammogram, but didn’t have the insurance to pay for it. A girlfriend told her, to call Dee Lynch, with the ACHT.

Tonda says, “they were amazing!” In no time at all, the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, saw to it that she had her mammogram, biopsy and a lumpectomy. Five months of chemotherapy followed, then three months of radiation. During this time ACHT provided gas cards for trips to the doctor and treatment facilities.  She, says, “it was really nice knowing I could call ACHT, anytime of the day or night, with questions or concerns.”

Recently, Tonda told her mother, “I’ve lost a year of my life.” Her mother corrected her saying, “No, you have gained the rest of your life.” Tonda recommends that “anyone living in Antrim County, who needs a mammogram and doesn’t have insurance can call the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, at 1-800-432-4121. That call, can save your life.” For information on ACHT, go to www.antrimcountyhightea.org 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The History of Labor Day

The History of Labor Day

Labor Day: How it Came About & What it Means
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day
More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.
Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."
But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.
In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sleeping Bear Dunes Voted 'Most Beautiful Place in America'

Sleeping Bear Dunes Voted 'Most Beautiful Place in America'

PHOTO: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Depot Museum looking for loan of military memorabilia

At a recent meeting of the Helena Township Historical Society, members decided the exhibit at Alden’s Depot Museum for 2012, will be on the U.S. Military, with a special focus on local members of the armed forces. The society is asking residents who either personally served, or had ancestors that served, to consider loaning any military memorabilia or artifacts, to the museum’s exhibit. Anyone willing to participate may contact Paul Delange at 231-377-7333

Free Model Train Show Starts August13th.

  All Aboard – Alden
 The Alden Depot Museum will host its annual
“Model Train Show   and Swap Meet” from 10am to 4pm, August 13th and 14th. This FREE show will continue each weekend there after from1pm – 4pm, Saturday and   Sundays, through Labor Day.

Featured are displays and running model trains from N- gauge to large Lionel Standard Gauge. It is a great opportunity to spend some time reliving the past and enjoy watching the children or grandchildren’s eyes light up as they see and hear the wonderful world of model trains. 
Anyone interested in selling, running or displaying their trains, is invited to call for more information.

Contact Paul DeLange at 231-377-7333 or E-mail at   ddelange@juno.com 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

United Methodist Church damaged in Alden

On Thursday, Pastor Dan Biteman, of Alden’s United Methodist Church was busy at his desk in the church office. Some of the children from the Sprigs n Sprouts Day Care Center, were in the church play yard, cooling themselves off on a hot afternoon, by running through the sprinkler, while other children were in a classroom in the church basement. Suddenly, there was a loud boom, and the entire building began shaking violently. When the pastor went to investigate he discovered a Chevy Tahoe, which had been traveling down Alden Highway, when it neglected to make the turn onto Helena Road, and had driven straight into the side of the building, and into the church vestibule.

Pastor Dan said, “A person nearby, told me to be careful because there was blood everywhere.” Thinking someone was seriously injured, the pastor looked into the opening left in the side of the building and saw a man standing outside of the vehicle. At first, he appeared to be someone who might be trying to help the driver, but Pastor Dan soon realized, he was the driver, and the red substance that looked like blood, wasn’t blood at all, it was strawberry jam from the church’s now demolished food pantry.

The South Torch Lake Fire & Rescue responded to the scene and the driver, who reportedly “blacked out at the wheel” was transported by ambulance to the hospital, to be checked out. The church vestibule suffered significant damage to both stair cases leading to the basement and upstairs to the church itself, along with damage to the elevator. The children were evacuated out a side door, and thankfully no one in the church was hurt.

SUV crashes through the Alden United Methodist Church!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Things you probably never knew about Alden.

Some interesting information from my book, “Reflections at the Water’s Edge, an Illustrated History of the Alden Area.”

In 1854 Lumber Camp # 4 was established on the East side of Torch Lake, by a creek, which today bears the name of that lumber camp’s mananger, John Spencer. The settlement was originally called Lewis Town, and then named Noble, after the lumber baron, Henry Hobart Noble.

In 1870, Reuben Coy, rented a building at the mouth of Spencer Creek, and began operating the first general store in Helena Township. The proceeds from sales that first day, totaled $ 46.81 A pound of sugar back then, sold for 15 cents a lb. and ladies could choose from a selection of two shoe styles.

Bringing supplies from Elk Rapids, was dangerous since teams had to ford(swim) the Torch River. So Reuben purchased a two masted scooner, named the King Fisher, which brought supplies and passengers from Elk Rapids. The King Fisher was used until 1873 when the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, was built through Kalkaska and Mancelona. This enabled him to haul supplies with teams and wagons.

Reuben, eventually built a stone burr grist mill, which was powered by the waters of Spencer Creek. Settlers used trucks, with wheels made from the ends of sawed off maple logs, and drawn by teams of oxen, to bring their grain to the mill. The mill closed in 1890, but the building still stands today. The Alden Bar, now occupies the spot where theCoy Store once stood.

In 1890, a railroad line traveling from TC following the Chain of Lakes, north to Bay View, above Petoskey, was built. The logical route would have been straight north through Elk Rapids, But instead, an expert in railroad law and finance, by the name of William Alden Smith, used his influence to establish a route, that brought the railroad through Spencer Creek. Grateful townspeople renamed the town, Alden in his honor. Later on, he is rumored to have said, that “Alden is the handsomest and biggest town of its size, in the U.S.”

The first train depot was built in approximately 1892 . In 1904 “The Resort Special” began operations, carrying “summer people” to camps and resorts, that had sprung up around the lake. Soon Alden was know as the “leading summer resort between Grand Rapids and Charlevoix”. In 1906, despite the efforts of a bucket brigade,the depot burned to the ground. The following year, the new Pier Marquette Train Depot, was built and today it is home to the Helena Township, Historical Museum.

With arrival of the railroad, more people and commerce arrived and before long The Coy store had some competition, when Foster and Company Store, opened across the street. When Coy put up a banner reading “Welcome Tourists” Ernest Foster, put up a sign that read “Welcome Everyone” Another time, Coy decide to start selling stoves and planned a big promotion. Foster had already been carrying stoves for sometime. On the day of Coy’s sale, he moved every stove in his store outside, and offered them at wholesale prices. Not one stove was sold at the Coy Store that day.

The Main Hotel was built in 1890. One evening, upon hearing that a dance was being held at the hotel, a group of working men gathered there. When no women showed up, the frustrated men began dancing with each other. When the piano player finally gave up and went home, a fist fight erupted and the sheriff had to be summoned.

In 1898 Dayton Higgins built Higgins Drug Store. Since doctors, were almost non existent in this area back then, he served as druggist, doctor and veterinarian. The Higgins family lived in the store building, and when Dayton passed away, his daughter Ethel took over. The soda fountain was a favorite place to gather and drink a cherry coke or so[ a soda. Today, people wait in line to get a hand dipped ice cream cone, from Higgins Store. Miss Higgins had two Great Danes, when one of the dogs bit someone the “George Smith vs Brutus” hearing, was held at the Township Hall (today’s 45th parallel.) Miss Higgins lawyer argued that the Smith, had caught his sleeve on a nail, causing the injury and Brutus won the case! Local folk lore insists, that Ethel still haunts the upper rooms of the old store.

During the Depression, Inez Hiatt took a job as switchboard operator, at the Grand Traverse Telephone Company Office, which was located in the building where the Red Eye Gallery is today. Most people could not afford the luxury of a telephone, so when someone wanted to contact them, they would call the telephone company and Inez’s young son Bud, acting as a “runner”, would hop on his scooter, and go to a home or cottage and inform the person, that they had a phone call. Then,they had to go to the phone company office, to receive their call. Bud saved all his earnings and tips, and by the age of 9 was able to afford a new bicycle. Today, well into his eighties, Bud still remembers that he paid $22.86 for that bike.

In 1963, Robert Studley Scott Jr. held up the Alden State Bank, at gunpoint. He stole $20,000. stuffed it into a paper bag, and might have made a clean get a way, had he used something stronger than kite string, to tie up the bank teller with! The teller was able to quickly break free, notified the police, and the culprit was caught in record time.

In 1984 Aden’s beloved and somewhat eccentric, Chef Geno, opened the Alden Mil House, as a chicken carry out restaurant, where he also did catering and sold his blend of spices. Geno was a creative, as well as a very messy cook, leaving his messes in the kitchen, for his family and employees, to clean up. His wife Joy, finally had enough, and convinced him to let her manage the Mill House, and sell his spices, while he did the marketing.

Geno loved nature and reptiles were his favorite. He once had a pet water dragon, named Lizzy. Whenever he went out of town on business, he left Lizzy in the care of his employees. He even taught them how to hunt for ant eggs, with which to feed her. One day, he decided to put Lizzy out in the yard, so she could sun herself. He tied her little harness to a rock, but Alas, a big bird appeared out of nowhere, swooped down and carried poor Lizzy away, never to be seen again!

At one time there were three gas stations in Alden, but no automobiles! And now you know the rest of the story!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

2011 Ride Around Torch

Michigan's Most ScenicBike Tour!

Sunday, July 17, 2011
Elk Rapids, MI

$1 per rider is donated to the
League of Michigan Bicyclists
 Tour Overview
The Ride Around Torch is an annual one-day 26, 63, or 100 mile bicycle tour primarily along the scenic shores of Torch Lake, Michigan's longest and one of its most beautiful inland lakes with unusually clear, bright turquoise hued waters. Several villages and hamlets lie along the lake's shore including Alden, Eastport, Clam River and Torch River. The ride is a recreational, social tour that is neither a race nor a test of strength although the very hilly 100 mile route can be a challenge.
The 26 mile ride is an out and back around the north end of Elk Lake through Torch River to the food stop at Crystal Beach Park. Same hills and flats of the other routes only less.
Our signature 63 mile ride circles Torch Lake passing through Eastport, Clam River, Alden and Torch River with hills, flats, scenic views and multiple food stops.
The 100 mile ride is a challenging century with the rolling shoreline of Torch Lake, extreme hills and then some. Racing clusters are not recommended. 
By June 30:
 Individual - $25
• Family - $55

(with minor children)
Adult non-rider: $10
Child non-rider: $8
A premium quality shirt:
    Short sleeve - $15
   • Long sleeve - $20
     (with entry by June 30)
Please Note: Ride fees will increase on July 1 and again on the day of ride.
Save $$$ by registering early!

EASY: Download mail-in registration form available here, complete and send to us.
EASIER: Register conveniently online using Active.com.
 Ride Details
• Well-marked roads for all routes.
• Detailed route maps provided.
• Roving SAG support.
• Great snacks at food stops.
• Scrumptious picnic lunch at the Elk Rapids Village Beach from noon to 4:00 p.m.
  featuring brats, hot dogs, Caesar, potato, pasta and three bean salads, coleslaw, baked
  beans, chips, iced tea and lemonade.
• Showers at Elk Rapids High School until 4:00 p.m.
• Swimming at the Village Beach on East Bay.
• Bike tech available morning of tour for last minute help at reasonable rates.
• Breakfast is available at T. J. Charlie’s, 135 River Street in downtown Elk Rapids
  beginning at 6:00 a.m.
SAFETY  • Helmets must be worn by all riders.
• Riders are to obey all traffic rules and laws and to ride in a courteous and safe manner.
  Michigan law requires cyclists to ride as near to the right as practicable and nor more
  than two abreast.
• Children 15 and under must be accompanied by a cycling adult.
• Register prior to tour by:
  1. Completing and mailing in the tour registration form by Monday, July11 or
  2. Going online to register using Active.com. A small fee will be added.
      Online registration closes at midnight, Thursday, July 14.
• Save by registering by July 1.• Day of ride registration is available.
• Packet pick-up/day of ride registration is 7 to 10:00 a.m. at the Elk Rapids HS.
• Century riders must start by 8:00 a.m.: 63 milers by 9:00 a.m. SAG support ends on
  all routes at 3:00 p.m. so gauge your ride time accordingly.
• Parents or guardians must sign a release for riders aged 17 or under.
• Your wristband is your admission to food stops, the picnic and for SAG support.

The Elk Rapids HS is located on the east side of Elk Rapids, MI about 17 miles north of Traverse City on US31. At the traffic light on US31, turn east on Ames Street and follow the signs to the high school
. For MapQuest directions from your location, click hereAll routes finish at the Elk Rapids Village Beach at the west end of River Street. Directionsback to the high school are on the route maps.
$1.00 per rider is donated to the League of Michigan Bicyclists to support safe cycling.
This is a rain or shine tour so no refunds after July 1.
Questions may be directed to ratdirector@cherrycapitalcyclingclub.org.
Information on hotels, motels and camping may be obtained from the Elk Rapids Chamber of Commerce and the Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Need help with your new digital camera???

On Tuesday, August 9, from 6-8 pm local artist and photographer, Lisa Lirones will help you master that new digital camera.  Get to know important settings to get the most out of your picture taking and explore new ideas through lighting and perspective.   Taking location photos in the summer; bring your camera. Held at the Helena Township Public Library, 8751 Helena Road, Alden, MI 49612. You can call to register at 231-331-4318.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

JuJuniper Garden Walk, promises diversity in garden designs

The gracious gardens surrounding the charming home, known as Alden’s “Pink Lady”, with it’s trade mark, petunia lined stairway, will be one of six gardens featured during the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on July 7th during the Juniper Garden Club’s semi annual, garden walk. A centennial farm, a log cabin and a cottage garden are all included on the walk. Tickets will be sold at the Depot in Alden, on the day of the walk for $10. and are available for $8. at Mullalys in Elk Rapids, at Carter Candles and the Muffin Tin in Alden, as well as the Lark’s Nest, is Rapid City.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Yummy Way, to Spend the Day!

Strawberry shortcake piled high with whipped cream was the order of the day, down at Alden's Depot Museum, during the Downtown Alden Business Association's (DABA) annual Father's Day, "Strawberry Festival" fundraiser. Business owners dished out bowls of the luscious treat and sold quarts of fresh, locally grown berries from the Brown Orchard and Cole's U Pick Strawberry farm on Clam Lake Road in Bellaire. Proceeds from the event will be used to provide live entertainment on Thursday evenings during the Alden Stroll. The first stroll starts this week at 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. and will continue, every Thursday evening until August 18th.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Antrim County High Tea for Breast Cancer Prevention continues to make a difference.

The Antrim County High Tea for Breast Cancer Prevention was held on Monday, at the Pelican Room, in Central Lake.  All tables were decorated in a variety of beautiful, motifs. This Mardi Gras table, proved to be a real attention getter, as were the table's occupants. 
Ed Huller, president of the board of directors for the 501C3, all volunteer, organization, addressed those in attendance and informed them of the progress ACHT has made, since the first high tea was held in 2004. Since then, the number of low income/ uninsured women who've received a mammogram, has grown form 40, that year, to 215 in 2010. He also noted, "that according to the National Cancer Institute, over the last three years, Antrim County's mortality rate has dropped from 1st in the state of Michigan, down to 33rd in the state"  he credits the High Tea's programs, in partnership with the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, and Munson Medical Center with having an impact, on the change in these statistics. He also reminded everyone, that "State cutbacks are creating significant, new challenges in serving those in need."  Benediction was sung by Catherine Belcher, of Kalkaska and Dr. Charles Weitz, Director of MHC Smith Family Breast Health Center at Copper Ridge, was the guest speaker. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Taste of Alden, anywhere, any time!

A new “Made in Michigan” product makes its debut

For the past twenty three years, generations of families have been returning each summer to The Muffin Tin in Alden, to enjoy Jane VanEtten’s freshly baked muffins. Now in response to numerous requests from residents and visitors alike, those same freshly baked,moist, Muffin Tin muffins, can be made at home, anytime, by simply opening a package of Muffin Tin Mix, mixing in a few basic ingredients, along with some dried fruit or nuts if desired, and baking.

The two pound package of muffin mix, makes about 28 muffins. The mix along with bags of dried cherries, cranberries and pecan pieces, are available on line at www.aldenmuffintin.com, may be purchased at the Muffin Tin, or by calling 231-331-6808

As cofounder of the Antrim County High Tea for Breast Cancer Prevention, Jane, is donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of her muffin mix, to the 501 C all volunteer,organization, that assists uninsured and under insured residents of Antrim County, with free mammograms.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pure Michigan products, arrive in Alden

The Winter Workshop,now carries a new line of Official, Pure Michigan products. The Pure Michigan “Eating Fresh in the Great Lakes State” cookbook, proved so popular that within ten days, it sold out and Mary Pixley, had to order more. The line includes Pure Michigan Logo tea shirts, coffee mugs, handmade soy candles, hats, glasses and more. These items allow visitors returning home, to take part of Michigan, and all of the beautiful memories of their visit here, home with them. All of the Pure Michigan merchandise is made in the United States and much of it, is made right here, in Michigan. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Pure Michigan products, goes to support the Pure Michigan Campaign.

Fundraiser to pay for South Torch Lake Firefighter's funeral expenses

Memorial Ride and Poker Run, for South Torch Lake Fire Fighter

A Memorial Ride and Poker Run, will be held on Saturday, June 25th from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Kritters Bar, 9395 Valley Rd. in Rapid City, for Captain Scott Tracy, of the South Torch Lake Fire Department. All riders are welcome to take the scenic ride around Torch Lake. A benefit dinner, and silent auction, will follow the ride at 5:00 p.m. and the public is invited to attend.

Scott,was a 12 year veteran and EMT with the department. He passed away suddenly last month and leaves a wife and four young daughters. All proceeds from this event will go to help with Scott’s funeral expenses. Anyone wishing to make a donation, may send a check made out to Mortensons Funeral Home, in care of: C. Baker, 6486 West Elder Rd. Bellaire, 49612

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Alden's little mystery

It's Alden's little mystery!  Now that A Stone's Throw Flower Shop is gone, the front of this charming little building, once bursting with blooms of every kind and color, now sits naked and bare. Some activity has been noted however, and speculation abounds, regarding who, or what, will be occupying the building in the near future .....stay tuned!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Pear Tree Grows in Alden.

You won't find a partridge in The Pear Tree Gallery, but you will find some beautiful works of art, limited edition prints, and note cards, by watercolorist, Janis Schilling, along with an array of pottery, fiber art, wood products, accents for the home or cottage and ceramics, including a unique, Torch Lake platter and she specializes in custom gift baskets, in a variety of price ranges.

"Jan" as she likes to be called, has been drawing and painting, for as long as she can remember. She credits her mother, with encouraging her, because she matted, framed and proudly displayed her young daughter's art work. As a teenager, Jan's work was sold, at Brownwood, in Central Lake. Today, Jan says, " I occasionally meet someone, who tells me they have one of those original Brownwood paintings. I've offered them a choice of my recent work, in exchange for my childhood paintings, but they don't want to part with them!" Jan graduated from Central Michigan University, with a major in art and completed her graduate work at West Virginia University, where she received her Masters of Art with a major in painting. She went on to teach grades K - 12.

She resides in Ohio, during the winter months, where she has a studio and has been doing art festivals in northern Michigan, during the summer. For several years, she, like many others in this area, was curious about the historic bank building on Torch Lake Drive, with a Gallery sign posted on its facade, that had sat vacant for several years. She had been looking for a location to open her own gallery, when she learned the building was finally available. She feels that the old building, was just waiting for her.
Jan is pleased to offer a line of Raspberry products from her brother's Sandhill Berry Farm, in Pennsylvania. The jams, jellies and sauces have been featured in the William Sonoma Catalogue and served at the White House.

The Pear Tree Gallery, is open during the summer from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan can be reached at 412-582-2661

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2011 Alden's Memorial Day Parade For Those Who Missed It!

I Love A Parade

I Love a Parade!

Well, actually it's not the parade as much, as the reason for the parade! A few years back, I learned 
that Alden was no longer going to hold a Memorial Day Parade. It seems the powers that be, (who ever
they were) had decided to concentrate all efforts, on the parade held downtown, during "Alden Days."
Shortly after learning about the demise of the Memorial Day Parade, I happened to meet up with Guy Barber,
Alden's own W.W. II Bronze Star recipient. When I told him the news, he exclaimed, " Well, I'm marching 
down the street, even if I march alone." It was then I knew, he wasn't going to march alone. I've often though
that motto which says, "Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread" so, without skipping a beat, I told Guy,
he would not be marching alone!. I went home and started making some phone calls to groups, who had
previously participated in the parade. One group had already been contacted and told they wouldn't be
needed that year. After doing some fast talking, I managed to persuade them, that they were indeed wanted,
and needed, in our parade. Upon contacting the American Legion Color Guard, I learned that no one, had told
them the parade had been canceled! I could only imagine, what would have happened with just one, lone, 
Bronze Star recipient, and the color guard, marching through Alden!

The morning of the first parade, that I had ever organized
dawned, and I whispered a little promise to my "Daddy"
who passed away, at the age of 29, from a heart attack,
while serving in the U.S. Navy. "This one'sfor you Daddy," I
said. Walking out into the kitchen, to grab my first cup of coffee,
I realized, I didn't have any horses marching in the parade. I
told my husband, "well, it's too late now, to worry about horses,
maybe next year." A short time later, as we were turning down a
side street on our way to the parade staging area, there were two
riders on horse back, carrying American Flags. I rolled down the
window, as one of the riders asked, " Do you know, if there's a
parade today?" " Follow me" I said! At the staging area, everyone
had arrived and sat waiting. Waiting for ...... waiting for, me! I hastily
lined the participants up, gave the signal to start the parade and it
worked! The Mancelona Band started playing, the boy scouts, the color guard and veterans, started marching, the Shriner's
float, the antique autos, all proceeded down the parade route, followed by the horses and the South Torch Lake Fire Depart-
ment. Alden, had its Memorial Day Parade! It wouldn't be, 'just another day' to picnic and party. Alden would remember,
remember, those who had paid the ultimate price for our freedom!

Later that evening,after the parade, as I sat in euphoric exhaustion,
a faint memory of something crossed my mind. Was I imaging it? As
if to validate that memory, I lifted the lid on a little box containing
precious little letters from a father, to his little daughter, and there,
in the last letter he wrote, prior to his death were these words! "Dear
Little Angel Girl, Someday, when you are a big girl, maybe daddy can
get you a nice horsy." As I organize the parade each year, many people
stop to thank me for "saving the parade". It is now my honor, to be
known as "Alden's Parade Lady!" and each year, as I leave for the
parade staging area, I whisper, " This one's for you, Daddy!"

Friday, May 27, 2011

A time to remember, Freedom is not Free!

Memorial Day weekend has arrived! It's a time to open up the cabin, plant the garden, take the boat out to the sand bar on Torch Lake, for the first time this season. It's time to gather with family and friends, for some down home grilling. It's also time to remember! Remember, those who made the supreme sacrifice and given all of their tomorrows, that we might enjoy ourselves today! So this weekend, take a moment to remember this:


by Kelly Strong

I watched the flag pass by one day,

It fluttered in the breeze;

A young Marine saluted it,

And then he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform,

So young, so tall, so proud;

With hair cut square and eyes alert,

He'd stand out in any crowd.

I thought... how many men like him

Had fallen through the years?

How many died on foreign soil?

How many mothers' tears?

How many pilots' planes shot down

How many died at sea

How many foxholes were soldiers' graves

No, Freedom is not Free.

I heard the sound of Taps one night,

When everything was still;

I listened to the bugler play,hy

And felt a sudden chill;

I wondered just how many times

That Taps had meant "Amen"

When a flag had draped a coffin

Of a brother or a friend;

I thought of all the children,

Of the mothers and the wives,

Of fathers, sons and husbands.

With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard

At the bottom of the sea,

Of unmarked graves in Arlington.

No. Freedom is not Free!

Memorial Day Parade & Service Monday May 30, 1 p.m.

Monday May 30th, 1 p.m.
"Downtown Alden"
Honoring Area Veterans
Past and Present 
(ALL Veterans are invited to march)American Legion Military Color Guard
Decorated Area Veterans
Members of Boy Scout Troop #23
Mancelona High School Band
Antique and Vintage Sports Cars
Northwest Michigan Shriners
DNR’s “Smokey the Bear”
Cruisin’ Canines
South Torch Lake Fire Department
follow at the Depot and then at the cemetery. 
(Reverend Dan Biteman, officiating)

A Facelift for Alden's Harbor

The construction of new floating docks took place this week in Alden's harbor. The new docks, were made possible by a grant, from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund and an "in kind" grant from Helena Township.  The area will be landscaped with the addition of a few trees and shrubs. In addition, of a patio style area, complete with benches, is slated for completion by Memorial Day.
         Story & Photo By Priscilla Miller

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