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Grant Township firefighters to host BBQ Sunday

GRANT TWP. — The Grant Township Fire & Rescue 29th annual barbecue chicken dinner will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the fire station, 835 W. Hoague Road.

The event is a community get-together and a fundraiser for the Grant Township Fire Department. Proceeds from the chicken dinner help fund the department’s facility and equipment expenses, said Grant Fire Capt. Mike Keson.

He said the event brings the community together, both the township residents and people from the surrounding area. He said 300 to 400 people usually attend the dinner.

“It’s a good social get-together and the food is good,” Keson said. “This year, hopefully, with the car show, there should be lots of stuff to look at and do there. Some people you only see once a year at this stuff, so it’s a great social event.”

Each person will get a half chicken “with all the fixings,” according to the event poster. The cost is $10 for adults and $7 for kids ages 12 and younger.

The firefighters will be barbecuing about 400 pieces of chicken as well as side dishes, so there should be plenty on the menu for everybody, Keson said.

There will also be a craft show and farmers market with local vendors. Items typically include fresh produce, wind chimes, jewelry and more, Keson said, adding, “You just never know what you’ll see.”

A new activity this year will be the Bring Your Own Vehicle Show, in which people are encouraged to show off any type of vehicle, Keson said.

“It’s basically a car show,” Keson said, adding, “You can bring your tractor, your doodlebug, your truck, whatever. It’s not only just classic cars.”

He said there won’t be trophies but there will be prizes for the vehicle show.

“We’re just going to give out some tongue-in-cheek prizes,” Keson said. “There’s nothing to compete (for) like best in show or anything like that, because a lot of guys don’t care for that. But basically it’s a get-together. We’ve got a bunch of donated prizes, anywhere from tools to pizzas from local restaurants around the township and in town. It’s just basically fun prizes.”

Grant firefighters will be cooking and running the car show, and there will also be some firefighters from Free Soil-Meade grilling and helping with the dinner, Keson said. Since each year Grant sends firefighters to help with the annual Free Soil-Meade Fire Department Pig Roast in July, Free Soil-Meade returns the favor.

“We go out there and help them, and then they’re going to send a bunch of people over to back us up over here to run this one,” he said. “It takes a lot of manpower to do the whole thing.”

Proceeds from the dinner help pay for costs that the Mason County Rural Fire Authority doesn’t fund, Keson said.

He said a project on the Grant Township Fire Department’s to-do list is to renovate its fire barn’s two garage doors. Keson said the doorways should be enlarged, and the doors themselves will likely have to be replaced.

Keson explained that during the last couple of years, the Mason County Rural Fire Authority bought Grant Township two new fire vehicles — a pumper and a tanker — which are larger than the previous trucks. The new pumper and tanker barely fit through the doors, he said, adding that they only have about 1.5 inches of overhead clearance. Expanding the doorways would make it easier for the vehicles to get in and out.

“So we’ve got to redo our door openings in the front of the building, which is going to require quite a bit of expense because they’ve got to remove the siding and redo the headers to raise them up,” Keson said.

He also said the doorways will need to be fitted with “electric eyes” — the safety sensors that detect and prevent doors from lowering onto people or objects — but the doors are old and probably can’t be retrofitted with the sensors.

He said the department has some money earmarked for the project already, but whatever funds the dinner can raise will be helpful.

“There’s always expenses,” he added.

Keson said the dinner proceeds will likely also support upgrading equipment, such as for the department’s medical unit. He said the medical unit is used in about 90 percent of the department’s emergency responses, and that there’s always equipment and supply needs.

The Grant Township Fire Department serves the northwest corner of Mason County and provides mutual aid to the other member departments in the rural fire authority.

Pickleball’s coming

More than 150 people are planning to participate in the third annual Ludington Area Pickleball Summer Open tournament, which starts Friday, Sept. 6 at the Oriole Field tennis courts.

The three-day tournament is set for continues through Sunday, Sept. 8, and Ludington Area Pickeball President John Reed said event organizers are excited about the already high registration numbers.

“Last year we had 98 players, and they came from all across Michigan and about four other states — even Canada,” Reed told the Daily News. “This year we’re at 170 (participants).”

Registration is still open for the tournament, and Reed said he’s hoping to see more people sign up before the deadline.

The sport — a mash-up of tennis and badminton, according to Reed — originated in the 1960s on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Since then, it’s expanded and garnered more and more interest, especially in recent years.

“It’s the fastest growing sport in America, and now it’s spreading to other countries,” Reed said.

He said Ludington Area Pickleball Club first started to capitalize on the trend about seven years ago using the tennis courts at Oriole Field.

“A group of people came back from Arizona and Florida for the summer, and said Ludington needed to start pickleball in the summer, so they made that happen,” he said, noting that numbers have grown consistently since then.

“We’re up to about 160 members in our local pickleball club each year,” he said.

He attributed the tournament’s success in part to the fact that people like to come to Ludington, and also noted that the timing of the tournament — just after Labor Day — is convenient and conducive to attracting players.

“We’re really excited about it,” Reed said. “We were hoping for 150 and we have more … It’s really grown, and we’re doing pretty well with it.”

The cost to participate in the tournament is $40, and registration will remain open until midnight on Sunday, Aug. 25 at www.pickeballtournaments.com. Search under the “tournaments” listing, find Ludington and select “open.”

Payments can be made online.

Participants can play in women’s doubles, men’s doubles or mixed doubles, and there are four age brackets for different skill levels.

Additionally, players in this year’s tournament will receive custom Ludington Area Pickleball Club cooling towels featuring the club’s logo, Reed said.

The tournament starts Friday, Sept. 6 and continues through Sunday, Sept. 8, and daily check-in is at 8:15 a.m. Games start at 9 a.m. each morning and usually continue around 2 p.m., depending on the number of teams.

“I’d encourage everyone to come out and try pickleball during the summer,” Reed said, adding that there are activities for multiple skill levels, including lessons for beginners.

Lessons are held from 7:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays.

“Stop by, watch the tournament, see if it’s something you like and consider joining the club.”

“It’s a big deal, and more and more people are realizing how much (interest) it’s bringing to Ludington.”

For more information about the Ludington Area Pickleball Club, visit www.ludingtonaeapickeball.com or find the Ludington Pickeball Club on Facebook.

Notable for Wednesday, 8-21-19: Shea's Benefit Mud Run

Notable for Wednesday, 8-21-19: Shea’s Benefit Mud Run

Shea’s Benefit Mud Run raises more than $6,000 for Custer family

The 23rd annual Shea’s Benefit Mud Run raised $6,429 for Anthony Wade of Custer and his family.

Wade has Churg-Strauss syndrome — a vascular illness that causes inflammation of blood vessels, severe pain and a loss of energy and strength. The Wades are struggling to make ends meet after almost two years of mounting medical bills.

His wife, Connie, expressed thanks to those who organized the fundraiser.

“Thank you to everyone, to Donna and Jim Shea,” Connie said. “They work so hard to run the event for the day.”

Connie said with the money with taxes and continue to pay medical bills, adding that it will also help with basic expenses like purchasing groceries and everyday supplies.

Those who are interested in contributing to the Wade family can donate funds via the couple’s GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/join-team-anthony.

“The fundraiser helps provide for today, but there’s still the next six months,” Connie said.

COVE to host 40-year celebration Sept. 6

COVE is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and there will be an event to mark the occasion on Friday, Sept. 6 at Trillium Creek Rustic Barn at 3232 W. Conrad Road in Amber Township.

The celebration, which is from 6 to 11 p.m., is called Saddle up at Sundown.

It’s a fundraising event and a way to commemorate the organization’s four decades of advocating for victims of assault, according to Kate Krieger-Watkins, development and public relations manager for COVE.

“This is really just celebrating the 40 years from a group of volunteers in Oceana County coming together to realize there needed to be more support from people who were suffering from sexual violence,” Krieger-Watkins said.

Chris Dunn, vice president of the COVE board of directors, said it’s an opportunity acknowledge the friendship and support the organization has received form the community over the years.

“This is a ‘friend-raising’ event,” Dunn said.

There will also be games and activities, according to Krieger-Watkins.

The Q Smokehouse will cater for the event and there will be live music from Stolen Horses.

The 40-year celebration is also a time for looking back, according to Dunn.

“We are in a different place than we were 40 years ago,” Dunn said, adding that there was not as much support for victims of domestic violence, and that the issue itself received less public attention.

Dunn said COVE has made progress in the intervening decades, but the organization still has a long way to go.

“We are only 50 feet on a 100-mile journey,” he said.

One of the next steps for COVE will be starting a new program to focus on another century of addressing issues of domestic violence in the community.

“We are kicking off our program called 2120, looking at the next 100 years,” Dunn said. “COVE has done a lot of good things over 40 years, but we will never eliminate domestic violence.

“We believe COVE will be around 100 years from now and we want to guarantee the financial stability of the organization by building an endowment fund.”

Krieger-Watkins encouraged people to attend the Saddle up at Sundown celebration to support the next 40-plus years of advocacy, education and urgent relief work for victims of domestic and sexual assault.

Tickets for the event are $50 per person and can be purchased by calling (231) 843-2541 or by visiting www.callcove.com or the COVE Facebook page.

More about COVE

COVE, which stands for Communities Overcoming Violent Encounters, provides shelter, protection and advocacy to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, according to a statement on its website. It also works to educate the community about the causes of violence. Services are provided to individuals of Mason, Lake, Oceana and Manistee counties.

COVE is a “voice, choice and a safe place,” Krieger-Watkins said, meaning the organization offers an advocating voice for domestic assault victims, choices in terms of available resources for those victims and a safe place for those victims to be.

“Most people don’t know that COVE is at its capacity most of the time,” Krieger-Watkins said, adding that it might be difficult for people to see some of the work the organization does.

“They are doing a lot here even if (people) don’t see it,” she said. “The activities we have, give (clients) a sense of normalcy.”

It also helps and houses people who need a safe place. Dunn said a third of the people who use COVE as a shelter are children.