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Volunteers make a difference at Hospice of Michigan, Arbor Hospice

SCOTTVILLE — As National Volunteer Week began Sunday and runs through the week, Bob and Sandy Spangler of Scottville have turned volunteering into a family affair.

The Spanglers, along with their daughter Amanda Montgomery of Grand Haven, all volunteer with Hospice of Michigan and Arbor Hospice.

Sandy started volunteering with hospice in 1987, and she continues today along side her husband, Bob, who has been volunteering for 13 years.

Amanda, according to Sandy, has volunteered for the past 12 years.

Sandy said she learned about hospice when she was 10 years old, her sister was born with spinabifida, she lived a little over a year.

She said during the grieving period, her mom was really bad caught up in the emotion of losing a child, and her father took care of her little brother.

Sandy said she felt like she did not have anybody to help her grieve the loss of her sister.

“I always thought if I had a chance, I would like to help a child so they do not feel like they are alone,” she said.

After taking a test to be a volunteers for hospice, she was able to fulfill that dream of helping a child get though the loss of a parent.

“I was able to spend a lot of time with that child and that made me feel like it was an answer,” she said. “I was so happy to be able to do that.”

Hospice was new to the area at that time, and they just loved their mission that do not push people. Rather, you go into a situation and do what they need, she said.

“That could mean just sitting with a patient just holding their hand,” she said. “I just love that part of it (volunteering) that have been that way for years, kind, caring, compassionate and that is what I love about volunteering with Hospice of Michigan and Arbor Hospice.”

Bob said he came to volunteer with hospice from a different approach. He was a teacher at Mason County Central for 39 years.

He said he knew when he started thinking about retirement he knew he would need to do some kind of service to keep him busy and still contribute to the community. He talked with Sandy who suggested hospice.

Bob did not think being a hospice volunteer was for him, but Sandy persuaded Bod to take the volunteer training, and it turns out the he loved volunteering there and has been at it for the past 13 years.

“Sure there is grief and it can be hard, but I just love it. I have connected with so many people,” he said.

Bob said he would usually get the male patients and in those interactions he learned a lot about Mason County history or get tips about cards for some of his older patients.

“The real heroes are not the volunteers there are the care givers (families). They do an unbelievable amount and put everything on the line everyday. It takes an incredible amount of energy,” he said. “If we can give them a couple of hours to go to the store or an appointment or just get out to lunch once and a while, it feels really good.”

During the past year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers had to shift from in-person to virtual volunteer visits to safely continue providing socialization and companionship to patients and relief for their caregivers. This crucial role continues to evolve as in-person volunteer opportunities reemerge in select communities.

“We really have not participated in virtual meeting. Some of the volunteers have,” Bob said. “What we have done is participated in phone calls, calling the patient and sending them cards to acknowledge that someone is thinking about them.”

He said it is hard not being there in person to talk with them face-to-face.

When it was in-person, according to Sandy, she would do things like sing to her patients or play music, read to them or play cards with them to just talk and reminisce with their patients.

Sandy said Bob and I always get more out of it (volunteering for hospice).

“We have learned so much from patients,” Bob said.

Hospice of Michigan and Arbor Hospice are both members of the NorthStar Care Community and during National Volunteer Week wanted to spotlight those volunteers that make a difference at their organization.

“Volunteers make a real difference in the lives of patients and families,” said Alison Wagner, director of volunteer services and complementary therapies for Hospice of Michigan and Arbor Hospice. “We are truly thankful for their endless generosity, compassionate support and unyielding dedication to our mission and our communities – not only during National Volunteer Week, but every day.”

Bob and Sandy said the hospice volunteer coordinator would contact them about a new patient and the couple would maybe meet with weekly. It just depends on what the patient wants, according to Sandy.

Bob said that that at any one given time he could have as many as four patients at a time.

“That depends on you,” Sandy said. “On how many hours you want to volunteer.”

Anyone interested in volunteering with Hospice of Michigan should visit our website www.hom.org for more information and to complete a volunteer application. Anyone with questions on volunteering in the Ludington area can reach out Megan Cadle at mcadle@hom.org or 616-356-5233.

Sifting the sand ... and mud
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FREE SOIL TWP. — Macroinvertebrates — animals lacking a backbone but visible to the eye — are considered an indicator of water quality. Saturday, Joe Moloney led the annual macroinvertebrate study of the Sable River.

Eight individuals spent a few hours collecting, sifting and looking through muck, sand, rocks and sticks collected at two sites on the river. Using tweezers to snatch worms, clams, minnows, pouch snails, midge larvae, water pennies and more identifying and counting what was found.

Moloney and Wayne Andersen estimated the survey has been done for 18 or 19 years with results shared through Hamlin Lake Preservation Society of which Andersen is president and the Conservation Resource Alliance which works on streams in the region.

Surveying was done at the U.S. 31 crossing of the river and also at the Stephens Road crossing.

Joe Moloney and Jake Lubera, Manistee National Forest Baldwin District Ranger in his day job, measured stream width, and collected the samples which were dumped into screen boxes where Heidi Moloney, Kathy Winczewski and Kayleigh Iteen, a fourth grader at Ludington’s Foster Elementary School, searched for wiggling things and clams or other life attached to rocks or sticks as well is in the mud and sand.

Water was poured on to expose the organisms which were placed in pans of water. Winczewski, a retired science teacher, then matched what was found against an identification chart and noted quantities on a log.

Chris Frederick, also with national forest, wrote down river observations from measured with, water temperature and stream flow to notes about vegetation along the banks.

After tallying up the morning’s find, Winczewski said the count appeared down from previous years. That may prove to be just a blip of no significance. But it will become part of the record.

Adopt, plant a pine tree seedling at Circle Rocking S Children's Farm
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Adopt, plant a pine tree seedling at Circle Rocking S Children’s Farm

Circle Rocking S Children’s Farm is looking for volunteers to help plant 600 white pine seedlings on the farm to replace the dead ash trees.

The general public, youth groups, scouts, schools and people with special needs are welcome to sign up to plant trees on their own time, during the last week of April and the first week of May.

The farm is working with the Mason-Lake Conservation District, and district staff will be helping instruct participants about how to plant seedlings.

Please wear boots and good outdoor clothing.

Participants are asked to plan on wearing boots and good outdoor clothing, and also to bring a spade and shovel if possible.

Call (231) 462-3732 for details.

The farm is in need of adoption sponsors to pay for the trees and supplies. It’s seeking donations to raise $600 for this program. Anyone interested in donating can make out a check to Circle Rocking S Children’s Farm Inc. In the memo line put “trees” and mail it to the farm at 5487 Tuttle Road, Free Soil, MI 49411.

All financial sponsors will be posted in the farm’s bulletin board and website, www.circlerockingsfarm.org, sometime this year.

The farm will also host a sheep-shearing at 4 p.m. on May 4. RSVP and find more information on the farm’s website.

'Making Waves': Ludington Writers to revive literary journal ahead of schedule
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The Ludington Writers group is ahead of schedule with the planned relaunch of its literary journal, and the group will soon be accepting submissions for the first issue, set for a September release.

Submissions will be accepted from May 1 to June 12 for the publication, which has been retitled “Making Waves: A West Michigan Literary Review.”

The group announced in late February that it was starting to focus on bringing back its poetry and prose publication, formerly known as “Driftwood.”

In early March, group president Nicole Birkett told the Daily News that the plan was to revive the publication after a five-year absence. At the time, there were several logistical kinks to work out, and the journal was not expected to return until sometime in 2022.

Since then, in response to an outpouring of support and interest from the community, the group has redoubled its efforts to move the project forward, and cut that tentative timeline in half.

Now, the group is eyeing at potential September 2021 release for the first issue of the publication.

According to Birkett, submissions will be accepted electronically through a portal to the Submittable content management platform on the group’s website, www.ludingtonwriters.org. Physical entries can be sent to the Ludington Area Center for the Arts.

“It moved much faster than I ever expected,” Birkett said on Saturday.

One of the major hurtles facing the group at the start of the year was the formation of an editorial board to oversee submissions.

That editorial board is now intact, and it consists of Birkett herself, as well as with fellow members Jeanie Mortensen, Annie Schrader, Jessica Knizacky and Jaina Nehm.

The Ludington Writers Board of Directors is still meeting virtually due to COVID-19, but Birkett said spirits are high about the progress.

“The board and the members… are excited,” she said.

There has been a change regarding submission guidelines, however. Because the group hasn’t been meeting in-person — and, consequently, hasn’t been able to collect donations — there is now a universal fee of $3 per submission to help cover costs associated with putting the publication together.

“We initially proposed making the first two pieces submitted by active members free. But the members… who regularly submit writing to other literary journals noted that the fee we proposed was very nominal, and close to our suggested donation of $2 per in-person meeting,” Birkett said.

She said there was some concern than the original fee wouldn’t bring in enough funds to cover the cost of the Submittable platform, but a donation option has been added to the website to give supporters another way to help the group cover costs.


Anyone can submit to “Making Waves.”

Each submission can include up to two poetry entries, two prose entries, or one of each.

All submissions must use 12-point type with 1-inch margins. The preferred font is Times New Roman.

Each submission should include a cover page with the author’s name, mailing address, phone number and email address in the upper lefthand corner of the page, the title of the submission in the center and a short author bio two spaces below.

Prose entries should be double-spaced, no more than 1,000 words, and should include no more than two pieces of standalone fiction or non-fiction.

Poetry of any style will be considered. Each submission is limited to no more than two pieces with a maximum of five pages total.

Entries are restricted to previously unpublished works only. Writers are free to submit to other publications simultaneously, but they must let editors know immediately if their work is accepted by another publication.

All electronic submissions should be made through Submittable, at www.wavesreview.submittable.com.

Paper entries will also be accepted via mail or drop-off at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts, where the group traditionally meets. Physical submissions must include a self-addressed stamped envelope and be addressed to Making Waves c/o LACA, 107 S. Harrison St., Ludington, MI 49431.

By submitting their work, writers grant first right to publish to “Making Waves,” and entries might be reprinted on the group’s website. All other rights revert to the author after publication.

The number of accepted works will depend on the number and length of submissions received.

All writers who submit will receive a link to an electronic copy of “Making Waves.”

There are additional document format requirements for electronic submissions. For a full list of submission guidelines, visit www.ludingtonwriters.org/mwwm.

The group is exploring its options for a cover for the first issue, and plans to do an open call for photographic submissions. Birkett said the group uses the Twitter handle @WavesReview to promote the open call for submissions during the last week of April.

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Birkett said any leftover funds collected through the submission process will be used to fund scholarships promoting creative writing for students and writers in the area.

Recently, the Ludington Writers awarded the Carol Bennet Memorial Scholarship to Pentwater senior Elsa Akins to help college expenses.

The Ludington Writers group is always seeking new members.

For information about joining the group, email westshorewords@gmail.com.