03-26-2020 Paw Paw River Jeep Club distributes hope during this uncertain time!; Outdoors

JEEPS GALORE… visiting downtown Coloma and surrounding restaurants during the first Paw Paw River Club Hope Cruise.

Paw Paw River Jeep Club distributes hope during this uncertain time!

By Teresa Smithers The Paw Paw River Jeep Club found a creative way to give hope to Coloma restaurants and their patrons during these troubled times. At least, they did until the lockdown forced them to regroup. The Jeep Club started just over a year ago, a group of men and women who love to drive their Jeeps. “It’s like a motorcycle club,” says member Brian Smith, “except we prefer flip-flops and hand waves to leather and boots.” The club has about 400 members on Facebook, most of them local to the Tri-City area. With that many people with that many wheels and the desire to help the community through a rough time, the end result is “Hope Cruise,” a project that offers both hope and community with a dose of fun at a time when everyone sorely needs a bit of fun. The group chose to focus on locally-owned restaurants in Coloma to allow them to do more good without spreading themselves too thin. Led by Brian Smith with Theresa Bohle and other members doing a lot of legwork, the Hope Cruise concept is simple. Folks call a participating Coloma restaurant and purchase a gift card, saying it’s for the Jeep Club Hope Cruise. Then, the Jeep Club gathers the purchased gift cards from the restaurants and distributes them with all the Jeeps going to each address. That’s the fun part – there’s nothing more exciting than seeing some 20 Jeeps pulling into a drive. Restaurants that wanted to get involved had to be able to take credit cards over the phone or online. They had to offer gift cards, they had to be local and they had to be open. The gift card brings HOPE to both the business and its customer that there will be a day when the gift card can be used. It is literally buying hope for the future, something everyone needs. It also provides financial support to the local restaurants during this time of restricted services. And these restaurants surely need this. “My parents put their house on the line for this store,” new Subway owner Jordan Hurst said. “So, I am praying to Jesus that we get through this.” “We opened in April of last year,” says January Loheed-Immer, owner of the Blackbird Waterhouse, “so this is the last test of our first year – a global pandemic!” The first Thursday went great. With only a 24-hour heads-up, people (many of them from the club) bought gift cards. The trial Jeep run (practiced with social distancing, of course) went through without a hitch. Keith and Jill Chapman and Bruce Chapman of Midwest Timer in Riverside bought a $25 gift card from every restaurant on the list. Then they challenged their employees to buy a gift card from one of the restaurants. The first to bring them their card purchased from a restaurant would get Chapman’s gift card, too, making it a two-for-one! Then the lockdown was announced. Now, the Paw Paw River Jeep Club is brainstorming how they can adapt to the lockdown. With American ingenuity and creativeness, a new plan will surely be found. In the meantime, the Club urges everyone not to give up on the gift card purchases. Purchasers of gift cards from local restaurants will give hope to local businesses that are struggling, businesses they will want to see still open once all this has passed. The Paw Paw River Jeep Club will deliver the gift cards once the lockdown is over unless the buyer does not want to wait and the restaurant has an option for delivery. If the Jeep Club comes up with a plan to deliver cards earlier, they will announce it on Facebook. “We want to do our part to help contain the spread, while keeping the flow of cash and hope to our important local establishments here in Coloma,” Brian Smith said. Subscribe to the Tri-City Record! See Page 4 for details or call 463-6397

After researching cecropia moths last week (the largest moth species in North America) I came upon an interesting predator of them – bolas spiders. These orb-weaving spiders in the genus Mastophora, of which there are 13 species in the continental United States, do something unique to catch their prey. They use their silk webbing and dispense a single line, attaching it to a plant. They then act as tiny fishermen, and with great accuracy and skill, use this line as a lasso and swing it at passing insects. At the end of the line is a sticky ball that if thrown correctly, entangles the insect prey and allows the spider to pull in the line and inject their venom, subduing the victim quickly. Another amazing hunting technique bolas spiders have evolved to use is the ability to mimic insect pheromones. That sticky ball at the end of the lasso is covered in not only the coiled silk and glue made by the spider, but also pheromones. Male moths are attracted to the pheromone thinking it is a female moth, approach from downwind and are lured into the trap. Immature and thus smaller bolas spiders use a pheromone to attract male psychodid flies. To deter their own predators when resting, these tiny 1/16th to 1/2-inch adults resemble bird droppings. The Nature Center building will be closed until further notice. Our trails will remain open and free of charge during this time.