04-06-2017 CAJIR CrossFit opens in Hartford; Region IV Area Agency on Aging seeks music CD donations

CAJIR CrossFit opens in Hartford

By Jon Bisnett

Tri-City residents have a new option with the opening of CAJIR CrossFit at 55742 CR 687 in Hartford, with a no-nonsense approach to fitness training.

Hartford residents will recognize the site as the former Center Street terminal garage for Vere Shindeldecker’s heating fuel fleet. CAJIR CrossFit now occupies the space with a simple but effective approach to the age-old problem of keeping in shape.

The CAJIR team is made up of Ryan and Jessica Disterheft along with partner Brad Wilmoth. Ryan and Brad serve as trainers while Jessica handles the books.

CROSSFIT COMES TO HARTFORD… with the open-ing of the CAJIR CrossFit gym at 55742 CR 687, just north of the city limits on Center Street. Pictured (from the left) owners Ryan and Jessica Disterheft with partner Brad Wilmoth of-fer both evening and early morning hours with classes covering a full range of workouts from basic health maintenance to advanced training for the elite competition athlete.

Brad and Jessica are both Hartford alumni graduating in the 90s while Ryan grew up in Eau Claire. What began as personal fitness development led the trio to start their own CrossFit group that eventually grew from a bunch of friends working out in a members’ garage to a full blown business.


The name came from an acronym for the owners children: Calvin, Austin, Jacob, Isaac and Rylee. CrossFit is a license more so than a franchise with other nearby facilities in St. Joseph, Niles and Kalamazoo. The gyms each adopt a standard philosophy and certification of how they train, but are not reciprocal like a national franchise.

What is CrossFit

Do not expect to find a chrome and glass gym full of all the latest workout equipment; CrossFit relies on instructor led routines utilizing basic moves that Brad describes as “Building a better version of yourself… using exaggerated everyday movements.” Push-ups, squats, and pull-ups along with some free-weights and a medicine ball comprise a large percentage of the workouts.

Ryan is quick to point out the program caters to three levels from standard health maintenance to performance and even an elite competition level. All it takes to get started is to complete three basic classes which teach the proper technique.

It’s also important to understand this is not another new, latest, greatest technique. CrossFit is recognized as officially found in 2000 in California.

While Ryan, Jess and Brad all choose to test themselves competing in events like Crossfit Games, Tuff Mudder and Spartan Race, they want to emphasize that they are the minority. “Most members just want to stay in shape and maintain a healthy weight. What we do here is not difficult. There are no fancy machines here, rather a supportive environment using proven methods to help you attain your personal goal.”

“Typically the world’s best athletes are minimalists when it comes to their training. They work hard and fast with few exercises. They master the fundamentals and work with them for years. This is the secret that no one wants to hear.” That quote is attributed to Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit. Researching the underlying philosophy is to recognize that you’re only as good as your weakest link, be it cardio, strength, speed or agility. CrossFit trains to cover multiple disciplines to achieve balanced performance.

CAJIR CrossFit is open Monday-Friday, plus also hosts convenient Sunday morning classes. Weekday hours run 5:30 a.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., while Sunday runs at 8:00 and 9:30 a.m.

More information is available by visiting their website, www.crossfitcajir.com or by calling (269) 308-3062.

Coloma Lions Club donates to Leader Dogs of Michigan program

 The Coloma Lions Club sponsorship of the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day 5K Run and Walk in conjunction with SWMI RACERS with profits going to Leader Dogs of Michigan results has been announced.

COLOMA LIONS CLUB… presents $1,000.00 check to Lion Linda McClain and her guide dog “Lion Apollo” at their club meeting on Thursday, March 23. The check was a result of the proceeds from the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Run and Walk. The event was sponsored with the announced goal of donating any proceeds to Leader Dogs for the Blind.

Lion Treasurer Ross Streu and Coloma Lions President John Whistler were able to present a check for $1,000.00 to Lion Linda McClain and her guide dog Apollo at the club’s meeting on March 23 as a donation to Leader Dogs of Michigan.

Lion Linda was able to show the members of the Coloma Lions Club how her new guide dog Apollo, who is also an official Lions Club Member, assists her. “Lion Apollo” is Lion Linda’s most recent dog obtained from Leader Dogs for the Blind. Her previous guide dog Disney had been with her for 10 years, passing away in late 2016. Lion Linda described how she lost confidence after losing Disney and the training process she had to go through after being matched up with Apollo. Part of the training involved a trip to Chicago which included a ride on the famous Chicago El, being told by an instructor that she was very close to the drop off to the tracks and she was to instruct Apollo to go forward. Apollo proceeded to block her from going any further greatly enhancing her confidence.

Leader Dogs is one of the many Lions State Projects supported by the Coloma Lions Club.

Michigan Association of Retired School Personnel meeting, April 18

 The Michigan Association of Retired School Personnel (MARSP) to hold a joint conference for Van Buren and Cass counties on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Van Buren Intermediate School District Conference Center in Lawrence. There will be an informative presentation on insurance, legislation, activities and the workings of MARSP at the local and state levels by Charles Long. Please reserve your spot as soon as possible to insure there will be enough materials and food!  Please direct any questions to Leonor Murphy by email at murfshmi@comcast.net or by phone to 269-637-7082.

Final payment calls for a party at Coloma Lanes April 15

By Tom O’Neill

Ray Steadmon took a risk 29 years ago, leaving the corporate bowling world in Kalamazoo to become an owner. Now it’s time to throw a party for all of his friends and customers who have supported him and Coloma Lanes as he nears the final payment.

“It’s a huge deal for me, but I never thought it would be for everyone else,” Steadmon explained. “Jarred Metz and Cody Moore came to me and said we have to have a party. The more we talked it was about everyone’s success. Without them, we would never have gotten here.”

There will be four Singles No-Tap tournament shifts beginning at 2 p.m. on April 15 running every two hours until the final 9 p.m. shift. Each shift has its own coordinator with three bowlers per lane. Steadmon expects to burn his mortgage papers between 6-7 p.m. while the lanes are being redressed for the final two shifts. The 9 p.m. shift is full but there are still openings on other shifts. Tommy Lopresti will be handling the bean-bag tournament.

“When we have a tournament here, everybody knows everybody. It’s like ‘Cheers’,” Steadmon explained. “It’s hard to recreate the friendship and companionship we have here. The customers own this place. They’ve helped keep it open and brought in their friends.”

Tony Jacobs, a close friend of Steadmon, will be the D.J. for entertainment and dancing. “He played softball and bowled here with his three kids.” Dan Lindquist, another customer, will be the guest chef for the day.

Steadmon was a district manager over three Kalamazoo area bowling centers, secretary of the Kalamazoo Bowling Association, color commentator on Channel 41’s Budweiser Challenge and a liaison to the PBA. Kenny Sulko, former owner of Coloma Lanes, was a real estate guy according to Steadmon. “He gave me a five-year management contract to earn the down payment. He sold it to me strictly on my reputation in Kalamazoo.”

“At the centers in Kalamazoo we always wore a white shirt and tie. About the second or third week here this lady walks up to me and says if you don’t take that tie off, I’m going to cut it off. I tell people, that’s when I traded my shirt and tie for a pick-up and blue jeans,” Steadmon joked.

There haven’t been major additions to the building with the exception of automatic scoring. The center has the only wood lanes left in the area. “Steadmon says the center’s success has helped put two kids through college. Ray Jr. is a lawyer and daughter Rachel works in the banking field.

“He (Ray Jr.) grew up in this place and did just about everything. People here know him as ‘Little Ray’,” Steadmon began. “In 1998, I crashed skydiving into the field and was hospitalized for eight days. The doctors said I wouldn’t walk again. Ray was 15 at the time. He took over for me, ran the leagues, tournaments and did maintenance of the softball fields. I never came into the place for over three weeks.”

The softball fields were filled with teams during the summer as Steadmon reminisced about building that part of the business. Then came the economy downturn about 2007 and he had to shut it down. The years following were also tough on the bowling industry, especially the 2010 state smoking ban, many closing their doors.

Asked his secret in surviving Steadmon quickly answered, “Recognizing that I was no longer in charge of revenue, but I was still in charge of expenses. I traded in my owner badge for a doer badge, watching everything in expenses. It used to be you would come in each morning, turn on all the lights and be open until closing seven days a week.” He moved some leagues around, allowing him to close 2-3 days a week during the winter season and all summer.

Steadmon credits his mechanic of 27-years, Mike Doren, for keeping the AMF pinsetters in near-perfect condition. “He knows these machines like no one else. He can fix anything.” Steadmon says Doren comes in once a week during the summer just to do maintenance on the machines. Jen Gerstenkorn has been with Coloma Lanes for ten years “handling the bar and keeping the place clean.”

Will he continue to operate the center? “Maybe till the day I die. It’s a really good gig.” He hopes the future will allow him a bit more flexibility in the winter to go places with his wife, Robin, then adding, “I like what I do. I like being here. My only regret is my dad won’t be here to share this. He passed away in November.”

Asked about favorite memories and Steadmon began talking about the first 300’s and 800’s shot under his ownership. “I told them whatever right-hander shot the first 300 I would stand on my head and announce it. Pete Urness did, and yes, I stood on my head. Steve Fannin held the microphone. Billy Metzger had the first left-handed 300 and Darrell Daugherty shot 802. I shot 803 the next year and broke his record. You know, if I had it to do all over again, I would. There have been so many friendships over the years.”

Region IV Area Agency on Aging seeks music CD donations for Music & Memory Program

 No one wants to end up alone and isolated. It’s hard enough to lose someone you love to Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. It’s terrifying to think you could end up there yourself, someday. But there’s reason to hope for a better life as we age. The Music & Memory program helps people who suffer from a wide range of cognitive and physical challenges to find renewed meaning and connection in their lives through the gift of personalized music.

Region IV Area Agency on Aging is launching a Music & Memory Program to help people who have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. The agency is seeking donations of any old CDs to build its Music & Memory music library.

Some favorites of program participants are easy listening, big band/swing, classical, country & western, Broadway, spiritual, rock and R & B; though, donations of any music genre are appreciated.

In recent years, Alzheimer disease researchers have found that music from one’s past can significantly improve mood, alertness and quality of life for those with the disease. It can replace confusing environment stimuli with something interpretable, redirecting the participant from boredom or distress with a soothing, familiar experience. It can decrease agitation and provide a distraction from fear and anxiety. The music decreases wandering during mealtimes and also decreases restlessness. Personalized music provides a valuable tool for the effort to reduce reliance on anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications.

Help spread the music and give new life to someone you love!

Drop off your donation of CDs at the Area Agency on Aging, 2900 Lakeview Avenue in St. Joseph or call (269) 983-7058 for more information.


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