07-02-2020 Outdoors; Watervliet Auxiliary awards scholarships to area students; Paw Paw Lake special

Watervliet Auxiliary awards scholarships to area students

Lakeland Hospital Watervliet Auxiliary recently awarded scholarships to three area high school students during a virtual scholarship awards ceremony held by Spectrum Health Lakeland Foundation. Trever Pelton and Joel Soto each received a $2,000 scholarship on behalf of the auxiliary. Jessica Cardoso was the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from Community Hospital Foundation. Pelton graduated salutatorian of his class at Watervliet High School and dual enrolled at Lake Michigan College. He completed four seasons of MHSAA wrestling and cross-country.

Pelton volunteers at the Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center, the Center for Outpatients Services, and within the emergency department at Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph. He also volunteers for the City of Watervliet and Watervliet Public Schools. Pelton will attend Grand Valley State University and plans to become a physician assistant.

Soto is a recent Hartford High School graduate and dual enrolled at Lake Michigan College for the last two semesters.

He is involved in many extra-curricular activities and sports including soccer, basketball, National Honor Society, Student Council, Upward Bound at Western Michigan University, Spanish Club, and a translator for Redwood Elementary School parent-teacher conferences. Soto will attend Western Michigan University majoring in exercise science, working toward a master’s and doctorate degree in physical therapy.

Cardoso is a recent Hartford High School graduate and was active in Student Council, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, and played varsity soccer and volleyball.

She also volunteered in her community through food drives, fundraisers, helping at local homeless shelters and taking children shopping for winter clothing. Cardoso plans to attend Lake Michigan College to study sonography or radiology.

Plugging into the power of public lands

Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) begins updating strategy for managing more than 4 million acres What do mountain biking, bird watching, snowmobiling, and hunting have in common? Besides being hobbies many Michigan residents and visitors love, these opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors are available across the state thanks to the careful, thoughtful way the Department of Natural Resources takes care of the state’s public lands. The DNR is responsible for nearly 4.6 million acres of public lands owned by Michigan residents. When these lands – state parks, trails, game and wildlife areas, forests and other resources – are well managed, they contribute significantly to the health of Michigan’s residents, environment and economy. The condition and availability of these outdoor spaces close to home are now more critical than ever, with more people out enjoying Michigan’s natural resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Hiking a wooded trail, fishing a trout stream, paddling a lazy river – the comfort provided by these outdoor activities underscores the value of Michigan’s public lands and the need to manage them carefully,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “That’s where our public land strategy comes in.” The strategy, originally created in 2013, provides a framework for the conservation and management of public lands to ensure their best use for the benefit of Michigan residents, visitors and the state’s natural resources. “We set the stage with the original strategy seven years ago, and now we are revisiting it to see how far we’ve come and what adjustments need to be made for the next six years,” said Scott Whitcomb, DNR senior adviser for wildlife and public lands. An updated public land strategy, which was required to be submitted to the Michigan Legislature for consideration and approval by July 1, 2021, explained why a public land base is so important and provided goals, strategies and measurable objectives to guide the DNR in: Protecting and preserving Michigan’s natural and cultural resources; providing spaces for quality outdoor recreation opportunities; promoting natural resources management. Whitcomb said that broad public participation is a key to ensuring a strong, comprehensive strategy. The DNR invites people to be part of the land strategy process by visiting Michigan.gov/PublicLands and using the interactive map to drop a pin on the location of the public lands they value most. “There’s also a brief, three-question survey where we want people to tell us why public lands matter,” Whitcomb said. “We really want to know what access to these lands means to them and to their family and friends, because their candid answers will assist us in developing the updated strategy.” Additionally, the DNR will accept public input about the strategy update process via email at DNR-LandStrategy@Michigan.gov. More information about the strategy can be found at Michigan.gov/PublicLands. Drafts and components available for public review and comment will be posted to the website throughout the update process.

I&M warns against scammers targeting customers during the pandemic

Scams are not unique to I&M, nor have they gone away with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Scams have been reported across the U.S. targeting various utility customers and companies. Some scam calls have recently been reported to I&M, including calls where scammers are speaking in other languages, like Spanish. The scams often vary, but often work like this: Customers receive calls from scammers falsely identifying themselves as I&M employees. The caller claims the customer is late paying their bill, and their power will be disconnected if the customer does not pay immediately. Many scammers “spoof” the telephone number to appear as a different number. In some cases, it may appear to be an authentic I&M phone number. Customers are usually instructed to call a different number to arrange payment. The scammers may seek account information or personal credit card and banking information from customers. Some direct customers to buy a debit card and provide the debit card number.

Most wouldn’t look twice at a blob of whitish brown poop on a grapevine leaf on the side of a hiking trail. A bird must have landed on a branch over the leaf and left a present before takeoff. This poop struck me as a little bit odd and on further inspection realized it wasn’t poop at all! It was a moth with a very ironic name. The beautiful wood nymph moth, Eudryas grata, has evolved a way to protect itself from predators in the form of mimicry. Birds are a top predator for flying insects. If you look like bird poop however, birds and other predators that eat moths don’t suspect droppings to be their next meal, and will hopefully pass them by. In flight, these pretty common moths are a creamy white with stripes and some rust and black along the edges, measuring .5 to 1.8 inches as an adult. Their range covers all of eastern United States and goes north to Canada and south to Mexico. The caterpillar of the beautiful wood nymph feeds on the foliage of buttonbush, grapevine, and Virginia creeper among others. You never know what you’ll find on a hike in the woods! Pre-order our new Nature Discovery Kits for children, ages 4-7 and 8 plus, filled with activities and to engage in nature at home! Go to www.sarett.org to learn more and order today.

Fishing Fishing conditions have been fair to good for those targeting trout and salmon on the Great Lakes the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports. Inland fishing across the state has been good for bass, bluegills, rock bass, walleye and catfish. Carp were on the beds in some areas. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported that even after the big storm went through last weekend the fishing was still good. Lake trout were being taken on Laker Takers on the bottom in 80 to 140 feet of water. A nice mix of steelhead, coho and king salmon were being caught all over the water column from 20 to 80 feet down. Perch fishing was picking up in about 37 feet of water south of the piers. The water was warming so pier fishing was very slow, with a few catching some catfish. The Kalamazoo River was producing some small mouth bass. On the local inland lakes, bluegill and crappie were being taken. Bluegills were in water 12-14 feet deep and crappies were being caught on the weed line. Ellinee Bait & Tackle on big Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported a lot of anglers out there trying their skills. The bluegill and crappie bite has slowed down some as both species have finished bedding and headed to deeper water. A few walleye are being taken, but the busiest seem to be bass anglers. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass are biting really well at this time on deep diving crank baits, night crawlers and other harness bait. Anyone that is interested in catching and keeping their own nightcrawlers can easily follow these simple steps: Know where to look. Scout locations such as parks, playgrounds and open, grassy areas after a good rain. Look for nightcrawler castings (the little piles of dirt they leave behind) and then plan to visit again following the next good rain. Know when to collect. Nightcrawlers are best caught an hour or so after dark. Bring the right equipment. Nightcrawlers are sensitive to vibrations, so wear lightweight shoes. They are also sensitive to bright light, so consider rigging your flashlight with a red cover over the lens. Store them properly. Once caught nightcrawlers should be laid on top of some storage bedding, not mixed in. This will allow sick or dead ones to be removed more easily. Landing Blitz events sponsored by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) partnering with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) June 28 through July 5 are held to raise awareness of aquatic invasive species. Volunteers for this year’s Blitz are on hand at nearly 30 locations across the state to remind watercraft owners they should follow best practices and clean their boats, trailers and equipment to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. To find a Landing Blitz event contact Kevin Walters, EGLE aquatic biologist at WaltersK3@Michigan.gov or 616-250-8637, or check out an event map at the Great Lakes Commission website. Violations of the state law requiring boaters to clean boats and trailers and drain water can carry a fine of up to $100. DNR conservation officers will continue their efforts to educate everyone who uses the state’s waterways about their responsibilities through direct contacts and in partnership with interested groups. Invasive species sightings can be reported at Michigan.gov/Invasives by clicking on the blue “Species Profiles and Reporting Information” button on the middle of the page. As many people celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, conservation officers will increase patrols on Michigan’s waterways. It is all part of Operation Dry Water – a national sober boating campaign. “We want people to have a safe, fun holiday on the water and take sober boating seriously,” said Lt. Tom Wanless. “It’s just as easy to lose control of a vessel as it is a vehicle. Alcohol can affect you differently when spending time on the water and in the sun, increasing the likelihood of a boating accident or casualty.” In Michigan, Boating Under the Influence is a misdemeanor offense. A boater is operating illegally when their blood alcohol content is .08 percent or above – the same as Driving Under the Influence. Anyone born on or after July 1, 1996, must have a valid boater safety certificate to operate a motorized vessel in Michigan. People born on or after December 31, 1978, must have a boater safety certificate to operate a personal watercraft (such as a SeaDoo or Jet Ski). Please note: There is not a Hunting Report for this week. Share your hunting and fishing trophy pictures with the readers of the Tri-City Record Email to record@tricityrecord.com or call 463-NEWS

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