Cupcakes and Kisses opening soon
by Maralyn Fink

Cupcakes and Kisses was founded in 2015 with the original store opening in downtown Holly. They are excited to be opening their third location in downtown St. Johns.

Cupcakes and Kisses is a bakery that makes and bakes everything from scratch with real butter, sugar and eggs. They make all of their own frostings in house and even still hand stir our carrot cakes, then top them with real cream cheese frosting.

They are a family owned business, and their children ages 8 to 16 are very much a part of the day to day operations.

They are looking forward opening close to the end of the month of October, just in time for the holidays. Some of their specialties include but are not limited to cupcakes, cakes, cheesecakes, macarons, pumpkin rolls, pie, breads, a variety of cookies, various chocolates, granola, and cinnamon rolls.

Their hours will be Monday thru Wednesdays 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Beginning the weekend of Thanksgiving, they will be open 7 days a week through the holidays.


Girl Scouts plan new mural

Earlier this week Girl Scout Troop 30270 started their mural on the side of the Oh Mi Organics building.

They are doing this to earn their Bronze Award.


Ancient underwater Tribal Cultural Site discovered near Line 5

One of the most significant ancient underwater archaeological sites in the Great Lakes may have been discovered in the Straits of Mackinac just a short paddle west of Enbridge Line 5.

On September 23 a small crew headed onto the Straits of Mackinac in fog so thick they couldn’t see the Mackinac Bridge. Using a remote operated vehicle (ROV), the team explored an area just west of Line 5. Their video captured at least one submerged cultural site. This stone circle is consistent with other underwater and terrestrial finds near Grand Traverse Bay, the Alpena-Amberley Ridge in Lake Huron and on Beaver Island.

If these other cultural sites are so well known, why hasn’t a full archaeological survey been done on the bottomlands of the Straits of Mackinac? Given the imminent danger Line 5 represents, water protectors call for the immediate halt to all oil flowing through Michigan and a complete archeological survey of the lakebed in the Straits.

Sovereignty Enacted
Most of the individuals in this determined team of water protectors are Michigan tribal citizens. Investigating our ancient cultural sites is an enactment of our inherent sovereignty as indigenous peoples, as well as our reserved treaty rights. The treaties dispossessed us of most of our lands—but not our rights, which were explicitly reserved in the treaties by our chiefs.

Despite their sovereign, treaty-protected rights, tribes have rarely been consulted or involved with decisions that impact their waters and historic territory. Consequently, tribes are increasingly turning to legal action to protect their rights and the environment in general. Tribal citizens are also engaging with environmental groups, Michigan citizens, and legislators alarmed by the growing threats to our natural resources.

In the June hearings regarding the latest damage to Line 5, Judge Jamo repeatedly asked why there hasn’t been an independent look at Line 5 and said he “clearly felt I did not have credible, reliable information”. So, water advocate Terri Wilkerson started building support to gather just that. In August, Wilkerson hired a survey boat in preparation for getting an independent look at Line 5. While investigating the Straits bottomlands, the vessel’s side scan sonar inadvertently revealed a potential cultural site.

Three of this core group of female water protectors are tribal citizens—Andrea Pierce and Robin Lees (Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians) and Kelly Willis (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe). In Anishinaabe culture, women protect the waters. These women are not representing their tribes in any official capacity but are advocating as women empowered under ancient tribal protocols.

Wilkerson, a Pinckney resident, mostly retired after 30 years as a real estate broker to focus on water advocacy, social justice, and making democracy work for everyone by helping to start a League of Women Voter’s chapter in Livingston County where she lives.

The ROV and side scan sonar findings seem to show that Line 5 runs through precious, ancient cultural sites. Findings are now being reviewed by an underwater archeologist. Though these sites are now underwater, approximately 9,000 years ago the Great Lakes water levels were much lower, and evidence of human habitation encircles the northern tip of the Michigan mitt.

Jiimaan Canoe
When side scan sonar revealed the potential cultural site, the female water protectors reached out to Fred Harrington, Jr. Harrington is a Navy veteran, and LTBBOI tribal councilman and citizen, and professor emeritus. He offered to use a community canoe named Jiimaan, which means “they are kissing” in the language of the Anishinaabek (Odawa, Ojibwe, Potawatomi).

This wooden watercraft was built in 1999 as an act of cultural sovereignty by members of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians community in the Petoskey area. It has been used for activism, youth education, and community paddles ever since.

Scott Wyzlic, a Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians tribal citizen, assisted with towing and surveillance from his 21-foot fishing vessel, Inchworm. Scott’s Anishinaabe name is Ossokeh Ahninii.

Water protectors secured letter of support from Ste. Sault Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians for their efforts to get an independent look at Line 5.

Grave Concerns About Line 5
Line 5 is a 67-year-old, anchor damaged, deteriorating pipeline that originates in Canada. As it takes a 645-mile shortcut through Michigan before returning to Canada with about 95% of the nearly 23 million gallons of oil it carries, Line 5 passes through more than 23 counties and over 400 Michigan waterways. However, where Line 5 crosses in the Straits of Mackinac is the most vulnerable to an oil spill. Here, for about 4.5 miles, Line 5 becomes two 20-inch oil pipelines which run under the water just west of the Mackinac Bridge. This is the “worst place in the Great Lakes for an oil spill”, according to Dr. Dave Schwab who has been studying water and currents for decades. Even a small spill would likely impact 37 miles of shoreline. A large one could impact 722 miles of shoreline. This comparison shows 3 different spill scenarios and the ping pong nature of how water acts in the Straits. The Great Lakes supplies the water to over 40 million people and is the backbone of Michigan’s tourist economy.

A contractor for the Coast Guard estimates that a clean-up of 30% of an oil spill here would be the best case scenario. This assumes there is daylight and waves of less than 3 feet, and no ice as they are not fully prepared to handle an open water spill when the Straits are iced-over. As Lester Graham recently reported, “Even if you shut the valves on either side, there’s close to 388,000 gallons of oil in each pipeline (of the 2 sections of Line 5 in the Straits). If both pipelines were damaged, you could see an oil spill nearly as big as the Enbridge Line 6B spill in the Kalamazoo River ten years ago. It was one of the biggest inland oil spills in the country.”


Remember When? – 2014 Riley Girl Scouts provide Birthdays in a bag


For Basic Needs Center

The Daisy, Brownie and Junior Girl Scout troops at Riley Elementary created 15 Birthdays in a bag during the Juliette Gordon Low Halloween Birthday party and delivered them to the Basic Needs Center in St. Johns during mid-November.
The bags included cake mix, frosting, streamers, plates, and napkins with pans for baking also an option. The girls collected enough of all the items, the extras were also donated as singular items.

The girls wanted to provide a birthday present to those who might not be able to afford the extra in keeping with Juliette Gordon Low’s values – giving service, learning useful skills, and having fun.

Everything girls do in Girl Scouting is designed to help them grow into leaders of Courage, Confidence, and Character by one of the 15 outcomes of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.

The Birthday in a bag project helped them: develop positive values, promote cooperation and team building, feel connected to their communities, identify community needs and feel empowered to make a difference in the world.


Maralyn’s Pet Corner – Why Are Cats Obsessed with Laser Pointers?

We’ve all done it – flashed a laser pointer across the floor (and up the wall and onto the ceiling) to see at what lengths our cats will go to catch that little dot of light. But why are cats so obsessed with laser pointers? Let’s look at the science involved to find out why cats love laser pointers and whether or not they’re actually an appropriate toy for our feline friends.

How Cats’ Eyes Differ from Ours

The retina is the structure at the back of the eye that converts light energy into nerve impulses that are sent to the brain to be turned into images of our world. Two types of retinal cells – cones and rods – are found in both human and feline retinas. Broadly speaking, cones are involved with color vision and the ability to focus on and appreciate fine detail while rods are responsible for vision under low light conditions and for the detection of movement.

Humans have more cones than cats do, while cats have more rods than humans do. Therefore, cat eyes are great at picking up movement, even if it is quite dark, but they don’t see details or colors very well. The opposite is true for us (for a neat comparison, check out All Eyes on Paris). In other words, the feline retina (and other parts of the eye as well) is perfectly designed to maximize the chances of catching quickly moving prey at dusk and dawn when cats most like to hunt.

What does this mean with regards to cats and laser pointers? First of all, because of their relatively poor color vision, the color of the laser pointer shouldn’t matter to your cat. This is particularly true since the contrast of the bright laser against the comparatively dark background is so intense.

Stimulating a Predatory Response

Though the color of the laser pointer doesn’t matter, what is alluring to your cat is the way that you make that bright dot of light move. When it darts here, then pauses, and then dashes over there, you are mimicking the actions of prey animals, which cats find hard to ignore. This type of movement stimulates the predatory sequence – stalk, pounce, kill and eat – that is hardwired into our cats even though their survival no longer depends on a successful hunt.

Did you notice that laser pointers only satisfy the first two steps in the predatory sequence – stalk and pounce – while leaving the desire to kill and eat unfulfilled? For some cats, this isn’t a problem. They’ll happily chase that little dot of light around for a while and then walk away unperturbed, but other cats seem to get agitated after taking the laser pointer on for a round or two. The inability to ever truly be successful is probably why.

If you are worried that your cat is frustrated by chasing a laser pointer, try switching to a different type of game that allows your cat act out more of the predatory sequence. Kitty fishing poles that that let you flick a stuffed mouse or feathers across the floor, into the air and onto the couch will provide your cat with the opportunity to stalk, pounce and eventually kill (or at least bite and claw) their “prey.” Toss out a few treats at the end of the game or give your cat a food dispensing ball to chase around for a while, and playtime should end on a satisfying note for everyone.