HIFCM named top nursing home

Hazel I. Findlay Country Manor has been named one of the top Nursing Homes in Michigan by Newsweek.

This ranking is based on our performance data, recommendations by peers, and how our facility handled COVID-19.

Kudos to our the staff and to the community. Without all of the hard work from their staff and support from the community, this would not be possible.

New business opens on Clinton Avenue

Rise Up Co. carries carefully curated pieces. They say that they are casual but yet sophisticated. They like to run businesses but also to camp and explore with their country roots.

123 N. Clinton Ave. Saint Johns, MI 48879

Tuesday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Monday and Saturday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sunday: closed


Singing the praises of cellphone picture-taking
by Guven Witteveen

Koi young and old snapshot at Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park (iPod photo)

Frequently quoted is the observation that “the best camera is the one that’s with you,” attributed to Chase Jarvis, but maybe felt by fellow photographers well before that, too. Fancy gear left at home will always be beat by whatever happens to be within reach. As of 2021, some statistics say 60% of humans have a camera at hand, mostly in the form of mobile phone app. So while camera makers have seen a drop in sales by 75 or 80%, the world’s collective output of images, shared or unshared, has multiplied by a factor of double-digits.

At the end of summer 2021 my circa 2014 cellphone pictures seemed to be looking ever so slightly bluish and the software updates on the handset itself had ceased long ago. Security was not a big concern, since this trusty Nokia Lumia was chiefly a carry-around pocket camera. Seldom did I require a functioning wireless telecommunication device. For text messages or voice calls I carry a prepaid phone. Looking at my budget for a replacement pocket camera for the old phone in which camera quality and overall size/weight (form-factor) mattered, I ended up with a 7th generation iPod Touch (circa 2019). Although it may lack the design trends of the newest phones for multiple lenses and computational photography, the number of useful functions and dependable picture quality continues to impress me after eight weeks of daily use. And since it is still newish, the software is supported and the dozens of iOS apps add still other functionality to something not much heavier than a pack or two of chewing gum.

My first digital camera was around 2000 when a grant paid for a Ricoh DC-4 with its swivel lens, 3x optical zoom, and power supplied by 4x AA batteries. That was a great way to get psychologically used to taking pictures without film roll limitations and expenses. And the idea of spending photography time on PC instead of darkroom was a revelation, too. Fast forward 20 years and a dozen digital camera devices later, this latest camera/iPod really is a lot of camera in a small package. There is a lot to like about such small, capable and reliable devices such as this.

The camera app frequently captures compositions faithfully by nothing more than pointing and shooting. But with just a little more time and care, it is not hard to exercise a little manual control: lock the focus and slide the exposure control to fine tune the image, or force the pint-sized LED flash to fill a little bit of near foreground light. Tapping HDR and anchoring one’s standpoint gives a good preset range of light values merged into a finished photo. Being able to press and hold the shutter for bursts of photos has its uses, too. As well, the ability to snap a picture by using the volume up/down physical button rather than the capacitive touch (on-screen) button is a good option sometimes. In especially low light, relying on the basic self-timer minimizes the camera shake of tapping the shutter, too. But with the built-in image-stabilizing gyro, hand-held pictures in dim light is theoretically possible, although anchoring against table, chair, wall, or tree improves the odds to capture a picture free of camera shake.

Besides the default 4:3 aspect ratio to use the whole sensor, there are situations when the other camera modes are very useful, too: panorama sweep left or right (up or down, too) to form a very immersive canvas without the aid of extreme wide-angle lens, 1:1 (square) aspect ratio when a subject fits that frame best, video in normal or slo-mo, and time-lapse locked to produce about 20 to 40 seconds of playback, no matter how long the real-time subject is recorded (0–10 minutes at 2 fps, 10–20 minutes at 1 fps, then from 20–40 minutes at 0.5 fps, from 40–80 at 0.25 fps, and so on). Compare this basket of photography (and videography) powers of a pocket-sized digital camera device like this to the consumer-friendly equivalent of “everyone’s camera” 100 years ago, the Kodak “brownie” box camera with big film magazine to be returned to manufacturer to process negatives and print photographs.

The line of “brownies” put lenses into the hands of people from all walks of life in many countries. Something similar is true of cellphone cameras, from low-resolution ones to the latest ones making image files of 40 megapixels. Recalling an early PC that I had with hard-drive totaling 40 megabytes (the Cadillac of its moment in history), the idea now of 1 photo from a pocket (cellphone) camera consuming 10 or 15 megabytes is startling. Those black and white magazines of Kodak film were a gateway to fancier gear in the hands of some people who went beyond casual shooting to serious hobbyist (enthusiast in today’s language) to positions paid to produce timely pictures. A generation of two after the heyday of Brownie cameras the 35mm “miniature” camera (relative to the larger film rolls before) from Leica and its competitors led to the single-lens-reflex (TTL, through the lens composing) and the growth in popular photography among serious amateurs and hobbyists. In the hands of a skilled film photographer with a well-developed eye for photo opportunities, truly immersive and impressive results can be seen over the years. But with some of the pocket cameras of 2021, equally immersive and impressive results can be made by a person with a similar photographic eye who is well versed in the touch screen control of composition and capture. In other words, it is worth praising the pocket-sized wonderful picture-taking gizmo of today. Leaving aside the video, sound recording, and assorted smartphone apps, just on the merits and controls for still photography in a digital pocket camera app today the older technology is equaled or exceeded.

In 1953 Saul Bellow published The Adventures of Augie March. From time to time Augie reacts to an event or headline by mentally composing a letter to reach out and engage with the subject. With the advent of email, spontaneous epistles delivered without the aid of envelop, stamp, or letter carrier came to be possible. And then came mobile Internet devices to allow a person to dash off a letter to somebody or a Tweet to the world at large. Combining mobile social media with a camera lens controlled by software, now a person can combine images (moving or still) with text to publish his or her thoughts from any location with cellphone service. Were Augie March to spend a day living in 2021 it would be interesting to see if he would carry his habit of mentally writing into the digital arena and actually publish what is on his mind and what sights catch his eye.

Truly it is no exaggeration to pause from accustomed routines, reflect on the many powers of a pocketable lens combined with software, and to be grateful for all the pictures made so far and the ones yet to be made thanks to a high quality and highly capable digital camera. Let us now praise pocket cameras!

Remember When – Local groups donate to Toys for Tots in 2009

Mike Madden, Rotary Club Toys for Tots chairman, presents Brenda Terpening with checks totaling $3,200 to purchase gift cards for the Toys for Tots program in Clinton County.

Grand Knight Michael Trebesh, of the St John Knights of Columbus, council #3281 presented a check to Brenda Terpening, Clinton County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director for the Toys for Tots fund drive. The five hundred dollar contribution will provide toys for local area children who would otherwise go without. When presenting the check, Trebesh said an important mission of the Knights is charity and what better way to demonstrate charity than to bring joy to children on Christmas morning.

The Fowler Daisy Girl Scout Troop #3716 has learned first hand that giving is more fun than receiving. This month the girls learned the “Considerate and Caring” portion of the Girl Scout Law by participating in the Toys for Tots project.

The Girl Scouts were asked to bring a small unwrapped toy to their December meeting. During their December meeting, the girls participated in a “build a bear” project where they made stuffed animals – one to keep and one to be donated towards the “Toys for Tots” project.

Toys for Tots sends a message of hope to disadvantaged children. Through the girls’ generous donation, children in our area can enjoy Christmas—the way it was meant to be—even if parents have limited means. Getting involved in this effort is a wonderful way for our girls to spread Christmas cheer throughout our community.

Maralyn’s Pet Corner – How Cold Is Too Cold for Your Dog?
courtesy of Jennifer Coates, DVM

We all know that exercise and the mental stimulation being outdoors play are key to keeping our dogs healthy and happy, but what should we do when it’s cold outside? When do the risks of spending time in the cold outweigh the benefits of being outdoors? Let’s take a look at the dangers associated with winter weather and how we can still safely enjoy the great outdoors with our dogs during wintertime.
All Dogs Aren’t Created Equal

Dogs are individuals. An outdoor temperature that feels downright balmy to one dog might send another in search of shelter. What are some of the variables that affect how dogs respond to the cold?

Coat type – Dogs with thick, double-layered coats tend to be the most cold-tolerant (think Siberian Huskies, Newfoundlands or Samoyeds). In most cases, these breeds have been developed in Northern climates and may also have other anatomical, physiological or behavioral attributes that allow them to thrive when it’s frigid. On the other hand, dogs who have exceptionally thin coats (e.g., Greyhounds and Xoloitzcuintli) suffer the most in cold weather.

Coat color – On a clear day, black, brown, or other dark-coated dogs can absorb significant amounts of heat from sunlight, keeping them warmer in comparison to their light-coated brethren.

Size – Small dogs have a larger surface area to volume ratio. In other words, the smaller dogs are the more skin they have (in relation to their “insides”) through which to lose heat. Therefore, small dogs get colder more readily than do large dogs … all other things being equal.

Weight – Body fat is a good insulator. Thinner dogs tend to get colder quicker than do their heftier counterparts. That said, the health risks of being overweight far outweigh any benefits, so don’t fatten up your dogs during the winter months in a misguided attempt to protect them from the cold.

Conditioning – We’ve all experienced this one. Fifty degrees feels quite chilly in October, but after a long, cold winter, a fifty degree day in April can make us break out the shorts and t-shirts. Dogs who are used to cold temperatures handle them much better than do pets who aren’t.

Age and Health – The very young, the very old, and the sick are not as able to regulate their body temperatures in comparison to healthy dogs in the prime of their lives, and they therefore need greater protection from the cold.

All Temperatures Aren’t Created Equal

The temperature as it registers on a thermometer isn’t the only environmental factor that affects how dogs feel the cold.

Wind chill – A brisk breeze can quickly cut through a dog’s coat and greatly decreases its ability to insulate and protect against cold temperatures.

Dampness – Rain, wet snow, heavy fog, going for a swim … any form of dampness that soaks through the fur can quickly chill a dog even if the air temperature is not all that cold.

Cloud cover – Cloudy days tend to feel colder than do sunny days since dogs can’t soak up the sun and warm themselves.

Activity – If dogs are going to be very active while outside, they may generate enough extra body heat to keep them comfortable even if the temperature is quite low.

Cold Temperature Guidelines for Dogs

In general, cold temperatures should not become a problem for most dogs until they fall below 45° F, at which point some cold-averse dogs might begin to feel uncomfortable. When temperatures fall below 32° F, owners of small breed dogs, dogs with thin coats, and/or very young, old or sick dogs should pay close attention to their pet’s well-being. Once temperatures drop under 20° F, all owners need to be aware that their dogs could potentially develop cold-associated health problems like hypothermia and frostbite.

The best way to monitor dogs when it’s cold is to keep a close eye on their behavior. If you notice your dog shivering, acting anxious, whining, slowing down, searching out warm locations or holding up one or more paws, it’s time to head inside.