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Lisa Allmendinger on April 26th, 2015
Photo by Tom Hodgson. Great blue heron in flight.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. Great blue heron in flight.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. American bittern.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. American bittern.

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Tom Hodgson and the Waterloo Natural History Association for the information and photos in this column.)

The Chelsea area is well known as a go-to place to see sandhill cranes, but there are some other long-legged wading birds that also frequent area lakes and wetlands.  Five members of the heron family may show themselves to careful observers.  Four of these arrive in early spring.

The most frequently seen is the majestic great blue heron. Nearly as big as a sandhill, it stands about 4-feet tall with a 6-foot wingspan.  The great blue is sometimes confused with the sandhill, but flies with its neck in an S curve and his head resting on its shoulders.  Cranes fly with their necks fully extended.   Herons also have an opposable toe on each foot, which cranes lack, which allows them to roost and nest in trees.

The great blue can be seen hunting along the shores of most area lakes, especially in the early morning or evening, when there is less boat traffic. They are colonial nesters, and several active nesting colonies are found in remote parts of the Waterloo Recreation Area.  Great blue herons may fly several miles from their nesting sites each day to feed.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. Green heron.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. Green heron.

They return to our area as soon as the ice is gone in late March or early April. Great blue herons eat a wide variety of creatures that frequent shallow waters including small fish, frogs and tadpoles, crayfish, and even an occasional small snake.

The green heron is a smaller (crow-sized) and less conspicuous bird. Although also seen along the shores of area lakes, it is more likely to visit shallow, weedy wetlands where it feeds on small fish and frogs.  It is (in my opinion) poorly named for a faint green wash that can be seen on its wings only under the best lighting conditions.  It often goes unnoticed by boaters and kayakers until it flushes with a loud squawk. Green heron arrive in April and nest individually rather than in colonies.

The American bittern is heard more often than seen, for good reason.  It is a master of camouflage, blending in almost perfectly against marsh vegetation.  Its strange call can be heard in area marshes most often in early morning and evening.  The sound has been variously described as that of a squeaky hand pump, or a vomiting dog, and can be heard from quite a distance on quiet mornings.  To hear his call, click on this link.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. Least bittern peers from dense marsh vegetation.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. Least bittern peers from dense marsh vegetation.

Although they may be heard in many area wet lands, one of the best places to visit is the area of Big Portage Marsh on Reithmiller Road, near the Lutheran Church.

Finally, the smallest and most reclusive member of the heron family is the least bittern. This bird’s body is laterally compressed so it can squeeze between densely packed stems of rushes or cattails with ease.  Thus, it spends most of its time hidden from view.  Though seldom seen, they can be heard at the Reithmiller road location that is also good for American bitterns. To listen to the least bittern’s subtle call click on the following link.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. Great blue heron hunting along shore of Mill Lake.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. Great blue heron hunting along shore of Mill Lake.

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File photo of the Saturday Farmers Market.

File photo of the Saturday Farmers Market.

Anyone who has been reading Chelsea Update for any length of time knows that I am a huge fan and supporter of Chelsea’s two farmers markets and I’d love to see you Monday night between 5:30-7:30 at the Plaid Melon Cafe downtown for a fundraising Yellow Door to benefit them.

The suggested donation is $15 and the menu sounds heavenly.
There are four kinds of soup:
Soup 1 – Lamb / White Bean / Spinach / Feta (broth)
Soup 2 – Ham / Potato / White Cheddar (cream)
Soup 3 – Chicken / Potato / Ginger / Pecan Croutons (cream)
Soup 4 – Spinach / White Bean / Pesto (broth)

Salad 1 – Cabbage slaw w/ carrots and watermelon radishes
Salad 2 – Buttercrunch and red leaf lettuces w/ carrots, strawberries and pickled onions

Assorted Breads, Coffee, Tea

Plaid Melon is donating the space and the following local vendors have supported this special fundraiser. (And, hopefully, I’ve named each of them below. If I missed anyone let me know.)

Chelsea Alehouse Brewery, Frog Holler Produce, Millpond Bread, Stonehearth Bakery, Brieland-Shoultz Farm, Fresh Coffee, Crooked Carrot Farm, Mama Mo Foods, Zatkovich Pastures, Golden Fleece Farm, Jane Fink, Cakes by Penny, Goetz Farm, Two Tracks Acres, Tantre Farm, Goetz Greenhouse and Crooked Carrot Farm.

There will also be a drawing for Dahlia bulbs provided by Bordine Farms.

And while on the topic of supporting community efforts, I’m hoping that if Chelsea Update has helped you be better informed or helped you promote an event, group, or organization with stories or, if you just enjoy reading the publication every day – please consider making a donation of any amount to my one-person efforts. I work super hard on it every day and rarely get a full day off because Chelsea Update continually brings you “All the News That’s Fit to Print About Chelsea.”

Donations can be sent to Chelsea Update, 18829 Bush Road, Chelsea, MI 48118. And thank you all so much in advance. I love bringing you the news daily because the Chelsea Community is such a wonderful place filled with great people who never fail to let me know how much they appreciate my efforts.

Hope to see you Monday night and have a great Sunday, everyone.

File photo. A scene from the Wednesday Bushel Basket Market.

File photo. A scene from the Wednesday Bushel Basket Market.

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Reggie the Recycling Racoon made his public debut at the Chelsea Spring Expo last Saturday hosted by the Chelsea Area Senior Center at the Washington Street Education Center and met a lot of people.

He hopes you enjoy the photo gallery and that you found the Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority booth at the event and had your questions answered about recycling.

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Lisa Allmendinger on April 25th, 2015

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Lisa Allmendinger on April 25th, 2015
Grant Ortbring and Defensive Line Coach Travis Rubingh from Adrian College.

Courtesy photo. Grant Ortbring and Defensive Line Coach Travis Rubingh from Adrian College.

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Todd Ortbring for the photos and the information in this story.)

Grant Ortbring recently signed a letter of intent to play football at Adrian College.

Ortbring was a defensive end and punter for the Bulldogs and was a member of their District Championship Team, which finished 9-3.

He was named First Team All SEC White on defense.

“Grant joins a long list of Chelsea football players that have gone on to play college football,” said Brad Bush, head football coach and Chelsea Athletic Director. “We are all very proud of Grant,” Bush said, adding, “He had a great career at Chelsea High School and we wish him the best of luck at Adrian College.”

Ortbring plans to study either education or sports management at Adrian beginning this fall.

Courtesy photo. The official signing with Adrian College. Grant Ortbring.

Courtesy photo. The official signing with Adrian College. Grant Ortbring.

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(Chelsea Update would like to thank Bob Milbrodt for the information in this story.)

The Chelsea Kiwanis Club picked up over 30 bags of trash along I-94 during its weekend Adopt-A Highway clean-up efforts. The club also recovered more than $10 in returnable cans and bottles thrown from vehicles on the side of the highway.

“We would like to encourage the community members and those just passing through, to consider disposing of their trash properly.  It would be far more productive for our Adopt-a-Highway volunteers to spend time and effort on other community service projects, said Bob Milbrodt.

On Monday, April 27, the club will welcome Aubree Shemwell and Dana Emmert, board members from the Chelsea Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). They will talk about activities they have pursued with students in the past, and those planned for the future.

“We have worked together for many years on the Finale Day project, fun for kids and families, which is at South Meadows Elementary School on May 8 this year,” Milbrodt said.

The Kiwanis has also assisted the PTO with the Bulldog Jog and Punt, Pass and Kick in the fall and hope the PTO can help them start a K Kids Club at both elementary schools. The clubs are a way to introduce the children to ways they can serve the community while having fun with their classmates.

The meeting begins at 6:15 p.m. in the St. Joseph Mercy-Chelsea Hospital cafeteria, and the speakers begin at about 6:45 p.m., and everyone is invited to the meetings to learn about Kiwanis.

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Lisa Allmendinger on April 25th, 2015

Bulldog-logo(Chelsea Update would like to thank Shane Rodriguez for the information in this story.)

The Chelsea Girls’ Track and Field Team traveled on Tuesday, April 21 to Ypsilanti Lincoln and came home with another SEC victory to improve to 3-0 on the season, and 15-3 in the past 4 seasons.

Lincoln definitely came out firing and actually took first place in 11 of the 17 events, but our depth proved to be the difference maker as many athletes picked up 2nd and 3rd places, and the vaulters and 3200 meter runners were able to sweep all the possible points in those events.

The weather was terrible, but everyone’s spirits were high and it felt really good to avenge a 1-point loss from 2014, the coach said.

Full results are here.

The girls traveled to Mason for a tough invite on Friday, and host Tecumseh on Tuesday.

There are only three weeks until the all-important Regional, which determines our state team.

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Lisa Allmendinger on April 25th, 2015

2015-Rummage-Sale-Flyer

For a full calendar of all the vents taking place in Chelsea, please click here.

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Lisa Allmendinger on April 24th, 2015

Chelsea-School-District-logo

 

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Kristin Krarup-Joyce, Ed. S. NCSP, Ellen Kent, Ed. S. NCSP and Emily Verbeke, Ed. S. NCSP for the information in this weekly column. If you have a question for one of the school psychologists, please email asktheschoolpsychologist@gmail.com. All information will be kept confidential.)

Last week, we provided an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This week, we want to go into more detail about the social impairments, communication issues, and repetitive and stereotypic behaviors that individuals with ASD exhibit.

The following is from the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH).

Social Impairment
Most children with ASD have trouble engaging in everyday social interactions. For example, some children with ASD may make little eye contact, tend to look and listen less to people in their environment or fail to respond to other people, rarely seek to share their enjoyment of toys or activities by pointing or showing things to others, and/or respond unusually when others show anger, distress, or affection.

Recent research suggests that children with ASD do not respond to emotional cues in human social interactions because they may not pay attention to the social cues that others typically notice. Likewise, it can be hard for others to understand the body language of children with ASD. Many older children with ASD speak with an unusual tone of voice and may sound sing-song or flat and robot-like.

Children with ASD also may have trouble understanding another person’s point of view. For example, by school age, most children understand that other people have different information, feelings, and goals than they have. Children with ASD may lack this understanding, leaving them unable to predict or understand other people’s actions.

Communication Issues
Not every child with ASD will have a language problem. A child’s ability to communicate will vary, depending upon his or her intellectual and social development. Some children with ASD may be unable to speak. Others may have rich vocabularies and be able to talk about specific subjects in great detail. Most children with ASD have little or no problem pronouncing words. The majority, however, have difficulty using language effectively, especially when they talk to other people. Many have problems with the meaning and rhythm of words and sentences. They also may be unable to understand body language and the nuances of vocal tones.

Even children with ASD who have relatively good language skills often have difficulties with the back and forth of conversations. For example, because they find it difficult to understand and react to social cues, some highly verbal children with ASD often talk at length about a favorite subject, but they won’t allow anyone else a chance to respond or notice when others react indifferently.

Children with ASD who have not yet developed meaningful gestures or language may simply scream or grab or otherwise act out until they are taught better ways to express their needs. As these children grow up, they can become aware of their difficulty in understanding others and in being understood. This awareness may cause them to become anxious or depressed.

Repetitive and Stereotyped Behaviors
Children with ASD often have repetitive motions or unusual behaviors. These behaviors may be extreme and very noticeable, or they can be mild and discreet. For example, some children may repeatedly flap their arms or walk in specific patterns, while others may subtly move their fingers by their eyes in what looks to be a gesture. These repetitive actions are sometimes called “stereotypy” or “stereotyped behaviors.”

Children with ASD also tend to have overly focused interests. Children with ASD may become fascinated with moving objects or parts of objects, like the wheels on a moving car. They might spend a long time lining up toys in a certain way, rather than playing with them. They may also become very upset if someone accidentally moves one of the toys. Repetitive behavior can also take the form of a persistent, intense preoccupation. For example, they might be obsessed with learning all about vacuum cleaners, train schedules, or lighthouses. Children with ASD often have great interest in numbers, symbols, or science topics.

While children with ASD often do best with routine in their daily activities and surroundings, inflexibility may often be extreme and cause serious difficulties. They may insist on eating the same exact meals every day or taking the same exact route to school. A slight change in a specific routine can be extremely upsetting. Some children may even have emotional outbursts, especially when feeling angry or frustrated or when placed in a new or stimulating environment.

No two children express exactly the same types and severity of symptoms. In fact, many typically developing children occasionally display some of the behaviors common to children with ASD. However, if you notice your child has several ASD-related symptoms, have your child screened and evaluated by a health professional experienced with ASD.

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