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Photo by Lisa Carolin. Randy Seitz cuts a special 100th anniversary chocolate cake last Saturday during Chelsea's chocolate Extravaganza.

Photo by Lisa Carolin. Randy Seitz cuts a special 100th anniversary chocolate cake last Saturday during Chelsea’s chocolate Extravaganza.

Photo by Lisa Carolin. Special chocolate display at La Jolla last Saturday.

Photo by Lisa Carolin. Special chocolate display at La Jolla last Saturday.

By Lisa Carolin

Chocolate covered strawberries, brownies, truffles, and a chocolate frosted chocolate cake were among the chocolate goodies offered up by merchants in Chelsea on Saturday, Feb. 6.

It was the eighth year of the city’s Chocolate and Shopping Extravaganza, and it was nearly impossible to find a business that wasn’t handing out chocolates.

The Common Grill had complimentary Hot Chocolate, Vogel’s and Foster’s had chocolate cookies, and Attic Boutique had chocolate cherry bonbons.

At Bumble’s Dry Goods, there were orange peels dipped in dark chocolate as well as dipped strawberries.

Photo by Lisa Carolin. Chocolate covered fruit at The Garden Mill.

Photo by Lisa Carolin. Chocolate covered fruit at The Garden Mill.

“This is a way to treat people,” said Carolyn McNagny, owner of Bumble’s. “It’s a way of giving back.”

At La Jolla Fine Jewelry, customers were greeted with complimentary roses and invited to help themselves to a table full of truffles and fine chocolates.

Owner Curtis Gough said, “We get to do this once a year. It’s great for the City of Chelsea, and it’s such a beautiful day.”

“The Chocolate Extravaganza brings people to town,” said Marilyn Jachalke, sales associate at Global Marketplace, who baked brownies to share. “People come in and hang out with us. It’s like a party.”

Photo by Lisa Carolin. Chocolate covered strawberries.

Photo by Lisa Carolin. Chocolate covered strawberries.

It was an ideal day for businesses to celebrate grand openings and milestone anniversaries as well.

Garden Mill has been in the process of redesigning the store and had just reopened.

Mule Skinner Boots moved to a new location – 112 Main St. — and celebrated the day with a band and a live broadcast from WAAM radio.

At Seitz’s Tavern, owner Randy Seitz gave out pieces of chocolate birthday cake to celebrate 100 years in business.

Photo by Lisa Carolin. xxx at the Global Marketplace with chocolate goodies.

Photo by Lisa Carolin. Marilyn Jachalke at the Global Marketplace with chocolate goodies.

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Lisa Allmendinger on February 8th, 2016
Guy Sanville and David Montee in the Purple Rose Theatre's production of Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple." Photo by Sean Carter Photography.

Guy Sanville and David Montee in the Purple Rose Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple.” Photo by Sean Carter Photography.

By Jenn McKee

Over the years, some shows that become classics get reduced in our minds to their most basic premise. Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” – now being staged at Chelsea’s Purple Rose Theatre – is a prime example. We hear that familiar title, and we think of two very different men, comically struggling to live under the same roof.

This isn’t wrong, of course; but it’s also not the whole story. You forget the backdrop of male friendships and warmth; the grief of divorce that sets the story in motion; and, well, the two British sisters who find one man’s sad-sack, vulnerable state irresistible.

But the Rose’s production brings it all back, in a polished production directed by Lauren Mounsey. At the play’s outset, fastidious news writer Felix Ungar (David Montee) is a no-show at his friends’ weekly poker game. Felix’s sportswriter friend and poker host Oscar Madison (Guy Sanville) soon learns that not only is Felix’s marriage over, but also Felix left his home saying that he was going to go kill himself.

Obviously, when Felix finally appears at Oscar’s, the friends all hold their breath, watching him for signs of self-harm. But as this initial threat passes, Oscar tells Felix he’s welcome to move in, despite the ways that Oscar’s slob bachelor lifestyle conflicts with Felix’s obsessively neat and controlling ways. And when Oscar makes a double date for them with a pair of flirty sisters living in the same building, Felix can’t keep himself from showing them pictures of his children and his soon-to-be-ex-wife – much to Oscar’s annoyance. The ill-fated date brings Oscar and Felix’s differences to a head, and the friends find themselves at a crossroads.

“Couple” premiered on Broadway in 1965 – starring no less than Walter Matthau and Art Carney, and directed by the great Mike Nichols – and while watching the play, you inevitably find yourself feeling a bit nostalgic. In our tech-obsessed, over-scheduled, twenty-first century lives, it’s hard to remember a time when we truly got to leave our work at work (characters’ occupations are mentioned in passing, but to Simon, they’re cursory), and when we could make time to get together with friends to do something as un-ambitious as playing cards one night a week. For this reason, the very atmosphere of the Rose’s production has the seductive power of a Siren’s song.

The down-side of the play’s “comfort food” quality is that some of the things that likely made the play an uproarious comedy in 1965 don’t quite have the same impact on a 2016 audience. Though we may chuckle when Felix dresses in an apron and a floppy chef’s hat to cook a London broil at home, and when he gets persnickety about coasters, the surprise/novelty of these kinds of moments is inevitably muted. Why? Because over the past 50 years, we have seen and loved many Felix-like male characters, and our notions of gender normative behavior have (thankfully) expanded considerably.

Regardless, Simon earned his place in the American theater canon for good reason: he’s funny, and he writes about flawed, all-too-human characters with genuine, warm-hearted affection. But his scripts also sometimes separate the pros from the amateurs in terms of execution; for it takes pros (like those featured in the Rose’s production) to really make comedic hay from Felix’s sinus-clearing honks, a British woman’s stuttered weeping, and Oscar’s difficulty deciphering a note left on his pillow (which will make you wonder if Simon named Felix for the purposes of cashing in on this one joke – but it’s a good one, so why not?).

Generally, as an ensemble, the actors play off each other beautifully. Under Mounsey’s direction, they avoid pushing any punchline too hard while also appearing to be having a ball, and the sense of fun is infectious. Tom Whalen, as hen-pecked Vinnie, preens and kvetches about when he has to leave and struts around Oscar’s apartment in clothes I would call “persnickety casual.” (Unabashed joy shines through costume designer Corey T. Collins’ work, too, dressing Whalen in knee high socks, long shorts, a cardigan, and a yellow bow tie.) Jim Porterfield, meanwhile, is quietly endearing as Murray, the long-married cop who worries when Felix doesn’t show.

But any “Odd Couple” is only as good as its Felix and Oscar, and with Montee and Sanville, the Rose has a winning hand. Sanville bypasses the trap of playing Oscar too big and instead makes him a divorced man who’s content, if not completely happy, in his unfettered life. Montee uses his size – he’s smaller than his poker buddies – to emphasize both the vulnerability and the strength Felix draws from his sense of himself. He realizes why he’s difficult to live with, but he also says, with no trace of surrender, “I am who I am.”

Reid G. Johnson designed the lighting for “Couple,” and set designer Bartley Bauer manages to give Oscar’s apartment added depth by way of a hallway leading back to bedrooms, a kitchen entrance, and a bathroom door. Danna Segrest designed the props that fill Oscar’s sloppy-then-spotless apartment, while Whalen designed the sound.

The stakes of “The Odd Couple” may not seem as high as they once did – for better or for worse, we’ve grown accustomed to the painful transitions that accompany divorce, for men and for women – but the things the play has to say about friendship, and about compassion, are timeless.

In the closing moments of the Rose’s production, Felix is about to leave Oscar’s apartment when Oscar gently straightens Felix’s tie – a gesture we might usually associate with a spouse – and through this quiet, subtle gesture, we know their friendship will endure, and that they will keep trying to take care of each other.

And if that doesn’t make your soul feel a little lighter, I’m not sure what would.

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Lisa Allmendinger on February 8th, 2016

On Friday, Feb. 5, the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for the Mule Skinner Boots and Western Wear at the store’s new location in the old hardware store building downtown.

 

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Lisa Allmendinger on February 8th, 2016

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Dave Brinklow for the information in this story.)

The Beach Middle School Swimming and Diving Team came home with three new school records last Saturday as they competed in the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (MISCA) Middle School State Invitational.

The meet was held at Holt High School where 55 teams competed for the top 16 places in each event. No team scores are kept.

The girls started their portion of the meet off in great fashion by taking first place in the 200 medley relay and setting the first school record. The relay team of Alexis Nelson, Abby Robbins, Olivia Olk and Fayth Frazier had a time of 1:56.86, which eclipsed the previous record of 1:58.52 set in 2000 by Katrina Moffett, Alise Augustine, Kara Stiles and Kayla Hack.

In the 200 freestyle, Olivia Prodin swam a personal best time of 2:23.98 finishing in 30th place.

Robbins swam the 100 IM with her best time of 1:10.84 for 17th place.

Then in the 50 freestyle, Nelson set the pace with the team’s 2nd school record with her 2nd place time of 25.41. The previous record of 25.62 was set by Kara Stiles in 2001. Frazier finished in 8th place with her personal best time of 26.85.

Melina Almhiemid received her medal for 15th place in the diving event with a score of 140.70.

Next was the 50 butterfly where Olk swam a time of 29.62 for 12th place.

Prodin swam a personal best in the 100 freestyle where her time of 1:03.20 was 22nd place.

In the 200 freestyle relay, the team of Nelson, Frazier, Robbins and Olk were celebrating what was thought to be their 1st place finish and next school record only to find out the heartbreaking news that they had been disqualified for an early take off.

So then it was back to business for the Bulldogs when Abby Robbins dropped an amazing 5 seconds in the 100 breaststroke for a personal best of 1:14.72 and 8th place.

In the last event, the 400 freestyle relay team of Nelson, Frazier, Prodin and Olk battled it out in a back and forth race with host team Holt and ended up in 2nd place with a school record time of 3:55.31. The previous record of 4:01.43 was set in 2000 by Stiles, Liz Rohrkemper, Hack and Moffett.

In the boys portion of the meet, the only top 16 finish came from the 200 freestyle relay team of Niko Fannin, Jaron Iannelli, Deaglan Krause and Zander Hartsuff. Their time of 1:53.54 was a 6 second drop from their seeded time and good enough for 13th place.

The same foursome again had all personal best times in the 400 freestyle relay, dropping 7 seconds from their seeded time with 4:18.49 finishing in 19th place.

Individual events for the boys included Hartsuff in the 100 IM, with a personal best of 1:09.66 in 18th place. Fannin was 26th in the event with a best time of 1:11.83.

Iannelli competed in the 100 freestyle with his personal best of 1:01.68 finishing 28th.

Fannin and Hartsuff both swam the 100 breaststroke where Fannin’s 1:20.20 was 25th and Hartsuff was 27th with a best time of 1:21.32.

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Lisa Allmendinger on February 8th, 2016

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

Chelsea varsity wrestling had two individual champs: Corbyn Munson and Nick Bleise at the SEC tournament and finished second as a team.

“So proud of the total team,” said Coach Adam French. “To place above Tecumseh and Saline meant that all the boys wrestled great.”

In addition, the team was without its 145-pound wrestler Quinton Clark who is out for the season with an injury and “was sorely missed,” French said.

“Our boys are really starting to peak at just the right time as we head into districts. I am excited to see how we fair this Wednesday (team districts at Fowlerville) and Saturday (individual districts at Mason), he said.

Among the highlights:

  • 1st place at 112 Corbyn Munson
  • 4th place at 125 Joshua Dosey
  • 1st place at 130 Nick Bleise
  • 5th place at 135 Mason Trinkle
  • Michael Barnes 2nd at 140.
  • Tristan Koch 4th at 152.
  • Gus Reynolds 3rd at 160.
  • Zach Bennett 3rd at 171.
  • Reed Aldrich 5th at 189.
  • Hunter Adams 6th at 215.
  • Ty McTaggert 4th at 285.

For more results, check out: http://rbrighton.com/2015-2016%20Tournaments/SEC%20League%202016.pdf

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Lisa Allmendinger on February 8th, 2016
Courtesy photo. Anna Collins walks off the lanes smiling after finishing her 226 game.

Courtesy photo. Anna Collins walks off the lanes smiling after finishing her 226 game.

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Rory Kaiser for the information in this story.)

Boys Chelsea Varsity 25, Ypsilanti 5

The boys varsity bowling team took a commanding 10-0 lead after the baker games and didn’t let up heading into match play. By the end of game 1 in match play, the Bulldogs were able to secure the victory leading 17-2.

Senior Kyle Lucas, who is expected to sign his letter of intent to bowl for Spring Arbor University on Monday, Feb. 8, led all Chelsea scoring with a 225.

RJ Dale also had a nice game of 203.

Girls Chelsea Varsity 25, Ypsilanti 5

The girls varsity team had equal success on the lanes versus Ypsilanti.

By splitting the baker games but winning totals by one pin, they headed into match play up 6-4. In game 2 of match play, the Bulldog girls bowled their best of the season so far with a 965 set to seal the victory.

Leading all scoring was Anna Collins (226), Kara Steinaway (214, 179), Brittney Stephenson (190), and Corrine Dale (183, 150).

These were great momentum-build victories for the Chelsea Bowling program that will be competing at the upcoming SEC meet on Feb. 15 at Super Bowl Lanes in Canton.

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Lisa Allmendinger on February 8th, 2016

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Lexi Cerilli for the information in this story.)

United Methodist Retirement Communities (UMRC), with headquarters in Chelsea, is proud to announce its 110th anniversary of providing outstanding care and services to older adults.

UMRC was founded in 1906 at a time when “there was no Social Security, no such thing as a retirement community, and no safety net for senior citizens,” explains John Thorhauer, UMRC President and CEO in a press release. “Our Methodist founders dreamed of a better way to serve older adults.”

Their idea for an innovative and faith-based means of caring for seniors was visionary in its day and caught the attention of local stove manufacturer Frank Porter Glazier, who donated 33 acres from a former county fairground site for the project. In 1906, ground was broken to create the Chelsea “Old People’s Home.”

While much has changed, UMRC’s commitment to providing the highest quality, cutting-edge care for all seniors remains steadfast.

Today, UMRC offers Michigan’s most diverse housing options and services to seniors of all income levels, including market rate and affordable independent and assisted living options, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, specialized dementia and Alzheimer’s care, innovative therapy, home healthcare, and Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE.

Over the last six years alone, UMRC has expanded from three locations to nine in Chelsea, Dexter, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Ypsilanti, Lansing, and Jackson, serving over 1,600 older adults annually across twelve Michigan counties. “As the senior population continues to grow, our vision is to double the number of older adults UMRC serves, in the ways they want and need services to be delivered, while focusing on UMRC’s faith-based mission,” says Thorhauer.

“Our founders believed in charitable care for older adults who had outlived their savings,” says UMRC Foundation President Wendy Brightman. “Their belief remains the cornerstone of UMRC’s faith-based mission.”

In 1998, the UMRC Foundation was created as the fundraising arm for UMRC. “Thanks to our generous donors, we are proud the UMRC Foundation has provided over $15 million in benevolent care since then for residents who have exhausted their resources,” she says.

Building on a foundation of 110 years of service, United Methodist Retirement Communities is a faith-based, non-profit organization that promotes the wellness, dignity and independence of older adults, by providing high quality, innovative and compassionate senior residential care services across Southeast Michigan. Go to www.umrc.com or call 433-1000 for more information.

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Lisa Allmendinger on February 8th, 2016

The Chelsea Board of Education meeting scheduled for tonight, Feb. 8, has been cancelled.

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Lisa Allmendinger on February 7th, 2016
Photo by Tom Hodgson. Adult turkey vulture in flight.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. Adult turkey vulture in flight.

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

Every year, the town of Hinckley, Ohio celebrates the return of the “Buzzards.” Everyone has to have something to celebrate, right?

Photo by Tom Hodgson. Turkey vulture perched.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. Turkey vulture perched.

True buzzards are actually old world birds. What Hinckley is actually celebrating is the return of the turkey vulture, a large, carrion feeder that is common throughout the U.S. including the Chelsea area. Although in the past, vultures have been lumped in with raptors like hawks and eagles, more recent studies find they are more closely related to storks.

The turkey vulture rarely kills its prey, but instead feeds on the remains of kills left by predators and on the many animals killed by cars on area roads. Unlike most birds, the turkey vulture has a keen sense of smell. It is able to locate rotting carcasses while soaring high in the air, by detecting the odors rising from them.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. Turkey vulture nestlings.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. Turkey vulture nestlings.

Its large, six-foot wingspan allows it to soar effortlessly on thermal updrafts for hours in search of food. Turkey vultures are migratory. They usually arrive in Michigan in late February and March and begin nesting soon thereafter. With this year’s mild winter, they are returning early, and have already been seen in the area.

Turkey vultures often roost in large community groups, breaking away to forage independently during the day.

The turkey vulture has few predators. Its primary form of defense is regurgitating semi-digested meat, a foul-smelling substance, which deters most creatures intent on harming it, or raiding its nest. With few predators and an abundance of road kill animals for food, the turkey vulture is doing well and is considered a species of least concern.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. Turkey vulture nest with eggs.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. Turkey vulture nest with eggs.

The turkey vulture is the most common vulture in the Americas. Its global population is estimated to be 4,500,000. It provides a useful service, disposing of dead animals that might transmit disease.

Most hawks and eagles soar with their wings flat. Turkey vulture flies with its wings held in a shallow V. This, along with the habit of tilting its wings back and forth in the wind, makes it easy to recognize even at a great distance. Turkey vultures have no call and can only make hissing noises.

In Michigan, turkey vultures nest in hollow trees or hollow logs. With their red, featherless heads turkey vultures when at rest, resemble turkeys. Turkey vultures lower their body temperatures at night and warm up by spreading their wings toward the sun the next morning.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. Turkey vulture warming its wings.

Photo by Tom Hodgson. Turkey vulture warming its wings.

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Lisa Allmendinger on February 7th, 2016

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