Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Between the Lines: Michigan's Great Girls

by Zinta Aistars
for WMUK 102.1 FM
Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate

Between the Lines is my weekly radio show about books and writers with a Michigan connection. It airs every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m. (or listen anytime online), on WMUK 102.1 FM, Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate. I am the host of Between the Lines.

This week's guest: Patricia Majher

You don’t have to have lived a long life to have lived a great one. In Patricia Majher’s new book Great Girls in Michigan History (Wayne State University Press, March 2015), the Michigan historian writes about 20 girls younger than 20 who have made a mark on history.

These short biographies written for readers aged eight and older tell the stories of famous and little-known girls. They include female aviator Nancy Harkness (Love); pioneer Anna Howard Shaw; escaped slave Dorothy Butler; professional baseball player Marilyn Jenkins; union leader Myra Komaroff (Wolfgang); Native-American writer Jane Johnston (Schoolcraft); First Lady Betty Bloomer (Ford); jockey Julie Krone; Motown star Diana Ross; tennis champion Serena Williams; and many others.

Majher says she made an effort to find girls with achievements in many different areas from from different areas of the state.
“There are a lot of girls who have achieved greatness before the age of 20 in athletics and in the arts,” Majher says. “But what else? What other areas? So then I started...


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Landscaping Trends on Fire in 2015

by Zinta Aistars
Published in Welcome Home Magazine
Summer 2015 Issue

It’s the trend that has caught fire in 2015—everyone wants one. Fire pits are in high demand, whether set into backyards on their own or as part of larger and more elaborate outdoor spaces.

“We’re doing a ton of fire pits this year,” says Ken Murray, owner of Murray Landscaping. “And then we’re doing patios around them, building outdoor rooms around the pits. It’s a growing trend.”

Murray is hearing many of his customers mention ideas they have seen on the popular television channel, HGTV, with shows like “Yard Crashers,” in which people’s weedy backyards are transformed within days into elaborate outdoor entertainment areas.

In reality, Murray says, those “magic” transformations can take two to four weeks to build for an outdoor room surrounding the fire pit. Price tags can range from $15,000 to $60,000, he says.

“It all depends on what you want. We can do it all,” Murray says. “Although when a customer requests low maintenance, you have to remember all landscaping requires some maintenance.”

When choosing outdoor room options, Murray recommends that customers work with, rather than against, the terrain of the yard. Decide on the area you want created and consider what kind of entertaining you want to do there and for how many.

“We can build walls, we can change the grade of the land, we can work with just about anything,” Murray says.

When choosing a fire pit for the yard, a wide variety of options are available. Beginning with the least expensive and easiest to install are portable fire pits or bowls. Chimineas are a type of fire pit that use a smoke stack and operate much like a wood stove. While chimineas are typically made out of clay, pricier versions may be made out of ...



Thursday, July 23, 2015

Golden Slippers Network: Navigating Elderly Care

by Zinta Aistars
for Golden Slippers Network
July 20, 2015

When her mother was diagnosed with dementia, Cheryl Edwards-Cannon realized how little she knew about helping her mother navigate her senior years. What were her mother’s needs and how could she best help her?
Fifteen years later, Edwards-Cannon has accumulated a great deal of expertise in not only helping her parent, but helping others in similar situations.
“I found few resources back then to help me find the best care for my mother,” Edwards-Cannon says. Today, that has changed, she says, and the organization she has established since, called Clear Path Choices, LLC, connects families with all the resources they need to navigate elderly care.
Edwards-Cannon is CEO and lead consultant at Clear Path Choices. She works with a team of attorneys, financial planners, social workers and law enforcement. Along with assisting families to create personalized, strategic plans for their senior loved ones, she leads seminars and workshops to guide participants in life decisions.
A consultation with a Clear Path Choices representative begins with questions about health: What kind of lifestyle is your loved one accustomed to? Is he or she ready for this move? How independent is the senior and how much assistance will be required?
“Then we talk about geographic location,” Edwards-Cannon says. “We can help you move anywhere, in Michigan or anywhere in the country.”
Based on the individual’s needs, three locations are recommended with the final decision left to the family.
Edwards-Cannon says, “It can be hard to leave home. We tell caregivers—don’t make it about you. Make it about your loved one. They want to know what will change in their lives, what will stay the same.”
Finding the best place to live is about keeping your loved one safe and increasing longevity. Signs which may indicate a need for placement, Edwards-Cannon says, are increased falls or accidents at home.
Insurance Coverage
If you think that understanding insurance policies is confusing, Edwards-Cannon agrees.
“Oh, I think they are designed to be confusing,” she laughs. “But it’s important to ...