Thursday, October 23, 2014

GS Custom Bullets helps you hit 'em with your best shot

by Zinta Aistars
Published in Southwest Michigan's Second Wave Media
October 23, 2014

Gina Schultz (Photo by Susan Andress)

Making bullets is part of the family business for the Schultzes. Today Gina Schultz runs the custom bullet business started by her father, a bulletsmith, in South Africa. Zinta Aistars reports on bullets designed to order. 

Gina Schultz was 7 years old when her father first placed a gun in her hands. Schultz is the daughter of Gerard Schultz, owner of a gun shop in South Africa that he had opened for business in 1977, two years before her birth. Her father trained her and her sister carefully on how to shoot. 

Handling guns, Schultz says, "is second nature to me." 

In 1999, shortly after moving to the United States from South Africa, Schultz took over the ownership of the business that grew out of her father’s gun shop, opening a United States-based business to mirror the original one started by her father in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. 

GS Custom Bullets is located at 69301 M-62 in Edwardsburg, Michigan.  Schultz’s father oversees the technical side of the bullets he designed and patented, and her mother oversees the store’s administrative side at the South Africa location.

"We’ve been shipping to United States for years," says Schultz. "There was a learning curve to learn about importing, licensing, so I thought, why not just manufacture here?" 

Schultz knows her bullets. Among her favorite memories are the hunting trips she went on with her father from age 13, and by age 16, the .220 Swift rifle she sighted on the beautiful blesbok, a type of antelope with a white blaze across its face, found only in South Africa. Schultz was 300 yards from her target. 

"My father helped me get closer," she says. "It was a flat, open field, and the herd ran off but this one. Usually, a hunter fires at 200 yards; this was the longest shot I’d ever taken at 300, but I knew what my rifle could do. The shot hit the blesbok in the ...


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My WMUK Arts and More interview with Life of Pi author, Yann Martel

by Zinta Aistars
for WMUK 102.1 FM radio
Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate
Arts and More program

Yann Martel with his bestseller, Life of Pi

Author Yann Martel is best known for his popular novel Life of Pi, about a boy who explores his spirituality while stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.
Martel will give a talk called “Healing Journeys: Crossing the Pacific, Dealing with Trauma” as part of the Western Michigan University’s healing arts speaker series Thursday, October 23, at 7 p.m. at Miller Auditorium in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The event is free.
Finding Answers Through Storytelling 
Martel says stories can give meaning to our lives. He says stories have a defined beginning, middle, and end, while our day to day lives tend aren’t as linear and can even be a little boring.
“What storytelling has the capacity to do is select out of the randomness of life key elements that do give meaning,” says Martel.
Understanding Religion
Martel says he wrote Life of Pi in an attempt to understand why people have faith. Martel says in his early 30s, he did not see religion as logical and often criticized organized religions for practicing intolerance. But when he went to India, things changed. While examining Hinduism—a religion he did not know much about—he saw religion in a different light.
“I suddenly realized those things that we hate about religion is only part of the story,” Martel says. “Not every person who’s religious is out to put women in the kitchen, put down Jews and gays, etc.”
Martel says writing Life of Pi did give him faith, but didn’t necessarily bring him to ...

Friday, October 17, 2014

The littlest entrepreneurs: Money and teachable moments

by Zinta Aistars
Published in Southwest Michigan's Second Wave Media
October 16, 2014

Christian and his father shopping, downtown Kalamazoo (Photo by Susan Andress)

Stanley Steppes got his start in business at age 9. Now he's teaching children financial wisdom. Zinta Aistars reports. 

When 5-year-old Christian wants to buy his mommy a birthday gift, nothing is big enough or good enough. After all, Christian’s mommy is the best in the world. 

Shopping for mommy’s birthday gift with his father becomes an educational journey for the boy, and his father is ready to take advantage of the opportunity to teach his son about the concept and value of money. 

Christian today is 7, and his father is Stanley Steppes, founder and CEO of Financial Literacy Partners of America, with Money Smart Kids an educational initiative Steppes has founded to inspire, motivate, empower and educate children on how to become entrepreneurs and to grow up financially wise.

“My philosophy is that money is a tool to help us reach our dreams,” says Steppes. “Money Smart Kids is not just about teaching kids to save. It’s important to understand why, to talk about the purpose.”

Steppes has written a children’s book called Christian and Daddy Go Shopping, edited by Sonya Bernard-Hollins and brightly illustrated by Kenjji Jumanne-Marshall (who goes simply by Kenjji). Along with the book, Steppes sells colorful lunch sacks, T-shirts, greeting cards, a music CD, and kid-size wrist bands that read: “I am money smart.”

It’s all part and parcel of what Steppes calls a movement. Money Smart Kids isn’t just a business idea for Steppes; it’s his passion. 
“I want this to go national,” he says. “I want this to go global. Finances support our dreams. Financial literacy is life literacy. It’s a conversation we should be having every day.”

Steppes started his own financial career when he was not much older than his son Christian is now. He was a 9-year-old growing up in Kalamazoo, and he disliked asking his dad for money. There had to be a better way. 

“I bought some ..."