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Showing posts from May, 2009

Flor Rios and the start of a tennis dynasty!

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Flor Rios (back left) and her sisters are taking over the tennis courts!
Greg Pfent has been coaching tennis at Kellogsville for over 30 years (he started the program), but nothing in his experience quite prepared him for Flor Rios. Flor, a senior who played number one doubles for the Rockets this year, is the oldest daughter of Antonia Ortiz and Saturnino Rios. Rios and her partner Angela Bergsma racked up a winning season and were named All Conference. They finished second in the OK Rainbow conference match to tennis powerhouse Forest Hills Northern.
What makes Flor’s story remarkable is that when she appeared for her first tennis practice four years ago as a freshman, she had NEVER played the game. She fell in love with the sport immediately and took practice very seriously, according to her coach. As you can imagine the first year she played, Rios “got killed most of the time” playing matches for the JV team. Getting whipped only seemed to make Flor more determined.
She told us that…

California - ain't as cutting edge as they think they are.

Us Mid-Western folks have to take a lotta crap from the Coasts about being backward, stuck in the past, and other wise lacking in the cutting edge, progressive thought that makes THEM so much better. California has us all fooled into thinking they are environmental trailblazers because they have tighter restrictions on auto emissions.

I had a shock two days ago when I found out that many parts of environmentally progressive California - including big places like Fresno and the effin capital of the state - do NOT have water meters. Folks out there pay a flat rate - no matter HOW much water they use. HA! Now that is forward thinking all right. Anyone with a brain knows that potable water is the most precious resource we have. The report also mentioned that Fresno has one of the highest per capita uses of fresh water in the country. Seems if folks out there have a water leak, they just let it go. Yup, that is some high speed thinking that leaves us poor Michiganders in the dust.

What ma…

Recycled toilet paper: Scott Naturals vs Marcal Small Steps

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On the one hand I am pleased that a company as big as Scott's has started making their products a little more earth friendly. But I gotta ask - What is all the fuss? We have been using Small Steps toilet paper from Marcal at home and at the store for a long time. Very happy with the quality and compared to Scotts Naturals it is a bargin - PLUS it has more recycled content.
Scotts Natural 4 Double Roll pack is $3.59 where I shop. It contains 40% recycled paper.
Marcal Small Steps 4 Double Roll pack is $2.69 - cheaper AND it contains 100% recycled paper.
Can't find your calculator? Marcal is 25% less expensive and uses 100% recycled paper. Your wallet comes out ahead by 25% and our forests come out 60% ahead!
THE WINNER!

PS - Marcal makes paper towels from 100% recycled paper, too!

Under promise and Over deliver.

I learned a lot about the jewelry business, and business in general, from a man named Harold Hampton. One of the most valuable lessons that he fairly drilled into my head was the mantra, “Under promise and over deliver.” If he said those words once, he told them to us 487 times. (He also knew the value of repetition!)
The phrase stuck and I find myself using it around the store a lot. The concept is simple as applied to something like a jewelry repair. If you think you can have the item done by next Tuesday, then tell the customer it will be done by next Friday. That way if the job is finished by Tuesday or anytime before Friday, then you will have it done early in the customer’s mind. One the other hand if you promise Tuesday and something comes up to delay the job, then the customer will come in Tuesday and be disappointed. So the secret is to under promise on your due date and thereby increase you chances of over delivering to your customer.
My purpose is passing along this concept i…

Erin Smith of Sparta is a planner - on and off the field.

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Erin Smith is a planner on and off the soccer pitch. Smith, a junior at Sparta, plays sweeper for the Spartans and she is constantly analyzing the action on the field and directing her teammates to deal with offensive threats from their opponents as they materialize during matches.
“She organizes our defenses and directs traffic. I can hear her telling people where to go and who they should guard,” said soccer coach Jack VanderLaan.
VanderLaan got to know Erin last season when both of them were involved with the junior varsity team and judging from all of the nice things he had to say about Smith, it is plain that he is very pleased to be coaching her at the varsity level this year. He rattled off a list of her attributes as fast as we could write them down: mature, trustworthy, level headed, coachable, responsible, and communicative.
The coach went on to inform us that Erin represents a good mix in that she is very competitive and does not like to lose, but at the same time she practice…

Maria Ervin excels at two R's - running and writing.

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If you pay real close attention to everything Maria Ervin says you might detect a hint of an accent in her speech. That is very impressive when you consider that the Forest Hills Northern senior did not speak a word of English when she came here at age eleven from Russia. While you might miss the slight accent, there is no way you could miss the passion and enthusiasm in Maria’s voice as she talks about two of her favorite things: running and friends.
As a middle school student Maria experimented with basketball, soccer, and volleyball before her friend Nicki Keller talked her into trying out for the cross country team. Maria has focused on running ever since. This time of year she runs track for the Huskies where she competes in distance events like the 800, the mile, and distance relays. First year coach Stephanie Hare was full of kind words about Ervin.
“She has a good attitude and works hard for the team,” Hare commented. “She is a good kid – she does the little things you want as a…

Thank God Stephen Friedman is an elephant.

Didja read about the chairman of the NY Federal Reserve who just resigned? Seems he bought tons of Goldman-Sachs stock and managed to make some 3 million dollars as the US suffers a terrible economic meltdown. Oh yeah, he is not very apologetic about it at all and in his resignation letter he mentions his work in the Fed was "public service motivated". What a load of bull.

Good thing he is a Republican. Makes me feel better because I know he is a true blue patriot - no doubt a good friend of Humankind who accidently bent the rules about buying those stocks and is no doubt going to build an orphanage with the millions he made manipulating the system. Oh, did I mention he was chairman of Goldman for a number of years and was a top economic advisor to Prez-dent Bush II? Thank God that the top lawyer at the Fed said he did nothing wrong. Nope, he just had the skill and insider knowledge to use the system to line his pockets while the country's economy hovers inches above the …

NPR - You let me down on this swine flu thing.

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I expect more from NPR and dang it all they let me down big time with their EXCESSIVE coverage of the Swine Flu dealio. Did I say "excessive" - is there a word that is more excessive than excessive? If there is, then please say it to yourself and apply it to the bombardment of swine flu coverage on NPR. The coup de gras was yesterday. They reported on the lady in Texas who died while suffering from swine flu. DISCLAIMER: Before I go any further, let me say that I am very sorry this lady lost her life - no matter what the cause. I empathize with her family and friends and would not wish an untimely death on anyone. With that said, you notice NPR told us that the lady died WHILE she had swine flu - not necessarily because of it. It seems she had some other physical problems - an AP story labeled her as having "chronic medical conditions" as did the young boy who died earlier WHILE he had the swine flu. During the course of the story the head of the Center for Disease C…

Macy Merchant has her priorities straight.

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To say that Wayland senior Macy Merchant is a superstar on the softball field is not an exaggeration. Anyone with rudimentary knowledge of the softball program at Wayland knows of the Merchant family. Macy is the last of four daughters of Bill and Deb Merchant who have done amazing things for coach Cheri Ritz (who happens to be their aunt). We got a kick out of the understated terms coach Ritz used when describing her niece.
“She is doing quite well. Macy is a tough out,” Ritz commented. “She is a pretty important part of our team.”
At this point in the conversation we had to laugh. Calling Macy a “tough out” who is “pretty important” is like saying it has been a little damp around here lately. When we spoke with Macy she had just come off the field from a double header against conference rival Caledonia. (The Wildcats won 6-1, 10-0.) She was 8 for 8 getting on base in those games. Her batting average was .619 before that double header. She is hitting .750 with runners in scoring posit…