Turn and face the change

Letter from the editor, March/April 2023
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Children at East Oakview engage in some outdoor learning. Photo by Bryan Esler

Changes. They are all around us. In the way we consume everything from information to medicine, adjustments are constantly being made to our society, hopefully for the better. One such advancement is in the way we educate.

Consider the early days of this country when our ancestors built homesteads and grew their own crops, their children by their sides. Learning to read and write was done largely at home. Then, the burgeoning economy called for its next crop of workers to be better educated and the children were sent off to the local one-room schoolhouse. More than just a few generations later, we’ve come full circle. With parents busy working outside the home, education is shifting once again, and schools are now teaching children the ways of the outdoors. Strange, isn’t it?

In this March/April issue, Ann Byle takes us to some local schools that are forging new ground in that area.

Many of you will be pleased to know that Pat Evans is back, with a review of one of the best steakhouses around. He also goes in depth with the folks at John Ball Park Zoo on the new pygmy hippopotamus exhibit and reminds us that, due to changing habitats, keeping animals in captivity is a necessary part of preserving a number of species.

Did you know that there are five distinct regions across the globe whose populations have remarkable health and longevity? Learn all about this and more as Alison Kay Bannister walks us through the health benefits of gardening.

Recognizing the importance of getting back to nature and that we have to live in harmony with it is a welcome change we are experiencing all around. Discovering that plants previously demonized by prior generations can have healing effects and actually be helpful when used in prescribed doses is another.

Did you ever think – just five years ago, even – that cannabis shops would be popping up all over the city? Frank Madison takes us on a tour of some local dispensaries to educate the cannabis-curious what to expect when visiting one of the establishments.

While some are learning how to get a new type of buzz on, Kelsey Dunneback takes us on a mocktail crawl through the city’s clubs and restaurants that are catering to the sober-curious.

This issue also puts a spotlight on two notable Ottawa Hills alumni, Jash’d Belcher and Marshall Purnell. Though a generation apart, both are testaments to the Grand Rapids Public School system and what can be achieved through hard work and perseverance.

As always, there’s plenty of food news, reviews, interviews and photographs to peruse. Sorry, I just had to. April is National Poetry Month. We go into that a bit as well. Happy reading!

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