December 8, 2019

Helicopter, K9 search for Chelsea Bruck

FLAT ROCK, Mich. –

On Monday morning the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, with help from the Michigan State Police, continued looking for clues to where Chelsea Bruck may be.

Bruck, 22, disappeared after a Halloween party in October 2014. She was wearing a Poison Ivy costume; a costume just like it was found near an abandoned building in Flat Rock on Sunday.

A state police helicopter and K9 team spent hours searching the area on Monday. Police did not say if anything else was found, but did say that search was just one part of their investigation. So far, they have followed up on 650 tips, some of which led to them utilize dive teams to search.

Meanwhile, residents and volunteers started lining the streets, hoping to help.

“We were coming out here to see if they’d let us help, just to see what we could do,” said Jessica Derry.

One man found a cellphone that was turned into police, and a volunteer search crew found what could have been another part of her costume.

Unfortunately, detectives said it was not.

“This case has gone on way too long,” said searcher Dawn Nartker. “This is a small community and it’s important to all of us.”

DNA testing will determine if the costume found is actually Bruck’s, but the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department cautions that although Monday’s search was extensive, it does not necessarily mean they are close to finding Chelsea.

Chelsea’s sister, Kassie Bruck, said after nearly 6 months they’re extremely grateful investigators are still working as hard as they are.

“We were afraid they would stop looking months ago,” Kassie said. “So actually the fact that we’re at 5 ½ months and still having these searches and (they’re) going on leads, it’s not a concern that they’ll stop.”

Despite that, nearly 6 months after her disappearance, Chelsea’s family just wants an answer.

“Easter was very hard,” said Kassie. “I was frustrated. You get angry, but today I’m a little more positive and I’m feeling a little better about the situation. It changes every day.”

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Helicopter, K9 search for Chelsea Bruck

New clue in missing Chelsea Bruck case?

FLAT ROCK, Mich. –

Police said they may have a new clue in the disappearance of 22-year-old Chelsea Bruck, the woman who was last seen at a Halloween party in Frenchtown Township.

Bruck went to the party dressed as the character Poison Ivy. Police said they found what they believe to be a portion of that costume Sunday evening in the area of Peters Road and Vreeland in Flat Rock.

While no other details have been released, police said they are now trying to determine whether the findings are connected to Bruck’s disappearance.

Police have received hundreds of tips since Bruck vanished. Two people have been charged with lying to investigators about the case.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department said in March that there was no evidence that Bruck was hurt or killed, but her Oct. 26 disappearance prompted searches in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

Stay with Local 4 News and ClickOnDetroit.com for updates on this story.

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New clue in missing Chelsea Bruck case?

Amazon launches “Home Services” business, wants to give you drum lessons


Today Amazon officially announced Amazon Home Services, a marketplace where customers can request repair work and personal lessons from service providers in their area. The concept is like TaskRabbit—services are provided by individual contractors, not Amazon, but those contractors are rated by customers and vetted by the online shopping behemoth. All services provided are backed by Amazon.

Services include banal things like assembling a bed (from $57 to $140), installing a garbage disposal ($149 to $200), setting up a wireless printer ($84 to $210), or “computer software configuration” ($120 to $210). The value proposition for Amazon Home Services is that people don’t have to call around to find a contractor and then get a quote from them—the price is listed up front. For a custom job, you’ll get a quote delivered to you after you specify the details of the job.

You can also find more whimsical things on Amazon Home Services, like drum lessons or “goat grazers”—sadly there were no master drummers or goats for hire in my area. With drum lessons (or math lessons or French lessons, all of which are listed on Amazon’s website now) buyers can get a free trial lesson and then pay for a package of further instruction through the site. If you’re hiring a goat, the price will depend on how much backyard you need it to eat.

(“Goats can eat thistle, blackberry, English Ivy, kudzu, poison ivy, poison sumac, poison oak, wisteria, various grasses, and more,” Amazon’s information page on that service helpfully offers. The online marketplace revolution is about to disrupt goat diets forever!)

Still, the services vary by location (good luck getting anything done in Idaho) and getting the job done is not always as easy as you might imagine. The cheapest service I could find in my area was getting windshield wipers replaced ($15 if you provide your own wiper blades). I selected that service, hoping that a team of underemployed teens/drones would descend on my vehicle within the hour. I was disappointed to learn that, despite the “Home Services” moniker, I could only get the service if I took my car in to a nearby shop—even then, I couldn’t get an appointment until Wednesday. Sorry, but I can replace my own wiper blades, after all.

Some services, like “virus and spyware removal,” will give you the option of coming in to a store that provides the service or tacking on an extra $30 to get someone to do it in your home. That makes Amazon’s computer repair services not unlike Best Buy’s Geek Squad, which has been running a similar business model for at least a decade.

I also checked out the Amazon Home Services page for tire installation. Obviously that’s a service that would be best done in a garage, but the Amazon listing didn’t offer the name of the company providing the service, so I searched for the address of the place I’d have to take my car to, and it came up with SpeeDee Oil Change & Auto Service in Redwood City. I contacted the owner of SpeeDee, Arun Nageal, and he said he was a part of Amazon Home Services’ beta program and has had seven or eight new customers this year because of the listing on Amazon.

“I took over this business in September of last year, and I was looking at every possible way to grow my business,” Nageal said over the phone. “Amazon coincidentally approached me and said, ‘would you be interested?’… It sounded like a good idea. I’m an Amazon user and a shopper,” he said.

He was a little bit skeptical at first, mostly because Amazon makes service providers list the fees for their services upfront. “It does make me a little bit nervous [to list prices on Amazon], but at the end of the day, you have to do pros and cons, and the con is people are going to know competitors’ prices, but at the end of the day it’s equally easy to just walk over to another shop and ask their price,” Nageal said.

He added that he wasn’t sure what percentage Amazon was taking from transactions done over its new marketplace. “The reason I need to check is I also have something with a Groupon; sometimes it’s a little muddy.”

Amazon has been looking to expand into home services for quite some time, but now that its market has launched, the featured services seem a little slim. Babysitting is not on the list, for example, although it was rumored to be one of the first things offered.

Of course, Amazon takes a cut. (The company isn’t offering details, but The Verge says a beta version of Amazon Home Services’ website showed Amazon taking 20 percent on standard services, 15 percent on custom, and 10 percent on recurring services). It’s safe to assume that the money for Amazon is in installation jobs, where a person comes out once to set up one physical object, ideally also purchased on Amazon.

Once you find a babysitter or drum teacher you like on Amazon Home Services, there’s less of a drive to keep paying through Amazon if the company is taking a cut. If you really love your drum teacher, you’ll pay her under the table and let her keep the extra 10 percent.

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Amazon launches “Home Services” business, wants to give you drum lessons

The search resumes for missing Chelsea Bruck

Chelsea Bruck was last seen at a Halloween party in Frenchtown Township. Just a few miles from where purple ribbons wrap the small town of Newport, volunteers, state police, border patrol and Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputies all scoured the area near the Lake Eerie shoreline to try to find the missing 22-year-old.

“It’s been in the works for awhile, just waiting for the weather to clear,” said Chelsea’s mom Leannda Bruck.

Chelsea Bruck was last seen not far from this area last October. She was wearing a “poison ivy” costume and went to a Halloween party. The search, covering five miles off of Jefferson Avenue and Sigler roads, lasted about five hours Thursday. But Chelsea’s mother said the search didn’t turn up any clues.

“It’s hard but I’m also a very strong, very faithful person and no news is good news. I wish the good news would come very fast, but I’d rather have no news than bad news,” said Leannda.

Chelsea’s mom said now that it’s getting warmer there will be more searches, adding that she mails out fliers across the country daily. She posts photos of Chelsea and the person of interest everywhere she can.

Leannda said,”It’s an emotional roller coaster, but like I said, my faith is strong, it keeps me going, my dear Lord keeps me going, my family keeps me going.”

Holding onto pictures of Chelsea, purple ribbons and hope, this mother said what also keeps her going is the thought that her daughter is out there and she is alive.

“If you don’t stick to that thought and you’re thinking negative that’s the devil. The devil is not going to win on mom’s watch,” said Leannda.

Chelsea’s mother said she wants to remind people that there is a reward through Crime Stoppers of more than $30,000. If you have any information on the disappearance of Chelsea Bruck, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-speak-up.

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The search resumes for missing Chelsea Bruck

Thanksgiving With the Bears

“It’s a fun atmosphere. I come here every year on Thanksgiving”

That’s what Sarah Cheney says of the Roscoe bar Poison Ivy Pub which has been open for Thanksgiving for the last fourteen years. But this time she says the atmosphere was a little different compared to other years.

“It’s a little more energized I think.”

This because the Bears played against Detroit on Thanksgiving for the first time since 1999.

“It’s kind of fun that it’s the Bears Lions today. I’ve seen a lot of people wearing their Bears jerseys even though it’s Thanksgiving. They still get dressed up for their team,” said Cheney

And, the owner of Poison Ivy, Steve Quies, says Bear fans were not the only ones at the bar.

“We got a lot of people that come in that have family or may not have family in the area.”

Quies says Thanksgiving Day is usually a busy day for him.

“Pretty decent crowd on Thanksgiving it’s kind of all day long just trickle in-out. People stop for a short period and go to their family outings or afterwards they come here. We have several groups that come in after their dinners at their homes. Its been their tradition every year.”

And, while this year was different the Bears game was all too familiar — another loss.

“Big bears fan been following them for years. Little rough this year being a Bear fan but like all Bear fans we’re hanging in there,” said Quies.

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Thanksgiving With the Bears

Ravenous Goats Making Quick Work of Hyde Park Poison Ivy

There are new landscapers in town and they’re not human.

Last month, the Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation decided there was so much poison ivy in the area that it was deemed unsafe for children. So, they thought, let’s round up the goats, which are provided by a company that actually specializes in goat rentals for garden projects.

Patricia Alvarez, who works for the Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation, told Boston.com, “They love it. It’s like candy.”

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According to The Boston Globe, goats have been employed in Hyde Park to do some landscaping, sorry, “goatscaping.”

“The contract called for the goats to chomp their way to the point where the ‘targeted vegetation … will be no more than 4 inches high, with the exception of woody stems or vines with stems one half centimeter or thicker.’”

Yes, there was a contract.

“The site was once seen as an eyesore,” Ryan Woods, director of external affairs at the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, told The Boston Globe. “Now [the goats] have turned it into a place that people actually want to go to.”

Read the full story here.

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Ravenous Goats Making Quick Work of Hyde Park Poison Ivy

Greenfield poison ivy removal company owner does not use chemicals


Greenfield poison ivy removal company owner does not use chemicals

Thursday, July 3, 2014



LYNDEBOROUGH – Poison ivy can be truly called a “noxious weed.” The urushiol oil contained in all parts of the trailing vine causes a painful rash and oozing blisters on most people who encounter it. The blisters and intense itching can last up to two weeks.

Poison ivy will grow almost anywhere in our region, under all kinds of conditions and it is not easy to eradicate.

Although there are chemical sprays that will kill it, the best way to remove it is to pull it out.

While some people take the risks involved and do that, most people hire someone else.

Helaine Hughes, owner of The Poison Ivy Removal Co. in Greenfield, is one of the few people in the state who does not use chemicals of any kind.

“I don’t like the idea that (chemicals) can get into the ground water,” she said during a recent visit to a homeowner with the problem. “And the dead plant material can infect you for three to five years. You can’t use the place you’ve sprayed. People I help can use the area right away.”

So she and her three employees get into hazmat suits and rip it out by hand.

“I wear the suit with boots attached,” she said, “wade in and sit down, or whatever we need to do. You just have to be careful not to touch your face. The girls do their hair up very well so there are no stray pieces.”

Hughes added, “Poison ivy and yellow jackets shouldn’t be allowed and I run into (the hornets) every once in a while.” Those she does spray.

While simply brushing against the leaves can cause the rash, “you can’t get it from another person,” she said. “The oozing blisters don’t have the urushiol oil.”

But you can get it from your pets – “it doesn’t affect them but the oil is on the tips of their hairs” – and from anything that has touched the vine, tools, shoes, clothes, etc.

Hughes said she does this kind of work “because I’m good at it.” She said she understood the need for protection because in earlier jobs she had worked in clean rooms and as a housekeeper in hospital infectious disease wards.

“In the 1970s, my dad brought home some pheasants and we had to remove the poison ivy to put up a fence. He called Dunstable, Mass., (where we lived) the poison ivy capital of the world.”

Poison ivy vines have horizontal roots, she said, and put down an anchor root every two or three feet, so even pulling it out might not get it all.

“There is a 15 percent grow back,” she said. “You can have us come back or manage that yourself.”

To do the job yourself, Hughes said, “wear long pants and long sleeves. Tape washable gloves to the sleeves and wear washable sneakers. Pull out the ivy and put it in bags. When you’re through, put everything (you are wearing) into the washer and take a shower. As long as you aren’t sweating or it isn’t raining, cotton clothes are fine.”

Do not burn the pulled vines. The urushiol oil stays in the smoke and breathing it can affect the esophagus and the lungs. Double bag the plants and take them to a landfill.

Hughes services are $100 an hour for a crew of two. If the ivy is in light shade, they can do a 10-by-30-foot area, but if it is in mowed grass, the hardest place to remove it, they might do only a 10-by-10 area.

Part of her service is to tell people what poison ivy is, and what it isn’t. Many plants have the three leaves that are the ivy’s main identifier.

Does it have thorns? It’s not poison ivy, probably blackberry.

Does it have alternate leaves, serrated leaves? Not ivy.

“People call me and I can tell them it’s not ivy, put a lot of people’s minds at ease. But I think, and so do some others, that poison ivy tries to look like other plants it is growing near,” she said.

Hughes has lived in Greenfield since 2003, previously living in Wilton. There are other companies who deal with the ivy, she said, some pull but also use sprays. “I’m the only one who just pulls.”

She added, “I love to do it, it’s fun. I get to talk to all these people. Every place (I go) is different. It’s amazing how little information there is out there about poison ivy. William Gillis wrote about the only book and he is trying to get the genetic codes, what insects eat it, is collecting seeds.”

Dr. William T. Gillis 1960 book, “Poison Ivy and Its Kin,” is available from Amazon.

Hughes said, “There is a lot to think about (when dealing with the ivy). You can’t see (the oil), can’t smell it, but any kind of soap will get rid of it.”

The Poison Ivy Removal Company can be reached at 547-6644, at poisonivyremoval
company@tellink.net, or online at

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Greenfield poison ivy removal company owner does not use chemicals

Outdoor warning: beware of exposure to poison ivy

This is what exposure to poison ivy looks like.This is what exposure to poison ivy looks like.
This picture is a classic example of someone who rubbed up against the poison ivy vine.This picture is a classic example of someone who rubbed up against the poison ivy vine.


Many people are spending time outdoors. Now, a warning to beware of poison ivy. Experts are seeing a rise in cases because anyone can walk right by the plant and not realize the leaves are full of poison.

“This is the poison ivy. This is the vine. It grows up the tree but it’s very characteristic and hairy. It climbs onto the tree bark,” Cleveland Metroparks Jeff Riebe showed.

Riebe knows the infectious plant well, and said there is a reason doctors have been seeing an increase in cases.

“When people are going out after they’ve been cooped up for months and it’s been a rough winter, they do more gardening and people are just more exposed,” Riebe said.

Dr Chrissy Alexander from MetroHealth says once the area is infected there isn’t a quick cure.

“People try to do things like put alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on the area to try and get rid of it; but, the oil has already been absorbed and what you are seeing is your body’s reaction to the oil.

Now is the time that the leaves should be sprouting on the vine.

The best bet to protect against poison ivy is to cover up areas on the body that could be exposed with clothing. If contact is made wash the area immediately. Also, try an antihistamine. A topical ointment can be used to soothe the pain. Make note to avoid scratching the infected area.

“The reaction can be anywhere from a couple of hours to several days,” Alexander pointed out.

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Outdoor warning: beware of exposure to poison ivy

Learn To Recognize And Treat A Poison Ivy Rash

If you’ve been in the wilderness lately, you may wonder if the itching and blisters you’re experience are the signs of a poison ivy rash. Not everyone who is exposed to the plant will break out. But, the majority of people who come in contact with the plant will break out.

Poison ivy starts out as small fluid filled blisters or pustules. They may be accompanied by intense itching, particularly after they appear and begin to break open. Some blisters will dry up without blistering. The important thing to keep in mind is to avoid scratching the area with the poison ivy rash and the surrounding area, at all costs, as this can help the rash spread.

poison ivy rash

Poison Ivy Rash

If you have been outdoors and believe you may have come in contact with the poison ivy, oak, or sumac leaves, wash the affected areas right away and wash any clothing that may have come into contact with the plants. Skin and clothing will carry oils from the plant, which cause the rash. Washing with mild soap and water may remove much of the oils from the skin. If you’re lucky, you may be able to avoid getting a rash.

However, if you still break out, it is important for others to avoid the affected area. Usually, the small blisters will appear as slightly red, raised blisters, about the size of sunflower seeds or smaller. They can become larger, particularly if scratching occurs. You should particularly suspect poison ivy rash if it spreads from the initial area of contact. The rash will only spread to other parts of the body if the initial rash comes into contact with them.

poison ivy rash

Poison Ivy Rash

If you are unsure about the rash you have, a dermatologist can make a final diagnosis. Most people, however, are aware they may have come into contact with the leaves. This is particularly true of those who spend quite a bit of time outdoors or in the woods. Poison ivy rash is probably not going to be a surprise to those who spend plenty of time in the woods or open fields.

The current recommendations are to avoid applying any type of cream or topical antihistamine to the poison ivy rash. They are generally not effective in controlling the rash or itching. Cool compresses can be effective in reducing the inflammation of the blisters and can ease the intensity of itching.

Some over the counter remedies made specifically for poison ivy rashes can help dry up the blisters and take away some of the itching. Applying alcohol to the affected are should be done with caution, as the liquid can help the rash spread. Applying alcohol or baking soda to individual blisters is the best way to avoid spreading the poison ivy rash.

Dermatologists also recommend special preparations designed to ease the discomfort of a variety of rashes. Oatmeal baths or baking soda baths can help soothe the skin and take away the itching. When getting out of the bath, make sure to pat the area dry, rather than rubbing it. This way, you will avoid spreading the rash, particularly if some of the blisters have ruptured.

Another point to consider, when treating a poison ivy rash, is that small children may be unable to avoid scratching. Sometimes covering the area with breathable gauze can help. But, keeping the area dry and open to the air will help it dry quickly. Most cases of poison ivy rash clear up in 2 to 3 weeks, as long as they don’t become infected through scratching.

poison ivy rash

If you will be around others at work and have a visible rash on the arms or legs, you will want to keep these areas covered, to prevent the possible spread to those you work closely with. Leaving the rash visible, in plain sight, may cause panic among co-workers. Covering the rash, if at all possible, is the best way to avoid causing undue stress to others and to yourself.

A poison ivy rash will eventually go away on its own. There are no magic pills or creams that will make it vanish overnight. The best treatment is to keep the area as clean and dry as possible, while making sure to avoid contact with others, from the affected area. You will not likely require medical attention, unless the rash covers large areas of the body and you are extremely uncomfortable from the itching. Most people are able to get on with their lives and recover from poison ivy rash, by adhering to these simple self care tips.

Volunteers to maintain Lancaster County park trail with no weed-killers or pesticides

They don’t want chemical weedkillers to be used in parks where kids and adults frolic, so a new group of local volunteers is taking matters into their own hands.

With hoes, saws, gloves and elbow grease, they are going to naturally maintain a section of trail in Lancaster County Central Park, keeping it free of noxious and invasive plants such as poison ivy and garlic mustard.

Poison-Free Public Spaces Lancaster is the group behind the chemical-free effort, which it hopes is adopted by other public parks in Lancaster County.

“This is a test plot, to see how wildlands can become poison-free,” said Wilson Alvarez, a leader of the group, of the Central Park trail section.

The group grew out of a recent visit Alvarez and his family made to their favorite part of the county’s Central Park, a 544-acre plot dotted with pavilions and looped by trails that is located south of Lancaster.

The family likes to frequent the area near Pavilion 21 and walk the Mill Creek Trail, where Alvarez said there are some rare and beautiful plants such as dwarf ginseng and putty root.

“The day before I had gone for a run and saw plants that looked really yellow along the trail,” Alvarez said. “The next day, I said, ‘Let’s go take a walk,’ and everything was completely dead.”

Alvarez said he and his wife, Natasha, are both experienced landscapers. They knew that someone had used a chemical weedkiller on the trail’s margins.

Upset, Alvarez called Paul Weiss, county parks head, to ask him about it.

Weiss acknowledged that the area along the trail had been sprayed, by someone certified to do so, who used state-approved chemicals.

County parks employees do use chemicals to control invasive plants, such as Japanese honeysuckle and tree of heaven, and noxious plants, such as poison oak, poison ivy and stinging nettles, Weiss said.

The employees oversee 2,080 acres of land in nine parks. The county simply does not have the manpower to maintain all of that land naturally, by hand.

But Alvarez asked for the chance to try the natural approach, and Weiss agreed.

The Poison-Free group formed, launched a Facebook page and began to meet and organize, gathering at 6 p.m. Wednesdays, near Pavilion 21. It has about 25 active members.

Alvarez said he hopes to not only control the noxious plants along about a 2-mile stretch of the trail, but also to remove invasive plants, such as garlic mustard, that grow in the area.

He wants to be careful about how the plants are managed, not pulling them when they are going to seed, which can help them spread.

Instead, in the spring, he envisions a workshop where people could pull out and learn how to use garlic mustard, which he said is both delicious and nutritious.

He also envisions replacing noxious or invasive plants with better alternatives. The group is inventorying the plants and trees in the area, and will submit a list to the county parks department for approval of possible replacements.

Those plants will include wild ginger, spice bushes and other native plants or shrubs, Alvarez said. Because it is operating on a shoestring budget, the group may transplant replacements from other areas of the park or grow them from cuttings.

Alvarez praised the county parks staff for being willing to work with his group.

Weiss said, “It’s a very labor-intensive way of trying to control weeds of that nature. They want to demonstrate it can be done as easily as spraying. … We certainly are willing to give them a try.”

The Poison-Free group also plans to call officials for every park in the area, asking them about their policies on and use of herbicides.

The group will provide the parks with pamphlets and information that show how natural plant management is being done in other areas of the country, particularly the Northwest.

Poison-Free also is keeping records of the hours that its volunteers work, so other parks can see that it might be feasible to actually pay people to do the work.

“I just want to be able to educate the public,” Alvarez said. “Why are they using poisons? Do they have to? What are the alternatives to it? We are concerned about the long-term effects.”

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Volunteers to maintain Lancaster County park trail with no weed-killers or pesticides

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