W. Michigan’s Davidson kicks run for Congress into high gear as more than 100 attend signature rally
Spring Lake– Dr. Rob Davidson took his bid for Congress in West Michigan’s 2nd congressional district to the next level last Sunday evening with an energized, raucous rally that packed Seven Steps Up, a popular concert and meeting venue in Ottawa County. Davidson’s supporters at the rally helped kick off the signature gathering phase of the campaign to garner at least 1,000 valid signatures to get his name on the ballot for the November 2018 General Election.
“I am both humbled and electrified by the tremendous show of support from so many ordinary Americans in West Michigan who have put their trust and their enthusiasm in a non-politician like myself who simply wants to make sure we have a West Michigan that is fairer and stronger, with more opportunities for all Americans, not just the powerful, the privileged and the politically connected,” Davidson told the crowd of more than 150 supporters.
Davidson is an emergency physician in Newaygo County and longtime Spring Lake resident. A member of the Spring Lake School Board and a 20-year emergency medicine veteran, Davidson is a strong advocate of healthcare for all, modeled on a “Medicare for all” proposal that has been introduced in Congress since the early 2000s under HR 676.
According to Davidson the proposal is designed to provide quality, comprehensive and affordable health insurance for all Americans, while reducing government bureaucracy and consumer costs.
“Healthcare is a right, a necessity for every American to enjoy their unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as each individual defines it, and that’s why healthcare for every American is moral, humane and necessary for all Americans to succeed,” Davidson said. “Healthcare for all means families no longer have to worry about whether a medical emergency will bankrupt them. Healthcare for all means small businesses can invest their money in growth and new jobs, not premiums that keep going up every year. Healthcare for all means stronger communities, reduced sicknesses that hold people back, and more freedom and liberty for each and every one of us.”
Davidson stated he is committed to helping public schools get the resources they need to provide a world-class education for all students, regardless of geography, family income and ability. He feels strong schools also mean more support for teachers and staff to ensure they can teach students and provide safe, nurturing environments in schools, with hard-earned taxpayer dollars going to the public good instead of being siphoned away to profit driven schools managed by unaccountable corporations.
Davidson also believes that Michigan’s Great Lakes, rivers, stream, land and air are vital resources that drive local economies and define Michigan’s special quality of life.
“As a member of Congress, I promise to put people before corporate polluters who are getting a free pass to contaminate our precious Great Lakes, thanks to the Trump administration and their bought-and-paid for political cronies in Congress,” Davidson said. “Real and responsible stewardship means corporations must be held accountable for toxic pollution that endangers our natural resources. We have a moral duty to preserve and conserve our Great Lakes for generations to come.”
The 2nd Congressional District covers Ottawa, Muskegon, Oceana, Lake and Newaygo Counties, and portions of Mason and Kent counties, including the cities of Grandville, Kentwood and Wyoming.
By Megan Wirts
Last week my family and our friends set off on an adventure to the north-east side of the state. Something none in our group had ever done before. After weeks of searching for the perfect family camping destination we settled on Hoeft State Park located on the shores of Lake Huron. Being Lake Michigan lovers, we were excited to experience another one of our Great Lakes.
Seven of us, 3 adults (my dear husband had to stay home due to work obligations) and 4 kids ages 13-8, loaded up in the minivan (that was packed from top to bottom and everywhere in between) and headed toward our destination. It took us around 5 hours to get there with stops included for various reasons like broken sandals, questionable trailer hitches and starvation. You know, the usual road trip happenings. I just have to say...
By Ken DeLaat
Some of us hear about it, read about it and even see it from time to time.
And others among us live there.
People we might know or meet as we pass through our lives. Members of our community who work jobs, pay their bills as best they can and do whatever is necessary to get by. They are families with children who struggle to put food on the table and a roof over their heads because minimum wage and even steps above minimum wage simply does not provide enough resources to do much more than just hang on.
And sometimes not enough for that.
And whether you’re living in a house with another family or two, visiting the food trucks to stretch the grocery budget or doing without some of the things those of us not entrenched in poverty take for granted, it is tough.
On top of it, the stereotype of folks who are struggling remains intact in many segments of our society. The less fortunate are blamed for their plight. Understanding their situation is challenging to those who are unacquainted with what it might be like to wonder where you will stay tonight or whether you will eat today.
Poverty is like quicksand. The more you attempt to do what it takes to climb out the more you are pulled down into the mire.
Finding a place to rent in Newaygo County, while a rough go under any circumstances, creeps closer to highly unlikely when combined with additional financial challenges.
Child care issues, health care concerns , transportation roadblocks, and other obstacles add to our community’s framework for poverty.
Then as efforts are made to improve your family’s quality of life with a new job and perhaps added income there is the Cliff Effect.
The Cliff Effect is when the resources needed to survive can be lost because the income has inched above the eligibility line. When assistance programs like child care subsidies and Medicaid remove benefits faster than people can earn enough income to replace them. By not pro-rating the exit ramp to these programs, the government creates a financial crisis for people as they earn more income.
Circles Newaygo County is an initiative launched earlier this year aimed at reducing poverty in Newaygo County. They do this by creating networks across social class lines. They’ve come to find that people who are struggling do not often have the wealth of resources and connections that those of the middle class do. By pairing up participants, called Circle Leaders, with middle to upper class volunteers, called Allies, these networks are shared and friendships are formed.
Circle Leaders are people who are working to become economically self-sufficient. Their goals can vary widely from homeownership to job retention to furthering education. They are called “Circle Leaders” because through this process, they are empowered to lead themselves out of poverty, toward the goals they set.
“Allies” work with their Circle Leader to figure out how to accomplish their plan for self-sufficiency. The toughest challenge an Ally faces is the instinct to “rescue” a Circle Leader. The Circle Leader cannot learn to cope with the hurdles that block their pathway if a well-meaning Ally tries to fix their problems for them. Instead, the Ally’s role is to walk beside the Circle Leader, helping them link to the resources and support necessary for the Circle Leader to be successful.
On Thursday June 29th the Big View event highlighted the work being done by Circles. It brought together leaders, allies. and community members to celebrate accomplishments, problem-solve current concerns and discuss solutions. The evening began with a shared meal and a few words from Circles Coordinator Michelle Marciniak and Fremont Mayor Jim Rynberg, then settled into the business at hand.
Facilitated by Fremont Area Community Foundation President and CEO Carla Roberts each table was given discussion items that focused on barriers in Newaygo County. The interactive exercise led to a group discussion that ran from possible initiatives in the community to recommendations on individual issues. The mood was upbeat and positive. There was a sense of pride as leaders and allies shared the “News & Goods” in their lives, focusing on the progress made in their journeys.
State Representative Scott Vansingel attended and came away impressed.
“I enjoyed meeting face to face with the people who benefit from the Circles program,” he stated. “It helps to dispel many of the myths surrounding poverty and I look forward to seeing the positive impact this program has on the community in the coming years.”
Poverty in Newaygo County is real and Circles serves to not only recognize its presence but to empower those caught up in the cycle to emerge from its trappings. Circles is not a program. Circles is people. People from our community who share a common goal of reducing poverty and are committed to doing the work it takes to accomplish that goal.
And from the observations made during the Big View?
It seems to be working.
“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”-Nelson Mandela
For more information on how to get involved contact Michelle Marciniak at 231.924.0641 ext 220 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The View From Here:
By Ken DeLaat
Wow, the USA’s initial 240 years were rough but 241 really seemed to crank up the country’s craziness quotient and expose an ever widening and seemingly unbridgeable rift that continues to demean our nation.
Side note to our two primary political parties: While dissent is always a vital component of our democracy, when most congressional voting runs nearly exclusively one way or the other determined solely by party affiliation it is no longer dissent. It is a simple (like the minds of those who follow this path) and clear case of party loyalty standing above loyalty to the country and NO, what’s good for your party is NOT what is good for our country so don’t even try with that level of BS.
By and large (or should I perhaps say ‘Buy’ and large) those who pretend to toil in our nation’s capital continue to project a rather pathetic representation of what governing in this potentially amazing country should be.
However, putting such curmudgeonly commentary aside, we have many things to be proud of in America. Every day there are feats of heroism going unnoticed in areas beyond the beltway. We are a nation of doers and achievers and throughout our land there are folks who are striving to help lift others up and create sustainable, prosperous communities that everyone can share in.
For every off the wall talk show host who discusses with a guest the possibility of kidnapped children being kept on Mars for sex trafficking (yes, really, and with a sizeable following I might add with incredible sadness) there also exists legitimate productive dialogue among our citizens in our day to day lives. Granted the trolling and self-righteous rhetoric on social media represents the antithesis of this but genuine discourse between individuals remains alive and well if sought.
This is a splendid nation. With all it’s challenges America is unique among the countries of the world with an exceptional array of people whose origins are spread throughout the globe. ’We are family’ as the song goes, though as with most families a bit beset by squabbles from time to time.
So let’s celebrate our collective birthday with the hope that year 242 brings us closer to embracing inclusion and rejecting the ideas of those who seek to promote divisiveness.
And in that spirit here are a few wide ranging quotes about the phenomena that is America. Perhaps they will provide a few thoughts to chew on along with the hot dogs, potato salad, and watermelon gracing your Independence Day plate.
“America is a tune. It must be sung together.”-Gerald Stanley Lee
“Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”- Adlai Stevenson
"When you’re born into this world you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America you get a front row seat.” George Carlin
“Never let the sacrifice of others be for nothing by doing nothing.” L.M. Fields
“A politician will do anything to keep his job -- even become a patriot.”-William Randolph Hearst
“America - a great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far-reaching in purpose.” -Herbert Hoover
“What's right about America is that although we have a mess of problems, we have great capacity - intellect and resources - to do something about them.” -Henry Ford II
“You can be proud of your country and culture and, at the same time, recognize that there is something that's wrong that needs to be changed.”-Sarah Benson
“In America, anyone can become president. That's the problem” -George Carlin
“Freedom is without a doubt the greatest blessing we have in America so let us protect it and defend it with all our hearts and all our energies.”-Lawrence Welk
“The essence of America – that which really unites us — is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion – it is an idea — and what an idea it is: That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things. That it doesn’t matter where you came from but where you are going.”-Condoleezza Rice
“(Media question to Beatles during first U.S. tour 1964)
"How do you find America?"
"Turn left at Greenland.” -Ringo Starr
“In America everybody is of the opinion that he has no social superiors, since all men are equal, but he does not admit that he has no social inferiors, for, from the time of Jefferson onward, the doctrine that all men are equal applies only upwards, not downwards.” -Bertrand Russell
“Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.”- Gore Vidal
“In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.”-Barack Obama
“America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” Alexis de Tocqueville
“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” - Mark Twain
“At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.”- George Washington
You know what made us the biggest, meanest, Big Mac eating, calorie-counting, world-dominating kick-ass powerhouse country in the history of the human race? The pursuit of happiness. Not happiness. The pursuit.” -Will Ferguson
“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."-John F Kennedy
“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.”- Bill Clinton
“We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come at the age’s most uncertain hours
And sing an American Tune”-Paul Simon, American Tune
And, oh what an ever changing tune it is.
By Megan Wirts
Ahhh…sweet, sweet summertime.
Summer is here and I have been doing my best to relax and enjoy the sunshine. The small people are finished with school and the long lazy days have begun. Gone are the rushed mornings and the nights spent doing homework or going to soccer practice. Now we spend our mornings sleeping in and our nights catching fireflies and looking at the stars. I love summertime.
Out of the four seasons that we are so lucky to have here in Michigan, this is my second favorite. Fall has always held the top spot for me, but summer is a very close second. Honestly, when I’m in the middle of summer it is my favorite and then once the crisp weather and sweater season arrives I’m ready for it and welcome it. Right now though, I’m loving this warm weather and these slow sleepy days.
I love being able to roll out of bed to the sounds of the birds singing and the sunshine warming my face. I also love that my kids are self-sufficient and old enough to pour their own cereal. Sometimes one of them will even start my coffee for me before I get up. It really makes me feel like I have done this parenting thing right so far. It also makes me realize how good I have it. I’m ridiculously spoiled around here.
Not only do they make me coffee now, but they have been getting along lately! Hold on while I go and knock on some wood. *knock, knock* One of my greatest hopes for my children is that they love each other and are friends when they are older. I want them to be close and to share their lives with each other. When I see them being silly or snuggled up together reading books it makes my heart sing. I soak those moments in and hold on to them so that the next time one of them is looking at the other the wrong way or breathing so loudly that the other one “can’t even!”, I will remember that they do actually love one another deep down.
Summer is also beach season here in Michigan. How lucky are we to be surrounded by some of the most stunning beaches on this entire planet? My children ask every single day if we can go to Lake Michigan. Every. Single. Day. If I could, I would take them but life and obligations get in the way of all the beach fun sometimes. That’s why when we do make it out to that gorgeous freshwater shoreline, we make the most of it. We will spend hours sitting in the sand watching the waves break on the shore, making sand castles, running up and down the dunes, or splashing and swimming in the water. We found that if you head to any popular Lake Michigan beach in the late afternoon on a weeknight, you can have the entire beach almost to yourselves. It’s kind of the best.
I hope you find yourself soaking in some summer sun at the beach and enjoying these lazy days as well. I also hope that this hasn’t been some kind of a fluke and my kids keep getting along more often than not.
Let me go find more wood to knock on…
A Cannabis Conundrum
What’s your take?
By N3 Editorial Team
Or as the state of Michigan refers to it ‘Marihuana’.
Because…. well….because that’s how they spell it as do about 4 other states and no one else in the universe.
And now there is new medical marijuana legislation passed ;last year in Lansing due to take effect in December. Laws that will alter the economic landscape of our state.
Headway Coalition, the collection of folks from all over the community who work together to prevent substance abuse held a workshop last week attended by law enforcement, city and township officials, human service agency people and members of the community on the issue.
Mark Guzniczak of NCEDO/The Right Place broached the subject during the most recent county commission meeting when asked by a board member and our reporting of it set the pages of Near North Now on fire with interest in the subject.
The laws have many twists and turns and can be confusing, but after all they came from our sage and sagacious solons in our capital city where clarity clearly occupies a back seat to obfuscation when it comes to legislative language.
By Ken DeLaat
It’s been more than a couple of decades since I’ve wished my Dad a Happy Father’s Day. He was my lifetime idol and a true mentor in many ways and I miss him every day.
It’s been close to four decades since my LSC Lil gave birth to our first child an event that bestowed the title of Dad onto me and allowed for inclusion into the expansive group honored on the third Sunday each June.
14 years ago our son became a Dad on the eve of Father’s Day and a few years later they had their third child on the day itself.
Father’s Day. A day when Dads get honored with a whole gamut of gifts from bad ties to golf dates with their kids to phone calls and visits from their progeny.
Ok, it doesn’t have the same pizazz as Mother’s Day and believe me floral shops don’t do near the business done during the Mid May Mom celebration. In fact it wasn’t even officially recognized until 1972 as a national holiday nearly 60 years after Mother’s Day was so named.
But being Dad is something special indeed because though there may be many out there who claim the title because of genetics, being a Dad is more than one’s presence during the creation of the child.
It’s being around for school activities, sports, band concerts and the slew of stuff that come with the role. It’s hanging in when things get crazy, providing guidance when necessary and silent listening when you want to give advice. It’s honoring the child’s mother whether you’re still in the relationship or not. It;’s turning off sports and tuning in Curious George or Mickey Mouse.
It’s changing diapers, missing work when they’re ill and being resourceful when there’s a runny nose and no handkerchief available.
It’s messy and time consuming and yes even expensive.
But it is so worth it.
And of all the things I might have done differently in my life given the infinite wisdom the present gives us over our past decisions?
Having children never registers as one of them.
So to honor Dads here are a series of quotes by those whose words far outshine any I might provide on this day.
“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” -Jim Valvano
“The greatest thing a father can do for his children is to respect the woman that gave birth to his children. It is because of her that you have the greatest treasures in your life. You may have moved on, but your children have not. If you can’t be her soulmate, then at least be thoughtful.”- Shannon Adler
“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” Umberto Eco
“There is nothing that moves a loving father's soul quite like his child's cry.”-Jodi Eareckson Tada
“My Father used to play with my brother and I in the yard. Mother would come out and say ‘You’re tearing up the grass’. ‘We’re not raising grass,’ my father would reply. We’re raising boys.”- Harmon Killebrew
“He didn’t tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it.”-Clarence Buddington Kelland
“It is much easier to become a father than to be one.”-Kent Nerburn
“Being a good father is like shaving. No matter how well you shaved today, you have to do it again tomorrow.”-Reed Markham
"There are three stages in a man’s life,. He believes in Santa Claus, he doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus.”-Unknown
“Be a Dad. Don’t be ‘Mom's Assistant’....Be a man….Fathers have skills that they never use at home. You run a landscaping business and you can’t feed and dress a four year old? Take it on. Spend time with your kids...It doesn’t take away your manhood, it will give it to you.” - Louis C.K.
And my personal favorite:
“When I was a boy of fourteen my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty one I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”-Mark Twain
Here’s to all the Father’s out there who know what it’s like to be a Dad.
Keep up the good work.
There has been some confusion during the transition of recycling services from the organization Recycling for Newaygo County (RNC) to Newaygo County under the Board of Public Works. The county and the Fremont Area Community Foundation have partnered to continue the service for the coming year. During that time efforts will be focused on finding a sustainable solution for an issue that communities throughout the country have grappled with as the value of recovered waste products has plummeted over the past five years, and the amount of effort required to extract them has risen. N3 caught up with NC Drain Commissioner Dale Twing who chairs the Board of Public Works and posed a few questions.
Why is recycling important?
Recycling is important as it is a way to divert waste that can be made into something else. If paper, plastic, cardboard, glass and tin can be left out of a landfill and made into something else we should help facilitate that. The residents of Newaygo County recycled 796 tons of recyclables in 2016 using the Single Stream bins that RNC provided.
What makes it so costly?
The process of recycling can be expensive. The closest facility to process these items is the Kent County Materials Recovery Facility on Wealthy street in Grand Rapids. Newaygo County is a rural county and we do not have a landfill to offset any tipping fees. Kent County issues our hauler a tonnage fee to tip the recyclables at their facility. These tonnage fees have steadily increased in the last two years. Some of the materials have more value than others. Cardboard for example has some value while glass has little to no value at all. Plastics also are not valuable in the commodity market. Cardboard cannot be separated at the drop sites because that would violate the agreement our hauler has with Kent County and its against the rules. All recyclables collected at the single stream bins have to go to the Material Recovery Facility.
How does one know what can be recycled?
We are working on a new educational process to help alleviate some of the confusion about what is recyclable. Not all plastics are created equally. We have been getting a lot of things that contain plastic; vacuums, coffee makers, pools, siding, etc but none of those plastics are recyclable or accepted in our program. Styrofoam, aka, polystyrene is not accepted in any of the single stream containers (There is a styrofoam collection area at the Brooks Township site). When you put items into the containers that are not recyclable, our hauler tries to remove them and then they need to be thrown away. The best way to know if something is recyclable is to look for the recycling symbol on the bottom of your item. If it has one then it most likely is accepted. If it is a large plastic bike we can't take it. A good rule of thumb is that your items in your kitchen and office are usually always accepted, milk jugs, newspaper, margarine tubs, pickle jars, cereal boxes, and the like are accepted and welcome. New signage is being made along with recycling guides for the sites as well.
What about curbside services?
The city of Fremont does have a curbside recycling program that has been in place for around 20 years. Grant and Newaygo also have some options available within their city limits and their local hauler. Curbside recycling may become a feasible option if enough users are interested in it.
How can people get involved?
Volunteers are always needed. You can call the County Administrative office at 231.689.7200 for information on how to help.
The View From Here: The Best Role Of All
By Ken DeLaat
I missed Free Fishing Day.
It is, as I have opined endlessly, a personally much favored event in our area and if you have ever been to it you’re crystal clear on what we mean.
But this year for the first time in a decade or so…
I missed it.
Also missed the Hazardous Waste drop off and capturing the action as praiseworthy volunteers take on the tires and toxic trash that make their way through the Road Commission garage and gather it all for a transport away from our local environment.
Relay for Life? Run Forrest Run? Missed them both.
Managed to catch a little late action at the...
The View From Here: Making A Run For It
By Ken DeLaat
Running has never exactly been my forte to say the least. Even as a child I could be circling the group of seated kids for hours while playing Duck Duck Goose trying desperately to find one who might be nearly as slow as me or perhaps clumsy enough to hope for a stumble.
Playing baseball during early years and softball until well into my 40’s I became known for hitting some of the longest singles ever witnessed on the playing field. During a softball game a friend playing the outfield...
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