It is Tuesday as this goes to post (not print) and we have officially opened the floodgates of summer fun as today nearly all restrictions have been lifted.
In other words, Time to Celebrate!
We can foresee some fun this weekend and even a bit of a head start on Thursday.
Braunschweiger Blues Band: The Sequel
The Fremont Concert in the Park Series this week features the long awaited return of the venerated Braunschweiger Blues Band. Tanned, rested and ready to rock, the group has been in rehearsals shaking off the rust of a year’s worth of pandemic driven dormancy. .
Lead singer Doug Harmon said, "The band is excited and anxious to once again play for everyone that comes out to hear and enjoy the music."
Yes it’s been awhile since the B3 followers have had a chance to kick up their heels a bit to their ever widening variety of musical genres and intriguing interpretations when covering familiar tunes. So unless dancing isn’t allowed at the park you might see a few folks on their feet, feeling the beat of the music.
Joining Doug in the band is Wade Perkins, saxophone, Randy Sabot, bass guitar, John Chandonet, drums, Todd Juengel, guitar and keyboard, Angela Burgess, vocals, Lola Harmon-Ramsey, vocals, and Rich Tanis, sound engineer.
Thursday 7pm. Vets Memorial Park. 4 days after the Summer Solstice so….
It’s time, people.
Oh, and show up hungry because the Rotary club of Fremont will be offering a dinner of sloppy joes, chips, cookie, and drink for $6.00 (what a deal!) beginning around 6:30pm. All proceeds from this dinner will go to local Rotary service projects.
The concert in the park series is free and hosted by the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce.
Rumor has it the Newaygo Farmer’s Market has opened for biz on Fridays at Brooks Park from 2-6pm. What? Not sure of the locale? You can’t miss it. Just follow the detour signs toward the new route circling the park and look toward your left (if coming from the south) and there it is. Heading south would require a left turn at the light which could be a little dicier on a Friday afternoon, but should the market continue to build on the revival that occurred last year it is definitely worth the effort. Check out Happy Hog Farm’s booth for some righteous pork products (try the brats) and the Soapstress of Little Mitten Soaps (aka Abi Koster) has a seriously fine selection of items designed to help you maintain that healthy, glowing skin you keep getting compliments on.
And if you missed the Newaygo Market you can cruise over to Fremont’s Market Pavilion (block off Main St.) for Opening Day and check out the veggie vendors, fruit traffickers (it’s strawberry season!), and sellers of stuff. Saturday 8am-1pm.
If you want a small road trip the Muskegon Farmers Market is the absolute bomb and make sure you visit the FishMonger’s Wife, the Cheese Lady and Laughing Tree Bakery (see recent story) https://www.nearnorthnow.com/features-and-fun/laughing-tree-brick-oven-bakery
And for a great breakfast with epic bread choices for toast try Carmen’s beforehand. Look it up.
More Outside Tunes
Did your BBB experience in Fremont whet your appetite for outdoor music? Well.look no further than one of our favorite local decks complete with a vista overlooking Croton Pond and attached to the Driftwood Bar. The D-wood has been bringing in some bodacious music for many summers and this weekend you can hear the group Mustang on Saturday and the retro rock sound of Dawn’s Image on Sunday. The tunes generally start mid to late afternoon both days and play into early evening but give them a call for times.
And A Wrap
There it is. More fun to be found of course and if you’re at Newaygo Brewery after hitting the Friday market ask if Nick has replenished the Coconut Brown.
If he has, try it.
And remember fellow bipeninsularians…
We’ve got some long overdue revelry to make up for.
Do you have lots of your child's artwork or crafts all over your house, and you don't want to store all of it but you don't want to throw it in the trash?
By Ken DeLaat
One of the cool things being done around these parts is an initiative by the Fremont Library to bring the magic of children’s art to nursing homes.
I recall the enjoyment of seeing my refrigerator lined with the artistic creations my children did as youngsters. When it stopped it was sorely missed and instead of creative crayon works and fascinating fingerpaint forms the fridge became peppered with post-it notes like “Ken don’t forget your glasses!” and an adjoining reminder like “...and your wallet, we don’t want another ugly scene at the gas station”
When I find myself in the kitchen area of other houses (invited, always invited) where younger children or grandchildren are in the mix I generally take time to admire their work whether it be an exercise in expressionism or a piece from their blue period.
But enough prattle.
The FADL has put together this innovative little channel of cheer by installing an art collection box where the work of future Picassos and Monets can be shared with the folks who reside in our local care facilities. The box is located in the Children's Department (of course) and artistic contributions can be made at any time the library is open.
Well done FADL.
Well done indeed.
Story and photo by Donna Iverson
Hilde Muller had just graduated from a Midwestern Quaker College with a degree in English literature, when a voice in her head said “bake bread.” Did she listen? Yes, she did. And today she is co-owner of Laughing Tree Brick Oven Bakery.
You can find her every Saturday at the Muskegon Farmers Market selling the bread that she and her husband, Charlie, bake daily at their organic solar-powered farm in Hart, Michigan.
But she hasn’t left her love of English literature behind. Her bakery website motto is “small good things matter.” Asked to elaborate, she says the quote comes from a Richard Carver short story, that her small good things are the baked goods she sells and cultivating respectful caring relationships with her customers and her employees.
Hilde was also influenced by E. F. Schumacher who wrote Small is Beautiful. Among other things, Schumacher advocated for cottage industries and small farms as well as frugality and low-impact development.
Born in Ann Arbor, her family moved to Ypsilanti when she was eight years old. It was there, after college, that she sought her first job at an Ypsilanti bakery. Charlie, the baker, turned her down as she was planning a trip to Kenya and he didn’t sent to train someone who would be leaving for Africa. When she got back from Kenya, she crossed paths with Charlie again and this time he wasn’t saying “no.” They ended up marrying, having three children, and opening the Hart bakery together.
In 2021, they are celebrating the bakery’s tenth anniversary with a solid and loyal customer base, especially in Muskegon. In addition to bread, they sell muffins, rolls, scones, and granola. Their bread has names like Homesteaders Wheat, Finn’s Pecan Raisin, Pilgrim Rye, and Cheddar Peppercorn.
During the pandemic, Laughing Tree Brick Oven Bakery offers its customers a “pay what you can” price for its bread. And under their Pay It Forward plan, it donates dozens of its bread loaves weekly to area food banks, including the Mission For Area People and Harbor Grace Church, both in Muskegon.
The loaves are paid for my bakery customers who can donate bread at their online website or at the Saturday market stand, Hilde said. The website is http://www.laughingtreebakery.com/
And does Hilde still hear the call to bake bread? Yes, it now says “go out and make some dough.”
Scott Swinehart was out fishing along the river a bit upstream from Mystery Creek Campground in early May. He had spotted a few items such as flip flops the week before as spring revealed some of last year's leftovers along the banks.
On this day however he caught a glimpse of what looked to be a wet bag, completely sealed and tucked beneath the bank.
Inside was a wallet containing the usual pieces of identification and so forth and also $49.00.
Scott contacted the owner, Jamey Nichols and when he got a hold of him said “I have some good news and bad news.The good news is I’ve got 49 bucks for you. The bad news is your driver's license is expired.”
The two talked and the wallet returned.
Having heard the finding version of the story we decided to reach out and see what the losing side of the story might be. Scott contacted Jamey who let us pose a few questions
Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from, etc.
I'm from Stanton. I'm an adjunct professor of Psychology at Cornerstone University and also work as a specialized Interim Pastor, currently in Cedarville, MI. My wife, Michelle and I took up kayak camping a few years back. In our enthusiasm, our friend, Josh Herzog of Six Lakes gave it a try, too. He was already fond of backpacking and survival camping, so it was kind of the same but with a twist.
What were you doing on the River that day?
Josh and I set out on a two-day jaunt down the Muskegon River. We put in just below Hardy Dam with no real destination in mind. We simply wanted to enjoy a couple days and nights out on the river.
When did you realize the drypack containing your wallet was gone?
Instantly after I dumped. You see, I had spotted something orange earlier in the day and paddled to the other side of the river just to see what it was. Turns out we'd found a fairly nice (and fairly new!) kayak paddle hung up in some brush in the middle of nowhere. This spurred our curiosity along with a touch of avarice, and we began looking for "river treasures" as we paddled. Just up from Scott's about 100 yards, the river took a hard left. That meant the current ran swiftly against the opposite bank. As it was, a tree had fallen out into the water and quite a tangled collection had accumulated. I paddled over to check it out thinking I would simply sidle up next to the debris pile. I settled into the current and drifted sideways looking to land gently against the upstream side of the pile. Unfortunately, I was drifting faster than expected and directly into the tip of a pointy branch about the size of a baseball bat. It stuck out above the water about 6-8 inches and reminded me of a jousting stick. Since I wasn't interested in having my boat or my body impaled, I lifted the stick and the current wedged me underneath it. There it was. I was stuck. In no time, the accelerated rush of the current was splashing into my cockpit. I was filling up fast! In my effort to escape, I capsized in an upstream direction and immediately discovered the power of the undertow. Everything I had on my deck that wasn't lashed along with everything behind my seatback was washed out and sucked under. I was wearing a life jacket, so I was fine.
Was there a search?
We took a little time to search but it was to no avail. Josh looked for anything that might pop up downstream and I pushed my boat to the island directly across from the pile. I emptied the water from my boat and laid out some things to dry before I swam back to the debris for one final look. It was to no avail, and I determined further searching was hopeless. The river had carved a very deep hole at the bend as the current dove below the accumulated debris. I feared that an attempt to find anything below the surface would be perilous given the force of the current and the likelihood of downward pointing branches that may have snagged a host of other sorts of river debris. We paddled on lessons learned--always be mindful of the way centrifugal force can turn a river from gentle to aggressive.
What was the reaction when you heard from Scott?
Stunned, really. I had already gone through the work of cancelling my cards and restoring my lost license. I'd written it off as gone forever. The dry bag Scott found was the type a person might use for a cell phone. I have a few of them and use them for lots of things including my wallet and chewing gum. Evidently, that particular bag weathered the winter quite well, practically fusing itself together. Scott had to cut it open to see whose wallet it was. My chewing gum was still fresh, and the wallet was bone dry. As it turns out, Scott found the wallet only about 100 yards from where I capsized. I had about $50 bucks in cash and offered that Scott could take what he needed to cover shipping costs, but he didn't. I got everything back and made a friend in the process. He chided me that I should get another of the same bag since it was so resilient but that I should look for a model with a GPS.
Scott’s honesty as well as the effort put forth to find the owner may have delivered the 49 dollars to Jamey, but it also delivered a good story.
Hesperia, MI – How can elementary students help a community? Students in Jordan Bourdo, Denise Short and Angie Pummel’s second grade classrooms at Patricia St. Clair Elementary School learned just that recently when they integrated the Junior Achievement Our Community program into their curriculum. JA Our Community introduces students to the intersection of work readiness and social studies learning objectives, including how citizens benefit from and contribute to a community's success.
Students walk away from the experience learning more about their community, careers, how businesses and government works, taxation, voting and how money flows through a community’s economy. This year, the second grade teachers at Patricia St. Clair Elementary took the learning experience to the next level, creating a true entrepreneurial experience by having the students create and sell a product—donuts!
After learning more about business ownership, the students worked together to design a class donut that would be sold locally. “It was super cool,” said student Haden Burrell. “I really liked designing the donuts.” Students worked on their design and each class then voted on the design that would represent them. Each of the class’ donut designs were then created and sold at Ed’s Orchard Market in May. Students were able to take a field trip to the store to learn more about the process.
“All of us at Ed's Orchard Market were so excited to participate in the Junior Achievement project with the second graders at Patricia St. Clair Elementary. In our nearly 80 years of providing a local shopping experience to the Hesperia community, we have taken pride in participating with many school projects,” said owner Scott Rumsey. “The donut project was unique in that it allowed the students to gain insight into creating a new product for our bakery, presenting it to their classmates for consideration, and getting to see the finished product being made right here in our bakery. The kids were so excited to see their creations in our donut case when they toured the store. It was clear the activity was a great deal of fun for all of them, and for all of us as well.”
“We are so proud of the students at Patricia St. Clair Elementary School for implementing what they learned this year about entrepreneurship,” said Bill Coderre, President and CEO, Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes. “Part of our goal is to make a lasting impression on these students so they will be inspired to positively impact communities in the future with their own businesses.”
Special thanks to the Fremont Area Community Foundation and the Gerber Foundation who provided the funding necessary to run these impactful programs in the area.
If you would like to learn more about or support Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes, please call 616-575-9080.
If you saw our article on the HTRJ Patio and want to make a visit to the area’s newest outdoor dining experience we have some great news.
In addition to their eclectic array of pizzas to enjoy this Saturday there will be music!
Not just any music but Marquis & Jessica aka the Bernard Sisters, a duo that delivers some of the finest harmonic tunesmanship to be found in this (and perhaps any) region.
Outdoor dining, mighty fine pizza, and the chance at long last to hear some music in an intimate setting.
What could be better?
A visit to a revitalized Croton Classic
By Ken De Laat
Photos by Lil De Laat
You know how when you’re on vacation and you stumble onto one of those epic epicurean finds? That Place. The one that combines great food with an atmosphere to die for? The one you’ll tell others about and not forget should your travels bring you back to the area?
That’s the vibe at the newly expanded Hit The Road Joe where patio dining brings patrons up close and personal with the eclectic gardens that surround this enticing eatery.
Jeff Murrell and Tracy Filipek Murrell (aka Chef T) have created a welcoming and appealing venue, the latest phase of what has been a pandemic precipitated transformation. A revival born out of necessity and nurtured by innovation and courage.
The Murrells took over the local favorite establishment in January of last year. Two months later they closed their doors because of COVID.
For those unfamiliar, HTRJ is not what one might call expansive. The inside dining made the most out of the room available, however attempting to continue with a reduced capacity wasn’t feasible.
So they shifted. They began offering take out 3 times a week and soon the regulars, as well as those who discovered this gastronomical gem by accident or referral, began appearing at the window.
Then came pizza. Channeling their pizza-making roots the couple began dealing up wood-fired pies on occasion and the popularity led to an expanded oven and a parade of vehicles passing through the window each Saturday.
Earlier this spring breakfast-to-go started on weekends and added to the HTRJ repertoire.
And now there is the patio.
The new expansion provides an enchanting dining experience with a garden well worth a wander as the adult swing set (complete with fire pit), the hops enveloping the dining area and the personable members of the equus family who hover nearby provide a dollop of charm.
And of course, there is the food.
It’s a one meal menu, three times a week. Saturdays, and now Sundays as well, are pizza nights. And Fridays through the summer you can snare a rack of their delectable ribs
The evening LSC Lil and I were there the dish proved to be smoked chicken and bean tostadas served w/ homemade salsa and sour cream.
And it was sublime.
As was the cannoli Lil and I heartily agreed was well deserved being it was Monday and all.
From well known dishes and comfort foods to exotic takes on recipes old and new the eats at the Joe are made from scratch and made with love.
Chef T. is an artist when it comes to creating food.
And now she has a fitting gallery to exhibit those creations.
Monday: Dinner Service 5-7pm
Wednesday: Dinner Service 5-7pm
Friday: Breakfast 8am-Noon, Dinner (Ribs)
Saturday: Breakfast 8am-Noon, Wood Fired Pizza 4-9pm
Sunday: Breakfast 8am-Noon, Wood Fired Pizza 4-9pm
Check our Nibbler section or the HTRJ facebook page for menu updates
Review by Amy Martin, Fremont Area District Library Staff Member
Faithless in Death is the 52nd book in J.D. Robb's futuristic In Death series. In this book, Eve and her team are investigating the killing of a female artist. From the start, the facts don't add up, and Eve discovers that the woman who reported finding the body is telling lies. This starts a search for a killer with ties to a cult-like group.
One of my favorite things about this series is the friendships Eve has with her friends and team--especially with Peabody, her work protege, and Mavis, her best friend. Both women are completely different from Eve, and Eve struggles with working out how to deal with them at times because of her own haunted past.
Another favorite thing from this series is Eve's husband Roarke, who went from being a street rat in Ireland to running his own empire. Roarke and Eve fit so well together, even though he's been on the shady side of the law most of his life, and she believes entirely in the law and the shield she proudly displays.
Eve tries to always get justice for her victims, and she digs deep to accomplish that. In this case where they are investigating a single victim, she finds there are so many more that need saving and sets out to do just that. I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
You can place a hold on this book in the library's catalog here: https://bit.ly/3vUOWIb
By Ken De Laat
It was an email from Troy and Patti Kalbach that spurred a recent trip to the Animal Shelter.
While we’ve long heard folks talking about the capable crew at the NCAS we had not yet made a visit and when discussing my planned excursion with my Lifetime Spousal Companion Lil (a woman known to possess an abundance of patience) she listened with her usual forbearance and after I was done simply said
“Just please, don’t surprise me and come home with a dog.”
I contacted Chief Animal Control Officer Kevin Carr and arranged for the tour. He met me at the White Cloud facility with staff member Danielle Maike and volunteer Georgia Kohlbeck, one of the 15-20 folks who volunteer their time to help care for the animals that spend their time awaiting adoption at the Shelter.
The Animal Control Team gets its share of calls about animals who seem to be in distress, might be bit more than a little problematic or are running the streets and neighborhoods seemingly without a home base among other tasks. Officer Carr had recently been on one of their more unusual calls when they helped herd a group of wandering cattle back to their home.
Officer Carr spoke of how the Shelter has transformed their image from the days of being known as simply “The Pound” and the officers being identified as ‘dogcatchers.”
These days much of their work involves intervention and education, helping pet owners with knowing the responsibilities that come with having a four legged friend around and resolving issues they may be having.
And of course taking in the dogs and cats (and sometimes birds and other creatures) that arrive either because of abandonment, abuse or other factors that have rendered them homeless.
“We’re not a no-kill shelter but we are a low-kill one,” said Carr. “ Some animals are not able to be rehabilitated or arrive too sick to be healed.”
Danielle is the Adoption Coordinator and runs the day to day operations at the shelter. A self described animal person her whole life, she possesses a passion for the work and a love for the critters she is charged with caring for.
And in this shelter the residents are very well cared for.
Danielle and Georgia introduced me to each of the current guests at the facility. What was most impressive was their knowledge of the personalities and quirks of each animal all of whom had names that seem to befit said personalities.
When it came to the cats, some were shy, some were curious and some seemed bent on showing off their cuteness at every opportunity.
The dogs? Well, they’re dogs so they were enthusiastic in their greetings as dogs tend to be and obviously well acquainted and well connected to Danielle and Georgia.
The shelter is well maintained, receives donations of food, litter and even pet toys, from local businesses and individuals, donations that are vital to operations.
They use a lot of social media to get the word out about the adoption candidates and Georgia’s profiles of them in the fb page ‘Friends of the NC Animal Shelter” draws the interest of potential adopters with her well crafted descriptions of each furry friend.
Danielle heaped praise on the volunteers who give their time freely and range from those who help with various chores around the facility to one person who works nearby and spends her lunch hours walking the shelter dogs.
The NC Animal Shelter is impressive on many levels, not the least of which are the staff and volunteers. It is a sanctuary for the forgotten, abused and abandoned animals that populate our county and the efforts undertaken to find permanent homes for them is nothing short of admirable as is the daily work being done by this impressive group of animal aficionados.
Here is the letter that sparked our excursion.
I am writing to you in regard to the Newaygo County Animal Shelter, specifically to give kudos to Danielle. We adopted our two pups, Oliver and Maggie in 2017 and 2019 respectively. They have added a lifetime of memories in the few years we've had them. Danielle's compassion and professionalism made the adoption process a pleasurable experience. She truly seems to care about every animal in the shelter and provides them with the attention and love all of them deserve.
Troy and Patti Kalbach
Like I said, impressive.
If you’re looking for a furry friend and want to find one who’s health needs have been taken care of (as well as their ability to reproduce) this is a stop you must make. Check out their facebook page as well as the one for the Friends of the Shelter and you can browse through some of their latest candidates who are eligible to join your household.
And no, for the record I didn’t come home with a dog.
For a brief moment when caught up in the relative cuteness of a fetching young feline there was the thought that Lil had failed to mention anything about a cat but…
Even the most patient among us need not have that patience tested too often.
“Animals are a window to your soul and a doorway to your spiritual destiny. If you let them into your life and allow them to teach you, you will be better for it.”-Kim Shotola
Brett Newski and the No Tomorrow will be at the Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, June 18 at 7:30 p.m. on the main stage.
Brett Newski and the No Tomorrow have a unique sound that falls somewhere between 90’s alternative rock and geek rock. Newski is the lead singer, an alternative songwriter, illustrator and podcaster based in Milwaukee, WI. He has been featured on Rolling Stone, NPR, American Songwriter, SiriusXM, Boston Globe, and Paste.
Newski has played over 1200 shows on every continent except Antarctica. Newski has played alongside acts like Pixies, Violent Femmes, Courtney Barnett, Manchester Orchestra, and Better than Ezra. He continues to tour over 100 dates per year.
Newski's podcast "Dirt from the Road" dives into strangest travel stories, mental health boosts, and how to navigate the hurdles of being a person in modern times. Guests have included The Lumineers, All American Rejects, Dashboard Confessional, Guster, Verve Pipe, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Frank Turner. Check out more information about Newski at www.brettnewski.com.
Tickets are only $15 and are available by clicking here, through the Dogwood Box Office, or downtown Fremont at NCCA-Artsplace. Seating style is reserved seating with social distancing. Seating is limited to 75 total. Masks worn by non-vaccinated people will be required at all times in the Dogwood Center. For information, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
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- Eric Qualman