By Ken DeLaat
John Waite brought it last night.
He and his talented troupe of extraordinary musicians shook the Dogwood Center’s Main Stage to its very rafters with a combination of hard rockin’ relics, compelling acoustical adaptations and a way to make the most memorable of his hits feel like they were brand new to the audience.
The week before we had conducted an interview by phone with Waite for a previous story. He and the band were on the road with a day off and in a good mood and the experience led me to want to catch the group when they hit town Saturday. Familiar with the well known titles Waite is associated with I had not realized how long he has been plying his musical artistry whether through performing in a wide variety of venues across the country, collaborating with a lengthy list of highly regarded musicians or working with the song writing skills that have led to a prolific portfolio.
The interview went well and when asked why people should come to the show I liked his assurance of excellence in the reply.
“I mean, why shouldn’t they come? The band is on fire right now and everyone is having fun. It will be a good night”
He was spot on.
The foursome who took the stage following an intriguing opening set by Dan Correa was indeed on point from the start.
Mark Ricciardi put on a guitar clinic firing off some bone rattling riffs in a display of master musicianship. Percussionist Michael “Rhondo” Gilham went beyond the steady backbeat his work provided when he launched into a solo revealing not just the depth of his talent but an impressive endurance and bassist Tim Hogan fired off some innovative runs while providing a solid rhythmic foundation.
Then there was, of course, John Waite. He charmed, cajoled, and shared anecdotal snippets but most of all he did, indeed, bring it. I don’t know what it’s like to be performing a similar show night after night but the difficulty in doing so would seem to be harnessing enough enthusiasm to make it fresh each time. To draw enough energy and passion toward the process and put out a show worthy of your talents.
There was a level of polished professionalism on stage and yet Waite and the band seem to still embrace the wonder associated with live performance and the development of a relationship with a grateful audience.
Waite took us on a fun and fetching journey through some familiar past times with the well known music while adding new songs to my working knowledge of his repertoire.
All his selections were obviously familiar to the folks in the audience who commanded the front rows. They seemed to know every word and were unencumbered by any hesitation about accompanying Waite on vocals or breaking out some impromptu dance moves in the aisles or at their seats.
The entire crowd seemed to get into the spirit of the evening and Waite’s offerings proved to please the flock of followers familiar with his work and concerts as well as the neophytes such as Ms. Lil and myself.
Highlights were many and included an intriguing version of Dylan’s "All Along the Watchtower” and a great wrap up with Led Zep’s “Whole Lotta Love” but it was “Missing You” segueing nicely into “Back on My Feet Again” that truly captured the crowd.
John Waite promised a good show, a fun time and a band that was ‘on fire’.
And he certainly, unmistakably, delivered on all counts.
By N3 Entertainment Crew
First off it is Blessing of the Bikes weekend in Baldwin.
That means there will be considerable motorcycle traffic about and our local establishments that deliver great food and beverage will likely be inundated with two wheeled travelers in need of refreshment and sustenance.
This event spawns a lengthy marketplace along M-37 beginning far south of the town Of Baldwin and extending its reach way north with small venues hawking a variety of goods. It also brings a lot of tourist money to the city and the towns along the way.
So let’s not be in a hurry when met with a traffic tie-up here or there and be aware that timing when it comes to dining in one of our fine fooderies may be essential. Remember, these folks are merely visiting and we are privileged to live here 24/7.
Oh and if you might be heading farther north than our Lake County neighbor?
Might think about an alternate route.
The Family Expo is a free friendly fun festival that not only lays out an absolute boatload of activities, giveaways, raffle prizes, snacks, and more but also gives goers access to a ton of information about the initiatives and programs that help promote healthier living and improve the quality of life in our community.
John Waite is one interesting cat. We spoke with him as he and his band were meandering their way across Ohio for a trio of shows in Michigan including Saturday’s performance at the Dogwood. Though known for his hit ‘Missing You’ Waite’s musical resume runs deep from his days with the Babys through the decades of solo work and collaborations that have him packing venues whenever he tours.
Like rock and roll with a bluesy touch or two and some acoustic flavoring tossed in?
See this show.
More music you say?
Isacc Schneider will be tickling the ivories from 12-3pm during Saturday’s Acoustic Lunch at Newaygo Brewing Co.
River Stop Saloon features Innuendo Friday starting at 9pm and Tommy Foster and No Outlets Saturday 6-10pm
Outlaw Express will bring some tunes to the Driftwood Deck Saturday and Sunday 3-7pm
And as a little change of pace the River Country Community Choir Spring Concert will be held Sunday from 6-8pm at the Grant Fine Arts Center and feature songs to celebrate the season.
A freewill offering will go to Love INC Newaygo County
Head to Rosa Parks Circle Saturday from 1-5pm for the Great Lakes International Cider Festival where tasting will be on tap. 15 bucks gets you 10 drink tickets.
Speaking of two wheeled wonders (well it was a lot earlier in the story but hey…) It is the season opening weekend at Big Air our local Motocross venue. If you like or do motocross you are likely already heading there but if you’ve never been it’s a slice of excitement in our own backyard.
Gate fee: $10 ages 12+
Gate fee: $5 ages 4-11 (non racer)
Kids 3 and under free
Yard Sale season is upon us. This weekend if you like this kind of thing Little Whitefish Lake is having their Community Yard Sales Friday and Saturday from 8am-6pm. This might help get you prepped for the world famous Hess Lake sales coming June 7&8.
We have this ongoing theory that every yard/garage sale must include at least one set of long neglected exercise equipment.
The Musician Behind 'Missing You'
We caught up with British-born rocker John Waite as he and his fellow musicians were crossing the Cuyahoga River in northern Ohio on their way to gigs Thursday and Friday in the easy part of the state. On Saturday they will be performing at the Dogwood Center Main Stage Saturday at 7:30pm.
N3- Playing tonight?
“We have a day off so we’re going to hit Ann Arbor and get some Indian food and a beer and kick it a bit.”
N3- Got time for a few questions?
“Just don’t ask about the incident ok?”
N3- What incident?
“There isn’t any” (laughs).
N3- You’ve collaborated with a lot of musicians over the years. Who among them was the most memorable.
“Alison Kraus. I was at the Opry with her and we did a coupe duets, Lay Down Beside Me and Missing You. She was great to work with. You know, bluegrass has this deep bloodline, it’s that West Virginia storytelling kind of thing. It’s beautiful.”
N3- Well, you’ve talked about being influenced by Celtic music and bluegrass is a close relative.
“Yeah they have that whole Scottish/Irish tremendous pull to the music. It's the music of the people and the community. Of faith and true life.”
N3- Speaking of ‘Missing You’, the single reached #1 on the charts relieving Tina Turner of that position. Later she recorded the song. How did that feel?
“When I was 12 I remember hearing River Deep, Mountain High and thinking. ‘Man, how does it sound like that?’ It was incredible...Tina and Ike... I mean, the way they brought it was something.
“To have someone you admire your whole life sing your song all those years later ... I went to Central Park all alone to listen to it for the first time. I had to be by myself. It was that much.”
N3- Musical Influences?
“I came from a musical family. My brother Joe had the first Telecaster in the country I think. My Mom played piano and sang. I had a cousin who played banjo.When I was young I was enamored with Elvis, Marty Robbins, Bill Haley, Brenda Lee.Then came the Liverpool sound and American sound and blues and more.
“I can’t say one influenced me most it would be like picking out one bird in the sky. You sort through it all and get at what works and develop a style.”
N3- How has your music evolved?
“I don’t think it has. I’ve learned a lot and I hope I have more wisdom now but the basic palette is the same as when I was a kid. I knew what moved me.
You need to leave a mark like they did in the late 60’s and 70’s. When you think about those musicians you realize we’re standing on the shoulders of greatness.”
N3- What are you listening to these days?
“Everything. From Bill Evans to Howling Wolf to Food. Listening to opera... Pavorotti mostly. Some classical. Bob Dylan Radio covers a lot of bases so I listen to that a bit.”
N3- You’ve written numerous songs over the years. Do you write toward an audience or..
“I don’t write to an audience. I didn’t write Missing You to be a single, it just happened. You know, I’m not in the music business. It’s not a logo. I’m a musician. We’re musicians not tied up with all the other crap. I don’t have a publicist or any of that. I’m a musician. I play music.
N3- Why should people come to the concert?
“I mean, why shouldn’t they? The band is on fire right now, we’re playing to packed houses and everyone is having fun.
We start out with some of the hard stuff then shift in the middle to some Wooden Heart acoustical sound before cranking it up again. It makes for an interesting evening with some twists and turns. It will be a good night.”
Tickets are $25.00 and are available through the Dogwood Center Box Office, NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont, or on-line at www.dogwoodcenter.com. For information, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
There is also a $90 VIP Meet & Greet. Fans will get the chance to meet John Waite in the Black Box before the show. Each person will receive one signed lyric sheet to "Missing You," fans can bring merchandise to be signed and have a photo taken with John. Meet and greet will take place from 7:00 p.m. to 7:25 p.m.
This does NOT include a ticket for the concert. Concert tickets must be purchased separately.
By Terry Grabill
Spring migration is an exciting time for birders, it’s also one of the times that we all become birders, to some extent. While the calendar proclaims spring in late March, here in my home in West Michigan, winter is often still holding on. It’s at this time that resident owls and Red-tailed Hawks are already tending eggs that will be this year’s offspring.
Who hasn’t measured the coming of relief from winter by the sighting of the first American Robin or Red-winged Blackbird? These harbingers of spring are usually the mature males arriving early to secure prime territory. The risk of resource shortage is a necessary trade-off for real estate attractive to the later-arriving females. These hardy souls often find themselves in snowy conditions. Along with the blackbirds and robins, waterfowl are among our earliest spring migrants. Late March and early April are busy times for ducks and geese. While the Canada Geese and Mallards are with us until fall, many interesting species use West Michigan as a stop-over to more northern breeding grounds. Often, we can find Ruddy Ducks, Buffleheads, Scaup, and several other divers on our lakes.
As April progresses, migratory raptors move northward. The Red-shouldered Hawks and Broad-winged Hawks appear with the loosened grip of winter along with the sanitation workers, the Turkey Vultures.
With the changing of the calendar from April to May comes several waves of songbirds. As a lifelong bird enthusiast, this time really gets my blood pumping. The tiny bursts of color and song traveling north now are the warblers. No other North American bird group captures the imagination of birders quite like these little gems. The first signal of warbler migration is the relatively plain Pine Warbler. Their sweet, slurred call is a welcome sound that really signals winter’s end in my mind. Another early warbler arrival is the Yellow-rumped Warbler. These are beautiful blue and gold birds with a diagnostic yellow patch above the base of their tails. Many times, I’ve been birding and found nearly all of my warbler sightings are “butter-butts”. Warblers are certainly not the only birds on the move in early May: Sparrows, those “little brown jobs”, arrive too. The White-crowned Sparrows are just passing through, but the White-throated, Chipping, and Song Sparrows make their homes here until fall.
Interestingly, species come through in relatively predictable sequences. The second group of warblers include Black-and-white and the marsh-loving Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats. Later arrivals are some of our most brilliantly-feathered ones. The Magnolia and Blackburnian Warblers are among our summer residents that don’t arrive until mid-May. These fair-weather migrants are accompanied by the insect-eating flycatchers.
Spring migration is an excellent time to look for new arrivals as well as many birds that are just passing through. And, when Michigan spring turns nasty, these night migrants are sometimes held against their will by north winds and storms. These weather patterns in May often result in the stuff of birders’ dreams: Fallout. These birds are staged to move north and hunkered-down, waiting for the sky to clear. Trees can be found virtually “dripping” with birds forced to stay in this holding pattern until they are released by clearing skies.
I invite you to get outside this month and look at birds. You may be surprised by the diversity of color and shape that awaits you!
By Tim McGrath
In my student days, school must have been seen by those in charge as a way to keep us busy, off the streets, and out of our mom’s hair for a good chunk of the day. I think many of us got through fairly well in spite of being made to read out loud in front of class, memorize just about everything (“This could be on the test!”), and be required to: “ Keep an eye on the length of those sideburns, mister!” What really got us charged up, though, were the teachers that got a kick out of being, well…, teachers. The truly great ones I had showed real interest in us, and they kept us engaged. No small task. Don’t remember much about the author’s purpose in writing To Kill a Mockingbird, but I do remember how that particular teacher kept us on the edge of our seats by telling her own stories: she was a natural storyteller. Had a few like that, and I’m fortunate to have had them as an influence in those early years.
In my teacher days, I attempted to keep the tradition alive. Storytelling was a perfect way to lighten the moment, make a point, have a little fun, exaggerate, BS, set the stage, and, some days, just goof off. I’ve had the good fortune to be reminded by former students how much they enjoyed the stories. Me too.
This one’s for you, Charlie….
Part 1: The Night Before
Mr. Franklin’s brown Ford Fairlane station wagon bounced its way over the rutted two-track as we slowly made our way to the campsite. “Well, scouts, we’re just about at our site. Mr. Bogard and the rest of the boys are not far behind. We’ve gone over this, so every scout knows his job in getting camp ship-shape before nightfall. No flagging on the job, either, or I’ll be on you. Scouts are prepared.”
As the Fairlane groaned its way to our site, it was clear this was going to be something big. Sprawled across the vast estate of the Boy Scout camp were other troops doing the same as us. It was the first big campout of the season, and scouts from all across West Michigan had descended on this spot. Tents quickly went up, makeshift chow tables assembled, cooking fires set ablaze: a beehive of industrious Scouts in action.
“Let’s get busy, scouts; everyone fall out and get Troop 1234’s camp squared away. We’ll show these other boys how we do things.” All the pre-trip planning and practice came to life. Each scout knew exactly what to do, and in a matter of minutes the enormous green canvas tent was up. The carload of scouts with Mr. Bogard appeared, they all hopped to it and, as if by magic, the site was prepared and ready for scouting action.
“Let’s get some ‘ssert rustled up fellas. You all had something to eat at home, so we’ll just top it off with Fluffernutter samiches and a root beer before hitting the racks. That oughta just about do it, don’t you think?” Mr. Franklin chuckled to himself; he loved being in charge. “Chuck, you, Dale, and Clark get that fire ready. You’ve got to be sitting around a roaring campfire to enjoy Fluffernutters and root beer. Might even have time to roast a few weiners if we feel like it. Just be careful by that fire, boys. We don’t want any of you three roasting your own weiners. Wouldn’t know what to tell your mothers when we get back home.” All of us in earshot of Mr. Franklin fell about the place laughing and grimacing: not a pretty image, but a fine example of twelve-year-old boy humor.
White bread, marshmallow crème, peanut butter, sliced bananas: the recipe for the perfect Fluffernutter sandwich. We scouts knew what to do, and in no time, all of us were sitting around the campfire enjoying the Fluffernutters and washing down the sticky mess with gallons of root beer.
“Top notch work, scouts. Everyone pitched in, knew his job, and got camp all tucked away in fine fashion. Before we hit the hay, how’s about a story? I’ve got one called ‘The Golden Bell’. It’s scary, so hold onto your shorts.” All eyes were on Mr. Franklin as he wove a tale of his grandfather living alone somewhere on the prairie in a one room shack. One day, as he was working outside the shack, he discovered a tiny golden bell stuck in the branches of a small bush. He plucked it out and, kept it because of its unusual beauty. As the story unfolds one dark night, an unknown force or creature stealthily invades the grandfather’s shack; first from the outside in a quiet but insistent voice: ‘Who’s got my golden bell? Who’s got my golden bell?’ Realizing the voice isn’t merely the wind playing tricks on him, the grandfather picks up the bell and hides with it in a corner of the shack. Soon, the voice is inside the shack and coming closer, repeating in that menacing whisper: ‘Who’s got my golden bell?’
Closer and closer it gets until the hot breath of the…thing is breathing on the side of the grandfather’s face. When the tension couldn’t be any greater, Mr. Franklin paused momentarily, then shouted: “YOU’VE GOT IT!” We all jumped clear out of our shoes. Some of the boys actually began gasping – it was hilarious.
“That’s what’s called a jump tale, fellas. Really made you jump, didn’t I? Wish you could’ve seen the looks on your faces when I hollered. Some of you better check your pants, if you know what I mean. Well, that’s enough for tonight, men; time for some shut-eye. We’ve got a full day tomorrow, so we’ll be up with the chickens. Let’s get this fire doused properly and call it a day.”
The tent we called home was a monstrosity: what Mr. Franklin called “Army Surplus”. Apparently, something soldiers used during what he called “The Big One”.
“Alright men, let’s form a fire line and get all our gear stowed sharp quick.” Like a fine piece of machinery each of us kicked in, and just like that, sleeping bags and pillows were piled up in one end of the green cavern. And, soon after that, each boy had staked out his space.
“Hey, it stinks in here,” Tommy Blanford yelled out. “It smells like my grandma.” General sniffing all around, and murmurs of agreement.
“Yeah, it does sorta smell like old people,” from one corner. “Naw it doesn’t, it smells like our dog pen when my brother doesn’t clean up the turds like he’s supposed to,” from somewhere in the middle.
“Quiet down, gentlemen. It’s just a little musty from being stored away for so long; nothing to worry about. Let’s get some shut-eye. Tomorrow gets here early.”
The sounds of fourteen bodies shuffling around, getting settled in: the rasping armpit noises, snickering, and goofiness of twelve-year-old boys in a tent away from home were gradually replaced with the even breathing of scouts falling off to sleep.
Soon, the deep quiet was broken by the snuffly snortling of Mr. Franklin and the gargly wheezes of Mr. Bogard. Back and forth it went: a sleeper’s concerto. It was clear the others were waking. Sounds of frustration and disgust could be heard from all corners of our canvas cocoon.
“Dad, Mr. Bogard, stop snoring. We can’t sleep!” Timmy Franklin hissed at our leaders. He must have given each a shove, because the din finally stopped, and was slowly replaced with quiet peaceful breathing. Uninterrupted silence filled the tent. There was only the occasional snortle from the grownups. All was well.
Our reverie didn’t last, however. A more insidious element crept into the tent.
From Mr. Franklin’s sleeping bag came a sonorous blast, extraordinary in its volume, followed by two more expulsions in rapid-fire succession. Several of us woke with a start wondering if we’d heard what we thought we’d heard. In response, a particularly drawn out eruption cast all doubt aside: Mr. Franklin was farting. And, it quickly became a world - class effort. But that, of course wasn’t the worst. The tent slowly filled with a noxious sulfurous wave that billowed and capered around us. The only escape was to hide out inside the sleeping bags, and hope the end came soon. It was clear Mr. Bogard was suffering with the rest of us.
“John, wake up.” Mr. Bogard yelled. “You’re killing us in here; you’ve got to stop!”
The happily sleeping Mr. Franklin woke with a mumbled apology.
“Sorry boys, it must be the Fluffernutters. Always happens when I eat those buggers. Hope the worst is over. Now let’s get some shut eye.” Easy for him to say. All of us lay waiting…, waiting…, waiting...; wondering when the next rasping expulsion would cut short our slumber. Mercifully, it never came. That was the last we heard until….
“Hey, wake up!” Steve Simmons screeched. “It’s raining in here, and there’s water coming in the door!” When we were awake enough to make sense of the yelling, it was clear he was onto something. This wasn’t another Mr. Franklin moment; it was a massive thunderstorm. Water poured down the walls, dripped from the ceiling, and rolled in through the door. Outside, lightning flashed, thunder crashed, and the storm raged on. We lay huddled together in what was becoming a stinking, soggy quagmire. All we could do was hang on and wait it out. As we lay there, voices cried out: “My sleeping bag’s soaked!” From another: ”My shoes are full of water!” Everything we owned was drenched. Much to everyone’s credit, however, no one panicked. We were mostly calm Scouts, prepared to the end. Surprisingly, Mr. Franklin didn’t say much until it was clear the storm was winding down, and a thin gray light peeked into the tent.
“Well, that was something, fellas, glad it’s over. Up and at ‘em, boys: daylight in the swamp. We’ve got a lot of clean up to do before chow. Everybody grab your gear, haul it out and spread it out on the ground. Hey, lookee over there, lads, the sun’s coming up. That and the breeze picking up’ll get things dried out soon enough. That’s a good sign. Looks like we’ve got one fine day ahead of us….”
What's happening this weekend as we await the arrival of the warm weather we're supposed to have in Spring and maybe a little less rain would be nice as well....
Friday night at the Dogwood hear the stories behind the country music hits made famous by the likes of Blake Shelton, Garth Brooks, Montgomery Gentry, Darryl Worley, and many others when the Nashville Songwriters perform in the Black Box beginning at 7:30pm
Multi-platinum selling hit songwriter, Gary Hannan will be joined by acclaimed songwriters and country music stars, Andy Griggs and Wynn Varble.
Alex Mendenhall is a nationally touring indie soul musician based in Detroit and he will be performing during the Acoustic Lunch series Noon-4pm at Newaygo Brewing Co. With a little soul, alternative, and jazz, his music is high-energy and features carefully crafted wordplay and rich orchestration.
The Cupcake Festival a White Cloud gathering initiated by the Boomerang group celebrates its 3rd year with a slew of events including Cruisin’ The Cloud Car Show beginning at 12:30 at S. Lester and Wilcox Ave, Cupcake Sales & Contests, a beer tent and other activities around town.
Stage Door Players Theater is presenting The Secret Garden with doors open at 6pm and Northern Towing’s Comedy Night at the Eagles Beer Tent begins at 9pm.
Speaking of comedy, ‘Make It Spicy’ at Ridge Cider Co. Saturday from 7-10pm has 5 comics taking the stage including N3 columnist Ms. Megan Wirts (Megan Again) who never disappoints.
Trilogy rocks it out at the Riverstop Saloon Friday starting at 8pm...
Lewis Farm opens for the season Saturday...
And Croton Library welcomes Michigan author and adventurer Ron Rademacher who will present on day trips to little known trails, and nature areas including old growth forests, trails along thundering rivers, and a trail famous for rainbows starting at 11am.
And it is Mother's Day Sunday so here’s a timely quote:
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” -Elizabeth Stone
The Family Services Expo is scheduled for Saturday, May 18 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fremont High School. Admission is free and snacks, waters, and hotdogs will be provided.
This is always a great time with lots of giveaways, door prizes, games, crafts, and the opportunity to learn about the many services available to local families.
Best of all?
Yes that four letter word we all love to hear means it won’t cost a penny to experience one of the premier family events of the year.
Kids can grab some fun by doing a little bounce house action, hitting the climbing wall or the gaga pit .
Some of the services being offered up?
Vision checks for children. preschool and kindergarten enrollment info,
car seat checks and more.
Great Start Collaborative Coordinator Karen Clark:
“This year we are changing things us a bit. There will be a new location and new date.
“We will be combining vendors and activities from the Great Start Family Expo and Spectrum's Community Health & Safety Day.. The high school offers plenty of indoor and outdoor spaces to accommodate all vendors, as well as great parking for the public. We think that this is a great way to combine events and increase the number of attendees.”
This is a wonderful opportunity for organizations to share the programs and services they provide to local families in Newaygo County. Each vendor will provide an activity that parents and children can engage in together.
Here’s a rundown of what is being offered up.
While Great Start (overseen by NCRESA) is coordinating the event Clark credits the collaborative efforts that went into the event.
“We could not put it together without help from the planning committee including employees from Great Start, Spectrum Health, Fremont PD, Sheriff's Dept, and Family Health Care.”
Here is a link to the event.
Dogwood to host PN event this Wednesday
The Final Five.
Who are they?
They are the quintet of entrepreneurs chosen among nearly two dozen entries to compete in the Pitch North event this coming to the Dogwood Center this Wednesday (May 8th) from 4-6pm.
The winner will walk away with a $4000 check as well as a host of confidence from having secured the stamp of approval from a panel of judges.
Runner-up? Well, $2500 isn’t bad for a consolation prize and third place (that would be ‘show’ for you Derby fans) nets a cool thou.
And even if you don’t come away with the cash there is the opportunity to plug your idea to not only the judges but also the audience who will be filling the Dogwood to see this local Shark Tankish event unfold.
We caught up with the five women behind the ideas to be presented to get a little background info. They were asked what inspired them to begin their venture, the challenges they have faced and their goals for the future.
And here’s what they came up with.
Pitch North is open to the public, but registration is required. To register to attend, visit pitchnorth.com
Pretty Pop Ups
Cammie Hollinger lives in Grant with her husband Jay, their two kids and a chiweenie named Finn.
After graduating from Newaygo HS she went on to obtain her Marketing degree at Liberty University and when not remodeling campers she can be found working as a travel agent or substitute teaching all the while operating a non profit organization.
“I have spent much of my adult life being inspired by The Dream Giver. The book has encouraged and inspired me to go after my dreams whatever they may be.”
Pretty Pop Ups came to fruition out of both passion and frustration.
“Our family fell in love with camping last summer, and we had several family members or friends who wanted to join us, but they weren't comfortable sleeping in a tent, and didn't have the means to tow a large camper, or didn't want to invest in a camper they would only use a few times a year.
“Most nearby camper rentals are very expensive, and not conducive to short weekend getaways for families on a budget. This past winter, I came across a blog featuring pop-up camper remodels. I realized that I had the skills and the passion to not only undertake my own camper remodels, but to turn it into a business and allow our friends and family an affordable camping opportunity.”
As for the upcoming event?
“I am honored to be a finalist with the Pitch North competition, and I look forward to sharing more details about Pretty Pop Ups with the judges and our community."
Her quote from is from The Dream Giver, the book she referenced earlier.
"Courage is not the absence of fear; rather, it's choosing to act in spite of that fear."
The Bohemian Boutique
Tara Kelley lives in Shelby with her husband, their three children and the family puppy Mabel. Born in the UP she grew up in Florida where she graduated from Jupiter High School before receiving her degree from Muskegon Community College.
Spending time with her family either outdoors or on movie nights and some regular contact with friends ( “I can’t forget about girls night, it keeps me sane”) fills her life as does the ever vigilant search for those unique items that inspire her repurposing artistry.
“I started by traveling around to craft shows selling my creations. I did well but hauling and setup by myself got old fast. I found a small space downtown that was perfect, my kids could walk to and from school and home.”
Her downtown Shelby shop Bohemian Boutique is an eclectic collection of decor, apparel, lighting, jewelry, pottery, candles, essential oils, jams & jellies in addition to Tara’s creations.
Asked why she pursued the business she stated “It was something I’ve always dreamt about and if you don’t go for it you’ll never know and always wonder.
“My Mother is my inspiration. She gave me the DIY, treasure hunting bug when I was little. She is always in my corner cheering me on. If she lived here we would be doing this together.
“I learn something new everyday, and I love it. I’ve been happily surprised by the compliments and kindness of strangers.”
“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve”.-J.K. Rowling
Baking Beauty’s Custom Cakes
Ericka Frericks was born in Georgia where her Dad was stationed in the army but made her way to Michigan by the age of 2 and spent her school days at Fremont High. After graduation she completed her second year of cosmetology and took classes at MCC.
A law enforcement wife and mother of 3 their household includes a dog (Calie) cat (Tinkerbelle) goldfish (unnamed) and a leopard gecko named Tucker.
Always the family baker, she has been whipping up tasty cupcakes for holidays, birthdays and special events. About 3 months ago she started getting asked to create custom made cakes and realized there was a real need in the area for creative bakers.
“My kids were totally my inspiration. We love watching the baking show Nailed It and anytime I'm creating something beautiful in the kitchen, I always have a precious little face (or two) telling me that I would totally "nail it" if I was on the show.
"My son and daughter tell me and anyone who'll listen that I'm the "best maker ever"......who wouldn't be inspired by that?”
Ericka hopes to continue baking from the comfort of her kitchen while her littles are home and would love to expand her knowledge and experience into new techniques and new desserts.
“In 5 years I'd love to be working out of a licensed kitchen, selling some of my goodies in a local shop.”
Something about her that might surprise people?
“That I've overcome a nearly debilitating fear of rejection to become the person I am today. I've been apart of a personal development course by Brene Brown and I feel grateful for what she's taught me about being brave, having courage and encouraging those around me to do the same!
"Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver."-Brene Brown.
Red Boots Kids’ Books
Sandi Bernard lives in downtown Newaygo and is well known for hosting the Thursday night Open Mike night at the Riverstop Cafe the past 17 years. A Reeths Puffer grad she moved back to Michigan after many years in North Carolina.
“I wanted to move to the place where I felt the most serene. I had always visited my brother who lived on the river and when I made my choice it was hands down Newaygo. I always say this town is like a Hallmark movie.”
Sandi wrote lots of kids stories when her own kids were little but it was her adult daughter Marquita who lit a fire under her about 18 months ago to start writing them again and offered to help with the technical side to produce them.
In addition to her daughter Sandi’s 94 year old Mother also provides inspiration.
“She started drawing wonderful character art on lunch bags for Kids Food Basket just last year. You're never too old to take on a passion and develop it.”
Sandi hopes her work inspires children to be thinkers and doers.
“I want to help kids 5 to 10 see that they are capable of writing their own books and thus helping create inspiration that will last a lifetime.”
Her favorite quote?
"Imagination is the pathway to everything".....Terence Kenna
Truffles and Goodies Lady
Deanna Dickinson spent much of her life in Hesperia where she graduated from high school and currently resides with her three children.
She likes to spend time outdoors with her kids and her boyfriend camping, hunting, fishing, tubing and beaching it when not creating the products she sells including coasters, magnets, key fobs, lanyards, embroidered items, coin purses, cell phone wristlets, baby items, & sweet treats like candy bars, truffles, and clusters.
Her business started out as a hobby to help out with finances but over the years the business has kept growing.
“My biggest seller is my ID Wallet Lanyards I was shocked it only took me like 2 days online on Etsy for orders to start flying in. Since black Friday I have sold over 250 between Etsy, Facebook and various shows as well as my cross body bags that I sell tons of as well.”
Deanna was inspired by her parents who also did shows and made money doing what they enjoyed.
“My hope is to one day own and operate my own small shop. To have a website, hire someone part time, train them to get things ready for orders and increase my sales even more.
“And to set aside money for the kids’ college fund.”
Pitch North is made possible through funding from the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance and Northern Initiatives. In-Kind prizes were donated from The Stream, Eric R. Fox, Attorney at Law and H&S Companies
Ten young people from throughout Newaygo County participated in a special four week photography workshop at NCCA-Artsplace. The workshop first began in 2009 to honor Chris Caris, the son of Ted and Jeannie Caris, an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed the art of photography while a student at Fremont High School. The classes were funded by the Christopher R. Caris Memorial Fund at the Fremont Area Community Foundation and taught by Chris Rosenberg of Fremont.
Area art instructors and principals recommended students to participate in the class. Class participants included Wyatt Gunnett and Sierra Thompson from White Cloud; Ashley Munch and Ann Cochran from Fremont; Ayla Schneider and Jessica Bennett from Fremont Christian; Kari Huston and Nikkole Frens from Hesperia; and Cyanne Schuitema and Reagan Archbold from Grant.
Rosenberg provided specialized instruction to the budding photographers on 35 mm SLR cameras, composition, printing, and enlarging their own images. Photos from the class are on display in the NCCA-Artsplace Corridor Gallery through May 18.
NCCA-Artsplace is located at 13 E. Main Street in downtown Fremont. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., with Thursday evenings until 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
A presentation about native plants and invasive species will be given on Thursday, May 9, 6pm at Brooks Township Hall, 490 Quarterline Street, Newaygo. The public is invited to this free program to be held at the next Citizens Environmental Watch and Action Coalition (CEWAC) meeting.
The focus of this event is how common plants that are brought to gardens and yards for beauty can often be detrimental to Newaygo County’s native habitats, ecosystems, pollinators (such as bees and butterflies), and wildlife.
The solutions will be presented as well: to instead plant native species of flowers, shrubs and trees to enhance your property which will also feed and house our important wild residents.
Randy Butters of the Newaygo Invasive Plant Project will give a presentation about common garden plants that have escaped the boundaries of our property lines and encroached on Newaygo’s sensitive forest and prairie habitats. He will advise participants on which plants in particular are best to avoid planting in your landscape.
Sally Wagoner of CEWAC will then give a visual presentation of alternative native plants to grow that will beautify your home as well as strengthen the food and habitat infrastructures for bees, butterflies, beneficial insects and birds. Participants will learn how to choose native plants that are non-hybrids so as to offer the food sources most beneficial to bees and butterflies.
Luke Cotton of the Newaygo Conservation District will cap the program with information about the NCD’s annual Native Plant Sale, where participants will be able to order non-hybrid, quality native plants for their gardens. The annual plant sale is held in June with orders taken in the near future.
Nick Looman, 3R Environmental Education, will make his debut appearance as the organization’s new Executive Director. Co-creator and owner of Newaygo Brewery, Nick is enthused about broadening his roots in the Newaygo area through environmental impact. Nick will be instrumental in helping to expand 3R’s school and community environmental education programs as well as increasing the outreach and influence of Citizens Environmental Watch and Action Coalition.
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“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”
- Eric Qualman