Bits & Pieces
Food Truck Follies, (Un) Employment Record Set, Lions Take Ford Prizes, Dragon Details and Dads
By Ken DeLaat
Onsite Dining at The Cove
Well, the site of Smugglers Cove saw its first dining experience in nearly 2 years when a sea of customers flocked to the pair of food trucks parked at the lakeside lot.
LSC Lil and I used the event to have a little outside socialization with friends so six of us took advantage of the opportunity to eschew food preparation on a sweltering evening.Pizza Parliament weathered a rush of folks who seemingly all wanted their pies at the same time to produce what each of us declared as some of the most righteous pizza ever experienced.
Next Saturday will see another foodery on wheels make an appearance and I’m thinking the Parliamentary peeps will be a hard act to follow...but we’re certainly anxious to see them try.
We all know how the pandemic has crippled many aspects of our lives and no small part of that involves unemployment rates.
As per info from Michigan Works the lowest numbers for Newaygo County occurred in 2000 when just 3.1% were tallied..
The highest in history came in 1983 when our county stood at 20.9%.
Until this past April when it ballooned to 26%
And yes we all know about the increase in benefits that has influenced people to stay on the rolls and given the ‘elder statesmen’ among us fodder to complain about the poor work ethic of younger folks nowadays.
But that percentage represents a bit more than 1 out of 4 of our citizenry. In March that figure was 4% or 1 out of 25.
And though consistent with the stats in our neighboring counties it is nonetheless disconcerting at best because of the profound ripple effects high unemployment has on our communities.
Each year, high school students are invited to compete for awards offered by the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation by participating in the President Gerald R. Ford Student Writing Challenge.
Megan Grant and Sabra Wolven of Newaygo finished in the Top Ten and we asked the organization for copies of their essays but have not heard back from them.
So in our effort to encourage our younger writers we hope they might see this and allow us to reprint their efforts.
Dragon Keeps Growing
Have you checked out the new website promoting the Dragon Trail? If you are a true biker (pedals not motors) you likely not only know about it but are eager to give this amazing initiative a trial run. If you are a casual pedaler you might be intrigued by the opportunity to cruise a bit around Hardy Pond. If you’re neither perhaps there’s some interest in the economic potential the Dragon brings. Any way you shake it the website is very cool and will keep people who have an interest at any level updated.
And here it is.
And finally, a Happy Father’s Day to those who have embraced the most wonderful and challenging undertaking one could possibly imagine.
My Dad has been gone from this Earth for the last 27 Father’s Days but he remains in my heart and as much a part of me as I am certain he is for my much older siblings.
Lately I've been noticing
I say the same things he used to say
And I even find myself acting the very same way
I tap my fingers on the table
To the rhythm in my soul
And I jingle the car keys
When I'm ready to go
When I look in the mirror
He's right there in my eyes
Starin' back at me and I realize
...That everyday I see
A little more of my father in me
-Keith Urban, Song For Dad
Food Truck Fun Heading For Hess
One day picnic tables magically appeared at the site where Smuggler’s Cove once tossed out eats for folks who enjoy a little lakeside view with their dining.
Then once it made the social media rounds another salvo was fired when it was announced that food trucks would begin to find their way to the now empty parking lot.
Intrigued, we caught up with Raeanne Huskey a Hess Lake neighbor of N3 World Headquarters who provided the skinny on what could very well become the newest option for al fresco dining with a vista familiar to many of us.
Who is behind this intriguing enterprise?
We are a family owned and operated business. All American North Country Store is run by myself & my husband Greg Huskey, my parents Leon & Terrie Thompson, and my brother and their wives (Nathan & Shannon Thompson and Jacob and Katelyn Thompson). We also operate other local businesses such as American Classic Roofing & Building Supply, American Classic Dumpsters, & American Classic Forestry. We are a family that learned at a young age the importance of family, teamwork, hard work ethic, and dedication to our goals. Now today we consider ourselves fortunate and blessed to be able to live the dream my parents (Leon & Terrie) had for us to all work together and build a legacy for our family. Not today we have 16 kids amongst us that we continue to teach the value of family, team work, hard work, and dedication.
How did the original idea of the tables come about?
Leon stumbled across an ad for picnic tables being built in the Allendale area by a local craftsman. We hate to see the beautiful view of Hess Lake not be enjoyed by our community. We thought the tables would be a nice addition for our local community to still enjoy the lake view this summer.
There was some action on social media posts about the tables regarding food trucks. Was this already in the works or did the feedback influence the idea?
The food truck idea has been in the works for awhile now. We just had not announced it to the community. We are still locking in vendors for the remainder of the summer to set up on site so that our community can sample some of the great cuisine these food trucks have to offer.
There are a couple of trucks coming up this Saturday.Who are they and are there plans for others? Any candidates?
How did the trucks (who have been idled a great deal this year) react?
This Saturday (6/20) Pizza Parliament and Ice Box Ice Cream will be joining us for the day. Serving both lunch and dinner. We also have Kool Breze coming on Fathers Day (6/21) for the day. Ohana Ice will be here over the 4th of July holiday weekend. I've been making and taking a lot of different calls from various food truck vendors. We will have several other trucks visiting Hess Lake this summer. They will each be announced as the plans come together.
Hours will vary depending on the vendor. Most plan to stay between 11am and 8 or 9pm.
The truck vendors have all had very positive reactions. This summer season has turned out to be vastly different then they had all planned for at the beginning of 2020. Many have stated that they are enjoying being able to serve in new local communities and try out new areas that they haven't been to previously. They have all been excited for a new opportunity.
Why is this being done? What are the hopes?
Honestly, we are doing this to give back to our community who greatly miss the beloved Smugglers Cove and having a food option available on the lake. We are also hoping that this opens up some new doors and opportunities for food truck vendors that need to fill their summers where they have suddenly found voids. And just for fun! My husband and I live on the lake and we think this will just be a much needed fun thing to do this summer. 2020 has been a year with lots of unexpected interruptions and food trucks on the lake with fun menus might just be something small to bring some smiles and joy to our small community.
Anything you want to add?
Since moving here and deciding to add the All American North Country Store - Hess Lake to our chain we have just fallen in love with this great community. We are blessed to be surrounded by great people around Newaygo and on Hess & Brooks Lake. We are excited to continue to breathe some new life and try some new innovative things here. We truly hope our everyone enjoys the food trucks as much as we have enjoyed putting this all together.
There you have it. The opportunity to sit awhile at the North Shore/Smuggler’s site, enjoy some good food and take in a familiar view.
The only thing missing?
Kudos to the folks behind this initiative. If there’s anything we all need after weathering the recent trying times it's something new to get a little excited about.
And nothing gets us excited like the prospect of an enticing variety of food truck dining.
And Pizza Parliament is a seriously good start.
See you there.
Summer Camps Can Open
Camp Newaygo will welcome campers
LANSING, Mich. — Governor Whitmer today signed an Executive Order lifting restrictions on overnight residential, travel, and troop camps beginning June 15.
“As we’ve worked together to bend the curve and protect our families from COVID-19, our kids have lost time in the classroom and missed out on playdates, birthday parties and graduations,” said the Gov. “That’s why I’m glad they’ll have an opportunity to spend a week or weekend away at camp,”
We asked Camp Newaygo Executive Director Jane Vitek to deliver the skinny on what this means for the treasured local Chain of Lakes camp now in its 94th year of providing summer fun.
“We received the news today that Michigan Resident Camps will be able to open immediately. The support of so many people over the past three months has kept us going as we planned for a summer resident camp we were not sure would happen.
“We are confident Camp Newaygo along with our campers and their families can provide a safe summer camp experience this year like those in the past 95 years just in a new and different way. From pre camp COVID-19 testing of all campers and staff, smaller living areas, to meals and songs stretched out from one end of camp to the other we will incorporate the recommendations of the State of Michigan Childcare Licensing, Covid-19 State Task Force, the CDC and the American Camp Association.
“This is my 45th year associated with camp Newaygo and I have never experienced a staff quite like the 2020 year round and summer staff we have this year. They recognize the risk and are determined to do what they need to in order to mitigate it to the greatest extent possible. Camp Director, Jalisa Danhof, has been at Newaygo for nine years getting to know each of our campers and their families. She, along with the rest of our staff, really cares about the health and safety of each of our campers and will be implementing procedures to do just that.
“We know there is still risk there of COVID-19. The decision to send your child to camp this year is one only parents can individually make. We can implement best practices in this situation but there is always a possibility of contracting an illness.
“We know kids really need a way to safely reconnect and we are excited to be offering this opportunity for Girls Resident Camp. Unfortunately we have decided to put our coed Day Camps on pause for this summer but they will be back again next summer.”
If you have questions please call 231-652-1184
“I have a conviction that a few weeks spent in a well organized summer camp may be of more value educationally than a whole year of formal school work.”-Charles William Eliot
Story by Ken DeLaat
Photos by Ramona Deters and Ken DeLaat
Last year the Newaygo Farmer’s Market shut down in late August due to dwindling interest as fewer vendors led to fewer customers resulting in fewer vendors and so on. The decision was also made at the time to not reopen for 2020, given the diminished participation the market had been experiencing.
Enter Ramona Deters who was determined to breathe life back into this long standing Friday afternoon event.
“Revitalizing the Newaygo Farmers Market was already tricky in the beginning because we had to gain trust from farmers and artisans, then throw a pandemic in on top of it all,” said Ms. Deters. “ Many thought we were crazy and should just wait a year but I felt the market already seemed forgotten.
“There was some convincing that I had to do to my friends, the city, the Chamber, the farmers and basically anyone who would listen to me that we needed to get our market back up and running again. This is Newaygo County for goodness sake, vegetable and fruit farms are abundant.”
And last Friday the market returned to Brooks Park with 8 vendors, a food truck and over 200 visitors to an early season opening with many of the home grown goodies yet to make an appearance.
The folks from Happy Hog Farm were on hand (we bought the brats) and there were baked goods, pierogies, annuals, asparagus, rhubarb as well as some craft items all welcoming in a steady stream of customers on a gorgeous Friday afternoon.
Given the positive response to last Friday’s Opening Day the Newaygo City Council gave the ok for the market to continue to hold court in the park every Friday throughout the summer and early fall.
“I have two friends who have supported my vision and helped make it a reality,” Deters added. ““Renee Finkbeiner and Danya VanderLugt. We each play a role to make sure the market provides a positive experience for all the farmers, artisans and anyone who participates in the market.”
So come on down each Friday from 2-6pm and support the efforts toward keeping a farmer’s market in the downtown area. And hey, you can save a little gas with the convenience of gaining access to some of our area’s home grown goods with a few surprises tossed in as well.
Why the Tables?
The building that has housed many eateries including most recently Smuggler’s Cove remains just a memory since it was taken down last year.
The folks at the All American North Country Store and American Classic Roofing & Building Supply who own the property decided lakeside dining on the site of the once popular venue might still be desirable.
They sponsored a series of picnic tables placed along the lake for the pleasure of anyone who might want dinner (or lunch...or even breakfast) with a view.
We contacted the owners who sent us this:
“We just wanted to put them there so the community could sit and enjoy beautiful views of the lake. We are still thrilled to be part of this great Newaygo community.”
Kudos to the kindness shown and the opportunities offered by these fine businesses.
And if you haven’t been to their Hess Lake store since they have transformed it into an extraordinary little oasis of convenience, you really need to stop in.
Their ice cream cones are the perfect treat to enjoy at those inviting tables along the lakeshore.
Well done folks. Well done indeed!
Book Review: The Silent Patient
By Alexis Mercer
Perhaps if you’re reading this now, you clicked on the link because you’re wondering if this review explains how I have been living under a rock for years, just having come out and discovered this best-selling phenomenon.
Sorry to disappoint...it does not explain that. I have no excuse for why or how I haven’t managed to read this book prior to now. Except maybe that I don’t tend to jump on reading-list-talked-about-bandwagons very often. It took me a few years after publication of the first book before I opened a Harry Potter. Which turned out to my advantage because then I could read the first four of the series in a week and not have to wait for the releases.
The actual review of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is going to be short. Very short. I can’t tell you much at all about the book without ruining it.
What I can say: I had absolutely no idea until it happened.
Alicia Berenson is a famous painter who shoots her husband in the face repeatedly and then stops talking. Not a word to anyone. The quest to find the truth about what happened becomes one therapist’s obsession.
This book, advertised now as an instant #1 New York Times bestseller, lives up to its every acclaim.
Now I’ll find my way back under my rock until I get around to reading Where the Crawdad Sings.
Looking to put your watercraft in Hess Lake? Well, hopefully the uninvited and intrusive natural wooden structure that decided to have a bit of a liedown on Thursday will be removed by the time weekend boaters get set to launch.
The staff of Newaygo Elementary School lined the sidewalk on Thursday, June 4 to wave at their students, who rode by in cars. Many held signs of encouragement and love, others held streamers and noise makers. While it was not a typical end of the year celebration, it was a joyous event for students and staff alike to ring in the official start of summer.
Bringing Summer Magic Home
While Summer Magic won't be congregating in local parks this season NCPCA Exec Director Tara Nelson, her board and her staff are tossing out an alternate plan for local families.
Hello from Summer Magic,
We have been working hard to decide whether to open up Summer Magic for onsite programming for any parts of summer. These decisions are difficult to make, and we have spent the last twelve weeks strategic planning how to best serve our families with their health and safety in mind. We have looked into the Center for Disease Control guidelines for COVID-19, thoroughly reviewed the Michigan Executive Orders, and researched other day camps and how they are interpreting and implementing orders. After careful consideration, we feel we are unable to accommodate all guidelines to safely open Summer Magic for onsite programming this summer.
However, our board of directors and leadership team have been strategizing on how to bring Summer Magic home to families. Beginning June 15th and ending August 8th our staff will be doing door to door deliveries of a fun box. This box will bring hands on materials right to you for your children’s fun and enjoyment. These will be themed weeks with planned activities. You can expect ways to entertain your children during the weekday and some exciting ways to venture out as a family on the weekends. We have also involved some local collaborations that are a surefire way to add fun to our boxes. You can also anticipate family resources in these boxes and ways to connect with other agencies within our community.
To enroll in our delivery program you can email Rebecca Benton at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, email, phone number, and your children’s name and ages between 5-16. These fun boxes are at our discounted summer rate. The eight week program box will cost $45 per child or $60 per family. Payment can be made by mailing a check to Summer Magic P.O. BOX 415, White Cloud, MI 49349 or by card by downloading Cash App and searching $NCPCA. Children need to be enrolled by June 8th and payment must be made prior to our first delivery.
Thank you to our community for being flexible and open to our new way of programming this summer.
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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