Nearly 22 miles open now, with plans for more in 2022
Stanwood, MI: The end of the 2021 construction season on Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam— or the Dragon Trail, as most people call it—saw an additional seven miles added to the total that are now open to the public.
This year’s construction was based in Mecosta County, with two additional trail segments being fully completed and another partially so. The trail, when finished, will be an estimated 47-mile loop made up of 11 segments encircling Hardy Pond in Mecosta and Newaygo counties.
The newly opened trail can be found starting at Brower Park, at 23056 Polk Road, in Stanwood. It continues into segments five and six, which are now complete, and into segment seven. Previously, segments eight through eleven were completed, as well as portions of two and four. This brings the total open mileage to 21.75. There will be another portion that opens in the spring of 2022, and construction next year will continue as well, this time on the Newaygo County side of the trail.
“We’re already seeing a great number of visitors on the newly opened trail segments, and people are excited to sample the new Dragon miles,” said Mecosta County Parks Superintendent Jeff Abel. “We have plenty of parking at Brower Park and our newest trailhead at Davis Bridge Park, giving people a number of options when considering where to jump onto the trail in both counties.”
The trail is open year-round for biking, hiking, trail running, and even snow shoeing. Trail conditions are updated on the trail’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/midragontrail, and updated maps will soon be available on the trail’s web page, https://thedragon.us.
Community support is needed to continue construction on the Dragon Trail. Sponsorships of trail components for companies, foundations, individuals, and families are still available. To learn how you can help build or maintain the Dragon, or make a gift, visit https://www.thedragon.us/support-the-dragon-trail/donate/.
NCCA-Artsplace Winter Community Photography Contest
The NCCA-Artsplace Winter Community Photography Contest is an event that anyone can enter and showcases the season as we all enjoy our "winter wonderland". Entry deadline is Tuesday, January 12 by 5:00 p.m.
This free contest is for all ages and all levels of skill. All entries will have the winter season as the theme. Participants may submit up to two entries. Each entry must be an 8”x10”, unframed photograph.
All entries will be on display January 14 through February 5 in the corridor gallery at NCCA-Artsplace. First, second and third place ribbons will be awarded and the winner will be announced via facebook @NCCAArtsplace and at www.ncca-artsplace.org on January 14 by 5:00 p.m.
Registration forms for the competition are available at NCCA-Artsplace, 13 East Main Street, downtown Fremont or call 231.924.4022. The guidelines and forms may also be found by clicking here and scrolling down to "Winter Photo Contest". Have some fun and shoot away!
Asher is top baby boy name at Gerber Memorial in 2021; top girl name is 6-way tie
“There's a power in names, don't you think?" - Erin A Craig, Small Favors
FREMONT, Mich., Dec. 27, 2021 – For baby girls born at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, the most popular name in 2021 turned out to be a six-way tie between Ava, Eleanor, Josephine, Evelyn, Alaya or Aalayah, and Emberlynn or Emberlyn. The clear winner for most popular boy names in 2021 was Asher.
Rounding up the most popular boy names were Hudson, Samuel, Ryker, Luca, Luke, Jaxson or Jaxxon, Maverick, Owen, Raiden, Sawyer, Ezra, Ivan, Mason, Lucas, Wyatt, Warren, Xander, Calvin and Miles. In 2020, Wyatt was the most popular name for boys at Gerber Memorial. Asher was not on the 2020 list. Jaxson, Luke and Maverick are the only names from the 2020 list that remained on the 2021 list.
For girls, other popular names in 2021 were Brianna, Elayna or Eelayna, Emori or Emmary, Freya, Gracie, Paislee or Paisley, Ellie, Gracelynn, Rylee, Sutton and Isabel. The top name for baby girls in 2020, Everly, was not on the 2021 list. Only Paisley made the list of popular baby names in both 2020 and 2021.
In 1921, just a Century ago, the top names in the country were Mary and John.
50 years later they were Jennifer and Michael.
And just 20 years ago Emily and Jacob led the pack.
None of these made the cut at Gerber this past year.
Last chance Near Northians. You might read this early enough to get out there on Thursday evening but tomorrow’s the Eve and places will be closed or closing so…
Back when SWK wore a younger man’s clothes (thanks Billy Joel) I would head to the mall on Christmas Eve, No, not for last minute shopping, though admittedly SWK has been known to finish up on a 24th or two. Actually it was for the entertainment derived by seeing truly desperate men taking to the stores sans ideas and more than willing to shell out big bucks to anyone willing to offer up needed suggestions. Jewelers did well. Upscale clothing stores also got hit pretty hard. Then of course there were the misguided who persisted in their belief that appliances were suitable gifts for the women in their lives.
And SWK doesn’t care if your mother, wife, girlfriend, etc. needs a vacuum cleaner. Buy it another time but don’t wrap it up in holiday paper and pass it off as a present.
And should you be thinking of buying exercise equipment or a gym membership, tread cautiously. I know of marriages that ended over the gifting of a Thighmaster.
But back to these desperate hours.
No, not the cards good at big box and medium box stores, or chain restaurants.
We’re talking local eatatoriums because while our favorite dining options mostly do well and thrive in the warmer days, winter sees a tad fewer folks coming into our slice of this bipeninsular paradise. And this means less traffic for these valuable victual venues.
To name a few there’s Northern Trails where we are wondering if there will be a return to the intriguing winter outside dining experience they introduced last year.
Hit the Road Joe is serving up enticing evening take out 3-4 times weekly, some righteous pizza on Saturdays and their signature breakfasts on weekends.
Newaygo Brewery doesn’t disappoint when it comes to pizza and they possess some of the area’s finest appetizers.
At Brew Works in Fremont you’ll find a welcoming atmosphere and even more welcoming food choices. Sandwiches and salads are favorites and they have Alaska Amber on tap. Always a bonus.
Moon Dance is back and SWK’s visits there involving former favorite dishes proved to provide the same satisfying post meal experience one expects from the little gem on the west side of Fremont.
Of course there are many more so pick the fave of your giftee and get over to the eatery and score some certs. (no, not the mints).
So for now SWK is signing off, but with a caveat…
Just 53 days until Valentine’s Day.
“We’re not driving all the way out here so you can get one of those stupid ties wiith Santa Clauses on it are we Dad?”-Audrey Griswold
“No, I have one of those at home” - Clark Griswold
Nat’l Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Love that movie.
Ok folks, if you include today (Sunday) and every day including Christmas Eve there are 6 days of possible present purchasing left. For some of you who might live with a fan of the genre, that's approximately 214 Hallmark Christmas movies if you have both of the 2 main channels.
Featuring all 7 plot lines.
But back to shopping.
Yes, it is indeed desperate times for procrastinating purchasers.
We feel your pain.
I mean, we really feel your pain since SWK, while a bit underway when it comes to procuring presents, has miles to go before wrapping up or even wrapping presents
(reminder to self- buy more tape)
And by the way, we’re still searching for some free lance wrappers, so…
But back to the business at hand.
A few of the offerings at Fremont's CBD Store of Michigan
Our friends at CBD Store of Michigan have a bevy of health improving products that would fit well in your giftees stocking. Those who already benefit from CBD would be happy to receive some of their varied products and newcomers can get some consultation from Rod and Liz Glupker who own the Main Street mainstay. We asked them for some ideas:
“Bath Bombs are great stocking stuffers as well as caramel corn, coffee, tea, gummy bears, lotions etc... We also have gift baskets made to order as well as gift cards. Now through December 30th, you can buy a $100 gift card and get a $25 gift card free or buy a $50 gift card and get a $10 gift card free.”
Stop in their Fremont store on the east edge of downtown. Nice folks with products that help make life less painful less stressful, and less sleepless.
The Newaygo County Parks passes are a great gift with access to Sandy Beach County Park & Dragon Trailhead, Diamond Lake County Park, White Cloud County Park, Hardy Dam County Marina & Dragon Trailhead, and Ed H. Henning County Park.
Parks Director Nick Smith and his staff have significantly upgraded our green areas and continue to do so. They are on sale now, stop by the Newaygo County Welcome Center or call the office at 231.689.7340.
There are of course many options in our area however, I am certain of the availability of gift certs at Escape Salon since it is the place SWK goes for quarterly (or so) cuts. Rose is the proprietor and she has always been accommodating when SWK calls at the last minute in dire need an appointment. Rose was my first post pandemic cut after being accused of going for the Christopher Lloyd (Doc) in Back to the Future look. After years of wandering from barber shop to salon and back to barber shop Rose has become perhaps our longest term hair-oriented relationship.
A few years back SWK embarked on a meat focused run of Christmas presents. If it sounds a bit weird you would be surprised how many people get more excited over a gift that can be eaten than they do say, a sweater or tie.
This included goods from Jerkie’s in downtown Newaygo, some of the truly righteous bacon from Happy Hog Farm(616) 446-4059) in Grant, and succulent steaks from R Farm ((231) 834-0250), also in Grant, and never chicken because while steaks, bacon and jerky are welcome gifts for carnivores on your list, chicken just doesn’t have that gift vibe.
And if you are hitting up Jerkies (where gift packages can be arranged) just a few stores down you will find Velocity and the North Woods General Store. Make sure you stop in, particularly if you are out of ideas because you will find ideas galore inside their doors. Got an outdoors person on your list? Or just someone hard to buy for? These places will fill your list and (bonus) they have Little Mitten Soaps, the finest shower and bath additions to be found in the region and a staple at N3 World Headquarters aka Bronner’s West.
More coming this week and if you want to float us a suggestion or two, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or simply let us know by adding a comment below.
Charles Chandler riffs on ideas for fisherman and foodies
“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.”- Garrison Keillor
A dozen days left until Christmas.
From a partridge in a pear tree to 12 drummers drumming these twelve days will seem to go by quicker than the song-particularly if you feel the same way about the popular refrain as SWK does.
Personal tastes in carols aside we are in the home stretch and still many of us have either fallen short of completing your holiday gifting plans or (shudder) have yet to even begin to work on your list.
As we said in our previous article SWK is here to help. In the opener of the series Lola Harmon-Ramsey tossed out some Fremont faves for gifting opportunities. https://www.nearnorthnow.com/features-and-fun/with-christmas-looming-swk-to-the-rescue
And today Charles Chandler offers up some easily accessed internet items one can procure in a timely manner.
We have been honored to include the writings of Mr. Chandler in our pages since the humble beginnings of N3 nearly a half dozen years back.
He is an avid fisherman and foodie and while SWK has not shared a boat with him we have shared many tables from sampling the goods at the late great Gala Gourmet and embracing the eclectic atmosphere of Hit The Road Joe, to basking in the richness of the Hearthstone’s menu and belting down burgers at the Brown Bear.
We thank him for his contribution.
As well as his company in our culinary pursuits.
Take it away Mr. C:
Here are my three last minute shopping suggestions for those special fisher folk and food lovers in your life.
The first is FishUSA America’s tackle shop. https://www.fishusa.com/ Most if not all of our tackle is made in Asia and is now probably sitting in a big metal container in a freight yard or on a big boat anchored off the coast of California. FishUSA has a huge variety of tackle and an expert staff that will answer any question that you could possibly have. My experience has been outstanding. They fill the order same day and send a tracking email. Shipping is usually free with purchases over $60.00. They are incredibly fast and I have always received my orders within three days.
The second is a book by our own legendary Muskegon River Fishing Guide Kevin Feenstra, Matching Baitfish.
This is a beautiful book and the general content and technical information is invaluable. The incredible photography, tips and techniques from this master fishing guide and instructor is priceless. This is a must have classic that will be a treasure for your special fisherperson.
The last is Gold Belly https://www.goldbelly.com Gold Belly is a place to find that special dish for that very special person or to treat your whole family. Gold Belly’s is a food lover's paradise. You can find special food items, dishes or gift items from around the country. You can order the food item or dish from a specific restaurant, state or region. It is here that you can get those wonderful dishes you had on your honeymoon or that last vacation or from wherever your old hometown may be. I have ordered deep dish pizza from Gino's and popcorn from Garrett’s in Chicago. Bagels from New York, tamales from New Mexico and pecan pies and Barbeque from Texas. This is a place where you can lose your mind and wreck your Christmas budget with the click of your mouse. Note that some of these items can be a little pricey, but you’re not shopping for weekly groceries. These are dishes to satisfy that craving you have had for that long ago favorite or great holiday gifts for those special people in your life. And for goodness sakes we have been in a pandemic for the last couple years so treat yourself. Gold Belly’s is a place that has the stuff to satisfy those craving or make a great holiday dining experience.
Thank you Charles. There’s a rather righteous bread pudding in Pensacola SWK will be searching for via Gold Belly’s.
And stay tuned folks. More is coming.
And if you have your own suggestions send us an email at email@example.com and we'll check it out.
Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves. -Eric Sevareid
No need to feel holiday handcuffed when it comes to last minute gift ideas
“Christmas shopping! I can do all my Christmas shopping here! I know March is a bit early, but why not be organized? And then when Christmas arrives I won't have to go near the horrible Christmas crowds.”- Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic
Black Friday? A thing of the past.
Small Biz Saturday? Gone with the wind.
Cyber Monday? Though it extended for seemingly weeks, it too is over.
And yet that list of yours remains incomplete.
Maybe you missed the aforementioned shopping extravaganzas powered by the accompanying excessive marketing.
Perhaps you have simply been overwhelmed what with streaming Squid Games, following the Lions playoff run and delivering those perfect responses to the fb posts you have issues with.
Then again if you are anything like me, a perpetual present purchasing procrastinator, it has just recently dawned on you that Christmas is suddenly just days away. A feeling of dread reminiscent of those college days when the term paper that once seemed forever in the distant future is due on Friday.
And it's Thursday.
Given we are in the final days (until Christmas, just so we're clear) and we’ve sparked your interest, you likely aren’t one of those folks who wrap up their shopping (and presents) before Hallmark even begins their 2 month Holiday movie binge. That being said Shopping With Ken, though seemingly in a perpetual state of semi retirement, is stepping up to help our readers fill in those stocking stuffers or score a needed gift for those hard-to-buy-for folks on your list.
In the coming days we’ll toss out a variety of suggestions. Some will be gleaned from personal experience but, more importantly, we will be soliciting submissions from the canny contributors who periodically post their prose in our pages.
We begin with a few pointers from Lola Harmon Ramsey and admittedly the first one she shared tops the SWK list.
You see, for many years we, indeed, ‘played the silver ball’ beginning with junior high days when walking up to Park Lanes Bowling Emporium or Anazeh Sands Pool Hall got you access to a variety of machines.
Of course in those days it was strictly flipper games, the genre that continued to hold my primary interest well into adulthood (chronologically speaking), though the arrival of Space Invaders and Asteroids definitely broadened my scope.
But enough about the past.
Clubhouse Arcade in Fremont should not be a secret to anyone who ever has aspired to pinball wizardry.
A great stocking stuffer would be a pass for that far too long dormant pinball player on your list. Here’s a link to do so...
Also from Lola:
SHB Gifts has all sorts of stuff in their little shop. I’ve seen candles, home accessories, jewelry and snacks in there.
My cousin, Dee owns Awards and More and has some really neat bird feeders, wind chimes and solar garden figures. She can also engrave a plate for the gift items to make them more personal.
Jen at Linden Floral has fresh wreaths, poinsettia plants, succulents and gift items like gnomes. I love to get a centerpiece made for holiday dinners and that would also make a nice gift for your hostess if you are heading to someone else’s house for Christmas.
Liberty Jewelers has beautiful pieces at different price points. “Extra sparkly” always fits and Chris can help anyone that doesn’t quite know what they might want.
Finally, Hidden Treasures has an array of vendor booths with all sorts of surprises. Some items have been pre-loved and some items are brand new. They have clothes, trinkets, dishes, artwork, records, videos, furniture, jewelry and a lot more.
Thank you Ms. Lola Harmon-Ramsey.
And we'll be back soon with more ideas, so stay tuned Near Northians.
“One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
After a year hiatus, the annual Christmas Walk of Newaygo returned in full force. Stores donned holiday decorations and stayed open late to welcome Newaygo residents and visitors from near and far.
Horses clomped up and down Main Street, carrying wagons full of merry passengers. Food trucks handed out walking tacos, hot chocolate, and freshly made caramel popcorn.
Live music played at various locations and the annual ice carving was located right outside 37 North.
In what has been a difficult year for many, this festive event spread cheer, joy and love in the small but mighty town of Newaygo.
Auditions for Clue coming next week
Who did it?
Who done it!
Be a part of one of America’s favorite mystery game by auditioning for...
Lionheart Productions Is Proudly opening our doors again since we temporarily closed in March of 2020. Please consider auditioning for us.
The parts open for casting are:
Miss Scarlett- owner of high end escort service in Washington DC- guest at the mansion
Wadsworth- Butler of the mansion
Mr. Green- government worker- guest at the mansion
Ensemble man- plays several characters and gets to die several times
Yvette- saucy French maid of the mansion
Auditions will be held Dec. 14 and 15 from 7:00 to 9:00 at the LionHeart building
77 Front St. Grant, MI.
The other 5 characters have already been cast from previous efforts to get this play on stage.
Performance dates are March 18,19, 25,26,27
Rehearsals begin Jan 10 and will run Mon, Tues, Thur most weeks.
By Ken DeLaat
Tis the season and all that ho ho ho stuff.
Here are some of the Holiday Happenings this week with a couple of other activities worth taking time for.
If you know of an event to share send us the skinny at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buenas Noches Señor Monstruo
Grant Fine Arts Center Monday, 6pm
With LionHeart announcing a return to the stage in the Spring it’s nice to see some action at the GFAC.
This is a 35 minute play performed by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders who are enrolled in Grant’s Dual Immersion Program, one of the coolest educational initiatives in the area.
Since it’s perhaps the first time on stage for these younguns if you have a bit of time Monday evening stop by and see these future thespians in action.
Fremont Downtown Friday, 6pm
Yes, Illumination not Illuminati, because we have more than enough ridiculous conspiracy theories popping up on signs and social media.
As we have said before Fremont puts on the best parades in the region and while those impressive Clydesdales are a hard act to follow the Illumination Parade should provide a great kickoff to the town’s Christmas Stroll with deals galore in the Shops on the Main.
The Big Guy
Friday evening Vets Park
Looking to mingle with Kringle?
Santa will be in his Fremont Headquarters Friday during the stroll.
While a busy time of year for the Man in Red, what with supply chain issues and such, he will nonetheless take a little time to chat with the local kiddos,
After taking care of business back at The Pole, he’ll return to HQ the following Friday for a 6 day stint. Check with the Fremont Chamber office for hours.
Gift Wrap Saturday
Fremont Library 1pm
A different type of Wrap Session
Admittedly I am legendary when it comes to bad wrapping.
Seriously bad wrapping.
Take a peek at this article from a few years ago
Hence I will not take advantage of the generous initiative by the fine folks at FADL because no one should have to see my pathetic presenting preparations.
However, if you’re ok with putting your skills on display,here’s their offer:
“Get all of your Christmas wrapping done -- on us! We'll provide the gift wrap, gift bags, etc. Show up anytime between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. and enjoy Christmas music and light refreshments while you wrap your gifts. First come first serve while supplies last.”
And that’s it for now.
And again, if you know of something going on in the coming weeks let us know via email or message us on fb.
We are, after all, Vocal About Local.
Features and Fun
Concerts, Plays, Happenings, Local Recipes, Gardening, Entertainment, Charities, Fundraisers, upcoming events, Theater, Activities, Tech, and much more.
“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”
- Eric Qualman