I know, I know, we are always recommending the farmers markets but this is the primo time for such places and if you are at all serious about your food and feel like a scrumptious meal goes a bit beyond a fast food burg with a side of faux fries the market is your ticket to the cornucopia (emphasis on corn) of freshly picked wonders from local farms.
The Newaygo venue for this outpouring of enticing edibles is Brooks Park where vendors gather each Friday to ply their goods. A bonus is the locale because Brooks is a cool park, has a couple of playground apparati and is within a short skip to the welcoming walls of the local library as well as being just across the street from our museum as well.
Things begin to roll about noon and wind down by about 6pm.
Working all day Friday and cannot get there?
Well, a short Saturday skip to Fremont gets you to their downtown Marketplace where, again the site is aided by being within an amble over to the Artsplace a very cool place where local art abounds and you can find a plethora of available classes for all ages. Open 8am- 1pm with a Tuesday afternoon option (3:30-6:30pm).
And stop at the Diamond View Farm booth because they’re friendly folks and have really good stuff on their tables.
If you’ve never been to the Friday afternoon Parties in the Park in Muskegon at Hackley Park from 5-9pm it is worth the drive because there’s outdoor music and downtown generally has some doings as well. This Friday if you like brass there’s a different twist on some heavy horn play with the group Flexadecibel doing some finely fused funk/rock/soul for your listening pleasure.
Of course if you like your brass brought to you with that classic and always welcome Big Band sound you have to hit the Dogwood Ccenter Main Stage Saturday night at 7:30pm when Jukebox Saturday Night comes to town. This talented troupe will blow you away with the swing era sound that will send you from tunes destined to create a desire to jump up and jive a bit to those smooth timeless hits engineered to make you fall in love all over again.
Not to be missed and a bargain at $17.50 a pop. Check itout at
And if they do Moonlight Serenade and it doesn’t resonate in the deepest part of your heart and soul?
It might be time for a little self reflection.
Shorty’s Ice Cream & Pizza
By Alicia Jaimes
Attention all ice cream-lovers, if you, like myself, have “eat yourself into an ice cream coma” on your summer bucket list, then Shorty’s Ice Cream & Pizza should be your next destination.
Located at 12024 Cypress Ave, Sand Lake, MI 49343, Shorty’s is the place to go when you are craving something sweet at a fair price. As a true ice cream fanatic I have encountered many ice cream facilities where the serving sizes were one size too small and two dollars too much. Imagine my surprise (and delight) when my family of five ordered whatever we wanted--including sundaes, cones, milkshakes, hard and soft serve--and it didn’t break the bank. It was an even better surprise when my small-sized bubblegum flavor burst resembled that of a medium while my mother’s black cherry cone (large) was XL.
Though I love the variety this ice cream shop has to offer: sundaes, floats, flurries, cones, shakes and malts; my favorite would have to be their banana split. Not only are these beauties substantial in size, their presentation is impeccable. Being a smaller shop, it can be busy, but you won’t wait in line for too long, the finishing products never look rushed, and the taste will have you wishing it was summer all year round.
As summer comes to an end, do not fret, Shorty’s sells pizza to-go as those cooler days begin to creep through. From a person who has spent many nights combining pizza and Netflix, I would definitely order their pizza again as well.
Worth the drive.
Newaygo County Museum and Heritage Center Speaker Series continues with launch of newest book “Newaygo County History and Biographies Volume II”
The Newaygo County Museum and Heritage Center is proud to announce the publication of our newest book, Newaygo County History and Biographies volume II. To celebrate, we will be hosting a book signing and introduction to the volume on Wednesday, August 15th, as part of our ongoing summer speaker series. The signing will be held from 5:30 to 6:15, with signed copies of the book available for $30. Toni Rumsey, Archivist for the NCMHC, will speak about the new book at 6:30.
Newaygo County History and Biographies Volume II Is a collection of biographies of citizens of Newaygo County, which includes both well-known names and those more obscure. There is also a section of the book that focuses on the histories of various area business, social clubs, institutions and organizations. For those who like a good story, or those who have an interest in the past that makes us unique, the book is an excellent compilation of the shared history that binds us all together.
Toni Rumsey is a longtime volunteer of the Museum, both in its current form and its previous incarnation as the Newaygo County Society of History and Genealogy. She served as President of the Board of Directors for nearly a decade, and she currently manages the Museum’s Local History and Genealogy Room, overseeing organizing, archiving and scanning projects as well as facilitating research requests and projects for both the organization and visitors.
Toni has also helped to spearhead the publication of the Museum’s previous literary efforts, such as Newaygo County History and Biographies and One Room School Houses of Newaygo County volumes one through three.
Although Toni acted as facilitator for the research for the newest book, she by no means was alone in her work. Contributing authors and editors include Joyce Pearson, Marcia Eib, Joan Wise, Luanne Nelson, and Nancy Murray, all of whom also volunteer their time at NCMHC. The hard work and dedication of everyone involved in the project has yielded an excellent, well researched, and very readable volume that helps to further our knowledge and understanding of who we are as a community, and how our past has helped shape us.
Toni will speak for approximately 30 minutes, followed by a question and answer period with a panel of authors. The Speaker Series will be at Family of God Community Church at 90 Quarterline in downtown Newaygo. Doors are scheduled to open at 5:15 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are matched at 50 percent by the Fremont Area Community Foundation, which provides core operational support for the organization.
Country music fan? You might think about heading to Van Andel in out metro neighbor to the south because Sugarland is bringing their ‘Still The Same’ tour to that fair city on Friday.
We have a bit of an issue with the tour’s name since it coins one of our all time favorite Bob Seger songs:
“There you stood, everybody watched you play
I just turned and walked away
I had nothing left to say
‘Cos you’re still the same”
After a 6 year split Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush have put out their first recording since 2012 and the tour is drawing well.They still have tickets so if you’ve missed the music of Sugarland the past half dozen years well here’s your chance to get reacquainted.
Got an itch to channel your inner Irish despite discovering in your ancestry DNA type search that you are primarily Ukrainian?
The Sparta Celtic Festival has grown into a great celebration of song and dance from the highlands and the Olde Sod. The gates open Friday at 5pm and Saturday at 10am and it is FREE.
Activities abound including some youth highland games and a slew of vendors plying their goods.It’s not the size nor the scope of the Muskegon extravaganza of course but this is a great small town celebration that brings out substantial crowds and provides a really fun and family friendly atmosphere.
And did I mention it’s FREE
Don’t miss the Steel City Rovers who will close the fest out both nights as well as performing a set late afternoon Saturday.
And don’t forget to grab a meal at one of our fine local eateries this weekend and take a stroll through one of our fine farmers markets with Newaygo putting out the goods at Brooks Park on Friday and Fremont taking over on Saturday at the downtown Marketplace. More and more crops are making their way to the market tables and there is simply nothing like home grown foods finding their way to your kitchen
Life is good folks, life is very good indeed.
By Alexis Mercer
On Tuesday evening at the Newaygo County Fair, the spectators got a little extra action for their money. One of the cars in the events burst into flames, causing the driver to jump quickly out of the car and the Fremont Fire Department to rush to the rescue.
No one was injured as a result of the fire. Spectators in Sky Box 3 were evacuated while the Fire Department handled the flames. The car was towed off the track and the events resumed as normally scheduled.
Tiny’s Tasty Treats
By Charles Chandler
Tiny’s Ice Cream Shop located at l98 State Rd in Newaygo, MI is a destination for the seasonal summer crowds that travel along M 37 or gather in River City to float or paddle down the big Muskegon River. Here they ladle up those Michigan favorites, farm fresh soft serve, and Hudsonville scoop in about 50 different flavors or combinations. These can be delivered in cups and handmade cones or on Sundays, shakes, malts, and flurries. The day the N3 correspondent dropped by the Sunday specials were the All American blueberry and strawberry, yum.
According to sources Tiny’s began life as a 1960s burger joint when the Newaygo Dam was still operational. After several other changes, the business became an ice cream shop and in 2006 was purchased by Tammy and Jeff Hilliker. The rest of the story is what we now enjoy, a very successful ice cream shop that is a traditional favorite with both the local ice cream devotees and the seasonal crowd. Tiny’s has outside seating and a roomy inside dining area with a great view. This area is for those wishing to escape the cone melting summer heat or the noise when the motorcycle hatch is in progress. If you’re wanting a little more than ice cream, Tiny’s has a full food menu, including appetizers, dogs, barbeque, burgers, and fish and chicken baskets.
Tripadvisor gave Tiny’s Tasty Treats a rating of five circles and according to reviewer and apparent road warrior, Fuzzy B, “if you are into Chili Cheese Dogs and Great Ice Crème this is the place 4 U. Great service, Great People”
During popular times the parking can be a bit challenging but don’t despair, check a block up the hill around Brooks Park and the Library Complex for a parking spot.
Follow Tiny’s on Facebook for popular times and hours of operation.
Worth the walk
Join in the fun with Jukebox Saturday Night at the Dogwood Center on Saturday, August 18 at 7:30 p.m. for a sure to be incredible performance! Jukebox Saturday Night is a music review of the great Big Bands during the 1930s, 40s and 50s. It is fun-filled event for all ages that captures the exciting sounds of great melodies and lyrics performed by an energetic group of instrumentalists and vocalists who will keep you moving in your seats, tapping your toes and clapping your hands.
Jukebox Saturday Night celebrates America’s Swing Era performing the greatest hits as recorded by Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Lunceford, Harry James, Artie Shaw, Cab Calloway, Benny Goodman, Bunny Berigan, Count Basie and more. Vocal selections will include songs made famous by Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Bob Eberly, Helen O’Connell, Rosemary Clooney, and other vocal idols.
Jukebox Saturday Night is managed by Glenn Miller Productions, Inc. With over 60 years of successfully managing the World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, this company knows how to do Swing! Audiences can expect the same quality as the Glenn Miller Orchestra while hearing the biggest and best hits of the Big Band Era.
Tickets are $17.50 and are available online at www.dogwoodcenter.com, at the Dogwood Box Office, or at NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont.
The Dogwood Center Box Office is open Tuesday - Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. For information, phone 231.924.8885.
By Megan Wirts
One night, late in the evening when everyone in my house was asleep, I was sitting alone in front of my laptop. As I sat there staring at the bright screen shining in my darkened living room, I was contemplating what I want to do with the rest of my life. Because that’s what you do sometimes in the middle of the night at the age of almost 40 years old, living with a disability and you still feel like you have so much more to do in this world. You also google photos of cheesecake, watch youtube videos of animals being unlikely friends (There is a dog and a duck that are best friends and it’s the best thing in the world), and you look at old photos of yourself when you were young, healthy and able to ride a rollercoaster without regretting it the very second you stepped off of one. In my case, you also send out video clips of yourself performing stand up comedy to an NBC talent search program (http://www.nbcunitips.com/stand-up-nbc/), because why not?
Fast forward a few weeks later, I have an email in my inbox that says NBC wants me to come for a call back to North Carolina in person to perform 2 minutes of comedy for NBC casting agents and talent bookers. That seems like kind of a big deal for this small town girl from a town with a population of less than 900 people, where probably 400 of them are her family. I immediately hopped on my Airbnb app and booked a cute little bungalow in Charlotte, North Carolina, a city with a population closer to 900,000, just a 'little' bigger than Grant.
Then I convinced my mom and my aunt Kim to drive me the 13 hours there and back. It wasn’t hard, they both jumped at the chance for an adventurous road trip with little old me. I also promised snacks, drinks, jokes and excellent parking wherever we went. Hello, perks of having a disability!
To say I was anxious about the trip is an understatement. I was nervous about how my dystonia would affect me on the car ride. This was the longest trip I have taken since my diagnosis in 2015 and I didn’t know if my body was going to be able to handle it. Thankfully, I handled it like a champ. A few stops to stretch, extra medication and my zebra print neck pillow, I didn’t feel too bad.
I was also nervous about my audition. Would my voice hold up? Would I get a throat spasm in the middle of it? Would I forget what I wanted to say? Will I be what they are looking for? What if they do choose me? Then what? Am I ready for that? I had so many questions and worries.
I was going to keep this all to myself and only share with a select few, but if you have been following along with me for the past couple of years you know that I am not a good secret keeper and I am an oversharer. So, a couple of days before we set off on our trip I shared the news with all of my social media friends and I am so happy that I did. The words of support and encouragement were wonderful and meant so much to me. Knowing that so many people were cheering me on and rooting for me was priceless. I also sat down and wrote myself a pep talk that went something like this:
You got this.You are good enough. You are funny! You are worthy and I believe in you. No matter what happens the people that truly love you, will always love you, including me. You deserve all the greatness in the world. You are smart, resilient and what you have to say is important. You matter. Your story matters. You have a voice. Use it! Now go out there and inspire people with your spasming body!
I’ll admit there were a few swear words in this when I wrote it privately.You can use your imagination.
I went to my audition and I did my best with the 2 minutes I was given. The crowd laughed, the judges gave me positive feedback and I felt pretty good about it all. It was now in their hands. After what felt like the longest 3 hours ever, I found out that I was not chosen to move on to the next round. While I was disappointed, I was not sad about it. I knew that I had done my best and I just wasn’t what they were looking for right then and that’s okay. I still believe every word of that pep talk I wrote for myself. I still believe that I can have a life full of greatness even while having dystonia. I still believe in myself and even though I am nearing 40 years old, (I know, shut up 40 isn’t old, but it’s older than I used to be!) it’s never too late to try something new. It’s never too late to do something that terrifies you, like audition for NBC or whatever it is that make you go out of your comfort zone.
So, I didn’t get chosen to go to LA and get a talent holding deal with NBC, but I did get to say the word “dystonia” in front of many new people and share a part of my story with them. I did get to see mountains for the first time in my life. I visited a beautiful city that I probably never would have otherwise. I got to spend three days bonding with my mom and my aunt, two of the most influential and important women in my life. I got to laugh until I cried listening to my aunt tell stories that made my mom scream and laugh hysterically, and that right there made the entire trip worth it.
We are already planning our next road trip together.
Book Review: Rules of Civility
By Alexis Mercer
Sometime around the beginning of 2017 I started keeping a list of all the books I read. I had done this in the past for my English classes, but always seemed to lose track of the list after the school year ended and my notebooks got stashed away for the summer. This time I kept the list in a notebook that wasn’t school related so that it wouldn’t get stashed.
Since that time, I have recorded 37 books of all kinds; many of which I have shared with the readers of Near North Now.
In addition to writing the title and author of the book, I also rate the book between one and five stars and record whether it was a book chosen for book club or not.
Of the 37 books, 16 of them I have given a full five stars. Of those 16, I have added hearts by 8 of them.
The Runaway Wife by Elizabeth Birkeland
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett
The Midnight Line by Lee Child
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
I have found an author who speaks to my heart as much, if not more, than my beloved Ann Patchett with my thirty-eighth book.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles is one of the most phenomenal books I have ever read in my entire life. There aren’t words extravagant enough to express my obsession with the way Towles weaves a story.
When I read A Gentleman in Moscow, I loved Towles. But it wasn’t until I read Rules in Civility that I started to truly appreciate his genius.
His characters and stories are vivid, refreshing and innovative. He takes me places I never even knew I wanted to go.
The story within Rules of Civility begins on New Year’s Eve in 1937 in New York City with a mid-twenties woman, Katey Kontent, and her roommate Eve Ross. The two are in a jazz bar when a man named Tinker Grey sits at a table next to them, forever changing the path of their lives.
The reader takes a journey with Katey throughout the next year of her life as she finds her way in her career, love life, friendships, and class system. She is a woman who grew up without a trust fund and has forged her path through grit and determination, wit and wonder.
Those who surround Katey, and whose stories intertwine so beautifully with hers, are full of life, energy, and minute details that help them come alive on the pages. I found myself loving each character as if he was my own friend with whom I had gone through trials and tribulations and come out with a stronger connection in the end.
I closed the book after having finished it and immediately knew I would soon be reading it again soon. But first I will be seeking the only book by Towles I have yet to read, Eve in Hollywood, hoping for even a glimpse of the beauty I have read in his other two books. (But after stalking his Facebook page, I now know he started a new novel in April…)
I’ll be adding Rules of Civility to my list of books read. After the five stars I think I will add two hearts instead of one.
By Sally Wagoner
The 20th annual Purple Heart Powwow will be held in White Cloud on Saturday and Sunday, August 4th and 5th. Families are welcomed to this kid friendly, drug and alcohol free event which is sponsored by the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
On Saturday, an 11 a.m. VFW Flag Raising Ceremony and Fly Over will take place to honor all Veterans. The public and all Veterans are urged to attend this special ceremony.
“Grand Entry” will open the Powwow at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday, and at 12 noon on Sunday. The public is encouraged to be there for Grand Entry to experience the first sounds of the Big Drum, singing, honoring the many tribal staffs and military flags, and dozens of dancers in beautiful regalia. Vendors selling Native American foods, crafts and art will be present for the public to enjoy as well.
“A Powwow is a celebration, not only of Native American heritage but a celebration for all people,” said Gene Reid, a member of the Mohawk tribe and a Purple Heart Viet Nam Combat Veteran. Mr. Reid has been the coordinator of the event for the past 20 years. “People of many tribal nations from across the country and Canada will be here to share their cultures and have a good time.”
“You don’t have to be Native American to join in at the Pow Wow,” added Gene. “Everyone is welcomed to learn and participate. People in beaded regalia will be dancing traditional steps around the circle to the beat of drums. The M.C. will explain to people what the different kinds of dances mean, and when everyone can enter the circle to dance together in an ‘Inter-Tribal Dance. ’ ”
Today’s powwow may have been the outcome of several origins. The Algonquian term “pau-wau” or “pauau” referred to a gathering of medicine people or spiritual leaders, and may have been the source of today’s word “powwow.” What may have began as a warrior or healing ceremony among the southern Tribes spread north and east in the 1800’s during a time when traditional Indian dances were illegal under the Bureau of Indian Affairs. As U.S. expansion and colonization took place, Indigenous people’s ways of life were decimated as they were forced to live on isolated reservations and any expression of traditional ceremony, prayer or gathering was punishable by law. In 1921 the Office of Indian Affairs issued a policy statement to its agents which stated: “….all other similar dances and so called religious ceremonies are considered ‘Indian offenses’ under existing regulations, and corrective penalties are provided. I regard such restrictions as applicable to any (religious) dance…..”
The need to pray, dance, celebrate and gather together among individual Tribes as well as among many Tribes together continued in spite of these laws. In the 1950s urbanization and the continued expansion of contact between and among Indian communities on and off reservations helped the growth of these gatherings, as it became a common meeting ground for Indians of all tribal affiliations (Iverson 1998:136, www.powwow-power.com/powwow-history/). Still outlawed, these gatherings became more “acceptable” in some areas as apparent social events by the dominant society, yet they secreted many of the spiritual aspects of the songs, dances, clothing and practices of the hundreds of Tribes that participated. It wasn’t until 1978 when the “American Indian Religious Freedom Act” was signed by President Carter that expression of religion and spiritual beliefs through any means by Native Americans, including dance, was made “lawful”. Today a powwow can occur for a social get together, for a contest dance or to honor a person, family or belief, such as an “Honor Our Mother Earth Powwow” or an “Honoring Our Elders Powwow.”
“The White Cloud Purple Heart Powwow honors all Veterans, welcomes all families and brings people of all walks of life together,” explained Gene Reid. “It is about unity. We hope to see hundreds of people and many new faces at this year’s celebration.”
Admission to the Pow Wow is $4.00 for adults, $3.00 for seniors and children ages 6 to 12, with kids 5 and under free. The address is 286 Baseline Road, White Cloud. From the center of White Cloud take Wilcox Avenue west past the school to Sycamore Avenue and turn right. Follow that to Baseline Road as it curves left. The Pow Wow grounds will be on the left with parking in a field on the right. No dogs except registered Service Dogs are allowed on the grounds and participants are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
The Pow Wow is supported by the admission fee, donations and a generous gift from the Fremont Area Community Foundation
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