Stepping up for youth
If you’re a runner, more than likely you vividly recall the first time you finished a road race. Whether you tackled a 5k or went out for a more daring distance a unique kind of feeling arose when you completed that first one. In a way, it kind of changed things and allowed a new perspective on what was possible and what could be accomplished.
So, here is an opportunity for you to share in that experience by taking on a 9 week commitment toward helping a young person capture what you felt after finishing your first.
Prevention programs are aimed at helping to develop healthy behaviors early on to help impact substance abuse and mental health issues during adolescence and beyond..
Arbor Circle’s Total Trek Quest (TTQ) is one such prevention program and involves boys from 3rd to 5th grade.
TTQ is a fun and interactive 9-week program. combining the physical activity of training for a 5k run and a curriculum focused on learning to set goals, building strong relationships, and making healthy choices.
This is a very cool activity and a great way for volunteers to help make a difference in our community and they really need Coaches for the upcoming start of the Spring program.
Our area boasts a boatload of runners, walkers, bikers etc. and the attendance consistency at our local fitness sites is impressive. We have a community of people dedicated to becoming healthier.
And this is a way to step up for a group of young people.
“In order to have a great season, we need to find some great coaches for our teams!” said Vicki Cavanaugh of Arbor Circle. “Coaches can be men or women; we are looking for a positive attitude and a passion for helping kids reach their full potential.“
“You do not need to be an experienced runner, just willing to move/walk/run with their team. High school juniors/seniors can be assistant coaches too! We need at least 2 coaches per 5-15 boys on a team.
“We provide all the training and supplies needed to make this season great. Our teams practice 2 times a week –but even if you can coach for only 1 day a week, that is great!!
“I can promise you that being a TTQ coach is an experience you will NEVER forget."
For more information on becoming a TTQ coach, please contact Kimber Wager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The best part of TTQ is hanging out with the boys, getting to know them, teaching them the love of running and helping them become better people”-TTQ Coach
A Conversation with a Winter Camper
By Charles Chandler
Photos by Keith Payne
Enough of this winter already. After the Freezing Season Winter Carnival, we were going to say goodbye to this long draw out mess. Winter was going to be over for good.
(Note to your family, next year try and catch this Winter Carnival. Newaygo County Conservation Collaborative hosted their first ever Freezin' Seasons Winter Carnival at the Newaygo County Sports Park located behind the Newaygo County Welcome Center. This was a free family event that had been created to get everyone out to enjoy Michigan's magical winter months and try different winter activities. Standing by the warming fire at Graves Lodge and looking out over the snow-covered hills and the ice fishermen on Twin Lakes was as pretty as anything you will see up around Kalkaska. Burning hot dogs over the fire and the chili cookoff were my favorite parts. By the way, your Senator Jon Bumstead makes a tasty pot of chili.)
Now as most Michiganders know winter is not over until it is good and ready to be over. We had a little temperature tease and then winter storm Ulmer dropped a cyclone bomb on us and we are right back in the thick of it.
A few days ago, I was headed down slipping and sliding into the White Cloud Post Office when I saw Keith Payne loading a sleeping bag and a big alarm clock in his Toyota 4 X 4 truck. It was howdy and then Brew the resident Australian Cattle Dog started barking to be let out, and a big petting session was on and one thing led to another. Keith and Brew extended the invite and soon we were out of the wind and in the cozy Brick.
The Brick is that building next door to the Post Office and the home and business of newcomers Keith and Darcy Payne. Back in the day, it was an old main Abstract Office. Now after a lot of hard work and a big makeover, it is a lovely, interesting space that you would expect to see in Colorado or Jackson Hole, Wy. The front end of the building is the office of Keith’s ZZ Wild Company. It appears to be a business office and a Patagonia retail camping gear store. The back end is a cozy functional home similar to those industrial lofts that you see in edgy architectural magazines.
We settled around the coffee table with hot beverages, the table being an old refurbished railroad baggage dolly and the centerpiece was a small self-contained fire that flickering softly. Brew had been banished to her bed over by the old vault. Gym, the black rescue kitty was poised behind Darcey’s yellow Forsythia arrangement getting ready for a surprise attack on her pal Brew. Keith and Darcy are extreme recreational buffs and moved here to enjoy the year-round activities this area provides, be it hiking, kayaking, running, ATVs, cross-country skiing, fly fishing, you name it they are all in on the adventure.
The Payne’s, and the N3 correspondent are gear heads and soon the conversation turned to the camping hammock that was hanging across the front of the Brick. I knew Keith was a winter camper because recently he was camping along the nearby White River in the Huron - Manistee National Forest and had sent a photo of his camp thermometer.
It read – 13 degrees. Not being a seasonal camper, I asked him to talk a little about winter camping here in Newaygo County. To specifically focus on the folks that would-be first-time winter campers or those that were summer campers and wanted to extend their camping season.
Keith: "I truly enjoy winter camping. The crisp days and those cold clear nights around a campfire in our snow-covered Michigan woodlands are indescribable and can only be experienced. We are exceedingly fortunate to have access to an abundance of winter camping opportunities. I do have a few tips that I can pass along to those folks looking for a new adventure or camping experience. For your first winter adventure I would suggest picking a camping location that has easy access and is close to a road. If things didn’t go as planned, you can retreat and hike back out to your car. One of my favorite winter camping spots is near White Cloud and where the North Country Trail (NCT) crosses Echo Drive. You can park off Echo Drive then hike north for about a half mile on the NCT until you reach the iron bridge that crosses the White River. At the iron bridge you can hike west along the high ridge. Along this ridge you will find some nice winter camping spots. You’re in the Huron- Manistee National Forest at this location and primitive tent camping within the Forests is allowed almost anywhere, unless otherwise posted 'No Camping'. Stay well back from the White River as camping is not permitted within 200 feet of any body of water, except at designated sites.
"I like to camp in stands of hemlocks or other evergreens and near water. I like the hemlocks because they provide an over shelter from snowfall and a windbreak. It is not the cold but the cold and the wind that will often be your challenge in winter camping. I also like to camp near small creeks because I like the taste of the fresh cold water better than snowmelt water. And I don’t have to carry stove fuel to melt snow for camp water. You have to be careful when getting water especially if there is shelf ice on the larger streams like the White. You never want to break through and get wet. When camping near water in the winter, you often get a chance to see a mink, otter or muskrat, all pluses because the animals are not as cautious in the winter season. The other reason that I like to camp near hemlocks is that in February the owls start nesting and are often in these hemlocks. At night you can hear them interacting with their neighbors and they are curious, and sometimes will drop down to see what your doing. Another one of my favorite camping areas is along Second Cole Creek and the NCT. You can park at the M 20 and NCT trailhead and then hike north along the trail for about a mile or so until you come to Second Cole Creek. There are some high banks and ridges there with stands of hemlocks. This spot is great for first timers because it too is in the National Forest, is near water and has easy access to the NCT and the road.
"My favorite time to camp is during the full moon, right now my company, ZZ Wild, is sponsoring Mena Moon (hangs) camp outs every full moon in 2019. We like those winter full moon nights because the days are short and you will spend a lot of time in camp.
On those full moon nights, it is often so bright until you won’t need a headlamp when in camp, sitting around the campfire, or going for short walks. Also, you will hear many sounds on winter nights that you would not at other times. The trees will pop and ice in the creeks move and crack. On those moonlit nights the deer are so much more active than in other seasons. Recently I actually had one bump into my hammock when I was camped along the White River.
"As for that hammock, with any camping you always need gear to match the environment and season. For first timers I recommend trying out your winter camping gear in your backyard. Get a feel for the challenges of setting up your camp in the cold while wearing gloves. If you are trying a new piece of gear for the first time, or if you have a failure you want that to be in your backyard. Know before you go on your first winter camp out. I like the camping hammock because I am older and they are very comfortable and quick and easy to set up. There is a learning curve to using one, so I suggest that you learn to use one during your summer camping trips. Don’t make your winter camp out your first experience with a camping hammock. If you are comfortable with a tent, you can certainly use that as well. With a tent, you will need to take a shovel and clear the snow from the tent footprint. When sleeping on the ground you must use a quality sleeping pad like a Thermarest.
"You will also need a top-quality sleeping bag. I recommend that is if you don’t have a four-season winter sleeping bag you can layer two bags. If you have a synthetic three season bag then you can use a smaller lighter down bag as a liner You will perspire when you sleep and the moisture will wick through the down bag and collect on the outside of the synthetic bag. When you get up in the morning all you have to do is shake the frost off the outer bag. Ensure that the sleeping bag is large enough so that you have some warm air around your body. A good tip is to not wear many clothes to bed and try to create the same environment that you have when you sleep at home.
"For winter hiking and camping clothes, you have to dress in layers. I recommend that when you get out of your car you want to start out cold because when you hike and or snowshoe you will expend a lot of energy and will sweat if you are overdressed. Never get your base layer wet or go to bed damp because that increases your changes for hyperthermia or an uncomfortable night. Again, I start my hike slightly chilled and uncomfortable and then I don’t have to worry about sweating and having to change out my base layer when I set up camp or go to bed. I like to start with a one-piece base layer of Merino Wool for hiking and then layer up with a breathable windproof jacket and pants. When I am inactive in camp, I wear a heavy down Jacket and down pants.
"For footwear, I wear my regular tail hiking shoes with a sealskinz waterproof liner and Merino Wool socks. Then over my shoes, I will wear a lightweight gaiter. My shoes aren’t Gore-Tex so they will get wet but they will dry out faster. Rubber boots won’t get wet but aren’t breathable and your feet will be wet from sweating. The same goes for leather hiking boots. When they get wet the often will freeze solid so that you can’t get them on in the morning. And most often if it is really cold, I will use one of the chemical toe warmers. I also carry a small waterproof bag and will put my shoes in the bag and inside my sleeping bag. In the morning they will be warm and almost dry.
"Another great thing about winter camping is that you can take perishable foods. Generally, you aren’t going very far and you don’t have to worry about pack weight. Quite often I will take a T-bone steak and grill it over the campfire. I also recommend that before you go to bed have a bit of warm food, maybe some carbs but not something heavy and drink warm liquids. This will help you stay warm throughout the night. As a caution, you should drink plenty of liquids during winter hiking and camping because it is easy to get dehydrated in the cold weather. You often won’t be thirsty but you will need to drink plenty of liquids. Winter camping is not complicated and the rewards are many. Just take a few precautions and then take pride in being a four-season Michigan camper.”
Along about this time Brew came over for another petting session and someone offered an adult beverage and the interview trailed off into questionable stories about fishing and other outdoor adventures. I also forgot to ask Keith about that alarm clock?
You can follow Keith, Darcy, Brew, and Gym on the ZZ Wild Facebook page where Keith post videos of their adventures and he also teaches the occasional camping class at the Brick.
Click on the following link for more details about camping in the Huron-Manistee National Forest. https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/hmnf/recreation/camping-cabins/?recid=18536&actid=34
Tall Cop came to town last week.
Jermaine Galloway who has spent the past 15 years delivering valuable information on how to impact underage drinking and drug abuse among youth to communities across the nation made a stop in Newaygo County to help spread the word on the latest drug trends.
Over 200 people attended the presentation including school and hospital personnel, law enforcement. social workers and lots and lots of parents.They came to learn about those recent trends in the world of youth drug and alcohol abuse and from the reaction of the crowd they came away with an increased awareness of the subtleties and intricacies involved in the drug culture.
In addition to the presentation a mock room was set up to help demonstare hidden clues that might indicate drug usage and clothing used innthe drug culture was on display as well.
“The event had a great turn out!”said Rachel Uganski Project Coordinator of the Drug Free Communities. “It really demonstrated how much the Newaygo County community cares about their kids.”
“Understanding the latest trends is key to preventing substance abuse for youth in Newaygo County. Prevention starts at home. Parents have the ability to talk often with their kids about the risks. Parents also have the ability to limit access to prescription drugs, tobacco, and alcohol in their homes”
The biggest takeaway?
“How vigilant we have to be in making sure our kids are safe from substance abuse. Drug Trends are constantly changing. You must know what you are looking for, the drug culture makes devices and substances discrete to evade detection.”
Sponsored by Great Start Collaborative, Newaygo County Families Against Narcotics, and the Headway Coalition and held at NCRESA’s RCASCA site, the program helped to make attendance easier for parents by offering a free dinner as well as free child care.
Newaygo County Undersheriff Chad Palmiter has been involved with the Headway Coalition prevention efforts for many years and was pleased at the number of community members who took the time to attend the event.
“This was a great presentation for parents and families to learn about these trends, the way they are being used, and how the are constantly changing. Sometimes we tend to push these problems off, believing they affect only other areas of the state or country, however these issues occur right in our backyard and need to be taken seriously.”
Concerned about local substance abuse issues in our community? Contact Headway at 231.652.3619 or via email at email@example.com.
They also have a facebook page.
The sponsoring organizations would like to thank the following organizations for their help in making this presentation possible:
White Cloud Church of God Ministry Center– for providing the cookies
Sui Generis Home Furniture – Mock Room Set Up
NC RESA – Technical support, and space
Food Provided by:
Mid-State Health Network
Fraternal Order of Police
Newaygo County Families Against Narcotics
Great Start Collaborative
Gerber Memorial’s new urology practice is now open
FREMONT – Max Rizer, DO, a board-certified physician specializing in urology, has begun serving patients at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial. He will be at Gerber Memorial two days a week, Wednesdays and Thursdays. For the remainder of the week, Dr. Rizer will be at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital.
“Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is excited to welcome Dr. Max Rizer to Newaygo County and bring his expertise in urology to our community so our patients can get quality care close to home,” said Randy Kelley, Gerber Memorial president. “Dr. Rizer’s addition to our team of professional health providers is another way Gerber Memorial strives to meet the needs of our patients and the families we serve.”
Dr. Rizer earned his medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing. He completed his general surgery residency at Ingham Regional Medical Center in Lansing, Michigan and his urology residency at Michigan State University/Ingham Regional Medical Center in East Lansing.
His clinical interests include urologic problems in men and women, including BPH (enlarged prostate), urinary incontinence, kidney stones, erectile dysfunction, elevated PSA evaluation, hematuria (blood in the urine) evaluation, urinary-related cancers, hydrocele treatment and vasectomy.
Dr. Rizer began at Gerber Memorial on March 6.
For further information, referrals or appointments, please call 231.924.1607.
Got questions about your lake? Want to hear about the options available for lake management?
This Newaygo County Drain Office sponsored event looks to provide a little enligtenment toward helping us all become good stewards of our waterways.
And the price of admission?
Just a desire to obtain clear and accurate information from knowledgeable sources.
Bloomberg Philanthropies Announces $10 Million Investment in Michigan to Help Curb Opioid Overdose Deaths
Michigan, with one of the highest numbers of overdose deaths in the country, will receive funding to accelerate access to treatment and improve prevention efforts as it becomes second state selected for Bloomberg Philanthropies’ $50 million initiative to tackle opioid crisis in the United States.
The latest decline in U.S. life expectancy is tied to a record number of drug and opioid overdose deaths and more people now die from opioid overdose than car crashes.
Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced the next state in its groundbreaking $50 million initiative to combat the nationwide opioid crisis, providing $10 million in support to Michigan to help the state address its fast-rising opioid overdose death rate. Michigan joins Pennsylvania as the first two states selected for this initiative, which comes amid an alarming decline in U.S. life expectancy driven in large part by a massive increase in opioid use nationwide.
Our state ranks eighth in the country in the number of overdose deaths with 2,694 drug overdose deaths in 2017, compared to 2,335 in 2016—a 14 percent increase. Opioids were responsible for more than three-quarters of those drug overdose deaths.
The CDC reports that there were more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2017, including more than 47,000 from opioid overdoses. These are the highest numbers on record. Today, more than two million people in the United States are addicted to opioids, which are responsible for about 130 deaths in America every day; by comparison, there are approximately 102 deaths in America per day from car crashes.
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ investment will complement the work already underway in Michigan to address the opioid crisis. Projects may include expanding medications for opioid use disorder in settings including prisons and jails, expanding distribution of naloxone, and enhancing systems to improve timely collection of data to help speed response to the crisis.
“The opioid epidemic is one of the greatest health crises of our lifetime, and we need to marshal all forces necessary to fight back,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “The opioid crisis affects nearly every county in Michigan. These funds will help our state advance a comprehensive plan and implement critical interventions that can make the biggest impact to reduce overdose deaths.”
“The opioid crisis is a national emergency that calls for bold leadership and big ideas. Governor Whitmer is committed to reversing the epidemic, and our goal is to support her administration with resources and expertise that can help them save more lives,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, Bloomberg Philanthropies Founder and World Health Organization Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases. “We hope our work in places like Michigan and Pennsylvania spares more families the heartbreak of losing a loved one to opioid addiction or overdose. And by showing that progress is possible, we can create a model for action that other states and organizations can follow.”
MDHHS outlines plan to improve outcomes for children and families
LANSING– Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon today outlined his agenda to improve outcomes for children and families involved in the state’s child welfare system.
Gordon’s comments came as he and other MDHHS officials appeared in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to update Judge Nancy G. Edmunds on state efforts to reform its child welfare system.
“We can do better. We must do better. And we will do better,” Gordon said. “Our staff are deeply dedicated to serving children and families in crisis. They need the tools and the systems to succeed. That’s what we must offer them.”
Today’s federal court appearance was the first since Gordon became MDHHS director in January. The court is monitoring the state’s child welfare system under the Implementation, Sustainability and Exit Plan approved in court in February 2016. Federal monitors today discussed their report on the department’s progress for January to December 2017.
That plan took the place of the Modified Settlement Agreement approved in 2011 that came after a lawsuit filed by the advocacy group Children’s Rights in 2006.
The court also received an independent report that detailed continuing issues with the Michigan Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (MiSACWIS), which MDHHS uses to collect, store, process and produce data related to its federal court commitments. The report from Kurt Heisler Consulting was made public in court.
Gordon outlined several principles for the state’s actions. “We will not defend what we cannot defend,” he said, referring to findings about increased numbers of children who experienced maltreatment while in foster care in 2017. “We will focus on results. We will lead with urgency. And we will use real-time data to improve our practice.”
Despite the limitations of MiSACWIS, Gordon said, the department can begin making better use of data to identify trends and act on the challenges identified in the data. He described work with external experts to improve the use of data.
Jennifer Wrayno, acting executive director of the MDHHS Children’s Services Agency, in court outlined specific measures being undertaken by the department to address challenges facing the state’s child welfare system.
“Child welfare staff from MDHHS and the department’s private partner agencies are doing tremendous work on behalf of children who have been the victims of abuse and neglect and their families,” Wrayno said. “We need to better equip them to address child safety and well-being and find children permanent homes more quickly through reunification with their families or adoption.”
Judge Edmunds stated that while she was concerned about the lack of progress during the reporting period, it is time to move forward.
“It definitely is heartening to hear the jumpstart that the Whitmer administration - in particular Ms. Wrayno and Director Gordon - have undertaken to move forward in these important areas,” she said.
She scheduled a status conference hearing for June 27 to receive an update on progress.
The court monitor report released today showed that Michigan had met requirements for movement of six performance standards in the Implementation, Sustainability and Exit Plan. In two instances, MDHHS met standards for at least two consecutive reporting periods, making those standards eligible for exiting further court oversight. Those standards were related to children in foster care receiving an appropriate education and maintaining continuity in education by keeping the children in a familiar or current school or neighborhood.
In four other instances, MDHHS’s performance sustained progress for at least two consecutive reporting periods. Those standards were related to licensing work qualifications and training, the number of treatment foster home beds, the diagnosis process for administering psychotropic medications to children in foster care and proper oversight of psychotropic medication.
Gordon said he prioritized improving outcomes for children and families over exiting from judicial oversight. “We will not talk about exit today,” he said. “And we will not talk about it in the future unless and until we can demonstrate we are doing better by the children we serve on the things that matter most.”
To view the latest federal court monitor report, the full Implementation, Sustainability and Exit Plan, earlier reports and the original Modified Settlement Agreement, visit www.michigan.gov/ChildWelfareAgreement.
Career fair scheduled for March 27 in Fremont
FREMONT – Area residents looking to find a job or a new line of work are invited to talk with local and regional employers this month to do some career exploration.
The Newaygo County Career-Tech Center (NCCTC) is inviting community members to search for a job that meets their needs and skills during its annual career fair.
The Career-Tech Center’s 2019 Job Fair will be open to the public from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, in The Black Box at the Dogwood Center for Performing Arts in Fremont.
“The objective of this event is for employers in these different fields to network with area job-seekers, explain their business and explore opportunities for them to apply for open positions,” said Gretchen Spedowske, Director of Career and Placement Services at NCCTC.
Job-seekers are asked to bring copies of their updated resumes and to be prepared to interview with human resources representatives from local and regional employers. Attendees also are asked to come dressed to impress.
Roughly 20 employers are expected to be in attendance at the event. Employers will be looking for workers in a variety of areas, including Welding, Mechatronics, Heavy Equipment, Construction Trades, Automotive, Agriscience, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Graphic Communications, Information Technology, Business Applied Technology, Criminal Justice, Health Sciences and more.
The Hesperia Area Chamber of Commerce, Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, River Country Chamber of Commerce, The Right Place and Michigan Works! West Central are partnering with the career center in organizing this event. The job fair will be open to NCCTC students during the school day.
“Each year, we look forward to strengthening our relationships with employers through this event,” Spedowske said. “The job fair is an important effort to help NCCTC students and area job-seekers make an impact on the local economy by helping them find work and, in the case of students, kick start their careers.”
For more information about the upcoming NCCTC Job Fair, contact the Newaygo County Career-Tech Center at (231) 924-8814 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that mandatory ice shanty removal dates are approaching. Regardless of the date, shanties must be removed before the ice is unable to safely support them. In warmer weather, the ice quickly can become unsafe for anglers to retrieve their property.
The deadline for removal from waters in the northern Lower Peninsula is midnight Friday, March 15. Counties in this area include Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Arenac, Bay, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Clare, Crawford, Emmet, Gladwin, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Isabella, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Midland, Missaukee, Montmorency, Newaygo, Oceana, Ogemaw, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon and Wexford.
DNR conservation officers also remind individuals going onto the ice to use extreme caution as temperatures begin to rise in the spring. The repetitive thawing and refreezing of ice weakens its integrity, decreasing its ability to support additional weight from people, snowmobiles, ORVs and shanties. Deteriorating ice, water currents and high winds increase the probability of pressure cracks, which can leave anglers and others stranded on ice floes or at risk of falling through the ice.
For more information, watch the Michigan DNR ice safety tips video.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to Michigan.gov/DNR.
If you or someone you know is seeking valuable experience working in wildlife conservation – or just an interesting job that gets you outdoors – consider applying for one of more than 200 summer and fall positions with the DNR Wildlife Division.
The division regularly hires additional staff to work these seasons at DNR state field offices, customer service centers and state game areas. Seasonal staff helps in several areas, such as:
Some seasonal positions currently are open for application, and more will become available in the spring. Learn more about seasonal positions in the Wildlife Division – and other openings throughout the department – at Michigan.gov/DNRJobs; scroll to the Seasonal and Temporary Positions section.
Questions? Contact Jennifer Schafer at 517-284-6163.