New courts draw players from near and far
By Ken DeLaat
Pickleball- A fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and a slightly modified tennis net with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes and playedas doubles or singles.
Ok a simple definition to be sure but the game runs deeper than that. Having done some court time on a few occasions I can bear witness to the level of passion inherent in Pballers. They adore the sport, whether as one who gets out there to just bang around a few balls or someone who stokes old competitive fires by approaching the game with a level of intensity aimed at -sharpening their skills and pushing their ability forward.
Locally Pickleball has continued to grow in popularity and the demand for court space has increased as well.
The Newaygo County Pickleball Club a formidable force of dedicated Pickleballers helped spur the efforts to include a set of outdoor courts designed specifically for the sport as part of the City of Fremont Darling Walkway Project and this spring it has come to fruition.
If there was ever any question about the need, a Friday visit on a pleasant 60 degree morning would quickly dash any skepticism.
The courts were packed with folks from all over the county ranging in age from 18-82 with others waiting for their turn on the courts. As we watched more cars pulled up and parked on the street since the adjacent lot was filled.
And while some younger players were evident the majority of players were likely eligible for the various senior discounts one can get with or without the AARP card (10% off at Denny’s throughout the country).
Kudos to the city for giving this nod to the sport in their project and to all those who provided the support to see it through completion. These courts are a prime example of how health and fitness can be promoted by providing people with desirable space to pursue their passion.
And believe me, when it comes to pickleballers?
The level of passion among even the most avid of golfers looks like a mere passing fancy in comparison to that of these court folks.
And if you know any golfers you know exactly what I’m talking about.
By Donna Iverson
(Publishers note: N3 welcomes Ms. Iverson who will be joining our contributor team to regale readers with helpful hints, timely tips, informative insights and occasional anecdotal offerings from the wondrous world of gardening.)
I'll bet you’re cringing ...aren't those dandelions the weeds that plague your lawn?
Turns out, that the new trend of gardening for pollinators is raising the status of that much hated invader. The dandelion is the first food source that keeps bees alive in the early spring. And your garden needs pollinators to grow food
Gardeners are learning that the lowly dandelion is not only good food for pollinators like bees, butterflies and ladybugs, it's also good people food. The spring leaves can be added to salads, the flowers can be used to make dandelion wine and beer, and the roots can be roasted to make a coffee-like mate.
And you will never starve as long as you can harvest dandelions. The combination of leaves, flowers and roots provide a complete protein . Furthermore, it's free and it can be found literally everywhere . But you want to be sure it hasn't been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides. So the best place to grow it is in your organic garden.
Not only will the dandelion feed you and the pollinators, it will feed your garden soil.
The dandelion root will aerate and mineralize your soil. Earth worms will become more plentiful. What's not to like here?
If you are into native plants, dandelions are not natives. The seeds were carried over to the Americas by the colonists who had used dandelions as food, medicines and a spring tonic. Once in North America, Native Americans also began to cultivate this perennial vegetable including our own Michigan Potawatomis, who concocted a bitter spring tonic from the leaves.
If you do decide to reserve a section of your garden for dandelion cultivation, the plant likes full sun. It is disease and insect resistant and drought tolerant. So you don't have to worry about watering it to keep it alive.
Check the Internet for hundreds of dandelion recipes. But do be cautious for a possible allergy to the plant. Test it by taking a small leaf and press it to your lips. If no reaction, bite off a tiny piece and chew it. Then spit it out. Later try eating a tiny piece of leaf. Finally check with your pharmacist to be sure dandelion doesn't interfere with any medications you are taking. Finally, dandelion is not recommended for people with gallbladder problems.
In conclusion, not only are dandelions good for you, for pollinators and your garden, they are good for your brain. Rethinking the formerly despised plant may just lead you to what the Buddhists call "beginner's mind".... Learning to see old things in a new way, as if seeing them for the first time.
Holton is fortunate to have many local businesses, families, and foundations that are supportive to our students. This year the Holton Education Foundation (HEF) offered it's very first scholarships to Aaron Herron, Caroline Pitre-Oaks, and Jade Powell. These students were each awarded $1000, half of which goes for their first year and a half to their second year of college or technical school.
The Holton Education Foundation was established in 1992 to support initiatives that enrich and enhance the educational opportunities for Holton students and staff. The fund has grown to where we are now able to offer regular scholarships and look forward to offering teacher mini-grants.
Staff and community members have committed to investing in this fund to leave a lasting legacy on the students of Holton Public Schools.
Individuals or organizations who would like to help make a difference in Holton can donate directly to the fund, leave an estate gift through the Community Foundation of Muskegon County, and/or attend our Legacy Night Gala, which will be held in Twin Lake on Friday, June 7th.
Dinner and drinks will be served in our Casino-themed event. Tickets may be purchased by contacting Pam Smith at the District Services Building at 231-821-1700. More information about the Red Devil Legacy Night can be found at
White Cloud High School students Alexander Clark and Layna Yeiter were selected to attend Rotary District 6290’s Annual Life Leadership Conference to be held in June at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan. District 6290 conducts the prestigious Life Leadership Conference each year for outstanding student leaders. It is a powerful experience for all who attend. Beginning in 1949, it is the longest continually running Rotary Youth Leadership Awards program in the Rotary world.
Designed to help students expand their roles in service to their schools and communities, this conference attracts 150 student leaders from over 50 communities in Michigan and Canada. Conferees also include Youth Exchange students from other countries and leaders from Rotary (High School) Interact Clubs.
The agenda includes motivational and thought-provoking speakers, learning simulations, group projects, physical activities, and discussions focused on the elements of leadership and understanding leadership styles. Guest speakers focus on the Rotary Motto of “Service Above Self” and how students can make a positive difference wherever they lead. Discussion groups explore the intellectual, ethical and emotional aspects of leadership. International students who attend lend a global perspective on issues.
Upon return students report back to their sponsoring Rotary Club, and are mentored by sponsoring Rotary Clubs through their school and community leadership efforts.
Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 34,000 Rotary Clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work impacts lives at both the local and international levels; from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world.
For more information about Rotary, please visit https://www.rotary.org/en/about-rotary/rotary-foundation
No this has nothing to do with the fireworks store where blame for everything from power outages to cats having kittens is directed in a good humored manner on social media.
This is merely an update on the new laws from our friends at the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office.
Back in 2011, the state legalized the sale and use of consumer-grade fireworks, but in December, new laws were passed and signed.
Those new laws reduce the number of days that people can shoot off fireworks. Previously, they were allowed to use them around federal holidays, including the day before, the day off and the day after.
The new law states Memorial Day weekend, fireworks are only allowed Saturday and Sunday until 11:45 p.m.
As always, use caution and follow the safety tips listed below:
1. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. If older children are playing with fireworks, always have adult supervision.
2. Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
3. Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
4. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
5. Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
6. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire.
7. Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
8. After fireworks complete their burning, douse it with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.
Thanks NCSD but we feel compelled to add that anyone who might need reminding about #3 should probably not be buying fireworks in the first place.
Trails Project to feature section for children 2-6
On Saturday, May 11, a ribbon cutting event was held to officially open The Mosquito Creek Trails. The 500-acre project is located at 2190 Maple Island Road just south of the border between Newaygo and Muskegon County. This forested valley, part of the Muskegon County Wastewater Management facility and bordering Mosquito Creek, will be a regional, year-round outdoor recreation destination with more than 10 miles of backcountry trails that will increase opportunities for physical activity, connection to nature, adventure, and economic vitality.
The recreation improvement project is a collaborative endeavor spearheaded by Muskegon County and Michigan’s Edge Mountain Biking Association. Trail professionals designed the nearly 12 miles of biking trails that will also be accessible for hiking, walking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The trail system will include six trails, with 3.35 miles of beginner/easier trail, 6.11 miles of intermediate trails, and 1.5 miles of advanced trail.
“The trail system will offer families a chance to get out in nature and enjoy a vigorous workout on a mountain bike or a serene walk in the woods,” said Catherine Obits of the Gerber Foundation. The Gerber Foundation provided support for the young children’s trail, a ½ mile trail targeting 2-6 year old beginners, which will be completed by the end of June. “We are grateful to be able to offer this opportunity to families in the Newaygo and Muskegon County areas.”
Phase 2 will add 3-4 miles of trails this fall with the remainder anticipated to be open by the end of 2020. “We want people out there just recreating,” said Wagner, a physician with Mercy Health in Spring Lake. “There really isn’t a better opportunity to get out and exercise than natural trails.”
For more on the trails, check out the Facebook page at
Home vegetable gardeners are asked to donate to their local Food Pantry
Feeding America believes that food insecurity impacts 1 in 8 people in western and northern Michigan. To address this issue, Michigan State University Extension is encouraging home gardeners to consider “growing a row” of produce for donation to their local food pantry this season. Many northern Michigan pantries are seeking donations of fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs. All donations are welcome, but please consider popular items such as:
Pantries ask that donated produce is clean, fresh, ripe, whole, uncut, undamaged and separate packaging/bags for different produce types. If using pesticides make sure to follow the pesticide instructions. Please do not donate produce that you would not buy for your own family.
Under terms of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, donors are protected from liability should the product donated in good faith later cause harm to the recipient. Be sure to check with your local pantry on the best days and times to bring in donated produce.
Michigan State University Extension provides support for home gardeners. This web site (https://www.canr.msu.edu/vegetable_gardening/) provides an extensive list of resources from finding the best location for a vegetable garden in your yard, to planting techniques, to managing pests and diseases. MSU Extension Master Gardeners also staff a toll free hotline during normal business hours in the growing season for gardening questions at 1-888-678-3464.
If you don’t have a vegetable garden at home, you might consider purchasing some fresh produce at a farmers market or from a local farm stand to donate to a food pantry.
Michigan State University Extension works with community partners, such as the Lake County Community Food Council, to address food systems issues. The Lake County Community Food Council meets monthly at St. Ann’s Church in Baldwin. If you would like to become involved in these efforts, please contact Kendra Wills, MSU Extension Community Food Systems Educator at (616) 608-7424 or firstname.lastname@example.org
"This is one of the best golf outings I've been to. Everything from the food, camaraderie, and love is second to none.” -Quote from Realtor Dean Gibbie about last year’s event
Newaygo Fitness Club and Van Eerden Food Service will be hosting their third annual Charity Golf Tournament at Water’s Edge Golf Course in Fremont on Thursday May 30th. The event is a 4 person scramble so not only is there the opportunity to help support a local organization, there is the chance to see those scramble-produced numbers on the scorecard that most duffers only dare to dream of.
NF Manager Caleb Conklin feels strongly about the importance of health and fitness not just in the lives of individuals, but within the community as a whole. It is his hope events like the golf outing will help raise recognition as well as resources for those who share this vision.
Despite his hectic schedule we managed to catch a few minutes with Caleb to pose a few questions about the event.
How did this get started?
It began 3 years ago with the idea of bringing a community together in hopes of sharing our passion and awareness of health and fitness while raising funds for local programs involved in the community and its people.
How did the partnership with VanEerden come about?
Dean Curtis from Van Eerden was training with me and one day we got to talking about our golf outing. Dean felt this would be a great opportunity for Van Eerden to show it's true colors in our community. Their philosophy on health and fitness directly correlates with ours. I knew then it was a no-brainer and that they would be a partner.
Who are the beneficiaries of this years outing and what led you to select them?
This year we chose Newaygo County Prevention of Child Abuse. I spoke with Tara Nelson (director) at an event awhile back and knew right then the proceeds were to go to NCPCA. It was quite easy after she had spoken with me regarding her view on health and fitness.
Her belief is that healthy children lead to healthy adults. And healthy adults are more productive and drive a healthier economy. Ensuring the physical and emotional well-being of our children through the prevention of child abuse and neglect must be one of our top priorities.
The second beneficiary is Randy's House the recovery houses in Newaygo. Tommy and Tabitha Rake have been involved in this in hopes of creating a positive influence for those who have struggled with alcoholism and addictions. Creating a second chance through honesty and accountability is their objective in starting this wonderful program in our up and coming area. Randy's House uses exercise, nutrition and healthy living support, and provide holistic therapy including meditation and acupuncture. Their vision is based on providing multiple paths of recovery to those suffering from a substance use disorder.
Golf outings are traditionally a lot of work and take a lot of volunteers so…?
The entire Newaygo Fitness staff volunteers each year. We also have a few special people who back us in everything we do.
Why should people enter and take part in this years event?
We have prizes for Men and Women closest to the pin and longest drive. We also have a putt putt challenge. We give money for first place and second place will be a free foursome golf package at a secret location. We will be serving OLD IRON BAR AND GRILL'S BBQ EXTRAVAGANZA for the second year in a row. We pride ourselves on providing good food.
You can sign up online at newaygofitnessclub.com or call Caleb at 616-217-1650.
Gerber Memorial certified car seat techs at Family Expo on Saturday
Fremont- Parents wondering if their child’s car seat is installed correctly can get some expert help on Saturday May 18, during the 2019 Family Expo at Fremont High School, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Jill Pulaski and Kirsten Telfor of Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial will be at the expo to assist parents and caregivers with the correct way to strap in infants and young children, properly install car seats, and use everyday items to ensure car seats are safe and secure. Pulaski and Telfor received their national certification as child passenger safety technicians in November. They primarily assist parents who deliver babies at Gerber Memorial’s labor and delivery center, offering their service for those who request it.
“I think what we do can help make a difference for families,” Telfor said. “Babies are safe when they leave here and that’s good to know.”
Since February, Pulaski and Telfor have helped more than 24 families with their car seats. To help them with their demonstrations, they enlist the assistance of “Sammy the Baby,” a toy infant. “Sammy,” training materials and the certification training were funded by the 2018 Beards for Babies event, a local fundraiser by Spectrum Health Foundation Gerber Memorial.
“We volunteered to be part of the project and we really enjoy what we do,” Pulaski said. “I find it rewarding to be able to educate parents so they know their child is safe when they’re driving.”
Telfor said she and Pulaski practiced installing more than 100 car seats during the training for their certification, which led to some bruised knees. Altogether, they each spent 40 hours of classwork and education for the certification. Telfor and Pulaski work in Gerber Memorial’s medical records department.
Some of the lessons they learned during their class was sobering, Telfor said. “More than 90 percent of car seats aren’t installed correctly,” she said. “Parents aren’t anchoring the seats the right way. The chest clips are too low.”
And when a car seat tech isn’t around?
Pulaski said: “Read the car seat manual, read the vehicle manual, be familiar with all the parts of the car seat. And if you’ve lost the manual, Google it.”
In addition to Pulaski and Telfor, other Newaygo County resources to help parents properly install car seats include Newaygo County Great Start, Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department, the Fremont Police Department, the Newaygo Police Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
For more information about Spectrum Health Foundation Gerber Memorial and how you can help the car seat program or others areas at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, please call 231.924.3681 or email email@example.com.
Gerber FCU Donates 700 Books to Local Second Grade Students
FREMONT- John Buckley, President/CEO of Gerber Federal Credit Union (Gerber FCU), read the book Money Madness by David A. Adler to second grade students at local schools during the month of April. This beginning guide to economics has readers thinking about the purpose, and not just the value, of money. It is a clear and thorough introduction to money discussing bartering, early forms of currency, credit cards, and even digital payment.
Following the book read, Buckley discussed good money management and presented every student, their teacher and their school library with a copy of the book. Gerber Federal Credit Union donated a total of 700 books to the following school districts: Big Jackson, Fremont, Fremont Christian, Grant, Grant Christian, Hesperia, Holton, Newaygo and White Cloud.
“It is always a pleasure to read to these kids and have them interact with me and the stories,“ said Buckley. “It’s so important to start these conversations while children are young and lay a foundation for financial literacy. Prepare your kids to be Money Smart adults, practice saving with them and start talking about what money is and how it is earned.”
Find out more about Gerber FCU’s youth programs at www.gerberfcu.com/youth.