Newaygo North Country Trail Section 4 – Croton to Oak Ave.
By Bret Brummel
Distance: 3.44 miles
With the road sections of the trail behind us, it felt like this was the actual beginning of our adventure. The parking area at Kimble County Park in Croton has been a starting point for many of the North Country Trail runs Anna and I completed last year. The familiarity of the trail was going to be a home course advantage for us. Because this section was going to be the shortest section we would be completing, we decided to replace one of Anna’s coach assigned mid-week runs with this section of the trail. For me, that means I’m going to have to pick up my pace from our normal “conversation” pace we tend to use as we run.
Anna took the lead as we headed up the single-track trail along bank of the Muskegon River. The trail is well marked with blue rectangles on the trees to guide you. Many places are not wide enough to run side by side, so I spend a lot of time playing follow the leader as we run. That way Anna sets the pace, and I try to make sure I can keep up. It wasn’t long into the run that I noticed the distance between us was gradually increasing. At the trail crossing at Croton Drive and Pine Avenue, I was thankful that traffic forced Anna to stop so I could catch up. I informed her that we would be crossing two more dirt roads and that our van was parked at the second road. That way, if I couldn’t keep her pace, she would know where to stop. We crossed the road and off she went, while I plodded on behind trying to keep her bobbing ponytail in sight.
I appreciate the land owners that allow the trail to run through private property. It would be impossible to have this trail without their cooperation. Along with the blue rectangles we follow, you will see “Posted” signs reminding hikers to stay on the trail. Over halfway into our run, I noticed Anna stopped ahead. She had seen a posted sign we had noticed last fall. It said: “Trespassing is the best way to meet the Lord”. Definitely a unique way to discourage trespassing! I snapped a picture and we continued down the path. A few turns into an open field, back through some mature planted pines, and we were back to Oak Avenue and our van. Anna was a half mile short of her assigned goal of four miles, so she continued up Oak to finish her run while I caught my breath.
I was disappointed that I couldn’t keep up her pace on this run. I guess I have to train a little harder. Oh, if you do plan to trespass on this section of the trail, I’d be sure to visit a local church first. It might make the meeting with the Lord a little more pleasant.
Baths, Brushing, And Basics
Bellwether Harbor’s Pet Pals Summer Program focuses on keeping animals healthy
Students from 8 to 14 were able to weigh kittens, scrub a dirty dog, learn the basics of dog obedience and much more through the annual Pet Pals Summer Program at Bellwether Harbor Animal Shelter and Training Facility, 7645 W. 48th St.
“Pet Pals is a great way to teach humane and responsible pet ownership in a fun way,” said Danielle Merrill, Bellwether Executive Director. “The dogs and cats love the attention and the students learn the proper etiquette to interact with dogs and cats they don’t know.”
During the morning of June 20, students broke into small groups to learn about grooming, animal health, dog training, and pet safety. Students practiced dog obedience by working on sit and heel commands as well agility training. During pet safety, they practiced techniques to do if encountering a stray dog or an unknown dog on a leash with its owner. Students got a little wet while giving baths and brushing animals in the grooming piece. While learning about animal careers from a veterinarian technician, they listened to kitty heart beats, examined ear mites under a microscope, saw what a heartworm looks like, determined the sex of an animal and most importantly just cuddled and petted the dogs and cats.
“Everyone wants a cute little kitten or puppy. We want them to know that owning an animal is rewarding but requires a lot of attention and work,” Merrill added.
Another session of Pet Pals is scheduled for Aug. 15 from 9 a.m. to noon. The day is limited to 20 students due to the hands-on nature of the program. Pet Pals costs $25 per child, which includes all materials, a snack and a donation to help care for the animals. Only a paid registration will hold a spot. For more information or to register, please call Bellwether Harbor at 231-924-9230.
A Gift Of Good Nutrition
Deur donation to assist Cooking Matters program
FREMONT– Stan and Lisa Deur of Newaygo County directed a $2,500 gift to Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial as part of the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund.
As part of its mission, Gerber Memorial used the funds to purchase supplies for Cooking Matters, a national evidence-based program that is being led by Gerber Memorial’s community health team. The program helps families shop for and cook healthy meals on a tight budget. It incorporates a Registered Dietitian and Health Educator in a classroom setting, who teach hands-on healthy cooking classes to families. Started for the first time this summer, Gerber Memorial’s new program features cooking demonstrations, nutrition information and taste tests, when families participate in trying out the meals. Attendees also get to bring food home.
“Cooking Matters is connecting families in our community with food that is nutritious and which can be prepared without too much time, effort or money, and that kind of convenience and value is what we’re excited about,” said Jena Zeerip, Gerber Memorial community health lead. “We’re grateful to Lisa and Stan Deur and the Monsanto Fund for their generous support, and for helping us build a healthier community here in Newaygo County.”
The funds helped Gerber Memorial purchase kitchen items, materials and ingredients for the cooking classes.
Families gather at Tamarac for Cooking Matters sessions, which show parents and their kids how to prepare nutritious, delicious and affordable meals. The equipment and ingredients for the program are provided by a grant from Newaygo County residents Stan and Lisa Deur. During this session on June 21, the families learned how to make healthy turkey tacos.
Since the program began in 2010, the Grow Communities program has partnered with farmers to support nonprofit organizations important to them in their local communities. The program has given more than $29 million to farming communities since its inception, including more than $3 million in 2018. Each year, farmers enter for a chance to direct a $2,500 donation to a nonprofit they care about in their community. The organizations reflect the makeup and character of rural America, including emergency response organizations, schools, youth agriculture programs, food banks and many others.
“Farmers play a pivotal role in rural communities, and through their commitment to the Grow Communities program, we are able to provide the monetary support these nonprofit organizations need to make an impact,” said Al Mitchell, Monsanto Fund president. “We’re proud to play a part in helping these rural communities grow and thrive.”
To see if a nonprofit in your local community is a 2018 America’s Farmers Grow Communities recipient, visit www.GrowCommunities.com. You can also learn more about the Grow Communities program by checking out Facebook.com/AmericasFarmers.
Each Year the America’s Farmers Grow Community program partners with local farmers to provide grants to local nonprofits
Grow Communities, which is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, provides farmers the opportunity to support and give back to nonprofit organizations they care about in their local communities by enrolling for a chance to direct a $2,500 donation to a nonprofit of their choice.
Since 2010, the Grow Communities program has given more than $29 million to nonprofits across rural America.
Teeing It Up For The Cancer Center
Gerber Memorial golf scramble raises over $35,000
FREMONT – Despite the windy and cooler-than-average temperatures, 24 teams of 96 golfers teed off Friday, June 22, in the 18th annual Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial golf scramble sponsored by RTS Construction Group, LLC and Brant Electric LLC.
“We are truly grateful to our local businesses and community who support the foundation and events such as this,” said Loretta Towne, Spectrum Health Foundation Gerber Memorial specialist. “Our cancer center is committed to ensuring that everyone in our community has access to high-quality, cutting edge health care and resources to improve the overall wellness of our neighbors. We are so appreciative of our generous sponsors, local businesses and community who participated in our event this year.”
The scenic and challenging 18-hole course offered fun, including a chance to win $10,000 cash for a hole-in-one, which went unclaimed, a dog ball drop where therapy dogs Majik and Stella helped golfers get closer to the hole, team photos taken by FUZE Media Group along with door prizes and raffle drawings.
With over 32 sponsors, the event raised $35,910, an event record, which will benefit the Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Cancer Center.
The Spectrum Health Cancer Center at Gerber Memorial sees 2,912 patients, an increase of 150 patients compared to a year ago, with many of them from the Newaygo County area.
In 2017, Gerber Memorial’s annual golf fundraiser raised $30,919 for the cancer center – the previous record. Those funds helped improve flooring, add automatic door openers, widen the doorways and added a new consultation room.
To learn more on how you can support Spectrum Health Foundation Gerber Memorial, please contact Loretta Towne at 231.924.3681 or email email@example.com
Marathon Miles: Music for the Mind
By Alexis Mercer
Training for a marathon means a lot of time to myself. I consider this a blessing. Hours at a time to spend in the space in my own head.
Sometimes I am calculating pace, miles, distance, and heart rate vs. perceived effort. Other times I am planning out my week. Sometimes I am consciously enjoying the ability to not answer to anyone at all.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change anything about my life. I love teaching, coaching, being a wife, a mom to three children, writing for Near North Now, a photographer, and an outdoor enthusiast. But generally speaking, all those things means I always have questions to answer, schedules to arrange, curriculum to teach, meals to cook...the list goes on!
Training for a marathon is something that is just for me. I can try to answer my own questions, think my own thoughts, and choose what populates my head while I plod on down the road.
Sundays are designated for long runs. My training schedule had me running 8 to 9 miles today. I have about 18 weeks left of long runs on Sundays.
I always start my long run Sundays by listening to Mario Fraioli’s podcast called The Morning Shakeout. It’s something I look forward to immensely. His guests are always from a wide spectrum in the sport of running: providing me with interesting details to ponder about this sport I love so much and all it entails.
The Morning Shakeout never lasts more than an hour, however. So after that concludes, I switch to music. Even if I am not consciously listening to the music, it is nice to have something providing a beat to which I can move my feet.
This is where I am hoping the Near North Now readers can help me out. As I get into the longer runs, I won’t have enough music in my playlist to get me through to the end. I’m looking for suggestions.
Below is a list of some of the songs on my current playlist, entitled “Run on for a long time”. Some of them have been on my playlist for years, others are new within the last few months.
I’m open to any kind of music, though I really don’t enjoy rap unless it involves Lin Manuel Miranda. I enjoy anything with a good beat that will keep me moving!
Next week while I am running, I would enjoy having new tunes set as the background to wherever my mind chooses to wander.
“Run On For A Long Time” Playlist
My Shot - Lin Manuel Miranda
Ocean (Live) - John Butler Trio
Rise Up - Andra Day
Life in Technicolor ii - Coldplay
These Days - Rudimental
Springsteen - Eric Church
Parachute - Chris Stapleton
I Will Wait - Mumford & Sons
We Are Tonight - Billy Currington
Hey Brother - Avicii
Take Me Home - Darius Rucker
I Run to You - Lady Antebellum
God’s Gonna Cut You Down - Johnny Cash
Holdin’ Out - The Lumineers
Compass - Lady Antebellum
Shut Up and Dance - Straight No Chaser
Fire and the Flood - Vance Joy
Story of My Life - One Direction
How Far I’ll Go - Auli’i Cravalho
One Foot in Front of the Other - Carter Hulsey
The Champion - Carrie Underwood
Ed. Note: The group of writers who fill the pages of Near North gather regularly at the Riverstop Cafe for coffee, conversation, collaboration, critique and the occasional commentary on each others interests. The attendance varies as do the topics.
One could kind of feel something percolating when Alexis would talk about running.There was a 10k completed then later she took on the half marathon in GR. She seemed to be increasing her runs and dedicating time to logging in some heady miles.
N3 contributor and former distance runner Charles Chandler got it going a while back when he asked her when she was going to run a marathon. Alexis brushed aside the question with a smile and change the subject but the occasional query by Charles began being answered with more of a “We’ll see” rather than “Pretty doubtful”.
Then recently she threw down the gauntlet and decided in our pages for the world (well, at least our legions of readers) to see.....
She was going to do it.
And while training she was going to write about it.
The following week during our Riverstop rendezvous Charles reached in his shirt pocket and took out one of the medallions he received a few years back after completing one of his marathon runs, this one in Texas.
“Here, take a look at it,” he said. “You will be wearing one soon.”
And she smiled.
North Country Trail Adventure Part 3
By Bret Brummel
Newaygo North Country Trail Section 3 – 96th St. to Croton
Distance: 5.82 miles
It was another beautiful morning for a run. We began on the corner of 96th St and Locust. Three tom turkeys and a few cows watched from an adjacent field as we completed our warm-up exercises. Anna has this whole routine that her Cross Country team uses to warm up. I do my best to follow her example, but there are a few things my 47-year-old body just can’t do without looking ridiculous. I try my best, and hope no one I know happens to drive by while I’m trying to do the “AC’s” or whatever that thing is called.
We headed north towards Bill’s Lake and I felt great. I noticed that I was ahead of Anna and every 20 yards she would look at her running watch. There is a lot of technology available for those who run. I use my phone with the Runkeeper app. It uses GPS to track my mileage and pace throughout my run. I also have it set to announce the distance and pace every 5 minutes. Anna wears a watch that has a constant display of distance and pace. A quarter mile into our run, she informed me I was going a little fast. Actually, she said, “We’re going almost 6 miles, you’ll die if you don’t slow down.” Point taken, I let her lead. The pace she chose was perfect. We turned on 92nd St. and as we approached Elm, I wasn’t tired at all and could tell it was going to be a great run. I did notice Anna’s breathing was a bit shallow. Could this be a day when I actually beat her to the finish?
Elm is not the best road for running. There can be lots of traffic and the shoulder of the road is very narrow. With the number of hills on the road, I spent most of the time following Anna in a single file line. We did have to stop at the corner of Elm and M82 by Hilltop Express to wait for traffic before we could cross. I joked with Anna that it was 2 miles to our house or 4 miles to the van. We chose to head for the van. As Elm began to curve, I could tell Anna was struggling. A side stitch was making her run completely the opposite of mine. I felt like I could go on forever. When asked if she wanted to stop a minute, I got the death stare. “Nope, I’m fine” was her reply. After another mile, she was feeling better and we were approaching Croton Hardy Drive.
The trail leaves Elm just past Conklin Park and takes you to the Edge Pathway along the river. That path would take us to the bridge over the river where we would take our run selfie with the dam in the background. Anna knew we planned to stop there and she found the energy to begin her usual negative split running to the finish. Negative split is a running term used when you increase your speed the farther you run. That’s where I usually fall behind. I’m more of a flat or positive split guy. We stopped in the middle of the bridge for our picture.
The finish was at the public access parking lot where our van was parked at the bottom of the hill. Because we had stopped, I actually had a chance to beat Anna if I played my cards right. I planned to follow her across Croton Hardy Drive and sprint once we began running down the hill. Somehow, she must have read my mind. I started to make my move and she countered with one of her own. I was running as fast as I had in years. Just as I closed the gap, she yelled “I WILL NOT LET YOU BEAT ME!” I wish I could say I lost in a photo finish. As we stopped, both bent over, breathing heavily and laughing, Anna said, “I knew you’d try to pass me.” She knows me too well.
Bridge Card holders can double their purchasing power at farmers markets
Editor Note: Big Rapids and Muskegon are the nearest confirmed Double Up markets.
LANSING– As summer arrives, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Michigan Farmers Market Association remind families receiving food assistance benefits that they can buy fresh food at farmers market while maximizing their purchasing power.
In addition to accepting Bridge Card payments, 144 Michigan farmers markets and farm stands also participate in the Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks, which allows Bridge Card holders to get double their money for fruits and vegetables – a dollar-for-dollar match up to $20 every market day – while supporting local growers. For example, a family that spends $10 in food assistance benefits at a participating farmers market gets $10 in Double Up Food Bucks to buy locally grown produce.
“It’s important to MDHHS to make available healthy options at an affordable price for Michiganders who receive food assistance benefits to feed their families,” said Terry Beurer, MDHHS deputy director for Field Operations Administration. “Michigan’s farmers markets provide nutritional food and Double Up Food Bucks allows them to buy more food with their benefits.”
Currently, 164 Michigan farmers markets accept Bridge Cards that are loaded with food assistance benefits. To find a farmers market that accepts Bridge Cards, visit the Michigan Farmers Market Association Find a Farmers Market feature online at www.mifma.org/findafarmersmarket. The site allows visitors to search for a farmers market by city, county or day of the week. They can search based on the food assistance benefits they will use while shopping – Bridge Card (food assistance only), Double Up Food Bucks, WIC Project FRESH, Senior Project FRESH/Market FRESH orHoophouses for Health.
“The positive impact that food assistance programs have on farmers markets is immense. It becomes not just a win for the client, but also for the farmers market and the vendors selling at the market,” said Joe Lesausky, food access manager at the Michigan Farmers Market Association. “Every year, I continue to see new market managers reaching out, and asking how they can start accepting Bridge Cards.”
Temporary food assistance for eligible low-income families and individuals is available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and is referred to as the Food Assistance Program in Michigan. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/FoodAssistance.
Paleo Joe Arrives In Newaygo
The first day of summer also brought the second installment of the Summer Reading program at Newaygo District Library and on this sunny Thursday morning Jurassic World landed in Newaygo.
No, not the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom movie that has once again sparked an ever simmering interest in dinosaurs. It was Paleo Joe who has been spinning his stories and paleontological presentations to young and old for 25 years.
The Midland based Paleontologist begins with teaching the crowd about the fossils that are found in our state with some interesting twists and tips on finding them. Then, of course, when he segues into dinosaurs the energy of the young crowd ramps up a few levels and a sea of hands are thrust in the air, each with a vital question attached.
Soon the Dinomobile was off to the White Cloud Library for another show. Paleo Joe had visited Grant earlier in the week and this coming Tuesday he will be bringing his presentation to the Fremont branch.
These programs are outstanding ways to spend a bit of time on a summer day and the kids in attendance were making the most of a gorgeous first official day of summer
Next week Thursday (6-29) will see the arrival of the Outdoor Discovery Center along with some of their animal friends.
Brooks Park. 11a.m.
Your kids will love it.
So will you.
Going For It In The Grove
Trail Trot returns to the Cloud
One of the more scenic cross country runs in the area is Strider’s Grove in White Cloud. Serving as the home course for The Cloud’s Cross Country team the route provides that nice blend of hills and flatland meandering through the area around our county seat
Each July for the past five years the team has sponsored the White Cloud Trail Trot an event that drew over 60 folks last year.
Here are some cool things about this run:
Want more info? Try
And here’s a registration form:
Come on out and support the sport that saw nearly a half a million high school athletes across the country compete at during this past year.
“Some seek the comfort of their therapist's office, other head to the corner pub and dive into a pint, but I chose running as my therapy.”-Dean Karnazes
Newaygo North Country Trail Section 2 – Pear to 96th St.
By Bret Brummel
Distance: 4.51 miles
Anna and I both decided the second leg was bound to be better than the first. The morning was cool, there were clouds in the sky, and I noticed there would be trees lining both sides of the road. The corner of 128th and Pear Ave. was where we began. When researching the trip, I was looking forward to this road section. The family farm where my mother was raised was just down the road from our starting point and we would be passing many familiar spots where I hadn’t traveled in years. Unfortunately for Anna, she was about to get a history lesson.
During our warm-up stretches, I pointed out we were in front of my Uncle Steve’s old house and that this is the road her Grandpa said he once ran over a blue racer snake that stretched over the both sides of the road. Heading down Pear toward 120th St, we passed Uncle Stuart’s old house, Bouwkamps’ Muck Farm, and the woods where I used to rabbit hunt as a child with my beagle Snoopy. She learned that the lake we passed was Roy’s Lake and how surprised I was that you could see it from the road. Through the woods was a deer hunting spot Grandpa calls “Number 7” for the seven-point buck he shot. Looking back, I wonder how long it was before all Anna was hearing was the school teacher from the Charlie Brown Cartoons? It’s no wonder she started picking up the pace.
The trail took us onto 120th St, North on Locust to our van parked on 96th St. With a half of a mile to go, Anna asked if I could see the finish. I pointed to a few large trees and told her there was our goal. She said “OK” and picked up her pace beating me to the finish once again. It was a much nicer run. Although it was longer than our first leg, we both felt great at the finish. Did I mention that we passed the flowing well at Hilbrands’ hunting cabin? The road you take to Knoxes? Norquists? Boffings? Vandermeulens?!?