Newaygo County has a vast amount of natural resources for its residents and visitors alike to enjoy. There are rivers, streams, lakes, forests, fields and valleys. Much of what draws people from all over the country and world to Newaygo is this wide array of beauty all in close proximity.
Bret Brummel has been a resident of Newaygo County for all his life. This past spring, he and his 15 year-old daughter, Anna, decided they were going to embark on a new kind of adventure to explore one facet of the natural resources in their hometown.
The North Country Trail provides 66 miles of well-groomed trails to walk, run or hike in Newaygo County alone. Stretching from eastern New York to central North Dakota, the NCT is 4,600 miles long and is managed by federal, state and local agencies, and maintained mostly by volunteers of the North Country Trail Association (NCTA).
To challenge hikers to explore more miles on the NCT, there is a Hike 100 Challenge. To learn more about this challenge, click on the blue button below. Anyone can sign up (this year there is also a Hike 50 Challenge to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System Act). You can download trail information, a log sheet, and kids’ information..and get hiking!
Bret and Anna decided their next goal was not only to run all of Newaygo County’s 66 miles of North Country Trail, but then to go back and complete the Hike 100 Challenge with their favorite sections within Newaygo County to get all 100 by the end of the summer.
Over the course of the next few months, they will be sharing details from each leg of the journey as they complete it. Below is the story of their first leg.
North Country Trail Adventure
By Bret Brummel
Newaygo North Country Trail Section 1 – 22-mile road to Pear.
Distance: 3.56 miles
My son Ryan is the runner in the family, I was not. However, watching him fall in love with running hundreds of miles during his Cross Country and Track seasons encouraged me to give it a try. That lasted about two months. It wasn’t until Anna began running cross country in Middle School that I became a runner. There was no way I was going to let my daughter run 3 miles alone at the age of 13. She wasn’t fast enough to keep up with her brother, so I was “next man up”. That meant new running shoes, a new training plan, and the determination not to get embarrassed by a 13-year-old girl.
Anna didn’t have the same love of running that Ryan has. She planned to use Cross Country season to get in shape for basketball. She’s not a fan of running on the road but wouldn’t hesitate to tag along when Ryan wanted to run on the North Country Trail. Last Fall, Anna and I began taking trips to the parking area in Croton or on 40th street for an hour of out and back Sunday long runs. They are supposed to be run at “conversation pace”, however, some days I’m not much for conversation while I’m struggling to breathe on the runs that seem to be ever increasing in distance each week. It became a habit that both of us enjoyed. That led us to the Hike 100 Challenge offered by the North Country Trail this year. We decided to take the challenge by completing our 100 miles on the Newaygo County portion of the trail.
We ran our first section on Memorial Day weekend. A road section from 22-mile Road and Oak Ave. to 128th St. and Pear Avenue in Grant. I had been running twice a week and Anna had been playing Soccer this spring. I was confident the 3.5 miles would be a nice easy road run for us. We knew the temperature was going to be hot, so we started our run at 9:00 am. I didn’t realize the only shade on the route was in the first mile. By the time we turned onto 128th St., our pace slowed, the conversation ended, and the finish couldn’t come soon enough. With ½ mile to go, Anna picked up her pace and finished a minute ahead of me. I approached the van as Anna finished taking a drink from her water bottle. She looked up and said, “That Sucked”. All I could muster for a reply was “Uh-huh”. Whose idea was this anyway?
Run On For A Long Time
By Alexis Mercer
I didn’t think I was much of a Johnny Cash fan. Until one of the runners I follow on Instagram posted a video with the song God’s Gonna Cut You Down as the background music while she ran on, and on, and on….
She only posted the part of the song that went “run on for a long time, run on for a long time…” and I thought it was perfect to add to my playlist for long runs. So I did. And wow do I love that song. It has a great beat, soul, and the lyrics are fantastic.
The only problem is that when the line that was posted on Instagram was used, it was definitely taken out of context, since the next line says “sooner of later God’ll cut you down.”
Which is kind of a buzzkill when you’re jammin’ and running and thinking you’re listening to the perfect song about running on for a long time and to keep on keepin’ on.
I decided it was worth keeping on my playlist, though. It really is a great song. And the best part is that it has given me a lot to consider on my long runs. Because I have a new goal.
I’m rather superstitious. I wasn’t going to put it out there in the universe for fear that if I did, something would go wrong and I wouldn’t be able to complete the marathon due to injury, or illness or being unable to fit the massive amount of training required into my already busy schedule. And then I would be disappointing myself and everyone who knew I was going to try to run a marathon.
But the thing about my super scary goal is that I would love to write about it as I go because I think there are many runners out there who only post the good and great moments in their running lives. Those who post selfies after races where they got a PR (personal record) or a photo of their route on a really long run (don’t get me wrong...I do this, too...and I love seeing all of those selfies, so keep ‘em coming).
I want to post the good and the bad and everything in between; because that is what training is all about. We all have bad days where we don’t think we will make it up the hill; we all have times when we feel like we’ve been cut down.
My hope is that putting my goal of a marathon out in the universe for everyone to see, and then writing about my training this summer, will help encourage others who may have a goal that seems crazy or scary to go after it.
Today I worked through my disappointment in Johnny’s lyrics on my 8 mile run. I plan on running on for a long time this summer. I’m sure that I will get cut down now and again. I have long since learned that to run means it is about the journey and all its ups and downs even more than the finish line.
Gerber Memorial medical fitness program helps patients build momentum for maximum health
FREMONT– For years, Cathy Stout, PA-C, has lived with back and knee pain.
Then in January, the physician assistant at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Family Medicine – Main Street, signed up for a medical fitness program that’s conducted at Tamarac, a mile west of her clinic in downtown Fremont.
Her husband, Mark Terryn, a retiree who’d long suffered chronic back pain, signed up too.
“I feel a lot better, a lot stronger, and I can do a lot more now,” Terryn says. “I’ll always have back pain and there’s nothing I can do about that, but I can tolerate it a lot more now with exercise. I want to feel more fit, I want to tie my shoes without being out of breath, and now I can.”
The eight-week, medically supervised program, called Momentum, has produced such positive results for the couple that Stout now recommends it to many of her own patients.
Momentum is held at Tamarac, which is a part of Spectrum Health. Anyone can sign up for the program, which costs $125 for eight weeks, or a primary care provider can recommend the program for their patients. Financial assistance is available for patients who qualify.
“Our medical fitness program is one way to help patients get their strength back, get more flexibility and reduce pain with the help of trained health and fitness professionals, and also reduce pain medications,” Stout says.
Most of the patients she’s referred, with the testimony of her own firsthand experience, have signed up for Momentum. And as of December, Tamarac’s Momentum program is in special company statewide when it received the national Medical Fitness Association certification recognizing Tamarac’s program for its quality and safety. Tamarac is the first facility in West Michigan with the national certification, and only one of three in Michigan. The other two are in southeast Michigan.
When Tamarac received the certification, Gerber Memorial’s director of community health and wellness Josh Gustafson said: “This recognition is a tribute to the outstanding health professionals we have at Tamarac and Gerber Memorial who are committed to connecting people with the care and services they need, from beginning to end, that can result in better outcomes.
The Medical Fitness Association certification means that we look at the whole person with the goal of addressing all related health and wellness challenges, then recommending the best clinical pathways for that individual and working with medical and health professionals every step of the way.”
For Stout and Terryn, the first step after signing up for Momentum was getting an initial assessment, usually lasting about 90 minutes.
Matt Purtee, a certified fitness specialist at Tamarac, says that during the initial assessment, he reviews a client’s medical and exercise history. Hee H records their height, weight, blood pressure and other resting measurements. Then he leads them through a few standard exercise tests.
Terryn and Stout say they also tested their flexibility, along with some basic exercises like pushups.
Together, the certified fitness specialist and the client create a personalized exercise routine that includes scheduling twice-a-week supervised workouts for the next eight weeks.
“If the patient is referred to us by their provider, we would make sure they are cleared to exercise and then relay any necessary information,” Purtee says. “The most common health professionals we communicate with are primary care physicians and physical therapists. We then provide the physician with the patient’s results.”
For Terryn and Stout, the program included building stamina and endurance on the exercise bike and laps around Tamarac’s walking track. They did wall pushups and squats. They worked on flexibility with their certified fitness specialist, J.J. Schafer.
Schafer says that most of the clients in Momentum have goals that include losing weight and body fat percentage; reducing their blood pressure; increasing strength and balance; and reducing blood sugar levels to eliminate, reduce or avoid diabetes.
Toward the end of the eight-week program, Terryn says he saw clear improvements.
“My plank time went from 30 seconds to 60 seconds,” he says. “Before, all I could do was move from the bed to the recliner because of the pain. Now, I’m stronger, I’ve lost fat on my belly and around targeted areas. I can do more, and that’s improved my quality of life.”
Stout has significantly improved her flexibility. Over the course of the program, she did more weights, with Schafer’s supervision.
“J.J. shows you the proper way to do the exercises, to do the weights,” Stout says. “She focuses on proper posture, what to do and what not to do. If you do them wrong, you’re not getting the full benefit of the exercises.”
Schafer says: “We help them not only establish personal goals throughout the eight weeks, but we also hold them accountable and encourage them along the way to keep them motivated. We do our best to remind them why they are here and how much of a positive difference this can make in their lives.”
Before an initial assessment, Schafer and Purtee recommend that people gather their health information and information on medications. They should dress for exercise at the initial assessment.
Purtee said all certified fitness specialists at Tamarac are experienced in working with patients in a clinical setting which maximizes the benefits of exercise, regardless of the client’s health and condition.
“The name of our program, Momentum, speaks for itself: The strength or force that allows something to continue or to grow stronger or faster as time passes,” Purtee says. “Our Momentum medical fitness program will help individuals improve their health and incorporate exercise into a more functional lifestyle.”
For Stout, Momentum’s effect is clear: “I feel more energized than before.”
Momentum medical fitness program: $125, for eight weeks. Financial assistance is available. Call 231.924.2193 for more information.
Kayak event in The Cloud
Ok so you’re equipped with kayak(s) and the Mighty Muskegon is one of your favorite paddles. Of course.
After we’re talking about a world class river, the host of a pair of National events as well a daily parade of paddlecraft piloting past the trove of tubers populating the waters on weekends.
Oh, and maybe there’s been a lake-type voyage or two on Hess or maybe the Chains, Robinson or Croton Pond. Those nice easy floats so conducive to relaxation and/or reflection.
But tell me, have you ventured down the White?
It is magnificent. A winding waterway of wonder where one can float a bit maneuver a few pleasant turns and take in a bounty of beauty courtesy of Mom Nature. The river runs along at a good pace without being too dicey for less traveled paddlers.
I will forever be indebted to my good friend (and co contributor to Near North) Charles Chandler who guided me down this often overlooked gem of a stream while pointing out intriguing sights along the way.
Well, this week Friday and Saturday during the Rockin’ The Park celebration in the Cloud you can get a bit of guidance and take the ride between the Rotary Park launching area and the inimitable flowing well. It’s a great way to spend an hour or so basking in the beauty of June before maybe taking some time to check out the action at the Park.
And as a huge bonus the aforementioned Charles Chandler as well as the equally watercraft wise Dianne Taylor Chandler will be your guides for the 10am and noon departures to help make the ride a memorable one.
Grab your kayak and come join the fun on the White. If it’s your first time you’ll not be disappointed.
If you’ve already been down this scintillating stretch?
We needn’t say another word.
For more info….
IB delivers class on savings
The subject matter of some parent/ child talks can be difficult. At times they never even occur because of the discomfort associated with the subject or perhaps the information get delivered in a kind of stunted and piecemeal manner with limited benefits. That’s when an outside source can be helpful.
We’re talking about finances of course.
How old were you when you learned about money? Where did you learn it and from who? Did someone in your family provide information or did you hear it on the street?
The importance of developing money management skills early on is a concept embraced by staff members of Independent Bank who delivered a Financial Literacy Workshop with the 3rd and 4th graders of Velma Matson Elementary.
Elizabeth Wendt, who taught the classes along with Erika Bowman spoke about the experience.
“One of the students had opened a Swift Saver right before we came to visit the classes and he was so excited to brag to his classmates about his Swift Eagle and how he almost has his coin book filled.
“You would also be surprised how many kids want to save up to donate to various causes and people in need. One a little girl wanted to buy her grandpa hearing aids.
“Interestingly quite a few kids want to save up to buy their own cow.”
Cow craving aside, Ms. Wendt was impressed by their enthusiasm for having their money work for them.
“A lot of kids inquired on how much interest they would earn with the accounts. They were all about the free money they would earn between interest and their coin book match deposit.”
“Independent Bank believes in giving back to the community and investing in it’s future leaders,” said Rhonda Buter AVP Bank Manager.”These programs are a fun, interactive way for us to help educate students about the importance of money and how to set themselves up for success.”
“Programs like Teach Kids to Save are designed to help inform students about finances; the importance of savings, how interest works and, properly managing their funds. Students are also encouraged to share what they learned with their families and to establish a savings account to start working toward their savings goals.”
We asked Ms. Buter how the lessons have been received from the kids schools and parents.
“The schools are incredibly welcoming and accommodating; often changing their lesson plans to incorporate our presentations. Kids have been excited to explain how they earn money and what they are saving for. They are often astonished to hear how they can come into the bank, open an account, and do transactions just like adults can. Parents are incredibly responsive; bringing their child into the bank to see their “what are you saving for” colored picture that is displayed, asking additional questions and thanking us for taking the time to talk at the schools.”
The ‘What are you saving for?” colored pages have filled the walls of the Newaygo branch and the winner of the random drawing, Addison Elder was honored with a visit to the classroom by IB’s eagle-eyed (and finely feathered) mascot Swift who flew in to help present Addison with a $25 deposit certificate.
Kudos to Independent Bank for providing this money management initiative and double kudos to Swift who braved the day’s boiling temperatures while fully feathered and managed to maintain his legendary good humor.
Story and photos by Charles Chandler
In the retail world, there are establishments called anchor stores. The places guaranteed to bring shoppers to downtown or to those trendy urban shopping areas. They are the ones that we depend on being open when we want to buy certain brands or items or just browse to see the latest stuff. In smaller cities like White Cloud, those stores are more than a retail venue and can be a vital anchor for the community. Such is Rosenberg’s Hardware.
On November 15th, 1900, Mr. George Robert Rosenberg purchased the Hardware Store from Mr. A. Q. Adams. A good day it was because a wonderful family made White Cloud their permanent home and now, 118 years later, Rosenberg’s Hardware is still a shopping destination.
During the depression, the Store came close to folding, however, the people of White Cloud were determined to not let that happen and scraped together enough to pay the property tax to help the Rosenberg’s keep the doors open. Today the store has about 1200 feet of floor space, an incredible inventory, and a well-stocked tool and equipment rental section. The faithful have a saying that “if you can’t find it in Rosenberg’s then you didn’t need it anyway.”
The store is currently operated by Bob Rosenberg, son Eric, and with occasional assistance from his Grandson Isaac. His primary job is to oversee the activities of Susie the familiar English setter that often can be found napping behind the service counter. The Store is open seven days a week and customers are served by a staff of 14 and most with roughly 25 to 30 years of service. These 14 helpful folks can only be described as the Store family.
If the Store and the Rosenberg’s are the anchors in White Cloud then the staff is certainly the links in that anchor chain. Staff members like Burt Jackson, Pat, and Jeanette are unbelievably dedicated to the customers and the Store. When asked why he has stayed with Rosenberg’s for almost 40 years Burt Jackson replied “I like working here, it is interesting work and I like helping our customers.”
The next question was predictable, ‘Burt are the fish biting?’
The N3 Correspondent asked Bob Rosenberg if he could gather the clan in the Store for a generational photo and a brief interview. He did without complaint and gave a day and times for the in-Store meet up. They were early of course and the beautiful and beloved Dottie Rosenberg the Family Matriarch was well prepared with several family documents and her personal copy of Newaygo County History and Biographies.
Dottie and I were standing near the service counter waiting for Bob to finish with a customer and I commented on the extensive collection of taxidermy mounts and eclectic cultural artifacts around the Store. Dottie agreed and said that her husband, George Rosenberg, started the collections and Bob had organized the displays. Dottie pointed to a pair of crossed wooden skies on a nearby wall that belonged to her stepmom, Ms. Kolk
Ms. Kolk had been born in Copenhagen, Denmark and her father had made those skis for her so when she came to America she brought them with her. Dottie recalled that in the snowy Michigan winters her stepmom would ski down to the mailbox to retrieve the daily mail.
Bob finished with his customer and for a quick moment in time four generations of Rosenberg’s stood behind the service counter, smiled, had their photo taken, and then went about their daily business. But it was a moment that was somehow larger than what was captured in the photo. What was not captured was this hardworking family’s long relationship with this store and this community. And, perhaps what was seen in that brief moment was a glimpse of that elusive American Dream.
It was an interesting and fluid interview because Bob and Eric were waiting on the customers, and Mom Debbie was wrangling grandson Isaac and Susie. When shopping in Rosenberg’s the lines kind of blur between a family get together, a community social and a shopping trip. Everyone is talking, or looking for something, or calling Burt or Pat to the phone, or standing around in the wide aisles sharing the latest news. If Dotty is in the Store it is greetings and hugs all around for and by her extensive network of friends and acquaintances. At any minute you expect someone to reach behind the service counter and break out the potato salad and a casserole.
I asked Bob how the Rosenberg’s had been able to stay in business for all these years and compete with the big box stores in nearby Fremont and Big Rapids. I mentioned that most American Companies and many countries have not lasted as long as Rosenberg’s Hardware. His answer was surprisingly simple, “it is stocking items that customers need and the consistently friendly and professional service that our employees provide. The good Lord just keeps bringing us wonderful people to help run the Store. As for competition, we will always have that, first, it was Sears, then Kmart, then Wal-Mart and now Amazon. We don’t chase price points with these big box stores because they will drop their prices on certain items for a week or so and then the price will creep back up to about where we are on the same items. Asked about his future strategy, (with a smile and quick laugh) he said well Eric is here now and putting in over 40 hours a week, and Grandson Isaac is out there running around somewhere and we will keep doing what we are doing now and hope our customers keep shopping with us.”
A couple days after the photo I was back in the store for bar oil for the chainsaw and asked a familiar customer if he thought Rosenberg’s was an anchor store? He said something like, I don’t know much about anchor stores, but I shop here because they are always open, have what I need and I like the people I meet here.
That depression era change we invested with you guys really paid off and we in the Cloud do appreciate the Rosenberg Family and the Hardware Store even if we don’t say it very often.
Retired Gerber Memorial physician shares a glimpse of hospital in first half of its century
Jess DeYoung, MD, helped moms relieve pain during childbirth not with epidurals, but with nitrous oxide. “Laughing gas,” the 93-year-old retired general practice doctor explains. “You know they’d had enough when their arm would fall to the side and cut off the supply. Things were a lot simpler then.”
“Then” was the 1950s.
“Simpler” meant doctors used a stethoscope to find the baby’s heartbeat, and check mom and baby’s wellbeing by the color of the blood. Ultrasound machines used for diagnostic imaging wouldn’t appear in U.S. hospitals until the mid-1960s.
And as a general practitioner in Fremont, DeYoung performed a range of surgeries, from C-sections and hysterectomies to the removal of gall bladders, tonsils and varicose veins.
“We did everything,” he says. “We referred very little. We set fractures, we did surgeries, we delivered babies. That was normal for its day.”
When DeYoung began working at what was then called Gerber Memorial Hospital in 1954, the world was, in many ways, a smaller place. DeYoung was born on his 20-cow family dairy about 5 miles outside Fremont in Newaygo County.
“The best place to grow up is on a farm,” DeYoung recalls. “Any place where you have to work hard is a good place to grow up.”
After graduating from Fremont High School and working on the farm for four years, DeYoung went to the University of Michigan and graduated with his medical degree in 1953. He returned to Fremont because, as he puts it, coming home provided the “stream of last resistance.” He’d become acquainted with Brooker Masters, MD, who ran a general medical practice in town. (Masters needed a partner and talked DeYoung into coming back. Masters also became the hospital chief of staff and the official masters of ceremonies when Gerber Memorial unveiled its new $700,000 hospital in 1954 on what is now its current location on Sullivan Street in Fremont.)
DeYoung recalls the area had about five doctors when he started. They had privileges at Gerber Memorial, what would become Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, as it’s now called in 2018, 100 years after the hospital itself was born as a philanthropic gift in 1918 from the children of Joseph and Agnes Gerber of the Gerber baby food family fame.
When DeYoung began working at Gerber Memorial, doctors would be informally screened during their first year. At the end of that year, the rest of the staff – from administrator and nurses to the part-time janitor – would vote on whether the doctor stayed or, using a 21st-century pop culture metaphor, got kicked off the island.
DeYoung stayed, for another 35 years.
Despite the versatility of his medical career as a general practitioner, babies are a recurring theme for DeYoung.
Several Gerber Memorial employees, even in 2018, recall being delivered by DeYoung.
One is Katherine Evans, RN, who says three of her four siblings were delivered thanks to DeYoung. After graduating from nursing school, Evans came back to Fremont and worked at Gerber Memorial in 1989 –right alongside DeYoung, the doctor who delivered her.
“Dr. DeYoung is such a generous, kind individual who not only cared for his patients, but he also always took time to mentor younger colleagues at the hospital such as myself and many others,” Evans says. “My mom always got a kick knowing I worked with the guy who helped bring me into the world. Gerber Memorial is the kind of place where people get to know each other and where you can literally find lifelong friendships.”
DeYoung says Evans’ mom was his best advertisement.
“She would tell anyone within earshot that I delivered her daughter, and so did a few other moms,” DeYoung says. “Some doctors will say they delivered 1,000 babies. I have to be honest I never counted the babies I delivered. If anyone asks, I could say 1,000. Or 2,000. Nobody’s going to know,” he adds with a gleam in his eye.
Early in his career, DeYoung describes a kind of art that went along with the science of delivering babies. Like the mom who was ready to give birth at 3 a.m. very early in DeYoung’s medical career.
“The mother is about to give birth and suddenly a hand comes out, and I knew you can’t deliver a baby like that,” DeYoung recalls. “I needed to do something, so I called one of my colleagues and told him that I’ve never seen anything like that and he needed to settle me down. I told him, ‘I got a lady here with a hand hanging out, so what do I do?’ And he said, ‘Try to push it back up and turn the baby around.’ So I did, and by golly, it worked. Baby was delivered, mom was fine. And I didn’t see something like that ever again, and that’s a good thing.
DeYoung marvels at how the medical profession has evolved in his 35-year career at Gerber Memorial – especially the cost of care.
In the 1950s, a doctor’s visit was $3.
“Didn’t matter whether you stayed for 2 minutes of 2 hours talking to the doctor, it was $3,” he says. That’s the equivalent of about $28 today.
Surgery for appendicitis, $150, and that included a 1-week stay at the hospital to recuperate. Baby deliveries were $75, also inclusive of a week-long stay at the hospital – equal to around $700 today.
While costs for similar medical services today may vary depending on the patient, they are considerably higher, even adjusted for inflation.
After retiring in 1989, DeYoung took a refurbished motor home that was converted into a doctor’s office, and roamed the countryside around Newaygo County. He swung by Holton, Bitely and Croton. He’d park by the local fire station or the school, and wait for patients who didn’t have the time or the means to get to the nearest clinic or the hospital itself. They got their blood pressure screened and underwent a basic checkup. A fridge in the motor home held injections and vaccines. The patients almost always paid in cash. DeYoung says the idea was to bring healthcare to rural communities, something the modern incarnation of Gerber Memorial still does to this day, hosting health screenings in hard-to-get communities served by one road in, one road out.
In retirement, DeYoung plays a lot of Sudoku and tinkers around on his iPad, when he’s not spending time with his four children, 13 grand kids and 5 great-grandchildren.
DeYoung is grateful for his career in medicine, and considers himself fortunate to have been able to serve so many people over a 35-year career in a community that has always been home to him.
Describing his decision to drive the motor home around rural Newaygo County, parking at fire stations and waiting for patients to walk in for a blood pressure screening, well past his official retirement, DeYoung says: “If you do something you like to do, do it till you die.”
NOTE: As Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial turns 100 this year, please share any photos or memories, by emailingSHGMinfo@spectrumhealth.org.