“Hit the Road Joe” Gets First Green Hero Award from 3REE
3R Environmental Education (3REE) will present its first Green Hero Award at the next monthly CEWAC meeting on Thursday, July 11. The meeting begins at 6pm at Brooks Township Hall, 490 Quarterline Street, Newaygo.
Hit the Road Joe has met 3REE’s sustainability initiative requirements for local restaurants and eateries to be eligible for this award. These may include eliminating plastic straws and Styrofoam containers, utilizing energy saving light bulbs and equipment, and even composting appropriate food waste.
“Hit the Road Joe has been a Green Mindful business long before 3R’s Green Hero Awards came into place,” states Nick Looman, 3REE Executive Director. “We are eager to recognize them for their eco-friendly efforts as our first awardee. They were nominated by a long-time customer of theirs, Valerie Deur, who reviewed the requirements and application process with Linda Cudworth, owner of the restaurant.”
Hit the Road Joe is a unique coffee shop, restaurant and neighborhood meeting place in the Croton area. Located at 9271 Elm Avenue (Newaygo address), Hit the Road Joe offers handcrafted breakfasts, lunches and monthly specialty dinners along with local artisan made jewelry, ceramics and hand sewn crafts.
Camp Newaygo Chef Whitney Saylor will also be at this awards meeting to talk about the camp’s “Kitchen Food Waste Composting” initiative. “Camp Newaygo started a Food Waste Composting and animal feed service last year to help make a positive impact in our community,” states Ms. Saylor. “By keeping our food waste separate from our daily trash it cuts down on the amount of garbage in our dumpster, creating less pickups each week, and keeps that usable product out of our landfills. For our Youth campers it helps to show them how much waste each of us creates (as they are watching a bucket fill up) and shows them how to be more sustainable at home as well. For the Farmers it cuts down on the cost of feeding their livestock as they can supplement that with our food scraps.”
The Camp Chef states the Food Waste Composting Program fits in with the Camp Newaygo’s mission of creating a safe space for youth to become their best selves. She adds,” To be our best selves we need to do our due diligence to respect the environment and support our local community. By composting our food waste and donating it as animal feed we feel that we are taking steps to do this, and teaching our youth how to take these steps as well.”
“The public is welcome to help us honor Hit the Road Joe at our next meeting, and to learn about how our local eateries can have a more positive impact on our environment while serving their customers,” states Sally Wagoner, Co-coordinator of CEWAC – Citizens Environmental Watch and Action Coalition. “If you have a favorite restaurant, we ask you to take 3R’s ‘Green Hero Award’ information packet to its owner, and encourage them to take the steps needed to become a more eco-friendly eatery. If they meet the minimum requirements, 3R and CEWAC will honor them with a Green Hero Award Certificate and positive publicity for their efforts.”
The public can obtain a Green Hero Award packet to take to a favorite restaurant by attending the next CEWAC meeting on Thursday, July 11, 6pm at Brooks Township Hall, Newaygo. To learn more about 3R Environmental Education, Recycling in Newaygo County, and Citizens Environmental Watch and Action Coalition, contact Nick at 231.924.5822, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at 3r-education.org.
Megan Again: Cheers to 60 years!
By Megan Wirts
Note: Our Ms. Wirts recently delivered this tribute to love at a gathering for her Grandparents 60th anniversary.
Welcome everyone! For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Megan Wirts, I am the eldest (*cough* favorite) granddaughter of Jim and Sharon Frey. On behalf of the family, I would like to thank you all for joining us today to celebrate this special occasion.
60 years. 6-0. According to recent statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of married persons who reach their 25th anniversary is 33%; 20% of couples reach their 35th anniversary; but only 5% reach their 50th anniversary. The 60th anniversary . . . who can even imagine that? But, these two young little love birds have beat the odds and created a life together filled with laughter and love, a marriage that many of us look to as inspiration and with admiration.
When I was told that we were going to be having this celebration and that I should give a speech, I decided to go for a visit to grandma and grandpa’s house to get some inside information. Plus, I love to hear them tell the story of how they met because whenever they do, my grandma turns 10 shades of red and has the biggest grin on her face and my grandpa has that mischievous twinkle in his eye that we all love so dearly.
It all started back in 1957 when Sharon VanIddeking was just 15 years old and Jim Frey was 16. Jim’s friend Ronnie Atwood set them up on a blind date. Neither of them knew anything about the other and on the day of this blind date, Sharon didn’t know what time the boys were coming to pick her up so when Jim and Ronnie showed up, she was out in the barn milking cows with Bobby Barnes. Although, my grandpa likes to say that she was having a roll in the hay and that’s how he knew she was the girl for him, and then my grandma blushes and says “No, no, no! But I wasn’t ready, I was out there wearing floozy shorts and I needed to fix my hair!”. Sharon says that she saw the boys walking up the drive and saw Ronnie with a cute boy with red hair and she rushed into the house to get ready before he could see her. They ended up going to the movies and that was it, they were smitten with each other, and as Jim says “she was all over me like a dose of salt.” Sharon said she didn’t kiss him on the first date though, she was a lady and waited until the second date while wearing red lipstick and she left her mark. She really did, she left red lipstick smeared on Jim’s face and his friends teased the heck out of him, but if I know my grandpa, he was pretty proud.
Two years later after Sharon graduated highschool, the two of them were married on June 26, 1959 in a simple church ceremony surrounded by their close family and friends. They spent many years of their life together farming and raising five children, which then grew to 18 grandchildren and 20+ great grandchildren, give or take a few depending on who is getting married or having babies in the future. They have cared for all of us, treated our colds with whiskey and honey and given us enough cookies and popsicles to last a lifetime.
I think what has helped keep their marriage strong is that they love to do things together. They love to go camping, fishing, and play cards together. Going camping and fishing with the grandparents was always a highlight of my summer. I remember going up to the UP and fishing for walleye with them and the uncles, Uncle Don and Uncle John. They taught us all how to play Euchre and that if you are going to go alone you better have a good hand! Grandpa taught many of us how to pitch a baseball or softball and how to cast a fishing pole. Grandma taught us how to make strawberry shortcake, zucchini bread and the art of garage saling and going to the casino. Grandpa also always has the best dating advice. We all also learned to knock really loudly if we are going to visit on a Sunday morning because there are just some things you can't unsee. Together they have shown us all that a good sense of humor and a good roll in the hay is key to keeping a marriage happy.
Jim and Sharon love each so much that their love spilled over onto all of us. The lessons each of us has learned from them are priceless and important. 60 years is filled with many long days, many sleepless nights worrying or….you know *wink wink*..., but it’s the years that go quickly. It’s the years that you don’t realize are slipping away and the next thing you know you have too many grandkids to fit under one roof, but always enough food to feed an army. We have all been lucky to have these two in our lives for as long as we have, but they have had each other for 60 years and we are hoping for many more. The roots are deep and the love is sweet, but life can be hard. As long as you continue to choose each other over and over again, the years will fly by and the love will grow stronger and last longer.
Cheers to Jim and Sharon and cheers to 60 years!
The Double Damn River Raid on the White River
Story and photos by Charles Chandler
On Saturday June 15th one of the key events at the Rocking the Trails Celebration kicked off at 7:30 a.m. in the White Cloud Rotary Park. It was the Double Damn River Raid a 27.5-mile White River paddle event. The race began at White Cloud Rotary Park kayak launch located below the Pond dam and finished at the Island a few yards from the Hesperia dam. The race sponsor was White Cloud businessman Keith Payne owner of ZzWild located in downtown White Cloud.
The race logistics were straight forward. After the participants entered the river in the White Cloud Rotary Park, they would note their progress down the Kayak Trail by texting Payne at each road crossing. They were also required to take a mandatory rest stop at the RoadSide Park on Highway M 20. The Park was the halfway point of the race. It was estimated that the participants would take between eight and nine hours to complete this endurance race.
Around 11:00 a.m. the Near North Now contributor receive a cryptic text from Race Sponsor Payne stating that things were not going as planned. Race participant Tim Groenhof apparently was on a five mile per hour pace and his estimated time of arrival (ETA) at the Island in Hesperia was now around 1:00 p.m. First response was “are you kidding me” because N3 Correspondent was sitting at the North Country Trail display table in White Cloud County Park. The Race Finish Flag, assorted cow bells and other stuff that was necessary for the end of race celebration were, of course, out in the truck.
By the way those who have paddled through the twist and turns and narrow opening of the Kayak Trail down to Hesperia know that this is an unimaginable pace. Clearing White Cloud around 11:45 a.m. another text arrived, apparently phenom Groenhof had picked up the pace and now his ETA at the Island was around 12:15 p.m. HOLY SMOKES BatMan. If he maintained this pace, he would finish the 27.5-mile course in under five hours, now we are talking super paddling powers. The race to the Island to welcome the participants was on.
First place paddler Tim Groenhof casually nosed his sleek Kayak into the island at Hesperia at 12:11 p.m. His elapsed time was 4 hours and 41 minutes. He was met by Mark Kraus the Membership and Tourism Director of the Hesperia Chamber of Commerce.
The N3 news crew and Race Sponsor Payne arrived as Groenhof was stepping out of his kayak and on to the Island. Second place finisher Keith Disselkoen hove into sight about 30 minutes later and was greeted by flag waving, cow bells and cheers. Their times were amazing and they were amazing. These two guys had just bested a beautiful but pushy river, maneuvering through twist and turn and over and around obstacles and had not broken a sweat. They looked like they had just finished a Sunday paddle in one of the local lakes. Amazing.
Race Sponsor Payne congratulated the winners and presented the 1st and 2nd place awards and the prize money.
Winner Groenhof is from the Grand Rapids and enjoys doing wilderness camping and kayaking. He is a member of the Western Michigan Chapter of the NCTA association. He also had won first place in three of the three-mile races at previous Trail Town events. He had learned of the 27.5 mile paddle through the Chapter and thought this year he would give the long race a try rather than the short race. He thought the race was challenging.
“I really had to focus because each turn or obstruction in the river was like a puzzle that you had to solve.”
Groenhof only made three portages and being out in front and alone he saw a very shy Bald Eagle, Blue Herons, Ducks and White Tail Deer. He thought the event was well run and organized and said the River is the big attraction
“It’s important to spread the word and grow the race because it has a lot of potential.”
Both Groenhof and Disselkoen said they said that they wanted to bring their friends back next year.
After the awards ceremony Keith Payne had a few minutes for the press before the third-place finisher Linda Cunningham would round the bend. His interest in sponsoring the Double Damn River Raid was to promote the opening of a kayak trail from White Cloud to Hesperia. And to promote cooperation between White Cloud and Hesperia who share this beautiful pristine natural resource, the White River.
This first event was a learning experience for all. This year the river was high and really fast and there were a few obstructions. The big surprise was the pace that Tim Groenhof and Keith Disselkoen were paddling. Early on I saw the participants divide into two groups, one group was competitive and up for the challenge and their race times were obviously important. The second group's goal was to complete the 27.5 endurance paddle.
All who I spoke to enjoyed the river and the paddle. Noting how quickly the group separated Payne stated that next year he would ask for volunteers with emergency services training to provide sweep from the Roadside Park on Highway 20 to the finish at the Island in Hesperia. By doing so he could focus on the racers as they neared the finish.
The Hesperia Chamber provided refreshments for the paddlers. When asked about the race and the Chamber’s participation, Kraus said the “Chamber was really happy to have the section of the White River from White Cloud to Hesperia open for kayakers. Mark mentioned that the Chamber now has about 40 members, and is under new leadership. They are also exploring ways to partner with others like the River Country Chamber. They would like to bring more events like the Trail Town Celebration to Hesperia.
As far as next year?
“Now that we have some experiences and accurate paddle times, we can better plan for the finish at the Island,” said Kraus. “ We want to make this a very special event for Hesperia.”
WOW 27.5 miles in under five hours.
Holy Smokes, who would have thought?
Shuttle services for the first 27.5-mile Double Damn River Raid paddle event were provided by Wisner Rents Canoes in Newaygo.
WC Rotary event in 67th year
It's once again time for the White Cloud Rotary Club Golf-O-Ree to be held Friday, August 9. In the event’s 67th year, the Village Green Golf Course in Newaygo will host the Golf-O-Ree.
The event will feature an array of activities before, during and after golfing from raffle and giveaway prizes, including many golf packages, along with mulligans, and contests at every hole; including closest to the pin, and longest drive for men and women.
The two-person scramble begins with a shotgun start at 9:00 a.m., with sign-in beginning at 8:00 a.m. The golfer registration fee is $60 and includes a cart, 18-holes, snacks, hot dogs, pop and water, BBQ chicken lunch and giveaways.
The White Cloud Rotary Club Golf-O-Ree is one of the longest running golf events in the State of Michigan. The proceeds from the event support the Club’s good works, including; a student scholarship fund, life leadership youth training, stewardship of White Cloud Rotary Park, and other community projects. To register, interested golfers can call Julia Bird at 231-225-2050 or sign-up with any White Cloud Rotary member.
White Cloud Rotary is a volunteer organization, encouraging the model of ‘Service Above Self’ and the advancement of high ethical standards, goodwill and civic responsibility. Our club’s emphasis is the betterment of opportunities for our youth and strengthening our community. The club meets every Wednesday starting 11:45 a.m. at the Eagles Club in White Cloud.
Lauren Boerger awarded Gerber Foundation scholarship to attend OsteoCHAMPS summer camp at MSU
Lauren Boerger, a junior at Fremont High School, was selected by MSU to attend the OsteoCHAMPS summer program, which will be held this July. Lauren’s participation in the program will be completely funded by a $1,500 scholarship provided by The Gerber Foundation.
OsteoCHAMPS was established in 2000 to encourage, prepare and foster the health career interest of high school students across the state of Michigan. It is an intense 9-day residential summer program of the Osteopathic Medical School at Michigan State University. The program provides a range of instruction in the health sciences for students interested in entering one of the many healthcare fields.
Lauren is looking forward to exploring more about the various fields of medicine so that she can choose a path that might suit her best. She is currently an OsteoScholar through the Osteopathic Foundation of West Michigan and is also interning at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial during the summer as well as during the 2019-20 school year.
The mentoring offered to students through OsteoCHAMPS will facilitate Lauren’s success well beyond the summer program. OsteoCHAMPS staff aims to be a year-round resource to alums, providing guidance and tools to enhance academic success and career development.
The curriculum in the OsteoCHAMPS program includes courses, hands-on activities and field trips where both students will learn about anatomy and physiology, mathematics, medical research, physical examination skills, and general study skills. Many of the fine OsteoCHAMPS alums (over 500 students) have advanced to colleges and universities around the country in a wide range of degree programs.
The Gerber Foundation is proud to support local students in their pursuit of a career in the healthcare industry. More information can be found at www.gerberfoundation.org.
Summer Magic Returns June 17
8 week programs for ages 5-12, 13-16
As the school year wraps up, how will your children spend the summer?
Newaygo County’s Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect’s puts on an eight-week Summer Magic program each year with a goal of providing healthy summertime activities for area kids. Under the supervision of experienced staff the program offers a wide variety of learning opportunities aimed at developing new interests and forming new friendships.
Beginning on June 17th Summer Magic will be in session from 11-30am- 5pm Monday through Thursday.
Site locations include: Newaygo Henning Park, Fremont Lake Park, and White Cloud Mill Pond. Children from Grant can be bussed from Grant to Newaygo Henning Park. Children from Hesperia can be bussed to Fremont Lake Park.
How much for this imaginative program where fun and learning collaborate so nicely?
Just $2 per day for each child and this includes both lunch and a snack.
To register you can visit newaygocountyprevention.org.
Or for more information contact Tara Nelson at 231-689-5220.
Sounds good but you have an older child at home?
There is also a Summer Teen Program that was established for 13-16 year olds.This program is about building life skills such as: resume building, entrepreneurship, cooking, and college visits. It also incorporates many fun field trips including swimming and kayaking. It will be in operation the same days and times as Summer Magic. The teen program is a traveling program. This means participants will leave their site to complete the day’s activities as a larger teen group and then be dropped of at their starting sites at the end of each day.