It is indeed in full bloom and I don’t mean the Christmas cactus residing in the upper reaches of N3 World Headquarters and Endless Emporium of Decorative Christmas Spirit sometimes referred to as ‘Bronner’s West’.
We’re talking gift seeking season. When you’ve Black-Fridayed, and Cyber-Mondayed all those deals on the array of electronics, gadgetry, and big items from big places it’s time to truly shop. I mean go on the hunt for those whose gifts might take a tad bit of thought and exploration while providing a smidge more meaning than, say, a gift card or other artful dodge.
While possessing a prowess for procrastination, particularly when it comes to seasonal gift buying, the Shopping With Ken initiative started several years back to shine a light on local places for presenting led to forging forward much earlier than the traditional day or two before Christmas. Of course I often still wait until the clock starts ticking down but the exploration helps narrow the field of gifts when the panic begins to settle in.
I truly empathize with those who are mystified when it comes to finding just the right gift. I mean we all want our gift to be valued if not treasured, right? It’s just that time seems to always be at a premium these days so this is our effort to bring a little perspective, perhaps provide a pointer or two for present pursuit
Thus the journey ahead. Starting tomorrow we will explore some area options, look for unusual, eclectic, adventurous or frighteningly useful items for gifting and follow through with checking out reader recommendations that might sound compelling.
So send us suggestions and the crack SWK team will investigate and report on the grand array of gifting opportunities that thrive here in our beloved Near North.
And of course always remember….
Rock the Mitten.
We received this missive from Reverend Barb Boss on a mobile seasonal gathering serving up soup and spirituality.
Advent gives our community a wonderful chance to gather for lunch! Advent Soups On will begin Wednesday, Dec. 3, at Saint Bartholomew Catholic Church. For three Wednesdays, you are invited to come together for a bowl of soup and an Advent devotional--starting at noon and finishing promptly at 1 pm. There is a free-will offering taken at each Soups On. This is a wonderful chance to gather with the faith community in our area. On Wednesday, Dec. 13--SOUPS ON will meet at Trinity Fellowship (formerly River Valley Community) and on Dec. 20--SOUPS ON will meet at Family of God Community Church.
7th Annual ChoiceOne Bank St. Nick Kick December 2nd
Ho, Ho, Ho! About a week to go!
The 7th annual ChoiceOne Bank St. Nick Kick will be held on December 2nd at 10 am at Newaygo High School. You can choose between a 5k, 10k or a 1 mile fun run/walk.
Hurry if you want to be guaranteed a tshirt. Online registration closes on November 26, 2017. You can register at https://rivercountrychamber.redpodium.com/choiceone-bank-st-nick-kick
This event has grown each year and is now backed by a record number of River Country Chamber of Commerce businesses.
Each participant will receive a finish prize; a shoe tag with the ChoiceOne Bank St. Nick Kick logo, food and hot chocolate donated by Gene’s Family Market, water donated by Kohley’s Superior Water and Propane, and chili from Wendy’s. The first 144 finishers will receive a logo bottle from North Woods General Store!
Overall winners will receive a ChoiceOne Bank St. Nick Kick logo Yeti 40 oz. Insulated Water Bottle from North Woods General Store and a relaxing bath bomb from Sui Generis Home Furnishings.
Age division places (1-3) will receive a ChoiceOne Bank St. Nick Kick logo 20 oz. glass provided by John Payne International and an ice pack from River Valley Physical Therapy.
Day of registration will start at 9 AM in the Newaygo High School cafeteria (credit cards, check and cash accepted).
Santa and Mrs. Claus will even make an appearance at the festive, family-friendly ChoiceOne Bank St. Nick Kick!
For all event information, visit the River Country Chamber of Commerce Event Website.
A new Quit Tobacco and Nicotine class will start on Wednesday, December 6, 6 p.m. at The Stream in Newaygo (1 State Road). The class is free. For information and to register, call Sally Wagoner, RN, Spectrum Health Gerber: 231.924.7589.
“I tried the patch and it didn’t work.” Does this sound like you or someone you know? If so, then you realize that just putting on a nicotine patch is not the magic bullet for quitting tobacco use.
Why is it so hard to quit smoking, chew (dip) or vaping (e-cigs)? It is difficult because it is not just a bad habit. It is an addiction that changes how our brain responds to nicotine and the rewards we associate with it.
The most successful steps to quitting include:
The TTS will also help you learn what triggers your smoking or nicotine desire. Does stress cause you to light up? Do you find yourself vaping when you are bored? Do you chew throughout the day at work? Identifying when you use is the first step in learning what to do instead of smoking, vaping or dipping. You can start with healthy changes such as nibbling on celery sticks, taking a walk when the nicotine urge hits, and deeply breathing in fresh air instead of stale, tobacco air to dissolve the cravings until you are completely tobacco free.
Quitting tobacco and nicotine means taking your life back into your own control. When you quit smoking or vaping, your health begins to improve very quickly, and you will find you have more energy and are less short of breath. You are no longer tied to when and where you can smoke. Right away your clothes smell fresher, your mouth is cleaner, and your wallet a little heavier!
Quitting smoking and nicotine use is not always easy. But you are not alone in your journey. Newaygo County has all the resources you need to quit for good. You can do it! Contact one of the following Tobacco Treatment Specialists today:
Karen Ripke, TTS, District Health Department #10: 231.689.7300.
Sally Wagoner, RN, TTS, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial: 231.924.7589
BreatheWell Newaygo County, Tobacco Prevention Coalition: firstname.lastname@example.org
BALDWIN – Family Health Care joined the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) and other state/national rural stakeholders in celebrating National Rural Health Day on Thursday, November 16, 2017.
NOSORH created National Rural Health Day as a way to showcase rural America; increase awareness of rural health-related issues; and promote the efforts of NOSORH, State Offices of Rural Health and others in addressing those issues. Plans call for National Rural Health Day to become an annual celebration on the third Thursday of each November.
In Michigan for example, Family Health Care has focused on meeting the needs of its communities by growing and expanding services to provide rural residents, and visitors to the area, quality and affordable access to primary health care services which include: medical, dental, vision, pharmacy, behavioral health, laboratory and radiology services close to where they live, work and play. The organization also supports its rural citizens through programs such as grandparents support, school based health centers, respite services, marketplace open enrollment assistance and community outreach.
Approximately 62 million people – nearly one in five Americans – live in rural and frontier communities throughout the United States. “These small towns, farming communities and frontier areas are wonderful places to live and work; they are places where neighbors know each other and work together,” said NOSORH Director Teryl Eisinger. “The hospitals and providers serving these rural communities not only provide quality patient care, but they also help keep good jobs in rural America.”
These communities also face unique healthcare needs. “Today more than ever, rural communities must tackle accessibility issues, a lack of healthcare providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un- and underinsured citizens,” Eisinger said.
State Offices of Rural Health play a key role in addressing those needs. All 50 states maintain a State Office of Rural Health, each of which shares a similar mission: to foster relationships, disseminate information and provide technical assistance that improves access to, and the quality of, health care for its rural citizens. In the past year alone, State Offices of Rural Health collectively provided technical assistance to more than 28,000 rural communities.
Additional information about National Rural Health Day can be found at nosorh.org/nrhd. To learn more about NOSORH, visit www.nosorh.org; to learn more about Family Health Care visit familyhealthcare.org.
Senior Thanksgiving Luncheon Draws More Than 300 in Two Servings
TrueNorth Community Services’ annual Senior Thanksgiving Luncheon on Tuesday,
November 14, drew more than 300 people in a pair of servings at the TrueNorth Service Center in Fremont.
The home-style meal for qualifying Newaygo County senior citizens was prepared by Ridge Specialties and served by more than 300 volunteers and staff from local agencies and the community at large.
The luncheon, part of TrueNorth’s Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week activities, featured performances by the Fremont Christian School choir. The event sponsor was Community Home Health Care Services.
In addition, on Friday, November 17, TrueNorth distributed 88 Senior Harvest Baskets to seniors in Newaygo County, said Phil Gabel, TrueNorth volunteer and special projects coordinator.
Gerber Memorial beard challenge is halfway to birth center fundraising goal
At least 19 Newaygo County men have walked away from their shavers this November – and they’re halfway to the fundraising goal of Beards for Babies, which is raising money for the Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Family Birth Center.
As of the second week of November, Beards for Babies had raised $2,591 toward the $5,000 goal. Men wishing to participate in the fundraiser can still do so by growing a beard and signing up for “Beards for Babies” at
The custom page allows participants to raise funds, by sharing the link and their efforts with friends, family, coworkers and others. Anyone who raises at least $50 qualifies for a showdown of the beards at Lakes 23 Restaurant and Pub on Nov. 29.
“All of us at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial are encouraged to see so many of our friends, neighbors and coworkers give up their shavers and razor blades to raise money for families in our community,” said Spectrum Health Foundation Gerber Memorial Fund Development Director Paul Bedient.
“A bunch of men around Newaygo County may be looking a little grizzled but they’re directly benefitting the more than 500 babies we deliver at Gerber Memorial each year. The money we raise will be used to train and certify an additional lactation consultant as well as provide families with diapers, swaddle sacks and educational safe sleep books.”
Bedient encouraged more men who are thinking of ditching their razors to join the Beards for Babies effort.
In addition to going to the website, people can also donate by texting HEALTH to 41010 to make a $5 donation.
The beard competition at Lakes 23 on Nov. 29 begins at 5:30 p.m., with judging at 6 p.m. The event includes complimentary hors d’ouevres, with a cash bar. Supporters who aren’t participating in Beards for Babies can also join in the fun at Lakes 23 with a $10 ticket. Participants who raise at least $50 get two free entrance tickets.
Those who wish to donate but not participate in the beard growing can also visit the website to make a general donation or find a participant to support. For more information or questions, call 231-924-3681.
TrueNorth’s Coats for Kids (&Adults) hands out 500+ Coats
Newaygo County-More than 500 people found coats to stay warm for winter at TrueNorth Community Services Coats for Kids (&Adults) distribution event Saturday, November 11.
People were waiting to get in as much two hours before the start of the annual beneficial giveaway at the TrueNorth Service Center in Fremont. That wasn’t an easy thing to do on an overcast morning with 21-degree temperatures and a 13-degree wind chill at nearby Fremont Municipal Airport, according to the National Weather Service’s Grand Rapids office.
“We had people waiting in the cold for nearly two hours,”said Phil Gabel, Volunteer and Special Projects Coordinator for TrueNorth.“We had lines that were wrapped around the building.”
The reasons to wait were straightforward for participants like Deana Ellesen, a Newaygo resident who attended along with her four-month-old son and a couple other family members.
“We came here to get coats because we had none,”she said. “We had no money to buy any” and the coat she had “started to wear and tear.”
Gabel pointed out that fits the Coats for Kids (& Adult) program’s purpose to ensure everyone in Newaygo County stays safe and warm this season.
It took the seven people in her family nearly 45 minutes to find what they needed for this winter, said Kate McCarthy, of Newaygo.Her contingent included four adults and three children,ages 14, 10 and 3 years old.
“We came because we have a large family and it’s kind of expensive to make sure everybody’s warm during winter,” she said.“We found just about everything we needed to stay warm.
“And I’m really appreciative of everybody at TrueNorth for offering programs like this. You have no idea.”
Nearly two dozen volunteers were on hand for the event, Gabel said.
He stated there were 150 more participants for Coats for Kids (& Adults)this year than in 2016 though final figures are not going to be available for at least a couple weeks.
The coats available were contributed during a nearly month long donation drive at nearly four dozen locations across Newaygo County in Fremont, Grant, Hesperia, Newaygo, and White Cloud and through monetary contributions from Fremont Area Community Foundation, Gerber Foundation along with families, groups, and individuals from greater Newaygo County.
Gerber Memorial DAISY nursing award goes to White Cloud resident for her outstanding care
FREMONT, Mich. (November 8, 2017) – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial today awarded the DAISY award to Joan Rexford, RN, who works in medical/surgery, for outstanding nursing care. The DAISY award is given out each quarter and Gerber Memorial patients nominate nurses who provide exceptional care and service.
The patient who nominated Rexford credited all Gerber Memorial nurses during a recent stay and singled out Rexford as someone who went above and beyond in caring for the patient. The patient’s nominating form noted nurses worked together as a team “and answered all of my questions and needs.”
“Joan looked up information on my condition and meds and taught me so much about my diabetes and how to care for myself,” the patient wrote in the nominating entry. “She gave my family information and called different departments to find out what foods I could and could not have on the new medicine I was on. And treated me like a cherished family member. Thank you for having such dedicated nurses to care for us. God Bless!”
A White Cloud resident who has worked at Gerber Memorial since 2004 and is Gerber Memorial’s wound nurse, Rexford was surprised by her colleagues and Chief Nursing Officer Meleah Mariani in the medical/surgery department on the third floor of Gerber Memorial with flowers, treats and a special hand-carved award.
Part of a national program, the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses is part of the DAISY Foundation's program to recognize the super-human efforts nurses perform every day.
Nomination forms are available at nursing stations throughout the hospital and patients can submit those forms either by placing them in gray boxes near those forms or by handing them to a nurse or other hospital staff. The forms will be available at nursing stations in the intensive care unit; medical/surgery; birth center; outpatient surgery; emergency department; and the specialty clinic in the basement of the Multispecialty Clinic. Nominating forms will also be available at the hospital’s main lobby, as well as included in admission packets.
The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, Calif., and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Barnes died at the age of 33 in 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. The care Barnes and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.
Nurses may be nominated by patients, families and colleagues, and they are chosen by a committee of nurses at Gerber Memorial to receive the award. Each honoree receives a certificate commending her or him for being an “Extraordinary Nurse.” The certificate reads: “In deep appreciation of all you do, who you are, and the incredibly meaningful difference you make in the lives of so many people.” The honoree also receives a beautiful sculpture called A Healer’s Touch, hand-carved from serpentine stone by artists of the Shona tribe in southern Africa.
Gerber Memorial streamlines cardiac imaging services under one roof at hospital
FREMONT – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial has announced that all cardiac imaging services will be done at the hospital, located at 212 South Sullivan Avenue, Fremont, starting on Friday, Nov. 17. Any follow-up testing will also be done at the hospital.
On Nov. 17 onwards, patients who are to undergo imaging should check in at the front reception in the main hospital lobby, located on the first floor of the main hospital building. Those services include echocardiogram, or ultrasound of the heart, and stress testing such as treadmill stress test, stress echocardiogram and stress dobutamine.
“By streamlining our cardiac imaging services under one roof, we hope to promote convenience for patients and our ongoing effort to improve quality and the overall patient experience,” said Brian McClain, Director of Clinical and Ambulatory services. “Beginning Nov. 17, patients will have one central place for their cardiac imaging services and for any follow-up testing needs right here at the hospital.”
After Nov. 17, the Specialty Clinic, located in the basement of the Multispecialty Clinic at 230 West Oak Street, Fremont, will no longer perform cardiac imaging services. Patients and the public are being informed in coming days through letters, local media and social media.
People seeking more information are invited to call 231.924.7578.