State Police Motor Carrier Officers Join Forces to Fight Human Trafficking
LANSING, MICH. During National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Michigan State Police (MSP) motor carrier officers are teaming up with officers from neighboring states to raise awareness of human trafficking
From Jan. 22 - 26, MSP officers will join with their colleagues in the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Illinois State Police and Indiana State Police, along with the organization Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) to educate motorists about the signs of human trafficking and to enforce laws that crack down on traffickers.
“The goal of this week-long, multi-state human trafficking initiative is to raise awareness and educate those individuals in positions to observe human trafficking taking place, such as commercial motor vehicle drivers, public transportation companies, rest area attendants and truck stop employees,” stated Capt. Michael Krumm, commander of the MSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division. “These individuals are a force multiplier that can act as the eyes and ears of Michigan’s highways.”
The MSP first partnered with TAT in 2015, and has since been recognized as a national leader in human trafficking awareness and education. For more information about TAT, visittruckersagainsttrafficking.org.
To report human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-373-7888 or text BeFree to 233733.
The White Cloud Rotary Club was pleased to present a donation of $1,000 to the Newaygo Area Promise Zone last week. Steve Witter, Chairperson of the Promise Zone fundraising committee accepted the check from Rotary President Stu Sanders, and thanked all the members for the work in raising the funds.
Throughout the year White Cloud Rotary holds fundraisers such as their Golf-O-Ree and spring Jazz Concert performed by local high school students. In addition to this most recent donation to the Promise Zone, President Sanders stated, “the Club also sponsors students attending Life Leadership Camp each year, improvements to White Cloud Rotary Park, water wells in Africa, as well as granting scholarships to students every year from their endowment fund at the Fremont Area Community Foundation.”
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. The club meets every Wednesday beginning at 11:30 a.m. at The Shack in Jugville located between White Cloud and Fremont.
By Ken DeLaat
The Newaygo County Board of Commissioners heard a report from the three members of the Department of Health & Human Services Board during their first meeting of the year on Wednesday January 10th.
Board member Mike Mercer shared some statistics while delivering praise to Newaygo County Director Lori Schultz and her staff for their work in the community.
“These people do a phenomenal job and go over and above the mandated services,”
Mr. Mercer also spoke about the Medical Care Facility and the industry-wide challenge with regard to staffing. With the closing of the Brookhaven facility in Muskegon there were recruiting opportunities to help bring in more staff.
Commissioner Vern Willett inquired about capacity percentages and it was reported the facility has maintained over 90% and is in healthy financial position as compared to other facilities across the state that might be struggling.
“When I talk to people at conferences from other boards it seems like we are a step ahead of most of them,” said Mr. Mercer.
Ben Landheer and Steve Johnson the other members of the board also answered questions from commissioners.
The board approved a resolution to contract with Paul Wagner D.O. and Mid Michigan M.E. Group for Medical Examination Services. Administrator Chris Wren reported on the progress of the morgue stating additional counties have begun to sign on for inclusion in the joint effort originally undertaken by Mecosta and Newaygo. Mr. Wren spoke to the current cost savings as well as the outlook for further resources coming to the county from this collaborative enterprise. A representative from the group, Lisa Kaspriak, fielded questions from commissioners regarding procedures and how they determine the need for an autopsy. Ms. Kaspriak detailed their diligence in determining cause of death and spoke to situations when examinations revealed a much different story than what might have been initially assumed.
A pair of motions were made by Commissioner Willett regarding changes in compensation for county commissioners. Both motions were seconded and discussed. Both failed by a 5-1 margin(Commissioner Chris Ortwein was not in attendance) with Mr. Willett casting the lone vote for approval. Commissioner Chuck Trapp expressed that these motions came without any figures or research behind them and stated he was unwilling to vote for any motion brought to the board without such information.
In other business the board appointed Mark Pitzer to the Board of Public Works.
The next Board of Commissioners meeting will take place on Wednesday January 24th at the County Administration Building in White Cloud. The meetings begin at 9:30am.
White Cloud Aerie returning this Spring
Story and photos by Charles Chandler
In Greek mythology, a Phoenix is a long-lived bird that obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. Like the Phoenix the White Cloud Eagles Aerie #4170 has risen from the ashes of the May 19th 2017 fire.
On a cold and blustery Monday morning I stopped by the building site to do a quick bit of sidewalk supervising. The cheerful and hearty Mickelson Construction framing crew were hard at work with total disregard for the cold biting wind. I found Project boss Jeff Legard and framer Ryan Bultema inside discussing the installation of the north side exit door. Jeff said that working with Eagles Aeries Board had been easy and that had made it a fun project.
When asked about the project timeline, he gave the perfect project manager answer. He said that the recent cold spell had slowed thing down a little, but if the electrical, mechanical, and plumbing went OK, and the dry wall went up as planned, and the installation of equipment and furnishing went OK, then the building would probably be move in ready by the end of March. We will be looking forward to celebrating the grand opening with our good neighbors from the Eagles Aerie #4170.
Hopefully it will just a tad warmer.
Fremont Area Community Foundation Awards $3.2M in Grants
Fremont Area Community Foundation announced the results of its recent community grant round, awarding $3.2 million to local agencies and programs.
Grant funding was awarded to a wide variety of organizations and projects addressing critical local needs. Several grants were focused on promoting self-sufficiency and empowering local families.
Love INC of Newaygo County received a $125,000 grant with a matching grant of up to $70,000. In addition to direct assistance programs such as their food pantry, Love INC offers a variety of “transformational ministry” programs such as Growing Hope financial management classes and Jobs for Life job readiness training.
TrueNorth Community Services received a $590,500 grant and a matching grant of up to $150,000 to support a variety of self-sufficiency programs. The funds will support food and nutrition programs, children’s services like the Children’s Christmas and Tools for School programs, and client-centered services such as housing assistance and the Pathways to Self-Sufficiency program for young adults.
An additional $17,500 was approved to support the MI Way to Thrive pilot program. The initiative was started by LiveWell Newaygo County and will integrate social service and healthcare programs to support more personalized and comprehensive services.
Circles Newaygo County, which is housed at TrueNorth, received a $155,000 grant for its work to mobilize community resources to support people and families on their journey out of poverty into self-sufficiency. Circles participants are connected to supportive networks and the tools and encouragement needed to meet individual goals. The program is now in its second year.
“We are proud to support programs and organizations that are working to strengthen and empower local families,” said Carla Roberts, Community Foundation president and CEO. “By working in partnership with local nonprofits and our generous donors, we can continue to build a Newaygo County where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.”
Community grant applications are accepted in two rounds per year, with the next deadline on March 1. Eligible agencies must be located in, or directly serve, the people of Newaygo County. For more information, visit facommunityfoundation.org/grants.
County Board holds organizational meeting
By Ken DeLaat
The Newaygo County Board of Commissioners began the second year of the current term for the seven elected officials who oversee our county government.
Wednesday, January 3rd they held their annual organizational meeting and the new year began with a bit of a kerfuffle when a change in the rules included commissioners being given 72 hour advance notice of any motion brought forth to the board meetings.
Commissioner Vern Willett expressed his displeasure with the change stating he felt the amendment was directed at him since he was generally the only one to make motions during board meetings.
Commissioner Chris Ortwein replied that though the change was not directed at Mr. Willett he was influenced by Mr. Willett’s tendency to make spontaneous motions while feeling he and other commissioners needed time to research and be prepared for such action.
Mr. Willett reiterated that he was being singled out by Mr. Ortwein and offered that without changing the rules motions brought forward can be sent to committee.
With no further discussion the by-laws including the change were passed 6-1 with Mr. Willett casting the lone dissenting vote.
There exists some discretion in the change as the Board Chair can waive the rule should a situation arise requiring a speedier decision.
Commissioner Jim Maike was unanimously elected to continue as Vice Chair the coming year while Pat Gardner will continue as Chair having been elected to a two year term last year.
Where and when can I hunt?
Hunters participating in this hunt will be required to turn in heads of harvested deer within 72 hours of harvest for disease testing. Visit www.mi.gov/deercheck for a list of available check stations and self-service drop boxes. All rules and regulations for the firearm deer season apply. See the Michigan Hunting and Trapping Digest for details.
Partnership results in Bigelow Creek Project
By Ken DeLaat
A lot gets said these days about the importance of collaboration, a word that can be tossed out casually despite the enormity involved in the effort to get there. More often than not it is cooperation being referred to, a much simpler task
When it comes to approaching big challenges with ever-limited resources collaboration a true sharing of stake in a project can be the only route toward overcoming the challenge.
Recently a partnership among many groups with a shared mission accomplished the first of what is hoped to be several projects to improve the habitat of the tributaries that feed our Muskegon River
Bigelow Creek is one of only two coldwater tributaries to the Muskegon River and provides critical thermal,refuge and diverse habitats for aquatic species. Bigelow Creek supports a diverse fish community that consists of self-sustaining populations of brook and brown trout, Chinook salmon and steelhead, and other species. This fishery is an important source for steelhead and Chinook salmon that out-migrate to the Muskegon River and Lake Michigan.
Undersized culverts not allowing the passage of aquatic organisms.
Replace undersized culverts with structures that do not change stream conditions through the road/stream crossing.
Of course this is not exactly as easy as it seems because of the cost involved and the limited resources available to organizations with an interest in resolving the issue.
USDA Forest Service – Huron Manistee National Forest, Trout Unlimited, Inc., Muskegon River Watershed Assembly, Newaygo County Road Commission, Everett Township, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation were the organizations who partnered up and ponied up to make this happen. The project not only recognizes the need to manage maintain and improve our waterways, but also serves as a tribute to what is possible when the dynamic of collaboration is employed.
The new culverts allow for free passage for aquatics through the waterway and the newly constructed bridge and roadway provide a safer and smoother travel above the creek as well.
Plans are to continue this partnership with several more projects in the coming years.
Circles Newaygo County Graduates Second Class of Leaders
NEWAYGO COUNTY— Circles Newaygo County’s second class of participant leaders has graduated en route to working toward goals of self-sufficiency.
The aim by Circles Newaygo County is to reduce poverty through individuals, called Circle Leaders. They get paired with community volunteers, called Allies, who work with them on their journeys toward self-reliance.
The 10 graduates completed 12 weeks of training. The accomplishments by the group, called a cohort, were celebrated in ceremonies December 21. Two shared their stories with an audience at TrueNorth Community Services’ Service Center in Fremont, and a member of Circles Newaygo County’s 10-person first class welcomed the newest graduates.
The collaborative effort, generously funded by a Fremont Area Community Foundation grant, pairs the Circle Leaders and Allies with others in the community. The mission is to share networks and form friendships.
Research shows people who struggle economically often lack resources and connections. Circles Newaygo County focuses on empowerment that enables leading themselves out of poverty.
Circle Leaders work to be economically self-sufficient. Allies commit to about six hours monthly for 18 months to help Circle Leaders reach goals ranging from home ownership and job retention to furthering their education, situation and family’s outlook.
The Circles community includes other volunteers in a variety of supportive roles. It gathers Thursday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Fremont United Methodist Church — with childcare and a meal provided.
For anyone interested in joining the initiative laboring to end poverty, contact Michelle Marciniak at (231) 924-0641 ext. 220, or email@example.com. For more details, visit http://www.truenorthservices.org/Circles-Newaygo-County.
MPSC orders utilities to report on savings from new federal tax law
LANSING– The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today ordered all rate-regulated utilities to report to the Commission on the impact passage of the new federal tax law will have on their customers.
Commission Chairman Sally Talberg said the special meeting was called to make sure the savings are calculated from the effective day of the federal legislation, which is Jan. 1, 2018.
The new law, signed by President Donald Trump on Dec. 22, is expected to reduce the amount utilities will pay in federal taxes.
hile regulatory accounting isn’t always the most headline-grabbing topic, the guidance the Commission is providing in today’s order is important because it maximizes our future options as we sort through the totality of impacts the new federal tax law will have when it takes effect Jan. 1,” Commissioner Rachael Eubanks said.
“The information we receive in this docket will be incredibly useful in understanding the magnitude of the expected reduction in federal taxes that the utilities pay, which is likely to be significant. It will also provide broader input regarding the appropriate avenue for how to extend benefits to customers.”
Utilities have until Jan. 19 to file their comments with the Commission ( on how they propose to return savings to ratepayers. Other interested parties will have until Feb. 2 to respond to utility proposals. The Commission will then determine how and when the savings will flow back to ratepayers.
Today’s order applies to Alpena Power Co.; Consumers Energy Co.; Detroit Thermal, LLC; DTE Electric Co.; DTE Gas Co.; Indiana Michigan Power Co.; Northern States Power Co.; Upper Peninsula Power Co.; Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp.; Wisconsin Electric Power Co.; Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-Op; Michigan Gas Utilities Corp.; and SEMCO Energy Gas Co.
For more information about the MPSC, please visit www.michigan.gov/mpsc or sign up for one of its listservs to keep up to date on MPSC matters.
Man, it seems like just a few days ago it was the 4th of July with cruising on the lake, catching some rays through the SPF 50 coating my pale skin, hanging out on the deck, sitting by a fire…...
Actually seems like a century ago after facing down another cold snap here in the Mitten but, hey, it’s Christmas right?
Tough time of year for many folks. Painful memories or troubling current issues have a way of magnifying themselves during this season so while we are celebrating the Holiday of Love and Kindness it is always with a heart tuned into the myriad of emotions that can accompany the day for others.
Nevertheless, celebrate, embrace good tidings, hover ‘neath a mistletoe and fully enjoy any loved ones that may be near.
After all, Christmas arrives accompanied by hope. Hope for a brighter future, an easing of troubles and the opportunity to make life just a bit easier.
In that spirit the staff of N3 World Headquarters offers up a package of Christmas sayings for your holiday pleasure.
Maybe not an epic present but hey, it ain’t no fruitcake.
“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.”~ Laura Ingalls Wilder
“I prefer the retro chic of spending Christmas just like Mary and Joseph did—traveling arduously back to the place of your birth to be counted, with no guarantee of a bed when you get there. You may end up sleeping on an old wicker couch with a dog licking your face while an Ab Rocket infomercial plays in the background. It’s a modern-day manger.”~Tina Fey
“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”~Steve Maraboli
“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”~Bob Hope
“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ”~Norman Vincent Peale
“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”~Roy L. Smith
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring
Is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart.”~Meredith Wilson
“Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves. “~Eric Sevareid
“Isn't it funny that at Christmas something in you gets so lonely for — I don't know what exactly, but it's something that you don't mind so much not having at other times.” ~Kate L. Bosher
“Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.” ~J.L.W. Brooks
“Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance — each beautiful, unique and too soon gone. “ ~Deborah Whipp
“Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer.... Who'd have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously?”~Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes
“Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given — when Christmas Day comes there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes.” ~Joan Winmill Brown
“This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone.” ~Taylor Caldwell
Hunt will run Jan. 4-7 and 11-14 on public and private land in northern Ionia County and eastern Montcalm County, in select townships
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that an additional firearm deer hunt has been added in Ionia and Montcalm counties to help with chronic wasting disease surveillance.
Hunt dates are Jan. 4-7 and 11-14, 2018. The hunt will occur on public and private land in the following townships: Easton, Ionia, Keene, Lyons, North Plains, Orleans, Otisco and Ronald in Ionia County, and Bloomer, Bushnell, Crystal, Day, Evergreen and Ferris in Montcalm County.
“Unfortunately, we continue to detect chronic wasting disease throughout the nine-township core area in parts of Montcalm and Kent counties,” said Chad Stewart, DNR deer specialist. “Because it is likely that CWD exists outside of this core area, we are counting on hunters and their willingness to harvest deer to support our surveillance efforts. Better, broader surveillance of deer herd health is critical to better understanding this wildlife disease.”
Following the steps mapped out in Michigan’s comprehensive CWD response and surveillance plan, the DNR to date has:
Important hunt information:
The Flat River State Game Area Office (6640 Long Lake Road, Belding) will be open to check deer Jan. 4-17, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There also will be self-service drop boxes, available through Jan. 17, at the following locations:
Hunters who have submitted deer heads for CWD testing should process their deer as needed, but wait for test results before consumption.
To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend that infected animals not be consumed as food by either humans or domestic animals.
Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. It is caused by the transmission of infectious, self-multiplying proteins (prions) contained in saliva and other body fluids of infected animals. Susceptible animals can acquire CWD by direct exposure to these fluids, from environments contaminated with these fluids, or from the carcass of a diseased animal.
Some CWD-infected animals will display abnormal behaviors, progressive weight loss and physical debilitation; however, deer can be infected for many years without showing any internal or external symptoms. There is no cure for a deer once it is infected with CWD.
To learn more about CWD – and the current known distribution of CWD in Michigan – visit michigan.gov/cwd. Results are updated weekly.
Telehealth service can connect patients to providers during Christmas, New Year holidays
FREMONT – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s MedNow telehealth service, which can be used to link patients via video with providers anywhere in Michigan with an Internet connection, is stepping into the gap this Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Both those holidays fall on Mondays and Gerber Memorial’s walk-in clinics in Fremont and Newaygo will be closed during those two holidays.
MedNow allows people to connect with a Spectrum Health physician or advanced practice provider through a smartphone, laptop, tablet or personal computer. The service can be accessed at myhealth.spectrumhealth.org, or using a free downloadable app on a smartphone that allows even quicker, more convenient access. For questions about MedNow, call: 844-322-7374.
Patients can typically set up appointments in a few minutes, and be connected to a provider that same day.
Gerber Memorial’s Convenient Care Walk-In Clinics are at 204 West Main Street in Fremont, which is usually open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Mondays to Fridays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and at 211 West Pine Lake Drive in Newaygo, which is open Mondays-Fridays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. In cases of medical emergencies, people are advised to call 911. Gerber Memorial’s Emergency Department is open 24 hours, seven days a week.
Facility is 1st in West Michigan to be awarded national recognition for quality, safety
FREMONT – Tamarac, The Center for Health and Well-Being, is the first wellness center in West Michigan nationally recognized for quality and safety. A member of Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, Tamarac announced the Medical Fitness Association certification during its 10th birthday celebration on Saturday, Dec. 16.
“Tamarac and Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial are truly honored to receive this recognition for the work we do every day helping our patients and members get comprehensive, coordinated care so they can achieve their wellness goals and be at their best,” said Amanda Irwin, Wellness Center manager at Tamarac.
“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,” said Josh Gustafson, director of community health and wellness at Gerber Memorial.
Tamarac is a 55,000-square-foot facility that houses a state-of-the-art gym with certified fitness instructors; a full outpatient rehabilitation services center; a pool that is heated to accommodate physical therapy programs; a community health program staffed by registered nurses, diabetes educators, registered dietitians, community health specialists and a tobacco treatment specialist; fitness classes with certified instructors; and a child watch center with certified staff. The Skincare Center and Spa is also located within Tamarac.
Tamarac and Gerber Memorial’s eight-week medically-based fitness programs are customized for each individual needs. An individual’s personal medical provider can recommend a wellness or fitness program that’s designed to address specific needs, including diabetes, weight management, cardiac and pulmonary disease, Parkinson’s disease, tobacco cessation, chronic pain, and more.
Tamarac’s MFA-certified programs include assessments at the start and end of the program; individualized fitness plans; coaching and personal training sessions; and unlimited access to Tamarac. The medical fitness program costs $125 per person. Financial assistance is available for qualified individuals.
The national MFA certification is the only one of its kind offered specifically to facilities in the medical fitness industry – an industry that serves over 4 million members worldwide. Based on the MFA’s internationally recognized Standards and Guidelines for Medical Fitness Facilities, the certification process involves an in-depth, on-site review of a facility’s adherence to a set of prescribed standards and guidelines. The certification process is an integral part of ensuring that facilities provide a high level of quality and safety in the programs and services they deliver in order for them to become fully integrated into the local continuum of health care. The MFA Facility Certification is recognized as a mark of excellence in the health and wellness industry.
Only three such facilities in Michigan have achieved an MFA certification. The other two are in southeast Michigan.
“With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and its impact on healthcare systems beginning to be realized, the industry is looking for better ways to provide coordinated services for the communities they serve,” said Robert D Boone, FACHE, FMFA, President and CEO of the Medical Fitness Association, based in North Carolina. “As the incidence of chronic disease continues to rise, the need for more medically supervised outcomes and accountability based ‘exercise as medicine’ programs have never been more relevant in our industry than today. It is clear that moving toward a population health prevention model of care with all its necessary components and guidelines is a herculean task. Tamarac, The Center for Health and Well-Being, has taken an important step toward filling a gap in the current care delivery model. The time is now to implement these accountable models of health that reduce the severity of chronic disease and improve the quality of life for those who participate!”
For more information about Tamarac’s medically certified programs, call 231.924.2193.
By Ken DeLaat
It starts in April.
A bit of the scent of spring in the air, flowers beginning to push their way through the ground, the return of baseball, graduation looming for high school seniors…..
And in Fremont the shovels hit the ground for the much anticipated Meijer store that will be rising in the western reaches of town along Green.
April is the target date for groundbreaking and one year later in April of 2019 plans are for the 50,000 square foot retail giant to open their doors to the public.
N3 reported last December on the progress of the process and area residents have waited as negotiations for the project continued at a slow crawl culminating in this week's closing.
The project will fall immediately within city jurisdiction, per the updated/revised Joint 425 Agreement between the City and Dayton & Sheridan Townships, and the City has been working with their engineer to include additional city public infrastructure in coordination with their project.
The progress thus far?
“The City of Fremont is pleased to welcome Meijer to the Fremont community and look forward to the positive economic and social impact that follows their development projects," said Fremont City Manager Todd Blake. "They are truly one of West Michigan’s own and the City is looking forward to this new partnership.”
Meijer is a family-owned and privately-held company with well over 225 stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The original store was located in Greenville and opened in 1934.
N3 will bring you more details as they become available.
Newaygo High School proudly presents the 2017 inductees of the National Honor Society. The induction took place at Newaygo High School on December 11, 2017.
New inductees (alphabetically):
Gonzalo Alvarez, Sage Beerman, Sarah Behnke, Rosa Burkholder, Ryan Brummel, Daniel Charette, Daniella duChemin, Andee Harrington, Molly Hurrle, Mara Johnson, Makayla Kurtzhals, Duncan Lawrence, Claire Melvin, Abby Murray, Vivian Proctor, Bryanna Richardson, Jasper Sanderson, Katelyn Shue, and Connor Swinehart.
Tahya Briggs, Alexis Brocker, Nolan Brockway, Lillian Burkholder, Madison Bush, Holli Christensen, Dana duChemin, Ashley Dykstra, Anna Erhardt, Kacie Fetterley, Taylor Fisher, Lilly Franklin, Hunter Green, Daisy Hagen, Dalton Jones, Mitchell Karrip, Brianna Martinez, Makiah McCracken, Ike Reynolds, Lesley Rivera-Zamarron, Kaleb Rounds, Ryshelle Stebelton, Hannah Suchner, Katherine TeWinkel, Alana Tovar-Pineda, Dylan White, and Kate Youmans.
Department of Public Works Facility Destroyed by Fire
Story and photos by Charles Chandler
I don’t want to be that clueless guy that the news media reporters always seek out that is willing to talk but most often has nothing or very little to add about the situation. Our able City Business Manager Lora Kalkofen and Police Chief Dan Evans have given on the spot and well informed interviews to the media and will provide additional factual updates as appropriate.
However, a little different perspective on the event may be interesting. Yesterday began early and was a long and challenging day for the City of White Cloud staff and Council members and one that will certainly add a couple of footnote in the City’s history. The City Council had a late evening meeting dealing with some significant and stressful business issues that required some well considered decision making. Those were made and our hope is that they will prove to be exceedingly beneficial to the residents of the City. For me it was home by around 9:45 and after the necessary small plate and beverage and quiet conversation it was time for the anticipated meeting with the latest detective thriller that was waiting on my night stand.
Around 12:30 AM we like many other City residents heard a series of explosions. What was that? Gunshots, fireworks, big truck or train accident? Listening a bit longer, the neighborhood dogs were quiet, no sirens, all quiet.
Then lights out and what felt like a few minutes later the phone rang with Lora telling that our DPW barn had caught fire and was a total loss. The typical questions, anyone hurt? Any other homes involved? then out the door to the fire site.
All things considered the City of White Cloud has had a really good year, a bit contentious and controversial as with all municipal governments but we were ending on a really good note. Now this, the scope and scale of the loss of our DPW barn is incredible. This was our City’s garage, our barn, the shed, the place where our DPW staff worked, where we keep the records and the tools and equipment that we needed to provide services for our residents. The inventory in that building had been built up over decades, all the hand, power, and special water service tools that resided in that cabinet or on that wall, the bits and pieces, the street equipment, the mowers, power lifts, the vehicles, the task list, the reminder notes stuck by the phone, the coffee pot, all gone.
There was a brief 2:00 AM strategy meeting at City Hall with Business Manager Lora Kalkofen, Chief Evans and former Mayor and DPW Supervisor Barnhard. Lora had already pulled insurance plans and she and Supervisor Barnhard were developing the first things first to do list. The challenges have just begun for our City Staff, working with the Insurance Agency, trying to build the loss inventory from receipts and memory, restocking, pricing replacement equipment and vehicles, preparing request for quotes, reviewing bids, new construction or relocating, endless decisions to be made all while managing normal City operations. We are resilient and resourceful in White Cloud, we will recover and we will find a way to provide basic services to the residents.
Tamarac to celebrate 10th birthday with free classes for entire community, gift for founding members
FREMONT– Tamarac is turning 10 years old. To thank its members, the health and wellness center is throwing a birthday celebration on Saturday, December 16, with a morning full of free events and activities for everyone, members and nonmembers – plus a special gift for founding members who’ve been with Tamarac for 10 years.
“Tamarac and our staff are truly blessed to serve Newaygo County residents for 10 years and our success is all because we have terrific members who push us to provide exceptional service every day,” said Amanda Irwin, Wellness Center manager who has been associated with Tamarac since it opened its doors on Dec. 17, 2007. “Today, Tamarac has evolved into a place where people can find a fitness routine, join support groups for emotional and financial health, learn about topics that affect our daily lives, and so much more – all under one roof. We look forward to many more years of continuing to help our members achieve all their health and wellness goals. We invite everyone in our community and non-members to join us on Saturday, December 16, to check out all the great things we offer at Tamarac.”
The birthday celebration and community open house will take place from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on what Tamarac is dubbing “Super Saturday.” Fitness instructors will offer free and highly popular classes open for everyone, including nonmembers, to try, ranging from knockout and spinning to yoga and aquatics exercises in the pool. Tamarac is also offering a host of specials for both nonmembers and members.
Today, Tamarac has 2,700 members, some of them living as far away as Muskegon and Hart. On any given day, 450 members check into the fitness center to use Tamarac’s many strength and cardio equipment, as well as its free weights, pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room. Tamarac is also home to the Skincare Center and Spa, and Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Services, which provides services for physical therapy, therapy for Parkinson’s and stroke patients, pelvic health for men and women, wound therapy and other specialized therapy services. In addition, Tamarac hosts a monthly free seminar for the community by local experts on a range of health and wellness, financial and community-based topics.
Super Saturday is free for members and nonmembers. Space is limited and preregistration is required. Visit tamaracwellness.org for class schedules and to reserve a spot.
Sable Homes cuts the ribbon on a new project
Despite a persistent gale force breeze whipping down the cul-de-sac and sending wind chill temps plunging a large crowd turned out Tuesday for the traditional ribbon cutting ceremony marking the beginning of an ambitious project.
With housing needs throughout the community on the increase Sable Homes kicked off their revitalization efforts in the River Hills neighborhood located on the outskirts of the city of Newaygo by announcing that each home sold in the subdivision between now and June would be accompanied by a $250 donation to both The Newaygo County Promise Zone and TrueNorth Community Services. Sable Homes will also pay $2,000 toward the closing cost for each home purchased.
“Completing the River Hills neighborhood in Newaygo will bring a sense of community to the families who reside there and offer reasonably-priced new homes for others.” Sable Homes President John Bitely said. “We believe it is important to help local communities prosper and nurture environments where residents want to live, work and raise their families.”
The advent of the Promise Zone initiative providing post secondary education to Newaygo County graduates has had an influence on making the county a more desirable place to raise kids.
TrueNorth, based in Fremont, assists families and individuals in need with a variety of programs and services throughout Michigan, including health and nutrition programs, housing assistance, children’s services and youth programs.
“We are extremely thankful for the generous donation from Sable Homes,” said Mark Kraus, TrueNorth Development Director. “The donated funds from Sable Homes’ River Hills neighborhood will help us promote resilience, create opportunity and build community throughout our service area.”
“Sable Homes’ donation provides a great opportunity for the children in our community who are eager to continue their education beyond high school,” said Mark Guzniczak of the Promise Zone Authority Board. “We greatly appreciate their community support, which will have a direct impact on the many children who might otherwise not have the opportunity to pursue a post-secondary education.”
““We firmly believe in the importance of giving back to the community and are proud to support TrueNorth and The Promise Zone and the services they provide area residents,” Bitely added.
Sable Homes purchased the 40-acre River Hills residential property in Newaygo County earlier this year Four homes in River Hills were constructed during the development’s first phase more than 15 years ago. Sable Homes plans to construct homes on the remaining 27 lots in phase one of River Hills and has plans to complete the proposed 19 homes in the second phase.
Newaygo County’s new home for terminally ill patients hires first executive director
FREMONT-Newaygo County Compassion Home for the Terminally Ill, the county’s first full-service hospice home, has named Diane Rudholm as its first executive director. Rudholm will oversee the overall direction and operations of all services at the newly established NCCH, including fundraising, marketing and management of NCCH staff and volunteers.
“I’m truly honored and humbled to be given this opportunity to do something that I love and serve families with care and compassion,” Rudholm said. “Newaygo County Compassion Home is meeting a genuine need in the Newaygo County community. For the first time, families will have peace of mind knowing that we now have a designated place where their loved ones can receive professional and compassionate end of life care, and I’m looking forward to my new role with the Newaygo County Compassion Home.”
NCCH is expected to serve around 100 guests a year and can house three guests at a time. The home will be available to guests who are in the final days or weeks of a terminal illness, with each guest under the care of a hospice provider in Newaygo County.
“Diane embodies the perfect blend of business and heart, and her experiences and passion are unprecedented, which will serve the community members to the fullest,” said Angela Kinch, Hospice Business and Program Development Manager at Spectrum Health.
As executive director, Rudholm will report directly to and work with the NCCH Board of Directors to fulfill the Newaygo County Compassion Home mission and ensure ongoing strategic planning. Rudholm has been involved with the Compassion Home for a year from its earliest stages. She will work at the NCCH’s temporary location in White Cloud, and move to its permanent facility at 20 S. Stewart in Fremont, which will undergo renovations following a capital fundraising campaign in coming months.
“Diane’s passion for the project, combined with her unique skill-set, makes her the ideal person for this enormous job,” said NCCH board member Dorothy Paris, CPA at H&S Companies PC.
Rudholm is a licensed CNA and has a bachelor’s of science in health communications and administration, with an associate’s of business in sales and marketing. She has 25 years of experience in fund and business development, marketing, human resources and management from past roles at the American Cancer Society, Brunswick Corp., and GoodTemps Staffing Services.
“Diane has a clear desire to move forward the mission of the Compassion Home while learning and growing with us. I truly believe that everything she has done in the past six months is a clear indication that God’s hand is at work in this community and in her desire to open the Compassion Home for His glory,” said Mary Henry, RN, BSN, OCN, retired Spectrum Health registered nurse.
More than 80 percent of Americans prefer to die at home or in a home-like setting, yet only 20 percent get that opportunity. Many individuals end up in relatively sterile acute care facilities, surrounded by machines and strangers.
By Ken DeLaat
“Look at all the people!”
Nearly everyone we ran into last night delivered the same impression at the Christmas Walk in downtown Newaygo Friday night.
Perhaps the weather had something to do with it since we were pitched a nearly perfect early winter evening. One of those beauties with enough of a chill to require layering but nearly crystal clear and lit by a full moon. A great one for walking about and checking out the downtown doings.
Accompanied by LSC Lil (a woman whose level of patience knows no boundaries) the Christmas Walk immersion began immediately as we arrived just when the streets were being closed.
And once again the charm and appealing nature of this festival, this gathering so utterly embraced by our community took hold for the next couple of hours.
We headed for Brooks Park for the opening ceremony but I was immediately derailed while passing the General Store due to the wafting aroma of freshly done, just taken out of the fryer and cooling down Donuts!
The Hilltop Bakery folks from Bailey were doing up donuts right there on the street. In front of me. With no line since they just opened.
It was truly one of those Carpe Diem moments.
“Can I get 2?”
“They’re not quite ready.”
”Hmmm. How long?"
“3-5 minutes maybe.”
Lil had walked ahead but being accustomed to my tendency to veer off at times (physically as well as mentally) she doubled back.
“I’m just waiting on a couple of donuts.”
“Oh you got one for me?”
“Uh... yes….of course…. that’s why I got two.”
She looked a bit skeptical, having long been aware of my food-sharing shortcomings, but as I said a patient woman.
When we got to the park the NHS Jazz Band was putting some heat into the air with some snappy versions of Christmas favorites. It became apparent there would be a pretty good crush of humanity wandering the streets and shops this night. From the warming fire to the stage to the soon -to-be-lit tree people were out in force.
The arrival of Santa and the lighting of the finely festooned fir sent us off for a stroll. We weaved in and out of several shops made purchases and ran into folks we know. The entire collection of Newaygo’s desirable downtown dining options were jammed to the gills and staffed by brave and hardy souls working to serve up food and drinks in what proved to be an ongoing onslaught of customers.
We wandered into the bookstore and listened to a young lady on the violin then cruised through the intriguing newcomer to town MB Woodworks & Company where the sounds of a hammer dulcimer drew the attention of browsers.
The wagons were rolling through town as carts of happy horse drawn riders cruised the main in equine-powered fashion. Everywhere clusters of people gathered to chat it up and a sense of good cheer seemed to permeate.
There was that familiar mist of magic in the air, an aura associated with this holiday happening. Several groups from the wandering chorus of Santa Hat guys who saunter through stores and eateries to the younger kids crooning carols outside of The Stream provided a musical backdrop to what has evolved into community favorite.
This is a coming together of people from throughout the area and beyond who take part in a little drift back in time. A time when people roamed the streets dodging only the occasional animal driven wagon or two. When groups of kids ran amok taking part in their separate mini-adventures and parents with toddlers or smaller ones in strollers stopped to chat it up a bit. A time when life was perhaps less hurried
It’s a reminder that Christmas is a time to slow it down a smidge. To gain a little perspective in this busy world of ours and perhaps reflect a bit more and react a bit less.
Something kind of warm and wonderful seems to blanket the town during Christmas Walk and this year’s version most certainly did not disappoint.
And if you’re asking?
Neither did the donut.
Gerber Memorial beard challenge raises more than $7,200, exceeds goal
FREMONT – A new countywide hair-raising event to raise money for the Family Birth Center at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial hauled in $7,242 – more than triple the organizers’ original goal when the fundraiser first began a month ago.
The Beards for Babies fund drive asked men to grow their beards during the month of November, set up profile pages through a customized page highlighting their beards – and the cause – and raise funds through that page. Participants who raised $50 or more qualified for a showdown of the beards at Lakes 23 Restaurant and Pub on Wednesday night, when the fundraiser officially ended and the total money donated was tallied.
“To be honest, when we began this project to raise funds for our Family Birth Center, we were going to be happy with $2,000. Thanks to the tremendous generosity and the giving spirit of our community, we went well beyond that goal,” said Spectrum Health Foundation Gerber Memorial Fund Development Director Paul Bedient. “The fundraiser was a great success because folks in Newaygo County opened their hearts and their wallets to support families and their newborns. On behalf of Gerber Memorial, we are truly grateful to serve such as generous and supportive community that stands together for each other.”
ll the proceeds from the event will stay locally and directly impact Gerber Memorial patients and families. The funds 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.
Winners of Wednesday night’s beard showdown were:
Twenty two men participated in the Gerber Memorial Beards for Babies challenge. Judges for the night were Sue Auw of Classic Cuts for Men in Fremont; Kenzi Boerman and Melissa Rich of Snipperz Salon in Fremont; Jackie Kozitzki, RN; and Marsha Stasik of Newaygo.
Gerber Memorial’s Family Birth Center delivers more than 500 babies each year, significantly more than the average number of about 300 newborn deliveries at similarly designated rural hospitals in the United States. Gerber Memorial is a Leapfrog Top 25 Rural Hospital award winner two years in a row, in 2015 and 2016.
The Spectrum Health Foundation Gerber Memorial provides funding for programs, events, trainings and more held by Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, Tamarac and their area clinics. Your tax deductible gifts stay in Newaygo County to improve the health of all residents.
or more information or questions about contributing to Gerber Memorial’s foundation, call 231-924-3681.
Rogers, Croton and Hardy Dams Siren Tests to Take Place Dec. 6
CROTON- Emergency public warning siren systems near Consumers Energy’s Rogers, Hardy and Croton hydroelectric generating plants on the Muskegon River will be tested on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at approximately 9 a.m.
The test will include a voice message, a 30-second siren and a second voice message. The public does not need to take any action during the tests. The siren systems are tested each August and December.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires hydroelectric facilities to be able to quickly notify residents and visitors of any developing emergency at the plants.
In an emergency, the sirens would be used only if the threat of a dam failure is imminent at a facility. At that time, anyone on or near the river should evacuate at once to high ground. More information would be provided on local radio and television stations.
Consumers Energy offers a safety caution to those who visit dams in the winter.
“Ice on a reservoir near a hydroelectric facility is not reliable and should be avoided by snowmobilers, anglers and others,” said Bill Schoenlein, Consumers Energy’s manager of hydro and renewable generation. “Also, ice-covered water down river from a hydroelectric facility should never be considered a safe place to walk.”
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.