Board votes unanimously to not take action for removal
By Ken DeLaat
Newaygo School Board President Vince Grodus addressed the crowd after the board came out of a closed session and delivered this motion:
“The Board has no desire to remove the display at this time.”
The crowd of nearly all of the 50 some folks who turned out responded with cheers and applause and after a unanimous roll call vote supporting the action the controversy over the Wise Men was put to rest for now.
The board heard from 10 people during the public comment with each voicing their desire to have the Wise Men remain in their place citing a tradition that has spanned over 7 decades and encouraged the board to not give in to what several speakers referred to as bullying by the group challenging the legality of the display.
The action also contained a directive to Superintendent Peg Mathis to look at possible adjustments in the future however the three figures that have graced the school each Christmas season will be allowed to remain without action from the board.
NCCA-Artsplace Winter Community Photography Contest Winners
The NCCA-Artsplace Winter Community Photography Contest is a free annual contest for all ages and all levels of skill with the theme "Baby, It's Cold Outside!". The 2018 contest winners were selected by Jacqueline Danielson of Fremont.
The first place award was given to Nan Pokerwinski of Newaygo for her photograph “Freeze!". Mark Andrews of Newaygo received second place for the entry “Ice Fishing on Croton Pond” and Sonya Vlastuin of Grant was awarded third place for “Winter Glow”. Honorable mention went to Susan Gilliland of Hesperia for her photograph "Whorls" and Delaney Cronk of Grant for "Brindle in Black and White".
All entries will be on display through January 5 in the corridor gallery at NCCA-Artsplace, 13 East Main Street in downtown Fremont.
Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s medical fitness program team was awarded the Spectrum Health Synergy Award for most creative program in 2018, a medical fitness program called Momentum. The Gerber Memorial award winners, from left, front row: J.J. Schafer, fitness specialist coordinator; Matt Purtee, fitness specialist coordinator; Amanda Irwin, Tamarac Wellness Center manager; Justin Aman, Tamarac Wellness Center supervisor; and Dean Ford, Tamarac fitness specialist who is now supervisor at Spectrum Health Pennock’s Health and Wellness Center in Hastings. Standing, from left: Becky Strayer, Tamarac administrative support coordinator; Beth VanTreese, manager of rehabilitation services; Michael DeWeerd, MD; Josh Gustafson, director of regional community programs; and Kathleen Middaugh, fitness specialist coordinator.
Gerber Memorial staff win award for innovative medical fitness program
FREMONT – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s medical fitness program on Thursday, Nov. 29, was recognized with a Synergy Award, an annual prize that celebrates successes in safety, quality and innovation among Spectrum Health’s entire system throughout Michigan.
During a ceremony at Fredrik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, the Gerber Memorial team was recognized in the creativity category, for creating a new program that partners an individual’s health provider with fitness experts to help establish a sustainable pathway toward improving patients’ overall health and wellness, and prevent chronic diseases. The medical fitness program, called Momentum, brings together providers, community health and fitness experts and others throughout Gerber Memorial. Momentum is implemented at Tamarac, the first wellness center in West Michigan nationally recognized for quality and safety through the Medical Fitness Association (MFA) certification.
“Those who came together and collaborated on the Momentum medical fitness program are among the best at finding creative solutions to helping our patients safely achieve their health and wellness goals,” said Amanda Irwin, wellness center regional manager. “Momentum came out of us asking questions about how we can better serve our patients and what gaps we could fill. This took thinking outside the box and using the resources that we had at Gerber Memorial. Now, thanks to Momentum, we’re offering a medical fitness program that can greatly increase the number of people in our community who now have a safe and effective way to become active under the supervision of a qualified fitness specialist.”
Tamarac launched the Momentum medical fitness program this Spring. Momentum partners an individual’s health provider with fitness experts to help establish a sustainable pathway toward overall health and wellness. Momentum can benefit patients with a range of illness, including those with chronic diseases, diabetes, obesity, COPD, coronary artery disease, Parkinson’s disease and depression. The program is open to anyone who wants to incorporate the health benefits of exercise into overall wellness.
Using a nontraditional healthcare model, primary care providers, physical therapists, health coaches, care managers and fitness specialists work together to identify and partner with patients at high risk of future chronic disease. Through clinical pathways, Tamarac has provided best practice lifestyle medicine services to over 350 patients this year, with 40 percent of patients with elevated blood pressure now in the normal range, 55 percent improving muscular endurance, and collectively reducing their weight by 3 percent.
Momentum is a 12-week program. Cost is $99. For questions, contact 231.924.1600.
The annual Synergy prizes acknowledge extraordinary individual and team contributions to clinical or non-clinical care, processes, experiences, and quality and safety for our patients and their families.
New pot law means changes in law enforcement
On Thursday, December 6, the new law regarding recreational use of marijuana begins to take effect. The details can be found in our previous article at https://www.nearnorthnow.com/news/marijuana-now-what
What does this all mean for law enforcement?
Newaygo County Sheriff Bob Mendham was kind enough to field a few questions from N3 on the subject and herewith are his replies.
What has changed from the perspective of law enforcement?
The fact that adults 21 and older may have up to 2.5oz. of marijuana in their possession. Obviously this will be a huge change for law enforcement. We have many questions that have yet to be answered; Will folks think they can smoke in public? Will they sell their marijuana to others? Will people try to steal marijuana from others and will weapons or force be used? Will people break into homes if they know there is marijuana present?
What can people expect from the NCSD when it comes to marijuana use?
Our opinion and the directive we’ve given our deputies is that as long as folks are obeying the law we will take no action. Our job is to enforce the laws whether we agree with them or not. Our job is to serve and protect the citizens of Newaygo County, including those who are legally using marijuana.
What are situations that might require law enforcement intervention?
Law enforcement involvement will occur when and only when absolutely necessary. We anticipate trouble with citizens who possess more than legally allowed or use in public. Property crimes and driving violations that are related to marijuana use and possession. The use and possession of marijuana by minors and medical emergencies stemming from children who ingest edibles or adults that overindulge.
Our hope is that people obey the law and are cautious with the use, storage, and production of their marijuana. We will work with the public to properly enforce the new Recreational Marijuana Law and work to keep everyone safe. We ask that folks remember we are learning something new right along with them. The Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office is always available to answer any questions or concerns that folks may have.
Sheriff Bob Mendham
By Mark Mathis
Urban Legend seems to have decided that police dogs are in trouble, given the new legal status of marijuana in Michigan. Misguided reporters and trainers have at times claimed the dogs would need to be euthanized or retired. Those tales have been repeated until just about every corner of the internet has taken notice. While it all makes a great story, our four pawed friends are rather safe and secure in their jobs.
I’ve spent over 20 years training police dogs, testified in court as an expert on their training, written a boatload of professional articles, have a couple thousand street uses under my belt, and thoroughly enjoy the art of training a dog. Recently, several agencies have consulted me about the best path forward given the new status of marijuana in Michigan. My goal here is to simply provide a small primer to help give a clearer understanding of what is happening right now behind the scenes. If you love dogs, psychology, or even marijuana this should be a pretty fascinating read. I’ll try my best to keep it to everyday terms.
You must first understand how the dogs are initially trained. Police Dogs aren’t drug junkies, looking for their next fix of their favorite drugs. They are actually rabbit junkies, looking for the next animal to pop out of a box and try to run away.
Most American police dogs learn their drug odors in a game that looks like a dog version of three card monte. A whole host of drugs and tennis balls are placed into one box. The dog then has to figure out what box contains that all important odor. Once the dog locates the box and offers a correct behavior a ball/rabbit pops out and the chase is on.
A trainer will help a dog learn this process. When broken down it is pretty simple:
1. Use your nose to smell the boxes;
2. Find a box with the right smell;
4. Sit down;
5. A “rabbit/ball” pops out,
6. Great fun ensues.
In a matter of days the average police dog trainee can reliably search four random boxes and pick out the drug odors with great consistency. When you are a high drive police dog, rabbits rock!
Has your house dog ever watched you fix a sandwich at the counter and wanted some? Yours may whine, bark, scratch, jump, steal, bite, or watch intently for a dropped morsel. Each dog has a package of behaviors they will offer in an attempt to get what they want. These behaviors are your dog’s “rolodex.” (For my younger readers think of a favorite phone list that you access on a moment’s notice). Trainers reward the ones they want and help eliminate the ones that aren’t helpful.
If your dog gets food every time he barks, that behavior is going to move up the favorite list. If your dog jumps 22 times and each time is unsuccessful at getting food he will eventually start offering another behavior that actually works. The rolodex card that is reinforced will be accessed more quickly and the rolodex card that is never rewarded will disappear.
At the end of the three card monte, drug-dog kingpin edition, we remove the tennis balls from the boxes and use drugs only. The dogs have no problem finding the drugs without the tennis balls around anymore. (We still toss in a ball from a new mystery spot once the drugs are found.)
Finally, the dog will search a host of boxes: drug filled, empties, and boxes with just tennis balls. The dogs initially go to the tennis balls and start rolling through their rolodex of possible behaviors that would make a rabbit magically appear. It simply does not work. The dog will give up and go over and sit next to the drugs… and hocus-pocus a rabbit pops out! In very short order the dog could care less about tennis balls in a box — they do nothing in the all important game of rabbit. The offered and rewarded behavior for locating tennis balls disappears through “extinction”.
The Marijuana (Reefer)
Whatever concerns you have about legal Marijuana, don’t let police dogs be one of them. The dogs will go back to “basic” training. Through the game of rabbits and rolodexes trainers will make the previously offered behavior when smelling marijuana extinct.
We’ve eliminated responses to other odors using this game. Other odors are be placed out during a normal training day to make sure a dog does not indicate on it. On many training days you’ll find everything from wallets, cigarettes, tennis balls, food, and baking powder hidden in search areas. This is done as a confirmation to make sure that the dog is only indicating on the illegal substances. Marijuana, once it no longer elicits a response, will become another of these other distractor odors.
It’s harder to unlearn a behavior than learn it. So the task of eliminating any response to marijuana will take some time, consistency in training, and effort. Given a couple months the dogs will be able run across marijuana and leave it alone… just like they do tennis balls, tobacco, and McDonald’s quarter pounders.
How about right now? There are a smattering of dogs in the state that have never been trained on marijuana, including one in the N3 readership area. There are others undergoing this “extinction” training. There are still others in the state that plan to slightly modify use for the immediate future.
In simple terms the big issue is that Canine Teams that use their dogs to enter a vehicle without a search warrant will need a documented training and certification record. That record will need to show they reliably indicate only on items that are illegal to possess. Dogs that indicate on Quarter Pounders, Marijuana, or tennis balls won’t be able to be used for a search warrant exception.
So please fear not for your local police dog. Michigan’s Canine Teams are well positioned to adapt to a changing legal landscape.
Police Dog handlers, and dog lovers, can rejoice the internet isn’t always right on the details. Legal Marijuana isn’t really a concern of the average police dog. The dogs will be happy to hear that forced retirement shouldn’t be right around the corner.
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“It’s beginning to look a lot like……”
By N3 News Team
Next week Thursday.
That’s the date when legal recreational marijuana likely becomes a reality for Michigan residents after Proposal 1 passed by a significant margin in the November 6th election.
There are a number of licenses for medical marijuana facilities in our area. Brooks Township, White Cloud and Newaygo have all ok’d such facilities of one type or another and White Cloud’s White River Wellness provisioning center on the north end of the city has been primed for an opening for several months as it awaits what has become a plodding licensing process.
But this was all for medical marijuana. What about recreational?
Newaygo’s City Council acted quickly to become the first in our area to place a ban on recreational marijuana businesses just 6 days after the election. Grant’s elected officials did the same this past Monday and the others may follow suit if an effort by the Headway Coalition proves successful.
Members of Headway, the local substance abuse prevention group, voiced their opinion at both the Newaygo and Grant meetings and will likely be advocates for the ban in other areas as well.
Rachel Uganski, the Coalition Coordinator, explained that the team, including Law Enforcement throughout Newaygo County, feels passionately about keeping recreational marijuana establishments away from our city limits. “Dispensaries in the city limits will decrease the perception of risk among our kids and make it easier for them to access marijuana. These factors will increase youth marijuana use which has proven harmful to brain development.”
Others will welcome the change as evidenced by the close to 50% of Newaygo voters who supported the measure that passed in the state by a 56-44% margin.
As of September 2016, 1286 county residents had their cards to purchase medical marijuana with an additional 246 caregiver cards out there as well. By contrast in 2013 there were 767 patient cards and 318 caregivers.
That number in all forms of probability would likely fall short of the number of people in our county who use marijuana in one form or another.
In 2015 there were 178 marijuana related arrests in the county.
It would also be a good bet to assume that number also falls short of the number of people who have chosen to use cannabis despite the legal aspect.
But now it is legal in the State of Michigan while continuing to be against federal law.
The new law outlines the following:
Where do we go from here as a community where medical marijuana has already begun to have an economic foothold?
While it seems that the medical marijuana facilities would be the likely candidates for producing and selling the recreational product as well, could this be changed by municipalities imposing a ban?
And what about the law enforcement aspect?
We plan to explore this emergent issue in the coming days. Our hope is to gather some input from various entities in an effort to get an early read on how this change might impact our area.
Let us know your thoughts.
Operation C.A.R.E. Traffic Safety Effort Begins Today
LANSING-As motorists prepare to travel Michigan roads for the Thanksgiving holiday, Michigan State Police (MSP) troopers will be on patrol as part of Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness and Reduction Efforts) to encourage safe and responsible driving.
“We want everyone to make it to their Thanksgiving destination safely," said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. “Buckle up, put your phone down and always designate a sober driver, and if you see emergency vehicles or other workers on the side of the road, please slow down and give a lane.”
Thanksgiving is one of the deadliest holidays in Michigan for traffic crashes. In 2017, there were 11 fatalities during the holiday period. Out of the 11 fatalities, two were pedestrians, three were passengers and six crashes involved alcohol.
Beginning today and running through Sunday, Nov. 25, troopers across the state will conduct high-visibility enforcement focused on impaired driving, seat belt use, careless driving and speeding.
Operation C.A.R.E. is a nationwide initiative aimed at reducing traffic crashes and fatalities on highways across the country. It began in 1977 as a collaborative effort between the MSP and the Indiana State Police. Today, Operation C.A.R.E. is one of the nation’s longest running traffic safety initiatives and includes state and highway patrol agencies from all 50 states, as well as some American territories and Canadian provinces. Operation C.A.R.E. also includes participation from police agencies affiliated with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) as well.
NFDC provides free services to veterans
On Friday, November 16th Newaygo Family Dental Care put on an impressive event for veterans when they offered up a day of checkups, exams, cleaning, x-rays and fillings at a special subsidized rate.
That’s right, free.
We stopped by the office mid morning and had a chat with Fremont veteran Jerry Wallace who had high praise for the staff.
“I am really appreciative of this,” said Wallace who served in the 101st Airborne from 1978-1983. “Everyone here has been just phenomenal.”
We spoke to Dr. Ross Nelson, who along with his partner (and father) Dr. Dennis Nelson put this idea into action.
This was a huge undertaking for a first time event. How did it go?
I thought it went really, really well. My team met every day this week for lunch and discussed the set up, the flow, the turnover, the follow up, and random scenarios that might occur and we played them out to try and not get tripped up. I thought that really paid off today. To be honest, I was really nervous since our facebook ad for the even got over 700 shares… I really didn’t want to have to turn away people. Luckily, we had just a nice steady flow of veterans and we were able to do multiple services on many of them which just added to the great feelings we had on the day.
How did the veterans you served react?
Response from the vets was amazing. They were patient, appreciative and interested in the care they were receiving. A lot of them opened up to myself and team members about personal plights and it made for some real organic connections.
Honestly, nothing surprised me today. My team planned really, really well for this. I keep feeling like a football coach answering this when I say how well the team prepared and took on their own tasks and worked together efficiently. I am really proud of the professionals at NFDC today.
Any takeaways on the day?
There’s a few tweaks for next year, how we will attack the day differently to serve the Vets better. We have Robin Clinton from Newaygo Therapeutic Massage coming in on Monday to give my team a well-deserved work break with a chair massage, just because I am so proud of them for how hard they worked. I’m looking forward to seeing these same Vets next year and hopefully a lot of new ones. We will certainly be ready to handle an increased amount of Vets next year.
Any last thoughts?
Beyond my team (who all volunteered their time) I want to thank my father, not that he isn’t a part of the team anyways, but because he doesn’t like the spotlight and he really deserves it. He made this place what it is and I’m really fortunate to work alongside him. My wife (Tara) and her friend Courtney Sikkenga for the support and coming out to chat with Veterans while they waited for treatment, several Guest Stars including Sue Mansfield who retired from NFDC last year and Gail Howarth who helps our office more than she knows. Cathy Oglesbee from Patterson Dental donated supplies for today’s event (and is always a positive supporter of our business) as well as Jeremy and Mitch from NG Dental Prosthetics- these guys are going to make some Partial Dentures for a few of the vets at no cost to them. Robin Clinton was also on-site today giving chair massages to the Vets, really awesome of her to join us today. I’m sure I am missing someone but I sincerely hope not, no way this happens without everyone who came today.
While there is always a lot of talk about helping those who have served our country NFDC stepped up big time with this initiative and plans are to make it an annual event.
When we made our morning visit the climate was pretty upbeat among the staff who created a welcoming atmosphere to go with the exceptional service provided the vets.
It was definitely a feel good event. The kind that takes the concept of paying it forward and makes it absolutely resonate through all who were involved.
Well done NFDC, well done indeed.
The fourteen schools of the CSAA Conference sent students and band directors to Newaygo High School for the CSAA Honors Band yearly practice and concert on November 13, 2018.
Students and directors arrived early during the day on Tuesday, quickly splitting into two groups with two separate directors. One director was Mr. Howard Wilson, a retired band director from Tri-County schools. The other was Mr. Matt Bishop, a retired band director from Grayling High School.
In order to be selected for this honor, band students must be nominated by their band director. Usually the selections are experienced juniors and seniors and first chair musicians.
Because this is an honors band experience, students are required to learn the music above and beyond what they are doing with their school bands. Students have about two weeks with the music prior to the day of honors band, but many are at the tail end of their competitive marching season while trying to prepare for this as well.
After practicing all day long, students gather together and perform a concert, which was held in Newaygo’s gymnasium. Each band performed 4 pieces.
Newaygo’s band director Katie Baynes said about the event that her favorite part is “when the kids make friends with the other band students from other schools. Some kids do multiple honors bands events with kids from other CSAA schools and with MSBOA as well. They look forward to seeing each other at each one.”
FESTIVAL OF THE WREATHS is a raffle of wreaths and other items donated by local businesses and individuals for the support of Hope 101 Ministry. The Festival will be held on November 30, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on December 1, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Hope 101 Ministry is hosting the event at Family of God Community Church, 90 Quarterline, Newaygo. It is being held in conjunction with Christmas in Newaygo a River Country Chamber of Commerce
event. Everyone is welcome to view the wreaths and other items that have been donated and have a chance to win your favorite.
Tickets will be sold at the door, $10 for 25 chances to win. The drawings will take place at 3:00 p.m. on December 1st. You do not need to be present to win.
There will be a Continental Breakfast with Santa on December 1 at 9:00 a.m.
All funds received will support Hope 101 Ministry, a transitional housing ministry that, with the help of God, is to provide a home-based program which offers Christian support, friendship and direction to empower participants to reach beyond their circumstances to a place of stability and self-sufficiency.
The following individuals and businesses have generously donated to Festival of Wreaths in support of Hope 101 Ministry:
Re/Max River Valley
Mary Jane’s Floral
Sue Ellen McCreary
M and J Hardware
Gene’s – Croton
Gerber Memorial honors service members at Veterans Day ceremony
FREMONT– Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial honored the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have served the nation in uniform at a Veterans Day ceremony on Monday.
“We’re here today to honor our heroes, to remember their achievements, their courage and their dedication, and to say thank you for their sacrifices,” said keynote speaker Beth Coulier, Gerber Memorial’s director of nursing. “Thinking of the heroes who join us in this group today and those who are here only in spirit, a person can’t help but feel awed by the enormity of what we encounter. We stand in the midst of patriots and the family and friends of those who have nobly served. The service members we honor today came from all walks of life, but they shared several fundamental qualities. They possessed courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty and integrity – all the qualities needed to serve a cause larger than one’s self.”
The ceremony included a raising of the flag at Gerber Memorial’s Healing Garden and Memorial Walk, with the participation of Air Force 2nd Lt. Pete Modert. Around three dozen staff and guests attended the event.
Mary Johnson, RN, Gerber Memorial nursing supervisor, praised the courage of the men and women serving in uniform, both at the frontlines and away from combat.
“Courage doesn’t end at the battlefield,” said Johnson, who was also a medic in the Army National Guard treating combat veterans in the Persian Gulf. “It follows (service members) home, and we know we are seeing so many young men and women coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and it’s a whole different war than the Persian Gulf, than Korea, than Vietnam, than World War II. These people are coming home with head injuries, with PTS (post-traumatic stress), with amputations. And what courage it takes for them to continue on because that is a long, hard road.”
Family Health Care provides free help to the community
BALDWIN– Navigating the health insurance marketplace can be difficult for many people. That’s why Family Health Care (FHC) is offering free assistance during the 2019 Market Place Health Insurance Enrollment period at its Baldwin, Cadillac, Grant and White Cloud offices.
This year, the enrollment is again only six weeks long, November 1 through December 15. If you don’t act by December 15, you cannot get 2019 coverage unless you qualify under special circumstances. Last year, FHC’s enrollment specialists assisted over 200 individuals in Newaygo, Lake, Wexford, Missaukee and surrounding counties.
“Our enrollment specialists are experts in what they do,” says Kathy Sather, President & CEO of Family Health Care. “They help educate the community on their best options and attend trainings throughout the year to be ready during open enrollment.”
Vicki Kuhns, Outreach & Enrollment Specialist, provides these tips when it comes to preparing:
Assistance with understanding your Marketplace options is free, and you do not have to be a patient of Family Health Care. To receive help with Marketplace Health Insurance enrollment, call our offices in Baldwin at
(231) 745-0437, Cadillac at (231) 876-6583, Grant at (231) 834-9781, or White Cloud at (231) 689-7676.
Devils swat Hornets for Regional crown
Forget the way the regular season ended. Set aside the idea that Holton has never advanced this far. Clear some room in the trophy case.
The Red Devils are Regional Champs and will be facing the undefeated Reading Raiders in Battle Creek to see who gets a an up close tour of Ford Field come Thanksgiving weekend.
The shovels came out early this morning to clear the snow covered field with game temperatures hovering around the freezing mark and soon after the Red Devils grinded out a rugged 14-6 win propelling them into the semifinals as they continue to explore uncharted postseason territory.
Coach Jack Nummerdor: “What a wonderful ride! Defense played big today. Kaleb Kitchka did a great job in the film room and it showed today. He was in their playbook and had a very impressive day. Offensively we did enough to get out with a win. We will celebrate for a short period of time and get back at it for next week’s game with Reading.”
Kitchka led an inspired Devil defensive effort as he tallied 14 tackles and twice slapped the brakes on Hornet drives by picking a pair of passes.
Mitch Ross finished with 10 tackles, Draven Wyant, Johnny Dominish, Austin Hawkins each had 9 and Dominick Murphy collected 8.
Hawkins and Drew Trygstad each found the endzone in the first half to stake Holton to the lead and it proved to be all the offense they needed.
Hawkins finished with 66 yards while Aaron Heron and Derek Pouch each ran for 32.
Now the Red Devils will begin preparing for yet another trip south. They will meet the Raiders at Harper Creek High School at 1pm this Saturday
This team has enjoyed the support of an adoring community during this season and on Saturday afternoon they gave them a gift in return.
They not only achieved the improbable by bringing a game back to their home field and their hometown.
They won that final home game and are once again, moving on.
Holton hosts regional final
By Ken DeLaat
Here we go, Holton.
A playoff game on the field built to host such pairings.
The Red Devils are in uncharted territory as they compete for the regional crown and the opportunity to move on to the quarterfinals Saturday at 1pm. when they host the Mendon Hornets. Expect a large and loud crowd to pour in despite the weather forecast because this community continues to add a raft of riders to a seriously packed to the gills bandwagon. The folks hereabouts have supported this team through an up and down season and these playoff games have added a good deal of excitement to the area when it comes to football.
Coach Jack Nummerdor: “Looking forward to playing a program such as Mendon. They have a storied tradition of football there. This is an opportunity to continue writing history for us and we are excited about that. We continue to ask the question, Why not us? The community has been a huge support and it continues to grow. The kids have been feeding off of it, it has been pretty special.”
Mendon has a lengthy legacy of playoff football having competed every year but one during this century and they have spent the postseason at home just twice in 30 years. They’ve been to the finals at the Silverdome and Ford Field a dozen times and brought home 11 state titles.
But this is this year.
Mendon lost 4 games in the regular season competing in the brutally tough SW-10 conference, the same league Holton’s latest victim Decatur came from.
Like Holton their 4 losses came against playoff bound teams.
The offensive line and some defensive heroics have been the key elements to the late season success of the Devils and they will need both Saturday because this one should be a dogfight. The Hornets will be looking to open holes for Austin Rensi who scored 4 TDs in last week’s win over Athens so containing he and his backfield partner Corbin Weinberg will be vital.
But on the flip side the Hornets will be trying to rein in Aaron Herron and Derek Pouch who have been able to take advantage of the o-lines work in the trenches to pile up some serious yardage.
Holton has been playing inspired football,minimized their mistakes and, most importantly, learned how to show up early since the post season began.
They’re at home and the emotions on the field and in the stands will be running high. If they can continue to perform on the field as they have these past two weeks they will be tough to beat.
White Cloud– The White Cloud Rotary Club was proud to have Scott Swinehart awarded the distinction of a Paul Harris Fellow by Past-President Stewart Sanders recently. The Paul Harris Society is a special District recognition program designed for Rotarians who wish to support The Rotary Foundation in a more substantial way each year.
Paul Harris Society gifts enable Rotary’s worldwide network of dedicated humanitarians to implement projects that address pressing needs in communities around the world as well as at home. Because of these contributions:
• Teachers and schoolchildren have access to clean drinking water
• Children are vaccinated against polio and other diseases
• Adults and children alike can learn to read and write
• Women are given microloans and vocational training that enable them to support themselves and their families in a healthy and dignified way
The Paul Harris Society is named after Paul P. Harris, founder of Rotary International. Paul Harris formed the world’s first service club, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on February 23, 1905.
White Cloud Rotary is proud to have had the majority of its members recognized as Paul Harris Fellows. For more information on Rotary, please visit www.Rotary.org or contact any White Cloud Rotary Club member.
It took until the wee hours of the morning due to some issues with the database at the County Clerk’s office but with a crew working through the night the election results finally became public and the races in Newaygo County were decided.
In the state senate race Jon Bumstead trailed Poppy Sias Hernandez pending the arrival of the Newaygo votes but a nearly 7000 vote margin in NC gave Bumstead the edge he needed to pull out the victory for the seat vacated by term limited Geoff Hansen
Scott Van Singel won a second term with more than 10,000 vote advantage over challenger Sandra Clarke.
Melissa Dykman will be the new Judge of Probate as she defeated Michael Paige 62%-38%.
The Central Dispatch proposal passed by a 58-42% margin while the Grant Police millage failed by 11 votes 143-132. Voters also turned down a White Cloud Library Bond Proposal and the Merrill Township operating millage.
Three new school board members will take their seats at Newaygo Public Schools with Jami Schultz, Tom Frisbie and Morgan Heinzman finishing in the top three of the eight candidates running for the board.
Matt Hendrie and Kim Rasch won seats on the Fremont School Board in an election that saw 5 candidates vying for the two positions
In the only county commission seat contested incumbent Jim Maike outpolled Brenda Bonter 65-35%. Four new county commissioners were elected with Brenda Bird, Burt Cooper, Ken DeLaat and Mike Kruithof each running unopposed as did current commissioners Bryan Kolk and Chuck Trapp.
While Proposal 1 the recreational marijuana ballot won in the statewide election voters in Newaygo County said no by about 200 while the redistricting proposal that won state approval by a wide margin received a one vote yes margin here. The third proposal regarding election changes won handily in the state and received approval locally by about 2000 votes.
Mike Farber garnered 59 of 61 Newaygo County votes cast for Hesperia Village President. Combined with Oceana County votes Farber was reelected.
For all Newaygo County results go to
Newaygo County Judge Relieved Of Duties
By Alexis Mercer
According to an order by the Chief Judge in Newaygo County, Hon. Robert Springstead, Judge Graydon W. Dimkoff has been relieved of his duties, effective November 1, 2018.
The order states that complaints of sexual misconduct and harassment were brought against Hon. Dimkoff, who is the Probate Court and Presiding Judge of the Family Court Division of the 27th Circuit Court for Newaygo County.
These allegations are being investigated by the Trial Court Administrator/FOC, Newaygo County Administrator, and the Human Resources Director. Upon initial investigation, it was determined that “the safety and well-being of the court staff needs to be protected”, leading to Judge Dimkoff’s immediate removal of further duties.
Hon. Graydon W. Dimkoff will have no further cases assigned to him. Additionally, his work hours are suspended, he has been ordered to return all county and court property immediately, and is prohibited from accessing or entering any and all Newaygo County court offices, chambers or administrative areas until further notice.
This order was released following Hon. Dimkoff’s escorted removal from the Courthouse on Monday, October 29, 2018.
In a statement made to WZZM13, Judge Dimkoff stated:
"As I was interviewed by your reporter on Friday, I was and continue to be completely ignorant of the specific allegations against me. I do not believe I have ever sexually harassed an employee in my 20 plus years on the bench. I am in fact, requesting that the Judicial Tenure Commission conduct a thorough investigation of this matter, especially as it is coming to light only a few days before the election of my successor. "
Judge Dimkoff said the following about the allegations in relation to the upcoming election to vote for his successor:
I have strongly supported one candidate over the other. The candidate I support is an experienced trial lawyer, and her opponent is the current Juvenile and Friend of Court Referee. I find it very unusual that the allegations are being made at this time, just prior to the election.
To this very moment no one has informed me of the specific allegations against me or who made them. I have not been questioned by any police agency, nor by any investigator of any kind. These allegations appear to be a matter of timing more than a matter of due process or any kind of justice.
I believe it is vital, and I am requesting that the Judicial Tenure Commission conduct an impartial, thorough investigation, as the election for my successor has divided the courthouse staff, and the Chief Judge who removed me from the courthouse is a friend of the candidate I have not endorsed.
After Dimkoff spoke with 13 ON YOUR SIDE, the Newaygo County Chief Judge Springstead issued a statement responding to Dimkoff's claims that being taken off the bench was political retaliation. Springstead said politics played no role in his decision and he believes both Dykman and Paige are qualified to be Newaygo County judges.
Springstead's full statement can be read below:
After reading Judge Dimkoff's and his wife’s statements in response to my order relieving him of his caseload I feel compelled to set the record straight. My order, as Chief Judge of the courts in Newaygo County, was entered after consultation with, and approval from, Newaygo County Administration and the Michigan State Court Administrator's office. I was motivated solely by my obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of court staff. It is my obligation as Chief Judge to follow state and federal law and court and county policies when a complaint of sexual harassment is made against someone under my authority. In discharge of those duties, I requested an investigation into the allegations on the first business day after I became aware of the complaint made against Judge Dimkoff. The impartial investigation started promptly and is on-going.
I categorically reject Judge Dimkoff's, and others’, reckless and uninformed opinions that my order was politically motivated and an attempt to aid candidate Mike Paige. I have known both candidates, Ms. Dykman and Mr. Paige, for their entire careers and believe they are both extremely well-qualified to serve as Probate Court Judge. Although permitted to do so by the canons of judicial ethics, I chose not to publically [sic] or privately endorse either candidate, in my individual capacity or in my capacity as the 27th Circuit Court Judge. I chose not to endorse either candidate because they both have the qualifications, knowledge, and temperament to competently serve the citizens of Newaygo County. I told both candidates early in the election cycle that I was not making an endorsement in their election and I have kept my word.
Judge Dimkoff's statement, and those statements of Judge Dimkoff's supporters and friends, that candidate Paige is somehow responsible for bringing forth the allegations of sexual harassment are absolutely false. The report of alleged sexual harassment and misconduct was made by someone other than Candidate Paige.
The allegations are being investigated in a fair, impartial, and confidential manner. Witness interviews are taking place, and when complete Judge Dimkoff will be informed of the substance of the allegations and given an opportunity to respond. After reviewing all the information, which absolutely will include any statements Judge Dimkoff chooses to make, I will decide as Chief Judge, whether Judge Dimkoff will resume handling cases in Newaygo County. My order relieves him of his docket, it does not remove him from office. Only the Judicial Tenure Commission has the power to remove a judge from office.
FREMONT SOCCER CLUB U11 TEAM QUALIFIES FOR TOURNAMENT FINALS
Story and photos by Heather Wiersema
The Fremont Soccer Club U11 Team under the direction of Coach Andy Klimek and assistant Coach Brandie Paulsen traveled to North Muskegon to compete in the Great Lakes Coed Soccer League Tournament Finals. Season competition included teams such as the Fruitport Fury, Mona shores, Oak Ridge, Orchard view, Ludington, Coopersville, and North Muskegon. Fremont Soccer Club U11 finished with 5 wins and 1 loss. The tournament qualifier games had a few surprises in store as the team played a portion of their morning game in a pop up hail storm. The game was called before either team had scored resulting in a tie. The next two games were shutouts with Fremont reigning victorious 5-0 and 9-0.
Tournament Finals were held at the Fury Futbol Club in Muskegon. Klimek’s team played an intense game losing 1-2 against North Muskegon and placing second in the Great Lakes Coed Soccer League Tournament Finals.
“Medals are never given, they can only be earned,” said Coach Andy Klimek. “This group of 9 and 10 year olds have done just that. This is one of the most unselfish group of individuals that I have ever had the pleasure and honor of working with. They play as a team to be able to succeed at a sport for which they truly have a passion.”
For more information about the Fremont Soccer Club, www.glcsoccer.org/fremont.
Gerber Foundation to support the 2019 OsteoCHAMPS summer camp at Michigan State University
The Gerber Foundation will be offering 2 scholarships for attendance at the 2019 OsteoChamps summer camp to be held at the MSU campus in East Lansing mid-July. This is open to any Newaygo County Sophomore or Junior student interested in entering a health-related field.
OsteoChamps is an intense 9-day 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.
Last year Savannah Medlin of White Cloud and Nathaniel Anderson of Fremont attended the camp and both agreed it was an inspirational experience. Nathaniel mentioned that he was able to attend all sorts of hands-on informational sessions to see what it would be like to be a doctor. Savannah had a hard time choosing just one favorite thing about camp. “From EMT rotations, to phlebotomy, to research projects, everything was educational and will most definitely help my future Osteopathic profession. The OsteoCHAMPS program has not only broadened my views and knowledge of the Osteopathic medical field, but it has also helped me to narrow down what I want to do and be in my life.”
In addition to the summer camp, the program offers mentoring throughout the student’s college career. Dr. Aguwa, who began the program in 2000 says, “We want to be part of their academic and professional progression. That way, we can track them, mentor them, and let them know that they have a significant support system.”
The curriculum in the OsteoChamps program includes courses, hands-on activities and field trips where attendees learn about anatomy and physiology, mathematics, medical research, physical examination skills, interviewing, resume writing, and general study skills.
Only 50 students may attend the program, selected from a pool of over 120 applicants from across the state. The application process will open November 1 and students must apply through the MSU website at http://www.com.msu.edu/OsteoCHAMPS/. The deadline for applications is March 1, 2019. Once selected by the program, The Gerber Foundation will be notified and will make a selection on those that will be funded by their scholarship. For questions, please contact the Osteochamps program at email@example.com or The Gerber Foundation at 231.924.3175.