Event to be held at Loomis Lodge.
The Gathering, a day of celebration for the rich Indigenous culture that is embedded in the history of this bi-peninsular paradise, will be held at Loomis Lodge this Sunday.
We caught up with some of the organizers to pose a few questions and gather a few quotes.
How did The Gathering begin and how long has the event been going on?
The Gathering began 6 years ago when our Organization was just beginning in the community. We wanted to ensure that we provided an opportunity and a safe space to share our history and stories from a first person Indigenous perspective. Newaygo County is one of the most Indigenous populated areas in the state and we as an organization felt it was important to promote and protect that. With the exception of 2020 due to the pandemic we have hosted the Gathering every year since 2015.
What are the goals of The Gathering?
The goals of the Gathering are to provide a safe space and opportunity for Indigenous cultures to be shared, celebrated, and honored in a good way. We are dedicated to ensuring that we do this from a first person perspective and help promote and support the true history of our people and the struggles we face as Indigenous people in the 21st century.
Tell us a little about Native Circle.
The Native Circle of Newaygo County is an Indigenous nonprofit organization. Our board members are all Indigenous and represent 3 out of the 12 federally recognized tribal nations in the state as well as the Swan Creek and Black River Tribes and First Nation tribes from Canada. We focus on preserving our history, educational presentations, and raising awareness about social injustice issues that target Indigenous populations. We do many community events throughout the year from the Gathering, school presentations, reading programs, harm reduction , land reclamation, and suicide prevention. We partner with other Indigenous organizations across the state to help address these issues. We not only work and focus on Newaygo County but we have also done events in Detroit, Port Huron, and Grand Rapids. Lastly, we at NCNC strive to ensure to have an organization that is represented by Indigenous people and welcome any Indigenous person into the organization. We believe that equity in the communities that we reside in will lead to ensuring that our culture, history, and traditions will be carried on into the next generations.
Why should people attend? What should they expect?
People should attend to celebrate the Original People of this area and our beautiful culture , history, and stories. They should come expecting to see our unique artwork, dancing and singing. This event is very similar to a Pow Wow, we will have a drum and singers and dancers in their regalia. We will also have 3 speakers , presenting on topics that they feel are important in the Indigenous community. We will have a variety of vendors at the event that attendees can visit and purchase various items from. And The Native Circle of Newaygo County will also be having a silent auction, arts and crafts tables for the youth, and we are providing a free feast to the community after the event is over at 6pm. This a great opportunity for people to come and interact and learn about the Indigenous people of this area and the state of Michigan.
Anything else to add?
People can always visit our Facebook page for more information about the organization and our upcoming events.
We also asked some of the members of Native Circle to talk about The Gathering
“I look forward to the Gathering each year just to see how much bigger it has grown than the previous year. The event is unique in that it has presenters that speak about topics that affect our communities (Indigenous) today and tie it all together to our culture and history in a way that is engaging to those who attend. We have always gotten positive feedback about the event from those that attend it and that makes it all worthwhile for me as a Board member.”
Banshee (Joe) Cadreau- NCNC Secretary
“My children always have a great time at the Gathering. They have learned so much about the culture from the many different people that come together to make the event happen. They enjoy the opportunity to dance and be proud of who and what they are in the community we live in. That is important to me and my husband as parents.”
Laci Regan- NCNC Treasurer
“I really enjoy watching the community of Newaygo come together to learn about our Indigenous culture. The event seems to get better and bigger every year and that is awesome to be part of.”
David Moore- NCNC President
From our friends at MDOT
Daily (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) lane closures for road repair are scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday on M-120 (Maple Island Road) between 40th Street/Roosevelt Road and 24th Street/Wilke Road.
From our friends at MDOT
M-82 (Curve Street/Fremont Street) will be closed over Penoyer Creek (just west of M-37) for bridge work 7 a.m. this Monday through 7 p.m. Tuesday. Traffic will be detoured onto Evergreen Drive to M-37. The pedestrian walkway will remain open.
Grant Fine Arts Center to host Saturday event
Responding to a drought driven springtime scourge and likely way too much acquired awareness about frass, the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners will host a little get together at the Grant Fine Arts Center on the topic that was on everyone's lips (and trees) this past spring.
We’re talking Lymantria dispar.
Aka gypsy moths.
Yes, the ravenous little worms that humbled the mighty oaks, devouring their leaves with the rapidity of hungry teenage boys at an all you can eat buffet, will be the hot topic on Saturday October 9th beginning at 10am.
Residents are encouraged to attend.
NC Board Chair Bryan Kolk:
“Parts of Newaygo County got unexpectedly hit very hard by the Gypsy Moth invasion. We want to host a single location where some experts on Gypsy Moths can be available to tell us what we can expect next year and suggest some actions we can take to alleviate the problem.
“The experts will also be available for individual questions and advice. Additionally, we plan to make available some private contractors that can outline services available.”
In the meantime you may want to check out an article N3 posted in June from the DNR and MDARD that includes some tips for managing those esurient invaders who dared put a damper on our annual early summer bliss.
Hint: Dawn seems to work the best.
Uptick in COVID cases and admissions necessitates change in policy
Grand Rapids, Mich., Sept. 7, 2021 – As a result of increasing numbers of patients admitted with COVID-19 and the increase in community positivity rate, Spectrum Health is revising its visitor policies to reduce the number of people in its Grand Rapids and regional hospitals and outpatient care sites.
Effective Wednesday, Sept. 8, patients are allowed only one adult visitor when they go to Spectrum Health emergency departments, urgent care, surgery, radiology and lab locations. Adult inpatient areas allow two adult visitors, who must be the same person throughout the patient’s stay. Patients in labor and delivery are allowed two visitors. COVID-19-patients are allowed only one adult visitor, who must be the same person throughout the patient’s stay and must follow personal protective equipment guidelines.
Spectrum Heath pediatric patients may have two adult visitors in the emergency department, urgent care, surgery, radiology and lab. Pediatric inpatient areas allow two adult visitors, who must be the same person throughout the patient’s stay. Pediatric COVID-19-patients are allowed two adult visitors, who must be the same people throughout the patient’s stay and must follow personal protective equipment guidelines.
Physician and medical office for adult and pediatric patients allow two visitors; some locations may have tighter limits based on facility limitations.
Exceptions can be made at the discretion of the care teams involved based on end-of-life care or special needs. Adults are individuals ages 18 and older. Children and minors will be allowed as visitors only in limited circumstances.
Patients must identify visitors to their care teams. For pediatric patients, adult visitors’ names must be on file. Visitors will be screened. For more information about visitor guidelines can be found here. Spectrum Health's COVID-19 resource center can be found here.
The restrictions apply to the following Spectrum Health hospitals and nearby physician offices and ambulatory care sites:
FREMONT, Mich – Gerber Federal Credit Union (Gerber FCU) now has three in-house certified financial counselors available, located within their Fremont Corporate and Fremont Main Street branches.
Brent Deur, Assistant Vice President - Consumer Lending, recently completed the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Financial Counseling Certification Program (FiCep), to earn the designation of Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC). The CCUFC designation requires recertification every three years to ensure that the knowledge about financial counseling is current. Gerber FCU Senior Mortgage Manager Carla Burmeister and Fremont Main Street Branch Manager Patti Scherf were certified in October 2020.
“Our Certified Financial Counselors are trained to help our members function successfully in today’s financial marketplace. We are very proud that Brent has invested the time and energy to maintain his certification so he can help more members,” said John P. Buckley, Jr., Gerber FCU’s President/CEO.
“This is a challenging time to say the least, Buckley added. “A great number of Michigan residents are struggling greatly and have found themselves unemployed or underemployed through this pandemic. Gerber FCU hopes local residents will take comfort knowing that we’re on their side. Certified Financial Counselors provide financial counseling that empowers members to create a budget, pay down debt and build up savings while providing support at each step.”
Community Foundation Awards $2.3 Million in First 2021 Grant Round
Fremont Area Community Foundation recently awarded $2.3 million in its first community grant round of 2021.
Grant support was awarded to a wide variety or organizations and programs serving Newaygo County residents. Most grant awards concentrated on the Community Foundation’s three focus areas of community and economic development, education, and poverty to prosperity.
Trout Unlimited received a $38,022 grant to focus on restoration of the White River watershed. Funds will be used to grow stakeholder collaborations and partnerships as well as facilitate a data-driven approach to restoration and protection. By building partnerships and identifying restoration projects, Trout Unlimited hopes to ultimately elevate the White River watershed to a high-quality trout fishery and recreational destination.
Grant Public Schools was awarded a $17,500 grant to support its Goal 22% by 22 program aimed at reducing chronic absences at Grant Middle School. Funding included a $10,000 outright grant and a matching grant of up to $7,500. The program is modeled after a successful Grand Rapids Public Schools initiative. Grant’s primary and elementary schools have seen attendance improve after similar programming was implemented.
Hope 101 received a $9,700 grant to support its transitional housing program serving local individuals and families experiencing homelessness. In addition to transitional housing, Hope 101 offers mentoring and case management that helps residents set personal goals and work toward self-sufficiency.
The Community Foundation accepts community grant applications twice each year. Applications from the second grant round of 2021 are currently under review and new applications will be accepted next on March 1.
For more information on grants awarded and how to apply, visit facommunityfoundation.org/grants.
The Sheriff’s Office reported the following calls Tuesday August 31
9:30 am- NCSO responded to a house in Grant Township for a felonious assault where a 16-year-old male was threatening his grandmother with a knife. The Sheriff’s Office responded and took the 16-year-old into custody and brought him to the Newaygo County Courthouse for a hearing. The 16-year-old was later transported to the Ottawa County Juvenile Detention Facility.
12:30 pm- NCSO responded to a house in Grant Township for a call about a 32-year-old female being held against her will. As the Sheriff’s Office was patrolling the area attempting to locate the suspect who had left, they found a vehicle matching the description in the area. The Sheriff’s Office attempted to stop the suspect vehicle and the vehicle fled into the woods. The Sheriff’s Office was able to locate the vehicle that was now abandoned in the woods. Sgt Bailey and K9 Dak arrived on scene and started a track. Within 10 minutes of the track, the suspect was found hiding in a storage trailer and taken into custody without incident. The 28-year-old male from Grant was arrested for numerous felonies and lodged at the Newaygo County Jail.
3:05 pm- NCSO made a traffic stop on a vehicle for speeding. During the traffic stop it was found that the 65-year-old male driver was operating while intoxicated. The male was arrested and lodged at the Newaygo County Jail.
3:45 pm- NCSO responded to a check well being in Lincoln Township. When the Sheriff’s Office arrived on scene, a 54-year-old male came out of the front door with a handgun. The Sheriff’s Office ordered the male to drop the gun which he did. The male then failed to comply with orders from the Sheriff’s Office and started to physically fight with officers. As a result, the male was tased and taken into custody. The male was later transported to Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Hospital for a mental evaluation.
4:10 pm- NCSO received a tip about a wanted fugitive in Everett Township. When the Sheriff’s Office arrived, it was learned that the 28-year-old male had run from the residence. While searching the area, a neighbor stated that a male was seen running through their backyard. Sgt Bailey and K9 Dak were called to begin a track. While on the track, the male was located and taken into custody without incident and lodged at the Newaygo County Jail.
The Sheriff’s Office was assisted today by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Michigan State Police, Grant Police Department, White Cloud Police Department and Newaygo County Central Dispatch.
County schools to begin with 'mask optional'
While masks will continue to be mandated on buses per CDC guidelines and in-school masking highly recommended, Newaygo County schools will not require masks in their buildings when their doors open for business next week.
District Health Department #10 a regional entity covering 10 counties including Newaygo has not issued a mask mandate for schools but will monitor the data and address as necessary according to DHD#10.
Improvements to Michigan’s Bridge Card system to cause temporary shutdown
of system late Saturday, early Sunday
LANSING, Mich. – Michiganders who use Bridge Cards to buy food or use cash assistance benefits will be unable to do so late Saturday and early Sunday while a system upgrade is implemented that will provide easier access to benefits.
The Bridge Card system will be down from approximately 11:30 p.m. Saturday to 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Residents who receive food assistance, cash assistance and Women, Infant and Children (WIC) benefits loaded on the Electronic Benefit Transfer cards will not be able to redeem them during those hours. They can use the same cards beginning again at 9:30 a.m. Sunday without any effect on their benefits.
Regional COVID Cases On The Rise
From our friends at DHD#10
Over the last two months, District Health Department #10 has experienced a 436% increase in COVID-19 cases and as of August 24th, an average percent positivity rate of 11.2%. Nearly all counties across the jurisdiction are now identified as meeting the definition of substantial or high transmission levels as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the Delta variant is now the predominant variant of concern in Michigan and every incident infection should be considered as such. On August 25, DHD#10 confirmed that there have been 24 confirmed Delta variant cases reported in the 10-county jurisdiction, and it is likely there are additional unidentified cases.
“There continues to be evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines remain effective against the Delta variant by decreasing the severity of illness and risk of death for those who do become infected with COVID-19,” states Jordan Powell, Epidemiologist for DHD#10. Powell shared that as of August 17th, 52.7% or 114,654 of DHD#10 residents had fully completed their vaccination series. Of those, 0.28% resulted in a breakthrough case of COVID-19.* She added that nearly 95% of hospitalizations and 89% of deaths that occurred in our jurisdiction from February 17th (when our first breakthrough case was reported) to August 17th, were among those who were not fully vaccinated.
*A breakthrough case is defined as an individual who has completed the primary series of an FDA-authorized vaccine, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA or antigen on a specimen collected on or after 14 days after the final dose of vaccine, AND has not tested positive by PCR or antigen in the 45 days prior to the most recent positive PCR or antigen test.
Remember, to reduce the risk of becoming infected or spreading COVID-19, including the Delta variant, the CDC recommends that all people, whether fully vaccinated or not, in areas of substantial or high transmission should:
DHD#10 continues to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible individuals. To schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment, go to www.dhd10.org/schedule. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, go to www.dhd10.org/covid-19-vaccine. To stay up to date on the latest information, sign up for Public Health Alerts at www.dhd10.org/subscribe.
Newaygo lane closures coming next week
From our friends at MDOT:
Lane closures: M-37 & M-82, Newaygo County, August 30 & 31Daytime (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) lane closures for road work will be in effect this Monday and Tuesday at the M-37/M-82 south junction, and on M-82 from M-37 to east of Industrial Drive.
Northbound M-37 remains closed from Quarterline Street to Water Street through October. Traffic is detoured on Quarterline, Justice and Water streets. Lane closures will also be in effect on northbound and southbound M-37 between the Muskegon River and the south junction of M-37/M-82.
State Police Urge Residents to Prepare for Extreme Heat
Lansing Mich- With heat indices expected to exceed 100 degrees across much of lower Michigan through Sunday, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) is urging residents and visitors to stay protected during the extreme heat. The threat of thunderstorms also remains in the forecast, which could lead to additional power outages, adding to the potential heat dangers.
“The high heat and humidity can put stress on the body, making it dangerous to be outdoors for any significant amount of time,” said Capt. Kevin Sweeney, deputy state director of Emergency Management and commander of EMHSD. “The potential for thunderstorms and power outages this week could leave residents without air conditioning and even more susceptible to heat-related illness.”
To prepare for extreme heat:
To prevent heat illness:
PA Stay finds use of force reasonable
From the Newaygo County Prosecutor’s Office:
August 24, 2021 -Newaygo County Prosecuting Attorney Worth Stay announced that no criminal charges would be issued regarding the shooting death of Johnny King on May 22, 2021, in the Bitely area.
Several Michigan State Troopers responded to an address in Beaver Township, Newaygo County to investigate a report of a domestic violence. A suspect, Johnny King DOB 10/4/1957, was located in a fifth wheel trailer. Two troopers entered the trailer to speak with King. King became combative and pointed a rifle at the troopers. The troopers discharged their service weapons, striking King, who died at the scene.
Stay found the officers acted in self-defense and that their use of force was reasonable.
"Michigan law recognizes that any person may use deadly force to defend themselves or others in certain circumstances. If an individual has an honest and reasonable belief that they were in imminent danger of being killed or seriously injured, then an individual is permitted to use as much force as they believe is needed at the time to protect themselves."
Prosecuting Attorney Stay continued, “The officers were in a small enclosed space, that of a fifth wheel trailer. In a short timeframe, the individual became confrontational and then reached for, and pointed at them, a weapon.... A reasonable officer would believe that their life or the life of others was in danger when faced with that situation. Both officers' use of deadly force in response to the perceived threat was reasonable."
Hoosier held in Hesperia heist
From our friends at the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office:
On 8/23/2021 at 8:27pm NCSO Deputies and Hesperia PD responded to an armed robbery in progress at a marijuana dispensary south of Hesperia. Two employees at the dispensary were robbed at gunpoint and tied up with zip-ties. The suspects left the robbery in a red Dodge Charger before police arrived. A suspect was quickly developed and a statewide broadcast was put out for the Charger.
Three Rivers Police Department in St. Joseph County attempted a traffic stop on a vehicle matching the description. One of the two suspects was immediately apprehended while the other fled on foot. A search is ongoing for the second suspect. The stolen marijuana from the dispensary was found inside the vehicle.
The suspect in custody is being lodged at the Newaygo County Jail for multiple felony charges including armed robbery. Charges will be sought for the second suspect pending his capture. Both suspects are from northern Indiana.
N3-Not being fully approved by the FDA has been one of the primary arguments presented by folks who have questioned the efficacy of the COVID vaccines.
Not the only argument by any means, since the anti-vax sector presents a sea of reasons to eschew the injections via public meetings, social gatherings and most certainly social media.
While the news is unlikely to alter the stance of the more adamant no-vaxers it might spur those on the fence to hop off and go get their vaccination.
From our friends at DHD#10
Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older.
“For those in our communities who have been hesitant to get vaccinated due to concerns over the vaccine’s Emergency Use Authorization, we expect today’s announcement to boost people’s confidence” states Kevin Hughes, Health Officer at DHD#10. “Those individuals with remaining concerns are encouraged to consult with their primary care provider. “Vaccines are one tool in the toolbox to keep individuals and our communities safe” Hughes added.
In December of 2020, Pfizer was made available to individuals 16 years and older under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) which allowed for its use in response to the epidemic and is allowable in an emergency to prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions when certain criteria have been met such as safety and efficacy. In May of 2021, this EUA was expanded to include individuals 12 to 15 years of age and again expanded in August of 2021 to include the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals. With the approval of Pfizer’s vaccine, now brand named “Comirnaty” for individuals 16 years and older, the Pfizer EUA remains in effect for children 12 to 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals. Pfizer has started the FDA application for full approval for their vaccine in these populations as well.
To date, over 5.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered in Michigan and 65% of the state have gotten at least their first dose of one of the three vaccines; in District Health Department #10’s jurisdiction 56.6% of all ages eligible have initiated vaccination. From January through July, unvaccinated residents in the state have accounted for a staggering 98% of COVID cases, 95% of hospitalizations and 96% of deaths.
FREMONT, Mich. 8/23/2021- Gerber Federal Credit Union today announced two executive promotions. Lori Little to Executive Vice President & Chief Experience Officer and Phil Archer to Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer.
“I am most pleased to announce these latest promotions,” said John P. Buckley Jr. Gerber FCU President/CEO. “Lori and Phil have been key members of the Senior Management Team for years. These promotions reflect their roles in generating the growth in membership and member engagement that have propelled Gerber FCU forward in these uncertain times. Gerber FCU would not be where we are today without their valuable contributions. These promotions serve to highlight their increased responsibilities as Gerber FCU meets the needs of its members in an increasingly complex financial services marketplace.”
Ms. Little joined the credit union in 1982 as part of a work study program. Her positions have included Teller, Computer Operator, Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology Manager and Vice President – Operations. She will continue to lead the member experience areas of the credit union, which now include Member Service, Consumer Lending, Real Estate Lending, Member Solutions, and Information Technology. Little actively participates with the United Way of the Lakeshore as a committee member and on the Muskegon Board Executive Committee. She participated with the Leadership in Newaygo County (LINC) program, is the current Vice Chair of the MOON (Muskegon, Ottawa, Oceana, Newaygo) Chapter of Credit Unions and has volunteered with the Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Hospital and National Association of Federal Credit Unions. She is a graduate of the Credit Union National Association Management School at the University of Georgia and holds the Management and Leadership Accreditation (NMLA) from the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.
Mr. Archer joined the credit union in 2005 as the Vice President – Finance. He will continue to manage the Accounting Department, Investment Portfolio, Financial Risk profile, and Government Reporting. Archer has volunteered with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. He is an Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) and a Credit Union National Association Certified Mortgage Originator.
A little this, a little that, and guess who's coming to town
The census stats were released last week and here in Newaygo County we added 1,518 to our population and we now sit a mere 22 folks from the 50,000 mark, gaining 3.5%
32 of the state's 83 counties gained in population and most of the neighbors in our region are among the 32. Lake was up 4.8%, Montcalm gained 5.2% and Oceana inched up by 0.3%.
Mecosta took a hit losing 7.2% and Osceola went down 2.7% but from Leelanau and Grand Traverse down past the burgeoning Kent and Ottawa to include Allegan and Barry the numbers in West Mich went up.
The U.P.? Despite being inundated with tourists each summer and fall (and snowmobilers in winter) our northern friends declined significantly led by Luce (-19.5%) and Ontonagon (-14.5%).
The state as a whole grew a bit but not enough to keep from losing one of our Reps in Congress, the 5th census in a row that resulted in such action. From a high of 19 Reps (and electoral college votes) in 1970 we will now be limited to 13 and redistricting will likely result in a couple of our pols in the East part of the state having to compete for one seat.
According to social media pages there are Fremont folks unhappy with the recent decision by the city and Gerber Products to swap the closure of a section of Weaver Ave for some land parcels (7 acres) The statement from city offices cited the City “not only wanting to support the City’s largest employer and community partner, recognized this as a potential opportunity for a much needed residential development.”
And as we said, some don’t like the move.
I’m all for public discourse but sometimes the solutions suggested remind me of being on the sidelines during a sporting event and listening to what must be the best collection of coaches and referees this side of the pros dispensing advice from the bleachers. Not because their advice is always useless, but because no one hears what they have to say.
Attending meetings gets you in the game.
Speaking of Fremont…
Rumor has it we will be seeing another grocer making a home in our part of this bipeninsular paradise.
A popular one.
Hmm. Must mean current fans won’t have to drive as far.
The road work continues in downtown Newaygo and traffic-wise, while a few first timers at times get confused about not stopping when circling the park, library and city offices it seems to be going well and with rare exception drivers have been keeping their cool. We’re hoping our businesses that have had to adjust to the ever changing streetscape are coping well. The ice cream shop may be a tad more difficult to get to but it hasn’t seemed to stop folks from finding their way there as evidenced by the stream of seekers lining up on hot days to nab a frozen treat and the legions who love the Brewery seem to be finding their way through their doors.
Yeah. Ice cream and beer have remained popular. Go figure
9th of 10
Recent vax stats from DHD#10 report just over 49% of eligible NC residents have received at least one dose, the second lowest in this 10 county region. The lowest? Mecosta with 44%. The highest? Mason at 64%. Those who enjoy the beauty of Leelanau County might be interested that they are just under 71%.
School starts soon so hang onto your seats because the divisive atmosphere of distrust that has transformed a public health issue into a political football is about to pick up steam. Dr. Jennifer Morse of DHD#10 strongly recommended masking for staff and students in all school buildings and to continue with other mitigation efforts in a recent meeting with local supes. State Health Director Elizabeth Hertel has not yet made masking a requirement, while the CDC is requiring masks on buses. As of right now in our local schools, vaccines and masks are highly recommended, not required.
As of right now.
If this changes we hope calmer heads prevail and we avoid the ‘mask wars’ infecting some communities faster and fiercer than the virus itself.
Lace ‘em up!
And speaking of football...the high school season begins this Friday. Go Cloud, Go Lions, Go Tigers, Go Pack, and Go Panthers!
And follow your favorite team(s) all season long in our sports page. Football, Cross, Soccer, Volleyball, Tennis.
An Economic News Update From The Right Place
By Julie Burrell, Business Development Manager, Newaygo County
Economic development is sometimes hard to describe, but in a nutshell… We thrive on relationships, we connect businesses to resources, we focus on collaboration, and we are here to ensure our local employers succeed. This column is designed to share the timely information our community needs to continue being a place where people and businesses can prosper.
We are gearing up for our 3rd Grow North event of 2021, designed to help connect & enhance knowledge of local entrepreneurs. The August 18 session is focusing on those businesses interested in expanding into brick & mortar spaces. We are partnering up with the Muskegon Innovation Hub, River Country Chamber of Commerce, SBDC and Northern Initiatives for this session. Register to attend here: https://fb.me/e/1kBWZPiXX
Unemployment rates in Newaygo County, currently at 5.6%, continue to lag slightly behind the State of Michigan, at 5.5%. However, our rates are much better than the national average of 6.1%. Of recent businesses I’ve met with this summer, 67% are reporting difficulty recruiting. September promises changes to unemployment assistance levels, with many federal pandemic related unemployment programs scheduled to end on Sept 4th.
After 2020 eliminated many internship opportunities across the country, 2021 still proved to be an uncertain year. In a recent article from our colleagues at Hello West Michigan (HWM), they shared that now is the time to begin planning for 2022 opportunities to engage young talent. Read the article here. Additionally, local employers are invited to join any of HWM’s Employer Internship Trainings – register here.
Michigan Works! West Central is available to assist any Newaygo County employer. From help crafting job descriptions to hosting job fairs in-person again, they are here to serve as a valuable resource for our business community! Check out their new website for location and contact information.
Created to help those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, MiLEAP is a program designed to develop meaningful opportunities for people to connect to the labor market. MiLEAP participants will receive individualized competency-based assessments, learning plans, skills assessments and more. Michigan Works! West Central is leading this effort in our region. Find out more information here.
Now is the time to get creative when seeking new employees. Consider including a focus on quality of life in your job postings. Information specific to Newaygo County can be found here, and check out this great video put together by the team at The Right Place, highlighting what it’s like to live and work in beautiful West Michigan.
It is more important than ever to increase focus on retaining your existing team members. Providing an opportunity for enhanced education is one way to show appreciation, and there are a few options to do so without footing the entire bill. Coming this fall, the Going Pro Talent Fund is available for training programs and apprenticeships. The Fremont Area Community Foundation’s Adult Scholarships program, which is open for applications year-round for Newaygo County residents, are available for undergrad study, certifications, credentials, and apprenticeship programs. Additionally, the Michigan Reconnect program pays a portion of the cost of tuition for eligible adults in Newaygo County pursuing an associate degree or skills certificate.
MSHDA and DTE Energy have partnered together to assist those who may be behind in energy bills or rent. Register here.
MSU Extension is hosting the Octoberfest Lunch & Learn Series, focusing on connecting entrepreneurial communities. Learn about successes and challenges in entrepreneurial Resilience, Recovery and Reconnection. Register here.
The Newaygo County Tourism Council is in the middle of their Summer campaign with the best ways to do Summer in Newaygo County. Interested in getting in front of the 48,000 plus website visitors? Contact them to get your business a front-row seat.
MIOSHA encourages employers to follow recently updated CDC guidelines. Additional information available here.
The Right Place invites you to join us for the Manufacturing Leadership Summit on September 23. The Manufacturing Leadership Summit will bring together the region’s manufacturing community for a day of exploring the latest industry advancements and future trends. Register here.
Over the past several years, The Right Place has partnered with NC RESA, local districts & manufacturers to host Discover Manufacturing Tours. If your school or organization is interested in participating this year, please contact me today!
Outdoor recreation is trending upward, and Michigan is perfectly poised to capitalize on this growth potential! The Right Place, Pure Michigan Business Connect and the Michigan Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry are hosting an educational webinar on Sept 15th. Join us at noon for a quick, informational session highlighting various outdoor recreation resource partners, followed by a panel of successful West Michigan outdoor recreation businesses. Register here by September 13.
The FCC established the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program earlier this year, Broadband assistance for low-income residents which can offer a one-time discount of up to $100 on a laptop, desktop or tablet and up to $50 per month on broadband services. More info can be found here.
Consumers Energy has launched the Power MI Fleet program, helping commercial customers transition to electric fleet vehicles. For more information, visit the Power MI Fleet website.
CE to Conduct Siren Tests Near Rogers, Hardy and Croton Dams August 18
Consumers Energy announced the emergency public warning siren systems near its Rogers, Hardy and Croton hydroelectric generating plants on the Muskegon River will be tested on Wednesday, August 18, at about 9:30 a.m.
An exercise in effective collaboration turning Michigan back on
JACKSON, Mich., Aug. 13, 2021 – Consumers Energy has now restored power to more than 200,000 Michigan homes and businesses following this week’s severe weather, and crews today are continuing their around-the-clock work in communities all over the Lower Peninsula.
Consumers Energy aims to restore power to another 100,000 customers through midnight Friday. Most homes and businesses should have power by late Saturday night and almost all restoration work completed by the end of the weekend.
“These storms hit Michigan hard, but we are working tirelessly to get our customers back up and running,” said Guy Packard, Consumers Energy’s vice president for electric operations. “We are grateful for our customers’ patience and want them to know we’ll keep working until the power is back on for everyone.”
Consumers Energy crews are joined by contractors from across Michigan and seven states, including as far away as Missouri, New York and Tennessee. In all, about 370,000 homes and businesses that Consumers Energy serves lost power at some point since Tuesday night, making it one of the 10 most significant storms in company history. As of 11 a.m. Friday, about 150,000 customers were still without power with almost two-thirds of those remaining outages expected to be restored by late tonight.
Consumers Energy is reaching out to communities across Michigan today, sponsoring several free community events and giveaways such as ice, water and ice cream to thank residents. Today and Saturday, Consumers Energy will cover entry costs for the first 2,500 visitors to Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek. Events can be found at www.Facebook.com/ConsumersEnergyMichigan.
The Big Prairie Township Parks Bridge is officially named
“Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.”- Joseph Fort Newton
Big Prairie Township, MI: A bridge on Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam (the Dragon Trail) has been named for Big Prairie Township Parks in honor of the organization’s partnership with the trail. The bridge, located in segment nine near the intersection of South Cottonwood Avenue and E. 16th Street in Big Prairie Township, was formally dedicated on August 10, 2021.
“Big Bend Park and the Township are host to the busiest segments of trail to date, segments 8 – 11,” said Nick Smith, Newaygo County Parks Director. “We are seeing more new campers, day users, and visitors due to this trail portion being installed, thanks to the dedication of past and current Big Prairie Township Parks board members.”
Current Big Prairie Township Parks Chairman Reuben Tucker and Past Chairman John Clark each spoke at the dedication ceremony.
“We’re excited about this partnership, and we look forward to the possibility of working together on other projects in the future,” said Tucker.
Ground was broken on the Dragon Trail in fall 2019. The project is estimated to cost around $3.7 million in total, and Big Prairie Township Parks committed $50,000 towards the trail construction. To date, 14.6 miles of the trail is officially open, with another nine miles opening yet this year.
To learn how you can help build or maintain the Dragon, or make a gift, visit https://www.thedragon.us/support-the-dragon-trail/donate/.
On the newly dedicated bridge, L-R: Sharon Reuhmeier, Parks Board Treasurer; Paul Bullock, Mecosta County Administrator; Randy Van Dam, Parks Board Vice Chair; Reuben Tucker, Parks Board Chair; Teresa Ball, Park Manager; Paul Griffith, Mecosta County Park Commission; Michele Graham, Mecosta Township Supervisor; John Clark, Newaygo County Park Commission; Nick Smith, Newaygo County Parks and Recreation Director- Photo by Jodi Albaitis
“Our only enrollment criteria is that the patient has a pulse”
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH (August 11, 2021): Today, Christian Healthcare Centers (CHC), a Grand Rapids-based nonprofit medical services organization, and The Right Place, Inc. announced CHC’s plans to open a new office at 53 West Wood Street in the City of Newaygo.
The new 8,150 sq. ft. facility is under construction in Newaygo and will provide space for primary care (family medicine, x-ray, labs, medication dispensary, counseling) and the organization’s subsidiary, Christian Healthcare Specialists, which provides various medical specialists, in-office procedures, and minor surgeries. CHC and its subsidiary anticipate employing 12-14 individuals in its first year of operation.
“Since our founding in 2015, we envisioned operating multiple offices throughout West Michigan. The Newaygo office moves this vision forward,” said Mark Blocher, President and CEO. CHC serves a socially and economically diverse patient population, with patients coming from 32 different Michigan counties to its Grand Rapids location. “Newaygo allows us to extend our mission to a rural community that has a significant healthcare shortage.”
CHC uses a unique delivery model called Direct Primary Care, where patients pay a small monthly fee to secure unlimited access to timely, personalized care. There are no co-pays, deductibles, or preexisting conditions exclusions. “Our only enrollment criteria is that the patient has a pulse,” said Blocher.
“This is an important win for the Newaygo community,” said Julie Burrell, Business Development Manager for Newaygo County at The Right Place, “Newaygo offers a strong, collaborative business environment and a healthy economic profile. Christian Healthcare Centers’ expansion will continue building upon those strengths.”
“According to available data, Newaygo and adjacent counties are one of Michigan's most medically underserved regions,” added Newaygo City Manager Jon Scneider. “CHC Newaygo will expand access to care for our growing community and contribute to its economic development by creating a number of high paying jobs.”
CopperRock Construction is the general contractor for the $1.8 million project, with completion projected for Spring 2022. CHC will lease the facility from a developer. CHC launched a capital campaign to raise $1.3 million to purchase medical equipment, furnishings, IT equipment, and supplies. Nearly $400,000 has been raised so far with grants from the Fremont Area Community Foundation, Osteopathic Foundation of West Michigan, and a number of Newaygo residents.
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 53 West Wood Street in Newaygo on August 17th at 11:00 AM. All members of the media are invited to attend. Later in the day a community meet and greet will be hosted at The Stream, 1 State Rd in Newaygo, from 3-4:00 PM.