On September 26, 2023, at approximately 8:04 am, members of the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the 9100 block of S Maple Island, Sheridan Township, in reference to a male shooting at a female walking down the road.
When officers arrived on scene, they were able to locate a 36-year-old female who stated she was assaulted by her husband. Officers were able to detain a 34-year-old male at the house.
After a preliminary investigation was performed, the 34-year-old male was arrested and lodged at the Newaygo County Jail on charges of Assault with Intent to Murder, Felony Firearms, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Felon in Possession of Ammunition, Carrying a Firearm with Unlawful Intent and Domestic Violence Second Offense.
All names are being withheld until formal arraignment in the 78th District Court.
The Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office was assisted on scene by the Fremont Police Department, Michigan State Police – Hart Post, Muskegon County Sheriff's Office, and Newaygo County Central Dispatch.
Oceana County: After two years of planning, grant writing, and site preparation, the Newfield Township recycling center is open. Township Clerk, Nancy Conley, has led the charge to bring residential recycling services to the township and surrounding area.
“Recycling has not been available to residents in this area for quite some time. As our budget has allowed for amenities to our residents we have made road improvements but wanted to provide more services for our community,” said Conley. “Creating a recycling center has been a really rewarding project and we have had a lot of interest for when we will be open.”
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) has a goal of increasing recycling participation throughout the state. To reach that goal EGLE has been offering grant dollars for community projects. In early 2023, Newfield Township leadership submitted a request for an Infrastructure grant and was awarded approximately $35,000 to create the recycling center. These grant dollars will be used for purchasing collection dumpsters, fencing, concrete padding, signage, brochures, lights, and security cameras.
Recycling hauling services will be contracted with American Classic who recently opened a material recycling facility in Newaygo, Michigan. This facility is where the recyclables will be taken after collection, sorted and baled for end markets.
Lola Harmon-Ramsey, the Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement for American Classic assisted the Newfield Township team with the grant preparation and site layout. “Our goal at American Classic is to provide more rural recycling opportunities. Instead of having to take materials all the way to Grand Rapids we are able to accept and market local recyclables. This saves haulers time and fuel to be able to add recycling services to their routes. We are excited to grow in the Oceana County region,” said Harmon-Ramsey.
The center is currently scheduled to be open on Monday, Wednesday 8am to 4pm and Saturday, 8am to noon, located at 3890 S 198th Ave, Hesperia, MI The items the site can accept are flattened cardboard, boxboard, and paper to be placed in the brown containers. Glass, aluminum, tin, cartons and firm plastics should be placed in the green containers. The items will be separated to encourage better recycling practices and to reduce contamination. Plastic bags and films are not accepted as well as styrofoam. Recycling guides will be provided at the site, on the signage at the site, and available to download from the township website. Volunteers will be at the site at different times to help residents learn how to best prepare their recyclables for proper collection.
Residents from Newfield Township, Denver Township, Greenwood Township, and the Village of Hesperia are invited to use the recycling center during open hours. For more information and updates please visit the Newfield Township website at www.newfieldtownship.org.
Community hears from Consumers Energy about Croton, Hardy
The Newaygo High cafeteria began filling up early on Monday evening but it wasn’t food the folks who poured through the doors were looking for.
It was information.
Consumers Energy had a full team on board in response to ongoing community concerns over the future of the dams at Croton and Hardy. It was the second of ten meetings held in communities where the future of the 13 dams owned and operated by CE was being considered. By the time Rich Houtteman delivered a welcome and the perfunctory safety message to the crowd, seats were at a premium and it became standing room only for the latecomers.
In a powerpoint presentation Maggie Pallone spoke to the economic impact Croton and Hardy have in the community particularly with regard to property values, but also from the jobs and revenues that come from the vast recreational spending that occurs in and near the reservoirs.
And she also spoke to the astronomical costs of maintaining the dams for the relatively small amount of generation they produce.
To relicense the dams would be a $1.4 billion dollar price tag and this was just to relicense and did not include the cost of maintaining the facilities. Decommissioning the dams on the other hand would be approximately $630 million. For Hardy alone the difference between relicensing and decommissioning would be 248 million. For Croton, 11 million.
The company made it clear that they are unwilling to pass along the costs to each of their statewide customers.
In wrapping up the presentation CE Communications Executive Director Josh Burgett spoke to 3 alternatives for the company
1. Sell the dams. They have already announced they will be exploring this avenue and RFP’s will be sent out soon. This would be a lengthy process with the company vetting and possible buyers to ensure a seamless transition.
2. Explore decommissioning the dam along with river restoration.
3. Explore the possibility of an alternate structure of some type.
Members of the audience then had the opportunity to ask questions ranging from finding other funding sources to environmental concerns and the logistics involved in dam removal.
The message seemed to be that if any type of structure whether the current dams or any other alternative is to remain the company was no longer going to go it alone. There would need to be resources beyond the coffers of CE.
In the next couple of days the powerpoint presentation delivered Monday will be available at:
Does it Go Green or Brown?
The beginning of September brought the closure of accepting styrofoam at the Fremont recycling site. It had been the only site in Newaygo County collecting styrofoam. Many factors went into the decision, which was overseen by the Newaygo County Board of Public Work, to no longer collect the product.
Components that played into the decision was the lack of volunteers to open and close the site which included dealing with the avalanche of messy styrofoam. Contaminated styrofoam, to go containers, construction styrofoam which contained paper backing and adhesive that negated the entire load.
Another factor was the company that picks up the product is struggling to find truck drivers. The demand for repurposed styro has dropped and their pickup schedules have been very unreliable leaving many messes at the Fremont site. Currently there is no place close to tell Newaygo County citizens where to recycle their styrofoam.
You will notice at all of the Newaygo County Recycling sites that there are two colors of dumpsters now. Brown for paper and cardboard, green for the other recyclables. Using the appropriate dumpster will expedite and improve the sorting efficiency at the transfer station.
Discussions on opening the Fremont site more days and extended hours have taken place. That would require more volunteers to open and close the site at the appropriate times.
Robinson Creek Bridge work will detour travelers for 6 weeks
By Ken De Laat
Beginning Thursday morning September 14th travelers who generally drive through the Robinson Lake area enroute to White Cloud, Fremont, Wooster or other destinations will be looking at adding few more miles for that trip.
Like around a dozen.
The Newaygo County RoadCommission announced a 12 mile detour necessitated by the much needed bridge replacement over Robinson Creek. The project means commuters who generally travel the road that passes through Jugville will need to modify their route as well as their departure time.
The detour for those coming from Fremont will send travelers north on Baldwin to M20 and east to M-37 then south to White Cloud. Drivers from the Robinson Lake area east would head north out of White Cloud west on M20 and south on Baldwin
NCRC Director Derek Wawszcyk explained that the short notice is due to the NCRC getting an unexpectedly early date of delivery for the box culvert that will replace the old structure and the desire to have the project completed by the opening of hunting season.
The detour will continue for the next 6 weeks.
The bridge has been deteriorating at a rapid rate with its capacity being reduced in each of the past 5 annual inspections making the bridge replacement a crucial part of keeping our roads safe.
Grant Board ok’s new contract with FHC
By Ken De Laat
There seemed to be an air of cautious optimism among the 100 or so folks who attended the Grant School Board meeting. There was a buzz that an agreement had been reached to keep the Child and Adolescent Health Center at the school.
After the usual proceedings with reports from school staff the board went into closed session to discuss the contract with Family Health Center.
An hour or so later they came back into session and after some discussion the board approved the new contract with Family Health Care. Board members Rob Schutema and Stephanie Deible both expressed concern with some of the contract wording before casting their yes votes. There were a few items that included board involvement in meetings with the CAHC, clarification of various parental notices and some security issues surrounding an entrance to the clinic among others.
And then there was the mural.
All along it had been the contention of those who spoke during public comment that the mural, a painting by a young student containing images that certain board members objected to, was the primary cause of their desire to end the contract for the CAHC. Last year the mural became a national news item putting Grant on the map as having a school board opposing the depictions of gay and transgender images included in the artwork. Artwork that was created to promote more acceptance of the diversity of our youth.
But in the end the contract delivered what the 4 members of the board who have been solidly allied in their opposition to the CAHC, as evidenced by their consistent votes in June and July to terminate the contract, seemingly wanted from the get-go.
From their actions at those previous meetings Ken Thorne, Sabrina Veltkamp-Blok, Rachal Gort, and Richard Vance were evidently prepared to see the demise of the CAHC which would withdraw access to health care, dental care, and increasingly important mental health care to hundreds of Grant students in need.
And now, while facing a recall petition drive, the four have allowed the clinic to stay.
But the mural will be going.
The contract involved minor changes but the wording that gives the board the power to make a decision on what art work and other decor can be in the Center and clearly points to the mural and its departure.
During public comment the board was thanked for their decision but were also reminded…often reminded… that the recall effort would be moving forward.
Here is the statement from Family Health Care regarding the decision.
“We are happy that the Grant School Board has approved a contract that allows us to move forward and continue providing easy access to high-quality health care at the school-based clinic.
The new contract does not change the way services are provided. The language follows all program requirements set forth by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Stipulations of the contract include increased transparency, formalizing the Board of Education’s involvement with the Community Advisory Council; regular updates provided to the Board on operations of the school-based clinic; utilities for the clinic being billed to the health center or a third-party; and removal of the student-created mural in the lobby of the clinic.
During contract negotiations, it was clear the mural was important to the Board of Education. The student painted the mural to highlight inclusivity and diversity, values that are important to Family Health Care. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of everything we do at Family Health Care. As required by law, we are accepting of all students regardless of age, race, color, national origin, disability, religion, or sex, including sexual orientation or gender identity.
While it is disappointing that the mural must be removed by the end of October, it’s a compromise we reluctantly were willing to accept to ensure the children of the Grant community continue to have access to medical and behavioral health care.”
GPS Board To Meet Monday
The Grant School Board will meet 6pm Monday at the Grant Fine Arts Center where attendees will be waiting to hear the status of the Child and Adolescent Health Center.
Previous action by the Board to sever ties with Family Health Care who operate the Center has led to recall petitions for Board members Ken Thorne, Sabrina Veltkamp-Blok, Rachal Gort and Richard Vance.
District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) is announcing that the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has free Private Residential Well Testing.
“These free well water testing kits are a great opportunity for our residents to make sure their water is safe for consumption,” said DHD#10 Health Officer Kevin Hughes.
The free test kits are available to anyone that requests one through EGLE’s online portal and are for private wells only. The free test kits are not available if your water supply is served by, or serves, a public water supply.
Test kit shipping is free to residents and includes prepaid UPS return shipping. After requesting a test kit, they will be sent directly to the resident with instructions. Once the sample is received, the analysis will be completed and results sent back to the resident, DHD#10, and EGLE.
The water testing checks for the standard water quality parameters, including coliforms; nitrate, nitrite, fluoride, chloride, sulfate, sodium, hardness, and iron levels; and various metals. Additional parameters may be added in the future. At this time, PFAS testing is not included. If you are unsure what your well should be tested for, please contact your local DHD#10 Environmental Health Sanitarian, local office numbers can be found here: https://www.dhd10.org/clinic-locations/.
To order your free well water testing kit, or to learn more about well water testing, please visit: https://www.michigan.gov/egle/about/organization/drinking-water-and-environmental-health/water-well-construction/private-well-testing.
Consumers Energy Hosting Virtual Meeting Sept. 12 to Discuss Future of Hydroelectric Facilities
In Person Meeting September 18th
Last year, Consumers Energy held a series of public meetings with community members and local leaders about the future of its 13 dams. Recently, the energy provider announced it’s exploring the possibility of selling these hydroelectric facilities as it continues to evaluate their future. Consumers Energy is considering all options to safely maintain the dam reservoirs and reduce costs for customers.
Consumers Energy is hosting another series of public community meetings with the goal of sharing progress that has been made over the last year and answering questions. The company will be hosting two virtual meetings, and the first is scheduled for Sept. 12.
The public can click here to register for the virtual webinar.
Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.
Consumers Energy is hosting several in-person and virtual meetings. A second virtual meeting will be held Nov. 16. For all meeting details and more information about the process, visit ConsumersEnergy.com/HydroFuture.
Consumers Energy’s 30- to 40-year federal operating licenses on the Muskegon, Manistee, Grand, Kalamazoo and Au Sable rivers are set to expire beginning in 2034 through 2041.
At the meeting, Consumers Energy will be presenting feedback gathered in the last year as well as the economic contribution study.
In Person Meeting Coming Soon
Croton and Hardy Dams
Monday, September 18
Newaygo High School Cafeteria
360 S. Mill Street, Newaygo, MI
Doors will open at 5:30 PM with the public meeting starting at 6:00 PM.
From our friends at the NCSO:
On August 26th, 2023, Deputies with the Newaygo County Sheriff’s office were dispatched to East Baseline Rd. near N Pine St. for a single car versus tree motor vehicle accident with injuries.
Upon arrival it was determined that the passenger, a 21-year-old female from Muskegon had passed away from her injuries in the accident. The driver, an 18-year-old female from Georgia was transported to Corewell Health Grand Rapids for her injuries.
The accident is currently still under investigation.
The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Michigan State Police, Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office, White Cloud Fire Department, Big Prairie Fire Department, Life EMS, Newaygo County Road Commission, Jerry’s Towing and Newaygo County Central Dispatch.
NCSO Sergeant's quick actions avert tragedy
At the regular meeting of the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners Sergeant Jose Escalante was presented with the Life Saving Award for his fast thinking action that prevented what was certain to be a grim result if not for his intervention in the situation.
Presenting the award were Sheriff Bob Mendham, Undersheriff Chad Palmiter and Life EMS Supervisor David Norton. Undersheriff Palmiter read the following:
“On August 8th Sgt Escalante was a customer at the Lumber yard on Maple Island when one of the workers collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. Jose was recognized and summoned to the man where he immediately assessed the patient, recognized he was in cardiac arrest and began high quality CPR! Jose was performing CPR by himself prior to EMS arrival for approx. 9 minutes, EMS and Jose were able to resuscitate the patient after one shock and 2 more minutes of CPR. The patient was awake and alert for EMS transport. Had Jose not acted quickly and performed such high-quality compressions we have no doubt this outcome would have been tragic.
“Sgt Escalante deserves recognition for his skill and determination to save a life.”
With family, friends, co-workers and the man whose life he saved in attendance Sergeant Escalante received a well deserved standing ovation from the crowd.
The Life Saving Award may be presented to any Sheriff’s Office employee, who takes active measures to save the life of another person, when the death of that person was imminent, and the victim survives, or his life was extended by virtue of the actions taken.
From our friends at MDOT:
White Cloud- See above map.
Daily (7 a.m. to 5 p.m.) lane closures for tree work are scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) through September 1 on M-20 (Baseline Road) between M-37 and Beech Road.
Work is weather dependent.
Felicidades Primar Lugar Mi Tierra Mexico!
FREMONT, MI (August 18, 2023) Five local entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges and an audience of over 50 people at the fifth annual Pitch North competition held on August 17th at the Pavilion at Waters Edge in Fremont. They were competing for the chance to win their share of over $12,000 in cash and prizes to bring their ideas to life.
Pitch North was designed to spark entrepreneurial change and encourage more small businesses to start in Newaygo, Oceana, and Lake counties. This year’s contest received 28 business idea submissions, from which five finalists were selected by a local committee to pitch at the live event. Each entrepreneur had five minutes to present, and judges had an opportunity to ask questions directly following.
“Every year I am amazed at the hard work and passion that our local entrepreneurs put forth,” said Julie Burrell, Newaygo County’s Economic Development Director. “We are so proud to be a part of their journey.”
The first place prize of $5,000 was awarded to Yatziry Ortega, Mi Tierra Mexico, in Newaygo. Yatziry plans to use her prize money to open a meat deli in her Hispanic grocery store. Second place was awarded to Noble Graham-Lattin, Birch & Blossom in Hart. Noble plans to expand his Taste of Oceana and Taste of Michigan gift crate product line. The third place prize went to Jackie Dickinson from Straight Path Farms in Fremont. Jackie’s prize will allow her to make efficiency upgrades to her worm farm operation and expand marketing efforts. This year’s event also offered a crowd favorite prize of $1,000, which was awarded to Brian Woods of Big Skinny’s.
The finalists will receive the following:
1st Place: $5,000 Yatziry Ortega, Mi Tierra Mexico
2nd Place: $3,500 Noble Graham-Lattin, Birch & Blossom
3rd Place: $1,500 Jackie Dickinson, Straight Path Farms
4th Place: $1000 Ashley Agler, Mindful Trout
5th Place: $500 Brian Woods, Big Skinny’s
Volunteer judges for the event include Andrea Simon, Owner of A New Era of Crafting and the 2022 first place winner, Jennifer Armstrong, Loan Officer for Lake-Osceola Bank, John Buckley, President & CEO of Gerber Federal Credit Union, Larry Yachcik, General Manager of Waters Edge Golf Course and Scott Beal, Executive Director of the Hart-Silver Lake Sand Dunes Area Chamber of Commerce.
Pitch North is hosted by The Right Place, Inc. in conjunction with the Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership, Oceana County Economic Alliance, and Lake County Economic Development Alliance.
Pitch North 2023 was made possible through support from Consumers Energy, Lake-Osceola State Bank, The Fremont Area Community Foundation, The City of Fremont, The City of Newaygo, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Great Lakes Energy, True Stream, River Country Chamber of Commerce, West Shore Community College, Corewell Health, Hart/Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce, Shelby State Bank, Gerber Federal Credit Union, DTE Energy, Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, and SCORE. Additional in-kind prizes were provided by the Dave Byrne Law Office, Fab Lab at Muskegon Community College and the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce.
Grant community voices displeasure with school board
Once again the Grant Public School Board was met with an outpouring of criticism from the community members who echoed the same theme throughout the public comment portion of their regular monthly meeting.
The comments centered on the four members Ken Thorne, Rachal Gort, Sabrina Veltkamp-Blok and Richard Vance who had moved in their June meeting to sever ties with Family Health Center who have provided the Child and Adolescent Health Center at the schools since 2010., Since that decision those Board members have heard a constant stream of reproval from the community they serve.
During the business part of the meeting Board Member Rob Schuitema expressed his frustration over the lack of movement with regard to the CAHC and made a motion to vacate the decision made in June.
“The clock is ticking and it needs to stop. We are 2 weeks away from the start of the school year.”
Thorne stated that contract negotiations have been started and that there had been one conversation. “It sounds like it went very well and there was a very hopeful feeling that came out of that meeting.”
“That’s nice to know. It would have been nice to know this before sitting here right now,” replied Schuitema.
The motion was seconded by newly appointed Board member Stephanie Deible but defeated with the four members who supported the original motion voting against his motion.
The Board continued with other business, including passing a motion to not sell a piece of school property that had been part of discussions for several months.
Then it was the community’s turn.
The comments questioned the motives of the 4 Board members challenging them to deliver reasons for their action on the CAHC. At one point a photo was held up showing Board President Thorne’s vehicle displaying a 3 Percenter emblem, a Roman Numeral 3 surrounded by 13 stars, on the rear window. Throne was asked whether he was a member of the militia group but offered no answer.
As in previous meetings the speakers took the 4 board members to task citing their lack of transparency and questioned why they have been given no explanations as to the reasoning behind the action taken on the CAHC.
Two people were removed from the meeting by law enforcement after outbursts that failed to heed the urging by Thorne to stop yelling their comments from the audience, but the dozens who took to the podium questioned the ability of the board to represent the school and the community with most urging the four to resign their positions.
Only one person spoke favorably of the board stating, “There are many people who quietly support your efforts.” while many referenced their loss of trust that the four would operate in the best interests of the students.
Prior to the meeting a press conference was held on the school property by the Grant School Board Recall Initiative who will be pursuing recall petitions for the four. On Tuesday the petition language was approved. Community member Megan Wirts who is part of the recall effort offered the 4 an opportunity to resign immediately during her time at the podium.
“We’re not going away. If you don’t resign we will vote you out. Either way you will no longer be filling those seats.”
The next scheduled School Board meeting is September 11, 2023 at 6pm. The meeting will be held at the Grant Fine Arts Center.
From our friends at MDOT:
Daily (7 a.m. and 7 p.m.) lane closures for road work are scheduled for today (Tuesday) through this Thursday on M-37 from 3 Mile Road to 7 Mile Road.
The work is weather dependent.
After a pair of meetings that saw an avalanche of outcry protesting their decision to sever ties with Family Health Care and close the Children and Adolescent Health Center, as well as a public demonstration held on the streets of Grant, the School Board gets together once again for their monthly meeting. Apparently their have been negotiations between the Board and FHC
and what is expected to once again be a large crowd will be listening to find out the status of the CAHC as the new school year approaches.
The meeting begins at 6pm Monday and is being held at the Grant Fine Arts Center. It is also the Board’s organizational meeting where officers will be elected. It will also be the first meeting for newly appointed Board Member Stephanis Deible.
From our friends at MDOT
15-minute total closures Sunday morning..
Cedar Springs to Sand Lake
Short-term (15 minutes) total closures for utility work are scheduled for this Sunday between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. on US-131 between 17 Mile Road and 22 Mile Road.
The work is weather dependent.
The Grant Child and Adolescent Health Center (CAHC) Advisory Council will meet on September 13, 2023, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Grant CAHC, located in the Grant Middle School at 96. E. 120th St. in Grant. Please use the CAHC entrance on the west side of the middle school and ring the doorbell when you arrive. The public is invited, and lunch will be provided. Please call (231) 834-1350 to RSVP.
Energy Provider Considering All Options to Safely Maintain Dam Reservoirs While Minimizing Cost Impact to Customers
JACKSON, Mich., August 9, 2023 – Consumers Energy today announced it will be issuing a request for proposal (RFP) to explore the possibility of selling its 13 hydroelectric facilities as the energy provider continues to evaluate the future of the dams and considers all options to safely maintain the dam reservoirs.
Consumers Energy last year held a series of public meetings with community members and local leaders about the dams’ future. Based on community feedback, Consumers Energy understands how important these facilities and the associated reservoirs are to local communities. Therefore, the energy provider is exploring all options to safely maintain the reservoirs – the lakes created by the dams -- while reducing costs for Consumers Energy’s customers.
“After numerous conversations over the past year, it is clear the reservoirs are important for economic and recreational opportunities in these communities across Michigan,” said Norm Kapala, Consumers Energy’s vice president of generation operations. “But we also know that the current model for financing our hydroelectric power operations requires customers to pay more than nine times for the cost of energy compared to other sources of generation.”
“Today’s announcement is an initial step we need to take to learn more about what selling the facilities might look like. If we choose to move forward and sell these facilities, our intention is to minimize the cost burden for customers while keeping the recreational and economic benefits for our communities. No final decision has been made, and we continue to explore all options.”
Consumers Energy began working with local officials and meeting with community leaders last year as licenses for the company’s dams begin to expire in 11 years. Consumers Energy’s 13 dams together produce less than 1 percent of energy used by the energy provider’s nearly 2 million customers, and they are several times more expensive than other energy sources.
Consumers Energy is planning another series of public community meetings later this summer and into the fall with the goal of collecting community feedback and discussing what a potential sale of the dams would mean, as well as other options continuing to be considered.
For meeting details, to provide comments, and more information about the process, visit: ConsumersEnergy.com/HydroFuture.
“We know communities and residents that treasure these dams will have questions about the future. That’s why we will continue to provide timely updates and be transparent throughout this decision-making process,” Kapala said. “We’ve committed to exploring all options for safely maintaining these reservoirs for decades to come.”
Consumers Energy’s 30 to 40-year federal operating licenses on the Muskegon, Manistee, Grand, Kalamazoo and Au Sable rivers are set to expire beginning in 2034 through 2041.
Random invites will arrive by mail
LANSING, Mich.- The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is asking Michiganders in parts of Newaygo, Montcalm, Mecosta and Kent Counties to join the Michigan Chemical Exposure Monitoring (MiChEM) project. The MiChEM project is the first statewide effort to gather data on the amount of certain chemicals in the blood and urine of Michiganders, including lead, mercury and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
People can come in contact with chemicals in what they eat and drink, in products they use, at work and in their environment, like in the air, soil and water. It is not possible to test everyone in the state, so the MiChEM project team used a statistical method to randomly select households in different areas throughout the state.
“The MiChEM project will help us understand more about the chemical exposures of Michigan residents, including if some groups have greater amounts of certain chemicals in their bodies and how the amounts compare to national averages,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive. “This is the first time that a project of this type and scale has been done in Michigan.”
The MiChEM project team will be in the area for several weeks in August and September. Over the next few weeks, households in parts of Newaygo, Montcalm and Mecosta Counties and a small part of northern Kent County will receive the project invitations. Any adult who receives an invitation in the mail from MDHHS to participate in the MiChEM project should follow the steps in their invitation to sign up as soon as possible, as the project team will only be in each area for a short amount of time.
One adult will be randomly selected to participate from each registered household. Taking part in this project is completely free and participants will receive their individual lab results along with a $65 gift card as a thank you for their time.
Approximately 138,000 randomly selected households from across the state will receive an invitation in the mail with details on how to join the MiChEM project. The multi-year MiChEM project began recruitment of selected households from the Lansing area and parts of Jackson, Ingham, Barry and Eaton counties in September 2022. Additional households from other communities are being recruited in following years.
People who are randomly selected to participate will be given a survey and asked to provide blood and urine samples. These samples will then be analyzed for a pre-determined number of chemicals at the MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories.
For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DEHBio.