The Gerber Foundation to provide a scholarship for attendance at the MSU 2021 OsteoCHAMPS summer camp -- Apply now!
The Gerber Foundation will again offer one Newaygo County high school scholarship for a student to attend the OsteoCHAMPS program at the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University from July 10-17, 2021, on the MSU campus in East Lansing. In the event the program cannot be held in-person (due to COVID-19 restrictions), a virtual OsteoCHAMPS program will be offered.
OsteoCHAMPS is an intense eight-day residential summer program of the Osteopathic Medical School at Michigan State University and high school students will experience a bit of campus life throughout the program. The program provides a range of instruction in the health sciences for students interested in entering one of the many healthcare fields. 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.
This scholarship is available to Newaygo County high school sophomores and juniors, with a GPA of 3.0 or above and interested in entering a health care field upon graduation from high school. The application link will be available from December 1, 2020 to March 1, 2021, and students must apply through the MSU website at: https://com.msu.edu/future-students/pre-college-programs/osteochamps. Students applying should mark that they would like sponsorship support to cover the $1,500 cost of attending and enter the Gerber Foundation as the source of sponsorship.
Lauren Boerger of Fremont attended the camp in the summer of 2019. Lauren acquired a lot of practical knowledge regarding the medical field and requirements for becoming a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. From learning problem-solving skills in the classroom to living in a dorm with a roommate, she enjoyed every minute of her camp experience. “The OsteoCHAMPS program has helped me recognize the tools needed to advance my future career in medicine.”
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.”
For more information about the OsteoCHAMPS program contact Lynn Whipple at 517-432-5277 or email at email@example.com or the Gerber Foundation at 231.924-3175 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two Newaygo County Restaurants Hit With Liquor License Suspensions
From MDHSS & MLCC:
LANSING, MICH. Today, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued citations and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) suspended liquor licenses to establishments that are in violation of the recent public health order issued on Sunday, Nov. 15, which was put in place to control the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health by establishing restrictions on gatherings, including prohibiting gatherings of patrons in food service establishments.
The MLCC issued emergency suspensions of the liquor licenses and permits held by Michigan businesses in Fremont, Newaygo and Fenton. Licensees’ multiple violations of the current MDHHS Emergency Order include:
“Our office is working closely with the Commission as it exercises its duties and we are prepared to prosecute these summary suspensions,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel. “Although none of us wants to take such actions, the deliberate and blatant defiance of the state emergency public health orders by these owners put their businesses at risk. While we are heartbroken at the toll these closures invariably have on the businesses affected, first and foremost the state has an obligation to protect the lives of our residents.”
MLCC Commissioners ordered emergency suspensions of the liquor licenses and permits held by:
A virtual hearing before an Administrative Law Judge is scheduled on Dec. 4, 2020, for each of the above-named licensees via Zoom to determine whether this summary suspension should continue, or other fines and penalties should be imposed.
In addition, citations were issued by MDHHS to the following establishments, with penalties of up to $1,000 for each violation or day that a violation continues:
Information was received by MDHHS from local health departments and local law enforcement regarding non-compliance with the order. The civil fines are due within 30 days of receipt of the citations. Additional establishments are slated to be cited.
“The vast majority of restaurant and bar owners are doing the right thing and they have temporarily closed their indoor service to help prevent the spread of the virus,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “We know this is not easy for anyone, this is not an action we take lightly, but the sooner we can mitigate the spread of COVID-19 the sooner we can all get back to doing the things we enjoy.”
“Cases of COVID-19 are incredibly high across the state, and these orders are in place to help prevent the spread of the virus, save lives, and protect our frontline workers,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “We need to do everything we can to alleviate the stress on our hospitals and health care workers. Food service establishments like restaurants and bars can help play a critical role by following the order and most of them are doing their part.”
To date, there have been more than 320,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, resulting in more than 8,600 deaths. Michigan’s COVID-19 daily death average has quadrupled in the last five weeks.
The public can report any suspected non-compliance issue at an establishment directly to the MLCC online or by calling the MLCC Enforcement hotline, toll-free, at 866-893-2121.
From our friends at the Newaygo County Road Commission:
Michigan’s first snowflakes have fallen, and before the state is feet-deep in snow, the Newaygo County Road Commission (NCRC) is sharing how it responds to winter storms.
“During the winter months, nothing is more important that keeping our local roads free of snow and ice so drivers have safe trips when they need to be out in inclement weather,” said Derek Wawsczyk, Manager of the NCRC. “We have foremen that monitor the weather 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the winter to ensure we’re prepared for whatever comes our way. We will have our trucks out on the roads as soon as possible after a winter storm hits.”
Michigan snowstorms can last 24 hours or more, which means a lot of work is required for roads to return to a drivable state. And then there is the wind and drifting. All of this causes plow and salt truck drivers to work long shifts, up to 16 hours, in the worst of conditions. Here in Newaygo County, the road commission has on average 25 plows out on the roads after a winter snow event for nearly 1,600 miles of road.
Roads will be serviced in a certain order: State highways, primary routes, secondary blacktops, gravels, and finally dead-end roads. In some storms, crews are required to rerun the highways and primary system delaying service to the lower traffic volume routes. We appreciate your patience when severe weather hits.
If you have questions on winter maintenance, please contact the NCRC office at 231-689-6682.
The Gerber Foundation Scholarship Application Portal is open!
The Gerber Foundation post-secondary education scholarship online application portal is open for high school students graduating in May 2021. Students may initiate their application at https://gerberfoundation.smartsimple.com. The deadline for application is February 28, 2021 at 4 pm.
Daniel Gerber, Sr. Medallion and Merit Scholarships are available for all high school seniors in Newaygo County, including home school students. Newaygo County Career Technical Center scholarships are available for students graduating from one of 14 career tech programs. Students may apply for only one of the available scholarships.
Students from Holton HS, Muskegon HS, and Ravenna HS in Muskegon County and Hart HS, Pentwater HS, Shelby HS, and Walkerville HS in Oceana County with a GPA between 2.00-3.70 may apply for the Merit Scholarship.
The Foundation will award up to $350,000 in scholarships in 2021.
Information about each scholarship can be found on the Foundation’s website at www.gerberfoundation.org.
For questions, please contact the Gerber Foundation at 231.924.3175 or email@example.com.
County COVID surge brings further precautions.
From our friends at Newaygo County Courts:
Newaygo County – Due to the continued increase in COVID-19 cases in Newaygo County the Newaygo County Courthouse has taken additional steps for the safety of employees and the public we serve. The Newaygo County Courthouse continues to be open to the public however, we ask the public to avoid handling their court business in person to the greatest extent possible. All filings and payments can be done electronically or mailed. We ask that the public only handle their court business in person in cases of emergency. In-person hearings are limited to emergency matters and matters where there is a statutory or constitutional right to be present that has not been waived. The safety of the community is crucial during this time. Consistent with Michigan Supreme Court directives the Newaygo County Trial Courts must take every measure possible to protect the public and court personnel while still providing creative and alternative ways to access the court.
If your business with the court can be handled via phone, fax, mail or email, please use those methods before coming to the courthouse. Additionally, we encourage you to call prior to making a trip to determine if your business can be handled remotely. If you visit the courthouse you may be given alternative directions to access the courts if your need is not an emergency or a matter for which you have the right to be present.
Courthouse visitors permitted into the building will continue to follow the current visitor screening process including the completion of a health screening and temperature assessment. By order of the court, masks must be worn in the courthouse unless otherwise directed by the presiding judge. Visitors who are unable or unwilling to wear masks may be provided with alternative methods for conducting their court business and may be asked to leave the courthouse. Visitors must continue to abide by social distancing guidelines while at the courthouse as well.
All other hearings that are not emergencies or matters where litigants have the right to be present will be conducted remotely via Zoom or teleconference as directed on hearing notices. Many court functions can be handled remotely. It is preferred that filings be mailed, faxed, or emailed to the courthouse whenever possible. Please find contact information for each Court below. Court sessions will not be open to the public. All court sessions will continue to be livestreamed, or recorded and posted to YouTube to provide public access. Please visit countyofnewaygo.com to find the Departments tab where the Courts tab is located.
Please see the complete Local Administrative Order for Phase 1 for more complete details...
...or contact the appropriate court using the information below:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Phone: (231) 689-7251
Main Phone: (231) 689-7252
Fax: (231) 689-7015
Phone: (231) 689-7228
Main Phone: (231) 689-7257
Fax (231) 689-7258
Phone: (231) 689-7274
Main: (231) 689-7270
Fax: (231) 689-7276
Although we have had to restrict certain accesses the courthouse remains staffed and ready to assist you. The courthouse is experiencing staff shortages at this time, so it is possible that you may experience delays in some departments. We appreciate the public’s patience with any delays. Thank you for adhering to these new guidelines so we can continue to prioritize the health and safety of our community.
Hon. Robert D. Springstead
Circuit Court Judge
Newaygo County Trial Courts
Reader inquiry leads to enlightenment
We had an inquiry from one of our readers about accessing the data from the Health Department regarding COVID deaths so we reached out to Jeanine Taylor from DHD#10
She kindly offered to guide us through the process of obtaining the desired information adding, “We sent out press releases for the first two deaths in each county like other departments throughout the state did. We don’t offer information beyond age group and gender.”.
It was explained to Ms. Taylor that given this writer’s personal struggle with complex procedures any instructions would likely need to be as uncomplicated as possible. She assured me of the relative simplicity of the process.
And she was indeed correct.
If one goes to the DHD#10 COVID site
One will see the Dashboard.
There are three categories
When you click on Newaygo County in any of the three categories, the data reverts to Newaygo County figures only.
The site itself is a wealth of info on the pandemic.
Thank you Ms. Taylor and thank you DHD#10 for all your work in helping the communities in our region deal with this lingering pandemic.
The Gerber Foundation Board of Trustees, at a recent meeting, awarded a $10,000 gift to the Newaygo County Area Promise Zone scholarship program. Since 2017, the Foundation has gifted over $50,000 to the Newaygo County Area Promise Opportunity Fund.
Dr. Lori Tubbergen Clark, Superintendent, Newaygo County RESA and Chair of the Promise Zone stated, “We are grateful to The Gerber Foundation for their continued support of the Newaygo County Promise scholarship program. With their help, our promise to provide a path for career and college opportunities to our graduates can be sustained. This gift to support the Newaygo County Promise will change the lives of many young people and their families.”
The Newaygo County Promise Zone is a community-based universal scholarship program to raise educational attainment levels and promote economic development. The goal of the Promise Zone is to provide eligible Newaygo County high school graduates with a tuition-free path to an associate degree from at least one institution. Since beginning in 2017, the Promise Zone has awarded over $1.3 million in tuition payments in support of 522 Newaygo County students pursuing opportunities to earn post-secondary credentials.
“The Gerber Foundation is committed to improving the health and well-being of the youngest members of our society. And improving post-secondary educational opportunities for our local youth absolutely aligns with the Foundation mission and goals,” stated Catherine Obits, Program Manager for the Gerber Foundation.
The 2021-2022 Promise Zone application window for first year applicants will open on January 4, 2021. More information about the Newaygo County Area Promise Zone can be found at www.promise.zone.
"Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes...turn and face the strange"- David Bowie
Particularly High School basketball the absolute best show around when it’s winter in our bipeninsular paradise?
If you recall 8 months ago the Lion Girls team had just vanquished a powerful GR Christian team and had their sights set on West Catholic and a Regional title.
Fremont Boys team marched to a district title rematch with Comstock Park, the team that booted them from the tourney the previous year.
Then came COVID and the schools and all their sports were slammed shut.
Now it’s approaching basketball season again and...and…
We’re on a delay.
You see there is still football left to play and volleyball matches are unfinished (as well as swimming and diving) and though our area doesn’t have a dog in any of these these playoff fights the postponement of these tournament runs will push back the basketballers, wrestlers and bowlers (who cannot bowl right now anyway) with a December 9th start for practices and season play beginning after the new year arrives (Jan. 4th).
The MDHHS announced a three-week pause to various activities including school sports, effective Nov. 18, in hopes of halting the state’s rising infections due to COVID-19.
The volleyball and swimming & diving tournaments have one week remaining, with MHSAA Finals for both previously scheduled for Nov. 21. The 11 and 8-Player Football Playoffs also are nearing their conclusions, with the 8-player postseason two games from completion and 11-player down to its final three rounds. Winter practices for all but boys basketball, bowling, skiing and wrestling had begun for high school teams.
If allowed by the MDHHS, practice would resume for all three Fall sports Dec. 9, with tournaments scheduled as follows:
“A very small percentage of our teams remain active in our Fall tournaments, also limiting potential exposure to the virus across the state. Meanwhile, by waiting until January to begin Winter competition, the Council is allowing our teams to continue activity but also restricting the mixing of communities to further promote reducing COVID spread.”
The Council meets again Dec. 4 for its annual Fall Meeting, and at that time will consider possible tournament adjustments necessary due to the shortened Winter competition season.
In the meantime here’s a story we ran in N3 about the possible outcome of the Lion/Falcon showdown that never happened.
And here’s hoping we see you at the gym after the New Year.
Surge in cases spurs further measures as high schools to go virtual and restaurants go back to take out, delivery only.
Citing the surge in cases and deaths Governor Whitmer announced the new emergency order put into place by MDHHS while encouraging the federal government to take action and pass a stimulus package.
The emergency order is a 3 week mandate that will begin Wednesday at midnight and is aimed at limiting residential and non-residential gatherings where COVID-19 spreads rapidly.
Bars and restaurants will be open for outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery only.
Colleges and high schools may proceed with remote learning, but must end in-person classes.
Gyms will remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures , including mandatory masking in place.
Casinos, movie theaters and group exercise classes will be closed.
Professional and college sports meeting extraordinary standards for risk mitigation may continue without spectators, however all other organized sports must stop.
Today’s order, which takes effect Wednesday, Nov. 18, is not a blanket stay-home action like in the spring. The order leaves open work that cannot be performed from home, including for manufacturing, construction and health occupations. Outdoor gatherings, outdoor dining and parks remain open. Individualized activities with distancing and face masks are still allowed: retail shopping; public transit; restaurant takeout; personal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment; and individualized exercise at a gym, with extra spacing between machines.
This action will save lives,” said the Governor. “If we don’t take aggressive action now we could see 1000 deaths a week.
COVID precautions in place, NFDC once again comes through for vets
For the third year in a row Newaygo Family Dental Care stepped up for veterans and delivered a day of checkups, cleaning, x rays, fillings and most of all a solid display of appreciation and respect for about 3 dozen former servicemen.
Free of charge.
This display of compassion and service to others the Drs Nelson (Dennis and Ross) and their staff perform each year is inspiring to say the least and even more so taking place during these dicey days of 2020.
Hygienist Trisha Tramper, part of the NFDC team who helped provide these services, seemed to echo the sentiments of her colleagues.
“Being in the midst of a global pandemic, I was really sad to think that we would possibly be missing out on our annual veteran's day.
“Although we are doing things a little different this year, I'm very happy we were still able to make today happen! Every year I'm amazed at the turnout and how thankful our local veterans are to have us.”
“This is my 2nd time here,” said Veteran William Hall. “Awesome program to help veterans get services they need.”
We wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Hall as to the awesomeness A lot of people talk about doing more for veterans. Others simply show how it's done.
On Friday Newaygo Family Dental Care puts its humanity into action.
And we’re a better community for it.
By Dale Twing
As a long-time resident of Newaygo County, I love this community and the people who live and work in it. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to raise a family and earn a livelihood here. Over the many years, I’ve had the privilege of calling so many people my trusted friends. Regardless of background or beliefs, I truly value every single person I’ve come to know. When a virus like COVID-19 threatens the community that I cherish, I feel I have a responsibility to speak up.
COVID-19 is a serious threat. Please treat it as such.
Back in summer, one of two individuals may get sick from COVID-19. Today, we’re seeing around 30 people get sick every day in Newaygo County.
Back in summer, at most one or two people would need to get admitted to the hospital. Today, our hospital is filling up. Patients need to get transferred to other nearby hospitals, and those are filling up too. The data, compiled by District Health Department #10, which includes Newaygo County, paint a worrisome picture.
Unless we all get serious and start practicing simple safety behaviors, COVID-19 will sicken more people, overwhelm our health care facilities and put lives at risk.
We can all do our part:
Wear a mask.
Stay six feet apart from other people.
Keep gatherings small and outdoors if possible.
Wash your hands frequently.
Scientists have been studying COVID-19 for a year now. The research keeps giving us the same conclusion: these safety precautions, while inconvenient to some, can reduce disease transmissions. Additionally, President Trump’s own public health experts say wearing a mask correctly can protect others as well as the person wearing it.
I haven’t always worn a mask diligently. I will now. If you see me out and about not wearing one or wearing one improperly, please don’t hesitate to remind me.
Until we have control of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must all do our part to keep each other safer.
Newaygo Residential Development Makes New Use of Brownfield Incentives
Grand Rapids, Michigan, November 10, 2020-- North River Hills LLC, Newaygo County, and the Michigan Land Bank Authority just closed the deal on a first-of-its-kind use of brownfield incentives to support construction of 20 new homes in the city of Newaygo. The Newaygo County Commission gave its unanimous support Tuesday morning to incentives to help pay for infrastructure and site preparation costs at Phase II of River Hills Estates, a new neighborhood of market rate homes in the City of Newaygo.
“Homes in River Hills Estates are designed to be affordable for ‘missing middle’ home buyers who may be moving out of multi-family housing or a small first home into a larger family home,” said Newaygo County Administrator Christopher Wren. “The incentives will be passed along to home buyers by keeping overhead costs low. Maintaining home affordability helps Newaygo County residents.”
Brownfield incentives have helped reduce development costs for contaminated and blighted property since the 1990s. Michigan law says that property that’s contaminated, blighted, functionally obsolete, historic, or owned by a county or state land bank qualifies for brownfield incentives. Incentives can be used to pay for demolition, lead and asbestos abatement, environmental costs, and in some cases for infrastructure and site preparation.
North River Hills and Sable Homes took over the first phase of River Hills Estates in 2017 after it remained unfinished for 15 years. At that time, four homes had been built in the phase designed for 31 homes. Sable was able to revitalize River Hills Estates and finished construction of new homes on the remaining 27 lots earlier this year.
“We are fortunate to have Sable Homes and North River Hills invest in our neighborhood growth and sustainability with this new project,” Newaygo City Manager Jon Schneider said. "We look forward to seeing the progress of the second phase of River Hills Estates take shape.”
Sable and North River Hills expect a complete land and home package to range from $190,000 to $250,000 in the second phase.
“Through our experience in the last three years, we know there is a continued need for new home construction in the Newaygo community,” said Karin Kay, Sable Homes’ sales manager. “With groundbreaking for the first homes expected early next year, this collaborative public and private partnership is central to allowing the end user to realize homeownership while increasing the community’s stock of workforce housing.”
This project is novel because the property was intentionally conveyed to the Michigan Land Bank Authority to become eligible for the incentives. “We could not sell home lots for a high enough price to cover site preparation and infrastructure, so Home Builders Association CEO Bob Filka suggested reaching out to the Michigan Land Bank Authority,” said North River Hills president John Bitely. “With the Land Bank’s help and support from the Newaygo County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, we’re using brownfield incentives for the funding gap.” After a few months, the state will return the property to North River Hills.
North River Hills will be reimbursed from the development’s increased property taxes for infrastructure and site preparation costs under a brownfield plan amendment written by Fishbeck and approved by the city of Newaygo, the Newaygo County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, and Newaygo County. The city, county, and state will still be paid taxes at the pre-development rate until North River Hills is reimbursed, and the county will collect $15,000 from the increased property taxes for its Brownfield Revolving Fund. North River Hills contracted with Fishbeck, a Grand-Rapids based environmental, engineering, and construction firm, to steer the brownfield plan amendment through Newaygo County’s brownfield redevelopment authority.
Collaboration between state and local government officials, economic development organization The Right Place, and the development team set the stage for project success. “The project is truly a win-win for Newaygo residents, local governments, the developer, and the State of Michigan,” said Fishbeck project manager Susan Wenzlick. “I’m so happy we could be part of this team.”
Further reduces number of people who can visit in hospitals and outpatient care sites
Grand Rapids, Mich., November 11, 2020 – As the number of cases and positivity rates of COVID-19 continue to climb in our community, Spectrum Health is seeing significant increases of patients being admitted to its hospitals. Therefore, the health system announces changes to its visitor policies. The revisions are intended to reduce the number of people in its Grand Rapids and regional hospitals and outpatient care sites in order to help prevent the spread of illness and protect patients, health care workers and our communities.
Effective Thursday, November 12 at 6 a.m., adult patients are allowed no family members or visitors, unless they have cognitive impairment or need significant assistance with the activities of daily living. Those with exceptions must have the same visitor during their entire stay. The following exceptions will apply:
For pediatric patients, the following exceptions remain in place:
The new restrictions apply to the following Spectrum Health hospitals and nearby Spectrum Health Medical Group physician offices and ambulatory care sites:
In addition, to prevent the spread of coronavirus, all visitors are screened and are required to wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose to enter the hospitals and outpatient facilities. Spectrum Health dining rooms will be closed to visitors. Hospital food service will be available in the cafeteria through to-go orders.
More information about visitor restrictions can be found here. Spectrum Health’s COVID-19 resource center can be found here.
Grant $ supports students, teachers, and a local business
Like many small businesses Flying Bear Books in downtown Newaygo felt the impact of the pandemic.In early March of this year, when things started moving fast and shutdowns were ordered the store, like many others, faced a very uncertain future. Owners John and Marsha Reeves were discussing how to proceed if at all with the bookstore.
While working through options and possibilities several unforeseen events unfolded that provided some hope and light for the beleaguered store. The prognosis for Flying Bear had been helped by Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy (MGLVA) who contacted the bookstore for help in shipping books to students statewide and the Newaygo After School program who ordered 35 different titles of various quantities to be sent to their students.
“The normal summer business was still off by about 50% but the MGLVA and Newaygo school systems were helping us to weather the storm,” said Marsha Reeves. “Whether or not the bookstore would make it through the winter was still up in the air.”
Meanwhile in Grant middle school teacher Stephanie Dood had put the grantsmanship skills learned at a Fremont Area Community Foundation series to to work.
“As a child, I grew watching my mother teach and write grants to develop programs addressing the needs of Newaygo County students. For ten years, I have been writing and managing 1-2 grants while teaching. Most often they focus on summer programming to provide targeted experiences for students with social emotional needs, along with building literacy and leadership skills.
“After the conclusion of the Foundation series, I sat with the Grant Public Schools administration team and asked to develop a framework that builds relationships with foundations, local businesses, and educators to provide a greater impact in improving student opportunity,” she explained. “With the green light to go ahead, support of the great team in Grant, and wisdom from the FACF, we began learning and growing in our understanding.
“In the 2019-2020 grant cycle, we are currently sitting at a grand total of $650,758.30, with three proposals left on the table for notification in December. This amount is above and beyond the COVID Relief Fund. For someone who typically brings in $10,000-$15,000 in grant funds to the district, never did I imagine reaching six figures to fund the needs and lessen the gap within our rural community.”
The goal of partnering with local businesses brought her to Flying Bear.
“In the early fall a middle school special education teacher from Grant (Dood) came to the store and declared that she had some grant money that she intended to spend local whenever and wherever possible,” said John Reeves. “ We were asked to see if we could obtain about 15 titles of various quantities and to provide a quote. We went to work and provided a proposal that was accepted and the books were ordered and delivered.”
“John has been able to locate 1,175 copies of various titles needed for our Middle School Language Arts Department,” said Ms. Dood. “This will allow students one-to-one copies of classroom books for novel studies, grades 5-8. With the support of grant funding through Michigan Department of Education, Fremont Area Community Foundation, The NEA Foundation, and The Gerber Foundation, students at Grant Public Schools will begin to experience a greater impact in literacy resources and development.”
“This is just the beginning,” added Dood. “Great things are happening in Grant.”
How did Newaygo County vote?
Mostly Republican per usual.
In fact over 12,000 of the 27,323 who made their way to our county polling places didn’t bother to go further than putting their mark on the Republican straight ticket option forgoing any glance at the partisan races. On the Democrat side a bit over 4000 did the same but the red votes held the clear edge in any two party contest.
The turnout in our fair county was epic as it was throughout most of the country, with nearly 77% of registered voters.
And while many county, township and city contests went uncontested, a sprinkling involved incumbents facing challengers in addition to school board races, proposals and millages throughout our portion of the bipeninsular paradise known as Michigan.
In Grant six candidates, including a late-to-the-party write in contender, vied for three school board spots. Rob Schuitema and Danette Obenauf joined incumbent Kris Lesley in winning 6 year terms on the board.
Newaygo’s school board had two openings and voters chose former NC Sheriff Mike Mercer and incumbent Melissa Swinehart for the 6 year positions.
Three current Fremont board members vied for two 6 year terms with Michael Campau and Peter Slovinski continuing with the board while Crystal Calkins will finish out her term ending December 31.
Longtime Lincoln Township Supervisor and radio host Buck Geno a Democrat, fell short in his bid for reelection as Republican Robin Rodarmer rode a 291-113 straight ticket advantage in township voting to capture the seat 403-319 and the 542 GOP straight ticket votes in Bridgeton provided more than enough cushion for Republican Elisha Szczepaniak to post a 685-453 win over long time Township Clerk Carolyn Drake, a Democrat.
Newaygo County voting in the National and State elections went as expected with Republicans getting the majority by far but as we write this Joe Biden is being projected as winning the state and the senate race was too close to call with incumbent Gary Peters holding a rather small lead over challenger John James.
For all Newaygo County Unofficial Election Results go here:
And we want to express our gratitude to NC Clerk Jason VanderStelt and all the clerks and election workers who performed admirably while adjusting to the many changes this election cycle brought forth amidst a pandemic.
Increase in COVID cases brings changes
NEWAYGO COUNTY – The Newaygo County Courthouse is open at this time. However, we will be taking measures to limit exposures in the courthouse due to an ongoing upward trajectory for documented cases of COVID-19 and for positive tests in Newaygo County.
Consistent with Michigan Supreme Court directives the Newaygo County Trial Courts must take every measure possible to protect the public and court personnel. If your business with the court can be handled via phone, fax, mail or email, please use those methods before coming to the courthouse at this time.
The public will be permitted into the building for in-person emergency and essential hearings or hearings where litigants have the right to be present. Emergency or essential functions involve the health, safety and Constitutional rights of the citizens of Newaygo County. If you make a visit to the Courthouse during this time staff may inquire about your business and provide guidance to limit exposures within the courthouse.
Courthouse visitors permitted into the building for emergency and/or essential matters will continue to:
• Complete a health screening and have their temperature taken prior to entry.
• Wear a mask while in the building.
• Adhere to six-foot social distancing markers in lobbies, hallways and courtrooms.
• Be prepared to wait outside, or in an alternate area, as advised by staff if common areas are too crowded until building occupancy is down and social distancing can be maintained safely.
• Utilize hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to cleanse hands public areas for their protection.
Hearings that are not emergencies, deemed essential or where litigants have the right to be present will be conducted remotely via Zoom or teleconference as directed. During this time, it is preferred that filings be mailed, faxed, or emailed to the courthouse whenever possible. Please feel free to contact the correct court using the following information for more details on how to submit a filing electronically or if you require assistance with a remote hearing. Court sessions will continue to be livestreamed via YouTube to provide public access. Please visit countyofnewaygo.com to find the Departments tab where the Courts tab is located.
Please see the complete Local Administrative Order for Phase 2 for more complete details or contact the appropriate court using the information below:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Phone: (231) 689-7251
Main Phone: (231) 689-7252
Fax: (231) 689-7015
Phone: (231) 689-7228
Main Phone: (231) 689-7257
Fax (231) 689-7258
Phone: (231) 689-7274
Main: (231) 689-7270
Fax: (231) 689-7276
Safety for the public and those working in the courthouse are of the utmost concern to the courts. We remain fully staffed within the courthouse at this time to assist you. We look forward to being able to expand access again soon once the number of COVID-19 cases in the community goes down.
Hon. Robert D. Springstead
Circuit Court Judge
Newaygo County Trial Courts
Career Tech Center innovates to support students during pandemic
Staff and students at the Newaygo County Career Tech Center (CTC) have innovated two
prototypes to help students learn during the pandemic.
The pocket document camera is a creative low-cost solution to increase engagement during virtual teaching and learning sessions. The pocket document camera can reverse any laptop camera so the teacher in the classroom can see live what a virtual learner is writing.
This low-tech, low-cost tool using CTC's 3D printer to design the plastic mold and 2x2 inch mirror for approximately $1.00 per device, was recreated by Jonathan Tuuk, Career-Tech Center Mechanical Engineering Instructor, in partnership with Alexis Orford, NC RESA Assistive Technology Consultant. Career Tech staff and students also fabricated plexiglass partitions for students at the Education and Activity Center who are unable to wear a mask. The partitions keep students and staff safe when social distancing is not possible.
“I am so impressed with our NC RESA team who have gone above and beyond to meet the needs of students during a very challenging time,” said NC RESA Superintendent Dr. Lori Tubbergen Clark. “Every school staff member deserves recognition, especially during these trying times, and it’s an honor to share two of many stories that are positively impacting students.”
DHD#10 weighs in on contact tracing
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services responded to an uptick in the numbers of COVID cases and COVID related deaths, as well as the percentage of positive test results by extending and expanding the epidemic orders.
Part of the newly extended orders reduces from 500 persons to 50 persons the maximum gathering size for indoor gatherings such as weddings, parties, and banquets which occur in nonresidential settings without fixed seating.
“For bars, restaurants, and social events outside private homes, indoor party sizes at a single table are now restricted to six people. Because individuals remove their masks while eating and drinking in indoor settings, seated tables with people from different households create high risks of spread.
“Like many other businesses in Michigan, bars and restaurants will also be required to take names and contact information to support effective contact tracing if necessary. Research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that visiting restaurants is a risk factor for COVID positivity, and currently there are 12 outbreaks in Michigan associated with bars or restaurants with currently active clusters up to 12 cases.”
Earlier this week District Health Department #10 the organization tasked with the mission of promoting the health of our communities announced exposures at restaurants in Newaygo and Mecosta counties.
What does this new directive mean locally where compliance with mask wearing continues to be an issue? Will patrons of our local eateries be willing to pass along their names and contact info in exchange for a menu? Will local restaurateurs comply with the directive and require their serving staff or seating staff to request such info given the reactions to mask wearing requirements some front line people at businesses have had to endure? What will be the response to those who choose to ignore the order?
The changes take effect Monday.
We received this from DHD#10 on Friday:
In the span of seven days, District Health Department #10 reported a total of 413 lab-confirmed and 23 probable COVID-19 cases in our ten-county jurisdiction. With each confirmed and probable case, there are often numerous close contacts that must also be identified and contacted, which falls to public health to complete. While DHD#10 is utilizing assistance from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) TraceForce program, as well as pulling in staff from other divisions within our agency to assist, we have reached capacity and are unable to promptly investigate every case and contact trace. Priority is being given to school aged children, residents and employees of long-term care facilities, hospitals, schools, large group settings, and other higher-risk situations.
“Cases of COVID-19 are higher than they have been at any point in this pandemic and continue to increase at alarming rates. We urge everyone to be empowered and choose to do the right thing by following what is laid out in the Epidemic Order,” stated Dr. Jennifer Morse, Medical Director for DHD#10. “Now is the time for all of us to take personal responsibility for ourselves, our families, our friends, and our communities to slow the spread of this virus.”
DHD#10 is asking the public for patience and to follow these guidelines:
If you were notified that you tested positive for COVID-19:
If you were notified that you were a close contact to a positive case:
For more information on COVID-19, go to www.dhd10.org/coronavirus. You can also send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Initiative saves tax dollars
White Cloud, Michigan – Newaygo County is pleased to announce the successful refunding of its outstanding Series 2009A Unlimited Tax General Obligation Bonds which were issued in December 2009 to finance expansion of the Newaygo County Jail. In November 2020, the County will complete its issuance of $2,595,000 Series 2020 Refunding Bonds to refund the outstanding Series 2009A Limited Tax Building Improvement Bonds and pay the costs of issuing the Series 2020 Bonds.
This initiative, allowing the County to take advantage of historically low municipal bond interest rates, is a prime example of the ongoing efforts put forth to protect and maintain the fiscal health of the County. Kudos to Treasurer Moon, Administrator Wren and their respective staff members for the innovative thinking that allowed this idea to come to fruition.
Given the current low interest rates, the County was able to achieve a savings to the County of $163,844 with this re-financing. The true interest rates on the Series 2020 Refunding Bonds is 0.79%. The savings will provide lower debt costs until the final maturity of July 1, 2025.
It’s always exciting to participate in an effort to save tax dollars,” said County Treasurer Holly Moon. “The County’s strong credit rating coupled with the current low interest rates translated to an attractive outcome for our citizens.”
Reduces number of people who can visit in hospitals and outpatient care sites
Grand Rapids, Mich., Oct. 28, 2020 – As a result of significantly increasing numbers of patients admitted with COVID-19, 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 Thursday, Oct. 29, adult patients are allowed one adult family member or guest per patient. This must be the same person for the patient’s entire hospital stay. The following exceptions will apply:
The new restrictions apply to the following Spectrum Health hospitals and nearby physician offices and ambulatory care sites:
In addition, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, all visitors will be screened and are required to wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose to enter the hospitals and outpatient facilities. Spectrum Health dining rooms will be closed to visitors. Hospital food service will be available in the cafeteria through to-go orders.
More information about visitor restrictions can be found here. Spectrum Health's COVID-19 resource center can be found here.
Northern Trails, Gypsy Nickel patrons warned of exposure dates
From our friends at the Health Department:
October 28, 2020 – District Health Department #10 was notified that two restaurants, one in Big Rapids and one in Newaygo, had individuals that tested positive for COVID-19 present and potentially contagious in their facilities. The Gypsy Nickel Lounge in Big Rapids had COVID-19-positive individuals present on October 15, 16 and 17. In Newaygo, Northern Trails Bar & Grill had COVID-19-positive individuals present on October 16 and October 22. These are considered high-risk exposures because individuals could have had close contact with a positive case that DHD#10 cannot identify or notify through contact tracing.
If you were at the above locations on the dates and times listed, you should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the possible exposure date. Anyone that is self-monitoring as a result should keep away from family, close contacts, and roommates as much as possible. COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and recent loss of taste or smell. Anyone experiencing one or more of these symptoms should immediately quarantine themselves and contact a medical provider.
DHD#10 will release information about high-risk public exposure sites when it is determined through investigation that it’s not possible to identify all close contacts. DHD#10 will no longer publish low-risk exposure sites where a COVID-19 positive individual was present but did not have close contact with others or we are able to notify close contacts through contact tracing. It is important to remember that approximately 40% of COVID-19 cases appear to be asymptomatic. Asymptomatic cases are especially difficult because they are not sick and therefore not staying home. Additionally, contagious individuals can spread virus prior to experiencing symptoms.
For more information about COVID-19, go to: www.dhd10.org/coronavirus, www.michigan.gov/coronavirus, or www.cdc.com/coronavirus.
Continuing COVID concerns caused cancellation
A little more than a month ago the Board of Public Works announced the cancellation of the Hazardous Waste Collection Day held the past few years at the Newaygo County Road Commission garage.
The collection day has traditionally been held in the spring but was moved to October 31 due to COVID concerns. The board ultimately made the decision to cancel for this year given the logistical difficulty involved in holding an event such as this within the boundaries of the recommended safety guidelines.
The BPW will consider the possibility of rescheduling for next spring depending on the status of the current health concerns.