3 week training runs July through December
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking candidates for its Conservation Officer Recruit School, a 23-week training academy that is the first step in becoming a conservation officer. The application deadline is March 1.
Recruit School #9 runs July 15 through Dec. 20 at the training academy in Dimondale, near Lansing.
“The academy demands total effort and commitment,” said 1st Lt. Steve Burton, training section supervisor in the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “It challenges recruits academically and physically. But those who succeed are on the path to an exciting, fulfilling career as a Michigan conservation officer. Not just anyone can wear our gray and green uniform. Only the finest men and women should apply.”
The DNR is an equal opportunity employer and encourages diversity among its applicants. During the academy, recruits become state of Michigan employees and are paid biweekly. After graduation, they become probationary conservation officers and spend several more months training throughout the state before being assigned to one of Michigan’s 83 counties, in which they will live. Due to the high quality and diverse nature of the training, the entire training process, which includes the academy, takes one year before candidates become full-fledged conservation officers.
An applicant must:
The 2017 Recruit School recently concluded, and 22 men and women joined the DNR as probationary conservation officers after graduating last month. For a look at life in the academy, visit an archive of weekly blogs from Recruit School #8.
DNR conservation officers serve a distinct role in Michigan’s law enforcement community. They are certified police officers with full authority to enforce all of Michigan’s laws. As conservation officers, they also have specialized training in a variety of areas related to the protection of Michigan’s citizens and natural resources. This includes extensive training in fish, game and trapping enforcement; recreational safety and enforcement, as well as firearms, precision and off-road driving, survival tactics and first aid. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.
By Ken DeLaat
Webb Katter was recognized as Employee of the Quarter at the regular meeting of the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners Wednesday January 24th.
Administrator Chris Wren delivered the award which read.“In the course of a workday you demonstrate a genuine desire to make sure the employees of Newaygo County are satisfied and always follow up on tasks you have completed. Through your actions it is clear you care about employees and in turn you are highly respected by them. You are always willing to go out of your way to help others, and are friendly and courteous in every situation. Your willingness to provide assistance to staff is extremely valuable.”
Mr. Katter is part of the county maintenance crew.
In other business the Board accepted a grant from the Fremont Area Community Foundation to help support the county’s Recycling program. Last spring the Board of Public Works assumed responsibility for the recycling program previously operated by Recycling for Newaygo County. Efforts are being made to open a site near Fremont and the county is working on a plan that will make the program sustainable.
Administrator Wren announced an upcoming training on workplace discrimination and sexual harassment being held next month for all Department Heads
Community Foundation Grantee Workshop Introduces New Measurement Tools
More than 125 representatives from local nonprofit organizations attended a January 17 Grantee Workshop hosted by Fremont Area Community Foundation. Presenters included staff and trustees from the Community Foundation as well as representatives from The Right Place and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University.
In the opening session, attendees were introduced to a regional tool that tracks progress on critical economic, environmental, and social outcomes. David Riley from The Right Place presented the West Michigan Regional Dashboard, which includes more than 30 indicators to measure West Michigan’s growth and development.
“We believe this dashboard is a vital tool to measure the health and wealth of our communities,” said Riley.
The Community Foundation worked with The Right Place to develop a similar tool for local use. The Newaygo County Area Dashboard will track similar indicators specific to Newaygo County. Indicators include items such as labor force participation rate, third grade reading level, and high school graduation rate.
“The dashboard provides data to help us track our progress,” said Lola Harmon-Ramsey, Community Foundation trustee. “Instead of reinventing the wheel, we asked The Right Place to highlight measures we are already using in our grantmaking. This will give the Community Foundation a much better sense of how we are moving on our goals and strategies for Newaygo County. Grant proposals that track similar outputs and outcomes will be more competitive.”
A second general session gave an overview of the Community Foundation’s grantmaking process and online system. Staff also explained new policies.
A new core capacity and financial health assessment tool was also shared. Developed in partnership with the Johnson Center, the assessment will give the Community Foundation a deeper understanding of an organization’s internal systems and financial position. It will also inform about the current collective status of local organizations and may identify topics for future training opportunities or technical assistance.
Breakout sessions introduced grantees to updated grant guidelines for each focus area—community and economic development, education, and poverty to prosperity—and to the committee members who review grants in each area.
“We’re so grateful to all of our community partners who attended the workshop,” said Carla Roberts, Community Foundation president and CEO. “This was a great opportunity to gather together and talk about the ways we can collaborate for the greatest possible impact. These new tools will provide a clearer picture of how our collective work is making the quality of life in Newaygo County even better.”
To view the Newaygo County Area Dashboard, visit ncdashboard.org. For more information on the Community Foundation’s grantmaking and updated grant guidelines, visit facommunityfoundation.org/grants.
NPD adds community liaison. Ryan Dornbos named to position
On Monday January 8th the Newaygo Police Department began to sport a different look when the position of Crime Prevention/Neighborhood Revitalization /Community Relations Coordinator was unveiled.With support from the Newaygo business district, the city and the local TIFA Committee the position was created to provide a point of access for community concerns, initiatives and other needs.
Officer Ryan Dornbos a veteran of the department was chosen to take the reins of this new NPD entity with a home base in the city offices.
N3 caught up with an already busy Officer Dornbos, who has long been active in the local football program as well, and posed a few questions.
What does it mean to you to be offered this position? How do you see your role in the community?
Since coming to Newaygo four years ago, I have seen, first hand, how close this community is to both their police department and to each other. Getting involved with the football program right away allowed me to "step out of the cruiser" and get to know this community right from the start. While I have always been a sort of community officer here, secondary to working the road, this new role will allow me to commit, full time, to serving Newaygo. I see this position as not only a liaison between the police department and the community, but a tool to be used directly with the community in coming up with new ideas to keep us all safe and secure.
There are many county groups focused on coordinating and delivering services to the public. What groups will you be involved with?
Am I allowed to say "all of them"? I plan on attending every meeting and getting on every board I can that will serve the city of Newaygo citizens which assists in revitalizing the city and its initiatives. I am only a week into this new position and I have already attended several meetings with Chief Andres. Chief Andres' plan is to put me in charge of all attendance of community focused groups, so that she can focus on government focused initiatives. From those working with NCRESA, to the different action groups in Headway -drug coalition, to mental health, I plan on becoming active with as many as I possibly can. I feel we, as police officers, need to work hand in hand with any group that is trying to better our community in some way. These initiatives are vital in solving and ridding our community of crime and making our citizens feels safe, which allows for economic growth in our area.
What initiatives would you like to see undertaken in the community?
I think their are many great initiatives in Newaygo, but believe the biggest focus for Newaygo Police Department is to further progress mentorship programs in the area. There are many children in our communities and our schools that would directly benefit from having a stable person in their life to assist them, or just be there for them. I feel that a strong mentorship program in our City and across our County, would not only help in the education world, but would help lower issues faced by police and the community across the board. I'm talking about lack of entry level employees for our retail and restaurants to issues with drug use, theft, and other crimes. I believe a good/solid mentor would help more children and young adults get on a better path of service and contribute to our society . I am well aware that a shortage of mentors has been expressed in our community, but I believe it's not a mentor shortage its an unknown need to our community members that if expressed; mentors will come to light. There are others, but for sure this is my biggest passion, supported by our City officials.
Last one. We also know you as a football coach. Who will plays in the Super Bowl and who is going to win?
Well, unfortunately it will probably be another decade or so until we see my Detroit Lions playing in the big game, and yes I still believe it will happen someday. So, even though I root against them twice a year, by heart is with Newaygo's own Joe Berger and the Minnesota Vikings. I think they will be playing another "Michigan Man" in Tom Brady and the Patriots, but I think the purple people eaters will pull out the victory in the end!
Officer Dornbos can be reached at 231.652.1655 (231.652.1657). Email messages can be sent to Officer Dornbos at firstname.lastname@example.org
State Police Motor Carrier Officers Join Forces to Fight Human Trafficking
LANSING, MICH. During National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Michigan State Police (MSP) motor carrier officers are teaming up with officers from neighboring states to raise awareness of human trafficking
From Jan. 22 - 26, MSP officers will join with their colleagues in the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Illinois State Police and Indiana State Police, along with the organization Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) to educate motorists about the signs of human trafficking and to enforce laws that crack down on traffickers.
“The goal of this week-long, multi-state human trafficking initiative is to raise awareness and educate those individuals in positions to observe human trafficking taking place, such as commercial motor vehicle drivers, public transportation companies, rest area attendants and truck stop employees,” stated Capt. Michael Krumm, commander of the MSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division. “These individuals are a force multiplier that can act as the eyes and ears of Michigan’s highways.”
The MSP first partnered with TAT in 2015, and has since been recognized as a national leader in human trafficking awareness and education. For more information about TAT, visittruckersagainsttrafficking.org.
To report human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-373-7888 or text BeFree to 233733.
The White Cloud Rotary Club was pleased to present a donation of $1,000 to the Newaygo Area Promise Zone last week. Steve Witter, Chairperson of the Promise Zone fundraising committee accepted the check from Rotary President Stu Sanders, and thanked all the members for the work in raising the funds.
Throughout the year White Cloud Rotary holds fundraisers such as their Golf-O-Ree and spring Jazz Concert performed by local high school students. In addition to this most recent donation to the Promise Zone, President Sanders stated, “the Club also sponsors students attending Life Leadership Camp each year, improvements to White Cloud Rotary Park, water wells in Africa, as well as granting scholarships to students every year from their endowment fund at the Fremont Area Community Foundation.”
White Cloud Rotary is a volunteer organization, encouraging the model of ‘Service Above Self’ and the advancement of high ethical standards, goodwill and civic responsibility. The club meets every Wednesday beginning at 11:30 a.m. at The Shack in Jugville located between White Cloud and Fremont.
By Ken DeLaat
The Newaygo County Board of Commissioners heard a report from the three members of the Department of Health & Human Services Board during their first meeting of the year on Wednesday January 10th.
Board member Mike Mercer shared some statistics while delivering praise to Newaygo County Director Lori Schultz and her staff for their work in the community.
“These people do a phenomenal job and go over and above the mandated services,”
Mr. Mercer also spoke about the Medical Care Facility and the industry-wide challenge with regard to staffing. With the closing of the Brookhaven facility in Muskegon there were recruiting opportunities to help bring in more staff.
Commissioner Vern Willett inquired about capacity percentages and it was reported the facility has maintained over 90% and is in healthy financial position as compared to other facilities across the state that might be struggling.
“When I talk to people at conferences from other boards it seems like we are a step ahead of most of them,” said Mr. Mercer.
Ben Landheer and Steve Johnson the other members of the board also answered questions from commissioners.
The board approved a resolution to contract with Paul Wagner D.O. and Mid Michigan M.E. Group for Medical Examination Services. Administrator Chris Wren reported on the progress of the morgue stating additional counties have begun to sign on for inclusion in the joint effort originally undertaken by Mecosta and Newaygo. Mr. Wren spoke to the current cost savings as well as the outlook for further resources coming to the county from this collaborative enterprise. A representative from the group, Lisa Kaspriak, fielded questions from commissioners regarding procedures and how they determine the need for an autopsy. Ms. Kaspriak detailed their diligence in determining cause of death and spoke to situations when examinations revealed a much different story than what might have been initially assumed.
A pair of motions were made by Commissioner Willett regarding changes in compensation for county commissioners. Both motions were seconded and discussed. Both failed by a 5-1 margin(Commissioner Chris Ortwein was not in attendance) with Mr. Willett casting the lone vote for approval. Commissioner Chuck Trapp expressed that these motions came without any figures or research behind them and stated he was unwilling to vote for any motion brought to the board without such information.
In other business the board appointed Mark Pitzer to the Board of Public Works.
The next Board of Commissioners meeting will take place on Wednesday January 24th at the County Administration Building in White Cloud. The meetings begin at 9:30am.
White Cloud Aerie returning this Spring
Story and photos by Charles Chandler
In Greek mythology, a Phoenix is a long-lived bird that obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. Like the Phoenix the White Cloud Eagles Aerie #4170 has risen from the ashes of the May 19th 2017 fire.
On a cold and blustery Monday morning I stopped by the building site to do a quick bit of sidewalk supervising. The cheerful and hearty Mickelson Construction framing crew were hard at work with total disregard for the cold biting wind. I found Project boss Jeff Legard and framer Ryan Bultema inside discussing the installation of the north side exit door. Jeff said that working with Eagles Aeries Board had been easy and that had made it a fun project.
When asked about the project timeline, he gave the perfect project manager answer. He said that the recent cold spell had slowed thing down a little, but if the electrical, mechanical, and plumbing went OK, and the dry wall went up as planned, and the installation of equipment and furnishing went OK, then the building would probably be move in ready by the end of March. We will be looking forward to celebrating the grand opening with our good neighbors from the Eagles Aerie #4170.
Hopefully it will just a tad warmer.
Fremont Area Community Foundation Awards $3.2M in Grants
Fremont Area Community Foundation announced the results of its recent community grant round, awarding $3.2 million to local agencies and programs.
Grant funding was awarded to a wide variety of organizations and projects addressing critical local needs. Several grants were focused on promoting self-sufficiency and empowering local families.
Love INC of Newaygo County received a $125,000 grant with a matching grant of up to $70,000. In addition to direct assistance programs such as their food pantry, Love INC offers a variety of “transformational ministry” programs such as Growing Hope financial management classes and Jobs for Life job readiness training.
TrueNorth Community Services received a $590,500 grant and a matching grant of up to $150,000 to support a variety of self-sufficiency programs. The funds will support food and nutrition programs, children’s services like the Children’s Christmas and Tools for School programs, and client-centered services such as housing assistance and the Pathways to Self-Sufficiency program for young adults.
An additional $17,500 was approved to support the MI Way to Thrive pilot program. The initiative was started by LiveWell Newaygo County and will integrate social service and healthcare programs to support more personalized and comprehensive services.
Circles Newaygo County, which is housed at TrueNorth, received a $155,000 grant for its work to mobilize community resources to support people and families on their journey out of poverty into self-sufficiency. Circles participants are connected to supportive networks and the tools and encouragement needed to meet individual goals. The program is now in its second year.
“We are proud to support programs and organizations that are working to strengthen and empower local families,” said Carla Roberts, Community Foundation president and CEO. “By working in partnership with local nonprofits and our generous donors, we can continue to build a Newaygo County where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.”
Community grant applications are accepted in two rounds per year, with the next deadline on March 1. Eligible agencies must be located in, or directly serve, the people of Newaygo County. For more information, visit facommunityfoundation.org/grants.
County Board holds organizational meeting
By Ken DeLaat
The Newaygo County Board of Commissioners began the second year of the current term for the seven elected officials who oversee our county government.
Wednesday, January 3rd they held their annual organizational meeting and the new year began with a bit of a kerfuffle when a change in the rules included commissioners being given 72 hour advance notice of any motion brought forth to the board meetings.
Commissioner Vern Willett expressed his displeasure with the change stating he felt the amendment was directed at him since he was generally the only one to make motions during board meetings.
Commissioner Chris Ortwein replied that though the change was not directed at Mr. Willett he was influenced by Mr. Willett’s tendency to make spontaneous motions while feeling he and other commissioners needed time to research and be prepared for such action.
Mr. Willett reiterated that he was being singled out by Mr. Ortwein and offered that without changing the rules motions brought forward can be sent to committee.
With no further discussion the by-laws including the change were passed 6-1 with Mr. Willett casting the lone dissenting vote.
There exists some discretion in the change as the Board Chair can waive the rule should a situation arise requiring a speedier decision.
Commissioner Jim Maike was unanimously elected to continue as Vice Chair the coming year while Pat Gardner will continue as Chair having been elected to a two year term last year.
Where and when can I hunt?
Hunters participating in this hunt will be required to turn in heads of harvested deer within 72 hours of harvest for disease testing. Visit www.mi.gov/deercheck for a list of available check stations and self-service drop boxes. All rules and regulations for the firearm deer season apply. See the Michigan Hunting and Trapping Digest for details.