Story and photo by Ken DeLaat
The idea was there long before it became a reality.
Linda Cudworth considered a number of options in the area and even gave a fleeting thought to a place she stumbled upon during a visit to Grand Marais.
But in the end Hit The Road Joe landed next door to her house in Croton.
That was 20 years ago when she was 50. Now 20 years later her daughter Tracy, known as Chef T, has taken the reins of the iconic restaurant that has been a gathering spot for a slew of regulars and a pleasant surprise for those who have discovered this haven of epicurean delights by accident, by design or by recommendation.
And she is now nearly 50, producing a fitting symmetry to the transition process
The eatery began life with just a drive through window, opened a small dining room soon after and since has seen additions to the dining area and the kitchen as well as the creation of an outdoor deck.
All the while maintaining the casual charm befitting this unique establishment overlooking an imaginative landscape in the heart of rural Newaygo County.
“I said I’d do it for 5 years then open a bait shop,” said Linda. “And now here we are fifteen years past the five I planned on.”
And now the torch has passed to her eldest daughter.
“These are huge shoes to fill and I can’t say enough good things about my Mother,” said Ms. Murrell. “She has been a true pioneer in our community. Her tenacity and hard work has created a ‘one of a kind’ business and I am so grateful for this opportunity.
“I look forward to growing and honoring her legacy.”
Tracy is no stranger to HTRJ. She started fairly soon after it’s opening working once a week and in recent years has used her extensive traveling to bring home recipes from around the globe. The international dinners held on occasion draw capacity crowds eager to sample her latest creations and her summertime takeout rib dinners are legendary for residents and summer folks alike.
Hit The Road Joe is in good hands and familiar hands at that.
“It will be the same vibe, the same feel with homemade organic offerings. Real food in a friendly atmosphere”
She and husband Chris will do more traveling and there will be more time to pursue some of her other interests.
“I could not have done this without the help of my sister Kendra, my three daughters, my husband and the incredible support from the community,” said Linda. “It’s been a great run.”
And fortunately for folks who enjoy a great meal in a welcoming venue…
The bait shop never happened.
Newaygo County Partners Taking Truancy Seriously
NC RESA, along with the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office, have partnered to create a truancy intervention program in Newaygo County. The primary focus is to identify students who are chronically truant and return them to school. Under Michigan law, a student age 6 until their 18th birthday must attend school. Students become chronically truant at 10 unexcused absences during one school year. School Resource Officers identify these students and attempt to provide available resources and interventions to improve attendance.
“There was a 26% decrease in truancies for the 2018-1019 school year,” reported Sheriff Bob Mendham. He also said that so far during the 2019-2020 school year, truancy is down over 50% from the previous year.
Sheriff Mendham added that none of this would be possible without teamwork and collaboration between all Newaygo County schools, Child Protective Services, Department of Human Services, Community Mental Health, NC RESA, and many other partners that make this program successful.
If you have any questions regarding truancy, please contact Deputy Bunnita Ouwinga or Deputy Justin Visser at 231-924-8846.
Newaygo County RESA Celebrates School Board Recognition Month
Newaygo County RESA is joining 529 local and 56 intermediate school districts across Michigan to celebrate January as School Board Recognition Month.
“Our school board members spend countless hours of unpaid time working to provide the best possible education for our students,” said Superintendent Dr. Lori Tubbergen Clark. “They also serve as the corporate board of directors for some of our county’s largest employers. Celebrating School Board Recognition Month is one way to say ‘thanks’ for all they do.”
School board members represent their fellow citizens’ views and priorities in the complex enterprise of maintaining and running the community’s public schools, Tubbergen Clark said. They also reinforce the principle of local control over public education, which is an important, highly valued aspect of education in Michigan.
“Too often the efforts of school board members go unrecognized,” Tubbergen Clark said. She added that the school board’s main goal is to support student achievement. To achieve that goal, the board focuses on the following needs:
• Creating a vision for what parents and citizens want their school district to become and how to make student achievement the top priority.
• Setting standards for what students must learn and be able to do.
• Assessing whether schools achieve their goals and whether students are learning.
• Accounting for the outcomes of decisions and by tracking progress and reporting results.
• Aligning the use of the district’s human and financial resources.
• Creating a safe and orderly climate where students can learn and teachers can teach.
• Collaborating to solve common problems and to support common successes.
• Focusing on continuous improvement by questioning, examining, revising, refining and revisiting issues related to student achievement.
“Even though we are making a special effort during January to show appreciation for our school board members, we recognize that their contributions reflect a year-round effort on their part,” Tubbergen Clark said. “They are dedicated individuals who are committed to improving student achievement and to fighting for the best for all of our students.”
The men and women serving the public schools in Newaygo County are: Big Jackson Public School: Charlotte Lockerby, Laura Johnson, Brad Crawford, Sue Jones, Lynn Ulman
Fremont Public Schools: Matt Hendrie, Jennifer Scott, Rick St. Peter, Peter Slovinski, Kim Rasch, Michael Campeau, Crystal Calkins
Grant Public Schools: Kris Lesley, Shawn Moore, Neil Geers, Dianne Ring, Damon Arsenault, George Brown, Rachal Gort
Hesperia Community Schools: Mary Sturtevant, Ryan Good, Michelle K. Allen, Mark Kraus, Julie Burrell, Scott Wenberg, Alan Daniels
Newaygo Public Schools: Bret Brummel, Thomas Frisbie, Vince Grodus, Morgan Heinzman, Jami Schultz, Reid Sherwood, Melissa Swinehart
White Cloud Public Schools: Holly Bowman, Megan Cruzan, Keith Derks, Elaine Engel, Jim Jones, Mindy Mench, Harry Stevens
Newaygo County RESA: David Hewitt, Ed Haynor, Karen Kasankiewicz, Laura Johnson, Sarah Robinson
From our friends at Consumers Energy:
CROTON, Mich., Jan. 9, 2020 – Consumers Energy will be testing one siren near Hardy Dam on the Muskegon River on Monday, January 13 at approximately 9:30 a.m.
The siren to be tested that day is downstream of Hardy Dam near E. 44th Street. The energy provider said they will be performing maintenance on that siren and testing its operation. It’s possible the siren will sound multiple times Monday morning.
No other sirens are scheduled to be tested. The tests will include a voice message, a 30-second siren and a second voice message. The public does not need to take any action during the tests.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires hydroelectric facilities to be able to quickly notify residents and visitors of any developing emergency at the plants. Typically, Consumers Energy performs the test once in August and in December each year.
In the event of an emergency, the siren/speaker units’ initial warning will be supplemented by information on radio and television stations along with Newaygo and Mecosta County emergency notification systems.
Weekend storm has the potential to bring significant impacts including flooding
From our friends at Newaygo County Emergency Services:
As of January 8, 2020, area rivers, drains, streams, creeks, and lakes are still recovering from the heavy rain that fell in late December. The Muskegon River near Croton is currently 1.5 feet higher than the 24 year daily median height. In addition soils remain saturated and ground absorption is extremely limited.
It is looking increasingly likely that Lower Michigan will see several rounds of heavy rain late this week and this weekend. Recent forecast trends suggest at least 2 inches of rain is likely across virtually all of the Grand and Kalamazoo River basins, as well as much of the Muskegon River basin. As much as 3 inches of rain is possible. Per the NWS Hydrologist, this has the potential to send many of our rivers higher than they have been at any point in the last 1-2 years.
There are still a lot of unknowns as to where the warm side of the storm system vs the cold side of the storm system will set up. Some of the rain in our area could fall as snow/sleet/freezing rain, which makes a big difference on the effect this has on the river levels.
THIS STORM HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BRING SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS IN THE FORM OF POWER OUTAGES, DANGEROUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS, AND AREAL AND RIVER FLOODING TO PARTS OF WESTERN LOWER MICHIGAN. ALL PARTIES WITH WEEKEND PLANS ARE ENCOURAGED TO STAY UP TO DATE ON THE FORECAST AS CONFIDENCE INCREASES IN WHERE THE HEAVIEST PRECIPITATION WILL FALL.
WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW
People living in flood prone locations should monitor forecasts this week on this developing hazardous weather situation. Now is the time to think about preparedness and plan for impacts in the event the heavy rainfall and flooding materialize. Significantly rising rivers and flooding is possible through next week.
Three USGS River Gauges are used to determine the river levels. As of 3:30 pm, the Muskegon River near
WHAT TO EXPECT
PREPARE NOW IF YOU LIVE WITHIN THE AREA IMPACTED!
Watch for rapidly changing water levels. Don’t wait for an evacuation directive if you feel threatened. Residents within the areas anticipated to be impacted by flood waters may be directed to by public safety personnel to evacuate if a Flood Warning is issued.
Follow these checklists (if time allows) to give you and your home the best chance of surviving a flood.
Inside the House
Continuing Information Will Be Released Via NIXLE
Newaygo County Emergency Services is coordinating with Consumers Energy and the National Weather Service Grand Rapids Office to actively monitor the changing conditions and communicate information out to residences impacted by the rising floodwaters. As the situation changes, additional information will be released by the Newaygo County Emergency Operations Center utilizing Nixle. Please visit http://www.nixle.com/ to register for alerts and view emergency information for where you live.
USDA Forest Service to Host Open Houses for Zone Aspen Project
The Huron-Manistee National Forests (HMNF) will be holding a series of three open houses to discuss the proposed Zone Aspen Project. The Baldwin/White Cloud and Cadillac/Manistee Ranger Districts are initiating an environmental analysis that includes even-aged regeneration harvesting of aspen and aspen-dominated stands on National Forest System lands. It will ensure future timber availability and utilization and improve forest conditions for wildlife. This project will be taking place across the entire Manistee National Forest.
The public is invited to participate in any and/or all open houses, and resource staff will available to answer any questions about the project.
Meetings will be held at the following dates, locations, and times:
Baldwin/White Cloud Ranger Station
650 North Michigan Ave. Baldwin, MI 49304
Thursday, January 9, 2020
6:00 pm—7:30 pm
Norman Township Hall
1273 Seaman Road
Welston, MI 49689
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
6:00 pm—7:30 pm
Newago County Government Building
Newago County Board of Commissioners Room
1087 Newell Street
White Cloud, MI 49349
Thursday, January 16, 2020
6:00 pm—7:30 pm
The goal of this project is to manage the aspen forest resource of the Manistee National Forest to:
The public comment period will run from January 6, 2020—February 5, 2020. The comment period serves as both a scoping opportunity and as a designated period for public comment.
Project information can be found on our website:
Submit comment forms electronically to: email@example.com
E-mail attachments must be readable by Microsoft Office 2000 or Adobe. Please reference Zone Aspen Project in the subject line. Written comments can be sent to: Cadillac-Manistee Ranger District, 412 Red Apple Road, Manistee, MI 49660.
Questions regarding the proposed project can be directed to Mark Herberger at (231) 723-2211 ext. 3109 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gerber Memorial welcomes first baby of 2020
Fremont – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s New Year’s Day baby took a little longer to show up despite mom Cassie Moore’s best efforts. Moore began feeling contractions late in the afternoon on Jan. 1.
Baby Gabriel, however, wasn’t quite ready to show up, and waited until 4:12 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 2, to make his long-awaited debut.
Weighing in at 6 pounds and 4 ounces, Gabriel was born to Moore and Mark Golliver, both of Fremont.
Gerber Memorial delivers about 500 babies each year on average.
Cassie Moore and Mark Golliver are proud parents of Gabriel, born on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, and the official New Year’s Day baby at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial. Among Gerber Memorial’s labor and delivery team that helped welcome Gabriel were Joy Turner, RN, (far left) and Krista Dunbar, RN, (far right).
As we look back on 2019 it seems as though a common theme would be “the weather”, and its extremes. Some notable sayings relative to the most recent weather pattern could be, “nice weather…. For a duck”. Or, “maybe we should build an ark?” There are some more “colorful” anecdotes, but you get the point.
Let me start by saying, “Sorry” to those that live on or drive down our gravel/dirt roads, they have been a nightmare this season. We endured a record setting amount of rainfall and that has made it challenging to say the least, but we are still working on them when conditions allow.
January started with the continued theme in the form of freezing rain that quickly transitioned into an all-out wet snow which was the beginning of a lengthy snowy chain of events. And that pattern continued through the months of February and the middle of March, and that is when the thoughts of gathering the animals 2 by 2 and texting Noah about constructing an ocean liner class vessel came to mind.
The middle of March brought an event of epic proportion to the area, 7 inches of rain coupled with a large snow melt and frozen ground was a recipe for disaster. Culverts and ditches were just not able to keep up, we lost several culvert crossings, had several areas of flooded roadway and miles of ponding water on surfaces. We spent the next several weeks attempting to repair some of the destruction while still fighting snow and ice events. We were also handicapped by the inability of finding suitable aggregate, it was either frozen or soup.
We are still seeing the after effects of those events in the form of failed culverts and blocked water waterways from debris, it also took a huge toll on the budget as well a major setback in our construction schedule. We were realistically 3 months behind all summer, and with a completely booked season in place there was a large task at hand. When we were finally able to begin the construction season we were faced with $4,200,000.00 in township projects on the books. That would be a massive undertaking in a normal 8 month construction season, but we were going to be lucky if we could get in 5 decent months at best.
And I must point out, we have some incredible townships in our county, as they supplement the road system substantially, and while we all can agree we have a ways to go yet, I can assure you without their support the system would be much worse off.
We also witnessed what seemed to be the never-ending saga of Colonial Bridge finally come to fruition in mid-late July. I could write a book on this project, it was almost 10 years in the making and was filled with more twists and turns than the new striping in Newaygo, but that’s another story for another day. As we progressed through the summer months (or more commonly known as “Orange Barrel Season”) the staff and crews were really making progress, and I’d like to give a huge shout out to the women and men of NCRC. They are an awesome group to work for, they care and they really want to provide a safe and efficient road system and I do believe if given a fair shot with workable weather conditions they will succeed in doing so. Even with the shortened and sometimes “not so friendly” working conditions, they managed to complete just over $3,000,000.00 in township projects. So we will begin next season where we left off and hope for a longer and friendlier weather pattern.
Fall began just about like every other season in 2019, overly damp. With ground water near or above the surface everywhere, swamps, ditches, streams, rivers and lakes over capacity and does not take much rainfall to create havoc. Nothing is soaking in and not much evaporation is going on, so we are back to ducks on a boat. During this time we endured a few wind and rain events that were minor setbacks, but our real issue has been the condition of the unpaved system, it has been horrific at times. There really is not much to be made with mud, except for more mud and nobody wants that. We have at times made attempts to grade when we probably shouldn’t have knowing the probable outcome would be less than stellar, but we were desperate to get you some relief from what was either a mud run or something that resembled a minefield. Our apologies again, and we have not given up. We had an early December ice storm that transitioned into a snow event that not only dumped some wet heavy snow to scrape, it also really took a toll on trees and that clean up really slowed our progress. Every single road had some debris that needed attention, and some needed cleared of trees before we could begin to scrape the snow. Another notable mention, Thank You to the first responders and utility companies and their support services for the aid during that event. They really were a blessing with all the help on downed trees and powerlines.
That is a very brief synopsis of our year, we are glad it is behind us as we were not able to provide as many improvements to the system as we’d hoped due to being in a constant state of repair.
As we roll through the Holidays The Board, staff and myself hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wish you all a safe and Happy New Year.