County Board appoints committee members
WHITE CLOUD, MI - As announced late last year, The Right Place has debuted a new and improved model of regional economic development in 2022. On January 26, 2022 the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners appointed the first Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership Advisory Board, who will oversee economic development activities in Newaygo County.
I am very pleased with the progression of the relationship between The Right Place, Inc. and Newaygo County,” said Newaygo County Administrator Christopher Wren. “The continued collaborative efforts will provide economic development pathways and growth for the County and surrounding regions.
“Newaygo County continues to be a leader and the new agreement is again a shining example of providing committed leadership for the success of the Community.”
The newly appointed board members are:
John Buckley, Gerber Federal Credit Union
Kevin Karrip, G-M Wood Products
Shelly Kasprzycki, Fremont Area Community Foundation
Mike Kruitoff, Newaygo County Board of Commissioners
Jon Schneider, City of Newaygo
Additionally, the new partnership model has resulted in the promotion of Julie Burrell, who now serves as the Economic Development Director for the Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership. These changes provide an opportunity to build upon past momentum, continue long-standing relationships with local investors and elevate economic development to ensure Newaygo County remains a focal point in the region.
I am thrilled to continue serving the businesses of Newaygo County with this new role,” said Burrell. “ The establishment of the NCEDP simply strengthens our position within the region, solidifies economic development as a public-private partnership and I look forward to Newaygo County’s future!”
The Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership invites business leaders from Newaygo County to attend the 2022 Newaygo County Economic Outlook on February 22 at 9am via zoom to learn more about this new model as well as hearing an economic outlook provided by Grand Valley State University’s Paul Isely. Register online at https://conta.cc/3r0CMgN
Bank Bucks Backs Benny’s
Independent Bank delivers donation to White Cloud food pantry
Benny’s Place an emergency food pantry has been feeding people throughout the community for well over 20 years after being started by the United Methodist Church as a way to help those in need. The pantry had its beginnings in the former parsonage and later moved to the basement of the old church building before landing in its current home at 1139 Newell. The house had been purchased by the church and the caretaker/sexton of the church (Benny) resided there until his death, hence the name Benny’s House.
Independent Bank donates to a non-profit organization each year as part of their commitment to their community. This year Betty Krueger and Jazmin Vanderwall from Independent Bank presented a check to Shaunna Baker of Benny’s House food pantry. This donation helps the pantry to continue its mission of fighting hunger in our area.
Benny’s House is open Monday through Thursday 10 AM to noon and Thursday 5-7 PM. Anyone can use the pantry if they have a need. No documents are needed.
Some safety tips from our friends at Consumers Energy:
With many residents and Michigan visitors taking advantage of winter recreation opportunities, Consumers Energy is advising outdoor enthusiasts to practice extreme caution when on or near ice surrounding its generating and hydroelectric plants.
“Conditions near dams can change rapidly, making ice thin and dangerous,” said Lisa Douglas, director of emergency management and public safety for Consumers Energy.
Consumers Energy takes steps at its hydroelectric plants to protect snowmobilers, anglers and other winter outdoor enthusiasts with installed safety buoys, warning signs and coordinating with local emergency officials to reduce the risk of accidents near its 13 dams on five Lower Peninsula rivers.
“Even with these measures, it is incumbent upon the individuals visiting the sites to remain vigilant about potential dangers,” said Douglas.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers these ice safety tips that could save a life:
River anglers should be aware that ice damming issues above dams can create large changes in flows downstream, and are encouraged to monitor the most up-to-date river conditions at the U.S. Geological Survey web site: www.usgs.gov/water.
And Here’s How To Get Them
At-home, rapid COVID-19 tests are available for free at COVIDTests.gov, with every household eligible for four free tests that will be shipped directly to Michiganders’ homes.
COVID-19 testing in Michigan is at an all-time high and these at home tests will provide the necessary tools directly to Michigan residents to limit barriers to testing access and empowering residents to take immediate action after receiving a test result.
When to use an at home test:
Dam Drawdown Update
By N3 News
Photo by Nick Smith
Hardy Dam produces clean renewable energy and the enormous body of water it creates provides a huge number of recreational opportunities.
Thus it’s pretty important to those who enjoy the boating, fishing, swimming, camping and more recently, biking/hiking options available at the Pond and its environs.
We have heard a number of people talking about the recent early drawdown of Hardy Pond. In October residents in the area received a letter from Brooke McTaggart who serves as the Land and Recreation Administrator for Consumers Energy indicating the drawdown would begin in early November and return to normal levels on the Friday preceding Memorial Day weekend.
Generally the drawdown begins in January and is returned to normal by May 1.Ms. McTaggart referenced a future project involving the auxiliary spillway as part of the reason for the change.
We contacted CE to see if any more information was currently available and received this from Senior Public Information Director Terry Dedoes.
"The drawdown is related to a future auxiliary spillway project. The change to the drawdown timing, which is within our licensing limits, is due to the need to provide reserve storage capacity while we are evaluating repairs to the auxiliary spillway and the time needed to do so. We are also evaluating upcoming drawdown levels that will be necessary during the future auxiliary spillway and roadway replacement projects. As for the timeline, the project is still in the design and planning phase. When we have details finalized and the necessary state and federal approvals obtained, we will be sure to share timing information."
So stay tuned folks.
Hesperia, White Cloud libraries will be part of early distribution
Note: We have been asked by the WC Library to let people know that they are waiting on more instructions, etc. from the state before beginning distribution. We contacted the Hesperia Library but they were unable to provide any further information or details at the time.
LANSING, Mich. – To help provide additional testing resources to underserved areas of the state, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is partnering on a pilot project with libraries across the state to offer free, at-home testing kits for Michiganders.
This week, nearly 5,500 test kits were shipped to 18 libraries in Calhoun, Clare, Newaygo, Oceana and Saginaw counties and the City of Detroit. Each site received 300 COVID-19 at-home test kits that each include one test. Additional kits will be shipped to these sites as needed and more libraries will be added to the distribution in the coming weeks. Information will be posted at Michigan.gov/coronavirus.
Local libraries participating include Hesperia Community Library and White Cloud Community Library. Test kits are limited at each location and are available on a first come, first served basis. Michiganders are asked to take one kit per person, up to five per household. To obtain a test kit, visit the following libraries during business hours.
“We are continuing to find innovative ways to provide Michiganders with opportunities to protect themselves from COVID-19,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “Testing is an important tool to limit the spread of the virus and we encourage residents to visit participating library locations to get their test kit.”
“With the proper protocols for distribution and pickup in place, we believe that this will be a great opportunity for libraries that want to participate to get involved as distribution points in their communities,” said Deborah E. Mikula, executive director of the Michigan Library Association. “Many of our libraries are ready to provide access to these test kits for our most vulnerable citizens and have been asking for some time how to get involved.”
Above and Beyond
From left, American Legion State Commander Richard T. Dubay, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Jeff Ginn and American Legion State Law and Order Chairwoman Sarah Eisenhardt pose for a photograph at today’s meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in Lansing. Photo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
CO Ginn Honored With Awards
Michigan Conservation Officer Jeff Ginn was presented with two plaques at today’s meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission honoring him as Michigan and Central Region American Legion Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 2020.
The coronavirus pandemic delayed the in-person presentation of the plaques to Ginn before the commission.
Ginn, who patrols Newaygo County, was nominated for the American Legion, Department of Michigan award by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division. A former firefighter and state trooper, Ginn is the first DNR conservation officer selected for the honor.
“Jeff Ginn exemplifies the professionalism of our well-trained conservation officers, who serve the communities they live in every day,” said Gary Hagler, chief of the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “Ready for duty at any time and called upon for a wide range of diverse activities at a moment’s notice, our conservation officers are outstanding.”
Ginn was selected for the American Legion Department of Michigan award from among the more than 18,000 law enforcement officers in the state.
The award recognizes “a well-rounded Michigan law enforcement officer, who has exceeded, above and beyond, the duty requirements expected of their position and has demonstrated a distinct pattern of community service coupled with professional achievement.”
Pentwater, MI – A new year is also a new start to Hesperia’s future. The Hesperia Community Assessment, held in August, was the third area assessment funded by the Community Foundation for Oceana County in their community development work. Led by the Foundation and consultant Julie Hales-Smith, the assessment was also supported by key area partners, including the Village of Hesperia, Hesperia Area Chamber of Commerce, the Right Place, and the Oceana County Economic Alliance. On November 2nd, the results of the Community Assessment were shared with 30 invested residents, who came out to discuss Hesperia's economic development and the priority areas as determined by the study. Meeting attendees further volunteered to join committees around the focus areas, who are charged with moving the work forward. “We were very encouraged by the enthusiasm of the community to come together and plot their future. The Foundation and its donor partners look forward to opportunities to contribute towards new projects ID'd by committees as top priorities,” said Foundation CEO Tammy Carey.
The August assessment brought out over 60 residents to participate in focus groups, and a large town hall visioning session. The consultant recorded a snapshot of Hesperia's strengths and opportunities for growth, while uniting residents to develop shared goals. The five priority areas included revitalizing the downtown, attention to the needs of youth, accessible and varied housing types, and enhancing natural spaces and recreation development. The focus groups and follow-up committees generated a lot of good ideas such as seeking collaboration between the schools and young residents with the beautification committee that already exists. Folks showed an overwhelming interest in improving communication methods within the village and surrounding areas, such as with the establishment of an e-newsletter or an events board. Attendees also showed great interest in capitalizing on existing assets such as the dam, with the natural spaces committee planning to focus their time on a parks plan.
"The Assessment was a fantastic opportunity to connect with residents about their vision for Hesperia. We are thankful to the residents, the Foundation and community partners for their participation, interest, and commitment to improving their community," said Scott Rumsey, Hesperia Area Chamber of Commerce Board President. The Chamber is taking the lead in making the full results of the assessment available to the community, gathering volunteer sign-ups and sharing volunteer opportunities. Any interested community member is highly encouraged to sign up and be a part of making Hesperia an even more amazing place to call home. View the report or sign up to get involved at the new Chamber website, www.hesperiachamberofcommerce.com/. To keep up to date on committee work in the five priority areas, check the website frequently!
NC RESA Board of Education Regular Meeting scheduled Monday, January 10 at 8:30 a.m. has been cancelled. Please visit our website to view a calendar of future board meetings.