Game ranch owner falsified information related to chronic wasting disease testing
A Mecosta County game ranch owner has been sentenced on charges resulting from an investigation by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division, in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Lester Jay Gemmen, 64, of Morley was charged with providing false information regarding the origin of two deer heads that were submitted for disease testing, and for failing to properly maintain fencing at the Super G Ranch. The ranch is a privately owned cervid (POC) facility, a designation that includes game ranches and hunting ranches.
He was sentenced by the 77th District Court to 60 days in jail for each count, ordered to pay $775 in fines and costs and must perform 80 hours of community service.
The investigation began in 2017 after two of the six deer heads submitted by Gemmen tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).
“I commend the detectives from our Special Investigations Unit and our field conservation officers for their thorough, professional approach to this investigation,” said 1st Lt. David Shaw, supervisor of the Special Investigations Unit of the DNR Law Enforcement Division.
The facility’s remaining deer were depopulated and tested, but no further evidence of CWD was found. The facility remains under quarantine, currently preventing ownership of farmed cervids.
The Privately Owned Cervid Program is jointly managed by the DNR and MDARD. There is mandatory CWD testing in all registered herds in Michigan, under the oversight of MDARD. The DNR oversees POC registration and performs inspections of POC facilities. Proper maintenance of POC facilities is critical to protecting Michigan’s free-ranging and privately owned cervid herds.
CWD is a fatal central nervous system disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. It attacks the brain of infected animals, creating small lesions in the brain, which result in death. It is transmitted through direct animal-to-animal contact or by contact with saliva, urine, feces, blood, carcass parts of an infected animal or infected soil. To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization recommend that infected animals not be consumed as food by humans or domestic animals.
Since May 2015, CWD-positive deer have been found in Michigan. As of mid-March 2018, 57 free-ranging deer have tested positive for the disease. CWD has not been found in the Upper Peninsula, though it has been discovered in Wisconsin, approximately 40 miles from the western Upper Peninsula border.
The DNR is working with stakeholders to address the status of CWD in Michigan. In the coming weeks, the DNR and the Michigan Natural Resources Commission will host a series of public engagement meetings across the state on CWD. The sessions will provide hunters, business owners and residents with opportunities to share their ideas and observations.
In addition, the DNR, NRC and MDARD are evaluating recommendations from the CWD Working Group, which was created after last year’s CWD Symposium. The symposium brought national and international experts to Michigan to discuss CWD. During the coming months, the DNR, NRC and MDARD will work with stakeholders to develop new CWD regulation recommendations.
Melissa Dykman has announced her candidacy for Newaygo County Probate Court Judge. She is seeking to succeed Judge Graydon Dimkoff upon his retirement this year.
A lifelong resident of Newaygo County, Melissa has spent the past 18 years practicing law in the area. After graduating from Aquinas College she attended Cooley Law School receiving her Juris Doctorate in 1999.
During her years of practice Melissa has litigated many cases before the Probate Court and her experience working in family law litigation, adoption proceedings, probate litigation, as well as with abuse and neglect cases has required the patience, open mindedness, compassion and common sense essential to the seat of Probate Judge.
“I would be honored to serve the citizens of our county as Probate Court Judge, If elected my courtroom will be focused on delivering fair and impartial decisions while helping people navigate what can often be a complex system.”
Melissa and her husband Eric Dykman are the parents of Zack, Jake and Kendra. The family resides in the Fremont area.
Grant Wrestling Coach Posting
Coaching Position Posting
Safer Schools, Safer Students
Newaygo County Sheriff Bob Mendham backs proposal to prevent violence in Michigan schools
Since February 14, 2018 Newaygo County law enforcement has answered 12 threats of violence towards our school districts. Presently four subjects have been charged criminally.
Newaygo County Sheriff Bob Mendham today urged area lawmakers to support a school safety plan recently introduced by a broad coalition of Michigan’s top law enforcement and education groups, designed to prevent violence in the classroom. “Protecting our children and providing them with a safe and secure learning environment is our top priority,” said Sheriff Mendham. “Allowing school faculty and staff to develop the next generation of leaders will benefit everyone.”
The Michigan School Safety Reform Plan is a noncontroversial, common sense approach to school safety that has united Republicans and Democrats, school leaders and law enforcement. The plan calls for a new $100 million grant program for personnel, a $20 million grant program for safety infrastructure, and other reforms, including:
Michigan schools have experienced 41 threats of violence just since the February murders of 17 students in Parkland, Florida – the 5th highest threat total in the United States.
“The Sheriff’s Office will continue to work with local police agencies to ensure the safety of all students and staff in our school districts,” said Sheriff Mendham.
The Michigan School Safety Reform Plan is backed by:
The Bear Essentials
With longer daylight hours and warming temperatures causing wildlife to start to move, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources advises property owners that now is the time to look around and see if they have items that soon may be attracting bears.
“The ideal situation is for a bear to walk past your property, not find a food reward and move along on its own,” said DNR wildlife communication coordinator Katie Keen. “That’s the best way to live with bears and not encourage conflict.”
Black bears – an “up north” Michigan icon decorating many homes, restaurants and hotels – can be found throughout more than half the state. Spotting a bear tends to draw a lot of interest and attention.
"Everyone picks up the phone to call us looking for advice at a different point,” Keen said. “For some, seeing a black bear is enough. For others, it may be regular or daytime visits that make them uneasy.”
Bears find birdseed and suet especially attractive, as they are high-calorie and reliable compared to other plentiful and natural food sources. Bird feeders can draw bears past their natural habitat, where they would normally be enjoying roots of early spring plants and insects in trees and logs. Bears also typically will continue to return to a location once they have found a food reward there.
“The majority of calls we receive about bears involve a bird feeder. Taking the feeders down before they are found by a bear can eliminate future problems,” said Keen. “A bear doesn’t just forget an easy meal, and wild animals can pick up habits.”
During the spring and early summer, phone calls to the DNR from home and business owners frustrated with bear activity increase. While it is legal to feed birds, property owners may be creating an irreversible safety issue by providing food for bears.
“Bears that receive a food reward when around homes, yards and neighborhoods typically lose their natural fear of humans and can become a potential threat to people and their pets,” Keen added.
Kickstart to Career Newaygo County Launches Children’s Savings Accounts
Kickstart to Career Newaygo County—a joint program of Fremont Area Community Foundation and ChoiceOne Bank—launched on March 22 at the Neway Center in Newaygo. The program is designed to build aspirations, encourage savings, increase financial education, and assist with college or career expenses after high school.
Starting in the fall of 2018, every kindergarten student in Newaygo County will have the opportunity to be the beneficiary of an account at ChoiceOne, opened with a $50 deposit from the Community Foundation.
Students will be able to earn additional contributions and families can make deposits at any time. Upon graduating from high school, students can use their accounts to help pay for post-secondary education and career-related expenses such as tuition, books, tools, or training.
At the launch event, staff and board representatives from the Community Foundation and ChoiceOne Bank were joined by local school superintendents, administrators, and school board members. The audience was greeted by Carla Roberts, president and CEO of the Community Foundation, and Kelly Potes, president and CEO of ChoiceOne Bank.
“This is a special day,” said Roberts. “The tool is a children’s savings account program, but it’s much more than that. Research shows that having even a relatively small amount of savings has a significant impact on the way a child thinks about and prepares for their future. Children with savings accounts have better math and reading scores, develop greater expectations for themselves, and are more likely to enroll in and graduate from college.”
Potes explained that in addition to opening savings accounts, ChoiceOne will provide the technology for families to monitor accounts online and partner with local school districts to provide financial literacy education in classrooms.
“We’re really excited,” said Potes. “As a father of five kids who are now grown up and out of school, I can attest to the fact that saving for college and career is really important. It’s a great honor for us to help Fremont Area Community Foundation and families in the community.”
Preschool students from the Neway Center—who will be among the first group to receive savings accounts—and their teachers also participated. Students wrote and illustrated a book about saving money that was presented to the group. They also each received a piggy bank to begin saving for their own accounts. After the presentation, school officials signed a memorandum of understanding to certify their district’s participation in Kickstart to Career. Participating districts are Big Jackson Public Schools, Fremont Christian School, Fremont Public Schools, Grant Christian School, Grant Public Schools, Hesperia Community Schools, Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency, Newaygo Public Schools, and White Cloud Public Schools.
Lynne Robinson, a retired educator and former Community Foundation trustee, remarked on the impact of the event on the students who participated.
“There was a room full of people these kids don’t know and might not ever see again, but these kids understand now that somebody cared enough about them that they gave money to start them on a path to success,” said Robinson. “That has an impact. This is the beginning of that tie to the community as they grow up.”
In December, Fremont Area Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees approved Kickstart to Career as a 10-cohort pilot program, including students entering kindergarten from 2018 through 2027. The program will serve approximately 550 children in the first year and more than 7,000 students total. Fremont Area Community Foundation expects to make more than $3.4 million in deposits during this time.
There are currently 54 child savings account programs nationwide with more than 380,000 children participating. In Michigan, Barry County and Lansing have children’s savings account programs. Muskegon County is slated to launch theirs in 2018.
For more information about Kickstart to Career Newaygo County, visit kickstarttocareer.org.
“This Is About Jobs And Development”
Brooks Township Latest To OK Medical Marijuana Businesses
By Ken DeLaat
A lengthy process that began nearly 6 months ago finally came to a deciding vote Tuesday night when the Brooks Township Board followed the recommendation of their Planning Commission on allowing medical marijuana businesses to operate in the township business district currently running along the east side of M-37 from M-82 to 96th street.
The vote went 5-1 with Township Treasurer Chris Haynor dissenting.
During the first public comment the board heard an impassioned plea from local resident Dianna DeGroot who described the role medical marijuana has had in improving her quality of life and referenced the need to improve access.
The board also heard from a long time medical marijuana caregiver who is part of a company getting involved in Med/Mar who expressed a desire to bring their businesses and jobs to Brooks Township.
Planning Commission Chair Ryan Schultz reported on their recent meeting when the ordinance was passed by a 5-1 margin.
During public comment at the February 26 meeting the Planning Commission heard from two separate companies interested in the possibility of doing business in Brooks, while Newaygo City Council members Mike Hikade and Eric Johnson each spoke in support of the measure and a resident also gave verbal support to the action. The commission also heard dissenting views from County Commissioner Vern Willett and another resident.
After getting the planning commission information the board continued with other reports then heard from Rick Johnson a former legislator from Osceola County who is the chair of the newly-formed 5 member Medical Marijuana Licensing Board appointed by Governor Rick Snyder.
Johnson described the role of the board in overseeing the newly directed businesses that have emerged since the new Med/Mar law went into effect last December. He emphasized the goal of the regulations are to provide product safety.
As to concerns about security, Johnson spoke to the licensing process stating that the first thing that must accompany an application is the approval of the local governing board.
“None of the businesses can happen unless you give them the green light,” he stated.
“Then they have to pass a background check and we need to make sure they can capitalize their business before we even consider an application. If a facility goes in we will have inspectors coming through We’ll have security cameras where we can watch what goes on inside.
“We’ve got a lot of things going that will make it safe for users and make it safe for the neighbors.”
Johnson also described the seed-to-sale tracking that will be put into place using barcodes to identify products.
With regard to what he described as rather rigorous background checks, Johnson stressed the need for applicants to be forthright on their applications.
“I will tell anyone applying you better tell us everything that’s ever happened to you. If you got a drunk driving as a high school senior and we find out about it it won’t look good. Not so much because of what happened but that you didn’t tell us.”
Johnson stated there are currently about 240,000 users of Med/Mar in the state and he estimates the number will grow to about 400,000 by the end of the year.
There have been bout 350-360 applicants for the new licenses thus far and he predicted about 50-60 more coming in soon.
“Michigan will be the second leading producer of Medical Marijuana behind California.”
The ordinance came up for discussion and Treasurer Haynor read a statement giving her reasons for opposing the measure, citing some doubt as to the promised wages and monies coming to the township, concerns over the proliferation of such businesses in the area and summed up by stating “I’m not against medical marijuana I just don’t feel Brooks Township is the best place for this kind of business.”
Trustees Schultz and Ken Page as well as Township Clerk Jennifer Badgerow and Supervisor Cory Nelson also discussed their reasons for supporting the ordinance, though Ms Badgero. stated she also shared some of Ms. Haynor’s concerns.
Following discussion the ordinance was passed.
Public comment followed with three potential Med/Mar businesses and Ms. DeGroot expressing appreciation to the board.
“For me it wasn’t a hard decision about passing the ordinance,” said Supervisor Nelson after the meeting. “it was a hard process.”
"I supported it because I feel this is what’s best for our community.This is about jobs and redevelopment.”
Gerber Memorial’s Stasik gets Fremont chamber award for contributions to community
FREMONT – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial President Randy Stasik has been recognized with the Fremont Chamber of Commerce’s Dorcas Mortland Award for his contributions to the local business and Fremont communities. In recognizing Stasik, the Chamber noted that he “is very passionate about community health and wellness.”
The Chamber said:
Stasik has been Gerber Memorial’s president since July 2008. In May 2010, Gerber Memorial Health Services integrated with the Spectrum Health system. Since that integration, Gerber Memorial has replaced all diagnostic services with state-of-the-art technology, including 3-dimensional digital mammography. Gerber Memorial has also increased efficiency, resulting in significant cost savings in operations, medical supplies and equipment. In June 2014, Gerber Memorial built a brand new cutting-edge Emergency Department.
Under Stasik’s leadership, Gerber Memorial has been recognized for a number of awards, including being named a Top Rural Hospital two years in a row (2015 and 2016); being a Five-Star Recipient from Healthgrades; and being named an iVantage Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the United States.
Stasik has 40 years of health care experience in finance and operations. Prior to Gerber Memorial, Stasik was president and CEO at Borgess Health Alliance in Kalamazoo. He and his wife Marsha reside in Newaygo.
Stasik was presented with the award at the Chamber’s 103rd annual dinner on March 6.
One Stop Shopping Employment Event
Looking for a job? Maybe looking for a better job?
Here’s an event right up your employment alley as the Newaygo County Career Tech Center holds a Job Fair this Thursday March 20th at the Dogood Center. Prospective employers will be on hand from 3:30pm- 6:30pm and you just might walk away with a new career direction. Read the poster for all the info you’ll need.
“The Abby Watkins Award Show”
County Board honors ES Director, hears from auditor
By Charles Chandler
On March 14th the regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the County of Newaygo, State of Michigan was called to order, all commissioners were present and Chair Patrick Gardner stated that this would be the “Abby Watkins Award Show. The meeting agenda was quickly amended to facilitate the presentations and recognition of the outstanding work being done by Abigail Watkins, Director of the Newaygo Emergency Services Department.
First up were District Ranger Jake Lubera, Forest Supervisor Leslie Auriemmo and other members of the Huron-Manistee National Forest, Baldwin-White Cloud Ranger District staff. Supervisor Leslie Auriemmo presented Abby with the Forest Service 2018 Wildfire Mitigation Award, the highest national honor for outstanding work and significant program impact in wildfire preparedness and mitigation, from the National Association of State Foresters, National Fire Protection Association, USDA Forest Service and the International Association Fire Chiefs.
They were followed by Mr. Jon Bumstead recognizing Abby for all the important work that she does for the citizens of Newaygo County and presenting her with a tribute from Representative Scott VanSingel.
Next were congratulations for a job well done by Mr. Matt Kooiman Public Policy Manager for Congressman Bill Huizenga.
Then the Newaygo Board of Commissioners approved and presented Abby with Resolution #03-006-18 so Honoring the Accomplishments of Abigail Watkins, Newaygo Emergency Services Director. After Chair Patrick Gardner presented and read the resolution, Administrator Wren and the Commissioners thanked Abby for her professionalism, dedication, and a job well done. After the presentation of the Resolution, there was abundant applause, many group photographs with Abby, congratulatory handshakes and hugs from friends and family.
The meeting continued with a presentation of the FY 2017 Financial Statement and a summary of Audit findings by Mr. Stephen W. Blann, CPA, CGFM, CGMa, and Director of Governmental Audit Quality. The assets and deferred outflows of the County exceeded its liabilities at the close of the 2017 fiscal year by $34,748,689.
Mr. Blann thanked the County Management and Financial team for providing all the financial data necessary for a thorough and efficient audit. Administrator Wren also pointed out that the State of Michigan had recently published a listing of those municipalities that had underfunded pension plans, health care plans or both. These municipalities will have to present a corrective action plan to the State showing how they would improve their pension and healthcare liabilities. The County of Newaygo was not on that list.
Mr. Blann concluded that the County’s finances were in good shape and systems and the staff are in place to ensure continued improvements through the coming year.
This N3 correspondent being a Liberal Arts and not a Finance Major took that as an auditor’s equivalent to a backflip with high fives. For those that need more information the Newaygo County 2017 Financial Statements and INDEPENDENT AUDITORS' REPORT March 9, 2018, is available on the Finance Department’s home page.
Administrator Wren responded to the report by thanking the Finance Department Staff and Treasure Holly Moon and her staff and others that assisted in preparing the 2017 Financial Statement and supporting the Audit. He said that he would take zero credit for the job well done and that the successes are due to the decision making and efforts of the department staff. This was another demonstration of the value of having dedicated employees.
A motion was made to implement a SmartDollar program for all full-time County Employees. This program is designed to assist County employees and their families in finding ways to stabilize their finances. The program would be paid from 677-860-9565 (Health & Wellness Initiative). Administrator Wren spoke in favor and listed the benefits of the program. He suggested that it would be a direct benefit to the employees by helping them achieve a level of financial security and not having to live from payday to payday. Also that it would benefit the County by having employees that had higher job satisfaction, improved morale, and attitude which would improve productivity and reduce turnover. Data from the MEDC suggest that it costs around $14,000 to recruit, replace and train an employee.
During the Administrator Comments, Mr. Wren again thanked Abby and suggested that a mark of a leader in any organization is that they hire employees that are stronger, smarter than they are. In his opinion, Abby is a true representative of a perfect department head.
Administrator Wren announced that the next budget cycle is starting. The tentative 2018-2019 Fiscal year Budget Calendar has been published.
The County Offices will be closed on Good Friday, April 1.
During Public Comment, Newaygo City Manager Jon Schneider and Businessman Del Hirdes took an opportunity to thank the County and the Sheriff Department for their services and presented arguments against the Proposed Road Patrol millage. They suggested that the Sheriff Department and County look for other funding sources before campaigning and implementing another County-wide millage. The Commissioners responded that there would be additional analysis and discussion regarding this issue before a proposed millage was placed on a ballot.
After The Board of Commissioners Meeting was adjourned the meeting room was quickly transformed into a more informal arrangement and a reception was held. The Commissioners, County Staff and friends, and family joined Abby for celebratory cake, coffee, and congratulations.
The next meeting of the Board of Commissioner is scheduled for Wednesday, March 28 at 9:30am. Please check meeting schedule for possible changes.
Prosecutor cites state law
Newaygo County Prosecutor Ellsworth Stay announced Friday that no criminal charges would be brought at this time regarding recently reported allegations of inappropriate behavior by the two Fremont Public School teachers in the early to mid 1990’s. These reported allegations may not be charged as crimes as they are barred by the Michigan statute of limitations.
“While most charging decisions are up to the discretion of the prosecutor there are some circumstances when a prosecuting attorney is barred from issuing charges due to “statute of Limitations” laws,” explained Stay. “Under statute of limitations law a prosecutor cannot charge a crime that was committed more than a specified number of years ago. This can be very frustrating for prosecutors who wish to seek justice for victims and hold criminals accountable for their crimes. But the fact is, if the police are not able to present the required probable cause evidence to the prosecutor within the timeframe listed in the statute of limitations, then the prosecutor may not authorize charges under the law.”
“I applaud the victims for their courage in coming forward to talk about these very difficult subjects,” He added. “ I thank the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, the Michigan State Police and the Fremont Police Department for their thorough investigation. Unfortunately due to Michigan law criminal charges cannot be brought. Current legislation in the Michigan legislature does not extend the statute of limitations in this case. My office will be monitoring any changes in that regard. I hope in bringing these actions to light allows the victims to start or continue their healing process.”
Newaygo High School is proud to present the February Students and Citizens of the Month. Staff members nominate students for each category and then vote for the honors.
The following is the criteria for Student of the Month: The student is a hard worker in all aspects of academics.
The following is the criteria for Citizen of the Month: The student demonstrates one or all of the three behavioral expectations: Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Safe.
Students of the Month for February
(photo on right; pictured from left to right)
Starley Vanrooyen and Lesley Rivera-Zamarron
Citizens of the Month for February:
(photo on left; pictured from left to right)
Mich Karrip, Daniella duChemin, Viviana Hernandez and Midya Giffen
Michael Paige Running For Probate Seat
Local attorney Michael C. Paige has filed to run for the Newaygo County Probate Judgeship in the 2018 election for the seat being vacated by the Honorable Graydon W. Dimkoff.
Mike was born and raised in West Michigan.
He graduated from Western Michigan University, majoring in Criminal Justice, and he received his law degree from the Detroit College of Law.
Mike has been employed by Newaygo County for over 15 years as the Attorney Referee for the Family Division of the Circuit Court. In that capacity, he has presided over thousands of hearings making recommendations and decisions affecting families and children. He believes his experience in this position makes him uniquely qualified to address the many family law issues that must be handled by the Probate Judge.
Prior to his present position, he was in the general practice of law handling a wide variety of cases.
Mike has volunteered his time in many community activities. He has been a member of the Fremont Rotary Club for 19 years, a board member of the Fremont/Yahaba Friendship City Program for 18 years and a member of the TrueNorth Board of Directors for 13 years.
Mike’s wife Emily is a teacher at Fremont High School, and they have three children, Ian, Benjamin, and Linnea.
Strategies For Survival
Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies presents Active Shooter Seminar
By Ken DeLaat
The latest chapter in the Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies Seminar Series of community presentations took place Thursday at Tamarac as a capacity crowd attended the Civilian Response to an Active Shooter workshop put on by Ryan Doornbos, Community Crime Prevention Officer for the Newaygo Police Department.
Officer Dornbos delivered a compelling presentation using video and recordings of other episodes involving mass shootings as a backdrop to his message.
“Don’t Be A Victim”.
While pointing out some intriguing facts about shooters Officer Doornbos focused on empowering people by illustrating methods to be used in surviving a situation no one ever wants nor expects to find themselves in.
The seemingly endless string of gun-related mass shootings have brought such workshops and seminars to the forefront. Schools, churches, businesses and other entities have begun preparing for the worst case scenario of having gun violence arrive at their doorstep.
With the uptick in incidents the message has been refined from a previous strategy of ‘Run and Hide’.
Officer Dornbos referenced these three steps
Pay attention to your surroundings
Have an exit plan.
Move away from the source of the threat as quickly as possible.
The more distance and barriers between you and the threat, the better.
Keep distance between you and the source.
Create barriers to prevent or slow down a threat from getting to you.
Turn the lights off.
Remain out of sight and quiet by hiding behind large objects and silence your phone.
If you cannot avoid or deny be prepared to defend yourself.
Be aggressive and committed to your actions.
Do not fight fairly. This is about survival.
After fielding a few questions Officer Dornbos reiterated the message he returned to several times during the presentation.
“Don’t be a victim.
“Our lives are important and you are not helpless. Be willing to do what it takes and the more you can do to be prepared the more likely you are to survive. “
By Hand Or By Dip
Michigan's hand netting season open; dip netting opens March 20.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers about netting seasons as we get closer to spring. The hand netting season opened Thursday, March 1stnd closes May 31, while the dip netting season opens Tuesday, March 20, and also closes May 31.
The following species can be taken during both seasons: bowfin, carp, goldfish, gizzard shad, longnose gar, smelt and suckers. Waters open to hand netting include all Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, the Detroit River and the St. Marys River including all tributaries to those waters from the mouth to a half-mile upstream. Waters open to dip netting include all Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula streams, except Designated Trout Streams.
All other waters are closed to these activities; visit michigan.gov/dnrdigests for full details.
The use of seines, hand nets and dip nets for minnows is allowed all year on all waters (except Designated Trout Streams and those waters closed to minnow harvest) while cast nets can be used for alewives, minnows, smelt and gizzard shad all year on the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, the Detroit River and the St. Marys River.
For those interested in dipping for smelt later this spring, visit the DNR’s smelt dipping and fishing opportunities page online.
BALDWIN – Family Health Care (FHC) is pleased to announce Kevin Murphy, DDS, has joined its office at 1035 E. Wilcox in White Cloud. He brings over 33 years of dental experience from filings to crowns to bridges.
Dr. Murphy completed his Bachelor degree at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, MI, and his Doctor of Dental Surgery at the University of Detroit-Mercy in Detroit, MI.
“Dentistry offers me the ability to help people while doing something I love,” said Dr. Murphy. “I am excited to help improve the oral health of the community while working with other providers at FHC to provide a full complement of health care services.”
Dr. Murphy joins Samantha Melzer, DMD, Zane Setaputri, DDS, and Kevin Halub, DDS, Chief Dental Officer, in providing dental services that include preventative care, crowns and fillings, oral surgery, dentures, emergency care and more.
HC continually focuses on meeting the needs of its communities by growing and expanding services to provide rural residents and visitors to the area with quality, affordable access to behavioral health, medical, dental, vision, pharmacy, laboratory and radiology services close to where they live, work and play.
In his spare time, Dr. Murphy enjoys gardening, bird watching, exercising and taking part in his church choir.
To make an appointment with the dental team in White Cloud call (231) 689-1608. The office is accepting new patients, and open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A Source Of Pride
The Queen of the White Cloud Industrial Park is Rising and Shining
By Charles Chandler
A few days ago the N3 correspondent called Mr. Martin Hall, the Construction Project Manager for the new Ceres Solutions Cooperative, Inc. feed mill in White Cloud and asked for a project update. Mr. Hall was down in Indiana at another Ceres facility and said he would call when he returned to Michigan and we could meet at the construction project office in the White Cloud Industrial Park. While on the phone, I asked him if he thought Indiana would ever again field a basketball team that could compete with Michigan State and he suggested….well, that's another story.
A few days later we met at the project site and after I signed in and donned the required safety gear Mr. Hall gave an operations overview, project status report and a guided show and tell tour of the facility. According to Mr. Hall, this feed production process starts when the Ceres specialist goes out to their customers operations and talks to them about their production goals, such as projected yields in beef, pork, milk, and so on. At the farm, they determine what the operator will grow on the property and then develop a recipe (total ration mix) for the operator’s livestock. Back at the facilities at White Cloud, they enter all this data into computers, push some buttons, and produce custom prepared feed for lactating dairy cows, beef cattle, or ten thousand little pigs in a commercial feeding operation. This Mill is really a big industrial kitchen where you can special order meals for cows, hogs, chickens and other livestock.
As we entered the facility there were tools, equipment, welding leads, air hoses, and electrical cords everywhere, and about 50 assorted engineers, supervisors, welders, pipefitters, ironworkers, electricians and other specialists all doing who knows what? Seeing all this activity N3 asked Mr. Hall when the facility would be fully operational and he gave a good project manager answer, “probably the end of March.”
Mr. Hall pointed out that the rail siding had recently been completed and they had received some trucks and rail cars. As we worked our way through this facility he pointed out different pieces of equipment. On the first floor are the shipping, receiving and warehouse facilities where trucks and rail cars bring the basic feed ingredients like corn and soybeans from farmers in the tri-state area. These products are tested, weighed and dumped. Also on this floor is the facility where the mixed finished product is loaded and transported out to the customer’s farms or to the retail location in Fremont. On the second floor, there were the various hoppers, mixing systems, and the computer control room. The facility and the operations were a bit overwhelming, to say the least. There must be a million miles of pipes, ducts, and thousands of gallons of hoppers and storage tanks, sensors and controls all automated and capable of producing six tons of customer-specific feed every three minutes and 400 tons a year, simply amazing and operated by about five guys. The big surprises for this correspondent were the level of biological security, quality control and the volume of production. This facility is designed to ensure that customers feed products are biologically safe and that all ingredients are carefully monitored and measured to meet precise specifications.
If a dairy operator working with a Ceres nutritionist needs a ration mix that specifies a cup of molasses and two cups of mineral supplements, and five ounces of an FDA approved product per a thousand pounds of feed that is precisely what will be delivered to their farm. The day we were there they were conducting the operational test to ensure the right ingredients went into the right hopper and in the right amount. I would venture to say that the biohazard protocols and quality standards in this feed mill are more stringent than in many of our restaurants and especially in my own little messy scratch cooking galley kitchen.
When pressured for a commitment on a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house Mr. Hall suggested that it could happen by June. Before presenting the mill to the public he would like to get all the construction workers, trailers and equipment moved out, put in some drives and parking with landscaping, plant some grass and generally spruce the place up. It is obvious that Ceres and Mr. Hall and the folks in White Cloud are really proud of this shiny new facility. Well Done Mr. Hall and sorry about that Indiana basketball team, maybe next year or when Coach Izzo retires.
Oh, by the way, regardless of what you have heard in the restaurants or on Facebook, Ceres Solutions Cooperative, Inc. is not closing the Fremont facility, that’s all “FAKE NEWS.”
NCRESA Accepting Bids
Healthy Lake Forum Held Tuesday
Live on a lake? Own property on a lake? Spend a chunk of time playing or fishing or engaging in various other lake-related recreating?
Then Tuesday evening you might want to consider attending a free meeting being held from 6:30-8pm at the Board of Commissioners Meeting Room in White Cloud.
For the third straight year Drain Commissioner Dale Twing is bringing together a panel of presenters who each possess expertise in various approaches to lake management for the Healthy Lake Forum.
The County Drain Office sponsors these free forums to provide an opportunity for waterfront property owners and others with a stake in the lakes to hear a broad spectrum of best practices for lake management that go beyond chemical weed control.
With N3 World Headquarters and Thistle Seed Repository located on a lake staff members have attended each of the previous meetings and found them to be both educational and enlightening.
The informal setting provides an opportunity to dialogue and ask questions of the presenters and the interaction allows for various concerns to be discussed.
This year features Tony Groves of Progressive Engineering who brings 25 years of experience working with lake communities on watershed management issues to the table.
Also on tap is Erick Elgin of the MSU Extension. Erick is an absolute treasure trove of inland lake information with an obvious passion for the work and a knack for simplifying information without diluting its content.
This forum is a must for folks who live on our lakes because it helps provide the most powerful tool we can possess in the quest to provide the level of stewardship our lakes deserve.
Questions? Call the Drain Office @ 231.689.7213.
Got A Business? Need Some Exposure?
H-H&G Show brings marketing opportunities
Tell the truth, did that little span of Spring-like weather whet your outdoor appetite a bit? Seeing the snow and ice receding get you thinking about the coming season when all the plans and ideas simmering throughout the winter begin to sprout a little action?
We’re rapidly (though not nearly rapidly enough in our opinion) approaching the season when folks begin to emerge from their lengthy cocooning stage and start looking for ideas to revamp their home, their yard and their lifestyle. .
On Saturday April 20 the Home-Health & Garden Show an annual extravaganza drawing droves of citizenry to the Newaygo Middle School will be showcasing products and services from throughout the area and beyond.
The consistently large crowds who attend the event make it a golden opportunity to market your products or services directly to prospective customers.
For more info on how to secure a booth or sponsorship go to
Going Up At Gerber?
Gerber Memorial advises hospital visitors to follow detour to upper floors as elevator upgrade begins Tuesday March 6th
FREMONT– Visitors to Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s upper floors are advised to follow some quick detours while one of the hospital’s elevators is being replaced.
Gerber Memorial is replacing the North elevator, which is located at the north end of the main hospital and opens directly across from the Surgery Family Waiting Lounge on the second floor and the ICU on the third floor.
The work is expected to last around 4 weeks. Visitors and patients going to the Surgery Family Waiting Room on the second floor can take the elevator next to the financial advisers in the main hospital lobby, just beyond the front reception desk. The elevator is also known as the West elevator, and signs outside the elevator doors will help direct visitors. Visitors and patients going to ICU on the third floor can take the elevator next to the Sullivan Street Café and the Gift Shop, also known as the South elevator. Signs outside the South elevator doors will help direct visitors to the ICU.
“The North elevator dates from the 1980s and repair parts are obsolete, so we’re making it a priority to replace an outdated elevator that sees a lot of traffic involving patients, families and staff,” said Gerber Memorial Facilities Manager Brian Poll. “Gerber Memorial wants to make sure that we stay ahead on safety issues and dedicating resources to a new elevator makes sense from a safety and customer service point of view. We’ll do our best to make this temporary inconvenience as painless as possible, and that includes letting patients and visitors know about alternative routes that can get them to where they need to be, so watch out for the detour signs and get a map at the front desk.”
Gerber Memorial will replace the old North elevator, a Baxco elevator, with a new Schindler.