Personal Heroes -See the essays below
Three students from Newaygo Middle School in Newaygo have been named local winners in the 50th annual America & Me Essay Contest, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance.
The three students, who earned first, second, and third place awards for their school, are McCaiden Rienstra, first; Iris Herrera, second; and Grace Painter, third. All three received award certificates for their achievement. As the school’s first place winner, McCaiden’s name will also be engraved on a plaque for display in the school.
Newaygo Middle School’s participation in the America & Me Essay Contest was sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance agent David Landheer of Fremont.
McCaiden’s first place essay now advances to the state level competition, from which the top ten essays in Michigan will be selected. The top ten statewide winners, who will be announced in April, will each receive a plaque, a medallion and a cash award of $2,000. In addition, the top ten essayists will be honored at a banquet in Lansing, meet with Michigan’s top governmental leaders, and be featured guests at a Lansing Lugnut minor league baseball game dedicated in their honor. Also part of our 50th Anniversary celebration year, we will be presenting each top ten statewide school with a $1,000 check and another $500 more if the school was sponsored by a Farm Bureau Insurance agent.
A team of finalist judges that includes a top Michigan government official and the sponsoring teachers of last year’s top two statewide winners will determine the ranking of the top ten statewide winners this year.
Several thousand eighth grade students from over 400 Michigan schools participated in the 2018 – 19 America & Me Essay Contest, which was conducted with the help of Farm Bureau Insurance agents across the state. The topic of the 2018 -19 contest was “My Personal Michigan Hero.”
Started in 1968 and open to all Michigan eighth grade students, the contest encourages Michigan youngsters to explore the greatness of America and its people. As sponsor of the contest, Farm Bureau Insurance has earned 11 national awards from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.
Here are the award winners:
The Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
By McCaiden Rienstra
Benefiting the community has different meanings to different people. Some people think benefiting the community means volunteering at organizations, like the Salvation Army, or being a troop leader for the Girl Scouts. For others, it means dedicating your time to individuals in need and trying to help them to the best of your ability. My Michigan hero, Amanda, takes that second meaning to heart and helps those in need through her business and personal life.
Amanda has been working in the cosmetology industry for twelve years, and has recently finished studying for a physiology degree. Two years ago, she started her own business/salon. It has been quite successful, and I often go there to get my hair cut. She works very hard to keep her salon as a pleasant environment so she can continue doing what she loves.
Through her business, she gives back to the community in many ways. If someone comes into her salon wanting to donate their hair, she gladly accepts it. Later, she creates wigs for people with cancer or hair loss. She also came up with a way to give back and show gratitude towards her customers. She calls it “Free Fridays,” and every Friday she chooses a small pool of customers at random to receive free haircuts. Veterans, firemen, policemen, etc. are given free haircuts as well, for Amanda has a high respect for them.
Although Amanda has a busy life outside of her business, she still finds the time to look out for the people in her community. She told me that she attempts to form personal relationships, or friendships, with each of her customers so she can help them with more than just their “bad hair days.” If an emergency ever comes up for someone, she tries to help and support whoever needs it. Every time I see her, she is always kind and asks me how I am, and tells me to let her know if I ever need anything. She also told me that if someone is going through a rough time, similar to something she has gone through, she wants to be able to tell them that she has gone through something much like what they are going through, and not be ashamed to say it. Her words were, “I am not embarrassed by what has happened to me, because it has turned me into who I am.”
Overall, Amanda is a strong, caring, and helpful person who is just trying to improve the lives of the people around her. She proves that you don’t have to devote yourself to a large, already established organization to make a difference in the community. I challenge you to be like Amanda, and simply look out for the people around you and in your life. Amanda has improved the lives of many people with her small gestures of kindness that I know she isn’t just my hero, but many other people’s hero too.
My Michigan Missionary
By Grace Painter
“We have come dangerously close to accepting the homeless situation as a problem that we just can’t solve.” - Linda Lingle
To countless people in the world aiding the homeless isn’t even on their radar. Even as I look out at my community, through my eyes there is no insecurity in sight. Only prosperity and formality of everyday life shines through. However, if you take a closer look there is a lot more than meets the eye. You will discover poverty, desperation, and a deserted people. I have been fortunate enough to meet one of the rare people who are working and striving towards a better future. This specific person is Dale Painter. Dale is what most people call him, but to me he is and will always be Papa. Not only is he an extraordinary grandpa but also a good-natured samaritan striving to abolish homelessness.
My papa is a hero, a leader, and a missionary. Just because a person is a Michigan hero doesn’t mean they can't help cross-cultural areas like Mexico. Mexico contains many struggling areas in desperate need of assistance, especially in one town called Matamoros. For twenty years my grandpa has been devoted to constructing houses for the needy in this town. Each year he is able to provide ten families with a house and provisions such as food, blankets, beds, clothes, and much more. My papa’s quest to dissolve some of the hardships these people have been bound to may never be resolved, yet through his faithfulness and generosity, those enduring these harsh conditions may discover their insecurity gradually decreasing.
A downward spiral is a way to describe homelessness. Nothing will ever change if we refuse to reach out and help, this situation will never improve if we continue to do nothing. We are oblivious to this problem even in Michigan, and even here my papa plans on helping those in need. He has done so much in and out of Michigan. In addition to building houses in Mexico, my papa has contributed to two transitional housing sites in Newaygo. Due to my papa’s volunteer hours and his influence on others, six or so families are able to have a home until their lives have improved. This is the reward of my papa’s hard work. He is able to change people’s lives for the better, pull them out of a dark place, and not only give them a house, but a home.
The world is a cruel, unjust place with hurting people everywhere you look. Although you can attempt to improve everyone’s lives out there it is unachievable if you go it alone. My papa will never fix the entire world, but he is improving it one house at a time. No one can know what the future will hold, but if we take small steps towards improving the homeless situation we might be able to abolish this problem in Michigan and around small pockets of the world. My papa has proven through his selfless actions that homelessness isn’t an unsolvable problem. It is just waiting for people like my papa.
My Michigan Hero
By Iris Herrera
Hero, a word commonly used in fictional writings to describe the person who saved the city or defeated the bad guy. Usually the tall handsome man whose muscles bulge through their clothing or the beautiful woman whose figure is ever so perfect. But on some rare occasions, like mine, a beautiful short black haired woman. She may seem average, no Wonder Woman or Black Widow, yet just like these two, this person has saved lives and helped many from harm. My aunt Desiree Thompson is my personal Michigan hero.
After 4 Years of nursing school, many years working in ICU, to now being personal aid to people all over Grand Rapids she has saved and helped many people. Desiree’s job isn't easy. She takes care of patients fifty-five and older who need help managing their medication, living their everyday life, and making sure their complex medical needs are taken care of, and she is required to be on call for anyone who needs her. Not only is she a nurse coordinator but she is also a mom to three. Her two oldest have graduated and are successful in college, and her youngest, a freshman, is successful in school and is striving to become an ultrasound technician.
She has worked hard and dedicated her life to not only her nursing career but her family as well. About a year ago, my grandpa was told he was going through liver failure and that he only had about a year to live. Desiree was there to help; she became his full time care provider and managed all his medication and everything. It was her job away from her job. While they waited in ICU for answers on his liver she was still receiving calls from her patients and coordinating their care, even though her dad was in the hospital fighting for his life. After long nights and stressful days, she finally found a volunteer to donate their liver. Within months my grandpa successfully had his transplant. Desiree gave him another shot at life, and if it weren't for her knowledge of the medical field, dedication, sheer grit, willingness to stand up to the doctors in my grandpa’s care, and lots of patience, he probably wouldn’t have gotten his transplant and most likely would have lost his life.
Desiree is one of the hardest, passionate, persistent workers I've ever met. She has influenced me to work hard and help others myself. She loves her job and is a truly powerful woman, Desiree Thompson is a true hero!
Notice of Vacancy
The Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency is seeking applications for a preschool bus aide in our Fremont program to assist the bus driver with school bus management. Candidates must have a high school diploma. $9.45/hour. Hours are 6:45 – 8:00 a.m. and 2:45 – 4:15 p.m. (approximate). Deadline for making application is April 15, 2019. Candidates must complete a support staff application, available online at www.ncresa.org under Job Postings. Please return the completed application to Dr. Lori Tubbergen Clark, Superintendent, Newaygo County RESA, 4747 W. 48th Street, Fremont, MI 49412. EOE
Notice of Vacancy
The Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency in Fremont, Michigan is seeking applications for a part-time Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles Teacher for the 2019-20 school year. Candidates must have a BA degree (minimum), Michigan secondary teacher certification, and advanced degree or coursework in computer science. The deadline for applying is Monday, April 15, 2019. Please visit www.ncresa.org to view the complete job description, which includes the essential duties of this position, and to download a teacher application. Return the completed application with a cover letter and resume to Dr. Lori Tubbergen Clark, Superintendent, Newaygo County RESA, 4747 W. 48th Street, Fremont, MI 49412. EOE
Notice of Vacancy
The Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency in Fremont, Michigan is seeking applications for a part-time Pupil Membership Auditor. Candidates must have an Associate’s degree (minimum), recent work experience as a school administrator, administrative assistant, clerical and/or auditing/accounting, have self-directed organizational and coordinating skills, and must be able to efficiently use a variety of software packages. The deadline for applying is Monday, April 15, 2019. Please visit www.ncresa.org to view the complete job description, which includes the essential duties of this position, and to download a support staff application. Return the completed application with a cover letter and resume to Dr. Lori Tubbergen Clark, Superintendent, Newaygo County RESA, 4747 W. 48th Street, Fremont, MI 49412. EOE
FACF to Manage funds
Stanwood--Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) has committed to investing an additional $2 million into its Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund (IMESF). The IMESF supports the long-term sustainability of the Muskegon River Watershed and its ecosystems by funding environmental conservation projects and programs throughout the Watershed.
NWNA founded the fund in 2002 and supported it with an initial $500,000 investment over a five-year period. The company has continued to provide donations to the fund, in varying amounts, over the past 17 years. This latest $2 million investment will be paid in annual $100,000 installments for the next 20 years.
“Nestlé Waters North America is committed to sustainably managing our natural resources and the Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund is a powerful tool that has been used to enhance the Muskegon River Watershed communities for years,” said Arlene Anderson-Vincent, Natural Resource Manager in the Midwest for Nestlé Waters. “We have supported this fund for the past 17 years and are proud to extend our support throughout the region for the next 20 years.”
The IMESF is managed by the Fremont Area Community Foundation, located in Newaygo County within the heart of the Muskegon River Watershed. The Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for residents in the area by connecting community needs with the passions of families, businesses, and individuals.
“An endowed fund is similar to the watershed itself,” said Carla Roberts, Fremont Area Community Foundation President and CEO. “It is a renewable asset and resource and, if preserved carefully, will continue in perpetuity. The Fremont Area Community Foundation is proud to work with Nestlé Waters to steward these funds and enhance the Muskegon River Watershed through dynamic projects brought to us by people in our communities who know the watershed best.”
Established in 2002, the IMESF supports the waters and water-dependent natural resources of the Muskegon River Watershed by investing in conservation, enhancement, and restoration projects that will result in preserving the integrity of the watershed. Funds from the IMESF go to projects located anywhere along the 2,700-square-mile watershed stretching across nine counties from near Houghton Lake to the City of Muskegon.
Since its inception, the IMESF has awarded nearly $625,000 in grants to a number of local organizations that are committed to improving, enhancing, protecting or preserving the Muskegon River Watershed and its ecosystem. Projects including erosion control, rain gardens, restoration to creeks and nature areas, site clean-ups and improvements, among many others, have been made possible by IMESF grants.
The next application period will open on June 1, 2019 and close on July 15, 2019. Interested applicants should visit the Fremont Area Community Foundation’s website at www.facommunityfoundation.org/icemountain for more information.
Circles, Fremont Area Community Foundation Work with MIT on Child Care Study
FREMONT --A three-person team of graduate students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management are visiting with TrueNorth Community Services’ Circles Newaygo County program and the Fremont Area Community Foundation to conduct research on the lack of childcare’s impact on local families and to determine suggested next steps.
Circles Newaygo County takes a long-term, community-driven approach to overcome poverty, working with families and volunteers to create stability and self-reliance. Circles Newaygo County started its third cohort of Circle Leaders (heads of families) this month; and has graduated two earlier cohorts. The program is funded by a Fremont Area Community Foundation grant.
“Having these MIT Sloan students take a close-up look at our community’s dynamics is a prime opportunity,” said Lisa Daniell, TrueNorth’s Volunteer Resource Center Director. “As we help families become self-sufficient, we know the scarcity of affordable, quality childcare keeps many from working.
“Identifying readily accessible solutions means more people can find work and escape the cycle of poverty.”
The MIT Sloan students are enrolled in the USA Lab semester-long action-learning course. They are probing how the Cliff Effect, which is when individuals forgo increases in income to preserve assistance for services such as childcare, impacts our community. The team is to analyze what measures stakeholders from both the private and public sectors can take to mitigate the Cliff Effect’s impacts.
With all working on Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees, the MIT Sloan students include Mia Lim, of Manila, Philippines; Amrita Sankar, of Ridgefield, Connecticut; and Georgia Travers, of Hopewell, New Jersey. USA Lab teams are doing projects this spring at seven other sites across the U.S. in Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Oregon, South Carolina and West Virginia.
Gov. Whitmer Seeks U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Declaration for Newaygo County
LANSING-Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today requested the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) conduct damage assessments for Newaygo County to pave the way for an administrative declaration of disaster. This would provide additional financial assistance to Michiganders recovering from recent flooding.
If approved, the SBA disaster assistance program would make low-interest loans available to eligible residents and businesses affected by heavy rainfall and snowmelt on March 14 that resulted in widespread flooding.
"The loss or damage of personal property can have a devastating financial impact on our residents and businesses,” said Whitmer. “We are hopeful the Small Business Administration will grant our request and make low-interest loans available to Michiganders still recovering from the effects of this flood.”
The SBA disaster assistance program provides low-interest loans for homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory, and business assets that were damaged or destroyed. The SBA tailors the repayment of each disaster loan to the borrower’s financial capability.
If the declaration is approved, temporary Disaster Loan Outreach Centers may be established in the impacted areas for one-on-one assistance. Loan applications also will be made available online or by mail.
Based on information provided by the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD), state officials requested representatives of the SBA conduct a preliminary damage survey of the affected areas to document physical property damage to homes and businesses that sustained at least 40 percent uninsured losses.
Whitmer declared a state of emergency on March 19 for Newaygo County after heavy rainfall and snowmelt on March 14 resulted in widespread flooding damage. The declaration makes available state aid and financial assistance to communities in the affected area.
Declaration allows for more assistance for county
LANSING– Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today declared a state of emergency for Newaygo County after the county requested state assistance to address the impacts of heavy rainfall and snowmelt, which resulted in widespread flooding.
“As Newaygo County continues to deal with the effects of severe flooding, we are doing all we can to ensure the health and safety of our residents,” Whitmer said. “By signing this declaration, the state can offer even more resources to assist the county’s efforts.”
By declaring a state of emergency, Whitmer has made available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the designated area. The declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) to coordinate state efforts above and beyond what MSP/EMHSD has already been doing in conjunction with local agencies.
“Our staff have been working closely with Newaygo County officials throughout this incident,” said Capt. Emmitt McGowan, deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “We will continue to partner with the county and make certain all needs are being met as the community recovers.”
On March 14, heavy rains and melting snow resulted in widespread flooding, which damaged homes, displaced residents and washed out roadways. The county formally requested assistance on March 15.
The county of Newaygo declared a local state of emergency on March 15, which activates local emergency response and recovery plans. By requesting a governor’s declaration, the county has determined local resources are insufficient to address the situation and state assistance is required to protect the health, safety and property to lessen or avert the threat of a crisis.
FROM OUR FRIENDS AT NEWAYGO COUNTY EMERGENCY SERVICES
Our community has been devastated by widespread flooding. This remains an active emergency in many areas. Newaygo County is under a Local Disaster Declaration. This allows emergency officials to implement emergency protective measures, help bring in additional resources, and start the request for additional assistance. Our main concern is the safety of you and your family. As you enter your home and begin cleanup, for your safety, please follow the below guidance from the District 10 Public Health Department, Newaygo County Building Inspector’s Office, American Red Cross, and Newaygo County Emergency Services.
If your home has sustained damage, please report it by filing a report at http://www.countyofnewaygo.com/ReportDamage.aspx
WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW:
UPDATED ROAD CLOSED LIST AS OF 03-18-19:
• 12 Mile Rd. between Maple Island and Dickinson Ave.
• Luce Ave. and 80th St.
• Croswell Ave. just north of 48th St.
• Ramshorn Dr. north of 32nd St. to the City Limits of Fremont
• Dickinson Ave. between Baseline and 8th St.
• 80th St. between Warner Ave. and Luce Ave.
• Osborn Ave. between Baseline and 1 Mile Rd.
• Osborn Ave. and 2 Mile Rd.
• Baldwin Ave. between Baseline and 8th St. (not closed but water over the road and signs up)
Access and re-entry
Trained field damage assessment teams will assess all homes, businesses, roadways and bridges for damage as soon as the area is no longer impacted by flood waters. Based on safety considerations, damage assessment teams in conjunction with public safety officials will determine if it is safe to grant access to a specific area. Field Damage Assessment teams will also post each home and business with either a Certificate of Re-Entry or a Certificate of Inspection.
As you re-enter your home, please proceed with caution and look for the following hazards:
If you identify any safety issues within your home or would like an internal safety inspection, please contact the Newaygo County EOC at 231-689-7354 for further assistance.
Homes and businesses which have been posted with a Certificate of Inspection will require additional safety inspections by the Building Inspector’s Office, Environmental Health Sanitarian, or State Inspector’s Office prior to being allowed to return. These initial inspections are free of charge and are for the safety of the homeowner and/or business.
POWER OUTAGE! In an effort to reduce harm to life and property, authorization has been given to utility companies to de-energize areas impacted by flooding as deemed necessary. If your homes electrical outlets were submerged by floodwaters, power may be shut off to your home in order to prevent a fire. Properties may have their utilities restored upon completion of safety inspections by the Building Inspector’s Office.
Well and Septic
If your well has had standing water around it for more than one day, assume that it is contaminated (flood water may seep into the well around the casting). DO NOT use your well until it has been chlorinated, pumped and sampled. In addition, do not use the sewage system until water in the disposal field is lower that the water level around the house. If you suspect damage to your septic tank, have a professional inspect and service it.
Please contact the District 10 Public Health Department at 689-7300 for information on:
WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT:
The American Red Cross is supporting the people of Newaygo County and surrounding areas, that have been affected by flooding. You may see Red Cross volunteers in the community doing damage assessment. Emergency supplies including clean up kits and cases of water are available. If your residence has been affected by flooding, please contact our local dispatch number at 616.899.4511.
Newaygo County has requested National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) agencies for assistance with cleanup for homeowners whom need assistance. If you need as assistance with clean up, please file a report at http://www.countyofnewaygo.com/ReportDamage.aspx
Newaygo County has requested additional resources from the State of Michigan. Additional information will be released once those resources are made available Continue monitoring your radio, Nixle, and Newaygo ES’s Facebook Page for additional information.
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.
From our friends at the NC Road Commission who have done an incredible job under the most trying of circumstances while maintaining effective communication with the residents of our county.
Unfortunately, we made little progress today as conditions are still wet. As I stated before, we had to address the slippery conditions this morning which took time from the scheduled repair work. The Newaygo County Emergency Services Director has declared a local disaster. We will wait to see if the state follows suit. We are working on a plan of attack for starting Monday. Through a mutual aid agreement, the Kent County Road Commission will be supplying some additional forces to help speed the restoration process. Our goal is a speedy recovery for our customers. Through much appreciated assistance from our neighbors, and some much needed cooperation from Mother Nature, we hope to accomplish repairs as timely as possible. I feel it also a necessity to thank the awesome employees of the NCRC, Kent and Muskegon County Road Commissions, The City of Grand Rapids and of course our Emergency Service Department & Central dispatch. The many other calls with offers of assistance is overwhelming. It just shows the support in time of need is just a phone call away. For those that have suffered any sort of damage due to the flooding event, there is a link on the County of Newaygo's website (www.countyofnewaygo.com) directing you to a possible source for assistance. Please use them as they are great source of support. On a final note, the citizens of our incredible county have been nothing short of incredible through this event. We know that the road conditions are nowhere near what you want or deserve, but know your patience does not go unnoticed and is greatly appreciated. And if you see the groundhog, send him our way as we have a couple questions for him.
Flood Warning remains in effect. Please report any flood damage to http://www.countyofnewaygo.com/ReportDamage.aspx
The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids CONTINUES a FLOOD WARNING for Newaygo County until Saturday.
The National Weather Service has received numerous reports of areas of flooded roadways and standing water around properties across the region. Many roads have been closed. Rainfall amounts of one half to nearly two inches combined with snowmelt has led to areas of high water. In addition, small rivers and streams will be running high and may overflow onto roads.
Please report any flood damage to http://www.countyofnewaygo.com/ReportDamage.aspx
Please share any flood photos with Newaygo County Emergency Services on facebook at Https://www.facebook.com/newaygoes
Do not drive into flooded roadways as you do not know how deep the water is. The flooding will likely continue into at least Friday as the water may take a long time to absorb into the ground.
Please report any flood damage to
Please share any flood photos with Newaygo County Emergency Services on facebook at Https://www.facebook.com/newaygoes
Newaygo County Emergency Services
E Newell St
White Cloud, MI 49349
Contact: Emergency: 9-1-1 Non-emergencies: 231-689-7354
From our friends at Newaygo County Emergency Services
The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids has issued a
Flood Warning for... Rain and Snowmelt in... Newaygo County in west central Michigan... Gratiot County in central Michigan... Isabella County in central Michigan... Clare County in central Michigan... Osceola County in central Michigan... Lake County in west central Michigan... Mason County in west central Michigan... Muskegon County in west central Michigan... Oceana County in west central Michigan... Mecosta County in central Michigan... Montcalm County in central Michigan...
Until 6:15 PM EDT Friday.
At 6:07 PM EDT, emergency management, local media, and cooperative weather observers reported numerous areas of flooded roadways and standing water around properties across the region. Rainfall amounts of one half to nearly two inches combined with snowmelt has led to areas of high water. In addition, small rivers and streams will be running high and may overflow onto roads. Do not drive into flooded roadways as you do not know how deep the water is. Follow guidance issued by your local emergency management and law enforcement. The flooding will likely continue into at least Friday as the water may take a long time to absorb into the ground.
AFFECTED AREAS: NEWAYGO, MI ... MUSKEGON, MI ... GRATIOT, MI ... MONTCALM, MI ... OCEANA, MI ... LAKE, MI ... MASON, MI ... OSCEOLA, MI ... CLARE, MI ... ISABELLA, MI ... MECOSTA, MI
Public meeting in Newaygo next week Thursday (March 21) for M-37 road and bridge work
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is hosting a public meeting about this year's work on M-37 in downtown Newaygo. MDOT officials will provide project details, scheduling and traffic information. The public is invited to stop by anytime during the meeting to learn more about the project and provide comments.
Residents and interested stakeholders
Thursday, March 21, 2019
4 to 6 p.m.
1 State Road
Special accommodations can be made for persons with disabilities and limited English-speaking ability. Large print materials, auxiliary aids or the services of interpreters, signers, or readers available upon request. Please call 517-335-4381 in advance of the meeting to request.
MDOT is investing approximately $500,000 to improve the M-37 bridge over the Muskegon River. The project also includes pavement marking changes on M-37 from Quarterline Street to north of M-82/Croton Drive.
Project map: http://tinyurl.com/yymmogaz
$25 credit possible for customers of DTE, Consumers
Attorney General Dana Nessel today reminded Consumers Energy and DTE customers they may be eligible for a $25 credit if they were without power for more than 16 hours as a result of recent electric outages. The reminder comes during National Consumer Protection Week.
Consumers are eligible for a credit under “normal conditions” if the utility fails to restore service within 16 hours after an outage resulting from conditions other than catastrophic conditions. Catastrophic conditions are defined as an event that results in an official state of emergency or an event that results in interruption of 10 percent or more of the utility’s customers and the utility fails to restore power within 120 hours.
Credits are also available for repetitive interruptions if a customer experiences more than seven interruptions in a 12-month period. Customers need to notify their electric utility of all service outages and should record the date and time of each outage; when the company was notified of the outage and how it was notified; and when the service was restored. Any customer of an electric utility regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission is eligible for these credits.
“Michigan’s brutal winter left some electric customers with extended interruptions in electric services and it’s important we remind them that they may be entitled to a credit as a result of those interruptions,” Nessel said. “While we appreciate the utility companies for their around-the-clock work to restore power, it’s important we continue working together to ensure better reliability for our residents.”
Customers must contact their utility to determine whether they are eligible for the credit. Online forms are available by clicking on these links:
Pitch North Can Keep Your Eye On The Prize
A golden opportunity awaits entrepreneurs.
Got a great idea for a business? Been thinking about turning that idea into a reality?
Well then, opportunity has just come knocking.
Pitch North is coming to the Dogwood Center this spring and will provide a platform for budding entrepreneurs to deliver their ideas to a panel of judges with a chance to win some serious cash for their start-ups.
How serious? Try $1000 for third place, $2500 for second and a cool $4000 for the top prize in this competition hosted by The Right Place.
Look, even if you’re sitting on the most amazing product of all time, a successful startup often requires a support system to push it forward such as investors, partners, media and mentors. And what better place to get all of these than by participating in Pitch North?
According to Julie Burrell, The Right Place Business Development Coordinator for Newaygo County, entrepreneurship is a critical element of success in rural communities: “When people are starting and growing businesses they are contributing to economic diversity and resiliency,” said Burrell. “These unique local businesses become what differentiates a particular place. All age groups turn to entrepreneurship, whether a baby boomer looking to supplement retirement or a millennial looking for an option outside the traditional 9-5.”
“The various pitch competitions and support for entrepreneurs that exist today tend to be south of the Newaygo County line. The distance and intense competition of large communities presents barriers to applying for our residents. Entrepreneurship offers a unique career path to the over 84,000 people who reside in Newaygo, Oceana and Lake Counties,” said Burrell.
“Participating in a pitch competition forces an entrepreneur to take a deeper dive into their business model, exploring nuances they may have otherwise failed to evaluate, and to explain their product or service in a passionate and concise manner,” said Burrell. “Whether their idea is a niche restaurant, a yoga studio or a consulting service, it has the potential of positively impacting their community.”
If you’d like to enter you need to act fast! There is no cost to submit a pitch however the pitch submission deadline is 11:59pm on April 10th, 2019 so submit your pitch or register to attend at www.pitchnorth.com.
Questions? Contact Julie Burrell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 231.335.1985.
Tossing a gem at Pitch North could help bring your idea to life while providing the kind of cash that could help make your project part of our ever evolving community.
And that benefits all of us.
Program offering free dinner, free child care.
“You can’t stop what you don’t know.”
That is the message delivered by Jermaine Galloway who has been working to impact underaged drinking and drug use for over 15 years. His dynamic presentations help create awareness of the ever evolving drug culture trends that exist and thrive in our communities. His ‘Tall Cop’ (Galloway is 6’9”) talks have captivated audiences across the country and made a significant impact on those who attend.
There are many hidden messages involved in the youth drug scene including clothing , logos, song lyrics , and potential ‘stashing’ places that remain unknown to parents, school personnel, law enforcement, and all who deal with youth on a regular basis. These symbols can be a way of identifying others who might be involved in similar patterns of use and provide an easy way to connect and gain access to drugs and alcohol.
Newaygo County Commissioner (and former NC deputy) Bryan Kolk chairs the Headway Coalition, a local group of community members from healthcare, human services, and law enforcement who unite in an effort to curb substance abuse in our area.
“After 32 years as a Deputy I went to one of his presentations and was floored by all the everyday drug culture that I had been overlooking. This is an event that should not be missed by any parent or school professionals that have an interest in our local drug problems. This is an eye opener.”
On Wednesday March 13th Headway, NCRESA, Great Start Collaborative, and the local FAN group(Families Against Narcotics), is bringing Tall Cop to NCRESA’s Regional Center for Agri-Science & Career Advancement (5479 W. 72nd St).
Not only is there no cost for admission, but because these organizations realize how important this message is they are providing a free dinner and free child care in an effort to get parents and concerned community members to become educated and enlightened as to the danger signs that might be hiding in plain sight.
Dinner is from 5-5:45pm, child care begins at 5:45pm, and the presentation is 6-8pm.
Parents need to have as many resources as they can gather when it comes to combating the epidemic of alcohol and drug abuse among our youth and this presentation delivers some of the most valuable type of information to be had.
“This is a great opportunity for parents to gain more information about keeping their kids safe from drugs and alcohol,” said Headway Coordinator Rachel Uganski. “Drug trends are changing rapidly and its important that we are informed on the latest trends.”
Registration is now open at https://newaygotallcop.eventbrite.com or you can contact Ms. Uganski at 231.652.3612 for more information.
NC RESA Summer Internship Program Accepting Student Intern Applications
NC RESA Summer Internship program welcomes student applications submitted between March 13 – March 28, 2019. This opportunity is funded in part through a grant from Fremont Area Community Foundation.
Newaygo County high school and college students between the ages of 16 to 21 may apply for a paid position to receive work-related learning experience with one of many local organizations and businesses. The program will include students going through the formal interview process and being immersed in daily work experience.
More information is available online at www.ncresa.org/sip or call 231-924-8814.
Executive Order will speed up medical marijuana licensing and align recreation and medical programs
LANSING – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday killed a controversial state board tasked with approving licenses for medical marijuana operations, opting to put into place a new state agency intended to speed up the process. The Michigan Cannabis Industry Association issued a statement applauding Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order .
“We’re fully supportive of the Governor’s decision,” said Robin Schneider, Executive Director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association. “This will streamline the licensing process and ensure it is fair. We have full faith in the professional staff at the Marijuana Regulatory Agency and LARA to do their jobs and create a safe and well-regulated market.”
The order will take effect April 30, if the Legislature does not first act to reject it. Lawmakers have 60 days to reject a governor’s executive order and both the House and Senate would have to vote to do so.
The board, formed by former Gov. Snyder, had been under fire in recent months for its slow rate of license approvals and what many say were inconsistent and unfounded denials, resulting in a shortage of legal and safe products for Michigan medical marijuana patients.
The executive order will dissolve the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board while creating the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, a type 1 state agency within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) with more power to oversee and regulate the marijuana industry in Michigan, both legal and medical. Advocates believe this will bring both sectors of the marijuana industry more in line with each other.
The February 28th Newaygo County Board of Commissioner Meeting
By Charles Chandler
On Wednesday, February 28th Chairperson Kolk called the Board of
Commissioners’ meeting to order at 9:30 AM. Administrator Wren and Commissioners, Delaat, Bird, Kruithoff, Cooper, Trapp, and Maike were present and accounted for. County Clerk Jason VanderStelt offered the opening prayer and Kruithoff led the Pledge of Allegiance. A motion was made by Bird and seconded by Trapp to approved the amended agenda. There was no public comment and the Consent Agenda Items were read and unanimously approved. Business as usual.
Presentation – Next on the Agenda was the presentation of Retirement Resolution #02-003-19 recognizing Chief Deputy Clerk Pamela A. Rolfe for her 16 years of service and retirement.
At this point, things got a little damp and squeaky. Clerk Jason VanderStelt asked Ms. Rolfe to come forward and as he read the Resolution. The bottom line of the resolution stated that the County of Newaygo through its Board of Commissioners wishes to thank Pamela Rolfe, for a job well done and to express its appreciation for the service she has given. Clerk VanderStelt gave a personal and heartfelt thanks to Ms. Rolfe for her many roles and contributions in the department. He mentioned her friendship, professionalism, wonderful personality and bright smile that would be truly missed around the office. Especially her ability to enjoy an appropriate and well-told joke and her analysis and disdain of one that was not funny. The Commissioners filed down and expressed their gratitude with officious hugs and a few misty eyes. The presentation was followed by photos and cake and coffee.
Standing Committee Reports
Commissioner DeLaat presented the Finance Committee business.
Motion 19-073-1 to approve the Blue Cross Blue Shield agreement for Newaygo County inmates, from February 1, 2019, through January 31, 2020, and to authorize the Sheriff to sign any and all necessary documents. This was a significant move because the County is currently processing about $100,000 in unpaid inmate medical bills. It appears that the number of inmates being housed at County is growing and their healthcare services are as well. It also appears that health care providers delivering these inmate medical services are not following the required billing practices as defined by the regulatory ground rules. For whatever reason, these practice by the inmate health care providers results in a significant challenge for the County staff. They have to determine if the inmate is indeed a registered guest of the County, the explanation of benefit (EOB) is accurate and the bills received for service are valid and the true and final responsibility of the County. This correspondent has been an employee and senior manager for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plan of Texas and can say with high confidence that healthcare billing is a huge leaky boat. The entire health care system is computer-based and driven by coding. Coding accuracy begins in the health care providers office and drives the entire process. These codes determine wither the EOB is accurate and or if the bills should first go to some other agency like Medicare, Medicaid or Private Insurance Carrier or to the County. The motion to approve the Blue Cross Blue Shield agreement passed unanimously. It is the opinion of the N3 correspondent that the agreement with Blue Cross and Blue Shield to monitor the accuracy and help process inmate healthcare services billing will be extremely beneficial to the County. The County has hired a really, really big dog to watch the foxes and guard the hen house. Hats off to Administrator Wren and our Commissioners for a decision well made.
Motion 02-002-19 regarding the 911 surcharge, and authorize the Central Dispatch Director and County Clerk to sign and all necessary paperwork. This was the voter-approved ballot proposal that would provide dedicated funding to pay for an enhanced 9-1-1 Public Safety Dispatch system including technology upgrades. This resolution has to be approved by the Board of Commissions so that the State can implement the new 911 surcharge increase. The County also received a $`10,000 ten-year low-cost loan to make technology and facility upgrades to Central Dispatch. Motion passed.
Motion 19-075-01 to execute the attached Mid Mitt ESInet Intergovernmental Agreement and authorize the Board Chairperson and County Clerk to sign and all necessary paperwork. This appears to be the 911 system agreements between other County (MECOLA) central dispatches that provide necessary robust 911 call redundancy and the opportunity for a scale of economy cost sharing. Motion passed.
Motion 19-076-1 to approve the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission (MIDC) Grant with consideration and discussion related to the reporting requirements. This motion was to formalize the agreement with the State so that Newaygo County could begin to implement its plan to ensure that all those that appear for arraignment are provided with appropriate facilities and council. Administrator Wren forewarned that he expects the cost for this mandated program will escalate and that the State must continue to fund this program and that the cost of the program cannot be relegated to or funded by the County.
Motion 19-083 to accept The Fremont Area Community Foundation Grant #20181214 in the amount of $500,000.00 for Michigan’s Dragon Trail at Hardy Dam and authorize the Board Chairperson and the County Administrator to sign any and all necessary documents. The motion carried. The County and other project stakeholders are awaiting final project approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This FERC approval is required for recreational development at Federal Licensed Hydropower facilities like Hardy Pond.
Motion 10-084 to accept the Fremont Area Community Foundation (FACF) Grant #20181246 in the amount of $75,000.00 for recycling services and authorize the Board Chairperson and the County Administrator to sign any and all necessary documents. The motion carried. The Commissioners mentioned that the County and the FACF were currently splitting the operating cost for the Fremont Facility. Commissioner DeLaat suggested that the Fremont Facility was a model for recycling and that County Citizens should visit, use and volunteer at the facility.
Miscellaneous Committee Reports
Commissioner Cooper reported that he had attended the Fremont Leadership Committee Meeting He also recommended that the County continue to be represented on that Committee
Commissioner Kolk reported that he had attended Michigan Association of Counties and the Public Safety and Judicial Committee meetings.
Administrator Wren provided updates on a Marine Patrol grant and Educations grant that had been applied for. Also, an update on the recently approved county contract with The Newaygo County Regional Education Services Agency (NCRESA) through Newaygo County Advanced Technology Services (NCATS) to address a vacancy and an addition to the onsite IT positions. In the afternoon Commissioner Wren and other County officials have the opportunity to the enjoy the conclusion of their hard work as they attend an open house in Big Rapids at the new morgue and where they will meet our new forensic pathologist, Dr. Dan Schultz.
“Schultz has more than 20 years’ experience in forensic pathology and is returning to Michigan to serve eight counties, including Clare, Lake, Mecosta, Montcalm, Oceana, Otsego, Newaygo and Wexford," aid Wren. "Officials have indicated more northern Michigan counties are expected to join this morgue authority. Now, northern Michigan families will have a new, hard to come by resource that will be able to answer their questions about the death of a loved one. Medical examiners said having Schultz in northern Michigan is the most efficient way to meet national standards.”
Another job well done.
Commissioner Wren mentioned that the March Board of Commissioners meeting will be on the Thursday the 28 rather than on Wednesday 27th.
Drain Commissioner Dale Twing gave an extensive update on the Fremont Recycle Center. He thanked key stakeholders like Paul Mellema for the use of the land where the Center is located, the City of Fremont, County Road Commission and all the many volunteers that have been helping staff the site. He mentioned that they are soliciting donations at the Center. He said they are looking at all options to make the Center a sustainable operation. It is recognized that the County cannot continue long term funding for the Recycling Center operations. He mentioned that he was applying for grants to fund placing additional recycling bins at local Schools.
Mr. Joe Fox Director from The Commission on Aging presented The Silver Tsunami News Letter and advertised the upcoming St Patrick Day Baked Potato Fundraising Lunch.
Ms. Holly Moon our County Treasurer informed the Board of Commissioners that her Circuit Court date was on Tuesday the 26th and Judge Springstead had approved 67 of the requests for extensions for delinquent tax payments. They will have until August 9th to pay their 2016 taxes and penalties and interest will continue to accrue. It is expected that there will be a 90 percent collection rates on the extensions.
Ms. Julie Burrell from the Right Place introduced herself to the Board of Commissioners. She discussed the purpose of the Right Place and some of the activities and projects that she is involved with including manufacturing and tourism. She specifically discussed the Redevelopment Ready Program.
As previously stated, it was business as usual. However, for those that notice such things it remarkable obvious that the new Commissioners and Chairperson are operating in a collegial and efficient manner. It is also obvious from attending these meetings that the Board of Commissioners, the County Administrator and Staff and other Department Head are very effective and efficient when conducting the County’s business. It appears that they are excellent stewards of our Taxpayer dollars and are continuously looking for opportunities for collaboration, partnerships, and the economies of scale with other area governments and agencies. It also appears that they are personally looking for ways to develop their own knowledge and represent the County's best interest in various meetings, on committees, and at public events.
White Cloud Rotary recently inducted Carol Mills as a new member into their Club. Carol is the Executive Director of Community Mental Health and was inducted by Past President Scott Swinehart. Carol shared that she believes “Rotary is a natural extension of the community and does many service projects that allow people the opportunity to give back. She looks forward to participating in Rotary fundraisers and service projects as well as serving the White Cloud area community.” Pictured (L to R): Nancy Harper, Carol’s sponsor; Scott Swinehart and Carol Mills.