Several members of the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office were honored at the regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners on Wednesday March 22nd for their outstanding performance on the job.
Deputy Rachael Botello was named Road Deputy of the Year while Sergeant Gabe Sanchez received the Corrections Deputy of the Year award.
Sergeant Brian VanSingel was given the Meritorious Service Award for providing emergency help to an inmate and Sergeant Sanchez (20 years) and Sergeant Michael Britton (10 years) were given certificates for their years of service.
The most moving presentation of the day came when Sheriff Bob Mendham and Undersheriff Chad Palmiter brought forward the three officers involved in saving the life of a county employee. Sgt. Christopher Freriks, Officer Justin Visser, and White Cloud Police Chief Dan Evans were dispatched to the Commission of Aging for an unresponsive male. All arrived on scene and advised that the individual was not breathing and they could not find a pulse. Using the AED and providing CPR for over 30 minutes, all were able to provide the appropriate medical attention needed. The result of their efforts joined them during the presentation as Gordy Alger personally thanked the trio for saving his life stating that if not for them he would not be around.
It was a moving moment and the jammed meeting room stood in applause for the three officers. Through their training and quick thinking, they truly saved a life.
From a separate incident Undersheriff Palmiter also received a life saving award for responding to a call and providing CPR to an unresponsive person keeping them alive until an ambulance was dispatched.
The Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency Board of Education announces three (3) vacancies on the NC RESA Board effective July 1, 2023. The election will be held on Monday, June 5 at 6:00 p.m. in the NC RESA Board of Education room, Educational Service Center, 4747 W. 48th Street, Fremont. The vacancies are for two (2) six (6)-year terms expiring on June 30, 2029, and one (1) two (2)-year term to complete vacancy until June 30, 2025.
Board of Education election packets, including Nominating Petition Forms and Affidavits of Identity may be picked up at the Newaygo County Clerk’s office, 1087 Newell, White Cloud, MI, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The deadline for filing petitions OR paying a $100.00 nonrefundable filing fee is 4:00 p.m., Monday, May 8, 2023. More specific instructions will be given at the time candidates receive the election packet. Petitions cannot be turned in to the NC RESA superintendent’s office. Questions may be directed to Mr. Blake J. Prewitt, Superintendent, at (231) 924-8854.
Added: We received this statement today (Monday) from Bruce Emery, Vice President of Retail Operations-Corporate Retail “We have made the difficult decision to close the Fremont, Mich. Family Fare in mid-April. We are grateful to our store guests for their loyal support, as well as our dedicated Associates for their commitment to our shoppers.”
By Ken DeLaat
Photo by Lesly DeLaat
After half a century of serving Fremont area residents Family Fare, nee Bill’s Shop & Save (more recently referred to as ‘Not Bill's’) will be closing their doors in mid April.
There has been speculation about the possible demise of the store after yet another venue joined the grocery landscape of the county’s largest city with the opening of Aldi’s earlier this month.
Years ago when Walmart expanded into groceries many thought Bill’s might be hurt by the largesse of the Superstore. But many of Bill’s long time customers remained loyal and the store continued to enjoy a great deal of popularity after the much heralded arrival of Meijer 4 years ago. In August SpartanNash purchased the store along with Shop & Save stores in Ludington and Benzonia and converted them to the Family Fare brand.
Near North Now has reached out to SpartanNash for comment and will provide more details as they become available.
NHS Students Serve with TrueNorth
Serving the community is one aspect to a well-rounded education at Newaygo Public Schools. Nine students had an opportunity to do just that on Wednesday, March 15. This group of excited high schoolers traveled to Fremont's True North building and helped with the Feeding America Food Truck.
Taylor Hills, an NHS teacher, collaborated with TrueNorth staff Peg Mathis and Jackie Knight to set up this round of volunteers with the intent to involve all NHS students in the future!
Drawdown schedule released
From our friends at Consumers Energy:
Consumers Energy plans to begin construction on the Hardy Dam projects in 2025, pending the receipt of regulatory, environmental, and federal approvals. This is separate from the process to determine the future of our river hydros in Michigan.
So far, we have developed a memorandum of understanding for roadway work with the Newaygo County Road Commission, completed pre-construction tree clearing, prepared an environmental impact study as part of the Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) joint permit application (we anticipate receiving the joint permit in 2023), and provided documents to the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC).
What remains is for EGLE to issue a permit authorizing the work, for FERC to issue an order approving the license amendment, to obtain FERC’s construction approval, and obtain project construction cost recovery approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission.
We are committed to operating as a good neighbor and keeping you informed of the plans for Hardy Dam, which has safely served our customers with clean, renewable energy for nearly a century. You can find the latest news about Hardy Dam and any of our 13 hydroelectric power plants at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/Hydro.
Our current reservoir drawdown schedule through the end of 2025 is as follows:
1. Return to normal level by Memorial Day 2023
2. Drawdown to begin November 2023 (10 feet drawdown)
3. Return to normal level by Memorial Day 2024
4. Drawdown to begin November 2024 (10 feet drawdown)
5. Return to normal level by Memorial Day 2025
6. Drawdown for construction (in late 2025) and duration to be approved by FERC
We plan to return to your community for a public meeting in the second half of the year to provide relevant project updates and revisit our hydro strategy.
Don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 231-332-2800 if you have questions. Thank you for your patience and support of Hardy Dam
Saturday, Michigan DNR conservation officers arrested two people who were driving through the Pigeon River Country State Forest in Otsego County with loaded firearms and drugs. Officers found three rifles, one shotgun, rifle rounds, spent rifle casings, alcohol, several containers of meth, marijuana and evidence of drug use. Arraignment is pending.
Two arrested in Pigeon River State Forest
Two people were arrested Saturday for possessing illegal firearms and drugs after a Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer conducted a traffic stop in a remote area of the Pigeon River Country State Forest, in Otsego County.
The officer initially observed the vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road. During the stop, the vehicle occupants told the officer, “We are just out looking to hunt stuff.”
The officer saw that the passenger had an uncased .308 rifle near their right leg with a rifle round on the door handle. Additionally, the driver – who had binoculars around their neck – had a loaded .22 caliber rifle behind the seat. Additional conservation officers soon arrived on scene to assist.
Officers searched the rental vehicle the suspects were operating and found two additional firearms, used rifle casings, alcohol, several containers of crystal meth, marijuana, and evidence of drug use. DNR officers confiscated three rifles and one shotgun, along with the ammunition and drugs.
The names of those arrested will not be released until they are arraigned in court. Both suspects face multiple felony charges. The investigation is ongoing.
Michigan DNR conservation officers are fully commissioned law enforcement officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety, and protect people through general law enforcement and conducting lifesaving operations in the communities they serve.
Learn more at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.
Croton crew steps up for a resident in need
By Bill Nottelmann, Trustee, Croton Township
Firefighters and First Responders put out fires and save lives. This is what they do, and they do it very well. Firefighters and First Responders also are frequently involved in other activities which we rarely hear about.
Such was the case early Tuesday morning, February 28, 2023 (the night of the great ice storm!). At approximately 2am, the Croton Fire Department received a call that a Croton resident, who was on oxygen, had lost power to her home. She was unable to charge her battery pack, cutting off her supply of oxygen and her home was already very cold.
This call put the Croton Fire Department into action. Officers secured a generator for her use, got power into her home, and charged her battery pack. But that was just the beginning. Every three hours, firefighters ``checked in” on her until power was restored at approximately 2 am Wednesday morning. During each visit to her residence, firefighters filled the generator with gas and checked on her well-being.
To a person, each firefighter involved in this special act of kindness said that every one of these public servants would have reacted in the exact same manner. Again, this is what they do.
Pictured above are several members of the Croton Fire Department.
Do you like planning events? Being part of the Fremont community? Then you may be just the person for this job! The Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce is currently looking for Events Coordinator. This is an exciting part time position. The events coordinator works to develop and execute all fundraising, marketing, and media planning related to the Chamber events – National Baby Food Festival, Fremont Harvest Festival, Jingle Mingle Arts & Craft Fair, Fremont Christmas Stroll and the Home & Garden show. The events coordinator also works with the committees for the cabin fever festival, summer concert series and the golf outing.
This individual must: be able to work with committees, pay attention to details, be organized, creative, out-going, and a people person. Also, coordinate and encourage teams of volunteers to help at events. Applicant must be self-motivated and able to work independently as well. This position will by the lead staff person for the Chamber events as well as provide support for other Chamber of Commerce activities in addition to other internal duties. This is a part time position with weekly hours but additional hours may be required during the activities run by the Fremont Area Chamber.
The successful applicant will possess computer skills, social media marketing, proficient in Microsoft Word and Desktop Publishing; and having experience working/coordinating special events and nonprofit organizations are beneficial. Knowledge of the Fremont community and events is important. Send your resume to: Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, 7 E. Main Street, Fremont, MI 49412 by Monday, March 27, 2023.
“Our most critical community issue”
At their regular meeting on Wednesday, March 8th the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners approved a one million dollar appropriation from the county’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery funds (aka ARPA funds) to be used in a partnership with the Fremont Area Community Foundation To help address one of the county’s most pressing needs, affordable housing.
Recent census data shows that the Newaygo County population is increasing, and studies indicate that there is a shortage of homes.
“With the demand for all types of housing so much higher than the supply, grants from Newaygo County and the Community Foundation will improve rental and ownership options,” said Lindsay Hager, FCF Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer. “Funds will be used to leverage other resources and incentivize housing developments that would otherwise not be feasible.”
Inceptive initiatives include:
1. Single Family New Construction
Overview: Housing developers can receive construction loans and grants to build new single family housing loans at reduced interest rates, decreasing construction costs. This may include traditional homes or other options such as tiny or modular homes as permitted by zoning.
2. Multi-family New Construction or Renovation
Overview: Local funding is provided for construction loans and grants for gaps in financing based on debt coverage ratios.
3. Emergency Homeowner Repair or Rehabilitation
Overview: Local funding is combined with County/CDBG program income as a revolving loan to assist qualified homeowners with emergency home repairs (e.g., roof, furnace, well, septic, etc.). This is continuation of an existing program currently operated in Newaygo County. Loans up to $25,000 are recorded as a lien against the property and repaid upon future resale.
The County and Community Foundation will create a committee of five to determine which projects to fund annually. The Community Foundation will provide the community assessment and expertise, fund management and reporting, RFPs, funding guidelines, communication to the public, committee scheduling and decision making and approved fund distribution and outcome measurement.
“We are excited about the partnership with the County to address perhaps our most critical community issue: the housing shortage, “ said Shelly Kasprzycki, president and CEO of Fremont Area Community Foundation. “This is an excellent opportunity for us to move forward with housing related projects that will be good for our Newaygo County citizens, and to support a vibrant economy.”
“The Newaygo County Board is pleased to be able to use some of the ARPA dollars in a joint effort with the Fremont Area Community Foundation in making housing more affordable]ble and available in all our communities.” added Newaygo County Board Chair Bryan Kolk.
15h Annual Fremont Area Home & Garden Showto be held Saturday, March 25th!!!
The Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, along with the home and garden show committee, invites you to join us on Saturday, March 25th to the 15th Annual Fremont Area Home & Garden Show! This year’s event will be held in the Fremont Community Rec Center, 201 E. Maple Street, Fremont.
As we all prepare for spring and want to do something after the winter, this event is the perfect opportunity to get your family out of the house and have a fun day together, all while discovering new services and products offered right here in your hometown.
The 15th Annual Fremont Area Home & Garden Show runs from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and there is no charge for entry or parking.
Watch for the Home & Garden Show food truck rally!!! Featured food vendors this year will be: Pork – n – stein, Two Hot Tamales, and Big Mike’s Kettle Corn are already signed up! Watch for this list to grow!!! Stop by for some of these tantalizing treats; there is a nice variety of food for everyone’s taste buds.
Vendors inside the building will be featuring giveaways and information to help with your spring home improvement plans, landscaping and garden tips, financial advisors, and real estate professionals! Don’t miss out on getting some useful information from this show to help get your spring projects completed!
Vendor booths are still available! This is a great opportunity for businesses to showcase and highlight the goods and services they provide to our community! There are four (4) reasons why you can’t afford to miss this event!!! 1.) New Business: develop business leads and new customers, 2.) Networking: networking with peers in the Fremont and Newaygo County community, 3.) New Ideas: search for new and innovative products and services, and 4.) Marketing Opportunities: spread the word about your business!
Thank you to our 2023 sponsors: Gold – Mellema Nursery, Redeemed Roofing Solutions, Silver – 911 Restoration, Philo HVAC, Coffee Bar – Point Broadband
If you’d like information on being a vendor with a booth, sponsor, or volunteer to help at the event, please contact the Chamber: (231) 924-0770 or email email@example.com.
Business Resource Committee formed
Newaygo, MI - The River Country Chamber of Commerce of Newaygo County has created a Business Resource Committee with the purpose of helping our members tackle their challenges.
“We revisited our mission and realized that we have become an event driven organization and we were lacking the business advocacy aspect that our members need,” Executive Director Kelly Rider said.
Rider continued, “We are still committed to our events but want to expand our services to our members and be the first thought when a problem with their business arises.”
The Business Resource Committee will field questions from chamber members and identify the resources that exist in the community or online and present members with solutions to their problems.
The Chamber will also be hosting quarterly educational sessions on topics such as talent acquisition, brand management, business insurance etc.
To send a request for assistance to the Chamber, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
An upcoming event delivers a whole lot of much needed awareness to an issue that affects us all.
Few have been untouched by the heartbreak of losing someone to suicide. On Monday March 13th Corewell Health Gerber Hospital will be offering a free screening of the award winning film “Suicide: The Ripple Effect”.
The film features some of the world’s leading suicide prevention experts and shines a light on people who are using personal experiences with suicide to help others find the hope they need.
We posed a few questions on the subject to Denise Russo-Starback, Clinical Services Director at Newaygo Mental Health. Ms. Russo-Starback has been a practicing clinician for 26 years.
Who are most at risk for suicide?
In 2022, according to SAMHSA-Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, middle aged people, especially males in the United States, had the highest rate of suicide compared to other groups. Eighty percent of all deaths by suicide in the United States are among women and men ages 45-54. In the year 2020, suicide was the second leading cause of death for young persons between the ages of 10-24 years. Other at-risk populations also identified include older adults, specifically males aged 85 years and above, Alaskan natives, especially young males and young American Indian men are also at higher risk for suicide as compared to other groups. One death by suicide in the United States occurs every 11 minutes.
Is everyone who is suicidal depressed?
Not everyone who is suicidal suffers from depression. Suicidal ideation (SI) can be one symptom of Major Depression and depression associated with Bipolar Disorder. Suicide can also occur in people with other identified mental illnesses or in persons with no mental illness at all.
Why do people become suicidal?
People can become suicidal for various reasons, some of which include relationship problems, family conflict, school and social pressures, discovering one’s identity and other life stressors such as criminal/legal issues, homelessness, death of a loved one, physical illness, abuse, trauma, rejection or an impending crisis.
What is the most effective treatment for people who are suicidal?
Although there are numerous successful treatments available, there is no single approach or treatment that is universally effective. Different treatment approaches have different efficacy for different disorders that people may have. Inpatient and Outpatient therapeutic options are used to help those experiencing suicidal ideation (SI). Two common therapies available to persons with SI are Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). CBT aims to help people with their ability to recognize when their thoughts might become a problem and gives them techniques to help redirect those thoughts. DBT helps people to find ways to accept themselves, to feel safe and manage their emotions to help regulate potentially harmful behaviors. Simply stated, both of these therapies aim to help people deal with overwhelming problems and intense emotions.
Biofeedback Neurotherapy is also an electrical stimulation approach/therapy used to help with the brain’s repair process. This intervention is designed to help the person recognize their own brain state and learn how to control it in order to help reduce symptoms of depression, stress and other issues.
Medications can be and are often used in conjunction with other therapies in the treatment of depression and other disorders that can lead to suicidal ideation.
What interventions beyond health care reduce suicide risk?
Other interventions or preventative steps that can be considered to help reduce the risk of suicide and suicidal ideation include reaching out to loved ones and friends, doing things that you enjoy, avoiding drug and alcohol use, journaling, seeking professional help, developing and following a safety plan and/or attending a support group. Self-care strategies are also an important part of prevention. Areas of focus should include the mind, body, soul and one’s surroundings. The following is a list of examples in each of these areas. Specific to one’s mind, having a daily routine can be helpful as can be journaling and/or finding ways to express your feelings. Develop a new skill or complete a project. Set daily goals for yourself. Exercise, having a sleep routine and eating healthy is good for the body. Take a nap. Take a shower. Feed your soul by reaching out to others, follow feel good social media, set boundaries and ask for help. Make your space one that is safe and comfy. Display things that you like to look at and that make you feel happy and positive and/or watch your favorite movie or tv show. It is not selfish to take care of oneself. Even the simplest, ordinary things can be self-care. Those who are struggling with suicidal ideation can learn how to cope, find joy and keep themselves alive.
Why should I attend this upcoming program?
It is our hope that this program/film will bring awareness and light to the ongoing mental health crisis as well as emphasize all of the efforts being made that are helping people fight through suicidal ideation and stay alive. The story of Kevin Hines describes his personal journey and the ripple effect it has caused. He is using his story to help and inspire others through a message of hope and healing.
Thank you Ms. R-S.
Please make plans to attend this free program. It could save a life.
Here’s the skinny
Distribution to benefit cites, villages, townships and counties throughout the state.
In ‘21 it was $28,000 per dispensary.
Last year it doubled to around $56,000
And this year it will be just a tad under $52,000.
It’s marijuana money, a bit of an annual windfall for municipalities that have welcomed in cannabis stores to their communities.
What this means locally is that White Cloud with 2 stores will receive nearly $103,682.42, Grant is banking $51,841.21 for their one dispensary and the county collects $155,523.63 for these three retail shops within its borders.
Big Rapids, where dispensaries seem to open every month, is receiving $881,300.57 while Mecosta County gets the same for those 17 stores in the Big Rapids marijuana market.
This annual pot store payout makes its way to the municipality coffers from the excise tax collected by retailers. Revenue was collected from 574 licensees among the state's cities, villages and townships during the 2022 fiscal year. For the 2022 state fiscal year, there was $198.4 million available for distribution from the Marihuana Regulation Fund. State law outlines how much is distributed from the Marihuana Regulation Fund.
Aside from the more than $59.5 million in disbursements to municipalities and counties, $69.4 million was sent to the School Aid Fund for K-12 education and another $69.4 million to the Michigan Transportation Fund.
In total, more than $1.8 billion in adult-use marijuana sales was reported for Fiscal Year 2022.
And any way you look at it, that is a lot of pot.
For a list of all cities, counties villages and townships receiving disbursements
Materials Recovery Facility Launched In Newaygo
NEWAYGO, MICH (MARCH, 2, 2023): Today, American Classic, a Muskegon County based family-owned business, and The Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership, powered by The Right Place announced the establishment of a material recovery facility (MRF) at 313 W State Road in Newaygo. The company plans to add 10 new jobs and invest approximately $2M in capital to support the increasing demand for recycling infrastructure.
American Classic, established in 2001, began as a roofing company and now serves customers across the region through commercial and residential construction services, construction supply equipment, and commercial and residential garbage and dumpster service. To expand their recycling operations, they acquired Cart Right Recycling in 2022 which focused on residential post-consumer recycling hauling and collection.
American Classic recently purchased the vacant building at 313 W State Road. This facility will be a central location to receive, sort, bale and market recyclable materials from across the region. With only one other MRF location in the greater West Michigan region, this project brings a much-needed resource for recycling infrastructure, with the initial goal of diverting 5 million pounds of landfill bound commodities annually. American Classic is searching for new municipal and industrial partners along with expanding their residential recycling footprint.
“American Classic is poised to become a recycling leader in the West Michigan region” said Lola Harmon-Ramsey, Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement at American Classic. “With new solid waste management laws coming into effect at the state level, we are excited to help our local cities and county leadership teams expand their recycling services within their rural communities. A circular economy isn’t just good for the environment but also creates new jobs and economic development opportunities.”
The Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership worked closely with both Cart Right and American Classic leadership throughout the 15-month long process, bringing resources and technical assistance to aid in the project’s success. Their partner, Michigan Works! West Central supported this project with a $35,640 workforce development package, which will provide technical assistance and training grants to support the added workforce. The Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership also connected American Classic with Great Lakes Energy, and they have been approved for a United States Department of Agriculture and Rural Development 0% interest loan to support their growth.
“We are excited to celebrate American Classic’s new location” said Julie Burrell, Economic Development Director of the Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership at The Right Place, “Their investment in Newaygo re-activates a vacant space and provides a critical resource to support long-term recycling sustainability throughout the region.”
In addition to establishing the MRF, American Classic has worked with the County of Newaygo to obtain a Quality Improvement grant with The Recycling Partnership and the State of Michigan, Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), as well as an infrastructure grant to provide more recycling collection receptacles at local schools and campgrounds, further solidifying the region’s recycling infrastructure.
2023 Newaygo County Spelling Bee Hosted by NC RESA
Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency (NC RESA) hosted the 2023 County Spelling Bee on March 1 with 15 district-level winners and runners-up (grades 4 through 8) competing at the county level. Congratulations to Sanskriti Parihar from Fremont Daisy Brook, who was the overall winner by correctly spelling the word sunflower in Round 17. We also extend congratulations to Jax Stariha who was the runner-up. Jax attends Fremont Middle School. Sanskriti will now advance to The Greater Grand Rapids Spelling Bee on Tuesday, March 28 in Grand Rapids.
These students are commended for their determination in preparing for the different levels of competition at their local school District Bee, Newaygo County RESA County Bee, and The Greater Grand Rapids Bee. The winner from The Greater Grand Rapids Bee will have the opportunity to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. For a detailed national competition schedule, please visit Scripps National Spelling Bee website at www.spellingbee.com.
We are proud to acknowledge the district level spellers. (Front row: L to R) Jared Stockwell, White Cloud Elementary; Leon Burns, Big Jackson School; Jax Stariha, Fremont Middle School; Thomas Crittendon, Newaygo Elementary; Sophia Dickson, Fremont Daisy Brook (Back row: L to R) Titus Hughes, Newaygo Elementary; Zenith Hollinger, Grant Middle School; Bobby Cronkright, Grant Middle School; Phoenix Cox, White Cloud Elementary; Ethan Hanna, Fremont Middle School; Lillith Rogers, Newaygo Middle School; Sanskriti Parihar, Fremont Daisy Brook; Farrah Feliciano, Newaygo Middle School Not pictured: Landon Fankhauser, Big Jackson School; Aubrey Gephart, Grant Elementary; Lydia Robinson, Grant Elementary