NEWAYGO– Consumers Energy announced that a Croton Dam parking area will be reduced and the canoe portage will be relocated to the east side of the Muskegon River starting April 29 to safely accommodate construction activity at the site.
Fencing will indicate the closed section of the west upper downstream parking lot near the dam’s fishing pier, which will be reduced by roughly half its size, and signs will direct users to the temporary portage. The site’s fishing pier will remain open.
“It’s necessary to temporarily reduce the parking area and close the west canoe portage for safety while crews replace an abutment wall to upgrade our Croton Dam,” said Matthew Carmer, Consumers Energy’s natural resources administrator for hydro operations. “Fortunately, the east side of the river will be unaffected by the upgrade work and we are able to relocate the portage there so recreationalists may continue to portage the dam for the duration of the project, which is expected to be completed this October.”
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
By Alexis Mercer
Painting fire hydrants, sealing fences, cleaning up the cemetery, picking up trash from acres of land, promoting inclusivity, and spreading joy and kindness to all was the curriculum of the day for Newaygo High School students on Thursday, April 25, 2019.
The day of service originally started four years ago as a three day celebration and break from a normal class schedule to bring awareness to bullying and promote social kindness and togetherness. Since the inception of the concept, the theme and activities have evolved into a multi-purpose single day event for students and staff of NHS.
All students and staff met in the gymnasium first thing on Thursday morning to cheer on the participants of the floor hockey and soccer games. This activity is part of what NHS does each year for its involvement with the Special Olympics. In addition to the multiple Special Olympics events held at NHS each year, Special Education students from Newaygo participated in the games to display unity and inclusion.
After the intense matches, with students in the stands cheering energetically and enthusiastically for both the Titans and Spartans, two morning sessions took place. Juniors and freshmen went to the cafeteria to hear a presentation from the be nice. leadership team about mental health awareness. This is the continuation of a years long project led by staff member Erica Boyd to break the stigma that comes with mental health.
"be nice. is a mental health education, bully and suicide prevention initiative that creates a positive cultural change through simple daily actions." Students watched a short video reminding them of the steps of the program and encouraging students to reach out when they see someone who displays behavior unlike their normal actions for two weeks or longer. [For more information, visit the West Michigan be nice. website: https://www.benice.org/be-nice ]
The next step for juniors and freshmen was to break out into classroom activities of their choosing, including things like juggling, board games, card games, movies and reading. Additionally, school officer Mitch Rood took a group of students out to the parking lot and had them participate in "Ford's Strive 4 a Safer Drive (S4SD)", where they donned glasses of impairment (alcohol and drugs) and attempted to safely navigate a course of cones while driving golf carts loaned by Smart Energy out of Grant.
Meanwhile, seniors and sophomores set out into the community to serve. The City of Newaygo and Ron Wight worked closely with NHS's Theresa Westcott and Laurie Gracik to identify areas in need of cleanup and repair. City workers provided water and supplies while the students and staff provided their endless energy and commitment to making the world a better place starting with our town.
The afternoon sessions flip flopped the morning schedule with fresh hands for serving and fresh minds for learning.
While the activities only took place one day out of the year, the enthusiasm for the themes of kindness, service and inclusivity last much longer. This day makes an impact on students and staff alike. "The high school coming together and accepting everyone's unique differences is the greatest part of this day," said Theresa Westcott, one of the main leaders and organizers of the event.
State Sen. Jon Bumstead issued the following statement on Tuesday encouraging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to reconsider disaster relief funding for Newaygo County:
“On March 14, Newaygo County began experiencing heavy rainfall and major flooding, which caused extensive damage to public and private property across the county. The widespread flooding generated an immediate threat to public safety. Within a week, 33 roadways were extensively damaged, and 11 culverts had failed. Major damage also occurred to parks, dams, and wastewater treatment facilities throughout the county.
“Extensive repair costs have severely impacted the current budget for the Newaygo County Road Commission. The commission estimates it is currently 30% over the current year budget. As of now, the county has spent $335,723 to repair damages caused by the widespread flooding, and they estimate an additional $100,000 in unknown and unaccounted costs. Due to the harsh winter and unforeseen natural disasters, the county has spent $725,582 more in comparison to this time last year.
“The state can provide financial assistance during times of disaster or emergency, but Governor Gretchen Whitmer has denied supplemental funding for Newaygo County. I ask the governor to reconsider her decision due to the extensive response and repair costs sustained by the Newaygo County Road Commission, and the continued threat that these damages pose to public safety.
“Because the budget for the Newaygo County Road Commission has been severely impacted by these costs, very little money remains while numerous roads across the county are still in disrepair. The governor has repeatedly spoken about the need to adequately fund and repair our roads, but Newaygo County will be another year behind schedule without this assistance.
“Newaygo County Emergency Services and the Newaygo County Road Commission have done an excellent job protecting the health and property of residents, but additional repair costs remain. Supplemental funding would help offset the emergency protective measures used during the flooding.
“I hope that Governor Whitmer will reconsider her decision to deny Newaygo County supplemental disaster funding so repairs from the widespread flooding can be completed.”
Fremont Couple Celebrates 60th Wedding Anniversary
Patsy and Gerald Sherman celebrated their diamond (60th) wedding anniversary, on Good Friday, April 19th, 2019, in an intimate setting hosted by their sons, Mark and Scott along with their respective wives. The jovial duo gathered in Ada, Michigan, to mark this auspicious occasion flanked by adoring grandchildren and their friends.
The Shermans were married on April, 10th 1959 in Muskegon, MI. They moved to Fremont during the 70s to raise their three sons who have made them very happy throughout the years. Their faith in God sustains them, along with the joy they receive from overseeing their grandchildren and great grandchildren.
When asked by a family friend, Chongo, “What is the key to a long lasting marriage?” Patsy responded with her usual spunkyself, “I can tell you this, if anyone has said they have never had an argument they are lying!” With all their ups and downs, Patsy and Gerald have never forgotten how to laugh, and love.
Pitch North Finalists Announced
Twenty entrepreneurs submitted their ideas in the first-ever rural entrepreneurial pitch competition in Newaygo, Lake and Oceana Counties. The deadline for submissions is April 10th.
“We are absolutely thrilled with the submission results and excited for the future of entrepreneurship in Newaygo, Lake and Oceana Counties” said Julie Burrell, Business Development Coordinator – Newaygo County at The Right Place, Inc.
A sub-committee reviewed and scored each submission, narrowing the list to the top five.
The five finalists will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges at the Dogwood Center for Performing Arts in Fremont on May 8th from 4pm to 6pm. The top three finalists will receive in-kind services in addition to cash prizes of $4,000, $2,500, and $1,000. This event is open to the public, but registration is required. To register to attend, visit pitchnorth.com
The finalists are:
Sandra Bernard – Red Boots Kids’ Books
Ericka Freriks – Baking Beauty’s Custom Cakes
Camelia Hollinger – Pretty Pop Ups
Tara Kelley – The Bohemian Boutique
Deanna Dickinson – Truffles and Goodies Lady
Every entrepreneur who submitted an idea will receive guidance on moving their idea forward, regardless of their final score.
Pitch North is made possible through funding from the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance and Northern Initiatives. In-Kind prizes were donated from The Stream, Eric R. Fox, Attorney at Law and H&S Companies.
Gas station to open Thursday,April 25
By Ken DeLaat
And now we have a date.
On Tuesday,May 21, ending years of anticipation, Meijer takes its place as a major presence in our area.
And ‘anticipation’ doesn’t do justice to the Meijer mania that was spawned several years ago when the rumor mill began grinding about a Meijer arrival in our parts. One of our first articles on the subject drew an enormous amount of readers and when the decision on a site was finalized the numbers went skyward again.
Being a fledgling news site at the time we considered a weekly Meijer series with subjects such as an interview with Sandy the Penny Horse or an in-depth look at the true meaning of Perks, but instead we posted periodic pictures of the progress being made after an April groundbreaking last year and each article was devoured by a community hungry for news about the retail giant.
So, what does it mean for our area?
Well, for one thing it means about 300 jobs have been filled because of this newest jewel in the Meijer crown. Staff have been hired and are reportedly working in the facility stocking the shelves to ready the store for the opening.
It also provides another option in a crowded local grocery competition.
And one of these is, of course, Fremont’s other big store.
The close proximity of Meijer to Walmart isn’t uncommon as they seem to share neighborhoods throughout the state. Both stores offer a wide variety of merchandise both stores have full service pharmacy’s and both have groceries.
And then there is the Meijer mystique.
Maybe it’s because they began as a small Greenville grocer so despite their size (116 stores in Michigan alone) they remain a local store in the eyes of many. Maybe it’s their renown produce department an area as well staged as any I’ve encountered.
Or maybe it’s because of Sandy.
At any rate the excitement will be running high come Opening Day. There will be the usual ribbon cutting and some local dignitaries sharing room in front with the Meijer folks. Words will be spoken, appreciation will be doled out generously, photos will be taken...
Then, finally, the 155,000 square-foot Fremont supercenter will open their doors and a flood of humanity will challenge the training of a store filled primarily with recent hires.
Let the shopping begin.
Disaster Assistance Resources for Homeowners, Renters, and Businesses
From our friends at Newaygo County Emergency Operations Center:
On Thursday, March 14, 2019, 1 ½ to 2 inches of rainfall occurred over the area. Combined with the 4 – 6 inches of moisture contained within the snowpack that released all at once, widespread area flooding along with river flooding occurred. This event caused substantial damage across the County.
On Friday, March 15, 2019, the Newaygo County Board Chair declared a Local State of Emergency. On Saturday, March 16, 2019, the Board Chair requested a Governor’s office to declare a State of Emergency. This was approved on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. A Small Business Administration disaster survey was requested by the Governor’s Office on March 21, 2019. This was conducted on March 26 – 28, 2019. Based on data collected during the assessment, the Governor’s office then requested a Small Business Administration disaster declaration on April 3, 2019 which was approved on April 4, 2019.
This event impacted and caused damage to the following:
The following roadways still remain closed:
DISASTER ASSISTANCE RESOURCES
U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loans:
Newaygo County is located in an approved declared disaster area, which opens up low interest loans to homeowners, businesses, and renters to help repair or replace disaster damaged property.
SBA’s Customer Service Representatives will be available at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about the loan program and help individuals complete their applications. The center is located at the Fremont City Recreation Center at 201 E Maple Street, in Fremont MI 49412. The Center will open starting Saturday, April 6, 2019.
Hours of Operation
Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 10:00 am to 2:00 PM
Sunday, April 7, 2019 CLOSED
Monday, April 8 – Thursday, April 11, 2019 9am – 6pm
Friday, April 12, 2019 from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Applicants may also apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is June 3, 2019. The deadline to return economic injury applications is January 6, 2020.
Habitat for Humanity Re-Store:
Habitat for Humanity is offering a 10% off coupon for their Re-Store in Fremont. This discount is good through September 30, 2019 on any purchases up to $500.00. To be eligible, you must be identified in Newaygo County Emergency Services Flood Recovery Database. To verify if you are included or for more information, please contact the Newaygo County Emergency Services Department at 231-689-7354.
Department of Health and Humans Services:
Department of Health and Human Services has emergency funds available to assist towards repairs that could cause health related issues. To be eligible, you must meet limited assets and income requirements of DHHS. For more information, please visit: https://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/0,5885,7-339-8319_9584---,00.html
True North Services:
The Center for Nonprofit Housing has a locally funded repair program. Repairs are limited to those necessary to correct health and safety concerns. They serve Newaygo County households that are below 150% of the FPL or 80% AMI. Their funds are very limited. For additional information, please contact Center for Nonprofit Housing at (231) 924-0641 extension 130.
The Newaygo County Emergency Services Departments has received funding from the Consumers Energy Foundation, Paulsen’s Heating and Cooling, and Habitat for Humanity to provide dumpsters to flooding victims. To be eligible, you must be identified in Newaygo County Emergency Services Flood Recovery Database. To verify if you are included or for more information, please contact the Newaygo County Emergency Services Department at 231-689-7354.
Muck outs, Debris Removal, and Mold Remediation:
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.
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:
Watch for Scammers:
FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
You do not have to live in a flood plain to get flood insurance. To be eligible, your township must participate in the program. In Newaygo County, the following communities participate, making homeowners in that area eligible to purchase Flood Insurance:
For additional information on the National Flood Insurance Program and how to purchase flood insurance, please visit the following websites:
Continuing Information Will Be Released Via NIXLE
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.
Gov. Whitmer’s Request for U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Declaration Approved for Newaygo County
Lansing- Goveror Gretchen Whitmer today announced the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved her request for an administrative declaration of disaster for Newaygo County. The declaration means residents and businesses affected by heavy rainfall and snowmelt on March 14 that resulted in widespread flooding are eligible to apply for SBA financial assistance.
he SBA disaster assistance program will make low-interest loans available to eligible residents and businesses in Newaygo County, as well as the neighboring counties of Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Oceana, and Osceola.
“I want to thank the SBA for recognizing the need for disaster assistance in Newaygo and neighboring counties,” Whitmer said. “The availability of these low-interest loans will provide some relief to our residents as they continue to recover from the impacts of recent flooding.”
Based on information provided by the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division, state leaders requested a joint damage assessment with federal and local leaders to review and validate the most severely damaged homes, businesses and other facilities across the affected area. The team conducted their assessment from March 26-28.
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.
The SBA will establish a disaster loan outreach center in the affected area for one-on-one assistance. Loan applications will also be made available online or by mail.
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 assistance to communities in the affected area.
Gerber Memorial Gift Shop grand reopening April 10
FREMONT – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is celebrating the grand reopening of its freshly renovated Gift Shop on Wednesday, April 10, to showcase its new look, all-new inventory and expanded line of Spectrum Health branded merchandise. The Grand Reopening will include a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:00 am and 10 percent off all items on Wednesday.
“The Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Gift Shop is truly a labor of love that involved so many people who wanted to give our community a place where people can shop in a bright, open and welcoming setting, and buy unique affordable gifts for any occasion,” said Shelly Johnson, Gerber Memorial chief operating officer. “Gerber Memorial renovated our Gift Shop with the goal of giving the people we serve a place where they can shop or browse in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. We’re really excited to start this new chapter in the history of our Gift Shop and invite everyone in the community to visit us and enjoy a new shopping experience.”
Gerber’s volunteers played an instrumental role in the gift shop renovation.
“Throughout Gerber Memorial, our volunteers play an important role in everything that we do, from ensuring our patients are comfortable to assisting visitors get to where they need to go to running our Gift Shop,” Johnson said. “Gerber Memorial is extremely grateful for what our volunteers do, every day, for our families and our entire community.”
While The Gift Shop remains in its original location at the hospital east of the main hospital lobby and just past the Betty Ford Breast Care Services clinic, it received a significant makeover: The store has new flooring, new shelving, new display arrangements and even a mock fireplace. Gerber Memorial also conducted a survey among its clientele that asked what shoppers might like to see at The Gift Shop. The result: An all-new inventory, with items ranging locally crafted jewelry, children’s books, unique specialty items, high quality Spectrum Health branded goods, home décor goods and inspirational gifts.
In addition to new items and products The Gift Shop will also feature new software that will allow point-of-sale computerized tracking, resulting in better inventory management and customer tracking.
To learn more about volunteering at Gerber Memorial:
spectrumhealth.org/volunteer or call 231.924.1350.
JNR Waterfront Services, LLC
Full-time · $10 - $13 / hour
Seasonal Dock and Lift installations as well as summer and winter seawall construction. Fun atmosphere while working in swimsuit.
8975 Mason Dr. Newaygo. Call 231.250.6347