High-tech and full of heart, Gerber Memorial surgery program takes center stage at Rotary
FREMONT, Mich., April 26, 2022 – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial surgeon, Erich Schafer, DO, shared insights and updates about the hospital’s surgery program at the Fremont Rotary meeting on Tuesday, April 26.
Dr. Schafer’s key points: Gerber Memorial’s comprehensive surgery program is high-tech and staffed by a passionate team of surgeons, advanced practice providers and their teams.
“A lot of times, because of the services we have, we can provide the entire range of care for patients right here,” Dr. Schafer said. “Our main goal is taking care of the community here. We have an exciting surgery program that I’m passionate about.”
Dr. Schafer was a champion of bringing high-tech surgery to Gerber Memorial. In 2019, Gerber Memorial unveiled its DaVinci robotic surgery technology.
“Before robotic surgery, we had laparoscopic surgery, which had limited movement,” Dr. Schafer said to the Rotary audience. “DaVinci allowed surgeons 360-degree full rotation and was less invasive.”
Dr. Schafer said patients who underwent colon surgeries took 7-10 days to recover in the days before robotic surgery. Now, he said, the average stay is about 24 hours. Traditional hernia surgeries used to mean months of recovery time. With robotic surgery, a patient could expect to recover in about a week.
“With DaVinci robotic surgery, people can get back to work quicker, they experience less pain, they can use Tylenol and Motrin, without narcotics, they feel better and they don’t need to go to Grand Rapids for a procedure they can have here in Fremont,” said Dr. Schafer, who has performed more than 400 surgeries with the DaVinci robot.
Some of the more common general surgeries at Gerber Memorial include gastrointestinal, soft tissue, anti-reflux and colon surgeries. Dr. Schafer said the general surgery team that also includes Jeremy Kuiper, MD, and Kegan Rummel, DO, is experienced in performing a wide range of surgeries, including trauma and emergency cases as well as procedures that can detect diseases early and allow the surgeons to manage patients’ care.
Gerber Memorial’s orthopedic surgery team includes what Dr. Schafer describes as “a true orthopedist” in Brian Hood, DO, who performs a diverse range of orthopedic surgeries, and Brett Martin, DO, who specializes in sports medicine. The orthopedic team includes physician assistant Caylee Bont and athletic trainer Sarah Carpenter.
Dr. Schafer also highlighted surgery services provided by the OB/GYN team of Drs. Melissa Bayne, Katherine McCormick, Jehanna Erho and Lindsay Schmiedeknecht, along with certified nurse midwife Emily Thrower and physician assistant Shana Strantz.
To contact Gerber Memorial’s general surgery, call 231.924.4200. Find a Spectrum Health surgeon at https://findadoctor.spectrumhealth.org/
Christian Healthcare Centers and Specialists announces Expansion
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH (May 2, 2022) Christian Healthcare Centers (CHC) and its subsidiary, Christian Healthcare Specialists (CHS), a Grand Rapids-based nonprofit medical services organization in operation since 2017, announce the Grand Opening of a second location in West Michigan, a brand-new facility located at 53 West Wood Street in the City of Newaygo.
The new 8,150 sq. ft. facility will expand CHC’s model of direct primary care (family medicine, x-ray, labs, medication dispensary) and feature several direct pay surgical specialties (general surgery, hand and plastic surgery, orthopedic surgery). Specialists will provide a variety of in-office procedures and minor surgeries in a medically underserved community.
“Since our founding, we envisioned operating multiple offices throughout West Michigan. The Newaygo office moves this vision forward,” said Mark Blocher, co-founder, President, and CEO. CHC and CHS serve a diverse patient population, with patients coming from 32 different Michigan counties. “This new office allows us to provide convenient, affordable services to patients from several rural counties that experience ongoing healthcare shortages.”
CHC utilizes a subscription-based model of care where, in lieu of insurance, patients receive unlimited primary care in exchange for a monthly fee. No co-pays, deductibles, or exclusions for pre-existing conditions. “We are open to anyone. Our only enrollment criteria is that the patient has a pulse,” said Blocher. “We provide concierge-level care for the cost of a cell phone bill. It’s like staying at a five-star hotel for the price of a two-star motel. We prioritize being affordable, convenient, and personalized in the care we provide.”
Specialist services utilize simplified, bundled pricing, with fees published on the organization’s website (www.chspecialists.org). There are no surprise bills because patients know the cost of a procedure before it is scheduled.
“Direct care is an option for people who want affordable, comprehensive primary care, x-ray, labs, low-cost prescription drugs and minor outpatient surgery without having to purchase a high premium, high deductible health insurance plan with limited networks or having to depend on government managed health care, although our surgeons do par with some insurance plans.” Blocher said.
The Newaygo office is staffed by two primary care practitioners and features several surgical specialists to provide general surgery, orthopedic, and plastic surgery services to both self-pay and insured patients. Ted VanderKooi, a general surgeon and Newaygo County resident said, “It has been my dream to be part of an organization that would allow me to provide more affordable care to my own community and beyond. Other surgeons are excited to partner with us.”
An official ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on Tuesday, May 10 at 10:00 AM at 53 West Wood Street in Newaygo. A public Open House is scheduled from 4-7 PM.
Newaygo County Robotics Team 1918 NC GEARS Compete in FIRST Robotics World Championship
Newaygo County’s high school robotics team traveled to Houston, Texas to compete in the FIRST Robotics World Championship. Team 1918 NC Gears made it to the semifinals competing against 450 teams from around the world. Students in 9th through 12th grade are welcome to be a part of our award winning team! For more information on how to join, email Rick Mushing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Competition extends deadline for entries. A chance to bring your idea to fruition.
Pitch North, Newaygo County’s first-ever entrepreneurial pitching competition, has extended the pitch submission deadline to May 8th at 11:59 pm. The event, hosted in person on June 14th, will award over $12,000 in cash & prizes to the five finalists.
“Supporting our homegrown businesses is crucial to the success of our rural communities,” said Julie Burrell, Economic Development Director for Newaygo County. “Pitch North has supported 15 local businesses to date, and we are so excited to help five more this year. However, you can’t win if you don’t enter!”
Pitch submissions for Pitch North 2022 are being accepted at rightplace.org/pitchnorth now through May 8, 2022 at 11:59 pm. A hand-picked committee will review and score all submissions and select five finalists to present their pitches live at the June 14th event, where cash prizes will be awarded to all five finalists. The 2022 event will be held at the Henry and Isabella Becker Event Barn at 1858 S Maple Island Road, Fremont. The public is welcome to attend this free event, but registration is required at rightplace.org/pitchnorth.
Pitch North is hosted by The Right Place, Inc., in conjunction with our partners: Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership, Oceana County Economic Alliance, Lake County Economic Development Alliance. Pitch North 2022 is made possible through support from Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial; City of Fremont DDA, City of Hart TIFA, City of Newaygo TIFA , Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, Fremont Area Community Foundation, Hart-Silver Lake Sand Dunes Area Chamber of Commerce, Horizon Bank, ITC, River Country Chamber of Commerce, SCORE of Muskegon, Shelby State Bank, West Shore Community College, Dave Byrne Law Office, Heritage Farms Market and Muskegon Community College.
Latest Newaygo County Marriage License Seekers
The past couple of years we have been announcing the couples who have ventured to the Newaygo County Clerk’s office to sign up for putting the stamp of marriage on their love for one another. The popularity of marriage seems to wane a bit in the months that aren’t named September, June and October.
However we stumbled upon an astrological site recently extolling the month of April as the ‘luckiest’ month to tie the knot. Apparently word hasn’t gotten out about this in our parts since there has been a scarcity of action in the Clerk’s office when it comes to handing out these partnering permits.
As the temperatures rise so will the applications if previous years are any indication.
In the meantime here are the couples who have recently registered their relationship as a union-to-be.
Lysandra Montoya, White Cloud & Duane Hopkins, Fremont
Jacquelyn Boltz, Fremont & James Ferris, Fremont
“To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow - this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.”-Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage
Laurie Platte Breza assumes role of Newaygo 4-H Program Coordinator
Michigan State University Extension is pleased to announce that Laurie Platte Breza has recently assumed the role of 4-H Program Coordinator in Newaygo County. Laurie previously held the same position in Lake County. Laurie will provide leadership and oversight for growth and management of the Newaygo County 4-H programs, volunteers, and youth participants.
Laurie holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Michigan University. She has been actively involved in the Newaygo County 4-H Program serving as an organizational leader and as a 4-H Council Committee member. She also served as the Youth Inanimate Superintendent for the Newaygo County Agricultural Fair. Laurie brings over 4 years of experience in Lake County as the 4-H Program Coordinator where she has had success in program development, volunteer recruitment, community engagement, event planning and grant writing. Laurie’s office will be in Fremont, Michigan in Newaygo County.
“I’m excited to be given the opportunity to support existing 4-H programs and partnerships as well as to seek innovative learning opportunities for young people to develop new skills and play positive roles in their communities,” Platte Breza shared. “I grew up in 4-H and participated in a community club 4-H that offered everything from sewing to gardening to raising animals. I understand the true value of the 4-H program and appreciate the opportunities it gave me as a youth.”
MSU Extension helps people improve their lives by bringing the vast knowledge resources of MSU directly to individuals, communities, and businesses. For more than 100 years, MSU Extension has helped grow Michigan’s economy by equipping Michigan residents with the information that they need to do their jobs better, raise healthy and safe families, build their communities, and empower their children to dream of a successful future.
To learn more about Newaygo County 4-H or any of the MSU Extension programs, contact Laurie Platte Breza, 4-H program coordinator, at email@example.com or visit https://www.canr.msu.edu/newaygo/4-h/.
2022 Construction underway. 14 miles to be added to Dragon Trail
White Cloud, MI: Construction at Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam is ramping up for the 2022 season, adding a projected 14 miles to the previously constructed 22 miles, completed since ground broke on the project in late 2019. If the weather permits, builders plan to complete the first 10 miles and three bridges in 2022.
Once complete, the Dragon Trail will be made up of 11 segments forming a complete 40+ mile loop around Hardy Pond, traversing through both Mecosta and Newaygo counties. Of the 22 miles already open to the public, 12+ miles are in Newaygo County, starting at Hardy Dam and ending in Big Bend Township Park. 8+ more miles of trail are already open in Mecosta County, starting at Brower Park loop on segment four and ending with the newest construction, Segment 7. Trail builders with Spectrum Trail Design LLC and Dragon Trail project officials kicked off the 2022 trail construction season on Friday, April 15th.
Construction plans for this year include an estimated 7.6-mile stretch from Newaygo State Park, continuing north, completing segments 3, 4, and connecting to Brower Park. Newaygo County procured a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund grant to fund a portion of this work. The new trail segments will feature bridges, raised wooden tread, and cross-country-style trail tread. Mecosta County Parks have recently added a new parking area within Brower Park. This area is specifically developed for Dragon Trail users and will allow for easy access to the new portions of the trail that will be built this season. Newaygo State Park will also feature an official trailhead. “It will truly be a large accomplishment to complete the final miles of trail construction in Mecosta County this year,” said Jeff Abel, Mecosta County Parks Superintendent.
Once the Newaygo State Park and Brower Park connection is complete, construction crews will move across the pond where the construction left off during the 2021 season, beginning in Segment 7 and working south to complete the remaining portions of the trail in Mecosta County and continuing into Newaygo County. The 2022 construction will continue and eventually connect with the Segment 8 trailhead at Big Bend Township Park. The construction of Segment 7 will continue in 2022 and is expected to be completed in 2023. Segment 7, the largest segment of the trail system, will stretch 11+ miles once completed.
The Dragon Trail already sees many visitors, including mountain bikers, hikers, trail runners, and more, and Dragon fans can’t wait to get a taste of new segments as construction progresses. With a very eager group of trail users, project officials ask that visitors plan to use the existing segments until the new areas of the trail are officially open. “Please don’t go looking for the new trail or riding/walking up near the trail builders. Work crews must stop working when you show up. We will let you know when there is something new to ride/hike. Please be patient; trail building is a long and arduous process,” said Martin Hall, Volunteer Coordinator with the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance.
Trail visitors will also notice several trailhead kiosks at the new trailhead locations. These new kiosks were built and generously donated to the Dragon Trail Project by DML Construction, a local construction company out of Fremont, Michigan. “It is truly wonderful for DML Construction to donate to this project, showing their commitment to our local community. It is wonderful to see this kind of community support for the Dragon Trail,” said Nick Smith, Newaygo County Parks and Recreation Director.
Follow the official Michigan’s Dragon at Hard Dam Facebook Page for updates on construction progresses and new trail sections as they open, or visit www.thedragon.us.
ABOUT MICHIGAN’S DRAGON AT HARDY DAM
Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam is a 40+ mile non-motorized, multi-use trail system located between Hardy and Rogers Dams in West Michigan. The Dragon is managed by Newaygo County Parks, Mecosta County Parks Commission, and the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance. Construction for the trail began in 2019. Learn more at www.thedragon.us.
Community Foundation Partners with Northern Initiatives on Small Business Loans
Fremont Area Community Foundation is expanding a partnership with Northern Initiatives to provide loans and technical assistance for small businesses in Newaygo, Lake, Mecosta, and Osceola counties. The expansion allows the Community Foundation to support local businesses in the areas served by their three affiliate foundations as well as in Newaygo County.
Loans are available to entrepreneurs and businesses looking to start or grow their business in the four-county region. Loan recipients also have access to a variety of trainings, tools, coaching, and other supports. They can work one-on-one with a coach as well as access Northern Initiative’s online business resource portal, Initiate.
“Local small businesses are the backbone of the economy in our region,” said Shelly Kasprzycki, Community Foundation president and CEO. “We have been proud to partner with Northern Initiatives in Newaygo County over the last several years and are excited to support this expansion of their services here and in Lake, Mecosta, and Osceola counties.”
“We help entrepreneurs who have been overlooked or denied by other financial institutions and give them the support they need to start and grow their businesses,” said Elissa Sangalli, president of Northern Initiatives. “Those businesses go on to support families, neighborhoods, and communities.”
The Community Foundation has partnered with Northern Initiatives—a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)—since 2016 to create a regional revolving loan fund to serve businesses who may not quality for traditional funding. In 2021, Northern Initiatives facilitated more than $475,000 in loans to Newaygo County businesses.
Interested businesses can apply directly through Northern Initiatives. Learn more at northerninitiatives.org.
Fremont Festival Features Streetscape Shopping
Mark your calendars to come shop the 2022 National Baby Food Festival Marketplace. The “Marketplace” will be held on Thursday, July 21st and Friday, July 22nd in downtown Fremont. This two-day event will transform downtown Fremont, from Hidden Treasures down to the four way stop, into a marketplace for vendors. Buy or sell new and used items easily at the National Baby Food Festival Marketplace, locally owned or from businesses. You will not want to miss this, stop by to find great deals!
Dealers can sell new, gently used, or vintage, upscaled or handmade, unique treasures or crafts or renovated pieces! If you have lots of items that you are ready to part with, we can help!!! 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!
For more information on participating at the marketplace, stop by the Fremont Area Chamber Office at 7 E. Main Street, downtown Fremont to pick up an application, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 231-924-0770 to have an application sent to you.
Learning to prevent those masticating moths
Nobody has likely forgotten the scourge of the Spongy (still hard to get used to the name change) moths that invaded our trees throughout the county last Spring-apparently under an assumed name.
Those who were hit hard by the menacing marauders will never forget it. It was brutal watching the defoliation occur and we all could have easily gone about our lives without being overly acquainted with the word frass.
Experts agreed it was a perfect storm with the stage of the moth’s cycle and an exceptionally dry Spring combining to make for an ideal environment for the invasion.
Understandably folks are a tad touchy as the warmer weather begins to reach our bipeninsular paradise. Hopefully many attended the forum the County Board of Commissioners put on last fall that discussed prevention techniques. If not you can access it on the county site:
The forum also provided some information on steps toward exploring the possibility of private spraying. While some folks have asked if the county planned to get involved in any large-scale spraying, the initiative has been found to be both prohibitively expensive and logistically unrealistic.
“The County has never done an area wide spraying before and it is impractical to do so now,” said Newaygo County Board Chair Bryan Kolk.
“Listening to the experts we are told a damp spring like we are experiencing along with some signs of stress on the moth population this past fall gives us great hope for a much clearer 2022 summer.”
Yes, this spring has been anything but dry thus far. And while some may bemoan the amount of gray damp days that April has delivered to this point, if it keeps those gluttonous frass flingers from thriving, well then bring on the rain.
In the meantime knowledge is power, right?
So check out the county forum
But for more recent info, register for EGLE’s webinar next Thursday morning, April 14th, 9:00am-10:00am).
New name, familiar pest: Preparing for Lymantria dispar (formerly known as Gypsy moth).
Here’s the skinny from EGLE:
Join an expert panel to explore how Lymantria dispar (formerly Gypsy moth) became a naturalized resident in Michigan’s forests. Dr. Deborah McCullough from Michigan State University, Dr. Steven Katovich of the USDA Forest Service, Susie Iott of MDARD and DNR’s James Wieferich will cover the unusual history of this pest in the United States and here in Michigan, and what you can do to reduce some of the unpleasant impacts of an outbreak. You’ll learn tips to help stressed trees recover from defoliation and options to help reduce the nuisance around your home.
Using the tools given at these informational initiatives we can be better prepared to limit the spread of the spongettes.
And as a bonus we can take heart in the idea that while rainy April days might be a bit gloomy…?
At least this time the stuff falling out of the sky is just water.
14th Annual Fremont Area Home & Garden Show to be held Saturday, April 30th
The Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, along with the home and garden show committee, invites you to join us on Saturday, April 30th to the 14th Annual Fremont Area Home & Garden Show! This year’s event will be held in the Fremont Community Rec Center, 201 E. Maple Street, Fremont.
After a LONG, cold winter and spring, this fun-filled event is the perfect opportunity to get your family out of the house and have a fun day together, all while meeting new people and discovering new services & products offered in your hometown.
The 14th Annual Fremont Area Home & Garden Show runs from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and there is no charge for entry or parking. New this year will be our food truck rally!!! Featured food vendors this year will be: Couyon’s Cajun, Pork – n – stein, Two Hot Tamales, Lumberjill Concessions and Big Mike’s Kettle Corn!!! 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! Local Heros Inflatables will have one of their bounce houses for the kids to check out too! Don’t miss out on the fun!
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 sponsors: Gold – West Michigan Roofing, Tamarac – Center for Well Being, Silver – Paulsen Heating & Cooling, John Kaminski – State Farm Insurance, Coffee Bar – Gerber Life Insurance, Horizon Bank.
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.
Melissa Tinkham one of 8 Meijer team members from throughout the company to be recognized
Meijer announced today the winners of its 2021 Legacy Awards, the highest recognitions a Meijer team member can receive. One of the recipients is Melissa Tinkham, Customer Service and General Merchandise Line Leader at the Fremont Meijer.
“Our team members make everything our customers see in our stores possible,” Executive Chairman Hank Meijer said. “These awards honor team members throughout the company who are leaving a legacy on their teams and communities. We’re proud to have them.”
The press release from Meijer stated:
“Despite the challenges of retail in the last year, Melissa is known for going above and beyond for her customers, even calling them to let them know when a product is back in stock. She has a deep knowledge of the Fremont community that inspired her to advocate to expand the store’s inventory of crafts products to support the high demand from local craft shows. A crafter herself, she’s known for coming up with creative prizes like homemade lamps to motivate and inspire her team.”
“This year’s President’s Award winners exemplify the reason we began the Legacy Awards tradition – they reflect the wide impact our team members are making on our business and in our communities,” said Rick Keyes, President & CEO of Meijer. “Looking at the breadth of their accomplishments reminds us that an individual can always make a difference.”
“We take pride in the support of the Promise Zone”
The Newaygo County Area Promise Zone has received a generous $25,000 donation from Nestle Gerber. This donation will be used to directly support tuition and help students earn post-secondary credentials.
The Newaygo County Area Promise Zone provides high school graduates with a tuition-free path to an associate degree from Muskegon Community College or an approved apprenticeship. The Promise Zone believes that every student, regardless of financial means, should have the opportunity to earn post-secondary credentials.
Community partners like Nestle Gerber not only impact our students, but also the vibrancy of our community. Their investment in the Promise Zone aids in removing the financial barrier that many students face as they pursue higher education and training opportunities.
As Paul Dudek, Sr Site Controller for Nestle Gerber states, “For generations the Gerber Products Company has valued its relationship with the community in which it resides. We take pride in the support of the Promise Zone. We also believe there's a direct correlation between investing in our young people's education and the long-term future of Gerber as a local Fremont-based organization.”
With the Promise Scholarship, many students are starting to believe that higher education is within their reach and actively taking steps to plan for their future.
“Nestle Gerber’s continued support of our Promise Scholars is helping to make college dreams come true for area students,” said Holly Moon, Promise Zone Fundraising Co-Chair.
Since beginning in 2017, the Promise Zone has awarded over $1.9 million in tuition payments in support of over 260 Newaygo County students who have enrolled in pursuing their post-secondary credentials.
Want to learn how to support the Newaygo County Area Promise Zone? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 231-924-8888 to connect with a Promise Zone staff member.
Entrepreneurial pitch competition returns in person for 4th year
FREMONT, MICH, APRIL 4, 2021- Newaygo County’s first-ever entrepreneurial pitching competition, Pitch North, will be coming back to an in-person event in 2022. Entrepreneurs living in Newaygo, Oceana or Lake Counties will once again have the opportunity to compete for cash prizes on June 14th, 2022.
“Entrepreneurship continues to be critical to the success of rural communities, especially as the pandemic recovery continues,” said Julie Burrell, Economic Development Director for Newaygo County. “When people start and grow businesses, they contribute to the economic diversity of their area and these unique local businesses become differentiators for their communities. Unfortunately, individuals living in rural areas often have less access to funding and other resources to pursue these endeavors, which is why we launched Pitch North in 2019.”
Pitch submissions for Pitch North 2022 are being accepted at https://rightplace.org/pitchnorth now through May 1, 2022 at 11:59 pm. A hand-picked committee will review and score all submissions and select five finalists to present their pitches live at the June 14th event, where cash prizes will be awarded to all five finalists. The 2022 event will be held at the Henry and Isabella Becker Event Barn at 1858 S Maple Island Road, Fremont. The public is welcome to attend this free event, but registration is required at https://rightplace.org/pitchnorth
Pitch North is hosted by The Right Place, Inc, in conjunction with our partners: Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership, Oceana County Economic Alliance, Lake County Economic Development Alliance. Pitch North 2022 is made possible through support from Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, City of Fremont DDA, City of Newaygo TIFA, Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, Hart Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce, River Country Chamber of Commerce, West Shore Community College and Muskegon Community College.