Creative collaboration brings school assigned police officer to Newaygo
Keeping kids safe is an ongoing priority for all who value this most precious of all our natural resources. It is an essential part of being good stewards of the community.
With events around the country seemingly pointing to an uptick in violent acts and threats to our schools several local entities have moved forward to help enhance safety at Newaygo Schools.
Brooks Township Supervisor Corey Nelson and Newaygo Police Chief Andres shared a common idea. To have an assigned police officer for Newaygo schools. The two got together and forged a job description for the position then moved forward to get the support needed to make the idea a reality.
“We want to be proactive not reactive,” said Nelson when he spoke of the multi-jurisdictional effort that looks to be placing an officer on site by the beginning of the next school year.
The initiative is part of an ongoing effort at NPS to enhance safety according to Superintendent Dr. Peg Mathis.
“School Safety is at the forefront of the minds of all educators and there are multiple facets.
“One is to make sure that systems and procedures are clearly in place so students are taught and can practice model behavior. This system (Positive Behavior, Interventions, and Support - PBIS) is accompanied by positive reinforcement and consequences for students. Creating a positive school climate is essential for student safety. Behavior Specialists work with staff and PBIS teams to assist students who need extra help with social-emotional learning.
“Another facet is the physical landscape of the school. Making sure our students are safe by installing secure entrances and proper monitoring systems can assist building staff in trying to keep foot traffic flow in check.
“Finally, a School-Assigned Police Officer completes the NPS three-pronged approach. We are very excited and feel so fortunate that our local government entities are supporting this effort. This full-time officer will have three main functions: law enforcement, instructor, and counselor/mentor. The presence of a School-Assigned Police Officer has been shown to reduce vandalism, acts of violence, bullying, theft, and other crimes in a school system. Additionally, the Newaygo School-Assigned Police Officer can serve as a resource person, assist in family crisis intervention, work with social service agencies, coordinate prevention activities and direct school safety and lockdown drills and training.”
“The community collaboration that has occurred to acquire a school police officer shows that safety for our children is top priority,” said Newaygo City Manager Jon Schneider. ”The Newaygo Police Dept, Newaygo Public Schools, Brooks Twp, Croton Twp all worked together to make this a reality by jointly funding the position. "
Croton Township Supervisor Morgan Heinzman also voiced support for the initiative.
“This is an opportunity to help keep schools safe and protect the children of our community,” he stated. ” It also shows what can be done when people are willing to work together for a common goal.”
Newaygo Police Chief Georgia Andres has already begun the search for ‘the ideal police officer' who will fill this position.
“We are blessed to be part of a community that is at the cutting edge of safety for our children,” said Chief Andres. “ It's an awesome time in policing with the Newaygo community and we are looking forward to helping invest in our kids.
....and in the Morning on June 4 and 5
NEWAYGO – Access will be closed to the duChemin Park boat launch at Croton Pond on May 31 and June 1 and in the morning on June 4 and 5 until noon to allow Consumers Energy crews to safely work there.
That boat launch is near the Croton Dam. Signs will clearly mark that the site is closed while crews use the site beginning May 31 to launch a barge being used to perform work upstream at Hardy Dam. The half day closures on June 4 and 5 are to allow for the safe launch and removal of a tugboat.
The closures do not impact the Muskegon River recreational access sites on the downstream side of Croton Dam.
This activity had originally been scheduled for earlier in May but had been postponed due to higher flows in the Muskegon River.
Consumers Energy reminds visitors to safely and quickly exit the river if they hear the sirens that signal dangerous changes to flow conditions at hydro facilities.
Preliminary findings show increase in traffic deaths during Memorial Day Weekend
LANSING-Preliminary reports indicate 15 people lost their lives in 11 separate traffic crashes during the 2018 Memorial Day holiday weekend. In comparison, 10 people were killed in 10 traffic crashes during the 2017 Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Of the 15 deadly crashes:
The 2018 Memorial Day holiday weekend ran from 6 p.m. on Friday, May 25, through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 28, 2018.
Michigan Agency for Energy sees jump in summer gasoline prices, increased demand for electricity, natural gas
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan drivers this summer will pay more at the pump for a gallon of gasoline, but they’re still expected to use more of the motor fuel for the sixth year in a row, according to the Summer Energy Appraisal released today by the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE).
Demand for other forms of energy are also forecast to increase this summer over last year, with electricity up 1.5 percent, natural gas expected to jump 8 percent, and diesel fuel likely to rise 2.6 percent, according to the annual MAE analysis of trends in the state’s fuel and power sectors.
Nationally, gasoline prices are expected to be 20 percent higher this year than they were in 2017, with motorists paying an average of $2.90 per gallon during the April through September summer driving season, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. That’s up from $2.41 last summer. Due to higher per gallon prices, the annual household cost for gasoline will increase an average of $377 compared to the same period in 2017, according to MAE.
Gasoline demand in Michigan is expected to hit 4.76 billion gallons, up 2.7 percent from 2017. National inventories are near the top of the five-year range for this time of year. However, unforeseen refinery outages, political unrest, adverse weather conditions, or other national or world disruptions to supply could influence the price and supply of gas.
Key facts from MAE’s Summer Energy Appraisal:
Water Safety Tips during National Water Safety Month
As the warm weather comes to Newaygo County, residents and visitors will be hitting the many rivers, lakes and pools in the area. May is National Water Safety Month and the Newaygo Fire Department wants to ensure community members have a safe, enjoyable time.
From 2005-2014, there were about an average of 10 unintentional drowning deaths per day in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control. And one in five of those who die from drowning are under the age of 14.
“We want families to have a safe, enjoyable time while participating in water-related activities,” said Jason Wolford, Chief of Newaygo Fire Department. “It’s important that those heading out on the water for the day are prepared in case of an emergency.”
Whether you are enjoying the many natural water features or a pool, take these simple steps to reduce the risk of water-related accidents:
The Hero And His Friend
Richard (Dick) Wolters and Maxwell Jordan, both from Newaygo County, are different generations and good friends. Dick heard Max’s stories of his experiences in WWII and was so impressed that he wrote a book about them. Dick is a retired Registered Professional Engineer with a Masters Degree in Business Administration, and took up writing as a hobby in his retirement.
Max is a heavily decorated veteran. Dick’s book tells the story of Max’s war experiences of hardship, dedication, leadership, vision and valor, and what it took to get through it all. Max participated in the battles and campaigns in Nomandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe, quite a record for a young man of only 21 years. Max was awarded the following honors: Victory Medal, American Theater Ribbon, European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with a silver battle star, four Overseas Service Bars and a Service Stripe. He also received a Good Conduct Medal and an Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon. Dick knows that it is an honor to be friends with Max.
Max and Dick both grew up in Fremont and attended the same grade school, just a couple of decades apart. Dick and Max are both Newaygo County residents now, but Dick and his wife, Kay, are snowbirds, opting for their home in Arizona in the months of ice and snow here.
Dick’s book, ‘We Were United Then, WWII Memoir of Maxwell L. Jordan’ is now available to the public. There will be an official book signing on Memorial Day weekend, May 26 from 10 AM to 12 Noon at Flying Bear Books, 79 State Rd., Newaygo. You can stop by, pick up the book, meet the author and have Maxwell Jordan himself sign your copy.
Gerber Memorial CEO Stasik to retire on July 13
FREMONT- Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial President and CEO Randy Stasik has announced that he will be retiring from his position effective July 13, 2018. Stasik became Gerber Memorial’s CEO and President in 2008.
“I am truly honored to have served the families of Newaygo County and working with so many outstanding community partners to deliver quality, affordable and comprehensive health care to this community that my family and I have called home for 10 years,” Stasik said. “Gerber Memorial succeeds in our mission of being a health care leader because of the 700-plus people who work hard every day and who start every shift putting our patients first. While I will miss every single one of my colleagues and thank them for the work they do, I leave knowing that I’m passing the baton to an energetic new generation of health care professionals who will continue our commitment to providing exceptional service to our community.”
During his tenure at Spectrum Health, Stasik focused on improving employee and patient safety and quality, as well as improving the health of those in the Newaygo County area.
Sharon Boczkaja, Gerber Memorial’s senior patient experience specialist, said Stasik was the kind of leader who put others first.
“Fairly quickly, I realized that Randy always does what’s right for patients,” said Boczkaja, who has worked at Gerber Memorial for 15 years. “At the same time, Randy always had our employees’ backs, that whatever we do at the hospital was also safe for the people who work here. Randy was always the voice of reason, and I know I’ll miss that.”
Barb Geno, a longtime Gerber Memorial volunteer and the incoming chair of the SHGM Patient Family Advisory Board, credited Stasik with his strategic vision to improve individual health and wellness by tackling the overall health of the community.
“Randy has been personally and professionally committed to the health and wellness of our citizens,” Geno said. “I realized how much this meant to him when he shared his vision, that the need for hospitalization would eventually never be necessary. What a unique concept: to be so good at keeping people well, we would put the hospital out of business. I wish him the very best in his well-earned retirement and hope we can carry forward his dedication toward the health and wellness of our community.”
An example of Stasik’s commitment to community wellness is the Coordinated Approach to Child Health program, an evidence-based wellness program focusing on nutrition and physical activity that is incorporated into classroom curriculum in K-5th grades in all Newaygo County school districts. A mini-documentary of the Newaygo County CATCH program can be viewed at: http://tamaracwellness.org/community-health/catch/
Stasik said he is proud of the many honors and awards earned by Gerber Memorial employees, leaders and physicians in recent years, including:
A statement Stasik made when he was hired 10 years ago made an impact on many: “We are a rural hospital and that is who we are. That is our niche, and we shouldn’t apologize for that status but work at being who we are.” He said he believes that rural communities should have access to affordable, high quality health care close to home – and he has never wavered from trying to ensure Gerber Memorial upholds this commitment.
Stasik is only the third president and chief executive at Gerber Memorial.
Before joining Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial in 2008, Stasik had already established himself as a prominent health care and community leader in the Kalamazoo area. He spent nearly two decades with Borgess, including top leadership positions as president and chief executive officer at Borgess Health Alliance, and president of Borgess Hospital. His distinguished career also included roles as president and CEO of Southside Hospital of Pittsburgh and chief financial officer of Pennsylvania’s Aliquippa Hospital Association.
By Ken DeLaat
This month Near North Now turned 2 which one supposes signifies a kind of transition from infancy to toddler status.
Thus, during a recent gathering of N3 contributors who congregate periodically to enjoy wonderful food and phenomenal company, comments were made about the similarities between N3 and a typical toddler.
Adjective driven words emerged such as active, creative, headstrong, curious, challenging, as well as statements like ‘ always asks why?’, ‘ gets into things’, ‘constantly on the move’, ‘a little sassy at times’, …..
The similarities were a tad frightening.
This has been a fun ride accompanied (and mostly driven) by the much treasured writers who make NNN what it is through their contributions. It is truly an eclectic group of folks with varied backgrounds and interests and a common goal of delivering on the promise N3 made two years ago to enlighten, entertain, educate, and encourage dialogue.
As editor and publisher (as well as serving as primary custodian for N3 World Headquarters and Dandelion Drop In Center) it has been a privilege to post the material provided by our regular contributors. Whatever else they do in their lives (and believe me when I say it is an eclectic group) these folks are writers. Talented and creative writers who remain exceptionally committed to their craft. Whether a straightforward story, a view of a sporting event, a column, a review, or an opinion piece these folks do it right and they do it well. Their bylines are sure bets to draw thousands of avid readers and it feels like an honor to have the opportunity to peruse these before they hit our pages. Past pieces are accessed frequently as newer readers encounter their work and search them out in our archives, a true tribute.
I cannot thank them enough.
We also extend a special thank you to those who have allowed us to be a part of your marketing efforts and share your message in our pages. Your support is most appreciated because without you there’d be no us.
Heading into our third year we have chatted it up a bit about making changes and will be floating some new angles and ideas across our pages. It is our hope that you help us by letting us know what you like, what you don’t like and when your response is more like, ‘meh’.
In the meantime we gratefully segue into another another magical Near North summer filled with neat stuff to do, cool people to be around, good times to be had and a whole lot of water to play in.
And all the while you’re basking in some serious summer fun, Near North will strive to keep you informed and entertained as to what’s going on in these parts while continuing to explore the many layers of this wondrous region we are privileged to call home.
Consumers Energy announced May 11 that its work at Hardy Dam would result in the closure of the duChemin Park boat launch at Croton Pond for three days beginning May 17. That action is now being postponed due to higher Muskegon River flows.
The specific dates for the closures have not been determined but are now expected to take place after Memorial Day. The boat launch closures are to allow a barge and tugboat being utilized to perform work to be launched, safely.
Consumers Energy will announce later when the closure will be rescheduled.
“We are proud to support the Promise Zone”
H&S Companies set out to raise $75,000 for the Newaygo County Promise Zone program in the fall of 2017, and they are proud to announce that in just over 6 months they have achieved it.
Jack Hendon, Co-Founder of H&S Companies would like to thank the community and all those who have participated in this program. “We are proud to support the Promise Zone and increased educational opportunities for all local students, and could not have reached our goal without the help of our clients, friends, and employees who have generously contributed,” he said.
Dan Slate and Jack Hendon invited employees across all their offices, as well as clients and friends, to participate in the program. They themselves pledged to match up to $15,000, and H&S matched up to $10,000 for every dollar donated to the Promise Zone, up to a total of $25,000. The Fremont Area Community Foundation provided an additional match of $.50 for every dollar they raised.
“Let’s celebrate our 75 years of business by raising $75,000 for education,” said Dan Slate, Co-Founder of H&S Companies. He thought $75,000 made for a good amount, because while H&S is celebrating 35 years this year (1983-2018), the wealth management and IT divisions of the firm are each celebrating 20 years (1998-2018), for a total of 75 years.
The Promise Zone is a scholarship program available to students who graduate from Newaygo County high schools or home schools and live in the Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency area. The scholarships cover tuition and fees for two-year awards at Baker College and Muskegon Community College, up to the value of the prevailing tuition rate of MCC.
H&S Companies encourages you to join them in contributing to the continued success of the Promise Zone program.
H&S Companies was established in Fremont in 1983 and now has ten locations across Michigan. As CPAs and business advisors, H&S services include tax preparation, accounting, wealth management, IT strategy & consulting, business consulting, and more.
Boat Launch at Croton Pond to Close Three Days in May
NEWAYGO – Access will be closed to the duChemin Park boat launch at Croton Pond on May 17 and 18 and in the morning on May 22 until noon to allow Consumers Energy crews to safely work there.
That boat launch is near the Croton Dam. Signs will clearly mark that the site is closed while crews use the site beginning May 17 to launch a barge and tugboat being used to perform work upstream at Hardy Dam. The half day closure on May 22 is to allow for the safe removal of the tugboat.
The closures do not impact the Muskegon River recreational access sites on the downstream side of Croton Dam.
Consumers Energy reminds visitors to safely and quickly exit the river if they hear the sirens that signal dangerous changes to flow conditions at hydro facilities.
The Newaygo County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution opposing the latest salvo from Lansing that threatens to impact county budgets throughout the state.
The current situation has to do with funding for indigent defense to comply with standards established by legislators.Originally the costs for implementation was mandated to the state but proposed legislation would kick these costs back to the counties.
This was passed by a 6-0 margin with Commissioner Ortwein absent.
County Administrator Chris Wren also spoke to another legislative initiative that would result in assessments being removed from townships with populations under 5000, including all of our 24 townships, and placed under the umbrella of the county. The increased responsibility combined with the task of finding an assessor qualified to meet the standards set by the state would also place a significant financial burden on the county according to Administrator Wren.
A motion was presented by Commissioner Vern Willett to eliminate health care insurance for commissioners effective January 1 2019.The motion was seconded and some discussion ensued. Commissioners Phil Deur and Jim Maike both spoke to the need for some incentive in order to attract qualified people to the board as did Board Chair Patrick Gardner while Mr. Willett expressed the opinion that the health insurance was more compensation than the position required.
A voice vote by the board rejected the motion.
Commissioner Chuck Trapp reported that the Board of Public Works will be hosting their annual Hazardous Waste Clean-up Day at the Newaygo County Road Commission building on Saturday June 2nd from 8am-2pm and encouraged all who can spare a bit of time to volunteer by contacting the Drain Commissioner Office at 231.689.7214.
The next Board of Commissioners meeting will be Wednesday May 23rd at 9:30 am. Meetings are held in the County Administrative building in White Cloud.
Tamarac donates gym equipment to White Cloud High School
FREMONT- White Cloud High School students are working out in a whole new way, thanks to more than a dozen pieces of gym equipment donated to the school by Tamarac.
On Tuesday, staff from Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial and Tamarac put the finishing touches to make the equipment fully functional. Designed to target parts of the body ranging from lats and pecs to triceps and quadriceps, the machines now sit in a room the size of half a basketball court in the second floor of the school gym. The students in school’s physical education classes will be the primary users of the newly donated equipment.
“We’re really grateful and excited to be getting this kind of equipment for our school because it will give our students a whole new way to work on their strength, conditioning and overall health and fitness,” said physical education teacher Courtney Dolan. “I know that the students so far have reacted positively. If the equipment gets them excited about exercise, then the hope is that more of our students will be motivated to work out, get fit and stay healthy.”
The donated equipment, all in good working condition, was recently replaced at Tamarac as part of the facility’s upgrade plan.
“At Tamarac and Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, one of our priorities is to support our community and help local families achieve overall health and wellness, and we believe the gym equipment we’re donating to White Cloud High School will encourage teens to stay active and fit,” said Justin Aman, supervisor of the Wellness Center at Tamarac. “Our goal, ultimately, is to provide the kind of programming and resources to address our community’s health needs and overcome challenges so Newaygo County can be one of the healthiest communities in Michigan.”
On 5/6/2018 the Newaygo Police Department was dispatched to the Wesco store regarding a male subject attempting to use a fraudulent financial transaction device. When the officer made contact with the suspect he fled on foot but was quickly apprehended. Our officer was assisted on scene by the Michigan State Police and the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office. Several fraudulent credit cards were located on the suspect when he was apprehended.
During our investigation we have learned that the suspect, Kenneth McHenry from Holland has been using fraudulent credit cards at several Wesco locations throughout Ottawa, Muskegon, Kent and Newaygo Counties. This investigation is ongoing and anyone with more information is asked to contact the Newaygo Police Department at 231-652-1655.
The Newaygo Police Department was assisted by the Michigan State Police, Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office, Grant Police Department and Central Dispatch.
The Operating Millage Proposals for Fremont (76%) and Newaygo (73%) were passed decisively Tuesday as were similar efforts at Tri County and Kent City. Kent City also passed a sinking fund millage by a narrower margin.
Bond Proposals faced tougher challenges with Holton passing theirs by a 59 vote margin and Big Rapids skinnying through with 51% in favor.
The Baldwin Community Schools bond was defeated by 64 votes.
By Ken DeLaat
“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” -David Allen
As has been told often enough it is indeed construction time in our bi-peninsular paradise and one of the first highlights of the road repair season will be the Monday May 7th onset of the road work between Newaygo and Grant on M-37.
What are they doing? Milling and filling apparently, which means grinding up the road, removing the debris and repaving the road. It’s a more permanent fix that trying to stuff asphalt into random potholes that never seem to go away and delivers a more uniform driving surface.
I’m all for it. Roads in our state have become noticable and it’s not for the smoothness of the ride. If you spend some time on ‘37 and turn off any music or talk radio the pounding rhythm of the wheels as they meet the ruts and loosened seams of the road is more than mildly annoying and sometimes a bit jarring as well.
This holds all the promise of an extended period of time where just one lane is available from M-82 south to Grant. I imagine we will all become well acquainted with the someone (well, two someones) who, stop/slow sign in hand, will be directing us as to when it might be allowed to continue our journey with a parade-like wave of the arm.
This of course can create issues for folks who might be running late and in lieu of blaming themselves tend to focus their irritation on the road workers, the sign turners, the people who drive insanely slow and the gods of travel for being adversarial.
So let’s be fair. Most times if you’re running late you’re likely one of those folks who perpetually does so.
And primarily because if there exists a sliver of time between the moment at hand and the time when you must depart given the absolute bare minimum of what it takes to get to your destination...?
You fill it.
A quick email, a last cup of coffee a quick change of shoes perhaps. Because you see, once upon a time on a day when everything went perfect including traffic lights, road conditions, other people’s driving, etc. it took X amount of time to get there so now that has become the time you’ve allotted as adequate.
You could solve this by consistently adding minutes to your travel time, but really, that’s just not going to happen is it?
So, look you’re generally a little late anyway so other people, even those annoyed by the chronicity of your tardiness, expect it. They might even tell you a different meeting time in anticipation of your tendency to be challenged by punctuality.
Just take a breath and realize you’re going to get to that meeting just a little late.
Others just hate to wait. For anything. It becomes personal and again the result is a rather restive road warrior piqued to anger by the slightest provocation.
This is an optimal time to impact the road rage epidemic by presenting a kinder and gentler approach to this drive delaying disruption. Use the down time well and if bored develop a hobby like counting the cars passing by before your end starts moving again or maybe cleaning out the console or even seriously checking out the landscape at a spot you never considered you’d be sitting at for so long.
The truth? Everyone wants new roads and no one likes to be inconvenienced.
Ok. Human nature. Got it.
But starting tomorrow and extending several weeks prepare to be slowed down and considerably slowed down during peak times. Of course as we all know traffic at all and any times gets goosed up pretty good once summer hits its stride so get ready for the weekly northbound Friday motorcade on ‘37 to parallel the pace of the average sloth.
But hey, let’s be a little patient out there. No one is trying to make your life more difficult than it might already be and as George Washington yells at the horn honking driver in the commercial, “Alright, alright, we’re all trying to get somewhere.”
Take heart that when it's done there will be another stretch of road that will give us less rhythm and subsequently, less blues.
And besides, this minor inconvenience is just practice for what lies ahead,you know.
Starting just after Memorial Day I believe, and hopefully when the aforementioned project has wrapped up, Grant will be having a summer-long disruption of normal traffic patterns as they get a major makeover with traffic to be diverted around the entire town.
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” -Aristotle
By N3 News Team
The Oak Wildfire in southeastern Brooks Township consumed a bit over 100 acres of National Forest as well as the attention of folks near and far.
What impressed us most at N3 World Headquarters was the rapid response it drew from all the resources who were at the ready for what could have been a far more destructive event had it not been contained and managed with such efficiency.
We pressed upon Newaygo County’s Emergency Services Manager Abby Watkins to guide us through the process of how this situation was managed and she not only graciously agreed but also enlisted the assistance of others in responding.
Because as you should certainly know by now, ES is all about collaboration.
What time did this begin and how was it called in. Who was notified first. I know its still undetermined how but do we know where it started?
From the Michigan DNR: The Oak Fire was reported at approximately 6:45 p.m. south of M-82 in Newaygo County, just over 6 miles east of the City of Newaygo. The
estimated 105-acre fire, located primarily on federal land, was contained at around 1
a.m. Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Fire crews stopped the head of the fire before it reached M-82, although the flanks of the fire were still very active. This fire burned primarily in mature pine and oak. Two residences were evacuated and 15 structures were threatened, but excellent work by 11 local volunteer fire departments, U.S. Forest Service crews and DNR fire crews resulted in all of the structures being saved. The fire initially caused the closure of M-82 between Elm Ave and Spruce Ave, which has since reopened. Fire crews continued fire-suppression and mop-up efforts throughout the day on Wednesday. The cause of the fire is undetermined and currently under investigation.
The word on this spread as quickly it seems as the fire. What was the mechanism used for doing this?
Newaygo County uses multiple methods to disseminate emergency information in order to target the largest number of people possible. It is up to you to choose which
notification methods work best for you to receive the emergency information. If you
have text and internet capabilities, Newaygo County recommends registering for Nixle Alerts. This is a FREE service residents can register for to receive alerts via Text, Email, Web, Social Media, and the Nixle App. Alerts and emergency information are received in real time for localized emergency situations relevant to the community. To register, text your Zip Code or Newaygo ES to 888777 from your mobile phone. Anyone can view information through the Nixle Website without registering to receive alerts at
During an emergency, it is important to choose your source of information wisely.
Newaygo County recommends only trusting and sharing information being released
from factual, public safety sources. This information is fact checked before it is released.
Social media sites, such as facebook and twitter, can help spread factual information
but it also easy to spread non-factual information. In addition, those monitoring radio scanner communications only capture ¼ of the radio communications occurring between a small portions of the emergency responders on scene. During incidents like this, information can change very rapidly as the situation progresses. Often initial information heard on a scanner may not represent the whole common operating picture. This information needs to be verified by Incident Command before it is released to the public to ensure it is factual.
What group of people were in in the decision making during response?
Newaygo Fire Department, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the
National Forest Service were in Unified Incident Command making decisions together during this response. Unified Command allows agencies to work together to respond to an incident more effectively by establishing a common set of response objectives, sharing resources, avoiding duplication of efforts, collaborating on strategies, and improving information flow.
How many Fire departments responded?
United States Forest Service
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Newaygo Fire Department
Fremont Fire Department
Grant Fire Department
Croton Township Fire Department
Sand Lake Fire Department
Big Prairie Fire Department
Lilley Township Fire Department
White Cloud Fire Department
Hesperia Fire Department
Solon Township Fire Department
Mecosta-Austin Fire Department (Backfill)
Casnovia Fire Department (Backfill)
Pleasant Plains Fire Department (Backfill)
Supporting and Cooperating Agencies:
American Red Cross
Newaygo County Road Commission
Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office
Michigan State Police
Newaygo County Central Dispatch
Newaygo County Emergency Services
Grant Rent All
Fremont Rent All
Hilltop Gas Station
Leppinks Food Center
How was the danger to residents assessed? Were evacuation plans in place and how did this work?
Two residences were evacuated and 15 structures were threatened. This was
determined based on the location of the fire and general direction and speed the fire
was traveling. However, because of excellent work by 11 local volunteer fire
departments, U.S. Forest Service crews and DNR fire crews, there were no loss of
structures and no injuries.
For smaller incidents which are or have the potential to require emergency protective measures, such as this wildfire, targeted and/or comprehensive warning systems are utilized. This includes door-to-door notifications, Nixle Alerts, NOAA Weather Radio Alerts, and media messaging. For larger incidents which impact multiple homes over a widespread area, the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) system will be utilized. When possible, information will be as specific as possible and include actual location of the fire, approximate size, direction the fire is moving, communities/areas at risk, and evacuation information.
There are three different levels of evacuation:
LEVEL 1 Evacuation: BE READY
A Level 1 Evacuation means “BE READY” for potential evacuation. Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area, monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. This is the time for preparation and precautionary movement of persons with special needs, mobile property and (under certain circumstances) pets and livestock. If conditions worsen, public safety personnel may contact residents via Nixle and other comprehensive warning systems directing them to take further action.
LEVEL 2 Evacuation: BE SET
A Level 2 Evacuation means “BE SET” to evacuate. Residents should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. This level indicates there is significant danger to the area, and residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area, or if choosing to remain, to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
Residents MAY have time to gather necessary items, but doing so is at their own risk. Residents should understand, this may be the only notice that they receive. Public Safety personnel cannot guarantee that they will be able to notify them if conditions rapidly deteriorate.
LEVEL 3 Evacuation: LEAVE IMMEDIATELYY
A Level 3 Evacuation means “GO” Evacuate NOW, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY! Danger to the area is current or imminent, and residents should evacuate immediately. If residents choose to ignore this direction they must understand that public safety personnel may not be available to assist them further.
Residents should NOT delay leaving to gather any belongings. This will be the last notice residents receive. Expect entry to evacuated areas to be denied until conditions are safe.
This was one if those perfect storms of no humidity, wind, spring debris lying about, dry conditions, etc. With a fire advisory out is there more preparation in place when this is all coming together and the potential is high?
Upon identification of a high risk day, the Department of National Resources and
National Forest Service will pre-stage resources in order to minimize response times.
Taskforces are staffed at each office and a spotter plane flies the area in the afternoons to allow for a rapid identification, location, and response to minimize the impact of a wildfire. During the Oak Wildfire, DNR taskforces came from Oceana, Baldwin, and Muskegon will Bulldozers mobilized from Allegan and Yankee Springs.
How was it contained so quickly and effectively?
This wildfire was contained so quickly and effectively due to well trained, equipped, and prepared fire departments. The Fire Departments serving Newaygo County have
pre-existing, cohesive working relationships on a local, State, and Federal level due to routine training and conducting emergency drills together. Because of this united effort, along with early detection, recognition, and rapid actions by leadership and line personnel, the fire departments were able to protective the lives and homes of our community during this wildfire.
What is your personal assessment of the response?
From Newaygo Fire Chief Jason Wolford: “I am extremely proud to be part of a team that serves an amazing community. The outpouring of support for Newaygo Fire during the recent historically large wild landfire was a true testament to that. Local fire departments, MSP, Newaygo County Sheriff, DNR, US Forest Service, Life EMS, local and county elected officials, businesses, the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Newaygo County Emergency Services, Newaygo County 911, and many others did an amazing job at mitigating a large scale incident that could have negatively impacted the lives and property of many citizens. From all of us at Newaygo Fire, a very heartfelt thank you!”
In March you received awards for your work on fire preparedness and just over a month later this occurs. How did the preparation in place serve to lessen the results of this event?
In partnership with the local fire departments, National Forest Service and Department of Natural Resources, Newaygo County Emergency Services has an ongoing wildfire prevention program to lessen and reduce wildfire hazards within identified wildland urban interface areas. These high risk areas are pre-identified within seven townships within Newaygo County. Emergency Plans and rapid response protocols are in place for how to respond to wildfires within these areas. Knowing the Oak Ave area was pre-identified as a high risk area, the Fire Departments rapidly mobilized resources and activated rapid response protocols. This quick action helped contain the fire so quickly and effectively.
Another component of the wildfire mitigation project is funding provided by the Forest Service. These funds allow Newaygo County to partner with homeowners in
pre-identified risk areas adjacent to federal property to reduce hazardous fuels and
vegetation, promote fire safe landscaping projects, and create defensible spaces
around homes. As 90 percent of wildfires are started by people, property owners can
make a difference to reduce the wildfire danger in their neighborhood. For additional information about how to get involved with the wildfire mitigation project, please contact the Newaygo County Emergency Services Department at 231-689-7354.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Gerber Memorial focuses X-ray services in Newaygo, no longer offered in Grant
FREMONT May 1, 2018 – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is focusing its X-ray services on Family Medicine – Newaygo as it streamlines its radiology services and no longer offers X-ray services at Family Medicine – Grant. The Newaygo clinic is located about 5 miles north of Grant, or about an 8-minute drive on average.
Located at 211 West Pine Lake in Newaygo, the Newaygo clinic offers X-ray services Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Patients can walk in without an appointment. The phone number for the Newaygo X-ray service is 231.652.5380.
X-ray services are also available at Gerber Memorial hospital in Fremont, which accepts walk-ins Mondays through Fridays, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Grant clinic will no longer offer X-ray services starting this week. Grant staff are being reassigned to other areas within Gerber Memorial.