Scenes from the start
By Ken DeLaat
The guests arrived early.
As the sun peeked over the edge of the roof of the new building folks began to gather outside the entrance Tuesday morning to await the 7am debut of Fremont’s latest addition to their retail landscape, the Meijer store.
Taking its place just west of town behind their previously opened gas station and north from the new traffic light at Green and 48th, the retail megastore drew a substantial amount of people who lined up, carts readied, to be the first customers to sample the shopping.
The store was indeed ready. The vaunted produce section and a welcoming deli were the first stations after the entrance and the venue was filled with staff members eager to please.
Inside as the minutes ticked down to the hour you could feel the combination of nervousness and anticipation among the employees. They gathered near the door to survey the congregated crowd while those outside peered inward to get a peek at the store’s offerings.
Finally at the top of the hour the call was given to open the doors and folks were enthusiastically greeted as they filed in.
And Meijer had finally made its long awaited arrival.
From the Newaygo CountySheriff’s Department
On May 20, 2019 at approximately 2:36 pm, deputies from the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to Echo Dr. near Sycamore Ave, in Wilcox Township, for a reported motorcycle accident.
Upon arrival on the scene, deputies found a motorcycle had left the roadway on the outside of a curve. The rider was thrown from the motorcycle and pronounced dead at the scene. The victim is identified as a 26 year male from White Cloud. His name is currently being withheld pending notification of family.
The accident remains under investigation by the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office, however, speed is believed to have been a factor.
Deputies were assisted at the scene by the White Cloud Police Department, White Cloud Fire Department, Life EMS and the Newaygo County Road Commission.
By Ken DeLaat
On Tuesday the retail landscape of our area changes significantly as Meijer opens its doors not even a stone’s throw from where Walmart debuted its Supercenter in 2004.
The anticipation surrounding the opening has captivated the community and the ribbon cutting ceremony at 10am will feature the usual announcements by representatives from Meijer as well as a few words from local politicians and community leaders.
However it is at 7am when the action truly begins because the shoppers will initiate the hundreds of new or transferred employees as they begin pouring in to experience the first of what will undoubtedly be numerous visits to the regional retail giant for many.
There has been a boatload of discussion in the past two years regarding the arrival of Meijer and local social media has been filled with the perfunctory rumors, speculations, and caveats such events elicit.
But come Tuesday most folks who show up won’t be interested in any of the chatter that has surrounded this newest addition to the Meijer stable. And while some will gather for the ceremony at 10 to hear a bit of oration and see who takes part in putting the giant scissors to the ribbon it’s not likely to be the focal point of their visit. After all, sales and promotions will begin immediately when the store opens.
They’ll be looking for bargains.
Let the shopping begin.
The Right Place assists Newaygo manufacturer with plant expansion
Newaygo- Today The Right Place, Inc., in collaboration with the City of Newaygo, announced that wood component manufacturer, G-M Wood Products, will be expanding its current facility at 460 Clay Street in Newaygo. This expansion will result in the creation of 20 new jobs and a capital investment of $6.5 million.
G-M Wood Products manufactures and distributes frames and structural components for the door and window industries. Founded in 1987 in the City of Newaygo, the company has now established three plants in the area, as well as an additional facility in Toccoa, Georgia.
The expansion will add 140,000 square feet to one of the company’s existing buildings and will house high-skill manufacturing processes. G-M Wood Products currently has 126 employees in Newaygo and will add twenty more positions as part of its expansion.
“G-M Wood Products has been a part of the Newaygo community for over 30 years,” said Mark Micho, President, G-M Wood Products, “We’re excited that we’ve been able to continue growing and creating jobs here and are thankful The Right Place and the City of Newaygo have supported us along the way.”
The Right Place worked in collaboration with G-M Wood Products and the City of Newaygo to assist the company with its continued growth in the region. The expansion will be supported locally by a P.A. 198 tax abatement from the City of Newaygo.
“As a business that has operated out of Newaygo for more than three decades, G-M Wood Products plays an important role in this community,” said Julie Burrell, Business Development Coordinator and project lead, The Right Place, “Their decision to continue growing locally points to the strength of our region’s manufacturing industry.”
“We are thrilled that G-M Wood Products has chosen to once again bring jobs and investment to our community and are proud to support their growth here in Newaygo.” said Jon Schneider, City Manager, City of Newaygo.
Pitch North awards five local entrepreneurs funding to bring their ideas to life
Five local female entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges and an audience of over 50 people at the first annual Pitch North competition. They were competing for the chance to win over $8,000 in cash prizes to bring their ideas to life. The event was held Wednesday, May 8t that the Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts.
Pitch North was designed to spark entrepreneurial change and encourage more small businesses to start in Newaygo, Oceana, and Lake counties. Pitch North received 20 business idea submissions, from which five finalists were selected to pitch at the live event. Each entrepreneur had five minutes to present, and judges had an opportunity to ask questions directly following.
“Every one of our finalists worked very hard to prepare for this event,” said Julie Burrell, Business Development Coordinator – Newaygo County, The Right Place, Inc. “They stepped outside of their comfort zone in an effort to move their business ideas forward, which is exactly why this event was created.”
The first place prize of $4,000 was awarded to Tara Kelley of Oceana County for The Bohemian Boutique. She will be adding a Suspended Coffees shop to her boutique.
“Winning this competition means we will continue to grow and help fill the needs of the community,” said Kelley “Standing up front holding the 1st place check meant more to me than any diploma I've received.
“It was a wonderful event and such a learning experience. I'm not a public speaker but this forced me to push beyond those limits where real change and growth happens. I've received an overwhelming response from the community, customers, friends and family, people are getting excited for some good coffee and teas coming to Shelby.”
Second place was awarded to Deanna Dickinson for her idea, Truffles and Goodies Lady, which makes waterproof purses, ID Wallet Lanyards, coin purses, etc. The third place prize went to Camelia Hollinger for Pretty Pop-ups, a provider of renovated and affordable pop-up campers.
The top three finalists will receive the following:
1st Place: Tara Kelley, The Bohemian Boutique
$4,000 + in-kind services from H&S Companies and Eric R. Fox, Attorney at Law
2nd Place: Deanna Dickinson, Truffles and Goodies Lady
$2,500 + in-kind services from The Stream and Eric R. Fox, Attorney at Law
3rd Place: Camelia Hollinger, Pretty Pop-Ups
$1,000 + in-kind services from Eric R. Fox, Attorney at Law
The remaining two finalists, Ericka Freriks, Baking Beauty Custom Cakes and Sandra Bernard, Red Boots Kids’ Books, will each receive $500 cash prizes.
Mark Kraus, Hesperia Area Chamber of Commerce Tourism & Membership Director, Lynn Ladner, Hart City Manager, Melissa Marietti-Evans, Northern Initiatives Commercial Lender, Don Farmer, SVP Commercial Lending at Edgewater Bank, and Mike Kruitoff, Owner at Kruitoff Electric volunteered as judges for the event.
Pitch North was made possible through funding from the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance and Northern Initiatives.
For more information, visit pitchnorth.com or contact Julie Burrell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 231.335.1985
M-37 North of White Cloud will be under construction beginning Monday. May 13.
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is investing approximately $1.4 million to resurface 17 miles of M-37 with a chip seal from 3 Mile Road north to the Newaygo/Lake county line (18 Mile Road).
Project map: https://tinyurl.com/y6pgastv
Lane closures will be in effect Monday through Thursday.
Projected completion date is June 27.
Senate passes bill to forgive State of Emergency days
Received today (Thursday) from Dr. Lori Tubergen Clark, NCRESA Superintendent.
“This has been a crazy week for the snow day legislation. But today, the Senate unanimously passed HB4206 and did give it immediate effect. The House is expected to send the bill to the Governor for her approval this afternoon.
“This means that for this school year, districts may request days that school was canceled during the state of emergency to be forgiven. Those dates are specifically January 29 through February 2.”
Business to open on Thursday
In the fall of 2017 the White Cloud City Council voted to allow Medical Marijuana businesses in the city and in mid-December the new state regulations took effect allowing for such venues.
Nearly a year and a half later after many negotiations and a lengthy licensing process that involved delay after delay White River Wellness finally opens their doors on Thursday May 2 and the first dispensary makes its debut in Newaygo County.
Located on the northern edge of the city on M-37 the facility will serve what is estimated at over 1500 card carriers in Newaygo County and countless others from the region.
Another dispensary is set to open next month in Brooks Township just south of the city of Newaygo.
House, Senate wrangle in search of a solution
We had a lot of them this winter.
Some districts were closed more than 20 times during this winter including during the 4-day state of emergency that saw governmental offices as well as private businesses close up shop due to the weather.
With schools required to provide 180 days (1098 hours) of instruction to students, not fulfilling this requirement could result in the forfeiture of a portion of the school’s state aid.
The first six days or the equivalent number of hours that students are not in the classroom due to snow days or other weather or natural emergencies are waived and included as hours of instruction. Superintendents can apply for a waiver that allows them to cancel three additional days of school under certain circumstances.
House Bill 4206 would amend the act and require the Department of Education, for 2018-2019 only, to count the four days that were included in the governor’s state of emergency earlier this year as days and hours of pupil instruction.
On Tuesday the State Senate unanimously approved a bill Tuesday to forgive the four snow days that occurred during a state-declared emergency and not require them to be made up, but a procedural snafu involving a conflict over compensation for hourly employees has delayed it and it was sent back to the House.
State Sen. Jon Bumstead on Tuesday voted in favor of legislation giving flexibility to schools who missed more than the nine allotted snow days during this winter’s harsh weather.
“I supported this bill to provide much-needed relief for schools due to this year’s extreme weather, but since none of the Democrats would support immediate effect on this legislation, it won’t actually help schools when they need it,” said Bumstead. “Every senator voted in favor of this legislation, but failure to approve immediate effect knowingly delays implementation to the end of our legislative term and effectively denies schools the forgiveness of snow days.”
“It’s really disappointing that such a simple bill aimed at helping our schools had to become a victim of political games,” Bumstead said. “I know some districts that have had upward of 20 snow days, and some districts will already be going well into the summer. This bill would have simply eliminated some of the burden on teachers, students and parents this summer.”
Today the House passed the bill including immediate effect and now it will be sent back to the Senate for another vote, possibly as soon as tomorrow (Thursday). Local State Representative Scott Van Singel was one of two Republicans who voted against the bill that passed by a 56-53 margin.
“My concerns were with the total number of days that students had missed,” said Representative VanSingel. “ The state currently allows six days and schools can apply for a waiver for an additional 3 days- a total of nine. Most schools greatly exceeded that total this year and were requesting additional relief. The bill offered relief for the days which were declared "state emergency days" While I understand that these were some of the coldest days Michigan has seen in years and not suitable for attending school, the overall problem is that the students have missed as many as 3-4 weeks of education in many districts.
“Forgiving additional days does nothing to help the students catch up. While I understand most students and educators do not want the school year to stretch into the middle of the summer, at some point we have to draw a line and stick with a minimum number of instructional days if we truly value education. I understand I was in the minority with this vote, but I have a passion for education and no one was able to explain to me how this bill would further student success and opportunity.”
“it would have been much easier to follow the caucus and vote yes, however, I do believe that this is bad policy and sets a bad precedent for future snow days
“It is already May 1 and we continue to wait for a resolution, if any, from our legislators,” said Dr Lori Tubergen Clark, NCRESA Superintendent.“Meanwhile, our families are understandably moving forward with summer plans.
“Currently, we are planning for no resolution from Lansing and scheduling the required make up days from the extreme weather we experienced this winter. We needed instructional time with our students prior to Michigan’s high stakes testing in April and snow days took weeks of instructional time away. With few air conditioned school buildings, pushing students later and later into the summer reaches a point of diminished returns.”