Campfire Leads To Fife Lake Fire
Crews cleaning up after 136-acre fire near Manton; fire danger remains extreme in much of the state
May 30, 2023- Fire crews are still mopping up today after an escaped campfire caused an approximately 136-acre wildfire Sunday near Manton in Wexford County.
The Fife Lake Outlet Fire began after a campfire at a private residence escaped its ring and burned through dry grass, said Bret Baker, fire supervisor in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Cadillac office.
It was fueled by dry grass and dry leaves and needles on the ground, Baker said. The fire burned through jack pine, red pine and oak trees.
“It hasn’t been this dry before this early in the season,” Baker said.
The homeowner had put water on the fire before going inside.
Michigan State Police assisted the DNR by evacuating a nearby campground. A total of 18 DNR firefighters and crews from five local fire departments battled the blaze. It was contained at about 10 p.m. Sunday. Evacuees were allowed to return to the campground around 11 p.m.
DNR firefighters were assisted by the City of Manton Fire Department and the Fife Lake Area, Cedar Creek, South Boardman and Haring Township fire departments. Equipment used included four bulldozers, one skidder and four engines. The USDA Forest Service provided two Fire Boss tanker airplanes, which strategically dropped water on the fire in a coordinated effort with the DNR's spotter airplane.
With very little rain statewide during May, conditions remain very dry across the state. As a result, the DNR is not issuing any burn permits at this time. Yard waste burning is the top cause of wildfires in Michigan. If a backyard fire gets away from you, call 911 immediately.
Check Michigan.gov/BurnPermit before you start a fire to make sure weather conditions allow for safe burning. In southern Lower Peninsula communities, consult local fire authorities.
NCCTC State Leadership Conference Attendees: Front: Aleyiah Desnoyers, Jaylyn Laisure, Lauren Adsmond, Abygail Lauryssens, Sydnee Kirk, Lillyann Cook, Sydnee Ochs, Kyna Johnson, Brandon Mangels, Robert Eberly, Paige Menzel, Zane Keith, Hailey Holmberg. Back Row Standing: Ashton Harris, Samantha Comis, William Nagelhout, Brendon Wright, Porter Chapin, Austin Hancock, and Keegan Eck.
Congratulations to the Newaygo County Career-Tech Center Business Professionals of America (BPA) Chapter members who competed at the 51st annual State Leadership Conference held at Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Students got the chance to attend legacy launchers, seminars held by professional businesspeople or past BPA Alumni, attend a college fair, and make connections with other career-oriented students. We appreciate all the amazing instructors who helped students get ready to compete in their events.
Newaygo County Career-Tech Center had twenty-two students attend the State Leadership Conference. Our two voting delegates were Ashton Harris and Abygail Lauryssens. They were responsible for attending legacy launchers, voting on behalf of our chapter for next year’s State Executive Council Members, and competing in open test events.
The following students were on stage during the awards ceremony. Brandon Mangels received 2nd place in Payroll Accounting; Aleyiah Desnoyers was 3rd in Intermediate Word
Processing; Austin Hancock took 4th place in Device Configuration and Troubleshooting; Zane Keith placed 4th in Server Admin using Microsoft; Paige Menzel, Lauren Adsmond, Hailey Holmberg and Aleyiah Desnoyers took 3rd place for Administrative Support Team; and, Sydnee Ochs and Samantha Comis placed 6th for Broadcast News Team.
Four students qualified per BPA guidelines to represent the state of Michigan at the National Leadership Conference held in Anaheim, CA. Aleyiah Desnoyers, Brandon Mangels and Zane Keith all attended Nationals. Austin Hancock was unable to attend. There were 6,503 participants in attendance and 558 of them were from Michigan. Additionally, all students interned and participated in the National Service Project – the walk for Special Olympics.
The Gerber Foundation awarded over $398,000 to 78 local graduating seniors in the class of 2023 from select high schools in Newaygo, Muskegon, and Oceana Counties. Since 1953 the Foundation has remained committed to providing local youth opportunities to pursue post-secondary education through its three competitive academic scholarships: The Daniel Gerber Sr. Medallion Scholarship, the Gerber Foundation Merit Scholarship, and the Newaygo County Career Tech scholarship. Each scholarship can be used toward qualifying educational expenses at colleges or universities, trade or vocational schools as well as apprenticeship programs. This year’s graduating seniors receiving a scholarship are as follows:
The Daniel Gerber Sr. Medallion Scholarship
Fremont Public High School: Jonathan Anderson, Bethany Geeting, Makenzie Hable, Grace Jones, Gary Springstead, and Rylee Wright
Grant Public High School: Emma Bliss, Candace Eckert, Alaina Keelean, Ian Oatis, and Austin Whitney
Hesperia Public High School: Sydney Hasted, Sky Milner, Lona Richards, and Ali Townsend
Newaygo Public High School: Sofia Briggs, Alexandria Bruwer, Grant Harkness, Grace Painter, McCaiden Rienstra, and Barbara Toth
White Cloud Public High School: Malachi Graves, Gabriela Reeve, and Christian Ringler
The Gerber Foundation Merit Scholarship
Fremont Public High School: Lydia Deters, Naylan Matthews, Ethan Orcutt, Alexis Osterman, Evan Roossinck, Madison Schamber, Jacob Walker, and Angel Whetzel
Grant Public High School: Alexander Campbell, Chase Geers, Jayci Hance, Pylot McConnon, Jorge Montoya, Ciara Nester, Xavier Oldfield, and Wendy Pulido Rodriguez
Hesperia Public High School: Noelle Evans, Tara Helmer, Emma Muckey, and Victoria Vega
Newaygo Public High School: Abbigale De Jonghe, Alydia Halydia-Badge, Xavier Heath, and Jasmine Scytko
Newaygo County Home Schooled: Rachel Phinney
White Cloud Public High School: Jolena Deaton, Susie Hensley, and Sydnee Ochs
Holton Public High School: Isabella Urso
Muskegon Public High School: Jay Prestly
Ravenna Public High School: Breelynn Becklin, and Katherine Hermann
Hart Public High School: Clayton Ackley, Seth Ackley, Brayden Gillard, Ashley Guardiola, and Parker Hovey
Pentwater Public High School: Audrey Kieda
The Newaygo County Career Tech Scholarship
Building and Design Career Field: Christian Fuentes, Caleb Gort, Gabriel Gould, Dylan Loss, Alejandro Sanchez Castillo, and Isaac VanBuskirk
Business Career Field: Samantha Comis, and Scott Quinn
Industrial Arts Career Field: Anthony Castro, Jossalyn Hilden, and Grade Richards
Service Career Field: Olivia Dunbar, Cheyanne Gradert, Corbin Pieper, Madelin Rottman, and Taylor Scytko
Congratulations to the scholarship recipients of 2023!
Story and photos by Tara Hefferan
Newaygo Bands hosted its annual Spring Concert on Tuesday, May 23. Under beautiful blue skies, the “Spring into Summer Concert in the Park” showcased performances from the 6th grade and 7/8th grade band programs, and featured the Newaygo High School Symphonic and Jazz Bands.
Director of Bands, Branden Listh, welcomed the crowd to Brooks Park at 5:30 PM, thanking the community, families, and schools for their tremendous support. Then, members of the 6th Grade Band Program were invited to the front of the park to share their musicianship. High School Senior Catherine Buchner served as a guest conductor for the first piece, “March Across the Seas.” Assistant Band Director, Megan Funk, conducted the two other selections, “Banana Boat” and “Indigo Rock.”
The performance space was then given over to the 7th and 8th Grade Band. Conducted by Mr. Listh, the 7th and 8th graders also played three selections, though of greater length and complexity. They performed “At Sight March,” “Glorioso,” and “As Winds Dance.”
Then, the award-winning Newaygo High School Symphonic Band took center stage. They began by playing “Foundry,” a percussion-focused piece written by John Mackey. Mr. Listh noted that while the piece was written for twelve percussionists to perform, Newaygo Bands had only nine percussionists, meaning that the students had to work extra hard. This was Mr. Listh’s favorite piece of the concert, saying “To bring this great literature to the program and to introduce it to the students was a real treat.”
Before moving to the next piece, Mr. Listh presented awards for excellence to two band members. Senior Alexandria Bruwer won the John Philip Sousa award, and Gabriella Brooks won the Arion award.
Next, the Symphonic Band performed “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” arranged by Daniel Walter. This performance took the crowd in a different emotional direction from the previous piece. Haunting and melodic, “Rose” featured the woodwinds and took a decidedly quieter approach, with no percussive elements.
After the second song, Mr. Listh presented the next set of awards for Most Improved in Symphonic Band to three students: freshmen Landry Hefferan Nordlund and Zachary Spaulding, and sophomore Wesley Reed.
The Symphonic Band’s final piece was “Music from the Motion Picture How to Train Your Dragon,” arranged by Sean O’Loughlin. As the Band entertained the audience with their skill and talent, they also demonstrated the tremendous growth cultivated in the Bands program. Between 6th grade and the Symphonic Band, students move from novice musicians just learning to read musical notes to accomplished performers skilled in technique and artistry.
Mr. Listh then presented two additional awards for excellence. Senior McKade Hurrle won the Semper Fidelis award, and senior Catherine Buchner won the Director’s award. Mr. Listh also recognized the Band’s graduating seniors, presenting Senior Awards to Oliver Abbott, Alexandria Bruwer, Catherine Buchner, Owen Chapman, Xavier Heath, McKade Hurrle, Claire Porter, Tyler Redinger, Emily Tindall.
Finally, the Jazz Band claimed the stage. Playing several jaunty pieces that had the crowd dancing in their seats, the Jazz Band showed their tremendous range and creativity. In all, the Jazz Band performed six songs, including “Take Five,” “School’s Out Strut” and “Knockout.” Mr. Listh presented two Jazz Band awards. Lola Lopez won Most Improved and McKade Hurrle won the Louis Armstrong award.
As the night came to a close, Mr. Listh thanked the crowd and asked for their continued support. In particular, the Bands Program now has a QR-code that supporters can scan with their smartphone cameras to make online donations. The code can be found on the Newaygo Bands Facebook page.
By the end of the evening, the crowd felt that it truly had “Sprung into Summer.” Coming together in the central Brooks Park, the community experienced the power of music to mark the passage of time and to promote shared experiences that unify. With this gift, Newaygo’s talented musicians are now ready to head into summer. The Marching Band will perform next at the Independence Day Parade in Croton, on July 1.
Each year the Newaygo County Board of Public Works hosts a Household Hazardous Waste Day. Equally impressive to the sheer amount of unpleasant materials that pass through the Road Commission garage is the dedication of the volunteers who spend the 6 hour shift efficiently emptying trunks and trailers of the unwanteds.
Some were first timers while others have toiled with the toxics for many years, but all put in their time rewarded only by the positive impact the event has on the local environment.
Well, that and the pizza.
Kudos to the county, the BPW and the Drains office for organizing the purging event and a special thanks to the NC Road Commission for providing the venue.
White Cloud Lands Dam Grant
EGLE ponies up for repair work
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s (EGLE) Dam Safety Unit announced the White Cloud dam was one of sixteen Michigan dams selected to receive grant funding to help reduce risks and protect residents. The funding is through the Dam Risk Reduction Grant Program (DRRGP) authorized by the Michigan Legislature last year. The city will receive $222,712 for repairs to the high-hazard, poor-condition Dam. The city proposes to complete concrete and metal work that addresses inadequate spillway capacity issues. The city will also complete a dam disposition feasibility study to inform the city on the potential future of the dam.
WC City Manager April Storms welcomed the news.
“The project will address structural deficiencies identified in recent inspections. We had a hydraulic analysis for the dam that was recently completed. The feasibility study portion of the project will look at required long term improvements to meet proposed regulations on required flows, engineering analysis and operational needs. It will address what is required to leave the dam in service and make it safe and compliant for years to come.
“We expect these repairs to be completed within the next 9-12 months. I’m ecstatic about this grant announcement and the funds that the City will be able to utilize for other needs as a result of this grant. The hard work and diligence at the City over the past year has certainly started to show the fruits of our labor.”
Newaygo County Prosecuting Attorney, Worth Stay, announced that Deion Moore Hanna, 25, of Fremont, was sentenced on May 15, 2023, for a March 2022 incident where the defendant lay in wait in a Fremont couple’s apartment and attacked them with a knife, causing life-threatening injuries.
Hanna was convicted by plea of two counts of Assault with Intent to Murder, in violation of MCL 750.83, and one count of Home Invasion- 1st Degree, in violation of MCL 750.110a(2). The defendant was sentenced to a prison term of 23.75 years to 60 years with the Michigan Department of Corrections. 23.75 years was the longest minimum sentence recommended by the sentencing guidelines, which control sentencing in Michigan.
Prosecutor Stay commented: “I would like to thank the City of Fremont Police Department for their thorough investigation and their rapid apprehension of this defendant. Thank you also to assisting agencies, the Michigan State Police and Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office.”
“I would especially like to recognize the two young adults who testified with courage and strength regarding these violent acts. I am hopeful that the sentence will provide them some closure and allow them to continue healing.”
Got HazMat To Pitch?
Household Hazardous Waste Day arrives Saturday
It’s finally here.
No not Spring though we all welcome the recent spate of marvelous meteorological magic.
We’re talking Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day.
The day when residents of our fine county unload a barrage of paints, solvents, pesticides, cleaners, old propane tanks and other materials that have too long been stored in your garage, basement, shed, in-laws house,etc.
And who doesn’t have electronics to dispose of? Nowadays TVs, printers, monitors, cellphones and other items that were invaluable when purchased have likely been replaced a time or two.
And no tires. That day will come later this summer.
So get your stuff ready so you won’t miss it like you did last year when you promised yourself you would for sure get down there this year.
Here’s the skinny:
This Saturday 8am-2pm.
Newaygo County Road Commission
935 East One Mile (just North of the County seat, White Cloud).
It’s tough to miss. There will likely be a line of vehicles waiting to jettison some major (or minor) HazMat stuff.
And while it is free to county residents no one will turn away the donations that help make HHW Day the almost official annual holiday it has become.
Adam Mercer was recognized for his nearly 20 years of service as a member of the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office at the regular meeting of the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners Wednesday May 10th. Sergeant Mercer’s duties since joining the department included undercover work and serving as Detective Sergeant as well as 10 years with the Emergency Response Team.
Mercer was part of the cold case team that resulted in the arrests and eventual convictions in the long ago deaths of Shannon Siders and Richard Atwood
The Board Meeting room was packed with Mercer’s family and friends as well as a large contingent of his law enforcement family as Board Chair Bryan Kolk presented him with a plaque to commemorate his years of service. After accepting the award Mercer spoke of his years on the force and its impact on his life.
In other Board business, Commissioners voted to appropriate $250,000 to the Newaygo County Promise Zone. The NC Promise Zone provides funding for every Newaygo County student to use for tuition, paid in full, to Muskegon Community College. The money will come from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery fund.
The Board also approved appropriating $750,000 for the courthouse renovation project, also utilizing the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery fund.
Got Any Hidden Treasures?
American Pickers coming to Michigan
The American Pickers are excited to return to Michigan! They plan to film episodes of The History Channel hit television series throughout your area in July 2023.
AMERICAN PICKERS is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique “picking” on The History Channel. The hit show follows skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find historically significant or rare items, in addition to unforgettable Characters and their collections.
As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, the Pickers are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics. Along the way, they want to meet characters with amazing stories and fun items. They hope to give historically significant objects a new lease on life while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way. The Pickers have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. They are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them.
We at American Pickers continue to take the pandemic very seriously and will be following all guidelines and protocols for safe filming outlined by the state and CDC. Nevertheless, we are excited to continue reaching the many collectors in the area to discuss their years of picking and are eager to hear their memorable stories!
The American Pickers TV Show is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you know has a unique item, story to tell, and is ready to sell…we would love to hear from you! Please note, the Pickers DO NOT pick stores, flea markets, malls, auction businesses, museums, or anything open to the public. If interested, please send us your name, phone number, location, and description of the collection with photos to:
email@example.com or call (646) 493-2184
The 2023 Spongy Moth Forecast
Are they out of the woods yet?
From our friends at the DNR:
Despite the recent cold weather, spongy moth caterpillars already may be hatching in the Lower Peninsula, according to Michigan State University’s Enviroweather prediction model.
The good news is that areas hardest hit by the nuisance caterpillars in the last few years should see a significant population decrease this year.
According to James Wieferich, forest health unit manager with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the outbreak cycle for most of the state peaked in 2021 and will continue to decline overall.
“Aerial and forest surveys mapped over 1.35 million acres of defoliated trees in 2021, compared to 386,000 acres in 2022,” said Wieferich. “This substantial population collapse is a result of the naturally occurring nuclear polyhedrosis virus, or NPV, and the Entomophaga fungus that affect spongy moth caterpillars.”
Areas that escaped the recent outbreak may see new defoliation, and localized areas where infestations began in 2021 or 2022 may see outbreaks peak this year.
“While spongy moth defoliation will never cease to exist, viral and fungal agents already in the environment are working to control this naturalized pest,” said Wieferich.
Following an outbreak, spongy moth populations usually remain at low levels for five to 10 years and sometimes longer, until environmental conditions trigger a new outbreak, initiating a new cycle.
If spongy moth populations are high in your area this season, there are steps you can take.
Do what you can
Focus management in areas where caterpillars, their feeding or their frass (droppings) will create the most problems.
If you’re in an infested area, accept it’s impossible to get rid of all spongy moth caterpillars. Consider cost, safety and environmental health in your management choices.
A recording of the 2022 NotMISpecies webinar, New name, familiar pest: Preparing for Lymantria dispar (formerly known as Gypsy moth) is available for viewing at Michigan.gov/EGLE/Outreach.
If further information is needed, email questions to DNR-FRD-Forest-Health@Michigan.gov. Note that responses may be delayed due to high volume during the spring and summer.
The Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce handed out their 2022 awards at the recent annual meeting held at the Lakes 23 Pavilion. These events are always a positive way to recognize the accomplishments of individuals who have played a part in creating and enhancing the local business landscape.
The Entrepreneurial Recognition Award went to Rod Glupker who owns and operates the downtown Fremont CBD Store of Michigan . Starting from scratch, Glupker along with his wife Liz has grown the business into a thriving enterprise expanding and developing new product lines to serve the community needs. Recent retail segues have seen the store offering the increasingly popular hemp clothing and accessories. CBD Store of Michigan was featured in an N3 article soon after they moved operations to their present Main Street location.
The Community Action Award went to Pat Gorsky for her part in the project aimed at providing a new and welcoming look to the downtown businesses Thanks to a partnership with the City of Fremont, the Façade Committee, the downtown building/business owners, and a matching gift initiated by Ms. Gorsky, 17 businesses were able to refresh the fronts of their structures.
The Dorcas Mortland award was presented to Dawn Finch of the Fremont Community Rec Center citing her leadership in improving and expanding the services at the facility as well as being the driving force behind Fremont’s first Winterfest this past year.
Kudos to the Chamber for recognizing those whose efforts add to the community.
And don’t forget.
The Chamber's Summer Concert Series will begin Thursday June 2nd when the vaunted Braunschweiger Blues Band will take to the Vet’s Park stage. The Thursday night concerts begin at 7pm and are free of charge.
And the BBB is a boatload of fun.
Ready When Called
Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team Prepares For Summer Water Season
Story by Doug Harmon
Photos by David Ressler
While our outdoor water enthusiasts prepare for a summer season of boating tubing boating swimming fishing jet skiing and other water shenanigans, the dive team, under the leadership of C.J. Freriks recently got into the Rec Center pool to practice skills and drills hoping they won’t need to use them this summer.
But if called upon they will be ready.
Eight members of the dive team spent approximately three hours Sunday in the Rec Center pool. A series of drills from simple to complicated were taught, learned and practiced and equipment is checked and tested for leaks, breakage or flaws.
Dive team members are required to have their dive gear with them at all times in their patrol vehicle in case of an emergency.
Simple equipment checks are assurance your breathing regulator is operating properly, your face mask or intercom mask is working properly with no leaks or straps that are rotting and ready to break. Your buoyancy jacket needs to be blown up properly and your scuba tank valve must function properly with no leaks.
After the basics are covered the team moves on to some of the techniques used in locating objects underwater. One of the drills requires three dive team members. One member will be placed in a boat or on shore with one end of a rope. One member will be in the water swimming arcs. Hand signals on the rope indicate when more rope is needed to extend the pattern out or change direction. Three tugs indicate the diver has found what he’s looking for. The third diver will then go down the rope line and assist the first diver in retrieval. This may seem simple in the pool but did I mention the dive team members perform this drill with a black covering over their mask?
As the lakes warm up algae blooms thicken and visibility can be from zero to a few inches if they are lucky. This practice trains and prepares them to operate in a vision-less environment.
The dive team will conduct practice sessions throughout the summer to perfect their skills in actual open water scenarios
Have a safe water sports season and I hope you never have to see the dive team in action but this group of dedicated divers will be ready if called.
NAQT Small School National Championship Tournament
With much fanfare and the support of the entire White Cloud community, the White Cloud Varsity Quiz Bowl team traveled to Chicago to contend at the highest level of competition in the nation. The contingent faced off against teams hailing from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
In their final match of the preliminary round, White Cloud defeated West Point, VA (240-105). During the consolation rounds, White Cloud emerged victoriously over Sacramento Country Day, CA (215-175) and Southwestern B, IL (240-85). Leading the team in scoring was All-State Second Team, Brian Schaefer with and an impressive 430 points averaging 31.31 ppg. Senior Captain Malachi Graves, two-time all-conference recipient, compiled another 270 points, and averaged 13.64 ppg. Wyatt Karnes added up 150 points with a 12.43 ppg. Jarrett Warlick contributed 85 points and Sam Viher notched up 25 points. Liam Povey helped out with morale and gained important game time experience. The team totaled up 2,110 points in the national tournament and gained invaluable knowledge for next year.
For the season, the 2023 White Cloud Quiz Bowl team experienced a tremendous amount of success winning several tournaments most notably White Cloud’s Jan Rademacher Memorial Quiz Bowl Tournament Division D Title, the CSAA Conference Championship, and most importantly the Class C/D Michigan State Championship in dominating fashion. Of significance, this team continued the winning tradition and legacy of White Cloud Quiz Bowl by qualifying for the NAQT Small School National Championship Tournament for the 26th time in school history and qualified for state competition for the 34th occasion, an all-time Class C/D record.
Coach Stephen Smith and the team would like to specifically thank Coach Emeritus Tony McHattie, Assistant Coach Allison McPhall, Assistant Coach Arnie Baker, Assistant Coach Dallas Dowling, Ms. Stephanie Karnes, and Ms. Amber Viher for their unwavering support. Special thanks and gratitude from the coaches is extended to graduating seniors, Malachi Graves and Zane Keith, who are both four-year players. In addition, the team would like to thank all the parents, teachers, administrators, board members, staff, and community members who have supported the team throughout the entire year. Without you, none of the team’s success would be possible.
White Cloud begins their state title defense next school year returning 16 of 18 veteran quiz bowl players as follows: Brian Schaefer, Sam Viher, Wyatt Karnes, Jarrett Warlick, Annie Feldpausch, Anna Mohr, Samantha Kukal, Charlotte Karnes, Liam Povey, Tyler Higgins, Trey Davison, Elliott Cook, Mason D’Lamater, Brian Loveless, Annabelle Bird, and Brooklyn Cook. Stay tuned!