Increased vax rates, lower case #'s brings early end to restrictions
With vaccination rates rising daily and COVID cases continuing to plummet Governor Gretvhen Whitmer announced the end to masking and gathering restrictions as of next Tuesday, June 22nd at one minute past midnight.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel issued the Rescission of Emergency Orders today (June 17th) giving the go ahead to increased volume at restaurants, entertainment venues and the many summertime activities and festivals we bipeninsularians love to partake in.
The order concluded “Considering the above, and upon the advice of scientific and medical experts, I have concluded that although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to constitute an epidemic in Michigan, certain protective measures and requirements can be lifted at this time.”
Some orders will remain in effect to protect vulnerable populations in corrections, long-term care and agriculture. Public health measures will continue for reporting requirements and COVID testing to make sure areas where community spread is high are identified, kids are safe in school and free COVID-19 tests are available. Guidance for keeping children and staff safe in schools will be released next week.
MDHHS will continue to provide recommendations to keep residents safe and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in higher risk settings and places where vulnerable populations or populations with large numbers of individuals are not yet fully vaccinated.
Vertina (Tina) Herman has been a mainstay at the County Treasurer’s office assisting county residents seeking information on their tax bills and homesteads as well as being able to point them in the right direction when challenges would arise.
Last Wednesday June 9th at the regular meeting of the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners Ms. Herman was recognized for her dedication during her 20+ years of service to the community and the county.
Co-workers, family, friends, and others from the community turned out to hear Board Chair Bryan Kolk read the resolution and present her with a plaque commemorating her retirement after which she received a round of applause and personal congratulations from Commissioners.
New policy allows patients up to two visitors
Grand Rapids, Mich., June 16, 2021 – Spectrum Health announces an updated visitor policy for patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
Under the new policy, patients will be allowed up to two visitors who may be present between the hours of 6:00 am and 9:00 pm. Visitors will be screened for signs of COVID-19 and will be required to adhere to personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements.
The policy applies to patients hospitalized for the treatment of COVID-19 and to patients hospitalized for other reasons who test COVID-19 positive. From the beginning and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, patients with COVID-19 have not been allowed to have visitors.
“We are so pleased this day is here. After careful planning and following CDC guidelines, we are pleased to welcome visitors for COVID-19 patients in a safe manner,” said Darryl Elmouchi, MD, president, Spectrum Health West Michigan. “We know how important this is for our patients and families because it will result in greater physical and emotional support throughout the healing process.”
The safety of Spectrum Health’s patients, visitors and staff remains the highest priority. All visitors will be provided instructions and training on the proper usage of PPE, including gowns, gloves, eye protection and standard mask usage.
The new policy goes into effect Wednesday, June 16
And some answers to your questions
In response to multiple phone calls to local, county, and state governmental offices, Newaygo County Emergency Services wanted to share the following information obtained from subject matter experts at the MSU Extension Office, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
What you can do now and over the Summer
May - August:
Wrap trees with sticky barrier bands to trap caterpillars as they move up and down the trunks.
*Follow precautions stated in the article to protect your trees from damage.
Wrap trees with folded burlap barrier bands to trap the caterpillars: https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/
May - August:
Manage gypsy moth caterpillars, pupae, and moth populations.
- Drop caterpillars into a bucket of soapy water and let sit for 48 hours. (Caution: their hairs can be irritating.)
- Spray caterpillars and moths directly with a strong mixture of dish soap and water. (Caution: can make deck surfaces slippery.)
- Monitor and maintain barrier bands.
Gypsy Moth Facts from the Experts
MSU’s Professors of Entomology and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Pesticide & Plant Pest Management Division have shared the following information with the Newaygo County Emergency Services Department:
- Some townships assess a millage (an invasive species millage), as do several counties and property owner associations that use funding to address the concern of the day, whether that be gypsy moths or something else.
- It is too late to spray using more selective, lower-risk pesticides.?
There may be harder chemistries available that could still be effective as the caterpillars get larger, but the window is gone.
- There is a good chance populations will collapse this year, but we can’t be sure, and in any case it will likely be location-specific. The very dry spring is not helping matters because the fungus that controls gypsy moth thrives in a wet environment. We’ll know more in late summer when females emerge and begin laying eggs. Wimpy females and small egg masses mean a declining population.
- The cost-share program years ago was complicated, but had to be due to federal requirements on threatened & endangered species reviews and the aerial pesticide application requirements, especially safety issues for the applicators flying the planes.
The DNR informed our office that gypsy moth populations have been naturalized into Michigan’s landscape. Local outbreaks are normally attributed to drought, old age or stressed trees in general and rarely cause mortality in stands with healthy vigorous trees. In hot, dry weather, water prized trees defoliated by gypsy moth.
-Run a sprinkler for about an hour in the morning, soaking the ground under the spread of the branches.
Per the DNR, after a year or two of heavy defoliation, populations tend to collapse on their own with no spray programs in place. Furthermore, large spray programs can cause communities to become reliant on spray programs forcing them to spray more often as they disrupt the “natural” gypsy moth cycle.
Why doesn't the County or my Local Township have a Spray Program?
The State of Michigan has not funded a gypsy moth spray program, which was a cost share program through MDARD and the Forestry Service, since the early 1990s. Our research shows that some counties are spraying limited areas and using dedicated mileages to do so. The cost as stated below is not conducive to large areas. Based on cost comparables from other jurisdictions who sprayed earlier this year, County Administration calculated that to do the whole county would be over $82 million. 1800 acres or just under 3 sq miles is $250k.
Roscommon County does have a Gypsy Moth Suppression Program. It is a millage administered by the MSU Extension Office supported and has been since the federal assistance was eliminated years ago. Their support staff person developed the attached landowner management strategies that outline the life cycle of gypsy moth and provide links to details for burlap banding and duct tape barriers.
The DNR and their partners at the MSU Extension also released some valuable information last year regarding gypsy moths: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/gypsy-moth-caterpillars-are-out-and-about. Another link that provides a great place to start is this site: https://www.canr.msu.edu/ipm/invasive_species/Gypsy-Moth/index. Both of these links to the MSU resources in particular have information on the best way for homeowners to tackle the gypsy moth issue.
What if I want to spray my own property?
Pesticide applicators licensed in Michigan:
CROP CARE COMPANY LLC, out of SHELBY, MI. 231-861-2210.
The substance they use is Bacillus Thuringiensis, used since the 1920’s.
If they want to handle it on their own (there is no funding that I am aware of State or Local) here is the info…
To address a gypsy moth infestation in a handful of individual trees, homeowners can purchase a spray containing Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk), a bacterium that naturally occurs in the soil but can be lethal to certain caterpillars and moths. Be sure to follow label directions exactly. The best time to spray is when caterpillars are small, usually through mid-June. When caterpillars are massing, spraying tree trunks with a mixture of dish soap and water or scraping caterpillars into a bucket of soap and water also are effective.
Is it possible to buy Btk to spray caterpillars in my own garden?
Yes, several commercially available Btk products can be used to control caterpillars on shade trees, fruit trees or plants in the garden. Both liquid formulations and wettable powders are available from local garden stores. Be sure to follow the directions on the label. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).
The Btk formulation used for gypsy moth spray programs in Michigan is certified by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), a national nonprofit organization that approves products for organic growers, as regulated by the USDA National Organic Program. Btk is commonly used by organic gardeners and farmers, as well as some conventional farmers, to control caterpillar pests of fruits and vegetables.
To learn more about gypsy moth caterpillars, visit the MSU Extension website. More detailed information is available in this MSUE bulletin that covers the Btk management for gypsy moth.
For more information about the DNR’s Forest Health Program or to view last year’s Forest Health Highlights report for Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/ForestHealth.
Jaylee Long, Wyatt Mortensen and Makenna Young are the recipients of the 2021 Newaygo Lions Athletic Boosters club scholarships.
The three graduates completed applications that included describing a history of volunteering in and around the Newaygo community including the school or youth organizations; having achieved at least one varsity letter at Newaygo High School; and demonstrated a positive-impact involvement and/or significant improvement/success in scholarship and community involvement.
Their accomplishments include GPA’s of 4.6 for Long and 4.4 for Mortensen and Young. All three were multi-sport participants and had extensive volunteer experience during their HS years. Long will be attending Cornerstone University with an emphasis in education, Mortensen will be going to Kalamazoo College and Young is traveling to Concordia University-Chicago both with an emphasis in Pre-med.
Their dedication and lessons in sports and their overall HS experience was expressed in their applications and provided insight as to their successes on the playing field, in the classrooms, and in the community.
Jaylee stated that: “ Basketball has shown me that in order to be good and successful I can’t just show up I have to prepare and put time in to be the best I can be. It has also shown me the right way to live my life. Without rules I know I wouldn’t like to play the game of basketball; but the rules make the game more enjoyable and I know in order to have a life I enjoy I need to live by a set of standards; I can’t just go through life without any direction.”
Wyatt wrote: “Each person has shown resilience today in this world because of the pandemic. Reaching out for help can be challenging. Resilience is typically viewed as something dramatic and a big obstacle a person overcomes. However, the barrier I had to overcome was simply reaching out for help. Now. I know I can always go to someone and talk about how I was feeling. The biggest impact I learned from sports was not everything is a game. Life is not as easy as making a basket or shooting a goal. Life is about handling the obstacles at hand and overcoming the challenges.”
Makenna shared “Track and Field has taught me grit!” She shares her experience after a serious pole-vaulting injury that required months to recover from: “The question that always plagued me was…Would I ever pole vault again? Eventually, I joined a club pole-vaulting team. As I entered the indoor track facility, I wanted to turn around and go home. Walking back towards the track brought back the worst memory I had to mind; all I could hear was the dreaded, echoing sound of ‘snap and pop’. My emotions were so excessive I didn’t know how to cope with them. I couldn’t believe that something I was so passionate about was now my greatest fear. As the coach walked through the double doors and my heart started to pound out of my chest because I knew that practice was about to begin. My body became stiff with fear and I felt paralyzed. I knew that If I wanted to reach my goals, I needed to face this fear. The moment of truth was upon me. I contemplated running toward the door instead of the pit. I stared down the raised track. My hands were sweaty and shaking. The voice in my head heard my ankle saying ‘not to do it’, but my heart was screaming to ‘go for it’. With a deep breath and an inner courage, I sprinted down the runway and took my first jump. I flung over the bar like usual and landed safely with no pain to my ankle. This was the jump I would never forget. It was my jump of courage.
The boosters are pleased and proud to award these three outstanding young people the 2021 scholarships of $500 each.
Five Local Entrepreneurs Win Business Capital as Pitch North 2021 Finalists
Five local entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges and an audience of nearly 50 people at the third annual Pitch North competition held Tuesday, June 8th via ZOOM. They were competing for the chance to win over $10,000 in cash and prizes to bring their ideas to life.
Pitch North was designed to spark entrepreneurial change and encourage more small businesses to start in Newaygo, Oceana, and Lake counties. Pitch North 2021 received 33 business idea submissions, from which five finalists were selected by a local committee to pitch at the live event. Each entrepreneur had five minutes to present, and judges had an opportunity to ask questions directly following.
“When times get tough, entrepreneurs create businesses, and that is exactly what each of the finalists did during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each finalist either came up with their idea, or perfected it over the past year, and they each stepped out of their comfort zone to participate in this competition,” said Julie Burrell, Business Development Manager – Newaygo County, The Right Place, Inc. “They showed their passion for their businesses during their pitches, which earned each of them funding to move their business idea forward.”
The first place prize of $4,500 was awarded to Caleb Davis-Dykema, owner of A Garden In The Woods Farm, in Oceana County. Caleb plans to invest his winnings to install a refrigeration station at the farm, extending his shelf-life of products and hire a part time flower harvester. Second place was awarded to Whitney Schornagel with House of Whole in Newaygo County. Whitney is planning to invest in infrastructure which would allow her to increase capacity and expand sales of her cold-pressed juice. . The third place prize went to Eric Carson with Carson Family Beef in Newaygo County, with plans to expand offerings with his newly launched farm stand.
In addition to the following cash prizes, each finalist will also receive a complimentary membership to the Lakeshore FabLab:
1st Place: $4,500 Caleb Davis-Dykema, A Garden In The Woods Farm, Oceana County
2nd Place: $2,500 Whitney Schornagel, House of Whole, Newaygo County
3rd Place: $1,500 Eric Carson, Carson Family Beef, Newaygo County
4th Place: $1,000 Emmaline Woodward, Woodline Landscape & Design, Newaygo County
5th Place: $500 Courtney DeGarmo, Courtney’s Canine Creations, Oceana County
Marie Elliot, Business Consultant with the Small Business Development Center; Rich Houtteman, Community Affairs Manager for Consumers Energy; Melissa Marietti-Evans, Commercial Lender at Northern Initiatives, Nichole Steel Kleiner, Community & Economic Development Director, City of Hart and Tracy Straight, Vice President and Commercial Loan Officer for Shelby State Bank volunteered as judges for the event.
For more information, visit pitchnorth.com or contact Julie Burrell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 231.335.1985
“We are so grateful to our sponsors who, since Pitch North’s inception in 2019, have infused over $27,000 of new business capital into our communities through their generous support of the competition and the 15 new businesses that have launched from it,” added Jodi Nichols, Business Development Coordinator -Lake and Oceana Counties.
Pitch North 2021 is hosted by The Right Place, Inc. and made possible through support from The Adama Family Gift Fund, The Fremont Area Community Foundation, Shelby State Bank, Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, West Shore Community College, The City of Fremont, The City of Newaygo, The City of Hart, River Country Chamber of Commerce, Gerber Federal Credit Union and the Lakeshore FabLab.
Amazing X Grant Applications Due July 15
The application for grants from the Amazing X Charitable Trust is now open. Completed applications are due July 15.
The Amazing X Charitable Trust is a supporting organization of Fremont Area Community Foundation. It was established in 1978 by members of the Gerber family to support community members of varying abilities and to address general charitable needs.
Past grants have supported accessibility projects, rehabilitation services, adult day programs, and more. A 2020 grant to Family Health Care supported the organization’s in-home respite care program, while another recent grant supported sensory equipment for Fremont High School students.
For more information or to begin an online grant application, visit facommunityfoundation.org/grants.
Ice Mountain Grant Applications Due July 15
The application for grants from the Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund is now open. Completed applications are due July 15.
The Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund was established at Fremont Area Community Foundation in 2002 by what is now BlueTriton Brands. Grants are made from the fund to sustain the waters and water-dependent natural resources of the Muskegon River Watershed by supporting conservation, enhancement, and restoration projects. The fund provides up to $50,000 annually and typical grants are from $5,000 to $20,000.
Grant requests are accepted for projects or programs that conserve, enhance, or restore the watershed and demonstrate collaboration among organizations. Past grants have supported erosion control projects, restoration of habitats and natural areas, cleanups, river bank stabilization, research, and more. Grants awarded in 2020 supported hazardous waste collection, a buffer zone project at Sandy Beach, and scanning to preserve septic and well permits.
For more information or to begin an online grant application, visit facommunityfoundation.org/icemountain.
Gerber Foundation provides research material for first timers
Thanks to funding from The Gerber Foundation, Family Health Care purchased a supply of the book, "What to Expect When You're Expecting." These books, including some in Spanish, will be distributed to first-time parents of young infants who seek care at Family Health Care's Baldwin, Grant, and White Cloud clinics. The books will provide a resource they can use at home to help with many of the common questions during the first year of an infant's life.
Dry conditions mean fire danger is high or very high across much of northern Michigan
With high temperatures and limited rainfall expected for the next several days, fire danger is high or very high across much of northern Michigan. That means taking precautions to prevent wildfires through the weekend when working or playing outdoors.
“With conditions this dry, a lot of different things can set off fires,” said Jeff Vasher, fire specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “A spark from a campfire can do it. Heat from an ORV or equipment can do it. A chain dragging from a trailer can do it, or a downed power line.”
Burn permits for yard debris will not be issued in many areas through the weekend; check Michigan.gov/BurnPermit in northern Michigan or contact local municipal or fire authorities in the southern Lower Peninsula.
Even if grass is green, it can still be dry and spread fire, Vasher said. Stands of pine trees also are particularly dry, especially in the eastern Upper Peninsula.
Within the past week or so, DNR firefighters have responded to fires ranging from a few acres to more than 300 acres. People cause about nine out of 10 wildfires in the state. Since the 2021 season began, DNR firefighters have responded to more than 200 wildland fires with over 2,000 acres burned.
Tips to help keep your activities fire-safe Take extra care and precautions with these activities:
For more information on fire management, including fire prevention tips and more, visit Michigan.gov/FireManagement.
...and staying for a long time
N3-We bipeninsularians are well aware that as the weather pattern transforms into the magic of a Michigan summer the landscape comes alive with flowers, greenery, fruits, veggies…
And those classic orange barrels announcing the blossoming of road work.
And this is a big one with the much needed redos on the main roads to and through Newaygo disrupting the usual travel times and hopefully not putting too much of a pause on the patience of the populace
Yes, one can expect tangled traffic and its partner the lengthy wait times designed to discompose drivers. who just want to get from one place to another.
Here’s hoping we get through this with our collective good humor intact while continuing the frequent patronage of the enticing array of downtown businesses in our beloved riverside burg.
Here’s the skinny from MDOT:
Northbound M-37 will be closed from Quarterline Street to Water Street 7 a.m. this Monday through October. Traffic will be detoured on Quarterline, Justice and Water streets. Lane closures will also be in effect on northbound and southbound M-37 between the Muskegon River and the south junction of M-37/M-82.
M-82 lane closures will be in place from M-37 to Park Street.
Sign up for email from MDOT: http://bit.ly/14ucwY2
ESTIMATED END DATE:
Late October 2021
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is investing $3.4 million to improve approximately 2 miles of M-37/M-82 from the Muskegon River to the M-37/M-82 south junction in the city of Newaygo. M-82 will also be resurfaced from M-37 to just east of Park Street. Work includes rebuilding, resurfacing, new watermain, drainage improvements, sidewalk work, and traffic signal modernization at Quarterline Street.
Lane closures and traffic shifts will be in effect throughout the project. Northbound traffic will be detoured onto Quarterline, Justice and Water streets.
Long-term benefits include improvements to vehicle safety and operations, as well as extending the service life of the roadway and utilities.
Follow MDOT's Grand Region on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/MDOT_West
For up-to-date information on this project and others, go to the list of statewide lane closures at: www.michigan.gov/drive.
Follow MDOT at
www.twitter.com/MichiganDOT or www.facebook.com/MichiganDOT
“And sure enough, even waiting will end...if you can just wait long enough.”- William Faulkner
FREMONT, Mich. Gerber Federal Credit Union announced the promotion of Katrina Luchies to Member Solutions Manager.
Ms. Luchies joined the credit union as a Member Service Representative in 2020. She will lead the member solutions department responsible for loss prevention and collection functions. Luchies has volunteered for Walk for Warmth, Newaygo Public Schools and various fundraising events for local families in need. She holds certifications in Leadership, Interpersonal Skills, Understanding Poverty, and Communication.
“I am very pleased to announce Katrina’s promotion. She has shown herself to be a tireless advocate for our members since joining us last summer. Her background and attitude will be invaluable in helping those members most in need. Congratulations!” said John P. Buckley, Jr., Gerber FCU President/CEO.