Consumers Energy crews are preparing for potentially extreme weather, including damaging wind gusts, severe thunderstorms, and heavy rain, that could result in power outages, downed wires and other safety hazards.
Regions in the western and southern parts of the state are expected to be hit hardest by the potential storms, starting late Wednesday night and continuing into the early morning hours on Thursday.
Some preparation tips for potential severe weather include:
Consumers Energy also urges the public to keep these important storm safety tips in mind:
Customers can report an outage, check the status of an outage and get useful tips what to do after a storm by visiting www.ConsumersEnergy.com/OutageCenter. Customers can also sign up to get outage alerts and restoration times sent to a phone, email or text message, Text ‘REG' to 232273 or visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com/alerts.
Decision driven by health, safety of teams and community, and scientific evidence
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 28, 2021– With a focus on the health and safety of its team members and the community, along with thorough review of the scientific evidence, Spectrum Health has announced that it will require the COVID-19 vaccine for team members, medical staff, students, volunteers and contractors.
“As a mission-driven organization, we are here to improve health, inspire hope and save lives,” said Spectrum Health President & CEO Tina Freese Decker. “We must do all we can to take care of each other and our community. Together, our actions will serve to save lives and shorten the impact of the pandemic – both clear benefits to the public good. We thoroughly reviewed the scientific evidence and interviewed and debated with experts, both internal and external, to understand the facts. After robust conversations and time spent reviewing the science behind the vaccines, we reached our conclusion.”
Scientific evidence and clinical results point to the effectiveness of the vaccine:
“We continue to see the benefits of the vaccine – both among our patients and teams. Almost all people who contract COVID-19 and need hospitalization or die from the virus are unvaccinated,” said Liam Sullivan, DO, Infectious Disease Specialist, Spectrum Health. “The delta variant of COVID-19 is causing significant increases in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in areas across the country where vaccination rates are low. We encourage people to be vaccinated, in consultation with their physician’s advice.”
More than 163 million Americans are fully vaccinated, demonstrating the safety and effectiveness initially identified in the clinical trials against symptomatic infections, hospitalizations and death.
“We agree with the science behind the vaccines, the facts related to the effectiveness of the vaccines and the thorough process the FDA takes in approving vaccines,” said Freese Decker. “We are applying the same logic to the COVID-19 vaccine as we did in requiring the flu and other vaccines. As a health organization that cares about our team members’ health and our communities’ health, we support the science and will act accordingly.”
Spectrum Health will require the COVID-19 vaccine within eight weeks of the FDA approving the first vaccine and will consider exemptions as required by law. Spectrum Health may decide to act more quickly if it sees a risk to team member and public health as a result of the delta variant, or subsequent variants, based on data in our local communities.
Lake use remains safe in all non bloom areas.
From our friends at MDHHS:
LANSING, Mich. - If you or your family are living near or visiting Michigan waters in summer or fall months it is important to be aware of the potential for harmful algal blooms (HABs).
HABs form due to a rapid overgrowth or bloom of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. Cyanobacteria are naturally present in lakes, rivers and ponds. Unfortunately, some cyanobacteria produce toxins, called cyanotoxins, that can be present in cyanobacterial blooms, which at higher levels can be harmful to people and animals.
HABs usually occur in Michigan May through October, most commonly in August and September. The occurrence of cyanobacteria and their toxins has been confirmed in lakes across Michigan in previous years, and elevated toxin levels have been documented in a small percentage of Michigan lakes. During 2020, 61 HABs in 35 Michigan counties were reported to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).
"Before going in the water, we recommend Michiganders look for visible algal blooms or scums on any lake, and that people and pets stay out of water in areas that look affected," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. "If you may have had contact with or swallowed water with a HAB and feel sick, call your doctor or Poison Control at 800-222-1222. If symptoms are severe, seek emergency medical attention as soon as possible."
What does a HAB look like?
HABs can look like algal scums or mats, spilled paint or pea soup, or colored streaks on the water's surface. Visit the HAB Picture Guide for examples of HABs and other algae and plants.
Blooms may last for days or sometimes weeks. Blooms can change in size, toxicity and location within the same day. They also may disappear on a waterbody, but then form at a later time.
What should people do if they think they have found a HAB?
Consult the HAB Picture Guide for examples of HABs and compare your sighting to other algae and plants found in lakes.
If you suspect you have found a HAB or have any suspicion:
Breathing in or swallowing water containing HABs and their toxins may cause the following symptoms: runny eyes or nose, asthma-like symptoms, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, numbness, headaches, dizziness or difficulty breathing. Skin contact can cause rashes, blisters and hives.
Should residents be concerned about threats to animal health?
Animals, especially dogs, can become ill or die after contact with HABs. Signs of illness can include vomiting, diarrhea, staggered walking and convulsions. Preventative measures for dogs include keeping them out of the water wherever surface scums or discolored water are visible, bringing along clean, fresh water for them to drink and rinsing them off after contact with any lake water. If a pet or livestock animal becomes sick after contact with water that may have a HAB, contact a veterinarian right away.
Illness in an animal due to exposure to a HAB is reportable to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). Cases can be reported by submitting a Reportable Disease Form, located at Michigan.gov/dvmresources under "Reportable Diseases," or by calling 800-292-3939 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What can people do to help prevent HABs from occurring?
Michigan residents should learn about nutrient pollution, such as excess nitrogen and phosphorus, to reduce and prevent HABs. Excess nutrients may come from detergents, sewers, fertilizers and malfunctioned septic systems.
Michiganders can decrease nutrients getting into the water by:
Stoplog failure alters water levels at White Cloud Dam.Repairs expected in coming days.
From our friends at EGLE:
The City of White Cloud is working to repair failed stoplogs at a city-owned dam that resulted in significant changes in water levels both in a pond upstream of the dam, and the river flowing downstream. Michigan EGLE received reports of the problem Tuesday morning.
Local officials report the dam is stable, and expect to replace the failed stoplogs within days. The stoplogs hold back water in the dam. County emergency management officials and EGLE Dam Safety Unit staff are at the scene this morning.
The White Cloud Dam is rated as a high-hazard dam. Its most recent state inspection in 2019 rated it in fair condition.
It was built in 1872, rebuilt in 1920 after it was destroyed by flooding, and reconstructed in 1990.
Newaygo County will hold an online auction beginning Monday August 2, 2021 at 1pm and ending Thursday August 5th at 1pm for parcels foreclosed due to nonpayment of the 2018 Property Taxes. Potential bidders can get a copy of the auction list for free from the county website.
A hard copy is available at the Treasurer’s Office for $7.50 ($1.50/page).
There is a list of FAQ’s regarding the auction on the Treasurer’s webpage as well, under “Properties for Auction”. Any questions related to the auction process itself, payment terms, etc.. should be directed to BippusUSA at 1-800-686-6416.
Find licensed companies online at Michigan.gov/MosquitoControlBusiness
LANSING, MI - After an explosion of mosquito populations across the state, many Michiganders are turning to pesticides to combat these annoying pests. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is advising the public to avoid falling victim to scams and illegitimate businesses, and to only hire licensed mosquito control companies. A list of companies licensed to control mosquitoes in Michigan can be found at Michigan.gov/MosquitoControlBusiness.
Businesses offering pest control services such as mosquito spraying must be licensed by MDARD, and they must employ applicators who have passed MDARD’s pesticide proficiency examinations. Pest control businesses must also meet minimum experience requirements, carry liability insurance, and may only apply pesticides registered by MDARD.
“Licensed mosquito control companies and their certified applicators have demonstrated they have the knowledge to use pesticides safely and effectively,” said Brian Verhougstraete, MDARD’s Pesticide Section Manager. “Utilizing properly licensed and certified applicators protects public health while these professionals work to keep mosquitoes in check around your home.”
Along with finding licensed firms, MDARD’s website provides consumers with information about what to look for when hiring a mosquito control company. Before making an application, all licensed companies are required to specify an approximate schedule, frequency, and duration of their services.
Consumers should be aware that pest control businesses are legally required to obtain their consent before making a pesticide application and must provide the following information:
“Consumers should do their homework before choosing a mosquito control service, especially when those services are being advertised on social media,” added Verhougstraete.
Other steps to take to safely reduce mosquito populations include:
On July 22, 2021 at approximately 4:45 pm, Deputies from the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to E 8th St near S Thornapple Ave, Everett Township on a report of a truck vs tree crash.
Upon arrival on scene Deputies found that the driver of the pickup truck was eastbound on E 8th St when the truck crossed over the centerline and struck a tree.
The driver of the pickup truck was identified as a 18-year-old female from White Cloud. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The passenger of the pickup truck was identified as a 14-year-old female from Indiana. She was transported by ambulance to Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids with non-life-threatening injuries.
The accident remains under investigation by the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies were assisted at the scene by the Michigan State Police, White Cloud Police Department, White Cloud and Big Prairie Fire Departments, Newaygo County Central Dispatch and Jerry’s Towing.
Nearly 100 parcels of state-managed land available via online auctions in August, September
From our friends at DNR:
Lake frontage, trail access, small lots to extend a neighborhood lot – these types of acreage and more are available in the next round of surplus land auctions from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. After careful consideration of properties it manages on behalf of Michigan residents, the DNR has selected 97 that are much better suited for private ownership and is preparing those for sale via online auctions in August and early September.
Land is available mainly in central/northern Lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula in the following counties: Alcona, Allegan, Benzie, Berrien, Chippewa, Clare, Genesee, Huron, Kalkaska, Kent, Lake, Mackinac, Mason, Mecosta, Menominee, Midland, Newaygo, Roscommon and Saginaw. Several of the largest parcels are in Clare, Lake and Menominee counties.
Fourteen online auctions, featuring available land parcels by county, are scheduled:
Fourteen online auctions will be offered between Aug. 2 and Sept. 3. Interested bidders may register in advance and get more information about the online auction schedule at Tax-Sale.info/. Those wanting to bid on a property must register before that property’s auction date. Absentee bids can be made online up to 30 days before the auction.
The “interactive” bidding portion of an auction will open at 10 a.m. on that auction date. At that time, bidders will be able to see current high bids for each property. Bidders can continue to place bids on a property until 7 p.m. when bidding closes and the winning bidder is determined.
Visit Michigan.gov/LandForSale for a detailed list that includes minimum bid, acreage and location information on the available properties. Interested bidders also are encouraged to review the DNR Land Sales: Terms and Conditions.
Land parcel details
Properties for sale range in size from under an acre to 120 acres. Many of the surplus properties highlighted in the auction are in Yates Township, Lake County. There are several larger 5- to 15-acre properties available in Yates Township.
In addition to these properties, two structures are being offered: an old DNR field administration equipment building in Caseville (Huron County) and the abandoned Big Rapids Railroad Depot in Mecosta County.
Notable waterfront properties that are accessible include:
Many of the sale parcels are forested and/or have road frontage but are better suited for private ownership. Much of the land offered in these auctions is isolated from other DNR-managed property, which creates some challenges and inefficiencies. Other parcels are included in the auctions because they offer limited recreation benefits to the public.
Separate from the online auctions, the DNR is offering additional properties (listed for sale at their former minimum bid prices) that were not sold in previous auctions. These properties are available for view and immediate purchase only via the BuyNow list.
For more information about the sale of surplus, state-managed public land, contact Michael Michalek, resource specialist in the DNR's Real Estate Section, at 517-331-8387. Auction proceeds will help provide future outdoor recreation opportunities in keeping with the DNR’s mission to conserve, protect and manage the state’s natural and cultural resources for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations.
An interview (And an ad)
Newaygo County Commission on Aging is currently seeking a MEALS-ON-WHEELS DRIVER.
You’ve likely seen the ads before. Maybe you’ve even considered combining your personal appreciation for the art of driving with a chance to bring in a little extra cash?
Beyond the usual requirements found at the end of this article we thought perhaps hearing from someone who has experienced being ‘at the wheel’ of the effort to bring both vittles and a visit to some of the senior members of our county community.
We caught up with Kim Mcclernan, one of the drivers for M.O.W. and posed a few questions.
What led you to start working at MOW?
I like to drive and hence the reason for applying at meals on wheels.
Tell us a little about your first days delivering. How did it go, what were the challenges, biggest learning curve, etc.
My first days of training were a bit challenging but I very quickly settled into the routine. You learn your route and the people you service at about 1 week after beginning. The biggest challenge was finding some of these clients. Roads in Fremont often change names at the bend in the road or at stop signs.
What do you enjoy most about the job? What are the rewards?
The rewards are many. You quickly become friends with your clients. Some may only see you for any stretch of time and when they smile or hug you because they are glad to see you that is rewarding. You become part of their family at just 3-5 minutes a day.
In your opinion what skills are important in order to do the job well?
Communicating is very important. Patience and listening to the clients is also Beneficial.
What would you say to someone considering applying to be a driver?
Meals on wheels is rewarding, physical, and has great employees to work with.
We are always in need of drivers. Even to just be a substitute is very helpful since these people need their meals no matter what the weather or how you feel. Join our family to help Newaygo age well.
So...sound like something you might have an interest in?
Here’s the skinny.
Must have a valid Michigan license, possess a good driving record, and pass a drug and criminal background check. Must have knowledge of Newaygo County and be able to follow driving directions. For more information and an application visit online at newaygocountymi.gov under Human Resources “Apply for a Job.” Applications are also available at the Commission on Aging, 93 S. Gibbs, White Cloud, MI 49349.
Bridgeton Bust part of a busy weekend
During this past weekend the Sheriff’s Office took 173 calls for service which included 75 traffic stops.
Then at 02:14am Monday morning, Deputy Rachael Botello conducted a traffic stop on Warner Avenue and 108th Street in Bridgeton Township for a minor traffic violation. During the stop, it was believed that illegal substances may be in the vehicle so a request was placed for Officer Troy Nelson and K9 Bella from the Newaygo Police Department to assist.
After Bella indicated an issue with the vehicle, a search was conducted with over 11 grams of Methamphetamine located. Two individuals from Muskegon were lodged in the Newaygo County Jail for Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Deliver.
This is another great example of departments working together to create a safe environment and keeping illegal substances off the streets.
Here are some of the calls for service done by members of the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office:
Crashes – 8
Driving on a Suspended License – 5
Driving without Insurance – 7
Assaults and Batteries – 3
Warrant Arrests – 4
Operating While intoxicated – 3
Trespassing – 7
Resist and Obstruct Police Officer – 1
False Information to Police Officer – 1
Possession of Meth - 3
4 hour forest search results in arrest
From our friends at the NCSO:
On July 15, 2021 at approximately 1:50 pm, Deputies from the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office attempted to stop a black Pontiac Grand Prix for numerous vehicle violations on E 88th St (M-82) near S Beech Ave, Croton Township.
The black Pontiac Grand Prix failed to stop for the Sheriff’s Office. During the pursuit, the black Pontiac Grand Prix rammed a Sheriff’s Office Patrol truck. The black Pontiac Grand Prix ended up crashing into the woods on M-82 near S Newcosta Ave.
The suspect took off running into the woods. Multiple police K-9 teams assisted with searching the woods.
After a lengthy 4 hour search of the wood the 36 year old male from Gaylord was taken into custody. He is currently lodged at the Newaygo County Jail on numerous felony and misdemeanor charges out of the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office. The male suspect is also wanted out of MSP Hart, Otsego County Sheriff’s Office,the Straits Area Narcotics Enforcement and Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office.
The Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office was assisted on scene by the Michigan State Police – Hart Post, Newaygo Police Department, multiple Michigan State Police K-9 teams, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Newaygo County Central Dispatch and Jerry’s Towing.
FREMONT, Mich. (7/13/2021) Gerber Federal Credit Union (Gerber FCU) today announced several promotions. Brenda Bice to Branch Manager Newaygo Branch, Brent Deur to Assistant Vice President – Consumer Lending, Carla Burmeister to Senior Mortgage Manager and Patti Scherf to Senior Branch Manager Fremont Main Street Branch.
“I am very pleased to announce promotions for Brenda, Brent, Carla and Patti! Brenda has developed our contact center culture to the point where we serve members with more than 3,800 phone calls answered each month. Brent has been instrumental in developing our indirect lending program and I am looking forward to what he can accomplish with the entire Consumer Lending portfolio. Carla has been the linchpin of our mortgage efforts, generating significant member satisfaction through both salable and portfolio mortgages. Patti built our Newaygo branch up from its humble beginnings to its current strong status. Congratulations to all! ” said John P. Buckley, Jr., Gerber FCU President/CEO.
Ms. Bice joined the credit union as the Corporate Office Branch Manager in 2010. She will now be responsible for the leadership and growth of the Newaygo Branch operations including financial, compliance, and sales and service objectives. Bice has participated with United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, Victims Advocacy Program, Muskegon County Team to Prevent Elder Abuse & Exploitation, Girl Scouts of America and Reeth’s Puffer Schools. She is NMLS licensed.
Mr. Deur joined the credit union as the Fremont Main Street Branch Manager in 2005 and was later promoted to Senior Branch Manager. He will lead the Lending department responsible for all Consumer lending as well as the Member Solutions Department. Deur has volunteered for numerous community associations and charitable organizations such as the Business Applied Technology Advisory Board, Fremont Area Foundation Professional Advisor Board, Fremont Christian School Board, Fremont Little League Board and Junior Achievement. Deur holds the Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC) designation from the Credit Union National Association and is NMLS licensed.
Ms. Burmeister joined the credit union in 2017 as the Mortgage Manager. She will continue to lead the Mortgage department responsible for Construction and Mortgage lending. Burmeister has served on the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors as the President several times and also as the Treasurer and a Director. She also volunteers with BNI, Business Applied Technologies, the Fremont Business Expo Committee, the Fremont Christmas Committee, Junior Achievement, Leadership in Newaygo County and she is a Host Mentor. Burmeister holds the Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC) designation from the Credit Union National Association and is NMLS licensed.
Ms. Scherf joined the credit union as a Part-Time Teller in 2001, she was later promoted to Head Teller and then to Newaygo Branch Manager. As the Senior Branch Manager, she is responsible for the leadership and growth of the Fremont Main Street Branch operations including financial, compliance, and sales and service objectives. She has volunteered with Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and the River Country Chamber of Commerce. Patti holds the Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC) designation from the Credit Union National Association and is NMLS licensed.
Hardy Marina had a bit of excitement on Saturday. Seems while launching, a prospective boater jumped out of his truck to catch his boat and apparently left his truck in gear.
The truck continued down the ramp, over the large parking bumper at the bottom and into Hardy Pond.
And now a surplus of moths brought to you by those lousy caterpillars
Ok. You’re sitting in your post gypsy-moth-caterpillar-invasion backyard with much less shade and perhaps noticing the trees beginning to make an effort toward returning a bit of foliage to your domain.
And just as the post traumatic frass syndrome has started to subside a bit you begin to notice a definite uptick in the amount of fluttering beings flitting about the yard.
And they’re not butterflies.
No, they are the end product of those bountiful bastards that took advantage of drought conditions to wreak havoc on our landscape.
Well, they’re not going to eat any more leaves this year. Their new focus is on hooking up.
We turned to our friends at MSU Extension for a little info and a bit of guidance as to what might be done prevention-wise to help forestall a repeat performance next year.
Approximately two weeks after cocooning, adult gypsy moths emerge for a short mating cycle.
The adult female and male moths look very different from each other. The female is larger than the male and is creamy white with black "V" markings on her fore-wings. Female moths cannot fly; she attracts a mate by emitting a powerful pheromone. Males are a mottled brown and gray and have large feathery antennae. They are similar in appearance to many native moths. They can be distinguished, however, by their behavior, as they fly in search of females in the late afternoon; not at night.
Males pick up the scent of the female pheromone with their antennae. The male flies in a zigzag pattern toward the source of the pheromone. Once he locates the female, he communicates by dancing over and around her while rapidly beating his wings and then the pair mates. Shortly after mating the female deposits her eggs in a single mass and covers it with the yellowish-tan colored hairs from her own body. The only function of the adult stage of the gypsy moth is to reproduce leaving behind as many as a thousand descendants.
Unlike many other moths and butterflies, the adult gypsy moth cannot feed. The moth has about 2 weeks to find a mate before death; completing their one year life cycle.
Egg masses will persist until next spring when the hatch begins. To lessen impacts next year, it is important to look for, remove and destroy egg masses.
To find out more about invasive gypsy moth life stages, identification and management, visit Michigan.gov/Invasives.
Algae Bloom Detected On Hess Lake poses risks for pets, people
July 8, 2021 – District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) was notified by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) that algae blooms were detected on Hess Lake in Newaygo County.
After learning about what looked like algae blooms on Hess Lake, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) took samples on June 28 which were sent to the MDHHS lab where results came back positive for microcystin, an algal toxin released by some types of algae in lakes or rivers. Algae blooms can form when there are high nutrient levels within bodies of water along with warm temperatures. Additional testing will take place the week of July 12, and MDHHS is notifying homeowners about the initial test results.
“Algae blooms look like a green mat right on top of the water that smells bad and has a gelatinous texture to them,” stated Tom Reichard, Environmental Health Director for DHD#10. “The algal toxins that are released can be harmful to aquatic life, pets, and humans so it is very important to avoid these areas.”
Below are some steps to take when near waterways:
Contact with algae blooms can cause minor illness in humans but can be fatal to pets. Therefore, it is recommended that people keep their pets out of the water that shows any signs of algae blooms.
People and pets can experience the following symptoms after exposure to algae blooms:
If you think you have been exposed to algae blooms, take the following precautions:
From the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Dept:
On July 6th,2021 at approximately 3:30pm, Newaygo County Deputies and the Newaygo County Dive Team were dispatched to the 1400 block of Hess Lake Drive on Hess Lake for a boater that had gone overboard.
After hours of searching, the body of a 69-year-old Charlotte man was recovered by The Newaygo County Dive Team.
The Sheriffs Office was assisted by The Michigan State Police, The Grant Police Department, Michigan DNR, Newaygo Fire Department, Grant Fire Department and Life EMS.
NC RESA is extremely grateful to David Hewitt for his 27 years of service on NC RESA’s Board of Education. David has represented and advocated for the entire Newaygo County community, prioritizing the needs and interests of students at Newaygo County RESA and all schools in Newaygo County. Through his adept skills in governance and policy making, David has cultivated a culture of support and success within the Agency and throughout the community.
“David has demonstrated a strong commitment to the shared vision and mission of Newaygo County RESA and has used them as his guide in making decisions and communicating with others about the Agency's work,” stated Dr. Lori Tubbergen Clark, NC RESA Superintendent.
Since his appointment on July 11, 1994, David has contributed thousands of hours preparing for and presiding over nearly 350 meetings during his tenure and will leave a legacy. David is highly respected not only for his sound decision making and leadership, but because he cares deeply for every student and each staff member.
State Representative Scott VanSingel attended David’s last board meeting on June 28 and presented him with a tribute from the State of Michigan and signed by Governor Witmer, Lt. Gov. Gilcrest, Representative Van Singel, and Senator Bumstead recognizing his years of service. “David’s service to Newaygo County RESA has been a meaningful and long-term contribution to the Agency and the Newaygo County community,” Dr. Clark emphasized. “Mr. Hewitt’s 27 years of devoted service to NC RESA and the Newaygo County school community will be cherished.”
Shows are returning in force to Newaygo County’s premier venue
The Dogwood Center has been providing a vast array of sparkling entertainment to a grateful community for nearly 20 years. From symphony sounds, country and bluegrass bands and folk singers to plays, musicals, dance, and so much more the D-wood has always made an effort to appeal to a wide variety of interests. All this while delivering the goods at a bargain price with tickets a fraction of what the same acts get in Grand Rapids or Muskegon. Whether taking in a Main Stage extravaganza or enjoying an adult beverage or two in the Black Box while experiencing the bands up close and personal, the Dogwood scene never seemed to disappoint those seeking an evening of quality entertainment and diversion.
Then of course came the pandemic last March and like all similar venues the Dogwood fell silent. It was a bit eerie driving by the building as it sat awaiting the return of some action and seeing the NC RESA neon sign in front, devoid of upcoming shows.
But now The Dogwood is back and we are among the throngs of entertainment seekers ready to fill the building once again.
We caught up with Executive Director Marianne Boerigter and she graciously answered a few questions we posed.
Can you share what the past 15 months have been like for the Dogwood Center?
As I am sure everyone would agree, the last 15 months have been a long haul. The Dogwood Center, which is considered an "entertainment venue" and as you read about Covid-19 limitations and restrictions, we were a part of the group that drew a huge sigh of relief when the capacity limits were able to be dropped. As we did our part in trying to keep staff, volunteers and community members as safe as possible during the pandemic, it was still tough. But, as of June 22, the capacity limits were lifted and we are so pleased to be able to welcome everyone back to the Dogwood!
Now that restrictions have been lifted, what can we look for at the venue? What changes might we see when we attend a show?
Right now it would mostly be encouraging everyone to use hand sanitizer when they walk in the door, people can wear masks if they chose but not required, you will probably notice staff wiping surfaces down more, and that kind of thing. The summer performances are all on the main stage (as opposed to some in the Black Box) since that is where we booked the groups when we thought we would still be under capacity limitations this summer. And that works great... the sound in the main stage is amazing.
Is the Black Box open?
Yes, as of June 22 the capacity limits lifted, but we already had summer performances booked for main stage so we are keeping them in that part of the venue.
Is the Dogwood Center available for private parties, weddings, etc.?
Yes, we are starting to take quite a few calls and giving tours of the facility as people start to think about renting a facility for wedding receptions, meetings, etc. in the coming months. It is a beautiful facility and it is great that community members and organizations can utilize the fantastic space.
We heard there’s a new ticket system? Any changes when I order online?
Yes, during the shutdown we upgraded our ticketing system. It is going smoothly and probably the only thing for buying tickets online will be you need to set up an account the first time you use it, but after that it is easy peasy.
Can you tell us a little about the shows coming up?
On July 9 we have The Red Clay Strays performing. They are a blend of country and southern rock and sound great. A recent claim to fame for them is their song "Good Godly Woman" was featured in the movie "Doctor Sleep" which is based on Stephen King's novel. On July 16 we have a free outdoor concert on the lawn east of the Dogwood with Grand Rapids Symphony's Brass Quintet. The Dogwood Summer Youth Theater are busy rehearsing right now for their performances of Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors" coming up on July 30 and 31. Then we have Ralston Bowles on August 13 and Marshall Crenshaw on August 27.
How does it feel to be back?
It is awesome to have people coming back in through the Dogwood doors! Come on out and join us this summer...we can't wait to see your smiling faces!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ARTPRIZE 2021 VISITORS TO FIND AND AWARD TO ARTISTS NEARLY 500 CASH PRIZES THIS FALL
2021 marks an inflection point for ArtPrize as the artist-visitor interaction evolves and deepens, supported by a new digital platform presented by Delta Dental. This platform will leverage QR code technology to allow visitors to award $200,000 in cash prizes directly to artists.
Grand Rapids (Michigan) June 30, 2021 - ArtPrize, the international art competition and festival, today announced that visitors to the 2021 event will find prizes throughout the event district and award them directly to the artists of their choosing. These include nearly 500 cash prizes totaling $150,000 and a slate of emotional response prizes - all of which, when awarded to an artist, influence their chances of taking home the $50,000 Grand Prize. This deepened artist-visitor interaction will be powered by a new digital platform presented by Delta Dental and developed by Atomic Object, that will live online at artprize.org and that visitors will interact with on their smartphones. ArtPrize is slated to take place in Grand Rapids from September 16-October 3.
“Throughout the event’s history, ArtPrize has used technology to create opportunities for the public to engage with contemporary art on a massive scale. We’ve gone wide, and now we’re looking to make that interaction deeper, more meaningful,” said Craig Searer, ArtPrize executive director.
“This fall, ArtPrize will shift away from the traditional public vote into a new format that encourages visitors to go beyond simply ‘liking’ an artwork - giving them the opportunity to support artists financially when they award the prizes themselves, and opening up the possibility that more artists than ever before will take home a portion of the cash prizes,” continued Searer.
As visitors to ArtPrize 2021 explore the event, they will find QR codes on each entry label. By scanning these codes with their smartphones, they will find prizes to award to ArtPrize artists.
Each time a visitor scans a prize code, they will have the chance of finding one of nearly 500 cash prizes ranging from $250 to $1,500 each to award to any participating artist they choose. When scans do not turn up a cash prize, visitors will be presented with a slate of emotional response prizes to choose from and send to artists to let them know how their artwork made them feel.
“This fall, artists will at long last get feedback from visitors on a large scale,” said Katie Moore, ArtPrize senior exhibitions manager. “They’ll understand how their entries impact those exploring the event - are they wowed, emotional, encouraged to think in new ways? This new prize system will make it possible for that feedback to reach artists wherever they are, whether they’re able to attend the event in person or not.”
Each interaction between visitor and artist through this new digital platform will have a direct influence on the outcome of the $50,000 Grand Prize, to be awarded to one artist or artist collaborative at the end of the event.
“In 2021, a beta year and testing ground for our new format, we’re attempting something that’s never been done before at ArtPrize - giving artists and visitors the opportunity for deeper engagement, a desire they’ve expressed for years,” said Searer. “As we build this new prize structure and the technology platform that supports it, we’re creating a wealth of opportunities to test new means of engagement for the future. This is just the beginning.”
Artist and venue registration closed earlier this month, and the Connections period - through which artists and venues match up to form the ArtPrize exhibition - will run through July 8, extended to accommodate venues that signed up in June. ArtPrize will kick off in Grand Rapids on September 16, less than three months from now, and run through October 3.