LANSING.-The Labor Day holiday weekend is one of the deadliest travel periods of the year. The Michigan State Police (MSP) is reminding motorists to be responsible and make safe driving decisions.
MSP troopers will join their counterparts from across the country in the international traffic safety initiative, Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness and Reduction Efforts). In conjunction with Operation C.A.R.E., troopers across the state, along with approximately 150 other law enforcement agencies in Michigan, will be participating in the national safety campaign ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.’
“Driving drunk or drugged is unacceptable,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. “Crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs can be prevented. Troopers will be on patrol and watching. Wear a seatbelt and put your phone down. Let’s all do our part to make sure everyone on the road has a safe holiday weekend.”
The official Labor Day weekend begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 31, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 3. Last year, 10 fatal traffic crashes resulted in 15 deaths during the Labor Day holiday weekend.
The MSP is reminding motorists that the Mackinac Bridge will be closed again to vehicular traffic starting at 6:30 a.m. and lasting until noon on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3. As a result, northbound I-75 at exit 337 on the south end of the bridge and southbound US-2 and I-75 at exit 344 in the Upper Peninsula will close during that time as well. Troopers will be at various traffic points to monitor and assist motorists as much as possible.
Ballet To Grace The Stage In Newaygo
By Alexis Mercer
Studio 37 of Newaygo will be offering ballet and contemporary dance as part of its art center. Olga Smelik is a classically trained instructor who hopes to bring the beauty and elegance of dance to the Newaygo community. A wide variety of class times and levels are being offered beginning in September. A schedule of all classes is listed below.
Near North Now had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Smelik about the adventure of beginning dance classes in Newaygo. Her love and knowledge of the art form was very apparent throughout the conversation.
N3: What are you hoping your students will learn from your classes?
Smelik: I hope to instill the love of Ballet in my students. I hope to give them valuable lessons of hard work, preserverance and respect and appreciation for the arts. I hope they will find joy in their everyday accomplishments as they feel themselves progressing step by step. I would love for them to be able to carry that appreciation for ballet throughout their lives and to pass it on to their own children someday.
N3: Why did you choose Newaygo for your ballet school?
Smelik: I was approached by Studio 37 owner Gabe Schillman to develop a ballet program as a part of his growing arts and culture center. The fact that is is in Newago was not specifically planned, I just saw it as an opportunity to bring fine art of ballet here as there seems to be quite a growth of all things culture in the recent years.
N3: For how long have you been teaching ballet?
Smelik: I have been teaching ballet for over 20 years starting at the age of 22 . I have retired from dancing myself at 30 years old and ever since then was focusing solely on teaching.
N3: What is your favorite part of teaching this fine art?
Smelik: My favorite part of teaching ballet is to see my students progress further than they ever thought themselves was possible and see them accomplish goals and being able to do things they thought they never would. I love to see fruits of their hard work coming to surface.
In addition to children's classes, Smelik hopes to include adults in her lessons as well. If you have an interest in learning the beauty of ballet, contact Smelik today!
Two types of classes will be offered. Those for homeschool students during school hours and after school programming. The information for each is listed below.
MONDAYS (ages 5 through 7) and WEDNESDAYS (ages 7 and up)
Basic Ballet Technique 11am-12pm
CLASSES START SEPTEMBER 10th price $ 50 per month
This program is designed to be an introduction to art of ballet to homeschoolers as part of fine art study. If a homeschooler is an experienced dancer we suggest our after school program.
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM
All students wishing to attend after school program (either full time or part time) will be required to take placement class (free of charge) to insure the most accurate placement for best learning environment. If a student is placed too high he or she will struggle to keep up, and if too low he or she will not be challenged. All placement decisions are solely up to ballet teacher and are made in the best interest of each student. Students are placed according to their previous experience and ability and not age, so there may be slightly different ages in each group. Students may be moved up a level as the year progresses and they show consistency and dedication.
PLACEMENT CLASS TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4th, 2018
4:30-5:30 Ages 6 through 10
5:30-7pm-Ages 10 and up
You will be notified of your placement the following day by email.
FULL TIME PROGRAM SCHEDULE
LEVEL 1 Dress code light blue leotard
4:30-5:30pm MONDAY and WEDNESDAY $70 per month
LEVEL 2 Dress code lavender leotard
5:30-7pm MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY
Pre-pointe /Beginner pointe is included in TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY class $200 per month
Note: LEVEL 2 students will start with pre- pointe and will progress to pointe ONLY when approved by instructor and sufficient strength is developed
LEVEL 3 Dress code coffee(light brown) or black leotard
7-8:30 pm MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, FRIDAY (5:30 -7pm combined with level 2, POINTE class follows 7-8pm)
SATURDAY 10-11am, POINTE class follows 11-12pm $300 per month
CONTEMPORARY – INCLUDED IN FULL TIME TUITION
Students in levels 2 and 3 are required to take minimum 4 classes per week, otherwise will not be permitted to dance on pointe.
PART TIME PROGRAM SCHEDULE
Part time Level 1 and 2 students can participate in performances but will not be allowed to take Pointe classes because body needs to train at least 5 hours per week to safely dance on pointe. They may take a contemporary class. Part time Level 3 students may do Pointe once a week if attendance is consistent and with instructor’s approval.
LEVEL 1 Dress code light blue leotard
4:30-5:30pm MONDAY or WEDNESDAY – one class a week
$60 per month
LEVEL 2 Dress code lavender leotard 5:30-7pm-two classes a week
CHOOSE 2 out of MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY or FRIDAY
$120 per month
LEVEL 3 Dress code coffee (light brown) or black leotard 3 classes a week available CHOOSE 3 out of MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, FRIDAY or SATURDAY (refer to full program class times)
$200 per month
CONTEMPORARY MAY BE ADDED FOR $10 more per month for part time program
IF ONLY WOULD LIKE TO STUDY CONTEMPORARY IT IS $50 per month THURSDAY 5-6pm
Eight human cases, including one death, of West Nile virus for 2018 confirmed in Michigan
LANSING – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) today confirmed eight human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) for 2018. Eight cases of WNV have been confirmed; one resident of Berrien County, one resident of Kent County, one resident of Oakland County, and five residents of Wayne County including one death. All but one have been hospitalized with neurologic disease. In addition to the eight human cases, three Michigan blood donors have had WNV detected in their blood.
“As the fall approaches, it’s vital to remember that mosquito bite protection should continue until the weather significantly cools,” said Dr. Eden Wells, Chief Medical Executive at the MDHHS. “It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause a severe illness, so take extra care during peak mosquito-biting hours, which are dusk and dawn for the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus.”
Surveillance for mosquito-borne diseases is being conducted by several agencies, including the MDHHS, the Departments of Natural Resources (MDNR) and Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and local health departments. In 2018, WNV activity appears to be statewide in Michigan.To date, 66 birds have tested positive for WNV from 21 of Michigan’s 83 counties. In addition, 74 WNV positive mosquito pools have been detected in eight Michigan counties. Finding infected birds, animals, and mosquitoes in a community is an indication of risk for human infection.
Most people who become infected with WNV will not develop any symptoms of illness. However, some become sick three to 15 days after exposure. About one-in-five infected persons will have mild illness with fever, and about one in 150 infected people will become severely ill.
Mild illness may include headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting diarrhea, or rash. Severe symptoms of WNV are associated with encephalitis or meningitis, and may include: stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, muscle weakness, convulsions and paralysis. People 60 and older are more susceptible to these severe symptoms.
Residents can stay healthy by using simple, effective strategies to protect themselves and their families. The following steps are recommended to avoid WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases:
Newaygo County awarded federal funds through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Emergency Food and Shelter(EFSP) National Board Program.
Newaygo County has been chosen to receive $20,278 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.
The selection was made by a National Board that is chaired by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; The Jewish Federations of North America, The Salvation Army; and, United Way Worldwide. The Local Board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas around the country.
The purpose of the EFSP is to supplement and expand the ongoing work of local social service organizations, both non-profit and governmental, to provide shelter, food and supportive services to individuals and families who have economic emergencies. Accordingly, EFSP funding is open to all organizations helping hungry and homeless people, as well as organizations that support those at risk of becoming hungry or homeless due to economic hardships.
A Local Board made up of community volunteers and representatives of local health and human services agencies will determine how the funds awarded to Newaygo County are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies in the area. The Local Board is responsible for recommending agencies to receive these funds and any additional funds made available under this phase of the program.
Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must: 1) be private voluntary non-profits or units of government, 2) be eligible to receive Federal funds, 3) have an accounting system, 4) practice nondiscrimination, 5) have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and 6) if they are a private voluntary organization, have a voluntary board. Qualifying agencies are urged to apply.
Newaygo County has distributed Emergency Food and Shelter funds previously to TrueNorth Community Services and Women’s Information Services (WISE). The agencies used Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds in 2017 to provide food assistance to low-income households and emergency shelter residents. Funds from the current allocation must be spent on eligible costs for food banks/pantries, mass shelters, emergency lodging, rent/mortgage assistance, or utility assistance by January 31, 2019.
Public or private voluntary agencies interested in applying for Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds must contact Mark Petz, Newaygo County Community Collaborative Coordinator at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 231-924-5350 for an application. The deadline for applications to be received is September 7, 2018.
Colonial Bridge work to begin in October
Two years ago a one car crash ended the century plus run of the enigmatic wooden structure known as the Colonial Bridge.
Built in the early 1900’s the humpback one lane structure spanning the railroad line running underneath has had a checkered history when it comes to ownership, the primary factor in why the work to replace the bridge has been delayed.
“The rail line is currently leased by Marquette Rail but owned by CSX,” said NCRC Manager Kelly Smith. “When we began inquiring about the bridge we were told by the railroad that they didn’t own it. This led to a lengthy process of finding out how we can acquire ownership of the bridge when no one claims to own it.”
Finally through a seemingly never ending series of correspondence the Road Commission acquired the bridge however another roadblock to action remained.
“There was no record of us having a right of way (ROW) for the bridge that no one owned is probably the simplest explanation.”
The NCRC applied for the ROW and now after this lengthy adventure through an ocean of paperwork, phone calls and emails the work on the bridge is scheduled to begin.
The old structure will be removed beginning October 22 and work will begin on the new 100 foot span with two lanes and shoulders alongside. Abutments will be in place by winter and the work will resume in the Spring with completion slated for around July 4th.
The $2 million project will include approximately $100,000 in local monies as the required 5% match is being met by Ashland Township and the NCRC.
“The road commission is appreciative of Ashland townships contribution towards the project, without it the project may not have happened,” added Smith. “ We also would like to thank those who have been inconvenienced for their patience while we worked through the process of restoring the crossing.”
Hess Lake to lose its restaurant?
A popular lakeside restaurant will apparently not be reopening after a Tuesday night fire caused significant damage to the building that housed Smugglers Cove.
The business posted this on social media:
“As many of you know and have heard, Smuggler’s Cove has had a fire and yes it is beyond repair. We will keep you all updated on what’s to come. Thank you for all the love and support! We have been fortune for the many good years and am so happy that everyone was left without a mark.”
The fire began in the upstairs portion of the business and customers were evacuated safely while firefighters arrived on the scene shortly after.
From the NFD:
“Newaygo Fire Department was dispatched to 864 E. 88th Street, Smuggler's Cove, for a reported electrical fire in the attic. Command arriving on scene reported working fire across the roof. Mutual Aid was requested from Ashland-Grant Fire Department, Croton Fire Department and White Cloud Fire Department. The fire was contained to the second floor and called under control at 2038. The cause of the fire is under investigation at this time.
"Due to the quick actions of our members and mutual aid partners, we were able to limit the fire damage to the second floor of the building," said Jason Cunningham, Deputy Chief of Newaygo Fire Department.
The local eatery was a favorite among lake residents and also drew regulars from throughout the area and beyond. Near North Now contributor Mollie Swendrowski offered this mini review last year:
“A familiar site to those who frequent the waters of Hess Lake, a recently renovated Smuggler's Cove offers an intimate nautical environment for landlubbers and water voyagers alike. Arrive by land or sea (er, lake) and help yourself to a hearty plate of nachos or choose from one of the largest and most unique seafood selections in the area, all while enjoying a stunning view of Hess Lake during summer or winter.”
By late morning Wednesday the parking lot saw a steady stream of cars passing by slowly, a television crew on hand interviewing a group of Harley riders who had heard about the blaze and stopped in on their way north, and folks who had not heard about the incident and arrived looking for lunch.
Discovering the closure sent them searching for alternatives.
Dam Failure Emergency Drill on Friday, August 17, 2018
In the evening of Friday, August 17, 2018, Newaygo County will be testing the response to a dam failure emergency on the Muskegon River. “This emergency drill is a requirement of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and provides an opportunity for public safety to test response procedures,” stated Newaygo County Emergency Services Director Abby Watkins. During this exercise, homeowners and businesses within the identified dam failure inundation area can expect:
“A failure of the Hardy Dam would have devastating impacts to our community,” Watkins said. “This emergency drill will help educate those living below the dam on where to go, what to do, and what to expect during a catastrophic failure with the goal of keeping people safe.”
Newaygo County Emergency Services would like to remind the community, during a real dam failure emergency:
Gerber Memorial’s new president, Kelley, meets colleagues with balloons, cupcakes – and open ears
FREMONT – One of the first things Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s new leader, Randy Kelley, FACHE, wanted to do as he began his tenure was to meet as many of his new colleagues as possible. So he parked himself at a table near the entry to the popular Sullivan Street Café at lunchtime, hung out some balloons and put out a spread of cupcakes.
He got the lunchtime crowd on Tuesday (Aug. 7) to stop long enough to grab some dessert – and introduce themselves to their new president.
“The staff who work on the frontlines every day are the folks who make this hospital run, and I’m eager to hear their thoughts and learn from them about how Gerber Memorial can continue to serve the Newaygo County community with quality care, community health and compassion,” Kelley said. “I really appreciate the opportunity to meet my new colleagues and get to know them. I look forward to working closely with everyone and I want my new coworkers to know that my door is always open, and that I’m eager to listen to what they have to say.”
Sheri Woodard, medical records coordinator, said she found Kelley approachable, friendly and open to conversation.
“I really appreciate the time he is taking to come and visit each department while he is here and fitting us within his already packed schedule,” Woodard said. “His personalized approach to the employees, our patients and community will be well received.”
Infection preventionist Terri Fountain agreed.
“Randy is present in his role and attentive to our staff here at Gerber,” she said. “He is engaged in conversation and we are looking forward to getting to know him and building relationships.”
Kelley is also president of Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital and a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE), dividing his time between Newaygo County and Ludington in his new leadership role. He began at Gerber Memorial shortly after Randy Stasik retired as president in July.
Kelley will be responsible for ensuring clinical and service excellence for patients by actively partnering and collaborating with Spectrum Health Medical Group as well as Spectrum Health integrated care campus leaders in the northwest market communities in Mason, Lake, Newaygo, Oceana and the northern part of Muskegon counties. His focus will be on growth, transformation of care to achieve best practices and continuous improvement, and delivery in the northwest region on Spectrum Health’s promise to be a high-reliability organization.
For Immediate Release:
RE: Hardy Hydroelectric Project # 2452
On April 12, 2018 Consumers Energy (Consumers) notified you of a project at Hardy Dam to repair the auxiliary spillway tipping wall. The project began April 16, 2018 and concluded May 30, 2018.
In that letter, I indicated that Consumers was in the planning stages of an additional project at the Hardy Dam, which includes replacement of the Hardy Dam Road in partnership with the Newaygo County Road Commission.
Currently, Consumers continues to develop the scope, design and schedule of this future project at Hardy Dam. At this time, Consumers is informing you of our decision to not perform the road replacement and associated work in 2019, including drawing the Hardy Pond down to a lower level during the summer of 2019.
Consumers is committed to keeping stakeholders informed of the timing and details of this project. We will provide more information when it is available and as soon as possible. Please see https://www.ConsumersEnergy.com/hydros for project updates. Feel free to send any inquires to this website for additional information and for ease of contacting us directly.
Brooke McTaggart, Administrator
Land & Recreation Management
Reminder! Time To Vote!
Do not forget to exercise your citizen rights while simultaneously meeting your citizen responsibility by taking a bit of time to head to the polls tomorrow, Tuesday, August 7th.
There are issues on the ballot that need to be addressed via a vote of the people and selections for offices ranging from local to county to state to national are on tap depending on the side of the ballot you choose to make your marks.
Near North Now will be delivering the results as they come in, so if you don’t already follow us on Facebook this is an opportune time to tune into our area’s online source for information, entertainment, viewpoints, fine features and a variety of other stuff we like to share.
But more important than this shameless stab at self promotion is for you to vote. Put it on your phone or smart watch or calendar hanging up in the kitchen or even leave yourself a giant note at a spot generally visited as you start your day like the coffee pot or fridge with big letters saying VOTE TODAY!
This is your latest opportunity to make a difference.
And they usually give you a little sticker saying “I Voted” , a cool thing to be wearing on Election Day.
Story and photos by Amy Griffin, Head Coach, Deaf Women’s National Team
Ed. Note: Recently The U.S. Deaf Womens National Team came to Fremont to hone their skills on the soccer field as well as put on a clinic for area players of all ages.
We met their coach, Amy Griffin and asked her to put together a story about the experience.
What follows is her account of what proved to be an interesting time for all involved.
Impossible is the task of accurately depicting the training camp the U.S. Deaf Women's National Team (USDWNT) recently completed. It's long, so wait until you are stuck in traffic, the laundry reads 1 minute to go but you know it will be an eternity, your kids won't get off video games, or you are sincerely interested in the goings on of this wonderful team.
A year ago, Laura Yon, former captain and member of US DWNT player pool, mentioned the idea of hosting a training camp on her family's dairy farm in Fremont, Michigan. Assuming I'd blow off the idea she followed up with an email titled: "10 Top Reasons Camp in Michigan will be the Best." Amongst the reasons: free fields, free cars, etc.. as she knows we are on a slim budget. She had me at Reason #4: The team will be together on the farm and have a taste of farm life (AKA: HARD WORK). Sold.
In a country where youth sports have turned into big business & families are paying thousands of dollars to buy the right environment, we decided to dial it back. It doesn't cost anything to be better. In my opinion the 2 most important ingredients in improving as a team are 1) Hard Work and 2) Working Well Together. Nope.. make that one thing: WORKING HARD TOGETHER.
We were a team of extremes. Veterans that have won gold medals the Deaflympics and Deaf World Championships alongside rookies that have never played with another deaf teammate. An age rage that begins in middle school and ends near forty. Communication styles that are either oral or sign language. Yes, training camp on the farm would be perfect. This would be the camp where players learned how to work hard, work together, and work for others.
Laura and her family graciously gave the team their homes, automobiles, ATV’s, and chores. Steve Vissia had also graciously donated the facilities at Fremont Middle School ; a rare luxury.
3:00 – 6:30 Farm Chores : Players stepped in to help care for 150 + calves. Jobs consisted of cleaning water buckets, filling milk bottles, feeding calves and helping with vaccinations among other things.
8:30-10:00 am Practice
6:30-8:00 PM Training
Thanks to the efforts and environment that Laura, her twin sister Erin, and other provided, the camp proved to be an invaluable experience. Each day of hard work and learning new things allowed for growth on many levels. The team gained a new understanding of how much smoother jobs were completed when clear positive communication occurred and everyone put in maximum effort together. Synchronicity. Teamwork. The shared experience of the 3am grind translated onto the soccer field at practice. By the end of camp, it was evident that many elements had improved in a very short time. The communication was better, willingness to work extra hard even on a hot day was great, paying attention to details and coaching points seemed to resonate. The bonds that grew from all of the players regardless of experience, age or background was one of the elements that will help our team find the gold medal podium once again; and it was hard work and long hours that united this bunch… in an environment new to most of us.
It’s not often a coach gets to boast about so a successful camp on many levels, but this camp was special. Thanks to the open hearts and minds of those that help make this camp happen and the players that participated; and who weren’t afraid to go for it. For more info on the team and or players please follow: www.usdwnt.com
Instagram: usadeafwnt Twitter: USDeaf_WNT