Local leaders and residents participated in Discover Your Community Day on October 20 for a behind-the-scenes look at healthcare and the arts in Newaygo County.
The event was the fourth in a series of Discover Your Community Days presented by Fremont Area Community Foundation in partnership with the Fremont Area and River Country chambers of commerce. The series was designed to give emerging local leaders a broader base of knowledge of Newaygo County and its resources.
The day began at the Dogwood Center for Performing Arts in Fremont. Brendan Gray from Stage Door Players gave the group a brief introduction to the White Cloud-based community theater.
“We’re a small theater, but we have a lot going on,” said Gray, who noted that Stage Door presents five or six shows each year, improv nights, director’s workshops, and a children’s show.
Dogwood staff members then gave attendees tours of the Black Box, main theater, and backstage areas. They showed off some of the lighting and technical capabilities in the theaters and talked about the versatility of the space.
After the tour, the group boarded a bus to Newaygo County Council for the Arts-Artsplace. NCCA Executive Director Marianne Boerigter and Lindsay Isenhart, program coordinator, spoke about their extensive programming and led a tour of the space, which includes a gallery, local artist market, and classrooms.
“We have a very vibrant and supportive community for the arts here,” said Isenhart. “We want to make the arts accessible to everyone.”
Local artists were on hand to demonstrate different class offerings and to speak about their own experiences at the Artsplace.
Transitioning to local healthcare, the group toured Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial (SHGM) and then enjoyed lunch and a tour at Tamarac. Randy Stasik, SHGM president and CEO, spoke about the organization’s award-winning reputation for quality and safety as well as its growth. Spectrum Gerber employs 800 people and now sees 550 births and more than 20,000 visits each year.
Traveling next to Grant, attendees toured Family Health Care, which operates five health centers, including Grant and White Cloud, and three school-based Child and Adolescent Health Centers. They see 33,000 patients a year and offer medical, dental, and behavioral health services as well as pharmacies, radiology, and a vision clinic in White Cloud.
“Once the patient gets here, we do as much for them as possible,” said Sandy Siegel, director of external and internal relations. “We’re here for everyone.”
The day concluded at the Grant Fine Arts Center on the campus of Grant High School. Director Lukas Sweers led a tour of the 793-seat facility which opened in 2003.
“This is a space for students and the community,” said Sweers, who directs three student productions each year and uses the space daily as a classroom. It also hosts community events and concerts and can accommodate whole-school assemblies.
Currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, LionHeart Productions was also in the building preparing for its fall show, The Addams Family. Board President Mike Gesler spoke about the challenges and joys of community theater.
“I’m always amazed by the talent we find in the community,” he said.
Discover Your Community Days were developed in partnership with local chambers of commerce and alumni of the Leadership in Newaygo County (LINC) program. The series also included days focused on business and agriculture, education, local government, human service organizations, and Newaygo County history and natural resources.
NCRESA Seeks LPN
NCRESA Seeks Special Education Teacher
Tigers Moving On
28-14 win gives Grant another shot at Oakridge
By Ken Delaat
Photos By Alexis Mercer
The stands were filling up early for this one. Two weeks ago the Lions got in with a win over the Grant team and a week later the Tigers earned their pass and the speculation was the annual battle between neighbors was going to have a sequel this year. Selection Sunday sealed it and the two teams met, this time in Newaygo, to see who would advance in this second season.
It was definitely a playoff atmosphere, The weather had turned cold and it was unlikely to get warmer but the rain was holding off for the well bundled crowd who settled in for this highly anticipated win or go home game between two talented teams.
The teams came onto the field at nearly the same time to the cheers of their respective crowds and Grant received the opening kickoff but it was mishandled and the Tigers began play on their own 12.They picked up a couple of first downs by Trent Throop and Jared Evans but the drive stalled when Freddy Hull was stopped by an Anthony Hudson hit, Dylan Moore slapped away a pass and Cooper Heinzman made a tackle for loss.
The Lions took over but couldn’t move the ball and on the punt Hull ran the return 30 yards to the Newaygo 40.5 plays and a little over 2 minutes later Evans broke through from 3 yards out for 6 with the Tyler Naffziger extra point making it 7-0 Grant.
The Lions responded with a grinding 6 minute drive featuring some pounding running by Connor Swinehart Zachary Rodriguez and Heinzman and culminating in a 1 yard plunge by Rodriguez. The PAT by Francisco Rios knotted the game at 7.
Grant put together their own 6 min drive with Throop taking it in from 13 yards out for the score and a 14-7 lead after the Naffziger conversion. The Lions churned downfield but the drive expired on a 4th down incomplete pass and the teams reached intermission with the Tigers up 7.
The second half began with the Lions going 3 and out. Grant started on their 32 and behind the running of Throop and Evans and a pair of passes to Joshua Wright and Jarrett Railing.On first and goal Evans bounced off a pair of Lion tacklers and the Tigers went up by 14 after Nafziger punched it through again.
Down 21-7 the Lions had a drive going but a fumble was recovered by Grant’s Castro and the Tigers looked to be in control.The Lion defense stepped up with a Nick Simington sack that put the Tigers back and ended in a punt two plays later.
Once again the Lions were stalled by the tenacious Tiger defense and after a 3 and out punted again. Things went bad to worse when the punt was shanked and Grant took over on the Lion 36.6 plays and a 1 yard Throop run later it was 28-7 and the Grant faithful began to sense a win.
The Lions weren’t done. They put together another drive gaining yardage in chunk until an interception gave the visitors the ball on the 5. Two plays later Simington once again broke through for a big hit, picked up the fumble, and rumbled into the end zone for 6. Rios booted it through and the score was 28-14 where it would remain.
The Tigers and their fans celebrated as the clock wound down. They won their first ever playoff game after 4 previous tries and would be moving on to face Oakridge a 38-7 winner over North Muskegon, for the District Championship. It was the Eagles who bounced Grant from the tournament last year.
For the Lions a successful 7-3 season in their first year under the tutelage of Coach Scott Van Essen and his staff and a bright future for Lion football.
For the Tigers, a little redemption for the homecoming loss to their neighbors two weeks ago.
As well as evening the record between the two teams at 34-34 since 1950.
Line 5 Update
Editor Note: The following is a press release from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality regarding the 64 year old pipeline that crosses the Straits of Mackinac. Any scenario involving a malfunction causing a leak would seem to be disastrous for our number one resource and profoundly affect all aspects of life in our state.
Do the research that hasn’t been funded by the company then ponder why this pipeline is still in existence.
Need for Transparency Underscored by Revelation Enbridge Knew of Coating Damage Despite March Statements
State decision on permit to install anchors on Line 5 will take new information into account
LANSING, MICH. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) and Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) expressed concerns that Enbridge knew of damage in the protective coating on a portion of Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac.
Enbridge Energy Partners, which owns and operates the line, possessed information about the damage in 2014 and failed to disclose it to state agencies. The damage to the coating occurred when Enbridge was installing anchors meant to better secure the pipeline to the lake bottom.
The state is expecting to receive information today regarding the coating damage. The information, provided by Enbridge, is in response to an information request by DEQ. The information request was sent to Enbridge to supplement its application for a permit to install additional anchors along the pipeline. By request of Enbridge, DEQ extended the application processing deadline from Nov. 2, 2017 to March 2, 2018 in order to more thoroughly review the information expected today.
Recent pressure tests have confirmed the structural integrity of the pipeline. The coatings nevertheless remain a concern to state agencies because of the coating’s role in protecting the pipeline, and because some of the damage was caused by Enbridge’s actions during maintenance activities. In addition, Enbridge had as recently as March of this year represented to the state’s Pipeline Safety Advisory Board that there were no known concerns about the Line 5 coating, despite having documentation of this damage in 2014.
"The DEQ is going to take this revelation very seriously and will conduct a thorough assessment of the information to consider during our continued review of the permit application,” said DEQ Director C. Heidi Grether.
“We are deeply disappointed that Enbridge did not tell the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board in March the whole story about Line 5 coating deficiencies. Enbridge owes the people of Michigan, the Advisory Board and the State an apology,” said Valerie Brader, executive director of MAE and co-chair of the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board. “This issue is too important to the people of Michigan to not tell the truth in a timely manner, and right now any trust we had in Enbridge has been seriously eroded.”
“The recent finding and reporting by Enbridge clearly demonstrates the need for greater transparency and oversight where Line 5 is concerned,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “We will be seeking to ensure there are mechanisms in place to increase communication and stewardship on the part of Enbridge in the future.”
“I am concerned by Enbridge’s lack of transparency when it comes to Line 5,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division. “It is imperative to have a good working relationship with our public and private sector partners to ensure public safety. When one of our partners withholds vital information, it makes emergency and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery difficult.”
Line 5 is a 645-mile pipeline built in 1953 and runs from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Canada. It transports up to 540,000 barrels a day of light crude oil and natural gas liquids. The state is awaiting completion of an independent alternatives analysis regarding the Straits pipeline. Negotiations are ongoing between the state and a proposed contractor for a separate independent risk analysis on Line 5.
Familiar Foes Face-Off Friday
Cat fight looming as Lions and Tigers look to move on to District final
“We are excited about the opportunity play Grant again and I'm sure they are excited to play us also. They know us and we know them and I'm sure it will be a great game.”- Newaygo Head Coach Scott Van Essen
“The coaching staff is extremely happy for the boys. Their hard work and dedication throughout the season and during the offseason has allowed them to make the state playoffs " back to back" for the first time in school history. We are also excited to play Newaygo in the first round. They are a well coached football team and it should be a great matchup.”- Grant Head Coach Darren Geraghty
And here we are.
Two teams with a lengthy legacy of doing battle that traces back far into the previous century.
Going into this season the teams were dead even since 1950 with each besting the other on the gridiron 33 times.
Two weeks ago the Lions edged ahead with win number 34 the victory on the home field of the Tigers that sent them into the playoffs. A week later Grant punched its playoff ticket by taking down Ravenna.
And now it’s playoff time and these two teams who are well acquainted with each other and geographic neighbors will be lacing them up and taking the field to go at it one more time.
You can look at the records this year. Both lost to Reed City at home and Chip Hills on the road. Both swept through the remainder of their conference schedule and both posted victories in their two non conference games.
These are teams that are driven by their play in the trenches. Teams that rely on a strong running attack and an opportunistic passing game. Jared Evans and Cooper Heinzman can bust for big yardage when given some room and QB’s.Trent Throop and Connor Swinehart can do harm on the ground or in the air.
When they met two weeks ago the Tigers lost a pair of scoring opportunities to untimely penalties and big defensive plays from the Lions. Once Newaygo got the lead they grinded out yardage eating up clock and keeping Grant’s offense off the field.
In the end Newaygo prevailed but from the press box these teams looked pretty evenly matched.
There has been one playoff game between the schools 5 years ago but there was no regular season contest that year. It was during Newaygo’s magical 2012 season when the Lions powered their way into the Regionals, a tournament run that began with a victory over their longtime rivals.
After that win I was standing by a group of Lion fans and someone remarked that the end of the road was probably ahead since the following week Newaygo had to go to Reed City and face the Coyote team that had hung their only loss of the season on them, a convincing 35-7 spanking.
Former Sheriff Mike Mercer was among that crowd and replied “I wouldn't be so sure, it’s awfully hard to beat a good team twice in the same season.”
The Lions went north and came home with a season defining win.
This one should be a classic. Two weeks removed from their last meeting should leave few surprises for the teams. They know the strengths and vulnerabilities of their opponent and know what it takes to defeat them.
They will strive to play penalty free but there will be a lot of emotions on the field tonight (as well as in the stands) and it could come down to who makes the fewest mistakes.
Either way, tonight you can throw all the stats and analytics and predictions and previous matchups out the window because, after all, it is Newaygo and Grant.
"The Game" Part II.
Here we go!
Sheriff Mendham reminds drivers to be alert during deer season
White Cloud-Sheriff Mendham reminds motorists that with fall and the hunting season in full swing, deer populations will be on the move. This activity heightens the chance of a car/deer crash occurring.
In 2016, there were a reported 46,870 accidents in Michigan involving vehicles & deer. “Most often, you’ll see a deer near dawn or dusk,” said Sheriff Mendham. Motorists are encouraged to look beyond the beam of their headlights for eyes of deer that may be near the path of your vehicle.
Trying to dodge a deer is not a good idea according to Sheriff Mendham. Deer often move erratically and swerving may cause you to lose control of your vehicle, resulting in injury or even death. In 2016, 1,240 injuries and 14 deaths were reported as a result of a vehicle-deer collision. The best way to avoid a vehicle-deer collision is to slow your vehicle down, flash your headlights and/or blow your horn to try and scare the animal. Deer travel together, if you see one chances are others are coming so please proceed with caution.
Remember to heed deer crossing signs. If you do hit a deer make sure you report it to your local police or the sheriff’s office.
For more safety tips Sheriff Mendham encourages residents to visit the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association website at www.misheriff.org where you can sign up to receive monthly newsletters. Founded in 1877 the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association is the oldest law enforcement organization in Michigan.
A Banner Year for White Cloud
Recently residents and visitors began doing double takes as they drove through White Cloud. They are noticing the new pole banners posted on M 37 and Wilcox Avenue that present the new White Cloud Tag Line a “Trail For Every Season”. These colorful banners and logos represent a recreational activity like paddling on the White River water trail, hiking or cross country skiing on the North Country Trail or zooming down the Diamond 3 trail on a snowmobile.
The banners also represent a successful and ongoing branding initiative by several City and County individual dedicated to letting all Michiganders know about the recreational activities that are available in and around White Cloud. This initiative is led by Mr. Dan Abid a local business owner and Chair of the White Cloud Downtown Development Authority (DDA). Dan has drafted a project committee that included, City Business Manager Lora Kalkofen, Mark Guzniczak NECDO representative, City Mayor Charles Chandler and others to support this initiative.
However, from the beginning the committee struggled with developing a new brand image that would strengthen White Cloud’s recognition as a trail town on the North Country Trail and identify other local recreational opportunities. Additionally they wanted to honor White Clouds legacy tag line “Where the North Begins and Pure Water Flows” but also recognizing that most folks traveling through White Cloud on Friday afternoons think the North begins much further up Michigan Highway 37.
Dan and other members of White Cloud DDA wanted the project completed and the banners up before the annual Trail Town Celebration held on September 29th and 30th. With that timeline all felt it was time to call in the professionals to resolve some of the issues and move the project forward. The Brandmark Goods firm was selected and Genji Leclair their Director of Business Development from Fremont soon had the project in hand. She helped the White Cloud branding committee identify White Cloud’s goal, their strengths and the message the new brand image would convey to the public. This was followed by a flurry of meetings and activities that in a very short time produced possible tag lines, example of logos for pole banners, City stationery and more.
The committee with the assistance of Genji made decisions on the tag line, style of logos and colors and Brandmark Goods staff quickly produced graphics and samples that Dan presented to the DDA for approval. The rush was on to get the pole banners produced and up for the impending Trail Town celebration. Genji and Brandmark Goods delivered the banners and even produced a special Tee Shirt for the Trail Town Celebration. The White Cloud Department of Public Works installed the banners and the Trail Town participants and attendees had the opportunity to see a new colorful look and now know that White Cloud has a “Trail for Every Season.”
And that whatever your recreation activity there is a place for you to play in and around White Cloud.
“What’s Going On?”
Watching, walking, playing, talking
By N3 Entertainment Squadron
The title? Yes, we agree, one of the finest record albums to hit the shelves of Believe In Music in the early 70’s. The classic Marvin Gaye single of the same name provided a combination of smooth soul sound and the rare lyrical mastery involved in delivering a deeply moving yet linguistically simplistic message.
But that’s not what this is about.
We’ve got a pretty busy week ahead of us with more than a scattering of events and goings on what with the holiday upon us and all.
Yes Halloween is nigh and with all the stuff crammed into a rather compressed period of time we at N3 World Headquarters and Leaf Refuge thought it best to begin tossing out some of the doings for your perusal.
Tonight at Newaygo High School the inaugural meeting of the newly revived Neighborhood Watch Program will be held beginning at 7:00pm.
The posting from the Police Department reads:
“We would like to invite all citizens of the city of Newaygo to attend the meeting and join. This will also be a great opportunity to discuss your concerns for the safety and security of the city. Let's take a stand together against crime in your community, and in our city.”
Need more info? Call the department at 231.652.1655 and ask for Chief Andres or Officer Ryan Dornbos or you can email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you read our earlier articles on the efforts in Newaygo to work toward a more walkable community or attended one of the meetings at the old museum or paid even a little attention to social media or listened to the buzz in local gathering spots you already should know about the arrival of Walkability Expert Jeff Speck to the fair city.
After spending time touring the town of Newaygo he will be delivering a lecture on walkability based on his findings 6pm Thursday at Newaygo High School.
This one is really important if you are invested in the future of the city
Another talk. Equally vital. This one aimed at those who share a common bond by virtue of sharing their lives with children. I’m talking parents. The Talk Early Talk Often Road Show comes to Grant Middle School Thursday 5:30-8pm. Not only is there free child care on the premises as well as a free dinner , and giveaways but the opportunity to gain some really good information on how to talk to your young folks about any number of those sensitive subjects we thought we’d never have to talk about when they were in a crib.
Parenting is tough and there are many decisions facing our children at much younger ages today than may have been true in the past. Knowledge is power and this initiative can deliver the goods on helping you have those difficult chats with your kids.
RSVP by going online at www.bit.ly/GrantTETO or calling 231.924.5350
Oh, and for those who feel they’ve got this one down? Come anyway for the free eats and see if you feel the same way after the program.
Friday and Saturday Trail of Terror continues (see Megan’s column on the Features and Fun page) for those who like their holiday to come with a little chill-me-to-the-bone fear rush,
Friday Saturday and Sunday LionHeart Productions presents The Addams Family” at the Grant Fine Arts Center. More to come later on this.
Friday 4-7pm Saturday and Sunday 1-5pm the fun folks from Camp Newaygo will be hosting their Halloweekend three days of family activities centered around the season and as a bonus the zipline will be open for those who wish to take a different kind of color tour.
Saturday Monsterpiece Theater makes its annual visit to the Dogwood Center at 3pm and is always, always, always a good time. See the article in our Features and Fun section for more info. And even though it’s free donations are accepted so pony up a bit folks. This is a great program done right in a venue we should all support.
Saturday is the Spooktacular Festival at Fremont Middle School a family fun event combining kids activities with a chance to peruse the goods of a slew of vendors displaying their wares. It’s a fundraiser for the Emergency Response Team and you can learn more about the festival and the team from an article in (you bet) our Feature and Fun page.
Oh, and for pre-planning purposes, make sure you mark down Girls Night Out from 6-8pm next Thursday November 2nd at the Dogwood Center. This is an outstanding evening with more details available by clicking the ad on our home page
So, there you have it. Certainly not an all-inclusive list by any means but a few highlights to be sure.
We’ll be back in a couple days with our Suggestion Box to expand the skinny on the weekend.
NCRESA Seeks Substitutes
Tigers, Lions Face off again in Playoff game
The time honored M-37 rivalry continues into the playoffs as Grant will travel to Newaygo for the pre-district Division 5 matchup. This Friday night at 7pm the two longtime nemeses will suit up once again with one of the schools moving on to face the winner of North Muskegon and Oakridge.
The Lions won round one two weeks ago taking the shine off Grant’s homecoming a favor they returned after the Tigers did the same last season.
The teams have met once before in the postseason when Newaygo took a 20-7 decision in 2012.
Reed City will host Grayling who have lost 3 games to teams with a combined record of 24-3
Chippewa Hills travel to Clare to face the Pioneer team they bested last year 32-27 before falling to the Coyotes in the district final.
If the Warriors and ‘Yotes survive round one it will be their 4th meeting in two years.
So far Reed City has won all 3 and has a 9 game streak over the boys from Remus.
Lakeview made it into the playoffs by running off 4 in a row for the privilege of facing the Montague Wildcats who are undefeated and averaging 52 points a game.
Kent City is also undefeated and will be hosting the Mohawks of Morley a team they shut out three weeks ago.
If the two undefeated teams meet in the final it would be a rematch of a grueling pre-district last year that saw the Wildcats outlast the Eagles 21-20.
See you Friday.
“Where Do We Play?
Lions and Tigers heading to the postseason
At 7pm Sunday the players from Newaygo and Grant teams will both be huddled somewhere around a television set to learn when and where they will be suiting up for the second season.
Yes, the Lions and Tigers both will not only be receiving invitations to the postseason soiree’ during the Sunday show, they will also be told who their dance partners are to be.
Newaygo will be making their first playoff appearance since this year’s seniors were freshmen. Veteran Coach Scott Van Essen installed a program that has brought out the best in these players. While few knew how the season might progress for this squad it became clear that the players had no doubts going in, They weren’t derailed by a couple of tough losses in a row to good teams who were perhaps fortunate to catch the Lions early. They weathered a late letdown in a win over Big Rapids and came out the rest of the season determined to keep the defensive throttle down until game’s end.
These Lions have become a force on the field and have energized a loyal fan base.
There are a lot of really good teams out there with sterling W-L records and hefty resumes so They may not get a home game come Sunday.
But they certainly deserve one.
The Tigers clawed their way back into the playoffs getting that season finale win over Ravenna when they needed it. Like their neighbors to the north Grant lost a pair in a row to Reed City and Chip Hills after stringing together 3 straight wins to start the season. It was a tough homecoming loss to those neighbors, though, that put postseason plans in jeopardy and their Bulldog opponents in this must-win game had controlled their matchup the previous season.
As we said in our preview earlier in the week, these are not those Bulldogs.
More importantly these are not those Tigers.
This team is in it’s second year under the tutelage of Darren Geraghty and his staff and the growth of the program in year 2 is apparent. The Grant gridders get the very most out of themselves.They play within their capabilities and complement each other well on the field. Line play is a key to success and the Tiger trenchmen are grinders.There are wily defenders in the backfield and rugged runners on the offensive side.
But most of all they are focused. Mistakes are rarely repeated.
From here it looks like area fans are in for some great matchups between these two quality programs and quality coaches in the years to come.
But for now it is all about the playoffs with both teams finding out the who, where, and when
They already know the why.
They earned it.
The Selection Sunday show will air on FOX Sports Detroit-PLUS at 7 p.m
Wishing Ray Well
City Council Honors Ray Arnett at Library
A public reception was held at the Fremont Area District Library on Monday, October 16th to bid farewell to the library’s director, Ray Arnett. Ray has served as the director of the Fremont Library for over 12 years and will be missed by the board, the staff, and the community. Many members of the community attended the reception to thank Ray for his service and wish him well as he starts a new career.
Fremont Mayor, James Rynberg was in attendance along with the Fremont City Council, and Rynberg presented Ray with a certificate of resolution. Thanking him for his 12 years of service, the resolution stated, “Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the City Council extends its most heartfelt appreciation and best wishes to Mr. Ray Arnett. He has admirably served the Fremont community and its citizens and due to his efforts, has left the community a better place in which to live, work and play.”
The library board and staff wish Ray well in his new endeavor as senior pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Anderson, South Carolina.
Planning Done Well- We Are Newaygo
Planning DoneWell- We Are Newaygo
By Ken DeLaat
I AM NEWAYGO, an initiative aimed at developing a Master Plan for the future of this increasingly robust town along the banks of the Mighty Muskegon got some traction this past week with a pair of gatherings held in the building that once housed the museum.
Yes, the historic structure that looms over the fish sculptures and playground equipment at Riverfront Park was dusted off a bit and made into a makeshift meeting room as a way to connect the past of the city with a prospective vision created for the coming years.
The city and the Newaygo Economic Development Office developed this process to give community members input into the inevitable changes coming to Newaygo. Inevitable because growth begets the need for change and this is an area that is destined to continue its growth.
There is a youthful vibrancy to the downtown area with an array of businesses varied enough to suit the needs of nearly any browsers whether they be residents, part timers or travelers, but the hub is just a part of the story. An energy exists in Newaygo extending beyond the downtown area. You can see it in the optimism leading to additional businesses sprouting up or taking over previously abandoned sites along the M-37 corridor and beyond.
And with this spectre of change looming ahead comes the need for planning. A proactive not reactive response to needs.
The initial meetings focused on Walkability. In each session 3-4 dozen folks gathered to hear from Suzanne Schulz, Director of Planning for the City of Grand Rapids who led a series of interactive exercises aimed at developing ideas. If you’ve ever been through strategic planning with an organization and have a familiarity with the concept think of it in those terms. A group of individuals working toward developing a plan for moving forward. It can be best described as painstakingly rewarding because the process, while difficult at times, yields rewards from having each opinion and input valued. People may not have gotten what they wanted going in but they were listened to and became part of the decision making.
Like I said , not an easy task, even for an organization with some common interests.
Now expand it into an entire community.
This is a bold move by the folks behind this initiative because, in truth it can be a whole lot easier to allow those in leadership positions to make these kind of decisions. There would always be some backlash perhaps but change without a bit of backlash is a myth anyway.
The right way to do it? Absolutely.
Inclusiveness has been the message from the get-go and anyone who has not heard of this work being done might perhaps be a social (media and/or otherwise) recluse or simply possess no interest in the matter because, seriously, it is all over everywhere locally whether online or otherwise and seems to be a primary topic of conversation among many in pairs or groups.
All have been invited to chime in as organizers have made it clear that the participation they seek not be limited to city residents but include all who have connections through work, church, school, or business. There is an “I AM NEWAYGO facebook site that encourages input and draws a wide variety of comments (as fb posts seem predestined to do). If one wants to be an active participant in this process there are few if any roadblocks to doing so because access for community members is at its very cornerstone.
Because when you are part of the process you own a piece of it. Fact is, there will never be consensus but those capable of dialogue (as opposed to those merely seeking an audience) will find a way to compromise and come up with a plan of action that fits best for the city and the people who love it.
You just have to show up, my friend.
Thursday October 26th Jeff Speck a city planner, urban designer and advocate for walkable cities is being brought in for a presentation being held at the high school beginning at 6pm. If you’ve not seen the TED talk he does on walkability please give it a peek. If you don’t know what a TED talk is (because not that long ago I was among you) finding out will deliver untold future entertainment, awareness and enlightenment.
And now few words from folks about the meetings.
Scott Faulkner, Newaygo Economic Development Office
I Am Newaygo! is off to a great start for only one reason: People care enough about our city to show up and let their voices be heard.
These two kickoff meetings signal just the beginning of a larger and longer process that requires stakeholder input in order to be successful.
What we can and will end up with is a Master Plan designed with serious stakeholder input, making it much more likely to result in an even better Newaygo in the months and years ahead.
Jon Schneider Newaygo City Manager
I was pleased with the turnout and excited to see new faces. It's important to get input from the community. We are all members of the community and need to work together for the common good and a brighter future. There's a lot of momentum in Newaygo and it's exciting to be a part of it.
Kathy Misak Community Member
I appreciated the opportunity to gather and seek info from others. I especially enjoyed having a well versed facilitator.
Donna Friar Business Owner
I'm thrilled to be part of this amazing community that thinks and plans ahead. The meeting made me get excited all over again about having an interest in this town and even though I'm ready to retire, maybe I can convey that to someone new.
Elizabeth Pitzer Library Board Member
These are good first steps. It’s important for the community to have input if people are to be getting on board with changes.
There will have to be compromise. One person might want bike lanes and another may not want traffic slowed down by them. Both viewpoints are valid and need to be listened to.
I like what the city leaders are trying to do. If the walkability alone improves it will be a huge step…. no pun intended.
Rod Geers Community Member
It was wonderful to experience a community meeting that seemed to have a holistic approach to the issue of planning and development in respect to a master plan.
Eric Johnson City Council Member
It was great to see so many members of the community involved as we begin our master planning process. The plan from here is just that, to plan. It will be a process that can take upto a year or even longer. So we need all members of our community involved during this time. I am Newaygo! Is a platform we are using to help engage with community members. And it’s not just residents getting involved either. It’s everyone that enjoys Newaygo for various reasons. We will have many public events moving forward including the lecture by Jeff Speck at the High School so stay tuned and stay engaged!
Common Loon Exits, Elk Enters
Starting Dec. 1, a new wildlife license plate will be available in Michigan. The current common loon plate will be replaced with an elk plate to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the reintroduction of elk in Michigan.
“We are excited for the changing of the guard,” said Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason. “The loon license plate has had a long run, and helped to raise over $2.6 million for wildlife habitat since 2006.”
Next year marks 100 years since elk were reintroduced to Michigan, and celebrations are planned throughout the year.
Once common in Michigan, elk had disappeared from the state in the 1800s due to unregulated take and lack of habitat.
In 1918, seven elk were brought from the western United States to Wolverine, Michigan. The healthy and abundant elk population in the state today is a result of intentional land management and increased law enforcement.
“All funds from the sale of the elk license plate will continue to help wildlife management,” said Mason. “This funding is extremely important because it helps all wildlife.”
Those interested in purchasing the current common loon plate have until Nov. 30. Those who already have the loon license plate can keep it, with thanks from the DNR for supporting wildlife.
A new license plate can be purchased from the Secretary of State at any time for $35. An additional $10 specialty license plate fee is charged annually when drivers renew their registration. The funds from this renewal fee are given directly to the DNR for wildlife habitat work.
Order specialty license plates by mail or fax or at any Secretary of State branch office. To purchase a plate by mail or fax, complete and print the Wildlife Habitat License Plate Order Form. The plate will be mailed within 14 business days from the date it is ordered.
Ray Arnett Says Goodbye
Fremont Library Bids Farewell to Director with Public Reception
The Fremont Area District Library will recognize library director Raymond Arnett with a public reception on Monday October 16, 2017 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Please join us at the library to celebrate Ray’s time serving our community.
Ray Arnett has served as the director of the Fremont library for over 12 years and will be missed by the board, the staff, and the community. He led the library through several restructurings and helped the board, staff, and facility adapt to become a 21st century library. Just recently, the board approved a new strategic plan to propel the library forward for 2018-2021. This new plan focuses on the people, the place, and the platform that make the library function in a fast changing technological age.
Throughout his tenure, the library has accomplished a variety of projects while managing the facility and staff within the growing constraints of the budget. Politically, Ray advocated for libraries at the state level. Due to his advocacy along with other librarians and the efforts of State Senator Goeff Hansen, the legislature approved increased funding for Renaissance Zone reimbursements to libraries as well as increased funding for State Aid to Libraries.
While director, Ray has served as a member of numerous boards including local boards such as Rotary, the Newaygo County Great Start Collaborative and the Great Start Regional Resource Center. He also served for many years as a board member of the Michigan Library Association and the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services. Both of these library organizations have a statewide impact and are a real testament to his reputation as a leader in libraries. In 2016, Ray earned recognition as a Certified Fundraising Executive.
Ray comments, “One of my proudest accomplishments has been the Non-Profit Resource Center. This month, the Fremont Area District Library will be recognized by The Foundation Center for its service as a network partner for the past ten years. This initiative has enabled the library to amass an excellent collection of resources for area non-profits, but also provide numerous free and low-cost trainings to area non-profit volunteers and staff.”
Under his leadership, the library was awarded an ALA grant to host a “Let's Talk About It” series of book discussions about the history of Islam at the Fremont library in Fall 2013 – Winter 2014. This year, the library also successfully brought a Smithsonian exhibit to Fremont through the Michigan Humanities Council. This multi-year project resulted in a successful exhibition here in Fremont of Hometown Teams during December 2016 until January 2017.
When asked how he feels about leaving the library after twelve years, Ray commented “I am very proud of what we as a group have accomplished during these trying fiscal times. I will truly miss the wonderful people here in Fremont and the library board and staff members. This is a bittersweet moment as we recall the wonderful times and friends here in the Fremont area while looking forward to our new chapter of life in South Carolina.”
The library board and staff wish Ray well in his new endeavor as senior pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Anderson, South Carolina.
Job Opportunities through NCRESA
FREMONT-“H&S will be 35 years old come 2018 (1983-2018). Our Wealth Management and IT divisions will each be 20 years old (1998-2018), for a total of 75 years,” said Dan Slate, Co-Founder of H&S Companies. “Let’s celebrate by raising $75,000 for education!”
Dan Slate and Jack Hendon have invited their employees across all offices, and would like to extend the invitation to friends and clients as well, to participate in the Newaygo Promise Zone program. Dan and Jack have pledged to match up to $15,000, and H&S will match up to $10,000 for every dollar donated to the Promise Zone, up to a total of $25,000. The Fremont Area Community Foundation will provide an additional match of $.50 for every dollar they raise. H&S is confident they can raise a total of $75,000, and by joining them in the cause, your donation will triple, given these matches.
Promise Zone scholarships are available to students who graduate from Newaygo County high schools or home schools and live in the Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency area. Scholarships will cover tuition and fees for two-year awards at Baker College and Muskegon Community College up to the value of the prevailing tuition rate of MCC.
In its first year, 103 students used Promise Zone scholarships to start college at MCC and Baker.
“At H&S we firmly believe in education and giving back to the community. We are proud to support the Promise Zone and increased educational opportunities for all local students,” said Jack Hendon, Co-Founder of H&S Companies. “I have no doubt this is one of the most important projects this county has been involved in, and one that will positively impact our youth’s lives and our community forever.”
Contact H&S Companies to find out how you can join them in contributing to the success of this program.
H&S Companies was established in Fremont in 1983 and now has nine locations across Michigan. As CPAs and business advisors, H&S services include tax preparation, accounting, wealth management, business consulting, and more.
Fremont Area Community Foundation demonstrated its commitment to environmental stewardship by achieving Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) Conservation Certification for its turf to prairie conversion project.
The certification recognizes not only the specific efforts of the prairie conversion but also the Community Foundation’s commitment to conservation.
“Companies achieving WHC Conservation Certification, like Fremont Area Community Foundation, are environmental leaders, voluntarily managing their lands to support sustainable ecosystems and the communities that surround them,” said Margaret O’Gorman, WHC president.
Plans for returning the Community Foundation’s turf and landscaping to native landscape were initially drawn in 2005. The project was carried out in phases over several years. Now, most of the eight-acre property features attractive natural grasses and wildflowers and a variety of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. The public is invited to self-tour the Community Foundation prairie, located at 4424 West 48th Street. A walking path begins at the rear of the parking lot and is marked by a sign identifying some of the plants that can be found.
Mary Huisjen, FACF special projects associate and gardening enthusiast, said that groups like the Fremont Garden Club have toured the prairie and that students have even used it as a backdrop for their senior photos.
“It’s a good way to educate the community about natural plants and grasses,” said Huisjen. “Some of the grasses are even turning color now. Come take in nature and see it in all the different seasons.”
Hope 101 Finishes In The Money!
A strong late push gets Family of God Ministry into the ‘final four’ of Independent Bank campaign
By Karen Nottelmann
Hope 101 Ministry Inc. in Newaygo was one of thirty-one entries in the ”Housing Our Communities” phase of Independent Bank’s “Investing in Communities” campaign and the only entry from Newaygo County.
From September 15 to September 29, Facebook users in Michigan had the opportunity to vote once a day for their favorite housing charity. The contestants were competing for four $5,000 awards and when the votes were counted, Hope 101 Ministry was one of the top four successful contestants.
"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to such a wonderful organization in our very own town," said AVP Bank Manager Rhonda Buter of the Newaygo branch of Independent Bank. "It has been a heartwarming experience to witness hundreds of people working together to rally support for Hope 101 Ministry throughout this campaign.
"Our Investing in Communities campaign is just one of the ways in which we are able to give back every year. Hope 101 Ministry has been providing such a positive impact in the Newaygo community and we are excited to celebrate their outreach mission."
Hope 101 is a 501(c)(3) non-profit which offers a program of up to six months of transitional housing designed for persons who are homeless and are interested in doing the work necessary to gain financial independence and secure a permanent home. Persons must have a job or be employed within two months of entering the program. The program provides a case manager to work with participants and requires an in-depth evaluation of personal history, finances, employment, education and other aspects of life. Specific and measurable goals are set and monitored weekly. Mentors offer friendship and encouragement as they walk alongside participants on their journey to self-sufficiency.
Family of God Community Church began the ministry in 2015 by purchasing the home at 101 Quarterline in Newaygo and renovating the three apartments into comfortable, safe living quarters. In 2016 a second home at 42 Washington was donated to the church and community volunteers are currently renovating the Mercer Home to house families with children. Both homes have been deeded to Hope 101 Ministry by FOGCC.
In addition to Independent Bank, the Hope 101 Ministry Board is thankful for the many supporters in the community who have contributed financially to our ministry, especially the Fremont Area Community Foundation. The Board also appreciates the enthusiasm and hard work of many, many people who “shared” the opportunity to vote and encouraged the support needed to qualify Hope 101 as a final four contestant and winner of $5,000.
Persons who would like to learn more about Hope 101 Ministry or those interested in volunteering to help with renovation of Mercer Home, serve as a mentor, or financial counselor may email email@example.com or call 231-652-6500.
Scenes From The Harvest Parade
The NCCA-Artsplace Fall Community Photography Contest is a free annual contest for all ages and all levels of skill. The 2017 contest winners were selected by local photographer Richard Hinton.
The first place award was given to Becca Wolffis of Fremont for her photograph “Fall Gradation”. Second place was awarded to Arianna Miguel of Newaygo for her entry “Free Spirit” and Susan Gilliland of Hesperia was awarded third place for “Peering”.
All entries will be on display through October 28 in the corridor gallery at NCCA-Artsplace, 13 East Main Street in downtown Fremont.
“It’s all about workforce development”
CTC students visit local manufacturing facilities
By Ken DeLaat
Two busloads of students from the Career Tech Center poured into the Bucher Hydraulics plant Thursday morning for a tour of the Newaygo facility Another group would be visiting the Magna plant in the afternoon.
These visits were part of Manufacturing Day, an event launched in 2012 by the Obama administration to celebrate the manufacturing industry and more importantly to break down old stereotypes about the industry and the work force needed to drive this vital component of the economy.
This is not your father’s manufacturing plant. For those who might have been exposed to the culture of manufacturing in decades past the Bucher plant, like most industries of its kind these days, is high-tech, sleek and generally much quieter than the factories and shops of yesteryear.
The students were broken up into groups and led on tours of the impressive facility that creates hydraulic products for a number of industries around the globe.
Our tour was led by Plant Manager Scott Pokora who took us to the many work sites either explaining the procedures or enlisting the help of his staff to explain their assigned tasks.
“This place is amazing,” said Jay Wiersema of Fremont HS.
With future plans of going into mechanical engineering he spent much of the tour asking questions of Bucher Production Manager Nick Ragsdel who is, coincidentally, a mechanical engineer.
After the tour there was interaction between students and plant personnel.
“We’re always looking for people,” said Greg Bergman as he spoke to Brandon Goudy of White Cloud and Kyler Korstanje from Holton. “ If you’re willing to work, show up when you’re scheduled and can get along with others there’s good pay and benefits to be had.”
It’s all about workforce development,” said Mark Guzniczak echoing a familiar message that has begun to resonate throughout the educational system.”We need a trained workforce to fill the jobs that are already here and the jobs that will be coming in the very near future.”
This event was co-sponsored by Bucher Hydraulics, Magna Mirrors, Newaygo County Economic Development Office, The Right Place, Michigan Works West Central and the NC RESA Career Tech Center.
Newaygo County Road Commission recognized for safety record and undergoes reorganization
For the seventh year in a row the Newaygo County Road Commission has been recognized for its outstanding safety record. The County Road Association Self Insurance Fund (CRASIF) has awarded the Newaygo County Road Commission for the following efforts: honor roll member since its inception in 2011, best experience modification factor in its payroll class since 2011 and the best experience modification factor among all Michigan Road Commission members for 4 out of 7 years.
“Low injury rates just don’t happen in our business,” said Jim deSpelder, Administrator of the County Road Association Self-Insurance Fund.
The Fund provides safety training and workers compensation coverage for road commissions.
“Our business is working on the roads,” added deSpelder “Working on the roads is physically demanding and puts our workers at risk of being injured by passing vehicles. Road commissions that have lower than average injury rates qualify to be on our Honor Roll and they should be applauded for their achievement.”
Along with their safety efforts the Road Commission has recently experienced staff reorganization in a continuing effort to provide prompt, reliable service for the residents and visitors of Newaygo County.
“To be clear, we have not added to the number of staff, we revamped job assignments,” said Road Commission Manager Kelly Smith. “Our goal is to evolve with our customer’s needs, and this is a piece of the puzzle that we feel required an adjustment”
As part of the reorganization, Derek Wawsczyk, who has been with the road commission since 2007, was appointed to Assistant Manager. One of his many assignments is inspecting job sites to ensure employees are working as safe as possible and are protected from potential hazards.
“We are proud of our safety record and we want to continue our efforts by being proactive and placing more eyes in the field as well as provide great customer service to residents,” added Smith. “A large part of our business is construction and as we continue to obtain more projects, we need to make sure we are as safe as possible on each and every job site.”
Since 2011, the Road Commission has received $965,617 from safety related refunds. The Road Commission has always put this money back into roads and will continue to work with other entities to make Newaygo County a great place to live and visit.