An Economic News Update From The Right Place
By Julie Burrell, Business Development Manager, Newaygo County
Economic development is sometimes hard to describe, but in a nutshell… We thrive on relationships, we connect businesses to resources, we focus on collaboration, and we are here to ensure our local employers succeed. This column is designed to share the timely information our community needs to continue being a place where people and businesses can prosper.
ReThink West Michigan is back! This year, Hello West Michigan will host a virtual event on November 10th . Employers across West Michigan are encouraged to participate, but space is limited! Learn more and reserve your employer booth today!
Unemployment rates in Newaygo County, currently at 4.6%, continue to lag slightly behind the State of Michigan, at 4.4%. However, our rates are much better than the national average of 5.3%. Creating a robust internship program is one way to fill the future talent pipeline. In a recent article from our colleagues at Hello West Michigan (HWM), they shared that now is the time to begin planning for 2022 opportunities to engage young talent. Read the article here. Local employers are invited to join any of HWM’s Employer Internship Trainings – register here.
Michigan Works! West Central is available to assist any Newaygo County employer. From help crafting job descriptions to hosting job fairs in-person again, they are here to serve as a valuable resource for our business community! Check out their new website for location and contact information.
Created to help those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, MiLEAP is a program designed to develop meaningful opportunities for people to connect to the labor market. MiLEAP participants will receive individualized competency-based assessments, learning plans, skills assessments, and more. Michigan Works! West Central is leading this effort in our region. Find out more information here.
It is more important than ever to increase focus on retaining your existing team members. Providing an opportunity for enhanced education is one way to show appreciation, and there are a few options to do so without footing the entire bill. Coming this fall, the Going Pro Talent Fund is available for training programs and apprenticeships. The Fremont Area Community Foundation’s Adult Scholarships program, which is open for applications year-round for Newaygo County residents, are available for undergrad study, certifications, credentials, and apprenticeship programs. Additionally, the Michigan Reconnect program pays a portion of the cost of tuition for eligible adults in Newaygo County pursuing an associate degree or skills certificate.
Now, more than ever, PLACE is the differentiator for attracting and retaining employees. Consider including a focus on the quality-of-life Newaygo County offers in your job postings, including seasonal information like the best ways to do fall in Newaygo County. More general information specific to Newaygo County can be found here, and check out this great video put together by the team at The Right Place, highlighting what it’s like to live and work in beautiful West Michigan.
Pure Michigan Business Connect is offering a grant program designed to break down barriers preventing Michigan businesses from winning purchase orders. Up to $15,000 is available. Learn more and apply here.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s International Trade program has a wealth of expertise and resources available, including their MI-STEP grant program. Up to $15,000 is available to assist with export-related expenses. Learn more here.
Michigan State University’s Industrial Assessment Center invites small and medium-sized manufacturers and commercial building owners to participate in their no-cost technical assessment, providing resources to save energy, improve productivity, and reduce waste. Learn more and apply here.
Applications are now open for the Women Up & Pitch contest, hosted by Michigan Women Forward. Women entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply prior to November 10th for a chance to win $10,000.
We are gearing up for our 4th and final Grow North event of 2021, designed to help connect and enhance knowledge of local entrepreneurs. The session on November 18th focuses on excelling during the holiday season in order to survive the slow Q1 we often experience in rural communities. We are partnering with the Muskegon Innovation Hub, River Country Chamber of Commerce, SBDC, and SCORE for this session. Special guests include Shelly Staeven from Downtown Threadz! Register to attend here: https://fb.me/e/Exl013v9
EPA just announced an invitation for communities to apply for Recreation Economy for Rural Communities planning assistance. This program is open to any municipality or nonprofit to apply and focuses on communities with large natural assets such as our beautiful rivers and lakes. Applications are due November 22nd. More info here.
Join the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) team and DTE Energy for a virtual event on Wednesday, November 3rd, from 3:00-4:00 pm, focused on supply chain opportunities in renewable energy. DTE is looking for civil construction services, electrical contracting, storage and transportation service, manufacturing services including racking and fabrication, and more. Register here: https://pmbc.connect.space/dte-renewable-energy-event/details
Join the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) team and Ford Motor Company for a virtual supply chain matchmaking event providing Michigan businesses opportunities to meet with buyers to discuss purchasing needs. Ford Motor Company is seeking companies to provide IT, Marketing, Transportation, and more. Learn more and register here:
The FCC established the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program earlier this year. Broadband assistance for low-income residents offers a one-time discount of up to $100 on a laptop, desktop or tablet, and up to $50 per month on broadband services. More info can be found here.
Consumers Energy has launched the Power MI Fleet program, helping commercial customers transition to electric fleet vehicles. For more information, visit the Power MI Fleet
“Love is a vessel that contains both security and adventure, and commitment offers one of the great luxuries of life: time. Marriage is not the end of romance, it is the beginning.”- Esther Perel
In a former career that included facilitating couple counseling sessions I was occasionally asked “So what makes you some kind of expert on marriage, anyway?”
And while familiar with the dynamics of relationships and possessing some knowledge of techniques that could at times provide a bit of a boost for faltering marriages, I always admitted that my part in assisting them had more to do with objectivity than expertise.
And that I was certainly no expert on marriage. No one is.
Each committed relationship is as unique as the individuals who create the coupleship.
And successful unions tend to be couples who have a lot in common.
As well as those who are nearly polar opposites.
That’s right, a meat loving carnivore and her staunch vegetarian husband face the challenges of mealtime while their neighbors, a pair of sushi lovers revel in their raw fish feast. Or maybe he loves U of M and she went to State but their friends met at halftime of a Notre Dame game in the season ticket section.
It’s all in how the twosome experiences their journey because, above all, marriage is indeed a journey. Ideally a lengthy and fascinating adventure voyage accompanied by your best friend.
Not always easy, not always even close to easy, but part of the package is getting through some perilous times and weathering the changes each person experiences over the passage of time.
And despite 48 years of experience I’m still no expert.
But man, it has been one great ride.
Here are those who recently signed on for their own journey:
Krystal Newhouse, White Cloud & MaKail Root, Big Rapids
Chelsea Sidlauskas, Fremont & James Johnson, Newaygo
Edward Welch, White Cloud & Joanne Hensley, White Cloud
Ashley DeVries, White Cloud & Chris LaFond, White Cloud
Jordan Chase, Fremont & Rebecca Somers, Fremont
Jacob Mayle, Newaygo & Sydnie Grinzinger, Newaygo
John Stempien, Coldwater & Nicole Gee, Traverse City
Heather Turner, Fremont & Rhonda Turner, Morenci
Becky Snippe, Fremont & Kevin Payne, Cedar Springs
Devin Grimwood, White Cloud & Jaydene Vanavery, White Cloud
Allan Beye Jr. White Cloud & Kianna Beye, White Cloud
Temporary change expected to continue until November 7th
FREMONT, Mich. (Oct. 26, 2021) – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial today announced temporary adjustments to lab hours at the hospital in Fremont. The temporary hours are:
Gerber Memorial Lab Manager Julie Ward recommended individuals use the self-scheduling online service to lock in their appointments and for their convenience. Self-scheduled appointments are available at the hospital Mondays to Fridays, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To schedule a lab appointment online, go to mychart.spectrumhealth.org. Then schedule a lab appointment and select a location, such as “Gerber Memorial.”
The adjusted lab hours began Oct. 25 and are expected to last until Nov. 7.
To call the lab at the hospital: 231.924.1363
Clydesdales Coming to Fremont
Heroes United is a special event as part of United Way of the Lakeshore’s season of caring and their annual campaign. This year, they are paying special tribute to heroes. For the tribute the Budweiser Clydesdales & Local Veteran Community Groups will participate in the parade.
“Heroes United is a celebration of veterans,” says UWL President & CEO, Christine Robere. “It is also a celebration of United Way. This special event is a thank you to people that have been heroes in serving this community and our veterans who have served this country. There will be two parades. The first will be held November 10th in Downtown Fremont, and the second parade will be held November 11th in downtown Muskegon. Our hope is that everyone will feel welcome to view the parade and honor the parade participants. Following the Muskegon veteran’s parade, we will also hold a concert at Mercy Health arena.”
The Fremont Heroes Tribute Parade will occur Wednesday, November 10th beginning at 4 PM. The parade route will begin on S. Stewart Avenue, turn down Main Street, and end at the Veterans Memorial Park where food trucks, snacks, and refreshments will be available.
“This celebration is a very special event at the mid-point of United Way of the Lakeshore’s annual campaign. As part of our season of caring, we make it a priority to show our community that there are wonderful ways to participate as volunteers and/or as donors. We hope the community will join us in celebrating all our heroes.”
City Manager Jon Schneider:
“The State of Michigan has very strict regulations regarding lead and copper as it relates to drinking water systems. Under Michigan regulations, there are requirements to inventory the different types of pipes in a water system and over several years eliminate certain pipes and components that could contribute to lead being present in the water.
“The City of Newaygo has very good water and meets all state requirements regarding the chemical makeup of the water. However, we are still required to visually verify and inventory the pipes in our water system, which is an expensive process since it requires digging many holes throughout town to expose and verify pipe type.
“We are grateful to the State of Michigan for awarding a grant of $86,423 to offset the cost. The grant was awarded under their Drinking Water Asset Management (DWAM) program.”
The City of Newaygo Police Department (NPD) along with their staff are excited to announce its completion of the Michigan Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission (MLEAC) accreditation process.
The Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police (MACP) and the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association (MSA) have pursued this concept and the development of the MLEAC. The attitudes, training and actions of personnel of Michigan’s law enforcement agencies best reflect compliance with the 108 standards contained in this program. Newaygo Police Department was the thirty-seventh accredited agency, state-wide.
Wondering where to get a test done quickly and for free?
NC RESA will host District Health Department #10 COVID-19 Testing Clinics beginning this week.
Why get tested?
As of Wednesday October 20, all of the counties in District 10 remain in the high transmission level categories. There are currently 116 confirmed Delta variants in the DHD#10 jurisdiction: 18 in Crawford, 1 in Kalkaska 2 in Lake, 3 in Manistee, 32 in Mason, 9 in Mecosta, 13 in Missaukee, 6 in Newaygo, 19 in Oceana, and 13 in Wexford.
Hospitals continue to experience elevated capacity levels, as there are 7 COVID-19 inpatients in Munson Cadillac, 11 in Munson Grayling, 6 in Munson Manistee, 19 at Spectrum Health Big Rapids, 8 at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, and 8 at Spectrum Health Ludington.
According to DHD#10 reports as of Saturday October 16th 50.4% of eligible Newaygo County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The only county with a smaller percentage of residents given the vaccination is Mecosta at 46.1%.
Pictured from left to right: Vicki Friar, River Country Chamber Board; Lisa Lightfoot, River Country Chamber Board; Emily Doerr, Michigan Land Bank Authority executive director; Susan Wenzlick, Fishbeck; John Bitely, Sable Homes president; Jon Schneider, Newaygo city manager; Bryan Kolk, Newaygo CountyBoard Chair; Julie Burrell, The Right Place and Newaygo County business development coordinator; Randy Poll, River Country Chamber Board; and Dale Richardson, River Country Chamber Board president.
River Hills growth continues; New houses to start at $260K
Newaygo, , October 18th - On this cool crisp mid-October Monday morning about 30 or so folks from a number of entities throughout the county gathered along the back section of the River Hills neighborhood in Newaygo to celebrate the fruition of a groundbreaking (in the most literal sense of the word) effort.
Sable Homes, in cooperation with project consultants Fishbeck, the City of Newaygo, Newaygo County, and the Michigan Land Bank Authority, kicked off phase two of the expanding neighborhood in Newaygo with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The celebration marked the official welcoming of a pilot program designed to increase Michigan’s housing stock and help alleviate the region’s housing crisis.
Nearly 4 years ago N3 reported on their phase one ribbon cutting during a cold December day. At that time Sable Homes had just begun the process of revitalizing the long dormant neighborhood. Today the streets are lined with houses nestled into the wooded surroundings and exuding the vibrancy found in similar mini-communities.
Speakers at today’s ribbon cutting featured those who have been working on the project for the past two years, including John Bitely, president of Sable Homes; Jon Schneider, Newaygo City manager; Emily Doerr of the State Land Bank Authority; and Susan Wenzlick of Fishbeck.
Though often competing with the productive sound of the work being done on the houses surrounding the event, the quartet of speakers delivered on helping to tell the story of this innovative project to those of us gathered for the event.
John Bitely: “When we took over this project in 2017, we had no idea what we were up against in terms of labor and material costs, creating an exorbitant price range for these homes – which was the opposite of what we wanted to do here in Newaygo. “We knew we had to come up with a creative way to make this a viable neighborhood without breaking the bank. And through our conversations with the state Home Builders Association, city and county officials in Newaygo, the Michigan Land Bank Authority, The Right Place and Fishbeck, a Grand Rapids environmental and engineering company, everyone came together to make it happen.”
Susan Wenzlick: “Once Newaygo County’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Newaygo City and Sable Homes had agreed to the project concept, we developed the Act 381 brownfield TIF plan, which authorizes the brownfield authority to offer TIF as an incentive to developers for projects that the authority determines are in the public good, like new housing to help meet local need. “This now allows Sable Homes to be reimbursed over 12 years for site preparation and infrastructure funding gap, plus interest and the cost of developing the brownfield plan.”
Emily Doerr: “This approach had never before been used for housing, but state and local government stakeholders were all on board.We held on to the property from fall 2020 to early 2021. During that time, the property taxes were reset to zero, slightly increasing the amount of tax revenues that could be used to repay Sable Homes for its eligible expenses. We will be reimbursed from tax revenues for participating in the project, and the county will keep some of the tax increment revenues for a county brownfield revolving fund after Sable Homes is reimbursed. It’s a win-win.”
Jon Schneider:“We have a great community here in the city of Newaygo with residents who enjoy living and working here. But for many of our residents, it’s hard to find new housing that’s affordable. We are grateful that John Bitely understood the housing need here and worked with state and local officials to find a way to bring affordable new homes to our area. We hope what we’ve done here will gain some notoriety and help close the housing gap in other areas of the state.”
New homes in River Hills Estate will start at $260,000
Newaygo hours adjusted for week of Oct. 18
FREMONT, Mich. – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is temporarily adjusting hours of operation at the lab in Newaygo, located at 211 West Pine Lake in Newaygo for the week of Oct. 18.
The Newaygo lab’s new temporary hours are: Wednesdays-Fridays, from 8 a.m. to noon, and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The lab closes during lunch, noon-1 p.m. The lab at Gerber Memorial hospital in Fremont is open Mondays-Fridays, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon.
“Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is working diligently to ensure we can maintain appropriate staffing levels so we can provide safe, quality care to the patients and families we serve,” lab manager Julie Ward said. “Like businesses and hospitals across Michigan, Gerber Memorial is actively working to hire qualified staff to fill open positions. Gerber Memorial is grateful to our community for their patience and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please know that these changes are temporary and we anticipate a resolution in the near future.”
Gerber Memorial will provide updates of any future changes to the Newaygo lab hours.
From our friends at MDOT:
Lane closures for watermain work will be in place through November 5 on northbound M-37 from East Street to River Street.
College and Career Night Out Celebrates Post-Secondary Opportunities
A record number of colleges, job training programs, military organizations, and community resources were represented at College and Career Night Out on September 30 at Fremont High School. More than 50 organizations were on-hand to help local students explore their post-secondary options.
After shifting to virtual visits and events in 2020, this year’s event drew students and families from across Newaygo County to learn more about post-secondary education, career opportunities, and financial aid. WE CAN! Newaygo County—the local career and college access network—and Fremont Area Community Foundation organized and sponsored the event.
Melissa Miller, Supervisor of Early College and Student Success Services for the Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency, said that the event was designed to spark curiosity and connection regarding college and career opportunities for local students.
“With so many factors that can influence a student’s decision to pursue higher education or training after high school, this event continues to serve families in this process by bringing numerous resources and representatives under one roof,” said Miller. “Families are able to make connections, get their questions answered, and hopefully realize there are many resources to support them as they navigate this selection process.”
Attendees enjoyed pizza and were able to attend informational sessions on financial aid, choosing a college, the Promise Zone, and career preparation through apprenticeships.
After informational sessions concluded, a college and career fair in the gym allowed students to speak with representatives from a wide variety of public and private colleges and universities, military branches, trade schools, and career training programs. Partners from Early College Newaygo County, Gerber Foundation, Newaygo County Area Promise Zone, Newaygo County Career-Tech Center, and Fremont Area Community Foundation shared more about the resources their organizations offer to students and families.
Event organizers extend their thanks to their hosts at Fremont High School, the community members and students who volunteered during the event, session presenters, and the local businesses who supported food and beverages, including Bill’s Shop N Save and Walmart.
Monday morning meeting open to the community
NC RESA Board of Education will be holding a special board meeting at ESC Board Room on Monday, October 18, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. to review the contract for the new Superintendent position.
The public is welcome to attend.
The “Singing Hims”, a Christian male chorus from the Grand Rapids area,
will be sharing the message of Christ in music on Saturday, October 16, at
4:00 p.m. at Family of God Community Church, 90 Quarterline Rd,
Newaygo. A freewill offering will be taken to support Hope 101 Ministry in
Newaygo, a program with the vision of reducing homelessness in Newaygo
County. The concert will be followed by a light supper for all who attend.
The benefit concert is part of the celebration of 45 years of ministry through
music by the “Singing Hims”.
Hope 101 Ministry, a 501(C)(3) organization, works to reduce homelessness
in Newaygo County by providing case management, mentors, and housing
to assist program participants in becoming self-sufficient. The six-month
structured program requires a program fee, employment, financial planning,
goal setting, and accountability. The program has two facilities: Mercer
Home at 42 Washington, Newaygo, is a single-family home, and Anchor
Home at 101 Quarterline has three apartments. Since 2016, 36 adults and
29 children have participated in the Hope 101 Ministry program.
Hope 101 is supported in part by a grant from the Fremont Area Community
Persons interested in more information about Hope 101 can visit
Hope101Ministry.com or email info@Hope101Ministry.com.
Volunteer Randy Puff named a 2021 Credit Union Rock Star
FREMONT, Mich (10/6/2021) – Randy Puff of Fremont is among 31 credit union professionals and volunteers named as 2021 Credit Union Rock Stars by the editorial team of Credit Union Magazine. The Credit Union Rock Stars program recognizes outstanding credit union professionals and volunteers from a wide range of disciplines who use their unique strengths to advance the missions of their credit unions. This year’s winners were selected for their exceptional creativity, innovation, and passion.
Randy Puff volunteers his time as the Board of Directors Vice Chair for Gerber Federal Credit Union in Fremont, MI. His story appears on CUNA News, a website published by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).
“The 2021 class of Rock Stars is diverse in its backgrounds and strengths,” said Michelle Willits, publisher of Credit Union Magazine. “During the past year's trying times, these Credit Union Rock Stars used their unique characteristics to serve their members, their communities, and their co-workers.”
Sponsored by Fiserv, Credit Union Rock Stars will be profiled in a special digital issue of Credit Union Magazine. Check out all the winners and read their stories at news.cuna.org/rockstar.
Spectrum Health offers free virtual suicide prevention training to address mental health and wellbeing
Fremont, Mich., Sept. 29, 2021 – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is offering a free suicide prevention training to all community members on Wednesday, Oct. 20, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The training will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams. Participants can join via Microsoft Teams by clicking here, or by calling 231.924.3073 for the link.
Spectrum Health’s certified trainers will lead the free “Question, Persuade, Refer,” training. QPR training is designed to increase the ability to identify people with suicidal thoughts or behaviors and intervene to save a life.
The QPR training will teach participants how to recognize the warning signs of suicide, offer hope and get help to save a life.
“Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial encourages everyone to sign up for this free training, especially as mental health and wellbeing continue to be a major priority and concern for our community,” said Stephanie Kooistra, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial health educator and certified QPR trainer. “In the last 19 months, with challenges our community has faced, we want to help empower people with resources that can help them ask the right questions, persuade with compassion and get help that can save lives. The Question, Persuade, Refer training can make a real difference for our community by raising awareness and offering hope.”
For more information, please call 231.924.3073.