Record Breaking Number of Newaygo County Students Explore Careers in Manufacturing
The Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership (NCEDP) announced today, the culmination of their 2022 Discover Manufacturing initiative.
Discover Manufacturing, part of the national MFG DAY initiative, is a coordinated, regional effort designed to celebrate manufacturing, address common misconceptions, and highlight local career opportunities for students. 2022 marks the sixth year of Discover Manufacturing in Newaygo County, and NCEDP leadership is excited to share the record breaking results. Over 580 students from six schools in Newaygo County took part in tours of local manufacturers.
Julie Burrell, NECDP Economic Development Director shared “The work we’ve put in over the past several years truly paid off in 2022. Educators and employers are trusting us to provide a thoughtful framework to highlight solutions for issues that both sides face in regard to talent attraction and career advancement after graduation”.
In collaboration with regional economic development organizations, The Right Place facilitated grant funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership received $3,076, which was used to cover transportation costs and purchase incentive items for students.
Grant Middle and High Schools and Newaygo Middle School participated for the first time in 2022. Newaygo County Career Tech Center, Hesperia Middle School and White Cloud Junior High School continued their long-standing participation.
When asked why participation has been a priority for White Cloud Junior High School, Counselor Melissa Bedell said “We want to provide opportunities for our students to explore careers in our community. It is so great to see the different career pathway options such as marketing and technology within the manufacturing businesses represented on the tours”.
Discover Manufacturing provides an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between employers and educators, addressing the skilled labor shortage and improving the confidence in the local talent pipeline. Riveridge Cider, G-M Wood Products, Quality Finishing Systems, HarbisonWalker International, the Fremont Generate Digester and Magna Mirrors all committed to hosting tours this year.
“Coming from a rural community, it may be difficult to imagine your town playing a role on a national scale,” said Trish Taylor, Riveridge Cider marketing manager. “By doing Discover Manufacturing tours with students, we were able to show them all the apple trees they see make us unique and those apples end up in cider that goes to all 50 states. Newaygo County may be small but it is a big deal in Michigan agriculture!”
Going beyond a simple tour, several employers utilized real life stories to convey the magnitude of opportunities that exist. Jeremiah Ebenstein, Human Resources Manager at G-M Wood Products, shared his experience of starting out in production and working his way up to management. Tyler Huntley, Plant Manager, highlighted several facets of the great work environment at G-M Wood Products, adding “Plus, we have cool robots!”
G-M Wood Products Vice President Kevin Karrip went on to say “G-M Wood Products was very excited to participate in Discover Manufacturing. Our hope in hosting these young people at our facilities was to show them that there is a bright and exciting future right here in Newaygo County. Manufacturing offers many different opportunities in trades and technologies.”
Discover Manufacturing is conducted annually in October and November. To learn more, contact Julie Burrell at email@example.com
It may have taken 39 years for justice to find its way to Roy Snell, but on Wednesday a jury found him guilty of murder. In January he will receive his long overdue sentencing for the crime.
Newaygo County Prosecuting Attorney, Worth Stay, announced that Roy Lesando Snell, of Minneapolis, was found guilty on November 16, 2022 after a nearly three week jury trial regarding the August 10, 1983 disappearance of Rick Atwood.
Snell was found guilty of Homicide Felony Murder, in violation of MCL 750.316, and Weapons - Felony Firearm, in violation of MCL 750.227b. Felony Murder carries a mandatory sentence of life without parole. Felony firearm carries a penalty of two years consecutively and preceding any term of imprisonment for the underlying felony. The case was a joint prosecution of the Newaygo County Prosecuting Attorney and Michigan Attorney General's Office..
Sentencing is scheduled for January 9, 2023 in the Newaygo County Circuit Court, White Cloud, Michigan.
As Prosecutor Stay explained: "I am heartened that the family of Rick Atwood may begin to find some closure in this verdict. I thank the jury for their service during this lengthy trial.
"This result would not have been possible without the efforts of many individuals. I thank the cold case team, which was comprised of members of the Newaygo County Sheriff's Department and Michigan State Police. I would particularly like to highlight the tireless work of retired Detective Scott Rios. Detective Rios never gave up on this case and worked past his retirement to ensure every fact and circumstance was investigated and able to be presented to a jury."
Prosecutor Stay continued: "I would also like to thank First Assistant Attorney General William Rollstin and Assistant Attorney General Dan Gunderson for the skill and dedication that they brought to this case. Their work, in conjunction with the resources of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's office, ensured that Rick Atwood was not forgotten."
Photos and story by Ken DeLaat, N3 News
The monthly meeting of the Grant School Board was anticipated with a bit of apprehension as the controversy over a mural expanded into a call from a few folks on social media to close the school's Teen Health Center. The issue received national attention a month ago when a group of parents objected to a painting done by a Grant student that graces a wall of the Health Center. They had issues with the mural’s depictions of gay and trans youth as well as some symbols they felt were promoting Satanism.
Confusion over the services provided by the Health Center seemed to be at the core of the concern. Add to this the dynamics of the last board meeting in October that devolved into a somewhat chaotic session where blaming and finger pointing took center stage and there were all the elements in place for another volatile meeting.
But it didn't happen.
There were, of course, dissenting points of view and speakers who expressed those views were passionate about their opinions but overall an air of civility reigned on this evening.
Grant Superintendent Brett Zuver set the table for the public comment section when he spoke to the challenges the past month has brought to the school as well as the community.
“We are better than this,” he said as he encouraged acceptance and tolerance. Zuver talked about the positive things happening at the school and finished with, “We are how we treat each other.”
After the board completed the business portion of the meeting attendees began to line up to speak. Some called out the board for allowing the events at the previous meeting when they felt mural artist 16 year old Evelyn Gonzales had been harassed and verbally abused. Some spoke to bullying being an ongoing problem at the school. Those opposed to the mural felt it was divisive and one speaker asked, “What about the rights of straight students?”
Those who spoke supporting the work of the Health Center numbered around twice as many as those who questioned the mural and the Health Center using words such as ‘lifesaving’ and ‘a safe place’.
Dr. Sarah Weers, Family Health Care’s Medical Director of the school-based health centers provided information on the parameters of their services dispelling the myths such as the distribution of birth control, referrals for abortions and gender change therapy and assured that Proposal 3’s passing does not change the current services of the Teen Center.
Ms.Gonzales, the artist whose work sparked the kerfuffle spoke toward the end of public comment. Obviously a bit nervous she nonetheless spoke a bit about her work and agreed to have one of the game symbols she used that looked like a demon removed if it caused problems. She added “I don’t see a problem with the rest of it. I think it has a good message.”
Gonzales received the loudest applause on a night where applause came frequently.
And despite the obvious differing views of those gathered at the meeting they each expressed their opinion in a manner that allowed for opposition without malice or derision. It felt like a step in the right direction for a school and community tired of being in the spotlight not for academic or athletic achievement but for controversy and divisiveness.
The meeting didn’t heal all the wounds the last month has inflicted in this latest front in the seemingly rampant culture wars. The social media sites in the area began heating up soon after the meeting was over.But there was what appeared to be a smidge or two of polite conversation, a dollop of deference and a smattering of sensibility at Monday’s meeting.
And perhaps those ingredients can instill a little hope for growth, tolerance and maybe even a little more trust.
The local Teen Health Centers at White Cloud and Grant have long been game changers in improving the physical, emotional and mental health of the students who access their services. They will likely continue to make a difference in the lives of area students long after the controversy over a mural has died down.
And now let the campaigning for 2024 begin...
But seriously, we hope to see the signs coming down and other than the usual TV pundits speculations (because there is truly only so much real news out there and 24/7 networks that obsess about politics need filler) maybe hear less about the next go-round of voting.
Because this one felt exhausting.
And we need a little time here.
The incumbents holding the top three offices in the state were re-elected, all three proposals won handily, and it appears that for the first time in memory the GOP would not be the majority in the House and Senate in Lansing.
Locally, as expected, Republican candidates performed well, doubling up most of their Democratic rivals in county polling. The GOP hung onto the State House seat Scott VanSingel has held the past 6 years and redistricting brought us a new State Senator.
The most competitive races locally saw Lola Harmon Ramsey and Eric A, Johnson winning Fremont City Council seats, while the Newaygo School Board will see a new member in Sara Smith who was elected along with incumbents Vince Grodus and Reid Sherwood.
Grant School Board also returned a pair of incumbents in Neil Geers and Sabrina Veltkamp.
The County Board of Commissioners remains the same with only one member of the board facing competition from a Democratic challenger.
And as far as those who made voting easy by just punching a straight party ticket, 9,476 GOPers and 3,803 Dems went all in for their parties.
Fremont City Council
Lola Harmon Ramsey 790
Eric A Johnson 780
Dawn Finch 658
Mike Dennis 523
Grant School Board 6 year term
Sabrina Veltkamp 1978
Neil Geers 1380
Ken Thorne 957
Total Write Ins 980
Grant School Board Partial Term
Richard Vance 1139
Gerald Evans 1040
Sara Smith 2012
Vince Grodus 1589
Nicholas Nelson 1516
Jeff Pols 934
Paul Herbert 659
Reid Sherwood 1908
Rick Vincent 1792
Newaygo County State Total
Yes 10,692 2,834,141
No 11,390 1,429,825
Yes 9,059 2,579,340
No 13,142 1,721,550
Yes 8,125 2,477,707
No 14,273 1,895,577
Hilliard 6,386 115,731
Moolenaar 15.487 215,096
Whitmer 7,415 2,425,440
Dixon 14,875 1,956,780
Nessel 7,295 2,327,016
DePerno 14,442 1,948,525
Sec’y of State
Benson 7,905 2,462,621
Karamo 14,089 1,848,906
Bignell 6,368 36,743
Outman 15,449 76,700
Siggins 6,508 13,099
Fox 15,718 27,566
See all Newaygo County results at:
Story and photos by Tara Hefferan
Newaygo Marching Band is a small-town band with a big-time sound that was on full display at the Michigan Competing Band Association’s (MCBA) State Championship at Ford Field in Detroit on Saturday, November 5. Newaygo’s show “Take Shape” is a soaring presentation of music and movement that brings the audience on an emotional journey, not only because of the skillful performance but also because it celebrates the heart of the performers and community.
Newaygo’s Band program has a legacy of achievement, regularly earning a spot in the state competition. This year, Newaygo earned 5th place in the Flight V competition. Band Director Branden Listh was pleased with this achievement, saying “Yesterday's performance was great. The kids put their all in it, and I couldn't be more proud of what they have accomplished. Flight 5 is one of the most competitive flights in MCBA, and Newaygo did great.”
Competition day was long, beginning with rehearsals in Newaygo at 9:00 AM and arriving in Detroit around 6:30 PM. The journey from parking lot to performance field was an adventure, as wind and rain whipped through the “big city” streets. To enter the stadium, students passed multiple security checkpoints, complete with metal detectors and instrument inspections, before they were admitted to the famous “tunnel.” The tunnel is a steep and slippery incline that directly connects the street to the playing field. Moving heavy equipment and props through the tunnel is a challenge, taxing muscles and stamina for performers and volunteers alike.
Yet, access to these “backstage” areas associated with the NFL games played at Ford Field communicated the seriousness of the moment—this was the big show, the one they had prepared for all season. When it was showtime, the band left the dimness of the tunnel to move under the blazing lights of the stadium. The scene was stunning, with the bright green of the field meeting the vibrant blue of the stands. During setup, as volunteers and staff assembled the “stage,” Newaygo fans in the stands cheered loudly, both for the band as a whole and for individual performers. As Mr. Listh noted, “Our parents really make everything happen.”
Then, the Newaygo Marching Band gave the performance it has worked toward all season. It was theatric, with bold marching formations that fluidly moved throughout the field. It was musical, with difficult songs played with equal parts skill and heart. It was beautiful, with the color guard gracefully “taking shape” with neon costumes and props. Such moments bring band and audience into synchronicity, creating a shared experience that is rich in meaning and emotion. Newaygo’s performance was a beautiful end to another successful marching season.
Reflecting on the season, Mr. Listh said, “My favorite memory from this season was seeing the students so excited when introducing new music or new drill. The students, every time, would be ready to go at it the moment after I would introduce it. As the season went on, it was such a pleasure to hear from the community and individuals of how well the band was performing. I had, at our last football game, one individual that specifically searched me out after the game to say how well the students were playing.”
With marching season over, the Band now turns its attention to Jazz Band, which will perform at the Newaygo Christmas Walk on December 2nd. Symphonic Band season also begins this week, with Newaygo High School and Middle School Bands giving performances on December 14th.
Talent, heart, hard work, and community help define Newaygo’s Band programs. Mr. Listh said, “We would like to thank everyone in the community for their support this season. We had a lot of sponsors this year that made this possible, and we would like to thank them for their support.” In turn, we would like to thank Newaygo Bands for giving the gift of music to our community and to congratulate them on a fantastic marching season.