Gerber Memorial grateful for Newaygo County community support
It was two nights before Christmas. A lengthy siege that began in the spring had taken a toll on our hospital workers who served at the front lines in the fight to contain the pandemic surging throughout the country and increasingly affecting our community.
So the community said thanks.
Drew Dostal, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial president and regional leader for Spectrum Health’s northwest region acknowledged this epic show of support.
“Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is grateful for our community’s support and watching the heartfelt response from first responders, law enforcement, small businesses and families was moving to all of us at Gerber Memorial.
“For more than 100 years, we have served this community and our team members are also members of this community, many with deep roots that go back generations. We are honored and blessed to be able to care for this community and work to improve health, inspire hope and save lives.
“We are thankful for a generous, loving community that continues to support us in so many different ways, from practicing safety habits like wearing masks and socially distancing, to donating food and beverages that helps sustain our team members. Our community shows us that we are truly stronger together”
A Community gives thanks
Newaygo County law enforcement, first responders, businesses and community members came together in a show of appreciation for healthcare workers on the evening of the 23rd.
And boy, did they put on a show.
A stellar show of support that delivered a flashing lights, blowing sirens, horn honking salute to the warriors who have occupied the front lines, not in some far off conflict between nations, but in their backyard.
It’s been 9 long months for all of us but particularly daunting for those who have stood at the ready as the COVID pandemic that began with a sprinkling of cases in our county and now stands at 2100 plus.
And on Wednesday night, a grateful community came out to deliver some personalized thank yous, a heartfelt prayer and a powerful message of love and support to their champions.
Rhonda Buter of Independent Bank was there with her family to take in the celebratory pandemonium.
“As a law enforcement wife and a mother of two young girls, we have many conversations at home about the sacrifices that all front line workers must make in order to care for and protect the community. Many of these sacrifices go unnoticed, but not tonight.
“This evening, the community came out in force to show their support for amazing employees of Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial.”
The raucous racket of recognition proved a timely homage to the courage and fortitude shown by our hospital heroes.
“Our daughters (Charley age 7, Ryann age 6) saw many walks of life come together to pray over these frontline workers,” added Ms. Buter. “ They intently listened to all of the employees' names as each one was read over the loudspeaker, and said their own little prayers.
“While this event might seem like a gesture to some, I know it meant the world to all of the frontline workers. And as a parent, it was an incredible opportunity to talk about what an amazing community we live in and how if we all work together, great things can be accomplished.”
“I want to thank everyone at Spectrum for working hard and keeping us safe,” said Ryann. “ We love you and keep up the great work.”
15 years as Treasurer comes to an end
Retiring Newaygo County Treasurer Holly Moon was honored at the regular meeting of the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday December 23rd with a resolution recognizing her accomplishments in the position.
Ms. Moon’s 15 years as an elected official culminated a 36 year career in public service that includes positions on a number of boards and organizations at the local as well as state level. Her commitment to refining efficiencies in the Treasurer’s office resulted in a number of initiatives that led to savings in taxpayer and county dollars and her tireless efforts to expand the awareness of foreclosure prevention programs has assisted countless Newaygo County families.
The resolution read by Board Chair Bryan Kolk stated:
“Whereas, Holly Moon has been a knowledgeable and trusted resource to the entire Newaygo County Community for over 36 years as an elected official and member on many local boards and committees, including All Saints Church; Fremont Area Community Foundation, where she established the Betty Taylor Memorial Fund to support the wellbeing of local women, especially those in crisis; Gerber Hospital; United Way; and the White Cloud Rotary.
“Now therefore be it resolved, the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners does hereby congratulate and thank Holly Moon, Newaygo County Treasurer, for her years of service and dedication to the people and officials of Newaygo County, and wishes her all the best in her retirement.”
Several elected officials and department heads delivered praise to Treasurer Moon and State Senator Jon Bumstead also presented her with a plaque from the Governor’s Office.
“Holly has been a great asset, and Newaygo County is losing a dedicated professional.” said Senator Bumstead.
And while her time in the Treasurer’s Office will come to an end on December 31, Ms. Moon will continue to serve the community on a number of boards and committees while having more time to pursue personal interests including summers spent relaxing on the shores of Silver Lake with her husband Joe and their family.
Well done, Madame Treasurer.
FACF Elderly Needs Fund Changes Name to Bridging Generations Fund
The Elderly Needs Fund—a supporting organization of Fremont Area Community Foundation—recently announced it has changed its name to the Bridging Generations Fund.
Since 1992, the fund has made grants to benefit and enrich life for older adults in Newaygo County. Grants have been awarded to projects focused on physical and mental wellbeing, support and respite for caregivers, social enrichment activities, day programs, and more. While support for this important work continues, the fund’s board of directors has also looked for opportunities to support programming that encourages intergenerational partnerships.
“In 2019, we began learning about a concept called ‘age to age’ programming, designed to bring different generations together,” said Maria E. Gonzalez, foundation manager. “We have also been actively exploring ways to reframe aging in our community and looking at the language we use. Through all of this work, we realized it was important to choose a new name to reflect these priorities and our desire to support programming that builds stronger connections between generations.”
The fund’s recent efforts and learning were inspired by a 2016 survey of older adults in Newaygo County. The survey results, conversations with local partners, and opportunities to learn from communities in other parts of the country were all critical components of the board’s recent action planning and enhanced understanding of the power of different ages learning from each other.
“We believe building greater connections between different generations benefits the whole community,” said Gonzalez. “It is crucial not only in helping us all better understand the experiences and needs of our neighbors but also in helping people remain more connected to the community, no matter their age.”
The Bridging Generations Fund continues to accept grant applications twice per year, with deadlines of February 1 and September 1. The fund is currently accepting applications online for the next grant round. For more information, visit facommunityfoundation.org/grants.
Ban on indoor dining, bars extended to Jan. 15
Citing progress made during the recent ‘pause’ it was determined that high schools can return to in person instruction while bowling alleys, theaters and other entertainment venues will be allowed to open if following masking and social distancing requirements but without concessions.
Indoor dining, bars and clubs will have a longer wait.
According to the updated order from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) restaurants, bars and nightclubs must remain closed until Jan. 15 though Governor Whitmer hinted that bars and restaurants could be allowed to reopen earlier if the number of new cases continues to decrease. The new order is effective Monday, Dec. 21 and will last until Friday, Jan. 15.
Previously, MDHHS had identified stabilization or declines in three metrics as critical for relaxing protocols. Michigan saw improvements across all three following the “pause” implemented in mid-November:
“Michiganders should be proud: we have made incredible progress over the last month. But we could easily lose that progress and endanger our hospitals again over the next two weeks,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “At Thanksgiving, most Michiganders sacrificed and avoided family get-togethers. We need to do the same thing this holiday season. Then we can re-engage more activities sooner and more safely.”
The epidemic order continues to temporarily pause indoor dining in bars and restaurants, but they can continue to offer outdoor dining, carry-out, and delivery. Colleges and universities will be able to have students return to campus for the winter semester, with a voluntary commitment to wait until Jan. 18 to restart in-person courses.
Gyms remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures in place. Outdoor group fitness and outdoor non-contact sports will again be allowed, including running, downhill and cross-country skiing.
Under this new order, reopened indoor entertainment venues will not be required to collect names and contact information. With the amount of community spread that currently exists across the state and the heavy burden on contact tracing teams to keep up with these cases, it has become too challenging to meaningfully use this data for timely follow up. As case counts fall and contact tracing becomes able to keep up with the volume again, MDHHS expects to reinstate this information-gathering requirement.
As before, employees who work in jobs that cannot be performed from home can continue to go to work, while employees who can work from home should continue to do so. Individualized activities with distancing and face masks are still allowed: retail shopping; public transit; restaurant takeout; personal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment; and individualized exercise at a gym, with extra spacing between machines.
“These past few weeks, Michiganders across the state stepped up and did their part to slow the spread of COVID-19, and because of our collective hard work, we are now able to begin the steps to carefully lift some of the protocols we have in place,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am encouraged by the progress we have made since early November, and will continue to monitor the data closely during and after the holidays. “
Learn about Michigan’s lakes online from MSU Extension
Registration for the award-winning Introduction to Lakes online course is now open! The six-week self-paced online course runs January 19 - March 26, 2021 and is designed for anyone interested in inland lakes, including lakefront property owners and lake managers.
Newaygo County MSU Extension Water Resource Educator Erick Elgin:
“The stewardship and management of lakes in Michigan is ultimately our responsibility. Introduction to Lakes Online will build your lake knowledge to help ensure lake management balances our needs with a lake’s needs."
Course topics include lake ecology, watershed management, shoreline protection, Michigan water law, aquatic plants and community engagement. The course consists of video lectures, interactive activities, discussion forums, resources and live Ask-an-Expert webinars featuring Michigan State University Extension educators and experts from outside organizations.
Here are comments from past participants.
"I am a lake property owner and never thought about the plants, erosion, habitat, etc…because of this class I will definitely take a different approach down at the lake. I intend to leave most of my shoreline intact and will try to disrupt the lake as little as possible now.”
"This course taught me ways average people like myself can get involved in lake management. It's empowering to know that my lack of background in limnology doesn't have to hold me back as an advocate for conservation efforts."
"This online course is a very real service to individuals in our state (and beyond) who want a broad understanding of why lakes and wetlands are important, and how to best protect these natural resources!"
Registration is open now through January 14, 2021. The cost of the course is $115 per person. Register by December 28, 2020 for an early bird price of $95 per person. To learn more and to register, visit the Introduction to Lakes website at www.canr.msu.edu/lakesonline.
Health Department announces distribution plan. General public availability likely to be spring, summer
From our friends at DHD#10:
December 16, 2020 – District Health Department #10 has been working hard to develop a distribution plan for when the first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine arrives. Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the COVID-19 vaccine will be prioritized in the following way (please note the priority phases are subject to change):
“District Health Department #10 has established a COVID-19 Vaccination Planning Team that has been working daily to develop our plans for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine when it arrives,” states Kevin Hughes, Health Officer for DHD#10. “Our goal is to get it to the priority groups as soon as possible without delay.”
DHD#10’s COVID-10 vaccine distribution plan is as follows (subject to change):
It is anticipated that the COVID-19 vaccination will be readily available for the general public in the spring or summer of 2021.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, including an educational video on the development and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine by our Medical Director Dr. Jennifer Morse, go to www.dhd10.org/covid-19-vacccine.
Ice Mountain ES Fund benefits the Muskegon River Watershed
Stanwood, Michigan – Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA), in collaboration with Fremont Area Community Foundation, is pleased to announce the 2020 recipients of grants awarded through the Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund (IMESF). The IMESF supports the long-term sustainability of the Muskegon River and its ecosystems by funding environmental conservation projects and programs throughout the watershed.
The recipients selected for this year’s grants include: the Central Michigan District Health Department, serving the counties of Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Osceola and Roscommon; Mecosta County Park Commission, population 43,000 and home to Ferris State University; Grant Public Schools, a K-12 school district with approximately 1,900 students; Mecosta Conservation District, providing site-specific, technical assistance and information to landowners/users in all aspects of resource management, and Muskegon River Watershed Assembly, which is dedicated to the preservation, protection, restoration and sustainable use of the Muskegon River.
Funds provided through the IMESF support projects located anywhere along the 2,700-square-mile watershed stretching across 12 counties from near Houghton Lake to the City of Muskegon. Projects funded by IMESF grants over the past 18 years have included erosion control, rain gardens, restoration to creeks, dams and nature areas, site clean-ups and improvements, among many others. In 2019, NWNA committed an additional $2 million investment into the IMESF to support conservation projects for the next 20+ years.
“We are honored to support Michigan organizations that share our collective goal to help preserve the Muskegon River Watershed and we look forward to seeing the successful projects led by the 2020 IMESF recipients,” said Arlene Anderson-Vincent, Natural Resource Manager in the Midwest for Nestlé Waters. “Since its inception in 2002, the Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund has awarded nearly $700,000 in grants to local organizations that are devoted to improving, enhancing, and protecting the Muskegon River. It’s just one of the many ways we continue to show our commitment to helping to conserve Michigan’s natural resources.”
The IMESF is managed by the Fremont Area Community Foundation, located in Newaygo County within the heart of the Muskegon River Watershed. The Community Foundation connects the needs of the community with generous donors who want to make a difference. The foundation’s strategic framework focuses on grantmaking intended to improve key areas that will have the greatest impact on the community.
"Fremont Area Community Foundation is proud to work with Nestlé Waters to steward this fund and partner with organizations doing important work to conserve and enhance the Muskegon River Watershed,” said Carla Roberts, Fremont Area Community Foundation President and CEO. “Like the watershed itself, an endowed fund is a resource that, if preserved and stewarded carefully, will continue to benefit our region for generations to come. We are grateful for the generosity of Nestlé Waters and for the dedication, passion, and innovation of our community partners."
The 2020 IMESF grant recipients’ projects include:
Central Michigan District Health Department
Project Name: Scanning to Preserve Septic and Well Permits
The grant will fund the scanning and preservation of sewage system and water well permits in Clare, Osceola, and Roscommon counties. Residents, businesses, and industries rely on wells for clean drinking water and other daily needs. They also rely on sewage treatment systems that equally treat and discharge domestic wastewater in a manner that does not expose people to harmful organisms or degrade the environment.
Mecosta County Park Commission
Project Name: Professional Engineering Services for Slope Stabilization, Erosion Repair and Access Enhancement at Davis Bridge Day Use Park
This project will evaluate current bank stability and recommend improvements related to erosion and slope stability. This includes designing safe and sustainable access points for use of the Muskegon River as well as drafting bid documents, including a plan set and specifications ready for construction. Davis Bridge County Park is an important access point along the Muskegon River as it provides year-round opportunities for picnicking, fishing, hiking, and boating access for residents of Mecosta and Newaygo counties as well as many regional visitors.
Grant Public Schools
Project Name: Environmental Stewardship-Sandy Beach Buffer Zone Project
The purpose of this project is to educate students about environmental careers while empowering them to be community ambassadors. The students will play a key role in increasing the number of native Michigan plants at Sandy Beach, creating a natural habitat for pollinators while decreasing the amount of stormwater runoff flowing into the lake. They will help select the plants, design the buffer zone and guide the project from start to finish.
Mecosta Conservation District
Project name: 2020 Household Hazardous Waste Collection
This project will provide residents of Mecosta, Osceola and Lake Counties with a safe method to dispose of toxic and hazardous products in order to protect our environment. The objective is to prevent water/ground pollution through a more specialized approach to discarding harmful, hard- to-get-rid-of products. The collection is held on the second Saturday of October. Currently, there are no other collection programs in Mecosta and Osceola Counties or the east half of Lake County that allow residents to dispose of their hazardous waste. The need for hazardous waste collection is high for this area since landfills, waste haulers and recycling centers do not allow these types of toxic materials as a part of their collection and processing procedures.
Muskegon River Watershed Assembly
Project Name: Empowering Landowners to Action: Using Restoration Showcase Sites to control erosion pollution in the Muskegon River Watershed.
With the variable water levels in the Muskegon River Watershed causing increased erosion along shorelines, riparian landowners have reached out to MRWA for solutions. This project will stabilize over 500 feet of eroding streambank and establish Restoration Showcase sites to provide the public with tangible examples and educational material on techniques to appropriately stabilize banks in an aesthetically pleasing and ecologically appropriate manner. The work will focus on developing educational tools that would be distributed throughout the Muskegon River Watershed and help educate landowners (private and municipal) about the steps needed to accomplish an appropriate streambank stabilization project.
The 2021 IMESF grant application period is June 1 – July 15, 2021. For more information and to apply for consideration for a 2021 IMESF grant, please visit:
Newaygo County Area Promise Zone receives GLE Grant
The Newaygo County Area Promise Zone has received a $5,000 grant from the Great Lakes Energy People Fund. The grant dollars will be used to directly support student tuition.
The Newaygo County Area Promise Zone provides high school graduates with a tuition-free path to an associate degree from at least one institution or an approved apprenticeship. The Promise Zone believes that every student, regardless of financial means, should have the opportunity to earn post-secondary credentials.
By helping to remove the financial barrier that so many students face, the Promise Zone is helping to remove a cultural stigma that college is too expensive. By providing a tuition-free pathway to Muskegon Community College, the post-secondary partner, many students are starting to believe that higher education is within their reach and taking the steps to plan for their future.
“We are very grateful to have Great Lakes Energy and their People Fund Program join us in supporting our Promise Scholars,” said Holly Moon, Promise Zone Fundraising Chair. “Their gift will impact our students and ultimately the greater community by increasing the level of education and training for students as well as provide a more highly trained workforce for our employers.”
Since beginning in 2017, the Promise Zone has awarded over $1.3 million in tuition payments in support of over 500 eligible Newaygo County students pursuing opportunities to earn post-secondary credentials.
Members of Great Lakes Energy support the People Fund by voluntarily rounding up their bills to the next highest dollar. The rounded-up amount is distributed to non-profit organizations and charitable activities that benefit people in the communities served by the cooperative. For more information about the People Fund, contact Great Lakes Energy at 888-485-2537 or visit www.gtlakes.com.
The 2021-2022 Promise Scholarship application window for first year applicants will open on January 4, 2021. For more information about the Newaygo County Area Promise Zone visit www.promise.zone.
Today, Michigan convened its meeting of electors in the Senate chamber of the Michigan Capitol Building to cast all 16 electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the Electoral College. Nationwide the tally went by as predicted with 302 going to President elect Biden and 232 going to President Trump. Hawaii was to cast their 4 votes to Biden at 7pm.
Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield responded on social media citing demands received regarding overturning the results as well as threats he states he and his family and staff have received ”from both sides".
“I fought hard for President Trump. Nobody wanted him to win more than me. I think he's done an incredible job. But I love our republic, too. I can't fathom risking our norms, traditions and institutions to pass a resolution retroactively changing the electors for Trump, or sending a separate slate of electors, simply because some think there may have been enough widespread fraud to give him the win. That's unprecedented for good reason. And that’s why there’s not enough support in the House to cast a new slate of electors. I fear we'd lose our country forever.”
In total, more than 5.5 million votes were cast during the General Election -- with 2,804,040 votes (50.62 percent) for Biden/Harris compared to 2,649,852 votes (47.84 percent) for Trump/Pence. Under Michigan law, the electors are required to cast their ballots for the candidate who won the most votes during the General Election.
As stipulated by the U.S. Constitution, Michigan’s representation in the Electoral College consists of 16 electors, which is equal to the cumulative number of Michigan’s two members of the United States Senate and 14 members of the United States House of Representatives.
Gerber to receive doses within 1-2 weeks
Amidst an atmosphere of optimism and hope Spectrum Health introduced the first two recipients of the Pfizer COVID vaccine at their media briefing this afternoon.
Dr Mark McClelland M.D. and Yvette Kamana R.N. have both been at the frontlines in the battle against the virus serving in the ICU and COVID units and each expressed the hope that this would be the beginning of better times ahead.
“The virus has taken an emotional toll on healthcare workers,” said Ms. Kamana. “I felt blessed to be one of the first because it feels like we’re finally getting somewhere.”
“ I feel grateful to receive it,” said Dr. McClelland. “After caring for COVID patients this was a very emotional moment to realize this is the next chapter in our journey.
“If you saw what we see everyday you would understand.”
According to Spectrum Health President Darryl Elmouchi, MD they received 975 doses this morning. These will be given to front line patient care workers as their first dose. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be given to all those receiving it today again in 3 weeks.
In the meantime plans are to make the vaccine available to Spectrum team members who work in patient care within the next couple of weeks with regional hospitals including Gerber to be receiving it within 1-2 weeks.
Asked about whether the vaccine would be required Dr. Elmouchi explained that while not required the vaccine has been strongly recommended. President and CEO Tina Freese Decker was asked if there was resistance from staff about taking the vaccine.
“We sent out a survey and while we don’t have all the numbers I can tell you team members were overwhelmingly positive about taking the vaccine,” she stated.
While it will likely be spring at the earliest before the vaccine becomes available to the general public there are already plans developed collaboratively among hospitals, public health organizations and other entities to deal with the logistics involved as well as delivering a unified message to the citizenry.
In the meantime the speakers each urged the public to continue practicing the guidelines aimed at preventing the spread such as masking social distancing and limiting or eliminating any gatherings.
According to the medical staff at the briefing to achieve herd immunity somewhere between 70-80% of the population would need to be vaccinated.
“Getting the vaccine is an opportunity for us all to step up and help each other,” added Ms. Kamana.
MDHHS Announces Priority Groups for COVID-19 Vaccination
LANSING, MICH. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) officials today provided additional information about COVID-19 vaccination plans for Michigan, including priority groups for vaccination administration, the vaccine development and safety process and where Michiganders can find more details.
Yesterday, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended approval for one of the vaccines that could be ready for distribution as early as next week. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2020-193, creating the bipartisan Protect Michigan Commission to help educate Michiganders about an approved vaccine. Michigan health officials have set a goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders 18 years of age or older, about 5.4 million adults, by the end of 2021.
“The COVID-19 vaccine will help all our communities eliminate the virus,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “Because initial allocations of vaccine will be limited, we must prioritize how the vaccine will be distributed across the state and will use the guidance and principles outlined by the CDC and national experts. We want every adult to be planning now for how they will get their vaccine once it becomes available to them.”
Distribution of the vaccine will be in a phased approach, with an emphasis on both ensuring the continuing functioning of the health care system and essential services in the community and protecting people at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness. These prioritizations may change as more information on vaccine effectiveness and additional vaccination products become available.
Phases are as follows:
MDHHS has provided additional prioritization guidance within these categories. It is important to note that vaccination in one phase may not be complete before vaccination in another phase begins. Vaccination in these phases will likely overlap. The timing of the start of vaccination in a phase is dependent on guidance from CDC and ACIP, the supply of vaccine from the manufacturer, how vaccine is allocated from the federal level to Michigan and the capacity to administer the vaccine to populations.
Vaccine distribution will roll out over a series of weeks, and current estimates are that by late Spring 2021 enough vaccine will be available for everyone who is recommended to receive it. A variety of partners will be engaged in the distribution and administration process, including hospitals, pharmacies, local health departments, EMS providers and outpatient clinics. The Michigan National Guard is also supporting vaccination efforts in some settings.
There will be no out-of-pocket costs to individuals for the vaccine, however, healthcare providers may bill insurance for administrative costs. The COVID-19 vaccine will require two doses, separated by three or four weeks depending on the manufacturer. Michiganders should receive both doses in order to have full protection from the virus. Individuals who receive the vaccine may experience mild side effects such as low-grade fever, sore arm and fatigue, which indicate that the vaccine is working. There is a robust state and national process for tracking vaccines and reporting side effects.
MDHHS stresses Michiganders should continue to wear masks, social distance from those not in their household and wash their hands often, even after receiving the vaccine.
Khaldun said it is important to note that while scientists worldwide are working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine faster than any vaccine before, they are still following the proven process. Scientists had already begun research for coronavirus vaccines during previous outbreaks caused by related coronaviruses such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). That earlier research provided a head start for rapid development of vaccines to protect against infection with COVID-19.
“The process for approval of a COVID-19 vaccine is scientifically sound, and no steps have been skipped,” Khaldun said. “People should know what to expect when they get a vaccine- such as mild side effects like a sore arm or low-grade fever. They should also plan on making sure they get their second dose to make sure they get the full benefit of the vaccine.”
Michigan residents seeking more information about the COVID-19 vaccine can visit Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine. As additional information and resources become available, it will be posted to this site.
Liquor Control Commission delivers decisions and a warning
Two local restaurants each received fines and liquor license suspensions for violating the emergency order prohibiting in house dining.
Jimmy’s Roadhouse received two $300 fines for a total of $600 and Brew Works received three fines for a total of $900. Both will also have their licenses suspended for the next 60 days.
From the Jimmy’s Roadhouse hearing:
“The Licensee engaged in illegal acts on the licensed premises by remaining open for in person dining despite the Public Health Emergency Order not to do so. By committing this illegal act, the Licensee is in violation of Rule 436.1101(1) and subject to discipline.”
"The Licensee’s actions constitute an imminent threat to the public’s health, safety, and welfare. The Commission’s summary suspension under the Administrative Procedures Act was appropriate. There need not be proof of an actual injury to support a threat to public health, safety, or welfare. The Licensee is not free to do as they please until a case of COVID-19 transmission is confirmed to the Licensee’s establishment. To adopt this line of reasoning would allow a licensed establishment flout any rule until there is a negative consequence including to serve alcohol to intoxicated persons until a patron goes out and harms a member of the public; licensees are always prohibited from overserving customers from day one of their licensure, not from some arbitrary point after a customer kills another person while driving drunk.
“Economic necessity does not allow the Licensee to pick and choose which laws to comply with. Almost all restaurants in the state have complied with the Order despite the hardship that has resulted; only a very select few restaurants have deemed themselves above the law. Further, this Licensee made no attempt to implement even the most basic and essential safety measure to combat this deadly disease: requiring wearing masks. It is necessarily difficult to have customers wear masks while eating and drinking, but it is entirely possible, reasonable, and essential to have staff wear masks while serving their customers. The Licensee did not require staff to wear masks, completely undermining restaurants’ best argument that they should be allowed to remain open: that they can and will operate safely.
"The Licensee is warned that further fines, suspensions, or a revocation of the Licensee’s liquor license could result if the Licensee continues to operate in violation of the law or violates the Order of the Commission."
Similar language could be found in the Brew Works hearing with the addition of violations incurred by allowing bowling.
Here are links to the violation orders
Fremont Area Community Foundation Announces Search Committee for Next President and CEO
The search has begun to replace Carla Roberts, Fremont Area Community Foundation president and CEO. Roberts has led the organization since 2011 and plans to retire from her position by the end of 2021.
Joe Roberson, Community Foundation board chair, announced this week that he, along with fellow trustee Lori Tubbergen Clark, has assembled a search committee comprised of representatives from all sectors and geographic regions served by the Community Foundation. The preliminary work to create a committee and identify a national search firm was also guided by former trustee, Bill Johnson.
“The 11 individuals on the search committee bring diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives to this important task,” said Roberson, who will serve as chair of the committee. “We have representatives from education, banking and finance, law, government, and the nonprofit sectors as well as community leaders from our four-county service area.”
The search committee includes:
Lori Tubbergen Clark, search committee vice chair, emphasized that the committee will undertake a nationwide search to find the right person to succeed Roberts.
“We are committed to identifying worthy applicants and conducting a thoughtful and transparent search process,” said Tubbergen Clark. “Each member of the search committee has a shared commitment to find another exceptional leader to guide the Community Foundation into the future.”
To assist in their efforts, the search committee will also retain a search firm with proven experience in conducting a CEO-level search in the community foundation field. Both groups will work to find and evaluate possible applicants and the search committee will provide a short list of candidates to the Community Foundation Board of Trustees by July 2021. The board will conduct interviews and make a final selection by August.
“We are grateful to the community members who have agreed to share their time and talents to help us find the best possible president and CEO,” said Roberson. “Fremont Area Community Foundation has been a trusted force for good in our community for nearly 70 years, and our board and search committee are dedicated to finding an exemplary candidate with passion and experience to build on this legacy of impact for years to come.”
MDHHS extends pause in light of numbers, hospitals request
At a news conference today (Monday Dec. 7) Governor Whitmer announced that The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will be extending the 3 week pause for 12 more days citing, among other reasons, a request from hospitals to continue with the measures put into place 3 weeks ago.
The Michigan Health and Hospital Association representing all of the state’s community hospitals released a statement that read in part, “To see meaningful change that truly alleviates stress on the healthcare system, we urge the state to extend protections through the holiday season.”
The Governor also referenced the high positivity rate in testing and the increase in deaths attributed to the virus.
“We’ve made progress but that progress is fragile and we can’t let up yet.”
According to MDHHS the additional 12 days will allow the department to determine the full impact of the Thanksgiving holiday on the spread of COVID-19 across Michigan.
Taking questions from the media the Governor acknowledged the strain on small businesses and encouraged the state legislature and Congress to pass relief measures for business and workers who have been impacted by the economic fallout from the virus.
She was also asked if 12 days was going to be enough.
After stating that any changes would be made methodically and not all at once she acknowledged that she is discouraging people from gathering during the upcoming holidays.
“To have future holidays together this year needs to be smart. Celebrate apart and find other ways to be together. I know this is hard to do but it is essential.
“We’re in for a tough couple of months.”
The order will keep existing measures in place through Dec. 20 and does not include a blanket stay-home action. Employees who work in jobs that cannot be performed from home can continue to go to work, including those in manufacturing, construction and health occupations. Outdoor gatherings, outdoor dining and parks remain open. Individualized activities with distancing and face masks are still allowed: retail shopping; public transit; restaurant takeout; personal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment; and individualized exercise at a gym, with extra spacing between machines.
Bars and restaurants must remain closed for dine-in service, but can remain open for outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery. Gyms are open for individual exercise with mandatory masking and additional strict safety measures. Casinos, movie theaters and group exercise classes remain closed. Professional and college sports meeting extraordinary standards for risk mitigation may continue without spectators. Colleges, universities and high schools will continue with remote learning, with no in-person classes.
Drain Commish Twing delivers input
Last week our public health friends at District Health Department #10 put out a press release about algae blooms on Ryerson (aka Long) Lake.
“Over the past few years, DHD#10’s jurisdiction has seen a significant rise in the number of algae blooms on our lakes and rivers," said the missive. "This year was an especially bad year, with blooms extending into November that normally would have ended in early October. This is likely a result of hotter summers and falls due to climate change and could also be an effect of prolonged seasonal homes usage around our lakes due to the multiple stay at home orders.”
We asked Newaygo County Drain Commissioner Dale Twing to weigh in about the pesky nuisance known to discolor the shorelines.
“I do believe that we will have more blue green algae blooms in the future," said DC Twing. " There are many contributing factors for this. More extreme weather events are definitely an influence. Septic systems not functioning correctly or too close to lakes definitely are a factor.
“Much of it is an accumulation of bad practices by people in the watershed and particularly around the lakes. This has caused many if not all the lakes to have large amounts of phosphorus settling in their bottoms. This gets released by boat disturbance and the natural turnover of the water in the lakes and results in the blooms.
“The residents still have the most impact on their lakes. Regular pumping of septic tanks and other maintenance on them is important. Discontinuing fertilizer, developing natural buffer strips and not creating golf course-like lawns all the way to the lake would help to improve lake health.
“It always is interesting to me that the riparians are often concerned with their agricultural neighbors and wondering if they are doing best practices such as buffer strips when they don’t do it themselves. The long and short of it is that as we enjoy the lake life we have an impact and the negative impact can be mitigated to a large extent by knowing and using best healthy lake practices.”
DHD#10 wants to remind people to exercise caution while near waterways:
Contact with algae blooms can cause minor illness in humans but can be fatal to pets. Therefore, it is also recommended that people keep their pets out of water that shows any signs of algae blooms.
People and pets can experience the following symptoms after algal bloom exposure:
If you think you’ve been exposed to algal blooms take the following precautions:
For more information, call for DHD#10 Environmental Health Division at 888-217-3904.
Consumers Energy to Conduct Siren Tests at Rogers, Croton and Hardy Dams December 9
CROTON, Mich– Consumers Energy announced the emergency public warning siren systems near its Rogers, Hardy and Croton hydroelectric generating plants on the Muskegon River will be tested on Wednesday, December 9 at approximately 10 a.m.
The test will include a voice message, a 30-second siren and a second voice message. The public does not need to take any action during the test.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires hydroelectric facilities to be able to quickly notify residents and visitors of any developing emergency at the plants. Typically, Consumers Energy performs the test once in August and in December each year.
In the event of an emergency, the siren/speaker units’ initial warning will be supplemented by information on radio and television stations along with Newaygo and Mecosta County emergency notification systems.
Consumers Energy offers a safety caution to those who visit dams in the winter:
“Ice on a reservoir near a hydroelectric facility is not reliable and should be avoided by snowmobilers, anglers and others,” said Neil Dziedzic, Consumers Energy’s executive director of hydro operations. “Also, ice-covered water down river from a hydroelectric facility should never be considered a safe place to walk.”
Applicants for $15,000 grants required to be following COVID orders
The Michigan Strategic Fund today approved a $10 million grant program to help meet the urgent needs of small businesses disproportionately impacted the COVID-19 virus, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced. The Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative will utilize federal CARES Act funding to award grants of up to $15,000 to at least 670 small businesses across Michigan.
Following today’s approval, MEDC is now accepting applications through 1 p.m. on Wednesday, December 2, for eligible nonprofit organizations interested in administering the grants. Interested organizations may submit their application at www.michiganbusiness.org/relief. The application period for small businesses seeking grants will begin on Tuesday, December 15.
The Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative is intended to meet the urgent need of Michigan businesses including restaurants and bars, lodging providers, live event venues and movie theaters, conference and meeting facilities, indoor recreation facilities, and gyms and fitness centers. The grants under the program will support those businesses facing drastic reductions in cash flow and the continued support of their workforce and may be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, or utility expenses.
The program will provide a total of $10 million to one or more qualified grant administrators, who will administer and allocate grants of up to $15,000 each to eligible businesses around the state. Funds will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis and the application window for small businesses will close once the targeted allocations within each of the state’s 10 prosperity regions are reasonably expected to be met.
To qualify for grant support, businesses must meet a number of criteria, including but not limited to:
In addition, applicants will be required to self-certify that they are following all state and local orders related to COVID-19, including, but not limited to, those issued by DHHS and county health departments. For the full list of requirements, visit here .
“As we continue to take necessary precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19, many of Michigan’s small businesses are experiencing additional strain, particularly now during the holiday season and heading into winter,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “We are fully committed to supporting our small businesses and their employees across the state as they navigate and persevere through this pandemic. By putting this federal funding to work, we can provide immediate assistance to those businesses hardest-hit by the pandemic.”
These federal CARES Act dollars were distributed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Michigan Community Development Block Grant program. A complete list of Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative grant recipients will be posted to michiganbusiness.org/relief. MSF today also approved up to $1 million to be used for administrative costs.