Ashland Township, Michigan (December, 29, 2022): Today, Quality Finishing Systems, a 2nd generation family-owned industrial equipment manufacturer, and The Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership, powered by The Right Place, announced an expansion at 333 W 136th Street in Ashland Township near Grant, MI.
“On behalf of everyone at Quality Finishing Systems, we are excited to be kicking off a new expansion,” said David Courson, General Manager. “Being founded in Grant, it was important to our family to find a solution to grow our business and stay in the same location.”
Quality Finishing Systems plans to add 10 new jobs and invest over $500,000 in the next 12 months. This expansion comes after the company acquired additional land in 2020, with technical assistance provided by the Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership. The company broke ground on this expansion in early December 2022.
“We are excited to celebrate Quality Finishing System’s choice to expand their operations in Newaygo County” said Julie Burrell, Economic Development Director of the Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership at The Right Place, “They have been a leader in southern Newaygo County and we are happy to support their growth.”
Quality Finishing Systems, established in 1998, serves industrial customers across North America, specializing in paint finishing systems. Second generation leadership was established in 2020, providing an opportunity for further growth and supporting this expansion.
Additionally, Michigan Works! West Central supported this expansion with a training package totaling $99,679.
Ed H Henning County Park Forestry Work
Problematic Red Pine Stands to be Removed
Forestry work to begin in January 2023
Newaygo, MI: The Newaygo County Park and Recreation Commission is moving forward in its first phase of forest stewardship work at Ed. H Henning County Park in January 2023. After completing a comprehensive Forest Stewardship Review and Planning Process, the disease prone and mature plantations of Red Pine were recommended for harvest to allow the native hardwood understory to be released.
The Park Commission is always looking to improve its natural areas and expand recreational offerings to visitors and residents. One such project that is partially complete is the new Muskegon River Bluffs Disc Golf Course. It was vital to the Park Commission that forest health be an essential aspect when considering this project. Therefore, Newaygo County contracted with Mark P Janke as their consultant, a Registered Forester overseeing forest stewardship planning and implementation. With Mark’s help, the County conducted a Forest Stewardship Review and developed a plan to best manage the forest lands at Ed H. Henning County Park.
Mr. Janke, who has decades of forestry experience, completed a comprehensive inventory and inspection of all the forest lands at Ed H. Henning County Park and worked with the County to develop an action plan to improve the forest lands and integrate the proposed disc golf course in the most sustainable way possible. One of the biggest resource concerns that Mr. Janke found at the property was the unhealthy 80+-year-old Red Pine plantations that were diseased and gradually deteriorating.
“While reviewing the property, it was clear that the large Red Pine stands were starting to become diseased/dying, which was spreading to uninfected Pines quickly. In addition, these pine stands are currently inhibiting the growth of a diverse and native understory of young hardwoods, and dying Pines pose a risk to park visitors if not addressed," explained Mark P. Janke, Consulting Forester.
In Red Pine plantations, the progression is a natural transition from pine to hardwood. The Pines act as a natural nursery environment for the young hardwoods to flourish, and as the Pines die off, the native hardwoods take over and result in a mature hardwood forest. Henning Park is currently in that transition stage, resulting in a number of dying trees standing close to Park areas. Removing the doomed Red Pine trees will accelerate the growth of the existing hardwood trees, improve the overall forest health, and make the Park safer for all visitors.
“Timber removal, especially on this scale, is not pretty, but in the end, it will improve the overall health of our forest at Henning Park. This is one of the reasons we are reaching out to let the public know that our end goal is to improve visitor safety and forest health,” explained Parks Director Nick Smith.
Later this month, crews from a local timber company, Outback Forestry, will begin removing the Red Pines from Henning Park. In addition to large-scale pine removal, some select hardwoods will be removed. While this is underway, timber crews will take special precautions to preserve the young hardwood understory so these trees can flourish once forestry activity is completed. Debris will be left on site and placed strategically to improve soil health and provide some animal habitats.
“We look forward to completing this first step in forest health improvement and seeing the hardwoods take over where the pines once stood,” said Mr. Janke.
Once completed, crews will enter the area and finish installing the disc golf course this year.
If anyone has questions about this forestry process or the Forest Stewardship Plan, they are welcome to contact the Parks Commission Office at 231.689.7340.
More Dam News
Reader asks about upcoming Dam work
N3 received a note from one of our readers asking if we could see if there are any updates on the rebuilding of the Hardy Dam spillway and roadway across the Dam.
We got in touch with the ever amiable Rich Houtteman from Consumers Energy who provided the following:
We are awaiting milestones next year that involve regulating entities such as Michigan Dept of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) permitting,
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval, as well as revenue recovery from the Michigan Public Service Commission.
We are planning as though the project will begin after Labor Day 2023 but that is very tentative at this time. We should have more
confidence in a start date (if granted) by early to mid-summer.
The road over the dam should be operational through at least Labor Day Weekend and likely beyond into Fall.
In the meantime we will carry on with logging and clearing work where the tentative new spillway will be constructed. Folks can check the
latest info here at https://www.consumersenergy.com/company/electric-generation/renewables/hydroelectric
He also added:
Hardy Pond Drawdown Schedule Change
This year’s annual winter drawdown for Hardy Pond will begin early November 1, 2022 in preparation for a future auxiliary spillway project. The restoration to normal operating water levels will be by May 26, 2023 (Friday prior to Memorial Day weekend). The future auxiliary spillway project is in the design and engineering phase. Construction dates will be shared when finalized.
For additional information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What Will Be The Future of Our Dams?
Consumers Energy to Study Impacts of Its Dams on Local Communities
JACKSON, Mich., Dec. 19, 2022 – Consumers Energy is funding an independent study during the first half of 2023 to determine the contribution of its 13 river hydro facilities to local communities near those dams across Michigan. That study will build on information gathered during community engagement meetings held in 2022 to help determine the future of its dams.
“Consumers Energy is committed to being a good neighbor and working transparently as we make informed decisions to reach the best outcomes for our customers, stakeholders and the communities we serve,” said Norm Kapala, vice president of generation operations at Consumers Energy. “We know our dams play significant roles in Michigan, especially in the economies of the communities near our facilities, and we share with local leaders and others the desire to quantify those impacts before developing long term strategies regarding the future of those facilities.”
The 30- to 40-year federal licenses to operate the dams Consumers Energy owns and operates on the Muskegon, Manistee, Grand, Kalamazoo and Au Sable rivers are set to expire beginning in 2034.
Consumers Energy is considering four options for each of its 13 dams: Relicensing the river hydro dam and continue generating electricity, selling the dam to a third party, removing the dam, or replacing the dam with an alternative structure that maintains some level of reservoir.
The energy provider hired Public Sector Consultants (PSC), a Lansing-based nonpartisan consulting firm that specializes in public policy research to perform the economic study. PSC has longstanding expertise in studying energy and the environment, economic research, public engagement, and group facilitation. The firm conducted the 2022 community river hydro in-person listening sessions and will build on the feedback from those meetings for this current work.
PSC will begin by engaging each of the local communities to identify and review available data to ensure the studies find all contributing factors that influence the local economies around Consumers Energy’s dams. They will produce individual studies for each dam to better understand the unique economic contributions – including additional data on how the hydro facilities and their associated reservoirs contribute to the recreational and tax bases of the communities -- of all 13 hydro sites.
“A common theme we heard during our 27 community engagement meetings with communities and stakeholders is to know more about how much of the economic activity in the communities around our dams are associated with the hydro facilities,” said Kapala. “We have listened to the community members and we are working on this economic contribution study to answer those questions to better understand those impacts.”
Consumers Energy makes decisions based on the Triple Bottom Line that ensures benefits for people, the planet and Michigan’s prosperity. Factors Consumers Energy considers in determining the future for its dams include regulatory compliance, safety, community impacts, operating costs and environmental impacts.
For more information about the process to determine the future of Consumers Energy’s river hydro facilities, visit ConsumersEnergy.com/HydroFuture
NCRESA Seeks Family Navigator
Toptracer opens at Waters Edge
FREMONT, MICH. – On Tuesday, Dec. 13, Waters Edge Golf Course in Fremont hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newest offering: Toptracer at The Bunker, a top-rated range technology in the golfing industry worldwide that enhances a players’ driving range experience.
Integrated in over 30 countries, there are 219 Toptracer locations in the U.S. Toptracer’s newest location, The Bunker at Waters Edge, is fully dedicated to providing opportunities for individuals in West Michigan to enjoy a unique aspect of the game of golf.
“Toptracer is transforming the everyday driving range experience by utilizing the same technology that televised golf tournaments use to track shots of the game’s best players,” said Larry Yachcik, Waters Edge general manager. “It uses cameras mounted around The Bunker at Waters Edge where ball-tracing technology displays accurate, live shot data, including distance, speed, launch angle, shape, and more, on a monitor in each hitting bay. The data can then be used for practice purposes or to compete in games and challenges with friends and other Toptracer users throughout the world.”
With Toptracer, guests of all ages and skill levels, including kids, can compete against friends, play virtual courses, receive instant shot feedback on interactive game screens, and receive advanced analytics to perfect their swing.
The Bunker at Waters Edge, the golf course’s new state-of-the-art facility, features eight heated Toptracer bays that can sit up to six people for year-round play, a full-service bar, and fixed food menu for table service. Waters Edge Golf Course and all of its facilities, including Toptracer at The Bunker and Lakes 23 restaurant, are open to the public.
“Waters Edge is a wonderful amenity for the Fremont community and it’s exciting to see the new addition of The Bunker,” said Fremont Mayor James Rynberg. “This addition to the community will draw community and visitors alike to the Waters Edge Golf Course. We are excited for all the updates that have taken place here and we know even more great things are coming.”
“On behalf of the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce and our business community, we want to congratulate Waters Edge Golf Course on a fantastic new addition for our residents and visitors,” said Karen Baird, executive director, Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce. “Waters Edge has been a great community partner for many years, and continues to provide a positive economic impact on the community. The Bunker is sure to be an economic driver as visitors come to discover Fremont and this new investment at Waters Edge.”
A ribbon-cutting celebration was held in conjunction with the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, where The Bunker at Waters Edge received a proclamation from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office.
“With the opening of The Bunker, Waters Edge will surely attract thousands of new patrons,” states the proclamation. “With their goal of always challenging and improving their players’ games of golf, they will undoubtedly continue to be successful for years to come. May the grand opening of The Bunker bring about a new era of prosperity for all those at the Waters Edge golf facility.”
How Fast Is Your Internet?
County Encourages FCC Map Confirmation
Ok, Near Northians Listen Up, Please!!
There are boatloads of federal money coming down the pike for high speed internet. If you want to help the chances of having it brought into your home, you seriously need to take a look at this info from our friends at the Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership.
In November, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a new map of broadband service for the nation. Unlike previous maps, this new data collection provides information at the address level. For the first time, the FCC is accepting challenges to the data shown on the maps, and encourages consumers, communities, and others to examine the map’s accuracy.
These maps dictate which areas are eligible for future funding, enhancing the critical nature of this opportunity to verify accuracy.
The Michigan High-Speed Internet Office is working to identify discrepancies state-wide, however the County of Newaygo is suggesting residents take the initiative to ensure their data is correct. It is critical that challenges to the FCC map be filed by Jan.13, 2023. Having an accurate federal map will ensure that Michigan receives its equitable share of funding through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program to invest in achieving universal broadband availability for the state.
The map can be accessed here: https://broadbandmap.fcc.gov/
Newaygo County is working with regional partners to coordinate broadband planning through facilitated information sharing and coordination of outreach efforts. Additional resources and up-to-date information for this region are available at https://wmsrdc.org/project/wmsrdc-broadband-support/
A Trio of Tidbits from N3 World Headquarters
Big News In Big Prairie
We understand Big Prairie Township scored a $150,000 Recreation Passport grant to create a new welcome center for Oxbow Park. The win was one of several RecPass grants received throughout the state for a variety of projects. Our fave is the splashpad that will be going in down by Lowell…and by the way, Fremont, you seriously need a splashpad.
One project that received funding up by Gladwin has what we think is a great name.
A Trail of Two Cities.
I can see the review on it already.
“It was the best of hikes, it was the worst of hikes….”
For Crepes Sake
If you ventured out and participated in Newaygo’s Christmas walk perhaps you wandered into Flying Bear Books where new owners Eric and Krystal Johnson were uber-busy putting together their signature crepes for the long line of folks interested in giving them a try.
They were able to churn out 150 in about 3 hours.
Lil and I snared a couple of them and wandered out to find a spot to unwrap and devour them.
They were righteous. Nicely done Johnsons.
Their temporary permit to serve them expired this past Saturday, but Eric reports the thin and tasty creations will be coming back on a permanent basis around the end of January.
This initiative provides a great option for food seekers in the downtown area of River City and besides it’s in a book store. THE book store in Newaygo County.
“I’m not one who can share a crepe. I need the whole crepe.” -Emily Cooper (Lily Collins), ‘Emily In Paris’
“And before I go…”
Scott VanSingel recently returned from Lansing following his last session in the state house. In his farewell address he handed out a lot of thank yous but also called out some of the divisive elements he has encountered both in the capital and here in his home district.
While not always agreeing with Rep VanSingel we found him to be ever-accessible, unafraid to answer any of our questions and a true light of reason in a milieu where lately it seems a crass sense of discourtesy now passes for political discourse.
We will be doing an interview with our outgoing voice in Lansing and post the interaction later this week.
“Ends are not bad things, they just mean that something else is about to begin. - C. JoyBell C.
Semi Annual Siren Coming to the Dams
Consumers Energy to Conduct Siren Tests Near Rogers, Hardy and Croton Dams December 14
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 14, at about 9 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 siren systems are tested each August and December.
· The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires hydroelectric facilities to be able to quickly notify residents and visitors of any developing emergency at the plants.
· In an emergency, the sirens would be used only if the threat of a dam failure is imminent at one of the facilities. At that time, anyone on or near the river should evacuate at once to high ground. Additional information would be provided on local radio and television stations.
Consumers Energy reminds those who visit dams in the winter that ice on a reservoir near a hydroelectric facility is not reliable and should be avoided by snowmobilers, anglers and others. Also, ice-covered water down river from a hydroelectric facility should never be considered a safe place to walk.
When 13 Is Anything But Unlucky
County Scores HIgh on Education, Job Skills, Employment Opportunities
How are we doing Newaygo? I mean, as a county, how are we doing when it comes to building toward prosperity via education and employment? Well, according to a national organization who puts out an annual scorecard on such things we’ seem to be looking pretty good.
Each year Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass), a global leader in labor market analytics, releases a Talent Attraction Scorecard. The Scorecard is meant to help communities understand how they are doing in attracting and developing talent to meet their workforce needs.
And we placed 13th.
While some may say ‘Well, it’s not first place” to give a bit of perspective the last survey Lightcast released we landed at 2182nd so moving up 2169 places feels like some pretty major success in this corner.
Rankings are based on education, overall job change, migration, skilled job change, competitive effect (jobs created above or below what is expected),and skilled job openings. This year’s rankings captured data taken from 2017 to 2021, highlighting key changes in demographics, education and open jobs due to COVID-19 and what it shows is how the county has made substantial progress in the key areas.
Education? The level of educational attainment rose 22% from 2017 to 2021. Bachelor’s Degrees jumped 32% and those with Master’s Degrees or beyond went up 18%.
How about jobs? Well, annually we are averaging 572 skilled job openings per year with an increase of 32% and overall job openings have jumped 31%.
“It is exciting to be a part of positive movement forward on educational attainment and careers in our community,” said Shelly Kasprzycki, President and CEO of the Fremont Area Community Foundation. “Newaygo County is thriving, and while we have much more work to do, we are seeing growth.”
Growth indeed, and not by chance and certainly not by luck. The climb from last year’s four figure finish to 13th happened because of a multitude of efforts put forth to improve the educational achievement of the county and a focus on developing employment opportunities that have not only drawn talent from other areas but retained residents with skills who might have once left the county to seek better employment opportunities.
“Newaygo County leaders have focused on strategic programs like Kickstart for Career and the Newaygo County Promise, supporting our existing and upcoming talent,” said Julie Burrell, Economic Development Director of Newaygo County and Regional Partner Lead at The Right Place. “Our efforts to connect industry to education are supported by the data from this Lightcast Ranking, and we will continue working to improve the greater Newaygo County economy.”
Sentencing to take place in January
Just under a year ago Darrell Dean Dakan was arrested after an altercation with his son Joshua Dakan escalated, ending with the elder Dakan fatally shooting his son.
On December 2nd Dakan, of White Cloud, was found guilty following a week long jury trial regarding the December 27, 2021 shooting death.
Court records indicated Joshua Dakan was sitting in the passenger seat of a friend’s car when his father came out and confronted him about leaving a cable across the driveway that ended up damaging the elder Dakan’s truck. As they argued, the father got a rifle from his trailer aiming it at his son.His friend reported that Joshua Dakan at one point said ‘Just shoot me”. Then, according to the friend, Darrell Dakan fired the .22 caliber rifle at his son. Joshua struggled with his father for a short time before collapsing with the bullet piercing his heart and lung.
Dakan was found guilty of second degree murder and weapons- Felony Firearm. The murder conviction carries a sentence of life in prison or any term of years. Felony Firearm carries a penalty of two years to be served consecutively to and preceding any term of imprisonment for the underlying felony.
Newaygo County Prosecuting Attorney Worth Stay commented: “I thank the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office, for their investigation of this matter, the witnesses for their willingness to give testimony, and the jury for their service during this lengthy trial.”
Sentencing is scheduled for January 31, 2023 at 9:30 a.m. in the Newaygo County Circuit Court in White Cloud.
To celebrate Tamarac’s 15th birthday, the health and wellness center is featuring a two-week series of events culminating with a special birthday celebration at Tamarac on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 8 to 11 a.m. All events and specials are for the entire community to take part in and free of charge.
Amanda Irwin, manager, has been with Tamarac since its inception in 2007. Over the years she has seen the impact the center has on its members and the community.
“We are so excited to share our 15th birthday with the community and the ways in which we help our members and community live healthy, active lifestyles,” said Irwin. “We look forward to many more years of continuing to help our community achieve their health and wellness goals and encourage everyone to check out the schedule of events happening through Dec. 17. There’s truly something for everyone.”
During the special birthday celebration on Dec. 17, Tamarac will have information booths, presentations and special events held by industry experts in health, fitness, rehabilitation and nutrition. For those who wish to become a member of Tamarac, the enrollment fee is reduced to $15 and runs throughout December and January. In addition, all who attend can receive a 15% discount on all café purchases and special discounts at the pro shop.
All events are held at Tamarac (1401 W. Main St.), and registration is required for some events as space is limited. Please join Tamarac’s Facebook group (www.facebook.com/groups/TamaracWellness) to view the full listing of events and register.
Tamarac is a member of Corewell Health Gerber Hospital. Whether you’re looking for a place to work out, relax in the spa, attend a fitness class, swim in a heated pool, improve your knowledge on various health topics or just meet new people while enjoying food at our café, Tamarac has something for everyone.
Will New Year Mean New Career?
Opportunities abound at Newaygo County
We are less than a month from a new year, a time when many of us look to the turning of the calendar as an opportunity to make some changes in our lives.
And what better time to take a look at what we might want to pursue when it comes to how we earn our money?
Newaygo County not only pays well but also provides some seriously fine benefits to its employees while offering room for professional growth and advancement.
Ready to make a change?
Ever thought about Law Enforcement? Well, it just happens that there is an opening in two areas of the Sheriff’s Office.
As a Deputy you will patrol assigned areas, investigate, make arrests, direct and control traffic, write violation citations, prepare reports, appear in court, serve civil process, and provide services and assistance to the public. In addition, the selected candidate could also be subject to assignments such as School Resource, Drug Enforcement, and Traffic Enforcement Deputy.
And you take your cruiser home between shifts.
More of an inside person?
How about serving as a Corrections Officer? Challenging work to be sure but the right person will demonstrate integrity and honesty, the ability to remain calm under pressure, and the ability to de-escalate conflict and volatile situations.
Sound like you?
On-the-job training will be available.
Interested in the legal system but maybe not in a cruiser or helping the folks behind bars?
Circuit Court is searching for the right candidate to serve as an Enforcement Officer.
What is this you say?
Well, it involves working in a legal office setting, processing confidential court matters and meeting with clients and attorneys to collect information and resolve issues.
If you have excellent communication skills, a good eye for attention to detail, possess organizational skills, and are comfortable with accounting and working with numbers, this might be the career you’ve been waiting for.
Interested in helping our elders? The Commission on Aging has a bundle of full and part time positions ranging from drivers to meal prep to homemakers. A truly great place to earn some cash while doing your part to help serve our older citizens.
Yes, we are on the cusp of a New Year. A year that promises opportunities for change and growth in many areas. If it seems like time to head into another direction when it comes to employment, Newaygo County just might be your ticket to career fulfillment.
So, if you get seized by a Carpe Diem moment and want a bit more info on the above positions just visit:
And see if anything piques your interest.