During a brief ceremony on December 16th, 2023, Dr. Erich Schafer, of Fremont, was sworn-in as a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy Reserve by Captain Henry Vegter (Retired) of Newaygo.
Dr. Schafer is currently employed at Corewell Health Gerber Hospital as a General Surgeon where he serves as the Department Chair of Surgery. He has been assigned to Red Rover Medical Headquarters and will be attending drill at NRC Battle Creek.
During the ceremony at the Fremont Area District Library Community Room, friends and family were in attendance. The event was led by close friend and advisor, Scott Swinehart, who served 18 years in the Army and Marine Corps. Pastor Nate Kooistra of Reeman Christian Reformed Church provided the invocation and benediction. A special thank you goes to Newaygo VFW Airman Knowles who presented the colors for the Ceremony.
Promise Zone to receive $125,000 over 5 years
At the recent quarterly board meeting on November 21, the Newaygo County Area Promise Zone Board of Directors celebrated a significant milestone with the reception of a generous $25,000 donation from Nestle Gerber Products Company. This marks the beginning of a commendable five-year commitment from Nestle Gerber Products Company, culminating in a substantial $125,000 pledge.
Earlier this year, the Promise Zone announced a vital change to its eligibility criteria effective for the Class of 2024. Newaygo County high school graduates with a 2.5 unweighted GPA or higher will now qualify for the Promise Scholarship. This adjustment expands the scope of opportunities for determined students, facilitating their access to post-secondary goals and opportunities.
The modification of the GPA criteria underscores the Promise Zone's commitment to ensuring that an even larger number of aspiring students can benefit from its invaluable support and resources.
Teaming up with Nestle Gerber Products Company enables the Promise Zone to extend its impact, offering more opportunities for economic growth and contributing to the development of a robust workforce in Newaygo County.
“For almost 100 years, the Gerber Product Company has been an integral partner with the City of Fremont and Newaygo County community,” shared Paul Dudek, Senior Site Controller at Nestle Gerber Products Company. “We believe strongly in the value of supporting local young people in their pursuit of higher education. Gerber Products is excited to continue partnering with our local community in the investments of our next generation.”
The Newaygo County Area Promise Zone remains dedicated to its mission of empowering students to pursue their post-secondary aspirations without the burden of financial constraints. By easing the financial barriers that frequently impede educational pursuits, the Promise Zone is actively helping to change the cultural perception that college is too expensive and out of reach. Through the availability of the Promise Scholarship, many students are now embracing the belief that higher education is attainable and are proactively preparing for their future.
A current Promise Scholar shared, “The Promise Scholarship gives me an opportunity to start my career path without setting me back in college debt. It will help me complete my associate degree for free so that I can transfer and continue my college journey.”
Since its inception in 2017, the Promise Zone has disbursed more than $2.5 million in tuition support, benefiting over 300 motivated Newaygo County students who have chosen to pursue their post-secondary aspirations. The Promise Zone is a forward-looking initiative committed to breaking down financial barriers for local students. By providing tuition assistance and fostering educational opportunities, the Promise Zone empowers students to realize their full potential and contribute meaningfully to their communities.
For more information about the Newaygo County Area Promise Zone visit www.promise.zone, email email@example.com or call 231-924-8888.
Proceed with caution says AG
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wants Michigan residents to be aware of home air duct cleaning companies that are perpetuating scams in Michigan. Michigan residents should be aware of fraudsters waiting to take advantage of them using deceptive practices.
Some fraudulent companies will launch pop-up ads on social media groups and neighborhood platforms suggesting someone in their neighborhood has used its services. But this is sometimes a lie to hook unsuspecting homeowners. Deceitful air duct cleaning companies, referred to as “blow-and-go” establishments, lure consumers in with rock bottom prices, then add on unnecessary services like costly repairs or mold-removal that cost a great deal more than the initially quoted price. Some of these companies, if they complete the work, do an inferior job or leave the consumer worse off than before, with dirt and contaminants blown from their HVAC systems onto drapes, carpets and furniture.
“Everyone wants to ensure that their home is healthy and safe for their family,” Nessel said. “However, it’s important to verify that you are dealing with an honest, reputable company in all home maintenance matters. Beware of predatory business practices and research potential service providers before paying or signing a contract.”
Amplifying the tips provided by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), Nessel says red flags you should watch out for are social media posts that:
For information about other home improvement scams, you can review the Department’s Building and Remodeling Advice for Homeowners alert.
Michigan consumers who suspect they are the victims of illegal or predatory business practices are encouraged to contact the Department of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team:
Consumer Protection Team
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
Online complaint form
Collaborative effort bringing 8 new houses to the city
Story and photos by Charles Chandler
Smiles, handshakes, coffee and donuts, dignitaries and big yellow dirt diggers. My goodness what was going on at the corners of South Lester and Pine Hill streets in White Cloud? Progress for sure and soon maybe new White Cloud residents. Around 10:00 AM on Wednesday, December 6th at 17 South Lester Avenue a bunch of folks gathered in White Cloud to celebrate a ribbon cutting and ground breaking for eight new single-family homes.
A celebration indeed. White Cloud, like many rural cities and villages in Michigan, has limited and dated housing inventories. This lack of housing is a concrete limitation for attracting new business, as well as professional and skilled workers to our area. These eight houses are special because they fall in that “Workforce Housing" category.
The generally accepted definition of workforce housing is housing that is affordable for those earning between 80% and 120% of area median income, or AMI. Households in workforce housing typically earn too much to qualify for programs under HUD. This means these eight new homes will be available for lease to those professional and skilled workers that we need to attract new or grow existing area businesses.
The local officials, important participants, and community members that attended the ribbon cutting event included White Cloud Municipal government, City Manager, April Storms, Clerk Kelli Arnold, and White Cloud Fellow Andrew Stafford. Also on hand were City Council members including Amy Barnhard, Lori Shears, Herm Becker, Damon Aunci and Current Mayor Brian Miller. Representing the Fremont Area Community Foundation were CEO and President Shelly Kasprzycki and Community Investment Officer Greg Pocher. Mr. Brian Farkas represented Allen Edwin Homes. Among the other participants and coffee drinkers were local contractor Tim Looy, members from the River Country Chamber of Commerce and a couple of guys from the local press.
These new homes were made possible by Michigan’s Workforce Housing Laws enacted last year and a generous grant from the Fremont Area Community Foundation. Allen Edwin Homes from Portage, MI will build these eight homes. They will be of modern design, energies efficient, featuring 4 bedroom, 2.5-to-3- baths and 2 or 3 car attached garages. They are expected to be move-in ready by late summer of 2024.
After the celebration and back in her City Hall office Manager April Storms provided some additional details about the project. Manager Storms is calm, soft spoken and not given to a lot of hyperbole or melodrama. This demeanor can often shade her quite competent ability to get things done in the messy world of City Governance. The backstory for this successful event begins early in 2022. Manager Storms saw an opportunity for the City and began working as an advocate for and participating in the discussions about Senate Bill 432 governing Workforce Housing.
This Senate Bill would facilitate pilot agreements that would allow municipalities to work directly with housing developers. A representative from Allen Edwin Homes, also an advocate of the Bill had also signed in on the discussion. Later the representative contacted April and they began pre project discussions. In the interim the White Cloud City Council enacted a WorkForce Housing Pilot Ordinance that would support the project, the first city in the State of Michigan to do so. Once Senate Bill 432 passed, the City and Allen Edwin Homes developers had a project to build three homes ready to go.
Next, the Fremont Area Community Foundation came forward and made a $150,000 contribution to offset infrastructure costs. This generous assistance helped the City and Developer grow the scope of the project from three homes to eight.
Community collaboration at its best.
This is a great two-million-dollar local development project with an aggressive timeline. You too can follow the progress with a build site drive by or on-line in almost real time. City Manager April Storms mentioned they would post time lapse project photos on the following site. https://www.cityofwhitecloud.org/
A big shout out to the City of White Cloud, The Fremont Area Community Foundation and Allen Edwin Homes for a job well done in meeting the housing needs of our community.
North Country National Scenic Trail Granted Unit Status by National Park Service
December 7, 2023 (Lowell, Mich.) The North Country National Scenic Trail is now an official unit of the National Park Service.
Unit status provides the North Country National Scenic Trail with official recognition within the National Park Service, and access to additional resources and funding opportunities. It also provides equal legal standing with the other trails and parks that the National Park Service administers.
The North Country Trail is the longest of the 11 National Scenic Trails in the United States, stretching 4,800 miles from North Dakota to Vermont. Six of these 11 trails are administered by the National Park Service but at the time of their official National Scenic Trail designation, only three were identified as units: the Appalachian Trail, Natchez Trace Trail, and Potomac Heritage Trail. Unit status was missing, for no clear reason, from wording in the law for the remaining three: the North Country Trail, Ice Age Trail, and New England Trail. This means they were not recognized as units of the National Park Service, and thus, not promoted to the American public.
“Now, when the National Park Service tells the story of the amazing scenic and recreational opportunities provided by the National Park System, it will tell our stories too - the stories of all the National Scenic Trails it administers in cooperation with other units of government, nonprofit organizations, volunteers, and private landowners,” reflected Tom Gilbert, former National Park Service Superintendent of the North Country National Scenic Trail.
“The stewards of these three trails have called for equality for 30 years, so we’re thrilled by Director Sams’ decision,” said Andrea Ketchmark, Executive Director of the North Country Trail Association. “This is such a win for us, our partners, and our volunteers, who work so hard to build, maintain, and protect the trail.”
The North Country Trail Association deeply thanks the U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, National Park Service Director Chuck Sams, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), and most importantly, the leadership, volunteers, and supporters of the North Country Trail Association, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Appalachian Mountain Club, and Connecticut Forest and Park Association, who have championed this issue for three decades. Without your voices, we would not be here today.
Public Notice: The Family Health Care White Cloud Child and Adolescent Health Center (CAHC) Advisory Council will meet on Monday, December 11, 2023, from noon to 1 p.m. in the CAHC conference room at 555 E. Wilcox Ave. The meeting is open to the public and lunch will be provided. For more information, please call (231) 689-3268.