The Hero And His Friend
Richard (Dick) Wolters and Maxwell Jordan, both from Newaygo County, are different generations and good friends. Dick heard Max’s stories of his experiences in WWII and was so impressed that he wrote a book about them. Dick is a retired Registered Professional Engineer with a Masters Degree in Business Administration, and took up writing as a hobby in his retirement.
Max is a heavily decorated veteran. Dick’s book tells the story of Max’s war experiences of hardship, dedication, leadership, vision and valor, and what it took to get through it all. Max participated in the battles and campaigns in Nomandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe, quite a record for a young man of only 21 years. Max was awarded the following honors: Victory Medal, American Theater Ribbon, European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with a silver battle star, four Overseas Service Bars and a Service Stripe. He also received a Good Conduct Medal and an Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon. Dick knows that it is an honor to be friends with Max.
Max and Dick both grew up in Fremont and attended the same grade school, just a couple of decades apart. Dick and Max are both Newaygo County residents now, but Dick and his wife, Kay, are snowbirds, opting for their home in Arizona in the months of ice and snow here.
Dick’s book, ‘We Were United Then, WWII Memoir of Maxwell L. Jordan’ is now available to the public. There will be an official book signing on Memorial Day weekend, May 26 from 10 AM to 12 Noon at Flying Bear Books, 79 State Rd., Newaygo. You can stop by, pick up the book, meet the author and have Maxwell Jordan himself sign your copy.
Gerber Memorial CEO Stasik to retire on July 13
FREMONT- Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial President and CEO Randy Stasik has announced that he will be retiring from his position effective July 13, 2018. Stasik became Gerber Memorial’s CEO and President in 2008.
“I am truly honored to have served the families of Newaygo County and working with so many outstanding community partners to deliver quality, affordable and comprehensive health care to this community that my family and I have called home for 10 years,” Stasik said. “Gerber Memorial succeeds in our mission of being a health care leader because of the 700-plus people who work hard every day and who start every shift putting our patients first. While I will miss every single one of my colleagues and thank them for the work they do, I leave knowing that I’m passing the baton to an energetic new generation of health care professionals who will continue our commitment to providing exceptional service to our community.”
During his tenure at Spectrum Health, Stasik focused on improving employee and patient safety and quality, as well as improving the health of those in the Newaygo County area.
Sharon Boczkaja, Gerber Memorial’s senior patient experience specialist, said Stasik was the kind of leader who put others first.
“Fairly quickly, I realized that Randy always does what’s right for patients,” said Boczkaja, who has worked at Gerber Memorial for 15 years. “At the same time, Randy always had our employees’ backs, that whatever we do at the hospital was also safe for the people who work here. Randy was always the voice of reason, and I know I’ll miss that.”
Barb Geno, a longtime Gerber Memorial volunteer and the incoming chair of the SHGM Patient Family Advisory Board, credited Stasik with his strategic vision to improve individual health and wellness by tackling the overall health of the community.
“Randy has been personally and professionally committed to the health and wellness of our citizens,” Geno said. “I realized how much this meant to him when he shared his vision, that the need for hospitalization would eventually never be necessary. What a unique concept: to be so good at keeping people well, we would put the hospital out of business. I wish him the very best in his well-earned retirement and hope we can carry forward his dedication toward the health and wellness of our community.”
An example of Stasik’s commitment to community wellness is the Coordinated Approach to Child Health program, an evidence-based wellness program focusing on nutrition and physical activity that is incorporated into classroom curriculum in K-5th grades in all Newaygo County school districts. A mini-documentary of the Newaygo County CATCH program can be viewed at: http://tamaracwellness.org/community-health/catch/
Stasik said he is proud of the many honors and awards earned by Gerber Memorial employees, leaders and physicians in recent years, including:
A statement Stasik made when he was hired 10 years ago made an impact on many: “We are a rural hospital and that is who we are. That is our niche, and we shouldn’t apologize for that status but work at being who we are.” He said he believes that rural communities should have access to affordable, high quality health care close to home – and he has never wavered from trying to ensure Gerber Memorial upholds this commitment.
Stasik is only the third president and chief executive at Gerber Memorial.
Before joining Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial in 2008, Stasik had already established himself as a prominent health care and community leader in the Kalamazoo area. He spent nearly two decades with Borgess, including top leadership positions as president and chief executive officer at Borgess Health Alliance, and president of Borgess Hospital. His distinguished career also included roles as president and CEO of Southside Hospital of Pittsburgh and chief financial officer of Pennsylvania’s Aliquippa Hospital Association.
By Ken DeLaat
This month Near North Now turned 2 which one supposes signifies a kind of transition from infancy to toddler status.
Thus, during a recent gathering of N3 contributors who congregate periodically to enjoy wonderful food and phenomenal company, comments were made about the similarities between N3 and a typical toddler.
Adjective driven words emerged such as active, creative, headstrong, curious, challenging, as well as statements like ‘ always asks why?’, ‘ gets into things’, ‘constantly on the move’, ‘a little sassy at times’, …..
The similarities were a tad frightening.
This has been a fun ride accompanied (and mostly driven) by the much treasured writers who make NNN what it is through their contributions. It is truly an eclectic group of folks with varied backgrounds and interests and a common goal of delivering on the promise N3 made two years ago to enlighten, entertain, educate, and encourage dialogue.
As editor and publisher (as well as serving as primary custodian for N3 World Headquarters and Dandelion Drop In Center) it has been a privilege to post the material provided by our regular contributors. Whatever else they do in their lives (and believe me when I say it is an eclectic group) these folks are writers. Talented and creative writers who remain exceptionally committed to their craft. Whether a straightforward story, a view of a sporting event, a column, a review, or an opinion piece these folks do it right and they do it well. Their bylines are sure bets to draw thousands of avid readers and it feels like an honor to have the opportunity to peruse these before they hit our pages. Past pieces are accessed frequently as newer readers encounter their work and search them out in our archives, a true tribute.
I cannot thank them enough.
We also extend a special thank you to those who have allowed us to be a part of your marketing efforts and share your message in our pages. Your support is most appreciated because without you there’d be no us.
Heading into our third year we have chatted it up a bit about making changes and will be floating some new angles and ideas across our pages. It is our hope that you help us by letting us know what you like, what you don’t like and when your response is more like, ‘meh’.
In the meantime we gratefully segue into another another magical Near North summer filled with neat stuff to do, cool people to be around, good times to be had and a whole lot of water to play in.
And all the while you’re basking in some serious summer fun, Near North will strive to keep you informed and entertained as to what’s going on in these parts while continuing to explore the many layers of this wondrous region we are privileged to call home.
Consumers Energy announced May 11 that its work at Hardy Dam would result in the closure of the duChemin Park boat launch at Croton Pond for three days beginning May 17. That action is now being postponed due to higher Muskegon River flows.
The specific dates for the closures have not been determined but are now expected to take place after Memorial Day. The boat launch closures are to allow a barge and tugboat being utilized to perform work to be launched, safely.
Consumers Energy will announce later when the closure will be rescheduled.
“We are proud to support the Promise Zone”
H&S Companies set out to raise $75,000 for the Newaygo County Promise Zone program in the fall of 2017, and they are proud to announce that in just over 6 months they have achieved it.
Jack Hendon, Co-Founder of H&S Companies would like to thank the community and all those who have participated in this program. “We are proud to support the Promise Zone and increased educational opportunities for all local students, and could not have reached our goal without the help of our clients, friends, and employees who have generously contributed,” he said.
Dan Slate and Jack Hendon invited employees across all their offices, as well as clients and friends, to participate in the program. They themselves pledged to match up to $15,000, and H&S matched up to $10,000 for every dollar donated to the Promise Zone, up to a total of $25,000. The Fremont Area Community Foundation provided an additional match of $.50 for every dollar they raised.
“Let’s celebrate our 75 years of business by raising $75,000 for education,” said Dan Slate, Co-Founder of H&S Companies. He thought $75,000 made for a good amount, because while H&S is celebrating 35 years this year (1983-2018), the wealth management and IT divisions of the firm are each celebrating 20 years (1998-2018), for a total of 75 years.
The Promise Zone is a scholarship program available to students who graduate from Newaygo County high schools or home schools and live in the Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency area. The scholarships cover tuition and fees for two-year awards at Baker College and Muskegon Community College, up to the value of the prevailing tuition rate of MCC.
H&S Companies encourages you to join them in contributing to the continued success of the Promise Zone program.
H&S Companies was established in Fremont in 1983 and now has ten locations across Michigan. As CPAs and business advisors, H&S services include tax preparation, accounting, wealth management, IT strategy & consulting, business consulting, and more.
Boat Launch at Croton Pond to Close Three Days in May
NEWAYGO – Access will be closed to the duChemin Park boat launch at Croton Pond on May 17 and 18 and in the morning on May 22 until noon to allow Consumers Energy crews to safely work there.
That boat launch is near the Croton Dam. Signs will clearly mark that the site is closed while crews use the site beginning May 17 to launch a barge and tugboat being used to perform work upstream at Hardy Dam. The half day closure on May 22 is to allow for the safe removal of the tugboat.
The closures do not impact the Muskegon River recreational access sites on the downstream side of Croton Dam.
Consumers Energy reminds visitors to safely and quickly exit the river if they hear the sirens that signal dangerous changes to flow conditions at hydro facilities.
The Newaygo County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution opposing the latest salvo from Lansing that threatens to impact county budgets throughout the state.
The current situation has to do with funding for indigent defense to comply with standards established by legislators.Originally the costs for implementation was mandated to the state but proposed legislation would kick these costs back to the counties.
This was passed by a 6-0 margin with Commissioner Ortwein absent.
County Administrator Chris Wren also spoke to another legislative initiative that would result in assessments being removed from townships with populations under 5000, including all of our 24 townships, and placed under the umbrella of the county. The increased responsibility combined with the task of finding an assessor qualified to meet the standards set by the state would also place a significant financial burden on the county according to Administrator Wren.
A motion was presented by Commissioner Vern Willett to eliminate health care insurance for commissioners effective January 1 2019.The motion was seconded and some discussion ensued. Commissioners Phil Deur and Jim Maike both spoke to the need for some incentive in order to attract qualified people to the board as did Board Chair Patrick Gardner while Mr. Willett expressed the opinion that the health insurance was more compensation than the position required.
A voice vote by the board rejected the motion.
Commissioner Chuck Trapp reported that the Board of Public Works will be hosting their annual Hazardous Waste Clean-up Day at the Newaygo County Road Commission building on Saturday June 2nd from 8am-2pm and encouraged all who can spare a bit of time to volunteer by contacting the Drain Commissioner Office at 231.689.7214.
The next Board of Commissioners meeting will be Wednesday May 23rd at 9:30 am. Meetings are held in the County Administrative building in White Cloud.
Tamarac donates gym equipment to White Cloud High School
FREMONT- White Cloud High School students are working out in a whole new way, thanks to more than a dozen pieces of gym equipment donated to the school by Tamarac.
On Tuesday, staff from Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial and Tamarac put the finishing touches to make the equipment fully functional. Designed to target parts of the body ranging from lats and pecs to triceps and quadriceps, the machines now sit in a room the size of half a basketball court in the second floor of the school gym. The students in school’s physical education classes will be the primary users of the newly donated equipment.
“We’re really grateful and excited to be getting this kind of equipment for our school because it will give our students a whole new way to work on their strength, conditioning and overall health and fitness,” said physical education teacher Courtney Dolan. “I know that the students so far have reacted positively. If the equipment gets them excited about exercise, then the hope is that more of our students will be motivated to work out, get fit and stay healthy.”
The donated equipment, all in good working condition, was recently replaced at Tamarac as part of the facility’s upgrade plan.
“At Tamarac and Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, one of our priorities is to support our community and help local families achieve overall health and wellness, and we believe the gym equipment we’re donating to White Cloud High School will encourage teens to stay active and fit,” said Justin Aman, supervisor of the Wellness Center at Tamarac. “Our goal, ultimately, is to provide the kind of programming and resources to address our community’s health needs and overcome challenges so Newaygo County can be one of the healthiest communities in Michigan.”
On 5/6/2018 the Newaygo Police Department was dispatched to the Wesco store regarding a male subject attempting to use a fraudulent financial transaction device. When the officer made contact with the suspect he fled on foot but was quickly apprehended. Our officer was assisted on scene by the Michigan State Police and the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office. Several fraudulent credit cards were located on the suspect when he was apprehended.
During our investigation we have learned that the suspect, Kenneth McHenry from Holland has been using fraudulent credit cards at several Wesco locations throughout Ottawa, Muskegon, Kent and Newaygo Counties. This investigation is ongoing and anyone with more information is asked to contact the Newaygo Police Department at 231-652-1655.
The Newaygo Police Department was assisted by the Michigan State Police, Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office, Grant Police Department and Central Dispatch.
The Operating Millage Proposals for Fremont (76%) and Newaygo (73%) were passed decisively Tuesday as were similar efforts at Tri County and Kent City. Kent City also passed a sinking fund millage by a narrower margin.
Bond Proposals faced tougher challenges with Holton passing theirs by a 59 vote margin and Big Rapids skinnying through with 51% in favor.
The Baldwin Community Schools bond was defeated by 64 votes.
By Ken DeLaat
“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” -David Allen
As has been told often enough it is indeed construction time in our bi-peninsular paradise and one of the first highlights of the road repair season will be the Monday May 7th onset of the road work between Newaygo and Grant on M-37.
What are they doing? Milling and filling apparently, which means grinding up the road, removing the debris and repaving the road. It’s a more permanent fix that trying to stuff asphalt into random potholes that never seem to go away and delivers a more uniform driving surface.
I’m all for it. Roads in our state have become noticable and it’s not for the smoothness of the ride. If you spend some time on ‘37 and turn off any music or talk radio the pounding rhythm of the wheels as they meet the ruts and loosened seams of the road is more than mildly annoying and sometimes a bit jarring as well.
This holds all the promise of an extended period of time where just one lane is available from M-82 south to Grant. I imagine we will all become well acquainted with the someone (well, two someones) who, stop/slow sign in hand, will be directing us as to when it might be allowed to continue our journey with a parade-like wave of the arm.
This of course can create issues for folks who might be running late and in lieu of blaming themselves tend to focus their irritation on the road workers, the sign turners, the people who drive insanely slow and the gods of travel for being adversarial.
So let’s be fair. Most times if you’re running late you’re likely one of those folks who perpetually does so.
And primarily because if there exists a sliver of time between the moment at hand and the time when you must depart given the absolute bare minimum of what it takes to get to your destination...?
You fill it.
A quick email, a last cup of coffee a quick change of shoes perhaps. Because you see, once upon a time on a day when everything went perfect including traffic lights, road conditions, other people’s driving, etc. it took X amount of time to get there so now that has become the time you’ve allotted as adequate.
You could solve this by consistently adding minutes to your travel time, but really, that’s just not going to happen is it?
So, look you’re generally a little late anyway so other people, even those annoyed by the chronicity of your tardiness, expect it. They might even tell you a different meeting time in anticipation of your tendency to be challenged by punctuality.
Just take a breath and realize you’re going to get to that meeting just a little late.
Others just hate to wait. For anything. It becomes personal and again the result is a rather restive road warrior piqued to anger by the slightest provocation.
This is an optimal time to impact the road rage epidemic by presenting a kinder and gentler approach to this drive delaying disruption. Use the down time well and if bored develop a hobby like counting the cars passing by before your end starts moving again or maybe cleaning out the console or even seriously checking out the landscape at a spot you never considered you’d be sitting at for so long.
The truth? Everyone wants new roads and no one likes to be inconvenienced.
Ok. Human nature. Got it.
But starting tomorrow and extending several weeks prepare to be slowed down and considerably slowed down during peak times. Of course as we all know traffic at all and any times gets goosed up pretty good once summer hits its stride so get ready for the weekly northbound Friday motorcade on ‘37 to parallel the pace of the average sloth.
But hey, let’s be a little patient out there. No one is trying to make your life more difficult than it might already be and as George Washington yells at the horn honking driver in the commercial, “Alright, alright, we’re all trying to get somewhere.”
Take heart that when it's done there will be another stretch of road that will give us less rhythm and subsequently, less blues.
And besides, this minor inconvenience is just practice for what lies ahead,you know.
Starting just after Memorial Day I believe, and hopefully when the aforementioned project has wrapped up, Grant will be having a summer-long disruption of normal traffic patterns as they get a major makeover with traffic to be diverted around the entire town.
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” -Aristotle
By N3 News Team
The Oak Wildfire in southeastern Brooks Township consumed a bit over 100 acres of National Forest as well as the attention of folks near and far.
What impressed us most at N3 World Headquarters was the rapid response it drew from all the resources who were at the ready for what could have been a far more destructive event had it not been contained and managed with such efficiency.
We pressed upon Newaygo County’s Emergency Services Manager Abby Watkins to guide us through the process of how this situation was managed and she not only graciously agreed but also enlisted the assistance of others in responding.
Because as you should certainly know by now, ES is all about collaboration.
What time did this begin and how was it called in. Who was notified first. I know its still undetermined how but do we know where it started?
From the Michigan DNR: The Oak Fire was reported at approximately 6:45 p.m. south of M-82 in Newaygo County, just over 6 miles east of the City of Newaygo. The
estimated 105-acre fire, located primarily on federal land, was contained at around 1
a.m. Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Fire crews stopped the head of the fire before it reached M-82, although the flanks of the fire were still very active. This fire burned primarily in mature pine and oak. Two residences were evacuated and 15 structures were threatened, but excellent work by 11 local volunteer fire departments, U.S. Forest Service crews and DNR fire crews resulted in all of the structures being saved. The fire initially caused the closure of M-82 between Elm Ave and Spruce Ave, which has since reopened. Fire crews continued fire-suppression and mop-up efforts throughout the day on Wednesday. The cause of the fire is undetermined and currently under investigation.
The word on this spread as quickly it seems as the fire. What was the mechanism used for doing this?
Newaygo County uses multiple methods to disseminate emergency information in order to target the largest number of people possible. It is up to you to choose which
notification methods work best for you to receive the emergency information. If you
have text and internet capabilities, Newaygo County recommends registering for Nixle Alerts. This is a FREE service residents can register for to receive alerts via Text, Email, Web, Social Media, and the Nixle App. Alerts and emergency information are received in real time for localized emergency situations relevant to the community. To register, text your Zip Code or Newaygo ES to 888777 from your mobile phone. Anyone can view information through the Nixle Website without registering to receive alerts at
During an emergency, it is important to choose your source of information wisely.
Newaygo County recommends only trusting and sharing information being released
from factual, public safety sources. This information is fact checked before it is released.
Social media sites, such as facebook and twitter, can help spread factual information
but it also easy to spread non-factual information. In addition, those monitoring radio scanner communications only capture ¼ of the radio communications occurring between a small portions of the emergency responders on scene. During incidents like this, information can change very rapidly as the situation progresses. Often initial information heard on a scanner may not represent the whole common operating picture. This information needs to be verified by Incident Command before it is released to the public to ensure it is factual.
What group of people were in in the decision making during response?
Newaygo Fire Department, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the
National Forest Service were in Unified Incident Command making decisions together during this response. Unified Command allows agencies to work together to respond to an incident more effectively by establishing a common set of response objectives, sharing resources, avoiding duplication of efforts, collaborating on strategies, and improving information flow.
How many Fire departments responded?
United States Forest Service
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Newaygo Fire Department
Fremont Fire Department
Grant Fire Department
Croton Township Fire Department
Sand Lake Fire Department
Big Prairie Fire Department
Lilley Township Fire Department
White Cloud Fire Department
Hesperia Fire Department
Solon Township Fire Department
Mecosta-Austin Fire Department (Backfill)
Casnovia Fire Department (Backfill)
Pleasant Plains Fire Department (Backfill)
Supporting and Cooperating Agencies:
American Red Cross
Newaygo County Road Commission
Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office
Michigan State Police
Newaygo County Central Dispatch
Newaygo County Emergency Services
Grant Rent All
Fremont Rent All
Hilltop Gas Station
Leppinks Food Center
How was the danger to residents assessed? Were evacuation plans in place and how did this work?
Two residences were evacuated and 15 structures were threatened. This was
determined based on the location of the fire and general direction and speed the fire
was traveling. However, because of excellent work by 11 local volunteer fire
departments, U.S. Forest Service crews and DNR fire crews, there were no loss of
structures and no injuries.
For smaller incidents which are or have the potential to require emergency protective measures, such as this wildfire, targeted and/or comprehensive warning systems are utilized. This includes door-to-door notifications, Nixle Alerts, NOAA Weather Radio Alerts, and media messaging. For larger incidents which impact multiple homes over a widespread area, the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) system will be utilized. When possible, information will be as specific as possible and include actual location of the fire, approximate size, direction the fire is moving, communities/areas at risk, and evacuation information.
There are three different levels of evacuation:
LEVEL 1 Evacuation: BE READY
A Level 1 Evacuation means “BE READY” for potential evacuation. Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area, monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. This is the time for preparation and precautionary movement of persons with special needs, mobile property and (under certain circumstances) pets and livestock. If conditions worsen, public safety personnel may contact residents via Nixle and other comprehensive warning systems directing them to take further action.
LEVEL 2 Evacuation: BE SET
A Level 2 Evacuation means “BE SET” to evacuate. Residents should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. This level indicates there is significant danger to the area, and residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area, or if choosing to remain, to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
Residents MAY have time to gather necessary items, but doing so is at their own risk. Residents should understand, this may be the only notice that they receive. Public Safety personnel cannot guarantee that they will be able to notify them if conditions rapidly deteriorate.
LEVEL 3 Evacuation: LEAVE IMMEDIATELYY
A Level 3 Evacuation means “GO” Evacuate NOW, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY! Danger to the area is current or imminent, and residents should evacuate immediately. If residents choose to ignore this direction they must understand that public safety personnel may not be available to assist them further.
Residents should NOT delay leaving to gather any belongings. This will be the last notice residents receive. Expect entry to evacuated areas to be denied until conditions are safe.
This was one if those perfect storms of no humidity, wind, spring debris lying about, dry conditions, etc. With a fire advisory out is there more preparation in place when this is all coming together and the potential is high?
Upon identification of a high risk day, the Department of National Resources and
National Forest Service will pre-stage resources in order to minimize response times.
Taskforces are staffed at each office and a spotter plane flies the area in the afternoons to allow for a rapid identification, location, and response to minimize the impact of a wildfire. During the Oak Wildfire, DNR taskforces came from Oceana, Baldwin, and Muskegon will Bulldozers mobilized from Allegan and Yankee Springs.
How was it contained so quickly and effectively?
This wildfire was contained so quickly and effectively due to well trained, equipped, and prepared fire departments. The Fire Departments serving Newaygo County have
pre-existing, cohesive working relationships on a local, State, and Federal level due to routine training and conducting emergency drills together. Because of this united effort, along with early detection, recognition, and rapid actions by leadership and line personnel, the fire departments were able to protective the lives and homes of our community during this wildfire.
What is your personal assessment of the response?
From Newaygo Fire Chief Jason Wolford: “I am extremely proud to be part of a team that serves an amazing community. The outpouring of support for Newaygo Fire during the recent historically large wild landfire was a true testament to that. Local fire departments, MSP, Newaygo County Sheriff, DNR, US Forest Service, Life EMS, local and county elected officials, businesses, the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Newaygo County Emergency Services, Newaygo County 911, and many others did an amazing job at mitigating a large scale incident that could have negatively impacted the lives and property of many citizens. From all of us at Newaygo Fire, a very heartfelt thank you!”
In March you received awards for your work on fire preparedness and just over a month later this occurs. How did the preparation in place serve to lessen the results of this event?
In partnership with the local fire departments, National Forest Service and Department of Natural Resources, Newaygo County Emergency Services has an ongoing wildfire prevention program to lessen and reduce wildfire hazards within identified wildland urban interface areas. These high risk areas are pre-identified within seven townships within Newaygo County. Emergency Plans and rapid response protocols are in place for how to respond to wildfires within these areas. Knowing the Oak Ave area was pre-identified as a high risk area, the Fire Departments rapidly mobilized resources and activated rapid response protocols. This quick action helped contain the fire so quickly and effectively.
Another component of the wildfire mitigation project is funding provided by the Forest Service. These funds allow Newaygo County to partner with homeowners in
pre-identified risk areas adjacent to federal property to reduce hazardous fuels and
vegetation, promote fire safe landscaping projects, and create defensible spaces
around homes. As 90 percent of wildfires are started by people, property owners can
make a difference to reduce the wildfire danger in their neighborhood. For additional information about how to get involved with the wildfire mitigation project, please contact the Newaygo County Emergency Services Department at 231-689-7354.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Gerber Memorial focuses X-ray services in Newaygo, no longer offered in Grant
FREMONT May 1, 2018 – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is focusing its X-ray services on Family Medicine – Newaygo as it streamlines its radiology services and no longer offers X-ray services at Family Medicine – Grant. The Newaygo clinic is located about 5 miles north of Grant, or about an 8-minute drive on average.
Located at 211 West Pine Lake in Newaygo, the Newaygo clinic offers X-ray services Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Patients can walk in without an appointment. The phone number for the Newaygo X-ray service is 231.652.5380.
X-ray services are also available at Gerber Memorial hospital in Fremont, which accepts walk-ins Mondays through Fridays, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Grant clinic will no longer offer X-ray services starting this week. Grant staff are being reassigned to other areas within Gerber Memorial.
Restrict outdoor burning Tuesday due to wind, dry conditions
Warm temperatures and strong wind combined with dry grass, leaves and pine needles on the ground have prompted the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to ask residents to restrict outdoor burning Tuesday, May 1.
Conditions are dry across the entire Lower Peninsula and in the southern half of the Upper Peninsula from Iron County to Mackinac County.
“We are currently seeing a significant increase in wildfire activity,” said Paul Rogers, fire prevention specialist for the DNR. “We are asking residents to restrict outdoor burning due to dry conditions.” The DNR also has canceled plans for prescribed burns Tuesday.
Temperatures Tuesday are expected to hit 80 degrees in parts of the Lower Peninsula, with winds gusting up to 30 mph in some parts of the state.
Anyone who plans to burn in the northern Lower Peninsula or Upper Peninsula must go online to michigan.gov/burnpermit to see if a burn permit is needed in specific counties and/or townships. People in the southern Lower Peninsula should check with their local municipalities for burning regulations.
Campfires are still allowed, but if you build one, make sure to have a water source and shovel available to extinguish it.
You also can check with the National Weather Service for weather-related burn advisories.
White Cloud Varsity Softball sees field improvements
On Tuesday April 24th the White Cloud Varsity Softball team opened league play against Holton. Although the score for either game didn’t come out in the favor of the Lady Indians, spectators were able to monitor game advances due to the new scoreboard. Through the efforts of volunteers, donations of time and money, we were able to see the first use of our new scoreboard on Tuesday.
The scoreboard endeavor started out over 2 years ago with the passing of Beth Wawsczyk. Beth was a Softball coach, avid supporter and fan, like most fans she always wanted to know the score. It was decided on by Beth’s family to have the money that was donated in her memory be put toward a scoreboard at the White Cloud field. All the final touches were put in place the day before; fans, players and coaches were able to enjoy knowing the status of the game in Beth’s honor.
Beth’s family would like to thank the many people who donated money towards the project in her memory. Without the monetary donations, materials and gifts of time, all of this would not have been possible. We would like to thank a few companies and individuals that stepped up to see the project through:
Board votes to move Road Patrol Millage to the ballot box
The Board of Commissioners meetings are generally not well attended and for the most part take place in front of department heads, other elected officials, folks who have reports to deliver and perhaps 1 or 2 citizens along with an erstwhile reporter.
Wednesday drew a larger than usual crowd for two reasons.
A resolution acknowledging the retirement of Earle Hable filled many seats with his family and co-workers. In addition, several others were in attendance on this day and many who were there took the opportunity to address the board during public comment regarding the vote that was to be taken on whether or not to place a millage for Road Patrol on the August ballot.
But first, Earle.
Mr. Hable was being recognized on his retirement as Newaygo County Drain Maintenance Supervisor a position he has held for nearly two decades.
“Earle helped develop more environmentally conscious programs through collaborative work with the Road Commission, Parks, ISD, and other neighboring Drain Commissions that will protect the waters of the state,” read Board Chair Patrick Gardner while presenting a plaque given in appreciation.
Then came the first public comment portion of the meeting related to items on the agenda.
Del Hirdes of Newaygo spoke to the resolution for the Public Safety Millage.
“ I just want to let you know I believe a vote against placing the millage on the ballot is not a vote against the Sheriff’s Department, but it is a vote that asks ‘Are we doing things the best way and are there no other options other than placing this millage on the ballot?”
“We want a strong Sheriff’s Department but we also want to make sure our funds are being put to use in a proper manner.”
Newaygo Mayor Ed Fedell also spoke.
“I have extremely high regard for all law enforcement officers.
“When I look at this proposal I'm not in a position to decide whether these funds are needed that's your job. And I trust you are doing due diligence.
“When I look at a half mill and compare it to the previous one it is a 50% increase.”
Mayor Fedell cautioned that the monies would keep escalating and expressed concern about adding another tax burden on citizens.He stated that cities in the county with their own full time police force would not bebenefitting while paying the extra in taxes.
Mayor Fedell also expressed concern about how much of the funding would be used for road patrol as opposed to equipment, training and other expenses.He suggested they consider two proposals, one strictly for road patrol and one for any other specific expenses.
He also suggested that should the board go through with the proposal they consider exempting cities with full time police departments.
Lora Kalkofen speaking as a citizen while citing her experience as White Cloud City Manager expressed support for moving the resolution forward and spoke to the ongoing and necessary collaboration with the county for coverage in White Cloud.
“Because of my job I’ve had a lot of people asking me about this millage,” said WC Chief Dan Evans. “In my opinion there is a large silent majority that are absolutely in favor of this.”
Chief Evans shared the challenges of being a small town police force without the resources necessary to deliver 24 hour services.
“We rely on the Sheriff's Department to respond in the city when someone at 4am calls 911.”
Grant Chief Brad Wade also expressed his support for the resolution citing a similar need for support of the Sheriff’s Department to assist with their part time police force.
When it came time to discuss the resolution Sheriff Bob Mendham spoke to commissioners before the vote.
“I don’t believe I would be doing my job if I were not here before you today asking for more help”.
The Sheriff spoke to a concern on how limitations on coverage are impacting the NCSD ability to provide the needed level of service. He related a couple of incidents that put law enforcement personnel in harm’s way because of a lack of available manpower and times when calls came in while both units were occupied with other episodes.
“I understand that additional burden on the taxpayers. I am one of those taxpayers. I understand it’s a burden. But to live in the greatest country in the world and a have the lifestyle that we have costs money and unfortunately we need to decide what is more important and I believe the safety of the public is the most important.”
He assured that should commissioners decide against moving the resolution forward the NCSD would continue to provide the best level of service possible however acknowledging the limits a manpower shortage places on the ability to deliver services.
Commissioner Chris Ortwein spoke to ongoing county subsidizing of the NCSD and the budget issues they have experienced for over a decade.
He objected to the burden was always being placed on property owners .
“I just think there’s other ways we can look at that. Have you vetted your department about efficiencies? I know you need more personnel. I agree with that . I have a real problem with adding another half mill.
“There’s got to be some other ways to do this.”
“I believe we have looked at ourselves internally, we’ve eliminated positions, unfortunately the job we’re in and the service we provide is not a money maker,” replied the Sheriff. “The problem we’re struggling with is the Sheriff’s Department requires a lot of money. However I don’t know any way to make money to do this job.”
“I appreciate all your efforts and I hope we can make this work somehow,”said Commissioner Ortwein.
“We beat this up pretty good at finance committee and voted to move it to the full board to allow members to express their concerns,” said Commissioner and Finance Chair Phil Deur. “We aren’t levying a tax, here. This is giving the constituents the chance to decide for themselves.”
Commissioner Deur spoke to lack of State Police presence other than patrol since the closure of the Newaygo post.
“We’re seeing more criminal activity in our southwest part of the county and I’d rather we be proactive. As long as our staffing is where it was 20 years ago or even below 20 years ago we’re going to become reactive not proactive.”
Commissioner Jim Maike spoke to his support of the resolution and the increased need for safety these days relating some recent incidents in other parts of the country and stated “There are very few things I think we should send to the people and this is one. Let’s let the voters decide.”
Chuck Trapp who represents many of the northern counties noted that it takes 40 minutes to drive from White Cloud to the northern county line indicating the need for coverage in the areas that are not near cities.
“I feel the people I represent need to be able to voice their opinion.”
Vern Willett stated “I was elected by 7000 people to come up here and make a decision and I will make the decision the way I should according to the will of my people.”
“I am proud of this board,” said Board Chair Patrick Gardner.” They have studied the issue and spoken to their constituents. If we vote this down we will not have given those constituents an opportunity to decide for themselves. If you’re for it, campaign for it, if you’re against it campaign against.”
Commissioner Ortwein suggested moving it to the general election in November instead of the August date because of increased voter turnout. This did not receive further support.
The roll call vote went as follows:
Ortwein- No Deur-Yes- Willett- No Trapp -Yes Maike Yes Kolk -Yes Gardner- Yes.
The resolution was passed and the Road Patrol Millage will be placed on the August 7 ballot.
In the final public comment portion the board heard from Newygo City manager Jon Schneider who shared information regarding a recent meeting held to explore ways for the county and city of Newaygo to collaborate more and shared some of the positive outcomes of the meeting and from former Sheriff Mike Mercer who praised the board for making the decision to move the Road Patrol resolution forward.
MDEQ taps top MSU hydrogeologist for state PFAS response
Lansing-The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) today announced that Professor David Hyndman, chair of Michigan State University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, has agreed to assist MDEQ scientists in the state-wide effort to identify PFAS contamination in Michigan and target response activities to prevent unacceptable exposures to Michigan residents.
“Our top priority is to protect the people of Michigan from PFAS contamination in groundwater,” said MDEQ Director Heidi Grether. “Michigan’s glacial geology creates unique challenges in understanding how this contamination can impact drinking water sources and Dr. Hyndman’s expertise will be invaluable in our drive to lead the most thorough and effective response to PFAS in the country.”
Hyndman is an expert in groundwater hydrogeology and has focused his research on how changes in land use can impact water quality. His work has led to the development of several methods to track contamination in groundwater.
Hyndman’s work will support the state’s $23 million effort to locate PFAS contamination, identify sources and oversee remediation activities aimed at protecting the state’s water resources and mitigating risks to the public.
PFAS compounds, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), are a group of emerging and potentially harmful contaminants used in thousands of applications globally including firefighting foam, food packaging and cleaning products. These compounds are also used by industries such as tanneries, metal platers and clothing manufacturers. In January 2018, the MDEQ took swift action to set a new legally-enforceable standard of 70 parts per trillion for PFOS and PFOA. Michigan is one of only a handful of states to establish enforceable limits for any PFAS compounds.
The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) – the first multi-agency strike force of its kind in the nation. MPART is comprised of state and local agencies that have been investigating sites for potential contamination and taking actions to protect public health.
Members include key leaders of the Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality; Health and Human Services; Military and Veterans Affairs; Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development. MPART is also coordinating with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Guard Bureau, U.S. Department of Defense, and the appropriate local health departments and other government agencies.
In Michigan, PFAS contamination has been found in 28 locations in 15 different communities including northern Kent County where Wolverine Worldwide operated a tannery and several military facilities, like the former Wurtsmith Air Force base, within the state.
For more information, visit: Michigan.gov/PFASresponse.
By Ken DeLaat
The Newaygo County Board of Commissioner Finance Committee decided this past Wednesday at their regular meeting to move forward a request from the Sheriff’s Department for the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners to place a .5 mill Public Safety Millage on the August 7, 2018 ballot. The action places the resolution on the agenda for next week's full board meeting.
The issue sparked a lengthy debate among committee members who weighed the request with a budget impact memo written by Administrator Chris Wren citing the possible financial impact of the action.
Commissioner Chris Ortwein was vocal in his opposition stating that while he supports law enforcement and other emergency services he feels the community is already overtaxed and is personally resistant to placing more tax burden on the citizens.
Commissioner Brian Kolk pointed out that the current millage to fund the Sheriff’s
Department is 30 years old and while it guarantees staffing at the 1987 level the demand for services has increased dramatically since then.
Commissioner Jim Maike expressed some concerns but stated he felt the matter should be sent to the whole board to allow the matter to be discussed further.
Other commissioners offered input as well.
The roll call vote saw 'yes' votes from Finance Chair Phil Deur, Commissioners Chuck Trapp, Maike and Kolk with Commissioner Ortwein casting the lone vote against.
The resolution will be taken up at the next Board of Commissioners meeting on Wednesday April 25th at 9:30 am. Commissioner Deur encouraged board members to meet with their constituents to gauge their opinions on the matter.
BOC Meetings are held at the Commission Meeting Room located in the County Administration building in White Cloud.
Yes fellow Michiganders, bi-peninsular denizens of the true deep state known as winter it is firmly believed that this seasonal swamp of sustained snow and sleet has been successfully drained.
Mind you, I speak with caution. One would be prudent not to appear overconfident lest the Old Man meandering off into what looks to be an incredible sunset tonight (what with the ever elusive sun slated to show up and all) should decide to turn around one more time just out of spite.
But it’s a Friday and though there’s a nip in the air the sun is out and we are heading for a day when the temperatures will soar into the snow-melting sixties and stay that way for the coming days.
And said days are within the realm of what is known as ‘The Weekend”.
Folks will be busting to get out of the house and with good reason. Chances are layers will be less required than what has been the April norm and after all we are officially one total month into Spring. The one month anniversary of what has been possibly one of the most weather weary Aprils in my fading memory.
Here’s a few tips.
On Saturday the annual River Country Chamber Home-Health & Garden Show will be happening at Newaygo Middle School from 9am - 2pm.
This is a great way to take a leap into Spring with a multitude of local goods and services showcasing their wares and ways, a lot of giveaways, fun activities and a chance to mingle with neighbors friends and community members emerging from the lengthy hibernation.
This weather can make one a bit hungry so on hand for some lip smacking eats will be the folks from Old Iron Bar & Grill and Two Hot Tamales.
See our article at
Camp Newaygo is holding Spring Volunteer Day Saturday from 8:30am- 4:30pm.
There will be a variety of projects and tasks for everyone-regardless of age or ability level. Coffee will be out at 8:30am and lunch will be provided by Ridge Specialties for all volunteers but you need to let them know you are coming so they can prepare enough lunch for everyone. RSVP at 231-652-1184 or email email@example.com
Want to work at Michigan Adventures this summer?
Saturday, April 21 from 1:00pm – 4:00pm, managers will be onsite at the MA Training Center for interviews 4750 Whitehall Rd. They are hiring 16 year olds starting at $10 per hour, while associates 18 years of age and older will start at a minimum of $11.00 per hour. Perks include bonus potential, free admission and great food prices at the Cornerstone Café during your lunch. For more information, call (231) 766-3377.
No I don’t mean heading out for the coast or deciding to shoot down to Chicago and see if you can find a scalper with tickets to Hamilton.
We’re talking a little regional meandering. It’s to be a gorgeous weekend and while perhaps swimming and tubing are not in the cards for right now, the all too rare glory days of Spring are upon us so let’s do a little revelling. Explore our towns and see what each has to offer, engage in a little local commerce at their stores, stop somewhere for ice cream, eat lunch or dinner at a heretofore undiscovered or overlooked eatery or a much favored spot (Check out our Nibbler section for tips).
Just get out. It’s been far too long folks and this looks to be a pretty short season so fire up Near Northians. Time to get into shape for some serious summer jollification.
The Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency in Fremont, Michigan is seeking applications for an Assistant Prevention Coordinator. Candidates must have an Associate’s degree, three years of experience in substance abuse prevention and have strong organization and leadership skills. This is a part-time position of 15-20 hours per week. For more information, refer to the job postings section on the NC RESA website, www.ncresa.org. Applications/resumes must be submitted to Dr. Lori Tubbergen Clark, Superintendent, 4747 W. 48th Street, Fremont, MI 49412. Deadline for making application is Friday, April 27, 2018. For more information, please call the HR Department at 231-924-8853. NC RESA is an EOE.