Got a little time on your hands?
Feel like making a little cash?
Like the kind of work that involves a little inside and a little outside?
Well then step forward because we have an ideal gig for you.
Newaygo County is hiring Park Attendants...very cool jobs at some very cool campgrounds with the opportunity to not only be a part of the burgeoning local tourist industry but to walk around with a little cash in your pocket for doing so.
Up to 40 hours a week from now through October so if you’ve plans for the winter this job will be wrapped up before you head south, or hibernate, or decide to take that promised position in Costa Rica.
What's the skinny?
Well, you need to have a HS diploma or GED and having a little customer service experience sure wouldn’t hurt.
Of course the ability to pass a drug test and background check is essential as is a driver’s license.
NC Parks has a whole lot of really amazing folks and you get to be part of their team and not only that, you will likely meet a sea of interesting folks who love camping at these waterfront treasures.
For more information about the job and to apply online go to the County website countyofnewaygo.com and select the careers tab.
Submit an employment application to Newaygo County Human Resources in person at 1087 Newell Street, White Cloud, MI.
And if you tell them you heard about it through Near North?
It won’t mean a thing but we like having our name bantered about.
Governor Whitmer today signed an Executive Order closing indoor service at bars throughout most of lower Michigan. Regions 6 and 8, which include the Upper Peninsula and much of northern Michigan, are excluded from the order, and bars statewide can continue to serve outdoors. The governor also signed a package of bills allowing cocktails-to-go at bars and restaurants to help these businesses serve more Michiganders during this time.
As bars have reopened for indoor service across the country, some have been linked to a growing number of large outbreaks. In Michigan, for example, health officials in Ingham County have linked 107 confirmed COVID-19 cases to an outbreak in a single bar in East Lansing. Similar super-spreader events have been documented in bars in Florida, Louisiana, Texas and elsewhere.
The governor’s order applies to establishments with on-premises retailer liquor licenses that earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from alcohol sales. That means that most brewpubs, distilleries, and vineyards can stay open indoors. Traditional bars, nightclubs, and strip clubs will have to end indoor service.
“Bars will not have to close down completely, but may still offer outdoor seating and use creative methods like cocktails-to-go in hopes that we can bring our numbers down,” said the Governor.. “I am hopeful providing options for cocktails-to-go and expanded social districts will ensure these businesses can remain open and Michiganders can safely and responsibly enjoy their summer outdoors.”
Fremont Area Community Foundation Leverages $3.5M to Support Small Businesses in Newaygo County
Fremont Area Community Foundation recently announced a partnership with MSU Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) to create the Small Business Recovery Loan Program. Up to $3.4 million is being leveraged by the Community Foundation with MSUFCU to support businesses in Newaygo County. An additional $100,000 was invested in Northern Initiatives to provide small business loans. Northern Initiatives is a community development financial institution (CDFI) that provides loans and business expertise for start-up and existing businesses that might not otherwise qualify for loans from traditional financial institutions.
The loan program at MSUFCU is designed to assist small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent state shutdown. During the stay at home order, many businesses were temporarily closed, resulting in lost income, staff layoffs, and ongoing fixed costs that created financial drain. The loans are meant to serve as short-term funding to help local businesses get back on their feet.
“We know that many local businesses applied for federal aid in the past several months. While most received a small amount of recovery funding, many were denied or not even allowed to apply,” said Carla Roberts, President and CEO. “The Community Foundation wants to preserve the existing businesses in our community and give them the tools to not only survive but to thrive as our state slowly reopens and businesses once again generate income.”
Loans from $5,000 to $50,000 are available for Newaygo County businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees. The terms of the loans are favorable with a low interest rate and up to a five-year term. The first principal and interest payments may not be due until 90 days after closing, depending on the needs of the business. Both nonprofit and for-profit entities are eligible to apply, including service, retail, agriculture, commercial, and industrial businesses.
“In essence, we are standing behind the small business community and using the Community Foundation’s assets as a kind of collective bargaining chip to leverage the support we believe local businesses will need during this recovery,” said Roberts.
In reviewing the program for compliance, Jeff Hert, CPA, principal at Rehmann Robson said, “This is a terrific program for businesses in the community and shows excellent collaboration with a partner. This is a great example of impact investment in a crisis situation for small businesses.”
Both the Community Foundation and MSUFCU believe their partnership is a natural fit and demonstrates the organizations’ shared missions to serve and improve life in the community.
“MSUFCU is pleased to partner with Fremont Area Community Foundation to provide local businesses with a newly-created loan program,” said April Clobes, President and CEO of MSUFCU. “It is all of our responsibility to lift up our businesses and communities in times of need so that everyone has the opportunity to thrive.”
Businesses interested in applying for a loan from the Small Business Recovery Loan Program can visit facommunityfoundation.org/loans for more information. Program contacts Don Farmer and Dan Wheat can also be reached directly at email@example.com.
Much awaited hike/bike trail gives visitors a peek at what’s to come. 6 Miles of trail now open
White Cloud, MI: This week, Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam, located in Mecosta and Newaygo counties, will open three segments to the public for hiking and mountain biking. The segments, which surround the Hardy Pond Reservoir, total approximately 6 miles and include three bridges and three scenic overlooks. The public can access the following segments:
● A portion of Segment 4, called the Brower Loop, has been completed. Enter Brower Park in Mecosta County and park at the upper lot for boat trailer parking. The start of the approximately 1.5 mile loop is just on the other side of the nearby amphitheater.
● Segment 9 is partially complete, with several miles of trail ready for visitors. Parking is available at Sandy Beach County Park in Newaygo County. The trail runs to the northeast approximately 3 miles. Visitors should be sure to stay on the trail, as it runs alongside several private properties and roadways. Return to Sandy Beach to continue to segment 10.
● Segment 10 is completely finished, and is an approximately 1.7 mile run of trail to the southwest of segment 9, ending at Hardy Dam County Marina. Parking is available at Sandy Beach County Park.
Detailed maps of the open sections can be found at thedragon.us/the-dragon-trail/trail-conditions/. Visitors will need to follow protocols at campgrounds to ensure they have parking passes.
Still more miles are in the works for later this year. The completed miles have come to fruition thanks to committed volunteers and generous corporate funders and partners, including the Fremont Area Community Foundation, Consumers Energy and Consumers Energy Foundation, Mecosta County Visitors Bureau, New Holland Brewing, Big Prairies Parks, West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance, Bissell, Nestle Waters of North America, the White Cloud Rotary Club, Michigan State University Extension, and Mecosta Township. A total of $1.1 million has been raised towards the $3.7 million goal.
The completed Dragon Trail will include 11 segments, 23 bridges, 13 scenic overlooks, and surround 4,000 acres of water. Named for the Hardy Pond Reservoir’s resemblance to a Chinese Dragon, the project is managed by the Newaygo and Mecosta County Park Commissions and West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance.
According to a Michigan State University Center for Economic Analysis study, the Dragon will draw 100,000 annual visitors and generate $4.15 million in annual economic activity with at least 70 new jobs.
“There is already quite a buzz about the Dragon Trail, we’re thrilled to be able to let mountain bikers and hikers get out on it,” said Jeff Abel, Mecosta County Parks Superintendent. “The trail is poised to become a major regional asset and attraction, and we’re motivated to keep adding miles to the completed total.”
The newly launched Dragon Trail website located at www.thedragon.us provides further detail on forthcoming trail openings and construction progress. The website is the go-to resource for updated information on the Dragon Trail, including the comprehensive trail plan, sustainability measures, trail features, and opportunities to support the trail. Fundraising opportunities will be shared on the website in the future to raise the final $2.6 million of the $3.7 million campaign.
To learn how you can help build or maintain the Dragon, or make a gift, visit www.thedragon.us.
ABOUT MICHIGAN’S DRAGON AT HARDY DAM
Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam is a 47-mile non-motorized, multi-use trail system located between Hardy and Rodgers Dams in West Michigan. The Dragon is managed by Newaygo County Parks, Mecosta County Parks Commission, and the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance. Construction for the trail began in 2019. Learn more at www.thedragon.us.
On March 17th the doors to the Newaygo County Courthouse closed.
That day the Michigan Supreme Court handed down the following:
“Trial courts are ordered to limit access to courtrooms and other spaces to no more than 10 persons, including staff, and to practice social distancing and limit court activity to only essential functions.”
And so after the close of business on March 17th the doors remained shut to the public with every intention of reopening April 6th since the original order was to expire on April 3rd. Obviously that didn’t happen and the timeline continued to be pushed out into May and finally through most of June.
This Monday, June 29th, after a mere 104 days of operating much of the business of the court electronically, the public will once again be able to enter the courthouse doors.
The Newaygo County Courthouse will resume their normal business hours and courthouse visitors may bring filings, make payments and conduct regular business.
But, of course, there are changes made to accommodate the times we find ourselves in.
Occupancy restrictions related to COVID-19 will be observed as well as social distancing practices approved by the State Court Administrative Office.
And seating has been removed in some parts of the courthouse to facilitate better social distancing and disinfecting.
All visitors must:
• Complete a health screening and have their temperature taken prior to entry.
• Wear a mask while in the building.
• Adhere to six-foot social distancing markers in lobbies, hallways and courtrooms.
• Be prepared to wait outside, or in an alternate area, as advised by staff if common areas are too crowded until building occupancy is down and social distancing can be maintained safely.
• Utilize hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to cleanse hands public areas for their protection.
Although the courthouse is open to the public, a large number of hearings and business will still be completed remotely using the same structure as when the building was closed. Judges will utilize Zoom for remote hearings and filings can still be submitted to the appropriate court electronically for processing.
Please feel free to contact the correct court for more details on how to submit a filing electronically or if you require assistance with a remote hearing. Court sessions will continue to be livestreamed to provide public access. Hearings will be held in- person on a limited basis.
From Hon. Robert D. Springstead, Chief Judge, Circuit Court Judge, Newaygo County Trial Courts: “Safety is of the utmost importance for the public and those working in the courthouse We look forward to working together to ensure accessibility to the public for courthouse services now and in the future. "
For more complete details or to contact the appropriate court using the information below:
Circuit Court Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (231) 689-7251 Main Phone: (231) 689-7252 Fax: (231) 689-7015
District Court Email: email@example.com Phone: (231) 689-7228 Main Phone: (231) 689-7257
Fax (231) 689-7258
Probate Court Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (231) 689-7274 Main: (231) 689-7270 Fax: (231) 689-7276
Spectrum Health announces new leader for northwest region
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., June 26, 2020 – Spectrum Health today announced Drew Dostal as the new market leader for the system’s northwest region covering Newaygo, Mason, Oceana and Muskegon counties. Dostal will oversee operations at Ludington Hospital, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial in Fremont and the Integrated Care Campus in North Muskegon.
“Spectrum Health is excited to welcome Drew Dostal back to West Michigan and lead our efforts to make health care personalized, simple and affordable for the communities we serve from Muskegon and Newaygo County all the way up to Ludington and beyond,” said Darryl Elmouchi, MD, president, Spectrum Health West Michigan. “Drew’s love for West Michigan and his deep roots in the area will help us take our commitment to the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve to the next level. Drew is the right person at the right time to lead Spectrum Health’s efforts in northwest Michigan to improve health, inspire hope and save lives, as well as promote greater health equity across the region.”
Dostal’s first day as Spectrum Health’s northwest region market leader is Monday, August 3.
In his new position, Dostal will lead:
A registered nurse, Dostal has 25 years of experience in the clinical and managerial fields. He was most recently the CEO of Plains Regional Medical Center in Clovis, New Mexico, a 106-bed hospital with a Level IV trauma center employing 600 people. Previously, he was CEO at Ogallala Community Hospital, an 18-bed critical access hospital with 160 employees. He also was CEO of Rocky Mountain Surgical Center in Bozeman, Montana, overseeing a team of 10 surgeons specializing in orthopedic, podiatric, spine and gastrointestinal procedures. Prior to being vice president of operations in Ludington, Dostal was the hospital’s surgical director.
An Air Force veteran before he entered the health care field, Dostal and his family lived in Ludington from 1994 to 2014.
“I’m thrilled to be coming home to West Michigan and joining an outstanding Spectrum Health team that is doing phenomenal work caring for patients,” Dostal said. “Spectrum Health is aligning health care with the needs of the community and keeping families safe during an unprecedented global pandemic. I’m also excited to reconnect with family and friends in a part of the country that is special to me. In many ways, I’m honored for the opportunity to bring my career in medicine back to where it began, here in West Michigan, and help make health care more personalized and simpler for the families we serve.”
Dostal’s achievements as a health care leader include developing partnerships to expand behavioral health programs; investing in robust community health efforts; identifying needed services and recruiting specialists; and implementing strategies to improve patients’ experiences with health care. Dostal also focused on reaching out to staff and the community, through regular hospital town halls and monthly health care updates on local radio.
Dostal received his associate degree in nursing from West Shore Community College, and his bachelor’s degree in nursing and his MBA from Ferris State University.
Prior to Dostal’s appointment, Shelly Johnson was interim market leader for Gerber Memorial while also serving as its chief operating officer (COO), and Helen Johnson was interim market leader for Ludington Hospital and its COO. Both will resume their full-time COO roles.
Spectrum Health’s four-county northwest region has a total population of more than 317,000 people.
Amber Hellewell's Hearth Magic claims top prize
Five local entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges and an audience of over 50 people at the second annual Pitch North competition. They were competing for the chance to win over $9,000 in cash prizes to bring their ideas to life. The event was held Wednesday, June 24th via ZOOM.
Pitch North was designed to spark entrepreneurial change and encourage more small businesses to start in Newaygo, Oceana, and Lake counties. Pitch North received 28 business idea submissions, from which five finalists were selected by a local committee to pitch at the live event. Each entrepreneur had five minutes to present, and judges had an opportunity to ask questions directly following.
“Entrepreneurs don’t stop working hard, even amid a global pandemic. Each finalist stepped out of their comfort zone to participate in this competition,” said Julie Burrell, Business Development Coordinator – Newaygo County, The Right Place, Inc. “They showed their passion for their businesses during their pitches, which earned each of them funding to move their business idea forward.”
The first place prize of $4,000 was awarded to Amber Hellewell, Hearth Magic, in Pentwater. Amber plans to use her prize money to upgrade computer, printer and other equipment to allow her business to scale. Second place was awarded to Ron Radkay, Elsie’s Ice Cream Shop in Fremont. Ron plans to expand Elsie’s and add an old fashioned soda fountain to allow for the business to operate year round. The third place prize went to Paul Avery from Tiki Hut Farm Market in Chase. Paul’s prize money will allow him to add additional parking spaces to continue growing his business into an agritourism destination.
Due to the pivot to a virtual format, all five finalists received cash prizes.
1st Place: $4,000 Amber Hellewell, Hearth Magic
2nd Place: $2,500 Ron Radkay, Elsie’s Ice Cream
3rd Place: $1,500 Paul Avery, Tiki Hut Farm Market
4th Place: $800 Ashley Titman, Ashley Marie Farm and Bakery
5th Place: $500 Janet Lipzinski, Up North Gift Company
Marie Elliot, Business Consultant with the Small Business Development Center; Rich Houtteman, Community Affairs Manager for Consumers Energy; Melissa Marietti-Evans, Commercial Lender at Northern Initiatives, Thomas Hawley, Executive Director of College Relations at West Shore Community College and Scott Rumsey, Owner of Ed’s Orchard Market volunteered as judges for the event.
For more information, visit pitchnorth.com or contact Julie Burrell at email@example.com or 231.335.1985
Pitch North is hosted by The Right Place, Inc. and made possible through support from Consumers Energy, The Fremont Area Community Foundation, Northern Initiatives, Gerber Federal Credit Union, Shelby State Bank, River Country Chamber of Commerce and West Shore Community College.
Newaygo County Sheriff's Dive Team Prepares For Summer Emergencies
Story and photos by Doug Harmon
As spring fades away and the months of summer start to take hold so do the possibilities of water accidents. This Saturday past the Newaygo County Sheriff's Dive Team along with the Marine patrol practiced skills and drills they hope they will never need.
With the recent retirement of dive leader Lee Fetterley, the reins have been handed off to deputy Justin Visser, assisted by Fremont Police officer Matt Hendrie.Both have extensive experience and have been on the dive team for years, logging hundreds of dives. With the retirement of many of the long standing members of the dive team, Visser and Hendrie have been actively recruiting new members for the dive team. New team members are recruited from law enforcement, fire departments and a few local candidates. New team members obtain their open water dive certification with a local dive instructor.
They mentor with the current dive team members to obtain much needed skills to perform the emergency tasks needed. Some may also choose to take advanced courses in search and rescue, search and recovery and underwater criminology, when the funds are available. Wintertime the team will practice in the pool to keep their skills sharp. The open water lake environment always has many challenges. Dive team members many times are diving in zero visibility. With Michigan waters never warm at depth, divers practice with heavy 7 mil wetsuits to handle the cold thermoclines they may encounter. Skills and drills are practiced to be able to handle any problems or emergencies underwater. Some of those could include mask failure, air delivery problems, losing visual contact with your dive buddy or possible entanglement.
Dive team members practice different recovery patterns under the water.
This increases their skills and efficiencies. The Marine Patrol assists the dive team occasionally when the Team is being pulled on a tow bar in a search pattern, under the water. It allows the divers to cover a large area of water, such as Hardy or Croton. The divers are usually pulled at a knot of speed. Dive team members have their dive gear with them at all times ready for any emergency. This past training session was at Fremont Lake.
The dive team has more training sessions planned throughout the summer at other lakes and waterways.
Five local entrepreneurs have been chosen to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges during the second annual Pitch North competition. They will compete for the chance to win more than $8,000 in cash prizes to bring their ideas to life. The event will be held virtually on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 via ZOOM.
The finalists are as follows:
Ashley Titman, Ashley Marie Farm and Bakery, from Newaygo County
Paul Avery, Tiki Hut Farm Market, from Lake County
Amber Hellewell, Hearth Magic, from Oceana County
Janet Lipzinski, Up North Gift Co, from Newaygo County
Ron Radkay, Elsie’s Ice Cream, from Oceana County
Pitch North was designed to spark entrepreneurial change and encourage more innovative minds to start small businesses in Newaygo, Oceana, and Lake counties. The listed five finalists were selected from a pool of 28 submissions. Each finalist will be given five minutes to present their business idea and judges will have an opportunity to ask questions directly after.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pitch North will be held virtually. To view the live event, register at pitchnorth.com/register-to-attend prior to June 24, 2020. There is no cost to register.
Marie Elliot, Business Consultant with the Small Business Development Center; Rich Houtteman, Community Affairs Manager for Consumers Energy; Melissa Marietti-Evans, Commercial Lender at Northern Initiatives, Thomas Hawley, Executive Director of College Relations at West Shore Community College and Scott Rumsey, Owner of Ed’s Orchard Market and President of Hesperia Area Chamber of Commerce will volunteer as judges for the event.
For more information, visit pitchnorth.com or contact Julie Burrell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 231.335.1985
Pitch North is hosted by The Right Place, Inc. and made possible through support from Consumers Energy, The Fremont Area Community Foundation, Northern Initiatives, Gerber Federal Credit Union, Shelby State Bank, River Country Chamber of Commerce and West Shore Community College.
New website to serve as information hub for highly anticipated premier tourist attraction
White Cloud, MI- The newly launched Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam (Dragon Trail) website located at www.thedragon.us details trail openings and construction progress on the 47-mile natural surface hiking and mountain biking trail in Mecosta and Newaygo counties. The website is the go-to resource for updated information on the Dragon Trail, including the comprehensive trail plan, sustainability measures, trail features, and opportunities to support the trail through financial gifts and volunteering. Fundraising opportunities will be shared on the website in the future to raise the final $2.6 million of the $3.7 million campaign.
A handful of segments of the trail will soon be open to West Michigan residents and tourists for hiking and mountain biking. There will be a total of 11 segments, with more construction occurring yet this year and more in seasons to come
. “The Dragon is unlike any other recreational trail in the Midwest. The website gives our community the tools to not only enjoy the trail, but also discover how they can be part of making the Dragon a prime tourist destination,” said Nick Smith, Parks and Recreation Director of the County of Newaygo.
Featuring 23 bridges, 13 scenic overlooks, and surrounding 4,000 acres of water, the Dragon Trail is anticipated to draw more than 100,000 annual visitors and generate $4.15 million in annual economic activity with at least 70 new jobs, according to a Michigan State University Center for Economic Analysis study.
The final trail system will be jointly managed by the Newaygo and Mecosta County Park Commissions. The West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance signed a volunteer maintenance agreement with the Park Commissions to assist with routine maintenance of the trail system.
“The Dragon will be a world-class trail and a significant asset to the mountain biking community,” said Martin Hall of the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance. “Since 2019,
volunteers have given over 1100 hours to help build the trail, and we’re not done yet.”
To learn how you can help build or maintain the Dragon, or make a gift, visit www.thedragon.us.
N3 Staff goes through the process. Free testing continues tomorrow (Sunday, June 14th) 10am-4pm
No, I haven’t been symptomatic.
Oh I cough and sneeze on occasion and experience shortness of breath when I climb the multitude of stairs we seem to have in and around N3 World Headquarters but hey, I used to get shortness of breath going from first to third in softball.
Side note: I was known for hitting some of the longest singles on the team since my speed on the basepaths matched my endurance.
Fatigue? Well sheesh, since I’m closing in on joining the septuagenarian crowd I get tired watching sports these days much less participating.
(South Korean baseball league, mornings at 5:30am on ESPN. Perhaps worth another story some time)
Aches and pains? Look, I walk about 3 miles a day, work out when gyms are open and try to do a bit of stretching here and there and yet when my friend Mark, an avid pickleballer takes me to the courts I spend a minimum of a half hour getting my socks and shoes on the next day.
Loss of taste? Well, unless taste in clothing is included, no none of that. In fact should I ever lose my taste for Lil’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies or rhubarb muffins life would be significantly emptier indeed.
So no, no outwardly obvious and newly acquired symptoms and no presently known preexisting conditions that would make me more vulnerable...well, except that age thing of course.
It has been mortifying to hear about a particular age group being vulnerable and suddenly realizing you’re in it.
Me at the start of the pandemic: “I sure feel bad for those older folks who are more susceptible to the virus.”
Lil- “It’s OUR age group they’re talking about you know.”
Me (suddenly struck by the reality of my years) “Yeah, I know. I just meant…”. as my voice trailed off like it does when I realize the folly of something I just said.
But despite no apparent cause for concern all of the folks with medical and scientific backgrounds that I trust seem to indicate widespread testing is one of the ways to give us a handle on the extent of the spread and hopefully help in this once in a couple three lifetimes event that I never wish to repeat.
I know, I know, there are some out there who embrace any number of theories about this whole shebang but in the land of ‘what ifs’ I tend to lean toward precautionary approaches to situations that could lead to disastrous results.
So I got tested.
Our local (regional) health department in collaboration with the National Guard, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Local Law Enforcement and Emergency Management are testing this weekend at the county offices in White Cloud. It provided a golden opportunity to do a drive through testing for myself and check out the system they had in place. Was it going to be crowded? Would the process be difficult? How were they going to pull off a community wide testing?
What I found when I got there was a thing of organizational beauty. It was well planned, well guided, seamless as possible and operated with the efficiency of a well oiled machine.
I was directed to drive to my first station where I was registered and received instructions on how to get my results, which would take a few days. A small baggie containing my information was placed on my windshield and I was directed to the testing site where an exceptionally polite young man explained the test and said there might be a little discomfort as he proceeded to probe my right nostril with a swab.
It was over instantaneously and I was guided to the exit where I saw my friend Dianne Taylor Chandler was manning her post. We chatted for a bit while maintaining proper social distancing and I was on my way.
My hope, of course, is to pass with flying colors (a phrase seldom appropriate during my scholastic career) and not end up having to quarantine or risk passing it along to the nurse who lets me share living quarters with her.
Overall it felt like a good thing to do and as I said before if it helps in any way to supply more information and give us all more tools to combat COVID-19?
It was worth a bit of right nostril probing.
And a parting gift
By Charles Chandler
Last year Lora Kalkofen, our good friend and capable White Cloud City Manager announced her intention to retire in June of 2020. This announcement initiated a flurry of Human Resources activities. Job requirements were refreshed and Michigan Municipal League was contracted to facilitate the job search for a new City Manager. The position was posted, a slate of candidates was selected, and the City Council conducted the interviews. One candidate met and exceeded the requirements and a job offer was made. The offer was accepted and last week the City Council approved a contract with White Cloud’s new City Manager.
On July 1 Ms. Yvonne Ridge, the former Mayor of Charlotte Michigan will be White Cloud’s new City Manager. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte,_Michigan
The Near North Now White Cloud correspondent had an opportunity to briefly interview Mayor Yvonne Ridge before the City Council Meeting. The interview was arranged by Mayor Denslow and conducted at the White Cloud Airport so that Social Distancing Protocols could be follow
N3 What attracted you to the position?
Ms. Ridge- The more I read about the City of White Cloud, the more I wanted to become part of moving the City forward. Two statements that appealed to me were that the people of White Cloud live where other outdoor enthusiasts can only vacation and the fact that people are proud of White Cloud’s small-town lifestyle.
The City of White Cloud is an amazing community; the more I visit the more I fall in love with everything about it.
N3. What are your top priorities for the next 6 months?
Ms. Ridge- Work with the current City Manager to be brought up to speed on ongoing projects and budget overview.
Getting to know the Mayor and City Council and learning what goals and expectations they have set for the upcoming year.
Meeting with Staff and learning about their job functions and what they enjoy about White Cloud.
Meet with business owners and key officials in the City and surrounding areas.
Get to know the community!
N3 What do you see as the strengths of White Cloud?
Ms. Ridge- White Cloud is financially stable. The Mayor and City Council support new ideas and have the willingness to tackle big projects to move the city forward.
N3. What are the biggest challenges you see ahead?
Ms. Ridge- There is a concern that young people graduate, go to college and do not return.
The downtown is struggling and has now been hit hard with COVID-19.
We will need to look for additional revenue sources in order to bring the infrastructure up to date.
N3. The pandemic has put many businesses at risk. What would you see as the best ways to support these local enterprises?
Ms. Ridge- I will first need to meet with each business owner and learn what steps they made to survive the pandemic. After seeing what has been done, we can make a plan going forward on how best to recover. This is the time to think outside of the box!
N3. Local Municipalities will feel the backlash of cuts at the state level. How do you plan to maneuver the decrease in funding?
Ms. Ridge- I will be spending a great deal of time reviewing the budget. I will work with the Mayor and City Council on conservative spending as we wait to see the impact of the cuts to revenue sharing by the state.
N3 Do you plan to live in the City?
Ms. Ridge- Yes, I am actively looking for housing within the city.
N3. What are your hobbies or recreational interests?
Ms. Ridge- I love hiking, boating, paddle boarding, beach volleyball, and spending time outdoors with my family. Summer is my favorite season!
I am looking forward to working and living in White Cloud and assisting in creating a place where people love where they LIVE!!!
The pool of qualified and experienced City Managers is small and growing smaller each year. The competition for these candidates is fierce. Attracting one to small rural municipalities is a challenge. Ms. Ridge’s professional experience, education and accomplishments are laudable.
The residents welcome you and thank you for taking an interest in White Cloud. We look forward to this partnership and assisting you in achieving our common goals.
At the time of this interview White Cloud’s controversial James Street was being paved. At long last this decade-old project is complete. It was mentioned that this was one of the legacy gifts from City Manager Kalkofen and we were happy that Mr. Ridge would not inherit that millstone.
Many of us hope that the animosity, misinformation, missed opportunities, and potholes will be forever covered over by that beautiful layer of asphalt.
District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) is offering free community testing for COVID-19 this weekend in White Cloud. In collaboration with the National Guard, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Local Law Enforcement and Emergency Management, testing information is as follows:
COVID-19 Drive-Through Community Testing Site
Health Department Complex parking lot
1087 Newell, White Cloud, MI
Saturday and Sunday, June 13-14, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Michigan’s lenders are open for financing, Michigan’s title companies are open to provide clear title to homes and properties and Michigan’s Register of Deeds offices are open to inspect and record real estate transactions despite limitations on in-person service created by the COVID19 crisis.
LANSING -- The leaders of Michigan’s real estate records and financial infrastructure, which help keep our property economy functioning behind the scenes, announced that state residents should rest assured that they can still conduct a wide range of property transactions across Michigan despite limitations on in-person meetings created by the COVID19 health crisis.
The Michigan Association of Register of Deeds, Michigan Land Title Association, Community Bankers of Michigan, and the Michigan Bankers Association are all working together to ensure that services are still available for residents conducting real estate transactions such as mortgage lending, home refinancing, home and property sales transactions, property transfers, researching land titles, conducting closings, and having records inspected and recorded by county registers of deeds.
While in-person meetings and document signing processes are usually required at several points during real estate transactions, many of these transactions can now be processed electronically during the current health crisis.
This is possible in part due to Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-41, which temporarily eases restrictions on the valid use of electronic signatures and electronic notary services. As a result, many real estate transactions, including lending, mortgage refinancing and real estate sale closing meetings, can be conducted electronically during the COVID19 crisis.
These transactions are also possible due to the increased use of video conference technology used by banks and title agencies along with efforts by register of deeds offices to adapt to the closure of most county office buildings.
“Michigan’s Registers of Deeds, mortgage financing and land title sectors, are typically the unseen backbone of our state’s real estate economy, processing secure real estate transactions and transferring the fees and taxes from those transactions to fund important state and county government services,” said Michigan Association of Register of Deeds President Stewart Sanders, the Newaygo County Register of Deeds. “In the interest of doing everything we can to help Michigan’s economy continue to function, we have come together, using new technologies and taking advantage of Gov. Whitmer’s EO 2020-41 which temporarily eases the restrictions on the use of E-Notary and Remote Online Notary capabilities to help ensure property transactions can continue”.
“Gov. Whitmer’s authorization of increased use of electronic signatures and electronic notary services now gives us the flexibility with closing meetings to be completed remotely” said Michigan Land Title Association President Tom Lico, the President and CEO of Capital Title Insurance Agency in Southfield. “We are open for business and ready to serve our customers despite today’s challenging circumstances.”
“Michigan’s banks are here to help,” said T. Rann Paynter, President and CEO of the Michigan Bankers Association. “As the novel coronavirus continues to impact communities across the country and the broader economy, Michigan’s banks are also taking steps to respond to the needs of individual and business customers directly affected, while continuing to execute their own business continuity plans under challenging conditions.
Mike Tierney, President and CEO of the Community Bankers of Michigan commented “Community banks across the state of Michigan have risen to the challenge of keeping Michigan’s economy going and functioning as well as possible under the unique business challenges this crisis has created. Our bankers have worked closely with the Register of Deeds Offices across the state, title companies, and realtors to keep the real estate sector going through all of the challenges each of the groups has faced trying to serve Michigan residents.”
More information can be found at the following locations:
Michigan Association of Register of Deeds: https://www.mardmi.org
Michigan Bankers Association: https://www.mibankers.com
Michigan Land Title Association: https://www.milta.org
State of Michigan EO 2020-41: https://www.michigan.gov/whitmer/0,9309,7-387-90499_90705-525178--,00.html
Bars, restaurants can open for biz
A long 84 days for those who enjoy an occasional sit down meal at one of our local eatatoriums.
On Monday the drought came to an end as restaurants and bars in our fair county were able to open their doors to the public beyond take out and actually have folks indulge in a bit of dining beyond the confines of their kitchens.
One of our faves has always been the Moon Dance Cafe in Fremont where regulars were welcomed inside for the first time Monday morning
“We had people who were waiting when we opened the doors at 7am,” said MDC owner Tina Drum. “We’re glad to be back and happy to see all the familiar faces.”
Visitors will see some changes to the interior as the sabbatical proved to be an ideal time to do some remodeling and the place has taken on a bright new look. With social distancing still looming you won’t find quite so many tables at the Moon Dance but the food is as delightful as always and their patio allows for a little al fresco dining among the colorful variety of planters decorating the appealing little area.
“It’s wonderful to be able to once again go out and have lunch outdoors on such a lovely day,” said Karen Kroll who was enjoying a Chinese Chicken Salad with her friend Laurie Dennis.
Tina and I talked about the time off and the challenges inherent in the reopening of the Moon Dance including the need for additional staff as she had nothing but the highest praise for those who were shaking the rust off from an extended layoff.
“We have a great staff,” she said with her signature smile. “They’ve been amazing.
There are, of course, guidelines limiting the capacity of restaurants and bars and requiring some masking of staff and customers entering and not all local establishments have rebooted as yet.
But with many resuming their entrepreneurial enterprises these openings provide another step toward a return to some semblance of normalcy as well as the opportunity to support some of our hardest hit businesses.
And when it comes to the reopening of the Moon Dance there is the added bonus of access to their peach bread pudding, a treat that has been sorely missed by the staff of N3 World Headquarters for quite awhile.
Right around 84 days, I’d say.
Family Health Care Expands Testing
With the increase in testing supplies, Family Health Care is now able to offer more testing to the public for COVID-19. Testing is available at the main clinics in Baldwin, Cadillac, Grant and White Cloud. Those seeking testing must call ahead and make an appointment.
Family Health Care is able to offer two types of testing. PCR testing is a nasal swab inserted deep into the nasal cavity to see if any COVID-19 genetic material can be identified (the specimen is sent to a lab for testing). The second type of test is the IgG Antibody test which is a blood test that shows if your body has been exposed to COVID-19, mounted an immune response, and produced antibodies against the virus.
“We are excited to have the ability to provide more testing to individuals who think they may have COVID-19 or had an illness this spring that they think may have been COVID-19,” said Dr. Jocelyn Pouliot. “Whether a test returns positive or negative for COVID-19, everyone should continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing.”
Those seeking COVID-19 testing should call the offices closest to them to schedule an appointment. Anyone coming to a FHC health center will be required to wear a face mask (cloth masks are acceptable). For COVID-19 testing, FHC has established a Fast Track area in the health center which is designated for those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and receiving testing and a separate area for those who are asymptomatic but need testing. .
If you have had significant exposure to someone with confirmed COVID-19, you should remain quarantined for 14 days to ensure you don't develop any symptoms and infect others. While this testing is state-of-the-art for COVID- 19, this virus is very tricky and cannot guarantee someone is not contagious.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the location nearest you by visiting familyhealthcare.org/locations.
Guv allowing salons, massages as of June 15
Haircuts massages and mani-pedi services will be reopening on June 15th throughout the state meaning local folks providing these services will likely become slammed with requests for appointments beginning mid-month.
Jamie Wagner of Fusion Salon in Newaygo said the phone began ringing soon after the announcement was made Friday morning.
“It’s been an interesting few months to say the least. My team and customers have been patiently waiting and we’re ready. We’ve missed our loyal customers and can’t wait to get going again. Thank you for being patient. Finally we have an open date!!”
Starting on June 10, Regions 6 and 8 — which include much of northern Michigan and all of the Upper Peninsula — will advance to Phase 5 of the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan. Phase 5 allows the reopening of salons, movie theaters, and gyms, subject to safety protocols and procedures designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
On June 15, personal services including hair, massages, and nails will reopen statewide. Though the remaining regions, 1 through 5 and 7, will remain in Phase 4 under today’s executive orders, the governor has said she expects the entire state will advance to Phase 5 in the coming weeks.
Under Phase 5, indoor social gatherings and organized events of up to 50 people are permissible. Outdoor social gatherings and organized events are also allowed if people maintain six feet of distance from one another and the gathering consists of no more than 250 people. In addition, outdoor performance and sporting venues will be open with a larger capacity limit of 500, which will allow for some outdoor graduation ceremonies.
“We are still on an encouraging trajectory across the state, and while there are regional differences, we are seeing continued general rates of decline in cases and deaths,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.
In addition, Governor Whitmer has issued an updated rule laying out new workplace safeguards for gyms, in-home services, hair salons, and entertainment venues. Following these safeguards will ensure that workers and patrons alike remain protected as the state moves to reopen.
To view Executive Orders 2020-114 and 2020-115, click the links below:
The application for grants from the Amazing X Charitable Trust is now open. Completed applications are due July 15.
The Amazing X Charitable Trust is a supporting organization of Fremont Area Community Foundation. It was established in 1978 by members of the Gerber family to support community members with disabilities and to address general charitable needs.
Past grants have supported accessibility projects, rehabilitation services, adult day programs, and more. A 2019 grant to Family Health Care supported the organization’s in-home respite care program, while another recent grant supported a wheelchair-accessible pontoon to allow more disabled veterans the opportunity to enjoy local waterways.
For more information or to begin an online grant application, visit facommunityfoundation.org/grants.
The application for grants from the Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund is now open. Completed applications are due July 15.
The Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund was established at Fremont Area Community Foundation in 2002 by what is now Nestlé Waters North America. Grants are made from the fund to sustain the waters and water-dependent natural resources of the Muskegon River Watershed by supporting conservation, enhancement, and restoration projects. The fund provides up to $50,000 annually and typical grants are from $5,000 to $20,000.
Grant requests are accepted for projects or programs that conserve, enhance, or restore the watershed and demonstrate collaboration among organizations. Past grants have supported erosion control projects, restoration of habitats and natural areas, cleanups, river bank stabilization, research, and more. One 2019 grant supported a three-year temperature study designed to allow for a better understanding of the river’s cold water resources and to inform possible measures to protect cold water species in the river. Another recently funded project will give students in Newaygo and Muskegon counties the opportunity to research, plan, design, and implement stewardship action projects along the river.
For more information or to begin an online grant application, visit facommunityfoundation.org/icemountain.
Bottle Return Facilities to Resume Operations on June 15
LANSING- Today, Treasury issued a Notice Regarding Phased Reestablishment of Michigan’s Bottle Deposit Return Program. Beginning June 15, 2020, some retailers must reopen their bottle return facilities and resume the collection of returnable beverage containers and refund of customer bottle deposits. This applies to retailers with bottle return facilities located at the front of the store or housed in a separate area and serviced exclusively by reverse vending machines requiring minimal or no person-to-person contact.
Retailers reopening their bottle return facilities must ensure those facilities comply with all state-mandated safety protocols and restrictions, including the most recent state-mandated safeguards to protect workers.
In addition, retailers may take any or all of the following steps:
During this initial phase, retailers must limit the volume of weekly returned beverage containers to no more than 140 percent of their average weekly collection volume for the period April and May 2019.
Consumers have the option of recycling their returnable beverage containers if they choose not to return them to a bottle deposit redemption facility.
Treasury will issue further guidance regarding additional phases of the reestablishment of the bottle deposit program in the near future.
The collection of returnable beverage containers was temporarily suspended via Executive Order No. 2020-21, issued by Governor Whitmer on March 23, 2020. The temporary suspension supported Michigan’s fight against the coronavirus by permitting grocery stores and other retailers to immediately shift employees from container collection and deposit redemption duties to other areas where they were more urgently needed, and to protect the health and safety of retailers, their employees, and all Michigan citizens.
Questions regarding the phase-in of the reestablished bottle return program can be directed to Treas_MiscTaxesFees@michigan.gov.
Guv announces changes
At her news conference today Governor Whitmer rescinded the stay at home order and moved the entire state into phase 4 of the plan to re-engage the economy.
What does this mean?
Office work that is not capable of being performed remotely can resume.
In-home services, including house cleaning services, can begin operations.
Fitness classes can be held outside.
Drive -in movies can reopen.
Groups of 100 or less can now congregate outdoors so long as safety measures are in place.
On Thursday, June 4th, retail establishments can move beyond appointments and welcome in customers with reduced capacity numbers.
On Monday, June 8th, restaurants can open with both indoor and outdoor dining if tables are 6 feet apart and capacity remains at 50% or less. Day camps and swimming pools can resume operations the same day.
Not yet open?
Hair salons, gyms, indoor theaters, casinos, and tattoo parlors.
The governor indicated these restrictions could be lifted within 2 weeks if the downward trend of cases continues.
“This is a big step forward,” said Governor Whitmer. “We’ve come a long way, made sacrifices and it’s been tough.”
“I want to thank those who have done their part and especially the brave men and women on the front lines.”
The preliminary hearing to determine if Roy Snell Jr. will be tried for the murder of Richard Atwood will resume Wednesday June 3rd from 8:30 am to 4:30pm.
The proceedings can be viewed via Youtube by going to the Newaygo County website:
Once there you can click on ‘Departments’ and then ‘Courts’ which will display Circuit, District and Probate courts. The hearing is being held in District Court with Judge Melissa Dykman presiding.
Atwood, 25 years old at the time, went missing nearly 37 years ago. His brown 1975 Pontiac Trans-Am was recovered in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area two months later and Snell was reported as the last person to be seen with Atwood.
His body has never been found.
From our friends at DHD#10:
SPIKE IN COVID-19 CASES DUE TO INDIVIDUALS NOT FOLLOWING GUIDANCE TO PREVENT SPREAD
May 30, 2020 – Over the past several weeks, COVID-19 cases have spiked in two counties within District Health Department #10’s (DHD#10) jurisdiction, Newaygo and Oceana. While there are several reasons for the increase in cases, an area that the public can help play a big part in reducing the spread is to commit to follow the recommendations of staying home and practicing social distancing and wearing a face covering when in public.
As essential businesses continued to operate during the Governor’s Stay Home Stay Safe Executive Order, many business owners went above and beyond following the appropriate protocol for screening their employees, cleaning and disinfecting their facilities, implementing social distancing plans to keep employees separated and educating their employee on COVID-19 and its prevention strategies. Unfortunately, many individuals have chosen not to adhere to the Executive Order to stay home or to social distance and mask while in public, which has resulted in increases in COVID-19 infections. Because not everyone who is infected shows symptoms even though they are contagious, they head back to work or into community settings and unknowingly infect others.
“We understand the frustration that business owners express as they are doing everything right to keep their facilities disinfected and their employees safe,” said Kevin Hughes, Health Officer for DHD#10. “We can’t say enough just how important it is for everyone to please do your part to not only protect you and your family, but to protect others.”
In Newaygo and Oceana Counties, the increase in cases is not coming from any one location. Many of these cases are due to families getting together where asymptomatic individuals unknowingly spread the virus to multiple family members and then to coworkers. Other cases involve individuals contracting the virus while working in neighboring counties outside of DHD#10’s ten-county jurisdiction which have higher numbers of cases and then unknowingly bringing it home to their families, and in some cases spreading it among three to four generations. In addition, more testing is being done in these communities by hospitals and the opening of the drive through testing clinic in Shelby through a joint effort of Northwest Michigan Health Services and DHD#10. More testing will identify additional cases otherwise unknown. DHD#10 continues to work closely with our partners, local employers and community officials to provide guidance and assistance to slow the spread.
It is known that COVID-19 can spread rapidly at mass gatherings and in enclosed spaces. Please do your part to prevent getting or spreading COVID-19, including:
For more information on COVID-19, go to www.dhd10.org/coronavirus. You can also send questions to email@example.com.