Pitch North awards five local entrepreneurs funding to bring their ideas to life
Five local female entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges and an audience of over 50 people at the first annual Pitch North competition. They were competing for the chance to win over $8,000 in cash prizes to bring their ideas to life. The event was held Wednesday, May 8t that the Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts.
Pitch North was designed to spark entrepreneurial change and encourage more small businesses to start in Newaygo, Oceana, and Lake counties. Pitch North received 20 business idea submissions, from which five finalists were selected to pitch at the live event. Each entrepreneur had five minutes to present, and judges had an opportunity to ask questions directly following.
“Every one of our finalists worked very hard to prepare for this event,” said Julie Burrell, Business Development Coordinator – Newaygo County, The Right Place, Inc. “They stepped outside of their comfort zone in an effort to move their business ideas forward, which is exactly why this event was created.”
The first place prize of $4,000 was awarded to Tara Kelley of Oceana County for The Bohemian Boutique. She will be adding a Suspended Coffees shop to her boutique.
“Winning this competition means we will continue to grow and help fill the needs of the community,” said Kelley “Standing up front holding the 1st place check meant more to me than any diploma I've received.
“It was a wonderful event and such a learning experience. I'm not a public speaker but this forced me to push beyond those limits where real change and growth happens. I've received an overwhelming response from the community, customers, friends and family, people are getting excited for some good coffee and teas coming to Shelby.”
Second place was awarded to Deanna Dickinson for her idea, Truffles and Goodies Lady, which makes waterproof purses, ID Wallet Lanyards, coin purses, etc. The third place prize went to Camelia Hollinger for Pretty Pop-ups, a provider of renovated and affordable pop-up campers.
The top three finalists will receive the following:
1st Place: Tara Kelley, The Bohemian Boutique
$4,000 + in-kind services from H&S Companies and Eric R. Fox, Attorney at Law
2nd Place: Deanna Dickinson, Truffles and Goodies Lady
$2,500 + in-kind services from The Stream and Eric R. Fox, Attorney at Law
3rd Place: Camelia Hollinger, Pretty Pop-Ups
$1,000 + in-kind services from Eric R. Fox, Attorney at Law
The remaining two finalists, Ericka Freriks, Baking Beauty Custom Cakes and Sandra Bernard, Red Boots Kids’ Books, will each receive $500 cash prizes.
Mark Kraus, Hesperia Area Chamber of Commerce Tourism & Membership Director, Lynn Ladner, Hart City Manager, Melissa Marietti-Evans, Northern Initiatives Commercial Lender, Don Farmer, SVP Commercial Lending at Edgewater Bank, and Mike Kruitoff, Owner at Kruitoff Electric volunteered as judges for the event.
Pitch North was made possible through funding from the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance and Northern Initiatives.
For more information, visit pitchnorth.com or contact Julie Burrell at email@example.com or 231.335.1985
M-37 North of White Cloud will be under construction beginning Monday. May 13.
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is investing approximately $1.4 million to resurface 17 miles of M-37 with a chip seal from 3 Mile Road north to the Newaygo/Lake county line (18 Mile Road).
Project map: https://tinyurl.com/y6pgastv
Lane closures will be in effect Monday through Thursday.
Projected completion date is June 27.
Senate passes bill to forgive State of Emergency days
Received today (Thursday) from Dr. Lori Tubergen Clark, NCRESA Superintendent.
“This has been a crazy week for the snow day legislation. But today, the Senate unanimously passed HB4206 and did give it immediate effect. The House is expected to send the bill to the Governor for her approval this afternoon.
“This means that for this school year, districts may request days that school was canceled during the state of emergency to be forgiven. Those dates are specifically January 29 through February 2.”
Business to open on Thursday
In the fall of 2017 the White Cloud City Council voted to allow Medical Marijuana businesses in the city and in mid-December the new state regulations took effect allowing for such venues.
Nearly a year and a half later after many negotiations and a lengthy licensing process that involved delay after delay White River Wellness finally opens their doors on Thursday May 2 and the first dispensary makes its debut in Newaygo County.
Located on the northern edge of the city on M-37 the facility will serve what is estimated at over 1500 card carriers in Newaygo County and countless others from the region.
Another dispensary is set to open next month in Brooks Township just south of the city of Newaygo.
House, Senate wrangle in search of a solution
We had a lot of them this winter.
Some districts were closed more than 20 times during this winter including during the 4-day state of emergency that saw governmental offices as well as private businesses close up shop due to the weather.
With schools required to provide 180 days (1098 hours) of instruction to students, not fulfilling this requirement could result in the forfeiture of a portion of the school’s state aid.
The first six days or the equivalent number of hours that students are not in the classroom due to snow days or other weather or natural emergencies are waived and included as hours of instruction. Superintendents can apply for a waiver that allows them to cancel three additional days of school under certain circumstances.
House Bill 4206 would amend the act and require the Department of Education, for 2018-2019 only, to count the four days that were included in the governor’s state of emergency earlier this year as days and hours of pupil instruction.
On Tuesday the State Senate unanimously approved a bill Tuesday to forgive the four snow days that occurred during a state-declared emergency and not require them to be made up, but a procedural snafu involving a conflict over compensation for hourly employees has delayed it and it was sent back to the House.
State Sen. Jon Bumstead on Tuesday voted in favor of legislation giving flexibility to schools who missed more than the nine allotted snow days during this winter’s harsh weather.
“I supported this bill to provide much-needed relief for schools due to this year’s extreme weather, but since none of the Democrats would support immediate effect on this legislation, it won’t actually help schools when they need it,” said Bumstead. “Every senator voted in favor of this legislation, but failure to approve immediate effect knowingly delays implementation to the end of our legislative term and effectively denies schools the forgiveness of snow days.”
“It’s really disappointing that such a simple bill aimed at helping our schools had to become a victim of political games,” Bumstead said. “I know some districts that have had upward of 20 snow days, and some districts will already be going well into the summer. This bill would have simply eliminated some of the burden on teachers, students and parents this summer.”
Today the House passed the bill including immediate effect and now it will be sent back to the Senate for another vote, possibly as soon as tomorrow (Thursday). Local State Representative Scott Van Singel was one of two Republicans who voted against the bill that passed by a 56-53 margin.
“My concerns were with the total number of days that students had missed,” said Representative VanSingel. “ The state currently allows six days and schools can apply for a waiver for an additional 3 days- a total of nine. Most schools greatly exceeded that total this year and were requesting additional relief. The bill offered relief for the days which were declared "state emergency days" While I understand that these were some of the coldest days Michigan has seen in years and not suitable for attending school, the overall problem is that the students have missed as many as 3-4 weeks of education in many districts.
“Forgiving additional days does nothing to help the students catch up. While I understand most students and educators do not want the school year to stretch into the middle of the summer, at some point we have to draw a line and stick with a minimum number of instructional days if we truly value education. I understand I was in the minority with this vote, but I have a passion for education and no one was able to explain to me how this bill would further student success and opportunity.”
“it would have been much easier to follow the caucus and vote yes, however, I do believe that this is bad policy and sets a bad precedent for future snow days
“It is already May 1 and we continue to wait for a resolution, if any, from our legislators,” said Dr Lori Tubergen Clark, NCRESA Superintendent.“Meanwhile, our families are understandably moving forward with summer plans.
“Currently, we are planning for no resolution from Lansing and scheduling the required make up days from the extreme weather we experienced this winter. We needed instructional time with our students prior to Michigan’s high stakes testing in April and snow days took weeks of instructional time away. With few air conditioned school buildings, pushing students later and later into the summer reaches a point of diminished returns.”
NEWAYGO– Consumers Energy announced that a Croton Dam parking area will be reduced and the canoe portage will be relocated to the east side of the Muskegon River starting April 29 to safely accommodate construction activity at the site.
Fencing will indicate the closed section of the west upper downstream parking lot near the dam’s fishing pier, which will be reduced by roughly half its size, and signs will direct users to the temporary portage. The site’s fishing pier will remain open.
“It’s necessary to temporarily reduce the parking area and close the west canoe portage for safety while crews replace an abutment wall to upgrade our Croton Dam,” said Matthew Carmer, Consumers Energy’s natural resources administrator for hydro operations. “Fortunately, the east side of the river will be unaffected by the upgrade work and we are able to relocate the portage there so recreationalists may continue to portage the dam for the duration of the project, which is expected to be completed this October.”
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
By Alexis Mercer
Painting fire hydrants, sealing fences, cleaning up the cemetery, picking up trash from acres of land, promoting inclusivity, and spreading joy and kindness to all was the curriculum of the day for Newaygo High School students on Thursday, April 25, 2019.
The day of service originally started four years ago as a three day celebration and break from a normal class schedule to bring awareness to bullying and promote social kindness and togetherness. Since the inception of the concept, the theme and activities have evolved into a multi-purpose single day event for students and staff of NHS.
All students and staff met in the gymnasium first thing on Thursday morning to cheer on the participants of the floor hockey and soccer games. This activity is part of what NHS does each year for its involvement with the Special Olympics. In addition to the multiple Special Olympics events held at NHS each year, Special Education students from Newaygo participated in the games to display unity and inclusion.
After the intense matches, with students in the stands cheering energetically and enthusiastically for both the Titans and Spartans, two morning sessions took place. Juniors and freshmen went to the cafeteria to hear a presentation from the be nice. leadership team about mental health awareness. This is the continuation of a years long project led by staff member Erica Boyd to break the stigma that comes with mental health.
"be nice. is a mental health education, bully and suicide prevention initiative that creates a positive cultural change through simple daily actions." Students watched a short video reminding them of the steps of the program and encouraging students to reach out when they see someone who displays behavior unlike their normal actions for two weeks or longer. [For more information, visit the West Michigan be nice. website: https://www.benice.org/be-nice ]
The next step for juniors and freshmen was to break out into classroom activities of their choosing, including things like juggling, board games, card games, movies and reading. Additionally, school officer Mitch Rood took a group of students out to the parking lot and had them participate in "Ford's Strive 4 a Safer Drive (S4SD)", where they donned glasses of impairment (alcohol and drugs) and attempted to safely navigate a course of cones while driving golf carts loaned by Smart Energy out of Grant.
Meanwhile, seniors and sophomores set out into the community to serve. The City of Newaygo and Ron Wight worked closely with NHS's Theresa Westcott and Laurie Gracik to identify areas in need of cleanup and repair. City workers provided water and supplies while the students and staff provided their endless energy and commitment to making the world a better place starting with our town.
The afternoon sessions flip flopped the morning schedule with fresh hands for serving and fresh minds for learning.
While the activities only took place one day out of the year, the enthusiasm for the themes of kindness, service and inclusivity last much longer. This day makes an impact on students and staff alike. "The high school coming together and accepting everyone's unique differences is the greatest part of this day," said Theresa Westcott, one of the main leaders and organizers of the event.
State Sen. Jon Bumstead issued the following statement on Tuesday encouraging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to reconsider disaster relief funding for Newaygo County:
“On March 14, Newaygo County began experiencing heavy rainfall and major flooding, which caused extensive damage to public and private property across the county. The widespread flooding generated an immediate threat to public safety. Within a week, 33 roadways were extensively damaged, and 11 culverts had failed. Major damage also occurred to parks, dams, and wastewater treatment facilities throughout the county.
“Extensive repair costs have severely impacted the current budget for the Newaygo County Road Commission. The commission estimates it is currently 30% over the current year budget. As of now, the county has spent $335,723 to repair damages caused by the widespread flooding, and they estimate an additional $100,000 in unknown and unaccounted costs. Due to the harsh winter and unforeseen natural disasters, the county has spent $725,582 more in comparison to this time last year.
“The state can provide financial assistance during times of disaster or emergency, but Governor Gretchen Whitmer has denied supplemental funding for Newaygo County. I ask the governor to reconsider her decision due to the extensive response and repair costs sustained by the Newaygo County Road Commission, and the continued threat that these damages pose to public safety.
“Because the budget for the Newaygo County Road Commission has been severely impacted by these costs, very little money remains while numerous roads across the county are still in disrepair. The governor has repeatedly spoken about the need to adequately fund and repair our roads, but Newaygo County will be another year behind schedule without this assistance.
“Newaygo County Emergency Services and the Newaygo County Road Commission have done an excellent job protecting the health and property of residents, but additional repair costs remain. Supplemental funding would help offset the emergency protective measures used during the flooding.
“I hope that Governor Whitmer will reconsider her decision to deny Newaygo County supplemental disaster funding so repairs from the widespread flooding can be completed.”
Fremont Couple Celebrates 60th Wedding Anniversary
Patsy and Gerald Sherman celebrated their diamond (60th) wedding anniversary, on Good Friday, April 19th, 2019, in an intimate setting hosted by their sons, Mark and Scott along with their respective wives. The jovial duo gathered in Ada, Michigan, to mark this auspicious occasion flanked by adoring grandchildren and their friends.
The Shermans were married on April, 10th 1959 in Muskegon, MI. They moved to Fremont during the 70s to raise their three sons who have made them very happy throughout the years. Their faith in God sustains them, along with the joy they receive from overseeing their grandchildren and great grandchildren.
When asked by a family friend, Chongo, “What is the key to a long lasting marriage?” Patsy responded with her usual spunkyself, “I can tell you this, if anyone has said they have never had an argument they are lying!” With all their ups and downs, Patsy and Gerald have never forgotten how to laugh, and love.
Pitch North Finalists Announced
Twenty entrepreneurs submitted their ideas in the first-ever rural entrepreneurial pitch competition in Newaygo, Lake and Oceana Counties. The deadline for submissions is April 10th.
“We are absolutely thrilled with the submission results and excited for the future of entrepreneurship in Newaygo, Lake and Oceana Counties” said Julie Burrell, Business Development Coordinator – Newaygo County at The Right Place, Inc.
A sub-committee reviewed and scored each submission, narrowing the list to the top five.
The five finalists will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges at the Dogwood Center for Performing Arts in Fremont on May 8th from 4pm to 6pm. The top three finalists will receive in-kind services in addition to cash prizes of $4,000, $2,500, and $1,000. This event is open to the public, but registration is required. To register to attend, visit pitchnorth.com
The finalists are:
Sandra Bernard – Red Boots Kids’ Books
Ericka Freriks – Baking Beauty’s Custom Cakes
Camelia Hollinger – Pretty Pop Ups
Tara Kelley – The Bohemian Boutique
Deanna Dickinson – Truffles and Goodies Lady
Every entrepreneur who submitted an idea will receive guidance on moving their idea forward, regardless of their final score.
Pitch North is made possible through funding from the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance and Northern Initiatives. In-Kind prizes were donated from The Stream, Eric R. Fox, Attorney at Law and H&S Companies.
Gas station to open Thursday,April 25
By Ken DeLaat
And now we have a date.
On Tuesday,May 21, ending years of anticipation, Meijer takes its place as a major presence in our area.
And ‘anticipation’ doesn’t do justice to the Meijer mania that was spawned several years ago when the rumor mill began grinding about a Meijer arrival in our parts. One of our first articles on the subject drew an enormous amount of readers and when the decision on a site was finalized the numbers went skyward again.
Being a fledgling news site at the time we considered a weekly Meijer series with subjects such as an interview with Sandy the Penny Horse or an in-depth look at the true meaning of Perks, but instead we posted periodic pictures of the progress being made after an April groundbreaking last year and each article was devoured by a community hungry for news about the retail giant.
So, what does it mean for our area?
Well, for one thing it means about 300 jobs have been filled because of this newest jewel in the Meijer crown. Staff have been hired and are reportedly working in the facility stocking the shelves to ready the store for the opening.
It also provides another option in a crowded local grocery competition.
And one of these is, of course, Fremont’s other big store.
The close proximity of Meijer to Walmart isn’t uncommon as they seem to share neighborhoods throughout the state. Both stores offer a wide variety of merchandise both stores have full service pharmacy’s and both have groceries.
And then there is the Meijer mystique.
Maybe it’s because they began as a small Greenville grocer so despite their size (116 stores in Michigan alone) they remain a local store in the eyes of many. Maybe it’s their renown produce department an area as well staged as any I’ve encountered.
Or maybe it’s because of Sandy.
At any rate the excitement will be running high come Opening Day. There will be the usual ribbon cutting and some local dignitaries sharing room in front with the Meijer folks. Words will be spoken, appreciation will be doled out generously, photos will be taken...
Then, finally, the 155,000 square-foot Fremont supercenter will open their doors and a flood of humanity will challenge the training of a store filled primarily with recent hires.
Let the shopping begin.
Disaster Assistance Resources for Homeowners, Renters, and Businesses
From our friends at Newaygo County Emergency Operations Center:
On Thursday, March 14, 2019, 1 ½ to 2 inches of rainfall occurred over the area. Combined with the 4 – 6 inches of moisture contained within the snowpack that released all at once, widespread area flooding along with river flooding occurred. This event caused substantial damage across the County.
On Friday, March 15, 2019, the Newaygo County Board Chair declared a Local State of Emergency. On Saturday, March 16, 2019, the Board Chair requested a Governor’s office to declare a State of Emergency. This was approved on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. A Small Business Administration disaster survey was requested by the Governor’s Office on March 21, 2019. This was conducted on March 26 – 28, 2019. Based on data collected during the assessment, the Governor’s office then requested a Small Business Administration disaster declaration on April 3, 2019 which was approved on April 4, 2019.
This event impacted and caused damage to the following:
The following roadways still remain closed:
DISASTER ASSISTANCE RESOURCES
U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loans:
Newaygo County is located in an approved declared disaster area, which opens up low interest loans to homeowners, businesses, and renters to help repair or replace disaster damaged property.
SBA’s Customer Service Representatives will be available at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about the loan program and help individuals complete their applications. The center is located at the Fremont City Recreation Center at 201 E Maple Street, in Fremont MI 49412. The Center will open starting Saturday, April 6, 2019.
Hours of Operation
Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 10:00 am to 2:00 PM
Sunday, April 7, 2019 CLOSED
Monday, April 8 – Thursday, April 11, 2019 9am – 6pm
Friday, April 12, 2019 from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Applicants may also apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is June 3, 2019. The deadline to return economic injury applications is January 6, 2020.
Habitat for Humanity Re-Store:
Habitat for Humanity is offering a 10% off coupon for their Re-Store in Fremont. This discount is good through September 30, 2019 on any purchases up to $500.00. To be eligible, you must be identified in Newaygo County Emergency Services Flood Recovery Database. To verify if you are included or for more information, please contact the Newaygo County Emergency Services Department at 231-689-7354.
Department of Health and Humans Services:
Department of Health and Human Services has emergency funds available to assist towards repairs that could cause health related issues. To be eligible, you must meet limited assets and income requirements of DHHS. For more information, please visit: https://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/0,5885,7-339-8319_9584---,00.html
True North Services:
The Center for Nonprofit Housing has a locally funded repair program. Repairs are limited to those necessary to correct health and safety concerns. They serve Newaygo County households that are below 150% of the FPL or 80% AMI. Their funds are very limited. For additional information, please contact Center for Nonprofit Housing at (231) 924-0641 extension 130.
The Newaygo County Emergency Services Departments has received funding from the Consumers Energy Foundation, Paulsen’s Heating and Cooling, and Habitat for Humanity to provide dumpsters to flooding victims. To be eligible, you must be identified in Newaygo County Emergency Services Flood Recovery Database. To verify if you are included or for more information, please contact the Newaygo County Emergency Services Department at 231-689-7354.
Muck outs, Debris Removal, and Mold Remediation:
Homes and businesses which have been posted with a Certificate of Inspection will require additional safety inspections by the Building Inspector’s Office, Environmental Health Sanitarian, or State Inspector’s Office prior to being allowed to return. These initial inspections are free of charge and are for the safety of the homeowner and/or business.
Well and Septic:
If your well has had standing water around it for more than one day, assume that it is contaminated (flood water may seep into the well around the casting). DO NOT use your well until it has been chlorinated, pumped and sampled. In addition, do not use the sewage system until water in the disposal field is lower that the water level around the house. If you suspect damage to your septic tank, have a professional inspect and service it.
Please contact the District 10 Public Health Department at 689-7300 for information on:
Watch for Scammers:
FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
You do not have to live in a flood plain to get flood insurance. To be eligible, your township must participate in the program. In Newaygo County, the following communities participate, making homeowners in that area eligible to purchase Flood Insurance:
For additional information on the National Flood Insurance Program and how to purchase flood insurance, please visit the following websites:
Continuing Information Will Be Released Via NIXLE
As the situation changes, additional information will be released by the Newaygo County Emergency Operations Center utilizing Nixle. Please visit http://www.nixle.com/ to register for alerts and view emergency information for where you live.
Gov. Whitmer’s Request for U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Declaration Approved for Newaygo County
Lansing- Goveror Gretchen Whitmer today announced the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved her request for an administrative declaration of disaster for Newaygo County. The declaration means residents and businesses affected by heavy rainfall and snowmelt on March 14 that resulted in widespread flooding are eligible to apply for SBA financial assistance.
he SBA disaster assistance program will make low-interest loans available to eligible residents and businesses in Newaygo County, as well as the neighboring counties of Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Oceana, and Osceola.
“I want to thank the SBA for recognizing the need for disaster assistance in Newaygo and neighboring counties,” Whitmer said. “The availability of these low-interest loans will provide some relief to our residents as they continue to recover from the impacts of recent flooding.”
Based on information provided by the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division, state leaders requested a joint damage assessment with federal and local leaders to review and validate the most severely damaged homes, businesses and other facilities across the affected area. The team conducted their assessment from March 26-28.
The SBA disaster assistance program provides low-interest loans for homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory, and business assets that were damaged or destroyed. The SBA tailors the repayment of each disaster loan to the borrower’s financial capability.
The SBA will establish a disaster loan outreach center in the affected area for one-on-one assistance. Loan applications will also be made available online or by mail.
Whitmer declared a state of emergency on March 19 for Newaygo County after heavy rainfall and snowmelt on March 14 resulted in widespread flooding damage. The declaration makes available state assistance to communities in the affected area.
Gerber Memorial Gift Shop grand reopening April 10
FREMONT – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is celebrating the grand reopening of its freshly renovated Gift Shop on Wednesday, April 10, to showcase its new look, all-new inventory and expanded line of Spectrum Health branded merchandise. The Grand Reopening will include a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:00 am and 10 percent off all items on Wednesday.
“The Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Gift Shop is truly a labor of love that involved so many people who wanted to give our community a place where people can shop in a bright, open and welcoming setting, and buy unique affordable gifts for any occasion,” said Shelly Johnson, Gerber Memorial chief operating officer. “Gerber Memorial renovated our Gift Shop with the goal of giving the people we serve a place where they can shop or browse in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. We’re really excited to start this new chapter in the history of our Gift Shop and invite everyone in the community to visit us and enjoy a new shopping experience.”
Gerber’s volunteers played an instrumental role in the gift shop renovation.
“Throughout Gerber Memorial, our volunteers play an important role in everything that we do, from ensuring our patients are comfortable to assisting visitors get to where they need to go to running our Gift Shop,” Johnson said. “Gerber Memorial is extremely grateful for what our volunteers do, every day, for our families and our entire community.”
While The Gift Shop remains in its original location at the hospital east of the main hospital lobby and just past the Betty Ford Breast Care Services clinic, it received a significant makeover: The store has new flooring, new shelving, new display arrangements and even a mock fireplace. Gerber Memorial also conducted a survey among its clientele that asked what shoppers might like to see at The Gift Shop. The result: An all-new inventory, with items ranging locally crafted jewelry, children’s books, unique specialty items, high quality Spectrum Health branded goods, home décor goods and inspirational gifts.
In addition to new items and products The Gift Shop will also feature new software that will allow point-of-sale computerized tracking, resulting in better inventory management and customer tracking.
To learn more about volunteering at Gerber Memorial:
spectrumhealth.org/volunteer or call 231.924.1350.
JNR Waterfront Services, LLC
Full-time · $10 - $13 / hour
Seasonal Dock and Lift installations as well as summer and winter seawall construction. Fun atmosphere while working in swimsuit.
8975 Mason Dr. Newaygo. Call 231.250.6347
Personal Heroes -See the essays below
Three students from Newaygo Middle School in Newaygo have been named local winners in the 50th annual America & Me Essay Contest, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance.
The three students, who earned first, second, and third place awards for their school, are McCaiden Rienstra, first; Iris Herrera, second; and Grace Painter, third. All three received award certificates for their achievement. As the school’s first place winner, McCaiden’s name will also be engraved on a plaque for display in the school.
Newaygo Middle School’s participation in the America & Me Essay Contest was sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance agent David Landheer of Fremont.
McCaiden’s first place essay now advances to the state level competition, from which the top ten essays in Michigan will be selected. The top ten statewide winners, who will be announced in April, will each receive a plaque, a medallion and a cash award of $2,000. In addition, the top ten essayists will be honored at a banquet in Lansing, meet with Michigan’s top governmental leaders, and be featured guests at a Lansing Lugnut minor league baseball game dedicated in their honor. Also part of our 50th Anniversary celebration year, we will be presenting each top ten statewide school with a $1,000 check and another $500 more if the school was sponsored by a Farm Bureau Insurance agent.
A team of finalist judges that includes a top Michigan government official and the sponsoring teachers of last year’s top two statewide winners will determine the ranking of the top ten statewide winners this year.
Several thousand eighth grade students from over 400 Michigan schools participated in the 2018 – 19 America & Me Essay Contest, which was conducted with the help of Farm Bureau Insurance agents across the state. The topic of the 2018 -19 contest was “My Personal Michigan Hero.”
Started in 1968 and open to all Michigan eighth grade students, the contest encourages Michigan youngsters to explore the greatness of America and its people. As sponsor of the contest, Farm Bureau Insurance has earned 11 national awards from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.
Here are the award winners:
The Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
By McCaiden Rienstra
Benefiting the community has different meanings to different people. Some people think benefiting the community means volunteering at organizations, like the Salvation Army, or being a troop leader for the Girl Scouts. For others, it means dedicating your time to individuals in need and trying to help them to the best of your ability. My Michigan hero, Amanda, takes that second meaning to heart and helps those in need through her business and personal life.
Amanda has been working in the cosmetology industry for twelve years, and has recently finished studying for a physiology degree. Two years ago, she started her own business/salon. It has been quite successful, and I often go there to get my hair cut. She works very hard to keep her salon as a pleasant environment so she can continue doing what she loves.
Through her business, she gives back to the community in many ways. If someone comes into her salon wanting to donate their hair, she gladly accepts it. Later, she creates wigs for people with cancer or hair loss. She also came up with a way to give back and show gratitude towards her customers. She calls it “Free Fridays,” and every Friday she chooses a small pool of customers at random to receive free haircuts. Veterans, firemen, policemen, etc. are given free haircuts as well, for Amanda has a high respect for them.
Although Amanda has a busy life outside of her business, she still finds the time to look out for the people in her community. She told me that she attempts to form personal relationships, or friendships, with each of her customers so she can help them with more than just their “bad hair days.” If an emergency ever comes up for someone, she tries to help and support whoever needs it. Every time I see her, she is always kind and asks me how I am, and tells me to let her know if I ever need anything. She also told me that if someone is going through a rough time, similar to something she has gone through, she wants to be able to tell them that she has gone through something much like what they are going through, and not be ashamed to say it. Her words were, “I am not embarrassed by what has happened to me, because it has turned me into who I am.”
Overall, Amanda is a strong, caring, and helpful person who is just trying to improve the lives of the people around her. She proves that you don’t have to devote yourself to a large, already established organization to make a difference in the community. I challenge you to be like Amanda, and simply look out for the people around you and in your life. Amanda has improved the lives of many people with her small gestures of kindness that I know she isn’t just my hero, but many other people’s hero too.
My Michigan Missionary
By Grace Painter
“We have come dangerously close to accepting the homeless situation as a problem that we just can’t solve.” - Linda Lingle
To countless people in the world aiding the homeless isn’t even on their radar. Even as I look out at my community, through my eyes there is no insecurity in sight. Only prosperity and formality of everyday life shines through. However, if you take a closer look there is a lot more than meets the eye. You will discover poverty, desperation, and a deserted people. I have been fortunate enough to meet one of the rare people who are working and striving towards a better future. This specific person is Dale Painter. Dale is what most people call him, but to me he is and will always be Papa. Not only is he an extraordinary grandpa but also a good-natured samaritan striving to abolish homelessness.
My papa is a hero, a leader, and a missionary. Just because a person is a Michigan hero doesn’t mean they can't help cross-cultural areas like Mexico. Mexico contains many struggling areas in desperate need of assistance, especially in one town called Matamoros. For twenty years my grandpa has been devoted to constructing houses for the needy in this town. Each year he is able to provide ten families with a house and provisions such as food, blankets, beds, clothes, and much more. My papa’s quest to dissolve some of the hardships these people have been bound to may never be resolved, yet through his faithfulness and generosity, those enduring these harsh conditions may discover their insecurity gradually decreasing.
A downward spiral is a way to describe homelessness. Nothing will ever change if we refuse to reach out and help, this situation will never improve if we continue to do nothing. We are oblivious to this problem even in Michigan, and even here my papa plans on helping those in need. He has done so much in and out of Michigan. In addition to building houses in Mexico, my papa has contributed to two transitional housing sites in Newaygo. Due to my papa’s volunteer hours and his influence on others, six or so families are able to have a home until their lives have improved. This is the reward of my papa’s hard work. He is able to change people’s lives for the better, pull them out of a dark place, and not only give them a house, but a home.
The world is a cruel, unjust place with hurting people everywhere you look. Although you can attempt to improve everyone’s lives out there it is unachievable if you go it alone. My papa will never fix the entire world, but he is improving it one house at a time. No one can know what the future will hold, but if we take small steps towards improving the homeless situation we might be able to abolish this problem in Michigan and around small pockets of the world. My papa has proven through his selfless actions that homelessness isn’t an unsolvable problem. It is just waiting for people like my papa.
My Michigan Hero
By Iris Herrera
Hero, a word commonly used in fictional writings to describe the person who saved the city or defeated the bad guy. Usually the tall handsome man whose muscles bulge through their clothing or the beautiful woman whose figure is ever so perfect. But on some rare occasions, like mine, a beautiful short black haired woman. She may seem average, no Wonder Woman or Black Widow, yet just like these two, this person has saved lives and helped many from harm. My aunt Desiree Thompson is my personal Michigan hero.
After 4 Years of nursing school, many years working in ICU, to now being personal aid to people all over Grand Rapids she has saved and helped many people. Desiree’s job isn't easy. She takes care of patients fifty-five and older who need help managing their medication, living their everyday life, and making sure their complex medical needs are taken care of, and she is required to be on call for anyone who needs her. Not only is she a nurse coordinator but she is also a mom to three. Her two oldest have graduated and are successful in college, and her youngest, a freshman, is successful in school and is striving to become an ultrasound technician.
She has worked hard and dedicated her life to not only her nursing career but her family as well. About a year ago, my grandpa was told he was going through liver failure and that he only had about a year to live. Desiree was there to help; she became his full time care provider and managed all his medication and everything. It was her job away from her job. While they waited in ICU for answers on his liver she was still receiving calls from her patients and coordinating their care, even though her dad was in the hospital fighting for his life. After long nights and stressful days, she finally found a volunteer to donate their liver. Within months my grandpa successfully had his transplant. Desiree gave him another shot at life, and if it weren't for her knowledge of the medical field, dedication, sheer grit, willingness to stand up to the doctors in my grandpa’s care, and lots of patience, he probably wouldn’t have gotten his transplant and most likely would have lost his life.
Desiree is one of the hardest, passionate, persistent workers I've ever met. She has influenced me to work hard and help others myself. She loves her job and is a truly powerful woman, Desiree Thompson is a true hero!
Notice of Vacancy
The Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency is seeking applications for a preschool bus aide in our Fremont program to assist the bus driver with school bus management. Candidates must have a high school diploma. $9.45/hour. Hours are 6:45 – 8:00 a.m. and 2:45 – 4:15 p.m. (approximate). Deadline for making application is April 15, 2019. Candidates must complete a support staff application, available online at www.ncresa.org under Job Postings. Please return the completed application to Dr. Lori Tubbergen Clark, Superintendent, Newaygo County RESA, 4747 W. 48th Street, Fremont, MI 49412. EOE
Notice of Vacancy
The Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency in Fremont, Michigan is seeking applications for a part-time Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles Teacher for the 2019-20 school year. Candidates must have a BA degree (minimum), Michigan secondary teacher certification, and advanced degree or coursework in computer science. The deadline for applying is Monday, April 15, 2019. Please visit www.ncresa.org to view the complete job description, which includes the essential duties of this position, and to download a teacher application. Return the completed application with a cover letter and resume to Dr. Lori Tubbergen Clark, Superintendent, Newaygo County RESA, 4747 W. 48th Street, Fremont, MI 49412. EOE
Notice of Vacancy
The Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency in Fremont, Michigan is seeking applications for a part-time Pupil Membership Auditor. Candidates must have an Associate’s degree (minimum), recent work experience as a school administrator, administrative assistant, clerical and/or auditing/accounting, have self-directed organizational and coordinating skills, and must be able to efficiently use a variety of software packages. The deadline for applying is Monday, April 15, 2019. Please visit www.ncresa.org to view the complete job description, which includes the essential duties of this position, and to download a support staff application. Return the completed application with a cover letter and resume to Dr. Lori Tubbergen Clark, Superintendent, Newaygo County RESA, 4747 W. 48th Street, Fremont, MI 49412. EOE
FACF to Manage funds
Stanwood--Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) has committed to investing an additional $2 million into its Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund (IMESF). The IMESF supports the long-term sustainability of the Muskegon River Watershed and its ecosystems by funding environmental conservation projects and programs throughout the Watershed.
NWNA founded the fund in 2002 and supported it with an initial $500,000 investment over a five-year period. The company has continued to provide donations to the fund, in varying amounts, over the past 17 years. This latest $2 million investment will be paid in annual $100,000 installments for the next 20 years.
“Nestlé Waters North America is committed to sustainably managing our natural resources and the Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund is a powerful tool that has been used to enhance the Muskegon River Watershed communities for years,” said Arlene Anderson-Vincent, Natural Resource Manager in the Midwest for Nestlé Waters. “We have supported this fund for the past 17 years and are proud to extend our support throughout the region for the next 20 years.”
The IMESF is managed by the Fremont Area Community Foundation, located in Newaygo County within the heart of the Muskegon River Watershed. The Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for residents in the area by connecting community needs with the passions of families, businesses, and individuals.
“An endowed fund is similar to the watershed itself,” said Carla Roberts, Fremont Area Community Foundation President and CEO. “It is a renewable asset and resource and, if preserved carefully, will continue in perpetuity. The Fremont Area Community Foundation is proud to work with Nestlé Waters to steward these funds and enhance the Muskegon River Watershed through dynamic projects brought to us by people in our communities who know the watershed best.”
Established in 2002, the IMESF supports the waters and water-dependent natural resources of the Muskegon River Watershed by investing in conservation, enhancement, and restoration projects that will result in preserving the integrity of the watershed. Funds from the IMESF go to projects located anywhere along the 2,700-square-mile watershed stretching across nine counties from near Houghton Lake to the City of Muskegon.
Since its inception, the IMESF has awarded nearly $625,000 in grants to a number of local organizations that are committed to improving, enhancing, protecting or preserving the Muskegon River Watershed and its ecosystem. Projects including erosion control, rain gardens, restoration to creeks and nature areas, site clean-ups and improvements, among many others, have been made possible by IMESF grants.
The next application period will open on June 1, 2019 and close on July 15, 2019. Interested applicants should visit the Fremont Area Community Foundation’s website at www.facommunityfoundation.org/icemountain for more information.
Circles, Fremont Area Community Foundation Work with MIT on Child Care Study
FREMONT --A three-person team of graduate students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management are visiting with TrueNorth Community Services’ Circles Newaygo County program and the Fremont Area Community Foundation to conduct research on the lack of childcare’s impact on local families and to determine suggested next steps.
Circles Newaygo County takes a long-term, community-driven approach to overcome poverty, working with families and volunteers to create stability and self-reliance. Circles Newaygo County started its third cohort of Circle Leaders (heads of families) this month; and has graduated two earlier cohorts. The program is funded by a Fremont Area Community Foundation grant.
“Having these MIT Sloan students take a close-up look at our community’s dynamics is a prime opportunity,” said Lisa Daniell, TrueNorth’s Volunteer Resource Center Director. “As we help families become self-sufficient, we know the scarcity of affordable, quality childcare keeps many from working.
“Identifying readily accessible solutions means more people can find work and escape the cycle of poverty.”
The MIT Sloan students are enrolled in the USA Lab semester-long action-learning course. They are probing how the Cliff Effect, which is when individuals forgo increases in income to preserve assistance for services such as childcare, impacts our community. The team is to analyze what measures stakeholders from both the private and public sectors can take to mitigate the Cliff Effect’s impacts.
With all working on Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees, the MIT Sloan students include Mia Lim, of Manila, Philippines; Amrita Sankar, of Ridgefield, Connecticut; and Georgia Travers, of Hopewell, New Jersey. USA Lab teams are doing projects this spring at seven other sites across the U.S. in Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Oregon, South Carolina and West Virginia.
Gov. Whitmer Seeks U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Declaration for Newaygo County
LANSING-Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today requested the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) conduct damage assessments for Newaygo County to pave the way for an administrative declaration of disaster. This would provide additional financial assistance to Michiganders recovering from recent flooding.
If approved, the SBA disaster assistance program would make low-interest loans available to eligible residents and businesses affected by heavy rainfall and snowmelt on March 14 that resulted in widespread flooding.
"The loss or damage of personal property can have a devastating financial impact on our residents and businesses,” said Whitmer. “We are hopeful the Small Business Administration will grant our request and make low-interest loans available to Michiganders still recovering from the effects of this flood.”
The SBA disaster assistance program provides low-interest loans for homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory, and business assets that were damaged or destroyed. The SBA tailors the repayment of each disaster loan to the borrower’s financial capability.
If the declaration is approved, temporary Disaster Loan Outreach Centers may be established in the impacted areas for one-on-one assistance. Loan applications also will be made available online or by mail.
Based on information provided by the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD), state officials requested representatives of the SBA conduct a preliminary damage survey of the affected areas to document physical property damage to homes and businesses that sustained at least 40 percent uninsured losses.
Whitmer declared a state of emergency on March 19 for Newaygo County after heavy rainfall and snowmelt on March 14 resulted in widespread flooding damage. The declaration makes available state aid and financial assistance to communities in the affected area.