To the new and veteran subscribers to our weekly,... well, actually more like periodic than weekly of late…. Newsletter.
Those of you who may have subscribed in recent months, say, like since mid-July or so may have been wondering why not a shred of evidence had arrived verifying this much-appreciated-by-us action on your part.
It seems some people are just barely technologically savvy enough to get themselves in trouble and the publisher of N3 happens to fall smack dab in the center of this category.
With the greatly appreciated help of those who possess skills significantly more sophisticated than those of said publisher the situation has hopefully been corrected. The publisher has also agreed to seek counsel before embarking on any new cyber-related adventures.
Please spread the word.
Those of you who have followed us for awhile may have noticed a bit of a drop off in the regularity of our email missives. What follows is what amounts to a rather weak but ultimately sincere explanation.
At times it becomes easy to focus on the much enjoyed task involving the inclusion into our pages the new material arriving into N3WH all the while neglecting other duties such as cleaning the garage ( even after numerous requests) or not getting a newsletter out in a timely fashion.
We, (actually, more like me since the others all do what they do very well) vow to do better though considering the track record on vows made about the garage this will be no easy undertaking.
N3 will continue to provide you with articles, columns, stories, photos, and sports. To deliver information while providing an ever changing picture of this remarkable region those of us privileged enough to live here can call home.
As always our hope is to engage our readers. To entertain, enlighten,and encourage healthy dialogue.
And we value your opinion so please send us a note, reply to an article, submit a letter to the Pulse section or just wave as you drive by.
And thank you for taking the time to check out our latest offerings.
By Ken DeLaat
Granted, like most of my bipeninsular brothers and sisters, I truly love summer.
It’s the time when this region really comes out to play and admittedly we have a rather impressive playground at our fingertips.
But nothing matches the all too short season we are about the embark on.
Yes, it is autumn, the glorious season of perpetual wonderment and intrigue. The time when each day brings a new look, a new perspective, a new understanding of the charm this transient span of spectacular days brings to the table.
Oh it’s not all fun and games mind you. Autumn in these parts can turn a bit nasty at times and the term ‘fall’ can be applied to drastic drops in temperature, rain of epic proportions and a sneak preview or two of the colder and whiter form of precipitation yet to come.
And yet we are gifted with this remarkable season of reflection and the contemplation of change that often rides along.
There isn’t the hunkering in we have with winter nor the anxious anticipation associated with spring.
And certainly not the frenzied fun-seeking pace of summer.
For sports enthusiasts hunting and fishing opportunities abound, football inundates the tube, baseball becomes relevant again with the playoffs beginning and hockey emerges from the 2 week sabbatical it takes from Stanley Cup to training camp.
Followers of and participants in high school athletics have a smorgasbord of sports from soccer and cross country to tennis, golf and, of course, football.
Pickleballers have begun to move inside to pursue their passion of the sport,
hiking is a much treasured pursuit during autumn and the river, while generally a bit too chilly for tubing, welcomes kayaks, canoes, and the occasional paddleboard.
But beyond the activities Autumn means meditation and musing. A time when you can see what change looks like and what change feels like from the lesson of transformation delivered by the climatic wonder surrounding us.
It is pure magic with a dollop of ecological dignity.
And perhaps the most favored among the exquisite quartet of seasonal offerings we bipeninsular bipeds embrace.
So, in celebration of it’s arrival here are some quotes about this spellbinding season said by those much more articulate than I.
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” -Albert Camus
“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” -Laura DeStefano
“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face."-John Donne
"Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile."-John Howard Bryant
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house."- Nathaniel Hawthorne
“He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.”-J.R.R. Tolkien
“I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it.”-Lee Maynard
By Ken DeLaat
The School for Innovation and the Classics a low performing charter school in Hephzibah, Georgia a town of about 4000 folks on the eastern border of South Carolina instituted a policy to allow corporal punishment via ‘paddling’ and received signed permission slips from about a third of the parents of the K-9 (grades not dogs) school.
Here’s what I don’t like about the whole corporal punishment thing.
Who gets to draw the line as to when it is deemed appropriate and can you trust people to administer it to your (or any) child?
Hands down there are reasons to want to paddle someone. There are number of adults I have encountered who perhaps could use a bit of hands on discipline regarding some of their behavior because they really should know better.
But again here’s my problem with anyone being allowed to administer such enforcement to children.
I don’t trust other humans easily and I certainly have little faith in the existence of universal integrity within any system or organization. History is filled to the gills with examples of seemingly good ideas gone terribly wrong.
So yes, discipline is a problem in schools of this we can be certain. Schools are filled with children raised in any number of circumstances and situations, thus when collectively gathered there will undoubtedly be issues with behavioral management even under the best of circumstances. I applaud the efforts of school personnel as they try to maintain order while delivering an education to large groups of young folks.
But I would have to draw the line at allowing someone else to have permission to whack away at a child because if it cannot be guaranteed (and it cannot) that it would be ethical in nature 100% of the time there should be no room for it.
I realize there are spanking advocates out there and obviously ⅓ of the folks who send their kids to this charter school with an improbably oxymoronic name are part of this, but bringing back the ‘good old days’ when we all were subject to such discipline ignores the multitude of victims who have suffered under such policies due to the shortcomings of those who were trusted to administer them.
I am more of a grandparent than parent these days. I don’t know what it is like to raise children in this era, though through four of the best looking, intelligent, likeable and exceptionally well mannered beings to be found anywhere I get a glimpse at the challenges.
I have trust in their schools to academically guide them. They are, after all, the experts in delivering education.
But delivering corporal punishment?
I think not.
To the Editor;
I’m a Newaygo County resident. I’m frustrated that my representative in Congress, Bill Huizenga, has been in hiding for more than a year. He won’t meet his constituents. He hasn’t done a town hall in more than a year. His staff replies to emails with dismissive and condescending responses.
His opponent, Rob Davidson, has been going to every corner of the district. He’s held town halls, meet-and-greets, and coffee hours. I urge citizens who are tired of a career politician who voted to take away healthcare for thousands of people in our community to go talk to Rob. He’ll be in Grant on the Friday, 9/14, at the Kick Start Cafe at 9 a.m. Rob will fight for healthcare for strong public schools and safe drinking water. He’s fed up with the corruption in Washington and Wall Street lobbyists buying off politicians so they get a big tax handout, paid for by cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
Bill Huizenga is out of touch. He’s looking out for his campaign donors, not us working people. Go talk to Rob. We need a real voice in Congress.
By Megan Wirts
If anyone would have told me 3 1/2 years ago what I would be doing with my life I would have said they were out of their mind! Absurd! Ridiculous!
None of this was my plan. Not a single part of it. Writing this column, baking cheesecakes, doing stand up comedy, officiating weddings, etc. None of it. Dystonia gave all of that to me. I used to only be able to think about all of the things that dystonia took from me. My independence, my ability to have a job, my ability to run or walk without some kind of assistance, my hearing in my right ear, days without pain, relationships with friends, control over my own body...you get the picture. I felt like my entire life had been stolen from me by this stupid mother f’ing disorder. I used to dwell on those things, sit with them, cry and scream about them and I was miserable.
Then slowly, the fog lifted and the dark cloud that I felt hovering over me started to break apart and spots of light were shining through. That's where my husband, my children, my dearest friends and family were. They were there waiting for me, encouraging me and helping me find a way to bring myself back. I had to do the work, but they were there.
The grief I felt after being diagnosed with dystonia was so profound and life changing that I knew I would never be the same, and that's not a bad thing. It would have been bad if I would have just stayed there, wallowing in my sorrow for the rest of my life, but I didn't want that. I wanted to live my life. We only get one and I wanted to live mine the best way I could.
Now, here it is the day before my brother's wedding and I have made over 20 dozen mini cheesecakes in the past couple of weeks, three wedding cakes (Two were practice. You guys, wedding cakes are hard! Cheesecake is better because you don't have to frost the sides! Ugh, the sides!!!)
I am officiating a wedding next Saturday, and then Sunday 9/16 I'm performing stand up comedy in the semi finals of the King Pin of Comedy Competition at Woody's Pressbox in Wyoming, MI (show starts at 8:30). Then the next day, September 17, is my 37th birthday!! (“What?! 37?! You look so young?”...Thank you, thank you).
After that it's my 16th wedding anniversary on September 21st. *Cue Earth Wind and Fire* “Do you remember the 21st of September…”16 years with my darling, shy, hilarious, witty, intelligent, patient, sweet, kind and handsome fella. We challenge each other, adore each other and sometimes we drive each other crazy and we wouldn't want it any other way. I love sharing my life with him.
Our lives can be (in the words of Will Smith) “flipped turned upside down”, but we all have a choice in the way we react to our life situations. Will Smith became the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire instead of being mad about it. Me? I'm trying to be the best cheesecake baking, column writing, stand up comedianing, wife, mother, friend and all around human that I can be, while having dystonia.
Go ahead and get angry or sad, just don't stay there. Find the cracks in the darkness and stand in the light for as long as you can. All of these things I have going on in my life, my friends and family, they are the good parts that I have chosen to focus on. They are my light. Find yours and then turn it into something great.
Annual cancer brunch is another opportunity to tap into Gerber Memorial’s many local resources
By Joni Erlewein, NP, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial
Every year, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial celebrates cancer survivors and their caregivers during the Cancer Survivors Annual Brunch. This event is an opportunity to share stories of hope, healing, survival and courage. During the brunch, people from all walks of life discuss their journeys, the highs and the lows, the good and bad. In the spirit of faith and fellowship, one theme that comes through during the brunch is loud and clear: that cancer patients and survivors don’t have to face their challenges alone.
This year, when we host our brunch at Tamarac on Saturday, Sept. 15, we’ll hear from survivors who beat the odds. We’ll get to know individuals who found strength through faith and family. And we’ll share information and resources right here in Newaygo County.This last factor is something we’re proud to offer: Thanks to technology, caring staff and a host of free programs, the patients and families we serve in Newaygo County can get what they need right here in the local community.
Take our support groups. Gerber Memorial hosts many free support groups, including one for cancer survivors and patients, held the second Wednesday of every month at Tamarac from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and facilitated by Shelly Klochack, RN. We believe that survivors, caregivers and those undergoing treatment can help make all of us stronger during the journey by sharing our individual stories. So our support groups are meant for anyone who wants the opportunity to learn, listen, and/or share. Gerber Memorial provides free resources, support and encouragement to those touched by cancer. In addition to sharing and support, speakers will also address specific and interesting topics. On Wednesday, Sept. 12, Nurse Practitioner Susan Strickfaden will discuss survivorship. The following month, Gerber Memorial social worker Alice McKenna will discuss healthy coping skills, which can make a positive difference for patients and their families as they cope with the stresses of cancer.
With October approaching, we’ll also be raising awareness about breast cancer and the importance of women to get screened. On Oct. 11, I’ll be sharing some useful information during the free monthly healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies seminars at Tamarac about at-home breast cancer checks, how women can be more proactive and other tips and techniques for detecting this disease. Gerber Memorial offers walk-in mammograms at the Betty Ford Breast Care Services department on the first floor of Gerber Memorial’s main hospital building. As a general guideline, we encourage women age 45 to 54 to get mammograms every year. Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every two years, or can continue yearly screening.
We’re especially proud of our financial counseling service, led by Breanna Slater, who works tirelessly to help patients in need and low-income families get the support they need to afford medications and treatments. At our survivors’ brunch, Breanna will share a few remarks about what she does and how she can help.
Combined with Gerber Memorial’s many other services that can help patients and their families get comprehensive care right in our community, our healthcare team – professionals from many diverse departments – is honored to provide the care patients need to better face the cancer journey.
Joni Erlewein is a nurse practitioner at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s Cancer Center in Fremont.
By Ken DeLaat
It started innocently enough.
LSC Lil and I were at the annual Celtic Fest in Sparta last month just hanging out at a picnic table watching some dancing on the main stage when a pair of couples asked if they could share the seats. The two women began chatting and one mentioned to her friend that she has been raising Monarch butterflies. The music was loud, so were their voices and thus it was overheard .
On the way home Lil brought up the Monarch thing and wondered about why someone would be raising them. I mentioned an article we posted earlier this summer in Near North Now (apparently she is not exactly a regular reader) about efforts to increase what has become a dwindling population.
Her interest particularly piqued, Lil immediately began exploring the subject via internet on the way home while sharing a sea of factoids about assisting the process of caterpillar to butterfly as a way of avoiding the dangers that are visited on these beauties by predators.
That word. Predators
A few things about Lil.
She is without a doubt the kindest person I know. Perhaps a lifetime career in nursing has helped forge this endearing attribute or possibly her inherent altruism led her to what I would consider this most honorable profession. Either way her level of compassion is without compare.
She is also a bit of a perfectionist which makes for intriguing conversations during projects over the years.
“There. I think that should do it.”
“Why isn’t it finished?”
“Well, it’s more of a process kind of thing. It needs to evolve a little more.”
“Meaning you aren’t going to finish it today…….again….”
“Yep. I’d say that sums it up.”
A truly patient woman.
Lil is also a champion of the underdog. She possesses little regard for bullies or those who might victimize others in any way and there also exists a deep and abiding consideration when it comes to most living creatures with some notable exceptions.
No love lost for mosquitos who seem to hold a strong desire for her blood and an equal disdain for wasps and hornets due to their predatory (That word again) nature.
Returning home Lil did a survey of our gardens and found a caterpillar clinging to one of our plants (A butterfly weed. Go figure.). She also noted the presence of wasps/hornets circling the area and having gained knowledge of their predatory (word again) instincts when it comes to butterflies and their pre-winged previous incarnations decided intervention was deemed necessary
Two days later thanks to the wonder that is Amazon a butterfly cage appeared on our doorstep. Dismayed when she couldn’t locate our local larva guy she spotted a chrystallius clinging precariously to the back of one of our porch chairs. In full view of potential predators (word).
He was the first. She gently maneuvered him into the house and somehow was able to attach him near a freshly cut plant in the newly acquired metamorphosis manor. We watched daily as the silkened structure transformed into a jade green translucent marvel and one day while backs were momentarily turned it broke out in full wingspread as a magnificent Monarch.
After a bit of acclimation he (You can apparently tell by the wings. Who knew?) was brought outside and set free. It was a magical moment.
Since then our living area has been populated by nearly a dozen caterpillars in various stages. We have witnessed these beings spin into chrysalises in three separate facilities. Four butterflies have emerged from our household and from what I can gather it appears this might be merely training camp for next year when the effort truly takes hold.
Through mere conversation I have acquired more knowledge regarding butterflies than I could have hoped to have absorbed in any biology classroom.
And having spent 45 years with their benefactor, the tender-hearted lady who is known to murmur gently to them as she sets them off in the world, there is no surprise in how this all happened so quickly.
None at all.
By Carmen Faulkner
From nothing, became something. The stringing together of a few hundred thousand polypropylene molecules takes hold. The result is poured into molds, given form. They are cooled and hardened and slid into boxes with thousands of others. They are taped, stamped, addressed, and shipped. For days there is movement on trucks or in trains or on planes. Landscapes fly by them; grasses and trees, whole cities. They arrive in other facilities and are unwrapped, placed on shelves, put behind bars or on tables.
That’s where I am now: behind a bar. I’m mixing a cocktail and because it’s top-shelf liquor the consumer is paying at least $9 for it. I want to make sure it is perfect. I measure my liquor, muddle with gusto, stir instead of shake. But still, I want to be certain. So I pluck one of my friends from its box, set it down in the drink amongst the ice. I place my finger at one end, trapping a minute amount of the cocktail inside, lift it out, and taste. Success. I turn around and throw my friend, the skinny black straw who traveled across the country to be here, in the trash.
This moment, it is a blip of time. It is nothing, though perhaps it is everything. It happens every day, in every state, in almost every country around the world. This nothing moment though, this use of straw does not turn into nothing. That tiny piece of plastic will last until my kids have kids who have kids who have kids, who eventually die (if we are so fortunate to carry on that long). It will go on for generations after that. It will actually never go away, not in the span of time we are able to understand in any tangible manner.
I hate politics. I hate the polarity of them. ‘Pick a side!’ they yell. ‘Red or blue! Or green, I guess… Though that doesn’t really count’.' Yes or no. Black or white. Ban or lobby behind. No one benefits from these conversations. We are human. We dig in our heels, we fight. Rarely do we change our minds.
So I hate the straw conversation. I hate the way people laugh and say, ‘we have bigger problems,’ when I ask them to consider going to strawless. I use that word, consider, on purpose. We do have bigger problems, certainly. But why not start small, tackling one problem after another, picking away at parts of the whole?
Straw or no straw. Paper or plastic. For here or to go. I think of those moments, those blips of time often, and how they add up to something. It is easy to ignore because I can’t see it. I live in a place rich in natural resources, where a truck with smiling men and women haul my forever garbage away. The problem is me then, and my lack of awareness, lack of consideration. It’s about my ironlike need for convenience; I cling to it, convenience, and snarl at any person who tries to take it away. It’s about wanting to taste that cocktail I made, instead of reading the instructions properly. Or buying a bottle of water, when perfectly clean water flows from my tap. Or asking for a hard plastic to-go box, when I could have remembered my own.
Maybe there is no right answer. But what I do know is millions of blips of time will write the story of my life. I have been and will continue to leave forever stamps wherever I go. I can decide to take control of my moments and not write a forever buoyed by plastic. I can try to avoid those moments driven by convenience and keep plastics out of noses of turtles, out of the stomachs of birds, off beaches, out of the fish that will be forked into the mouths of my children’s children. I will start small. I will say it. No straw please.
Note: My fight is against convenience, never necessity. This blog is written with understanding and respect for those whose health, well-being, or livelihoods depend on plastics, including straws.
By Ken DeLaat
The Queen is gone.
And no ascension to the throne looks to ever be forthcoming
Ms. Aretha Franklin passed away Thursday morning and though many of the music makers of my time have departed in recent years this one leaves a emptiness in my heart for the undisputed and never even close to challenged Queen of Soul.
In the mid 60’s as a teenage kid I was totally knocked out when I heard her music for the first time. The airwaves in GR were filled with pop song singers who either tried to emulate the Beatles or Beach Boys, an occasional one hit wonder group and some solo singers that oozed out benign ballads of love and romance conducive to my age group.
There was also quite a bit of hard driving rock and roll around and about but it was hard to come by on the AM stations and FM was just getting its sea legs when it came to offering some alternatives to the bubblegum stuff (Thank you LAV-FM). And we had no soul stations that I knew of back then.
When I first heard Ms. Franklin I was mesmerized. She didn’t sing her songs she owned them. Respect, I’ve Never Loved A Man, Think, etc. tore at your very being with a gritty graphic sound and delivered the unidealized version of love and life. She sang about pain in a way that could make you feel it and she sang about pride in a way that made you feel empowered.
She epitomized soul music because this remarkable woman could bring it like no other.
LSC Lil and I saw her at Pine Knob (remember Pine Knob?) one summer evening driving down with anticipation and heading home with her music blaring from a cassette (remember cassettes?) in our 75 Chevy Van.
She was all we thought she’d be on stage and more.
But it was later on when her music found a forever place in my heart.
We had been married a few years before having our first child. Nearly seven years I believe. When my father-in-law found out we were expecting he said to me “You guys waited so long I wondered if you had it in you.” since most in his generation started working on increasing the family size soon after the nuptials.
Truthfully it felt like a pretty big change was about to occur and while 100% (or so) in favor of the idea it was nonetheless pretty frightening. After the birth, there we were with this little being and the weight of responsibility made me question how on Earth I was going to handle it having always been one who approached life in a pretty carefree, nonchalant manner.
Would I have to change? Could I handle the changes? What would happen if I didn’t? How was this going to alter things in our relationship? Could I possibly measure up to the rigors of parenthood?
This was indeed unexplored territory.
Then one day while rocking our newborn and listening to music (Motown, of course) Aretha pulled out the pipes for her version of the Carole King ballad “Natural Woman”.
I had heard the song a few thousand times and though not feeling at all like a natural woman the lyrics suddenly had new meaning.
Looking out on the morning rain
I used to feel so uninspired
And when I knew I had to face another day
Lord it made me feel so tired
Before the day I met you
My life was so unkind
But you’re the key to my peace of mind.
She sang what I felt when I held the little person Lil and I had created. There was a different sense of meaning and purpose. A peace of mind in knowing that no matter what was in store in the coming years it would be faced with a new strength. The song proved transformational because it put a stamp on what it felt like to become a parent and how the experience stretches and enhances your ability to love all those who are close to you.
Many years have passed and our two kids are long since grown. Lil and I have been empty nesters for awhile with 4 grandchildren we love to dote on.
And I hadn’t really thought about “Natural Woman” in the same way for awhile.
Then a couple years back (possibly 6-7 since my memory hasn’t the rapier like accuracy I pretend it once had) when Carole King was honored in a ceremony at the Kennedy Center various artists came out to perform her songs.
And while each executed outstanding versions, toward the end of the show the curtains opened and out walked Aretha with a regal air and a fur coat so substantial it must have had its own zip code.
She sat down at the piano and absolutely crushed the song with a trio of talented background singers supporting her pure artistry. It was a version sung for that moment alone and toward the end she stood up and shook off the coat to deliver a lengthy closure that left the entire auditorium in utter awe.
Sure she was in her 70’s and her health was beginning to take its toll but on that stage she was most definitely the Queen and anyone who heard her that night could not in any stretch of the imagination deny it.
And the song resonated with me once again with the message that it is in those we love where we find our strength. The people who make our lives meaningful and connected in so many ways that they are inseparably part of us and essential to our well being.
“Now I’m no longer doubtful
Of what I’m living for
‘Cos if I make you happy I don’t need to do more”
Thank you for a half century of your sweet inspiration Ms. Franklin.
Or perhaps more fittingly, “Your Highness”.
ER doc running for Congress to hold Fremont coffee hour Monday, invites citizens to share concerns
Rob Davidson, an emergency physician running for Congress, will hold a coffee hour to hear concerns and ideas from local citizens, at Koffee Kuppe in Fremont on Monday, Aug. 20, from 9 a.m. to 10a.m. Everyone is invited to drop by and talk with Davidson, no appointment necessary, about any topic. Koffee Kuppe is located at 46 W. Main, downtown Fremont.
“I’m excited to meet folks in communities across West Michigan and listen to them,” Davidson said. “These coffee hours are a way for people to drop in, no appointments needed, and share their ideas and concerns so I can better understand the issues that are foremost on their minds. I’d like to help be part of the solutions that can move our community forward. I want folks to know that as their representative in Congress, I’ll always be accessible and the door is always open to them.”
Davidson is holding the informal hour-long coffee hours in communities across West Michigan starting this Friday. Davidson has also held two town halls, in Zeeland and Wyoming. A third town hall is scheduled for Aug. 23 at Muskegon Community College.
Davidson’s other upcoming coffee hour is Wednesday Aug. 22, at Marge’s Donut Den, 1751 28th St. SW, Wyoming, 9 a.m. He is also holding a coffee hour in Grand Haven on Friday, Aug. 17, at Jumpin’ Java, 215 Washington, Grand Haven.
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