By Doug Harmon
As the spring days fade away and summer proceeds to take over, most people are sharing stories of the mushrooms they recently found or the deer sheds they discovered on their spring hikes. Talk is of planting flowers or their upcoming gardening chores ahead of them. Not for my wife Holly. One of her exciting times of the year is the snapping turtle's egg laying season. For about a month, two weeks pre-Memorial day to two weeks post Memorial Day snapping turtles lay their eggs.
For twenty five years my wife Holly and I have been the owners and caretakers of a parcel of land on the White River. This land has been in the family for fifty years and every year the turtles make their way up a 20' embankment to lay their eggs.
Semi-retirement is allowing us to spend more time observing the exciting movement of the snapping turtle. With the enthusiasm and excitement of an opening morning deer hunt, my wife awakens at 6 a.m. to start her morning turtle watch. Sipping on her coffee from the porch, binoculars in hand, she watches at first from a distance, giving the graceful turtles their privacy. Then the excitement overwhelms her and she has to get a little closer to observe this circle of life.
Routinely there will be 4-6 turtles each morning. Some days only one lonely turtle has the area to herself, some mornings the number will be as high as 12.
All of the turtle egg laying activity takes place in a 20' x 20' area. Most egg laying activity is done by late morning. The heat of the day takes over and the turtles rush to the 20' bank they had conquered to lay their eggs and they simply enjoy a tumbling slide back into the river.
In the fifty years of family ownership only once, my wife's grandpa Anderson, has someone witnessed this mythological hatching of an entire nest of turtle eggs.
On my wife's bucket list is to witness this phenomenon. We do see hatchlings from time to time but have never witnessed the entire nest at one time.
Her vigil includes keeping pesky critters of all fashion away from the eggs to allow the eggs to hatch, which takes about 30 days. Her enthusiasm has drifted over to some of our family and friends, who are also enjoying the simplicity and ceremonial task momma turtle goes through to complete the circle of life.
It has to be said that sometimes Mother Nature provides us with the most simple forms of satisfaction if we slow down long enough to look!
Reader takes issue with State Senator's stance on elections
To The Editor:
This Memorial Day I remembered the American heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice to help protect America’s democracy. Unfortunately, I also had to wonder why our Michigan State Senator, Jon Bumstead, is working so hard to undermine that same hard-fought democracy by parroting completely baseless claims about election fraud.
The week before Memorial Day, I, like everyone else in the area, received a postcard flyer from Jon’s office touting his support of various unnecessary election “reforms.” His postcard said that Michigan’s election integrity is in question and that confidence needs to be restored. However, given the outrageous lies upon which this “election integrity package” is built, the only thing missing integrity is Senator Bumstead.
Senator Bumstead is using his position of power and possibly tax dollars to spread propaganda that directly undermines our democracy by creating fear and distrust in our election process. He is not working for Michigan residents when he alleges impropriety in our election without evidence. He is working for himself and serving his political party, endorsing completely false claims of voter fraud all in an effort to stay in power.
Senator Bumstead’s flier speaks of voter integrity, implying that the voting process in Michigan is corrupt. This is the same voting system that got him and many of his GOP members re-elected. Let's be clear, Mr. Bumstead and the GOP legislature are intent on making voting more difficult for Michigan voters by limiting the amount of time to count ballots, making it more difficult to vote absentee which makes it more difficult for veterans, working women and men, and elderly to vote, and limiting the availability of ballot drop-off boxes.
If you want to improve voter integrity, Senator, introduce a measure to allow more time to count absentee ballots. Currently Michigan only allows one extra day to count absentee ballots, which turns out to be a monumental task during a disruption like a pandemic. Allow online voting, it's safe enough to pay my taxes and renew my drivers license online. Auto-register voters when they renew their driver's license. Expand early voting to reduce lines, thus expanding access for those who are unable to get to the polls on a Tuesday in November.
There is no issue more important than the defense of American democracy. It is unacceptable to have members of our state legislature prop up the Big Lie because their chosen candidate did not win.
Your efforts, Senator Bumstead, are a gross distortion and misrepresentation of facts around the 2020 election. The propaganda that you spread is a danger to the state of Michigan by sowing distrust and fear that destroy confidence in our elections system. There is nothing more Un-American than that.
An update on this years version of Detroit baseball
By Ken De Laat
After 55 games the Tigers are one game better than last year and possess the same record as they did in 2019.
In ‘19, the last regular length season, they proceeded to take that 23-32 record into June where they ended up going 5-20 before following it up with an identical 5-20 July.
But this year will be different. You can write (type) it down.
My previous ‘Take on the Tig’s’ earlier this season expressed my long nurtured pessimism forged by decades of disappointment in Detroit sports. It seems in those years when the Tigers have already cashed it in (generally mid August or so) here comes the Lions and we all know what they do to a sports loving soul. And don’t get me started on the more recent versions of the Pistons and Wings.
And yet despite hovering near the cellar, if not residing in it, since the season onset there exists a glimmer of hope taking shape at Michigan and Trumb...oops... I mean whatever streets CoPa is on.
They’re getting some nasty pitching from their young starters, a few guys that are supposed to hit are starting to and they don’t seem to be rolling over once they get behind. There’s a bit of spark to this collection of players who might not be starting on some of the better teams, but seem to be finding where they fit and taking advantage of it.
And waiting in the wings are more live arms and a few unproven but singing with potential bats polishing their skills down on the farm.
This year? Nope. No pennant race. The Sox (hate ‘em but not nearly at the loathing level of the Yankees) are likely going to walk away with the division and there are way too many teams the Bengals would have to overtake to get even a whiff of a wildcard race.
But they're finally a bit fun to watch, especially Akil Baddoo who possesses the best baseball name for a Tiger since Coot Veal. Even the beloved Miggy, with his seemingly sempiternal contract, while still struggling to reach Mendoza is getting some key knocks from time to time.
Yep, a glimmer of hope.
I was just turning 17 when they won it all in ‘68 and in my mid 30’s during the magic of ‘84.
And while those 16 years seemed like an eternity...
Now it’s been 37.
At least for awhile.
Local Community Steps Up to support Local Family
In October 2020 Rob Slate, formerly of Fremont, passed away unexpectedly.
Rob was an avid sports enthusiast and loved tennis, soccer, snowboarding and mountain biking. Rob is the son of Dan and Lori Slate. His untimely passing inspired the creation of a fundraising project to sponsor a bridge on the new Dragon Trail at Hardy Dam. Thank you to the many contributors that have supported the effort so far.
To date just over $18,000 has been raised towards our goal of $35,000.
One final push is in the works to obtain our goal.
Contributions can be mailed to
Fremont Area Community Foundation
4424 W 48th St.
Fremont, Mi. 49412
Or go online
Select "donate" button to go to FACF donation page for the Dragon
Indicate that the tribute is in honor of Rob Slate.
N3 -Peg Mathis has provided exceptional leadership during her time at Newaygo Public. Always accessible, decidedly competent and a master at performing the difficult balancing act the job requires, she has served the Newaygo community with courage and commitment.
Dr. Mathis truly possesses the heart of a Lion and she will be missed as she sets off on whatever path she chooses in her post retirement life.
She posted this letter to the community and with her kind permission we have shared it in our pages.
May 28, 2021
Pride and respect. It’s been my theme during a wonderful ten years as the Superintendent of Newaygo Public Schools. Truth is constant, and this has remained true from my first day to my last. Starting this afternoon, I’ll be out of the office and away from my daily travels around the district to work on the next chapter of my life (some call it retirement).
I'm hopeful that I'm young enough, healthy enough, and supported by family/friends enough to write a great second chapter. You may be able to find me on a boat, a bike, or hiking trail somewhere in Newaygo County with the breeze blowing on any hair I didn’t pull out during my time in education.
My forever gratitude to the men and women who have made (the retirees before me) and those that now make (current Lions) Newaygo Public Schools the best school anywhere. There is not a finer or more dedicated group of people amassed on earth. Please find a teacher or administrator today and tell them thanks. Support your educators.
My eternal thanks to the students and parents of Newaygo. The community values, work ethic, and ability to rise to any challenge are unmatched. The deep bonds in this community are real, as is the welcoming spirit for newcomers.
I urge others to join the ranks of educators (teacher, aide, bus driver, cook, secretary, etc.) or the legions of deeply valued school volunteers. It sure beats complaining. Without your support, the schools simply do not function as well.
Thanks to God for opening the right doors that brought me to Newaygo. I’ve tried to lead in a way that is worthy of the grace He shows us all. I firmly believe God has a special place for those that care for and lead our youth.
As I close out my time here I’m thankful for the great foundation the district has for the future. We have a solid leadership team, phenomenal staff, good facilities, and are on firm financial footing. I strongly encourage the district to continue to focus on education and not get stuck in the quagmire of politics and virtue signaling. Deviation from educational goals and priorities to chase after the issue of the day is a waste of limited time and resources. This path hasn’t served students and has split many communities. Keep it about the kids and education.
This is home. I’m thankful that both of my kids graduated from Newaygo and my husband and I will remain in the community. I can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With LION PRIDE and RESPECT FOR NEWAYGO,
Retiring Superintendent of Newaygo Public Schools
Photos by Jodie McGarry
Story By Ken DeLaat
Deputy Jason Fritsma used his CPR training to bring back an unresponsive woman, allowing her to regain a pulse and breathe on her own.
When a White Cloud Library patron suffered a heart attack Deputy Tyler Selby arrived and immediately began CPR followed closely behind by Sgt C.J. Freriks who administered the AED that got the man to the hospital for heart surgery.
And when Deputies Joshua Clapp and Chuck Myers were called to the scene where a 12 year old drowning victim was unresponsive they immediately took action performing CPR and using their defibrillator to shock the young girl who ended up making a full recovery.
This Fab Five of the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office received Lifesaving Awards at the recent Newaygo County Board of Commissioners meeting.
Also honored were Sgt Dylan Wimmer as Patrol Deputy of the Year, Deputy Trevor Sherman as Corrections Deputy of the Year and Deputy Justin Visser who received a service award for his many years on the Emergency Response Team.
Sheriff Bob Mendham delivered the accolades to the honorees with co-workers, family, elected officials and members of the community on hand to capture the moment as each officer was greeted with a hearty round of applause from the crowd. The commissioners also delivered personal congratulations and gratitude for their service.
It was a day to celebrate the best of what law enforcement does. The men and women who go about their jobs never having a clue what the day (or night) might bring and yet being prepared for whatever gets tossed at them during their shift. They are the backbone of public safety in our county. The front liners who take care of situations when they get out of hand, The people who get called on to handle dangerous circumstances, resolve escalating conflicts and sometimes, sometimes…
Save a life.
About a year or so ago I went on a ride-along with Deputy Nichole Loomis on a summer Saturday. From finding the friends of a large intoxicated guy walking home down the middle of the road (to Grand Rapids, some 35 miles from where we found him) wearing just a swimsuit who assured her the stab wound he had on his arm was ‘no big deal’, breaking up a family fight at a campground, and flushing out a B&E suspect hiding in the bushes who was unlikely to be in a state of sobriety, Officer Loomis handled each situation with an impressive combination of skill and smarts.
Having always held a deep admiration for people who are really really good at what they do, she gained my utmost respect for her work that night.
And it was only one night. She and her brethren are out there every night and every day as well. They’re not perfect, they make mistakes, but, man, when they come through they really come through.
Maybe you’re chagrined about getting that speeding ticket or a little cheesed off because your complaint about the party next door didn’t get handled to your satisfaction.
But among others who have benefited from the life saving efforts of Newaygo County’s Law Enforcement folks is a young girl who will see her teenage years and hopefully many more decades on this Earth
Because of what they do.
By Ken De Laat
While writing this, it is morning and it's snowing at N3 World Headquarters and Oriole Spa.
On May 10th.
Just 3 weeks away from Memorial Day, the tail end of the weekend that kicks off summertime in this bipeninsular paradise.
And while it didn’t last and no discernable whiteness touched the ground without immediately dissolving, I gotta admit I’m a little cheesed off by it.
Look, I was born in this state, pretty much lived in one part or another since then. I get it. It happens. It’s not like I’m going to stay mad or anything. You live here, you learn how to forgive when it comes to Mitten meteorology.
Besides, to quote my long departed and never forgotten Mother when confronted with yet another in a lengthy series of missteps made by her youngest child.
“I’m not mad…..I’m just disappointed.”
If you haven’t been taking in the high bar journalism coming out of The Bridge, you’re missing some of the best news coverage of state issues to be found in either peninsula.
This week they did a story on diversity with regard to school superintendents. Seems the field in our state is predominantly white and male which, coincidentally, is the same makeup of a great deal of school boards.
The story’s worthwhile, but we mention it because they posted a gallery of 20 supe shots to represent the gender and demographics of current school chiefs across the state. 15 of the photos were men and 5 were women representing the approximate percentage of women who hold these positions in the state's 578 traditional public schools.
One of the five was our own Dr. Lori Tubergen Clark of NC RESA and Big Jackson.
And until June our county also has Dr. Peg Mathis at the helm of Newaygo Public.
Interesting part of the piece pointed out that 77% of educators in traditional public schools are female while 77% of supes are male.
Maybe interesting isn’t the right word.
It’s been tough to find outdoor music this spring... mostly because it’s been cold for so doggone long and we’re all tired of it and today it snowed and...and..
Sorry...still shedding a little disappointment I guess. Back to task.
In the mood for some hump day live music in a beer garden atmosphere? On Wednesday starting at 7pm over in Montague (one of our favorite coastal towns) you can grab a brew and some eats, sit outside (bring a coat. It’s still going to be a bit chilly) and listen to recording artist Beth Bombara croon her tunes. This is all going down at North Grove Brewers on Water street across from Montague Foods. For those who enjoy Oatmeal Stout that we understand their offering called ‘Return of the Obie’ has an extensive fan club.
“A flash of inspiration struck him with all the force and brilliance that ideas have when they’re traveling through beer.”-Terry Pratchett
Tiger team tests the limits of loyalty
By Ken De Laat
Anyone who is acquainted with me is likely aware of the unending devotion given to the baseball team that plays their games just a few hours from our corner of this bipeninsular paradise.
My loyalty to the Tig’s was forged in the mid to late 50’s so there has never been the highest of expectations and hope was often a mainstay of May before dissolving into a summer of ennui followed by wondering who the Yankees would play in the World Series.
So it’s not like the bar is set anywhere close to what could be described as high.
But man, this is one dreadful start.
How bad is it? There's a term baseball geeks use called the Mendoza Line.Named after light hitting shortstop Mario Mendoza Sabermetrics guru Bill James coined the label when referring to a player that struggles to reach the .200 mark in hitting. Many feel once a player has slipped below that line their relative value to the team in other areas is outweighed by their futility at the plate.
The Tigers, as a team, are below the Mendoza Line.
They’re hitting .194. I truly don’t care what kind of glove guy you are or how much your teammates like you,if you can’t hit your weight (and only one currently is) you shouldn’t be going up there to begin with. I know it’s early I get it but, man, this team reminds me of the winless Fred’s Trading Post team I played for at Pinery Park Little League in the early 60’s and while most of us hit our weight few if any of us weighed over 100.
In a game against Boston early this week they somehow managed to send 7 players across the plate. Of course they yielded 11 so they lost for the 22nd time in 30 games. And a glance at the box scores shows that in the 3 and 4 slots in the batting order, key positions reserved for a team’s very best hitters, the Tiger hitters are batting .105 and .181 respectively.The Red Sox 3-4 guys by comparison were hitting .349 and .351. You may remember one of them JD Martinex who the Tigs traded away a few seasons back.
Oh and the players of the future Detroit got in return for dealing away one of the best hitters in baseball? Yeah, not a single one is on the Tiger roster 4 seasons later.
So I’m a bit discouraged at the current ‘rebuilding’ effort thus far.
Recently I’ve spoken to local contractors who are dealing with the struggle it has been to find the material they need to build.
And a lack of material seems eerily similar to what the Tigers are going through.
“Baseball really is a glorified game of throw and catch. And if you don’t have guys who throw it really well, you can’t compete for long.”-Tucker Elliot
Letter of Support for COVID-19 Vaccination to Keep Schools Open.
May 4, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every single person in Michigan. Our children especially have had to miss out on, or change, the way they enjoy once-in-a-lifetime events. However, we are proud that our schools have offered an in-person education option this year, most with few interruptions, while other areas in the state and country have debated if it is possible.
Schools and local health departments know school closure negatively impacts our children’s physical, mental, and educational development, as well as their overall wellbeing. To keep our K-12 schools open safely this year, we have devoted large amounts of time and resources to this worthwhile investment. We will continue to do what is best to keep children in school, which includes following safety measures and encouraging the community to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
There has been a great deal of scientific study on school safety and COVID-19. These studies consistently tell us that the risk of COVID-19 spreading in schools that follow proper infection control - like wearing masks, washing hands, keeping people spaced apart, among others - is very low. The studies also tell us that most of the cases of COVID-19 in students and staff at schools are due to community transmission, meaning COVID-19 came from outside of the school; this is what we have seen in our school systems as well. Unfortunately, when a student or staff members does become infected with COVID-19 in the community and comes to school, they can expose many people in the school and on occasion, infect other people at school. When large numbers of people are exposed, or if COVID-19 starts spreading in the school, often the only option is to close the school for up to two weeks. We know this is a hardship on our students and families.
The best way to keep our schools open is to reduce and prevent COVID-19 in our communities, especially in those people who are around our students and staff. Currently, our best hope of doing that is with vaccination for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. We ask that all those able to get vaccinated for SARS-CoV-2 do so to help keep our schools open. As vaccination becomes available to younger age groups, we encourage you to get your children vaccinated to help end this pandemic and help us have a more traditional school year in the fall. You can find information about vaccination at www.dhd10.org. The kids in your community are counting on you.
District Health Department #10 Crawford AuSable School District
Crawford Excelsior #1 Forest Area Schools
Kalkaska Public Schools Baldwin Community School District
CASMAN Academy Manistee Area Public Schools
Manistee ISD Covenant Christian School
Gateway to Success Academy Ludington Area School District
Mason County Central School District Mason County Eastern School District
West Shore Educational Service District Mecosta-Osceola ISD
Big Rapids Public Schools Chippewa Hills School District
McBain Rural Agricultural Schools Fremont Public Schools
Grant Public Schools Hesperia Community Schools
Newaygo County RESA White Cloud Public Schools
Hart Public Schools Pentwater School District
Shelby Public Schools Walkerville Public Schools
Cadillac Area Public Schools Mesick Consolidated Schools
St Ann School Wexford-Missaukee ISD
By Carol Mills, Executive Director, Newaygo County Mental Health
May is Mental Health Month! Since 1949, when National Mental Health week was observed, we have continued to encourage awareness of mental and emotional health. As we continue to be embattled by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 needs to be the year of Mental Health and Self Care. Everyone has been affected by the pandemic. Many people have lost jobs they once thought were secure. Adults have also experienced many losses of activities, hobbies and routines. Students have had unpredictability in how their education will continue to be provided. Even more sadly, many of us have lost dear family members and friends that were not able to overcome this virus. Vaccinations are helping us see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we are still a long way from emerging and finding our new normal.
Because May is Mental Health Month, it is a fitting time to remember that mental health is as important as physical health. It will take time to heal from the trauma many have endured over the last year. Healing is a difficult process to go through alone, or with inadequate supports. It is a difficult process even with the right supports in place. Many more people are suffering with loneliness, addiction and lack of socialization with friends and family. Working from home for some has grown old – they are ready to interact in person again.
If you are having difficulty coping with loss or the challenges and changes we have been through, consider seeking help. There are many ways to access help – churches, on-line support meetings like AA and NA, private counselors and Community Mental Health. Newaygo County Mental Health has been serving this community for almost 50 years. While there are some criteria that people have to meet for services, all of our services are based upon income with a sliding fee scale for those who do not have Medicaid. If you do not meet criteria for our services, we will assist you by referring you to an appropriate provider that can help you.
During the month of May, we will have several articles written by staff of Newaygo CMH about various mental health issues. We look forward to helping the community and to planning for the future. For those interested in seeking assistance, please call 231-689-7330 during office hours for an appointment. As a reminder, Newaygo CMH is available 24/7 for people in crisis. Our crisis line is 231-689-7580. You can also visit our website at www.newaygocmh.org
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