By Julie Burrell and Ken DeLaat
Many young people cannot wait to leave the towns and communities they grew up in. It is truly a growth experience to live in a larger city, attend school in a different state, and perhaps live for awhile in parts of the country previously unexplored.
And yet often there is at some point the lure of returning home. To embrace the same familiarity that propelled the departure.
The Right Place is getting things ready to host ReThink West Michigan an initiative that seeks to entice former residents back to our area and secure the talent necessary to fill available jobs and grow our communities.
The event (Free drink, appetizers, door prize, etc) is held the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving, a time when many return to their hometown to celebrate the holiday. There will be 5 events held simultaneously across West Michigan, each providing a casual setting where former residents can connect with community advocates and hiring employers.
We caught up with a couple of former ‘expats’ who returned to the area and asked them about their decision.
Sammi Anderson grew up in Hesperia then moved away in 2003, first to the Rocky Mountain region of Breckenridge Colorado and later to the Disney dominated city of Orlando.
“In February 2011 my Grandma called me and asked if I could move back home to Hesperia. I didn’t think about it for a second and was back in town by the middle of March. As we were driving in to town my eyes began to tear up. The water tower came into view and Miranda Lambert was on the radio singing The House That Built Me”.
“I was home.”
We asked Sammi if her return held any surprises.
“The thing that struck me the most when I moved back home was how much I had overlooked the real beauty of this place. From the rivers and lakes to the trails in the woods I couldn’t believe how much I hadn’t noticed how lucky I was.
“This is an amazing place to live. Best decision I’ve ever made.”
Lacey Stoneburner reconnected with her boyfriend from high school days and in 2009 flew across the country to the state of Washington, got married and began life as a military wife.
“When my husband reached his 20 year mark in the military, we decided to move back "home" to be closer to family. We had lived all over the country and decided we wanted to see our friends and family much more often. Every vacation we took over the years, was always back home and we would spend his block leave (military vacation) in Hesperia. We always knew we wanted to raise our family here.
“When I left Michigan I was working for Gerber Life Insurance. During my exit interview the HR manager told me, "If you ever come back to Michigan you have a job here". I loved my job and was really good at it. The company was always very supportive and I had the feeling of "family" at Gerber. “
Lacey has returned to Gerber Life where she works full time.
“I loved all the places I have been. I have lived next to the ocean and in the heart of rocky mountain country.
“But Michigan will always be my home.”
Wednesday, November 27th in Fremont at Lakes 23 from 5-7pm.
Check it out here:
Hunting Shopping & Kudos
“The old man used to say that the best part of hunting and fishing was the thinking about going and the talking about it after you got back.” Robert Ruark
Speaking of hunting season, there are always a bunch of “Deer Widow” events around and about whether they be shopping evenings or Girls Night at a local bar.
In a 10 year period ending in 2013 the number of women who engage in firearm hunting increased by almost 30% and those who bow hunt more than doubled.
This data begs a question or two such as:
Are there many women who are in relationships with men who hunt while their s.o. Does not?
If so why are there no Deer Widower nights? Perhaps a brewery or tavern offering free rides home, maybe a sale at some men's clothing stores, etc.?
Quadruple Kudos to Newaygo Family Dental Care for their free clinic for Veterans and we understand Dr. Leyder in Croton did the same. Our article
heaped well-deserved praise on NFDC and their staff and we want to acknowledge the kindness shown by Dr. Leyder and his peeps for joining in.
Makes one proud to be part of this compassionate community we enjoy.
The Jingle Mingle got things rolling and now there are almost as many Christmas gift and craft events around as there are breweries in our Metro neighbor to the south.
But should you choose to eschew such shows in favor of experiencing an artistic array of inspired creations from the hands of local and regional innovators? Perhaps point your purchasing preference toward unique and one of a kind gifts that you won’t find anywhere else?
Check out the Artsplace Holiday Market in downtown Fremont. Great stuff in an atmosphere exuding charm.
Or maybe you want to check out the always fascinating selection in the quaint little shoppe where the quest for just the right gift rarely goes unachieved?
That cool little place we’re referencing is located smack dab in the hallway of our local hospital. Small and yet loaded with ideas for the hard to buy (or the easy to buy) person on your list.
How about stocking stuffers toys games and such for all ages?
Try the Fremont Library Gift Shop where with a $5 purchase you can take home one of their gently used books for free and curl up with a good read while serene in the knowledge the socks will indeed be stuffed and stuffed well.
(see ad on home page)
Back in the day while writing for the nearly world famous Rich Wheater at the TI we did a series called Shopping With Ken. The series included yours truly checking out some local haunts and providing a bit of a guide for those looking for local and regional options to fulfill your gifting obligations and/or desires. Some ideas might have been a bit offbeat at times (one year we went with all meat gifting) but it got me out of the house for awhile which LSC Lil appreciated and it was fun doing a bit of exploring.
Keep an eye on the pages of N3 because it’s high time for a return of SWK.
Despite the hue and cry to keep the damn thing dormant.
Got an idea for SWK? A shop you own, a place you like, an idea to help broaden the shopping options for our local gift questers?
Send your idea to firstname.lastname@example.org and the extensive staff of N3 World Headquarters & Hallmark Movie Marathon Site will check it out.
“Ever wonder about those people who spend $2 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backward. ”-George Carlin
By Tim McGrath
“Hey, don’t be stupid. Experience life; go out and have some fun, Curtis….” Freshman Hop scene from American Graffiti
The Big, Beautiful world…
Spain was on my short list of places to travel. Flamenco, olive oil, paella, intriguing art and architecture, cycling in and through beautiful countryside, the chance to hone my Spanish speaking chops; what’s not to get excited about? So, when we put our dinero down on the trip to first visit Sevilla, then bicycle the Andalusian region, and end our trip visiting Barcelona, I conjured images of being completely immersed in the culture and geography of this faraway place. And, as the trip unfolded I was not disappointed.
Our group of nineteen wandered, explored, and visited the beautiful city of Seville at the outset of our little adventure. As we picked our way through winding narrow streets and lanes, we enjoyed the life and rhythms of this ancient European city, sat at outdoor cafes eating rich paella while sipping icy cold cerveza and Sangria. We marveled at the architecture of places in the city, asking: “How’d they do that?” when visiting the Cathedral of Seville and the adjoining Alcazar. Buildings that were begun in the fifteenth century, still considered engineering marvels all this time later. I’ll tell you, that’s something to experience, my friends.
Grinding our way up the endlessly winding hills, then swooping down the backside for kilometer after kilometer through ancient and beautifully tended vineyards, and olive and orange groves on bicycles became the next leg of nuestra aventura. Cycling through small towns and villages, trying to find a servicio in a place where the town is silent as the locals enjoy a mid-day siesta during the heat of the day. Visiting unique places in towns that trace their history to the Romans. All of this, and more, became our lives for a week. Warm, cobalt-blue sky days, olive oil and wine tasting, mixed in with the discovery of a castle just around the next twist in the ever changing landscape was at the heart of each day’s riding. Then, at the end of a long day cycling, winding up in a richly unique hotel. It was a “pinch-me-is-this-for-real?” experience.
But, alas, those idyllic days came to an end, and we said our goodbyes to the bikes, our estimable guides, JC and Alex, and eleven of our compadres who elected to skip the post-cycling trip to Barcelona. So, Thursday came, and on to Barcelona we went.
Friday: a no-good, very bad, but interesting day
They warned us every time we stepped out of the Hotel Olivia in the heart of Barcelona. “Senoras, you must carry your bags in front, never behind you. Senors, you too, must not carry valuables in back pockets.” Ah, Barcelona, the pickpocket capital of Spain. And, as we’d soon find out, it lived up to its reputation.
The Metro, Barcelona’s subway, was more packed than usual this Friday morning due to a general strike in the region, giving the phrase “cheek-to-cheek” a new and somewhat awkward meaning. But, since we only had a couple of days to explore the city, we got tickets and headed through the turnstile, ready to face the crush. An older woman stepped in front of our group, once again warning the senoras to keep bags in front, even demonstrating the correct positioning of said bag. We stood out like sore thumbs.
As the door closed on the mass of humanity crammed in the train, we huddled together, bags in front, nothing in back pockets. That’s when I saw the young guy slide up behind one of our group, getting very close, weirdly close. I looked down and noticed our companion had taken his zippered money pouch, tied the lanyard to his belt loop, then jammed the pouch into his front pocket, heeding the warning about back pockets. I glanced away for a moment, then looked back. The pouch was out of his pocket.
“Gary, your wallet!” I yelled grabbing the pouch, which dangled pathetically from its lanyard. “I think that kid got you!” And, just like that the kid disappeared; a zephyr vanishing into the crowd.
The doors opened, the crush of people spilled out onto the platform, and as we all stood there, it was painfully evident: our little friend had disappeared with mucho dinero from the money pouch. In seconds he had taken the pouch out of the pocket, unzipped both pockets on it, got the money and disappeared out the door. Thankfully, no credit cards were gone, but we all stood slack jawed in disbelief at what had happened. A couple wide-eyed young Barcelonan kids came up to us: “Are you OK?” one of the kids asked. “We saw him come up to you, and worried he would steal from you. We are sorry this has happened; this is not who we are. But, there are very many pickpockets in Barcelona.” Right on.
As maddeningly frustrating as it was, though, it was only a bit of cash. And, no one had got a knife in the back.
But, wait, there’s more
The general strike had been called in the region this Friday in protest of the trial and jailing of the very popular leaders of a large separatist movement in Catalonia, Barcelona being its capital. As a result, many massive demonstrations were occurring throughout the city, most of which had been peaceful and orderly. It was interesting to observe them as we moved around the city, and learn the reasons for the protests: part of the cultural experience that comes with international travel. After the pickpocketing fiasco, though, we’d have settled for calm and touristy.
Miguel and Rosa, native Barcelonans whom we’d met through some interesting circumstances as they were hiking the North Country Trail in Newaygo late in the summer, came to the hotel late in the afternoon to show us around a part of the city that had wonderful architecture and history. Later, we’d then travel to their neighborhood for a late dinner. We’d heard a large protest was set to begin at 6:00 in the city center, which also just happened to be directly across the street from our hotel.
“Yes, we’ve heard this, also”, Rosa said. “But, it will be fine; this is Barcelona. There will be loud protests, but nothing to worry about”. Michael agreed with a flourish of the hand.
“It’s all OK, not to worry”.
OK by me, then. So off we went.
As we toured the section of the city they’d taken us to, it became apparent the action was already heating up in the city center. Police helicopters, swarms of small Spanish police cars, their blue lights flashing and the peculiar HEE-HAW sirens wailing, roared around us from different directions.
“Ha, ha, not to worry, we’ll be fine!” our hosts assured us.
Dinner with Miguel, Rosa, their two kids, and a friend from the city was magnificent. Paella, assorted fish dishes, and richly sparkling Spanish wines made pickpockets and protests a dim memory.
The plan was to take taxis back to our hotel after dinner.
“The taxis do not want to take us back into the city”, Rosa calmly commented. “There are many demonstrations there, and riots are breaking out. But, I will keep trying.”
Five minutes later: “ I have found one that will take us, but you will have to walk maybe a kilometer to your hotel. The driver will not risk trying to get to your hotel, as that’s where the riots are happening. Miguel will go with you to show the way.”
When the taxi arrived, half of the group hopped in, and the friend of Rosa and Miguel’s offered to take the rest of us. So, off we went into the unknown. The last little bubbles from the wine sadly popped and disappeared….
Getting out of the car at the drop off, we immediately found ourselves in a chaotic scene. Protesters now turned rioters were running everywhere. An acrid haze hung in the air from trash fires burning in the streets. A newspaper kiosk set ablaze was crumbling into rubble just down the block. Loud bangs from riot police shooting foam bullets added to the charged atmosphere. Miguel got us all in a group.
“Stay together, and follow me. I will get you to your hotel!” Miguel said.
Up one street, then down the other our group went. We ran with the tidal wave of protesters escaping from the police. Huge sanitation trucks with plows roared through the streets shoving smoldering piles of garbage out of the way. A water cannon truck sprayed bursts of water into the crowds, the smell of tear gas permeating everything. On we went, like mice in a maze trying to find the treat at the end. In a way it was comical. A group of older American tourists running along with the rioters trying not to get caught by the cops. There was a Three Stooges quality to the whole thing.
Turning a corner we spotted it through the haze: the Hotel Olivia less than a block away. And, there was also a line of riot police in full gear waving batons and riot guns at us warning us not to come closer. Our futile gestures about getting to the hotel only agitated one of them, who started toward us ready to use the ugly looking baton. But, in the next instant, the entire line of them backed up, riot–police-style, into their cars and whizzed off in another direction leaving the way clear for us to get to the Hotel Olivia.
The hotel doorman let us in through the barricaded entrance into the calm of the lobby. We thanked Miguel for risking his safety for leading us here. The reality is, of course, if it hadn’t been for him, I’m not sure how we would’ve found our way back in all the chaos. We offered to put him up in the hotel, but he wouldn’t hear of it. Said his goodnites, see you tomorrow, and off he went into the night. Rosa and her friend connected with him several blocks away.
What a magnificent experience it was. The beauty of the country as seen from the seat of a bicycle, the history, art, architecture, food, wine, and the people. Oh, the people. So welcoming, accommodating, and helpful.
So there you have it. Taking the good with the bad, the ugly with the beautiful, the calm with the chaotic; just part of the journey.
By Ken DeLaat
Did you hear it?
The collective sigh signifying the end of our denial about what is to come?
Or was it more of a groan?
After being lulled into complacency by a spate of fairly warm (if unceasingly wet) weather this fall November arrives and its early snow and cold is greeted by many with all the enthusiasm a restaurant staff might give a customer who pops into their eatery just before closing on a slow weekday night and wants to start with an appetizer.
Oh, and he has his kids with him.
November is not in any way the cruelest month. In his epic “The Waste Land” T.S. Eliot said it was April but his metaphorical journey decribed the relative malaise of his generation rather than the weather and to us there exists no month in the Mitten possessing more pitilessness than February, though its predecessor certainly makes a case for the top spot.
But nonetheless November can be a tad annoying weatherwise.
Oh, I've witnessed brilliant November days when the sun brings a softness to the crisp air and you revel in the relative warmth during a short span that feels almost like a second summer.
But not a lot of them.
And I’ve been around quite a few Novembers.
Of course beyond the seemingly instantaneous shift in weather providing previews of the months of meteorological madness yet to come there are other factors that might make November more appealing to you.
If you like football November generally finds the Lions on the outside looking in when it comes to an invitation to the playoff party and this year is no exception as prognosticators currently give them a 6% chance of making the postseason.
And we think they’re just being kind.
But they are, after all, our beloved Lions and will win some, lose some and miss the playoffs.
At least we have the Pistons and…(Pardon? Really? Mediocre again huh?)... I mean the Red Wings who…(What’s that? Wow. That bad eh?) or maybe if we wait til Spring there’s...uh...there’s…
Of course we also have the MSU/Michigan matchup a game when afterwards about half of bi-peninsular football followers will be happy at the result while the other half will cite the obviously prejudicial officiating if the game is within 20 points.
And later in the month Michigan fans get to see if the Buckeye-induced bleeding (OSU has won 7 in a row and 14 out of 15) can be stopped. One hopes the defense will yield a few less than the 62 the Bucks put on the board last year.
A fair warning, should the inundation of Christmas cheer not be your bag you might want to avoid the Hallmark channels in month 11 since they are knee deep into Christmas 24/7 and will be rolling them out for the next seven weeks.
However, should you be one of the many who embrace the season with these holiday themed films this is a boon. And one needs never fear about them running out of movies since with the addition of 40 (yes, 40) new ones this year Hallmark is estimated to have over 200 options which is incredible when you think of that many movies with barely a half dozen plot lines.
Of course for some this is the best of all months because The Opener comes mid November, a golden time for hunters and the people they live with and/or like who are fond of venison. You can already feel the fever pitch growing and the local eateries who serve up breakfast will be opening their doors extra early for hunters while one imagines the local bars might be hosting some serious storytelling later on.
Finally, Thanksgiving arrives later on in November followed by Black Friday, Small Biz Saturday, Cyber Monday and my personal favorite, Why Did I Buy So Much Tuesday.
It's the month that straddles the seasons in these parts creating a connection between the best of fall and the early stages of winter. And while for many non hunters the decreasing daylight combined with continuous cloud cover and plunging temps that mark the beginning of the snow-centered siege of a season that will long be with us might prove a bit of a trial…
There’s always the Lions.
“November is usually such a disagreeable month as if the year had suddenly found out she was growing old and could do nothing but weep and fret over it.” -Anne Shirley
Got an interest in serving?
No not at a local eatery, though given the ‘help wanted’ signs many have on display you might be welcomed with open arms.
We mean serve on a public board. Getting to know how such entities operate while representing your community.
Our county currently has vacancies for citizens interested in helping to make a difference in our county.
The staff of N3 World Headquarters & Monarch Ministry (currently dormant) has heard of a few of these openings.
Like perhaps the Commission on Aging Advisory Board. The COA mission statement reads: “Newaygo County Commission on Aging exists to make available caring services that enhance the quality of life and support the independence of adults who are 60 and over.”
How can you not want to be part of that?
Then there is the District 5 Extension Council.
MSUEx describes their organization’s efforts as:
“equipping Michigan residents with the information that they need to do their jobs better, raise healthy and safe families, build their communities and empower our children to dream of a successful future.”
See what I mean?
These places strive to make a difference and serving on their board allows you to be a part of their vision.
The County Library Board recently filled one vacancy and has one more open seat. Is there really anyone who can discount the important services libraries bring to our communities?
Well, ok, there are some, but few who actually visit them on occasion would dismiss the necessity of our libraries today.
Think about it. Talk to friends who have served on boards.
And if you have questions about the process of applying you can contact the County Clerk, Jason VanderStelt and/or one of his capable staff by calling 231.689.7235.
You can also email them via www.countyofnewaygo.com/Clerk and applications are available at the Office of the Newaygo County Clerk, 1087 E. Newell Street, White Cloud, Michigan.
But if you are truly intrigued contact the organization.
Check out what they do and where they do it then ask to speak to someone about being on the board. Find out what role the board plays, how often do they meet, what are the expectations, etc.
That should give you an idea of whether you want to be part of it.
There are positions on other boards with expiring terms as well. These can be found along with the above vacancies in the public notices of the Times Indicator.
So here’s your chance to serve your community and maybe feel good about being part of a group of folks trying to do positive things.
We just kind of think being involved means more than sharing your favorite political memes on social media.
Are we right?
“There is no greater challenge and no greater honor than to be public service”- Condoleezza Rice
By Sen. Jon Bumstead
34th Senate District
When I was in high school, I faced the same decision many teens face as they grow older: What do I want to do with my life?
I did not follow what many would consider to be a traditional career path. During high school, I enrolled in Newaygo County’s Career Tech Center to learn real-world skills that can’t be taught by a textbook. I decided to learn skills for the construction industry and pursue a career as a home builder.
I think all Michigan students should have the ability to make similar decisions regarding their futures — though sometimes the current system doesn’t provide a good process for making those decisions.
I recently introduced legislation to give more flexibility to local school districts when choosing graduation requirements.
I believe our current requirements don’t always allow students to explore possibilities that better suit their interests or needs. These requirements sometimes limit student creativity and exploration. My goal is to better help students to be prepared for life after school, even if those plans do not include a traditional four-year college.
In 2006, the Michigan Merit Curriculum went into effect and created statewide requirements for high school students in our state. Prior to 2006, graduation requirements were left up to the local school districts.
Currently, students who follow the traditional route in Michigan must complete the following courses and credits to receive a high school diploma:
• Four credits in English;
• Four credits in mathematics (required: algebra I, geometry and algebra II);
• One credit making up both physical education and health;
• Three credits in science;
• Three credits in social studies (required: U.S. history and geography, world history and geography, one-half credit in economics, and civics);
• One credit in visual, performing and applied arts; and
• Two credits in world language.
Senate Bills 600 and 601 would allow students more opportunities to enroll in courses or programs they find interesting or wish to pursue as a career.
Specifically, the bills would eliminate the algebra II requirement for graduation. Michigan is one of only seven states to require algebra II for graduation, and eliminating this requirement would open up opportunities for students to enroll in courses that would better prepare them to meet their goals for the future.
These changes will make sure students are ready for the next step after high school, whether that’s entering the workforce or attending a trade school or college.
School districts should have the ability to make choices that are best for them, rather than being forced to follow a state-mandated, one-size-fits-all policy.
I’ve always believed that local schools have a better understanding than the state of what their students need to be successful. Parents, teachers and administrators who know and work with these students every day are more than capable of making these decisions, and my legislation will take steps to give schools the ability to do so once again.
SBs 600 and 601 currently sit before the Senate Committee on Education and Career Readiness for further discussion. The first committee hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 5, where two Muskegon County superintendents will join me to testify on the legislation.
Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, represents the 34th state Senate District, which includes Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana counties.
Former Lion Eric Hipple to speak at the Dogwood
By Carol Mills, Executive Director, Newaygo County Mental Health
When I watch professional athletes, I sometimes wonder what their lives are like. Do they have the same problems and challenges we face in our daily lives? Do they do their own grocery shopping? Do they use the quick change oil places like I do? Do they rake their leaves, clean their gutters and pick up sticks in their yards?
What about their families? Do they have children? Do they have family members in the hospital or nursing homes? What about illness?
I am a Detroit Lions fan, for better or worse. Those that share this feeling know that this choice brings much heartache and pain, and every once in a while, happiness. I used to watch Eric Hipple play as the quarterback for the Detroit Lions and rejoiced when he helped navigate the Lions to the playoffs in 1982. I never thought about what his life was like. It never occurred to me that professional athletes experience the same joy and sorrows that we do.
Eric Hipple has agreed to share his story with Newaygo County Wednesday, October 23, 2019. It is a story of survival of many challenges that he has faced in the years since his retirement. They are challenges that all of us pray to never know – suicide, mental illness, depression and the struggle to survive the problems life throws at us.
These challenges are, for many, a part of their daily life. These stories are ones that affect every family at some point in their lives. This is Eric’s story of his personal journey of survival, resilience, and how he now thrives in his life.
Please come and join us as Eric shares his personal journey. He will be speaking on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at The Black Box in the Dogwood Center in Fremont. This event is sponsored by Families Against Narcotics, and is a free event. No reservations are necessary.
To The Editor:
I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible staff at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Hospital. My four year old son has a number of complex medical conditions and uses alternative modes of communication. He has an extensive medical history, including open heart surgery and many hospital stays for illnesses, surgeries and procedures, along with routine lab work.
Naturally, hospital visits can be scary for him. Yesterday he needed some supportive care to help him battle a respiratory infection. I opted to have him treated locally as opposed to driving to Grand Rapids. The nurses, doctor and support staff were phenomenal. Not only did my son receive excellent medical care, the skilled staff also worked hard to understand how best to communicate with him. I had full confidence he would be assessed and treated appropriately with the ability to be transported to Devos if necessary. What a blessing it is to have such a wonderful resource in our local community!
Buck Geno: Labor Activist and Radio Host
By Charles Chandler
When we seniors, the walking wounded and other lightweights are making our rounds at the Tamarack Fitness Center in Fremont we know when Buck Geno is in the house. He is always the guy with the towel around his neck and perspiring from head to toe from his intense and lengthy workouts. Sometimes when Buck is so focused, I think he still hears those Marine Corps Jody cadences.
A few days back I approached Buck as he took a break from grinding up the stair-stepping machine. I said that I was doing some articles for Near North Now on radio and had heard that he was a radio host and I would like to hear the story. He agreed and a couple of phone calls and some calendar juggling and the date was set.
We met Buck at his and Barbara’s lovely family home on the quiet side of North Baldwin Avenue. We sat in a bright spacious sunroom and looked out on their beautiful lawn and colorful flower beds. This well cared for property has been in Buck’s family for generations. Buck is a well-known family man and a stand-up guy around White Cloud, Lincoln Township and in Newaygo County. He is also a Marine, a Vietnam Era Vet and a member of the Newaygo County Democratic Party.
Geno is an unapologetic labor activist. and has been a member of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 70 and Local 174 for about 42 years. From 2000 Buck has served as Supervisor at Lincoln Township in Newaygo County and is the President of the Newaygo County Township Officers Association. Buck has been involved in public radio for about 15 years.
Why public radio? According to Buck he and a group of labor activists called Friends of Labor had been searching for a way to present a positive message about Unions to the folks in West Michigan.
“We had tried a few other avenues and decided that we would try the radio. We began at WTKG in downtown Grand Rapids. It was a one-hour program called Working West Michigan. It was a Community Service program and our format was to not necessarily focus on hardcore labor issues. We wanted to be the voice of ordinary working people and speak to issues that were important to them.
“At first, I tried to work from a script but that didn’t work for me. I wanted to talk to the listeners like I was sitting down with them having a cup of coffee. We did Working West Michigan show for a couple of years and then we had a call from Bob Goodrich, Bob owned a chain of Goodrich Quality Theaters all over the county. Bob also dabbled in radio and liked our show and offered to sponsor us at his station at WPRR.
“I also did a spinoff show called The Monday Report with Michael Johnston a retired Labor Historian? Then we went on a National Broadcast program called the Union Edge out of Pittsburg, PA. This was a daily show five days a week with a three-hour program. We were a portion of that. My office is in the basement and it was pretty easy if you have the technology. All you need is a good computer, a flash drive and a phone. We did that show for a couple of years until the program lost its funding.
“Then I got a call from Jim Chase. He was a friend of mine and a member of the Teamster Union. He was thinking about retiring but wanted to continue with radio. I agreed to help but I had been doing programming, scheduling, calling and setting interviews for the other programs and I didn’t want to do that anymore. Jim said to not worry about that because he would do that. We started a program called Cut to the Chase with Jim, Dave Johnston and myself.
“We are not professional or smooth talking radio hosts. We try and stay away from hardcore labor issues, have a lighter tone, and include some humor in our program. We try not to get caught up in National politics. It is too divisive, too much animosity. Our focus is to provide factual content and there is no lack of things to talk about in Michigan. We usually talk about topics that are important inside the State, like the roads, redistricting. There have been some really big changes in the State this year. We were talking about Medical Marijuana and now it is Recreational Marijuanat. Healthcare is very concerning to many people because it can drive you into bankruptcy so quickly. We are trying to educate folks about the importance of the upcoming census because it affects so many areas. It impacts funding for roads, infrastructure, and Medicare.
“We also like to present both sides, both left and right, and have a generalized debate on these issues. We like to hear and understand why people say and do and believe what they do. We invite a guest speaker to the program from time to time and have had Governor Gretchen Whitmer on the program.
“What we prefer are community activists rather than politicians. I am still a labor activist and will go back to my roots and work to educate those who are anti-labor so they understand why it is important for people to make a living wage. The rising tide lifts all boats.
“I also recognize that in previous decades Unions and membership, in general, have been in a serious decline but I believe that things have turned around because of the little things like what we do on the show. .We are part of organized labor and we know that the labor movement is like a pendulum and it swings back and forth. I am optimistic about what I see in the next generation, (millennials). They are starting to pay attention to what they have and don’t have and the reasons why.
“Also the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), is out there working for the common good. It is an international labor union that includes many unions and their goal is solidarity and working for the rights of all people. If you are united you can bargain for better pay and benefits. If you aren’t united you are doing individual begging.
“Things are good now for some working folks but not all. We do have health care, pensions, some 401(K)s and livable wages. The Unions fought for these things for years and are still fighting. But it’s not universal and there is still a lot of poverty here in West Michigan. We will continue to fight for the rights of all working people and we believe they should be able to earn a living wage. “
I asked Buck if he thought radio was still relevant and had some social and practical value in today’s media mashup?
“We think it does and we think we can make a difference through radio and have a little fun. Even if it is with one person at a time then we are happy with that. I remain optimistic about labor unions and believe that radio is the way to go. We want to be the voice of working men and women.”
So why would Buck want to take on this band of giants? Probably because he is a stand-up guy for his family, community, and is an unapologetic labor activist that leads by example. As he said they are not professional and not smooth-talking radio hosts.
“We just have fun and present ourselves and the voice of all working people because it is simply the right thing to do.”
Cut to the Chase can be heard at WPRR -90.1 FM, 1680 AM, 95.3 FM, and 102.5 FM. and on 1680 AM on Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.Their call-in number is 231 656 1680.
By Sen. Jon Bumstead
34th Senate District
Over the last two weeks, my colleagues in both chambers of the Legislature negotiated and finalized a responsible budget to fund our state for the 2020 fiscal year. This process kicked off after the governor presented her executive recommendation in early March. Since then, the Legislature has taken its time to craft and pass a budget that meets the needs of Michigan families.
After negotiations were burdened by the governor’s threatened massive tax hike on Michigan families, we finally moved forward with budgets based on what we could afford, not what we can get from taxpayers.
We approved a K-12 plan that invested $15.2 billion in education, a total increase of nearly $400 million from last year’s budget. Under our plan, schools across the 34th Senate District would see a foundation allowance boost, while special education, student safety and skilled trades training would also see notable increases. Schools had already started their years with uncertainty, and we had reached the time to act.
The Legislature’s plan also included $5.3 billion in transportation funding to improve our state’s infrastructure. Specifically, the plan included $400 million in one-time funding for local road and bridge construction. This money would have been used to fully implement the $1.2 billion roads plan from 2015 with additional revenue left over.
Instead, what we got was a myriad of red ink, in the form of vetoes from the governor, that carelessly harms Michigan families.
Included in Whitmer’s vetoes Monday evening was $15 million for municipal airports, like the one in Muskegon County, for costs associated with PFAS, and $7.5 million for private well testing. Water quality has been an agreeable issue throughout the budget discussions. Since the beginning, the governor has supported our state’s natural resources and the importance of clean drinking water, yet she vetoed millions of dollars that would have helped protect our environment and ensure folks have clean drinking water.
She also slashed $35 million from public charter schools, which will have an immediate, negative impact on schools in Muskegon Heights and across the state. These cuts will do nothing but reduce educational opportunities that would have otherwise been there. Our students and educators deserve better than to be used as political leverage.
Perhaps the most confusing of the governor’s decisions is her veto of nearly $400 million in road funding. I know I’m not alone in trying to understand how our governor, who campaigned on the need to fix Michigan’s roads, and who has relentlessly pushed for a massive tax increase to do so, could veto funding to continue local road repairs while we seek a long-term solution. I don’t understand how having $375 million less is a better solution — especially when it all came from existing revenue.
The governor also vetoed funding to reimburse county jails for housing inmates, help ensure veterans receive the services they deserve, put more Michigan State Police troopers on the road, help rural communities by providing adequate access to health care and improve efforts to protect our environment.
I am proud to have supported the responsible budgets passed by the Legislature. Hardworking families across the state collectively rejected the governor’s massive tax hike, and lawmakers in the governor’s own caucus refused to introduce her plan. Instead, we did what many working families have to do with their budgets: We tightened our belts and made it work with money that we had.
I join many others in expressing my extreme disappointment in the governor’s actions Monday evening. Her political statement will dramatically affect education, public safety and water quality testing, among other crucial programs and services in my district.
Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, represents the 34th state Senate District, which includes Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana counties.
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