The Great Decisions Speaker Series brings national experts to West Michigan for thought-provoking discussions on eight critical issues related to U.S. foreign policy and other international concerns. The series kicks off in February and includes a list of experts on topics the whole world is talking about. The Great Decisions Global Discussion speaker series is put together by the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan and will be live-streamed at the Dogwood Center for Performing Arts on Tuesdays during February and March, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. in the main stage.
The goal of the series, which kicks off on Tuesday, February 5, is to discuss eight critical issues that are facing the world today, and features diplomats, policy makers, practitioners, think tank specialists and journalists using their diverse expertise to lead conversations. Migration, cyber security, China and trade are just a few of the global issues in the series.
“Our organization’s perspective on this series is that to change the world — or to even begin to understand global issues — one first must know about the world, and that’s what we attempt to do with Great Decisions,” Michael Van Denend, executive director of the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan.
The February 5 event will be “State of the State Department” with Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, president of the American Foreign Service Association. The State Department has faced significant challenges recently, with senior positions left vacant and the manner of diplomatic engagements taking on a different tone. As president of the American Foreign Service Association and with 33 years of experience as a Foreign Service officer, Ambassador Stephenson is superbly qualified to assess the current State Department and explain why strong American global leadership depends on a strong U.S. Foreign Service.
The Great Decisions Speaker Series will be video streamed live at the Dogwood Center, 4734 S. Campus Court, Fremont, from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Tuesdays in February and March, beginning with February 5. The live-stream sponsor for the series is Gerber Products/Nestle Nutrition. The lectures are free and open to the public. View the speaker schedule at www.dogwoodcenter.com. or www.worldmichigan.org.
To the Editor:
I am writng this in hopes of shining light and positive information about the recent CSC charges brought against FPS principal Andrea Wood.
It is with deep sadness and disgust that I am reaching out in regards to the media sensationalized case against Ms. Andrea Wood, Pathfinder Elementary School principal. (Fremont Public Schools)
I believe the story and Ms. Wood’s name was released prematurely in an effort to spark media controversy and shine a negative light on school administration.
The premature release of Ms. Wood’s name has had a devastating impact on her career, her family, and her overall well being. Her name has been put out there for all to see and judge based on speculation not facts.
Since the news release, the case against Andrea Wood has been closed. The Michigan State Police and Kent County Prosecutor are not pursuing other criminal charges or investigations.
It is time to report facts rather than speculation. It would be appropriate to release a statement updating the community about Ms. Wood’s innocence in regards to the criminal charges that were found to have no substance. I believe this would provide Ms. Wood, her staff, and the community in which she works a chance to process and heal.
By Ken DeLaat
It all started when discussing an upcoming N3 series with our editor Alexis Mercer about local options for getting fit, becoming healthier, all that stuff folks think about when embarking on a new year.
The idea is to explore the local options toward attaining those lofty goals including asking various folks we know to try out any venues that express an interest in doing a story.
“I’ve been going to Tamarac about 2-3 times a week for awhile now,” came out of my mouth. “We can begin with a piece on my next visit, probably tomorrow, and start getting ideas about other local places.”
It sounded reasonable and we agreed on the plan.
Today as I type this it is nearly two weeks later and that trip to the gym I was certain would be occurring the following day finally came to fruition .
And thus, this became more of a story of how difficult it can be to get to your health driven destination. Particularly when your enthusiasm for working out isn’t always at peak levels.
I don’t know what happened the first day but I am aware that while I really actually truly, on most days, enjoy the gym when I get there, my priorities can be easily skewed in any number of directions to keep me from actually arriving. The next day was filled with obligations and then came the weekend a time when physical activity focused on carrying dozens of totes up and down stairs as N3 World Headquarters completed the process of de-Christmasing.
The next week appeared to be busy but I knew there would be some time on a Tuesday and with a little forethought I took my gym bag out of the car for the night to prevent a locker room outbreak of goosebumps from changing into frigid gear.
The next day after completing a few tasks I prepped for the trip. I brought the camera for a couple of shots of the place to go with the story, packed up the laptop for a meeting to be had afterwards and set out for Fremont.
On arrival I opened my back door and at that moment realized the folly of my removing the bag from the car. It was still by the door and I mean the one I walk out of and past to leave the house.
I pondered the sporting goods store next door where I could get some clothing but didn’t have shoes and having lousy feet usually means you need to be picky about shoes.
I’ve known Chad from Fremont Shoe Shop and Repair a long time. A couple years ago I asked him about replacing the shoes I was working out in, These are the same shoes I was still workin out in when I stopped there to see if I could nab a quick pair then head back for a half workout perhaps. In fact they were the same pair I bought the first time I joined Tamarac soon after they opened or about a decade ago. While there I also asked advice about one of the shoes I’d been wearing the past few months that developed and later enhanced a very audible and significantly annoying squeak.
Three or four pair were tried on, walked about in, and tried on again several times until finally I had my shoes.
But no time for a workout.
The following day was again too busy to consider the trip but Thursday loomed as a possibility. It turned out to be the day I was in heavy correspondence via email with a shoe company about a 6 month old perpetually squeaky shoe (resolved and received new pair, thanks for the advice Chad) as well as a billing matter with a retail outfit (resolved and received an apology), each punctuated by some obligatory writing assignments and soon the day disappeared.
The next day was Friday. I clean my house on Fridays but I figured to maybe manage to shoot over later in the morning but it became one of those days when everything seemed more important than getting there.
The weekend came and to be honest I don’t go to the gym on weekends. Never really have so I didn’t.
Monday? Well yesterday was ripe for a trip but by now I have developed a plethora of excuses as to why not to go with the only real reason being the temperatures outside. Besides there were birds to feed.
Now it is Tuesday and the way to ensure my visit was to make a date with LSC Lil to pick her up from work and take her to lunch. It forced my hand a bit.
The workout? Splendid. The hot tub and a little swim? Revitalizing. The steam bath? Epic.
Lunch combined good company, easy conversation and a ravenous appetite.
Now I can do the opening story of our health initiative series and even better I feel back on the track when it comes to working out. I might even go tomorrow.
Well, except I have a meeting in the morning and that’s when I like to go and I could go in the afternoon but I told myself I’d start on reorganizing my office and besides the weather looks to be a little dicey and…..
Look for our Local Fitness series beginning next week and contact us if you have a suggestion at email@example.com
...No How, Not Even a Chance
By Ken DeLaat
What? The Who? In GR? At the Van? In May?
They were one of the bands I missed during a rather successful run of seeing some of the top performers during an significantly earlier era.
Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger, Mountain, James Gang, Rory Gallagher, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Aretha, the Dead,Jethro Tull, BB King, Clapton, Chicago, The Guess Who,Seals and Croft, Joni Mitchell, Temptations, Ten Years After, Faces, Grand Funk, James Brown,Sha Na Na, Bette Midler, Commander Cody, the Beach Boys (during their very first comeback tour in Grand Haven of all places) the list can go on and on, but I never saw the Who.
My (older and only) sister Sue was there when they came to the Silverdome in December of 1975. It was the first concert held at the dome and set a record for largest attendance for a one act performance at an indoor concert until Led Zep eclipsed them in April of 77 also at the Silverdome.
Sue said it was “ loud, crazy, packed and one helluva show”.
She would kow, having begun her concert-going career by twice joining the screaming hordes at Beatle concerts in Detroit and Chicago circa mid 60’s (I was way too young to go). Yes, my big sis was pretty familiar with loud, crazy, and packed venues and this one certainly fit the bill.
And now what remains of the band is coming to GR on May 7th.
Things have changed since those earlier concert cruising days. I no longer stand the whole time among the rabble with lighter in hand for the encore since everyone seems to use phones anyway and standing for hours isn’t among my favorite things to do. Also, I don’t want to be planted in some nosebleed section or off to the side because ‘I can (no longer) see for miles’ (Lyrical reference for those unfamiliar with their music).
No, if I’m seeing The Who I would want to be as up front as I could. Perhaps the floor seating right at the center of the stage. After all I’m older and all so I should indulge myself with some prime seating right?
So I checked and there were tickets available right where I wanted to be. I could have the seat of my dreams to watch the two septuagenarians (Daltry, 75 and Townsend, 74 in May) left from the original four members rocking it out in my home city and quite possibly, to coin an appropriate phrase, ‘talkin bout my generation’.
A mere $2786 per ticket was what I saw posted but it said if I didn’t act early the price might be going up.
Unfortunately the Tigers are taking on the Angels that night and I will be tied up watching the game.
No not at the ballpark, at home.
As the band put it so well in 1971.
"Don’t get fooled again”.
By Karissa Niehoff, Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations
and Mark Uyl, Executive Director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association
If you are the mother or father of a high school athlete here in Michigan, this message is primarily for you.
When you attend an athletic event that involves your son or daughter, cheer to your heart’s content, enjoy the camaraderie that high school sports offer and have fun. But when it comes to verbally criticizing game officials or coaches, cool it.
Make no mistake about it. Your passion is admired, and your support of the hometown team is needed. But so is your self-control. Yelling, screaming and berating the officials humiliates your child, annoys those sitting around you, embarrasses your child’s school and is the primary reason Michigan has an alarming shortage of high school officials.
It’s true. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Sports Officials, more than 75 percent of all high school officials say “adult behavior” is the primary reason they quit. And 80 percent of all young officials hang up their stripes after just two years of whistle blowing. Why? They don’t need your abuse.
Plus, there’s a ripple effect. There are more officials over 60 than under 30 in many areas. And as older, experienced officials retire, there aren’t enough younger ones to replace them. If there are no officials, there are no games. The shortage of registered high school officials is severe enough in some areas that athletic events are being postponed or cancelled—especially at the freshman and junior varsity levels.
Research confirms that participation in high school sports and activities instills a sense of pride in school and community, teaches lifelong lessons like the value of teamwork and self-discipline and facilitates the physical and emotional development of those who participate. So, if the games go away because there aren’t enough men and women to officiate them, the loss will be infinitely greater than just an “L” on the scoreboard. It will be putting a dent in your community’s future.
If you would like to be a part of the solution to the shortage of high school officials, you can sign up to become an MHSAA-registered official on the “Officials” page at www.mhsaa.com. Otherwise, adult role models at high school athletic events here in Michigan are always welcome.
The Series Continues: Good News On Cancer, Music As A Message, Barbara Bush Steps In For Her Sister, And...
This week the January Series, the consistently enlightening talk fest continues its remote site run at the Dogwood Center. The free presentations start at 12:30pm and end promptly at 1:30pm and with a 24 hour notice you can enjoy a satisfying lunch (a mere five bucks, just call 231.924.8885 ) as you listen and perhaps even learn a bit.
We asked our friend Sherrie Harris, a veteran of this annual exercise of education in edification, to share her thoughts about the first two folks who took to the lectern last week.
“I'm hooked - AGAIN. Been enjoying the Calvin Series at the Dogwood from the first year Fremont was added as a remote webcast site. And the first two sessions were just as thought provoking and enjoyable as sessions of previous years.
“The Calvin Prison Initiative was eye opening and amazing - the accomplishments and testimonials of the men at Handlon prison in Ionia that are a part of the program and were shared during the presentation will stay with me for a very long time.
“The words of Arthur Brooks on Friday remind me that "civility" and "tolerance" are not a high enough standard to bring America together - we need and deserve love. We need to stand up to people who agree with us on behalf of those who disagree with us - hard to do. We need to break the bad habit of talking contemptuously of people by practicing warm-heartedness - answer with kindness and love. Thirteen more sessions for this year and looking forward to everyone of them!”
FINALLY, SOME GOOD NEWS ABOUT CANCER
Dr. Cheng-Ho Jimmy Lin is the Chief Scientific Officer of Oncology, at Natera. Most recently, he led the clinical genomics program at the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. He was part of one of the first clinical genomics labs in academia at Washington University in St. Louis and led the computational analyses of the first ever exome sequencing studies in cancer, including breast, colorectal, pancreatic, glioblastoma, medulloblastoma, and melanoma at Johns Hopkins. He has published in top academic journals, such as Science, Nature, and Cell, and has been an expert in national and international media outlets, such as The New York Times, Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, and The Washington Post.
GROWING YOUNG: HELPING YOUNG PEOPLE DISCOVER AND LOVE THE CHURCH
In the midst of the discouraging reports about the aging and decline of churches today, what steps do savvy churches take that help them best love and serve teenagers and young adults? Kara Powell is the executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute and associate professor of youth and family ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary who will be addressing this question and many like it in her talk. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women to Watch,” she is the author or coauthor of several books, including Growing Young and Sticky Faith, and a regular speaker at national leadership and youth ministry conferences across the country.
FINDING REFUGE ON THE STAGE
Mariela Shaker is an accomplished Syrian violinist and award winning refugee advocate who survived the war in Syria and the University of Aleppo attack in January 2013. During her time at the university, she was the youngest violin teacher at the Arabic Institute of Music, where she risked death every day commuting between home and the Institute to create beauty through her violin and inspire children to pursue their dreams. Having received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, she fled to the United States to further study music with a full scholarship to Monmouth College. Unable to return home, Mariela was granted refugee status in the US. She was named a “Champion of Change” by President Barack Obama and appointed a UNHCR High Profile Supporter in 2015. Since then she has received a number of additional awards including the Points of Light Award in 2017 and the Anne Frank Honorary Award in 2018. She has performed at prestigious venues such as The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, United Nations, among others and has traveled to Hong Kong, Netherlands, UK, Geneva, UAE and all over the US using her music to build bridges, promote peace, and raise awareness of the plights of refugees.
NOTE: Due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts with NBC, Jenna Bush Hager is unable to fulfill her commitment to speak at the January Series. Her sister, Barbara Pierce Bush, has graciously agreed to fill in.
A MODERATED CONVERSATION WITH BARBARA PIERCE BUSH
Barbara Bush co-founded Global Health Corps (GHC) in 2009 to mobilize a global community of young leaders to build the movement for health equity. To-date, GHC has fostered over 900 young leaders who believe health is a human right and who take an innovative approach to solving some of the world’s biggest global health challenges. In 2015, Barbara was recognized as one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business. Previously, she worked at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Red Cross Children’s Hospital in South Africa, UNICEF in Botswana, and the UN World Food Program. Barbara is a member of UNICEF’s Next Generation Steering Committee and on the Board of Directors of Covenant House International, PSI, and the UN’s Social Entrepreneurship Council.
SEARCHING FOR THE IMAGE OF GOD IN A DIGITAL AGE
Craig Detweiler is an author, filmmaker, theologian, and cultural commentator recently named the third president of The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology. Previously he was professor of Communication and creative director of the Institute for Entertainment, Media and Culture at Pepperdine University. He is the author of several books on technology and culture including iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives and most recently Selfies: Searching for the Image of God in a Digital Age. Craig’s cultural commentary has been featured on ABC’s Nightline, CNN, Fox News, NPR, and in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
There you go, folks. A great way to take an early afternoon break from a winter’s day while gathering some interesting information along the way.
And be sure to peruse the selection of books on display in the lobby courtesy of the Friends of the Fremont Library.
The Newaygo County Democratic Party (NCDP) invites all interested people to its first general meeting of 2019 on Monday, January 14, from 6pm to 7pm. It will be held at Spanky’s Pizza, 1042 W Main Street, Fremont. A social “meet & greet” will be held prior to the meeting at 5:30pm.
“Last year our Newaygo County community members expressed loud and clear what their concerns are: affordable health care without precondition restrictions, funding our public schools so all of our children receive quality education, keeping Michigan’s environment free from contamination, and assuring livable wages that will support families are just a few,” states Teresa Kpachavi, Vice Chair of NCDP.
“Our schools, healthcare and environment are being weakened through new laws passed by our current administration. These changes are happening at both the state and national levels and will negatively impact the quality of life for ourselves and our children for decades to come. Education and action are the keys to keeping changes in check and to assure multi-partisan input that speaks to the concerns of all people,” added Sally Wagoner of the Communications Committee.
“We invite community members to tell us how the Democratic Party can support their needs and concerns in our political system, both locally and nationally. We will work together to hold our representatives accountable to the people, and not put personal or corporate interests above the needs of our communities,” added Teresa. “Newaygo County had one of the biggest voter turn outs in recent history last November. Keeping up that momentum through education and action is needed to making sure our voices are heard and our votes counted.”
The Newaygo County Democratic Party holds monthly meetings on the 2nd Monday of every month. For more information visit the website at www.newaygocodems.org; call 231.709.9007; or sign up for e-news, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Friends of Fremont Area District Library are pleased to be hosting book sales during the Calvin College January 2019 Series. Fifteen speakers will be presenting live at Calvin College on selected weekdays during the month of January and aired at the The Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts, located at 4734 S. Campus Court in Fremont. The college offers a remote broadcast of these varied and informative speakers. Musician, oncologist, astronaut, advocate, costume designer, professor, theologian, social scientist – just a few of the hats worn by the presenters.
Here is just a small sampling of the books that will be available for sale at the Dogwood during the January series.
Sisters First: Stories from our Wild and Wonderful Life, by educator, author, contributing correspondent on NBC's Today show and an editor-at-large for Southern Living magazine, Jenna Bush Hager. She co- authored this book with her fraternal twin sister, Barbara Pierce Bush. She also collaborated on two children’s books with her mother, former First Lady, Laura Bush, which will be available for purchase at the series.
A Path Appears by award winning author/storyteller/columnist, Nicholas Kristof, is a discussion of his past 30 years of covering the world as a journalist, most recently for the New York Times. Other books that he has written or collaborated on will be for sale as well including, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Thunder from the East and China Rising.
Chasing Space: An Astronaut's Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances, by former Detroit Lion wide receiver, now engineer and NASA astronaut, Leland D. Melvin will be available during the series. This is his moving memoir of overcoming obstacles and going from being a star to going to the stars.
Please look for The Friends of the FADL at their sales table during the events at the Dogwood if you would like to purchase a book. Payment for books by cash and check only. The series is FREE of charge and open to the public. Brown bag it or reserve a lunch by calling the Dogwood . Complete listing of the series speakers and more information on times and lunch purchase can be found at www.dogwoodcenter.com.
Ok, the holidays are over and the new year is upon us. We are about to enter the segment of winter that resembles a meteorological abyss when gray skies reign and layering dominates any clothing decision.
A little mind stimulation seems in order.
One of the best deals around is starting at the Dogwood Center tomorrow (Thursday) when the rather remarkable and thought provoking January Series comes to town via a live webcast. If part of your resolution package included things such as developing a more open mind, expanding one’s world views, exploring new ideas and reflecting on issues heretofore not considered here’s an opportunity to jump start your year of personal growth.
And it’s free.
There are 15 lectures on the docket and while you may not agree with some of the concepts and material brought forth, the presentations delivered by this diverse group will rarely leave you thinking “meh”.
Over the years I have been moved, angered, charmed, inspired, entertained and enlightened by the series. I’ve attended some with great anticipation, being familiar with the speaker, and have not once been disappointed. I’ve taken a chance and shown up at others where it didn’t seem likely that I would relate much to the subject matter and come away with a new perspective.
AND...because it’s a big and…
For a mere five bucks, one flimsy fin, you get lunch.
Well, not tomorrow (Thursday) because you need to give them 24 hour notice (call 231.924.8885) but my experience is that it is consistently a good lunch and well worth the price (did I mention it’s just a fiver?). The source generally varies from local eateries but as I said, unfailingly enjoyable.
The Series kicks off Thursday (Jan 3) with Todd Cioffi speaking to “The Transformative And Redemptive Power Of (A Christian) Education”
No, it’s not about whether to send your kids to a parochial school, this guy is the director of the Calvin Prison Initiative a program bringing a Christian Liberal Arts Education to inmates at Handlon Prison in Ionia.
I recall taking a Criminal Justice class from George Zeeff a professor at GRCC. Those who may have been fortunate enough to have taken one of his classes would likely verify as to his depth of knowledge when it came to the CJ system. Mr Zeeff maintained that education was the primary weapon against recidivism and that lack of education was a critical element among the factors that led people to be incarcerated. His arguent was compelling and few could disagree with his logic or his statistics.
Well, this program, CPI, enables inmates to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in 5 years.
Definitely worth a listen.
Friday (and you have time to reserve a lunch) check out Arthur Brooks who spent nearly a decade heading upma conservative think tank and will speak to the polarization we have been experiencing in our country, some of its roots and what we can do about it. His talk is titled “Bringing America Together” a topic we could sorely use these days of divisiveness.
The talks start at 12:30pm and end promptly at 1:30pm. A great way to give the brain a bit of a workout over your lunch hour.
And did I mention the lunch deal?
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