By: Michelle Allen, Roxanne Kammer, and Jennifer Sherburn
What do renovation, the HGTV television channel, and the Village of Hesperia, Michigan have in common? A group of caring and motivated residents are putting together an application for HGTV's next big series called “Home Town Takeover” in hopes of revitalizing our small community. In order to qualify, towns must have fewer than 40,000 residents, "great architecture longing to be revealed," and a main street that needs a facelift.
The Village of Hesperia, which has approximately 900 residents, is surrounded by the Manistee National Forest and situated on the White River with some of the best fishing in the region. The Village is also unique because two Michigan highways intersect in the center and is shared by two different counties--Newaygo and Oceana. Although it has great outdoor activities, the Village certainly has some historic homes and storefronts that could be transformed.
Lifelong resident and retired teacher Sara Kraley is part of the team collaborating on the Village's application. She said, "In addition to the renovation of historic homes and downtown storefronts, we hope HGTV will also consider improvements to the areas surrounding the river. Hesperia’s rich history and also its future is inexorably linked to the White River. Improvements made to our parks, the dam, the ‘swimming hole’, the sports park, and the islands have the potential of putting Hesperia on the map as a premier tourist destination. A bustling tourism industry would encourage additional business opportunities and growth." Additionally, recent Hesperia graduate, Anastasia Klimovitz, digital creator at Zara Creative, is helping the team put together a professional video to showcase both what is loved about the Village, as well as what "needs love.”
Lacy Anderson Stoneburner is collaborating with the team and shared that she grew up in Hesperia and decided to move back when her husband retired from the military. She reported that after living in multiple places around the US, Hesperia was home and where she wanted to raise her family.
Only six towns will be selected to be featured during the series and the deadline is February 7th. Also, working on the Village's application are Julie Burrell, Monica Grimard, Michelle Allen, Kristin Balkema, Kristen Worchester, Roxanne Kammer, and Jennifer Sherburn. Sherburn said, "Just working together on this project has been wonderful. It really goes to show how much love and support there is out there to make Hesperia the best it can be and how many people love living here, working here, and enjoying all the things a rural, small West Michigan town has to offer."
“Many people who reside in Hesperia have such a heart for our community, but do not have financial means to improve their homes or business store fronts - this is a perfect combination for HGTV!” Burrell said. “An investment in Hesperia is an investment in our future, and will further support continued growth for our community.” Regardless of winning or losing, this project will give Hesperia a foundation to continue building the Village up and focusing on identified needs.
Newaygo County Road Commission Manager Kelly Smith was honored on the occasion of his retirement at the regular meeting of the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday January 22.
Smith began his career at the RC in 1985 when he hired on as a driver and heavy equipment operator. From there he rose through the ranks to become Manager, a leadership postition he has held since 2001.
Personally, I have known Kelly for about 15 years having met him through my media work, initially at the Times Indicator and in more recent years as part of Near North Now.
In the news world one is often asked to interview people in positions within government organizations or services to get information on this or that in an effort to shine a little light for readers, adhering to the old adage that sunlight is the best of all disinfectants.
Some folks are a bit less than forthcoming to say the least. This is likely due to being cautious about being misinterpreted or being hesitant toward giving out info that might not be well received by those they serve.
Then on all too rare occasions you encounter someone in one of these positions who are straightforward, forthcoming and accountable when things have gone awry.
Kelly Smith falls into this category.
When I would arrive at his office at the RC he welcomed me in and answered my inquiriess with candor and honesty. If there were problems he would discuss them, if new iniatitives were coming down the pike he shared the reasons behind them, and if situations arose that created conflict with the RC mission of delivering quality service to the people of our county he was never hesitant to call out the sources of his frustration.
The Road Commission is one of those entities that draws complaints because of the nature of the job they perform. Someone’s streets aren’t being plowed in a timely manner, work being carried out isn’t perceived to be done correctly and of course there is always the occasional mailbox issue. It’s the nature of the work and the nature of many folks to complain.
Kelly recognized it was their right as taxpayers to grumble about perceived shortcomings of the organizations work and he saw it as part of his job to listen to these complaints and comments and resolve the issue when he could.
And most of all he understood clearly the power of collaboration. Under his leadership and with the backing of the 3 member Road Commission ( Bill Gonyon, Doug Harmon and Lou Meeuwenburg) the organization has worked with cities, townships, and a variety of county offices to increase efficiencies and contain costs to the citizenry. These efforts allowed tax dollars to be stretched rather than spent and projects resulting from these initiatives are part of the RC legacy under his direction.
Kelly also recognized the importance of succession planning and with the approval of his board he brought forward someone he trusted and who, like him, came up through the ranks. Since then he has helped mentor him on the nuances of the job once he knew retirement was in the near future.
This past year when transitioning from editor of N3 to taking a seat as one of the members of the County Commission my contact with Kelly changed as my role in interacting with him took on a different context.
And yet I found him to be the same person he was when we would sit in his office answering my endless questions with patience and openness.
Rest assured the NCRC is being left in good hands as his successor Derek Wawsczyk has the ongoing support of the Road Commission Board and inherits the competent crew who populate the office, the garage and the roads. Meanwhile Kelly will be able to spend more time pursuing his passion for bracket racing with the help and support of his wife Pam.
But personally? As one who has known Kelly as a media rep and later on as a county official?
He will be missed.
N3 asked the Mayors of our local cities to provide us with a bit of a review of the past year as well as a little preview for what might be coming down the pike for 2020.
Our first offering featured the city of Grant.
Our next piece visited the county seat of White Cloud
Then we headed west to get the skinny on Fremont
And now we hear from Newaygo the city where a river definitely runs through it.
The basic purpose of city government is to maintain city facilities, address zoning and building regulations, and promote that city’s economic development, in addition to providing law enforcement and fire protection. The City of Newaygo entered 2019 prepared to focus on proactive projects and creative solutions to challenges in these areas.
In March the City Council approved a 5-year Master Plan which was the culmination of two years of work among community stakeholders, local citizens, and city employees. Among other things, the Master Plan provides a framework for land use development and will guide zoning decisions to make sure that the desires of the community are converted into action. The next step is for the various city committees to approve the zoning ordinances necessary to support this Plan, which is anticipated to take up to two years.
Adequate housing remains a challenge, and city officials remain committed to providing affordable housing options to city residents and newcomers. Several new homes have been built in the last few years, with plans in place for more construction projects, including multi-family dwellings.
2019 was year two of the “I Am Newaygo” initiative intended to encourage stakeholders like city residents and employees to work closely with elected and appointed community leaders. “I Am Newaygo” actively solicits input and community engagement through a series of meetings. Residents are encouraged to provide their input via these meetings and on the “I Am Newaygo” facebook page.
Upgrading the city sewage and lift stations and wastewater facility continued, and this project is expected to be completed by year-end of 2020. This is one of the silent, but extremely necessary, projects that the city proactively addresses.
Thanks to Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) grants there are some very visible projects taking place. The Community Development Block Grant, or “Façade Grant” has made it possible for Northwoods General Store and Market 41/Muskegon River Inn to embark on major renovation projects. Brickwork, new windows, and interior refurbishing are just some of the things taking place at these two businesses.
Developing and maintaining an attractive and accessible Riverfront is an underlying goal for the City of Newaygo. With that in mind, the Michigan Land Bank Authority Grant paid for the demolition of three deteriorated buildings behind The Stream. This was a proactive move in preparation for future development.
“Walkability” is a relatively new concept to Newaygo, and it simply means working together to facilitate the continuous flow of traffic while providing for the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians. To that end, the bridge over the Muskegon River was restriped to convert traffic to one lane in each direction with left-turn lanes at the M-82 intersection and Wood and Water streets. This has reduced traffic speed and limited blind left turns at the intersections, making it safer for walkers and bikers and should reduce traffic accidents.
In October, the City Council approved an expenditure of $123,500 to hire U.P. Engineers & Architects Inc. as the engineering firm for the Newaygo Crossing Pedestrian Bridge Project. The proposed bridge will be a pedestrian structure to connect Henning Park and the end of Wood Street and allow safe travels between downtown Newaygo and the park. This initial expenditure will cover survey and soil boring work on the bridge. The City is also researching various grant opportunities to help finance this venture.
The City of Newaygo is not exempt from the current opioid epidemic and in January the City Council approved a request to locate “Randy’s House” in the city limits. This residence is considered a prevention (not treatment) facility and is annually inspected by the State of Michigan. It offers recovery coaching, peer support and a direct connection to community resources; and it does not accept violent criminal or sex offenders as residents.
Throughout 2019 Newaygo saw two major employer expansions. Both GM Wood Products and Magna International expanded their facilities and increased their number of employees with support from the City of Newaygo. A growing employment base is a sign of a healthy community and underscores the necessity of providing adequate housing which is all addressed in the new Master Plan.
The Newaygo Police Department works very proactively with the schools and community to prevent crimes before they happen. Over the summer they introduced a Cop Card program similar to baseball trading cards. Each officer has their own Cop Card to hand out to youngsters in an attempt to familiarize children with the officers of the community as well as build relationships between the officers and young people.
During the spring of 2019, the NPD received a grant to purchase a TruNarc hand-held narcotics device that tests drugs through packaging without having to open the package. This will aid Newaygo and other county officers in their fight against drug abuse.
After the resignation of Fire Chief Jason Wolford due to job conflicts, Travis Kroll was named as Newaygo Fire Chief mid-way through 2019. Through various fund-raising projects the NFD purchased an Auto Plus automated CPR system which frees up first responders to attend to other critical issues and alleviates stress and fatigue on those persons performing CPR.
City infrastructure is being maintained and improved, the economy continues to grow, challenges like housing are being addressed, and law enforcement and fire protection continue looking for proactive ways to keep citizens safe. The City ended 2019 poised to continue finding creative solutions that will ensure Newaygo remains a great place to live, work and recreate in the years to come.
Courtesy N3WH Staff
If you haven’t hit The January Series playing this month at the Dogwood this looks to be a dynamite week featuring a quartet of intriguing offerings.
Remember the woman who had her life sentence commuted by the Prez after serving 21 years for a non violent drug crime? She’s on tap Monday. How about the consummate storyteller Mitch Albom who fittingly is scheduled for Tuesday (‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ reference). On Wednesday Ann Compton will reflect on over 4 decades (and 7 Presidents) of covering the White House, Jeremy Everett will enlighten listeners about the dynamics of hunger and poverty on Thursday and for those who are tired of hearing the doom and gloom of how we are spiraling toward destruction, division and devastation Johan Norberg will present a bit of a counter as he speaks to some of the amazing strides being taken and just how far we’ve come.
12:30-1:30pm and again, if you’re interested in securing a bargain lunch (5 bucks, who can beat it?) give a call a day ahead of time and you can munch while you learn.
Happy with how things are going down in Lansing?
Not happy with how things are going down in Lansing?
Well, either way State Senator Jon Bumstead is holding office hours in our fair county on Friday giving constituents the chance to stop in for a chat and ask questions about issues in our bipeninsular state rather than relying on rumors, innuendos, and your Uncle Mike.’s facebook posts for your info.
From 9-10am he’ll be at Hesperia’s Village Hall. From there he travels to the Newaygo County Building in White Cloud to be available from 11am-noon and finally a stop at City Hall in Grant with a 1-2pm time frame.
This Thursday the Social Night at Newaygo Brewing Co. features Vinyl. Yes those discs that once were relegated to thrift store bins have made a comeback. We have always valued the sound of those enticing discs and the library at N3 World Headquarters contains staggering numbers with some that go back to the pre stereo days (The first Bob Dylan album comes to mind). Not only can you hear the selections offered by hosts Mark Petz and Jordan Kinsey but if you bring in a selection or two of your own there’s discounts on beer...never a bad thing. Downtown Newaygo 7-9pm.
And for those interested in what decisions are being made for our local schools there are two School Board meetings.
Newaygo- Monday 6pm
White Cloud- Monday 7:30pm
There you go folks. Some highlights for the coming week.
If you know of an activity or event worthy of mention send us an email at info@nearnorthnow.
And we'll be back with more later this week.
In the meantime….
“I like these cold gray winter days. Days like these let you really savor a bad mood.”- Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes
By Kathy Morrison
Photos By Rylan Edmistone
N3 friend and occasional contributor Kathy Morrison recently posted an opportunity for local folks to help with the ravages resulting from the disastrous fires down under.
Here she delivers a bit of a progress report on what's being done thus far with the money raised to assist the efforts of the Edmistone family, long time friends of their world wandering son, Max Morrison.
About 75 miles southwest of Sydney, nestled in “the bush” of New South Wales, lies Budgong, an area of once extreme beauty, dotted with small communities and farms, lush wooded landscapes, rolling hills which give way to mountainous areas and steep escarpments and to amazing views of the surrounding area. Home to more kangaroos, wombats, and wallabies than people, it is one of the numerous wildlife areas that was recently ravaged by the enormous wildfires that have grown and damaged so much of the Australian East coast landscape since September. Budgong is also home to Rylan Edmistone and his parents, Anne and Greg, friends of our son, Max, where he has visited and stayed numerous times. It is a place and landscape that Max loves dearly. Asking Max to describe the flora and fauna of that place, he reports, “The area is surrounded by Eucalyptus, Gum, and Iron Bark trees. In my experience: Everyday on a walkabout, it's almost certain or a good chance you'll see several wallabies spitting a trail of dust as they bounce away, lyrebirds gracefully tiptoeing through the underbrush, kookaburra with their tittering turning to a boisterous cachinnate, cockatoos squawking, willie wagtails out and about wagging their willies, goanas on the prowl for slurpy eggs, a snake or two - keep an eye out for red-bellies or browns, a family of pygmy possums if you're looking in the crannies, an occasional rambling echidna and of course those gentle beasts, the wombats, emerge at dusk. And I can't forget 'Old Swampy,' an old granny of a kangaroo that loves to pilfer from the fresh shoots of vines. Crafty as ever, even in her old age.” It has been hard to get my head around Max’s description and photos of Budgong against the photos I have been viewing recently. It is hard to imagine it was recently so idyllic until just a few short weeks ago when fire swept through– the woodlands now covered in ash with little cover or vegetation for the wildlife and the thought that so many of its animals have been lost. It pains me to think of area people, who have been through a living hell, as fire raged through their community, destroying so much in its path.
As we read stories and hear news reports about these colossal fires raging in Australia, we have all, most likely, become a bit more familiar with the country geographically. About the same land size as the U.S., minus Alaska and Hawaii, Australia is made up of six states: five on the mainland and one, the island state of Tasmania, lies some 150 miles from its southeastern coast. The Northwest Territory, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland round out the six states. Each and every state has been hit by fires at some point over their 2019-2020 “fire season”, which varies regionally depending on where you are at any given time and place in that vast country. Bush fires have always been a part of life in all of Australia. However, December 2019 was officially the hottest, driest year on record in “the Land Down-under”, with numerous days reaching well above 100 degrees F. Officially the hottest place on Earth, on January 4th, Penrith, a town west of Sydney saw 120 degrees F. By late December, NSW was less than halfway through its traditional six month “fire season” which usually runs from October through March. This year, it began a month earlier and is proving to be one of the area’s worse on record dues in part to the dry, hot conditions. Australia has been overly dry and experiencing drought in many locations for unusually long stretches. Weather conditions have, without question, increased the potential for and size of these infernos. However, another issue is at play in many of these fires which lies with land/fire management. Rylan Edmistone believes that a respect, knowledge, and use of some of these currently undervalued ways of the Aboriginal Australians need to make a comeback to help reduce the size and destructive force of the fires. Rylan describes what happened in his area and how fires of this magnitude might be reduced in the future. “After progressing north through the Ettrema Gorge Wilderness area of Morton National park, the ‘Currowan Bushfire’ burnt through the Budgong rural township area on the 4th of January. This particular fire has currently impacted 312000 hectares of country. The unprecedented heat and intensity of these fires is a direct result of negligent vegetation, biodiversity and land management practices post-the year 1788. We have ignored the deep-knowledge base of the first Australians. It is time to change. Three books that promote a way forward are: The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australiaby Bill Gammage, Call of the Reed Warbler- Charles Massy and Dark Emu byBruce Pascoe.” Indeed, perhaps some of the older ways of managing the bushlands need to be brought back into practice. An interesting piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, told the story of a New South Wales resident who had hired someone practiced in this ancient technique, to conduct cultural burns on his land three years ago. These traditional fires are slow, low, and cooler than standard controlled burns. They take into consideration the landscapes, the flora and fauna and leave the canopy intact, having less impact on the animals of the area. The landowner credits the recent survival of his home through the fires to these Aboriginal Australian’s techniques.
Perhaps there will be a renewed interest in this type of practice now that it is apparent that more effective management techniques need to be considered and used once again.
The immediate threat of fire is over in the Budgong area, though many fires remain out of control in Australia. The job of recovering has begun in many areas, including near the Edmistone’s farm. We wanted to try to help the people of Australia in their recovery efforts, but after realizing that large fundraisers sometimes do not get money to places as swiftly as we would hope, we decided to send money directly to the Edmistones to allow them to use it for wildlife feeding and to help locals whose homes may have been damaged or lost in the fires. Knowing others in our community who wanted to give to Australia, we decided to extend the invitation to friends, family and our Newaygo County/Muskegon county area neighbors to give directly this way. As of January 16th, we have collected over $3200. An enormous thank you to all who have so generously given and a hearty thank you to those of you who plan to. We hope to collect all donations by the end of January, so there is still time to give. Any and all amounts are greatly appreciated. There are no overhead costs or salaries being taken from this money and all proceeds are being directly used to help the animals and people in the community near Budgong, NSW.
Already funds are being put to good use. The kangaroos, wombats, wallabies and possum as well as other critters who survived the fire are now able to find food and water at the stations that Rylan Edmistone and others have been setting up in the ash filled woodlands around their area. Between private lands that he can access and government lands, he has set feed/water stations over a 250 acre area. Obviously, animals outside that range would also be entering to seek food. He has reached out to others in his community who also want to help in this feeding effort for the animals who have so little left at present on which to survive. As owners of a family Bed and Breakfast, the Edmistones have extra space where they have kindly housed neighbors whose well and septic were ruined by fire and will continue to extend housing and food to those in need of accommodations due to their losses. Rylan and his mother, Anne, are also conferring with community leaders as how to best help other area residents who are in need. Donations may be mailed or dropped off to Kathy and John Morrison 6128 S Maple Island Road, Fremont, MI 49412.
By Sally Wagoner
It is human to care for things that we know and that we love.
Perhaps that is one reason why our Earth is suffering so, as many humans do not have a personal relationship with nature.
When nature is viewed as something outside of our lives or outside of the human species, it is much easier to take it for granted and for profit. When nature is acknowledged as a complex web of life within which we are embedded and upon which we depend, it causes us to be conscientious of how we alter or use nature to fit our needs.
And when we learn to love nature, to develop that personal relationship with the animals, plants, waters, forests, sky and earth, we then care for it like the family that it is: with respect, with compassion, and with a desire to have it be healthy and sustainable for our future generations.
“It’s nature’s way of telling you something’s wrong….” wrote Randy California of the band Spirit in 1970. (Click here for the song “Nature's Way” on YouTube).
Try listening to this song, with its haunting melody and lyrical premonitions, while watching the apocalyptic fires in Australia that have killed a billion animals, some to the point of possible extinction. Or seeing how glaciers are disappearing at a rate much quicker than predicted, raising ocean levels and warming the atmosphere. Or even while looking in your own back yard and noting the meager number of butterflies and bees. If you are of my era, you will remember the plethora of fireflies sparkling in the dark night as a child.
Residents of Newaygo County already have a love for the nature that abounds all around us. Whether your Indigenous roots go back centuries here, or if you are a newcomer from more recent history, this area has drawn us for its beauty and diversity of life. But this beauty that we know and love is not immune to the rippling effects of environmental changes that may occur in the next county or in the next hemisphere. How we live our lives within nature’s web today affects how well we live tomorrow, and what we leave for our children in the future.
So how do we begin, or expand, that personal relationship with the natural world around us? How do we relate to all these amazing living beings with in a way that doesn’t objectify them, but leads us to love them as family, and work with them in a manner that is respectful and sustainable?
“It’s nature’s way of receiving you, it nature’s way of retrieving you….” continues the Spirit song, insinuating the way is already in motion.
People much smarter than me teach us how to nurture this relationship: go outside, breathe, look, touch, listen and learn. The paths of farmers, poets, scientists and shamans have merged at this place where we step from the often daily routine of ignoring nature, or viewing it as merely a resource or commodity – and journey into a world of wonder and reciprocity.
But don’t take my word for it. Consider how the following people have crossed that threshold, and who now urge us all to learn how to live and relate to nature in a way, perhaps the only way, that will stem the devastations that are affecting our Earth and our own human lives:
* Dr. Monica Gagliano, Research Associate Professor in Evolutionary Ecology; author of “Thus Spoke the Plant: A Remarkable Journey of Groundbreaking Scientific Discoveries and Personal Encounters with Plants”. Click here for Plant Speak Podcast.
* Dr. Robin Kimmerer, Citizen Potawatomi , Professor of Environmental and Forest Biology; author of “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants”. Click here for Our Plant Teachers Podcast.
“It’s Nature’s Way” hopes to inform the citizens of Newaygo County on issues of interest and necessity about our environment from both the global outlook and its local impact. The intention is to help all of us grow a more personal relationship with our web of nature and all its manifestations so we may learn how to care for it in the best ways possible – not only for the survival of our children and grandchildren, but for the healthy sustainability of our Earth as well.
Upcoming article: Loving our Local Web at Brooks Oak-Pine Barrens Nature Sanctuary
Kathy Morrison is an occasional contributor to NNN who is spearheading an effort to help a family befriended by her son Max who are doing what they can to help during the current conflgaration being experienced down under.
For more photos and details please visit their Morrison Orchards fb page.
Many people are concerned about the horrific bushfires in Australia that are ravaging the homes of thousands of people and millions upon millions of Australia's unique animals. Millions of acres of their human and animal habitat has been turned to ash. It is early in their “fire season” but already, well over 20 million acres have burned – an area larger than all of Ireland. They have a long season ahead of them and the number of deaths of both humans and animals is sure to rise. Though some areas saw a short respite from the intensity of the fires in the past few days, another round of dry, hot and windy weather is forecast for Friday and will, no doubt, whip up fires again in areas already still burning and spread it to areas yet unscathed. I know some of you have donated to causes already for their firefighting and rescue efforts. Thank you so very much.
We have a connection and point family if you are looking to give more or for the first time. Our son, Max, as many of you know studied, worked, and traveled in Australia for some time. Now in New Zealand, Max is far from the fires but has personal friends, the Edmistones, who live in Budgong, NSW, an area of the once lush Kangaroo Valley, that already has been greatly affected by the fires in the past few weeks. There, they operate a family winery and Bed and Breakfast. They were fortunate to have only lost one outbuilding at their place, but people in the surrounding community have not been as lucky. People have lost housing and property in the fires. The normally wildlife rich and lush woodlands surrounding their area have been decimated and the remaining animals are thirsty, hungry, and scared. No one is completely free from threat, as the fires continue to burn and the forecasted dry and windy weather may reignite some of these areas in the coming days. The Edminstones have generously opened up their B-n-B to those in need of housing and food. They are also creating feed/water stations to care for the wildlife and are purchasing approved feed pellets as well as fruits and other foods to help the helpless critters that are scared, hungry and without understanding of what is happening.
In an international crisis like this, I find myself troubled, trying to discern just which organization to give money - wondering how funds will be distributed and whether or not the organization has large overhead or huge CEO salaries. It is reassuring when I know ALL of my donated money will go directly to the cause I hope it to go - - no fees, no overhead, no administration or salaries taken out. This is an opportunity to give directly to a community of people and animals that will benefit directly and immediately from our money.
We are in the process of wiring money to them this week but would like to do more for the Budgong area by reaching out beyond ourselves. If any of you are looking for a way to donate directly to help the needs of the Australian people and animals, I am collecting funds to make another transfer to this family for them to use for aiding both people and animals in their immediate community. As locals, they will know where the needs are greatest and how the money might be best spent to ease the burden of both the people who are in need, and to aid the animals whose food source has been decimated. They will document the use of the money, showing how it was spent and keep us updated on how the donations were able to help local Aussies and animals in their area. I want to do the collection swiftly, as those in immediate need cannot wait for funds from larger scale fundraisers to be disbursed, in some cases, months from now. If you are interested in making a donation, I will be doing another one time wire transfer later this month. You may drop checks, money orders, and cash off at our farm or mail checks to us at 6128 S Maple Island Rd, Fremont, MI, any checks made out to John or Kathleen Morrison. I will finish collecting funds on January 30th and wire the money the following day, so if you are interested please make sure any donations will arrive before then.
Thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers, and generosity toward the people and animal victims of Australia’s bushfires.
State Representative Scott VanSingel to speak at NCMHC
The Newaygo County Museum and Heritage Center is pleased to welcome Representative Scott VanSingel for the January Speaker Series at the Newaygo County Museum and Heritage Center Thursday, January 16th, at 6:30 PM.
“An inside look at the Michigan Legislature” will discuss his history, including his upbringing in a small town, his farming background, and how he ended up in state government. Further elements of the non-partisan discussion will highlight day-to-day operations – how the House of Representative’s works, and general background on the legislative process.
Scott is the 5th generation of his family to reside in Grant. He lives within 3 miles of where his family settled to farm in the late 1800’s. Growing up, he spent countless hours working on the family farm which taught him the value of hard and honest work. He has deep roots in the community of Grant and Newaygo County.
Scott is a proud graduate of Grant High School where he graduated in the top 10% of his class and excelled at various sports. He later went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree from Central Michigan University with majors in Finance and Accounting. In 2011, he earned his Master’s in Business from Cornerstone University. Along with his formal education, he is also nearly fluent in Spanish.
Scott has worked in public accounting for the world’s largest CPA firm. He later went on to work as a Financial Analyst for Dematic Corp. in Grand Rapids. During this time, he started a successful rental real estate company which continues to grow and thrive. He has also served as Treasurer of numerous organizations.
Scott enjoys many hobbies and is active in the community when not working. He is an avid hunter and trout fisherman along with other hobbies which include gardening, cutting firewood and distance running. He has been active in the community serving as a Deacon for several years at Grant Reformed Church, Treasurer of the Newaygo Co. Republican Party, member and volunteer for various conservation groups, scholarship committee volunteer, and participant in numerous mission trips to Central America.
State Representative Scott VanSingel was first elected in November 2016 to the Michigan House to represent the people of the 100th District, which includes Lake, Oceana and Newaygo counties. In the Legislature, Representative VanSingel serves on the Appropriations committee, as well as acting as the chairman of the Higher Education & Community Colleges Appropriations subcommittee. Mr. VanSingel also serves on the Corrections, Natural Resources & Environmental Quality, and Licensing & Regulatory Affairs Appropriations subcommittees.
N3 asked the Mayors of our local cities to provide us with a bit of a review of the past year as well as a little preview for what might be coming down the pike for 2020.
Our first offering featured the city of Grant.
Our next piece vivited the county seat of White Cloud
Now we head west to get the skinny on what’s happening as well as what might be on tap in the fine city of Fremont.
In 2019 the Darling Walkway Project was completed, with benches contributed by community members.
For the ever growing and avid pickleballers among us an outdoor court was opened on Sheridan Street.
The much anticipated arrival of the Meijer Superstore became a reality in May and Wesco opened the doors to a new Superstation on Stewart.
The ‘Farmlandscape’ at Ceres Solutions Co-Op was relocated and the Cedar Street Extension was completed offering an alternate truck route to help relieve downtown traffic congestion.
The Locust Hill development saw the opening of four new condominiums and Green Acres, the popular Senior Transitional Housing completed ‘Phase 2’ adding 20 additional residential spaces.
And in order to save on the cost of ‘off year’ elections voting for city officials will now take place on even years.
Plans for 2020 include the “Inspired Hands mural which will be installed at One East Mainon the east wall and a celebration for the 25th anniversary of the Friendship City Program with Yahaba Japan.
The city will continue to promote the need for more market value as well as income based housing and move forward with video marketing of our industrial park.
By Gail Howarth
My name is Gail Howarth. I am a photographer and storyteller. I recently started a project that I hope will tell the story of gratitude. It is called the Gratitude Project By Lakehouse Photo. Though this undertaking is all about gratitude, it was born from a tough time in my life.
Several years ago, I experienced a period of loss, grief, and depression. The days, too many to count, were painful and felt endless. Then one day, a switch flipped. The darkness that I had grown to expect did not come. Instead, the bright sun shone across my face, and I felt held, warm, and loved. As I emerged from my slumber, I realized that I had changed. I felt free and unafraid, led by something larger than me, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all things.
I began to wonder about gratitude all the time. What is it? Can everyone feel it? For what are people grateful? And, lastly, what does it look like? The last question led me to ask friends to think about their gratitude while I photographed them. The project took flight when several friends accepted my request.
Since its inception, The Gratitude Project has changed significantly. Initially, I just wanted to capture images of gratitude and share them with others on my Facebook page. I expected the photos to be community-building and raw. And, that is true for most folks. However, I have learned that the face of gratitude is different for everyone.
Today, my vision for The Gratitude Project is very different. At the very least, I hope the project will encourage better living through gratitude. The loftier goal is that it be used as a community-building opportunity throughout the United States and perhaps even beyond. We live in a time when our differences so easily divide us. Why not, instead, find what we have in common and begin to build relationships that create unity.
I am currently seeking individuals, and groups of people that are bound by a common interest, to photograph and to share their experience of gratitude. Groups could be but are not limited to a book club, a church choir, a group of farmers that meet for coffee, or folks that work together for a service organization. Please contact me at Gail@Lakehousecc.com if you have questions or would like to participate.
More information about The Gratitude Project is located at https://lakehousecc.com. Additionally, consider following me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/gratitude_by_lakehouse_photo/
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