By Megan Wirts
Most people that know me, get that I am not one to shy away from being the center of attention. I was recently interviewed on a radio show because I was participating in Gilda’s Laughfest, a comedy festival in Grand Rapids, and I was asked how I decided to get into stand-up comedy. It’s not every day that a 30 something, wife and mother with a disability, from a tiny little town decides to tell jokes about her life in front of other people. So, I told my story of being diagnosed with Dystonia, a neurological movement disorder, and having to quit my job and how I decided not to dwell in the sorrow of my new circumstances, but instead, I chose laughter. I told them how I had been active in my local community theater and that I missed being on stage, so the only logical thing for me to do was to become a stand-up comedian.
The radio host said that most people would find that terrifying. “Not me!”, I replied, “I’m more afraid of the dark.” To which he quipped, “It’s not very dark in that spotlight.”
And he was right.
It’s a bright place being up on a stage with all the lights on you, and I love it up there. Why else would I subject myself to something like stand-up comedy, if I didn’t love it? I would have to be a masochist. Stand-up comedy has been one of the scariest things I have ever done, and I’ve had brain surgery.
Every time before a show, I overthink, over analyze and worry about every word I’m going to say. My family and friends might say that I even get a little (a lot) grumpy and that I might not be their favorite person to be around right before a show I might be a bit extra nervous about. I’m lucky they love me.
This exchange got me thinking afterwards. Thinking about my fears, my hopes and about what it means to live my best life. It got me thinking about the real reasons I do the things I do. It made me wonder. Was I living my best life? What does that even look like?
I see what it looks like for other people on social media all the time. You know those girls that share a post yoga selfie with their avocado toast, captioned, “Living my best life *heart emoji*”. I’m guilty, I post things like that too. Except it’s me pre-Netflix marathon with a piece of cheesecake. I still do yoga and I do enjoy myself some avocado toast from time to time, but I also lay on the couch and try to eat all the Easter candy. It’s called balance.
I have had to reevaluate what “living my best life” means to me many times. When I was a teenager I was certain that I needed to have a boyfriend in order to be happy. According to the journals I kept from the time I was 13 years old (oh the angst!), that was my number one goal in life. The problem was that nobody really wanted to be my boyfriend and if they did it wasn’t for very long.
I wrote about how at the age of 16 I felt like I was an old maid because my mom was married at that age and my boyfriend (of only a 2 months) dumped me two days before Christmas and now I would most certainly never find love and Christmas was ruined forever! Almost everyone in my family had gotten married by the time they were 18 years old, it seemed like that was what you were supposed to do. Granted a few of those marriages haven’t lasted because getting married as a teenager is not exactly the best idea for everyone. I didn’t really want to get married, but I was convinced that I needed to at least have a boyfriend. If I didn’t, I was destined to die alone in a house full of cats. It also seemed like all my friends had boyfriends or girlfriends and I felt so alone. However, not having a boy to consume my time did give me time to study and participate in a ridiculous amount of extracurricular activities, including the high school drama club and choir. Those two things gave me life in high school. It didn’t make me popular (quite the opposite) or find me a boyfriend, but it did make me believe I could one day get out of this little town and be the first Broadway star from Newaygo County, and I would definitely find a boyfriend in New York City!
That didn’t quite happen. Apparently, it costs a lot of money to live in New York City. I was also only 17 years old when I graduated high school, and terrified of everything. So, I went with my best friend to a small Christian college close to home. A safe choice. After my first year, I knew that I couldn’t stay there for another 3-4 years. I couldn’t afford to spend over $20,000 per year while I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I also kind of hated it there. So, I moved back home. I was finally at the point in my life where I didn’t think I needed a boyfriend to fulfill my life. I was going to be a strong independent woman and live my best life! Of course, just a few weeks later I started dating my husband. After a couple of years, we got married and had some kids. It has been over 15 years now since we were married, and my husband has been a constant force in my life since then. He is my rock that pulls me out of the clouds when my ideas seem a little too over the top and I’m the one that pushes him out of his comfort zone and challenges him to try new things. Even though we are complete opposites on the personality spectrum, we make this thing work, because we work at it.
After I was diagnosed with Dystonia, I was consumed with grief and my husband never wavered. He held me while I wept on the kitchen floor because of the frustration I felt when I couldn’t drive myself to the store to get more eggs and then he drove me to the store to get the eggs. He has had to wait in hospital waiting rooms for hours wondering if his wife is ever going to be the same and then realizing that she isn’t, and she is going to need him more than he ever imagined. He has had to overcome his anxieties and fears, just so that I can be happy. He may not laugh at every joke I tell because there are only so many times you can hear another take on the zombie apocalypse, and he might shake his head and say, “Really, Megan?” more often than he would like, but he has always supported me.
He supported me when I decided to go to college full time when we had a 3-year-old child and a 2-month-old infant. Those years nearly killed us. He supported me through weight gains, every fad diet imaginable, weight loss surgery, a house fire, two brain surgeries and now Dystonia. He knew that when I finally accepted that I wasn’t going to get better that I was not giving up on my life. I was just reinventing my life to fit the circumstances that I found myself in. My idea of living my best life is ever changing. My best life used to be running actual marathons (alright it was a 5k, but still, it was running!), and now my speed is more Netflix marathons. It used to involve me in costume being part of some big theatrical production. Now it’s just me, alone, with my words and there isn’t always a stage, but there is always laughter. Every day I want to choose to live my best life and I will always choose laughter.
Maybe it will involve avocado toast or maybe cheesecake (most likely cheesecake) but it will always be me….
“Living my best life”.
Maureen Madrid-Wilson(White Hat), Newaygo resident, and neighbor to N3 World Headquarters attended the ‘March For Our Lives’ in Washington this past weekend with friends and family
She has graciously agreed to share her thoughts about the experience.
The journey started after a regular day’s work. My friend Barb, who I have known since Kindergarten, and two of my adult stepdaughters left to catch the Rally Bus in Ann Arbor with a departure time of 11:30 pm. We arrived not the least bit tired and most of us were awake for the 10 hour bus ride to Washington DC. We immediately struck up a friendship with Norm- a young man who is a child psychologist and Judy – a 72 year old 4’10 spitfire - both who were attending the event on their own. We immediately invited them to join our group of 4.
We arrived at Union Station 3 hours before the March For Our Lives event was scheduled to begin. People were already there, walking around, carrying signs. The air was electric. The weather: PERFECT! Lots of security personnel were around the Capitol building but they were friendly and smiled and responded when we asked them questions.
Around 11 a.m. we decided to get over to Pennsylvania Avenue. We knew we wouldn’t be able to be close to the main stage, but at this point, we were just happy to be there and involved!
The number of people walking toward Pennsylvania Avenue slowly kept growing. People were smiling pointing at signs. You were hearing “great sign! Can I take a picture of it?” “where are you guys from?” as we kept making our way over to the event. We had no idea how many people were there. We only knew that no matter where you looked- you were surrounded. Everyone was packed in together but the amazing thing was, everyone was patient and kind with no harsh words and no rude remarks or gestures. People talked of how no one wants to lose the 2nd Amendment but that common sense needs to prevail. People smiled and stopped to chat with people they had never met before that moment. It was a sea of humanity with one shared goal.
We got to a place where we could stand and see a screen . We were surrounded by all ages and races, veterans, teachers, grandparents, parents, teens etc….what a collection of humanity! We waited patiently for the event to start. One by one, speakers took to the podium, celebrities and singers were there too but the loudest applause was given to the students.
We were tired; our feet hurt; our backs were aching from standing for so long. No one wanted to leave to go to the bathroom because no one wanted to miss a thing. As the afternoon went on, we all knew we were waiting for Emma. While all of the MSD students have been eloquent and inspiring…Emma had captured my attention. When she came to the podium the crowd erupted in applause and cheers!
When she began her impassioned words were amazing. She talked about the students who were killed. How they wouldn’t be able to play basketball again, or hang out with their friends. She read off each name and made them human to us- not just a name. Then she stopped.
She stared into the camera. She didn’t blink. We waited. We waited some more. The time ticked on. The crowd of 800,000 was SILENT. We waited. What was she going to say? Was she trying to gain her composure? Was she trying to collect her thoughts? Did she freeze? The time kept ticking. A few chants of “NEVER AGAIN” or “VOTE HER IN” started then quickly faded as the screens continued to focus on her face. The camera panned the crowd. It showed thousands of faces staring back. No one was talking. No one was coughing or sniffing or shuffling their feet. We were all frozen- waiting for what was coming. What WAS coming????? The minutes ticked on. 800,000 people SILENTLY waiting. Some of us were in tears just feeling the power of her and what she had gone through.
Finally, she spoke.
“6 minutes 20 seconds – that is how long it took the gunman to kill 17 people”
Emma’s speech may have been the shortest of the day but it was the most profound.
Jennifer Hudson closed the event. All the participants joined her on stage. We watched. We cheered. We steeled our resolve knowing the attacks on this movement would begin the next day, if not sooner.
As the ocean of people started to recede, we walked to the White House and looked. We read more signs. We talked to more people. We walked back toward the Capital. We looked at all the history that surrounded us. Barb, Norm, Judy, Cassandra, Telah and myself…we looked at each other and said….
“We were a part of history today”.
It was truly one of the BEST experiences that I have had in my 58 years.
By Ken DeLaat
It's starting to grow.
With a dispensary moving forward in White Cloud along with grow facilities soon to break ground in their industrial park and the city of Newaygo having secured a spot in their Industrial park, the addition of the Brooks business district could give birth to a new name for our county’s portion of M-37 .
The Medical (Marijuana) Miles.
This has been a controversial subject that has been woven into local dialogue since the passing of legislation aimed at the licensing and expansion of facilities and businesses in the state involved with Med/Mar.
Tuesday’s Brooks Township meeting was typical of the mixed opinions on the subject as the board engaged in some solid discussion and debate about what decision would best serve the township community. They decided, though not unanimously, to move forward as have the cities of Newaygo and White Cloud. The economic reasons stand tall in the debate and the legal implications remain fuzzy because of the federal law.
And then there is the looming spectre of Recreational Use becoming part of the package. Likely to be on the ballot as soon as November of this year and polling at nearly 60% in support according to Rick Johnson of LARA’s Medical Marijuana Board who spoke at the Brooks meeting, the game would change once again.
Most proponents of Med/Mar cite an opposition to legalizing recreational use, but should the desires of the electorate remain in favor, its passage or an amended one designed by the legislature to run as an alternative would look to be quite probable.
No one seems to know for certain. When Mr. Johnson was asked if ordinances could be passed to excluded recreational businesses he implied that though such measures could be passed by municipalities he doubted their ability to stand up in a judicial process.
N3 has covered this ongoing process at numerous meetings on many levels and while there is generally some opposition from the public and officials there seems to be consistently more supporters than detractors attending the meetings though several are those with a vested interest in the business end.
There are also few who argue against the prospect of good paying jobs coming to the area. The skepticism shared has a good deal to do with whether those jobs will pan out to be in the numbers and pay-grade promised.
And, again, if the number of facilities currently being tossed around looks to land on about 400 statewide, how would that change should recreational use come knocking?
As we said in a previous piece several months back this looks to be a sea change of our business environment. With several new companies vying for the opportunity to set up shop in our county and tossing out some living wage type of figures this will have a huge impact on an area where, according to reports from the business community, finding qualified and capable employees can prove challenging at times. Will it drive other wages up? Will there be more businesses than the traffic can support? Will the jobs at these businesses draw more residents which would create the need for more housing and an increase in services?
Folks may speculate but it’s unlikely anyone can be certain with variables such as the prospect of a shift toward allowing recreational use.
One thing is certain, however.
Change gonna come.
“I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed.”- George Carlin
By Mark Mathis
Just finished Netflix's new documentary series "Flint Town". I watched the eight episodes in under three weeks, which is as close to binge watching as I ever get. The fairest and most honest series about urban policing I've ever seen.
If you haven't watched it yet, and can stand the F word used in real life, I'd put it on my watch list right away.
Brilliant crafting of the story line. Policing, race, Flint Water crises, poverty, politics are all handled very fairly. Along the way you get to really know several of Flint's very fine officers and citizens.
I was really sad to see the end of that 8th episode. It's so much more than a series about the Flint PD.
A couple takeaways after watching the series:
1. God help Flint. 100 cops and 100,000 citizens. A 27 hour wait to get a cop to respond to an armed robbery with injuries requiring hospitalization? Call waiting backups of 50-70 calls on a random night? If you wonder if there is a limit to cutting police resources this certainly answers the question.
2. Police work must be proactive, and not reactive. One 8 person proactive team in Flint caused a 40% reduction in violent crime in a matter of months. They had the full support of the Chief and Mayor. They had clear direction to go out and kick butt. It works. An unsupported department will operate in reactive mode, crime will rise, and citizens will suffer.
3. This is a great and honest look at the real street warriors that form the thin blue line between order and chaos. When you put a face on those that fill this gap it's near impossible to not support the mission.
4. Flint passed a police millage. The city basically stole it to fund other projects. That has also happened in Grand Rapids. GR residents STILL pay a millage that supposedly put a cop in every neighborhood, and increased staffing to 400 officers. The city has found other pet projects to shift money around to, and cut GRPD staffing by over 100 officers. Too often in urban areas, millages are sold on the backs of public safety, and then stolen by politicians.
5. Hats off to Flint Chief Timothy Johnston. He goes to the mat for his officers. He is truthful. He cares. He understands the need for proactive enforcement and hitting the criminal element with everything you have. No officer could ask for anything more. Unfortunately, he is a very rare Chief these days.
6. Flint PD is the canary in the coal mine. I wish that others (including Grand Rapids City Leadership) would take some very needed notes.
The Netflix trailer for the series can be found here:
By Ken DeLaat
Sunday morning and I am truly broken.
I mean as in tossed to the ground, squashed like a grape, beat like a rented goalie and basically smashed to smithereens (what are smithereens, anyway?).
As coined so well by Fred Sanford (Redd Foxx) if my NCAA bracket looked any uglier you could mash its face into dough and make gorilla cookies.
But I gotta say despite the sorry-looking chart currently in shreds,I have loved this tournament from the get go and am looking forward to what it’s yet to bring. Over the years my interest has waxed and waned a bit over the March Madness thing. I really like basketball even after spending a whole lot of evenings in area high school gyms throughout the winter but I don’t watch much college ball until this time of year.
Personal Bracketology? My selections are not generally based on information gleaned from the so called experts, but more a combination of a strong geographic attachment, a rather faulty intuitive side and this tendency to pick schools because of some random connection. Like Loyola of Chicago because they were defending national champs the year Cazzie Russell and co. had Michigan in the final four. That led to my first interest in the tournament.
It was the year the Wolverines lost to Duke who lost in the finals to UCLA. It was the first in a unprecedented run that saw the Bruins win 10 of the next 12 titles including an amazing 7 in a row. From Gail Goodrich to Kareem Abdul Jabbar (as Lew Alcindor) to Bill Walton they had dominant players and a brilliant coach and they generally mowed through the opposition at one point winning 88 straight games..
And I rooted against them every time.
It’s that underdog thing born out of a childhood that saw the freaking Yankees break hearts year after year in dominating the American League as they did.
I like to see teams accustomed to winning take it on the chin now and then. It’s good for character (mine mostly).
Nowadays every team that gets here is really really good because there are a whole lot of teams not in the tournament that are also really really good. Some are stronger and deeper and more talented than others but each of them can get hot and if they can sustain it….who knows?
But Friday night after a couple of high seeds had already fallen to relative unknowns the unknownest of them all Maryland Baltimore County put a smackdown on the number one seeded and, by the way, number one in the whole stinking country Cavaliers of Virginia. For the first time ever a number 16 seed had beaten a number 1.
The Cavs had an injury to a key player but hey, they were numero uno right? If the best team in college basketball loses a guy, even a star caliber guy, they still got a team that is better than most I’d say and hopefully better than the second place finisher in the America East Conference. The Retrievers wouldn’t even be here but when they got to the conference finals against a Vermont team that twice manhandled them they squeaked out a win. A win that obviously made them believers because they brought some swagger into the tournament and just absolutely took Virginia apart. Whipped ‘em and looked every minute of the game as though they expected to do it. That is was almost a given.
Then late last night sitting alone in the living room and resigned to having the teams I came into the tournament with a strong geographic interest in reduced by half, this freshman from Michigan launches an improbable shot that cannot go in. In fact with the way U-M was shooting during the game it was unlikely to have a chance. But Jordan Poole did indeed rip the nets for the win and a late night scream and yell that may result in a couple of apologies. One to my eternally patient LSC Lil who had been sleeping upstairs prior to being awakened by what she thought might be some impending disaster. She spoke few words when she came down to discover the noise was about a game and those were barely audible but once she’s been up for a bit we’ve had a chance to chat pardon will likely be sought.
The other is a possible plea for forgiveness to the neighbors if what Lil said about the decibel level is to be believed.
So now it’s State’s turn today. They take on a dangerous Syracuse team that had to win a play-in game just to get here then knocked off higher seeded Texas Christian. The Orange finished 10th in the ACC and here they are playing for the Sweet 16. It’s an afternoon game and if all goes well State will advance and there will be more Mitten based basketball ahead next week with both schools in.
But beyond that?
The #16 seeded Retrievers will be going at the Wildcats of Kansas State in the early evening and the #13 Thundering Herd of Marshall take on interstate rival West Virginia later on.
And while both teams will come in as decided underdogs?
It’s March, man. Anything can happen, right?
(cue ‘Rocky’ music)
Our hearts shattered on February 14th when we learned of yet one more school-shooting episode, this time in Florida. The perpetrator was a student, a very troubled student, who had legal ownership of an automatic assault weapon.
Our minds struggled to wrap around this senseless tragedy. Even though we live in Michigan, we are connected. We are united, we feel the pain, we feel outrage, we mourn, and we want healing. We want these crazy making events to stop. We want them prevented all together. They must be!
Out of the devastation, fueled by the pain and accelerated by social media, has grown an impassioned movement. A movement of middle and high school students who have proven unstoppable! They have insisted on legislative and institutional reforms that insure non-violent, safe schools and sensible gun regulation. They have insisted on involvement in the democratic process and voter registration. Nationally, this movement is supported by over seventy-five action organizations and continues to grow. The movement’s symbolic Enough! National Student Walkout occurred nationwide on Wednesday, March 14.
Held within the safety of school halls or property and supported by district administrations and parents, Walkouts occurred in schools throughout Newaygo County. The movement asked that supportive community members walkout of places of employment or hold a separate vigil. Official school-sanctioned Walkouts were conducted at 10 am for 17 minutes, honoring the 17 people killed in Florida.
In solidarity with The Walkouts a group of concerned citizens gathered at the main stop light by Brooks Park in Newaygo on Wednesday morning. With the exception of a couple of negative gestures, we received affirming honks, hand waves, thumbs ups and smiles.
To the Newaygo County area students and all students nationwide, we applaud this student action. We give you a standing ovation for taking part in democracy, for giving voice and action to your outrage and concerns. We celebrate your articulate and visionary leadership. We support your plea for safe schools. We advocate for ongoing participation in this movement.
Safe schools can mean different things to people. The issue of safe schools has pummeled the radar of educators, parents and the public like an avalanche. We promote a focus on prevention.
School buildings do need sensible security measures, with unified law enforcement and school community training. It may be appropriate to have someone in the school that is armed, but arming teachers is not the answer. Even top notch, trained safety personnel can make mistakes. Hands down, we must have sensible gun laws that regulate and screen the user, the weapons sold and to whom they are sold.
Safe schools foster a culture of caring and problem solving. Schools must have the financial means to provide counseling, mental health services for students, and programs that address bullying and student isolation. Safe schools build community with families. They inform students on the democratic process and register them to vote. We applaud area teachers, staff and administrators who are striving toward these measures and goals, helping to create a safe, democratic school climate for our youth.
We thank this student movement from the bottom of our hearts. It brings hope to our violence weary lives, our community, our state and nation. We thank supportive families. We thank all Newaygo County school administrations that sanctioned local student participation. By doing so, Newaygo County connected to the wider National Student Walkout movement. To our community: please rally around student led actions and this student movement.
Sally C. Kane, Retired Teacher
Kathy Morrison, Retired Teacher
Sue Cyranoski, Concerned Citizen
By Alexis Mercer
All across the nation on March 14, students participated in a walkout to protest gun violence and to honor the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.
Various walkouts were broadcast live on national media stations throughout the day.
Many of the organized walkouts took place for 17 minutes: one minute for each victim. Others lasted for hours and reached thousands of people.
How did Newaygo Middle and High School students react to this day?
In peaceful reflectiveness.
Superintendent Peg Mathis made staff from all buildings aware of how the students participated in the protests through an email.
“Our high school had a moment of silence and a student read the names of the 17 victims. Some students participated in a "walk-out" and walked the hallways in silence for 17 minutes. Many students stayed in class. Our middle school had an announcement and a few students walked out and sat in the hallway for 17 minutes.”
The high school building was still and respectful as a student council member read each name of the victims from one month ago.
While some of the walkouts and protests shown on television from around the country depict scenes of shouting, signs and anger about gun violence, the students at Newaygo took a different approach. They chose instead to turn their attention to the victims and make it a time of reflection.
By Mark Mathis
Most places are lucky enough to get four seasons, here in Newaygo County we are blessed with five. I figure if Taco Bell can have four meals, we can have a 5th season.
The season is unofficial and runs roughly in the days between the Dam to Dam Fishing Tournament and Easter. I call the season “where did spring go?”. It’s also called “ugh” and “you’ve got to be kidding me.”
This year the season began on a couple glorious days in late February where the thermometer hit 60 degrees. I stored my winter coats and snow shovels. The snow melt exposed a winter worth of dog poop, so I picked that up too. Neighbors came back outside and a walk down the road became a strolling neighborhood visit once again. All was right in the world.
The ice on the lake melted. The snow disappeared. The inch of silt covering my garage floor was cleaned up. It seemed so strange to say goodbye to winter in February, but I managed to do it. Hello spring!
Then Newaygo county’s 5th season hit. One of the “benefits” of residing on the 43rd parallel and within the Great Lakes region is a slightly longer “opportunity” for cold weather. One of the drawbacks is that the annual spring preview hits long before winter really moves out for good.
I’m amongst the happiest to see that first snowfall coating the trees. It’s a near celebration when the ice is thick enough on the lake to venture out away from the shore. It’s weeks worth of hot chocolate, fires, playing in the snow, and great photos. A few months later it seems that everything has turned gray and sloppy. The fireplace is full of ash, I’m out of cocoa, and even the best photographic filter doesn’t turn grey into sunshine.
Once that first taste of spring hits I don’t know too many people that are stoked to go out on the lake in March and no one seems to be talking about snowmobile trips anymore. This is a sure sign that we’ve hit season number five.
This 5th season is marked by dilemmas:
I lost a glove. Do I simply live with one cold hand? There is nothing more disheartening than navigating aisles of beach chairs and swimsuits at Costco. An employee was kind enough to note that their gloves have been gone for two months. I think that national chains base their inventory decisions on the weather in Nashville, TN. Luckily, I found the glove in the nearly invisible void under my car seat.
We got a run of snow on four consecutive days. In the winter this breeds excitement at our house about a potential snow day. I know it’s getting late in the winter when my daughter just assumes there will be school the next day… two inches of snow doesn’t even raise an eyebrow in the where did spring go season.
Is it worth getting the snow shovel back out? Seems like no matter how much I drive over the new snow it will melt in a week or two, right? Not wanting to get stuck in my own driveway I got the shovels (and my coat) back out of storage. One of these years we will get a Jeep and give up shoveling for the entire year.
My car is begging for more cleaning than the Wesco squeegee can provide. The seven day forecast is no friend for my car. Hard to bring myself to clean it up when the weather ball is blinking blue (“Weather ball red, warmer ahead. Weather ball blue cooler in view. Weather ball blinking bright, precipitation is in sight.”). In season #5, I simply settle for clean windows.
On the good side the days are getting a lot longer. Daylight savings time has hit. The Tigers are in the middle of spring training, all the new dog poop rests under a new blanket of snow, and Easter is truly just around the corner. Time for another 60 degree day to convince me that the “come on already” season is leaving for good!
What is gun control, and why is it associated with reducing the freedom of American people? Gun control is mostly mistaken for taking away the right to bear arms and eliminating the second amendment. The U.S. already has firearms regulations but what some student are protesting for is more strict gun laws. Many countries in Europe and all around the world have already come to the conclusion that gun control helps to reduce mass shootings.
Let’s look at the example of the country of Georgia in Europe: Before 2003 and the Rose revolution in Georgia the country was turned into ruins and still could not rise up after the collapse of Soviet Union. People were doing whatever they wanted and everyone had guns. Going outside had become extremely dangerous, but after the Rose revolution and choosing a new president everything started changing. Gun laws became far more strict and the number of police officers increased. In Georgia the legal age for owning a firearm is 23, but from 21 you can purchase sporting and certain revolver handguns. And those who want to own a gun are obligated to pass an exam on weapon safety and rules of purchase and owning a firearm. Additionally before being granted a license to get a gun the person has to undergo a special check to determine their mental state of mind, which will help authorities to determine to grant that person a gun license or not. Further, people who have ever committed a crime, an administrative offence, including minor offenses, drunk driving, and resisting police, will never get permission to own a gun. And people who were trying to get a gun unlawfully will go to jail for 4 years and the people who carried a gun illegally will face 4-6 years of imprisonment. In doing so Georgia has become one of the safest countries in Europe and safest country in the region.
Meanwhile in the U.S. we are hearing about mass gun shootings nearly every week and the government doesn’t seem to be doing anything to solve this problem. And while debating whether gun control is the issue or mental health, elected leaders are lowering the funding on mental health. So what should be done to eliminate this problem still remains as an unanswered question.
People in U.S. say that if we make it harder to get a gun people will still be able to get it illegally, but with stronger regulation and peoples trust in the law enforcement this fear can be extinguished as well. If Americans make it harder to get a gun, good people will still be able to get guns with no obstacles, but also it will be much harder for bad people to have access.
After the Parkland Florida shooting people were waiting for the federal government to do something to solve the problem, but they have done nothing. They made no move towards making it harder for the people to get a gun, and barely discuss the role of high capacity semi-automatic weapons at all. While government is not doing anything, the shootings have become like weather forecasts that we are hearing about every week as if they’re a normal occurrence. When elected representatives do nothing,it’s time for people to take action.
It’s time to unite and speak out against their inaction and the injustice. As Mahatma Gandhi said “we should all be the change we want to see in the world”. The new generation has already taken their action all around the U.S. On March 14 students at Fremont High School are joining hundreds of thousand of their peers to do their part.
But it’s time for the adults to participate, because they are the ones who can make a change today. While the students are the leaders of tomorrow, they are not yet voting. So today’s voters, it’s you who can make the change in November. Join the students in solidarity or even call your representative and tell them that you support common sense firearms regulations. That’s how the change will happen.
Soso Chikhladze, exchange student from Georgia, and Aidan Petz.
Fremont High School students
Democrats must apply to the Michigan Democratic Party by March 16 in order to vote for candidates at the State Endorsement Convention on April 15.
“The Michigan Democratic Party’s 2018 State Endorsement Convention is where people can have a voice in the direction of our party, and our state’s government,” said Dallas Dean, Newaygo County Democratic Party Chair.
Democratic candidates for State Attorney General, Secretary of State, and candidates for the State Supreme Court will be endorsed based upon the votes of the members who have applied by March 16 and who attend the Convention.
“It’s a great way for young people to begin their involvement in our political system, because a 16 year old can vote for candidates at the Convention. You do not have to be a registered voter, and there is no fee. You just have to be a resident of Michigan, be at least 16, and have applied to the Michigan Democratic Party by March 16,” added Dallas. “You can still go to the Convention if you do not apply by March 16, but you will not be able to vote.”
“The Newaygo County Democratic Party encourages everyone to get involved in our local government and political parties so their voices and votes count,” said Carol Newth, Action Team Coordinator. “Our local party will soon be taking to the phones and the streets to help people get registered to vote, no matter what their political leanings or affiliations may be. We are especially hoping to get more young people registered so they can vote in the important upcoming elections.”
“If someone needs an application form, they can call the Newaygo County Democratic Party at 231-709-9007. You can also go online to www.michigandems.com and register electronically. It must be sent or postmarked by March 16,” said Carol.
The Michigan Democratic Party State Endorsement Convention will be held on April 15 at the Cobo Center in Detroit. Over twenty constituency caucuses and the 14 Michigan District caucuses will meet before the elections take place. Buses and local members will be providing transportation to the Convention. For more information, go to www.newaygocodems.org, call 231-709-9007, or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
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