By Ken De Laat
"Screwdriver business just gets me confused
It takes me half an hour to change a fuse
And when I flicked the switch the lights all blew
I'm not your handyman"- Billy Bragg. Handyman Blues
Here at N3 World Headquarters & Seed-to-Garden Emporium we are in the midst of a dreaded Spring Redo Initiative where half of the team has found some incredibly inventive ways of avoiding the holding a paintbrush.
There are always stories and articles to write or look over of course and news items to follow up on. Other duties involving meetings outside of the house consume some hours here and there And of course the recent tourney run delivered ample time away since the games were played in distant arenas and being a cautious type it was not unusual to allow for a 2-3 hour cushion...just to be sure.
While certain what I describe is not likely to be seen as an attribute and readers may consider this as part of a larger character defect in reality it has consistently proved to be the best approach to anything resembling the need for one to be in any size, shape or form ‘handy’.
This is a tough one to share but anyone who knows me on any level beyond ‘that tall older guy who always looks kind of disheveled’ would be familiar with this deficiency. My long suffering LSC Lil is, of course, far more acutely aware than all others of this limitation. And, having come from a family that always knew how to ‘do things’ it seems reasonable that the legendary patience she has developed over the past several decades might have gotten traction from said limitation.
So when a room...say, a large bedroom with various angles, heavy furniture and many wall attached items...has been deemed in need of painting my reply is as predictable as the Tigers falling out of contention before Mothers Day.
“I can hire a painter or you can hire a painter or you can do it if you choose, but those are the only options.”
Now mind you, I have been more than willing to be supportive. To take full charge of chores we generally split, run any needed errands and be on call to help move this or that or even fetch hydration and sustenance when required.
But I have a history with painting and, alas, it's not a pretty one. I will 100% without a doubt mess it up and this is less excuse than it is a deep sense of self awareness.
In past years the propensity of my failure to heed the wisdom of Primum non nocere has led to many unfortunate results. You know I've found the process of aging, while not always a carnival ride, has its benefits if one pays a little attention to experiences. Efforts to go against the grain and learn how to ‘do things’ have been repeatedly made and while none were attempted with any level of commitment or enthusiasm (likely a huge part of the problem) the occasional stab at various fix-it type projects inevitably ended somewhere along a spectrum running from disappointing to disastrous.
So when I tell folks I own just 3 tools, a big hammer, duct tape and the phone?
I mean it.
And believe me the one I use the most is the phone.
Support local businesses, right?
"Tools are for people who have nothing better to do than think things through and make sensible plans.”- Laini Taylot, Muse of Nightmares
Congratulations to the Newaygo Lions Girls varsity basketball team.
It has been a real pleasure watching you obtain your mountain of a goal and making it to the State Finals. I don't know any of the players or coach personally. I do know Grandpa Jack Long, but please don't hold that against me. I have had the wonderful opportunity of announcing some of their regular season games when they played at Fremont, District games last year before covid hit and then the Regionals this year.
This team is the best of the pride. Twenty five years behind the microphone at various high school sports has given me the opportunity to witness many things. Most teams always have a player you love to hate, not so with this team of eight. They all bring a unique set of skills and passion for the game. They love playing the game of basketball with each other and they never gave up. They played hard and aggressive all the time, from start to finish.
The chemistry that they have is a tribute to fine coaching and parents support. This team has always been kind, courteous and played with positive sportsmanship. You should be so proud of your accomplishments and thank you, it's been a real treat watching you play.
Good luck in your future endeavors.
Voice of the Packers
By Jim McCormick, Former Director Newaygo County Department of Health and Human Services (Retired)
Michigan State Senator Jon Bumstead recently wrote to N3 regarding his support for election reform claiming that his constituents are concerned about election integrity. The Republican-controlled Legislature in Michigan is but one of 43 State legislatures currently considering hundreds of bills that would alter voting rights.
This reaction results from the former President claiming the 2020 presidential election was “rigged and stolen”. Examining facts, however, shows this effort to be a solution in search of a problem.
The ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation claims in it’s election fraud database that 1,317 proven cases of voters cheating exist. If one looks further, however, the data is a total from all elections since 1982 and encompass voter irregularities at any level, down to local elections. In Michigan’s case, there were 12 cases during those 38 years with no cases of voting twice in an election, no cases of ineligible people voting and no instances of people impersonating a voter.There was one case from the 2020 election where a father admitted to filling out his daughter’s absentee ballot while talking to her by phone at the college she attended. He then signed her name and sent it in. Interestingly. The fraudulent signature was caught by election officials.
One instance in the entire State of Michigan where 5.5 million votes were cast in just the November 2020 presidential election, and even in that one case the court found no criminal intent.
1,317 instances found by a far-right organization over 38 years at all levels in all states when over 1 billion votes have been cast in just the 10 presidential elections. Even if all 1,317 cases were during a presidential election, the fraud rate would be about one in 1 million. If the total votes cast in all elections were known, it would be one in billions.
Voter fraud is a myth being brought to you by sore losers who only want people who will vote for them to vote. This behavior is especially troubling when one considers the Michigan electorate passed Proposition 3 in 2018 by more than 66%. That proposition greatly expanded voting rights in Michigan which some now want to curtail. Oh, and they’re going to use a quirk in Michigan election law to do it. They’ll get someone to pay for gathering signatures on petitions and then pass the changes themselves, thereby avoiding a veto by the Governor. They’ll only need 340,000 signatures, as opposed to the 2.7million yes votes Proposition 3 obtained.
Strengthening voting integrity is an admirable goal, but it starts with telling the truth.
By Colton Isenhart
This fall I plan to attend Lake Superior State University, a small school with a 1 to 17 teacher to student ratio in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. I plan to study wildlife and fisheries biology to protect our valuable natural resources for generations to come. LSSU is one of the more affordable schools coming in just under $19,000.00 for tuition and fees. No one disagrees that the cost of a college education is increasing, even out of reach for many. Those who depend on student loans to get through college often graduate with crippling debt. The answer is not more loans, but more opportunities to earn that education. I propose three recommendations to my state legislature to reduce the cost or meet students halfway by increasing their power to earn that education.
First, audit all the colleges and universities in the state and compare the quality and costs of their programs. Find out where the money is spent and make that information public and easily accessible. This can certainly help me in making an educated choice when picking schools and spending my college savings. Use that information to give more aid to colleges who offer the best value. This educates consumers and rewards quality institutions who deliver the best value to their students.
Second, meet me halfway. I am saving for college by working part time at Meijer while in school, and full time in the summer. When I began working, I opened an account with Gerber Federal Credit Union right away because my parents taught me it was important to save a portion of my income. Reward hard workers, and savers like me, by matching my tuition payments. If I can manage to save $4,000.00 for school then offer a grant that matches that amount. I will be a more invested student if my own money is also on the line and you will be rewarding the good habits of working and saving.
Finally, increase work programs like MICorps and the CCC. Through these programs students who work for the state during the year through state parks programs, or other work projects, get not only a wage but college tuition contributions. Projects are getting done for the state, hard work is rewarded, and continued education is made possible.
Give students a chance to further their education without crippling debt. I have studied, volunteered, worked hard, and saved a large portion of my income. Unfortunately, the cost of even a lower end college education is still more than I have saved, and more than I currently have the power to earn. Legislators, please consider these three recommendations: match students' college savings; hold institutions of learning accountable by sharing a college tuition audit with the public, and meet students halfway with increased work study programs so together we can improve our state and make college more affordable.
Colton Isenhart is a senior at Fremont High School. This essay won him the top award in the recent Gerber Federal Credit Union's Annual Essay Scholarship Program.
By State Sen. Jon Bumstead, 34th Senate District
There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding election laws and security since the election in November. In the days, weeks and months following the 2020 election, I heard from many who wished to voice their concerns and distrust about how the election was conducted and an overwhelming number of voters I talk to have lost trust in our state’s election process. Many of these concerns were echoed across the country.
Our system of government allows us to have a say in the creation of the laws we live our everyday lives by. An elected voice in government and the ability to choose our leaders are what make our form of government special and the ability to confidently accept the results, whether we like them or not, is what makes the system work.
I believe everyone can agree that we need to have confidence in our elections. Election laws like security measures, identification requirements, and similar standards are what protect your fundamental right to vote. I believe we need to reexamine election laws and processes to make meaningful reforms that work to restore the public’s faith in elections.
Last week, my colleagues and I took this step and formally introduced a legislative package aimed at strengthening and improving election integrity in Michigan.
Over 30 bills were introduced as part of the election integrity package that covers a wide variety of issues dealing with processes before, during and after an election.
The bills include numerous reforms, including improving security at ballot drop boxes, strengthening poll challenger and poll watcher rights, cleaning up outdated voter lists, and requiring photo identification for in-person voting and when submitting an absentee voter ballot application. The reforms also would prohibit the mass mailing of absentee ballot applications and increase transparency in the audit process by ensuring audits are bipartisan and open to the public.
I sponsored two bills in the package. Senate Bill 288 would make audits bipartisan and open to the public. The bill gives each major political party the right to appoint an election inspector to oversee audits. This legislation would also allow each political party to appoint two observers to monitor the audit process, and the secretary of state would be required to stream video of the audit live on their website.
SB 309 would strengthen the rights of poll challengers and poll watchers. Under the bill, poll challengers would be given the right to sit behind the processing table and observe the election process from a reasonable distance. A poll challenger would also have the right to challenge a ballot if an elector is not listed in the poll book or is claiming the identity of another individual, or if the photo identification being used appears fraudulent or invalid.
My office has also created a website to give constituents an opportunity to provide feedback on the newly introduced election integrity package. To view a full summary of the election integrity package, and to provide feedback directly to my staff and me, visit www.SenatorJonBumstead.com/election.reform/.
As elected officials, I believe it is critical we listen to input from the people that elected us to represent them in state government. The election integrity package is a top priority for many of our residents, and I am open to hearing suggestions on the best way to strengthen and improve election integrity in Michigan.
Voting is the foundation of our system of government, and it is my hope that this legislation helps our residents regain confidence that their elections are being conducted honestly.
Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, represents the 34th state Senate District, which includes Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana counties.
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