To the Editor:
Here’s what I remember from 1973. I started public high school, transitioning from a private, Catholic school. I learned to drive, smoked my first cigarette, and kissed my first boy. My world was narrow and I had little awareness of politics or even reproductive rights.
Four years later, having agency over my own body would be my highest priority. In 1977 I was a high school dropout and pregnant at 18 years old. I wasn’t raped or molested, I was a sexually active girl, ignorant about my body. I knew I did not want to be pregnant or a mother. I wanted to return to being a carefree girl again. So I told my Catholic parents who promptly helped me obtain my first abortion at 18 years old. It is not a pleasant memory. It was physically painful and emotionally isolating. There was only shame and disappointment. I definitely did not want to do that again.
At the age of 26, I was a mother of a 2 year old and in the middle of a messy divorce when I found out I was pregnant again. My life was in chaos as I struggled to be a mother, I was sure of one thing: I would not be having another child. I had my second abortion, telling no one, alone but finding support from the exceptional people at Planned Parenthood. They provided me with empathy and kindness, my first full education about long term reproductive healthcare, and yes, a safe abortion.
As I reflect back on my past abortions, I am grateful that I had the option to choose a safe way to end a pregnancy. I believe that if I had not had a safe option, I would have tried to end the pregnancies any way possible at the risk of my own life.
I share this deeply personal story, not to change minds but to support others who have made this choice. I want you to know that there is a silent sisterhood in this conservatively religious community. You are not defined by this choice. You do not need to live in shame, fear, sadness, or isolation.
You are not alone.
N3- Newaygo County Mental Health has been providing services to the community for the past half century. As part of Mental Health Month we are running a series of articles highlighting the good work that has been done as well as the good work currently being done. NCMH Maintenance ‘guru’ Troy Wisely is featured in this fourth installment.
NCMH – 50 years
For more than twenty eight years, Troy Wisely worked for the County of Newaygo, starting in law enforcement, and eventually transferring to the maintenance department. Part of his responsibilities often included working in the Mental Health Center.
In 2017, CMH was seeking a maintenance person to oversee their foster care homes, vehicles and the Fremont Autism Center. Troy decided to retire after many years of service with the County, and apply to work at CMH. For Troy, it was a match made in heaven.
“I have accomplished so much in my life, but I never thought that being part of the mental health family could give such a feeling of accomplishment”.
Troy spends a lot of his time working to maintain the 6 foster care homes that NCMH owns. Many of the home residents are profoundly disabled, and unable to speak. Troy loves going to the homes, and the residents all know him and respond warmly to his greetings. “The benefits of having some people who are not able to tell you hello, but with eye contact and body language are able to express sincere feelings is priceless. Some people consider what I do a job, but I don’t see myself doing anything else.”
Troy ensures that every one of our homes is well maintained, comfortable, and a really nice place to live. “When I’m having a rough day it always brings a smile to my face walking into one of the homes where people care so much. I have made it my personal quest to put smiles on the faces of those who have so often put one on mine. Each person in our homes has a story, and I am the person who will listen, even if I can’t understand everything that is being relayed.”
Troy is an invaluable member of the NCMH family. He ensures all of the agency vehicles are well maintained, that the facilities are safe and comfortable, and fills in helping in any way he can.
As Troy says “The people that I work with are all special individuals….we look out for one another. I don’t have a special degree from a school for this, but I have something that so many people wish they could have – the fulfillment of touching other people’s lives while they are also touching mine. I am sorry for one thing, and that is I didn’t find out sooner the blessing it is to be a part of “my people’s” lives.
By Tim McGrath
We’re a funny bunch, we humans. On one hand we can be generous, smart, creative and inventive. Just think of all the things those that came before us accomplished, created, and experienced. It’s quite a remarkable list. Things that today we just shrug our shoulders at and say, “Mmm, yeah, I guess” were monumental in their day. I remember my grandmother commenting on getting to experience electricity and the joys of indoor plumbing for the first time.
“Chamber pots were way better than running to the outhouse at night in the middle of January, Timmy, but I’ll tell you what, when we got the indoor pot we all thought we’d died and gone to heaven: it was a lovely thing.” Can only imagine.
When she’d see an airplane or jet zooming over, we’d hear about the first time she saw one flying over their house when she was a little girl. How all the neighbors came rushing out of their houses and watched it roaring by. We’d hear about their first radio, television, telephone, car. How the horse drawn milk wagon that clip-clopped by the house every morning was replaced by the milkman in his truck. Refrigerators replacing the icebox. My cousins and I playing in the empty coalbin in her basement, her telling us about the dirty work of stoking the coal burning furnace. What a thrill it was when piped in natural gas came along and fed the huge new furnace. We imagined it to be an octopus bent on gobbling little boys like us up. On and on her list went.
Every generation that’s followed has also witnessed a mind boggling array of innovation, invention, and achievements that never fail to astound. So on and on these things go, moving the whole thing forward.
And yet, there’s the head scratchers….
We humans can also be a big mystery. How is it that in spite of how much we’ve moved civilization forward we see evidence that suggests otherwise. It seems like, even though the rate of knowledge, innovation, and achievement has accelerated at an astonishing rate, we seem to be moving the whole thing backward in so many ways. Take the wealth of half-truths, disinformation, misinformation, and just outright blather we’re bombarded with daily on television and social media made to sound like truth.
The goofiness people fall for is quite remarkable. How is it that so many seemingly intelligent, thoughtful, reasonable people fall for ridiculous notions that, given some reflection and thought, would be revealed to be a crazy mix of half-truths, and just plain nonsense. But if the peddlers of these conspiracies say it loudly enough, long enough, and convincingly enough some will start to wonder. Hmmm…, maybe this could have some merit, they think. And then we’re off and running.
Here's some I’ve found that really are quite remarkable in both their zaniness, and the fact that a number of people believe them.
This is just a tiny look at the conspiracy theories that have been floated about. New ones regularly pop up like angry boils. Many are hilarious in their outlandishness, yet too often there are the dangerous ones that persuade susceptible people to commit truly heinous crimes that cause so much misery and suffering. How did we allow ourselves to become a people where half -truths, misinformation, disinformation, and ridiculous blather screamed over all forms of media become the truth, and an acceptable way to think and act toward one another? Where we become pitted against each other in like-minded tribes that won’t entertain the thoughts, beliefs, or ideas of people we disagree with. If you aren’t with us, you’re not only wrong, you’re now the enemy. Wait, what…, are we that unthinking, unyielding, and gullible?
Enter one of the most magnificently ridiculous conspiracy theories in recent days… Birds Aren’t Real. True. According to the group promoting this, the government has secretly replaced all the birds with look-alike bird drones. Beginning in 1959 and continuing through 2001, 12 billion birds were replaced with surveillance drones. They’re out there keeping an eye on all of us, and reporting back to the government….
The television news program 60 Minutes recently had a piece on the movement. It was interesting to watch as the group moved from city to city passing on the information that our feathered friends are not what they seem. In spite of the laughability of the whole thing, there were people who, after listening to the message being screamed from the BAR conspiracy van, started wondering if just maybe…. Of course, many people realized the craziness of it, and laughed it off as just some wacko hippie types peddling their silliness. But there were some who were wondering. One lady, after listening to the group’s insistent message, was asked what she thought about BAR. “Oh, yeah, I knew that.” Seriously.
The point of the story and the BAR movement is to point out in a truly outrageous way just how gullible some can be given the right circumstances. One would think that just given their name, Birds Aren’t Real, that people would ignore them, or laugh it off as some silly prank. But nope, some do believe. Remarkable. Oh by the way, they do have a website and Facebook page with some cool BAR merchandise.
And yet, in spite of how clever or smart we may think we are, all of us can be susceptible to falling for conspiracy theories…. Here’s one of my own.
Pets in our house were mostly an abysmal failure. The hamsters would regularly escape their cages, and Mom finally had it when she was awakened at 2:00 a.m. one morning. She heard something chewing, and turning on the bedside lamp to investigate, saw little beady eyed Herbie happily gnawing away on the bedpost. She had us all up chasing the bugger around the room. We finally got it cornered, and Dad clomped an empty cool whip container over it. We got it back into its cage, and that’s when I realized I’d failed to completely close the cage door after I’d been playing with him. From then on, Herbie was on 24-hour lockdown.
Every dog we got usually ended up being given away. It wasn’t that they weren’t cared for or loved, it was just that there was always something wrong with them. So, off they’d go to some other relative or friend. Inevitably, we’d hear what wonderful companions they were, how could we possibly have given them away like that? Always said with a laugh, always. Which left my brother and I longing for some kind of pet that wasn’t a disaster.
The first time I saw it, I couldn’t believe it. There, right across the street, was Mrs. Saurman, a neighbor lady, out for a walk. But what she was walking was remarkable. I hurried across the street to get a closer look.
“Hi, Mrs. Saurman. Is that a raccoon?” I asked, incredulous that someone could actually be walking a raccoon.
“It sure is, Timmy. This is Dicky, he’s my pet raccoon. Would you like to pet him?” she cheerfully asked. She made it seem like the most natural thing in the world to be out on a glorious August evening with your pet raccoon on the end of a leash.
Not long after I saw her again out walking. This time it appeared she had a duck on the end of a leash. As I ran across the street to investigate, I saw it was a duck; a fat, waddling, quacking duck. “Hi, Mrs. Saurman, is that a duck?”
“It is, Timmy. This is my pet mallard, Larry.”
After that it became a common sight to see the three of them out for a stroll in the evening: Mrs. Saurman, Dicky, and Larry. Which got me thinking.
“Mom, can we get a raccoon?” I casually asked one day. “Mrs. Saurman has got one, it’s tame, and she said they’re friendly and clean. Or maybe we could get a duck?” She looked up from her dishwashing and looked at me like I’d lost my mind.
“Why of course not. We’re not having any more pets in this house. Nutso dogs and hamsters running all over creation are bad enough. But a raccoon? I can only imagine the mischief it would get into. Let’s not hear any more of this nonsense.” Well, that’s that, I thought.
One day not long after I was moping around the house. My pals were out doing stuff with their moms, so I was stuck at home. “I’m bored,” I said. Not a good thing to say to my mother. She’d see to it that I’d regret uttering those words. But today was different.
“Do you remember when you wished for a duck like Mrs. Saurman’s Larry, or pet raccoon, Dicky?” she asked. How could I forget?
“Well, I’m going to let you in on a little known fact. Did you know that if you sprinkle salt on a bird’s tail, it freezes in place and can’t fly? Why don’t you go out and give it a try? If you catch one, you can have that as a pet.”
“Really?” I asked. I wanted to believe her, but it sounded kind of goofy.
“Yes, completely true. Now why don’t you go on out and see if you can nab one. It’s a nice day, and I’m tired of seeing you moping around here.”
The next few weeks were taken up by the great bird chase. I was eager. Every day after school found me slinking ninja style around the neighborhood, salt shaker in hand, determined to catch a robin, sparrow, or well, any flying creature. It became an obsession. I actually got within a few feet of a robin one afternoon. I got the salt shaker in position, and just as I gave it a shake, the stupid bird flew away. That’s when I saw Mrs. Van Koevering peeking out her kitchen window with a big grin on her face. She’d been watching me the whole time. And that’s when I finally realized Mom had made the whole thing up to get me out of her hair.
Years later, we were recounting my great disappointment at not being able to capture a bird with the salt shaker method. “Oh, my, the whole neighborhood was in on it,” she laughed. “All the other moms got such a kick out of watching you sneaking around with your salt shaker after school all those days,” she recalled. “At first I felt badly that I’d tricked you like that, but then I thought it might be a good lesson for you to learn.” she said.
“What kind of lesson is that, tricking a little kid?” I huffily replied. I still remembered my embarrassment after realizing I’d been duped by my own mother.
“Well, I realized there would be people in your life who would try to take advantage of you, and get you to believe things that were not true. I wanted you to learn not everything you hear, see, or read is true, and not everyone can be trusted, honey. I wanted you to learn to use your head. So I hope you can understand why I did what I did.”
Thanks, Mom, well played.
Left Photo L-R: Kathy Teverbaough, Lenore Bacon (NCDP Vice Chair), Amanda Siggins (Candidate for 101st District MI House of Representatives), Shelly Ross (NCDP Fundraising Chair), Nancy Walker, Marshall Stern, Peter Dickow (Senator Gary Peters West MI Regional Director) Right photo L-R Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Lenore Bacon NCDR Vice Chair
The Newaygo County Democratic Party (NCDP) will be opening its new headquarters on Wednesday, June 1. The office location is 701 W Main Street, Fremont (use the Fremont Avenue entrance).
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel attended the pre-opening ribbon cutting festivities, along with Amanda Siggins, candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives District 101. Also present was Peter Dickow, the West Michigan Regional Director for Senator Gary Peters.
NCDP Officers Dallas Dean (Chair), Lenore Bacon (Vice Chair) , Jan Walsh (Treasurer), Ellen McIntee (Secretary), and Michelle Ross (Fundraising Chair) were on hand to lead the event.
“The first meeting in the new headquarters will be held on Monday, June 6 at 7pm. We look forward to kicking off this election year with our Newaygo County community members,” stated Dallas Dean.
“I was thrilled to stop by and help christen the new office,” Nessel said. “It gave me an opportunity to talk to voters, learn about their concerns, and share more about my work.”
A former criminal prosecutor and civil rights attorney, Nessel was sworn in as Michigan’s 54th Attorney General on January 1, 2019. Since taking office, she has created a number of new consumer protection units in the Department of Attorney General, including those addressing hate crimes and domestic terrorism, wrongful convictions, elder abuse, payroll fraud, and scammers who prey on the public.
Candidate Amanda Siggins agreed, “It was great to hang out with these intrepid Newaygo County Democrats on this beautiful day, celebrating their new headquarters in downtown Fremont!”
Siggins, running for the Michigan House of Representatives District 101, is a young mother with 3 children and a devoted husband. A business owner, Amanda states she is “a product of my family's legacies as hard-working farmers and builders. I grew up on farms, livestock auctions, mud bogs, construction sites, gun ranges, and in kitchens with my grandmas, too. I don't write or talk like a politician. I'm running to be a representative, not a politician. Real people need real representation.”
“I look forward to having informed conversations about how your local politics can impact people's everyday lives, and by doing so, encourage higher voter turnout and involvement," stated Michelle Ross of the NCDP.
To keep up to date on the Newaygo County Democratic Party, visit the website: www.newaygocodems.org; follow on Facebook: @Newaygo County Democratic Party; or call (231) 709-9007.
By Marc Geroux, LPC, QMHP, Newaygo County Mental Health
NCMH – 50 years
N3- Newaygo County Mental Health has been providing services to the community for the past half century. As part of Mental Health Month we are running a series of articles highlighting the good work that has been done as well as the good work currently being done. In this third piece Marc Geroux describes his professional growth during his career in the mental health field.
I was asked to write about how I entered into the field of mental health, and about my training, my practice and my experience. There is a tendency for people to enter the field due to having some vested interest from having a family member struggling with mental health, or struggling themselves. While problems existed in my family, my path was to it as a result of finding it interesting and connecting with it when taking classes in college.
My career began working in a program that assisted families in their efforts to avoid removal of their children or reunify them after spending time in foster care. I moved to West Michigan and was hired at Newaygo County Mental Health in 2002. During my time at NCMH I was lucky enough to be trained in DBT, EMDR, Motivational Interviewing and a Neurofeedback program.
Following my studies, it took little time for my eyes to be open to many different environments that were not covered by the curriculum. Naively, I made the mistake of viewing cases in terms of labels or diagnoses, however I quickly learned this was not close to sufficient. It wasn’t until the training in DBT that I learned to look at things with curiosity and the benefits of taking the time to understand the cause and effects of symptoms.
This was further reinforced when learning about trauma with the Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children and EMDR. My practice now tends to be trauma informed, primarily utilizing interventions from DBT and EMDR. From this scope of practice it became clear that behaviors are mostly a product of their experience, seemingly more so than their biology or anything that can be summed up in a diagnosis.
Looking back, I held a view that people seeking mental health treatment were somehow different from those who did not. I failed to appreciate that most, if not all, people could benefit from seeking help and the vast majority of people who come into our office do not have organic based symptoms. I also realized that the symptoms identified in the DSM-Diagnostic and Statistical Manual are things that all will experience on some level, what makes it a disorder is that it interferes with at least one area of functioning. These are often patterns of behavior often passed down through generations and tend to be inadvertently reinforced within their environment.
I also want to note that the reinforcement tends to be based more on care that comes from wanting a problem to be solved and stress response to be extinguished; rather than malicious intent; as it is often viewed. Individuals are not broken; rather they are a sum of their experiences. The impact of trauma and function of emotion on behavior is something the field is now appreciating on a deeper level. The DBT program promotes a belief that it is a mistake to focus on fixing the problem without understanding the parts. This practice appears to be gaining relevance and hopefully will continue its presence in the field; and appreciated as a community.
We are now also increasing our understanding of the functions within the brain and are offering Neurofeedback, which shows promise to help train the brain to decrease problematic symptoms of anxiety, depression, issues with attention, addiction and symptoms associated with Autism. While this does show promise, it is in the early stages of development. It is my hope that Newaygo County Mental Health continues to make efforts to pioneer treatments that can improve quality of life. While it has many challenges, it is important to maintain our efforts.
I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the individuals and families who allowed me the honor of entering into their lives and sharing their experiences. My growth would not happen without you.
"Getting the 'community' into Mental Health."-Hank Boks who was hired by NCMH the year they opened their doors.
NCMH – 50th Anniversary celebration
N3- Newaygo County Mental Health has been providing services to the community for the past half century. As part of Mental Health Month we are running a series of articles highlighting the good work that has been done as well as the good work currently being done. This is the second and features a conversation with former Exec. Director Hank Boks who was part of NCMH’s original crew.
1972 – seems like so long ago. If you ask Hank Boks, former Executive Director of Newaygo County Mental Health, it seems like yesterday.
“I was the first clinical hire of the agency – Glen Erard, the first Director of the Agency, hired me to move Newaygo County residents out of state institutions and back into Newaygo County. We had a lot of people both in Traverse City State Hospital and the Muskegon Regional Center that didn’t need to be there. It was a standard practice for babies born with disabilities for the parents to be told by their family doctor that the child needed to go to an institution. People didn’t know any different.
“We worked hard to get all of these people home. Newaygo County was the first County in the State to get all of its residents out of State Institutions, and we continue to not use State Hospitals to house individuals with developmental disabilities or mental illness today.
“We were able to develop other options in the community that were better for the individuals, and allowed their families to develop relationships and visit them” says Boks. “We developed foster care homes in the community, and programs at Mental Health to serve and meet their needs here. They lived much fuller lives, and many were able to go on to living in their own homes and apartments.”
Initially Community Mental Health offices were located in an old house on the other side of Wilcox. The current mental health building was constructed in 1979, with a major addition being added in 2009.
“We focused on getting the ‘community’ into mental health. Over the years, we developed all of the array of services that we could offer. We provided case management, therapy, home-based services for children, and housing for adults with disabilities. We built three homes in the 1980’s to move persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities out of the institutions and into the community.
"All three of these homes are still operating, and 3 more have been added since then. These homes provide a community based home for the people that live there. In one of the homes, 3 of the people that moved there in the late 1980’s still live there today, more than 30 years later.”
Hank Boks would go on to become a clinical supervisor, and eventually Executive Director. He served the Agency for almost 28 years. “I am proud of Newaygo County Mental Health and the services they provide to the community. There have been many changes and new programs over the last 50 years that have changed lives for the better in this community. I know they will continue to serve persons in need for another 50 years.”
A Mothers Day Tribute
By Ken DeLaat
It has been over 20 years of Mothers Days since my Mom followed my Dad’s footsteps into ‘“the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns” as Shakespeare so eloquently described. And during each of these annual tributes to those who have starred in this all consuming role, my thoughts wander back to her and the ways she expressed her love for her children.
My Mother was a truly wonderful person, all familial prejudice aside. She adored my Dad, loved her children and provided us with a home where it was relatively easy to find happiness. My childhood memories of her always seem to place her in the kitchen where she spent countless hours in the planning and preparation of a seemingly endless stream of meals. Initially I recall sumptuous feasts finding their way to the table with all of us sitting around it waiting to dig in as my Dad shared a version of the Lord’s Prayer delivered with a swiftness that would shame an auctioneer on amphetamines. The man could whip through it in 3.7 seconds without missing a word, particularly if there was sweet corn on the menu. It was truly impressive.
Later my (significantly older) brothers began to have busy lives with sports, part-time jobs and girlfriends while my Dad moved into jobs that led him to often work long hours so our mealtimes evolved into an ongoing parade of seatings that rivaled the scene at a hectic bistro.
And my Mom handled it with the deftness of a gifted juggler not only preparing provisions wrought from an infinite inventory imbedded in her many cupboards, but individualizing these repasts according to the desire of the diner. At the time it seemed like no big deal but in retrospect it makes sense why so many of my recollections find her kitchen-bound. The lady was running an all-purpose dining establishment with no prep cooks, wait staff, or bussers.
Once while in college and in the midst of a road trip whose purpose escapes me, three friends and I popped in on my parents around 9:30 on a Saturday night on our way back to Mt. Pleasant. My Mom asked (of course) if we were hungry and while my buddies were polite enough to defer I was famished and replied in the affirmative. Mom proceeded to head to the kitchen where she prepared us burgers, hash browns, salads and tossed in a little ice cream for dessert. We wolfed down the vittles, expressed our gratitude and soon motored on back toward campus.
My friends were astounded. On the way home they could not stop talking about the experience, as if they had just witnessed something extraordinary and the story was retold many times to equally amazed listeners.
To me it was no big deal I guess. It was after all, what my Mom did. It was a part of how she expressed her love and if there was one thing Mom had down better than anyone I’ve ever known it was her ability to love. Though never attending college she had a PhD in love and practiced it like a master.
So on this Mother’s Day I honor her and all the wonderful mothers I have known with a few words written by those who have said it better than I could ever dream to.
“In a child's eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.”- N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
My mother had a slender, small body, but a large heart — a heart so large that everybody’s joys found welcome in it, and hospitable accommodation. ~Mark Twain
The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. ~Honoré de Balzac
“But kids don't stay with you if you do it right. It's the one job where, the better you are, the more surely you won't be needed in the long run.” Barbara Kingsover, Pigs in Heaven
“Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation.”- Robert A. Heinlein, Have Spacesuit-Will Travel
“Thank you, Mom, for the way you managed yourself during the childish, mean, selfish, insensitive, irresponsible, unreasonable, hateful moments I put you through. From your example I learned to be patient, positive, kind, selfless, sympathetic, reliable, sensible, and loving. You have my endless appreciation.”- Richelle Goodrich, Making Wishes
And a poem
is pure radiance.
she is the sun
i can touch
Publishers note: This is a revised version of a piece initially appearing the first week of N3’s existence (2016)
Kelly Smith is running to be your House Representative in the state of Michigan. He may not be a polished politician, but he knows how to make a positive difference at our Capitol.
Kelly is a proud lifelong resident of White Cloud in Newaygo County. Kelly began his professional career as a driver for the Newaygo County Road Commission in 1985, and was shortly elected by his fellow employees as Union Steward.
Kelly was privileged to work his way to become manager at the road commission, where his duties included serving on several statewide committees to serve as an advocate for all Michigan county road commissions in Lansing for issues regarding funding, technology, and much more. His work taught him the benefits of hard work, friendship, collaborating with others, and the value of a dollar.
Kelly has also served as a member of the Fremont Area Community Foundation’s Community and Economic Development committee, which handles grant funding for organizations seeking to strengthen and grow a sustainable local economy. His experiences have strengthened his belief in protecting our American Constitution, restoring our economy, job growth and creation, and listening to the voice of the people as we work to a stronger future.
His wife Pam, their four children, and their 2 grandchildren are all happy to support Kelly on his run for office. They believe his experience in Lansing, and his devoted work ethic, will empower Kelly to represent the 101st district and steer the right kind of change.
More information is available at
"Paid for by the Committee to elect Kelly Smith"
European exchange students add to Newaygo Soccer
Story and photos by Tara Hefferan
For the second Spring in a row N3 has been privileged to have Tara Hefferan covering the Newaygo Lions Soccer team with photos and insights into their matches.
Here she shares the unique story of how six exchange students from across the pond have helped give the team an international flavor while contributing to what has thus far been a very successful season.
Soccer brings people from around the world together. This is true of Newaygo Lions women’s soccer, too, which includes six European exchange students. Levinia Marquardt and Johanna Bartsch come from Germany. Filippa Hollmark and Viktoria Ringh hail from Sweden. Laura Haavisto is from Finland, and Claudia Louzao is from Spain.
The exchange students wanted to come to the USA in order to meet new people, improve their English language skills, and partake in the American high school spirit. Nowhere is that spirit more alive than in this tight-knit soccer team, where friendships are central to Lion success. “All the jokes and laughs we have had, the team is really amazing and we always have so much fun” says Hollmark.
The girls look forward to game days, and they especially enjoy the away games, where riding the bus and team-bonding are part of the experience. After the soccer match in Hart, for example, the bus made a detour for an all-American meal at McDonald’s, which was “pretty fun” said Bartsch.
Of the six students, only Viktoria Ringh and Laura Haavisto are soccer players back home. Both typically play defensive roles on their home teams, but here in Newaygo, Ringh has found herself more often in the midfield, while Haavisto has been spending most of her time as a striker. Commenting on soccer in Sweden, Ringh says, “Soccer at home is much more common and available in every different way. It’s the same rules, but people don’t know as much about soccer here in the US as home.”
While soccer is more popular back home, Bartsch and Marquardt said that in Germany, there are no athletic teams associated with the high schools. Soccer is played only through clubs. In Finland, Haavisto practices with her club team three or four times a week, with games on the weekends. As Ringh reports, “one of my dreams as a kid had always been to play soccer in high school.” Newaygo Soccer is making that dream a reality.
Here in our small town, there are plenty of opportunities for international students to get outside of their comfort zones, which several girls said is necessary for the full American experience. “Don’t be afraid to try something you never did before, do as many things you can do, use every chance you get, enjoy it!” said Marquardt.
Soccer is about community. It unites people across language, culture, and nationality. It is “The Beautiful Game,” and it shines brightly here in Newaygo. Says Bartsch, “I am really happy and thankful that I had the opportunity to be part of this amazing team. It is one of the best things I did this year, and I will really miss every single one of the players.”
In total fifteen international students attend Newaygo High School in the 2021-2022 school year as part of the Council for Educational Travel, USA (CETUSA ) exchange program. CETUSA is currently recruiting host families for the next academic year.
By Kristie Bulger
We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." – Immanuel Kant, German philosopher
The previous shelter story offered some suggestions on how to keep your dog from becoming lost. While I hope my suggestions were helpful, it is still true that sometimes accidents happen no matter how hard we try to be well prepared. So here is Part 2 of Lost Dogs. We’ll look at some advice on how to find your dog if he/she has become lost.
Let's assume your dog has a microchip and the chip information is up to date. Whatever company your dog's microchip is registered with, you need to call them right away. Let them know that your dog is missing. If he/she is turned into a shelter or taken to a vet, he/she will get scanned and the company chip will get called. If you've called the company first, then your dog is "flagged" as lost or stolen.
Put your dog's bed/blanket and soiled items of the owner's clothing outside the door. I hate to say it but the smellier the better. Also notify neighbors, mail carriers, and delivery drivers to be on the lookout for your pet. Report your missing dog to the shelter and non-emergency police line. Michigan has a 7 day stray hold. The shelter will take your information and keep an eye out for any stray matching your dog's description. If someone calls the shelter with info that sounds like your dog, you will be notified.
Put large bright colored posters up all over the area. Your poster should include: one or two clear photos, description of your dog’s breed, size, sex (spayed or neutered), when/where your dog went missing, who to contact and how to contact them and if there's a reward. Also put a large sign up in your yard that can be seen from the road. Use the same information on 8 1/2" X 11” paper to make a bunch of flyers. Put up the flyers around the neighborhood where the dog went missing. Knock on doors. Tack or tape up posters/flyers nearby, at vet clinics and shops. Plaster your area with them. Very often a lost dog is still in the neighborhood, so start there.
Use this poster information to do on line posts to https://www.facebook.com/For-the-Love-of-Louie-Michigan-Lost-Pet-Lookers-264553563570926 ,https://www.facebook.com/PawBoost, local lost & found pet pages, and community Facebook pages for the area. Put an ad on Craigslist lost & found and search there often. Here are links to Newaygo area lost/found FB groups:
Contact https://www.facebook.com/LostPawsLLC or a local missing pet recovery team if more assistance is needed. These recovery teams are very experienced and have many resources available.
Never give up. Every day there are stories of dogs being reunited with owners after months and even years of being separated. Sometimes they are found hundreds or thousands of miles away from where they went missing, all because of a microchip.
If you find a dog, Michigan law requires you report it to your community law enforcement or animal control within 48 hours. The shelter and/or local vets will scan a found dog for a chip. Here’s a link to some very good information:https://www.lawinfo.com/resources/insurance/pet-law/michigan/if-i-find-a-stray-dog-can-i-keep-it-as-my-own.html. Finders can also help by putting up flyers of the found dog to reach families that are not on social media and who don't know to call dog control! It doesn’t take very long for a family dog to look ragged and thin if they’ve been lost for a while. Don’t assume that a matted dog is neglected. Many lost dogs don't need a NEW home, they need to GO home.
Here’s a link to our FB page "Friends of Newaygo County Shelter” where you can see all our available animals:
The adoption fee for dogs is $90.
This fee includes spay/neuter, deworming, heartworm test, rabies & DHLPP shots, flea & tick treatment and license.
The adoption fee for cats is $65
This fee includes spay/neuter, rabies vaccine, feline distemper combo vaccine, FIV/FELV testing, deworming and flea/tick treatment.
Newaygo County Animal Shelter
78 N. Webster
White Cloud, MI 49349
Monday - Friday 11-1
Appointments welcome and available upon request
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