By Kristie Bulger
"The love of a dog is a pure thing. He gives you a trust which is total. You must not betray it." – Michel Houellebecq, French author
Almost every single dog lover wants to take their dog along on all of their adventures. And almost every single dog thinks running to the grocery store is a grand adventure. How can a person ignore the happy dance or whining that happens while they’re getting ready to walk out the door? Dogs don’t care if it’s just an hour in the car, waiting for their owner to come back. All your dog knows is that they got to “Go!” But….here’s the part where I rain on the parade.
Summertime is not the time to take your dog with you in your vehicle. Every summer, dogs left in cars die from heatstroke. Their owners would never intentionally harm their dogs. Most owners think that their dog will be ok if they leave a window partially open or park in the shade or hurry up in the store. But even at just 70* outside, the temperature in your car can rise to over 90* in just 10 minutes. Don’t take the chance with your beloved pet. If it’s too hot for your child to be left in your car, then it’s too hot for your dog. I know it’s not easy to do but sometimes it’s best to leave your dog home….even if it makes both of you sad.
And while I’m raining on parades, I’d like to mention summer holiday parties, especially fireworks. Summer is the best time to have get-togethers with family and friends. But remember what's considered fun by people, may not be considered fun by pets. Fireworks are especially scary and a frightened dog can bolt through a fence or window or gate. Keep your dogs safe by keeping them at home whenever fireworks are a possibility.
So now I’m done preaching and just want to say I hope everyone and their pets have the Best Summer Ever!!!!
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
Writer offers tips on monitoring your child’s online access
By Crystal Brisbin, Parent Support Partner, Newaygo County Mental Health
N3- Newaygo County Mental Health has been providing services to the community for the past half century. As part of their celebration we are running a series of articles highlighting the good work that has been done as well as the good work currently being done. Today Crystal Brisban shares some suggestions for parents in this digital age.
Today, it is easy for us to be occupied by technology. As the years pass it seems that we are presented with increased convenience and exposure to online activities. Smart phones are now mini computers and travel with us on a daily basis. Leaving your phone at home or losing it causes anxiety as we are temporarily unable to access information that may be important to our day. Children are given smart phones at an earlier age and have become accustomed the carrying one as well. Being able to contact your child is much easier than it has been in previous decades. Knowing that our children are safe and have the ability to reach out to us offers a sense of security.
Unfortunately, with each positive of technology a consequence may follow. We want to examine limits and the safety that comes with convenience but we do not always know how to approach. As a parent, I have noticed my children have been more focused with virtual friends and less social in “real life”. Communications skills are present, but I wonder how, or if, they will thrive within the community as they become adults. Online communications are not always as they appear and it becomes easier for predators to manipulate children into giving information that places them in harm’s way.
Monitoring what is being accessed online is not an easy task if caregivers do not have the understanding on how to do so. There are several apps that can be used to limit time and content that your child is exposed to. Many of them charge a fee. I recommend that you research specific apps in order to understand how to work with them and set them up. If your child has a screen lock it is important to know how to get past it. Privacy is a privilege that is earned and more trust can develop as our children age. Young children are not aware of online dangers, even though they may think so. Parents may not be aware either. Researching apps or programs before letting your child use them will give insight regarding possible dangers. It is much easier to deny the use of a program than it is to take it away.
Children learn how to maneuver technology through online research and through their peers. Downloaded VPN’s (Virtual Private Networks) will provide the ability to travel online discreetly and without being tracked. They will also provide a way to get past control settings and blocked content. The following article through You are Safe Online provide more information on VPNs and suggestions on how to approach the situation with your children.
We all want to trust our children and monitoring their activity may make them feel as if you have invaded their privacy. Therefore, monitoring may cause an uncomfortable situation. It is important to speak about monitoring with your child and assure them that it is not an accusation of being untrustworthy or untruthful, but the role of a parent. Keeping our children safe extends beyond travels outside of the home and is not an easy task. Staying one step above what your child learns may help you keep them secure from online dangers. Family Online Safety institute provides a multitude of information that is extremely insightful. You can access their webpage at www.fosi.org.
Faerie garden felled by unknown intruder
By Ken DeLaat
One of the more pleasant aspects of life at N3 World Headquarters and Monarch Ministry is the variety of avian creatures who reside in and around the grounds. There’s a heron who arrives most mornings to strike a regal pose before heading off to nab a little breakfast, the wren who lives in Lil’s peace pole, a few territorial hummingbirds, hard working woodpeckers, a remarkably adept kingfisher and a catbird who always seems a bit confused.
House finches pay the occasional visit, swallows swoop along the lake reducing this year’s bumper crop of mosquitos by the mouthful and eagles soar ominously waiting for their prey with seemingly no preference as to fish or fowl.
And then there are the orioles.
We've enjoyed the company of these pleasant neighbors for many years now and await their annual arrival with anticipation and a supply of grape jelly. Their feeders are on the back deck near where we often dine al fresco and my much favored place to work on stories for the N3 site.
In the past we observed a mother teaching her young triplets the ins and outs of bird baths, a fascinating exercise in parental instruction. Most times we pause any conversation we might be having when one takes their place at the feeder. The colors are striking and their song is delightful. They also clatter at us if we are moving too close to their dinner table or are remiss in the timely refilling of the jelly holders.
For years the bowls of grape goo have gone relatively unmolested save the wasps who seem to get roaring drunk on the stuff, often ending life mired in their over indulgence.
Then two nights ago not only had the jars been obviously manhandled but the faerie garden, Lil’s creative little island of floral fantasy had been beaten into submission with the tops of the flowers missing (and presumably eaten) and a general disheveling of the citizenry who occupy the magic little place.
After a short mourning period Lil expressed hope for the survival of the trampled and bitten down plant life and moved the abused atoll to a new location. The next morning after her daily exercise regimen (I was busy at the time humanizing myself via heavy caffeine consumption) she called me down to the deck.
The shepherd's hook that had held the feeders was not just knocked about…
It was bent. The steel bar looked like a prop in a strong man contest.
Now given the fact that I am not exactly Mark Trail (old age reference to a one time regular in the Sunday Comics page) my knowledge of the abilities possessed by the nocturnal beasts who occupy the vicinity of N3WH&MM is far less than extensive.
At other times of day there are rabbits who wage an ongoing battle with Ms. Lil for garden supremacy, deer who wander in during early dawn hours for a taste of tulips in the spring and the obligatory squirrel gangs who are capable of unbelievable acrobatic achievements in their quest for sunflower seeds.
But then comes nightfall and the prowling about of raccoons, possums, porcupines and other nighttime nibblers.
But are any capable of not only flinging the jelly jars around after presumably licking them clean but bending a steel rod into an L shape?
Or was it something a bit larger?
The oddest thing was the lack of paw prints of any kind. In order to get to the feeder it would require anything of size to lumber through a sea of greenery and floral colors that surround it and encompass much of the yard. Did it perhaps take the steps down around the house, cross over the deck and shinny up the pole until it bent over to gain easier access? Possible I guess but while not knowing the intricacies of animal behavior, I am fairly certain a polite and lengthy stroll down the steps would be less likely than an ‘as the crow flies’ slog through any plant based obstacles when it comes to seeking food.
A while back in these pages I lamented having never seen an owl in the wild. The same goes for bears. While others have had their mini adventures with bears I’ve yet to encounter one not ensconced behind bars. Others have spotted them nearby and I know the county has a caniform clan milling about the countryside.
So it seems time for a trail cam. A chance to spot what it might be nothing more than a careful coon a polite possum or even a wily woodchuck.
But if it’s a bear it presents an opportunity to possibly finally spot one not just in the wild, but right here on my own back porch.
An opportunity that I will be certain to miss.
Because while my enthusiasm for encountering an owl has not wavered…
I can easily live with not being up close and personal with a bear.
To the Editor:
I wrote letters to my legislators asking them to prioritize working on gun safety. There is no need for weapons of mass destruction to be held by individuals. We do not allow the general public to have stinger missiles or thermo nuclear weapons. I am from a family of those who hunt for food. It seems a deer rifle would be plenty of protection if someone feels a threat and needs to defend their family.
I do not see Newaygo County as any different than small town USA anywhere. I recently went back as a volunteer in our local school. I hate thinking about someone being able to shoot up our children due to our very inadequate gun safety regulations.
I requested that they please work across the aisles for gun safety; come together for people's rights to live without the fear of being shot down in a public space. Plenty of other developed countries have done this. Our mass murder statistics for a developed country are horrifying.
Personal experience provides perspective for NCMH Board member
N3- Newaygo County Mental Health has been providing services to the community for the past half century. As part of their celebration we are running a series of articles highlighting the good work that has been done as well as the good work currently being done. Today, NCMH Board member Todd Koopmans offers some insight.
I have been involved with Newaygo County Mental Health a very long time - since I was a kid - maybe 8 or 9 years old. Back then, NCMH was smaller – there were no different departments – children and adults were served by the same people. There were Dictaphones, no cell phones and everything was typed into my records. I remember services in the house that was across the street from the library.
I spent my teen years in an institution and then foster care. I moved into an adult foster care home when I was 18. A few years later I was able to move into my own apartment. Then I bought a trailer, and got married. I joined the Board of the ARC of Newaygo County, and began to get involved with helping others being served by the CMH system. I joined the Disability Council for the State, and received the Partners in Excellence Award from the Community Mental Health Association.
Although I am no longer married, I am still friends with her. Her family accepted me as one of their own, and continue to support me and help me. I am treated as one of their own.
I am one of the founding members of the Empowerment Network, and served as Vice Chair on their board. We advocated with the CMH for more money and a better space. I am very proud of the contributions Empowerment makes to our community.
I was appointed to the CMH Board in 2007, and have served on the State Children’s Advisory Committee as well as the Self Advocates of Michigan committee since then. I am also on the Executive Board for the CMHA.
As a member of the CMH Board, I feel valued. The Board members share ideas, suggestions, and I appreciate being listened to. They listen to what I have to say, and we all have a lot to share. I learn a lot about new programs, and I believe we make a positive difference for all of the clients that we serve. At first, I was afraid to talk, but I am now comfortable talking about my experiences and beliefs. I feel that they really respect my opinions and I feel like I am a valuable member of the Board.
I also assist with other committees to help the voices of clients to be heard. I am a member of both the local and regional consumer advisory committees.
I am most proud that I have found a home, a place that I belong where I can use my experiences to help others. I am not angry about my past, and I look forward to the future. I have learned to not throw rocks at my problems, and if you want to make a change, do it from the inside out.
It is my hope that Community Mental Health and its Board will continue to serve this community for a long time. I believe we are on the right course, and I hope to help the Board continue to meet the needs of the people.
Newaygo Democrats host Dinner, Improv, Music at June 25th Fundraiser
Dinner, humor, music, silent auction and candidate “meet & greet” are all in store at the Dogwood Center for Performing Arts on Saturday, June 25. The Newaygo County Democratic Party will host the event from 5pm – 8pm at the Dogwood Center, located at 4734 S. Campus Court, Fremont.
MCs Nancy Howland Walker and Marshall Stern, two local improv aficionados, will keep the evening moving with wit and humor! Greg Miller, a West Michigan favorite musician, will provide melodies on guitar featuring jazz, rock, country, classical and pop. A Silent Auction will feature items from local artists and gift certificates for local businesses.
“We are fortunate to have 3 candidates for State and Federal seats speak at this year’s Dinner,” states Shelly Ross, Fundraiser Chair. “This gives community members a chance to hear why they are running, and what they can do for us here in Newaygo County.”
Jerry Hilliard is running in the newly redistricted U.S. Congressional 2nd District. The new District map extends far south nearing Kalamazoo, north to Cadillac and Manistee, and east nearly to Midland and Saginaw Bay. Although the new 2nd District no longer targets West Michigan, Mr. Hilliard will make his case to assure West Michiganders of Newaygo County that he will represent us and our issues in Congress.
Mark Bignell is running in another newly redrawn map: Michigan 33rd State Senate District. The new District map includes Montcalm and Newaygo counties and portions of Kent, Ionia, Lake, Muskegon and Ottawa counties.
Amanda Siggins is running in the newly redrawn 101st District House of Representatives. Amanda will discuss her vision for Newaygo County representation.
“The new Districts can be confusing for voters, and a challenge for Candidates as they learn about their new constituents,” stated Dallas Dean, Chair of the Newaygo County Democratic Party (NCDP). “Meeting them at the Dinner on June 25 will give all of us a chance to know one another better, and to take our concerns into their campaigns.”
“There are a few seats left for the Dinner, but they are going fast!” stated Ellen McIntee, NCDP Secretary.
Tickets for the evening of fine dining, entertainment, silent auction and candidate “meet & greet” can be purchased by going to the website www.newaygocodems.org; or by calling (231) 709-9007.
By Crystal Brisbin, NCMH
N3- Newaygo County Mental Health has been providing services to the community for the past half century. As part of their celebration 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 the 7th of a series we hear from Crystal Brisbin, Parent Support Partner.
As a parent I have experienced the fact that parental responsibilities can be overwhelming. Over the last few years some families may have faced more obstacles to overcome. Unforeseen situations that we may be unprepared for can increase stress and anxiety. Although we may intend on protecting our children from the negative effects that follow, our children may notice potential changes in our mood and/or communication. At times, our changes in demeanor and our reactions to our children’s behaviors may be more evident that we realize.
Through resilience parents may be able to protect their family against the impact of difficult situations in life. Parents or caregivers set an example of strength and how to cope with difficult situations by looking ahead instead of being so overwhelmed they feel they do not have the ability to get past today. For many of us, this is difficult and building resilience is not easy. At times, we may feel the need to reach out to supports. Not all families have familial supports available to them which can cause the feeling of defeat and isolation. Supports can be found outside of family though. Support groups, counseling services, neighbors, and community resources may be able to offer assistance or recommend services to help fill the void and lack of needed help. Reaching out may be a difficult task for some parents, but it is vital in building resilience and hopes for growth. Children may also need additional support. Encouraging them to speak with school staff and getting involved within the community in hopes of building healthy, lasting relationships. Developed relationships may provide a future of support that follows them into adulthood.
Encourage children to share how they feel. By identifying difficulties, parents can teach children how to grow from their emotions by providing examples of what you have learned throughout the years. Doing so allows them to become stronger when they are faced with barriers or challenges in the future as they have knowledge that they may not have had before. If your children are reluctant to share their feelings, you may want to look for sudden changes in behavior. Through experiences with my children, I have learned that there are times when a child is frustrated or stressed about something that we are unaware of. Through empathy, compassion, and encouraging open communication it is more likely that your child will feel safe to speak.
Reliance is a skill built on life experiences. It takes time to change habits and focus on the future. Sometimes we cannot imagine the future during difficult times. We may feel too overwhelmed to focus on making changes. You know your family best and if you choose to make changes you will know when the time is right. Change is not easy and you may want to gradually make strides towards building resiliency. If you are struggling, know that you are not alone and there is someone out there to help you through.
Finding supports may not be easy, but as you establish connections it becomes less difficult. If you are not aware of what is available in your community, 2-1-1 hotline can recommend resources based on your needs. The Center for the Study of Social Policy has provided a base for this article and they offer additional information on building resilience. You may find them online at www.cssp.org.
By Katie Wemple
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 the 6th of a series Katie Wemple, of NCMH shares her experience.
NCMH- 50 years
Sometimes the darkness is so overwhelming that the only way out is to focus on the light. I used to not enjoy people at all. In fact they terrified me as a young child into my young adult years. I have had to work through many different dynamics in my life pertaining to my mental health, trauma experiences, and physical health. I never thought I would be working in the field of mental health. I wanted to be a doctor, then a teacher. Finally I landed in the field of behavioral health. My heart’s work and desire is in serving people. I spent several years searching for something more, and I felt like something was missing in my spirit.
In 2011 I came to work at Newaygo County Mental Health. I began my journey part time as a parent support partner. I was in this position for 5 ½ years. I completed my bachelor’s degree online in that time period while working, being a wife, and a mother to young children. I had an interest in learning more about autism. Opportunities arose and I began a new season joining the Autism team. I also went back to school online during this time period to achieve accreditation in the field of Applied Behavioral Analysis. I was working towards my goal of becoming a Board Certified Assistant Behavioral Analyst (BCaBA). But everything was not all joyful and cheery. In 2014 I began my own mental health journey.
I have a strong faith background, and believe God led me to the right therapist at the right time. Part of my therapy season involved the treatment of EMDR. This therapy combined with commitment, willingness, and God’s grace, changed my life. Therapy is hard work, no matter what level one is at, or what their journey is. Confronting, working through, and overcoming traumatic experiences by itself is a heavy load. I continued in therapy for 5 years, I had a lot to unpack in a sense.
During this time period NCMH was amazing at supporting me and helping me develop not just professionally but personally as well. I had supervisors that supported me in my growth at every level. Even when I took the BCaBA test and failed, not once but twice, coworkers and supervisors gave me support. This was hard for me to fail because I held a self-perception that I had to be perfect. If I was not perfect, then I would not be seen as worthy. Out of this failure I learned I did not need to be perfect, it is okay to fail, and try again, or move on to the next season.
I still felt I was missing something, not using all the skills I was blessed with, to serve others. Towards the end of 2019 a position opened up for a wraparound facilitator. In January of 2020 I moved into the position of wraparound facilitator at NCMH. Collectively I use all the skills, training, and experiences I have learned throughout the past 10 years to help serve others daily. Some days are rougher than others, but there is always hope. I enjoy serving this community and seeing each and every person I work with grow. Healing, and growing take time, but every step in the direction of positive leads one a step closer to wholeness.
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