An Open Letter To Newaygo County Republicans:
Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Carol Newth. My family has had a home on Pickerel Lake since 1948. I have been a lifelong Republican. In fact, I was a Goldwater Girl, and I even met Reagan.
I share my history with you so that hopefully you will understand that I am not some liberal elite, but a conservative. My hope is that you will keep an open mind about why I am supporting Dr. Rob Davidson to be our 2nd District US Representative.
He is a one of us, a local, ER Doctor at Gerber Hospital. I first heard Dr. Rob speak during the Town Hall in Baldwin. I was impressed with the way he “schooled” our current Representative, Bill Huizenga. He politely and factually explained “health care” to Mr. Huizenga, and in the process he also taught me.
I am of an age to be fully enrolled with Medicare. As a self-employed, retired Realtor I had always been forced to pay for very expensive insurance. Transitioning to Medicare was a revelation and has allowed me to reevaluate all my previous conceptions of medical care and insurance.
Dr. Rob is a supporter of Medicare type coverage for all. As a fiscal conservative, I strongly feel that you have to “pay” for what you want and what is important. Bottom line; healthy people provide better for themselves than sick people. If a healthy population is not a moral imperative, then it should at least make sense to you in dollars and cents.
Please come listen to Dr. Rob Davidson explain his vision and goals for our District. He will be here on August 23erd, at the Gerber Union Hall at 6:00 pm. He’s worth listening to, regardless of your political persuasion.
By Mollie Jo Swendrowski
I firmly believe that when a place leaves a profound imprint on your life, you leave a piece of your heart wherever that may be. If you have read any of my previous pieces it may have been clear that Walt Disney World holds quite a large piece of my heart, but there is a place a little closer that has a chunk as well: Northern Michigan, and more specifically, the Straits of Mackinac area.
Confession: I didn’t always love “Up North”. One bad camping experience in the U.P. post high school graduation (black fly season, anyone?) made me think I hated everything to do with being Up North. So when I first took a summer job in Mackinaw City during college most of my friends and family couldn’t believe that I, MJ, hater of all things Up North, was willingly going to spend an entire summer there. (I didn’t have a choice, really. Turns out college textbooks are expensive.)
My mind was changed about Up North after spending my first of three summers on the Straits of Mackinac. That first summer I worked for one of the ferry lines and lived and spent every day on the shores of Lake Huron with the Mighty Mac to the left of my house and a view of Mackinac Island straight ahead. I experienced so much growth that summer and re-discovered a fierce independence in myself, that that led to another summer on the boats and a subsequent one with Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Whenever I am struggling in life, I have found that there is not much that being near water can’t cure, but the Straits seem to have a particular healing power for me.
Fast forward to a few months ago when I started writing these pieces with the idea to shed a funny light on being a single girl in her late twenties who lives with her parents in a small town (hi Mom and Dad, thanks for housing me!). So, naturally, within a month of that idea I met a boy, because that’s just how my life works.
One weekend Adam (the previously mentioned boy) and I took an impromptu trip to Harbor Springs, just because it sounded fun and we had nothing else to do. While there we met up with one of my greatest friends Up North, Ellyce, and her also new boyfriend, Mitch. The four of us visited Pond Hill Farm for...
By Megan Wirts
I don’t know a better way to spend a hot spend summer day than to spend it at the beach. Luckily for us we only live a short drive away from some of the best beaches on the shores of Lake Michigan. So, a few weekends ago, on one of the most beautiful days of the summer so far, my family and our favorite beach going neighbors packed up and headed out to hopefully relax and splash in the water.
The beach was packed with people that had the same idea as us. We made our way down the dunes and across the hot sand and found a nice spot close to the water with enough space for our boy to dig as big a hole as his little hands could dig. (He has been known to dig six-feet-deep holes in a blink of an eye. I have told him to use his powers for good and not evil.)
We settled into our little beach paradise, spreading out the blankets, setting up the umbrellas and chairs, and putting more than the recommended amount of sunscreen on all exposed body parts. The moms got out our books to read and put our drinks in our cup holders, while the dads and the kids immediately jumped in the warmest Lake Michigan water we have felt this summer. It was perfect!
Every now and then I would look up from my book and count, 1, 2, 3 4. “Yup, all there”, I would think. Occasionally, it would be 1, 2, 3….where’s 4?…Ok, there he is, and then I could breathe again. There is nothing that will put a parent more on edge than their kids being in a lake, pool or any body of water for that matter. As a former respiratory therapist, I saw up close and personal what the aftermath of a near drowning can be like. I try not to be completely overprotective, but I also try to be as vigilant as possible. When my small people were much smaller, there was no way I was going to be reading a book at the beach, especially if I were alone. Being with 3 other adults that were also watching intently and having kids over the age of 10, I felt a little more at ease, it still doesn’t stop me from doing a head count every few minutes though.
A few hours into our beach day, all of us grown-ups were lounging in our chairs while two of the kids were digging in the sand and the older two were splashing in the waves. People were coming and going all around us. Families were making their way further down the beach and some were leaving for the day. We noticed a small girl, around the age of two, walk right in front of us and around the big hole my son had dug. She was a cute little thing that reminded us of Boo, from Monsters Inc. As she walked past, my friend noticed that she wasn’t with anyone else. She seemed to be wandering around all alone.
We watched her keep toddling along and looked the other way and saw nobody coming after her. She just kept on going and I thought she was running towards someone, but she was just chasing some seagulls. Why not, chase seagulls, right? She looked like she was having a blast…alone. Finally, after what seemed like 5 minutes and the little girl was getting further away, my friend decided to follow her to make sure she wasn’t really by herself.
I watched as my friend walked along close to the water just behind the little girl and eventually I couldn’t see either of them. While she was following the girl, the rest of us were watching for anyone that might be looking for a small child. Just as I was about to suggest we walk down the beach in the opposite direction that the little girl went, we saw her. A woman with a look of panic and desperation only a mother could display if they were missing a child. She looked around frantically, not saying anything, just scanning and searching, barely breathing.
My husband said, “There she is, that’s her.” Then she turned around and went the other way and he got up and ran towards her. When he got to her, he asked if she was looking for a little girl and she frantically said, “YES!!” and began to physically shake. He told her our friend was following the girl and that’s when they appeared, walking hand in hand down the beach. My friend bent down and asked, “Is that your mommy?” and the little one nodded and her mother ran towards her. She scooped her up and had terror and relief written all over her face. She said, “Thank you!” to my friend and then they were gone.
Crisis averted and a child safe from harm. For a moment, I wondered if we were on one of those “What Would You Do” type of shows and looked for a camera crew, but no, it really happened. When the ordeal was over, we were all so thankful that we noticed her and that my friend took it upon herself to make sure she stayed safe. Not one other person on that beach paid any attention to that little girl as she walked by them. They were wall wrapped up in their own lives, watching their own kids, eating snacks, reading or napping, doing normal beach things. It wasn’t that they didn’t care, they just didn’t pay attention. Why should they though? They were at the beach, relaxing.
She was alone wandering and chasing seagulls for at least 10 minutes, in which time a multitude of horrible things could have happened to her. My stomach turned just imagining what could have happened. There was no judgement by us or questions asked about why the little girl was alone either. It was obvious that her mom was extremely frightened and panicked when she couldn’t find her daughter and the last thing a mother needs in a time like that is some judgey judgerson questioning her.
We could speculate all day what events led up to the little girl going on her stroll along the beach, but the truth is, toddlers are fast and wander off. It happens. It literally takes seconds for a kid to sneak off out of your sight. I’m sure this mother will never take her eyes off that child ever again, at least I wouldn’t. I would be wrecked with guilt and turn over the moments before she wandered off in my mind over and over for weeks to come. No, this mom didn’t need our questions and interrogation. She just needed to take her baby home, safe and sound, and hope that something like that will never happen again.
When we all settled down and went back to our sandcastle building and swimming, you can bet that my headcounts happened a lot more frequently.
There will be no relaxing at the beach any time soon.
W. Michigan’s Davidson kicks run for Congress into high gear as more than 100 attend signature rally
Spring Lake– Dr. Rob Davidson took his bid for Congress in West Michigan’s 2nd congressional district to the next level last Sunday evening with an energized, raucous rally that packed Seven Steps Up, a popular concert and meeting venue in Ottawa County. Davidson’s supporters at the rally helped kick off the signature gathering phase of the campaign to garner at least 1,000 valid signatures to get his name on the ballot for the November 2018 General Election.
“I am both humbled and electrified by the tremendous show of support from so many ordinary Americans in West Michigan who have put their trust and their enthusiasm in a non-politician like myself who simply wants to make sure we have a West Michigan that is fairer and stronger, with more opportunities for all Americans, not just the powerful, the privileged and the politically connected,” Davidson told the crowd of more than 150 supporters.
Davidson is an emergency physician in Newaygo County and longtime Spring Lake resident. A member of the Spring Lake School Board and a 20-year emergency medicine veteran, Davidson is a strong advocate of healthcare for all, modeled on a “Medicare for all” proposal that has been introduced in Congress since the early 2000s under HR 676.
According to Davidson the proposal is designed to provide quality, comprehensive and affordable health insurance for all Americans, while reducing government bureaucracy and consumer costs.
“Healthcare is a right, a necessity for every American to enjoy their unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as each individual defines it, and that’s why healthcare for every American is moral, humane and necessary for all Americans to succeed,” Davidson said. “Healthcare for all means families no longer have to worry about whether a medical emergency will bankrupt them. Healthcare for all means small businesses can invest their money in growth and new jobs, not premiums that keep going up every year. Healthcare for all means stronger communities, reduced sicknesses that hold people back, and more freedom and liberty for each and every one of us.”
Davidson stated he is committed to helping public schools get the resources they need to provide a world-class education for all students, regardless of geography, family income and ability. He feels strong schools also mean more support for teachers and staff to ensure they can teach students and provide safe, nurturing environments in schools, with hard-earned taxpayer dollars going to the public good instead of being siphoned away to profit driven schools managed by unaccountable corporations.
Davidson also believes that Michigan’s Great Lakes, rivers, stream, land and air are vital resources that drive local economies and define Michigan’s special quality of life.
“As a member of Congress, I promise to put people before corporate polluters who are getting a free pass to contaminate our precious Great Lakes, thanks to the Trump administration and their bought-and-paid for political cronies in Congress,” Davidson said. “Real and responsible stewardship means corporations must be held accountable for toxic pollution that endangers our natural resources. We have a moral duty to preserve and conserve our Great Lakes for generations to come.”
The 2nd Congressional District covers Ottawa, Muskegon, Oceana, Lake and Newaygo Counties, and portions of Mason and Kent counties, including the cities of Grandville, Kentwood and Wyoming.
By Megan Wirts
Last week my family and our friends set off on an adventure to the north-east side of the state. Something none in our group had ever done before. After weeks of searching for the perfect family camping destination we settled on Hoeft State Park located on the shores of Lake Huron. Being Lake Michigan lovers, we were excited to experience another one of our Great Lakes.
Seven of us, 3 adults (my dear husband had to stay home due to work obligations) and 4 kids ages 13-8, loaded up in the minivan (that was packed from top to bottom and everywhere in between) and headed toward our destination. It took us around 5 hours to get there with stops included for various reasons like broken sandals, questionable trailer hitches and starvation. You know, the usual road trip happenings. I just have to say...
By Ken DeLaat
Some of us hear about it, read about it and even see it from time to time.
And others among us live there.
People we might know or meet as we pass through our lives. Members of our community who work jobs, pay their bills as best they can and do whatever is necessary to get by. They are families with children who struggle to put food on the table and a roof over their heads because minimum wage and even steps above minimum wage simply does not provide enough resources to do much more than just hang on.
And sometimes not enough for that.
And whether you’re living in a house with another family or two, visiting the food trucks to stretch the grocery budget or doing without some of the things those of us not entrenched in poverty take for granted, it is tough.
On top of it, the stereotype of folks who are struggling remains intact in many segments of our society. The less fortunate are blamed for their plight. Understanding their situation is challenging to those who are unacquainted with what it might be like to wonder where you will stay tonight or whether you will eat today.
Poverty is like quicksand. The more you attempt to do what it takes to climb out the more you are pulled down into the mire.
Finding a place to rent in Newaygo County, while a rough go under any circumstances, creeps closer to highly unlikely when combined with additional financial challenges.
Child care issues, health care concerns , transportation roadblocks, and other obstacles add to our community’s framework for poverty.
Then as efforts are made to improve your family’s quality of life with a new job and perhaps added income there is the Cliff Effect.
The Cliff Effect is when the resources needed to survive can be lost because the income has inched above the eligibility line. When assistance programs like child care subsidies and Medicaid remove benefits faster than people can earn enough income to replace them. By not pro-rating the exit ramp to these programs, the government creates a financial crisis for people as they earn more income.
Circles Newaygo County is an initiative launched earlier this year aimed at reducing poverty in Newaygo County. They do this by creating networks across social class lines. They’ve come to find that people who are struggling do not often have the wealth of resources and connections that those of the middle class do. By pairing up participants, called Circle Leaders, with middle to upper class volunteers, called Allies, these networks are shared and friendships are formed.
Circle Leaders are people who are working to become economically self-sufficient. Their goals can vary widely from homeownership to job retention to furthering education. They are called “Circle Leaders” because through this process, they are empowered to lead themselves out of poverty, toward the goals they set.
“Allies” work with their Circle Leader to figure out how to accomplish their plan for self-sufficiency. The toughest challenge an Ally faces is the instinct to “rescue” a Circle Leader. The Circle Leader cannot learn to cope with the hurdles that block their pathway if a well-meaning Ally tries to fix their problems for them. Instead, the Ally’s role is to walk beside the Circle Leader, helping them link to the resources and support necessary for the Circle Leader to be successful.
On Thursday June 29th the Big View event highlighted the work being done by Circles. It brought together leaders, allies. and community members to celebrate accomplishments, problem-solve current concerns and discuss solutions. The evening began with a shared meal and a few words from Circles Coordinator Michelle Marciniak and Fremont Mayor Jim Rynberg, then settled into the business at hand.
Facilitated by Fremont Area Community Foundation President and CEO Carla Roberts each table was given discussion items that focused on barriers in Newaygo County. The interactive exercise led to a group discussion that ran from possible initiatives in the community to recommendations on individual issues. The mood was upbeat and positive. There was a sense of pride as leaders and allies shared the “News & Goods” in their lives, focusing on the progress made in their journeys.
State Representative Scott Vansingel attended and came away impressed.
“I enjoyed meeting face to face with the people who benefit from the Circles program,” he stated. “It helps to dispel many of the myths surrounding poverty and I look forward to seeing the positive impact this program has on the community in the coming years.”
Poverty in Newaygo County is real and Circles serves to not only recognize its presence but to empower those caught up in the cycle to emerge from its trappings. Circles is not a program. Circles is people. People from our community who share a common goal of reducing poverty and are committed to doing the work it takes to accomplish that goal.
And from the observations made during the Big View?
It seems to be working.
“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”-Nelson Mandela
For more information on how to get involved contact Michelle Marciniak at 231.924.0641 ext 220 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The View From Here:
By Ken DeLaat
Wow, the USA’s initial 240 years were rough but 241 really seemed to crank up the country’s craziness quotient and expose an ever widening and seemingly unbridgeable rift that continues to demean our nation.
Side note to our two primary political parties: While dissent is always a vital component of our democracy, when most congressional voting runs nearly exclusively one way or the other determined solely by party affiliation it is no longer dissent. It is a simple (like the minds of those who follow this path) and clear case of party loyalty standing above loyalty to the country and NO, what’s good for your party is NOT what is good for our country so don’t even try with that level of BS.
By and large (or should I perhaps say ‘Buy’ and large) those who pretend to toil in our nation’s capital continue to project a rather pathetic representation of what governing in this potentially amazing country should be.
However, putting such curmudgeonly commentary aside, we have many things to be proud of in America. Every day there are feats of heroism going unnoticed in areas beyond the beltway. We are a nation of doers and achievers and throughout our land there are folks who are striving to help lift others up and create sustainable, prosperous communities that everyone can share in.
For every off the wall talk show host who discusses with a guest the possibility of kidnapped children being kept on Mars for sex trafficking (yes, really, and with a sizeable following I might add with incredible sadness) there also exists legitimate productive dialogue among our citizens in our day to day lives. Granted the trolling and self-righteous rhetoric on social media represents the antithesis of this but genuine discourse between individuals remains alive and well if sought.
This is a splendid nation. With all it’s challenges America is unique among the countries of the world with an exceptional array of people whose origins are spread throughout the globe. ’We are family’ as the song goes, though as with most families a bit beset by squabbles from time to time.
So let’s celebrate our collective birthday with the hope that year 242 brings us closer to embracing inclusion and rejecting the ideas of those who seek to promote divisiveness.
And in that spirit here are a few wide ranging quotes about the phenomena that is America. Perhaps they will provide a few thoughts to chew on along with the hot dogs, potato salad, and watermelon gracing your Independence Day plate.
“America is a tune. It must be sung together.”-Gerald Stanley Lee
“Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”- Adlai Stevenson
"When you’re born into this world you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America you get a front row seat.” George Carlin
“Never let the sacrifice of others be for nothing by doing nothing.” L.M. Fields
“A politician will do anything to keep his job -- even become a patriot.”-William Randolph Hearst
“America - a great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far-reaching in purpose.” -Herbert Hoover
“What's right about America is that although we have a mess of problems, we have great capacity - intellect and resources - to do something about them.” -Henry Ford II
“You can be proud of your country and culture and, at the same time, recognize that there is something that's wrong that needs to be changed.”-Sarah Benson
“In America, anyone can become president. That's the problem” -George Carlin
“Freedom is without a doubt the greatest blessing we have in America so let us protect it and defend it with all our hearts and all our energies.”-Lawrence Welk
“The essence of America – that which really unites us — is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion – it is an idea — and what an idea it is: That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things. That it doesn’t matter where you came from but where you are going.”-Condoleezza Rice
“(Media question to Beatles during first U.S. tour 1964)
"How do you find America?"
"Turn left at Greenland.” -Ringo Starr
“In America everybody is of the opinion that he has no social superiors, since all men are equal, but he does not admit that he has no social inferiors, for, from the time of Jefferson onward, the doctrine that all men are equal applies only upwards, not downwards.” -Bertrand Russell
“Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.”- Gore Vidal
“In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.”-Barack Obama
“America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” Alexis de Tocqueville
“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” - Mark Twain
“At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.”- George Washington
You know what made us the biggest, meanest, Big Mac eating, calorie-counting, world-dominating kick-ass powerhouse country in the history of the human race? The pursuit of happiness. Not happiness. The pursuit.” -Will Ferguson
“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."-John F Kennedy
“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.”- Bill Clinton
“We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come at the age’s most uncertain hours
And sing an American Tune”-Paul Simon, American Tune
And, oh what an ever changing tune it is.
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