Posted here at the request of Ms. Goodin
Dear GVSU Board of Trustees,
My name is Brea Goodin and I am currently a Senior at Grand Valley State University. During these four years, I have proudly considered myself a Laker. As stated in the Laker Effect Campaign, “Lakers are driven by our passion for learning and using that knowledge for the common good. We make a difference by focusing on others and making lasting contributions.” I have chosen to make a lasting contribution by pursuing elementary education and mathematics; as teaching is to touch a life forever. As I am eager to continue my passion for learning, I am also deeply disappointed and hurt by your choice to raise our tuition by 3%.
Throughout my four years, I have spent $57,761.27 on tuition that has contributed to the success of both myself and GVSU. I have maintained a 3.74 GPA while volunteering in classrooms throughout Kent County, proudly representing GVSU. In addition, I just received the Michigan Council of Mathematics scholarship that will recognize GVSU in helping me become a successful educator. However, my pride for GVSU has been challenged, along with feeling betrayed because of this tuition increase.
GVSU, please help me understand why you would do this to me and the rest of your fellow Lakers. As former students, do you think that we have not gone through enough this year? Raising tuition during a worldwide pandemic and crisis is absolutely shocking and makes me feel that you are taking advantage of GVSU students. In your mission statement, you state that you desire to “help shape student’s lives,” yet when the whole world is struggling and suffering, you chose to give students more of a barrier to continue learning.
Since at least 1995, you have raised our tuition each year. If everyone’s tuition increased, can I assume that all Lakers will benefit? If not; GVSU you will be picking winners and losers. A system like that could award a not so conscientious student at the expense of a hard-working conscientious student. Please explain what is fair or intelligent about that?
You state that you have increased financial aid and that students with financial need will see a reduction of cost. What about us Lakers that do not qualify for financial need? I have never received any financial aid to reduce my college tuition costs. I have only received federal loans that I will have to pay back. GVSU, please help me understand where my money will go during this tuition increase?
As our nation continues to work on finding a way to come together and make choices that are in the best interest of all people, I hope you too, GVSU, will consider how to best help your students succeed. We are living in a worldwide crisis and I hope you support your Lakers in place of increasing our barrier to education and ultimately affecting our future.
With an open mind, I would like to understand the need for this tuition increase.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for your time.
N3 polls our readers
What to do about school?
Since the initial closure in Mid-March the question has hovered over school systems throughout the country and more importantly here in our fair county.
When our local superintendents put out a news release in our pages recently that, in part, offered virtual learning to all students we wanted to ask our readers which option they might choose if school were to start in the next few days.
Note: This survey is exceedingly unscientific and conjectural at best and based solely on the opinions expressed by the readers who participated. There were attempts (for whatever reason) to ‘stack the numbers’ and while we intervened in some of these endeavors we may have missed some as well.
Out of the 100 responses received 53 opted for In School with 46 going for Virtual and one that indicated non virtual homeschooling.
But our interest goes beyond the numbers and more to the comments accompanying some of the votes. They hopefully give us an inside look at what issues parents are struggling with as this whole new world of education begins.
We broke down the comments into sections and while the replies spill over a bit we tried to categorize them according to primary concern. The option they selected is identified by an S for In School and V for Virtual.
S-My children need that student to teacher learning otherwise they just can't do it on their own. they don't understand some of the work/problems and as I am a grandmother/guardian of my children I also don't always understand the questions/problems that need to be finished. and --my children WANT to go back to school and be taught by a teacher.
S-I feel that in person school is NECESSARY for our children academically, socially & emotionally. I feel that it is a very important & vital decision to return to in person schooling for our children & their futures.
S-My kids (2nd and 10th grade) are both needing more human interaction with their friends as they have been pretty much quarantined since March.
S-Children need to be in school face to face with others. School is a “safe place” for many and I am concerned about these children. Teachers are the experts, kids need to be in school learning and growing!
S-My daughter has special needs and it takes her longer to do one subject at home or one assignment at home then in person...she needs the socializing of school also and to see her peers and her teachers. She misses school and loves going and she enjoys her classes even if it’s a struggle for her at times.
S-My daughter needs the social aspect of school as well as academics. She also performs better with books, paper, pencil, activities versus a screen. School age children are not high risk and as long as staff and students don’t come to school sick, I believe there is a low risk of contracting Covid 19. The slight risks outweigh the positives of attending school.
S-Our children need that peer to peer interaction with their friends. They also need that classroom setting to learn. We tried distance learning from March thru June and that was a struggle in itself.
S-My child is in special education. He’d benefit more being in person.
S-Our student will be a junior in high school. Children are social beings. They learn to be good citizens by interacting with other children....they learn social skills. When the school was shut down, our son said numerous times that he required face to face instruction and the interaction with the teacher. He has a sport for which he trains year round. We are hoping to have that sport....it has also taught him much about perseverance, work ethic, teamwork, leadership, etc. I cannot allow my fear to overwhelm our child and create fear in him.
S-With the assumption that my elementary children will NOT be wearing masks.
S-Without masks! My teenagers would struggle greatly if they were to try to learn anything online, they are basically having to just read and teach themselves. Some would do okay but most would struggle greatly. All would benefit from being in their traditional school setting, by which I mean the same setting and set up as it has been in the past. Kids also need to be with their peers, to mature and grow socially. This needs to be done without masks, if there are families uncomfortable with sending their children to attend school offer an online option but don’t punish the ones who would like to return to normal.
V-Mask and social distancing restrictions will hinder providing students with a healthy and enriching learning environment.
V-Disagree with the strict rules on the school and classrooms and don’t want to require my kids to wear masks and such.
S-I don’t feel that the kids should be forced to wear a mask all day while they are at school. We can barely breathe in them and it is harmful to breathe in your own toxins. Also, I feel if they have to eat their lunches in the classrooms and not socialize with their friends, what’s the sense?
V-Too many unknowns, why would I risk my child getting sick and bringing it home?
V-With no social distancing, classrooms are not safe for kids or staff.
V-I don't feel the school districts are equipped to keep children from becoming infected with Covid-19.
V-Everything is so unknown. It just seems like the best choice for now.
V-The career tech center couldn't hold classes with 7 girls in it without one of them exposing it to the girls and putting us in quarantine.
S-I’m not very comfortable with it but I am willing to go with this choice for now. Could change based on numbers locally over the next month. I am hoping kids take this seriously and don’t put each other at risk. Regardless of the views of their parents, kids should know that continuing in person learning depends, to a great extent, on their behavior.
S-Due to the scientific data of many countries who have used common sense models in their schools with virtually no uptick in cases from or to students in school, I feel comfortable- using common sense- sending children back to school.
S-I am a full time working parent as well as my husband. I feel he will not get the education he needs if left to do it here by himself unless daily communication is a must in which teachers are able to communicate after hours when working parents get home.
S-It’s my grandchildren, but they desperately want to get back to school and I think they learn better there plus it’s better for them socially. And working parents just don’t have the ability to help kids learn everything they need to with online classes.
S-My husband and I both work full time. We are not able to homeschool.
V-I would need to know if a child needs to be logged on at certain times or just complete the education. This makes a big difference to our family as we have jobs
I have long believed the day when virtual learning would be the norm was coming, based on discussions with my grandchildren. I think the pandemic has merely accelerated a process that was already started, and when the cost effectiveness becomes apparent, and availability becomes more widespread, technical issues resolved, and the idea communities could take over extracurriculars like band, sports etc that day is nearly upon us now.
As of today, our plan is virtual learning for our elementary children. I really, really want them to return to school, but I want them to be able to be kids in the classroom, and have the opportunity to connect with their teachers and classmates. Thank you to all of the teachers that have gone far above and beyond during this experience!!
I would be okay with limited in person and the rest virtual but if the options are totally in person and totally virtual I would go virtual.
Eventually the school will have to be shut down anyway so let’s just do the first semester online.
I want some kind of consistency for my kids and I feel I can manage that better at home than in school with too many difficult to follow guidelines.
It definitely depends on what both options entail. It’s hard to say without knowing the specific details of both options, but at this point we are leaning towards virtual.
OTHER IN SCHOOL
My child does better with in person instruction… I’m working full-time from home right now and wouldn’t no way be able to help her focus on school. It would be a disservice to her to have virtual learning. She will only be in kindergarten as well as in the Spanish immersion program. I think that is an essential year for her to be provided within person instruction. My three-year-old was going to do the outdoor nature center preschool. Both kids attend day care right now and neither are required to wear masks. There have been no concerns or issues at the daycare at this point. I’m confused as to how it could be that different from the school if appropriate precautions and handwashing are taken.
We have eagerly been waiting to see what this year will look like for our 1st and 5th grader. We are hoping that recess will still be an option as well as PE and arts/music.
I have four children who are very far spread apart. It is very difficult to attempt to teach a senior, 7th grader, 3rd grader.
Other feedback can be found in the comments section of the survey article
One of those seemed to capture much of the mood surrounding the upcoming year.
"It’s a gut wrenching decision. I want my daughter to have the MUCH needed interactions, however, I also want her safe (I know the districts are going above, and beyond to ensure safety), it’s all of the unknowns at this time."
SURVEY: In School, Virtual Learning
August 31 is the schedued start.
As of this writing we’re around 5 weeks from the first day of school.
In any normal year parents might be making the trek to the malls to purchase school clothes (a process with a wide range on the difficulty scale depending on the enthusiasm of the students being shopped for and their willingness to try things on).
They might be scoring some of the school supplies that line the aisles of grocery stores.
Backpacks and bookbags would be examined for issues in the hopes of getting another year out of them.
But this is no normal year.
To say the least.
Recently the leadership of our local schools put out a press release announcing that virtual learning would be available to any who may not yet be comfortable with their students attending in person.
They will be surveying parents on the issue in the near future.
In the meantime we’re curious how our readers might feel about the return to school as the pandemic continues to have a profound effect on our lives and the lives of our children.
Given, this is an evolving situation that will change according to what might occur over the next 5 weeks but...
On the survey link below, indicate if school was to start in the next few days would you:
And more importantly, please share the reasons behind your decision and we will post them as they arrive.
While welcoming the input, we hope to avoid devolving into a political discussion regarding the relative veracity of our current situation and we will also be less than welcoming when it comes to posting personal pandemic theories. There are well known venues for both of these.
What we hope to foster is a productive dialogue about this sea change in the way we conduct our lives.
Please join us.
State Senator sponsors bill for recreation projects
The state Legislature on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by state Sen. Jon Bumstead that includes funding for outdoor recreation projects in the 34th District and the state of Michigan.
“This legislation will improve recreation opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts across the state,” said Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “As an avid outdoorsman myself, I’m grateful the projects are moving forward and I am eager to see the final products.”
Senate Bill 145 outlines funding for Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) projects throughout the state, including popular attractions in and around the senator’s district.
The NRTF provides a constitutionally protected source of funding for public outdoor recreation and the public acquisition of lands for resource protection. The Trust Fund was established in 1976 and was later added to the Michigan Constitution. The fund is supported by interest earned on funds generated from the development of state-owned mineral rights.
Bumstead’s bill would provide funding to continue development and improvements to the Dragon Trail and to increase access to Spring Lake and the connecting waterways.
The bill includes $180,100 for the Dragon Trail at Hardy Dam in Newaygo County and an additional $205,400 for the trail in Mecosta County. Upon completion, the trail will be a multiuse, single-track, non motorized trail intended for hiking and bicycle traffic. The planned route is 42 miles in length and will have six trailheads with parking at existing recreation sites. The trail will feature 13 designated overlooks.
Bumstead’s legislation also includes $125,000 for the Pomona Park Kayak Launch in Fruitport. The funding aims to provide visitors a new way to access Spring Lake and the surrounding waterways. Upon completion, the site will feature an extended parking lot and a new, universally accessible kayak launch and boardwalk. The site will also include benches, interpretive signage and bike racks.
“I have supported the Natural Resources Trust Fund throughout my time in the Legislature, and in my role as chair of the Senate Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, I will continue to support measures that get Michiganders outdoors to experience our state’s beautiful natural resources,” Bumstead said. “I am happy to see this measure see support from my colleagues in both chambers, and I hope to see the governor sign it into law.”
SB 145 will now go to Gov. Whitmer for consideration.
Opening Day at last!
No not baseball, although after being relegated to the occasional 5am South Korean League games I’m ready to see the Tigers take the field regardless of what could very well be a rough 60 game run.
I’m talking corn.
More specifically the gems that are found at the Kokx farm on Maple Island.
My lengthy love affair with sweet corn has been well chronicled in articles and columns here and other places dating back a decade or more and read by literally dozens of people - some not even relatives.
It’s kind of a genetic thing since I recall as a teen being commissioned by my father to transport him to the southern reaches of the state in early July based on a rumor...a rumor, mind you... that a farm stand there had some early stuff.
I’ve had favored dealers of this maize magic over the years, some spots lasting longer than others, but the quest for the best makes one a capricious corn consumer.
Several years ago when I was writing for the T-I, Deb the Ad Manager brought in a boatload of corn she had gotten and offered to let me take some home.
After careful consideration about how much would be too much I settled on 6.
That night Lil had her usual one ear and I had my usual 3.
Then ate 2 more.
The next day I stopped back at the paper.
“Uh, where’d the corn come from?”
“Joan Kokx. They have a farm on Maple Island.”
She told me and I left heading west where I found the farm, bought a dozen, and went through them by mid afternoon the next day (5 for dinner, 3 cold ones in the morning for breakfast and 4 during a late lunch.
And it’s been my go to place ever since.
Oh, I’ve strayed into other territory on occasion always willing to give somebody a shot at the title but thus far despite some worthy contenders no one has captured the crown.
Tuesday was Opening Day at the Maple Island farm and the traffic was steady according to Joan. Being no fool I called and reserved a 12 pack since I was unable to get there until mid afternoon but even at 3pm cars were coming and going in droves with happy folks leaving with sacks full of ears.
I got back home, tossed a couple of big salads and plunged 4 ears into a pot of boiling water.
Lil had her one ear per usual while an overall (and frequently futile) personal attempt at moderation had me limiting my intake to three.
It was like reuniting with an old friend and taking up where you last left off. Being a kind of corn snob I eschew any of the poor imitations that arrive on the grocery shelves in the off season from who knows where. I’ve found that while it often looks to be right and can be texturally in the same neighborhood…
It is not even close to the experience of a late July bite into some heavenly homegrown.
And with baseball hovering on the horizon?
Life is indeed good.
By Fred Bultman
Since I retired back to Newaygo County 7 years ago, and especially since the COVID-19 situation developed, I have adopted the healthy habit of walking the very walkable neighborhoods of my ancestral city.
I often choose to walk the side street block that includes the small 2-bedroom house where my paternal grandparents lived during their retirement years in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s.
It is one of those blocks in the older residential section of the city where garages are accessed via a single-lane gravel alleyway that runs behind the homes that front on neighboring streets.
Last Wednesday, I noticed that a couple of lawn signs had appeared on either side of the alley entrance.
When I first saw the sign on the property where my grandparents once lived, I noticed that it depicted a United States flag in the center. Above the flag, in large letters, was the name JESUS; below the flag, also in large letters, was the name TRUMP. As I walked directly in front of the sign, I could also read the smaller lettering below each of the names. Above the flag, “JESUS is my Savior.” Below the flag, “TRUMP is my President.”
Then I also noticed another lawn sign about 12 feet directly north from the first sign, directly across the alley, in the yard of the next house north from my grandparents’ former home. I hadn’t seen that sign at first, because it was in the shade of some large mature full-leafed trees, but there it was. This sign’s background was six bright horizontal stripes of the three primary and three secondary colors of the rainbow. Each of the four stripes toward the center of the sign had a word in large letters: the four words were: LOVE, PEACE, RESPECT, PRIDE.
To Wear or Not to Wear?
To Wear or Not Wear
By Dr. Peggy Mathis
There are a few things in life that cause people to pick a side:
When coronavirus struck, I was not regularly wearing a mask. In order to avoid wearing a mask, I would only go to my place of employment (where there are only 3 other people in the building), or I would go to outdoor places, or I would just simply stay home. This is still largely my strategy.
Maybe I possess conspiracy theorist tendencies in me. Maybe I don’t believe everything elected officials tell us. When putting on a mask I feel like I am giving in to the government telling me what to do. I know I am not alone in my views.
I have scrolled through countless articles online. I have read research. We all can find documentation to support any view.
But here’s the deal. I don’t want our kids to be sitting home this fall when school starts. Remote learning is not effective. Our kids need structure, learning, socialization, and the safety net schools help provide.
We must balance the very real risk of children being OUT of school against real health concerns for our kids, staff, and community.
Fortunately, a family friend of ours is an infection disease control doctor at Saint Mary’s hospital. He knows his stuff and is widely respected in the medical community. His advice and pleas from the front lines have made me think.
In the course of our many conversations, he finally asked me, “If there was a simple way to keep the economy and the schools open, would you do it?” And I unequivocally said “sure!” His next statement then was, “Wear a mask.”
As a school superintendent who has been agonizing about whether school will open, I had to confront my own obstinacy and consider what Dr. Jameson has recommended. I want our schools to be able to open. I want our businesses to survive. I do not want another large scale shut down. I know there is one simple thing, when repeated often enough, that makes all of it more possible.
In terms of mask-wearing, I was a late adopter for sure.
I always thought I was healthy so even if I get COVID-19, it won't be that big a deal. I forgot that me masking and preventing infection will help protect those I care deeply about. As Dr. Jameson says "I mask to protect your loved ones, not myself". I’ll wear a mask in enclosed public spaces for our staff, students, and the loved ones in OUR community.
This recommendation is straight from a friend who studies and treats infectious diseases for a living. I trust his experience and what he has to say about this topic. This is not coming from a politician from on high who may or may not have the best interests of our kids at the forefront. If this gives us a fighting chance to open schools this fall, I have to do it. Please join me.
Letter: “I Stand in Protest"
To the Editor:
Friday, July 3, I stand in protest with the Oceti Sakowin Oyate (Seven Council Fires) Tribes of South Dakota:
Our current Federal Administration has not only dismissed, but has also demeaned Native American Indigenous People both through its targeted actions as well as silent inactions.
Last fall President Trump declared November 2019 as “National American History and Founding Fathers Month”. This, in a month that he also declared to be “National Native American Indian Heritage Month”. Neither American History nor the Founding Fathers have been kind or even fair to Native Americans. This declaration comes also in a month that sadly and ironically celebrates the mythologically hospitable First Thanksgiving - a feast held between the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock and the Wampanoag Tribe. The Wampanoags were nearly wiped out in the years prior and subsequent to this feast now held as an American family holiday.
Friday, July 3, I stand in protest with the Lakota-Dakota People as President Trump forges ahead with a campaign rally posing as a patriotic Fourth of July celebration within the Paha Sapha (aka Black Hills of South Dakota). In spite of meeting with Tribal leaders and citizens, and “listening” to their historical and spiritual reasons for rejecting the event in this land so dear to them, the rally will go on. It will take place beneath the once natural face of this Sacred Grandfather Mountain that has been desecrated by the carved faces of four U.S. presidents. These are presidents who carried a 16th century Popes’ decree of “The Doctrine of Discovery” into the U.S.’s “Manifest Destiny”, which religiously and lawfully supported centuries of genocide, land theft, broken treaties, kidnapping children for boarding schools, massacres labeled as battles, and a policy of attempted assimilation.
Friday, July 3, I stand in protest of this rally that will go on in spite of the risk of devastating inferno from the planned pyrotechnics, which have been banned for years in this sensitive natural area. Environmental concerns include blaze eruptions from unexploded fireworks debris and contamination of water supplies.
Friday, July 3, I stand in protest of this rally that will go on in spite of the risk that thousands of participants may be exposed to Covid 19 as masks and social distancing remain “optional”. The infection and hospitalization rates from the virus are drastically increasing in many of our states, once again overburdening hospital ICU beds and staff. This viral illness is especially devastating to Native Indigenous people as has occurred in the west and southwest.
Friday, July 3, I stand in protest with the Lakota/Dakota People.
But what does this have to do with us here in Newaygo County? It has to do with the land we non-native people now walk and live on and the Native Indigenous people who still live here now, all too often invisible and unheard; it has to do with national policy, national health, national precedence and the messages that our leaders provide as national guidance.
Friday, July 3, I stand in protest. Yet I know I must also kneel in deference to all Native American Indigenous People for the centuries of historical wrongs and the continued imbalance of power and privilege imposed upon them, as displayed and exampled by this July 3rd debacle.
I think I have learned a new definition of “Blind Justice”.
To The Editor:
We want to raise our hands and shout YES to our August 4 vote to increase our funding for our excellent library! We are blessed in so many ways by the beneficial services it offers. It offers access to Wifi, plus computers are often used for job applications and filing for unemployment or for creating writing assignments. Computers were used over 26,000 times as stated in the 2019 review of our library. Over 90,000 items were checked out! More than 62,000 visits were made!
In this technological age, as we update our computers in our homes and in our businesses, our library needs to implement these upgrades to keep our community up to date.
To meet earlier budget demands, our library had to cut back on the hours the library was open. This mileage support will allow greater accessibility for community use.
Please remember to vote YES on August 4. We will be glad that we did!!
Jim and Gloria Helgemo
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