From the GPS Supe: Understanding the non homestead millage
In Grant, every four years, our community is asked to renew our Operating Millage. This is completely different from the millage that Grant Public Schools asked for in May, this is something all school districts in Michigan ask for from time to time, in Grant it is every 4 years.
The proposal on the ballot August 2nd will allow the school district to continue to levy the statutory rate, not to exceed 18 mills on all property, except primary residence (your home) and other property exempted by law. This is required for our school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance and renews this millage that was last approved in 2018.
Just for clarification:
-This is a renewal of our operating millage and not a new millage.
-Grant Public Schools can only collect up to 18 mills.
-This operating millage supports our students, families, community, and school system.
Thank you for your continued support of Grant Public Schools and our students and thank you for taking the time to get out and vote.
Grant Public Schools
Answers from the GOP candidates for the 101st
With Scott VanSingel terming out from the state House of Reps, four candidates on the Republican side and a lone Democrat are vying to take his place in Lansing in November.
But first there’s a primary to get past.
Not for Amanda Siggins (D) of Cadillac. She has all but punched her ticket to November by virtue of being a solo candidate.
On the GOP side however it’s a four horse race with (alphabetically) Joseph Fox, Chad Pierce, Dianne Schindlbeck, and Kelly Smith looking for voters to send them on to the next round.
As we have in other elections, N3 sent out a series of questions to the Republican quartet of candidates to help our readers get to know the folks asking for their votes. In October we will do the same (albeit with different questions) when Ms. Siggins and the Republican choice will be going head to head
In doing this it was our goal to get a sense of what leadership qualities each might possess. Thus some of our queries might seem different than the usual posers that get asked .
We sought questions from a small group of community members who:
In the interest of fairness we will stagger the order of responses for each question.
If elected, what steps would you strategically take to earn and gain the immediate respect of your fellow legislators as an incoming freshman in Lansing?
Here are a few things that I would do:
The first step is outreach and proactive listening. This means reaching out to members of both parties to understand their legislative goals and needs of their district and what plan they feel is best to reach these goals. The second step is to educate those same members on the needs of our district and how their plans would impact us. This means having a concrete and defined discussion on potential impacts and how to mitigate those downsides. The third step is being open to reasonable compromise.
Having been politically active for several years, including spending significant time in Lansing with various electeds, I am known to many of the House membership. Their knowledge of my leadership skills makes me hopeful to obtain Committee assignments that are important to my District. Topics such as agriculture and small business would be priorities. I am also on the staff of Senator Jon Bumstead (District 34)
I have already begun this process, I have spent time in Lansing watching and learning some of the processes. I have met with those incumbents that will have leadership positions to begin the process of getting to know one another. I have met with other candidates in other districts with hopes of forming coalitions before we get to Lansing to ensure a smooth transition so that we can get right to the business at hand. I am well prepared to get to work and be the voice for rural Michigan.
What is your definition of Common Ground and how would you achieve or find common ground in this divisive legislative environment? Be specific.
My definition of common ground is policies that are mutually beneficial for those involved and where negative impacts are mitigated. As a specific example, we are looking at widening the use of renewable energy in the state to reduce the economic harm of rising gas prices. However the residents in these areas have a significant valid concern in regards to negative impacts to property values. If we adjusted policy for those local to those new plants to see economic benefit in the form of free electricity, we resolve the local concern in regards to value and now have areas that are asking for these types of plants to be put in. The end goal is met with a positive effect for the larger population, while also taking appropriate accommodation for those negatively impacted by the change. Ch
For conservatives “common ground” often means agreeing with Democrats and their radical agenda. To me, common ground means shared positive outcomes. A good example might be Line 5 where our government is blocking a private sector proposal that creates jobs, secures energy sources AND improves protection of the Great Lakes. Common ground would be to get the government to stop blocking this improvement.
By its truest definition, interests shared by each of two or more parties. First and foremost through respectful and productive discussion I would seek to find those issues we are in agreement on and focus on how we can make positive efforts to work together on solving those issues for our citizens. While also working to understand our differences in opposing views and work to educate and be educated so that we fully understand one another and work to resolve those differences.
Common Ground to me is that place where we can come together on issues based upon the boundaries of our foundational documents (The Bible, Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, and Michigan Constitution). I do not think that Common Ground is found in neutrality. Common Ground is best achieved by asking the question, “What is true, right, and pure in relation to particular situations?” Common Ground must be distinguished from compromise.
Are you concerned about the lack of honesty and integrity in (some of) today's elected officials? How will you combat this problem and demonstrate and maintain these personal qualities, if elected?
Speaking with thousands of voters on their front porch I have a feel for what voters care about. They are most concerned with the lack of integrity with top officials in the government and with the unelected bureaucrats who run too much of Lansing.
When elected, my mode of operating will be to be truthful, even when being truthful means delivering tough news. I believe voters expect the truth and know how to move forward when they have the truth.
Of course, at a time when confidence in our government and its processes is at an all time low it must be made a priority to regain the trust and respect of our citizens. We simply must work to instill confidence in the people we represent and work for. I believe that can be accomplished by being open, transparent, being accountable and by owning our mistakes when we make them.
Yes, I am very concerned! Lies and half-truths have too often become the lingua franca in politics. I will first and foremost combat this in myself by praying that I will be filled with the fruit of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control—Galatians 5:22-23) and clothed in the spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-20) on a daily basis. I will stand for honesty and integrity and will call out dishonesty and division (the opposite of integrity). Again, I will pray for those who are caught up in and speaking half-truths and lies.
I am extremely concerned about this problem. The first step to combat the problem will be to hold all elected officials accountable to their actions regardless of party or affiliation. The second step will be to ensure transparency in actions and votes. If a policy being advocated represents a conflict of interest via either personal interests or donor interests that must be declared and described. Personally I commit to providing a comprehensive discussion posted on every final vote on policy in a public forum with a full description of reasoning. This also ensures consistency of reasoning and a two way street for communication.
The next step is to call out hypocrisy and that lack of honesty as it presents itself as it erodes faith in our leaders and institutions. For example it makes very little sense to talk about a love for the constitution and then in the next breath talk about eroding the separation of church and state. We also have large portions of elected officials that are perpetuating lies regarding the 2020 election for political gain. Each time lies or debunked myths are repeated by those same leaders it erodes the public confidence in both the institutions of our democracy but our faith in those leaders themselves. Other examples of hypocrisy are plentiful, decrying public welfare policies and accepting corporate welfare. The abuse of PPP loans by those same people condemning Covid measures, or to use a more recent example a family member making millions dollars of trades on semiconductors just before a vote comes up regarding the government investing in the industry. All of these actions seriously erode the public trust and we need to fix that.
You will be part of a large group of house members and will be compelled to follow the party line by leadership. How do you propose to make your voice heard and how will you respond if you disagree with party leadership?
I would be willing to bet this very situation has haunted every single legislator that has a strong conviction, while not agreeing with leadership, but not wanting to see their district punished for not "falling in line". My answer is, I work for the district, I belong to the party. I will do my best to serve the district as they are my employer. I will do my best to be loyal to the conservative movement as we share common beliefs and goals.
First of all, see the answer to the above question. Secondly, I will speak up for truth and justice (John 8:32 & Amos 5:24 ). Long story short, I will strive to base what I think and say upon the Word of God. I draw the line where the He draws the line, if fellow legislators have problems with this, they will have to take it up with Him.
My accountability is to voters and people within the district, not party leadership. Party leadership often represents the views of a very small number of individuals within the district and state and it has become very clear to me over the past few months that they do an incredibly poor job of representing the needs or the will of the people. In fact I would encourage far wider participation from residents, because it seems like the parties serve very narrow bands of interest locally. The fact that Republican leadership has advocated for an abortion ban and has no means in place to handle the additional healthcare, education and poverty assistance needed to provide a truly pro-life response to the change is horrifying. By the same token the Democratic Party advocating for massive police reform in areas like ours where we have a positive relationship with law enforcement ignores the reality we work within.
To make my voice heard I will ensure that I am a voice for compromise and a commitment to implement policy that makes lives better, regardless of party. I fully expect to disagree with party leadership because at this point I consider them part of the problems outlined in the questions in regards to divisive political environment and honesty and integrity.
By default elected House members become a part of their party caucus. When elected, I will immediately work to elect more effective leadership in my caucus. As an example, just this year we saw that when a member expresses views that the Speaker disagrees with, that member will be removed from the caucus. If that should happen to me I would take my voice directly to the voters in my district. Using tools like Near North Now, I would communicate issues that may not align with the “leadership”.
What will you do to help level the playing field and represent your constituents, while knowing that our friends on the East side of the state have much more influence and power by the sheer number of their reps?
Number one, I will constantly strive to know my constituents and their concerns well. Number two, it is always important to remember that what seems like a giant to us may only take one little stone to fell.
One of the biggest responsibilities I will carry is to provide a stronger understanding of the reality of rural life to our friends on the East side of the state. It’s easy to brush away concerns about rising gas prices when you drive at most 20-30 miles to get somewhere, while for us in some cases 20-30 miles is the minimum amount of distance for some services and goods. School of choice is less of an option when the nearest school is an additional 20 mile drive each way and you still have to get to work every day.
The problem is that instead of having discussions about how policies impact our reality, we have reached the point where everything is just rejected out of hand with a soundbite. By having those conversations and providing that education we can start identifying and modifying policies to help those that they are supposed to help without putting those living in rural areas in a worse place than they would have been prior to the change. Things aren’t getting better and we need to reverse that trend.
In politics a truism is that the number of votes “on your side” is how one wins or loses. Can’t change that. So every member has the same challenge. That is to consider/propose new laws, or importantly to remove outdated laws, that have appeal to members from across the state. It is that simple. Find areas of interest and be compelling in your arguments.
Currently the House of Representatives is made up of 56 Republicans, 53 Democrats and 1 independent. While we have the majority, it is a narrow one. I am working with candidates in neighboring districts to form alliances now, so that when in office we can have a concerted effort to be sure that rural Michigan is a powerful voice in Lansing
August 2nd is near and the primary is most likely going to decide who represents you, please be informed and get out to vote, it's important.
To The Editor:
We ate at the little tented area of the pub in Whitehall the other night. John and I were talking about wages for wait staff so I asked our waitress what her hourly wage was. $3.75. I knew the minimum wage for workers who get tips was low, but I didn’t know it was that low. So on a slow day, a waitress or waiter could be making less than standard minimum wage (which is still too low).
She said she was working 3 jobs to have enough for college. We left a huge tip but kept talking about this after we left. It is crazy on many fronts. First you have a worker who may or may not make more than $3.75 an hour based on business and the whim of the tipping customer and a system of eating out in which the customer is basically responsible for paying wages for the restaurant owner’s employees. If any other business owner did that, we’d think it was nuts.
I don’t pay slave wages and then expect our farm stand customers to make up for that in tips to my pickers or to our helpers at the stand. Raise the dang menu prices appropriately and pay at least $15 an hour to your wait staff. Any tips they’d get for exceptional service above and beyond the norm, would be acceptable but not necessarily the standard.
I know some wait staff make far beyond a living wage if they’re at a busy, upscale place, but for those stuck in podunk towns with stingy customers, it’s just not right.
To the Editor:
Thank you for writing the informative and thorough account of the public forum held 7-12-22 in White Cloud to address the serious issue of addictions in Newaygo County.
I was also there and heard for myself, things that I had not really thought about too deeply. I found the information that was shared by the excellent speakers to be very informative, eye opening and heart breaking. Indeed, there is a serious problem with addiction in our county that affects many adults and children; indeed all of us as members of NC. And I learned that there are many dedicated people, professionals and ordinary members of our communities who are concerned and working to remedy the problem.
I was impressed with how smoothly the forum was organized and how much I learned from the various speakers, whose dedication and commitment for the well being of the people of Newaygo County, was very obvious. There were times, during the testimonies of two of the speakers who shared personal stories of living with loved ones affected by addiction, that if a pin dropped, it could be heard! I found my heart deeply moved and my mind expanded. When looking over my notes from the evening, I noticed I had written a Q to myself; 'Who is my neighbor?" Thinking of that as I drove home, I thought of a quote I had just read that morning, by Isabel Allende; "We are all born happy. Life gets us dirty along the way, but we can clean it up." Indeed! That was proved at this meeting.
Kudos to NCMH Director, Carol Mills, & organizers of the forum, to all the speakers and to the audience members who were respectful and submitted great questions. I would recommend and encourage that this important informational forum be repeated in our county in the future; perhaps in larger venues such as the Grant Fine Arts Center, The Dogwood Center in Fremont or through the FACF's Better Together Series, where there is accessibility to better media systems so all participants can hear and see the information being shared. This information is too critical and important to limit it to just this one time. Again, my deepest appreciation and thanks to all those who participated in this forum.
Gloria Switzer Fremont.
To the Editor:
I recently moved to White Cloud and am very impressed with the friendly folks my husband and I have encountered. I am a Democrat and know I am in a majority Republican county. I believe the divisiveness that we have all endured these last few years must end. We all want healthy and safe communities for our families now and into the future. It seems to me the wealthy individuals and corporations want to keep us in conflict with each other while they laugh all the way to the bank at the expense of the people and the planets' health. We are a lot more alike than many think. Let's come together to work on equality, safety and good health and address the real problems facing us.
To The Editor:
I know there are strong feelings about mask wearing, but some of us are at special risk. I am a cancer survivor on cancer prevention drugs. I hired a local chimney sweep to clean my chimney. They arrived 20 minutes late. I get it, that happens. I politely asked them to wear a mask when they were in the house adding that I had masks if they did not. The man in charge got very huffy and said he would not wear a mask and left.
He felt that since he got a vaccination he did not need a mask. The truth is one can still get and pass onto others the Covid virus even if you are vaccinated. Vaccination is best for preventing serious disease if you get the virus.
So, please, if you have business that requires you to go into someone's home and they ask you to wear a mask for their protection, please be willing to do so. When I’m at work, I wear a mask from the time I enter the building until I exit. Be considerate of others' needs.
By Ken DeLaat
America’s birthday number 246 is now in the books as Near Northians took advantage of a spate of splendid meteorological magic to engage in some serious reveling across our fair county.
Croton kicked things off on Saturday with their annual parade then followed up in the evening with the party on the pond known as the Freedom Fest. Parades also hit the streets in Fremont and Hesperia and being it’s an election year citizens got a good glimpse at some of the candidates vying for their votes.
And then of course there were the fireworks.
There were ample opportunities to ply your pyrotechnical passion as Croton and Fremont both got rave reviews from those in attendance
N3 World Headquarters and Monarch Maternity Center is located on the shores of Hess Lake and each year the ring of fire serves as the backdrop for a flurry of fireworks ignited for the pleasure of viewers by private parties who seem bent on outdoing each other each year.
And this year was no different. Sunday night proved to once again provide pyrotechnic pleasure to those on land as well as the bevy of boats who took to the lake for their viewing perspective.
A late rainfall knocked out the Hesperia’s Monday fireworks, the culmination of their weekend long Family Fun Fest, but organizers decided to keep the pyro party going by rescheduling their dazzling display for this coming Saturday.
And now with summer hitting full stride our patch of peninsular pleasure will be getting busy as folks from other parts begin arriving to enjoy the surroundings we get to live in year-round.They will be floating down the river, enjoying one of our many lakes, hiking the plethora of pathways and filling our local eateries.
Just what you’d expect from an area that has become a consummate destination site for discriminating travelers.
From the Newaygo County Democratic Party:
The Newaygo County Democratic Party will host their monthly meeting on Monday, July 11. Join them at 6 p.m. for a social half hour, then stay for the meeting at 6:30 p.m. Their new office is at 701 W. Main Street, Fremont. Please enter from the Fremont Street side across from the car wash.
The July 11 meeting will focus on issues that are important to all Newaygo County residents; public outreach and education events; participation in the July 22 Gerber Baby Food Festival Parade; and the upcoming August primary.
On Thursday, July 14 at 6:30 p.m. members of the Newaygo County Democrats will hold its first “Meet & Greet” event at Veterans Park in Fremont. Community members are invited to enjoy a social time together, and then stay for the free concert in the Park at 7 p.m.
There will be open “Meet & Greet” events around the county over the next few months to widen outreach to County residents who are interested in learning more about where the Democratic Party and its candidates stand on important issues. For more information, visit & sign up for Enews at www.NewaygoCoDems.org; follow on Facebook @Newaygo County Democratic Party and @Newaygo County Democrats, or call 231-709-9007.
The Newaygo County Democratic Party welcomes all people and does not discriminate based on gender, gender identification, age, race, ethnicity, spiritual or religious affiliation or non-affiliation
Letter to the Editor Policy
Near North Now welcomes original letters from readers on current topics of general interest. Simply fill out the form below. Letters submissions are limited to 300 words.