To the Editor;
The Midterm elections are just a few weeks away and the seat for Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes Newaygo County, is on the ballot. As a relative newcomer to Newaygo County, in order to get familiar with the local candidates, I have been making an effort to attend their events. Western Michigan is growing quickly, so I’m sure there are many other new 2nd District voters who are also vetting unfamiliar candidates.
Our current Congressman, Rep. Bill Huizenga, is running for re-election. Unfortunately, he has not held a town hall or an open event in the district for over a year. Representative Huizenga wants our vote, but he is not offering us the opportunity to hear him speak and ask him questions. In contrast, Representative Huizenga’s opponent, Dr. Rob Davidson, has held several events in the area. I have listened to Dr. Davidson speak at town meetings, and had the opportunity to ask direct questions at a “Coffee with Dr. Rob” event at the Koffee Kuppe in Fremont.
Dr. Davidson holds a campaign event almost every week. Dr. Rob Davidson is working hard to meet and listen to the 2nd District residents. His events are well advertised, frequent, and, most importantly, open to the public. Representative Huizenga apparently does not want to talk to us. When we cast our ballots in November, we are hiring the candidate to be our representative in government. My message to Mr. Huizenga is, why should we hire you if you won’t even show up for an interview?
To the new and veteran subscribers to our weekly,... well, actually more like periodic than weekly of late…. Newsletter.
Those of you who may have subscribed in recent months, say, like since mid-July or so may have been wondering why not a shred of evidence had arrived verifying this much-appreciated-by-us action on your part.
It seems some people are just barely technologically savvy enough to get themselves in trouble and the publisher of N3 happens to fall smack dab in the center of this category.
With the greatly appreciated help of those who possess skills significantly more sophisticated than those of said publisher the situation has hopefully been corrected. The publisher has also agreed to seek counsel before embarking on any new cyber-related adventures.
Please spread the word.
Those of you who have followed us for awhile may have noticed a bit of a drop off in the regularity of our email missives. What follows is what amounts to a rather weak but ultimately sincere explanation.
At times it becomes easy to focus on the much enjoyed task involving the inclusion into our pages the new material arriving into N3WH all the while neglecting other duties such as cleaning the garage ( even after numerous requests) or not getting a newsletter out in a timely fashion.
We, (actually, more like me since the others all do what they do very well) vow to do better though considering the track record on vows made about the garage this will be no easy undertaking.
N3 will continue to provide you with articles, columns, stories, photos, and sports. To deliver information while providing an ever changing picture of this remarkable region those of us privileged enough to live here can call home.
As always our hope is to engage our readers. To entertain, enlighten,and encourage healthy dialogue.
And we value your opinion so please send us a note, reply to an article, submit a letter to the Pulse section or just wave as you drive by.
And thank you for taking the time to check out our latest offerings.
By Ken DeLaat
Granted, like most of my bipeninsular brothers and sisters, I truly love summer.
It’s the time when this region really comes out to play and admittedly we have a rather impressive playground at our fingertips.
But nothing matches the all too short season we are about the embark on.
Yes, it is autumn, the glorious season of perpetual wonderment and intrigue. The time when each day brings a new look, a new perspective, a new understanding of the charm this transient span of spectacular days brings to the table.
Oh it’s not all fun and games mind you. Autumn in these parts can turn a bit nasty at times and the term ‘fall’ can be applied to drastic drops in temperature, rain of epic proportions and a sneak preview or two of the colder and whiter form of precipitation yet to come.
And yet we are gifted with this remarkable season of reflection and the contemplation of change that often rides along.
There isn’t the hunkering in we have with winter nor the anxious anticipation associated with spring.
And certainly not the frenzied fun-seeking pace of summer.
For sports enthusiasts hunting and fishing opportunities abound, football inundates the tube, baseball becomes relevant again with the playoffs beginning and hockey emerges from the 2 week sabbatical it takes from Stanley Cup to training camp.
Followers of and participants in high school athletics have a smorgasbord of sports from soccer and cross country to tennis, golf and, of course, football.
Pickleballers have begun to move inside to pursue their passion of the sport,
hiking is a much treasured pursuit during autumn and the river, while generally a bit too chilly for tubing, welcomes kayaks, canoes, and the occasional paddleboard.
But beyond the activities Autumn means meditation and musing. A time when you can see what change looks like and what change feels like from the lesson of transformation delivered by the climatic wonder surrounding us.
It is pure magic with a dollop of ecological dignity.
And perhaps the most favored among the exquisite quartet of seasonal offerings we bipeninsular bipeds embrace.
So, in celebration of it’s arrival here are some quotes about this spellbinding season said by those much more articulate than I.
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” -Albert Camus
“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” -Laura DeStefano
“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face."-John Donne
"Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile."-John Howard Bryant
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house."- Nathaniel Hawthorne
“He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.”-J.R.R. Tolkien
“I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it.”-Lee Maynard
By Ken DeLaat
The School for Innovation and the Classics a low performing charter school in Hephzibah, Georgia a town of about 4000 folks on the eastern border of South Carolina instituted a policy to allow corporal punishment via ‘paddling’ and received signed permission slips from about a third of the parents of the K-9 (grades not dogs) school.
Here’s what I don’t like about the whole corporal punishment thing.
Who gets to draw the line as to when it is deemed appropriate and can you trust people to administer it to your (or any) child?
Hands down there are reasons to want to paddle someone. There are number of adults I have encountered who perhaps could use a bit of hands on discipline regarding some of their behavior because they really should know better.
But again here’s my problem with anyone being allowed to administer such enforcement to children.
I don’t trust other humans easily and I certainly have little faith in the existence of universal integrity within any system or organization. History is filled to the gills with examples of seemingly good ideas gone terribly wrong.
So yes, discipline is a problem in schools of this we can be certain. Schools are filled with children raised in any number of circumstances and situations, thus when collectively gathered there will undoubtedly be issues with behavioral management even under the best of circumstances. I applaud the efforts of school personnel as they try to maintain order while delivering an education to large groups of young folks.
But I would have to draw the line at allowing someone else to have permission to whack away at a child because if it cannot be guaranteed (and it cannot) that it would be ethical in nature 100% of the time there should be no room for it.
I realize there are spanking advocates out there and obviously ⅓ of the folks who send their kids to this charter school with an improbably oxymoronic name are part of this, but bringing back the ‘good old days’ when we all were subject to such discipline ignores the multitude of victims who have suffered under such policies due to the shortcomings of those who were trusted to administer them.
I am more of a grandparent than parent these days. I don’t know what it is like to raise children in this era, though through four of the best looking, intelligent, likeable and exceptionally well mannered beings to be found anywhere I get a glimpse at the challenges.
I have trust in their schools to academically guide them. They are, after all, the experts in delivering education.
But delivering corporal punishment?
I think not.
To the Editor;
I’m a Newaygo County resident. I’m frustrated that my representative in Congress, Bill Huizenga, has been in hiding for more than a year. He won’t meet his constituents. He hasn’t done a town hall in more than a year. His staff replies to emails with dismissive and condescending responses.
His opponent, Rob Davidson, has been going to every corner of the district. He’s held town halls, meet-and-greets, and coffee hours. I urge citizens who are tired of a career politician who voted to take away healthcare for thousands of people in our community to go talk to Rob. He’ll be in Grant on the Friday, 9/14, at the Kick Start Cafe at 9 a.m. Rob will fight for healthcare for strong public schools and safe drinking water. He’s fed up with the corruption in Washington and Wall Street lobbyists buying off politicians so they get a big tax handout, paid for by cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
Bill Huizenga is out of touch. He’s looking out for his campaign donors, not us working people. Go talk to Rob. We need a real voice in Congress.
By Megan Wirts
If anyone would have told me 3 1/2 years ago what I would be doing with my life I would have said they were out of their mind! Absurd! Ridiculous!
None of this was my plan. Not a single part of it. Writing this column, baking cheesecakes, doing stand up comedy, officiating weddings, etc. None of it. Dystonia gave all of that to me. I used to only be able to think about all of the things that dystonia took from me. My independence, my ability to have a job, my ability to run or walk without some kind of assistance, my hearing in my right ear, days without pain, relationships with friends, control over my own body...you get the picture. I felt like my entire life had been stolen from me by this stupid mother f’ing disorder. I used to dwell on those things, sit with them, cry and scream about them and I was miserable.
Then slowly, the fog lifted and the dark cloud that I felt hovering over me started to break apart and spots of light were shining through. That's where my husband, my children, my dearest friends and family were. They were there waiting for me, encouraging me and helping me find a way to bring myself back. I had to do the work, but they were there.
The grief I felt after being diagnosed with dystonia was so profound and life changing that I knew I would never be the same, and that's not a bad thing. It would have been bad if I would have just stayed there, wallowing in my sorrow for the rest of my life, but I didn't want that. I wanted to live my life. We only get one and I wanted to live mine the best way I could.
Now, here it is the day before my brother's wedding and I have made over 20 dozen mini cheesecakes in the past couple of weeks, three wedding cakes (Two were practice. You guys, wedding cakes are hard! Cheesecake is better because you don't have to frost the sides! Ugh, the sides!!!)
I am officiating a wedding next Saturday, and then Sunday 9/16 I'm performing stand up comedy in the semi finals of the King Pin of Comedy Competition at Woody's Pressbox in Wyoming, MI (show starts at 8:30). Then the next day, September 17, is my 37th birthday!! (“What?! 37?! You look so young?”...Thank you, thank you).
After that it's my 16th wedding anniversary on September 21st. *Cue Earth Wind and Fire* “Do you remember the 21st of September…”16 years with my darling, shy, hilarious, witty, intelligent, patient, sweet, kind and handsome fella. We challenge each other, adore each other and sometimes we drive each other crazy and we wouldn't want it any other way. I love sharing my life with him.
Our lives can be (in the words of Will Smith) “flipped turned upside down”, but we all have a choice in the way we react to our life situations. Will Smith became the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire instead of being mad about it. Me? I'm trying to be the best cheesecake baking, column writing, stand up comedianing, wife, mother, friend and all around human that I can be, while having dystonia.
Go ahead and get angry or sad, just don't stay there. Find the cracks in the darkness and stand in the light for as long as you can. All of these things I have going on in my life, my friends and family, they are the good parts that I have chosen to focus on. They are my light. Find yours and then turn it into something great.
Annual cancer brunch is another opportunity to tap into Gerber Memorial’s many local resources
By Joni Erlewein, NP, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial
Every year, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial celebrates cancer survivors and their caregivers during the Cancer Survivors Annual Brunch. This event is an opportunity to share stories of hope, healing, survival and courage. During the brunch, people from all walks of life discuss their journeys, the highs and the lows, the good and bad. In the spirit of faith and fellowship, one theme that comes through during the brunch is loud and clear: that cancer patients and survivors don’t have to face their challenges alone.
This year, when we host our brunch at Tamarac on Saturday, Sept. 15, we’ll hear from survivors who beat the odds. We’ll get to know individuals who found strength through faith and family. And we’ll share information and resources right here in Newaygo County.This last factor is something we’re proud to offer: Thanks to technology, caring staff and a host of free programs, the patients and families we serve in Newaygo County can get what they need right here in the local community.
Take our support groups. Gerber Memorial hosts many free support groups, including one for cancer survivors and patients, held the second Wednesday of every month at Tamarac from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and facilitated by Shelly Klochack, RN. We believe that survivors, caregivers and those undergoing treatment can help make all of us stronger during the journey by sharing our individual stories. So our support groups are meant for anyone who wants the opportunity to learn, listen, and/or share. Gerber Memorial provides free resources, support and encouragement to those touched by cancer. In addition to sharing and support, speakers will also address specific and interesting topics. On Wednesday, Sept. 12, Nurse Practitioner Susan Strickfaden will discuss survivorship. The following month, Gerber Memorial social worker Alice McKenna will discuss healthy coping skills, which can make a positive difference for patients and their families as they cope with the stresses of cancer.
With October approaching, we’ll also be raising awareness about breast cancer and the importance of women to get screened. On Oct. 11, I’ll be sharing some useful information during the free monthly healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies seminars at Tamarac about at-home breast cancer checks, how women can be more proactive and other tips and techniques for detecting this disease. Gerber Memorial offers walk-in mammograms at the Betty Ford Breast Care Services department on the first floor of Gerber Memorial’s main hospital building. As a general guideline, we encourage women age 45 to 54 to get mammograms every year. Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every two years, or can continue yearly screening.
We’re especially proud of our financial counseling service, led by Breanna Slater, who works tirelessly to help patients in need and low-income families get the support they need to afford medications and treatments. At our survivors’ brunch, Breanna will share a few remarks about what she does and how she can help.
Combined with Gerber Memorial’s many other services that can help patients and their families get comprehensive care right in our community, our healthcare team – professionals from many diverse departments – is honored to provide the care patients need to better face the cancer journey.
Joni Erlewein is a nurse practitioner at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s Cancer Center in Fremont.
By Ken DeLaat
It started innocently enough.
LSC Lil and I were at the annual Celtic Fest in Sparta last month just hanging out at a picnic table watching some dancing on the main stage when a pair of couples asked if they could share the seats. The two women began chatting and one mentioned to her friend that she has been raising Monarch butterflies. The music was loud, so were their voices and thus it was overheard .
On the way home Lil brought up the Monarch thing and wondered about why someone would be raising them. I mentioned an article we posted earlier this summer in Near North Now (apparently she is not exactly a regular reader) about efforts to increase what has become a dwindling population.
Her interest particularly piqued, Lil immediately began exploring the subject via internet on the way home while sharing a sea of factoids about assisting the process of caterpillar to butterfly as a way of avoiding the dangers that are visited on these beauties by predators.
That word. Predators
A few things about Lil.
She is without a doubt the kindest person I know. Perhaps a lifetime career in nursing has helped forge this endearing attribute or possibly her inherent altruism led her to what I would consider this most honorable profession. Either way her level of compassion is without compare.
She is also a bit of a perfectionist which makes for intriguing conversations during projects over the years.
“There. I think that should do it.”
“Why isn’t it finished?”
“Well, it’s more of a process kind of thing. It needs to evolve a little more.”
“Meaning you aren’t going to finish it today…….again….”
“Yep. I’d say that sums it up.”
A truly patient woman.
Lil is also a champion of the underdog. She possesses little regard for bullies or those who might victimize others in any way and there also exists a deep and abiding consideration when it comes to most living creatures with some notable exceptions.
No love lost for mosquitos who seem to hold a strong desire for her blood and an equal disdain for wasps and hornets due to their predatory (That word again) nature.
Returning home Lil did a survey of our gardens and found a caterpillar clinging to one of our plants (A butterfly weed. Go figure.). She also noted the presence of wasps/hornets circling the area and having gained knowledge of their predatory (word again) instincts when it comes to butterflies and their pre-winged previous incarnations decided intervention was deemed necessary
Two days later thanks to the wonder that is Amazon a butterfly cage appeared on our doorstep. Dismayed when she couldn’t locate our local larva guy she spotted a chrystallius clinging precariously to the back of one of our porch chairs. In full view of potential predators (word).
He was the first. She gently maneuvered him into the house and somehow was able to attach him near a freshly cut plant in the newly acquired metamorphosis manor. We watched daily as the silkened structure transformed into a jade green translucent marvel and one day while backs were momentarily turned it broke out in full wingspread as a magnificent Monarch.
After a bit of acclimation he (You can apparently tell by the wings. Who knew?) was brought outside and set free. It was a magical moment.
Since then our living area has been populated by nearly a dozen caterpillars in various stages. We have witnessed these beings spin into chrysalises in three separate facilities. Four butterflies have emerged from our household and from what I can gather it appears this might be merely training camp for next year when the effort truly takes hold.
Through mere conversation I have acquired more knowledge regarding butterflies than I could have hoped to have absorbed in any biology classroom.
And having spent 45 years with their benefactor, the tender-hearted lady who is known to murmur gently to them as she sets them off in the world, there is no surprise in how this all happened so quickly.
None at all.
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.