Newaygo Dems Meet Nov 1, Election Day Nov 7
Submitted by the Newaygo County Democratic Party
The November meeting of the Newaygo County Democratic Party will be on Wednesday, November 1 at the Newaygo County Heritage Museum, 12 Quarterline Street, Newaygo, 49337. Members and guests can join the Open Forum and snacks at 6pm, with the business meeting starting at 6:30pm. The meeting will have a virtual Zoom option which will be available via the Democrat E-news, or by emailing: email@example.com.
The Open Forum at 6pm is a chance for members and guests to discuss issues of concern, and to meet others who follow Michigan Democratic platforms. The business meeting will cover community outreach, engagement and education plans, as well as fundraising activities for the rest of the year.
Local elections and local ballot measures for Newaygo County will be held on Tuesday, November 7. Residents can find out if they are registered to vote and can view a sample ballot at https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/. You can also contact the Newaygo County Clerk, or your local village or township clerk.
Regular Newaygo County Democratic Party meetings are usually held on the first Monday of each month. If that falls on a holiday, the meeting will take place on the 2nd Monday of the month.November’s meeting is on Wednesday the 1 st due to other scheduling conflicts.
To learn more about the Newaygo County Democratic Party, visit the
website: https://newaygocodems.org. Or follow on Facebook pages @ Newaygo County Democratic Party, and @ Newaygo County Democrats.
By Ken De Laat
Camp Newaygo was the scene of this year’s Influential Women in Leadership luncheon and the nominees and other attendees settled into the cozy atmosphere of the lodge to mingle, network and chat with each other before being welcomed by Julie Burrell of The Right Place. Ms. Burrell, who captured an award at the inaugural event two years ago, spoke to the impressive set of nominees who hailed from all areas of the county and represented a number of differing occupations.
After a buffet lunch (during which my good fortune had me seated next to the indomitable Mayor Jim Rynberg allowing us to swap a few stories) Camp Newaygo Director Jalisa Danhof delivered the keynote address. This was done from her seat on a pile of pillows, an action necessitated by her recent surgery. Being seated provided no obstacle for Ms. Danhof who seamlessly delivered a multimedia presentation entitled “Raising the Next Generation of Women”. Her message was crystal clear about the need to instill confidence and develop self esteem in the girls who will be the next generation of women who will lead.
A highlight of her talk was a video called “If Male Athletes Were Asked Questions Aimed at Female Athletes”. Look it up. Highly recommended for being not just enlightening but also seriously funny and it is most certainly available on youtube.
Then came the awards.
The first went to Mary Rangel who won the Emerging Leader Award for her advocacy work with migrant and farmworker families. Covering several of her Farmworker Appreciation Day events over the years is what introduced me to Mary. Her ability to draw on a number of resources to provide the many necessities for the long line of families who partake in the event was beyond admirable. Most impressive was how no matter how busy she is, (and believe me on that day Mary is one busy woman) she takes time to speak to people about the event and stress its importance in helping the farmworker community. And to advocate whenever possible for the people she serves.
Mary-“When I think of my accomplishments I always thank God first. My children, grandchildren, family and community are the reason I do what I do. With the help of Fremont Area Community Foundation, my role at DHD #10 I am able to do the projects, events for the Migrant Community. I look forward to working closely with my community for many years to come.”
White Cloud City Manager April Storms was next up as she received the Community Leader Award. Ms. Storms has been instrumental in creating a huge turnaround in the city that serves as our county seat. Forging productive relationships and bringing an innovative and creative thought process to municipal government, April has helped develop a vision for her city. The recent sesquicentennial celebration may have commemorated the town’s founding but it also showcased how far the city has come in recent years.
April: “It was truly an honor to receive the Newaygo County Community Leader of the Year Award. Just being nominated among this fantastic group of women in our county was very special. No one wins an award because they are great all by themselves. A great leader is made up of a leader with a fierce supportive team working towards common goals and who work collaboratively and tirelessly to get things done. It's a privilege to be a public servant and I'm so blessed to serve a community that I truly love.”
The final award for Influential Leader went to Newaygo City Police Chief Georgia Andres. Ms. Andres has been the face of law enforcement in the city of Newaygo since taking over the position in 2015. Prior to that she served as a sergeant on the city’s force for nearly 12 years. After taking an associate’s degree in law enforcement Georgia went on to obtain a Master’s Degree from Ferris State. During her tenure the department has developed many initiatives aimed at increasing safety in the community she serves.
Georgia: “It was one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had. I still believe Lori Tubergan-CLark is amazing and definitely is my most influential leader.”
And on a personal note...
Each of the three were worthy recipients as would be any of the 11 others who were honored on this day for their contributions to the community. Many of those in this group are familiar to me. I’ve known Abby Watkins since she came to the county as Emergency Services Director and while being well acquainted with Lori Tubergen Clark from her years as Superintendent of NC RESA we have also served together on a number of committees and boards and she is considered a friend. I first met Georgia Andres when she was still Sergeant and Chenoa Boss grew up across the street from Lil and I and we’ve known the family since moving here a quarter century ago. There were several others I likely have encountered once or twice (or even multiple times) along the way but memory being a prized personal commodity these days…
However, there was one woman in the group that I am most familiar with.
My daughter Lesly.
There are many praises I could sing of her personal courage, her skillful and creative hands, her acumen for landscaping design and her relentless support for the causes she believes in.
But of all the qualities my daughter possesses I must admit to a personal favorite.
An attribute I believe to be of the utmost importance to human beings.
I am proud to say she is at heart one of the kindest people I know.
And in case you were wondering…
She gets this from her Mother.
By Tim McGrath
“I can’t be with Sandy anymore; she has hair under her arms.” Fifth grader, Bobby, lamenting the loss of his latest love interest.
Well, here we are again. The yearly going-to-school ritual most of us lived through is in full swing. I can’t think of many other experiences so many of us have in common than going to school. The times and places are different, of course. But being corralled into rooms and special buildings with a wide variety of kids for about 12 or 13 years is fairly universal. The entrance into the world of geniuses, misfits, politicians, scoundrels, salespeople, comedians, princesses, and all manner of interesting characters.
In the week leading up to that big first day of my early school years, there was the going-to-the-store to do the yearly gathering. That meant going to Arlan’s, because they had the best deals on EVERYTHING: pink pearl erasers, the twelve pack of pencils, notebook paper, pencil boxes to hold it all. Then there were the crayons. I coveted the Crayola big 128 box with the sharpener built into the back. There was even the color burnt sienna in there, not just blah old brown, but burnt sienna. Never mind it really was the color of something the dog left in the yard; it was something new, different, exciting. I never got that. I usually ended up with some crappy off brand box of 16 or 32.
There were the new shoes from Rose’s Shoes in Galewood; PF Flyers, or Red Ball Jets if Mom was feeling generous, or if I was particularly adept at convincing her they really were the best thing for my feet. After she and old Mr. Rose had a discussion about my feet, though, I usually ended up getting a pair of clunky Stride-Rite orthopedics. Scratchy corduroys, maybe a new shirt or two, depending on if I’d outgrown last year’s model, would complete my new fall ensemble. The gear of a kid starting a new year of school.
Doesn’t seem to be much different today. There’s still the gathering of stuff, the anticipation of heading off to school mixed in with the tinges of sadness on leaving the days of summer behind.
September 1, 1960 through June 12, 2012 found me living in some classroom or another. From my student days in Wyoming Public Schools: the ancient halls of Boulevard Elementary to the brand-new Taft Elementary, to Wyoming Junior High and High School. After that I found myself a student roaming the halls of Calvin College, which led me to being a teacher in classrooms in Fremont Public Schools.
That’s a lot of school, a lot of doors passed through. There was much stuff to be learned: some invaluable, some an exercise in learning simply for the test, some a complete waste. A handful of those kids with whom I became friends with then still remain friends. Others came and went, as life inescapably happened, and they ended up in faraway places, never to be heard from again. Sadly, some have passed on. Teachers who were dedicated, brilliant, engaging; and the ones who weren’t. Thankfully, most of the teachers I spent those blips in time with were caring and good. Through it all there were the stories: some funny, some touching, some sad, some disturbing.
Here’s a few of mine….
Up until that early morning of September 1, 1960, school consisted of playing, eating, sleeping, and generally having a big time at home, mostly with Mom. If there was any formal education to be had, it was watching Captain Kangaroo, Miss Jean on Romper Room, Fireman Freddy, and Buck Barry on Buckaroo Rodeo. It was a comfy life, one I thought could probably work out favorably well into the future. So, when I turned 4, Sunday School came around, and I was hurled into my first experience in a classroom. Gathering each Sunday morning with Miss Helen, her helpers and all the other 4 and 5-year-old kids in a classroom, learning to listen, taking turns, coloring, singing songs, doing puppet shows, and flannel boards helped me get ready for the big show.
September finally came; it was time for my debut.
I still have a crinkly black-and-white photo Mom took of me, my friends Gary, Debbie, and Malia all lined up on the front steps of Boulevard Elementary. Gary and I in those stiff new corduroys, button down shirts, shiny black Stride Rites, Debbie and Malia in pretty little dresses, shiny black Mary Janes, and bright white anklets. Smiles all around. The beginning of our foray into the illuminating world of public school.
I stood in the doorway of my new kindergarten class and, glancing into the cavernous space, there, like a priceless ruby, sat a beautiful red tricycle. I quickly walked in, and looking it over, decided this place was going to be A-OK. Without a moment’s hesitation, I jumped on, and pedaled right out the door. Imagine this, I remember thinking, look at all these hallways I can explore. So just like that, I was off. I toodled down the hallway directly in front of our kindergarten door ignoring all the stares and giggles. As I rounded the corner on my way back past the class, the shadow of a very large woman with glaring red lips, and bulging blue eyes hidden behind silvery cats-eye glasses darkened my path. Putting her ample face inches from mine she shouted, “Just what are you doing? Get back in here right this instant!” She grabbed my arm, yanked the trike out of my little hands, and pinched me, hard. “Don ‘t you ever do anything like that again!” she scolded. Welcome to kindergarten.
Late in the year, the class put together a musical show for our parents. All of the boys were dressed up in white shirts and dark pants, girls in white blouses and dark skirts. We each had some kind of instrument to bang on or shake. What a horrible cacophony it must have been. We also sang some little choruses, much to the delight of the moms. To round out the show was one daring little fellow who performed a solo. He was dressed in white shirt and a bright red bow tie. A little vest completed his ensemble. And remarkably, the teacher had gooped up his lips with bright red lipstick and had rubbed rouge on his chubby little cheeks. When it came his turn to shine, he belted out the selection, then at the finale got down on one knee, arms splayed wide, Al Jolson style. The audience roared their approval. The teacher beamed her delight at the showmanship, our soloist bowed low at the waist. Another successful production in kindergarten, room 1-A.
It doesn’t take long in a school setting for all the new scholars to sort themselves out into the various strata of life in school: the smart kids, not-so-smart ones, leaders, followers, the teacher-pleasers, funny kids, odd ducks, troublemakers. By about 2nd grade those murky classifications were now beginning to solidify, and everyone knew where each other belonged. Of course, with age comes wisdom, and in reality, most of us would have found ourselves in most of these categories at one point or another during our school days. But that realization was years off; not something most second graders would think much about.
Life is pretty good if you find yourself in the smart kid, nontroublemaker camp, but not so much if you’re in the not-so-smart group. Heaven help you if you’re in the not-so-smart, troublemaker group. Back in my early school days there was no such thing as special education, where kids who struggled with learning or behavior problems could get help. Thankfully, today there are many ways kids who struggle can get the help they need and deserve. I had the opportunity to serve for a number of years as an elementary special education teacher. I was able to work with kids from kindergarten to fifth grade who struggled with school. It was a wonderful thing to see progress made when we could help equip the kids who struggled with the tools they needed to succeed. Often behavior issues would diminish when they were successful with their learning, as well. Those days were far in the future, however. Back in my school days, if a kid struggled in the classroom, and was a behavior problem, the results were predictable.
Danny checked both boxes. He struggled in the classroom, and in getting along with other kids and teachers. Plus, he had a physical challenge – he had a wooden leg. The rumor was it had been cut off when somebody slammed a car door on it when he was little. But that was just a rumor, so who really knew. He did have a sense of humor about it, though. He used to take the foot of the leg and turn it around so the toes were pointing backward, usually as we were lining up to go somewhere. He would pull this stunt with the teacher at the beginning of the new school year, or whenever we had a sub. It was fun to see the incredulous expression on the teacher’s face when he pulled this one off.
In spite of his antics, however, things were tough for him. But in all honesty, he didn’t make things easier for himself, either. When the stump of his leg was sore from the chafing of the prosthesis, he’d take the leg off and use crutches. The crutches became a way to annoy other kids and adults. Usually this involved clumping other kids in the head or rear end as he roared past. I saw him do this one Sunday morning in church, too. Poor Miss Laman, the church librarian, became a favorite target. He’d quietly sneak up behind her, stretch out the crutch and whack her on the backside. This particular Sunday she let out a loud, ”Oh my!” As Danny zoomed past her, she scolded him with,” The Lord is watching, Danny!”
It was midway through our fourth-grade year. The class was to read silently in our reading books, then after a certain time, we would read the same thing out loud going from one kid to the next, up and down each row. If you were a fluent reader, this was boring, but not a problem. If you struggled with reading orally, this was misery. Everyone had to do it, no exceptions. The logic being, if you follow along enough times, you’ll improve. Danny hadn’t got that message. When it got to him, he sat there. The teacher hollered at him to, “get with the program!”. Danny couldn’t do it. He put his head in his desk and started crying. “I can’t do it, and you can’t make me!” he hollered back. The teacher pushed his chair back, got up, and stalked over to Danny’s desk. Grabbing him by the arm, he hauled him out of his seat, and dragged him to the front of the room near the door. He picked him up and dumped him hind end first into the wastebasket. Grabbing the edge of the wastebasket, he opened the door, and kicked the trashcan with Danny stuck inside out into the hall. “That’s what we do with the garbage!” he roared as he slammed the door shut.
I lost track of Danny somewhere in junior high, yet he did graduate high school a year after me. After that, I heard various things of him living in Hawaii, then Alaska. Someone said they’d heard he’d travelled the country, making it his goal to visit each state. This same person mentioned he’d heard that Danny had died several years ago in Alaska. As I heard this news, it made me wonder how his life would have been if he’d gotten the help he needed as a little boy.
I had the chance to attend my 50th class reunion a while back. We had 235, or so, kids in our graduating class, and about 80 attended the event. We shared tales of where life had taken us since that sultry June day in 1973 when we walked across the stage, and out the door into a new life. We spoke of children, grandkids, spouses, careers. There were the “remember whens” shared of people, events, and who’d won or lost the big games. We laughed about the shenanigans pulled, and the odd manner of particular teachers, imitating a phrase or tone of voice they had used.
It was quite remarkable to see someone I hadn’t seen in fifty years and recognize immediately who they were. Or, to hear a voice and be able to conjure up images of them in school all that long time ago. It was as if we’d been transported back into the days of our youth for a few short hours. Bittersweet in a way; a time for looking back on what was, and what might have been, if only…..
School, for most of us, is a universal experience. A safe familiar place some run to, for others, a miserable place to escape from. Yet, in spite of the ups and downs, wackiness, and drudgery, it is a time of discovery, laughter, tears, heartbreak, joy.
Article by Sally Wagoner
Photos courtesy of West Michigan Burial Forest
“What is Green Burial?” will be answered on October 28, 2pm at the Newaygo Heritage Museum. The public is invited to learn about this eco-friendly, sustainable method of interment, and how it may come to our area. Annica and Peter Quakenbush of West Michigan Burial Forest will provide a free presentation in the Forest View Room of the Museum. It will begin at 2pm, right after the 2nd annual Newaygo Scarecrow Stroll.
“Green Burial” is a way of caring for the dead that has minimal impact on the environment. It avoids the use of toxic embalming and vaults. It does not produce the large footprint of carbon emissions as found during the process of cremation. Green Burial allows the body to decompose in a natural way using biodegradable materials.
Annica and Peter Quakenbush are striving to provide a Green Burial Forest in Newaygo County. Taking natural burial one step further, they aim to protect a local forest and its rich, biodiverse native habitat in perpetuity through a non-development management plan. The Green Burial Conservancy will be in conjunction with an established conservation organization such as the Michigan Nature Association.
What would walking through this “cemetery” be like? It would be like a walk in the woods: minimal disruption to the forest, tended trails, perhaps coming across small markers at some final resting places to remind one of the sacred ground underfoot. Native flora and fauna that are unique and often endangered in Newaygo County would be protected and enjoyed: White Pine centenarians, wild Dogwood trees, Wood Betony and Birds Foot violet plants, Trilliums, and Ghost Pipes, among others plant species. Preserving a habitat that would not be destroyed for homes or industry would ensure that a variety of birds are present for viewing: Indigo Buntings, Ovenbirds, Scarlet Tanagers, Warblers, Barred Owls, and others.
Like many new endeavors, Annica and Peter have hurdles to jump in order to make their dream come true. “Informing residents and civic leaders about how a Green Burial Forest would benefit our community is our first important step,” they state.
The benefits of a Green Burial Forest in Newaygo County are many, according to Annica, Peter and local supporters of this burial option. It would contribute to the mosaic of protected natural conservation areas managed by such organizations as the Michigan Nature Association and the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, thus providing more healthy habitats for our native plants and animals. It would offer a place of peace and solace for friends and families of loved ones who are laid to rest there. It would contribute to the local economy, as businesses would be supported through the local funeral director services, as well as restaurant and overnight lodging by visiting family and friends. And Newaygo County would be on the map as a leader in new ways of promoting and protecting our native and natural environment – as the first Green Burial Forest in Michigan.
Join NCEC on Saturday, October 28, 2pm to learn more about Green Burial from Annica and Peter. Come at 2pm, right after the Scarecrow Stroll, to the Forest View Room of the Newaygo Heritage Museum. The event is free and refreshments will be provided.
Registration is preferred as seating is limited. To register: go to www.eventbrite.com, and search for “Green Burial Newaygo''; or www.nc-ec.org, and click on the Events Calendar, October 28 Green Burial; or go to Facebook Events at Newaygo County Environmental Coalition (NCEC2). You can also email NCEC: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about West Michigan Burial, go to: www.miburial.com.
Lake County Historical Museum to host a gathering
LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, on Monday announced he will be joining other area lawmakers at an office hour meeting on Friday, Oct. 20 in Baldwin.
Outman, R-Six Lakes, will be joined by Sen. Roger Hauck, R-Mt. Pleasant and Reps. Tom Kunse, R-Clare, and Joseph Fox, R-Fremont. The lawmakers will be available to answer questions and provide information and assistance, as well as take suggestions on issues affecting communities and businesses in the district. No appointment is necessary.
The upcoming office hour event will take place as follows:
Friday, Oct. 20
2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Lake County Historical Museum and Research Library
915 Michigan Ave.
For more information or to contact Outman, please visit SenatorRickOutman.com or call 517-373-3760.
Luncheon honoring women who lead at Camp Newaygo Wednesday
“When girls see women in leadership roles speaking out for what they believe in, they see it is possible for them, too. Instead of a faraway dream, their aspirations become real, concrete and achievable. Womanhood starts to look more inviting.”-Tabby Biddle, Find Your Voice: A Woman’s Call To Action
For the third year the River Country Chamber of Commerce will be presenting the Newaygo County Influential Women in Leadership event. This year the doings will take place at Camp Newaygo next Wednesday, October 11th from 11am-1pm and the keynote speaker will not have to travel far since Camp Director Jalisa Danhof will be addressing attendees on “Raising the Next Generation of Women Leaders”.
The event will celebrate the legion of competent, creative and caring female leaders found throughout our county. The theme of Danhof’s message points to the need for continuing to mentor and create avenues for the young women who will follow today’s influential women in local leadership roles.
A panel of judges will select three who will receive awards as 2023’s Influential Leader, Emerging Leader, and Community Leader, but each of the 14 women being feted on this day has had an impact in their individual role.
“Receiving the Community Leader award last year was a great honor and affirmation that the work I have been doing in my personal and professional life was making a difference,” said Lola Harmon-Ramsey. “As women, our roles often center around our homes, children or partners. Being recognized as a female community leader my work as a philanthropist, recycling professional and member of my community was recognized and appreciated. The award continues to motivate me. “
Tickets for this remarkable luncheon event celebrating truly remarkable women are $45 and can be purchased at:
Influential Women in Leadership 2023 Nominees~
ABBY WATKINS, DIRECTOR OF EMERGENCY SERVICES
AMANDA IRWIN, MANAGER WITH TAMARAC
ANGELA FRYE, CLINICAL NURSING DIRECTOR WITH COREWELL
ANN LAPRES-HINDES, FOUNDER OF NEWAYGO COUNTY COMPASSION HOME
APRIL STORMS, WHITE CLOUD CITY MANAGER
CHENOA BOSS, DUAL BRANCH MANAGER WITH CHOICEONE BANK
DIANE RUDHOLM, NEWAYGO COUNTY COMPASSION HOME
EMERY KOETJE, BEHAVIOR ANALYST
GEORGIA ANDRES, CHIEF OF POLICE WITH CITY OF NEWAYGO
LESLY DELAAT, OWNER OF LITTLE MITTEN LANDSCAPE
LORI SHEARS, MANAGER WITH HOUSEMAN'S FOODS
LORI TUBBERGEN-CLARK, EXECUTIVE COACH
MARY RANGEL, DHD#10, WIC TECH
NICOLE KLOMP, NEWAYGO POLICE DPT SOCIAL WORKER
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