To the Editor:
The Newaygo County Compassion Home’s goal has long been to establish a home for the terminally ill. The mission is to provide compassionate loving support to the terminally ill in a peaceful, comfortable home setting, while caring for the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of our guests and their families.
In the summer of 2017, we took a huge step in realizing this goal when we purchased the property located at 20 South Stewart Street in the City of Fremont. 20 South Stewart street was a large building with much history and stories to tell. The building was also in need of much repair, but that did not deter us from pressing forward. In conferring with contractors and other professionals, we quickly realized the timeline of fundraising and the extensive renovations needed for the home would be great.
As the word got out about our mission to provide care to the terminally ill at no cost to the guest, relying solely on donation, grants and the generosity of the community, we began to appreciate the support and partnership of our community members. Hearing about our vision, another location was offered for use to help us get started while we renovated the Fremont location. The Newaygo County Compassion Home officially opened the doors on July 12th, 2018, in a two-bedroom home, located within the city of White Cloud. The home had belonged to Alice Flinton, a longtime resident of White Cloud. Through the graciousness of Sharon Wolfsen (Alice’s daughter) and her family, we finally had a home to begin our work. Their belief in this mission and foresight for the importance of caring for people at the end of life allowed us to start caring for guests. Since opening, we have had the privilege of serving greater than 80 guests and hundreds of family members in this sweet, sweet home and what an incredible journey it has been.
Throughout this time, we have continued to renovate the Fremont location and we are so happy to announce that with the exception of some springtime landscaping, the home renovation has been completed as we await our final inspections and hope to officially open the doors soon. With the completion of the Fremont home, much thought and planning by the Compassion Home board members has taken place as to the future of both homes. This past year has been a challenging year for us all on many levels. As much as we have loved the home in White Cloud and are so thankful for the guests and families that we were able to serve through the use of this home, the decision has been made to continue our work from the Fremont location only at this time.
Several factors have played into this decision, including the financial constraints that would come with managing two households, as well as the challenge of increasing staffing and volunteer levels to maintain both homes. Needless to say, COVID-19 has made our fundraising efforts this year difficult, as it stunned our community outreach for much of this past year and has made it difficult to foster the volunteer program.
Transitioning to one home versus utilizing both has been a difficult decision, but financially, it is the correct thing to do at this time as we look towards sustaining our mission and continuing to serve the people of the county for years to come. With all things in life-change is inevitable and our new home will provide us with the ability to be more present on a daily basis. Opportunities that we will be able to focus on at the newly renovated location are exciting! The Fremont home has 4 large guest rooms, a new training/meeting room to teach new oncoming staff and volunteers, a large great room with plenty of places to sit and relax, and an onsite Chapel to offer a quiet place to reflect. We are fostering relationships with local colleges/universities to bring in nursing students for end-of-life care curriculum and look to build our volunteer base.
As we have outgrown our White Cloud home, it will never leave our hearts as it has allowed us to care for so many families and provided us a space to learn and hone our skills. Cheri Spoelma, grand-daughter of Alice Flinton, and a NCCH board member, plans to dedicate our respite room in honor of Alice Flinton. We will also have a framed ‘tree of life’ artwork displayed in our Chapel that is engraved with the names of previous guests served through our White Cloud location. We want to give a special “Thank You” to the community of White Cloud for embracing the Compassion home from day one, and although the new location is just a short drive away, the community of White Cloud will always be close to our hearts.
For more information on the Newaygo County Compassion Home or to learn more about volunteering, please visit the Newaygo County Compassion Home Facebook page or our website at http://newaygocountycompassionhome.org
Please join us for a Community Open House on Saturday, March 6, 2021 from 10am – 1pm at 20 S. Stewart Street, Fremont, MI 49412. If you have been following our progress and have been at past open houses, please come see us! You do not want to miss it!
Newaygo County Compassion Home
Ah yes, Love.
Man, talk about a topic that could use a little exposure these days, huh?
And after all it's Valentine's Day, a day we are compelled by a combination of tradition and massive marketing to express our affection to those who own our hearts,
Some say the V Day tradition came from the Roman festival known as Lupercalia held mid February featuring fertility ceremonies involving drunkenness, animal sacrifice and culminating in the men pairing off with women via a lottery. Seems more than a tad creepy but hey, what does one expect from ancient Rome anyway?
Apparently a Roman Emperor (Claudius II) had a major hand in naming the day by executing two guys named Valentine. These gents were martyred and then honored by the Catholic Church with St. Valentine’s Day.
Yep. Executions, animal sacrifice, wanton debauchery...all the things that make one think about romance…
But back to love.
“Oh mirror in the sky what is love?”
Stevie Nicks crooned this in the Fleetwood Mac song ‘Landslide’.
Yes indeed what is love? The eternal question.
Robert Heinlein said “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
Is that it? Knowing that if they are not happy, then neither are you? That seems pretty reasonable I guess.
Of course then there is Jonathan Swift who said “Love is a word made up of two vowels, two consonants and two fools.”
Wow, Jon. We know you were a satirist and all but something must have made you a bit jaded about the whole notion of romance.
We are inundated with love messages via songs, movies, books, etc.
I mean, think about books alone. Have you ever checked out the selection of romance novels in a bookstore? Particularly a used book store? They are as prolific as Iowa corn stalks in July.
And music? Consider just the Beatles who used the word love in their songs more often than a fire and brimstone preacher uses the word sin in a sermon.
And of course when you want to fill a theater? Particularly on a date night?
Titanic, Pretty Woman, The Notebook, and a boatload of Rom-coms are just the ticket.
Heck, A Star is Born has been remade a couple of hundred times at least.
Yes we love love.
But what is it really?
Maybe it’s defined differently for each of us. A condition as unique as the people who are swept up by the experience.
Because when all is said and done (and sung and written and produced on film) love is merely the reason we choose to connect to others. The force that compels us to enter into an agreement, spoken or not, that the other person is the most important other person on Earth.
At least that’s what it could be and perhaps should be.
Lately when N3 posts the recent local marriage licenses I’ve included a little snippet about love and marriage. In one I recalled telling a couple in a counseling session to spend the week treating each other as well as they do their third best friend.
Seems an odd request?
Well, things in the relationship had gotten pretty bad so, under the assumption that best friend was too big an ask, we settled on third best.
Why? Because they had lost any notion of friendship. Sessions felt more like competitors vying for a win and as a result both were losing.
The hope was to rekindle the friendship that they once possessed as a couple. People can sometimes lose track that beyond the romance in love there lies a deep abiding connectedness. That singular feeling that the other has your back. The notion of being part of a ‘Nation of Two’ as Kurt Vonnegut references in his novel "Mother Night". This dynamic serves to root that romantic love into our very being and create the place, sometimes the one place, where we feel safest.
But that’s just our take.
Here are some quotes from others far more articulate than I.
“Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary.”-Oscar Wilde
“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”- Friedrich Nietzsche
“Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.”-Ursula K. Le Guin
“I don't trust people who don't love themselves and tell me, 'I love you.' ... There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”-Maya Angelou
“I think... if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.”- Leo Tolstoy
“Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.”- Robert Frost
And our personal favorite
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Lao Tzu.
Happy V-Day all.
Ken De Laat
To The Editor:
I read an article the other day that reported only 15% of Americans feel that democracy is working in our country. This was troubling to me so I decided to ask my brother for his reaction. I sometimes do this because not only is my brother a very smart man he is also quite liberal, whereas I tend to be quite conservative.
He said he liked what Winston Churchill said about democracy.
“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried.”
As we watch what appears to be a dysfunctioning government we should keep this in mind.
To the Editor:
Reference Brooks Township Resolution Opposes State Closure Orders
Brooks township leadership, it's surprising to us that you folks have a better understanding of what will help us get through this time than our state leaders who have all the available scientific information at their fingertips.
Which do you believe, that the two million people dead worldwide from covid 19 is inconsequential or a lie?
Brook Township residents
By Kelly Smith
A year ago we ran a story on the retirement open house held for Kelly Smith who, as Director of the Newaygo County Road Commission , appeared in our pages on a regular basis to give our readers a heads up on what was on tap for their local roads.
Recently we caught up with Kelly to see how he has been faring in the year since his transition from the day to day demands of the RC to spending time (between projects and chores) contemplating what the next chapter in his life might involve.
Let me start by saying the opportunity to spend 34 plus years at Newaygo County Road Commission was one of the single most amazing things to ever happen for me. Not only did it provide for my family, it has enriched my life with many outstanding individuals that have played an integral part of my professional and personal growth, and for that I am eternally grateful. It allowed me to serve the residents in the place I have called home my entire life, a community I am proud to be a part of and I Thank You for that opportunity.
My last day as an employee of the Newaygo county road Commission was January 31 of 2020, to say a lot of things have changed since then could be considered a bit of an understatement.
We all have endured the effects of the pandemic whether it be financially, through actually contracting Covid, having someone close to you inflicted with it and the absolute worst case, possibly succumbing to it. My hearts go out to all those impacted by this horrible virus and pray for an end to its siege on everyone.
Before the “lockdown” had me searching for bath tissue and bleach wipes ( side note, you must at all cost avoid confusing those two items) Pamela and I were fortunate enough to get away to Florida for a short visit. The warm weather and beach time proved to be a nice change of pace and for the most part the only salt I was concerned with was on the rim of a fruity concoction that may or may not have had an umbrella in it.
As spring rolled around an ever growing list of “things to do” suddenly reared its ugly face. Another notable observation, it appears as though if you stop going to a regular place of employment, family and friends have a great concern that you may become bored. I can honestly say that has not been the case, the year has flown by land it seems like just yesterday I was cleaning out my desk.
As the summer months approached I found myself running out of home projects. Not that my wife stopped “suggesting” new ones, they just didn’t look to be much fun. I was fortunate enough to start a small consulting business that has been very fulfilling, but most importantly it gave me an excuse to not remodel a bathroom. More on that later.
While this small endeavor has given me the opportunity to work on projects that are vital to infrastructure, a subject that has always intrigued me and been most fulfilling, it has also allowed me to stay in contact with people striving to make a positive difference. We are so blessed in this area to have so many talented and dedicated individuals working for the betterment of our community.
As fall rolled in and leaves began to fill the yard instead of dreading the certain impacts winter weather would have on a Road Commission budget, I thought I might give it a try to enjoy the winter season. Well nope, I am still not a huge fan of winter. I thought about ice fishing for a minute, but in order for me to be confident in the integrity of the ice holding me up, it would take all day to auger through it. I’ll just get my fish at the store. It seems as though I prefer the type of outdoor activities not requiring the same attire as Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story.
And that pretty much sums up my first year post NCRC, I have contemplated trying to put into words how grateful I am for being allowed to serve the people of Newaygo County in the capacities afforded me. To be honest, I would have done it sooner and was offered the opportunity on occasion and most certainly should have put it into words sooner, except for the fact that by doing so would mean that chapter of my life has come to pass.
I just didn’t feel as though I was done yet
And maybe I’m not.
As for now, I am off to remodel a bathroom.
That is, unless I can come up with something more interesting.
Former MDHHS Director Robert Gordon and Governor Gretchen Whitmer have parted ways for reasons that remain a bit elusive.
By N3 Editorial Team
There is a bird called a Hermit Thrush that possesses an enchanting, pleasant to the ear sound.
From what can be gathered from birders I know whose grasp of avian lore is well respected, it is far easier to hear this shy singer than it is to spot him.
Often heard and seldom seen.
Kind of like transparency.
It gets bantered about, pols echo their personal commitment to it, organizations pride themselves on it, and the populace trumpets its desire to have it.
But like the bird, seeing it in action can be elusive.
Example point. A bit more than a week ago Director Robert Gordon abruptly announced his resignation from his position atop the Department of Health and Human Services...you know, the office that has been at the forefront of issuing the epidemic orders that have included the restrictions on restaurants and the continued postponement of the winter sports season unless you’re skiing, bowling or swimming.
At the first press conference following his twitter announcement Governor Whitmer was asked about his action and whether or not she had asked him to resign.
She stated she wished him well and added how tough the past year has been for all involved.
Twice more she was queried as to if he had been asked to resign and she replied that she had already answered the question and that she wished Gordon well and that it has been a tough year.
Agreed that her response doesn’t exactly fall into the atypical category when it comes to those who occupy the upper echelons of the political world. Like most media folks we encounter evasions, denials, and sidestepping from entities who, once again, claim transparency and don't hesitate will roll out a litany of proof of its existence. It's not an uncommon occurrence.
And when something big goes down associated with any significant conflict, the shades also go down.
In a hurry.
Some of this likely has to do with living in such a litigious society, a primary factor in creating a culture of caution.
But some do not.
And it often becomes driven by a desire to control the message.
While it is probably appropriate for some of the doings in the public sector to be accomplished without fanfare and, at times, there might be a need for discretion due to the sensitivity of negotiations and whatnot, many times a bit of sunlight- even when it reveals what might not be the most appealing of images- produces something invaluable and yet many times elusive.
Transparency goes beyond telling us all the good stuff going on. It also means exposing a couple of warts along the way, even if they make one look bad for a time in the eyes of some.
So our unsolicited advice to our Guv when it comes to what happened with Mr. Gordon?
Just answer the damn question.
“Everybody’s got something to hide except me and my monkey” -Lennon/McCartney, Beatles White Album.
By Ken De Laat
In 1962 my Dad took us to see a ballgame.
This was not out of the ordinary. He loved the game and often our vacations included a trip to stadiums along the way in Cleveland, Washington, Chicago (Comiskey, not Wrigley) and of course Detroit. Dad knew the game well and whether a little league game, a high school contest or the pros he had high regard for talented players who made the most out of their skills.
On this trip we experienced something new. Being Tiger fans the games we took in usually involved the team and thus, were exclusively American League contests. This was before interleague play, as well as pre designated hitter (terrible rule) and other anomalies that chagrined traditionalists.
This game was in Milwaukee. County Stadium where the Braves (who had moved there from Boston and were soon to depart for Atlanta) were to take on the Giants. The National League was like a far off land to me. I had read about it in the Sporting News, followed it somewhat in the papers, and watched the occasional offering on the TV Game of the Week (pre cable) but it was still the ‘other’ league and whereas I could recite the standings from 1-10 in the A.L. and tell you who was leading the league in BA, HR’s and RBI’s I barely paid attention to the senior circuit until the World Series.
Side note: It was the expansion year and one of the new teams was the Mets. They ran off 9 straight losses to begin the inaugural season of the franchise and would later lose 18 in a row on their way to the most losses ever (120) a feat of failure nearly matched and overtaken by the woeful ‘03 Tigers had they not won 5 of their last 6 and...
But I digress, so back to Milwaukee.
There's a few things I recall about that day.
My Mom getting a bit miffed when a blot of the mustard from my first bratwurst ever fell unceremoniously onto what she called “one of your good shirts” Apparently I had bad shirts more deserving of yellow stains but who knew?
Snaring a Braves yearbook that may very well still exist somewhere in my office. It’s a bit cluttered but a section of it is designated for such things and one day I may put the effort into combing through it...but I wouldn’t lay odds on today being that day.
And most of all, seeing two of the greatest players of that or any generation on the field at the same time.
The Giants had McCovey, Cepeda, the Alou brothers as well as one of my former Tiger favorites Harvey Keunn. The Braves fielded Eddie Mathews (who would play part of the ‘68 season with the Tig’s), Joe Torre, Joe Adcock and another former Tiger, Frank Bolling.
But there were two who stood out from the rest. Two who sparked excitement when they took the field or dug into the batter's box.
Willie Mays roamed centerfield for San Fran while right field in County Stadium was owned by Hank Aaron. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. They were like baseball gods to me having heard of their exploits since being taught the magic that is baseball.
I vividly remember both homered in that game. I don’t have a clue who won despite knowing it was the year the Giants and Dodgers tied for the pennant and had a best 2 of 3 playoff series, games my friends and I tuned into with our transistor radios at recess.
The Giants took out the Dodgers before falling to the much despised yet screamingly successful Yankees who I hope never win another game and, and...
But again I digress.
While Mays is now 89. this past week Aaron, the best non juiced hitter of all time, has departed at 86.
They were transformative players. While Jackie Robinson broke down the racial barrier, Aaron and Mays took command of the room when they came through that door. They were superstars in one of the truly golden eras of the game.
Both were from Alabama, a state stalwart in its stubborn stance on segregation, but it was beyond those southern borders that the two continued to endure the insults and slurs emanating from benighted beings who couldn’t begin to even dream of approaching their talents.
A lot has been written about what Aaron went through leading up to his historical blast in ‘74 from the same unsavory elements of racism that unfortunately seem to persist among the fearful and unenlightened citizens of this beloved country today.
His primary crime? Busting past the home run record of Babe Ruth.
And while being subject to harassment and even death threats?
He shattered it. Then he added on another 40 dingers for good measure.
Aaron and his colleague Mays were class acts. Great players who knew how to play the game.
I’ve been privileged to attend some memorable baseball games. Among them the ‘71 All Star game in Detroit, the Tigers staving off elimination against the A’s in the ‘72 LCS, watching Mark (the Bird) Fidrych on the mound 3 times during his enchanted ‘76 season, and the ultimate...The final game of the ‘84 Series where Gibby took Gossage downtown and the Tigers won their last World Championship (just the second in my lifetime but also being a Lions fan the expectation bar isn’t exactly set sky high).
Mixed in with those momentous contests is a mid season game in Milwaukee where I watched my Dad’s eyes light up like my own when a pair of legends took the field. It remains one of my personal favorites
Despite the mustard faux pas on one of my ‘good shirts’.
Writer's note: The original text mentioned game 7 of the '84 series. It was indeed the deciding final game but it was the 5th not the 7th as reader Bill Price reminded us. The original also listed Mr. Mays as having passed away. We were informed by reader Drew Sweetman that he is very much alive. Our apologies. As Mark Twain once responded to the rumor he had passed on, "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."
NEWAYGO COUNTY RESA HONORS SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS FOR ANNUAL RECOGNITION MONTH
Newaygo County RESA is joining 544 local and 57 intermediate school districts across Michigan to celebrate January as School Board Recognition Month.
“In a year full of challenges for public education not seen in recent history, our school board members persevered through the adversity of 2020 to provide the best possible education for our students,” said Superintendent Lori Tubbergen Clark. “Celebrating School Board Recognition Month is one of the very small ways to express appreciation for all they do.”
School board members represent the views and priorities of their community in the complex system of maintaining and running a district’s public schools, Tubbergen Clark said. They also reinforce the principle of local control over public education, which is an important, highly valued aspect of education in Michigan.
“Too often, the efforts of school board members go unrecognized,” Tubbergen Clark added.
The school board’s main goal is to support student achievement Tubbergen Clark added. To achieve that goal, the board focuses on the following needs:
“Even though we are making a special effort during January to show appreciation for our school board members, we recognize their contributions reflect a year-round effort on their part,” Tubbergen Clark said. “No matter what challenges lie ahead for our district in 2021, our school board members will continue to govern to improve student achievement and provide exceptional education for all our community’s children.”
The individuals serving Newaygo County RESA are:
Big Jackson Public School: Brad Crawford, Laura Johnson, Sue Jones, Charlotte Lockerby, Lynn Ulman
Fremont Public Schools: Michael Campeau, Carrie Crosley, Matt Hendrie, Kim Rasch, Jennifer Scott, Peter Slovinski, Rick St. Peter
Grant Public Schools: Damon Arsenault, Neil Geers, Rachal Gort, Kris Lesley, Shawn Moore, Danette Obenauf, Dianne Ring, Rob Schuitema
Hesperia Community Schools: Michelle Allen, Pat Broton, Alan Daniels, Ryan Good, Mark Kraus, Barb Maynard, Scott Rumsey
Newaygo Public Schools: Thomas Frisbie, Vince Grodus, Morgan Heinzman, Jami Schultz, Reid Sherwood, Melissa Swinehart
White Cloud Public Schools: Holly Bowman, Megan Cruzan, Keith Derks, Elaine Engel, Jim Jones, Mindy Mench, Harry Stevens
Newaygo County RESA: Ed Haynor, David Hewitt, Laura Johnson, Karen Kasankiewicz, Sarah Robinson
There’s a lot of frustration out there.
The commentary on social media has shifted from the few who find it imperative to share their personal disdain for the COVID vaccination and affirm their decision to eschew participation to those who would welcome a poke in the arm but cannot seem to find the means to access one.
The information from the Health Dept., the hospitals, the state and others has been rolling out fast enough to require the posting of articles on N3 daily and even sometimes multiple times in a single day.
Well, stay tuned folks. We aspire to get it out to you as soon as it arrives. We’ll post all relevant incoming and provide a link to each article on our social media pages
And hopefully soon all who desire that elusive poke will be set up to receive it.
Pack Heading West
So it looks like Fremont will be joining an expanded West Michigan Conference in 2022 leaving behind their in-county rivals to rejoin some old nemeses from the Seaway and Lakes 8 days.
The team bus will be westward bound for WMC games, matches, etc. as the Packers go from being the western outpost of the CSAA Gold to residing on the eastern border of the largest of the two proposed 7 team conferences the expansion would bring.
Our hope is there will be room on the schedules to continue competition between the Packers and the teams from Newaygo and Grant.
Those county-pride contests provide some of the best local entertainment around.
Hesperia and Holton would join the other division of the WMC under the tentative plans.
Dining Out Pod Style
We haven’t been to Northern Trails for their outdoor dining but seized upon the opportunity to ask friend Martha Gabrielse about it.
We've been twice to the pods at the Trails.
We felt very comfy with a group of 4. Some might want to bring a lap blanket. They've added a second heater and try to keep the temp close to 60° - easy on a sunny day, but a metal container on a super cold, sunless day might pose a challenge.
The air flow is actually pretty good, and you can crack a window if you want to add more outside air. A pair of light curtains cover the very large (6') opening - so I smelled fresh air while nicely sheltered.
Staff is still working out a few kinks, but we had great service and a lovely time. Reservations required. $10 nonrefundable booking fee - but considering the investment they made to purchase and set these up + the fact that they have not imposed a minimum spend requirement, I would say that $10 fee is quite fair.
Their phones have been ringing off the hook and they've been pretty much fully booked since kicking this off on Wednesday last week. Very cool experience and my hubby and I intend to continue supporting.
Thank you Ms. G. We will undoubtedly be looking to reserve a pod soon.
And while we’re talking restaurants…
Our much loved local eatatoriums who are abiding by the health department restrictions are hurting. If half the folks who seem intent on showing up at the places that have continued to allow people through their doors would shift to supporting those who made the decision to ‘take one for the team’ and close inside dining it might save a local business or two.
“I don’t have to agree with you to like you or respect you.”- Anthony Bourdain
LANSING, Mich. -- State Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, issued the following statement Wednesday in response to the announcement that bars and restaurants must remain closed for indoor dining until Feb. 1:
“I am disappointed in the decision to further restrict the lives of Michigan residents, and hurt the financial future of local bar and restaurant owners.
“I have had conversations with these business owners and many have gone above and beyond to comply with COVID-19 guidelines and state-mandated shutdowns. Many believe they can safely reopen, but unfortunately these small business owners and their employees continue to suffer despite their proven ability to operate safely.
“It is vital that we protect the health and welfare of everyone in our state, but we must be thoughtful about how these orders continue to affect businesses — especially those that have shown they follow all of the safety guidelines and have already spent the money to make the necessary safety improvements.
“We have witnessed businesses and residents across the state following recommended guidelines, social distancing, practicing good hygiene and wearing masks. We’ve been able to go to the gas station, grocery store, big box stores and other public places while keeping ourselves and our fellow citizens safe.
“I do not believe that reopening bars and restaurants would put our residents at an enhanced risk, especially as the state continues the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. Between that and the heightened safety measures, I think it’s time to reopen bars and restaurants.
“Unfortunately, a one-size-fits-all approach is the current strategy for Michigan. While I may disagree with this approach, I plan to continue working with the governor and my colleagues in the Legislature to advocate for our local businesses still affected by state mandates.”
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