Got an interest in serving?
No not at a local eatery, though given the ‘help wanted’ signs many have on display you might be welcomed with open arms.
We mean serve on a public board. Getting to know how such entities operate while representing your community.
Our county currently has vacancies for citizens interested in helping to make a difference in our county.
The staff of N3 World Headquarters & Monarch Ministry (currently dormant) has heard of a few of these openings.
Like perhaps the Commission on Aging Advisory Board. The COA mission statement reads: “Newaygo County Commission on Aging exists to make available caring services that enhance the quality of life and support the independence of adults who are 60 and over.”
How can you not want to be part of that?
Then there is the District 5 Extension Council.
MSUEx describes their organization’s efforts as:
“equipping Michigan residents with the information that they need to do their jobs better, raise healthy and safe families, build their communities and empower our children to dream of a successful future.”
See what I mean?
These places strive to make a difference and serving on their board allows you to be a part of their vision.
The County Library Board recently filled one vacancy and has one more open seat. Is there really anyone who can discount the important services libraries bring to our communities?
Well, ok, there are some, but few who actually visit them on occasion would dismiss the necessity of our libraries today.
Think about it. Talk to friends who have served on boards.
And if you have questions about the process of applying you can contact the County Clerk, Jason VanderStelt and/or one of his capable staff by calling 231.689.7235.
You can also email them via www.countyofnewaygo.com/Clerk and applications are available at the Office of the Newaygo County Clerk, 1087 E. Newell Street, White Cloud, Michigan.
But if you are truly intrigued contact the organization.
Check out what they do and where they do it then ask to speak to someone about being on the board. Find out what role the board plays, how often do they meet, what are the expectations, etc.
That should give you an idea of whether you want to be part of it.
There are positions on other boards with expiring terms as well. These can be found along with the above vacancies in the public notices of the Times Indicator.
So here’s your chance to serve your community and maybe feel good about being part of a group of folks trying to do positive things.
We just kind of think being involved means more than sharing your favorite political memes on social media.
Are we right?
“There is no greater challenge and no greater honor than to be public service”- Condoleezza Rice
By Sen. Jon Bumstead
34th Senate District
When I was in high school, I faced the same decision many teens face as they grow older: What do I want to do with my life?
I did not follow what many would consider to be a traditional career path. During high school, I enrolled in Newaygo County’s Career Tech Center to learn real-world skills that can’t be taught by a textbook. I decided to learn skills for the construction industry and pursue a career as a home builder.
I think all Michigan students should have the ability to make similar decisions regarding their futures — though sometimes the current system doesn’t provide a good process for making those decisions.
I recently introduced legislation to give more flexibility to local school districts when choosing graduation requirements.
I believe our current requirements don’t always allow students to explore possibilities that better suit their interests or needs. These requirements sometimes limit student creativity and exploration. My goal is to better help students to be prepared for life after school, even if those plans do not include a traditional four-year college.
In 2006, the Michigan Merit Curriculum went into effect and created statewide requirements for high school students in our state. Prior to 2006, graduation requirements were left up to the local school districts.
Currently, students who follow the traditional route in Michigan must complete the following courses and credits to receive a high school diploma:
• Four credits in English;
• Four credits in mathematics (required: algebra I, geometry and algebra II);
• One credit making up both physical education and health;
• Three credits in science;
• Three credits in social studies (required: U.S. history and geography, world history and geography, one-half credit in economics, and civics);
• One credit in visual, performing and applied arts; and
• Two credits in world language.
Senate Bills 600 and 601 would allow students more opportunities to enroll in courses or programs they find interesting or wish to pursue as a career.
Specifically, the bills would eliminate the algebra II requirement for graduation. Michigan is one of only seven states to require algebra II for graduation, and eliminating this requirement would open up opportunities for students to enroll in courses that would better prepare them to meet their goals for the future.
These changes will make sure students are ready for the next step after high school, whether that’s entering the workforce or attending a trade school or college.
School districts should have the ability to make choices that are best for them, rather than being forced to follow a state-mandated, one-size-fits-all policy.
I’ve always believed that local schools have a better understanding than the state of what their students need to be successful. Parents, teachers and administrators who know and work with these students every day are more than capable of making these decisions, and my legislation will take steps to give schools the ability to do so once again.
SBs 600 and 601 currently sit before the Senate Committee on Education and Career Readiness for further discussion. The first committee hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 5, where two Muskegon County superintendents will join me to testify on the legislation.
Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, represents the 34th state Senate District, which includes Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana counties.
Former Lion Eric Hipple to speak at the Dogwood
By Carol Mills, Executive Director, Newaygo County Mental Health
When I watch professional athletes, I sometimes wonder what their lives are like. Do they have the same problems and challenges we face in our daily lives? Do they do their own grocery shopping? Do they use the quick change oil places like I do? Do they rake their leaves, clean their gutters and pick up sticks in their yards?
What about their families? Do they have children? Do they have family members in the hospital or nursing homes? What about illness?
I am a Detroit Lions fan, for better or worse. Those that share this feeling know that this choice brings much heartache and pain, and every once in a while, happiness. I used to watch Eric Hipple play as the quarterback for the Detroit Lions and rejoiced when he helped navigate the Lions to the playoffs in 1982. I never thought about what his life was like. It never occurred to me that professional athletes experience the same joy and sorrows that we do.
Eric Hipple has agreed to share his story with Newaygo County Wednesday, October 23, 2019. It is a story of survival of many challenges that he has faced in the years since his retirement. They are challenges that all of us pray to never know – suicide, mental illness, depression and the struggle to survive the problems life throws at us.
These challenges are, for many, a part of their daily life. These stories are ones that affect every family at some point in their lives. This is Eric’s story of his personal journey of survival, resilience, and how he now thrives in his life.
Please come and join us as Eric shares his personal journey. He will be speaking on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at The Black Box in the Dogwood Center in Fremont. This event is sponsored by Families Against Narcotics, and is a free event. No reservations are necessary.
To The Editor:
I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible staff at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Hospital. My four year old son has a number of complex medical conditions and uses alternative modes of communication. He has an extensive medical history, including open heart surgery and many hospital stays for illnesses, surgeries and procedures, along with routine lab work.
Naturally, hospital visits can be scary for him. Yesterday he needed some supportive care to help him battle a respiratory infection. I opted to have him treated locally as opposed to driving to Grand Rapids. The nurses, doctor and support staff were phenomenal. Not only did my son receive excellent medical care, the skilled staff also worked hard to understand how best to communicate with him. I had full confidence he would be assessed and treated appropriately with the ability to be transported to Devos if necessary. What a blessing it is to have such a wonderful resource in our local community!
Buck Geno: Labor Activist and Radio Host
By Charles Chandler
When we seniors, the walking wounded and other lightweights are making our rounds at the Tamarack Fitness Center in Fremont we know when Buck Geno is in the house. He is always the guy with the towel around his neck and perspiring from head to toe from his intense and lengthy workouts. Sometimes when Buck is so focused, I think he still hears those Marine Corps Jody cadences.
A few days back I approached Buck as he took a break from grinding up the stair-stepping machine. I said that I was doing some articles for Near North Now on radio and had heard that he was a radio host and I would like to hear the story. He agreed and a couple of phone calls and some calendar juggling and the date was set.
We met Buck at his and Barbara’s lovely family home on the quiet side of North Baldwin Avenue. We sat in a bright spacious sunroom and looked out on their beautiful lawn and colorful flower beds. This well cared for property has been in Buck’s family for generations. Buck is a well-known family man and a stand-up guy around White Cloud, Lincoln Township and in Newaygo County. He is also a Marine, a Vietnam Era Vet and a member of the Newaygo County Democratic Party.
Geno is an unapologetic labor activist. and has been a member of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 70 and Local 174 for about 42 years. From 2000 Buck has served as Supervisor at Lincoln Township in Newaygo County and is the President of the Newaygo County Township Officers Association. Buck has been involved in public radio for about 15 years.
Why public radio? According to Buck he and a group of labor activists called Friends of Labor had been searching for a way to present a positive message about Unions to the folks in West Michigan.
“We had tried a few other avenues and decided that we would try the radio. We began at WTKG in downtown Grand Rapids. It was a one-hour program called Working West Michigan. It was a Community Service program and our format was to not necessarily focus on hardcore labor issues. We wanted to be the voice of ordinary working people and speak to issues that were important to them.
“At first, I tried to work from a script but that didn’t work for me. I wanted to talk to the listeners like I was sitting down with them having a cup of coffee. We did Working West Michigan show for a couple of years and then we had a call from Bob Goodrich, Bob owned a chain of Goodrich Quality Theaters all over the county. Bob also dabbled in radio and liked our show and offered to sponsor us at his station at WPRR.
“I also did a spinoff show called The Monday Report with Michael Johnston a retired Labor Historian? Then we went on a National Broadcast program called the Union Edge out of Pittsburg, PA. This was a daily show five days a week with a three-hour program. We were a portion of that. My office is in the basement and it was pretty easy if you have the technology. All you need is a good computer, a flash drive and a phone. We did that show for a couple of years until the program lost its funding.
“Then I got a call from Jim Chase. He was a friend of mine and a member of the Teamster Union. He was thinking about retiring but wanted to continue with radio. I agreed to help but I had been doing programming, scheduling, calling and setting interviews for the other programs and I didn’t want to do that anymore. Jim said to not worry about that because he would do that. We started a program called Cut to the Chase with Jim, Dave Johnston and myself.
“We are not professional or smooth talking radio hosts. We try and stay away from hardcore labor issues, have a lighter tone, and include some humor in our program. We try not to get caught up in National politics. It is too divisive, too much animosity. Our focus is to provide factual content and there is no lack of things to talk about in Michigan. We usually talk about topics that are important inside the State, like the roads, redistricting. There have been some really big changes in the State this year. We were talking about Medical Marijuana and now it is Recreational Marijuanat. Healthcare is very concerning to many people because it can drive you into bankruptcy so quickly. We are trying to educate folks about the importance of the upcoming census because it affects so many areas. It impacts funding for roads, infrastructure, and Medicare.
“We also like to present both sides, both left and right, and have a generalized debate on these issues. We like to hear and understand why people say and do and believe what they do. We invite a guest speaker to the program from time to time and have had Governor Gretchen Whitmer on the program.
“What we prefer are community activists rather than politicians. I am still a labor activist and will go back to my roots and work to educate those who are anti-labor so they understand why it is important for people to make a living wage. The rising tide lifts all boats.
“I also recognize that in previous decades Unions and membership, in general, have been in a serious decline but I believe that things have turned around because of the little things like what we do on the show. .We are part of organized labor and we know that the labor movement is like a pendulum and it swings back and forth. I am optimistic about what I see in the next generation, (millennials). They are starting to pay attention to what they have and don’t have and the reasons why.
“Also the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), is out there working for the common good. It is an international labor union that includes many unions and their goal is solidarity and working for the rights of all people. If you are united you can bargain for better pay and benefits. If you aren’t united you are doing individual begging.
“Things are good now for some working folks but not all. We do have health care, pensions, some 401(K)s and livable wages. The Unions fought for these things for years and are still fighting. But it’s not universal and there is still a lot of poverty here in West Michigan. We will continue to fight for the rights of all working people and we believe they should be able to earn a living wage. “
I asked Buck if he thought radio was still relevant and had some social and practical value in today’s media mashup?
“We think it does and we think we can make a difference through radio and have a little fun. Even if it is with one person at a time then we are happy with that. I remain optimistic about labor unions and believe that radio is the way to go. We want to be the voice of working men and women.”
So why would Buck want to take on this band of giants? Probably because he is a stand-up guy for his family, community, and is an unapologetic labor activist that leads by example. As he said they are not professional and not smooth-talking radio hosts.
“We just have fun and present ourselves and the voice of all working people because it is simply the right thing to do.”
Cut to the Chase can be heard at WPRR -90.1 FM, 1680 AM, 95.3 FM, and 102.5 FM. and on 1680 AM on Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.Their call-in number is 231 656 1680.
By Sen. Jon Bumstead
34th Senate District
Over the last two weeks, my colleagues in both chambers of the Legislature negotiated and finalized a responsible budget to fund our state for the 2020 fiscal year. This process kicked off after the governor presented her executive recommendation in early March. Since then, the Legislature has taken its time to craft and pass a budget that meets the needs of Michigan families.
After negotiations were burdened by the governor’s threatened massive tax hike on Michigan families, we finally moved forward with budgets based on what we could afford, not what we can get from taxpayers.
We approved a K-12 plan that invested $15.2 billion in education, a total increase of nearly $400 million from last year’s budget. Under our plan, schools across the 34th Senate District would see a foundation allowance boost, while special education, student safety and skilled trades training would also see notable increases. Schools had already started their years with uncertainty, and we had reached the time to act.
The Legislature’s plan also included $5.3 billion in transportation funding to improve our state’s infrastructure. Specifically, the plan included $400 million in one-time funding for local road and bridge construction. This money would have been used to fully implement the $1.2 billion roads plan from 2015 with additional revenue left over.
Instead, what we got was a myriad of red ink, in the form of vetoes from the governor, that carelessly harms Michigan families.
Included in Whitmer’s vetoes Monday evening was $15 million for municipal airports, like the one in Muskegon County, for costs associated with PFAS, and $7.5 million for private well testing. Water quality has been an agreeable issue throughout the budget discussions. Since the beginning, the governor has supported our state’s natural resources and the importance of clean drinking water, yet she vetoed millions of dollars that would have helped protect our environment and ensure folks have clean drinking water.
She also slashed $35 million from public charter schools, which will have an immediate, negative impact on schools in Muskegon Heights and across the state. These cuts will do nothing but reduce educational opportunities that would have otherwise been there. Our students and educators deserve better than to be used as political leverage.
Perhaps the most confusing of the governor’s decisions is her veto of nearly $400 million in road funding. I know I’m not alone in trying to understand how our governor, who campaigned on the need to fix Michigan’s roads, and who has relentlessly pushed for a massive tax increase to do so, could veto funding to continue local road repairs while we seek a long-term solution. I don’t understand how having $375 million less is a better solution — especially when it all came from existing revenue.
The governor also vetoed funding to reimburse county jails for housing inmates, help ensure veterans receive the services they deserve, put more Michigan State Police troopers on the road, help rural communities by providing adequate access to health care and improve efforts to protect our environment.
I am proud to have supported the responsible budgets passed by the Legislature. Hardworking families across the state collectively rejected the governor’s massive tax hike, and lawmakers in the governor’s own caucus refused to introduce her plan. Instead, we did what many working families have to do with their budgets: We tightened our belts and made it work with money that we had.
I join many others in expressing my extreme disappointment in the governor’s actions Monday evening. Her political statement will dramatically affect education, public safety and water quality testing, among other crucial programs and services in my district.
Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, represents the 34th state Senate District, which includes Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana counties.
First in a series
By Charles Chandler
In this moment of social media and popular culture technology like Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Podcasts YouTube, Spotify, SiriusXM, Alexa, Pandora and non-stop cable television is radio even relevant? Does it have some social and practical value in today’s media mashup?
Well, it depends on who you ask? There are a couple of folks around White Cloud that may have an interesting perspective on these questions.
I argue that in my ancient era radio was invaluable. It informed, entertained and facilitated a significant measure of social change. I saw firsthand how radio, and one radio station, in particular, changed American music.
In America, popular music is a change agent and always influences popular culture. If you want to challenge this assumption then ask your teenagers to let you listen to some of their current favorites. Or get the photo album out and look at some old photos of yourself and recall the music you listened to at that age. Let’s us senior rock and rollers take a moment of nostalgic reflection. And let’s also add a bit of background for those who have smartphones in their pockets and roll their eyes when you play your music.
“Listen, and you may learn something.”
Something my teachers and various family members would often say to us wee small nosy boys. We did learn to listen to the natural world around us and some adults. Especially those who were telling an interesting or funny story about some ancestor or a recent hunting or fishing trip. As time passed like most kids, we developed excellent selective listening skills. Those well-intended sound bites from on high meant to keep us from harm or develop our charter were expertly jammed. You remember those little instructive items, like ‘come home before dark’, ‘do your homework’, ‘finish your chores’, ‘wash up’, ‘say your prayers’, ‘watch for snakes’ and the ubiquitous ‘don’t do that’. When summertime life became a little boring some of my gang often prayed that we would find a big scary timber rattler or cottonmouth moccasin. Not me, I was raised in the Baptist Church and knew better than to do that. My nightly prayers were for the Brooklyn Dodgers to beat the New York Yankees and to get a bird dog puppy.
What we did listen to was hours of great radio programming. The radio was our home entertainment center. Those of a certain age may remember some of these popular programs. Arthur Godfrey Time, my Moms favorite, The Shadow ("Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!"), The Green Hornet, Dragnet, The Roy Rogers Show and we pretend cowboys were happy to be Back in the Saddle again at Gene Autry's Melody Ranch.
The Inner Sanctum Mysteries. Remember that sinister creaking door which opened and closed at the beginning and end of the broadcasts? Who could go to sleep after one of those programs? I still have nightmares about Boris Karloff presentation of Edward Allen Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart.”
There was the famous and popular Amos 'n' Andy and my favorite Sky King to name a few. I had a crush on cute pilot Penny which may have resulted in my long career in commercial aviation. We listened to all the great baseball games often while trading our baseball cards back and forth.
These various radio programs also offered “Premiums”. These were manipulative schemes that program sponsors thought up to fleece gullible kids. The scam went like this, you would pester your parents into buying this certain product, most often some lame tasteless cereal.
Then you cut the box top off the product and send it in with some small amount of change to get one of these premiums (cheap toys). My parents participated in the scams on a seasonal basis. More so in the summer when school was out. This was because when an order was in, I would spend endless agonizing hours down by the mailbox waiting for the mail carrier to bring the next treasure. This inexpensive and wise practice kept pesky, ornery kids from underfoot and out of trouble at least until the mail carrier came by. I think I still have my secret decoder ring around here somewhere.
At night rather than doing homework, my gang would see how many of the powerful 50,000 watts radio stations we could pick up. If the weather was right, we could get WLS in Chicago, and great jazz from WWL in New Orleans. In Louisiana, everything is complicated and either political or connected to the Church.
Regarding WWL radio history “before the Jesuit priests who ran Loyola University New Orleans could set up a radio station, they had to receive permission from the Vatican. A piano recital was the first program on the air.”
And of course, being both a school and a religious institute “the first broadcast day also included a three-minute request to listeners to support the construction of a new classroom building on campus.”
The most important radio station in our southern white teen-age world was WLAC in Nashville Tennessee. This incredibly popular and influential radio station was off-limits to many white teenagers because they played “race music”. The intended audience for this radio station was southern African Americans. However, as mentioned, we had selective listening skills and ignored those irrelevant admonishments to refrain from listening to that kind of music.
Usually someone, most often an older cousin, would have a car and we would all pile in and drive to our favorite night time hilltop parking place and tune the radio to WLAC. Invariably someone would light up a Lucky Strike cigarette and pass it around.
Race music and cigarettes? Straight to hell in a handbasket.
What was the attraction to WLAC? It was frowned on by the adults and it is my strongly held belief that WLAC and Randy’s Record Shop in Gallatin Tennessee formed the collective birthplace of rock and roll. I also think it was a catalyst for the civil rights movement.
WLAC was the place where that revolution started. Long before the sit-ins, protests, demonstrations, and marches began our American music was already integrated. In the 1950s at WLAC, it had been a few small steps from African American gospel and rhythm and blues to Rock and Roll. From there it was straight down the road to the end of the old order.
Randy's Record Shop of Gallatin, Tennessee, was one of the sponsors of WLAC programming and the Shop was increasable successful. “The historians and musicologists state that it hadn’t been for Randy Wood and Randy’s Record and WLAC we wouldn’t have the popular music we have today.”
Randy’s Record Shop opened in 1946. During the 1950s and 1960’s it was the largest mail-order record shop in the world. In its heyday, the shop mail-ordered a half of a million records each month. Shop owner Randy Wood also founded Dot Records which featured artists like Pat Boone and Lawrence Welk, the Fontane Sisters, Johnny Maddox and others. Careers of artists like James Brown, Ray Charles, B. B. King, Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson, Aretha Franklin, and Little Richard got a jump start or were promoted at WLAC. You could buy anything at WLAC. Albums for $1.00, beauty products, fruit trees, and baby chicks. We all listened, loved it and bought our rebellious little records from Randy’s.
Little did we know that those of us sitting in those cars smoking cigarettes and listening to “race” music were part of a tsunami of social change. Because down in Tupelo Mississippi the dark demolisher of the musical order himself, Elvis Aaron Presley later to become the "King of Rock and Roll" was also listening to WLAC and probably practicing to those $1.00-dollar albums bought from Randy’s. On September 9th, 1956 the wheels came off the cultural wagon when “Elvis stunned TV viewers with his first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Sixty million Americans watched either spellbound or shocked as he made a sensational debut on the country's most popular program.”
This was the moment when, big bands, folk musician and crooners like Pat Boone, Andy Williams and Pattie Page were handed their walking papers. After that show the rock and roll wave hit America in full force as Elvis, James Brown, Ray Charles, B. B. King, Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, and Bill Haley became overnight sensations on radio and Television.
You can’t talk about commercial radio and rock and roll without mentioning WolfMan Jack and his nightly howl from XERF-AM at Ciudad Acuña in Mexico. A station whose high-powered border blaster signal could be picked up across much of the United States. “It is reported that the XERF signal was the most powerful in North America. Birds dropped dead when they flew too close to the tower. A car driving from New York to L.A. would never lose the station. Most of the border stations broadcast at 250,000 watts, five times the U.S. limit, meaning that their signals were picked up all over North America, and at night as far away as Europe and the Soviet Union. The border stations made money by renting time to Pentecostal preachers and psychics, and by taking 50 percent of the profit from anything sold by mail order. The Wolfman did his signature howl and jamming that rock and roll across the universe. You also had to listen to endless marketing. “You would get a guaranteed double your money back pitches for dog food, weight-loss pills, weight-gain pills, rose bushes, and baby chicks.”
I still don’t know why those early radio station sold chickens?
Rock and Roll. Oh my goodness what could happen next?
Plenty, because the next year on Oct. 4, 1957, the Soviet Union not only launched the first artificial satellite but also officially inaugurated a "space race" with the United States. The space race and subsequent cold war with Russia and the hot war in Vietnam soon followed. If that wasn’t enough, we were also about to be invaded by the British. Not only had American teenagers been listening to rock and roll music but so had the British kids. “On February 7th, 1964 The Beatles' Boeing 707, Pan Am flight 101, touched down in New York City” and the British invasion began. After that, things got a little crazy including radio programming.
Was radio relevant and did it influence American Culture? The next time you watch a performance by PSY – Gangnam Style, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber remember that when Elvis performed on the Ed Sullivan Show he was censored. Often the cameras would only show him from the waist up.
Thank you, Randy Wood and your little Record Shop, and to WLAC in Nashville Tennessee. It was a great ride.
So, to the question is radio still relevant? I for one say yes because SiriusXM is an ever-present part of my life.
Don’t touch that dial, stay tuned for an interview with two local radio experts. White Cloud’s expert Mr. Verne Williams and Lincoln Township Supervisor Buck Geno.
Robot surgery brings high-tech care to Newaygo County
This past summer, I had the privilege of performing the first robotic surgery at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial. More Gerber Memorial physicians are getting trained on our DaVinci robot, and our experience using high-tech tools to perform surgeries is another sign that Gerber Memorial is investing in treatment that helps improve the quality of care for our patients.
For the surgeon, the biggest advantage of the DaVinci robot is visualization and operative accuracy. The three-dimensional view allows surgeons to be precise in a way we’ve never been in standard laparoscopy, surgeries that use small incisions. Surgeons are also less likely to be tired during longer, more complex surgeries, which can improve the safety of the procedures.
And because of the design of the instruments, I found that I could do more intricate surgeries just like I would with a big, open incision, but with the benefits of a minimally-invasive approach.
In population studies, minimally invasive surgery using the DaVinci robot has consistently shown improvements in recovery time, shorter admission, shorter return to baseline functioning, and significantly lower complication rates.
In hernias specifically, patients experience a lower rate of postoperative infections.
Because the robot is designed to move around the entry point through the abdominal wall, we see less trauma to the abdominal tissues compared to open techniques and compared to traditional laparoscopy.
Less trauma at the incision area means less pain after the surgery. Combined with nerve blocks that our anesthesia team uses, patients are using less narcotics after their surgeries. Some patients have even told me they use none at all! And in light of our national opioid epidemic, a surgical method that can cut the use of narcotics will benefit our community as a whole.
As someone who came from a Nebraska community very similar to Newaygo County, I know what it’s like for our patients to want to get back to work as soon as possible. Robotic surgery means faster recovery times, which means patients can get back to work quicker, with fewer lost work days.
Here’s what I always tell patients about this new technology: The robot does only what I tell it to do. I have total control. The robot is not plug-and-play. As the surgeon, I make decisions and adapt the surgery because everyone’s anatomy is different.
The DaVinci robot is seeing more use beyond just scheduled, elective surgeries. Physicians are using it in emergency surgeries, from removing gallbladders to appendectomies to repairing perforated ulcers.
Having the DaVinci robot and physicians trained in performing minimally invasive surgeries means Newaygo County now has the kind of cutting-edge medical technology that we used to find only in larger cities.
Dr. Erich Schafer, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, general surgery
For more information, contact general surgery at the Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Multispecialty Clinic: 231.924.4200.
Sen. Bumstead, MEA Prez weigh in
The state Legislature on Thursday approved record public school funding for the 2020 fiscal year.
“This afternoon’s vote was a record investment in Michigan students and teachers,” said Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “We were able to agree on a responsible plan that boosts funding for public education without raising taxes. My colleagues and I remain committed to our state’s educators as well as the taxpayers.”
School Aid will see a record investment of $15.3 billion — an increase of $424 million over last year and the largest investment in the state’s history. Under the measure approved Thursday afternoon, schools will see a foundation allowance increase of between $120 and $240 per pupil, an increase from the governor’s proposed $120-$180 formula.
Other notable items include $522 million invested to help at-risk students, a $21.5 million increase in career and technical education funding, and a $60 million increase for special education. The measure also includes funding to improve school safety.
“I am happy we were able to negotiate a final product that puts us one step closer to getting a budget in place,” Bumstead said. “I hope the governor signs this legislation quickly so school districts across the state can finally get their finances together.”
The 2020 K-12 budget will now go before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for consideration.
Michigan Education Association President Paula Harbert statement on passage of education budget:
"While this budget isn’t everything we had hoped for, it is a good first step to ending the decades-long underfunding of public education.
“But it is only a step. It addresses only a fraction of the $2,000 gap in per-pupil funding schools face. It doesn’t eliminate the effects of 25 years of last-in-the-nation education funding increases. For us to truly invest in the success of every student, lawmakers need to make a long-term commitment to addressing these issues.
“First, we must provide equitable funding that accounts for the differing needs of students and the differing resources needed to meet those needs. We owe it to these students – at-risk, special education, English language learners, career/technical, to name a few – to recognize that ‘equal’ and ‘equitable’ are not the same.
“If we focus only on how much we spend, and not on how we spend it, we risk leaving countless students behind because their needs are more costly.
“But we also must recognize that there is not enough revenue for our state government to fully fund our state’s priorities, including education and infrastructure. Whatever revenue options you prefer, they won’t be passed into law to fund our schools and fix our roads unless we create the political will with our leaders in Lansing to make it happen.
“I’m proud of Michigan’s educators for raising their voices to demand change in how we fund our schools – and we will continue to help others raise their voices in favor of fully solving how Michigan shortchanges its students.”
By Ken DeLaat
Cokie Roberts, who passed away today at the much too young age of 75 was a personal hero.
She, far more than anyone I see on the media landscape these days, was a true journalist. An unassuming and seemingly fearless commentator who teemed with integrity and could be trusted to deliver accurate accounts of the goings on at one of the most screamingly elusive and evasive institutions in our land, Congress.
A few years back she spoke at the January Series, the Calvin College annual winter gift to us all that is broadcast live at the Dogwood Center. One glimpse at the schedule that year and I knew that whatever else was going on in my life that day could wait because my behind was going to be in a good seat to hear her presentation.
And she was, most assuredly, not disappointing.
Roberts was candid, funny, and unafraid to be opinionated yet refraining from being unnecessarily unkind. She called out politicians and expressed her frustration at seeing how they were focused on sustained incumbency rather than any real problem solving.
And her wealth of historical knowledge provided an odd sense of relief when she said that today’s political divisiveness is perhaps not the worst our country has faced, referencing the 1850’s and the caning of a senator in the halls of Congress by a member of the house incensed at being referred to in a speech by the canee as 'an imbecile who held slavery as his harlot' among other things.
She reminded us, however, that the era she spoke of ended in Civil War.
Roberts spoke of her deeply rooted Catholic faith and had 2 years prior written a book with her husband about their 40+ year marriage and how they incorporated her Catholicism and his Judaism into an interfaith melding of both in celebration and worship.
I left impressed even more by the woman I had long admired.
During elections Roberts occasionally made appearances on one of the network news stations among the cadre of regular correspondents who always seem to clamor for the clever word or searing speculative thought. Her responses were always like a breath of fresh air arriving in a much too stuffy room. Marked by clarity, insight and a boatload of inside info she radiated competence and the others paled in comparison through no doing of her own other than being who she was.
A journalist...a consummate correspondent.
She was a sheer delight to listen to over the years and will be greatly missed.
Thank you Ms. Roberts.
And well done, Ma’am. Well done indeed.
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.