By Colton Isenhart
This fall I plan to attend Lake Superior State University, a small school with a 1 to 17 teacher to student ratio in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. I plan to study wildlife and fisheries biology to protect our valuable natural resources for generations to come. LSSU is one of the more affordable schools coming in just under $19,000.00 for tuition and fees. No one disagrees that the cost of a college education is increasing, even out of reach for many. Those who depend on student loans to get through college often graduate with crippling debt. The answer is not more loans, but more opportunities to earn that education. I propose three recommendations to my state legislature to reduce the cost or meet students halfway by increasing their power to earn that education.
First, audit all the colleges and universities in the state and compare the quality and costs of their programs. Find out where the money is spent and make that information public and easily accessible. This can certainly help me in making an educated choice when picking schools and spending my college savings. Use that information to give more aid to colleges who offer the best value. This educates consumers and rewards quality institutions who deliver the best value to their students.
Second, meet me halfway. I am saving for college by working part time at Meijer while in school, and full time in the summer. When I began working, I opened an account with Gerber Federal Credit Union right away because my parents taught me it was important to save a portion of my income. Reward hard workers, and savers like me, by matching my tuition payments. If I can manage to save $4,000.00 for school then offer a grant that matches that amount. I will be a more invested student if my own money is also on the line and you will be rewarding the good habits of working and saving.
Finally, increase work programs like MICorps and the CCC. Through these programs students who work for the state during the year through state parks programs, or other work projects, get not only a wage but college tuition contributions. Projects are getting done for the state, hard work is rewarded, and continued education is made possible.
Give students a chance to further their education without crippling debt. I have studied, volunteered, worked hard, and saved a large portion of my income. Unfortunately, the cost of even a lower end college education is still more than I have saved, and more than I currently have the power to earn. Legislators, please consider these three recommendations: match students' college savings; hold institutions of learning accountable by sharing a college tuition audit with the public, and meet students halfway with increased work study programs so together we can improve our state and make college more affordable.
Colton Isenhart is a senior at Fremont High School. This essay won him the top award in the recent Gerber Federal Credit Union's Annual Essay Scholarship Program.
By State Sen. Jon Bumstead, 34th Senate District
There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding election laws and security since the election in November. In the days, weeks and months following the 2020 election, I heard from many who wished to voice their concerns and distrust about how the election was conducted and an overwhelming number of voters I talk to have lost trust in our state’s election process. Many of these concerns were echoed across the country.
Our system of government allows us to have a say in the creation of the laws we live our everyday lives by. An elected voice in government and the ability to choose our leaders are what make our form of government special and the ability to confidently accept the results, whether we like them or not, is what makes the system work.
I believe everyone can agree that we need to have confidence in our elections. Election laws like security measures, identification requirements, and similar standards are what protect your fundamental right to vote. I believe we need to reexamine election laws and processes to make meaningful reforms that work to restore the public’s faith in elections.
Last week, my colleagues and I took this step and formally introduced a legislative package aimed at strengthening and improving election integrity in Michigan.
Over 30 bills were introduced as part of the election integrity package that covers a wide variety of issues dealing with processes before, during and after an election.
The bills include numerous reforms, including improving security at ballot drop boxes, strengthening poll challenger and poll watcher rights, cleaning up outdated voter lists, and requiring photo identification for in-person voting and when submitting an absentee voter ballot application. The reforms also would prohibit the mass mailing of absentee ballot applications and increase transparency in the audit process by ensuring audits are bipartisan and open to the public.
I sponsored two bills in the package. Senate Bill 288 would make audits bipartisan and open to the public. The bill gives each major political party the right to appoint an election inspector to oversee audits. This legislation would also allow each political party to appoint two observers to monitor the audit process, and the secretary of state would be required to stream video of the audit live on their website.
SB 309 would strengthen the rights of poll challengers and poll watchers. Under the bill, poll challengers would be given the right to sit behind the processing table and observe the election process from a reasonable distance. A poll challenger would also have the right to challenge a ballot if an elector is not listed in the poll book or is claiming the identity of another individual, or if the photo identification being used appears fraudulent or invalid.
My office has also created a website to give constituents an opportunity to provide feedback on the newly introduced election integrity package. To view a full summary of the election integrity package, and to provide feedback directly to my staff and me, visit www.SenatorJonBumstead.com/election.reform/.
As elected officials, I believe it is critical we listen to input from the people that elected us to represent them in state government. The election integrity package is a top priority for many of our residents, and I am open to hearing suggestions on the best way to strengthen and improve election integrity in Michigan.
Voting is the foundation of our system of government, and it is my hope that this legislation helps our residents regain confidence that their elections are being conducted honestly.
Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, represents the 34th state Senate District, which includes Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana counties.
To The Editor:
I recognize I am introducing a commercial issue and my point is to get it out there to declare a need in our area.
I am a very small eighty four year old woman who struggles to hoist a heavy hose and fill my gas tank. Since my husband passed (he always did it) I depend upon relatives to do it for me. My latest encounter brought me to tears and a gentleman at the other pump recognized my plight and did it for me.
There is a need in this area to assist us. I understand it would require adjusting the delivery of services and so forth but if just one of the stations here in either Grant, Newaygo, Fremont or White Cloud offered the service it would be so deeply appreciated by those of us who struggle.
By Ken De Laat
I’m admittedly more than a tad forgetful. With an impending membership in the septuagenarian segment of society looming it would not be unreasonable to pass this ingrained inattentiveness off to the erosion of certain skills that accompany aging.
But as I’ve revealed before and am reminded of by any who have significant history with me, this has been more of a chronic condition. Apparently a lifetime of working crossword puzzles hasn’t honed this segment of my frontal lobe to any great extent whatsoever and despite a good grasp on trivia or long past events the ability to leave the house once (keys, wallet, phone, masks, etc.) continues to elude me.
Over the years it has been necessary to rely on the kindness of others to help phones, credit cards, hats and the occasional wallet find their way back to me. Thus after taking copious (and barely legible to others) notes while covering the Fremont Basketball game Friday I got home and discovered the annoying sound coming from my phone on the way back to Newaygo was an incoming text from Doug (Voice of the Packers) Harmon who I sat next to at the scorers table.
“You left your notepad”
Ok. Well, I could take a stab at going back but it was late, I was tired and I figured I could make an attempt in the morning despite being previously committed to assist my LSC Lil with some planned projects around the house. Granted it should come as no surprise to her having coped with this aspect of my personality for close to half a century, yet it isn’t likely the most endearing of my attributes and after this past year of her having me underfoot close to 24/7 it behooves me to make attempts to minimize exposure to these less than desirable traits.
“How was the game?”
‘Good. Home team won both.’
“Aren’t you going to write it up tonight?”
‘Uh, no I’ll just do if first thing tomorrow.’
(After I either see if someone is at the school or maybe try to cobble together something from what has already been described as a less than stellar memory).
Enter Fremont Assistant Principal/Athletic Director David Walls.
I awoke to an (e)mailbox stuffed with individual photos of my notes.
Every scribble, side note, stat, and even the random non-basketball thoughts that sometimes appear when an idea hits. He took the time to send it all.
“Owe you huge”
Because of his kind action I was able to put together the stories, join in the pre-planned projects without interruption (or explanation) and generally experience a Saturday morning infinitely less stressful than the one that loomed ahead when I retired for the night. It was as if the episode never occurred.
Then Lil asked, ”Did you pick up those items on the way to the game like we talked about?”
And I departed for the store.
"As you get older three things happen. First is your memory goes, and I can’t remember the other two."-Norman Wisdom
To the Editor:
When asked by my grandkids how much each person would get if the 1.9 Trillion $$$ “CoVid Personal Relief Bill” went to every USA citizen, I admitted that I was not sure how many Zeros are in a Trillion $$$. Also, using the old math we were taught, I kinda recalled where the "Goes-Into" goes into the formula. Needed the help of Bill Gates & Excel. (Figured Gates is one of the few who probably relates to Trillion $$$ & where the “Goes-Into” goes)
Turns out there’s 12 Zeros ($1,000,000,000,000) & the “Goes-Into” is the 330,000,000 USA citizens. $1 Trillion per person = $3,300 per person. The formula for the $1.9T “CoVid Personal Relief Bill” would be about $6,000 for every citizen. A family of 4 = about $24,000.
Also, when asked how the formula that resulted in the $1,400 was determined, I again had to admit I did not understand how WDC (Washington D.C.) arrived at $1,400 instead of $6,000. One of the variables that complicates understanding the formula is that not all citizens qualify for this version of relief which means the amount should even be higher to the folks that qualify as “Needy” by the folks in WDC.
Turns out that the WDC Swamp-o-nomic definition of “Needy” is needed to determine why the $1,400 is the appropriate amount for USA citizens that qualify. As the details of the “CoVid Personal Relief Bill” are being revealed, we’re finding out what goes into “Needy” includes Foreign Governments, Blue State & City deficit bailouts, Prisoners, Art Programs, 2022 election year spending, etc.
Sure hope our grandkids with their new math can figure out how much a Trillion $$$ is & how to pay for the Porkulus debt we’re leaving. Perhaps more important is that they understand who, where, when & what of the “Goes-Into'' is needed for the “Needy”.
To the Editor,
The members of NorthPointe Gymnastics Competitive Team are holding a fundraiser to generate funds for the general operations of NorthPointe Gymnastics due to the COVID-19 related closures throughout 2020. These closures have resulted in devastating financial consequences which threatens the sustainability of NorthPointe Gymnastics. NorthPointe offers the children of our community so many priceless essentials like physical activity, social skills and friendships, coordination and agility, mental and physical strength and well-being, and so much more. NorthPointe provides this opportunity to boys and girls of all ages, offering classes from toddler/preschool, to Ninja classes, to competitive team, and everything in between. There is truly something for everyone!
Please join us in participating in this fundraiser. The end goal is to provide direct funds to NorthPointe Gymnastics, while supporting other local businesses during this difficult time as well. How it works is very simple; we are asking for general donations in increments of $10. For every $10 donated, you will receive an entry into a prize drawing of your choice. There are 13 prize packages, each worth over $110. Packages include different combinations of gift cards from the sponsors, and/or products or services.
To donate and see a full list of the prize packages, please reach out to a NorthPointe Gymnastics competitive gymnast or contact Roni Crisman @ 231.215.9398.
We have such a strong, supportive community and the following businesses have demonstrated this through their gracious donations, making this fundraiser possible. We would like to extend our sincere thankfulness to them and hope that in return, you will support them in your everyday life:
All Phase Welding, Brew Works, Fremont Lanes & Summer Breeze Golf, Happy Nails, Jimmy’s Roadhouse, Kilkare Armory, Koffee Kuppe, Maple Hill Beef & Dairy Farm, NCEA (Newaygo County Education Association), Rolar Manufacturing, Syrena May-Crisman – Arbonne Independent Consultant, The Freckled Fawn, The Print Shop, Theresa Voshel – Zyia Activewear, Van’s Car Wash & Quick Lube, We Love Nutrition, Wesco – Maple Island location
A side effect to embrace?
Pfizer arrived. On its heels came Moderna.
Now Johnson & Johnson’s version has been approved and will soon begin distribution.
Nationally we’re closing in on 50 million who have had at least one shot in the arm.
And last week the Gov announced the state had administered its 2 millionth hit.
And in our fair county?
A total of 8238 total doses as of last Thursday and 3082 of those were shot #2.
A bit over 5000 of these were delivered to folks 65 and older split evenly between those over 75 and the 65-74 crowd. From there the numbers go down with the age.
50-64 1469 with 626 2nd doses.
One out of every 6 Newaygonians have taken the plunge (or maybe the poke) thus far and many more are anxiously waiting their turn.
Meanwhile there are those who perhaps don’t share the enthusiasm about this vaccine as do the people wishing they could access it sometime sooner than, say, yesterday.
Of course one would imagine there would be some who refuse due to adherence to the principles of their organization such as Christian Scientists, however from what can be gleaned from social media it runs a bit deeper than that. In an age of thriving conspiracy theories nothing, it seems, provides more fodder than a pandemic and COVID has served to deliver another decisive dose of distrust among an already cynical citizenry.
When we’ve posted stories about local Vax efforts and press releases from our good friends at DHD#10 most readers support these initiatives. Of course there are inevitably the comments that range from mild rebuke to those that seem to arrive alongside implausible hypotheses regarding the conniving and colluding of a cabal of scientists, public health officials, legitimate and lucid medical experts, and of course the ultimate arm of misdeeds and misconduct, our government.
While not naive enough to blindly follow what might be served up by others and always leery of info coming out of Lansing and D.C., when the combination of the first three in that group concur (with the exception of a sprinkling of outliers) my tendency is to listen. Their knowledge is greater than mine and more accurate than any online research some folks feel inclined to share.
In addition, having spent nearly half a century living with my favorite nurse and Lifetime Spousal Companion (LSC) Lil, there has been first hand experience of what personal carnage can occur when not heeding the advice of those whose judgement and knowledge far surpasses one’s own. Especially in the area of judgement but another story, another time.
And I digress.
We got the Vax. Both doses. We’ve had many friends announcing their success at gaining access (it helps when most of your friends are either staring at 70 or watching it speed away in the rear view mirror) and they’ve shared stories of how they got their doses, which one was received and any side effects, which generally have had little note.
But it was something else being shared that resonated with me.
Getting inoculated felt undeniably empowering to many who shared their vax fortunes.
“I may have been only fooling myself, but getting the shot made feel like there may actually be an end to all this shit.”
Not an uncommon response. Well, some were a little more ‘G’ rated and others edged more toward ‘R’ but all were in the same ballpark, a side effect producing a hopeful, optimistic glance at a future that may be more like our past. When our lives can return to some semblance of the way of life we all miss so much.
Recent stats indicate about 30% of folks nationwide are maintaining their disdain for the immunization, down significantly from a few months ago and likely to continue trending downward. This number would translate to about 11-12,000 adult Newaygonians eschewing inoculation.
And I get it. If you don’t believe it's the right thing to do and you remain steadfast in those beliefs you are more than likely already committed to remaining vaxless (as well as apparently committed to sharing this belief with all the zeal of a new devotee to veganism or cross training). Totally your call.
But man, after a year of discombobulation, disruption, divisiveness, and disorientation I gotta say, this notion of having turned the corner and maybe made some gains on a pandemic that has handcuffed our way of life for far too long...
Feels pretty damn good.
-Ken De Laat, Publisher
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.
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