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  Clearing a path

  City of Fremont employee Ken Deur
cleared city sidewalks around the city
on Friday after the heavy Thursday
night snowfall.

Photo by Russ Tindall

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Newaygo County Board of Commissioners
Gardner re-elected to lead county commissioners

By Ken DeLaat

The Newaygo County Board of Commissioners held its organizational meeting on Jan. 7 to determine positions on various committees for the coming year.

Commissioner Patrick Gardner was reelected as board Chair, and James Maike was re-elected as Vice-Chair. Larry Lethorn will remain as Finance Committee Chair and will be joined on the Finance Committee by Vice-Chair Charles Trapp and Commissioners Gardner, Maike and Phil Deur.

The Public Safety Committee will be chaired once again by Commissioner Deur with Commissioner Trapp and newly seated Commissioner Steve Johnson also serving.

Trapp will chair the Physical and Economic Development Committee, with Ortwein and Maike also serving on the committee.

Maike will chair the Health, Education and Human Services Committee, with Lethorn and Ortwein also on the committee.

The county board’s Executive Committee will include Chair Gardner, Vice-Chair Maike and Finance Chair Lethorn.

Commissioners serve on a number of other boards and commissions. In some cases involving various county boards, the county issues per diem payments for meetings. In other cases, per diem is paid by the agency involved. Commissioner Ortwein inquired about including a per diem for the Pathways Committee, an initiative to create a side of the road pathway system throughout the county.

“I think this is something that’s going to be here a long time and would like to see the board consider this,” said Ortwein, who currently serves on the committee.

Commissioner Lethorn expressed some hesitation toward moving in the direction of reimbursement by the county.

“How many other members on the committee are paid?” he asked.

“None,” Ortwein replied.

“I don’t think we want to set a precedent as a county and get into a fiduciary role with Pathways,” said Lethorn.

“Pathways is a real thing tied to townships and towns,” said Ortwein. “It’s a real deal.”

“I understand it’s viable and a grand idea,” Lethorn replied, “but I don’t believe tax dollars should go into it.”

“Commissioner Lethorn raises a good point,” said Commissioner Deur. “They (Pathways Committee) asked us to support the concept, which we do, but not financially. Commissioner Ortwein is committed to this and I can see both sides, but I don’t want it to be under the wing of government. I don’t support the concept of a new committee.”

“I agree,” said Commissioner Johnson. “I have a hard time seeing taxpayer dollars going toward it.”

 “I can see it becoming more and more involved whether I’m on the committee or not,” stated Ortwein.

“There doesn’t seem to be a lot of support for adding this,” said Gardner, before asking for a motion to adjourn.

After the meeting, a television reporter approached newly seated Commissioner Johnson, asking questions about his recent arrest for malicious destruction of property involving the Freedom Chevrolet car dealership in Fremont, as reported in last week’s TimesIndicator. Johnson declined to comment, referring the reporter and his camera to his attorney.

 

 

 

 


 

 

2014
A Year in the Life of Newaygo County

 

A glance through a year’s collection of weekly issues of the TimesIndicator yields our annual look at some of the people and events that made local news and local history in the year 2014. These events formed another year in the life of Newaygo County.

  Last week’s TimesIndicator reviewed the first six months of 2014. Here is a review of the last six months of the year. The stories appear under the months in which they were originally published.

July

Brothers Paul and Matthew Jones were arrested and charged with the 1989 murder of Shannon Siders of Newaygo. The arrest came after months of work by a cold case task force and years of waiting by Siders’ family, friends and community.

David and Lynne Robinson of Grant were honored with the Russell G. Mawby Award for Philanthropy.

The Father’s Day Fly-In, Cruze-In made a successful return to the White Cloud airport.

The public got a look at the new Emergency Department at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial in Fremont at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The Crandell family of Crandell Funeral Homes, who have been in business for 112 years, were named Grand Marshals of the National Baby Food Festival’s Grand Parade.

Robert Simmons of Hesperia died when his motorcycle hit a deer in the roadway in Beaver Township.

Timoteo Santiago of Ashland Township, who had been reported missing, was found after an extensive search by several law enforcement agencies.

Volunteers and donors continued their efforts to renovate the historic Sitka Hall southwest of Fremont.

Everett Township residents attended a township zoning commission meeting to discuss the possible effects of a proposed hog farm.

Stewart Sanders was appointed as the county’s new Register of Deeds after former Register of Deeds Linda Landheer retired.

Before the Independence Day parade in Croton, dozens of people participated in the Community Walk on the Edge to help dedicate the new Dam to Dam section of Newaygo County’s new pathway system.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held for The Gateway, a project to turn the old Fremont High School into a senior housing development.

 

August

 

An ark-themed play structure began to take shape at Fremont United Methodist Church.

A ground-breaking ceremony marked the beginning of construction of Green Acres, a new retirement living facility to be built on E. Main Street in Fremont.

National Baby Food Festival organizers received special tributes from Governor Rick Snyder.

An open house held at the Flowing Well in White Cloud celebrated the history of the area.

The renovations to the Fremont Area Community Foundation building were completed.

Croton Township residents expressed support for the Croton library at a township board meeting after the township board sent a letter to the library terminating the township’s lease agreement. The board expressed commitment to work with the library board to keep the library open.

Ann Hartsema, a long-time Fremont merchant, celebrated her 100th birthday.

A 17-year-old Fremont teen was charged with malicious destruction of property, assault with intent to rob while armed, and manufacturing methamphetamine in Ludington.

 

September

Transitional Health Services of Fremont celebrated 45 years of providing care in Fremont.

St. John’s Episcoapl Church dedicated the church’s garden as “The Garden of Peace.”

Jesse Boland, 18, of Kalamazoo and formerly of Newaygo was killed in a car crash northeast of Newaygo.

Police officers investigating a suspected methamphetamine cooking operating saw a house burst into flames following an explosion at the house in Sheridan Township.

Don Eenigenburg of Grant talked about how he was creating a unique timber frame barn by himself, using a collection of homemade tools and his own muscle and problem-solving ingenuity. He said that his goal was to have the barn enclosed before snow arrived. He made it.

Fremont Area District Library celebrated 50 years of service to the community.

VFW Sportsman’s Post 4249 completed its move to a new home at 45 Gene Fugason Lane, very near the old building.

Linda Rodriguez of Newaygo was injured when a vehicle driving by Carol Dewindt of Wyoming crashed through the front window of the H and R Block office in Newaygo.

Kim Froese of Croton Township created a strikingly unusual entry for the ArtPrize exhibition in Grand Rapids, a sculpture created from paper made by nesting bald-faced hornets and yellow jacket wasps. While the sculpture was on display in Grand Rapids, a representative of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not bought it for display in museum in Amsterdam.

The Croton Summer Recreation Program celebrated its 10th anniversary with special activities.

 

October

Newaygo High School’s Max Smith set a new school record for the five-kilometer run, beating the old mark set by Todd Jeschke in 1990.

The Newaygo County Service Employees Credit Union celebrated 50 years of service to the community.

A 36-year-old Brohman man was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident causing the death of Steven Jones of Woodland Park. Police said that Jones died when he was struck by a vehicle while walking alongside a road in Merrill Township.

Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial installed a living roof surface above the new Emergency Room Department.

Recyclying of Newaygo County’s 10th annual meeting featured plans to overhaul operations.

Bob Siders of Newaygo reflected on the start of court proceedings in the trail of Matt and Paul Jones, two brothers charged with murdering Siders’ daughter Shannon 25 years ago.

Fremont High School swimmer Lauren Zeerip set a new Fremont pool record in the 100-yard backstroke.

The Ark Christian Day Care Center celebrated its 35th anniversary.

New boat-launching docks were installed near the Bridgeton Bridge to help make the Muskegon River more accessible to more people.

Gerber Federal Credit Union held ground-breaking ceremonies for a new credit union branch to be built on the former site of George’s Rootbeer Stand in Newaygo.

Fremont firefighter Bob Geeting retired after 48 years of service to the people of the Fremont area.

The Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency announced its plans to purchase and use the former Providence Christian High School building south of Fremont.

 

November

The Fremont High School boys cross country team placed second at the Michigan High School Athletic Association state finals.

A fire destroyed much of the David Allen Racing Motor Sports building and contents on Maple Island Road west of Fremont.

Law enforcement investigators began searching local lakes in search of Margaret Maureen Heuser, a woman who was reported missing in 2005.

The Fremont Area Community Foundation received a $4.8 million gift from the estate of the late Vincent Bunker. He and his wife left Newaygo County many years ago, but he was said to believe “that money made in Fremont should return there.”

The Newaygo County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution accepting a grant for the creation of a morgue to serve both Newaygo and Mecosta counties.

December

Big Jackson School students honored Deputy Turbo, a canine member of the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department, who is retiring after a long police career. Along with cards and a party at their northern Newaygo County school, students also presented Turbo with a new bed to use in retirement.

Newaygo Fire Department issued awards to Deputy Chief Robert Van Dyke as Officer of the Year, Carlos Escalante as Firefighter of the Year, and Laura Anderson as Medical First Responder of the Year.

Nancy Ferguson of Newaygo celebrated her 100th birthday.

Michael Lapworth of White Cloud was arrested for felony assault after a stand-off with law enforcement during which he reportedly threatened to blow up the house.

Adoption Day ceremonies added children to the Dawson and Bartlett families.

The Newaygo County Board of Commissioners honored Sheriff Mike Mercer who is retiring.

Newaygo County’s unemployment rate was announced to be 5 percent, its lowest in several years.

A three-person group was scheduled to interview and appoint a new county sheriff from the five applications received to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Sheriff Mercer.

Retiring Newaygo County Sheriff Mike Mercer reflected on his career and the people he served.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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