Monthly Archives: June 2014

Secretary Of State To Run Registry Protecting Children From Adult Internet And Phone Ads

(Submitted by Michigan Secretary of State)

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is urging Michigan families to block electronic adult ads, messages and pornography from reaching children by joining the Michigan Child Protection Registry. Studies show an increasing number of young people are using internet-based devices, with children as young as age two using tablets, mobile phones and computers.

Similar to the National Do Not Call Registry, the Michigan Child Protection Registry is a free and secure program that families can use to block adult-oriented ads for products like alcohol, tobacco, pornography, online gambling and illegal drugs from reaching their email inboxes, cell phones or instant messenger IDs. Once a family has entered their information, companies that send messages that advertise or link to prohibited products or services are required to remove them from their mailing lists within 30 days.•


(Forwarded by Reverend R.A. Shackles)

Next time you have to fill up at $3.49 a gallon, think of this!!

Unemployment in North Dakota is the lowest in the nation at 3.4 percent last I checked. See anything in the national news about how the oil industry is fueling North Dakota’s economy?

Here’s an astounding read. Important and verifiable information:
The Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, and has the potential to eliminate all American dependence on foreign oil. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates it at 503 billion barrels. Even if just 10 percent of the oil is recoverable (5 billion barrels), At $107 a barrel, we’re looking at a resource base worth more than $5.3 trillion.

“When I first briefed legislators on this, you could practically see their jaws hit the floor. They had no idea..,” says Terry Johnson, the Montana legislature’s financial analyst.

However, a recent technological breakthrough has opened up the Bakken’s massive reserves, and we now have access of up to 500 billion barrels. And because this is light, sweet oil, those billions of barrels will cost Americans just $16 per barrel. That’s enough crude to fully fuel the American economy for 2041 years straight.

And if that didn’t throw you on the floor, then this next one should, because it’s from 2006: “U.S. Oil Discovery –– Largest Reserve in the World.” Stansberry Report Online 4/20/2006. Hidden 1,000 feet beneath the surface of the Rocky Mountains lies the largest untapped oil reserve in the world. It is more than two trillion barrels. On August 8, 2005, President Bush mandated its extraction.”

In three and a half years of high oil prices, none has been extracted. With this motherload of oil why are we still fighting over off-shore drilling? We have more oil inside our borders, than all the other proven reserves on earth.

Here are the official estimates:
8 times as much oil as Saudi Arabia
18 times as much oil as Iraq
21 times as much oil as Kuwait
22 times as much oil as Iran
500 times as much oil as Yemen,  and it’s all right here in the Western United States!

How can this be? How can we not be extracting this? Because the environmentalists and others have blocked all efforts to help America become independent of foreign oil! Again, we are letting a small group of people dictate our lives and our economy. Why?

James Bartis, lead researcher with the study, says we’ve got more oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle East, more than two trillion barrels untapped. That’s more than all the proven oil reserves of crude oil in the world today, reports the Denver Post.

Don’t think “OPEC” will drop its price even with this find? Think again. It’s all about the competitive marketplace. It has to.

Think OPEC just might be funding the environmentalists? Got your attention yet? Now, while you’re thinking about it, do this: Pass this along.

By the way, this can be verified. Check it out at•

Michigan Legal Help Available

(Submitted by

Free and accurate legal information, along with help and referrals, is available at the Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Muskegon County at the Michael E. Kobza Hall of Justice, 990 Terrace Street, 6th Floor Law Library in downtown Muskegon. The hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Michigan Legal Help website helps people who have to handle simple civil legal problems without a lawyer. It contains articles about specific areas of the law and tool kits to help you prepare to represent yourself in court. Some forms are completed automatically once you answer simple questions. The website does not provide legal advice, and it is not a substitute for having a lawyer. If you need more help, you can search the website for a lawyer, a self-help center, or community services in your area. The website does not cover all areas of law, but new tools and information are added regularly.

The website is•


It’s As If They Didn’t Exist

by Pamela Sherstad
Director of Public Information for Right to Life of Michigan

 “(F)or  the killing of the innocent is never fulfilling God’s will; in fact, it’s the ultimate betrayal of God’s will.

    “Today, we profess the principles we know to be true. We believe that each of us is ‘wonderfully made’ in the image of God. We, therefore, believe in the inherent dignity of every human being –– dignity that no earthly power can take away.”

The quote above was not taken from a speech by a prolife pastor. It was not used during a Sanctity of Human Life Sunday service. It was not spoken by the leader of a prolife organization.

Believe it or not, the words above were actually spoken by an advocate of abortion on demand. These words were spoken by President Barrack Obama.

During the National Prayer Breakfast on February 6, 2014, President Barrack Obama spoke words that could have easily been emitted from the mouth of a prolife leader. Without a hint of irony, President Obama affirmed three simple truths prolifers have been advocating for decades: each human being is wonderfully made, has inherent dignity, and killing innocent human beings is wrong. He even quoted Psalm 139, a favorite of the pro-life movement, which tells us that we’re “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Only a few weeks earlier, President Obama released a statement on the 41st anniversary of Roe v Wade, calling on the nation to “recommit” itself to the “guiding principle” of Roe: “that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health.” He went on to reaffirm his “steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom.” He ended with the reasoning (again without seeing how it undermines his position on abortion) behind his position: “Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams.”

While celebrating a ruling which legalized abortion throughout pregnancy, President Obama was unable to even put the word “abortion” in his statement. That’s the tactic of many modern abortion advocates. Instead of advocating for legal abortion, they claim they are advocating for “reproductive freedom.” Instead of advocating for the use of tax dollars to pay for abortions, they claim they are advocating for “access to health care.”

Since President Obama clearly doesn’t believe it is wrong to kill innocent unborn human beings, nor has he done anything to uphold the dignity of those defenseless children, one has to wonder how he can say what he said at the National Prayer Breakfast.

It’s almost as if he thinks human beings are wonderfully made when they are born and human life and dignity only emerge after birth. It’s almost as if he thinks the 56 million unborn American children legally aborted since 1973 never existed.

Visit to equip yourself to help you speak out against this kind of thinking, which ignores the unborn.•

Century Club Welcomes New Boutiques

(Submitted by Shelli Bell)

The historic Century Club Shops on Western Avenue welcomes their newest boutiques, LeFleur Flower Shoppe, Apple Valley Yarn West, Maggie’s Gourmet Food and Gifts, and Glo’s Repurpose on Purpose. Located at 356 W. Western Avenue, the Century Club Shops on Western is also home to such retailers as Stormy Kromer Outfitter, Banana Dog Teas, McDonald’s Candies, Collage (vintage furniture and books), Emmaj’s LadyBug Shop, and Sierra Skye Studios.

Deb Moon’s LeFleur Flower Shoppe has expanded down the main aisle of the Century Club with a wide variety of gifts, seasonal decor, greeting cards, and fresh and silk floral arrangements. Deb has owned LeFleur since 1999, managing a dedicated team of professional florists.

Apple Valley Yarn West offers all things yarn related, including knitting classes. This is the third store for owner Chantella Bentsen, who also has shops in Midland and Clare, Michigan. She offers many types of yarn, from synthetic to wool, in a wide array of colors and from all over the world. She even stocks the brand of wool used for the sweaters worn by Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympic opening and closing ceremonies.

Maggie’s Gourmet Food and Gifts opened her newest site at the Century Club in April. The store offers a wide selection of gift baskets, gourmet foods and specialty products. They have one of the largest selections of Michigan-made products under one roof. Maggie’s flagship store has been open since 1998.

Glo’s Repurpose on Purpose uses mirrors in a variety of artistic ways. Glo takes the “everyday” item and turns it into a “must-have” for your home.

The Century Club Shops on Western is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  It will also be open on Mondays during the summer. To learn more about the Century Club Shops on Western, visit their website at•

Fort Knox is Empty (The Gold’s Missing)

by Robert Williams, publisher, Wall Street Daily

I have a troubling situation to discuss. Whispers are swirling around Capitol Hill that Fort Knox is empty….That  all the gold is gone….That the U.S. government has been shipping gold to nations like China (as collateral for a weak dollar). Scary, isn’t it?

Without any gold in Fort Knox, the United States has nothing backing the dollar but faith.

Here’s what Wall Street Daily analysts have confirmed: The U.S. government has not done a public audit of the gold in Fort Knox since 1974. Policymakers have ignored all requests for a new audit, too.

Worse yet, $982 million worth of gold has left JFK International Airport in New York since the year began. The destination? Somewhere in South Africa. The gold shipment was confirmed by the U.S. Census Bureau’s foreign trade division.

That begs the following question:
Do you think Fort Knox is empty?•

Dining with Diabetes Workshops

(Submitted by Michigan State University Extension)

“Meijer and Michigan State University Extension are partnering in the efforts to support healthier living,” Pam Daniels, MSU Extension Health Educator says. Meijer has donated $1,000.00 to the Dining with Diabetes workshops.

Class participants will be able to learn about Meijer’s NuVal Scoring System. The American Diabetes Association aligns with NuVal, which scores foods based on nutritional value. Meijer makes it easy by identifying power foods, while providing power-food recipes which will be implemented into the Dining with Diabetes menus.

Dining with Diabetes  is a five-session course designed for people at risk of diabetes or who have diabetes, as well as their family members. Through this class, participants learn the causes of diabetes; tools for managing diabetes; how to prepare healthy meals using less fat; how to make meals using less sodium and sugar without reducing flavor; and the importance of diet and exercise in managing diabetes. Participants have the opportunity to sample a variety of healthy foods and take home recipes to prepare.

To find out more about MSUE’s Dining with Diabetes series, contact Pam Daniels, Michigan State University Extension, at (231) 592-0792 or email

Registration is required.•

Access Health Program Celebrates 15 Years

(Submitted by Access Health)
Access Health, a Muskegon-based health coverage provider and continuous health improvement program provider,  is celebrating 15 years. Since its establishment in 1999, Access Health has provided health coverage to over 730 businesses and 5,650 employees in Muskegon and northern Ottawa County.

At the start of the year, 15,325 area businesses and over 1,250 employees are under an Access Health coverage program. Over the past 14 years, Access Health members have seen only a $6 increase in their monthly cost of coverage, starting with $38 in 1999 to the current cost of $44.

Access Health shares this anniversary with the initiation of the new healthcare reform, popularly known as “Obamacare.” The reform, designed to increase the number of people covered by health insurance, could lead to increased taxes and fees for businesses that offer health coverage.  Any additional fees seen on your bill will go to support lower-income individuals and families purchasing health insurance, help pay for the costs of running the Health Insurance Marketplace, and assist with conducting research that compares the effectiveness of available treatments.

Access Health’s C3 Health Coverage Program and Continuous Health Improvement (CHI) Program are services unique to Access Health that help businesses manage their costs for healthcare, fitting perfectly with the new healthcare reform transition.

C3 Health coverage is complete comprehensive health coverage offered to employee groups with median income less than $15 per hour. Among many other money-saving benefits, members receive free health improvement classes and educational courses for specific health needs, $44 monthly health coverage with no deductibles, and very low or zero cost co-pays.

The continuous health improvement process begins with a comprehensive risk analysis of data from medical and pharmaceutical claims, health risk appraisals, and biometrics. Predictive modeling software, developed by Johns Hopkins, is then used to measure the health status of each member and their changes over time.

“The CHI program lets us help local employers manage their health costs,” said Jeff Fortenbacher, Chief Executive Officer, Access Health. “The program includes one-on-one personal health coaching to establish health goals and action plans for each of our members,” said Fortenbacher.

With improved employee health as its starting point, Access Health’s C3-CHI Program ultimately helps Muskegon County businesses become more competitive in their market. Eagle Group, Port City Group, Fleet Engineers, Dynamic Conveyor and Lorin Industries currently offer the program at their companies, or will be in the near future.

“Access Health helps to manage health risk and reduce the cost of our health coverage, which is an area of risk that hasn’t been effectively managed before due to the ‘traditional’ health care benefit system,” said John Workman, vice president of Eagle Group.

Access Health provides courses, programs, resources, and low-cost health coverage to lead the community on a path toward healthier lifestyles. Access Health serves uninsured employees of small businesses and other low-income, uninsured individuals. For more information, visit•

Heart Attack Prevention

(Condensed from an article in the February, 2014 Reader’s Digest Magazine by Dr. Joel K. Kahn, author of the Holistic Heart Book)

• Have five cups of fruit and vegetables per day.
• Drink three cups of green, black or oolong tea a day
• Don’t eat processed meat
• Don’t eat much meat
• Eat sardines, mackeral, anchovies, salmon and herring
• Love a pet
• Sit in a sauna (preferably infrared)
• List something you are grateful for every day and read the list once a week
• Men: Have sex twice a week
• Open windows to air our your house regularly
• Clean your kitchen with items you would cook with (i.e. white vinegar, baking soda, lemon, cornstarch)
• Cook and store food in glass, ceramic or stainless steel.

Read the whole article here:

Don’t Give Out Any Credit Card Information on the Phone

Submitted by Donna Phelps

It would be easy to fall for this Visa/Master Card scam!

Telephone callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it. The person calling says, “This is ______, and I’m calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My badge number is ______. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I’m calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card, which was issued by ________. Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing device for $497.99 from a marketing company based in Arizona?”  When you say “No,” the caller continues with, “Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching, and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (your home address). Is that correct?” You say, “yes.”

The caller continues, “I will be starting a fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1-800 number listed on the back of your card and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this control number.” The caller then gives you a six digit number and asks, “Do you need me to read it again?”

The caller then says, “I need to verify you are in possession of your card.” He’ll ask you to turn your card over and look for some numbers. There are seven numbers. The first four are part of your card number. The last three are the security numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the last three numbers to him. After you tell the caller the three numbers, he’ll say, “That is correct. I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?”

After you say, “no,” the caller then thanks you and states, “Don’t hesitate to call back if you do.” And he hangs up. You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. The real VISA security department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was charged to our card. We made a real fraud report and closed the VISA account.  VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the scammer wants is the three-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don’t give it to them!  Instead, tell them you’ll call VISA or Mastercard directly for verification of their conversation.

The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card, as they already know the information since they issued the card. If you give the scammer the three-digit PIN number, you think you’re receiving a credit. However, by the time you get the statement, you’ll see charges for purchases you didn’t make, and by then, it’s almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.•

A Brisk Walking Pace is Better

by Dr. E. Kirsten Peters
One of the things my mutt from the pound and I like to do together is go on long walks. Sometimes on weekends, Buster Brown and I stroll at the bottom of the Snake River Canyon where dogs can be off-leash (as Mother Nature intended). There’s a six-mile walk in the canyon we like to do; me limping along in a straight line, Buster ranging over a wider area of ground sniffing for wildlife.
Closer to home, there is a six-mile loop around town we enjoy. I think I can speak for both of us when I say that we simply feel better about the world when we’ve completed a long walk.
While I do walk what many Americans would consider significant distances, I am not fast. I think I average about three miles per hour. Recently published research suggests that if I want to do my health the most good, I should check with my medical provider and then work on picking up my pace.
The idea about speedier walking comes from work done on the National Walkers’ Health Study, a database that records the walking patterns maintained by thousands of Americans who like to walk for exercise. People in the study were recruited starting in 1998. They gave researchers detailed information about their walking habits and their health histories.
Medical authorities recommend we do at least some moderate-intensity exercise for 30 minutes each day, five days a week. For walkers, that translates to walking at about a four-mile-per-hour pace. In other words, Buster Brown and I don’t make the grade. We walk, all right, but not fast enough to get some of the health benefits of exercise. Still, isn’t it possible that the long distances we go makes up for our relatively leisurely pace?
Enter a statistician named Paul T. Williams of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who has worked through the data on about 39,000 middle aged walkers in the National Walkers’ Health Study. His analysis was recently published in the journal PLoS One and summarized in the New York Times.
Death catches up to all of us, even the most lean and serious of walkers. Almost 2,000 people out of the total of 39,000 in the database have died since 1998. Williams’ work –– alas for me –– shows that the deaths were disproportionately drawn from the ranks of those who stroll slowly rather than those who stride quickly along. Perhaps worst of all for the likes of me, the death rate among the slow walkers was high even if the distances trekked were long. In other words, it really seems to matter that some walkers move at a brisk pace, and do so for at least 30 minutes per day.
“Our results do suggest that there is significant health benefit to pursuing a faster pace,” William said to the New York Times.
One factor that Williams’ work doesn’t fully control for is that the leisurely walkers may have been slow because they had a health condition that limited what they could do –– and potentially also limited their longevity. That’s true. But that same idea, according to Williams, leads to one practical result of his work: If you clock your natural walking speed, you may be able to get a basic sense of your overall health.
The bottom line appears to be that brisk walking is better than a slower stroll, even if us slow-pokes walk for long distances. But as I understand it, anything is better than nothing when it comes to walking, and many Americans don’t walk or otherwise exercise hardly at all. I’m a geologist, not a medical doctor, but I think that if you exercise every day, as I come close to doing, it’s important to have enjoyment in what you do. Walking with a friend and my dog on the weekend is a pleasure, and long walks are great pleasures. Still, more vigorous walking than what some of us naturally do could be more helpful to our health.
I’ve got to talk the matter over with Buster Brown, but perhaps we can try to pick up the pace when we go out together for our weekend jaunts.
 Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, a native of the rural Northwest, was trained as a geologist at Princeton and Harvard. This column is a service of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University.•

Muskegon Museum of Art Regional Exhibition

The Muskegon Museum of Art’s 86th Regional Exhibition, the longest-established regional art exhibition in Michigan, opened for public viewing Thursday, May 22, and will run through August 20.

The MMA’s annual, juried Regional Exhibition, known for its competitive nature and for its professional presentation, is open to amateur and professional artists throughout Michigan. This year, 299 artists submitted a total of 501 works for the competition. Guest juror David L. Deming selected 200 works by 162 artists for the exhibition. This exhibition of artwork in many mediums, themes, and styles will be displayed in the MMA’s Walker Galleries throughout the summer. Most of the artwork in the exhibition is available for sale.

This year’s juror, Cleveland sculptor David Deming, was President and CEO of the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1998 through 2010. He developed the school’s first digital arts department, and launching the plan for the Institute’s new campus. He has participated in more than 100 competitive and invitational exhibitions, nationally and internationally, and in more than 50 one-and two-person exhibitions.

The 86th Regional Exhibition is underwritten by Shape Corporation, Warner Norcross & Judd, LLP, and the MMA’s Ally for Contemporary Art, the Alcoa Foundation. Awards are sponsored by Huntington Bank. Additional support is provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, and MLive/Chronicle.

The Muskegon Museum of Art is located at 296 W. Webster Ave. in downtown Muskegon. Call 231-720-2570 or visit for information.

MMA 86th Regional Exhibition Artist Awards

Best of Show | $1,500
Joshua Adam Risner, Alto, Inness’s Daughter

2nd Place | $750
Michelle Newman, Muskegon, Mid-Century Muse

3rd Place | $500
Lisa Olsen, Grand Rapids, Slumber II

Director’s Choice | $500
Janet Tyson, Spring Lake, Hive

Curator’s Choice | $500
Katherine Bourdon, Muskegon, When Women Were Birds

Gordon Hall Memorial Award | $300
Sy Ellens, Kalamazoo, Neglected

Friends of Art | $250
Lee Ann Frame, Fruitport, Escape

West Michigan Potter’s Guild Eleanore Smith Memorial Award | $250
Cary A. Vander Veen, Lawton, Spring Fever

Robert and Veronica Youngman Memorial Award for Graphic Arts | $150
Armin Mersmann, Midland, Best Laid Plans

William L. “Bill” Rogers Best Photography | $150
Robert C. Stone, Grand Rapids, Perkins Cove

Docents’ Choice | $100
Shelley Dingman, Muskegon, Muskegon Door

Honorable Mentions |$100
Lee S. Brown, Muskegon, Bound Column X
Jennifer Green, Whitehall, Street #1
Nancy Oakes-Hall, Grand Rapids, Anger Management

SPONSORED PURCHASE AWARDS (sponsor listed first)
ADAC Automotive
• Lois Ann Rodgers, Holland, The Tulgy Wood

AGS (American Grease Stick)
• Neil Mullally, Muskegon, Tucson Mission
• Karen Hoekstra, Grand Rapids, And the Earth Responds

Sherry Becker
• Lindy Crandell, Grand Rapids, Aunt Marjorie at 3 – 1924

Community Foundation for Muskegon County
• Mark Kirby, Muskegon, Drasland
• Holly Sturges, Grand Rapids, Thoreson Outhouse
• Holly Sturges, Grand Rapids, The Flume

Carla Hill
• Michelle Newman, Muskegon, Mid-Century Muse

Grand Valley State University Art Gallery
• Marc Hoeksema, Muskegon, Forest
• Lisa Olsen, Grand Rapids, Slumber II

Brian and Jamie Lang
• Andrew Jagniecki, Whitehall, A Murder of Crows
• Nancy Oakes-Hall, Grand Rapids, Anger Management

Patrick J. O’Leary
• Janet Tyson, Spring Lake, Hive
• Robert C. Stone, Grand Rapids, Perkins Cove

Warner, Norcross, & Judd
• Dianne Carroll Burdick, Grand Rapids, Water for Trees
• Sy Ellens, Kalamazoo, Water Wonderland
• Gale Nobes, Muskegon, Being
• Gale Nobes, Muskegon, Treeline

West Michigan Symphony
• Abbey Fitzpatrick, Spring Lake, Almighty Grid #3

Chris and Stephanie Witham
• Kathleen Kalinowski, Comstock Park, River Banks, Spring Thaw
• Connie Kuhnle, Rockford, Market Hydrangea

Marilyn and Richard Witham
• Tom Tomasek, Ovid, Wetlands

The Muskegon Museum of Art is located at 296 W. Webster Ave. in downtown Muskegon.
Call 231-720-2570 or visit for information.

Classic Cars Sought…

 …for the First Annual Vintage Car and Garden Show

A display of up to 250 cars will be a highlight of the First Annual Vintage Garden on Saturday, July 12 in downtown Muskegon.  Owners of cars of any age are invited to register to participate in the event which will begin at 9 am and conclude at 1 pm with trophies presented to the owners of the ten Best in Show vehicles.


The cars will line Webster Avenue between Third and Seventh Streets in front of some of Muskegon’s finest historic homes and structures.  The cost of participation is $10 per vehicle and registration will take place the day of the event.

For more information about the event or information about sponsorship opportunities contact Inquiries about the car show can be directed to

Where Is This Junk Yard?

Junkyard-40s-DSC02894a.jpg(click picture to enlarge)

If anyone knows where it is, please call Terry Sturgeon at (231)788-2771. It is supposed to be located in the greater Fruitport area.Junkyard-DSC02899

Lakeshore Art Festival Announces Unique Art Event: The Community Canvas Project 

The Lakeshore Art Festival, in conjunction with the Muskegon Center for the Arts, is pleased to announce the first ever Community Canvas project. This unique event will be an interactive community painting project in which anyone can participate for free.  Multiple large-scale canvases will be positioned around the sculpture located at the intersection of 3rd Street and Western Avenue on July 4 and 5 from 10 am – 6 pm. All Lakeshore Art Festival guests are encouraged to join in the creative celebration and make their mark at this year’s festival.

At the end of both Friday and Saturday, the canvases will be cut into various sizes and stretched over wooden frames. The canvases will be for sale and a portion of the proceeds will benefit a local non-profit organization.

“The Community Canvas project assists both the Lakeshore Art Festival and the Muskegon Center for the Arts in achieving our goal by engaging the community to be creative while giving back and supporting local nonprofits,” commented Carla Flanders, Lakeshore Art Festival Director.

The Muskegon Center for the Arts (the MCA) is an organization whose mission is to provide West Michigan, Muskegon in particular, with a cultural refuge. MCA provides artists a place to create, display, perform, and explore their art form. A place where community is the key to inspiration and success, where synergy is born, and where artists have more exposure.

“We are looking forward to this opportunity to engage and interact with our community in such an expressive way. Members of the MCA will be on site to assist and encourage everyone to explore the creativeness in themselves,” stated Ruth Bolles, Judicial Board Member from the Muskegon Center for the Arts.

For more information on the Lakeshore Art Festival, visit the website: and Facebook page:  For general information, please email Lakeshore Art Festival will take place in downtown Muskegon on July 4 and 5 from 10 am – 6 pm.

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce is the premier business membership organization on the lakeshore representing approximately 1,150 businesses and organizations. The Muskegon Chamber represents businesses of every size and type all over West Michigan. The Chamber is celebrating 120 years in operation working to sustain an environment for business success through community leadership, promotion, inclusive business advocacy and valued member services. The Muskegon Chamber is a three-time award-winning Chamber, being named Chamber of the Year for the State of Michigan in 2006, 2010, and 2012 by the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals.

Writers’ Conference Slated for Oct. 17-18th in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids, MI – Splattered Ink Press is hosting Quit Whining Start Writing 2014 Writers’ Conference, a writers’ conference to be held at Grand Valley State University’s L. William Seidman Center, downtown campus in Grand Rapids on October 17- 18th, 2014. The conference is geared toward authors (beginner to published), and will connect writers of all levels, editors, agents, marketing and PR professionals. A full day of workshops is planned on Saturday from 9 am – 5pm, featuring experienced speakers on a variety of book publishing and writing topics. An opening reception on Friday, Oct. 17, will be held at the same location from 6 pm – 8pm featuring Keri Topouzian, author of The Perfect Armenian. WZZM TV 13’s Val Lego will be on hand to interview Topouzian and lead a Q & A session.

Registration is open and limited to the first 200 attendees. Early-bird registration will run through August 18th for $150. The fee includes the Friday evening reception, the Saturday conference and luncheon. Regular registration begins on Sept. 1, with the fee at $175. Manuscript consultations by agent Alice Spielberg, of Spielberg Literary Agency, are available for an additional fee of $25. A 10-page sample must be submitted prior to the conference, with a one-on-one,15-minute consultation provided at the conference.

A keynote and more than15 group sessions will include authors, editors, creative writing professionals, designers, publishers and marketing representatives. A description of some of the workshops and conference leader biographies are available on the event website. The conference leaders include Sue Silverman, author of The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew; Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction; and, Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You. Brian Jud, author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books (Without Worrying About Returns). Keri Topouzian, author of The Perfect Armenian; and, Melanie Hooyenga, young adult author of Flicker, and the soon to be released sequel, Fracture.

The conference goal is to help budding and experienced authors tell their stories, find their voice and learn how to publish and market their books and projects. For more information and to register, visit the website at

Registration is available online at

American Red Cross Honors Local Volunteers and Blood Donors

[MUSKEGON], MI ., May 30, 2014 – The American Red Cross serving Muskegon, Oceana, and Newaygo Counties held its annual Volunteer & Blood Donor Recognition Event on Wednesday, May 21.

“Each year thousands of volunteers and blood donors serve our communities through the American Red Cross. We are proud of the unparalleled record that the Red Cross has of helping people and meeting their local needs,” said Tim Lipan, Executive Director, American Red Cross.  “All of the services are made possible by our dedicated team of volunteers, blood donors, and through continuing support from our generous community.”

Recipients of Special Service awards were as follows:
Reese Award for Extraordinary Service and Leadership:  Penny Albertie of North Muskegon received the highest award in the local Red Cross.  The Reese Award honors those that provide exceptional leadership and personal dedication, leading to the establishment, expansion or improvement of service to the American Red Cross and the community.

Volunteer of the Year:  Bill and Sue Gray of Spring Lake received one of the highest honors given to a volunteer in the Red Cross.  Both are involved in the core of Red Cross services, providing relief to victims of disaster and support to members of the military and their families.  For the past year, they have given direction and support to a team of all volunteers at the Muskegon office.  Both also respond to local house fires and other emergencies.  Most recently, they coordinated flood relief efforts and response to Newaygo County. Susan is currently training caseworkers in a new system to assist victims of disaster and Bill is involved with the Legend Flight to honor Western Michigan’s WWII veterans.

Transportation Services Award:  Richard Heisser, Norton Shores
For the past eleven years, Heisser has been a volunteer with the Red Cross. He has driven blood products to hospitals and seniors to medical appointments. He has taken on the responsibility for fleet maintenance, monitoring the vehicle reports, taking cars or vans for oil changes, tire rotations, and brake inspections.

Community Services Award:  Pete Mulford, Muskegon
Pete Mulford received the Community Service Award for his volunteer work in the Senior Transportation Department. For the past two years, this volunteer has driven 3 shifts a week driving seniors to medical and dialysis appointments. Mulford also developed a business plan coordinating the transportation of dialysis clients for pre-transplant appointments.

Disaster Services Award:  Cheryl Schneider, North Muskegon
Cheryl Schneider was honored for her service for the last nineteen years as a responder for local and national disasters. Schneider, a RN, is one of the volunteer nurses who respond to the disaster calls for fire clients who need medical assistance. She is the Health Services team lead, the person who goes over health histories with Disaster volunteers before they deploy on a national disaster assignment. She has also been instrumental in recruiting and training new nurses.

Blood Services Award:  Jim Kremer, Spring Lake
Jim Kremer received the Blood Services Award for his commitment over the past six years driving blood products that have saved countless lives. Kremer drives the units of blood to Lansing as well as to nine hospitals from Allegan to Cadillac and is available year round to assist the Red Cross.

Recognized for 25 Years of Service with the American Red Cross:

For more information about volunteering with the American Red Cross, please visit:, call 1-800-RED CROSS or contact the Muskegon Chapter Office at: (231) 726-3555.

Secretary Johnson Gives Website Warning

Don’t confuse DMV-themed websites with official site

LANSING, Mich. – Secretary of State Ruth Johnson today warned Michigan residents about paying for online Secretary of State services without first checking that the website they’re using is the official site.

Secretary of State staff are receiving more and more complaints from customers who believed they visited a Secretary of State website to complete a transaction and paid a fee, only to later find that the fee did not go to the state, and they did not get the services they needed.

Unfortunately, these customers used an online search engine that directed them to sites not affiliated with the state of Michigan when they were looking for driver’s license and vehicle license plate renewal options or other Secretary of State services. These sites misleadingly charge for services or information that are normally available at no cost on the official department website.

“People should examine the site they’re on closely before agreeing to pay,” Johnson said. “Double-check the Web address to make sure it’s an official state of Michigan site before you pay for services that might be free. Don’t fall for misleading sites.”

Unpasteurized Milk Products Hazardous To Your Health

Two cases of E. coli 0157:H7 in West Michigan have been traced back to consumption of raw milk products from an Ottawa County cow share program. In March, a 31 year old Muskegon County woman became ill after drinking raw milk, and in April, a 6 year old child from Kent County became ill after possible consumption of the raw milk product.

Organisms that make people sick are found in the intestines of animals. Contamination of milk occurs when fecal matter is present on the udder of an animal or in the equipment used to process the milk. Enough bacteria to cause illness can be present and not be visibly dirty upon inspection. Pasteurizing is the process of heating the milk to high temperatures to kill the harmful bacteria that make you sick. Raw or unpasteurized milk (sometimes called fresh milk or fresh unprocessed milk) is milk that comes directly from a cow, goat, sheep or other animal’s udder and is not heat treated (pasteurized) to kill bacteria. Raw milk carries a much higher risk of causing serious illness than pasteurized milk, and you cannot see or smell the germs in raw milk that make you sick.

Some believe drinking raw milk products is more nutritious and provides the body with “good bacteria”. The pasteurizing process does not significantly change the nutritional value of milk, and due to the risk of serious illness, there are far safer sources of good bacteria than raw milk. Pasteurized probiotic yogurts, kefir, and other products are a great source of probiotics.

The CDC reports that unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness, and results in 13 times more hospitalizations than illnesses involving pasteurized dairy products. Due to poorly developed immune systems, infants and children are at greater risk for becoming sick and are more likely to suffer from long term damage from diseases linked to drinking raw milk.

Due to the health risk of consuming raw milk, it is not legal to sell raw milk or raw milk products in the State of Michigan. Because of this, raw milk is obtained through herd share programs. In a herd share program, consumers purchase a share of a cow and, as the owner of the cow, are provided raw milk from the farmer. These herd share dairy programs are not licensed or inspected by state or local agencies.

If you or someone you know has become ill in the days following consumption of a raw milk product, seek medical attention. Symptoms of illness include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain along with fever, headache, and body ache. Pregnant women, infants, small children, the elderly, and people with chronic illnesses should never consume raw milk products.

For more information on the pasteurization process:

Gerber Foundation Awards Scholarships to Local Students

This spring, The Gerber Foundation presented scholarship awards to the following students.

The Gerber Foundation Merit Scholarships (worth $2,300 each)

Fruitport: Lucas German, Dalton Mullennix
Mona Shores: Elizabeth Miller, Patrick Taylor, Jasmyn Walker
West Michigan Christian: Joshua Crum, Samuel Mast

Congratulations to these scholarship recipients and all the graduates of 2014!

Livewall Continues To Serve People

LiveWall1Do you remember the Art Prize 2013 LiveWall entry called “Back to Eden?” It is located at the B.O.B. in Grand Rapids. It is a 1,400 square foot living wall and was among the top 25 winners.

While it is currently filled with hardy perennials, in May, Hortech of Spring Lake will replace half of its plantings with some 1,500 herb and vegetable plants, from peppers to leafy greens to tomatoes. The organic plants will be used by the B.O.B.’ chefs in the creation of their restaurant dishes.

B.O.B. owner Greg Gilmore and LiveWall inventor Dave MacKenzie are also collaborating on an experimental indoor Live Wall system that will grow hops for its brewery.

This could become the largest food wall in North America.•


Lakeshore Museum Center Historic Sites Open

(Submitted by the Lakeshore Museum Center)

As a sure sign that spring is here, the three historic sites of the Lakeshore Museum Center are open. Tours will be offered at the Hackley and Hume Historic Site, the Fire Barn Museum and Scolnik House of the Depression Era Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

Visitors to the Hackley and Hume Historic Site will begin their visit in the second floor gallery of the City Barn, which was remodeled over the winter. A new introductory video welcomes our visitors and provides them with an overview of the museum sites along with the history of the Hackley and Hume site, the lumber barons, and the lumbering era.

Hackley,Hume MuskegonThe gallery also features a small replica of the office at the Hackley and Hume Lumber Company. It includes an office chair, a desk we believe was original to the company, and a map of the lumber mills that lined the shores of Muskegon Lake. “The Journey from Forest to the Lumberyard” exhibit uses photographs, labels and artifacts to tell the story of lumbering in Muskegon.

It’s time for tea in the family homes. In the Hackley House, the dining room is ready for a formal tea, and across the courtyard in the second parlor of the Hume House, an early afternoon tea is being served. Tour guides will share information about the popular social custom of serving tea to guests with visitors of the site as part of their tour. Returning visitors will notice that the wallpaper in the parlors in the Hume House is new this season. Period appropriate paper was installed over the winter to replace wallpaper installed in the 1990s.

The site is located at 484 W. Webster Avenue at Sixth Street. Admission is $5 for guests 13 and older; visitors 12 and younger are admitted free. A gift shop is located in the City Barn where tours begin.

The Fire Barn Museum is a replica of the Hackley Hose Company No. 2, which was formed in 1875 after the city experienced several devastating fires. Artifacts on display include a 1923 LaFrance Class B Pumper Truck, hose carts, hooks and ladders, alarm and call box systems, uniforms and photographs of local fires. It is located at 510 W. Clay Avenue near Sixth Street.

Visitors to the Scolnik House of the Depression Era will learn about families living in this important period of history. The house was built in the late 1880s in classic Queen Anne-inspired Folk Victorian Style and features period furnishings, appliances, flooring and wallpaper. The Scolnik House is located next door to the Fire Barn. Admission at both sites is free for all ages. •

New Board Members Disability Connection/West Michigan

Jason Flanders of Norton Shores and Steve Draft-Peppin of Muskegon have been elected new members of the board of directors for Disability Connection/West Michigan.

Disability Connection, with main offices at 27 E. Clay Ave., Muskegon, provides services to people with disabilities and their families with offices in Muskegon, Fremont and Hart.

They join present board members John Wahlberg, President, of Muskegon; Mike Hamm, Vice President, of White Cloud; Tom Grein, Treasurer, of Whitehall; Joe Doyle, Secretary, of Muskegon and Ernest Scheel of Muskegon.  Susan Cloutier-Myers is the Executive Director.

Draft-Peppin is Laboratory Information Systems Coordinator at Mercy Health. He has a BA in political science from Michigan State University, an MPA from Grand Valley State University, and a Juris Doctor degree from Thomas M .Cooley Law School. He is a graduate of Mona Shores High School.

Flanders, a current councilman for the City of Norton Shores, is employed by Astellas Pharmaceuticals in healthcare sales. He received a BBA in management and economics from Adrian College, and an MPA with an emphasis in healthcare from Grand Valley State University. He is a member of the Muskegon Elks and Muskegon Rotary.

Some of the programs offered by Disability Connection include information and referrals, transportation assistance, nursing home transition, peer support, accessibility consultation, disability sensitivity training, help for veterans, and peer support, among several others.

The organization’s mission is to advocate, educate, empower, and provide resources for persons with disabilities and to promote accessible communities, with the vision that accessibility will be an accepted civil right.

Contact the Muskegon office at (231) 722-0088, or visit the web site

Maranatha’s Summer Sports Camps Schedule

(Courtesy, Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference)

Kids ages 7 to 18 can enjoy a variety of sports camps at Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference, 4759 Lake Harbor Road in Muskegon. All camps are led by trained Christian professionals. Registration is required for all sports camps and should be done as early as possible due to limited space.

June 23-27            Baseball Camp
June 30 – July 4     Tennis Camp
July 7-11                Soccer Camp & Running Camp
July 21-25              Volleyball Camp & Football Camp
August 4-8            Basketball Camp

The registration fee includes a shirt, a sports New Testament and a certificate. Registration prior to May 17 is $30 per participant per camp. After May 17, registration is $40. Online registration is recommended now at


Muskegon Community College (MCC) has named the following Fruitport students to the ACADEMIC HONORS LIST for the summer 2013 semester. Students who completed 6 to 11 hours per semester with at least a 3.5 GPA are included on the Academic Honors list:

Aimee Burnell
Joshiwa Farmer
Matthew Hoffman
Michelle Jonassen
Kaylee Poepoe
Ryan Sullivan
Charles Wilson

International High School Exchange Students Seeking Host Families in West Michigan

Grand RapidsMichigan (5/21/14) – Visiting students, ages 14-18, from around the world including Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and China are seeking host families throughout West Michigan for the upcoming 2014-2015 academic school year. Host families are needed for students attending school for the fall semester and full school year. Visiting students are interested in learning more about life as an American teenager and participating in customs and traditions with the help of local families.

Host families (traditional families, singles, empty nesters, etc.) serve as mentors and a home base for their student. Visiting students participate as active members of the family and integrate into their host’s daily routines and traditions just like any other family member. Hosting an international student is a great way to open your family’s eyes to the world, and promote a sense of lifelong learning and adventure.

iE-USA, the sponsoring program, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education and understanding through intercultural and academic exchange. iE-USA is certified by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel and strictly adheres to all U.S. Department of State Student Exchange Program regulations and guidelines.

“Every year our region plays host to hundreds of talented, top-of-their-class students with the lifelong dream of studying in America,” reports Joseph Bissell, iE-USA’s Great Lakes Regional Director. Joe ads, “Michigan’s spirit of hospitality and focus on academic enrichment makes it an ideal environment to develop cultural exchange and promote international diplomacy on a local level.”

Exchange student participants undergo an extensive application and orientation process in their home country prior to being accepted into iE-USA’s program. Each student is responsible for his/her own spending money and full health insurance coverage.

To learn more about how to make the dream come true for an international high school exchange student, contact West Michigan area representative Sarah Boucher at  or 517-331-3460. Host families may review prospective student profiles online at Families desiring to host an exchange student must apply by August 15, 2014.


Grizzly Bear Research May Help Human Medicine

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

I’ve gained 5 pounds since last summer. My body mass index (BMI) is still fine, but I need to stop gaining to keep it that way.

Grizzly bears put my weight gain to shame. In the late summer, they eat some 50,000 calories per day and gain more than 100 pounds. Then, when they hibernate, they fast and live on their body fat. While sleeping the winter away, they don’t pee or poop. They conserve their energy by having heart rates around 15 beats per minute. While hibernating, the sows give birth and nurse their young – activities all fueled by what they ate in the fall. When they emerge from their dens in the spring, the bears are much slimmer. In short, their “before” and “after” pictures are quite different.

Here’s the simple version of how grizzlies manage their huge weight transition. They first succumb to diabetes and then reverse slipping into that state. We know when they do this — researchers are now investigating how they manage the trick.

Drs. Lynne Nelson and Charles Robbins of Washington State University work with grizzlies kept in the only research-based grizzly colony in the country. They study the bears as they go through their annual transformations. In the fall, when the bears are packing on the pounds, they are fed commercial kibble supplemented by such things as salmon, venison and apples. The bears also have access to a grassy meadow.

“Grizzlies are grazers,” Nelson told me. “People don’t always think of that, but they eat a fair amount of grass.”

One secret to how grizzlies manage to stay healthy while becoming obese is that they have a lot of “good” cholesterol. And their cholesterol levels don’t change much when they pack on the pounds. Studying how they do that could one day help with interventions in human medicine.

A number of things the bears do while they hibernate are fascinating. The animals have a four-chambered heart, just like we do. But when they sleep the winter away, only two of the chambers keep working while two are at rest.

“Working on 2 of 4 cylinders makes sense because the demands on the heart are low,” Nelson said.

Even with that reduced cardiac output, grizzlies can stand up and move around during hibernation. Humans would black out in a similar situation. Again, studying what bears can do may help spur advances in human medicine.

As the winter months tick by, the grizzlies’ hearts lose muscle mass. Up to 25 percent of their hearts can atrophy. This change is then naturally reversed in the spring when they come out of their dens and begin a more active life.

Of course, doing cardiac research on grizzlies requires some special approaches.

“We start training the bears when they are cubs for exams we’ll want to do on them throughout their lives,” Nelson told me. “It’s easier to start on an animal that’s 4 pounds rather than one that’s 400 pounds.”

Nelson, Robbins, and those who work with them use positive reinforcement and “clicker training,” much like that used with dogs today. Food is used as the ultimate reward.

“Bears are faster learners than dogs,” Nelson said. “They are problem solvers.”

The goal is to have bears trained so that researchers can draw blood from them and administer exams like electrocardiograms (EKGs) and echocardiograms (an ultrasound test). To facilitate the research, the bears are taught to go into a crate.

“They sometimes fight to get to go into the crate first,” Nelson said.

The bears raised from cubs at the WSU facility are used to a lot of interaction with people.

“They need entertainment or work,” Nelson said. “Left to their own devices, they will dig up the sprinkler system (in their yard) or pull down the security cameras.”

The WSU bear colony currently has 11 animals in it. About half of the bears were raised at the center, while the other half were wild bears that started posing problems or a danger to humans and were brought to WSU rather than being destroyed.

As I struggle with my extra 5 pounds, I marvel at the weight transitions grizzlies naturally go through each year — and I wish the WSU researchers well as they study bear metabolism, weight transitions and cardiac function.

Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, a native of the rural Northwest, was trained as a geologist at Princeton and Harvard. This column is a service of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University.

Passive Smoke Affects The Long-Term Health Of Kids

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

Years ago I was a light smoker. Back in the day I thought nicotine did good things for my ability to think and learn. I was a serious student at the time, studying intensively seven days a week, so a powerful complement to black coffee was welcome in my life.

I both sympathize and empathize with smokers around me today. But I’m awfully glad I quit long ago, and I know many other former smokers who feel the same way. Quitting is worth all the short-term distress it can entail.

Some recent scientific news got me thinking again about smoking and how it affects both smokers and those around them. In short, there’s plenty of evidence that passive or second-hand smoke is detrimental to people living with smokers. That means that quitting helps not just smokers, but those who share homes (and cars) with them.

Recently the European Heart Journal published a study about the effects of parental smoking on kids. The research focused on some 2400 children in a cohort in Finland and over 1300 in a group in Australia. Researchers noted the smoking behavior of parents — whether the adults were non-smokers, or if one or both of them smoked. When the kids grew up, the researchers examined the kids’ arteries via ultrasound exams.

The study found that artery walls were thicker in kids who had grown up in homes where both parents smoked. Thicker arteries are bad news, making for greater risk of strokes or heart attacks. On average, the kids who grew up in homes where both parents smoked had arteries that were 3.3 years “older” than those who grew up in smoke-free homes. These changes were permanent — a sobering fact to contemplate for any parent (and I might add, any grandparent around the grandkids).

Dr. Seana Gall, lead author of the study, told ScienceDaily, “Parents…should quit smoking. This will not only restore their own health but also protect the health of their children into the future.”

There was further bad news for kids who had two parents who smoked.

“Those with both parents smoking were more likely, as adults, to be smokers or overweight than those whose parents didn’t smoke,” Gall said.

Once again, the news from the world of medical research suggests it’s time for people to quit smoking. If you smoke and you have kids (or grandkids) to consider, please talk with your health care provider about an approach to help you kick the habit. Even if you’ve tried in the past to quit but have failed, this next effort could set you free. It took me more than one attempt to quit, but it was one of the best things I did back in the day.

I know first-hand it ain’t easy to stop smoking. But the life you save might be your own — and you could also be helping the next generation avoid permanent and harmful changes to their young bodies.

I’m pulling for both you and your family.

Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, a native of the rural Northwest, was trained as a geologist at Princeton and Harvard. This column is a service of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University.

Air Pollution Knows No Borders

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

We’ve all seen globes in classrooms. They represent the Earth well — better than flat maps can do. But all the globes I’ve seen in schools have national boundaries on them, usually indicated by having nations in different colors. The U.S. is yellow, Canada is light green, Mexico is pink, and so on. When I was a child my big brother owned a globe like that, and I got to pore over it sometimes.

My sister-in-law has a different globe, one specially purchased for her by her father. It has no national boundaries — so all of North America is presented as a unit, as indeed is each of the land masses. I think her globe may have been inspired by the view of Earth from the moon, an image beamed back to us by astronauts.

Recently I thought of my sister-in-law’s globe when I read the news about a study concerning how air pollution in China affects us here in North America.

“Pollution from China is having an effect in the U.S.,” said Dr. Don Wuebbles, a faculty member in atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His remarks were reported by CNN.

Wuebbles is co-authored a piece recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. At first, I was taken by surprised by the research findings. My thinking was that the Pacific Ocean is vast and would protect us from Chinese air pollution. But apparently winds carry particulates and ozone over the ocean and some of it reaches our shores. It takes just days for the pollution to travel long distances, crossing both the Earth’s largest ocean and national boundaries as it does so.

It’s not that China can be criticized for air pollution while we congratulate ourselves for being “green.” One of the reasons China is the world’s leading emitter of man-made air pollution is that China is producing so much of the world’s manufactured goods. A lot of those goods come to us. In other words, we have outsourced our manufacturing to China, and that means we’ve outsourced the associated air pollution as well.

Wuebbles and his colleagues argue that air pollution in China that’s related to exports contributes meaningful amounts of sulfate pollution in the western U.S. Ditto for ozone. Those results are nothing to sneeze at.

One way of putting the facts in simple terms is to note that it’s a small world. We don’t see China’s smokestacks from our shores, but they impact the air those of us in the western U.S. breathe. We Americans are connected to our Chinese brothers and sisters, just as they are to us for a market for their many goods.

The bottom line for me is that my sister-in-law’s globe has the best representation of the Earth I’ve ever seen. There are no national boundaries when it comes to either Earth processes or man-made pollution. And what happens in one place can affect conditions on the ground thousands of miles away.

Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, a native of the rural Northwest, was trained as a geologist at Princeton and Harvard. This column is a service of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University.

Termites and Better Biofuels

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

Every time I fill my gas tank, I see the notice on the pump that explains part of the fuel I’m buying is ethanol. Ethanol is alcohol, a type of biofuel rather than fossil fuel. While biofuels can be good to promote national energy independence and possibly help with greenhouse gas emissions, the ethanol in our gasoline is made from corn. (The starch in the corn is broken down into sugars that are then fermented into alcohol.) With corn ethanol, we are essentially putting food into our gas tanks, a fact that some people take exception to because it drives up food prices and deprives people of basic foodstuffs.

A different way of producing biofuels is to use crop residues and woody materials as the source for the fuel. Those materials are full of cellulose and a molecule called lignin. The lignin is bonded to the cellulose within each plant cell. Researchers are working to find a cheap and straight-forward way to neutralize the lignin and break down the cellulose into simple sugars. The sugars can then be fermented into fuel.

We can break down lignin at high temperature and pressure, and with harsh chemicals. But can we find a way to remove it that doesn’t require high costs and harm to the environment?

Researchers are looking at two organisms that can do the needed chemical tricks at room temperature and pressure and without harsh chemicals. Certain types of fungi can do this. It’s impressive what the right fungus can do, but fungal action is slow — very slow. So a number of scientists are looking at termites. As we all know, termites can eat solid wood and make a living doing so. Their digestive systems break down tough plant material at room temperature and pressure in as little as 24 hours.

Termites start breaking down their food when they chew it and coat it with an enzyme. We humans do something similar — the spit in our mouth’s can break down starches into sugars. But breaking down starch is easy compared to dealing with lignin and cellulose-rich materials like the termites do.

After breaking their food into smaller particles by chewing, the termites then pass the material into a three-part digestive system consisting of the foregut, the midgut, and then the larger hindgut. By the end of that – in just a day’s time – the lignin is out of the way and the cellulose has been broken down into sugars that the termites live on.

Professor Shulin Chen of Washington State University is one scientist studying what termites do with an eye toward adopting some similar processes to make biofuels from crop residues and woody materials.

“We are studying the mechanisms for how the termite does what it accomplishes in its digestive system,” Chen told me. “The goal is to employ a similar mechanism in an engineered system.”

In other words, we want to learn from termites and ultimately set up biorefineries that can break down crop residues and woody materials, doing so economically and in a way that doesn’t harm the environment.

“The final goal is to do better than the termite, to do the same basic work but at a faster rate and on a larger scale,” Chen said. “We know the basics of what’s going on in the termite, but we need to nail down some specifics.”

Chen’s research is partially supported by WSU, the university where both he and I work. But his research team is also funded by the National Science Foundation. Chen emphasizes that without federal funding of scientific research, teams like his could make little progress.

It’s tax time, of course — the season in which people like to grumble about federal taxes. But Chen feels strongly that if our government doesn’t support basic research in science and engineering, we all would pay a steep price.

From where I stand when I fill up my gas tank, thinking about pumping food into my engine to be burned there, I’ve got to wish Chen and his team the very best. Biofuels made from crop residues and woody materials would be a great step forward.

Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, a native of the rural Northwest, was trained as a geologist at Princeton and Harvard. This column is a service of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University.

Michigan Democrats use late‑term abortion clinic owner to attack Terri Lynn Land

The Michigan Democratic Party recently released a video in which a number of women attack U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land and praise Congressman Gary Peters, who is also a candidate for U.S. Senate.

Nothing good happens when you keep bad company.

One woman in the ad is abortion clinic owner Renee Chelian.

Chelian is the owner of Northland Family Planning, a group of three abortion clinics in the Detroit area which provide abortions through 24 weeks of pregnancy. They commit about one fourth of all abortions in Michigan.

The ad with Chelian supporting Gary Peters may have been shot at one of Chelian’s abortion businesses. While making her comments on the video, Renee is standing in front of “Exam Room 1″ which has an exam table.

In the ad, Chelian says, “Choosing Gary Peters means protecting my daughters’ and your daughters’ future.”

While Renee Chelian thinks electing Gary Peters means protecting “your daughters’ future,” nothing could be further from the truth. It is clear Chelian doesn’t believe in protecting all daughters. Every year, thousands of unborn Michigan daughters are killed at her abortion businesses in Michigan from which she and her family profit.

In a Bloomberg Business article, it was revealed that Chelian and her husband paid themselves more than $200,000 in 2012 and that they live in a “6,500‑square‑foot home in the upscale neighborhood of West Bloomfield.”

By all accounts business is booming for Northland Family Planning. In an interview with a pro‑abortion web site, Lara Chelian, the appointment center manager at Northland, said the late‑term abortion business has been growing. In that interview, she said:

“We estimate 30 to 40 patients a month are coming from Ohio, and that is a low estimate,” said Chelian. “It seems to increase every week because of the clinic closures and people making appointments for late‑term abortions.”

Sadly, when an abortion business succeeds, fewer children who are preparing for life have a chance to live.

Following his endorsement by an abortion clinic owner, Gary Peters met with the president of America’s leading abortion provider. In pictures posted on Facebook by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, Peters is seen chatting with Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Planned Parenthood commits more abortions in the United States than any other abortion business. In 2012, Planned Parenthood committed 327,166 abortions.

It is important to remember that how a person treats the weak and vulnerable says a lot about his character. Gary Peters supports abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. He also keeps company with those who profit from the destruction of innocent human life. Michigan deserves better.

If you would like to learn more about protecting human life in Michigan, visit Right to Life of Michigan at

Your stress is showing

Stress can take a toll on your blood sugar and cause other long-term effects, if not monitored.

It is true that we cannot remove all stress from our lives, nor can we eliminate all the fears or anxieties brought on by stress-triggers (finances, relationships jobs and more). Stress can be found in our private and professional lives. The workplace can especially have a major impact on our stress levels.

According to a Princeton research study, “Three-fourths of employees believe today’s worker has more on-the-job stress than a generation ago. Problems at work are more strongly associated with health complaints than are any other life stressor, more so than even financial problems or family problems”.

When we are stressed our bodies naturally increase production of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. This can cause blood sugar to rise, boosting energy as it readies the body for action. For some, this action appears as the need to over eat, or not eat by skipping meals all together.  Food cravings and disrupted steep patterns are also associated with increased stress levels. For those with diabetes, stress can become another factor in maintaining blood glucose levels.

Studies reveal those who practice de-stressing techniques may be able to keep hormones at healthy levels. By adaptive coping mechanisms we are better equipped to gain control of emotions, find clarity to make rational decisions and help alleviate the physical symptoms associated with stress.

What types of coping mechanisms work well to de-stress?
•     Identify- Identify your role in the situation. Some things are out of our control. Why dwell on it? Prioritize and delegate those things that cause stress and those which cause the most anxiety. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) we may have to make a change in our environment to avoid stressors.
•    Prepare – If you know that you are going to encounter stress, try doing some relaxation therapies; breathing exercises or guided imagery. Music may help calm breathing and heart rate.
•     Exercise – Exercise helps reduce stress hormones. Stretches, walking/jogging or yoga may lower stress levels.
•     Time – Meeting deadlines may cause stress. Commit extra time to deadlines that cause you the most stress. Find time for activities that help you unwind and de-stress.
•     Encouragement- The Mayo Clinic suggests connecting with and supporting others as it keeps us from dwelling on our own stress.
•     Communicating – If stress is becoming too much and it seems to be taking over your life, talk with a professional and your health care provider.

Stress not only affects our mental health, thoughts and feelings but our physical bodies as well. If we can recognize feelings and behaviors brought out by stress and stress triggers we can learn how to self­ manage them. If you have excessive worry and stress talk with a professional.

Michigan State University Extension offers many health and nutrition education classes and self-management workshops providing support and evidence based resources.  For more information on chronic illness and healthier living, visit MSU Extension’s chronic disease page.

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).