Monthly Archives: August 2014

Muskegon Writer Number One in Comics

Local writer publishes his new comic book, “Number One.”

gary-scott-beatty What is the real life value of comic books and the heroes in them? This question is explored in Number One, a full color, done-in-one-issue story looking at 50 years of comic book history through the life of one comic book retailer.

Written by local comic book creator, Gary Scott Beatty, and illustrated by Adventures of Aaron creator, Aaron Warner, Number One brings readers through decades of comic book history and provides a short Guide to Illustrated Stories. “I put comics in historical context, from Gilgamesh, to The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck, to Free Comic Book Day,” Beatty explains. “Number One is a complete package explaining, in an entertaining way, our hobby and our passion for it.”

“Steve, the comic shop owner character in Number One appealed to me as it will surely appeal to small business owners everywhere. He found a business he loved, built it on customer service and hung on through the lean years,” said Beatty. “I think we’re all more informed about how difficult it is to operate a local business these days, since the recession of 2008.”

Number One cover

“Comics helped Steve through some tough times growing up and he turned his love of the medium into a comic shop business. In Number One we see whether operating the business is worth the toll it takes on his family.”

“I set out to write a story that, in an personal way, can explain to those outside our community why we love comics,” Beatty said.

Published by Beatty’s Aazurn Publishing, pre-orders are in for Number One and interested readers will be able to find it at their local or online comic shop the first of September. “Aazurn Publishing is an indie publisher, so they’ll have to ask for it!”

Over the past 40 years, Gary Scott Beatty has built small press publications at local newspapers, ad agencies, and printing houses, including the publications On the Shore, and Muskegon Beatty also produces Indie Comics Magazine, featuring work by a variety of talented writers and artists, both veterans of independent comics and newer creators. He regularly deals with creators from New York, Florida and California as he colors and letters for the comic book industry. For more information, visit:

Who Are We?

Eugene Meyers submitted this photo and was wondering if anyone could identify the baseball players or anything about the team. He thinks the person on the top left is Muse Meyers. If you can help call Eugene at 733-4314.

Who is this Baseball Team

Click to view larger image

–May be from Cummings School area
–Shettler, across from school.

Designing new food products

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

Today’s snack food aisle in the grocery store contains a lot more products than when I was a kid. Back then, we mainly had potato chips and saltines, but not much more. Now there’s a multitude of choices designed to help you satisfy your cravings for something crunchy.

It’s fair to say most of us don’t spend a lot of our time cooking from scratch. “Processed foods” – everything from snacks to boxed dinners – make up a great deal of what most Americans eat. Indeed, the majority of what most of us eat is processed to one degree or another.

Some highly processed foods are not so healthy, especially the ones made with refined flours and ingredients. Some experts think there’s a link between specific groups of processed foods and the obesity epidemic. Surveys in the U.S. and Great Britain show that most people consume less than one serving per day of whole-grain cereals. That’s a shame because research has shown that three servings of whole grains a day are better for us.

In part because of the possible link between processed foods made with refined ingredients and the obesity epidemic, the question arises: Can we make convenient foods that are both tasty and good for us? To put it another way, how can we increase the whole-grain content of processed foods in a way that won’t sacrifice taste and texture?

Into this fray has walked a new variety of wheat, called “waxy wheat.” Waxy wheat was first bred around the turn of the 21st century.

Whole grain waxy wheat has unique processing properties. Basically, it forms a paste at a significantly lower temperature than does regular wheat, and it swells with more water than do standard varieties of wheat.

“Waxy wheat holds real potential for improving processed foods,” said Dr. Girish Ganjyal, a faculty member in the School of Food Science at Washington State University.

Ganjyal recently taught me several things about the food we eat. One is that snack foods contribute a whopping 25 percent of the calories most adult Americans take in. Obviously, that means snack foods are important to human health in the U.S.

In recent years there has been a serious effort by the food industry to increase the fiber and protein content of processed foods. Part of that effort revolves around a wide range of foods made with what’s termed “extrusion” processing.

Extrusion processing involves passing food ingredients through a barrel with an opening at the end known as a die. The food ingredients are cooked as they pass through the extruder and exit through the die that gives shape to the food. Extrusion processing is crucial to everything from elbow macaroni and tortilla chips to Cheetos and Fruit Loops, as well as things like snack bars and military field rations.

“Extrusion processing is one of the mainstays of the food industry,” said Ganjyal.

But as you incorporate more fiber and protein into the extruded food, you change its taste and texture. In general, U.S. consumers like “light” foods that crunch and then dissolve in the mouth. The good news is that waxy wheat, when processed through extruders, cooks at low energy inputs and produces light textured products.

Ganjyal is researching how using waxy wheat may make it possible to side-step the problem of whole-grain extruded foods being “darker” than many people like. In other words, he wants to keep the melt-in-your-mouth texture that consumers like, even while incorporating more nutrition into the extruded foods.

Recently Ganjyal applied for funding from the federal government to pursue more research in this area. He proposes working with a miller to grind the waxy wheat in very specific ways. The wheat flour will then be further processed and extruded. The taste of the resulting products will be evaluated by panels of testers, folks like you and me. The goal is to make more whole wheat foods that people will thoroughly enjoy even while they get whole-grain nutrition.

Remember Ganjyal the next time you choose some snack foods at the grocery store. There’s a lot of research work that goes into our daily vittles.

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.

Check out Muskegon!

(from Muskegon Market Report)

Dirt Moves on Housing Developments
Norton Shores has seen two recent housing developments come to fruition: Berryfield by Eastbrook Homes and Torrie Estates by Allen Edwin Homes.

Another downtown housing development in the works is the Heritage Square Town-homes on Clay Street. Two additional units are under construction and scheduled to be open and for sale by Spring 2015.

Restaurants on the Rise
Muskegon’s restauranteurs have been busy opening  four new establishments along the Lakeshore in recent weeks…

Hodgepodge Bakehouse in Norton Shores serves designer donuts, unique pizzas, sandwiches, soups and more. The Deck, located on the sands of Pere Marquette Beach with views of Lake Michigan is a casual BBQ themed restaurant and bar. The Boar’s Belly opened in the old MAC restaurant space which has outdoor seating and a boasts a bacon themed menu. Boat Yard BBQ is a full service Lakeside restaurant. This waterfront venue features southern style BBQ and a full bar.

With several other successful restaurant owners working on secondary locations and a newly approved food truck ordinance in the City of Muskegon, the community should expect even more “food news” in the coming months…

New Publications Sell Muskegon
Muskegon Publications Community organizations have created a variety of publications that sell the Muskegon Community to prospective visitors, residents, businesses and meeting planners.

The Muskegon County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) created the Meet Muskegon Convention and Event Guide in addition to the annually published Visitors Guide.

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce created Muskegon’s Live, Work and Play Guide, which has information on housing, education, entrepreneurism, workforce development, manufacturing, attractions, events, dining, shopping and more.

Downtown Muskegon Now published a new and updated Downtown Map providing information on downtown events, shopping, dining, attractions and more.

Muskegon Area First is also working to sell Muskegon and grow the area’s Blue Economy businesses with the production of a digital recruiting publication.

FREE Estate Planning Workshop

Workshop Details:

CLA Estate Services is hosting a FREE Estate Planning Workshop Wednesday, August 20th, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Russ’ Restaurant (1499 E. River Rd., Muskegon, MI 49445). The workshop will provide valuable information for seniors on securing one’s estate and retirement planning.  Guests will receive a workbook and information regarding: the pros and cons of wills and trusts; how to avoid probate; long term health care concerns; and tax reduction planning.  RSVP required. Please call 1-866-252-8721 to RSVP or for more information.


Save on Early-Bird Registration and Speakers Announced for Writers’ Conference on Oct. 17-18th in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids, MI –The Quit Whining Start Writing 2014 Writers’ Conference will 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 will take place on Saturday from 9am – 5pm, featuring experienced speakers on a variety of publishing and writing topics. An opening reception on Friday will be held from 6pm – 8pm featuring Keri Topouzian, author of The Perfect Armenian.

Registration is open and limited to the first 200 attendees. Early-bird registration features a $25 savings (and an entry to win a free Kindle) that will run through August 18th for $150. The fee includes the Friday evening reception and the Saturday conference and luncheon. Regular registration begins on Sept. 1st, with the fee at $175.

A keynote and more than 15 group sessions will be led by authors, editors, creative writing professionals, designers, publishers and marketing representatives. The conference speakers and sessions have been announced.

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, which won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs award in creative nonfiction.

Brian Jud is the author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books (Without Worrying About Returns). This is the ultimate do-it-yourself guide to selling books to non-bookstore buyers in large quantities. He also wrote Beyond the Bookstore (a Publishers Weekly® book), a primer on non-bookstore marketing.

Marc J. Sheehan is the author of two poetry collections, Greatest Hits from New Issues Press and Vengeful Hymns from Ashland Poetry Press. His short story “Objet du Desir” won the Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Contest sponsored by the public radio program Selected Shorts.

Denise Hill is the editor-in-chief of, an online resource for writers and readers, and the Associate Professor of English at Delta College. She has expertise in publishing and professional writing, including grant writing, interviewing, review writing, freelance, and new media writing.

Mark Vorenkamp will speak on the changing publishing climate and how e-books and the printed page can coexist in the future. He is a writer, e-book developer, and President of Inklings Writers Guild. Over 50 e-book projects have been completed under his guidance.

Carol Finke teaches writing at a community college in northern Michigan and served as editor of the national literary journal Controlled Burn from 2007 through 2012. A Hopwood winner at the University of Michigan and a Hogrefe Fellow at Iowa State University, her short stories and creative nonfiction have appeared in True North Georgetown Review, and other journals in print and online.

Cari Noga wrote her first novel, Sparrow Migrations, as part of National Novel Writing Month in 2010. The tale of five characters connected by 2009’s “Miracle on the Hudson” plane crash, the book about those events was a semi-finalist in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest.

Peter Jeff is the author of Leadership Mints for Busy Leaders, 101 Ideas to Freshen Your Leadership Breadth. He is also the author of a personal leadership book on goal setting, Get a GRIP on Your Dream. For more please see his blog:

Patricia (Trish) Harris has organized several exhibitions focused on intersections between literature and visual art. She is a curator, writer, teacher, artist, and teaches writing at Delta College. She is currently the curator for the transmedia Remaking Moby-Dick Project and edits the literary journal Pea River Journal.

Laura R. Holmes is the co-owner of FineLine Creative, a lakeshore-based marketing and advertising boutique. In 2013, the firm celebrated its 10-year anniversary and was named a finalist in the Top Women Owned Businesses Award by the Grand Rapids Business Journal. Laura is also a travel writer, blogger and she published her first book in 2012, a collection of travel stories called, I’ve Gotta Pack. For book and blog visit:

Tricia L. McDonald is the CEO of Splattered Ink Press and has a hands-on approach to guiding others in the writing process. Her Life With Sally book series are compilations of stories chronicling life with her miniature bull terrier. Her latest book Quit Whining Start Writing: A Novelist’s Guide to Writing will help writers put away the excuses and get the writing done.

Kim Bode is the principal of 834 Design, an award-winning communication, strategy, event planning, social media and media relations firm in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As a speaker, Kim has presented on social media strategy, engagement, measurement and policy for organizations like Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs and the Michigan Association of CPA’s.

Melanie Hooyenga is the young adult author of Flicker Fracture, her second book in the series has been published and is getting rave reviews  She began writing as a teenager and finds she still relates best to .that age group. She calls Michigan home now and balances writing with a graphic design day job.

Keri Topouzian is author of The Perfect Armenian. He will be discussing his book with Val Lego at the Friday evening reception. He is a physician who practices in Grand Rapids and Detroit and published his novel in 2010. His historic fiction account is based on his grandparents flight from genocide, who hailed from Armenia, immigrating to the US in the early 1900’s.

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, visit the website at

Registration is available online at

Muskegon In Focus


Be part of the lakeshore’s premier leadership academy

WHAT: A community-awareness program committed to enhancing and connecting leaders from business, non-profit and government. Muskegon In Focus will provide a diverse group of people with numerous experiences that give a behind-the-scenes look at opportunities to “make a difference”.

WHEN: Wednesday mornings beginning September 17, and ending November 5, 2014

WHO: Applicants should have an interest in future community involvement, a demonstrated commitment to the area and a desire to better understand what makes Muskegon a great place to live, work, play and learn.

WHERE: All sessions take place at unique locations along the Muskegon lakeshore.

Receive a behind-the-scenes look at the people and programs that make a difference along the Muskegon Lakeshore!

380 W. Western Avenue, Suite 202  |  Muskegon, MI 49440  |  231.722.3751   |

“How to Stay in the Driver’s Seat of Life” Program at Christian Care of Muskegon

Who:  Adult children, seniors, family caregivers, people with medical conditions and patient advocates
What:  How to Stay in the Driver’s Seat of Life, presented by CS Pimm, MSW, MPA, MM
Where:  Christian Care of Muskegon | 2053 S. Sheridan Drive, Muskegon MI 49442
When:  Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | 5:30PM Gathering; 6:00PM Presentation
How:  Call Susan at (231) 722-7165 ext. 26 to register your attendees

Living a long life brings opportunities like grandchildren, travel and fishing. As we live much longer lives we also have the opportunity to develop heart problems, have a bad fall, be diagnosed with cancer, or experience memory loss. In fact, the hospitalization rate of seniors is 3 times greater than the rest of the population. How do you ensure that your life will continue to steer in the right direction when you are not well enough to hold onto the wheel?

The key to staying in the driver’s seat of life is to be sure you have the right person sitting next to you in the passenger seat. While these loved ones are always given the burden of responsibility, they are rarely given the information and training they need to make good medical decisions and feel good about the decisions they’ve made. This presentation will provide tips and tricks to improve the effectiveness of patient advocates. Tools including decision-making worksheets, medication lists, smartphone apps, legal forms, electronic medical records, treatment preferences, internet resources, etc… will be provided.

Adult children, seniors, family caregivers, people with medical conditions, and patient advocates will all benefit from the “How to Stay in the Driver’s Seat of Life” program at Christian Care of Muskegon on Wednesday, September 17, 2014. Gather at 5:30PM to fill your glass and plate; the presentation will begin at 6:00PM; you may even make it home in time to watch Jeopardy! Seniors, come laugh and learn, before your kids take the car keys away. The rest of you, come and see what they’re laughing about.

PRESENTER: Cynthia Pimm is not distinguished, published, or award-winning… in fact, my parents often call me by the dog’s name (the dog has been dead for 10 years). I am, however – able to make you laugh while you learn practical tips, tricks and tools that will help you steer clear of medical hazards on that road trip called life. You can request materials referenced in this presentation by contacting me at Hospice of Michigan, where I’ve been getting a paycheck since 1991. (616) 356-5214 |
For  more  information  about  this  presentation,  call  Christian  Care  of  Muskegon  at  (231)  722-7165 extension 26. The Center is located at 2053 S. Sheridan Drive, Muskegon, MI 49442.

Nominations Sought for Muskegon County Breastfeeding Friendly Business of the Year

Muskegon, MI – The Muskegon County Breastfeeding Coalition is seeking nominations for the Muskegon County Breastfeeding Friendly Business of the Year Award. To be considered breastfeeding friendly, the business must make it easy for women returning to work to continue nursing their infants. Examples of a breastfeeding friendly business include one that:

•Has a written policy supporting breastfeeding for employees and/or customers

•Offers a flexible schedule for breastfeeding mothers

•Provides a separate private space for breastfeeding or pumping/expressing milk

Nominations can be submitted online at and will be accepted throughout August in celebration of Breastfeeding Awareness Month.

Breastfeeding is an essential part of the overall reproductive cycle for the mother, resulting in faster recovery from pregnancy. It may also reduce her risk of breast cancer. A healthy mother means an employee who is able to contribute more productively to her workplace.

Breastfeeding is also the healthiest way to feed infants. Breast milk is full of important ingredients that boost an infant’s immune system and reduce the risk of many common childhood illnesses and infections. Breastfed children also have higher IQ’s and may be less likely to become obese.

Benefits to employers for supporting breastfeeding include lower medical costs and health insurance claims for breastfeeding employees and their infants, reduced turnover rates, lower absenteeism rates, improved productivity and raised employee morale and loyalty to the company.

Businesses nominated for last year’s distinction included the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program at Public Health Muskegon County, The Lakes Mall, The Healing Light, Ryke’s Bakery, O’Brien Family Chiropractic, and the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District. The Muskegon Area Intermediate School District was the 2013 award winner.

In June 2014, Governor Snyder signed the Breastfeeding Antidiscrimination Act (Act 197 of PA 2014) into law giving women the right to breastfeed a child in any place that is open to the general public.

Also in June 2014, Senator Hansen worked to ensure $2M in state funds (SB 763) so that Medicaid-eligible women have access to breast pumps to support and encourage breastfeeding.

Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide break time for nursing mothers.

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Training

The following traing opportunities are available for Home Visitors, Community Health Workers, Family Service Workers, Day Care Providers, Parent Coaches and Educators

Ottawa Area Training: August 27, 2014, 8:30am – 1:00pm, Ottawa Area Intermediate School District Administration, 13565 Port Sheldon Street, Holland, MI 49424

Muskegon Area Training: September 26, 2014, 8:30am-1:00pm, Muskegon Area Intermediate School District Administration, 630 Henry Street, Muskegon, MI 49442

Free training, includes lunch!

Sponsored by the Kent County Health Department and Healthy Homes Coalition

“In 2013, there were still 5,579 children in Michigan identified with lead poisoning. You can help lower this number by attending this training and learning…”

What’s the new research on childhood lead poisoning?
How well is my County doing in eliminating lead poisoning?
How can I explain the new levels for lead poisoning to my families?
What new educational tools are available?
What recommendations can I give pregnant women?
How can I help my families assess the risk of lead poisoning in their homes?
What resources are available for my families?

You can register online through the Healthy Homes Coalition website, at

Muskegon Civic Theatre hires Teri Gust as Managing Director

MUSKEGON – The Muskegon Civic Theatre board of directors has hired Teri Gust as its new managing director.

Gust replaces Ginny Sprague, who retired after more than 10 years working for Muskegon Civic Theatre, including the last eight as managing director. Gust began her new position in June. She is responsible for daily operations of Muskegon Civic Theatre, including season ticket sales, sponsorships, fundraising, marketing, and working with Artistic Director Kirk Wahamaki.teri gust

It’s an honor and a pleasure to be a part of Muskegon Civic Theatre,” Gust said. “The theatre is something I’ve always loved, and now I get to be around it every day. My job is to see to it that MCT can continue doing what we do, through fundraising and awareness, community, education and entertainment.”

Gust has been involved in Muskegon Civic Theatre for many years, participating in stage productions since 2008. For the past 11 years, she has been part of First Lutheran Players, for First Lutheran Church. She has been an actress, director, producer, set and lighting designer for their productions. Gust also was vice president and secretary for Camcar Plastics, Inc., in Muskegon.

We are excited to have Teri join the Civic Theatre team as Managing Director,” said board Chair Will Meier. “Her experience as an actor and producer for community theater and in the business world makes her a great fit for MCT. “

Sullivan Township Tire Clean Up a Huge Success

973 Tires collected by 34 hardworking volunteers.


Fruitport NHS and Sullivan volunteers

On Saturday June 14, 2014, 34 volunteers from Fruitport and Sullivan Township collected tires at no cost to residents from Moorland, Sullivan, Ravenna, and Egelston. This collection day was part of a series of dates paid for by a grant obtained by the before mentioned townships. Sullivan Township Volunteers and Elected Officials were joined by the Fruitport National Honors Society and Ben Gillette, Candidate for County Commission, for the event.

One student commented, “The Tire collection was hot, difficult, heavy, and dirty work.  It also was so much fun!  We met a lot of really cool and genuine people, and it was a great experience.”

Fruitport NHS

Fruitport NHS

Organizers of the event want to thank the Residents, Fruitport Honor Society Students, Sullivan Township Board, and Candidate for 5th District County Commissioner Ben Gillette with his two children for helping to make this a success. And another thank you to Trustee, Kevin Aney (Pepperidge Farms), Elizabeth Grimm (Fruitport NHS Advisor), Sullivan Township, & Treasurer, Tammy Gillette for supplying Hot Dogs, Buns, Chips,  Apples, Bottle Water, Cookies, and doughnuts which was enjoyed by all.

Remember and Rebuild: Muskegon Museum of Art, Michigan

ladderThe torn and twisted remains of an FDNY ladder of unknown origin is one of hundreds of objects salvaged from the World Trade Center site and held at JFK International Airport’s Hangar 17. The ladder’s grotesque distortion presents a chilling physical record of the violent events of September 11. Photograph by Amy Dreher, Photographer for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, New York. All rights reserved.

September 11 through November 9, 2014
REMEMBER AND REBUILD: Picturing the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Photographs by Amy Dreher

Muskegon Museum of Art | Established 1912  296 W. Webster Ave. | Muskegon MI 49440 t. 231.720.2574 | f. 231.720.2585 |

The American Red Cross is Offering Babysitter’s Training Courses

MUSKEGON, Mich., July 15, 2014 – The American Red Cross is offering Babysitter’s Training courses at a reduced rate this summer.

Babysitting is a valuable first job for teens and pre-teens. Knowing how to better care for the young builds confidence to hold, feed, and care for infants and toddlers, work with children safely, and handle emergency situations. Babysitter’s training is also a great first step to learning entrepreneurial and career development skills.

The course is approximately six hours long and combines lecture, interactive video demonstrations, and multiple hands on practice sessions and training in first aid.  The course is designed for 11-15 year olds.

The classes will be held at the American Red Cross at 313 W. Webster, in downtown Muskegon, 49440.

Classes are scheduled for:
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 9:00am – 4:00pm

This course is open to the general public.  Pre-registration and payment is required for all classes. Call 1-800-733-2767, selection #3 or visit: to register. Select the Muskegon location and the babysitting class category. Upon successful completion, each participant will receive a certification from the Red Cross and a packet containing a book and CD.  PLEASE BRING A SACK LUNCH TO TRAINING

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

A Poem by Dana

“Who are you, Papa?” she said.
I smiled, and in a moment before I could speak
I realized the hats I wear are so many
But to her
I am he that in the darkness waits
Till your asleep and all is safe
For when the light is gone and no one’s near
I’m the one, your fears fear
I am he who moves toward that which comes
Stand on guard while your having fun
Fix your broken mend your tear
Looking up from you, you’ll see me there
I am he who will love you no matter what
Since before you were borne, no ands ifs or buts
I loved your mommy when she was small too
It’s true when I tell you, I will always love you
“Your mommy’s daddy” I said

By Dana K Rufener


Letter to the Editor: Thank You For Your Support

As a resident of Fruitport Village, plus a graduate from Fruitport School, I would like to say this is a wonderful place to live and have raised my four kids here. What a great community we have, for I personally need to thank many persons whom have helped me through difficult times, as well as, my utmost two traumatic accidents.

September 2012, I accepted a ride as a passenger on a motorcycle, regrettably a car pulled in front of the bike, causing the driver to crash the motorcycle. I suffered a shattered ankle – on the left side – requiring two surgeries. More severely, I hit my head so many times causing an open head injury on the right side (32 staples) a closed head injury on the left side, and much swelling, numbness, along with pressure so severe that my skull continue to crack. I will live the rest of my life with ongoing vertigo, head pain, and memory problems. Oh yeah, I was not wearing a helmet!

One of my major concerns I had just before impact was re-injuring some old injuries (which I did) that I endured 28 years earlier during a horrific automobile accident. A truck had broadsided me, totaling my car. I sustained many broken bones, along with major internal injuries. More severe, I suffered a shattered pelvis – on the left side – requiring surgery with plates and screws holding me together for life. Oh yeah, I was not wearing a seat belt!

From both of these accidents; neither one was the fault of mine. More disturbing, neither driver who caused these horrific accidents: had their vehicles insured! Subsequently, in both accidents I had to rely on (PLPD) what my policy covered for the uninsured motor vehicle coverage. Thank God my policy covered all my medical costs, but as for my pain and suffering? Let’s just say that the uninsured liability I had in both accidents will never change the quality of my life! I will continue to live in pain, physically, psychologically, and financially “the rest of my life”.

I can only hope my story will help people become aware how injuries affect your outcome of life do to auto accidents; then to comprehend how truly the no-fault insurance system works! How nice it would be if those commercials on television will explain thoroughly the reason the severely injured in automobile accidents are able to receive millions, is, because the negligent driver stands properly insured. Otherwise, the significance of your injuries in now on your own policy for the uninsured and/or under-insured motorist coverage! But those commercials do not tell us – that if we do not recommend to our insurance agent the maximum uninsured/ under-insured motorists’ coverage on our PLPD policy it will be the bare minimum, therefore, the injuries you sustain from someone else’s negligence will forever hinder the rest of your life. Please take caution, motorcyclists; just because your bike is fully insured, it’s likely you don’t even carry medical coverage let alone any protection from an uninsured automobile.

In closing, please wear your seat belt and a helmet at all times, like I mentioned I hit my head 28 years ago and severely hit my head 2 years ago: sporadically I will remember every detail of both accidents like they happened yesterday. Sadly, I can’t recall much that has happened in between, therefore, my sincere apologies to anyone that I may have acted out too. Believe me when I say – being in constant pain can make a person very irritable, then when you add consistent head pressure, dizziness, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, and memory problems. Need I say more?

Oh yeah, my two daughters were also in the first accident and suffered injury, trauma, anxiety, as well as, being separated from me during recovery. My two boys have had to take care of me, along with putting up with me throughout this second accident. These misfortunes have affected me and my children far deeper from what it appears. There are extremely more vehicles on the road today that are not properly protected let alone carry any insurance at all. I have always been under the impression that insurance is intended to help the devastating injured person continue on an adequate quality of life? Honestly, I am so very fortunate that my children and I have survived these shocking events. For at first glance you would never know how physically injured and mentally wounded, I myself, has sustained. Injuries are hard enough to deal with, let alone financial hardship! What’s in your insurance policy?

Special thank you Mom, (Jean Livingston) in spite of all you have tolerated you still continued to work and managed to help me and my kids as much as you could.

Utmost, this is dedicated to my four amazing children: Amanda (Swanson) Osterhart, Shannah Swanson, Robert Swanson, and Thomas Swanson. I could never have had the strength to endure our many hard times if not for you kids. I am so proud of each one of you! Blessed my beautiful grandchildren, family, friends, and neighbors who helped me along the way, you know who you are, Nancy Rizzo, and many more.

Thank you.
Julie Swanson
3578 Pontaluna Rd.
Fruitport MI 49415

Letter to the Editor: Faith, Conscience and Commonsense Win the Day

Understanding Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

After the Supreme Court of the United States’ June 30 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby there has been a tremendous amount of rancor and misinformation from individuals and organizations which do not believe in or understand conscience rights and religious freedom of employers.  With so much misinformation, it is important to understand the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision.

The U.S. Supreme court 5 to 4 ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties was a critical victory in protecting the right of conscience and religious liberty against government overreach. This case was much more about the proper role of government than about contraception and abortion-causing drugs. No one should be fined for following their faith; and employees should not be unwillingly complicit in participating in health insurance which destroys members of the human family.

Sarah Torre is a policy analyst in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation. Torre explains the results of the Hobby Lobby decision:

Passed by Congress in 1993 by broad, bipartisan majorities, RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] protects Americans from substantial burdens on religious freedom unless the government can show it has a compelling government interest and does so in the least restrictive way possible. That’s a high bar and one the Obama Administration failed to meet under this mandate.

 [The Hobby Lobby] decision is a strong rejection of the Obama’s administration’s faulty argument that Americans’ religious freedom ends when they open a family business. The government cannot unreasonably force Americans to set aside their beliefs simply because they go into business to provide for themselves, their families, and their employees…

To be clear, the decision applies only to the coercive Obamacare rule that was threatening the religious freedom of the Greens’ and Hahns’ family businesses. Other claims for religious exemptions by closely-held family businesses from other laws will have to be litigated on a case-by-case basis. RFRA doesn’t provide a blank check for religious believers to do whatever they want in the name of religion and neither does today’s decision.

While the ruling applies only to Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods, some individuals seem to think this ruling is part of the “War on Women.”

The Hobby Lobby decision protects the rights of Americans to run a family business consistent with their faith. Thankfully, it was faith, conscience and commonsense which won the day when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.

Pamela Sherstad
Director of Public Information
office: 616-532-2300


Students Win College Scholarships

The Fruitport, MI, Tractor Supply Company store, located at 6435 Airline Rd, recently presented a check of $1,000 to Ravenna High School and FFA member Emily Helsen. The money was donated during Tractor Supply and the National FFA Foundation’s second annual Growing Scholars campaign. Emily is attending Michigan State University and studying Agriculture and Business Management. The National FFA Organization selected FFA members across the United States to receive the scholarships. To be eligible for a scholarship, students had to be current FFA members and either high school seniors or freshman, sophomore or junior college students seeking a two- or four-year degree or other specialized training program.

Emily picture

Emily Helsen, Award Recipient (Right) and Ben Gillette, Store Manager (Left)

The Fruitport, MI, Tractor Supply Company store also recently presented a check of $1,000 to Muskegon Career Tech Center and FFA member Tiffani Schelski.

Tiffani picture

Tiffani Schelski, Award Recipient (Left) and Ben Gillette, Store Manager (Right)

From February 14-23, Tractor Supply customers supported local FFA chapters and their members by purchasing an FFA emblem for $1 at store registers during the checkout process. Tractor Supply customers across the country donated $447,671 in just nine days to fund scholarships for FFA members and support local FFA organizations. This year’s donations resulted in 334 scholarships awarded to FFA members in their pursuit of a college degree. 17 of the 334 scholarships were awarded to Michigan residents


Letter to the Editor: Declaration of, our loss of, Independence

With our bloated governments non-stop engagement of over-reach into everyone’s lives, the self evident truth of the unalienable rights that we have been endowed with by our Creator, we find ourselves facing the nightmare of government usurping the Creator, and are slowly but surely taking those rights from us.

That word “unalienable” is a most interesting word. The dictionary defines unalienable as something that cannot be given away, but does not say that it cannot be taken away. It is a sad truth that too many citizens either turn a blind eye to it, too afraid to confront it, or too apathetic  to be outraged, and take lawful active steps to take back the rights that have been given to us by our Creator.

In my book, this amounts to spitting on the graves of our fellow citizens who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend those rights, and sends a terrible message to the countless Americans who continue to make sacrifices that support and defend them.

Far too many citizens have forgotten or no longer believe in the words “We hold these truths to be self-evident” and “Liberty and Justice for all”. Far too many citizens do not participate in the Democratic process, with many more who do not participate intelligently.

Plato said that one of the penalties for those who refuse to participate in the Democratic process is that they end up being governed by their inferiors. I would go further to say that many of our inferiors, who end up being elected to public office, treat citizens as their inferiors, by actively participating in institutionalized corruption, which tramples on the rights of most citizens.

If citizens continue to turn a blind eye, lack courage, or give up on the Democratic process, we may as well make a Declaration of the loss of our Independence. I will close with some quotes that should be a chilling warning to most critical thinking citizens.

Ronald Reagan said that history will record that those who had the most to lose, did the least to prevent it from happening, and, Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

Thanks in advance,
Robin Sanders
2636 Bernice St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Mental Health First Aid Classes

Youth & Adult Mental Health First Aid Classes are NOW OPEN

1 in 5 people will have a mental health crisis this year.  Muskegon has a suicide rate that is higher than the national average and higher than the state average.  The 3rd leading cause of death among young people is suicide.

This class will teach you how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health problem, how to intervene in a meaningful way during a crisis, how to recognize the warning signs and risks factors surrounding suicide, and so much more.


It was nearly 1 year ago that we began instructing people in Mental Health First Aid.  Now we are beginning to hear stories back about how people have used the techniques that they have learned in this class to help someone in a crisis.  Some of those stories include helping people who were suicidal.  With 13 nationally certified instructors in Muskegon County, more than any other county in the state, we are working tirelessly to educate as many people in our community as possible.

We have just added two more classes for youth.  (And others for adult are in our calendar)!

Learn this for yourself.  Bring it to your family.  Change your community!

See for a list of these trainings!

Advisory: New Jersey Bloods Threaten to Kill More Cops

The Bloods have vowed to kill more Jersey City cops to avenge the thug the police shot dead this week after he executed a rookie officer, The Post has learned.

The violent street gang has threatened to “kill a Jersey City cop and not stop until the National Guard is called out,” a senior law enforcement source revealed.

Police are even being warned that violent Bloods gang members may be traveling from out of state to target officers in New Jersey, according to an internal New Jersey State Police advisory obtained by The Post.

“New Jersey State Police has received credible information from the Jersey City Police Department about specific threats toward Jersey City police officers and law enforcement,” the advisory read. “The United Blood Nation may take retaliatory action against police officers.”

The PA advisory cautioned that officers should remain vigilant and be aware of “the potential for Bloods traveling into Jersey City.” In addition to the Port Authority advisory, a statewide alert has been issued to police officers, a senior law enforcement official said Tuesday.

“It was an officer safety awareness” advisory “telling cops to be careful and to wear their vests and take the threat seriously,” the official said.

Cops throughout New Jersey have been warned to use extra caution due to the threatened retaliation, which follows three police-involved shootings in the city.

The gang threat was made in direct response to the fatal Jersey City police shooting of Lawrence Campbell moments after he ambushed Officer Melvin Santiago in a Walgreens parking lot early Sunday.

Santiago had been responding to an armed robbery at the 24-hour drugstore when Campbell unleashed a barrage of bullets, leaving 13 holes across the patrol car’s windshield.

Santiago, 23, was shot in the head.

His partner dodged the bullets and returned fire, killing Campbell.

It was not clear Tuesday if Campbell, 27, was a member of the Bloods.

The tip about the threat came from a credible source who has provided valuable information about gang activities in the past, authorities said.

The state police and the Jersey City Police Department did not return requests for comment.

A pedestrian examines a memorial to Lawrence Campbell, who allegedly shot and killed 23-year-old Jersey City Police Officer Melvin Santiago.

Meanwhile, a makeshift memorial to Campbell was dismantled after residents of a Jersey City street became outraged.

The memorial just off Martin Luther King Drive included candles, empty liquor bottles, and T-shirts to lionize the cop-killer.

The shirts bore the phrases “Thug In Peace” and “Live Life My Bro.” Police reportedly tore down the shrine Monday.

“I had it taken down last night,” said Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, according to

“I am not going to let a few residents pretend like they express the views of a great city like Jersey City.”

Additional reporting by Frank Rosario and Joe Tacopino For full details, view this message on the web.

What Antibiotics May Be Doing To Us

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

It’s astonishing to think about, but when my grandfather was born, tuberculosis was the number one cause of death in our country. Worse still, one in five children didn’t live to see their fifth birthday, in large part due to endemic and epidemic diseases. Today that’s all changed.

But although doctors can now often do a great deal to help the ill, it’s also true that chronic diseases plague us. And a number of these maladies seem to be on the rise. Diabetes, asthma, celiac disease and food allergies are all increasing in frequency. Most obvious of all, obesity is becoming more and more common.

Dr. Martin Blaser of New York University thinks he understands at least part of what’s going on. And according to him, medical treatments themselves are contributing to the rise of some chronic health problems. His new book, “Missing Microbes: How the overuse of antibiotics is fueling our modern plagues,” explores the link between changes in our internal microbes and the list of chronic diseases so many of us now face.

Antibiotics are a blessing. But if Blaser is right, they are also a curse. Both things can be true. To take just one malady, let’s focus on obesity.

There’s no doubt obesity is on the rise. Back in 1990, about 12 percent of people in the U.S. were obese. Recently, the figure has grown to about 30 percent. And people in other countries are following our lead, packing on the pounds. Those are just facts. What other facts can we bring to bear on the issue?

Your body is host to many trillions of microorganisms. The microorganisms on and in your body change over time. One simple example is that the proportions of bacteria in your mouth are altered depending on whether you are breathing through your nose or your mouth. That’s because some microorganisms can’t live in the presence of oxygen. At night, you breathe mostly through your nose and the proportion of bacteria in your mouth that don’t cope with oxygen can increase. They are stinky little buggers, and that’s what gives you “morning mouth” when you wake up.

Important changes in populations of microorganisms within us occur when we take antibiotics. When a doctor gives you penicillin or one of the host of newer antibiotics, the goal is to eradicate what’s making you ill. Blaser’s book outlines the ways in which a number of microorganisms, including ones that are useful to you, are also affected by antibiotics.

I was surprised to learn from the book that most antibiotic doesn’t end up in pills we get from pharmacies. Instead, most of the drugs go into the cattle, swine and poultry that we eat. The reason so much antibiotic is given to livestock is that the animals gain more weight when they are given antibiotics in their feed. It pays for farmers to buy antibiotics and give them to whole herds.

Blaser’s book asks whether antibiotics given to people could have a similar effect as in livestock. Antibiotics, especially those given to kids, may be leading both to more growth and to putting on more fat, including in later life. The book reviews experiments with mice in Blaser’s lab that address this connection, as well as studies in human populations. Blaser concludes we may be inadvertently fatting up our young in our rush to use antibiotics to treat every sore throat or cough.

As Blaser sees it, antibiotics contribute to obesity and a host of other chronic diseases that have been on the rise in recent decades. He argues that our attitudes need to change. Doctors should be trained to think twice before prescribing antibiotics. The drugs should be reserved for truly serious conditions that aren’t going away on their own.

“Doctors and patients alike have never fully taken into account all the costs of using antibiotics. Once they do, I predict their use, especially in early childhood, will greatly diminish,” Blaser wrote in an email to me.

The progress we’ve made combatting many diseases is stupendous. No one wants to go back to the problems that were common when my grandfather was born. But it’s time we looked at what the overuse of antibiotics may be costing us.

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.