Monthly Archives: February 2015

Muskegon Bike Time Expanding In 2015

 “Expectations of guests and need for more space necessitate move to larger location”

MUSKEGON, Mich. – After eight successful years, Muskegon Bike Time will be expanding to a new location at 4800 S. Harvey Street, Muskegon, MI. As the fastest growing motorcycle festival in the country, the event has attracted over 120,000 people and over 75,000 motorcycles, annually, to downtown Muskegon. The expansion will help address several needs including more space for vendors, more attractions and more entertainment.

“The expansion is in response to our visitors requests and the long term sustainability of Bike Time”, said Bike Time Board Chairman, Clyde Whitehouse. “This new and exciting venue will allow Bike Time to grow beyond its current physical restraints, yet retain the downtown experience”.

Muskegon Bike Time will take place July 16 -19, 2015.

A recent survey of Bike Time visitors indicated overwhelmingly that they wanted more motorcycle parts and accessories vendors, merchandise and shopping options, attractions, food options and entertainment.

The new location is on the site formerly known as Great Lakes Downs on Harvey Street. This new site will have plenty of space for growth and will allow for the expansion of vendors and will feature new attractions like motocross races, motorcycle stunt shows, and other features for the whole family. In addition, adult beverages will be available over the entire site. Future growth plans include the sorely needed availability of camping.

The property at Harvey Street is owned by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, the group that also owns Little River Casino in Manistee, Mi. Little River Casino is a major sponsor of Muskegon Bike Time. The property will be cleaned up and maintained and will allow for the growth needed by Muskegon Bike Time. “The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians has always wanted to be an integral part of the economic growth of the greater Muskegon area and this partnership with Little River Casino helps accomplish their goal”, said Whitehouse.

Over the years, Muskegon Bike Time has been an economic boon to hotels, restaurants, bars, gas stations, local retailers and other local tourist attractions. Bike Time provides an economic impact of over $30 million yearly to the local economy.

The recent survey also indicated that 54% of Bike Time visitors came from outside the Muskegon area. This enhances awareness of the greater Muskegon area and showcases our natural beauty and other valuable assets including 26 miles of sugar sand beaches and dunes, Lake Michigan, some of the best sunsets in the world, amusement parks and a variety of culture and arts for every taste and budget.

Bike Time also supports the community by assisting 22 charities with financial support. In addition, the coming together of people in a common interest binds communities, strengthens friendships and exposes people to new ideas and directions. Bike Time helps our community grow and is a vital piece of weaving the fabric that is our community.

Muskegon Bike Time provides sponsorship options that can help supporters reach new customers, promote their brand, entertain clients, customers and employees, enhance the community image and assist local charitable causes. For more information on sponsorship opportunities call 231-722-0000.

For more information on Muskegon Bike Time 2015, please visit our website at .

The mission of Muskegon Bike Time is to produce entertainment opportunities in Muskegon aimed at attracting a broad spectrum of motorcycle enthusiasts for a vacation experience on Michigan’s West Coast. It is a 4 day annual celebration of motorcycles and the community held the third weekend in July. The festival attracts motorcyclists and the general public for its spectacle, attractions, entertainment and food.

Wake up and smell the genes

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

Like millions of Americans, my day starts by plugging in the coffeepot. In my case, it’s an old fashion percolator. It clears its throat and brews my coffee while I rub sleep out of my eyes and brush my teeth.

My habit of starting my day with coffee — and following that initial cup with doses of java in the mid-morning, the late morning and the early-afternoon — may be at least partially grounded in my genes.

Researchers have long believed that genetics influences a person’s daily coffee consumption. Early this fall, a new study fleshed out just how many variations in genes may be involved in determining who drinks a lot of java.

Marilyn Cornelis of the Harvard School of Public Health helped orchestrate the research published in a journal called Molecular Psychiatry. The work rested on about two dozen previous research projects that had a total of about 120,000 subjects. That’s a big group, made up of people who answered questions about how much coffee they consumed and then donated a sample of their DNA to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

In the past, scientists had identified two genetic variants that “code” for coffee consumption. Now six new gene variations have been found to be common in people who drink a lot of coffee and other caffeinated beverages. Four of the newly discovered variants are linked either to the stimulating impact of caffeine on the body or to how we break down caffeine — two loci (POR and ABCG2) change the metabolism of caffeine; two other loci (BDNF and SLC6A4) appear to relate to how rewarding is the experience of caffeine.

The last two loci (GCKR and MLXIPL) found in the study were not expected: they are not clearly associated with caffeine but rather act to control blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It’s not known how they relate to the propensity to quaff coffee and other caffeinated beverages.

Cornelis told the New York Daily News that the genetic variants don’t correspond to how strong coffee tastes to an individual. That result surprised her, as it does me.

The Harvard Gazette also wrote a piece on the findings. It mentioned the fact that some studies have shown benefits from drinking coffee each day. Cornelis has not been a coffee drinker, but because of some of the information coming out in recent years, she is giving java a go.

I wish Cornelis well in her personal experiment. I can admit I didn’t like the strength and taste of coffee when I first tried it in college. But now I think coffee tastes good and, to me, the taste of good coffee seems quite mild. I also think coffee-flavored ice cream is grand – in particular when it comes with a cup of hot coffee on the side.

Maybe my love of coffee was determined when my genes first formed in utero. It’s an interesting thought.

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.

New Option to Waive Driver Responsibility Fees

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson promotes new option to waive Driver Responsibility Fees through community service. Nonprofits and those who serve them will also benefit.

DETROIT ‒ About 168,000 people could perform community service instead of paying hundreds of dollars for some Driver Responsibility Fees, a move that benefits both drivers and the agencies that serve Michigan communities around the state, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said recently at the North American International Auto Show.

“Traffic ticket fees, court costs and higher insurance premiums are difficult enough,” Johnson added. “With this new program, motorists can meet their legal obligations while minimizing any added financial burden to their families and while also helping people in their community.”

Johnson voted against the fees as a state representative and has supported eliminating them, calling them a burden. The new program gives motorists an opportunity to eliminate their Driver Responsibility Fees by completing 10 hours of volunteer work for each qualifying assessment on their driving record. The Michigan Department of Treasury mailed a letter with additional information to those who are eligible; more details are also available at

Sam Slaughter, Detroit Auto Dealers Association president; Lisa Machesky, Lighthouse of Oakland County Chief Executive Officer; and Louis D. Piszker, chief executive officer for the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency joined Johnson at the auto show announcement.

“We know that lack of transportation is a significant barrier to long-term self-sufficiency and financial stability in our community,” Piszker said. “This service program aligns with our mission to empower people. It puts the onus on the individual to take the initiative, fulfill their obligations and move forward on a positive path.”

The Driver Responsibility Fee-Community Service program began Jan.1 and will end on Dec. 31. Eligible candidates must submit an application to the treasury department specifying which qualifying assessments they would like waived and what type of community service they will perform. Once their applications are approved, they will have 45 days to complete their volunteer work. Those with several qualifying assessments may request a deferral for some of them and, if approved, complete the remainder at a later date during the year.

Eligible individuals must volunteer to work for someone other than a family member without receiving any compensation. Volunteer opportunities can include local nonprofits (organizations classified as a 501c(3)), places of worship, schools, or city and state agencies.

The Driver Responsibility Fees that can be erased by community service are for No Proof of Insurance, No Insurance, Driving Without Proper License/Endorsement/Vehicle Group Designator, Driving While License Expired, and Driving While Unlicensed or License Not Valid.

Residents with questions about the program and the qualifications needed to apply can also call the Department of Treasury at 800-950-6227.

Letter to the Editor: Taxes

To the Editor:

In regard to the Muskegon County Road Millage, voting February 24, 2015. Four times within 6 – 7 months, asking for tax increases. This will be 5 by the State Sales Tax increase this May. Millions of taxpayer money is spent for these voting days. Why not combine some of these voting days? If money is so tight, why pay $230,000 to remodel a house on Leahy Street, then sell it for $75,000? Who pays the $160,000? We do!

The new MATS bus center, $2.356 million. Officials have plans for recreation – does not include city or townships. This county tax is at market value, not taxable value, a huge increase in our property taxes. There is a discussion about taxing how many miles we drive our cars. Our state and federal are talking about adding more tax at the gas pump. Isn’t it time to stand firm, let politicians know we have had enough of their taking from the people they work for?

Perhaps it is time we clean house. Where is the accountability for all these monies? I haven’t found that money tree they think we grow! Read the fine print. Ask questions.

–Billie Picklesimer
Ravenna, MI

*What about the war on Christianity? Who is fighting to stop this?

Keeping warm with gold fever

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

I own a couple of small gold nuggets. They came from the Round Mountain gold mine in Nevada, which I visited a few years ago. A tour of the open-pit mine was crowned by a visit to their foundry where the molten metal was poured into gold bars. Those bars are what’s called doré gold, that is, it’s the metal as it comes out of the ground with minor impurities in it like silver. The doré bars are then transported to a refinery where pure gold can be separated from other metals. I got to heft one of the doré bars, and I can attest that gold is, indeed, remarkably dense.

A mega-gold nugget found in California was in the news recently. It was large enough to about fill a human hand and weighed just over 6 pounds. That’s about 75 troy ounces. It was dubbed the “Butte Nugget” because it was found last summer in Butte County, supposedly on public land. The nugget sold for about $400,000 to a buyer who chose to remain anonymous.

News reports — sketchy because of the secrecy of the discovery and sale — said the nugget was found with a metal detector. When the detector indicated an extremely strong signal, the operator thought he had likely found a piece of pipe or a horseshoe. Happily, he had the good sense to dig down about a foot into the soil where the nugget lay.

Gold occurs in the Earth in two main forms: as lode gold or as placer gold. Lode gold is found in veins, usually made of quartz, that cut across rocks. You may recognize the word “lode” as part of the famous idea of the Mother Lode, the mythical deep and rich vein thought to be that from which other smaller veins branch off. If you find the Mother Lode, your financial problems are over.

When gold veins occur at the surface of the Earth they are broken down, or weathered, by water. The quartz in the veins crumbles into quartz pebbles and sand. The gold is liberated from the vein material, falling out as loose nuggets or small gold grains that can be as fine as sand. Because gold is dense and doesn’t react with water under most conditions, loose gold can accumulate and form what’s known as placer gold ore. In streams, placer gold is found where running water slows down and the gold settles out: on the inside bend of turns in streams and behind boulders.

Patience, a good metal detector, and lots of luck can clearly still lead to stupendous gold nugget finds. Like winning the lottery, dreaming of mega-nuggets keeps hope alive even in the dark days of December. Writing about this subject makes me think that, as I sit by the fire in my woodstove one evening this week, I’ll get out my little gold nuggets to remind myself of longer days and outdoor activities we can look forward to in the New Year.

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.

How much does it hurt?

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

When I take my elderly mother to the emergency room, the nurse asks how much pain she is in, on a scale of 1 to 10. There is a chart with pictures of little smiley faces, neutral faces, and grimacing faces to help a person — perhaps a child — determine a number. Pain management is an important part of human medicine.

Despite what the 17th century philosopher and naturalist René Descartes said about animals being merely organic machines, it’s clear to me they feel pain in a manner similar to us. But we can’t ask Fido or Felix to tell us what they are experiencing. That point has been abundantly clear to me recently because my 11-year old mutt from the dog pound, Buster Brown, is having arthritic pain in several weight-bearing joints. He gets up from a lying position with difficulty, and he takes the stairs slowly and only when he must.

“In veterinary medicine, we have pain scales similar to what they use in the ER, but they are based on our observations,” Dr. Raelynn Farnsworth told me. Farnsworth instructs vet students at Washington State University’s veterinary teaching hospital.

Farnworth showed me a four-point scale with sketches of dogs in various positions and written descriptions of the way the dogs are behaving. Vet students are trained to assess animals and locate them on this type of pain scale.

“We go on what we can observe, our examination, and what the owners tell us about how the animal is behaving at home,” Farnsworth said.

Practicing veterinary medicine rather than the human variety has other challenges than assessing pain. Medications that are helpful to dogs are not all good for cats. Drugs good for people can kill an animal.

“You’ve got to check with your vet before you treat your animal for pain,” she said. “One thing your vet may discuss with you is pre-treating your animal, say before a big walk, if you know he’s likely to be sore afterward.”

The good news is that veterinarians now treat pain more aggressively in animals and there are also a wider variety of medications that are available to help.

“Many of the pain meds we use now were new or not available at all when I started practicing 21 years ago,” Farnsworth said.

Years ago, it was sometimes considered good to keep an animal in a moderate amount of pain after surgery, so the animal wouldn’t move around a lot and tear out stitches. But those days are long gone. Veterinarians treat pain aggressively now. That strikes me as more merciful.

Fortunately, the news from my household is good. Buster Brown has been taking an anti-inflammatory and two supplements in recent weeks and he is getting around much better. He goes by me at a canter when we are outside, he runs up and down the stairs, and he stands up from a lying position without the difficulty he was displaying earlier this fall. I’m greatly relieved — I like to think that pain isn’t bothering him nearly so much, and I hope I can keep him in the land of the living a good while longer.

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.

The Art of the Brick® Debuts at Muskegon Museum of Art in February

AOTBlogoWEB282Muskegon MI—Beginning February 19, 2014, the Muskegon Museum of Art will host The Art of the Brick®, an exhibition featuring large-scale sculptures created out of iconic LEGO® bricks by New York based artist Nathan Sawaya.

The exhibition has proved to be very popular with audiences as it has toured the globe. “This year alone, we’ve visited Ireland, South Africa, and Amsterdam,” said Sawaya. “We are thrilled to be bringing this collection to Muskegon.”


Yellow by artist Nathan Sawaya. Photo courtesy of

Like most young kids, Sawaya started playing with LEGO at a young age. But unlike most kids, Sawaya never stopped building, creating and exploring his own imagination. The result has solidified his place in pop culture history and he is making an indelible mark on the art world as well. The award-winning artist has catapulted the iconic LEGO brick into an art medium all its own, transforming this construction toy into awe-inspiring and thought provoking sculptures. The centerpiece of Sawaya’s collection of sculptures, as well as arguably his most famous piece of artwork, is entitled Yellow, a LEGO torso of a man ripping open his chest while yellow plastic bricks cascade out of the open chest cavity. Sawaya has made a name for himself by creating out of LEGO exacting replicas of the human form in various states of emotion, including anger, love, depression and joy.

Concurrently on display at Muskegon Museum of Art for the run of the exhibition will be Sawaya’s unique multimedia collaboration with award-winning Australian photographer Dean West, entitled IN PIECES. The two artists spent years traveling and working together to blend their crafts resulting in the IN PIECES collection of visually stunning hyper realistic images that are exhibited with corresponding and complimentary three dimensional LEGO sculptures.


Strength of Spirit by artist Nathan Sawaya. Photo courtesy of

“I use LEGO bricks as my medium because I enjoy seeing people’s reactions to artwork created from something with which they are familiar. Everyone can relate to it since it is a toy that many children have at home. I want to elevate this simple plaything to a place that it has never been before. I want to elevate this simple plaything to a place it has never been before. I also appreciate the cleanliness of the medium. The right angles. The distinct lines. As so often in life, it is a matter of perspective. Up close, the shape of the brick is distinctive. But from a distance, those right angles and distinct lines change to curves,” Sawaya said.

The Art of the Brick will be on view at the Muskegon Museum of Art, 296 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon, Michigan from February 19 through May 3, 2015. The public is invited to attend an opening reception on Thursday, February 19, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. Light refreshments will be served at the family-friendly event, which will be free and open to the public. The appearance of the exhibition in Muskegon is underwritten by Meijer. The accompanying activity gallery is sponsored by Hooker DeJong Architects & Engineers. Additional support is provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with the National Endowment for the Arts.


About Nathan Sawaya
Nathan Sawaya is an acclaimed New York-based contemporary artist who creates awe-inspiring artwork out of a toy. His art focuses on large-scale sculptures using only LEGO® bricks. Sawaya was the first artist to ever take LEGO® into the art world and his touring exhibition – THE ART OF THE BRICK® – has entertained and inspired millions of art lovers and enthusiasts from Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, China and around the world. CNN heralded, “THE ART OF THE BRICK® is one of the top 12 must-see exhibits in the world!” Originally from Oregon, Sawaya’s childhood dreams were always fun and creative. He drew cartoons, wrote stories, perfected magic tricks and of course also played with LEGO®. His days were filled with imagination. When it came time for college, Sawaya moved to New York City, attended NYU and became a lawyer. But after years of million dollar mergers and corporate acquisitions on Park Avenue, Sawaya realized he would rather be sitting on the floor creating art, than sitting in a board room negotiating contracts. He walked away from the law and took an artistic risk on LEGO®. Now Sawaya is an author, speaker and one of the most popular, award-winning contemporary artists of our time. For more information about Nathan Sawaya and his artwork, visit

About Dean West
Dean West is an acclaimed and award-winning photographer who specializes in highly conceptual and thought provoking contemporary portraiture. His body of work has been featured in top photography magazines and art galleries around the world. Born in Australia and currently living in Toronto, Dean has also been named “one of the world’s best emerging photographers” by After Capture Magazine and included in Saatchi & Saatchi’s collection of the world’s top 100 emerging photographers. See more of his work



Interactive Building Area
Use The Art of the Brick as inspiration to engineer and build your own masterpiece using LEGO bricks. This educational area will have hands-on opportunities for all ages.
Sponsored by Hooker DeJong Architects & Engineers.


Thursday, February 19, 5:30 pm
Opening Reception
Get a first look at this popular, nationally touring exhibition of artwork created with LEGOS ® bricks. Light refreshments will be provided. The event is free and open to the public.


Saturdays: February 21, March 21, April 18
10:00 am–noon
Peer Exploration Workshop
Exploring LEGO Boundaries
Ages 10-13
FREE—Registration is required; spaces are limited.
Call 231.720.2571 to register.
This peer workshop will be led by the Mona Shores middle school 4-H Tech Wizards under the direction of Barbara Brow. This dynamic group of students has been working together, exploring the boundaries of LEGO construction and want to share their knowledge. The workshop is designed for kids who like to work organically and learn without boundaries. The Tech Wizards will break into groups to lead and explore with fellow students. To register: Call 231.720.2571.


Thursday, February 26, 12:15 pm
Brown Bag Film
The LEGO® Movie
(101 mins.) After being mistaken for the LEGO® Master Builder, ordinary mini-guy Emmet is swept up in an urgent quest to thwart the evil plans of Lord Business. Emmet’s adventures include daunting challenges and hilarious missteps in this computer-animated epic film. Film admission is free and so are the coffee and cookies. Guests are welcome to bring lunch. Exhibition viewing may require paid admission. Underwritten by MMA Education Partner, Alcoa Foundation/Howmet.


March 5, 19, 26 & April 9, 16
5:00–8:00 pm
FREE Admission Family Fun Nights
See The Art of the Brick and create your own sculpture in the interactive LEGO building area.
Family Fun Nights are underwritten by MMA Education Partner Alcoa Foundation/Howmet.


Saturday, March 14, 10:00 am–3:00 pm
Super Brick Art Saturday
FREE Family Fun Day with LEGO® Bricks
Toys turn into art! Check out the spectacularly engineered and innovative work of Nathan Sawaya in The Art of the Brick. After you get inspired, head downstairs to make your own sculptures and watch a film. It is sure to be a building and learning type of Saturday at the MMA

10:00 am & 1:00 pm
Film: The LEGO Movie®
(101 mins.) Check out your favorite LEGO characters on the big screen in this exciting family friendly film.

11:00 am–1:00 pm
Guided Exhibition Tours
Join an MMA docent to explore The Art of the Brick.

11:00 am–2:00 pm
Make & Take
Push your creative bounds by building bricks up, down and across. Make a block sculpture to take home.


Monday–Thursday, March 30–April 2,
5:30–7:00 pm
Class: Robotics with LEGO Bricks
Instructor: Kathleen Steudle-Schwander
Ages 10-13 | limited spaces
Cost: $60 non-member | $50 member

Students will learn the joys of building and programming robots with LEGO bricks while working with and against each other to complete various missions. There is no greater adventure then that of the imagination and the sky is the limit with this class. Students will be challenged to solve problems in new ways and to come to the understanding that there are multiple ways to complete the same task. Participants will learn to use special computer software specifically made for crafting LEGO brick robotics. To register: Call 231.720.2571 by March 23.

Computers provided courtesy of the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District.

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

$8 Adult | $5 Adult Student (with I.D.) | $3 Ages 3-17
Free for MMA Members

Free Family Fun Night Admission for everyone
Thursdays 5:00-8:00 pm ONLY
Compliments of MEIJER

SUN noon-4:30pm/MON & TUES closed/WED, FRI, SAT 10am-4:30pm/THURS 10am-8pm

Free Concert! “Well-Strung”

A Free Performance Sponsored by the Lawrence & Violet Collins Fund

Tuesday March 3, 7:30 pm

“A talented quartet of men who sing and play string instruments – got its start in Provincetown and brilliantly fuses pop and classical music from Madonna to Beethoven.”  ~The New York Times


One Direction step aside, there’s a new kind of boy band on the circuit. The all-male string quartet Well-Strung features classical musicians who sing putting their own spin on the music of Mozart, Vivaldi, Rihanna, Adele Lady Gaga, and more! Their debut show sold-out Joe’s Pub on May 1st, 2012 in New York after being workshopped at Ars Nova NYC in February.  Since then they have played venues across the world such as The Art House in Provincetown, the Leicester Square Theatre in London, 54 Below in New York, House of Blues in New Orleans and Feinstein’s in San Francisco.

Well-Strung stars first violinist Edmund Bagnell, second violinist Christopher Marchant, cellist Daniel Shevlin and violist Trevor Wadleigh. Well-Strung’s show is directed and co-written by Donna Drake with arrangements by David Levinson. The quartet was formed by producer/co-writer/manager Mark Cortale and Christopher Marchant.  Additional arrangements are by Daniel Shevlin, Yair Evnine and Christopher Marchant.

“Well-Strung” is a Collins Foundation funded concert.  Tickets are complimentary and are available beginning February 14 from 11am-3pm at the Frauenthal Box Office then during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 11 am – 5:30 pm.  Tickets are limited to 4 per person, limited availability. 231-727-8001


The Frauenthal: “The Alley Door Club!”

The Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts proudly presents the 10th Season of “The Alley Door Club!”

THE FRAUENTHAL CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS and BayerCrop Science are excited to announce the 10th Anniversary of the Alley Door Club!  The 2015 Season promises to be better than ever!  Join us the second and fourth Fridays, January – April for some of the best music in Downtown Muskegon! Doors open at 6 pm for Happy Hour ($1 off all drinks), the bands play from 7 – 10 pm.image 004.jpg

The Alley Door Club is located on the 3rd floor of the Hilt Building in the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts.  Please enter through the Hilt Building doors, tickets may be purchased at the Box Office.

Tickets $7 in advance or at the door, cash bar available, valid I.D. required.   For more information, call 727-8001 or visit  Tables may be reserved, $55.00 for a 4-top (includes 4 admission tickets) / $80.00 for an 8-top (includes 8 admission tickets).  Limit of 2 4-tops and 2 8-tops reserved for each performance – sold on a first come basis.

2015 Schedule:
Friday, Jan. 9 ~ Vincent Hayes – blues, funk, soul
Friday, Jan. 23 ~ Deni Hunter & The House Rockers – B & B, rockin’ blues
Friday, Feb. 13 ~ Westside Soul Surfers – R & B, funk & soul
Friday, Feb. 27 ~ Big Daddy Fox – blues
Friday, Mar. 13 ~ The Crane Wives – homegrown Indi-Folk that defies musical stereotypes
Friday, Mar. 27 ~ Vincent Hayes – blues, funk & soul
Friday, Apr. 10 ~ Westside Soul Surfers – BR & B, funk & soul
Friday, Apr. 24 ~ Yard Sale Underwear

Remember, the cool cats hang out in the Alley!

Ancient climate change

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

Climate is always changing. That’s one truth that stands out from the record around the world of natural samples of Earth materials, of tree rings, ice layers, and so much more. But how much has past climate change influenced human affairs?

In anthropology it’s been relatively commonplace to look at the twists and turns of ancient human history and assign at least some major population collapses to climate change. It certainly stands to reason that climate stress may have impacted early human populations — the only real question is how often.

One collapse of an early human society that has often been linked to climate change happened at the end of the Bronze Age in northwestern Europe. Many archeologists have believed that a shift in climate to cold, wet conditions ushered in the end of the late Bronze Age, stifling its complex societies, so that a poorer culture with a smaller population started off the early Iron Age. But it looks like climate may not have been to blame for what befell humans at that time.

European researchers from the University of Bradford, the University of Leeds, the University of College Cork and Queen’s University Belfast are now making the case that the human population collapsed about a century earlier than the climate changed. Their work was recently published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Professor Ian Armit of the University of Bradford was the lead author of the piece in PNAS.

“Our evidence shows definitively that the population decline in this period could not have been caused by climate change,” Armit told ScienceDaily because the climate change came later.

What, then, caused societies to fall apart in the late Bronze Age? That is less clear, but Armit speculates that economic changes were most likely the culprit. Bronze is made of copper and tin, relatively rare metals. Bronze Age societies had to trade with one another, over large distances, to supply themselves with the metals that make bronze. Controlling those trade routes led to the growth of complex societies dominated by a warrior elite, Armit said.

When more commonplace iron started to replace bronze as the metal from which implements and weapons were made, the trade networks fell apart. That in turn led to societal collapse. Thus, Armit argues, changing economics and all that went along with those changes may have led to the fall in population.

“Although climate change was not directly responsible for the collapse, it is likely that the poor climate conditions would have affected farming,” Armit is quoted as saying by ScienceDaily. “This would have been particularly difficult for vulnerable communities, preventing population recovery for several centuries.”

Skipping up to the present, this research does not say that the production of greenhouse gases won’t stress the environment — and human societies — in the remainder of this century. But the argument can be made that climate change wasn’t the reason for widespread population decrease as the Bronze Age was succeeded by the Iron Age in Europe.

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.

Second City Improv Group Returns to the Frauenthal

Chicago’s Famed SECOND CITY IMPROV GROUP returns to the Frauenthal Theater with a mix of classic scenes and new material all about Muskegon!

For Mature Audiences

On February 14, 2015, at 8:00 pm, Chicago’s legendary sketch and improv comedy theatre returns to the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts, 425 W. Western Ave, in Downtown Muskegon with “The Second City Hits Home” a new  show  featuring hilarious sketches, songs, and improvisation about Muskegon as well as material from the famed Second City archives. This is a must see night of comedy featuring some of Chicago’s brightest comedy stars in a special Valentine’s Day engagement!

Doing what they do best, The Second City finds laughs in everything from Muskegon’s  history, events and hot button issues to headlines from the Muskegon Chronicle and mixes these with a generous portion of classic Chicago-style sketch and improv created by some of Second City’s most lauded alumni including Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray and more.The Second City celebrates 54 years of cutting edge satiric revues and continues to deliver the leading voices in comedy while touring the globe.

Tickets for The Second City are $41 for Front of House reserved area, general admission Cabaret Seating with Tableside Bar Service (limited seating); and $26 for all other seats, general admission.  Tickets can be purchased at the Frauenthal Box Office M-F 11am – 5:30pm, 231-727-8001 or Startickets 800-585-3737.

You won’t want to miss this great night of hilarity and laughter as Second City Hits Home takes the stage at the Frauenthal Theater!

For more information, contact Linda Medema 231-332-4103 or or check out the websites at and


Latest Annual Report: More Abortions, More Profits

More abortions, more profits for Planned Parenthood says latest annual report

Planned Parenthood Federation of America recently released their 2013‑2014 annual report. The report covers information about services provided by Planned Parenthood affiliates from October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013 and financial information for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014.

During the year covered, Planned Parenthood affiliates committed 327,653 abortions while doing only 1,880 adoption referrals. That’s 174 abortions for every one adoption referral. Planned Parenthood now provides around 1/3 of all abortions in the United States. Over the last decade and a half Planned Parenthood has gradually increased their market share of abortion. In 1997, they provided 165,174 abortions in a year when more abortions were taking place across America. In the last 15 years, that number of abortions provided by Planned Parenthood has nearly doubled while the number of abortion performed throughout the United States has gradually decreased.

While Planned Parenthood often claims abortion is only a small part of what they do, it’s clear that with the number of abortions they provide, abortion isn’t a small part of their revenue stream. Committing 327,653 abortions a year means Planned Parenthood is receiving more than $160 million a year from abortion using a conservative estimate of $500 per abortion.

The financial information they provided shows Planned Parenthood received $528.4 million dollars in government funding for the year. Their total revenue for the year was $1.3 billion dollars. They made $127.1 million in revenue over expenses and now have net assets of $1.4 billion dollars.

By comparison, there are some countries which don’t have an annual gross domestic product of $1.3 billion dollars. Gross domestic product (GDP) is total value of goods and services produced within a country over a period of time. According to the World Bank, vacation destinations like Antigua and Barbuda, the Solomon Islands and Grenada (along with 16 other countries) all had lower GDPs in 2013 than Planned Parenthood’s annual revenue.

Planned Parenthood’s abortion advocacy knows no bounds which is one reason that at the start of the new Congressional session, prolife lawmakers have already introduced legislation to prevent Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from receiving federal funds. The “Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act” would prevent Title X taxpayer funds from going to Planned Parenthood and to help prevent tax dollars from subsidizing the abortion industry.

Learn more about Planned Parenthood’s abortion agenda at

Harvesting energy from sunlight

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

What if there were a two-for-one sale on kilowatts? Your power bill would be cut in half — not a bad result for your monthly budget.

Energy drives everything we produce and consume, and global energy consumption continues to grow year after year. The two-for-one image came to mind as I talked with Professor Jeanne McHale of Washington State University. McHale is a chemist who researches an alternative approach to making solar cells that produce electricity.

“There’s no question we have a lot of solar energy that strikes the planet each day,” McHale told me. “It’s an often-quoted statistic that just one hour of sunlight all over the planet has enough energy to give us what we need for a year.”

The challenge is capturing that energy at economical rates. Traditional solar cells are made of expensive and high-tech ingredients. They work, but at a relatively high price and with negative environmental impacts. For some time now, scientists have been looking at an alternative version, called dye-sensitized solar cells. Most researchers use synthetic organic dyes or dyes containing an element called ruthenium. The McHale lab is one of the few using plant dyes.

McHale studies pigments like betanin, one of the molecules that makes beets red. Betanin can be used in these alternative solar cells. Recently McHale and her team found a way to have each photon striking the betanin produce two electrons.

“This means we could double the electrical current of dye-sensitized solar cells,” McHale told me.

One of the challenges for McHale is that a one-electron reaction occurs in parallel with the desired two-electron reaction, producing what chemists call a “free radical.” Those are highly reactive and damaging molecules. The free radicals in the dye-sensitized solar cells damage the betanin. Currently McHale is working on what are called co-pigments — molecules that can be attached to betanin to make it more stable under the influence of free radicals.

“The way I think of it is that we have a molecule that’s a model: one that can help us design better molecules that would produce two electrons per photon without the degradation problem,” McHale said.

Calculations show that the maximum possible efficiency of dye-sensitized cells is about 30 percent. What’s been achieved so far is 13 percent. That doesn’t sound too good until you learn that plants — in their process of photosynthesis — have an efficiency of about 1 percent.

“The joke is that if plants went to the government for funding, they would never be awarded a grant,” McHale said.

Although I’m a geologist who spent part of her early career studying the geology of fossil fuels, I think that securing more of our energy needs through solar power would be potentially good for the planet and a triumph of sophisticated science. Here’s wishing McHale’s lab the very best!

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.

Ryke’s Bakery, Catering & Cafe Honored

Ryke’s Bakery, Catering & Cafe Honored as Muskegon County Breastfeeding-Friendly Business of the Year

Muskegon, MI – The Muskegon County Breastfeeding Coalition awarded the honor of “Breastfeeding-Friendly Business of the Year” to Ryke’s Bakery, Catering and Cafe today at the Great Start Muskegon Legislative Meet and Greet.

Nominations were accepted throughout the month of August for Breastfeeding Awareness Month. To be considered breastfeeding friendly, the business must make it easy for women returning to work to continue nursing their infants.

The Ryke’s nomination emphasized their flexible scheduling for breastfeeding moms and their supportive environment, which includes a separate private space for employees to pump. Ryke’s was also nominated in 2013 and designated as one of Muskegon County’s Breastfeeding-Friendly businesses.

In addition, Senator Geoff Hansen will be honored as a “Legislative Friend” in recognition for his work to get breast pumps covered by Medicaid. Breast pumps are already covered by other insurances.

Any business that would like to be designated as or become Breastfeeding-Friendly is encouraged to contact Public Health Muskegon County at (231) 724-1264 or email

Several organizations have partnered to promote and offer this award. The Muskegon County Breastfeeding Coalition is a collaborative group of organizations and individuals who are dedicated to promoting breastfeeding in Muskegon County. The Great Start Collaborative works to assure that all children will enter kindergarten safe, healthy and eager to succeed in school and in life. In addition, the 1 in 21 Healthy Muskegon County Initiative, was also a partner and recognizes the link between breastfeeding and reducing obesity.


Board of Trustees_ 01-26-15


A work session of the Fruitport Charter Township Board began at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, January 26, 2015, in the township board room.

Members Present: Brian Werschem, Supervisor; Carol Hulka, Clerk; Rose Dillon, Treasurer; Trustees Ron Becklin, Dave Markgraf, Marjorie Nash, and Chuck Whitlow. Members Absent: None

At 7:00 p.m., Supervisor Werschem opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer.

Also Present: 4– residents;  0– employees; DPW Director, Farrar; Public Safety Director, Doctor, and Attorney Brad Fisher

The January 12, 2015 meeting minutes—regular meeting—were approved as presented.
The motion by Dave Markgraf, seconded by Carol Hulka, was carried unanimously, to approve the January 26, 2015 meeting agenda with the following addition: 2015 Federal Poverty Income Standards under New Business, Letter B
PUBLIC COMMENTS – none received

1) Fruitport Township Fire Department 2014 Annual Report
2) Fruitport Township Police Department 2014 Annual Report
3) Michigan Townships Association (MTA) legislative up-dates
4) Michigan Gas Utilities notice of public concerning approval to implement a gas cost recovery plan to compute its natural gas custom’s bills.
5) For period ending December 31, 2014 Revenue and Expenditure report
6) 2015-2016 Water and Sewer budgets

15-007 2015-2016 Budget Discussion
Discussion took place. The Budget Public Hearing will take place at the meeting to be held on February 23, 2015, and adoption of the budget on March 9, 2015.

15-008 MCRC Brining for 2015
Chuck Whitlow moved, Dave Markgraf seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to authorize the Muskegon County Road Commission of the Township’s intention on one road brining which will include the MCRC participating 50/50 for the first brining plus 100% ofany private roads with approved special assessment districts.

Ayes: Whitlow, Markgraf, Hulka, Dillon, Nash, Becklin, Werschem     Nays: None

15-009 2015 Federal Poverty Income Exemption Guidelines
Ron Becklin moved, seconded by Rose Dillon, MOTION CARRIED, to adopt the Federal Poverty Income Standards used for setting poverty exemption guidelines for 2015, as recommended by the Supervisor and the Assessor’s department.

Ayes: Becklin, Dillon, Nash, Whitlow, Markgraf, Hulka, Werschem   Nays: None

15-010 Payment of Bills
Dave Markgraf moved, Carol Hulka seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve bills for payment in the following amounts:   General Fund & Parks: $5,027.31; Public Safety $9,958.36; Water: $22,922.37; and Sewer: $4,807.47        Total: $42,715.51

Ayes: Markgraf, Hulka, Dillon, Nash, Becklin, Whitlow, Werschem  Nays: None

PUBLIC COMMENTS #2 – None received

The motion by Ron Becklin, seconded by Dave Markgraf, was Carried Unanimously, to adjourn the meeting at 7:07.


Miles of Smiles Participates in “Give Kids a Smile!” Day

HOLLANDFebruary 6 is the 13th annual American Dental Association’s “Give Kids a Smile!” day. Dr. Robert Ankerman D.D.S. will be the dentist on the Ottawa County Department of Public Health’s Miles of Smiles (MOS) mobile dental unit. This Friday, he will provide comprehensive dental care for Medicaid-insured and financially- qualifying uninsured children at Jefferson Elementary School in Holland (Holland Public School District). Every child in the school will receive a gift bag, complete with oral health aids and oral health education for parents.


Ottawa County Department of Public Health Miles of Smiles mobile dental unit provides dental services for Medicaid-insured and financially qualifying uninsured children in Ottawa County.

Miles of Smiles operates year-round to provide free dental services. “Give Kids a Smile!” day provides MOS an opportunity to participate in a nationwide event. Dental professionals in dental offices, clinics and schools in all 50 states will open their doors to provide free dental care to dentally-underserved children. The event raises awareness about the number of children with unmet dental needs and the obstacles they face when seeking dental care.

Pain from untreated dental disease makes it difficult for children to eat, sleep and concentrate in school. Poor oral health also affects their self-esteem. The partnership includes dental society involvement, dentist and hygienist volunteerism, school administration dedication, community support, funder’s generosity, Ottawa County Administration support and Ottawa County Department of Public Health’s commitment to help improve the health of children.

Ottawa County Department of Public Health
“Give Kids a Smile!”

Belinda the Ballerina and Friends: The Illustrations of Amy Young

February 5 through April 26, 2015 – Muskegon Museum of Art Alcoa Foundation & Ernest and Marjorie Cooper Gallery

Belinda the Ballerina and Friends: The Illustrations of Amy Young, an exhibition of original book illustrations by artist Amy Young will open at the Muskegon Museum of Art on Thursday, February 5. The MMA invites the public to meet the artist at a reception that evening from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. Young will give a talk about her life and work in the MMA’s auditorium at 7:00 pm. Light refreshments and juice will be served. The event and refreshments are free.


Big-footed ballerinas, dogs on boats, and mud fairies are just a few of the characters that Amy Young has brought to life through her stories and bright, colorful book illustrations. This exhibition features original artwork she created for the popular children’s book Belinda the Ballerinaand other books that Young has written and illustrated. The exhibition will be on display through April 26, 2015.

Young was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and says from a young age she remembers wanting to be an artist. She earned her BA at Yale University, her MFA in painting from Indiana University, and a Harvard law degree. After practicing law for seven years, she found herself drawn back to making art. Her first picture book, Belinda the Ballerina, which she wrote and illustrated, was published by Viking in 2003. She continues to write and illustrate children’s books from her home in Spring Lake, Michigan.

This exhibition was organized by the Muskegon Museum of Art and underwritten by The Folkert Family Foundation. Additional support provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with the National Endowment for the Arts.


Thursday, February 5 Opening Event
5:30 pm Opening Reception
7:00 pm Talk by artist Amy Young

Saturday, February 14, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Ballerina Super Saturday
Free Family Fun Day
Spin, swirl, and plié your way to this ballet-themed Super Saturday. Admission and all activities are free, thanks to sponsorship from the Alcoa Foundation/Howmet.
10:00 am & 1:00 pm Film: A Fantasy Garden Ballet Class
(40 mins.) Kids can dance along while watching this film by Rosemary Boross that introduces preschoolers to the joys of ballet. The film includes a warm-up, stretching and strengthening exercises, creative movement, and simple ballet steps. Each easy-to-follow segment incorporates music and images of flowers and animals to help children remember what they’ve learned.
11:00 am – 1:00 pm Guided Tours
Tour Belinda the Ballerina and Friends: The Illustrations of Amy Young with an MMA docent.
11:00 am – 2:00 pm Make & Take
Using clothespins, make your own miniature ballerina—complete with a tulle tutu.

Thursdays, 1:00–3:00 pm
Open Public Tours
Meet on the upper level every Thursday for exhibition tours led by MMA docents. February tours feature Belinda the Ballerina and Friends: The Illustrations of Amy Young.


The Muskegon Museum of Art is located in downtown Muskegon at 296 W. Webster Ave. Visit or call 231.720.2570 for information.


DAILY Admission
$8 Adult | $5 Adult Student (with I.D.) | Free for MMA Members & ages 17 years and under
(Effective February 19 – May 3, including Thursdays until 5:00 pm)
$8 Adult | $5 Adult Student (with I.D.) | $3 Ages 3-17 | Free for MMA Members

THURSDAYS 5:00-8:00 pm
Free Family Fun Night Admission for everyone, compliments of Meijer

Better Ways to Clear Snow and Ice

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

As you watch the falling snow, do you marvel at the beauty of the scene or immediately dread driving to work on icy pavement?

Most of our nation’s roads get at least some snow most years, and that means clearing snow and ice from pavement is big business. For highways alone, agencies in the U.S. spend $2.3 billion each season trying to remove snow and ice. And billions more are spent by local governments battling Mother Nature on city streets and county roads.

A traditional way of addressing roadway snow and ice is by spreading salt. In my home state of Washington, workers use about 4 tons of salt in each lane of a mile’s worth of pavement each year. In Minnesota the figure is 9 tons per lane per mile, and in New York it’s a whopping 12 tons.

“That reflects the fact salt is cheap in New York — and they have high traffic volume as well as lots of snow in places like around the Great Lakes,” said Professor Xianming Shi. Shi is a civil engineer at Washington State University. He researches new and better ways to melt ice on pavement or even prevent it from accumulating in the first place.

The problem with road salt is that it doesn’t vanish with the snow. Instead, via snowmelt, it trickles into groundwater and pollutes local streams and well water. The Environmental Protection Agency recently reported high levels of sodium and chloride, the ingredients of common table salt, in East Coast groundwater. The runoff from roadway salt threatens drinking water supplies, Shi told me.

For a number of years there have been some greener alternatives to spreading salt on roads. Any substance that lowers the freezing point of water can be helpful. One alternative substance that’s well established is a waste product from sugar beet refining.

“That’s a well-known, patented technology,” Shi said.

Shi and his research team are looking at local wastes that can be upcycled for winter roadway operations. These materials range from residue from wine production to materials from flower growers and the biodiesel industry.

Another goal of the work is to find substances that are less corrosive but achieve the same level of pavement friction.

“Magnesium chloride is sometimes sprayed on roads to combat ice,” Shi said. “But magnesium exchanges with calcium in concrete at depth.”

That exchange weakens the concrete, a bit like an elderly person losing bone mass. Overall, the strength of the concrete can be reduced by up to 50 percent.

“So we need to design concrete to better withstand exposure to magnesium chloride,” Shi told me.

It would be wonderful, of course, if pavement resisted the accumulation of ice. The texture of pavement can be manipulated to some extent to resist ice buildup. Nano- and micro-sized particles can be added to concrete to weaken its bond to ice or compacted snow.

“It’s more costly,” Shi said. “Still, it can be useful in some places, like in mountain passes.”

There’s some good research in progress at WSU. But while waiting for further developments, don’t throw out your back as you shovel.

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.

Draft Muskegon County Recreation Facilities Master Plan

Available for viewing, the “Draft Muskegon County Recreation Facilities Master Plan 2015-2019 Update” and “Draft Maps”. Please click on the links:

Draft Recreation Plan:

Draft Maps:

Brenda M. Moore
Muskegon County Drain Commissioner
141 E. Apple Avenue
Muskegon, MI  49442
FAX 231.724-3480


Muskegon County Calendar of Events 02/02/15 – 02/09/15

Presented by the Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau

02/02/2015 – Hackley Handicrafts
Monday, February 2 at 6:00pm, come to Hackley Public Library to learn a new craft with Nancy Hartman! This month she will introduce you to homemade butter making.  Brought to you through the generosity of the Friends of Hackley Library.  For more information, call 231-722-7276.

02/02/2015 – A Piece of My Heart
‎You’re invited to the USS Silversides Submarine Museum for the Theatrical Synergies production of “A Piece of the My Heart”, a dramatic play which presents the true stories of six courageous women sent to Vietnam and their struggle to make sense of a war that irrevocably changed them and a nation that shunned them.  Show times are January 30 & February 2 at 7:00pm and January 31 & February 1 at 2:00pm.  Tickets are $10 for students, $15 for members, veterans and seniors and $20 for the general public.  Tickets may be purchased at the door and do not include admission to the museum or the vessels.  For more information, call 231-755-1230.

02/03/2015 – 02/28/15 ‘Off the Wall’ Teen Poetry and Art Contest
‎”Off the Wall” is Hackley Public Library’s Creative Writing & Drawing Contest for middle & high school students.  Young people in grades 7 – 12 can enter poems, stories, drawing, comics, or any other original creative work.  (Flyers with details are available at the library.)  Entries will be accepted beginning February 2 and are due at the library by 5:00pm Saturday, February 28, 2015.  The best work will be published in HPL’s “Off the Wall” booklet.  Winners will be recognized in an awards ceremony.  For more information, call 231-722-7276.

02/03/2015 – Brandon Davis and the Victory in Praise Choir
In honor of Black History Month, Hackley Public Library brings you the Victory in Praise Choir, presenting a program with singing and surprises, Tuesday, February 3 at 6:00pm!  For more information, call 231-722-7276.

02/03/2015 – White Lake Classical Series
‎You’re invited to the Book Nook & Java Shop for the White Lake Classical Series featuring Bob Swan on viola, Bryan Uecker on piano and Sondra Cross on clarinet, Tuesday, February 3 at 7:00pm.  Admission is $5 at the door, or get there at 6:15pm for the best seats in the house and dinner including Chicken Florentine, couscous, vegetable, peanut butter pretzel cheesecake and a glass of house wine for $17.  For more information or to RSVP, call 231-894-5333.

02/05/2015 – Belinda the Ballerina and Friends Opening Reception
Belinda the Ballerina and Friends: The Illustrations of Amy Young, an exhibition of original book illustrations by artist Amy Young will open at the Muskegon Museum of Art on Thursday, February 5. The MMA invites the public to meet the artist at a reception that evening from 5:30 to 7:00pm. Young will give a talk about her life and work in the MMA’s auditorium at 7:00pm. Light refreshments and juice will be served. The event and refreshments are free.  For more information, call 231-720-2574.

02/06/2015 – 02/08/15 West Michigan Youth Wintersportsfest 2015
‎Thirteen events from Feb. 6-8 at various sites.  Headquarters at Muskegon Sports Complex.  Snowshoe, figure skating, ice speedskating, inline speedskating, luge, cross country ski, gymnastics, competitive cheer, biathlon, hockey, bowling, archery, rifle marksmanship!

02/06/2015 – 02/07/15 Polar Plunge
‎February 6 from7:00-11:00pm, come to the Event Center at Fricano Place and “Rock the Plunge” with live music from Yard Sale Underwear!  There’ll be a $5 cover charge with proceeds to benefit the Special Olympics Polar Plunge.  Then, Saturday, February 7 take the Plunge!  Registration begins at noon with the 2015 Polar Plunge happening at 2:00pm.  There’ll be an “After Splash Bash” immediately afterward featuring raffles, door prizes, a DJ and an award ceremony.  Visit for more information or to get signed up.

02/06/2015 – Bling Thing
The 3rd annual “Bling Thing” is hosted by The Friends of Hackley Public Library and offers a wide variety of inexpensive costume, vintage, and fine jewelry. Purses, scarves, belts, clothing, and sparkly home decor items will also be available for purchase. An early sale party will take place on Friday, February 6, from 5:00 to 8:00pm. A minimum $5 donation at the door offers up wine, chocolate and first-dibs on jewelry and other items. The sale continues on Saturday, February 7, from 10:00am to 3:00pm with free entry.

02/06/2015 – Muskegon Lumberjacks Home Game
‎Come to the L.C. Walker Arena Friday, February 6 at 7:15pm as the Muskegon Lumberjacks take on the Youngstown Phantoms.

02/06/2015 – West Michigan Symphony Presents: ‘Words and Music’
The West Michigan Symphony presents “Words and Music”, February 6 at 7:30pm on the Frauenthal stage!  Vincent Karamanov performs Mozart’s sublime and dancelike bassoon concerto, and the WMS performs Theme and Variations from Mozartiana, Peter Tchaikovsky’s own tribute to the immortal Amadeus. If the great works of art could talk, what would they say? Carla Hill narrates Voices from the Gallery, a witty and moving work by the living composer Stephen Paulus.  Tickets are available through the WMS ticket office at 231-726-3231, StarTickets at 800-585-3737, or the Frauenthal Box Office by calling 231-727-8001.

02/07/2015 – Hoffmaster Park Snowshoe Hike
‎Weather permitting, Snowshoe hikes begin at the Visitor Center at 10:30am. They are located at 6585 Lake Harbor Rd. Norton Shores. Snowshoes for these programs may be reserved from the Gillette Nature Association for a $5 fee per pair. Snowshoes must be reserved in advance and paid for when hike reservation is made. Reservations may be made by calling 231-798-3573. Reservations are required. State Park passport required for entry into the state park.

02/07/2015 – Arm Knitting
‎Arm knitting necklaces at the Norton Shores Library! Drop your needles and check this out. All supplies for first necklace will be supplied by the Norton Shores Library at 705 Seminole beginning at 2:00pm in the Community Room. In under an hour you can create a chunky, textured necklace -you don’t even need to know how to knit. Call 231-780-8844 for more information.

02/07/2015 – Manners and Etiquette Class
Come to the Greater Muskegon Woman’s Club for a fast-paced, fun, hands-on learning course for today’s girls, grades 2nd-5th at the Manners and Etiquette Class.  Learning centers will be devoted to table manners in social gatherings, phone etiquette, writing thank you notes and much more. A tea party is also included.  Each girl must be accompanied by an adult.  Reserve your space by calling Melissa at 616-422-3643.

02/07/2015 – West Michigan Lake Hawks Basketball
‎The West Michigan Lake Hawks will be playing at home against the Coast II Coast All-Stars, Saturday, February 7 at 6:00pm at Reeths Puffer High School.  Tickets are $8 per person, or ask about special family pricing.

02/07/2015 – Russian. Trio. Classics.
‎West Michigan Symphony (WMS) concerts at The Block presents a Russian inspired piano trio program with WMS associate principal cellist Igor Cerkovic, WMS violinist Oleg Bezuglov and pianist Natalia Beuglova performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A Minor, Op. 50 and the Shostakovich Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67. Doors and bar open at 6:30, concert starts at 7:30 PM on February 7th. Call 231-726-3231 for more information.

02/08/2015 – Howl N Blues
“Howl N Blues” is a winter, six concert, blues party series held the 2nd Sunday of each month, November 2014 through April 2015 at the Watermark 920. There’ll be a cash bar, food, 50/50 raffles, dancing, and good times guaranteed! There’ll also be printed information about the plight of the shelter animals, the importance of spaying and neutering, adoptable dog pictures etc. All shows will benefit PoundBuddies Animal Shelter & Adoption Center. Doors open at 1:00pm with music from 2:00-6:30pm. February 8 from 2:00-6:30pm, it’s GUITAR SLINGERS with the Howlin’ Blues Band.  Find out more at

02/08/2015 – John Gorka at The Block
Sunday, February 8, come to The Block for an intimate Sunday afternoon of music in downtown Muskegon with “The preeminent male singer songwriter of the New Folk Movement”, John Gorka, with special guest Trina Hamlin.  Tickets are available at Drip Drop Drink.  See for more information.

02/08/2015 – Country Western Music Show
The Muskegon Firefighters Union Local #370 is proud to present its Annual Country Western Music Show at the Reeths-Puffer High School Auditorium on Sunday, February 8 at 3:00pm.  The show features Jim Glaser “Woman, Woman”, Bobby Tomberlin “Singing Bee”, and Carrie Tillis “Just a Little Gift”.  Support your local firefighters by attending this great show!  Tickets are $20 for 1, $35 for 2 or $50 for a family tickets that cover up to 8 people.  Call 231-722-4527 to order yours.

Ongoing Events:

Japanese Warriors Robots Exhibit
The Muskegon Museum of Art showcases selected robots from Schwartz’s collection of over 2,000 pieces produced from 1972-1982, during the peak of these action figures’ popularity. This show will thrill audiences of all ages!

The Essential Elijah Pierce Exhibit
The Muskegon Museum of Art is pleased to present The Essential Elijah Pierce, an exhibition of more than 40 woodcarvings by barber, carver, and lay preacher Elijah Pierce! “Your life is a book and every day is a page,” Pierce believed. This is an exhibit you don’t want to miss!

Collector’s Corner: Hat Pins
‎The Collector’s Corner exhibit at the Lakeshore Museum Center features the Hat Pin collection of Martha Giacobassi. Hatpins, the decorative yet functional objects that held women’s hats in place, have been popular since the 1800s. Styles range from plain and utilitarian to highly decorative and ornate. Hatpins grew in length as women’s hat styles grew in size, which meant that some hatpins were well over a foot in length. After injuries and attacks with hat pins began to receive news coverage in the 1910s, laws and ordinances were passed in many states limiting the length of hatpins and requiring that they have covered tips.  The collection features 263 hatpins as well as hat pin holders, photos, and hats. Her collection will be on display through early March in 2015.

Armchair Archeology: From Hobby to History
‎”Armchair Archaeology: From Hobby to History” is on display at the Lakeshore Museum Center!  The exhibit explores early archaeology practices and philosophies that would be considered controversial today and showcases the local men who did it right.  The exhibit features ten Muskegon residents from the late 1800s to early 1940s who were working in the area to learn about who and what was living here before them.  Artifacts on display from the local digs include pottery shards, arrowheads, projectile points, and tools.  Visitors will have an opportunity to take a seat and spend some time reading books and journal articles written by and about the men featured in the exhibit.

Change of Seasons Juried Art Show
‎”Change of Seasons” is hosted by the White River Gallery and Nuveen Community Center for the Arts.  Local artists of all ages compete for cash prizes in this annual juried art show.  Entries are due by February 13.  Get all the details by visiting the website below or call 231-893-2524.

Exhibition of 3-D Prints
‎An exhibition of 3-D prints and other digital work entitled “Nagas” by Saritdikhun Somasa opens in Overbrook Art Gallery on January 20, 2015 and will run through February 27. The exhibit is linked to the annual MCC Global Awareness Festival, which this year focuses on the Pacific Rim region. A special reception for the artist will be held in the Overbrook Lobby on Monday, February 9, from 6:30-8:00pm, with Somasa’s lecture in the Stevenson Center Room 1100 beginning at 7:00pm. Somasa, a 2-D and 3-D computer graphic artist, was born in Thailand and grew up in a Buddhist environment. For the past 10 years, he has been teaching Digital Arts at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.  For more information on the exhibit, contact the MCC Arts and Humanities Department at (231) 777-0324.

US Army Nurse Corps Exhibit
Through February 22, come to the USS Silversides Submarine Museum for the exhibit Women in the Military:  WWII Nurses, explaining the training and military services of Muskegon Nurses during WWII.  For more information, call 231-755-1230.

‘Dynamic Earth’ Planetarium Viewing
Dynamic Earth: Exploring Earth’s Climate Engine” is a NEW, 30-minute planetarium program that will have you riding on swirling ocean currents, diving into the heart of a hurricane, and flying into fiery volcanoes. FREE shows are Tuesdays and Thursdays @ 7:00 p.m., January 13-April 2 (closed March 3 & 5 for semester break), at Muskegon Community College (221 S. Quarterline Rd, Room 135). For more information, or to schedule a private show, please call (231) 777-0289, or email

Branching Out: Michigan Woodworkers
‎December 11, 2014 through February 8, 2015, come to the Muskegon Museum of Art for “Branching Out: Michigan Woodworkers”.  Branching Out features the art of Michigan artists who work in wood. Sculpture, fine furniture, and craft objects will be on display, highlighting the range of techniques and forms these artists are incorporating to create their pieces.  Branching Out is part of the MMA’s ongoing Made in Michigan Artist Series, a commitment to supporting and exhibiting the work of Michigan artists.  For more information, call 231-720-2570.

Art Talk: Regional Ekphrastic Poetry Competition
January 22-March 26, you’re invited to be part of the Art Talk: Regional Ekphrastic Poetry Competition of the Muskegon Museum of Art.

Ekphrasis: The graphic, often dramatic, description of a visual work of art

All adult/college writers residing within the state of Michigan are invited to create original ekphrastic poems based on works of art from the Muskegon Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

  • The 10 artworks may be viewed on-line at or at the MMA on January 22.  Competition guidelines and entry forms will also be available for download or to pick up in the gift store on January 22.
  • Cash prizes, Museum memberships, and gift certificates will be awarded to the winning poets.
  • Competition entries will be accepted through March 26. The awards ceremony and award winners reading will take place April 23.

Call 231-720-2570 for more information.

Belinda the Ballerina and Friends: The Illustrations of Amy Young
‎Belinda the Ballerina and Friends: The Illustrations of Amy Young is an exhibition of original book illustrations by artist Amy Young at the Muskegon Museum of Art.  Big-footed ballerinas, dogs on boats, and mud fairies are just a few of the characters that Amy Young has brought to life through her stories and bright, colorful book illustrations. This exhibition features original artwork she created for the popular children’s book Belinda the Ballerina and other books that Young has written and illustrated. The exhibition will be on display February 5 through April 26, 2015.  For more information, call 231-720-2574.

Muskegon Recreational Club Fish Fry
‎It’s Muskegon Recreation Club’s Fish Fry Time again!  Every other Friday from September 19 – through Good Friday, April 3, you’re invited to take part in their popular fish dinner.  Take out is from 5:00pm – 7:30pm.  Dine in from 5:30pm – 7:30pm.  The cost is $9 for 1 lb. of Lake Perch, your choice of potato, coleslaw and bread.  Onion rings are available for $3.00.  The club is located at 1763 Lakeshore Dr.  For more information, visit

Muskegon Farmers Market
Shop for your fresh, local products during the winter months inside at the Muskegon Farmers Market from 9:00am-2:00pm each Saturday in their warm, cozy barn at 242 W. Western Ave., downtown Muskegon.

Price to Hold Office Hours in Spring Lake

State Rep. Amanda Price will sponsor in-district office hours in Spring Lake on Friday, Feb. 6, to meet with local residents and discuss issues of interest or concern.

Price will be at the Spring Lake District Library, located at 123 E. Exchange St., from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Anyone is welcome to stop by as their schedules allow during that time, and appointments are not necessary.

Residents can contact Price at any time by calling toll-free (888) 238-1008 or by emailing

Board of Trustees_ 12-08-14


A work session of the Fruitport Charter Township Board began at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, December 8, 2014, in the township board room.

Members Present:   Carol Hulka, Clerk; Rose Dillon, Treasurer; Trustee Ron Becklin, Dave Markgraf, and Chuck Whitlow.  Member Absent: Marjorie Nash, Trustee–excused

At 7:00 p.m., Supervisor Werschem opened the regular meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance followed with a prayer.

Also Present: 0-employees; 0-residents, and Public Safety Director, Doctor

The meeting minutes of November 24, 2014, regular meeting, were approved as presented.
The meeting minutes of November 24, 2014, closed session, were approved as presented.
The meeting agenda for December 8, 2014 board meeting was approved as presented.


The Board received the following:
a. Fruitport Charter Township Clerk, Carol Hulka, has attained the Certified Michigan Municipal Clerk (CMMC) certification through the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks.

  1. Fruitport Township Parks & Recreation minutes for October 2014.
  2. MTA Legislative updates.
  3. Revenue and Expenditure report for period ending 10/32/2014

PUBLIC COMMENTS – none received


14-126 Adoption- Zone Change / 3721 Ida
Rose Dillon moved, Chuck Whitlow seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to amend the Township’s zoning map by changing the zoning classification as follows: from B-3 Business District to B-2 Business District. Property information: Parcel #61-15-800-000-0012-00 or 3721 Ida, Fruitport, M I 49415.

Reasons for changing the zoning classification:
a. Requested zoning will not result in spot zoning.
b. Requested zoning will not be inconsistent with the surrounding property.
c. Property does have to be rezoned in order to be reasonably used as a conforming use.
d. Requested zoning would have the following effect on surrounding property values: remains the same.
e. Requested zoning would have the following effect on the market value of the property in question: remains the same or possibly increase due to a conforming use.
f. Requested zoning would be consistent with the general trend of future building and population growth in the area.
g. Requested zoning would be consistent with the Master Plan.
h. Rezoning will take the property from B-3, pre-existing, non-conforming to conforming under B-2 with a square footage above the required 15,000 sq. ft. and frontage of 100’-o” or greater.

This constitutes the second and final reading. The Ordinance number 786.

Ayes:   Dillon, Whitlow, Markgraf, Hulka, Becklin, Werschem     Nays: None


14-127 Police Department Vacancy
Brian Werschem moved, Dave Markgraf seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to promote part-time officer Rob Adkins to full-time effective 12/08/2014. Officer Adkins is filling a full-time position due to a vacancy.

Ayes: Werschem, Markgraf, Whitlow, Becklin, Dillon, Hulka   Nays: None

14-128 Budget Adjustments
Rose Dillon moved, Ron Becklin seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve the budget adjustments as presented.

Ayes: Dillon, Becklin, Hulka, Whitlow, Markgraf, Werschem   Nays: None

14-129   Payment of Bills
Dave Markgraf moved, Carol Hulka seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve bills in the following amounts: General Fund (including Parks) $17,086.77; Public Safety $36,832.69;   Water $74,698.30;

Sewer $10,784.03 =  $139,40l.79  Grand Total

Ayes: Markgraf, Hulka, Dillon, Becklin, Whitlow, Werschem          Nays: None


Santa Claus will be fire station #2 on Black Creek Road on Saturday, December 13 at noon-2:00 p.m.

The Township employees Christmas party will on December 18th. The party is sponsored by the Board of Trustees.

The motion by Ron Becklin, seconded by Dave Markgraf,, was carried unanimously, to adjourned the meeting at 7:10 p.m.

CAROL HULKA, CLERK                                 BRIAN WERSCHEM, SUPERVISOR