Monthly Archives: January 2016

Ask Dr. Universe – Liquid Nitrogen

Why is liquid nitrogen so cold? -Aaron, 9, Seattle, WA

Dear Aaron,

When I got your question, I headed straight for my friend Jake Leachman’s lab at Washington State University. He’s an engineer who knows a lot about what happens to things when they get super cold.

He showed me a thermos full of colorless, liquid nitrogen. It was about -321 degrees Fahrenheit.

We can’t see it with our eyes, but I found out about 78 percent of our air is made up of nitrogen in its gas form.

You may have heard about states of matter, like liquids, solids and gases. Liquid nitrogen is so cold because of the way molecules change as a gas turns to liquid.

Nitrogen doesn’t naturally occur in a liquid form here on Earth. Humans have to make it from air. Since air is everywhere, it’s pretty cheap. In fact, some people have said making liquid nitrogen is cheaper than making soda pop.

We funnel air into a big compressor where it undergoes a lot of pressure. The compressor pushes the molecules, or those building blocks that make up air closer together.

This compression causes the gas to heat up. While keeping the pressure high we cool it down to the temperature of the lab. Next, we allow the gas to drop in pressure. This is known as expansion.

To expand the gas, sometimes scientists will force the gas through a packed bed of sand, called a throttle. Other times they will push it through a small hole called a Joule-Thomson valve. What works best for cooling though is to have the gas do useful work during the expansion, like spinning a turbine or pushing against a piston.

When the high-pressure gas expands, or relaxes, considerable cooling happens and eventually the gas becomes a very cold liquid. In fact, most gases turn to a liquid when they cool down.

“A liquid is a state of matter where atoms and molecules are continuously bumping into and communicating with their neighbors,” Leachman said, as we put on our safety goggles and gloves. “Gases chill by relaxing. This happens when there’s freed up space and reduced pressure, or stress on them.”

In the lab, Leachman filled a balloon with air and dropped it in the liquid nitrogen. At first, I thought it would pop. But the balloon actually shriveled up, as the air inside turned to liquid oxygen and nitrogen.

When the air inside the balloon got really cold, the particles started to slow down and take up less space.

When he took the balloon out the process reversed. The balloon went back to its original shape. When the liquid boils in room temperature, the molecules in it move faster. When the molecules move faster they take up more space and the balloon gets big again.

“(Liquid nitrogen) also makes great ice cream and frozen marshmallows,” Leachman adds.

He dropped soft, fluffy mini marshmallows into the thermos. When he took them out, they were crunchy frozen. We taste tested them. In the name of science, of course.

Dr. Universe

Got a science question? E-mail Dr. Wendy Sue Universe at Ask Dr. Universe is a science-education project from Washington State University.

Secretary of State unveils Resources to Help Aging Drivers

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, MDOT and other officials unveil resources to help aging drivers

Residents 65 and older comprise the fastest growing segment of the state’s population
LANSING – If you are concerned about an aging loved one’s driving habits or what will happen when it’s time to give up the keys, finding help can be challenging.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and a coalition of stakeholders are providing some much-needed answers through a new state resource for aging drivers, their families and the professionals that work with them. The Safe Drivers Smart Options: Keys to Lifelong Mobility website was officially launched today to provide information about driving, mobility and aging.

“In our car-centric world, seniors don’t want to lose their independence,” Johnson said. “Our goal is to help aging drivers develop strategies that will keep them driving for as long as it is safe to do so. The website also provides options and resources that can ease the transition when the time comes for an aging loved one to give up the car keys.”

Johnson timed the announcement, which was held at the Michigan Library and Historical Center Forum, to coincide with the start of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. Joining her was Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue; David Wresinski, Transportation Planning Bureau director for the Michigan Department of Transportation; and Paula Kartje, a licensed occupational therapist and driver rehabilitation specialist.

The Safe Drivers Smart Options website at is a statewide strategy to address the mobility needs of Michigan’s aging population. The goal is to make sure drivers, their families and professionals have the tools needed to keep aging individuals safe and mobile, whether that’s behind the wheel of a car or on public transportation. Some of the many resources provided through the website will help:

– Aging drivers in assessing their driving skills, finding classes and training specifically for mature drivers, identifying issues that may adversely affect their driving ability, developing strategies that allow them to continue driving safely, and understanding what to do when the time comes to stop driving.

– Families and friends talk with aging drivers about their driving and any problems that are evident, provide resources for families to assist aging drivers in retiring from driving and in finding alternate sources of transportation.

– Connect healthcare professionals, law enforcement personnel and other professional caregivers that work with older adults to resources to better evaluate the needs and concerns of aging drivers, identify physical and mental health issues that impede driving and develop coping strategies to enhance mobility safely.

“Ensuring the safety of the motoring public is a priority for law enforcement,” stated Etue. “The materials available on the Safe Drivers Smart Options website put important safety information and resources readily available at the click of a mouse to anyone seeking specific assistance and guidance when dealing with an aging driver.”

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Michigan Department of Transportation, Secretary of State and Michigan State Police, along with the expertise of numerous other state and private sector organizations, provided the resources for the website.

“When MDOT initiated the idea for an older driver safety strategy in 2013, we knew it had to be a joint effort with a variety of partners,” Wresinski said. “These include healthcare, social services, and public safety officials. It’s a great example of government and non-governmental organizations working together.”

Partner organizations include AARP Michigan, AAA, Michigan Trauma Coalition, and Michigan Academy of Family Physicians.

Michigan has one of the oldest populations in the country. According to the 2010 census, 14 percent of residents are age 65 or older, and this age group is the fastest growing demographic in the state. Secretary of State records show that for drivers 65 and older, there are currently 1,382,133 Michigan residents with a driver’s license compared to 1,049,582 license holders of the same ages in 2005.

“I’m very excited that we now have a comprehensive, easy-to-navigate resource that provides opportunities for driver self-assessment, educational information to keep people driving for as long as possible, and resources to guide drivers, families and professionals through the driving retirement process when necessary,” Kartje said.

“We’re very proud of this latest tool to help motorists stay safe on the road,” Johnson said. “This website takes a challenging and difficult topic and makes it easy to get the answers you and your family need to keep an aging loved one safe and mobile.”

For more information, visit the Safe Drivers Smart Options website at

For media questions, please call Gisgie Dávila Gendreau or Fred Woodhams at 517-373-2520.

For more about the Secretary of State’s Office:
To find Secretary of State office locations and services, visit Sign up for the official Secretary of State Twitter feed at and Facebook updates at Online services are available at

Customers may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a customer-service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).

Rep. Price Sees M-STEP Results as an Opportunity to Improve

Education Committee chair states “This should be used as a road map going forward”

LANSING – With Thursday’s release of detailed Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) results, Rep. Amanda Price, chair of the House Committee on Education, expressed support for the work being done in classrooms throughout the state of Michigan.

“While general statewide data was released in October, this week’s information is specific to school districts,” said Rep. Price, R-Park Township. “It’s clear from the results that there is a need to improve, but we need to emphasize that this is the first year for this specific test. This shows where we are in terms of education across the state of Michigan and should be used as a road map going forward.”

Rep. Price also referenced key education policy items currently before the Legislature. Among these is an initiative to boost early literacy in Michigan, a number of bills to improve the quality of professional development and teacher training, and a bill to create a system to better inform parents about the quality of their child’s school.

“My hope is that our work in Lansing in 2016 can go hand-in-hand with what the Department of Education and local districts are doing in the classroom to improve proficiency in all subjects,” said Rep. Price. “That is the ultimate goal, to provide our children with a world class education so they are career or college ready.”

Ask Dr. Universe – Fingernails

What are fingernails made of? -Amy, 8, Seattle, WA

Dear Amy,

My claws can come in quite handy when I need to scratch my ears or climb trees. I bet you’ve found that your own fingernails can be useful tools, too. Perhaps you’ve used them to pick up a penny or peel an orange.

It turns out that while my claws and your fingernails look a little different, they are actually made out of the same thing: keratin.

That’s what I discovered when I went to visit my friend Professor Lisa Carloye, who teaches biology here at Washington State University.

As you may know, your body is made up of living cells, which make a wide variety of proteins. In fact, about 20 percent of your body is actually made up of proteins—proteins like keratin, which help cells do different jobs.

Sometimes this means building fingernails and toenails. Other times it might mean an animal will grow claws. Claws can then be used for defense, to catch prey, or climb. Keratin can also help some animals grow hooves. Horses, for example, walk on their toenails. It gives their feet a little extra support on rocky ground.

“Claws and hooves and fingernails are all basically the same thing,” Carloye said. “They are adaptations of the same process. Keratin itself is what gives fingernails their rigidity, their strength, and flexibility.”

Oftentimes, fingernails will start growing even before you are born. The process all begins underneath your skin.

If you take a look at someone’s fingernails, you may notice a small crescent moon-shape at the base. It’s called the lunula, the Latin word for little moon. Sometimes it’s easiest to see it on the thumb. The lunula is actually part of the nail called the matrix.

The matrix creates new cells, which help form new layers of keratin. Once fingernails start growing, they’ll keep on growing about two inches each year. The longest nails ever on a pair of hands were measured at more than 28 feet total.

As the fingernails grow and poke up out of your skin, the cells actually die. That’s why it doesn’t hurt to trim your nails at the top. As you may have noticed, it doesn’t hurt to get your hair cut either.

“The other place we find keratin is in hair,” Carloye said. We also find it in fur, feathers, and the top layer of human skin, she adds.

Some scientists can use fingernail clippings, or other kinds of samples that contain keratin, to learn more about what animals eat. Other scientists are curious about how nails grow at different rates and why. Perhaps one of the most devoted nail scientists was William Bean, who observed and tracked his own nail growth for more than twenty years.

We are still looking for more answers to why nails, claws, and hooves grow exactly the way they do. But now you know that keratin makes up our nails and helps them grow—slowly, but surely.

Dr. Universe

Got a science question? E-mail Dr. Wendy Sue Universe at Ask Dr. Universe is a science-education project from Washington State University.

A Fifth Letter to America

The recent Islamic Terrorist attack in California brought out the usual reaction from American politicians and others.  Some immediately blamed guns and suggested more gun laws, ignoring the fact that it is ungodly humans who pull the trigger.

When the perpetrators turned out to be Islamic, the question they wanted answered was, how did they get radicalized?   Like if they didn’t know!

Historians tell us that Prophet Mohammed respected both the Jewish and the Christians and that he told his followers to leave them alone (don’t try to convert them), because they already knew God.  So obviously, He believed in the Living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel).

However, later things changed, so that now, The Koran (Qur’an), contains such things as, “Kill them [the infidels, namely Christians and Jews] wherever you may come upon them, and seize them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every conceivable place.”-Sura 9:5

So the Prophet’s love of the Living God has now been turned into hatred against God’s Chosen People, the Jews and Christians, and the rest of the world.  Now the Muslim Brotherhood says, “Our mission: world domination.”  Some Muslim slogans are, “Death to America,” “Kill the Jews,” “Kill the Unbelievers.”

Yes America.  Islam is serious when they say, “death to America.” To them it is death to everyone who doesn’t follow their God.  That is not exactly what the Living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob commanded.  His commandments were, “Thou shall not kill,” and “Love thy neighbor.”

Sadly, God’s plan for salvation, through the forgiveness of Man’s sin, by the shedding of His precious Son’s blood, has been rejected by Islam.  Instead, they tell their followers the path to Heaven is by killing those who do not believe in Allah, and that by doing so, 70 family members will win entrance to Heaven too.  And some ask for a motive!!

Lest we forget, America too has rejected God and His Word (Jesus Christ our Lord).

Manuel Ybarra, Jr.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Coalgate, OK

Fruitport Charter Township Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes of November 23, 2015

The regular meeting of the Fruitport Charter Township Board was called to order by Supervisor Brian Werschem at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, November 23, 2015, in the township board room.

Supervisor Werschem opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer.

Members Present:  Brian Werschem, Supervisor; Carol Hulka, Clerk; Rose Dillon, Treasurer; Trustees  Ron Becklin, Dave Markgraf, Marjorie Nash and Chuck Whitlow.  Members Absent:  No one

Also Present:    0 -township residents; 0-employees; Public Safety Director, Doctor, Attorney Ron Bultje, Muskegon County Equalization Director, Donna VanderVries and Assessor, Annette Messenger

The board meeting minutes of November 9, 2015—regular meeting—was approved as presented.

The board meeting agenda for November 23, 2015, was approved as presented.

1) Michigan Township Legislative up-dates
2) Fruitport District Library–annual maintenance expenses report for Oct 2014 to Sept 2015



15-106  Part Time Firefighters Wage Increase
Dave Markgraf moved, seconded by Rose Dillon, MOTION CARRIED, to increase the wages of part time firefighters from $11.59 to $12.05 per hour, effective December 1, 2015.  A wage increase of 2% for 2014 and 2% for 2015 was recommended by the Public Safety Committee.

Ayes:  Markgraf, Dillon,  Becklin, Hulka, Whitlow, Werschem
Nays:  Nash

15-107  Amendments to Master Plan
The Supervisor reported that Planning Commission is working on amendments to the master plan using current census data for future use.

15-108  Assessing Contract with County of Muskegon
Ron Becklin moved, supported by Marjorie Nash, MOTION CARRIED, to adopt the Muskegon County Equalization Contract Agreement.  The Agreement is for five years at the cost of $60,000 annually.  The Agreement will provide for a property assessment administration program to be administrated by the County Equalization Director, or designated representative, which will list, appraise, and maintain a complete set of records for all real and personal property.

Ayes:  Becklin, Nash, Dillon, Hulka, Whitlow, Werschem
Nays:  Markgraf

15-109  Payment of Bills
Carol Hulka  moved, supported by Dave Markgraf , MOTION CARRIED, to approve bills for payment in the following amounts:   General Fund and Parks: $71,924.28;  Public Safety: $118,655.21;  Water: $50,743.64;   Sewer $20,253.29       Total: $261,576.42

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

On Thursday, December 3rd, the Township Board of Trustees will host  the Township employees Christmas party.

The motion by Ron Becklin, supported by Marjorie Nash, was carried unanimously, to adjourn the meeting at 7:40 p.m.


Population Control in China

China’s two-child policy as evil as their one-child policy

Recently, the Communist Party of China announced they will now allow all couples to have two children. For decades, China used forced abortions, forced sterilizations, extreme fines and other violence against individuals to ruthlessly enforce a policy which limited couples to only having one child. This evil policy has directly led to millions of sex-selection abortions in a country where many families favor boys over girls.

It should be made clear that China is not changing from a one-child policy to a two-child policy because their conscience was awakened after decades of gross violations of human rights. Rather, China changed their policy because they could no longer ignore the future demographic and economic nightmare they are facing. The percentage of elderly members of their population is dramatically rising and the number of workers is shrinking.

Writer Joel Kotkin, whose work focuses on demographics, detailed this crisis:

“Perhaps the most troubling impact will be on the workforce. In 2050, the number of children in China under 15 is expected to be 60 million lower than today, approximately the size of Italy’s population. It will gain nearly 190 million people 65 and over, approximately the population of Pakistan, which is the world’s sixth most populous country.”

China’s population control scheme not only hurt their society’s future, but they had to hurt their own citizens to carry it out.

The atrocities of the one-child policy made worldwide headlines in 2012 when Chen Guangcheng, the blind lawyer, arrived at the American embassy in China. He had been imprisoned in his own home and beaten for exposing how China subjected hundreds of thousands of women in his Shandong region to forced abortions and forced sterilizations. Chen made a daring escape—totally blind and with a broken foot—and eventually made it to the American embassy with the help of friends. Chen and his family were eventually allowed to leave China with the help of the U.S. government.

Responding to China’s announced change, Chen noted that women and their families in China will still face harsh penalties if they do not abide by China’s two-child policy:

“At a time when the law in China specifically forbade violent or coercive practices in enforcing population control, I found that officials were regularly breaking into people’s homes, destroying and confiscating property, and dragging away pregnant women to undergo abortions against their will.

“It is clear, though, that simply changing the number of ‘allowed’ children will never result in real changes on the ground. Now, the emphasis will be simply on eliminating a third child, as they used to do with the second child, and collecting as many fines as possible along the way.”

China’s policy change is likely too late to stave off their demographic crisis, and certainly cannot make up for a missing generation of girls and the horrible injustices their parents were forced to endure.

Ask Dr. Universe – Snow

How does snow form? –Susan, 8, Lake City, South Carolina

Dear Susan,

It just so happens that when I looked out the window here in Pullman, Wash., everything was covered in glittering snow. I watched it fall from the sky and wondered how exactly it formed, too.

So I put on my favorite red mittens and went to visit my friend Nic Loyd, a meteorologist here at Washington State University. He studies what’s going on up in the skies.

He explained that water moves through our atmosphere in different forms all the time. Clouds are made up of tiny water droplets that have turned into a gas called water vapor. It comes from evaporated water that rises from Earth’s surface.

So, in a single snowball, you might actually find traces of water from rivers, lakes, or oceans around the world.

Sometimes cool air up in the sky will cause water drops to hang onto pieces of dust, tiny bacteria, or other things floating in the air.

When the temperature plunges, the now heavier water drops will freeze into tiny ice crystals.

“Snow occurs when lots of tiny ice crystals in clouds stick together to form snowflakes,” Loyd said.

The flakes can be made up of anywhere from two to more than 200 ice crystals.

The hydrogen and oxygen building blocks that make up water will also freeze into particular patterns that give nearly all snowflakes six arms.

While snowflakes share this trait, they can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. In fact, you may have heard the phrase “no two snowflakes are alike.”

Some of the first humans who took pictures of snowflakes under a microscope realized snowflakes came in lots of beautiful and different patterns.

After further research, it turns out some snowflakes actually are identical. It’s pretty rare to find two that are exactly alike. But the odds of finding them go up when you consider that a block of snow, just a foot tall by a foot wide, contains an estimated million billion snowflakes.

Once snowflakes have formed up in the clouds, gravity brings them down to Earth’s surface. It’s a nearly 20,000-foot fall.

Typically, it takes about an hour for a snowflake to fall from a cloud to the ground. That is, if we don’t catch them on our tongues first.

Snowflakes are lighter than rain and they are easily blown in the wind, so the journey is longer than a raindrop’s, which takes just about three minutes.

“Snow can only reach the ground if the temperature is below freezing everywhere in the atmosphere,” Loyd added. “If snow reaches the ground that means that it was never rain at any point during its journey from the cloud.”

After I left Loyd’s lab, I plopped down in a drift to make a snow cat angel. Then I looked up to the sky again. This time knowing that no matter where you go, somewhere in the world countless tiny snowflakes are forming up in the clouds.

Dr. Universe

Letter to the Editor – Football

Unknown writer

Is your life like a lifetime movie? What if Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser had been teachers instead of the political business for careers? Would they have lost their jobs and lots more? Doubtful – and a lot of we women would know who got tired of middle-aged former husbands, lovers and current husbands who suffer from the Peter Pan disease of liking guys in costumes beating the stuffing out of other guys in costumes, than discussing football with more old guys better than being with us.

At least the males get out of the house long enough for some of us to be appreciated by grown men instead of well over-aged boys who never grew up.

Soon there will be 40 football bowl games on TV. It isn’t about the pageantry. It’s about the money and always will be. There should be a retirement home for Peter Pan types but there isn’t and that includes the Disney complexes, also very popular with millions of people with money to blow. Guys often wonder why their marriages fall apart, or why things just don’t seem magical anymore. It all started when football became the main religion in America and along the way, some ardent former cheerleaders opted for new game plans.

Happy Holidays!!

Sincerely, 65% of women in America with college degrees
   (Some wives enjoy the game sitting next to their man. They may not be the 65% of the smart college women you refer to, but are probably the real winners, I wonder if being a sports fan is a healthier escape for those whose marriages have fallen apart and no longer magical, then the outlet you suggest for the unhappy women. – I’m looking forward to a response, but how about sharing your name to make the exchange more meaningful?– The Editor)

Mercy Health Seaway Run – 35th Anniversary

MUSKEGON  — The Mercy Health Seaway Run, one of Michigan’s most scenic and most popular runs, celebrates its 35th Anniversary this year! With courses that take advantage of the beautiful shorelines of Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake, it has been a favorite of runners from across Michigan and beyond for over three decades. By creating a fun, family-friendly atmosphere, the Mercy Health Seaway Run celebrates healthy living and a healthy community with events for all ages and abilities – in 2015, 3,333 participants ran or walked! The Lake Michigan Half Marathon is now an established part of the Mercy Health Seaway Run line up of events, with a unique name for this course that showcases our beautiful Lake Michigan.

To kick off the 35th Anniversary celebration, the event is offering a $5 discount to participants who register by January 31, 2016! This discount applies to adult registrations only and cannot be combined with other discounts. Kids can still register for as little as $5 (without a t-shirt) or $10 (with a t-shirt).

The running and walking events take place on June 25, 2016, starting near Fricano Place on West Western Avenue in downtown Muskegon. The Healthy Lifestyles Expo will take place at Fricano Place on June 24.

“The community has supported this healthy event for over three decades; this discount is our way of saying thank you,” said race organizers. “We hope to see more people than ever join us for this healthy and fun community event – with three distances and the option to run or walk, there really is something for everyone.” Joe Doyle is continuing his role as Race Director for 2016, with Chris Burnaw and Don Martines on board for another year as co-chairs. A dedicated group of volunteers is also a key part to making this a safe and fun event for all.

Participants in all events can register online quickly and easily at Proceeds from the event benefit the 1 in 21 Healthy Muskegon County initiative and Muskegon Family YMCA healthy community programs.
About 1 in 21:
Launched by the Muskegon Rotary Club in 2011, the vision of 1 in 21 is that Muskegon County will be the healthiest County in Michigan by 2021, because a healthy community is the foundation for academic achievement and economic prosperity. To learn more, visit

About the Muskegon Family YMCA:
The mission of the Muskegon Family YMCA is to put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. To learn more, visit

About the Mercy Health:
Dedicated to providing more personalized care with easier access to specialists and a seamless patient experience, Mercy Health is a multi-location health care system serving West Michigan with five hospital campuses, 58 physician offices, 1,174 physicians, over 800 hospital beds, and 7,200 associates. Mercy Health includes all Mercy Health Partners hospitals and physician offices in Muskegon, Shelby and Norton Shores; Saint Mary’s Health Care locations; and Advantage Health/Saint Mary’s Medical Group. The system provides services throughout West Michigan including specialties in oncology, cardiology, and orthopedics. Mercy Health is a member of Trinity Health, the fourth largest Catholic health care system in the country.

Fruitport Charter Township Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes of December 14, 2015

A work session of the Fruitport Charter Township Board began at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, December 14, 2015, in the township board room.

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

Also Present:  2 – guests

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

The November 23, 2015 meeting minutes—regular meeting—were approved as presented.

The motion by Dave Markgraf, seconded by Rose Dillon, was Carried Unanimously, to approve the  December 14, 2015, board meeting agenda with the following addition under Unfinished Business (rather than under New Business as indicated on the meeting agenda), Item B:  Street light proposal for DeFeyter Street and Item C, Under New Business: Pursue a declaratory judgement against MADL

PUBLIC COMMENTS – None received

Michigan Township Association (MTA) Legislative Updates
Planning Commission meeting minutes of November 24, 2015
Parks & Recreation meeting minutes of December 1, 2015
Revenue and Expenditure Report for period ending 11/30/2015
Fruitport Township will be hosting the February 29, 2016 Muskegon County MTA Chapter meeting

15-110  Amendments to Master Plan
The Township Board has reviewed the Master Plan and is satisfied with its content.

Chuck Whitlow moved, seconded by Rose Dillon, MOTION CARRIED, to approve the document for distribution by notifying the Secretary of the Planning Commission.

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

15-112  New Street Light for Dead End of DeFeyter Street
Ron Becklin moved, seconded by Marjorie Nash, MOTION CARRIED, to authorize Consumer Energy to proceed with installing one street light at the dead end of DeFeyter Street at the cost of $100.00 plus a monthly fee.

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

15-113  Public Hearing-  Fruitport Apartments PUD
Chuck Whitlow moved, seconded by Ron Becklin, MOTION CARRIED, to open the public hearing at 7:13 p.m. in order to hear any objections on the preliminary development plan request at 1986 Mt. Garfield Road, Muskegon, MI 49444, Parcel #61-15-127-100-0009-00 to develop existing property into 5-building apartment complex.  Developer, Gary Smith, was in attendance.

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

No property owners were in attendance to comment or ask questions.

The motion by Chuck Whitlow, supported by Dave Markgraf, was carried unanimously, to close the public hearing at 7:25 p.m. for the proposed 5-building apartment complex.

Chuck Whitlow moved, seconded by Marjorie Nash, MOTION CARRIED, to approve the preliminary development plan for the proposed 5-building apartment complex.

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

15-114  White Road Property
Chuck Whitlow moved, seconded by Dave Markgraf, MOTION CARRIED, to sell Township acquired property near White Road of .25 acres to White Road property owner, Albert Smedley, for $2,000 plus 4% interest.  On December 1, 2016 and on December 1, 2017, the amount of $1,000 plus interest will be added to Mr. Smedley’s tax bills.  Upon completion of land contract, Mr. Smedley’s current property and the additional property is to be combined into one parcel.

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

15-115  MADL (Muskegon Area District  Library) Vote  
The motion by Ron Becklin, supported by Rose Dillon, was Carried Unanimously, to authorize Scholten Fant to pursue a declaratory judgement action in Muskegon County Circuit Court, seeking to clarify that Fruitport Charter Township and Fruitport Village residents shall not vote in any 2016 millage election regarding a millage proposition from MADL, and shall not be subject to or liable to pay any millage which results from any 2016 millage election proposition from MADL.

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

15-116  Payment of Bills
Dave Markgraf moved, Carol Hulka  seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve bills for payment in the following amounts:  General Fund & Parks $56,191.39;  Public Safety $71,754.73;  Water $39,594.00
Sewer $6,079.76       Totaling:$173,619.88

PUBLIC COMMENTS  —  None received


The motion by Dave Markgraf, seconded by Ron Becklin, was Carried Unanimously, to adjourn the meeting at 7:55 p.m.


Alley Door 2016 Season Announcement

The Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts
proudly presents the 11th Season of
“The Alley Door Club”
with a new twist:
“Sip, Savor & Shimmy!”
  Tasting Events with local
                Breweries, Wineries & Mills             

THE FRAUENTHAL CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS is excited to announce a new twist on an old favorite!  The Alley Door Club has enjoyed great success for 10 seasons but now it’s time to add something new!  We are celebrating our 11th Season by adding “Sip, Savor & Shimmy!” tasting events to each night of the 2016 Alley Door Club!  A local brewery, winery or mill has been paired with each band to give you a new social experience and an opportunity to “Sip, Savor and Shimmy!” the night away!

We’ve got our favorite bands returning as well as adding in some new requests.  This season promises to be the best year yet!

Doors open at 6 pm for Happy Hour ($1 off all drinks), the bands play from 7 – 10 pm.

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.

2016 Schedule:
Friday, Jan. 8 ~ The Vincent Hayes Project (blues, funk, soul) & Fetch Brewery
Friday, Jan. 22 ~ Big Daddy Fox & Friends (r&b, rockin’ blues) & Lemon Creek Winery
Friday, Feb. 12 ~ Westside Soul Surfers (stunning range of tastes, genres & eras) & Pigeon Hill Brewery                  
Friday, Feb. 26 ~ Brena (rock) & Odd Side Ales
Friday, Mar. 11 ~ The Crane Wives (homegrown indi-folk that defies musical stereotypes) & Vander Mill Cider
Friday, Mar. 25 ~ Jaded 8 (classic rock, modern rock, 80’s, even chick songs) & Dutch Girls Brewery
Friday, Apr. 8 ~ House Rockers (r&b, funk, soul) & Michigan Wines
Friday, Apr. 22 ~ Yard Sale Underwear (the self proclaimed king of polyester pop & soul) & Unruly Brewery


alley door

Muskegon County Calendar of Events 01/11/16-01/18/16

Presented by the Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau

01/11/2016 – 01/26/16 January Series

‎The Calvin College January Series is streamed live in the Beardsley Theater and is free to the public. Lectures are January 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25 and 26 from 12:30pm – 1:30pm. For more information on the speakers please visit

01/11/2016 – WWII Book Discussion: Sophie’s Choice

‎The Silversides Museum is sponsoring a film and book discussion group on the topic of the Holocaust. The film will be shown at the Museum, the book discussion will take place at Hackley Public Library Monday, January 11 at 6:00pm. This month the book is Sophie’s Choice by William Stryron and the Movie is “Sophie’s Choice” which will be shown at 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm at the Silversides Museum on Wednesday, January 13.

01/12/2016 – Las Vegas Travel Guide

‎Thinking of going to Las Vegas? Before you do, come to Hackley Public Library Monday, January 12 at 6:00pm and hear from Lou Gifford on what to see and do.  For more information, call 231-722-7276.

01/14/2016 – Brown Bag Film: The Quilts of Gee’s Bend

‎Thursday, January 14 at 12:15pm, come to the Muskegon Museum of Art for the Brown Bag Film, “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend.’  (28 mins.) This remarkable group of women that make up Gee’s Bend pushed the ordinary quilt to new boundaries. Learn about the history behind their quilts and how these stunning and vibrant quilts were discovered. An etching and aquatint by Mary Lee Bendolph, inspired by African American quilts, is part of the Common Ground exhibition.

The MMA’s Winter Brown Bag Films highlight the lives and work of renowned African American artists as part of the MMA’s Finding Common Ground program series. Film admission is free. You may bring your lunch. Free coffee and cookies will be served. Brown Bag films are shown on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 12:15pm. The auditorium doors open at noon. (Please note: Paid admission is required to enter the galleries.) Films are underwritten by MMA Education Partner: Alcoa Foundation/Whitehall Operations.  For more information, visit

01/14/2016 – Digital Regional Entry Workshop

‎Thursday, January 14 from 6:00–7:00pm, come to the Muskegon Museum of Art for the Digital Regional Entry Workshop.  MMA Associate Curator, Art Martin, will walk you through their new Regional Exhibition digital entry process, including how to prepare digital images of your artwork. Admission is free.  Visit for more information.

01/15/2016 – Advancing an Urban Agenda

‎Unity is the theme of the day January 15, and local mayors and city managers will join the public to discuss issues facing Muskegon County communities.  The public roundtable discussion “Advancing an Urban Agenda” will follow the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Day Breakfast, tickets for which are sold out. The breakfast will be at Muskegon Community College, while the roundtable discussion will be across the street at Baker College’s Student Center, 1903 Marquette Ave., beginning at 10:00am.

The public is encouraged to join the conversation as the community leaders tackle three crucial issues: public safety, healthy neighborhoods and economic development that creates family-sustaining jobs.  The roundtable discussion is described as an “interactive, problem-solving, future-action oriented session.”

01/15/2016 – West Michigan Symphony Presents: Luck of the Irish

‎Enjoy a little luck of the Irish with international recording artist and former lead singer of Cherish the Ladies, Cathie Ryan, as she warms up West Michigan with heartfelt lyrics, beloved ballads and traditional tunes of the Emerald Isle. An inaugural member of the Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame, Cathie Ryan along with her band will provide a spirit-lifting evening of Irish music with guest conductor Andrew Koehler and the West Michigan Symphony orchestra.

Single Ticket Prices: $22-$52 Student tickets: $10

Call Rita at 231-726-3231 x223 for tickets and more information.

01/16/2016 – 01/17/16 White River Steelheaders Annual Perch Festival

‎The White River Steelheaders Annual Perch Festival is returning to Montague January 16-17 at the Montague VFW. The 32nd annual event is scheduled to have a chili cookoff on Saturday, as well as two days to catch the largest fish in Muskegon, Oceana, Mason and Newaygo counties.

The festival kicks off at noon January 16 with weigh-in times scheduled during the day between noon and 4:00pm, and also on January 17 between 10:00am and 2:00pm.  For more information on the event or to find out how to get involved, contact Clint Pollock at 231-893-0210.

01/16/2016 – 9th Annual Hot Rod Harley-Davidson Chili Cook-Off

‎The 9thAnnual Hot Rod Harley-Davidson Chili Cook-Off is happening Saturday, January 16 from 12:00pm – 2:00pm.  Join the Coastline Deli, Hennessy’s Pub, Third Street Grill & Texas Roadhouse as they compete for the title of Chili Champion!  Get free samples and vote for your favorite (while supplies last). Donations will be accepted on behalf of the Pioneer Resources “Pioneer Trails Camp”.

Also, enjoy sizzling hot deals all day. Pick a pepper and get 15% to 25% off all officially licensed products. Discount will be drawn at time of purchase and applies to regular priced items. Cannot be combined with any other offers. Excludes motorcycles, labor, after-market parts, previous purchases and select special orders. For more information, call 231-722-0000.

01/16/2016 – Polish Palooza!

‎January 16 from 6:00-10:00pm, come to the Polish Falcons Club for Polish Palooza!  This fundraiser for the first annual Muskegon Polish Festival will feature live music from Box On, authentic Polish food and a cash bar. All proceeds go toward the start up costs for Muskegon Polish Festival, happening Labor Day Weekend 2016. For more information, visit or check them out on Facebook.

01/18/2016 – Baker College of Muskegon to Honor Martin Luther King Jr.

‎Baker College service projects on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, Monday, January 18, 8:00am-5:00pm at the Student Center include:

  • Coloring lunch bags to be used for take-home meals by children served by the not-for-profit Kids’ Food Basket, which focuses on childhood hunger.
  • Painting peace poles to donate to Pathfinders of Muskegon Heights to sell as a fundraiser. Pathfinders is an education, life skills and violence prevention program for children and teens.
  • collecting canned food for the Baker College Residence Life Food Pantry, which assists students in need.
  • A donation truck from Goodwill will be on site with bins located throughout campus for clothing and household items in good condition.

For more information about Baker College activities for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, contact Kathy Jacobson in the admissions office at or 231-777-5200.

01/18/2016 – Martin Luther King FREE COMMUNITY DAY

‎Monday, January 18 from 11:00am-7:00pm, come to the Muskegon Museum of Art for Martin Luther King FREE COMMUNITY DAY!  The MMA will open its doors for free on this community day that will include free admission, children’s art activities, guided exhibition tours, and films that will be shown throughout the day. Three exhibitions of artwork by African American artists will be open to view at the MMA on January 18: Common Ground: African American Art from the Flint Institute of Arts, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and the Muskegon Museum of Art, The Public Life of Richard Hunt: 21st Century Projects, and I, Too, Am America: The Art of Bryan Collier.


To help people get to the Muskegon Museum of Art, the Muskegon Area Transit System (MATS) will provide free round-trip bus passes to the MMA on January 18. The special bus passes are available at the following Muskegon locations:
Muskegon Museum of Art (296 W. Webster Ave.)
Hackley Public Library (316 W. Webster Ave.)
Muskegon Heights Public Library (2808 Sanford St.)
Mona Shores Public Library (705 Seminole Rd.)
Hackley Community Care Center (2700 Baker St.)
MATS Administration Office and Louis A. McMurray Conference Center (2624 Sixth St.)
The Beat 103.7 radio station (1877 Peck St.)
Muskegon County Clerk’s Office (990 Terrace St., 1st floor)
Selected area businesses
Many area churches

Riders may present their passes at the Muskegon Museum of Art on January 18 to receive the free return ride to their home bus stop. The free bus pass program is underwritten by Muskegon County Clerk Nancy A. Waters and Attorney James. L. Waters, Fifth Third Bank, and the Muskegon Museum of Art. This community day is underwritten by Meijer.  Visit for more information.

01/18/2016 – Lumberjacks MLK Day Lunchtime Hockey!

‎The Lumberjacks celebrate Muskegon, honor Martin Luther King Junior and play “Lunch-time Hockey” Monday, January 4! The Muskegon Lumberjacks have partnered with the City of Muskegon, the Chamber of Commerce and Muskegon Heights to create a must-attend event that celebrates the ongoing revitalization of Muskegon, while also honoring the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King.

This unique 12:15pm game (doors open at 11:15pm) provides a great opportunity for local businesses to come together and cheer on one another, the City of Muskegon and the Muskegon Lumberjacks.

“With many Muskegon County school-age children as well as State and Federal Employees enjoying the MLK Holi-day, we have a special-priced Watch Us Go $12 Ticket available. The ticket includes a great seat, a hot-dog and soda voucher, and also a $2 donation to support the “Watch Muskegon Campaign”. “We are pulling out all the stops to make Monday, January 18th a special day in Muskegon,” shared Lumberjack’s President, Rob Murphy.

Additionally, local businesses are encouraged to provide value added coupons and special offers to be included in a special “Watch Us Go” goodie bag that will be given to all guests in attendance.

The Lumberjacks will sport special “Watch Us Go” patches on their jerseys and special guests including Fox Sports Detroit analyst (and former Detroit Red Wing), Darren Eliot, as well as members of the West Michigan LakeHawks will be in attendance to meet and greet fans pre-and post-game.

For more information, or to get involved, please contact the Muskegon Lumberjacks President of Business Opera-tions, Rob Murphy at or 231-724-5225 x 235, or Sales and Marketing Coordi-nator Cara Mendelson at or 231-724-5225 x 224.

Ongoing Events:

Pennants on Display

‎Pennants from the collection of Peggy Tully are now on display in the Collectors Corner at the Lakeshore Museum Center. Her collection showcases pennants collected in the late 1940s and early 1950s from all over the United States and Canada. Starting with the collector’s hometown of Marshall, Michigan all the way to the Grand Canyon and beyond. This collection will be on display through the end of February 2016.  The museum is open weekdays from 9:30am to 4:30pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 4:00pm.  For more information, call 231-722-0278 or visit

The Holocaust: A Ripple in Time

‎When you have survived one of the greatest tragedies imaginable, where do you go from there? Walk through an exhibit that explains life before, during and after the Holocaust. Cost is $5.00 per person or free with your USS Silversides Submarine Museum membership. The exhibit will run through February 22, 2016. For more information, call 231-755-1230.

Storytelling through the Mail: Tall Tale Postcards

‎The Lakeshore Museum Center invites you to explore the exhibit “Storytelling through the Mail: Tall Tale Postcards.”  Imagine a land where corn grows to the size of tree trunks; where the lakes are so cold the trout have fur coats; where deer have become the hunters and men are their prey. These assorted oddities come vividly to life in this exhibit at the Lakeshore Museum Center. Tall tales are humorous stories of exaggeration that often involve ludicrous or absurd imagery.  The exhibit features over 80 tall tale postcards demonstrating this unique form of popular humor.  The exhibit is on loan from the Michigan State University Museum. The Lakeshore Museum Center is located at 430 W. Clay Ave. Hours are weekdays from 9:30am to 4:30pm and Saturdays from Noon to 4:00pm. Admission is free. For more information, visit

A Bridge Between: Whitehall and Montague .

‎The Lakeshore Museum Center invites you to view the exhibit, “A Bridge Between: Whitehall and Montague.” Artifacts and photographs tell the story of the early days of Montague and Whitehall when the cities got their start during the lumbering industry.  Lumber mills attracted workers who needed housing, food, and supplies so stores and hotels were built. Businesses like tanneries and shingle mills which made use of the excess bark and wood from lumbering also moved into the community.  Hours are weekdays from 9:30am to 4:30pm and Saturdays from Noon to 4:00pm. Admission is free.  For more information, visit

Reading by Any Means Necessary

‎You’re invited to the James Jackson Museum of African American History for the “Reading…by any means necessary” program, every Monday through Saturday from 2:00-5:30pm.  The museum is located at 7 E. Center St. in Muskegon Heights.  Call 231-739-9500 for more information.

Solar Superstorms

‎A fury is building on the surface of the sun, with high-velocity jets, a fiery tsunami wave that reaches 100,000 kilometers high, and rising loops of electrified gas. What’s driving these strange phenomena? How will they affect planet Earth? Find the answers as we venture into the seething interior of our star. “Solar Superstorms” is a major new production that takes viewers into dramatic flares, violent solar tornadoes, and the largest eruptions in the solar system: coronal mass ejections. The program features one of the most intensive efforts ever made to visualize the inner workings of the sun, including a series of groundbreaking computer visualizations. This NEW 30-minute program will be at 7:00 pm on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, January 12 – March 31 (except: closed Mar 1 & 3 for spring break), and will be followed by a brief constellation demonstration projected on the planetarium dome. As always, the show is free, and no reservations are needed. Doors open for seating at 6:45. For more information, or to schedule a private show for groups of 15-44, please call (231) 777-0289 or email

The Public Life of Richard Hunt: 21st Century Projects

‎November 5, 2015 through January 24, 2016, you’re invited to the Muskegon Museum of Art for “The Public Life of Richard Hunt: 21st Century Projects”!  Sculptor Richard Hunt is nationally known for his bent, shaped, and welded steel or bronze sculptures of fluid and vibrant organic forms. Hunt is one of the most prolific artists working in public art today and created Muskegon, Together Rising, the monumental stainless steel sculpture at the center of the Patricia B. Johnson (traffic) Circle in downtown Muskegon. Because of Muskegon’s relationship with Hunt, and in honor of his 80th birthday this year, the MMA present the exhibition, The Public Life of Richard Hunt: 21st Century Projects, organized by the Krasl Art Center, Saint Joseph, Michigan. Muskegon, Together Rising will be a key component of the exhibition, its history and development represented by two stainless steel models from the MMA collection, and a group of preliminary drawings and installation photographs. Visitors will discover how large scale public works develop and the many subtle changes that come about during the creative and collaborative process before a final project is realized. The Public Life of Richard Hunt is underwritten by PNC. Media sponsor is Blue Lake Public Radio. For more information, visit

COMMON GROUND: African American Art

‎December 10, 2015 through March 20, 2016, come to the Muskegon Museum of Art for the exhibition, “COMMON GROUND: African American Art from the Flint Institute of Arts, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and the Muskegon Museum of Art”!  Common Ground is a collaboration between three Michigan art museums showcasing the best of each institution’s renowned collections of African American artwork combined in one exhibition, including some of the most important African American artists from the nineteenth century to present day. Common Ground is divided into five thematic areas that will give a broad overview of the history of African American art, showing its diversity as well as its commonality. The exhibition includes more than 60 top-rated works in various mediums, including painting, sculpture, and works on paper. Common Ground is underwritten by DTE Foundation with additional support from Fifth Third Bank and the Nancy A. Waters and Mark Waters Fund of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County. MLive/Muskegon Chronicle is the Common Ground media sponsor.  For more information, visit

After School Movie Madness!

‎Kids are invited to Walker Public Library at 3:15pm every Thursday (except for when there is a half-day or no school) for “After School Movie Madness!”  Age appropriate movies are shown and popcorn is provided while supplies last!  Call 231-744-6080 or visit the library to find out what movie is playing each week!

Muskegon Civic Theatre Saturday Classes

‎The Muskegon Civic Theatre offers wonderful enrichment classes for kids every Saturday from January 2-February 6.  There are three different levels based on your child’s age:

Kreative Kids and Characters
Grades 2–3
Saturdays 10:00-11:00am
$75 per 6-week semester

Characters Create
Grades 4–6
Saturdays 10:00-11:00am
$75 per 6-week semester

Exploring Characters
Grades 7–12
Saturdays 9:00-10:00am
$75 per 6-week semester

They accept cash, check or credit card for tuition payment.  Bring or mail your registration and payment to:

Muskegon Civic Theatre
425 W. Western Avenue, Suite 401
Muskegon, MI 49440

For more information, call  (231) 722-3852.

Taco Saturday at Mona Lake Boating Club

‎The public is invited to the Mona Lake Boating Club every Saturday September 5 – May 28 from 11:30am-2:00pm for their famous homemade tacos, taco salads and nachos!  Call 231-798-4011 for more information.

I, TOO, AM AMERICA: The Art of Bryan Collier

‎January 18-April 17, come to the Muskegon Museum of Art for the exhibition, “I, too, am America:  The Art of Bryan Collier.”  This exhibition features 15 large scale original artworks created by Bryan Collier for his picture book, I, Too, Am America, which illustrates the seminal poem, I, Too by Langston Hughes. Collier graduated from the Pratt Institute and was a former Program Director at the Harlem Horizon Institute. His accolades include the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, Caldecott Medal, and Jane Addam’s Children’s Book Award. He was also a nominee for an NAACP image award for Outstanding Children’s Literary Work. Underwritten by the Folkert Family Foundation.  For more information, visit