Monthly Archives: April 2016

Ask Dr. Universe – Aging

Why do we age? –Logan, 12, Pullman, WA

Dear Logan,

It’s usually later in life that we see the more dramatic signs of aging, like gray hair, wrinkles, and lots of birthday candles on our cake. But we really start growing older from the time we are born.

The way humans change across the lifespan fascinates my friend Cory Bolkan, an associate professor of human development here at Washington State University.

“There isn’t really one factor, one theory, or one line of research that can explain aging,” Bolkan said. “It’s kind of an exciting area with lots of opportunities to explore.”

For example, some scientists are really curious about how people age in space versus here on Earth.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly recently returned from a year-long mission aboard the International Space Station. Scientists are curious if conditions of space, like living in weak gravity or being around particular particles from outside the solar system, might change the way a person ages.

They are also interested in the things we can’t always see right away.

Scientists think part of the answer to your question may lie in our genes. So, they want to look at Scott’s DNA.

“Our genes contain information about us that’s been passed down from our parents, grandparents, and ancestors,” Bolkan said. They hold the instructions for hair color and skin color, for example.

Scientists are particularly interested in studying Scott because he also has an identical twin brother. That means they were born with DNA that is exactly the same. Scientists will zoom into the ends of their DNA and observe sections that we think might be linked to growing older.

But it’s not just our genes that play a part in why we age, Bolkan said.

“You can have two identical twins who share the exact same DNA,” Bolkan said. “You can look at them again decades later and you’ll see that genetically they are more different.”

She said this makes the answer to your question even more complex. Our environments interact with our genes, too.

There are certain things in our environment that can damage our genes. The damage can be a result of activities like smoking or not wearing sunscreen. This kind of activity can speed-up the aging process, Bolkan said. Our physical appearance changes as a result of “wear and tear” on our DNA.

While we haven’t pinpointed the exact answer to why we age, we are finding clearer answers to other questions about growing older.

For example, the power of our mind can change the way we age, Bolkan said. Studies have shown people with a positive outlook on aging actually tend to live longer.

“People say ‘I don’t want to get older, it doesn’t look like fun’,” Bolkan said. “But when you look at the research and you look at happiness, we are the happiest later in life.”

Perhaps some of your best birthdays will be the ones with the most candles on your cake.

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.

Y’s Club 2016 White Elephant Sale

TO: Our Supporters in Muskegon and North Ottawa County

RE: 53rd Annual Y’s Club White Elephant Sale—Let Us Help You Spring Clean!

The Muskegon Y’s Club will hold its 53rd Annual White Elephant Sale at 640 Seminole Road – Norton Shores, (Folkert Community Hub – Side Entrance). The times are:

Friday, May 20, 9:AM to 5:PM
Saturday, May 21, 9:AM to 5:PM

AGAIN THIS YEAR – Early birds admitted at 8:AM Friday – with a $5.00 donation

Since 1963, the White Elephant Sale has given our club an opportunity to help children in a very positive away. Because we all are volunteers, monies raised from the White Elephant Sale go primarily YMCA Camp Pendalouan. The bulk of the money is used to finance camp scholarships for a significant number of children in the area.

You can help in a variety of ways: Excess saleable inventory from businesses is most welcome. We also move large amounts of furniture and household goods, office equipment, tools, building materials and supplies. We will pick it up at no cost to you. Should you be unable to donate any merchandise, you can support the White Elephant Sale by donating gift certificates or by making cash donations. We are an Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and will provide you with a receipt at the time of pick up to support your organization’s tax deduction.


We look forwarding to hearing from you. We are setting up our sale site and will be ready to make pick-ups, beginning the week of April 18th. To schedule a pick up, (or drop-off time) please call 231-727-9900. We thank you for your support. YOU ARE IMPORTANT!

Muskegon Y’s Club
1115 Third Street
Muskegon, MI 49441

Newsmakers of the Year

peopleEach year, the Grand Rapids Business Journal recognizes those making the greatest news impact across West Michigan.

We are thrilled to announce that this year your Chamber President Cindy Larsen, along with Muskegon Area First President Ed Garner, and Downtown Muskegon Now (former) Executive Director, Johnathan Seyferth, were one of 56 newsmakers honored at the Newsmakers event at Fredrick Meijer Gardens and in the annual Newsmakers publication!

This recognition was a result of the successful launch of the three year community-wide image and marketing campaign – Watch Muskegon. Congratulations to other Muskegon newsmakers, Michael Brower of Pigeon Hill Brewing Co.
and Bruce Israel of the Muskegon Lumberjacks.

Fruitport Library Replacement Millage – May 3rd

Funding for our Fruitport Library

Last fall our community voted to withdraw from the Muskegon Area
District Library (MADL). That tax millage has now expired.
The millage proposal on the upcoming May 3 ballot is NOT an increase.
The .75 mills you have been paying for the past 10 years will go to operate
our own library rather than the MADL.
It’s listed on the May 3rd ballot as a new millage, but actually replaces
the millage we were paying to MADL.
This funding is needed to keep our Fruitport Library open under our own
management as was explained before our vote to withdraw.
Let us know what services are important to you. Keep in mind during this transition
process that the benefits of creating and running our own library will be worth it.
Like us on Facebook: Fruitport District Library

See page 1 of flyer here.

Questions & Answers About the Library

Q. Will we still have the large selection of books available?
A. All local libraries, including the MADL, Spring Lake & White Lake libraries have a
membership with the Lakeland Library Cooperative, which helps make available the large circulation of books. We will join the Cooperative so we can still access those books/materials.
Q. Where will the Fruitport library be located and when will it be opened?
A. We own the current building by Pomona Park and will continue to use it. We become independent January 1, 2017. We will work hard to be open by that date. If we are not ready to open by that date, we will be able to contract with Spring Lake for a short period until we have our own library up and running.
Q. Will I need a new library card?
A. Yes. All Fruitport library patrons will be issued new library cards.
Q. Will there still be computers for our use? Will we have children’s
A. Yes. It is very important that computers are available. We will continue the children’s programs and, eventually, hope to enhance them.

See page 2 of flyer here.

Citizens to Keep Library Money in Fruitport

APICS Grand Rapids Professional Development Meeting

GRAND RAPIDS MICHIGAN – APICS, the Grand Rapids Chapter, will be hosting their professional development meeting on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at the  GVSU University Club, 401 W Fulton Street in Grand Rapids.  Registration and networking begin at 5:30 PM, hors d’oeuvres at 6:00 PM, and speaker presentation at 7:00 PM.

Mr. Sree Rajagopalan, CEO and President of Murano Corporation will present “Cloud Computing ERP – Aspirin for Supply Chain Headaches!”

Reservations must be received by Noon on Friday, May 6th.  The cost for APICS members is $28.00; non-members $35.00; and full-time students $7.00.  Reservations can be made online at or email to Parking information is on our website.

For more information regarding the Chapter’s professional development meetings and speakers, please visit our website at:

Fruitport Township Board Meeting Agenda – 04-25-16



6:00 Public Safety Committee

01.   Pledge of Allegiance
02.   Roll Call
03.   Approval of Board Minutes: 3/28/16 Regular Meeting
04.   Approve / Amend Agenda
05.   Correspondence / Reports
A.    Tim Burgess – Muskegon Land Bank
06.   Public Comments

07.  Unfinished Business
A.    None

08.  New Business
A.    Cemetery Ordinance – First Reading
B.    Catalina Shores Street Lights
C.    Public Safety Sale of Fixed Asset / Capital Purchase

09.  Approval of Bills
10.  Reports
11.  Public Comments
12.  Adjournment

The Township will provide necessary reasonable aids and services for this meeting to individuals
with disabilities by writing or telephoning the following Township Clerk:  Carol Hulka, Fruitport
Township Hall, 5865 Airline Road, Fruitport, MI 49415 – (231) 865-3151

Citizens to Keep Library Money in Fruitport

Citizens to Keep Library Money in Fruitport Committee
April 20, 2016
Fruitport Township Hall 5:30 p.m.
5865 Airline Road
Fruitport, MI 49415

Goal: How to inform Fruitport residents regarding the May 3rd Library millage?

I. Post cards
a. Mail to registered voter households – give volunteers 20 cards to mail to friends, family & neighbors
a.i. there are 20 stamps in one book.
a.ii. postage went down last Monday to .47 per stamp.
b. Mail to absent tee voters when their ballots are mailed – we are current with these mailings

II. Media – how to reach the most amount of voters in the least expense manner?
a. We are working to have Muskegon Chronicle and/or MLive post an article
b. John Coon will ask Stillwater Springs if he can place an article in their monthly newsletter

III. Information Pamphlet/Cards distributed throughout community

IV. Signs/Banners
A. We are using signs from the November election
B. We are using banners from the November election

Citizens to Keep Library Money in Fruitport Committee

Secretary of State Announces Temporary Alternative Online Renewal System

Move necessary due to issues with current option

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Secretary of State today announced that customers can still renew their license plate tabs or watercraft registration online using an alternative Online Renewal System.

A link to this temporary option is available by clicking on “Online Services” at

“Even though they’ve had 10 years to complete a re-designed SOS computer system, the vendor failed to deliver so we had to terminate the contract,” Johnson said. “We even had to sue to get the vendor to show up to work and give the state access to our own computer code.

“The time spent in court fighting the vendor to return to work and give the state the computer code delayed vital work on and significantly affected our customers’ ability to use the online services. We’re committed to finding a permanent solution that meets our customers’ needs. In the meantime, we want to make sure customers know we have a temporary option.”

If eligible, customers can still renew or replace their driver’s license or ID card, process address changes or request a duplicate title or registration through With the Print ’N Go option, customers can print a proof-of-purchase receipt and drive while they wait for their tabs or license to come in the mail.

While the department continues to finalize some of the processes delayed by issues with the vendor, customers who are having difficulty renewing their vehicle tabs or watercraft registration on are encouraged to try the Online Renewal Service. Customers should be sure to exit before re-trying through the Online Renewal Service.

The Secretary of State offers other ways to do business more conveniently with the department, including Self-Service Stations and MI-TIME Line, which allows customers to schedule an appointment or get in line online at 18 of the busiest offices.

Background information about the vendor, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co., is available here and here.

Ironmen Get Big Win on the Field and Roster

West Michigan Ironmen sign 3 new players, hightlighted by GVSU All-American Jamie Potts.

ironmenMuskegon, MI: The West Michigan Ironmen earned the biggest victory of their early season coming away with a thrilling 34-30 win against division rival Chicago Blitz. The win was big for the young organization beating the Blitz who made it to the AIF championship game a season ago.

While the high-powered Ironmen offense struggled at times, the defense and special teams came up with big plays when it counted most. The defense started the game off with a Rony Nelson sack and forced fumble recovered by Derek VandenBosch for an early Ironmen touchdown. Special teams added another 2 scores on kick returns from Erik Thompson, including a thrilling game winning kick return with :28 seconds remaining in the game. The defense didn’t stop there, Corey Edwards sealed the victory with an interception in the end zone.

The offense had to work with a few new faces on the offensive line after injuries and promotions left the Ironmen without 2 of their starting offensive lineman. The Ironmen have answered their questions on the offensive line with the signings of Oklahoma State University standout Deonte Cruse and UMASS graduate Malcolm Speller along with Amilio Flores of Fruitport (Northwood University).

The offensive line additions aren’t the only new additions to the Ironmen roster. The West Michigan Ironmen have signed all-around athlete Jamie Potts, who recently retired from Professional baseball. Potts, was a standout 3 sport athlete at Oakridge before going to Grand Valley where he was a 2 sport All-American in football and baseball. Potts was drafted in 2015 by the Texas Rangers and played one year in their single A system in Spokane, Washington. Potts retired from baseball and returned home to Muskegon earlier this spring. Head Coach Tyrece Lynk said, “Jamie is a guy that we will be able to use in a lot of different ways. He’s an athlete, and in this game it’s critical to have guys that can help you in a variety of positions, and that’s what Jamie will do.” Potts signed with the team this week and has started practicing. He hopes to be ready to play in the upcoming game against the River City Raiders this Saturday at the L.C. Walker Arena.

River City is currently in first place in the division and the only team this season to have beaten the Ironmen. The Ironmen lost to the Raiders in a thrilling 75-68 game in St. Louis, MO earlier this season. With a win the Ironmen will put themselves in the drivers seat to win the division and get home field advantage in the playoffs. The game will kick off Saturday at7:05 at the L.C. Walker Arena.

Season tickets,individual game tickets, or group packages to watch the Ironmen take on Chicago at the L.C. Walker arena are on sale now. Keep checking for the latest news and events from the Ironmen. For further information please visit our website at for the latest Ironmen news. Reserve your seat now by calling the L.C. box office at 231-726-2400. The Ironmen play all of their home games at the L.C. Walker Arena located at 955 4th St., Muskegon, MI 49440.


Lakeshore ATHENA Scholarship Program Accepting Applications

Muskegon, MI, March 30, 2016 — Applications for the 2016 Lakeshore ATHENA Scholarship Program are now being accepted at the Lakeshore Chambers of Commerce. The scholarships, offered through the Lakeshore ATHENA Awards Program, a collaboration of The Chamber of Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg, Holland Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, assist women in reaching their full potential through financial support for training programs and education.

“The Lakeshore ATHENA Scholarship Program is a unique opportunity for a female student over the age of 30 who is living or working in Ottawa, Allegan or Muskegon County. Funds from this scholarship can be used for expenses beyond educational costs such as childcare, housing or transportation.” Said Rachel Stewart, Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce.

Other criteria the applicant must meet includes completion of one year of higher education, plans to continue her education at a West Michigan area accredited 4-year, 2-year or technical or vocational program, and have limited financial resources. Stewart said, “Applicants must also demonstrate a commitment to a professional, business or entrepreneurial career.”

The application deadline is May 13, 2016. Scholarship recipients will be notified in August, and checks will be awarded at the Lakeshore ATHENA Award luncheon on October 4, 2016 at Trillium Events. To date, the program has awarded scholarships totaling $30,000.

Applications for the scholarship are available on the websites of The Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg, Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce, and the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. You may also contact Rachel Stewart, Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, (231) 722-3751, or

A copy of the application can be downloaded here.

Planned Parenthood’s Agenda

Barbara Listing – March 2016

Dear Lifesaver,

It’s crystal clear, today’s Planned Parenthood receives more federal funding, provides less services, but performs more abortions than ever!

Yet you must dig deeper than just an annual report to understand the true nature of Planned Parenthood. Daily, they will drive a wedge between children and their parents.

They’ve been caught red-handed promoting sex-selection abortions, racially-motivated abortions, covering up sex trafficking and routinely concealing sexual abuse and statutory rape.

More recently, Planned Parenthood has been caught engaging in a sinister side business of harvesting and then selling fetal body parts for a profit.

Yet every day, out to the pig pen we go with another bucket full of taxpayer dollars.

Please go to our website at There you will learn a great deal more about Planned Parenthood and its agenda for America. We will keep you up to date on our efforts to restrict Planned Parenthood’s influence in our schools and in our communities. You will also find resources that can be downloaded, printed and distributed freely.

Ask Dr. Universe – Earwax

Why do we have earwax? –David, 10, Albany, Oregon

Dear David,

The other day I was scratching my ears when I noticed some yellowish-brown gunk on my claw. It was pretty gross, but it also made me very curious.

I decided to meet up with my friend Susan Perkins and investigate why we have earwax.

Before Perkins was a nursing instructor here at Washington State University, she spent several years as a school nurse. She’s seen some big clumps of earwax.

We have earwax for many of the same reasons we have mucus in our nose, she said. You may remember that Perkins helped us explore our questions about boogers not too long ago.

Earwax helps keep invaders like bacteria and dirt from getting deep into our ears.

“It’s really that simple,” she said. Still, having earwax at all is especially important for protecting our inner ears, which connect with important nerves for balance and hearing.

And while earwax does pretty much the same job for all of us, not everyone’s earwax is alike.

“People make different kinds of earwax,” Perkins said. “Some people make a kind of crusty earwax and other people might make kind of wet, juicy earwax. Isn’t that fun? Kids usually have juicier earwax than adults.”

The outer ear is the earwax factory. It’s where special glands under your skin produce the sticky, wet wax. Technically, it’s called cerumen (suh-ROO-men).

“It’s mostly long chains of fats, but there’s cholesterol in there, and there’s also a little bit of alcohol,” Perkins said.

As you move your jaw, the earwax slowly travels deeper into the inner ear to do its job.

Humans and cats aren’t the only animals that have earwax.

A couple years ago, scientists found a ten-inch-long piece of earwax in a blue whale. That seems huge to a human or a cat, but to a nearly 80-foot-long blue whale, it’s not too unusual.

The scientists investigated chemicals in the earwax to learn more about whales’ lives. For example, the earwax provides clues about where the whales were swimming and pollution in the water.

It makes me wonder what earwax might tell us about humans.

In fact, some scientists have actually studied parts of human DNA that tell us if a person’s earwax will be crustier or juicier. Others have even baked little bits of earwax to find out about more about how it smells. They wonder if chemicals released from earwax may help them learn about other kinds of body odor. Yes, earwax can sometimes be a little stinky.

Which reminds me, Perkins said when it comes to keeping our ears fresh and clean, it’s best to just dab our ears with a towel after bathing. She also offered one final piece of advice: Don’t ever stick anything smaller than your elbow in your ear.

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.

Ottawa County Population Growth Continues in 2015

The 2015 County population estimates were released by the U.S. Census Bureau today. Some of the Ottawa County highlights are provided below:

• Ottawa County remains the 8th most populated county in Michigan
• Ottawa County was the fastest growing county in the State between 2014 and 2015 (1.2% growth)
• Ottawa County was also the fastest growing county in the State between 2010 and 2015 (6.1% growth)
• 55% of Ottawa’s population growth between 2010 and 2015 was the result of a natural increase, meaning there were more births than deaths in the county (natural increase of 8,801 people)
• 45% of Ottawa’s population growth between 2010 and 2015 was the result of a positive net migration, meaning more people moved into the county than moved out of the county (net migration of 7,256 people)

Ken Stevens: A Life in Photography at Muskegon Museum of Art

Muskegon, Michigan—Ken Stevens: A Life in Photography, an exhibition of work by photojournalist Ken Stevens (1963-2014), opens at the Muskegon Museum of Art on April 28. Photos by Stevens appeared in The Muskegon Chronicle and MLive for 28 years, bringing images of major events and the quiet experiences of everyday living to readers. His photographs brought drama and emotion to a visual record of the day’s news, sharing moments that have become part of Muskegon’s history. Images from throughout the artist’s career, drawn from the archives of the Muskegon Chronicle and MLive and the Muskegon Museum of Art’s own permanent collection, will be on display through July 24, 2016.

The Huizenga Huddle: March 29, 2016

Confronting Terrorism
The attacks carried out in Brussels are a tragic and deadly reminder of the threats posed by terrorism that free people across the world face. We must show resolve and stand with our European allies in hunting down the individuals that committed these atrocities. Those who commit terror need to realize they will be brought to justice and held accountable for their actions. While details surrounding this tragedy continue to unfold, let us hold in our hearts and prayers the friends, families, and loved ones of those impacted by these deadly attacks.

Prior to the attack in Brussels, I supported House-passed legislation to recognize the persecution of Christians at the hands of ISIS as genocide and called on the Obama Administration to hold ISIS and the Assad Regime accountable for their crimes against humanity.

Since the passage of this legislation, the Obama Administration announced that the atrocities ISIS has committed against Christians and other religious minorities constitute genocide. This recognition is an important first step. We cannot stand for religious freedom around the world and do nothing when radical terrorists slaughter innocent Christians because of their faith in Christ. The President must provide a detailed response plan to end this genocide. The United States must lead on protecting religious freedom.

Protecting Taxpayers, Stopping Foreign Bailouts
This past Tuesday, I questioned Treasury Secretary Jack Lew about the Obama Administration pushing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to make fiscally risky loans to Greece. Greece later defaulted on one of these loans, potentially leaving American taxpayers on the hook for the loan.

This is completely irresponsible. To prevent this from happening in the future, I introduced H.R. 4836, legislation to STOP these unsound bailouts, close the loopholes being exploited by the Obama Administration, and protect American taxpayers from footing the bill for the fiscal follies happening in the eurozone and elsewhere. To learn more about this important legislation and read the bill text, click here.

Defending The Constitution
For the first time in our nation’s history, the House acted to protect the constitutional standing of the Legislative Branch by filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court against the President’s unconstitutional executive overreach. The Constitution is clear; the authority to make law resides within the Legislative Branch, not the Executive.

Recent actions by the Obama Administration have not only blurred the line on this important separation of power but have crossed it. By taking this unprecedented action, the House has gone on record to defend the principles of self-determination, self-government, and government by consent of the governed.

Speaker Ryan gave an excellent speech regarding precisely what is at stake if the Obama Administration and the unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats that serve it are able to disregard the Constitution. You can watch the speech by clicking here.

The Badger Is Now A National Historic Landmark!
Last month, after nearly five years in bureaucratic limbo, the application submitted to have Ludington’s S.S. Badger recognized as a National Historic Landmark has been approved!

This designation highlights not only the historical significance of the vessel but also underscores the economic importance of the Badger to the communities of Ludington and Manitowoc as well as the hardworking families and small businesses that have relied on this Great Lakes car ferry for generations.

I am happy to report that another generation of Michiganders will be able to experience and enjoy this piece of living history. Read more about this historic designation in the Ludington Daily News.

Fed Reform Follow Up
As some of you may know, I have authored the most comprehensive plan to reform the Federal Reserve in Congress. This legislation is known as the FORM Act. It aims to strengthen the economy by requiring the Federal Reserve to develop a math-based approach to policy decisions, while also making the Fed more accountable and more transparent to the American people.

Earlier this month, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University featured a piece written by Dr. Allan Meltzer regarding the Federal Reserve and how it needs to change the manner in which it conducts monetary policy. In the piece, Dr. Meltzer specifically references the FORM Act as the key legislative proposal to do just that. I hope you will read this informative article on why the FORM Act is not only a strong legislative solution, but a necessary one as well.

The Michigan Minute
 •  The “Original Rosies” includes West Michigan’s Sylvia Tanis of Holland
•  Get your canvas ready for the 2016 Congressional Art Competition
•  Students from Grant High School recently visited the nation’s capital!
•  Soo Locks reopen for the 2016 Great Lakes cargo shipping season
•  West Michigan Values: Character & Conduct matter whether people are watching or the room is empty
•  20 Things you might not have known about Michigan Agriculture
•  How one Meijer store is changing Detroit
•  Calendar Alert! House of Flavors to attempt to break World Record June 11
•  Ford Airport named top airport in North America
•  Do you know a young man or woman looking to attend a Service Academy?

Email Rep. Bill Huizenga at:

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, Partners Recognize Donate Life Month

Residents encouraged to consider organ, tissue and eye donation

DETROIT, Mich. – Citing an increased need for organ, tissue and eye donors, especially in Wayne County, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson today encouraged residents to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

“With more than 3,500 people awaiting a potentially life-saving organ transplant, we still need more names on the registry,” Johnson said as dozens of organ donation volunteers visited Secretary of State offices statewide to encourage people to sign up. “This is especially true in Wayne County, where one-third of all adults waiting for a transplant reside, and where 39 percent of adults are listed on the registry, compared to nearly 55 percent of adults statewide.”

Johnson was joined by Rick Hillbom, interim CEO for Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s organ and tissue recovery program; Diana Kern, executive director for Eversight Michigan, the state’s cornea and eye tissue recovery program; those waiting for an organ, and family members whose loved ones donated organs to save the lives of strangers.

“Our state has made huge advances in creating a culture where donation is the norm, where there’s an expectation that people will choose to save and improve lives,” Hillbom said. “We could not have come this far without the dedication and support of our Secretary of State colleagues. Donation is a selfless act that leaves a legacy of generosity.”

Johnson presented Shining Star Awards to Deacon Lawrence Bailey, the Rev. Ronald Copeland and Artelia Griggs for their work with the Angels for Life program. Angels for Life reaches out through churches and other houses of worship to share the need for organ donors. All three of the awardees have been instrumental in sharing the message in Detroit and Wayne County, according to Gift of Life Michigan. Bailey is a kidney recipient. Copeland is a liver recipient and Griggs is a donor mother.

Johnson also announced the statewide Transplant Center Challenge, a competition between each of Michigan’s nine transplant centers to see who can add the most new donors to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry over the next year. Four of the transplant centers are located in Wayne County, including Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Harper University Hospital, Henry Ford Hospital and St. John Hospital and Medical Center.

Johnson made huge changes in the way the Secretary of State’s office approached organ donation after she was elected in 2010. At that time only 27 percent of eligible residents had signed up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. Working with her partners like Gift of Life Michigan and Eversight Michigan, she created an advisory task force, put organ donor reminders on widely-used SOS forms, enlisted social media and directed employees to ask customers if they wanted to sign up, doubling the percentage of names on the list. About 85 percent of people who sign up do so through the Secretary of State’s Office.

Today marks Donate Life Day when dozens of volunteers from Gift of Life Michigan, Eversight Michigan and Michigan Lions and Lioness Clubs visit Secretary of State offices across the state to tell their stories. These volunteers have a personal connection to organ donation, either as recipients, family and friends of donors or people currently waiting for an organ.

“On Donate Life Day last year, thanks to more than 120 volunteers, we added 1,619 new names to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry,” Kern said. “We are so grateful to the Secretary of State and her staff for their dedication to improving and saving lives across the state.”

According to national statistics, 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant. However, one donor can save up to eight lives and enhance the lives of up to 50 people.

Anyone can join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry by visiting or any Secretary of State office. Those who sign up receive a heart emblem for their driver’s license that indicates their decision to be an organ donor. A new card with a permanent heart emblem is issued at renewal time.

Muskegon’s First HERO Mud Run

Register Now for Muskegon’s First HERO Mud Run – May 7

Muskegon, MI) – The HERO Mud Run, once again, is coming to the Muskegon County Fairgrounds on May 7, 2016. The first course of its kind in the area, the HERO Mud Run introduces a three-, six- or eight-mile run, equipped with over 40 unique, military-style obstacles. Designed to challenge the competitor both physically and mentally, the course is designed to incorporate obstacles and distances for every level including:

3-Mile Course
• 16 ft Quarter Pipe
• Tire Wall
• Barrel Swim
• Hero Bars
• Trench Warfare
• Rope Challenge

6-Mile Course
• Barn Brigade
• Giant Wall
• Hurdle Heaven
• Woods Wall Challenge
• Mud Crawl

8-Mile Course
• Foxhole Run
• Barbed Wire Hurdles
• Rope Maze
• Pit Crawl
• Swamp Run

Whether a true competitor or an athlete looking to have fun, the course provides the best of both worlds. Alternative routes are available, and all athletes will receive a t-shirt and medal. Those over 21, receive a free beer for participating. Those wishing to compete as a team (six or more) qualify for a team discount. A beer tent will also be onsite featuring local, craft beer and Budweiser products.

Event Pricing*:
• Standard Entry / February 16 – March 31 / $55
• Late Entry / April 01 – May 6 / $60
• Same Day Entry / May 7 / $75

Team Discounts Available:
• 6+ Participants / 10% Off
• 15-19 Participants / 20% Off
• 20+ Participants / $25% Off

Muskegon County Fairgrounds
6621 Heights Ravenna Road
Fruitport, MI 49415

Start Times:
• Competitive heat: 9:00 am
• Other heats: 9:30 am

For more information or volunteer details, visit Sponsors include Walgreens, Novotony Electronics, Fairlife, Meijer and others. Partner organizations, who will receive a portion of the proceeds, include: The Muskegon County Fairgrounds, Muskegon Motorcycle Club, and Flyin’ Heroes veteran organization.

* $10 mandatory insurance fee with registration. Same price for all race distances. Veterans receive a 30% discount.

Supreme Court Hears Important Case on Prolife Law

On March 2 the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Whole Woman’s Health is an abortion business chain located mainly in Texas. The chain doesn’t want to comply with a Texas law that requires abortion clinics to meet ambulatory surgical facility safety standards and requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

Whole Woman’s Health argued the Texas law puts an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion because many abortion clinics do not meet the safety requirements of ambulatory surgical facilities and abortionists often struggle to get admitting privileges.

The Texas law and similar laws in other states like Michigan were passed following the murder conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell’s clinic in Philadelphia went uninspected for decades, resulting in the deaths of countless born-alive children and at least two women. Many legislators realized abortion clinics could no longer be held to lower standards or be trusted to operate free of oversight.

Abortion businesses are now demanding a special constitutional privilege to ignore state health regulations. A facility that provides ambulatory (also called outpatient) surgery ought to be treated the same as other ambulatory surgical facilities. Whole Women’s Health claims these safety standards will cause their clinics to close, even though other abortion clinics have decided the meet the standard in order to remain open.

While abortion groups challenged the safety regulations, they did not challenge a late-term abortion ban in the same law. Abortion advocates seem concerned about losing such a challenge, which would encourage other states to pass bans on abortion after 20 weeks.

As usual it appears that Justice Anthony Kennedy will be the deciding vote on the court. Justice Kennedy has a mixed history; he voted to uphold the federal ban on partial-birth abortion in 2007, but also explicitly supported Roe v. Wade with the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision in 1992.

The recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia means eight justices will decide the case instead of the usual nine. If the vote is tied at 4-4, the lower court’s ruling upholding the Texas law will be left standing. A decision on this case is expected to be announced sometime in June 2016.

To learn more about other Supreme Court cases relating to abortion, visit

Ask Dr. Universe – Fire

What is fire? -Anish P., 10, Nepal

Dear Anish,

There’s nothing like taking a little catnap by the fireplace, feeling the heat, watching the flames, and listening to crackling sounds. But until you asked, I wasn’t entirely sure what this mesmerizing thing was or how it works.

I decided to find out from my friend Michael Finnegan. He’s a chemistry professor here at Washington State University.

In the 4th grade Finnegan got a chemistry set that came with a chemistry book. He read about how everything around us is made up of building blocks called atoms. He learned how atoms get together to form molecules. And when different atoms and molecules come together, they can react in different ways.

“What fire really is, is a whole bunch of fragments of molecules that have way too much energy,” Finnegan said. “So they are emitting that energy in the form of heat and light. That’s what we actually see.”

The super-fast reaction that creates fire is called combustion. In order to make it happen, we need a few things.

First, we need a source of heat. This can be a spark, for example. It’s something to get different molecules in our reaction moving fast and energetically.

The fuel might be wax on your birthday candle or newspaper in a fireplace. These items are typically made up of molecules that contain carbon and hydrogen atoms.

“One of the first things to notice about fire, if you look at a candle or fire in the fireplace, is you’ll notice the flames never actually touch the fuel,” Finnegan said.

That’s because heat turns some of those molecules from the fuel into a gas we can’t see. So, it appears the flame is floating.
If all we had were fuel and heat, we’d only have this gas. The final ingredient we need to make fire is oxygen.

“The easiest way to think about it, is the source of heat, or energy is tearing molecules apart so they can combine with oxygen,” Finnegan said. “If you’ve ever taken anything apart, you know what a mess it can make.”

And to understand why oxygen is so important in the reaction, we need to know a little more about how atoms work, Finnegan said.

Atoms have particles called electrons. Most atoms want more electrons. They can often get them by sharing electrons with another atom. If an atom shares an electron it also gains an electron. This also helps molecules form new bonds, too.

Usually the two oxygen atoms that make up our air share electrons. But when the gas from fuel mixes with oxygen atoms in the air, they stop sharing. Instead, they start forming stronger bonds with hydrogen and carbon. These stronger bonds mean more energy. The energy vaporizes more fuel molecules to keep the fire going.

Electrons help give off both the light we see and heat we feel from a flame. The next time you are sitting around campfire, or you blow out your birthday candles, remember, it’s all chemistry.

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.

USS Silversides Submarine Museum

us navy diversExhibit Information: Navy Divers Featuring Carl Brashear, U.S.N. has opened at the USS Silversides Submarine Museum. To some the sound of Navy diver may sound like a glamorous job, but was it? Not at all! It was more the out of sight out of mind kind of work, but the Navy absolutely could not function without these heroes. This new exhibit at the USS Silversides Submarine Museum will teach you the history of Navy diving since 1882. The exhibit lets you try your hand at tying some of the knots divers learn to tie, but unlike the divers, you get to try it above water. The mechanics of a diver’s suit will be on display as well as a Momsen Lung that would have been used by those who were rescued by the divers. The exhibit will also show a more modern side of Navy diving by focusing on Carl Brashear, the U.S. Navy Diver who was featured in the Hollywood hit movie “Men of Honor.”

A featured event of this exhibit is a presentation that will be given on Wednesday, April 20 at 12:00pm by Philip Brashear, President of the Carl Brashear Foundation and son of Carl Brashear, the first African-American to become a U.S. Navy Master Diver. Guests will be able to explore the exhibit, hear the presentation and watch the movie “Men of Honor” starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. and diversRobert DeNiro all for just $7.00 per person. For more information please call the USS Silversides Submarine Museum at 231-755-1230 or visit The exhibit will run through Memorial Day.Come seea side of the U.S. Navy most people never get to see ~ the part UNDER the sea.


Cruises, Coffee, and “Cashing In”


Cruise Ships are Coming!
peopleYour Chamber has been advocating for cruise ships to dock in Muskegon during the summer tour season. Hard work is paying off, because the
Pearl Seas Cruise Line’s beautiful passenger vessel, the Pearl Mist, plans to dock in Muskegon as part of their 2016 summer tour season.

Chamber President Cindy Larsen just got back from the Seatrade Conference in Ft. Lauderdale where she was meeting ship owners, learning more about the industry and advocating for cruise ships to tour the great lakes.

Muskegon’s deep-water port and numerous nearby attractions and amenities make it very attractive to cruise ships sailing the Great Lakes,” says Stephen Burnett, executive director of the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition, which advocates for passenger cruise ships on the Great Lakes.

The ship’s arrival dates will be posted soon. Click here for more information on Pearl Seas Cruise Line.


“Coffee King” to Keynote E-Awards

coffee kingBob Fish, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of
BIGGBY COFFEE will talk about his entrepreneurial journey at this year’s E-Awards Entrepreneur Luncheon on April 27.

Bob Fish and Mary Roszel started the coffee café franchise in 1995 with a single location in E. Lansing. They now have 204 locations in nine states. CNBC calls the franchise “the fastest growing coffee chain in the United States“!

Fish is Past Chairman of the Board of the Michigan Restaurant Association and the Small Business Association of Michigan. He is also a founding board member of MiQuest, a Michigan entrepreneurial incubator, and a current board member of the National Small Business Association.

Special thanks to local BIGGBY COFFEE Franchise owner, Peter Gawkowski for helping secure this year’s keynote speaker! The Annual E-Awards Entrepreneur Luncheon celebrates the spirit of Muskegon’s entrepreneurial community by recognizing the area’s most innovative entrepreneurs. Click here for event details.


Advocating in DC with Great Lakes Metro Chambers

DC fly inLast week your Chamber Advocacy Coordinator, Rachel Stewart, was busy lobbying during a DC fly-in with West Michigan Chamber leadership and other members of the Great Lakes Metro Chamber Coalition. Together, this coalition represents 40 Chambers of Commerce and 150,000 businesses in the Great Lakes Region.

Over two days in DC, participants had 28 appointments with federal legislators and their staff to advocate for appropriations that benefit our economy including the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

“The Great Lakes Region has a tremendous impact on our nation and our federal legislators take notice when we come to DC for these discussions,” said Stewart. If the twelve states and two provinces of the Great Lakes trading region were a country, it would have the 3rd largest economy in the world, with estimated annual output near $6 trillion.

“It is always a pleasure to serve the members and advocate for issues to support our local economy, especially things that impact the Great Lakes Region,” added Stewart. I encourage our business leaders who are also passionate about our region to consider attending a fly-in with the coalition in the future.”


Your Chamber’s “Watch Muskegon” Role

watch muskegonAn annual survey of Chamber members told us that Muskegon’s image should be our number one priority this year. To help sustain an environment for business success and aid in your recruiting efforts, we decided to take a leadership role in the Watch Muskegon campaign.

While a large committee representing over 25 organizations is working together on the campaign, your Chamber has taken the administrative role, handling the fundraising, budgeting, ad buys, website, social media and committee coordination.

We are thrilled at the community and corporate buy-in of this campaign, as none of it would be possible without you! To date, more than 100 chamber members have made financial contributions to the campaign totaling over $162,000!

Please continue to help us spread the message. Click here for ways in which you can get involved in the grassroots campaign that’s sweeping our town and region.


Chamber members receive $165,620!

accident fund check35 member businesses are receiving dividend checks totaling $165,620 thanks to safe work practices and their participation in a workers compensation group program from Accident Fund Insurance Companies.

The 16% dividend amount returned is the largest in the program’s history. The dividend amount returned is based on each participant’s premium costs. An average dividend of over $4,871 was returned to each member.

Safety at work leads to fewer injuries and fewer workers compensation claims. Congrats to our members who finished the year with so few claims!

For more information on this cost-saving member benefit, contact Dawn Johnson at 231-724-3175.

Fruitport Superintendent – Attempted Changes to Fruitport Government?

• Memorandum to the Citizens of Fruitport Charter Township
• A Journal of my experience with the Fruitport Superintendent issue
• Editorial – In regard to the proposed township Superintendent Agreement and Possible Criminal Implications


TO: The Citizens of Fruitport Charter Township
FROM: Attorney James L. Waters
DATE:  February 16, 2016
RE: Superintendant Agreement/Conflict of Interest

A.Pertinent part of the Agreement:
Agreement: This agreement is effective April 1, 2016.

B. Duties of the Employee:
The Employee shall generally render at least 40 hours of service per week.

F. Compensation:
The Township shall pay the Employee the sum of $72,000.00. (Currently, $59,500.00)

G. Fringe Benefits:
     2. Pension Benefit. The Township shall contribute 10 percent of the Employee’s compensation to a pension plan…

I. Term. The term of this Agreement shall commence on the effective date and shall continue four years, through March 31, 2020, unless terminated or extended as provided in this Agreement.

          5. This Agreement shall be terminated immediately upon the decision of the Township Board, provided that the Township provide the Employee with written notice of the termination, and provided that the Township has just and reasonable cause for such termination.

          6. This Agreement shall be terminated upon the decision of the Township Board, Rendered according to its pleasure. However, if the Township does not have just and reasonable cause for such termination, the Township shall pay the Employee a lump sum equal to 18 months’ wages.

B. Michigan Law Provides:

42.9 Township officers; powers and duties; additional officers, limitations.
The township clerk, township treasurer, justices of the peace, and constables in each charter township shall have and perform the duties and functions required of such officers by state law. The Township Board may, by resolution, upon the recommendation of the supervisor, or of the township superintendent if one shall be appointed, create such additional officers as may be necessary to administer the affairs of the township government, or may combine any administrative offices in any manner not inconsistent with state law, and prescribe the duties thereof. No creation of any additional administrative office or combination thereof shall abolish the offices of township clerk or township treasurer nor diminish any of the duties or responsibilities of those offices which are prescribed by state law.

42.10a Township manager; employment; service; duties.
Sec. 10a If a township has not appointed a township superintendent under section 10, a township board may employ a township manager who shall serve at the pleasure of the township board and perform such duties lawfully delegated to the manager by the township board.

15.322 Public servant; soliciting, negotiating, renegotiating, approving, or representing a party to a contract with public entity prohibited. – Sec. 2. (1) Except as provided in sections 3 and 3a, a public servant shall not be a party, directly or indirectly, to any contract between himself or herself and the public entity of which he or she is an officer or employee. – (2) Except as provided in section 3, a public servant shall not directly or indirectly solicit any contract between the public entity of which he or she is an officer or employee and any of the following: (a) Him or herself.

C. State Ethics Commission provides:
Summary of the Conflict of Interest Law for Municipal Employees – (d) Self-dealing and nepotism. Participating as a municipal employee in a matter in which you, your immediate family, your business organization, or your future employer has a financial interest is prohibited. (See Section 19) – Example of violation: A school committee member’s wife is a teacher in the town’s public schools. The school committee member votes on the budget line item for teacher’s salaries.

D. Definitions:
Ethic: (a) A set of principles of right conduct. (b) A theory or a system of moral values.

Conflict of Interest: A conflict between a person’s private interests and public obligations. The circumstance of a public officeholder, whose personal interests might benefit from his or her official actions or influence.

Political scientists Ken Kernaghan and John Langford, in their book “The Responsible Public Servant”, define self-dealing as “a situation where one takes an action in an official capacity which involves dealing with oneself in a private capacity and which confers a benefit on oneself.

Where a fiduciary has engaged in self-dealing, this constitutes a breach of the fiduciary relationship.

More generally, conflicts of interest can be defined as any situation in which an individual is in a position to exploit a professional or official capacity in some way for their personal benefit.

Frank J. Kelley, Attorney General; Opinion No. 6005; November 2,1981; Conflict of Interest: – B. The Common Law – The common law of the state furnishes the second source of the law of conflict of interest. In People v Township Board of Overyssel, 11 Mich 222, 225-226 (1863), the court stated: – ‘All public officers are agents, and their official powers are fiduciary. They are trusted with public functions for the good of the public; to protect, advance and promote its interests, and not their own. And, a greater necessity exists than in private life for removing from them every inducement to abuse the trust reposed in them, as the temptations to which they are sometimes exposed are stronger, and the risk of detection and exposure is less. A judge cannot hear and decide his own case, or one in which he is personally interested. He may decide it conscientiously and in accordance with the law. But that is not enough. The law will not permit him to reap personal advantage from an official act performed in favor of himself.’

15.342 Public officer or employee; prohibited conduct. – Sec. 2. (3) A public officer or employee shall use personnel resources, property, and funds under the officer or employee’s official care and control judiciously and solely in accordance with prescribed constitutional, statutory, and regulatory procedures and not for personal gain or benefit.

Frank L. Kelley, Attorney General; Opinion No. 6906; June 25, 1996; Conflict of Interest: “1968 PA 317, MCL 15.321 et seq. Section 2 of 1968 PA 317 generally prohibits public servants from being interested in, soliciting, negotiating or approving contracts with the public entity they serve.”

E. Penalties for Self-Dealing/Conflict of Interest:

– 750.505 Punishment for indictable common law offenses. – Sec. 505. Any person who shall commit any indictable offense at the common law, for the punishment of which no provision is expressly made by any statute of this state, shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not more than 5 years or by a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both in the discretion of the court.

750.478 Willful neglect of duty; public officer or person holding public trust or employment; penalty. – Sec. 478. When any duty is or shall be enjoined by law upon any public officer, or upon any person holding any public trust or employment, every willful neglect to perform such duty, where no special provision shall have been made for the punishment of such delinquency, constitutes a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year of a fine of not more than $1,000.00.

Contracts of Public Servants with Public Entities – 15.327 Penalty for violation. Sec. 7. Any person violating the provisions of this act is guilty of a misdemeanor.

I am an attorney and a proud resident of Fruitport Charter Township for 36+ years. I attended the Township Board meeting on Monday February 8, 2016. Numerous angry, upset citizens in the audience requested that I render a legal opinion, regarding self-dealing, conflict of interest, and legality of the proposed agreement.

My opinion is: (1) Any agreement between the Township and a Superintendent or Manager, should clearly provide that the employee is at will and serves at the “pleasure of the board”. – (a) The proposed agreement is for the benefit of only the employee and not in the Township’s best interest and is probably illegal and unethical, at best.

(2) The Supervisor, Brian Weschem, has a clear “conflict of interest: and should not have been involved in the preparation, negotiation, discussion or vote, with respect to the proposed agreement: (a) Since his vote was illegal, the motion to table, fails, since there was a tie, 3 to 3 vote… 3 men voting to table and 3 women voting no; therefore, there is nothing legally before the Board or a Committee to consider.

(3) If the Township, in the future, hires a Superintendent… that person cannot interfere with the legal and statutory Duties of the Clerk or Treasurer.

(4) there has been an inappropriate use and waste of Township time, money, and resources. (a) The citizens obtained nothing, while the new superintendent would receive a $12,500.00 increase in salary, plus costly fringe benefits, including a guaranteed yearly increase in salary, plus a possible 18 month payment for termination (more than $100,000.00 paid by the Township; plus an additional $5,400.00 salary for a new supervisor and health insurance)… the cost to the taxpayers, would easily exceed $30,000.00 per year… with nothing in return. (b) The guilty parties should reimburse the Township for their wasted time, legal fees to the Township attorney, etc.:

      In conclusion, attached are the documents outlining the statutory duties of township officials. I would suggest that a summary of this information be posted on the Township’s website…plus the Charter rules, policies, ordinances, etc.… This information would be valuable to the citizens and help to improve transparency.

I am pleased to provide this information and opinion, at no cost, for the benefit of our citizens.


A Journal of my experience with the Fruitport Superintendent issue

By Fruitport Township Treasurer, Rose Dillon

–Friday, February 5, 2016 (before Monday’s February 8 board meeting)

On Friday afternoon township supervisor. Brian called me into his office. Chuck Whitlow was in the room and they asked me to close the door (that in itself should have raised a red flag for me). They both told me of this new government plan. It is the first time I had heard anything about this plan. Brian told me that he needed job security and this new job of Twp. Superintendant would guarantee him that since he had a family. He did not want to run for Supervisor as there was a chance he could get defeated and the new Supervisor would have no idea what was going on in the township. It occurred to me as he was speaking that this new job of Superintendent was created specifically for Brian. Brian told me he had had a lot of meetings with the Grand Haven and Park Township Superintendents. Chuck and Brian told me that the township needs consistency with our continual growth and the Superintendant position would guarantee us that. I said that there could be a change in that position also, like in Roosevelt Park. Brian said the only reason they had a turnover is because they decided in December of each year if they would keep the City Manager or not, rather than give him the job security of a several year contract.

Brian and Chuck told me they would make the Supervisor a part time figurehead position. The part time Supervisor position had been offered to Trustee Dave Markgraf. He would be appointed and in November would run for office as the incumbent. Dave had told them he was not interested. The job was then offered to Trustee Ron Becklin who was getting ready to retire. They stated that he would take the job, but if Ron did not they had agreed on another person that would take the position.

They told me that as I was doing a good job in my position that I had three choices and that I should “go home and talk to Greg” about what I should do. The three choices they said I have are:

1.  run for the figurehead treasurer

2.  keep the treasurer full time and run for that position

3.  work with them on a contract employee agreement where I would not be the treasurer, but would do the work of a treasurer. If I decided to run for the full time treasurer they would not make a change in that position until I left the township.

I was amazed to see that everything had all been planned out. I stated that I felt the department directors and the board, clerk, treasurer and supervisor were all working together as a team and that’s why we were doing so well. I stated that Brian would not have that much trouble getting reelected. I learned in that meeting that Brian was pretty much the sole reason for the success of the township and we need to hire him as Superintendent to keep the township going in this direction.

They told me the Clerk was wishy washy in trying to decide if she would retire or not. As others were doing some of her duties, the Clerk should go to a figurehead position and Carol could run for that if she wanted to. If she wished to continue as a full time Clerk she would be given additional duties that she should be responsible for anyway according to State Statute or something.

At some point in the meeting I was given a copy of the Superintendent’s contract. I left the room wondering what had just happened!

–Tuesday, February 9, 2016 (after the board met where the issue had been tabled because Becklin decided not to vote for it)

Chuck came into my office the day after the board meeting and asked if I would call Carol and have her come into my office, too.

He began to tell Carol and I that at the next board meeting work session we would be working on Brian’s contract. He would not be there as he will be on vacation. When it came time to discuss Brian’s contract, we were to vote to go into closed session as this would be some kind of employee confidence and should not be discussed in front of the public.

Chuck stated that he wanted us to be very clear that Carol’s and my jobs would not go into a figurehead position until we were ready to retire or leave the township, but upon us leaving the full time position it would go to figurehead and we could run as part time figurehead at that time.

I received a phone call from one of Chuck Whitlow’s restaurant customers and they told me they heard him telling other customers that Carol and I were confused at the meeting, but now he had talked to us and we were no longer confused and understood the entire process they have been working on.

February 12, 2016 (after the February 8th meeting)

Trustee Marge Nash came to the township hall. She wanted to ask township Supervisor, Brian, some questions and asked me and Carol to go into his office with her. Carol said she could not go into his office because more than three was considered a township meeting, but could stand outside the office.

Margie asked Brian why she was kept off the Public Safety Committee. Brian said it was because she had done something that it would make it illegal for her to be on a Public Safety Committee (which I doubt). He also stated that Ken Doctor had demanded that she not be placed back on the committee.

In the meeting Brian talked quite nicely to Margie and did not talk down to her like he usually does. He apologized to her profusely. He said he had gotten too busy the Friday before the board meeting to talk to her about the “change in Government” plan. This was sickening to me as Brian and Chuck had both stated that Margie was worthless on the board, she did not ever participate and they would not waste their time talking to her about their plan.

At one point in the conversation Brian pointed his finger at me and said that I was the one responsible for the problem on the board on this issue. He stated that I spoke with a county commissioner and had made several phone calls and visited several people to stir up a problem. I was the reason the board room was packed for the meeting. I thanked him for giving me all the credit for filling the board room. He must have been surprised that I would say that to him and changed his tune by saying that most of the people were there to celebrate with Brian Michelli’s promotion and Ken Doctor’s retirement. I stated that I had called Trustee Ron Becklin and had visited Trustee Dave Markgraf over my concern about pushing the new plan of government and the contract we had been given on the Friday before the Monday board meeting. Brian had met with both Trustees the Thursday before the board meeting behind closed doors. He told me he had went over Brian Michelli’s contract with them and did mention that he had talked to them about the new plan of government. Ron told me when I called him that Brian told him about the new plan of government Thursday, February 4, 2016.

Brian was going on about the meeting he had Friday, February 5, 2016, first with me and then with Carol. I disagreed on several things he told Margie and told him so. Carol asked me to leave the room so she could go in. She was angry at what Brian was saying and told him he was not saying the truth. Carol and Margie were in the room with Brian. I was sick of listening to him and went back to work.

–This statement from Fruitport Township Clerk Carol Hulka, Treasurer Rose Dillon, and Trustee Margie Nash, was read at the March 28 township board meeting by Rose Dillon.

On March 14, 2016 the township board of trustees met at 6:15 p.m. for a work session.

Trustee Chuck Whitlow stated that before the session began he would like to say something. He proceeded to get out of his seat and walk around to the front and face the board. He began talking about the Superintendent position and township government reorganization and how it was simply up for discussion. He proceeded to bully each one of us starting with Margie, then myself and then Carol.

This topic is not up for discussion when the Superintendent contract had already been drawn up by the township attorney with a start date of April 1st. It is not up for discussion when it had already been determined who the figurehead Supervisor would be, that he would begin April 1st and that he would be paid $5,500. It is not up for discussion when we are told that when Brian abstains from voting on his own contract that Chuck will make sure he has to vote so they will have the four votes they need to get their plan though.

Scolding and harassing us is unacceptable behavior. There is no hierarchy on this board. No one has more authority than another. This entire board is elected by the residents of Fruitport Township. We should never have to worry about coming to a meeting to be harassed or bullied by one of our peers on this board.

Every board member at the February 22 meeting voted to be done with this issue, why was he picking on just the three of us?



In regard to the proposed township Superintendent Agreement and Possible Criminal Implications

April 7, 2016

Proposed changes to our township management should be guided by what is best for the township – not what is best for any particular individuals on the township board. For Werschem and Whitlow to try to sneak it through before anyone could stop it, is especially troubling!

I can understand why Brian Werschem would like a $12,000+ raise a year, not have to run for re-election, and a contract that’s unchangeable, and that takes authority for him and away from the township board. It’s basically a Dictator’s contract.

Particularly troubling is the additions to Brian’s anticipated Superintendent’s agreement:

“In addition, the Employee shall be the Township representative on the Muskegon County Central Dispatch and Coordinating Committee. The Employee shall also be the Township’s primary contact and liaison with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, and the Township’s representative on the Revenue Sharing Board and the Seventh Generation Fund Board, or the functional equivalents thereof, as established by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.”

By putting this in the contract, Brian and Chuck would take this authority away from the township board. It would put Brian and Chuck in a position to extort favors and money. The only way the board could get this authority back and away from Brian would be to cancel the Superintendent’s contract which would be very difficult and costly to do.

I can understand why Trustee Charlie Whitlow would work hand in hand with Brian to construct a contract like that with The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians affairs locked into it so he could have a good shot at some of the Indians’ money and business. He has property and a business close to the Indians’ property and it’s easy to see that he is looking out for himself. Neither one should have been able to vote on this self-serving issue and they knew it! Knowing it, puts them at risk of being charged with a Felony.

What I can’t understand is why Trustee David Markgraf and Trustee Ron Becklin would be expected to go along with Werschem’s and Whitlow’s shenanigans. They are supposed to represent what is best for our township, not what is best for Brian and Chuck. To Ron Becklin’s credit he did decide to not vote for it after becoming more informed, and Werschem and Whitlow lost the votes needed to make it done and final.

People have voiced concerns about corruption associated with projects like the casino. Could this be the first known attempt in that direction?

Another coincidence:  Normally the number 6 item on the township board meeting agenda is public comment. It comes before unfinished business and new business on the agenda. For the first part of the February 22, 2016 meeting Brian removed public comments, which is very unusual. That was the meeting after the first attempt to force the superintendent contract and changes through. It indicates that Brian was going to give it one more try and didn’t want any comment from township citizens to mess up his plan. Concern was raised from the floor and the board voted to insert it in its usual place. The public responded with numerous concerns and the board ended up voting to remove the superintendent issue permanently from further consideration.

This is another example of Brian’s disrespect of his fellow board members and the citizens of our township.

The township attorneys, Scholton & Fant, represented by Ron Bultje, billed the township a half hour for this issue. It takes that long just to read the Superintendent’s contract much less to construct it, with all the thinking, consideration and conspiring that went into it. Obviously, some costs were camouflaged or covered some other way which may create additional criminal legal problems for both Brian and Charlie and possibly  Ron Bultje. By coincidence, Ron Bultje has not attended a meeting since this issue came to light and has instead sent a different attorney to the meetings.

Attorney Jim Waters in his Memorandum to the Citizens of Fruitport Charter Township offers information which suggest that Brian Werschem and Chuck Whitlow may be able to be prosecuted for their self-serving “conflict of interest”. Since Brian seems to find pleasure in persecuting other township citizens, maybe it would be fitting to give him some of his own medicine.

– Ron Cooper, Editor

Preschool Screening: April 22, 2016

The Spring Lake School District is conducting its annual Child Find-Preschool Screening on April 22. The purpose of the screening is to assure parents that their preschool child is developing normally and to identify children who have learning needs. All children from the Spring Lake School District who are three years old or who turned four after September 1, 2015 are eligible to be screened.

Parents who live in the Spring Lake School District and would like to set up an appointment for their child can contact Pam Massucci at 846-9240

Fruitport Township Board Meeting Agenda – 03-14-2016




01. Pledge of Allegiance
02. Roll Call
03. Approval of Board Minutes: 2/22/16 Regular Meeting
04. Approve / Amend Agenda

05. Correspondence / Reports
A. Tim Burgess – Muskegon Land Bank
06. Public Comments

07. Unfinished Business
A. March Budget Adjustments
B. Payoff Fire Truck 562
C. New Fire Truck to replace outgoing Fire Truck
D. 2016 – 2017 Budget
E. 2016 – 2017 Capital Allocations
F. West Star Management Liquor License Amended Application

08. New Business
A. Muskegon Bike Time Agreement
B. 2016 – 2017 Planning and Zoning Fees

09. Approval of Bills
10. Reports
11. Public Comments
12. Adjournment

The Township will provide necessary reasonable aids and services for this meeting to individuals with disabilities by writing or telephoning the following Township Clerk: Carol Hulka, Fruitport Township Hall, 5865 Airline Road, Fruitport, MI 49415 – (231) 865-3151

Fruitport Charter Township Board Meeting Agenda – 03-28-2016



6:00 Public Safety Committee

01. Pledge of Allegiance
02. Roll Call
03. Approval of Board Minutes: 3/14/16 Regular Meeting
04. Approve / Amend Agenda
05. Correspondence / Reports
A. Tim Burgess – Muskegon Land Bank

06. Public Comments
07. Unfinished Business
A. Final Budget Adjustments
B. 2016 – 2017 Budget
C. Platinum Pines LLC Development Agreement

08. New Business

09. Approval of Bills
10. Reports
11. Public Comments
12. Adjournment

The Township will provide necessary reasonable aids and services for this meeting to individuals with disabilities by writing or telephoning the following Township Clerk: Carol Hulka, Fruitport Township Hall, 5865 Airline Road, Fruitport, MI 49415 – (231) 865-3151

Fruitport Charter Township Board Meeting Agenda – 2/22/2016




01. Pledge of Allegiance
02. Roll Call
03. Approval of Board Minutes: 2?8?16 Regular Meeting
04. Approve / Amend Agenda
05.Correspondence / Reports

06. Badge Presentations

07. Unfinished Business
     A. Consideration of Township Superintendent
B. 2016-2017 Budget

08. New Business
A. Fruitport Lions OFD Event Agreement
B. Truth in Taxation Public Hearing
C. Liquor License Application West Star Management LLC
D. Payoff Fire Truck 562
E. New Fire Truck to Replace outgoing Truck

09. Approval of Bills
10. Reports
11. Public Comments
12. Adjournment

The Township will provide necessary reasonable aids and services for this meetiing to individuals with disabilities by writing or telephoning the following Township Clerk: Carol Hulka, Fruitport Township Hall, 5865 Airline Road, Fruitport, MI 49415 — (231) 856-3151

Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts – Upcoming Events

pink shakespeareHomeschooler Dramatizers Present
“As You Like It”
by William Shakespeare

April 14th at 7pm
April 15th at 7pm
April 16th at 2pm & 7pm
Beardsley Theater

Shakespeare’s As You like It is a witty comedy filled with puns, metaphors and wordplay for which this classic author is famous. Follow the adventures of Rosalind and Celia, Touchstone and Oliver, and the Duke with his entourage as they are banished to the Forest of Arden, where they are met with a plethora of colorful characters including the melancholy Jacques, the buoyant Amiens, and some earthy common folk. This is no ordinary Shakespearean drama, however!  Let the revelry begin in the forest filled with fun, fantasy and a few modern surprises!

Fruitport Township Board Meeting Agenda – 02-08-2016




01. Pledge of Allegiance
02. Roll Call
03. Approval of Board Minutes: 1/25/16 Regular Meeting
04. Approve / Amend Agenda
05. Correspondence / Reports
06. Public Comments

07. Unfinished Business
A. Ken Doctor Retirement Resolution
B. Public Safety Director Contract
C. Fire Department Battalion Chief
D. Fire Department Vacancy
E. Cemetery Rates – 2nd Reading and Consideration
F. 2016 – 2017 Budget

08. New Business
A. Local Library Millage
B. 2016-2017 Board Schedule
C. Consideration of Township Superintendent
     1. Supervisor Salary
     2. Employment Agreement
     3. Supervisor Resignation

09. Approval of Bills
10. Reports
11. Public Comments
12. Adjournment

The Township will provide necessary reasonable aids and services for this meeting to individuals with disabilities by writing or telephoning the following Township Clerk: Carol Hulka, Fruitport Township Hall, 5865 Airline Road, Fruitport, MI 49415 – (231) 865-3151

New Report Highlights Health Gaps Among State Counties

New report highlights health gaps among state countiesDetails strategies for improvement –

Ottawa County—There are substantial health differences among Michigan counties, and eliminating those differences could prevent more than 7,800 premature deaths every year, according to a State Health Gaps report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI).

The report also looked at a total of 30 important factors that contribute to how long and how well people live, and found that in Michigan opportunities for health vary widely from county to county. In 2015, Ottawa County ranked 1st out of 82 counties in Michigan for healthy people, according to the sixth annual County Health Rankings

If every county in Michigan did as well as the counties in the state
that performed best on these important health factors, there could be:

•  287,000 fewer adult smokers
•  294,000 fewer adults who are obese
•  259,000 fewer adults who drink excessively
•  167,000 fewer people who are uninsured
•  180,000 more adults, ages 25-44, with some education beyond high school
•  79,000 fewer people who are unemployed
•  186,000 fewer children in poverty
•  34,000 fewer violent crimes
•  181,000 fewer households with severe housing problems

Teenage girl eating dinner with family --- Image by © Laura Doss/Corbis

Teenage girl eating dinner with family — Image by © Laura Doss/Corbis

The Health Gaps report is one of 50 released today. Each identifies significant gaps in opportunities for good health among counties within every state. Each state report details how well the healthiest counties do; the difference that could be made if every county had the same chance to be healthy; and strategies to close the gaps between the healthiest and least healthy places. The full report for the state of Michigan can be found at
The Michigan Health Gaps Report is a product of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program. The program offers data, tools, and resources to help communities throughout their journey to build a Culture of Health.

Ask Dr. Universe – Bones

How are bones made? -Oscar, 10

Dear Oscar,

A couple months before you were born, your skeleton was soft and bendy. It was made out of cartilage, the same material that’s in your nose and ears now. But when certain cells in your body called osteoblasts and osteoclasts began to work together, new bone started to form.

In fact, you were born with about 300 tiny bones in your body. As you began to grow, some of the bones fused together and became single bones. Now, you carry around a skeleton of 206 bones.

Those bones are pretty strong, too. They are mostly made up of the same minerals that keep your teeth strong and a tiger’s claw sharp: calcium phosphate. They also contain some proteins, vitamins, water, and other elements.

That’s what I found out from my friend Susmita Bose. She’s a materials engineer here at Washington State University and knows a lot about the science of our bones.

As strong as our bones may be, they are actually breaking down all the time, she said.

“There is always a micro-crack that is generating in our musculoskeletal system,” Bose said. “Bone keeps repairing itself throughout our life.”

We have two main types of bone cells. There are the bone-eating cells called osteoclasts and the bone-building cells called osteoblasts. They work in a cycle. Since the day you were born, your skeleton system has been, in a way, always re-making itself.

Still, sometimes our bones do more than just micro-crack. Even when we do our best to keep our skeletal system healthy, bones sometimes break. As we get older, the bone-building cells start to slow down. Some bones can become so damaged that a person might need to replace them.

In the lab, Bose and her team use a special form of calcium phosphate to make custom bone replacement parts. These are called implants. It takes a group of smart scientists who know a lot about chemistry, biology, engineering, and medicine to make the implants work.

“You can make a special X-ray scan of the bone defect, then send a file of the information through a computer, and the 3-D printer will make the part based on your file,” Bose said.

She showed me a few of the bone replacement parts from the printer. They looked and felt a lot like the bones you’d find in the human body.

“I often say it isn’t easy to mimic Mother Nature,” Bose said. But using a variety of sciences, she said the team is getting closer to building bone materials that improve the way people heal.

They design implants that are friendly to the rest of the body and that get along with the different bone cells and other cells, so the growing cycle can continue.

Maybe someday if you break your arm in football or hurt your ankle in soccer, your doctor could pop in a specially made implant. Perhaps you would even be able to join your team again before the season ends.

#NationalEngineeringWeek begins Feb. 21! Tell us what engineering means to you! Send drawings & messages to We might just feature it on the website.

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.

Ottawa County’s Top Dog Announced

In 2015 the most often use name in Ottawa County when purchasing a dog license was Bella. The entire top ten included:

1. Bella
2. Charlie
3. Buddy
4. Max
5. Lucy
6. Molly
7. Sadie
8. Maggie
9. Bailey
10. Daisy

“A dog license cannot be issued without being provided the name of the animal,” said Bradley Slagh, Ottawa County Treasurer. “It seems some people take naming their pet to new heights.” Other notable names of 2015 were: Trinity, Sir Buster Boo, Snapdragon and Ember.

Having the license can help quickly return a lost animal to its home. When a lost animal is found by a resident or officer, the license number attached to the collar can be entered at and the owner identified without a trip to the humane society. Law requires that dogs are licensed, however Ottawa County also offers cat licensing. A favorite name among licensed cats is Chuck Norris. “Although with a name like that, it can probably take care of itself,” Slagh quipped.

One other interesting statistic in the year-end reports are the breeds of the most licensed dogs. The top three breeds based on the number licensed in 2015 are:

1. Labrador Retriever
2. Golden Retriever
3. Shih-Tzu

Michigan law requires that all dogs have a valid rabies shot issued by a veterinarian and a current county license. Ottawa County dog licenses are available on-line at, by mail, or in person at the County Treasurer’s Fillmore and Grand Haven Offices, and at participating veterinarians and government unit offices.

Veterinarians selling County dog licenses along with providing animal health services are: Hamilton Vet Clinic, Georgetown Animal Hospital, Jelsema Vet Clinic, Chicago Drive Vet Clinic, Haven Animal Hospital, Harborfront Hospital, East Holland Vet Clinic, Mapleview Animal Hospital, Ottawa Animal Hospital, and Zeeland Vet Hospital, Kingdom Animal Hospital and Lifetime Veterinary Care.

Learn more about dog licensing at or call (616) 994-4501.


Dr. Universe – Boogers

What are boogers? – Taryn, 9, Seattle, WA
What exactly is a booger and is it harmful to eat? – Concerned grandpa

Dear curious readers,

When I went to visit my friend Susan Perkins, an instructor of nursing at Washington State University, she shined a tiny light in my nose. Sure enough, she found some crusty little boogies.

Perkins said boogers actually start out in the nose as sticky, slimy mucus, which is mostly water. It also has a little protein to keep it sticky, some salt, and other chemicals.

“Many of our organs make mucus,” Perkins said. “It’s just that the kind in our nose turns into boogers.”

In your nose, tiny hair cells help push the mucus down toward your nostrils. Mucus dries out in the air and pretty soon you’ve got a booger. But not all mucus is destined to become a booger.

Some of the mucus from your nose goes in the other direction and gets flushed into your stomach. While that might sound gross at first, mucus plays an important part in protecting the human body. Mucus can grab onto invaders such as dust particles or bad germs. If any harmful germs do make it to your stomach, the stomach acids will probably destroy them.

Mucus from the nose lines your airways in a nice gooey layer to help protect your lungs.
“The reason we have mucus is because it helps capture and flush out any foreign particles that we breathe in,” Perkins said.

And between the mucus that forms in the nose, stomach, lungs, and guts, the body makes quite a bit of it, too.

Since the stuff that’s in our boogers is what you end up swallowing anyway, it’s left some scientists wondering if eating mucus might help boost the body’s defense system. Though, I imagine it might be tough for scientists to find humans who want to volunteer in the research to help find out.

It might sound absurd to eat mucus, but some organisms actually make a meal out of it. Tiny crustaceans called sea lice eat mucus that forms on salmon.

While sea lice like to eat mucus, eating boogers or mucus tends to gross people out. Your friends probably don’t want to see you doing it and you probably don’t want your friends to see you picking either.

And in the end, it’s the picking part that could cause trouble, Perkins said. Picking can irritate your nose. It might even cause a little bleeding, which could open you up to more germs or infection. Germs may also spread from your nose to your hands and to other people.

As I left Perkins’ office, one of my boogers was coming out of the cave. She kindly offered me a tissue. It’s usually best to use a tissue when you are handling the boogies.

The next time you blow your nose, that little crusty glob may just remind you that your body is working hard to keep you healthy.

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.