Monthly Archives: September 2016

Looking for Your Lost Bicycle?

If you or your child is missing a bicycle from the Fruitport area, we may have them here. Many misplaced bikes get dropped off at our Police Department. We’d like to return lost bikes to their owners, so if you are missing a bike, call (231) 865-8477 and give us a description of it.

Citizens are encouraged to bring found property or bicycles to the Fruitport Township Police Department at 5825 Airline Hwy, Monday – Friday from 8am – 4pm.

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A Doggy Development

The Downtown Muskegon Dog Park project became official this month with the launch of a crowdfunding site.

The new off-leash dog park will be approximately .7 acres, contain separate large and small dog areas, dog agility equipment, natural grass, doggie drinking fountains, picnic tables, benches and a dog grooming area.

The triangle-shaped lot is located at 793 W. Western Avenue and is known by many as the Carpenter Brother Site. “The Downtown Muskegon Dog Park is a gateway to revitalization in the area,” said Dave Alexander, Executive Director of Downtown Muskegon Now. “It is one of many developments that are taking place on the most Western portion of Western Avenue.”

The Dog Park project secured a match from the MEDC, which doubles every donation made. The project has 4 weeks to raise $50,000, which is the max that the MEDC will match.

The project is being coordinated by partners including: Downtown Muskegon Now, The City of Muskegon, Muskegon County, The Community Foundation for Muskegon County, Baker College Vet Tech Program, Watermark Center, The Coffee Factory, Halfshell Graphics, Christopher C. Cordle Designs and the Friends of the Muskegon Dog Beach.

The Spoonville Trail – Phase I Complete

Ottawa County Announces the Completion of Phase I of the Spoonville Trail

Ottawa County is excited to announce the completion of Phase I of the Spoonville Trail.  To celebrate the completion of this non-motorized pathway, a Ribbon-Cutting and Donor Recognition Ceremony was held on Friday, September 16th at 4:00 p.m.  The Ceremony featured guest speaker, State Representative Amanda Price.  The event was at the Spoonville Trail located at 12300 North Cedar Drive, Grand Haven, MI 49417.  

Phase I of the Spoonville Trail stretches 1.8 miles from North Cedar Drive to Leonard Road, incorporating the Sgt. Henry E. Plant Pathway located on M-231 over the Grand River.  Watch a virtual tour of the Spoonville Trail.

“The Spoonville Trail is a valued addition to Ottawa County’s non-motorized trail system,” said Ottawa County Administrator Al Vanderberg.  “The Spoonville Trail will provide Ottawa County residents and visitors with the opportunity to enjoy spectacular views of the Grand River, access numerous State and local parks and recreational areas along the Grand River, experience safe non-motorized transportation, and visit local land marks in Nunica.” 

The Trail will also offer historical and cultural education opportunities.  The Sgt. Henry E. Plant Pathway includes a plaque that commemorates Ottawa County’s first Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.  In addition, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be constructing an educational terrace designed to educate users on local Native American culture and heritage, while displaying images of artifacts found in the area during the construction of the M-231 highway.   

These benefits of Phase I of the Spoonville Trail could not be realized without the funding partners that contributed to the $1 million cost to construct the Trail.  The Federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) at MDOT is the largest funding contributor, providing more than $600,000 in federal funds toward pathway construction.  Ottawa County would like to recognize the many funding partners and donors who have made Phase I of the Spoonville Trail possible:  

– MDOT TAP – Scholten-Fant
– Ottawa County – Youth Advisory Council of the GHACF  
– West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition  – Quiet Water Society
– Grand Haven Area Community Foundation  – Charter Communications
– Consumers Energy – Rycenga Building Center 
– The Loutit Foundation – Dr. & Mrs. Jeffrey D. Johnson
– Shape Corporation – Mr. & Mrs. John H. Nash
– Ottawa County Parks and Recreation – Spoonville Gun Club
– M-231 Run – Ms. Jacqueline Fisher
– DALMAC Foundation  – Mr. & Mrs. Jack Fisher

Phase II of the Spoonville Trail is scheduled to be constructed in the summer of 2017.  This remaining 2 miles of non-motorized pathway will span from Leonard Road and 120th Avenue to Nunica and will include over 1000 feet of pathway crossing the Crockery Creek Natural Area.

The Spoonville Trail is designed to be the key connection between the North Bank Trail (north side of the Grand River) and the Grand River Greenway Trail (south side of the Grand River).  These trails will form a regional loop of non-motorized pathways known as the “Grand Connection” that will span from the shore of Lake Michigan to Grand Rapids.

Anyone who would like more information about making a tax deductible contribution to Phase II of the Spoonville Trail is encouraged to contact the Planning and Performance Improvement Department.


Muskegon County Calendar of Events 09/26/16-10/03/16

Presented by the Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau

A Murder is Announced
September 16 – October 1
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September 16 – October 1, the Muskegon Civic Theatre invites you to the Beardsley Theater for “A Murder is Announced!”  An announcement in the local paper states the time and place when a murder is to occur in Miss Blacklock’s Victorian house.  What follows is a classic Agatha Christie puzzle of mixed motives, concealed identities, a second death, a determined Inspector grimly following the twists and turns, and the iconic sleuth Miss Marple on hand to solve the mystery.

Tickets are $20 & $22.  For more information, visit

Register Now for Ballroom & Tango Dancing Classes
September 6 – September 30
Muskegon Community Arts invites you to have some fun and dance with professional dance instructors in the beautiful Century Club Ballroom!  Classes are held for 6 weeks, October 4 – November 22.  You can take a class of your choice for $80, or $160 for both.  Beginner Ballroom style dance is from 6:00-7:00pm and Intermediate Tango and Quickstep is from 7:00-8:00pm.  The deadline for registration is October 1.  For more information or to sign up, visit

A Call to Artists! Register Now for Dias de los Muertos
September 14 @ 10:00 am – September 27 @ 8:00 pm
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Muskegon Community Arts and the Red Lotus Gallery in the Century Club are putting out a call to artists to register now for “Dias de los Muertos”, to honor those who have passed. Submit your creation of artwork or bring in pictures of your loved ones who have passed. A wall will be created to pay homage to these people in your life who have inspired you. Your submissions are due by September 27 before 5:30pm to enter this event. To obtain a submission form, visit There is a small fee of $5-$10 for your piece of artwork. The open house for this event will be held on October 7 from 6:00-8:00pm. The Display Wall can be viewed throughout the month of October.

Exhibit Opening: Works by Deborah Rockman
September 26 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
A new exhibit, “Us and Them: Works by Deborah Rockman,” opens at the Muskegon Community College Overbrook Art Gallery on Monday, September 26 and will continue through October 28.  Free and open to the public, the exhibit is linked to the Muskegon Area Arts and Humanities Festival (ahFest), which explores this year’s theme of “Us and Them”, through a range of cultural events occurring at various community locations during National Humanities Month.  There will be a special weekend and evening hours during performances of “Avenue Q: The Musical” in the adjacent Overbrook Theater October 12-16.  For more information, call 231-777-0324.

Gettysburg Lecture Series
September 26 & October 3 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
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September 12, 19, 26 and October 3 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, come to the Gettysburg Lecture Series at the Lakeshore Museum Center.  Muskegon Community College and the Museum are sponsoring a four-part lecture series which precedes a four-day Gettysburg Guided Tour.  The cost of the series is $30 for Museum members and $35 for non-members, or $10 per lecture.  The cost of the trip is $485.  Registration is requested for the lecture.  For more information, visit

Bark for Our Park
September 26 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Monday, September 26 at 6:00pm, come to the “Bark for Our Park” celebration at Muskegon’s new downtown dog park!  It’s a big old dog party to celebrate a $25,000 grant to help build the city’s first off-leash dog park with giveaways and fun, interactive projects for families and dogs.  Fatty Lumpkin’s Sandwich Shack, The Coffee Factory, Ice Box Brand Ice Cream Bars, Back Alley Improv, Jessamy’s, Lefteyeplacebo, Umbrella Promotions Fundraising, Wildflower Studios, Halfshell Graphics, Greater Muskegon Kennel Club and Pound Buddies will all be there!   Bring your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and, of course, your dogs!  The park is not fenced in at this time, so all dogs must be on a leash.  For more information, visit their Facebook page.

We Are Stars
Tuesdays & Thursdays @ 7:00 pm
There’s a new show at the Carr-Fles Planetarium!  “We Are Stars” is a 35-minute, family-friendly adventure that that spans the billions of years between the Big Bang and modern day, and follows the thread that connects us all to those early times through the atoms from which our bodies are formed.  Where did they come from?  How did they get here?  And is it true that we really are all made of stars?  The science content is most appropriate for ages 11 and up; however, the entrancing animation and award-winning soundtrack will draw all ages into the magical universe created within this incredible show.  No reservations are needed for this FREE program, which runs August 23 – October 27 on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00pm (doors open by 6:45), and includes a brief demonstration of the current night sky.  The planetarium is in room 135 of Muskegon Community College (221 S. Quarterline Rd, Muskegon).  For more information, or to schedule a private show for groups of 15-44, please call (231) 777-0289 or email

Art & a Glass: Thursday Happy Hour at the MMA
Thursdays @ 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Every Thursday from 4:00-8:00pm you’re invited to the Muskegon Museum of Art for “Art & a Glass!” Bring your friends to a museum-style happy hour! Take a break and enjoy the art with a glass of wine or a great craft brew. General admission is free Thursday evenings from 4:00 to 8:00 pm so take advantage of the opportunity to discover your Museum at no cost. There will be a cash bar. You must be 21 or older to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages. For more information call 231-720-2570.

Cinnamon Rolls and Sticky Buns with Chef Char
September 29 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
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Thursday, September 29th – Older Teens and Adults Cinnamon Rolls and Sticky Buns with Chef Char 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Learn the secrets to making a fantastic dough that can be rolled out and filled with any combination of cinnamon, fruits or nuts.   Learn the secrets to making a classic pecan caramel topping for sticky buns and a smooth cream cheese frosting or a sweet honey glaze for fresh cinnamon rolls.  Older Teens and Adults/$35

Go to and search on Muskegon Farmers Market and all currently scheduled classes will pop up. Also subscribe to our Kitchen 242 Facebook Events Page to receive notification when new culinary events are added.

Thursday Night Music Club: Boogie Woogie Kid
September 29 at 7:00pm, the fall season of the MADL Thursday Night Music Club kicks off in a big way with Matthew Ball: The Boogie Woogie Kid, a pianist with a performance history that spans everything from symphony appearances to Jazz and Blues festivals.  Featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition, Matthew performs classic Ragtime, Boogie-woogie & Blues piano favorites from the swinging era of the 20’s 30’s & 40’s.

This program, funded by the Friends of the Norton Shores Library and the Almeda Boulton Memorial Fund of the Community Foundation of Muskegon County, is free and open to the public with no registration required.  For additional information, contact Alison Purgiel, branch manager, at 231-780-8844 or .

Halloween Harvest Weekend
September 30 – October 2
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The 2nd Annual Halloween Harvest Weekend at Pioneer County Park will take place this year Friday, September 30 to Sunday, October 2.  During Friday night check-in, there’ll be goody bags for the kids, s’mores and a bonfire at the Lodge and a Glow in the Dark Bike Parade!  Saturday, enjoy breakfast in the Lodge, free pumpkins and pumpkin decorating, bounce houses, hayrides, face painting, Trick or Treating, site decorating contest, obstacle course and a Haunted Trail.  Sunday is check-out.  Reserve your campsite now for only $28 per night (2 night minimum).  For more information, call 231-744-3580.

Oktoberfest: Biers, Bands & Brats
September 30 – October 1
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September 30- October 1st, you’re invited to Muskegon State Park for an Oktoberfest!

The Muskegon Oktoberfest is a two day event with a Bavarian flare.  It begins Friday night with the ceremonial tapping of the keg and some great music.  This will be your first chance to get a taste of the Exclusive Oktoberfest beers brewed just for this event by local breweries.  New this year is the Apfelwein Luge Lounge, where they’ll have beer and wine tasting at the Luge track Friday night.

Return Saturday afternoon for the Volksmarch, a traditional German hike through the forest with friends.  Kids can enjoy the Hansel & Gretel Kids trail while the adults get a taste of Michigan’s longest beer trail, featuring four biergartens with live entertainment.  Main stage performances from Ein Prosit and Westside Soul Surfers will complete the Oktoberfest fun.  For tickets or more information, visit

Friday, September 30th Tapping of the Keg
Live Music By: Tommy Foster (Main Stage) 5:00 – 7:30pm
Shuttle service begins 6:00pm
Ceremonial tapping of the keg 7:00pm
Live Music By: Smoke’n Inside (Main Stage) 7:30pm -11:00pm
Live Music By: Charlie Edgerton (Apfelwein Luge Lounge) 8:00pm – 10:30pm
Last shuttle departs 11:00pm
Saturday, October 1st
Shuttle service begins 4:00pm
Volksmarch 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Hansel & Gretel Kids Trail 3:00pm – 9:00pm
Live Music By: Ein Prosit (Main Stage) 3:30pm – 6:30pm
Beer Tasting Trail 5:00pm – 9:00pm
Live Music By: Bettie Paige (Lokal Biergarten) 5:00pm – 9:00pm
Live Music By: Janey B & The HouseRockers (Apfelwein Biergarten 5:00pm – 9:00pm
Live Music By: The Carl Webb Band (Wald Biergarten) 5:00pm – 9:00pm
Live Music By: Whoopee Kat (Tal Biergarten) 5:00pm – 9:00pm
Live Music By: Westside Soul Surfers (Main Stage) 7:00pm – 11:00pm
Last shuttle departs 11:30pm


Reebok Ragnar Relay Michigan
September 30 – October 1
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Reebok Ragnar Relay Michigan is a magical combination of fall colors, sugar sand beaches, massive dunes and wild Ragnarians. Teams of 12 or 6 will start the 200-ish mile relay in beautiful Muskegon County where runners will speed past historic ships and lighthouses with a van of teammates cheering them along each leg of the course. Teams make their way past apple orchards, cherry blossoms and rolling hills painted in vibrant autumn hues. As the sun sets, runners continue their relay through the night as a starlit sky and bouncing line of headlamps brighten the way.  Gulps of crisp October air propel runners on their final miles to the finish line in Traverse City.  A Ragnar wouldn’t be complete without a finish line party, hunky finisher medal and stories to tell for years to come. Find out what it means to find your #innerWILD and mark your running calendar for September 30- October 1.  For more information, visit

11th Annual Trinkets & Treasures
September 30 – October 1
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Friday and Saturday, September 30 and October 1, come to the Folkert Community HUB for the 11th Annual Trinkets & Treasures indoor yard sale and baked goods sale!  This fundraiser, held by the Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce, benefits the Father Jack Foundation, Flyin’ Heroes and Tempting Tables.  Friday hours are 9:00am-5:00pm and Saturday hours are 9:00am-3:00pm.  For more information, call JoAnne at 231-955-0789 or Kathy at 231-903-2713.

West Michigan Symphony Presents: Heroes and Villains
September 30 @ 7:30 pm
Friday, September 30 at 7:30pm, come to the Frauenthal Theater as the West Michigan Symphony presents “Heroes and Villains” with conductor Scott Speck.  Celebrate the dark side and the bright side of storytelling via the incredible soundtracks that set the scene for a host of unforgettable movie characters.  Single ticket prices are $23-$54.  Student tickets are $10.  Call (231) 332-4103 for more information.

Free Tours of the Hackley & Hume Site for Muskegon County Residents
October Weekends
Tours of the homes of Muskegon’s most well-known lumber barons are free for Muskegon County residents on weekends during the month of October.  Saturday hours are 10:00am-4:00pm, Sunday hours are 1:00-4:00pm.  For more information, call 231-722-7578.

Pizza Pockets and Calzones with Chef Char
October 1 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
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Saturday, October 1st – Kid’s Cooking Class:  Pizza Pockets and Calzones with Chef Char 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. We will make our own dough and marinara sauce in the class before creating delicious double-crusted, pizza-style healthy snacks.  Roll out the dough, then add your choice of your favorite pizza toppings and love before sealing, baking and taking home.  Ages 7-13. Cost $25.

Go to and search on Muskegon Farmers Market and all currently scheduled classes will pop up. Also subscribe to our Kitchen 242 Facebook Events Page to receive notification when new culinary events are added.

Artist De-Stash Sale
October 1 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Local area artists are cleaning out their homes and studios of art supplies that are no longer needed.  Red Lotus Gallery invites you to view and purchase a great variety supplies at discount prices during their “Artist De-Stash” sale, Saturday, October 1 from 10:00am-4:00pm.  For more information, visit

Lumber Barons’ Ball: Victorian Carnivale
October 1 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
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This year’s Lumber Barons’ Ball will be held Saturday, October 1 at Watermark 920.  Save the date for an exceptional evening of entertainment!  Imagine a night under the Big Top in Muskegon in the early 1900s with interactive entertainment, music, and more.  The night includes a live and silent auction, Five Fantastic Food Stations and a cash bar.  For more information, visit

Muskegon Lumberjacks Home Game
October 1 @ 7:15 pm
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Saturday, October 1 at 7:15pm, come to the L.C. Walker Arena as the Muskegon Lumberjacks take on the USNTDP U-18!  The Muskegon Lumberjacks are proud members of the United States Hockey League, the nation’s only Tier I junior hockey league and the leading producer of NCAA players and National Hockey League draft picks in the United States. The Lumberjacks’organization prides itself on developing not just premier hockey talent, but also exceptional young men outside the arena of sports. For more information, visit

Rockin’ Road to Dublin
October 2 @ 7:30 pm
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October 2 at 7:30pm, come to the Frauenthal Theater for the “Rockin’ Road to Dublin!”  Experience the new generation of Irish music & dance.  Inspired by epic spectacles like Riverdance, RRTD’s renowned team of tour professionals is reviving the classic art form to create a new Irish show with a contemporary feel and a broader appeal.  Choreographer and lead male Scott Doherty (Riverdance & Lord of the Dance) has teamed up with veteran Celtic rocker Chris Smith to produce an exciting fusion of music, movement and culture that has never been done before.  RRTD is a breathtaking display of classic Irish tunes accented by rock ‘n’ roll riffs, electrifying dancers and a dynamic light show.  Enjoy the thrilling sights and sounds as daring performers execute rapid-fire leaps, twirls and footwork, and nimble fiddlers square off with driving electric guitar chords and pulse-pounding drum beats.

Fans say, “Rockin’ Road to Dublin not only combines Riverdance and Lord of the Dance perfectly, but actually surpasses them!”

Tickets are $30, $35 and $45.  For more information, visit


Land Recording Fees to Change

Land Recording Fees to Change to “Flat Fee” for all Documents

Beginning October 1, 2016, recording fees for all documents recorded in the Register of Deeds office will be “flat fee” of $30 per document. Currently, the cost of recording documents is based upon a $14 charge for the initial page, and $3 for every subsequent page.

This legislative change was supported by the Michigan Association of Registers of Deeds and the Michigan Land Title Association, in response to new consumer protection regulations instituted by the federal government in late 2015. The new regulations create a mandatory extension of the closing date for properties if the closing documents are rejected by the Register of Deeds Office, which delays the closing process for consumers. Under the current cost structure, one of the most common reasons for rejection of a document is inaccurate payment due to miscalculation of the number of pages contained in a document. The Register of Deeds is required to return the documents until the proper fees are met.

“With new guidelines instituted by the federal government, it became clear that creating a flat fee for all documents would be in the best interest of our homeowners and all of the entities that do business with the Register of Deeds Office,” said County Clerk/Register Justin Roebuck. “Having a predictable flat fee will create a more smooth land title closing process by assuring that the right payments are submitted the first time. This only stands to benefit our residents, businesses and the economy as a whole.”

The $30 flat fee amount is based upon a statewide average of the fees currently assessed to record documents under the existing “per page” fee structure.

Statewide Giving Effort at Secretary of State Offices

Secretary of State offices to host Harvest Gathering food drive collection sites

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson today encouraged residents to donate nonperishable food at Secretary of State offices statewide as part of the 26th Annual Michigan Harvest Gathering food drive.

“All it takes to help your neighbor is a can of soup or a jar of peanut butter,” Johnson said. “Just bring these items to an area Secretary of State office. With that seemingly small gesture you are helping a local family to put food on their table when they otherwise might have gone hungry.”

Johnson thanked Secretary of State staff for making the food drive so successful every year. Since 2011, Secretary of State offices have collected almost 30 tons of food donations. The Secretary of State portion of the Harvest Gathering campaign runs through Nov. 23.

“The collaboration between Secretary of State offices in Michigan and the Michigan Harvest Gathering has provided valuable outreach to local communities in all 83 counties,” said Phillip Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan. “The Michigan Harvest Gathering is successful because of partnerships dedicated to making Michigan a food secure state.”

In Michigan, 16 percent of households struggle to put food on the table and 21 percent of children don’t know where their next meal will come from, according to the Food Bank Council of Michigan. The organization coordinates the program, which supplies the state’s regional food banks through donations of food and money. The regional food banks serve food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in every Michigan county.

In 2015, the entire Michigan Harvest Gathering campaign collected 300,000 pounds of food and more than $381,000. This year, the campaign’s goal is to collect enough food and funds for two million meals.

Nonperishable food items with a valid expiration date can be dropped off at any Secretary of State office.

Food items especially needed include canned meats, dry beans, soups, beef stew, pasta products, peanut butter and tuna. Other items include baby food or formula, diapers, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes. The Food Bank requests donors avoid items in glass, as they often break in transit. Financial donations may be made online at

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).

Muskegon STAR! Certification Training

Join the 500+ Muskegon STARS!  The Muskegon STAR! Program provides the tools to excel at customer interaction and enhance the overall experience for tourists, friends and fellow employees.

Thursday, October 20, 2016 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
West Michigan Works!
316 Morris Avenue, Suite 300
Muskegon, MI 49440
West Michigan Works Office is located inside Terrace Plaza

Cost: $25 per person

Find out more at:!-Certification-Training-5965/details


Candidate Bio: Roy J. Portenga

Candidate for Muskegon Community College (MCC) Board of Trustees

roy-portenga-image001I’m running for re-election to the Muskegon Community College (MCC) Board of Trustees.  I was born and raised in Muskegon County, attended West. MI Christian High School, MCC (’71-’73), Univ. of Michigan, and then Valparaiso University School of Law.  I’ve been practicing law in Muskegon since 1981 and have raised my family in the County.

When I returned to Muskegon after law school, I wanted to “give back” and I could think of no better way than to get involved in the school I loved—MCC.  I became involved in the MCC Alumni Association, the MCC Foundation, the ’95 Presidential Search Committee, and then I became elected as a Trustee in ’98.  I’ve since been re-elected twice and respectfully ask that you help me get re-elected again.

As it did with me, MCC changes lives—economically, socially, and emotionally.  I am committed to making sure MCC continues to offer cutting edge, quality college courses at affordable prices.  I think our Board has been doing that.  Indeed, Value Colleges recently ranked MCC 27th out of the nation’s 1711 community colleges.  I will do my best to make sure this value continues.

Roy J. Portenga
711 Center Street
N. Muskegon

Candidate Bio: Dennis B Murphy

Candidate for Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District

dennis-1_smDennis Murphy is running to represent west Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District. Dennis is a native of West Michigan, growing up in Muskegon and Muskegon Heights. He understands and appreciates the people and natural resources in this part of the State.

Dennis graduated from Muskegon High School followed by Western Michigan University where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education. After teaching for three years, he changed careers. He has worked in manufacturing since 1995 and as a quality engineer since 1999 in the automotive manufacturing industry. Dennis understands the importance of the automotive and manufacturing industries to our economy. He will fight for policies to support good jobs.

Dennis and his family are avid cyclists and runners. Dennis has been actively involved in the mountain biking and bicycling advocacy since 1999. They also enjoy backpacking, camping and canoeing. He will work to protect our natural resources and ensure that access and opportunities are maintained.

Dennis has been married to Joni (Keglovitz) for 29 years and has two sons- Patrick and Brenden. As a husband and father, Dennis appreciates the need for laws to protect middle class families. “We need to ensure job and educational opportunities for our younger generations and do all we can to build a growing middle class. We also have to support Social Security and Medicare for current and future retirees by preventing privatization of these programs.”

You can find out more about his positions at

Candidate Bio: Erwin Haas

Libertarian Party candidate for Michigan’s second congressional district.

Commissioner, Kentwood’s Second Ward-No new taxes or debts on my watch
commissionerhaascloseup_sm-Flight surgeon in Vietnam, highest rank, major
-Worked last 5 years at Fort Bliss Army Hospital
-Infectious Diseases physician
-Board member of the Grand Valley Coop Credit Union for 8 years
-Medical advisory board, Hospice
-MBA GVSU; taught marketing
-Licenses to sell real estate and stocks
-Writer, published in Liberty Magazine,, Medical Economics, Michigan Medicine; also a dozen scientific articles on medicine
-Economist/blogs commentator
-Author of 3 books; all unsuccessful
-Produced, edited and directed THE OPEN MIKE program on Channel 24 in Grand Rapids.
Canisius College, BA University of Buffalo, MD Grand Valley State University, MBA
-Married for 41 years to Kris Kitzsteiner MD, 3 successful kids

Campaign Website

1) Right-size our military commitments and costs. Our Army has lost almost every one of its wars (including my war) during the last 70 years and didn’t stop terrorist attacks in the USA.
2) Replace the corrupt and inefficient IRS with the fair tax-basically a national sales tax. This plan has a “prebate” that pays the tax for the poor.
3) Balance the budget and pay down the national debt by eliminating 4 departments of government; energy, commerce, education and HUD. These add plenty of harmful regulations, none of which have economic benefit.
4) My parents were legal immigrants, became citizens, and contributed mightily to our country. That goal needs to be retained. Folks coming here should be enthusiastic, ambitious, working toward citizenship and assimilation.

Poor Farm Sesquicentennial Celebration

October 1, 2016, from 11 am-5 pm at the Eastmanville Farm County Park

When the Ottawa County Poor Farm received its first resident in 1866, no one could have imagined the benefits it would provide over the decades. The Poor Farm was a haven for indigent people who, due to the happenstance of birth, misfortune, or poverty, were in dire straits and needed a place to call home—a sanctuary staffed with people who could nurse them to better health. Now, as Eastmanville Farm, it provides hiking and equestrian trails to outdoor enthusiasts.

Celebrate the rich history of the Poor Farm on Saturday, October 1 from 11 am-5 pm. That day you can expect historical re-enactors, local musicians, and special exhibits honoring the residents and workers of the farm.

This event is family-friendly and admission is free! for more info, click here!

2016 Muskegon County Day of Caring

Day of Caring-2016 Kicks Off United Way’s Human Service Campaign:
Pacesetters’ Solid Early Results Mark 15% of Goal

MUSKEGON – Hundreds of volunteers came together Friday, September 9, at the Muskegon Farmers Market for United Way of the Lakeshore’s 2016 Muskegon County Day of Caring and campaign kickoff. The volunteers met for a breakfast at the Farmers Market, before heading out to work sites to address projects identified by nine local agencies: Kids Food Basket, The Salvation Army of Muskegon, Community enCompass, Pathfinders, Muskegon Area Land Bank Authority, Muskegon Area Transit System, Love INC, Mission for Area People, and Brookhaven Medical Facility.

Christine Robere, President and CEO, United Way of the Lakeshore said, “The agencies each provide services that help ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) families meet their basic needs when issues arise. ALICE represents 1 in 4 Muskegon County families—approximately 15,000 households—led by men and women of all ages and races who get up each day to go to work, but are one unexpected expense away from crisis.” Robere added, “Every dollar from individual donors through the United Way annual workplace campaign goes to fund human service needs related to education, income stability, and health, right here in our community—while corporate and grant funding helps to cover our administrative costs, for which we thank those corporate sponsors.” “Today, we thank all of you and we salute each and every volunteer who gives their time, talent, and treasures as they care for our community and help to kick off the United Way Annual Campaign to fund human service needs in Muskegon County,” Robere underscored.

Erik Jepsen, Campaign Chairman for 2016, recognized the volunteer effort and said, “The Day of Caring also serves as the official launch of the United Way of the Lakeshore’s fundraising campaign with a goal to raise $2.27 million to invest in Muskegon County. To meet that goal, we expect 6,000 donors from 350 workplaces to participate this year, many who know the plight of ALICE and want to support United Way priorities that help kids succeed, improve healthy living and increase financial stability and independence.” Jepsen added, “We’re proud of the giving spirit in Muskegon County where over the past decade we have raised close to $30 million from individuals; this funding has helped to leverage an additional $10 million local matching dollars to invest in human service needs of area children and families.”

Jepsen said, “Based on our early results from Pacesetters, we can reach that goal to help ALICE.


Pacesetter campaigns begin about a month ahead of campaign kick- off to help “set the pace” for the entire campaign. Preliminary results from the 2016 Pacesetter campaign efforts are strong showing the combined Muskegon County pacesetter campaigns totaling close to 15% of the overall goal at $338,935.


The following Pacesetter companies all ran great campaigns, according to Jepsen:


  • ADAC Automotive raised $40,200 (27% increase over 2015)
  • Cannon-Muskegon raised $89,520 (12% over 2015)
  • First General Credit Union $7,183 (591% over last year)
  • Hooker DeJong Architects Engineers $4,176
  • Knoll raised $78,000
  • LifeCircles raised $4,823



  • McKenzie Price raised $1,926 (30% increase)
  • Muskegon Area ISD has raised $36,000 so far (11% increase)
  • Parmenter O’Toole raised $6,152
  • The ARC Muskegon raised $1,616 (more than 40% increase over 2015)
  • Tyler Sales raised $11,617 so far
  • United Way Human Service Complex raised $11,617 (9% increase over 2015)
  • West Michigan Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 174 raised $2,781 thus far


Jepsen also introduced key volunteers who are assisting with this year’s campaign. Loaned Executives include:

    • Debbie Anderson, Child Abuse Council
    • Steve Barnard, Wastewater Management System, Muskegon County
    • Jessica Chandler, Merrill Lynch
    • Alex Conrad, Y-Knot Embroidery & Screenprinting
    • Jennifer Grinnell, LifeCircles
    • Stacy Hollenbeck, Huntington
    • Brian Kammerzell, Comerica Bank
    • Steve Keglovitz, Community Volunteer
    • Jackie Knowlton, Fifth Third Bank
    • Cyndi Langlois, Muskkegon Community College
    • Jeff Malec, Malec Engineering Solutions
    • Lauren Meldrum, HealthWest
    • Lori O’Brien, Community Volunteer
    • Kim Parmer, Cannon Muskegon
    • Ben Reider, Parmenter O’Toole
    • Doniele Routt, Nowak Machined Products
    • Farrah Staff, Edward Jones
    • Skyler Vaughn, CWC Textron


The Campaign Cabinet includes:

    • Alcoa Employees – Jackie Johnson, Christie Hill & Chelsea McEntaffer
    • Mercy Health Partner – Blaire Moreau & Dave Webber
    • Manufacturing – Erik Gentzkow (Cannon Muskegon) & Brendan Bolhuis (Beacon Recycling)
    • Construction/Utilities – Rich Houtteman (Consumers Energy)
    • Education – John Severson (Muskegon Area ISD)
    • Human Service agencies/churches –Penny Albertie & Mike Mitchell (American Red Cross)
    • Professionals – Josh Reece (Parmenter O’Toole)
    • FIRE (Finance/Insurance/Real Estate) – Brett Burza (Raymond James)
    • Commercial/Retail – Jonathan Pittman (Muskegon Mall)
    • Labor Chair – Bob Barnett (UA 174)
    • Loaned Executives & training – Jessica Chandler (Merrill Lynch)
    • Leadership Circle – Brad and Janice Hilleary (Webb Chemical)
    • Tocqueville – Jim & Kristine Tyler (Tyler Sales)
    • Retirees – Bob Carter

Individuals may donate securely online to help working families at  Any workplace that would like to have an employee campaign, please contact Nancy Robbins, Resource Development Director, United Way of the Lakeshore, at (231) 332-4003 or

Newaygo County and Oceana County Day of Caring and kickoff for campaigns in those counties are scheduled later in the fall.

United Way of the Lakeshore is uniting to inspire change and build thriving communities. Our Bold Goal – 10,000 more working families meet their basic needs by 2025. For more information, contact United Way of the Lakeshore at 231-332-4047 or visit

Two New Films from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Two new films from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association launched Sept. 1
Churches and individuals can now download or view two new programs from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

My Hope, a ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) has released a 30-minute program called “Decisions,” which features a Gospel message from Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The program looks at the lives of people of different ages and backgrounds who have heard the Gospel through Graham’s 2016 Decision America Tour and made life-changing decisions to follow Christ.

Additionally, the BGEA debuted “A Time for Decision: Pray, Vote, Engage,” a special 30-minute program that goes behind the scenes of the Decision America Tour. As the Decision America Tour travels to all 50 states in 2016, Graham has been encouraging Christians to vote, to live out their faith in every part of their lives and to pray for our nation.

“I’ve been talking to people about the importance of decisions. I see thousands of people faced with a choice… and I want [them] to know the truth,” said Franklin Graham. “Any time you have a crowd of people, I can guarantee there will be somebody in that crowd that doesn’t know Jesus Christ. So, every time I’m at the microphone I’m going to give the Gospel.”

A free DVD including both “Decisions” with “A Time for Decision: Pray, Vote, Engage,” as a bonus feature is now available for pre-orders with shipment expected in early fall.

Ask Dr. Universe – Smallest Insect

What is the smallest insect on Earth? –Laurenz, 8, Molino, Philippines

Dear Laurenz,

When I saw your question, I set out to explore with my bug net and a magnifying glass. I was searching all around for tiny insects when I ran into my friend Laura Lavine, a Washington State University scientist who studies bugs.

She said there are nearly a million different kinds of insects on Earth. The smallest of all the known ones are called fairyflies.

Like all insects, fairyflies have six legs. And like most insects, they also have wings. Some swim under water and use their wings as paddles. Their wings are also a bit hairy. It also turns out the fairyfly isn’t truly a fly. It’s a kind of wasp.

“They are almost impossible to spot with the naked eye,” Lavine said.

In fact, fairy flies are nearly 400 times smaller than the typical ant. And they are about two or three times the width of a human hair.

I imagine finding a fairyfly would be like finding a needle in a haystack. You’d have to keep a sharp eye out.

I started to wonder how exactly entomologists could spot such fairyflies or other kinds of small insects in the wild. For example, a couple years ago scientists discovered a new kind of fairyfly in Costa Rica. It was named Tinkerbella nana after the fairy from Peter Pan.

Lavine explained that scientists often use nets or traps to catch the insects. Sometimes they have to sift through dirt and litter, or decaying leaf matter, a teaspoon at a time to see what they can find.

Scientists can also use what they know about the insect’s behavior and habitat to help track them down. Fairyflies, despite their cute name, are killer insects. They lay eggs inside a host insect’s egg. When the fairyfly’s egg hatches, it eats the host egg. If we keep our eyes out for their host bugs and their eggs, we might also find the fairyfly.

Fairyflies are important for the environment, Lavine added. Farmers and scientists can use fairyflies to help get rid of bigger insects that damage grape vines, blackberries and sugar cane. These tiny creatures help us do a big job.

The insect world is filled with interesting critters. Thinking about the smallest insect also made me wonder about the biggest one on our planet. The biggest bug is a giant walking stick. It’s almost 2 feet long. But who knows? There might be even bigger insects or even smaller insects we haven’t discovered yet crawling around on our planet.

Thanks for your question, Laurenz. It reminds me that even the small things can inspire us to wonder big.

Dr. Universe
Ask Dr. Universe is a science-education project from Washington State University. Send your question to

Muskegon’s Largest Waterfront Development

A group of local business and community leaders recently announced plans to turn the 120-acre former Sappi Paper Mill property into Windward Pointe, a mixed-use development including residential, commercial and community uses.

Located adjacent to the Muskegon Country Club, there are numerous possibilities for Windward Pointe: housing options, mixed-use projects, hotels and resorts, restaurants, retail, offices, marinas, charter fishing and water taxis.

The local business owners formed an investment group called Pure Muskegon. They are working with the Michigan Attorney General, MDEQ, Sappi Paper, and Melching to facilitate the cleanup and redevelopment of the property.

Over the next year, Melching will continue demolition of the remaining structures, including subsurface foundations and infrastructure.

Representatives from the Pure Muskegon group will be discussing Windward Pointe in more detail at the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce’s September Business for Breakfast on September 30.

Credit Union’s First Ottawa County Branch Office

Brownfield Plan Approved to Construct Best Financial Credit Union’s First Ottawa County Branch Office

SPRING LAKE, MI – On August 23, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners approved a Brownfield Plan that will pave the way for BestFinancial Credit Union (Best FCU) to construct its first Ottawa County branch office in the Village of Spring Lake. The Brownfield Plan will allowBest FCU to utilize Tax Increment Financing to help offset the cost of redeveloping this site at the corner of Savidge and School Streets, just northof Millpoint Park along the Grand River. The site is a current “brownfield” due to the presence of contamination in the area from historic industrialuses at the site and nearby properties.

“We are excited to open our first Ottawa County branch office, and to open it on a site that was in need of redevelopment. Taking a defunctproperty and turning it into a place of employment for local residents is a win for everyone,” commented Morgan Rescorla, President and CEO ofBest FCU. Site plan approval by Spring Lake officials is pending and, if approved, Best FCU hopes to close on the property later this year. Afterleveraging funds provided by state agencies and local authorities for the purchase and improvement of the property, Rescorla anticipates that BestFCU will hire four full-time and three part- time employees at the new Spring Lake location. Best FCU currently has two locations in Muskegon to serve its members. Best FCU offers members a wide range of financial services including loans, savings accounts, checking accounts and creditcards. Formerly Community Schools Credit Union, Best FCU, a not-for-profit organization, has been serving its members since 1955.

The Ottawa County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (OCBRA) was able to provide two other means of financial assistance for theBest FCU project. First, the Board of Commissioners gave its approval for the OCBRA to request a loan from the Department of EnvironmentalQuality (MDEQ) that will help Best FCU pay for redevelopment at the brownfield site. This is the first time the OCBRA has used this financial tool to assist developers to revitalize brownfields. The loan program is part of the Clean Michigan Initiative legislation under the NaturalResources and Environmental Protection Act. Second, the Best FCU project is one of 34 properties that received funding from an Environmental Protection Agency grant awarded to the OCBRA to perform environmental assessments necessary for responsible redevelopment of brownfield sites in Ottawa County. The funds have now been fully expended and the grant closes on September 30, 2016.

For more information about redeveloping brownfield sites in Ottawa County and the tools available, contact the OCBRA at 616.738.4852or visit

Key Piece of Property to be Added to North Ottawa Dunes

The acquisition of this 80-acre parcel by Ottawa County Parks is part of a property exchange spearheaded by Spring Lake Township.

North Ottawa Dunes Master Plan map

Key 80-acre parcel highlighted in dark green

Ottawa County Parks is thrilled to announce the Board of Commissioner’s approval of an agreement to acquire of 80 acres of property for North Ottawa Dunes. Approval by Ottawa County Board of Commissioners follows the Spring Lake Township Board approval of the agreement on Monday night (September 12).

The privately-owned parcel, locally known as the “Brill Property,” is located on the eastern edge of the park and surrounded on three sides by park property. Because of the parcel’s geography and natural features, it has been considered a key segment for the park by both Ottawa County Parks and Spring Lake Township for a decade.

The land will be acquired by way of a property exchange between Spring Lake Township and David C. Bos Homes, a negotiation spearheaded by Spring Lake Township. Ottawa County Parks will contribute $360,000 from their millage for the property. “We are especially grateful to John Nash, Spring Lake Township Supervisor, who has led the efforts to secure this land for North Ottawa Dunes,” said John Scholtz, Director of Ottawa County Parks.

The property exchange is expected to be finalized in 30 days.

North Ottawa Dunes is part of a unique freshwater dune system that extends along the Lake Michigan shoreline from Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in the southern end of Lake Michigan to Wilderness State Park just south of the Mackinaw Bridge. Immediately south of P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, the park is one of the largest wooded dune assemblages remaining in central West Michigan. These dunes are the biggest and most extensive freshwater dunes anywhere in the world. They formed over the last 5,000 years as westerly winds moved the large amounts of sand on shore where beach grasses stabilized the sand and began the dune building process.
The additional 80-acre parcel will increase the total acreage of North Ottawa Dunes to 593 acres. The property is primarily backdune forest dominated by sugar maple, American beech, Eastern hemlock and red oak. Over thousands of years, these dunes have changed from bare sand to this lush forest through a process called succession. Today, this property features tremendous topography with a number of dunes exceeding 175 feet in height with some formations reaching over 750 feet in height. Land to establish North Ottawa Dunes was acquired in late 2005 and trails and parking were completed in 2009.

Sign Unveiling Celebration for the Preservation of the Hehl Farm

Ottawa County Sign Unveiling Celebration for the Preservation of the Hehl Farm

The Ottawa County Agricultural Preservation Board is pleased to announce that it closed on its first permanently preserved agricultural property on August 24, 2016.  The Hehl Farm, a 34.9 acre hog and cattle farm in Polkton Township, is the first farm permanently preserved by the Ottawa County Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) Program.

To commemorate this achievement, the Agricultural Preservation Board is holding a sign unveiling celebration on September 29, 2016 at 4:30 p.m.  The sign unveiling celebration will feature guest speaker Carl Bednarski, President of the Michigan Farm Bureau.  A picnic will be held immediately following the sign unveiling.  The celebration will be held at the Hehl Farm located at 14468 88th Avenue, Coopersville, MI 49404.

“This is a first for Ottawa County,” stated Cliff Meeuwsen, Chair of the Agricultural Preservation Board.  “The need for farmland that provides food for the world continues to grow, while we continue to lose farmland to development at a rapid pace.  This program preserves farmland and green space for future generations, and we should remember that without timely rains and farmland, we could not exist.”


The PDR Program is a voluntary program that preserves farmland through the purchase and donation of development rights for actively farmed property.  It is the program’s mission to preserve the scenic, environmental, and economic benefits that farms and farmland provide to their local communities and beyond.   

Landowners who participate in the program receive compensation for the development potential of the land, yet they still own their land and retain the majority of the rights associated with it. Development of the land is restricted by a permanent deed restriction, which bars any future residential and commercial development on the land.

The PDR Program is funded entirely through private donations, contributions from foundations, and state and federal grants.  Without these sources, the Program would not be able to continue to preserve and protect local farmland.  If you are interested in making a contribution to the Program, donations can be made to the Ottawa County Farmland Preservation Fund through the Holland/Zeeland Community Foundation. 

If you are interested in attending the Hehl Farm Preservation Sign Unveiling Celebration, please RSVP by September 22 at (616) 738-4852, via email at, or electronically at the Ottawa County Events site.

Fruitport’s Trump Flash Mob

August 30, 2016 – A flash mob for Donald Trump formed at the corner of Harvey St. and Sternberg in Fruitport Township.

United Airlines Passenger Numbers Continue to Climb

The number of passengers choosing Muskegon County Airport (MKG) for air travel continues to climb.  The total number of passengers flying United Airlines (operating as United Express) to and from MKG  was 3,686 for the month of June, and the total number of passengers using United Express year-to-date is 15,802, up 8% from the same time last year.

“We are very pleased to see the number of passengers choosing to fly locally on United Express continue to grow,” said Jeffrey Tripp, Muskegon Airport Manager “The airport is an important part of the County’s economy and it is great to see these positive results.  We encourage everyone to always Check MKG First for your travel needs.”

Tripp attributes United’s recent growth to airline ticket price parity with Grand Rapids, modification of the evening flight to a 30-minute earlier departure time – which allows for better connections at O’Hare International Airport (ORD) – and continued strong on-time performance.  United Express offers daily round trip flights to Chicago O’Hare on 50seat regional jet aircraft operated by SkyWest Airlines, providing passengers with convenient connections to anywhere in the world.

Buying Alcohol for Underaged Friends Carries a Sobering Cost for College Students, Warns Statewide Safety Coalition

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and a multi-agency consortium take on underage drinking with a statewide campaign launched at Wayne State University


Secretary of State Ruth Johnson talks about the consequences of providing alcohol to minors and curbing the access to alcohol for those who are not of legal age.

DETROIT, Mich. – With the backdrop of thousands of returning students at Wayne State University’s central campus, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and a consortium of state, county and local officials kicked off a targeted campaign this morning to curb underage drinking and drunken driving.

The statewide “21 to Buy, Not Supply” college campus campaign seeks to raise awareness about the legal and far-reaching consequences of providing alcohol to minors while curbing the access to alcohol for those who are not of legal age.

“Our target audience is young adults who turn 21 and suddenly have access to increased privileges and responsibilities,” Johnson explained. “We know their younger friends may turn to them for alcohol, especially on college campuses where house parties and tailgates are such a temptation, but our message is don’t do it. There is too much at risk.”

Also speaking at the event was Inspector James Wolf, assistant district commander of the MSP Second District (southeast Michigan), Michigan Liquor Control Commission Chairman Andrew Deloney, Diane Dovico, executive director of the Royal Oak Community Coalition and David Pitawanakwat, director of Governmental Affairs for the Wayne State Student Senate.

Other coalition partners attending the event included representatives from the Alliance Coalition for Healthy Communities, Oakland County Health Division, and the Office of Highway Safety Planning. The press conference was staged at Gullen Mall, near the WSU Student Center.

In Michigan, the penalty for providing alcohol to a minor can be $1,000 in fines, up to 90 days in jail and legal fees of $5,000 or more, but broader consequences could include lost wages, forfeited scholarships and even expulsion from college.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, underage drinking increases the likelihood for unwanted pregnancies, personal safety issues, sexual assault, suicides and traffic crashes. Such outcomes are tracked in Michigan by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, with a reported 745 teen pregnancies linked to underage drinking in 2013 and 442,000 disorderly conduct crimes in 2012.  On Michigan roads, the rate of alcohol–related traffic crashes is greater for drivers ages 16 to 20 than for drivers age 21 and older.

Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police, urges young people to avoid jeopardizing their future by supplying alcohol to minors. “Many young people are unaware of the laws and penalties for supplying alcohol to underage peers,” Etue stated.  “Because it is important to the Michigan State Police to reduce underage drinking, drunk driving and alcohol-related traffic crashes, our troopers will take enforcement action for this and other alcohol offenses.”

National statistics show that more than one third of young adults aged 18-25 are binge alcohol users and about 1 in 10 are heavy alcohol users. (Source: 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health) Such data is the reason this public awareness campaign is targeting college campuses this fall.

“Keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors is one of our greatest challenges,” Johnson said.  “In 2003, the Secretary of State’s office began issuing vertical driver’s licenses for those under 21 to clearly represent their underage status. Since then, the state has seen a steady decline in the sale of alcohol to minors from convenience stores, bars and clubs.”

That trend also reflects the concerted efforts of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) to prevent minors from obtaining alcohol through Michigan businesses.

“We’re working every day to ensure no licensee of this state illegally sells alcohol – directly or indirectly – to anyone under the age of 21,” said MLCC Chairman Andrew Deloney, a key partner in the “21 to Buy, Not Supply” campaign. “We do that through education, training, and a thorough enforcement of Michigan’s liquor laws.”

The “21 to Buy, Not Supply” college campus campaign is a year-long marketing effort that includes traditional media and electronic media, social media, video messages in Secretary of State offices, posters, future window clings for alcohol retailers, and an audio PSA played in Kroger stores statewide.

“College students are just starting out on the great adventure that is life,” Johnson said. “The ‘21 to Buy, Not Supply’ coalition wants to help ensure that these young people make the most of the opportunities they have and avoid ill-advised and illegal acts that can ruin their futures before they even get started.”

How Safe is Abortion?

Is abortion a “safe” procedure? Is it safer than childbirth, as abortion supporters often claim? We honestly don’t know.

Cree Erwin, a 24-year-old resident of Battle Creek, was found dead by her mother on July 4. She died several days after having an abortion. It was recently confirmed that Erwin had her abortion at the Planned Parenthood facility in Kalamazoo. Planned Parenthood has yet to release a statement.

Details from Erwin’s autopsy have yet to be revealed, but given her trip to the hospital a day before her death to address severe abdominal pain, all available evidence points to complications from the abortion being the cause of her death.

Abortion has not only claimed the life of Erwin and her child, but it has left her one-year-old son without a mother, and left a gaping hole in the Erwin family. Was Erwin properly informed of the risks an abortion can pose?

Michigan law does require abortion businesses to provide women with information about potential complications, but abortion supporters frequently cite the safety of abortion in media and popular culture. The numbers used to back those claims come from the Centers for Disease Control. Are those numbers accurate?

As far as numbers from Michigan, they aren’t accurate at all. Michigan’s annual abortion statistics have absurdly low complication rates, likely because the abortionist is the one responsible for reporting complications. Before we updated our abortion clinics regulations in 2012, we know of at least one abortionist who wasn’t even reporting the abortions he performed. Even if an abortionist wanted to report complications, they are not the women’s doctors or part of their care team. There is no long-term follow-up. Their “patients” are complete strangers to them, often not even talking with them before or after the abortion.

Tamia Russell was 15 years old in 2004 when she died from taking an abortion pill. The autopsy indicated “uterine infarction with sepsis due to status second trimester abortion.” If you look up Michigan’s abortion statistics from 2004, you’ll notice only 12 reported complications and zero patient deaths. Will the death of Cree Erwin make the state’s 2016 abortion report?

Before her death Planned Parenthood said they want to sue the state of Michigan to end most oversight and inspections of abortion clinics. They want to return to the days where women like Tamia Russell and Cree Erwin aren’t given the dignity of even being mentioned as statistics in a report.

September in West Michigan

Submitted by West Michigan Tourist Association

What’s Included This Month

September kicks off fall in West Michigan! Labor Day marks the unofficial last day of summer on September 5th with an extended weekend of fun. There’s plenty of celebration to be had across the state so make sure that you get out during this last hurrah of summer!

If you’re looking for a unique stay, why not check out one of the local Bed & Breakfasts? Wake up in your home away from home to the smell of a freshly cooked meal!

Get in the fall spirit by Celebrating the Harvest! Harvest season in West Michigan brings delicious fruits and vegetables, harvest-centric events and restaurants using fresh ingredients.

Lastly, West Michigan is home to renowned Spirits and Distilleries. Whiskey, vodka, gin and more are being created in our own backyards using local ingredients. This is the perfect time to visit your go-to distillery, or find a new favorite.

Don’t forget to check out our free West Michigan Guide and Lighthouse Map to help plan your trip, and enter for a chance to win a two night weekend stay in a Lakeview Corner Room from Weathervane Inn!

West Michigan Ideas
Let us inspire your next trip or outing to one of these West Michigan locations:

•    C2C Gallery, Grand Haven
•    Michigan Craft Distillers, Statewide
•    Michigan Irish Music Festival, Muskegon
•    Vintage Views, Statewide
•    American Spoon, Saugatuck

Find coupons and savings Here!

Receive Free Travel Information
Did you know you can use our website to Receive Free Personalized West Michigan Travel Information? Click through for yours!

Muskegon Canine Community Celebrates First Public Dog Park Sept. 26

Submitted by Cece Riley, Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce

MUSKEGON, MI – The coalition raising funds, designing and building a Downtown Muskegon Dog Park are having a concluding community gathering to celebrate the generous donation of PetSafe to the effort to raise more than $100,000 for Muskegon County’s first public off-leash park.

PetSafe, community leaders, project partners, donors and area dog lovers – and their dogs – will gather Monday Sept. 26 from 6-8 p.m. at the planned dog park site at Shoreline Drive and West Western Avenue owned by Muskegon County and known as the former Carpenter Brothers site. The park will be built next year at 793 W. Western.

Watch mUSkeGOn Dogs Go fundraising campaign will conclude Sept. 30. With the significant $25,000 national grant from PetSafe Bark for Your Park program, the local crowdfunding effort is expected to reach and surpass the $50,000 goal by the end of the month. Additional funds will go for additional park features and a maintenance fund.

With $50,000 raised, the Downtown Muskegon Dog Park will receive a Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Michigan House Development Authority $50,000 grant from the state’s Public Spaces Community Places Crowdfunding initiative. (

PetSafe officials – a national leader in the development of pet behavioral, containment and lifestyle products – will be in Muskegon to present local officials one of the Knoxville, Tenn.-based company’s Bark for Your Park awards for $25,000.

On the future site of the Downtown Muskegon Dog Park, PetSafe activities will be led by national dog trainer and pet expert Harrison Forbes. There will be a doggy photo booth, Playcore agility equipment, opportunities to adopt Pound Buddies dog shelter pets, the ability to create a dog outfit for a Pawject Runway event and have a dog portrait done by a local artist. There will be plenty of giveaways and an opportunity to engage Forbes on all sorts of canine topics.

The Downtown Muskegon Dog Park is being developed by initial partners Downtown Muskegon Now, Muskegon County, city of Muskegon, Community Foundation for Muskegon County and Baker College’s Vet Tech program. Others have joined the effort such as the Greater Muskegon Kennel Club, Watermark Center, Friends of Muskegon Dog Beach and Pound Buddies, among others.

Muskegon County Calendar of Events 09/19/16-09/26/16

Presented by the Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau

A Murder is Announced
September 16 – October 1

Event Navigation
September 16 – October 1, the Muskegon Civic Theatre invites you to the Beardsley Theater for “A Murder is Announced!”  An announcement in the local paper states the time and place when a murder is to occur in Miss Blacklock’s Victorian house.  What follows is a classic Agatha Christie puzzle of mixed motives, concealed identities, a second death, a determined Inspector grimly following the twists and turns, and the iconic sleuth Miss Marple on hand to solve the mystery. Tickets are $20 & $22.  For more information, visit

A Call to Artists! Register Now for Dias de los Muertos
September 14 @ 10:00 am – September 27 @ 8:00 pm

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Muskegon Community Arts and the Red Lotus Gallery in the Century Club are putting out a call to artists to register now for “Dias de los Muertos”, to honor those who have passed. Submit your creation of artwork or bring in pictures of your loved ones who have passed. A wall will be created to pay homage to these people in your life who have inspired you. Your submissions are due by September 27 before 5:30pm to enter this event. To obtain a submission form, visit There is a small fee of $5-$10 for your piece of artwork. The open house for this event will be held on October 7 from 6:00-8:00pm. The Display Wall can be viewed throughout the month of October.

Gettysburg Lecture Series
September 19, 26 and October 3 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

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September 12, 19, 26 and October 3 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, come to the Gettysburg Lecture Series at the Lakeshore Museum Center.  Muskegon Community College and the Museum are sponsoring a four-part lecture series which precedes a four-day Gettysburg Guided Tour.  The cost of the series is $30 for Museum members and $35 for non-members, or $10 per lecture.  The cost of the trip is $485.  Registration is requested for the lecture.  For more information, visit

Frauenthal Center Celebration
September 20 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

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Tuesday, September 20 from 5:30-8:30pm, celebrate Muskegon’s vibrant culture at the Frauenthal Center Celebration.  Everyone is invited to experience a free evening of dynamic entertainment featuring live entertainment, light refreshments and free trolley service from the downtown parking lots!  Browse their venues, meet new friends and be part of something truly spectacular in the heart of downtown Muskegon!  For more information, visit

Preserving the Harvest
September 20 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

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Tuesday, September 20 from 6:30-8:00pm, come to Kitchen 242 inside the Muskegon Farmers’ Market for the cooking class, “Preserving the Harvest!”  Nothing says “home” like gathering around the stove together to learn about canning and freezing.  Join them to share recipes, techniques and stories while making new memories to share of your own.  To register call 231-728-3117 or e-mail

We Are Stars
Tuesdays and Thursdays @ 7:00 pm

There’s a new show at the Carr-Fles Planetarium!  “We Are Stars” is a 35-minute, family-friendly adventure that that spans the billions of years between the Big Bang and modern day, and follows the thread that connects us all to those early times through the atoms from which our bodies are formed.  Where did they come from?  How did they get here?  And is it true that we really are all made of stars?  The science content is most appropriate for ages 11 and up; however, the entrancing animation and award-winning soundtrack will draw all ages into the magical universe created within this incredible show.  No reservations are needed for this FREE program, which runs August 23 – October 27 on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00pm (doors open by 6:45), and includes a brief demonstration of the current night sky.  The planetarium is in room 135 of Muskegon Community College (221 S. Quarterline Rd, Muskegon).  For more information, or to schedule a private show for groups of 15-44, please call (231) 777-0289 or email

13th Annual Grape Escape
September 21 @ 6:00 pm

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The Muskegon Rotary Club’s 13th Annual Grape Escape, the region’s premier wine, craft beer, and food tasting event, is happening Wednesday, September 21 at 6:00pm at Bella Maria’s Ristorante and Event Center!

This year’s non-profit partner is Muskegon Area Promise, and proceeds from the event will support the Promise. The Muskegon Area Promise unprecedented commitment to the young people of our community, guaranteeing that if they work hard they will be able to earn at least a two-year college degree tuition-free. Additional proceeds from the Grape Escape will help fund other Muskegon-area Rotary projects.

The annual Grape Escape tasting event features wines from over a dozen Michigan wineries, along with microbrews crafted in Michigan and local Muskegon County breweries including Pigeon Hill, Unruly and Fetch. Guests will also enjoy delicious food from hometown restaurants.  Unique Silent Auction items donated by local merchants will go to the highest bidders.

Tickets for Grape Escape are $40.00 per person. For your convenience, tickets may be purchased online through the Muskegon Rotary Club’s Facebook page (,  Muskegon Rotary Grape Escape Facebook page (, or on the club’s website at

All-Access Tour at the Hackley & Hume Historic Site
September 22

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September 22, visitors will have an opportunity to view areas of the Hackley & Hume Historic Site that are not normally included in the tour of the lumber barns homes.  See the basements, attics and porches for a whole new perspective of Muskegon’s most well-known mansions.  There will be two sessions of the tour: 5:00 – 6:30pm and 7:30 – 8:30pm. The cost of the All-Access Tour is $15 for Museum members and $20 for non-members.  Pre-registration is required due to limited group size.  For more information, call 231-722-7578. 

Art & a Glass: Thursday Happy Hour at the MMA
September 22 @ 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Every Thursday from 4:00-8:00pm you’re invited to the Muskegon Museum of Art for “Art & a Glass!” Bring your friends to a museum-style happy hour! Take a break and enjoy the art with a glass of wine or a great craft brew. General admission is free Thursday evenings from 4:00 to 8:00 pm so take advantage of the opportunity to discover your Museum at no cost. There will be a cash bar. You must be 21 or older to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages. For more information call 231-720-2570.

Upgrade Your Basic Sandwiches with Chef Jamie
September 22 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

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Thursday, September 22, 2016: Upgrade Your Basic Sandwiches with Chef Jamie 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Chef Jamie will share a few of the gourmet sandwich recipes that were popular at Mia and Grace. Utilize breads made from local Michigan grains, local meat and tasty, unexpected ingredients to upgrade the basic sandwich. Cost $30.

Go to and search on Muskegon Farmers Market and all currently scheduled classes will pop up. Also subscribe to our Kitchen 242 Facebook Events Page to receive notification when new culinary events are added.

Playhouse: A Centennial Celebration Show
September 22 @ 7:30 pm – September 24 @ 7:30 pm

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September 22-24 at 7:30pm, the Howmet Playhouse Presents “Playhouse: A Centennial Celebration Show,” an original play written by Kimberly Harsch & Bill Iddings.  Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.  The show features performances by Ruth & Max Bloomquist, Tommy Foster, local choirs, White Lake Dramatic Club Alumni, students from Whitehall & Montague schools, White Lake Youth Theatre performers and more!  For more information, call 231-894-4048.

Venison Canning
September 23 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Experience a hands-on adventure into history through heirloom culinary and lifestyle activities at Bygone Basics Culinary School!  Deer hunting season is here!  Friday, September 23 at 5:30pm, join Valerie for a class on how to safely pressure can venison and other meats from a USDA/Department of Agriculture certified instructor.  You’ll also discover all of the uses for canned meat such as pulled ‘pork” sandwiches, soups, stews, gravy and more.  For more information, call 231-740-4065.

Kid’s Impromptu with Chef Char
September 24 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am

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Saturday, September 24th – Kid’s Impromptu with Chef Char 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Shop the market with Chef Char to pick out ingredients that are in season. Come back to the kitchen with fresh, local ingredients and then combine the market finds with basic pantry items to make creative, tasty dishes. Shop, prepare and eat locally sourced, fresh food. Ages: 7-13. Cost $25.

Go to and search on Muskegon Farmers Market and all currently scheduled classes will pop up. Also subscribe to our Kitchen 242 Facebook Events Page to receive notification when new culinary events are added.

Fall Harvest Fundraiser at Michigan’s Heritage Park
September 24 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

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September 24 from 9:00am – 4:00pm, come to the Fall Harvest Fundraiser at Michigan’s Heritage Park!  This daylong event includes an interactive Pancake Breakfast with Chris Cakes from 9:00am to Noon and horse-drawn wagon rides from 11:00am to 4:00pm.  The day also features a variety of games including pumpkin bowling, a straw bale maze and candy coral.  There will be hands-on demonstrations at six sites along the trail.  Morning admission (9:00am to Noon) includes all activities and the Pancake Breakfast: $17 adults and teens, $15 for 65 and older, $12 for 2 to 12, and $7 members.  Afternoon admission (Noon to 4:00pm) $12 adults and teens, $10 for 65 and older, $7 for 2 to 12, and $2 members. For more information, visit

2016 Walk to End Alzheimer’s
September 24 @ 9:30 am

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September 24, you’re invited to Heritage Landing for the 2016 Walk to End Alzheimer’s!  Walk the 1 mile or the 3 mile route.  All funds raised will further the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Registration at 9:30am
Ceremony at 10:15am
Walk at 10:30am
Closing Ceremony 11:30am

For more information visit the website below or contact Elizabeth Donnelly-Johnson at 231-780-1922 or e-mail

Muskegon Farmers’ Market Harvest Festival
September 24 @ 10:00 am

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The Muskegon Farmers Market will hold its annual Harvest Fest on Saturday September_24 from 10:00am – 1:00pm with music giveaways food samples and crafts for sale! Regular market hours will be the same from 6:00am – 3:00pm. For more information call 231-722-3251.

Retro Expo
September 25

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Sunday, September 25, you’re invited to the Muskegon Farmers’ Market for the “Retro Expo!”  Enjoy an outdoor vintage market filled with vendors selling retro goods and up-cycled items.  It’s more than a flea market, it’s a nostalgic shopping experience.  For more information, call 231-722-3251.

Fall Color Scenic Cruise Aboard the Port City Princess
September 25 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Sundays, September 11 – October 16 from 2:00-3:30pm, enjoy an explosion of autumn colors with gorgeous lake reflections on “Color Tour Cruises” aboard the Port City Princess!  The cost is $25.  For reservations or more information, call 231-728-8387.

Fall Color and Sunset Tour Aboard the Port City Princess
September 25 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Sundays, September 11 – October 16 from 7:00-9:00pm, come aboard the Port City Princess for the Fall Color and Sunset Tour!  This is a wonderful way to see the explosion of autumn colors with gorgeous lake reflections.  The cost is $35.  For more information or to make reservations, call 231-728-8387.

Jacks Classic Golf Outing
September 26

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The Muskegon Lumberjacks would like to invite you to participate in their Jacks Classic Golf Outing on September 26 at Muskegon Country Club!  Join the Muskegon Lumberjacks  Players and Staff as they get set to bring in the 2016-2017 Regular Season. The Muskegon Lumberjacks are looking for teams to compete as well as local companies to partner with for the major event.  Please fill out your team registration form with the link below and scan the document to Todd Robinson at  If you cannot play in the outing, they invite you to join them for dinner following the round of golf for only $50. Please contact Sam Palmer for dinner tickets at or call him at 248-508-0369.

Event Details:

  • 10:30am Registration and Breakfast
  • 12:00pm Shotgun Start and Lunch at the Turn
  • 5:30 Cocktails and Meet & Greet
  • 6:30 Dinner, Raffles and Auctions

Frauenthal Center Announces New Managing Director

Muskegon, MI — The historic Frauenthal Center, located in downtown Muskegon, has hired West Michigan arts professional, Ricki L. Levine, to serve as its new managing director.
“We are delighted to welcome Ricki to the Frauenthal Center,” said Chris McGuigan, president/CEO, of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County (CFMC). “As we launch a new year and a refreshed vision for the Center, we are confident that Ricki’s leadership will strengthen the team and enlarge the Center’s presence in West Michigan.”

The Community Foundation for Muskegon County owns the Frauenthal Center and provides the Center with annual grant support as part of its community investment and commitment to the arts.

Levine brings a wealth of arts management experience to the Frauenthal Center position. She served as the development director of St. Cecilia Music Center in Grand Rapids where she managed a $5.5 million capital campaign and as the managing director of the professional Mason Street Warehouse theater in Saugatuck where she was responsible for theater operations, development, advertising and marketing.

“I am so pleased to join the dynamic and historic Frauenthal Center,” said Levine. “There are so many innovative things going on in Muskegon and being able to engage the community and generate economic growth through the diverse programs of the Frauenthal Center is very exciting.”

Open Letter to Fruitport Community regarding FCS Bond Proposal

Fruitport Community Schools and the Facilities Committee is requesting a bond proposal to do a major renovation to the current High School and minor renovations to all other school buildings based on their study of our current facility needs.  They have made these determinations based on “community sentiment.”  Their objective was to develop a plan that would: 1.  Keep the high school on the main campus, 2.  Be fiscally responsible, 3.  Build a larger auditorium, 4.  Maintain safety and security, and 5.  Improve traffic flow to buildings.

FCS has been operating at a deficit since 2009.  This fact is never mentioned in the Committees Assessment or in the supporting campaign.  The number one priority of the Master Plan should have been how to eliminate the continuous operating budget deficit.  The current Master Plan reached by the administration and Facilities Committee does absolutely nothing to deal with this deficit.  With state money and the economy always in flux, the district needs to be proactive in dealing with future budgets.  A legitimate Master Plan would address how to use new construction, renovations, and consolidation of services to eliminate the budget shortfall.  The current plan essentially demolishes and rebuilds every building in the district over the next FIFTY years.  It would spend multi-millions of dollars and leave us with the same number of buildings on the same number of campuses, requiring the same amount of administrators, teachers, maintenance staff, bus drivers, and needing the same amount of building maintenance, landscaping, and parking lot maintenance.  I don’t know of any other district whose plan is to demolish and rebuild every building in their district.  It doesn’t sound fiscally responsible to me.

I have devised a Master Plan Alternative that would save the tax payers of Fruitport millions of dollars in construction and eliminate the deficit in a more fiscally responsible manner.  While I agree that our facilities are inferior to those of neighboring districts, I feel that prospective residents look at test scores more than facilities to determine a school district to send their children.  If we can consolidate our district down to one campus/three buildings with one bond proposal, we can cut unnecessary spending so that money can be spent more directly on education and hopefully raise the test scores to the level of our neighboring districts.  This would attract more residents and increase the tax base so that we can more easily afford to build newer facilities in the future.  There are many proposed housing developments that have recently been announced and of course the proposed casino that could provide a major boost to the tax base in the FUTURE.  Unfortunately they have not been built so it is too soon to build a shiny new toy like the high school.

My plan is to build an addition onto the back of the Middle School to relocate all 3rd5th grades and move all preK-2nd grades to Edgewood.  This would close Beach and Shettler so that no more money would need to be spent on those aging buildings.  It would also bring all grades to the main campus and give the school district more staffing flexibility for each grade.  This step alone should eliminate the spending deficit.  The high school would get an arts wing featuring a new auditorium and classrooms to give our district an appropriate sized theater and allow us to eliminate the costly portable classrooms located by the high school.

In 2028, when the current bonds expire, we could move on to Phase Two of my Master Plan.  By then most of the housing developments should be built and hopefully more commercial development such as the casino will be in operation.  Phase Two consists of building the rest of the new High School.  This includes a new public Library, community fitness center, gymnasiums, kitchen/commons area and remaining classrooms.  The 9-12th grades would move into the new High School, the 6-8th grades would move into the old portion of the High School which becomes Fruitport Middle School.  All other grades would move into the Middle School which would become Fruitport Elementary School.  Then Edgewood and the FCS/Adult Ed building would be demolished to make room for a large parking lot for the new High School.

As you can see, there is no need to take fifty years to implement a fiscally responsible Master Plan.  If you would like to read the details of my plan, including diagrams, please go to my Facebook page:

Thank you for your attention,
Concerned Tax Payer
Mike McCallum

The Best of the Best

To the Editor:
We have elected or hired the most qualified persons to fill our most important position throughout our community. Think of our mayor, city manager, his most important HR Department and his entire staff. Our outstanding police and fire personnel, the men and women who make up our parks, maintenance works, library, museums and utilities; our superintendent of schools, his principals, and his entire staff of teachers, coaches and support personnel.
Several hundred in all. Each and every one elected or hired because they met the highest standards that qualified them for the position sought.
Not one, not a single person would have been elected or hired if he or she had a proven history of lying, or a history of questionable activity. Simply put, if anyone of the above mentioned had or is being investigated and questioned by the FBI or a panel of appointed government investigators, they would not have been hired. Especially, if it was proven that they had lied under oath and had a history of covering up their lying and connection with criminal activity.
Hillary Clinton has failed time and again to prove she is qualified to lead this nation.
Does Hillary have a very serious neurological degeneration health problem? Is Hillary exhibiting early signs of Parkinson’s disease? Will Hillary’s campaign be forced into making a big announcement soon regarding her medical condition, or at this point what difference does it make?

Bob DeHare
Grand Haven Township

Editorial: November School Bond Issue

The school wants the taxpayers to pay over 40 million dollars to tear down part of the high school and rebuild it differently.

It doesn’t make sense to me and reminds me of other recent millage efforts put forward by the administration’s hand picked committee.

Don’t be deluded into believing that this millage will give your child a better education. New buildings do not translate to better education. Some of the schools with the oldest buildings (North Muskegon and Catholic Central) provide very good education. Muskegon Heights with some of the newest buildings don’t do as good.

They are saying that this is for Fruitport’s future. What does that mean? More taxes for the future? It seems people representing education would be able to make a statement that could be understood.

The Fruitport School district has plenty of issues and needs attempting to educate our kids, but I doubt that tearing down buildings made out of cement and steel and rebuilding into a new configuration will address most, if any, of the challenges.

Why the school board members and some supporters from the public go along with these tax increases for projects that will have little affect on the education our children get, is difficult for me to understand.

I know and could name some of these people and no way would they tear down their home or business and build another one without a very good reason, yet they want the taxpayers to do that with the school buildings.

We have a low school millage rate now because concerned citizens put an effort forward to stop some of the previous foolish bond issues. It’s a credit to our citizens who became involved and made the effort and financial sacrifice. Why not keep our taxes as low as we can unless there is good reason not to? And to vote for a permanent millage over 40 times the amount needed to replace a few buses is another example of the flawed reasoning for this tax proposal.

Letter to the Editor – School Millage

Dear Mr. Cooper,

I recently spoke briefly with you at the seniors dinner during Old Fashioned Days. I talked with you about the upcoming school millage, and asked you some questions about it. You were honest to say you didn’t know a whole lot about it at this time. You also said that your paper does not come out as often as it did before and that you probably would not have much information to give to the voters before the election. My concern that I expressed to you was that I and other voters would not have enough information about the millage before we vote. I sometimes get information in the mail from the school but that information only tells me why I should vote yes for the millage. By the way I no longer get the chronicle paper. I want to say that I am not a no voter on all millages because I have voted yes on school millages in the past. But I am concerned that I will not get all the information I need about this millage before I vote. I would like to get both sides, the pros and cons, before I have to decide. My daughter found some information on the internet from the school. She said the millage rate will more than double our current rate from 3 mills to 7 mills. This will more than double my taxes. She said the amount will be about 50 million dollars for a new high school and some other things. She also said that the new 7 mill rate will never go down again. It will always be at least 7 mills or more. I understand the old high school will be torn down. Is this really necessary? There are so many things about this election that I do not understand. Will the school be having meetings like they did before? When will they be? How long before the elections? How will the school get information about the meetings to the voters? Your paper used to give us lots of information about the school millages in the past. I hope you will do the same this time. You suggested that I write this letter to your paper to let others know that might have similar concerns. I told you that I did not wish to sign my name because of the reasons I told you. I have thought about it some  more and still think I should not sign my name. I do not know if you will print this without my name. I hope you will. Thank you again for your courtesy in taking time to talk with me during the seniors dinner.

–Yours truly (name withheld)

Peas and Edible Pea Pods are Great Fresh or Preserved

Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot nine days old.
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.

Mother Goose is cited as the author of Pease Porridge Hot but that is not known for sure. Until I found this poem on line I thought the poem was written using the word peas not pease. Pease means porridge made from peas. When this poem was written many years ago the word pease was treated as a mass noun which simply means more than one pea.

Peas like the cool weather and are sheltered inside pea pods.  Pea pods are botanically a fruit because they contain seeds. There are lots of kinds of peas. Peas with edible pea pods include sugar, Chinese and snow peas. Snow peas, also known as sugar peas, have edible flat pods with small peas inside them. Snap peas also have edible pods but they have full-size peas in them. Then there are garden peas. The pods of garden peas, or sweet peas, are not eaten.

For best quality and to preserve nutrients, only preserve what you and your family can eat in one year. When picking peas, or purchasing them, pick pea pods that are filled with young, tender peas.

To successfully freeze peas they need to be blanched. Water blanching is best for fresh peas. Blanching is simply scalding any vegetable in boiling water to stop the enzyme action that causes loss of flavor, color and texture. Blanching also cleans the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color and retard the loss of vitamins.

Blanch peas for 1 ½ to 2 ½ minutes then place them in ice water for 1 ½ to 2 ½ minutes. The rule of thumb when blanching is that you put the vegetable in ice water for the same amount of time that you blanched it. The next step is to dry the peas, laying them on a clean towel and pat dry. Then lay them on a tray and put them in the freezer. After a few hours they are ready to be packed into freezer bags or boxes, labeled with content and date and put in the freezer.

Correct blanching times are critical to ending up with a high quality product. Not blanching vegetables long enough stimulates the activity of enzymes and is worse than no blanching at all. Over blanching causes loss of flavor, color, vitamins and minerals. Always refer to up to date research based information when preserving such as updated Ball Blue Books, So Easy to Preserve, the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning and Preserving and Extension bulletins.

Michigan Fresh  is found on the Michigan State University Extension  website and has many fact sheets on fruits and vegetables that include recommended varieties, storage, food safety and preserving techniques.

Michigan’s New Laws regarding Abortion

In a newsletter from Right to Life of Michigan, President Barbara Listing explains one of the hurdles involved in promoting the truth of the abortion issue. “Those who provide, perform and/or promote  abortion-on-demand…spend all their time and energy ‘whitewashing’ the truth. I see it happen every single day. For 43 years now, we have been eyewitnesses to a massive cover-up deliberately designed to mislead our fellow citizens.”

She mentions “the role that compassion plays in the abortion debate,” and that “proponents of abortion are always talking about their love and concern for women. With their bucket of whitewash in hand, they paint the abortion issue with meaningless words and expressions of compassion. Words like ‘protection,’ ‘rights,’ ‘respect,’ ‘health care,’ and ‘choice.’ All whitewash!”

She sites a contemporary example, from right here in Michigan, that prove the point that these people have an ulterior motive: the recent “Coercive Abortion Prevention Act (CAPA).” Listing believes that this bill “should have the support of anyone who is concerned with the health and well being of women.”

According to the Right to Life of Michigan website, the law is described as follows:

Coercive Abortion Prevention Act (CAPA)
“Research confirms that a substantial number of women feel forced by boyfriends, spouses, parents and others to have an abortion against their will. Women are coerced through threats of physical violence, withdrawal of financial support, loss of housing and violation of employment contracts or other legal agreements. Furthermore, numerous studies have confirmed that women presenting for their second or more abortion are substantially more likely to be suffering domestic violence.” 

“H.B. 4787 adds to Michigan’s current anti-extortion/coercion provisions by including coercion to abort as a specific crime. It will be illegal to coerce a woman to abort by threatening or actually committing the following actions: physical assault, withdrawing financial support, or terminating or otherwise violating a legal contract, destroying or concealing a passport or other identification, and threats to deport or arrest.” 

“H.B. 4830 establishes penalties commensurate with the seriousness of the prohibited action. Physical assault and stalking carry more severe penalties, while withdrawal of financial support or violation of a legal contract will be punishable by stiff fines.”

According to Listing, this law faced opposition from people in the “pro-choice” community. She addressed their opposition in the newsletter:

“Who in the world would ever oppose a bill that would provide legal protection to a woman who is being forced to abort? Forced! Where are all the people who support ‘choice’? What choice does a woman have when she’s being threatened? What choice does a woman have when all her options are being stripped away? So where are all these ‘compassionate’ advocates for women? Are they co-sponsoring the bill? No, they’re too busy whitewashing to show up in Lansing in support of women at risk.”

Listing asserts that there are “dozens of well-funded pro-abortion organizations, federal and state agencies, health care organizations, academia and elected officials from both parties. There are even denominations, theologians and pastors who will whitewash to protect abortion-on-demand.” She believes, “that’s why you and I are so important. We are like turpentine to a whitewashed argument. Through prayer and hard work, we are able to cut through the lies and deceptions to expose the truth.”

Another recent law, the “Rape Survivor Child Custody Act”, seemed to receive much wider support in Michigan. This law is described on the Right to Life of Michigan website as:

Rape Survivor Child Custody Act
“This bill would allow a rape survivor who becomes pregnant from assault to petition the family court to terminate the parental custody and parenting time (aka ‘visitation’) of her assailant under a ‘clear and convincing’ evidence standard and without the necessity of a criminal conviction. Current law provides for the termination of parental rights of a man who impregnates a woman via sexual assault if he is convicted of felony rape. Unfortunately, felony rape convictions are difficult to obtain and require a legal standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ This bill would make the standard for termination of custody and parenting time the same as for those who abuse or neglect their child.”

Nationally, there was legislation originally introduced in 2013 in the House of Representatives as H.R. 2772, reintroduced recently as H. R. 1257, to provide funding incentives “to States that have in place laws that terminate the parental rights of men who father children through rape.”

According to the website, this “Rape Survivor Child Custody Act”:
“Directs the Attorney General to make grants to states that have in place a law that allows the mother of any child that was conceived through rape to seek court-ordered termination of the parental rights of her rapist with regard to that child, which the court shall grant upon clear and convincing evidence of rape.”

“Limits such a grant to: (1) an amount that is not greater than 10% of the average of the total funding of the three most recent awards a state received under the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program and the Sexual Assault Services Program; and (2) a one-year term, subject to renewal for not more than three additional years.”

“Requires a state that receives such a grant to use: (1) 25% of grant funds for permissible uses under the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program, and (2) 75% of funds for permissible uses under the Sexual Assault Services Program.”

You can find out more information about these Michigan laws, and download PDF versions of the documents through the Michigan Legislature website,, and Right to Life of Michigan at:


Ask Dr. Universe – Why We Feel Pain

Why do we feel pain? -Sara, 11, Moscow, Idaho
Dear Sara,

Pain is unpleasant, but we need it for survival. Just the other day I was out exploring when I stubbed my paw and let out a big meow. My nervous system was doing its job.

Part of the reason we feel pain is because our bodies have tons of nerves that help us move, think, and feel in all kinds of ways.

When you stub your paw or toe, for example, the nerves in the skin of your toe will send a message to your brain that you are in pain. These messages are what scientists call impulses. They start in your toe, move to your spinal cord, then your brainstem, and onto your brain.

It’s actually your brain that tells you that you’re in pain. And if you’ve ever stubbed your toe, you know this message gets delivered pretty fast. In fact, when you feel pain, sometimes the impulse, or message, will travel at 250 mph. That’s the speed of a very fast racecar.

It’s important for the message to move fast because you have to make a quick decision about what to do. Sometimes your decision might be a matter of survival—but other times it might be as simple as deciding if you need a bandage, ice pack, or even a trip to the doctor.

Pain is actually the number one reason people see a doctor, said my friend Raymond Quock. He’s a scientist here at Washington State University who is really curious about pain.

“Pain in many aspects is good,” Quock said. “It’s a warning that your body is in danger.”
Most humans can feel pain, but not all humans, he said. Because of genetics or nerve injury, some people can’t feel pain.

Imagine touching a hot pan and not realizing it just came out of the oven. Or imagine if you broke your leg, but didn’t know it. And while that might sound pretty nice, it can also be quite dangerous.

If you didn’t feel pain, you might end up with even more damage to your body. Pain helps tell us when to take extra care of ourselves.
People have different kinds of pain, too. There’s physical pain, emotional pain—even growing pains. The kind of pain Quock studies is called chronic pain. Unlike acute pain, like stubbing your toe, chronic pain is pain that hurts and aches for months or longer.

This kind of pain doesn’t appear to have a very useful purpose. It doesn’t help much with survival. Quock and his team of WSU researchers are investigating why it happens and how to treat it. They are working on some great ideas about how to help patients feel better.

While some pain doesn’t seem to have a purpose, pain definitely does keep us safe in a lot of other potentially dangerous situations. Our nerves help us sense the world around us so we can explore. They can also help remind us to watch where we step next time.

Dr. Universe

Ask Dr. Universe is a science-education project from Washington State University. Send your question to Dr. Universe at

Ask Dr. Universe – Plant Sunburns

Why don’t plants get sunburns? – Elijah, 5, Seattle, Wash.

Dear Elijah,

That’s a great observation. For as much time as plants spend outside in the sun, we really don’t see too many with a sunburn.

I decided to take your burning question to my friend Cynthia Gleason. She’s a plant scientist at Washington State University and knows a lot about plant defense.

Plants actually make their own kind of sun block, she said. It helps protect them from the sun’s intense ultraviolet rays.

We can’t see ultraviolet light, but we think bees can see it. This light helps bees find flowers so they can pollinate the plants and drink their nectar. Ultraviolet light might be useful for buzzing bees, but too much ultraviolet light can do some serious damage to plants.

“Unlike humans, plants can’t just move into the shade or put on a hat when the sun gets too intense,” Gleason explained. “Of course, plants also can’t slather on sunscreen.”

As you may remember from last week’s question, plants need sun to make their own food, as well as the oxygen we all breathe.

Plants face an interesting challenge because they need sun, Gleason said, but not too much sun. Otherwise, they might shrivel up, turn yellow, or even die.

For a long time, scientists weren’t really sure how plants avoided getting burnt to a crisp. But a few years ago, a group of researchers investigated a science question very similar to yours.

They found that when plants get too stressed out from the sun, they start to make their own kind of sun block. It isn’t like the sunscreen that humans squeeze out of a bottle or spray on. But like sunscreen humans use, it blocks the ultraviolet light.

The plant’s sun block is actually a combination of special molecules that form in the plant’s tissue. These molecules join together to create a compound that blocks the ultraviolet light. But at the same time, these compounds still allow other kinds of sunlight to pass through. That way, the plant can still make its own food—without turning into a lobster.

Plants aren’t the only living things that make their own concoction of chemicals to stay safe in the sun either. Some zebra fish create a compound that protects them from the sun, too. Even hippos make a kind of orange sweat that helps protect them from ultraviolet rays.

The sun is not only good for plants, but also for us. It gives us Vitamin D that our bodies use to help our bones stay strong. Thankfully for humans, chemists have invented sunscreen to keep you safe from the sun’s rays while exploring outside. And luckily for us cats and other critters, we can usually find a nice shady tree.

Dr. Universe
Ask Dr. Universe is a science-education project from Washington State University. Send your question to or read more at

Ottawa County Website Ranks Seventh Nationwide Among Government Websites

The Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties have announced the winners of the 2016 Digital Counties Survey, naming among the leading government websites in the country. The annual survey recognizes the best technology practices among U.S. counties, including initiatives that save tax dollars through newfound efficiencies; boost transparency, cybersecurity and engagement; or innovate through unique and exciting projects. Ottawa County earned the seventh spot in the nation compared to counties of similar size. Ottawa has made the top ten on the national list during seven of the past eight years.

“It is an honor to be recognized nationally. Citizens expect more from a website than information and strives to deliver. We continue to grow our online services, ” said Shannon Felgner, Ottawa County’s Communication Manager. “We also added email subscription services as a way to push information to residents. To date, 18,297 people are subscribed to receive county news via email.” May 2016’s citizen survey found support for Ottawa’s online presence as well:

• 78% of citizens who had visited offered a positive assessment
• When asked, citizens aged 18-49 rated as their preferred source of county government information
• 67% of this age group also agreed that they would prefer doing business online versus visiting an office

“Digital counties have evolved to recognize the value of technology, empower their tech leaders and use new ideas to make life better for everyone who lives and does business in the county,” said Todd Sander, Center for Digital Government Executive Director. “The Center for Digital Government congratulates this year’s winners for their work to innovate, improve transparency and proactively address citizen demands and expectations.”

“Modern technology allows counties across the country to innovate, providing citizens with smarter, more cost-effective services,” said National Association of Counties Executive Director Matthew Chase. “The Digital Counties Survey recognizes county innovations that truly benefit our communities and, by extension, America.”

Ottawa County wasn’t the only Michigan winner. Allegan County took first in its population division and Oakland County was fifth among peer counties in the U.S. For a list of all the winners, visit

250,000-499,999 Population Category

1. Sonoma County, CA
2. Chesterfield County, VA
3. Dakota County, MN
4. Loudoun County, VA
5. Cumberland County, NC & Dutchess County, NY
6. Bell County, TX
7. Ottawa County, MI & Leon County, FL
8. County of Santa Cruz, CA
9. Douglas County, CO
10. Dauphin County, PA & Richland County, SC

Don’t Just Watch Us Go…

Business is on the rise and you can help!

Research shows that beautification of a property or business not only improves your image to attract and retain customers, it can lower neighborhood crime by as much as 35%!

Watch Muskegon Clean

Here is a check list to help you and your staff maintain an attractive business!
First, provide your staff with the following tools.  Plastic gloves, garbage bags or paper recycling bags, broom, dust pan, window cleaner, cleaning rags, paper towel, power washer if possible.

• Wearing Plastic gloves, have at least two individuals circle your property to pick up garbage or items that should  be thrown away or recycled
• Sweep up small items like cigarette butts
• Power wash sidewalks if possible or use broom brush and soapy water at entryways
• Wash outside windows
• Freshen up flower pots and ground cover
• Check signage and banners to make sure they are in good condition
• Wearing work gloves, pull out weeds
• Have grass mowed routinely
• Review paint condition. Plan to repaint as needed
• Reward the employees who help you with these important responsibilities.

If you have other creative ideas about how to maintain an attractive business, please send them our way.

If you need professional services in this area, please review the chamber directory and always buy local whenever possible.

CLICK HERE for more information about the beautification pillar of this Watch Muskegon campaign

Have questions about the campaign?
Contact us at any time – 231.722.3751, email us here, find us on Facebook, or visit our website.

Protecting Lakes

Aquatic invasive species crowd out native species, disrupt lake ecosystems, and interfere with boating, fishing, and other recreation.  Boaters can unknowingly transfer invasive species and fish diseases, such as viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), to new waters when they don’t clean boats, trailers, and other recreational equipment.  To prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and protect Michigan’s aquatic resources, boaters, anglers, and others enjoying Michigan’s waters are required to:

• Remove aquatic plants from boats, boating equipment, and boat trailers before launching a boat.
• Drain live wells, bilges, and all water from boats before leaving a boating access site.
• Dispose of unused bait in the trash.  Do not release bait into the water.
• Never transfer fish to water bodies other than where they were caught.

For more information about aquatic invasive species in Michigan can visit:

Ask Dr. Universe – Why Onions Cause Us to Cry

Why does onion cause you to cry? –Kera, 5, Lawrenceville, GA

Dear Kera,

Try as we might, it’s hard to hold back tears while chopping up onions.

My friend Lindsey du Toit knows the feeling. She’s a scientist at Washington State University and works with lots of onions. Her research helps farmers grow good vegetables for us to eat.

“It’s not the onion itself that makes us cry,” she explained, “but a chemical reaction that starts when you cut into it.”

I wondered how exactly this chemical reaction worked. To find out, we set up a microscope in her lab and chopped up a Walla Walla sweet onion. I wiped a few tears from my cheek and slid a tiny piece of onion under the lens.

Under the microscope’s light, we could see rows of onion cells next to each other. Just like you and me, onions are made up of cells.

An onion sitting on the kitchen counter is pretty harmless because its cells are still together. But when we cut up an onion, we also cut up a bunch of the cells. This is where the chemical reaction begins.

Cutting the onion breaks open different parts in the cell and releases chemicals into the air. Some of these important chemicals contain sulfur.

“As the plants grow, they take up sulfur from the soil,” du Toit said. “It’s good for growing onions.”

This sulfur is important for the flavor, too. But some of the chemicals in onions that contain the sulfur also have the side effect of making us cry.

“It’s a sacrifice we pay for good-flavored onions,” du Toit adds.

The onion cells also contain parts called enzymes. It is the job of these enzymes to help chemical reactions happen. In the onion, the enzymes help convert the sulfur into a kind of acid.

This acid rearranges itself to form a new kind of chemical: syn-propanethial-S-oxide. It’s a bit of a tongue twister. It’s also a tearjerker.

When the chemical drifts up and meets the moisture in our eyeballs, it turns to sulfuric acid. Our eyes have many nerves and can sense that something unusual is happening—and that something is stinging.

Tear-producing glands in our eyes, called lachrymal glands, receive the message.

du Toit explained that an onion with more sulfur is often likely to produce more tears. For example, Walla Walla sweets are sweeter and don’t take up as much sulfur from the soil. They likely won’t provoke as many tears as some other onions might.

People have tried quite a few techniques to try to avoid crying when they chop onions. Some put onions in the fridge before cutting them to slow the chemical reaction. Others cut their onions under cold water to slow the chemical reactions with the sulfur compounds.

Chemical reactions often happen more slowly in cold conditions. So the idea is that cooling onions in the fridge before cutting them means that the sulfur chemicals are converted more slowly into the acid that reacts with your eyes —helping you chop more onions and slowing the waterworks.

Dr. Universe

Ask Dr. Universe is a science-education project from Washington State University. Send your question to Dr. Universe at