Monthly Archives: January 2018

Ask Dr. Universe – Rain and Water Pollution

Where does rain go? –Finn, 8, New Zealand
How does pollution effect the world’s water? – Emily, 13

Dear, Finn, Emily, and friends,

When a raindrop falls from a cloud, there are quite a few places it could end up.

We might follow that raindrop into a stream, river or ocean. If it’s in the ocean and it gets warm enough, it might evaporate into even tinier droplets of water to form clouds. It’s part of the water cycle.

Clouds can only hold so much rain before they get saturated. Then it starts to rain again.  Maybe this time the raindrop falls into soil and helps a plant grow. Or perhaps the raindrop falls onto the sidewalk, street, or highway. If it falls on the pavement, it could flow into a drain and back into the streams and oceans.

Lots of these raindrops make up what scientists call storm water. But it’s not just water. Along the way, water can pick up other things on the road. It might sweep away something like leaves. It also picks up things that aren’t very good for our planet, like oil, animal waste, metal from car brakes, or other kinds of chemicals and pollutants.

We can’t always see these pollutants with our eyes, but they can really threaten animals who call the streams, rivers, and ocean home. Pollution can create a toxic environment for fish. As a researcher at Washington State University, my friend Michelle Chow studies some of the fish that get sick from pollutants in storm water.

Coho salmon that live in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. will often die if they are in this polluted water for a couple of days. But Chow and other researchers at WSU are working on ways to help save the salmon.

It turns out soil is really great at filtering toxic stuff out of water. If you are curious how it works, check out this video, “Polluted Puddles.” One thing people can do to help clean up the environment and help save salmon is to plant a rain garden. When the rain comes down, it gets filtered through the garden’s soil instead of running off into the road. You can find out how to plant a rain garden in your community with the help of friends at WSU Extension.

Another way researchers are helping is by developing a kind of pavement that looks a bit like a Rice Krispies Treat. It’s called permeable pavement and is designed to let water go straight through the pavement down into the soil. That way, it doesn’t run off and carry pollutants to nearby bodies of water.

Chow said there are other ways we can also help keep pollutants out of our environment. Can you think of something you might be able to do? I might just walk to work or ride my bike. Helping find solutions is good for salmon who live in the water and good for animals who like to eat them, too. Together, we can help improve and restore healthy water habitats.

Dr. Universe

Prepare Your Child for Success in School

Children’s hearing and vision impacts their success in school. An undiagnosed hearing problem may impact a child’s ability to pay attention or follow directions. An undiagnosed vision problem may affect a child’s ability to read and learn.

Have your child’s hearing and vision tested by your local health department beginning at age 3 and again just BEFORE the start of kindergarten at no cost. Michigan law requires screening PRIOR to kindergarten entry. If your child is enrolled in school, continuous screenings begin in kindergarten. If your child is not enrolled in a formal school setting, he or she can receive free screenings at your local health department by appointment. Call (616)396-5266 to schedule an appointment with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health at any one of our three locations (Grand Haven, Holland or Hudsonville).

Hearing & Vision Screenings

Michigan Law requires local health departments to offer no cost hearing and vision screening at least once between the ages of 3 and 5; in kindergarten; 2nd and 4th grades (hearing only); and 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th grades (vision only).

For more information, visit watch this short video about our screening process at to play video

Time, Mail and Your Fruitport Post Office

Josh Martin, Officer In Charge (OIC) August 2016- October 2017, sees the local post office as more than just a place to send and pick up mail, it’s a place of running in to friends and neighbors who just happened to be there at the same time as you, as well as reuniting with people that you may not have seen in years.

Martin shares, “I am always amazed at the stories that I hear and witness when those long lost friends see each other for the first time in many years… at the post office. As a 3rd generation postal employee, I can’t begin to tell you how many residents my grandpa knew through working at the Spring Lake Post Office. Even after he retired he would still remember their names and give them a huge smile and friendly greeting when he would see them around town. The story continued as, when I was just a kid, I would ride with my mom, who also worked at the Spring Lake Post Office, through town and she would say ‘“oh, that is where Mrs. (name) used to live.”’

Through my years in the Postal Service “family” I have learned a valuable lesson: though you, our customers, depend on us to deliver and send your mail, it’s you our customers…our friends… that have had the greatest influence on us. We appreciate how you have included your Letter Carrier and the friendly Clerks and the Fruitport Post Office into your lives. You are the reason for us doing what we do!”

When Josh Martin first came to the Fruitport Post Office, as OIC in August 2016, he immediately made some phone calls and began the process of making some much needed improvements to the Fruitport facility. “Because we value you so much” Martin says, “the majority of changes were made to improve your experience here. We have installed new floors, new interior paint, ceiling repairs, a brand new retail counter, new customer-information/work tables for packing and filling out forms, new landscaping and a freshly painted flag pole which displays the pride and glory of our nation. We welcome you to come in and see the new look and feel the difference in your Post Office”.

In addition to seeing the changes in the Post Office, the Fruitport USPS employees would appreciate your input by doing the survey on the bottom of every one of your transaction receipts. Martin said, “I know that it seems like every company these days is asking you to do a survey but there is one difference with this one.

The Fruitport Post Office is Your Post Office. It’s a cornerstone of our Fruitport community and we want to make sure that we are giving you the best service possible! Please let us know how we are doing and hopefully we are meeting your highest expectations. The only way that we will know is if you let us know. Your input is greatly appreciated.”

The United States Postal Service is continuing to enhance our overall Customer Service on a world wide scale. The latest technology has helped improve the variety of services that we offer to all of our customers. For the majority of the years that the USPS has been operating, many people would just think of the postage stamp, the letter and the occasional small package. As we all know, time has way of changing things. In addition to offering the historically valued letter mail delivery, we are now one of the largest and most competitive package shippers in the world!

Check out to discover the latest in real time tracking for packages and mail as well as many other services that we can provide to you. Though time may change the types of services offered and the process in which we deliver those services, there is one important element to the USPS that has never changed…you, our valued customer.

So, whether you visit your Fruitport Post Office to do business, purchase a variety of stamps for your collection, send a greeting card or just to say a friendly “hello”, we truly hope that you will always feel like you are in the atmosphere of friends because of the Fruitport Postal employees who make their top Priority: You!

Muskegon County Calendar of Events January 1 – 8, 2018

Presented by the Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Winter Break Family Events at the USS Silversides Submarine Museum
January 2, 2018 – January 4, 2018
The USS Silversides Submarine Museum is proud to host a round of family friendly events for those who are enjoying time off for the holiday season!  January 2, 3 and 4, the museum will be offering ROV (remotely operated vehicle) robotic classes at 11:00am and 1:30pm.  Participants will get the opportunity to design, build and test their remotely operated underwater vehicles in their indoor test tanks.  The cost is only $5 with the purchase of a museum admission.

On those same days at 12:00pm and 2:00pm, you can also enjoy a screening of the 1966 Batman film in the museum theater.  The cost is also only $5 with the purchase of museum admission. For more information, call (231) 755-1230.

Movies @ the Library: Concussion
January 2, 2018 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Tuesday, January 2 at 5:30pm, come to Hackley Public Library for a screening of the film, “Concussion” (123 mins. (PG-13)!  This dramatic thriller is based on the true David vs. Goliath story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu. Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist, made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known.  Omalu’s emotional quest puts him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful and beloved institutions in the world.

Movies at the Library are free and happen the first Tuesday of the month.   Bring your own snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.

White Lake Classical Series: Orion Rapp, Oboe
January 2, 2018 @ 7:00 pm
Tuesday, January 2 at 7:00pm, come to the Book Nook & Java Shop for the White Lake Classical Series featuring Orion Rapp!  Orion is Principal Oboist of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and will be performing the music of Bach, Britten, Poulenc and Morricone.  The cover charge is $5.

Come early if you’d like to enjoy a dinner of pork tenderloin, pommes gratin, vegetable, glass of house wine and dessert for only $17.  Dinner begins at 6:15pm.  For reservations or more information, call 231-894-5333.

Lakeshore Museum Center Winter Open House
January 4, 2018 @ 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Thursday, January 4 from 1:30pm – 3:30pm, stop by during the Lakeshore Museum Center’s Annual Winter Open House to check out their fun hands-on activities!  These will include peppermint water science, animals in winter and a winter craft!

Museum admission is always free for Muskegon County residents and just $3 for non-residents!  For more information, call (231) 722-0278.

Muskegon Museum of Art: Free Thursday Evening Tours
January 4, 2018 @ 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Every Thursday from 4:00pm – 8:00pm, you’re invited to the Muskegon Museum of Art for a free tour guided by MMA docents, compliments of Meijer!  For more information, call 231-720-2570.

Open House Reception at The Red Lotus Gallery
January 5, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
You are invited to the Artists’ Open House Reception at the Muskegon Center for the Arts every first Friday night of the month from 6:00pm – 8:00pm, at the Red Lotus Fine Art Gallery located in downtown Muskegon in the Century Building’s basement.  Every month there is a different display and art themed event. Come meet and talk with the artists and view their creations.  Refreshments will be provided.  For more information, find them on Facebook.

Learn to Luge Weekend
January 5, 2018 @ 6:00 pm
Every Friday – Sunday at 6:00pm (weather permitting), you can learn to luge at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, offering one of only four publicly accessible luge tracks in the United States!  Although shorter in overall length than the Olympic tracks in New York and Salt Lake City, the Muskegon Luge track provides an Olympic thrill with the safety of the participant in mind.  The track was designed by three-time Olympian Frank Masley and consists of six curves and two starting areas.  For more information, call 1-877-TRY-LUGE or visit the website below to make reservations.

Safe & Easy to Learn

Safety is the number one priority when teaching new sliders or conducting races with seasoned sliders.  All participants must be at least 8 years old at the time of their session.  Participants are outfitted with elbow pads, a helmet and a well-maintained luge sled.  An instructor carefully goes over each part of the sled with a beginning slider and teaches easy to learn methods of steering the sled.  Over three decades, the program has instructed thousands of sliders from age 8 to 80 to safely and successfully luge.  While luge is referred to the fastest sport on ice, this track is designed for the novice slider at slower speeds than an Olympic track, where sliders can reach speeds of 90+ mph.  The top speeds at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex track are approximately 30 mph on a “good ice” day although to most new sliders it still feels like 90 mph!

Get Some Physical Activity in the winter!

The sleds weigh between 25-40 lbs. and are transported up a flight of stairs to the top of the luge track by human power…you!  Small children will most likely need adult help to get their sled back up the hill.  If you have heart troubles or health issues that may be complicated by climbing stairs or participating in adrenaline pumping outdoor thrills sports, this activity may not be recommended.

What to Expect

The size of each session is limited, so participants can expect to get 3-6 runs depending on weather conditions and efficiency of the group and personal pace.  The first 20 minutes of the session you will receive instruction from an experienced luge coach about safety and equipment.  During free sliding time, coaches will be positioned along the track to give you instruction throughout the session.  The last 15 minutes of each session is set aside for participant certificates and a medals ceremony.

Muskegon Risers Home Game
January 5, 2018 @ 7:00 pm – January 6, 2018 @ 7:00 pm
Muskegon Risers SC was founded to help facilitate positive social and economic change along the Muskegon Lakeshore through the game of soccer.  A Riser is someone who understands our community’s potential and who pushes themselves and others to realize that potential.  Our ‘Risers’ name was inspired by the ‘Muskegon, Together Rising’ sculpture that stands in the heart of downtown Muskegon.  Risers are not limited to an era, industry or ethnicity.  Muskegon Risers SC strives to represent the spirit of our area’s people in past, present and future tense.

Get your season tickets for the 2018 Major Arena Soccer League II (M2) Season!  Once you place your at their website, your tickets will be immediately available for pickup at the LC Walker Arena Box Office! You will also get a RISE AND GRIND New Balance Shirt, to be picked-up at the first home game you attend!

The Risers will be playing 6 home games, all starting at 7:00pm!
• January 5 vs Chicago Mustangs
• January 6 vs Detroit Waza Flo
• January 19 vs Detroit Waza Flo
• February 3 vs Cincinnati Swerve
• February 16 vs Cincinnati Swerve
• February 17 vs Chicago Mustangs

Indoor Farmers’ Market
January 6, 2018 @ 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
The Muskegon Farmers’ Market invites you to come inside their warm barn and shop this winter!  They’re open every Saturday from 9:00am – 2:00pm, November – April.  They will be closed Saturday, December 30.  For more information, call (231) 722-3251.

West Michigan Lake Hawks Home Game
January 7, 2018 @ 5:00 pm
The West Michigan Lake Hawks strive to provide a professional level of sports entertainment and to enrich the lives of student athletes.  Home games are played at Reeths-Puffer High School.  Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door, and season passes are $90 which saves you 25%.  Ages 4 and under are free.  Call 231-769-9617 for group ticket sales.

Catch their next home game Sunday, January 7 at 5:00pm as they take on the Illinois Bulldogs!

Ruth and Max Bloomquist
January 8, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Monday, January 8 at 6:00pm, come to “The Corner” as Ruth and Max BLoomquist, Muskegon’s own folk singers, perform an evening of wonderful music!  Ruth and Max have been making music together since they met in 1975 and discovered their shared love not only for each other, but for music and songs made with acoustic instruments and featuring lyrics from the heart.  Ruth and Max immersed themselves in folk, bluegrass, country, singer songwriters, and other acoustic music to create a sound and style all their own.

This concert will be held at The Corner, an outdoor stage at the corner of Muskegon Ave. and Third St.

Brought to you through the generosity of the Friends of Hackley Library and the Central United

Letter to the Editor: Socialism in America

I watched the upheavals at Charlottesville, VA, on TV, on Saturday, 12 Aug 17. Both sides were inspired by wrong thinking people. Communists on one side and Fascists on the other. It appears that too many Americans don’t know what a Communist is or what a Fascist is. I will make it as simple as possible. Both sides are Socialist.

Socialism is necessary in a modern dictatorship, so that a private sector cannot cut off a military that is ruling it’s country by force. Communists start by rallying the underprivileged behind them, and convincing them that everyone else is their adversary. Fascists will rally everyone else behind them convincing them that the underprivileged are their adversaries.

Upheavals like in Charlottesville, VA, are inspired to tempt our lawmakers to pass bills centralizing more power in government. We already have civil rights laws, labor laws and environmental laws that are steps toward government control of our defense industries, and violate the 10th Amendment of our constitution. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the constitution or any civil rights lawyers who think they know the constitution, the 10th Amendment is the one that limits the Federal Government to the powers specifically delegated to it. Americans need to wise up to subversive activities and hold our lawmakers accountable when they violate the constitution.

James E. Caldwell
Doyle, CA