Monthly Archives: May 2024

Conservative Women’s Caucus to Host Candidate Forum

A Muskegon County Candidate Forum will be held on Monday, June 3, at 6:30PM in Collegiate Hall at Muskegon Community College. Candidates running for local offices will be sharing who they are, what their values are, and why they deserve our vote. Muskegon County Sheriff, Clerk, Treasurer, Register of Deeds, Water Resources Commissioner, and County Commissioner races will be featured. State representative incumbents will also be present.

The August 6 Primary determines who will be on the ballot in November. Attending a Candidate Forum like this helps to identify who will get your vote and your support.

The Forum is being hosted by The Muskegon County Conservative Women’s Caucus (MCCWC), an Independent PAC.  MCCWC seeks to protect and promote Judeo/Christian values through influencing culture, public policy, and elections. They strive to engage conservative women through educating, networking, and advocating for conservative issues.  

For more information, please visit

The Community Mental Health Board of Directors Meeting Date Change

Ottawa County
Attention: The Community Mental Health Board of Directors Meeting for May 24, 2024, has been rescheduled. The Community Mental Health Board of Directors Meeting will meet at 9AM in the Administration Building – Board Room – 12220 Fillmore, West Olive, on June 3, 2024.

For more information contact Community Mental Health at 616-392-1873.

MY Ballet Theatre presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Saturday, June 1, 2:00 PM

Saturday, June 1, ,6:30 PM
at Frauenthal Theater

$10 – $25
2 PM Student School Showcase | $10
6:30 PM Ballet Performance | $18
Discount ticket when purchase tickets for both | $25

Picture of William Shakespeare statue.
William Shakespeare, playwright and creator of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

MY Ballet Theatre presents two one-act ballet’s, A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream. We will also be presenting a student showcase at 2:00pm which will feature technique and skills dancers have been working on in class.

To purchase tickets for both events at a discounted price, please click here.

*Due to smoke damage caused by a neighboring fire, the Michigan Youth Ballet Theatre studio has been displaced and faced reduced rehearsal time, leading us to regretfully exclude Graduation Ball from our upcoming performance. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding. All other performances will proceed as scheduled.

Events Happening in Muskegon County: May 29- June 3, 2024

Check out our website for a complete list
Visit the many daily events at our Muskegon County libraries

Wednesday, May 29

Frauenthal Theater Tour
Frauenthal Theater 425 W. Western Ave. Discover the magic of the theater $20

Treasured Tablescapes!
Greater Muskegon Woman’s Club 280 W. Webster Ave. Dinner, entertainment, prizes. For reservations Caroly Bowen (231-780-3826) or Deborah Raest (231-744-1936)

Live Music: Da’veonce & DaFunk Gang
The Deck 1601 Beach St. Paid parking is enforced.

Muskegon Movie Trivia
Unruly Brewing Co. 360 W. Western Ave. For ages 21+

Thursday, May 30

Free Thursday Tours!
Muskegon Art Museum 296 W. Webster Ave. Extended hours to visit!

Thrifty Thursdays & Drink
The Valkyrie 1900 Ruddiman Ave. Shop while having your lunch each Thursday

Afternoon Cruises
Aquastar 560 Mart Street. Veterans and children free!

Live Music: Sonimanic
The Deck 1601 Beach St. No cover-charge. Paid parking is enforced.

FREE Water Ski Show: Ariel’s Adventure by Grand City
Ross Park 82 Randall Road. Free to the public!

Hackley to Hollywood: Tanya Hart’s Journey to Inclusion
Greater Muskegon Woman’s Club 280 W. Webster Avenue. Free to the public.

Muskegon Trivia Night!
Wonderland Distillery 1989 Lakeshore Drive. Free to participate, 21+ only.

Friday, May 31

Outdoor Adventure Weekend
Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park 462 Scenic Drive. Outdoor family fun!

Hackley Attic Escape Room
Hackley and Hume Historic Site 484 W. Webster Avenue. Free parking!

First Parties in the Park of 2024!
Hackley Park 350 W. Webster Avenue. Entertainment free, tickets for concessions.

Live Music: John Voelz
Brewer’s Lounge at Pigeon Hill 895 Fourth St. Entertainment is free!

Live Music: Starlight City
The Deck 1601 Beach St. No cover-charge. Paid parking is enforced.

Motown Meltdown: Spring Fling at the Lotus Room!
Lotus Room Event Center 919 E. Sherman Blvd. Admission is $40.

Swing Dance
USS LST 393 Veterans Museum 560 Mart St. Free to the public.

Unruly Ball
Unruly Brewing Company 360 W. Western Avenue. Dress to impress!

Saturday, June 1

Muskegon Farmers Market
Farmers Market Barn 242 W. Western Ave. Veggies, meat, baked goods!

18th Annual Muskegon Pub Pedal
Muskegon Lakeshore Bike Path Grab a cool drink and bike Muskegon!

2024 D-Day Commemoration Event
USS LST 393 Veterans Museum 560 Mart St. Free to the public!

Live Music: Starlight City
The Deck 1601 Beach St. Paid parking is enforced.

Live Music: Velvet Mushroom Syndicate
The Deck 1601 Beach St. Paid parking is enforced.

Sunset Cruises
Aquastar 560 Mart Street. Bring the day to an end watching the sunset.

Muskegon South Pierhead Light Summer Tours
Muskegon South Pierhead Light 1431 Beach St. Only $5 for entry.

Outdoor Adventure Weekend
Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park 462 Scenic Drive.

Sunday, June 2

40s & 50s Dance Party
S.S. Milwaukee Clipper 2098 Lakeshore Dr. Free for members, $10 for nonmembers.

Feet on the Street
White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce 124 W Hanson St. Free to the public!

Live Music: Plane Jane Glory
The Deck 1601 Beach St. No cover-charge. Paid parking is enforced.

Live Music: Dick Diamond & The Dusters
The Deck 1601 Beach St. No cover-charge. Paid parking is enforced.

Muskegon South Pierhead Light Summer Tours
Muskegon South Pierhead Light 1431 Beach St. Only $5 for entry.

Outdoor Adventure Weekend
Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park 462 Scenic Drive.

Monday, June 3

Unruly Retro Video Game Night
Unruly Brewing Company 360 W. Western Avenue. Mario Kart, wii games and more!

Muskegon South Pierhead Light Summer Tours
Muskegon South Pierhead Light 1431 Beach Street

Live Music: Moonshot
The Deck 1601 Beach St. No cover-charge. Paid parking is enforced.

Dr. Universe: Why do we change our minds? – Stella, 10, Tennessee

As a science cat, I’ve changed my mind a lot over the years. I used to wear a fancy neck scarf called a cravat all the time. Now I’m comfy in my lab coat.

I talked about that with my friend Makita White. She’s a graduate student in the psychology department at Washington State University.

She told me that we change our minds when we get new information or insight that tells us we need to make a different choice.

It turns out that we have lots of opinions and beliefs. They’re also called attitudes. We have attitudes about what we like to eat or wear. We have attitudes about other people and how the world should be.

White told me that having attitudes helps us out.

“Your brain uses things like attitudes as shortcuts to make decisions really fast,” she said. “That way you don’t have to develop a new opinion about something every time you see it.”

Let’s say you have an attitude that pineapple is the best pizza topping. Thanks to that brain shortcut, you don’t have to decide if you like pineapple every time someone offers you some. You know you like it.

But sometimes you get new information, or something shakes up our attitudes. Maybe you try a different pizza topping and like it even more than pineapple. Maybe you get some rotten pineapple and start feeling grossed out by it.

Changing your mind about pizza toppings isn’t a big deal. But it’s harder to change your attitude about something that feels important to who you are as a person.

I recently watched a cartoon about a world full of humans and elves. They hated each other and lived in separate places. But then some humans went on a journey with an elf. They eventually became friends. That was a huge change because disliking each other was part of being a human or an elf. It’s how they fit in with their families and friends.

White told me that when a person has an attitude and then has an experience that doesn’t fit with the attitude, they feel cognitive dissonance. That’s the uncomfortable feeling when the things you think or the ways you act clash with each other.

Like if you’re a human who thinks elves are terrible and scary. But you’re also friends with an elf who’s not terrible or scary at all. That’s going to make your brain uncomfortable. Then you must decide what to do about it.

You can stick with your old attitude and run away from your elf friend. You can make an excuse for why your friendship with this one elf doesn’t mean you were wrong before. Or you can examine the attitude and change the kind of human you are.

White says it may be easier to change your mind if you have a growth mindset. That means believing you can change and grow. It means letting go of attitudes that don’t work for you anymore.

Maybe that’s why I was able to figure out my lab-coat-wearing destiny. Maybe someday I’ll try something new and like that, too.

It’s just a matter of adjusting my cat-titude.


Dr. Universe

Dr. Universe: Why are some veggies called fruits because of their seeds? – Valerie, 10, New Mexico

Dear Valerie,

Every summer I grow peppers in my garden. I always thought they were vegetables. But you’re right that my peppers have gobs of seeds like fruits do.

To figure out what’s going on, I talked with my friend Jacob Blauer. He’s a plant scientist at Washington State University.

He told me that whether something is a vegetable or fruit depends on what part of the plant it comes from.

“Plant products that come from plant parts like roots, leaves or stems are veggies,” Blauer said. “If they come from a flower and bear seeds, they’re a fruit in botanical and scientific terms.”

Botany is the plant science that looks at the structures that make up a plant’s body. Like its roots, leaves and stems. When you chow down on a carrot, you’re eating the carrot plant’s root. When you eat lettuce, you’re eating the lettuce plant’s leaves. When you chomp on some celery, you’re eating the celery plant’s stem. These are all vegetables.

But my peppers don’t come from the pepper plant’s roots, leaves or stem. A pepper forms when my pepper plant reproduces through a flower. That’s how it makes seeds that will become baby plants.

After a flower forms, pollinators like the wind or insects come along. They move pollen from one part of the flower to another part of the flower. Or between flowers. Soon, a teeny, tiny pepper full of seeds begins to grow.

Pollinators move pollen from the anthers (blue circle) to the stigma (green circle). Sometimes that happens within the same flower. Sometimes they move pollen between different flowers.

The whole point of the pepper is to move those seeds to a new place. In the wild, birds gobble up the peppers and seeds. Then, they fly off and poop out pepper seeds somewhere else. Those pooped-out seeds can grow into new pepper plants.

Since peppers come from a flower and have seeds, botanists call them fruits. Even though they’re not sweet or tart like most fruits. There are lots of fruits like that—like tomatoes, squashes, eggplants, cucumbers and avocados.

As a science cat, I think it makes lots of sense to classify plant foods based on botany and plant science. But humans are complicated animals. So, nutrition experts sometimes classify a plant food based on other traits, too. Like how sweet or savory it is. Or how it’s usually cooked.

That’s why some fruits—like my peppers—wind up in the vegetable group. If that seems a little confusing, that’s because it is. It can make it challenging for scientists who work with plants that are classified in more than one way. It can also make it harder for food programs to get the most nutritious foods to people—because there are lots of opinions on how to classify plant foods.

Blauer told me that potatoes have a classification problem like my peppers do. According to science, they’re vegetables. They’re a plant part that grows underground called a tuber. That’s an underground branch that stores vitamins and complex sugars called starches.

But sometimes potatoes get kicked out of the vegetable group and called less nutritious because of those starches. That’s a shame because the humble spud is so nutrient-dense that it’s fed hungry people throughout history and helped shape the world we know today.

When it comes to nutrition, it’s a real peeler of strength.


Dr. Universe

Dr. Universe: Do babies open their eyes when they are in their mom’s tummy? – Neela, 6, Washington state

My litter mates and I were born with our eyes closed. It takes a week or more for newborn kittens to open their eyes and see the world. But newborn humans can open their eyes and look around right away.

I talked about your question with my friend Cindy Brigham-Althoff. She’s a nurse midwife and professor at Washington State University.

She told me that whether unborn babies can open their eyes depends on their fetal age, or how close they are to being born.

Most babies are ready to be born after about 38 weeks of growing and developing. (Or 40 weeks if you count the way doctors do and add two weeks because it’s hard to figure out the exact moment the development process starts.) But some babies are born earlier or later.

For the first eight weeks, an unborn baby is called an embryo. That’s the time when all the major body parts develop, including the eyes. An embryo’s developing eyes are open because the eyelids haven’t formed yet.

From the end of the 8th week on, the embryo is called a fetus. The end of the 8th week is also when the eyelids form and seal themselves shut. That protects the delicate eyes as they grow and develop. They’ll stay that way until the eyelids unseal at 26 weeks (about 6 months).

“They start to be able to open their eyes at 26 weeks,” Brigham-Althoff said. “But they don’t really fully open until 28 weeks.”

So, once the eyelids unseal, what can unborn babies see? Probably not a lot.

For one thing, their eyes aren’t fully developed—and won’t be for a long time. Their eyes will grow and mature for an entire year after they’re born.

The other issue is that a fetus develops inside a pouch-like organ called a uterus. It’s pretty dark in there. Plus, it’s filled with amniotic fluid. Amniotic fluid starts out as mostly water. But then the fetus begins swallowing the fluid and peeing it back out.

Even fully developed human eyes don’t see as well underwater—or under-urine. So, a fetus can’t make out details inside the uterus. It’s probably super blurry.

But a fetus can see light.

Their eyes begin to detect light by the 31st week. The dark pupils in the center of the eyes expand or shrink depending on how much light there is. Like yours do.

Brigham-Althoff told me that scientists can use flashlights and special equipment to see how fetuses react to light. That’s how scientists know that babies who are almost ready to be born will turn their heads and move their eyes to look at the light—especially if the flashlight looks like a human face.

That’s probably kind of weird for the fetus. But it’s one way science opens our eyes to the mystery of human development.


Dr. Universe

Dr. Universe: Why are cats scared of cucumbers/snakes? — Aurelia, 8, Canada

It’s been almost ten years since someone went viral for recording a cat freaking out about a cucumber. In that video, a human sneaked up behind a cat while it was eating. They silently placed a cucumber behind the cat. When the cat turned around, it jumped super high and ran away. Soon, lots of people were making those videos.

I asked my friend Jessica Bunch why all those cats were scared. She’s a veterinarian at Washington State University.

She told me that cats can be surprised by new things. That’s especially true if the new thing shows up without warning. Or while the cat has its guard down. Like when a cat is eating, and a human sneaks up with a cucumber.

It’s possible that the surprise sets off an internal alarm that warns cats about intruders. That instinct to startle and flee from potential danger helps cats survive in the wild. It’s an instinct that persists for house cats living cushy, non-wild lives.

“Even though we’ve domesticated them to a certain extent, cats aren’t considered 100% domesticated like dogs are,” Bunch said. “They still resemble wild cats. They still have some of the natural behaviors their wild cohorts do.”

If you’ve ever seen me pounce on a round of Cougar Gold cheese, you know that’s true.

African wildcats (Felis silvestris lybica) live in Africa and Asia. Thousands of years ago, some of these cats began to live with humans. They’re the ancestors to domestic cats. © Claudia Komesu/iNaturalist

The second part of the question is whether that fear reaction is because a cucumber resembles a snake. Could it be an inherited fear of snakes that freaks out my fellow felines?

Bunch told me that cat experts aren’t sure about that. In the wild, cats are more likely to be predators than prey. Many wild cats are even apex predators. That means they don’t have natural predators in their ecosystems.

It’s true that a particularly large and bold snake might gobble up smaller cats and baby cats. But cats are just as likely to prey on snakes. Bunch said there simply isn’t enough evidence to say that this fear is about snakes.

But cat experts do agree that this trend can cause problems for cats and the humans who love them. Just like people, cats have personalities. Some cats and some people are more sensitive or anxious than others. Unfortunately, most cats can’t tell you what stresses them out.

The startle-and-flee response that looks so silly in the videos is a clue that it’s a scary experience. There are other clues that a cat feels unsafe. Like if they start hiding more or don’t want to interact with their people as much. An unsafe cat might even do things that humans hate. Like destroying your furniture or using your stuff as a litter box.

It’s pretty special that cats have lived and worked with humans for at least 10,000 years. And that our mutual respect is our bond—and not just total dependence like some other pets. It would be a cat-astrophe to break that trust over a cucumber.

Dr. Universe

Throwing Local Zoning to the Wind

by Kati Holtrop

Do you know who is responsible for deciding whether your area is a Residential Neighborhood or a Commercial area? How about who decides whether a huge, stinky factory can move into the lot next to your child’s playground or school? Or how about who can allow foreign green energy companies to rent out thousands of acres of our state’s best farmland to build semi-permanent solar or wind farms that may not actually benefit the communities they are constructed in or the environment they pave over? Who decides whether or not an industrial energy storage facility can be built near your house?

Those decisions were made by our local township zoning boards until last November. Now, according to Citizens for Local Choice, the power to zone industrial energy storage, wind, and solar rests solely in the hands of three unelected people appointed by our governor as the Michigan Public Service Commission.

An example of the size of wind turbines.

Citizens for Local Choice, described as a broad coalition of bi-partisan voters from across the state, is fighting for the issue of local zoning authority to be put on the ballot for public debate this November. Volunteers around the state, including in Muskegon County, have been working to educate voters and collect signatures for the ballot proposal. The group needs 550,000 signatures by May 22nd, in order to do that. But the current total of signatures the group has collected is lacking. CFLC’s ballot proposal is supported by the Michigan Farm Bureau, as well as the Michigan Townships Association, among others.

According to Carl Bednarski, President of the Michigan Farm Bureau, “Michigan citizens witnessed an unprecedented Lansing power-grab when the legislature passed House Bills 5120 and 5121 [Public Act 233 of 2023] — legislation that removed zoning jurisdiction from local officials in siting decisions of utility-scale wind, solar, and energy storage projects…According to MPSC Chairman Dan Scripps, reaching the 2040 [state] energy goal will require an estimated 209,000 additional acres of farmland for wind and solar generation to achieve even 60% of energy from renewable sources.” (

The acreage required for these green energy utilities has since risen to 300,000 acres, after legislators were convinced of the smaller acreage.

An example of how close utility-sized some green energy projects are to farms and communities.

Many other voices have raised concerns about Public Act 233 and its implications for local communities.

Additionally, District 98 State Rep. Greg Alexander told Huron Daily Tribune, “Commissions (like the Michigan Public Service Commission), are not elected officials, they are bureaucrats… Though an amendment was made by Rep. (Joey Andrews) which added that land could not be taken by eminent domain, the Michigan Public Service Commission reserves the right of final determination.” (Dominic Sevilla, Huron Daily Tribune, Nov 17, 2023)

Catherine Andrews, former L’Anse Township Planning Commissioner says, “As a lifelong environmentalist, I was appalled when a foreign corporation proposed constructing a large-scale wind energy project on the Michigamme Highlands and the Huron Mountains in L’Anse Township.  A project of that scale would have directly impacted Mount Arvon, the highest point in Michigan as well as the vast networks of rivers, streams and wetlands in Baraga County which is known as the county with the most waterfalls in Michigan. It was only through local zoning that we were able to protect those precious natural features. Without local zoning, our wild places are at risk of corporate exploitation.” (

An example of how some utility-sized green energy projects use wild areas.

Adding to Andrews’ concerns, CFLC quotes Maurie Denecker, Riga Township Planning Commissioner and farmer: “In Michigan, tenant farmers contribute significantly to our crops. While utilities claim to need only a small portion of prime farmland, they overlook the economic destruction to local agriculture. Taking large swaths of land out of production hinders new and young farmers from finding affordable land. The cash offered for land rent ends up in the hands of a few corporate farms, not benefiting the local community.” (

An example of a solar farm near a plowed field.

Opponents say Public Act 233 reduces or removes many protective restrictions on utility-scale green energy facilities as well.

While proponents of the act tout that it will be beneficial to farmers, enabling them to keep farmland, and that eminent domain will not be used against local land owners, the concerns voiced by opponents must not go unheard. A recent poll by Michigan Townships Association found that 87% of citizens believe that the local level of government should be responsible for permitting utility-scale renewable energy. ( (

For information on this debate and how to get involved, visit

You can also find information on the Muskegon County Citizens for Local Choice Facebook page,

Reach out to your CFLC county captain at

Photos courtesy of, used for illustration, not actual Michigan green energy locations.