Author Archives: editor

FCS – Student Affairs Committee Meeting Minutes – 02/11/20

Student Affairs
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
12:00 p.m. ~ Superintendent’s Office
MEETING MINUTES

Attendance: Dave Hazekamp, Jill Brott, Susan Franklin, Lauren Chesney, Bob Szymoniak

1. The Hall of Fame banquet scheduled to be held in the high school this fall was discussed.

2. Making a change to the closed campus situation at the high school was discussed. No changes are being recommended at the current time.

Meeting adjourned at 12:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Bob Szymoniak

FCS – Personnel Committee Meeting Minutes – 02/10/20

Personnel Committee
Monday, February 10, 2020
5:00 p.m. ~ Superintendent’s Office
MEETING MINUTES

Attendance: Dave Hazekamp, Tim Burgess, Mark Mesbergen, Bob Szymoniak

1. The Hall of Fame banquet scheduled to be held in the high school this fall was discussed.

2. The Early Childhood Director’s salary was discussed.

3. An update was given on personnel matters from around the district.

Meeting adjourned at 5:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Bob Szymoniak

FCS – Business and Finance Committee Meeting Minutes – 02/10/20

Business and Finance Committee
Monday, February 10, 2020
11:30 a.m., Superintendent’s Office
Meeting Minutes

Attendance: Dave Hazekamp, Elroy Buckner, Kris Cole, Bob Szymoniak, and Mark Mesbergen

1. Governor’s Budget
Mark discussed the recently released budget from the Governor. The budget is the first step in the budget process for the State of Michigan. The House and Senate will be releasing their budget shortly and that is when Fruitport will determine the assumptions to use for the 2021 fiscal year.

2. Hall of Fame
Bob talked about the Hall of Fame coming to the Fruitport High School in the fall.

Meeting adjourned at 12:31 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Mark Mesbergen

Muskegon County Calendar of Events 02/17/20 – 02/24/20

Presented by the Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau
www.visitmuskegon.org

Movie Time: The Princess and the Frog
February 17 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Monday, February 17 from 2:00pm – 4:00pm, come to the Holton Library to celebrate the spirit of New Orleans with a showing of The Princess and the Frog during Mid-Winter Break!  After the show, there will be crafts and games exploring the rich New Orleans culture.  Snacks and beverages are provided at this free event!  For more information call (231) 821-0268.

14th Annual Soup for Suits
February 18 @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Tuesday, February 18 from 11:30am – 1:00pm, come to Fricano’s Event Center for the Muskegon Rescue Mission’s fundraiser, the 14th Annual Soup for Suits luncheon!  Come and have a bowl of soup and bread on the Rescue Mission and help them reach the goal of providing 10,000 meals to the community through the proceeds of this event.  Dessert and coffee are available for purchase from Grand Traverse Pie Company and Starbucks.  There is no cost to attend, although a free-will donation will be accepted.  To sponsor a table, contact Melissa Boughner at 231-727-6090 or mboughner@muskegonmission.org.

Teen FabLab
February 18 @ 4:00 pm
Tuesday, February 18 at 4:00pm, children ages 11 – 18 are invited to the Ravenna Library to explore and experiment with some of the amazing technology available through Muskegon Community College’s FabLab!  This fun and educational event is absolutely free.  For more information call (231) 853-6975.

Introduction to Cigars: Ladies Only
February 18 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Tuesday, February 18 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm, The Humidor in downtown Muskegon invites “Ladies Only” for an evening of instruction and fun as you learn the basics of cigars!  You will be introduced to the basics of cigar selection, cutting, lighting, smoking and etiquette.  For only $20 you will be guided by knowledgeable owner, Janelle, and that will also include a cigar and beverage.  They’re looking for a catchy and appropriate name for the group, so please post your ideas in the comments of their Facebook page.  For more information call 231-760-5133.

We Are Stars
Tuesdays & Thursdays @ 7:00 pm
January 14 – February 27, and March 10 – March 26, (no shows on March 3 and 5) come to the Carr-Fles Planetarium at Muskegon Community College for the free show, “We Are Stars!”  What are we made of? Where did it all come from?  Explore the secrets of our cosmic chemistry and our explosive origins.  Connect life on Earth to the evolution of the Universe by following the formation of Hydrogen atoms to the synthesis of Carbon, and the molecules for life.  Narrated by Andy Serkis.  This is a 35-minute presentation.  For more information call 231-777-0289.

Cabaret
February 19 – February 23
Wednesday – Saturday, February 19 – 22 at 7:30pm, and Sunday, February 23 at 3:00pm, come to Overbrook Theatre at Muskegon Community College for the musical, “Cabaret!”  Set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are coming to power, “Cabaret” focuses on the nightlife at the Kit Kat Klub and revolves around a writer and his relationship with a cabaret performer.  A subplot involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fraulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor.  Overseeing the action is the Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub, which serves as a metaphor for political developments in late Weimar Germany.  Tickets are $15 for the public and $10 for MCC students.  For more information call 231-777-0324.

MCC Black History Month Celebration: Film Festival
February 19 & 26 @ 5:00 pm
Muskegon Community College will celebrate Black History Month 2020 with several events during the month of February.  All of the events, with the exception of the Love In Action Awards Dinner, are free and open to the public.  For more information, contact Trynette Lottie-Harps in the MCC Community Outreach Office at (231) 777-0559.

The Black History Month Film Festival happens Wednesdays in February at 5:00pm in the Stevenson Center, Room 1300.  There will be free popcorn and a discussion following each film.  For more information, contact Mary Tyler at (231) 777-0327 or by email at mary.tyler@muskegoncc.edu.

• February 19 – “Fences,” written by August Wilson and directed by Denzel Washington, starring Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen McKinley, Russell Hornsby and Jovan Adepo.

• February 26 – “The Hate U Give,” directed by George Tillman Jr. and starring Amandia Stenberg, Russell Hornsby, Regina Hall, Algee Smith and Anthony Mackie

Ice Breaker Wednesdays
Wednesdays @ 6:00 pm
Every Wednesday, January 8 – February 26 at 6:00pm, enjoy “Ice Breaker Wednesdays” at the Muskegon Luge & Adventure Sports Park! This is your chance to learn how to skate and cross country ski with free skate and ski lessons for beginners.  Whether young or old, all beginners are welcome to participate.  A $5 rink or trail pass is required for each activity.  Rental equipment is also available for $5 inside the lodge.  Lessons begin promptly at 6:00pm.  All participants should arrive early enough to purchase a pass and get equipment on.  For more information, visit www.msports.org.

Skate with the Jacks
February 19 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Wednesday, February 19 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm, skate with the Muskegon Lumberjacks hockey team at the Muskegon Luge & Adventure Sports Park! You can skate and play hockey with the hottest team in the USHL under the lights on 2 acres of outdoor ice rink and 1/4 mile ice skating trail through the woods.  A $5 rink pass is required for admission on to the ice. You can rent ice skates for $5.  Hockey equipment is available for rent for $3 for a stick and $1 for a helmet.  For more information, visit www.msports.org.

Movies + Music @TheBlock
February 19 @ 7:00 pm
Wednesday, February 19 at 7:00pm, it’s “Movies + Music @TheBlock!” This popular series is back, and this time the theme centers on music from around the world integrated masterfully into films that explore the art of animation.

Join The Block for casual evenings as you explore the creative marriage of movies and music through a series of three acclaimed films. A panel discussion will follow.  Doors and bar open at 6:30pm.  General admission is $8.  For more information call 231-726-3231.

Film: Waking Life (Drama/Fantasy)
A lush soundtrack of Nuevo Tango music weaves through this visually stunning animated film. Philosophical and at times pushing into the absurd, a man shuffles through a dream meeting various people and discussing the meanings and purposes of the universe. (Films contain adult themes and are intended for mature audiences.

Panelists:
David Ruck, President/Producer, Great Lakes Outreach Media

Muskegon Civic Theatre Presents: Our Town
February 20 – 23, 27 – 29
Weekends, February 14 – 29, the Muskegon Civic Theatre presents, “Our Town” on the Beardsley Theater stage! Described by Edward Albee as “…the greatest American play ever written,” Our Town tells the universal story of small town America and asks us to consider what is important in life.  This American classic celebrates the beauty of life as it is played out against a simplistic back drop of daily rituals.  The citizens of Grover’s Corners eat breakfast, work in town, do household chores, garden, gossip, got to school, attend choir practice, and admire the moonlight, providing us with a deeply moving glimpse into the concerns of all humankind.  Tickets are $26.50 and available through the Frauenthal Box Office.  For more information call 231-727-8001.

After Hours Tours at Hackley Library
February 20 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Thursday, February 20 from 4:45pm – 6:30pm, dive into history and learn details about Hackley Public Library during an ‘After-Hours’ guided tour!  Visitors are asked to arrive at 4:45 PM to gather in HPL’s lower level meeting rooms.  The tours will begin at 5:00pm.  Please park in the rear parking lot as the front doors will be locked.  Tours will be approximately 1 hour.  Call (231) 722-8000 with any questions about this free event.

Second Annual Anthropology Day at MCC
February 20 @ 5:00 pm
Muskegon Community College will celebrate its Second Annual Anthropology Day on Thursday, February 20, with a talk by MCC Anthropology Instructor Dr. Evin Rodkey on “Cultural Representation in the Media: Do We See What We Think We See?”  The event, which is free and open to the public, takes place at 5:00pm in Stevenson Center Room 1300.

Rodkey will discuss the exciting field of anthropology and the offerings at MCC.  In addition, he will connect this material to a particular issue, focusing on how an anthropological approach can further our understanding.  This year’s Anthropology Day, rooted in the history of how the culture of “other” groups has been represented, will address how various cultural forms are represented in the media today.

Anthropology Day, coordinated by the American Anthropological Association (AAA), brings awareness to the broad study of culture and human history.  For more information, contact the MCC Social Sciences Department at (231) 777-0380.

Swing Dance Lessons at SE4SONS
February 20 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Join Swing Dance Instructor, Becky Biesiada, at SE4SONS for a series of 3 classes in February.  This is a fun opportunity to learn something new!  Don’t forget to check out SE4SONS Gastropub after class for great Happy Hour Deals.  The cost is $85 a couple or $60 for singles.
This is limited to the first 30 participants.  Everyone is welcome and you do not need to be a Muskegon Country Club member to participate.  Call 231-755-3737 for reservations today.

Learn to Luge Weekends
Friday – Sunday
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, December 27 – March 8, enjoy “Learn to Luge Weekends” at the Muskegon Luge & Sports Complex inside Muskegon State Park! They offer one of only four 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 for first timers.  The track was designed by three-time Olympian Frank Masley and consists of six curves and speeds around 30 mph.  For more information call (231) 744-9629 or visit www.msports.org.

Lakeshore Restaurant Week
February 21 – February 29
Lakeshore Restaurant Week is happening in the Muskegon Area February 21 – 29!  Local restaurants will offer discounts and other promotions to entice couples and families to experience eating establishments that they haven’t tried before.

“Our idea is simple,” explained Rich Berry, from the Cumulus – Muskegon Radio Group. “We are promoting that there are a lot of really good area restaurants on the Lakeshore. By offering special deals and discounts between February 21st and February 29th, we want people to do some experimenting and try new places.  It’s amazing how many great places there are to eat in the Muskegon and the Lakeshore area.  We want to promote that while also offering the consumer a great deal.  It is our hope to make the Lakeshore Restaurant Week an annual event that residents and travelers will look forward to each year.”

Restaurants who are members of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce will receive a discount to participate.  The promotion is being organized and promoted by the Muskegon branch of Cumulus Broadcasting, which consists of four radio stations: 98.3 WLCS; V-100 WVIB; Sunny 92.5 WWSN; and 97.5 NASH Icon WLAW.  For more information, call Rich Berry at 231-903-0401.

Participating Restaurants:

• Seasons Gastropub
• IHOP
• Delta Hotels – The Mill
• Russ’
• Teddy Spaghettis
• Olive Garden
• The Coffee Factory
• Tootsies
• Hamburger Mikey
• Buffalo Wild Wings
• Rad Dads’
• Hearthstone
• Smash Wine Bar & Bistro
• Dr. Rolfs BBQ
• Lakes 23
• North Grove Brewers

Trees Are the Kindest Thing I Know
February 21 – April 11 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday, February 21 – Saturday, April 11, from 11:00am – 5:00pm, Art Cats Gallery invites you to the exhibit, “Trees Are the Kindest Thing I Know.”  Everyone loves trees, and there are a plethora of poems written about them.  Art Cats will be pairing poetry and visual art in this show of winters work!  Featured artists include Deborah Hoover, Christie Dreese, Maggie Bandstra, Karen Nichols, John Herron, Julie Pappuleas, Colleen Rockey and Christie Visser with jewelry by Delia Stone and Ceramic work by Louise Hopson and Ruchi Gupta.  For more information call (231) 755-7606.

Muskegon Lumberjacks Home Games
February 21 & 22 @ 7:00 pm
The Muskegon Lumberjacks are proud and dedicated members of the United States Hockey League (USHL), the nation’s only Tier I junior hockey league and leading producer of NCAA players and National Hockey League draft picks in the United States. Catch home games Friday, February 21 and Saturday, February 22 at 7:05pm at the L.C. Walker Arena as they take on the Dubuque Fighting Saints.  Friday, it’s “Dash for Cash Night,” and Saturday is “Police Night” presented by Little River Casino. Tickets range from $10 – $17.  For more information call (231) 724-5225.

Back Alley Comedy Club: Joe DeRosa
February 21 & 22 @ 8:00 pm
Friday and Saturday, February 21 and 22 at 8:00pm, come to the Back Alley Comedy Club for live stand up with Joe DeRosa!  This is a fundraiser for the Muskegon Junior Lumberjacks.  Tickets are $20 and available through Eventbrite.com.  For more information call (616) 570-8765.

Joe DeRosa:  Writer, actor, and standup comedian, Joe has become a favorite on the comedy circuit.  His brand of comedy, which mixes brutal honesty and frustration at the workings of the world, has won over comedy fans, radio listeners, and TV audiences nationwide.

Black History Month: Ebony Road Players – “The Meeting”
February 22 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Saturday, February 22 at 2:00pm, come to Hackley Public Library to enjoy a performance from the renowned theater company, Ebony Road Players, as they present “The Meeting.”  You won’t want to miss this compelling play, depicting the supposed meeting of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Differing in their philosophies, but alike in their mutual respect, the two men debate their varying approaches to the same grave social problems, both prepared to die for their beliefs but neither aware of how soon their assassins’ bullets await them.  All ages are welcome at this free event!  For more information call (231) 722-8000.

Mardis Gras Pub Crawl
February 22 @ 4:00 pm – 12:00 pm
Let’s bring a taste of New Orleans up to Muskegon!  Join Downtown Muskegon Now for their 1st ever Mardis Gras Pub Crawl from 4:00pm – midnight, Saturday, February 22.  There will be give-a-ways and drink specials all night.  More details are forthcoming, so follow the Downtown Muskegon Facebook page for more information.

Participating Locations:

• 18th Amendment Spirits Co.
• 794 Kitchen&Bar
• BoomTown Market
• Burl and Sprig
• Hennessy’s Pub
• Mike’s Inn
• Pigeon Hill Brewing Company
• Racquets Downtown Grill
• Rake Beer Project
• Smash Wine Bar & Bistro
• Top Shelf Pizza & Pub
• Unruly Brewing

“My Heart Beats for You” Valentine’s Dinner Party
February 22 @ 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Saturday, February 22 from 6:00pm – 11:00pm, come to the Event Center at Fricano Place to enjoy a Valentine’s dinner party on Muskegon Lake! There will be delicious cuisine from Harris Catering, raffles and prizes, music, dancing and a cash bar.  The benefits from this event go to the purchase of a new ultrasound machine for Muskegon Pregnancy Services.

Tickets are $45 and available through:

• Muskegon Pregnancy Services, (231)726-2677, 1775 Wells Ave, Muskegon, MI 49442

• Prince of Peace – Parish Office, (231)744-332, 1110 Dykstra Rd., North Muskegon, MI 49445

Polish Falcons Club’s Comedy Night
February 22 @ 8:00 pm
Saturday, February 22 at 8:00pm, come to the Polish Falcons Club’s Comedy Night featuring Michael Blais and special guest Ron Rigby!  This comedy fundraiser is open to the public and tickets are $10.00 at the bar.  For more information call (231) 755-1451.

Downtown Live Concert Series
February 23 @ 3:00 pm
The Downtown Live Concert Series at the Frauenthal Center begins its second season in October 2019 and will feature every Muskegon Community College music ensemble, as well as the West Michigan Concert WINDS which is affiliated with MCC. The 10-concert series continues through April 2020.  Some of the musical selections this season are based upon the 2019 Arts and Humanities Festival (ahFest) theme of “Hope.”  Tickets are $12.00 for adults, $2.00 for students and $10 each for groups of 6 or more.  For more information call 231-727-8001.

• February 23, 2020 – “MCC Music Spectacular” features MCC winds, percussion, vocals and strings – from soloists to large ensembles at 3:00pm in the Frauenthal Theater

• March 21, 2020 – West Michigan Concert WINDS will perform at 7:30pm in the Frauenthal Center

• March 28, 2020 – West Michigan Concert WINDS Salute to Veterans

• April 19, 2020 – MCC Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble will perform at 3:00pm in the Frauenthal Theater

• April 19, 2020 – The MCC College Singers, Collegiates, and MCC Honors Orchestra will perform at 7:30pm in the Frauenthal Theater

Black History Month: “Becoming” by Michelle Obama
February 24 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Monday, February 24 at 6:00pm, come to Hackley Public Library as they discuss the compelling book, “Becoming,” by Michelle Obama.  Copies will be available behind the HPL reference desk one month before the discussion on a first-come, first-served basis.  Please bring copies back to the discussion. Call 231-722-8000 with any questions about this free Black History Month event.

Better Than 30

Benson: Appointments achieve promise but more work to do

LANSING — December 12, 2019 – Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson today announced that by making appointments available statewide she has achieved her promise to get Michiganders in and out of Secretary of State offices in 30 minutes or less, but that her administration must and will do much more work to improve the customer experience overall.

“When I ran for this office, I committed to offering appointments statewide to guarantee we could get anyone in and out of a branch office in less than 30 minutes. I am proud that pledge is now in place and any Michigander who plans ahead can do business at a branch office in under 30 minutes.” Benson said. “That does not mean our job is done. We have a lot more work to do. We have severe structural problems and inefficiencies that were decades in the making, and I am committed to implementing long-term solutions to streamline and modernize our services.”

Customers with appointments do not wait in line at all. They are asked to arrive a few minutes before their appointment time and will be called to complete their transactions. Customers can make an appointment online at Michigan.gov/SOSAppointments or by calling 888-SOS-MICH. Regardless of where customers live, they can schedule an appointment at any office in the state, and it is recommended they look at multiple branches in locations convenient for them, and do so far in advance of when they want to visit.

Fruitport Board of Education Meeting Agenda – 02/17/20

Fruitport Community Schools
BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING
Board Room
Monday, February 17, 2020 – 7:00 p.m.

I. CALL to ORDER

II. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

III. ROLL CALL

IV. APPROVAL OF AGENDA

V. PRESENTATIONS
Zach Zost – Food Service

VI. COMMUNICATIONS

VII. REMARKS FROM THE PUBLIC*

VIII. SUPERINTENDENT/ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS

IX. CONSENT AGENDA
1. Approval of January Organizational Minutes of January 20, 2020 (attachment IX-1)
2. Approval of Regular Meeting Minutes of January 20, 2020 (attachment IX-2)
3. Approval of Bills (attachment IX-3)
• General Fund                                         $281,759.67
• Other Funds:
— Early Childhood Center                              3,693.00
— Food Service                                               59,406.33
— Coop Ed (ISD) Tech Millage                      14,429.02
• Deb Service Fund                                             500.00
• Capital Projects (Bond)                            293,390.53
Total Bill List                                            $653,178.55

4. Acceptance of Monthly Financial Report and ACH Transactions (attachment IX-4)
5. Acceptance of Student Activity Summary Report (attachment IX-5)
6. Acceptance of Credit Card and Utilities Report (attachment IX-6)
7. Approval of Capital Projects Progress Report (attachment IX-7)
8. Approval of Personnel Report (includes confirmation of new hires, resignations, retirees, and transfers) (attachment IX-8)

X. GENERAL BOARD BUSINESS
1. Other

XI. BUSINESS & FINANCE COMMITTEE REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS
Elroy Buckner, Chairperson
1. Report of Committee Meeting held February 10, 2020 (attachment XI-1)

XII. PERSONNEL COMMITTEE REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS
Steve Kelly, Chairperson
1. Report of Committee Meeting held February 10, 2020 (attachment XII-1)
2. Early Childhood Center Director’s Salary (attachment XII-2)

XIII. STUDENT AFFAIRS COMMITTEE REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS
Jill Brott, Chairperson
1. Report of Committee Meeting held February 11, 2020 (attachment XIII-1)
2. Overnight Trip Request (attachment XIII-2)

XIV. BOARD MEMBER REPORTS AND DISCUSSIONS

XV. AGENDA ITEMS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS & SCHEDULING OF SPECIAL MEETINGS
1. Schedule Business & Finance Committee Meeting
2. Schedule Personnel Committee Meeting
3. Schedule Student Affairs Committee Meeting
4. Schedule a Board Workshop

XVI. REMARKS FROM THE PUBLIC*

XVII. ADJOURNMENT

~

*Time is provided for members of the audience to address the Board of Education regarding any topic including items on the agenda. The board is providing two opportunities for the public to comment during the meeting. The first is for people who wish to bring issues to the Board of Education for board consideration. At the end of the meeting the board will provide a brief opportunity for community members to comment on activities and/or discussion that took place during the board meeting. Time limits may be placed if a large number of individuals would like to address the board.

Ask Dr. Universe – When Trees Make Oxygen

Dr. Universe: Do trees still create oxygen and clean the air after their leaves fall off? – Nova, 8, Palouse, Wash.

Dear Nova,

The trees that lose their leaves in fall, such as chestnuts, oaks, aspens, and maples, are called deciduous trees. Once they lose their leaves, most aren’t able to take in carbon dioxide gas from the air or produce any oxygen.

That’s what I found out from my friend Kevin Zobrist, a professor of forestry at Washington State University.

“Don’t fret, though,” Zobrist said. “For they more than make up for it in the summer.”

Leaves play a big part in how trees take in carbon dioxide gas from the air and create the oxygen gas that we all breathe. These gases come in and out of a tree through tiny pores on its leaves called stomata.

These gases are part of a process called photosynthesis. Trees take in carbon dioxide from the air, use sunlight as energy to turn that carbon dioxide into sugars, and then use those sugars as their food. In this process, trees also make oxygen.

Photosynthesis actually occurs in the green parts of the leaf called chloroplasts. These chloroplasts are what give leaves their color.

But as leaves start to lose their green colors in fall and winter, they can no longer do photosynthesis. However, there are some deciduous trees, such as aspens, that have green stems.

Zobrist told me some of these stems can actually do photosynthesis, as well. If the temperatures are warm enough in winter, the stems start to photosynthesize.

But in this case, the tree doesn’t take carbon dioxide from the air. Instead, it uses some carbon dioxide that it makes on its own.

In addition to photosynthesis, trees also go through a process called respiration. The tree will use some of the sugars it makes from photosynthesis to carry out different jobs in their daily lives.

As the sugar molecules break apart, they release energy. This process requires trees to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. If you’re thinking that sounds just like the opposite of photosynthesis, you are right. This process happens in both the leaves and the stems.

Trees with green stems may use some of this tree-made carbon dioxide to do photosynthesis after their leaves fall off. Still, there’s not nearly as much photosynthesis going on in winter as there is in summer.

Trees do most of the work creating oxygen and cleaning the air of gases like carbon dioxide in the spring and summer. For the most part, they take a kind of fall and winter vacation.

Still, at any given moment there is a tree on our planet creating the oxygen that we breathe. After all, even though it might be winter where you live, that means it is summer elsewhere on the planet.

While the branches in your neighborhood might be bare, in other parts of the world people are starting to see trees growing their new leaves.

Sincerely,
Dr. Universe

Fruitport Township Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes – 01/27/20

FRUITPORT CHARTER TOWNSHIP BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING MINUTES OF January 27, 2020

A work session of the Fruitport Charter Township Board began at 6:30pm on Monday, January 27, 2020, in the township board room.

Members Present: Andrea Anderson, Clerk; Rose Dillon, Treasurer; Trustees Greg Hulka, Jeff Jacobs, Terry Knoll, Denise Winebarger
Members Absent: Heidi Tice, excused

At 7:00pm, Rose Dillon opened the regular meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a prayer.

Also Present: 1- residents; 2- employees; 2- guests; Director of Public Utilities, Steve Biesiada; Director of Public Safety, Brian Michelli; Attorney, Ron Bultje.

The motion by Terry Knoll, supported by Greg Hulka, was carried unanimously, to approve the minutes of January 13, 2020 as presented with the following addition:

Item 20-006: Add “This will be a 5 year renewal.”

The motion by Denise Winebarger, supported by Greg Hulka, was carried unanimously, to approve the agenda as presented with the following change:

Item 8-A: The Prosecutor will not be in attendance, Kris Collee from Age Well will take his place.

CORRESPONDENCE / REPORTS
1. Rose Dillon shared a house bill that has been introduced that would eliminate fees associated with FOIA requests.

PUBLIC COMMENTS REGARDING AGENDA ITEMS: none

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: none

NEW BUSINESS:

20-008 Kris Collee presentation regarding senior services
Kris Collee is the Executive Director of Age Well services. She shared a way for Fruitport to partner with Age Well to provide memberships that include social interaction, fitness opportunities, and meals to Fruitport seniors with the funds allocated to Fruitport Township from Muskegon County’s senior millage.

Decisions on how the funds will be used must be made by July 2020 and must be allocated by September 2020.

20-009 Resolution for George Lakatos’ 100 Birthday
George Lakatos, a long-time Fruitport Resident, will be presented a resolution to honor his 100th Birthday.

The motion by Terry Knoll, seconded by Jeff Jacobs, was carried unanimously, to adopt the resolution honoring George Lakatos on this 100th birthday.

20-010 Library Board Appointment
The Library Board recommends that Angela Johnson be appointed to replace Marjorie Stonecypher who has resigned due to residential relocation. Angela would complete Marjorie’s term that will expire January 2021.

The motion by Denise Winebarger, seconded by Terry Knoll, was carried unanimously, to appoint Angela Johnson to the FDL Board to complete the term ending January 1, 2021.

20-011 Resolution for West Michigan Regional Water Authority
Bonds financed with Muskegon County are set to be repaid-in-full as of May 1, 2020. The City of Norton Shores, the Township of Fruitport, and the County of Muskegon have agreed to transfer all of their rights and responsibilities related to the water supply infrastructure and certain lease agreements to the West Michigan Regional Water Authority.

Terry Knoll moved, Greg Hulka seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to adopt the resolution transferring rights and responsibilities to the WMRWA.

Ayes: Knoll, Jacobs, Anderson, Dillon, Winebarger, Hulka
Nays: none

20-012 Local Road Project Contract with MCRC
The motion by Andrea Anderson, seconded by Terry Knoll, was carried unanimously, to TABLE this agreement tentatively until the budget is adopted with the funds allocated for such.

20-013 AT&T Local Franchise Renewal
AT&T has requested a local franchise renewal. The agreement is for 10 years with the franchise fee and PEG fee remaining the same.

Denise Winebarger moved, supported by Greg Hulka, MOTION CARRIED, to approve the AT&T Local Franchise Renewal as presented.

Ayes: Hulka, Winebarger, Dillon, Anderson, Jacobs, Knoll
Nays: none

20-014 Resolution for Board of Review dates
The March Board of Review dates conflict with the March 10th Presidential Primary. All available public meeting spaces will be needed for the election. MCL 211.30 affords the governing body the opportunity to set alternate start dates be it the Tuesday or Wednesday following the second Monday in March.

Denise Winebarger moved, supported by Rose Dillon, MOTION CARRIED, to adopt the resolution to move the start date of the March 2020 Board of Review to Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

Ayes: Hulka, Winebarger, Dillon, Anderson, Jacobs, Knoll
Nays: none

20-015 Payment of bills
Terry Knoll moved, Andrea Anderson seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve bills as presented for payment in the following amounts:
General Fund          $26,091.82;
Public Safety           $27,678.56;
Water                         $9,737.59;
Sewer                       $19,932.93;
Street Lights                 $319.43;
Revolving Road            $405.26;
T&A                             $2,359.00
Totaling:                   $86,524.59

Ayes: Knoll, Jacobs, Anderson, Dillon, Winebarger, Hulka
Nays: none

ADDITIONAL REPORTS: none

PUBLIC COMMENTS PART II: none

The motion by Terry Knoll, supported by Greg Hulka, was carried unanimously, to adjourn the meeting at 7:43pm.

ANDREA ANDERSON, CLERK
HEIDI TICE, SUPERVISOR

Proactive Strategies Index Tackles Ottawa County’s Groundwater Crisis

WEST OLIVE — It started with phone calls. It was the mid-2000s, and something was amiss with the water wells in Allendale Township’s Highland Trails subdivision. Homeowners were complaining of low water pressure or even dry faucets. Then, area farmers chimed in – soybean leaves had been ‘burned’ because their irrigation water was salty. These reports were concerning, especially since Ottawa County is the fastest growing county in the state and one of the most agriculturally diverse. As groundwater complaints mounted, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners requested a water study be conducted to understand the long-term sustainability of the County’s aquifer system.

The County hired Michigan State University in 2012 to conduct a two-part groundwater study. Phase I, completed in 2013, validated the anecdotal reports: water levels in the deep bedrock aquifer system have been declining for 20 years, and in certain areas, sodium chloride (salt) levels are rising above recommended standards. The Phase II study, which assessed how the groundwater supply could be impacted in the future, was completed in March 2018. Phase II demonstrated parts of the aquifer will continue to decline, and sodium chloride levels will continue to increase if proactive steps are not deployed to manage withdrawal rates.

“Groundwater issues aren’t just an ‘out-west’ problem anymore” said Paul Sachs, Planning and Performance Improvement Department Director. “Based on seven years of scientific study, we’ve learned that drinking water in the deep bedrock aquifer below Ottawa County isn’t being replenished as quickly as it’s being removed.”  The geologic findings contained in the study are also an indication that drinking water from groundwater sources in Michigan as a whole may not be as abundant as previously thought.

Armed with the data, the Department has spearheaded a partnership with local scientists, policymakers and stakeholders to develop a plan for practical solutions to protect this vital resource. The County is pleased to announce the release of the Proactive Strategies Index, a guidebook highlighting steps oriented toward alleviating the water crisis.

“With a dedicated group of partners working in conjunction with our department’s land planners, we’ve created an Index that outlines the many ways we can tackle this groundwater issue,” added Sachs. “This guidebook goes a long way to not only address the crisis with mitigation strategies, but also to offer common-sense solutions residents and businesses can implement.”  One of the solutions identified in the Index that offers significant opportunity to improve the use of water resources is the conversion of turf-grass to more sustainable, native landscaping strategies.

Some of the other Index highlights include:

• Outreach campaign: In collaboration with the Department of Public Health and partners, educational materials and messaging are being developed for distribution across the County to the public and select stakeholder groups.
• Online resources: In 2018, the Ottawa County Groundwater website was launched as a place for visitors to access detailed information and data related to the County’s challenges.
• Youth education partnerships: Officials will work with local educators to introduce groundwater education into existing science classrooms, as well as other hands-on learning exercises with community partners.
• Stakeholder integration: Partnerships with homeowners, landscapers, realtors, developers, farmers and more will allow for conservation and awareness measures to be implemented.
• Model Zoning Guidelines and a Coordinated Future Land Use Plan: Thoughtful zoning practices will be developed with local units of government to reduce strain on our groundwater supply without stifling development.
• Groundwater Monitoring Network: The County is working to identify the best groundwater solutions by establishing a network of sensors to analyze long-term trends in the bedrock aquifer.

Index in hand, it is the County’s hope stakeholders, experts and the community can make water conservation a priority in West Michigan. For more information on Ottawa County’s groundwater issues, visit miottawa.org/groundwater.

Muskegon County Calendar of Events February 10-17, 2020

Presented by the Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau
www.visitmuskegon.org

Monday February 10:

Hackley Crafts: Black History Bracelet
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Come to Hackley Public Library located at 316 W. Webster Ave. to create your own bracelet in celebration of Black History Month!  To register for this free craft event, call HPL at 231-722-8011 or visit HPL’s online events calendar.  Registration opens 1 month before the class date.

Team Trivia Game Show
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Check out Trivia night at Racquet’s Downtown Grill located at 446 W Western Ave. for the Team Trivia Game Show!  Groups of any size are invited to play for free with prizes for the top three teams!  Categories range from pop culture and entertainment, to sports, history, science, culture and general knowledge.  Your live host will also offer many genres of music throughout the game, plus, you’ll enjoy food and drink specials each week.  call (231) 726-4007.

Tuesday February 11:

Trivia Night
6:00 pm
The North Muskegon Library located at 1522 Ruddiman Dr. invites you to Trivia Night!  Are you a wise guy?  A smarty pants?  Go head to head against others and prove it. Refreshments will be served and prizes will be awarded.  Test your knowledge and exercise your mind.  This event is open to anyone 16 and older.  Call 231-744-6080 to register.

Open Mic Night
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Open Mic Night Read a poem, story, sing or play a song at The Book Nook & Java Shop located at 8744 Ferry St., Montague. www.thebooknookjavashop.com

Cheese + Beer Tasting Class
6:30 pm
Come to Pigeon Hill Brewing Company located at 500 Western Ave. for a Cheese + Beer Tasting Class.  Get ready for some handcrafted and hand selected beer and cheese pairings as Pigeon Hill welcomes the Cheese Lady to their taproom. Seats are $25 and include 5 beer pairings with a variety of cheeses.  The Cheese Lady will educate you on the craft of cheese making and how easy (and delicious) it is to pair cheese and beer!  Call the taproom at (231) 375-5184 to reserve your seat today.  Do it soon, this class is limited to 25 people

We Are Stars: FREE Show
7:00 pm
An event every week that begins at 7:00 pm on Tuesday and Thursday, repeating until March 26, 2020 January 14 – February 27, and March 10 – March 26, (no shows on March 3 and 5) come to the Carr-Fles Planetarium at Muskegon Community College located at 221 Quarterline Rd. for the free show, “We Are Stars!”  What are we made of? Where did it all come from?  Explore the secrets of our cosmic chemistry and our explosive origins.  Connect life on Earth to the evolution of the Universe by following the formation of Hydrogen atoms to the synthesis of Carbon, and the molecules for life.  Narrated by Andy Serkis.  This is a 35-minute presentation.  For more information call 231-777-0289.

Wednesday February 12:

MCC Black History Month Celebration Film Festival: BlacKkKlansman
5:00 pm
Muskegon Community College located at 221 Quarterline Rd. will celebrate Black History Month 2020 with several events during the month of February.  All of the events, with the exception of the Love In Action Awards Dinner, are free and open to the public.  For more information, contact Trynette Lottie-Harps in the MCC Community Outreach Office at (231) 777-0559. The Black History Month Film Festival happens Wednesdays in February at 5:00pm in the Stevenson Center, Room 1300.  There will be free popcorn and a discussion following each film.  For more information, contact Mary Tyler at (231) 777-0327 or by email at mary.tyler@muskegoncc.edu. Tonight “BlacKkKlansman,” directed by Spike Lee and starring John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace, Corey Hawkins, Harry Belefonte and Laura Harrier.

Ice Breaker Wednesdays: Weather Permitting
6:00 pm
Enjoy “Ice Breaker Wednesdays” at the Muskegon Luge & Adventure Sports Park located at 462 Scenic Dr. This is your chance to learn how to skate and cross country ski with free skate and ski lessons for beginners.  Whether young or old, all beginners are welcome to participate.  A $5 rink or trail pass is required for each activity.  Rental equipment is also available for $5 inside the lodge.  Lessons begin promptly at 6:00pm.  All participants should arrive early enough to purchase a pass and get equipment on.  For more information, visit www.msports.org.

Thursday February 13:

Jazz Night Aedan McCauley
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Jazz Night with  Aedan McCauley at the Book Nook and Java Shop located at 8744 Ferry St., Montgue www.booknookjavashop.com

Brown Bag Film – Craft in America: Service
12:00 pm
Join the Muskegon Museum of Art located at 296 W. Webster Ave. for the Brown Bag Film, “Craft in America:  Service!”  “Service” documents the power of the handmade to inspire, motivate and heal. Featured artists include Ehren Tool, Peter Voulkos, Judas Recendez, women veterans working at Shotwell Paper Mill, and Caisson Platoon leather artists working at Arlington National Cemetery. (60 mins.) Auditorium doors open at noon.  Free coffee and cookies will be offered.  Brown Bag Film admission is free, but paid admission is required to enter the galleries.  For more information call 231-720-2570.

Date Night: Pizza & Puzzles
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Celebrate your Valentine and friendship with a date night at the Muskegon Museum of Art! Bring your sweetheart or a friend for a relaxed night of pizza and puzzles in the galleries.  Tickets include a table for puzzle building with your partner, pizza, and 1 free drink ticket for the cash bar.  Puzzles are provided.  The cost is $20 per person or $15 for MMA members.  Call 231-720-2580 to purchase tickets from the Museum Store.

Swing Dance Lessons at SE4SONS
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Join Swing Dance Instructor, Becky Biesiada, at SE4SONS located at 2801 Lakeshore Dr. for a series of 3 classes in February.  This is a fun opportunity to learn something new!  Don’t forget to check out SE4SONS Gastropub after class for great Happy Hour Deals. Variety of Swing Class Dates: February 6,13, 20 Class Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm Cost: $85 per couple/ $60 per single This is limited to the first 30 participants.  Everyone is welcome, you do not need to be a Muskegon Country Club member to participate.  Call 231-755-3737 for reservations today.

We Are Stars: FREE Show
7:00 pm
An event every week that begins at 7:00 pm on Tuesday and Thursday, repeating until March 26, 2020 January 14 – February 27, and March 10 – March 26, (no shows on March 3 and 5) come to the Carr-Fles Planetarium at Muskegon Community College located at 221 Quarterline Rd. for the free show, “We Are Stars!”  What are we made of? Where did it all come from?  Explore the secrets of our cosmic chemistry and our explosive origins.  Connect life on Earth to the evolution of the Universe by following the formation of Hydrogen atoms to the synthesis of Carbon, and the molecules for life.  Narrated by Andy Serkis.  This is a 35-minute presentation.  For more information call 231-777-0289.

Friday February 14:

FREE Midwinter Break Movie: The Addams Family
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
The North Muskegon Library located at 1522 Ruddiman Dr. will show a screening of the 2019 animated release of The Addams Family on their 100-inch screen!  This event is free and so are the snacks!  For more information call (231) 744-6080.

Valentine’s Day Beer Dinner at Pigeon Hill
6:30 pm
Enjoy a Valentine’s Day Beer Dinner at Pigeon Hill Brewers Lounge at 495 Fourth St.!  This is a fantastic 6 course meal crafted by Harris Catering, plus 6 paired beers and a tour of the new production facility.Menu: Signature Slab Bacon paired w/ Smore Beast In my Cup Stout, Charred Octopus paired w/ No Diggnity Hazy IPA, Irish Cheddar & Ale Soup paired w/ Walter Blondale, Harvest Salad paired w/ Walter Gets Buzzed, SCP Braised Beef paired w/ Salted Caramel Porter, Mexican Dark Chocolate Cake paired w/ Cinnagram on French Toast. Tickets are $50 per person and are limited to 30 people.  Tickets must be purchased in advanced to reserve a seat, so stop by the taproom or call (231) 375-5184.  If you have food allergies, please notify them when placing reservation.

Comedian Michael Palascak
8:00 pm
Come to the Back Alley Comedy Club located at 1531 W. Sherman Blvd. for Comedian Michael Palascak! Most recently, Michael was named the 2018 Stand-Up of the Year by the Late Nite Last Week podcast for his performance on The Late Late Show with James Corden.  A guy that’s just as funny offstage as on, which is like magic.”  Michael’s short film “You’re Alive” was accepted into numerous festivals including the Hollywood Comedy Shorts Festival and was the winner of the Audience Award at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival.  Tickets are $25 and available at Eventbrite.com.  For more information call the club at (616) 570-8765.

FREE Movie Time: The Princess and the Frog
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Come to the Montague Library located at 8778 Ferry St. to celebrate the spirit of New Orleans with a showing of The Princess and the Frog during Mid-Winter Break!  After the show, there will be crafts and games exploring the rich New Orleans culture.  Snacks and beverages are provided at this free event!  For more information call 231-893-2675.

Valentines Wine/Chocolates Tasting / Truck Driver Bingo
7:00 pm –  9:00 pm
Enjoy 5 premium wines and delicious chocolates from our kitchen with Truck Driver Bingo on the Ballard Stage at the Book Nook and Java Shop located at 8744 Ferry St., Montague. With your favorite love(s). Truck Driver Bingo is a guitar/bass/ drums power trio that plays raw blues and out jazz. While our primary motivation for making this music is to get people to listen, it’s not unusual for them to get up and dance as well. The band consists of Jim Nichols on bass; Hank Cupp on drums; and Frank Galante on vocals and guitar. All three band members are seasoned musicians and are committed to musical excellence and a polished performance. We like making people happy! Reservations (231) 894-5333. $15/person www.booknookjavashop.com

Friday Family Fun Night: Valentine’s Day
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Come to the Lakeshore Museum Center located at 430 W. Clay for a Valentine’s Day Friday Family Fun Night! Enjoy collecting Valentine’s from various museum creatures, create your own Valentine’s Day craft, and learn some love science.  You’ll also get a Valentine’s Day treat to take home!  The cost is $5 or free for Muskegon County residents.  No RSVP is required.  For more information call 231-722-0278.

Valentine’s Day with Nathan Dill
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Bring your sweetheart to the Lake House Waterfront Grille located at 730 Terrace Point Dr. for Valentine’s Day with Nathan Dill!  Treat your special someone to a very special evening. Call and reserve your spot in the ballroom today at (231) 722-4461.

The Alley Door Club Westside Soul Surfers (R & B, Funk, Soul)
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Celebrating its’ 15th season, The Alley Door Club at the Frauenthal Center has live performances from an array of local bands!  The Alley Door Club features live music from popular West Michigan bands in a fun environment which includes a cash bar and dancing in the Ballroom located on the 3rd Floor of the Hilt Building in the Frauenthal Center located at 425 W. Western Ave.  The doors open at 6:00pm for Happy Hour ($1 off all drinks), with live music from 7:00pm – 10:00pm.

Muskegon Civic Theatre Presents: Our Town
7:30pm
The Muskegon Civic Theatre located at 425 W. Western Ave. presents, “Our Town” on the Beardsley Theater stage! Described by Edward Albee as “…the greatest American play ever written,” Our Town tells the universal story of small town America and asks us to consider what is important in life.  This American classic celebrates the beauty of life as it is played out against a simplistic back drop of daily rituals.  The citizens of Grover’s Corners eat breakfast, work in town, do household chores, garden, gossip, got to school, attend choir practice, and admire the moonlight, providing us with a deeply moving glimpse into the concerns of all humankind.  Tickets are $26.50 and available through the Frauenthal Box Office.  For more information call 231-727-8001.

Learn to Luge Weekends: Weather Permitting
February 7
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, December 27 – March 8, enjoy “Learn to Luge Weekends” at the Muskegon Luge & Sports Complex inside Muskegon State Park! They offer one of only four 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 for first timers.  The track was designed by three-time Olympian Frank Masley and consists of six curves and speeds around 30 mph. THEY WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO LUGE Their coaching staff enjoys sharing their knowledge of the sport with others and teaching new sliders steering and form techniques. While luge is referred to as the fastest sport on ice, their track is designed for the first time slider at slower speeds than an Olympic track where sliders can reach speeds of 90+ mph.  The top speed on this track from the public start is approximately 30 mph on a “good ice” day, although to most new sliders this still feels like 90 mph!  Each “Learn to Luge” sliding session is 2.5 hours and is limited to a maximum of 30 participants which allows 3-5 runs depending on efficiency of group.  Since 1984 our program has provided a “Olympic” type luge experience to tens of thousands of sliders visiting from across the globe. EQUIPMENT Participants are outfitted with elbow pads and a helmet. Participants will share an authentic luge training sled, handcrafted by the Gasser family, 3rd generation luge sled builders in Austria. PARTICIPANT AGE All participants must be at least 8 years old at the time of their session. An instructor will explain the components of the sled and teach how to control the sled. GET SOME PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN THE WINTER The most strenuous part of the luge experience is carrying your sled to the top of the luge track. 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 thrill sports, this activity may not be recommended. OTHER THINGS TO EXPECT All participants must complete a waiver and provide proof of health insurance at check in for the luge session. Participants under the age of 18 must have a waiver signed by a legal guardian.  After purchasing your tickets you will receive a downloaded waiver that can be filled out in advance of your visit. For more information call (231) 744-9629.

Saturday February 15:

2020 Free Fishing Weekends
February 15 – February 16
Two days, twice a year, families and friends can enjoy one of Michigan’s premiere outdoor activities, Michigan Fishing, for free! The 2020 Free Fishing Weekends are schedule for winter: All fishing license fees will be waived for two days. A Recreation Passport will not be required for entry into state parks and recreation areas during Free Fishing Weekend. Residents and out-of-state visitors may enjoy fishing on both inland and Great Lakes’ waters for all species of fish.  All fishing regulations will still apply.

Comedian Michael Palascak
8:00 pm
Come to the Back Alley Comedy Club located at 1531 W. Sherman Blvd. for Comedian Michael Palascak! Most recently, Michael was named the 2018 Stand-Up of the Year by the Late Nite Last Week podcast for his performance on The Late Late Show with James Corden.  A guy that’s just as funny offstage as on, which is like magic.”  Michael’s short film “You’re Alive” was accepted into numerous festivals including the Hollywood Comedy Shorts Festival and was the winner of the Audience Award at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival.  Tickets are $25 and available at Eventbrite.com.  For more information call the club at (616) 570-8765.

Art at the Redi 3
5:00-8:00pm
Fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club located at 2233 Temple (behind Redi Rental’s office on Glade St.) $10 donation for this one night only art space for Art, cash bar and great eats from the Righteous Cuisine food truck. All art sold will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Muskegon Lakeshore.

Muskegon Civic Theatre Presents: Our Town
7:30pm
The Muskegon Civic Theatre located at 425 W. Western Ave. presents, “Our Town” on the Beardsley Theater stage! Described by Edward Albee as “…the greatest American play ever written,” Our Town tells the universal story of small town America and asks us to consider what is important in life.  This American classic celebrates the beauty of life as it is played out against a simplistic back drop of daily rituals.  The citizens of Grover’s Corners eat breakfast, work in town, do household chores, garden, gossip, got to school, attend choir practice, and admire the moonlight, providing us with a deeply moving glimpse into the concerns of all humankind.  Tickets are $26.50 and available through the Frauenthal Box Office.  For more information call 231-727-8001.

College Night presented by Muskegon Community College
7:00 pm
7:15pm – 9:15pm, come to the Mercy Health Arena located at 470 W. Western Ave. for College Night presented by Muskegon Community College! This will be the first women’s arena soccer game as the Muskegon Risers host Muskegon Community College Women’s Soccer!  They’ll take on Oakland County FC!  Season and single game tickets are available at www.muskegonrisers.com/mens-arena-tickets.

Troy Bowditch
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Troy Bowditch acoustic banjoist and songster at Book Nook and Java Shop located at 8744 Ferry St., Montague www.booknookjavashop.com

Sweetwater Local Foods Market
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Sweetwater Local Foods Market located at 6401 Harvey St. offers local food you can trust! They are open year-round, Saturdays from 9:00am – 12:00pm.  Summer markets are held in the parking lot; winter markets are inside the lobby.  For more information visit the website below.

Winter Farmers Market
9:00 am – 2:00 pm
The Muskegon Farmers Market located at 242 W. Western Ave. invites you to their Winter Farmers Market!  Vendors will be there offering produce and other hand made goods. Come visit on Saturdays from 9:00am – 2:00pm.  For more information visit the website below.

Parkas & Plates
February 15
The Muskegon Luge & Adventure Sports Park located at 462 Scenic Dr. will have a five course dinner set up at the intersections of the lighted ski and snowshoe trails. Never cross country skied or snowshoed before?  That’s okay! The dinner course is set up on a beginner ski route with small hills and only about 2 km in distance. Along the trails you will receive each course of your meal and some craft beverages. Folks who wish to ski other parts of the trails may do so at their leisure throughout the evening.  Participants will take off in flights beginning at 6:00pm with a new flight taking off about every 10 to 15 minutes.  You can select your flight time when you purchase your ticket.  All participants should plan on arriving up to a half hour before their flight takes off to ensure enough time to get equipment on and get ready. Not interested in skiing, snowshoeing or food?  Stop by and just enjoy the music and some beverages.  Anyone can come out and enjoy their outdoor music venue.  They will have a $5 donation cover charge and you must be 21 years or older to enter. They will have a limited number of tickets, and based on last year they will sell out quickly. www.msports.org for ticket sales and the 2020 menu!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favorites
11:00am and 2:00pm
Come to the Frauenthal Center located at 425 W. Western Ave. for The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favorites! Enter a magical world of enchantment as three beloved stories by award-winning children’s book author, Eric Carle, come to life right before your very eyes!  This world-class touring show by the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia has been seen by millions in over 13 countries across the globe and is coming to Muskegon for 2 shows only! Tickets are $20.00 for adults (18+) or $10 for children (under 18).  All ages must have a ticket.  For more information, call the box office at 231-727-8001.

Learn to Luge Weekends: Weather Permitting
February 8
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, December 27 – March 8, enjoy “Learn to Luge Weekends” at the Muskegon Luge & Sports Complex inside Muskegon State Park! They offer one of only four 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 for first timers.  The track was designed by three-time Olympian Frank Masley and consists of six curves and speeds around 30 mph. THEY WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO LUGE Their coaching staff enjoys sharing their knowledge of the sport with others and teaching new sliders steering and form techniques. While luge is referred to as the fastest sport on ice, their track is designed for the first time slider at slower speeds than an Olympic track where sliders can reach speeds of 90+ mph.  The top speed on this track from the public start is approximately 30 mph on a “good ice” day, although to most new sliders this still feels like 90 mph!  Each “Learn to Luge” sliding session is 2.5 hours and is limited to a maximum of 30 participants which allows 3-5 runs depending on efficiency of group.  Since 1984 our program has provided a “Olympic” type luge experience to tens of thousands of sliders visiting from across the globe. EQUIPMENT Participants are outfitted with elbow pads and a helmet. Participants will share an authentic luge training sled, handcrafted by the Gasser family, 3rd generation luge sled builders in Austria. PARTICIPANT AGE All participants must be at least 8 years old at the time of their session. An instructor will explain the components of the sled and teach how to control the sled. GET SOME PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN THE WINTER The most strenuous part of the luge experience is carrying your sled to the top of the luge track. 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 thrill sports, this activity may not be recommended. OTHER THINGS TO EXPECT All participants must complete a waiver and provide proof of health insurance at check in for the luge session. Participants under the age of 18 must have a waiver signed by a legal guardian.  After purchasing your tickets you will receive a downloaded waiver that can be filled out in advance of your visit. For more information call (231) 744-9629.

Sunday February 16:

FREE Family Movie: “Toy Story 4”
3:00 pm
The Frauenthal Center located at 425 Western Ave.  presents a “Free Family Movie Series” for 2020!  This new family-friendly entertainment series features 11 free family movies beginning in February and running through December of 2020!  Showcasing modern box office hits, the series aims to encourage families in the community to experience the Frauenthal Center. No tickets are required.  All movies will begin at 3:00pm with the doors opening at 2:15pm. Concessions to purchase will be available.  For more information call 231-727-8001.

Muskegon Civic Theatre Presents: Our Town
3:00pm
The Muskegon Civic Theatre located at 425 W. Western Ave. presents, “Our Town” on the Beardsley Theater stage! Described by Edward Albee as “…the greatest American play ever written,” Our Town tells the universal story of small town America and asks us to consider what is important in life.  This American classic celebrates the beauty of life as it is played out against a simplistic back drop of daily rituals.  The citizens of Grover’s Corners eat breakfast, work in town, do household chores, garden, gossip, got to school, attend choir practice, and admire the moonlight, providing us with a deeply moving glimpse into the concerns of all humankind.  Tickets are $26.50 and available through the Frauenthal Box Office.  For more information call 231-727-8001.

Learn to Luge Weekends: Weather Permitting
February 9
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, December 27 – March 8, enjoy “Learn to Luge Weekends” at the Muskegon Luge & Sports Complex inside Muskegon State Park! They offer one of only four 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 for first timers.  The track was designed by three-time Olympian Frank Masley and consists of six curves and speeds around 30 mph. THEY WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO LUGE Their coaching staff enjoys sharing their knowledge of the sport with others and teaching new sliders steering and form techniques. While luge is referred to as the fastest sport on ice, their track is designed for the first time slider at slower speeds than an Olympic track where sliders can reach speeds of 90+ mph.  The top speed on this track from the public start is approximately 30 mph on a “good ice” day, although to most new sliders this still feels like 90 mph!  Each “Learn to Luge” sliding session is 2.5 hours and is limited to a maximum of 30 participants which allows 3-5 runs depending on efficiency of group.  Since 1984 our program has provided a “Olympic” type luge experience to tens of thousands of sliders visiting from across the globe. EQUIPMENT Participants are outfitted with elbow pads and a helmet. Participants will share an authentic luge training sled, handcrafted by the Gasser family, 3rd generation luge sled builders in Austria. PARTICIPANT AGE All participants must be at least 8 years old at the time of their session. An instructor will explain the components of the sled and teach how to control the sled. GET SOME PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN THE WINTER The most strenuous part of the luge experience is carrying your sled to the top of the luge track. 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 thrill sports, this activity may not be recommended. OTHER THINGS TO EXPECT All participants must complete a waiver and provide proof of health insurance at check in for the luge session. Participants under the age of 18 must have a waiver signed by a legal guardian.  After purchasing your tickets you will receive a downloaded waiver that can be filled out in advance of your visit. For more information call (231) 744-9629.

Monday February 17:

FREE Movie Time: The Princess and the Frog
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Come to the Holton Library located at 8776 Holton-Duck Lake Rd. to celebrate the spirit of New Orleans with a showing of The Princess and the Frog during Mid-Winter Break!  After the show, there will be crafts and games exploring the rich New Orleans culture.  Snacks and beverages are provided at this free event!  For more information call (231) 821-0268.

Team Trivia Game Show
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Check out Racquet’s Downtown Grill located at 446 W. Western Ave. for the Team Trivia Game Show!  Groups of any size are invited to play for free with prizes for the top three teams!  Categories range from pop culture and entertainment, to sports, history, science, culture and general knowledge.  Your live host will also offer many genres of music throughout the game, plus, you’ll enjoy food and drink specials each week.  For more info., call (231) 726-4007.

Please visit our website www.visitmuskegon.org for a complete listing of events in Muskegon County!

Small Businesses and Social Security

by Vonda Van Til, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

socialsecurity1According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the 28.8 million small businesses in the United States represent 99.7% of all U.S. businesses, and employ 56.8 million people.

Running a small business can be a 24-7 endeavor. Managing employees, inventory, scheduling, services, and marketing can be challenging. If you are a small business owner or you work for one, we can help make your life easier with our suite of services. Our services allow you to file W-2/W-2Cs online and verify your employees’ names and Social Security numbers against our records.

If you run a business, make us your first stop at www.socialsecurity.gov/employer. It will save you valuable time when you need information on W-2s, electronic filing, and verifying Social Security numbers. Small business owners can also take advantage of our Business Services Online at www.socialsecurity.gov/bso/bsowelcome.htm. You must register to use this free service, which also offers fast, free, and secure online W-2 filing options to CPAs, enrolled agents, and individuals who process W-2s and W-2Cs.

This publication provides more information about electronic wage reporting www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10034.pdf.

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We also offer many other online resources at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices. Let friends and family know they can access them from the comfort of their home or office and on the go from their mobile phone.

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Vonda Van Til is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.

Ask Dr. Universe – Baby Communication

Dr. Universe: Do babies have ways of communicating? –Jalen, 12, North Carolina

Dear Jalen,

Babies can communicate in a few different ways. For the most part, they use their emotions.

Humans come into the world crying, but that’s actually a good thing. In a way, babies start communicating from the moment they are born. Of course, it can be hard for their caregivers to know exactly what they mean with all those cries.

It takes some time, but caregivers can learn to pick up on what different cries are signaling. For example, a baby might be hungry, need a diaper change, or just be uncomfortable.

After babies are born, many will be given a test to see how they react to things in their environment. A baby might even get a gentle pinch or have some boogers softly sucked out their nose to see how they respond.

The person giving the test, usually a doctor, will look to see if the baby pulls away, sneezes, coughs, or twists their face into an expression we call a grimace.

Still, a cry or grimace doesn’t always mean there is a problem. Sometimes babies will cry because they are having a hard time settling down, but if left alone, will figure out how to soothe themselves, which is a good skill. They might suck on their thumbs or distract themselves.

I learned a lot about how babies use emotion to communicate from my friend Masha Gartstein, a professor of psychology at Washington State University.

She told me that crying is just one way babies communicate. After two or three months, babies will usually start to smile with a purpose.

“It’s an amazing thing,” Gartstein said. “That becomes another way of communicating.”

It’s also a nice relief for caregivers, or a baby’s brothers and sisters, especially after hearing lots of crying for a few months. Babies and caregivers can now both communicate joy or happiness.

At about six months old, babies can usually respond to their own names. But they still can’t talk like kids and grown-ups.

Instead, they might use gestures or point at things to communicate ideas to others. They might use their hands, fingers, or bodies to send out a message like, “I want that toy!” or “Look what I did!”

When a baby is about twelve months old, they will start to put together sounds that make up words like “mama” or “dada.” All the while, the baby’s personality is developing, too.

Gartstein also told me about something she studies called temperament. It’s a combination of the emotions and behaviors we each display that are reactions to our experiences or attempts to regulate these reactions.

Perhaps, you are a very calm person or maybe you get easily stressed and angry. These kinds of temperaments often begin when we are babies.

In Gartstein’s lab, she sees lots of different expressions and emotions on the faces of babies who come to visit with their families. The babies even wear little swim cap-like hats with little electrodes that help the researchers learn about their brain activity.

Babies don’t just have the ability to communicate, but sometimes they can help us do science and learn about human nature.

Sincerely,
Dr. Universe

Fruitport Township Board of Trustees Meeting Agenda – 02/10/20

AGENDA
FRUITPORT CHARTER TOWNSHIP BOARD OF TRUSTEES
FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP HALL
5865 AIRLINE ROAD, FRUITPORT, MI 49415

FEBRUARY 10, 2020

6:30 P.M. WORK SESSION
7:00 P.M. BOARD MEETING

01. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States
02. Roll call
03. Approval of board minutes: 1/27/20
04. Approve / amend agenda
05. Correspondence / reports
06. Public comments regarding agenda items

07. Unfinished Business
A. Street light at Park ‘n Ride

08. New Business
A. Steve Biesiada annual review and contract renewal
B. Brian Michelli annual review and contract renewal
C. Water service tap fee increase
D. Water Interconnection Contract
E. Budget discussion

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

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

Ottawa County Adds Vaping to Smoking Regulations

On Tuesday, January 14, 2020, at the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners regular session, officials approved the Ottawa County Health and Human Services Committee’s proposed revisions to the County Operations Ordinances (Article 4, Section 400.1.1 Smoking Regulations) to include vaping regulations on or within county property AND proposed revisions to the Ottawa County Regulation Eliminating Smoking in Public and Private Worksites and Public Places to also regulate vaping. Any individuals found in violation of the ordinance shall be guilty of an infraction, leading to a warning and fines.

“Numerous studies have found that tobacco and marijuana smoke are major contributors to indoor air pollution, and that breathing secondhand smoke is a cause of disease in healthy nonsmokers,” said Health Officer Lisa Stefanovsky, Ottawa County Department of Public Health. “Secondhand smoke is a toxic air contaminant and exposure to secondhand smoke has serious health effects. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”

Vaping is the act of using electronic smoking devices to deliver an inhaled dose of nicotine or other substances. Existing studies on electronic smoking device aerosol emissions and cartridge contents have found a number of substances known to cause cancer in humans, including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, lead, nickel and chromium. Inconsistent labeling of specific components and nicotine levels in electronic smoking device products exacerbates this issue. Multiple studies have concluded that exposure after exhalation of aerosol from electronic smoking devices likely results in passive or secondhand and thirdhand exposure to product components.

Senior Students Attend Muskegon Rotary Club Meeting

Calvary Christian Schools seniors Ben Zelenka, Marcie Schreur, and Alex Assaad were chaperoned by administrator Tom Kapanka to the Muskegon Rotary Club meeting on January 9th, 2019, where they were introduced and spoke about their career plans after graduation.  They were the guests of Marty Sytsema, owner of IMove Physical Therapy, and heard guest speaker Jim Rudicil speak about the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex history and future goals.

rotaryclubmeeting

Left to Right: Seniors Alex Assaad, Marcie Shreur, Ben Zelenka, Rotarian and Calvary friend Pam Babbitt, administrator Tom Kapanka.
photo by Brad Richards

Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance, Ottawa County Partner on First-ever Nonprofit Community Assessment

submitted by Shannon Virtue

With hundreds of nonprofits operating in the Ottawa County area, there’s no shortage of organizations seeking to give back. To help these organizations fulfill their mission, a group of local executive directors founded the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance (LNA) in 2006. Since then, LNA has strived to provide area nonprofits with the tools and knowledge needed to make an impact in the communities they serve.

To gain better insight into the needs of local nonprofits, LNA decided to conduct a first-ever Nonprofit Community Assessment. “We weren’t necessarily looking to measure the direct impact that nonprofits were having in the community, but rather how well the nonprofits themselves were functioning,” LNA Executive Director Patrick Cisler said. This in-depth survey measuring the health of area nonprofits would be unprecedented for the region. “We knew immediately that if we wanted the assessment to be conducted well and with integrity, we needed to partner with a third party,” Cisler said.

LNA turned to the Ottawa County Planning & Performance Improvement Department for assistance. Having worked with the Department’s experienced analysts on the Community Health Improvement Plan and Ottawa Food-related projects, LNA knew they would be up to the task. “This survey was a major undertaking,” said Ottawa County Planning & Performance Improvement Department Assistant Director Shannon Virtue. “We worked closely with LNA staff every step of the way.” County analysts reviewed the organization’s draft questions and provided feedback, ensuring the survey was well-written and easy to understand. Once the questionnaires were completed, the Department collected responses and carefully analyzed the data. Department staff then crafted three highly visual reports — a Summary Report, a Main Report, and a Supplemental Report. “The PPID kept the data collected private, analyzed the results for us, and ultimately produced a beautiful report,” Cisler said. LNA presented the Nonprofit Community Assessment results at Nonprofit Next 2019, the LNA’s annual meeting.

LNA is now employing the survey results as part of their strategic planning. “We have been able to share (the reports) widely in our community,” Cisler said. Individual nonprofits can utilize the results as a way to compare themselves to peer organizations and set benchmarks. The work is ongoing — with plans to conduct the survey every three years.

The County’s experienced analysts are ready to assist local government units, nonprofit agencies and other County departments with their data and presentation needs. “We bring information to life,” said the Department’s Shannon Virtue.

The LNA Nonprofit Community Assessment Summary Report can be viewed HERE. If you’re interested in learning more about the County’s services, please contact the Ottawa County Planning and Performance Improvement Department at (616) 738-4852, plan@miottawa.org, or visit miOttawa.org/Planning. To learn more about LNA’s services, please contact LNA at (616) 594-7133 or visit lakeshorenonprofits.org.

Muskegon County Calendar of Events February 3-10, 2020

Presented by the Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau
www.visitmuskegon.org

Monday February 3:

Poetry Open Mic Night & Black History Month Calendar Awards
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Enjoy an evening of poetry at Hackley Public Library located at 316 W. Webster Ave. Read your own poetry, or read works from your favorite Black History/Black Experience/African American poet.  If you wish to share a poem/piece, please register by calling 231-722-8011, or by visiting HPL’s online events calendar. Walk-ins are also welcome!  Additionally, from 6:00pm – 6:30pm, those who have been selected for the annual Black History Month Calendar will be honored and the calendar will be distributed.  All ages welcome! This free event is brought to you through a generous bequest from Bess Commodore and our supporters.

Team Trivia Game Show
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Check out Trivia night at Racquet’s Downtown Grill located at 446 W Western Ave. for the Team Trivia Game Show!  Groups of any size are invited to play for free with prizes for the top three teams!  Categories range from pop culture and entertainment, to sports, history, science, culture and general knowledge.  Your live host will also offer many genres of music throughout the game, plus, you’ll enjoy food and drink specials each week.  call (231) 726-4007.

Tuesday February 4:

Live at the Library FREE: Don Hoogenstyn
6:30 pm
Cme to the North Muskegon Library located at 1522 Ruddiman for live music from Don Hoogenstyn!  Don is a teacher, lecturer, author, and composer and will present “Abe’s Faves,” celebrating the musical life of our 16th president.  Admission is free and light refreshments will be provided.  For more information call (231) 744-6080.

We Are Stars: FREE Show
7:00 pm
An event every week that begins at 7:00 pm on Tuesday and Thursday, repeating until March 26, 2020 January 14 – February 27, and March 10 – March 26, (no shows on March 3 and 5) come to the Carr-Fles Planetarium at Muskegon Community College located at 221 Quarterline Rd. for the free show, “We Are Stars!”  What are we made of? Where did it all come from?  Explore the secrets of our cosmic chemistry and our explosive origins.  Connect life on Earth to the evolution of the Universe by following the formation of Hydrogen atoms to the synthesis of Carbon, and the molecules for life.  Narrated by Andy Serkis.  This is a 35-minute presentation.  For more information call 231-777-0289.

Classical Night: Uecker Thielman Duo
7:00 pm
Visit Book Nook & Java Shop located at 8744 Ferry St.for Classical Night featuring the Uecker Thielman Duo playing 4-Hand Piano!  Enjoy the music of Debussy, Barber, Dvorak, and Rubinstein.  The cover is $5. Come at 6:15pm to enjoy a dinner of roast pork loin with Carolina Gold Sauce, souffléd grits, greens, a glass of house wine and blueberry cobbler for only $17.  Be sure to RSVP to by calling (231) 894-5333.

Wednesday February 5:

Aromatherapy Meditation for Seniors
2:00 pm
Ravenna Public Library located at 12278 Stafford St. invites you to join them as you learn how to use both aromatherapy and meditation for inner peace. For more info. call 231-853-6975.

MCC Black History Month Celebration Film Festival: Imitation of Life
5:00 pm
Muskegon Community College located at 221 Quarterline Rd. will celebrate Black History Month 2020 with several events during the month of February.  All of the events, with the exception of the Love In Action Awards Dinner, are free and open to the public.  For more information, contact Trynette Lottie-Harps in the MCC Community Outreach Office at (231) 777-0559. The Black History Month Film Festival happens Wednesdays in February at 5:00pm in the Stevenson Center, Room 1300.  There will be free popcorn and a discussion following each film.  For more information, contact Mary Tyler at (231) 777-0327 or by email at mary.tyler@muskegoncc.edu. Tonight “Imitation of Life”, directed by Douglas Sirk and starring Lana Turner, Juanita Moore, Sandra Dee, John Gavin and Mahalia Jackson.

Ice Breaker Wednesdays: Weather Permitting
6:00 pm
Enjoy “Ice Breaker Wednesdays” at the Muskegon Luge & Adventure Sports Park located at 462 Scenic Dr. This is your chance to learn how to skate and cross country ski with free skate and ski lessons for beginners.  Whether young or old, all beginners are welcome to participate.  A $5 rink or trail pass is required for each activity.  Rental equipment is also available for $5 inside the lodge.  Lessons begin promptly at 6:00pm.  All participants should arrive early enough to purchase a pass and get equipment on.  For more information, visit www.msports.org.

Skate with the Jacks: Weather Permitting
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Skate with the Muskegon Lumberjacks hockey team at the Muskegon Luge & Adventure Sports Park located at 462 Scenic Dr. You can skate and play hockey with the hottest team in the USHL under the lights on 2 acres of outdoor ice rink and 1/4 mile ice skating trail through the woods.  A $5 rink pass is required for admission on to the ice. You can rent ice skates for $5.  Hockey equipment is available for rent for $3 for a stick and $1 for a helmet.  For more information, visit www.msports.org.

Thursday February 6:

Author Happy Hour with Laura Holmes
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Come to the Book Nook & Java Shop located at 8744 Ferry St. for an Author Happy Hour with Laura Holmes and learn how to travel your way to happy!  There’ll be a Q & A, photos and book signings. Laura’s new memoir explores the lighter side of travel with doses of humor, adventure, and personal transformation.  Vacations need not be exclusive to the wealthy; regular people go on adventures, too!  ‘Travel Light’ proves that travel and new experiences will make you laugh and provide increased levels of happiness.  For overworked people around the world, tag along on this quest to achieve balance in life, work, and play.  Destination stories include Italy, Ireland, Spain, France, Alaska, Arizona and of course the author’s home state of Michigan.  Learn about Laura’s charitable partner, Planeterra Foundation. For more information, call the Book Nook & Java Shop at 231-894-5333.

Swing Dance Lessons at SE4SONS
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Join Swing Dance Instructor, Becky Biesiada, at SE4SONS located at 2801 Lakeshore Dr. for a series of 3 classes in February.  This is a fun opportunity to learn something new!  Don’t forget to check out SE4SONS Gastropub after class for great Happy Hour Deals. Variety of Swing Class Dates: February 6 ,13, 20 Class Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm Cost: $85 per couple/ $60 per single This is limited to the first 30 participants.  Everyone is welcome, you do not need to be a Muskegon Country Club member to participate.  Call 231-755-3737 for reservations today.

We Are Stars: FREE Show
7:00 pm
An event every week that begins at 7:00 pm on Tuesday and Thursday, repeating until March 26, 2020 January 14 – February 27, and March 10 – March 26, (no shows on March 3 and 5) come to the Carr-Fles Planetarium at Muskegon Community College located at 221 Quarterline Rd. for the free show, “We Are Stars!”  What are we made of? Where did it all come from?  Explore the secrets of our cosmic chemistry and our explosive origins.  Connect life on Earth to the evolution of the Universe by following the formation of Hydrogen atoms to the synthesis of Carbon, and the molecules for life.  Narrated by Andy Serkis.  This is a 35-minute presentation.  For more information call 231-777-0289.

Scarf Tying Master Class
6:00 pm
Join the Montague Library located at 8778 Ferry St. for a Scarf Tying Master Class!  This is a fun session that teaches you multiple ways to tie and wear scarves so you can take your outfit from plain to fabulous. Owner of Posh by Pitkin, Amy Nordlund West, will provide tutorials on how to tie various styles of scarves including simple rectangles, oversize blanket scarves, square silks, and more.  Scarves to practice with will be provided, but be sure to bring your own.  For more information call (231) 893-2675.

Panelists & Films to Focus on Syrian Refugee Tragedy
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
“Syria: The Never Ending Refugee Tragedy,” a panel discussion and film presentation, will take place at Muskegon Community College’s Sturrus Technology Center.  The event, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by Holocaust and Genocide Studies – Muskegon and the MCC Center for Experiential Learning. For more information on the event, contact the MCC Social Sciences Department at (231) 777-0380.

Friday February 7:

Bubbles & Bold Reds Wine Tasting
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Enjoy the newest addition to SE4SONS located at 2801 Lakeshore Dr. wine tastings at their “Bubbles & Bold Reds Wine Tasting!”  This could be a great Valentine’s date or just a fun Friday.  Sample wines from Alliance Beverage, Imperial Beverage, Republic National Dist., Henry Fox, Great Lakes Wine & Spirits, I-Lixir and A.H.D. Vinters.  The cost is $30 per person and includes tasting and light appetizers.  Call your friends and bring a group!  Stop in and purchase your tickets at the SE4SONS Bar any time during restaurant hours.  Tickets must be purchased in advance.  For more information call 231-759-3405.

Bling Thing Fundraiser
February 7 – February 8
From 5:00pm – 8:00pm early sale with donation of minimum $10.00. Also enjoy wine and chocolate during the early sales. Join the Friends of Hackley Public Library at the Century Club Ballroom located at 356 W. Western Ave. for their annual “Bling Thing” fundraiser!  This is a sale of costume, vintage and fine jewelry as well as purses, scarves, jackets and other things with “bling!”  For more information call ​(231) 722-8002.

Muskegon Lumberjacks Hockey  -VS- Madison Capitols
Puck Drop 7:05 pm
The Muskegon Lumberjacks are members of the United States Hockey League (USHL), the nation’s only Tier I junior hockey league and leading producer of NCAA players and National Hockey League draft picks in the United States. Catch a home at the Mercy Health Arena located at 470 W. Western Ave. as they take on the Madison Capitols.  It’s “Muskegon’s Got Talent Night!” Tickets range from $10 – $17.  For more information call (231) 724-5225.

White Lake Wanderland Winterfest
February 7 – February 9
White Lake Area invites you to join the festivities of their White Lake Wanderland Winterfest!  Winter Wanderland focuses on food and sports, encouraging people to wander Whitehall and Montague for the weekend.  For more information, visit www.whitelakewanderland.com.

Learn to Luge Weekends: Weather Permitting
February 7
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, December 27 – March 8, enjoy “Learn to Luge Weekends” at the Muskegon Luge & Sports Complex inside Muskegon State Park! They offer one of only four 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 for first timers.  The track was designed by three-time Olympian Frank Masley and consists of six curves and speeds around 30 mph. THEY WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO LUGE Their coaching staff enjoys sharing their knowledge of the sport with others and teaching new sliders steering and form techniques. While luge is referred to as the fastest sport on ice, their track is designed for the first time slider at slower speeds than an Olympic track where sliders can reach speeds of 90+ mph.  The top speed on this track from the public start is approximately 30 mph on a “good ice” day, although to most new sliders this still feels like 90 mph!  Each “Learn to Luge” sliding session is 2.5 hours and is limited to a maximum of 30 participants which allows 3-5 runs depending on efficiency of group.  Since 1984 our program has provided a “Olympic” type luge experience to tens of thousands of sliders visiting from across the globe. EQUIPMENT Participants are outfitted with elbow pads and a helmet. Participants will share an authentic luge training sled, handcrafted by the Gasser family, 3rd generation luge sled builders in Austria. PARTICIPANT AGE All participants must be at least 8 years old at the time of their session. An instructor will explain the components of the sled and teach how to control the sled. GET SOME PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN THE WINTER The most strenuous part of the luge experience is carrying your sled to the top of the luge track. 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 thrill sports, this activity may not be recommended. OTHER THINGS TO EXPECT All participants must complete a waiver and provide proof of health insurance at check in for the luge session. Participants under the age of 18 must have a waiver signed by a legal guardian.  After purchasing your tickets you will receive a downloaded waiver that can be filled out in advance of your visit. For more information call (231) 744-9629.

Saturday February 8:

Bling Thing Fundraiser
February 8
10:00am – 2:30pm, join the Friends of Hackley Public Library at the Century Club Ballroom located at 356 W. Western Ave. for their annual “Bling Thing” fundraiser!  This is a sale of costume, vintage and fine jewelry as well as purses, scarves, jackets and other things with “bling!”  For more information call ​(231) 722-8002.

White Lake Wanderland Winterfest
February 7 – February 9
White Lake Area invites you to join the festivities of their White Lake Wanderland Winterfest!  Winter Wanderland focuses on food and sports, encouraging people to wander Whitehall and Montague for the weekend.  For more information, visit www.whitelakewanderland.com.

Sweetwater Local Foods Market
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Sweetwater Local Foods Market located at 6401 Harvey St. offers local food you can trust! They are open year-round, Saturdays from 9:00am – 12:00pm.  Summer markets are held in the parking lot; winter markets are inside the lobby.  For more information visit the website below.

Winter Farmers Market
9:00 am – 2:00 pm
The Muskegon Farmers Market located at 242 W. Western Ave. invites you to their Winter Farmers Market!  Vendors will be there offering produce and other hand made goods. Come visit on Saturdays from 9:00am – 2:00pm.  For more information visit the website below.

Sculptit Super Saturday
10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Visit the Muskegon Museum of Art located at 296 W. Webster for the free family fun day, “Sculptit Super Saturday!” Imagine it, plan it, sculpt it!  Explore the art of making this Super Saturday as you create your own sculpture in the classroom.  For more information call 231-720-2570. Schedule: 10:00am & 1:00pm – Family Film 11:00am – 1:00pm – Tour “The Art of Making” with an MMA docent 11:00am – 2:00pm – Create your own sculpture in the classroom

Moonlit Trails & Winter Ales
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
The Gillette Nature Association at Hoffmaster State Park located at 6585 Lake Harbor Rd. invite you to join them for “Moonlit Trails & Winter Ales!”  This will be a nearly full moon snow shoe hike, followed by drinks, dinner and a bonfire at Hoffmaster State Park.  If you don’t want to hike but would like to just hang out, that’s no problem!  Earth’s Edge will be on hand to talk about adventure gear, park staff will tell you about some exciting programs they have, and there’ll also be raffles.  Included in the $30 ticket price is a State Park Centennial Pint Glass, (1) drink ticket, guided hike, dinner and dessert.  Only 75 spots are available, so get your ticket today through Eventbrite.com.  For more information call (231) 798-3573.

Valentine’s Love A-Fair 2020
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
The West Michigan Business and Craft Fair presents the “Valentine’s Love A-Fair 2020” at the Lakes Mall located at 5600 Harvey St. This craft show features over 50 booths of local handmade items.  Local small businesses will also be on hand with the perfect gifts.  For more information, e-mail commfair@gmail.com.

Sweet Soul Food Contest
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Create something sweet for Hackley Library’s Sweet Soul Food Contest located at 316 W. Webster Ave. Get your recipes out and find your best soul food dessert to compete for the best in the city.  Be sure to bring enough for attendees, plus the judge, to taste.  Register your dish by calling 231-722-8011, or at the HPL online events calendar.  Prizes will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place contestants in the adult category, as well as to the 1st place winner in the children’s category.  All ages are welcome to participate in this free event! Brought to the community through a generous bequest from Bess Commodore and library supporters.

John Proulx Trio, vocal jazz @TheBlock
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Come to The Block located at 360 W. Western Ave. for “John Proulx Trio, vocal jazz!” His piano playing is hot and swinging, and his voice recalls the smooth, mellow sounds of a young Chet Baker.  Grand Rapids native John Proulx has performed with Natalie Cole, Melissa Manchester, and Marian McPartland, and won a Grammy for his song “These Golden Years,” sung by the legendary Nancy Wilson.  Tickets are $25 – $35.  Students are $10.  For more information call (231) 726-3231.

Learn to Luge Weekends: Weather Permitting
February 8
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, December 27 – March 8, enjoy “Learn to Luge Weekends” at the Muskegon Luge & Sports Complex inside Muskegon State Park! They offer one of only four 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 for first timers.  The track was designed by three-time Olympian Frank Masley and consists of six curves and speeds around 30 mph. THEY WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO LUGE Their coaching staff enjoys sharing their knowledge of the sport with others and teaching new sliders steering and form techniques. While luge is referred to as the fastest sport on ice, their track is designed for the first time slider at slower speeds than an Olympic track where sliders can reach speeds of 90+ mph.  The top speed on this track from the public start is approximately 30 mph on a “good ice” day, although to most new sliders this still feels like 90 mph!  Each “Learn to Luge” sliding session is 2.5 hours and is limited to a maximum of 30 participants which allows 3-5 runs depending on efficiency of group.  Since 1984 our program has provided a “Olympic” type luge experience to tens of thousands of sliders visiting from across the globe. EQUIPMENT Participants are outfitted with elbow pads and a helmet. Participants will share an authentic luge training sled, handcrafted by the Gasser family, 3rd generation luge sled builders in Austria. PARTICIPANT AGE All participants must be at least 8 years old at the time of their session. An instructor will explain the components of the sled and teach how to control the sled. GET SOME PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN THE WINTER The most strenuous part of the luge experience is carrying your sled to the top of the luge track. 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 thrill sports, this activity may not be recommended. OTHER THINGS TO EXPECT All participants must complete a waiver and provide proof of health insurance at check in for the luge session. Participants under the age of 18 must have a waiver signed by a legal guardian.  After purchasing your tickets you will receive a downloaded waiver that can be filled out in advance of your visit. For more information call (231) 744-9629.

Black Tie for the Y Fundraiser
7:00 pm
You are invited to Harris Catering and Event Center (formerly the Verdoni’s building) located at 211 W. Seaway Dr. for the annual gala and auction, “Black Tie for the Y” to benefit LIVESTRONG with the Muskegon YMCA!  Get dressed up (black tie optional) and enjoy an elegant evening celebrating those touched by cancer in Muskegon, as well as your generosity to the work of the Muskegon YMCA!  Money raised for the YMCA will go directly toward LIVESTRONG with the Muskegon YMCA for cancer survivors. The evening includes a silent auction, live auction, raffles, hearty appetizers, hosted bar and dessert.  Reserve your spot by visiting the website below.  The cost is $100 per person. The night of the event, please check in upon arrival. Actual tickets will not be dispersed.  For more information call (231) 722-9622.

A King’s First Queen: Mother & Son Valentine’s Day Dance
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
AudioLife, LLC invites you to Bed Buggs Child Development located at 2244 Peck St. for “A King’s First Queen Mother & Son Valentine’s Day Dance!” This mother/son dance is for moms and sons of all ages, as well as grandmas, aunties, etc.  The V-Day Dance will be catered by Kuntry Cooking .  There will also be a live DJ, party games and a photo booth.  Tickets are available through Eventbrite.com and are $20 (for 2) and an extra $5 for each additional child.

Miss Shoreline Scholarship Competition
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm
The Miss Shoreline Scholarship Competition takes place Saturday, February 8 at 7:00pm at the Delta Marriott located at 939 Third St. in Downtown Muskegon!  M.S.S.C. is proud to welcome back Emily Krejci, the current Miss Shoreline, and current Outstanding Teen, Elly LeCursi.  This scholarship program is proud to be a local affiliate of the Miss Michigan and Miss America organizations.  For more information please email Maria Secord at secretary@misshoreline.org. The Shoreline’s scholarship program kicks off the year announcing an increase in scholarship funds from 2018 made in part by the generosity of sponsors such as Newkirk Electric, Subaru of Muskegon and The Mart Dock. Other sponsors include Thread West Michigan, GGTM Law, Figg’s Boutique, Gemworks and Sanborns Jewelry.

Sunday February 9:

White Lake Wanderland Winterfest
February 7 – February 9
White Lake Area invites you to join the festivities of their White Lake Wanderland Winterfest!  Winter Wanderland focuses on food and sports, encouraging people to wander Whitehall and Montague for the weekend.  For more information, visit www.whitelakewanderland.com.

The Swan Series: Beethoven the Revolutionary –
Marking 250 Years of Great Music
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
The White Lake Music Society is pleased to offer a lecture featuring retired Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s violist, Robert Swan. This lecture will take place at the United Methodist Church located at 117 S. Division St. in Whitehall.  Admission is $7 at the door.  For more information, please contact Director Sondra Cross at 231-329-3056 or visit www.whitelakemusic.org.

Learn to Luge Weekends: Weather Permitting
February 9
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, December 27 – March 8, enjoy “Learn to Luge Weekends” at the Muskegon Luge & Sports Complex inside Muskegon State Park! They offer one of only four 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 for first timers.  The track was designed by three-time Olympian Frank Masley and consists of six curves and speeds around 30 mph. THEY WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO LUGE Their coaching staff enjoys sharing their knowledge of the sport with others and teaching new sliders steering and form techniques. While luge is referred to as the fastest sport on ice, their track is designed for the first time slider at slower speeds than an Olympic track where sliders can reach speeds of 90+ mph.  The top speed on this track from the public start is approximately 30 mph on a “good ice” day, although to most new sliders this still feels like 90 mph!  Each “Learn to Luge” sliding session is 2.5 hours and is limited to a maximum of 30 participants which allows 3-5 runs depending on efficiency of group.  Since 1984 our program has provided a “Olympic” type luge experience to tens of thousands of sliders visiting from across the globe. EQUIPMENT Participants are outfitted with elbow pads and a helmet. Participants will share an authentic luge training sled, handcrafted by the Gasser family, 3rd generation luge sled builders in Austria. PARTICIPANT AGE All participants must be at least 8 years old at the time of their session. An instructor will explain the components of the sled and teach how to control the sled. GET SOME PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN THE WINTER The most strenuous part of the luge experience is carrying your sled to the top of the luge track. 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 thrill sports, this activity may not be recommended. OTHER THINGS TO EXPECT All participants must complete a waiver and provide proof of health insurance at check in for the luge session. Participants under the age of 18 must have a waiver signed by a legal guardian.  After purchasing your tickets you will receive a downloaded waiver that can be filled out in advance of your visit. For more information call (231) 744-9629.

Monday February 10:

Hackley Crafts: Black History Bracelet
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Come to Hackley Public Library located at 316 W. Webster Ave. to create your own bracelet in celebration of Black History Month!  To register for this free craft event, call HPL at 231-722-8011 or visit HPL’s online events calendar.  Registration opens 1 month before the class date.

Team Trivia Game Show
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Check out Racquet’s Downtown Grill located at 446 W. Western Ave. for the Team Trivia Game Show!  Groups of any size are invited to play for free with prizes for the top three teams!  Categories range from pop culture and entertainment, to sports, history, science, culture and general knowledge.  Your live host will also offer many genres of music throughout the game, plus, you’ll enjoy food and drink specials each week.  For more info., call (231) 726-4007.

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Please visit our website www.visitmuskegon.org for a complete listing of events in Muskegon County!

CDC 2016 Abortion Report Shows Lives Saved

The Centers for Disease Control has released their latest report on abortion data, covering the year 2016.

States are not required to report abortion data to the CDC, so abortion numbers for some states—including California—are not included in their report. However, with 48 consistent reporting areas, the CDC report is a good indicator of long-term trends of abortion. Importantly, the trends show lives saved!

The overall number of abortions has been steadily declining since the 1980s. The total number reported in 2016 was 623,471 induced abortions in the United States, which was a 2% decrease from the previous year. Abortions have decreased a total of 24% since 2007.

The abortion rate also decreased 2%, to 11.6 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44. The teen abortion rate has decreased a total of 56% since 2007, down to 6.2 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-19.

While more lives being saved and more women choosing life is good news, many abortions continue to occur. Abortion was the second highest cause of death in the United States in 2016 according to CDC statistics. When you add in the states that didn’t report like California, abortion remains the leading cause of death in America.

Most abortions are done in the very early weeks of pregnancy. 65.5% of abortions were performed at or before 8 weeks gestation. 1.2% of abortions were performed during or after 21 weeks. While that seems like a small percentage, 1.2% of 623,471 is more than 7,400, which is a large number of abortions on children who can survive outside the womb or who are close to that point.

Many abortions were also repeat abortions: the 2016 report showed 43.1% of abortions were performed on women who had already had at least one previous abortion.

The trends apparent in the CDC report help us to understand where our efforts to decrease abortion are succeeding the most and where more work is needed. Abortion is trending older as young women have fewer abortions. The abortion industry works to make abortions as easy as possible to retain their declining “customer” base, and many women remain trapped in a cycle of multiple abortions.

The prolife movement has come a long way in shifting the popularity of abortion since the 1980s. There is still much work to be done in creating a culture where unborn children are protected in law and abortion is unthinkable.

Vaping is a Serious Health Threat

Health Advisory

Severe Lung Injury Associated with Electronic Cigarette Product Use or Vaping

lunginjuryThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a national outbreak of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI). As of January 7, 2020, a total of 2,602 hospitalized EVALI cases or deaths have been reported to CDC from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands). Fifty-seven deaths have been confirmed in 27 states and the District of Columbia (as of January 7, 2020).

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recommend the following for the public:

People should not use THC-containing e-cigarette or vaping products, particularly from informal sources like friends, family or in-person or online sellers.
E-cigarette or vaping products should never be used by youths, young adults or women who are pregnant.
Individuals who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette or vaping products.
Vitamin E acetate should not be added to e-cigarette or vaping products.
Additionally, people should not add any other substances not intended by the manufacturer to products, including products purchased through retail establishments.
While it appears that vitamin E acetate is associated with EVALI, there are many different substances and product sources that are being investigated, and there may be more than one cause. Therefore, the best way for people to ensure that they are not at risk while the investigation continues is to consider refraining from the use of all e-cigarette or vaping products. Most EVALI cases in Michigan and nationwide reported vaping THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) alone or in combination with nicotine.
Adults who continue to use an e-cigarette or vaping products should carefully monitor themselves for symptoms, such as such as shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, fever and/or nausea and vomiting, and see a healthcare provider immediately if they develop symptoms like those reported in this outbreak.
Adults using e-cigarettes or vaping products as an alternative to cigarettes should not go back to smoking. They should weigh all available information and consider using FDA-approved cessation medications. They should contact their healthcare provider if they need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are not FDA approved as a smoking cessation device.

Free help is available for individuals who are interested in quitting tobacco:

Michigan Quitline 1-800-QuitNow for adults
MyLifeMyQuit for youth 18 years and younger.

Fruitport Lions’ Old Fashioned Christmas Event

The Fruitport Lions Club held their 15th Annual Fruitport Old Fashioned Christmas event at Pomona Park in Fruitport on Friday & Saturday, December 13th & 14th. The event included showing the Fruitport area elementary & middle school children’s artwork in the park pavilion and in a large circus-type tent. Entertainment was provided by the school choirs and Jazz bands. There were a number of lighted Christmas trees and several lighted blow-up seasonal figures in the park which provided a festive atmosphere. Hayrides around the park were provided and bonfires to keep the visitors warm each night. Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus were there each night in their special house for the children to visit. A cardboard sled contest was held on Saturday with prizes for the top three winners. Hot dogs, chips, cookies, hot chocolate and coffee were served. The event was free of charge to the public.

Ask Dr. Universe – Axolotls

Dr. Universe: What do Axolotl eat? What species are they? Do you think they are cute? – Erin, 10, Florida

Dear Erin,

An axolotl (ax-a-lot-l) is a creature with big frilly gills like a lion’s mane, tiny eyes with no eyelids, and a mouth in the shape of a smile. They come in lots of colors: pink, black, golden, or grey.

These animals have been nicknamed “the walking fish,” but they are not really fish. An axolotl is a type of salamander.

That’s what I found out from my friend Ed Zalisko. Zalisko earned his Ph.D. at Washington State University and is now a biology professor at Blackburn College in Illinois.

A salamander is a type of amphibian, a cold-blooded animal that has gills, can breathe air, and lives under water. We find axolotls mainly in Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco in Mexico. The species name is Ambystoma mexicanum.

Because humans need water to survive, that means there is less water left for some of the amphibians. Axolotls are actually a critically endangered species, Zalisko said.

There are many species of salamander that are part of the group Ambystoma. About a decade ago, Zalisko discovered a new kind of axolotl. These particular axolotls can hold their breath for a whole year!

Axolotls breathe through their gills and lungs and sort of inflate like a balloon. The kind that Zalisko discovered don’t let the air out.

“No one knows why they hold their breath so long,” he said about the BC Axolotl, named after Blackburn College.

When they puff up, they flip over on their bellies. That means when they eat, they eat upside down.

Upside down or right side up, axolotls actually eat all kinds of different things, Zalisko said. They are carnivorous which means they eat meat. Some axolotls like to snack on snails, worms, insects, fish, and sometimes even other kinds of salamanders.

Finally, we explored your third question about axolotl cuteness.

“I think they are spectacularly cute,” Zalisko said. “And you can quote me on that. They just sit around most the time and look as cute as can be.”

In the lab, researchers can watch these amphibians develop in real-time because the axolotl eggs are see-through. It’s kind of like looking through a window.

In addition to being cute, axolotls may be able to teach us a thing or two about how to re-grow limbs, like arms and legs. If an axolotl loses a leg, it can regenerate it. Who knows, maybe one day you can help us learn more about these creatures.

Sincerely,
Dr. Universe

Zalisko gives a special thanks to his teachers John H. Larsen Junior at Washington State University and Ron Brandon at Southern Illinois University who studied salamanders for many years.

Right to Life of Michigan Files Brief Asking for Reversal of Roe v. Wade

Lansing, MI — Right to Life of Michigan filed an amicus curiae brief on January 2 asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the June Medical Services LLC v. Gee case on March 4.

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “Michigan voters overwhelmingly chose to keep our state’s abortion ban in November 1972. Just weeks later, the U.S. Supreme Court blatantly overstepped its bounds by inventing a right to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.”

June Medical Services LLC v. Gee involves a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals.

Abortionists often have no relationship with local hospitals and women experiencing life-threatening complications from botched abortions have been dumped at emergency rooms or forced to seek care themselves because of a lack of follow-up care. Risks to the woman’s life and health are increased if the medical staff caring for a woman after a botched abortion cannot obtain even basic details from the abortionist.

The brief argues that the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision went beyond the scope of their power, violated the process for amending the U.S. Constitution, and has undermined the legitimacy of our nation’s judicial system. The Supreme Court has recognized that the government has an interest in protecting the life of unborn children, and the brief asks the Supreme Court to live up to their own standards.

If the Supreme Court is unwilling to revisit Roe v. Wade yet, the brief argues that Louisiana’s law should be allowed to stand. Louisiana’s law is constitutional even under the faulty standards of Roe v. Wade and the 2016 case involving a similar Texas law, Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

Listing said, “Since Roe v. Wade was decided, an estimated 60 million unborn children have had their lives unjustly taken from them. No voter or elected official consented to strip away their right to life. It’s time for this stain on democracy to be overturned to allow the people to once again have a voice about our most fundamental human right.”

The brief was prepared by lead counsel Professor William Wagner and the Great Lakes Justice Center.

Fruitport Charter Township Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes of January 13, 2020

A work session of the Fruitport Charter Township Board began at 6:30pm on Monday, January 13, 2020, in the township board room.

Members Present: Heidi Tice, Supervisor; Andrea Anderson, Clerk; Rose Dillon, Treasurer; Trustees Greg Hulka, Terry Knoll, Denise Winebarger
Members Absent: Jeff Jacobs, excused

At 7:00pm, Heidi Tice opened the regular meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a prayer.

Also Present: 1- residents; 2- employees; 1- guests; Director of Public Utilities, Steve Biesiada.

The motion by Terry Knoll, supported by Greg Hulka, was carried unanimously, to approve the minutes of December 23, 2019 as presented.

The motion by Andrea Anderson, supported by Rose Dillon, was carried unanimously, to approve the agenda as presented.

CORRESPONDENCE / REPORTS
1. Steve Biesiada shared that congratulations are in order for two employees who have obtained higher level water licenses, Saxon Smith obtained an S1 and John Hulka obtained an S2.
2. Heidi Tice reported that the Police Department has seen an increased number of break-ins to commercial buildings and that the Township is checking on the cost to activate the security system at town hall.
3. Rose Dillon reported that the land contract for the property on Porter Road, between Daniel Farhat (purchaser) and Fruitport Township (seller) has been paid-in-full ahead of the extended schedule.

PUBLIC COMMENTS REGARDING AGENDA ITEMS: none

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

20-001 Public Hearing: Roll and Confirmation of Mt. Garfield Road Improvement Special Assessment District No. 2019-1
(a.) Andrea Anderson moved, seconded by Terry Knoll MOTION CARRIED, to open the Public Hearing at 7:08pm.
Ayes: Hulka, Winebarger, Dillon, Tice, Anderson, Knoll
Nays: none
Absent: Jacobs

(b.) Public Hearing: The Supervisor announced that this hearing is to hear objections to the assessments to be levied and to correct any errors on the roll of the Mt. Garfield Road Improvement Special Assessment District No. 2019-1. The assessment amount will be divided equally and assessed per parcel per the request of the residents, totaling $2.637 per parcel. The residents would have the option of paying up front or having the amount added in equal installments to their tax bill at 6% interest for 10 years.
Comments: none
There were no written objections received.

(c.) The motion by Heidi Tice, supported by Rose Dillon, was carried unanimously to close the Public Hearing at 7:19pm and return to open session.

Each property will receive a letter with the approved roll, amount of assessment, dates of window of opportunity to make payments interest free, when interest will begin, and when payments will be due.

Rose Dillon moved, Greg Hulka seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to adopt the Resolution to approve the assessment roll and confirm the rate of installments of the special assessment district for Mt. Garfield road improvements contingent upon Sullivan Township’s participation.

Ayes: Hulka, Winebarger, Dillon, Tice, Anderson, Knoll
Nays: none
Absent: Jacobs

20-002 Second Reading: Truck Route Ordinance
The Police Department placed cameras to gather traffic data on the proposed roads. Upon review of the data it was determined that there is enough truck traffic to suspect that they are causing damage to certain roads. The prohibited roads will be reported to the GPS companies. It was suggested that Cline Road be omitted and ask that the garbage company operating on that road be contacted to work out an agreement for slower travel to preserve the road.

Rose Dillon moved, Terry Knoll seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to adopt Ordinance 815, the Truck Route Ordinance as presented, but with the omission of Cline Road. Said ordinance will prohibit heavy truck traffic on certain roads within Fruitport Township.

This constitutes the second and final reading of Ordinance No. 815.

Ayes: Hulka, Winebarger, Dillon, Tice, Anderson, Knoll
Nays: None

NEW BUSINESS:

20-003 Prosecutor presentation regarding senior services
Prosecutor was not present.

20-004 Reappoint Board of Review members
Heidi Tice moved, Andrea Anderson seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to reappoint the following positions to the Board of Review:
∙          Dave Jacobs, 2-year term
∙          George Manning, 2-year term
∙          E. David Farhat, 2-year term
∙          Marty Mieras, serving as alternate, 2-year term

Ayes: Hulka, Winebarger, Dillon, Tice, Anderson, Knoll
Nays: None

A Board of Review training will now be required by the State of Michigan for all BOR members.

20-005 Street light at Park ‘n Ride
The Clerk has requested that a street light be placed at the entrance of the park ‘n ride at Farr Rd. and Airline Rd.

The Board would like to see a quote for two lights, one at the entrance and one at the rear of the lot.

The motion by Rose Dillon, seconded by Denise Winebarger, was carried unanimously, to request that the clerk contact Consumers Energy for a quote for the placement of two lights at the requested location and bring the information back to the board for approval.

20-006 Approval of Bendzinski & Co. document
It is required that the Township prepares a report for bond holders on the financial position of the Township. The Treasurer recommends that the Township continue to use Bendzinski for this service at a cost of $1,000 annually. This will be a renewal for 5 years.

Rose Dillon moved, Terry Knoll seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to retain Bendzinski for reporting services for this task.

Ayes: Hulka, Winebarger, Dillon, Tice, Anderson, Knoll
Nays: none
Absent: Jacobs

20-007 Payment of bills
Terry Knoll moved, Denise Winebarger seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve bills as presented for payment in the following amounts: General Fund $7,281.33; Public Safety $24,843.64; Water $11,673.30; Sewer $1,405.36; street lights $14,119.06
Totaling: $59,322.69
Ayes: Knoll, Anderson, Tice, Dillon, Winebarger, Hulka
Nays: none

ADDITIONAL REPORTS:
1. Heidi Tice shared a report on building permits.

PUBLIC COMMENTS PART II:
1. Allen O’Shea from CBS Solar would like the Township to consider some updates to its Solar Ordinance in regards to bi-facial solar panels and storage systems, among other things.

The motion by Terry Knoll, supported by Denise Winebarger, was carried unanimously, to adjourn the meeting at 7:50pm.

ANDREA ANDERSON, CLERK
HEIDI TICE, SUPERVISOR

Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Recognizes 2019 Ambassadors of the Year

mlccawards

Lisa Falcon, Board Chair Tom Schultz, and Mary Beth Ramos

Muskegon – The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce named Mary Beth Ramos, Ramos & Sons Auto Body, and Lisa Falcon, Comerica Bank, as recipients of the 2019 Ambassador of the Year Award.

The Ambassador of the Year Award is based on an ambassador’s support of the Chamber and its mission, their commitment to Chamber events, and their positive attitude about the Muskegon Lakeshore Community.

Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce ambassadors are volunteers who act as an extension of Chamber staff by promoting and connecting the interests of businesses to the Chamber. The ambassadors make it possible for the Chamber to offer many of its programs and services through the time and work they donate.

Ramos and Falcon have actively promoted the Chamber throughout Muskegon County. They have volunteered at the Lakeshore Art Festival along with many other Chamber and community events, completed member retention calls, and delivered new member welcome bags, while always having a great attitude.

Marty Hulka’s Tree Farm

by Larry J Pellet

The word ambitious might be an understatement to describe Cloverville businessman and former politician, Marty Hulka.  Polishing up on this, his SIXTIETH year as owner, operator and accountant of Marty’s Christmas Trees & Wreaths and More, the Air Force veteran waxes nostalgic as he recalls the hard years getting his business off the ground and soaring.

“It was 1959, and I was just out of the service”, he said.  “There were no jobs to be found”.  “My father had some Spruce Evergreens that he sold me for $1 ea., so I decided to take them and sell them for $1.75”.  Working out of a 1948 Chevy with coleman lanterns for heat and light, Hulka eventually found numerous other plantations to buy trees from, when, lo and behold, he found his calling.

Marty used profits to purchase 10 acres in Cloverville, which he then cleared off using dynamite.  But he conceded, business didn’t always didn’t run smoothly at first.  Partners let him down, and tree disease was something Marty didn’t expect to encounter.  But, he learned as he went along.  The hard working visionary, of Czechoslovakian descent, cut trees himself with a hand bow saw, and at last in 1968 finished building a house at it’s present location at 3768 E. Broadway. He subsequently bought, planted and grew 42 acres of trees, a process which he labels as “scientific”.

martystreefarm1His reputation as an honest and upfront entrepreneur growing, Hulka decided to run for political office.  Along the way he added Fruitport Trustee, Supervisor, Muskegon Drain Commissioner and Tax Assessor under his belt.  A brother also entered politics, and nephew Ken Hulka is on the Muskegon Road Commission.  Also of utmost interest are the white tail deer, including a piebald fawn, which he breeds on his farm.

Pride and integrity are what guides his family, and in 1973 daughter Sandra began creating Christmas wreaths with the use of coat hangers, which initially sold for $3 apiece.  Today, she specializes in “theme” wreaths, which are original and personalized to fit the buyer’s desires.  In accordance with her family’s work ethic, Sandra says, “You always try to out-do yourself”.  Also available for sale are garlands, yule log centerpieces, porch pots, swags and boughs.

martystreefarm2It takes roughly 12 years for a seedling to grow to fruition, where it can be cut for families to enjoy around yule time.  In 1995, Hulka cut and sold 1,026 trees by bow saw, but since has upgraded to a chain saw and will “guarantee your needles”.  Prices range anywhere from $45 to 70 per tree, depending on customer preference.  Though it’s quite literally Christmas year round there, business typically opens around Thanksgiving, and hours are long – 9am to 9pm, 7 days a week.

The robust 82 yr old, along with his daughter, seem to delight in their work and most of all appreciate repeat customers – which they have a lot of.

Hulka, pausing to fold his hands and lean back in his chair, reflected on all his years of blood, sweat and tears.  After a brief moment he then turned his gaze to the future.  “I imagine someday my daughters will take over the company”, he surmised.

But…not…quite…yet.

 

DTE Energy Grant Provided 3,400 Holiday Meals for Seniors

MUSKEGON, Mich. – Area adults age 60 and older were invited to a FREE holiday meal on Thursday, December 19th, thanks to a grant from the DTE Energy Foundation. The $23,000 grant was awarded to Senior Resources to support AgeWell Services’ Meals on Wheels and Lunch & Activity Centers programs. The grant helped provide Holiday Meals for seniors in Oceana, Muskegon and Ottawa counties. This was the ninth year that the DTE Energy Foundation granted the funds for the holiday meal.

“Thanks to DTE Energy Foundation’s increased financial and volunteer contributions, we were able to serve 21% more aging adults this year” said Kris Collee, Executive Director for AgeWell Services of West Michigan. “We broke a new record for the total meals served in one day through our central operations. We delivered and served 3,400 meals from Jenison to Pentwater homes and Senior Centers throughout West Michigan.”

Nutritious holiday meals were served to Meals on Wheels clients and to seniors at AgeWell Services’ 13 different Lunch & Activity Centers throughout Oceana, Muskegon and Ottawa counties on Thursday, December 19th. A special thank you to Community Access Line of the Lakeshore 2-1-1 for making it possible to take reservations at these many locations.

The 2019 Holiday Meal Menu was: Cranberry Brie Stuffed Chicken Breast, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Escalloped Apples, Prince Charles Vegetables, Caesar Salad, Dinner Roll and Butter with Caramel Drizzled Cheesecake.

DTE Energy employees and some of their family members spent the day volunteering to help prepare and serve the meals. The DTE Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of DTE Energy. Through partnerships with human service organizations, the DTE Energy Foundation is focused on making sure that the needs of their neighbors and their communities are met. They promote programs that remove barriers and support innovative approaches to meeting basic human needs, including food, shelter, and health and wellness. Their support increases the choice and supply of safe shelter options and leverages existing programs that offer nutritious food to individuals in need across our state.

Since 1973, AgeWell Services has provided meal programs to address malnutrition and isolation for older adults. The Harbor Steel Meals on Wheels Kitchen at Tanglewood Park prepares and delivers more than 1,600 meals each weekday to seniors in Oceana, Muskegon, and Ottawa counties. For more: www.agewellservices.orgagewell

Fifth Judgeship Recommended for Ottawa County

The Michigan Supreme Court, through the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO), released the 2019 Judicial Resources Recommendations for the State of Michigan. The report concluded that an additional circuit judgeship be added to the 20th Circuit Court in Ottawa County. These recommendations were based on SCAO’s most recent biennial review of the judicial needs of Michigan courts, and have been forwarded to the legislature. New judgeships must be created by legislation and then approved by the County Board of Commissioners before a new judge can be elected.

The review of trial court judgeships begins with a statistical analysis by SCAO. Case filings are weighted to reflect the amount of judicial time necessary to handle each case type. For each jurisdiction where the statistical analysis indicated a significant judicial need, the SCAO conducted a secondary analysis focusing on the specific needs of the court, and other factors not accounted for in the weighted caseload formula.

The results of this extensive analysis demonstrated an overall need of 10.0-10.3 judgeships in Ottawa County. Since 2005, when the last judgeship was created, Ottawa County has covered the judicial workload with nine judges (four Circuit Court, four District Court, one Probate Court). The 20th Circuit Court handles serious criminal cases, business court cases, civil cases where more than $25,000 is in dispute, appeals from District Court and state agencies, juvenile delinquency cases, child welfare cases, and domestic relations cases (including divorce, child custody and parenting time disputes). During the past 15 years, the population of Ottawa County has significantly increased and the courts’ caseload has also increased in size and complexity.

20th Circuit Court Chief Judge Jon A. Van Allsburg expressed his thanks to the Michigan Supreme Court and SCAO Administrator Milton L. Mack, Jr. for this recommendation, and noted that it is supported by the 20th Circuit Court. Based on caseload increases, especially within the Family Division of the Circuit Court, it is likely the 5th Circuit Judge will be assigned to the Family Division to help provide timely services to the children and families of Ottawa County.

Vanderberg Reappointed to The Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission

adminvandenbergGovernor Gretchen Whitmer reappointed Ottawa County Administrator Al Vanderberg to the Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission with a term expiring December 15, 2023.

“I am pleased and honored to be reappointed to the Michigan Child Lead Exposure Commission. This work must remain a priority until lead levels in children are abated and eliminated,” said Vanderberg.

Alan G. Vanderberg, of Grand Rapids, is the County Administrator for Ottawa County, a position he has held since 2003. He holds a Master of Public Administration from Michigan State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Michigan.

The Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission focuses on implementing the recommendations of the former Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Board and monitoring the state’s efforts to eliminate lead exposure in children. The Commission acts in an advisory capacity to the Governor and department director to coordinate and collaborate with all levels of government and stakeholders regarding programs and policies related to the elimination of child lead exposure.

The Huizenga Huddle: December 31, 2019

The Most Partisan Impeachment in our Nation’s History

Impeachment is one of the most consequential actions the House of Representatives can take. Throughout this process, Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat Majority have broken historic bipartisan standards, denied the President due process, and moved the goalposts time and again in order to shape their desired narrative and outcome. The fact that 44% of my Democrat colleagues voted to impeach the President of the United States before the Ukraine Call on July 25th even took place exemplifies their partisan desire to remove this President.

Our nation’s founders warned about using impeachment as a political weapon. On December 18th, Speaker Pelosi ignored those warnings and the House proceeded with the most partisan and divisive impeachment vote in the history of our nation.

noimpeachment1The Democrats’ endless drive to impeach this President has further divided our nation and damaged the House of Representatives as an institution. By making the decision to abandon the Judiciary Committee and conduct the majority of the impeachment proceedings behind closed doors through the Intelligence Committee, Speaker Pelosi has set a dangerous and partisan precedent that will have a chilling effect on how constitutional matters are handled in the future.

After reviewing the facts, I believe Speaker Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and their Democrat colleagues have failed to make their case for impeachment. In just under 11 months, the American people will go to the polls and have the opportunity to vote and make their selection for President. By engaging in a rushed, partisan process, Democrats are seeking to either overturn the outcome of the 2016 election or influence the 2020 election – neither of which should be acceptable to the American people.

noimpeachment2The photos above are the voting cards marking my votes against impeaching President Trump. The next morning, I spoke to WHTC to discuss the votes and Speaker Pelosi’s decision not to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate. You can listen to the interview here.

Local Model Heading to California for Premiere Modeling Event

astoriaFor Astoria Kolenic, being selected following an audition to attend a four-day modeling development event in Los Angeles, CA in February will move her one step closer to her dream of becoming a full-time, professional model.

 

“My main goal with this event is to jump-start my modeling career,” said Kolenic, a Muskegon, MI-based fashion model with credits that includes a leading role in the 2018 music video Lady Bug, and the October 2017 Cover Model for Modern Model Magazine.  “I just turned 25, and I will not stop until I make modeling more than a hobby – it will be a career.”

After learning about the event, offered by Preview Models, Kolenic said she auditioned and was among a limited number of models selected from Michigan to travel to the event.

“I will be arriving in California February 26th, and attending the event from February 27th through March 1st,” she said, adding that the event features a runway show, a photo session, breakout study sessions, and wraps up with an opportunity for models to meet one-on-one with numerous prominent modeling agencies.

“It’s rare to have a chance to meet with a lot of different agencies all at once,” Kolenic said, adding that while she has covered most of the expected costs to attend the event, she is also reaching out to local sponsors to cover some of the additional expenses. “I do have to pay for my own travel to the event, and I have to pay for my room.”

Modern Model Magazine, which offers sponsorship assistance to help models cover registration fees, travel expenses, and other event fees, was one of the first sponsors to come forward, offering financial assistance.

“It seems that Preview Models is able to provide what they are promising based on past reviews, and beyond that, after working with Astoria, I personally believe that she has what it takes, and just needs to get in front of the right people,” Modern Model Magazine Publisher Brian Thornton explained, encouraging other local sponsors to step forward and support Kolenic as well.

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I graduated from Fruitport High School in 2013! I left out with a BANG when I sang the National Anthem for my senior class. This year I was hoping once again Fruitport could support my dreams out of state as well ❤️

Story Of Astoria – storyastoria@gmail.com

Plane Watch Food Park at The Pointes, Norton Shores

mapThe Plane Watch Food Park at The Pointes, Norton Shores, has received unanimous approval from the City of Norton Shores and will commence construction as soon as weather permits.   The food park at the shopping/office center on Sternberg Road at US-31, will have utility accommodations including electrical, water, and sewer connections for up to 8 food trucks. Picnic tables, portable bathrooms, and a game area are all included in Phase I.  In Phase II, owners plan for permanent restrooms, an outdoor bar, and additional entertainment opportunities.

Food trucks can have access for $30 per day, including utilities with no percentage rent.  Commitments can be as short as a week or as long as the season, although the owners are anticipating a rotating offering of a variety of food and drink options for customers.  With over 52,000 cars per day on US-31 at Sternberg Road and 28,000 cars on Sternberg Rd at the overpass, the Pointes owners are expecting an enthusiastic reception to the new food park.

outline‘There are thousands of employees along Grand Haven Road, and many of them have just a half hour to get lunch.   They don’t have to wait in line at traffic lights at The Pointes.  You can be in and out of the Pointes Center in minutes from the highway without a single traffic light,’ Pointes representative Jeff Zaloga said.

The Pointes has also been working with new tenants at the center including Affordable Appliance Outlet (a scratch & dent appliance wholesaler); Classy Canine Pet Grooming; plus, there is a deposit on a large space for a future restaurant/brewpub.  The food park will accomplish one of the goals of The Pointes owners, which is to bring more life into the shopping/office center for the benefit of all the current tenants.

Vendors interested in participating in the seasonal food park can either call 231-799-4801; email to amggo2girl@amgbusinesscenters.com; or message The Pointes Shopping Center Facebook Page.

Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board Recommends $300,000 for Grand River Greenway

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) board recommended $300,000 in development funds to be allocated to Ottawa County Parks & Recreation for development and construction of a 1-mile segment of the Idema Explorers Trail in Jenison at their annual meeting in December.

December 18, 2019 — The Idema Explorers Trail is a key feature of the Grand River Greenway which is comprised of 9,000 acres of public land between Grand Haven and Grand Rapids. The preservation of this land provides scenic natural spaces and high quality habitat for both wildlife and recreation. Currently, 13 miles of the 36.5-mile Idema Explorers Trail have been constructed with another 12 being engineered.

This Jenison Mill segment will connect a portion of the Idema Explorers Trail along Cottonwood Drive  to existing trail in Kent County. It allows users easier access the Grand River; great recreation areas like Millennium Park, which has 20 miles of paved pathway; and, many miles of regional trail, including seven miles of riverfront trail in Kent County, the Grand Rapids bike lane network, Kent Trails, and the Fred Meijer Standale Trail.

“One of our goals is to connect with neighboring communities and to connect to our waterfront,” said Jim Wierenga, Georgetown Township Supervisor. “We were excited the Idema Explorers Trail created a connection to Allendale last fall and look forward to connecting with Kent County, as well as to the Grand River. We are a community with a river that runs through it and that resource is often overlooked. The more the Grand River Greenway project moves forward, the more this asset in our community begins to capture the attention of our citizens. I get many thanks from the people within our township for the Grand River Greenway,” said Wierenga.

Other partners in the project are thrilled about this news. “We are working hard to raise the funds needed to make the vision of the Grand River Greenway a reality. Having the support of the Trust Fund and the community makes our work that much easier. We believe in what we’re doing, but it is great to hear that they do too,” said Bobbi Jones Sabine, President of the Ottawa County Parks Foundation. “Giving everyone access to the scenic spaces and connected trails along the Grand River Greenway will improve the quality of life for current and future West Michigan residents.”

Recreation Opportunities

In addition to opening up recreation opportunities on land, it also creates more access for anglers. “Connecting Georgetown Township and Ottawa County trails to the Kent County trails on the east side will provide anglers an easy path to access quality shorefishing sites,” said Dr. Dan O’Keefe Michigan Sea Grant Coordinator at MSU Extension in a letter of support for the project. “Certain areas are also wadeable in summer due to the hard substrate. Wading is very popular upstream in Grand Rapids, but virtually unheard of in Ottawa County due to the lack of access to rare hard-bottomed areas such as this.”

Ottawa County Parks Winter News

winterblueslodgePigeon Creek Park

Pigeon Creek Park offers groomed, lit cross-country ski trails, ski and snowshoe rentals for adults and children, ski lessons, sledding hill, and warming lodge with concessions.

Important Reminder: Hiking, dogs, and horses are not allowed at Pigeon Creek Park once winter operations begin.

Not feeling steady on your skis? Join us for a lesson!

Ski Lesson Pricing: $8 for 1½ hour lesson. Skis are not provided but can be rented at the lodge on a first-come, first-served basis. Check the schedule online.

Hemlock Crossing

The Ottawa County Parks Nature Center at Hemlock Crossing offers snowshoe rentals for adults and children (4+) at the Nature Center. Hemlock Crossing does not rent skis, but cross-country skiing is welcome on the trails. Hiking and dogs are allowed on the trails on-leash.

Find a family-friendly winter walk or snowshoe program: miOttawa.org/OCPevents

Riley Trails

Riley Trails offers 10+ miles of ungroomed cross-country ski trails and is a destination for fat tire bikes. Never tried it? Test one with Velo City Cycles on December 14 from 9 am-12 pm. Hiking and dogs are allowed on the trails on-leash

Continuing Education (at Your Own Risk)

December 16, 2019

This is the week before Christmas vacation so high-schoolers are celebrating.  I had thoughts of what the school might do: maybe sing some Christmas songs, have time set aside for talking  together about various plans the kids have, or maybe just  bring in a meaningful item and give a student a chance to explain it.  What an old foggy I am!!  Have a Pajama Day.  the 15 and 16 year future leaders can wear pajamas to school today!!!  It never occurs to me to wear my pajamas to work to celebrate an upcoming vacation.   Pajama Day!  I never would have thunk it! Those who are informed  know what snowflakes are.  That’s what our wonderful school system is building:   Snowflakes.