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Village Of Fruitport Council Meeting Minutes – February 15, 2021

1.) Call to Order
President Roger Vanderstelt called the meeting to order at 7:06pm.

2.) Roll Call
Present: Roger Vanderstelt, Amy Haack, Carl Rothenberger, Bill Overkamp, Jeff Guiles and Ann LaCroix

3.) Approval of February 15th Meeting Agenda
Motion made by Amy to approve the February 15th meeting agenda, supported by Jeff. With a unanimous vote, the motion carried.

4.) Approval of the January 18th meeting minutes
Motion made by Jeff to approve the January 18th meeting minutes, supported by Bill. With a unanimous vote, the motion carried.

5.) Public Comment

6.) Correspondence
Ann advised a meeting took place with her, the DPW Supervisor and Cara Decker from the Grand Valley Metro Council. Information was gathered and our yearly Stormwater Progress report will be submitted.

7.) Reports from Officers.
Amy discussed a funding request from Dancing into Sunset. Motion made by Amy to grant $500.00 of the senior millage funding to Dancing into Sunset, supported by Jeff. Roll call AYES: Haack, Rothenberger, Overkamp, Guiles and Vanderstelt NAYS: None
Carl had nothing to report.
Bill had nothing to report.
Jeff advised that the Planning Commission was questioning the plan for the library. Bill, who is on the library board explained that the library may move to another location in the future. At that point discussions will take place. Jeff questioned the Village snowplow plan. Ann emailed it to him and advised the information is on our website.
Roger had nothing to report.

8.) Bridge Grant 2023
Ann advised that the village received a grant of $216,000.00 for preventative maintenance to be made on the Bridge Street bridge. The Village will be responsible for the following costs 5% of the construction, design engineering and construction engineering. Anticipated Village costs for the project will be approximately $75,000.00. The design phase will start in March 2021 with letting in November of 2022 and project will take place in spring of 2023. Brechting will assist the Village in obtaining bids for the construction engineering. Ann reviewed a proposal from Brechting Bridge & Engineering in the amount of $16,500.00. Motion made by Amy to approve the proposal from Brechting Bridge in the amount not to exceed $16,500.00, supported by Jeff. Roll call AYES: Haack, Rothenberger, Overkamp, Guiles and Vanderstelt NAYS: None

9.) Buoys Permit
Roger advised the council that he would like to apply for a DNR temporary local watercraft control permit due to the high waters. He referred council to a diagram of where buoys would temporarily be placed for a no wake zone. A public hearing would be necessary to apply for the permit. A discussion took place. Motion made by Roger to apply for the DNR permit, supported by Jeff. Roll call AYES: Haack, Rothenberger, Overkamp, Guiles and Vanderstelt NAYS: None

10.) 7th & Peach
Roger advised that he is continuing to work on a solution for 7th & Peach.

11.) Kayak Launch Update and Approval of Purchases
Roger gave an update on financial donations and in-kind donations for the kayak launch. Amy advised she has been in touch with Prein & Newhof about the in-kind donations. Amy advised that there are funds remaining in the donation from Les Torrans. Part of the funds was used for a memorial bench and a portion of the remaining funds can be used for 2 benches and a bike rack for the kayak launch. Motion made by Amy to purchase 2 benches and a bike rack for the kayak launch in an amount not to exceed $1613.85, supported by Jeff. Roll call AYES: Haack, Rothenberger, Overkamp, Guiles and Vanderstelt NAYS: None
Amy made another motion to purchase another bench, bike rack and duo recycling/waste container in the amount not to exceed $2037.85, supported by Bill. Roll call AYES: Haack, Overkamp, Guiles and Vanderstelt NAYS: None Absent: Rothenberger (left at 7:33pm).

12.) Playground
Amy gave an update on the Playground Committee. The committee at this point consists of Amy, Ann, and Jen Cross from the Planning Commission. There will be multiple sub-committees for the project and Amy referenced a meeting that is planned to take place on May 13 at Pomona Park at which all residents and interested others can attend to learn more about the project, to solicit input, and to sign up for committees and other volunteer activities. A representative from Sinclair Recreation, the consultant/playground equipment provider, will also attend the meeting. Also, Ann will work with the DPW Supervisor on obtaining professional volunteers. Amy advised she will pursue grants. A fundraiser committee that will utilize Smiley and other fundraising methods and a volunteer committee that will obtain volunteers for a community build. of the playground will also be pursued. Amy plans on attending a meeting with the Lions Club this week to share information about the playground and gather volunteer support. Roger stated that he was already planning on attending the meeting with the Lions Club so both Amy and Roger will attend.

13.) Public Comment

14.) Warrants
Motion made by Amy to approve the warrants, supported by Jeff. Roll call AYES: Haack, Overkamp, Guiles and Vanderstelt NAYS: None Absent: Rothenberger

15.) Adjournment
Motion made by Amy to adjourn the meeting at 7:55pm, supported by Jeff. With a unanimous vote the motion carried.

Respectfully submitted by,

Ann LaCroix

Village Of Fruitport Council Meeting Minutes – January 18, 2021

1.) Call to Order
President Roger Vanderstelt called the meeting to order at 7:08pm.

2.) Roll Call
Present: Roger Vanderstelt, Carl Rothenberger, Bill Overkamp, Jeff Guiles and Ann LaCroix
Absent: Amy Haack (excused)

3.) Approval of January 18th Meeting Agenda
Motion made by Carl to approve the January 18th meeting agenda, supported by Jeff. With a unanimous vote, the motion carried.

4.) Approval of the December 21st and December 28th meeting minutes
Motion made by Carl to approve the December 21st and December 28th meeting minutes, supported by Bill. With a unanimous vote, the motion carried.

5.) Public Comment

6.) Correspondence

7.) Reports from Officers.
Carl advised that the Personnel Committee will schedule a meeting to discuss 2021 wage increases and other Personnel items.
Bill advised that the library has hired Lisa Harmon as the new director. A youth librarian has also been hired.
Jeff had nothing to report.
Roger advised he is working on the guardrail issue at Pontaluna and 3rd Avenue and quotes for Park Street. Roger advised council of a request for a Medical Marihuana facility by a potential buyer of Modular Systems. Roger reviewed the resolution passed in 2017 when a request was made for a Medical Marihuana facility and the Village after a public hearing and long process opted not to pass an ordinance to allow the facility.

8.) Library
a. Roger advised that the Library board recommends the reappointment of Laura Oldt and Ruth Woodward to the Library board for a term of 2 years (2021-2022). Motion made by Roger to reappoint Laura Oldt and Ruth Woodward to the Library board for a 2-year term, supported by Bill. Roll call AYES: Rothenberger, Overkamp, Guiles and Vanderstelt. NAYS: None. Absent: Haack

b. Roger reviewed a list provided by the Planning Commission of ideas for the Library building if the Library is relocated. Council reviewed the items.

9.) Window for Kitchen at Picnic Shelter
Roger discussed improvements at the Picnic Shelter that he has been working on with the Lions Club. He advised we have earned $5290.00 in the last 2 years at the Picnic Shelter. Motion made by Carl to cut out a window area on the picnic shelter side of the building, rerun electric and purchase a hurricane rolling shutter in an amount not to exceed $1912.00, supported by Jeff. Roll call AYES: Rothenberger, Overkamp, Guiles and Vanderstelt. NAYS: None. Absent: Haack

10.) 7th & Peach
Roger advised that he has met with a contractor and 2 engineering firms on possible resolutions to the issue on 7th & Peach.

11.) Playground
Ann reported for Amy on the Playground project. Ann advised that she along with Amy and Jen Cross from Planning Commission have continued to work with Sinclair Recreation on the Playground Concept. At this point the potential cost will be over $150,000.00. A grant from Game Time would cover over approximately $57,000.00. This will be a 2 fiscal year project. Further discussion on the budget for the playground will be discussed at the budget meeting. Committees will be formed for fundraising, volunteers to help with the construction etc. Ann asked council to review the concepts sent out with the meeting packet and vote on a concept. This will be a starting point and may be changed based on budget and other factors. Motion made by Jeff to approve Option 2 of the concept, supported by Carl. Roll call AYES: Rothenberger, Overkamp, Guiles and Vanderstelt. NAYS: None. Absent: Haack

12.) Village Logo/Motto
Council reviewed the final two logos to vote on. Motion made by Roger to go with option 5b, supported by Carl. Roll call AYES: Rothenberger, Overkamp, Guiles and Vanderstelt. NAYS: None. Absent: Haack

13.) Public Comment

14.) Warrants
Motion made by Carl to approve the warrants, supported by Bill. Roll call AYES: Rothenberger, Overkamp, Guiles and Vanderstelt. NAYS: None. Absent: Haack

15.) Adjournment
Roger asked to schedule the budget meetings prior to adjournment. Discussion took place and it will be at 6pm on February 15th prior to the council meeting and March 8th at 6pm. Also, the March council meeting will be changed from March 15th to March 29th. Motion made by Roger to approve the change of the March council meeting date, supported by Carl. With a unanimous vote the motion carried.
Motion made by Jeff to adjourn at 7:48pm, supported by Bill. With a unanimous vote the motion carried.

Respectfully submitted by,

Ann LaCroix

Village Of Fruitport Council Meeting Minutes – December 28, 2020

1.) Call to Order
President Roger Vanderstelt called the meeting to order at 6:04pm.

2.) Roll Call
Present: Roger Vanderstelt, Amy Haack, Carl Rothenberger, Bill Overkamp, Jeff Guiles, and Ann LaCroix

3.) Public Comment

4.) Reducing Council Size
Amy reviewed the Ordinance to Reduce the Number of Trustees. Motion made by Amy to adopt the ordinance, supported by Jeff. Roll call AYES: Haack, Rothenberger, Guiles, Overkamp and Vanderstelt
NAYS: None

5.) Undercoating New Truck
Roger reviewed two quotes to undercoat the new truck. Motion made by Bill to accept the quote in the amount of $517.35 from Zeibart in Holland, supported by Carl. Roll call AYES: Haack, Rothenberger, Guiles, Overkamp and Vanderstelt
NAYS: None

6.) Public Comment

7.) Warrants
Motion made by Bill to approve the warrants, supported by Jeff. Roll call AYES: Haack, Rothenberger, Guiles, Overkamp and Vanderstelt
NAYS: None

8.) Adjournment
Motion made by Amy to adjourn the meeting at 6:22pm, supported by Jeff. With a unanimous vote, the motion carried.

Respectfully submitted by,

Ann LaCroix

Fruitport Charter Township Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes of February 22, 2021

This meeting was held virtually via due to COVID-19.

A work session of the Fruitport Charter Township Board began at 6:30pm on Monday, February 22, 2021, via Zoom electronic meeting.

Members Present: Todd Dunham, Supervisor; Andrea Anderson, Clerk; Rose Dillon, Treasurer; Trustees Jim Fichtel, Greg Hulka, Terry Knoll, David Markgraf (All members participating remotely from Fruitport, Michigan)
Members Absent: none

At 7:00pm, Todd Dunham opened the regular meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Also Present: 2- residents; 1- employees; 0- guests; Director of Public Safety, Brian Michelli; Director of Public Utilities, Steve Biesiada; Attorney, Ron Bultje.

Terry Knoll moved, Rose Dillon seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve the minutes of January 25, 2021 as presented.

Ayes: Fichtel, Hulka, Dillon, Dunham, Anderson, Knoll, Markgraf
Nays: None

Andrea Anderson moved, Todd Dunham seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve the agenda as presented with the following addition:

Item 7-B: DDA Board Terms

Ayes: Fichtel, Hulka, Dillon, Dunham, Anderson, Knoll, Markgraf
Nays: None

1.) Steve Biesiada shared that the DPW is conducting inventory; the DPW crew has been filling in for the Cemetery/Building & Grounds Department for snow removal while Jerry is off.
2.) Brian Michelli reported that a fire truck has been repaired and will be back in service soon and that the repair cost was covered by the manufacturer.
3.) Andrea Anderson shared with the board that Tim McFarland has passed away and that his family has arranged to have another individual take care of the flag at Hile/96 and Muskegon Awning will be doing flag repairs in Tim’s honor. Andrea shared appreciation for Tim for all of his years of service to the Township’s large flags and also his family for seeing that it continues.
4.) Heidi Tice shared that the DDA Board and Citizens Council are public meetings.



21-011 Appointment of DDA Citizen’s Council

The following individuals have agreed to serve on the DDA Citizen’s Council: Sue Streeter, Pam Harris, Susan Westrate, Susan Califf, Margo Harley, Odo Hopma, Brenda Hopma, Carol Rake, Ron Rake, Glenn Wiersma, and Cindy Wiersma.

Terry Knoll moved, David Markgraf seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to appoint the presented list of people to the DDA Citizen’s Council.

Ayes: Markgraf, Knoll, Anderson, Dunham, Dillon, Hulka, Fichtel
Nays: None

21-012 DDA Board Terms
Terms for the Board members are established by the Township Board. They were chosen by alphabetical order:

1 year- Jason Bronhold
1 year- Mark Campbell
2 years- Larry Hall
2 years- Randy Klingle
3 years- Tim Riley
3 years- Larry Romanelli
4 years- Gary Smith
4 years- Heidi Tice

Rose Dillon moved, Jim Fichtel seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to establish the DDA Board member terms as presented.

Ayes: Markgraf, Knoll, Anderson, Dunham, Dillon, Hulka, Fichtel
Nays: None


21-013 DPW Director Contract Correction

The DPW Director’s contract was a two year rolling contract with an annual renewal in the past. It was intended to stay that way, however it was changed in error by misunderstanding when it was approved on January 25th.

David Markgraf moved, Greg Hulka seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve the change in the contract back to a two year rolling, ending March 2023.

Ayes: Markgraf, Knoll, Anderson, Dunham, Dillon, Hulka, Fichtel
Nays: None

21-014 Approval for Sale of Police Cruiser
With the approval to drop from a six car rotation to a five car rotation, the Public Safety Director asked to sell an additional cruiser that is no longer in the rotation. Emergency Services will purchase the car for $5,000.

Greg Hulka moved, Terry Knoll seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to authorize the Public Safety Director to see the cruiser to Emergency Services for $5,000.

Ayes: Markgraf, Knoll, Anderson, Dunham, Dillon, Hulka, Fichtel
Nays: None

21-015 Payment of bills
Andrea Anderson moved, David Markgraf seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve bills as presented for payment in the following amounts: General Fund $61,424.90; Public Safety $100,207.71; Water $120,315.61; Sewer $19,675.17; Trust & Agency $1,311.00; Street Lights $15,571.24
Totaling: $318,505.63

Ayes: Fichtel, Hulka, Dillon, Dunham, Anderson, Knoll, Markgraf
Nays: None

1. Todd Dunham shared that the Police Department collective bargaining agreement and the budge will both be coming to the next meeting.

1. Heidi Tice shared that the Fruitport Lions Club is moving forward with planning Old Fashioned Days.

Greg Hulka moved, Todd Dunham seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to adjourn the meeting at 7:34pm.

Ayes: Fichtel, Hulka, Dillon, Dunham, Anderson, Knoll, Markgraf
Nays: None



Ask Dr. Universe – Black Holes

Dr. Universe: How many black holes are in the galaxy and the universe?
-Krisha, 9, New Jersey

Dear Krisha,

While we can’t see black holes with our eyes, astronomers have figured out how to spot these objects in our universe.

One astronomer who is really curious about understanding black holes is my friend Sukanta Bose, a researcher at Washington State University.

First, he told me there are different kinds of black holes. Supermassive black holes can be millions to billions of times the mass of the Sun. We have a supermassive black hole in our own Milky Way galaxy called Sagittarius A*, which is pronounced as Sagittarius A-star.

Scientists think supermassive black holes may be found in the center of most large galaxies.

If you are anything like me, you might be wondering: why not just count all the different galaxies to find the number of black holes?

“Of course, we cannot see every galaxy,” Bose said. “We see many galaxies that are closer because they are brighter.”

For galaxies that are farther away, you have to use very powerful telescopes, he adds.

That also means we have to make an inference about the number of galaxies in the universe. An inference is an educated guess based on evidence and current knowledge about how things work.

Using telescopes, math and their inference skills, astronomers estimate there are hundreds of billions of galaxies and likely hundreds of billions of supermassive black holes— that’s just in the observable universe.

Bose told me there’s another kind of black hole that sometimes forms when a star dies and collapses in on itself. We call these stellar mass black holes.

The Sun is a star, but it is far too small to become a black hole. Only heavier stars make black holes. When it comes to stellar mass black holes, astronomers estimate there are ten million to a billion right here in the Milky Way galaxy.

On the hunt for these massive objects, scientists often look for different interactions among stars or gases, clues that there may be a black hole in the neighborhood.

For instance, when a black hole and a companion star are in a tight orbit, their interaction can sometimes create high energy light we can’t see, but that scientists can detect with their high-tech tools.

“When you open a new way of probing the universe, you see objects that challenge your previous wisdom or theories,” Bose said.

Bose and fellow researchers have been able to spot black holes because of a new way to detect something called gravitational waves. When two black holes collide, they can create a kind of wave that brings information to Earth about its source and helps us learn more about the universe.

It’s a bit like listening for sound waves from particular instruments in an orchestra, Bose said. But instead of picking out the sound of a cello or a flute, they are listening for gravitational waves from those colliding black holes.

Who knows, maybe one day you can help us learn more about black holes and discover ways to help astronomers count them all.

Dr. Universe

Thanks to all our kid readers who voted for this question in our recent poll. Stay tuned for future polls at

Know a kid with a science question?
With help from my friends at Washington State University, we’re investigating tough and smart questions from curious kids around the world.
Submit a question

Village of Fruitport Council Meeting Minutes & Attachment – 09/29/20


1. Call to Order
President Roger Vanderstelt called the meeting to order at 7:00pm.

2. Roll Call
Present: Roger Vanderstelt, Amy Haack, Carl Rothenberger, Will Overkamp, Jay Bolt, Jeff Guiles and Ann LaCroix
Absent: Donna Pope (excused)

3. Approval of September 29th Meeting Agenda
Roger asked to add Tree in Park to the agenda under New Business. Motion made by Amy to approve the agenda with the addition of Tree in the Park, supported by Jeff. With a unanimous vote, the motion carried.

4. Approval of the August 17th Council meeting minutes
Motion made by Amy to approve the August 17th minutes, supported by Jeff. With a unanimous vote, the motion carried.

5. Public Comment
Brian Hosticka, Local Democrat, introduced himself as a candidate running for the 91st District seat of the Michigan House of Representatives. He is an assistant prosecuting attorney for Muskegon county.

6. Correspondence

7. Reports from Officers
Amy will report under agenda items.
Jay advised the Planning Commission’s next meeting is October 13th. He anticipates a draft of the Master Plan to be presented to council in November or December. The PC will also be reviewing a site plan for Waypoint Dock & Deli and a concept drawing for a business that will occupy the old Village Inn location.
Carl had nothing to report.
Bill gave an update on the library. The director and another employee have taken job elsewhere. One of their 3 air conditioners need replacing. Bill also discussed plans to earn interest on the balance in their bank funds.
Jeff has been working on bids for sidewalks and questioned trimming of bushes.
Roger advised he is working on several items, removal of sidewalks, catch basins in need of repair and boat launch suggestions. Roger advised that the S curve on Bridge Street work and the sink hole on Brooks will be done when the rain clears out. Roger also spoke to Fred Younkers from the Lions’ Club. Old Fashioned Christmas will not take place this year. They will put up the Christmas Trees, walls around the picnic shelter and decorate. Roger also questioned being reimbursed for an expense. Amy suggested this be an agenda item at the next meeting. All agreed.

8. Planning Commission Appointment
Roger made a motion to appoint Alex Vickers to the Planning Commission, supported by Amy.
Roll Call AYES: Rothenberger, Haack, Overkamp, Bolt, Guiles and Vanderstelt
NAYS: None
Absent: Pope (See attached motion).

9. MSU Sustainable Built Environment Initiative
Ann shared an email with Amy, Jay, Roger, and Jen Cross from Planning Commission about a design concept program through MSU. Amy agreed to research it. She contacted Wayne Beyea at MSU. He advised they work with local government for design concepts like downtown beautification. They discussed design work for the acquired park property and beautification of streetscape on 3rd Avenue. The students would work with professionals and community to gather ideas for their renderings. An application would need to be filled out, including letters of support. Amy checked with David Jirousek and he felt this would be the next step in the implementation of the Master Plan. A discussion took place and the council is in favor of Amy pursuing this further. There could be a cost involved. Amy will report at the next council meeting.

10. Playground
Amy advised she has been working with Ann and Jen Cross in the formation of a Playground Committee. They met with Rose Dillon and Bill Overkamp to discuss the library and new playground. On September 2nd they met with Jeremy Bosman, Sinclair Recreation at Pomona Park. Two locations were discussed. The group visited playgrounds in the area and provided input to Jeremy. He will provide concept drawings for review. There are ways to reduce the cost, a Community Build where volunteers work with Sinclair Recreation to install the playground, grants available through Game Time (the manufacturer of the equipment), Smiley and other fundraising ideas. The goal is to complete the project in 2022.

11. Power Boxes/Photo Eyes on 3rd Avenue
Bill presented 3 estimates for the Power Box work. Motion made by Bill to accept the quote from Tandem Electric and not to exceed $3000.00, supported by Amy.
Roll Call AYES: Rothenberger, Haack, Overkamp, Bolt, Guiles and Vanderstelt
NAYS: None
Absent: Pope

12. Tree in Park
Roger advised there is a dangerous tree located near the bathroom in the Park. He presented 3 quotes. Motion made by Amy to accept the quote from Get R Cut for $1500.00 and that the work needed to be completed within 5 days, supported by Jeff.
Roll Call AYES: Rothenberger, Haack, Overkamp, Bolt, Guiles and Vanderstelt
NAYS: None
Absent: Pope

13. 2020 3rd Avenue Project
Jay gave an update on the project. It was delayed 3 weeks because of a sub-contractor. The new date is October 5th and they are still committed to completing the road portion of the project by the end of October. Jay has asked for an updated project schedule.

14. Village Logo/Motto
Amy thanked council for their input on the logo. She has shared the information with David Jirousek who is facilitating the work on the logo.

15. Kayak Launch
Amy advised that additional information was needed by the DNR. The requested information was submitted, and we have received approval for the funding. The project has been postponed til next spring due to COVID-19 and the high-water levels.

16. Public Comment

17. Warrants
Motion made by Bill to approve the warrants, supported by Roger.
Roll Call AYES: Rothenberger, Haack, Overkamp, Bolt, Guiles and Vanderstelt
NAYS: None
Absent: Pope

18. Adjournment
Motion made by Amy to adjourn the meeting at 8:09pm, supported by Carl. With a unanimous vote, the motion carried.

Respectfully submitted by,

Ann LaCroix

*  *  *

Click the image below for the attachment to the Village of Fruitport’s September 29, 2020, Council Meeting Minutes (PDF format).


Fruitport Charter Township Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes of September 28, 2020

This meeting was held virtually via Webex due to COVID-19.

A work session of the Fruitport Charter Township Board began at 6:30pm on Monday, September 28, 2020, via Webex electronic meeting.

Members Present: Heidi Tice, Supervisor; Andrea Anderson, Clerk; Rose Dillon, Treasurer; Trustees Greg Hulka, Jeff Jacobs, Terry Knoll, Denise Winebarger
Members Absent: none

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

Also Present: 0- residents; 1- employees; 7- guests; Director of Public Safety, Brian Michelli; Director or Public Utilities, Steve Biesiada; Attorney, Ron Bultje.

Rose Dillon moved, Denise Winebarger seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve the minutes of September 14, 2020 as presented.
Ayes: Hulka, Winebarger, Dillon, Tice, Anderson, Jacobs, Knoll
Nays: None

Terry Knoll moved, Andrea Anderson seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve the agenda as presented.
Ayes: Hulka, Winebarger, Dillon, Tice, Anderson, Jacobs, Knoll
Nays: None

1. Brian Michelli reported that the new cruisers should be arriving soon.
2. Heidi Tice shared about a letter and donation received by the Fire Department; the Muskegon County recycling and tire events have been cancelled; she shared a newsletter from West Michigan Regional Development Commission; gave a report on the senior survey that was distributed in tax bills.
3. Steve Biesiada reported that the current hydrant flushing will be complete soon; an employee of the DPW will be retiring soon.
4. Andrea Anderson shared that an elections grant was applied for and awarded $5,000 from the Center for Tech and Civic Life.

1. The Clerk shared a written comment received from Ron Cooper regarding his disagreement with the proposed DDA, the size of the district, and that things shouldn’t be voted on in virtual meetings.


20-094 Reappointment of Jason Franklin to Planning Commission
Rose Dillon moved, Terry Knoll seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to accept the Supervisor’s reappointment of Jason Franklin to the Planning Commission.
Jason’s three year term will expire September 2023.
Ayes: Knoll, Jacobs, Anderson, Tice, Dillon, Winebarger, Hulka
Nays: none

20-095 DDA Discussion
Heidi Tice shared a letter from Fruitport Community Schools’ Superintendent, Bob Szymoniak.
Heidi Tice shared an opinion letter from Attorney Ron Bultje in response to Mr. Szymoniak’s letter on the proper process to follow when establishing a DDA.
None of the taxing authorities will lose what tax revenue they are currently receiving.
If the board wished to make the district smaller, a public hearing would not be necessary.
A DDA would not capture state, local, or intermediate school tax revenue.
The attorney advised that there is not a conflict of interest regarding a trustee being a lessee/business owner in the proposed district or a trustee being an employee of the County that would cause one to abstain from voting on the DDA.

The ordinance for the creation of the DDA will come to the Board for a vote on October 26th.


20-096 Property Assessment Administration Contract Discussion
The new proposed contract shows an increase in fees to $94,000/year. It was mentioned that Fruitport Township has the heaviest load of permits, new house starts, and tax tribunals in the County. The County would likely be willing to increment the increase allowing for easier payment. The cost of hiring an in-house Assessor would likely cost the Township more than contracting with the County. The contract will be voted on at the next meeting.

20-097 Water/Sewer Penalties/Late Fees
The Township chose to withhold penalties for late water/sewer payments during the COVID shutdown. It is requested that those resume as normal. Water shut-offs will continue to follow current executive orders.
Heidi Tice moved, Terry Knoll seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to return to assessing late fees and penalties as of October 1, 2020.
Ayes: Hulka, Winebarger, Dillon, Tice, Anderson, Jacobs, Knoll
Nays: None

20-098 Michigan Public Safety Communications System Member Subscriber Agreement
This agreement is for the use of the new 800mh radio system and related services.
Rose Dillon moved, Greg Hulka seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to enter into the provided Michigan Public Safety communications System Member Subscriber Agreement.
Ayes: Hulka, Winebarger, Dillon, Tice, Anderson, Jacobs, Knoll
Nays: None

20-099 Payment of bills
Greg Hulka moved, Denise Winebarger seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve bills as presented for payment in the following amounts: General Fund $27,319.50; Public Safety $27,498.40; Water $9,029.33; Sewer $17,269.21; Trust & Agency $641.40
Totaling: $81,757.84
Ayes: Knoll, Jacobs, Anderson, Tice, Dillon, Winebarger, Hulka
Nays: none

1. Heidi Tice shared that the Fruitport Lion’s Club has cancelled the Old Fashioned Christmas Event, however there will be trees decorated in the park.


The motion by Terry Knoll, supported by Heidi Tice, was carried unanimously, to adjourn the meeting at 9:15pm.


Fruitport Township Board of Trustees Meeting Agenda – 10/26/20


OCTOBER 26, 2020


This meeting will be held in-person AND virtually via in order to fight the spread of COVID-19 and comply with current gathering limitations of 20 people.
Information to access the meeting:
Meeting number (access code): 126 884 8073
Meeting password: 6vcPAuY7X5U (68272897 from phones and video systems)

1. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States
2. Roll call
3. Approval of board minutes: 10/12/20
4. Approve / amend agenda
5. Correspondence / reports
6. Public comments regarding agenda items

7. Unfinished Business
A. DDA Discussion
B. First Reading: Downtown Development Authority Ordinance

8. New Business
A. Sale of DPW Truck
B. Consideration of Impacts of the Executive Order
C. Blight Enforcement Ordinance Discussion
D. First Reading: Zone Change Amendment Ordinance- Hts. Ravenna
E. AMAR (Audit of Minimum Assessing Requirements) Results

9. 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

Fruitport Charter Township Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes of October 8, 2018


A work session of the Fruitport Charter Township Board began at 6:30pm on Monday, October 8, 2018, in the township board room.

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

At 7:03pm, Heidi Tice opened the regular meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a prayer.

Also Present: 3- residents; 3- employees; 3- guests; Director of Public Safety, Brian Michelli; Director of Public Utilities.

The motion by Andrea Anderson, supported by Heidi Tice, was carried unanimously, to approve the minutes of September 24 & September 28, 2018 as presented.

The motion by Rose Dillon, supported by Greg Hulka, was carried unanimously, to approve the agenda as presented with the following additions:

Item 7-C: Officer Robert Norris to full-time
Item 8-D: Culvert repair at Cloverville Rd. & Jensen Rd.


  1. Brian Michelli shared that Tuesday, October 9, 2018 through Friday, October 12, 2018, the Police Department will be accepting sealed bids on unclaimed bicycles; the Public Safety agreement between Fruitport Township and Sullivan Township was approved effective April 2019, in which Sullivan Township will provide $120,000 annually for services and $10,000 annually for equipment; the School Resource Officer is doing very well; a large fight occurred at the Haunted Hall at the Lakes Mall; the 911 surcharge proposal will be on the November 6th ballot and in part will provide new, up-to-date radios and MCT’s for Police and Fire Departments across the County.
  2. Ron Langlois reported the Broadway water main and street reconstruction are complete and the road is now open.
  3. Other correspondences shared: Muskegon County Recycling event that will be happening October 20, 2018; Roadway Safety Law for bicycles; Snow Plow Rodeo will be October 10, 2018, Park’s Board Minutes; Muskegon County Drain Commission project totals; Safe Routes to School will be on the next agenda.

1. Ron Cooper: shared a question as to if the Township is responsible for making a contribution to road projects and suggested that Farr Rd. be made wider for pedestrians.


18-124 Motion Dynamics IFT request
Motion Dynamics has requested an IFT for 12 years for an expansion to its existing facility. Darryl Todd from Muskegon Area First shared that the expansion would produce 80 new jobs.

Rose Dillon moved, Heidi Tice seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to adopt the resolution approving Motion Dynamics for a 5 year IFT for the expansion.

Ayes: Dunham, Jacobs, Anderson, Tice, Dillon, Hulka
Nays: none

18-125 OPEB discussion
Heidi Tice made a motion to put $85,000 into OPEB. The motion went unsupported.

Greg Hulka moved, Andrea Anderson seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to put $50,000 into OPEB.

Ayes: Dunham, Jacobs, Anderson, Tice, Dillon, Hulka
Nays: none

18-126 Officer Robert Norris
Brian Michelli shared that the Police Department interviewed two of the Department’s current part-time officers who would be eligible for full-time placement. Officer Norris was selected to fill the position.

Heidi Tice moved, Greg Hulka seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to move Officer Robert Norris into a full time position with Fruitport Police Department, effective September 24, 2018.

Ayes: Dunham, Jacobs, Anderson, Tice, Dillon, Hulka
Nays: none


18-127 Health insurance discussion
Discussion surrounding employee health insurance took place. The topic was TABLED until the next meeting.

18-128 MCCR of Muskegon request for Charitable Gaming License
Jeff Jacobs moved, Rose Dillon seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve resolution that the request be considered for approval.

Ayes: Dunham, Jacobs, Anderson, Tice, Dillon, Hulka
Nays: none

18-129 Yard sale discussion
Discussion occurred regarding the nuisance of ongoing yard sales. The Board directed the Supervisor to request the Planning Commission to build an ordinance to address the issue, not making it restrictive, but solving the problem.

18-130 Culvert repair at Cloverville Rd. & Jensen Rd.
Greg Hulka brought to the Board’s attention a culvert that has failed at Cloverville Rd. and Jensen Rd. The repair is due to cost approximately $7,818 and the Township’s portion would be $1409.00.

Greg Hulka moved, Todd Dunham seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to give the Supervisor permission to move forward with the repair at a cost of approximately $1,400.00; the project must come back before the Board if changes are made.

18-131 Payment of bills
Todd Dunham moved, Jeff Jacobs seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve bills as presented for payment in the following amounts: General Fund $10,568.71; Public Safety $21,642.29; Water $39,039.97; Sewer $18,080.49; T&A $2,016.00
Totaling: $91,347.46

Ayes: Dunham, Jacobs, Anderson, Tice, Dillon, Hulka
Nays: none


  1. Halloween at the Hall: Trick-or-treating will be at Town Hall October 31, 2018 from 3:30pm-4:30pm.
  2. The MTA meeting will be held on Monday, October 29th at Muskegon Township Hall @ 7:00pm.

The motion by Greg Hulka, supported by Heidi Tice was carried unanimously, to adjourn the meeting at 8:42pm.


Fruitport Township Board of Trustees Meeting – Agenda – 10/22/18


OCTOBER 22, 2018


01. Pledge of Allegiance
02. Roll call
03. Approval of board minutes: 10/8/18
04. Approve / amend agenda
05. Correspondence / reports
06. Public comments regarding agenda items

07. Unfinished Business
A. Employee health insurance
B. Administer Oath to Officer Robert Norris

08. New Business
A. Public Hearing: Police Special Assessment roll
B. Safe Routes to School
C. Part-time Fire contract
D. Vig Drive case
E. Calendar fundraiser
F. YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program classes
G. November 12th meeting cancelation

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

Muskegon County Clerk’s Full Service Saturday – 03/10/18

Muskegon County Clerk’s Full Service Saturday on Saturday, March 10th. Doors open at 9:30 for service between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

We know everyone is busy and it is difficult to get away during the week.
We will provide all services provided during the week:
· certified vital records including births, deaths, marriage, and divorce records;
· apply for a marriage license and/or schedule to be married by County Clerk Waters;
· register your business name;
· apply for a CPL,
· get documents notarized,
· and do genealogy research.

When do you need a Certified Birth Certificate? A few reasons are:
· New REAL ID now requires a certified copy of your birth certificate and any other document changing your name.
· Kids starting school
· Kids playing sports
· Driver’s education

Come prepared, check our website:
Nancy A. Waters
Muskegon County Clerk
Michael E. Kobza Hall of Justice
990 Terrace Street, 1st Floor
Muskegon, MI 49442

Phone: 231-724-6221
Fax: 231-724-6262
Most services require photo ID.


Full Service Saturday

Click on image to view the PDF version.

Muskegon County Calendar of Events 03/05/18 – 03/12/18

Presented by the Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick
March 5 @ 6:00 pm
Monday evenings at 6:00pm, January 29 – April 2, come to the USS Silversides Submarine Museum for The Vietnam War by Ken Burns!  Each episode will be followed by a discussion.  Admission is free with the purchase of museum admission.  Members are free.  For more information, call 231-755-1230.

Live Celtic Music: Uneven Ground
March 6 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Tuesday, March 6 at 6:00pm, come to Hackley Public Library for live Celtic music from “Uneven Ground!”  This is a four-piece traditional Celtic band blends vocals with instrumentals to bring their listeners on a unique musical journey.  They play Celtic, Irish, English, Scottish music.  The members are Courtney Hutson, fiddle,vocals; Dave Closz, guitar,vocals; Tim Staudacher, mandolin,guitar; and Larry Halverson, whistle, flute.

Southern Classic Shrimp and Grits with Chef Jamie
March 6 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Tuesday, March 6 from 7:00pm – 10:00pm, Kitchen 242 inside the Muskegon Farmers’ Market invites you to the culinary class, “Southern Classic Shrimp and Grits with Chef Jamie!”  Chef Jamie grew up in Louisiana, so who better to teach you the classic southern dish of Shrimp & Grits? Shrimp and Grits can be used as an appetizer or main course.  Learn what to pair with it to create a well-balanced meal.  Bring your appetite and a container to go.  This class is for older teens and adults and is limited to 12.  The cost is $40.  For more information, call (231) 769-2202.

White Lake Classical Series: Dr. Michelle Vallier
March 6 @ 7:00 pm
The White Lake Classical Series at the Book Nook & Java Shop continues Tuesday, March 6 at 7:00pm with Dr. Michelle Vallier performing music of Bach and Brahms on violin.  The cover charge is $5.  Dr. Vallier has performed throughout the country, including recital tours across the Midwest, Florida and Arizona.  In spring 2012, she gave a series of lecture recitals on Carl Nielsen’s two works for solo violin at Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University and Wichita State University.  She is an active solo performer in the greater Muskegon area.

Dinner will be at 6:15pm, featuring Hawaiian Pork Stir-Fry, Brown Rice, Glass of House Wine, Mango Crisp with Raspberries and Almonds for $17.  RSVP to The Book Nook & Java Shop by calling (231) 894-5333.

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

Muskegon Home, Garden + DIY Show
March 9 – March 10
The popular Muskegon Home, Garden + DIY Show is returning to Fricano’s Event Center March 9 and 10!  The 2018 Muskegon Home, Garden + DIY show will feature over 50 exhibitors including everything from windows, siding, gutters, and painting to home décor, furniture, landscaping and much more!  Back by popular demand, the Do It Yourself and Educational seminars will highlight floral design, furniture refurbishing, backsplash tiling, gardening and more!

In addition to exhibitors and seminars, the home show will provide fun kids activities, thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes and discounted Fricano’s Pizza with purchase of $5 home show admission ticket. Kids 12 and under are free.  Tickets will go on sale February 1, 2018.  For more information, call contact Carla Flanders at 231-724-3176.

The Alley Door Club
March 9 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Celebrating its’ 13th season, The Alley Door Club at the Frauenthal Center  kicks off January 12, 2018 with live performances from an array of local bands!  Performing on select Friday nights through April, The Alley Door Club features live music from popular West Michigan bands in a fun environment which includes cash bar and dancing.  Featured in the Ballroom located on the 3rd Floor of the Hilt Building the doors open at 6:00pm for Happy Hour ($1 off all drinks), with live music from 7:00pm – 10:00pm.

The 2018 Alley Door Club performance schedule is as follows:

Friday, March 9:  Brena – rock
Friday, March 23:  Group Therapy Band – rock
Friday, April 13: Pop Fiction – pop & rock
Friday, April 27: Yard Sale Underwear – self-proclaimed kings of polyester pop & soul

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Frauenthal Box Office via phone at 231-727-8001 or in person Monday – Friday from 11:00am to 5:30pm or by calling Star Tickets at 1-800-585-3737.   Tickets can also be purchased at  Tables may be reserved:  $65.00 for a 4-top (included 4 admission tickets) / $100.00 for an 8-top (includes 8 admission tickets).

Louie Anderson
March 9 @ 7:30 pm
March 9 at 7:30pm, come to the Frauenthal Theater to enjoy iconic comedian, Louie Anderson!  Louie is a three-time Emmy Award® winner and one of the country’s most recognized and adored comics; named by Comedy Central as “One of 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians of All Time!”  His career has spanned more than 30 years.  He is a best-selling author, star of his own stand-up specials and sitcoms and he continues to tour the country performing to standing-room-only crowds worldwide.

Tickets are $49, $39 and $29.  Call 231-727-8001 for more information.

White Lake Business Expo
March 10 @ 8:00 am – 12:30 pm
Saturday, March 10 from 8:00am – 12:30pm, come to the 6th White Lake Business Expo and take a first-hand look at the diverse products and services offered by White Lake Area businesses at Whitehall High School.  There’ll be an emcee and give-aways every hour, a grand-prize drawing, and other business freebies, discounts and give-aways!

The Expo, presented by the Chamber and free to the public, is held in conjunction with the popular Rotary Pancake Breakfast.  More than 50 businesses are anticipated to participate!  For additional information, contact the White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at or 231-893-4585.  Sponsorships at varying levels are still available!

Gold Sponsor: Scheid Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc.
Silver Sponsors: Boardwell Mechanical Services Inc. & Redi Rental
Bronze Sponsors: Muskegon Co-Op Federal Credit Union, White Lake Assisted Living, & White Lake Beacon

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

Cast Iron Cookies with Chef Char
March 10 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Saturday, March 10 from 10:00am – 12:00pm, Kitchen 242 inside the Muskegon Farmers’ Market invites you to the culinary class, “Cast Iron Cookies with Chef Char!”  What a sweet way to use a cast iron skillet!  Make your own “giant cookie” and decorate with homemade piped frosting to leave an extra sweet message for someone special or just to decorate for your own enjoyment.  This is a great class for all ages and tailored toward beginners in the kitchen.  The cost is $35.  For more information, call (231) 769-2202.

Illustration Super Saturday
March 10 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
March 10 from 10:00am – 3:00pm, it’s an Illustration Super Saturday at the Muskegon Museum of Art!  This free family fun day celebrates all of those great artists that make portable art for little people, especially Yuyi Morales and her illustrations for Thunder Boy Jr.  Admission and activities are free!

• 10:00am & 1:00pm – Film: Wind in the Willows: A Tale of Two Toads (90 mins.) This award winning animated film brings a classic children’s book to life. Follow an unlikely crew of creatures as they outsmart the sneaky weasel.
• 11:00 am – 1:00 pm – Guided Tours: Explore Thunder Boy Jr: The Illustrations of Yuyi Morales with a Museum docent.
• 11:00am – 2:00pm – Make & Take: Taking inspiration from the various textures that Yuyi uses in her illustrations, you will layer your artwork with a variety of textures.

Full Service Saturday
March 10 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Muskegon County Clerk’s “Full Service Saturday” is Saturday, March 10 from 10:00am – 2:00pm!  Do you have a hard time getting away during the week?  The Clerk’s Office will be open on this special Saturday with all of their regular services:

• certified vital records including births, deaths, marriage, and divorce records
• apply for a marriage license and/or schedule to be married by County Clerk Waters
• register your business name
• apply for a CPL
• get documents notarized
• genealogy research

When do you need a Certified Birth Certificate? A few reasons are:

• New REAL ID now requires a certified copy of your birth certificate and any other document changing your name.
• Kids starting school
• Kids playing sports
• Driver’s education

For more information, call (231) 724-6221.

The Ride
March 10 @ 12:00 pm – 4:30 pm
The Ride is Muskegon’s premier indoor cycling event!  This gathering of like-minded people focuses on living heart-healthy lifestyles and inspires others to do the same.  To date, The Ride has raised over $480,000 benefitting cardiac patients in need, including:

• The development and enhancement of the Mercy Health High School Heart Screening Program
• Specialized equipment for patients receiving rehabilitation services at the Mercy Health Heart Center
• Scholarships for those in need of cardiac rehabilitation but whose financial or insurance-coverage status precludes them from receiving services

Anyone may form a team of eight members. Your team of eight cyclists will ride bikes mounted on trainers for 25-minute intervals and compete for team trophies and individual medals. Prizes are awarded for various categories, ranging from most mileage ridden to most spirited team.

Whether you are a serious cyclist or a casual biker, The Ride has a spot for you and your team. All participants will receive a commemorative gift and refreshments. The entry fee is $400 per team, or $50 per rider. The entry fee for a Youth Team is $200 per team or $25 per rider. Some teams ask area businesses to help sponsor their teams.

Register your team before Wednesday, January 31, 2018 and receive $50.00 off registration fee.
NOTE: Teams must provide one bike to be mounted on a trainer.

Don’t want to work up a sweat? The Ride needs many volunteers as team hosts (timing the riders and assisting the teams during competition), set-up and tear down. Training for team hosts will be provided. For more information, please call the Office of Philanthropy at 231-672-6976.

Lakeshore Museum Center Saturday Program: Native Americans
Saturday, March 10 from 1:00pm – 3:00pm, come to the Lakeshore Museum Center to learn about Michigan’s Native Americans with a hands-on examination of museum artifacts.  LMC Saturday Programs are open-house style and run from 1:00 – 3:00pm in the main museum building.  Programs and museum admission are free of charge for Muskegon County Residents.  Non-residents are just $3.

Black Tie for the Y Annual Gala
March 10 @ 7:00 pm
Saturday, March 10 at 7:00pm, come to the beautiful Century Club Ballroom for the “Black Tie for the Y” annual gala and auction to benefit the Muskegon YMCA!  Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a live auction, raffles, a cash bar and dessert.  Black tie is optional.  Corporate sponsorships are available.  For more information, call 231-722-9622 ext. 240 or e-mail

Spring Film Fest
March 11 @ 2:00 pm
Every Sunday at 2:00pm, February 11 – March 25, come to the Harbor Theater for the Spring Film Fest to benefit Muskegon’s historic military vessels!  Tickets are only $6.  For more information, call (231) 375-5228.

The Line-Up
• 3/11 The Quiet Man
• 3/18 The Manchurian Candidate
• 3/25 Dunkirk

Crostoli E Frittelle with Sofia
March 12 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Monday, March 12 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Kitchen 242 inside the Muskegon Farmers’ Market invites you to the culinary class, “Crostoli E Frittelle with Sofia!”  Crostoli E Frittelle are fried sweets, a traditional must on every Carnival Italian’s table.  Carnival or “Carnevale” is one of the biggest celebrations in Italy.  Famous for its masks (Venice Carnival), it starts on January 7 until the Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras), the day before Ash Wednesday.  You guessed it, you will be making Italian fried sweets in this class and learning about Carnevale from Sofia who was born, raised and lived in Italy until coming to Muskegon four years ago.

Masks are welcome although you may need to remove them while cooking!  The cost is $35.  For more information, call (231) 769-2202.

LMC Speaker Series: The Sojourners and the Single Girl
March 12 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Monday, March 12 from 6:30pm – 7:30pm, come to Michigan’s Heritage Park at Hilt’s Landing for the Lakeshore Museum Center Speaker Series featuring “The Sojourners and the Single Girl!”  Local historian Marjorie Viveen will be sharing a presentation about West Michigan fur trader, Rix Robinson, and his fur trade crew of 1830.  The license he secured for his trading granted him rights on the Grand River and Vicinity and he employed one woman and 21 men at posts scattered from Little Traverse Bay to St. Joseph.  This event takes a close look at one of our local fur trading outfits and promises to be very informative.  RSVP by calling 231-894-0342.  The cost is $6 for members and $8 for non-members.

Marjorie Viveen, Ed.S. is a retired School Psychologist and lifelong resident of Grand Haven.  She chaired committees to preserve the Ottawa County Poor Farm Cemetery, the Grand Haven Central Park Fountain, their Town Clock, and led a year-long celebration of the Grand River Greenway in celebration of Ottawa County Parks’ Silver Anniversary.  Viveen founded the Dusty Dozens History Group and was named TCHM’s 2010 “Historian of the Year.”  In 2012 she authored “Historic River Road: A Self-Guided Auto Tour for All Seasons, co-authored Our People, Their Stories with Wallace Ewing, Ph. D., and has written numerous articles.  A second book on Grand River fur trade is in the works.  She currently serves on the Ottawa County Parks Foundation Board, the Tri-Cities Historical Museum’s Editorial Board, and is the chairperson of the Ottawa County Poor Farm Sesquicentennial Committee.

Ask Dr. Universe – How Vaccines Work

Hi Doc Universe, I was wondering how vaccines work because I would really like to make a better way to get a shot that doesn’t hurt so much. Thanks.
–Jacob, 10, Cayman Islands 

Dear Jacob,

The quick, little sting of a vaccine shot can provide us with some big protection from germs that cause disease.

One kind of germ is a virus. Viruses are so small that you can’t see them even with a normal microscope. But if you use a more powerful electron microscope, you’d see each one wears a kind of coat with bits and knobs that stick out in different directions.

“Just like every person’s face looks different, every virus coat looks different,” said my friend Felix Lankester, a veterinarian at Washington State University.

He knows a lot about viruses, especially one that causes a serious disease called rabies. His team helps set up clinics in Africa to deliver life-saving rabies vaccines to animals. He offered to help us investigate how vaccines work.

Vaccines help kick your body’s big defense network, or immune system, into gear. When you get a flu vaccine, for example, you get a little bit of the flu virus. The virus doesn’t hurt you, though.

It’s in a really weak form but your white blood cells still notice something unusual is going on. They react by making Y-shaped parts called antibodies that attach to the virus’s coat.

“The bits that stick out of the coat of the virus are what antibodies recognize,” Lankester said. “It stimulates an immune response.”

The antibodies attack and tag the invading germs so your body knows to recognize and destroy them.

Your immune system doesn’t just fight off the germ, though. It actually memorizes it.

Particular kinds of cells in your body remember the different viruses that enter your system. It helps you build up what we call immunity. That way, if the virus returns, your body knows how to respond. It can fight off the invader before it makes you sick.

Memory cells are part of the reason we only get sick from some viruses once. When you get the chicken pox virus, your cells are able to remember. Then, if you get exposed to chicken pox virus again, your body knows to get rid of it quick and how.

Vaccines have helped eliminate serious diseases like smallpox and polio in many parts of the world. Rabies is a horrible disease that still affects people and our fellow animal friends. There is a vaccine for it, but some people live too far from hospitals and veterinary clinics to get it.

So delivering rabies vaccines to people who need it is really important. Lankester and friends at WSU are working toward a vision of a world without rabies, saving the lives of both people and their pets.

Dr. Universe

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

Ottawa County Parks – Parks PSA

Parks PSA: Avoid bittersweet in your holiday wreaths

It’s festive, but it’s a “gift” that keeps growingbittersweet

Wouldn’t it be great if all of the invasive plants we work to eradicate were terribly unattractive? It certainly would make the job easier.

One of the most popular plants for holiday decor is the very lovely, but very invasive, Oriental bittersweet.

Birds will eat the berries, but they can’t fully digest them. When they dispose of the partially digested berries, it spreads the plant to other places.

Eastmanville Bayou is one of our properties where Oriental bittersweet has flourished. It grows rapidly, wrapping itself around trees, girdling them. It is so strong it can choke out and bring down a full grown tree.

The plant is so prolific there, it inspired our Prescribed Browsing Project. Luckily, the goats think it’s delicious.

There is a native bittersweet, but it can be difficult to find and identify. There is only one American bittersweet recorded in our park system, and it has only flowered once in five years.

Below is a photo of Allendale Middle School students attempting to remove bittersweet at Eastmanville Bayou and a guide to identify bittersweet berries.

bittersweet taking over eastmanville bayou


On the left is the invasive plant; on the right is the native, which is uncommon in the area.

Is there hope in fighting invasive plants?

Yes, only because of our volunteers!edrr

Our volunteers and school groups help us fight the worst infestations in the county. Without volunteers, treatment of these larger infestations would be incredibly expensive and time consuming. Sometimes it may feel as though the battle against invasive plants is hopeless, but invasive species are a threat that all individuals can do something about.

What is EDRR?

Early detection, rapid response is a nationally-recognized strategy used to manage and treat invasive plants. Detecting invasive plants early significantly decreases the time and cost of treatment.

We employ a dedicated staff, the Stewardship Crew, who focus on early detection and treatment. One of their most important tools is a GPS unit they use to constantly survey and map-out where invasives pop up. They then turn to volunteers to start pulling.

Success storiesstew crew
Over the summer our Stewardship Crew detected a small patch of buckthorn at Hiawatha Forest. Buckthorn is one of the worst invasives in the state, but through monitoring and removal of small infestations, we have been successful at keeping it in the early detection stage in Ottawa County

Before: Honeysuckle taking over Olive Shores


After: Olives Shores has been managed by volunteers from Harbor Industries and Consumers Energy for three years, nearly all of the honeysuckle has been removed.


View a pdf of the newsletter by clicking here

Ask Dr. Universe – Color of Stars

What color are our stars?
-Mira, 8, Ontario 

Dear Mira,

Just the other night, I grabbed my binoculars and looked up to the starry sky. At first the stars looked white, but when I looked closer I noticed some appeared more blue and red.

I was curious to find out exactly what color they were, so I visited my friend George Newman. He’s a physics and astronomy instructor at Washington State University.

He said that a star mostly emits the kinds of light that our eyes see as red or blue.

“The thing that determines which color they give off most is their temperature,” he said.

You may have seen the connection between color and temperature if you’ve ever made toast. The little wires inside the toaster glow red and you can feel the heat coming off them.

“We think of red as hot, but blue is actually hotter,” Newman adds.

Look closely at a flame and you’ll notice it’s made up of different colors, too. The bluish part is hotter than the reddish-orange part of the flame. It’s similar with stars.

The hottest stars are bluer. The cooler ones are redder. Of course, the cooler ones are still super hot.

And while stars may be hot at their surface, they are even hotter in their middles. Stars burn because of nuclear reactions that are continuously happening at their core. The reactions create a lot of heat and pressure.

Stars actually maintain their heat for most of their lives. But sometimes their temperatures change, as do their colors.

Young clusters of stars in the galaxy contain some of the most massive stars, which are super bright and very blue.

“There are plenty of these big hot blue stars being born in the galaxy and universe, but they burn out a lot faster, so there are a lot less of them around,” Newman said.

Stars gradually grow brighter over most of their lives. Then most puff up and cool off right near the end. They become even brighter, but redder. Older clusters will contain more stars like red giants.

One blue supergiant in our galaxy is called Rigel. While Rigel is a blue star now, it will likely puff up and get redder like another star in our galaxy, Betelgeuse.

Betelgeuse is an old, red giant. It will eventually explode in an event we call a nova, and probably become a black hole.

In fact, our sun will also become a red giant one day, too. But probably not for 5 billion years or so. The life of a star is really long and it can involve lots of different changes. The next time you look up to the night sky, remember that there’s more there than at first meets the eye.

Dr. Universe

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

Ottawa County Parks – Winter 2016-2017 Announcements


Calling all artists & park lovers!

Ottawa County Parks is having a t-shirt design contest! Up to five designs from eligible entries will be chosen to print on shirts and sold at the Nature Education Center. One Grand Prize will be awarded. Read the official rules online:

Pigeon River Public Hearing

Slow-no wake speed zones are established by local governments working through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). Port Sheldon Township passed a resolution requesting a slow-no wake speed zone on the Pigeon River east of Lakeshore Drive and in the channel to Lake Michigan. As part of their investigation, MDNR has scheduled a meeting to hear public comment on the proposal for December 15 at 7:00 pm at the Port Sheldon Township Office: 16201 Port Sheldon St, West Olive, 49460. Following their investigation, MDNR will make a determination as to whether a slow-no wake speed zone is warranted.

We are hiring!

Have you ever considered working for Ottawa County Parks? We are currently searching for candidates interested in working outside over the summer. The opportunities would be perfect for students (18+) who are home on break, retirees who want to spend more time outside, or anyone interested in the parks and looking to make some extra money during the summer months.

The Parks Department will be hiring over 60 seasonal employees for the 2017 season. There are many lakeshore jobs available, but opportunities exist at parks throughout the County. Because of the large number of seasonal hires, the Parks Department will be hosting a job fair on:

Tuesday, January 3 from 9 am-12 pm at the Nature Education Center at Hemlock Crossing County Park. 

Interested candidates can expect immediate interviews with Parks Management. There is a potential for on-the-spot hires. Computers will be available for on-site online application, but candidates may review available positions and apply online before the job fair event. They will be posted online by Monday, December 12:

We encourage anyone who may not be able to attend, such as a high school senior who would be in school that day, to apply online in December.

View a pdf of the newsletter by clicking here

Ottawa County Parks – Grand River Greenway Update

Park News

Grand River Greenway Update

Completion of the Robinson Township trail, a key component to the Grand River Greenway Explorers Trail, is expected this spring. The trail is a 3.9-mile paved path along the north side of North Cedar Drive, connecting Connor Bayou to Riverside Park. The path serves as the southern connection to the new M-231 bridge non-motorized trail crossing.

Grand River Greenway

Ottawa County Parks is seeking a $1.24 million grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) to help fund the $1.85 million project. The grant proposal would potentially include funds for a parking area near the access point for the M-231 Grand River Bridge trail. The local match for the TAP grant would be provided through a $50,000 contribution by Robinson Township as well as $560,000 in funding from the Parks millage.

Grand River Explorers Trail

The Robinson Township trail will be one of the first completed segments of the Grand River Explorers Trail, an endeavor we anticipate completing in 2021. The trail will be 30 miles long and will connect Grand Haven to Grand Rapids, and a dozen parks along the way!

We are looking for community members who are interested in this project to be part of an outreach committee. The committee would speak on behalf of the trail at regional non-motorized trail meetings and other public events, as well as help guide us in our efforts. If you have interest in regional trails and the Grand River Greenway and would like to be part of this committee, please contact us:

Check out the most recent news about the Explorers Trail!

View a pdf of the newsletter by clicking here

Abortions Down 5% Nationally In Latest CDC Report

Encouraging news came the day after Thanksgiving: the Centers for Disease Control released their annual report on abortion numbers, showing a 5% decrease.

Before getting into the details, it’s important to note that three states refuse to collect and report abortion statistics: California, Maryland, and New Hampshire. While the overall abortion numbers are therefore much higher than reported by the CDC, we can see clearly the trends of the 47 states showing abortions continue to decline.

A total of 664,435 abortions were reported to the CDC in 2013. The reported abortion rate was 12.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years. The reported abortion ratio was 200 abortions per 1,000 live births. All three measures were 5% decreases from 2012, so there were fewer abortions and a higher percentage of women chose life for their children.

The latest national estimate by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute was 1,085,800 abortions in 2011. Both the Guttmacher and CDC numbers continue to show a long-term decline in abortion.

In the report there are 40 reporting areas that collected information on how old the child is at the time he or she is aborted. The report showed 5,770 late-term abortions after 20 weeks, or 1.3% of all abortions. A good estimate for the entire nation is about 10,000 abortions every year given the roughly 1 million total abortions. While made out to be an irrelevant amount, 10,000 late-term abortions is a lot; it’s roughly the same amount of murders using firearms nationally.

Abortion ratios dropped in every racial and ethnic category in 2013, but the abortion ratio is much higher in the Black community and it’s not dropping as quickly as it is in other groups. The 2013 abortion ratio per 1,000 live births was 121 for non-Hispanic White women, 178 for Hispanic women of any race and 420 for non-Hispanic Black women.

Contrary to popular thought, abortion is not a one-time occurrence for most women. Of women who had abortions in 2013, 45% were having their second abortion or more. If there are 1 million abortions in the U.S., then the statistics from the report indicate that 90,000 women every year are having at least the fourth abortion in their lifetime.

What should our conclusion be about this news? We should celebrate that more lives were saved, but we must recognize that much more prolife effort is still needed!

Chris Gast
Director of Communication/Education
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Pigeon Creek Lodge is Open

skiers at Pigeon Creek

The facility offers ski and snowshoe rentals, refreshments, and warm hospitality by the fieldstone fireplace. There are no entry fees or trail fees, however those wishing to rent skis or snowshoes will pay between $5 and $8 for two hours of fun in the snow.

Pigeon Creek County Park offers over ten miles of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails which meander through deep-rooted pine plantations, hardwood forests and peaceful wetlands along the Pigeon River. A large, lit sledding hill is also available at the park.

“As Ottawa County residents, we have some of the best ski trails right in our backyard. Once the snow begins to fall, our trail groomers keep the classic and skate ski lanes in peak condition for as long as the weather will allow,” said Jessica VanGinhoven, Parks spokesperson.

While dependent on snow conditions, the ski lodge is generally open:

  • Monday through Thursday from 4-8 pm
  • Friday from 1-10 pm
  • Saturday from 9 am-10 pm
  • Sunday from 9 am-8 pm

During satisfactory snow conditions, the park is open from 7 am until 10 pm, with trails lit after dusk. Because Mother Nature dictates the hours, it can be tricky. Skiers should keep the Pigeon Creek hotline handy to stay informed on the ski conditions and lodge hours: 616-738-9531, option one.

pigeon creek lodge

Pigeon Creek Lodge

Ski Lessons

“Cross-country skiing is an excellent way to stay in shape through the winter months,” said VanGinhoven. “All skill levels are welcome at Pigeon Creek, but if you want to brush up on your technique we offer lessons beginning in January.”

Whether you are new to cross-country skiing or a seasoned skier wishing to hone your skills, a ski clinic is for you! Space is limited and the cost is $8. Skis are not provided, but can be rented from the lodge for an additional fee. Register online:

Beginner: Learn about equipment and basic ski techniques. Those ten and older welcome. Every two children must be accompanied by an adult.

Intermediate: For experienced adult skiers wishing to refine their technique and ski more efficiently.

Ski Skating: For experienced adult skiers who want to learn several skate techniques. Skate skis are required and limited numbers are available to rent in the lodge.


Pigeon Creek Park is located at 12524 Stanton Street in West Olive.  From US-31, take Stanton and travel three miles east to the park entrance. From 120th Avenue, travel west on Stanton about a half mile. Learn more at

 As a reminder to park visitors, dog walking and hiking are not allowed once the trails have been groomed. Snowboarding is not allowed on the sledding hill or anywhere at the park.


Joint Professional Development Meeting – January 11, 2017

     Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Joint Professional Development Meeting with
APICS Grand Rapids, ISM-Greater Grand Rapids, CSCMP Western Michigan Roundtable, and The Right Place/MMTC-West Supply Chain Management Council

GRAND RAPIDS MICHIGAN – Looking to Grow Professionally in 2017? One of the best investments you can make is by joining one of the four professional supply chain organizations. West Michigan is home to thriving chapters of APICS, CSCMP, and ISM; as well as the Supply Chain Management Council supported by The Right Place / MMTC-West.

Learn about each organization in this casual, professional evening of networking.
This event is open to all current members and fellow supply chain management colleagues who would benefit joining an organization.

This FREE Event is brought to you by: APICS Grand Rapids, ISM Greater Grand Rapids Inc, CSCMP Western Michigan Roundtable, The Right Place/MMTC-West Supply Chain Management Council.

Reservations can be made:

Ottawa County Parks – Expansion of North Ottawa Dunes

Park News

Expansion of North Ottawa Dunes

NOD expansionThe Ottawa County Board of Commissioners and the Spring Lake Township Board approved
a revised agreement to acquire 80 acres of property for North Ottawa Dunes in 2016.

The land will be acquired by way of a property exchange between Spring Lake Township and David C. Bos of Spring Lake Development LLC, a negotiation spearheaded by the township. Ottawa County Parks will contribute $400,000 from the Parks millage for the 80-acre parcel, which has an estimated value of $1.3 million. We are especially grateful to the Spring Lake Township Board and John Nash, Spring Lake Township Supervisor, who have led the efforts to secure this land for North Ottawa Dunes.

Currently, the parcel is privately owned. It is located on the eastern edge of the park and surrounded on three sides by park property. Because of the parcel’s geography and natural features, it has been considered a key segment for the park by both Ottawa County Parks and Spring Lake Township for a decade. The additional land will increase the total acreage of North Ottawa Dunes to 593 acres and allow for expansion of the trail system.

View a pdf of the newsletter by clicking here

Thank You to Fruitport Volunteers!

A big shout out to thank those library lovers who volunteered to help us clean the library:

Ron Becklin
Linda Corinti
Rebecca Morrow and two hard working, sweet daughters
Chuck Koon
Andrea Anderson
Chris Anderson
Paxton Anderson
Baby Girl Anderson
Lela Miller
Bethany Nettleton

If I have forgotten anyone, please let me know  🙂

Rose Dillon, CPFA, MiCPT, MCAT
Fruitport Township Treasurer

Become a Muskegon STAR!

New STAR Training Sessions Now Open2017 Training Sessions Now Open!

The Muskegon STAR! Program provides individuals the tools to excel at customer interaction and enhance the overall experience for tourists, guests, friends and fellow employees. BE THE REASON someone moves to, invests in, or visits the Muskegon Lakeshore.


With the popularity of the Muskegon STAR! Program growing, many companies are opting to have the training in-house. Call the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber at 231-722-3751 to schedule a corporate training for your staff or organization.

STAR! Sessions fill quickly – Reserve your space early! 

Click here to Register!

Event Details:
January 19, 2017
Click here to register

February 16, 2017
Click here to register

March 16, 2017
Click here to register

 1:00 – 5:00 pm
$25 per person
West Michigan Works! Office

Ottawa County Parks – Winter Programs

Winter Programs

Our program schedule does not slow down in the winter months! This season we are offering winter walks and snowshoe hikes, cross-country and skate ski lessons, Wildlife Encounters, Coffee with the Birds, art and astronomy classes, birding field trips and more!

See the full program calendar by clicking here.

As always, we are committed to keeping our programs free or affordable. You’ll find programs for children, adults, and families.

Featured Event


Feb 4, 9 am-1 pm • Location TBA

(Alternate date is Feb 11)

Registration encouraged

This free event is geared for children of all ages, accompanied by an adult. More details will follow. Registration is not required but is encouraged in case the event is moved to the alternate date.

This event is generously hosted by the Friends of Ottawa County Parks. Friends invites you to join the all volunteer organization! Through a multitude of activities and outreach events, they promote and assist the Parks. Join in their endeavor, enjoy the fellowship, and make new friends while helping support the Parks. 

Winter Wonderland

Popular destinations, equipment to rent

Pigeon Creek County Park offers groomed, lit cross-country ski trails, ski and snowshoe rentals, ski lessons, and sledding. The lodge opens for the season once a good base of snow has fallen. Visitors can rent skis and snowshoes as well as warm up with hot chocolate, hot dogs, or chili by the fire. Hours rely on the weather, so keep the hotline number handy. Visit our website for more information: Please remember that once snow falls, hiking, dog walking, and horseback riding are not allowed in the park.

pigeon creek

Hemlock Crossing County Park offers snowshoe rentals for adults and children (4+) at the Nature Education Center. Guided walks are available throughout the winter; take a look at our program calendar for dates. Visitors are invited to warm up in front of a fire in the Great Room after their snowy outing!

Where to explore

Pigeon Creek and Hemlock Crossing are excellent winter destinations, especially if you need equipment, but there are many other beautiful places to enjoy and explore. Below are some of our favorites.

Infrequently, we pack and roll trails at parks other than Pigeon Creek. Keep an eye on Facebook for these announcements. 

other places to explore

>> Crockery Creek Natural Area in Nunica is a hidden gem, offering gorgeous winterscapes. Photo by Ed Post

>> Riley Trails in Holland is popular for cross-country skiing. The mountain bike trails are often used for fat tire biking. Photo by Instagrammer @bwcycling

>> In the Grand Haven area, North Ottawa Dunes has many miles of trail frequented by cross-country skiers.

>> Upper Macatawa Natural Area in Zeeland is a great place for a ski or snowshoe outing, or a winter hike!

View a pdf of the newsletter by clicking here

Holiday Tips For Dealing With Alzheimer’s

For those who have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, the thought of holiday get-togethers with family and friends may leave you feeling exhausted, anxious, or just plain overwhelmed. And while it can be a challenging time of year, with some planning and adjusted expectations, your celebrations can still be happy, memorable occasions.

According to data just released in the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, in Michigan, one in eight of those aged 45 and over report they are experiencing confusion or memory loss that is happening more often or is getting worse. For those with worsening memory problems, 45.5 percent say it created functional difficulties, such as causing them to give up day-to-day, work or social activities. With Alzheimer’s disease becoming more common, it is more likely that someone with Alzheimer’s disease will be in attendance at your holiday gathering and it is important to be prepared.

Here are our top tips for surviving the holiday season with loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia:

1. Let guests know what to expect before they arrive. Sending a letter or email in advance, letting people know about what to expect and how they can help will ease some of the burden when guests arrive. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, family can help with communication by being patient, not interrupting or correcting, and giving the person time to finish his or her thoughts. In the middle or late stages, make sure visitors understand that changes in behavior and memory are caused by the disease and not the person. For ideas on how to let others know about changes in your loved one, join ALZConnected, our online support community, where caregivers share tips on what has worked for them.

2. Pare down your responsibilities. The stress of caregiving layered with holiday traditions can take a toll. Give yourself permission to do only what you can reasonably manage. If you’ve always invited 15 to 20 people to your home, consider paring it down to a few guests for a simple meal. Let others contribute. Have a potluck dinner or ask them to host at their home. You also may want to consider breaking large gatherings up into smaller visits of two or three people at a time to keep the person with Alzheimer’s and yourself from getting overtired. Make sure everyone understands your situation and has realistic expectations about what you can do.

3. Avoid triggers. If evening confusion and agitation are a problem, consider changing a holiday dinner into a holiday lunch. If you do keep the celebration at night, keep the room well-lit. Make sure that you’re careful with decoration choices — blinking lights may confuse or scare a person with dementia, and decorations that look like food could be mistaken as edible. Sticking to the person’s normal routine will also help keep the holidays from becoming disruptive or confusing. Plan time for breaks and rest.

4. Keep the person involved. Focus on activities that are meaningful to the person with dementia. They may find comfort in singing old holiday songs or looking through old photo albums. As the person’s abilities allow, invite them to help you prepare food, wrap packages, help decorate or set the table. This could be as simple as having the person measure an ingredient or hand decorations to you as you put them up.

5. Look for helpful gifts. Diminishing capacity may make some gifts unusable or even dangerous to a person with dementia. If someone asks for gift ideas, suggest items the person with dementia needs or can easily enjoy. Ideas include: an identification bracelet, comfortable clothing, their favorite music, videos and photo albums.

6. Bring the celebration to a care facility. A holiday is still a holiday whether it is celebrated at home or at a care facility. If your loved one isn’t able to celebrate at home, consider joining your loved one in any facility-planned holiday activities. Bring a favorite holiday food to share. Sing holiday songs and ask if other residents can join in, or read a favorite holiday story or poem out loud.

To learn more ways to make the holidays peaceful and joyous with a loved one with dementia, visit, or call our 24/7 helpline at 800.272.3900.

About the Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s research, care and support. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

A 13th Letter to America

The Presidential Election is finally over!

However, the demonstrations that are occurring shows how poorly a job our school systems and our news media is doing.  Acceptance, after the people have spoken, has always been the norm, and should still be the norm.

Another norm, is respect for other people, their rights, and their property.

All that is violated when crowds take over streets and highways and start destroying government or personal property.  That is criminal conduct punishable by law.

Some demonstrators, and news media people, claim they are afraid of Trump. But if they supported his opponent, they should instead fear God.  She stood for some things God calls abomination.

You see, His Laws are just, but the penalty for disobeying Him, will be eternal damnation. First in Hell and later in the Lake of Fire forever.

The Word of God, rightfully claims, that all of us have sinned.  That we are condemned already.  But because of His great love for us he sent Jesus Christ, his only begotten son, to die for us on the cross.  His precious blood is enough to cover all the sins of the world.

Unfortunately, too many in America, and too many in the world, refuse to believe in God and The Word of God (Jesus).  Jesus said few will go to Heaven.  Seek God, believe and repent. Why reject God!

President Trump’s first official act should be to order all flags be flown at half-mast until this country stops the ungodly killing of the innocent unborn.

Manuel Ybarra, Jr.
Coalgate, Ok 74538

Muskegon County Calendar of Events 11/28/16-12/05/16

Presented by the Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Hands on a Hardbody
Through December 4
November 18 – December 4, Muskegon Civic Theatre invites you to the Beardsley Theater for “Hands on a Hardbody!”  Inspired by true events, and infused with a “fresh roots-rock vibe,” this is the hilarious musical about a hard-fought contest in which only one winner can drive away with the American Dream.  Ten contestants are determined to endure four sleepless days in the Texas heat for a chance to win a brand-new Nissan hardbody truck.  All they have to do is fight to keep at least one hand on the truck and they will drive it away.  Last one standing wins!

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

Ornament Extravaganza
Through December 24 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Now through Christmas, you are invited to the Red Lotus Gallery/Muskegon Center for the Arts for their Ornament Extravaganza!  Christmas ornaments have been created by local artists and will be available during the months of November and December.  They make wonderful Christmas gifts.  For more information, call 231-206-0426.

USS Silversides November Lecture Series
November 28 @ 6:00 pm
Monday evenings, November 14 – 21 at 6:00pm, you’re invited to the USS Silversides Submarine Museum’s November Lecture Series!  The cost is $5, or free for museum members.
–November 28:  WWII Through the Eyes of a Tank Commander presented by Clyde Rinsema
Retrace the steps of Clyde’s father Sgt. George Rinsema through the European Theater of the war from D-Day through the many battles and ending at the Elbe River in Germany in 1945.  The presentation will include quotes from letters sent home, video and photographs from WWII as well as anecdotes and comments made by Germans 50 years after the war when George & Clyde revisited the combat route taken during his time in the war.

Mystery of the Christmas Star
Tuesdays and Thursdays @ 7:00 pm
Investigate the signs that led the Wise Men to travel to Bethlehem in “Mystery of the Christmas Star” at Muskegon Community College’s Carr-Fles Planetarium!  No reservations are needed for this free, 35-minute program, which includes a brief lecture on the current sky conditions,as projected on the planetarium dome.  Runs every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00pm November 1-December 1.  The doors open at 6:45pm.  There will be no show on Thanksgiving.  Call (231) 777-0289 for more information.

Jilly’s Jewelry Workshop
November 30 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
November 30 from 6:00pm – 7:30pm, you’re invited to the Lakeshore Museum Center for Jilly’s Jewelry Workshop!  Learn the steps to making your own piece of glass art jewelry from glass artist, Jilly Barnes. Design and put together your piece and then Jilly will fire it in her oven and return it to the museum for you to pick-up. Jilly is the owner of Jilly’s Gallery in Pentwater and the 2014 2nd Place Winner of 3D Category for public voting at Art Prize.  The cost is $40 and is due prior to the workshop. Call 231-722-0278 to register.

“Once Upon a Time…Stories of the Season”
November 30 @ 7:30 pm – December 3 @ 9:00 pm
“Once Upon a Time…Stories of the Season” will be presented by Muskegon Community College’s Center for Theater with 7:30pm performances Wednesday- Saturday, November 30-December 3 in the Overbrook Theater.  Tickets go on sale Monday, November 21 at the Overbrook Theater Box Office.  Tickets are $10 for the public and $5 for MCC students, staff, and faculty.  For more information or to reserve tickets, call (231) 777-0234.
Featured stories include:
• “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg;
• “The Origin of the Candy Cane” by Lori Walburg and adapted by Kendra Irvine;
• “Hanukkah v. Christmas” by Adrianne Lewis and adapted from Dr. Steve Sultanoff:
• “A Christmas Apart” by Leona Perigard; “The Little Match Girl” by Hans Christian Andersen;
• “How Maui Snared the Sun,” a traditional story as told by Carolyn McVickar Edwards and adapted by Tom Harryman and ensemble;
• “Der Belznickel.” a traditional story as told by S.E. Schlosser and adapted by Sylvia DeBruyn; and
• “Angels in Cincinnati,” “Black Friday Blitz,” and “Mistletoe” written by MCC students Mark Lewis, Aaron Ponce, and Shayne Miller.

“Visit Muskegon” Logo Contest
December 1, 2016 – January 6, 2017
The Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau is rebranding as “Visit Muskegon.”  We are looking for a new visual identity and need your help!   We are seeking anyone who can design a creative, innovative, and professional logo design. See this link for details:

Visit Muskegon Logo Contest



Open Public Tours at the Muskegon Museum of Art
Thursdays, December 1- February 16 @ 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Enjoy free docent-led guided tours at the Muskegon Museum of Art on Thursdays, December 1 – February 16 from 5:00-7:00pm!

Mona Shores Singing Christmas Tree
December 1 @ 7:00 pm – December 3 @ 7:00 pm
This Muskegon area event has become a rich tradition for families near and far as a way of kicking off their holiday and getting into the spirit of the season. With their debuts on THE TRAVEL CHANNEL and THE LEARNING CHANNEL, as well as their 2013 Excellence in Education Award, sponsored by the Michigan Association of School Boards, their popularity has spread and large crowds are again expected at the Frauenthal Center December 1-3 at 7:00pm each night with a 3:00pm matinee Saturday as well.

With its 25,000 colored lights that coordinate to the beautiful singing, 15 tiers that reach 67 feet up into the majestic Frauenthal Center, over 280 singers, and accompanied by the 50 piece Mona Shores High School Orchestra, the Singing Christmas Tree must be seen to be believed.  For more information, visit

First Friday Fan Fundraiser
December 2 @ 7:00 pm
Friday, December 2 at 7:00pm, come to the Book Nook & Java Shop for the First Friday Fan Fundraiser!  The first Friday of the month, they feature a celebrity bartender and encourage their fans to show up and raise money.  Tips and 20% of all proceeds will benefit the charity of their choice.  This month’s celebrity bartenders are Rich Houtteman & Bob Carter.  Proceeds will support United Way of the Lakeshore, specifially the education programs in White Lake, including Lights On After School and The Dolly Parton Imagination Library.  There’ll be live music by Sherri Casey and the dinner special will be beef stew for only $6.50.  For more information call 231-894-5333.

Holidays in Lakeside
December 3 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Get in the spirit of the season with “Holidays in Lakeside”, a fun family event featuring visits with Santa, sleigh rides, a gift basket raffle, ice sculpting demonstrations, merchant sales & specials and a free movie at the Harbor Cinema.  It’s happening December 3 from 11:00am-5:00pm in the Lakeside District, with the lighting of the Pocket Park tree on Friday, December 2 at 6:30pm.  For more information, visit
–Santa Claus at Harbor Cinema 11:00am-2:00pm
–Community Bake Sale at Lakeside Center 11:00am-3:00pm
–Sleigh Rids 11:00am-2:00pm
–Holiday Movie “Home Alone” at Harbor Theater 3:00pm

64th Annual White Lake Christmas Parade
December 3 @ 12:00 am
Saturday December 3 over 80 participants will line up and follow the parade route from Whitehall to Montague along Business 31/Colby Street._ The American Legion and VFW will lead the event along with the proud Christmas Parade sponsor. The parade begins at two o’clock in the afternoon. Both Montague and Whitehall High School’s marching bands will be stepping out joined by area scout troops!_ As the Grand Finale Santa will make his entrance with a horse drawn carriage. He will be eager to see children of all ages following the parade at his house outside Montague City Hall located on Ferry St. For more information visit

Beginning Baking for Kids: Christmas Cookies and Candies with Chef Char
December 3 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Saturday, December 3rd – Beginning Baking for Kids: Christmas Cookies and Candies with Chef Char 9:00 – 11:00 am. The holidays are a time for baking and gift giving. Learn some of Chef Char’s favorite holiday recipes, including impressive homemade cookies, fudge and chocolate candies. Make, bake and decorate your treats in class to take home or to give as gifts.

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

Holiday Tours of the Hackley and Hume Historic Site
December 3 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Visitors will have an opportunity to tour the homes of Muskegon’s most well-known lumber barons decorated to celebrate the holiday season!  Holiday tours of the Hackley & Hume Historic Site will begin on Saturday, November 26, with special activities including horse drawn-wagon rides from the Site to Hackley Park for the city’s lighting of the Christmas tree.  A tent will fill the courtyard between the two houses where visitors can listen to Christmas carolers, sip hot chocolate, and decorate cookies.

Tours begin in the Hackley house where a tree in the bay window of the Reception Hall greets visitors as they embark on their journey through the homes built in the late 1800s. The holidays are also being celebrated across the courtyard in the Hume family home. A tree decorated using a family photo as a guide is always popular with visitors. The tours are walk-through style with guides placed throughout the houses to answer questions.

The groups decorating the two houses this year include Delta Kappa Gamma, Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce, Muskegon’s Woman’s Club, Shoreline Victorian Ladies Society, Muskegon County Medical Society Alliance, Helen and Elizabeth Sherman, Minerva Dill Questers, Lakeshore Animal Hospital, Barb Lloyd and Jane Arndt, and the Interpretive Staff of the Historic Sites.

Tours will continue November 27 from 1:00 – 4:00pm, December 3 from Noon to 5:00pm, Monday, December 26 from 4:00 – 8:00pm and Tuesday, December 27 from 1:00 – 4:00pm.  Tours are $7 for adults and teens, $5 for age 65 and older, and free for visitors 12 and younger.

Humane Society Fundraiser
December 3 @ 4:00 pm
Saturday, December 3, Hitching Post Events is hosting a night of dinner, comedy, music and auctions where all the proceeds will benefit The Muskegon Humane Society!  This will be perfect for your company Christmas party or a fun date night!  Adoptable animals will be on site from 4:00pm-5:30pm, then it’s a Dinner buffet at 6:30pm and Comedians start at 8:00pm.  There’ll also be live auctions and a cash bar.  Tickets are available now and can be purchased at The Hitching post or The Muskegon Humane Society.

Single Tickets: $35
Reserve an entire table for your family or business (8 seats): $240

For ticket sales or general questions please contact:
The Muskegon Humane Society
2640 Marquette Ave., Muskegon, MI 49442

Circle of Trees
December 4
The Circle of Trees is held on the first Sunday in December.  Trees are decorated in Walker Park, the annual “Dog Parade” is held on Ruddiman Ave. and the tree lighting ceremony, refreshments and visits with Santa follow immediately after.  If you wish to participate or for more information, contact City Clerk Marcia Jeske at 231-744-1621 or by e-mail



Non-Profit Organization Looking for Community Members to Join our International Team

Fall 2016 – Spring 2017

ASSE International Student Exchange Program (ASSE) is seeking representatives to work with volunteer host families and international exchange students in your community. ASSE provides academic year and semester exchange programs in the United States for high school students from around the world. Students are 15 to 18 years of age, have passed a series of academic and character requirements and are awaiting an opportunity to embark on their American adventure. Local Representatives also have the opportunity to support American high school students in their journey abroad.

Area Representatives recruit and screen prospective host families, supervise the exchange students in their community throughout the year, and interview American students who wish to live and learn abroad. Area Representatives are compensated based on the number of students they are supervising.

ASSE’s primary goal is to contribute to international understanding by enabling students to learn about other languages and cultures through active participation in family, school and community life. Through sharing their home, host families and communities also gain new knowledge and appreciation of other cultures and languages. ASSE’s Area Representatives are the cornerstone of the organization, making all of this possible!

For more information about ASSE or becoming an Area Representative, please call the Eastern Regional Office at 1-800-677-2773, email us at or go to to learn more. We look forward to welcoming you to the ranks of Area Representatives nationwide – striving towards a world of understanding, one child at a time!

Thanks from the Mission for Area People

Thank You!!
Thanks to all who support Mission for Area People in many different ways!

Special Thanks to Senator Hansen for his annual pig donation for our food pantry. For the past few years Senator Hansen has been helping the MAP food pantry by purchasing a pig and having it packaged for our pantry. Thank you Senator Geoff Hansen for thinking of Mission for Area People as we continued to provide for community neighbors in need.

Thank you to the Sister Simone Courtade Fund for the generous gift for our Medical Support as well as our Healthy Choice Food Pantry. The support from these gifts will help provide necessary emergency medical needs as well as healthy food choices for our pantry.

Thank you United Way of the Lakeshore Day of Caring for orchestrating hundreds of volunteers from all over who give their time and talents to 10 local non‐profits in our community, Mission for Area People being one of them. Thank you team leader Corey Watson for all your hard work.

Thank you Chris from CC Carpet for donating the carpet for our lobby and stairway.

Thank you Roy from Port City for donating 5 gallons of paint for our lobby.

Thank you to all of the volunteers who made the Day of Caring a special event. Your support of Mission for Area People is very much appreciated.


Candidate Bio: Paula Baker Mathes

Candidate for Muskegon District Court Judge

Paula-Baker-MathesPaula Baker Mathes has been a lawyer for more than 22 years.   She graduated from Tulane University in 1990 and Cooley Law School with honors in 1993.  Most of her career has been as a trial lawyer.  She has been in private practice, a prosecutor, and a defense attorney.  She currently works in Muskegon County’s Public Defender Office.

“Having represented clients from both sides of the courtroom, I understand the issues and the lasting impact the decisions by the Court have on people and their families.  As a judge, I would ensure fair, impartial and just consideration to all those who would come before me on the bench.”

Candidate Bio: Holly Hughes

Candidate for State Rep. – 91st District                          

I am running for re-election because our hometown and hard-working taxpayers deserve an effective Representative that gets things done. I will stay focused on jobs and the economy.  As the author of over 15 new laws, I have helped people all across our county to cut through bureaucratic red tape and advocate for common sense West Michigan solutions. I have worked closely with our county’s educators to make sure they have the resources to provide a world-class education to our kids, and I have fought for our veterans because they have always fought for our freedoms. I ask for your support so that our hometown values continue to have a voice in Lansing!

Family: My husband Rick and I have two daughters, Morgan and Taylor and Son-in-law Jonah.

Education: Michigan State University – 1981 B.A. Business

Offices Held:
State Rep. – 91st District 2011-2012 & 2015 to Present (2 terms)
– White River Twp. Trustee – 1996-2008 (3 terms)
– American Hometown Leadership Award – 1999 Received from National Assn. of Towns and Townships Association. Nominated by my fellow White River Twp. board members for channel restoration project and development of life ring alarm system (first in the nation.)
– Montague Area Public School Board
– MUSTFA Board – Appointed by Gov. John Engler
– Muskegon Local Emergency Planning Commission (LEPC) – Former Board Member

For more information go to:

Candidate Bio: Justice David F. Viviano

Candidate for the Michigan Supreme Court

justice-david-vivianoDavid Viviano was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court in 2013 and elected to complete his term in 2014. He is the Supreme Court’s point person for judicial training and e-filing.

Justice Viviano previously served as Chief Judge of Macomb County, where he led one of the largest trial courts in Michigan. He was elected to the Circuit Court in 2006 and again in 2012.

Justice Viviano has worked to reform Michigan’s jury system and implement new technologies – such as e-filing and videoconferencing – to help courts operate more safely and efficiently.

Before becoming a judge, Justice Viviano worked at two nationally-recognized law firms before starting his own firm.

Justice Viviano graduated from Hillsdale College and the University of Michigan Law School.

He and his wife live in Sterling Heights with their four children.

Candidate Bio: Brooke Slagle-Moore

Democratic Candidate Fruitport Township Clerk



“Dear Neighbors, First and foremost, I adore where I live and the Fruitport Community. I know I would love being your clerk. It is my passion; I have been working with West Michigan’s Clerks for over 12 years. You can be confident of my knowledge, fiscal-mindedness and belief that government is best run by the people it serves. I believe in working hard and am eager to be involved in the improvement of the quality of life for my Fruitport Neighbors. Let’s work together!”

Please Vote November 8! Brooke Slagle-Moore, Democratic Candidate Fruitport Township Clerk.  The candidate with CLERK experience.



• Endorsed by Carol Hulka, current Fruitport Township Clerk of 24 years.
• Over 12 years Clerk experience with Ottawa County Clerk’s Office and currently Deputy Clerk at Moorland Township, Muskegon County.
• Accredited with all state-required training for election administration.
• Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Associate’s in Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship from Baker College of Muskegon.

Visit for more information.

Michigan’s New Laws regarding Abortion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ask Dr. Universe – Why We Feel Pain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Universe

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

Ask Dr. Universe – Why Onions Cause Us to Cry

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

Dear Kera,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Universe

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

Who’s Life Matters?

Earlier this year, a tragic event occurred at the Cincinnati Zoo. A 3-year old boy somehow managed to wander into the gorilla exhibit, past the protective perimeter that separates visitors from the exhibit, as well as other protective measures. He fell 10 to 15 feet into the enclosure’s protective moat.

Of  the 3 gorillas in the exhibit, 2 responded to the calls of zoo officials and retreated, while the large male gorilla, “Harambe”, advanced toward the child, eventually grabbed him, and dragged him around the enclosure.

A special team at the zoo responded to the situation by shooting the gorilla and killing it. The little boy was rushed to the hospital and found to have only received a concussion and minor injuries.

The media response to this event seemed to focus more on the killing of the gorilla than the saving of this young boy’s life. In the July 2016 issue of the Right to Life of Michigan newsletter, President Barbara Listing discussed how the reaction to this tragic story troubles her, “One news account even insinuated that Harambe was “murdered.”  I may be old school, but I didn’t  know that you could “murder” an animal.  I thought that term was reserved for humans only.”

“In addition,” Listing states, “this story completely upstaged Memorial Day, a day of remembrance for the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe. The story also overshadowed the fact that 69  people were shot in Chicago over the same weekend ending the deadliest  May in that city in 21 years!”

“There were candlelight vigils. No, not for veterans. No, not for the children shot in Chicago – for Harambe. There were memorial services. Flowers and cards left at a gorilla statue. Protests. Even an online petition that collected more than 400,000 signatures.  But it didn’t  stop there.”

“A surprising number of people actually thought it was worth risking the little boy’s life in order to save the gorilla.” Listing goes on to give some graphic examples of people’s responses on social media, then wraps up her reaction, summarizing, “Social media was on fire! Many people were very blunt, if not crude. This incident should have been settled by “survival of the fittest.” If the kid got torn apart limb from limb, so be it.”

Where are our priorities in 21st century America?

Listing believes that this story clearly illustrates why the work of Right to Life is so vitally important, “Every day we must remain steadfast as we promote the sanctity of human life. The value of the human person, young and old, is under relentless assault. We need to stand tall and hold the line no matter the circumstance.”

She concludes, “I’m sad that this gorilla had to be shot. But I’m even more thankful that the little boy is okay. I urge the Cincinnati Zoo to fix the inadequate fence. My heart goes out to this mother and her family. I am especially praying for this three-year-old little boy. God, please get a hold of his life. With this level of determination, he could be a real world changer!”

Above all else, She’s more committed than ever to “promote the value and the sanctity of every human life,” and is very thankful to have likeminded friends and supporters by her side!

Please visit for more information.

Muskegon Rotary Club’s 13Th Annual Grape Escape

September 21 Event Helps Fund Muskegon Area Promise and local Rotary Projects

MUSKEGON, MI – The Muskegon Rotary Club’s 13th Annual Grape Escape – the region’s premier wine, craft beer, and food tasting event – is scheduled for Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. and is returning to the Bella Maria’s Ristorante and Event Center, 513 W. Pontaluna Road in Norton Shores, Michigan. This newly remodeled facility, located at the Oak Ridge Golf Club, offers an expanded location for the Muskegon Rotary Club’s largest annual event.

This year’s non-profit partner is Muskegon Area Promise, and proceeds from the event will support the Promise. The Muskegon Area Promise unprecedented commitment to the young people of our community, guaranteeing that if they work hard they will be able to earn at least a two-year college degree tuition-free. Scholarships fund an Associate’s Degree or Certificate program at Muskegon Community College or Baker College of Muskegon. Eligible students are those who live in and graduate from a high school located within MAISD boundaries and have a high school graduation GPA of 3.5 or higher. Additional proceeds from the Grape Escape will help fund other Muskegon-area Rotary projects.

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

“The Grape Escape is an enjoyable, relaxing evening for guests to mix and mingle as they sip wine and microbrews and sample the area’s finest foods, while helping to provide and promote programs that are beneficial to our community,” said Deni Hunter, event co-chair.

Tickets for Grape Escape are $40.00 per person. For your convenience, tickets may be purchased online through the Muskegon Rotary Club’s Facebook page (, Muskegon Rotary Grape Escape Facebook page (, or on the club’s website at (click on the Grape Escape Link and then the Order Now button). Tickets may also be purchased in person at Rotary Club regular meetings.


Muskegon Rotary: Rotary began as an idea more than 100 years ago. Today, Rotary flourishes worldwide with 1.2 million members in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. The Muskegon Rotary Club was chartered on May 1, 1916 as Rotary International’s 216th Club. We are in District 6290, our club number is 2806. The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise.

Muskegon Area Promise: Why do YOU need to further YOUR education? In days past, the West Michigan job market offered a good living without college or even a full high school education. Today we live in a globally-oriented, knowledge-driven world where 53% of Job postings require a certificate, an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. By 2025, this number is projected to rise to 64% of Muskegon’s current workforce, only 31% have these types of post high school degrees. Megan Byard-Karaba, College Access Specialist Muskegon Area Intermediate School District 231-767-3601,,

For additional information about the Muskegon Rotary Club’s Grape Escape event on September 21, please contact: Deni Hunter ( or Mary Beth Ramos (

Shoreline Vision Welcome’s Their Newest Provider

Continuing in its goal to be the premier, fully integrated regional eye care provider with the mission to preserve and improve vision, Shoreline Vision announces the addition of Dr. David Rawlinson to its medical staff.

Dr. David Rawlinson is a native of Michigan where he graduated from Hope College and went on to earn his doctorate in medicine from Michigan State University.  Dr. Rawlinson completed his internship and ophthalmology residency at St. John Health System in Detroit.  Dr. Rawlinson was honored for scoring in the top 1% of all physicians on his Medical Board Examination.

Dr. Rawlinson relocated with his family from Florida where he worked as a comprehensive ophthalmologist with special interests in family eye care, advanced cataract care, and LASIK.  Dr. Rawlinson selected ophthalmology as a profession because he “believes that excellent vision is essential for functioning and enjoying the world in which we live.”  Dr. Rawlinson is currently accepting new patients.  To schedule your exam, visit or call 888.739.9009.

Shoreline Vision is a comprehensive medical practice that provides eye care services from eyeglasses and comprehensive eye exams to retina care and cataract surgery at the only surgical center dedicated solely to eyes.  With 16 providers and over 150 employees, Shoreline Vision is the leading eye care practice along the lakeshore and is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to every patient, using the best technology, research, and continuing education for their doctors and staff.

In addition to Muskegon, Shoreline Vision has offices in North Muskegon, Norton Shores, Spring Lake, Grand Haven, and Fremont.  For more information call Jennifer Scofield, Shoreline Vision Marketing Manager at 231.737.4717.