Long-time Fruitport Resident Celebrates 100th Birthday

by D. K. Christi, M.Ed., CWDP, Consultant, Speaker, Author & Journalist, Member, Authors Guild & Naples Press Club

luendaLueneda Johnson, born September 15, 1919 has lived in Fruitport Township over 6 decades and her children (Craig Johnson and Diane Christianson) and her grandchildren (Tanya and Craig Johnson) attended Fruitport schools followed by successful careers. She has one great grandson, Connor Johnson.  Lueneda spent childhood on her father’s farm in Mississippi where she rode in a surrey with the fringe on top to church and worked after school in her father’s general store.  She went to Michigan to help her brother in his restaurant when help was scarce during World War II and was shocked by the first winter – but made her home in Michigan, returning to the south just to visit family.  In her southern family history is a celebrated Civil War hero for the south who led comrades in an escape from a POW camp in the north by tunneling out and leading them by foot back to their regiment. Lueneda Johnson had a career as a salesperson and also was one of the first store demonstrators, providing samples of a new dairy product, yogert. She also helped her daughter, a published writer, at her presentations and book sales from Michigan to Florida.  She has wintered in Florida with her daughter for over two decades but prefers her own home in Michigan the rest of year where she manages well on her own and tends her garden – with the occasional help as needed by her son and his family who live nearby.  She attributes her long life to living life with moderation and balance and a handful of Planter’s peanuts for a snack with her occasional television movie in the evening. She was honored for her 100 year birthday by Fruitport Township Board of Trustees at their meeting in Fruitport September 9, 2019.

Fruitport Time Capsule

story and photos by Larry Pellet



Amid a close knit community gathering highlighted by a certificate read by State Senator Jon Bumstead and signed by Governor Whitmer, Fruitport once again laid claim to the future on June 22, when it poured its heart, personal artifacts, and hopes for the year 2069 into a 4 ft long brass container, bestowing its blessings upon the time capsule to be opened on another Saturday 50 years from that exact day.

Various local officials, media personnel and  business owners also attended the event, including village president Roger Vanderstelt, library board president Rose Dillon, businessman and F.A.N. owner Ron Cooper, historians Roger Dykhouse and Brian Zwart, village patriarch Donna Pope and longtime village resident Jerry Alger, who’s idea 51 yrs ago spawned the event.  Also making a cameo appearance was none other than Fruitport’s own miniature Caped Crusader.

On June 22, 1969, in commemoration of Fruitport’s centennial, Alger along with Art Aldridge and a group of leading citizens filled and buried the polished brass cylinder.  50 years later, Aldridge says “I am glad to be here for this one”.


Zwart, Vanderstelt and Alger

“I came up with the idea for the capsule in 1968 when I was 22”, said Alger.  “I brought the idea to the city council, and they immediately made me chairman”, he laughed.

Along with the original belongings placed in the capsule (minus 60lbs of commemorative coins), residents were encouraged to bring mementos, and to sign the original guestbook to be placed inside.  Also included inside was a rich history of the town named after its once-extensive fruit industry.  The canister slowly began to fill, and villagers in the next half century will be sure to be treated to some surprises, circa pre1969-2019.

Alger, for his part, gave a heart warming emotional speech, saying “It’s been a lot of fun for me…very exciting”, and library board president Dillon read a resolution declaring the importance of the event.

“It adds substance to our community”, added Fruitport mainstay Cooper.

Bumstead asked the crowd of approximately 50 souls, “who here is under the age of 50?”, then retorted, “we’ll see you back here in 2069!”.


Official certificate (click to view larger image)

Once a small cement slab is placed over the capsule and buried, a 400 lb stone bench donated by Superior Monument and engraved with a basic history outline of what was once was known as Crawville will be set on top for a sentimental and practical memory of a unique and family oriented community.

Zwart, one of the ones in the under-50 crowd, says he “appreciates the recognition Fruitport’s Sesqi-centennial was getting, in particular the capsule”.  “I’ll be here or there in 50 yrs”, he grinned slyly.

As for Alger, a longtime Fruitport activist, this will be the last of his contributions before he rides off into the sunset, selling his Fruitport home and moving to Nunica.

His hope for the future of the capsule, of Fruitport, and of the spirit that has made the community proud, is that the younger generation will carry out the tradition he sought to preserve, and to remember the history of a town that so many feel blessed to have shared in.

2019 Muskegon River Clean-up

by John Cramblet

muskrcleanThanks for helping us make the 8th annual Muskegon River Cleanup a big success again this year.  Our 356 volunteers removed 3026 beverage containers, 3 tires, 14 pairs of sunglasses, 76 flip flops from the river.  They also removed over 25 glass bottles, approximately 450 pounds of wood, 80 pounds of steel, a tricycle and approximately 350 pounds general trash  The strangest find this year was a toilet seat and we don’t know the story on that. Thanks to everyone that helped from the ground crew to all of us unfortunate ones that had to float down this beautiful river and clean up the trash.  Please remember that a glass bottle, at the bottom of the river, can be there anywhere from 500-800 years before it turns back to sand.  Next year the Muskegon River Clean-up, sponsored by Muskegon River Clean-up Company, LLC, will be on Saturday August 1, 2020.  Please mark your calendars.

Time Capsule Ceremony – Fruitport History Remembered

Location: Fruitport District Library Grounds, by Pomona Park

capsuleplaqueOn May 31, 1969 the first 50 year time capsule was buried on the Fruitport District Library grounds. On May 4, 2019 the 4 foot tall capsule was unearthed during the Village of Fruitport’s 150th Anniversary Celebration.  Artifacts could be seen at Village Pharmacy of Fruitport until June 14th and on the Fruitport Historical Society website.

On June 22nd another 50 year capsule was buried until 2069.

All those attending the ceremony received wooden and metal centennial coins that were buried in the capsule in 1969.

USDA Decides to Paws Kitten Research

from the Family Research Council –
Click here to read the whole article.

kittyandbabyApril 03, 2019 – Democrats might not lift a finger to help a newborn, but when it comes to kittens? They pounce. Just two weeks after Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) party started crusading to end cat abuse, the USDA had good news. A policy of humane treatment is now in full effect — just not, unfortunately, for children.

While Democrats cheered the announcement, 197 Republicans were marching down the House floor to try to get Pelosi’s party to give the same protection to human infants. Even Tuesday, after 25 tries, only two Democrats — Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Ben McAdams (D-Utah) — had the moral clarity and courage to sign on to the discharge petition that would force the House to go on the record about the practice of killing innocent babies. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up!

Even the Democrats’ statements were shockingly tone-deaf. While the GOP scrambled to find liberals with the decency to fight infanticide, Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) praised the government for ending the brutality against cats. “I commend the USDA for their decision to end this type of testing on kittens,” he said with absolutely no sense of irony. “They listened to the people and responded appropriately to our concerns. This is how our institutions, our government, and our democracy should work.”

Just replace the word “kittens” with “newborns,” and you’ll see how indefensible the Left’s position on infanticide sounds. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), the Senate sponsor of the bill, argued, “The KITTEN Act will protect these innocent animals from being needlessly euthanized… and make sure that they can be adopted by loving families instead.” Now imagine him saying, “The [Born-alive Survivors Protection Act] will protect these innocent [infants] from being needlessly [killed]… and make sure they can be adopted by loving families instead.”

Unfortunately, that’s the duplicity of the Left. They worry about the humane treatment of pets only to turn around and lobby for newborns to be killed on a table. At least KITTEN cosponsor Brian Mast (R-Fla.) has the dignity to oppose all kinds of violence. He may have championed the cats, but he also signed the discharge petition.

Making the story even more incredible, the USDA points out in its statement that it’s in the process of adopting “these 14 cats.” Democrats complain that there aren’t enough abortion survivors to worry about, but they started a national campaign based on a handful of animals? There are literally hundreds of infants being thrown out like garbage every year — a fact we know thanks to eye witnesses like Jill Stanek. When the CDC says there were 143 cases of babies born alive between 2002-14, the agency is only basing that number on the reports from six states! Factor in the other 44 — and the hundreds of undocumented “snippings” by monsters like Kermit Gosnell and Douglas Karpen — and we’re talking about entire schools of born children disappearing because Democrats won’t act. Maybe if they started meowing, liberals would care.

Total Passenger Activity at MKG Increased 12% in CY2018

The number of passengers choosing Muskegon County Airport (MKG) for air travel continues to climb with the total number of passengers flying on United Airlines, the Laughlin, NV and Atlantic City, NJ casino charter trips, and corporate aviation passengers increased twelve percent (12%) in calendar year 2018 (41,509 total passengers) over 2017 (37,200 total passengers).

chartMuskegon County Airport is your gateway to the world on United Airlines with daily round trip flights through Chicago O’Hare providing passengers with convenient connections to almost any destination served by United. United’s new travel-friendly schedule makes it easy to fly from Muskegon for business or pleasure.

The improved flight schedule allows customers to depart MKG early in the morning and early afternoon to make connections through Chicago and return to MKG in the early afternoon and late evening. The late evening arrival allows maximum opportunities for return flights from most domestic and international locations such as the West Coast, Mexico, Jamaica and Europe. More connections help provide lower prices.

Fly locally with a short commute to/from the airport, parking just steps from the terminal, check-in and security lines guaranteed to be no more than 50 passengers per flight, and get your bags quickly at the end of your flight to get home faster. Whether flying for business or pleasure, it pays to always Check MKG First at UNITED.COM.”

No More Sidelines’ Building Belonging Campaign

No More Sidelines announces $1.4 million fundraising effort for youth with special needs.

MUSKEGON, MI., December 4, 2018– Earlier today, No More Sidelines announced the Building Belonging campaign, a $1.4 million fundraising effort to provide expanded recreational facilities for youth and young adults with special needs.

Founded in 2005, No More Sidelines serves over 400 local families by providing enriching recreational, social, and skill-building activities for area youth with special needs and their families each year.  These activities help build a network of support for these families and their children, leading to life-long friendships and a connected community that provides support for families working to raise children with disabilities.

Launched earlier this year, the Building Belonging campaign has raised more than $1,075,000 over the last several months, 77% of the overall campaign goal.   32 community donors, local businesses, and area foundations have supported the campaign to date.

No More Sidelines leaders plan to begin expansion of their home at 640 Seminole early next year.  When complete, the expanded facility will feature an indoor soccer field, basketball and volleyball courts, and additional indoor recreational space.  The new facility will provide significantly more space for program staff, volunteers, and area youth.

At today’s public announcement of the fund drive, Senior Vice President of West Shore Bank, David Ellis, President of the Shape Corporation, Mark White, President of the Hines Corporation, Larry Hines, and CEO of Nichols, Mike Olthoff, co-chairs of the campaign, invited the public to join in the fundraising effort which will continue through the end of the year.

“As we work to provide the very best in programming for children and youth with special needs, I am pleased to be part of an effort that truly gives area families a strong support network and provides children with a place where they feel like they belong,” said Larry Hines.  “Demand for our programs is increasing,” said Mark white, “there are approximately 3,300 children with special needs in Muskegon, Ottawa and Oceana counties, and we anticipate serving more youth and families over the next several years.”

Dave Ellis announced that the campaign has received support from local and regional foundations, area businesses, and generous community donors.  “We have been so fortunate to receive gifts to this important campaign.  Our Campaign Cabinet joins me in thanking the community for their meaningful gifts.  We now invite the broader community to help us complete this campaign effort.  We welcome gifts of all sizes,” said Ellis.

Today’s announcement marks the beginning of the public phase of the $1.4 million campaign.

“This is an exceptional opportunity for the community to help build a strong network of support for children that sometimes struggle to find activities and opportunities that meet their abilities,” said Mike Olthoff.  “If we can provide the venue, we know we can help more families,” he said.

To learn more about No More Sidelines and the impact they have on the community, visit  and

Lakeshore Art Festival Moves Up in National Ranking!

Muskegon, MI – Sunshine Artist Magazine ranked Lakeshore Art Festival 11th out of 200 other craft shows throughout the nation. The magazine, known for high-quality content in the fine art and craft industry, ranks the nation’s most-profitable fine art and craft festivals based on the sales performance of its’ exhibitors each year. Lakeshore Art Festival has continued to move up in ranking each year starting at #83 in 2015, #27 in 2016 and, now at #11 for 2017.

“Our goal when reinventing the art festival was to focus on quality exhibitors that appealed to local and regional guests,” commented Lakeshore Art Festival Director, Carla Flanders. “Based on survey results and national recognition, we are doing just that! Being one of Sunshine Artist Magazine’s 200 Best signifies that the artists are happy with the event and that guests are buying their unique handmade products. It’s the best of both worlds!”

Sunshine Artist Magazine also referenced Lakeshore Art Festival’s sustainable “green” practices in partnership with the DTE Energy Foundation.

In addition to winning national awards, Lakeshore Art Festival received media from all over the nation this year, ranging as far as Washington and Oregon. The coverage recognized the festival for its one-of-a-kind kayak sculpture art made possible by Sun Dolphin.

This year also marked a record number of exhibitor applicants resulting in the extension of the festival footprint. In addition to the Kayak Sculpture Project, other new successes this year included The Door Project and the Emerging Authors Tent.

Major sponsors for the Lakeshore Art Festival include: DTE Energy Foundation, Sun Dolphin, Betten Baker, Nichols, Arconic, Eagle Alloy, ADAC Automotive, Northern Machine Tool, Staples, Chemical Bank, and Meijer.

Artist and exhibitor registration for the 2019 Lakeshore Art Festival will begin in October. Visit for more details.

Fred Meijer Berry Junction Trail Fundraising Goal Nearly Complete

[Muskegon, MI, May 10, 2018] The Fred Meijer Berry Junction Trail Commission is closing in on it’s nearly $2.1 million fundraising goal with a significant contribution from the Consumers Energy Foundation.

Commission members recently accepted a $27,000 grant from the foundation to assist in completing the 4.6 miles of regional trails throughout Muskegon County that help connect two nearby state trails, the Hart to Montague Trail, and the Musketawa Trail.

“The growth in the number of trailways throughout Michigan has provided residents and visitors alike an opportunity to safely enjoy the great outdoors by walking, running or bicycling,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “The Fred Meijer Berry Junction Trail connects several existing paths and will help enhance these healthy activities for Muskegon County visitors and residents. We are pleased to play a role in making this connection.”

Consumers Energy, its foundation, employees and retirees last year contributed over $17 million to Michigan nonprofits. The Consumers Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Consumers Energy, providing funds for education, community, civic and cultural development, social services, the environment, and emerging issues.

This “Phase II” of the trail is expected to be completed this spring and is the culmination of the work between five communities that started in 2003. Represented on the commission are the City of North Muskegon, Muskegon Charter Township, Laketon Township, Dalton Township and Fruitland Township. Other involved groups include the Muskegon County Road Commission, the County of Muskegon, the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission, the Michigan Department of Transportation, the West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“The Fred Meijer Berry Junction Trail Commission is very appreciative of the Consumers Energy Foundation’s support,” said Commission Chairman and Dalton Township Supervisor Tony Barnes. “The collaboration of public and private groups supporting this trail is an indication of the widespread support we have received over the years.”

Phase II traverses two townships (Dalton Township and Muskegon Charter Township) and a portion of the City of North Muskegon, where it connects at its southern point to the Center Street/Lake Ave. Trail, and to major regional trails such as the Muskegon Lakeshore Trail, The Musketawa Trail, the Laketon Trail and the North Bank Trail.  At the northern end of the trail, Phase II connects with Phase I at McMillan Road in Dalton Township, and travels 6.1 miles north into the City of Whitehall, and connects with the 22 mile long Hart Montague Bicycle Trail State Park.  There is an existing trail-head with parking and other amenities located at the McMillan Road connection point.

There are also several “spurs” that connect to this trail in its entirety that will allow non-motorized travelers to access the Muskegon State Park and the Duck Lake State Park, as well as many other local parks and recreation areas.  This is the final segment that connects hundreds of miles of existing trails throughout the region and state.

For more information on the Fred Meijer Berry Junction Trail Commission, visit their website at

$43 Million for 2018 Road Repair in Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana Counties

18% Increase Over 2017 Spending

Muskegon—Representative Holly Hughes announced that counties in the 34th State Senate district would receive over 18% more in road funding this year over last year. The funding increase is due to the recent vote to add $175 million to this years’ transportation budget and her effort in 2015 committing the State to future road repairs. HB 4370 of 2015, sponsored by Representative Hughes and signed into law, commits the State to spending increasing amounts annually on roads through 2021.

“Our roads need repair now. The good news is, $43 million will be spent this year in the three counties comprising the 34th senate district. Orange barrels should be a common sight this summer in Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana Counties. I will continue to push the Governor and my colleagues in the legislature to concentrate on road repair until everyone of us can drive without fear of potholes,” said Holly Hughes.

The Counties of Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana and the Cities and Villages within these Counties will receive roughly $43 million to be used for road repairs. Nearly $26.5 million to Muskegon County, almost $9.5 million to Newaygo, and Oceana will receive just over $7 million.

Muskegon County Youth Serving Systems Share Partnership Outcomes

Muskegon, MI: It’s been just over a year since the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded HealthWest a four year, $4 million grant to build and strengthen partnerships among local agencies to effectively address the needs of youth with, or at-risk for, mental illness and other challenges. The grant is providing resources to fill gaps in the system ultimately providing a “System of Care” for children and their families.

MYalliance (Muskegon Youth Alliance) System of Care is a collaboration between youth, parents, schools and agencies working together to improve services for youth across Muskegon County. This effort is focused on increasing access to needed services and engaging youth and families to help design the programs that serve them.

The Systems of Care approach helps communities to see better outcomes for youth and families including improved mental health, better school results, and youth staying safe and out of trouble. Systems of Care is all about collaboration, cultural understanding, resiliency, and community engagement.

The Systems of Care approach has two major components: System level strategies and service level strategies. At the system level, a formal governance structure has been developed, cross-system professional development is regularly occurring, barrier busting is underway and increased youth, young adult and family engagement is happening across the various youth serving systems.

At the service level there are four major services being built to support multi-system engaged youth or youth at risk for behavioral health challenges. These include a school based approach with Pathways to Potential and other community partners to bring mental health clinicians and supports into the local school districts, a County-wide mobile stabilization response for youth in crisis, a shared assessment tool and process across systems, and a partnership supporting the redesign of Muskegon County’s Juvenile Justice System in collaboration with the University of Cincinnati.

One of the largest service level pieces of MYalliance is rolling out school based mental health services in seven Muskegon County school districts. Following an interview process with the seven applying school districts, it was decided that the three districts included in phase one of the program roll-out would be Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System, Orchard View Public Schools and Reeths-Puffer Public Schools. These three districts started the school year with additional supports through MYalliance System of Care. School based services will be expanded to Holton Public Schools and Montague Public Schools starting in the 2018/2019 school year and Muskegon Public Schools and Oakridge Public Schools in the 2019/2020 school year.

HealthWest and its partners are working to fill system gaps in collaboration with the State of Michigan’s Pathways to Potential model which provides school-based human services staff to improve outcomes in attendance, education, health, safety and self-sufficiency.

In order to sustain the systems once in place, conversations are taking place with the State of Michigan to develop strategies like braided and blended funding between systems and reinvesting dollars saved from diverted residential and psychiatric placements. Other community based funding mechanisms are also being sought out.

Current Systems of Care partners include HealthWest, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, Muskegon County Family Court, The Juvenile Transition Center, Muskegon County, individual school districts, youth serving agencies, healthcare organizations including federally qualified health centers, and area youth and families.

The implementation of establishing Systems of Care stems from a County-wide survey that studied “ACEs”, Adverse Childhood Experiences, or traumatic events such as abuse, neglect, or family dysfunction that affect Muskegon County’s population. Data from a national ACE study shows that there is a direct relationship between a person’s ACE score and negative health and social outcomes. From November 2015-September 2016, the ACES Muskegon team made up of cross-agency partners and community members conducted the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) survey, collecting retrospective information from 2,252 adults living and working in Muskegon County. The data showed that Muskegon County residents as a whole have more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) than the national average. For more information on the ACEs survey, visit

Convicted Jury-Nullification Advocate, Wood, Receives Award

Bath, Michigan –  Keith Wood, a Michigan businessman who was convicted of “jury tampering” for handing out pamphlets on a public sidewalk, was presented with the “Spokesperson for Liberty Award” by the Libertarian Party of Michigan on Saturday night.

The Defender of Liberty Award Banquet (AKA “LibbyFest”)  was held March 10th at the Eagle Eye Banquet Center, Bath, Michigan.  The “Spokesperson for Liberty Award” is one of three “Defender of Liberty Awards” that may be presented annually.  It goes to a member of the community whose patriotism and conviction have inspired contributions to the cause of liberty.

Wood’s case remains in the appeal process.  He was initially arrested in 2015 after distributing a pamphlet entitled, “Jury Rights: True or False?” from the sidewalk in front of the Mecosta County courthouse in Big Rapids.  The pamphlet described the important American legal tradition that juries may choose not to convict a person for violating a law the jury decides is unjust.  In 2017  Wood was sentenced by a Mecosta County judge to eight weekends in jail, six months’ probation, 120 hours of community service, and $545.00 in fines, for jury tampering.

After receiving the award, Wood commented “Earlier in my life I felt powerless; not being able to effect change or make a difference. Then I learned of jury nullification and became excited about the power one juror has to make a difference in another’s life. An individual can make a difference, and I wanted to make sure others realized they could make a difference too.”

While presenting the award, nominator Scotty Boman said, “He was simply exercising his right to free expression… he was convicted of tampering with a jury that didn’t even exist!”

Keith Wood was initially charged with jury tampering and obstruction of justice because prosecutors claimed that he was trying to influence potential jurors before they heard a case against Andy Yoder, an Amish man who was accused of draining a wetland that was on his property. Yoder’s case never went to trial and Wood said he didn’t know Yoder. Rather, he said he just wanted to inform potential jurors that they had the right to vote their conscience over the law.

The obstruction charges were dropped last March and Wood was tried by a jury of six in June.  The jury found him guilty of jury tampering. This, after the judge barred the defense from mentioning the fact that no jury trials were scheduled, and thus no jurors were under oath the day Wood passed fliers out.

The case was appealed, but on February 2nd of this year, in Mecosta County, Isabella County District Judge Eric Janes upheld the conviction.

The other Defender of Liberty Award went to Loel Gnadt, who received the Producer of Liberty Award, which goes to a dedicated, behind-the-scenes Libertarian whose quiet labors over the years exemplifies the backbone of the Libertarian Party.

To learn more about jury nullification, go to   To learn more about the Libertarian Party of Michigan, visit

Muskegon Winter Sports Complex Launches DUNEiversity

Outdoor education program offers team building for employers, teachers

MUSKEGON, Mich.- The Lake Michigan sand dunes are more than 3,000 years old, but there’s something new in the sand dunes around Muskegon State Park.

The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex is launching its first year-round program with a DUNEiversity, an educational program that teaches team building as well as environmental awareness and how to stay active and healthy outdoors.

Groups ranging from elementary students, to sports teams, to corporate leadership teams can arrange a private reservation to spend a day in the sand dunes with a facilitator learning and developing team skills.

The program uses experiential learning as a way of teaching, where both kids and adults are taught how to work together as a team through playing games and adventuring  in the outdoors. Each game is followed up with a period of reflection facilitated by a DUNEiversity staff member.

“Last summer we beta tested the program with kids from local schools and some local businesses like the Community Foundation and Holiday Inn managers,” said Bill Bailey, DUNEiversity’s Adventure Planner.

“What we found is adults have just as much fun playing outdoors and can learn just as much as any kid can. You’re never too old to play and learn,” said Bailey

The program will be in place year-round and groups interested in participating can work with DUNEiversity staff to set goals and arrange an outing.

The Winter Sports Complex is operated by the Muskegon Sports Council, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Last spring the organization announced plans to develop a zip line canopy tour and other year-round attractions. A portion of the plan was crowd funded last fall and construction will begin later this year.

“DUNEiversity will play a big role in advancing our mission into year-round activities,” said Jim Rudicil,” Executive Director of the Muskegon Sports Council.

“We want to make Muskegon County a healthier place and we believe we’ll reach that goal by working with our local teachers and employers to get more students and working class individuals active in the outdoors through team building,” said Rudicil.

DUNEiversity has already booked school field trips and corporate team building reservations for this spring. After Memorial day the program will also offer summer day camps for kids and paddling classes. Teams who wish to make a reservation can start working with a DUNEiversity Adventure Planner at their website,

Church Leaders Guarding & Enabling Sexual Predators

issued by the Jonathan Carey Foundation

ALBANY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, December 20, 2017 — Breaking News: Catholic Church leaders in New York State are looking the other way as thousands of women and children with disabilities are being raped in institutions and group homes. Pope Francis, this is not ‘fake news’ or old news, this is current news, it is happening right now in New York State as your Church leaders look the other way.

Thousands of reported sexual assaults and rapes of vulnerable New Yorkers, many of whom are vulnerable Catholic’s, are covered-up by Governor Cuomo and his corrupt Justice Center. Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Bishop Edward Scharfenberger pictured above together with Governor Andrew Cuomo have known about the scope of these sexual assaults, rapes and cover-ups for an extended period of time and they have done nothing to stop these atrocities. Both Bishop Scharfenberger and Cardinal Dolan have been complicit and have remained silent.

In Albany New York, the Capital of New York State, which is well known for its corruption, Governor Cuomo set up his own internal reporting system to bypass 911 and local police so that most reported sexual assault and rape crimes committed against the disabled within his agencies would disappear. The same discriminatory practice and obstruction of justice is true regarding the bypassing of 911 emergency call centers and local police for thousands of physical assault crimes and hundreds of negligent deaths every year. What was just exposed in Australia is far worse in New York State, the rampant sexual assaults, rapes and cover-ups continue within thousands of State and private mental health facilities and group homes under Governor Cuomo’s authority.

Enforcing Vapor Product Compliance Checks in Muskegon County

Missy Gallegos, Public Health Educator

Muskegon, MI – Each year as part of the No Cigs for Our Kids Campaign, local tobacco retailers are checked for compliance under the Youth Tobacco Act which prohibits the selling, giving or furnishing of tobacco products to minors. The Youth Tobacco Act does not include vapor products also known as e-cigarettes or ENDS. In 2015, the Muskegon County Commission adopted Ordinance No. 2015-487 Possession of Tobacco Products by Minors. This ordinance makes it illegal to furnish tobacco products, including vapor products to minors.

Beginning March of 2018 Public Health – Muskegon County and the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office began checking compliance of the ordinance at all tobacco and vape shop retailers in Muskegon County. Many vapor products contain nicotine. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug. Teens that use vapor products could unknowingly become addicted.

Overall youth cigarette use is declining; however, there is a growing trend of vapor product use. In Muskegon County the percentage of students using electronic vapor products is 10% higher than traditional cigarettes, according to the 2015 – 2016 Michigan Profile for a Health Youth (MiPHY). Nationally, there was over a 900% increase in e-cigarette use over the same time period.

“From 2013 to 2018 many tobacco retailers in Muskegon County have met 100% compliance on traditional cigarette checks,” explains Missy Gallegos, a Public Health Educator and Designated Youth Tobacco Use Representative (DYTUR) at Public Health Muskegon County. “With vaping becoming a growing trend among teens, we want all retailers to be in compliance and to understand the important role they play in preventing nicotine addiction.”

Editorial Notes:

Muskegon County Board of Commissioners Ordinance No. 2015-487 Possession of Tobacco Products by Minors

Youth Tobacco Act

Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth

E-cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults A Report of the Surgeon General

NPR ‘Abused & Betrayed’ Series Must Lead to National Reforms

Surveillance cameras and immediate 911 reporting are vital steps to dramatically reduce the epidemic of rapes of vulnerable women & children with disabilities

ALBANY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, January 23, 2018 — NPR has released a scathing investigative reporting series called “Abuse and Betrayed” exposing massive sexual assaults and rapes of people with disabilities. According to NPR, who obtained information from the U.S. Department of Justice, people with disabilities are sexually assaulted seven or more times the rate of anyone else.

Abused and Betrayed

The wide-scale discrimination against our most vulnerable citizen with disabilities must be stopped. To deny people with disabilities immediate 911 emergency first responder services and to deny them “equal protections of laws” is discrimination in civil rights.

In the first NPR exposé, the story of a very dangerous New York State caregiver and pedophile that the Jonathan Carey Foundation has been speaking about for many months is again brought to light. In a nutshell, this man was sexually assaulting and filming at least one disabled boy that he was supposed to be taking care of in a New York State operated group home.



The Sexual Assault Epidemic No One Talks About

Schools, Law Enforcement, Emergency Responders Collaborate to Enhance School Safety

Ottawa/Allegan Counties, MI- The Ottawa Area Secure Schools Network (OASSN) —a combined effort between schools, law enforcement, and emergency responders within the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD) to enhance school safety across the region— hosted a Spring Summit March 1 at the Ottawa County Fillmore Administration Building in West Olive.

Over 150 representatives from public, private, and charter schools, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and other responders and support agencies attended the event to continue to coordinate and share training across all agencies; share practices and plans across the region and between agencies; and develop common safety procedures, protocol and language. These were identified as the top goals of the network during the 2017 fall summit.

“The OASSN summits help everyone hear the most up-to-date school safety answers from those who are experts in each of their respective subject areas,” Cal DeKuiper, superintendent for Zeeland Public Schools, said. “Working together takes regional cooperation to a deeper level resulting in a higher level of preparedness should the unthinkable ever happen in our region.”

The Libertarian Party of Michigan Opposes Donald Trump’s Renewed War on Marijuana

Lansing, MI – On January 4, 2018, Trump administration Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he is rescinding the current Department of Justice policy which places a low priority on enforcing marijuana prohibition in States with laws that have legalized the growing, possession and use of marijuana. The current policy, now rescinded, led to an explosion in the growth of the medical marijuana sector and legalization for medical purposes here in Michigan. Over half of the States now have legalized medicinal marijuana and eight states allow recreational use.

The Libertarian Party of Michigan strongly opposes this action by the Donald Trump administration. Federal prohibition of marijuana use violates both individual rights and States’ rights.

Libertarians believe that individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and must accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. We also believe that laws should be limited to protecting individuals from the initiation of force and fraud. Therefore we support the repeal of laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as Federal and State laws limiting or prohibiting the use of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes.

The “war on drugs” has been a spectacular failure. Though billions of taxpayers’ dollars have been spent, usage remains almost unchanged. What has changed is that an enormous number of individuals have been imprisoned, ruining their lives and the lives of their families. Marijuana prohibition has resulted in increased crime, official corruption and deaths. Drug cartels and related criminal activity are a direct result of prohibition. The Libertarian Party supports initiatives in Michigan that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults.

The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that the powers not granted to the Federal government or prohibited by it to the States are reserved to the States, or to the people. Nowhere does the Constitution grant the Federal government the power to prohibit the growing, distribution and use of marijuana. Thus, decisions regarding marijuana are clearly reserved to the States and the people. The Libertarian Party supports Federal legislation that would implement the Constitution by repealing Federal marijuana prohibition laws.

To contact President Trump concerning this issue, go to To learn more about the Libertarian Party of Michigan, visit

Caleb Przybylek’s First Buck

by Rich Przybylek


Caleb Przybylek’s first buck, a 6pt, shot on November 3 with a crossbow at 25 yards out. He has a heck of a story if you want to hear it. He is a 7 th grade student at Fruitport Middle School .

Let me start by telling you that I was not too enthused about hunting this year. That’s until Caleb came home from school about a week before the youth hunt, and told me he wanted to hunt and shoot a deer this year. I am an avid hunter and I have definitely been blessed but just felt like my hunting was missing something. Well I got our crossbow out and we went and sighted it in and let’s just say Caleb only needed to take one practice shot, bullseye first shot at 20 yards. So the youth weekend was here and it was gonna be miserably hot. I warned him that it was probably gonna be too hot to see deer, and we saw none. I was worried, for I just got him to hunt and not seeing deer can be a turn off and he told me he didn’t care to see deer he just wanted to spend time with me😢. It’s now the third week of bow and I can’t get him to come back out with me, but he got me excited about being out and I shot a 5pt. We hunt state land so just seeing bucks at times is tough. I went up on the 27th of October again by myself and I had a real nice 6pt coming in but I could not shoot it but knew my son could and that this might boost his confidence. I came and talked him in to going by telling him I guarantee you’ll shoot a deer, possibly a buck. I convinced him to go with me on Friday nov. 3rd and not 20 minutes in the stand, 4:15 to be exact the 6pt was coming in. I had Caleb pick up the bow, turn the safety off, and get ready. I could see he was getting nervous. He was shaking and breathing hard so I whispered to him over and over to take deep breaths and calm down. I also told him to aim at his shoulder and to not take it off. Caleb had to hold the red dot on him for 10 minutes until he cleared a few trees. He was doing so great being patient letting that buck take his time and he did not speed the shot, I teach him to never take bad shots. Finally the buck turned his head only to look behind him and in doing so he stepped forward a foot giving my son a shot. I was gonna tell him to shoot but before I could he did. Direct hit right through the heart, it only ran 20 yards and dropped. The deer did not suffer, for it was a perfect shot. I look to Caleb and say good shot and grab the crossbow so he doesn’t drop it in excitement. Then I noticed Caleb was in full tears.. I asked if he was crying because he’s sad he killed a deer and he said no. I said why then do you cry, he says to me these are tears of glory dad, I never thought I would ever shoot a buck. He didn’t know but I shed a tear myself, because I knew exactly what I was missing in my hunting, my new hunting partner Caleb. On the way home the fun competition and heckling started toward me, Caleb was teasing by saying I shot a bigger deer than you dad. I smiled and said yes! Yes you did. I so look forward to future hunting with him and my other 3 kids in the future. Thanks for letting me tell you this, Caleb is an amazing 12 year old trying to find who he is like most boys and girls his age and he lacks confidence in himself. After this hunt, I’ve seen a change in him and see him starting to gain confidence.

Missing Dog

titanTitan has been missing since December. He is male one blue eye one brown he is three years old, if you’ve seen him or have any information please contact me at (231)-736-9416

Kira Fisher

Watch Muskegon Beautification


watchusgoThe goal of the Watch Muskegon Campaign is to enhance the overall image of the Muskegon area and to share positive changes both locally and regionally – early data results show that our efforts are working!

As we continue to focus on our three pillars of Education, Beautification, and Marketing, we’d like to share how the Watch Muskegon campaign has made an impact with Beautification!


The Watch Muskegon Beautification pillar focuses on Muskegon County with an emphasis on one of our main corridors, Sherman Boulevard. We began our beautification process with a study identifying ways to improve Sherman Boulevard. A complete link to the Beautification Study can be found here. Since the beginning of the campaign, Watch Muskegon has…

verticaltwo• Created and been involved with multiple clean-up projects along Sherman Blvd.
• Coordinated a major clean-up project on Sherman Blvd. which included curb enhancements on a 1.5 mile stretch from Seaway Dr. to Getty St.
• Began an implementation strategy for gateway features in key areas along Sherman Blvd. from US-31 to Lake Michigan.
• Identified multiple locations for pocket parks on Sherman Blvd. and began the approval process for one pocket park.
• Facilitated an Adopt-a-Lot Program.
horizontaltwos• Added permanent trash receptacles in locations with significant foot traffic and debris.
• Worked with organizations to clean-up blighted properties.
• Painted fencing along Sherman Blvd.
• Researched and drafted a proposal for an anti-litter campaign.
• Created relationships with municipalities, local residents and businesses along Sherman Blvd. to implement change.


The Watch Muskegon campaign is comprised of several local businesses and individuals throughout Muskegon County and is funded 100% by private donations. The “US” in WATCH US GO is everyone, and anyone can be part of the positive change!



Have questions? Contact Carla Flanders at


Pine Hill Cemetery: Preserving Its History

By Kimberly Slezak

pinehillFruitport Township’s Cemetery, The Pine Hill Cemetery, is located in section 36 at Brooks and Pontaluna Roads. Commonly referred to as “Fruitport Cemetery”, there are no legal records to support it ever being called that. We do know that much of Fruitport’s history can be told through the cemetery.

Originally a part of Norton Township until it separated and organized under the name of Lovell in 1867, Fruitport officially became its own township on March 31, 1871. Due to the lack of paper records, exact dates are unknown for many pieces of the cemetery’s history. It is known however that in its earliest years, land for the cemetery was deeded to the township by Thomas and Ellen Smalley, Edward and Julia Craw, and Jesse H. Cooley.

Township records do not exist, but it is said that a potter’s field, for those residents who had no means for a proper burial, was located in the area of Bridge Street and Brooks Road. It has also been said that a Native American burial ground was located near the cemetery as well. Native American artifacts have been found in the area over the years, suggesting a burial ground.

The exact date of the first burial in the cemetery is unrecorded, but the oldest legible headstone dates back to 1877.

There are six known Civil War Veterans buried in Pine Hill Cemetery. These include Augustus Converse, Henry C. Barnes, Silas H. Hendryx, Moses Bigelow, Levi Bigelow, and Daniel Blackmer. These particular headstones are marked with the bronze star of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). The GAR was a fraternal organization for Civil War Veterans, specifically of the Union Army, organized in 1866. The organization became extinct in 1956 when its last member died.


Harry Ford, Joseph C. Ford, Joseph Jr. Ford

One of Fruitport’s most notable residents, Joseph C. Ford, is also buried at Pine Hill. The Ford family headstone is one of the largest to be found in the cemetery. Joseph was Superintendent of Spring Lake Iron Co. and also served as Fruitport Township Supervisor for a period. He and his family made their home at what is now The Village Park Bed and Breakfast located across the street from the present Pomona Park. The Fords had nine children, one of which died as an infant. Their youngest child, Harry, drowned in Spring Lake in 1902, in front of the Pavillion dance hall during its first year in operation. Joseph, his wife Alice, Harry, and their infant child are buried at Pine Hill.

In 1960 the mausoleum was built at Pine Hill and its first internment was in 1961. A small section of land located adjacent to the mausoleum was set aside specifically for babies and infants. Commonly referred to as “Baby Land”, the first burial in this location was Baby Akins in 1963.

The George Forsberg Memorial Chapel was added in 1973. Due to the lack of use, it is now part of the garage and storage for the cemetery.

Pine Hill and its interred residents have a great amount of history waiting to be shared. In an effort to save accurate information for future generations, The Fruitport Historical Society is seeking family biographies for those buried at Pine Hill. If you have any information that you would like to share, please contact the Fruitport Historical Society at, or through our Facebook page. Information can also be dropped off at the Fruitport District Library.

To date, members of the Fruitport Historical Society have photographed and cataloged each and every headstone in the Pine Hill Cemetery. All of this can be found on the Pine Hill link of the Muskegon County Genealogical Society web page at The society would eventually like to add any biographies that can be obtained.

The “cemetery project” team of the Fruitport Historical Society would like to thank the present caretaker, Jerry Darga, for his excellent job maintaining our beautiful cemetery. His hard work and pride shows and is greatly appreciated!

Mercy Health Appoints New President

garyalloreYour chamber is excited that our former Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Board Chair is now the President of Mercy Health. Gary’s positive leadership style will be a great asset for our healthcare community and for the chamber. We look forward to working with Gary on new partnerships and collaborations.

Congratulations, Gary Allore!

Memories of Donald L. Wood

By Pat Stressman

I have known Don for many, many years. Our children had him for a principal at Edgewood School. He really worked hard for all the children at the school. I also worked in the administrative offices of the school and could see all the good that he was doing as an administrator. My children continued to call him “Mr. Wood,” even when they were married and had children of their own. They respected him as well as everyone who knew him.

In 2001 he became the pastor at Fruitport Congregational UCC and I was the secretary. He was very interested in the people who attended the church and tried to make things better for all concerned. I remember when he would always have some sort of gift for members of the service, whether military or first responders, on special days such as Veterans Day and Memorial Day. He was here when 9-11 occurred. Many people came in to pray during that time and he was always there to comfort them and pray with them.

As the years went by, he started some new programs, one of which was Holy Humor Sunday. It is the Sunday following Easter and there was always a theme involved. One theme was baseball. He loved the Cubs. He even had a picture of Wrigley Field with his name on the marquee. He wore his Cub shirt to the service. He once said that he wasn’t going to die until the Cubs won the World Series. He got his wish!

Don had a small French poodle named Morgan. Many times he would bring her to the office. She would stay under his desk or on his lap the entire time he was there. Just this past August, Morgan was so ill that she had to be put down. He was very emotional about the loss.

For many years, Don was in the Fruitport Lions Club. He and Dan Leaver pretty much ran the Old Fashioned Days Race every year. He would sit at his desk and type up the results to be published in the “Michigan Runner” magazine. Many of the statistics are still being published annually at every Old Fashioned Days Race.

It became more and more difficult for Don to get around. His knees and hips were becoming increasing sore. He lived in Hesperia and commuted to the office on a daily basis. He was having a hard time driving at night but continued to pursue it. It was suggested that he find a place here in Fruitport. He did, once, but it didn’t work out. The winter weather made it even more difficult for him and so on December 31, 2015 he retired from the church. No one knew what he would do with himself since his life was centered around the church activities. He loved to read and feed the wild animals around his house, but he still missed his friends from the church and community.

He will be missed by all who knew him.

Upset Hindus Seek Resignation & Apology of Kellogg’s CEO for Beef Non-Disclosure

Upset Hindus are seeking resignation and apology of multinational food company Kellogg’s CEO John A. Bryant for non-disclosure of beef in some of its cereals and other products, and immediate recall of all such items from the market.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that it was shocking for Hindus to learn that some of the cereals, etc., they had been eating for years contained beef while there was no mention of beef under the ingredients mentioned on the boxes/packages.

Consumption of beef is highly conflicting to Hindu beliefs. Cow, the seat of many deities, is sacred and has long been venerated in Hinduism; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, points out.

A response from Kellogg Consumer Affairs for an enquiry received on August 12 via email, however, admitted—Gelatin derived from beef is found in the following: All varieties of Kellogg’s® Frosted Pop-Tarts®, All varieties of Kellogg’s® Frosted Mini-Wheats® cereal,  All varieties of Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies Treats™ cereal. Some of our foods contain gelatin that is derived from either beef or pork; which include: All Kellogg’s® fruit flavored snacks, All Kellogg’s® Krave Treat Bars.

It was a very serious issue for the devotees and would severely hurt their feelings when they would come to know that they were unknowingly eating beef-laced popular cereals and other Kellogg’s products, Rajan Zed noted. Kellogg’s® Frosted Mini-Wheats® cereal was reportedly introduced in 1969.

What happened to the “integrity” and “accountability” of Kellogg’s, which boasted these as the company’s “Values” on its website? Zed asked and added that it was hard to comprehend that why Kellogg’s did not mention beef clearly under the ingredients on the box/package when it was part of the product inside. Is this the way Kellogg’s wanted to advance its “Vision” to “enrich and delight the world”? Zed wondered.

Now was the time for Kellogg’s to demonstrate its “commitment to integrity and ethics” by admitting their error of not being transparent enough to mention in clear and simple terms what was inside the box/package so that an ordinary consumer could make right and appropriate choices, Rajan Zed indicated.

Launched in 1906 and headquartered in Battle Creek (Michigan, USA), awards-winning Kellogg’s claims to be “world’s leading cereal company” with over 1600 foods and sales of $13 billion in 2016. Founded by Will Keith Kellogg, Kellogg’s stated “Purpose” is: Nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive. Kellogg India is based in Mumbai.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.

Myth Busters: Fruitport History Edition

by Brian Zwart

For anyone that has done any amount of traveling, they know that every small town has its fair share of secrets, legends and myths. Well, Fruitport is no different. As I’ve been studying local history, I’ve come across several examples of this in our little town. The Fruitport Historical Society has fielded many of these questions, but I thought it would be worthwhile to dispense with some of the most notorious ones for all to hear.

One of the most popular stories that I’ve heard involves the ‘Fruitport Gold’. Ron Cooper brought me in on this several years ago and I spent some time researching it for myself. The story involves a stagecoach robbery, a death bed confession, and of course, Fruitport’s Pomona House. In August 1874, five men from Muskegon headed north to White Cloud and robbed a stagecoach loaded with payroll for the logging camps. Dressed as Indians, the men got away with $74,000 worth of gold coins. Today, that amount would be worth over $1.5 million. One of the men, Sam Norris, worked as a janitor at the Pomona House and hid his share of the loot in the cellar wall of the hotel. A year later the hotel burned. The story seemed to end there; until Ron Cooper received a letter from a woman in Florida in 1986 that included a copy of the original ‘deathbed confession’ that told the story. The author of the letter was Sarah Norris, Sam’s sister who was filled with shame and regret that her brother would have done such a thing. Apparently, the hotel burned before the gold could be removed. This myth, according to my research and that of Ronn Mann Sr., is true. The robbery really happened and part of the gold was more than likely hidden in Pomona Park as indicated by the letter.

However, it is highly unlikely that it is still there. After extensive renovations, the Pomona House reopened about a year after the first fire, which means carpenters and construction workers would have torn down walls and rebuilt most of the remaining structure. After the second fire in 1876, the cellar was left exposed in Pomona Park for decades. More than likely, someone would have found it and never said a thing about it. In the summer of 2012, I was present for an archaeological dig seeking the foundations of the Pomona House. Many people stopped to ask if we were looking for gold. No, we weren’t; nor did we find any. So, this myth is true. But don’t waste your time looking for it, because it’s long gone.

The next myth is a fun one. It involves secret tunnels that run under the Village Park Bed and Breakfast. The bed and breakfast was at one time the home of Joseph Ford, manager and operator of the Spring Lake Iron Company. Many older residents recall Furnace Town, well, that was it. Ford built his home in the early 1880s and lived there until his death in 1912. While there is no historical indication that the tunnels actually exist, previous residents claim to have found them and even admit to playing in them as children. I was invited by the current owners to investigate this a few years back, and found it very interesting. While I did not find the entrance to the tunnels myself, there is indication that they are there, or once were. Some stories have been floating around about the purpose of these tunnels. One explanation was that they were used by John Dillinger to rob the Fruitport bank. According to local legend, one tunnel ran east from the current bed and breakfast directly under what is now Fifth Third Bank. Well, John Dillinger was born in 1903 and died in 1934. The bank wasn’t built until 1963; so that one is bunk. The next one claims that bootleggers used another tunnel, this one extended south under the road into the basement of the Pomona House, to steal and transport booze. Again, the dates don’t add up. The Pomona House was gone for nearly twenty years before the Ford home was even built. Another version of the story gives a possible use of the tunnels as part of the Underground Railroad. Most northern towns would love to say they contributed to this noble cause, however, it is not likely. Again, the dates simply do not add up. Thanks to the 13th Amendment, slavery was officially ended in 1865. Michigan did play a part in the Underground Railroad, but the furthest stop north was in the Jackson area. Also, the house wasn’t built for another fifteen years. While we haven’t found any tunnels, they very well may be there. However, their purpose was more than likely something innocent and not nefarious. This myth is plausible.


Photo courtesy of the Fruitport Historical Society

The last myth that I’ll cover is one that may strike a chord with most Fruitport residents. It is one of the most impactful and longest lasting of the local myths; the bent Oak tree. For those who don’t know where or what this is, it is a strangely bent Red Oak tree located between the westbound and eastbound sections of I-96 on Airline Road heading south into Fruitport. When the highway was built, the Michigan Department of Transportation supposedly left this tree alone. Legend has it that this tree was bent by Indians and used as a trail marker heading to the trading posts in Grand Rapids. This story has a few problems. Firstly, while Indians did live and trade in the Fruitport area, their presence was very much depleted by the signing of the Treaty of Washington in 1836. This treaty was the formal ceding of most of the state of Michigan to the United States by the Native tribes.


One of the earliest known photographs of the Bent Oak Tree, date unknown. From the Collection of the Lakeshore Museum Center.

By using approximate dating methods, the oak tree in question is roughly 160 years old. This is a working number calculated from multiplying the trees diameter and the growth factor for that species of tree. Many environmental factors could impact this number and change it in either direction. The branch that extends out is smaller and is approximately 100 years old. Assuming the age is correct, that would place the initial growth year of the tree in 1857 and the branch in 1917. These years tell us some things. First, the initial date for the main tree trunk was twenty one years after the land was ceded to the United States government. In that era, when more and more white settlers moved in, the natives quickly moved out. Michigan became a state on January 26, 1837, and by 1860 nearly 750,000 residents were calling themselves Michiganders. The second date, if correct for the branch, puts it way out of the question that it was done by Indians. In 1917 the world was engulfed in World War I and the native presence in Michigan was almost completely assimilated to western culture.

Second, as a matter of respect for the native peoples of the America’s, they were very precise. With a small background in archaeology, I have seen some beautiful and amazing things that were designed and built by native peoples. They were accurate and precise. In regards to the tree, the branch points almost directly east, with an azimuth of about 93 degrees. If a traveler were to follow the direction of the tree branch, it would take them to Rockford, not Grand Rapids. This is about fifteen miles north of their supposed destination. If the tree was bent by Indians, I don’t think their target destination was Grand Rapids. If our tree was just one of many that pointed towards Grand Rapids, the others are long gone.

Now, this is what we do know. Fruitport and the rest of West Michigan was home to loads of Native Americans. When the first settlers came into the Fruitport area, which was officially in 1841, they more than likely still encountered some natives. But they were on the decline and were heading north, west or were beginning to assimilate into western culture. Some historical evidence does exist that might give a reasonable explanation about the tree. Some older residents agree that the tree was bent by school children as a joke. I have seen more than one account of this. I will name this myth ‘plausible’ because the date range of the main tree could have seen its fair share of Indians, but it is highly unlikely that it was bent by them or used as a trail marker.

These ‘myths’ are fun to talk about and certainly give our little town some character. Whether or not they are true is hard to say. While we have the historical process of researching and presenting evidence, it will continue to be the mission of the Fruitport Historical Society to learn as much about the past as we can and preserve it for future generations. If you have another ‘myth’ you’d like mentioned in the future, contact the Fruitport Historical Society. We can be reached online at and on Facebook.

Jodi M. Clock Nominated Finalist for Women Pet Professionals Entrepreneur of the Year

Local Businesswoman was nominated as a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year in Winter 2017 Magazine Devoted to Women Pet Professionals

MUSKEGON, MICHIGAN DECEMBER 21,2017 – Jodi M. Clock of Muskegon, MI can be seen in the just-released Top Women in the Pet Industry Magazine for Winter 2017.jodiclock

Jodi M. Clock, is a certified pet loss professional who founded, owns, and operates Western Michigan’s only pet parent direct pet loss center that offers private cremation services, burial assistance and grief support. Clock Timeless Pets in Muskegon. Details about her business can be found on page(s) 30-31 of the magazine.

For details on the offerings of Jodi M. Clock, contact her directly at or 231-343-5866. / or @askjodi

Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce – Golf Outing

Congratulations Chamber Classic Winners!

golfteamsAM First Place team: Republic Services (left picture)
PM First Place team: Lincoln Golf Club (right picture)

Longest Drive Men – AM: Ryan Oosting, Morgan Stanley
Longest Drive Men – PM: Peter Medema, Fifth Third Bank – Seminole

Longest Drive Women – AM: Michelle Van Hemert, Workbox Staffing – Whitehall Office
Longest Drive Women – PM: Jean Gallagher, Sonus Hearing Care Professionals

Longest Putt Men – AM: Bruce Smith, Sidock Group, Inc.
Longest Putt Men – PM: Trip Johnson, G&L Chili Dogs

Longest Putt Women – AM: Cathy Ferguson, Blue Cross Blue Shield/Blue Care Network of Michigan
Longest Putt Women – PM: Brennan Hallberg, Manpower

Golf Outing By The Numbers:
  • 50 Teams (Sold Out for the 3rd Year in a Row)
• 120+ Raffle Prizes
• 40 Sponsors
• 35+ Volunteers
• $2,000+ donated to silent observer

Thank you to our sponsors, golfers, raffle donors, volunteers, and everyone else involved for supporting the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce and making this the best outing yet!

Thanks again to our tournament sponsor, Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge!

Lakeshore Art Festival Named Favorite Small Town Art Fair Second Year in a Row

MUSKEGON, MI – The Lakeshore Art Festival continues to raise the bar for fine art and craft events in Michigan. For the second year in a row, the festival was ranked one of the Favorite Small Town Art Fairs by The website ranked festivals based on a survey taken by thousands of art festival attendees.

“I was incredibly excited to hear we made the list again this year,” said Lakeshore Art Festival Director, Carla Flanders. “The Lakeshore Art Festival continues to lead the way in attendance, sustainability, and interactive art. I am thrilled to be part of the great team that makes everything happen.” The art festival has also been recognized as #1 in the state of Michigan for Classic & Contemporary Craft Shows and ranked #27 in the nation by the Sunshine Artist Magazine which is known for high-quality content for the fine art and craft industry.

The rankings are obtained via ballots from art fair attendees across the country. Voters are asked to choose their favorite art fairs and shows in the country as well as in categories, such as Favorite Small Town Art Fair. They were also asked questions about their attendance preferences, festival buying habits, favorite artists and more.

“The recent recognition is bringing positive attention to the Lakeshore Art Festival and Muskegon both locally and nationally,” commented Flanders. “We are incredibly proud of all the work going into this festival, and the artists who play such a big role in this artful event.”

Fine artists and hand crafters can register now for the Lakeshore Art Festival, July 6 & 7, at Deadline is February 1, 2018.

Non-Profit Law Firm Now Open

Low Income Legal Assistance

Muskegon, MI:  On the cutting edge of criminal defense, a new Muskegon non-profit began representing low income clients on Monday, October 9, 2017.  Muskegon Community Legal Defense Center is one of only a handful of non-profits in the country who represent clients on a sliding scale, flat fee retainer, based on client income and the only one focusing on criminal defense cases.  The Muskegon Community Legal Defense Center rates begin at $325 for low income clients charged with a misdemeanor.  Fees increase based on severity of charge and the client’s income.

Previously, Muskegon County’s public defense system regularly handled three time the maximum number of cases recommended by American Bar Association standards, as well as the standards set by other professional groups.  Muskegon CLDC follows all applicable caseload standards. This allows Muskegon CLDC to maintain the highest of professional standards while proactively advocating for the rights of clients.

The creation of the Muskegon Community Legal Defense Center serves two purposes.  First, it provides affordable representation for those who are accused but do not have the financial resources for representation through for-profit firms.  Second, MCLDC will reduce the caseload of the Public Defender’s office.

Joshua EldenBrady, the new organization’s Executive Director, stated, “Operating as a non-profit on an equal pay basis with the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office will allow Muskegon CLDC to grow and attract quality legal talent in response to client and community needs.  We look forward to serving our community and our clients.”

Call 231-735-7480 for more information.

Time, Mail and Your Fruitport Post Office

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

West Michigan Spay and Neuter Clinic – Staff Spotlight

Our first staff spotlight is a two-for-one special, as these two ladies deserve great praise! 

kimpattersonKimberly Patterson,
Clinic Director

Meet Kimberly! She is no stranger to WMSN, having started here as an LVT several years ago. Her talents do not stop there, as she crossed over into the office side of the clinic, eventually becoming Director of Operations and playing an integral role in WMSNC blossoming into autonomy! Kim is an excellent leader who inspires the staff with her sincere enthusiasm for our mission and a gentle understanding of everyone’s unique perspectives. You will often find her doting upon our many patients.

Outside of the clinic, Kim is a mother to three children and one spunky orange tabby cat. She also has a special place in her heart for Dachshunds, as a special wiener dog named Duke was always by her side until his recent untimely passing.


drjulieeberlyDr. Julie Eberly, DVM,
Medical Director

Welcome our Medical Director, Dr. Eberly! She’s not new to the spay/neuter rodeo either, having garnered thousands of surgeries under her belt as a surgeon for C-SNIP for nearly 10 years.  Julie is the perfect fit for such an important job– her huge heart and genuine demeanor paired with her ingenuity and surgical acuity make her the best at what she does!

When she’s not providing top-notch surgery to 30+ animals a day, Dr. Eberly enjoys a busy, active lifestyle. She is an avid stand-up paddleboarder and loves traveling to the many beautiful sights of Michigan. She and her husband have two children, two poodles, and six cats (one of which is a kitten that Pound Buddies recently brought in for surgery, and ended up going home with her!).

Annual Sell-Out Show Opens Exhibitor Registration

The popular Muskegon Home, Garden + DIY show is returning to Fricano’s Event Center March 9 and 10, 2018.  Last year’s booth spaces sold quickly, so interested businesses are encouraged to apply early.

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.

Carla Flanders, Event Director, commented, “We’re proud to bring the spotlight to our local businesses that feature anything home, garden and DIY! This show is one of the largest events of this kind on the Lakeshore.  The feedback we received from last year echoed the event’s success and we look forward to building on that for another amazing event in 2018.”

West Michigan Spay and Neuter Clinic – Precious Patient Portraits


The staff can’t resist doting upon our patients every day, and some of them stop wiggling long enough to take pretty cute pictures! Enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at the patients of WMSNC.



Spay It Forward

Would you like to make a lasting difference in the lives of a pet, their owner, and the community? Consider Spaying It Forward by sponsoring another animal’s surgery costs with a donation of $90. Simply call or stop in to arrange your donation.

Donations are tax-refundable, and receipts will be provided. 



We would like to thank Petco Foundation for recently awarding us with a generous grant. This money will allow us to reach more pets in need, and provide the gift that keeps on giving- spay and neuter!

West Michigan Spay and Neuter Clinic Celebrates 20,000 Safe Surgeries

Celebrating 20,000 Surgeries!wmsnccelebrates

Last month, WMSNC celebrated its 20,000th safe surgery. This means that since we opened seven years ago, thousands of responsible owners have decided to say, “my pets don’t litter!”. Between cats and dogs, this has potentially prevented up to half a million puppies and kittens being displaced in the West Michigan area in only seven years.

Spay and neuter is one of the biggest reasons Muskegon County became “no-kill” in 2016. This means that healthy, adoptable animals were not euthanized simply due to overcrowding. Every owner that loves their pet enough to get them spayed/neutered makes a difference in the lives of countless other animals!


West Michigan Wishlist

We are always in need of the following items (priority items are bolded):
• Distilled water (Gallon size)
Cat carriers
• Bleach
70% Isopropyl alcohol
Wet and dry cat food
• Paper towels
• Printer paper
• Live traps (cat size)



Pictures from WMSNC’s annual open house in September.

“Hometown Boy” Thankful For Business Ownership Opportunity

by Alex Rogalla

new ownerNever in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that one day, after 31 years in the retail grocery business, I would become the owner of not one but two grocery stores. And not just any grocery stores but the very ones which I have spent my entire working career learning about the crazy yet exciting retail business. Talk about a true blessing.

It was a little more than three decades ago, when I was a junior at FHS, that I turned in an application at what was then Fruitport Foods in pursuit of my first real job; yep you guessed it a customer service bag boy/carryout. I wasn’t really sure why I wanted to work at the local grocery store but I had a ton of memories of shopping there with my mom and it seemed like a pretty cool job. So after calling and bugging the management staff for weeks on end, I finally must have drove Al Wilson crazy enough to have him ask me to come in for an interview. I did, must have went well, (or he didn’t want me calling anymore), and he hired me…..May 6, 1986.

My gut was right, I loved working there. Every day offered so much variety and so much to learn and the staff I worked with was a great bunch of people who taught me a lot about the grocery business. But my favorite part of the job was and still is my favorite part of my job; getting to know and serve the amazing customers from the surrounding communities and forming lasting, meaningful relationships with them. The saying goes “it takes all types” and believe me I think I have met all types over the years but that’s what makes each day so enjoyable. It’s the people.

Over the years, my knowledge of the grocery business grew as I gained experience working in just about every department within the store. You see, in the grocery world, if you show a solid work ethic and the desire to take on new challenges, it is almost certain that you will advance your way around the store until you have gained wisdom in most all of the departments, many times taking on more than one at a time. But what’s next? Well, when the time is right, like it was for me back in 1992, it was time to graduate to the next level of learning; what it meant to be part of the store management team. And for that, I can thank my longtime manager and mentor Wayne Ferrier. Wayne told me that the company was planning on building a brand new store right next to the current one, and that they wanted me to train to become an assistant store manager, ready to go when the doors opened on the new facility.

So, when the new store opened up in the summer of 1993, I was officially a part of the store management team, along with Wayne, Jack Stevens, and then owner Brian Punches. It was at this time that the real learning started at a whole new level, overseeing the entire store was a much different responsibility altogether. Once again, I gained valuable experience and knowledge from this group of guys who took me in under their wings, taught me what it takes to be a store manager, some through conversations, some by hands on, and some by trial and error. I can honestly say most of what I learned from Brian Punches wasn’t by what he did say but what he didn’t say; his calmness, his approach to situations, his view on taking care of the customer, and how he treated his management team and staff. Character and integrity, he had it and I was drawn to it.

Summer, 1996, the Punches family along with several other individual local investors built a new grocery store in Spring Lake, very similar to the Fruitport location layout and slightly larger. With both stores now under the same banner of Orchard Markets, these changes were about to bring about more opportunity.

August 30, 2004, a couple of years after being bought out by Roundy’s, a corporation out of Milwaukee, WI, Gary Gerlach, then of Hudsonville, MI stepped forward and purchased the two stores from the corporation, once again bringing them back to the community as “family owned and operated stores”. In 2006, we made some changes within the company structure that changed my role going from the store manager at Fruitport to the general manager of both store locations. This was an incredible challenge and blessing at the same time. Like I said earlier, it’s all about people; and getting to really know the staff at Spring Lake and the amazing customers who shop and live around there has been awesome to say the least.

Over the next 11 years, I split my time between Fruitport and Spring Lake, overseeing the operations, daily conditions, staffing needs, and human resources. Gary and I had a great working relationship; he allowed me the freedom to do my job while always providing guidance and support through his many, many years of experience in the grocery business but we also had a special friendship as well. In a lot of ways, we shared many similarities in the career path we chose and the direction the path took along the way. We shared high standards, high expectations, and a commitment to customer service and our communities.

In the early spring of 2015, Gary approached me about my interest in owning the stores one day, after he had decided that he was nearing the end of his career path and felt that he was ready to pass the baton on, not to just anyone, but he specifically said that he wanted to sell the stores to me. Talk about being humbled and blown away at the same time. Over the past 13 years of working for Gary, as his store manager first then as the general manager of both locations, I can honestly say not only did he teach me a wealth of knowledge but that he treated me as if I was part of his family, which I will forever be grateful for.

So, on July 11, 2017, I officially became the new owner of Orchard Markets Fruitport and Spring Lake. My wife Julie and I along with our children Erin and Evan feel so incredibly blessed as we take on this new endeavor. We look so forward to continuing our service to the wonderful people and families that make up the communities of Fruitport, Spring Lake, and the surrounding area. When we look back at this journey that started some 31 years ago and reflect on the life path that weaved, twisted, and turned along the way, we can only say thank you, thank you, thank you for your ongoing continued support throughout the years.

No, I could not have imagined this in my wildest dreams but His ways are higher than mine and for that I am forever thankful.

Dancing into the Sunset

Dancing into the Sunset Dance Party at Pomona Park in Fruitport, Wednesday’s throughout the summer

by Susan Halter

The 1st ANNUAL DANCING INTO THE SUNSET is in the books! With over 550 attending throughout the summer! It was successful enough that The Village of Fruitport and The Fruitport Lions Club has agreed to the 2nd Annual Dancing into the Sunset 2018 to take place again starting Wednesday May 9th. Here is just a recap of the fun we had this summer in Pomona Park at the Bandshell in Fruitport.

twirlIf you wanted to learn how to swing dance we had Steve Zaagman creator of Grand Rapids Original Swing Society teach us how. If you wanted to learn how to line dance Diane Sherman and fellow line dancers taught us how to line dance. If you wanted to learn how to Cha, Cha, waltz or the night club two step then Ed and Gayle Wiers of Grand Haven Dance Lessons stepped up to teach. If you wanted to join in Francine’s Zumba class then all were welcomed for the night. We even learned ballet the rock and roll way from Krista Carlson and how to square dance from Jim of Hi Nabors. If a live band is what you wanted to dance to then we had The Silverado Band not once but twice to entertain us. dancingImpact Entertainment Mobile DJ Service provided a variety of the music eleven of the fifteen Wednesday nights which truly was a family affair who knows how to read a crowd and what type of music needs to be played. Meghan even stepped out into the crowd to help teach a variety of dance styles from all her years of experience being a DJ. Thank you to all of you for giving your time and effort to be part of our first year.

Many thanks to Jeremy from the Village of Fruitport for making sure Pomona Park was in tip top shape each Wednesday night and reminding the community each Wednesday the party was on! Thank you to Ye Old and The Storage Group for providing the brochures and signs, thank you to Fruitport Orchard Market for the delicious 100th Birthday cake for the Lions Club Celebration on June 7th and thank you to Baker Jo’s Cupcakes for the July 5th Cupcakes. Thank you to WayPoint Dock and Deli for advertising on your rolling sign and allowing boats to moor at your docks and walk over to Dancing into The Sunset and thank you to Fruitport Township for advertising on your rolling sign as well. Even Andy O’Riley of Positively Muskegon and the Muskegon Channel on Facebook spent an afternoon with me at Pomona Park showcasing Spring Lake and the Bandshell in the background. He has a soft spot for local community events and supports what he can through his media shows. Thank you to you too, Andy. Mostly thank you to the Fruitport Lions Club for stepping up to the plate and adding this event as a Lions Club sponsored event that we all will continue for many years to come.

lineYes I mentioned a lot of thank you’s just now but it is important to know even though I was the one that started Dancing Into The Sunset it is equally important to recognize those that stepped up as well to make it happen. As you can see this was truly a community supported weekly event that I so enjoyed bringing back to the same location where many memories were made back in the 1940’s and 50’s when dancing and music took place at the “Pavilion” . I heard stories of how husbands and wives met for the first time, and still after 60 years can look into each others eyes with that sparkle and remember as if it was just yesterday. As requested pictures were brought down and given to me to display of the Pavilion as it once stood before flames took it to the ground. The structure may be gone but those memories will stay in the hearts of all those that attended. What an amazing first year! Let’s keep it going!

couplesWatch for announcements after the first of the year for the 2018 Dancing into the Sunset line up of entertainment. If anyone has any suggestions, positive comments or would like to help with the success of Dancing into the Sunset any way you can please do contact Susan at her email of: dancingintosunset or Facebook page of Dancing into the Sunset – Fruitport. Looking for sponsors to keep this a “free” event. So if you or your business would like to sponsor one of our Wednesday nights contact me at the places just mentioned.

Hope you enjoy the photos which were taken by Wendy Press VanKoevering of Picture It Now and Forever. Thank you Wendy! See you in 2018!

Be sure to purchase your tickets for The 10th Year of Dancing With the Local Stars featuring past Alumni Stars and Pro dancers held at the Muskegon Holiday Inn sponsored by Women’s Division Chamber of Commerce ( which raises funds for the local food pantries. Last year alone $126,000.00 were raised which brings the grand total to date (started in 2009) to over $700,000.00 – This year they have added additional performances. There will be six performances over two weekends. Two shows first weekend – Friday February 16th, 2018, at 7:00 pm, and Saturday evening February 17, 2018 7:00 pm, then four shows the 2nd weekend, Thursday February 22, 7:00 pm – Friday February 23nd, 7:00pm – Saturday February 24th with a matinee at 1:00pm and evening performance at 7:00pm

Yours truly was asked back for the Alumni year representing Fruitport Township and the Fruitport Lions Club. I hope many from the area will be interested in purchasing sponsorships or purchase tickets to one of the shows. I will be dancing for $$$ I will receive $1.00 towards my name to put towards the food pantry donation for each vote from the audience. So you see you need to be present to help out this local Fruitport Township dancer. The Women’s Division puts on a terrific show, a full display of hors d’oeuvres as a part of your ticket price. Contact the Women’s Division at the website above or by calling Mary Kendall at (231)-798-4244 or Thank you in advance for your support!

Hackley Community Care 25th Anniversary

“Celebrating 25 Years of Quality Health Care Services in Muskegon County.”

Muskegon, MI – The story began in 1992, with an increased rate of pre-term, low birthweight babies. “No one was addressing this issue and access to prenatal care for low income pregnant women in Muskegon was limited,” says CEO, Linda Juarez.  As a result, Hackley Community Care opened its doors in a renovated, tiny brown house on the Hackley Hospital Campus, and began offering Obstetrical and medical services.

In 1992, Hackley Community Care moved to a building on the corner of Peck and Barney and began the Certified Nurse Midwifery Program that provided prenatal care, delivery and follow-up with pregnant mothers. Soon after, we added home services to pregnant mothers with a licensed social worker, nurse, and a dietician.

Hackley Community Care continued to grow from there, and moved to our current location at 2700 Baker Street, and received Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) status. From these humble beginnings, Hackley Community Care has continuously expanded to provide an array of services that include dental, behavioral health,  a pharmacy (Community Care Pharmacy), and other supporting programs such as Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, and Komen Breast & Cervical services, to name a few. All of our service are designed to meet the needs of those who are disenfranchised. Today, we have locations at the Mercy Health Partners – Hackley Campus, an Integrated Health Center (IHC) at HealthWest, full adolescent Teen Health Centers at Muskegon High School and Oakridge Public Schools, and school based behavioral health services throughout Muskegon.

“We continue our quest to be good for our Patients, Community and Staff. I can speak for the entire Board of Directors in stating that we will continue striving to assure quality services and supports to the residents of Muskegon County.  We are so grateful for the partnerships and support from the community” says Cheryl Nebedum, Chairperson Hackley Community Care Board of Directors.

Ruth, 106 Years Old, Helps Bring Schoolhouse Back to Life

By Lin and Kaerlyn Holtrop

Ruth and kids

Ruth Brifling talks with two homeschooled girls at a pancake breakfast fundraiser in March 2017.

Ruth Brifling, the oldest surviving student of South Evergreen Schoolhouse celebrated her 106th birthday on December 12, 2016. She was one of the first donors and is very active in the renovation project to bring South Evergreen Schoolhouse back to life as a community gathering place, so people now, and in future generations, can experience an authentic one-room schoolhouse.

Renovations for this post-Civil War era schoolhouse began in early 2015, with Jim Fitzpatrick and Jim Key spearheading the project. They are hoping to have it done soon so Ruth can see it in her lifetime. “I would love to see South Evergreen School come so I can go over there, sit and reminisce and think about all the teachers we used to have,” she said in an interview with Fox 17’s Brody Carter. One memorable teacher was Miss Rankins, whose father had a music store on Main Street in Coopersville, and sold Victrolas.

After the Civil War, local area families knew the community needed some improvements; one of those improvements had to be a school. Four families in Polkon Township got together and talked with neighbors about starting a school. About two years later, a one-room schoolhouse opened on the corner of 88th Avenue, and what was then River Road (now Leonard Road). The first teacher was Fanny M. Wilson, a resident of Spring Lake, whose brother was son-in-law to one of the school’s founders. When the school finally closed in 1958 or 1959, all its students were sent to the Eastmanville Schoolhouse.

Some of Ruth’s best memories were at South Evergreen. She was 7 years old when she started school and went there through 8th grade, the highest grade taught in most one-room schoolhouses. “Even when I go by there, I think, ‘That’s my home.’ I’m glad they’re fixing it up,” she also told Carter. Ruth and her seven siblings all attended South Evergreen. “They took real good care of us.”

The South Evergreen Schoolhouse Committee worked for over a year to raise the $20,000 necessary for Polkton Township to buy the property. After the purchase in early 2015, they began the work by repairing the roof, which included removing the belfry and replacing the old shingling. The following summer, the work continued with replacing broken siding, repairing the bell tower and flagpole, and scraping and repainting the exterior, which took through the end of the year. In early 2017, they received one of the school’s original outhouses from a local couple who had used it as a garden shed. The interior work is still in process.

Fitzpatrick and Key have high hopes for the future of the schoolhouse. Once finished, the schoolhouse property will function as a bicyclist waypoint for rest and exploration, with bike racks, water stations, picnic tables, and restrooms. Tours of the schoolhouse will be available for visitors, and the Committee will work with school districts to provide students with an authentic one-room schoolhouse experience. These Living History classes will include genuine antique desks, chairs, tables, a piano, and a pot-bellied stove, just like “a day in 1867.” The schoolhouse will also be a site for festivals, reunions, and other events.

A 150th Anniversary party is planned for this fall. There will be live music, arts and crafts vendors, and food. The Committee hopes that Ruth will be able to attend as well.

To learn more about the restoration project, visit the South Evergreen website at The website also includes more information on the history of the school, updates on the renovation progress, and stories from past students and teachers. There is also a GoFundMe campaign where interested parties can help the project reach the goal of $50,000 toward renovation (

In the words of Ann Spinner Sabo-Jonick, a former student of South Evergreen School, “It was just a one-room school, but it was a place where a lot of us learned how to become outstanding, good citizens. We learned how to respect one another, and we learned how to make just a little positive difference in this great country of ours.”

Does Using Social Media Lead to Divorce?

John A. DeMarr, P.I., a California private investigator, has appeared on the cable television show AMERICA TRENDS with Dr. Gina Loudon, reporting on new research showing married couples aged 18 to 39 who use social media are twice as likely to be contemplating divorce.

DeMarr, a licensed California private investigator since 1988, discussed ways his investigators use social media to unmask cheating behavior, including a new study out of Boston University, showing married couples aged 18 to 39 who use social media are 32% more likely to think about leaving their spouse than similar married couples who do not use social media.

“These results track with our experience,” says DeMarr, “and give our investigators a clear path to identifying and documenting high-risk pre-divorce behavior. The Boston University study confirms our investigative experience. Heavy social media users enlarge their circle of friends, seek out old flames, and hook back up with hometown, high school and college social circles. This behavior gives investigators with many examples of both flirting and outright infidelity.”