United Way School Supply Drive Aids Over 600 Individuals Through Community Donations

submitted by United Way of the Lakeshore

The School Supply Drive has officially ended! This tri-county effort supported just over 650 students and teachers across Muskegon, Newaygo, & Oceana Counties. With 33 local business and agency partners that helped host boxes, we collected an estimated total of $15,000 in supplies. This number is calculated by counting each donated item and using the sales cost from a local vendor.

Overview of Distribution:
Muskegon County: Over 106 teachers were nominated by the community, with a total of 160 nominations submitted. A volunteer committee read through the nominations to select one teacher from each public school district to receive a box full of supplies. Each supply box’s estimated value is $550! Those teachers who did not get a supply box did receive a small gift of appreciation for their impact.

Teachers selected anonymously by volunteers:

  • Fruitport – Jamie Gustin, Beach Elementary
  • Holton – Mrs. Green, Holton Elementary 
  • Mona Shores – Mr. Bronsema, Ross Park Elementary
  • Montague – Janelle Flynn, MACC
  • Muskegon – Kristen Emmons, Oakview Elementary
  • North Muskegon – Chalie VanderWall, North Muskegon Elementary
  • Oakridge – Jenn Fairweather, Oakridge Upper Elementary
  • Orchard View – Mrs. DeCheney, Orchard View Early Elementary 
  • Ravenna – Wendi DeJonge, Beechnau Elementary
  • Reeths Puffer – Mrs. Bradford, Twin Lake Elementary 
  • Whitehall – Mrs. Throne, Whitehall Shoreline Elementary 

Newaygo County: Newaygo County partnered with the TrueNorth Community Services School Supply Drive in August. This drive was called “Tools For Schools” and it provided the resources kids need to achieve success by providing backpacks filled with age-appropriate supplies to kids from qualifying families.

Oceana County: Worked with their local school districts to distribute collected school supplies to classrooms that expressed need & support.

Muskegon River Trash Bash 2021 – July 29th Update

The Muskegon River Watershed Assembly is having an amazing response to their Trash Bash Event scheduled to occur on the Muskegon River during the month of August!

So far, 45 teams have signed up, totaling 309 volunteers, and over 115 miles of river scheduled to be cleaned up! “…We have a chance to make some real history this year…” said Patricia Jarrett, of MRWA.

As of this week, there were 104 miles of river left to be covered, including some pretty remote and wild sections of river. Event organizers are looking for just a handful of adventurous people willing to venture into the wild parts of the watershed.

Here is what they need to cover:

Upper Watershed
• Higgins/Houghton Lake to Ben D. Jeffs Park – estimated 16.73 miles – unknown hours
• Ben D. Jeffs Park to Pond Road – 27.5 miles – 11.46 hours
• Pond Road to Jonesville Bridge – 5.35 miles – 2.23 hours
• Jonesville Bridge to Leota Park – 4.25 miles – 1.77 hours
• Leota Park to M-61 – 23 miles – 7.19 hours
• M-61 to M-115 – 10 miles – 3.13 hours

Mid Watershed
• Rogers Dam Boat Launch to 131 Bridge Boat Launch – 2.1 miles – .78 hours
• 131 Bridge Boat Launch to David Bridge County Park – 5.6 miles – 2.07 hours
• Davis Bridge County Park to Brower County Park – 2.8 miles – 1.04 hours

Lower Watershed
• Holton-Duck Lake Road/E. River Road Launch to Muskegon Lake – 6.67 miles – 2.5 hours
• Cleanups around Muskegon Lake

Team captains can register their team at .

If these interesting, remote, and more challenging sections of river can be covered, this year’s Trash Bash will be the largest Muskegon River cleanup in history, with over 219 miles of watershed through 9 counties! It might also set the stage for an attempt at the Guinness Book for 2022.

Muskegon River Watershed Assembly Awarded EGLE Conservation, Education Grant

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) recently announced 18 grants totaling $600,000 for projects that will support watershed organizations with conservation and educational efforts. The Watershed Council Support grants are funded under Michigan’s Public Act 166 of 2020, and a total of 69 applications requesting approximately $2.4 million were received in response to the request for proposals. These grants are issued by EGLE’s Nonpoint Source Program, which helps local stakeholders reduce pollution and excess runoff by supporting efforts to develop and launch watershed management plans.

The Muskegon River Watershed Assembly (MRWA) secured a $40,000.00 EGLE Watershed Council Support Program grant this week. Principal Watershed Scientist Marty Holtgren explains: “The goal of this MRWA project is to update the Muskegon River Watershed Plan (MRWMP) with dam impacts for temperature, dissolved oxygen (DO), macroinvertebrates, and habitat. This project will involve conducting water quality and MiCorps (macroinvertebrate/ habitat) monitoring at 14 watershed dams to evaluate impacts to aquatic life and develop solutions for improving pollution that dams cause.”

The projects funded by the EGLE funding ranged from detection and control of aquatic invasive species and support of boat cleaning stations; supporting watershed management planning; coordinating water quality monitoring among local units of government in a watershed; and supporting farm-based conservation planning.

The location of dams for the MRWA proposal includes 10 from Newaygo and Muskegon counties and four upstream in Mecosta and Osceola counties. “We are pleased to now have the opportunity and resources we need as an organization to deepen our scientific understanding of the watershed and to begin to offer better informed solutions to multiple Michigan counties and townships” stated Scott Faulkner, Executive Director of the MRWA. “We will continue to do our best to keep the people and municipalities of the watershed informed and engaged, always seeking to balance environmental solutions with the economic realities we all face in rural counties.”

To see the entire list of organizations receiving funding, please go to:

Muskegon River Trash Bash Set for August 2021 – Volunteers Needed

“Who doesn’t want clean water?” asked Scott Faulkner, Executive Director of the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly (MRWA). “In 2021, as more and more people choose to reengage and enjoy the great outdoors as a first choice, we see increasing numbers on and around the beautiful Muskegon River across the entire watershed. But the river needs our help.”

The Muskegon River Trash Bash is an annual family-friendly cleanup event that hopes to encourage residents and visitors of all ages to pitch in to protect the river, its tributaries, and the thousands of acres of land that surround it. The watershed covers approximately 2,725 square miles, includes 94 connecting streams, and travels over 216 miles through nine counties from Higgins Lake to Lake Michigan in Muskegon.

“We understand that it can be rather daunting considering the scale and scope of this incredible natural wonder, and a challenge to know where to start,” stated Marty Holtgren, Principal Watershed Scientist for the MRWA. “Michiganders everywhere need to understand their opportunities for how they can start right next door, or even right outside their own window, in whatever ways they are attached to their watershed and the land that surrounds it.”

To have the largest impact across the watershed as possible, the MRWA is using the entire month of August 2021 for the Trash Bash, when water levels are at their annual low, and trash is easier to identify and safely remove. Volunteers will be able to complete their clean-up on any day in August, with each person or family assembling their own team, date and location.

“A river clean-up makes a great family outing, reunion, or team building event and provides a perfect opportunity to get outside and affect real change. You can clean up an area while tubing your favorite section, hiking a new trail, fishing a secret spot, or taking a leisurely boat ride on a hot afternoon. You are the boss on picking the place and the time and date,” stated Faulkner.

To avoid duplication of efforts, one team member must register on the MRWA Trash Bash website and complete their clean-up in August 2021 to be eligible for gifts and receive their certificate of achievement as a “Protector of the River”. Register at: beginning July 1st. After registration, you will receive an email with further details, requiring participants to sign and return a digital liability waiver prior to participating in the cleanup. Please consider helping the MRWA to preserve, protect, and restore the Mighty Muskegon!

“The MRWA could never do this without the amazing support we have received from the small business community, large corporations and foundations, and our media partners. To date, we are pleased to have received support from BlueTriton Brands, Inc. (Ice Mountain), the Consumers Energy Foundation, Jackson-Merkey Contractors, Cargill, Inc., the DTE Energy Foundation, WBZX – B103.9, Lume Cannabis, Wisner’s Rents Canoes and Republic Services. They truly support the MRWA mission and vision, and we would welcome any additional sponsorships,” stated Faulkner.

Ottawa County Reports Increase in Bats Testing Positive for Rabies

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) has received notification from the Michigan Bureau of Laboratories (BOL) that three bats recently submitted from Ottawa County have tested positive for rabies. Two of these bats were from the Holland area and one was from the Hudsonville area. Before these cases, there had been a total of only two reported cases of rabies in bats in Ottawa County in the past five years. Although our surrounding counties have not noted an increase in positive cases, consultants at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) have reported the current number of bats testing positive for rabies statewide is trending very close to the exceptionally high number recorded in 2007 when there were 199 cases of rabies in bats and 11 cases in other animals. Residents are reminded to adopt practices that protect their families and animals from rabies. This is especially important with any bats found in the house.

Click to watch: How to Safely Catch a Bat

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that is transmitted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal.

Bats and skunks are the most common carriers of rabies in Michigan. Local health departments experience an increase in calls about bat encounters during the warm weather months between May and September. During this time, bats are more active, searching for food and rearing their young. While bats are beneficial to our ecosystem, they are also one of the species of animal that is a natural host for the rabies virus.

People or pets usually get exposed to rabies when they are bitten by an infected animal. Other situations that may present a risk are when a bat is found in a room with people who have been asleep, or a bat is found with an unattended child or impaired adult who cannot be sure they didn’t have contact with the bat. In these cases, it is important to collect the bat for rabies testing. Rabies is fatal to humans. Post-exposure treatment is given to people who are exposed to a potentially rabid animal. Treatment is not necessary if the animal tests negative for rabies.

Protect your family and pets from rabies by taking these simple steps:
Avoid contact with wild animals. Do not keep wild animals as pets and do not try to rehabilitate wild animals yourself. Wild animals can carry rabies without looking sick.
If a person comes in contact with a bat, they should call the OCDPH at 616-396-5266 before they release or dispose of them.
If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, seek immediate medical attention.
If you find a bat in your home, safely confine or collect the bat if possible and contact your local health department to determine if it should be tested for rabies. More information on how to collect a bat safely can be found here or in this YouTube video.
If you are unable or would prefer not to confine or collect a bat yourself, you may consider hiring a bat/wildlife removal service.
Protect your pets by getting them vaccinated against rabies. Even cats that live indoors and never go outside can encounter a bat that gets inside the home.
If your animal is bitten or scratched by a wild animal, or if you believe they have had unsupervised contact with wildlife, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Even if your pet is currently vaccinated against rabies, additional actions may need to be taken to prevent them from becoming infected. If possible, safely confine or capture the wild animal without touching it and contact your local animal control officer or veterinarian, as the animal may need to be tested for rabies.

More information about rabies and a map of rabies positive animals in Michigan can be found at

News from Every Woman’s Place

Second Annual Collaborative Art Piece

Be part of our healing art piece and a new tradition! Add your touch to our collaborative canvas beginning July 1 through July 28.

The completed piece will be revealed during at our July 30 Friendraise for the 500 event and will eventually be displayed at EWP as an inspiration to survivors.

Pictured here is our 2020 piece partially completed. Today, it is beautifully finished and hangs in the entry to our counseling suite.

Learn More


Exceptional Advocacy Award Nominations Now Open

EWP aims to elevate and recognize each year a community member of any age, gender, or affiliation, who has contributed substantially to the the cause of advocacy for victims and survivors of domestic or sexual violence. In 2021, we will separately honor an EWP Staff and a member of our Muskegon community, with award presentations at the Power of the Purse event in October.

Learn more


2020 Census Population Counts for Apportionment

submitted by Ottawa County

On April 26, 2021 the US Census Bureau released the 2020 Census Apportionment Results which include new figures for state resident population counts, apportionment population counts, and overseas population counts. This post contains a summary of the population count updates and apportionment updates. Apportionment population results are used to calculate the number of seats in the US House of Representatives to which each state is entitled.

According to the new population count data, Michigan has gained 193,691 residents since 2010 — a 2.0% increase — for a total population of 10,077,331 residents. Because of the population increases in Georgia and North Carolina, Michigan has dropped from the eight most populous state in 2010 to the tenth most populous state in 2020.

This map from the Census Bureau shows the change in resident population for each state:


Despite a gain in resident population, the increase in other states’ populations will result in a decrease of 1 seat for Michigan in the House of Representatives for a total of 13 seats.

This map from the Census Bureau shows the change in apportionment for each state:


There is currently no official release date for 2020 Census county population data, but it is likely to be released this year.

Please reference the following links for more information:

Source: US Census Bureau Press Release on 2020 Census Population Counts for Apportionment

Learn more about apportionment.

Temporary Prohibition on Large Assemblages and Events, Temporary School Closures – Executive Order

An Executive Order from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer – “Temporary prohibition on large assemblages and events, temporary school closures” – issued March 16, 2020.

Click the image or link below to view the full .pdf file of the executive order to find out more information on this important response to COVID-19.


Temporary Restrictions on the Use of Places of Public Accommodation – Executive Order

An Executive Order from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer – “Temporary restrictions on the use of places of public accommodation” – issued March 16, 2020.

Click the image or link below to view the full .pdf file of the executive order to find out more information on this important response to COVID-19.


Marty Hulka’s Tree Farm

by Larry J Pellet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Announcing the 2019 Power of the Purse Headline Sponsor

ewplogoEvery Woman’s Place is pleased to announce its 2019 Power of the Purse Headline Sponsor, The My Auto Group and Subaru of Muskegon.

The My Auto Group and Subaru of Muskegon are standing together with Every Woman’s Place to change lives impacted by the trauma of domestic violence. As headline sponsor of the Power of the Purse, an event in which prominent men in the community model luxury purses for bid in a live auction—and donated purses are offered in a silent auction—they join West Michigan in an evening of glamour and doing good.

Maria Secord, Community Relations Director at Subaru of Muskegon, attended the 2018 Power of the Purse event as a guest, and decided to convince her boss, Scott Campbell, owner of Subaru of Muskegon, to get involved. “I saw the engagement from members of the community, bringing both men and women together in responding to the issue of domestic violence in our community, and knew it would resonate with him,” she says. She saw an opportunity with the Headline Sponsorship.

Elisa Hopper, Director of Development at Every Woman’s Place, was seeking a way to build stronger relationships with EWP’s support community, strengthening the ties that are the foundation for achieving the agency’s mission of supporting the men, women, and children who have been affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, or human trafficking in the community. She explains, “We want to have authentic connections to our sponsors, donors, and support community, and keep the conversation ongoing with our supporters by making a truly collaborative offer.”

“This sponsorship is a true partnership, and brings The My Auto Group and Subaru Muskegon into our arena of focus, through offering a 10-hour Empathy Training for 15 of their staff, as well as the opportunity to author three guest blog posts on the EWP web site,” she explains.

Veteran Owned “Silver & Gifts” Store Comes to the Lakes Mall

by Kathryn Holtrop

storefrontOpened on October 1, 2019, Silver & Gifts is a new store located in the Lakes Mall, which aims to bring the local community unique gifts and products created by local artists, crafters, and photographers.

Curator and co-founder, Lila Rinehart, a 4-year Air Force veteran, hopes that her store can provide a wide variety of hand-crafted gift options for people who don’t have time to make a special gift for every occasion. And, for people who don’t know what gifts to give, Silver & Gifts provides good customer service and will help customers find just the right thing. Even if people need a gift the store doesn’t carry directly, co-founder, Bill Wheaton, says that he will help customers find out who does sell it, “We saw Miracle on 34th Street. We thought it was a good idea.”


Framed photos that highlight the good things Pure Michigan has to offer by photographer, Christopher Kelsch, surround a variety of smaller gift baskets by Silver & Gifts co-founder, Lila Rinehart.

A number of local artists and craftspeople are selling their work through Silver & Gifts. Together with Bill, Jolene Hittle offers a variety of silver jewelry items at affordable prices. Artist, crafter, and co-founder, Tamara Meinders-Huddleston, showcases her hand-painted, watercolor Mar Mar Cards. Lila and Tamara make custom gift baskets perfect for any event, holiday, or gift-giving occasion. Lila designs candy bouquets, diaper cakes for baby shower decorations, and special “Oh, No! Kits” for those of us women who may need a bandaid, Tylenol, or other little necessity, on short notice. Photographer Christopher Kelsch presents framed photos of beautiful west-side Muskegon scenes like iconic Michigan lighthouses, sunsets, and country backdrops that highlight the good things Pure Michigan has to offer. Local storyboard artist and illustrator, Tim Holtrop, displays sketch books and sketch cards, as well as prints of his black-and-white and color illustrations for sale. Several of Tim’s illustrations have appeared in books written by West Michigan author, Peter Welmerink. Other of his characters and illustrations are also featured on his or websites.

In the future, Lila hopes to be able to give back to our heroes by making special care packages that families can have the store send to their loved ones in the Armed Forces. She wants her care packages to include necessities for the troops, as well as a few special little things to make them smile.

Silver & Gifts makes customized, thoughtful gifts for people, and Lila wants the store to be a place where families are welcome, where smiles are offered to everyone, and where brightness is spread around to all. As Silver & Gifts grows, she hopes that it can give back to the community she loves so much.

Fruitport Techno Trojans at Robo-Con

by Kate and Calvin Holtrop

malldisplayThe Lakeshore Robo-Con was held Saturday, September 28, 2019, at the Lakes Mall, and was a great opportunity for area students to get exposure to local FIRST Robotics Teams. At Robo-Con, the Techno Trojans FRC team, and their robot Ursa Major, got good publicity. The middle school FTC team, Techno Trojans II, couldn’t get their robot working for part of the time. “But it was all time well spent, because we got it running,” said their coach, Kris Cole. Fruitport’s FIRST Lego League team was there also.


Interested kids check out the FIRST Lego League table-top playing field at “Robo-con”.
Click to view larger image.

To contact the teams about how to join, donate, sponsor, or volunteer, or to find out more about the season’s schedule, check out their website,, or email the teams at: Folks can find links to the team’s Facebook and Twitter accounts on their website, as well as a You Tube link to watch FRC Team 2405 videos.

According to Brantley Mellem, of the middle school team, “We also have an Instagram page, where we post a bunch of pictures for people on Instagram, so they can see them.” Follow the team, Techno Trojans II, on Instagram: Techno_Trojans_2.

Thanks to all those who supported the teams by coming to Robo-Con, and who follow them online. As Shay, one of the Techno Trojans, said in 2017, “Robotics is something that brings people together, and I’m so thankful to be a part of that…”

Fruitport Robotics Challenges Students and Impacts the Local Community

by Kate and Calvin Holtrop


Team photo 2019. Photo by Geskus Photography Inc. Click to view larger photo.

Since the beginning of the Fruitport Robotics program in 2008, its teams have already been involved in local, state, and world competitions organized by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a non-profit charity started by inventor, Dean Kamen, which hopes to inspire and motivate young people to get more involved in science and technology related fields. The Fruitport high school team competed at a world level in 2016. The newer middle school team, improving in every one of its past four years, participated in the state championships last year.

Close to sixty students participate in robotics teams around the Fruitport School District. The Techno Trojans, FIRST® Robotics Competition team 2405, is the high school level team. The Techno Trojans II compete at the middle school level as FIRST® Tech Challenge team 11531. At the elementary school level, the Fruitport Robotics program has three FIRST® Lego® League teams, the Shettler Techno Trojans at Shettler elementary, the Techno Trojans 2.0 at Beach elementary, and the Technobots at Edgewood elementary school.


Fruitport Middle School robotics team, the Techno Trojans II. Top Row, L-R Mentors: Kris Cole, Nathan Whipple, Logan Tromp, Rachel Cole, Caden Whipple, Nick Piper, Jeremy Martinez, Christian Whipple, Amy Carlson. Middle Row, Students: Owen Tromp, Quinton Schaub-Olsen, Cole Woodard, Levi Glynn, Jaelynne Ellis, Landon Johnson, Cole DeRuiter. Front Row, Students: Brantley Mellem, Kiera Cole, Tyler Carlson, Kendall Lee, Jaden Baxter. Not Pictured: Eli Hulka, and Mentor, Noah Fehler. Click to view larger photo.

At the high school and middle school levels, the teams focus on building robots for competition in arena games. Upper elementary school level teams, grades four and five, focus on completing tasks, solving problems, making presentations, and building Lego MINDSTORMS® robots for table-top competitions. Lower elementary school teams, grades one through three, focus on problem-solving and building Lego presentations of their solutions.

Fruitport Robotics teams are led by coaches, teachers, and mentors, some of whom are parents of team members. They guide teams of students who come from the Fruitport School District, as well as students from other public and private schools, and homeschools. Parents and kids can also be exposed to the robotics program through the team’s local outreach opportunities and events. “Part of the goal is, not just what we do to impact students right here in Fruitport, but how we impact the community,” said Coach Joe Hebert, of the high school Techno Trojans.

Techno Trojan leadership has set up an application time, similar to applying for a job, where they can meet with students who hope to get involved in a robotics program. The middle school team takes applications beginning in the spring, and they hope to start having meetings throughout the season to allow new members to join, since middle school students take shop classes that cover safety during their school day. In contrast, the high school team holds their application period in September. New members are not usually accepted after the application process is over, since it’s very difficult to add team members in the heat of a game season, and safety classes have already been done in the fall.

Because safety is so important to the leadership of Fruitport Robotics, students are trained in how to safely use power tools and equipment, and are required to use safety gear while they’re using those tools.

While sponsorships and fundraising pay for the high school team’s parts and tools, the team does charge a fee, $200 per student, to cover food, travel, shirts, and other necessities over the entire season. “We try to break that cost down, so that it’s truly covering their cost of what it would be to have them join the team,” said Coach Joe. However, there are no fees to join teams at the middle school level, which is a fully sponsor-funded team, though members of Techno Trojans II must buy their own team shirts.


Fruitport’s 2018 “Techno Trojans 2.0” FIRST Lego League robotics team. Click to view larger photo.

The middle school team has two large rooms in the Fruitport Middle School building, where they work and keep their tools. They have a fabrication set for customizing store-bought parts to fit their robot’s requirements. The middle-schoolers use Google Blocks, a Java-based system, to program their robots. Coach Kris Cole hopes that by next year his students will be able to use Java code for their programming.

While the new high school is being built, the Techno Trojans work temporarily at Edgewood Elementary School. Once the new school is finished, they will have their own robotics lab that’s right next to the school’s CAD and drafting lab. The high school team fabricates parts for their robots by using machines they have in their shop and getting help from West Michigan area partner companies, who make parts for them. Their programmers use the graphically-based programming language, LabVIEW, with their robots.

In the high school team’s robot design process, programming, electrical, mechanical, machining, marketing, industrial safety, engineering, and CAD designing combine in the building of the team robot. “There’s a lot of different disciplines that we take in here, that’s very much like running a small company,” said Coach Joe.

Their build season starts at the beginning of January, with the Internet broadcast of the season kick-off, where the year’s game is revealed. Then the six-week design and building process begins, in which the robot is designed in CAD, prototyped, constructed, and coded. In the final week before the competition starts, fine tuning is done and drivers are trained.

Throughout the high school team’s competition season, the intensity of the game and the time and commitment required to play are about the same as for other varsity sports.  Robots can take a lot of damage due to the competitive, contact nature of the sport, as well as the large size and high speed of the robots competing. Although outfitted with bumpers to minimize damages, the robots need repairs and the replacement of parts frequently during the competition season.


The Fruitport robotics “FIRST Lego League” team, named the “Techno Trojans 2.0”, winners of the Innovative Solution award in 2017. Click to view larger photo.

For the middle school team’s build season, students watch their kickoff video, as well as other robot videos for build inspiration. After finding out what tasks their robot must do, the team members draw up designs for what each wants to see in the robot, then pool their ideas to make a complete design. “We usually do the prototypes. And we come together as a team and put together all the ideas that we have,” said Tyler Carlson, of the middle school team. This year, the team is making their prototype using a base that’s the same dimensions as the robot, and they will develop pieces as they experiment so they don’t have to take time away from the programmers and drivers by experimenting with the actual robot.

The middle school team’s past robots include one that sucked up ping-pong balls, and one that carried a totem. This year’s robot is more complicated. It has a vision system with two cameras to identify pictures on blocks, and a claw arm to lift the blocks. With tighter restrictions on height, their robot will be fourteen inches tall, and will weigh forty-two pounds. When it’s done it should be able to move in almost any direction on its wheels.

The high school team has built numerous robots, including Ursa Major, which had to repair and load a space ship and a rocket ship. Other robots the team has built have played soccer, basketball, and frisbee, among other sports. All the robots are similar in size, and fit into the one hundred twenty-pound range. In recent years, targeting cameras, back-lighting, and cut-out designs, have been added, as well as bolder LED lighting schemes, which have made Fruitport’s robots more attractive.

“The LEDs, they’re pretty to look at, but they’re also functional,” said Coach Jeremy Martinez of the Techno Trojans. He explained that when the robot picked up an object, the LEDs would change color to show the drivers what was happening. “Usually the programmers try and add some kind of functionality to the LEDs, along with their aesthetics.”

The team hopes to use LED schemes and other new, more sophisticated components to enhance their robots’ autonomous programming in future years, through partnerships with General Motors and NASA.

Fruitport Robotics coaches and students have favorites among the robots they’ve built. The high school students usually like the robot they build in their senior year best, since it’s the one they put the most effort into. The middle school students like robots that do cool things, like drifting and moving fast. Most of all, they love robots that work and are easily controlled.

“Having a robust robot that’s always in the competition, is in there every single match, and is competing strong, I like that more than anything,” Coach Joe said.

“I guess for me, going back to 2012 was probably my favorite robot that we had. That was a basketball competition. And, it was a great design,” said Coach Jeremy.

robotThe students learn many good skills in the Fruitport Robotics program, and they aren’t shy about telling the community what an incredible influence the program is in their lives. “All of us are kind of learning different things at the same time,” said middle school team member, Kiera Cole, who explained what her teammates were doing with their robot’s programming and building, as well as working with their team’s media outreach.

The team’s performance, in terms of how teams compete with each other and how team members interact, is very important to their team leaders and to FIRST Robotics.

There are two key terms that FIRST wants to talk about, according to middle school Coach, Kris Cole. “Gracious professionalism: Being good sports–it’s…good sportsmanship. Coopertition: So, while we are competing, we also help each other, help other teams.”

Kids are encouraged to learn from their failures as well as their victories, and to always persevere. “Mistakes are proof that you’re trying,” said Jaden Baxter, of the middle school team. And Cole DeRuiter, also of Techno Trojans II, said, “Never stop trying if you feel like quitting.”

The Fruitport Robotics program and FIRST Robotics teams have impacted many students in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) over the last eleven years, showing how communities can come together to build knowledge, experience, and good skills and values into future generations of kids in the Fruitport area and beyond.

As they state on their website,, “FIRST Robotics is the catalyst to excite our students to seek out new challenges and learn new concepts that will propel them into today’s technologically driven world.”

Santa’s New Christmas House

santahouseSanta’s new Christmas Chalet is being built at the Lakes Mall. “I liked the little chalets down town at the Western Market and I’ve been talking to the City of Muskegon about how I thought they were so adorable,” said Julie Sustaita, the Mall’s general manager. In trade for the Mall’s Christmas lighthouse set, fashioned after Santa’s Workshop, the City is building what will be a beautiful holiday house at the Lakes Mall.

caption by Kate Holtrop

Nowak Machined Products Invests Over $10,000 to Muskegon Heights Elementary Schools

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MI: On October 2nd, every student that attended Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Academy and Edgewood Academy in the Muskegon Heights school district received a backpack stocked with school supplies in honor of Count Day. These backpacks and supplies were donated by local manufacturer, Nowak Machined Products.

Nowak didn’t stop at just providing backpacks and supplies for the children. They also supplied the teachers with essentials such as tissues & hand sanitizer. “We are so honored and blessed to be the recipients of this generous gift for our students” said Principal Vanessa Marble at MLK Academy. Last year Nowak Machined Products supplied Edgewood Academy and included recess kits that included balls, jump ropes and more to each classroom. By including both Muskegon Heights Elementary Schools, the Nowak team has invested over $10,000 into the school district.

“We feel that getting kids prepared and excited for school at an early age is crucial for their future academic success”, said the Nowak Family.  “After looking at the statistics provided by the United Way of the Lakeshore, we recognized that the students and faculty at the Muskegon Heights Elementary Schools could really use a hand up to ensure their students had all the supplies they needed to have a successful school year. We’re grateful to be able to do what we can to help these schools, and it feels amazing to see it all come together.”

“Building enthusiasm for school and learning is more successful when students have what they need to succeed” said Rane’ Garcia, Superintendent of Muskegon Heights. “Everyone loves a new box of crayons and the potential that comes with it. We continue to be thankful for the support from the community and businesses like Nowak Machined Products for better opportunity and equity for Muskegon Heights students.

Backpacks were distributed to the students on count day as extra encouragement and reward for being in attendance. The backpack giveaway started at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Academy at 8:00 AM on Wednesday in the auditorium and at Edgewood Academy at 9:00 AM. “Count Days are designated days when Michigan schools tally attendance and receive funding from the State School Aid Act. This funding is based on each student tallied. Chronic absenteeism is affecting all of our schools and has a huge financial impact when students miss count days. It also affects a child’s development and performance if they are not in class,” said Christine Robere, President of United Way of the Lakeshore. “United Way of the Lakeshore is working with several partners and collaborations on combating this issue. We are thankful for the generous gifts that continue to be made toward our children’s futures and the school’s partnership”.

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.