Quarter-mile section of Hackley Avenue Under Construction

A quarter-mile of Hackley Avenue in Muskegon Heights has been closed to traffic starting Tuesday, May 28.

Construction has closed traffic to Hackley Avenue between Manz and Elwood streets. All eastbound and westbound traffic has been directed to a detour north to East Delano Avenue.

The construction started May 28 and is expected to end by October 31. Cost to the city will be $756,998. Included in the construction will be a “full-depth road reconstruction,” with sidewalk intersections being brought up to ADA compliance, re-striping of roads, and crosswalk markings added to intersections. In terms of distance, 0.24 miles of Hackley Avenue is being worked on.

Residents in the area have been asked to park on side streets when driveways may be inaccessible. Anyone traveling to businesses and residences in the area may use side streets and alleys. Throughout the months of construction, certain pedestrian traffic areas may be detoured as well.

Throwing Local Zoning to the Wind

by Kati Holtrop

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

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

An example of the size of wind turbines.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An example of a solar farm near a plowed field.

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

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

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

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

Reach out to your CFLC county captain at

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

MPS Announces Launch of New Oceana Satellite!

We are excited to announce our partnership with Rothbury Community Church to have prenatal and parenting programs every Tuesday at their facility. Service hours will be from 9:30am to 3:00pm.

Muskegon Pregnancy Services is the only crisis pregnancy center in this region, and has been providing Hope and Courage since 1985 to the women of Muskegon and Oceana counties. We feel led by God to provide our life-changing and life-saving services to this underserved community, especially in light of new legislation which allows abortion at will. We are happy to open a satellite location within the Oceana Community to provide the same prenatal and parenting services they have found in Muskegon. God has opened the doors in Oceana county! Praise the Lord!

NOTE: The life-saving medical services will still be provided at our Muskegon Pecks street location, Options Women’s Care Center.

Rothbury Community Church will provide support through the prenatal and parenting program called RiseUP (Real Inspiring Support and Education for Uplifting Parents) that will offer mothers (and dads) the opportunity to participate in the earn-as-they learn program in their area, instead of traveling to Muskegon! This program offers the potential of earning a new crib, car seat, and pack-n-play, as well as other needed baby supplies. Women in need of just formula and diapers can still receive these essential items without going through the parenting program. Prayer and an optional Bible study will also be offered to the clients.

Any Questions? Contact Muskegon Pregnancy Services at 231-726-2677

Ottawa County Offices Closed February 23

submitted by Ottawa County

Ottawa County Buildings will be closed on Thursday, February 23 due to the weather conditions. If you have an appointment scheduled on this date please contact the office, department or court to reschedule.

Essential services, such as law enforcement, will continue to serve the community.

Ottawa County residents are advised to avoid unnecessary travel.

Progressive Women Urge People of All Political Stripes To Reject Extreme Proposal 3

submitted by Christen Pollo, Spokeswoman – Citizens to Support MI Women and Children

A member of the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising speaks at the Michigan State Capitol against Proposal 3 during a press conference on Thursday, October 13, 2022. 

A group of progressive and left-leaning women said that Proposal 3 is too extreme because it would endanger the health and safety of vulnerable women and children by deregulating the abortion industry and should be rejected by Michigan voters this November.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re pro-choice or pro-life. This is about keeping women safe, and making sure that they are not put in unsafe situations when faced with an unplanned pregnancy,” said Kristen Day, executive director of the national organization Democrats For Life.

The slate of speakers at the Michigan State Capitol steps on October 13, 2022, consistently called out supporters of Proposal 3 for falsely portraying the proposal as restoring Roe or keeping the status quo, when in fact the amendment would go far beyond that.

“Despite the slick marketing attempts to make Proposal 3 sound like it’s keeping the status quo, the reality is the wording of this proposed constitutional amendment would give the abortion industry free rein to self-regulate far beyond what Roe ever established,” said Sarah Burchart, the state chapter leader of Democrats for Life of Michigan.

The text of the proposed constitutional amendment creates a “fundamental right” to reproductive rights that includes abortion, which cannot be regulated by the state if the woman’s “autonomous decision-making” is infringed upon. Legal experts have said this language would invalidate existing health and safety laws implemented on abortion clinics and bar the Legislature from trying to enact regulations on abortion in the future.

Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America, speaks at the Michigan State Capitol against Proposal 3 during a press conference on October 13, 2022.

Burchart said if Proposal 3 passes, bad actors in the abortion industry would be able to continue to operate without accountability because they could claim protection under the amendment language that stipulates that the state cannot “penalize, prosecute, or otherwise take adverse action against someone for aiding or assisting a pregnant individual in exercising their right to reproductive freedom.”

“Some Prop 3 advocates have tried to claim that nobody would ever use their language in this way. But the only assurance I’ve gotten is maybe the courts will sort it out later. Would we accept this answer from any other kind of industry, like tobacco companies? If we wouldn’t assume self-regulation for tobacco companies or big oil, we shouldn’t accept it for the abortion industry bankrolling this proposal either,” Burchart said.

Monica Galloway, former Flint Councilwoman and president of the Michigan Municipal League, noted that the amendment would take away the right for parents to be informed if their daughter is seeking an abortion, due to how the amendment extends the fundamental right to abortion to children and blocks any restrictions on it if the restriction infringed on the person’s autonomous decision-making.

“I am asking parents to take a serious look at what this says…if Prop 3 does pass, women in this state will be travailing and wailing over the fact that they have given up their parental rights to help their children,” Galloway said.

The women also made an appeal to Democrats, progressives, and left-leaning people like themselves to look at Proposal 3 and see how dangerous and extreme it is, and how it does not line up with Democratic and progressive ideals.

“There’s nothing progressive about what Prop 3 is proposing, which is to remove all safety regulations for abortion seekers. There’s no progress in that,” said Terrisa Bukovinac, president of the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, who described herself as atheist, feminist and leftist.

“This gathering of progressive women show that regardless of how voters feel about the issue of abortion, Proposal 3 is extreme and should be rejected by all Michigan voters,” said Christen Pollo, spokesperson for Citizens to Support MI Women and Children, the official ballot question committee opposed to Proposal 3. “Proposal 3 will make abortion more harmful and dangerous for women, making this truly an anti-woman proposal.”

Kimberly Knott Hill speaks at the Michigan State Capitol against Proposal 3 during a press conference on October 13, 2022.

Lucy Moye, national chair of the American Solidarity Party – which carries a pro-life for the whole life platform – emphasized the importance for Michigan voters to go beyond the summary of the proposal that will be found on their ballot and to read the actual constitutional amendment.

“These radical changes had been quietly slipped into the text in such a way that Michigan voters will not see them if they only read the summary of the proposal that appears on the ballot. That’s a really important point. The summary is simple and innocuous. But the text itself, which is what the courts and the lawyers will use, is anything but,” Moye said.

“Proposal three is just wrong for children, it is just wrong for women, and it is just wrong for Michigan,” said Kimberly Hill Knott, a former congressional candidate.

Democrats For Life is a national organization of Democrats who are pro-life for the whole life, and a coalition member of the No on Proposal 3 campaign. Michigan voters are urged to vote no on Proposal 3 on November 8 or beforehand on their absentee ballots.

Meet Garrett Soldano, Republican Candidate for Governor

by Calvin and Kate Holtrop

On Saturday, July 9, 2022, a Muskegon County Meet and Greet was held for gubernatorial candidate Garrett Soldano at First Congregational Church in Fruitport, Michigan.

Pastor Mike Scott led a prayer for Garrett, for his coworkers, advisors and influencers, and for America. Next, Mick Bricker, candidate for the 88th District House seat, introduced himself, speaking about his faith, family, and Conservative views. Bricker encouraged the audience to support Soldano’s campaign, before introducing Garrett himself.

Gubernatorial Candidate Garrett Soldano speaks at First Congregational Church in Fruitport

Soldano made a rousing speech that outlined what his campaign and movement have done, what they will do if elected, and why they can be trusted to represent Michiganders. For over two years, Soldano and many Michiganders have been fighting for our Constitutional freedoms, he said. They also have held Governor Whitmer accountable for the excessive, 28-day emergency lockdown of Michigan during COVID-19 and the limitations on where people could go and what they could buy. Garrett believes that, additionally, by quarantining healthy people and forcing mask mandates, the governor continued to take things too far.

Soldano said that when he couldn’t find anyone in government to stop Whitmer’s state of emergency, he and other concerned citizens stood up and began the Facebook page “Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine.” Before Facebook shut the page down, nearly 400,000 people had joined, being encouraged to contact the legislature about not extending the lockdown. Subsequently, Soldano continued his work, cofounding the “Stand Up, Michigan” page. Soldano’s movement wrote a resolution to get the legislature to press the governor for disclosure of hospital death information. They also put together the Unlock Michigan petition, which forced the legislature to repeal the 1945 Emergency Powers of Governor Act.

“We are doing amazing things,” Soldano said, which is why he promises the gloves are going to come off when he debates Governor Whitmer after the Primaries, just like he hasn’t gone easy on other opponents.

Garrett says that, by the end of this upcoming election, many more amazing people are going to represent Michiganders at all levels of law, including Kristina Karamo (for Secretary of State), and Matthew DePerno (for Attorney General). He added, “We have recruited, and helped recruit, five thousand licensed election inspectors so we can take back our elections and our voices.” And, according to Garrett, his campaign has raised $2,000,000, the majority (roughly 96%) being donations of less than $200.

State House Candidate Mick Bricker meets the crowd at Soldano rally

Soldano believes that if he succeeds in both the primary and the Midterm elections, his win will create a ripple effect that will spread to other states, encouraging them to vote in more Conservatives. He said that his movement will have to work hard, but that they have a strong determination to activate and win Michigan back.

Garrett’s to-do list as governor is pretty long and involves “draining the swamp”, as he said, quoting his hero, former president Trump. Soldano and DePerno plan to investigate the multitudes of abuses they have seen the current state administration commit, touching on mask mandates, over-regulation, excessive lockdowns, government spending, and election integrity, among other issues. Garrett also promised a thorough investigation of nursing home deaths connected with COVID-19 regulations. Getting Liberal ideology out of schools; boosting tourism, small business, and jobs; and making Michigan energy independent, are also high on Garrett’s list. He encouraged his constituents and supporters to vote people who represent them into local school boards. And according to Soldano, mandates to force Liberal ideology on businesses must go as well.

Garrett said that he sees hope for Michigan’s future. He said that his campaign is taking back lost ground. “We have to continue to be engaged,” he said. “We need to continue to be activated, and be involved at all levels, and back those candidates that are going to put Michigan and your families first…I will always represent you. There is no political narrative, or political agenda, or political career [why] I want to do this. I want to get in there and do what’s right.”

Moolenaar Receives Endorsements from National Right to Life, NRA, & Friends of Corn

submitted by John Moolenaar for Congress

Over the past month, Congressman John Moolenaar has announced his endorsement by National Right to Life, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund, and in the Republican primary by the Michigan Corn Growers Association’s Friends of Corn PAC.

Of each respective endorsement he said: “It’s an honor to receive the support of Michigan Right to Life and now the National Right to Life organization and its members. Our way of life is based on the belief that every human life has value, that’s why my pro-life record goes hand-in-hand with my strong support of adoption as a way to provide loving and safe homes for children. I believe we are endowed by our Creator with the unalienable Right to Life. Life begins at conception, and we must protect all human life.

“As a proud protector of our Second Amendment rights, I am grateful for the support of the National Rifle Association. The outdoor heritage of Michigan runs strong in the Second District, and voters can be confident that I will not compromise on their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

“I am thankful for the support of the Michigan Corn Growers. Our farmers are more important now than ever before and I am proud to continue to be an advocate for them in Congress.” 

Congressman John Moolenaar has maintained a 100% pro-life voting record as a member of the 117th Congress and has been a committed champion for life throughout his career. Congressman Moolenaar has a long record of supporting the Second Amendment and maintains an A rating with the NRA. He also sits on the Agriculture Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, where he maintains a strong record of fighting for Michigan farmers.  

Muskegon River Trash Bash Set For August 2022



The Muskegon River Trash Bash is an annual family-friendly event intended to encourage environmentalists of all ages to work together to remove accumulated trash from the river.

Trash Bash co-coordinator, Patricia Tice Jarrett, notes that the momentum continues to build. “Last year our teams of volunteers pulled over a ton of trash from the river, which was the biggest total ever,” expressed Jarrett. “We fully expect this year’s haul to set a new record. To create an atmosphere of friendly competition we have always offered prizes and other incentives for outstanding performance and I am very excited about the prizes we are able to offer this year. For example, this year’s Grand Prize is a Traeger Grill (retailed at $1000) graciously donated by Lume Cannabis.”


According to Trash Bash guidelines, designated team leaders will assemble their teams, and select a date and location. Beginning on July 1st, one team member must register on the MRWA Trash Bash website reserving their desired location. (Register at  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. All teams must complete their clean ups during the month of August on or near the Muskegon River to be eligible for gifts and a certificate of achievement as a “Protector of the River”.

The MRWA could never do this without the amazing support we have received from an impressive list of sponsors. They truly support the MRWA vision, and we appreciate their generosity”

  • Ice Mountain, The Consumers Energy Foundation, Jackson-Merkey Contractors,
  • Cargill, Inc., The DTE Energy Foundation, WBZX – B103.9, Lume Cannabis,
  • Wisner’s Rents Canoes, River Stop Café (Newaygo), High Profile, and Republic Services

Darley Village Puts Up New Flagpole and Dedicates It To God and Country

by Kate, Calvin, and Kim Holtrop

Not long ago, the main entrance to Darley Village, a retirement village in Fruitport, was moved from Sternberg Road closer to the back of the property, near the Village Cafe. The village had a flag out front on the side of the cafe at that time. A veteran and resident of the village thought it would be good to erect a flagpole near the new entrance. Another resident, Vietnam veteran Mike Sipe, said that a collection taken up by the residents for the flagpole project received enough money within the first couple days to cover the expense. The village’s owner had the pole put up just outside the cafe entrance.

left to right: Mike Sipe (center, back row) stands with other veterans and Commander Jason Whitman of the VFW (far right) at the dedication of the new Darley Village flag pole.

On Thursday, May 26th, Darley Village residents attended the dedication of the new flagpole. The ceremony was led by Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Commander, Jason Whitman, and Pastor Michael Scott of First Congregational Church of Fruitport. Mike Sipe coordinated the event.

Following a hearty greeting from the VFW, Commander Whitman introduced the ceremony by briefly explaining the symbolism of the American flag. “The flag of the United States reflects what we are and what we hope to be,” he said. “The white stripes symbolize purity of purpose in our freedom of thought, expression, and worship. These are the privileges guaranteed to all who live in our land. They are rights defended against all enemies who seek to crush the way of life that you and I so cherish. Also, in that flag, we see the red stripes of courage, our willingness to die, if necessary, for the preservation of American ideals. Then there’s the blue of tranquility, upon which the stars of our states are united to hold intact all that is truly ours—the desires for peace, prosperity, and happiness throughout our great nation.”

After the raising of the flag, the veterans present saluted the flag and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Then Pastor Scott told about the history of the flag’s symbolism, the importance of prayer in the birthing of our Constitution, and the development of the Pledge of Allegiance. He then prayed that God would protect our flag, our nation, and all those who serve to defend them.

Next, Commander Whitman presented to Mike Sipe a booklet of flag etiquette, explaining that although the law-enforceable part of the United States Flag Code no longer exists, we should still always appreciate people’s patriotism, even when they get the etiquette wrong, and should teach them whenever possible how to get it right. “I hope that you guys will take those to your heart and understand what the flag means to each and every American.” Commander Whitman gave flag pins to all the veterans present, and thanked each one for his service.

“I appreciate all of your community support,” said Commander Whitman, “and I appreciate you having me here. And I appreciate Pastor Scott and his involvement.” He then added to Mike Sipe, “I appreciate your coordinating this effort.”

Mr. Sipe said that the future plans of Darley Village include planting a garden around the flagpole, with a stone and plaque in the garden. He also said that the resident veterans want to become an active group that can work with the VFW.

Press Conference on Muskegon Lake AOC Cleanup Efforts and Progress

by Kate, Calvin, and Kim Holtrop
photos by Tim Holtrop

May 24th, 2022, Muskegon—Local, state, and federal government officials, among other stakeholders, gathered for a press conference at Muskegon’s Heritage Landing to celebrate last fall’s completion of all the management actions that are required before Muskegon Lake’s Area of Concern delisting process can begin. Finally, after many years of restoration efforts, Debra Shore, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Regional Administrator for the Great Lakes area, said, “We’re celebrating an exciting milestone—all the projects necessary for the cleanup of the Muskegon Lake Area of Concern are finally complete.” Once the evaluation process is complete, the lake will be officially delisted as an Area of Concern.

The United States/Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was amended in 1987 to single out forty-three Areas of Concern (AOCs) around the Great Lakes, fourteen of which are in Michigan. The slow but steady progress in Michigan’s AOC program has successfully restored and delisted three of the fourteen. Progress is continuing at the other eleven.

The Muskegon Lake AOC, the next in line for the delisting process, is divided into eighteen sites, including the lake itself and portions of its tributaries. There have been fourteen Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs) identified in the Great Lakes area. BUIs are chemical, physical or biological changes sizable enough to cause significant degradation of the environment. Muskegon Lake is listed with nine of the fourteen. BUIs have limited the lake’s beneficial uses, like consumption of fish and wildlife, consumption of local water sources, and beach attendance, among other uses. BUIs are targeted by the management action projects. Since the start of the restoration, five of Muskegon Lake’s nine BUIs have been removed, and only four are left.

Since the 1860s, many years’ worth of industrial wastes had been dumped into the Muskegon Lake area. The area’s sediments had been contaminated with excessive amounts of nutrients, metals, pesticides, and other dangerous chemicals. Several restoration projects, over the course of twenty years, included the removal of over 150,000 tons of contaminated sediment, replacement of culverts, removal of sawmill debris built up from the area’s logging years, removal of foundry fill and other types of trash and debris, creation of wetlands, the restoration of well over 100 acres of plant and animal habitat, and restoration of over 6,000 feet of eroded shoreline.

Poplar trees have been key in the restoration process. Workers have planted over 3,000 poplar trees around Muskegon Lake, which help to remove toxins in the soil. The poplars’ roots absorb heavy metals, chlorinated solvents, and volatile organic compounds. The trees then either degrade the toxins that would otherwise build up in fish and wildlife, or convert them into a non-toxic form. These trees also circumvent the need to store any contaminated soil offsite. And they will reduce storm water runoff and provide a sustainable source of wood for local manufacturers. Altogether, the full remediation has cost about $70 million.

Michigan’s AOC program is coordinated by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), in cooperation with federal, state, and local partners. Michigan’s EGLE Director, Liesl Clark, said, “Here we measure progress through actions completed, impairments removed, and areas delisted. I hope everybody involved in this project takes pride in all the ripple effects: the lives improved, the community pride, the opportunities built, and the better future created.”

Though the cleanup is complete, continuous evaluations of the environment will help the U.S. EPA, along with the State of Michigan, to ensure that the quality of the lake continues to improve over time. Once the appropriate specifications for cleanup are met, the delisting process for the Muskegon Lake AOC can begin. Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) will keep track of the environmental problem and BUI status at each AOC site.

Carrie Robinson, Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Habitat Conservation, said, “Through our partners, we’ve studied the impact restoration has had on this community, demonstrating a six-to-one return to the local community observed through an increase in local tourism, recreation, and property values.”

Not only does the long-term ecosystem health for AOC communities depend on cleanup and restoration, but it is also heavily reliant on regulatory programs, voluntary grant programs, and continued involvement of the public. Various stakeholders in Muskegon and other AOC communities have come together to address problems of contaminated sediments, degraded water quality, loss of fish and wildlife habitats, and beach closings, among the other issues.

The Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership, a community-based, volunteer organization that supports the restoration of the Great Lakes AOCs, has been meeting monthly since 1993, discussing the RAP process for Muskegon Lake. Continuing after the major milestone of the delisting, the partnership will still meet to keep Muskegon Lake’s natural resources safe.

Now that the restoration is complete, Mayor Ken Johnson said, “It’s incumbent on our community to continue heeding the lessons of our past, cherish the Muskegon Lake watershed, protect its ecosystems, and to ensure both equitable access to and benefit from this beautiful body of water.”

Arbor Circle Celebrates 25 Years

submitted by Onnika Bell, Marketing & Communications Manager, Arbor Circle

This year, Arbor Circle celebrates 25 years of providing mental health, substance use, and family services in the West Michigan community.

This year’s Spring Forward honoree is Arbor Circle founding board member, Neil Kimball. Kimball is a long-time supporter of Arbor Circle as well as a leader in both the business and non-profit sectors. Originally a member of the Child Guidance Clinic Board, Neil joined the Arbor Circle Board when the organization was formed as part of a merger of several agencies in 1996.

“The original goal of the new Arbor Circle was to combine the resources and talents of four smaller non-profits with compatible services into a larger more efficient and effective entity providing a broad range of services. The original four agencies were Family Impact, Mercy Respite Center, Grand Rapids Child Guidance Clinic, and the Advisory Center for Teens. AOS (Alcohol Outpatient Services) joined shortly after the original merger,” said Kimball. “The non-profit world was changing and it was difficult for small non-profits to obtain sufficient funding from grants and donations to provide their services to the people who needed it. I think the merger of these agencies resulted in a very strong and effective organization that is a real force for good in the West Michigan community.”

Kimball’s service as a board member is one example of the hundreds of friends and contributors who have helped fuel Arbor Circle over the last 25 years. “Mental health and recovery services are needed now more than ever and the need continues to grow,” shared Kimball. “Families and children are struggling and Arbor Circle continually strives to find the best ways to help them given the resources available.”

Arbor Circle is proud to partner with members of our local business community and individual supporters in honoring both Neil Kimball as well as the organization’s 25 years of service. The ongoing need for quality, accessible mental health services is significant, and through the support of the West Michigan community the organization looks with hope on the next 25 years.

Suicide Prevention-With One Voice

Join us on June 3, 2022 from 2pm-3:15pm.

Zoom Link:
Here is your meeting link:
Or dial by your location
       +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago), Meeting ID: 927 5602 7014


  1. Welcome and remembrance of those that we have lost to suicide
  2. Updates, grants, trainings & activities
  • With One Voice-Leo Nouhan
  • MDHHS-Dr. Kristen Smith, Lindsay DeCamp
  • The Governor’s Commission for Suicide Prevention-Corbin Standly
  • Speakers
    • Dr. Sallyanne Duncan of the University of Strathclyde. Dr. Duncan along with Dr. Ann Luce of Bournemouth University are the co-creators of Suicide Reporting Toolkit (Suicide Reporting Toolkit). This presentation is about safe messaging and Dr. Duncan is an expert on this very important topic. Those who work doing suicide prevention know that the media’s handling of deaths by suicide can cause concern. We understand that most journalists are actually very reluctant to report on the topic of suicide though often are unaware of the harm that can result when safe messaging guidelines are not used. Safe messaging guidelines are not just for the professional news media.  These guidelines are for those who are posting to social media and other formats that broadcast to a larger audience.  In order to do good suicide prevention we must know these guidelines and help to educate others. 
    • Joseph Ojibway will talk about trauma within the indigenous culture here in Michigan. Mr. Ojibway is a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Trauma informed care is crucial to helping to heal.  Trauma and it’s negative health impacts is important in suicide prevention work and is the “upstream” work that we have been hoping for.
  • Comments, announcements and wrap-up

About Dr. Sallyanne Duncan

Dr. Duncan (University of Strathclyde, Scotland). researches media reporting of trauma, death, bereavement, mental health and suicide. Her work focuses on journalistic processes, ethical issues and media representations. She has published several journal articles and book chapters in these areas. Dr. Duncan is the co-creator of the, an online resource for journalists, journalism educators and students, aimed at encouraging responsible suicide reporting. The toolkit has been recognized as an invaluable tool for suicide prevention by the American Association of Suicidology, the USA’s leading non-profit association dedicated to the promotion of understanding and prevention of suicide and support for those who have been affected by it. It has also been selected as a finalist for Research Project of the Year in the Herald Higher Education Awards 2021.  All of this and so much more.  We are thankful that Dr. Duncan can join us for our next meeting.

Muskegon Pregnancy Services LifeWalk 2022

Be part of the impact of saving lives and supporting families. Walk to support LIFE!

Click here to start your fundraising journey by creating a walker page. 

Set a fundraising goal and ask people to sponsor your walk for LIFE. Funds will help provide needed resources to families in Muskegon County. After 6 weeks of fundraising, join us for a night of fun at Ross Park as we pray for families and celebrate all supporters of Muskegon Pregnancy Services. 


Why create a virtual walker page?

  • Share with family and friends near and far by adding a link into social media posts or emails. 
  • It gives a clear picture to all your sponsors about why you are walking.
  • It is a simple way for sponsors to give a donation. 
  • It tracks the status of where you are at in your fundraising goal and the overall reach for LifeWalk 2022

Share the Fun with #LifeWalkOfMuskegon

Maple River Restoration Project Public Meeting Recap

submitted by the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly (MRWA)

Click here for information about the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly’s Maple River Restoration Project Public Meeting that took place on March 4th.

Remember, all of our public updates will be posted on the Maple River Restoration Project webpage. Another public meeting is in the works – we’ll let you know when and where it will take place within the next few weeks.

November is National Family Caregivers Month

from Aegin Place of West Michigan

Caring for a family member or loved one can be both challenging and rewarding on many levels. The great news is that there are tools available to help with the challenges. One of those tools is the No Matter What, Planner for Caregivers.

The No Matter What, Planner for Caregivers was written by Sara Barco. Sara wrote this book from experience, as she is a family Caregiver herself. Maybe you’re not a family Caregiver but you know someone who is, The No Matter What, Planner for Caregivers would make a great Christmas present.

This planner includes monthly templates for things like: Notes to Self, Provider Information, Insurance Information, Spending Log, Medication List/History, Support Systems, Journaling Pages, Priorities, Mood/Symptom Tracker, Weekly To-Do List, Health and Wellness Tracker, and the list goes on…

Please call our office at 231.375.5356 for more information or to request a copy.

Aegin Place Caregivers Available

from Aegin Place – 11/10/21

We have Caregivers available!

Aegin Place of West MI had some availability open up for a few caregivers in Muskegon today. If you have someone who needs help and you think Aegin Place will be a good fit, please reach out!

231.375.5356 | 333. W. Western Ave, Muskegon, MI 49440

Holiday Shopping to Benefit Love N Grace Healing Centers

You shop and Amazon Gives to help those who are needing compassionate care from Love N Grace!

This month we launch our 5th program to now care for people is group art sessions.  Thank you for your continued support.

Do you shop on Amazon?  If you go to, then login in the same as you always do, every purchase will support Love N Grace. 

Simple Instructions: 

  • In the top left corner you’ll see a place you can choose a non-profit to support. 
  • Choose Kingdom Homestead, it is our 501C3 name for Love N Grace Healing Centers. 
  • Each time you make a purchase be sure to login at Smile.Amazon.
  • A percentage of your purchases will go to Love N Grace Healing Centers each month. 

You don’t have to think about it again, just keep shopping.  Thank you for your support.

Happy Holidays.

Love N Grace Healing Centers
2735 E Apple Ave, Ste C
Muskegon, MI 49442

Kelly Richards, MADL Director, to Lead the Free Library of Philadelphia

MUSKEGON, MI – Kelly Richards, Director, Muskegon Area District Library (MADL) has accepted the President and Director position at the Free Library of Philadelphia, one of the largest public library systems in the U.S with 54 branches.  Richards has worked at the Muskegon Area District Library since January, 2015 and under his leadership, a new 10-year operating millage was approved which has provided additional resources for expanded services in the community.

Richards was contacted by an executive search firm who worked with a 22-member Search Committee for the Free Library of Philadelphia system. “I was having a curious conversation, which ultimately led to an incredible opportunity, says Richards.

Since he joined MADL, increased programs and materials, newly-renovated branches, a new Bookmobile and three new Storyville Villages have been provided for the community.

“Our Board will work on a transition plan to provide a seamless hiring process for this position,” says Doug Hughes, Board Chairman. “We are grateful for Kelly’s leadership and service.”

Prior to joining MADL, he worked at the Genesee District Library as Branch Operations Manager. Richards family is originally from the Muskegon area.

CALL 2-1-1 Receives National Accreditation!

submitted by United Way of the Lakeshore

Congrats to our partner agency CALL 2-1-1 on receiving National Accreditation. United Way of the Lakeshore is a founding partner in the creation of 2-1-1 in Muskegon and throughout the state and nation. Before 2-1-1, people would have to remember several seven-digit numbers and people in crisis would have to call around to try to find the help they needed. It was an inefficient system of care. There was long a dream of streamlining the process, but it was in 2005 that our local 2-1-1 helpline became a reality. Now, when you are looking for help it is a simple 3-digit number to remember. Please don’t hesitate to call to get connected to services in your local community.

Dial 2-1-1, or Toll Free (877) 211-5253.

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.