News Releases

West Michigan Tourist Association Welcomes New Team Member

New Materials & Marketing Coordinator Joins West Michigan Tourist Association Team

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – West Michigan Tourist Association (WMTA) is excited to welcome Kathleen Schiefler as the new Materials & Marketing Coordinator.

Kathleen is passionate about West Michigan, and says she loves everything about this great region of the state. “The incredible diversity of beauty, scenery, culture, people, food, entertainment, and topography is mind boggling. And you don’t have to travel far to find an adventure just about every weekend,” she says.

Many of Kathleen’s favorite activities she’s gotten to do in Michigan have been in the great outdoors! She’s enjoyed getting up in the middle of the night to watch the aurora borealis under a clear, open sky, as well as boating through the intercoastal waterway from Petoskey to Cheboygan. She also says one of her favorite experiences has been walking waist-deep through a water trail, emerging on top of the Sand Hill bog, while the famous Sand Hill Cranes were – on cue – flying and trumpeting about! 

In her spare time, Kathleen enjoys exploring local farmers markets and sampling all sorts of local “Made in Michigan” treats. She also loves the harvest of summer, from dahlia’s and zinnia’s, to strawberries and blueberries. She says she’ll never tire of “watching sunsets from one of dozens of my favorite spots all along our indescribably beautiful shorelines in West Michigan.”

Kathleen can help answer any general West Michigan inquires, or sending a mailed copy of WMTA’s Carefree Travel Guides or Lighthouse Maps. For any questions or information regarding the West Michigan Tourist Association, she can be contacted at or 616.245.2217 ext 100.

Parkland Properties of Michigan Appoints Peter Birk as Executive Chef

submitted by the West Michigan Tourist Association

MUSKEGON, MI – Parkland Properties of Michigan, a real estate development and hospitality firm that operates the Shoreline Inn & Conference Center, Delta Hotels by Marriott Muskegon/Convention Center, Lake House Waterfront Grille & Event Center, Walker’s An American Brasserie, Lake Effect Bistro, and the VanDyk Mortgage Convention Center, has appointed Peter Birk as Executive Chef.

Peter has over 20 years of experience in providing kitchen leadership in large operations such as McCormick’s & Schmick’s in Los Angeles and Kansas City; Ray’s Boathouse, Café & Catering in Seattle; and TEN/The Northern Hotel in Billings, Montana. Upon relocating back to West Michigan, Peter served as Executive Chef for New Hotel Mertens and the Kent Country Club, prior to taking off time off to spend with his newborn child.

Peter will join Michael Hart, who was appointed as Food & Beverage Director for Parkland Properties in late June. Michael also has over 20 years of experience in the industry leading organizations such as the Elephant Bar Restaurant southern region (consisting of their Arizona, New Mexico, Missouri and Florida locations), the Firebird Restaurant Group in Texas, and Restaurant Partners in Michigan.

With the recent opening of the VanDyk Mortgage Convention Center, Parkland Properties has placed an emphasis on expanding and developing its food & beverage operations.

“With the addition of the Convention Center, we felt it was important to recruit talent that has experience leading large-scale food & beverage operations”, said Jon Rooks, owner of Parkland Properties. “We were looking for not only a deep understanding of the industry, but also level-headedness and the ability to help navigate us through the challenges that our industry is still facing. We are super excited about Michael and Peter, and what they will be able to do for not only our existing operations, but also our planned future operations across West Michigan.”

These future operations may include an 11th floor, rooftop bar on top of the Shoreline Inn Hotel, which Parkland is considering adding in late 2022.

“It would be the tallest rooftop bar – with views of Lake Michigan – in the State, and another great attraction for Downtown Muskegon”.

MADL Summer Reading Grand Prize Winner


Muskegon, MI – Muskegon Area District Library Summer Reading Club has signed up hundreds of readers in the ‘Tails and Tales’ fun summer reading program. MADL Library Card holders log their reading activity to be entered in drawings to win great prizes in three categories, kids, teens and adults. The more participants read, the more chances they have to win prizes.

The Summer Reading Club includes a partnership with Miranda 2021 Summer Reading Club from WOODTV. One lucky winner is randomly selected from 80 West Michigan participating libraries to win its Grand Prize. This year’s winner is 10-year old Noah Warden from the Muskegon Heights Branch Library. Noah is a regular patron at the Muskegon Heights branch.

The substantial prize pack included family tickets to: Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, Family Fun – road trip to Auburn Hills and passes to LEGOLAND, Sea Life Aquarium, Peppa Pig World, RainForest Café and a back to school shopping spree.

The MADL Summer Reading Club began June 14 and ends August 21. Over 2,000 people have participated in this year’s program. MADL Summer Reading prizes will be awarded the week of August 23. All summer long, thousands of kids participate in the Summer Reading Club at their local library.

Taste of Muskegon is Back and Tastier Than Ever

Muskegon, MI – Taste of Muskegon is returning to Hackley Park for a special autumn edition of the festival on September 24 & 25. The 15th year of the event will feature 30 local restaurants and food trucks.

Restaurant Row will have several of the Taste of Muskegon 2020 Taste Plate Award winners, including:

  • Corine’s Cakes & Catering – People’s Choice Award
  • Mylan’s Waterfront Grille – Best Taste Award
  • Abeshi Ghanian Cuisine – Best New Bite Award
  • Bone Ends – Best Dessert Award

New this year to Taste of Muskegon, though not all are new to Muskegon:

  • Burl & Sprig
  • DaKidd Bar-B-Que & Catering
  • G&L Chili Dogs
  • Navarro’s Mexican Take-Out
  • Occidental Eats
  • TasteeBBQ and Chic

There will be many Taste favorites back in the park:

  • Aloha Hawaiian Shave Ice
  • Carlson’s Almonds
  • Curry Kitchen and Naan Pizza
  • Frank’s Concessions
  • Hamburger Mikey
  • Hearthstone Bistro
  • Hey Sugar
  • Ice Box Brand Ice Cream Bars
  • Kuntry Cookin’
  • Rolling Stone Pizza
  • Skeetown Tavern
  • Soul Filled Eatery
  • The Pizza Cone Trolley
  • Tiki Boiz
  • Uncle Bill’s Taco Wagon
  • Wonderland Distilling Co.
  • Yodels Frozen Yogurt
  • Uncle Wayne’s BBQ

“It is so exciting to be back in Hackley Park. We have worked closely with all our restaurants to help them through this challenging year and a half. It is time for all of us to celebrate being back together,” said Lisa Kraus, Marketing Director of Taste of Muskegon. “Everyone knows the best parties have good food. We have amazing food planned for Taste.”


Taste of Muskegon, produced by the Downtown Development Authority, will take place on September 24th and 25th in Hackley Park. On Saturday, United Way’s Ride United will begin and end at Taste of Muskegon. Awards for Taste of Muskegon’s best plates will take place Saturday afternoon and include both judged and public votes. To learn more about the restaurants and events at Taste of Muskegon 2021, visit their website at

Kent County Hospitality Association Hosts Industry-wide Job Fair – September 9

Kent County Hospitality Association Says “Let’s Get Back to Work” by hosting an industry-wide Job Fair on Thursday, September 9

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Kent County Hospitality Association is hosting a county-wide job fair on Thursday, September 9 from 10am until 6pm at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. So far, two dozen businesses have signed up to talk with potential employees about jobs in various sectors within the hospitality industry – including hotels, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, attractions, events and those providing goods and services to the industry. There is no charge to attend this event and parking is free in the lot underneath DeVos.

Participating Businesses Include:

  • Affordable Limousine LLC.
  • AHC Hospitality
  • Aimbridge Hospitality
  • Anna’s House
  • ASM Global- Grand Rapids
  • Avflight
  • BarFly
  • Best Western Plus Grand Castle Inn & Suites
  • Bier Distillery
  • Block by Block
  • Bluewater Technologies
  • Brewery Vivant and Broad Leaf Brewery & Spirits
  • City of Grand Rapids
  • Culinary Cultivations
  • Daddy Pete’s BBQ
  • Danzon Cubano
  • DK Security
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Grand Rapids
  • Ellis Parking Company
  • Federal Express
  • Founders Brewing Co
  • Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
  • Gilmore Catering
  • GLC Live at 20 Monroe
  • Grand Rapids Harley-Davidson & Fox Powersports
  • Grand Rapids Public Museum
  • Grand Valley State University/HTM
  • Gun Lake Casino
  • Hertz
  • HMSHost
  • Holiday Inn Express Lodge And Suites
  • Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Airport
  • Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton Grand Rapids Downtown
  • IATSE Local 26
  • John Ball Zoo
  • Lodgco Hospitality
  • N&P Hospitality Inc
  • New Holland Brewing Co
  • Radisson Hotel Grand Rapids Riverfront & River Rock Dining and Lounge
  • Railside Golf Club
  • RedWater Collection
  • Revel Hospitality Staffing
  • ShowSpan, Inc. / GR Wine Festival
  • Spectrum Health
  • Staffing Inc
  • Suburban Inns
  • Texas Roadhouse
  • The Plaza Hotel Grand Rapids
  • Tru by Hilton Grand Rapids Airport
  • Uccello’s Hospitality Group

The list of participating businesses is also posted online at

We want to assure everyone that we are very mindful of the current situation and ongoing concerns that have evoked further caution due to the delta variant. We are taking precautions to keep everyone safe during our in-person Job Fair:

  • We suggest masks be worn during the job fair at all times, except when eating or drinking. This includes any social gatherings and interviews being held on the exhibit floor. As of this writing, masks are required in Grand Rapids; this, however, may change, and we will abide by any restrictions and guidelines that local health authorities impose.
  • A limited supply of masks will be available at registration, and hand sanitizer stations will be staged throughout DeVos Place, including on the exhibit hall floor’ Please practice social distancing wherever possible. We ask that everyone use their own due diligence and protect each other. Please allow for at least six feet of distance between each other when walking.
  • If you suspect you may have contracted and are showing symptoms of COVID-19, please do not come to the job fair. 
  • This is the first time we have planned a job fair under these conditions. We ask that everyone continue to be patient as we work through this. Guidelines may change as we get closer to or even during the event. 
  • The convention center and arena have safely and successfully hosted meetings and events over the past several months. We are working closely with our hospitality partners to benefit from their experience as well. 
  • DeVos Place has engaged a sanitation program that includes upgrades to its HVAC air filtration system and disinfection of high-touch areas.

To learn more about these and additional measures at DeVos Place, click here:

About the Kent County Hospitality Association
The mission of the Kent County Hospitality Association is to provide Kent County hospitality related businesses an opportunity to meet professionally with a common interest to better serve our industry and community while furthering the overall tourism landscape of our region.

Annual Remembrance to Honor and Remember Loved Ones

Muskegon, Michigan – The Bob & Merle Scolnik Healing Center of Harbor Hospice invites the community to their Annual Community Remembrance on Monday, September 20 beginning at 6:00 pm. This is a program encompassing beautiful music, readings, and bulb planting to help individuals and families in our community to both mourn the death and honor the life of a loved one.  

The program will be held at the Heritage Memorial Garden located at 545 West Western Avenue in downtown Muskegon. This program annually welcomes 80-100 attendees and is open to anyone who has had a loss and need not have had hospice care. 

Local community supporter, Pam Babbitt developed the beautiful garden in honor of her late husband; a haven located in downtown Muskegon and an incredible representation of the love that remains even after a person dies.

“I’m so thankful to now have a special place where I can go to remember my loved one any time of the year.”

2020 attendee

Grief counselors for the Scolnik Healing Center, Laura Ecker and Beth Bolthouse, describe “It makes such a difference to come together with others in our community, feel a genuine connection and be supported, knowing we are not alone in our grief.  This event provides an opportunity for sharing love and healing in meaningful ways.”

In our culture, mourning is becoming increasingly taboo. Grief is a natural and normal response to loss, and mourning is how one heals.  It is our privilege to offer this opportunity to mourn and heal in an environment of acceptance and understanding. 

If you would like to participate in this meaningful event, please RSVP by Monday, September 13, by calling the Scolnik Healing Center of Harbor Hospice at 231.728.3442 or 1.800.497.9559.

Newly Discovered Edward Curtis Alaskan Photos will Appear in Muskegon

Muskegon, MI — The Muskegon Museum of Art (MMA) presents Edward S. Curtis: Unpublished Alaska, the Lost Photographs September 16, 2021 through January 9, 2022. This first-time public showing features images made from recently discovered original negatives by Edward Sherriff Curtis. Unpublished Alaska features over 100 images along with excerpts from the personal journals of Curtis and his daughter Beth Curtis Magnuson describing their harrowing adventures in the Bering Sea. 


On June 8, 1927, Curtis, accompanied by daughter Beth and newly employed Stewart C. Eastwood, set sail on the steamer ship Victoria towards Nome, Alaska. The purpose of their voyage was to complete the photography and research for the final, 20th volume of Curtis’s masterwork, The North American Indian. Begun in 1898, The North American Indian was the defining passion of Curtis’s life, an attempt to record, in writing and photography, the lives of the indigenous peoples of the southwestern, western, and northwestern United States. This trip, planned for a single season, would be the final voyage to complete his epic quest. Curtis took hundreds of images on his journey, only part of which were published. The rest sat, unseen, passed down through the family until today.

The Book

This exhibition accompanies the 2021 publication of the complete journals by Curtis’s descendants John and Coleen Graybill in the book Edward Curtis: Unpublished Alaska. The book is available to purchase at the MMA Store or by phone at 231.720.2580.

Opening Event Sept. 16

Reception 5:00 pm | Book Signing 6:00 pm | Lecture 7:00 pm
The Graybills will visit the MMA on Thursday, September 16 to sign books and to give a lecture as part of an exhibition opening event. The evening starts with a reception at 5:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required.

The MMA is open 11:00 am – 5:00 pm daily, 11:00 am – 8:00 am on Thursdays, and closed Mondays. Visit for more information.

Edward S. Curtis: Unpublished Alaska is underwritten by Rehmann, Lorin, and Shape Corporation. Additional support is provided by Blue Lake Public Radio, WGVU/PBS/NPR Public Media, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Michigan Humanities Council with the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Visit for museum updates, visitor information, and exhibition information.

5th Annual “Sailor Salute” Returns

After a one-year hiatus, Mona Shores High School’s football game to honor former and active-duty military, veterans, and first responders is back!

On Friday, September 17th, Mona Shores will take on Zeeland West, their opponent for the first-ever Sailor Salute in 2016.

Throughout its history, the Mona Shores football program has dedicated an evening to bring awareness to our military, police, fire, and emergency responders as a way of giving back. In 2016, the event drew national attention, and the 2017 event was recognized by Armed Forces Thanksgiving by receiving the “Thanksgiving in Action” award for recognizing our military (past, present, and future) while providing an invaluable educational opportunity for our students. Since then, the event has continued to grow.

The evening serves three purposes and will have a great deal of activity going on for everyone.

First, the event is meant to HONOR those who serve or have served our country in the military, in our police and fire departments, or as an emergency responder.

Second, the event is meant to EDUCATE our community on issues and needs that exist within these areas of service and remind those in attendance of the freedoms we enjoy.

Finally, the event is meant to CONNECT all of these branches of service with our community. As part of our great and proud Muskegon community, Mona Shores wants to celebrate such service.

Mona Shores Public Schools will raise money throughout the week for VFW post 3195.

Bookmobile Community Open House – Public Invited for Tours

MUSKEGON, MI – Muskegon Area District Library (MADL) will introduce its new Bookmobile service to the community on Saturday, August 28, 3:00 – 5:00 pm, at the Quarter-Apple Mall parking lot, 1910 E. Apple Avenue.

The fully equipped mobile library will offer convenient access for high demand materials, DVDs, video games, CDs and popular library items. Technology services include, computers, Wi-Fi, hotspots, charging stations, and printing.

The custom designed, 36-foot step van vehicle will operate year-round, and serve the greater Muskegon County community. It will target new segments of the population where there is limited access to library services. The distinctive exterior design is a distinctive, eye-catching, bright and fun display.

The public is invited to tour the Bookmobile, sign up for a library card, check out and return materials, enjoy refreshments and also visit the adjacent Muskegon Township Branch Library.

The schedule of dates, hours, and locations will be posted on the website, Routes will include local schools, businesses, and community hubs. If you are interested in having the Bookmobile reach your community, you can fill out an online request form or download and print a request form.

New Bookmobile to Begin Mobile Library Service in Muskegon

MUSKEGON, MI – Muskegon Area District Library’s (MADL) new Bookmobile has arrived and will start to provide mobile library services in August. The 36-ft. long, 7-ft. wide, 10-ft tall custom-built Bookmobile is fully equipped with high-demand library materials and is a mobile hotspot with free Wi-Fi. The new Bookmobile design is distinctive, bright and joyful and is all about the Library’s services.

“We’re thrilled to bring this beloved service back to our community in a new flexible and accessible way,” says Kelly Richards, Director. “We look forward to partnering with local organizations to reach new segments of the population who have limited access to library services,” he said. The Bookmobile will visit rural and outlying areas of the county, where library services do not exist.

The inaugural public opening will be at the Norton Shores Arts & Drafts Festival on Saturday, August 21 at Ross Park. It will be located in the Children’s Activity Area with the Norton Shores Library booth. A public open house will be scheduled at a later time.

 “We listened to our community during our 2016 millage campaign and planned to resurrect a brand-new Bookmobile service,” says Doug Hughes, MADL Board Chair. “Early literacy and learning opportunities for the public, are our core values in providing library services.”

The last Muskegon Bookmobile ceased to operate in December, 2004 following budget cuts when the Library operated under the County. The first Muskegon County Bookmobile service began in 1940 and there were several different bookmobiles over the years.

Technology To Transformation: Investor Goes From California To The City Of Muskegon

MUSKEGON, MI– Craig Person is an unlikely Muskegon superhero.

He borrows from the Superman storyline to fight for his block on Pine Street in the City of Muskegon’s McLaughlin Neighborhood and foster improvement across the city and community. He has taken his residential redevelopment successes and has become a huge promoter of Muskegon’s ongoing transformation.


“I want to be the kryptonite to negativity and give more than I take so I’m informing folks about Muskegon’s growth to open the door for others … that only seems right,” Person said of taking his housing rehabilitation that has led his company into marketing and promoting the city.

Person has tirelessly worked purchasing and redeveloping a half block of forgotten McLaughlin properties, turning them into the unexpected “smart apartments” and rental units with luxury finishes.

After finding Muskegon from his native California in 2014, he spent seven long years, restoring his flagship building known as “Blue House Manor” on Pine Street and Isabella Avenue to demonstrate that the McLaughlin Neighborhood was worthy of the time and effort it took to restore the property to what it had been in its glory years.

Person even added a private garden called “Blue House Garden” which once was an empty lot where he said he removed more than 10 wheel barrels of broken glass by hand-sifting it along with car parts and broken concrete. The effort made way for beautiful flowers, ornamental trees, cobble stone walk ways and custom-built furniture. It has created a peaceful oasis in an urban setting, he said.

The native Californian started his journey in Silicon Valley as a global risk and compliance manager for a Fortune 500 technology company with no ties to Michigan.

“California was becoming increasingly difficult in which to own a home and sometimes it would take two or more incomes to survive,” he said of the San Jose area.

Person had taught himself how to write software programs early in his career and over time advanced into management, helping to create unique and innovative technology-based solutions. Person said: “I had finally hit the glass ceiling in my career and wanted to do something that would test all of my abilities,” he said.

Person said he connected with his passion for real estate and started a nationwide search for affordable investment properties. He found a Muskegon Heights single-family home on EBay for $3,000, saying he couldn’t believe that was possible.

He eventually purchased a duplex in Muskegon Heights with plans to make improvements. That house created his business identity. Person’s first impulse was to change the duplex from an unattractive blue to a neutral color: “I called my company Blue House instead.”

There’s been no looking back as he then decided sell his California home and move into the original duplex he purchased in 2014 for $5,000. Later the same year, Person purchased a four-unit apartment building in Muskegon’s McLaughlin Neighborhood for another $5,000 and has called the redevelopment “Blue House Manor.”

The grand opening tour of Blue House Manor in late 2020 attracted community and city leaders who welcomed the effort Person put into the property: “As a minority business owner, I wanted to make a visible contribution to improve this area and show others how to do the same.”


Person started a Facebook video blog — “Coffee with Craig” — showing others how to start investing in urban redevelopment. Person plans to eventually release a full documentary regarding Muskegon’s resurgence, saying he is proud to call Muskegon his new home.

“My motto is dream big, think big and make a difference,” Person said of now seeking investment opportunities in the redevelopment of Downtown Muskegon. “I am all in on Muskegon.”

Grand Haven Main Street Side Walk Sales Start Friday, August 20

GRAND HAVEN, MI – This week Friday, August 20, marks the return of the biggest and best sidewalk sales event in Grand Haven! Grand Haven Main Street is pleased to see the return of the popular Annual Sidewalk Sales event, August 20th and 21st, 2021. The bargains, great finds, and FUN are right around the corner! Friday from 9AM till 7PM and Saturday from 9AM till 5PM; the deals will be hot, but they might not last long!

Washington Ave will be closed from Harbor to 3rd St, and Centertown businesses will be using sidewalk space to offer visitors a great shopping experience. The tables will be out, stocked full of deals, and local favorite stores will be there. Visitors will find everything from clothing and accessories, to home goods, to gourmet dog treats. Guests can enjoy great savings on jewelry, shoes, toys, games, and more, as there are great deals for the whole family. Shop ‘til you drop then take a break with a coffee, ice cream, beverage, or a relaxing meal. It’s all part of Grand Haven Main Street’s Annual Sidewalk Sales.

“We are so pleased to see this wonderful community event return in full force in 2021. Sidewalk Sales give residents and visitors alike a great opportunity to enjoy our fantastic Downtown and Centertown businesses…and a chance to snag some great bargains. You won’t want to miss the return of Grand Haven Main Street’s Sidewalk Sales in 2021″ said Jeremy Swiftney, Grand Haven Main Street’s Executive Director.

For additional information visit their Facebook page.

About Grand Haven Main Street Downtown
Grand Haven Main Street includes the shopping, dining, and service areas from Beacon to Harbor in downtown Grand Haven. The mission of Grand Haven Main Street Downtown Development Authority is to enhance a vibrant historic business district through community efforts, plus public and private partnerships. Each year Main Street strives to enhance the heart of the Grand Haven community through promotional events, physical improvements and business recruitment and retention activities.

Muskegon County’s Largest Health Resource Fair Returning for its 10th Anniversary in 2021

MUSKEGON — Health, Wellness & Recovery Picnic (HWR), Muskegon County’s largest health resource fair, will be returning to Hackley Park in downtown Muskegon to celebrate its 10th anniversary on Thursday, Aug. 19.

HWR 2021 is organized by HealthWest and will give residents access to more than 75 local health and human service providers.

“This pandemic has shown just how crucial the work done by our local health and human service organizations is to the wellbeing of Muskegon County residents,” said HealthWest Executive Director Julia Rupp. “The Health, Wellness & Recovery Picnic is an excellent way for any Muskegon County resident to connect with local organizations to find the help they may need.”

HWR 2021 will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19, in Hackley Park. The event is completely free and includes resource booths from more than 75 local health and human service providers, depression screenings, COVID-19 vaccinations, children’s activities, music from Plain Jane Glory, raffle giveaways and even a free picnic lunch for the first 1,000 attendees.

HealthWest canceled HWR in 2020 due to the pandemic but decided to bring the event back in 2021 after consulting with Public Health – Muskegon County on how it can be done safely despite the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

“We know Muskegon County residents need assistance now more than ever,” said Rupp. “That’s why our team has worked to find a way to host this event as safely as possible.”

Despite the event taking place outdoors, mask usage is being encouraged whenever participants are unable to remain at least 6 feet away from others. Masks and hand sanitizer will be provided for free during the event. Free COVID-19 vaccinations will also be available during the event.

In addition to the traditional picnic favorites, this year’s event will feature resources for job seekers looking for a career in the health or human services field with exhibitors having hiring information on-hand.

This free event is made possible thanks to generous sponsorships from Mercy Health, Blue Cross Complete of Michigan, West Michigan Works, Redi Rental, Molina Healthcare, Call 2-1-1 and others.

HealthWest is the Community Mental Health Service Provider for Muskegon County and is a federal Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic demonstration site. It serves roughly 7,000 people annually with behavioral health needs, intellectual or developmental disabilities, or substance use concerns.

Community Foundation for Muskegon County Awards Strategic Leadership Grants to Local Nonprofits

MUSKEGON, Mich. — Access to early childhood education, countywide literacy, business and community resources: these are some of the projects and programs funded by the Community Foundation’s Strategic Leadership Grants.

Following a strategic planning initiative in 2019, the Community Foundation for Muskegon County designed Strategic Leadership Grants to support projects and programs related to their three strategic focus areas: education; community and economic development; and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“This was our first time inviting open applications by the nonprofit community for work related to our strategic goals, and we were impressed by the quantity and quality of the applications,” said Janelle Mair, vice president of community investment. “Many of our investments in 2020 focused on COVID-19 relief and community and economic development. As we move out of the pandemic, investments have shifted to focusing on education for learners of all ages, with an emphasis on systemic changes that create lifelong impact.”

Through their vital work, the following nonprofits are helping to address challenges and opportunities in Muskegon County:

Preschool for All (PK4ALL): To give more children access to high-quality early education, this pilot program will open four free preschool/daycare classrooms through a partnership between Muskegon Public Schools, Muskegon Heights Schools, and the YMCA/Goodwill.
Early Literacy Coaching: Through this effort, the MAISD will place a literacy coach in every public school district to help ensure that children in our county can enjoy all things that result from becoming confident, lifelong readers and writers.
Read Muskegon Literacy Collaborative: Focused on addressing the root causes of illiteracy, this program helps families and neighborhoods work together to reduce poverty and build advocacy, employability, and leadership skills.
Muskegon Community College’s Office of Diversity: This office will serve as a hub of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion resources for local groups and businesses seeking DEI training, staff development, shared workshops and seminars, and other opportunities.

“We are very fortunate to be working with these great organizations,” added Todd Jacobs, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “Because of their efforts, and the donors who have trusted the Community Foundation to steward these funds, important strides are being made to improve education and provide opportunities for Muskegon County residents to succeed.”

These are only some of the grants awarded this round. To learn more about these programs and the other programs supported with grant dollars, click here.

City Announces 2021 International Festival of Holland

HOLLAND, MI – West Michigan residents can travel the world without even packing a suitcase at the International Festival of Holland on Saturday, August 21st, 11:30 am to 9:00 pm, at the Holland Civic Center Place. This free, family-friendly community event includes award-winning performers, hands-on children’s activities, a marketplace of global goods and food trucks offering international cuisine.

The International Festival of Holland is brought to you by the City of Holland’s International Relations Commission (IRC) and the International Festival Advisory Board.

“Our vision for the 2021 International Festival of Holland is to celebrate the variety of cultures living, working, and playing in our community and to create awareness of others,” said Alissa Wilson, IRC chair. “We feel the best way to do this is through everyone’s favorite things: food and music. Please join us on August 21st for the 2021 International Festival of Holland!”

The IRC is releasing a 20 Day Countdown to the International Festival, which offers activities individuals and families can do to learn about our global community, help promote the festival, and build momentum for the big day. Follow the 20 Day Countdown on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by searching for International Festival of Holland.

The International Festival of Holland is supported by Midwest Communications WHTC 1450 AM and 99.7 FM & Van 92.7, the Gentex Corporation, Flagstar Foundation, Holland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Haworth, Quincy Street, Inc., Benteler, LG Energy Solution Michigan, Grand Rapids Community College Lakeshore Campus, the Brooks Family Fund, the West Michigan Lakeshores Association of Realtors, Elzinga & Volkers, and the World Affairs Council of West Michigan. The Festival is also supported through grants from Michigan Humanities, the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Visit for a list of all sponsors and for additional sponsorship opportunities.

About the International Relations Commission (IRC)
Established in 1993, the International Relations Commission has sought to build and maintain meaningful relationships between the people of Holland and the wider world through cultural, educational, and professional contact. IRC programs and events include the International Festival of Holland, Sister-City relationships with Santiago de Queretaro, Mexico, an annual film series, World Affairs Council programming, and various community programs.

About the City of Holland
The City of Holland, Michigan is a vibrant community in a beautiful lakefront setting. It is a world-class city with a small-town feel, making it one of the best places to live, work and vacation.

Holland has been recognized by Forbes Magazine and Money Magazine as one of the safest and most beautiful places in the U.S. and was voted as the “Second Happiest and Healthiest Places to Live in America” by Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. In 2015, Holland landed the number three spot on the list as one of the “10 Best Cities for Families.”

Photo Contest Public Voting Now Open

submitted by the West Michigan Tourist Association


West Michigan –  The public is invited to vote on the Top 50 finalist photos in the West Michigan Photo Contest to help determine the winners.

Thank you to the hundreds of photographers who submitted photos in this year’s West Michigan photo contest. Of the over 1,800 photos submitted, we have narrowed it down to the top 50 photo finalists, and it’s up to the public to help choose our winners.

The top 50 photo entries are posted in a photo album on the West Michigan Facebook page, also available at

Visitors to the photo album may cast votes for any photos by “liking” or “reacting” to each photo. Votes may be cast for multiple photos.

The winners will be announced on August 16th, 2021.

City Hall to Unveil New Face of Norton Shores


Norton Shores, Michigan – The City of Norton Shores is unveiling a new face for the community, featuring new branding and a motto that brings out the city’s natural beauty and unique characteristics. The new motto, “It’s In Our Nature,” aims to spotlight the stunning parks, local business, and close-knit community that visitors and residents have come to know and love.

“‘It’s In Our Nature’ shines a brighter light on the great neighborhoods, schools, businesses and parks that make Norton Shores a wonderful and safe place to live, work, and play,” says Gary Nelund, the Mayor of Norton Shores. “As Norton Shores continues to grow, our nature continues to offer something unique to families and businesses alike.”

To celebrate, Norton Shores will be hosting a brand launch event on August 10 from 12:00 p.m. on the front lawn of Norton Shores City Hall at 4814 Henry Street, Norton Shores, MI, 49441. All Norton Shores residents are invited to attend.

Norton Shores-themed merchandise will be available for purchase on the day of the launch. Designs feature one of several custom logos representing parts of the Norton Shores community such as camping, sunsets, kayaking, hiking, biking and beaches. Hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, glasses, and other accessories will be for sale at City Hall.

Residents and visitors can take advantage of Norton Shore’s one-stop-shop for events, eateries, and activities at a new website, The municipal website found at will also carry over the new theme and will be launched on August 10.

For more information about the brand launch event, call 231-798-4391.

Parties in the Park Hosts Special 2-Day Event August 20 and 21

Parties in the Park is excited to announce that a special two-day event will take place August 20 and 21 in Downtown Muskegon’s beautiful Hackley Park. The event will feature a traditional Parties in the Park event Friday, August 20 from 5-9pm and an extra party from 3-9pm on Saturday, August 21. 

“When the Parties in the Park Board of Directors decided in April 2021 that a full season would not be viable this summer, planning quickly ensued to bring one awesome party to the Muskegon community instead,” said Parties in the Park Board of Directors President, Lisa Richards. “Muskegon residents have been supporting Parties in the Park for 37 years and this is our opportunity to give back to the community by hosting the popular family-friendly music and beverage event over a weekend in August.”

The two-day event will feature a line-up of local and regional music acts, multiple beverage selections, food vendors, a kid’s zone and more. As always, the event is free of charge to attend.

Friday night entertainment includes Grand Rapid’s rock and roll band The Legal Immigrants opening for Muskegon’s own funk, rock and soul band Flexadecibel. Saturday night will kick off with West Michigan’s popular outlaw country music act, Stolen Horses followed by Project 90, an award winning 90s cover band and last welcoming headliner De Hurricane Reggae Band from Chicago, IL to the stage.

Parties in the Park has been providing free, family-friendly events on summer Friday nights in Downtown Muskegon’s Hackley Park for 37 years. A different community non-profit is traditionally selected to host each party and then receives the proceeds from the event.  This year, any proceeds made will go into the Parties in the Park “rainy day fund” at the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.  This fund helps ensure financial success for our non-profit partners as well as helps make continual improvements to Hackley Park.

Parties in the Park has plans to return for a full traditional season including 7 summer Friday nights in 2022.

The 2021 Parties in the Park is sponsored by Best Financial Credit Union, Howmet Aerospace, Subaru of Muskegon, NOBO Provisioning Center, VanDyk Mortgage and Muskegon Surgical Associates.

The Mission of Parties in the Park is to create a sense of community and appreciation for Muskegon’s Downtown through a family-oriented social event. Hosted by a variety of Muskegon County not-for-profit groups, the proceeds from the Parties either make physical enhancements or quality of life improvements for the whole community. For more information, visit:

Air Zoo Hosts Weekend of Outdoor Community Fun – THIS WEEKEND

PORTAGE, MI – The Air Zoo will be buzzing with excitement this weekend. Kicking off the line-up of 2021 summer fly-ins, the B-29 Superfortress “Doc” will be onsite at the Flight Discovery Center from Friday-Sunday. On Saturday, the community is also invited to participate in the Air Zoo’s free community STEAM Day, weather permitting, from 11am-3pm.

B-29 Superfortress “Doc”
“Doc,” one of two airworthy WWII B-29 bombers left in the world, will be flying into the Air Zoo’s Flight Discovery Center on Thursday, July 22nd between 4 and 5pm. The media is encouraged to arrive at 4pm Thursday afternoon for arrival and VIP access to the Superfortress and crew.

Ground and flight deck tours as well as rides are available for purchase Friday, Saturday, and Sunday July 23rd-25th. Onlookers can enjoy and take photos from the FDC’s courtyard at no cost. Admission for the ground and cockpit tours will be $10 per person or $20 per family. Rides range from $600-$1500 each.

Each B-29 “Doc” Flight Experience will last approximately 90 minutes and include a 30-minute ride. Prior to takeoff, passengers will experience a crew briefing and learn more about the history of the B-29 and the role it played in U.S. history. Passengers will also get to hear and see the sights and sounds of engine starts and run-ups prior to takeoff. A schedule of flights and tours can be found on the Air Zoo’s website as well as links to booking your B-29 Flight Experience.

This B-29 Superfortress is one of 1,644 manufactured in Wichita during World War II. Since 1987 when Tony Mazzolini found Doc sitting and rotting away in the Mojave Desert, the mission has been to restore and operate this historic warbird as a flying museum. Over the past 15+ years, skilled workers and retirees from Wichita’s aviation industry, veterans, active-duty military, and others wanting to honor those who served, have spent tens of thousands of hours on Doc’s restoration and upkeep. Countless individuals and organizations also made financial and in-kind contributions to keep the project going.

Saturday STEAM Day Event
The community, and beyond, is invited to come explore science this Saturday, at the Air Zoo’s July STEAM Day event. Activities will feature engineering and space themed stations, led by Air Zoo educators, corporate sponsors, and the 2021 Science Innovation Hall of Fame Awardees. This event is in partnership with the Society of Women Engineers (postponed from the rained-out June event).

The event will kick off at 11am and is free to everyone. Participants will enjoy a variety of activity tables, sponsor giveaways, toy demonstrations, chalking, tie-dyeing and more! Air Zoo educators will guide young engineers through building and testing catapults, designing and testing rockets, and creating constellation telescopes to take home! Several of the SWE Corporate Engineering Challenge sponsors will be instructing and guiding families on other exciting take home activities.

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) will be hosting a special tie-dying station, available to all who join. SWE Corporate Engineering Challenge participants are encouraged to bring their previously issued 2021 Challenge shirts and guests are welcome to bring their own white t-shirt from home or purchase one for $5 through the Air Zoo’s Fly Buy Gift Shop, while supplies last.

Participants can shop at the Fly Buy’s STEAM themed booth outdoors or visit the store inside for a huge assortment of space, aviation and STEAM based options. Local organizations, clubs and corporations will have activities and giveaways for attendees as well. Full details and updates can be found at: Mark your calendars for the final STEAM Day aviation themed event – August 21st.

The Air Zoo’s Flight Innovation and Flight Discovery Center’s galleries and new 2020-2021 exhibits, including their traveling exhibit Be the Astronaut, will also be open. See Plan Your Visit for general admission rates and safety policies and procedures. The Air Zoo is a proud participant in the national Museums for All program, which offers families that have qualified for EBT*/WIC assistance admission to the center for only $2/person age 5+. Kids 4 and under are always free!

*P-EBT cards are not accepted for discount.

Docs Friends
Doc’s Friends is a 501c3 nonprofit board managing the operation of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress known as Doc. The group was formed in 2013 and is led by retired Spirit AeroSystems CEO Jeff Turner along with other Wichita business and community leaders: Charlie Chandler, Jack Pelton, Steve Clark, Lynn Nichols, Brad Gorsuch, Ron Ryan, Tim Buchanan, Jeff Peier, Esq., Mark Paolucci, Tony Mazzolini, Jim Murphy, Sam Frey, Scott Flemming and Josh Wells.

Doc’s Friends is committed to supporting this World War II warbird flying to honor previous generations, educate current and future generations and connect the world to the rich heritage of aviation.

Society of Women Engineers & the Corporate Engineering Challenge
This annual event is open to girls ages 9-12 and is designed to introduce young girls to engineering concepts through hands-on activities and talks with local female engineers. Thanks to the support of corporate sponsors, this event is free to the participants.

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is a not-for-profit educational and service organization that empowers females of all ages to succeed and advance in the field of engineering and be recognized for their life‐changing contributions as engineers and leaders. Although they make up more than half the population, in 2012, only 19.2% of Bachelor’s Degrees in Engineering were presented to women (NSF, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Completions Survey, 2002‐2012). Determined to improve these statistics, SWE offers an array of outreach activities to inspire girls to explore careers in engineering or other technical fields.

About the Air Zoo  
Located at 6151 Portage Rd., Portage, MI 49002, the Air Zoo is a Smithsonian-affiliated aerospace & science experience with over 100 rare air & space craft, inspiring interactive exhibits, indoor amusement park rides, full-motion flight simulators, hands-on science-based education programs, and more.  The Air Zoo is a not-for-profit organization and is open 360+ days per year.  

For hours, tickets, safety policies and procedures as well as temporarily altered experiences due to COVID-19, visit

Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Come to Muskegon

Five Republican Governor Candidates descend upon Muskegon to Meet Voters:
Could Muskegon County Swing Red?

(Muskegon, Michigan) This announcement is to inform voters about an opportunity to compare and contrast Republican gubernatorial candidates, so they can make an informed decision in the Republican primary election.

Muskegon County nearly swung red last election cycle, and Republican gubernatorial candidates hope to see that finally happen for them in 2022. The Muskegon County Republican Party is hosting a Summer Patriotic Party at Kruse Park on Lake Michigan this Saturday, July 24th, from 11:00 A.M. – 7:00 P.M..

At the beach party, five out of the seven Republican candidates hoping to replace Governor Whitmer to become Michigan’s next governor, will vy for Republican support at a free candidate meet and greet between 3:00 P.M. and 5:00 P.M.

All are welcome to attend!

For tickets to the beach party or to RSVP for the candidate meet and greet, go to www.MuskegonGOP/events

Could 2022 be the year that Muskegon, a former Democrat stronghold, goes to Republicans? Keep your eye on Muskegon!

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Announces Holocaust Memorial Gift, Sculpture Acquisition

submitted by the West Michigan Tourist Association

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is honored to announce a major gift from The Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids in order to establish the first Holocaust memorial in Grand Rapids, anchored by Ariel Schlesinger’s Ways to Say Goodbye. This gift is made possible by a donation from the Pestka Family in memory of their father Henry, the survivors who settled in Western Michigan and the millions of Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

“Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is highly honored and very pleased to receive this significant and meaningful gift to acquire Ariel Schlesinger’s monumental sculpture Ways to Say Goodbye,” said David Hooker, President & CEO of Meijer Gardens. “The sculpture will be installed in 2022 and dedicated in memory of Henry Pestka and the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. We are deeply grateful for this gift adding such an important work of art to our permanent collection. Our members and guests will forever benefit from this extraordinary gift which will serve to educate and promote peace,” continued Hooker.

Ways to Say Goodbye is a twenty-foot-tall aluminum cast of a fig tree that has shards of glass inserted among the branches. It is an exceptional work of contemporary sculpture dealing with themes of profound loss and grief and will serve to memorialize the millions of people who perished in the Holocaust and the Holocaust survivors of Western Michigan.

Ariel Schlesinger takes an organic form that is a metaphor of both the Jewish people and their history. The aluminum cast sculpture is of a living fig tree that he found on a farm while traveling in northern Italy. This tree was specifically chosen by Schlesinger for its character and as a symbol of the Jewish struggle for survival both during and after the Holocaust. The tree appears fragile and clinging to life, however it is also representative of great endurance. Schlesinger has commented that in conceptualizing the sculpture, he held pieces of broken glass in his hands that pressed into his fingers. This recalled the Kristallnacht, or Night of Broken Glass. The Kristallnacht was the symbolic beginning of the Holocaust, during which Nazi mobs murdered Jews and destroyed Jewish property and synagogues throughout Germany. Schlesinger transferred this concept to the sculpture by embedding the glass shards into the branches of the tree, representing the near annihilation of the Jewish people in a few short years.

Meijer Gardens and the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids envision Ways to Say Goodbye as a gathering place for the Jewish community of Grand Rapids. The sculpture will be an excellent teaching tool for educators both locally and nationally to address the Holocaust and its legacy.

“As time goes on and memories of the Holocaust fade, it is important to remember the barbarity human beings are capable of,” said Steve Pestka. “It is equally important to contemplate the strength of the survivors and their ability to continue and rebuild their lives. It is our hope that this work of art will promote an appreciation of our shared humanity and a reminder that hatred and intolerance continue to this day and the consequences of the ultimate dehumanization of human beings.”

“The memorial has important significance to my family because our father was a survivor,” said Linda Pestka.” The numbers 73847 are numbers that we will never forget. They were tattooed to my father’s forearm, as though he were an animal, as identification for his potential death. It is our duty to educate, respect and honor the victims and their families of the unthinkable acts against life and morality. The Holocaust did happen. Holocaust deniers are reporting false and harmful information. Anti-Semitism and other hate crimes are on the rise. The Meijer Gardens Memorial sculpture will allow hundreds of thousands of people each year to become educated and aware of the atrocities against humanity. May we never forget.”

About Ariel Schlesinger
Ariel Schlesinger (b. 1980, Jerusalem) reveals the poetry, poignancy and potential of everyday things. Through precise interventions, creative engineering and trompe l’oeil, his work challenges our perceptions and encourages us to look at the familiar in new ways. Schlesinger has lived and worked in many parts of the world, including the United States, Great Britain, Mexico and Germany. He grew up in Israel and received his undergraduate degree at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, Israel’s oldest and most prestigious art school. He graduated from Columbia University in New York with a Master’s in Fine Arts degree. Schlesinger has had many notable exhibitions in Austria, Cuba, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Slovenia and Switzerland. In 2019 he received a prestigious commission for a public sculpture outside of the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. Ariel Schlesinger and his work have been written about in many books and notable publications.
About the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids
The Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids serves to enrich the quality of life for Jews in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in Israel, and around the world. The Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids meets this goal through philanthropy, planning, education and wellness opportunities, community relations, and volunteer recruitment and training. The Federation convenes agencies, synagogues, and organizations to address issues of common concern. Together, we transform Jewish tradition and values into action. Whether caring for people in need or nurturing and sustaining Jewish identity for future generations, this is where our community comes together as one; where we, as a community, develop innovative responses to critical, often life-threatening issues; where anyone who needs help can get it; where an energized Jewish community grows and celebrates; and where everyone, including you, can make a difference right now.

About Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
One of the world’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park was recently listed in the top 100 most visited museums in the world and the top 30 most visited museums in the United States by The Art Newspaper, the leading publication in global art news. The 158-acre main campus features Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; one of the largest interactive children’s gardens in the country; arid and Victorian gardens with bronze sculptures by Edgar Degas and Auguste Rodin; a carnivorous plant house; outdoor gardens; and a 1900-seat outdoor amphitheater, featuring an eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians every summer. The internationally acclaimed Sculpture Park features a permanent collection including works by Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Richard Serra, Louise Bourgeois, Ai Weiwei and Jaume Plensa, among others. Indoor galleries host changing sculpture exhibitions that have included Ai Weiwei, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Mark di Suvero, Jonathan Borofsky, Alexander Calder, Jim Dine and others. In June 2015, the eight–acre Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened. Created by renowned designer Hoichi Kurisu, the garden features sculpture by Anish Kapoor, Jenny Holzer, David Nash, George Rickey, Masayuki Koorida, Zhang Huan, and Guiseppe Penone.

New Marketing Manager Joins the West Michigan Tourist Association Team

submitted by the West Michigan Tourist Association

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – West Michigan Tourist Association (WMTA) is excited to welcome their new Marketing Manager, Erin Murphy, to the team. 

A West Michigan native from Grand Rapids, Erin graduated from Hope College in 2018 with degrees in Communication and Business. Erin joins WMTA after three years on staff with the Alzheimer’s Association, working on local Walk to End Alzheimer’s events throughout West Michigan. She’s previously worked with a number of nonprofit organizations in marketing, fundraising, and event coordinating, but is excited to be joining the WMTA team to get to focus specifically on marketing support for the organization and its partners. 

Erin is passionate about the West Michigan area and is excited to be promoting amazing organizations, businesses, and events from across the region. “I love how you don’t have to drive very far to experience so many different amazing towns and communities! You’re never too far away from a lake and you can easily find whatever you’re looking for, from big city amenities and lots of activity to sweet small towns full of charm,” she shared about her love for West Michigan.

Erin says her favorite season in West Michigan would have to be summer. “A perfect summer day would include a day at Lake Michigan, enjoying the sunshine, warm sand, and water, and capping off the day with a beautiful sunset and some yummy ice cream,” she shared.

Erin will be working with press releases, trade shows, social media, newsletter creation, and editorial writing. For any questions or information regarding the West Michigan Tourist Association, she can be contacted at or (616) 245-2217 ext 107.

Great Lakes Surf Festival is Back on Saturday, August 14th

The Great Lakes Surf Festival is back this year and will take place on Saturday, August 14th at Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon, Michigan

submitted by the West Michigan Tourist Association

MUSKEGON, MI – After great success during the first two events in 2018 and 2019, the Great Lakes Surf Festival is back and will be holding their third annual event on Saturday, August 14th, 2021 at Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon Michigan. For 2021, event goers will be able to learn how to surf and paddleboard, along with practicing in yoga directly on the beach. Music, food, and a raffle will also take place. Several surfboards and paddleboards will be given away along with a trip to Costa Rica. 

No waves? No problem! The Great Lakes Surf Festival in conjunction with Tommy’s Boats of Grand Rapids Michigan will be making artificial waves. Tommy’s Boats will be able to generate waist high waves to simulate ocean waves. These conditions will be ideal for those seeking a gentle way to learn a variety of boardsports.  

Event Co-Founder Joe Bidawid is excited about what’s on slate for this year; “We are excited to see the Great Lakes Surf Festival grow and to have the support from our sponsors and from the surf and paddleboard industry. We have one of the most beautiful venue locations on the Great Lakes, in Pere Marquette Beach, and we encourage anyone interested in a fun and family friendly beach day to come out and join us.” 

 “Imagine a late summer day on an amazing beach, doing what you love and surrounded by so many people from all over the Great Lakes, who share the same passion. That is our goal,” says Joe Bidawid.

Royalty free photos of prior events are available upon request.  More information can be found at Contact the Great Lakes Surf Festival at

Adult Night Out is Back this Thursday, July 15, at John Ball Zoo

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – John Ball Zoo’s popular Adult Night Out continues with the third of the six event series this Thursday, July 15th.

Adult Night Out gives guests ages 21+ the opportunity to experience the Zoo at night without any kids. There will be select animal encounters for guests to enjoy, along with beer and wine selections, including a specialty brew from Two Guys Brewing, and delicious food options throughout the Zoo.

For July 15th, a tropical-themed menu will be offered at the Zoo’s Monkey Island Café featuring cilantro lime rice mixed with juicy pulled pork served in a pineapple bowl, a classic Cuban sandwich, jerk chicken wrap with rice, greens, jerk chicken and the Zoo’s signature sauce, along with pineapple Dole Whip.

The Zoo is also pleased to welcome sponsors for this popular event series. In July, the title sponsor is Wolverine Building Group.

John Ball Zoo will be hosting three additional Adult Night Out evenings on July 29, and August 12, 26. They are a perfect date night, an opportunity to network, or to enjoy a friends’ night out. Each Adult Night Out is 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. The Zoo offers four times to enter at 6:00, 6:15, 6:30, and 6:45 p.m.

Tickets for all dates are available online for $18 for members or $20 for non-members at Limited tickets are available for each evening. Both events in the month of June did sell out, so the Zoo highly recommends reserving tickets before the event.

John Ball Zoo is located on Fulton Ave., one mile west of downtown Grand Rapids. For questions for more information, visit, call (616) 336-4301 or email

Josh Turner Performing at Holland Civic Center Place – Tickets On Sale 7/16

HOLLAND, MI – Just announced, multi-nominated Grammy, CMA, and ACM country music artist JOSH TURNER will play hit the stage at the Holland Civic Center Place on Tuesday, November 18, 2021 at 7:30 pm.

From the very start of his career through chart-topping hits like “Your Man,” “Would You Go With Me,” “Why Don’t We Just Dance,” and “All Over Me,” Turner has immersed himself in country music’s history and its iconic figures. After all, this is someone who, as a student at Nashville’s Belmont University, took an open gate on Johnny Cash’s property as a sign he should knock on the legendary singer’s door and introduce himself.

“The doorknob wiggles, the door swings open, and there stands Johnny Cash,” Turner recalls. “He and I both jump back, because he didn’t expect to see me, and I sure didn’t expect him to answer the door.”

Later, as the hits came, along with multiple GRAMMY, CMA, and ACM nominations, Turner joined the Grand Ole Opry. One of country music’s oldest and most hallowed traditions, the Opry once counted Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Cash, and George Jones among its ranks; now, Turner shares membership with heroes like Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, and Patty Loveless, as well as guest Chris Janson.

For nearly two decades, Turner has been one of country music’s most recognizable voices, selling more than 8.5 million units and amassing more than 2.5 billion global streams. He has never kept his reverence for traditional country music a secret, but, with this latest album, Josh Turner is in a Country State of Mind. For more information on Josh Turner, visit

TICKET PRICES: $72.00, $56.00, $46.00 (additional fees may apply)

Tickets are available online at More info at:

“The Heart Remembers”, a Community Remembrance Day at Clock Funeral Home, August 18th

Healing Center and Clock Funeral Home bring ‘The Heart Remembers’ to remember and honor loved ones lost to COVID.

Harbor Hospice and Clock Funeral Home are partnering to present a special community remembrance to honor those lives lost during the pandemic. “The Heart Remembers” will be an open house-style event, Wednesday, August 18th, with a special time at 5:30 pm for Pause, Reflection and Gratitude.

“Families have shared with us that the inability to both be present with their loved ones in their final hours, and not being able to honor their life lived with friends and family has left an indelible ache in their heart,” said Dale and Jodi Clock, owners of Clock Funeral Home. “For this reason, we joined forces with the Scolnik Healing Center of Harbor Hospice to help families celebrate a life lived, with others who have experienced the same pain. It’s important to know that this is for ‘anyone’ who experienced a loss. This is not limited to “where” the death occurred, if hospice was involved, or what death care provider was chosen. It’s about coming together to help heal the heart.”

Keepsakes will be provided to the first 150 attendees. Live music and refreshments will round out the event. The community is encouraged to bring leashed, well-mannered pets with them.

“Our communities have been affected in so many ways by COVID and many who have lost loved ones to this horrible virus have not been able to have services or get together with others for comfort and meaningful support.  This is an opportunity for anyone who is grieving any loved one, including a pet, who died during COVID to come together and honor them and remember them,” said Beth Bolthouse, grief counselor, Scolnik Healing Center of Harbor Hospice.

Event is free to attend; please RSVP at

For questions or more information please call 231.728.3442. All those registered can send a photo of a loved one/s or pet, including their name, to: 231-722-3721 (text) or email

United Way of the Lakeshore is Asking for Project Nominations for Day of Caring

MUSKEGON, MI – United Way of the Lakeshore is asking the community to nominate projects for Day of Caring, which will be held Saturday, September 10th, 2021.


“This year will be the 28th annual Day of Caring,” says UWL Community Engagement Director, Dominique Bunker. “To get ready, we need people in the community to start nominating projects. Then, on September 10th, we will have a morning meet-up, assign volunteers to each project and get started! We are looking for all kinds of project ideas. In the past we have fixed up playgrounds, a baseball field, helped disabled veterans with house projects that they are unable to do themselves. We are open to all kinds of project ideas, but we need people in the community to speak up for their neighbors, their families, and their community spaces.”

Project nominations should be sent to Dominique via email. People can sign up to volunteer, or learn more about Day of Caring on the United way of the Lakeshore website.

In previous years, United Way of the Lakeshore has worked with volunteers to complete a variety of projects. This year we also plan to host an art contest, and we are asking young artists, aged between 5 and 18, to design this year’s logo for Day of Caring. Submissions for the logo can be sent to Dominique, and there will be a special prize for the winner.


“There is something so special about Day of Caring. It is a chance for the entire community to come together. We all have that moment when we are driving around our community and we see a park or a house that needs some care, and we think ‘somebody should help fix that’ and that’s exactly what happens on Day of Caring. So if you’ve seen one of those spots, and had that thought, be sure to let us know.”

United Way of the Lakeshore is uniting to inspire change and build thriving communities.
Our Bold Goal – 10,000 more working families meet their basic needs by 2025.
For more information, contact United Way of the Lakeshore at 231-332-4047 or visit

Lakeshore Museum Center Hosts Walking Tours of Downtown Muskegon This Summer

MUSKEGON, MI – This summer, the Lakeshore Museum Center will be hosting walking tours of downtown that will explore Muskegon’s rich history as well as its exciting present.

Tours are broken down into two categories – Historic Tour and the Art and Architecture Tour. On the Historic Walking Tour, participants will learn about the past and current uses and occupants of many of Muskegon’s historic businesses and residences. Learn about the McCraken house, Charles Hackley’s father, what life was like for the Spaniola family as they operated the market on Western Ave., and other interesting stories about historic downtown Muskegon.

The Art and Architecture Tour will focus on the public art installations, murals, and architectural styles of downtown Muskegon. Stops on the tour will include the statues in Hackley Park, Richardsonian Romanesque buildings, and the recent summer art additions to downtown.

The 90-minute walking tours are scheduled for alternating Mondays and Thursdays through September 2, 2021, with historic tours at 10 am and Art & Architecture Tours at 2 pm. Tours begin and end at the Lakeshore Museum Center, 430 W. Clay Ave. Tours are scheduled for July 8, 12, 22, and 26; Aug. 5, 9, 19, and 23; and Sept. 2.

Tickets for all tours are $13 for Lakeshore Museum Center members and $15 for non-members. A two-ticket minimum purchase is required. Register for the Historic Walking Tour at, and register for the Art and Architecture Tour at, or register by visiting the Museum Store. Once at least two tickets have been purchased, single tickets can be purchased through the Museum Store or by calling 231-722-0278. Groups of six or more can contact the Lakeshore Museum Center at 231-724-5543 to schedule an alternate tour date or time.

For more information and to view the weather policy for these events, visit the Lakeshore Museum Center online at

About Lakeshore Museum Center
Since 1937, the Lakeshore Museum Center has explored, preserved, and interpreted the history of Muskegon County through historic exhibits, education and cultural-based programs, and special events and presentations for all ages. The Center is comprised of multiple sites and buildings including the Hackley & Hume Historic Site, the Fire Barn Museum, the Scolnik House of the Depression Era and the Muskegon Heritage Museum.

Help Keep the Muskegon County Community Safe

Submitted by Emily Morgenstern, Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce

Muskegon County, MI – The warm weather months typically see an uptick in crime across the country. This year is no different. The Muskegon County Silent Observer committee wants to remind residents that they have the power to help keep the community safe.

If you have information about people involved in local crimes, take advantage of the Silent Observer program. All tips shared are one hundred percent anonymous and could be rewarded with cash.

This high-tech program allows individuals to report crimes anonymously by calling in tips with total confidentiality. Computer software blocks cell phone numbers and computer addresses by replacing that information with confidential code numbers. When information results in an arrest, the code number can release the reward payout that can then be cashed anonymously. Silent Observer rewards range from $50 for misdemeanors up to $2,500 for more serious crimes like homicide.

The Silent Observer committee is made up of a number of non-profit organizations in the community that work in partnership with law enforcement professionals. “This privately managed system works,” says Silent Observer Committee Chair, Tom Schultz. “Over the years law enforcement has arrested serious criminals thanks to anonymous citizen participation,” states Schultz.

For more information on how you can help go to

Public Invited to Muskegon Area District Library Open House July 7th

MUSKEGON, MI – The Muskegon Area District Library, (MADL) will hold system-wide Open Houses at all ten community branches, Wednesday, July 7, 11 am – 7:00 pm. The public is invited to see major, new library renovations that took place during the pandemic, including the build of a new Muskegon Township Branch at a new high visibility location. Other renovations are in progress.

The public is welcome to visit any of these branch locations during the Open House; Dalton, Egelston, Holton, Montague, Muskegon Heights, Muskegon Township, North Muskegon, Norton Shores, Ravenna, and the Library for the Visually & Physically Disabled. Refreshments and giveaways will be available.

“We are now fully open and are offering many new enhanced services to give our community more conveniences and choices,” says Kelly Richards, Director of MADL. “Our dedicated staff is committed to providing great customer service and look forward to seeing you again,” says Richards.

Muskegon Storyville will also officially open with a Ribbon-cutting ceremony on the same day. Storyville Villages are early literacy, child-sized villages where children ages 0-5 and their parents/caregivers can let their imagination run wild. Villages are located in the Montague, Muskegon Heights and Norton Shores library branches. “There has been tremendous excitement and support for this new early literacy initiative”, says Doug Hughes, Chair of the MADL Board. “It’s a one-of-a-kind learning place in Muskegon County that supports school readiness,” says Hughes.

Since the pandemic, MADL has eliminated overdue fines, and now offers free wireless printing, curbside pickup and a new Library app which makes it easy to access your account and the catalog to order books. MADL is offering more digital resources, such as BrainFuse, a one-on-one tutoring service and Tumblebooks, animated talking picture books for kids, and extensive 24/7 Wi-Fi service.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes Apple & BBQ Festival Returns for 2021

submitted by the West Michigan Tourist Association

HART, MICHIGAN – The Apple & BBQ Festival will make a comeback as the largest festival to return to the Silver Lake Sand Dunes area after a forced cancelation in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Located at the Golden Township Park at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes on Silver Lake Road, this exciting two-day festival will take place outdoors on Friday, September 10th and Saturday, September 11th with a culmination of live entertainment, events, and delicious food!

The festival will do the right thing about health and safety protocols to make sure people feel comfortable. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the festival. Guests, volunteers, and vendors are encouraged to wash and sanitize their hands frequently. Mask will not be required but are welcomed.

Families and festival goers can expect an expanded Arts & Crafts Fair and an increased number of Food Vendors. Other popular features returning are the Classic Auto & Buggy Show, Kids’ Activities, Apple Pie Contest, Apple A Day 5K, Live Entertainment, Amateur BBQ Contest, Beer Tent, and more. The KCBS Professional & Amateur BBQ Contests are still being worked on, information to follow regarding these events to follow soon.

Proceeds from the festival benefit organizations and programs that serve the Silver Lake Sand Dunes area. The festival gives back to various community events such as Silver Lake Fireworks, beautification projects including the flags and flowers at the Silver Lake roundabout, and funding projects that further the growth of the Golden Township Park at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes.

“We hope everybody comes and has a great time”, says Scott Beal, Executive Director of the Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau. “We are excited for the events return and the positive economic impact it has for the area”. If you would like to attend, volunteer, sponsor, or be a vendor at the event, please call 231-873-2247 or visit

New Directory of Engaging Activities on Farms across the State

The 2021 ‘Discover Michigan Farm Fun’ Directory Features Engaging Activities for all Ages on Farms across the State
submitted by the West Michigan Tourist Association

LANSING, MI – The Michigan Agritourism Association just released its 2021 edition of Michigan’s Agricultural Tourism Directory, a popular guide for finding fun, hands-on activities on Michigan farms. Suggested activities include U-pick farms, educational activities and tours, farm markets and stands, dairies and creameries, farm dining, festivals and events, cider and donuts, petting farms, overnight on the farm, craft beverage tasting and more. 

“Agritourism destinations have been one of the bright spots for Michiganders despite the many challenges of the past year,” shares Janice Benson, executive director of the Michigan Agritourism Association. “Local farms were one of the first and favorite places people flocked to after spending so much time at home.” 

The 130-page, full-color directory is a true Michigan product, produced and printed in Michigan featuring authentic photos from the state’s farms. Conveniently organized by regions with maps, the directory makes it easy-to-find, nearby agricultural destinations. 

“More people are exploring rural places in and around their communities to get outside and soak in the peaceful beauty of Michigan’s agricultural landscapes,” shares Benson, “and they are discovering the joy of hands-on experiences like picking their own fruit, petting farm animals and tasting fresh-pressed cider. 

This year’s cover features 4-year-old Lola holding a duckling on her family farm, Polish Heritage Farm in Cedar. Lola and her 8-year-old brother, Thomas, are growing up with a true Michigan farm experience, helping with chores, like gathering eggs and caring for the ducklings, and learning all about raising heritage-breed pigs. 

The 2021 directory is produced with support from Legacy Sponsor Farm Bureau Insurance and Print Sponsor Michigan Apple Committee. Media sponsors include Michigan Radio and WCMU Public Media. 

“We’re excited about the release of this year’s directory,” said Farm Bureau Insurance CEO Don Simon. “It lists hundreds of farm destinations across Michigan where visitors can enjoy our state’s bountiful harvest, including farmers’ markets, orchards, cider mills, and many more popular agritourism spots. We’re proud to support Michigan farmers and the agritourism industry.” 

Copies of the directory are available at Farm Bureau Insurance offices across Michigan as well as Michigan Welcome Centers. For more information, or for a digital copy of the directory, visit

About Michigan Agritourism:
Michigan Agritourism is a non-profit association that supports the agritourism industry through promotion, education, advocacy, problem resolution and networking. Its goal is to keep family farms sustainable, support local economic growth and provide rich and unique experiences for visitors to make lasting memories.

Muskegon’s Lakeshore Trail Reopens After More Than a Year Due to High-Water Damage

Mayor Steve Gawron cuts the ribbon on the reopening of the Muskegon Lakeshore Trail after repairs were completed due to high-water damage.

MUSKEGON, MI — The Muskegon Lakeshore Trail – the 12-mile bike and pedestrian pathway from the Muskegon River to Pere Marquette Beach – has fully reopened since high-water damage closed a portion of it early 2020.

The trail between Hartshorn Marina and Lakeside received extensive damage from high water and battering storms in the winter of 2019-20.

The City of Muskegon and the ongoing environmental cleanup efforts of the Amoco “tank farm” property on Muskegon Lake combined to restore the Lakeshore Trail. The city has completed the restoration east of the Amoco site and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration through the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission completed the rest with Amoco site restoration.

The trail has been raised about two and a half feet to bring it above the current flood zone of Muskegon Lake, according to Leo Evans, city director of the Department of Public Works. The city’s portion of the repair included shoring up the path along the bridge abutments that were washed out by the high water.

The NOAA restoration moved the bike path away from the shoreline and integrated it in the wetland restoration on the northwest corner of the Amoco site. Large limestone rip-rap has been placed along the way to protect the trail from the waves coming off of Muskegon Lake.

The city contracted with bidder Jackson-Merkey Contractors Inc. to complete the eastern half of the repair in a $244,000 project. The Amoco site bike path restoration is part of a $3.1 million overall debris removal project and redevelopment of the wetlands on the Amoco site.

The repairs and subsequent lowering of Great Lakes water levels in the past year should secure the Lakeshore Trail for years to come, Evans said.

The Lakeshore Trail is a key foundation of the extensive trail system through Muskegon County, connecting with the Fred Meijer Berry Junction Trail and Hart-Montague Trail to the north and the Musketawa Trail to the east.

Great Lakes Beach Safety is Key to Great State Park Visits

submitted by the West Michigan Tourist Association

MICHIGAN – As the summer heats up and people begin flocking to Great Lakes beaches, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources urges everyone to keep water and pier safety in mind.

Holding more than 20% of the world’s fresh water, the Great Lakes are large, powerful water systems. These lakes reign supreme for many during warmer months, but they also are prone to dangerous currents that can threaten even the most experienced swimmer. Adverse weather patterns can create dangerous rip and structural currents along piers and breakwalls, too. Crashing waves can create slippery surfaces and conditions strong enough to knock a person into the water.

“The DNR eagerly welcomes millions of visitors to Michigan state parks each summer,” said Sean Mulligan, Holland State Park manager. “Visitors should keep in mind that winds can come up quickly, changing conditions without warning, so always pay attention to the weather. The Great Lakes can become very dangerous, especially when waves get higher than 4 feet.”

Unfortunately, several emergencies and drownings have occurred along the beach and breakwall areas. Many of these incidents happened during red flag days when the wind and waves are strong with greater potential for dangerous rip currents.

Of Michigan’s 100-plus state parks, 42 offer access to Great Lakes shoreline.

Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, said the increase in accidents and drownings on the Great Lakes in recent years is especially troubling and clear evidence that greater public awareness is needed. In particular, Grand Haven, Holland, Ludington and Mears state parks are situated in locations where rip currents tend to build and recurring safety hazards are present.

“When it comes to protecting Michigan residents and visitors on the water, especially the Great Lakes, we cannot talk enough about safety, preparation and vigilant awareness,” Olson said.

New safety measures at Holland State Park
Holland State Park, situated along Lake Michigan, is one of Michigan’s most-visited sites and provides the main access to a popular pier that is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. More recently, the DNR and the local community have collaborated on additional ways to alert visitors to changing Great Lakes and pier conditions.

This past fall, Holland State Park staff collaborated with Park Township and The King Company to fund the installation of a gate on the pier adjacent to Holland State Park. The goal is to help save lives by restricting access during harsh weather and to reduce the number of people jumping off the pier, while still allowing people to fish from the pier when feasible. Generally speaking, the gate will be closed during the winter, when the red flags are flying and during night hours when the park is closed.

In addition, an electronic messaging board conveying beach conditions is located where visitors enter Holland State Park, and a new public address system will be used to update beachgoers as the beach warning flags are changed in response to weather conditions. Visitors also can view live beach conditions at via livestream video courtesy of the City of Holland and Biggby Coffee. Conditions are posted on the park’s Facebook page at

River outlets and breakwalls
Dangerous currents can occur near the outlets of rivers and breakwalls, especially during times that water levels are higher.

For example, the mouth of the Big Sable River is located in Ludington State Park, but outside the designated swim area. In the past, swimmers have been swept out into Lake Michigan. This park also has installed an electronic bulletin messaging board at the entrance to the designated beach area to help alert visitors of current conditions.

In addition, swimmers should be aware of particularly dangerous structural currents that form along shoreline structures near breakwalls, such as in Mears State Park.

“When northwest winds appear, water is pushed to the shore causing dangerous currents along the north side of the pier,” said Chris Bush, lead ranger at Mears State Park. “People are often surprised that structures located in the Great Lakes can cause such powerful, and sometimes dangerous, currents.”

Using state park designated swim areas on the Great Lakes
Many, but not all, state parks on the Great Lakes offer designated swimming areas that are identified by buoys or buoys and markers, a beach flag warning system and water depth less than 5 feet at the time of installation. Water depth will be inspected approximately every 14 days and underwater obstacles will be posted or marked. You may also find other designated swim areas in areas other than state parks.

Check the flag upon arrival and be sure to monitor it throughout the day because conditions can change rapidly.

• Green flag = Go. Enter the water but stay aware of changing conditions.
• Yellow flag = Caution. Watch for dangerous currents and high waves.
• Red flag = Stop. Stay on the beach; do not enter the water and do not swim.

There are no beach guards at state parks , so please never swim alone and keep close watch of children. Stay within arm’s reach and make sure all kids wear life jackets.

If there is an emergency, immediately call 911. At Holland and Grand Haven state parks, use the nearest red zone number boards (located on the beach) to help relay your location as accurately as possible.

State park designated swim areas have lifesaving flotation device and equipment. Remember the safety equipment on the beach or pier is for emergency use only; using this equipment for anything else is against the law.

Keep these additional cautions in mind when enjoying time in and around the Great Lakes:

Currents near piers can be extremely hazardous. Pay attention to the buoys marking the designated swim areas; swimming outside of the marked swim zones can be dangerous and should be avoided.
During certain weather conditions, the force of water and waves crashing over the surface can easily wash someone off a structure; always monitor the beach flag warning system.
Before leaving home, learn about the types of Great Lakes currents and how to escape them.
Check local weather reports and lake conditions before and during your beach trip.

Nondesignated swim areas on the Great Lakes
Visitors in areas without designated swim beaches should use extreme caution because they will not have the benefit of the beach flag warning system or the visual cautions of buoys that mark water depth and other obstacles.

More smart safety water tips
When swimming or boating in any body of water – whether the Great Lakes, inland lakes or slow-moving rivers and streams – make safety your first priority. Never swim alone, always keep close watch of children and bring U.S. Coast-Guard-approved life jackets, especially for new and inexperienced swimmers.

When boating, have life jackets available for everyone on the vessel, leave a float plan with someone on shore, stay alert and carry a cell phone or marine radio. Such planning goes for those on personal watercraft like Jet Skis and paddle boards, too. Learn boating safety.

More info

Visit to learn about the beach flag warning system, how to escape rip currents and more.

For more on overall beach and water safety at state parks throughout Michigan, contact Ron Olson at 517-243-1477 or

Coming Together to Feed the City – Curbside Food Distribution Events

Muskegon, Mich. – COVID-19. Unemployment. Medical expenses. There are many causes of hunger in the Muskegon Community. AgeWell Services of West Michigan has worked to help feed our aging neighbors since 1973. When the City of Muskegon called on AgeWell Services to use its experience to help feed the city, the team was ready to pitch in.

Using funding from the CARES Act CDBG funding, the City of Muskegon, AgeWell Services, and the Muskegon YMCA will host two curbside food distribution events.

The first event will take place on Wednesday, June 30th from noon to 2 pm at Marsh Field, 1800 Peck St. The second curbside event will be July 7th from noon to 2 pm in the Baker College parking lot, 878 Jefferson St., in Downtown Muskegon near the Muskegon Farmer’s Market.

Both events are open to the public and are first come, first serve. There are no age restrictions for these distributions. The events will be drive-thru. Participants will receive a bundle of frozen meals from AgeWell Services and a produce box from the Muskegon YMCA Veggie Van.

Muskegon County to Lift the State of Emergency Beginning June 29th

MUSKEGON, MI — Muskegon County plans to lift all COVID-19 restrictions and return to in-person committee and board meetings beginning June 29, 2021.

In alignment with Governor Whitmer, Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Muskegon County plans to resume all business operations with COVID-19 restrictions lifted. Board and Standing Committee meetings will once again be held in-person at the Hall of Justice.

“We have been waiting for over a year to hear this great news and return to a pre-pandemic order of operations,” said Chairman Bob Scolnik. “This is due to the efforts of all medical personnel, first responders and all essential workers who stood in the gap. I would especially like to thank the Public Health Director, Kathy Moore, for leading the charge during these long 15 months.”

This milestone has been reached because Muskegon County residents have done their part in stopping the spread by following the distancing guidelines and receiving vaccinations. Online services will still be in operation and are strongly encouraged.


In response to updated guidance from the Michigan State Court Administrator’s Office, the Michigan Department of Health and Humans Services, and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and in accordance with the recommendation of local public health officials, the Muskegon County Courts are able to increase in-person access to court operations. Permanent protective measures have been implemented, including new signage, installation of hand sanitizing stations, protective shielding, and physical barriers within court areas. A brief health screening will still be required, and can be completed using the QR code below for quicker entry into the Hall of Justice. Masks or face coverings will no longer be required for entry. Judges retain the discretion to require individuals in the courtroom to use masks generally or in specific cases, particularly cases involving persons who are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Beginning Tuesday, June 29th, the general public will be permitted access to the Muskegon County Hall of Justice.

  • General Court Business-
    • District Court: 8:30 am -4:30 pm, Monday-Friday
    • Circuit, Family & Probate Court-
      • Effective June 29th – September 5th: 8:30 am -4:30 pm, Monday-Thursday; Limited Access Fridays
      • Effective September 6: 8:30 am -4:30 pm, Monday-Friday; Closed Labor Day
    • Circuit Court Records & Vital Records:
      • Effective June 29th- September 5th: 8:30 am-4:30 pm, Monday-Thursday; Closed Fridays, but Open Friday July 9th
      • Effective September 6: 8:30 am -4:30 pm, Monday-Friday; Closed Labor Day
    • All Other County Departments in the Muskegon County Hall of Justice-: 8:30 am- 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday
  • Scheduled Hearings- Court proceedings will be scheduled using a hybrid model of in-person and remote hearing appearances, consistent with Supreme Court Administrative Order No. 2020-6. Anyone with a scheduled hearing or pending court matter should follow the instructions on the notice they receive. Future hearing notices will be provided via the US mail, or by electronic notification, with specific instruction on how to appear.
    • Zoom Hearings- Anyone receiving a hearing notice to appear via Zoom should follow the instructions contained in their notice regarding how to appear remotely.
    • In-person Hearings- The court will continue to send out specific notices to appear in-person. Hearing notices will indicate the scheduled time of hearing.
  • Jury Trials- If you receive a juror summons, please follow the instructions on the summons to appear in-person
    • Circuit/Family/Probate Court- Scheduled to resume in-person immediately.
    • District Court- Scheduled to resume in-person the week of July 5th

The public is encouraged to continue to utilize email and/or phone communication, and electronic payment options.

Court officials will continuously monitor local COVID-19 data and adjust plans related to staffing and public access to court facilities, as needed. We appreciate your continued patience and understanding during this period of transition.

Annual Lakeshore Art Festival Is Ready to Go This Weekend – June 26 & 27

MUSKEGON, MI – As one of the first large scale events in over a year to happen in Downtown Muskegon, Michigan, the Lakeshore Art Festival is excited and ready to go! The event features a unique blend of fine art, handcrafted goods, music, food, and fun. Experience over 250 juried fine art and specialty craft exhibitors, a Children’s Lane, Author’s Alley, Artisan Food Market, entertainment, the Community Mosaic Project, a scavenger hunt, and so much more!

Nearly 100 fine art and fine craft exhibitors can be found in historic Hackley Park, featuring green landscaping, large trees, and pockets of bright flowers. The Craft and Artisan Food Market flows from the Clay Ave. side of Hackley Park, down Fourth St. to Western Ave and down Western Ave to First St. The Children’s Lane anchors the event, and is located between First St. and Jefferson St., adjacent to the splash pad. So, bring the kids, bring your suits, and get ready to have some fun!

This year’s festival will feature 20 Michigan Authors at the Authors Alley, located at the corner of Clay Ave. and Fourth St. Festival attendees can meet the authors, and browse through hundreds of books with various genres, including everything from mysteries, to cookbooks, and everything in between. A full list of authors can be found here.

Each year, the Lakeshore Art Festival adds an element that’s engaging for the community. This year, the festival will host the first ever Community Mosaic Project. Reclaimed wooden 4×4 square tiles, provided by PADNOS, will be available to the community as mini canvases to create art upon. The public is invited to grab a 4×4 tile before the festival, get creative, and bring the completed tile downtown during the festival. At the event, each tile will be added to larger boards creating a multi-dimensional community mosaic! After the festival is over, sections of the mosaic will be displayed at various locations throughout the community. For more information click here.

In cooperation with the MSU Extension 4H Club, the festival will also feature a custom scavenger hunt program called the Lakeshore Art Chase. All guests who visit the festival are invited to participate! Families, individuals, or teams can complete missions for points to earn prizes. The Lakeshore Art Chase will guide guests to various art pieces throughout Downtown Muskegon, to the fine art and craft exhibitors, and other sites within the festival footprint, all while encouraging them to use their collective brain power to “chase” and solve riddles! Teams can register the day of the festival, but are encouraged to pre-register, so the fun can start the minute you arrive! Learn more here.

The new Downtown Social District is located right in the heart of the Lakeshore Art Festival. Guests will be allowed to roam the festival footprint, within the social district, with an adult beverage in hand! This is a great chance to sip, shop and savor all that the festival and local restaurants have to offer.

As part of our dedication to our environment, and in an effort to reduce touchpoints, the festival is going paperless. Brochures and all content will be available online and can be accessed via our “Welcome Page” during the show by scanning a QR code with your phone.

While this is a free event, we do encourage guests to come prepared to support the many artists, crafters, food vendors, and local businesses during their visit at the Lakeshore Art Festival!

The festival will follow the current CDC/MDHHS pandemic guidelines.

Learn more about the Lakeshore Art Festival sponsorship or volunteer opportunities at: Follow us on Facebook for the latest updates:

About the Lakeshore Art Festival
The annual art festival has brought between 55,000-60,000 guests, 300+ fine art and craft exhibitors, 20 food vendors, children’s activities, street performers and art installations to Downtown Muskegon. The festival ranks as one of the Top 200 Best in the Country by Sunshine Artist Magazine, has been recognized as People’s Choice Award: #1 Art Festival in West Michigan and as one of the Best Art Fairs in America by Since 2014, the Lakeshore Art Festival has brought in over $7.2 million dollars to the Muskegon Lakeshore area and supported a number of local non-profits. If you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer or local business sponsor, please contact Carla Flanders at or visit for more information.

St. Cecilia Music Center Individual and Season Tickets for Concert Season 2021 / 2022 are On Sale Now

submitted by the West Michigan Tourist Association

St. Cecilia Music Center will host a World-Class Lineup of Folk and  Jazz Musicians, a new WinterFest Music Festival in February as well its 10th anniversary of partnership with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Artists during its 2021/2022 Season

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – St. Cecilia Music Center (SCMC) is excited to offer season tickets and individual tickets for their upcoming 2021 / 2022 Season of Music beginning this fall. All tickets for the new season are now on sale for 15+ evenings of outstanding performances by world-renowned jazz, folk and chamber music artists in what will be their 138th anniversary. 
Executive & Artistic Director of SCMC Cathy Holbrook says, “We are thrilled and thankful to begin again in 2021 – 2022 with 15+ live concerts. These great artists are looking forward to getting back out on tour to perform in front of live audiences and to bring music back to concert stages in the U.S. and worldwide. We so missed seeing our loyal supporters and music lovers in person and we’re looking forward to hosting a year of celebration with live music again at SCMC!”
Concerts for SCMC’s 2021 / 2022 season will include three Spectacular Jazz Series events, three Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Series performances, six Acoustic Café Folk Series evenings of music and a new first-ever jazz festival in February 2022 entitled WinterFest featuring Christian McBride and Friends.
One Summer Acoustic Cafe Folk Series Concert, a stand-alone concert preceding the new season, will feature Marc Cohn appearing on August 21, 2021. 
Individual and subscription tickets for all concerts are now on sale today, June 1, 2021, at or by calling 616-459-2224.

St. Cecilia Music Center Series Concerts for the 2021/2022 Season: 
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Series
 “From Prague to Vienna”- November 18, 2021
“Romantic Perspectives” – January 27, 2022
“The Jazz Effect” – March 31, 2022
Spectacular Jazz Series
Joshua Redman – January 20, 2022
Dee Dee Bridgewater and Bill Charlap – March 10, 2022
Delfeayo Marsalis with the Uptown Jazz Orchestra – April 14, 2022
SCMC Winterfest Jazz Festival
Christian McBride and Edgar Meyer – February 24, 2021
Christian McBride Trio featuring guest singer Cyrille Aimée – February 25, 2021
Christian McBride and Inside Straight – February 26, 2021
Acoustic Cafe Folk Series
Sam Bush – October 6, 2021
Rodney Crowell – November 12, 2021
Leo Kottke – November 19, 2021
The Milk Carton Kids – December 2, 2021
Watkins Family Hour – December 16, 2021
Shawn Colvin – May 12, 2022
Season subscription tickets to the 2022 SCMC WinterFest Jazz Festival, Spectacular Jazz Series and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Concert Series are available online at or by calling 616-459-2224. 
Single tickets** for WinterFest, Chamber, Jazz, and Folk series concerts can be purchased by phone at 616-459-2224 or online at www.scmc-online.orgIf SCMC is able to offer post-concert CD-signing receptions, all ticket-holders may be able to meet some of the artists and obtain signed CDs of their releasesFurther information will be announced closer to the start of the season on whether COVID restrictions will allow SCMC to hold receptions.
Series Subscribers of SCMC WinterFest, Spectacular Jazz Series, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Series, and the Combined Jazz & Chamber Subscription (Jazz and Chamber) are offered with great benefits including 15-20% discount off single concert ticket prices. 
**Ticket prices: There is a $7 fee on each subscription ticket. Single tickets have a $3.00 per ticket fee. All concerts start at 7:30pm.

“As we approach the new 2021 – 2022 Season of Music at St. Cecilia Music Center, we are excited about the season. We know that we may be approaching a “new normal” this season and will hold the concerts with the safety of patrons in mind. The SCMC building will adhere to recommended cleaning and disinfecting protocol. All concert dates will be subject to changes if necessary in 2021 or 2022 based on statewide mandates out of the organization’s control.”

SCMC Executive Director Cathy Holbrook

Chamber Music Society Series
3-concert subscription
15% discount off single ticket prices
Subscription: $114
Plus: Add any or ALL of the three WinterFest concerts to your subscription and receive 15% off the single ticket price on festival tickets.
Spectacular Jazz Series 
3-concert subscription
15% discount off single ticket prices
Subscription: $137
Plus: Add any or ALL of the three WinterFest concerts to your subscription and receive 15% off the single ticket price on festival tickets. 
Chamber +  Jazz Subscription package
20% discount off single ticket prices
6-concert combination series 
Subscription: $236
Plus: Add any or ALL of the three WinterFest concerts to your subscription and receive 15% off the single ticket price on festival tickets. 
SCMC WinterFest Subscription package
3-concert subscription
15% discount off single ticket prices
Subscription: $123
SCMC WinterFest Jazz Festival Single Tickets
Christian McBride & Edgar Meyer
Thursday, February 24, 2022
A section $55          
B section $50
Christian McBride Trio & Cyrille Aimee
Friday, February 25, 2022
A section $45
B section $40          
Christian McBride & Inside Straight 
Saturday, February 26, 2022
A section $45
B section $40          
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Single Tickets 
From Prague to Vienna
Thursday, November 18, 2021
A section $45
B section $40
Romantic Perspectives
Thursday, January 27, 2022
A section $45
B section $40

The Jazz Effect
Thursday, March 31, 2022
A section $45
B section $40                            
Jazz Series Single Tickets 
Jazz Saxophonist Joshua Redman
Thursday, January 20, 2022
A section $55
B section $45          
Dee Dee Bridgewater & Bill Charlap
Thursday, March 10, 2022
A section $55
B section $50
Delfeayo Marsalis Big Band
Thursday, April 14, 2022
A section $50
B section $45          
Folk Series Single Tickets 
Sam Bush
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
A section $45
B section $40
Rodney Crowell
Friday, November 12, 2021
A section $60
B section $50          
Leo Kottke
Friday, November 19, 2021
A section $45
B section $40          
Milk Carton Kids
Thursday, December 2, 2021
A section $50
B section $40
Watkins Family Hour
Thursday, December 16, 2021
A section $55
B section $45
Shawn Colvin
Thursday, May 12, 2022
A section $45
B section $40
VIP tix $125

St. Cecilia Music Center’s mission is to promote the study, appreciation and
performance of music in order to enrich the lives of West Michigan residents. 
The Center fulfills this mission by 
presenting visiting world-class artists in concert, 
providing music education for all ages through our School of Music and 
preserving a historic building for musical activities and community events

Frauenthal Center Announces Public Phase of The Next 90 Years Frauenthal Preservation Campaign

MUSKEGON, Mich. — In an effort to preserve the historic Frauenthal Theater, the Frauenthal Center, along with the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, has launched the public phase of their Preservation Campaign to raise funds to support the necessary renovations.

Earlier this month, an event was held in front of the Frauenthal Center’s marquee to announce the work that has been completed and the work yet to be done. Amy Heisser and Asaline Scott, co-chairs of The Next 90 Years Frauenthal Preservation Campaign Cabinet, announced the reopening of the Frauenthal Center to the public, welcoming limited audiences to a variety of programming throughout the coming months, including the Free Family Movie Days Summer Series and the 2021 Miss Michigan and Teen Scholarship Program, which has been hosted by the Frauenthal Theater for 70 years.

At the event, Todd Jacobs, president and CEO of the Community Foundation, gave a brief update on the Frauenthal Center’s COVID preparedness and safety guidelines, and Eric Messing, executive director of the Frauenthal Center, reviewed the renovations completed thus far and other planned improvements still to come.

“As a regional asset, the Frauenthal is showing wear after decades of steady use,” said Messing. “It’s time to do our part to enhance the patron and artist experience by preserving and improving the theater so it continues to inspire, enlighten, and educate our community for the next 90 years and beyond.”

The Community Foundation has identified more than $7 million in fundamental structural needs, renovations, and preservation that are critical to the theater’s future and use. So far, nearly $4.1 million has been secured in gifts and pledges toward an initial goal of $5.1 million that will help address the most pressing needs. This needed investment will enhance the experience of patrons and ensure the theater’s place in the community for future generations.

The majority of the funds raised so far are thanks to local donors and corporate partnerships such as the Howmet Aerospace Foundation, Consumers Energy Foundation, Hines Corporation, the Joyce Muston estate, and Mike and Kay Olthoff, as well as the City of Muskegon and Muskegon County.

“We are humbled and appreciative of the community’s generous support,” said Jacobs. “The Frauenthal Theater has been a jewel of Muskegon County for 90 years, and it will continue to be a place where all are welcome to gather.”

Thanks to the support of many generous donors, several improvements have already taken place:
New, historically accurate windows not only reflect architect C. Howard Crane’s original intention and design, but they are also double-paned with a UV protective coating to help the facility save on energy costs. In total, the Frauenthal has replaced 102 windows throughout the facility.
The HVAC system has also been replaced to improve air quality and includes its own hot water boiler, condenser unit, humidification, dehumidification, and filtration systems. The large air handler room, located above the stage area, had the original blower unit from the construction of the theater in 1929.
The fire escapes that patrons, artists, and staff use to exit the facility in the event of a fire or emergency have been repaired and reinforced.

Other planned improvements include an updated sound and video system, restored marquee, upgraded lighting equipment, replacement of the stage, and heated sidewalks along the perimeter of the facility.

The Frauenthal Center operates as part of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County. Continuing to improve the quality of life for community residents, the Community Foundation remains committed to the Frauenthal Center and its future development.

To learn more or support the Frauenthal Preservation Campaign Fund, visit