Category Archives: Community News

Renovations Complete – Muskegon’s Downtown Hub Now Open

(Muskegon, MI – June 29, 2020) Downtown Muskegon is now home to NorthTown 794, the hottest mix of restaurant, retail and build-to-suit office space. Formerly the Al Perri building, located on 794 Pine Street, this three-level building has been restored, revealing the original urban brick walls, tin ceilings, and expansive windows for an infusion of natural light.


The main floor is home to Aldea Coffee, 794 Kitchen + Bar, Capone’s Speakeasy & Pizzeria, and Polka Dot Paisley. The garden level is home to Rake Beer Project. The third level is dedicated to build-to-suit office space, open coworking space, a conference room, and more.


Aldea Coffee

From their non-profit in the mountains of Honduras to their roastery and cafes along the coast of Lake Michigan, Aldea works with individual farmers seeking to develop, grow, and process some of the world’s most unique and intimately sourced specialty coffee.


794 Kitchen & Bar

A restaurant offering a wide variety of dining choices. Gourmet burgers and fresh perch to chicken and waffles, Mexican, vegan and vegetarian dishes, gluten-free options, are all available. The expansive drink offerings include 24 beers on tap!


Polka Dot Paisley

Polka Dot Paisley is a women’s apparel and gift shop that provides stylish and unique items. From clothing, jewelry, and candles, to a wide range of accessories and so much more.


Rake Beer Project

Rake Beer Project brews and pours “progressive farmhouse ales” at the brewery and taproom located on the garden level. The focus is on IPAs, sours and table beers.


Capone’s Speakeasy & Pizzeria

Serving up Chicago-style pizza, Capone’s is a nod to all things old-world Chicago with plenty of 1920s Windy City charm. Alongside deep dish, Sicilian and Neapolitan pizza, enjoy a wide variety of classic drinks featuring top-shelf liquor.


NorthTown CoWork

The top floor of NorthTown 794 includes an open coworking space and office suites to lease at an affordable rate. Short-term leases are available with month-to-month or long-term tenant options.


Office Amenities Included

Private office and coworking space include access to a conference room, Wi-Fi, reception area, available copy station, and breakroom.

To inquire about available suites and coworking space availability, please visit or call 231-777-8777.

Taste of Muskegon Announces Taste Plate Award Winners

Muskegon, MI (June 29, 2020) – Taste of Muskegon wrapped up their 14th festival on Sunday.
The event was reformatted to comply with social distancing guidelines. It took place over
10-days across Muskegon county with 35 restaurants and food trucks participating.


The 2020 Taste Plate Award winners are:

People’s Choice- Corine’s Cakes and Catering
Honorable Mention- Bone Ends and The Hideout
Best Taste- Mylan’s Waterfront Grille ‘s Sea Scallops
Honorable Mentions- Abeshi Ghanaian Cuisine , Bone Ends , Hamburger Mikey , The Hideout ,
Kuntry Cookin’ , Red Rooster Tavern
Best New Bite- Abeshi Ghanaian Cuisine ‘s Natty Dread Nachos
Honorable Mentions- Bone Ends , Hamburger Mikey , The Hideout , Mylan’s Waterfront Grille ,
The Only Cannoli , Rolling Stone Wood Fired Pizza Co.
Best Dessert- Bone Ends ‘ Tres Leches Bread Pudding
Honorable Mentions- Drip Drop Drink Coffee , The Only Cannoli , Rolling Stone Wood Fired
Pizza Co
Best Beer and Bacon presented by Tyler Sales- The Hideout ‘s Slider

Honorable Mentions- BIG RED’S BBQ LLC , Bone Ends , Rolling Stone Wood Fired Pizza Co.


“We changed how Taste would be experienced this year but we worked really hard to keep all
the elements and atmosphere alive,” said Ann Meisch, Director of Taste of Muskegon.
“Everyone seemed to have a great time. The online concerts were well attended. The Tequila
Cantina class attendees had a lot of fun and the food was incredible. The goal of celebrating
Muskegon’s culinary expertise and bringing new customers to our restaurants and food trucks
was a success.”


Taste of Muskegon, produced by the City of Muskegon, took place June 19-28. The event
benefits the Muskegon Farmers Market. To learn more about Taste of Muskegon, visit their
website at .

Susan Houseman appointed president/CEO of Harbor Hospice and Harbor Palliative Care

Muskegon, Michigan, June 23rd, 2020 – Members of the Harbor Hospice Board of Directors have appointed Muskegon resident Susan Houseman, RN, BSN, NHA, as the organization’s new president and chief executive officer. Houseman has been serving as interim president and CEO for four months and is moving seamlessly into her new role.


“We are extremely pleased to have Susan accept the position of president and CEO of Harbor Hospice and the Harbor Hospice Foundation,” said Heather Brolick, chair of the board of directors. “Susan’s extensive leadership and management experience, combined with her clinical expertise and commitment to providing exceptional care in the communities we serve, are key factors in her selection for the position.”


Houseman has been director of Clinical Services for Harbor Hospice since September 2017 and played a key role in the organization’s receipt of the 2020 Hospice Honors Award given by Healthcare First. The award is based on satisfaction surveys completed by families of hospice patients all over the country. It recognizes hospice organizations that provide the highest quality care to men and women coming to the end of their life along with support to patients’ family members and friends.


“It is an honor to serve as president and CEO of Harbor Hospice and Palliative Care alongside our dedicated volunteers and staff,” says Houseman, who has worked for two decades in nursing care and health care management. “I am passionate about our mission to provide expert care with comfort and support for patients experiencing serious illness and supporting the family and friends who surround them as well. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this amazing organization in the community of West Michigan that I call home.”


Houseman received her bachelor of science in nursing at Eastern Michigan University. Her minor was in gerontology, and she was a Presidential Scholar for four years. She is also licensed as a Michigan Nursing Home Administrator.


Harbor Hospice served its first patient in 1983. Today over 100 staff provide hospice and palliative care to nearly 1,400 patients every year in homes and residential facilities in five counties in West Michigan and at the organization’s 14-bed Poppen Hospice Residence in Muskegon. Almost 100 volunteers provide services ranging from helping patients with errands to providing respite care and spiritual and grief support.


Headquarters for its administrative offices are in Muskegon.


New Harbor Palliative Care role to welcome back Kelly St. Martin to the West Michigan lakeshore team

[June 16, 2020] The leadership and partners of Harbor Hospice, Harbor Palliative Care and Charted have announced that Kelly St. Martin, a Licensed Master Social Worker and Advanced Certified Hospice & Palliative Care Social Worker will be rejoining the team in a vital new role to expand outreach for community members in completion of advance directives and support for those with a serious illness, cared for by the Harbor Palliative Care Team.


“The best time to plan for health care choices is before a medical crisis occurs,” said Susan Houseman, Harbor Palliative Care and Harbor Hospice President/CEO. “Advanced care planning has become increasingly important as the COVID19 crisis has progressed. What if your health condition leaves you unable to speak for yourself – who would speak for you? What would you want them to know about your goals, values and wishes? We are extremely excited to continue to provide and expand this valuable service to our community with the addition of Kelly St. Martin MSW as our Palliative Care Social Worker and Charted Coordinator.”


Kelly will help coordinate social work services for the Harbor Palliative Care program in the community by providing supportive counseling, anticipatory guidance and assistance to patients and their families with personal, psychosocial, psychoeducation, and environmental difficulties related to the patient’s illness.


Kelly said, “I am proud to return to Harbor Palliative Care and Hospice team and excited to continue working on their mission.  As a social worker for over twenty years, I have always been passionate about serving the families in our community.  As the Palliative Care Social Worker and Charted Coordinator, I have the pleasure of working alongside two outstanding teams, one incredible community, and an inspiring mission.”


She will also expand education to the community regarding Advanced Care Planning and assist with completion of advanced care directives in collaboration with the Charted Coalition.


“The Charted healthcare planning coalition members are excited to have Kelly St. Martin re-joining our team in her new role,” said Lisa Tyler, chair of Charted. “When Kelly was at Harbor Hospice previously, she was a valuable and enthusiastic member of Charted. We were thrilled to learn she was returning to Harbor Palliative Care in this new role. Her passion for advance care planning and palliative care is evident, and will be a true asset to our community. Advance care planning – establishing advance directives and the conversations that accompany them – is important for every adult to do. Kelly will help us continue to promote the message that ‘it’s never too early to have a plan.’


“We are grateful to Harbor Hospice for continuing to support the work of Charted by providing staff support, and to the Muskegon Community Health Project for helping with funding. Charted’s mission is more important than ever, and Kelly will be a true asset in advancing the work of helping people embrace life to the end.”


Kelly will begin her new role in palliative care and advance care planning education effective as of June 15, 2020.  For more information or to connect with Kelly please call us at 231.728.3442/1.800.497.9559 or email

National History Day Student Filmmakers Named for Smithsonian Documentary Showcase

National Museum of African American History and Culture Selected Student Films to be Showcased by Smithsonian Learning Lab


WASHINGTON, DC—National History Day® (NHD), the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), and the Smithsonian Learning Lab announced today 35 documentary films, produced by middle and high school students competing in the 2020 NHD National Contest, to be featured in an online showcase. The films were screened and selected by NMAAHC staff, and will premier tomorrow, Wednesday, June 17, as a special collection of the Smithsonian Learning Lab.


To be selected for the showcase, students needed to address topics and stories in their documentaries consistent with the mission of the NMAAHC. The ten-minute films also reflect the 2020 NHD theme, Breaking Barriers in History.


The documentary showcase was originally planned to be screened in the Oprah Winfrey Theater of the NMAAHC, but will now take place online because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.


“This is an incredible honor for these students and their Breaking Barriers in History films to have been selected by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, a barrier-breaking institution in its own right,” said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “Months and years from now, they will think back fondly on this week when their documentaries were viewed and experienced by people around the world visiting the Smithsonian Learning Lab and the documentary showcase.”


The 35 student films will be available to stream online for one week via the Smithsonian Learning Lab at, from tomorrow, Wednesday, June 17 through next Wednesday, June 24.


The following films and students from Michigan have been selected for the showcase:


Documentary Title: Breaking into the Billboard Hot 100: How Motown Got Everybody “Dancing in the Street”

Student(s): Laura Thielman

School: Whitehall Middle School

City, State: Whitehall, Michigan


About National History Day® (NHD)

NHD is a non-profit organization based in College Park, Maryland, which seeks to improve the teaching and learning of history. The National History Day Contest was established in 1974 and currently engages more than half a million students every year in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. Students present their research as a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. Projects compete first at the local and affiliate levels, where the top entries are invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD is sponsored in part by HISTORY®, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, Southwest Airlines, The Better Angels Society, Jacqueline B. Mars, and BBVA. For more information, visit


About the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Since opening Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed more than 7 million visitors. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000 square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit, follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.


About Smithsonian Learning Lab

The Smithsonian Learning Lab is a free, interactive platform for discovering millions of authentic digital resources from across the Smithsonian’s museums, research centers, libraries, archives and more. The site allows teachers and students to create and adapt personalized interactive instructional materials with online tools and share in the Smithsonian’s expansive community of knowledge and learning. Prepackaged collections contain lessons, activities and recommended resources made by Smithsonian museum educators and thousands of classroom teachers across the country. For more information about the Smithsonian Learning Lab, visit, follow @SmithsonianLab on Twitter, or email

Police, Fire, Prosecutor engage kids and families in safe challenges; award prizes

How long can you keep a Hula Hoop going? Have you done a random act of kindness lately? Law enforcement, fire, paramedics and even the Prosecutor’s Office are connecting with youth and families in Muskegon County through safe and healthy summer challenges! Those who respond on the Facebook page ( are entered into drawings for a variety of prize packages.


The Muskegon Social Justice Commission and Drug Free Muskegon have partnered up to form the Safe and Healthy Summer Task Force (#SafeHealthyMuskegon) to help young people and their families stay safe, healthy, and engaged this summer.


“We want our children to be as safe and stay as healthy as possible through this health crisis. Giving them constructive options that are fun, include physical activity, and encourage academic growth is something that we thought we could do,” said D.J. Hilson, Muskegon County Prosecutor and Co-Chair of Drug Free Muskegon.


Duane Bennett, Pastor of Mt Zion Church and Vice Chair for the Social Justice Commission echoed Hilson’s comments saying “COVID-19 changed the landscape for a number of youth focused activities planned by both groups for the spring and summer. With some collaboration and use of social media, we have been able to adapt our plans to meet the current situation together. ”


The challenges started earlier this month with Batman and Robin appearing at mystery spots throughout Muskegon County. Other police departments have joined the fun posting mystery spots as well.


As of this week, the Social Justice Commission has added a special virtual celebratory video for all of 2020 high school graduates to the Facebook page. The video features congratulations from district class valedictorians and highlights special thoughts from local business leaders as well as Governor Whitmer.


Funding and staffing support for the project comes from a number of community partners, with a significant portion coming from a grant to the City of Muskegon from the Battle Creek Foundation.


The Safe and Healthy Summer Task Force members encourage youth of all ages to participate by visiting the Safe and Healthy Summer Task Force Facebook page. There you will find videos of superheroes, law enforcement and fire chiefs hula hooping, and even more information about the challenges and other planned activities. Don’t forget to visit the graduation video as well.

Waters Edge Fitness Begins Outdoor Classes

MUSKEGON, MI, June 10th, 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic saw many businesses temporarily closing their in-person services including restaurants, salons, and gyms in the Muskegon area. Waters Edge Fitness, located on Lakeshore drive in Muskegon, quickly adjusted to the governor’s orders by offering private online workout classes for its members, while also going live and offering fitness tips to the general public.


Now members of Waters Edge Fitness will begin to gather while social distancing to begin workouts outside! From drumming classes to high intensity workouts, these outdoor workouts will take place both at the location as well as on the beach at Pere Marquette, which is located just down the street.


“Now, we can bring everyone to Muskegon with the use of technology.” Marissa Evans, owner, discussed the transition on Tuesday. She continued, “It’s amazing to be able to utilize the beautiful lakeshore for which we all can be a part of. Fitness draws us all together and now we have a way to do both. Being able to utilize the outdoors, we are now able to sweat with everyone, whether you’re 6 feet from us or 60 miles.”


For outdoor fitness classes time and location, visit Waters Edge Fitness’s Facebook page or visit their website at

Harbor Hospice Named a 2020 Hospice Honors Recipient

Harbor Hospice has been named a 2020 Hospice Honors recipient by HEALTHCAREfirst, a leading provider of billing and coding services, CAHPS surveys and advanced analytics. Hospice Honors is a prestigious program that recognizes hospices providing the highest level of quality as measured from the caregiver’s point of view.


“We are excited to recognize the 2020 Hospice Honors recipients for their hard work and dedication to providing exceptional care,” said Misty Skinner, Executive Vice President of Services at HEALTHCAREfirst. “I congratulate Harbor Hospice on its success in achieving this highest of honors.”


Award criteria were based on Hospice CAHPS survey results for an evaluation period of October 2018 through September 2019. Award recipients were identified by evaluating performance on a set of 24 quality indicator measures. Performance scores were aggregated from all completed surveys and were compared on a question-by-question basis to a National Performance Score calculated from all hospices contained in the HEALTHCAREfirst’s Hospice CAHPS database. Hospice Honors recipients include those hospices scoring above the HEALTHCAREfirst National Performance Score on 20 of the evaluated questions. HEALTHCAREfirst holds a special recognition, Hospice Honors Elite, to honor hospices scoring above the HEALTHCAREfirst National Performance Score on all 24 of the evaluated questions. Please visit HEALTHCAREfirst’s website at to learn more about HEALTHCAREfirst’s Hospice CAHPS survey program as well as the Hospice Honors awards.


“This recognition means we are doing exactly what we promise – providing the highest quality, skilled, compassionate care for our patients and families.  I am very proud of this achievement and grateful for our dedicated team of professionals and those who come along side us to help support us in this very important work,” said Susan Houseman, Interim President and CEO.


For more information about Harbor Hospice and Harbor Palliative Care please call 231.728.3442 or visit

For more information about HEALTHCAREfirst, please call 800.841.6095 or visit

Governor Whitmer Rescinds Safer at Home Order, Moves Michigan to Phase Four of the MI Safe Start Plan

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-110, rescinding her Safer at Home order and moving the entire state to phase four of the MI Safe Start Plan.

The governor’s order will allow retailers to reopen on June 4 and restaurants to reopen on June 8, both subject to capacity limits. Day camps for children will likewise be permitted to open on June 8. Effective immediately, groups of 100 or less will be allowed gather outdoors with social distancing. Office work that is not capable of being performed remotely can resume. And in-home services, including housecleaning services, can resume operations.

“The data has shown that we are ready to carefully move our state into the next phase of the MI Safe Start Plan, but we owe it to our brave frontline heroes to get this right,” said Governor Whitmer. “While Michiganders are no longer required to stay home, we must all continue to be smart and practice social distancing, and encourage those who meet the criteria to get tested for COVID-19. If we all do our part, our goal is to announce a shift to phase five for the entire state prior to the fourth of July. Stay smart, stay safe, and let’s all do our part.”

Michiganders must continue to wear facial coverings when in enclosed public spaces and should continue to take all reasonable precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones, and the community. And they should continue to work from home to the maximum extent possible.

“The governor and I, along with a team of experts, have determined that our state is ready to move into the next phase of the MI Safe Start Plan. Hospitalization numbers are down, our frontline workers have PPE to last them several weeks, and the number of positive cases and deaths are declining,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “We will continue to monitor the data and work closely with local health departments to ensure Michiganders practice safe social distancing. On behalf of our health care professionals and first responders on the front lines, we must all be smart and be safe.”

“As the hardest-hit region in the state, Wayne County and its residents are ready to safely return to greater activity and commerce,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “We continue to vigilantly monitor the spread of COVID-19 and will do so to make sure the number of daily cases continues to decline. It’s is been an extremely difficulty three months for all of us, but the social distancing measures we have put in place has slowed the spread of this disease and saved lives. Today is an important step toward returning to some semblance of normalcy, but it is important for all of to continue following that safe distancing and work directives outlined in Stage 4 of the MI Safe Start plan.”

“I appreciate Governor Whitmer for her diligence and commitment to reopening the state safely. We look forward to reopening Detroit safely and efficiently,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

“We know we still have challenges to face, but moving into this next phase acknowledges the huge strides this state has made to slow the spread of this deadly virus,” said Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley. “I appreciate Gov. Whitmer’s caution and proactive response throughout this crisis. Her leadership has undoubtedly saved lives.”

“The last few months have been very hard for everyone. I applaud the Governor for doing everything she can to keep us safe,” said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor. “And now that the curve has flattened and I am very excited that we have moved into phase 4 and can have things start to reopen. Economic issues have been very challenging in Lansing and across the state, but we know it was necessary to save lives. Now we are ready to get back to growing our city here in Lansing and the economy throughout the state!”

Subject to local regulation, gyms and fitness centers may conduct outdoor classes, practices, training sessions, or games, provided that coaches, spectators, and participants maintain six feet of distance from one another during these activities. Outdoor pools can also reopen, with restricted capacity.

To view Executive Order 2020-110, Click the link below:

EO 2020-110 Emerg order – MI Safe Start.pdf

Muskegon Summer Wine Up Postponed Until 2021

The 2nd annual Muskegon Summer Wine Up has been postponed in 2020 due to health concerns over COVID-19, but will be coming back in 2021, according to organizers at Cumulus Radio in Muskegon.

The event, which was moved from Saturday, June 13th to August 1st at Hackley Park, has been officially postponed until a “to be determined” date next year, according to Rich Berry, Director of Sales at Cumulus Radio in Muskegon.

“We took a long wait and see attitude before finally determining this week that the best thing we could do is regroup and begin again when things will be safer,” Berry explained. “We really appreciate the support of the City of Muskegon, the Muskegon Heights Optimist Club, and the nearly 15 wineries who stuck with us. We also want to thank our sponsors, which included Harbor Light Credit Union, Smash Wine Bistro, and My Auto Group. But safety always has to be our number one priority. We just couldn’t put event guests, staff, volunteers, and wineries in a potentially dangerous situation.

“We were confident that crowds were going to be much larger this year – and worried that if we experienced a great turnout, we couldn’t guarantee social distancing,” Berry said. “Postponing until next year was the right decision. We hope everyone understands and will come and join us next year.”

The Muskegon Summer Wine Up drew nearly 1,000 residents to Hackley Park in 2019 to experience and enjoy a wide variety of wines from wineries throughout the state, country and world. Plans to grow the Muskegon Summer Wine Up were planned for 2020.

“We will be back and better than ever in 2021,” Berry said. “In the meantime, we hope everyone stays safe.”
If you should have any questions during this time, please feel free to email Sales Director, Rich Berry at