Category Archives: Community News

West Michigan Power Cleaning Equipment’s Open House

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The Great Lakes Surf Festival Approved for Inaugural Event

Contact: Joe Bidawid
Great Lakes Surf Festival

Muskegon, Mich. – On Tuesday, February 13th, the Muskegon City Commission voted unanimously to approve beach camping at Pere Marquette Park for the inaugural Great Lakes Surf Festival, to be held on August 18th, 2018. The City Commission also approved RV camping for a nearby site that is walking distance to the beach.


The Great Lakes Surf Festival is expected to draw a large crowd of boardheads and beach lovers, and will offer a family-friendly atmosphere. The event will include workshops, free lessons, product demos, stand up paddleboard and kayak races, and paddleboard yoga. Food and drinks will be available for purchase, as well as merchandise. A large number of retailers and industry brands are expected to host booths and sponsor raffles.


The event is the brainchild of Joe Bidawid, a West Michigan resident and a former professional boarder.


Riders and visitors are encouraged to register at





The Poetry of Metal: David Barnhill & David Huang opens March 1

The Muskegon Museum of Art will present The Poetry of Metal: David Barnhill and David Huang March 1 through June 10, 2018. The public is invited to an opening reception on Thursday, March 1, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. The reception will be followed by a special presentation by the artists starting at 7:00 pm. Event admission is free.

David Huang is well recognized in the West Michigan art scene for his intricately tooled, hand beaten copper and gold and silver leaf vessels. Shaped into slightly conical bowls from a single disc of copper, these sculptures feature highly complex chased relief designs across their surface and interiors of gold or silver leaf that glow with inner light. The surface designs speak to a wide variety of inspirations, including plant textures, topographical maps, and highly abstracted whorls and decorative patterns. His works are reflect centuries of tradition in metal working, yet possess a modern sensibility in form and design.


David Barnhill is a metalsmith and sculptor whose work is informed by an ongoing exploration on the qualities of metal and the expanding technologies that allow its shaping. His art is based on the Japanese technique of mokumé-gane, a method of fusing together laminate layers of different metals. When repeatedly folded and flattened, the merged layers of metal create a distinct, wood-grain like pattern.


Together, the artists merge a love of material with intricate surface design, tooling, and metallurgy. Their collaborative series, Layered Resplendence, blends the unique patterns of Barnhill’s mokumé-gane with Huang’s sculptural vessels, adding further complexity and surface variation to their respective artistry. According to MMA Senior Curator Art Martin, “The sculptures within this exhibition are a blend of the beauty of material and design.”


The Poetry of Metal is underwritten by DTE Energy Foundation. The Media Sponsor is Blue Lake Public Radio.






Metalworking Demo with David Barnhill

Thursday, March 1, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm


Meets at the MMA loading dock


Artist David Barnhill will demonstrate his techniques throughout the day.


Crash Course Demo with David Huang

Thursday, April 26, 6:00 pm

Join artist David Huang as he demonstrates his metal working techniques and shares a vessel in various stages of completion. Free admission. Cash bar.


Metal Super Saturday with David Huang


Saturday, May 12, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Film, tours, and special artist demo, 10:00 am to noon, with artist David Huang.


Super Saturdays are underwritten by Arconic


The Muskegon Museum of Art is located in downtown Muskegon, Michigan at 296 W. Webster Ave.




Career-Tech Program Enrollment Up 5% Since 2015

LANSING – Career and Technical Education (CTE) enrollment in K-12 public schools statewide has risen almost five percent since 2015 and may be headed for further growth under a push to expand CTE and professional trades program statewide, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) said today.


The enrollment climb is timely as schools celebrate February as CTE Month, which Governor Rick Snyder declared as part of a national CTE awareness campaign.


Regional celebrations have included:

  • A Muskegon Area Career Tech Center open house, Connect with Tech Night, where local teens were encouraged to connect with one of five career-related programs that matched their college and/or career interests; and
  • The 28th Annual Macomb Career Technical Education Administrators Association (MCTEAA) Awards Breakfast honoring several persons from Chippewa Valley Schools.


“CTE Month is a time to share the many successes our programs have built in Michigan,” State Superintendent Brian Whiston said. “We must keep up the momentum to help make Michigan career- and college-ready so they can compete for high-paying jobs in the 21st-Century marketplace.”


Whiston said he is proud to report that from 2015 to 2017, Michigan CTE’s

  • enrollment rose from 104,038 from 2015 to 109,005, an increase of 4,967 or 4.8 percent; and
  • programs rose from 1,754 to 1,915, an increase of 161 or 9.2 percent.


Also, the overall CTE graduation rate for 2015-16, the latest year available, remained at around 96 percent for the third straight year – about 15 percentage points higher than each year’s overall graduation rate.


“We’re headed in the right direction as we continue to implement Michigan’s plan to become a Top 10 education state in 10 years,” Whiston said. “CTE is a vital part of the overall strategies offers multiple pathways for students to succeed.”


Additionally, the statewide placement rate for 2017 was 96.3 percent, meaning that at least 19 out of 20 CTE students were placed in postsecondary education, or advanced training, in military service, or were employed in the third quarter following the program year in which they left school. The statewide placement rate has been more than 95 percent for the last four years.


MDE’s CTE Office provides oversight and support to all state-approved CTE programs. These programs provide real-world experiences, leadership, and work readiness-skills to students.


Each year, MDE conducts the Statewide Follow‑Up Survey of students who completed a state-approved CTE program. The results from the survey are used to calculate the state’s placement rate for CTE students.


The 2017 response rate on the Follow‑Up Survey was 87.7 percent and has consistently remained above 85 percent. Here is a breakdown of CTE students’ continuing education pursuits:


Certificate Associates Degree Bachelor’s Degree    Apprentice,     On-the-Job Training or













Snyder, Whiston and Talent and Economic Development (TED) Director Roger Curtis are partnering on initiatives to give students more pathways to success in college and careers, with goals of expanding CTE and trades programs statewide; and establishing an industry-recognized CTE credential for students that count as transferable college credits.


For more information about Michigan CTE, visit:,4615,7-140-2629—,00.html.


For information about the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance, visit:,5863,7-336-82011—,00.html.


Local Modern Woodmen members plan fundraiser for The Muskegon YMCA LIVESTRONG Program

Local Modern Woodmen members plan fundraiser for The Muskegon YMCA LIVESTRONG Program


Modern Woodmen of America members in Muskegon are doing their part to help the community. The group will sponsor a fundraiser on March 10, 7:00 PM, to benefit the Muskegon YMCA.


The fundraiser, which will take place at Black Tie for the Y at The Century Club Ballroom at 356 W Western Ave, Muskegon, MI 49440, will include a live auction, cash bar, hors-d’oeuvres, and desserts.


Up to $2,500 of the money raised will be matched by Modern Woodmen through Modern Woodmen’s Matching Fund Program. The funds will be used to support the LIVESTRONG program for cancer survivors in Muskegon.  Through this program cancer, survivors reclaim their lives by focusing on their health, not the disease.


The Matching Fund Program offers Modern Woodmen members nationwide the chance to show their support for a community cause, organization or individual in need through fundraisers. These fundraising projects contribute more than $10 million to community needs across the country each year.


“With this project, every dollar truly counts,” says Jonathan Venlet, local Modern Woodmen volunteer leader. “It’s exciting to be involved in a project that is so important to our community.”


Coordinated by local Modern Woodmen members, the fraternal financial services organization’s Summit chapters, chapters, and youth service clubs provide opportunities for members to take part in social and educational activities and volunteer projects to meet local needs.


For more information or to get involved, contact Jonathan Venlet at 616-901-0598 or email


Modern Woodmen serves members for life. The tax-exempt fraternal benefit society offers life insurance, annuity and investment* products to improve the quality of life of its members, their families and their communities. In turn, members make an impact through social, educational and volunteer activities. In 2016, Modern Woodmen provided $21.7 million and 562,388 member volunteer hours for fraternal activities and programs nationwide.




*Securities offered through MWA Financial Services Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Modern Woodmen of America.



For more information, contact: Jonathan Venlet, 616-901-0598,

First-of-its-kind prize aims to propel careers of women artists

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Bennett Prize, the largest ever offered solely to women painters, was announced today by art collectors Steven Alan Bennett and Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt, who are endowing the $50,000 biennial prize at The Pittsburgh Foundation.


The Prize will spotlight women artists who paint in the figurative realist style, and who have not yet reached full professional recognition – both new artists and those who have painted for many years. It will allow the winner to create her own solo exhibition of figurative realist paintings, which will first be shown at the Muskegon (Michigan) Museum of Art and then travel the country. The Prize is designed for women artists who are, or seek to become, full-time professional painters.


The Bennett Prize also aims to expand opportunities for the public to learn more about the creative vision of talented women painters in the increasingly popular style of figurative realism.


“We are excited to announce The Bennett Prize at a time when women are creating important figurative realist paintings that should be seen by a wider audience,” Bennett said. “Figurative realist painting features the human form in all of its diversity. It has an important role to play in a society struggling to understand human differences and commonalities, including race, gender and social status.”


Bennett and Schmidt, of San Antonio, Texas, have endowed a $3 million fund at The Pittsburgh Foundation to ensure that The Prize will be awarded every two years in perpetuity. The Bennetts were referred to The Pittsburgh Foundation, specifically to the Foundation’s Center for Philanthropy, where donors, staff and community experts develop innovative new projects.


“The Bennett Prize is a perfect example of how community foundations can help philanthropists take an idea from incubation to reality,” said Foundation President & CEO Maxwell King. “Steven and Elaine were familiar with our history of funding individual artists, particularly those whose work and unique points of view might otherwise be overlooked. By endowing The Prize at The Pittsburgh Foundation, the Bennetts have created a permanent mechanism for supporting and elevating the work of women painters.”


A four-member jury, including renowned realist artists Maria Tomasula and Andrea Kowch, will select 10 painters from among the entrants. The 10 finalists will each receive $1,000 to participate in an exhibition opening May 2, 2019 at the Muskegon Museum of Art where the winner will be announced.


“The beauty of this prize is in the extended significance of its effects: not only will it recognize recipients’ past achievement, it will also help foster their future accomplishment,” said artist and juror Maria Tomasula, “I know how important both of these things are to the life of an artist.”


The Bennetts, along with The Pittsburgh Foundation, consider the Muskegon Museum of Art one of the great hidden gems among American museums. It was chosen as the inaugural venue for The Bennett Prize due it its commitment to both women and realism, as evidenced by the art on its walls and the exhibitions it sponsors.


“The Muskegon Museum of Art has built a reputation over the past decade for redefining what a small city art museum can accomplish,” said Kirk Hallman, executive director of the museum. “Serving as inaugural host of The Bennett Prize is a wonderful opportunity for the museum to continue showcasing innovative programs.”


The winner will receive $25,000 annually for two years, so she can devote the time necessary to mount a solo exhibition, which will open in Muskegon in 2021 and then travel the country.


Andrea Kowch, artist and juror shared, “I know firsthand the amount of diligence, passion, and perseverance it takes to become a successful artist when there are no additional opportunities available to further support one’s efforts. A prize such as this will prove to be a game changer for many, and I am honored to be part of the Prize’s inaugural debut.”


The call for entries runs from April 13 – Sept. 28, 2018. Full details are available here:


The Bennett Prize is not open to hobbyists, students or artists who have been paid, or received an award of $25,000 or more for any single work of art.


Bennett and Schmidt are among the country’s top collectors of figurative realist art and are committed to seeing that talented women painters receive long overdue recognition for their superb artistry.


“We want to showcase the work of talented women figurative painters and enable them to take their rightful place among the most celebrated painters working today,” Schmidt said. “We’ll know we have succeeded when there are as many paintings by women as men in museums, commanding the same prices and critical esteem.”


For more information visit:


Muskegon County Calendar of Events 02/19/18 -02/26/18

Muskegon County Calendar of Events 02/19/18 -02/26/18


Click here to view the calendar! 

Betten Baker Honda Earns Its Sixth Straight Coveted President’s Award from Honda

Muskegon, MI – Betten Baker Honda has earned the prestigious President’s award by American Honda Motor co., Inc, for the sixth year in a row. The award recognizes dealerships for excellence in sales performance, sales experience, service performance and business operations.


“The Honda President’s Award recognizes dealers who honor their relationship with our customer by achieving excellence throughout their sales and service operations, and Betten Baker Honda does just that,” said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of the Automobile Division for American Honda. “In taking Care of its customers Betten Baker Honda has set the standard for other dealership across the country to follow.”


“Receiving the award is a true honor, but for us to receive this award six years in a row is amazing. It is a true testament to our team’s efforts, from the front of the dealership to the back,” said Joe Grimm, General Manger of Betten Baker Honda & Hyundai. “Our whole team has really bought in, and we set a goal each year to earn this award, while providing customers the best experience possible. We are always working on creating customers for life, not just for one vehicle.”


In order to qualify for the President’s Award, a dealership must meet all award criteria and fully achieve its new-vehicle sale objective. For earning the President’s award Betten Baker Honda will receive a trophy, recognition materials to display in the dealership showroom and promotional recognition in an advertisement by American Honda Motors Co., INC.


Betten Baker Honda is one of 14 growing dealerships in the Betten Baker dealer group. They are a leader in automotive sales as they continue to grow their footprint in many Michigan communities. Their progressive attitude and actions in the community allows them to remain a strong Michigan employer, community partner, and also helps them remain successful in the future by exceeding the needs and expectations of today’s consumers.


The Michigan Irish Music Festival Announces Line-up for 2018 St. Pat’s Party & Fundraiser

The Michigan Irish Music Festival is excited to announce its annual St. Patrick’s Party March 16 and 17 at the Bella Maria Ristorante & Event Center, 513 West Pontaluna Road, Norton Shores, MI.


The party will feature live entertainment both nights. Headliners Jimmy Keane and Dennis Cahill have played together for over 30 years and are considered two of the most inventive musicians in irish music today. Keane is an all-Ireland star on the piano accordion, and Cahill has been recognized as one of the finest guitarists in traditional Irish music.


Other highlights of the event include performances by Brother Crowe, a Detroit-based duo who plays Indie folk music in a traditional Celtic style, and traditional Irish dance performances from the Ardan Academy of Dance. Additionally, a silent auction will be held each night with a variety of items that guests will not want to miss!


Back by popular demand is McGovern’s Corned Beef and Irish fare, plus Irish soda bread and soft pretzels from the Village Baker. Pigeon Hill Brewing Company’s MI Irish Stout, Magner’s Irish Cider, Irish cream, Jameson Irish Whiskey, and Budweiser products will also be served. Doors open at 5:30 pm both nights with music starting at 6pm. Tickets are available at the door for $8, and kids 12 and under get in for free.


The mission of the Michigan Irish Music Festival is to produce a quality Midwest Irish Music Festival that promotes Irish culture and heritage while enhancing the community through entertainment, tourism, education and philanthropy. The festival is proud to support Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry and Kids’ Foot Basket with gifts of non-perishable food items and cash donations. In 2017, due to the success of the St. Pat’s Party and the Festival, the Michigan Irish Music Festival was able to donate 4,620 pounds of food and over $49,000 back to the community.


The Michigan Irish Music Festival will return this fall, September 13-16, 2018, at Heritage Landing in downtown Muskegon. The festival kicks off with a Pub Party on Thursday, September 13th . The festival and the St. Patrick’s Party are sponsored by G&L, Budweiser, Van’s Car Wash & Quick Lube, and Family Financial Credit Union. For complete festival information, visit .


For media information, please contact:
Michigan Irish Music Festival



The Lakeshore Home Builders Association is pleased to announce their 50th Anniversary Parade of Homes Guidebook cover design contest. The contest is open to High School and College students in Allegan, Ottawa and Muskegon Counties. The winning design will be featured on the cover of the 2018 Parade of Homes Guidebook, and the student designer will receive a $500 scholarship to the College or Trade School of their choice.


Students are asked to create a cover design that commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the event. Creative and innovative ideas are encouraged.


“We are proud of our long history of showcasing new and remodeled homes along the lakeshore, and thought that a design contest would be a great way to involve the community,” shared Executive Officer Sue Schurman. “Since students are the future of the residential building industry, why not involve them in our anniversary.”


Sponsored by Mercantile Bank, Lake Michigan Credit Union, Old National Bank, and James Hardie Building Products, the Parade of Homes features newly built homes from the Lakeshore Home Builders Association building professionals.


If you enter:


Cover design specifications are available at


Entry deadline: March 1, 2018


About the Lakeshore Home Builders Association


The Lakeshore Home Builders Association is a non-profit trade association representing the residential building Industry along West Michigan’s Lakeshore from South Haven to Muskegon. Affiliated with the Home Builders Association of Michigan and the National Association of Home Builders, our members represent “the best of the best” in residential construction, remodeling, and repair.


The Lakeshore Parade of Homes ( is an annual showcase of new and remodeled homes built by the Lakeshore Home Builders Association building professionals. 2018 marks the 50th year we have presented this new home showcase.



Other ways to get involved

Volunteer for the Lakeshore Art Festival

A unique blend of arts, crafts, music, food and fun along the shoreline in historic Downtown Muskegon. More than 300 artists and crafters will be showcased with fine art in the park, crafts, children’s activities and Michigan food market – all wrapped up in a huge downtown street party atmosphere!   Come out and join us on July 6th,  and July 7th, 2018.

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Join Watch Muskegon

Muskegon has more to offer than ever before. Join the conversation, movement and Watch Us Go!

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