Moon School K-3 students to receive nearly 5,000 donated new books

Superintendents to deliver books on Friday, February 24 at 10:00 a.m.

MUSKEGON, MI: On Friday, February 24, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. at Muskegon Public Schools’ Moon Elementary School located at 1826 Hoyt Street, Muskegon, nearly 5,000 new books will be delivered to kindergarten, first, second, and third graders to be used within their classrooms. The books were purchased for the classrooms by Herman Miller Cares as part of the Reading Now Network, a collective effort of 70 school districts in 13 West Michigan counties to improve early literacy and, ultimately, student achievement across all grade levels.

Muskegon Public Schools Superintendent Justin Jennings and Muskegon Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) Superintendent John Severson will arrive with two vans filled with books. The kindergartners will help unload the first van and will bring the books inside the building.


The media will be invited inside Room 128, Mrs. Erin Mepyans kindergarten classroom to see the boxes opened and the students’ reactions. Mrs. Mepyans will be available to answer questions following the student interaction. Moon Elementary School Principal Okeelah McBride, Alison Freas of Herman Miller Cares, Erin Brown of the Reading Now Network (RNN) and MAISD, and the Muskegon Public Schools and MAISD Superintendents will be available for media interviews while the first, second, and third graders finish unloading the second van.

As part of an effort to bring literacy practices used at high-achieving schools into schools that want to see improvement, the RNN selected four schools that volunteered to participate as “lab schools” and put 2014 research findings to the test. Moon School is one of those four lab schools.

Reading Now Network educators work closely with Moon School leaders and instructors to institute five principles of reading success – known as Roots of Reading Success – into the school curriculum. The principles are based on RNN research in schools with above-average reading scores and include: an uncompromising focus on reading, using relevant data deeply, shared leadership and sustained commitment, learning-focused classroom management, and a collective responsibility for every child’s success.

Herman Miller, Inc. and Huntington recently donated a combined $30,000 to support the Reading Now Network’s (RNN) efforts to improve early literacy and, ultimately, student achievement across all grade levels in school districts throughout West Michigan. These combined funds will be used to enhance classroom libraries in kindergarten through third grade at three elementary schools in Muskegon, Kent and Ottawa counties. The donations support Moon Elementary in Muskegon, Parkview Elementary in Wyoming and Woodbridge Elementary in Zeeland. These schools, along with Big Jackson in Newaygo County which is awaiting a book donation from Scholastic Publishing Company by March, are part of the first group of RNN Lab Schools.

According to Dr. Kyle Mayer, assistant superintendent of instructional services for Ottawa Area ISD and a member of the RNN research team, research says classrooms need roughly 1,500 books at appropriate reading levels from which kids can choose that meet student interests in both fiction and non-fiction to improve and encourage reading and literacy.

“Thanks to Herman Miller Cares wonderful donation, Moon Elementary teachers will now have the classroom materials they need to further utilize Reading Now Network strategies to help improve the reading skills of all students,” said Muskegon Area Intermediate School District Superintendent John Severson. “What a great way to help our kids!”

According to Okeelah McBride, principal for Moon Elementary, the resulting increase in student opportunities to read a variety of books of their own choosing both in the classroom and at home will make a significant difference in students’ reading engagement, enjoyment, and literacy growth.

With roughly 50,000 kindergarten through third grade classrooms in the RNN area, the overarching goal of RNN is to provide every classroom with 1,500 quality books at the appropriate reading levels by the end of this decade.

“The Reading Now Network is having a tremendous impact on early literacy in our community and will pave the way for broader efforts that fuel meaningful education reform,” said Linda Brand, executive director of Herman Miller Cares. “Schools can’t do it alone, and Herman Miller is proud to help drive initiatives that make a difference for our students, our future workforce, and ultimately the prosperity of our community.”

For more information on the Reading Now Network and to watch videos about the Roots of Reading Success key research findings, visit and @readingnownet.

Students urge public to “Skip the Straw;” establish National Day February 24

WHITEHALL, MI: When Marvin Stone invented the drinking straw in 1888, little did he know that just a century later his invention would have caught on so well that Americans would be using over 500 MILLION straws per day. While Marvin’s straws were paper, most straws used today in the U.S. are plastic. And that plastic doesn’t go away.

Students at Whitehall Middle School were concerned about the impact that such a massive quantity of straws would have on the environment, so they decided to take action. Eighth graders on the school’s Lexus Eco Challenge team–The Coral Keepers–decided to petition the National Day Calendar organization to add National Skip the Straw Day on the fourth Friday in February each year. “We noticed that there was a National Straw Day to recognize Marvin Stone’s invention on January 3rd, and we figured that there should be a day to convince people to skip the straw too”, said student Leah Van Antwerp. Out of 18,000 yearly National Day submissions, Skip the Straw Day was one of only 30 new designations selected by the Calendar.

The students created promotional materials for area restaurants such as table tents, posters, and buttons for servers to wear that encourage people to “Skip the Straw” on Friday, February 24th, and to make it a habit throughout the year. Now the public can celebrate National Skip the Straw Day by posting strawless selfies on social media with the hashtag #SkiptheStrawDay.

The team worked with Whitehall District Schools’ Food Service Director, Dan Gorman, to eliminate straws at lunch, and to use paper straws instead of plastic for breakfast smoothies. These two actions, which would be easy to replicate at other schools, are eliminating 1,400 plastic straws per week (over 50,000 per school year) at Whitehall Middle School. Recognizing that some situations or people may still require a straw, the Coral Keepers conducted student and teacher focus groups to see which types of reusable straws are preferred. Data collected, as well as vendor information, is posted on their website at The team is also using Twitter (@WMSCoralKeepers), and Instagram (coral_keepers) to spread their message.

The students are explaining that the national addiction to straws and other single-use plastics is fouling up beaches, harming wildlife, and even working its way into our diet. Plastic straws fragment instead of biodegrade, and when these microplastic pieces end up in lakes and rivers, they are eaten by the fish that we eventually eat. According to Jamie Cross, Adopt-a-Beach Manager for the Alliance for the Great Lakes, plastic straws are one of the top ten most collected items during beach clean-up events, with over 29,500 picked up during beach sweeps along the Great Lakes in 2016.

The Lexus Eco Challenge is a national STEM competition in which students in grades 6-12 identify an environmental problem and then research and implement a solution. The Coral Keepers are competing in the final round of the Lexus Eco Challenge, after having advanced through the Air & Climate Challenge with their project about ocean acidification. The team’s name comes from their hope that they can inspire people to take action for the survival of our planet’s coral reef systems and overall ocean health. Team member Shelbie Noel has learned through their work that “it takes all of us, with our unique talents, to make a difference.”

Students Prep for Showcase with Performing Arts Workshops Feb. 25 & March 4

Schools participating in West Michigan Student Showcase are finalizing nominations and their performers are gearing up for critique by producers, area professionals, and their peers. In total, 36 acts will be performing at Showcase 2017.


On Saturdays, February 25 and March 4, the nominated dancers, singers, pianists, musicians, and even jugglers will attend workshops at the Frauenthal Center. The performing arts workshops are their opportunity to become familiar with the Frauenthal stage and receive feedback on their performance.


The logo for Showcase 2017 was designed by Christian Kolberg, a student from the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center. For his winning design, he received $100, two Showcase T-shirts, five copies of the program, and will be recognized in the program. 31 entries were received in total. All participants received a certificate for their portfolios.


Showcase 2017 takes place on Wednesday, March 22, and Thursday, March 23 at the Frauenthal Center in Downtown Muskegon. Doors open at 6:00 pm, and the show starts at 7:00 pm.


Tickets in advance are $8.00 for adults, $6.00 for seniors, and $5.00 for students. All tickets at the door are $9.00. Tickets can be purchased at the Frauenthal Box Office and from StarTickets via phone, 1-800-585-3737, or online at


West Michigan Student Showcase is an annual celebration of excellence for high school youth of West Michigan. Students are selected by their respective schools in the areas of academics, athletics, literary arts, performing arts, and visual arts. Since 1981, high school students from Mason, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, and Ottawa counties have had an opportunity to be recognized. For many of our student nominees, this will be the shining moment of their high school years – for others, the beginning of an amateur or professional career as actors, musicians, writers, athletes, and artists.


West Michigan Student Showcase is sponsored by Patrick J. O’Leary, the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, the Fremont Area Community Foundation, Pro Audio, MLive/The Muskegon Chronicle, Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency, Cassell Dance and Gymnastics, Eagle Alloy, Inc., Hines Corporation, Spotlight Dance Academy, and Trophy House.


For more information about West Michigan Student Showcase, visit

2017 Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame Announced

The 2017 Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame announced that May 10 will be the date for the induction ceremony.  .     The location of the induction ceremony will be the Loosemore Auditorium on the Pew Campus of Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids. This will be the sixth year for the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame. The ceremony will begin at 6 with refreshment and 7 for the induction ceremony.   Inductees for this year are:  Non-Profit Organization   Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice  Youth Award   Anita Steward and her kids at Freeman Elementary for their work in the    Flint water crisis.  Legacy Circle   Marcus Schaaf was Michigan’s longest  serving state forester, March 10,    1910 until March 1, 1949. Under his leadership, the State’s forest system    grew from 35,000 acres to more than3.6 million acres.  Individuals   Pete Petoskey has devoted both his personal and professional life to  conservation, through his tenure as Wildlife Chief in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources that earned him a place in Michigan’s conservation history. Jack Bails served 28 years with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, eight years a Deputy Director and prior to that, as Chief of the Environmental Enforcement Division and Chief of the Office of Program Review. Tanya Cabala has worked tirelessly to clean up White Lake and West Michigan waters. Because of her efforts, White Lake was delisted as an Area of Concern last year. This involved cleaning up the lake from the discharges from chemical plants and leather manufacturing

This will be the sixth year of the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame which is sponsored by the Muskegon Research and Education Society (MERES). MERES is celebrating 20 years of operating the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, a place where 1,100 students participated in its education program last year.

Giant inflatables as art? Muskegon museum opens exhibit

MUSKEGON, MI – Pink bunnies, a Trans Am and Buddha-inspired figure are just a few of the life-size and giant sculptures featured in “Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art.”

The exhibit will be on display from Feb. 23-April 23 at the Muskegon Museum of Art, 296 W. Webster Ave. downtown Muskegon.

The public is invited for a free reception from 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23. It will include refreshments and balloon animals by Jim Perry.


To continue reading this story, visit Mlive…

Remaining 3 Plumb’s stores have new owner, will remain open

MUSKEGON, MICH. – The three remaining Plumb’s grocery stores in Muskegon County are now owned by a new company.

LM Foods LLC, based in Menominee, Mich., says renovations and a rebranding effort at the North Muskegon, Muskegon and Whitehall stores will begin soon. That process could take six to eight weeks, and the stores will remain open to customers.

Shoppers at the North Muskegon store will be the first to see new merchandise on shelves.


To continue reading this story, visit WZZM…

New pedestrian/bicycle crosswalk going in at Shoreline and Third downtown

MUSKEGON, MI – The city of Muskegon and the state are taking steps to make crossing Shoreline Drive to get to the lakeshore from downtown not quite as daunting.

The two are sharing the expense of installing a decorative crosswalk on Shoreline Drive, which is a state highway, at Third Street.

The idea is to signal to pedestrians that it’s a safe place to cross the divided, four lane roadway. It also should serve as a warning to motorists to be alert for bicyclists and pedestrians.


To continue reading this story, visit Mlive…

Muskegon MC Sports liquidation draws customers with up to 30 percent off

MUSKEGON, MI – A MC Sports going-out-of-business sign stood on the side of Sherman Boulevard in Muskegon on Friday, Feb. 17.

News of Grand Rapids-based MC Sports’ bankruptcy filing and store liquidation broke on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

Liquidation sales began at the Muskegon location on Friday with up to 30 percent off marked prices on everything from shoes to apparel to kayaks to ski gear.


To continue reading this story, visit Mlive…

Steak ‘N Egger

Steak ‘N Egger has been serving Muskegon since 1977 and came under new ownership in December of 2015. They recently remodeled the entire interior and their full menu is available anytime! They are located on Holton Rd and are excited for the opportunity to continue the rich tradition of providing quality food and service.

Seaway Run 2017 moves downtown, adds beer and music after party

MUSKEGON, MI – The Seaway Run will look and feel different this year.

The long-running event will take place on Saturday, June 24, downtown Muskegon. Races will start and end at the intersection of West Western Avenue and Fourth Street. Shoreline Drive will be closed for races.

An after party will follow the races with the main stage for awards and music at the intersection of West Western Avenue and Third Street.


To continue reading this story, visit Mlive…

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 7th,  and July 8th, 2017.

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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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