2019 Muskegon River Voyage


(Big Rapids, MI 6/2019)

River-based recreation is a vital component of river communities.  Safer interactions with the Muskegon River is the mission of the Big Rapids Area River Safety (BRARS) project.  BRARS believes lived experience of the river is a great way to build awareness of river hazards, leading to prevention of river incidents and more effective response in the case of incidents.  Using sunscreen, wearing life jackets, understanding currents, taking swim lessons, staying hydrated, and knowing access points are other examples in which you can engage in safer interactions with the Muskegon River.

A small crew representing BRARS is paddling the Muskegon River in early August.  BRARS invites individuals, groups, and communities to join in paddling for a few hours or for a day!  Follow the Voyage on Facebook @MuskegonRiverVoyage for the most updated information during the voyage.  Individuals joining in on the voyage participate at their own risk and are responsible for their own boats, transportation, food, and safety gear.  RSVPs are appreciated but not required.  Minors must be accompanied by an adult.

The schedule*:

Day 1: Friday, Aug. 9th.  8:00am start | Crawford Park (M-66) north of Evart – Blodgett Landing Village Park (Hersey, MI)

21+ miles, est. 5-6 hrs @ paddling approx. 4 mph


Day 2: Saturday, Aug. 10th.  8:00am start| Blodgett Landing (Hersey, MI) – River Bend Bluffs (south of Big Rapids, MI)

24+ miles, est. 7-8 hrs @ paddling approx. 3-4 mph


Day 3: Sunday, Aug. 11th.  9:00am start | Croton Dam Tailwater Park Boat Launch – Anderson Flats DNR Landing

17+ miles, est. 4-6 hrs @ paddling approx. 3-4 mph


Day 4: Monday, Aug 12th.  9:00am start | Anderson Flats DNR Landing – Maple Island DNR Landing

17+ mile, est. 5-6 hrs @ paddling approx. 3 mph


*Subject to change if poor weather is expected or mishaps happen.  The start times and locations will remain the same in the case of days being cancelled.


Follow the mighty Muskegon River Voyage on Instagram and Facebook @MuskegonRiverVoyage.  #MightyMuskegon and #MRVoyage19.  Email us at muskegonrivervoyage@gmail.com.



This is the second Muskegon River Voyage by the project.  Other BRARS projects include: life jacket giveaways, cell phone dry bag sales, and school presentations with local collaborators.  The Big Rapids Area River Safety Project is a project of the Big Rapids Jaycees.  For more information about the Big Rapids Jaycees, check out: www.brjaycees.com, and follow BRJaycees on Facebook and Instagram (@BRJaycees). 

Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital Receives an ‘A’ for Patient Safety for Spring 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade

BIG RAPIDS, MI; May 15, 2019—Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital was awarded an ‘A’ from The Leapfrog Group’s spring 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade. The designation recognizes efforts by Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital in protecting patients from harm and providing safer health care. The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization committed to improving health care quality and safety for consumers and purchasers. The Safety Grade assigns an ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’ or ‘F’ grade to hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, injuries, accidents, infections and other harms to patients in their care.

“We are pleased to receive the highest-grade level of recognition from The Leapfrog Group with the top score on patient safety for this reporting period,” said Andrea Leslie, Northeast market regional leader for Spectrum Health and president of Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals. “Our physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses and all other clinical and non-clinical staff have earned this achievement through their continuous focus on quality of care, prevention of errors and meticulous attention to patient safety. I’m proud of our employees for the work they do every day to care for our

“To be recognized nationally as an ‘A’ hospital is an accomplishment the whole community should take pride in,” said Leah Binder, president, and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Hospitals that earn an ‘A’ grade are making it a priority to protect patients from preventable medical harm and error. We congratulate hospital leaders, board members, staff, volunteers and clinicians who work so hard to earn this A.”

Developed under the guidance of a national Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. acute-care hospitals twice per year. The Hospital Safety Grade’s methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public.

Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital was awarded an ‘A’ grade today when Leapfrog announced grades for the spring 2019 update. To see full grade details for Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital, and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit hospitalsafetygrade.org and follow The Leapfrog Group on Twitter and Facebook.

About The Leapfrog Group
Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey collects and transparently reports hospital performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog’s other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

About Spectrum Health
Spectrum Health, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities. We live our mission every day with 31,000 compassionate professionals, 4,200 medical staff experts, 3,200 committed volunteers and a health plan serving 1 million members. Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 230 ambulatory sites, and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $483 million in community benefit in fiscal year 2018. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $30 million in philanthropy in the most recent fiscal year to support research, academics, innovation, and clinical
care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson Health TM.

BR Garden Club Annual Plant Sale

Big Rapids Garden Club

The Big Rapids Garden Club will host its annual plant sale Saturday, May 25th, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Old Jail, located at 220 S. Stewart in Big Rapids.
There will be homegrown perennials, annuals, and some vegetables at bargain prices. Shop the plant sale while visiting the Old Jail Yard Sale next door. All proceeds from the plant sale are returned to the community to Garden Club beautification projects within the City of Big Rapids.

Mecosta County Habitat for Humanity to host Golf Open

Untitled designMecosta County Habitat for Humanity presents the 2019 Mercantile Bank Habitat for Humanity Golf Open on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at the Royal Golf Course in Canadian Lakes.
Schedule will be as follows:
9:00 AM Check-in – Coffee & donuts will be provided
10:00 AM Shotgun Start – Box Lunch will be provided
3:00 PM Reception – Heavy hors d’oeuvres provided, cash bar, silent auction 3:30 PM Awards and drawings
Registrations and payment due by June 19th. Register online at mecostahabitat.org/events or visit Habitat for Humanity Restore at 18387 Northland Dr. in Big Rapids. For more information, call 231-629-8700.

The Barryton Area Mobile Food Pantry celebrates 10 years

The Barryton Area Mobile Food Pantry is celebrating 10 years of giving local residents a hand up every month!

What started out as a class project for the 2009 class of Leadership Mecosta, the Barryton Area Mobile Food Pantry has been providing 10,000 pounds of food each month to those in need. Thanks to the support of local area business partners, individual contributors and many, many local volunteers up to 200 families are able to get 50 or more pounds of food thru our connection with Feeding America each month.

The distributions are usually the second Saturday of every month, with the exception of the month of May, when it is the first Saturday.  Located at the Fork Township Community Building at 3265 20 Mile Rd. in Barryton, sign up starts at noon with the truck arriving for a 2 p.m. distribution.  To receive food, please bring 2 current pieces of I.D. or something with your current address on it and a wagon, basket, box, cart etc. to assist you with putting your food in your vehicle.

Project Starburst Chosen as a Local Recipient of Stamp Out Hunger

Since 1993, the Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive has been the U.S.’s largest one-day drive, held annually on the second Saturday in May. #StampOutHunger
Each year on the second Saturday in May, the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive spreads out across America to help provide assistance to Americans who are struggling with hunger. 
This year, Project Starburst, located at 120 S. State Street in Big Rapids, will be a local recipient of the food drive.

The all-volunteer Food Drive effort is the nation’s largest single-day drive. In 2016, 80 million pounds of food was collected, which brought the grand total of donations to more than 1.5 billion pounds of food collected since the drive began in 1992.

The need for food assistance remains a problem in America.

For more information about the annual Letter Carriers’ Food Drive effort in your community, ask your letter carrier, follow the drive at www.twitter.com/StampOutHunger or visit http://www.stampouthungerfooddrive.us/