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/

Meceola Tech to Offer Electrical Training

Meceola Tech and Sullivan Training Systems announces a 4-day, 32-hour Essential Diagnostics Electrical Training, June 4-6, 2019 — 8:00 am-4:30 pm
June 7, 2019 — 8:00 AM – 2:30 PM

Essential Electrical Diagnostics is a comprehensive, hands-on course designed specifically for technicians. It applies to those who work in the automotive, heavy equipment, and truck industry or in an industrial setting. This course teaches all the necessary fundamental electrical concepts that up-to-date technicians need to troubleshoot electrical systems. It also prepares technicians for higher level training.
The highlight of the class will be learning how to use the voltmeter with greater accuracy and confidence to avoid the costly and annoying practice of disconnecting circuits and using the ohmmeter with jumper wires.
Students will build OEM-based circuits, use these circuits for experimentation and meter/schematic reading exercises, and at the end of the class, will have a 5-HOUR hands-on troubleshooting test where they will diagnose and repair 30 faults in six circuits – never using the ohmmeter.
This class covers the full range of the principles of electrical troubleshooting — from Ohm’s Law to Fundamental Computer Diagnostics — but it IS NOT a watered-down curriculum. The course is fast-paced and very demanding, yet easily grasped and very effective because it uses hands-on, practical projects that parallel the discussion and lecture.
The focus is on diagnostic thinking, circuit analysis, and system operation.

Students must bring to class digital multimeters and schematics for the equipment they work on. Please bring schematic chapter to include key legends and all relative information. If you are purchasing multimeter, make sure it is an auto ranging meter.

$750.00 includes the cost of LOAD pro Leads and FET Shop book.

For more information or TO REGISTER contact:

Meceola Tech
15830 190th Avenue
Big Rapids, MI 49307
Phone: 231-796-5805
meceolatech.org – training resources – business and industry training

Payments are due prior to the start of class in the form of cash, credit card or check (made payable to Mecosta-Osceola Career Center). No-shows will be invoiced.

Downtown Big Rapids Named Quarter-finalist for America’s Main Streets Contest

Support Downtown Big Rapids by Voting Today!


BIG RAPIDS, MI —The national small business movement, Independent We Stand, announces the quarterfinalists, including Downtown Big Rapids, in the 2019 “America’s Main Streets” contest. As the lifeblood of our cities and towns, Main Streets play an important role in the long-term success of communities and help build a sense of place. Independent We Stand invites the public to vote for their favorite quarterfinalist and move a deserving Main Street one step closer to the grand prize of $25,000.

Josh Pyles, Executive Director of the Big Rapids Downtown Business Association states, “I am proud to call Big Rapids my home and to see the growth that has come in recent years. If we can continue to come together as a community like we always do when it counts, then I’d be very excited to see what more we can accomplish in our Downtown.”

“I think this just goes to show that great things can happen when we work together!”  says Megan Eppley, Programming and Events Coordinator of the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce. “Big Rapids is such and amazing community. It warms my heart makes me proud to see the amount of community pride that comes out of a campaign like this.”

Downtown Big Rapids is the home to many unique businesses and events, such as Summer Fest, the Pocket Park Summer Concert Series, Fall Fest, and Home for the Holidays, to name a few. The Big Rapids Downtown Farmers’ Market opens on Tuesdays and Fridays beginning May 10 and runs through October 25. The November Festival of Lights Parade is an annual holiday favorite for the entire community.

Nearly 230,000 total votes were cast for 232 entrants during the nominations phase. The only community from Michigan to make it in to the top 25 participants, this is the second year in a row that Big Rapids has participated in this contest.  The 2019 quarterfinalists in alphabetical order are:

Semifinalist voting begins April 29 at MainStreetContest.com and runs through May 26. Voters may vote 24 times every 24 hours.

The top 10 semifinalists will be announced May 27. The winner of the 2019 “America’s Main Streets” contest will be announced June 3 followed by a “Main Streets Make Us Better” celebration on the Fourth of July, when the winner will announce how the prize money will be used.

Additional contest prizes include:

  • STIHL Equipment Certificate for $1,000 worth of STIHL equipment good at any STIHL Dealer in the U.S.
  • Do it Best Corp. $500 shopping spree
  • Free One Day Downtown Assessment from Flip This Town
  • Nationwide Marketing Group $500 shopping spree
  • PPG Paints $500 shopping spree
  • Public relations and social media recognition
  • A special plaque for the winner to proudly display


For more information on Downtown Big Rapids visit: downtownbigrapids.com or contact Josh Pyles at (231) 592-4000.

Presenting Sponsor:

STIHL Inc., America’s number-one selling brand of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment*, is the founding sponsor of Independent We Stand and the presenting sponsor of America’s Main Streets contest. The company follows a unique distribution strategy in the handheld outdoor power equipment industry, choosing never to sell products at big box stores, but instead remain loyal to its 9,000+ authorized local STIHL Dealers nationwide.

 Supporting Sponsors:

About Independent We Stand

Independent We Stand is a nationwide movement of independent small business owners whose mission is to inspire other small business owners to better understand and celebrate their locally owned status while educating consumers about the importance and strong economic benefits of supporting them. The Independent We Stand movement is sponsored by STIHL Inc. STIHL products are sold through more than 9,000 authorized local STIHL Dealers from coast to coast – not big box stores. Associate sponsors include Nationwide Marketing Group, PPG and Do it Best Corp.

*”Number one selling brand” is based on syndicated Irwin Broh Research as well as independent consumer research of 2009-2018 U.S. sales and market share data for the gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment category combined sales to consumers and commercial landscapers.

Small Business Summit

53367911_2256434824418209_7902791093664612352_oFor the first time ever, the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC), SCORE Grand Rapids, and Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW) have teamed up to offer a regional Small Business Summit in Grand Rapids on Monday, April 29th.  The Summit will provide a full day of interactive workshops, mentoring and networking for both new and existing businesses and entrepreneurs.

Local experts will present workshops on a variety of topics under four different business tracks: Beginning Your Journey, Your Growth Trajectory, Marketing Magic, and Financial Matters.  Participants can customize their day with a combination of the four tracks and/or choose to receive business consultations throughout the event.  As an added bonus, participants will also have the opportunity to pitch for $1,000 with the possibility of winning $20,000 later on.

Our special guests will be Constance Logan, Michigan SBA District Director, who will provide opening remarks and Anne Cork, owner of Annabelle Noel Designs, who will be the Keynote Speaker during lunch. The SBDC, SCORE, and GROW are all funded-partners of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The summit is being sponsored by the West Michigan CRA Association, Fifth Third Bank, and West Michigan Community Bank who will all have representatives at the event to discuss anyone’s financing needs.   For more information or to register for the event, click on the following link.