GFWC Big Rapids Donates to the Open Arms Child Advocacy Center

Picture left to right:  Linda Telfer, Garden Tour Co-chair, Melanie Henry, GFWC Big Rapids President, and Jim Eddinger representing the Open Arms Child Advocacy Center

When the members of GFWC Big Rapids were planning their annual Garden Tour for July 17, 2018, they were made aware of the efforts to organize and implement the Open Arms Child Advocacy Center.  All proceeds from the Annual Tour are set aside by the Club to assist organizations and programs in the community who seek assistance from the Club.  Based upon the identified need for a Child Advocacy Center in the community and the commitment of GFWC to support programs and projects that benefit families and children, Club members enthusiastically agreed that the Center would be a great place to share a portion of the net proceeds from the 2018 Tour. At a recent meeting, the Club was pleased to present a check for $1,565.00 to Jim Eddinger who represented the Center Board of Directors.



Tuba Bach 2018: Final Week!

This week concludes Tuba Bach 2018:  New World Exploration!

Journey with us to Mexico for spectacular performances featuring Latin Grammy winners Flor de Toloache, an all-female mariachi, and Grammy Award-winning Tejano accordion artist Sunny Sauceda. Tuba Bach festival events are presented with no admission fee – priceless entertainment.poster for Mexico

Please help us thank our sponsors for this week’s concerts:

Brad & Sara Fath

Ferris State University Instrumental Ensembles

Jeffrey & Elizabeth Nagelbush


St. Mary-St. Paul Christmas Bazaar

Everyone is invited to attend the St. Mary – St. Paul annual Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, December 1 from 9 am to 2 pm, and Sunday, December 2, from 8:30 am to 11:30 am at the St. Mary Parish Center, 919 Marion Avenue in Big Rapids.  This event includes a luncheon (on Saturday), handmade crafts, bake sale, book sale, grandma’s attic, jewelry booth, gift baskets, raffle and an array of fresh greens made into wreaths, swags and holiday centerpieces. Parish Council of Catholic Women (PCCW) sponsors this event.  On Sunday morning, while shopping at the bazaar, everyone is welcome to attend the Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast. Please call 231.796.5202 for more information.

Manufacturing Day 2018

Eight-grade students from across the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District had the opportunity to take a closer look at skilled trades opportunities in the area as part of Manufacturing Day 2018. Manufacturing Day, a nationwide initiative to aid in creating a positive perception of manufacturing and skilled trades as a career, was organized for its second time locally through a collaboration between the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce, The Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District, The Mecosta County Development Corporation, The Reed City Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Osceola Development Corporation.

This year, over 600 students from Big Rapids Middle School, Crossroads Charter Academy, Morley Stanwood Middle School, Evart Middle School, Chippewa Hills Intermediate School, and Reed City Middle School visited manufacturers around Mecosta and Osceola Counties. Manufacturers included on the tours included Hamtech, Hanchett, Big Rapids Components—A Haworth Company, Fluid Routing Solutions, Ice mountain, The Pioneer Group Print Division, Galloup Guitars, Vitro, Reed City Group, Original Footwear, and Chippewa Plastics.  The students also had the opportunity to tour the Mecosta-Osceola Career Center and learn about some of the career paths available there.

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One of the chamber of commerce’s key roles in the community is to make sure that the area has the type of climate that allows for job, wage and economic growth.  Without qualified people in these manufacturing positions, growth will remain stagnant, which is why the chamber wants to invigorate the manufacturing climate here in Mecosta County, keeping residents and their families in the area. With this event, the goal of the chamber of commerce is to help manufacturers to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.

The chamber would like to thank our community partners: The Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District, The Mecosta County Development Corporation, The Reed City Area Chamber of Commerce, and Osceola County Community Development. Also, thank you to the Mecosta County Youth Advisory Council for their financial support of this project. Finally, thank you to our local manufacturers for opening your doors to the young people of the community for this special day. We are already looking forward to planning next year’s event!

Lunch and Learn: Intern 101

Copy of Copy of Dapper (1)Do you know what having an intern can do for your business? Thinking about hosting an intern at your business but are not sure how? With Ferris State University here in Mecosta County we are fortunate to have a great resource of talent and ingenuity right in our back yard, but how do we best tap into that resource? In an effort to foster collaboration between Ferris State University and the community, the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce will host Intern 101.

At Intern 101, Megan Connaghan, Internship Coordinator from the College of Business, will discuss:
The benefits of hosting an intern
How to set up an internship program
The host requirements of an internship
The best way to inform FSU students of opportunities in your business.

Attendees will also hear a testimonial from Lynne Scheible, Executive Director of Artworks in Big Rapids, as she describes the positive impact interns have had on her organization.

Join us for this Lunch and Learn event and take advantage of this FREE educational opportunity. Lunch will be provided. RSVP is appreciated. Please register at the link or by emailing This event has been generously sponsored by Michigan Works! West Central.

Fall Fest 2018

The Big Rapids Downtown Business Association is once again hosting the annual Chili Cook-Off and Fall Festival in downtown Big Rapids! On Friday, October 26th, Chili Cook-Off will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Grown-ups! After the cook-off, stick around for music from The Balsam Brothers from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m, and Boos and Booze: a pub crawl through downtown Big Rapids! For $5, get your wristband and take advantage of drink specials at your local watering holes! (Wristbands available at the chamber prior to the event or at the chili cook-off.) Current businesses participating include Schuberg’s Bar and Grill, Star Shooters, The Raven Brewing and BBQ, and Cranker’s Restaurant and Brewery. Show off your Halloween spirit by coming in costume: at 8:00 p.m there will be a costume contest! You might have the chance to win the grand prize!

On Saturday, bring the kiddos back downtown! At 10:30 a.m. will be the ever-popular Children’s Parade, led by Red Fox’s own Clinton Zimmerman and the FSU Kappa Kappa Psi band! (Line up for the parade is at 10:00 at AMC Movie Theater. Following the parade from 11:00 to 1:00 p.m. will be the Trunk-or-treat on Michigan Avenue, kid’s games, prizes, a petting zoo, and more! Finally, at 11:30 cheer on your favorite local celebrities as they try to take home the gold in the Celebrity Pumpkin Roll!

There is something for everyone at Fall Fest! Join in the fun!

For more information, visit!

Free Estate Planning Seminar

Jordan Balkema Elder Law Center is offering a FREE Estate Planning Seminar, Tuesday, October 23 at 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. at the Big Rapids Eagles, locate at 18361 16 Mile Road in Big Rapids.
The staff at Jordan Balkema Elder Law Center
Join Jordan Balkema and their team for an informative discussion on estate and long term planning. Topics discussed will include:
  • Planning techniques to avoid the expense and delay of probate.
  • Protecting a disabled child’s benefits upon your death.
  • Estate planning for second marriages
  • Benefits of a Durable Power of Attorney and Patient Advocate agreement.
  • Options for paying for your loved one’s long term needs.
Refreshments will be provided by Pere Marquette Catering.
RSVP by October 19th by calling Lisa at (231) 796-4012 or emailing