Be a part of BULLDOG BONANZA 2018

37888890_10155402508635458_7778531513628360704_n (1)BIG RAPIDS – Local entrepreneurs looking to introduce their business to students at Ferris State University now can register for a booth at this year’s Bulldog Bonanza, taking place on Wednesday, September 5th from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at The University Center, located on the campus of Ferris State University.

Hosted by the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Spectrum Health’s MedNow, Bulldog Bonanza will showcase Mecosta County businesses to more than 2,500 potential customers on campus. Bulldog Bonanza is a great marketing tool, so businesses are encouraged show their Bulldog spirit and to bring goodies, freebies, and promotional items to share with this year’s incoming and returning students.

“This is a very exciting event, “ said Jennifer Heinzman, MCACC Executive Director, “It is fast-paced and allows businesses to show off their goods or services to a lot of people in a short time; organizations and businesses come back year after year because of the ROI!”

Vendors can be creative in decorating their booths with any Ferris State University related items, displays, lights, and even costumes. (No helium balloons or promotion of alcohol or tobacco products will be permitted, including free koozies.) This is a promotional event only, actual sale of products is prohibited.

Registration fees are $75 for members of the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce, $100 for non-Chamber members. Corner booths are $150 for chamber members or $200 for non-chamber members. There is a $25 charge for electric hook-ups. Fees include one table and 2 chairs.

Space is reserved on a first come, first paid basis, and space is limited. Registration ends Tuesday, Aug. 28.

Register to be a vendor by clicking HERE!

For more information, contact the Chamber at (231) 796-7649.

Red Cross Names New West Michigan Executive Director: Tiffany Page to Lead Local Programs and Volunteers

Tiffany Page, Executive Director

GRAND RAPIDS, MI, July 27, 2018 – The American Red Cross of Michigan recently named Tiffany Page as its new Executive Director for West Michigan. “West Michigan means a great deal to the Red Cross and Tiffany’s local knowledge and passion for our mission adds a great deal of strength to all our community programs,” said Kimberly Burton, Regional Chief Executive Officer for the Michigan Region. “Local disasters happen each day. Our work helping families recover and move forward with their lives requires the type of dedication that Tiffany brings to all she does.”

Previously Tiffany worked with Catholic Charities West Michigan, overseeing community outreach and volunteer services. Her prior career experience includes leadership and management positions in the for-profit sector while serving as a board member for several local charitable organizations addressing human rights and social concerns.

Tiffany was drawn to the Red Cross by the mission of the organization and the passion of the organization’s volunteers. When Tiffany’s not working, she loves spending time with her family, dog and time at her family cabin.

The American Red Cross of West Michigan service area includes all of Barry, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola and Ottawa counties.

Last year, Michigan Red Cross volunteers provided food, shelter, comfort and hope to 3,532 local families who faced emergency situations. They also provided first aid classes to 121,277 individuals including CPR, AED, Aquatics and Water Safety. Ninety-one cents of every dollar donated to the Red Cross goes toward humanitarian relief programs.

Nearly 314,000 volunteers serve the Red Cross, helping staff blood drives, volunteering at veteran’s hospitals, teaching people lifesaving skills such as First Aid and CPR, responding to home fires in the middle of the night and so much more. Here in the Michigan Region, more than 5,000 volunteers help communities across the state, and when called upon, also deploy to assist in national disaster relief operations.

About the American Red Cross: The Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

Instagram: @miredcross

Congratulations to Mecosta County Habitat for Humanity, our August Member of the Month!

Habitat (1)Mecosta County Habitat for Humanity was established in 1992 by a group of local individuals interested in eliminating poverty housing in Mecosta County. The first Mecosta County Habitat house was built in 1994 in Big Rapids. In 2015, the Mecosta Affiliate completed its 30th house – 28 of which were original builds and two of which were rehabs of donated houses.

On June 29, Mecosta County Habitat for Humanity broke ground on its 32nd home construction, located at the corner of Bailey Drive and Woodward Avenue in Big Rapids. The property was donated by the Hurt family, and funding for the house was donated by Michael and Stevie Riley and Glen (Pete) and Irene Nix The finished home will be owned by Jennifer Deater and her son, Zac.

Mecosta County Habitat for Humanity also offers its Critical Home Repair Program, which addresses critical needs for low-income homeowners in need of exterior repairs, weatherization, wheelchair ramp construction and more.

In addition to its new home construction and critical repair projects, the organization runs the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, which sells new, used, and overstocked home improvement materials donated by manufacturers, stores, contractors, and individuals. These donated items are sold to the public at greatly reduced prices. Funds from the sale of items are used to assist Habitat in meeting its mission of providing safe, affordable housing for low-income residents of Mecosta County. The ReStore, located at 18387 Northland Drive in Big Rapids, is open Tuesday through Saturday. For seasonal hours, visit

Mecosta County Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit housing organization led by an executive director and governed by an all-volunteer board. Board meetings are held bi-monthly.

None of Habitat’s work would be possible without its volunteers, who are responsible for home repair and construction jobs as well as ReStore operations. For more information on volunteering for a Habitat project, visit

Members of the Month are chosen each month at our Business After Hours. For your chance to enter, be sure to attend  and register at this monthly networking event.

Apply for workforce training funds through Michigan Works! West Central

Submitted by Michigan Works! West Central

MECOSTA COUNTY – Have you heard? The popular Skilled Trades Training Fund (STTF) is getting a name change. The competitive grant program will now be known as the Going PRO Talent Fund.


Even with a name change, the Talent Fund remains one of the most powerful tools in Michigan to address in-demand skill growth and employer talent needs. This fall, the State of Michigan is scheduled to release an estimated $29 million through the fund, that area companies can apply for to receive funds to train their new or existing workforce.


“The Going PRO Talent Fund, formerly known as the Skilled Trades Training Fund, is an excellent way for employers to provide training for their workforce,” said Michigan Works! West Central Executive Director Paul Griffith. “Last year, Michigan Works! West Central helped 31 companies across our six-county region earn nearly $1 million in grant awards to train more than 800 new and existing employees. It was a banner year for our team and area employers. We look to increase the number of awards in our region in the upcoming grant round.”


Since its inception in 2014, Michigan Works! West Central has helped secure nearly $2 million in funding for 45 different employers in its six-county region, which equates to nearly 2,000 workers receiving skilled-trades training. In Mecosta County, six different companies have received nearly $90,000 to train more than 170 employees since the program began.


This fall will mark the sixth year of the program, which was implemented by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013, and administered by the state Talent Investment Agency. Training programs are customized to the needs of each employer, allowing them to either promote from within or to train and develop skilled workers. Employers are expected to be active in designing the training, and when completed, workers receive a credential for a recognizable and transferable skill.


To be eligible, employers must demonstrate a need for training that will allow their business to compete, expand and contribute to the local economy and do business in Michigan.

Employers must also be current on all federal and state tax obligations; and be willing to participate under the project’s parameters and guidelines.


Applications can only be filed by Michigan Works! West Central who will sit down with employers to determine if a training program can help fill gaps in their training and job-recruitment needs.  For more information about the Going PRO Talent Fund contact Michigan Works! West Central Business Services Specialist Jonathan Eppley at (231) 660-0253 or at

Extended Hours at Project Starburst

Starburst_LogoIn order to better address community needs, Project Starburst has new hours. As of August 1, 2018, the organization will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Additionally, Project Starburst, located at 120 S. State Street in Big Rapids, will now be open on Wednesdays from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The primary mission of Project Starburst is to provide food and related items to Mecosta and Osceola residents who are temporarily in need of assistance. When resources are available Project Starburst may also provide other supplemental services. Project Starburst is committed to partnering with human service agencies to address the needs of area residents.

Since its small, but humble beginnings, Project Starburst has increased its presence in the community by offering what is most needed to residents who are living in poverty. They currently serve an average of 240 families monthly, including about 13,000 meals and 4,500 personal needs items. The initial services were offered from the homes of social workers. In 1971 the organization became a 501c3 non-profit agency and came to be located in the United Church, which has provided space without any cost. In its 40-plus year history, Project Starburst core services have always been, and will continue to be, food and basic services.

For more information about Project Starburst, contact them at (231) 796-5342 or visit them online at


Mike and Frank

Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz, and their team are excited to return to MICHIGAN! They plan to film episodes of the hit series AMERICAN PICKERS throughout the region in September 2018!

AMERICAN PICKERS is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique “picking” on History. The hit show follows Mike and Frank, two of the most skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizeable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them.

As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, Mike and Frank are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics. Along the way, the Pickers want to meet characters withThe Crew remarkable and exceptional items. The pair hopes to give historically significant objects a new lease on life, while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way. ­

Mike and Frank have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. They are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them. AMERICAN PICKERS is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the Pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, send us your name, phone number, location and description of the collection with photos to: or call 855-OLD-RUST.

facebook: @GotAPick

Book Launch and Signing

37294498_1982352562020064_4429707416577245184_nJoin Dr. Harpreet Singh, of Michigan Primary Care Partners at the launch of his new book, Vital Checklist, at Biggby Coffee, located at 840 S. State Street in Big Rapids on Saturday, July 28th, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. Dr. Singh will be on hand to discuss his new book and will be signing copies of his new book.

Happy Patients and Happy Health Caregivers. The premise of Dr. Singh’s new publication is that he believes in a symptom checklist, not a “symptom checker”.  This book seeks to help patients learn how to be prepared to ask questions during their visit with their provider. Asking “by the way” questions at the end of the visit causes delays in care to the patients sitting in the waiting area, and thus decreases the job satisfaction of healthcare providers, and increased the probability of poor patient engagement and experience. Dr. Singh’s goals is to create a L.E.A.N. Patient Experience:  Listen to patients, Educate patients, Activate patients, and Engage with patients,

Dr. Harpreet Singh on Vital Checklist:

Question- Another healthcare provider recently asked me, “Why do we need this Vital Checklist in the era of technology where we can check our symptoms?”

Answer- I explained to my friend about the concept of a Symptom Checklist, not an online Symptom Checker. When you Google any symptom of your disease and if it brings death, disability, or cancer, you will obviously spend more time on that page. The Google Algorithm is designed in such a way that those pages will be brought to the forefront, where consumers are spending more time. This time spent on Google is called “Dwell Time”. More dwell time and a lower bounce rate on a web site will bring these ‘doom and gloom’ pages higher in Google rankings. When other patients search their symptoms, they will also encounter these pages, increasing anxiety, stress, and leading to increased use healthcare resources and increased healthcare expenses. In simple language, “Dr. Google’s” Search Engine Optimization (SEO) may hurt more than it helps.

For more information, visit Dr. Singh online at

Copies of Vital Checklist are available here:

National Night Out 2018

The Big Rapids Department of Public Safety, in conjunction with The Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce, will once again present the National Night Out, on Tuesday, August 7th, 2018 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Department of Public Safety Building, located at 435 N. Michigan Avenue in downtown Big Rapids.
National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances. Millions of neighbors take part in National Night Out across thousands of communities from all fifty states, U.S. territories and military bases worldwide on the first Tuesday in August.
This event will feature food, games, prizes, face painting, bounce houses, rock wall, tours of police cars and firetrucks, child fingerprinting, and much more! Live acoustic music will be provided by Allison Leveque as well.
This year, we want to add even more of a community connection to the event by including a local business expo as part of the National Night Out. Local businesses have the opportunity to register a table at this event to engage with families throughout the Mecosta County area by sharing a bit about your services. All that we ask is that you have some type of family engagement activity at your table, to make the event even more fun for our attendees. Giveaways and raffles are encouraged as well.
Not only is this a great promotional opportunity for your business, it helps to foster a goodwill relationship with law enforcement, local businesses, and families. Your investment of just $30 will reserve your spot and the funds will go directly to supporting the future of National Night Out. To register or for more information, contact Officer Miguel Galley of the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety at (231) 527-0005, or email
Please consider being a part of this community celebration.

Ferris State University is launching a new tradition designed to “blow” things up! 

Bubblegum_1024x1024Ferris State University has applied to Guinness Book of World Records to challenge the current record for the most people at one time to blow a bubble out of gum.  The Guinness organization requires that FSU has one volunteer for each group of 20 participants to validate numbers and the achievement.  The target is 1000 participants and 60 volunteers!

Please sign up at if you or your business/ organization are able to volunteer on Thursday, September 6th from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm.  Specific details will be sent pre-event with confirmation of your volunteer assignment. Volunteers must be over 18 years of age, not a participant in the actual challenge, and be available and attentive for the full time of the event.

Volunteer tasks may include swiping student ID cards, counting and dividing groups, directing participants, creating a fun experience, validating numbers, and assisting with crowd activities. Community groups and businesses that volunteer will receive free advertising during the event and have the opportunity to provide raffle prizes, promotional materials, and advertisements/ literature to be distributed.

FSU is excited to have your help with this awesome event that will create positive publicity for our community.

If you have questions, please contact or 231-591-2685.

Examining the effects of resilience, grit, and job satisfaction in rural or small town Michigan employees.

Dear Prospective Research Participant,
I am a professor at Ferris State University, and I am conducting a research study. My study is titled, “Examining the effects of resilience, grit, and job satisfaction in rural or small town Michigan employees.” This is an invitation to participate in this research study for those individuals that are English-speaking, rural employees within the state of Michigan that are at least 18-years old without mental disabilities.

The purpose of this study is to determine the degree that rural employees practicing resilience soft skills has on their resilience, grit, and job satisfaction.
Participants in this research study will complete a survey at the beginning of the study. The participants will then be provided via e-mail an information hand out providing those instructions on how to perform a gratitude exercise. Research participants will be asked to perform the gratitude exercise at least three times a week for three months. At the completion of three months, the participants will complete another survey, which will conclude the study. At the conclusion of the study participants will be entered into a drawing for one of eight $25 Meijer gift cards at the completion of this study.
By agreeing to participate in the study, you will be giving your consent for the researcher to include your responses in her data analysis. Your participation in this research survey is strictly voluntary, and you may choose not to participate without fear of penalty or any negative consequences. Additionally, you will be able to withdraw from the survey and study at any time and all survey responses will be deleted, including the informed consent agreement.

An informed consent agreement will appear on the first screen page of the survey.
All results from the research study will be presented as aggregate, summary data without any individually identifiable information, remarks, comments, or other identification of you as an individual participant. Your participation will contribute to the current literature on resilience.
If you would like to know more information about this study you may contact the researcher at
If you decide to participate after reading this, you can access the survey from a link at:  

The project extends though July of 2019.

Dr. Leslie D. Sukup

Assistant Professor of Management

Ferris State University

College of Business

119 South Street, BUS 303

Big Rapids, MI 49307