Issue 9

Issue 9 | 12.13.2018 | Holland, MI

A float with a snowman lit by red lights stands atop a base of blue-green lights.
Holland’s Parade of Lights 2018. Photo by Holland Weekly.

Letter From The Editor

By Kathleen Schenck
December 13, 2018

Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays, the solstice is nigh! Our long West Michigan nights are punctuated by the Geminid meteor shower this week, along with a friendly neighborhood interplanetary comet: 46P/Wirtanen. And of course there are the lights with which you decorate your homes that make evening strolls so lovely. Thank you.

In the spirit of gratitude, Holland Weekly would like to thank each and every one of you for reading, with a special thanks to our writers and subscribers. Our first issue was published on October 18th of this year, and we’ve published an issue each Thursday since. Next week we will be taking a break–some of us will be off the grid on a news fast (lucky ducks). Our resident astrologer has put in a request to spend more time digging holes in the yard. We hope you have similar soul-replenishing plans.

But once those souls have been replenished, do consider writing for Holland Weekly. We are a nonprofit that highlights other local nonprofits, small businesses, artists, musicians, rapscallions and the like. We want to hear local takes on local issues as well as local takes on national news. Anything that affects Hollanders is fair game. In other words, we want to hear from you. Photos welcomed, too. Contact us at

We believe in the power of true stories told by real people. Michigan has gotten a lot of bad press on the national stage these past two years. By and large the people writing the stories are not Michiganders. The talented Texas-born political correspondent Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post heard from me this fall when in an op-ed she mischaracterized Grand Rapids as a conservative, Republican stronghold in “southwest Michigan.” The last Republican to carry the city was the late George H. W. Bush back in 1988. I sent her the interactive voting map tool from The New York Times ( along with a proper list of terms to use when describing the different geographical areas of our state, including, “Da U.P., eh?”. Don’t mess with Michigan.

At the same time, I thanked Tumulty for her hard work in reporting the news–harder especially these past two years with an anti-journalist administration. The press makes a difference. You may have heard recently how an investigative NPR story pointed out a deeply troubled federal grant program for teachers. In short, teachers were saddled with debt they were supposed to be free of. The story prompted a response from the United States Department of Education to begin fixing the grant program. As reported by NPR: “The move comes after an almost year-long NPR investigation that brought pressure on the department. In May, the Education Department launched a top-to-bottom review of the program. Amid continued reporting, 19 U.S. senators sent a letter, citing NPR, saying the problems should be fixed.” This is not only good news for teachers, but for their families, for students, and for the communities served. Like the state of Michigan, the teaching profession doesn’t need any more bad press.

In our own small way, Holland Weekly has made a difference, which is to say you have made a difference. I ran into the co-owner of Colin’s Bakery at the grocery store this week, who said new customers had come in citing Holland Weekly as the reason why. After months of flagging a Google Maps review that included a racist rant of an immigrant-owned small business on Holland’s north side, I finally emailed the Google press contact this week saying Holland Weekly would be writing a story on why Google has chosen to allow the racist review to stay even though the rant breaks Google’s supposed review policy. The review was taken down the next day.

Holland Weekly sends you gratitude and good tidings. Please send us your stories.


Holland Weekly brings a new kind of journalism to Holland, Michigan. We are an independently as well as locally owned and operated nonprofit news magazine. Holland Weekly welcomes letters to the editor, news tips, queries, and submissions on all things Holland. Please see our Writing Guidelines before submitting. Contact us at


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A beautiful sunset over Sleeping Bear Bay and Point.
Sleeping Bear point in Leelanau County, a half hour from downtown Traverse City, Michigan. Photo by Holland Weekly.

Friends and Family of Cystic Fibrosis

By Andrew Koop
December 13, 2018

What is Cystic Fibrosis (CF)? Many people have heard about it but not many know much about it. If you look at the medical definition, it is a progressive, genetic disease that affects the lungs, pancreas, digestive system, and other organs. It thickens mucus and other fluids in the body that clog the airways in your lungs and prevent other organs from functioning the way they should. This leads to infections in the lungs and life-threatening damage.

There’s much to cystic fibrosis beyond the medical. When CF patients experience complications, they frequently end up in the hospital for weeks, sometimes months. It takes an incredible physical, emotional, and financial burden on everyone involved. Until only a few years ago, CF was a disease mostly found in children. With improvements in medical technology, the number of adults living with CF has finally surpassed children. Even with these improvements, the average lifespan for someone with CF is still only 37 years.

This is where Friends and Families of Cystic Fibrosis (FFCF) comes in. The FFCF is a Grand Rapids-based nonprofit and volunteer run organization dedicated to helping children and adults affected with cystic fibrosis. The foundation raises money to help with costs and eases the burden on families affected by cystic fibrosis. The foundation uses these funds for the following:

– Purchase and deliver care packages for kids and young adults in the hospital,

– Help fund medical equipment and procedures not covered by insurance, e.g. lung transplants,

– Help cover rent, utilities, gym memberships, and other expenses.

One of the most important values of the organization is that all funds stay and support families here in West Michigan. West Michigan is unique, having a specialized care facility at the DeVos Children’s Hospital, with an adult clinic recently opening as well. The children’s center works with over 150 kids with the adult center serving over 165.

The FFCF is a community of about 50 volunteers, including patients, friends, family, and others who want to give back and help improve the lives of CF patients. The foundation has become a support system and backbone for CF patients as well as their friends and families to help them through the good times and the bad. We all work together because we are stronger as one.

A close friend asked me if I wanted to be a part of the FFCF community and it has proven to be an amazing opportunity. Giving back to my community, especially children, has always been one of my greatest joys in life. It’s hard to describe what life is like for kids with CF. It’s not uncommon for them to be in the hospital for weeks at a time. Sometimes they can’t go outside and play or go to school. Those suffering from CF can’t experience life in a way most people take for granted. Walking into a hospital with gifts and seeing a child forget about their problems, if even for a moment, is exactly what the foundation was started for. Those are the special moments that you remember for the rest of your life.

Every March for the past 22 years, Friends and Families of Cystic Fibrosis hosts Bid for Bachelors and Bachelorettes, a black-tie gala at the JW Marriot in Grand Rapids. This year 35 bachelors and bachelorettes have volunteered to put together bid packages. Each bachelor or bachelorette puts together a date package, many times with a fun theme. These packages can include local beer and wine tours, sporting event packages, or all-inclusive trips to Traverse City, Chicago, or even Hawaii! In previous years, some packages have been as big as a 4 pack of tickets, lodging, and food for the Coachella Valley Music Festival in Indio, California. Each bid is auctioned off to raise the money needed to keep FFCF running. It is a night full of song, dance, and tons of fun.

This year, I have volunteered to be one of the bachelors. I am putting together a bid package of my own; as an outdoorsman, I think being able to get outside and enjoy the beauty nature has to offer is incredibly important. The UP is one of my favorite places and I’ve decided to build my bid package around it. I am planning a weekend getaway that will include kayaking Pictured Rocks along with a hotel and dinner stay in Munising as well as a day of relaxation, dinner, and hotel in Marquette. I am currently raising money towards helping me build the perfect date package.

If you would like to donate to Bid for Bachelors and Bachelorettes, please go to For more information on Friends and Families of Cystic Fibrosis, Bid4Bach, or if you’d like to volunteer, please visit

Andrew Koop was born and raised in Holland, Michigan. Koop currently lives in Grand Rapids, and spends time in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula every chance he gets.

Chunks of chicken in an orange sauce atop white basmati rice.
Chicken tikka masala. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Holland Weekly’s Recipe Of The Week:
Simple Chicken Tikka Masala

By Kathleen Schenck
December 13, 2018

This Chicken Tikka Masala recipe can be thrown together quickly and easily for any guests who happen by. Dubbed the unofficial national dish of England, this slightly spicy, rich and flavorful lunch or dinner will warm you right up this holiday season.

While I do not receive any money for promoting products (or stores, or restaurants, or, well, anything), in the name of taste and expense, I will mention that our friendly neighborhood Aldi has the cheapest jar of tikka masala sauce in town at $1.99 for 16 oz. It is tasty, too. This is what I use, along with two chicken breasts (leftover chicken works fine), a sweet onion, and a red bell pepper all served over basmati rice (regular brown or white rice can be substituted as an even more affordable option). The heat level is what we’ll dub “West Michigan Medium”, which would be akin to a medium house salsa from Tamales Plus on Lincoln Ave. or a pepperoni pizza from Petrino’s Pizza on W. 16th Street. In short, it’s a little spicy.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes (depending on the rice used)

Yield: 4 servings


2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 sweet onion, sliced

1 16 oz. jar of tikka masala sauce

Basmati or your choice of rice


Sauté the chunks of chicken in olive oil until done. Add the onion, then the bell pepper. Sauté till the flavor releases, then add the jar of sauce. Simmer on low while you cook the rice according to the instructions listed on the bag. (Pro tip: the instructions for rice often state you need more water than you do. I cook brown rice at one cup of rice to one and a half cups water even though some instructions call for two cups water for one cup brown rice, for example.) Serve the chicken tikka masala over rice. Optional: add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt on the side to douse the heat.

Madam puppy dog astrologer, Sylvia. Photo by Michael Tuccini.
Madam Sylvia. Photo by Michael Tuccini.

Sylvia Reads The Stars

Week of Dec. 13, 2018

(Week of Dec. 19, 2018: Gone Diggin’)

Sagittarius Nov 22 – Dec 23

See how many puns you can come up with this week. Then see how many you can come up with in a different language. Yes, you may phone a friend.

Capricorn Dec 23 – Jan 20

There’s always something going on in the night sky. Pick a night this coming week to drive to a dark spot and just look up. Take advantage of this mild weather while it lasts.

Aquarius Jan 20 – Feb 18

Be more like Sesame Street and showcase a sociopolitical issue as if it belonged in everyday conversation. Because it does.

Pisces Feb 18 – Mar 20

You know, there are quite a few Bible historians who believe Christ was a Pisces, just like you. So when you hear the carols this year, pretend that all Piscean birthday celebrations deserve a two to three month head start.

Aries Mar 20 – Apr 20

Make a t-shirt that illustrates the sound of one hand clapping. Your guess is better than mine.  I have paws.

Taurus Apr 20 – May 21

Taurus, share your chocolates with a loved one or two. You know what will happen if you don’t–tummy aches and teardrops.

Gemini May 21 – Jun 21

The best thing about airports is the people watching. Bring a notebook and sketch and write what you see and hear.

Cancer Jun 21 – Jul 23

Cancer, time to watch The Woodsman and the Rain, a Japanese film. Like you, the main characters must find a way to defeat their demons and move on. I think you’ll appreciate the camaraderie.

Leo Jul 23 – Aug 23

Skip the party this year and walk slowly through the neighborhood. See how the lights have been hung with such care. And where there is darkness, breathe in that peaceful stillness, too.

Virgo Aug 23 – Sep 23

Get thee to the lake! Skip a stone! Feel the cool to cold breeze on your cheeks. Isn’t it amazing how warm it was just three months ago? And how warm it will be again.

Libra Sep 23 – Oct 23

What time is it, Libra? Time for dad jokes. Here’s one to get you started: Know why I went fishing last weekend? For the halibut.

Scorpio Oct 23 – Nov 22

Unplug, unwind, unwit, unburden. Unreal how good it feels.


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