Hastings, MN’s Rivertown Days celebrates 35 years!

Rivertown Days Anniversary Celebration in Hastings MNAsk residents what words come to mind when they think of “Hastings, Minnesota,” and you might hear a few frontrunners: Historic. Friendly. Scenic. It’s true; the town of 22,000 on the Mississippi, Vermillion and St. Croix rivers is well-known for being all of those things.

But this year, you might hear a few more…less conventional terms: Creative. Artist-friendly. And maybe even….Neon?

With the newly-completed Highway 61 bridge, a downtown redevelopment plan recently approved, and a burgeoning theater and arts community, Hastings has a new energy that blends the community’s historic charm with the anticipation of a bright future. And nowhere was this energy more evident than at Rivertown Days, the town’s annual celebration.

You might even say it was “glowing.”

Literally.

Glow Run at Rivertown Days

Yes, you read that correctly. 2014 marked the first year that the traditional Hastings River Run was revamped as the Glow Run and the official kickoff to the late-July Rivertown Days extravaganza. With a 2K fun run, 8K race, food trucks, children’s obstacle courses, face-painting, and a DJ, the Glow Run attracted a wider audience than the typical road race. Top of the List staffer Audrey Flack couldn’t resist bringing her family to enjoy the festivities—and from the look of things, they enjoyed themselves!

Rivertown Days Downtown Hastings MN

Danish Festival 50th Anniversary

 

DF 50th2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Danish Festival in Greenville, MI.  The festival’s mission is to celebrate the homecoming of family and friends and Greenville’s Danish heritage. The Danish Festival has grown exponentially throughout the years and now draws over 80,000 people annually. The festival traces its roots back to 1964, when a contest was held to come up with an idea to promote the town of Greenville. The winning idea, from Dorothy Oliver, was that a day be set aside to honor Greenville’s Danish heritage. Thus, the Danish Festival was born, and the first festival was held on August 18, 1965.

About the Danish Festival

Danish Festival mural

Each year the festival has a theme, based on a Danish fairytale written by Hans Christian Andersen.  2014’s theme is ‘The Red Shoes’.  The annual theme is represented in a poster contest, parades (Grand Dansk Parade, Fairytale Parade, and Fireman’s Parade), as a play at the Greenville Community Center, and as a mural hand painted on the side of a business in downtown Greenville.

In addition to the annual Danish Festival theme, thousands come to enjoy the traditional Danish treat of Aebleskivers! Aebleskivers are pancake-like balls of dough cooked in a special aebleskiver cast iron pan, served with powdered sugar and raspberry jam.  Legend has it that after a battle and with nothing to eat, the Vikings mixed flour with milk and poured the batter into their dented shields which resulted in “bumpy pancakes” or aebleskivers.

Celebration

The Danish Festival is a family friendly event, with plenty of activities for everyone. Highlights of the events being held at the Danish Festivals 50th Anniversary include:

  • Danish Festival Open Air Breakfast – Official Annual Kick-Off Event
  • Unveiling of the Danish Festival Mural
  • Danish Festival Queen’s Pageant and Prince & Princess
  • Danish Festival Young Miss and Jr. Miss Pageant
  • Daily Hot Air Balloon Flights
  • Greenville Glows – Hot Air Balloon Illumination
  • A Fireworks Celebration
  • Lake of Illumination at Baldwin Lake
  • Daily Stage Performances
  • Arts & Crafts Fair Downtown
  • Used Books and Bake Sale
  • Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tale Parade
  • “Princess and the Pea” Bed Race
  • Auto Shows
  • Fireman’s Parade
  • Grand Dansk Parade
  • Han’s Christian Anderson Theater at the Greenville Community Center
  • Art @ the Green – Publicly Voted on Art Contest
  • Nightly Concerts
  • Softball Tournament
  • Danish Family Fun Day

For a full schedule of events or for more information on the Danish Festival, please visit http://www.danishfestival.org

Please join us in congratulating the Danish Festival on their 50th Anniversary!

Avast! Celebrates 25th Anniversary!

Avast! is perhaps the most popular and trusted, free antivirus com25 yearsputer program available, with more than 219 million users world-wide, which is more than any other security provider. They are dedicated to being the best at saving the world’s computers.

Avast! is based in Praque, Czech Repulic, and was started by Eduard Kucera and Pavel Baudis in 1988. As a result of an unpleasant encounter with the Vienna Virus, Kucera and Baudis set out on a quest to create a better antivirus program. The result: an award-winning antivirus program with global popularity.

Over the past 25 years, avast! has received numerous awards and accolades. Most recently, they have been ranked as the most-downloaded product on several major global software portals, received a 5-star Excellent rating from Softpedia, were awarded the VB100 Award from the independent testing firm Virus Bulletin, and received the “Advanced+” rating from independent testing firm AV-Companies. They were also named as Czech Republic’s best company to work for in 2013.

Avast! 2014 has several options for personal use. The hugely popular avast! Free Antivirus protects computers from malware and viruses. Avast! also offers paid upgrades in addition to the free antivirus:

•avast! Pro Antivirus has the added protection for secure payments and banking
•avast! Internet Security protects online banking, has a silent firewall, and an anti-spam feature to protect users from phishing and scam emails
• avast! Premier includes all of the previously mentioned features plus includes a data shredder for military-grade permanent data erasure, an automatic software updater for your other programs, and even allows you to securely access your computer over the internet from anywhere.

New releases include avast! 2014, SecureLine, and GrimeFighter. Avast! 2014 is the latest and greatest version of the antivirus program which is available in more than 40 languages, and streams hundreds of micro-updates daily to ensure you have the best protection possible. The avast! SecureLine VPN protects user activity done over WiFi. It encrypts browsing and communications, making you invisible to anyone trying to spy on your internet activity. Lastly, the avast! GrimeFighter program is the first PC cleaner to detect and remove files that can’t be found with Windows running.

In addition to personal computer security, avast! is also available for businesses and for Android phones and tablets. Avast! Mobile Security and Anti-Theft protects against malware attacks, has a built in feature to locate your device if it is ever lost or stolen, and allows you to thoroughly wipe or delete the contents of your SD card for security.

To learn more about avast! be sure to visit their website, like them on Facebook, follow their blog, watch informational videos on YouTube, or keep up with the latest via their Twitter feed.

Join us in congratulating avast! on their 25th anniversary!

 

 

Batman Celebrates 75 Years

The logo is instantly recognizable. The name is unforgettable. Kids and adults alike look up to the Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader, the legendary Batman. Batman is one of the most popular and successful superheroes in the history of comic books, film, and video games. And he’s 75 years old this year.

Originally called Bat-Man by his artistic creator Kane, Batman first appeared in a comic book in 1939, in the May issue of Detective Comics #27. The storyline of that issue was written by Bill Finger. The character became so popular that he got his own comic book, Batman #1, one year later.

Fast forward 75 years, and Batman has grown to be even more popular than ever before, and DC Comics has a full year of celebrations planned. Highlights of the celebration include:

    • July 23rd: Batman Day - Comic book retailers and book stores nationwide will celebrate the first ever official Batman Day. Fans will receive a free special edition of the Detective Comics #27 issue, in which Bat-Man first appeared, by visiting participating retailers. New collectibles will also be released to retailers, including Batman graphic novels, a 75th Anniversary cape, and four specially designed masks portraying the different looks Batman has had over the years. Batman Day will also be celebrated at select participating libraries on July 26th,  thanks to a partnership with Random House and DC Comics. You can learn more about all of the Batman Day activities in this press release.

 

    • Gotham TV Series - Warner Bros.Television is currently in production of the new TV series, Gotham. The drama explores the origin of the city of Gotham, and how its super-villain, Commissioner Gordon, rose to be Police Commissioner of one of the most corrupt and evil cities conceivable. The highly anticipated series from Executive Producers Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon, stars Ben McKenzie as Jim Gordon, and will premiere this fall on FOX.

 

    • Special Product Releases - The list is extensive, so let’s just say, there will be plenty of new Batman products released this year. This includes a plethora of re-releases of films, comic books, and tv series, as well as brand new animation shorts, collectibles, toy, t-shirts, and much more.

 

    • New Logo - The commemorative 75th Anniversary Logo features the Dark Knight in black with white numbering highlighting “75” for 75 years.

 

    • Batman 75 Sweepstakes - DC Comics offered a Sweepstakes running from March 27 through May 7, which awarded one winner with Batman-themed action figures, comics, toys, and more, valued at $2,747.79.

 

DC Comics will continue to celebrate Batman’s 75th Anniversary throughout the year. You can view the latest celebration details on Batman’s Facebook Page, or www.batman75.com.

Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan-50 Active Years

Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan (PPWNM) is celebrating a half-century of service this year. Like their 25th anniversary celebration, they have some big-time events —  past and planned — to recognize their achievements and to pump even more motivation into their supporters to accomplish future goals. This years events include:

  • A 50th Anniversary luncheon at Meijer
    Planned Parenthood Leaders: Katherine Humphrey and Cecile Richards

    PPWNM President Katherine Humphrey and PPFA President Cecile Richards

    Gardens. Held on May 6, the event’s speaker lineup included PPWNM President Katherine Humphrey, and a keynote speaker from the national front, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) President Cecile Richards.

  • Culmination of StandingTall, a 3-year capital campaign that exceeded its $3 million goal by raising over $4 million. The funds are being used for facility renovations, technology upgrades, and for an endowment fund to ensure sustainability for those who depend on Planned Parenthood’s services.
  • A ribbon cutting ceremony and open house in the Fall to celebrate a building renovation to the tune of $2 million at the Grand Rapids’ Cherry St location

To provide a glimpse of how far planned parenting has come, birth control was not even legal for unmarried women in 1964 when Planned Parenthood’s grass roots efforts began. It wasn’t even legal for married women in all 50 states. As a result, it was common for women to have 10 or more children in their lifetime. Following are some other major milestones in Planned Parenthood’s history.
 
1964:  With the goal of helping low-income women access family planning services, pioneers Mary Kindle (Mrs. Thomas Kindel) and Helen Martin (Mrs. John Martin) worked feverishly to coordinate meetings and community forums, eventually founding Planned Parenthood Association of Kent County (PPAKC). Mrs. H. B. Shaine was its first board president. Mary Kindle, H.B. Shaine, Helen Martin, founders of Planned Parenthood Planned Parenthood founders Mary Kindle, H.B. Shaine, Helen Martin This landmark event required coordination and participation by numerous established organizations and community leaders. United Community Services (now United Way), Detroit Planned Parenthood, Michigan Department of Public Health, Kent County Health Department, Senior Minister Duncan Littlefair (Fountain Street Church) and Dr. James Riekse, M.D. were some of the key organizations or leaders involved. Outreach back then was not privy to the use of today’s technology and speed to deliver the message. Instead, supporters spread the word going door to door, established mobile work units to visit workplaces, promoted their mission on college campuses, and intercepted moms in the hospital shortly after delivery. It was truly a major effort.
 
1965: The first Planned Parenthood center opened, located at 50 Ransom NE. The center held evening hours only, since it was used as a medical facility during the day. It was typical to see 80 women waiting in line outside to access their services. A second clinic opened that same year at 917 Jefferson SE.
 
Continuing Years: Numerous developments took place over the years, including moves, expansions, locating clinics on college campuses, and closings of clinics as well. Some highlights, lowlights, and major developments during these years include:

  • 1976 – First Lady Betty Ford served as honorary chairwoman for the local fund drive. The drive surpassed its goal of $67,000.
  • 1980 – A major expansion added three more counties — Lake, Newaygo, and Oceana — to the three counties already covered (Ottawa, Mecosta and Kent). This brought their number of centers to a whopping 86.
  • 1989 – 25th anniversary celebration along with a major capital campaign resulted in renovation of their Cherry St. Building — the same one that is being renovated once again for their 50th anniversary.
  • 2002 – “Gimme Some Sugar” dessert auction for LGBT youth. Grand Rapids is one of the first cities of its size to have had an ordinance outlawing discrimination against LGBT, which helped ensure the success of this well-received event.
  • 2007 – Planned Parenthood of West Michigan merged with Planned Parenthood of Northern Michigan to become what it is known as today: Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan (PPWNM). Their area covers 52 counties.
  • 2007 – A major government funding cut resulted in closing numerous facilities including Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Mt. Pleasant. Both the Oceana, and Newaygo Health centers also closed due to the Title 10 funding reduction. Despite these setbacks, the merger is what allowed many of the health centers to remain open. By consolidating expenses, operating only one board instead of two, and lowering overhead with volume purchases, PPWNM continued on.
  • 2011 – A threatened government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding of $300 million per year. The tactic did not succeed, but was a hard fought issue.

Future Challenges Julie McKeiver, Communications Manager at PPWNM, had a laundry list of challenges she sees in the coming years:

  • Electronic health records – cost and privacy issues
  • Complacency of previous generations – Once Planned Parenthood became a success, women started taking it for granted and many stopped or slowed their efforts. The 2007 reduced funding wake-up call, followed by the 2011 threat has renewed the need for more participation
  • The political climate – especially difficult when conservatives are not in office since their strategies to win the next election often attack Planned Parenthood initiatives
  • Affordable Care Act – getting the word out that Planned Parenthood accepts insurance and offers a top quality standard of care. They also go out of their way to help people not only with medical issues, but also with life issues that affect their medical health.

“There will always be opposition,” according to McKeiver. “I sometimes question why we must fight so hard in this enlightened age though.”  
 
Educate – Advocate – Provide Health Care

Headquarters of Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan on Cherry St. in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Planned Parenthood Headquarters, April 10, 2014

With a primary focus on prevention of unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases,  breast cancer, and other women’s sexual health issues, the PPWNM of today is targeting teens to educate, advocate and remove barriers to health care. Considering the past political climate, they have their work cut out for them. As Cecile Richards mentioned in her keynote, “I believe we will live to see the day when women’s health is no longer a political issue … but it’s been a really tough time.” She later added words of encouragement, particularly in reference to Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan, “For fifty years, you have been helping women plan their lives and follow their dreams. Today let’s launch the next 50!”

WD-40 Celebrates 60 Years

WD-40 was created in 1953 at the Rocket Chemical Company, a small aerospace company. The meager staff of three set out to create a water displacement and rust prevention solvent to protect rockets, and 40 attempts later, WD-40 was perfected.  It is this same secret formula that is still used in households and business today.

WD-40 has over 2,000 uses and counting, which you can view on their site or even submit your own unique uses.  Some of the more unique uses that I found include:

  • Removing sticky or gummy substances from most surfaces
  • Removing stains from leather
  • Cleaning clogged Inkjet nozzles
  • Removing ink from most surfaces
  • Removing scuff marks from floors, walls, and luggage
  • Removing crayon from floors, counters, walls and the inside of dryers
  • Can be used as a cleaner

This year marks the introduction of the new WD-40 Specialist Rust Release Penetrant Spray- which is specially formulated to help loosen rusted parts faster and also helps prevent rust and corrosion.

In addition, WD-40 has partnered with Hiring Our Heroes this year, which is a charity group dedicated to helping military veterans transition into the civilian workforce.  Look for special edition “Help Hire a Hero” WD-40 cans, and from each can purchased, the WD-40 Company will donate 10 cents to the Hiring Our Heroes foundation.

For all the WD-40 fans out there, they have a WD-40 rewards program where you can earn points from purchases and redeem them for prizes, and a WD-40 fan club where you can keep up to date with the latest WD-40 news, learn tips from Pros, get inspiration from the Weekend Warrior Blog, enter contests, and more.

Please join us in congratulating the WD-40 Company on their 60th anniversary and on an immensely successful 60 years!

 

TLC Eyecare & Laser Centers Celebrate a Successful 20 Years

TLC Eyecare

TLC’s surgical office in Portage, Michigan

In celebration of a successful 20 years, TLC Eyecare & Laser Centers in Portage, MI is offering a great deal on LASIK surgery to their customers through the month of August, 2014: $400 off a LASIK procedure.

After researching TLC’s credentials, Top Of The List’s owner and President, Beverly Mapes, decided to take advantage of their anniversary offer and have LASIK performed on her own eyes. It began with an initial appointment to determine if she was a candidate, and ended less than a month later with a successful surgery.

Smiling Faces At TLC Eyecare

Leanne, Office Coordinator extraordinaire

Smiling faces were everywhere on surgery day, with Leanne, the office coordinator extraordinaire, and several doctors and technicians all buzzing about. The surgery itself took only 5 to 10 minutes per eye, although Bev’s time at the outpatient office was approximately 3 hours due to testing and additional consultation prior to the procedure.

Dr. Ernest performed the surgery. “He has a great bedside manner,” said Mapes. “I had to put a great deal of trust in his skilled hands. After all, we’re talking about my eyes!”

Prepped For Lasik Eye Surgery

Bev Mapes, prepped and ready for surgery

Dr. Ernest’s past experience gave Mapes increased confidence too. “I may well perform more eye surgeries than any surgeon in Michigan,” Ernest told Mapes prior to her surgery.

TLC Eyecare was founded in 1993 in Canada with a simply worded mission: To change lives. Throughout the years TLC Eyecare has experienced great success and as a result has grown exponentially.  Today TLC Eyecare and Laser Centers have over 50 locations, has performed over 2.2 million surgeries, and is a premier provider of eye surgeries and LASIK in North America.

The surgeons at TLC are highly recognized, possess prestigious education, participate in research and development opportunities, and have access to the most advanced equipment.  In addition, TLC Eyecare’s physicians utilize the newest treatments available, and now treat cataracts in addition to laser vision correction.

TLC Eyecare Satisfied Customer

Leaving the office with changed eyes, and a changed life!

TLC’s services certainly held up to their claims in Bev Mapes’ experience. “It feels great to open my eyes in the morning and see well without contacts or glasses! I’m so glad I did this!”

Join us in congratulating TLC Eyecare & Laser Centers on their 20th anniversary.

Gerald R. Ford International Airport- 50 Years of High Flying Success

airportThe Kent County Airport opened in November 1963, and in 1977 the Kent County Airport became the Kent County International Airport with the opening of a U.S. Customs Bureau Office. In 1999, the Kent County International airport was renamed the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in honor of Gerald R. Ford the 38th President of the United States. President Ford was a long-time supporter of the airport, and served as a U.S. Congressman representing West Michigan from 1949-1973.

In 2000, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport underwent a massive $50 million renovation of the passenger terminal. In 2009, another massive renovation of the terminal area took place as well as the building of the parking structure and covered walkway, among other smaller projects.

As part of their 50th birthday celebration, Gerald R. Ford International Airport hosted “A year of celebration” kick-off event on November 25, 2013 which featured free cupcakes, popcorn, games, prizes and giveaways for passengers and the public at the Grand Hall. They will be holding contests for giveaways all year long and so far have included:

  • $200 Car Detail Giveaway from Crystal Clean Auto Detailing LLC. for one lucky winner
  • 5 Compartment Rolling Backpack to 3 lucky winners
  • “Love at First Flight” contest – in celebration of 50 years, and to honor a couple married 50 years or more. The Grand Prize was a one night stay at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel on Valentine’s Day, $100 Gillmore Collection gift card, Roses from Eastern Floral and a pair of Grand Rapids Griffin’s hockey tickets.

In addition to the contests and giveaways, and as a way to thank their customers, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport recently launched the new “Thanks Again!!” rewards program. The rewards program is free.  To participate in the program, simply visit http://thanksagain.com/grr/ and register your credit or debit card.  You’ll automatically earn points for your selected hotel or miles for your selected airline whenever you park, dine, or shop at GRR or one of the 100 participating airports. You can also earn points when making purchases at thousands of participating businesses nationwide, or when visiting participating attractions such as museums, sports venues, and more.

Most recently, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport was named one of the Top Five Best Airports in the World, by size in the Airport Service Quality Awards, from the Airports Council International- North America.

Join us in congratulating the Gerald R. Ford International Airport on their 50th anniversary and a successful 50 years!

Be sure to “Like” their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/GeraldRFordInternationalAirport or follow them on Twitter (@FlyGRFord) to get updates on upcoming birthday celebrations throughout the year.

Chicken of the Sea Celebrates 100 Years of Good

Chicken of the Sea Celebrates 100 Years of GoodChicken of the Sea began as Van Camp Seafood in 1914, a fish canning company located in California. In the 1930′s, World War I was happening overseas. During the war and in the following years there were food shortages across the US. As a result, canned tuna fish quickly gained popularity as an affordable source of protein in the American home.

Chicken of the Sea gained it’s iconic brand name in the 1930’s; fisherman often called the white albacore tuna “Chicken of the Sea” because of it’s light color and mild flavor. The name quickly appeared on packaging and in marketing in newspapers.

In the 1950’s, branding became increasingly important as more and more packaged products were making their way into American households. Thus, the Chicken of the Sea Mermaid became the mascot for the company, giving an appealing look to the brand’s products. The blonde mermaid was inspired by Grace Lee Whitney, actress in the popular Star Trek series of that time. Chicken of the Sea even used their mascot to sponsor Disneyland’s Fantasyland pirate ship and restaurant in 1955. The following decade, Chicken of the Sea debuted their commercial jingle, “Ask Any Mermaid You Happen to See, What’s the Best Tuna? Chicken of the Sea!”

In 1990. Chicken of the Sea initiated “The Mermaid Cares: Dolphin Safe Policy”, which made them the first seafood company to require their seafood to be dolphin safe.

In the present day, the company strives to maintain sustainable practices. Chicken of the Sea co-founded the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund. They also take pride in investing in charitable organizations and local communities, including their partnership with Feeding America.

This year marks “100 Years of Good” for Chicken of the Sea. The company is celebrating in many ways. Beginning in March is “The Great American Gratitude Tour,” during which the company will travel to various communities. When the tour stops in your area, you can try samples, win prizes, meet the mermaid, and more.

Another way Chicken of the Sea is celebrating 100 years is by creating the Great American Gratitude Awards. Anyone can go to the Chicken of the Sea website, and nominate an individual, cause, or organization that they believe deserves an award. The company will then select 10 of those individuals, causes, or organizations, and award them with $10,000.

For the more creative types, the Name the Mermaid Contest is another way Chicken of the Sea is celebrating. Enter the contest with the name you think would best fit the Chicken of the Sea mermaid, and the person who comes up with the winning name will with $10,000.

The website also shares a variety of “favorite centennial recipes” using various types of seafood, including Chicken of the Sea Tuna, of course!

Congratulations to Chicken of the Sea on their “100 Years of Good!” We look forward to taking part in your fun celebratory festivities.

B.C. Pizza Celebrates 25th Anniversary!

25 yearsB.C. Pizza – “The Hometown Handmade Gourmet Pizza”, specializes in gourmet pizzas, using their secret sauce and crust recipes, and only the freshest ingredients. B.C. Pizza was founded in 1988, by brothers Chris and Wayne Nelson, in Boyne City Michigan. Since then, they have grown to over 30 locations throughout Michigan.

There is something for everyone on B.C. Pizza’s menu including gourmet pizza, salads, pasta, stuffed breadsticks, subs, grinders and wraps, and even desserts. However, B.C. Pizza is known for more than just pizza. The Nelson brothers are strongly committed to giving to the community, and B.C. Pizza is known for volunteering, donating food, partnering with area businesses, or helping out however they can in support of local causes. The community support, friendly customer service, and great pizza have been the key ingredients to B.C. Pizza’s success.

Join us in congratulating B.C. Pizza on their 25th anniversary and a successful 25 years!