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

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.

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