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Zach and Maggie to lead Celtic Praise concert at Waterfront Worship

Celtic Praise is the theme for the Waterfront Worship concert on Sunday at Waterfront Park in Ludington.

Nashville-based musicians Zach and Maggie White will headline the performance, and Jason Chapel will open the show, according to Waterfront Worship Director Verne Kenney.

Kenney said Waterfront Worship seeks to connect nationally known songwriters with worship leaders throughout West Michigan and to help local churches.

“Our vision with Waterfront Worship events is to bring great songwriters to Mason County, to create, collaborate and be generous with their talents,” he said.

The Whites both went to Belmont University, in Nashville, Tennessee, where Maggie studied classical violin and Zach studied guitar. Maggie also has a background in Irish music.

Zach and Maggie met Kenney at a Celtic band concert, and that meeting inspired the idea to use Celtic Praise as the theme for Waterfront Worship.

“Verne designed Celtic Praise and it grew into us leading (the show),” Zach said.

It’s a special show for the couple, which doesn’t normally headline concerts, according to Zach.

Their self-titled album, “Zach and Maggie,” was released in March and includes four original songs and two covers.

The Whites have performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the International Justice Mission in Ghana, according to Zach. They played at a recovery center for recently rescued children from child slavery, and also played with the Getty Band at Parliament in the U.K. to support the same issue.

Zach said he does most of the singing for the duo, but Maggie has “an amazing mind for singing.”

“Maggie is great at weaving fiddle tunes in the songs,” he said.

Zach explained the process of creating songs and how they started working on songs separately.

“We developed a practice 1-minute video on Instagram — #ZaggieWednesdays,” Zach said.

They begin together, arranging the songs and have a general idea of how the song will go, and then weave in Irish tunes.

“We play skillfully and try not to rush,” Zach said.

They are exploring new genres of music at the moment, Zach said, and those will be part of Celtic Praise.

Kenney said that during the performance at Waterfront Park, Edgar Struble will be play keyboard, Eddie Eicher will play drums and Sam Avila will be play bass with Zach and Maggie.

The performance is free, but donations will be accepted. All of the funds raised from the concert will be donated to Hands Extended Loving People (HELP) Ministry, which provides furniture, appliances and household goods to families and individuals in need.

“We just try to associate with someone trying to help people in need in the community,” Kenney said.

HELP Ministries will have about 20 volunteers collecting money as well as an information booth at the concert, according to the organization’s executive director Larry Lange. In previous years, Lange said they’ve raised approximately $3,000 at the concert.

Lange said he is hoping to use the money from this weekend’s event to help community members pay rent and electric bills, as well as purchase back-to-school supplies.

“The money raised makes a big difference, and this year’s concert looks great,” Lange said.

The concert starts at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Smiling faces galore during Thursday's Special Kids Day event at midway

Smiling faces, laughter, a safe environment, friendship these are jut of few words used to describe Special Kids Day at the T.J. Schmidt & Company midway at the Western Michigan Fair on Thursday.

Gates opened from noon to 2 p.m. with a handful of midway rides opened for invited guests of the West Shore Educational Service District to enjoy the midway with their family and friends.

“Our special guest day on the midway is important to the community,” said Doug Burtch, business manager with T.J. Schmidt & Company. “We want them to experience the fair just like everybody else can. I think it’s a great community service and out staff looks forward to it every year.”

Jonah Schmidt was one of the children who was on his favorite ride, the Crocodile Mile. His mom said that last year it was one of the only rides he wanted to go on. This year, he went on a couple of different rides, she noted.

“With autism he can’t handle big crowds so there is no way we would be able to come to the midway on a regular day,” said Seree Jo Schmidt. “We couldn’t tell him until the morning of because he gets so excited.”

The kids are not the only ones who get to enjoy the day. T.J. Schmidt & Company employees also have some fun with the kids.

Dennis DePue said this day means smiles for him. DePue said that he does everything in his power to make sure that the kids are having fun. On Thursday, that included jumping on a bumper car to make sure that a child had someone else to ram her bumper car into.

“I feel like these guys need to have more time to have fun at the carnival because it is hard for them to get around during normal days. A day like today gives them an opportunity to have more fun,” said Brandon Papp, who was operating the Crocodile Mile ride at the midway.

Everett Niswonger III took advantage of the rides, hitting a number of them often and early. He went on the bumper cars, Merry-Go-round, the Crocodile Mile, and they were heading to the Twister, said his mother Heather Thorn.

“What nice about this is he is real impatient and then he gets into his moods,” said Sheryl Pease, his grandma. “It is just easier if they have their own space. We are having a ball. This in wonderful.”

This is like Christmas said Pam Pormorski, who brought her granddaughters to support her nephew so he would have someone to ride on rides with if his friends were not able to make it on Thursday.

“The kids get free reign on rides. They do not have to wait. It is unbelievable,” Pomorski said.

“I enjoy this so much, it is hard not to. I love how they have this set-up allowing the kids to choose their what activities they wanted to do.”

Notable 8/9/19 brown bag

Brown Bag Campaign a reminder to support Child and Family Services

Today’s issue of the Ludington Daily News contains a small brown bag.

It’s a little bag, but it has a big mission. The Brown Bag Campaign, now in its 30th year, is a reminder of the plight of traumatized youth, and their need for stability, affection, discipline, encouragement and guidance.

The campaign supports Child and Family Services of Northwest Michigan (CFS). CFS offers a broad range of programming, including foster care, behavioral health programs, a runaway and homeless youth shelter and a trauma assessment center to assist children facing adversity.

CFS began its commitment to the community in 1937 with a foster care program, and the Brown Bag Campaign started as a way to symbolize how children often arrive in foster care.

“The Brown Bag Campaign represents the fact that children often come into foster care very quickly and suddenly, with their personal items stuffed hastily into brown paper or plastic bags,” said Gina Aranki, executive director of Child and Family Services. “It’s also a reminder that we need people who have the room in their hearts to become foster parents, volunteers and donors to our hard work. We are grateful to everyone who has helped make this effort so successful.”

One of the initiatives supported by the campaign is YouthWork, which began as a pilot program in February 2018 with just seven youths. The pilot was successful and CFS was awarded an AmeriCorps grant to continue and build the program, with more than 50 young people participating this summer in crews across northern Michigan.

“Our office is basically Lake Michigan. It is so pretty. We get to eat our lunch on the beach and look at this incredibly beautiful lake every day,” said Destany Tufflemire, a student at Ferris State University and a member of the YouthWork program, which has been working with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) at the Ludington State Park for the past four weeks.

Tufflemire said she was drawn to the program because she’s known since she was a child that she wanted to be a wildlife biologist. This is her second year as a YouthWork member.

Some of the improvements Tufflemire and her team are working on include removing invasive species, fixing boardwalks, cleaning up and rehabbing trails and beach cleanup.

Toni Burke, a crew leader who has been working with a group of five teens, said that this particular project has made a significant impact.

“This crew has been working very hard. We have two returning members and three brand new members. The change that you see in youth from when they first start the program is fun and inspirational to watch,” Burke said.

Youth members learn important job and life skills, complete visible and lasting projects in their home communities and build lifelong relationships with other members and YouthWork staff. The program also benefits local communities by offering quality services while saving limited resources, and prepares youth to be able to enter the workforce and a contributing member of society.

Due to YouthWork projects, the public are able to enjoy new and improved trails and boardwalks, cleaner rivers, lakes, shorelines and thousands of newly planted trees and native plants.

YouthWork members also receive a stipend and may be able to earn educational awards. More than 100 youth members will perform more than 30,000 hours of service and receive more than $400,000 in living stipends and educational awards during the next year.

The program is always looking for partnerships with local community projects, new youth members ages 16 to 26, and investors. To learn more, visit or call 231-946-8975.

On any given day during the Brown Bag Campaign, readers of northern Michigan newspapers will find a small brown paper bag printed with a message of heartbreak and hope: that despite having faced all too much trauma in their short lives, children are resilient and can overcome those experiences — particularly if people care to help. The Campaign has raised more than $500,000 since inception.

Child and Family Services serves more than 100 children each year with its child welfare programs, and has served more than 16,000 children in foster care since 1937.

While foster care is their largest program, Child and Family Services also helps nurture children and strengthen families, providing more than 2,000 trauma-informed counseling sessions by licensed therapists last year, more than 2,000 nights of safe shelter for homeless teens at Pete’s Place Youth Shelter and serving hundreds more with case management, outreach, education, supervised visits and safe child exchanges and multidisciplinary trauma assessments.

The Ludington Daily News, Cherryland Electric, Oleson’s, The Cadillac News and Traverse City Record-Eagle proudly sponsor this year’s Brown Bag Campaign.

For more information about the Brown Bag Campaign, call Child and Family Services at (231) 946- 8975 or visit

Ludington Boat Club to host Hospice fundraiser dinner Saturday

The Ludington Boat Club’s 30th annual fish boil to benefit Hospice of Michigan will be held from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, and the public is invited to help the boat club reach a milestone in its running fundraising total.

“This being our 30th year, we’re getting close to the half-million mark of what we’ve raised for Hospice,” said Ludington Boat Club member and event organizer Jim Johnson.

Johnson said that 100 percent of the proceeds from $10 dinner tickets — as well as other donations that will be accepted Saturday — will go to Hospice of Michigan.

Johnson said many of the fish served at the dinner are caught by local charterboat anglers at another long-standing local tradition, the Ludington Offshore Classic.

“During the Offshore Classic, (the boat club) have all the volunteers ask the folks coming in if they’d like to volunteer their fish for Hospice,” Johnson said. “We have a group of volunteers at the boat club, and we clean (the fish), freeze them and we’re cooking them on Saturday.

“We take all the fish we get from the tournament and we do a huge fish boil.”

The fish boil drew in about 1,200 people and raised close to $20,000 in 2018 alone, Johnson said. He added that this year, the hope is to bring in as many people as possible to continue increasing the running total of funds raised.

In addition to locally caught fresh fish, the boat club members also purchase and donate deep-fried pollock for the dinner and provide other sides and dishes. There will also be a silent auction and a live auction featuring items donated by local businesses to help benefit Hospice.

“In the past we’ve had people donate a couple snowmobiles, coolers, chairs and rockers — and all the money raised during those auctions also goes to Hospice of Michigan,” Johnson said.

Refreshments will be served, including beer, liquor, wine and pop, and there will be raffles as well.

“We invite the public and the whole city of Ludington to come. It’s supposed to be beautiful weather.”

The Ludington Boat Club is at 502 Lake St. For more information, visit or call (231) 843-8591.