• To all the organizers, coaches, young hockey players, Centre ICE Arena officials and others who make the NHL Prospect Tournament a reality each summer. Traverse City is fortunate to host such a high-profile event and we are thankful for the efforts of those who make the tournament possible. Congratulations to the Columbus Blue Jackets on winning their fourth tournament title since 2005.
  • To those who helped put on the 10th Annual Mike McIntosh Memorial Truck and Car Show. The show is named after a former Northwestern Michigan College automotive instructor and proceeds benefit the automotive program and scholarships.
  • To Richard Bachus, Carol Johnston and their daughter Laney Bachus-Johnston for hitting the road in June to visit more than a dozen national landmarks. The family hatched their plan — to travel the U.S. visiting as many national parks, monuments, historic sites and lands as they can pack into a year — after President Barack Obama in February announced his administration would kick off a new program to offer free admission to thousands of federal properties to every American fourth-grade student and their families.

“We always get the comment, ‘We’re jealous of you,’” Richard said of the 4,500-mile road trip the trio embarked on in mid-June. “We’re not quite hoping to get jealousy.”

  • To Justice For Our Neighbors, a nonprofit that hosts monthly clinics to assist northern Michigan residents through the immigration process. It can take years before a newcomer can earn full citizenship even with free assistance, said Marcelo Betti, a part-time attorney for JFON and Brazil native. He has been providing pro-bono assistance to immigrants for several months and knows about the protracted procedure more than most.

“It’s complex to do the paperwork and to meet the requirements,” he said. “Just to submit the application is $600. Plus you have to pay an attorney. In some cases you can request a waiver, but the government likes to get paid.”

  • To Bill Marsh Chrysler-Dodge and Jeep for helping Westwoods Elementary raise $4,130 at a “Drive for the Kids” event, breaking the record for the largest amount raised during the fundraiser. More than $6 million has been contributed to schools nationwide since the program’s inception in 1993.
  • To Riley Bullough, former Traverse City St. Francis Gladiator and current Michigan State linebacker, for being named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week last week. Bullough recorded a career-high 14 tackles and a pass break-up against Oregon Sept. 12.

“Riley has given us a great combination of emotion, leadership and productivity,” MSU co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Mike Tressel said, through msuspartans.com. “He’s doing an excellent job making all of the calls on defense while leading the team in tackles and sacks.”

  • To Grand Traverse area residents Richard and Diana Milock, whose donation will fund a $2 million expansion of Northwestern Michigan College’s Dennos Museum. It is the largest single gift from living donors in NMC’s six-decade-long history. The couple spoke highly of the museum’s value to the community during an event last week.

“We love the Dennos,” Diana Milock said. “Quite simply, we think it is the keystone of culture in Traverse City.”

A permanent collection gallery and a sculpture gallery named after the Milocks will comprise a sizable part of the planed 9,000-square-foot expansion. Expansion plans also call for the addition of classroom space to the Dennos, and an improved loading dock and storage area.

  • To the creators of a new program that will allow Medicaid-eligible Benzie County residents to take the bus to their doctor’s appointments. The new service offers free rides to county residents who qualify for Medicaid and are going to medical appointments in Benzie, Manistee and Grand Traverse counties. The new program launches Monday.

“In the long term it’ll help us grow ridership, have healthier patients because they can get to appointments, and the medical system runs better when people show up to their appointments on time,” said Benzie Bus Executive Director Bill Kennis.

Kelly Yaroch, director of human resources and operations at the Bay Area Transportation Authority, said buses will meet riders and take them to their appointments in Grand Traverse County.

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