Group requesting permission for ‘handhold’ to raise awareness of Great Lakes.

June 12, 2017

Group requesting permission for ‘handhold’ to raise awareness of Great Lakes.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — An event promoting itself as a positive gathering of people to physically express their love and appreciation of the Great Lakes will be held at Stearns Park beach on Monday, July 3, if City Council grants the request during its regular meeting tonight.

Lorrie Dykstra, representing All Hands on Deck Great Lakes, is asking the city grant the group permission to have the hand hold event the morning before Independence Day.

“This is not a protest,” Dykstra said in her letter to the city. “Similar events will be taking place throughout the Great Lakes basin at this same date and time. There will be no signs except for those identifying the event.

“During the handhold we may be singing, moving about, possibly cheering at times. After the handhold we will make sure the beach is left cleaner than when we arrived. Some of the participants may be performing a beach sweep.

“This should be a positive to Ludington on a day that no July 4 events are planned. We have also invited boaters to participate by hoisting a special event flag and sailing in the vicinity of the Lake Michigan shoreline at the same time. A handhold is planned for the beach at Ludington State Park as well.” An event is also planned at Mears State Park in Pentwater

According to its website, All Hands on Deck “builds non partisan support for legislation, regulations, and funding based on independent unbiased science to sustain the health of the world’s water resource by providing an annual event and actions to celebrate our waters and unite new advocates to the cause until water is non-politicized and non- monetized.”

The organization was formed in March 2017 by Kimberly Simon of Charlevoix. “The idea was prompted by the announcement of the proposed funding cuts that would eliminate the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative,” a press release from the organization stated. “However (it) evolved to reflect ongoing water issues centered around the desire for water policy to be based on unbiased science.”

Simon’s personal Facebook page includes several posts protesting recent policy of the Trump administration.

City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 400 S. Harrison St.

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