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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Humana Food Drive for Muskegon Area Veterans at Community Shores Bank Locations Beginning May 20th

Our veterans are owed such a debit of gratitude. We are fortunate in Muskegon to have a local Department of Veterans Affairs to goes so far above and beyond for our local Vets who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.  They are not only there to help them with the difficult system of benefits provided to Vets for their service, they take it to the next level providing services that are not required too, but they also need a hand from all of us.

Services like assistance with daily needs, food in times of shortage, groups to help Vets deal with life post service and more.  Vets are guaranteed certain benefits, but what's available to our local men and women is so much more.  It's an amazing outreach and to know that what's being done is being seen by some pretty heavy hitters is an accolade to the work that is visible, and that which is not.

Muskegon County Veterans Affairs
Humana is teaming up with Community Shores Bank for the 20th annual VA food drive for Veterans which kicks off May 20th at all Community Shores Bank locations.  It's been an amazing outpouring over the years from people who bank with Community Shores or just want to stop in and help out.  Canned goods, non perishables, maybe a gift card or, if you prefer a cash donation can be made at any branch of Community Shores Bank and 100% of the donated items go to the Veterans Service Center Food Bank.  We talked earlier, about the guaranteed benefits, the food bank is not one of them.   This is one of those added levels of support for those who served, in wartime or not that can help fill the gaps when things get difficult for our area Veterans.  I do believe that personal care items such as hygiene products and toiletries are welcome to be dropped off too for the pantry.

The drive itself gets underway on May 20th as we mentioned and you have until June 14th to drop by any branch of the bank with your donation.  Donations would be welcome at the Vets Center in the County Complex on Apple as well.  1 in 8 people struggle with hunger in society today.  1 in 8.  To think that something like that could be effecting our men and women who served is just too much and it's on all of us to do a small part to help.
Community Shores Bank

We were able to "rally the troops" if you will.  We met up with Mike Baauw of the Veterans Service Center in Muskegon as well as Lindy Allison of Community Shores Bank and Bretta Young, who is the Branch Manager of the Norton Location Community Shores Bank to talk about this great chance to give back, take a listen.

It says something about the longevity and purpose of this food drive to have a company like Humana be a part of it.  It's a tremendous nod to the extra mile that is put in by the Muskegon Veterans Service Center and Community Shores Bank for being such great stewards of our area, and out people in need to be a part as well.  It's a simple process for you from here on.  Stop in to a branch of Community Shore Bank with your donation.  Bring your kids to show them the importance of being a caring and contributing member of our community and help say thank you to our area Veterans for their willingness to serve for all of us!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Thurgood Marshall Job and Health Far May 19th at Bishop WL Burrell Multi-Plex Center

It's been over 20 years now that the Thurgood Marshall Job Fair has been happening in Muskegon Heights.  20 years of pairing job seekers with those looking to hire quality people ready to work and bring their skills and talent to prospective employers.  It's an event sponsored by 103.7 The Beat and M-106 both Muskegon Heights radio stations broadcasting from the Mayes and Wright Media center across from Marsh Field.  Wait a minute...are those radio stations even 20 years old?

Thing is, they are not.  They are part of the work that Paul Billings began long ago.  Paul saw a need and filled it in Muskegon Heights.  A need for some outreach, some communication, news, events and a place for community focus and his two flagship stations came along after the work began.  Paul went from a kid looking in a window of a radio station to a broadcaster making things happen and now, not only does he operate the Muskegon Heights stations, he's in Orlando Florida as well and his work has grown to not only provide for communities here, but all the way to Africa too.  Paul has not gone unnoticed either.  This year, for his tireless efforts, Paul was honored by the City of Muskegon at Citizen of the Year, very much rightfully so.  Paul has done all of this very humbly and doesn't like a big fuss made, but some of the back story has to be told.
Thurgood Marshall Job Fair on Facebook

Back to the job and health fair.  Constantly growing over those 20 years, bigger and better employers have made their way to the fair because they are finding great employees who offer a great work ethic, dependability, honesty and longevity.  As we talked in the interview that's to come, some employers have called the station to expressly say thank you for helping them find employees who have developed careers, not just jobs from their initial meeting at the Thurgood Marshall Job and Health Fair.  Yes, there's a health fair element to this as well.  Blood pressure checks, and other screenings will be available that day too.  Some have probably had their lives saved in the past from having their blood pressure checked and then were sent directly to the hospital due to the elevated levels.

This is a free event and open to anyone.  It will be held at the beautiful Bishop WM Burrell Multi-Plex Center at 412 E. Sherman in the Heights.  It's open from 12n-4p and you are encouraged to come ready to speak directly to those who hire.  Bring resume's.  Bring a positive attitude and bring your confidence for the steps to be taken to launch your future.

I had a chance to catch up with Mickey Wallace from The Beat.  He's got all the info on the job fair, and it's always great to catch up with a young guy who I personally see a great future in when it comes to broadcasting.  Take a listen.

Get there, get the job and get the life you want.  It's a great opportunity put together for everyone in the community and it's being led by a truly community focused media company.  We believe in The Beat and M-106 and Paul and his awesome staff.  If you're looking of know someone who is in need of a job, share this with them and let's show these employers what we're made of once again!  To visit The Beat's website, click on their logo below.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Help Support Ever Woman's Place Saturday With a Billiards Tournament at The Break Room on Sherman in Roosevelt Park

We've long been a partner with Every Woman's Place for the work they do protecting women and children in our community.  Like any shelter for someone who's abused, we'd love to see the need be gone, but unfortunately, the need continues to grow and the urgency for help can come at a seconds notice when a crisis breaks out in a home.  We stand with Every Woman's Place in words and actions every chance we get.  We're not the only ones.

It's a great thing to see when other organizations and companies see the tremendous need for the work that goes on at Every Woman's Place (EWP).  Some are able to just cut the check and let their financial gift be their contribution.  Others, others may donate time, items that can be sold or auctioned off or maybe it's some of the essentials that any shelter needs like personal care items, clothing, food, a toy or two.  Anything that might need to be replaced when someone has to leave a situation in a hurry.
Visit EWP Online

Other places, well, other places get to use what they have...including their imagination to come up with unique and fun ways to help benefit the cause and show their support.  Such is the case with The Break Room on Sherman in Roosevelt Park.  On Saturday May 11th, the doors open at The Break Room for a really fun day of billiards, tournament style for what they are calling "Billiards Against Abuse".  There will be an opportunity for you to take on billiards pro Dennis Hatch "The Hatchett Man". They are going to have some cool raffles, fun prizes and of course....every pool shark in Muskegon should be on hand to try and show off their skills.

The prizes and chance to knock off a top pro are all in good fun, but...the purpose is so much more.  I met up with a brand new face from EWP, her name is Elisa Hopper and she's the Development Director with EWP and we talked a little about the organization and the event coming up Saturday.  Take a listen.

If you consider yourself a local Minnesota Fats or maybe you just want a unique way to help out such an important cause, stop into The Break Room this Saturday and see the goings on.  Learn a little more about Every Woman's Place and maybe drop off a couple of bucks for their work if you don't want to participate in the tournament.  If you do want to play, remember, doors are at 10a and registration begins at 12:30.  Rack 'em up and help put an end to the abuse!  Click on the photo below to visit The Break Room's website.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Britta Talks Fire Safety With Mark Nicolai of the Muskegon Township Fire Department

Recently I had an awesome, eye opening conversation with Mark Nicolai...who is the Fire Inspector with the Muskegon Charter Township Fire Department.  Not only was I amazed and impressed by the huge amount of lifesaving responsibilities the Fire Department oversees for our community...but I was also blown away by all the "seemingly" simple things we all can do at home to protect ourselves in case of a fire....and the things we all can do to prevent fires in the first place.

Inspector Nicolai is responsible for so many important duties.... He is one of the first responders at an actual scene of a fire...goes in and analyzes the original cause...and is an actual expert at how the majority of fires could have been completely prevented or incredibly minimalized. ....saving not only valuable property, but most importantly....lives.   

Inspector Nicolai reached out to us to help spread the word about a very important, lifesaving, educational demonstration that will be coming up on Thursday, May 16 from 11am to 1pm....located at 2497 Chestnut Trail in Muskegon, 49442.  The National Fire Protection Association, along with our Muskegon Area Fire Departments strongly encourage all single and double dwelling households to install the life saving fire suppression system.  The side by side demonstration on May 16th will show the drastic, staggering difference between homes with the suppression system...and the homes without.   Not only protecting the actual property itself...but saving the lives of the people involved.

Inspector Nicolai has faith that our Government will one day soon mandate that all one and two family dwellings have this critically important life saving fire suppression system installed.   But truly encourages everyone to look into this now....educating our community on the importance of a fire suppression system.  Inspector Nicolai says that these life saving systems are surprisingly simple and affordable to install....and would even help lower home insurance cost.

Everyone is encouraged to attend the demonstration on May 16th. ...being conducted by the Muskegon Charter Township Fire Fighters...along with the help of the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center's Building Trades Program.   The actual "burn" will occur at noon....with many experts on hand to answer any and all questions you may have.

For more information contact:
Mark Nicolai, Fire Inspector 
Muskegon Charter Township Fire Department

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A Fathers Day Bike Ride to Bring Muskegon Together Starts at Rad Dad's

You never know where inspiration might hit you.  Quite often, when you least expect it and from the least likely of sources, an idea comes along that you didn't even know needed attention and from there, the steps are up to you.  Such is the case when Matt Gongalski of Rad Dad's Taco's and Tequila in Downtown Muskegon.

Out on a family bike ride, Matt and his crew met up with a group of kids who were also out for a ride.  Pretty typical, right?  It would seem until the conversation between the two groups switched to who made up the "riding posse" in each group.  It seems the group of kids we utterly shocked to find out that a family actually went out for a ride together.  "You're the dad?"  Was the question asked and the kids just couldn't believe that parents were out riding with kids.  Yes, we're all busy and yes.. it sure isn't the 50's anymore and the dynamic of "family" is an ever evolving term.  But to see the look of shock on a child's face that somehow a father actually had the time and desire to spend the day riding bikes....that created a spark in Matt and got him to thinking.

Can You Chip in to Help Buy a Kid a Bike?  Click Here.
Some may never understand what it is to have a single parent, or to maybe have two parents working so much to make ends meet.  For others, it's simply a reality.  Life is a challenge to say the very least and when the need for more than one job or the fact that parents can't get along gets added to the mix, you get questions like "You're the dad?".  Not here to shame anyone or to point any fingers but for those who do struggle, it's good to know that the community can come together over a spark of an idea and make some of that insecurity a little less painful.

Matt his social media a week or so ago with the idea of all of us coming together to raise a few bucks to buy 100 bikes for 100 kids.  Bikes would come with helmets, locks and everything else they would need.  To say the idea took off like wildfire...a gross understatement.  Hundreds got on board almost immediately and from there, some local companies took quick notice and offered up what they were willing to do to pitch in.....and all of the sudden, that spark turned into a reality and on Fathers Day bikes, kids, families and friends will gather at Rad Dad's in Downtown Muskegon to kick off a bike ride.

I stopped in to Rad Dad's to talk to Matt about the endeavor.... take a listen.

It takes a village they say.  It also takes just a little from all of us to make something so incredible come to life.  A bike is great, that's for sure but the message we'll send here is so much more.  To that kid who wonders why their parent might not be able to take a bike ride with them, well.....this is our chance to say "we got ya".  This is our chance to weave the fiber of community a little tighter and work to build a little trust among the young and old, (well, older), and it's a way for all of us in Muskegon to show the rest of the world that we truly are a community that looks out for everyone and we truly care.  Congrats to Matt and his idea.  He's a pretty humble guy, and I know that making a fuss was really the last thing he was after, but this is hopefully the first of many to come and it's what we believe in here too.  Pride in all of us.  Follow the Bike Ride Event Page by clicking below.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Parental Alienation Awareness Day April 25th

Sometimes, things don't work out in a relationship.  What looked good in concept just can't play out for the "happily ever after" for a couple and things come to an end.  Thing is though, in those relationships, kids come along and when things fail between the parents, the kids end up stuck in the middle of it all and there is no where for them to turn.  There's a term for it.  It's called Parental Alienation.

The idea is, if things end up going south between the parents, it's on them to love the kids more than they hate each other.  The behind the scenes dynamics include parents trying to "out-do" each other, leading the child with ideas about the other parent, planting seeds of doubt one or the other.  Let's cut right to the chase, we've all seen it, and for those who are in the middle of the split it's a remarkably hard task to keep the spite back and focus on what's best for the child.

Follow Papalienation on Facebook
In Muskegon Jerry and Lashawn Matthews teach by example.  The couple have both been down the road of the "bad example" and have seen first hand the difficulties that arise for the kids when parents can't get along post breakup.  The operate a 501c3 called Papalienation and they work to raise awareness of the long term effects on the children in the middle of a break up and offer parents better ways to manage their anger toward each other.

April 25th Jerry and Lashawn will take their message to the county courthouse again.  Yes, there is actually a day dedicated to parental alienation.  They will be promoting awareness for positive parenting by speaking to folks heading in to court, handing out some information so they can be better informed and this year, there will even be a chance to get yourself a free lunch at Golden Corral on April 27th where they will be hosting a Positive Parenting brunch.  Sure, there will be food and prizes, but to get there to hear the message, and learn from someone who's been "down that road" already will prove invaluable.

Jerry and Lashawn invited me to their home to talk about this years event.  Take a listen.

It's simple. The kids have to come first.  A toxic relationship can be equally damaging on all involved, but when it comes to an end, the damaging effects of parents trying to use their child in the middle of their differences only claims one victim, and it's the child.  If you'd like to know more, click on the photo below and visit the the Papalienation website.  Make sure you stop and see them on them on the 25th at the courthouse for more information and the 27th at Golden Corral.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Reeths Puffer Choir Presents "The Addams Family"

Once again super talented Reeths Puffer Middle School kids are bringing an Awesome show to the stage!!!... Fun for for the whole family!!!  Kids who are 6th grade or younger are encouraged to wear a spooky costume....or any Halloween costume.... And receive a ticket for only $5 for the Saturday matinee performance.

The Reeths Puffer Middle School Choirs present: The Addams Family

Friday, April 26th at 7pm...Saturday, April 27th at 2pm....and...Saturday, April 27th at 7pm....taking place at the beautiful Reeths Puffer Rocket Center for the Fine Arts.

There's even an Ice Cream Social following the the Saturday evening show for $3 per bowl at the door.


(Special) $5 ticket for students ....6th grade and younger in Halloween costume Tickets available onsite one hour prior to each performance at the door.

Online tickets: https://rpmsmusical.ludus.com

Ticket Inquiries: westerhl@reeths-puffer.org