Shon Cook Law

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Take a Bike Ride and Be a Part of the Community Hunger Challenge May 29th and 30th

How about a new way to help stock a food pantry, grow some fresh offerings from a garden locally AND get out and get some peddle power going for yourself while you're at it?  Sounds like a win for everyone right?  Well you are right and the chance for you to participate is coming up May 29th and 30th!  It's all a part of Pedal for a Purpose Michigan and it's centered around Our Savior's Lutheran Church on Southern Avenue in Muskegon.



Pedal for a Purpose Michigan 2018 is a 4-day bicycling tour to deepen awareness of World Hunger, challenge giving to ELCA World Hunger, and enhance physical fitness. The ride will begin and end at First Lutheran Church in Muskegon and will visit 9 churches in the Stony Lake Conference.
The events shake out like this:
Find Our Savior's Lutheran Church on Facebook

May 29th - Pre Ride Events
May 30 - Evening Ride in Muskegon (10 miles)
May 31 - Muskegon area churches and Lake Michigan (40 miles)
June 1 - Muskegon to Ludington (60 miles)
June 2 - Ludington to Muskegon (60 miles)
June 3 - Muskegon to Whitehall and back (30 miles)

That's a lot of riding and a lot of opportunity to help raise some money and awareness for people who are food insecure.  It's a problem that is more common than you think.  In Michigan 1 in 8 people are food insecure and if we're talking kids, that number drops down to 1 in 5.  It's a subject that pops up a lot here, simply because so many of the people and places we visit offer food pantries for people.  Who you think are in need of a food pantry might surprise you too.  So many people are able to put on a good front, but behind the scenes, there's a real need for a food pantry of lunch assistance for their children or more.

The next consideration to put in the mix is the availability of food.  There really are no grocery stores in the City of Muskegon or in Muskegon Heights.  They are close in proximity, but if you rely on public transportation it's not quite as easy as it seems to get access to the quality and fresh foods that are as healthy and good for you.  Thus the addition of the garden ad Our Savoir's Lutheran Church.  They grow their own fresh vegetables and they also help support McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm just outside Hackley Hospital.

I met up with Pastor Jane Mountain of Our Savior's Lutheran Church and Amanda Rupert who's helping organize the pre-ride events on the 29th. Take a listen to our chat about everything going on here.




If you want to do a good turn for someone in need, awesome.  If you're looking for that great first ride in the Spring, that's great or if you just want to get in touch with some cool people the door is open.  Our Savior's Lutneran Church is an accepting and inviting community that likes community involvement and being stewards of their neighborhood.  If you'd like to know more about the church you can click on the image below to visit their website.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Armed Forces Salmon Assault May 19th on Lake Michigan With The Muskegon Charter Boat Association

It's 8 years running now and going strong.  It's a give back of incredible magnitude and it's a way to say thanks to those who have been willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we enjoy!  Not to mention, it's a great way to get out and enjoy a day on beautiful Lake Michigan while slaying a fish or two and coming back to a hero's welcome and a great party after.  The Armed Forces Salmon Assault is back May 19th!



Put together by the Muskegon Charter Boat Association, the Armed Forces Salmon Assault is a day when our charter fishing industry recognizes that those who served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or the Coast Guard have really given a lot and giving a little back is the very least they can do.  They come from all over the state.  There are applicants from all over the state.  They come from as far away as over by Detroit for a day on Lake Michigan.  They might be coming from the Grand Rapids Home for Vets, they might be coming from their own residence, but they are coming and they leave Great Lakes Marina at 6am and hit the lake.

Visit the Salmon Assault Online
After the half day of fishing, everyone comes back and the party begins.  It's accented by what they hope will be a hero's welcome along the Muskegon Channel.  You are invited to come down to the channel and greet the parade of boats escorted by the Coast Guard as they return.  There will be volunteers on hand handing out some flags to drum up a little patriotism and let's be honest, who wouldn't love to provide a hero's welcome to these folks?

Like so many other events here in town, a lot of people pitch in.  The Fish Mongers Wife cleans and process all the fish.  Harris Hospitality, Michigan Anglers Association has been a big part of everything going on.  The best part of the whole deal....doesn't cost the vet's a penny.  It's a day of fun and it's all free for those who served.

Ed Schroder is the Captain of "Job Site Sport Fishing" and one of the organizers of this great event.  We found a few minutes to talk about the day for our hero's.  Take a listen.


The big ask for the reader?  Line the walk at the Muskegon Channel wall May 19th.  Bring the family down and watch the parade of boats come in and honor those who have served.  As Ed mentioned in the video, some of these people come home to no greeting.  This is an amazing day that can only happen in a town like Muskegon with a robust industry like charter fishing.  Living here day to day, we often forget that what we have is pretty precious and to know that the Muskegon Charter Boat Association is sharing it with veterans is a remarkable statement about our people, and our community.  Thanks to Captain Ed and all the people putting this great event on.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Salvation Army Week May 14th-19th in Muskegon

We do a lot for the Salvation Army, because it's only fair to return the good they do in the community for so many folks that need their outreach.  It's so much more than the bell ringing campaign at Christmas or the summer camps they put on. The Salvation Army is a 24/7 active organization who's dedication to service sets the bar for all others.  Their deeds have not gone unnoticed in Muskegon and on a national level and May 14th-19th it's time to let them shine!



It's National Salvation Army week as first declared by President Eisenhower way back when TV was still black and white.  He saw the importance of what the Salvation Army did in both times of war and peace and how their compassion for people was the true mission of their organization and outreach.  Locally, the Salvation Army is on the ground with their worship services, the community center on Shonat Drive in Muskegon and of course the Pathway of Hope.  There is the rental and mortgage assistance program, help with utility bills and fuel and of course the emergency food pantry.  All covering crisis type life events that so many are one missed paycheck away from experiencing.
Visit The Salvation Army Muskegon Online

In Muskegon, to celebrate the occasion, business all over town are pitching in to do their part to help raise a few bucks to help support the work that goes on my the Salvation Army.  You'll find daily events happening between May 14th and 19th.  Anything from a celebratory dinner with long time board members Bob and Carol Carter to coffee competitions, dine and donates at delicious places like Ryke's and Mr. B's and so much more.  You'll also find plenty of time to just stop into the Salvation Army itself and see first hand that what goes on there is a pretty welcoming and inclusive atmosphere that's dedicated to helping those who need a hand to get by and get back up on their own feet.

Robin Henshaw is the development director at the Salvation Army of Muskegon and she generally does a pretty good job of avoiding the camera, but today, she's all mine.  She joins me to talk a little about the local events surrounding National Salvation Army week.  She shares some of the history of the occasion and gives you the low down about where to find your chance to be part of all of the great work the Salvation Army does while you enjoy some of the most tasty spots in town.  Take a listen.


It's always easy to remember the Salvation Army when you hear the bell and see the kettle, but when the sun is shining and the temps are up...we can't forget the great work done year round by the incredible people of the Salvation Army of Muskegon.  Make sure you stop into one or more of the events planned next week and be a part of the festivities!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Fish Mongers Wife of Muskegon Is Expanding!


We love growth!  We also love things unique to Muskegon and when the two come together, it’s time to grab the camera and go do the story.  It’s been 8 years now since The Fishmongers Wife opened up the shop.  On Sherman in Muskegon, you’ll find the artisan store front which grew from her spot at the Muskegon Farmers Market.  







You’ll find fresh caught fish, you’ll find delicious smoked fish, friendly service and an atmosphere like no other. It’s our own small town “big city” specialty shop and people come for miles to get in on the deliciousness and freshness of the products they find there. 

As time has gone on, notoriety has grown and that reputation has led to some growth and The Fishmongers Wife will now have products in stores around Michigan and parts of Ohio all from the humble beginnings here.  It’s a distribution deal that’s required a little faith on behalf of the Wife of the Fishmonger.  It’s a big step.  It’s a test to see how their products do in other areas and it’s also a growth opportunity which could lead to some bigger chances down the line, but very wisely, like every other step…it’s begin taken with care and caution.  Making sure the customers in Muskegon come first is and always will be Amber’s first priority. 
The Fishmonger's Wife on Facebook

As I stopped in to talk to her about the growth spurt, there are a couple of other things.  She needs a hand in the back.  Can you clean fish and hold a conversation?  They are looking for some help to process the daily catch and help the company grow.  They are also coming along on adding some mail order business in a much more efficient way through their website which will be coming along soon.  We had a chance to talk on Monday, which during the “slow season” the store is not open to the public, so you can enjoy a little of the atmosphere while we talk all things Fishmonger in Muskegon.







Positively Muskegon has always been about watching the “little guy” succeed.  To have watch Amber and The Fishmonger grow their business, and now get ready to take the next step into statewide distribution…we take a second to claim them as our own.  A product of Muskegon reflecting exactly what we are all about.  Building, growing and being better than we ever have been.  Our congratulations to The Fishmongers Wife on their success and best wishes for continued growth and showing off what we’ve all known all along, just how resilient Muskegon is.



Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Scholarship Breakfast for the Black Women's Political Caucus in Muskegon County April 28th at Central Assembly Church

I'd like you to meet Maryanne Darnell.  Maryanne is the Chair of the Black Women's Political Caucus in Muskegon County and I have gotten to know her through my step into running for a higher office.  I will say this, if nothing else in this candidacy, getting to know Maryanne has been an incredible blessing in the fact that she's an incredible force for accountability, honesty and making sure people are educated when it comes to voting and issues that we face here in Muskegon. 



She's tenacious, wise, and committed to people knowing what's going on...who's saying what and who's making promises and not keeping them.  She also takes what she knows and who she knows and shares that knowledge with others so they too can have a better understanding of what's important, how things can improve and she even goes as far as to organize transportation to help people who otherwise might not be able to get out and vote.  She's an activist at every level and her passion for people and our community is really hard to beat.  In a world of "fake news", time schedules and distractions, Maryanne watches, listens and stays active in what she's passionate about and it comes through in our chat.

Along with their work to keep an eye on all things politics and politicians, The Black Women's Political Caucus does it's fair share of work for other causes in town.  One of which is a scholarship for young women students here in Muskegon County.  Past recipients have been from Orchard View, Muskegon, Muskegon Heights and Ravenna.  The applicants are chosen by a committee on their GPA, SAT and financial needs.  They have also done great things in the community from sponsoring community clean up's, senior citizen needs, shoes for kids the list goes on and on.  It's a ton of great work and of course, if we all pitch in a little, the work is much easier.  How do you help?  Glad you asked!

April 28th there will be an all you can eat breakfast at Central Assembly Church at 896 Home Street.  The event runs from 9a-12n and it's going to have all the fixin's.  The cost is $15 and the proceeds will go to benefit this scholarship program to help a young woman out as she heads off to school.  Maryanne and I had a chance to sit down and talk a little about the event as well as some of the work her group does, and why.  I'd really like you to take the time to give this one a listen.  What Maryanne has to say is important, and I think you'll take away a lot from this interview just like I did.


It's a great cause and as we work to help support so many other causes in town, our thanks to Maryanne for her time in sharing the story of her group and what the Black Women's Political Caucus does and why. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Parental Alienation - It's More Important to Love Your Kids Than Hate Your Ex

I have a theory.  We as people, can never really fall completely out of love with someone.  We can not live with them, we can grow to REALLY not like them and at times, we can also even know that some people are just toxic and best avoided....they can even become a distant afterthought.  But way deep down...if there was a spark there once upon a time, there is no getting over it...and that's what makes break up so awful.  When kids are involved....it's even harder.



So often, kids become the pawns in a break up.  It's one of my earliest memories actually, my cousins parents called it quits and the bickering, and fighting and the pettiness that went on.  The stress it caused on the entire family and the kids.  I can think of only one thing that was good about it, if I was around on a Sunday afternoon when my uncle had the kids, we got to go to the party store and get all the candy we wanted.  We called it the "Sunday Stockpile". Great when you're a kid, but hindsight being 20/20 and all...you see it a little deeper.  Send the kids back home all sugared up and spoiled rotten?  It's a game.
Learn More About Papalienation Online

Well, it should be a problem no more.  We've worked to address all kinds of issues here and we learned of another resource here in Muskegon that's working to refocus parents on what's really important when it comes to life after the relationship when it comes to kids.  Papalineation is here to help show that you have to love your kids, more than you hate your ex.  April 25th is actually National Parental Alienation Day where the day is marked to emphasize the importance of not making kids decide between their parents.  The long term effects of parental influences on their kids against the other parent and the cycle of repeating events that seem to keep repeating because mom said this about dad, or vice versa.

Do ex's have to get along?  No, not really.  But, as parents, there is a higher purpose you know.  There is a new person running around that you created and it's really on you know to let the differences go and work to find a way to be a stable and steady as you can be for the child while you go on with your lives.  That's a hard thing?  That's why there's a group!  We've got you covered!

Meet Jerry and Lashawn Matthews.  We met up at the Upper Room Church just off Apple Avenue to talk about their group and their mission. Take a listen.



Good people working hard to stop a cycle.  I know it's hard to face an ex.  There stands all the hopes and dreams you once had.  There is a feeling of loss.  A feeling of failure.  A feeling or regret, mistrust, maybe disgust a broken heart and more....but don't pickle the kids in it.  If you don't know where to turn for help, get in touch with Jerry and Lashawn and be a part of something a little bigger than yourself.  Take the higher road and put the kids first.  After all, it really is about them.  My many thanks to Jerry and Lashawn for a few minutes today.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Girls on the Run Presents Lunafest May 3rd at The GVSU Innovation Hub in Muskegon

Last year, it was a first for me.  A first on a few different levels.  I had been aware of Girls on the Run and knew a little about what they did, but I found myself being pulled in a little more and as I learned, met the people behind it and found out what they really did for girls...it was one of those times where you just have to realize that "Whatever I can do" has to be what you offer.  So I did, and I was thankful.




Girls on the Run is a program dedicated to showing girls some life lessons through running.  Pretty simple right?  They inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a curriculum which creatively integrates running, according to their website.  The site goes on to share their vision of a world where every girl activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.  As an outside observer of most of it, I think too that there is a layer of the program that is strength in numbers.  If people of any age know that others are sharing the same things they are, and they can rely on each other in the process, great things happen.


Get Tickets to Muskegon's Lunafest
The actual run is coming up a little later in the season, but leading up to it, there is a wonderful event called the "Lunafest" which is happening at The GVSU Innovation Hub on Muskegon Lake on May 3rd.  "Lunafest" is a film festival about giving women a chance to tell their stories and giving film makers a chance to show their art in a setting they might not otherwise get.  It sticks pretty well with the mission of GOTR and it's also used to raise a few bucks for the GOTR scholarships that are provided for the girls who want to be in the program.  Last year, I was invited down to emcee the "Lunafest" event and I thoroughly enjoyed the films.  There were some funny ones, some very poignant films, some about the day to day life and some that really showed struggles women face.  It was an enlightening evening and well worth the time to spend viewing.

Lori Burgess is the Executive Director of GOTR of Kent and Muskegon Counties and we sat down to talk about the film festival as well as the GOTR program and the events around it this year here in Muskegon.  Take a listen to our talk and learn a little more for yourself.


This past weekend, I was told a story about the Masai Tribe in Africa.  They were considered intelligent and fearsome warriors and they had a common greeting among each other.  "Casserian Engari", which translated means - "And how are the children" and the response should be "All the children are well".  I don't know of a better outlook for any society.  It's up to us folks...we need to make sure that our kids have what they need and from what I have seen, Girls on the Run is a leader in providing a base for our girls to plant their feet.   I hope to see you at Lunafest this year to help support the cause and our kids.  To learn more about Girls on the Run, click on the image below.