Ladas Hoopes McNeill

Ladas Hoopes McNeill
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Watch Us Go!

Watch Us Go!
Educational Opportunities

Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Trick or Treat Times By City

Need to get out and do a little trick or treating?  Below you'll find the times for most of the area on Saturday October 31st.  If you are trick or treating, of course, you'll want to play it safe, dress warm and make sure you inspect your kids candy before you let them eat it!
Drive carefully and remember that Halloween is a great time for kids and a great opportunity for them to use their imagination and be someone else for a while.
Halloween 1998 maybe?

  
Grand Haven 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Spring Lake – 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Roosevelt Park – 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Fruitport Township – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Fremont – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Hart – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Hesperia – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Holton Township – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.                   
My Whoopee Cushion Get Up
Ludington – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Muskegon – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Muskegon Heights - 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
Muskegon Township – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Newaygo – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Montague – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Norton Shores – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
North Muskegon – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Basketball Years

Ravenna - 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
Spring Lake - 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Whitehall – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 





Then, when it's all said and done......


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Men of Color Read

I'd like to start this writing out by saying I am not perfect.  I am able to admit that the differences we share as a community bother me sometimes....well, a lot of the time, and I make an honest and open effort to take every single person I meet as a friend I have not met yet.  I am also not blind to the fact that as a community, we should all be able to do a little better when it comes to knowing our differences, accepting our own faults and not thinking that somehow problems are exclusive to a certain group.  I am a firm believer that we are all in this together, sink or swim.

That being said I want to tell you about an extraordinary group of guys who have said enough is enough and taken matters into their own hands when it comes to children's literacy.  Men of Color Read is an organization dedicated to showing kids that reading is the first step toward success.  I was shocked to hear the numbers of kids who don't make it through school because they can't read.

Click to Follow MOCR on Facebook

From "The Atlantic" - 

"A student who can't read on grade level by 3rd grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who does read proficiently by that time."

Folks, we're taking about reading here.  It doesn't cost much, it's paramount to building the lives of good people and let's be honest.  Looking at that statistic above, if you spent 19 years trying to read and feeling discouraged and dumb because you couldn't....wouldn't you throw in the towel too?



Took us 10 takes...ya...we were screwing around :)

I know a few of the guys who are behind this push and I know too, the sincere effort they are putting forth to better the lives of kids.  Eddie Sanders Jr. who you see in the picture with me, Jon Covington, Paul Billings and more great guys, dedicated to making a difference.  Eddie has even written a song called "They Counted Us Out" which is about the program as well as a fundraiser.  Here's a link to get a copy.  


Yep, the name of the group is Men of Color Read, but the reality is, being illiterate....there is no color barrier there.  These guys are setting the bar high for all of us and they are willing to spend their time and energy showing kids that being able to read is cool, it's essential and really...most anyone can do it, if someone cares enough to teach it.  Spend some time with your kids.  Read to them, add excitement and flair to your reading.  Bond with your kids and give them a positive role model to look up to.   

A Quick Look Back!

To some, it seems like a distant memory, but not so long ago there was an event called "Summer Celebration".  It was a 10 or 11 day festival in the Summer in Muskegon featuring music, a mid way, fun vendors, great food, plenty of beer, a tiki bar and more.  If nothing else, it gave us all 10 days to get together catch up with old friends and maybe make a few new ones.

Courtesy Mlive














If you've been around long enough, you might even remember a Summer Celebration years ago where Ted Nugent was scheduled to play.  Yep....that was quite a year.  If you recall, I was kicked out over what was said on the radio which was "That Sucks" and somehow got ballooned up to much more than that by the time the word reached Summer Celebration officials.  Truth be told, the whole situation sucked, but I took my lumps and stayed away from the festival as asked even though somehow the ACLU found my home phone number and said they could probably make me a small fortune if I wanted them to pursue the case.  Well, I didn't.  It was honestly the single most beneficial moment in my life and no money could have done more for me.  It was that point that i realized my alcoholism had gotten so far out of control, others were speaking for me and I had truly become a slave to the bottle.  What was a dramatic episode and media frenzy, honestly it saved my life.

Courtesy Mlive


Over time the fences were mended and I blended into the Summer Celebration festivities again with a much bigger role and s few new found friends who I flat out said thank you to for what they did and without knowing it....saved me from a certain death sentence from alcohol.  Part of me and the new fit for Summer Celebration was using the festival to show that there was "More in Muskegon".  I grabbed a video guy and we went around and told the story of a few local landmarks, because let's be honest.....we all know that we've got a LOT of awesome things here, that might get over looked by outside communities and to be honest, since we go by them day after day, we might even take for granted what we have.

We'll go back a few years and show you there is "More in Muskegon"  I guess I have been at promoting things around here longer than I thought.  If nothing else, it's something to watch on a rainy and cold fall day!

The USS Silversides



The LST 393


Beaches


The Muskegon Lumberjacks

Monday, October 26, 2015

Random Kindness - Grandma Gail

It was a random happening, and you know, one of those kind of random happenings that make you stop and think about life and what it takes to get by day to day and sometimes, how one short encounter can make a difference.


Cindy had an appointment and we stopped for lunch after at Chili's on Henry Street.  As we were waiting, up rolled Grandma Gail in her powered chair.  Conversation went a little like this;

"Do you have kids"
"Nope, Grand kids"
"How Many"
"6"
"Boys or girls"
"4 boys, 2 girls"

Grandma Gail then reached into her bag and pulled out a bunch of handmade items, she took the time to make aprons for the girls and for the boys, she had a selection of Hot Wheels cars and a few toys from Happy Meals and things.  She explained she makes the aprons for kids out of old bed sheets and things, just something to keep her busy at her sewing machine.

Cindy asked "Do you sell these?" "No", replied Grandma Gail, "I just want you to have them so they can play and have some fun."  She then drove off to her table and we both kind of sat there thinking "Wow".

It was a good lesson, you know, not everything has to be expensive and not everything has to be the latest and greatest thing from a store themed by movies or tv characters.  More over, it really doesn't take a long time relationship to do something nice for someone, even if that someone is a random stranger.

I am sure this kind of thing goes on in other places, but to me....it's the basis of Muskegon.  There are good people who will take the time to do something unexpected, those who don't expect anything in return for a good deed and those who just wan to leave their mark in their own way.  A random kindness when it was least expected.

So, now.....there will be a new apron and some Hot Wheels sent to Seattle, Hot Wheels to Montague and an apron and Hot Wheels to Allendale.  So how quick, and how far a random act of kindness spreads?  Try it!

If you are wondering....yes....we paid the act back by taking care of the lunch bill for Grandma Gail.  How do you not take advantage of being able to return a good deed so quickly?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

School Millage's - Not as Easy As You Think

Let's talk about school millage's.  No one wants to think about paying more for anything, but when it comes to the schools you have to think long term.  I have never had a kid in a school, I do have two teachers in the family but even before then, I have never once voted against a millage.  It's important to make sure that kids have when they need when they get to school and are able to make best use of their time there.  I won't get into specifics but to some kids, going to school is the most stable environment they will be in all day.  They will be among friends and people wanting to make a positive influence on their lives, there will be food, structure and hopefully a lifetime of knowledge.

I don't pretend to understand how everything works when it comes to this kind of thing, but....I have learned a few things in my time on the Roosevelt Park City Council, and it's not as easy as it seems.  Do I agree with the complication?  Hell no.  But, it is what it is and if the school says they need more it's not a cash grab or an easy decision.  The key here is the way schools are funded.  They have individual funds for everything.  Building funds, athletic funds, general funds......on and on.  Makes you shake your head a little, but it's how it works.

We live in the Mona Shores District, My wife teaches in Fruitport and both schools are asking voters this November.  Both schools desperately need building improvements and both schools are asking for your help with a vote to pass the millage.    There are buildings literally falling apart.  There are needs for roofs. walls, security and more.  They are asking for about $75 bucks from most people who have a taxable value of $100k on their house.  It comes down to pennies a day to contribute to the well being of our kids.  It's a sound investment.  It's a needed request and it's up to us to make sure the future for them is the best it can be.

Both schools have taken the time to put together a short video to explain their needs.  Please take a minute and learn more and then, act on it when it's time to vote in a little over a week.

Click on the Fruitport logo for their video

For Mona Shores



Friday, October 23, 2015

What To Do This Weekend?

Happy Friday!  Wee-Doggie!

Let's take a look at what there is to do this weekend huh?  You'll find links under all the pictures.  Click on them for more info!

Haunting Season is upon us!  Lot's of fun and spooky Halloween things going on including the Trail Of Terror in Holton which is out to benefit the Child Abuse Council of Muskegon County and the Dakota Dean Murphy Scholarship fund!



At the Muskegon County Fairgrounds you'll find 3 haunting events going on.  The Murder Castle, The Cellar of Torture and The Woods!  Kids under 12 are being strongly cautioned about this event as it's pretty intense according to their website, but a good time for everyone else who'd like to freak their freak out!

 The Downtown Dead Crawl is happening Saturday night all up and down Western Avenue in Muskegon.  An annual tradition with all the fun you have come to expect from all of the participating establishments in  the corridor.  You'll be able to get a punch card and work your way up and down the street.  You'll find great times, drink specials and probably a friend or two.  



No More Sidelines will be having a fall arts and crafts show at the Folkert Community Hub Saturday beginning at 9 am if you are seeking a thrill other than being frightened.  



Finally, did you know?  Muskegon historic stops like the Hackley and Hume Homes - FREE to Muskegon residents in the month of October?  F.R.E.E.!


Just a few ideas for ya.  There is always a lot to do in Muskegon and more often than not, it's for a good cause so get out and enjoy the weekend and thanks for the read today!





Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Little History Lesson - Krampus


Tonight, for your entertainment, I thought I would interest you in this character that I had NO idea even existed.  His Name is Krampus.  Allow me to quote "Wikipedia" 

"In German-speaking Alpine folkloreKrampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure. According to traditional narratives around the figure, Krampus punishes children during the Christmas season who have misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards well-behaved ones with gifts"

I saw a telling of this fella on some monster show the other night and I was fascinated.  Not that I am for beating kids with a bundle of switches, stuffing them in bags and making Christmas miserable for them....but just for the mere thought of him.  Is there something wrong with a little fear keeping you in line?

We're a generation or two away from the wooden spoon, but man....this guy is the ultimate.  Every time you're in Meijer or the mall and your kids start begging, mention Krampus!  Acting up in church or maybe a restaurant, print the picture above and say "he's coming".  Siblings fighting?  Get a Krampus mask and run after them.  PROBLEM SOLVED!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Old Newsies and Goodfellas

Why hello from the blog-o-sphere!  Hey, it's my blog I'll be as conversational as I want to.  :)

Get a look at this!

















This is the "good old days" when all the guys in town got together and worked the streets for kids who would go without at Christmas time.  It didn't take a lot of money.  It didn't matter who's kids got the gifts or maybe, at one point their kids needed the hand and it was time for them to pay it back in some small way.  Well, there was a lot to be said about the "good old days" compared to today.  I think we could all use a little hunk of the nostalgia....it does the soul good.




Now....zoom in on the promo picture above....in the hat....


Ya, that's me.  Last year, I was really excited to try my hand at it, so I chirped up and did what I could.  I asked for a corner right by the house, and luckily I know the guys at Midas pretty good for the bathroom, so I was excited to get it.  I mean, when else can you go play in traffic for a few hours in December?

There was a lot more to it tho.  The delight of seeing friends and neighbors, watching to see how many people had the symbolic "paper on the dash" to signify that they already gave.  The kids in the car, the pets....and you know, one thing I noticed....the amazing amount of smokers out there.  Gotta watch those things....the'll kill ya.  It was really one of the most stimulating days I have ever spent.  helping some kids, seeing some cool people and stuff.....



I'm here point blank asking ya.....join us!  You'll have a great time, do your part....won't cost you a penny and...let's be honest....you could use the fresh air.  

This here picture below....click on it, it's the link to their Facebook page, give it a like, get your Carhart out and let's rock this town this coming season.  It's what friends and neighbors do.



Monday, October 19, 2015

The Milwaukee Clipper

The year, was 1904.  Just 4 short years after the beginning of a new century!  

The United States Army Corps of Engineers had just begun work on the Panama Canal, and in baseball, Cy Young threw the first perfect game of the modern era.  The third Olympic games were happening and being held in conjunction with the World's Fair in St. Louis and the first underground line of the New York Subway has just opened.   Teddy Roosevelt was elected President and Carey Grant and Dr. Suess were born.  Henry Ford set a new land speed record in a car of 91.37 miles per hour.  In late December of 1904 our story begins, as the Juniata is christened in Cleveland Ohio at the shipyards of the American Ship Building Company.  She was built for The Anchor Line, the Great Lakes Marine Division of The Pennsylvania Rail Road.

With a length of 361 feet and 45 feet at beam and a depth of 22 feet she carried 350 passengers in state rooms at 18 knots with a massive steel hull and a magnificent wooden super structure.   For the Pennsylvania Rail Road, she carried  passengers and freight between Buffalo New York and Duluth Minnesota.  She carried a lot of immigrants who had made their way to America and wanted the fastest route west to find new homes and new purpose and not having to live in the already crammed cities of the East Coast.  She ran until 1915 when the Panama Canal Act went into effect barring rail road's from owning steam ships  and the Pennsylvania Rail Road sold her, along with 4 other company owned fleets.  She continued to sail her route for another 20 seasons, but the Juniata was laid up in 1937 after the closing of the Chicago World's Fair.

In 1940, the Manitowoc ship building company extensively modernized her to become a passenger ship on Lake Michigan.  The old cabins were removed and the wooden superstructure was removed and replaced with steel.  Also added were air conditioned state rooms, a children's play room, movie theater, soda fountain, a bar, a dance floor with a live band all while maintaining her ability to carry 120 cars in her hull and she also carried a new name, The Milwaukee Clipper.

The "Queen of the Great Lakes" sailed 29 seasons between Milwaukee and Muskegon, on week days she made two round trips that took 7 hours each way and on weekends, she made three 6 hour trips daily working all 4 boilers.  During the 1950's the cost per person to travel was $3.33 and if you wanted to take your car, it was an extra $8  The cost of a "first class" upgrade was .75 cents and that got you into the forward club lounge and gave you the opportunity to use the forward deck.  In 1971.  The Milwaukee Clipper stopped running her regular route.  Ending a golden era in traveling in style and luxury. 

Today, the Milwaukee Clipper is a maritime museum and in Muskegon Michigan with a completely volunteer staff working to share her story and renovate her to her once known glory.  Much of the art-deco era furniture still sits in place aboard this ship.  In the summers, people are invited to tour her between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  There are displays of both the Juniata era as well as the Milwaukee Clipper, and there is a very nostalgic feeling on board her...a feeling to make you long for those seemingly innocent days gone by. 


There is more to come about the Clipper.   Stay tuned.   Thanks to Eagle Eye Photography for this great video!




My View on Muskegon



Well, here it is.  I am going to start a blog and I am going to also work hard to help share my ideas and others who are thinking that same way I am.  I LOVE this town.  I make no apologies for it and I know it's not always perfect, but...I believe that what we have is far more valuable that what's perceived and I know too that this is a great community made up of resilient people who are proud of this community too! 

I am going to share thoughts on here.... I will consider a sponsor or two and I will do what I can to show you the better side of things instead of the steady diet of shootings and stick up's we hear about in the news.  

You might find some video on here, you might find interviews that are interesting and I'll work to introduce you to people and places in Muskegon and the area you may not otherwise find out about. 

I don't plan on big, I don't plan on perfect, but I do plan to do my part in the whole "Watch Us Go" and "Love Muskegon" bit....because I do love it, and I want to watch us go boldly ahead and be a proud community.