Ladas Hoopes McNeill

Ladas Hoopes McNeill
Reliable and Effective Attorneys

Watch Us Go!

Watch Us Go!
Educational Opportunities

Monday, February 29, 2016

Independent Films in Muskegon at Cinema Carousel!

Pop Quiz!!  What do "Grosse Point Blank", "Roger and Me", "The Terminator" and "Reservoir Dogs" all have in common?

They were ALL "independent films".  "Indie Films" tend to attract a little bit more of a discerning audience depending on the topic, or maybe it's a viewpoint from another angle, with someone with a completely viewpoint on how things are...or were.  The blockbusters are fun...but the movies that make us think are another whole layer to entertainment.


Follow Celebration Cinema on Facebook

Muskegon is really lucky to have Cinema Carousel and their independent films running.  Would you like to be a part of Michael Moore movie just to have something to fume about (or mock depending on your views on Michael Moore)?  How about a foreign film?  Maybe a genre that you're not familiar with AT ALL?Challenge yourself.   Get out and see something different and have a very "Big City - Art Film" kind of evening!!

Tom Bitson and I caught up at the Plaza 1&2 (love that old place) today and we talked a little bit about the series, some of the titles you can see and why it's important once in a while to get out of your comfort zone and see something that might just expand your mind a little!  Have a listen to our chat below!




Here's a link to Cinema Carousel's page and the Indie Film Series.  Head out for some high brow entertainment right here in Muskegon!


Sportsmen's Wild Game Dinner!

Tired of the usual fare?  Hot dogs, mac and cheese and bologna sandwiches wearing a little thin on you?  Well, how about a chance to taste something brand new, enjoy a night out and maybe help the United Way out a little?  Be a part of the Sportsmen's Wild Game Dinner happening at the Folkert Community Hub on Seminole Road in Muskegon March 24th!


Jana Routt is the Labor Liaison at the United Way of the Lakeshore and her primary focus is to engage working families with an impact strategy that changes the lives of peoplecin  their community for the better, bridge the gap between working families and resources to help them become successful and strengthen labor relationships  and advocate for the importance of organized labor for working families in our community.  Whew!  She also gets to put on quite a shindig featuring all kinds of exotic food and a focus on fun with raffles, a silent auction, door prizes and more!



I had a chance to sit down with Jana and learn a little more about the going on and get you the details of the party!  Take a listen!





Make sure, you take a chance once in a while and try something new!  Head out to the Sportsmen's Wild Game Dinner and take a ride on the wild side for a night!




Friday, February 26, 2016

A Letter From Prosecutor DJ Hilson




I give the floor to DJ Hilson.  Because he is 100% correct that enough is enough!  




Just When You Thought You Saw it All in Muskegon - Camel Races are Coming!

You heard me folks!  We've seen Blue Angels flying high above us.  We've seen fireworks in the sky.  We've seen Downtown Muskegon begin to revitalize itself.  We've seen the Farmers Market explode into a staple of the community.  We've seen professional soccer come to town with the Muskegon Risers and before you know it...football is back at the LC Walker Arena when the Ironmen kick off their first season!  BUT!  We have not seen it all!  Not yet anyway!  Get ready for camel racing.



Muskegon Camel Races on Facebook
The Muskegon Optimist Club will be hosting camel races March 19th at the Polish Falcons Lodge on W. Hackley!  There will be dinner from 5:30-6:30 and the racing gets underway at 7!!  There will be plenty of fun including raffles, camel races wagering, events between races and more!

Denise Sabo dropped by to talk a little about the event and just exactly what The Muskegon Optimist Club does for the community!  Have a listen to our chat below!








The Optimist Club does a lot of good work in the area and if you are looking for a fun night out and to support the work they do for kids, join the party and watch the camels go on March 19th at the Polish Falcons in Muskegon.  For more info about the Optimist Club of Muskegon, click on their logo below!

The Muskegon Optimist Club's Website



Thursday, February 25, 2016

Why Positively Muskegon? Editorial Thought from Andy O!

If you follow the blog, first off, THANK YOU!  I know that to some it might seem like a small endeavor and to others, they don't even see Positively Muskegon as more than some local townie going around trying to make a few bucks and playing around with a GoPro.

Well, let me share a thought or two with you!

It's more than that!


A couple weeks ago, I visited the Mona Shores 8th graders and we did a little career day about media, and in the past I had always brought along a laptop and audio production software to help them voice and produce a commercial to see how it's done.  This go around, it was the camera and the blog that I focused on to give them a chance to be on camera, see something fun online and hopefully share it with friends and family saying "Look what I did".  It worked!  We'll get back to "Look what I did" in a moment.

A pivotal part of all 5 sessions I hosted was asking 8th grade kids "How many of you regularly watch the news?"  Out of the 5 sessions, the group that had the most hands up... 3.  3 kids!  I followed up with "When you hear news about Muskegon, what do you hear?"  Every single class said the same thing.  Murder.  I'll ask you the same thing I asked them.  "You live here....is that how it is?"  Every single kid shook their head no.  I explained to them that no town is perfect, and that I wasn't there to deny that some things need to be fixed, but to have 8th graders think "murder" as the first thing they hear about their home town.  To quote someone much more famous than me - "Houston...We have a problem"


"Look what I did".  It's really all Positively Muskegon is based on.  It's the accomplishments, large and small that make Muskegon so special.  In the face of negativity there are those out there that refuse to give up.  Refuse to believe in anything but the best and those who just want to be noticed for the work they do.  I have literally had people on this blog who have not gotten a paycheck in 2 years for the job they do, but they know that unless someone does it, people will suffer.  The give selflessly, they survive somehow and the chance to say "Look what I did...or do" has fallen away sadly.


I get plenty of attention, but this whole thing...concept from day 1 is to show the rest of this world that Muskegon is full of great people who are the stars of this blog.  This is the place to tell the rest of the world we count and we're important.  It's also the channel start to change the way we see ourselves, how we talk about ourselves and hopefully as time goes on how the rest of the surrounding communities see us.  It begins inside folks.  We are not perfect, but a little pride goes a long way when you're talking about your turf!


Back to the kids, 8th graders.  Simply put, youth are the future.  Can we have our kids thinking that where they grew up is a place to get the hell out of as quick as they can?  Should we be finding ways to entice young people to stay here when they complete their education, or move here because all we offer is more than they can find anywhere else?  Should we help our kids to understand community problem solving and a neighborly approach to life?


I might be one voice screaming into the abyss and some may see only the guy running around town with a camera in a bag.....but believe me on this one.  Positively Muskegon is creating a time capsule that will live as long as the internet does to show the better side of things here in Muskegon.  That there truly are miracles that happen every day and that the people here are good....what they do matters and that they count!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Muskegon Museum of Art - Ever Evolving Inspiration



Muskegon.  Long known for a good party, being a hockey town and of course...the perfect destination for a day at the beach...that's kind of how some see it in Muskegon, but there's so much more than that when it comes to arts and culture.  Is the Muskegon Museum of Art the best kept secret among all the other options in town?  It might just be!



June 21st of 1912 is when the Muskegon Museum of Art celebrated the grand opening and dedication, to world wide acclaim and has since maintained it's own collection of art while bringing in travelling exhibits and special programming which covers all aspects of culture!  Flash forward to 1979 and the museum added a $1.6 million dollar expansion to continue it's growth and ability to bring beautiful and thought provoking art to the area.

Follow The Museum on Facebook
Still today, the Muskegon Museum of Art takes great pride in being the envy of many art galleries around the country and Judith Hayner, the Executive Director of the Museum takes great pride in the past, present and future of the museum.  I stopped in to talk a little about the history of the museum and what's coming up by way of travelling exhibits.  Take a listen to out chat below!

Young, old and everyone in between should take time to appreciate art.  It's especially important for youth to understand what goes in to fine art and how arts and culture impact lives.  To know that it's all right here in Muskegon is a great thing and that exposure to such treasures is right here in town.






There is a full schedule of events listed on the Muskegon Museum of Art's website, you can find it by clicking on the link below.  Take the time to tour the museum.  Make an adventure out of it for your kids, or maybe see if you have time to volunteer to be a part of the "behind the scenes" action at the museum.  It's amazing to have such cultural riches right here in Muskegon!

Muskegon Museum of Art's Website!



Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The 2016 Big Boys Toys Show April 8th and 9th Benefits No More Sidelines



2016 marks the third year of the Big Boys Toys Muskegon expo!  If you have products or services for guys....you want to be be at this show which is a great expo for sure, but it's also a cleverly disguised benefit for No More Sidelines which is an organization founded in Muskegon to give kids with special needs a place to call home and a place to belong.



The first couple of years, we tried the show in February, but the weather always seemed to play into things a little as did the amount of snow on the ground when it came to parking.  April 8th and 9th this year will be the dates of the show and by then, the need for anything Spring and Summer will be on everyone's mind!

Follow Big Boys Toys Muskegon on Facebook


We don't limit our vendors to any specific category, but anything from car parts, to fishing charters, hobbies, guns, clothing, customization items, gifts for gals, outdoor power equipment, shore landings, docks, motorcycles, RV's.....there is room for it all!  Best part is, a 10x10 space is only $50 and all the proceeds benefit the kids of No More Sidelines.  Multiple booths can be purchased and joined together if you have larger items to display.

You are welcome to stop by the Folkert Community Hub Monday-Friday from 8a-5p to see the amount of space we have, it's immense and if you are interested in a registration form click on the photo below and it will take you to the Big Boys Toys Muskegon website with the registration information.  There are also registration forms at the Folkert Community Hub and Banquet Center located at 640 Seminole Road in Muskegon


Click Here for Registration Information





If you would like to email me for an appointment to see the building or maybe see if you company can benefit from title sponsorship of the event CLICK HERE

We hope to see you this Spring at the 3rd Big Boys Toys Muskegon Expo!!


Sunday, February 21, 2016

The 2016 Racing Season Begins! Thunderbird Raceway Re-Opens Under Owner Tom Sprague!

Muskegon likes to hang on to a tradition or two and one of the biggest is our local racing community.

Local drivers compete weekly in cars of every level from 4 cylinders, that basically are street cars with a few safety changes to high horsepower late models who tour the region or even the country. Any given weekend night, you can bet there is going to be a race and local drivers have spent all week getting ready for the show.



After the 2008 season, Thunderbird Raceway had fallen silent.  Opening in 1958 Thunderbird became the staple of all things racing in the Muskegon area.  After years of use and time taking it's toll on the infrastructure, seating, facilities and the growing diversity of things to do dug in, people wondered if that was the end of the hallowed grounds that were once roaring with cars, fans and that world famous "dirt track dust" that so many are addicted to.


In 2015 the rumblings began on social media about re-opening Thunderbird Raceway.  It began as a grass roots effort but the cry was heard and the one guy who could pull it off better than any other jumped in and made it a reality along with the help of many volunteers who were ready to pitch in and bring the once famed race track back to life in 2016.




Tom Sprague had returned Winston Speedway to a great place for racers and fans, and when his time there was done....as luck would have it, Thunderbird was ready for rebirth so Tom grabbed the reigns and is now poised to open in the 2016 race season with great, family fun every Saturday night!







Have a listen to our interview about the process of re-opening the legendary raceway and what fans can expect in the 2016 season and beyond!  Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.. Thunderbird Raceway is rising in 2016!  We'll see you at the track!



Click here to follow Thunderbird Raceway on Facebook


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Muskegon County Wants to Hear From You!!

Muskegon County wants your input on what can be done in the local districts about recreational development!  What?  The county wants to spend some money on making things better around here?   Hey!!  We'll talk all day about something new and good coming to Muskegon!!


Local county commissioners will be out in their districts coming up in March to talk about the ideas for every local municipality and taking your input as to what is the best addition to your neighborhood.  Could Roosevelt Park use a dog park?  How about Muskegon Heights?  New playground equipment?  Twin Lake?  Whitehall?  Come on to the meetings and let your county commissioner earn their check and get to work for you!


I had a chance to sit down with Connie Maxim-Sparrow, who's the Grant Coordinator for Muskegon County and we talked a little about some of the ideas already before the county commissioners and why it's important for "John Q Public" to not only take an active role in their community  but to develop a relationship with their representatives and keep an open channel to help them improve the quality of life in Muskegon!  Take a listen to the interview below.



You'll find the dates, times and locations for the meeting in your district below!  Please, take a few minutes of your day and attend a meeting to let YOUR government know what YOU would like to make Muskegon better for all of us!

District 1 – Facilitated by
Commissioner Rillastine Wilkins
March 21, 2016, 7:00 PM
MATS Conference Center
2624 6th St.
Muskegon Heights, Michigan
49444


District 2 – Facilitated by
Commissioner Benjamin Cross
March 14, 2016, 7:00 pm
Roosevelt Park Community Center
900 Oak Ridge
Muskegon, Michigan 49441


District 3 – Facilitated by
Commissioner Susie Hughes
March 24, 2016, 7:00 PM
Muskegon Township Hall
1990 Apple Ave
Muskegon, MI 49442


District 4 – Facilitated by
Commissioner Bob Scolnik
March 10, 2016, 7:00 PM
Norton Shores Library
Community Center
705 Seminole Road
Norton Shores, MI 49441


District 5 – Facilitated by
Commissioner Marv Engle
March 16, 2016, 7:00 PM
The Village Inn
340 N. 3rd Ave
Fruitport, MI 49415


District 6 – Facilitated by
Commissioner Charles Nash
March 1, 2016, 7:00 PM
Muskegon Fire Department
Central Station Community
770 Terrace St.
Muskegon, MI 49442


District 7- Facilitated by
Commissioner Jeff Lohman
March 3, 2016, 7:00 PM
Egelston Township Hall
5380 E. Apple Ave
Muskegon, MI 49444


District 8 – Facilitated by
Commissioner Terry Sabo
March 29, 2016, 7:00 PM
Laketon Township Hall
2735 W. Giles Road
Muskegon, MI 49445


District 9 – Facilitated by
Commissioner Ken Mahone
March 28, 2016, 7:00 PM
Whitehall City Hall
405 E. Colby
Whitehall, MI 49461

Friday, February 19, 2016

Watch Us Go Pink in Muskegon This February at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex


In Muskegon, the argument has been for years "there's nothing to do all Winter"  Well, We've managed to fix that this year with all of February being dedicated "Watch Us Go Pink" to help out the Susan G. Komen for the cure of Michigan with lot's of great things to do, and a lot of attention paid to women's health and breast cancer awareness!

The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex played host to a great lugs event this week and there is more to come!


Winter Sports Complex Goes Pink!!!
Click To Visit Their Website!!

I stopped out to the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex and talked with Nakia Kyler from Komen for the Cure Michigan about their work and how women's health is paramount in all they do.  Bill Bailey from the Wintersports Complex talks about their commitment to the cause and we also talked to the team from Shoreline Inn and The City of Muskegon Government sent out some really awesome folks to compete and be a part of such awesome work!  See who turns up in the video below!!



The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex still has a lot of time left in the season to get out and enjoy the beauty of the park, so make sure you get that in and if you're looking for a little merriment this weekend to help the cause, Downtown Muskegon will be buzzing with the Muskegon Lumberjacks - Jacks Fight Cancer Night, The Watch Us Go Pink Pub Crawl and more!!


Watch Us Go Pink Pub Crawl

Komen Michigan's Website!







Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Jacks Fight Cancer With Andy Cross - Whatever it Takes

A recurring theme you might pick up on here on Positively Muskegon is to find the people who have had devastating life circumstances and from them they have gone on to help other who deal with like tragedies and similar circumstances.  A couple yeas ago, Muskegon lost a remarkable guy in Andy Cross and the mission was set for "Andy Cross Whatever it Takes" by his family and friends.  Andy left behind twin boys and his wife Jenny but at no point did anyone think it was over.



Andy Cross - Whatever it Takes is a remarkable legacy of friendship and support and a lesson to his young sons who would have to grow up without their dad in the importance of not letting a tragedy define a family or their young lives.  Gavin and Kamden are two remarkable young guys and they are helping to teach other kids how to deal with circumstances beyond their control in a positive and good way.  Their mom Jenny Cross became a bit of an "overnight celebrity" for her actions and her determination to make sure that great things came out of his loss.


Find Whatever it takes on Facebook

This Saturday, is the Muskegon Lumberjacks annual "Jacks Fight Cancer" night and you'll have the opportunity to meet Jenny and the boys at the game and learn a little more about "Whatever it Takes" and if you'd like to get involved or would like to help continue their work with a donation, that's a great thing too.

I had a chance to catch up with Jenny and find out how things are going, and as per usual....she's a champion on every level and quite honestly, a hero to me!  Have a listen to Jenny in the clip!





The Muskegon Lumberjacks skate at home both Friday and Saturday for the "Jacks Fight Cancer" game this weekend.  Click on the link below for ticket information and support this great team who do so much for Andy Cross "Whatever it Takes" and Muskegon as a whole!!

 Get tickets for the Lumberjacks
Get Lumberjacks Tickets Here!!


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Lakeside Emporium of Muskegon. A Timeless Treasure

If our tourism in Muskegon was based solely on people coming to visit shops that cater to almost every single emotion, all we'd have to do is have a sign pointing toward Lakeside and Lakeside Emporium.  The sights, sounds and service are all pure joy.  Ice cream, candy, caramel corn, exotic soft drinks and home made fudge and other items all combine to help live up to their slogan, "Purveyors Of All Things Pleasant".



I stopped in to the Lakeside Emporium to talk to Gary and Laureen Samples about their store, how things got started and what their business philosophy is and how they take such incredible care of their customers be it regular customers or someone coming in for the fist time.  A candy store is a candy store, but the atmosphere and nostalgia offered in Lakeside Emporium is something that has been long lost by others and luckily, right here in Muskegon we've got their shop and all the bring to add to the experience!



Lakeside Emporium on Facebook


I was very surprised to find out after the interview, that they have added a new concoction to the offerings.  Stop in and ask for the "Andy O"!!!  It's a brownie, covered with either peanut butter or a marshmallow and then dipped in delicious milk chocolate!  The really awesome part, they said that 25% of every "Andy O" sold would go to the charity of my choosing. Of course, my first reaction was "ME!!"  but then, since I am a big softie, I figured the kids from No More Sidelines should be the recipients of a little something, so they will get the bounty!



The Andy O




Presenting the "Andy O".  Grab yourself one and help benefit No More Sidelines!!











Have a listen to my chat with Gary and Laureen and see what drives them to maintain such a special place in Muskegon.  Then, stop in to Lakeside Emporium and see for yourself what a truly awesome place we have, right here in Muskegon.




Click here to visit the Lakeside Emporium Website to Shop Online!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Brewed for Film at Cinema Carousel With Founders Brewery

A great time always awaits you at Cinema Carousel and any other Celebration Cinema location in West Michigan!  It's a premium experience that West Michigan moviegoers are actually spoiled by when it comes to amenities like state of the art projection and sound, seating, food and most of all the Celebrated Service you've come to expect!

Now! How about a series of films designed to get you out of the house in the winter and try some of the best beers out there from Founders Brewing?


Every Wednesday night until April you'll have a chance to catch a great classic film and sample some of the fine offerings from Founders!  Week 1 was "Goodfellas" and since I was down with the flu, we missed that, but I did call out the big gun in Tom Bitson who took a few minutes to tell us a little about the idea for the film series and some of the upcoming titles.








Best part of the whole thing..... ADMISSION IS ONLY $2 bucks to any of the "Brewed for Film" special showings.  Listen to Tom for the rest of the details!!













Here's a list of the upcoming films in the series!!  Enjoy the great times and remarkable setting of Cinema Carousel for the "Brewed for Film" series with Founders Brewing!  You can click on the photo below to go directly to the Cinema Carousel Page!





Monday, February 15, 2016

Nearly 50 Years Of The Mission for Area People in Muskegon

For nearly 50 years in Muskegon, the Mission for Area People has served those in the community who are in need of assistance with food, clothing, education, bills and more.  I'd be willing to bet tho, unless you've needed their services, you might have never heard of them.  The hope is you never will, but if you do....they have been steadily been taking care of Muskegon for almost half a century.




2017 will mark the 50th anniversary of Mission for Area People making sure that if there is a need, somehow it's met.  Diana Stubbs is the director of M.A.P. and has been there for a while.  I stopped by their place today to let Diana tell her story and how she came to run this incredible organization and how the community has together met the needs of so many.

Follow M.A.P. on Facebook

You'll find M.A.P. at 2500 Jefferson in Muskegon Heights, tucked in the corner of the Temple United Methodist Church.  They have a food bank, clothing bank, classes about nutrition and meal planning and just about anything anyone would need should they find themselves unable to sustain themselves or their family.

It's a monumental effort put forth by so many and the need as you can imagine is ever growing.
Diana and I had a chance to get together and talk a little about M.A.P. Take a listen to the interview below.





Mission For Area People is another amazing organization who believes in making sure that no one in town who need a hand, or maybe a little better direction in life has the chance to get it.  It's a tough job but to know Diana is there looking out for the greater good is certianly part of what makes Muskegon such a remarkable place.  There isn't much fanfare, there isn't much glory...but the sustained belief in better is in everything they do.  You can learn more at their website below!!


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Muskegon Welcomes Hometown Giving - Shop Local and Give Back Local

It's a never ending need.  You want to help your favorite charitable causes and you want to shop at local business and support friends and neighbors making a living on their own.  What if you could do both at the same time?   Well, Hometown Giving might be just the program for you!

From their website - "Hometown Giving is an online community revolutionizing the way people stay in touch with family, friends and their hometowns while supporting their local charities, non-profits and businesses"


Sound like something good to you?  We kind of thought so too.  There will be a kick off event for Hometown Giving at the Watermark 920 Monday February 29th to introduce you to the people behind the scenes st Hometown Giving and a chance to learn how local business and charitable events can work together for the benefit of all.  It will be a nice evening with food from Fatty Lumpkins a cash bar and a lot of info.  We of course want to get the work out about the event and the possibilities so, we sat down with Cameron Clark at The Coffee Factory a couple weeks in advance to learn a little about the program and get you some info ahead of time.  Have a listen to our chat below!




If you'd like to know more about Hometown Giving click on their logo below.  If you have a non profit that can benefit or, a business that would like to participate, make sure you head down to the event Monday Feb 29th and be a part of something great for business, great for charity and great for Muskegon!!



Cameron spoke of 5x5Night.com  Check them out at the link below!





Friday, February 12, 2016

Dancing With The Local Stars! Half a Million Reasons To Cheer

7 Years ago an idea was hatched in Muskegon by the Women's Division of the Chamber of Commerce where local people with a little notoriety would have the chance to emulate celebrities and professional dancers as seen on the national hit show.  Media people, holders of public office, shop owners were all enlisted to be a part of a fun night out and a few laughs as everyone took their turn in the spotlight to show off the moves that they had been working on with local dance pros and maybe raise a few bucks to help maintain the food pantries in the area who serve so many.


If you're wondering if miracles happen in Muskegon, well, you've come to the right place.  In those 7 years, "Dancing With the Local Stars" has raised an incredible $519,000.  That's over half a million dollars to help food banks and local programs.  It's been done by local people, who were willing to get a little out of their comfort zone, get a little active and maybe learn a thing or two about dancing!


Find Details on Facebook!

The event this year will feature 4 different shows, all at the Muskegon Harbor Holiday Inn beginning Thursday February 25th- Saturday February 27th with a special matinee performance on that Saturday at 1pm.  You'll find a cash bar, hors d'oeuvres and cookies and you'll also find a lot of your friends and neighbors.  The Saturday evening show is sold out, but the shows will be identical and the cause is equally as awesome no matter what show you attend.


Visit the Women's Division Chamber Page


I had a chance to sit down with Chris Burnaw who's competing in the event this year as well as Mary Kendall who came up with the idea originally and we talked a little about the time and preparation that's gone into this year's event!  Take a listen to our chat below!







Here's the event poster!!!  Take a break from cabin fever and get out to see Dancing With the Local Stars 2016!!