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Ladas Hoopes McNeill
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Muskegon Polish Festival

Muskegon Polish Festival
Labor Day Weekend!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Welcome to the Carlin's - New Heads of the Salvation Army in Muskegon

We've been an ally for the Salvation Army of Muskegon for a while.  They do an awful lot of good work for a lot of people in Muskegon and while the mission is pretty evident when the bells are ringing around the holidays the work goes on all year long in a variety of programs and outreaches.  We try to keep up with it all, but trust me...it's a lot.



Salvation Army Muskegon on Facebook




Recently, there was a change of guard at the Muskegon Salvation Army.  The Sawka family was transferred to Indianapolis and from Big Rapids we welcome the Carlin's.  They are a young coupe with a 15 month old son and they have been in town for about a month.  We gave them a little time to settle in and to survey the new digs.

Like any new challenge, it takes a little time to get the lay of the land, a little time to get to know some people around town and see where skills sets match and where they think things are good and where things can be improved.  Fortunately, we've got a pretty healthy branch of the Salvation Army in Muskegon, so while Chris and Brianne don't have a mountain to climb to get things rolling, they will undoubtedly be leaving their mark in Muskegon in the years to come.

Take a couple minutes to listen to our chat and get to know  Chris and Brianne and when you see them around town, make them feel welcome.


The mission continues.  You hear the statement.  Doing the most good.  The Salvation Army never stops.  If you'd like to know more about the Salvation Army of Muskegon, click on the banner below and you'll be taken to their website!



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Taste and See a Little More of Muskegon With Community enCompass September 25th

Community enCompass of Muskegon is rapidly gaining more and more of my attention.  Not because they are exquisite at timing their stories with us to almost perfection...but as we've done our stories with them, I am seeing more and more what a truly remarkable organization of people we have here and how their dedication to making Muskegon better at the ground level is really what community organization is all about.




We recently covered the mural that was added to the side of the King David Lodge inspired by the young people in the YEP! program that Community enCompass and earlier this year we paid a visit to the Mclaughlin Grows Urban Farm to see the first signs of life in the gardening season right out in front of Hackley Hospital.  The projects undertaken by Community enCompass are many, they are important and they are fundamental building blocks to any neighborhood.
Community enCompass on Facebook

You have a chance again this year to see first hand some of the work that goes on.  Taste and See is a fundraising event happening on September 25th.  The bus tour leaves from the 18th Amendment and will take you to 3 stops.  One, is the Mclaughlin Farm, the second stop is Sacred Suds which is a dro in center where people can find facilities to get their laundry done, use the internet if needed and maybe even some company while the wash is being done and the 3rd is where we met to shoot the video for this story.  Currently, in Muskegon the "4th Street Facelift" is going on including the restoration of a home that had gotten turned over to the land bank.  Now, when you make the turn down 4th street from Muskegon avenue...house after house has something going on by way of being cleaned up, fixed up and made to look good.  The whole neighborhood seems to be in and the house that's getting a complete make over will be a forever home to a family who's going to put roots down in  Muskegon to stay.

Back to the Taste and See.  You'll find great food provided by some of Muskegon's finest eateries, you'll be able to hear first hand how Community enComapass has impacted neighborhoods and lives.  You might find a little libation along the way as well as get a peek at some of the neighborhoods you drive right by in the busy day to day hustle of everyday life.  I was joined by Partick Thompson and Sarah Rinsema-Sybenga  at the home being redone on 4th street for all the details!  Take a listen.


A great cause and an interesting way to see some of the boots on the ground work going on.  We see daily the flashy stuff going on here in Muskegon, but for every billboard, every slogan and every ad campaign, there are dedicated community leaders who are out doing the back breaking work to bring neighborhoods back together.  They are toiling away to clean up blight.  They are working to unify neighbors and give kids a safe place to grow up and call home.  If you'd like to know more, or...get tickets to the Taste and See, click on the image below to visit their website!



Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Reeths Puffer Neighborhood Improvement Association - Together since 1968

A month or so ago, we welcomed Padnos Lakeshore Recycling to Positively Muskegon and offered a challenge to readers and viewers to tell us about their community programs going on and how Padnos could be involved.  We had hoped for a story or two about a scrap drive but it would seem that there are not a ton of them going on at the moment, but that's not stopping Padnos from shining a light on something great!




I got an e-mail saying I should go meet the Reeths Puffer Neighborhood Improvement Association.  Having never heard of them, I took the opportunity to make a little contact and was I ever surprised at what I found.  How about a little history to start it off?

Follow the RPNIA on Facebook
Founded back in 1967 and Incorporated in 1968 as a 501c3 the Reeths Puffer Neighborhood Improvement Association was organized to give the community a voice in their development, to educate and motivate youth and among other things to improve the community one person at a time.  Since 1968 the group has become so much more than your typical association.  I was blown away at the close knit family atmosphere I found and more than that the life long dedication that some of the members have put in.  They host events, they have educational opportunities, reunions, dinners, parades, community picnics, of course a fund raiser or two over the course of the year....a lot of the things you expect, but under it all there is a very distinct undercurrent of unity.  Stronger than I have felt in most any other story I have done this far.

The Family and Friends reunion is coming up August 12th and it's going to be a big one.  As people come and go from the area, one of the key focuses for the RPNIA is to bring everyone back together once a year.  They will celebrate with food, friendship, vendors on hand and community resource tables offering information about what's out there for people.  They also have a giant school supply giveaway for kids in the neighborhood so they can get back to school with all they need to get the year started off on the right foot.

I got a chance to sit down with Mother Oakes, Joan Betts, Priscilla Agnew and Peggy Watkins to learn a little more about the organization and the history and some of their upcoming events over the rest of the summer and on in to the fall.  There is a lot coming up with these wonderful women and let me tell you...they are not short on character one bit.  I loved meeting this group.  Take a listen.




Back to Padnos.  Padnos Shoreline Recycling is committed to making all of Muskegon a better place, and  since we couldn't find a scrap drive, Padnos is going to donate a very healthy supply of back to school stuff to the Reeths Puffer Neighborhood Improvement Assocaition for their dedication to making their community a better place.  I can't thank Padnos enough for introducing me to these remarkable hero's here in Muskegon and as I packed up to go...I assured these ladies...if they had need to get the word out again..I was only a phone call away.  Loved every minute of this, I really did.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Officer Jon Ginka Memorial Softball Tournament Set for August 10th in Ross Park

As a community, we mourned the loss of Norton Shores Police Officer Jon Ginka in May this year.  We're very fortunate around the Muskegon area to have the law enforcement and first responders we do.  They are honest, caring and community oriented.  They are also a pretty tight knit group and when one of them is lost, the ripple effect is overwhelming.





I remember the day of his funeral service and how strange it seemed to see patrol cars all over the Norton Shores Area that were not Norton Shores Police Cars.  I saw cars as far away as Muskegon Township out picking up the duties of the NSPD guys so they could have time to mourn and reflect.  Muskegon Township is only across town, this I know.. but, that's a long way out of a jurisdiction to travel to pick up a shift for a buddy.  I personally thought it spoke volumes of the unified group of men and women we have in area law enforcement.
Officer Jon Ginka

It holds true today, a couple of months later.  It's one big family and while the loss of Jon  will never be forgotten, the shift moves to his memory and taking care of his family.  Jon was a young father who by all accounts was full of life and full of love for his family.  Those around him wish him to be remembered that way.

August 10th they have come together to put on the Jon Ginka Memorial Softball Tournament at Ross Park.  There will be plenty of food with an open donation accepted, a dunk tank, raffle prizes, bounce house from Kangaroo Palace,  auction items and there will be "heated" competition between police, fire, Army and Coast Guard for the softball events!  You're invited out for the fun, but more over, you're invited out to be part of the community gathering as the healing process continues and we all have a chance to surround the Ginka family and show them how much we care.

I had a chance to sit down with Brian Harris, Alex Gellman from the US Army, and Officer Scott VanWylen to talk about Jon, his memory and this event take a listen.



Our community is strong because of events, and people like this.  We take care of each other in Muskegon, we take care of those who give of themselves to watch over us.  It's a "free" night of fun, but your donations will be gladly accepted to help out.  5-9 is the scheduled time for the fun.  We'll see you at Ross Park and if you watched the video.... yes....you'll see me in the dunk tank.  Share this story around will ya?  Help spread the word.