Shon Cook Law

Shon Cook Law
The Good Witch of the Law!

Muskegon Area District Library

Muskegon Area District Library
Click Here to Learn More

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Save the Date - Roosevelt Park Day September 8th - Taste of the Trucks 2

Last year, it was all a new endeavor.  What stood for years has slowly kind of dwindled and what was had become what could have been another memory when it came to Roosevelt Park Day.  Traditionally, it was celebrated on the 3rd Saturday in August, but as time marched on and new events popped up and the dynamics of so many things changed, it came down to evolve or come to an end, so the committee behind Roosevelt Park Day took a risk and changed course.

For a first year event, it seemed that it was a smart turn too.  The small festival had lost money the last couple of years where it was traditionally held on Broadway Avenue.  The "good old days" where there was a Las Vegas Tent and a street filled with things to do had seen so many changes that it had become just another beer tent.  Combine that with some miserable weather and the recipe didn't make for sustainability.  Pack it up, let's move it.
Roosevelt Park Day Event on Facebook

Breaking some traditions and changing the date, well, it wasn't exactly an easy decision, but we have this beautiful community center, a stunning park, plenty of green grass and endless ideas of how to bring people together and celebrate the small community.  We started the search for things you couldn't find in Roosevelt Park....mostly food!  Food trucks to be specific.  Great tastes, unique flavors and cuisine you might have to travel all the way to Detroit for otherwise.  Let's add in some free kids activities.  Kangaroo Palace brought out inflatable fun, the local 4-H club brought out a petting zoo with cool animals kids could interact with.  Plenty of face painting, police and fire trucks to see.  All of those will be back this year and Lewis' Farm Market will be bringing down their nearly world famous candy cannon for a blast off at 5 pm.  There will be also be plenty of live entertainment.  The Mona Shores Fiddlers will get things started, Natchez Trace will provide some enjoyable acoustic classic rock in the afternoon and then Yard Sale Underwear will cap off the evening with people enjoy the beer garden.  Pigeon Hill will be doing a special Roosevelt Park brew for the occasion.  The day begins with a delicious pancake breakfast put on by Trinity Lutheran Church, it will be held at the Community Center for a donation.  Then comes the parade which will lead to the opening of the food and arts and crafts vendors and a day filled with for for everyone!  You are cordially invited and please, tell some friends to come join us for this great day in Roosevelt Park.

I sat down with City Manager Jared Olson to talk about how last years event went, how we're working to improve this years and what you can expect from Roosevelt Park Day Taste of the Trucks 2 on September 8th right in the heart of Roosevelt Park.  Take a listen.

It's going to be a great time and if you are interested in being a food vendor or maybe having a display of your arts, crafts or small home business....we still have room for ya!  Click on the link below to visit the Roosevelt Park page to get signed up for a spot.  If you are just looking for a way to spend an enjoyable afternoon with great food, plenty of things for kids do do and see, a couple of cold ones and outstanding entertainment, come to Roosevelt Park Day Taste of the Trucks 2!  We'll look forward to welcoming everyone in on September 8th for an awesome day filled with community and family fun!


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Classic Car Show at Arts and Drafts August 18th at Ross Park in Norton Shores

As Summer dwindles we all look for those final few events to gather up at and be a part of.  There are still a few neighborhood festivals.  We've got the Michigan Irish Music Festival yet to come, we've got Roosevelt Park Day coming up and August 18th you can check out Arts and Drafts in Norton Shores at Ross Park with a lot of fun activities going on including a classic car show.  Jon Cox is the guy behind the car show at Arts and Drafts!

I've known Jon a while.  He's a classic car enthusiast and likes to travel to different shows in his ride.  He's a fan of the camaraderie, he's a fan of the sparkle and shine.  He likes the setting and even the friendly competition among fellow car mavens.  For Ross Park though, he gets to be the show boss.  He promotes the show, organizes the event the day of and arranges all the trophies, dash plaques, gift bags etc.  He also helps spread the word about the event and lucky for us, he got a hold of me to help get the word out. 
Arts and Wheels Car Show on Facebook

Of course, you can have a car show any old place, but why not add a little purpose to it?  That's being done too.  If you come out to the car show to participate, it's a $10 spot to enter.  If you're coming out to just stroll, you can make a donation to Kids Food Basket which serves 1200 kids a night in Muskegon that would otherwise go home to no dinner.  It's so hard to believe that in 2018 kids and families go home to food insecurity like they do, but it happens...and it happens in homes you would least expect it.  Parents are often working a couple of jobs, kids are home sometimes to fend for themselves and a meal is often hard to come by.  Kids Food Basket makes sure that they have a protein, like a sandwich, a fresh fruit and a healthy snack. 

There are plenty of other events at Arts and Drafts.  There is a 5k going on.  Plenty of kids activities.  Live music featuring the likes of Refurbished, Yard Sale Underwear, West Side Soul Surfers, The Ericka Scherry Band and Onager.  Drafts....yes, you guessed it.  A beverage tent and as the title infers, there is plenty of artisan shopping opportunities with crafters and vendors coming from all over. 

But back to Jon and the car show.    It's in a beautiful setting and it will be a great day to enjoy some classic cars and good company.  I met up with Jon at Ross Park to talk about his replica Gazelle.  Take a listen to our chat!

Great time, great place and a great cause!  Head out to Shores and give them some love at Arts and Drafts.  Bring out the classic car or just bring the kids for some fun.  We like to celebrate all of our neighborhoods around Muskegon and if a cold one is involved....all the better.   For the complete schedule of events, click on the Arts and Drafts logo below to visit the official website.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Ginka Memorial Softball Tournament August 8th at Ross Park with the Norton Shores PD

As a community, we were devastated at the news that we'd lost Officer John Ginka to a car accident a year and a half ago.  It was something that gripped the entire area that such a beloved member of the law enforcement community and family guy could be gone so quickly leaving so many wondering why and how they would go on.  But from all accounts, John was the kind of guy who would have wanted something good to come of it, and, it did.

The law enforcement community as well as friends and neighbors all rallied together to put on a softball tournament at Ross Park to help raise a few bucks for the family John left behind.  It also gave the community a chance to heal a little and come together to do what we all do best in Muskegon, pitch in to help a great cause and...yes, even have a little fin doing it.  There was plenty to do outside of watching the softball games.  There were kids activities, a dunk tank..which I found out was plenty cold, lots of great food and camaraderie and it was all based on an at will donation basis.  No set costs, just give what you can and be a part of helping to lift up a family who needed all of us to look after them.
Visit the NSPD Facebook Page

It was a big enough hit, and did enough good that everyone saw fit to make it happen again this year and to extend that helping hand to another fallen hero's family.  This year, it's to help the family of Army Sgt. Mathew Tallman who was lost to a helicopter crash in Iraq in August of 2007.  Sgt. Tallman left behind a wife and 2 kids, both who attend Mona Shores.  One will be in 8th grade this year and one in 12th.  This years event will go to help their college funds.  There will be LOTS of things for kids to do.  See police cars and fire trucks up close...face painting, bounce houses, helicopters.  The dunk tank is back and there will be plenty of food for the at will donation once again.  The softball action will be hot and the competition will be lively as it can be all with the purpose of helping someone out in the wake of a terrible loss.  It's really what community is built on.

I met up with Sarah Trombly and Scott VanWylen at the Norton Shores Police Department to talk about last years event.  How John is being remembered and what to expect this year as we once again come together to be a part of a miracle in the making for a local family.  Take a listen.

This is an incredible endeavor going on, put on by so many dedicated friends who want to see something good come out of a tragedy.  Year one was tough, everyone was numb due to the circumstances.  Time heals all wounds however and as the precedent was set, in the wake of a tragedy...something real began and now extends to help more.  We see it time and time again here in the Muskegon area.  It's just how we work.  Norton Shores is celebrating it's 50th anniversary this year.  There is lots more to come so stay tuned to Positively Muskegon and The Muskegon Channel for more details on their celebration!  To visit the Norton Shores Arts and Drafts events page, click on the logo below!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Groups Coming Together For The World Games at No More Sidelines July 27th

Everyone looks for the ideal fit.  How do you seem to manage to accomplish more than one thing when quite often, it seems that everyone is getting pulled in so many different directions and so many different agendas are "the most important"?  Well, believe it or not, it happens and when the puzzle pieces all come together just the right way, really great things happen on more than one level, and change happens for good. 
Click Here for west MI Works

Let's start off with the place.  The Folkert Community Hub.  The Home of No More Sidelines.  They have an expansive area in the back of the building which used to be a fabrication area for prototype machines when the building was owned by General Dynamics.  When No More Sidelines took ownership, however, that gigantic area became the gym.  It's also used as an expansive expo center from time to time and during the day, any time of the year, kids who frequent the building know it as a playground where they can shoot hoops, ride bikes, play games and burn off energy.  To hold the "World Games" at the gym at the Folkert Community Hub makes perfect sense!  Trophy's were all out, competition stations were all centered and the work force at each game was ready in their "Live United" shirts to assist and keep track of how each participant did. 
Visit the DTE Energy Foundation Online
Did he say United Way? Yes, he did.  This came about with collaboration of the United Way of the Lakeshore, Michigan Works and The DTE Energy Foundation.  Remember how we talked about the pieces all coming together?  It goes like this.  In the summer, area students ages 15-18 go to work helping out at local non profits after they apply and go through the hiring process at Michigan Works.  The DTE Energy Foundation funds the program so the students can get the much needs real life work experience as well as getting some more hands on deck in the busy months for our area non profits.  The students earn a paycheck while learning real life, and essential soft skills that will benefit them as they move on out of school and into the work force.  Their week consists of working Monday through Thursday and Friday's they meet up to discuss and debrief as to how the week went and what they learned.  This particular Friday, instead of the recap, up to 50 of the students volunteered to put on the games for the kids of No More Sidelines.  A remarkable, multi-leveled approach to getting many things accomplished by incredible agencies dedicated to making the future of Muskegon, better for all.

Just as the games were getting underway, I was joined by Jana Routt and Kathy Rohlman.  Jana is with the United Way and Kathy is with Michigan Works and we talked about how all of this comes together to benefit so many people!  Take a listen!

Collaborative efforts.  Amazing how much can get done, and what an impact they can have when people genuinely work to make things happen.  Students learned and earned.  Kids had a fun day of competition and our community was strengthened by connections being made in both the working world and the service sector.  This is the kind of thing at Positively Muskegon we LOVE to be a part of telling you about.  Thanks to Jana for the invite out to cover the story and to West Michigan Works, The DTE Energy Foundation and of course, The Folkert Community Hub and kids and families of No More Sidelines.  This is how the foundation for a next generation is laid.  If you'd like to know more about the United Way, click on their logo below!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Muskegon Pregnancy Services Welcomes Dr. Alveda King October 4th

It's a ways out, but getting the word out about an event that's as big as this, well, it might take a little advance planning. we are.  Muskegon Pregnancy Services is welcoming in the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and is the Pastoral Associate and Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn.  She will be speaking at the Frauenthal Center on October 14th.  The topic will be "Redeeming the Dream - Defending the Unborn"

Muskegon Pregnancy Services has been around for 34 years now.  From their website, - "Muskegon Pregnancy Services is a relational organization that leads with love, grace, and compassion.  As a client of MPS, you are precious and valued and we are here for you first.  We want you to know, you are not alone. This is a safe place and confidential environment for you to share your feelings, fears, and dreams.  Our compassionate, non-judgmental care and support will help you in your time of need and will give you hope for the future. We know, when all is said and done, ultimately it is Your Choice, Your Body, Your Future but we would like to empower you with accurate information so that you do not look back on this time of need and wished you knew more information. You will not receive any pressure-just caring advice.  We will mentor to the well-being of the whole person emotionally, physically, and spiritually."

Follow Dr. King on Facebook
As part of their work, they are bringing in Dr. King to talk about how she sees the Pro Life movement as a continuation of the Civil Rights movement her uncle started so many years ago.  She will discuss her experiences with the subject and as an opening to the evening local students will have a chance to deliver their essay that they write sponsored by Youth for Truth and Life.  Not too much up on essay's?  Well, good news!  Youth for Truth and Life will be holding a workshop Friday July 6th at Fricano's on Muskegon Lake.  Doors will open at 1:30 and the workshops will get underway at 2.  The first will be "The Art of Persuasive Writing" followed by "The Art of Public Speaking".  After the seminars, you can enjoy delicious Fricano's pizza for $5 bucks!  The seminars will be hosted by Dr. Paul Jehle.  There will be some cash prizes involved for the essay contest so why not get a little head start on the competition by enjoying the seminars and learning a little about how to do something better?

Learn about Youth for Truth and Life Online
I was able to sit down with Debbie LaNore and Arline Helms to talk all about this weeks events and a lead up to Dr. King's arrival in Muskegon in October.  Take a listen to our chat from the deck at Fricano's and learn about this two part event.

It's an important message and an important event.  If you'd like to know more about Dr. King's appearance in Muskegon you can click on the photo below to visit the event page and get your tickets or maybe you'd like to be a part of the private dinner before the event?  The details for that are there too!  Many thanks to Debbie and Arlene for taking a few minutes to talk and save the date for October 4th at the Frauenthal!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Muskegon Rockstock Celebrates it's 10th Anniversary July 3rd and 4th at Heritage Landing

It's been a decade of supporting local music and spreading some good cheer around town.  Yes, believe it or not, the little Hackley Park band jam that was set up all those years ago to give local bands, and local music fans a chance to enjoy some music out in the open and free of the "must be 21" to enter sign. 

Click Here to Follow Rockstock on Facebook

It also gave local bands a chance to bring their music to a larger crowd than just those who shun the light and head to the clubs and as Rockstock grew, a new location and a little bigger attitude came along.  Not too big..but healthy growth.

July 3rd and 4th 2018 will be the Return of this local grass roots festival.  Great music, plenty of food and beverage and of course, Muskegon's biggest and best fireworks display.  Rockstock will be turning 10 with style while keeping true to it's roots of giving the local bands a chance at the spot light and bringing in some of the best regional entertainment as well.  Kidstock will be back with a hand from Kangaroo Palace in Muskegon with lots to do for the kids.  Giant inflatable bounce houses and activities a magician will be on hand there will be face painting, a "build a buddy" station where kids can pick out and build their own plush toy.  Last year a separate wristband was required for the Kidstock area, this year, it's included in the price of the $5 admission for kids.

Wait....did you just read $5 admission for kids?  Yes, you did.  It's $5 for everyone.  It's an affordable way to come out and have some fun and it won't break the bank.  Plus, it's a community based event and the proceeds to to benefit organizations like No More Sidelines and Special Olympics.  You know your buck will be going to a greater good if you come down for the fun.  There will be ice cold Budweiser products on hand, there will be plenty of things to eat and of course, on the 4th you'll want to be there early so you can plant your blanket and chairs down for what will rival any fireworks show in Michigan.  Nearly 25 minutes of explosive and brilliant fireworks out over Muskegon Lake from the beautiful surroundings of Heritage landing.

I was able to catch up with Brandon Baskin, the organizer of the event for the last 10 years.  He talk about how he and his very small team of folks all come together to put this on and how it's grown from the small day in the park to the way we celebrate the 4th here in Muskegon.  Take a listen to out chat below.

A labor of love and a give back to the people of Muskegon.  It's a big endeavor to put these kinds of things on and as we talked in the video, as things have come and gone over the years in Muskegon, it seems to me that some one always finds a way to pick up the pieces and keep something going.  We are a roll up your sleeves kind of town and we get to work to make things happen.  Make sure you support this great event and head down to Heritage Landing July 3rd and 4th for Rockstock year 10!  We'll see you there!!  To visit the event's official website, click on the image below.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Pound Buddies of Muskegon Rewarded With a Mega Grant From the Petco Foundation

When you work so hard trying to do what's right for a community and the critters in it, it's really something to be noticed for your work and have that work recognized beyond all expectations.  It's also one of those moments when a job that's kind of an after thought for some, but others put everything they have into to because of their beliefs in life, better conditions for animals and better education for the public, well, it's one of those moments where you should stop and take notice.

Let's go back a few years first.  Located in the middle of an industrial park in Muskegon, Pound Buddies is Muskegon Counties largest animal shelter and has been serving the needs of homeless pats and pet loving people since 2002.  From their website - "At Pound Buddies, our core purpose is to care for homeless dogs and cats and find them new loving families. Our mission is to be a guiding force to ensure the well-being of every dog and cat in Muskegon County."  Pretty simple right?  At the core of their work, is essentially them trying to put themselves out of business if you will.  Spay and neuter.  Control the pet population so that the number of these strays goes down and the pets in Muskegon don't have to be in a shelter.  In a perfect world, that would be the case, but like anything it takes people and money so the idea of Pound Buddies putting themselves out of business...probably not happening soon.
Visit Petco Online

On to the money.  A short while ago, a grant application was sent in to the Petco Foundation explaining the work, the need and the mission of Pound Buddies in Muskegon.  Funding for animal shelters comes from grants like this as well as generous donors and supporters of the cause.  After the application was filed, things got quiet for a while and the staff at Pound Buddies thought that maybe the window had passed this time, so as they were rolling up their sleeves to keep doing what they do it was with the mindset that, it's just "gotta be done anyway"and they carried on.  Then, the phone rang.  It was the Petco Foundation calling to tell them that not only did they qualify for and get the grant, they got double the grant for 2 years!!  The work, dedication and perseverance to the pet population paid off and Pound Buddies was rewarded handsomely by a company who's stewardship of their customers is second to none.  It's a time for celebration!

Email To Reserve Your Tickets

The Petco Foundation is a big help, it provides a majority of the funding for the spay and neuter stuff, but the need is still there.  You can help with every day things like liquid laundry detergent, paper towels, fostering a pet, volunteerism etc.  You can also be a part of the solution by adopting a pet if your family is in the market for a forever friend.  If you really want to be a part of the fun, you can head to Hampton Green Farm on July 11th for a fundraising gala at Hampton Green Farm in Fruitport.  There will be a great dinner, a wonderful Dressage horse show and of course some lovable and adoptable pets you can meet on hand while a few more bucks are raised to help continue the work at Pound Buddies.

Lana Carson is the Executive Director of Pound Buddies.  We met up at the shelter while the big "Exec" was in the middle of her grounds keeping duties at the shelter.  We caught up on the last 4 years and learned a little more about the incredible grand from Petco, the work at the shelter and the shindig coming up at Hampton Green.  Take a listen.

Lana's great huh?  Incredible people doing what they can to save lives, find forever homes and keep the pet population in control in Muskegon.  It's a LOT of hard work and dedication.  So many pour their heart and soul into the work that it's really great to see their efforts noticed in such a grand fashion.  Petco sets an amazing example of stewardship and they put their money where their mouth is when it comes to their mission and the mission of Pound Buddies.  There are any number of ways you can pitch in too.  To learn more about Pound Buddies you can click on their logo below and visit their website!  Look forward to seeing you at Hampton Green Farm on July 11th!!  You can call 231-578-0850 for tickets or click on the event photo on the left above.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Be A Part of Disability Pride Day in Muskegon June 16th at Our Savior Lutheran Church

It's something not everyone takes the time to think about every day, but then again, not everyone has to face the challenges some do when it comes to the day to day aspects of life and how we go about our daily endeavors.  Those with disabilities struggle with things that able bodied people take for granted every day and it can lead to a frustrating set of circumstances and it can also lead to a feeling of isolation in what causes those struggles.

As I have long believed, there is power in groups.  Not only to get things done, but to help remove that isolation and let others know that they are not alone in what they face.  It can be any number of life's issues that bring people together, but when one voice becomes two and one person can see that there is someone else who shares their challenges that isolation we spoke of earlier becomes a little less intimidating and the work can begin.  This is the case with the Disability Justice League West Michigan.
Follow the Disability Justice League on Facebook

From their Facebook page - " The Disability Justice League West Michigan is a collective of people with disabilities and our allies committed to disability rights and disability justice in the West Michigan area. This group will be consumer controlled (disability-led), with emphasis on leadership by the most marginalized voices prioritized. The Disability Justice League is powered by individuals with significant disabilities and our allies and is supported by Peer Action Alliance, Disability Network West Michigan, and the HumUnity Center."  There is no doubt there is purpose and meaning behind their mission to advocate and stand up for those who feel that their voice isn't heard.

Saturday, June 16th there will be an event at Our Savior Lutheran Church on Southern Ave in Muskegon where you'll be able to hear first hand from those who have a disability and how some of the things others take for granted effect their lives.  You'll also be able to learn from groups in town who work to advocate for those with a disability and you'll be able to lean as well how you can best take an active role in being part of the solution.  The event goes from Noon till 3 at the church.  There will be refreshments provided, some music and community togetherness as well.  It will be a day of education, information and hopefully some will walk away with a new outlook on some of the struggles faced day to day by others in our community.

Amanda Rupert is part of this organization and she invited me down to Our Savior's Lutheran Church to meet with some more from her group.  Meet Elenor Canter, Chris Poniatowski and Frank Minor all from the Disability Justice league and hear from them about this great event and why you should make it a point to attend.

A willingness to see life from a different point of view.  To try to understand the struggles that some face while others just go about their day.  We all face challenges, but to understand them a little better and to be willing to learn more is a step in the right direction.  Saturday June 16th is the day for everyone to come together to learn a little more and hear what the Disability Justice League stands for.  You can link over to their Facebook event by clicking on the photo below!

The Lakeshore Art Festival July 6th and 7th Downtown Muskegon

Art.  How do you define it?  Is it visual?  Is it an experience?  Could it be a participation thing or just something you gaze upon and wonder what the inspiration for it is all about??  No matter how you look upon art, one thing is for sure.  It draws a crowd.  It draws conversation and it draws a community together when it's gathered and displayed with those who produce it and try and make a living at it.  This is the case with the Lakeshore Art Festival in Muskegon.

July 6th and 7th, the streets of Downtown Muskegon will be filled with all of the above.  Sights, sounds, interpretations.  "Highbrow" art and practical and fun stuff that makes any house feel like a home and'll probably find a sampling of some of the stuff that makes a garage feel like a man cave or the deck out back, feel more like a neighborhood pub so when your friends and family come by, they are comfortable and casual.  You'll find it all and you'll find it in a way that only Muskegon can package it.  The park and the streets will be filled with the sights, the sounds and the camaraderie and it will honestly be a little bigger than ever.  It's been going on for decades, but as things come and go in wonder what's to come of most anything.

Follow the Lakeshore Art Festival On Facebook
Well, for what's come and gone, the Lakeshore Art Festival faced some changes and became a stand alone event a few years ago.  I think more than one eyebrow was raised, but for those who questioned it was sincerely a great thing as the focus became the Art Festival itself and it provided some room for growth and an opportunity for what was great to become even greater!  In 2018, you'll find the crafters and fine artists, you'll find the artisan food and kids activities, live entertainment, craft beers, fine wines, interactive and community based art projects and of course...some of the good old fashioned "festival food" if you're just looking for "meat on a stick" or an elephant ear!  There's truly a little something for everyone at this flourishing festival all centered around togetherness.

Won't cost you a penny to stroll around and see the sights.  You are welcome to come from near or far and you're sure to bump into some friends and neighbors and catch up on everything going on.  If you or your group would like to pitch in and be a part of the festival, they could use a volunteer or two.  It's a great source of pride for all of Muskegon and if you have not been here in a while, a great chance to come see Downtown growing and some of the new additions that we've got open or opening soon!  Things are booming down there as well as in the rest of the county!  When you hear "Watch us Go" this is one of the better viewing opportunities.

Carla Flanders is with the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce and they are behind the organization of the Lakeshore Art Festival.  We sat down to talk about everything going on.  Take a listen.

Plan ahead.  Come on out for a great time and enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and atmosphere of the Lakeshore Art Festival in early July in Muskegon.  I hope that I am not the only one that feels like 2018 is a truly remarkable year when it comes to what's happening in Muskegon and how things are growing and people are engaging with what we have, instead of the "what was" mentality that we all seemed to carry for so long.  We truly are a community on the move and there is much to be proud of!  Thanks to Carla for the few minutes to talk and the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber for their sponsorship of this blog and The Muskegon Channel.  To visit the Lakeshore Art Festival's website, click on the photo below.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Celebrate Family Reunification Day in Muskegon June 21st at the Muskegon Farmers Market With the Muskegon Family Court

The idea of a child going to live in foster care is the ultimate nightmare to most parents.  To be honest with you, it's a nightmare for anyone involved.  There are times however when for the good of everyone things have to happen that will lead a child into foster care as guided by a court and while it might feel like a punishment, it's more of a situation where steps are being taken for the protection of the child while the parents gain the skills necessary for them to regain their role in their lives.

It's played out on social media today.  It's a horrific situation and there is always a lot of grey area in the story, but sending a child into foster care is really the very last thing in a succession of steps to try and improve the family dynamic.  It's no one's favorite day by any stretch of the imagination to remove the child from their family and those who have to make those difficult choices are equally hurt by the process.  Then, the foster family steps in and has to love a child on a temporary basis with full knowledge that they will have to return the child to their family at some point.  A difficult issue in and of itself. The complexity continues to grow as I am sure you can imagine....until that moment when the parents have completed what it takes to regain their children and carry on as life was meant to be....and's time to celebrate.
Click Here to Visit the Muskegon Family Court on Facebook

As we said, it's not an easy process for anyone, so when all the pieces fall into place, there darn well outta be a reason to celebrate and you can do just that June 21st at the Muskegon Farmers Market.  Family Reunification Day will be celebrated and all hands will be on deck to talk about the accomplishments of the family who's reunited with their children, the fosters who help them in their time of need as well as some of the others who help make it all happen.  You will also have a chance to be a part of some area agencies that focus on family needs.  They are in the process now of adding some interesting and fun informational spots, you can follow the Muskegon Family Court linked on the right to learn more as the event draws near.

I was invited down by Jenny McNeill, Alicia Kaja and Holly Spoelman to talk about the Family Court and the work they do.  Take a listen and see the real human effect that this has on all parties involved in the foster process.  You can also learn more about the event coming up on June 21st and what you'll be able to see and learn there.

For every time we hear of some family being taken a part for whatever circumstance, maybe now is the time we stop and celebrate a family that is put back together.  The work that went into making sure that the most important part of a family, the kids will grow up in a safe and secure environment and be a part of a growing and thriving community.  As you heard in the video, this isn't a job that anyone wakes up one day and thinks "Man, I hope I get to dismantle some families today".  It's a job that sadly has to be done sometimes but when it's over...a stronger and healthier family unity is built and that leads to a better community for all of us.  Stop down and be a part of Family Reunification Day June 21st and be a part of a miracle happening right here in Muskegon.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Girls on The Run Muskegon Needs a Hand June 2nd

We're going to cut right to the chase.  We're using this Positively Muskegon post to ask for your help.  Girls on the Run is happening in Muskegon on June 2nd and they are in need of some extra help on the course of the 5k the girls compete in.  There isn't much to it.  Maybe some direction of runners, maybe some hooting and hollering to cheer them on and you might even get to stop a little traffic.  Sound fun?  Keep reading.

Girls on the Run is a remarkable program that is dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.  It's a truly remarkable program and beyond inspiring to be a part of.  We're proud to support Girls on the Run by sharing their mission.  We've helped with their events.  We've welcomed their founder Molly Barker and talked to her in the past about her inspiration to start this and we donate our time to be part of the event as well to see the overwhelming power of good that culminates the day of the 5k and the pride built in these young people.  Any step in the right direction is a good one. 
Click Here to Sign Up to Help

We are coming to you today asking for some help however.  There are going to be hundreds of runners on June 2nd.  There will be a 5k course set up in Downtown Muskegon and along the way, they need a hand with some folks to help man the course.  It won't take much of your time.  It's a remarkably rewarding and you'll walk away feeling pretty inspired yourself.  If you'd like to be a course marshal, please click on the link over to the right and sign yourself up for a shift. 

I was able to catch up with Sue Gifford to talk a little about the program and the need for a few more hands on deck the day of.  Take a listen to our chat below and be a part of this awesome day and see for yourself how Girls on the Run helps shape our young people into our future leaders. 

Many thanks to Sue and please.  Find a few hours to be a part of this awesome day in Muskegon.  Be there for the kids.  Be there for the inspiration.  Be there for the community.  Most of all, be there for yourself...and let that inner bubble swell as you see the achievement of these girls happen right before your eyes.  It's an amazing day.  You'll want more when you're done!  To visit the Girls on the Run page, click on the link below.

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'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 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 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.