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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Zumba on the LST 393 in Muskegon to Benefit Every Woman's Place

If you've been a part of Muskegon for any amount of time, you know that one of our most precious outreaches in town is Every Woman's Place.  They have been at the forefront of helping victims of domestic abuse in Muskegon and surrounding areas since 1975 and they continue to offer respite and shelter in a time where you'd hope that society wouldn't need their services anymore, but...they do.




One of the best things about Every Woman's Place is the way Muskegon embraces their work.  Small donations to large fundraisers, EWP is funded in part by the generosity of gifts large and small and no matter the size, they all add up and help this incredible agency do their work to protect the vulnerable.  Cash donations, health care supplies and more all add up and make a true difference.  Of course, you can ask for cash and toothpaste only so much....it takes a little innovation and pop up ideas to keep things fresh and some moolah coming in and those ideas come from people of all backgrounds and practices.
3Z Club Crew on Facebook

So,  with all the ideas..willingness to help and ways to raise money that there are in town, put them to work right!  It's happening!  We have a group in town who LOVE to Zumba and they are trying to spread their love for the workout and combine that with a way to help EWP!  There's a group called the 3ZCrew here in town.  They are all about getting YOU involved with Zumba for the good of your health and they want to take this love of the sport and help out EWP!

You have a chance to give it a whirl on the LST 393 on August 26th.  There's going to be a special event on board the ship not only to get you up and get you moving...but to send the proceeds over to EWP.  Every dime raised at this special event will go to help the agency as well as the people they serve.  7p is the time and there are no real pre requisites to be able to participate.

I met up with Elisa Hoppper and Quintina Pittman from EWP to talk about the event, take a listen.



Sound like fun?  Well, join them!  Do something fun and help out a remarkable cause and get yourself in the groove of Zumba!  You can click on the image below to get registered to be a part of the event!  It's a small donation, that will go so far...get your Zumba on and go!!  If you'd like to know more about Every Woman's Place, click on their photo below that!

Click Here to Register to Zumba on the LST






Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Humans of Muskegon - A Project Detailing All of Us

So, we spend a lot of time here on Positively Muskegon trying to find those who do something remarkable and work to make a difference for all of us here in Muskegon.  Big or small projects, they all add up and they all help weave the fabric of what makes Muskegon home.  Some have unlimited grandeur to share, while others pick a small project and do all they can with what they have to make it shine.  We're not the only game in town however.



There are others who are preserving our history one human at a time.

Thing is though, it's not always easy to get someone who's more accustomed to being behind a camera or a computer screen to come out in front of one, so....I had to use a little trickery to land this meet up, but we pulled it off.

I first got to know Tara Marquard through on Facebook through her project "Humans of Muskegon".  It's a simple premise.  She asks people to send in a photo of themselves.  Can be any kind of photo that best describes "you" and a short story or paragraph about who they are, what this world is to them and what their life is all about.  It's a project that's been done in some other cities, but Muskegon is such a diverse community and has so many people from every end of the spectrum that to know a little more about them and what makes them tick...well, it gets interesting quick.  I myself have submitted a couple of stories about some parts of me that make me a unique human from my meteorite on my night stand to some of what makes me love Muskegon the way I do.

What makes Tara a "Human of Muskegon"?  All through this project, Tara has managed to battle and win breast cancer...she's a friggin warrior....she's also managed to keep working until just recently when a lay off notice came, and she's pushed and pushed to find more and more people to help share their story instead of trying to hide under a shell and wish it all went away.  She's shown strength in the face of fear and persists in wanting to leave her mark with photography and giving others a chance to share what makes them who they are.  She's kind of shy, not really one for the spotlight but definitely is working to show us all as the real Humans of Muskegon.  Meet Tara Marquard.


Now, here's your chance!  Think about who you are and what makes you that person!  Share your story.  It doesn't have to have your name attached.  You can maybe hide behind some shades...you can maybe even send in a picture of a shadow!  But...be part of Tara's amazing project and show your human side!  You will find the link to the Humans of Muskegon Facebook page linked below!  Don't let this pass you by.  Tell your story and help Tara continue hers! 


Thursday, August 8, 2019

70x7 - Now The Fresh Coast Alliance of Muskegon A New Start For Many

We introduced you to 70x 7 years ago.  It was an organization in Muskegon dedicated to helping those who had spent some time in prison become re-acclimated to being part of society.  How do they get used to being out in the world again.  How much has changed in the world since they were sentenced and how are they going to fit back in when it comes to things like family, friends and how will they avoid the pitfalls that got them sent away in the first place?


They are scary and tough questions but 70x7 boldly answered them and did it on a level that people could understand.  After all, the Muskegon founder of 70x7 had his fair share of knowledge of life on the other side of the law.  After his time though, Nate Johnson's life had changed dramatically and he wanted to give back his new found freedom to others.  As he says, he was part of the problem and now, it's on him to help fix it.
Follow Fresh Coast Alliance on Facebook

Today, there's a new name for what was started.  70x7 is now called The Fresh Coast Alliance and encompasses so much more than just working to end recidivism.  Today, The Fresh Coast Alliance of Muskegon offers not only reentry programs, they offer recovery, employment, housing and counselling for substance abuse.  Their ministry has extended to include both men and women and encompasses a full approach through faith in rebuilding lives that were once thought to be lost.  Fresh Coast also works to help educate the public as well as legislators when it comes to issues revolving criminal justice reform and others issues.  Which brings us to our visit today.

There will be 2 opportunities to learn a little more about Fresh Coast and their work.  First up.. "Facing Choices".  August 15th at the Fresh Coast Alliance a discussion will be held.  It will be a discussion with parolees and probation servers about guns.  We are seeing far too much gun violence in more than just one area...and this will be a very frank and to the point discussion of the consequences both state and federal if you commit a crime with a firearm.   Then on August 17th there will be a convening of Clean Slate Michigan.  It's about working to get the record of those who have served their time and made life adjustments that are so profound, that consideration of a "Clean Slate" should be given to them so then can resume their life free of a record that can keep them from things like jobs, housing or other benefits.

Nate and I sat down to recap all the changes as well as talk about the upcoming programs.  Take a listen.


Amazing work going on to help break the cycle and offer some new hope for those who have faced some of the worst in life.  From the streets to the cell and back again....it's got to stop somewhere and an organization to help those who desire to change for good is an amazing resource for people and the community.  If you'd like to know more about Fresh Coast Alliance, please....click on their logo below to visit their website and support their work.



Friday, July 19, 2019

The Kool Kids Concert at McGraft Park in Muskegon August 30th

You live and work in a town for a while and you think you have a pretty good grip on who's doing what, and more importantly who's doing what and why...and then from out of the blue, you get a message on social media about an event coming up wondering if you could share a link. Take a look at the link and you think to yourself, this might be a better story than a share, so you set that up and BOOM you find out more than you ever imagined was going on!



Let's start off with the sizzle!  Do your kids like to "whip and nae nane?"  Well, that's by an artist names Silento and he's coming.  Have you ever seen your kid "flossing"?  Not the kind of floss they get at the dentist office....do your kids like dance troops they see on YouTube and maybe some of the big talent shows like AGT on TV?  It's going to be a HUGE day for kids and families at the Kool Kids Bash at McGraft Park on August 30th.  It's a star stutted day with meet and greets, fun for everyone and it's all got a purpose behind it... the Reds Youth Project.
Get Your Tickets Here for the Kool Kidz Concert

If you have not heard, the Reds Youth Project is a mentor-ship program for young people  who need a hand with direction in their lives.  How to make good choices, where to ask the tough questions, where to go when something just doesn't seem right and there doesn't seem to be anyone else to turn to.  Erika Bell is a mentor in the program and she's gotten to where she is today organizing this benefit concert and bash by having just that kind of positive influence in her life as she grew up.  There is no one who doesn't need a balancing point from time to time and a group like the Reds Youth Project finds a way, somehow to fill in the cracks that are left behind no matter the life circumstance.

Like any other small organization, they have to find ways to raise funds where they can.  It's a never ending struggle for smaller organizations without dedicated fundraising arms to find the money they need to function, but they do it...and they do it because they all know that they are making a difference.  They have seen it play out time and time again, and in the end, taking care of the next generation is essential to community building and long term success.  Grass roots takes on a whole new meaning when you look at the time and care being put in to make a difference.

Back to the concert.  Silento took his "Watch me Whip" song to 2.4 million sales.  That's a lot of records or downloads or however the kids get their music now a days.  "Backpack Kid" first popped up on Saturday Night Live when Katy Perry played "Swish Swish" on the show and has become a way for kids to pass the time while getting down and The Future Kingz made their America's Got Talent debut in season 13 of the show! This is a BIG day for young music fans and it's happening right here in Muskegon.

I met up with Erika Bell at the site of the upcoming show with the band shell as our back drop.  Take a listen.


Pretty cool, and honestly...if you watched the interview, I am truly in disbelief it took me this long to meet Erika.  As we were wrapping up, I asked her if she was still looking for sponsors for this event and she said that the best form of sponsorship she could use....is someone to buy some tickets for kids who can't afford it.  She's a first time promoter of such an event and wants the experience to be a great one for the kids first and foremost.  Below, you'll find a link to the Reds Youth Project and you can help if you choose by getting a hols of Erika there and doing what you can to support this amazing day focused on kids at McGraft park in Muskegon August 30th.


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Muskegon Welcomes the Nance Family to Head The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army of Muskegon is a staple in the community for those who seek a little solace from what life can deal out from time to time.  Be it poverty issues, substance abuse, disaster relief, hunger issues the Salvation Army is always right on hand to help when all else seems lost and hope is distant!  For the Salvation Army, it's a 24/7 365 mission while some of us only think of them when we hear the bell ringing at the holidays.



One thing very unique to the Salvation Army, is that they are not a stagnant organization.  Their actions require engagement and they also require hands on people who immerse themselves into a community and actively participate in the mantra of "Doing the Most Good".  We have been amazing lucky to have had incredible leaders of the "S.A." over the years and we've always done our best to help share the news when some new faces come along to take over the mission and add their uniqueness to the business of human need here in Muskegon.

Follow the Salvation Army of Muskegon on Facebook
Meet Major's Mark and Valerie Nance who have recently taken the helm at the Salvation Army of Muskegon.  They are very familiar with West Michigan having put their time in in Grand Rapids as well as Cadillac with the Army and are very excited to now call Muskegon home, as anyone would be, and they feel that it's the will of God that they are here to continue the mission.  Mark was considering retirement due to a back injury, but healing hands got him back in shape and it might have just been a sign from above that there was a need for the couple to put down some roots on the West Coast of Michigan and get to work.

They are in the process of getting to know the town a little better.  Coming up with some strategy....taking what they have learned elsewhere and applying it here, and learning what's worked here and what can be fine tuned.  Anytime you come to a new town, it's a new adventure but in speaking with Mark and Valerie things sure seem like a perfect fit for them to be a part of Muskegon, take a listen.


As mentioned in the video you'll have a chance to meet the Nance family at the United Way Downtown Muskegon on Clay Street from 3:30p-5. Stop in and welcome our new neighbors and see if there is anything you can do to help them in their calling to do the most good for all of us in Muskegon.  Of course, stay tuned to Positively Muskegon and The Muskegon Channel as we keep you updated with what the Salvation Army is up to!  They are always striving to "Do the Most Good".  You can click on their logo below and visit the Muskegon Salvation Army website.


Friday, June 21, 2019

The 3rd Lighthouse for Veterans Car Show - July 6th at The Mart Dock

Three years ago, we get a message about a car show that's trying to get things started.  Ok....tel us a little more.  After all, it's a car show.  There are lots of car shows and lots of cars...how does this one stand out?

As the message pops back up, "Well, this car show is a memorial for my brother...."

You have my full attention....



It was Natasha Heykoop, and she lost her brother to PTSD from his time in the military.  He took his own live on Thanksgiving Day in 2015.  It left a hole in a family and quite honestly, a hole in the community because we lost yet another, who was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, to the demons in his mind.  The isolation and feelings of being alone and having nowhere to turn made Jeremy Heykoop one of the statistics of the 22 veterans we lose a day to the struggles they face post service. It's still happening and sadly, we'll have to face it until the stigma of proper treatment for mental health is lifted.
Find Lighthouse for Veterans on Facebook

As a remembrance and a way to heal, it was decided that Jeremy's love for cars would be the focal point for the family and friends to bring a little attention as well as hopefully a few bucks to send along to help treat those who suffer PTSD like Jeremy did.  It's the classic story of turning a tragedy into a triumph and finding some healing while offering some respite for others.  They found a little spot, back off Getty and Airline, brought in a brush hog, cleared off the lot and had a small car show.  Then year two came along....the event grew substantially and the mission continued.  Still back by the swampy small field...but instead of a few cars...it more than doubled and the size of the crowd that attended blew up too!  It would seem that the memory of Jeremy and the cause put out by the Heykoops drew some attention.

It's year 3 now.  The Lighthouse for Veterans outgrew the small lot on Getty and will be found Downtown Muskegon at the Mart Dock on July 6th.  Car show, bike show, bounce house for the kids.  A great silent auction going on along with a 50/50 raffle every hour...a live auction at 11a.  Food all day and more.  It's $10 for a car entry and if your fancy yourself as a master of corn hole, you can CLICK HERE to register your team for a small donation.  It all leads up to helping fun a retreat for veterans only in September up in Custer.  A little respite from the world and a chance to decompress and heal.  CLICK HERE for info on the retreat.

Met up with Natasha to talk about the new spot, the 3rd year and how much things have grown and will continue to grow for her passion to remember her brother and help others from having to live through the same. Take a listen.


Love it! To see something inspired by loss turn into hope for others is simply the best way we can tell a story.  It doesn't hurt either to see such incredible growth with such powerful purpose behind it.  This is humanity at it's finest, and honestly....this is what makes Muskegon so incredible.  If you wonder still, after all the years we've published Positively Muskegon what our purpose is...look no further than Natasha Heykoop and Lighthouse for Veterans.  You can visit their website by clicking below.


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

D-Day Plus 75 - May 31st and June 1st at the LST 393 in Muskegon

75 years.  It was a day that can't and won't be forgotten.  The landing to free Europe form the grips of Hitler was truly one of the most world wide efforts ever put together.  To remember what happened and revere those who served with such valor and such selflessness is important, and more over...to teach younger people about what happened and why is essential so we don't have history repeat itself.




Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 has been at the D-Day Plus observations in Muskegon now since D-Day Plus 72.  It's an event that has not only grown in size, but it's also grown in stature and importance of the message it carries and it shows.  This year, the event has expanded in to two days down at the LST 393 which has a D-Day story all of it's own.  If you're not familiar with Rolling Thunder, they are an organization who advocate for POW/MIA and Veterans of all branches of  the military.  They work to make sure that no soldier is forgotten and that people understand the sacrifices made to help protect our great nation.
Follow Rolling Thunder on Facebook

D-Day Plus 75 is set for this weekend.  You'll find a variety of activity going on.  Static displays of historic vehicles, free tours of the LST 393, the Michigan Vietnam Memorial Wall, battle re-enactments, an air raid simulation, and a 1940's pin up girl contest and a swing dance.  You'll get to hear from a wonderful young speaker who at 11 has been recognized for her efforts to help POW/MIA and Veterans. There will be activities for the kids, there will be food vendors on hand and in as much as this might feel like a festival, it's an important part of history and it's a living breathing hands on learning experience for those who have only seen what war is on tv or in a movie.

Chris "Lefty" Johnson invited us back down again to talk about the event and what you'll find.  Take a minute and listen to what's to come and then plan on spending some time on site this weekend to get the full experience. 




It's a very full day with a lot to see and do, that's for sure.  As we mentioned though, while it feels like it's a party....the idea is to recognize the sacrifices made of those who served on D-Day or any battle.  Those who don't understand history are doomed to repeat it and to have the assets we do in Muskegon to make this kind of observance possible.  Add in a group like Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 who work tireless hours to make this event bigger, better and have a greater impact and we have so much to be proud of.  Thanks to Lefty for having us down and if you'd like to know more about Rolling Thunder, click on the image below to visit their website.


Saturday, May 25, 2019

Donut Day - June 7th at Ryke's to Benefit The Salvation Army of Muskegon

The Salvation Army has been around a while.  A long while.  In fact, all the way back to World War 1 The Salvation Army has been doing "The Most Good" by actually sending members to the front lines of the war to feed the troops.  They would bring in coffee and food...but how did they get something that was easy to transport and prepare to the front where danger was at every corner?  It also had to fill up the "dough boys" and keep them moving.



The answer....doughnuts.  Yes, The Salvation Army brought three ingredient doughnuts to the front lines...in the trenches and when it came to cooking them...a soldiers helmet was the fry kettle that made it all happen.  Can you imagine what life must have been like in that situation?  One bit of respite however, came from The Salvation Army.
Donut Day Event on Facebook

Today, The Salvation Army continues to offer their work where needed.  We might not be in the trenches at the moment in some foreign county but the front line is still there.  We're battling poverty, hunger, addiction, disasters and more.  While it might not feel as scary on the surface, the reality is...this is all going on in our home, and still The Salvation Army continues to serve.  You are familiar with the bell ringing and the kettles at the holidays, but the need to raise a few bucks continues all year and not every fundraiser has to be a solemn gathering with an ask for money or a commercial tugging at your heart strings.  Fundraisers can be fun.  So...let's honor what The Salvation Army did way back when while seeing some local celebs do their best to wipe out some donuts themselves!

On June 7th, "Donut Day" will be celebrated at Ryke's Bakery in Muskegon.  Rykes will be making a special run of those donuts that once served the front lines so you can see first hand just what soldiers were treated too.  Local dignitaries will be competing in a donut hole eating contest which you'll be able to watch on The Muskegon Channel's Facebook page and the best part, First General Credit Union will be offering a dollar for dollar match for all money raised to help benefit The Salvation Army of Muskegon.

I met up with Chris Carlin and  Robin Hard of The Salvation Army and Adam Bell of Ryke's Bakery to talk about the event and the "who's who" list of folks coming to try and win the donut hole eating contest.  Take a listen.


If you're a history buff that wonders what life on the front line tasted like, come on out.  If you want to help and organization out who continues to shine in moments of darkness for so many, June 7th is the day.  If you just want to have some fun over lunch and watch people woof down donuts, be there!  click on the photo below to visit The Salvation Army of Muskegon's Website.


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Puttin' For Paws to Benefit the Noah Project June 8th at Chase Hammond in Muskegon

How's a great day on the links sound for a terrific cause sound?  Well, that's what you're going to find at Puttin' for Paws on June 8th at Chase Hammond Golf Course as The Noah Project of Muskegon rolls out the red carpet for duffers and animal lovers everywhere for one of their biggest fundraisers of the year.  Why not get in a round and do a good turn for an organization that means so much to so many?




The Noah Project of Muskegon is an all volunteer no kill animal shelter.  From their website, their mission statement is clear, " Noah Project is a non profit, no kill animal shelter that is dedicated to provide for the compassionate well-being of rescued, abandoned, abused, unwanted or neglected pets.  Animals in our care are spayed or neutered, receive all veterinary care and are treated with dignity, love and respect as they await to be matched into new relationships within loving forever homes.   Our goal is to educate the community on animal welfare, collaborate with other shelters and ultimately strive for a world where every companion animal has a home to call their own."  Seems simple enough, right? Well...let's look a little more. 

Click Here and Follow the Noah Project on Facebook
To pull this off, The Noah Project relies heavily on all of us.  Community is what helps make The Noah Project so special to so many.  Need supplies?  Well, they post about the need and within an hour or so...someone finds it in their heart to help.  Need some food, litter, or maybe a hand spreading the word about The Noah Project?  They have an entire network of people willing to help.  They operate solely on grants, donations and fundraisers...and that means it takes who they have now, and it takes all of us to pitch in a little when we can.  Building community while saving lives is very reflective of all of us in Muskegon and it's a big reason why so many consider The Noah Project such a great organization.

So, now that you know a little more about The Noah Project...get involved!  You can become one of those champions donors...if they put out a call for bleach....that's about a buck a gallon....grab one.  Got some time on your hands?  Volunteer down at the shelter on Airline Road.  Want to just go have some fun at a golf outing to help out?  June 8th at Chase Hammond is your day!  There are still some spots open for the 2pm start and of course, it's an outing filled with all you'd expect.  Food, games, prizes and contests. Probably a great chance to wet your whistle while golfing and the'll feed you at the end too.

Jane McGregor of Five Star Real Estate and William Vanderweele of Weber Lumber are Board Members for The Noah Project and we met up to talk about the event and the shelter, take a listen. 

If it's a love for all things about pets, it's a great cause. If you need some therapy on a golf course, here's your invite.  If you just want to be part of something a little bigger than yourself it's time to be part of The Noah Project.  You can learn more about their shelter and find the links to sign up to get your team on "the links" June 8th by clicking on the photo below.  Many thanks to Jane and Bill for taking a few minutes to talk about their work today and how they help find homes for our area pets.


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Humana Food Drive for Muskegon Area Veterans at Community Shores Bank Locations Beginning May 20th

Our veterans are owed such a debit of gratitude. We are fortunate in Muskegon to have a local Department of Veterans Affairs to goes so far above and beyond for our local Vets who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.  They are not only there to help them with the difficult system of benefits provided to Vets for their service, they take it to the next level providing services that are not required too, but they also need a hand from all of us.



Services like assistance with daily needs, food in times of shortage, groups to help Vets deal with life post service and more.  Vets are guaranteed certain benefits, but what's available to our local men and women is so much more.  It's an amazing outreach and to know that what's being done is being seen by some pretty heavy hitters is an accolade to the work that is visible, and that which is not.

Muskegon County Veterans Affairs
Humana is teaming up with Community Shores Bank for the 20th annual VA food drive for Veterans which kicks off May 20th at all Community Shores Bank locations.  It's been an amazing outpouring over the years from people who bank with Community Shores or just want to stop in and help out.  Canned goods, non perishables, maybe a gift card or, if you prefer a cash donation can be made at any branch of Community Shores Bank and 100% of the donated items go to the Veterans Service Center Food Bank.  We talked earlier, about the guaranteed benefits, the food bank is not one of them.   This is one of those added levels of support for those who served, in wartime or not that can help fill the gaps when things get difficult for our area Veterans.  I do believe that personal care items such as hygiene products and toiletries are welcome to be dropped off too for the pantry.

The drive itself gets underway on May 20th as we mentioned and you have until June 14th to drop by any branch of the bank with your donation.  Donations would be welcome at the Vets Center in the County Complex on Apple as well.  1 in 8 people struggle with hunger in society today.  1 in 8.  To think that something like that could be effecting our men and women who served is just too much and it's on all of us to do a small part to help.
Community Shores Bank

We were able to "rally the troops" if you will.  We met up with Mike Baauw of the Veterans Service Center in Muskegon as well as Lindy Allison of Community Shores Bank and Bretta Young, who is the Branch Manager of the Norton Location Community Shores Bank to talk about this great chance to give back, take a listen.


It says something about the longevity and purpose of this food drive to have a company like Humana be a part of it.  It's a tremendous nod to the extra mile that is put in by the Muskegon Veterans Service Center and Community Shores Bank for being such great stewards of our area, and out people in need to be a part as well.  It's a simple process for you from here on.  Stop in to a branch of Community Shore Bank with your donation.  Bring your kids to show them the importance of being a caring and contributing member of our community and help say thank you to our area Veterans for their willingness to serve for all of us!



Friday, May 10, 2019

Thurgood Marshall Job and Health Far May 19th at Bishop WL Burrell Multi-Plex Center

It's been over 20 years now that the Thurgood Marshall Job Fair has been happening in Muskegon Heights.  20 years of pairing job seekers with those looking to hire quality people ready to work and bring their skills and talent to prospective employers.  It's an event sponsored by 103.7 The Beat and M-106 both Muskegon Heights radio stations broadcasting from the Mayes and Wright Media center across from Marsh Field.  Wait a minute...are those radio stations even 20 years old?


Thing is, they are not.  They are part of the work that Paul Billings began long ago.  Paul saw a need and filled it in Muskegon Heights.  A need for some outreach, some communication, news, events and a place for community focus and his two flagship stations came along after the work began.  Paul went from a kid looking in a window of a radio station to a broadcaster making things happen and now, not only does he operate the Muskegon Heights stations, he's in Orlando Florida as well and his work has grown to not only provide for communities here, but all the way to Africa too.  Paul has not gone unnoticed either.  This year, for his tireless efforts, Paul was honored by the City of Muskegon at Citizen of the Year, very much rightfully so.  Paul has done all of this very humbly and doesn't like a big fuss made, but some of the back story has to be told.
Thurgood Marshall Job Fair on Facebook

Back to the job and health fair.  Constantly growing over those 20 years, bigger and better employers have made their way to the fair because they are finding great employees who offer a great work ethic, dependability, honesty and longevity.  As we talked in the interview that's to come, some employers have called the station to expressly say thank you for helping them find employees who have developed careers, not just jobs from their initial meeting at the Thurgood Marshall Job and Health Fair.  Yes, there's a health fair element to this as well.  Blood pressure checks, and other screenings will be available that day too.  Some have probably had their lives saved in the past from having their blood pressure checked and then were sent directly to the hospital due to the elevated levels.

This is a free event and open to anyone.  It will be held at the beautiful Bishop WM Burrell Multi-Plex Center at 412 E. Sherman in the Heights.  It's open from 12n-4p and you are encouraged to come ready to speak directly to those who hire.  Bring resume's.  Bring a positive attitude and bring your confidence for the steps to be taken to launch your future.

I had a chance to catch up with Mickey Wallace from The Beat.  He's got all the info on the job fair, and it's always great to catch up with a young guy who I personally see a great future in when it comes to broadcasting.  Take a listen.


Get there, get the job and get the life you want.  It's a great opportunity put together for everyone in the community and it's being led by a truly community focused media company.  We believe in The Beat and M-106 and Paul and his awesome staff.  If you're looking of know someone who is in need of a job, share this with them and let's show these employers what we're made of once again!  To visit The Beat's website, click on their logo below.







Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Help Support Ever Woman's Place Saturday With a Billiards Tournament at The Break Room on Sherman in Roosevelt Park

We've long been a partner with Every Woman's Place for the work they do protecting women and children in our community.  Like any shelter for someone who's abused, we'd love to see the need be gone, but unfortunately, the need continues to grow and the urgency for help can come at a seconds notice when a crisis breaks out in a home.  We stand with Every Woman's Place in words and actions every chance we get.  We're not the only ones.



It's a great thing to see when other organizations and companies see the tremendous need for the work that goes on at Every Woman's Place (EWP).  Some are able to just cut the check and let their financial gift be their contribution.  Others, others may donate time, items that can be sold or auctioned off or maybe it's some of the essentials that any shelter needs like personal care items, clothing, food, a toy or two.  Anything that might need to be replaced when someone has to leave a situation in a hurry.
Visit EWP Online

Other places, well, other places get to use what they have...including their imagination to come up with unique and fun ways to help benefit the cause and show their support.  Such is the case with The Break Room on Sherman in Roosevelt Park.  On Saturday May 11th, the doors open at The Break Room for a really fun day of billiards, tournament style for what they are calling "Billiards Against Abuse".  There will be an opportunity for you to take on billiards pro Dennis Hatch "The Hatchett Man". They are going to have some cool raffles, fun prizes and of course....every pool shark in Muskegon should be on hand to try and show off their skills.

The prizes and chance to knock off a top pro are all in good fun, but...the purpose is so much more.  I met up with a brand new face from EWP, her name is Elisa Hopper and she's the Development Director with EWP and we talked a little about the organization and the event coming up Saturday.  Take a listen.


If you consider yourself a local Minnesota Fats or maybe you just want a unique way to help out such an important cause, stop into The Break Room this Saturday and see the goings on.  Learn a little more about Every Woman's Place and maybe drop off a couple of bucks for their work if you don't want to participate in the tournament.  If you do want to play, remember, doors are at 10a and registration begins at 12:30.  Rack 'em up and help put an end to the abuse!  Click on the photo below to visit The Break Room's website.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Britta Talks Fire Safety With Mark Nicolai of the Muskegon Township Fire Department

Recently I had an awesome, eye opening conversation with Mark Nicolai...who is the Fire Inspector with the Muskegon Charter Township Fire Department.  Not only was I amazed and impressed by the huge amount of lifesaving responsibilities the Fire Department oversees for our community...but I was also blown away by all the "seemingly" simple things we all can do at home to protect ourselves in case of a fire....and the things we all can do to prevent fires in the first place.





Inspector Nicolai is responsible for so many important duties.... He is one of the first responders at an actual scene of a fire...goes in and analyzes the original cause...and is an actual expert at how the majority of fires could have been completely prevented or incredibly minimalized. ....saving not only valuable property, but most importantly....lives.   

Inspector Nicolai reached out to us to help spread the word about a very important, lifesaving, educational demonstration that will be coming up on Thursday, May 16 from 11am to 1pm....located at 2497 Chestnut Trail in Muskegon, 49442.  The National Fire Protection Association, along with our Muskegon Area Fire Departments strongly encourage all single and double dwelling households to install the life saving fire suppression system.  The side by side demonstration on May 16th will show the drastic, staggering difference between homes with the suppression system...and the homes without.   Not only protecting the actual property itself...but saving the lives of the people involved.

Inspector Nicolai has faith that our Government will one day soon mandate that all one and two family dwellings have this critically important life saving fire suppression system installed.   But truly encourages everyone to look into this now....educating our community on the importance of a fire suppression system.  Inspector Nicolai says that these life saving systems are surprisingly simple and affordable to install....and would even help lower home insurance cost.


Everyone is encouraged to attend the demonstration on May 16th. ...being conducted by the Muskegon Charter Township Fire Fighters...along with the help of the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center's Building Trades Program.   The actual "burn" will occur at noon....with many experts on hand to answer any and all questions you may have.

For more information contact:
Mark Nicolai, Fire Inspector 
Muskegon Charter Township Fire Department
231-773-4316


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A Fathers Day Bike Ride to Bring Muskegon Together Starts at Rad Dad's

You never know where inspiration might hit you.  Quite often, when you least expect it and from the least likely of sources, an idea comes along that you didn't even know needed attention and from there, the steps are up to you.  Such is the case when Matt Gongalski of Rad Dad's Taco's and Tequila in Downtown Muskegon.






Out on a family bike ride, Matt and his crew met up with a group of kids who were also out for a ride.  Pretty typical, right?  It would seem until the conversation between the two groups switched to who made up the "riding posse" in each group.  It seems the group of kids we utterly shocked to find out that a family actually went out for a ride together.  "You're the dad?"  Was the question asked and the kids just couldn't believe that parents were out riding with kids.  Yes, we're all busy and yes.. it sure isn't the 50's anymore and the dynamic of "family" is an ever evolving term.  But to see the look of shock on a child's face that somehow a father actually had the time and desire to spend the day riding bikes....that created a spark in Matt and got him to thinking.

Can You Chip in to Help Buy a Kid a Bike?  Click Here.
Some may never understand what it is to have a single parent, or to maybe have two parents working so much to make ends meet.  For others, it's simply a reality.  Life is a challenge to say the very least and when the need for more than one job or the fact that parents can't get along gets added to the mix, you get questions like "You're the dad?".  Not here to shame anyone or to point any fingers but for those who do struggle, it's good to know that the community can come together over a spark of an idea and make some of that insecurity a little less painful.

Matt his social media a week or so ago with the idea of all of us coming together to raise a few bucks to buy 100 bikes for 100 kids.  Bikes would come with helmets, locks and everything else they would need.  To say the idea took off like wildfire...a gross understatement.  Hundreds got on board almost immediately and from there, some local companies took quick notice and offered up what they were willing to do to pitch in.....and all of the sudden, that spark turned into a reality and on Fathers Day bikes, kids, families and friends will gather at Rad Dad's in Downtown Muskegon to kick off a bike ride.

I stopped in to Rad Dad's to talk to Matt about the endeavor.... take a listen.


It takes a village they say.  It also takes just a little from all of us to make something so incredible come to life.  A bike is great, that's for sure but the message we'll send here is so much more.  To that kid who wonders why their parent might not be able to take a bike ride with them, well.....this is our chance to say "we got ya".  This is our chance to weave the fiber of community a little tighter and work to build a little trust among the young and old, (well, older), and it's a way for all of us in Muskegon to show the rest of the world that we truly are a community that looks out for everyone and we truly care.  Congrats to Matt and his idea.  He's a pretty humble guy, and I know that making a fuss was really the last thing he was after, but this is hopefully the first of many to come and it's what we believe in here too.  Pride in all of us.  Follow the Bike Ride Event Page by clicking below.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Parental Alienation Awareness Day April 25th

Sometimes, things don't work out in a relationship.  What looked good in concept just can't play out for the "happily ever after" for a couple and things come to an end.  Thing is though, in those relationships, kids come along and when things fail between the parents, the kids end up stuck in the middle of it all and there is no where for them to turn.  There's a term for it.  It's called Parental Alienation.




The idea is, if things end up going south between the parents, it's on them to love the kids more than they hate each other.  The behind the scenes dynamics include parents trying to "out-do" each other, leading the child with ideas about the other parent, planting seeds of doubt one or the other.  Let's cut right to the chase, we've all seen it, and for those who are in the middle of the split it's a remarkably hard task to keep the spite back and focus on what's best for the child.

Follow Papalienation on Facebook
In Muskegon Jerry and Lashawn Matthews teach by example.  The couple have both been down the road of the "bad example" and have seen first hand the difficulties that arise for the kids when parents can't get along post breakup.  The operate a 501c3 called Papalienation and they work to raise awareness of the long term effects on the children in the middle of a break up and offer parents better ways to manage their anger toward each other.

April 25th Jerry and Lashawn will take their message to the county courthouse again.  Yes, there is actually a day dedicated to parental alienation.  They will be promoting awareness for positive parenting by speaking to folks heading in to court, handing out some information so they can be better informed and this year, there will even be a chance to get yourself a free lunch at Golden Corral on April 27th where they will be hosting a Positive Parenting brunch.  Sure, there will be food and prizes, but to get there to hear the message, and learn from someone who's been "down that road" already will prove invaluable.

Jerry and Lashawn invited me to their home to talk about this years event.  Take a listen.


It's simple. The kids have to come first.  A toxic relationship can be equally damaging on all involved, but when it comes to an end, the damaging effects of parents trying to use their child in the middle of their differences only claims one victim, and it's the child.  If you'd like to know more, click on the photo below and visit the the Papalienation website.  Make sure you stop and see them on them on the 25th at the courthouse for more information and the 27th at Golden Corral.


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Reeths Puffer Choir Presents "The Addams Family"

Once again super talented Reeths Puffer Middle School kids are bringing an Awesome show to the stage!!!... Fun for for the whole family!!!  Kids who are 6th grade or younger are encouraged to wear a spooky costume....or any Halloween costume.... And receive a ticket for only $5 for the Saturday matinee performance.






The Reeths Puffer Middle School Choirs present: The Addams Family

Friday, April 26th at 7pm...Saturday, April 27th at 2pm....and...Saturday, April 27th at 7pm....taking place at the beautiful Reeths Puffer Rocket Center for the Fine Arts.

There's even an Ice Cream Social following the the Saturday evening show for $3 per bowl at the door.



REETHS PUFFER MIDDLE SCHOOL CHOIRS proudly present: THE ADDAMS FAMILY REETHS PUFFER ROCKET CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS $8 per seat....

(Special) $5 ticket for students ....6th grade and younger in Halloween costume Tickets available onsite one hour prior to each performance at the door.

Online tickets: https://rpmsmusical.ludus.com

Ticket Inquiries: westerhl@reeths-puffer.org

Friday, April 19, 2019

WINC - For All Women Veterans Awards and Fundraiser May 4th at LC Walker Arena

Sometimes, it takes experience to see a void that needs to be filled when it comes to services needed.  Sometimes too, when someone grabs the reigns and starts out on their journey to fill that void, the reach they attain.  An idea can blossom into a world of good and a network can be built among those who have gone through the same things, and luckily for us, one of those networks was conceived, built and grown right here in Muskegon.



We've had Zaneta Adams on before, she's the founder of WINC - For All Women Veterans, and from their website, their purpose is this - "Our goal is to help bring awareness to the issues facing women veterans nationwide while providing a space where they can live, laugh, and readjust to life after service; while also identifying their tribe of women vets who have their “six”. We do that through our Military Sisterhood Initiative (in partnership with Challenge America), peer support groups, retreats, Military sexual trauma intensive therapy retreats, workshops, summits, and more."

Click here for Tickets to Her2 at the LC Walker Arena May 4th
Zaneta served proudly and was injured in the line of duty and realized that there were few places for women veterans to turn for peer support and the tools needed to heal from not only physical damage, but from some of the psychological effects anyone in the military can suffer.  The call to duty is amazing and to be respected, but it can also lead to a lifetime of struggle for some and building a safety net of humanity and others who understand what's happened and can share their experience, strength and hope.

As the group has grown, WINC now has a nationwide reach, the message spreads and the strength grows.  The gatherings, retreats, counseling and even scholarships are all paying off dividends for those involved and most of all, women who once felt isolated now know that they are not alone.  This takes a little support from all of us.  May 4th at the LC Walker Arena WINC presents the "Her2 Awards" where women and organizations who have been elemental in the mission will get their chance to shine as a way of saying thanks for all they have done.  This is an amazing affair and not only is it open to the public to attend, there's quite a few celebrities who have gotten behind this mission that will be coming to town to be part of the event.  Of course, the real celebrities are those who help others, that's what it's really about, but why not add a little sizzle to the evening if ya can?

Zaneta and I had a chance to talk down at the WINC office which is located in the Muskegon County Department of Veterans Affairs building, take a listen!


It all comes back to people, taking care of people.  There is no one better to help anyone than someone who's been down the same road, shared the same experiences and empathize and understand.  Zaneta has started a national organization right here in Muskegon.  It's amazing what she's got going and as it grows, we'll follow right along.   You can learn more about WINC by clicking on the image below to visit their website.