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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Girls Varsity Basketball Coach Brian Packard - Planting Seeds in Fruitport


We were invited to meet an exceptional individual who carries the title Girls Varsity Basketball Coach at Fruitport Schools.  By day, Brian Packard is a Landscape Designer at Mike Rose Landscaping in Norton Shores.  In his "spare time" he's found a calling that not many dare and in that, he's also found a purpose in life well beyond teaching things like dribbling, boxing out and lay up's.  His evolution as a coach, especially working his way up to helping craft young women, has become what movies are made of.  Meet Brian.


Beginning in much lower levels of coaching Brian worked his way up to the varsity role over time and found that's where his fit was best.  It was through experience and dedication that he also realized that there were some pretty remarkable challenges facing these young women at Fruitport and that coaching needed to be a little more than drills.  He was facing a struggling program, the effects of the pandemic and the inability for them to play and practice as well as keep that "teamwork" frame as tight as it should be.  There were also some immensely difficult life challenges for these young women to face with the loss of a classmate and a conference that they play in which is remarkably hard.  Loss, hardship, heartbreak and interruptions....not the key factors in putting up a seasonal record of wins and championships.  With a team of young women who wanted to win, there was a challenge set forth not many would have noticed, but Brian did.

As a team, Brian seemed to help everyone come to the understanding that a team is a perpetual endeavor.  It's a continuance of what was there and what's to come.  What was there...well, honestly, it wasn't much left to build on after all that they had been through collectively.  Brian brought wisdom to the forefront and said that only the understanding that rebuilding the team was going to be equilivant of planting seeds...and that it's going to take the current team, and their willingness to not only get out there and play like champions despite the scoreboard, but more importantly, it was on he and all he coached and saw over to be the foundation for the teams that follow.  Set the example.  Build from the ground floor with the basics and the support that entails the entire person through a sport.  Help the juniors and seniors of today be the leadership that the 7th and 8th graders will see, and emulate when they make it to the "big show" of high school athletics, and then on to life.  

This is a remarkable lesson in leadership that's being provided to an incredibly fortunate group of athletes in a school.  Where some only see trophies and titles, the true nature of competition is bring brought forth day after day and that is to not only achieve but to learn and lead.  To show the way for those to come and to share the understanding of winning in the "long term" is so much more than a buzzer beater.  Fruitport, these young women and our community as a whole....we're lucky to have the depth of understanding we do in people like Brian Packard.  Wisdom carries through generations because of people like him. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

A Benefit for Kenzie's Be Cafe October 28th at the The Starlight Room


From time to time, and then and again, our Positively Muskegon travels take us outside the county lines, but it's always for a purpose and this one is two fold as we're going to show you something amazing going on in Grand Haven and let you in on a benefit we're pretty dang sure you're going to want to be a part of when you hear all about it.  Welcome to Kenzie's Be Café on Washington in Grand Haven. 

Kenzie is a Junior at Mona Shores High School.  She just happens to have a café named after her "across the bridge" that is owned by her aunt, Erin Lyon.  Erin made a giant career switch not long ago from her chosen path of being an attorney when she saw a chance to get in to something a little more welcoming and less stressful.  She owned a Jumpin Java location, there was a desire to open another one, and the plan was reimagined to build a purposeful and sustainable place where people with different abilities of all levels could find a way to work, learn and see that those "different abilities".....well, they are not all that different after all.

Kenzie and I go back a minute or two.  She's been nothing but an inspiration to me as she fits right in to where she's planted.  Singing Christmas Tree?  She's in it.  Varsity Cheerleader?  Yup.  Life of the party no matter where she goes?  Usually.  What makes Kenzie this way?  Her heart is so gentle, her approach to life is so kind and her willingness to not be anything other than a young woman with a bright future in front of her sends a message that resonates to anyone who meets her.  Naming a spot where others can learn some of the skills that Kenzie has and then go on to succeed in other areas too, it only makes the best of sense. 

Kenzie's Be Café serves all of the proper coffee's and teas, as well as a menu that they have learned to make in house, daily, just like any other spot.  The open feel and the close knit group gives people who sometimes shy away from things because of their "limits" a chance to break right through it and build the confidence needed to go on to much larger endeavors, and they have.  As you hear Erin talk about in the video, some almost unthinkable goals have been attained just by seeing that anything can be accomplished if you are given the chance, no matter the circumstance.

While the café might be just over the county line, Kenzie is quite proudly one of ours, and with that, Muskegon knows how to throw a benefit like no other.  October 28th, there will be a night of music and fun at The Starlight Room.  Kenzie's Be Café will be the beneficiary.  The music is from Rockford's "Puffin Down" who are an outstanding cover band and since we're in The Starlight Room just two days before the party, we'll welcome Puffin Down as the musical guests on the Muskegon Tonight Live show on Thursday the 26th.  A lot of fun to come at The Starlight Room!  Come and join us!   

It's been one of the greatest gift's I have been given to be among people who I will readily admit that at one point, I was uncomfortable around.  To open up just enough though.... to see that differences are what make all of us unique and that the necessity for anyone to just be who they are....it's paramount.  No matter what label may be placed, it can be torn off and the truly remarkable part of the removal of a label....it's the realization that we are all more the same than we are different.  Kenzie teaches that every single time I see her.  A stop into Kenzie's Be Café and you'll see just what I am talking about.  


Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Halloween Fun at the Muskegon Lighthouse Saturday Oct 14th


It's something we see yearly, where we live gives us pretty much three perfect seasons of sugar sand beaches and fun for everyone.  Even today as we were filming, a pair of travelers from Indy  were seeking a parking spot to head down to the Muskegon Lighthouse for a view.  I stopped and talked with them for a bit and asked if they'd come back in July sometime, when we could show them a little more. Those three seasons are busy and no one really wants to let go.  Including the Lighthouse itself.

Now staffed by volunteers and always looking to grow that list of people who can spend a little time helping the cause, the Muskegon Lighthouse is boasting one of the most successful seasons on record.  Over 1000 people took the trip to the top to see the stunning view of where we call home from the top of the lighthouse.  The gift shop is now all sold out and packed up, the show fences are on the beach and we'd love to see you at one more event before the snow fly's.. a Halloween Party this Saturday.   

Kimberly Lange invited us down again to sum up the season and throw out the welcome mat for one more great chance at seeing the Muskegon Lighthouse, all done up in Halloween décor inside as a treat for the fans of the ghosting and ghouling that seems to have taken over the entire month of October.  The Muskegon Lighthouse will welcome guests from 1p-4p Saturday October 14th.  Kids in costumes, they get to go to the top of the lighthouse for a peek for free...and adults....a $5 donation is asked.  If you can swing a little more, go ahead.   Costume contests, Halloween treats and a fun atmosphere with a gentle "spooky" approach is what to expect.

The Lighthouse planned the 1-4 on purpose.  It seems that they are not the only ones working to have some fun for the peanut gallery.  The Muskegon Farmers Market will be hosting trick or treaters in the morning while their vendors are on site, the Hackley Library has things Halloween themed for kids to do as does the Lakeshore Museum Center.  Seems that just about everyone is rolling out the red carpet for some spooktacular fun this weekend.

The Muskegon Lighthouse goes in to "winter" mode after this weekend.  It can be opened for private tours in the offseason and the work during the offseason is to recruit more who might like to be involved in 2024 and beyond to help learn about, and share the rich history and splendor of one of the most unique things to our community.  No one hear has to drive from Indianapolis to see a lighthouse!  We can all get behind it and preserve our treasure.


Tuesday, August 8, 2023

The Muskegon Magic - Travel Cheerleading Team - Carwash Fundraiser at Wet Wolf Wash Aug 13th


The sport of competitive cheer is an exciting and fun way to keep kids moving and active and doing anything but staring at a screen.  If you've ever seen a competitive cheer competition you know that the energy and drive it takes is incredible.  The focus and team work is second to none and the bond and trust built between the members of the team also leads to friendships that can last a lifetime.  In Muskegon, Gonyons Gymnastics is the base for the Muskegon Magic Competitive Cheer, and they are having a fundraiser.

On Sunday the 13th of August from 2p-5p the Wet Wolf Wash located at 5479 E. Apple will be hosting the kids and families as they make your car sparkle and shine for a hand in some of their team costs.  Roll on up in your Rolls, Beemer, Toyota or Ford and let them put their magic on it at Wet Wolf who are donating their space for the day.  You will also find a bake sale and something quite unique.  They are hosting a shoe drive.  Bring in your gently used shoes and they have an agency that buys them by the pound and then distributes them to developing countries and places where poverty is the main way of life.  Who even knew that was an option for donations?

The team has already brought home some brass from their travels.  Last year in their quests, the trip to Florida yielded a championship and to go back this year to defend it is the goal.  

Team tryouts for the Magic are held at Gonyon's Gymnastics on August 17th and the season runs from September-April.  What a great way to spend the winter months among friends while developing teamwork ethics and keeping physical activity as high as possible.  It's a great group of energetic and fun young people and to be a part of the excitement and fun can begin with a visit for a quick wash on Sunday where you can not only drive off with a clean car and some good baked snacks, you can know for sure you did something great to help some kids and families make the experience of sports as great as it can be.  

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Give Heaven Some Hell Motorcycle Run Remembering Victor Gouveia June 10th


June 10th will be the 2nd Annual "Give Heaven Some Hell" Memorial Ride for a guy who gave to others in a way that was quietly spoken, shown by example and while never preaching "perfection", Victor Gouveia had a way about him that was able to communicate with those who found their way to him to think a little more of themselves and in turn, their lives would be changed by what they saw they could accomplish.  He was "That Guy" to quite a few in his time, and his friends and relatives are keeping that memory and work alive.

The inaugural event was held last year and we met with Catrina Chambers to talk about the life and times of Victor and how he directly impacted her son.  Victor showed him that talent is within all of us, it just needs a little coaxing out to get started but once that spark comes, the limits are removed and what's taught in one aspect of life, can be applied to many others.  Victor taught her son how to work on auto body's, motorcycles and other vehicles.  He also passed along how to mix deep and beautiful paints and work like Rembrandt to help bring visions to life.  Through those lessons, the boy...now a father of 2 himself, learned so much more than how to pull dents and spray paint....he was being taught life by a mentor.  It's a gift that will forever be a part of this young man, and one we can all give.

The first year of the run, well, they raised a whopping $25,000.  I've been around the fundraising world for a while and a first year event doing that kind of work....well, it speaks volumes of the people putting the event on and it speaks volumes to the memory and impact that the namesake of the event is being put on for.  The run itself kicks off at the Grand Haven Walmart, then takes off on a ride through Muskegon County and concludes with a party back on the other side of the bridge at the Hiway!  You'll find food, music, raffles prizes and more at the after party.  Sure, it's what happens at the end of most rides, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Catrina and I joined up at Pomona Park to talk about the first year and what to expect in year two.  If you are in need of a nice ride, filled with purpose, here's the details.


If it's a bike ride you need or to support those who are quietly and without much fanfare or expected accolades giving back to the next generation in more ways than one, this is is the ride for you.  Find the GIVE HEAVEN SOME HELL event page on Facebook for more details and gather up your riding crew to get in on it!  Know that the proceeds will go to help other young people learn a trade and hopefully fall under the mentorship that Victor gave.  We can all agree, the world needs more Victors.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Aaron Coon Teaches Us All About Living By Example at 15


A remarkably special event took place at Bernie O'S Pizza on the 4 Corners in North Muskegon on April 12th.  It was a small private gathering of friends and family for an "uncles birthday party", or so thought Aaron Coon.  As the friends and family gathered and the air filled with the smell of the "Twist" the "4 Corners" and the "Fusion" excitement built and while most uncles probably are over birthdays, this uncle seemed pretty excited where he sat.

Aaron Coon was found with a brain tumor not long ago.  He was having headaches and his parents both needing glasses about his age just thought that it was probably time for Aaron to go get checked too so off they went to the optometrist.  It was also the first time that Aaron went into an exam room by himself.  It's a pretty big step if you remember being 15 and doing that for the first time.  The eye Dr. noticed some things, Aaron's mom thought that the visit was taking an awful long time....and when they had a chance to recap what was found, it really wasn't a recap.  It was a directive to go directly to an emergency room for further, much more extensive examinations.  It's a moment of upheaval no live ever wants to face.

The tumor was found and treated.  With the diagnosis, an organization that grants wishes came along and wanted to offer Aaron a wish.  The immediate idea from some was "Yay!  We're going to Florida", but Aaron had a different idea.  Something not quite so common for a 15 year old.

Looking back over what mattered to him up to that moment, he saw the need for more inclusion and more ways for kids to fit in.  He reflected back on his memories and where they were formed and how he could improve the lives of others and at 15, his exposure to life led him to the decision that the funding should go to Twin Lake Middle School to help improve the playground for future kids at the school so they too could be part of the fun, and curate the same memories he did at his cherished elementary school.  It's an amazing mindset for a young person, and one to give pause over to stop and think about purpose and living by example.

Well, led by Bonnie Nolan and friends, once the designation was heard about for the wish funding, the community came together to do a little something extra for Aaron as a thank you in return for his act of selflessness.  We happened to be invited to show you how it all went, so....enjoy the moment by moment happenings that you'll only find in a community who's best come to light in the service of others, and see it amplified for good.  

The ability to see that through giving, we gain more than we could ever get...it's a life lesson that comes at different stages.  It doesn't have to be a big gigantic give like Aaron did, but it's the idea that a little of you going to someone else could very well be the moment they needed to change life completely.  For kids at Twin Lake Middle school, it will probably be a lasting legacy.  For anyone you meet, it might be that momentary respite that gets them through the moment.  And that's just as big of a give...and a 15 year old showed us all today how it's done.

If you'd like to follow this incredible young man on his life journey, his INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT is here and please join us in our deepest admiration and thanks to a young man leading by example in Muskegon.....Aaron Coon. 

Monday, April 3, 2023

Muskegon Rail Road Historical Society - Train Show April 29th - Our Biggest Little Museum


To say there's not a romance still about trains, I cannot.  While we don't see the traffic from trains in Michigan we once did, without trains around the country and world, everything still grinds to a halt.  Across America freight, food and people are moved en mass by trains and while the days that made trains the exclusive elegant way to travel have long past, we'd be no where without their contribution to this society and commerce of our country.  They are stalwarts of industry and with all of the modern innovation, we're still nowhere without them.

If you travel at all, and get out of a "peninsula"  state like Michigan, you can see the level of heavy lifting they still do.  If you stick closer to home you can catch one once in a while and marvel at the motion, the level of ability and even the design of the vehicles.  Another really great thing about trains is the role they have taken in the tourism field.  Imagine some of the scenic things you can do on a train?  Even the ride in from Michigan City Indiana to Chicago for about $10 bucks will show you the world from a completely different perspective.  It's not always perfect, but it's real.  

Muskegon has a group of very dedicated people who are working to preserve the history of rail roads in Muskegon and the days that it played a vital role in town.  The Muskegon Rail Road Historical Society is located on Quarterline across from Cardinal Elementary and the work continues, beautifully on the inside of the museum, and to support the work, their annual fundraiser of a model train show is coming up at Cardinal Elementary on April 29th.

There are train enthusiasts coming in from all over the state to buy, sell and trade along with display some pretty dynamic set up's.  The museum itself will be open across the street to take a stroll though and see the progress and if you're a fan of trains or not...it's a great opportunity to take the kids out to see and maybe break up some of the "screen time" that they all seem to be so obsessed with.

Michael Wood is our ambassador of the museum and just like every other year, we got the call to come show you the progress and get the word out about the show.  Take a listen. 

If it's a stroll down memory lane, or a chance to share a little history with the kids...get out and check out the model train show.  Our idea behind this too is to help forward the purpose of this museum in Muskegon to show the rich history that rail roads once played in everything about our community.  The work going in to the building is articulate.  The dedication is real and the love of trains, it lives on.  Follow the MRHS on Facebook by clicking on the logo below.