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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.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

The Bling Thing - Friends of the Hackley Library Benefit Feb 10th and 11th at Barclay Place Events Center


The annual call comes in and it's almost as exciting as any holiday, visit from an old friend or hearing from someone you admire so much because they give more than they take and their heart is in such a good spot. 

 Doing what I do for a living, well...yes, it's driven by purpose and in that you get to find the purpose of what makes many others lives complete and that is a gift that not many get to experience.  

When the phone rings and I hear "Klingenmaier Here" it's time for the Bling Thing.

Barb Klingenmaier is a member of the Friends of the Hackley Public Library and they work to help fund the programs the library puts on for adults and kids to help foster literacy and engagement with the historic spot in Downtown Muskegon.  They are a group steeped in tradition and pride in all things Hackley Library and they tend to the Bling Thing event as well as the used book sale and other ways to reach the annual goal of $20,000 to help aid the programs that happen.  They are also some of the hardest workers in preserving the amazing history of our treasured block that is "all things Hackley" with the park right across the street from the library sharing the moniker as well as the archives in the Torrent House across the street, which by the way... the Friends of the Hackley Public Library mobilized to save from the wrecking ball a few years ago.  Imagine that space a parking lot now?  It would be an insult to our Downtown.

Barb's passion is infectious and her deep caring is gold.  Sure we shot our interview giving you the who, what, where and why of this years Bling Thing coming up at Barclay Place Events Center on February 10th and 11th.  You'll find all the amazing jewelry at either the Friday night "advance" opening where with $15 donation will also get you plenty of delicious chocolate and tasty wine and then Saturday the event opens up to those who are looking to support the cause and shop away up until the 'big discounts" come toward the end.  After we filmed though, Barb made sure to stop and ask all about me...wanted to know how I was, made sure that things were ok and showed the deep level of care she puts into just about everything and everyone she touches.  To know Barb is a true treasure and to have her here in our community....well, she's an asset not many other towns are lucky to have.  

Come one, come all to the Bling Thing Friday Feb 10th and Saturday the 11th. The Barclay Place Events Center is just off Sherman in Muskegon, and it's a stunning facility. We actually filmed while the Bridal Expo was gearing up so you can get a peek of the facility while you hear the details.  There's something for everyone and you can even find some amazing estate jewelry that is as timeless as it gets.  Enjoy the surroundings, enjoy the company and enjoy the purpose that the Friends of the Hackley Public Library work so hard to preserve this coming weekend!  

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Salt Dispersed - A Showing and Discussion About Slavery and it's Lasting Effect - February 5th in Muskegon


Black History Month begins February 1.  There will be events throughout the month teaching us about Black history.  Through the years that we’ve observed Black History Month, recognition of the significance of Black Americans’ contributions to our lives has grown, and hopefully so have we all.  Some of us are old enough to remember the strife of the Civil Rights era in the US.  With the generation responsible for that period of great progress “aging out,” and awareness and fairness not where we’d like to see it, it’s up to all of us to find new ways to learn and contribute to the effort.

Working to understand the long-term implications of slavery isn’t easy.  I am a 52-year-old writer whose earliest exposure to the concept of slavery was the TV mini-series “Roots,” which I was shielded from watching start-to-finish due to my age and the subject matter.  I was only seven at the time it was released, so I can’t really blame my parents for wanting to keep someone that young away from the brutality depicted.  But even viewing only portions of it left me with a clear message:  “Slavery was bad.  People were forced to work for free or they were beaten.”

As I became an adult, my understanding of slavery grew, and along with it, my loathing of the practice and of the mindset that allowed it to happen.  Most would agree that freedom should be equal, and many voices have screamed to end segregation and discrimination, but even legislation enacted with the goal of making our freedom more equal doesn’t necessarily address the impacts of slavery because they’re still not understood from the perspective of those who endure the unfairness.

 An event at 3:00 p.m. on February 5th at First Presbyterian Church of Muskegon (at the corner of Sherman Ave. and Wickham Dr.) aims to help the community understand the long-term issue.  First, there will be a showing of the video “Salt:Dispersed,” a one-woman journey by British performance artist Selina Thompson.  Like so many Black British persons, Thompson, when asked “where she was from,” found that explaining she was from England didn’t quite seem to be the answer people were looking for.  In time, she came to realize that through the enslavement of her people, her own ancestry had been stolen.  There was no path for her to trace back a few generations to see “where she came from,” because those who came before her had been rounded up by force, stowed on boats, and brought to some unknown corner of the world to be bought and sold like livestock.  The emptiness in that thought alone is enough to give you a moment’s pause.  And it should. 

The hour-long video will be followed by a discussion of the film and the issues it raises, hosted by George Barfield, nationally renowned as a National Consultant and Trainer for Cultural Sensitivity.  In the spirit of willingness to understand a point of view that otherwise may stay silent, it’s a free event and open to all.  I was invited to the church by Adam Bell and Roxanne Deibel to learn a little more about the event and their hopes that hearing the point of view of someone who sought to answer questions about her ancestry and its legacy will help us all understand the pain of racism a little more today.  Take a listen.  


We can all use a better understanding of history...all of history.  Recognizing that “slavery was bad” is a step; the abolition of slavery was a step. The Civil Rights Era was another.  But the declaration "Oh, now I get it” is not enough, and the broad strokes of legislation and viewing the impacts of slavery from the 1,000-foot viewpoint have not acknowledged the long-term losses of the individuals who were at one time viewed as commodities.  That’s the goal of the presentation:  to learn about these losses from a personal standpoint, and to learn how to discuss them constructively.

Our thanks to Adam and Roxanne for the invite today.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Muskegon CROP Walk Sunday October 2nd


I am going back a few years on memories of what kinds of charity things stuck out when I was younger.  Keep in mind, I went to a small Catholic school and being taught that giving was an important part of life began early and often.  I remember vividly things like "Operation Rice Bowl" and "Holy Childhood Stamps" which we were supposed to either fill a cardboard bowl with pennies, nickels and dimes with or see what you could get out of the grandparents for the commemorative stamps.  There were candy bar sales too....but I just passed those out on the bus for free to avoid getting beat up.

Well, 1980 is when the CROP Walk came on full tilt in Muskegon and while I was just a lad of 10 over in Belmont at Assumption School, the idea of the CROP Walk was brought on to us full tilt and with the idea that a lasting and purposeful event was beginning to help end what was just broad stroke "poverty" back then and today is better defined as food insecurity and while in 1980 "food insecurity" was probably just as real here as it is now, no one spoke of it....it was an issue "somewhere else" and those "pitiful people" who had to suffer could sure use some help.  42 years later.  Those pitiful people could be right next door hiding behind the smiles you see on the faces of everyone else in the world not knowing where their next meal is coming from.  Not here to be a bummer....this is the reality for some.  It really sucks.

The Muskegon CROP Walk people, some of which have been a part of making this walk happen for nearly it's entire existence.  Since 1980 over a MILLION dollars has been raised by this loyal group to help those who are in need of food assistance.  A portion does go to world based programs in rural areas to help aid there as well, but here in town places like the Mission for Area People Healthy Food Pantry benefit, so does Community enCompass and The Saturday Breakfast at First Congregational Church has been known to fill a belly and a heart or two.

Tim Breed volenteers some time with the CROP organization and met me at The Coffee Factory to talk a little more about this weekends event and how it all works to help, even after 42 years.  If it ain't broke....don't fix it and through the up's and downs of 4 decades....the CROP Walk keeps truckin!  Take a listen.


It's a short notice between now and October 2nd but there's still time!  The CROP Walk gets underway with registration at 12:30 and the walking at 1 at Central United Methodist Church on 2nd Street in Downtown Muskegon.  If you'd like more information or to make a donation, please CLICK HERE or on the image below.