Shon Cook Law

Shon Cook Law
The Good Witch of the Law!

Muskegon Area District Library

Muskegon Area District Library
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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.