Ladas Hoopes McNeill

Ladas Hoopes McNeill
Reliable and Effective Attorneys

Muskegon Polish Festival

Muskegon Polish Festival
Labor Day Weekend!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Chef Prize to Benefit Make a Wish Michigan September 17th at Hampton Green Farm in Fruitport

Chef Prize is set to make it's return to the beautiful Hampton Green Farm in Fruitport on September 17th.  This is the 3rd year for the friendly annual competition and expo showcasing all things delectable from area artisan restaurants, bakeries and purveyors of libation.  This year too, the proceeds of Chef Prize will go to a much higher purpose, benefiting  Make a Wish Michigan.  Make a Wish provides once in a lifetime experiences for kids facing major illness.

Hampton Green Farm Online
First a little about the event.  Hampton Green is nestled away in Fruitport out Farr Road and they raise champion dressage horses.  They are incredibly beautiful and they compete world wide in the sport.  In the Rio Olympics, their now retired Grandioso competed for team Spain.  Hampton Green is also the home of a lot of different events focused on helping Muskegon area non profits raise a few bucks for their cause by hosting wonderful benefits that are turn key for the charity, meaning all the charitable group really has to do is show up and Hampton Green takes it from there.

Make a Wish Michigan Online

Hopefully, you're familiar with Make a Wish.  Kids facing terrible illness make a request to have a once in a lifetime dream come true.  It might be a trip, or the chance to be a firefighter for a day...maybe it's a shopping spree or maybe it a reunion with a family member from far away....the request is made, and Make a Wish goes to work on it doing all they can to pull out all the stops and make the wish as spectacular as it can be.  It's an endeavor that once you've seen it, it becomes pretty near and dear to your heart.  The wishes are not free, however most places that are part of the wish do what they can to work with the group and the kid granted the wish to go above and beyond.

The stories of Make a Wish events...they go from the most uplifting to some pretty tough ones....but as Bonnie Nolan from Make a Wish tells us, the good far out weighs the bad and these kids see just how wonderful this world can be when we all choose to wrap our arms around a cause.  Take a listen to our talk below.

Ok, so let's recap a minute.  Some of the best food you'll find anywhere.  A setting that's as marvelous as you'll find and a cause that is undeniably one of the best around.  Let's all make a plan to be part of Chef Prize at Hampton Green Farm on September 17th.  We can enjoy the car show, the music from Natchez Trace, some wine, some sweet treats, cooking demonstrations and the peaceful serenity of the early fall on the farm.  Grab yourself some tickets by clicking on the link below and we'll plan on seeing you for Chef Prize 2017 September 17th.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Muskegon Area Girl Scouts Building Buddy Benches

Have you ever heard of a "buddy bench"?  Have you ever had the opportunity to sit on one?  Well, the kids at the Reeths Puffer elementary schools will not only get to know what a buddy bench is, they will have the opportunity to put them to use on a daily basis and quite possibly building friendships and understanding.   Local Girl Scout Troops came together to build the benches and get the job done.

Tee Vallejo sent me a message a couple weeks ago telling me about the project, and I was curious.  So, I packed up the camera and headed north.  The buddy benches are another project in a long list of things the girls in troops 4580, 4800, 4802, 4824, 4826 and 4829.  They have worked in the past with Pound Buddies, did a partial make over at the Reeths Puffer Intermediate Library but the buddy benches have a special meaning.

These benches are being built to honor Doreen Hicks.  Doreen is currently battling cancer.  She is also a life long Girl Scout and her lesson to the young ladies has always been to respect one another, speak kind words and that kindness matters.  All very sage and wise words in today's world.  As Doreen continues her fight, they thought it best to offer others the chance to experience her wisdom with a gift of these benches.

So, what is the purpose of a buddy bench?  It's simple.  If someone feels alone, or left out or just needs a chance to have a spot to plunk down for a few minutes of thought and reflection....the buddy bench is there.  It's also a signal to others to say "hey, i could use a hand over here....anyone care to come sit a spell?"  In all honesty....the entire planet needs more benches where people can just sit down and talk.

I met up with Tee and Girl Scouts Lauren Maples and Avy Warrick to learn about the project and see the work going on.  Take a listen.

The benches will be presented on August 23rd and it's pretty cool to think that in a very unique and special way, elementary students in Reeths Puffer will have a way to send a subtle sign that they are in need of a hand, or maybe an ear.  It's not easy for kids to ask for a hand, it's not easy for adults to ask for a hand, but we all need one.  The Girl Scouts have found a way to offer some respite for years to come and a lesson to all about compassion and kindness!  Kudos to these great young ladies and their troop leaders!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Welcome to the Carlin's - New Heads of the Salvation Army in Muskegon

We've been an ally for the Salvation Army of Muskegon for a while.  They do an awful lot of good work for a lot of people in Muskegon and while the mission is pretty evident when the bells are ringing around the holidays the work goes on all year long in a variety of programs and outreaches.  We try to keep up with it all, but trust's a lot.

Salvation Army Muskegon on Facebook

Recently, there was a change of guard at the Muskegon Salvation Army.  The Sawka family was transferred to Indianapolis and from Big Rapids we welcome the Carlin's.  They are a young coupe with a 15 month old son and they have been in town for about a month.  We gave them a little time to settle in and to survey the new digs.

Like any new challenge, it takes a little time to get the lay of the land, a little time to get to know some people around town and see where skills sets match and where they think things are good and where things can be improved.  Fortunately, we've got a pretty healthy branch of the Salvation Army in Muskegon, so while Chris and Brianne don't have a mountain to climb to get things rolling, they will undoubtedly be leaving their mark in Muskegon in the years to come.

Take a couple minutes to listen to our chat and get to know  Chris and Brianne and when you see them around town, make them feel welcome.

The mission continues.  You hear the statement.  Doing the most good.  The Salvation Army never stops.  If you'd like to know more about the Salvation Army of Muskegon, click on the banner below and you'll be taken to their website!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Taste and See a Little More of Muskegon With Community enCompass September 25th

Community enCompass of Muskegon is rapidly gaining more and more of my attention.  Not because they are exquisite at timing their stories with us to almost perfection...but as we've done our stories with them, I am seeing more and more what a truly remarkable organization of people we have here and how their dedication to making Muskegon better at the ground level is really what community organization is all about.

We recently covered the mural that was added to the side of the King David Lodge inspired by the young people in the YEP! program that Community enCompass and earlier this year we paid a visit to the Mclaughlin Grows Urban Farm to see the first signs of life in the gardening season right out in front of Hackley Hospital.  The projects undertaken by Community enCompass are many, they are important and they are fundamental building blocks to any neighborhood.
Community enCompass on Facebook

You have a chance again this year to see first hand some of the work that goes on.  Taste and See is a fundraising event happening on September 25th.  The bus tour leaves from the 18th Amendment and will take you to 3 stops.  One, is the Mclaughlin Farm, the second stop is Sacred Suds which is a dro in center where people can find facilities to get their laundry done, use the internet if needed and maybe even some company while the wash is being done and the 3rd is where we met to shoot the video for this story.  Currently, in Muskegon the "4th Street Facelift" is going on including the restoration of a home that had gotten turned over to the land bank.  Now, when you make the turn down 4th street from Muskegon after house has something going on by way of being cleaned up, fixed up and made to look good.  The whole neighborhood seems to be in and the house that's getting a complete make over will be a forever home to a family who's going to put roots down in  Muskegon to stay.

Back to the Taste and See.  You'll find great food provided by some of Muskegon's finest eateries, you'll be able to hear first hand how Community enComapass has impacted neighborhoods and lives.  You might find a little libation along the way as well as get a peek at some of the neighborhoods you drive right by in the busy day to day hustle of everyday life.  I was joined by Partick Thompson and Sarah Rinsema-Sybenga  at the home being redone on 4th street for all the details!  Take a listen.

A great cause and an interesting way to see some of the boots on the ground work going on.  We see daily the flashy stuff going on here in Muskegon, but for every billboard, every slogan and every ad campaign, there are dedicated community leaders who are out doing the back breaking work to bring neighborhoods back together.  They are toiling away to clean up blight.  They are working to unify neighbors and give kids a safe place to grow up and call home.  If you'd like to know more, or...get tickets to the Taste and See, click on the image below to visit their website!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Reeths Puffer Neighborhood Improvement Association - Together since 1968

A month or so ago, we welcomed Padnos Lakeshore Recycling to Positively Muskegon and offered a challenge to readers and viewers to tell us about their community programs going on and how Padnos could be involved.  We had hoped for a story or two about a scrap drive but it would seem that there are not a ton of them going on at the moment, but that's not stopping Padnos from shining a light on something great!

I got an e-mail saying I should go meet the Reeths Puffer Neighborhood Improvement Association.  Having never heard of them, I took the opportunity to make a little contact and was I ever surprised at what I found.  How about a little history to start it off?

Follow the RPNIA on Facebook
Founded back in 1967 and Incorporated in 1968 as a 501c3 the Reeths Puffer Neighborhood Improvement Association was organized to give the community a voice in their development, to educate and motivate youth and among other things to improve the community one person at a time.  Since 1968 the group has become so much more than your typical association.  I was blown away at the close knit family atmosphere I found and more than that the life long dedication that some of the members have put in.  They host events, they have educational opportunities, reunions, dinners, parades, community picnics, of course a fund raiser or two over the course of the year....a lot of the things you expect, but under it all there is a very distinct undercurrent of unity.  Stronger than I have felt in most any other story I have done this far.

The Family and Friends reunion is coming up August 12th and it's going to be a big one.  As people come and go from the area, one of the key focuses for the RPNIA is to bring everyone back together once a year.  They will celebrate with food, friendship, vendors on hand and community resource tables offering information about what's out there for people.  They also have a giant school supply giveaway for kids in the neighborhood so they can get back to school with all they need to get the year started off on the right foot.

I got a chance to sit down with Mother Oakes, Joan Betts, Priscilla Agnew and Peggy Watkins to learn a little more about the organization and the history and some of their upcoming events over the rest of the summer and on in to the fall.  There is a lot coming up with these wonderful women and let me tell you...they are not short on character one bit.  I loved meeting this group.  Take a listen.

Back to Padnos.  Padnos Shoreline Recycling is committed to making all of Muskegon a better place, and  since we couldn't find a scrap drive, Padnos is going to donate a very healthy supply of back to school stuff to the Reeths Puffer Neighborhood Improvement Assocaition for their dedication to making their community a better place.  I can't thank Padnos enough for introducing me to these remarkable hero's here in Muskegon and as I packed up to go...I assured these ladies...if they had need to get the word out again..I was only a phone call away.  Loved every minute of this, I really did.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Officer Jon Ginka Memorial Softball Tournament Set for August 10th in Ross Park

As a community, we mourned the loss of Norton Shores Police Officer Jon Ginka in May this year.  We're very fortunate around the Muskegon area to have the law enforcement and first responders we do.  They are honest, caring and community oriented.  They are also a pretty tight knit group and when one of them is lost, the ripple effect is overwhelming.

I remember the day of his funeral service and how strange it seemed to see patrol cars all over the Norton Shores Area that were not Norton Shores Police Cars.  I saw cars as far away as Muskegon Township out picking up the duties of the NSPD guys so they could have time to mourn and reflect.  Muskegon Township is only across town, this I know.. but, that's a long way out of a jurisdiction to travel to pick up a shift for a buddy.  I personally thought it spoke volumes of the unified group of men and women we have in area law enforcement.
Officer Jon Ginka

It holds true today, a couple of months later.  It's one big family and while the loss of Jon  will never be forgotten, the shift moves to his memory and taking care of his family.  Jon was a young father who by all accounts was full of life and full of love for his family.  Those around him wish him to be remembered that way.

August 10th they have come together to put on the Jon Ginka Memorial Softball Tournament at Ross Park.  There will be plenty of food with an open donation accepted, a dunk tank, raffle prizes, bounce house from Kangaroo Palace,  auction items and there will be "heated" competition between police, fire, Army and Coast Guard for the softball events!  You're invited out for the fun, but more over, you're invited out to be part of the community gathering as the healing process continues and we all have a chance to surround the Ginka family and show them how much we care.

I had a chance to sit down with Brian Harris, Alex Gellman from the US Army, and Officer Scott VanWylen to talk about Jon, his memory and this event take a listen.

Our community is strong because of events, and people like this.  We take care of each other in Muskegon, we take care of those who give of themselves to watch over us.  It's a "free" night of fun, but your donations will be gladly accepted to help out.  5-9 is the scheduled time for the fun.  We'll see you at Ross Park and if you watched the video....'ll see me in the dunk tank.  Share this story around will ya?  Help spread the word.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The North American Indian Exhibit At the Muskegon Museum of Art Ends September 10th

A little over a year ago, we started telling you about a big endeavor happening at the Muskegon Museum of Art called The North American Indian by Edward S Curtis.  Well, it's hard to believe that in a little over a month the exhibit is going to close and if you've not seen it, I am here to tell you, you are going to regret it.

September 10th is the end of this incredible show that no one has ever done before and might never happen again.  It's been unique to Muskegon and the history lesson is incredible.

Muskegon Museum of Art on Facebook
Beginning in the early 1900's Edward S. Curtis photographed the Native American people and their culture like no one else.  He was a very accomplished photographer and set out to capture the people and their lifestyle.  He collected the photo's, wax recordings, stories, traditions and trust of the people and luckily, a librarian in Muskegon had the foresight to subscribe to his work.  Today, it's not know if all 20 volumes of his books are held anywhere else.  It's also not known if all 723 of his portraits have ever been displayed anywhere together.  This is truly a masterpiece of history right here in Muskegon.

You have until September 10th to see this exhibit for yourself.  You honestly owe it to yourself and your kids to go see this.  I might be sounding preachy...but my first glimpse of this was when I went to tape this story ad I was literally floored.  The beauty of the people.  The sounds of their voices.  the nature in which they lived and the surroundings they had.  All make you stop dead in your tracks. Photos of people like Geronimo in his elder years.  Mothers with newborns, kids, families...incredible.

Judith Hayner joined me to talk about the final few weeks and when's the best time to visit.  We also talked about the 13,000 plus that this exhibit has brought to Muskegon from all over the world to see.  I knew going in that this would be a world wide draw, and they are still coming.  This is definitely Positively Muskegon.  Take a listen.

The tourism draw and the financial impact are great, but there is so much more here.  The impact this exhibit will have on your heart and mind is overwhelming.  It's a must see.  I can't encourage you strongly enough to make the time to get there to see this before it's gone.  You'll be a richer person for the experience and if you bring your kids, you'll be exposing them to a piece of history that in my opinion is becoming forgotten in a hurry.  It's a piece of history we can't forget either.  Click on the image below for a link to the Muskegon Museum of Art.  Thanks to Judith Hayner for this incredible exhibit and for her time for a recap as the event draws near to the end.