Ladas Hoopes McNeill

Ladas Hoopes McNeill
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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Positively Muskegon Kids Beat - The Western Market Downtown With Trevor Hilson

The Western Market in Downtown Muskegon is a new tourist attraction that is getting a lot of support. Morat’s Bakery and Pub, one of the shops, is making Muskegon their new permanent home. The owners are very nice, and they are adding mores shops in the future. There are currently twelve of the pop-up stores.







The shops opened in late May and were planning on staying open until October 31st, but they are doing a huge Christmas festival and will be open till December 23rd.


Santa will be there, and there will be much more to do. Trees are being sold, and there is gingerbread house making for the kids.

The shops have gotten a lot of attention from tourists, and they are another attraction that is being used to try and get people to come downtown. I invite you to go down to the shops, and if you would like to learn more on what they are all about, check out this video below.



The twelve stores are Abeshi Fotos and Crafts, Baby Bears Children’s Boutique, Bodhi Tree Market, Donna Jeanne’s Sweet Treats, Love Bites Treatery, Morat’s Bakery and Pub, Muskegon Inspired, Silipint, Skee’s Tees, Tatterweave Designs, and Vinta Stalgia.

If you would like to learn more about the shops, click on the photo below!!  If you would like to apply to open a shop, you can find the application on the website. If you have any questions, contact Ann Meisch at 231-724-6705.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Howlers and Growlers October 26th at the Folkert Community Hub To Benefit Animal Charities

With the near apocalyptic devastation we've seen in recent months from the hurricanes down south, it's created a huge problem for the residents of the areas.  Homes have been lost, numbering in the millions and with the displacement of so many people, unfortunately, their pets have found nowhere to turn either. 

West Michigan has done all it can to help with the crisis, but the need continues to rise for the time.


People in Muskegon have been leading the charge to rescue and place these pets that have had to be surrendered by families who have lost everything, and while our shelters are at close to maximum capacity, we've gotten all hands on deck across the state to help relieve some of the stress and help find these pets a new place to call home.  Pet's that have had to be willingly given up because people have lost everything and no longer have a place to keep their dog or cat. 
Find Howlers and Growlers on Facebook

The have been flying in.  There has been flight after flight of rescue animals coming in to Muskegon filled with pet containers and upon landing, they are met by volunteers from The Noah Project and The Pay if Forward Animal Outreach.  Two places that are no stranger to our writings here on Positively Muskegon for the great work they do taking care of animals here in town.  Upon landing, Pay it Forward is there to make sure the animals are ok, free of disease or stress from the flight.  They get a quick check up and then The Noah Project takes over to help get them to a place where they will hopefully in short order find their new forever home.

There are a lot of volunteer hours going into this, but of course, there are some financial needs so..on top of all the flying around the country and the work to find the displaced animals a new home...there's a great way to raise a few bucks coming up at the Folkert Community Hub October 26th, it's called Howlers and Growlers.  You'll find great food from Fatty Lumpkins, live music, a dog costume show, silent auction, cash bar and more.  The proceeds will go to both The Noah Project and Pay it Forward Animal Outreach. 

I met up with Jane Mcgregor and Heather Rake to talk about the event, take a listen. 


You'll find all the information you need in the link above, see the flyer.  You can get tickets at the door or in advance by calling Liz at 231-799-1028.  It's a great way to show some appreciation for all the work that's gone in to making sure these 4 legged furry's and those who are taking them in know we're grateful as a community for the work The Noah Project and the Pay it Forward Animal Outreach are putting in! 

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Return Visit to Third Coast Vinyl to Celebrate the One Year Anniversary!

What's old is new again and that includes much more than the offerings at Third Coast Vinyl.  Just about a year ago, Andy O stopped in to the newly opened record store on Third Street in Muskegon to visit Paul Pretzer who was taking the plunge and going into business for himself and opening a store dedicated to selling actual vinyl records and the ancient machines that played them.   It seems to be an idea that stuck.




Not only has Paul found some success dealing in the retro, the entire Third street area continues to percolate with the now nearly world famous Hamburger Mikey right near by, the delicious Curry Kitchen, Nan Pizza and more.  The entire area even has a snappy new name called mid town.  It's a growing area and it's an exciting thing to see the fledgling neighborhood experiencing the same re-birth that the records we once all knew and loved are.

This time, Corey Davis stopped in to see Paul and talk about his one year in business mark.  It seems most appropriate as she is a self confessed "major supporter" of the place.  Who better to send than an admirer of the product right?  Corey grabbed the camera and got the scoop on what it's been like to be part of the new normal on Third Street in Muskegon, take a listen.


The party gets underway at 11am on Saturday October 14th.  Head on down to the record story, enjoy some pizza, a burger or maybe some delicious curry dish....celebrate not only the reemerging business district, but an entire area of small business owners who all believe in Muskegon and are right there slugging it out together.    Congrats to Paul!  Get yourself to Midtown!

Find Third Coast Vinyl on Facebook


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Children's Author Sherri Winston To Hold Workshops This Saturday For Young Readers in Muskegon and Muskegon Heights

It's an honor today to welcome home Muskegon Heights Tiger and children's author Sherri Winston who will be putting on writers workshops for kids in Muskegon and Muskegon Heights this Saturday.  Sherri now calls Orlando home, but truly understands the importance of igniting young minds and has returned to Muskegon to share her love of story telling and her inspiration with the next generation this weekend!



A little history.  When Sherri was young she was the one in the family who was in charge of the shopping, and if she was able to cut the corners enough and squeeze enough out of the grocery budget to save a few dollars, her reward for fiscal responsibility...was the left over money to be able to buy a Nancy Drew book, and if it was a hard cover book...all the better.  What a reward for being able to provide.  In the back of her mind though, reading the stories was just the kindling of the fire because as she grew, she knew that it was her calling to be writing the stories that would engage the "middle aged" young people, those in the pre teen to early teen years and give them the same opportunity to be a million miles away while they were safely in their room and lost in a world of imagination and wonder through reading. 
See Sherri's Collection on BN.com

To her credit today, you'll find a number of books.  They include "The Kayla Chronicles", "Acting - A Novel", ""The Sweetest Sound", and her "President" series which currently has "President of the Whole 5th Grade" and "President of the Whole 6th Grade".   Her books are available on your favorite websites including Barnes and Noble and you'll find a link to the page with her books on it to the right. 

Sherri is home for more than just a visit however.  This Saturday, she will be doing seminars for young people at both the Hackely Public Library and the Muskegon Heights Public Library.  They are free to attend for kids and the idea will be for Sherri to help them build a story through interaction and her hands on approach to sparking interest in the process.  How does a story get built?  How are characters developed?  Where can twists and turns happen?  It's an amazing give back to students who are already interested in creative writing or might need a little push to help get started. 

Barb Klingenmaier is the President of the Friends of the Hackley Library and she contacted me to talk about Ms. Winston's return home to share her experience and expertise in the field of creative writing, she joined Sherri and I at the Torrent House to talk about the events this Saturday and how your kids can be a part at either location, Hackley or Muskegon Heights.  Take a listen to our chat below!



And now for the obligatory part where I tell you how important this is.  I am not an avid reader for enjoyment...never have been, BUT look at what I do for a living.  I read constantly, I write thousands of things daily.  I write for informational and amusing purposes and I can't stress enough how essential it is for young minds to develop communications skills.  Reading, writing, imagination and the ability to express feelings are paramount to the development of a person.  So often today, narratives are completely laid out for young people and little is left to their imagination...when that happens, so does the development of future imaginations....so....here's your invitation to get your kids in the game.  Sherri will be at the Hackley Library at 10:30 Saturday morning and the Muskegon Heights Library at 1:30.  FREE events for young people.  Give them the chance to be part of the creativity and give Sherri a thank you for coming home to share her passion with today's youth!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Power of the Purse to Benefit Every Woman's Place October 12th

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and in as much as it's a crying shame that we need an entire month dedicated to the subject...the reality is, we do and it's a problem that's not going away anytime soon.  What's the cause?  Poverty?  Stress?  To talk to Lori Rasmussen of Every Woman's Place, simply put...it's control.  The need to be dominant is root of the issue and leads to violence against women.



From my perspective, the need to be in control is one of the biggest signs of weakness and insecurity when it comes to seeing other men, but this isn't an opinion piece, so I'll just leave it at that.  What this is, is an awareness article with an invitation to see if we can get you out to support the work of the people who are there to pick up the pieces when domestic violence occurs and how the staff and volunteers of Every Woman's Place are there to help the victims and the children of this abuse.

Founded in 1975 Every Woman's Place has served women ranging in age from 18-73 years old, from every walk of life imaginable.  Domestic violence knows no color, income level, nationality, religion or boundary.  Their mission statement is simple - " The Mission of Every Woman’s Place is to improve and enhance the lives of women, youth, children and families in crisis in our community by providing and advocating for services which lead to their safety, their emotional and economic self-sufficiency, their productivity, and their ability to participate fully in our society."  They offer shelter, intervention, counseling, support children's services and education and prevention.  

Get Tickets for Power of the Purse

Over the course of the year, they ask for a hand from the community, which is always very giving, one, because their events are first class, and second....the mission is so incredibly important.  One of the events is coming up October 12th at Fricano's Event Center and it's called Power of the Purse!  You'll have a great night out and the opportunity to bid on some pretty incredible items in donated purses modeled by some of the men of the area willing to have a little fun and walk the runway to strut their stuff and sell the purse.  Yes, last year I participated in the photo shoot and missed the event....this year.....I am in it to win it and hope that which ever purse I am modeling sells for a pretty penny.

I sat down with Lori Rasmussen of Every Woman's Place to talk about the event as well as some of the numbers they deal with at the agency every year, take a listen.  




If there was one thing I could end tomorrow, domestic violence would be right up at the top of the list.  The thought of a woman being abused physically, emotionally or otherwise makes me ill.  I was raised by a very strong mother and even the hint of disrespect was met with dire consequences by both of my parents and with very good reason.  Now, I know why.  I certainly can't answer the problems the way I'd like to, but I can be a voice and an advocate to help.  I am asking please, if you can make it out to the event do so.  If you can't, do what you can to send a few bucks toward Every Woman's Place.  If you are living in a domestic abuse situation....ask for help.  Every Woman's Place is there for you anytime you need them.  To learn more about Every Woman's Place click on the photo below.






Saturday, September 30, 2017

Shattering the Myths About Drugs Impacting Muskegon County - A Web Program

We are in an epidemic in Muskegon County and in the nation.  The opioid crisis is real and it's ripping through our community and this nation like wild fire.  We are also in a time of great change when it comes to marijuana and what it is and how it effects people.  I think we can all agree that the opiate problem is one of the most fearsome things we have ever seen.





I honestly hope that we can agree no matter the stance on marijuana medical use or recreational, keeping it out of the hands of kids and teens is in all of our best interest.  Young minds need to develop minus the effects of intoxicating substances.
Face The Book Muskegon

In an effort to help shine a light on the reality of today's impact of drugs on Muskegon County, DJ Hilson along with The Health Project of Mercy Health are presenting a program online Tuesday October 3rd from 13:30-1:15 called "Shattering the Myths".  It's going to be a straightforward discussion about the use and abuse of substances that are in front of our young people every day.  We all like to think that "not my kid" is applicable, but it doesn't take much to begin to slide.  Participants will hear from a young man who found a leftover Norco in his grandmothers medicine cabinet and used it to treat a pulled muscle, which in turn led him to a heroin addiction.  They will also hear from a young woman who was abusing THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the effective ingredient in marijuana and can be manipulated to be much stronger than what's traditionally accepted as "pot".  Both speakers are in their 20's and the hope is that their stories are more relate-able to the high school audience by the shorter age gap.  

In years past, this talk has been presented by going school to school but with advancements in technology, the hope is that all schools can come together for the time to hear the message at once and with the impact of the group, some more discussion can come about about the dangers faced, the reality's of what our kids are up against and how quickly what seems harmless at first can spiral into a serious problem.  I have told my story about alcohol at a young age time and time again, and in our interview today, I guess maybe even I come to grips with the fact that I might be getting a little too "old" to connect with younger people.  I will honestly say, that I am very glad there are folks in their 20's who can pick up the message, although I don't plan on quitting anytime soon.

DJ Hilson and Richa Phoulsen joined me for a little more on the subject at DJ's office, take a listen.



The discussion is this Tuesday once again, and as mentioned in the interview, you can see it on Facebook Live.  You'll find it linked below, just click on the image to go to the page at 12:30 Tuesday to join in on the discussion.  It's important information and protecting our kids is why it's being presented.  Our thanks to The Health Project for their sponsorship of the Positively Muskegon blog and a special thanks to DJ Hilson for his work in protecting young people from the dangers of addiction.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Annie Jr. At the Frauenthal Theater October 14th and 15th With the Muskegon Civic Theater's Penguin Project

We all want to see everyone excel, we all hope to live in a world where barriers are gone and everyone can participate, but some things are pretty complicated and require years of training and devotion, like acting...and some might stop and say, well, that might not be for everyone.  Well, stop right there.  There are a group of young people that are going to prove that wrong quick fast and in a hurry right here in Muskegon!




The idea came about a year or two ago locally.  It sprang from an idea back in 2004 kids with disabilities, be they developmental or physical, are cast in a modified version of a Broadway musical and paired with a peer mentor and they work side by side for 4 months in preparation and rehearsals all the way through the performance.  To quote the Penguin Project's website - "The program provides a supportive environment for children with disabilities to explore their creative talents.  It has also demonstrated that participation in the performing arts has therapeutic value by enhancing social interaction, communication skills, self confidence and self esteem. 

The Cast and Crew of Annie Jr.
Muskegon is the first spot in the state to put on a Penguin Project production, and Annie Jr. is the musical of choice.  Rehearsals have been going on at the home of No More Sidelines, the Folkert Community Hub for the last few months.  I am not stranger to the kids at the Hub or the families there, so I dropped in to watch a rehearsal before we taped the segment you're about to see and I have to level with ya, I was immediately taken back with everything I saw.  On the faces of the parents, ear to ear smiles....radiant pride and genuine appreciation for what they have seen come out of their kids.  On the faces of the mentors, a new appreciation for teamwork, art and their craft...the director, the choreographer, the people watching from across the room... every one of them...amazed and astounded by this group of young people and what this project has brought out of all of them.  I grabbed a little footage of the practice and will overlay it in the video you'll see here in a few.

Here's the thing, this production need the support of the community.  Tickets for the 2 performances are $10 bucks each and there is yet to be one single word anywhere about how awesome these productions are to see.  Not only that, but, you'll get to witness first hand how truly remarkable it is when people come together despite some "differences" to work toward a common goal and find out along the way, that the similarities are greater than what they thought the differences were.

I was joined by Heidi Sunderhaft-Christiansen, Kim Harsch, Seth Witham and Kyle Sweetwood to talk about this entire project, take a listen.



If ever there was a reason to get out and support the arts, this is is.  The play is compacted down to about an hour and the tickets are only $10 bucks.  As mentioned in the interview too, there is still room for some sponsorship for this great event and you can learn more by calling 231-722-3852.  Please show these kids your support for their hard work and bringing our community together a little closer.  If you'd like tickets, order them in advance by clicking on the show poster below.

Tickets for Saturday October 14th

Tickets for Sunday October 15th