Shon Cook Law

Shon Cook Law
The Good Witch of the Law!

Noffsinger Insurance Agencies

Noffsinger Insurance Agencies
Hiring Bonus of $1000

Muskegon Lakeshore Home Garden and DIY

Muskegon Lakeshore Home Garden and DIY
March 9th and 10th at Fricano's

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Return to The Lemonade Stand of Muskegon - Friends are Still Helping Friends

Back in July of 2017 we introduced you to Judie Pratt who's been running an outreach for people in Muskegon for 19 years now called The Lemonade Stand.  It's a group for people who suffer from mental issues and they come in all forms of disorders.  It might be PTSD, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder...any of the mental conditions we hear about day after day in today's world.  Scary, and real problems.

19th Anniversary Celebration
The world can be a tough place.  It's even tougher if you don't really acclimate to society's "norms".  Everyone needs some support, and everyone needs to feel included, but what if the typical environments those things are found in are unmanageable due to the limitations of your mind?  Where do you turn?  A world of isolation?  I don't think anyone wants that.  At The Lemonade Stand of Muskegon those who need a place to belong can find some respite despite their challenges and it's all based on a group effort to maintain the house, keep order among the members and to sustain the group.  Judie is at the forefront of it, but is always quick to point's really about the members.

Well, back around Christmas time, Judie lost her husband, sadly,  and the group Christmas party had to be delayed a while.  When they finally got around to putting it on, I shared the picture of the gathering and showed the group off on the Positively Muskegon Facebook page.  I have to tell you, out of all the stories we've done for Positively Muskegon and The Muskegon Channel, there are some that really touch your heart and Judie, and the people of The Lemonade Stand certainly did mine.  At first, I was asked if I could just come help cook the food for the party, so...sure...I can bake a ham, but when it had to be delayed...I retracted and waited to see if they needed a hand when it was rescheduled, but they got by.

Anyway, back to the picture share, thousands saw the picture and were intrigued enough to want to know, instead of trying to answer every question, I figured it was time to pack the camera back up and head back to The Lemonade Stand for another visit to have Judie herself explain just what everything is about and how people can help or get involved if they want to.  Take a listen.

Simply put....this is why Positively Muskegon is.  I am a firm believer that as a society, our worth is shown by how we take care of our most vulnerable people.  It's been Judie's crusade along with her family to make sure that those who live in a scary world in their mind have a safe and welcoming place free of fear and judgement for almost 20 years now.  She's done it in a fashion that has given those she serves a sense of purpose to go along with that security as well as a full belly when it's needed.  If ever you wonder if miracles are happening in Muskegon, look no further than The Lemonade Stand.  They are happening every day.  To find The Lemonade Stand of Muskegon on Facebook, click on the photo below. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Britta Cleveland Visits Shoreline Natural Wellness and Fitness to Learn About an Upcoming Benefit for The Hope Project Feb 17th

Living here in our beloved Lakeshore West Michigan community it's so truly difficult to imagine the horrifying reality of Human Sex Trafficking actually existing right here in our own communities. Unbelievably this evil isn't just in major city America...but also right here in Muskegon.
Hope Project is a local and national nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the healing of girls and women who have survived sex trafficking and to prevent further cases through mentoring and counseling.  

Visit The Hope Project Online
Sex trafficking falls under the umbrella of Human Trafficking, a form of modern day slavery, and occurs when someone is exploited through force, fraud or coercion for commercial sex or when someone under 18 is participating in commercial sex.  It is beyond frightening to know that a large number of these victims are forced into these terrifying situations by their own family members....or by individuals who have fraudulently gained trust of unsuspecting, often young boys and girls with low self esteem.

I recently sat down with Mary Swarez of Hope Project of Muskegon County and Heather David of Shoreline Natural Wellness of North Muskegon to talk about ways we here in West Michigan can become more aware...and more active with prevention of the all-too frightening situation taking place in our own community. 

As you can imagine, providing continued mentoring, counseling and safe, undisclosed locations to house these young victims is a huge undertaking...financially and staffing wise.    This Saturday, February 17 from 9:30am - 10:45am Shoreline Natural Wellness located at 1500 Whitehall Road in North Muskegon will be hosting its Share The Love event to raise funds and awareness for Hope Project of Muskegon County.   Reservations are requested in advance for attendance...please call (231) 750-2525 for your reservation.  You can click on the image below to connect with Shoreline Natural Wellness and Fitness Facebook event.

For more donate, volunteer or to just find out more about Human Sex Trafficking please contact Hope Project of Muskegon. You'll find their website linked above.

Shoreline Natural Wellness and Fitness Online

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Trevor Hilson Visits Oshki Clothing of Muskegon - Clothing With a Purpose

In July of 2017, Jackson Riegler, a 17 year old at the time, founded the clothing brand Oshki. He wanted to make a change in his community by trying to preserve the Great Lakes that we all know and love.

He donates 5% of his proceeds to the 5 lakes; Michigan, Ontario, Superior, Erie, and Huron, which have been badly damaged over the last five years. So far, he has had much success, especially a lot of support from his family and his friends.

The word Oshki means fresh in the Ojibwe (a Native American tribe) language. This word describes the Great Lakes perfectly, knowing that 21% of the world’s freshwater comes from these lakes. When talking with Jackson, which you can see in the video below, he wanted something that stuck and had a ring to it, and he found that in the word Oshki.

Jackson has put a strong impact on the community with his clothing business, by the effect he has had on the preservation of the Great Lakes. As he goes to college to study business, he hopes to find new ways to grow his industry. He wanted to make a change in the community with this business, and he certainly has. Take a listen to our chat below about everything Oshki.

Want to know more? Click on the logo below to visit the Oshki website and to see their awesome line up of clothing and their mission to help the Great Lakes.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

70x7 Of Muskegon Presents Muskegon Locked in Solidarity - Awareness and Action on Mass Incarceration Feb 8th

I first came to know Nate Johnson early on in the Positively Muskegon blog.  His group 70x7 contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in knowing a little more about the work they do to prevent people who have spent time in prison from going back.  I have spent plenty of time practicing against "insanity" in my own life, so ya...I'd love to hear how to break another cycle for others and meet someone who's helping.  As we were talking, it became clear pretty quick.  Nate and I were one in the same.

Find 70x7 Muskegon on Facebook

Nate spent his younger days on the wrong side of the law and while I was fortunate to have not gotten caught like he did...there were a million times I got behind the wheel of a car when I shouldn't have and took my life and the life of others into my hands driving drunk.  Nate, well, he ran in some rough circles and he wasn't quite as fortunate as I was when it came to avoiding the law.  He did get caught and spent a good deal of time in prison for his crimes.  It's said, prison changes a man, and very thankfully, in his time behind bars...Nate had his moment of clarity and his change was for good.  I mentioned earlier, that we were kind of the same, because I too had my moment when it came to being an alcoholic.  I know that alcoholism was taken away from me and my life's path was forever altered, just likes Nate's was in prison just happened to be a bottle. 

Today, Nate runs 70x7 here in town with an amazing staff of people who help those who are just coming out of prison learn to cope with life on the outside and learning what it is to be able to stand on your own.  To see the value in yourself that while you may have stumbled in the past, if you honestly believe in change there is help for you in 70x7 and you'll see you;re not alone.  Groups are always a key when it comes to life changing things I believe.  70x7 offers the groups, the training, the advocacy and the education for the former inmates and it helps them be able to forgive themselves so they can truly move on.  It's an amazing healing organization. 

They also know a thing or two about the prison system in the United States and here in Michigan.  which brings us to our story today.  On February 8th there is going to be a discussion at the Kingdom Life Church from 11-1:30 about why 25% of the world's population that's incarcerated is in in the USA.  Why so many people who get out of prison end up back and how we as a society can do better in ways to help those who do get out to get their feet back underneath them and get on with life.

I met up with Nate to talk about the discussion, take a listen.

This is amazing work going on here in Muskegon.  These are people who've walked the walk and dedicated their lives to helping others.  We are working toward the betterment of all in Muskegon.  Even those who've stumbled on the path.  We are building..and with great community partners like 70x7....there is a brighter future ahead for all of us.  Please, consider attending the discussion panel on the 8th.  You can get more details in the link below.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Meet Brandon Beach Who's Battling MS and Heading to Mexico For Treatment

A few days ago, I got a note and was told about a family up in Northern Muskegon County who's plugging along and doing what they can to get a treatment for an MS diagnosis.  Multiple Sclerosis is one of those diseases that continues to befuddle us.  The symptoms are devastating, progressive and treatment...well, it could be better.  However...there is some hope for the Beach family,'s a long road ahead and it's going to be costly and filled with a lot of faith.

Follow the Beach Family Journey on Facebook
Brandon and Brenda Beach live up off 120.  Brandon is an RN and Brenda works at Dental Impressions.  Together they have a nice family, including a United States Marine. Brandon has been struggling with MS for over a decade now, but in the last 5 years or so... it's advanced rather quickly and things have gotten harder and harder for him, and harder and harder on the family.  Every day activities we take for granted.  Walking...talking...swallowing...all no longer an easy task and while mom and dad do their best to keep a game face going, the toll it takes on the kids is pretty hard too.  After all, let's be honest...parents all seem infallible.  To see them struggle and have to jump in to help them before you're actually an adult too...well, it's tough. 

There is a treatment for this MS diagnosis. It's available here, however, it's not FDA approved and it's very limited.  A lot of insurance companies won't cover it and if a person sought out the treatment here, out of're looking at $150,000 plus.  Time is essential, and the Beach family can't sit around and wait for it, so in April, they are heading to a world leading clinic in the procedure he needs with their daughters for a month.... the cost....$54,000.  I'm not going to go off on a rant here or anything, but wouldn't you think that we could do better than that in healthcare?  None the less, Brandon is a husband, father and healer and his time has come to need a little care of his own.  Of course, the Muskegon community is coming together to help him.

There are a variety of events coming up over the next couple of months, there is of course a way to donate online and as I visited the Beach family at their home today after church, there was one thing that was amazingly clear...they are relying heavily on faith to pull through.  Take a listen to our chat below to learn a little more about the the diagnosis, the process and the next steps coming up to April 1st when they head to Mexico.

Strength, determination and togetherness.  The power of love is amazing and to know that this one family has been given so much to deal with and yet they maintain a positive attitude, still try to find a way to better others with what their experience teaches them and the fact that they just don't throw in the towel and admit defeat...well, in my humble opinion....the Beach family defines Muskegon.  They are all of us....and we are them.  We don't quit...we don't give up on each other and we don't for a second rest when someone, somewhere in our home needs us.  We're already looking forward to the followup visit when the procedure is over to show you the victory.  Until then, you can find a link below to lend a hand to the Beach family if you are so inclined, and you'll find a full schedule of events on their Facebook page linked in the family photo above.


Friday, January 26, 2018

Benefit for John "Nubs" Bowen January 27th at the VFW on Apple

In every neighborhood around town there are those who quietly and without much fanfare work day in and day out to make life better for their friends and neighbors.  Our in the Wolf Lake area however, there's a guy who fit's the bill, but rarely are his neighborhood doings quiet or without fanfare.  Now, before you go thinking when I say that things might get a little loud with what he does, let me tell you this...he's noted for fun, but always passes the credit to everyone else.

I am talking about John "Nubs" Bowen.  John is a life long Muskegon guy and he's a legend in the Wolf Lake area.  John works year round to put on events focused on kids and families, veterans, community togetherness and all things that make life good for those around him.  Personally, I have been after him for a couple years trying to get him on to talk about some of his ventures, be it the cardboard and tape bobsled races he puts on in the winter, the youth and veteran fishing derby in the summer, maybe the community caroling at the holidays....but....true to form like so many others, John has spent his time not wanting credit for what he's up to, he just wants to get done what needs to be done to add to the quality of life for everyone here in town. 

Nubs Benefit Info on Facebook
A while back however, John had a series of strokes.  Four of them to be exact, in fairly rapid succession and it was a blow to a guy who's zest for life is second to none.  Well, even the four strokes couldn't stop John.  He survived them and is on the road to recovery and the good people of the Wolf Lake area have come together to return the grace and good faith the John has poured into the community with all his heart and soul over the years.

Saturday, January 27th beginning at 3 at the VFW Hall on Apple there's a benefit for Nubs.  It's going to be a spaghetti dinner, raffles, auctions, games, music, cash bar etc.  Kind of the usual benefit things, but the purpose is one of sincere thanks and returned good will for how much Nubs has done for all of the people in his neighborhood.  I'll tell you too, this has been an all hands on deck effort from the people of the area.  It's been amazing to see the social media around this event as well as the outpouring from people who just want to do something.  It's certainly proof that as John has set an example for people to follow, they have...and it's an example too of being a community builder.  John's built community around him, in a way he understands and they are returning the favor as only they can.  This is what makes Muskegon so awesome.  This is real...not something thought up by a marketing company....this is us!

I was able to catch up with Tammy Stolberg and Tonya Alexander, tow of the ladies that are helping organize the event at Custom Computer on the corner of Getty and Apple to learn a little more, take a listen.

If you know Nubs or not, you do, so there's no reason not to go.  Muskegon rallies around it's own and ever there was a guy Muskegon should's Nubs!  Nubs, we're pulling for ya man and to the folks helping with the benefit...thank you.  We are firm believers that Muskegon for all it's faults is still a place where a miracle happens every day because of people like Nubs....and now that he needs one in's on us.  John, I am proud to say that ALL of us in Muskegon are behind ya man.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

A2B Towing & Recovery of Montague Helping Provide Food Trucks For Those Who Are in Need

We've said from day one that Positively Muskegon is about our entire area.  We believe that.  Fruitport to Montague and out into the rich farm communities we have we're one.  We all face the same issues as a community and the best part of being from "Muskegon" is that no matter which "neighborhood" you call home, there is always someone who's willing to go the extra mile when it comes to making sure that no one goes without.

We do our darndest to cover the entire area, but we know too that most of our stories come from "in town".  That's where a lot of the focus is, and that's where we hear the most about people and events to cover, but just before Christmas, we had an occasion to meet Jennifer Davis who along with her husband Dan run A2B Towing and recovery in Montague and as we were talking, she mentioned that they along with some pretty other great business up in the White Lake area work together to help those who are in need of food as much as anyone else.  Hunger doesn't really worry what your zip code is, what color you are or where you went to school.  Poverty is real no matter what neck of the woods you call home and to know that there are those active in their communities who address the issues, well, that's more than enough to get me rolling to meet them and find out what drives them to help in their neighborhood.
For Food Truck Dates and Times in Montague Follow A2B on Facebook

A2B is a small towing company.  The focus on customer service, compassionate care of their customers and remembering that most of the time, when they come in to someone's life, they are probably under some stress.  Hey, let's face it...if your car was just smashed up, you're hoping for at the very least some understanding from those who come to help.  They take that attitude and apply it to the community.  A food emergency is no place anyone ever expects to be in.  It's not the greatest day of anyone's life when they have to say "I need help" but it happens, and it's up to all of us to do what we can to build that safety net to help those who need a hand up from time to time, and more often than not... those who help are the people who also know just how scary it can be to come that close to the edge.  Empty cupboards, no money for place to turn for help....we need each other.

So, A2B along with Gary's Restaurant, Your Plate or Mine, Reliable Towing, Twin Cities Towing have all chipped in to provide food trucks at the Montague High School a few times this year.  The first of which is February 3rd.  Dan and Jennifer had me up to the shop to talk a little about why they think it's important to give back to the community in the way they do, and how they came to see that something as simple as a food truck builds community and helps strengthen neighbors who you might not even know are in need.  Take a listen.

Awesome people doing awesome things.  Dan asked me too, on the way out if I could do him one more favor.  "Could you remind people that when they see an emergency vehicle or two truck along the road to move over?  Anything on the right side of that white line is my office space, and it's scary sometimes, there have been quite a few close calls."  Dan, ya....we'll remind them.  The world needs more people like Dan and Jennifer who build community by making sure the basics are met.  My many thanks to the Davis' for the visit and for making sure people in the White Lake Area don't go without. 

A2B Towing of Montague