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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Collene Lamonte Wants To Head To Lansing Again!

It was a chance encounter.  A knock at my door and as I opened it, there was a woman....handing out cards and flyers and I thought, "What have I done opening this door?"

Turns out....it was Collene Lamonte out stumping for her hopeful election to the 91st District as the state rep in Lansing.

What started out as an "Oh No" moment turned into an hour long conversation on my front step talking about all things Muskegon and Muskegon County.  I was impressed.  I felt like I was heard and in all honesty, I made a friend.

Visit Collene's Facebook Page

Collene lost her seat to Holly Hughes in the last election but, she's back to try and win it again.  With a thought to being fair and equal Holly has been invited to come down and be on Positively Muskegon as well.

Collene announced her run this morning Downtown Muskegon, but since it's rainy and not everyone can make it to announcements like that... I invited her down to talk directly to you on Positively Muskegon about her wishes, hopes and plans should she be heading back to Lansing after the election!

Take a listen to the interview below.

The important part is, you get out and vote.  Don't sit there and complain about things if you are not part of the process of making things better, no matter your candidate.  We wish Collene and Holly the best in the election, and may the best candidate win!

If you would like to visit Collene's website click below!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Muskegon Lumberjacks New Owner Dan Israel Reflects On His First Season In Town

Early on, we featured a story on Dan Israel who came on as the new owner of the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the 2015-2016 season.  From my point of view, it was a season of true change, both internally for the team and in the stands.  I have been there for 5 owners now.  I have seen a lot of things come and go.  I have seen the crowd change, kids grow up, visitors come back, hockey legends, Star Wars night, you name it, I've seen it!

Visit the Jacks Online!

This year was a very pivotal year from my perspective, especially with the return to some more excitement in the stands, some familiar faces coming back and a renewed vigor for hockey in Muskegon.  Can Muskegon support a professional team?  That's a question way past my pay grade, but...the road to the NHL begins with the USHL as players are shaped to head to the show right here in Muskegon.  Imagine the drive down 96 as that road!  It's a direct link to Detroit and the Red Wings!

Let's hear things from Dan's point of view on this season, the off season and next year.

As you can see, Dan is passionate about making sure Muskegon is a truly developmental place for players, a great experience for fans and an asset to the community!  If you've not been to a game in a while, you've got the whole summer to make plans!  Supporting our home teams helps support the entire area.  We've got baseball, soccer, basketball,  arena football but we're still a hockey town!

Follow the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Facebook

The Disability Network of West Michigan - Independent Living Resources for Muskegon and More

Did you know?  That Muskegon is home to a very important resource for those with a disability?

The Disability Network West Michigan is right down on Clay Avenue by The United Way of Muskegon and their mission statement is pretty simple -

"Disability Network West Michigan provides independent living resources for people with disabilities in Muskegon, Oceana, Newaygo, Lake and Mason counties"

Visit the Disability Network WM Online!
I was made aware of this organization by a quick Facebook message from Tracy Knight who wondered if I had ever even heard of such an organization and I had to be honest with the guy and say, "No, I had not"

They handle everything from being an advocate for those who are disabled, to supportive peers, to independent living and transition planning and action.  It's a remarkable undertaking.  So like many other organizations in Muskegon you might not know about, I grabbed the camera and headed down to meet Danna Pittman and Tamera Collier to learn a little more about their work and how many lives they impact.  Take a listen to the chat below!

Here's a look at the flyer for the 2016 Discover Muskegon Resource Fair coming up!  Please take the time to stop down and see what's being offered and to see if you can lend a hand to the awesome work going on right here in Muskegon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

We Welcome Dave Alexander as a Contributing Writer to Positively Muskegon

Positively Muskegon on Facebook

MUSKEGON -- For the past three months not a day has gone by when someone in Muskegon hasn't asked: "How's the new job going?"
The short answer is "fine." The more accurate answer is I love being executive director of Downtown Muskegon Now, but damn, running a one-person agency has been a challenging transition after 34 years as a reporter and editor at The Muskegon Chronicle and then MLive. 

Visit Downtown Muskegon Now Online

The actual work of Downtown Muskegon Now of economic development, promotions and events has been a blast. But I'm just learning -- and will be for some time -- the administration of a non-profit agency that staffs three separate boards. The administrative part of the job will hopefully get easier with time.

Thanks for asking.

I guess that I've got my feet under me enough to now start to think about what has come so easy for me the past three decades -- telling Muskegon's story in words. After three months from an "early retirement" from The Chronicle, I am ready to start writing again.

And I can think of no better place to share my thoughts and perspectives than with the readers of Positively Muskegon. Andy O'Riley has become a huge "brand" in Muskegon. His following from his radio career and now his community activities is impressive. He has a voice that speaks to what is best in Muskegon -- why I and many, many others love living here. 

Through my continued writing, I want to support Andy and others with Positively Muskegon. I hope to write a column once a month providing insight and perspective on what is going on in Muskegon. And from my position at Downtown Muskegon Now, I can tell you that it's plenty.

I'd love to continue my conversation with readers and Muskegon County residents through comments on Positively Muskegon and associated Facebook pages. If you have questions on what is going on in town ... ask away.

In the meantime, watch for my posts on Positively Muskegon. Watch Muskegon. Watch Us Go!

Follow Dave on Facebook

Monday, March 28, 2016

GE Aviation of Muskegon Benefiting The March of Dimes at The Rusty Spoke

GE Aviation of Muskegon would very much like to invite you out this Saturday night for an evening of fun featuring live music from Lipstick and Lincolns, a great taco bar and plenty of awesome auction items from all over the area and it's all to benefit the March of Dimes!

GE Aviation might not be your first thought when it comes to Muskegon, but the employees there are as dedicated to our community as they are the amazing products they help build parts for.  AWESOME jet engines!

I had a chance to catch up with Leslie Adams and Linda Cady fro GE Aviation of Muskegon to talk a little about the party and a number of great things that GE Aviation does in and around the community.  How they have worked as a team and company to meet and exceed their goals to help out where needed within the Muskegon area.  Have a listen to the chat below!

Positively Muskegon is all about celebrating the work that goes on in Muskegon and might go un noticed.  Do you hear about GE Aviation in the news every day?  Probably not, but quietly and with as much dedication as anyone, they continue to do their part to make Muskegon a great place!  We like to celebrate everyone's contributions to Muskegon, big company or little!  Click on the event flyer below to see the event on Facebook!

Heels for Meals Benefits AgeWell Services Meals on Wheels

For senior citizens, keeping a good diet going often becomes a challenge.  Especially if they are living alone.  Proper nutrition is important, the occasional visit from someone to make sure things are ok is an added bonus.  Problem is, sometimes it's hard financially and other times, well....not everyone has the motivation to make sure they are eating right.

Meals on Wheels helps in this case!

Learn More About AgeWell Services
Kris Collee is the Executive Director at AgeWell Services at Tanglewood Park and came by to talk a little bit about the growing need for service from Meals on Wheels.  We've talked aobout childhood hunger here, but it's equally important to make sure our senior community is taken care of too.

There is a benefit coming up at the Watermark 920 Saturday April 23rd called Heels for Meals.  It will be an elegant affair with signature martinis, great food, wine, a shoe fashion show and more!!  We'll let Kris tell you more in the video below!

It's going to be a grand affair and so vital to help continue the work AgeWell Services does for our senior community!  You can click on the logo below for the event page on Facebook!  Head out on April 23rd for a great night of fun for all the right reasons!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Beat Gets a Bump! Meet Paul Billings and Big Rob from 103.7 The Beat!

Local radio.....um, don't get me started.   :)
Local radio has been doing just fine over in Muskegon Heights.  Paul Billings and his staff have been THE community station for Muskegon Heights since 2002.  They play a nice selection of music, they tackle tough issues, they operate food truck giveaways, host awards shows, help kids learn the music and recording business.  They have truly built a radio station that caters to the needs of the listeners and they are an asset of the area!

Visit 103.7 The Beat Online
Recently, Paul got a hold of the 106.1 frequency that was licensed to Muskegon Public Schools and brought it back on the air!  The focus will be similar to that of The Beat.  Public safety, awareness, education and advocacy for youth and community.  They are also holding over the popular Rock and Soul music format that listeners enjoyed, and the weekends get a little more wild with EDM (electronic dance music) so, if you need a place to tune in for the party.....try 106.1.

Paul and I had a chance to sit down and talk about both stations along with Big Rob and what he sees as some of the pressing issues facing radio today and how they manage to keep on the air and keep growing.  Take a listen to the interview below.  If nothing else, hear a couple of old radio guys talking about radio things and how much more a community deserves from their local stations than they are getting.

Another example of someone not giving up.....someone who refuses to think that kids are a lost cause....someone who believes that the best days are yet to come for all of Muskegon.  I have been proud to call Paul a friend and confidant for a number of years now.  I was happy to get to share his story with you!

Check out the brand new M106-FM on the web.  You'll find the link in their logo below!!!

The Ladas Hoopes and McNeill Legal Report! Personal Injury Law With Ken Hoopes

I'll sue you!  Seems to be some people's idea of how to get rich quick!  Well, it might not be as easy as it seems when it comes to the law and since we've got Ladas Hoopes and McNeill as a fantastic sponsor of this blog, I grabbed partner Ken Hoopes who specializes in personal injury law to kind of explain a little more about the whole process.

Take a listen to our chat below and see if you or a family member can benefit from the assistance of Ladas Hoopes and McNeill in your injury case.

Ken's a great guy, and the entire office at Ladas Hoopes and McNeill are caring attorneys that make sure their clients have the best possible legal representation possible in and around Muskegon.  They are also firmly committed to this community and are part of multiple boards to help guide community resources the best they can.  If you need an attorney, make Ladas Hoopes and McNeill your first call!

Ladas Hoopes and McNeill's Website

Thursday, March 24, 2016

We Welcome The Muskegon County Airport to Positively Muskegon

It's always a welcome sign when places in your area see the value of what you are doing and that they would like to be a part of the telling of so many important stories about the people and places that make Muskegon so awesome!

We are proud to welcome one of the places someone might see when they first come to town, The Muskegon County Airport!

Click for the MKG County Airport Site

The Muskegon County Airport is awesome.  Parking is a breeze and amazingly affordable compared to other area airports.  The waiting areas are clean and well maintained and the food at the Brownstone Restaurant is a very good starting point for a traveler who would like to try all of the great restaurants we have to offer!  Security is equal to any other airport, but there is a much more relaxed feel and with United offering jet service and now even lower fares, flying out of Muskegon makes more sense than ever.

There are flights on special all the time and if you've ever been on one of the casino flights to Laughlin Nevada...you know a good time is only a hop skip and a jump away!

I had a chance to catch up with Dianne Hoofman who handles the marketing for the Muskegon County Airport to welcome her as well as find out a little more about why everyone should fly Muskegon.  Take a listen!

The Muskegon County Airport may very well be the best kept secret in all of West Michigan.  Less hassle, lower parking prices, lower ticket prices, a comfortable atmosphere and the knowledge that Muskegon really has a gem on our hands with our own airport! Make sure you get signed up for their email list so you know when the super fares are available!! Fly anywhere, from home!

Follow the Muskgon County Airport on Facebook!

The Boys and Girls Club of Muskegon Making a Difference in Our Future

It was a long time coming and a lot of work by many people to secure the building, start the program and give our young people a place to call their own and be able to utilize some direction, some help and some mentor-ship.

The pieces of the puzzle all fell into place and the Boys and Girls of Muskegon became a reality.
Find the Boys and Girls Club on Facebook

Led by an incredible board of directors, staff and countless volunteers, the Boys and Girls Club of Muskegon has been open for about a year and I made a long over due visit to speak with Dakota Crow who is the director of our local chapter and to talk about this first year at the club.

We'll let Dakota tell the story, as I too am very curious about the program, the needs and the impact the Boys and Girls Clubs of America have on today's youth.  Click on the video below to hear the story!

Impressive!  Inspirational and above all....Hopeful!  There is a very bright future for the kids of Muskegon and the Lakeshore!  If you'd like to know more, please, click on the photo below and go to the Boys and Girls Club of Muskegon's Website!

Boys and Girls Club of Muskegon Online

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Hero Mud Run! Back for Year 2!

Starts off like a lot of things.  A guy is sitting around thinking "I wish there was something fun to do" and just like that...The Hero Mud Run is born!

If it were only that easy.

Meet Josh Mueller.  He's the founder of the Hero Mud Run along with David Gawlik and Eric Briggs, who got their feet wet last year in Muskegon with their first event at the Muskegon County Fairgrounds.

Visit Hero Mud Run Online

It was a big undertaking, the conception of and the building of a huge obstacle course filled with all kind of challenges and of course....mud!  No to worry, the course is designed for all levels of athletic skill.  There are courses from 3-8 miles with plenty of military style obstacles and the best part is...if you just want to head out and watch, spectators are free.

It's a great thing for Muskegon County, bringing in tourists from all over the state and region and bringing a new event for them to enjoy!

With last year being the inaugural year, and quite a successful inaugural year might I add, I asked Josh to come on in to Positively Muskegon and talk a little about how the first year went, what was learned and what's in store for 2016!   Have a listen to the chat below!

The Hero Mud Run is happening May 7th at the Muskegon County Fairgrounds.  Sponsorship opportunities are available, registration is going on now and the gauntlet has been thrown down!  Are you tough enough for Hero Mud?  Find out May 7th!

If you'd like to save a few bucks on your entry fee, at check out ENTER PROMO CODE "positive" and you'll save 20%!!

Find Hero Mud Run on Facebook

Positively Muskegon - 100th Anniversary!

Today, we celebrate the 100th story on Positively Muskegon!  Let me start by saying a very heartfelt thank you to you for taking the time to read the stories, share them on your social media, tell friends, talk back, share story ideas and generally refuse to believe what you see and hear, or don't hear on other media outlets!

The idea was simply this.  Muskegon needs something to tell the story of the good people here who work tirelessly to make a difference!  A good case in point, over the last year...I spoke to one person for a story who has not had a paycheck for 2 years, but still believes that her work is so important that she can't give up.  It's her against homelessness.  We've found out there are teams of dedicated people who help make sure kids have dinner who otherwise might go without.  We've heard about fun events, peoples passions, met former heavy weight contenders, shared career day with 8th graders and have people in other cities seeing the value and charm of our community.....it's been an adventure!

We've also picked up some really great sponsors.  Sincere thanks to them for believing in me and telling the stories that would otherwise possibly go unnoticed.

In the end, this short thank you note goes to you!  We're getting close to 30,000 readers!  THIRTY THOUSAND!  It's an awesome number and it's growing.  Why?  Because apparently I am not the only one who truly Loves Muskegon.  Share the stories!  Tell me what's important to you!  Watch Us Go for the next 100!  A very humble thank you! - Andy O

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Earth, Wind and Tired! Muskegon Winter Sports Complex Hosts a 5K!

By most accounts, it was a pretty mild Winter around the area.  Not so mild the Winter Sports Complex didn't pack in a full season, but just mild enough to be considered acceptable by most.  Luge, ice skating, snow shoeing, sledding....all enjoyed by more than ever before, but when the season comes to a close....it's time to get to know the Winter Sports Complex without it's blanket of white!  It's time for Earth Wind and Tired!

Earth Wind and Tired on Facebook

Imagine a 5 k taking you thru the woods, with the natural beauty of the Lake Michigan shoreline, the dunes, the cool breeze....it's a picture perfect to add another notch in your belt for good health, adventure and showing some pride in Muskegon!

I had a chance to get out and talk to Bill Bailey from the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex about the event and we touched on a few other things coming up you may want to jot down on your calendar for the "off season" at the park.  I think you'll see that the "off season" is a lot busier than you think!  Have a listen to the details below!

If Earth, Wind and Tired sounds like your kind of adventure, click on the logo below to get yourself signed up. USE THE PROMO CODE "positive" on check out and save 15% for being a Positively Muskegon reader! (Promo Code valid until March 26th)  If you are coming in from out of town to join the fun... welcome!  We're glad you're making the trek to Muskegon and we hope to see you again!  If you're coming to the Winter Sports Complex....you'l be treated to one of our true town treasures!  We're glad you came.  If you are a local, hey....you already know what we've got here.....ain't we lucky?

Get Registered for Earth Wind and Tired

Thursday, March 17, 2016

No More Sidelines - 10th Annual Set the Stage Gala Saturday Night!

Imagine a day, when your child asks you "Mom, why don't I have any friends like the rest of my brothers and sister?"

A tough question, which gets tougher because the child asking has autism and cerebral palsy.  This was faced by Cyndi Blair who took that very question to the extreme and decided it was time to do something about that, so she formed No More Sidelines.

No More Sidelines on Facebook

With the beginnings in Muskegon, No More Sidelines has grown to serve kids and families all around the state of Michigan with the commitment to Friendship, Community and Team.  The feeling of being left out has been done away with.  Kids who participate in No More Sidelines have found that encouragement, a sense of belonging and "A chance to feel like I live in a normal world" were some of the thoughts, but to go a little deeper, parents found a reason to cheer for their kids, a way to connect with each other for support in a challenging life situation and most of all...."normal kids" get to see that what looks different on the outside....is really not as readily visible when everyone gets to play.

I had a chance to sit down and talk with Cyndi Blair as the preparation for their 10th Annual "Set the Stage" Gala that is happening at the Folkert Community Hub Saturday night.  Take a listen to her thoughts on the first 10 years and where she thinks things are headed in the next 10.  It's a Western theme this year so saddle up get your fancy duds on and mosey on down to the Folkert Community Hub at 640 Seminole Road.  There will be great food from Teddy Spaghetti's, a live and silent auction, games, raffles and prizes!

You can click on the picture of the No More Sidelines Kids below to visit their website and learn a little more.

No More Sidelines Online

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Time To Talk About Teen Drinking - Muskegon ALI

With Spring in the air and the school year not too far off from coming to a close, a lot of people are turning their attention to thoughts of graduation parties, open houses, bonfires, cook outs and all the fin things Muskegon has going in the Summer.  It's also time where people are a little more aware of the chances that teens will take the ultimate risk and get behind the wheel after they may have been drinking.  Graduating high school makes teens feel "grown up" but the reality is....they need some more time!
Face the Book on Facebook

In Muskegon, we have a program called "The ALI" which stands for Alcohol Liability Initiative.  The goal of the ALI is to educate youth about the dangers of underage drinking.  March 25th they will be hosting an online billboard contest where teens themselves will have a chance to design a billboard sharing their thoughts about underage drinking and hopefully, connecting with peers on their own level sharing some reasons that anyone under 21 should stay away from alcohol.

The idea is to give students a reason to participate with some gift cards and grand prizes and all, the underlying dialogue is really where the pay off should come,  Talk to your kids about the dangers of underage drinking.  Tell them the risks associated with that kind of behavior and let them know from your past experiences just how much risk they are taking on should they elect to drink.

Rachel McCoy, Sarah De La Rosa and Michael Poulan stopped by Positively Muskegon today to talk a little about the contest, some pointers about speaking to your child about the dangers of underage drinking.   Have a listen to our chat below!

Here's an entry template!  Check out the Muskegon ALI Facebook page linked above to get the specific rules of the contest!

Girls On The Run - Building Confidence In Young Women

It's a tough subject.  Building confidence in young people, especially girls.  Life today is inundated with messaging that says you have to be "this" to look good and to feel good.   It's also pretty common to hear "unless you have that....you're behind".  To impressionable young minds, a standard gets built to live up to expectations and quite often if and when those "standards" can't be met....there is somehow something wrong.  Well, there's a better way.  Girls on the Run!

Girls on the Run Muskegon Online
Girls on the Run of Muskegon works with girls from 3rd-8th grade inspiring them to be joyful, confident and healthy using a fun, experience based curriculum which creatively integrates running!  It's a 24 lesson program that meets twice a week in small groups and the focus is on girls becoming independent thinkers, enhance their problem solving skills and making healthy decisions.  It's a very powerful experience.  Their core values are -

  • Recognize our power and responsibility to be intentional in our decision making
  • Embrace our differences and find strength in our connectedness
  • Express joy, optimism and gratitude through our words, thoughts and actions
  • Nurture our physical, emotional and spiritual health
  • Lead with an open heart and assume positive intent
  • Stand up for ourselves and other.
I had a chance to speak with GOTR Muskegon County Director Sue Gifford and board member Jennifer Schultz and they shared a little about the organization and their work.  Take a listen below!

Would you like to lend a hand with sponsorship for the event coming up in May? They could use your support!!  You can call Sue Gifford a 231-759-7909 ext 256 or CLICK HERE to email her!

You can connect with Girls on the Run of Muskegon's Facebook Page by clicking on the three smiling faces below .

Girls on the Run Muskegon Facebook

And finally!  If you have some spare time and would like to volunteer CLICK HERE for the registration sheet!