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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas from Positively Muskegon - Gather Round and Listen

It's Christmas Eve morning!  I wanted to take a couple of minute and just talk to you, so here I am.

First off please accept my humble thanks for bring here!  I have been showing our growth at milestones....I hope you've seen them.  I am not sharing them out of boastfulness, but more over....I want you to see first hand the impact I am shooting for telling Muskegon's story the way it should be told.

There is much pride in this community and it needs to be shared!

The ticker of this blog stands at 165,786 page views this morning.  Not bad since it's only been a year and a couple months. It's a good sized number for sure, but to me it's not about numbers or income or who's in the lead.  To me, it's a number of people who believe.  Believe in the fact that good people of any means make this community what it is.  One day, I may be interviewing the heard of a huge company....the next it might be a woman asking for shampoo donations for her homeless pantry.  It's the people of Muskegon who deserve the starring role here.  Those who don't give up and those who make sure needs are met no matter how large or small.

I'd like to extend a special thinks to the local candidates that came on the blog too.  I'll tell you...I think they were surprised that someone cared enough to give them a platform more than a couple of quick sound bytes to talk about what they wanted to run for office for.  Unlike what we saw in the general election, our candidates kept it clean, professional and above the hog wash we heard elsewhere.  It made this years decision very hard for me locally on who to vote for.  Muskegon held it head high through all that.....and we all won.  Thanks too to the candidates for helping share their stories and help grow our audience.

I really get a kick out of talking to people about the blog.  I get a bigger kick out of those who try to explain it to others.  "Well, it's a "movement" called Positively Muskegon"  or "It's a group".  I guess it's a little of both, but let me spring the real secret on you.

Positively Muskegon isn't a movement or group or anything really.  It's us.  It's Muskegon saying enough is enough of others telling our story.  It's the opportunity for those in high places to talk about big things and it's a place for those with little to have a chance to be seen and heard.  Positively Muskegon is by us....it's for us....and it's about us!  All of us!  It's news reported without the urgency....it's a conversation that doesn't drive you to click on 500 more sites and in the end of it all.....my deepest hope is that Positively Muskegon is what I am remembered for.

I came here with nothing....I have found my home and my place in the world......and it's Muskegon Michigan.  Positively Muskegon is my simple thank you to the city who loved me through it all....and gave me a second chance and a life beyond measure.

In closing...a very heartfelt thanks to the sponsors of this blog.  I never set out to make this my living, but as a few come along and said they'd like to be seen on the blog, it's kept a roof over our head.  My transition from being an employee to guy one his own had some scary moments....but I knew that I was doing the right thing, for the right reasons in the right community.  If by chance I go back to being an employee....this will continue on and we'll continue to let the rest of the world see Muskegon for what it truly is.  Home

Merry Christmas Muskegon!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

LINKED Muskegon - Your New Career Awaits

If you listen carefully, you know that for the last few years the talk is getting louder and louder about the necessity for trained skilled workers.  It's not just talk about "what could be" either.  This is a real need that will need to be met as time goes on and it's also a remarkable way to make a pretty great living!

There's even a way in Muskegon to help streamline your preparation for the future! There are multiple places involved like White Lake, Orchard View and Fruitport Community Education the MAISD and Michigan Works are asking you get to know LINKED Muskegon a little more!

Best part is.....won't cost you a dime!

MAISD on Facebook
Skilled trades?  Just what are they?  They are jobs that don't necessarily require a college degree.  Would a welding career suit you?  Maybe you'd like to learn how to operate a CNC machine?  Is the lack of a high school diploma costing you?  Do you need a hand with job readiness?  Well, the LINKED Muskegon program might just be the avenue you're in search of!

It's a collaborative effort between West Michigan Works and the Muskegon ISD.  In 18 weeks you'll become a highly trained, highly effective employee that will have the skills fill a job with a projected gap of 2 million openings due to lack of trained workers!

West MI Works Online
From the LINKED website - "Ten students participated in the pilot program during the spring of 2016. The program culminated with a showcase where students met with local employers to discuss their experience and skills. Seven of the pilot program's participants were placed into employment and seven received their GED or high school diploma upon completion."

Sound like something you'd like to know a little more about?  I stopped out to the MAISD office and talked to Randy Lindquist.  Take a listen to our chat below!

It's a growing gap and people who can do things like run a machine or weld are in high demand!  Trust me when I tell you... I come from a family of welders and pipe fitters...it's a lucrative trade that you can use in so many ways!  The opportunity for you to grow is right here...and right now.  Seize the day and get more information about LINKED Muskegon in the link below!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Norton Shores Fire Prevention Calendar 2016 in Muskegon - A 2017 Calendar

I try to make sure that the blog doesn't really get involved in other things I have going, but last night at the Roosevelt Park City Council meeting, we had a couple of the guys from the Norton Shores Fire Department stop in to talk about the work they do in the community outside their calls for service.  One part of which is a really cool calendar they have a hand putting together with areas kids.  So...I piped up and got an appointment to learn a little more!

NSFD on Facebook
Robert Gagnon is the Fire Chief and Ted Kamitz is the Fire Marshall.  Norton Shores covers their city as well as Roosevelt Park for fire protection.  They are a very engaging department and they focus on making sure that people of all ages have the knowledge they need to escape a fire.  As they spoke last night, it's come a long way from "stop drop and roll".  They have open houses...they work in the schools, they install free smoke detectors to the residents they serve...they invite teens in to job shadow and the list goes on.  I am sure that other fire departments in the area have the same kind of outreach, but since this particular calendar caught my eye...we'll talk about it.

You'll find some pretty cool things about this calendar!  Most importantly... the artwork done for the calendar is all by school kids who live in the service area of the NSFD.  Not only does their original art make a splash....the "winning photo" gets featured in the fire barn as the have been for years.  What a great reminder to the guys on the crew of the importance of their job and how they protect even the smallest in the event of a fire or emergency

I dropped into the Pontaluna fire barn and talked a little more with Chief Gaganon and Fire Marshall Kamitz.  Take a listen below!

Our police, fire and first responders all over Muskegon make sure that when the unthinkable happens, they are ready.  The work that goes into open houses....community engagement and outreach is a key piece for all of our fire and police.  We are lucky to have such good people keeping an eye on us and special thanks to the Chief and Fire Marshall for taking a few minutes today to talk about the 2017 calendar!  You can pick your calendar up at the Norton Shores City Office for $5!

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex - Let's Do It!

Make no mistake...Old Man Winter got here and grabbed hold quick!  What do you do when Muskegon is in the deep freeze?  You get out and play in to of course and there's no better spot than the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex!

The 2016 season got here a little early so...over the hills and through the woods I went to catch up with Jim Rudicil about this seasons opening and events!

Follow the Winter Sports Complex on Facebook
Always improving, the 2016 season marks a lot of great things happening at the Winter Sports Complex.  As I drove up...the all hands on deck atmosphere was strong.  They were flooding the skating rink...working on the luge....grooming the trails and I even stepped into a new, warmer, quieter lodge.  They added some new carpet...they've rigged up a big screen or two.  The skate and snowshoe rentals were all neatly organized and the snack bar was once again filled with treats for everyone.

There will be plenty of special events in the 2016.  Party in Your Parka is back...bigger and better than ever.  Watch Us Go Pink will be making a return for the Susan G Komen West Michigan push.  How about the "Try-Athalon"?  Maybe the Dine and Glide event where you ski the cross country trail from station to station to enjoy dinner?  No special event is needed though, there are plenty of open times day and night that the family can get out and enjoy the Winter season here in Muskegon.

Season Passes While They Last!!  $140 for the Family

There is still an opportunity too for you to get a season pass that will allow everyone in your household a pass to enjoy the park anytime you like at a ridiculously low price!  It was good to catch up with my buddy Jim.  Take a listen to our chat below for more details!

Amazing effort!  It's a park built by the community for the community.  The new lighting will assure not only hours of fun going well into the night, but the generosity of Arconic will assure sustainability and a reduced carbon footprint for years to come!  The park is run by a small staff and a legion of volunteers...so make use of it.  If you do....consider offering up some time to help the place out...and at very least....get those family season passes while you can!  Thanks to Jim for having me out today and stay tuned right here to hear more about the events as they get closer!!

Muskegon Winter Sports Complex Online

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Grand Opening! Yodels Frozen Yogurt Opens in North Muskegon

Sure.....it's mid Decembeer.....but hey... let's celebrate a grand opening of a frozen yogurt shop anyway!  This is Muskegon after all and who says delicious treats are exclusive to the warms Summer months?  Let's be honest....we have way more cold months than we do warm ones...so bring on the goodies!

Yodels Frozen Yogurt is now open on Holton Road in Muskegon!

Follow Yodels on Facebook
It's been a pretty good year for new business openings in Muskegon. We've seen some really cool openings in the Downtown Muskegon neighborhood.... Muskegon Heights continues to grow with more community events and business.... Norton Shores and Fruitport seem to be booming in the right areas and North of town... well, things got a little sweeter with Yodels opened the doors on December 9th!

Offering a variety of flavors of yogurt and a huge selection of toppings to customize your treat anyway you like!  The reviews have been great and the atmosphere is described at "cozy and inviting".  From the looks of the photos on their Facebook page...you can get everything from Fruity Pebbles to chocolate chips and plenty of fruit too!

Nik Tong and his wife Stacy are the folks bringing the sweets to the north side.  I had a chance to catch up with them when I stopped by the shop locates at 1971 Holton Road.  Take a listen to our chat below!

An opening is always something to celebrate!  Muskegon....ya, it's plenty unconventional to open a frozen yogurt shop in December!  Gives you plenty of time to make sure you've got all of the favorite flavor and topping combinations down so when it DOES get warm again... you'll be ready to roll with a delicious treat!  Best of luck to Yodels!  See below!!  There really are Fruity Pebbles on there!

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Celebrate the Trail of Lights This Holiday Season in Holton

How do you turn one of the biggest haunted attractions in West Michigan into one of the most endearing holiday strolls?  Well, you start of with a little snow....maybe add some holiday cheer and hot chocolate...and keep the purpose behind it pure!

Three years ago, the Trail of Terror in Holton got reworked for Christmas and the tradition continues!

Trail Of Light on Facebook
After having success year after year with the Trail of Terror in Holton, Shawn and Buffy Murphy decided to give the idea just a little twist and see if they could turn screams into laughter and togetherness for families at the holidays!  It's all there for a purpose too.  Proceeds go to help area non profits and a very important part of their family.. the Dakota Dean Murphy scholarship find.

Dakota was lost in a car accident.  He had a huge role in the Trail of Terror with his friends from school and his parents. They took the time to explain to all of the young people the trail the importance of teamwork....customer service....pride in workmanship and performance....they built a true team in the cast of the Trail.  They also stressed purpose...and to give back to the community.

For those with a vested role in the Trail.... the Christmas Light Stroll was an important part of the healing process.  Today...it's still part of that healing process...I don't know that the loss of a child can be mended in anyway...but the team that was built.... they stuck together to do a little something to remember and carry on.

I had a chance to catch up with Buffy Murphy to talk about year 3 and what you can expect this coming weekend if you head out for the stroll. Take a listen to our chat below,

It's a nice way to enjoy the great outdoors and a little holiday cheer!  It's nice too that Old Man Winter cooperated with us this year so a nice blanket of snow will be down for the brisk walk through the woods!  Enjoy some family time away from the TV, the Snapchats, Twitter's and Facebooks.  Bring your family out to enjoy the stroll in Holton!  You'll be glad you did.  More details in the photo below!

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Friday, December 9, 2016

Muskegon Heights Lights The Community Christmas Tree Monday

As 2016 tapers off, there is one thing that can't be mistaken.  It's been the year of the Heights.

What remarkable steps have been taken in the Heights.  From community clean up days, The 2000 Man March, the return of Little League, The Heights Tigers Marching Band making strides in coming back.  A new mayor, a new city manager and a renewed sense of belonging.  We've proudly covered the stories..and here's a real worm fuzzy.

The Muskegon Heights Community Christmas Tree is going to be lit Monday at 6:30.

Follow Muskegon Heights on Facebook
It's that "Whoville" moment in any community.  It's also been missing for a number of years and as Muskegon Heights heads into 2017 I am here to tell you....it's with a new outlook....the right team in place and a lot of plans to help usher in the "new normal" that is continuing to grow in the city.  Kim Simms role as Mayor has been impact-full, Jake Eckholm is a young City Manager with a clean slate of ideals and expectations...and there is plenty of optimism between them both.
The event will take place outside City Hall immediately after the Muskegon Heights City Council meeting Monday evening.

You are going to find some light refreshments like hot chocolate and treats.  You'll hear singing....a band....there's going to be a nice bonfire...and you'll find a "City of Friendly People".

I was able to catch up with Jake this morning at The Coffee Factory to hear the details.  You might hear some background ambiance...but when your news studio is a coffee shop and the word is this encouraging...you tell the story how you can.  Take a listen to out chat below.

This has been a very exciting year for the Heights. I have to admit....I have been moved to tears more than once to watch the neighborhood come together.....stand shoulder to shoulder....invite people in and to think that they are no longer willing to allow others perceptions of the community rule it....it's breathtakingly amazing.  I have to admit too....that I stood on the sidelines too long...I didn't make the first steps I should of by getting to know more people there...but now that I have....I am very grateful.  I am very excited about the possibilities of "The New Normal" and I think everyone around town should make the effort....for this one night to fill that yard at Muskegon Heights City hall and let's truly be one!

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Oakridge Students Get Dental Care With Hackley Community Care

Remember when you went to school and the school nurse was often the secretary....maybe the bus driver too and also coached the girls basketball team?  Ok, maybe not everyone went to school at a one hall school in Belmont....but I did, and I have to tell you...going to the "school nurse" today is nothing like I had.

I visited Oakridge Schools "school nurse" and holy cow!

The hub bub comes from the recent addition of a great dental program instituted through Hackley Community Care and Delta Dental.   Can you imagine?  You're in school and you have a toothache....or maybe you're parents are busy and a trip to the dentist is had to fit in.  BOOM!  It's right there in the Teen Health Center of Oakridge Schools.  If you're from the age of 10-21....you have your very own specialized health center right in the school!

I got a news release form Hackley Community Care telling me about the goings on, and I had to go see for myself.  Got to the Oakridge Middle School campus and couldn't believe what I was seeing.  It's a full fledged doctors and dental office!  I mean everything.  From basics like shots...to exam tables...lab's....dental chairs and even behavioral help.  Where was all this when I went to school?  All I remember is the school secretary handing out Ritalin to the hyper kids like me.

The office is comfortable and inviting.  The people in there...amazing!  They truly love working with teens and their families.  This isn't the only school with this kind of service.  Hackley Community Care operates a campus at Muskegon High School as well.  Grant it...I wish some of the services were not needed....like smoking cessation, mental health help, and STD things....but from an experience when I was in high school where I had to take a buddy of mine to the free clinic in Grand Rapids.....I am glad it's there for our young people.

Judy Prime is the head of the Teen Health Center at Oakridge and was elemental in establishing the Oakrigde campus too.  Take a listen to what's offered to today's young people.

Pretty remarkable huh?  To think that right there on campus....just about any need can be met for today's kids is mind boggling.  What's more important is that with the community behind them there are no co-pays....all insurance is accepted and if a service has to be paid for...it's on a scale.  I absolutely love the idea of making sure our next generations knows that they were taken care of by a grateful community.  One thing I was shown is this beautiful wall of ceramic hearts.  Every ceramic heart has been decorated by the donors who've help make this Teen Health Center happen.  This..... THIS is Muskegon.  You can click the picture for more information about Hackley Community Care on campus at Oakridge!

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7 Steps Up and Courtyard Concerts In Spring Lake Extend Giving in to Muskegon

When you're "not from around here" some of the traditional boundaries we see are really not all that apparent.  That's particularly important when it comes to helping out organizations like Mission for Area People and the United Way in Muskegon and more!

Meet Gary and Michelle Hanks who own 7 Steps Up in Spring Lake.

7 Steps Up on Facebook

7 Steps Up is a totally remarkable concert going experience.  It's a small...intimate venue that holds a lot of history and a lot of acoustic perfection.

They are also behind Courtyard Concerts.  They are benefit events that help area agencies all over the lakeshore.  If you've ever been there for an event, you know these are good people running a great operation and they are doing it for the right reasons.  Passion for both great music, a great experience and to give back to the communities they draw from.

Michelle got a hold of me just to say hi.  I had done a couple things with them just before I left radio.  I guess we had lost touch....I don't think she knew about the blog :)  "Andy?  How do we get the word out in Muskegon about a benefit concert we're having with Ruth and Max Bloomquist?"   I thought about it for a minute and said "I know this guy who writes a blog....I'll send him"

The Ho Ho Ho Holiday show is this Sunday December 11th.  Ruth and Max Bloomquist are performing their holiday show and 100% of the proceeds go back to the agencies they serve!  It will be a fun show filled with Christmas favorites and some of Ruth and Max's staples.  That "guy with the blog" stopped in to see Gary and Michelle last night.  Take a listen to our chat below.

Great people doing great things....and as Michelle pointed out... they are on "our side of the bridge"  (funny).  If you're looking for a great way to add a little holiday cheer while you're doing a good turn for some pretty remarkable agencies... head down to Spring Lake and enjoy the show with Ruth and Max.  If you'd like to order tickets ahead of time or just a little more info.. click on the logo below!  I'd also like to add a note of thanks....after we got back from taping the interview I had a note from Michelle they loved the idea of the blog....and they wanted a sponsoring role.  So welcome to 7 Steps Up as Positively Muskegon's newest sponsor.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Boys and Girls Club of The Lakeshore Has a Year End Tell-A Thon Coming Up

The Boys and Girls Club of The Lakeshore is having an impact...in fact...it's having a huge impact and it continues to grow.  We jumped on board with their message as soon as we could here on Positively Muskegon because the simple truth is this.  All of the "Watch Us Go" stuff and "This Is Muskegon" hub bub is great....but the next generation of people in Muskegon is essential.

Follow The Boys and Girls Club on Facebook

They need to know that the work we are doing now is important...and they they are valued...they need to know that belief was put into them and that returning it to the community will be their job someday.

The Boys and Girls Club of The Lakeshore put roots down in 2015 and has effected hundreds of kids already.  Their reach and work is a long term project, but the immediate results are already showing results.  They are building our future...our next leaders and business people and community members.

You can have a hands on role.  The Boys and Girls Club of the Lakeshore is having a year end "Tell-A-Thon".  How can you help?  Well, answering the phone will help if you're called.  A few bucks toward the cause is appreciated...but there's another way.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Lakeshore can use some hands on deck to assist the kids in the program making those calls!  Can you spend an hour or two helping a young person learn?  Do you have some sales experience that you'd like to pass along?  It's short notice....that's for sure, so take a listen to my chat with Dakota Crow to learn a little more.

It's pretty simple.  We have to invest in our kids.  We have to let them know that there is a foundation for them here....there's community pride here and above all, there is opportunity for them here.  It begins with us...it's passed to the next generation.  Please, help with the Tell-A-Thon if you can.  If it's not the right time...help when you can.  Great Futures Start Here!  You can click on the image below and get signed up to help.

Sign Up to Pitch In on the Tell-A-Thon

Muskegon Loves Hockey - Of All Kinds! Jacks Vs. Sledwings Dec 10th

We're a hockey town!  Going all the way back to the Zephyr's way back in 1960 to today's premiere development league in the United States the USHL...Muskegon has left it's mark on the game.  Pond hockey happens....pick up leagues are all over, pee wee's, mighty mights, legends leagues...they all happen in Muskegon.

Hockey is a physically demanding sport as we all know...but those with physical limitations want to play too....so... enter the Sled Wings!

Junior Sled Hockey is a partnership program between Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and the Grand Rapids Griffin's Youth Foundation giving players with lower limb disabilities a chance to stay active, enjoy some mobility they might otherwise never find and compete like any other athlete.  Programs start for players as young as 7.  They have home and away games like any other team and they play games both in and outside of Michigan including a very special game coming up at the LC Walker arena against the Muskegon Lumberjacks who will set aside their skates for a day for sleds!

Ralph Burr has been a long time part of Muskegon hockey and has organized the game between the Sled Wings and the Lumberjacks on December 10th.  The game is being played for a donation.  Ralph also has a very special attachment to the Sled Wings with his grandson Phillipe playing.  Ralph found a few minutes to talk about the game, and brought Phillipe and Coach Steve Kozlowski from the Sled Wings along too,  take a listen to our chat below.

Our town sport of hockey... it belongs to everyone!  It's an amazing way to see the game in a different light and it's also an awesome way for the Lumberjacks to help raise the level of exposure and outreach for sled hockey in Michigan.  Make sure you plan to head to the LC Walker Arena for the Sled Wings vs. The Lumberjacks on December 10th.  To learn a little more about the sled hockey offered by Mary Free Bed and The Griffins, click on the sled hockey photo below!

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Monday, December 5, 2016

Holiday Movie Previews Including Rogue One at Cinema Carousel in Muskegon

It's the home stretch...the movie business saves the blockbusters for the holiday season because they know that there will be plenty of time to bring in the entire family for a great day out and an immersive experience in the magic and wonder of today's surreal movie going experience.

There is no place better for it than Celebration Cinema!

Midtown Theater in Grand Rapids

Celebration Cinema began in 1944 as the Midtown Theater in Grand Rapids with one single screen where he found his calling after trying several other different business ventures up till that point.  Since.. Celebration Cinema has remained a very West Michigan based business and expanded their theaters to include 6 cities in Michigan with 12 Celebration Cinema locations!

 Celebration Cinema also leads the industry when it comes to offering premium amenities for their customers.  State of the art projection, sound, seating and concessions are all paramount and customer service is such a key focus for their company they have even created an away called the Celebrated Service Award to share with other business that go above and beyond in their communities.

Muskegon's Cinema Carousel

I have personally been going to Celebration Cinemas since I can remember.  Some of my earliest memories revolve around the movies.  From the first Star Wars film with my dad to the days when I did overnight radio where I would catch the 10pm Sunday night show, by myself most of the time, at Studio 28.

Back to the season at hand though.  It's another block buster holiday season for the movies all being ushered in by Rogue One - A Star Wars Story.  I grabbed my go to guy at Cinema Carousel in Muskegon, Tom Bitson to talk about the latest installment from a long time ago....in a galaxy far away....and what else the season is bringing for movie lovers everywhere.  Take a listen to our chat below!

No matter your taste in movies... Celebration Cinema is the destination.  Make sure you spend some time with your family enjoying the amazing entertainment and experience of the movies this holiday season.  It's a true occasion for kids to head to the movies and where better to get some quiet time and family fun.  For a complete list of all the holiday movies coming up, click on the Celebration Cinema logo below!  Thanks to Tom Bitson for finding a few minutes to help preview this seasons big hits!!

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