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Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Holiday Stroll on the Fenner Road Holiday Trail

With the holidays here, every one is in a hurry...everyone is at their limit when it comes to the hustle and bustle and everyone is also in search of just one of those quiet moments that they can enjoy as a family, together, that won't break the bank.  For some, the days when the charm of the holiday's are long gone, but it's important to remember that our kids....they still feel the magic and are still delighted by all that surrounds the holiday season.

All that noise we hear, day in and day out can be washed away by the sound of "Jingle Bells" and the sights of some nice lights and favorite characters of both Christmas today and Christmas past if we let them.  Some may take their annual drive around area neighborhoods to see what there is to see.  Others might bury themselves in the Hallmark Channel for some binge watching and others, well, they might go the extra mile and take a look around their property to see what a little imagination and innovation can do for them, and while they are at it, why not invite the community out to see what there is to see..and share in the holiday spirit.
Fenner Road Holiday Trail on Facebook

Such is the case with Patti Winsemius.  Patti and family live out on Fenner Road on the North side of town and a few years ago, at the behest of her granddaughter, it was time to decorate the woods and have a party.  Now, keep in mind, this was a Halloween request at the time, but the simple first suggestion grew.  A year or so later right after Halloween was done up went the Christmas decor and today, you'll find the Fenner Road Holiday Trail open to all who'd like a gentle stroll through the woods to the delight of nice songs, friendly characters and comfortable surroundings.

It's a hobby to Patti.  She takes great delight in re-purposing things she finds at garage sales and second hand shops.  She's recruited some help from family when it comes to painting things and a couple years ago, when running extension cords got a little bothersome,  the hubs got on it and put some underground wiring out there to help things out.  There has never been a charge to take the stroll, at either Halloween or Christmas, it's just a way to share some warmth and joy to anyone who'd like to slow the pace for a few minutes and enjoy the stroll.

Having a visit from Positively Muskegon did however spark an idea for Patti.  She went to the Township hall and learned about a couple of local families that could use a hand this holiday season.  It's by no means required, but...they will be willing to take some small donations or maybe some non perishable food items or personal care items to help these local families.  You might find a donation box at the end of the stroll or maybe a place to leave some food, but again, it's by offering only if you care to help.

The walk, located at 4310 Fenner Road in Muskegon opens at dusk and it's a very family friendly experience.  Patti and I sat down to talk a little about it and then, stick around for a few highlights of the walk at the end of the video!  Take a look.

This is what this time of year is supposed to be about.  We were even invited to stay for hamburgers after we taped!  Take a few minutes to enjoy what the Winsemius family has created, and if you care to help out with the donations for the families in need, please do.  There are lots of opportunities to see great displays around town, Muskegon and the good people here always go the extra mile to bring a little joy.  Head on out to the Fenner Road Holiday Trail with the kids for a stroll of your own.  It's well worth the trip, and the time away from all the noise.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Giving Back Christmas 2018 - Andrea Rosema and Crew Still Going Strong For Muskeogn

It was way back when in 2015 this little blog got started.  It wasn't much more than an idea and a GoPro.  What it was to become and what it would grow into were still to be comprehended but one message from a mom out in Wolf Lake shifted the entire purpose.  It was a cold day in December, in a "she shed" in a back yard where the focus came to be, and as long as it's happening, we're going to go back

Giving back Christmas was the brainchild of Andrea Rosema and friends.  The idea was to put on a party, open to all area kids to come out to and have a little holiday cheer.  Decorate some cookies, make a card for a soldier, a visit with Santa to round things out.  Maybe some prizes, food and drink..all in all, just what anyone is supposed to do at the holidays.  Get together and be a part of a community.  It's caring friends and neighbors who take the time after work to go out hustle up some sponsors, put out some flyers, spread the word through social media and the old "phone tree".  This is grass roots community building in action, and this is exactly what Positively Muskegon is all about.

Click Here for Giving Back Christmas on Facebook
We got the the party a year late.  Hey, it wasn't really our fault that they started a year before we did.  But for 4 years now, the VFW on Apple has been the home of the festivities.  December 15th is the date this year and the time runs from 1-5.  It's not just for Wolf Lakers, anyone is welcome and it's free.  Sure, they accept donations but the idea is advertised in the title, "Giving Back Christmas".  It's an event to just enjoy for anyone to not worry about the cost of tickets, levels of seating or who's who.

Andrea and I once again met up in that frozen "she shed" to talk about what's to come this year.  It's the invitation extended to you and yours to join the fun on Saturday the 15th and if you like what's going on, it's your chance to help support the event.  Take a listen.

It's a joy to visit Andrea every year.  We've grown a little, Giving Back Christmas has as well.  It's people like Andrea and her friends that go the extra mile to make Muskegon a better place.  What we do here would simply be impossible without the work of so many good people like the group of folks that work with Andrew to help this very special event come together.  Head out to the VFW with your youngins' and enjoy on the 15th.  There's a list of everything to do below.  Our thanks to Andrea again not only for what she and her friends add, but for that focus she gave us early on.  President Kennedy said "One person can make a difference, and everyone should try."  Pretty sure he was talking about Andrea.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Britta Introduces You To Linda Johnson - Heart Transplant Recipient Who Shares Her Story

Positively Muskegon had the great privilege to visit with an amazing woman...Linda Johnson...and learn more about her incredible heart transplant story. 

When I arrived at Linda's beautiful home in East Muskegon I was greeted by Linda's friendly rescued pup....   I knew right away that I was about to meet a very kind, special lady.

Meeting Linda for the first time I would have never guessed in a million years that just 16 months earlier she had received a heart transplant..... Beautiful, healthy lady with an incredible, growing family to live for.   Linda Johnson, a very proud lifelong Muskegon native.... Wife, Mother to three daughters and 4 beautiful grandchildren (and more on the way).

Linda's whole world changed a few years back when she discovered (literally overnight) that she had a very serious, life threatening heart ailment that would eventually require her to receive a heart transplant.    As anyone could imagine....with that sudden news, the fears that would overwhelm a person's life.    Amazingly and bravely she persevered and kept her thoughts positive...having so much to live for.

As several years passed....with her energy level at an all time low...needing sleep all the time...taking many medications....an electrical heart pump placed in her chest to keep her blood flowing electronically, Linda had absolutely no natural heart beat for two years while waiting for a heart donor.

Organs are in very high demand....and the only way most organs can be found is if an individual elects to donate their organs....  Any individual who would like to (in case of an untimely death) donate organs can find information on how to do so at any of the sights listed below.

Linda received the call in August of 2017, that a heart had been found for her.... Her husband Charlie drove her to Spectrum.... She was placed into an induced coma for several days....her surgery took 8-10 hours....and by the grace of God....the excellent medical skill and technology....and continued, constant self monitoring and medication... Linda is a healthy, active survivor.   Linda said that when she awoke to a room full of caring medical staff and her husband...she was able to feel her heartbeat for the first time in years.

If you would like to learn more about organ donation or Linda's incredible story please watch the interview with Linda and please check out the posted sights below.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 Celebrates The 16th Annual Dinner of Hope December 8th at VFW on Witham

On quick glance, you see black vests, patches, Harley's and beards on most of the members.  A quick peek behind the initial glimpse though and you're going to find a group of people dedicated to serving veterans, advocating for POW and MIA members of the military and issues facing them and their families.  As you'll hear in a short minute here in the video, Rolling Thunder isn't about just having another patch on a vest, it's about a commitment to serving.

Luckily for us here at Positively Muskegon, Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 of Michigan is no stranger to us.  We've been working with them for years to show you the incredible D-Day event they produce down at the LST-393 located at the Mart-Dock in Downtown Muskegon.  It's still a growing event and they add more splendor and reflection year after year.  However, their work isn't just one event yearly.  They work hard to represent their organization in parades, expos, and other events where they can spread the message advocating for those who have served as well as those who have yet to come home.
Follow Rolling Thunder Ch 4 on Facebook

They host events too!  Great things to help raise a few bucks for the club as well as the work they do. One that's coming up in the Spring is a pool tournament that you can use anything except a pool cue in it!  Stay tuned for details on that!  But the event that's coming up isn't about raising money  as much as it is raising a little goodwill and spirits of vet's and the community together.

For 16 years now, Rolling Thunder has put on The Dinner of Hope.  It's a holiday meal served buffet style for anyone wanting or needing to share the holiday spirit with veterans and families.  Now, they won't turn down a financial hand if you have the ability to pay, but..if you are not, no one will be turned away from a hot meal with all the fixin's and some good down home community fellowship as we draw closer to the Holiday's.  Goodwill to all is what this time of year is about and Rolling Thunder is all about building community and awareness for their cause so, save the date!  Saturday December 8th from 12n-3p.  The dinner will be held at the VFW in North Muskegon at the corner of Witham and Dykstra,

Al Thompson from Rolling Thunder got a hold of me originally and Randy Clapper grabbed center stage to talk about the group and the dinner.  Take a listen.

The door is open for you Saturday to learn a little more about Rolling Thunder, thank some Veterans who were willing to give all and if you need a hot and hearty meal...there will be one waiting.  The men and women of Rolling Thunder are one of those groups who do an awful lot "under the radar" for those who might otherwise go forgotten. Stop out and see them Saturday or visit their site to learn more!  Thanks so much to them for all they do!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Santa's Helpers of Muskegon Helping Those Who Struggle to Make Christmas Magic Happen

  The holidays are fast approaching and for some, it's a dreaded time of year.  So much pressure to live up to the hype and excitement of the glitz and glamour of all the gift giving and huge surprises under the tree.  So much pressure from the advertising world, peers and social media in today's world for the biggest, best and most.  However, there are families who struggle to get by.  Some work more than one job to sustain the basics, and all the extras are hard to come by.

  One of the things that makes Muskegon so awesome is that in Muskegon, we always find a way to band together and help.  We're a very hard working town and getting our hands dirty and making sure that those in need don't go without seems to be a "thing".  It's one of the best parts of this community.  There are plenty of the "big organizations" that handle this kind of thing, but we always seem to see the grass roots things pop up too and when they take root and grow, it's because there are people behind them who understand what it is to have to go the extra mile to make ends meet and they genuinely want to see others not have to struggle the way they did.  More hands make light work right?
Find Santa's Helpers Muskegon on Facebook

  Santa's Helpers of Muskegon got started 4 years ago.  The loss of some family members sparked the idea...how can they take a personal tragedy and spark something good for others.  Year one, they served 35 kids.  They paired kids with sponsor families and organizations to help make a little magic happen.  They have grown.  Now, the number of kids is over 100 and the people willing to sponsor a kid has grown right along with them.  The need for good in the world is proven time and time again, when sometimes perfect strangers learn what a child needs by way of clothes or essentials and maybe a few toys and they make it happen.  The best part of it too, is that it happens right here in Muskegon.  Neighbors taking care of neighbors and that's what we are and have always been all about.

  I caught up with Karen Gagnon, Brie Shotwell and and Kathy Strait who founded and have grown this group of good.  We also had a surprise guest join us toward the tail end of the visit.  Take a listen to hear how this group has done it and continues to grow.

  It's not rocket science to take care of your community.  Good people who want to make a difference can do so much with an idea and some initiative.  Another amazing part of the story, turning a tragedy into a triumph.  The loss of a couple of kids meant that their memory will go on in the light of the joy of others when those kids who were at risk of going without, don't have to because someone cared enough to take a little action and make a difference.  You can connect with Santa's Helpers of Muskegon by finding them on Facebook.  Their page is linked in the picture above.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Storytime and Free Books for Kids Every Month at The United Way of Muskegon November 27th

  We're going to hit you with a couple of facts right off the bat.  1) It's a proven fact that kids that can read before they enter school will have a much better academic career than those who can't.  2) There are already over 4000 kids in the Muskegon Area who participate in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program where a brand new book is sent directly to them every month from birth till they are 5.  The excitement of getting something in the mail alone for your kid should keep ya reading.

Learn More About the Dolly Parton Imagination Library
  On November 27th you and your youngsters are invited to the United Way of the Lakeshore for a fun event highlighting the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program that happens through the United Way.  There will be plenty of stories read to kids from some of the best readers in town all of which are on hand to show kids just how much fun reading can be,  Unlock the imagination a little and get those young eyes and minds on something other than video screens for a while.  Not only will they be able to hear some incredible stories read, parents and community members can get those kids signed up to be part of the magic monthly when the new books start showing up in the mailbox.  It's also a great way to learn a little more about the essential needs of developing reading early.

  The event goes from 10:30a-1:30p at the United Way in Muskegon on November 27th and if you're north of town, they will be in Pentwater at the Storybook Village from 4p-6p.  Expert readers will be on hand to add the sizzle to the story with their narration and all the stops have been pulled out to welcome in one of the busiest people on the planet this time of the year.  Yes, Santa himself will be the last story reader in Muskegon and then there will be some candy canes handed out for the kids who came to enjoy the program.

  Dominique Bunker of The United Way of the Lakeshore joined me to talk about the event and the fun surrounding it.  Take a listen to our chat below.

  Hey, if nothing else, think of it as a sneak Christmas gift for your kids!!  They won't even know what hit 'em.  You're giving them a book a month and a visit with Santa all while you're setting the tone for the rest of their lives by encouraging them to read!!  Pretty amazing how it all works huh?  The 27th is Giving Tuesday, so, give a gift they will use their entire life...a love of reading.  Our thanks to The United Way of the Lakeshore for all they do and for inspiring young readers everywhere.  If you'd like to know more about the United Way here in town, click on the image below to visit their page.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Folkert Community Hub Invites You Out December 4th For An Announcement

  The Folkert Community Hub is the home of No More Sidelines.  Located on Seminole Road in Norton Shores, "The Hub" was chosen after a lengthy search for a place for this group to call home for it's versatility, location and the ability to expand to be more than just a club for the participants in No More Sidelines.  The founders wanted a true space that anyone in the area could consider their community space.

  The facility boasts meeting space, banquet facilities, expansive room for expos, a gym, a beautiful commercial grade kitchen and also houses some pretty amazing programs during the day to help kids with unique abilities.  Loving care is put into every corner of the building.  There have been many wedding receptions held, plenty of fundraisers and luncheons.  Lot's of games and fun for the No More Sidelines participants and the mission continues.  The Hub was designed to be a place to bring people together and break down barriers.
Follow No More Sidelines on Facebook

  Evolution has always been part of The Hub.  At one point, the building was the design facility of General Dynamics.  It was a maze of partitions and fabrication areas as the workers there designed and built weapons.  The building itself was designed to government spec for security purposes.  No windows, rooms that were silent to the "top secret" level and closed communications systems.  Bits and pieces were changes here and there...fabrication became the gym....windows were added to the banquet rooms.....brighter paint.....newer carpet....the transformation was steady and today, it's an inviting place for all, and those who rent it for an occasion, are helping the No More Sidelines group.  All the proceeds go to help the families who participate.  It's a Muskegon based organization that's growing still today.

  On December 4th at 10am you are invited to The Folkert Community Hub for an announcement about the future of The Hub and No More Sidelines.  There are some exciting plans for the building as well as the participants that call it home.  There will be some media on hand, some refreshments served and if you've never had the chance, a tour of the building so you can see first hand just how incredible the place is.  I was invited by Angie Brock and Mary Dandron to stop in and get you a little sneak preview of what's coming.  Take a listen.

  Want the whole story?  December 4th!  10a!!  One of the most wonderful things I have ever been a part of has been No More Sidelines.  I have learned more about myself and more importantly, I have learned that what I once thought were some of the really big differences in people, are not at all.  I will be forever grateful to the families and founders of No More Sidelines and hope you can make it out to hear what's next on December 4th.  If you'd like to know more about No More Sidelines, click on the photo below.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Family Promise Supermarket Sweep at Great Lakes Fresh Market November 16th 2018

  The tickets were sold and the stage was set.  It was time for the fin of the Supermarket Sweep to get underway at Great Lake Fresh Market on Friday morning November 16th on Sherman Ave in Muskegon.  Just shy of 800 tickets were sold to benefit Family Promise of the Lakeshore.  Family Promise keeps families together in a homeless emergency.

  It's a completely community supported organization, and Marian McDermod and her staff work tirelessly to make sure that needs are met.  Food, personal care items, education on running a household and making sure that once the time with Family Promise is up, the families who do have to rely on their service, have more knowledge and won't have to face the same crisis twice.  It's a tremendous outreach and something everyone in Muskegon should be very proud of.

Visit Family Promise of the Lakeshore Online

Ed and Marion showing off the register tape
  Ed Wosinski was our contestant.  His wife's ticket was actually drawn, but she's a teacher up at Holton Schools and had a test that had to be given and couldn't make it out of work, so Ed stepped up.  We all met up at the store about 8:30 to go over some of the rules.  No alcohol, cigarettes, lottery tickets or gift cards.  There is a 5 minute limit and other than that...the store is yours.  Ed did a couple of pre-sweep walk through laps to see what was where and of course the Mrs. gave him a list.

  Here's the twist though, Ed's plan was to get only a handful of things for himself.  The rest was all going back to Family Promise or another organization that Ed and his wife are passionate about working with refugees here in the area.  Ed's the Youth Minister at First Lutheran Church and wanted to show by example that giving can so so much further.

It's a wild run, so give yourself a few minutes and take a look and watch for the total at the end.  The Supermarket Sweep is on.  Go Ed Go!!

  What a unique and fun fundraiser for a remarkable organization.  Ed's generosity will go far beyond the $10 ticket it cost he and his wife to be in the drawing and his example is one for all of us to follow.  Our thanks to Great Lakes Fresh Market for their generous support of the  Family Promise of the Lakeshore.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Bells are Ringing - Busy Season Starts for The Salvation Army of Muskegon

  You'll hear the bells soon, you'll see the Red Kettles and you'll know that the season is upon us.  What would the holidays be without The Salvation Army outside your favorite place to shop with that familiar gentle ring and the sounds of "Thank You - Merry Christmas"?  In an ever increasing and fast paced world it's the small stuff that makes it feel like home and the nostalgia of the bells goes back across generations.

  Well, there are plenty more ways you can help out the Salvation Army than with just the pocket change.  Although, that pocket change, it adds up.  If everyone in the county gave less than a dollar, the Salvation Army would make the Kettle Campaign goal for the year and that would be that.  Less than a buck!  Imagine that?  But it's so much more than just the spare change.  The Salvation Army's reach is deep and your chance to be a part of what they do and how they help comes in a variety of ways.
Click on the Sweet Season Pass Pin to Visit the SA Muskegon on Facebook

  Want to be on the Turkey Run?  You can help Thanksgiving morning by delivering dinners to those in need around Muskegon County.  Want to get a sweet lapel pin that shows you have a "Season Pass" for the bell ringers?  You can make a donation to do just that and sport some snazzy attire accouterments for some holiday bling.  Want to be part of the Kettle Campaign Kick Off?  Show up at the Community Tree Lighting event at Hackley Park November 24th at 5:30p.  Want a starring role?  YOU!  Yes YOU!!  Can be a bell ringer!  Imagine the glory and honor or being out and seeing friends and neighbors with you and your chest puffed out doing your part!  You can do one or all!

  I sat down with Robin Henshaw-Hard and Captain Chris Carlin to talk about the "busy season" at the Salvation Army of Muskegon and how you're part in all of it can help it come off without a hitch.  Take a listen. 

  There is a lot of good that comes out of the Salvation Army and if it's some spare change or if it's some time you can spare, your part of the total adds up quick!  If you see a bell ringer, pennies nickles and dimes add up.  If you want to see the face of someone light up on Thanksgiving, consider the Turkey Run for a few hours and if you can give a little more, please do.  Our community is better because of the work of the Salavation Army.  We'll plan on seeing you out soon ringing some bells somewhere in town!  If you'd like to know more about how to be involved you can visit the Salvation Army of Muskegon on their website below!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Meet Asia Hughes - Boys and Girls Club of Muskegon and The Lakeshore's Youth of the Year

It was a night of celebration and anticipation at the Holiday Inn Downtown Muskegon on November 8th.  The Boys and Girls Club of The Muskegon Lakeshore had the ballroom to celebrate some of their members for their accomplishments in and out of the club.  Factored in are things like how they do in school, personal achievements and more.  But this year, there was a twist.  There was a voting element among the attendees and of the 3 finalists, it could go to any.

Founded in 2015 after a monumental effort on the part of so many in Muskegon, the Boys and Girls Club has begun to start to show that the mission....works.  It's a safe harbor to some, to others a place for character development or academics, others might learn about healthy lifestyles and some might need it for a sense of belonging, healthy relationships and fun.  The impact is monumental and it's growing.  There are now over 1000 registered members of the club who take part in the activities provided and they are given the opportunity to flourish year round.

Find the Boys and Girls Club of Muskegon on Facebook
With the programs and activities come the need for an occasional fund raiser and celebration of accomplishments.  The tables were set, the guests arrives and the honorees were all mixed in with the crowd.  There were some proud parents, some grand parents sprinkled in for good measure.  Board members, contributors and the average joe who just wanted to see a nice program celebrating young people.  As the night unfolded and the program got underway, we heard from the top three of 6 finalists as to what the Boys and Girls Club has meant to them, what some of their life circumstances were and how they have applied what they have gleaned from the club to be part of their life going forward.

Elroy, Michael and Asia got up and shared some thoughts with the audience of a couple hundred people.  Not an easy task for anyone, but they injected personality, insight and even some humor into their presentation.  Hopes and dreams were shared, some of the bumps in life were as well and you could have literally heard a pin drop when you heard what some of these young people have lived through.  None of which is even a senior in high school yet.  To say they have lived more life at 15 than most of us will ever see is an understatement.

After the stories, the voting took place on Ipads and cell phones and when the announcement was made...Asia was the Youth of the Year.  She spent her younger days in foster care and the experience was less than ideal.  Instead of letting it consume her, at 15 she knows that her mission in life is to make sure those who are in foster care in future generations don't have the same experience she did.  She joined me for a quick conversation in the afterglow of the ceremony, you can still heat the buzz going on around us as we talk.  Take a listen.

Smart, powerful, determined and strong.  Her story on stage brought the room to a stand still and her presence in person is one of a remarkable future leader.  I have done enough around people in my life to know that there are some who have been touched by their life experiences, those who have helped shape them...both for the good and bad and they are able to take all of that and become a force.  Asia is all of that at such a young age and her future...limitless.  It was a great honor to be part of the evening and to spend a few minutes with the kid, I promise you...there will come a day when we all say "We knew her when."

If you'd like to know more about the Boys and Girls Club of Muskegon, click on their logo below to visit their website.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Help the Family and Friends of Pam Allen Saturday November 10th at the VFW on Grand Haven Road

In a past life, I had a job and was told that, "No one gets on the air unless they pay.  Even if it's a benefit spaghetti dinner at a VFW Hall, cash is king and we don't give out air time".  I kinda scratched my head and did it anyway, because what's the worst that could happen?  Getting fired?  Been down that road before and you know...it always seemed to work out.  Whatever.  Thanks for the pep talk.

As time has gone on, I have found that there is a whole lot more to a spaghetti dinner than just a benefit.  It's a chance for all of us as a community to find a small way to give a little something back to someone and get together. It's a chance for some fellowship, a chance for some local business to show that they care and a chance to help defer the burden that people find themselves in from time to time when it comes to medical needs, final costs, catastrophic losses...you name it.  It takes a village and there is no better village than Muskegon when it comes to taking care of our own.
Pam Allen Benefit Event on Facebook

One of the "care takers" is Jack Allen Jr.  He's a devoted husband to Pam and he's out every chance he can get helping others benefits if it's for veterans causes, those with an illness or whatever.  He does it without expectation of recognition or return and he's gone on about it while doing all he can to take care of Pam who was attacked by a blood born virus years ago that hit her spinal cord and left her paralyzed.  In all the years I have known Jack, it's always been about someone else.  I didn't even know he had a wife, let alone his devotion to take care of her.  Jack has spent countless hours helping others, and it's pretty clear to see why.  He understands how hard it can be.

This Saturday, the favor will be returned.  You guessed it.  A spaghetti dinner with all the fixins'.  Raffles, music, silent auctions, donations, good cheer and maybe a tear or two.  A thankful community will come together to return the kindness paid in advance for all the others who have been given a hand by Jacks silent behind the scenes work.  The event will be held at the VFW at 5209 Grand Haven Road by the Muskegon County Airport.  Barb VanBoglen is part of the group working to out the event on.  Barb had the original idea to get the Sandy Corely Memorial Run going, so she's got a little experience in putting on a good benefit, take a listen to our talk.

You can't even get a hamburger out anymore for $10 bucks.  A fantastic spaghetti dinner, a chance to help someone who spends more time helping others than themselves and a chance to win a 50/50!!  Way better odds than the lottery.  :)  Jack is the kind of guy who'd never ask, so let's all do what we can to help get Pam what she needs and remind them that a grateful community stands behind them. If you can't make the benefit.  There is a link to the Go Fund Me page if you click on the photo below.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Win a Supermarket Sweep to Benefit Family Promise of the Lakeshore from Great Lakes Fresh Market

You may remember the old game show, "Supermarket Sweep".  It ran on some cable channel and created quite a buzz for a short while there with it's cheesy approach and campy feel, but people watched and people played.  The idea was people did the quiz show part to win time and then at the end, they got to race through the aisles to see how much they could gather up in their time. It was a lot of fun, and your chance to play is happening!

Your chance to play comes as a benefit for Family Promise of the Lakeshore.  It's a fun spin to raise a few bucks for the work they do to keep families together when they experience a temporary homelessness emergency.  So often, if a family finds themselves with no place to go, they are broken up and the father has to go to a men's shelter while the mother and children have to find accommodations elsewhere adding to an already incredibly stressful time by dividing up a family.  Well, Family Promise of the Lakeshore provides them a safe place to remain together as a family while they bridge the gap and work their way back to their own home again.  The can get some education on proper running of a household, money management, nutrition and so much more.  The outreach of Family Promise is amazing and it's 100% funded by community support.  If you want to see miracles in action, a visit to their campus on Crozier in Muskegon will be proof positive that they do happen every day, right here.
Click Here to Get Your Raffle Tickets for the Sweep!

Partnering with Family Promise of the Lakeshore is Great Lakes Fresh Market.  They came along a couple years ago and we were happy to introduce you to them.  They have three stores in the area.  Their remodels are complete, their shelves are stocked full and they bring that neighborhood grocery store feel back to Norton Shores, North Muskegon and Muskegon Township with their store on Apple Ave.  As they have settled in, they thought it a good idea to start to share some of the good fortune they have found and chose this fun way to help Family Promise raise a few bucks and some awareness of their mission.

Tickets to be in this raffle are $10 bucks!  You can get them at your local Great Lakes Fresh Market or by stopping in to Family Promise of the Lakeshore.  You can also follow the link to the right to visit the Family Promise website to buy a ticket.  The drawing will be held on Facebook live on November 12th and the sweep itself will be held at the Great Lakes Fresh Market on Sherman in Muskegon November 16th and will be broadcast on Facebook live too!  No, David Ruprecht won't be there, but Andy O is just as cheesy and he'll be the host for the fun.

Marian Mcdermed is the Director of Family Promise of the Lakeshore and Lisa Gentz is with Great Lakes Fresh Market.  Take a listen to our chat and get the details!

How's that for a fun way to help an amazing cause?  Get your tickets while you can by stopping in to any Great Lakes Fresh Market or Family Promise of the Lakeshore on Crozier in Muskegon.  You can also use the link above to purchase your tickets online!!  We'll keep our fingers crossed for you to be running the aisles of the store soon, listening for that familiar "beep" as we have some fun with a Supermarket Sweep.  You can visit Great Lakes Fresh Market online by clicking the photo below.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Serenity II Life Skills and Dynamics Magnifying Your Identity and Owning It November 10th - Pathway To Owning You Home

A year or so ago, we first met Priscilla Agnew.  Priscilla is a community organizer who's mission is to provide people with the skills and confidence needed to see the potential in themselves and get past barriers in their lives that are the perceived things that hold them back.  so often, it's only what's in our mind that creates a barrier and Priscilla brings together the people and organizations to help jump those hurdles.

There's an event coming up November 10th at Fricano's on Muskegon Lake all about her endeavors.  It's called Magnifying Your Identity and Owning It.  It's a free event and you'll find resources for empowerment, overcoming hindrance, gaining knowledge and getting back what might have been lost.  There will be a special keynote speaker on shifting hardships and identifying your dreams and vision.  A big part of anyone's dreams and vision would be home ownership and that's what Priscilla has brought our group together today for.
See Muskegon Affordable Luxury Homes on Facebook

Imagine if you will the possibility of home ownership.  Putting an end to rent and the feeling that comes with owning your home.  It's not as difficult as you think and even if you are of the mindset that you can't because of a credit score or what's available out there, the answers are here.  It's a big step, that's for sure, but it's also very much a community building endeavor a source of pride and a chance to earn on you investment.  The bottomless pit of rent is done and you can step into a better place than you figured.  It's possible with who you'll hear in our talk today.  You owning a home is very much a reality no matter where you are on the income spectrum and you could actually save money by owning.
Contact Marisol Garcia Linstrom 
Watch the video and see Priscilla again, she's got the details on the event coming up at Fricano's and her organization Serenity II.  Bobby Sisk is a home builder with Muskegon Affordable Luxury Homes.  He find houses that need to be rehabbed, guts them goes to work from the ground up and makes them new.  New mechanical's, flooring, paint, wiring...whatever it needs the TLC goes in and it's a turn key home for you to walk into for less than you'll pay in rent in most cases.  Finally, Marisol Garcil Linstrom.  Marisol is a Norton Shores gal with an office in Grand Haven for Northpointe Bank.  She's got the took kit to put you on the path to get you the keys to one of these homes and can help you understand the value in the investment, and what's best...she can help you fix anything that stands in your way.  Take a listen to our discussion...

It might seem like the impossible, but it's true.  There are people out there working very hard to help rebuild every corner of Muskegon and the people in it.  If you are out for some emboldening of yourself, make sure you attend Priscilla's event on November 10th at Fricano's.  Those barriers you see and feel might just be a figment of your imagination.  If you think that it's time for you to take the next step and make yourself a home owner as opposed to a renter...now's the time.  The exuberant feeling of renewal is everywhere in Muskegon right now and all you have to do is jump on the bandwagon.   For more on the Life Skills and Dynamics event click on the logo below to visit their event page.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Second Annual Fatherhood Summit October 27th at the Career Tech Center in Muskegon With Dads on Deck

It's the biggest step a guy can take, and for some it can be one of the scariest.  The idea of fatherhood is enormous.  So much so, that in my "child rearing" years, I was so afraid that I would do more harm than good due to my own life circumstances, I never even tried.  I could barely take care of myself and who was I to think that bringing in someone else would be a fair or good option.  I didn't want my mess at the time to go any further.

As daunting a task as it can be, it's an essential role in the lives of kids.  Even at the moment of birth some say that a baby can recognize a fathers voice.  A fathers role helps in the health of a pregnancy, fathers help keep kids from living a life in poverty and kids who live in a fatherless home are twice as likely to repeat a grade in school.  Fathers add so much to lives from parenting styles which are a little more spontaneous and physical giving kids the ability to be a little more rambunctious and adventurous and fathers also teach by example, showing kids by experience how things are done and why.  I think back to sitting in the garage with my dad changing the oil in the cars or maybe working on the lawnmower or something.  Not only were they lessons....but they were bonding times.  It seemed like an exclusive club out there, especially in the Winter when he'd turn the heater on and use the hot water to wash the cars.  Fathers tend too, to let their kids work through frustrations and figure out things for themselves a little bit and of course there's the discipline factor.  A mom tends to discipline behavior and emotional relationships while a father leans more toward what needs to be taught to be successful in society and in an every day world.  It's truly a role that is essential in the development of young people.
Dads on Deck Summit on Facebook

But wait...where's the instruction manual?   Bad news.  There isn't one.  BUT!  There is an opportunity to get some knowledge on the subject, free of charge and they will eve feed you for coming out!  On October 27th the MAISD will be hosting The Second Annual Fatherhood Summit from 10a-2p at the Career Tech Center.  It's an opportunity first and foremost to see that you're not alone in thinking being a dad is overwhelming.  It's also a great chance to hear from some top speakers in the field as to what being a father is all about and what it means to the development of the child.  Even if things were not able to work out with you and the Mrs., there are guys here who have walked the walk and can help you better understand the importance of your role in these young peoples lives.  We're all about rebuilding community, and all of the slogans, and billboards and social media groups are great....but the power...truly lies in you and how you help build the future with our children!  Advance registration is requested you can CLICK HERE to email your request.

I met up with Norman Young who's with the Muskegon ISD to talk a little about this event and how fathers can learn the importance of their roles and how they can join this summit to see that they are not alone in wondering and that there truly is strength in numbers when it comes to spreading knowledge when it comes to tough questions.  Take a listen.

Tell ya what.  I for see a future leader in Norman.  Keep your eye on this guy.  But, we're here to talk parenting and get you a few new tools for the trade!  Get out to the Second Annual Dads on Deck Fatherhood Summit if you think you need a hand, or better yet...if you think you can offer one.  If you've been down the path, remember what it was like and mentor a younger guy.  If you don't know where square one is, the summit is a great start!  The invite is there, it's up to you to take advantage of it.  4 hours on a Saturday can make a big impact on you, and more over, a big impact on the future.  To visit the Dads on Deck Facebook Page, please click on their logo below.


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Talk Sooner - A Hand From The Health Project on How to Discuss Drugs With Your Kids

It's one of those awkward conversations that parents have to have.  How do you bring up the dangers of substance use and abuse to your kids?  How do you address topics that you yourself might have been guilty of at one point or another?  Don't the schools have programs for that kind of thing?  Aren't they learning all they need to know on the internet?  Um....it's not that easy....but...it's not as difficult as you think either.

First off, if you're a regular reader you know that I am a very thankfully recovering alcoholic.  What began for me at 12 because I couldn't sleep ran it's course until I was 33 and completely bottomed out.  In that time, I went from half a beer to get me drowsy enough to sleep to a couple gallons of whiskey a week.  Back then, they relied on the "scare tactics" to try and keep young people away from things, and as I sat and listened to talk after talk, it was always with the mindset "that will never be me."  Well, guess what, it didn't work.  Hindsight being 20/20 in my case, there probably wasn't much anyone could have done and that's a really hard part of addiction.  The helplessness that those who love the addict feel because there's literally nothing they can do or say to change things.

Learn More About The Health Project

It doesn't mean though that parents shouldn't try.  But how?  Do you just sit down one day and say "Look kid....this that or the other thing is bad and you shouldn't do it!"  or do you sit and spill your guts about all the stupid stuff you survived in your younger days?  Probably not a great idea to tell the young people your're trying to mold into someone that you barely avoided jail a couple hundred times.  Too bad no one wrote a book on this kind of thing.  Well, there might not be a book, (although I am sure there are plenty), but there is an app for that.

Talk Sooner is an app developed for parents to give them the essential tools they need as to how to communicate the dangers and pitfalls possible when it comes to substance use and abuse.  Research has show that young people and teens want this kind of information to come from their parents.  So as difficult as it might be to reveal some of yourself to them YOU are the most important person to communicate effectively what can happen both in the short and long term of substance use and abuse.  When is the time to start the talk?  How do you approach the subject?  What kind of drugs are kids exposed to today and what are their effects?  Trust me... a look at the app and you'll see some things we never even thought of back in our day that kids are facing today.  It's a free app and it's designed to empower you to begin to shape their young minds as early as birth to develop a relationship that can be more comfortable when it comes time to talk about the tough stuff.

I met up with Missy Gallegos and Rachel McCoy of The Health Project of Mercy Health in Muskegon to talk about this app and how it can benefit your family.  You can even catch the PSA that Muskegon's own "Isabelle" did to help spread the word.  Take a listen.

It's not an easy chat for anyone, but...let me tell you from experience.  21 years of addiction is no picnic either.  I look back and as I said at the beginning, the hardship and anguish I put myself and family through was probably unavoidable, but I am just one case.  Parents... I implore you to know the facts....know what your kids are facing and know how best to talk to them in a manner that isn't confrontational, demeaning or makes them feel like somehow they are the only kid who's ever faced this kind of thing.  There's a link to the website in the photo below.  Click on that and get the app and the know how.  They are our most precious commodity.  Know how to talk sooner to your kids.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Muskegon Lakeshore Figure Skating Club Presents a Free Halloween Ice Show October 28th

Brace yourself for a world of cute complimented by some athleticism and future stars of the figure skating world!  You'll have a chance to see some of our areas budding young figure skaters strut their stuff in a fun, Halloween themed event October 28th at the Lakeshore Sports Centre and best of all, it's free to attend so you can cheer on these young people and help build their pride for the sport they love.

Around here, we all know that ice time is a commodity as valuable as gold.  Most of that ice time is used by the hockey world....well, let's just say that when we say most...it's only about 99.99% of the available ice time in Michigan is used by hockey.  Youth hockey, developmental hockey, high school hockey, men's pick up leagues...we're over run by hockey.  Not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination, after all, Muskegon has led the way in hockey in West Michigan forever but there are plenty of other sports that deserve attention too and I am not sure about what goes on at your house, but here....we watch figure skating quite often.
Follow the MLFSC on Facebook

It's a balance of beauty and athletics combined with art and motion and it's all gotta start somewhere.  For every "Hockey Mom" who's up at 5:30 to get to some of that invaluable ice time, there's another mom who's getting another kid up to go practice spins, jumps, axles and all of the other seemingly impossible moves that figure skaters make look so easy.  It takes commitment, drive and the willingness to try, try again to make up through the ranks in the figure skating world.  The hours are long and the stories are often not heard until the world stage is attained.

In our area, The Muskegon Lakeshore Figure Skating Club is there for the first steps of your skaters who'd like to get into the world of figure skating.  From "Learn to Skate" all the way up to video coaching, the coaches and staff of the MLFSC work to provide a "Fun and friendly atmosphere for our members in which to learn ice skating skills" according to their mission statement.  They are associated with US Figure Skating and Learn to Skate USA and have instructors who know multiple disciplines of the art.  If you've got a youngster interested in trying, or maybe you're looking for some fun people to hang with on the ice, this might be the group for you.

Well, the club decided that it might be a great idea to give their members a chance to show off their talents with a fun theme and let their members imagination dictate the theme.  You'll see "11" from "Stranger Things"....speaking of "Things"...."Thing 1 and Thing 2" will be making an appearance and more as the skaters dress up for Halloween and hit the ice!  Kids 10 and under in attendance will be given spooktacular treat bags courtesy of Fortino's in Grand Haven.  It's free for anyone to attend and a great way to show some support to some remarkable young athletes.

I was invited by September Yancone to learn a little more about the club.  We also met Lucci Nelson and some of the skaters, Isabella Bankard, Emma VanSlyke and MaryBess Yancone who just might steal the show in our chat.  Take a listen.

It's a great way to enjoy a Sunday afternoon and if you have kids, bring them out.  You might spark some interest in them to get up and try for themselves!  If nothing else, you have the chance to maybe say "I saw them when" someday when you're watching the World Championships or Olympics.  These are incredible and passionate young athletes and their drive and determination deserves and audience.  So, head out and cheer them on on October 28th at 3:45 at Lakeshore Sports Centre on Airline Road in Muskegon.  For more on the club, click on the photo below to visit their website.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Lakeshore Garden Masters Keeping Muskegon Beautiful at the Monet Gardens

We hunt high and low to find the people and groups who add a little something in their own way to make Muskegon what it is.  Everyone's contributions add up to making our home a pretty wonderful place.  We sure don't claim perfection or anything, but it's pretty darn good and every day, it seems to be getting better.  It's the collective effort of everyone that's making it happen....sometimes right before our eyes in ways we might not even know.

Take for instance, a stroll up Western Avenue.  Sure, there are amazing restaurants and breweries now.  Yes, there are plenty of new buildings going up with beautiful new homes in them and shiny fronts that glisten in the sun and give us all something to admire the work going into them.  We have stoic standby's like the post office and the LC Walker Arena as well as projects as new as the Chalet's and the Muskegon Farmers Market.  They are all adding up to some pretty exciting times in Downtown Muskegon and for those who have been here a while, a chance to exhale and see the progress that just seemed to come to a halt when the old mall came down and no one really knew what was next for the core of our area.
Follow the Lakeshore Garden Masters on Facebook

Well, for quite some time among-st all that "what's next" wondering, there has been a tiny little pocket park just up around the corner from Western Avenue on the corner of Clay and 5th streets which has been lovingly curated by the Lakeshore Garden Masters.  It was a bare lot at one point and like anything, Florence Bright Stahl took a glance and said "That can be better", so the work began.  A theme was chosen, and if you're going to do floral art, you might as well go with Monet right?  So became the Monet Gardens of Muskegon.

Today, the Lakeshore Garden Masters spend hours and days a year maintaining this beautiful Downtown landmark.  They also meet regularly to discuss gardening, hot topics in the field, they take field trips to learn more about their passion and they share their love for all things plants and dirt.  They meet and share some fellowship, I do believe I heard the words "pot luck" brought up too so there's always a chance you'll walk away with something good to eat as well.

The Monet Garden Go Fund Me Page

The Monet Gardens are looking for a little help if you can.  As the years have gone by, like anything, some work needs to be done in the park.  They are upgrading the walkways to make it more accessible for everyone.  They are also of course in need of general improvements in their "20 for 20" campaign which will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the park in just a couple short years!  It's a true destination for Muskegon and something we all should take some pride in.  It's a tourist destination, it's a wedding spot, it's an oasis that's stood the test of time and it's a spot of beauty where you can just pause and catch your breath in the every day hustle and bustle of life.

Speaking of pride, no one is more proud of the Monet Garden than Jean Baker.  She got a hold of me to ask if we'd help tell the story.  So, we met up and talked about the club, her passion for gardening and how you can help with the project.  Take a listen.

How's that for a little background on something you knew about and probably wondered how it happened?  The people of the Lakeshore Garden Masters are hard at work quietly contributing their part to make home, "home".  As the construction happens now at the end of the season and the Fall and Winter settle in, know that the work will be going on and the opportunity for you to be a part of it is there.  If you'd like to learn a little more about the Lakeshore Garden Masters, click on their logo below to visit their website!  Many thanks to Jean Baker for the chance to learn a little more.