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Tabano Law
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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

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

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

Find 70x7 Muskegon on Facebook

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 28, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, January 26, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 25, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

A2B Towing of Montague

Monday, January 22, 2018

Friends of the Hackley Public Library Present "The Bling Thing" February 9th and 10th in Muskegon

It's one of our most treasured spots in town, the Hackley Library.  Our history, our heritage and our community resource for research, connections and entertainment.  The external beauty of the building alone is enough to fight for, but one step inside and you'll see that it's not only a library, it's a living museum of all things Muskegon.  It's very much hallowed grounds in Downtown Muskegon.

Find Friends of the Hackley Library on Facebook
Like any other historic place, especially a historic place that still functions, there are those who use the library and there are those who work to make sure that where the library needs a hand, the needs are met.  Let's be honest too, what business...let alone a business like a library doesn't run into a shortfall once in a while?  This is where the Friends of the Hackley Public Library come in.  Founded in 1973 the Friends of the Hackley Public Library set a yearly goal to raise funds for the library to support the hundreds of free programs offered to adults and children.  Early reading skills are taught, history, music, technology classes and author visits are all part of the work done by the Friends group, and it's all done with making Muskegon a better place for everyone in mind.

With that dedication to fundraising comes the actual fundraising itself.  They have the book sale annually, they take donations of course and to add a little sizzle in the middle of Winter, they have The Bling Thing which is coming up at the Century Club Ballroom on February 9th and 10th. 

You'll have a chance to be part of the grand opening night where you'll get first shot at the "bling".  You'll also find a great assortment of wine, fine chocolate a Younker's coupon book and more.  That's a $10 donation to get in to.  Saturday the fun picks back up from 10a-2p with Biggby providing some refreshments while you shop to benefit the Friends of the Library.

I had a chance to catch up with Barb Klingenmaier who's the President of the Friends of the Hackey Library to talk about this years event.  Take a listen.

If you're looking to sparkle and shine a little more, great.  If you want to indulge on wine and chocolate that's cool too or....if you just want to do your part and help preserve and protect such an incredible part of Muskegon while rubbing elbows with some pretty cool people, make sure you stop into The Bling Thing at the Century Club Ballroom on Feb 9th and 10th.  You can learn more about the Friends of the Hackley Public Library at the link below.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Soup & Service for MLK Jr Day With The United Way In Muskegon

Monday January 15th marks the 31st year we stop to observe Martin Luther King Jr Day.  It's kind of hard to believe that a national holiday was only established within most of our lifetime's, but like anything with age comes a little more reverence, and meaning seems to grow over the years and the message Dr. King carried of unity...well, it resonates now more than ever.

King was the chief spokesman for the non violent civil rights movement which protested discrimination in both state and federal laws.  His speeches inspired.  His presence was one of unity and inclusion and it came at a time when we as a country kind of "us and them".   We were divided not only by mindset, but by laws.  It was work, perseverance, patience and belief that got Dr. King the respect of so many and makes the message resonate today.  The element of service resonates today as well and as so many true leaders, who lead by example the service needs to carry on. 
United Way of The Lakeshore Online

Locally, when you think of community service, there is one giant stand out, The United Way of the Lakeshore.  The United Way is taking the opportunity not only to observe the holiday, but to utilize it to do what they do best, serve.  They are hosting an open house style lunch on Monday the 15th.  You'll find all kinds of delicious soups, for both dine in and carry out and they are asking for your donation of non perishable food items for our local food pantries or school supplies for kids who would otherwise go without in return for your lunch.  While you are there at their offices on Clay Street in Muskegon, you'll also be able to learn about some of the other service work that's coming in 2018 from the United Way.  You'll also get to learn about volunteer opportunities that are looking for a pair of hands to help.  Learn about the work going on to bolster early childhood education and how it sets the tone for education over a lifetime.

I had a chance to visit the United Way and talk about the event. Stephanie Stewart and La Tonya Beene of the United Way.  Yes, it's a simple lunch but it's going to be filled with purpose, information and unity.  Take a listen.

For a holiday that's not as old as most of us, it's good to see that the echo of the message Dr. King carried is resonating and getting louder.  The importance of the message is as applicable today, if not more so than when they were spoken and the opportunity for us to unify for a cause to help our own, and get a pretty good lunch for it...well, it can't be passed up.  It's not just a day off.  It's a chance to stop and ask yourself if you're doing what you can for equality.  Stop in to the United Way of the Lakeshore Monday.  

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Muskegon's MARS Rovers 4004 - Robotics Competitors From Area Schools

In Muskegon, sometimes we have to consolidate to get things done and through the consolidation, we also find collaboration and a chance to experience things from more than just one point of view.  It kind of comes back to the mindset of if there's a will, there's a way and the MARS Rovers have found that way to get kids into robotics even though their schools may not offer the program.

The Program is FRC of First Robotics Competition which began in 1989 to get students excited about the opportunity to get hands on experience with science and technology, engineering and math, while building self confidence as well as life skills that they can take with them into pretty much any line of work.  Believe it or not, it starts as early as K-3rd grade with Lego's and today, we visit a group of high school age competitors who are about to find out what they have to build and make work in 6 weeks.  At stake?  $16 million dollars in scholarships for students and teams who wish to pursue their dreams in technology.  This is serious stuff, but it's approached as a hands on, interactive and fun way to learn more, collaborate with peers and mentors as well as be a highly functional creative outlet for young people.

MARS Rovers Website
The work space is in Pribusin Inc, a spot you'd probably never even notice just driving by close to Our Lady of Grace Church.  Pribusin makes quality process controls and instrumentation...stuff you'll probably never see if it's working right.  The students come from Reeths Puffer, North Muskegon, Oak Ridge, Orchard View and some are even home schooled.  I was there for a team meeting before it all began and the rules were laid out plain and simple.  School first, robotics team second, and you know...I personally think that's a pretty good approach.  Inside, the first thing you see is is the CAD area, then there's the machine shop, the hall of fame from past projects, the fabrication area and way in the back the area where they will build the arena that their robot will compete in.  They have 6 weeks to build the bot, the arena to practice in and get it to the competition.

I had a chance to site down with Jack Page who's a mentor, "Mike 1" who also goes by Mike Gerstweiler who owns Pribusin Inc and is also a mentor, "Mike 2" or Michael Reynolds who's a communications engineer at Comcast, Logan Page who's a student competitor and we talked about what this program does for everyone involved.  Take a listen and learn a little more.

Amazing story and amazing kids.  What really gets me though, people pulling together to take what they know and give kids the practical knowledge they need to go to the next level.  Hands on technology and the use of their tools and treasure to fill a gap where it needed to be filled.  Taking the passion they have for what they do and bringing in the next generation of inventors, leaders and innovators to learn and grow.  Where some budgets had to be cut, a group saw the need and picked up the ball and ran with it.  That's community.  We'll keep up with the MARS Rovers and see how they do as the competition unfolds this year.  We wish the team and the mentors the very best.  If you'd like to know more or maybe help the team out, click on the team photo above.  If you'd like to follow along with the work up to the moment, you can find the MARS Rovers 4004 Facebook page linked in the photo below!  Thanks to the team and mentors for having us out today!