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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A Fathers Day Bike Ride to Bring Muskegon Together Starts at Rad Dad's

You never know where inspiration might hit you.  Quite often, when you least expect it and from the least likely of sources, an idea comes along that you didn't even know needed attention and from there, the steps are up to you.  Such is the case when Matt Gongalski of Rad Dad's Taco's and Tequila in Downtown Muskegon.






Out on a family bike ride, Matt and his crew met up with a group of kids who were also out for a ride.  Pretty typical, right?  It would seem until the conversation between the two groups switched to who made up the "riding posse" in each group.  It seems the group of kids we utterly shocked to find out that a family actually went out for a ride together.  "You're the dad?"  Was the question asked and the kids just couldn't believe that parents were out riding with kids.  Yes, we're all busy and yes.. it sure isn't the 50's anymore and the dynamic of "family" is an ever evolving term.  But to see the look of shock on a child's face that somehow a father actually had the time and desire to spend the day riding bikes....that created a spark in Matt and got him to thinking.

Can You Chip in to Help Buy a Kid a Bike?  Click Here.
Some may never understand what it is to have a single parent, or to maybe have two parents working so much to make ends meet.  For others, it's simply a reality.  Life is a challenge to say the very least and when the need for more than one job or the fact that parents can't get along gets added to the mix, you get questions like "You're the dad?".  Not here to shame anyone or to point any fingers but for those who do struggle, it's good to know that the community can come together over a spark of an idea and make some of that insecurity a little less painful.

Matt his social media a week or so ago with the idea of all of us coming together to raise a few bucks to buy 100 bikes for 100 kids.  Bikes would come with helmets, locks and everything else they would need.  To say the idea took off like wildfire...a gross understatement.  Hundreds got on board almost immediately and from there, some local companies took quick notice and offered up what they were willing to do to pitch in.....and all of the sudden, that spark turned into a reality and on Fathers Day bikes, kids, families and friends will gather at Rad Dad's in Downtown Muskegon to kick off a bike ride.

I stopped in to Rad Dad's to talk to Matt about the endeavor.... take a listen.


It takes a village they say.  It also takes just a little from all of us to make something so incredible come to life.  A bike is great, that's for sure but the message we'll send here is so much more.  To that kid who wonders why their parent might not be able to take a bike ride with them, well.....this is our chance to say "we got ya".  This is our chance to weave the fiber of community a little tighter and work to build a little trust among the young and old, (well, older), and it's a way for all of us in Muskegon to show the rest of the world that we truly are a community that looks out for everyone and we truly care.  Congrats to Matt and his idea.  He's a pretty humble guy, and I know that making a fuss was really the last thing he was after, but this is hopefully the first of many to come and it's what we believe in here too.  Pride in all of us.  Follow the Bike Ride Event Page by clicking below.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Parental Alienation Awareness Day April 25th

Sometimes, things don't work out in a relationship.  What looked good in concept just can't play out for the "happily ever after" for a couple and things come to an end.  Thing is though, in those relationships, kids come along and when things fail between the parents, the kids end up stuck in the middle of it all and there is no where for them to turn.  There's a term for it.  It's called Parental Alienation.




The idea is, if things end up going south between the parents, it's on them to love the kids more than they hate each other.  The behind the scenes dynamics include parents trying to "out-do" each other, leading the child with ideas about the other parent, planting seeds of doubt one or the other.  Let's cut right to the chase, we've all seen it, and for those who are in the middle of the split it's a remarkably hard task to keep the spite back and focus on what's best for the child.

Follow Papalienation on Facebook
In Muskegon Jerry and Lashawn Matthews teach by example.  The couple have both been down the road of the "bad example" and have seen first hand the difficulties that arise for the kids when parents can't get along post breakup.  The operate a 501c3 called Papalienation and they work to raise awareness of the long term effects on the children in the middle of a break up and offer parents better ways to manage their anger toward each other.

April 25th Jerry and Lashawn will take their message to the county courthouse again.  Yes, there is actually a day dedicated to parental alienation.  They will be promoting awareness for positive parenting by speaking to folks heading in to court, handing out some information so they can be better informed and this year, there will even be a chance to get yourself a free lunch at Golden Corral on April 27th where they will be hosting a Positive Parenting brunch.  Sure, there will be food and prizes, but to get there to hear the message, and learn from someone who's been "down that road" already will prove invaluable.

Jerry and Lashawn invited me to their home to talk about this years event.  Take a listen.


It's simple. The kids have to come first.  A toxic relationship can be equally damaging on all involved, but when it comes to an end, the damaging effects of parents trying to use their child in the middle of their differences only claims one victim, and it's the child.  If you'd like to know more, click on the photo below and visit the the Papalienation website.  Make sure you stop and see them on them on the 25th at the courthouse for more information and the 27th at Golden Corral.


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Reeths Puffer Choir Presents "The Addams Family"

Once again super talented Reeths Puffer Middle School kids are bringing an Awesome show to the stage!!!... Fun for for the whole family!!!  Kids who are 6th grade or younger are encouraged to wear a spooky costume....or any Halloween costume.... And receive a ticket for only $5 for the Saturday matinee performance.






The Reeths Puffer Middle School Choirs present: The Addams Family

Friday, April 26th at 7pm...Saturday, April 27th at 2pm....and...Saturday, April 27th at 7pm....taking place at the beautiful Reeths Puffer Rocket Center for the Fine Arts.

There's even an Ice Cream Social following the the Saturday evening show for $3 per bowl at the door.



REETHS PUFFER MIDDLE SCHOOL CHOIRS proudly present: THE ADDAMS FAMILY REETHS PUFFER ROCKET CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS $8 per seat....

(Special) $5 ticket for students ....6th grade and younger in Halloween costume Tickets available onsite one hour prior to each performance at the door.

Online tickets: https://rpmsmusical.ludus.com

Ticket Inquiries: westerhl@reeths-puffer.org

Friday, April 19, 2019

WINC - For All Women Veterans Awards and Fundraiser May 4th at LC Walker Arena

Sometimes, it takes experience to see a void that needs to be filled when it comes to services needed.  Sometimes too, when someone grabs the reigns and starts out on their journey to fill that void, the reach they attain.  An idea can blossom into a world of good and a network can be built among those who have gone through the same things, and luckily for us, one of those networks was conceived, built and grown right here in Muskegon.



We've had Zaneta Adams on before, she's the founder of WINC - For All Women Veterans, and from their website, their purpose is this - "Our goal is to help bring awareness to the issues facing women veterans nationwide while providing a space where they can live, laugh, and readjust to life after service; while also identifying their tribe of women vets who have their “six”. We do that through our Military Sisterhood Initiative (in partnership with Challenge America), peer support groups, retreats, Military sexual trauma intensive therapy retreats, workshops, summits, and more."

Click here for Tickets to Her2 at the LC Walker Arena May 4th
Zaneta served proudly and was injured in the line of duty and realized that there were few places for women veterans to turn for peer support and the tools needed to heal from not only physical damage, but from some of the psychological effects anyone in the military can suffer.  The call to duty is amazing and to be respected, but it can also lead to a lifetime of struggle for some and building a safety net of humanity and others who understand what's happened and can share their experience, strength and hope.

As the group has grown, WINC now has a nationwide reach, the message spreads and the strength grows.  The gatherings, retreats, counseling and even scholarships are all paying off dividends for those involved and most of all, women who once felt isolated now know that they are not alone.  This takes a little support from all of us.  May 4th at the LC Walker Arena WINC presents the "Her2 Awards" where women and organizations who have been elemental in the mission will get their chance to shine as a way of saying thanks for all they have done.  This is an amazing affair and not only is it open to the public to attend, there's quite a few celebrities who have gotten behind this mission that will be coming to town to be part of the event.  Of course, the real celebrities are those who help others, that's what it's really about, but why not add a little sizzle to the evening if ya can?

Zaneta and I had a chance to talk down at the WINC office which is located in the Muskegon County Department of Veterans Affairs building, take a listen!


It all comes back to people, taking care of people.  There is no one better to help anyone than someone who's been down the same road, shared the same experiences and empathize and understand.  Zaneta has started a national organization right here in Muskegon.  It's amazing what she's got going and as it grows, we'll follow right along.   You can learn more about WINC by clicking on the image below to visit their website.


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Ali Pummelstone Needs Us All - Let's Give Her The Chance to Walk

No one wants to see the kind of struggle a kid has had to endure like Ali has.  Ali is 12 now and has undergone 17 major surgeries to correct a rare condition called Arthrogyposis in all 4 of her limbs.  It's been a life time of casts and braces for the kid and a struggle of monumental proportion for her parents both emotionally and financially.





The family found a doctor at a conference who looked them in the eye and said "I can fix her" but it's going to take a village to get her where she needs to be.  The surgeon is in Palm Beach Florida and post surgery it's going to take about a year of intensive physical therapy to get her up on her feet and walking.....it's all she's ever wanted to do.  Be like the other kids and be able to walk, run and play.  Her time in the chair, braces and casts have kept her form that and the family is doing all they can to raise the funds to buy the necessary insurance policy for the surgery in advance and cover some living costs while they are in Florida.
Click Here to Donate to Help Ali

I first met Ali a couple years ago, she was featured in a video we did for Mission for Area People as the family often needs to ask for a little help from the agency with things for gas to get to medical appointments, maybe a doctor bill here and there and just a hand filling in the gaps from time to time.  Mission For Area People has been one of our favorite places to report on as this is exactly who they help and why.  Life is so hard for some, and Mission for Area People is there to lend a little assistance when they can.  Ali is kind of easy to fall in love with too.  It happened to Tanya Cabala who was out campaigning when she met Ali and it was Tanya that brought the need to our attention so we invited her to join us at Ali's house

The Family selling at craft sales, they are asking for help from friends and family but $15,000 is an awful lot of money for most anyone to come up with so, we wanted to extend the message to our audience in the hopes that a small amount of help from a lot of people will help us make a miracle happen in Muskegon and get this little girl her legs back.

Tanya Cabala and I met up with Ali to talk about her condition and what she's been through so far.  You'll see that while it's been a long hard road, she's not lost any of her spirit or sass.  She's a great kid and her story is moving.  Take a listen.


If you can, help the family out.  Imagine if each of us just did a little we can make this happen for Ali!  The chance to just be "normal" is all she's asking and this family has ensured so much.  If you can, please give them a hand by clicking on the link above. 

Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Muskegon Railroad Historical Society Gets a New Home

It was a little bit of a shock a couple years ago for the members of the Muskegon Railroad Historical Society.  Their space above the Muskegon Heritage Museum was being reclaimed as the Heritage Museum was expanding.  While initially it left the group with a few unanswered questions, a little digging was done and their new home was found and the work is underway!  It's going to be bigger and better than ever and you can get your first look here!


Driven by it's members and their enthusiasm for trains and Muskegon's history with them, the Muskegon Railroad Historical Society is in the process of renovating the building located at 2371 Marquette Avenue, right across from Orchard View Elementary.  To say it needed some "work" is a bit of an understatement.  They pretty much had to gut the whole place.  Replace everything from the wires to the walls was the starting point.  In the long run though, the new spot will be theirs and theirs alone and the amazing displays, and complete library of history of railroading in Muskegon will have it's forever home for generations to come.
Follow The Muskegon RR Historical Society on Facebook

If you've ever caught one of our stories in the past about the Historical Society, you've seen the stunning displays and the amazing collection they curate.  Today, you're going to be getting a look at the rebuild.  These guys are not only putting in the sweat equity, they are putting their own money behind the renovation.  It's a labor of love for an industry that Michigan doesn't see as much of due to where we sit on the map.  Rail Roads are still a huge part of logistics and commerce, but since we are a peninsular state, we don't see the kind of rail traffic "thru" states do.

While the displays and shelves upon shelves of books are packed away for the moment, Michael Wood of the Historical Society invited us down to have a look at the new place and the work going on, take a look! 



Renewal is happening and history is being preserved!  It was an unexpected move, but in the long term it's a new destination, to get people into a new neighborhood to enjoy some of the richest history Muskegon has to offer, curated by people who genuinely care.  They were quick to point out too that April 27th there will be a model train show over at OV Elementary, right across from the news space for the Muskegon Railroad Historical Society.  Stop in and see both!  Help support the museum a little too!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Rolling Thunder to Host an "Anything But a Cue Stick" Pool Tournament April 13th at the Lithuanian Club in Muskegon

It's the fist we've ever heard of one.  A pool tournament where you can play with anything BUT a pool cue.  Apparently it's not a "new thing" but, it's unique enough to grab some attention from us and as long as the purpose for the gathering and competition is so important, well...we made the quick trip over to the Lithuanian Club just off Hackley in Muskegon Heights to grab the story.




Al Thompson is a member of Rolling Thunder.  They are a group who works tirelessly for our veterans, POW/MIA and they do it with a sense of pride like you won't find many other places.  They host all kinds of events throughout the year.  They have fund raising dinners, they visit the Veterans Home in Grand Rapids to visit with the residents and celebrate birthdays with them and what not, and their biggest event in Muskegon yearly is "D-Day +" when they hold an observation at the Mart Dock featuring a reenactment camp, flyovers, era reflective dances and more.  It's also a great event where young people can see and feel what it was like to be in WW2 and a living history display right here in Muskegon. 
Visit Rolling Thunder Online

Yes, the fundraisers and memorials are important, but under it all, it's the heart of the members of Rolling Thunder who know what it is to serve and want to help those who did as well any way they can.  The offer assistance with things like medical bills, even some personal bills and needs.  The advocate for veterans issues and they will not stop until they know all POW/MIA are accounted for and home.  These are true Americans serving Americans and we are always proud to support Rolling Thunder.

Now, back to this whole "anything but a cue" pool tournament.  Just like it sounds.  You can use anything but a pool cue to participate in this day long tournament.  Can you re-purpose a broom handle?  How bout an old fishing rod?  Your game pal.  The only thing you can't bring is something that can damage the ball.  That's it.  The event is April 13th at the Lithuanian Club.  The club has great food, cheap drinks and a fun social atmosphere that anyone can enjoy.  There are trophies for the top teams and the proceeds all go to help Rolling Thunder continue their mission for our vets!  Can't ask for much more!

Al Thompson is with Rolling Thunder and Bill Derby is with the Lithuanian Club.  We sat down for a chat in the club, take a listen. 

Fun huh?  This is a great pairing.  Rolling Thunder does so many great things for our Vets and if you've never been into the Lithuanian Club for a fish fry or burrito night....you're missing out.  Check out the fun April 13th and if you think you're a Minnesota Fats of pool without a cue stick....get in the game for a great cause! 

The Muskegon Lakeshore Figure Skating Club Spring Show April 13th at LC Walker Arena

It's really a treat when you get to be a part of a group and watch it grow.  It wasn't long ago we got a call from the Muskegon Lakeshore Figure Skating Club and they asked if we'd consider maybe doing a story on their group of young people who skate and had a little Halloween show coming up, all they were looking for was a little hand in getting the word out about the show and hoped some people would come and support the kids and see the effort they put in to put it on.



The other great thing about the Muskegon Lakeshore Figure Skating Club is that they continue to reach for new levels to share the sport with not only friends and family, they have taken their sport to new participants that may have never had a chance to try skating out in the first place.  Let's go back a minute though.  Late last year, the club moved it's home base to the LC Walker Arena in Downtown Muskegon.  Not only was this an opportunity for them to utilize a facility with a few more amenities for friends and fans, it was a chance to extend their partnerships with groups like the Junior Jacks and the Boys and Girls Club.  So, the Learn to Skate program had a few new participants come along and the opportunity for some peer to peer learning and....connections between kids who might have otherwise never met!  Building community through figure skating?  Who would have thought?

Follow The MLFSC on Facebook
Well, as Spring is Springing and we're getting closer and closer to the ice getting melted off at the LC Walker Arena, it's time to put on one more show and not only give those who have been in the club a while a chance to shine, but...to bring those new to the sport into the spotlight and give them a chance to shine on the biggest stage in town!  April 13th!  Be at the LC Walker Arena for the Get up and Dance Spring show!  It's from 3-4pm and it's free! Of course, there is a suggested donation of $5 to help cover the costs of the ice time, but...if money is tight, it's cool, come and enjoy...donate what you can.  You'll see some skaters from the club, the Boys and Girls Club will be represented and there wil be performances by some special guest star skaters from other skating clubs in Michigan who will delight you and yours the entire time.  You'll get group routines as well as individual shows and to see these young athletes give it their all, well....it's gonna make you feel goooood.

I had a chance to catch up with Joshua Smith from the Muskegon Lakeshore Figure Skating Club to talk about the show coming up as well as the growth of their organization.  Take a Listen.
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It's a matter of supporting our young people.  Not much more.  You'll enjoy the show and you'll also be able to see the hard work and determination kids from 5-18 put in and...you might even find out a little more about getting your critters involved!  Our arena is hockey central...we all know that, in fact....the Muskegon Lumberjacks have the last game of the regular season that night! Make a day out of it!  Come see a great show and celebrate the achievement of these great young athletes in the Muskegon Lakeshore Figure Skating Club!  For more about the Muskegon Lakeshore Figure Skating Club, visit their website by clicking below.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Spring Concerts With The White Lake Chorale - Britta Cleveland Reports

Spring has sprung!....and with that, we're all looking for fun, entertaining things to do in our community... And even better if they don't cost anything.    Well I'm very excited to tell you about a couple concerts being put on by the WHITE LAKE CHORALE on Saturday, April 27th....and on Sunday, April 28th.






These two concerts are FREE to the public...but a ticket is required to attend.   FREE tickets can be picked up at The Book Nook and Java Shop in Montague....the White Lake Area C. Of C., A.C.W.L. - NUVEEN CENTER.... Or from any Chorale member.
Visit The White Lake Chorale on Facebook

The first concert will take place at Montague High School F.A.C. at 4pm on Saturday, April 27th....4900 Stanton Blvd., Montague.

The second concert will take place at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church at 1206 Whitehall Road in North Muskegon at 4pm on Sunday, April 28th.

Each of these free concerts will consist of a wide range of musical pieces that are sure to please everyone... Classic show tunes, uplifting spiritual tunes and a wonderful variety of beautiful pieces written by the masters.    All are encouraged to attend these free concerts, entertaining for all.


The WHITE LAKE CHORALE is a vocal group made up entirely of volunteers who meet at the Lebanon Lutheran Church in Whitehall every Monday evening starting in September through the end of April each year.   Anyone who is interested in joining only need to have a love of singing, can carry a tune and who can follow notes and vocal direction.   Those interested can find out more by going to the WHITE LAKE CHORALE Facebook page.