We welcomed a new sponsor this year, the West Michigan Business and Craft Fair, which will be happening at the beautiful and centrally located Hackley Park this coming Saturday June 22nd. It's the 4th year for the event and the 3rd time they have set up in Hackley Park for the occasion. The event continues to grow and so does the added fun around the event with food vendors, fun drawings, plenty of hand outs and most importantly, exposure to business people who are on the rise, but might quite not be ready for a brick and mortar store front just yet.
Look at it like this. Home based business people do a lot of work, and business in and around Muskeogn. Their products, crafts and services might not get the exposure that some get...but if you spent a little time on sites like Etsy, or Ebay or did a little hunting on some of the referral sites around, you'd see... there are a lot of very unique artisans and incredibly talented business people out there who offer what you are looking for and the great part of it all is, you're supporting LOCAL small business.
Could it be a jewlery maker? Maybe it's a crafter who makes local organic products? Fun things for kids, artful decor for your home or maybe a service you didn't even know was offered here in town. That's the objective of this grass roots effort put together by Vanessa Davis and her crew! Her growing crew I might add. Along with all of the crafter and vendors, you'll find live music, tasty food and beverage and a community based atmosphere where friends and neighbors meet up to catch up on things going on around town and see what there is to find at the fair!
Vanessa and I had a chance to meet up at Hackley Park. It was just after Taste of Muskegon wrapped up so as the crews worked behind up to finish up one event, another is getting ready to happen and that's an awesome sign of moving in the right direction. Take a listen to our chat about this years event.
There is still space for more! Do you have a product or service from a home based business and want to be a part of this fun and growing event? Get a hold of Vanessa by visiting the official website for the West Michigan Business and Craft Fair! This is a great opportunity to show what you do and maybe even make some money while enjoying the company of business owners like yourself and shoppers who are out for something unique and fun that came from Muskegon.
Duty. Pride. Tradition. They are the three words that permeate the culture at the Dalton Township Fire Department. Now, your first thought might very well be, "That's nice, but it's probably just something they came up with for the logo." Well, not really. Dalton Township is situated centrally in Muskegon County and it's service are includes a lot of the major parts of our community. From our commute on US 31 to our recreation at places like Michigan's Adventure or maybe some of the inland lakes with growing home ownership in the northern part of the county, the Dalton Township Fire Department is a hub for so many services. Fire, auto accidents, water rescue, medical calls and more, a "small" fire department like Dalton has to be well versed and ready for almost any challenge, day or night and like just about any agency, they have to do it all on a minimal budget and make the best of what they have. They take their duty seriously.
Time goes on however, and even for the smaller municipalities, costly improvements need to happen. A little over a year ago, the Dalton Township Fire Department asked their voters for a big, and I mean BIG improvement. The need was there for a brand new fire truck. As you might guess, a brand new fire truck with every modern necessity on board and the ability to carry 1000 gallons of water to the scene as there are not a lot of hydrants up around Dalton, well, it was a big ask for the voters, but the need was real and the community made the sacrifice to vote yes and provide the new truck. They took the pride in making the ask for what was truly needed, and voters responded in kind.
Well, Monday night at the Dalton Fire Station, it was time for the dedication. The community gathered for a first look and some refreshments offered up in the fire bay, which Chief Alan Styles was very quick to point out, "This building is yours, we're just here to watch over it, please have a look around and enjoy the treats." It was pretty clear though, the star of the show is 1222. The new truck has been in house for a short while, but shifting over the equipment and accessories takes a little time. As the truck sat there awaiting the blessing and official welcome to the community, it was time for one of the greatest traditions in the fire fighting world to happen, in fact, it's maybe a once in a career happening according to Chief Styles. Take a listen here and learn what the "Push In Ceremony" is all about. Here's your lesson in deep tradition.
Pretty cool huh? Our thanks to Cheif Styles for the invite up to share this incredible tradition with all of us. The community turn out in Dalton Township was great and the atmosphere was one of togetherness. As you heard the speakers, the hope is the truck isn't used all that much. No one wants a visit from a fire truck for any circumstance, but...if it's needed, it's there.
If you build it, they will come! We've seen it more than once if it comes down to building your own in Muskegon. There is something about the allure of getting some friends or co workers together, or maybe a church group or civic organization and trying your hand at building something for a fun competition and seeing if your idea can "float". In years past, we've seen 1000's line up for Build Your Own Bobsled at the Double JJ just north of town and for a couple years too, we had some pretty great showings at Build Your Own Boat up that way too, but...what if we move it a little closer to home and place the event right in the middle of one of the areas best community parties there is? It's happening!
The North Muskegon Family Fun Fest kicks off August 8th and will be filled with all kinds of things to do. It starts with the legendary parade on the 8th. The Taste of Northside on the 9th and then Saturday the 10th things get really busy with a day filled to the brim with things to do like the Kids Expo, the Fireman's Water Battle, a wonderful art fair, the Community Picnic and this year the The Cardboard Boat Regatta.
The Regatta gets underway at Bear Lake at 4pm. There are 2 classes to compete in and 3 divisions in each class. This is a free event for participants and viewers. There is a complete set of rules which you can find linked along with the registration in the photo to the right. There will be prizes for fastest time, judges choice, peoples choice, most outrageous, team spirit and the "Titanic" award. This is where your creativity and adventure comes in. Get your people together and come up with a theme. Advertise your business! Promote your cause! Brag up your favorite team or maybe crow about yourself. This is a really fun way to spend an afternoon testing your creativity and your ability to build a working vessel. There will be inspections of all of the entries and all the entries are welcome to show off what they have at the Taste of the North Side event Friday night for the judges inspection.
The Cardboard Boat Regatta is sponsored by J.Nedeau Realtor and The Nedeau Group. Click on their logo to visit their website!
I had a chance to meet up with Lee Ann Clausen and Sabina Freeman from the City of North Muskegon to talk about the event and get you the details so you can get building!! Take a listen!
This will be an AWESOME day that won't cost you a penny to come and watch or if you want to participate...get as creative as you can to build...sail and win! North Muskegon is rolling out the welcome mat for everyone and if you've never been to the North Side Family Fun Fest, here's your day! We'll plan on seeing you at the Cardboard Boat Regatta on August 10th. Go get that cardboard and tape! Let's roll! To visit the City of North Muskegon's website for the full schedule of the Family Fun Fest, click on their logo below!
We've got a very active and very people centered Department of Veterans Affairs in Muskegon County. The VA can be a very difficult system to navigate and quite often the struggles result in veterans not getting the services they are afforded for their service. Luckily for us, we have a staff that not only helps to make sure the necessities are met, they go above and beyond when it comes to some human services not needed. Things like food pantries, support groups, extended services and even special events like the Veterans Job Fair presented by Goodwill Industries on June 13th.
The LC Walker Arena is the venue where employers will converge and be looking to hire. It is a veterans job fair, but it is open to the public and it gets underway at 10a. You'll find employers from all kinds of fields and maybe some from fields you never considered you might work in. It's best to come prepared. Bring resume's, bring a great attitude and bring your willingness to work. You hear and see about how many people are hiring on the news all the time, it's up to you to take them up on it and get that job you've been after.
Michael Baauw and I sat down to talk about the job fair and who's going to be there. Take a listen and then pack up and get ready for the job fair!
Veterans, these employers are looking for the skills you have. Drive, determination, willingness to get the job done and achieve results. It's a free event to Vets or anyone and participation is key in making sure the event continues in the future. Stop down to the LC Walker Arena and see how you can get to work, or improve your current working situation.
I love the White Lake area’s unique history. As a lifelong resident and local columnist for years, I’ve been glad to learn many fascinating stories. Our local theater, which many might know as the Howmet Playhouse, has actually had a few different names over the years, was recently renamed the Playhouse at White Lake. It was built over a hundred years ago in 1916, for local residents who wanted a place for their amateur theater group to put on plays – a fad in small towns across the country in the early 1900s. The historic structure has seen many changes since then, but fortunately remains one of our community’s main attractions. It’s a gathering place, and a cherished treasure. I was glad to be on Whitehall’s city council in 2006, when we took ownership of the theater from Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and supported its continued role as our community venue for theater, music and other events.
With the help of a local friends’ group and the city, funds were raised to support a nearly $4 million-dollar renovation project, which has been ongoing for the last two years. A big goal was improved handicap accessibility, as well as making sure the theater is safe for patrons and performers. The expansion is 7,000 square feet and includes a new box office and concession, larger and accessible restrooms, a 1,500 square foot lobby with glass front, rehearsal space, dressing rooms, new carpet and seats, new sound and lighting systems, stage rigging, and drapery and upgraded heating and cooling systems.
Work is scheduled to be completed this month and the “new” playhouse will be unveiled at a June 26 open house, featuring an official ribbon cutting, self-guided tours, refreshments, and music by the Oat Bran Boys. Following the open house, the season is officially underway with a June 29 performance by Max and Ruth Bloomquist, Karen and Eric Smith. Mike Snell and the FAN Club of Tommy Foster, Justin Avdek, and Scott Nesbit.
Listen to this interview of Whitehall Mayor Debi Hillebrand and playhouse manager Beth Beaman for their take – they are excited and relieved!
Click on the photo above for the link to The Playhouse at White Lake on Facebook, and their official website is linked below for more information and the full season lineup of events. The show must go on!
There are days, when even for those who write for a living, that coming up with the words are just impossible. It's a never ending dance to see if you can come up with the right inflection to convey your thoughts. The right tone through your use of grammar, punctuation and verbiage. You have to really apply yourself to get emotion to come through in written text and when you work in volume....while you are generally more practiced, but you are also under a little more scrutiny for what you say and how you say it. We could add in the challenge too of taking the communications you write to the spoken word but we'll just leave it to the challenges of writing for now.
Now, let's say that you are not a well practiced wordsmith? Let's say that you are just the average working class person who needs to say something...but doesn't really know how to say it. More over, what if you feel what you say won't be heard? What if you feel like it's all been said and that if you try, you're only going to be met with skepticism, or even worse...what you have to say will go in one ear and out the other of the listener? What do you do to get your word out and share what's inside you and how you need and want to do your part for the betterment of something? What if you could communicate with a picture?
That's the goal of the South Heights Photovoice Initiative. Quietly, for months, residents of Muskegon Heights have been working together with the Muskegon Community Health Innovation Region to take photos that represent their lives. The photos were taken, the photographers met in groups to discuss the photos and what they mean to them. How they represent an aspect of their lives that people should understand but getting the words out...presented a challenge, for whatever reason. The residents were given cameras, some photography lessons and then asked to take pictures of what they saw as challenges, positives and other areas and as the discussion built...so did the narrative of each photo. Your first chance to see these photo's and hear the stories is Friday June 7th and Saturday June 8th at the Louis A. McMurray Conference Center on 6th Street in Muskegon Heights.
I met with Kerri VanderHoff who is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Community Development and Marquis Childers who has a photo and story on display in the exhibit. She will tell you the nuts and bolts of the importance of this exhibit that is just a catalyst for more to come and Marquis will share his photo and story and explain to you more about it. Take a listen.
It's kind of short notice, but to see this display and hear what the people have to say is important! Vitally important to understanding all of us together more. Take a few minutes out of your Friday or Saturday and stop in to the MATS office to see this incredible collection and hear the stories. Voices that want and need to be heard. Stay tuned as well for more about this amazing project. Our thanks to Marquis and Kerri for coming out today to get the story started.
Everyone looks forward to Wednesday because it’s the middle of the week and you are that much closer to the weekend. Well I have something else for you to look forward to. Once a month for the next three months there will be a Food Truck Rally downtown at the Farmers Market. Make sure to mark these dates on the calendars so you don’t miss out, June 26th, July 24th, Aug21st from 5-8pm.
This event Is a family friendly event. You will be able to dance to the live music, try all of the awesome local and West Mi. cuisine and the children will be occupied with activities for all ages. Each of the tickets are $1 each with the total prices varying depending on the truck. You will be able to purchase your tickets from one of the ladies roaming through the market or at the market window. The Womans Division Chamber of Commerce is going to bring back the dance floor for you to boogie the night away. I met up with Ann Meisch from the City of Muskegon to learn a little more and find out about who's coming for the entertianment portion of the evenings, take a listen.
If you need more information please visit the Muskegon website linked in the photo below . I hope that I get to see you there.
It's a story I look forward to every year. Why? Well, let's go over what goes on at the Wings of Mercy Care Affaire happening at Executive Air. Starts off with a 5K run...(that I have nothing to do with) then it's a pancake breakfast put on by the Lions Club (at this point...I am all in). They have a classic car show going on, the Chris Boes Memorial Run for those who like to ride. There will be plenty of static airplane displays, maybe even some helicopter rides and more. It's a really big and busy day that continues to grow and grow every year because the lives touched by Wings of Mercy, well, they continue to grow yearly as well. Let's give you the quick story.
Let's say you or a loved one is diagnosed with a rare disease. One that is not only nearly impossible to fight, but locally...there isn't the technology or the proper specialists to get in there and really go after it. You have to seek out treatment at The Mayo Clinic or Duke University or some place where advances practices are every day occurrences and could be your only hope. Scary right? Combine that with the cost of the treatments and the travel to the designated treatment centers...you can see fairly quickly that some may just have to give up on seeking the treatment they need. Talk about a defeat.
Well, this is where Wings of Mercy steps in. Wings of Mercy has volunteer pilots who donate their time, and talents and treasure to make sure that those patients get the flight they need to the providers that can help make a difference and Wings of Mercy steps in to coordinate the flights and families and helps pay for the expenses of the endeavor like fuel for the plane. Amazing givers who step in when so many feel "all is lost" and restore hope in those who are suffering not only for themselves, but for humanity in general.
Grace Spelde has become one of my all time favorite guests. I guess, why not. Her job is making all this happen. In essence, she facilitates miracles and she's exudes happiness and rightly so. If you spent all day helping make this kind of thing happen...you'd be pretty happy too. Take a listen to our chat from this morning at Executive Air.
If you're all about the cause or you're just all about the fun, Saturday is looking like an AWESOME day for everything outdoors and to include the Wings Of Mercy Care Affaire in your plans...couldn't get much better. Head out for a few and enjoy the sights and sounds of everything at the event. Maybe surprise your kids with an airplane ride... and if that's a little out of your budget, at very least, enjoy the pancake breakfast and let the proceeds help Wings of Mercy. An amazing organization with an incredible purpose. For more about them, visit their website by clicking below.
At the Muskegon Channel, we work very hard to bring you the "good news" about what's going on around town. We think that there are plenty of other organizations that focus on what divides us and their focus tends to pick scabs and continues to pit neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend and might even tend to muddy the waters between citizens and the municipalities that serve them. We're not blind to the fact that not everything everywhere is all "peaches and cream" but to keep pushing what divides us isn't really a part of the long term solution so when we find out about a dust up we try a little different approach to sharing the story.
Today, "Both Sides of the Story" focuses on the proposed development of "The Docks". It's a residential area that has been proposed for the area up in the Bluffton Neighborhood right on Muskegon Lake. I was first approached by the group in Bluffton who is opposed to the idea. Their concerns are increased traffic, both on land and the water. The preservation of the dune land is a priority to them as well as the disruption of their neighborhood in both the short and long term.
On the other side of the coin. The Docks is being built on private property by a developer. From the City of Muskegon's point of view, it's additional residents to help rebuild from those who have moved out over the last couple of decades and it's growth in a positive direction.
There will be a City of Muskegon Planning Commission Meeting June 13th, held at the Beardsley Theater to hear from residents who have concerns and those who support the project. It's an open meeting so anyone can attend.
For today, Ben Evans was chosen to speak for the Bluffton Neighbors and LeighAnn Miksell from the City of Muskegon joined me to share their side of this. Take a listen and decide for yourself. We're not here putting any kind of spin or slant, we just want you to hear "Both Sides if the Story"
Thanks to both Ben and LeighAnn for their time in sharing the separate view points. We are happy to share the platform with both and keep it as a conversation. Not everything needs to be finger pointing and name calling ya know. If you have an opinion you'd like heard, make sure you are at the meeting at the Beardsley on June 13th and take part in the discussion.