Thu, Oct

It's a matter of finite resources, impact on the land and doing our part to make sure that the beauty and pristine areas of Muskegon County stay just that, beautiful and pristine.  Cedar Creek heard the call of the residents around there and got to work on the issue, and while it took a little stick to it during the process of getting it done but the center has been added to the Cedar Creek Transfer and Recycling Station and Township Supervisor Linda Aerts found a few minutes today to talk about this great project and how it all got done.  Let's rewind a little though.

It's another great opportunity to learn ya some about the legal world and this one is an interesting topic to Andy O because while still living as any proper Irishmen should, basically pay check to paycheck and driving a car that will be paid off when it's 20 years old, there are some "assets" that have come along over the years that the value of really isn't easily determined for a number of factors.  We should add too that there is no imminent danger of Andy needing to know such value of said items, as things with Mrs. O seem to be going quite well.

Are you like a lot of people and pretty much overwhelmed by all you hear and see by terms like "sustainability" "climate change" "green living" and more?  Hey, you're not alone.  It's an awful lot to try and comprehend and when you get the major players in this who spend all day every day speaking nothing but the lingo, it's pretty easy to just say, "Well, I hope for the best" and go on about what you're up to.  Well, what if those experts could simplify things a little, ease you into a conversation with friends and neighbors who are well versed on the subject and show you, by example that actions you can take here and now can add to the solution of all of that over time?  It's happening, and you don't even have to leave your house to be a part of it.

It's a program 8 years strong and one that reaches deep into the needs of the community in so many ways, it can literally make your head spin.  But when you stop and think about the importance of literacy and how much even just the basics of it come in to play when you apply all that it is to daily life, Read Muskegon is making an impact on lives right here and now, as well as for generations to come.  The end of illiteracy is the goal and the path there is as wide as it can be and when you know the facts about just how many are functionally illiterate here in Muskegon and then to a national level, you have to stop in absolute amazement at the amount of work that Read Muskegon has cut out for them.

Muskegon Heights Police deputy Moe Sain steps up to the plate as former Police Chief Thomas has moved on to Ecorse, Michigan where he will begin his new job. He is now waiting on the City Council's decision on whether to hire outside the precinct or promote him. Sain has been with the force for 22 years. He started on the force in 1999, which was also the last time an officer was sent to the academy until this year's recent police graduate Cameron Green.

We're no strangers to the story and with our partnership with the Health Project at Mercy Health, there's plenty of good reason.  After everything we've been through and all of the cancellations this year, including the Spring event, the Muskegon Area Medical Disposal Program is hosting it's Fall event this Saturday at the Norton Shored Fire Department at 1100 E. Pontaluna Road from 10a-2p.

It began with a haphazard meeting at Kitchen 242 when we were asked to help with Taste of Muskegon which faced some challenges this year due to the pandemic.  How were we as a community going to showcase all of the great food that was offered all over the county without the ability to gather at Hackley Park like we normally do to taste, smell talk and enjoy?  Well, we were going to go virtual one way or another and since we had plenty of experience working with Chef Char in the space at the Muskegon Farmers Market, we got the gig to work with some other chef's to showcase their crafts too!

We're talking "discovery" this morning and not the kind where you tune in to see your favorite sharks or some guys digging a hole to the other side of the earth week after week and never really finding anything.  No, we're talking discovery as a legal term and the lengths that have to be attained when it comes to gathering up all of the information possible when it comes to mediation, arbitration or even a court appearance.

It's come to this.  You've gone through the mediation.  You've tried to settle things between the two of you.  You've given arbitration a shot and things are becoming exhausted when it comes to settling things in the family court and there's a trial looming.  It's the last place anyone wants to be, and as Shon tells us today, it really is the last resort, but it happens and to many, it's an issue that they've never faced and can be quite daunting. 

We've long been a proud partner with Padnos Muskegon.  Located on Ottawa Street in Muskegon Padnos is the spot in town where all of our finite resources are returned to be recycled and used again while keeping the community clean and it doesn't hurt that they pay top dollar for all of the scrap they take in be it from the average guy unloading what's in the garage or the bigger industrial customers in town who are still keeping the manufacturing end of things going.

It's pretty amazing when you come across a young man who has the drive to become an entrepreneur before the age of 15.  Claude Robinson III is a freshman at Muskegon High School who holds a 3.8 grade average.

We are purposely neutral in all things political here on the Muskegon Channel.  We've not taken a penny for any candidate or party or cause and we've kept the platform and social media of our other sites out of it as well on purpose.  The world has plenty of that and we'd like to be a moment of respite, however....that doesn't mean that we're not ALL ABOUT doing what we can to get you up and running and participating in the vote, or the census or any of the other civic things that go on that are so vital to our life.  No matter your choice, your vote matters and there's no argument that 2020 will be a year where we could see some incredible results on every level.

It's refreshing to meet people who care enough about our community to help rebuild and educate them.

So, let's pretend something for a minute.  Let's pretend that everyone, everywhere is arguing about everything.  It's 2020 right?  Wait a second.  Who's pretending?  The world is filled with nothing but arguments and we're all worn out on it.  Completely and totally.  So, why don't we stop and ask someone who argues for a living about the nuance of argument and how those who practice the discipline professionally handle things in the heat of the moment as well as when it's time to recompose yourself and gather up what's important...like say professionalism and dignity and realize that there's colleagues, ethics and a future to embrace.

2020 continues to be a year that we all stand and watch as things unfold.  A pandemic, the politics, the unrest and the future.  It's a whirlwind and it feels like we are all caught up in it.  From a political perspective, we at the Muskegon Channel decided that we were going to avoid it all.  That includes the money we could have hauled in from political advertising and the clicks and views we could have gotten with the back and forth between the candidates.  It's not that we don't see the importance of their missions, the vitalness of our issues and times or how that healthy discussion can lead to fixing things, we opted out over the polarization that's attached to all of this right now and the erosion of social media that surely follows.  We're so very aware of all that's ongoing, but we also think that a place for some respite is welcome too, so here we are.

If 2020 has proven anything in Muskegon, it's that while we're not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we are also way more tightly knit than a lot of the communities we see in the news, some of them quite close by, and with the discord, unrest and even the amount of time we've been forced to be "a part", we're still pretty strong and we can act as one when needed.  

The Muskegon channel had the pleasure of teaming up with and interviewing the lovely Mrs. Rane Garcia.

Today was super exciting getting to know and interview Muskegon's own prosecutor DJ Hilson. DJ grew up in a hard-working two parent household which had strong family values and good work ethics. He knew that at the early age of seven that he wanted to become a lawyer.

It's an ongoing series we've got with our fantastic sponsor Shon Cook this Saturdays With Shon Feature.  She spends a little time weekly explaining things from the perspective of an attorney when it comes to a very difficult subject in a very intimidating world, the legal system.  From making sense of the jargon we hear sometimes to applying real life experience to situations she encounters, you get to hear first hand how it works and why.

We are incredibly fortunate to have the Community College we do here in Muskegon with Muskegon Community College.  It's a leader in the state when it comes to the type of institution they are and education they provide and they set a standard that others strive to achieve.  As we've watched the development of the campus on Quarterline Road as well as the growth of the Downtown Muskegon campus, it's been with great pride that "Watch Us Go" has been very applicable to our educational opportunities here in Muskegon too.

Comcast Xfinity is how we get our word out.  We make no bones about that and going all the way back to the earliest days of the pandemic, we've been welcoming Rob Ponto from Comcast on to talk about some of the outreach that's been going on to help the community.  From the free access to any of their Wi-Fi hot spots anywhere you can find one, to working with people to keep service running and even working with schools to make sure that all of the virtual learning going on continues and students can keep doing the best they can.  It's been an amazing outreach and we're thankful for the time that's been spent sharing the resources with everyone in Muskegon.

Curtis and Bobbie Lowe founded Cadillac Inc. Car Club of Muskegon in April 2015. They started out with 25 members to begin their organization. In the beginning it was hard finding members who were serious about their love for Cadillac cars and youth in our city.

Friday was a beautiful day to welcome in visitors from out of town, but then again, pretty much any day is that for Muskegon.  This time however, it was a bit of a red carpet affair as Mike Walsh, Chief of Staff of the Department of Commerce paid a visit to the Grand Valley State University Hub to announce a major grant in support of entrepreneurial growth in West Michigan.

We spent the day Friday with the United Way of the Lakeshore visiting some of the work sites and meeting some of the people who make the Day of Caring what it is in Muskegon County every year.

We hear the term all the time - "I'd like to make a motion....".  Movies, TV, all of the news covering court cases and so on sooner or later, someone is filing a motion.  Sometimes, it's a quick decision to "make a motion to drop all charges" in light of something miraculous happening during a trial.  Of course, we are talking movies and TV here at the moment...so chances are, that motion is more fantasy than reality.  You also hear the term in situations like governmental meetings, and other formal things.  A "motion" is so much more than just words though.  Shon Cook is here to explain.

It's beginning to look a lot like....wait.....that's a little ways off still.  However, it is beginning to get to that point of the year where the community rallies around one of our most important resources to protect and defend those who are abused in our community and how we come together to support the cause is truly a Muskegon one of a kind event!  Power of the Purse 2020 is happening October 8th!  Brace yourself!

It's not always we get a chance to meet those that have experienced the struggle with civil rights activists such as Martin Luther King and John Lewis.   Not to mention our local public figures right here in Muskegon County.

We've been on you since early Spring to talk about the importance of the US Census!  It happens only once every 10 years and every form filled out brings back $18,000 for the community that you live in over the next 10 years.  It's 9 questions long, it takes 10 minutes to fill it out and if you have not done it yet, it's time to get moving on it and we're going to get you off the couch and going!

If you are an animal lover, and most everyone is, you know that Muskegon is incredibly fortunate to have the care and attention placed into our rescue community that we do.  There are all kinds of agencies out there with the well being of strays, surrenders and emergencies in mind and while COVID has seen a slight downturn in how busy some are, the reality is the work will never end and there will always be the need for animal care between in any number of circumstances.  

The Event itself is over, but the show and info is important.  Learn more here.


Tonight, we're proud to present the Hats and Horses Benefit for Pioneeer Resources of Muskegon.  Youll have a chance to learn a little more about the work that Pioneer Resources does and how they enrich the lives of so many.  Their MIssion statement is clear - "Our mission is to help people with disabilities and seniors attain independence and dignity by creating opportunities for participation in the community. People in pursuit of: a place to live affordable housing and specialized homes,  a place to learn vocational training, ABA therapy & community living supports programs, a way to get there transportation services, a place to grow and play camping, recreational programs"

Is a "prenup" a way of saying you don't completely trust someone even before you get started?  Well, it depends on how you look at it and as Shon will explain today, it can actually be a couple of things including a healthy exercise in transparency and honesty from the very start.  It might not be the most comfortable conversation you will ever introduce when you do, but when you hear what Shon has to say about the subject. you'll see in pretty short order how it can be beneficial for both parties and save a lot of time and grief down the line should the unthinkable happen to "happily ever after".

One thing that's been pretty incredible about our work over the last few months is finding ways to connect you with ways to get a hand in a time when those who never once thought that they'd need it.  Even to find out that the hand is there has been pretty amazing and it comes from places who provide the necessities that keep us all going.  Consumers Energy is one of those companies, and today Rich Houtteman joins us to talk about how they go above and beyond in our current times and always for our community.

In a world of virtual fundraisers...one giant organization stands out.  That might be a great opening for a movie if we were in the movie preview business, but we're not.  We are in the business of getting you the information about all of the local organizations that vitally need a hand this year more than ever and be it a virtual fundraiser, or a great day on the links like Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lakeshore has in store for you September 25th at Chase Hammond, we're on board to lend a hand!

In this weeks edition of Satudays With Shon, we begin with a little confusion.  No one is really sure why Andy immediately assumes the "appeals process" means begging to get yourself our of as much trouble as you can, as fast as you can, but Shon does an incredible job with her calm, and steady hand to assure him that an appeal has a lot more application than just finding your way out of a pinch.

There may be some bias in this one, because I love Pioneer Resources.  I pretty much love any place that helps those who are considered to have a limitation and gives them the opportunity to be equal to anyone by investing in them and finding ways to help them learn to be self sufficient through the work that they do and helping others understand that there is so much more to their mission than just giving people a way to be trained for a skill.  No, what Pioneer Resources does is help people who were once in their own little group fit in with the rest of us, and educates the "rest of us" on the fact that it was us who needed to learn a little more in most cases.  We all have incredible gifts, it's in the understanding of them that we can all find our strength.

When March came around, we all thought that things would come and go quick and that in a matter of a few weeks, we'd be back to normal and that would be that.  Well...we've since learned that "We're in this together" has a whole new meaning and as things have dragged on, "in it together" for DTE Energy starts with a call to 1-877-477-4747.

Yes, even the USS Silversides is doing her patriotic duty this year in the face of all things COVID and in the thought of keeping everyone safe, just like she did when she operated in WWII, the biggest event of the year to help raise a few bucks, honor some incredible hero's and show off how good she looks in her 80's.  Yes, the Luau is virtual this year but the preservation, the history and the incredible storied history of the Silversides in Muskegon is something we all need to get behind.

All that's happening in and around Muskegon that's readily apparent, that's pretty easy to point at and say "Look, see!!  We're booming!"  Yes, it's true, we are.  But we also booming in some ways that are equally "boomful"  (yes, we just invented a word) but the boom might be a little more subtle, a little more focused on getting it right for all the right reasons and making sure that what's being done is happening for the long term and modeling what a company should be like locally and internationally.  While you might be heading to Downtown Muskegon for all of the readily apparent, chances are, you'll go right by the "boomful" on on your way.  

An exciting day for us at the Muskegon Channel as we welcome a new face on a couple of levels.  If you are a social media user of any kind in Muskegon, maybe you've seen some of her Facebook Live chats with people, mostly women who offer advice or insight on any number of topics in her "Mom On a Mission" series.  Or, maybe you've come across her at one of her events she puts on like the Vintage Market.  Jessie Wilde is who we are talking about and with a recent change in her working life, it's given us the opportunity to grab a rising star.

We've been visiting with our sponsor Attorney Shon Cook since way back at the beginning of the year when things shut down, including the courts and there were a lot of people asking about what was to be expected when the courts were to re-open.  It almost seems like a lifetime ago that all of this started, but it's only been a matter of months and in the court system some of the changes that have been implemented and procedures that had to be adapted have moved at lightning pace compared to the reality of things.  Once the safety concerns were met, the digital end of things could be adapted and the work could resume and it's still a bit of a log jam on some things.

The Muskegon channel loves to spotlight those in which whom have contributed positivity through their work in Muskegon County.  Today I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Pamela Smith a Muskegon native in which was a Muskegon Heights graduate of 1970.

We have had an amazing series with Jason Ryan of State Farm Insurance getting to know more and more about insurance and how it benefits everyone in a multitude of ways.  We began our series weeks ago when the auto insurance reform was on top of everyone's mind.  It's a lot of rule changes that the average person just can't really keep up with.  What's needed, what's not...how it effects what's covered medically if you have insurance coverage there...very complex and if you still have questions about any of that, Jason is still the guy to call!  We have also explored things like life insurance, homeowners insurance, some more traditional auto insurance terms and coverage and short and long term disability.  It's been a wealth of knowledge passed along and to say that thousands have benefited....we can do that!  We're very thankful for his insight and time with out audience.

It's simply a stunning setting to walk into.  If you've been to the Muskegon Muskegon Museum of Art anytime over the last few years you've been part of some truly historic exhibitions ranging from the absolutely awe inspiring collection of Edward Curtis Native American Collection to Paul Jendrasiak's collection of rock and roll photos over the years.  Of course there are the sculptures, paintings and other artistic wonders, but a permanent collection of fragile beauty has been hiding away in the basement until now!

It' was not too long ago we were here celebrating the 100'th Anniversary of the United Way and talking about the rich history that they have in making sure that the needs of community are met and that the resources available are used to make sure that even the places that you might not hear of all of the time, well, they get a hand too.  After all, the United Way came together after the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic as a way to help focus resources in the charitable world, and like the headline says, history is repeating itself now and the United Way....stronger than ever and able to spring in to action and help in a moments notice.

It's been a couple weeks since we've heard from Shon Cook.  She's an incredible Family Attorney in Whitehall and very valued sponsor of the work we do here on the Muskegon Channel and Positively Muskegon and for her to spend some time explaining the reality of the legal system in plain English has been remarkably beneficial to our viewers and it's also a great way to see the human side of the law as Shon often talks about her clients and the impact they have on her as a person and professional.  One thing is for sure, Shon never quits learning.  

It's nothing anyone really wants to talk about.  The necessity of life insurance.  After all, you won't be using it.  However, it's not for you in the first place.  What you've built, it's a masterpiece.  You've got family, friends, a home....maybe some cool toys, kids with a bright future and if the unthinkable happens, you want to know that everything you worked for and believed in can carry on right?  Well, that's what the life insurance policy is all about.  It's a gift you keep only to give away to make sure that all that matters to you keeps on in the event you are not able to be here for them.

It's been an almost unthinkable time since March when all the shades were drawn and the halls fell silent in Muskegon Area Schools.  Who would have ever for a second imagined that we'd see such a thing that would change the way almost everything was done from work to shopping, community events and even worship services.  It's been almost like an episode of The Twilight Zone and no group has been more effected than our students and educators.  Everything in their daily lives got turned upside down when they order was given to close the schools and figure out "distance learning" to wrap up the school year.

Sometimes in life we have a tendency to come across paths with people that leave an ever lasting impression on you. Well one day while attending a grow meeting that is exactly what happened when I first met Jessie Wilde of Jessie Wilde Consulting. She had a brightest smile and spunkiest personality. She began to talk about how she wanted to branch out on her own and help people especially mothers.

We're very thankful for the great sponsors we have and we work very hard with them to not only give them the best value for their support, but we also will have them share their expertise in their field when it's valuable information to anyone.  Jason Ryan of State Farm Insurance is incredible with his knowledge in the world of all things that require insurance and all things that might not require it, but you're far better off for having it.  

As we travel the streets of Muskegon and meet those who share their story and what matters to them, once in a while a connection is made and with that connection comes a little opportunity.  A few weeks ago, we met Michelle Tyson who's got a group going called Taking Back Muskegon.  It's a very grass roots effort working on quite a few things to help neighborhoods, kids and families find resources and places that they can be safe, informed and well, honestly, a community in.  Her passion is strong, her belief in unity for all of us is real and after a few chats behind the scenes, it was pretty clear, Michelle belongs sharing her passions on a little louder platform.

Here we are at the beginning of August and I think the appropriate word would be exhausted.  2020 has been an unprecedented year on so many levels that it's almost impossible to keep on track with the day to day events of life in general let alone the happenings a few weeks or months ago when it came to headline news.  It's been a very trying time on all of us and for some the trials have been even stronger because, here's a little refresher for ya...if you remember back in Spring, Muskegon and surrounding areas were hit hard by flooding and a lot of damage added insult to injury to an already beleaguered community.

We've done what we can to help get the word out about the importance of the libraries in the area, and yes, the "big names" get a lot of attention.  The local library has become so much more of a resource to communities that they serve with the years.  What was once a book repository is now a spot for all things media, research, access to the internet for some and for others, a communal gathering spot for discussion, information and of course...yes...even still, a book. 

Well, you guessed it.  Even Stand Up for the Cure has gone virtual in 2020 and while the togetherness and fun of the day at Ross Park in Norton Shores won't be the orchestrated day of physical activity, awareness, healing, friendship, fun and sand in your toes..among a few other places.  There's nothing or no one who's going to stop Muskegon from doing it's part in the battle against breast cancer, or any other kind of cancer for that matter.  

We're very fortunate to have sponsors that can take the time to explain their industry to those who need to use it sometimes.  We've got Shon Cook with legal advice and Jason Ryan of State Farm saw the example, and great value of what can be done by making things simple and understandable for the average person.  Both deal with large and complicated fields, but both simplify the terms to make what's necessary, easy to grasp.

Michigan has 28 community colleges.  They are all very valuable resources to the areas they serve providing students a higher education at a more reasonable price and the ability to usually stay closer to home to work on some of the more basic college things or to get that degree without having to head to a far away university and incur some of the heavy costs associated with the traditional 4 year school.  Individually the community colleges sere their community well, but collectively, they stand as one to accomplish things on different levels and it's that strength that one of our own will be heading up.

Shon Cook is an amazing resource for us to have as a partner with the Muskegon Channel as her line of work as an Attorney practicing family law has given her some incredible experience to share and a a wealth of knowledge to help others understand in a way that eliminates a lot of the legal jargon and makes it easy to understand for most anyone.

45 years is a long time to be there for anything, and when it comes to 45 years for an essential service that's also a non profit that provides help for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking it's a true statement about the leadership and passion behind the mission of the organization.  2020 marks just that milestone for Every Woman's Place of Muskegon.  

We're back with the second installment of our talks with Jason Ryan from State Farm Insurance here in Muskegon.  Jason is a terrific sponsor of the Muskegon Channel and he's offered a little of his time every week to explain, in plain English some of the things that insurance coverage means and how it works to protect you and your family in the event you ever need it.  It's one of those areas in today's day an age that's pretty complicated for the average person to understand, so to have an expert like Jason simplify it and make it so people "get it", it's a valuable segment for our audience!

For everything that's booming in Muskegon and everything that still needs some work, one of the most precious commodities that we have as a community is our history.  It's rich.  It's deep and it's celebrated across 9 sites in Muskegon County under the umbrella of the Lakeshore Museum Center.  From the earliest known inhabitants 8000 years ago in the Paleo-Indian hunters, French settlers noting the "Masquigon" river in the 17th century, fur traders, lumber barons, foundry workers, shipping and on... Muskegon has been an anchor point of West Michigan and our history...it's worth preserving. 

Muskegon is rapidly growing, everywhere.  This we know and as it grows, we see all of the fanfare and of course the big headlines about the "big projects".  The Convention Center, the downtown development, multi use projects slated for the shoreline, hospitals going up and blight coming down.  We are in a rapid process of change and renewal and it looks and feels great.  All of that is also complimented by a very healthy real estate market and in Norton Shores, ground was recently broken on a new neighborhood that when complete will bring the ease and convenience of lake front condo living to a quiet and well planned area with access amenities that make life simple for residents and add very robust numbers to the over all health and well being of all of our area.

We're back with another visit with Attorney Shon Cook who's a great sponsor of our work and has been invaluable to our audience with her incredibly savvy advice with all things in the legal system.  We've discussed any number of topics from the earliest days of legal proceedings changes due to COVID, to potential court changes that will happen as things re-open and maybe even permanently.  We've also explored topics like mental health and the legal system. when you truly need legal representation and more!  Shon's ability to explain legal speak in a way that people can easily understand it and make it relatable to their needs has been incredible and this week, it's a topic that  still applies and even though it's not usually front and center news until some one rich and famous has a break up, it's part of every one of them and very real.  Spousal Support.

2020 has been a roller coaster ride for all of us and no one has been through a bigger wringer than the kids who've had their entire high school experience jolted, jarred, turned upside down and inside out.  For some, it was an early out with some easy online learning, but for others, it was the finish that never really happened and for some like Mia Snowden who've spent a lifetime leading up to the pomp and circumstance, it was certainly not the goodbye that they foresaw all the years they worked to get there.  But....all the years of work by Mia and others still had the payoff that so many seek when it comes to their very bright futures and since we can't see them all on a stage being handed their accolades, well, we found out about Mia and grabbed a little webcam time to talk about one of hers.

Admitting it right out of the gate.  Inviting me to do a story about a bakery is not exactly a hard sell.  I've been known to enjoy a little of the culinary arts when it comes to the sweet pastry side of things and walking past a cake, cookie or pie without at very least a sample, well, I'd be insulting the chef, right?  So when Davine Calkins asked if I'd be interested in helping tell the story about what's going on with she and her husband at the 490 Bakery, I was already in at the cookie part, but with Davine, these's a bit behind the scenes you might not know about.

Not long ago, we met a couple of pretty remarkable women.  Michelle Tyson heads up a group called Taking Back Muskegon and she's out to be a positive influence in her neighborhood and be the change she wants to see for the next generation.  We featured her story on Positively Muskegon about a month ago.  We've recently met Jessie Wilde too, Jessie is a local "Mom on a Mission" who's been shining a light on those who are making a difference in and around the area.  She's also a life coach, a business consultant, a driver of all things good...and both are a force to be reckoned with.  Well, now they are working together on a project.  Look out.  :)

We've talked about some sensitive issues with Attorney Shon Cook in our weekly visits, but this one could deal with subject matter that's difficult for anyone currently in the situation or who's had past experience with domestic abuse.  We'd ask that if this is something that causes you to be uncomfortable or "trigger" that you view with caution and know we're only here to talk about this subject from an advocacy and legal perspective. 

Sure, that's a headline that's designed to not only grab a little attention but to brag up the City of Montague and one of the eye popping attractions you'll find there.  It's a larger than life landmark that lets you know right where you are and chances are, somewhere in a drawer, or on a phone if you were born in more recent years,  if you've spent any amount of time in West Michigan there's a picture of you standing by it.

"We saw her at the computer at church one day and we said, "Payton - what are you doing?"  "I'm creating a non profit to help other kids with school supplies."  Ya...parents tend to hit the brakes when they hear that from a pre-teen, but, it's kinda how it went for the Chittenden family.  Sometimes, the stories write themselves folks...stand back and watch this kid go!

It's been a long haul for a lot of people.  Mental health is also popping up more and more in the daily conversation as a result of all that we've endured individually and as a society.  Our temporary situation has been a struggle for sure and sadly, the breaking point for some when it comes to some mental issues, but there are those too who deal with serious, long term mental health things that effect far more than a situation.

The Hackley Library is bar none one of the communities biggest landmarks, historical treasures and vast resources that's been open to all since 1890.  It's listed on the Michigan Registry of Historic Places and they have spent the 130 years of it's existence promoting knowledge, understanding and wisdom, combating ignorance, intolerance and indifference, promoting the free exchange of ideas and conserving our national and local heritage. Most of that came from the Hackley Library website, but no words have even been more true.

It's been a year of a lot of challenges, especially for those in the culinary business.  When things shut down for the hospitality industry there were a lot of immediate fears for everyone in it especially those who rely on business not only from a restaurant or store front, but for those too who work on providing the food for large gatherings with their catering resources and deliciousness.  I'd imagine that the last thing on anyone in the food service industry's mind was the annual Taste of Muskegon weekend we normally get, but like most anything else, their worries were put to rest as the congregating in a concentrated in a spot like Hackley Park, well..that got cancelled too, so there went taste.  Or did it? 

In a world on pause, or so it would seem, things that are "normal" are slowly starting to get back to what we know and while some of the BIG big events are still on hold, smaller community type things are starting to happen again and it's a welcome relief to many who've missed the things they enjoy.  

When things like a divorce happen and there are kids involved, it's a difficult time on all involved.  No one ever sets out to build a "happily ever after" with an end in mind.  But, people grow a part, lives change and circumstances sometimes lead to folks having to go their separate ways. 

It was a stunning Summer afternoon Downtown Muskegon near the Olthoff Stage where folks gathered to celebrate a great project put on by local companies, who are in the business normally of creating and recycling most of everything that was used to create the art.  That make sense?  Well, follow along a minute.

To The Readers and Viewers of The Muskegon Channel and Positively Muskegon.

If you're coming in to town via 96, your first tire tracks will be going through Fruitport and Fruitport Township!  A beautiful setting and growing area with plenty of residential areas, a lot of beautiful lake frontage, agricultural space, a great retail corridor a completely amazing new high school that made national news for innovation in student safety....a proposed casino that could drop at any given moment and become a regional destination and an estimated population of about 13,500 residents in 30 square miles...you've got plenty of room to move!   

With anything we do here at the Muskegon Channel, we like you to get to know a little more about all of our guests up front so we can connect you to them on more than just a "talking head" level.  The people that make up Muskegon are friends and neighbors and while we're a big enough city to have just about everything we need, we're also small enough to know that those around us are "just people" too and that all of who we are and what we do comes in to play when we're making things happen in town.  In the case of Kathy Moore, we really didn't have the luxury of the "get to know you" phase of things.

Big, bright, bold and beautiful.  There are not many other ways of describing what's being worked on for the shoreline down by Pere Marquette.  It's in the planning and funding phases at the moment but by years end, we should see a dramatic addition to the brand new roundabout that's just recently opened at the world famous beach in Muskegon and to say it's an eye catcher is an understatement. 

We've partnered with Muskegon County to spread the news about the vital importance of the 2020 Census for all of our area and how your participation in completing it means that answering 9 questions in under 10 minutes, brings in $18,000 for your community.  These are the kids of funds from the federal government that assure that things like roads, schools, meal programs, housing and more are all properly taken care of and that the money we pay in already comes back to the places we need it most.  It's a very small ask for participation from all of us and the funding is absolutely essential for all of our municipalities in Muskegon County.  City or rural, they all matter and they all benefit. 

What was closed, well it's starting to open again and that's a welcome relief all the way around.  That's not to say that what we're facing with COVID is over, not by a long shot and that's not to say too that anyone you meet isn't weary of all we've had to endure, but we can't live isolated forever and that means proceed with caution as what we know and love comes back to what we're used to and the Muskegon Area District Library is so excited to be doing just that!  Opening up, in stages to provide the incredible service for their patrons and the public that they do. 

Is it all that often you hear from someone who provides a service that you might not need to hire them?  It's not.  Generally, they will find a reason to sell you something even if it's an up-sell or an issue that could be dealt with at a later date.  Shon Cook has a little different approach today.  Now, don't confuse the opening line with the idea that you should march into a court of law thinking you are your own best representative, because in a lot of cases, you could be doing yourself a greater disservice by thinking that. 

You probably go through it more than you know and you don't even stop and think about it.  We're talking about Dalton Township and it's literally, the center of Muskegon County.  If you are heading north of south on US 31, you're going through Dalton Township.  Heading up Whitehall Road? Yup, Dalton.  M-120 to Fremont...Dalton.  A visit to Michigan's Adventure, Thunderbird Raceway or maybe a night out at the Full Moon?  Twin Lake for the fireworks?  Dalton Township is where you're going to find yourself and not only is it the center anchor point of the county, it's also a source of service for many of the surrounding communities when it comes to mutual aid with things like fire service, water rescue, training and more. 

Up in the Northern part of Muskegon County, tucked away behind Michigans Adventure and just a stones throw away from Ice Box Brand Ice Cream, there's a little hidden gem of education that not many have heard of, it's called the Duck Creek Learning Center.  Part of the White Lake Community Education program.  I first learned about this school when I was asked a few years ago to come and talk to the kids about some of the struggles I had early on.  I was one of those kids in school that didn't quite "get it".  I wasn't very attentive when it came to book learning, I was much more inclined to be "out front" when it came to needing attention and through all that...the frustration of "What do we do about this kid?" led to "Let's try this Ritalin stuff" and if you've followed along long enough...you know the rest of the story.  No harm, no foul.  It's just what the best minds had to work with at the time and back then...the idea of "alternative learning"..... that was a taboo that no one talked about.  I came from a household that had one thing in mind...traditional school...straight to college and on to a degree.  I, on the other hand wanted to be the one short fat Irish guy in KISS some day.  It led to a wrinkle or two in the educational process. 

Roosevelt Park!  A one square mile community surrounded by Muskegon, Muskegon Heights and Norton Shores!  "A Proud Community" where there are plenty of places to play for kids, miles of sidewalks for people to stroll and lots of great homes that are still what you picture when you visualize what a "nice neighborhood" comes to mind.  It's also a pretty successful business community with a large retail footprint, new business development and long term companies that have been a part of the community for years.  They are part of the Mona Shores School District and in recent years have completed some pretty big road projects to really make the city shine for residents and those who just pass through.  It's a quiet little community with it's own governing body and police force and as stated before...proud of what they've got! 2020 Logo Census IN BOX Shape Your Future Blue PreferredClick Here to Complete the 2020 Census in 10 Minutes

The population, it's not very big, but...as we've been saying all along, it doesn't take much more than participation in the 2020 Census to make a big difference.  The Census is simple.  9 questions.  No more than 10 minutes and it's an $18,000 chunk of money for your community to do things like fix roads, help with fire service and schools, assure that proper representation is there for local, state and federal offices.  It's a 100% private survey and the information is not sold or distributed in anyway.  

So far, in Roosevelt Park, the response rate has been really good!  All of our municipalities are shooting for that magic number of a 100% return rate to assure that every penny that our communities have coming in, comes in.  It's the easiest way to get the bucks we'e already paid in back for things that are important to us.  We can do millage requests, ballot proposals and all of the fundraising things there are, but when it comes right down to it, $18,000.  is a lot of money for very little effort.  

Jared Olson is the City Manager of Roosevelt Park and explains how the Census is going so far and just how much money we're talking that can be spread around one square mile.  It's just shy of $70 Million bucks and Jared does a great job explaining that and how it was calculated from the 2010 Census and how that number will go up with the growth that Roosevelt Park has seen since. 

A great guy, and great friend who I had the pleasure of working with in my time on the City Council in Roosevelt Park, which I am no longer a member of, for disclosure purposes, Jared and I sat down to talk about the Census.  Have a listen.  


Amazing!!  A task so very simple and quick with such enormous benefits we've all got to do our part.  We've seen Muskegon rock it out over the last weeks and months on a variety of things and this...this is literally the easiest thing that's come at is in 10 years.  Well, because the Census happens every 10 years.  Get yourself going on that and bring in the $18,000 for your town!!  To visit the City of Roosevelt Park's Website, click on their logo below!

roosevelt park logo

Ok, so, you got us on the "quarantine" thing since the whole "Stay Home, Stay Safe thing is over, however, there is still plenty of reason to practice some social distancing and best practices when it comes to health and safety so, like just about every other event, what we know and "how it was always done" is changing a little for 2020 when it comes to Ride United in Muskegon.  While the event itself might look and feel a little different, the purpose and cause is still paramount and participation is key!!  When we all help the United Way, great things happen in Muskegon and our surrounding areas.  The "virtual" Ride United takes place June 20th-28th. ride united logoClick Here to Register to Ride United 2020

Let's take you back a few.  Muskegon has a very healthy biking community, on a couple levels actually.  There are the bikers who have big loud fancy bikes covered in leather and chrome and there are the bikers too that stick to pedals and seat packs so they can push themselves and their equipment to the max.  Some ride for endurance, some ride for health and fitness, some ride for a cleaner and healthier environment.  Oh, and some of the earlier mentioned bikers ride because motorcycles rule.  But back to the pedal bikes.  No matter the reason for riding, Muskegon offers one of the best places anywhere for those who enjoy the ride, scenery, cool lake breezes and fresh air!  You can use the trails or maybe the long and winding roads hugging the Lake Michigan Shore for a ride, you're just not going to find many better places for a spin! 

With that, starting in 2012 Ride United has been combining all of our great assets for bike riders and those who want to do a little something for the greater good into an event that gives everyone a chance to be a part.  No matter the distance, purpose or reason, anyone with a bike can be a part of Ride United to raise some money to help the United Way out and know their efforts mattered.  In those years past, it's been a 1 day event for people to ride anywhere from 2-100 miles depending on how they are placed in the skills set and endurance, this year...with the "virtual" format, you've got a window of opportunity to participate in Ride United and of course, what you know and love by way of swag bags, incentives and more are still a part of the plan.  Yes, even some of those incentives that are cold, thirst quenching and generally involve a ticket to get one.  :)

While there won't be the closing of a street and group dismissal or riders, there is plenty of purpose behind the event to help keep the United Way doing what they do for all of us.  Seeing how they really came in to play and all that they did to support the agencies that were in direct relief for those who were effected by COVID, it's a great year to participate.  The United Way is a big name, but it might not be top of mind all of the time to some, our recent stretch however...let's just say that it was proof positive about how big of an impact the United Way has on our area and how vital it is to all of us.

Scott Blease is a very avid biker and active with the United Way Ride United event!  He joined me for a breath of fresh air outside the studio on the stage at Hackley Park to talk about this years slightly modified Ride United.  Take a listen! 


All ability levels are welcome and it's a great way to help out as an individual or as a family!  We've all seen first hand just how much the United Way does for our local community and what a fun way to return the help!  Make sure you plan a time to Ride United between June 20th and 28th!  Think how sporty you'll look in the t-shirt at very least!  For more about the United Way of the Lakeshore.  Click on their logo below!

united way lakeshore

We partnered up with Muskegon County to help spread the word about the importance of the 2020 Census for all of our communities in the area.  It comes down to this.  It's a 9 question survey, that will take you no more than 10 minutes to complete and when you do, you are unlocking $18,000 of federal money to come back to our local communities per survey per year, over the next 10 years.  That's a lot of money any way you look at it and it requires the least amount of effort when it comes to raising funds for all of the things that are essential as well as programs we need and love.  Schools, municipal services, roads, programs for wellness, housing both in the city and rural, our voice in government, it's all dependent on Census data! 2020 Logo Census IN BOX Shape Your Future Blue PreferredClick Here to Fill Out the 2020 Census

Today, we took a ride just North of town to Cedar Creek Township to visit with Township Supervisor Linda Aerts.  Cedar Creek Township, is BEAUTIFUL and Linda likes to brag up that there is something for a fan of every season in the Township!  From the miles of trails for off road motor sports and horseback riding in the picturesque Manistee National Forest, to the bountiful lakes and streams and trials for a hiking and a rapidly growing housing market, Cedar Creek Township is full of nature, but also close to everything making a commute to work a quick endeavor or, if you choose, jump on the highway and head further north for the weekend...you're already half way there! There are plenty of winding roads for a nice ride on a motorcycle or in your car and should you need a place to stop and grab a bite to eat or drink, M-120 runs right along a good stretch of the Township, so you're not far form it all!

The 2020 Census is just as important to rural communities as it is anywhere else.  Think about those miles of roads that need to be maintained.  How about the needs of that growing population when it comes to fire protection and police services?  Maybe it's how Cedar Creek Township is represented at a local, state and federal level?  All these questions are answered in the 9 questions you fill out in the 2020 Census.  All it takes is 10 minutes of your time and again, it's $18,000 bucks up for grabs!

A visit with Linda and you can hear the pride she carries for the community that was founded in 1861.  We took a few minutes to learn what was needed in the Township and how the money from the census will help.  We also talk about how the residents of Cedar Creek are participating so far, which is good even before the Census door knockers start!  Take a listen!  


A simple thing to do!! Fill out that Census and help make sure this historic part of Muskegon County continues to flourish.  They have good and caring leadership.  They have plenty of places for fresh air and roaming around and right here in Muskegon County, we find the perfect spot for agricultrural and rural development!  To fill out the 2020 Census please click on the link in the photo above to the right.  If you'd like to visit the Cedar Creek Township website and learn more about this great area, click on the photo below!!

ccth 2

We're at the end of the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order and things are going to be proceeding, hopefully with caution as we work our way back to some sort of normal.  It's been a very trying stretch of time on everyone and if you've needed help in the legal world, it's been invaluable advice from Shon Cook and her staff at her practice that's been right up front with us guiding you every step of the way with some of the intricacies of the COVID shut down, as well as being out front with their clients when it all began keeping them up to date on what's going on with the courts and different functions.  They helped push the way thru the early days with adaptation to digital use for proceedings state wide and they continue to work tirelessly for the clients they serve and always will. 

It was an early morning get together at the City of Muskegon Heights Department of Public Works to "flip the switch" on a new era of innovation and savings for all in the City if Friendly People.  It's been a process of a few years since it all began and today was the very first day that clean, renewable energy will begin to serve the city and it's residents and all of us for that matter for the next 20 years as solar power came to life on top of the first building in the Heights. 

We've partnered with Muskegon County to spread the word about the importance of the 2020 Census for our entire area and how your 10 minutes of time and 9 questions answered can bring $18,000.00 for your local community over the next 10 years.  It's a very simple, non intrusive process and the information collected stays private and benefits things like school funding, infrastructure, community programs and helps decide how we are represented in more than one level of government.  Simply put, it's the easiest way to assure that our local communities get what we are entitled to for the things we need and want.  

June 3rd is a unique day in Muskegon.  Why?  It's a day when your good deed can be matched by the Community Foundation of Muskegon County is presenting "Match Day" where your gift, of up to $1000 bucks will be matched for any number of amazing organizations in town that work tirelessly to help those in need, support the arts, and help our community thrive in ways that quite often go unseen.

We wanted to do our part to help shine a little light on some of these incredible organizations.  Thing is, we're kinda known for that already and pretty familiar with those who do good all over town already.  So while discussing the project with the Community Foundation about highlighting some of them, our only request was that they pick out who we talked to.  We got the list and we so happy that we found some friends and met a few new people along the way and as we continue on, we'll work too, to show you more about them and the work they do.  Well, we'll just keep doing what we do for everyone, that's kind of our thing. match dayClick Here to Support Match Day With the Community Foundation

Do keep in mind, there are 40 plus non profit organizations that are involved and we got a chance to talk to a handful.  If time and space allowed, we'd sure try and fit them all in, but take a look at the video's below to see if something strikes your passion to help and you can find the complete list of the organization that could use a hand on the Community Foundation for Muskegon County's website!  You'll find that linked in the photo to the right!

If you think about it, this is a pretty simple way to make any donation go as far as it can.  Any gift, $5, $10, $20.....it's matched and creates a bigger impact.  Those smaller gifts too, they add up quickly and any gift, no matter the size, that is from the heart...that's what matters to help out the things that are important to all of us.  Matching that...that's some serious community team work.

For now, some short chats with some old friends and some new ones.  Take a listen to some thoughts about who you can help on Match Day June 3rd with the Community Foundation of Muskegon County.  It starts with a short announcement from Heidi Sytsema about how it all works.

It's been a terrific partnership with the Law Offices of Shon Cook here on the Muskegon Channel and one we've been very fortunate to have.  The ability to put you together with legal professionals that can offer advice on a number of topics from family law to the criminal courts and the intricacies of them in regular times, let alone a time when the world seems to be in a bit of chaos is priceless and speaks volumes of the care that goes in to the work Shon and her staff put in to everyone they work with. shon headshotShon Cook Law on Facebook

We've discussed things in weeks past like parenting time, divorce, arrest and incarceration and other legal issues.  Today, Attorney Eric Stevens returns to speak on the eventual reopening of the courts and what's going to have to take place for that to happen safely.  It's not going to be an easy process, just like we are seeing everywhere else.  There are very specific safety guidelines that have to be met and benchmarks along the way that can effect the entire process.  It's all about safety and in a setting like courts, so much has to be taken in to consideration.  Things like social distancing for juries, safety of anyone entering the court house, safety of the staff, procedure and best practices that will have to adapt.  It's an undertaking of a monumental proportion and it's step by step, with possible road blocks.

Eric joined Andy O to talk about some of the specifics and what's to come in the next few weeks.  Jury trials right now are not even scheduled to begin until mid June which gives you an indication of the care and caution that's going in to what it takes to restart the courts as close to what we are accustomed to.  Take a listen. 



It's a mountain to climb for everyone.  Most don't look forward to the courts very much to begin with and patience and understanding will go a long way when it comes to making sure that as the process begins, we all work together and try to be as understanding as we can for each other.  One thing is for sure, having knowledgeable attorneys like Eric Stevens and Shon Cook who have been at the very leading edge of all of this change, adaptation and innovation since the beginning of the pandemic is something everyone needs.  We are so thankful for their sponsorship of our work, and their willingness to share their knowledge, experience and understanding with our audience.  If you need an attorney, you can access the Law Offices of Shon Cook by clicking on the photo below to visit her website.

shon cook office