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Wed, Jan

Community Economic Development Association of Michigan is hosting the event "Show Me The Money Day Muskegon" - an event designed to promote our community’s free and low-cost financial services, resources for financial literacy, and provides workshops on methods to better save and spend money with the intent of financially empowering the community as a whole.

As always...I had a great visit with my friends at HOPE PROJECT today. I sat down with Hope Project Director Sarah Johnson and Human Trafficking Task-force Member Brenda Nordstrom to talk about their upcoming Annual Community Forum. This 4th annual event will be taking place on Thursday, January 30th at the Folkert Community Hub at 640 Seminole Road in Norton Shores. This forum is FREE for all who attend...but a ticket is required because of limited space, and it is filling up quickly. 
 
hope project 4Visit The Hope Project Online
 
 This Forum and community discussion will be presented by lived experience expert, Ruth Rondon and guests from the Hope Project, Muskegon Prosecutors Office, Muskegon Sheriff’s Department, Every Woman’s Place, Farmworkers Legal Services & Lakeshore Human Trafficking Task-force. 
 
 Human Trafficking is real...and happening right in our own West Michigan communities. We all need to become educated on this horrible, growing issue. Experts will discuss and educate on the warning signs, ways that we can all help, and on situations in certain households that may lead to future trafficking.
 
 
Education is key. Please come to this very informative forum on January 30th. The doors open at 5:15pm… with the presentation and discussion from 6pm – 8pm.
 
 
For more information:
 
 4th Annual Community Forum on Human Trafficking “A Community Response”
 
Folkert Community Hub...640 Seminole Road, Norton shores
 
Doors opening at 5:15pm…...Discussion from 6pm – 8pm
 
Click on the event pic for free tickets from Eventbrite!
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Today Paranormal Muskegon paid a visit to Muskegon Attorney and former investigative journalist for the Muskegon Chronicle, Mike Walsh.  During his time as a journalist, he had the circumstance to investigate and report on the March 8, 1994 Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon incident. Twenty-five years later, no adequate explanation has been offered to account for it. For that reason, it continues to be of interest to both investigators and the general public alike.  Mr. Walsh, through his work as a journalist, became involved with this case when he was asked to investigate, which he did, although somewhat reluctantly, given the nature of the incident. During the course of his investigation, he filed a Freedom of Information Application in order to obtain the dispatch tape as well as other documents that they may have. Mike, after being stymied in his efforts to get information by some that he tried to get answers from, was able to obtain the dispatch tape through his efforts. After receiving the tape, he was quite intrigued by what he heard. Even though it was thought that there was photographic evidence too of the radar scope, he was told there was not. 
 
Mike Walsh is long-time attorney and resident of Norton Shores. Mike has an impressive background in in law, including having practiced in numerous county courts throughout the state, the Michigan Court of Appeals, and the U.S. District Court. He was a past member of the Representative Assembly, the rule-making body of the State Bar and has served as president of the Muskegon County Bar Association. Before entering law, Mike was a investigative reporter for both a Chicago newspaper that eventually become the Chicago Sun and the Muskegon Chronicle. He has won numerous awards as a lawyer as well as for his journalism. He was a four-time recipient of the State Bar of Michigan’s Advancement of Justice Award, and has numerous Associated Press investigative reporting citations, as well as various other industry acknowledgements. He has appeared on Larry King Live, CBS, and other television and radio networks, including The History Channel’s UFO Hunters to talk about this case and kindly agreed to share his story again with us today.
  
It all began around 9:30 p.m. on the night of March 8th, 1994 when police dispatches in Ottawa County began being inundated by calls from people who were seeing this inexplicable phenomenon involving multicolored lights. These lights, described as looking like “Christmas lights” by some, moving erratically and at high speeds;  were seen by around 300 people along the lakeshore from Holland to Muskegon. They appeared to be attached to solid objects, flying erratically, sometimes in triangular formation, other times in clusters. They were observed by people on the ground, including several polices officers, as well as being tracked simultaneously in real-time by the NOAA through the National Weather Station in Muskegon. In addition, several airline pilots also observed the lights when in route to Chicago.
 
After receiving calls from approximately 60 people and not knowing what to make of all this, Ottawa County dispatch contacted the National Weather Service station in Muskegon to see if they were picking up anything on radar. They indeed were and what the radar guy was reporting was like nothing he had ever seen before.  It was his incredulous reactions and descriptions of what he was seeing while talking to dispatch that were recorded on tape that quickly gained worldwide attention. 
 
Mike sent me a copy of the dispatch tape, which I listened to. At one point, Muskegon Radar says in response to 911 asking if they had anything unusual, he states; “Nothing but the usual ground clutter,”…so he was aware that it was different. (This guy was not a “newbie” by any means. He knew his stuff). At one point he states, “yeah, there is something big down there. That’s really strange….it looks like a big blob. One minute it was there, the next pass it was gone.  Then at one point, he says very excitedly…OH MY GOD! WHAT IS THIS!  He states they are strong returns and that it is not precipitation. He later states there were now three in triangular formation.  At another point he states these three or four “blobs were large, half a thumb nail on the scope and that planes were like little pinpoints on the radar by comparison. Radar guy says he has never seen anything like this. At another point he states in reference to 911 one maybe its energy; “This energy moves.”  They were at an altitude between 5,000 and 12,000 feet, flying at a high rate of speed in erratic motion. He later called to confirm that he was actually talking to the Sheriff’s department to make sure it was not a hoax.  I have investigated over 100 UFO cases in Michigan for MUFON and while I have never investigated this particular case, I am of the opinion that even if you didn’t have hundreds of people seeing these lights; the dispatch tape alone would be enough to show that something truly unknown was flying over Michigan that night.  It gave me chills to hear his shocked reaction. You could tell he was truly perplexed by all of this, it was not normal and these weren’t planes. 
 
 
If not for the investigative work by Mike Walsh, this case might have been forgotten or swept under the rug, either by accident or design.  Luckily for us, his ability to have obtained the dispatch tape showing the compelling and unusual nature of this event; in which Muskegon played a significant part; has not faded into the past, so remains unexplained twenty-years later. I asked Mike what he thought people saw that night. While he didn’t know what these objects were based on his investigation, given the size of the universe and the multitude of stars within it; it being extraterrestrial was always a possibility.  They saw something unusual, of that he was certain. Hopefully this event will continue to be investigated and that people will come forward to tell their stories about it. Until then, we wait.
 
Our thanks to Mike for sitting down and talking with the Paranormal Muskegon Team. His office is located at 8. Walton Avenue, Muskegon, Michigan, 49442. Phone: 231-725-4200. 
 
Below, you'll find a YouTube link to the audio conversation between police dispatch and the National Weather Service from the incident from March 8th 1994.
 

I recently visited with my dear friend Kris Collee, Executive Director of Age Well Services of West Michigan with Meals on Wheels. We sat in their newly renovated Driftwood Cafe at Tanglewood Park Senior Service Center in Norton Shores which is truly beautiful and the food is amazing! We chatted about the wonderful Holiday Meal that the Agewell Service’s Chefs are busily preparing for this Thursday, December 19th DTE Energy Foundation FREE Holiday Meal.

Seven and a half years ago the pool at Muskegon Heights Academy was ordered to be closed due to budget. Lots of effort put into place in the recent years and now the pool is officially re-opened.

Carmel McKentry is a long-time friend of mine, but we lost touch. Busy lives, growing kids, but when we get a chance to connect, the conversation is easy. Her smile lights up a room. She recently posted on social media that she was working at The Hideout, a bar and grill in downtown Muskegon Heights. I was intrigued.

 The Old Newsies and Goodfellows of Muskegon County have been around for 83 years. Their purpose has always been the same for all these years, that is to make sure “Let no child be forgotten” in Muskegon around Christmas time.

The Muskegon Channel was invited to Reeths-Puffer Elementary School for a very special surprise. First grade students at Reeths-Puffer Elementary School decided to write persuasive letters to their school administration to adopt a school pet.
 
After much research by both the Principal and Vice Principal they felt that having a therapy dog at the school was indeed something that they wanted to pursue. This leads us to Buddy the little bundle in the middle of the story. Karyn the Vice Principle set off to the Humane Society and Animal Rescue of Muskegon County where she met and fell in love with Buddy. pf logo webFollow the Petco Foundation on Facebook
 
Buddy’s story was entered into the Petco Foundation Grant program. Out of thousands of entries from around the U.S. Buddy won the Grand Prize. Petco and their partner BOBS from Skechers surprised the Reeths-Puffer Family, Humane Society and Animal Rescue of Muskegon County with a $100,000 grant award for the organization. Along with the grant Karyn and Buddy received a $1,000 shopping spree at Petco, a bed filled with treats and other fun things for buddy also from Petco, a pair of shoes and a leash.
 
I had a chance to talk with some of the kids and they told me what they thought about having Buddy in school.  Joining us for the chat are Alexis Ogborn from the Muskegon Humane Society, Lisa Lane from the Petco Foundation and Jennifer Clay from Skechers.  Please click on the link and watch this amazing surprise as it happened.
 
 
 
 
 

 

It was an incredible day to be a part of such a great company giving back to Muskegon. We captured the entire event as well, the best we could anyway with a room full of excaited kids and teachers and a very anticipation filled crowd as the presentation got closer.  You are welcome to click below and enjoy the whole program.  Our many thanks to Petco and Skechers for this incredible opportunity to be a part of something so magnificent.

 

 

 

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We're always very excited to welcome a new partner on with the Muskegon Channel and Positively Muskegon.  We work very hard to provide Muskegon with news that reflects our community for what we really are.  We don't claim perfection and we know that what we do is just a tiny bit of the incredible things we are seeing happen in and around town.  Our message will always stand though...we're proud of our people, our community and we always believe that our best day is yet to come.  When a business sees all of that in us and sees the value we offer as well, it's an honor of the highest magnitude.  smitter way backFollow Smitter Pest Control on Facebook

Smitter Pest Control reached out to us and said "We're in!"  We were very excited and proud at the same time.  Family run for 3 generations.  Smitter Pest Control is now run by John Koval of Muskegon and while the business is based in Grand Rapids, their service area is pretty much anywhere on the west side of the state.  John didn't waste any time getting involved in Muskegon when he moved his family here either.  He gave a lot of time and energy to the Sandy Corely Memorial Run during it's 30 years.  He's also a huge proponent of area athletics with Koval Softball.  He helps out a lot at Ross Park and Softball World.  If you follow John on Facebook too, while he's out working in his pest control business, he finds time to make life easier by posting traffic snarls he finds, and while he might no ever say it out loud, he's been known to reach in and give his last couple of bucks in his pocket to help someone out.  John, is truly "that guy" and we even did a little story on him in 2017 on Positively Muskegon when a little league had all it's equipment stolen, and he led the drive to get it all replaced.  

Now, on to the business!  Smitter pest control takes care of it all.  From catch and release of larger critters like raccoons, squirrels, skunks and more to ants, termites, mice, spiders....anything creepy crawly and especially bed bugs....Smitter handles it all.  They also use environmentally friendly products that are safe for kids and pets.  Pests can happen to anyone John explains in our video below and it's not about cleanliness or lifestyle, it's just a matter of bad luck in some cases or in others, pests find an "in" and in they come.  The cure?  Quick, affordable and efficient handling of the problem with friendly service that you'll want to recommend to others!  No better form of advertising in the world, and they know that at Smitter Pest Control.

John and Andy go back a few years, so...he just swung by the house to say hi and chat about Smitter Pest Control.  Take a listen!


Great local company, great stweards of the communities they serve.  We are very proud to welcome Smitter Pest Control.  We highly recommend giving them a call if you've got an issue.  Take the number and put it on your fridge!  616-245-7215.  Click on the image below and save Smitter Pest Control in your favorites so when you need them, you've got immediate access to the help you need!

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I sat down with Alison Updyke, owner of Minty Vintage and current marketing director for Pound Buddies, to catch up on what it takes to be an entrepreneur with a young family, several business successes under her belt, and three dogs of varying sizes.  
 
Alison is known locally for her portrait and fashion photography, most recently with Wildflower Studios. The cooperative project began as several professional portrait photographers combined forces to provide a more dynamic offering. The studio has been highly successful over its six years in operation and continues to be a top recommendation for families looking to capture their most important and intimate moments. So I had to ask - why would Alison choose now to step away from the business? pound buddies missionClick Here for the Pound Buddies Website
 
As Wildflower has expanded its staff and gained a following, Alison felt now was the moment to leave the steady business in capable hands and take new chances in other areas of interest.  Like any accomplished artist, she is focusing on her next body of work.  Always on the move, Alison decided to take her love of fashion on the road, acquired a 1964 Avion camper, and painted it Mint Green. Dubbed a "Traveling Shop", Minty Vintage moves to locations around the city for Pop-up shops and offers a selection of retail clothing and an online shop. The website is also a portfolio; using local models to create her promotional material, her fashion photography is both playful and honest, reflecting body positivity, and showcasing her style as inclusive without compromising its edge. 
 
An animal enthusiast, Alison takes her talents to Pound Buddies for the same type of promotion of her canine friends. "I have three dogs: "Small, Medium, and Large". Adding to her energetic family has been a no-brainer for her, but she doesn't take the responsibility of care lightly. "I just want people, when they are ready for a dog, to think of Pound Buddies first." In addition to marketing, Alison really found spending time with the animals to be fulfilling, so much so that she asked to be an animal care specialist for the organization. 
 
A multi-faceted entrepreneur, style guru, mom of one human and three canines, doesn't she have it all? The Anxiety, yes, she says. In our frank discussion, Alison admits she struggles with a perpetual teenage angst. But she has learned to isolate the things that make her feel confident - creative reflections of her human and animal community, a zest for getting out into the world and taking chances, and uses these to overcome. 
 
 

You can click on the photo below to visit Minty Vintage online!

 

minty vintage trailer

Muskegon County has so many hidden gems. With the downtown hub becoming the place to be these little-known places are becoming more popular. One of those places are the Greater Women’s Club.

We were given the great honor to be invited to help out on Veterans Day of being asked to accompany The Director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, Zaneta Adams on a tour of West Michigan to meet Veterans and find out from them first hand what their needs are and how her office can assist them. Making sure that what's in place to help those who were willing to protect our great freedoms are being used to their full potential and that every benefit they are entitled to, they are aware of and that they know that if they are not aware of them... there is someone there to help them understand how to access the help they have coming.  

mi socialFollow The MVAA on Facebook

  During a recent interview, Mary Suarez of The Hope Project has revealed that Sex Trafficking is a very real problem in Muskegon County. The Hope project is currently helping 68 women & young girl that had been the victim of trafficking in the county, with three new 'clients' just this week.

I’ve said this for the past 20 years… “Lewis Farm Market is the BEST PLACE ON EARTH!”...and I still stand by that statement today!  I had the privilege of chatting with my great friend Scott Lewis...he and his wife Cindy are the very proud owners and operators of Lewis’ Farm Market and Petting Farm in New Era Michigan.  I know personally how much they have grown this wonderful place over the past couple of decades because my (now adult) children  have been raised enjoying Lewis’ since birth….and STILL DO!!!   When I say that Lewis’ is my favorite place on Earth it’s because of SO many reasons...but mostly because they treat every person that comes to the farm like family.  lewis farm marketFollow Lewis' Farms on Facebook

It was a great event to be a part of last year as Padnos Muskegon (formerly Shoreline Recycling) came to us to ask if we'd be be willing to partner with them on helping out the Muskegon County Department of Veterans Affairs with some of the things that they do that go so far above and beyond what's required of their services.  It was an even greater day when Kurt Aldreink got a hold of us again this year and asked if we'd return to help the push and spread the word so that Padnos Muskegon could again give a hand to some remarkably deserving folks the Vet's Affairs takes care of, as well as their customers who donate a little something who will be given a little incentive for their participation. vets affairs

Like last year, the Padnos customers are the key to this.  If you're bringing in a load of recyclable material that Padnos handles, bring in a canned good or two, up to 10 and for every canned good you'll get an extra $1 per ton on your pay out.  This also applies to personal care items too, like soap, toothpaste, deodorant etc.  The do have to cap it off at 10 items per ton, but don't let that slow down your generosity if you are able to give more.  Padnos will also be looking for a Veteran here in town who can use a night out and gifting them some tickets to a hockey game, dinner out and an overall relief from the day to day. 

Padnos as you may remember back to a couple months ago is undergoing some major renovations on their property.  They are located on Ottawa Street in Muskegon and they are one of the first places many see as they come in to town from the North.  With their long time presence here in Muskegon, and long standing building, the time had come for a major face lift and it's just now getting under way.  Don't let that stop you though.  As the work gets underway, watch it happen!  See the renewal happen first hand and help support a company deeply rooted in Muskegon and who places so much stewardship in it's people.  Business as usual for the customers of Padnos outside of a new spot for the scales and a temporary new spot to collect the cash for your recyclables.  

Kurt Aldreink and I sat down to go over this years canned goods drive and talk a little about the renovation again.  It might very well be the last piece of video ever filmed in the old building... take a listen.

 

Love what Padnos does for our community.  Padnos helps reclaim finite resources, keeps the level of junk down in Muskegon and all surrounding areas while providing top dollar to their customers for doing what needs to be done anyway.  Add to that their commitment to making sure that our Veterans are taken care of in return for being willing to pay the ultimate price for all we know and love.... Padnos Muskegon is exactly the kind of company Muskegon should be proud of!  Make sure when you stop there in November you get that added bonus and even if you're not in the scrap world, stop in to Padnos and help the effort.  You can learn more about their renovation project if you click on the photo below!  It will take you to our story from a couple months ago when Kurt joined us for the announcement. 

padnos update lead 

Rotary in any community has a simple creed.  Service above self.  The idea from their website is that Rotary is where neighbors, friends  and problem solvers, join leaders to take action to create lasting change.  Not a bad set of standards at all in a world where we are increasingly drawn into our own little silos more and more.  There are currently about 1.2 million Rotarians in 35,000 clubs who actively work to improve their communities and the people in them.  From working to end Polio, to helping provide clean water, Rotary digs into some heavy tasks all to make the world a better place. night on town 25Get Tickets to Matt Williams

The White Lake Rotary is made up of members from Whitehall and Montague.  They have worked tirelessly to make improvements around the area.  New band shell to name one, and of course other areas that need a hand from community minded people who want to see better things happen.  Their meetings are held in a picturesque setting and like a lot of other Rotaries...they are a great place to connect.  To meet others who'd like to do the same you do when it comes to something good. 

There is a great night of fun coming up to benefit the group.  It's going to be November 2nd at the newly renovated Playhouse at White Lake and it's got two levels of fun!  Country artist Matt Williams is coming from Nashville to play.  If you really want to do it up, you can get the $100 ticket that includes food, a silent auction a concert and more.  If you're just in for the concert, you can get a ticket for the show only for $25.  For the premium ticket...talk to a member of the Rotary or maybe stop in to the White Lake Chamber.  If a ticket for the concert will suit ya you can find a link for that in the picture to the right!

Amy VanLoon and Jeff Johnson are members of White Lake Rotary and they joined Andy O to talk about the event, the White Lake Rotary Group itself and how you can be a part.  Take a listen.

 

 

 

 

A great night out and a great chance to see the newly renovated Playhouse!  It really is remarkable inside and an awesome venue to see something in.  Head up to Whitehall for a fun night with some purpose behind it on November 2nd and maybe find a spot for yourself among the Rotary bunch.  It's a great way to get involved and make a difference.  To learn more about White Lake Rotary, click on the photo below to visit their Facebook page.

wl roatary

It's a tradition 10 years strong in Muskeogn.  A living history lesson provided to the community about some of our more prominent members over the years in Muskegon.  The names who made us who we are and got us to where we are!  Stand out names like Hackley, come to mind immediately, as do names like Walker, Torrent and or Hume.  But there are also names like MIllie Peck, Nelly Torrent, Emily Easton and Alberta Catherine Vandervwerf.  They all have a story to be told and it happens this weekend at the Evergreen Cemetery as the cast of the City of the Dead Muskegon bring their annual living history lesson to life! 

There is absolutely nothing better than tying together beautiful art, historical treasured collections, inspiring-entertaining ideas and great people coming together to raise funds and awareness for an important cause... and all of the above completely describes the 2019 TEMPTING TABLES Tablescapes & Collections annual event....all to raise important funds and awareness for breast cancer research and patient support.  Every year it becomes bigger and better than the last. tt2019Tempting Tables on Facebook
 
I recently had the privilege to spend some time with two of TEMPTING TABLES biggest supporters and organizers...Marleen DeLong and Jackie Hilt.   We all met up at Jackie's gorgeous, historic Muskegon home to chat about this year's amazing event...and so I could get a sneak peek at some of this year's historic wedding dress collection...and some of the prized one-of-a-kind auction items.
 
Marleen and Jackie, along with all the other volunteer organizers put countless hours into each years' Tempting Tables event...lining up local talented artists creating brilliant one of a kind tablescapes....all absolutely awe inspiring to behold.   This year showcasing 38 individual tablescapes.   The organizers also hunt down one-of-a-kind private collections that would make any museum proud to have....this year 9 collections in all...including the prized wedding dress collection, featuring gorgeous gowns from decades across time.   
 
Also, many amazing donated items that will be auctioned off during this 4 day event...many of these items are absolutely priceless.   Marleen and Jackie wanted everyone to know that 100% of the ticket sales and auction item dollars raised will go directly to breast cancer research and breast cancer patient and survivor services and support.
 
TEMPTING TABLES Tablescapes & Collections 2019 will take place at the Delta by Marriott Grand Conference Center (formerly Holiday Inn) located on Third Street in Downtown Muskegon.... Thursday, October 10 through Saturday, October 12...with a very special Patron Celebration being held from 4pm - 7pm on Wednesday, October 9.   Also a special breakfast to honor Dream Fulfillment Fund recipients, plus an informational seminar...the breakfast will take place at 8:15am at the Frauenthal Hilt Building on Western Avenue.
 
 
TEMPTING TABLES is truly a wonderful event...entertaining and inspiring for everyone!  Raising vital funds for Breast Cancer research and support.   For ticket information and general event information please see below.   Sincere gratitude to Marleen and Jackie, along with all the other amazing volunteers and artists that make this event so fantastic each year!
 
TEMPTING TABLES tablescapes & collections
Wednesday, October 9 at 4pm....TEMPTING TABLES Patron Celebration (tickets $60)
Thursday, October 10 - Saturday, October 12....TEMPTING TABLES (tickets $15 advance, $20 day of)
Delta by Marriott Hotel and Conference Center
939 Third Street, Downtown Muskegon
For additional information call (231)780-4359 or (231)798-4244

What a call to get!  "Something awesome is happening at Edgewood Elementary tomorrow, can you be there?"  The call came from the United Way of the Lakeshore and Dominique Bunker was on the other end of the line, and when that call comes in, arrangements get made to be there, because it's no April Fools joke.  Upon our arrival at the school bright and early the sights and sounds of the kids, faculty and guests echoed the excitement because a gift had been given to all of the students there!

Mission for Area People of Muskegon County is gearing up for a Fall fundraiser that will help with their incredible outreach for those in our community who need a hand with the essentials that are sometimes just not able to be met because of one reason or another. 

I attended “Drawdown” in Grand Rapids last week.  The conference featured international sustainability expert Paul Hawken who has published a book, Drawdown, with one hundred methods for reducing carbon emissions causing climate change. When I entered the ballroom of almost 500 people, I was surprised and pleased to see a group of Whitehall Middle School students, along with teacher Susan Tate and school superintendent Jerry MacDowell.  The group was in attendance with the support of the Steelcase Foundation, which had also supported attendance for several other school groups.  The students were attentive and serious, and I was thrilled when all of them were asked to the stage to offer their input to the entire audience.  They had been asked for their spontaneous words, but they were still very eloquent and heartfelt.  The audience gave them both respect and applause.  drawdownLearn More About Drawdown
  
I spoke with two girls from the group a few days after, Kenzie and  McKayla. I was pleased to see that they were more than ready with their thoughts. They noted how they had not had much notice of the conference, as part of the recently formed Lexus Eco Challenge team for the school, coordinated by Mrs. Tate.  But they were glad to go and very pleased to have been treated just like any adult at the conference. The Lexus Eco Challenge is a national program where students teams choose an environmental issue important to them, create and implement an action plan, and then report on the results. Whitehall has a reputation for doing well, and even won the grand prize in 2017, under Mrs. Tate’s direction. 
 
The girls don’t know what the team will decide to do this year, but they are passionate and motivated to make a difference! Watch them go!
 
 
 
 

In November, voters in the White Lake area are being asked to approve a millage for a 5 year period where they are asking for 1.65 mills for some incredibly necessary upgrades and improvements.  It's not an indefinite period of time and it's being asked by those who daily, put their life on the line to protect the rest of us.  We at the Muskegon Channel have always sided with those in public service and what's needed at the White Lake Fire Authority, you'll see is truly a small ask for what's provided. wlfrCitizens Supporting WLFA on Facebook

Let's go back a bit.  The current main station in Downtown Whitehall has been there since the 50's.  It's unable to hold the equipment and tools needed in today's line of first response work.  What was once a "fire barn" with a dalmatian out front in the classic minds eye has become a central spot for fire trucks, EMT's, water rescue, life saving supplies, implements to extricate people from crashed vehicles and more.  The current building isn't even properly vented for the exhaust the trucks put out when started so, when a call comes in and the vehicles roll out...the lingering cloud lasts a while.  The administrative area of the fire department is smaller than a single axle travel trailer  and as the need for services has increased space has gotten so tight, even holding a department meeting requires the moving of all the vehicles out of the bays and the garage becomes a makeshift conference room.  There's one essential vehicle that can't even fit inside the old facility.

There is also a very large need to replace 2 of their trucks.  The average life span of an emergency service vehicle according to Pete McCarthy who you'll hear from in a little bit, is 20 years and White Lake Fire has one that's 25 and one that's 29.  Their life span has passed and and replacements are needed for the safety of their expansive community.  With the size of their service area, knowing what it's going to cost the average homeowner is best answered by calling your local municipality or consulting your taxable value of your home by .00165.  So, for an example if your house has a taxable value of $100,000 it will cost you $165 dollars.  No one wants to pay more taxes, but imagine if in your time of need the services are not there.  Makes $165 bucks seem pretty paltry.

As we mentioned, Pete McCarthy is a Captain with the White Lake Fire Authority and I caught up with him as he was setting up for the WLFA Open House held Friday night at the station.  We took a few minutes to talk about the growth of their services as well as the cramped space they have grown past and what's to come should the voters agree this is a necessary improvement for the booming White Lake Area.  Take a listen.  

 

We stand with our first responders.  We have yet to come across any ask from a public safety organization that's not been thoroughly researched and proven needed.  The White Lake Fire Authority is just that.  The White Lake area is filled with everything from multi family to huge stately mansions.  The calls for service range from dirt roads to one of the busiest highways in the state.  Showing up with a pumper truck is still a service, but so are calls for drug over doses and other modern social plagues.  A request like this is why society is set up.  Community is built on combined resources to take care of each other in time of need and supporting those who take the job.  Please know the facts and vote November 5th and help the White Lake Fire Authority serve their beautiful part of Muskegon County.

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To break character a little is a way to draw a little attention to something that can often be a difficult subject to address.  When that difficult topic happens to be the abuse of women, it takes a little more of an effort.  For years now, in Muskegon, the men of the community have broken character, away from their day jobs and their normal demeanor to strut the runway in front of the community with designer purses that come in from donors all over the area and are combined with some incredible opportunities.  Is it a night of silly fun?  Yep.  Is it an effort on the part of all to raise a few bucks and a lot of awareness about domestic violence and the organization in Muskegon that's been at the forefront of the cause since 1975, Every Woman's Place.  POP HeaderClick here for Tickets to Power of the Purse

The work of Every Woman's Place goes so far in Muskegon.  They work to offer safe shelter, counselling, advocacy and supportive services to women and children surviving sexual and domestic violence.  Services also include parenting education, sexual assault crisis intervention, information and referrals and and a 24 hour crisis line.  And all of this is free to those who need the services.  Over the course of the year, the program relies on some fundraiser events like Power of the Purse, Cheers and Chocolate and more.  They also work to secure grants and donations in other ways to continue the essential and vital work they do for all they serve.

This year, the fun is set to take place at the Fricano Event Center on Muskegon Lake on October 10th.  300 plus guests will be in attendance...15 or more purse models will be competing for top bids and the food and drink will be second to none as always at a Fricano's event!  There will be silent auctions going on as well as music and more.  The highlight though....the runway.  Some guys embrace it....some nervously stroll up and down it, others....well others think they are on a Broadway stage and go all out!  Women leave with top notch designer handbags and the guys leave knowing that while they let their guard down, hey did their part to help women in crisis.

This year, Subaru of Muskegon, part of the My Auto Family has stepped up to be the headline sponsor of the event.  Elisa Hopper of Every Woman's Place and Maria Secord of My Subaru joined Andy O....who by the way....continues to show up Norton Shores Mayor Gary Nelund in the battle of U of M vs. MSU purses year after year...to talk about this years event.  Take a listen.  

 

Fun huh?  Does it have a bit of the "town follies" feel?  It sure does, and it's such an incredible thing to be a part of.  When we hear about domestic violence or sexual trauma...we all stand there, shaking our heads and asking "What can I do?"  Well, here's your sign.  You can be a part of an event like this.  You can make a small donation to Every Woman's Place.  You can learn the signs of domestic violence and you can advocate for those who are victims.  We hope to see you at the Fricano Event Center October 10th for Power of the Purse.  You an learn more about Every Woman's Place by clicking on the image below.

ewp

 

 

subaru of muskegon

 

 

 

  For the 25th year, The International Buster Keaton Society’s will host their Buster Keaton Convention in Muskegon, Michigan, the summer home of Buster Keaton and his family in Bluffton / the Actors Colony, during many of their years on the Vaudeville circuit. Members of the society, who call themselves The Damfinos, will come to town from all over the world and participate in this three days event.

  For the regular fans, one of the main events is set on Oct 5, 2019 at 8PM -  the the showing of the double feature: One Week (1920) and The Camera Man (1928) at the Majestic Frauenthal Theater with LIVE organ accompaniment by Dennis Scott on the mighty Barton Organ. This event is open to public with tickets for $8 in advance and $10 at the door.

Orchard View Adult Education is an AMAZING resource for those who would be considered "non traditional' students.  For some, the setting of a school wasn't ideal, or maybe it was a learning disability that was unknown and discouraged them from completing their diploma.  Maybe it was a life circumstance like the need to go to work or raise a child that took someone away from the ability to complete their education.  There are any number of things that can get in the way, and in days gone by, those who couldn't complete the K-12 process the way others do...well, we all know how that worked out.  It was generally a hill often hard to climb for anyone.  ov ad gradsFollow Orchard View Adult Ed on Facebook

Today, the approach to education has changed and the shame and stigma of that classic mold not being completed as it should be isn't seen as it was.  Hey, sometimes life is hard and the path has to make some twists and turns.  That doesn't mean that when things are back to a little more normal that anyone should be denied a diploma or GED.  That's where Orchard View Adult Education Comes in.

Offering specialized focus on the student and customizing a learning experience for them is the key to their success.  No matter where the students are on their educational path, OV Adult Ed will access there needs and custom tailor a program with the support they need to get past the hard parts and give them the self confidence along with the paperwork that says that they did it!  Their campus out off Apple Avenue is still open and embracing students, but not long ago their Downtown Muskegon location had some changes and that left their students in the area in a bit of a lurch.

To the rescue came Muskegon Community College in the beautiful new Strurrus Center right across for Hackley Park which not only had the room to welcome the teachers and students, but they also have the technology in place to make the move in quick and above all....the students working on getting those basics done, they get a first hand look daily at just what the future can hold for them if they choose to continue on to a certificate or degree program with MCC.  This is an amazing win for all involved and getting the word out about the new Downtown Muskegon location is what spurred the call from Stephanie Agard to come down and learn a little more.

We did just that.  We met with Stephanie, Elizabeth DiRitio and Amber Silvis who are teachers with OV Adult Ed and Ashley Battle from Muskegon Community College and we talked about this amazing meet up of educational opportunity....take a listen.

 

Don't let the stigma of "what was" stand in your way.  Orchard View Adult Education is right there to help you every step of the way!  So, no matter the circumstance that kept you from completing high school or how long it's been, now is the time to grab life by the tail and finish it up.  There is help every step of the way and you will not find a better opportunity anywhere from people.  Click on the image below to get started.

ov ed

I was back at the GVSU-Annis Water Resources Institute last week for a chat with Dr. Rick Rediske, scientist and professor of water resources. I have known Rick for decades. His work and assistance have been absolutely essential to cleaning up White Lake, as well as advancing Muskegon Lake’s restoration. Rick was always available to meet with me and other citizens to help us understand pollution issues, and he was the lead scientist on many important studies that helped to define environmental problems in the two lakes, as well as solutions. m pfasState of Michigan Pfas Site

My guess is that many in Muskegon County may not know that he helped citizens in Rockford, Michigan raise the issue of PFAS to the attention of state environmental regulators and public health officials and he is one of the state’s top experts on the subject. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, are a group of chemicals used in the industrial, food, textile, and even firefighting industries. They break down very slowly in the environment and are highly soluble, easily transferring through soil to groundwater.

Rockford citizens became concerned about pollution in their community almost 10 years ago. They were frustrated by the lack of attention by city and state government and asked Rick to help. What they uncovered was a massive pollution problem, extending throughout 25-square miles, and contaminating drinking water for almost a thousand households. The offending pollutants were PFAS-related chemicals in Scotchgard, the product used to waterproof shoes made by Wolverine. The state is now studying the pollution at sites across the state, as PFAS-type compounds are used in firefighting foam, and other products. Rick notes that they are also in many everyday products such as fast food wrappers, dental floss, and Teflon cookware.

PFAS compounds have numerous harmful health effects. They can affect the growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children, lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant, affect the immune system, and increase the risk of certain types of cancer. And to make matters worse, the federal guidelines are considered inadequate by many scientists. Fortunately, Michigan is developing its own guideline, which will lower the amount allowable for safe exposure to people.

 

To find out more, you can check out the state’s website, which provides all of the testing done to date on public water supplies. Muskegon County’s health department also provides information on this topic. A Great Lakes environmental group, Freshwater Future, is offering affordable tests for private drinking water wells.

mkg county public health

 

 

freshwater future

Have you heard about these little things called the Little Free Library? Well let me tell you.. The Little Free Library is a non-profit focused to put books into hands that may not otherwise have had the access to them. These Little Free Library’s are meant to inspire the love of reading in all ages. When you visit a location you are able to pick a book out to take home, you can choose to keep it, bring it back or exchange it for another.  little free libVisit the Lazy Oak Little Library on Facebook

I know that we have a few of these amazing library's around Muskegon county. Orchard View has one at the OVEE, OVE and OVM schools. You can also find one on Palmer Ave downtown Muskegon. Today I had the pleasure of meeting with Lindsay who is the one behind the newest Lazy Oak Little Free Library here is Muskegon located at the end on Lazy Oak Trail. on the turnaround in the cul-de-sac. Lindsay had said that she loves the idea and knew that she wanted to add one in her neighborhood. With the help of her husband and a filing cabinet from Ikea the Lazy Oak Little Tree Little Free Library was formed. Lindsay says that she wanted everyone of all ages to feel welcome to come and visit. You are able to take/leave a book, donate a bookmark or even leave a note of thanks or an uplifting message for the next person.

If you are able please go and visit one of these amazing fixtures in our community. Below is a short video that I took of the chat that I had with Lindsay. You can also click on the photo to the right to see some of the books that you can find at this location.

 

If you would like to have more information about Little Free Library’s, where they are or maybe how you can add one into your community you can find that information by clicking below!

lfl org

So...you learn the family business, you get to know all the in's and outs of it, you grow a little on your own and then you spread your wings because you realize you can "fix anything that creates a stitch" and you've quietly built yourself a little empire in Muskegon providing a service that is essential, but most don't realize they need until it's the very last second and they are in a pinch.  Over the years, you grow to not only have a shop in a quiet little unsuspecting area, but you're travelling the region and country doing what you do and keeping sewing machines...all kinds of them, from home use to industrial applications up and running.  

This is the story of Wildig Services of Muskegon.  Family owned and operated, Wildig services is located out on Apple Ave. by the corner of Maple Island and while they have spent their time fixing up what failed for those who like to use a sewing machine for business or pleasure, they have also been incredibly resourceful in their business by building up their own stock of sewing machines.  Some came in on trade, some came in broken past repair....some were just let go because of an upgrade but all of them have very specialized parts that you can't just run into a store and get, so...the smart thing to do was to hang on to what you have to help with what you need!  Not everything in society today is disposable like we all think. sowildVisit SoWild Custom Interiors on Facebook

So, with their years in business... the Willdig's have piled up over 1500 sewing machines.  All makes and models.  Some antique, some fairly new.  Some still in good working order and some are even ready to be run with a foot pedal should the right customer come along and want that option.  Their shop is quaint and they have also expanded in recent years to offer custom upholstering for cars and boats at their Apple Ave. location with their SoWild Custom Interiors, along with some more current sewing machines for sale...but the real story is what you find at their storage facility. 

Shelves....stacks and and square feet of floor covered in sewing machines.  It's such a site to see that when there was a Facebook post with a snapshot of one small area of the sewing machines...we reached out to see if we could come tell the story.  Sarah Wildig graciously agreed to let us show up with the camera and show you what's going on.  Take a look, and listen.

 

 

Wow!  It's a bit of a quirky story, sure...who would think of such a collection?  Smart, resourceful and practical when it comes to having what you need for your business!  As Sarah said though...they are looking to liquidate the collection and are deciding on how.  An open house maybe or possibly one buyer?  Time will tell, but our thanks for now go out to the Wildigs for a fun story...a very unique business in Muskegon and for keeping us "in stitches" of all kinds for years!  You can call their shop if you like.  231-788-6127 and if you need a sewing machine looked at, think of a local, family run small business that would be happy to see ya!  

Last week I met up with Dr. Steinman, Al, as I have known him for many years, to talk about the Institute’s important role in Muskegon County and a few of the top environmental issues of the day.

Here we are.  It's the final segment of our conversations with Kelly DeVos.  Kelly is an Event Chair with the Walk to End Alzheimer's which is coming up September 21st at Heritage Landing.  It's an event to raise awareness and some funding for the fight against this horrible disease.  It's also a time for those who suffer and those who care for them a chance to get together and find some support and comfort in knowing they are not alone.  walk to end alzClick Here for the Muskegon Walk to End Alzheimer's

Kelly has been absolutely incredible in sharing her story.  Her father has Alzheimer's Disease and as we've heard her story from the first signs and diagnosis, we're now at the point where the disease has progressed to the point where home care for her dad is no longer an option.  It was 5 years of her dad living with her as a single mother, career woman and advocate for the fight.  The tension of agitation from Alzheimer's is building...memory loss is getting worse and physical limitations are growing.  It was time for some professional, monitored care, which means it was time for Kelly to let go a little. 

In our final talk, hear from Kelly the struggles of letting go as well as her feelings of relief to a degree.  How do you process the feelings of having to give up some care for the best her dad, but getting a little of your own life back?  We also talk about where her dad is now and how the constant care is helping her dad.  We also talk a little about her feelings of the possibility of the disease and it's generational tendencies.  Yes, we confront Kelly's own fears about Alzheimer's.

Take a listen to our final installment of Tuesday's with Kelly.  We've also added the first three below this weeks final chapter in case you've not seen what we've talked about so far.  These are intimate, honest conversations.  There are some moments of laughter, some of tears and the whole thing is a deeper conversation about Alzheimer's Disease than you'll probably hear anywhere else.  Kelly is a remarkable story teller.  Take a listen.

 

Powerful words and emotion.  It's been an incredible journey to share with Kelly, to share this story of an all consuming disease without many answers, no cure and an increasing number of those afflicted.  There will be a time, in the very near future, that much like cancer...we will all know someone who's been touched by Alzheimer's Disease.  While there might not be an answer yet, the hope is the first survivor of Alzheimer's has already been born, and the work will continue and intensify until the day it's eradicated.  

Our most sincere thanks to Kelly for her willingness to share so openly and honestly.  What would be the impossible for some, Kelly faced with the attitude that if she reaches one person who's dealing with the circumstances she is and has, she's made a difference.  This all stemmed from Andy O being asked to be the Spokesmen for the Alzheimer's Association in Muskegon and for the Walk to End Alzheimer's, but it's pretty clear to see....Kelly is the real spokesmen....or spokeswoman if you will, and the power to make a difference in the lives of people doesn't come from the loudest voice or the face most recognized, it comes from those who can share their experience, strength and hope from living it and healing is a gift anyone holds, if only they are willing to share. 

You can see the rest of Kelly's story by clicking on the first three segments which you'll find below. 

Part 3

 

Part 2

 

Part 1

 

To visit the Alzheimer's Association's website, please...click on the photo below.

alzlead

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