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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'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. 

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.

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.  

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.

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.

An update from Public Health - Muskegon County Director Kathy Moore about our COVID situation.  The numbers.  Things are at the "proceed with caution" state of the game for us now, but safe and best health practices are still recommended at every level.  Kathy also takes some time to explain the tremendous debt of gratitude  that is owed to all of those on the "front line" of all of this.  From health care workers to those working in essential retail for food and supplies, Muskegon once again came together to be one when it was needed most. 

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. 

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