It's been a while since we first told you about Muskegon's MARS FIRST Robotics team.  In fact, it was back in January that we first met Michael Gerstweiler and his team of kids from Muskegon area schools including Reeths-Puffer, North Muskegon, Orchard View, Oakridge and a few home schoolers.  Together they meet up and form the MARS Rovers robotics team and when we first talked they were minutes away from getting their orders on what this years project was going to be.  Once the task is assigned, there is a 6 week window for these teams from all over the world to design, build and make their robot function in the FIRST competition.  It's a STEM competition that pushes young people in the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (thus STEM) and it's an intense experience for all of the competitors.  mars rovers robotClick Here to Help the MARS Team Get to the World Championships

As we wrapped up our fist story, the group grabbed their seats and waited for instructions.  Flash forward to today, well, our MARS First kids from Muskegon are on their way to the World Finals to be held in Detroit April 25th-28th.  28 countries 400 teams, Cobo Hall and Ford Field will be in use.  Need a hotel in Detroit that weekend?  Good luck on that.  It's going to be filled with brilliant young minds..and probably some college and business recruiters who are looking for future developers and leaders.  The best part of it is....Muskegon has not only the MARS First team but the Wavelengths fro Mona Shores heading there to represent us on a world stage.  Possibly the best in the world....right here in Muskegon. 

As we wrapped up our story in January, I told the MARS team that I'd be excited to come back and follow up.  Actually was kind of wondering if I would hear from them again recently to be honest with ya, and just like that, Mike pops up on my instant messenger and says "Guess what...we're heading to the World Championships...want to come do another story?"  Threw the camera in the car and off I went to visit Mike and his son Nick.   Let's talk world championships!

What a bright future for these kids huh?  It's going to be a great weekend for them and a great weekend for all of us as they head to Motown to show off what they have accomplished and try to stack up against the best of the best on the planet!  Weeks of dedication, planning, preparing and competing to be a part of the excitement and hopefully bring back a win for themselves and all of us!  Our very best to both the MARS FIRST team and the WAVELENGTHS!!  For more on the FIRST Program, visit their website below.

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I recently visited Diane Smith with Agewell Services of Muskegon, Oceana and Ottawa Counties to talk about their 5th annual HEELS FOR MEALS fundraiser event taking place this coming Saturday, April 21st at Bella Maria's Event Center.  heelsformealsleadClick Here For Tickets to Heels for Meals

 This annual event gets bigger and better every year!.... Proceeds benefiting Agewell Service's MEALS ON WHEELS program.... Feeding individuals in the Muskegon, Oceana and Ottawa County areas who are over the age of 60 and in need of fresh, hot, delicious meals delivered to their homes.    Not only does Meals on Wheels provide much needed nourishment....but also much appreciated friendly interaction with others. 
 
This year's HEELS FOR MEALS event will feature a delicious meal, dessert bar, signature cocktails (with hand painted wine and martini glasses), live band, contest shoe fashion show, live and silent auctions and much more!  Tickets are still available but going very fast.... Each ticket is $45 per person and available by calling (231) 733-8636.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It's so important to make sure our senior citizens are taken care of.  It's an elegant and fun way to make sure that our most vuneralble are provided for and that we give back to them what they paid forward as they raised us.  If you'd like to know more about Agewelll Services of Muskegon, please click on their logo below for more information.
 
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Being part of West Michigan is truly a blessing. We have some of the most beautiful beaches, lakes and trails all at our disposal. If you have not been out to the Michigan State Park on Scenic drive you really should go.

DUNEiversity is geared toward student groups and corporate groups. These adventure-based team building activities are tailored you your groups needs and budget. While you participate in this program you will learn how to become a stronger team through education about the local environments history and how to conserve it. adventures moreFollow the Muskegon Sports Complex on Facebook

It is important to stay active throughout the summer months. One way to help our children do that is through a week-long summer camp that engages them through multiple outdoor team building activities. There are two different age groups for the half-day dune adventures camp: Salmon (7-11) and Eagles (11-14) and are held Mon-Fri for three hours. If you are interested in the Full day dune adventures camp that will be held on specific weeks. This camp will be from 8am-4:30pm and will be for ages 7-12 years of age.

No matter your age and group there is always something for you to do. Some of the things that you may look forward to trying are: Paddle boarding, archery, summer luge, Kayaking, a Trail Quest and ropes course. If you are looking to just visit the sports complex without a group you can try your hand at one of the many trails or even have a picnic lunch at the beautiful beach right across the street.

Today I stopped out to talk with Bill Bailey about the new program that the Sports complex is launching called DUNEiversity, take a listen.

Thanks to Bill for taking the time to talk a little about this exciting program at the Muskegon Sports Complex.  If you'd Like to know more, click on the image below to visit their website!

 

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Jerry Maxwell!  Adventurer...cook....renaissance man and more!  The guy just loves showing off his passion for things and sharing his love for all things artistic, miniature and creative.  We picked up on Jerry a while back and asked if we could share his world with you on The Muskegon Channel.  He politely agreed!  

This episode, Jerry takes you to a a galaxy far away as he shares some of his miniature Star Wars collection and talks a little about some of the figures etc.  Enjoy!

We've worked on both Positively Muskegon and The Muskegon Channel to share the platform when it comes to kids and schools and what's truly needed at the area schools.  Yes, we are aware that there are plenty of people out there that think any time a millage comes along that it's to pad some slush fund account, fill in a gap somewhere hidden in a budget or it's just a school trying to make a grab for more money.  Well, we're always very open to the idea of sharing the need and what we ask from the schools who want to share the story is some transparency in what they are looking for.  It seems to be a fair trade that if they want to share their need they can just join us to talk about it.  We don't cut it up into sound bytes, we don't edit it down to fit into 30 seconds...we just talk and explain the need.  In this particular segment...you will see one bump, that is from our end...our camera records in 15 minute segments, and we did have to string two together for this and we did have to adjust the video a little because the camera wasn't centered properly.  We're up front too.

I was invited out to Orchard View by Superintendent Jim Nielsen to talk about their upcoming ballot request on May 8th.  There has been a tremendous amount of work done in advance of this request and it's all essential work that needs to be done on school properties that is long over due, and if neglected longer will end up costing much more in the long term.  It's also a great way to look at long term cost savings by adding more efficient mechanicals, assuring the roof's don't fall in and making sure the urgent needs of piping, maintenance and ADA requirements.  Are they the most flashy and cosmetic improvements, nope...but they are truly essential and they are a long term investment in the kids of the OV District.   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Click to Email Questions Directly

In a nutshell, it's going to come down to about $4.17 a month of a tax increase.  You can link over to the particulars by clicking on the image to the right, and you can also take a listen to my chat with Jim Nielsen, Jack Timmer and Matt Vandervelde of Orchard View Schools to learn a little more about the need, where the money will and won't go and how it legally has to be spent if the voters of the area approve this on May 8th.  Take a listen.

 

 

 

 

 

 I never had my own kids.  I have never too voted against something asked for by the schools.  I am not one that is all for more taxes, no one is, but our schools are truly one of the key factors in our community.  We don't pay into schools just for our own kids, we pay into them so the kid down the street can get an education.  We pay into them so that our future generations can do better than we did and this time around in Orchard View they are asking for the bare minimum to fix what needs to be fixed to maintain and improve what's there and start taking steps in the long term preservation of the facilities.  It's about $4 bucks a month that they are looking for over 10 years and in my humble opinion, it's a very small investment in our kids.  My thanks to Jim and the staff for taking a few minutes out of their day to explain the need.  For more, and some examples of what needs to be taken care of, there is another informational video below produced by some trying to help the millage pass.  If you'd like to know more about Orchard View Schools, click on the image below to visit the district website.  

 

 

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17 years strong and the event keeps growing!  Guns and Hoses is the annual benefit hockey game between area police and fire fighters, with a few corrections officers and EMT's thrown in for good mix that's put on to benefit some pretty amazing causes here locally and it's done with the care and compassion that is needed to help grow an event to the gigantic reach it's attained. 

Going back to 2002 when it all got under way, the idea was sprung to raise a few bucks for charity and develop some goodwill among the community with the local police and fire fighters, because let's be honest..most of the time when we encounter a police of fire fighter, we're not exactly in the best possible predicament, so a little goodwill can't hurt.  In 2013 the event found some new direction with a leadership change and renewed energy which has solidified Muskegon Guns and Hoses into one of the marquee events in town.  Any event that can command the crowd they draw and the ability to raise over $20,000 in one day to be shared among 4 beneficiaries...that's a marquee event.muskegon gnhFollow Muskegon Guns and Hoses on Facebook

In 2018 the event will once again be out to help some pretty incredible people.  Eric Zurlaut is a baby with a heart condition, Gavin Wilcox had a benign brain tumor which caused him to be found non responsive in school, and Craig Jones is dealing with a pretty aggressive form of brain cancer.  You can read more about their stories on the Guns and Hoses Page which you'll find linked at the bottom of the page.  There will also be a portion of the proceeds going to the Old Newsies and Goodfellows of Muskegon who work yearly to help make sure no child is forgotten at Christmas.  

It's an all hands on deck effort in Muskegon for this event.  From the list of people who donate time, talent or some money to this, it's really a great example of community togetherness and concentration of energy to do something good.  Conducting the whole thing are Lacey Koens and Chris Wilks and their teams of "Guns" and "Hoses" and the list of event volunteers and countless people who chase down donations, sponsorship's and generally go all in on making sure that the event is a fun way to raise a few bucks to help some really worthy people.  We sat down at Lakeshore Sports Center to talk about the event coming up April 14th, take a listen.

 

 

 The purpose is so good, the people involved don't give up and the togetherness around a great time for a great cause can only be found in Muskegon.  17 years of raising money and making sure needs are met and more over, going above and beyond the call of duty by so many awesome police, fire and EMT workers to assure that people that need a hand get it.  There is a lot to be proud of in Muskegon and you'll be hard pressed to find something more to be proud of than the Guns and Hoses hockey game.  To learn more about this years beneficiaries of the organization itself, click on the photo below for more details.  

guns and hoses

 

It's getting to be that time of year.  Prom season is right around the corner and the temptation for our younger folks to go out and party will be present as it's always been.  I wish I could say from a personal angle that I was one of those kids who was always on the right path when I was that age, but as it's been told over and over, I was one of the group was was out securing the party supplies for everyone.  As a teen, we're all 10 feet tall and bullet proof, but a few years under your belt...you see just how very young the teen years are and just how much risk and gravity are attached to some of the bad decisions that were made, and you have to add in a lot of gratuity that through those bad decisions, nothing bad really happened.

Today, it seems the stakes are so much higher for our young people.  Back in the day, you got caught with some booze or maybe pulled over driving...you got an $80 MIP ticket or a call went home to your parents to come and get you off the road with the police pretty much leaving it up to them to give you the "what for".  Today, getting pulled over drunk driving will cost you $7000-$10,000 bucks and it's not a problem that you just pay the fine and move on from.  We have come to a point in society where we know the dangers of teen drinking are a lot more damaging than just a financial hit too.  The development of the young brain is still going on and the introduction of alcohol inhibits the proper growth as well as offers an early crutch in the ability to deal with situations by offering an easy way out.  mkg aliMuskegon ALI Online

In Muskegon, we have the ALI Program, which is conducted by The Health Project, a community coalition of Mercy Health.  The Health Project is also a sponsor of The Muskegon Channel.  It's a group of law enforcement officers and concerned citizens who's mission is to reduce underage drinking and alcohol related injuries in Muskegon county by giving teens and parents the educational tools needed to make better choices and lead to a healthier and safer community.  There is the educational effort as well as the enforcement portion of things, where they will send a decoy into retailers to try and purchase alcohol, the decoy is underage but not carrying a fake ID, to make sure that the retailer is abiding by the rules.  This will be going on in the month of April in Muskegon County.

I met up with Shane Brown of the Muskegon County Sheriff's Office and Sara Delarosa to talk about the work they do to help prevent underage drinking as well as how this decoy operation works.  Take a listen to our chat.

 

 

 

 

It's hard to look back over some of the personal choices I made as a young person.  The risk doesn't seem to carry the weight it does when you see life through the eyes of the invincible young person.  But with a few years under your belt and a few years away from alcohol now, man...some of the chances I took were enormus.  The fact that I never was hurt, or hurt anyone was a miracle and today, to lend a hand to help young people avoid the mistakes I made....the very least I can do.  Parents, please know what your kids are doing.  Kids...please know that all of this goes on because adults care.  We've already made the mistakes and all we hope is that you can avoid the same things we messed up on.  It's really that simple.  You can connect with Muskegon ALI on Facebook at the link below for more information.

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He's an unlikely adventurer and that's one of the things we love about Jerry.  Jerry Maxwell is a local artist and story teller.  He's also an avid gamer, photographer and contributor to society in so many ways.  Not only will he make you a mean hamburger down at Hamburger Mikey's, he'll take the time to show you what he does in his "off time" as he works on building miniature scenes, painting articulate figures and sharing his passion for creativity.

Today, a little head scratching is going on as the 3-D printer Jerry is working with seems to have a bit of a mind of its own. 

How about a nice night out for a great price and a great cause?  Well, it's happening on April 14th beginning at 4p at the Holton United Methodist Church at 9530 Holton Duck Lake Road and it's being put on by the Holton Fire Department to help benefit their canteen service that accompanies them to the scene of some of their work to provide some relief if needed.  Be it a fire or rescue type situation, sometimes a call to a fire department takes a long time and the canteen services provide things like food, water, coffee...shelter, warmth or a place to cool off while the work is going on by the men and women of the fire department.  The canteen services are not exclusive to the bigger departments you see in the city, and in fact, if you take a good look at the Holton FD canteen services, quite often it's made up of the spouses or family members of the Holton FD, so it's really a family affair.  holton fd logoFind the Holton Township Fire Department on Facebook

Holton's FD serves a pretty large population for a rural department.  There are lots of well traveled roads that run right through the area as well as plenty of rural homes on dirt roads and tucked away places for some rest and relaxation or maybe some secluded privacy back in the woods.  There are plenty of lake front properties they service and their types of service are right in step with what any fire department sees day in and day out.  Fire, rescue, medical, they are even seeing some of the same things seen in the city when it comes to responding to calls for people who are trapped in the opiate crisis.  It's hard to believe that problems like that effect a small community like Holton, but they do.

Now, on to the good part.  The Holton FD puts on an annual roast beef dinner with all the trimmings to help benefit their canteen staff.  The beef is slow roasted for hours first then carved up and served with everything you love for only $9 bucks!  You can't even buy a sandwich for that!!  The dinner will be held April 14th and Holton Fire Cheif Mark Hawk joined me to talk a little bit about the Holton FD as well as the dinner and some of the other fun events that happen in Holton over the course of the year, take a listen.

 

 

 

 It's still a thrill to visit a fire department and to know that so many good people risk life and limb to make sure the people in the northern tier of the county are taken care of is a great thing.  To know too, that there is a group behind our first responders in any community speaks volumes of everyone in our area.  It's a great dinner for $9 bucks.  You can get it dine in or take out and the proceeds will keep those who support the Holton Fire Department doing what they do to be a part of the fight!  I am thankful personally to the Holton FD as they would be one of the departments on the scene if we ever had a problem at the cottage up in Twin Lake.  We joked a little in the video about the cottage, but I know we're in good hands.  Thanks to Chief Hawk and the men and women of the Holton FD!  To visit the Holton Township Website, click on the image below.

holton mi

 

 

Here's to a new week!  If you notice too, here's to Spring!  We taped this a few weeks ago, and if you pay close attention, you'll see hopefully the last of something in the background. 

With that, Easter is over and Spring has sprung.  Becky has a little something new for ya!  It's called PiYo.  It's a combination of Pilates and yoga!  She sneaks in all the cool stuff and you don't even know what hit ya.  Here comes episode 45!

Whoop!  Like that?  Well, Becky has group and individual openings for personal training.  She works at The Gym in North Muskegon, The Muskegon Country Club and even offers private in homes.  You can click on the photo below for more info.

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As a mom of three young children having family friendly activities that are close and that doesn't break the bank are important. This coming week is Spring Break for a lot of local schools and not everyone is going to be able to leave town on vacation. If you are like my family and I you may be staying home but would still like to have some fun. I have done a little searching and I have come up with some ideas that are free or nearly free and are right here in Muskegon county.

The first stop on this staycation trip will be to the Lakeshore Museum Center to talk about their Spring Break Open House. The open house is going to be on Tuesday April 3rd from 10:30 am – 12:30pm. During the event you will be able to join in on the #hashtag game that is going to be going on. (Ask front desk for more information on how to play) You will also be able to visit one of the new temporary exhibits that will be at the museum until September. The secret of Bees exhibit is a fun way for you and your little ones to get a hands-on learning experience and don’t forget to visit the mastodon after you play in the wind tunnel.

Next I stopped at Frauenthal Center to talk about the free family movie night that they are having. On Wednesday April 4th the Frauenthal will be showing Where the Wild Things Are at 3-5pm. This is a completely free event thanks to some special donors. If you need more information you can call 231-722-9750.

The last stop is going to be the Muskegon Museum of Art to talk about their Pajama party that will be held Thursday April 5th from 6-8pm. At this party you will be able to listen to a story read by someone from the Hackley Public Library, participate in an activity with friends from the Lakeshore Museum Center. And you can get inspired by all of the art around you when you are making your own in the art activity provided all while you are having a hot drink from the hot cocoa station.

If you are looking for something outside to do with your family we have some of the most beautiful parks, trails and beaches in West Michigan. Pack some drinks and a sack lunch and take a literal hike with the kiddos.

I hope that you all have a wonderful and safe family spring break Staycation here in Muskegon Michigan.

If you're not quite familiar with this annual show, please do yourself a favor and check it out!  It is the absolute best way to catch a glimpse of the most incredibly talented, brilliant, dedicated High School Students in our West Michigan communities.  Over the course of two nights this show highlights the very best high school Athletes, Scholars, Literary Artists, Visual Artists and Performing Artists... All are honored for their dedication and for being considered the very best chosen from their schools.   Many of the Showcase honorees will be competing amongst each other for cash prizes as well as bragging rights for being chosen best amongst all their West Michigan peers.

The 2018 West Michigan Student Showcase will be honoring 216 High School Students from 32 different area schools from Muskegon County, Ottawa County, Oceana County and Kent County.  If you would like to find more information about the two-evenings performances and which schools will be featured on each night and also, if you would like to read all of the Literary Arts Honorees written works please click on the picture to the right.  showcase
All of this years Visual Arts Honorees pieces of artwork will be displayed in the Reception Gallery on the 2nd floor of the Hilt Building attached to the Frauenthal Theater from April 3 to April 29th...and I highly urge you to see these amazing works in-person.
If you were to look back over all 38 years of past and present "Showcase Kids" you would be absolutely amazed at all the incredible accomplishments!   They've gone on to become World renowned actors, athletes, poets, painters and musicians... But also well respected advocates, activists, business professionals at the very top of their chosen fields...and so much more.  So please help us celebrate the very best in our West Michigan Student Achievers at the 2018 West Michigan Student Showcase.
It was my great privilege and pleasure to sit down with my dear friend and the Executive Director -  Producer of the 2018 West Michigan Student Showcase... Joel Selby.   In its 38th year...this incredible two night program will take place at the beautiful, historic Frauenthal Theater in downtown Muskegon... Wednesday, April 11th and Thursday, April 12th.  Each evening's performance starting at 7pm....doors opening at 6pm with general seating.
 
 
 
2018 West Michigan Student Showcase 
Frauenthal Theater, Western Avenue...downtown Muskegon
Wed., April 11th & Thur., April 12th...  Doors at 6pm... Show at 7pm
Tickets:  $8 adults, $6 seniors, $5 students. (All general seating)
1-800-585-3737..... Or...www.startickets.com
For Information log onto:   www.WestMIShowcase.org

It was an exciting day in Roosevelt Park on Tuesday March 27th.  Sport Clips opened it's doors right on Henry Street across from Meijer and with the opening comes some new excitement and some clean new looks in style for the guys in the area.  Sport Clips has had a location out by the Lakes Mall for quite some time, but as the client base grew, it made sense to think about a second location in the Muskegon area and Roosevelt Park has been seeing quite a spike in new development and business openings lately.  Combine that with the location close to area staples, high traffic and population to draw from it was a perfect fit for Sport Clips. sport clips rpClick Here For Sport Clips of Roosevelt Park

Stacey Patulski is the owner of both Muskegon locations, and if that name rings a bell, it's with good reason.  He and his brother Jeff owned the Muskegon Lumberjacks for a few years.  Stacey has had great success running his Sport Clips stores and credits a lot of his success to the community outreach that goes on outside the shop.  They are heavily involved in supporting local athletics for kids.  They like to be a part of community events and bring something fun and unique to the things they participate in and they work to find charitable organizations that they can help along the way as well using some of the assets they get from the corporate level to thank their customers for helping them, help causes.  This first week, they are working to help No More Sidelines of Muskegon with a portion of every haircut going to help those kids and families.  

If you've never been in a Sport Clips, well, it's the place with "Guy Smart Stylists".  You get pampered while you relax for a few...a massaging shampoo...relaxing neck and shoulder treatment and finish it all off with a legendary hot steamed towel.  NICE.  No appointments are necessary, you can use their handy online check in to save a spot for ya and if you need more...you're immersed in sports everywhere you turn inside Sport Clips.  It's a pretty great experience. 

I was able to catch up with my long time friend, and new sponsor of The Muskegon Channel and Positively Muskegon to talk a little about the new place in Roosevelt Park and their philosophy about community involvement.  Take a listen to our chat.   

We're excited to welcome Sport Clips as a sponsor to The Muskegon Channel and Positively Muskegon.  It's been great to work with Stacey and his team on a number of levels over the years and his commitment to Muskegon and it's people is from the heart.  If you're a guy and you're looking for the MVP treatment when it comes to a new doo...stop in and see them at Sport Clips at their new location on Henry Street or if you are a traditionalist, you can always visit the shop out by The Lakes Mall as well.  We wish them much success at both locations and say thanks again for helping us continue our work here!  

Sports Clips logoClick Here For Sport Clips of Roosevelt Park on Facebook

What we've seen on the news lately, well... it sucks.  We won't skirt the issue and we won't deny that seeing and hearing tragic events...it takes a toll on us.  We're exhausted on the lack of sense any of it makes.  We're tired of being the victims.  We're suffering from the feeling of helplessness if that situation were ever to happen to us and we all seem lost in the middle of the arguments on either side of the debate.  

Current news aside, tragedy often is the mother of necessity and tragedy isn't always what's portrayed on the news.  Think about an accident at home?  How about an accident at a work site?  Maybe you are the first on the scene of an auto accident or maybe you're the one who know's CPR or the Heimlich Maneuver.  What if you were the one on hand and someone was experiencing a traumatic blood loss event?  Would you know what to do?  Would you be able to maintain your cool and help calm the victim?  What can you reach for in a pinch and what are the steps you need to take to get things under control until EMT's can arrive?  Well, there' a free class for that.  stop the bleedRegister Online for Stop the Bleed

Mercy Health is presenting a Stop the Bleed class on March 31st at the Youngberg Auditorium on the Hackley Campus.  The class is in conjunction with Safe Kids West Michigan and The American College of Surgeons and is designed to teach you the immediate, front-line aid techniques you need in the event you encounter a sever bleeding problem.  The class goes from 11am-1pm and as we mentioned, is free to attend, but you do need to register in advance.  You'll find a link to register over to the right.  There will also be the same class offered on April 11th and May 2nd so if the March 31st class gets filled up, you can always sign up for a later date.

I was contacted by Heather Ruffin from Hackley Hospital about these classes as well as her upcoming visit to Lansing to educate some of our State Lawmakers about some critical funding needed in the State of Michigan, because if you can believe it or not...we are one of only 2 states in the entire nation that doesn't have permanent funding in place for trauma systems.  We were joined by Holly Alway from Safe Kids West Michigan for our chat about the class and the upcoming Lansing visit.  Take a listen. 

 

 

We all spent time with "Resussa Anny" learning CPR.  Chances are you were taught the best ways to prevent choking or poison control, now, it's time to learn another way that can save a life and make a difference.  The class is free and what do you have to lose by having a little more knowlege in the back of your mind incase the next time comes along an you need to know how to properly and effectivly stop bleeding until the professionals can get there?  It all comes back to the old saying "The More You Know".  My thanks to Heather and Holly for having me down today.

According to the July 1st, 2016 U.S. Census Bureau Muskegon MI. had a population of 173,408 people 15.9% of which were 65 years of age and over. This means that you should personally know at least one of those people. Today I was able to talk to Heather from AgeWell services of West Michigan. 

AgeWell Services of West Michigan provides meals and health and wellness opportunities to seniors in Muskegon, Oceana and Ottawa Counties. Like I said before I was able to talk with Heather about one of the Events that they are hosting at Bella Maria's called Heels for Meals. This is a fun way for you to get out of the house and help out raise money to help provide meals to our older community members that may be unable to make it for themselves. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Get Tickets for Heels for Meals

This is the 5th annual event and the second year being held at Bella Maria's. Tickets are just $45 a person and include a plated meal provided by Bella Maria's and a chance to win the door Prize. These tickets for this event are going fast so if you would like to attend you need to contact Heather at (231) 733-8636 or click on the photo to the right to email Heather.  One of the main events are going to be the heels hence the name. This will give you the chance to get crazy with your creative side and show us what you’ve got. There is going to be multiple categories for you to be in so don’t hold back, you may even win a prize. Being creative not your thing, you can join in on one or all of the other things available some of which include tasty signature cocktails, hand painted wine and martini glasses ($20) a delicious dessert bar, auctions and a live band.

The two of us meet at Bella Maria's to talk about an event that is going to be held on April 21st to help the seniors in our community.

 

To learn more about Agewell Serivices, click on the photo below to visit their website.

agewell people

 

 

 

 

We introduced you to local artist and adventurer Jerry Maxwell not too long ago.  Jerry works at Hamburger Mikey on 3rd Street in Muskegon and when he's not there, he's working on his photography, his art and he's making the world a better place by sharing his passion for what he loves.  

Today, he's showing off some of his miniatures, talking about the process to make them, paint them and put them to use.

Jerry is Jerry...he's a story teller on his own....so....take a listen to today's installment on Adventures With Jerry

According to the Arthritis Foundation pediatric rheumatic diseases also or more commonly known as Juvenile arthritis affects almost 300,000 children in the United States. The term juvenile arthritis is a broad term for various types of juvenile arthritis that share also of the same symptoms including pain, swelling of the joints, redness and warmth. Today I was able to visit with one special little lady and her mom. Blank Mackenzies Sidekicks Logo 1 300x256Visit Mackenzies Sidekicks

Mackenzie has Juvenile Arthritis. Her parents first noticed a bump on her hand when she was two years old. This led to many doctor appointments and a whirl wind of emotions for both Mackenzie and her parents. Mackenzie feels the affects from this disease daily. You see Mackenzie has to have a shot twice a week as well as taking meds daily. There are times when Mackenzie wakes up and has a hard time moving her legs or open and close her hands. Some days are better than others but she wants you to know that she is just like other children and can do the same things, maybe not as fast but she can do it.

Mackenzie and her Sidekicks would love for you to come and join them at one or both of her events that are happening to help raise awareness and raise money for Mackenzie in the 2018 walk to cure Arthritis in Grand Rapids on May 6th at Millennium park. The first event is Pizza & Painting for a Cure held at North Side Pub on March 24,2018 at 12-3pm. Lacey with Crate A Frame studio will be leading everyone in a painting all while you get to enjoy the pizza buffet, Cesar Salad, and breadsticks provided by Northside. This special event is a couples painting (parent or friend and me) and includes two canvases per pair along with all of the necessary supplies and professional instruction for the painting. (this also includes the food Buffet) If you do not have a "pair" you may still come and paint as the painting chosen was one that is able to be one half of a whole. Along with the painting you will also be able to have a chance to win something from the Chinese and Silent Auctions as well as a door prize.

The second event is Cocktails and Canvas for a cure held on April 13, 2018 6-9pm. This event is going to be at Create.a.Frame Studio. You will be painting for a cure all the while enjoying refreshments, appetizers a silent auction and door prizes. Tickets for this event is just $45 each and includes a 16x20 canvas, all appropriate supplies and professional instruction. It is important to know that this event is a 21year an older event.

For more information about Mackenzie her story and to purchase tickets to these events you may click on the image below to visit Mackenzies Squareup page.

 

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As we spoke a couple weeks ago, the people at the Muskegon County offices asked if we'd be interested in helping them get the word out about the workings of the government.  What we do here at The Muskegon Channel and our sister page Positively Muskegon is really about giving people a chance to sit down and talk about what's happening in the community and our focus has generally been on smaller organizations and individuals who make an impact with what they do.  However, as we've grown and are working to fill the voids of news and information here in town, it's become more and more apparent that the people of our community and their contact with our local governments has led to way too much speculation, armchair quarterbacking, "he said she said" situations and question marks all over the place. 

I understand that it's always important to question government.  It's our civic duty to do just that, but...I also don't think that anyone in our local governments is up to any intentional trickery, that there is any slight of hand going on or that there is some hidden agenda happening.  I have been wrong before, but I just don't see it here.  I also understand that to the average guy on the street, how governmental budgets, bonds, millage's and everything works...it's pretty confusing.  It's remarkably complicated so in an effort to help explain it in plain English, I grabbed Mark Eisenbarth, The Muskegon County Administrator and Beth Dick who is the Director of Finance and the Assistant County Administrator and asked them to put it all in layman's terms for us so we can better understand the workings. MuskCnty LogoFBThe 2018 Muskegon County Budget

It begins with a Standards and Poor's global rating that the County just received.  We got a Double A Rating which is considered "stable".  For the panic you hear on social media and the street, it's probably just best that as Mark and Beth take a few minutes to explain and YES...I even take the time to ask them about the jail and all the stir it seems to keep causing about how and when it's going to be paid for.  Take a listen to our talk and learn a little more just like I am.

  

 

 

 

 

 It's as simple as a contacting Beth.  CLICK HERE to find her contact info.  It's as simple as finding the time to head to a County Commissioners meeting.  You're not being a pain in the butt for wanting to know more and a simple direct question to those who are responsible for how our government works, and works for us is a lot better than going with what you hear and see on social media.  My thanks to Mark and Beth for taking the time out today to explain more.  If you'd like to visit the Muskegon County Website, please click on the photo below.

 

muskegon county building

Use it or lose it.  Hey, we're not starting off the story with a threat or anything, but like anything if we're not making best use of what we have, we risk another loss and in the time of such incredible rebirth in Muskegon keeping our airport active is not only a great idea for those who may be coming in, it's a great idea for those who might want to get out for a little rest and relaxation without the hassle of going to a giant airport.  You've been to some of the bigger airports.  Giant parking areas with miles of cars, huge lines, traffic nightmares not to mention the cost involved of getting there...a possible hotel stay.  Imagine all of that gone.

It's just not like that in Muskegon.  The Muskegon County Airport offers one of the easiest and user friendly travel experiences you'll find. They have also been a long time sponsor of Positively Muskegon and The Muskegon Channel, so when Jeff Tripp got a hold of me to see if we could talk about what's new, I grabbed up the camera and took the short drive to Norton Shores. ashvilleWin a Trip For 2 To Ashville NC

First up.  Some prestige.  United Airlines has named The Muskegon County Airport the Tier 4 Station of the Year nationally and internationally.  That means a level of excellence has been achieved when it comes to things like on time arrival and departure, proper handling of baggage and more.  They are also offering more direct adventure flights to places like Laughlin Nevada and Atlantic City for some casino fun.  A personal note...I have been to both and love them.  The Atlantic City flights with S&S Casino Tours are so much fun and so affordable you can't even drive there for the price you pay for a direct flight.  

Now, some ease.  Parking is cheap and easy.  The lines are short.  The service is friendly and the atmosphere is of friends and neighbors while you wait to embark.  You don't have to pay for a hotel to catch an early flight and wonder if your car is going to be ok in some giant garage in some other city while your away.  If you are a regular traveler the beginning or ending of the trip is met with ease or if you are an occasional traveler, you won't have the jaded business travelers looking down their nose at you with you while you find your way.

As mentioned, Jeff Tripp and I sat down for a chat.  Take a listen to the details about the award, the upcoming fun stuff and the possibility of an added morning flight for the business traveler.  Take a listen!

We're very fortunate to have the ease and convenience of the Muskegon County Airport.  We brag it up here for sure.  We're proud of their sponsorship of out work but we also believe it's one of Muskegon's greatest assets.  All they ask, CHECK MUSKEGON FIRST.   You might find a better deal elsewhere, especially if your flying with the entire family, but..take the time and see if all that goes into flying out of the big airports is really the value.  You might find a better deal with more ease and less pressure right here at home.

united air

 

Until now students have not been able to work with their teachers and other faculty members on making their school experience one that is a positive and enjoyable experience that they had a hand in planning. In previous years the public-school system has been all about testing and making sure that student reach all of the necessary benchmarks. Teachers and faculty members were the only ones who had a say in what and how things were going to be done day to day for the students.  ov cardnialVisit Orchard View Schools Online

Orchard View is working on changing just this. Mr. Simeon the curriculum director has worked closely with his staff to put a program into place to give the students of Orchard View a chance to voice their opinion how they feel they will have the best educational experience.

Today I was able to meet with McKenzie, Alexis and Mr. Simeon at the central office of Orchard View. McKenzie and Alexis took a 171-mile trip to Novi Michigan to the to the talent summit where they presented their ideas to state leaders and Govenor Rick Snyder in making Orchard View a better place to go to school. The girls told me that at first, they were intimidated and felt like no one would listen to what they had to say but they soon grew the confidence in themselves and in their ideas. As they day went on the girls were able to work with the other eight students (who were all in high school) as well as other state members and education directors on making student relationships to staff and their peers as well as the overall school day a positive experience.

Alexis and her peers came up with an idea called a "Hope Board". The idea behind a Hope board is to have students write down what they hope for. Alexis's goal is to put a board in each of the different grades halls as well as the lunch room and the main hall they all share. She will put "I Hope For" at the top and the students will have to opportunity to write down what they hope to see at or for the school, this will give the facility a chance to come and see the different ideas. This is one way they are hopping to bridge the communication gap between student and teacher.

McKenzie worked closely with other members of the student counsel to come up with the idea of an "in person group support". This is a mixture of students from sixth, seventh, and eighth grades that are coming together and learning about and supporting each other in their strengths and differences. This is also the time for the students to come together and talk about a problem that they may be having so that they can all help to come up with solutions to help them fix or make better what is going on.

Please click on the video and see what these inspiring young women have to say during our talk today. Thank you for taking time out of your day to join me on the Muskegon Channel.

 

 

 

One of the great thing about getting The Muskegon Channel underway has been spending a little more time on YouTube as we use their platform for all of our videos.  I am not one to spend a whole lot of time there unless I need to look up something specifically, but I think a lot of that has to do with age and where I am used to watching things.  Younger people....they are watching more and more stuff online and even us "old timers" are too with things like Roku, Fire Stick, Chromecast etc...it's all streaming content and it's all coming online instead of a transmitter like we're used to.

Well, another great thing about the online viewing idea is this.  You have a chance to see things that no network, television station or cable outlet would touch.  You can see things how the creators of them want you to see them.  No consultants...no slanted agenda...no laugh tracks...just honest and genuine people doing and sharing what they love.  The other great thing is, it's getting to the point where just about anyone can share these things at a pretty affordable cost to set up and of course...it's free to share on YouTube and, you might even be able to make a buck at it. jerry 3You Can Subscribe To Adventures With Jerry Direct Here

This brings me to Jerry Maxwell.  Jerry works here in town at Hamburger Mikey.  He was a concrete worker before, but an injury keeps him from practicing his trade, so..he does what he can.  Like anyone, Jerry also has another side to him and that's art.  He loves photography, he loves moves, role playing, and has gotten into 3-D printing and mini set making in his spare time.  What caught me about Jerry though was watching his videos....there is really a sense of true joy in him.  He's so happy doing what he loves...he genuinely loves showing people what he's doing, the process that goes into making what he's making and the end result.  I sat and watched a video of his a month or so ago and was just pulled in, couldn't quit watching.  So much so, I invited Jerry to be a part of The Muskegon Channel to share his stories...take a listen.

 

 

 

 

 

Today, anyone can be the star of their own show.  Jerry brings so much to his sharing of what makes him happy.  So often, we all think that it's how much stuff we have or how big our roles are or where we fit in....but the secret of life, lies within everyone of us, and Jerry manages to bring it out beautifully.  It's a pleasure and great honor to welcome him to The Muskegon Channel.  We're just going to share his story...it's Jerry's and his alone.  If you get to where you think life is getting a little hectic...take an adventure with Jerry once in a while.  It will help you re-center things.  If you'd like to see the video that pulled me in to being a fan, take a look below.  Welcome to Jerry Maxwell and Adventures With Jerry!

 

 

Did you ever thing that one Spring day in Muskegon Michigan you'd find a bunch of Camels racing around to benefit the programs that the Greater Muskegon Optimist Club does year round for kids?  Well, it's happening March 24th at the Polish Falcons on Hackley Avenue and as we speak..,,camels from all over the planet are being imported, and groomed for the high paced excitement of the hoof pounding, hump riding "hee-ya mule" action.  Well, kind of.  camel racerFind the Camel Races Event on Facebook

OK, that was "fake news".  You got us.  The real story is this.  The Greater Muskegon Optimist Club was formed in 1945 and works to give back to the community and enrich the lives of young people here in town.  Over the past 70 years they have worked and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help scholarships, summer camps, sports teams and classrooms. 

One of their biggest annual fund raisers...you guessed it.  Camel Races!  They have some camels, they are not real...they are somewhat like wooden rocking horses, they are done up in themes and special costumes to add a little personality to them and then throughout the evening dice are rolled and the race is on.  The fund raising aspect comes in the betting on the races and of course, you'll find some other opportunities to help raise a few bucks during the evening as well.  There's dinner...there's drinks...there's the fun of being at the Falcons and there's the opportunity to do your part to help some pretty awesome kids here in town with much needed things.

Denise Sabo joined me for the talk about the event.  We met up at the Polish Falcons as they were setting up for another big event and got the details on the evening. Take a listen to our talk here!

Great people pitching in to make sure that our next generation have what they need to make it.  It takes all of us.  There are SO many who find ways to make a few bucks drop out of the sky to help what's needed and you know....we've gotten pretty dang good at finding a way to make it fun for folks in Muskegon to help.  If you'd like to know more about the Greater Muskegon Optimist Club, or maybe you'd like to join them and help out, click on the photo below to visit their website and learn more.  Many thanks to Denise for taking the time to come by and talk about the club and the work.

optimists

 

We're all pulling on the rope to make Muskegon better.  We work in our own ways to help make things better, we work as groups, we work as complete communities.  Some efforts are small and unnoticed, while others are of the grand scale.  We team up under giant umbrellas like the United Way's Day of Caring or, you know...we might just pick up a piece of trash blowing down the street.  We are all digging in to what it takes to up the game...  Recruitment flyer Winter 2018 Page 1 2Click Here to Apply For The Americorps

In Muskegon, we have some blight.  Yes...it's true, there are a few black eyes around town that need attention and they are held by The Muskegon County Land Bank.  When a property goes into tax foreclosure, which if you recall we did a story on a while ago on how to avoid that being your home, it goes into the Land Bank until such time it can be properly taken care of and sold to recoup the costs.  As the property sits there blight grows.  Eventually, the homes end up back in the hands of people who will be good stewards of their residence and community...and we make another step in the right direction.  

There is an opportunity here for people to help.  The Americorps Team is looking for some people willing to be a part of the work that goes into cleaning up these houses and neighborhoods.  These are compensated positions that also come with an educational incentive at the end of the assignment.  They are looking for 10 people to work 6 months.  You'll not only get a chance to help make our community nicer, safer and more valuable...you'll gain great experience on the ground level.  Networking in communities, fostering goodwill in neighborhoods, cleaning up what's wrong and helping restore our homes.  

I was able to catch up with Tim Burgess and Amanda Grover at the office of the County Treasurer today to talk a little about the Land Bank and how it works as well as how you can get involved in the effort to help with the clean up and make some money for the efforts.  Take a listen.  

 

This is a great opportunity to get involved, make change happen and add to the greater good.  This is community in action and it's boots on the ground to improve things for all of us.  We've done stories on Americorps in the past and the work they do in communities and strengthen neighborhoods.  This is your chance to take an active role in all that is good to make Muskegon a little better and make a few bucks while doing it!  If you'd like more details or to apply, click on the photo above and get the ball rolling!  

MuskCnty LogoFB

 

We base the season around sports and of course with sports...you want something good to eat.  Are you getting all pumped up for the onslaught of March Madness?  Well, Chef Char fro Kitchen 242 at the Muskegon Farmers Market has just the recipe for you this go around!  She's got enough enough spice to tempt your taste buds and the recipe is as simple as can be.  Kitchen 242 Logo png

If you're one of those types that considers snacking a bag of chips and a can of dip you have to pull a tin cap off, well, it's time to expand your horizons a little with this pair of super easy to make stuffed jalapeno popper recipes!  As luck would have it, one of these recipes also calls for bacon and the last time we checked... the bacon craze is still sweeping the nation.

So, snackers....bacon lovers...fans of all things heat....prepare yourself....Chef Char is ready to roll on The Muskegon Channel!

 

 

That's how it's done!  She makes it look so easy.  She also makes it easy for you to follow along.  You'll find the recipe below.  If you like what you see, why not join Char for one of her incredibly fun cooking classes at Kitchen 242 at the Muskegon Farmers Market?  They are a great way to make some new friends, have some fun learning some thing new to make and you get the experience of working in a real professional grade kitchen with professional instructors in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.  You can click on the Kitchen 242 above. photo for more details.  Now the recipe!

poppers

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

& Buffalo Chicken Poppers

Awesome appetizers or snacks for watching the big game!

Chef Char Morse

www.chefcharmorse.com

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

INGREDIENTS:

24 fresh jalapeño peppers

1 pound bulk sausage, cooked and drained (chorizo or hot Italian sausage work great!)

2 (8 oz. each) packages cream cheese, softened

½ cup sour cream

2 (1.25 oz. each) packages taco seasoning mix

8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

2-4 pounds thick-sliced bacon

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a wire rack set over the baking sheet.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add the softened cream cheese, sour cream and package of taco seasoning mix. Mix until smooth. Add the cooked sausage and cheddar cheese and mix until all ingredients are disbursed throughout the seasoned cream cheese mixture.
  3. Cut the jalapeño peppers in half, lengthwise. Carefully remove the seeds (wearing gloves for this is a great idea) and membranes.
  4. Stuff the seeded jalapeño halves with the seasoned cream cheese mixture.
  5. Wrap each of the stuffed jalapeño halves with a long slice of bacon. Place each bacon-wrapped stuffed pepper on top of the wire rack or the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the bacon is to a desired crispness.
  7. Remove pan from oven and allow the poppers to cool for a few minutes before eating.

Buffalo Chicken Jalapeño Poppers

INGREDIENTS:

24 fresh jalapeño peppers

1 cup shredded, cooked chicken (Rotisserie chicken works great)

2 (8 oz. each) packages cream cheese, softened

½ cup sour cream

2 stalks celery, cut small dice

½ cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce

4 oz. crumbled blue cheese

¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs for coating

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a wire rack set over the baking sheet.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add the softened cream cheese, sour cream and Franks Red Hot sauce. Mix until smooth. Add the celery, chicken and blue cheese, continuing to mix until all ingredients are dispersed evenly.
  3. Cut the jalapeño peppers in half, lengthwise. Carefully remove the seeds (wearing gloves for this is a great idea) and membranes.
  4. Stuff the seeded jalapeño halves with the seasoned cream cheese mixture.
  5. Coat each stuffed pepper with panko breadcrumbs and place on top of the wire rack and baking sheet or the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake the stuffed poppers in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until the breadcrumbs are at a desired crispness.
  7. Remove pan from oven and allow the poppers to cool for a few minutes before eating.

Chef Char teaches cooking classes at Kitchen 242 in the Muskegon Farmers Market in downtown Muskegon. Chef Char also works locally as a private chef and as a culinary consultant for restaurants and food manufacturers. Like Chef Char on Facebook www.facebook.com/chefcharmorse or visit www.chefcharmorse.com

One of Muskegon's best annual events is coming up to celebrate it's 14th year!   Mercy Health is proud to announce its 2018 THE RIDE... Taking place on Saturday, March 10th inside the Lakes Mall located on Harvey Street in Muskegon.  mercy health muskegon surgical weight 32Visit Mercy Health Online 

THE RIDE takes place inside the Lakes Mall.... Featuring hundreds of stationary bikes set up for volunteer riding teams.  The race starts promptly at 12 noon and goes until 4.    Each team is made up of 8 team members....that can be aged anywhere from 8 to 80 years of age...and of any fitness level.    Each team member will have a 25 minute turn on their designated bike....  And each teams goal is to reach the highest amount of miles peddled within the 4 hour race time-span.  
 
Not only are the teams racing for high miles, but they are also competing for the team with the most Spirit, the Best Costumed Team,  the most amount of donation funds raised and so much more!    Speaking of donated funds...  All the money raised at this fun event go directly to funding the important, life saving works of the Mercy H.E.A.R.T. Center Rehabilitation programs as well as the High School Student Heart Screening program.... Also these donations will help fund other important services that will be offered at the new Mercy Health Center coming in 2019. 
 
I recently sat down with THE RIDEs Event Coordinator, Amber Wallace.... She filled us in on all the super fun details!
 
 
Mercy Health's 2018 THE RIDE is a super fun, competitive, fast paced event with great music, costumes, prizes and much more.... All for a great cause!   Please come out to the Lakes Mall on Saturday, March 10 from noon to 4....with the award ceremony at 4:30.    If you would like to volunteer, be a rider, submit a donation, enter a team or just want to come out and cheer the riders on.... Please contact Amber Wallace at Mercy Health for more information.  
 
MERCY HEALTH 2018 "THE RIDE"
Saturday, March 10th
Inside the Lakes Mall
Noon to 4pm... Award presentation at 4:30ish
 
Contact: Amber Wallace (231) 672-6876 or click on the photo below.
 
the ride 2

Here we are again!  A very warm welcome back and thanks for joining us for the 41st edition of Fit and Healthy With Becky!!  You might be finding yourself starting to slump a little on that New Years Resolution, but Becky is here this week to help keep you on track.  Let's face it.  It's not too far off till we're all back at the beach, out on the boat, up at the cottage....out in the yard....you know...we're going to be out of the caves and out in the public!

Like any other exercise program, please...consult a physician before you begin.  Drink lots of water, stretch out...warm up....get those things for your legs like that lady in "Flashdance" had...but after that...let's get to it!  Episode 41!

Hey, as Becky mentioned at the top of the show.  That swing dance class is a good time.  Get out, meet some people, hob knob a little at the Muskegon Country Club, have a nice dinner at Seasons a night or two and enjoy learning some new moves for the upcoming wedding season.  People are getting sick of you trying to moonwalk at receptions anyway.  Here's the list of dates. You'll enjoy them and you'll get to hang with the star of Fit and Healthy With Becky!

swing dance march

Spring is around the corner and it's on everyone's mind is on getting out...getting the house around, getting the yard fixed up and maybe getting their hands dirty with a little do it yourself project work that's long overdue around the place!  Well, it's one stop shopping for all you'll need to do it at the Muskegon Lakeshore Home, Garden and DIY Show Happening March 9th-10th at Fricano's Event Center on Muskegon Lake.  It's put on by the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce and this year there will be over 50 exhibitors on hand to show you the "how to" the "what for" and the "I didn't know that" type of things you've been wondering about. hgdiyFind the Home Garden and DIY Show on Facebook

This event has grown in size and popularity over the last few years, and in 2018 you'll find more of the favorites you've come to expect and even some added amenities that you might not find at every other expo type event.  There will be awesome floral design demonstrations, some of which you can even take home with you, you'll find cooking demonstrations with The Muskegon Channel's own Chef Char from Kitchen 242, beer and wine tastings and more.  You'l get to get up close and personal with awesome professionals for your home if you need them.  You'll find everyone from contractors to help you get the job done to banks and credit unions to help you get it all paid for and the best part of it all, it's all set up in a relaxing atmosphere where you can stroll along and enjoy the visit. You'll find friendly and helpful people who what to make your project a breeze!  Did we mention the Bloody Mary bar?

As the event draws near, I grabbed a few minutes with Carla Flanders and Kristin Knop of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce to talk a little about what to expect in this years event.  Give a listen for a preview of what's to come at this year's Home Garden and DIY Show!

 

 

 

 What's best about the Muskegon Lakeshore Home Garden and DIY show?  I'll tell you myself.  These are our local business people who are coming together to show you what they've got!  These are your friends and neighbors who are in the business of making your home more beautiful....teaching you the tricks of the trade and over all lifting up Muskegon.  It begins at home and it can begin with your home!  Head down to the Muskegon Lakeshore Home Garden and DIY show this year and take a look around and see what you can learn!  Click on the photo below to visit their website for a complete list of vendors, demonstrations specials and more!!

Muskegon Home Garden DIY Show

 

 

Are you interested in helping out your community? Today I had the pleasure of talking with Patty and Jen this morning at the Coffee Factory about that very thing. nims neighborhoodVisit the NIMS Neighborhood Assoc Page on Facebook
 
Nims Neighborhood Association is having a fundraiser to raise money for the local playground and the community gardens. This all started with the community garden that currently holds 8 different beds. Jen got ahold of the local Cole's bakery to try and work out a partnership.
 
Lucky for us they said yes, Cole's agreed to use some of the herbs that are grown in the garden to make a spread. Do you want to know even better news? Cole's agreed to do all of this at 100% no cost. That means that all of the money raised will go directly into the fund for the playground and community gardens. Fatty Lumpkin's has also agreed to make sandwiches out of the bread to help in the efforts in raising money. They are working closely with Jen in hashing out the details of when the special "Nims Neighborhood" sandwiches will make their debut.
 
 
Take a listen to the conversation that the three of us ladies had this morning just click on the video and check it out.
 
If you would like to order some of this delicious garlic bread you can contact Patty and Jen through the Facebook page linked above or visit the Coffee Factory and sign up on the ordering sheet that is available.
 
 

Recently I sat down with Jon Felske, the Chief Executive Officer of Covenant Academies Foundation and Covenant Hall of Muskegon County.  Wow!.... What an amazing organization!

 Covenant Academies Foundation and Covenant Hall of Muskegon opened its doors just over 3 years ago when community leaders, educators and law enforcement officials decided it was far overdue time to establish a way to offer our community's highest at-risk young people a nurturing, supportive, safe way to be educated.    Covenant Academy and Covenant Hall's mission serves to prevent youth homelessness and youth incarceration in Muskegon.  Within the past 3 years they have succeeded in educating hundreds of Muskegon's youth between the ages of 16 to 23....and not only providing them with their well earned GED diplomas, but a safe living environment and also life changing career and life building skills. 
 mkg covVisit Muskegon Covenant Academy on Facebook
Thanks to the generosity of wonderful Lakeshore based companies, organizations and individuals Covenant Academy and Covenant Hall of Muskegon has received all-too-important funding...making this important community change possible.  Donations and community support are always welcome. 
 
As you can imagine housing, feeding, educating and emotionally caring for these driven young students YEAR ROUND is a huge undertaking.  Covenant Academy and Covenant Hall has enlisted only the very best educators, councelors, life skill mentors and living facility care givers for these young people.   They are provided a truly safe family-oriented learning and living situation whereby allowing these students to flourish and succeed at their own pace with complete support that they would not otherwise have been provided.
 
It is so encouraging to know that there is such an incredible organization in Muskegon where our highest at-risk young people have an opportunity available to them to learn, grow and succeed in life....and not simply fall through the cracks.
 
 
Thank you again to Jon Felske, CEO of Covenant Academies Foundation and Covenant Hall of Muskegon County.  By-the -way, make sure to cheer on Jon as he is a returning dancer to 2018's Dancing with the Local Stars lineup this February.
 
If you would like more information about Covenant Academies Foundation and Covenant Hall of Muskegon please feel free to check out their website. Click on the photo below to visit!
 
cov academy

More often than not, we here at the Muskegon Channel like to use the platform to show you the who, what, where, why and how around Muskegon to get things done.  Where things are going on that will have an impact in your life, our community and how there will hopefully be a long term benefit from what's happening.  This however, is not one of those times.  :)

This time, it's amusement.  Pure and simple.  Tom Bitson got a hold of me the other day and said that The Plaza 1&2 had something special planned for Groundhog Day and wondered if I could stop by.  So....since Celebration Cinema has never once said they couldn't help me with something I had going on, be it a donation for a charity thing or enough popcorn to feed an army...I figured I'd return the favor.  Celebration Cinema does a LOT for the communities they have theaters in, including the Celebrated Service Award and I honestly think that a little recognition in return is due.   C LogoVisit Celebration Cinema Online

So, here's the deal.  The classic Bill Murray film "Groundhog Day" returns to the screens of The Plaza 1&2 this weekend for a few shows!  Yes, you've seen it once, you've seen it 10 times...but...it is 25 years old this year believe it or not, so you may have missed the chance to see it in the theater!  Well, not anymore!! You've got 4 showing happening this weekend to get out and enjoy the movie for next to nothing combined with all the great movie treats and the comfortable setting of The Plaza. 

Tom Bitson joined me for a little chat about the film and while we were at it, we talked about what was coming to the Plaza as well at Cinema Carousel this Spring and Summer....take a listen.

 

 

 

 

 

Always great stewards to their markets.  I am so thankful to Celebration Cinema for all they do for Muskegon and our community!  Go enjoy the fun of Groundhog Day.  Who knows....maybe we're on to the next big "Rocky Horror Picture Show" cult following.  Can you believe 25 years?  Wow!  Thanks to Bitson for coming on.  For more shows and showtimes at the Plaza, click on the photo below.

plaza

We live in "Small Town America" for the most part.  Our community is small enough that we have fairly easy commutes, we have access to all the modern amenities that make life cool.  We've got great restaurants, an evolving night life, sports teams, good schools....MILES is priceless water front, great people, communities that work together for the most part - schools that do a great job education kids who want to learn...museums, maritime treasures...beautiful woodland areas...rivers...in land lakes...

And then one day....a pipe bomb goes off at an indoor event with over 1500 people at it because a lunatic wanted to make a point.......

You know it's only a simulation.  

An event like this is what's being trained for at the Frauenthal Center Monday the 29th and Tuesday the 30th.  Our area first response teams, doctors, nurses and others are coming together with the help of the Muskegon County Medical Control Authority this week.  What's happening is this.  It's an exercise where doctors are going to be able to experience in a remarkably realistic situation, more on that in a minute, just what it's like to do the job of the first responder team.  Be it EMT, police or fire and rescue....these professionals all know their role, but...what happens when you flip flop those roles and give the players on either team a chance to see what the other group endures?  Cameron Taylor invited me down and as we talked, he brought up a fairly new "buzzword"  "silos".  Yes, we all have our own little "silos" of specialty, what's happening today and tomorrow at the Frau is to build a bridge between the silos so our people have a better understanding of what the complete job entails when the unthinkable happens.  1WMRMC Logo webleadFind WMRMC On Facebook

Now, since this is a live event happening right now, I can't tell you what the group will be experiencing, but...I got a walk through while there was some lecturing going on in the Beardsley Theater today and I am here to tell you.  The scenario's that these folks will be placed in are the stuff nightmares are made of.  There will be more than one life and death situation and it involves every nook and cranny of the Frauenthal Center.  We were in the bowels of the basement up to the rafters of the roof previewing the drill...and simulation or not...no one will leave there tomorrow without a sincere realization of just what it is to encounter a disaster of magnitude and how everything has to flow all together after to do what they can, for who they can in proper order.

As mentioned, I was invited down by Cameron Taylor to learn a little more about how all this works, why the training is so vital and how all of these collective teams work together and learn what it takes to handle a mass casualty event where we least expect one.   Right here in Muskegon.  Take a listen.

 

 

 We hope it's never needed, but...we also know that this is a big scary world.  It's great to know that the people are being trained and cross trained to know how to handle the unthinkable.  We also wanted to cover this story as a thanks to those who quietly and purposefully stay behind the scenes to make sure that those on the front lines of an emergency situation like this are up to speed and can handle whatever is thrown at them.  If you'd like to know more about the West Michigan Regional Medial Consortiom please click on their logo below to visit their website.  Our best wishes to those in the training tomorrow.  

WMRMCC Logo 400

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday night, January 25th at Baker College, a panel of law enforcement officials and advocacy groups met at Baker College along with about 200 members of the community to discuss human trafficking in it's different forms.  It was a great discussion and much information was shared.

At The Muskegon Channel, we believe this is the kind of programming that should be covered.  We set up our live studio and got rolling to bring you the discussion live on our Facebook feed and have embedded it here as well to archive it for those who missed the live event or would like to come back later and review the message. 

A programming note, there is some low audio during a video presentation.  For that we apologize.  We didn't know that we'd need to patch in to another device to add their audio.  We will correct that for future events.

0:00-0:37 Presentation
0:37-0:43 Intermission

0:43-1:29 Panel Discussion
1:29-End Q&A

Everyone loves animals and everyone loves pizza.  You should go to the one event that combines your love for both on February 3rd at Fricano's Event Center on Muskegon Lake.  Now, some writers might stop right there with the article, because really, that's all you need....pizza, puppies and kittys...done deal.  There is quite a bit more to the story though and since the Muskegon Channel is all about the quite a bit more...stick around. pizza for paws 2Pizza for Paws Event on Facebook

The Muskegon Humane Society is a 501c3 No Kill Animal Shelter that was established in 1972.  From their website - "We have made it our mission to encourage animal welfare, promote education, work against abuse, but above all, serve as a shelter for mistreated and abandoned animals until a new forever home is found."  The also receive no financial support form city, state or federal governments.  It's based on community giving and sponsor donations. They have also done an awful lot of work recently not only to improve the shelter for the animals, adding all kinds of great amenities for them, they have extended the mission to outside of the shelter.  They take the animals out to schools, assisted living centers, community groups and they even have people come in to spend time with the animals there at the shelter to enrich lives of both the pets and the visitors. 

All of that takes a little money, well, it takes a lot but if everyone does a little...well, it becomes a lot in a hurry.  So....let's do something fun to make it happen and let's get behind the great work going on...right?  Saturday February 3rd, Fricano's Event Center will be the place to be for Pizza for Paws.  It gets underway at 6pm.  You'll find great music, great food and fun, a silent auction, a photo booth some raffle prizes and more.  There will be a cash bar and as the party continues on into the evening, late night pizza will be available as well!  All of the proceeds of the event will go to benefit the great work done by the Humane Society.

I was able to catch up with the Executive Director of the Muskegon Humane Society Alexis Ogborn and Paula Smith who's a dog trainer as well as service dog handler to talk a little about the party, the cause, the work and the guy they have coming to help host the shin-dig....take a listen!

Hey, it's the middle of winter, you're looking for a reason to get out of the house and the Muskegon Humane Society sure could use a hand in taking care of the critters they serve.  It's a win for everyone!  Make sure you get some tickets for the great event and plan on attending!  We're excited to help spread the word and applaude the work done by these great people in Muskegon!  For tickets, click on the photo below and if you'd like to visit the Muskegon Humane Society online, click on the photo below that!

pizzaforpaws2leadGet Tickets for Pizza for Paws

 

humane sociteyVisit The Muskegon Humane Society Online 

I was at a meeting the other night, and the County Treasurer Tony Moulatsiotis said that April would be when they started to foreclose on properties that had taxes due from 2015 and that if people needed to make arrangements to get caught up, now is the time to get a hold of his office.  Well, I immediately knew that I needed to tug on his shirt after the meeting and set something up because, well, I have been there and I really wouldn't want anyone to live in that fear like I did when there are ways to make things right and ways that can benefit everyone involved in the process.  Let me back up a minute though. step forward print hub 10x10inches fullVisit Step Forward Michigan. Org

A couple years back, I was "under employed".  Meaning I had a job, but it wasn't paying enough and even though I had the one job and the work I did at home and a weekend gig...I was getting behind on things and really doing all I could do to hang on to what I have.  It's not much, but when you're 45 and starting to get notices in the mail that you may lose your house it's not only frightening, it's a pretty big blow to your ego because it's not for lack of effort that you're behind.  People can beat their knuckles bloody and still go in the wrong direction with the circumstances around them.  I needed to take action but I didn't know where to start.  To make a long story short, I had to get with my mortgage company, explain the situation and then begin looking into the HARP program to see if I could get a hand in finding a way to get the payment to where I could afford it.  I didn't get a break on the principal of what I owed or anything, but they were good enough to work some numbers and help me get a little easier payment and kept my in my home.  Not asking for a handout, just a hand until I could get to where it wasn't hanging over my head like it was, and it worked. 

Now, let's say you find yourself in the same situation with taxes.  Hey, it happens.  Here's the thing...no one wants your house or property.  The last thing anyone wishes is to see someone out on the streets and in all honesty, a foreclosure will end up costing everyone involved more in the long run than finding a way to help you keep what's yours and get things made right.  Thus..my visit with Tony and Jennifer Matthews who is a property tax specialist at the Treasures Office.  We're going to talk about the process it takes to get you on the right track.  Protect your home or property had how the treasurers office will work to help you find ways you never imagined to get caught up and back on your way.  It's a fascinating interview with a LOT of valuable information.  Listen up!

Government working for you.  Hey look, I know it's kind of scary to hear that there might be a foreclosure.  I know too that it's intimidating to go in and say that you need help.  But as you just saw, and heard...the Muskegon County Treasurers Office truly wants to help find a way to keep you from going into foreclosure for the good of you and all of us in Muskegon County.  Take that first step.  If you are in danger of a foreclosure, NOW IS THE TIME for action.  Click on the Muskegon County Seal below and take that first step to getting the government to work for you!

 

county sealjpg f5d80d1b2d4f43ad

Recently I sat down with lifelong Muskegon native Marian McDermed who is the Executive Director of Family Promise of the Lakeshore to chat about the incredible way they help families in our Muskegon area.    Since 2009 Family Promise of the Lakeshore has been offering a secure place to stay for parents with young children who have fallen upon hard times.....but also, so much more than just a place to stay.  Family Promise offers ongoing financial budgeting education, child care-parenting classes, life skill development assistance, food and household item donations, children's activities and library as well as daily warm meals and fellowship with other families and no pressure church organizations. fp lakeshoreFamily Promise of the Lakeshore on Facebook

Families who are in need of a secure place to stay can simply contact Family Promise of the Lakeshore by calling 231-747-8855...after a general intake interview, qualified selected families can then stay with the secure Family Promise organization while agreeing to work towards being educated on budgeting, learning valuable parental life skills, looking for steady employment and a permanent secure household of their own.  Family Promise of the Lakeshores' main objective is to offer the tools and skills to help empower families to the ultimate goal of achieving an independent, financially secure life.
As you can imagine it is quite a huge undertaking to offer so many goods and services to so many deserving families in our community.   Family Promise of the Lakshore is a non profit organization with a large ongoing need for donations.   Monetary donations are the primary driving force behind offering a clean, secure place to stay as well as for the ongoing educational services...but item donations are equally in need and very much appreciated....all of which are tax deductible.  At the very top of the list of suggested donatable items: toilet paper, paper towel, disposable diapers, laundry detergent, all general cleaning supplies, etc.  Also in great need are household items to help families restart their own independent household such as: new or gently used pots & pans, linens & blankets, lamps, etc.   For a complete list of suggested donatable items....and for any other general information about Family Promise of the Lakshore please check out their website, youll find it linked on the photo below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Big Thanks to Marian McDermed for chatting with me about one of Muskegon's brightest stars with a huge heart, Family Promise of the Lakeshore.
By the way...a recent study told us that Family Promise of the Lakeshore has a 100% success rate with Muskegon families that have been part of this program over the years!  All the Family Promise families are maintaining their own financially sound, happy, healthy, independent households with the ongoing assistance of Family Promise of the Lakeshore.
 
family promise faces

After reading this OP-ED From Christine Robere of The United Way of The Lakeshore, The Muskegon Channel asked if we could publish this on her behalf.  This is new for us.  We're not overly political on purpose, but...our kids and our kids futures are so very important and so vital our world.  We don't think that anything should stand in the way of protecting kids....no political agenda from either side should come first and Christine explains the impact very well here.  Thank you to Christine for allowing us to share her thoughts. 

 

 

OP-ED

The Clock Ran Out on CHIP:

116,000 kids in Michigan at risk of losing essential healthcare unless Congress Acts

By Christine J. Robere, President & CEO

United Way of the Lakeshore

Your child is on track.” As a parent, there’s nothing like the relief of hearing your pediatrician share that good news at the annual check-up. And to know, that if anything happened, from strep throat to a broken arm on the playground, your child would have quality care.  That’s why we’re celebrating that 116,000 Michigan children have affordable access to health insurance, thanks to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and calling on Congress to reauthorize this successful program before funding finally runs out in March (the program was authorized through September 31, 2018, but programs that have money can spend it through March). Congressional reauthorization is required to continue CHIP for another five years.

 

CHIP was enacted with broad bipartisan support in 1997 to provide funding to states to reduce the numbers of uninsured children in the United States.  CHIP helps low-income children from working families who do not have access to employer-based coverage, but earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.  Before its enactment, over 23% of low income children were uninsured. Today only 5% of children remain uninsured, nationally.

 

CHIP provides healthcare coverage that is necessary for a child’s early development.  For the first three years of a child’s life and beyond, access to quality, pediatric-centered healthcare is critical for their brain development and social, emotional well-being.  Health plans offered through CHIP are specifically designed for children, with a long track record of recognizing their unique developmental needs, providing regular wellness visits, developmental screenings and immunizations.  Decades of data tells us that access to early quality healthcare has predictive short and long term educational outcomes for a child’s success in school. 

 

CHIP also supports the financial stability of working families.  In Michigan, 116,000 children in working families are provided CHIP coverage because these families make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to be able to purchase coverage on the private marketplace. CHIP is often more affordable for working families in both premiums and out-of-pocket costs than most marketplace or employer-sponsored plans. It is also important to recognize that the success of CHIP rests on the shoulders on a robustly funded Medicaid program.  While nationally there are 9 million children who receive healthcare through CHIP, there are an additional 50 million children who receive coverage from Medicaid.  Together, more than 40% of US children depend on Medicaid and CHIP for their healthcare coverage.

 

Without action from Congress, funding for this critical program will run out completely by March putting millions of children at risk of losing healthcare coverage.  There is no such thing as “safely delaying” action on CHIP; the consequences have already started.  CHIP directors are already preparing cancelation letters and freezing enrollments.  Working families are growing anxious that the coverage their children depend on will disappear.

 

The solution is simple: Extend CHIP funding for five years to ensure that children from hardworking families retain access to affordable and comprehensive health coverage.

 

CHIP is critical for early childhood well-being and development.  With continued coverage, working families will be healthier and more self-sufficient. Let’s support what works!

It's one of our not so hidden secrets here in Muskegon. With one of the only three “kunstbahn" style luge tracks in the country, the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex has a little something for everyone. Attracting visitors from all around the United States and Internationally the Winter Sports Complex is the place to be with or without the snow. mwsc logoFind the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex on Facebook

Did you know that the Muskegon luge track is the world's first track that is universally accessible? This means that no matter your mobile abilities the sports complex has adapted to help you enjoy all that they have to offer. It started in 2007 with a grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The $700,000 Access to Recreation grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation allowed them to make this all possible. Some of the ways that they have adapted the different activities would be to have sleds with a bucket seat and skate blades attached to the bottom along with pick sticks to help make you glide along. They also have specially designed skis that allow you to sit on a seat and move by pushing with ski poles and if you would like to try your hand at the luge and are unable to ride on the traditional sleds they will take you to the top on the back of a snowmobile and place you on a specially designed luge sled that has handles for you to steer with.

Do you like to spend time on the ice? The Winter Sports Complex has 2 acres of Ice skating. The Complex has a family skating rink, hockey rink and lighted, ¼ mile skating trail. These are all open every day from 10:00 am to 9:45 pm, weather permitting. They have a link available on their page that will let you know about the weather conditions so be sure to check that before you head out.

Ice Skating not your thing, don’t worry they have 9.32 miles of trails for the classic cross-country and skate skiing. On your adventure through these winding trials you will find yourself skirting alongside the sand dunes, finding Lost Lake Bog and Lake Michigan. Don’t forget that while this is the longest lighted trail in the Midwest and it is groomed daily (when conditions allow) you be a part of some of the BEST that West Michigan has to offer.

If you click on the little video and listen in on my chat with Bill Bailey from the Winter Sports Complex you will hear about the State games of Michigan Winter Try-Athlon.

 

 

 If you are interested it is on February 4th at 10am – 4pm. You will be competing in three Winter Olympic sports which include luge, ice speed skating and cross-country skiing. This is meant to be fun and allow you to try something new that you otherwise may not have thought that you would. You can find more information about this event on the Winter Sports Complex calendar, click on the photo below.

try athalon

It's become a staple of the winter in Muskegon.  Hundreds of people gather to celebrate the season, thumb their nose at the temperatures a little and make a splash to benefit Special Olympics of Michigan in the frigid waters of Muskegon Lake.  Yes, the Muskegon Polar Plunge is coming up again quick and you're invited to participate in any number of ways!  The most important part of it all is that all the money raised goes to help support the work of Special Olympics here in Michigan giving people with unique abilities a chance to compete and share the fellowship that the games bring. rock ppRock The Polar Plunge Pre Party on Facebook

The Muskegon Polar Plunge has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years.  Sure, the plunge itself has always been a fun event and raised a lot of money, but the organizers of the event saw that there was plenty of room to add a little more around the event, so they tacked on a Friday night party ahead of things.  The Pre Plunge Party is happening at Fricano's on Muskegon Lake from 7-11p on Friday January 26th.  You'll find music from Northbound, a great atmosphere, early registration to avoid the lines Saturday before the plunge and since it's at Fricano's, plenty of great food!  Saturday, registration gets underway at noon, the plunge itself starts at 2 and at 4p the After Splash Bash gets underway!  It's a couple of great days were Old Man Winter gets put in his place and we revel in the fact that we've still got the best place in the state for anything fun in the water....frozen or not!

It takes a great group of people to put an event on like this, and Brian Harris and Todd Dunham will be the first to tell you that it's way more than them who pulls this off year in and year out, however, since Brian and Todd have kind of taken the event over, it's growth has been substantial.  They work all year long finding sponsors, donors, divers, teams and volunteers to help make this event such a great success and so many athletes benefit from their tireless work.  I had a few minutes to catch up with Brain and Todd to talk about this years plunge...take a listen.

 

 

 

 

 It's a great time for a great cause.  Our thanks to Todd and Brian for taking a few minutes today to talk about this years event.  Make sure you're part of the fun.  Take the plunge yourself or gather up a group of friends and make it a team sport.  If the cold water is just too much for ya, there are plenty of ways you can help the cause.  Click on the photo below to visit the Special Olympics of Michigan Muskegon Polar Plunge Page!

 

pp 2018

Chef Char is back from Kitchen 242 at the Muskegon Farmers Market!  With the holiday's coming up quick, there's always a question of what to bring to the family gathering or the office pot luck that will be different and fun, but easy to make and add a splash to the event!

Fear not!  Chef Char has an awesome idea for you that handles all of the above and it absolutely delicious!  Today, from Kitchen 242 she's showing us how to make a cheesy pull-a-part bread with a delicious pesto center and garnished with a little marinara sauce for that added holiday touch! 

IMG 8558Visit Chef Char Online

Chef Char hosts the show here on The Muskegon Channel, but she also hosts classes at Kitchen 242 which you can join.  There are classes designed for kids, some are set up for a "girls night out" and others are great ways to add to your skills and menu options!  You can find a list of all her upcoming classes at her website which you'll find linked under her picture to the right...you know the picture with the outcome of today's delicious recipe.

Kitchen 242 is located at the Muskegon Farmers Market and is open to culinary types who want to start a business but work in an incubator type facility.  It's a complete and fully functional facility and designed to help people build and launch business based on food.  CLICK HERE to learn more about kitchen 242.

You'll find the complete recipe below the video for today's pull-a-part bread!

For now, let's get cookin' - Here comes Chef Char!

 

 

 

 

It's a piece of cake to make and so delicious!  If you'd like to know more about a fun time at one of Chef Char's cooking classes, click on her picture above for the link to her website!  The full recipe is below!  Happy Holidays from all of us at The Muskegon Channel!!

 

Christmas Tree Pull Apart Pesto and Cheese Bread

A festive recipe from Chef Char Morse of Kitchen 242

Ingredients:

Tree:

1 tube pizza dough (you can use thin crust or regular)

¾ cup pesto (pesto recipe below)

4 mozzarella cheese sticks

1 cup shredded mozzarella or shredded Italian cheese blend

Garnish:  dried parsley, pizza sauce of choice, sliced provolone cheese

Tree Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Unroll pizza dough from tube.  Using a rolling pin, shape the crust into a rectangle.  Cut one large triangle out of the crust.  Save the two small triangles created with the cut out and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Press the two small triangles together to make one large triangle for the bottom crust.  Generously coat the crust with pesto.  Line the center of the triangle, from the top all the way to the bottom, with mozzarella cheese sticks.  Generously cover the remaining pesto with shredded cheese.  Place the large triangle-shaped pizza dough over top of the cheese and pesto combination.  Lightly press the dough to seal and cut slits into the dough, across the tree on each side of the cheese sticks, about one inch apart, avoiding cutting into the center of the tree where the cheese sticks are lined up.  Cover any cheese stick at the bottom with dough from bottom crust to make a tree trunk.  Twist each cut section of sliced dough on the sides to look like twisted cheese breadstick branches.  Coat entire tree with Italian herb oil and bake for 20 minutes.  Allow tree to cool slightly after baking and garnish with extra parsley (sprinkle all over for more green).  Make stripes on the tree with pizza sauce to look like garland.  Using a star cookie cutter, cut out a star-shape from the sliced provolone cheese and place on top of the tree.  Serve while still warm.

Italian Herb Oil:

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning mix (oregano, basil, thyme, parsley,)

2 cloves garlic, minced

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Herb Oil Directions:

Place olive oil in a small bowl and add the salt, Italian seasoning, garlic and fresh ground pepper.  Stir before using.

Pesto:

1 cup raw walnuts or pine nuts or almonds
3 tablespoons peeled, chopped garlic (about 9 cloves)
3 oz. fresh basil, large or woody stems removed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Juice of one freshly squeezed lemon
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Pesto Directions:

Place the walnuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil, salt, pepper and lemon juice. With the processor running, slowly pour the extra virgin olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top. This recipe makes about 3 cups of pesto.

Notes: Air is the enemy of pesto. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.

To clean basil, remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, and then spin them very dry in a salad spinner. Store them in a closed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. As long as the leaves are dry they will stay green for several days.

 

It's an exciting day for us here at Positively Muskegon and the Muskegon Channel!!  Positively Muskegon came along in October of 2015 and The Muskegon Channel in March of 2017.
 
The idea behind both is that Muskegon is a pretty great place.  We don't claim perfection, but, you know...we're a lot better than we're portrayed in a lot of the news.  I will say, that I have noticed a shift in the amount of negative news that others report, it's been a step in the right direction but there are those too who continue to only point out the things in Muskegon that are bad and they never even try to offer a solution.  I'll say too that in a world where "cash is king" is the motto, we've never used either of the sites to get someone to pay to have their story shared.  We've been blessed with a handful of awesome sponsors, they have helped keep the lights on and given us some room to grow.  It all started with a GoPro camera and a free blog program.  Today, there are a bunch of HD cameras, a mobile live studio, daily news features, weekly programming and collectively between the 2 pages 662,735 page views.  We're spreading the news! 
 
All that being said, it's been a group effort.  It's the people of these pages that make them happen.  We have regular folks who've never really done any reporting here working.  They all bring their passion and love for different things.  They write about what matters to them, they talk about who and what is part of their life and I am able to help guide them on the "vibe" of how we want to tell our story.  Well, in as much as helping an upstart staff is a great thing to help craft a vision, when a seasoned pro becomes available, and that seasoned pro happens to be one of your all time best friends, you jump at the chance. andy britta and cindyAndy O with Wife Cindy Briggs and Britta
 
I am beyond proud today to tell you that Britta Cleveland is joining the fold!  After an amazing career in over 25 years of broadcasting, Britta took a little time off to decompress and all it took was a phone call and she jumped at the chance to be part of what we're doing.  Britta is all Muskegon.  A graduate of Puffer and mom of 2 beautiful girls, Britta has spent her entire career finding ways to help people in Muskegon spread the word about what they are doing.  Her radio audience was one of the most dedicated there was and to think that she's willing to bring her talents and passion to our platforms....simply amazing. 
  
I sat down with Britta to catch up a little bit at her house, all dressed up for Christmas, take a listen to what she's been up to and what she hopes to bring to our sites.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  We're excited.  We're thankful and above all...we're honored to know that Britta is home!  She's right back where she belongs in Muskegon and ready to share the stories of our hometown like only she can.  If only there was a way we could do "The Way Back Lunch" on a website huh?  Please, take a minute and welcome Britta.  The motto of The Muskegon Channel is "We've Got a New Story to Tell" and we've just added one amazing story teller.   

We dodged it as long as we could this year, but Winter has taken a firm grip now and we're all back to heating our homes.  There are a multitude of ways people heat places, but all come with some risk.  Yes, there is a risk of fire from anything that generates heat, but if there is combustion involved, there is a chance there could be carbon monoxide.

Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer.  It's an odorless, tasteless gas that is produced anytime you burn fuels and it can build up in homes and poison humans and animals that breathe it.  According to the CDC, every year 400 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning, 20,000 visit the emergency room and 4000 are hospitalized.  CLICK HERE to visit the CDC website for more statistics and information about carbon monoxide. skwmLearn More About Safe Kids West Michigan on Facebook

In Muskegon, the statistics are staggering as to how many homes are not protected by the proper smoke detectors, let alone the proper devices for carbon monoxide detection, but.. it's as simple as a phone call to make sure your home is taken care of properly.  Safe Kids is part of Mercy Health and they have just received a grant and along with Kidde and a joint mission of area fire departments, they want to make sure your family is safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide and the best part is, it won't cost you a penny.  This program is open to owner occupied homes and all it takes is a non emergency call to your local fire department to get the process started.

Once you get a time, trained fire fighters will visit your home, they will take a look at what you have currently and help you out with what you need.  They can also help with an evacuation plan, maybe show you an area or two that could be a problem if a fire occurs and most of all, they can check and make sure your equipment is up to date, and able to perform at it's best to save you and your family.

Holly Alway is the injury prevention coordinator at Mercy Health and she is also the grant writer who's helped bring this opportunity to Muskegon for Safe Kids West Michigan along with Kidde to help make your home safer.  Ted Karnitz is the Fire Marshall of Norton Shores and Scott Hemmelsbach is the acting Fire Marshall of Muskegon.  We all met up at the Muskegon Central Fire Department to talk about the dangers, and the ways you can get a hand from any of the county's fire departments to help protect your home and family.  Take a listen.

 

Time to take advantage of this great opportunity.  Don't wait!  It's a free service as long as the equipment is available and there is nothing to lose by setting up an appointment to have your home checked over.  In Norton Shores cal 231-799-6809, in Muskegon call 231-724-6793.  

 

 

It's hard to believe, but it's been 10 years since Dancing With the Local Stars come on the scene in Muskegon and in those 10 years, the amount of money raised for area food banks is staggering.  Dancing With the Local Stars is an event put on by the Womens Division Chamber of Commerce in Muskegon and in the 9 years they have been going on, over $755,000 dollars have been raised to help supply area food banks.  Over 3/4 of a million dollars going to help those who suffer food insecurity in the Muskegon area is a monumental endeavor in itself, but Dancing With the Local Stars has gone on to do so much more.  WDCClogoVisit the WDCC Online

For one, it's been a catalyst for a lot of new relationships in town.  People who would have otherwise never met are coming together to share skills and ideas.  Professional dancers and pared with local "celebrities" who learn a little about dancing, and they also use their connections to help raise some money and awareness about just how much need there is in Muskegon for those who go without the staples in their lives.  Second, the event itself is held in February and if you've been around Muskegon long enough, you know that by the time February rolls around, pretty much everyone in town is dying for a chance to get out of the house and do something fun.  Cabin fever sets in pretty hard by that time.  Finally, to put a fun spin on such a serious need...that's a great thing.  We have a true need for food here in Muskegon.  We can ask, we can do canned food drives, we can take collections up at work or church, all of which are great efforts, or we can innovate and turn out an incredible event that focuses on the need but provides an outlet for some fun while doing it.

The Womens Division Chamber of Commerce is behind a number of great events.  Downtown Dancing, Trinkets and Treasures, Fashion and Frolic, they all keep us busy, but Dancing With the Local Stars has become a marquee event in Muskegon and it's looked forward to every year by many.  Mary Kendall founded the Dancing event all those years ago.  I caught up with her Friday night as the cast of the 10 year celebration was about to be announced.  Take a listen to our chat, which leads into a couple of the professional dancers, which leads into a visit from one of the original local celebrity's and another pro!

Dancing with the Local Stars is a 2 weekend extravaganza this year!!  To be held at the Holiday Inn Downtown Muskegon on February 16th and 17th and the 22nd through the 24th.  Tickets go on sale January 2nd and you can call Mary Kendall at 231-798-4244 to purchase yours!  It's a great time and a great cause, so save the dates and be a part of the 10 year anniversary celebration of Dancing With the Local Stars!!

2018DWTLScolorConnect With The Women's Division Chamber of Commerce on Facebook

 

How bout a good old fashion chili cook off to warm up a cold winters weekend?  You'll have the chance to stop in to one December 9th at Tiffany Woods Apartments in Roosevelt Park.  Everett Hawkins is part of the staff over at Tiffany Woods now, but he's got quite a past in the area working with local bands, bars and booking gigs for different places and he and the staff at the complex thought it was high time to throw open the doors and invite friends and neighbors over for some fun, food and a chance for chili masters to win some pretty cool prizes. tiffany woodsFind Tiffany Woods on Facebook

The event will be going on from 12-3 in the club house of the apartments.  If you've ever been there for on of the safety days they host, or maybe you've been over there to take a swim in the indoor pool as a guest of a resident, or you live there and frequent the place...they like to be active with the community and this is a chance for you to stop in and check out the goings on.  There will be a blue ribbon panel of judges who will be sampling the chili... Matt Dirito of Pop Evil will be there, so will Mike Kotecki of Two Heded Chan.  Tony Laskowicsz of 1st Assured Bail Bonds will be judging as well.

If you'd like to register, you can stop by the leasing office at Tiffany Woods or you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., but do it before December 8th at 12pm.  Everett found a few minutes to talk about the event with me today, take a listen to what's planned and then plan on coming out for a while next Saturday!

 

 

It will be a fun time and a chance to get out of the house and away from the holiday hustle and bustle for a while!  Stop on out to the Tiffany Woods Chili Cook Off.  Tiffany Woods is also a Toys for Tots drop off location so you can bring your donation for that too!!  We'll plan on seeing you next Saturday at Tiffany Woods!!  Come on out for the fun!

It's not everyday that Muskegon get's a "Social Entrepreneur" in town.  Just what is a "Social Entrepreneur" you might ask?  Well, it's a title that someone gets when they see something that needs to be fixed and takes a grass roots idea and turns it into a national platform to help others see more in themselves. They also take their experience, strength and hope and put it to work so that others might be able to avoid some of the pitfalls in life that have been experienced and that the next generation can be stronger, bolder and ahead of the game when it comes to their life.  gotrVisit Girls on the Run of Grand Rapids and Muskegon

Molly Barker came to Muskegon today.  Molly is the founder of the Girls on the Run program.  It began with 13 girls in her neighborhood and has grown to empower girls across the nation to believe in themselves.  The mission is to "inspire young girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun experience based curriculum which creatively integrates running."  Girls on the Run's vision is to "create a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams."  I personally got involved with Girls on the Run a few years ago when I was asked to be the emcee at their event in Muskegon and saw immediately that it was something I wanted to be a bigger part of.  Our young people are our future...they are our greatest investment and it's up to all of us to do what we can.  seeing the faces of these girls on race day, crossing the finish line...it's an experience beyond any price point.

After founding Girls on the Run, Molly has gone on to other social platforms working in Washington DC for a while on the Bipartisan Policy Center and now, she's founded The Red Boot Way.  The Red Boot Way "creates compassionate communities by teaching a practice of intentional communication where self awareness, connections and trust grow."  Molly was in town to speak to the Rotary lunch and I was invited down a little early to meet this inspiring woman and talk a little about Girls on the Run and her new Red Boot Way.  Something all of us could use a little more insight on.  Take a listen.

It was a great pleasure and honor to meet Molly.  Thanks too to Susan Gifford and Lori Burgess for the local arm of Girls on the Run for the opportunity to sit down and talk with such an icon when it comes to strengthening  others and leading by example.  Miracles happen every day.  They happen in every town, and they happen by the work of people who see a reason to make a difference in the lives of those around them.  Some are big, some are small....but one thing is for certain, they all impact someone.  Molly's miracle grew to touch thousands of girls and their families...don't think that what you've got stirring in the back of your mind can't do the same thing.  To learn more about The Red Boot Way, and maybe watch another miracle unfold....click on the photo below.  My thanks to Molly for her time today and her inspiration to so many.

redbootway

Muskegon, we're in for a treat.  We love our food and restaurants that offer a great value and unique tastes are starting to pop up more and more in the area.  Foodies can rejoice on December 1st as we're set for the opening of a very unique and very good new endeavor called Gouleese.  Yes, it's a goulash restaurant!  Now, before you go thinking "a goulash restaurant?!?" let me tell you a little something.

Goulash is a dish that's got many different definitions around the world.  Growing up, goulash to us was always macaroni, ground beef and some other magic my mom would throw in a pan...honestly, I have yet to figure it out and since Mrs. O isn't much of a fan, I only get that once in a while now....but....my education on goulash from a global perspective is going to be growing quickly.  There are versions like Hungarian, Mexican, Italian and more.  Gouleese will also be offering chicken dishes, I heard burgers mentioned a couple of times and I saw a picture of a meatball dish that kids are going to go wild over.  gouleeseInterior Shot of Gouleese

Let me tell you about the setting too.  It's quaint.  It's casual and it's in a neighborhood setting.  Biedler street right off Laketon in Muskegon.  As you pull up to the place, you can see in short order that, as we've watch 3rd Street re-emerge Downtown Muskegon, Biedler could very well be the next pocket neighborhood to open up thanks to a delicious restaurant and in time, hopefully some more new places of interest that will come along to accentuate the resurgence.  It's the slow but steady progress of Muskegon redefining itself.  

The Grand Opening is December 1st.  That's this Friday!!  11am-9pm are the hours for you to take a few minutes out to enjoy the new place.  We'll talk about the menu and prices in the interview below!

Tim Painter is the principal behind the whole thing.  He dreamed of owning a restaurant at one point and worked to make it a reality and thought that a unique twist with a fun menu and one of a kind atmosphere would be the route.  He along with Emilio Trejo and team put all the work into the building, the menu and the dream...take a listen to our chat below. 

 

 

 

 

 

I am excited!!  I am full too,  Delicious sample of the goulash and I was just delighted with the charm of the insides of the newest restaurant here in Muskegon.  I am telling you...as we were wrapping up today, we were talking about Muskegon and how nice it would be to see more neighborhood places like this.  Small stores that sell essentials...unique restaurants.....shops that cater to specialized items and shoppers.....kinda like the old days.   We've been through a lot in Muskegon that's for sure, but we're seeing more and more that people are saying enough of waht was and they are building toward a future of what will be.  I am so excited to see it.  Click on the photo below and follow Gouleese on Facebook!  Make sure you check out their Grand Opening this Friday!

gouleese2lead

There are a multitude of benefits to having one of West Michigan's most famous chef's on board at your online TV station.  Not only do you get her sage advise on how to masterfully handle anything in the kitchen.  You also get her commanding presence, her friendly and fun personality and if that's not enough at the end of the segment, someone has to make sure the final product is of the highest quality...so you can imagine where the pie ended up.  cc mkg channelVisit Chef Char's Website

This week, we visit Chef Char in Kitchen 242 at the Muskegon Farmers Market for a lesson on how to make the perfect apple pie!  There are some tricks you know.   Char has been busy helping a local restaurant get going and keeping her classes full at Kitchen 242, so it's been way too long since we've had a visit from here here.  She's got classes of all kinds at Kitchen 242.  Everything from kids healthy cooking classes to evenings set aside for grown up's to come out and enjoy some of the finer touches on making the most delectable dishes!

Kitchen 242 is an outstanding addition to Muskegon.  It gives anyone with a desire to work in the food industry a chance to operate in an "incubator" setting while trying to establish their business.  It's also a place for classes like Char offers and an outstanding back drop for segments like this!  Let's get on to the workings of that perfect apple pie!

 

 

 

 

Easy as pie right?  Give it a shot yourself or click on Chars picture above to visit her website to learn more about the awesome classes she hosts at Kitchen 242 Downtown Muskegon.  You'll be baking pie perfection in no time thanks to Chef Char!  Here's the recipe for all you just saw!

 

Pies at Kitchen 242 with Chef Char Morse

Flaky Pie Crust:

8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut up into Tablespoon-size chunks and frozen

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

½ cup buttermilk

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, add frozen butter, flour, salt and sugar.  Next, add the buttermilk and vanilla. Using a dough hook on an electric mixer, mix the dough ingredients until it forms a ball and butter chunks are about the size of nickels and dimes. Wrap ball of dough in plastic wrap or place in a sealable plastic bag before placing in refrigerator until ready to roll out dough.  When ready to roll pie crust, split the ball of dough in half.  Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and roll half of the dough into a circle to cover a 9 inch pie pan.  Place bottom crust in pan.  Fill with fruit filling of choice (mixed berry filling recipe below) and roll other half of dough ball on a lightly floured surface into a circle big enough to cover a filled pie.  Place crust over pie filling, pinch edges of crust, brush with egg wash, then sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Slice small holes into the top crust before placing pie into a 375 degree preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes.  Remove pie from oven and allow pie to cool slightly before serving.

Apple Pie Filling:

4 cups local apples, peeled, cored and sliced (Char likes honey crisp and golden delicious mix)

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

Directions:

Mix pie filling ingredients until apples are completely coated.  Scoop filling into the bottom crust in a 9 inch pie pan.

Holiday travels coming up?  If you are heading out always check the Muskegon Airport for your travel plans.  First off, let's just talk about the simplicity and convenience of it.  It's right here.  There's no long drive, there are no long lines, there are no exorbitant parking fees and the overall pressure of flying drops by about 80% with the ease and friendly approach of the staff at the Muskegon County Airport. 

It's no secret that the Muskegon County Airport is a great sponsor of the Muskegon Channel and Positively Muskegon.  We're proud to have them on board because flying out of Muskegon is really the way to go.  When we personally travel, the thought of adding on a hotel stay in some other town or the idea of having to get up at 3 am to drive to catch an early flight is enough to ruin day one of any vacation.  The added expense, the stress then, when you get back....the drive home from where ever.....we'll check Muskegon first. mkg thanksgivingFollow the Muskegon Airport on Facebook

The Muskegon airport is offering some expanded service over the holidays.  They have also moved their early flight in the am to a much more conducive time to catch connecting flights in Chicago. They are also expanding their tour flights.  We've seen the tour packages going to Laughlin Nevada for a couple years now, they are always a sell out and always a great time.  Now, they have added Atlantic City flights with S&S Casino Tours.  We've done the Atlantic City flights a few times and you can't beat it.  You get on the plane, and in about an hour or so...you're on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, and for me personally, 10 minutes after that, I am either down on a cheese steak or sausage and peppers from one of the great Boardwalk restaurants.

I stopped out to the Muskegon County Airport to talk with Marketing Director Dianne Hoffman and Jeff Tripp who is the General Manager of the airport to talk about the newer schedule, the fun flights and the over all ease and simplicity of flying Muskegon.  Take a listen.

Make your travel as simple as you can.  Cut out the long drive, the added expenses and the stress of the big cities when it comes to heading out.  The Muskegon County Airport offers lower fares, easier access and an environment that's much friendlier.  If you are heading out, click on the Muskegon County Airport logo below to see flights, times and fares!  Thanks to Dianne and Jeff for taking a few minutes to join me!

mkg earlier 

 

Time for a little history lesson as well as some holiday fun!  The Greater Muskegon Women's Club has been operating continuously since 1890!  Over 100 years of work toward a better community, empowerment for women, education, philanthropy, and social functions right in the heart of Muskegon.  Like any club, there have been high points and some where there has been a bit of a struggle, but it's stayed alive and intact all these years and preserved a piece of history in Muskegon that all should be proud of. 

Today, they still thrive at the corner of 2nd and Webster.  They still work on the social pleasantries like tea parties, luncheons, book discussions, dances and other special events.  The still host special events like artisan markets, a fine arts scholarship, honor women of accomplishment and host fun community based events like a gingerbread house building weekend which is coming up November 17th-19th. gingerbread house flyerGingerbread House Building Event on Facebook

It's open to the public and you're encouraged to bring the kids out on Saturday and Sunday for the Fun.  The Friday evening event is set aside for a grown up's only night out.  Hey, if people are willing to go out for a night of painting as a group, why not make it a date night and build a gingerbread house?  It's said that a certain special visitor who's famous for his sleigh and red attire will be in attendance and the cost which is minimal will help fund the work done by the Greater Women's Club of Muskegon. 

Nancy Bierenga invited me down to the "inner sanctum".  :)  I took the chance to pay a visit, not only to see the historic and beautiful insides of the building, but in all honesty, to learn a little more about the club, the history and what they do today.  Take a listen to our chat below.

 

 

 

 

 Some social fun, some community activisim, some empowerment and some deep history in Muskegon.  As Nancy said, the Greater Muskegon Women's Club may be the oldest in existance in the state.  That's much to be proud of.  If nothing else, take a look at their website.  Click on the picture below to visit.

woman clubjpg 98faec08ce55b20f medium

Did you know that there is only six weeks which is forty-seven days and only seven Fridays until Christmas. If your anything like my husband you like to wait the day before but if you're like me you like to have it all done weeks if not at least a month before hand. Today I am here to tell you how you can get a little more of that holiday shopping done while helping out a very deserving family.

While trolling Facebook looking for fun events around town like many of us do, I seen an event that immediately touched my heart. Ricco Adoption Fundraiser Open House is being held on Sunday November 12 at 11AM-1:30PM. (Please click on the event page link to get the address.) This Adoption fundraiser is going to be like an open house so you can come and check it out when it fits into what you have going on. A portion of all the sales the day of the Adoption Fundraiser will go to Erin and her husband Michael and be put into a fund to help with the costs that occurred from their loss in their most recent adoption attempts and for a future attempt to add to their loving family.

At this event you will find some wonderful vendors who have offered to their services to assist in the Ricco's journey. Kate the owner of Word for being Free will be here with her beautiful headbands. You will also find jewelry, bags, tops, and accessories brought to you by Stella and Dot. Wines for Humanity are choosing the wines today that they will be bringing and lastly for all you foodie lovers out there Tastefully Simple will be joining them with some delicious food products.

I met up with Erin today at the Shoreline Inn to chat with her about the journey her and her family have been on as well as their upcoming Adoption Fundraiser. Please click on the link and listen in on our conversation. 

If you'd like to know more, please click on the image below.  It's a great time and a great cause. Thanks to Erin for taking a few minutes to chat.

stella and dot

It's a sincere problem and the reality is, not many people even come close to understanding how deep it goes.  

On Monday October 30th, a panel of experts joined forces at Muskegon Community College to discuss human trafficking in the sports industry and the lengths that people go to protect the rings that operate this modern day slave trade.  The Muskegon Channel carried the discussion live as it happened on Facebook live, but the topic is vital and one in need of much more discussion, so we've saved the video and are putting it in a feature story so if there are those who missed it, or...as time goes by, the Facebook post kind of slips off the radar, you can always come back to hear the message again or, you are welcome to share this story with anyone you think would benefit from the discussion.

The panel included Anny Donewald who escaped the trafficking industry and wrote a book called "Dancing for the Devil" and also founded Eve's Angels who rescue other women from trafficking.  Connie Nesbary who is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Michigan Senator Judy Emmons who's been a leader in the fight against human trafficking and Professor David Manville who teaches at EMU and might have the only class on trafficking in the State of Michigan.

It's a lengthy discussion, but so vital.  Take a listen. 

 

Our thanks to the panelists and guests of the discussion.  Thanks too to Muskegon Community College for hosting this event and helping shine a light on such an awful subject.   As discussed repeatedly, the only way this is going to stop is when it's confronted...we need to stand together and say no more.  Anny is a pioneer in the fight, and we're honored to partner with her in spreading her message. 

If you're not familiar with the topic, let me tell you this....if we forget history, we're doomed to repeat it. 

With that being said, I Never Saw Another Butterfly is a collection of poetry and are of young Jewish children who were held at the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp in World War 2.  The title comes from a poem by a boy named Pavel Friedman who was incarcerated there and later, killed at Auschwitz.  Most of the contributors of the book were killed before the camp was liberated.

A quote from Wikipedia - "During World War II the Gestapo used Terezin, better known by the German name Theresienstadt, as a ghetto. The majority of the Jews sent were scholars, professionals, artists and musicians. Inmates were encouraged to lead creative lives, and concerts were even held. Within the camp, parks, grassy areas and flower beds, concert venues and statues were installed to hide the truth; that most of the inmates were going to be killed. This was all part of a Nazi plot to deceive International Red Cross inspectors into believing that Jews were being treated humanely."   ButterflyPosterI Never Saw Another Butterfly on Facebook

The play centers around "Raja" who is a survivor of the concentration camp, her family and four classmates and centers around life in the camp while retaining a world filled with flowers and butterflies with other children in the camp. 

The play is being performed twice on Saturday November 4th at The Overbrook Theater at Muskegon Community College and the proceeds benefit Gilana's Fund.  It's a local non profit that celebrates and encourages educational programming promoting acceptance and understanding of our communities, each other and ourselves.  Tickets are only $10 bucks, and you can get them at the door.  I was able to catch up with Lynn Frisinger and Anna Alpert who are directing the performance in memory of Anna's daughter Gilana and want you to know a little more about the play, their cause and why they are working so hard to keep Gilana's name and work alive.  Take a listen.

If you're in it for a history lesson or maybe you'd just like the inspiration of being part of this remarkable cause that's turned the tragedy of the loss of Gilana into a lasting way to remember someone who shared a valuable lesson with all of us in her time here, head on out to see the play this weekend.  I can't thank Lynn and Anna enough for taking a few minutes to talk about this today, and if you'd like to know more about Gilana's Fund, click on the logo below.

gil fund

Dog N Suds is a classic, iconic brand of Americana.  At one point, every small town near and far it seemed had a Dog N Suds in it where families could enjoy a nice night out with car hop service, one of the world famous window hanger trays with the food and the delicious root beer served up after you pulled up in the car and pushed the button on the back lit menu under the awning with the glow of the neon close by and the sound of music filling the air from the overhead speakers!  It's a memory that believe it or not, still manages to survive in Muskegon and Montague much to the thanks of a guy who grew up in drive in life, David Hosticka.

I have known Dave for a while and helped him on a few projects here and there and when he told me about an upcoming event he was heading to Miami for, well, I figured it was time to stop in for a visit and find out a little more about this event and why he's heading down to sunny South Florida.  ds coneysFind Dog N Suds on Facebook

The event is "Burger Beast's Wiener Bash" with Burger Beast being Sef Gonzales and his undying love of all things burger and sausages.  The event is November 4th and will be headlined by rockers Vince Neil and Great White and the competitors include -  Arbetter's Hot Dogs, Babe Froman Sausages, Da Burger Shack, Doce Provisions, Dog 'n Suds, Doggi's Arepa Bar, El Rey de las Fritas, Gilbert's 17th Street Grill, Killer Melts, King of Racks BBQ, Mac & Chess, Meat Eatery & Taproom, Monster Burgers, Orange Bear Grill, Pincho Factory, Proper Sausages, Sweet Dogs, and Twisted Fork Kitchen.  Stiff competition for sure, but the hopes are that the classic taste and nostalgic brand are a home run with those at the festival.  One thing is for sure, South Florida foodies will not be let down!

As Dave get's ready to roll, let's catch up with him on the event and the business, and see what's in store for the Dog N Suds right here in Muskegon over the next couple months.

It's a step back in time preserved right here in Muskegon.  It's exciting too that our little "best kept secret" is on the way to Florida to compete in such a gastronomic delight!  Best wishes to Dave and his staff and make sure you whip in to Dog N Suds before January hits and the much deserved Winter break comes along!  We'll keep you posted on how Dog N Suds does in the competition!

We're in a very exciting time for change in Muskegon.  Things are coming quick and it's a lot more than just a lot of talk around town.  The evidence is everywhere, and the proof is in the cranes in the sky, the hammers being swung and the overall mindset of Muskegon people who are just sick of the status quo.  I have said on more than one occasion that Muskegon is about to boom, some have argued it already is but my gut tells me it's just the beginning.

One thing that's going to be a HUGE change for Muskegon, is out lake front.  I the past, we've relied on the lake front for industry.  Places like Sappi, Consumers Energy and other industrial giants held the property and while the lake front was practical use and kept a lot of people employed, it sure didn't leave much use for our beloved Muskegon Lake in areas.  Well, as those business have moved on, and they are being taken over by Windward Pointe (the former Sappi site) and the other areas on the lake, it's time for some public discussion and input on what the future will look like.

Monday, October 30th, you're invited to stop into the GVSU Annis Water Resource Institute at 740 W. Shoreline Drive and take a look at what's planned and offer your thoughts on what might be valuable to add.  What amenities are needed?  What would make good great?  What can the city do to make the water more connected to our Downtown area and other areas in and around Muskegon and the Lakeshore?  What's great about this?  It's a drop in.  Meaning from 10a-6p you can stop in at your convenience and have a look at what's planned and offer your thoughts.  It's also an unprecedented opportunity for a community to offer input on what they would like to see in the future. 

I had a chance to meet Mike Franzak who is the City Planner for Muskegon to talk a little about his work and this chance for community input coming up Monday.  Take a listen to our chat below and get the 4-1-1 on what's going on.

 Well, I couldn't get him to crack on any upcoming surprises, but it's good to know that I am not the only one here who things that Muskegon is evolving at a break neck pace.  It's truly an exciting time to be in Muskegon.  Watch Us Go could easily be switched to Watch Us GROW and I for one am very proud of the efforts put in by so many who refuse to give up and continue to believe!  We have much to be proud of here, so stop in Monday and be heard!  Add to the solutions and take ownership of our great community.  You'll be glad you did. 

imagine muskegon lake 

 

It's one of the biggest topics of conversation anywhere today, the over prescribing of meds in America.  It's said that there are enough opioid  prescriptions in Michigan that every single resident could have one.  That's just the opiates.  The really dangerous stuff.  We seem to have pills for just about everything now a days, and in as much as it's a great thing for some of what ales us, sometimes we have medications that we can't use.  You know the ones that have a laundry list of side effects that rival a near death experience?  Hey, look..we're not here to scare you off from needed medications but sometimes there are things prescribed you can't take, don't need anymore or they have just been sitting around and the expiration date has past and you have to get rid of them.  Same goes for over the counter medications.  When the time is up, the proper disposal of them is essential. meds and sharpsMeds and Sharps Collection Online

Believe it or not, flushing them down the toilet is not the recommended procedure.  Nor is down the drain or in the trash.  There are plenty of station around town that you can drop them off.  They are lock boxes in police and fire stations and it's recommended that is you do clean out the cupboard or medicine chest you take them there.  If you'd like a little more focus on a date and time to get rid of them, may we suggest October 28th?  There will be a medication disposal event at the Muskegon Fire Department from 9a-1p.

It's being put on by The Muskegon Area Medication Disposal Program and their belief is that proper disposal of unused medications promotes a healthy community bu reducing the risk of burglary and medication misuse.  Over the past 7 years, get this... the MAMDP has collected 12.5 TONS of unused medications.  TONS! 

There will be no questions asked, so if you're dropping off a bunch of grandma's old pills you've been wondering what to do with, you're safe.  It will be a cool experience, because you'll get to drive right through the fire truck bay and drop off your meds and properly contained sharps and at the end, you'll have one less thing to worry about in your home.  It's a smart thing to do.

Carrie Uthe joined me out in front of the Muskegon Fire Department to talk about the statistics and the event, take a listen.

It's a simple way to secure your home and make sure that meds that could be dangerous don't get into the wrong hands.  If you watched the video, you heard personal testimony that if there's a will, there's a way, so please...take the time to properly dispose of the medications in your home that are no longer being used.  My thanks to Carrie for taking a few minutes to talk about the event, and thanks too to The Health Project of Mercy Health for their support of our work and Muskegon as a whole.

 

It's a big deal, and it's a bigger deal because it's a peer to peer award in the communities that are served by the Celebration Cinema family of theaters in West Michigan.  Celebration Cinema strives to make sure that your move going experience it second to none.  It's reflected in everything from the moment you walk in the door, to the great concessions, the premium seating...state of the art sound and projection and recently added things like D-Box, 3-D and more.  You are immersed in the experience of "the movies" the entire time you are there.  I have been going to Celebration Cinema almost exclusively my entire life and to have watch them grow and thrive and to have maintained the working relationship I have with them all these years, well, it tells me that I am doing something right, because I am meeting their standards for a business partnership, and I am very thankful. cinema carouselVisit Cinema Carousel Online For Shows and Show Times

They decided years ago, that they would encourage other business in the communities they serve to set the standards equally high for customers service and they offered the Celebrated Service Award as an incentive.  The idea being, you don't know who it might be, but someone from the theater could leave a tag for a business, a nomination, and from there they could advance on to become a finalist where there is a cash prize involved and more importantly, there is a years worth of exposure to the vast audience that comes to the theater for a movie.  Yes, every show begins with a recognition for the Celebrated Service Award winner in their city!  The amount of promotional value is staggering and in a time where advertising companies are demanding more and more....Celebration Cinema has turned the tables and said "how can we help".  That speaks volumes of their company culture. 

The voting begins soon, and in Muskegon the list on nominees is a who's who of awesome places to visit.  Wonder who they are?  Well, that's what Tom Bitson is here for!  We teamed up at Cinema Carousel to talk about this year nominees and we even chat up some of the big new releases coming this Fall and holiday season.  Take a listen and see if your favorite spot in town is in the running for the Celebrated Service Award.

There they are!!  Voting begins soon!!  November 8th is the date you can begin voting!!  Make sure you take a minute to vote for these incredible business that have been nominated.  I have had the chance to talk to some of the winners in the past, like this years current champ the Getty Street Grill and it's so much more than the generous cash award, it's the recognition of a job well done in a world where the "little guy" is having a harder and harder time being seen and heard.  It's truly a one of a kind give back from the Celebration Cinema family of theaters and we're very proud to have been able to bring you this years nominees!!  Right below, you'll find the link!  Make sure you take the time to vote November 8th!!

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It's a topic that is very prominent at the moment, sex trafficking and sexual abuse.  Harvey Weinstein and his years of misbehavior in Hollywood have not only gotten him banished from his company and industry, it's brought new attention to the entire issue of our national outlook on what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to harassment and actions.

Years ago, I met Anny Donewald when I was still on the radio.  She had started out as a dancer in college to keep the bills paid and in a short time, she found herself in the trafficking industry.  She has gone on from there to form an organization called Eve's Angels.  They are a nationally know organization who help women who find themselves in the same spot Anny once did to escape from being trafficked and then to get away from those who held them captive while they heal in a safe environment.  She's written a best selling book called "Dancing for the Devil" telling her tale of what it was like being in what is modern day slavery and she speaks regularly to groups about trafficking and advocates for women who are trapped in the business.  daning for the devil
Dancing for the Devil on Amazon

Only a couple months ago we had Connie Nesbary on The Muskegon Channel to discuss her radio documentary "Criminal Sexual Conduct - What Needs to Change". A radio documentary that was produced in Muskegon and is now going to nationwide release.  It's a 4 hour documentary that explores the different dynamics of CSC, who offenders are and what the effects are short and long term.  Connie is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Limited Licensed Psychologist in Michigan and speaks and consults with organizations on best practices in post trauma recovery.  When I met Connie to do the story about her radio documentary, I said "you really should meet my friend Anny".....and that was the beginning of this.

Connie Nesbary Biz photo 2014 retouched small
Connie Nesbary Online

The two got together and immediately found common ground both in cause and purpose and in no time flat, along came the subject at hand, a panel discussion to happen Monday October 30th at Muskegon Community College about sex trafficking called "The Real Face of Sex Trafficking - Athletics, Law Enforcement and the Hidden Agenda".  Joining these women will be Senator Judy Emmons who's an advocate to stop sex trafficking, Professor David Manville from Eastern Michigan University who teaches the only course on sex trafficking in Michigan and myself as the panel moderator.  It's going to be an open and honest discussion about trafficking in the sports industry and more.  It will be free and open to the public to attend at Collegiate Hall and it begins at 7pm

 I met up with Anny and Connie at MCC to talk a little about the upcoming panel and learn a little more in advance.  Take a listen to our talk below.

It's a tough subject.  It's taboo to many, but it's important too to get to the root of this trafficking issue and end it.  Slavery...it's alive and well and it's being practiced on women right here in our area and all over the country.  We had the good fortune of putting two very powerful advocates together here on The Muskegon Channel and you are welcome to hear them speak at Muskegon Community College on October 30th at 7pm at Collegiate Hall.

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It's something that touches everyone sooner or later, cancer of some form or another.  Commonly it seems that it's breast cancer and it's one of those scourges we all wish there was an answer for but yet it eludes us.  We hear the reminders.  We see the TV talk shows on the subject.  We see the magazine ads, the posters on the wall in the doctors office....the list goes on and on.  The problem isn't going away and quite often, people just throw their hands up in the air and say "what are we going to do".  Then, you have the other side of the story, those who have seen everything we all have, some who have been touched personally and said "it's time to do something".  Well, that group of "do-er's" has been at it here in Muskegon since 1996.  tt plateFind Tempting Tables on Facebook

Originally started in the Torrent House, Tempting Tables is an artistic and exquisite display of elaborate table settings that is put on bi-annually by a group of over 300 volunteers in Muskegon.  Every table has a theme and if you are a fan of fine art, maybe Art Prize suits your fancy, or maybe you'd just like to stroll thru the gallery of artistic designs and know that your donation will go to fund breast cancer research... 100% of it.....well, this is an event you just can't miss.

There are a few different ways you can be a part of this great event.  There is the Patron Celebration on October 18th from 3p-7p.   You'll be one of the first to see the dazzling display and your admission will also get you in for the rest of the weekend as well.  You can also enjoy the gallery from 10a-7p Thursday October 19th and Friday October 20th and from 10a-6p on Saturday October 21st. 

This is a very grass roots effort.  Everyone involved not only lends their skills and talents to the show, they also contribute financially as a show of solidarity to the mission to help fund the research that the proceeds go to, and over the 21 years this event has been going on, those proceeds have totaled over half a million dollars.  It's a big contribution from a group of very determined people. 

Marlene Delong joined me at the Holiday Inn Downtown Muskegon to talk about this event, which she has been a part of since day one, take a listen to our chat below. 

 If you want to be a part of the grand affair on Wednesday night, or you'd like to just stroll the scene and see what kind of beautiful inspirations have come around this year to help fund the research being done, please, be a part of Tempting Tables.  This is one of the truly unique events that makes Muskegon so special and the people who put it on take nothing from it other than the satisfaction of knowing that they did something great for someone who they might never get to meet.  To learn more or, to get tickets, you can visit the Tempting Tables website below.  My many thanks to Marlene and her 300 plus who help put this great event on!

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We all would love to see a generation of non smokers.  Most of us too are old enough to remember when smoking was glorified by actors in glamorous ways in commercials or in their movie roles and we know now too, that for a long long time, the dangers of smoking were downplayed and that today, one in every five deaths in America comes from a smoking related health issue.  Here's the thing though, every day, people as young as 13 grab that first cigarette and get started. 

Is it a way to fit in?  Is it a stress reliever?  Is it a way to rebel against "the man"?  For whatever the reason, young people still pick up on it and the fight continues to try and get them to quit.  They fight from every angle too.  Tough talk, the photo's of lungs all blackened by tar, parents putting the clamps on it, peer groups trying their best to discourage it.... it continues on.  

In Muskegon The Health Project part of Mercy Health works with the Knowsmoke Muskegon County Tobacco Reduction Coalition to get that message out anyway they can.  One of the biggest events they hold annually is the Knowsmoke Zombie Walk in Downtown Muskegon.  It's an event designed with youth in mind and to help them understand the dangers while providing a place that they can have some fun and get the facts about tobacco and the dangers of it.  There is an entire website dedicated to it in fact you'll find that linked below! knowsmokeKnowsmoke Muskegon on Facebook

Last year, there were a seris of videos done to help you get in the spirit of things.  They are still some great advise and if you take a look at the Knowsmoke Muskegon Facebook page, you'll be able to see how to make a fun and affordable costume to participate in the walk this coming Saturday.  You can click on the Knowsmoke Muskegon Link to the right to access the videos and while you're there, give their page a like.  

One of the driving forces behind the Knowsmoke Zombie Walk in Muskegon has been Rachel McCoy from The Health Project at Mercy Health.  We met up at Hackley Park to talk about the event, the cause and the reason that kids should be participating and learning about the dangers of early tobacco use.  Take a listen to our chat below.

 

 

 

 

 This is a free event and it's open to all young people.  If you'd like to be a part of it, please, click on the image below to visit the Knowsmoke Eventbrite Page and get registered!

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 If you'd like to know more abou the Knowsmoke Muskegon Organization and mission, please, click on the image below for more details!

 

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It's getting to be that time of year again, people are in the mood for a little spooky fun and with the crisp Fall air and the leaves rustling about the haunted attractions are all ramping up for your attention.  How about adding a little more history and a little less haunt to the journey this year?  Not to say that you should skip the super scary destinations, but add in a visit to something very unique and a great way to get in touch with a little more of Muskegon that what you can pick up by reading a brochure.

City of the Dead Muskegon is back for it's 8th annual performance and it's a family friendly way for you to learn a little more about the people who've made our town what it is today.  From those who were captains of industry to those who barely have a record of their lives here in town, the Evergreen Cemetery is where you'll find the characters of our past "coming to life" next to their grave sites to tell the tale of their life and times here in Muskegon.  What life was like for them in their time here, how they impacted this community and what their contributions added to our lives today.  city of the deadMuskegon City of the Dead on Facebook

The roles have been carefully researched and the actors portrayals are done with excitement and enthusiasm for our history and the people who made it.  You'll find some facts, you'll find some intrigue...you'll know more about names like Hackley, Hume, Walker and Lee.  You'll see true to time period costumes and you won't find anyone jumping out of the bushes to startle you. 

This years event will be held October 14th beginning at 5p and 15th  beginning at 2.  It's a $5 admission and kids under 6 are free.  Do plan to dress warm and there could be a line as the guided tour wants to assure everyone gets a chance to hear and see the information at every stop.

I had a chance to catch up with some of the cast members.  Carolyn Holmes is Maggie Frasier who was laid to rest in "Potters Field", Tim Hamlin who makes his return as Captain Jonathan Walker who freed slaves and, Jackie Engel who plays Kitty Lee who's got quite a story of her own while her husband was out sailing the Great Lakes.  Take a listen to our chat for more!

Take a chance to learn a little more about where you're from.  We are so much more than here and now.  What we have today is great, but the storied history if Muskegon is one of our greatest treasures and as we move forward, knowing where we came from is essential.  Take your family out to Muskegon City of the Dead not only to support a great cause, but to enrich their life with some knowledge as to where we came from.  It's an event you won't regret attending and you'll walk away a little wiser from for being there.  You can click on the photo below to visit the Muskegon City of the Dead website.

 

cityofthedeadlead

 

Have you ever heard of Preferred Employment and Living Supports?  I had not until I got an invitation from Amanda Tague to learn a little more about the company and the services they offer.  Add to that, they have a new location and they are celebrating a 4 year anniversary so I loaded up the camera and went for a visit.  preferredFind Preferred Employment and Living on Facebook

Preferred Employment and Living Supports mission is simple, "To empower individuals faced with employment and life barriers to live higher quality and more independent lives through customized, relationship based and goal centered supports."  What that boils down to is they are there to help individuals who might need a hand keeping their home safe and clean, making medical appointments, time management, behavioral therapy, resume and job assistance, mobility and transportation, nursing services, relationship building and more.  A lot of the things that people take for granted in the day to day of life, others might find remarkably overwhelming and might cause them to isolate themselves.  

Preferred Employment and Living Supports also partners with some pretty big organizations like the Michigan Department of Community Health, The Brain Injury Association of Michigan and the National Rehabilitation Association to find the people who can best use their services and expertise.  I was able to sit down with Deb Tober, Dave Betlejewski and Samantha Scott who are partners in the company to learn a little more, and find out a little about the open house coming up.  Take a listen

If you'd care to join them for the open house, their new location is 1205 Peck Street in Muskegon.  The event is happening October 2nd from 4p-6p with a ribbon cutting at 4:30.  Some light refreshment will be served and you'll have an opportunity to meet the staff and learn more for yourself about what they do.  If it's a way for people in Muskegon to live better lives, we're glad to help share the story.  Our best wishes to Preferred Employment and Living Services!  You can visit their website by clicking below. 

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