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.

real face  

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!

ks zombie

 

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

 

ks muskegon

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. 

preferred

This is a little new for the Muskegon Channel, I am here sharing some information and some opinion with you as I have seen a LOT of social media commentary that is very negative about the proposed millage that will be on the ballot coming up this November about the Youth Family and Community.  I was invited down to a meeting held by former Sheriff Bob Carter with a panel of people to speak on the millage and what it's really requesting.  yes for fam fbYes for Families on Facebook

For me, the key as in this is about our young people who get into trouble.  Currently, they are sent out of state to take corrective measures and while they are often taken care of for the short term, upon their return home, they come back to the same environment they left and become repeat and even more troublesome offenders.  It's a vicious cycle and one that needs to be taken care of here within our own community.  If we have the ability to not only help the offender, but to help the family so that when the time is served, we can truly begin to fix the issues we face.  If we can't get to the root of the problem, we'll continue to repeat what isn't working, expecting different results.  

I know it seems like a lot to ask.  I know too that there are those out there who'd like you to think that this is some kind of diversion for the jail to get paid for.  It's not.  The jail will have to be paid for one way or another should this millage pass or not.  I am asking that you listen to this panel of speakers with an open mind and consider what this can do for our kids....and our community

I encourage you to learn more.  I encourage you to get out and vote.  If your house is worth $100k it will cost you $6.25 per month.  I know from personal experience, that when life changes drastically, returning to what was is a wide open door to repeat behavior.  We need to focus on making sure that when we take the time and resources to invest in a young person to correct something that it's a change that will last a lifetime and that they can in turn be the provider of that kind of guidance for future generations here in Muskegon.  To visit the website for more information. click below.

yes for families

 

Time for some girl power!  And acoustic music and art, and poetry and more.  It's a day long festival designed to celebrate and empower "femms" from the Lakeshore area and give them a chance to showcase their art and everyone else a chance to see and hear what they are doing.  

It all got underway last year in Grand Haven and went well enough to bring year two about with a change to Muskegon for location and the addition of more than one venue for the event.  This year, things get underway at 2p on Saturday September 30th at Jackson Hill and carry on through out the evening to the Pigeon Hill Brewing Company and then to Unruly Brewing in Downtown Muskegon.  This event is free for people to attend, but there will be donations accepted and the proceeds will go to help Planned Parenthood.   ladyfest 2Ladyfest at the Lakeshore on Facebook

What will you see?  Well, there will be lots of performances! 18 of them if my count is correct and they will vary in their artistic styling's, so if one's not quite your cup of tea...stick around for the next, they might be right up your alley.  They also have a pretty defined statement, from their Facebook page - "We believe that the voices of women need to be heard, empowered, and connected. Ladyfest at the Lakeshore is our way of creating this catalyst in our very own community."  Strength in words!  

The schedule is as follows: 

Venue: Jackson House

2:00 PM - Opening words / PP & Committee
2:30 PM - Maggie May (Olivia Tatreau) 
3:00 PM - Brianne Ross 
3:30 PM - Molly Schaub
4:00 PM - Sand

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Venue: Pigeon Hill Brewing Company
500 W Western Ave, Muskegon, MI 49440

5:00 PM - Doors Open
5:30 PM - Maddie Jackson
6:00 PM - Lady Ace Boogie 
6:30 PM - Speaker from PP 
6:40 PM - Ana Elle
7:20 PM - Jessica in The Rainbow
8:00 PM - Libby DeCamp
8:45 PM - Speaker from PP

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Venue: Unruly Brewing
360 W Western Ave, Muskegon, MI 49440

9:00 PM - Doors Open
9:30 PM - Leah Kristene
10:00 PM - reggie
10:40 PM - Van Lente
11:20 PM - Bermudas

I was able to catch a few minutes with Leah Kristene at the Coffee Factory in Muskegon to talk about this event, the inspiration behind it and some of what you can expect to see this Saturday if you attend.  I can tell you this too, she's a spark.  It's awesome to have some one with so much passion behind her cause come on to talk about a fledgling event that has the potential to grow and has found the right place to grow in... Muskegon!  Take a listen to our chat below.

Many thanks to Leah for finding a few minutes in the final week of preparations before the festival to talk with us.  We're big on the idea of finding ways to help great festivals and organizations put down roots in Muskegon and given them a place to flourish.  After all, we work to be inclusive...everyone's contributions add up to make Muskegon a town that is heading in the right direction and able to attract more in the future.  Saturday... stop out to any of the locations listed above and enjoy some great music and more at Ladyfest on the Lakeshore!  

 

ladyfest1lead

It was a grand affair.  The Muskegon Channel was invited to broadcast live at the Frauenthal Center on Wednesday September 20th for their season premiere open house.  Hundreds from Muskegon and beyond were in attendance as some of the upcoming shows and presentations were on hand to talk about their upcoming events and all were invited to drop in on the live broadcast to join Andy O to talk about their show. 

We had guests on to talk about everything from Shakespeare to the Symphony and spiritual services to historic presentations.  I can tell you this..it's going to be a season FULL of things to do and see at the Frauenthal Center. 

We'll let the video do the talking on this one, and hey... if you were one of the guests, please...by all means, share this article and let it help spread the word about what you've got coming up at Muskegon's historic theater!  

Our Many thanks to the staff of the Frauenthal Center for having us out to talk about the upcoming season and if anything in the video sounded like something you'd be interested in, use the link below to head to the Frauenthal's site and learn a little more!

Frauenthal Center Logo

 

For me, it's hard to imagine that 38 years ago was 1980.  Yes... I was 10 and that's about the time that things start popping into memory for me.  When I was 21 and a camp counselor, the kids told me that they were born in 1980 and I just about fell off my chair because I had to face the fact that I remembered vividly what the world was they were born into.  1980 was also the first year that Muskegon jumped on board with the CROP walk to help end hunger and it's gone on ever since. 2015 crop walk POSTER 190x284aCROP Walk on Facebook

This year, the CROP Walk will be held October 1st and it kicks off at the Central United Methodist Church on Second Street in Downtown Muskegon.  Over the 38 years, Muskegon has raised over a million dollars to help beat out hunger both at home and on a global level.  Imagine the money raised here in our little corner of the world spreading out to over 40 countries all over the planet....all doing something for someone who will most likely never have the chance to pay us back, but..that's beside the point.  The point is, that we're a good and giving community and our outreach doesn't need payback.  That's not to say that a good portion of the proceeds don't go to work right here at home too, there are 4 local beneficiaries as well as some of the money going to help victims of this years hurricanes and the subsequent flooding that has occurred.  It's a pretty remarkable way for you to have an impact without a ton of effort.   

Dianna Wright Stubbs is the Executive Director of Mission for Area People, they are one of the local beneficiaries of the CROP Walk in Muskegon this year.  I was at MAP filming a story with her about the 50th anniversary they are celebrating and we figured we'd get in a talk about the CROP Walk too, take a listen.

 

 

38 years...they must be doing something right!  Get yourself in on the action and get your sneakers shined up and ready for the walk October 1st.  It's a great way to raise a few bucks and a great way to know your time and dedication went a little further.  If you'd like to know more, you can click on the image below to go to the CROP Walk page and learn more about the Muskegon CROP walk.

crop logo

 

 

We do our best to keep you up to date on the goings on in Muskegon, especially when it comes to the things that sooner or later will most likely effect our lives one way or another, and sadly, Alzheimer's Disease is one of those facts that we all will most likely have some interaction with in our time here.  It's a frightening thing to think that a friend or relative, or worse yet...a parent or ourselves will face the day that our physical memory will begin to just let go and with the loss of that memory will certainly follow the loss of other brain functions due to a dreaded disease called Alzheimer's.  

Personally, watching my dad having to deal with it in my grandfather was horrible.  Grandpa said to my dad, "I'm looking for Bill and Pete", Bill being my uncle and Pete being my dad, and my dad said "I'm Pete...I am right here" and grandpa said "No...Pete's just a little guy...have you seen him?"  I asked my dad what he did...and he said that he sat there and cried.  On one hand, I wished I was there for him, on the other...I just don't know if I could have bared it.  Grant it, my grandfather was 98 at the time....so it was a pretty dang good run before things started going wrong...but it happens all too often, and in some much earlier in life.  I'll just go ahead and say it... it sucks. walk fb pageWalk to End Alzheimer's Muskegon on Facebook

As the work continues, so does the hope.  We all do what we can and we all hope for a break through and continue to support the efforts of the Alzheimer's Association with events that they put on to help in the research and treatment of this awful disease.  They have brought speakers in to town to talk about the advancements in detection and treatment, and coming up this Saturday, they are having their big Walk to End Alzheimer's in Muskegon at Heritage Landing with the pre walk activities getting underway at 9 and the walk itself happening at 10:30.  They have a goal of raising $56,000 dollars this year for the Muskegon walk.  Kayla Myers is the point person for the Muskegon event...and a few more for that matter, and we met up outside Tanglewood to talk a little about the walk, the latest on Alzheimer's and if there is still room for you to participate this year if you'd like.  Take a listen!

 

It's tough to think that something like Alzheimer's Disease has had to become part of our daily language.  But like cancer, or obesity, diabetes, it's one of the diseases that we'll have to contend with until they find a cure.  As time goes on too, more and more will have to come to grips with it.  Scary and frustrating for sure, but the work will continue and so will the hope.  If you're in need of something to do Saturday morning, Heritage Landing is a great location to be to support those who are out to walk to end Alzheimer's.   

walk to end alz

 

It's a great event!  Imagine the Frauenthal Center wide open and filled with entertainment of all kinds.  Great food, plenty to drink and a chance to stroll the entire place to collect some stamps to grab a great prize of a night on the town in Muskegon.  Well, it's happening again September 20th and the entire community is invited.  

Last year it was a first time event, and people came from near and far to see what was to come in the new season, and this year, there are even more shows and events planned than last, so, your Wednesday evening will be filled with sample sized performances of all kinds of entertianment.  The best part of it is... it's absolutley free to come take a look around and you'll get to see every inch of the building, including a limited amount of "behind the scenes" tours if you get the passes the night of.  You'll be amazed at the back stage...under the stage, the dressing rooms, and more.  It's truly a historic landmark and the normally "off limits" stuff is not to be missed. Launch Party JPEGFull Schedule of Events for Frauenthal Open House

Back out front though, the list of things to see is so long....I am going to refer you to the Frauenthal Center's website, you'll find that linked in the photo to the right.  Everything gets underway at 5:30 and continues till 8:30.  Some of the highlights include the Barton Organ and all it's power played by Jim Fles, musical numbers from the Muskegon Civic Theater's production of "My Way", Big Daddy Fox and Friends playing in the Ballroom, The Lafayette Woodwind Quintet and more!  Again, please check the image to the right for the complete rundown of acts and times.

Linda Medema from the Frauenthal Center joined me to talk about this incredible night of fun and  gathering.  Not only do we talk about the evening's to do list, but we dip our toe into the entire upcoming season highlighting a few shows... including An Evening With Dr. Martin Luther King on October 5th, Annie Jr on October 14th and 15th, Sweet Dreams and Honky Tonks on November 4th, and all the way into 2018 comedian Louie Anderson will be making a one night only stop at the Frau on March 9th!  How's that for fun?  Least we forget the Alley Door Club, the expos and of course the other special events.  It's quite a list.  Take a listen to our talk below.

 

 

 

 

Sitting around with nothing to do on a Wednesday?  Well, you're not anymore!  Let's all get together Downtown Muskegon and enjoy the fun of the open house and see what you might dig for the upcoming season!  Hey, for a few minutes of your time, you will enjoy a great night out at the right price and you'll get to see first hand just how expansive and versatile our theater complex is.  There is truly something for everyone.  We'll see you at the Frau September 20th!

 

Fall is in the air and the Salvation Army of Muskegon is ramping up for the holiday season which includes the annual Turkey Run on Thanksgiving and of course, you'll be hearing the bells soon outside your favorite retail spots.  The work never ends for the Salvation Army but I'd be willing to bet that you might not know that the Salvation Army has a very special group within the ranks called the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary.  sa expoWomen of Business Expo on Facebook

The women are the boots on the ground when it's time for the Salvation Army to get to work on things like the Turkey Run, Christmas gift distribution at the holidays.  They help contribute life skills, aid in humanitarian endeavors and build community relationships.  In the past, they have relied on things like rummage sales...featuring all kinds of items along with baked goods, hand made crafts, artisan items that are made by home based entrepreneurs and maybe some one off things donated by area companies that they just couldn't find a place for.  This year, they have taken a new twist to the fundraising event however... they are hosting an expo of all women owned, home based business and giving them an opportunity to show off what they make or sell.

September 23rd, you'll find over 20 booths, all owned and operated by women who'd like you to stop in and see what they offer.  Everything from self defense to high fashion, you can even find some Tupperware if you're in the market...and plenty more.  The expo is being held in the gymnasium at the Salvation Army's  location on Shonat in Muskegon.  Here's another thought... just because this is an all women owned business expo....doesn't mean men can't go shop there.  The do have a Tastefully Simple representative spot there, so if you're a guy and you're sick of eating Budget Gourmet and frozen pizza....you'll want to stop.

Robin Henshaw is with the Salvation Army and is much better at hiding behind the camera, but this time I lured her in front of it to talk about this years event, get the details here!

 A great day with a little girl power behind it, for a fantastic cause.  Make sure you stip in for a few and support the business owners as well as the work the Women's Auxillary of the Salvation Army of Muskegon does to help so many over the course of the year here in town.  If you'd like to know more about the Salvation Army of Muskegon, click on the image below to go to their website.

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Allow me to preface this story by saying that the subject matter might be a little scary for some.  We're talking about a radio documentary that discusses criminal sexual conduct.  There's nothing in the discussion that's out to sensationalize or titillate, but to some it might be an uncomfortable subject. Connie Nesbary Biz photo 2014 retouched smallVisit Connie Nesbary's Website

Connie Nesbary is a licensed professional counselor and a limited licensed psychologist who has worked with hundreds of clients over the past two decades recovering from post trauma stress in a wide range of circumstances.  She is also an avid speaker in conferences, college classes, radio and television interviews and now, has stepped into the long form documentary world producing a documentary called "Criminal Sexual Conduct - What Needs to Change".  Locally, it can be heard on WUVS - 103.7 The Beat and  M-106 Fm.  

Topics that are discussed in this 4 part, 4 hour documentary are - "Survivor Healing Journeys" -  "Changing Our Language and Culture" - " "Human Trafficking: Raising Awareness and Changing Perspectives" - and "Law Enforcement and Legislation".  When the documentary finishes it's run here in Muskegon it will be made available to radio stations nationally, yes, we have an export, and the message will carry to those who need the help across the country.  

Connie joined me at the Norton Branch of the Muskegon Area District Library to talk about this project that was over a year in the making.  She's an engaging speaker and her message is a great one.  Click on the video link below to hear the discussion.

                         

 

It's a tough subject to say the least.  It's shamed by some, swept under the rug by others and a taboo subject too long.  Connie is tackling the issues head on from every angle and this documentary.  If you'd like to know more, click on the link below to head to the 103.7 The Beat website.  

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Trinkets and Treasures is back for another year and ready for you to find that perfect little something that you have been looking for. I headed over to the Folkert Community Hub to chat with Jo Anne Hoekenga one of the members of the Women's Division Chamber of Commers. This is the 12th annual event that will be held on Friday September 15th from 9am-5pm and Saturday September 16th from 9am-3pm at the Folkert Community Hub which is located at 640 Seminole Rd. In Norton Shores. TT 2017 PosterTrinkets and Treasures 2017 on Facebook

This year the Women's Division has some new non-profit partners this year for the 2017 season. The kids Food Basket, North Muskegon Fire Department and the Muskegon Fire Fighters Local 370 will receive equal shares of the net proceeds from this sale. Each of these organizations will be present at the sale both days volunteering their time to help as it is one of the requirements to receive the money. Last year the three organizations that were partnered with each received a check for $7415.17.

I would also like to mention the sponsors that are going to be helping out this year. Redi Rental of Muskegon has lent all of the tables for use during the sale, Schuitema Moving & Storage graciously brought all of the items from storage to the warehouse for the sale (to truckloads full), JC Penny has lent their sale signs and some of the racks and holders to display items on and lastly Meijers of Norton Shores has provided shopping carts for you to use during the sale. 

There will be something new this year called the Early Bird Sale which will be on Friday starting for just a $5 donation. While I was at the Hub I was able to see some of the work that was being done to get ready for all of you lovely people to attend. The ladies that have been working on setting up for this event have done an amazing job at making your shopping experience as easy as possible. This warehouse is set up like a store so you will be able to know exactly where to go to find what you're looking for. Stop by and check it out, take it from me you don’t want to miss these deals.

 

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The crisp fall feeling air is a sure sign that hocky season isn't far off in Muskegon, and if you've been down to the LC Walker Arena lately, you'll see too, the ice is down and the Muskegon Lumberjacks are gearing up for the 2017-18 season!  It's an exciting time for the town as some of the favorites from last year return and a few new faces from all over the world make their way to the shores of Lake Michigan to be part of a team whos number one goal is to be "The best junior hockey team in the world."  It's a commitment we hear daily at the arena from the very top down and it's on every level.  From the play on the ice to the fan experience and the community involvement, being the best is what's asked.  Muskegon LumberjacksMuskegon Lumberjacks Online

The community involvement is deep too.  Being with the Jacks for a number of years, I have personally seen the level of engagement continue to go up through programs like the Jacks Reading Caravan.  The Jacks offer incentives to kids all over Muskegon County to encourage reading.  In turn for their commitment to reading, prizes and tickets are had!  The also host the annual education day game and help with the cost of busing the students to the game.  The head to assisted living centers to spend time with residents as well.  It's pretty touching to see some exercising done and some games played between a bunch of hockey hopefuls and some senior's who certainly enjoy the company.

You can help all this, and what's being asked?  Well, how bout 18 holes of golf at the Muskegon Country Club?  If they added in breakfast, lunch and dinner would it help?  How about prizes, raffles, meet and greets with players and staff?  It's going to be a great day for a great cause.  I caught up with John Vanbiesbrouck, who we all affectionately call "Beezer" at the rink to talk about the upcoming season and the Jacks Classic.... take a listen.

A great time for a great cause!  The link to get in the game is below!!  Join the Jacks for a great day on the links and know that your part of the team and community.  Hey, if nothing else...it's a day out of work and on the course!  The registration page is linked below!!  Get your foursome together and head out for a great time.

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The Muskegon Area Transit System (MATS) is happy to announce an new route in town called the Marquette Express.  Snappy name and all, but what is it?  Well, it's a giant step in the right direction.  It's a nimble and efficient way to connect two areas of town that are both moving and shaking and it's going to begin to help bring Muskegon closer and closer together with efficient and eco friendly transportation service.  mats marquette expressVisit MATS Online

Great selling points and all, but what is the Marquette Express?  Well, it's a bus line that's running a dedicated route between Downtown Muskegon and Muskegon Community College and Baker College.  Starting to see the awesome here?  It's a route for commuting students and it's open to the public as well.  It will make getting back and forth between the traditional campuses easier and it wil also make it easier for people who live in Downtown to get out to the Apple area to do things like go shopping at Great Lakes Fresh Market or to one of the many doctors offices out that way too.  This route has limited stops with expedited travel in mind and it runs every half an hour.  MATS is moving people like never before!  

The pricing is next to nothing, it's $1.25 for a ride.  If you're a senior or disabled, 60 cents....and you are on the go and heading where you need to be.  MATS has expanded service all over the county and this express service is one of their newer offerings being put in to play with time efficency in mind as well as an understanding of the impact we're seeing with the expansion of the colleges into Downtown Muskegon.

Karen Kacynski is with MATS and we sat down to talk about this new route and how it will help move MATS one step closer to making our public transportation system in Muskegon better for everyone.  Take a listen.

Making transportation affordable and easy for everyone is what MATS is all about.  The addition of the rural routes over the last couple of years was a big thing for the county, and now... with the Marquette Express coming into the city, it's going to save those who had to ride the older route a LOT of time and it's going to connect Downtown Muskegon to the campus area like never before.  Our many thanks to MATS for not only being a great sponsor of the Muskegon Channel and Positively Muskgon, but for also never quitting to find ways to help keep Muskegon on the move!  Watch Us Go on MATS!

 

It's not an easy conversation.  How do you approach your kids and have the talk about any of life's bigger issues?  When do you bring up the subject of drugs and alcohol and how they can effect everything from the development of their minds to the choices they make.  It's not an easy area do spark up a conversation for any parent, and if you'll allow me, I'll share a little personal experience. ts carTalk Sooner on Facebook

I was young....12 seems to be the age I remember and I had insomnia from the Ritalin I was taking.  It led me to sneak down to the garage after my parents went to bed and I'd drink about a half a beer to make me drowsy enough to get to sleep.  They didn't know, and I in no way "blame" them for what eventually became the biggest hurdle I had to overcome in life, but there were also not the kind of resources out there like Talk Early, Talk Often back in those days which could have helped.  I will also say too that in my case, you could have talked till you were blue in the face and it probably wouldn't have done much good.  I was among those who had to fight my own way through addiction, but educational offerings like Talk Sooner are awesome for those who can be caught before they head down that dark tunnel...and saving one from what I went through....worth every effort.

Talk Sooner is a website, and a phone app.  You can find information on the different drugs that are on the streets today.  You can also find ways to make the conversation a little easier with your children and answers to questions like when is a good time to begin the talk?  Honestly, as young as 9 or 10 is probably a decent time to get it on the radar so when the defenses start going up in the early teen years...it will already feel like common place and kids might not be as defensive.  They also encourage you to make time for family meals which give you time to talk...put away the digital devices and talk.  There are a host of events coming up that can help you out and they are offering some pretty cool incentives for you to get the app, including free appetizers at Brann's soon!  Stay tuned for the date on that!  

There will be a big focus on the app, the program and people on hand to help as the Muskegon Big Reds take on Fruitport September 8th. Rachel McCoy and Missy Gallegos joined me to talk about all of this on the beautiful campus at Muskegon High School.  Take a listen. 

Stories like this are important to me.  Not everyone has to endure what I did.  Some can't avoid it, addiction is an awful thing but education and awareness are better than ever before.  As a parent, I implore you to get past the hang up's.  Put aside the fears of the tough conversations and get yourself educated on the dangers, the most effective communications techinques and most of all, your past.  We were all kids once....we did things that we all learned from and it's on us to help the younger generation avoid the pitfalls.  I make a sincere effort to do that by going to schools and talking about my past in the hopes that one or two kids get it.  Be honest with your kids...let them know how much they mean to you and why you're bringing up the "tough stuff'.  In the long run, it will be priceless.  Click on the photo below to visit the Talk Sooner website.

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Have you ever thought about how public space is being used and how it could be used better? Have you ever heard of a Park(ing) event before? With Muskegon becoming the place to be these are things that we should be thinking about. Today I had a chance to talk with John Klayko about an awesome event that he is putting on to get us thinking about just this.

Park(ing) Day in Muskegon was inspired by Johns brother Branden. Branden found his love of old building and architecture when he went back home after finishing school. Branden had a passion for urbanism in his home town of Louisville Kentucky and so introduced the Park(ing) day event. Branden has since passed which brings us back to why this is so important to John. He would like to honor his brother and his memory by bringing you one of the thing that his brother loved so much. p dayPark(ing) Day Muskegon On Facebook

PARK(ing) Day all started in San Francisco through a group of architects who envisioned the parking meter as short-term lease on a piece of public property. The group created the first park with a piece sod, a bench, and a tree. PARK(ing) Day has since become celebrated as a global event. The meaning behind PARK(ing) Day is to generate conversation about how public space is being used, to bring attention to the need for more green space in an urban setting, and to improve the quality of life in the city as a whole.

 

How do you become involved you're asking.... well let me tell you. The Park(ing) Day is being held on September 15th from 9-6pm in Muskegon's down town parking spots. You will need to head over to the Park(ing) Day event page on Facebook and fill out an application. After that you are free to start the design process for your space. If you are unsure of what you want to do you can find some inspiration from Park(ing) Day event page from others who have joined in from around the globe. If you don’t want to build a park but still would like to support this awesome cause, you will be able to find and print out a map of all the awesome parks that will be popping up around town.

 

 

Becky must be good!  She's even gotten her hooks into the most impossible case in all of Muskegon to try a little fitness and wellness out...Andy O.  If you've been following along here on the Muskegon Channel, you are now on week 17!  These workouts are designed to be quick, done at your own pace and you can repeat them more than once daily if you are so moved!  We tape at The Gym in North Muskegon.  It's an awesome place centered around a club feel with all the amenities you'd expect from a much more expensive membership.  Becky is there as a group guru or you can inquire about a one on one plan if you like!  For now!  Get warmed up, get ready to go... here comes week 17!

 

 Anontherone in the books! Congrats!!  You look marvelous!  Hope you feel even better!!  If you'd care to teke it to the next level, stop into The Gym in North Muskegon and learn more!  If Andy can do it...so can you!  You can learn more about The Gym by visiting their website, click on the link below.

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It's been a busy summer at the Boys and Girls Club of the Muskegon Lakeshore.  Lot's or programs have been implemented, lot's of kids are being impacted by the work that countless volunteers from our community and around the country have all been pitching in on and better futures are in store for these kids as well as Muskegon. bg muskegon 1Boys and Girls Club of Muskegon Lakeshore Online

It's been a summer of recreation, education, experiences and understanding.  We should throw in some life skills, sports, health, arts, character and leadership skills.  All foundations of what the Boys and Girls Club is all about.  Some have even called it... The Best Summer Ever.  But, it is back to school time and like any grand summer, it's got to come to an end and as the kids prepare to head back to the books the Boys and Girls Club of the Muskegon Lakeshore didn't want it to go out without a bang.

Friday August 18th the kids were treated to a bass like no other.  Burgers and dogs prepared by Chef Jack Page who also took the summer to make sure daily lunch was prepared for the kids, there were dunk tanks, arts and crafts, back to school kits field activities and a host of partner agencies on hand that help the Boys and Girls Club out on a number of different levels.  As I was setting up to tape the story, the grill was just getting going, the kids were gathering and beginning to get rowdy and the party was just about to kick off!

I grabbed Molly Kristofferson and Brian Rivera just as it was about to pop for a quick chat... take a listen. 

It's a quick switch over into after school mode from the summer programs into the after school mode and what a way to go out of the summer of 2017.  Our thanks to the Boys and Girls for their tireless work and building the futures of our young people to be brighter and better tomorrow.  

 

We're always happy to hear about a new spot in town.  It's also nice to see something pop up on Main Street in Muskegon Heights and see that growth is not exclusive to one neighborhood or another here in town.  Mayor Kim Simms declared "The New Normal" a year or so ago and part of that includes making the effort to revitalize the Broadway Avenue portion of Muskegon Heights.  The Muskegon Heights Farmers Market is a great attraction, Read Muskegon has recently moved their center to the block, Rowan Park is home to movies in the park and what was promised is becoming reality.   sisters fbSisters Gifts and More on Facebook

I got a message from Eve Zwolinski not long ago asking me if I had heard of the shop and what they did, which I hadn't and since it's been a bit since we've ventured into the Heights for a story, I headed down to see what's going on.  Located at 46 E. Broadway this unique boutique shop offers hand made gifts, custom one of a kind jewelry they carry the Eve's Organic Essentials line of products and they also offer an aray of classes on lots of skills that might be getting lost in the shuffle of modern life.   Crochet, sewing, painting are all valuable skills and at risk of being lost to video games, snap chats twitters and more.  They teach all of them in the back.

One thing they didn't get into in the video.. the compassion offered.  They have things like a prayer bear, they have a small ministry, they have a wish jar.... they have a gentle approach to togetherness and healing and they strive to bring settlement to peoples minds.  It's a slice of small town America right in the "inner city" which in reality, is just that...small town America.

Take a listen to our talk below!

 

 

 

It's a new day dawning, all over the area.  What a pleasure to see a one of a kind shop, with locally made items putting down roots in a once "forgotten" area.  Take a few minutes out and stop in.  Better yet, if you'd like to learn some of the skills they teach or possibliy consign some items you make, talk to the gals at Sisters Gifts and More and help be part of the revitalization of Downtown Muskegon Heights!  All of our neighborhoods are better off in good health.  

The Summer of 2017 has been spectacular and it's not even close to being over!  September 2nd marks 12 years that Shoreline Vision has been putting on the Run for Sight which is a 5k run or walk, however you choose and the focus of the event is to benefit those who need a hand when it comes to the car of their eyes.  Shoreline Vision is a remarkable group of physicians.  As they have grown and the services they offer expanded, they have also kept sight on the fact that being a good community steward is important and that lending a hand to an organization like the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI) is not only the right thing to do, it's good business and a caring approach to help others in the profession of eye care.  abviVisit the AVBI of Michigan Online

100% of the proceeds of the Run for Sight go to benefit the ABVI.  ABVI goes beyond just vision care too.  They help people who are learning to cope with vision loss with support groups, clinics, daily living skills, vision aids and appliances, youth programs and counselling.  It's got to be quite a frightening thing to be in the beginning stages of vision loss and ABVI is there to support those who need the helping hand.  It's a remarkable outreach and Shoreline Vision is proud to support their work.

Back to the run.  Are you up for a competitive chipped 5k?  Maybe you'd like to enjoy the scenic beauty of Pere Marquette?  Maybe it's a first or maybe it's the run you wrap up the Summer with.  No matter what you like, be a part of a fun day with a great purpose and an amazing way to ease into Fall on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Shawn Cook joined me to talk about the event from the Shoreline Vision Surgical Center.  Take a listen to our talk about the event!

It's an affordale run/walk and it's something everyone can get behind to support those who are experiencing vision loss.  It's also a chance to invite friends and family out from all over the area to come and enjoy a cool September morninig on the shores of our beautiful lake!  If you'd like to reserve your spot, please do before the August 14th deadline and save yourself a few bucks!  Click on the photo below and you'll go direct to the Run for Sight registration page.  Hats off to Shoreline Vision for their commitment to Muskegon and all of our vision!

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Earlier this Spring, Positively Muskegon visited Dan Gentz as Great Lakes Fresh Market was just taking hold in Muskegon in the former Plumbs locations.  We spent a little time getting to know Dan and learning his philosophy about being a local grocer in a world of giants, and so far, from the looks of things, Great Lakes Fresh Markets have been doing a pretty good job holding their own while keeping an eye on what the area needs and wants when it comes to quality, affordability and customer service.  glfm shermanFollow Great Lakes Fresh Market on Facebook

On our first visit, the future of the Norton Shores location was still up in the air.  The new company wasn't sure if they were going to re-open the old store at 1663 W. Sherman and the comments from readers of the Positively Muskegon Blog were all hopeful that they would someday return.  Well, the news broke today that in fact Great Lakes Fresh Market would be re-opening the store on Sherman and in time, their offices would be moving there too from their current location at the Colby Road location in Whitehall.   

I owed Dan Gentz another visit anyway to see how things were settling in for him here in Muskegon and like anyone else, he and his family are loving it.  The sunsets, the people, the community and the opportunities are all amazing.  They have found a great way to give back by partnering with Kids Food Basket and you'll begin seeing them more and more in the community in a number of ways in the days to come.  Dan and I sat down for a quick talk, hear from him directly about the timeline for the Sherman store and believe it or not...what's being thought of even past that..I promise you this, there is no moss growing under the feet of The Gentz family or Great Lakes Fresh Market...take a listen.

 

 

 

EVEN HIS PARENTS are moving here!  Ladies and gents.....can you say boom town?  I love it!  We'll continue to follow the success and growth of Great Lakes Fresh Market here in Muskegon.  To be honest, to know that we're not the only one's that don't mind taking on the "big guys" when it comes to local stuff...kind of makes us feel pretty good.  Work will be getting underway at the Sherman location soon and if all goes to plan, by November you'll see a great shopping option in Norton Shores run by a local family with your friends and neighbors working there to make your shopping experience that comfortable neighborhood feeling you love.  To visit Great Lakes Fresh Market online click on the photo below.

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We're honored to welcome The Muskegon Polish Festival to the Muskegon Channel and Positively Muskegon as a sponsor.  We like to celebrate all of our new partners with a welcome honestly as our work is a reflection of the work of so many others here in town who make things happen.  The Muskegon Polish Festival Happened for the first time last year and boy, did it ever happen.  Almost too much happening....but let's take a step back a second. mpf fb leadMuskegon Polish Festival on Facebook

First off, you may or may not know this, but Muskegon is truly a hot spot for polka music.  Tom Sanocki has kept his Polka Melodies show going for 21 years now on the radio and trust me when I tell you this, his audience is fiercely loyal.  You may remember, I have some previous experience in the field and know what it's like to have an audience like his.  His fans drop everything when the show comes on and that's what's going to be the entertainment.  Second, we've got some great Polish halls.  Never been to an area hall?  Cheap drinks, friendly people, affordable rental space and a comfortable atmosphere.  Hard to top.  Finally, Muskegon is all about festivals...right about now...you should be starting to see why the first Muskegon Polish Festival was such a hit.  A perfect storm was brewing for a party.  7000 people showed up.  :)

Year two, well they have had a chance to plan a little better, add a few things and get ready to go on Labor Day weekend.  It kicks off with a lunch time free admission.  Yes, head to Hackley Park for a great lunch with a Polish flare and you'll get a wrist band good to get you back in for later that night.  They have polka bands lined up to go all day, they have food, imported Polish beer, kielbasa, kapusta...(do keep in mind...a good part of my youth was spent on the west side of Grand Rapids...I am slobbering all over the keyboard).  That's day 1.

Tom Sanocki joined me at the corner of 4th and Western to talk about the event a little and we'll continue to keep you updated as it draws near.  We're excited and honored to be a part of the fun and to watch yet another new, fun festival get off the ground is a great thing for all of Muskegon.  Take a listen.

Here we go!  Mark the calendar for Labor Day weekend and make sure you stop in to Hackley Park to roll out the barrel!  It's a dream come true to watch so many things continue to grow here and more over, it's amazing to watch how an idea can explode like it did last year with the Polish Festival.  To me, it tells me that Muskegon's rebound is strong and true. It tells me too that our belief in ourselves is getting stronger every day and our sustainability...it's growing!  If you'd like to know more about the Muskegon Polish Festival, click on their image below.

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A couple of weeks ago, we visited the Dalton Township Fire Department to talk about a much needed millage vote coming up and while we were there, they gave me a sneak peek at a new apparatus they were just about to complete for training of fire fighters in a number of scenarios.  As promised, we headed back for the dedication of the structure as well as a demonstration of some of the techniques they will practice on this device. IMG 8185

Inspired by the loss of two fire fighters, sadly this is how most innovation happens, what now stands in Dalton Township will be open to for departments all over the area to work with.  In fact, they are already getting requests from fire departments state wide for the blueprints for the Saving Our Own prop.  Imagine that?  Dalton Township is taking the lead state wide in innovation and protection of our first responders. 

It took some work to get this done.  There were plenty of donations as well as volunteer hours spent to build the structure and of course some planning and consideration to be done by the Dalton Township board, but in the end it all came together to provide a much needed way to add some training options for our local fire departments.  On top, the floor has a removable panel to simulate a second floor collapse.  It also has a window for fire fighters to practice rescuing people from a structure on a ladder.  You'll see it in practice in the video.  The lower level, you'll find a very narrow couple of hallway simulations as well as a breach wall where fire fighters practice going right through the wall.  Did you ever imagine that they would have to not only punch their way through the wall, but also avoid getting tangled up in all the wires hidden in the wall?  Crazy and remarkably dangerous.  

Fire Chief Alan Styles was my guest this time to talk about the structure in more detail  Take a listen to our talk about this really cool "prop" as he calls it.

As mentioned a week or so ago, we focus an awful lot on the immediate Muskegon area, but Fruitport to Montague is what "Muskegon" is to us.  We're proud to help showcase the great things in all of our communities and the Dalton Township FD is really doing what they can to not only improve their department, but offer others the chance too.  Their outreach continues to area schools grows, their commitment to protecting the area residents is resolute and their excitement and pride over the Saving Our Own Devise is contagious.  Our thanks to the Dalton Township FD for letting us debut this awesome tool!! 

It's been a busy few weeks, but we're getting back on pace with programming here and that includes another visit with Chef Char at Kitchen 242 at the Muskegon Farmers Market!

Since it's blueberry season, and Char knows that I have a sweet tooth, she brought up the idea of doing a strudel.  Little did I know that she cut her teeth cooking making strudels up at the Cherry Pointe Market in Sliver Lake!  Not a bad first job huh?  Without further adieu let's get cooking!

Chef Char is a rock star in the kitchen and she's also got an awesome website you outta take a look at, if you click on her photo below, it will take you directly there and you can learn more about her, the classes she offers and her other media appearances!  Our most sincere thanks to Char for making time for the Muskegon Channel.  The recipe for the strudel is below!

cc mkg channel

The Recipe - 

Chef Char’s Blueberry Pie Filling

Ingredients:

 

5 pound bag

IQF blueberries, thawed and drained (reserve juices)

3/4 cup

corn starch

2 cups

reserved juices from fruit

3 cups

granulated sugar

1/2 cup

lemon juice

1 tsp

salt

2 Tbls

almond extract

(makes 10 cups)

Directions:

 

Dissolve corn starch in reserved juices in pan before heating.

When most of the corn starch is dissolved into the juice, start to cook the slurry over medium heat while stirring.

Add sugar, lemon juice, salt and extract and stir until all ingredients are dissolved.

Bring sauce to a boil and shut off heat.  Pour sauce over drained fruit in a large bowl.

Stir so that all fruit is coated in sauce.  Allow sauce to cool before adding to crusts.

To make a strudel, thaw four puff pastry sheets.  Once thawed, roll pastry sheets a few times to stretch the dough slightly.  Cut slices on each side, one third of the way across the pastry sheet.  Place about 2 cups of filling down the center of the pastry sheet.  Braid the strudel with the cut pieces of pastry dough by weaving each side over and under.  Fold the bottom braid and bake in a preheated oven at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until crust is flaky and brown with filling boiling out slightly. 

Allow to cool and coat with a lemon glaze (2 cups powdered sugar, 1/3 cup water, 2 Tbls fresh squeezed lemon juice) and garnish with toasted almonds.

This recipe makes enough filling for two 9” fruit pies or four strudel pastries.  The blueberry filling is also delicious served over pancakes, waffles or ice cream.  

The Muskegon Chapter of The American Red Cross is looking for a few good men or women who can help!  It's a simple request and it doesn't involve needles this time, although do keep in mind that The Red Cross is always in need of blood to maintain the supply here in town.  No, this time they are asking for outgoing people who have a good driving record and the willingness to grab the wheel of a Red Cross vehicle and take patients who need medical treatment to their appointments.  Simple as that. red crossRed Cross Online

It's a matter of a few hours once or twice a week, or if you can spare more, that's fine too.  You go through a simple background check and driving record check then...you hit the streets.  One day, you may be picking someone up who needs a trip to dialysis, the next...chemo therapy.  It might be a routine doctor visit or maybe a check up at the clinic, but the important part is you're taking an active role in helping someone out who otherwise wouldn't be able to make it to their appointments.  

In all honesty too, what harm can come of being able to provide a ride to someone?  You give them some time out of the house, a little company they might not otherwise have and the important thing you're helping make sure that the treatment they need is fulfilled.  You may find that the rewards are greater than anything by establishing a connection with someone who you would have otherwise probably never met.  

I met up with Mark Evans of the American Red Cross of Muskegon to talk about the need for some more hands on deck when it comes to drivers.  They actually have a waiting list of people who are in need of transportation, so take a listen to our chat and see if you can carve an hour or two out a week to help.

Not much to it, but the impact you can have is enormus. Mark even gave me a direct line for you to call if you are interested in helping out.  231-720-4254.  It's a community building thing, taking care of those who can't take care of themselves is essential.  We show our compassion by assiting those in need.  Consider a few hours a week or a month to help and think about how cool you'll look hot roddin' around town in one of those awesome Red Cross vehicles.

 

To get me to head in to the air conditioned comfort of the Muskegon Area District Library was not much of a fight. They asked if we'd come talk about some of the fantastic programming they had going on over the summer months to not only keep young minds working during a little downtime from school, but to also give area families a little something to do that doesn't involve snap chats and video games and you tubes and on and on and on.  Yes, you hear me saying it now...the importance of stimulating little minds..and your own is second to none.  Today's offerings in the world of digital entertainment are beyond anything I could have ever imagined growing up, but, the basics...like reading...writing, arts, crafts and inspiration all need to be fostered in young peoples minds. MADL 061517MADL on Facebook

The summer is when the Muskegon Area District Library kicks everything into high gear.  The events calendar on their website is a staggering collection of things to do, see and learn across all of their 10 branches located all across Muskegon county.  Recently, the MADL had asked voters to approve a millage request and from the looks of the amount of work that's going on to engage and enlighten, that millage passing was put to incredible use.  Everything from family story times to movie showings, t-shirt paintings to country music shows, flower and botany contests, computer training, used book sales...it doesn't end.  There is literally a flurry of activity every day, all summer long.  The best part it...it all focuses on making sure that minds stay active and don't lose the edge over the vacation break.

If all of that isn't enough...let's talk about the entire online arm of the MADL.  Foreign language learning services, Hoopla, which is all your favorite entertainment options like movies, albums, TV episodes and more, Databases (because who doesn't love a good database), foreign television programming, English as a second language courses...you could literally get lost in the digital end of things alone.  It's a pretty remarkable library system we're sporting here in Muskegon.

I met up with Alison Purgiel who is the Librarian of the Norton Shores branch of the MADL to talk about the goings on, she's really got her finger on the pulse of it all.  Take a listen to our chat below.

 

 

Our community might not be the richest, but..let's be honest here.  we can get just as much out of what we have as any other.  We have got an amazing library system that we all agreed by vote should be preserved and used for generations to come.  It's always a great pleasure to stop in to any of our area library branches.  It's equally a pleasure to talk to Alison.  She's so passionate about her job and her community.  To have the MADL on as a sponsor here and Positively Muskegon is truly a nod to us too saying that we're getting it right.  It's a great partnership.  If you'd like to know more about all that's going on at the Muskegon Area District Library, click on the photo below to go to their website!

 

10 branches

We spend an awful lot of time right in town with stories, but as I have said a million times, Muskegon to me is from about Fruitport to Montague...it's our area.  So, I was happy to get an invite up to the Dalton Fire Department to learn a little about their staff and some things coming up in that neck of the woods.  

First off, I got a peek at something you'll see in a couple of weeks.  It's not quite ready for the big unveiling yet, but right up there in little old Dalton, they have an incredible training apparatus that is already being talked about statewide to be used or duplicated for other fire departments to train their staff on.  Imagine that?  They are coming from all over Michigan to train in Dalton!  More on that in a couple of weeks. dfdDalton Fire Department on Facebook

As we sat down today, it was more about a millage vote coming up.  Ya, a millage vote.  Dalton needs a new fire truck as their current one is about to turn 20.  Its in perfectly good shape, but here's the rub.  There's this thing called an "ISO" rating.  I don't know a whole lot about them but, in order to maintain insurance rates on peoples homes the ISO rating has to be a certain score and part of that is how current the equipment of the local municipalities is. In a nut shell, Dalton is asking it's residents for about $37 bucks a year for the new truck as opposed to a little more than double that in increased insurance costs should their ISO rating change.  About as simple as I can put it.

I had a chance to sit down with Fire Chief Al Styles and Dalton Township Supervisor Tony Barnes to discuss this millage request and learn a little more about the Dalton FD.  It's truly a remarkable team of dedicated people, most of which not only balance the rigors of being on the fire department, but also keep full time jobs in other fields too.  It's a fire department as modern as any other, but it's also got a very small town home grown feel to it and yes, every fantasy you ever had about being a fireman as a kid comes bursting back into mind.  Take a listen to our chat below.

 

Like we said in the video, not asking you to vote one way or another, but the need is real, and the cost is pretty low to maintain the effectiveness that the Dalton Fire Department prides themselves on so very much.  We all tend to focus on what goes on right in Muskegon, I know I am one of them,  but our county is vast and the Dalton area sees an awful lot of activity year round and is home to a lot of our residents.  The thing I took away from Al and Tony was they are out to save their residents a few bucks and make sure the essential equipment is on hand.  Thanks to Al and Tony for the visit and check back in a couple weeks when we show you that new piece of training gear.  It's pretty awesome to have right here in Muskegon.

 

Stand Up for the Cure.  What an event in Muskegon!  Can you imagine anywhere else that such an amazing event can take place for such a tremendous cause?  Wait....what?  You need to know more?  Ok.

Stand Up for the Cure is an event centered around the water that benefits Susan G. Komen of Michigan.  From their website - "Komen Michigan is an independent, local non-profit organization that is dedicated to combating breast cancer, saving lives and reducing breast cancer mortality in Michigan. There are barriers that prevent women from getting screened and receiving treatment including financial, cultural and language barriers, transportation issues and a lack of knowledge. With the help of our patient-centered network of nonprofits and community support, we are overcoming these barriers through innovative education programs, screenings, diagnostics, transportation, survivor programs and cutting-edge research.Through Komen Michigan, money raised here stays here to fund life-saving programs and research. Komen Michigan has funded more than $12 million in local breast health programs over the last 20 years, filling the gap for much-needed services across the region." suftc1 origStand Up For the Cure on Facebook

Last year, Stand Up For the Cure of Muskegon Raised over $75,000.  That's a big chunk of money for such a great cause and in 2017 they hope to do just a little better.  Well, ok, a lot better.  You'll find a chance to try the stand up paddle boards, great food with your lunch provided, music, free breast cancer and melanoma screenings, a happy hour, fun events for beginners experts and fun for the whole family. 

I was joined by Dianne Hoofman and Shawn Taylor at Harbor Towne Beach where this years event will happen on July 8th.  Take a listen to our talk about all things SUFTC and Komen.  Betten Baker and the Women's Division Chamber of Commerce, Spectrum Health Cancer Center, Mercy Health, Shape, Arconic, KL Outdoor, The Muskegon Airport, The Lighthouse Group, Quality Tool and Stamping, Century Foundry, Tyler Sales, Meijer, Port City Group, Restoration Services, Devoursney LLC and West Wind Construction are the great sponsors behind this event.

You can't miss out on the fun!  You can't miss out on the cause and more importantly, you can't miss out on the rest of your life.  Early detection is the key and the ability for all women to receive equal treatment is vital.  Susan G Komen works to make sure that access is provided for all women and all women come together to make this a remarkable organization.  Men, let's be honest...we'd be lost without the women, so we're equally indebted to help the cause.  Mom's, grandma's, wives, daughters...the women in our lives are so very important.  Help Komen assure that they all have access to the same care that will keep them here with us for a long time to come.  For registration info, click on the image below.

stand uplead

 

It's time Muskegon goes to the dogs. The dog park that is, with the help of many contributors Muskegon is getting its first public dog park. You will be able to bring your four-legged family member to the downtown Muskegon PetSafe Bark Park at the end of summer or beginning of fall. dogsgo1Pet Safe Bark Park on Facebook
 
This amazing off leash dog park will be located on the corner of West Western Avenue and Shoreline Drive. The Michigan Economic Development Corp is leading the funding groups along with PetSafe, the Muskegon Kennel Club, Community Foundation for Muskegon County and Downtown Muskegon Now. All of the help of these businesses along with dog enthusiasts throughout the community have helped raise money totaling $110,000 through the crowdfunding campaign last year. 
 
I caught up with Dave Alexander and Sara Sass right out in front of the entrance where construction is just underway to talk more about the park.  Take a listen.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Whether you have a small dog or a large dog each will have their own area at the Bark Park. There will be a large fence around the whole area and a fence in between for small and large dogs to be separated. You will find a watering hole for the pets and their humans along with picnic tables and other fun activities for the whole family. I can't wait to see you and all of your four-legged furry family members at the dog park!

Like most anyone, I have had to roll with the punches when it comes to my working life.  I started off in radio, and would have been very content in doing just that for a few hours a day, along with helping find ways to help others out with the proper use of it.  Creativity, inspiration, drive, passion and yes, a few minutes in the spotlight all played into the career I built and was taught by so many good and truly talented people.  It's evolved some, and the internet is the main platform now, and I can't hide behind the microphone anymore....sorry....I wish the host of this show was better looking, but at the end of the day, way deep down I am still a radio geek.  I scan the AM dial in the night...I have a CB I take on out of state trips...I long for the days when that companion voice was there to keep you company.

Now, let's change the conversation a little.  Today, it's all online.  We get our music, info, entertainment all from a stream for the most part and in as much as the choices are vast, there are still some things to consider when it comes to the web.  What if the internet crashes?  What if there is false information?  What if the power is out?  What if what it what if???  There is still a whole lot of "wild west" when it comes to the internet.  Luckily, in Muskegon, we have a group of dedicated radio operators that can handle information in any emergency situation, and they would like to meet you. mkg am radioMuskegon Amateur Radio Council On Facebook

The Muskegon Area Amateur Radio Council is a group of radio operators who communicate with others across the area, the state, nation and world on different bands of radio called short wave.  We're used to AM and FM for the most part, but the radio frequency spectrum is wide...and it's always getting wider....wait....radio geek coming out....I'll slow down some.  To simplify, they operate 2 way communications and have been since long before cell phones came along.  The are weather spotters, they are emergency contacts, disaster reporters and they operate radio for reasons far more important than getting back stage passes to all the concerts.  

Amateur radio is something I have always wanted to get in to.  I am sincerely going to someday.  But for now, there are people like Ron Minzey here in town who handle the job and are not only dedicated to the passion of radio operation, but the safety of all of us with their love of the craft.  The Muskegon Area Amateur Radio Council will be hosting their annual field day June 24th-25th at Margret Drake Elliot Park down by the Muskegon Channel and you're invited to come an meet them and learn a little more about thier endeavors.  Take a listen to our chat below.

 

 

 

 

 

As my career has gone....it's always remained rooted in the fascination of that voice coming out of that little speaker.  Sure, some times the speakers were huge and sometimes, they fit right in your ear...but the ability to be that voice....you never lose the need for it once you have the bug.  If fact, today most of the things you hear from me are written, but they are written in the hopes that you hear me speaking in the tone you are used to.  I hope to be among the Muskegon Amateur Radio Operators some day soon.  I hope too that you appreciate them for the work they do and the safety they provide all of us.  Stop down and see them near the channel this weekend, and rest well knowing they are tuned in for you. 

radio listener

 

 

 

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