Sure, that's a headline that's designed to not only grab a little attention but to brag up the City of Montague and one of the eye popping attractions you'll find there. It's a larger than life landmark that lets you know right where you are and chances are, somewhere in a drawer, or on a phone if you were born in more recent years, if you've spent any amount of time in West Michigan there's a picture of you standing by it.
"We saw her at the computer at church one day and we said, "Payton - what are you doing?" "I'm creating a non profit to help other kids with school supplies." Ya...parents tend to hit the brakes when they hear that from a pre-teen, but, it's kinda how it went for the Chittenden family. Sometimes, the stories write themselves folks...stand back and watch this kid go!
It's been a long haul for a lot of people. Mental health is also popping up more and more in the daily conversation as a result of all that we've endured individually and as a society. Our temporary situation has been a struggle for sure and sadly, the breaking point for some when it comes to some mental issues, but there are those too who deal with serious, long term mental health things that effect far more than a situation.
The Hackley Library is bar none one of the communities biggest landmarks, historical treasures and vast resources that's been open to all since 1890. It's listed on the Michigan Registry of Historic Places and they have spent the 130 years of it's existence promoting knowledge, understanding and wisdom, combating ignorance, intolerance and indifference, promoting the free exchange of ideas and conserving our national and local heritage. Most of that came from the Hackley Library website, but no words have even been more true.
It's been a year of a lot of challenges, especially for those in the culinary business. When things shut down for the hospitality industry there were a lot of immediate fears for everyone in it especially those who rely on business not only from a restaurant or store front, but for those too who work on providing the food for large gatherings with their catering resources and deliciousness. I'd imagine that the last thing on anyone in the food service industry's mind was the annual Taste of Muskegon weekend we normally get, but like most anything else, their worries were put to rest as the congregating in a concentrated in a spot like Hackley Park, well..that got cancelled too, so there went taste. Or did it?
In a world on pause, or so it would seem, things that are "normal" are slowly starting to get back to what we know and while some of the BIG big events are still on hold, smaller community type things are starting to happen again and it's a welcome relief to many who've missed the things they enjoy.
When things like a divorce happen and there are kids involved, it's a difficult time on all involved. No one ever sets out to build a "happily ever after" with an end in mind. But, people grow a part, lives change and circumstances sometimes lead to folks having to go their separate ways.
It was a stunning Summer afternoon Downtown Muskegon near the Olthoff Stage where folks gathered to celebrate a great project put on by local companies, who are in the business normally of creating and recycling most of everything that was used to create the art. That make sense? Well, follow along a minute.
An update from Public Health - Muskegon County Director Kathy Moore about our COVID situation. The numbers. Things are at the "proceed with caution" state of the game for us now, but safe and best health practices are still recommended at every level. Kathy also takes some time to explain the tremendous debt of gratitude that is owed to all of those on the "front line" of all of this. From health care workers to those working in essential retail for food and supplies, Muskegon once again came together to be one when it was needed most.
To The Readers and Viewers of The Muskegon Channel and Positively Muskegon.
If you're coming in to town via 96, your first tire tracks will be going through Fruitport and Fruitport Township! A beautiful setting and growing area with plenty of residential areas, a lot of beautiful lake frontage, agricultural space, a great retail corridor a completely amazing new high school that made national news for innovation in student safety....a proposed casino that could drop at any given moment and become a regional destination and an estimated population of about 13,500 residents in 30 square miles...you've got plenty of room to move!
With anything we do here at the Muskegon Channel, we like you to get to know a little more about all of our guests up front so we can connect you to them on more than just a "talking head" level. The people that make up Muskegon are friends and neighbors and while we're a big enough city to have just about everything we need, we're also small enough to know that those around us are "just people" too and that all of who we are and what we do comes in to play when we're making things happen in town. In the case of Kathy Moore, we really didn't have the luxury of the "get to know you" phase of things.
Big, bright, bold and beautiful. There are not many other ways of describing what's being worked on for the shoreline down by Pere Marquette. It's in the planning and funding phases at the moment but by years end, we should see a dramatic addition to the brand new roundabout that's just recently opened at the world famous beach in Muskegon and to say it's an eye catcher is an understatement.
We've partnered with Muskegon County to spread the news about the vital importance of the 2020 Census for all of our area and how your participation in completing it means that answering 9 questions in under 10 minutes, brings in $18,000 for your community. These are the kids of funds from the federal government that assure that things like roads, schools, meal programs, housing and more are all properly taken care of and that the money we pay in already comes back to the places we need it most. It's a very small ask for participation from all of us and the funding is absolutely essential for all of our municipalities in Muskegon County. City or rural, they all matter and they all benefit.
What was closed, well it's starting to open again and that's a welcome relief all the way around. That's not to say that what we're facing with COVID is over, not by a long shot and that's not to say too that anyone you meet isn't weary of all we've had to endure, but we can't live isolated forever and that means proceed with caution as what we know and love comes back to what we're used to and the Muskegon Area District Library is so excited to be doing just that! Opening up, in stages to provide the incredible service for their patrons and the public that they do.
Is it all that often you hear from someone who provides a service that you might not need to hire them? It's not. Generally, they will find a reason to sell you something even if it's an up-sell or an issue that could be dealt with at a later date. Shon Cook has a little different approach today. Now, don't confuse the opening line with the idea that you should march into a court of law thinking you are your own best representative, because in a lot of cases, you could be doing yourself a greater disservice by thinking that.
You probably go through it more than you know and you don't even stop and think about it. We're talking about Dalton Township and it's literally, the center of Muskegon County. If you are heading north of south on US 31, you're going through Dalton Township. Heading up Whitehall Road? Yup, Dalton. M-120 to Fremont...Dalton. A visit to Michigan's Adventure, Thunderbird Raceway or maybe a night out at the Full Moon? Twin Lake for the fireworks? Dalton Township is where you're going to find yourself and not only is it the center anchor point of the county, it's also a source of service for many of the surrounding communities when it comes to mutual aid with things like fire service, water rescue, training and more.
Up in the Northern part of Muskegon County, tucked away behind Michigans Adventure and just a stones throw away from Ice Box Brand Ice Cream, there's a little hidden gem of education that not many have heard of, it's called the Duck Creek Learning Center. Part of the White Lake Community Education program. I first learned about this school when I was asked a few years ago to come and talk to the kids about some of the struggles I had early on. I was one of those kids in school that didn't quite "get it". I wasn't very attentive when it came to book learning, I was much more inclined to be "out front" when it came to needing attention and through all that...the frustration of "What do we do about this kid?" led to "Let's try this Ritalin stuff" and if you've followed along long enough...you know the rest of the story. No harm, no foul. It's just what the best minds had to work with at the time and back then...the idea of "alternative learning"..... that was a taboo that no one talked about. I came from a household that had one thing in mind...traditional school...straight to college and on to a degree. I, on the other hand wanted to be the one short fat Irish guy in KISS some day. It led to a wrinkle or two in the educational process.
Roosevelt Park! A one square mile community surrounded by Muskegon, Muskegon Heights and Norton Shores! "A Proud Community" where there are plenty of places to play for kids, miles of sidewalks for people to stroll and lots of great homes that are still what you picture when you visualize what a "nice neighborhood" comes to mind. It's also a pretty successful business community with a large retail footprint, new business development and long term companies that have been a part of the community for years. They are part of the Mona Shores School District and in recent years have completed some pretty big road projects to really make the city shine for residents and those who just pass through. It's a quiet little community with it's own governing body and police force and as stated before...proud of what they've got!
The population, it's not very big, but...as we've been saying all along, it doesn't take much more than participation in the 2020 Census to make a big difference. The Census is simple. 9 questions. No more than 10 minutes and it's an $18,000 chunk of money for your community to do things like fix roads, help with fire service and schools, assure that proper representation is there for local, state and federal offices. It's a 100% private survey and the information is not sold or distributed in anyway.
So far, in Roosevelt Park, the response rate has been really good! All of our municipalities are shooting for that magic number of a 100% return rate to assure that every penny that our communities have coming in, comes in. It's the easiest way to get the bucks we'e already paid in back for things that are important to us. We can do millage requests, ballot proposals and all of the fundraising things there are, but when it comes right down to it, $18,000. is a lot of money for very little effort.
Jared Olson is the City Manager of Roosevelt Park and explains how the Census is going so far and just how much money we're talking that can be spread around one square mile. It's just shy of $70 Million bucks and Jared does a great job explaining that and how it was calculated from the 2010 Census and how that number will go up with the growth that Roosevelt Park has seen since.
A great guy, and great friend who I had the pleasure of working with in my time on the City Council in Roosevelt Park, which I am no longer a member of, for disclosure purposes, Jared and I sat down to talk about the Census. Have a listen.
Amazing!! A task so very simple and quick with such enormous benefits we've all got to do our part. We've seen Muskegon rock it out over the last weeks and months on a variety of things and this...this is literally the easiest thing that's come at is in 10 years. Well, because the Census happens every 10 years. Get yourself going on that and bring in the $18,000 for your town!! To visit the City of Roosevelt Park's Website, click on their logo below!
Ok, so, you got us on the "quarantine" thing since the whole "Stay Home, Stay Safe thing is over, however, there is still plenty of reason to practice some social distancing and best practices when it comes to health and safety so, like just about every other event, what we know and "how it was always done" is changing a little for 2020 when it comes to Ride United in Muskegon. While the event itself might look and feel a little different, the purpose and cause is still paramount and participation is key!! When we all help the United Way, great things happen in Muskegon and our surrounding areas. The "virtual" Ride United takes place June 20th-28th.
Let's take you back a few. Muskegon has a very healthy biking community, on a couple levels actually. There are the bikers who have big loud fancy bikes covered in leather and chrome and there are the bikers too that stick to pedals and seat packs so they can push themselves and their equipment to the max. Some ride for endurance, some ride for health and fitness, some ride for a cleaner and healthier environment. Oh, and some of the earlier mentioned bikers ride because motorcycles rule. But back to the pedal bikes. No matter the reason for riding, Muskegon offers one of the best places anywhere for those who enjoy the ride, scenery, cool lake breezes and fresh air! You can use the trails or maybe the long and winding roads hugging the Lake Michigan Shore for a ride, you're just not going to find many better places for a spin!
With that, starting in 2012 Ride United has been combining all of our great assets for bike riders and those who want to do a little something for the greater good into an event that gives everyone a chance to be a part. No matter the distance, purpose or reason, anyone with a bike can be a part of Ride United to raise some money to help the United Way out and know their efforts mattered. In those years past, it's been a 1 day event for people to ride anywhere from 2-100 miles depending on how they are placed in the skills set and endurance, this year...with the "virtual" format, you've got a window of opportunity to participate in Ride United and of course, what you know and love by way of swag bags, incentives and more are still a part of the plan. Yes, even some of those incentives that are cold, thirst quenching and generally involve a ticket to get one. :)
While there won't be the closing of a street and group dismissal or riders, there is plenty of purpose behind the event to help keep the United Way doing what they do for all of us. Seeing how they really came in to play and all that they did to support the agencies that were in direct relief for those who were effected by COVID, it's a great year to participate. The United Way is a big name, but it might not be top of mind all of the time to some, our recent stretch however...let's just say that it was proof positive about how big of an impact the United Way has on our area and how vital it is to all of us.
Scott Blease is a very avid biker and active with the United Way Ride United event! He joined me for a breath of fresh air outside the studio on the stage at Hackley Park to talk about this years slightly modified Ride United. Take a listen!
All ability levels are welcome and it's a great way to help out as an individual or as a family! We've all seen first hand just how much the United Way does for our local community and what a fun way to return the help! Make sure you plan a time to Ride United between June 20th and 28th! Think how sporty you'll look in the t-shirt at very least! For more about the United Way of the Lakeshore. Click on their logo below!
We partnered up with Muskegon County to help spread the word about the importance of the 2020 Census for all of our communities in the area. It comes down to this. It's a 9 question survey, that will take you no more than 10 minutes to complete and when you do, you are unlocking $18,000 of federal money to come back to our local communities per survey per year, over the next 10 years. That's a lot of money any way you look at it and it requires the least amount of effort when it comes to raising funds for all of the things that are essential as well as programs we need and love. Schools, municipal services, roads, programs for wellness, housing both in the city and rural, our voice in government, it's all dependent on Census data!
Today, we took a ride just North of town to Cedar Creek Township to visit with Township Supervisor Linda Aerts. Cedar Creek Township, is BEAUTIFUL and Linda likes to brag up that there is something for a fan of every season in the Township! From the miles of trails for off road motor sports and horseback riding in the picturesque Manistee National Forest, to the bountiful lakes and streams and trials for a hiking and a rapidly growing housing market, Cedar Creek Township is full of nature, but also close to everything making a commute to work a quick endeavor or, if you choose, jump on the highway and head further north for the weekend...you're already half way there! There are plenty of winding roads for a nice ride on a motorcycle or in your car and should you need a place to stop and grab a bite to eat or drink, M-120 runs right along a good stretch of the Township, so you're not far form it all!
The 2020 Census is just as important to rural communities as it is anywhere else. Think about those miles of roads that need to be maintained. How about the needs of that growing population when it comes to fire protection and police services? Maybe it's how Cedar Creek Township is represented at a local, state and federal level? All these questions are answered in the 9 questions you fill out in the 2020 Census. All it takes is 10 minutes of your time and again, it's $18,000 bucks up for grabs!
A visit with Linda and you can hear the pride she carries for the community that was founded in 1861. We took a few minutes to learn what was needed in the Township and how the money from the census will help. We also talk about how the residents of Cedar Creek are participating so far, which is good even before the Census door knockers start! Take a listen!
A simple thing to do!! Fill out that Census and help make sure this historic part of Muskegon County continues to flourish. They have good and caring leadership. They have plenty of places for fresh air and roaming around and right here in Muskegon County, we find the perfect spot for agricultrural and rural development! To fill out the 2020 Census please click on the link in the photo above to the right. If you'd like to visit the Cedar Creek Township website and learn more about this great area, click on the photo below!!
We're at the end of the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order and things are going to be proceeding, hopefully with caution as we work our way back to some sort of normal. It's been a very trying stretch of time on everyone and if you've needed help in the legal world, it's been invaluable advice from Shon Cook and her staff at her practice that's been right up front with us guiding you every step of the way with some of the intricacies of the COVID shut down, as well as being out front with their clients when it all began keeping them up to date on what's going on with the courts and different functions. They helped push the way thru the early days with adaptation to digital use for proceedings state wide and they continue to work tirelessly for the clients they serve and always will.
It was an early morning get together at the City of Muskegon Heights Department of Public Works to "flip the switch" on a new era of innovation and savings for all in the City if Friendly People. It's been a process of a few years since it all began and today was the very first day that clean, renewable energy will begin to serve the city and it's residents and all of us for that matter for the next 20 years as solar power came to life on top of the first building in the Heights.
We've partnered with Muskegon County to spread the word about the importance of the 2020 Census for our entire area and how your 10 minutes of time and 9 questions answered can bring $18,000.00 for your local community over the next 10 years. It's a very simple, non intrusive process and the information collected stays private and benefits things like school funding, infrastructure, community programs and helps decide how we are represented in more than one level of government. Simply put, it's the easiest way to assure that our local communities get what we are entitled to for the things we need and want.
June 3rd is a unique day in Muskegon. Why? It's a day when your good deed can be matched by the Community Foundation of Muskegon County is presenting "Match Day" where your gift, of up to $1000 bucks will be matched for any number of amazing organizations in town that work tirelessly to help those in need, support the arts, and help our community thrive in ways that quite often go unseen.
We wanted to do our part to help shine a little light on some of these incredible organizations. Thing is, we're kinda known for that already and pretty familiar with those who do good all over town already. So while discussing the project with the Community Foundation about highlighting some of them, our only request was that they pick out who we talked to. We got the list and we so happy that we found some friends and met a few new people along the way and as we continue on, we'll work too, to show you more about them and the work they do. Well, we'll just keep doing what we do for everyone, that's kind of our thing.
Do keep in mind, there are 40 plus non profit organizations that are involved and we got a chance to talk to a handful. If time and space allowed, we'd sure try and fit them all in, but take a look at the video's below to see if something strikes your passion to help and you can find the complete list of the organization that could use a hand on the Community Foundation for Muskegon County's website! You'll find that linked in the photo to the right!
If you think about it, this is a pretty simple way to make any donation go as far as it can. Any gift, $5, $10, $20.....it's matched and creates a bigger impact. Those smaller gifts too, they add up quickly and any gift, no matter the size, that is from the heart...that's what matters to help out the things that are important to all of us. Matching that...that's some serious community team work.
For now, some short chats with some old friends and some new ones. Take a listen to some thoughts about who you can help on Match Day June 3rd with the Community Foundation of Muskegon County. It starts with a short announcement from Heidi Sytsema about how it all works.
It's been a terrific partnership with the Law Offices of Shon Cook here on the Muskegon Channel and one we've been very fortunate to have. The ability to put you together with legal professionals that can offer advice on a number of topics from family law to the criminal courts and the intricacies of them in regular times, let alone a time when the world seems to be in a bit of chaos is priceless and speaks volumes of the care that goes in to the work Shon and her staff put in to everyone they work with.
We've discussed things in weeks past like parenting time, divorce, arrest and incarceration and other legal issues. Today, Attorney Eric Stevens returns to speak on the eventual reopening of the courts and what's going to have to take place for that to happen safely. It's not going to be an easy process, just like we are seeing everywhere else. There are very specific safety guidelines that have to be met and benchmarks along the way that can effect the entire process. It's all about safety and in a setting like courts, so much has to be taken in to consideration. Things like social distancing for juries, safety of anyone entering the court house, safety of the staff, procedure and best practices that will have to adapt. It's an undertaking of a monumental proportion and it's step by step, with possible road blocks.
Eric joined Andy O to talk about some of the specifics and what's to come in the next few weeks. Jury trials right now are not even scheduled to begin until mid June which gives you an indication of the care and caution that's going in to what it takes to restart the courts as close to what we are accustomed to. Take a listen.
It's a mountain to climb for everyone. Most don't look forward to the courts very much to begin with and patience and understanding will go a long way when it comes to making sure that as the process begins, we all work together and try to be as understanding as we can for each other. One thing is for sure, having knowledgeable attorneys like Eric Stevens and Shon Cook who have been at the very leading edge of all of this change, adaptation and innovation since the beginning of the pandemic is something everyone needs. We are so thankful for their sponsorship of our work, and their willingness to share their knowledge, experience and understanding with our audience. If you need an attorney, you can access the Law Offices of Shon Cook by clicking on the photo below to visit her website.
Interactive and beneficial programs for young people. There has been a lot of rethinking, retooling, digitizing, Zooming and most of all...missing what's "normal". The one thing that's not missing is the need to provide a safe environment for kids to learn, grow, ask questions and be among peers who are sharing the same time of life they are and trying to understand what's to come as they start to transition from being kids, to teens..then young adults...then on to adulthood. There are plenty of ways we all pitch in, and yes there are lots of different avenues to take but with all that Zooming...there's a little piece of it all that's different. Not necessarily missing, but..different.
With things being a little different, and flashing back to all that rethinking and retooling, Vicki Kavanaugh wanted to take a moment to talk about something that's going on at Arbor Circle that can be very beneficial for boys. It's a program called "Total Trek Quest" (TTQ). Designed for boys in the 3rd to 5th grade, an age when middle school is rapidly approaching and some of life's biggest pressures begin to come into play, TTQ offers some pretty great life skills that if taught and understood early, can lead to a lifetime of good things for boys. Making healthy choices, building up resilience and coping skills and strengthening mental health. it's a 9 week program and there is actually a bit of a rainbow in the clouds here...since we're in all that "Zooming", a physical location for the groups...not really needed. Arbor Circle has adapted the curriculum, the meetings, the support options for parents as well as the activities for the young people all to meet our times and anyone anywhere can participate.
It all culminates in a virtual 5k for the boys to run.....wait....that sounds kind of familiar....it's a great pay off for the kids as well as a way to keep them physically active and maybe give them a first taste of that endorphin rush instead of a nicotine rush for their first experience. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't be for that. There's a $25 registration fee per child, but Arbor Circle has plenty of way to help with a scholarship if need be for your son to participate if some help is needed.
As mentioned, Vicki Kavanaugh is joining us again to talk about this pretty great program for the lads, take a listen and see if the investment of the 9 weeks is right for your boys!
Sound like something your kids would benefit from? Let's get them signed up!! Look, raising kids is hard! If you can find the "how to" book anywhere, let us know will ya? Arbor Circle is a non profit organization that helps people with those challenging things. It's a tool for you to share with your kids on the tough stuff. As we've talked before, talking about things that you may have not done so well with in the past or maybe your parents couldn't have the discussion with you about...well, ugh. It's on all of us to give today's kids a little better than we got and a program like TTQ is there to help. You can click on the image below to learn more, or get involved!! Summer is going to need some activities for kids, and TTQ might be the perfect opportunity for them to not only learn, but have some fun and stay active doing it.
We've long shared that we rely on the service we have from Comcast/Xfinity to help get our publishing's into your hands. We're customers of Comcast just like anyone else, we are mass consumers for sure with all of our web content, our radio stream, our Roku and Amazon Fire TV options and even Channel 96 which we offer both on television and on demand. We're thankful for the working relationship we have with them and we do get news from time to time that is valuable for all and we've shared it with you!
We announced last week that we're partnering with Muskegon County to help get the word out about the importance of the 2020 Census for all of us here in the county. It's as simple as answering 9 questions, it will take you no more than 10 minutes and the impact it will have on your municipality as well as our community as a whole is $18,000.00 for the services we need, the programs we love and the people who need to be taken care of. It can't be explained easier than that. Everything that comes this way from federal dollars over the next 10 years depends on this information as does how we are represented in Washington. Your role in it is 10 minutes.
The Muskegon free COVID testing weekend story, in under 1000 words.
So there is a clear thought on the COVID testing offered in Muskegon Heights this weekend, I’d like to share as briefly as I can how it all came together and why. There are plenty of differing views on the virus, and in all honesty, yours, mine or anyone else’s are not needed. This is what happened and why.
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