Category Archives: Community News

Sip and See! Party with ThrivePOP at our Ribbon Cutting Event

MUSKEGON, MI- You are invited to ThrivePOP’s  open house. Come meet Muskegon’s most creative web, marketing, and design agency, located in the heart of downtown. The  open house will be on Thursday, November 8th from 4:30 pm. – 6:00 p.m. at 333 W. Western Avenue, Suite 207.

 

Catering will be provided by Boars Belly. Each attendee will receive 2 free drink tickets. Appetizers will be provided for open house guests. Get the opportunity to play a Virtual Reality game in the ThrivePOP office, as well as view agency work and current projects. Plus, meet our neighbors! Check out Edward Jones office, visit Rootdown for some tasty smoothie samples, and tour Winberg Construction’s available office spaces.

 

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony begins at 5:00 p.m with the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. Dawn Johnson, Vice President Of Chamber Membership, stated, “The Muskegon Lakeshore is so excited to be growing with so many new and existing businesses. This event is a great opportunity for several of them to celebrate and to showcase the building they share and showcase their products and services.”

 

Special offers will also be provided at the ThrivePOP open house including first months POPsite Marketing package completely free of charge, just for attending.

 

“I am really excited to showcase our team, quality of work, and introduce ourselves to the business community.” Says ThrivePOP owner Michele Ringelberg. “We have a fun, yet professional environment and I am ready to grow the Muskegon area with our unique creativity and marketing tactics.”

 

Save the date for Thursday, November 8th at 4:30pm for the funnest open house you will ever attend. ThrivePOP is Muskegon’s marketing agency that helps: Create. Business. Results.

 

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Pound Buddies

Call to Action

After 20 years of service to the County, Pound Buddies may be asked to step aside. Pound Buddies began in 1998, after founder, Connie Karry, learned about the desperate need for better care and treatment for the animals that were being housed at the local animal shelter. Karry stated “no one would have ever thought it at the time, but that one decision (to get involved) would saves the lives of thousands of animals!”

 

Since 1998, Pound Buddies has evolved from a small group of volunteers, to hundreds of volunteers, and thousands of supporters throughout Muskegon County. “Pets add to our quality of life,” stated Lana Carson, Executive Director of Pound Buddies. She went on to state, “we are a community of pet lovers and people who care about shelter animals as much as their own pets. There is a natural love for these animals because most have been through so much, they deserve a second chance.”

 

In 2010, for the first time, Muskegon County placed animal shelter operations up for bid, as a cost saving measure. Karry stated, “we feared what this would possibly mean for the care of the animals, as well as the progress that we had made over the years.” Pound Buddies decided to submit a bid to operate the Shelter and was awarded a five-year contract in the amount of $88k per year. Prior to Pound Buddies, the county’s budget to operate the Shelter exceeded $500k per year. During their five-year contract, Pound Buddies saved the County over $2m.

 

In 2015, animal shelter services once again went up for bid. Karry stated “this time, we had a far greater understanding of the financial requirements needed to operate a shelter of this volume.” Pound Buddies was awarded another service contract for three years, with incremental increases starting at $140k in 2016, $190k in 2017, and $235k in 2018. Pound Buddies continued through the threeyear contract to improve shelter services, adoption rates, community outreach and innovative programming enhancing the human/animal bond. During this three-year contract, Pound Buddies saved the County over $935k.

 

Other animal shelters from around the state, with comparable dog intake numbers, range from $755k – $2.3m per year. Pound Buddies also takes in cats but Muskegon County does not provide any funding for the care of cats.

 

Board of Directors

Lynn Jazdzyk, Chair Territory Manager, Nobel Biocare

Cathy Brubaker-Clarke, Vice Chair Business Development Specialist, Muskegon Area First

Connie Karry, Treasurer Retired – Controller, Cameron Dyna-Torque

Amy Rollston, Secretary Director of Human Resources, Kent County

Jake Eckhohlm City Manager, Muskegon Heights

John Karafa Attorney, Williams Hughes PLLC

Tony Laskowicz Owner, 1st Assured Bail Bonds

Lana Carson Executive Director

“The greatness of a society and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals.” —Mahatma Gandhi

 

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In the final year of the contract, a “State of the Shelter” report was presented to Muskegon County Commissioners by Pound Buddies to address the on-going concerns about the poor condition and disrepair of the building. “When it rains or the snow melts, animals and the people working in the animal housing areas are getting wet. Water comes right through the roof” stated Carson. The building is owned by the Township and is leased to the County. According to a Township inspection report, the roof must be repaired with additional significant repairs needed throughout the building. Carson also went on to describe the extreme heat and cold conditions that the animals are subjected to, due to inadequate HVAC systems, and regular floor and kennel drain back-ups, which dumps into the dog kennels.

 

“The State of the Shelter presentation was an attempt to propose a possible solution to the building problems and budget constraints,” Carson stated. She went on to state, “we were not asking for more money, rather, we were asking Commissioners to entertain the idea of a long-term contract. This would allow our organization to implement a capital campaign to fund a new building, or the renovation of an existing building, through donations.”

 

Karry stated, “What should have been a normal bidding process this year, turned into a call for concern that was validated last week by a County Commissioner’s public post.” The post Karry referred to stated, “the tide was to get rid of them at the end of their contract because of all the complaints.”

 

The new bid from the County dictates how long a dog can be held at the Shelter (4-7 days) and does not provide for dogs brought in by good Samaritans which totaled 49% of the total intake in 2017. Karry stated “the majority of costs for each dog are incurred in the first few days due to immunizations, injuries, medical care, flea infestation, etc. The cost for the remainder of their stay is minimal.”

 

Regarding the possible change in Shelter operations, Karry stated “our major concern is that humane and proper care continue to be provided for the homeless, unwanted and lost animals in our community.” She went on to say that Pound Buddies would be happy to step aside if another organization could provide the same level of care and services that are currently being provided. Some of the current services provided by Pound Buddies 7 days per week, 365 days per year, with operating hours of 8am – 8pm include:

– Daily animal care

– 911 emergency calls

– Medical care

– Training

– Outdoor exercise 4 times per day

– Grooming

– Socialization & temperament testing programs

– Adoptions

– Spay & neuter programs (through grants)

– Abuse and neglect cases

– Hoarding cases

– Dog fighting

– Animal control (pick up of stray and injured animals)

 

 

Contacts: Connie Karry – Founder, 231-767-0921

Lynn Jazdzyk – Chair, 616-551-8157

Muskegon County Calendar of Events Oct. 29-Nov 4, 2018

Click here to view upcoming events.

 

United Way of the Lakeshore: Supporting Purple Thursday throughout the year.

Muskegon, MI, October 24, 2018. This Thursday, October 25, make a fashion statement that really says something by wearing something purple to honor victims and support survivors of domestic violence during the 7th annual Purple Thursday. Taking place during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the goal of the day is to raise awareness about domestic, spousal, and teen dating violence.

 

Women are the primary victims of domestic violence, but both men and women can be victims. Nationwide, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have suffered physical abuse in a relationship. The hope is that through the awareness of wearing purple, a color that has long been used by women seeking justice, conversations can be started about domestic violence, with the goal of lessening it and building healthy relationships.

 

“United Way of the Lakeshore staff will join in wearing purple on Thursday. We also help support programs that address domestic violence, through the donations we receive during our annual fundraising campaign,” said Christine Robere, President/CEO of United Way of the Lakeshore.

 

Local agencies that address the issue of domestic violence include Every Woman’s Place and C.O.V.E, which provide a Safe Shelter program for those who need to get out of a dangerous situation; Mercy Health’s Behavioral Services, with treatment programs for domestic violence offenders, so they can break the pattern of abuse; and Legal Aid’s Domestic Violence Intervention program, giving victims the advice they need when seeking justice and solutions.
The stories they share tell us how important these programs are to those in our community who need them (names have been changed.)

 

Finding A Safe Home
Every Woman’s Place Safe Shelter Program provided emergency safe shelter to a mother “Angela”, and her adult daughter, “Arianna”, both victims of domestic violence. Angela reported that she experienced extreme physical violence throughout her 25 year relationship with her husband. Even after she divorced him, he continued to threaten and harm her on a regular basis, including setting fire to her home. Following the fire, Angela moved in with her daughter, however her assailant found her and assaulted her in front of her daughter’s home. Angela contacted the crisis line at Every Woman’s Place to seek safe shelter and was provided safe shelter immediately. She worked with law enforcement and prosecutors, and her assailant was charged and convicted of the crimes he committed against her.

 

Angela’s adult daughter, Arianna, was also in a domestic violence relationship. She had been with her assailant, who was the father of her two young children, for 2 years. Arianna was also seeking safe shelter and was provided emergency shelter. Angela, Arianna and Arianna’s two young children remained in safe shelter for approximately 2 months. During that time, they were referred to local agencies to assist with housing. Arianna was also referred to another local agency to assist with postpartum depression. While residing in the shelter Angela and Arianna decided they wanted to find housing together so that Angela could assist Arianna with her children, and so that they could provide emotional support to each other. They were both able to stay in shelter until they secured safe, affordable housing.

 

Recognizing Responsibility

When he started treatment with Mercy Health Behavioral Health Services, John had been involved in two romantic relationships that ended due to domestic violence. He began treatment blaming his victims for making him react the way he did, with physical violence in the first relationship and verbal violence in the second. John entered treatment thinking that verbal violence was not really an issue since he had not physically assaulted his partner.
As John continued in treatment, he was able to identify how he had just changed his tactics of domination and control to using words instead of his hands. John learned through his treatment that he was responsible for his reactions and actions in spite of how the other party chose to behave. He was able to identify the negative impact and harm that he caused by his behavior choices, and what his responsibility is in developing healthy relationships and positive communication styles in a relationship.

 

Providing Counsel to Victims

Legal Aid provides assistance to domestic violence victims for civil court issues, such as divorce and custody/visitation. In a recent case, they were able to help a domestic violence victim who had moved to Michigan to escape an abusive relationship. It was a challenging case, because the opposing party was out of state. Legal Aid was able to review the case documents and pleadings and provide advice for an upcoming phone hearing, helping her prepare a response pleading and navigate the filing process, and getting the court to set up a video call. The client was very overwhelmed and distraught by the situation, which involved her partner taking their child after not being involved in the child’s life for three years. The case ended with the out of state court ordering the child returned and granting a divorce.

 

Through community support and agency collaboration, Domestic Violence victims have a voice and support, can find safe shelter and new lives. Domestic Violence perpetrators can realize how their behavior affects others and learn about developing healthy relationships by changing their patterns.
To learn more about these programs and others that receive funding from United Way of the Lakeshore to help inspire change and build thriving communities, visit https://www.unitedwaylakeshore.org/partners.

 

United Way of the Lakeshore is uniting to inspire change and build thriving communities. Our Bold Goal – 10,000 more working families meet their basic needs by 2025. For more information, contact United Way of the Lakeshore at 231-7223134 or visit www.unitedwaylakeshore.org.

 

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Christine Robere, President and CEO

T: 231-332-4001 / Cell: 231-740-7414

E: christine@unitedwaylakeshore.org

Todd Jacobs Named President/CEO of Community Foundation for Muskegon County

Muskegon, MI – The Board of Trustees of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County (CFMC) announces the appointment of philanthropy executive Todd Jacobs as president/CEO. He will succeed Chris McGuigan, who has led the Foundation since 1999.

 

Jacobs, a Muskegon native, has served West Michigan communities throughout his 28-year career. He joins CFMC after serving as vice president and chief philanthropy officer for the Fremont Area Community Foundation.

 

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am extremely pleased to welcome Todd Jacobs to the Foundation,” said Asaline Scott, Foundation Board chair. “We look forward to Todd’s expertise and dynamic leadership as he guides the Foundation toward fulfilling our mission, vision, and goals for the greater good of our community.”

 

“It is an honor to succeed Chris McGuigan and to join the community foundation team,” said Jacobs. “As a former scholarship recipient of the community foundation, this is an opportunity to give back to our Muskegon community. I look forward to working with the board and in the community to further catalyze Muskegon County’s growth and build opportunity for all.”

 

Jacobs has a named fund at the Community Foundation for Muskegon County and is a member of its Ambassador Society.  He brings extensive development and strategic leadership experience to Muskegon. In his role at the Fremont Area Community Foundation, which serves Newaygo County, MI, Jacobs expanded outreach, developed new giving opportunities, and launched key initiatives including Kickstart to Career, a children’s savings program; and the Newaygo County Business Resource Network. He previously served as vice president of community investment for the Fremont Area Community Foundation. Prior to that, Jacobs was director of planned giving for Ferris State University, executive director of the Holland Hospital Foundation, and development officer at Hackley Hospital in Muskegon.

 

Jacobs will assume his responsibilities as president/CEO of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County on January 2, 2019.

 

DOWNTOWN MUSKEGON CONVENTION CENTER PLANS ANNOUNCED

MUSKEGON, MI – A public/private partnership designed to create a new convention center in downtown Muskegon will connect a 201-room full-service hotel, a new 45,000 net square foot convention center, and the city’s LC Walker Arena to become a modern convention and exposition campus.

 

The public/private partnership between the County of Muskegon, City of Muskegon, and Parkland Properties of Michigan, calls for a $17 million convention center connected to a renovated and rebranded hotel – at a cost of $6 million – and the L.C. Walker Arena, which has just completed a $1.7 million renovation to modernize the 1960s-era arena, with an additional $1.5 million investment in roofing and HVAC improvements planned for the facility. Total estimated investment in the convention/exposition campus is estimated to exceed $26 million.

 

“The LC Walker Arena is an important part of the fabric of our community,” said Muskegon City Manager Frank Peterson. “People young and old have great memories of watching hockey and attending concerts at the LC. We feel the addition of the convention center will only enhance our growing downtown and provide new opportunities to host larger meetings, conventions, exhibits, etc. This is a great opportunity to breathe new life into the arena, and ensure that future generations can make similar memories in that    building as well as create new memories in our new convention center.”

 

“The public/private partnership is a long term relationship that allows Muskegon County to achieve goals that otherwise would be unachievable due to PA59 limitations” said Muskegon County Administrator Mark Eisenbarth. “This partnership will give Muskegon County a boost to businesses development, increase competitiveness in the convention marketplace, and increase business tourism in Muskegon County. It adds to the year-round aspects of tourism in Muskegon County, and will help us draw new meetings, conventions and events to the County.”

 

Progressive AE of Grand Rapids was chosen as the architecture and engineering firm for the project, and has been working with the County of Muskegon, the City of Muskegon, and Parkland Properties on initial siting and concept design for the convention center, and the project is now in the Design Development phase.

 

The convention center portion of the project will be funded with county accommodations taxes and assessments collected from hotels located within the City of Muskegon and will result in a 45,000 net square foot convention center connected to the 201-room Holiday Inn Muskegon Harbor, owned by Parkland Properties and currently undergoing a $6 million renovation and rebranding to become a Delta by Marriott.

 

“We are very excited about so many new developments in Muskegon, but especially the convention center,” said Jon Rooks, President of Parkland Properties. “A convention center is the next logical step for our community and we believe this new convention center, combined with the remodeled arena and fully remodeled hotel with a covered parking gar age, is only going to accelerate Muskegon’s already fast pace growth, all year-round.”

 

The new convention center will be sited on 4th Street between Western Avenue and Shoreline Drive (BUS US-31), and the city’s LC Walker Arena and hotel. It will have entrances at Shoreline Drive, Western Avenue, and 3rd Street, with additional access through the hotel and arena. The City of Muskegon will vacate 4th Street for the convention center development.

 

Some 20,000 sq. ft. of divisible clear-span space and an expansive pre-function area overlooking Muskegon Lake will be supported with over 10,000 sq. ft. of breakout and banquet facilities at the hotel and in the lower level of the convention center building. The design of the building takes its cues from the city’s industrial past and expansive waterfront, and will capitalize on its location in the heart of the city.

 

“Community leaders first started talking about the possibility of a convention center in the late 1980s. In 2002, a feasibility study was undertaken to determine if a facility was warranted,” said Bob Lukens, Director of Visit Muskegon, the countywide convention and visitors bureau. “We revisited that study in 2014, and the new study revealed that a convention center would be beneficial for the community. We were losing a lot of business due to space limitations.”

 

The convention and exposition campus comes at a time when Muskegon and Muskegon County is experiencing explosive residential, business, and tourism growth. Over $500 million in development projects are underway in Muskegon, and the city continues to see a new influx of downtown residents and the new businesses needed to serve them.

 

The LC Walker Arena has undergone over $1.7 million in renovations and modernization, making the facility much more adaptable to a variety of events, from hockey games to concerts to expositions. A new restaurant has opened in the arena and another is planned.

 

“With the growth underway now in Muskegon, the decision was made to move forward and it couldn’t have come at a better time,” Lukens said. “We’re excited to bring new visitors from across the state and throughout the country to Muskegon and Muskegon County for their conventions, meetings, and events.”

 

The City of Muskegon will host a free event, open to the public, to give community residents a closer look at the newly renovated arena and a preview of the convention center plans on Tuesday, October 30 at 5:30 p.m. at the LC Walker Arena, 470 W. Western Avenue (4th and Western). For additional information on the event, contact the City of Muskegon at 231-724-6705 or go to: www.shorelinecity.com. The city’s Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/CityofMuskegon.

 

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CONTACT:
Mark Eisenbarth, County of Muskegon 231-286-3190
Frank Peterson, City of Muskegon 231-788-8086
Jon Rooks, Parkland Properties 616-450-4600

 

 

Ride With Pride

Fruitport , MI:  RIDE WITH PRIDE is a collaborative effort between Fruitport High School, Fruitport Township Police, Muskegon Alcohol Liability Initiative and Johnson Auto Sales. Students at Fruitport High School have the chance to win a new car at the culmination of this school year. In addition to the opportunity to win a 2009 Pontiac G5 GT provided by Johnson Auto Sales, all FHS students regardless of their age will be eligible to win other prizes that will be announced and displayed as they are collected.

 

The RIDE WITH PRIDE pledge encourages students to practice safe driving habits, abstain from drugs and alcohol, follow the school positive behavior matrix, maintain good attendance and have no negative school or police contacts of any type. To participate students must have signed the Ride with Pride Safe Driving and Positive Behavior Pledge at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. Five students will be randomly drawn as finalists at the end of the year to win the car. The five finalists will draw a key in front of their peers for a chance to win the car. Students in the five that do not win the car will be eligible along with other students for prizes that will be collected throughout the school year by school staff and a parent group.

 

If you are interested in more information about Ride with Pride, donating items or serving on a parent committee to assist in collecting prizes or organizing our end of year celebration please contact Mr. Rogers, Assistant Principal at Fruitport High School.

 

Maribeth Clarke

Administrative Assistant

Fruitport Community Schools

231 865-4002

 

Rob Rogers

Fruitport High School

Phone 231-865-4033

Fax 231-865-6351

rrogers@fruitportschools.net

 

Muskegon County Calendar of Events Oct. 22-28, 2018

Click here to view upcoming events.

 

Sip and See! Party with ThrivePOP at our Ribbon Cutting Event

MUSKEGON, MI- You are invited to ThrivePOP’s open house. Come meet Muskegon’s most creative web, marketing, and design agency, located in the heart of downtown. The open house will be on Thursday, November 8th from 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at 333 W. Western Avenue, Suite 207.

 

Catering will be provided by Boars Belly. Each attendee will receive 2 free drink tickets. Appetizers will be provided for open house guests. Get the opportunity to play a Virtual Reality game in the ThrivePOP office, as well as view agency work and current projects. Plus, meet our neighbors! Check out Edward Jones office, visit Rootdown for some tasty smoothie samples, and tour Winberg Construction’s available office spaces.

 

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony begins at 5:00 p.m. with the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. Dawn Johnson, Vice President Of Chamber Membership, stated, “The Muskegon Lakeshore is so excited to be growing with so many new and existing businesses. This event is a great opportunity for several of them to celebrate and to showcase the building they share and showcase their products and services.”

 

Special offers will also be provided at the ThrivePOP open house including first months POPsite Marketing package completely free of charge, just for attending.

 

“I am really excited to showcase our team, quality of work, and introduce ourselves to the business community.” Says ThrivePOP owner Michele Ringelberg. “We have a fun, yet professional environment and I am ready to grow the Muskegon area with our unique creativity and marketing tactics.”

 

Save the date for Thursday, November 8th at 4:30 p.m. for the funnest open house you will ever attend. ThrivePOP is Muskegon’s marketing agency that helps: Create. Business. Results.

 

Michele Ringelberg

ThrivePOP

844.822.5016 ext 210

michele@thrivepop.com

National Estate Planning Awareness Week

A Smith Haughey Rick & Roegge Article

By: Samantha A. Pepprock, Attorney

 

In 2008 Congress passed a resolution to declare the third week in October for Estate Planning Awareness. The goal is to spread information to the public about the importance and the impact of having an estate plan and the consequences of not having one.

 

Click here to view full article 

Get Involved

Volunteer at the Lakeshore Art Festival! The festival features a unique blend of fine art, craft, music, food, and fun in beautiful Downtown Muskegon, Michigan.

 

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Join Watch Muskegon! The Lakeshore has more to offer than ever before, and you can join the conversation!

 

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