Category Archives: Community News

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


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




Christine Robere, President and CEO

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


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.



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: The city’s Facebook page can be found at


— 30 —


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


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


844.822.5016 ext 210

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 

Edward Gordon, the author of “Future Jobs, Solving the Employment and Skills Crisis” Coming to Muskegon

You’re invited to a special visit from Edward Gordon, the author of “Future Jobs, Solving the Employment and Skills Crisis” on October 30th at 6:00 pm at Muskegon Community College. He will be giving a1.5-hour presentation on solving the employment and skills crisis. The public is welcome. Click here to learn more about the event.

You can read the synopsis of his book here.


When To Update Your Estate Plan

A Smith Haughey Rick & Roegge Article

By: Jay C. Kakaty & Samantha A. Pepprock, Attorneys


How does one know when to update an estate plan? How does one know when to create one in the first place? Estate planning can be a daunting topic for many people. The good news is there are many options available to benefit you and your loved ones because not everyone’s situation is the same.


Click here to read full article