Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Remembering Dave Rifenberg

We wanted to put up a post on the blog as a place where neighbors can share their memories of our friend, Dave Rifenberg. Dave passed away in his sleep September 30th. I'll get the ball rolling with a couple of my own brief remembrances. I met Dave at Mosaic Way. He was always quick to laugh, almost at the end of every sentence, it seemed. And his heart ached for racial reconciliation. That was obvious from our discussions on the subject. This spring, I enjoyed his wry commentary on school board meetings, which lasted into the car ride home one night when his trusty bicycle had failed him. I'll definitely miss bumping into him around the neighborhood. Go ahead and add your own memories of Dave in the comment section.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Here are a few pictures of the 5th street rehab. Can't wait to see the process unfold!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Grant, Grant, Art!

A quick note of congratulations to both B and Courtney for receiving recreation grants from the city of Muskegon.

I'm proud to announce that B will be using the grant to fund the "Lost Arts" program this summer. "Lost Arts" will take 12-15 youth on trips to different arts locations in Muskegon, Grand Rapids, and even Chicago to learn about art and learn how to harness their own creativity.

More details will be forthcoming, as well as some ways you can help (watch for the next e-newsletter). Can't wait to see what creative things these kids produce!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Untitled Poem

Something in the disjointed bricks,
the very shoulder I was building on,
was out to tell me
I had overstepped the bounds
of our discreation,
and the poisoned marrow
I was formed of.
I smelled the porch lights cooking the air;
I breathed it yesterday -
a forgetful air
lost in the tides of the city.
I couldn't balance seven on one side
against seven on the other
for all the voices that stayed
just out of reach.
You stayed sightless in the shadow
of my crumbling tower,
just out of reach
of what was lost.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Love in Action

Community enCompass's B Anthony has been nominated for this year's Love in Action award from the Urban League of Greater Muskegon. By way of celebration here on the blog, we thought we'd put some of the YEP participant's responses to a few questions about the program.

Do you feel the program was valuable to your growth as an individual?

"I feel that the program was extremely valuable for me coming straight out of jail to nothing. It gave me motivation & way more confidence, that will help me grow & become successful in anything I attempt."

What was the most valuable tool you have taken from the program?

"Dedication to coming to work and making the team finish as quick as we did."

If you could tell an incoming participant one thing to help them, what would it be?

"Listen to what the people are trying to tell you, because it's only gonna help you."

Congratulations to B on his well deserved nomination!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Saving a School

As many of you probably have heard by now, the Muskegon school board is considering a plan that would close McLaughlin Elementary. This would be a terrible loss for our neighborhood. The school, and our children, are its beating heart. Please stand with us, to save the school from being closed.

There are several important things you can do:

Charlotte and Tom have scheduled a strategy meeting on Monday, February 20th, at the Parish house at 12:30 PM. Come, if you can. The Parish house is right next to Bethany CRC, on the corner of Hartford and Terrace.

Write letters to the school board members and let them know how much the school means to us. The current board members are: Louis Churchwell, Lynnette Marks, Billie Bruce, Marian Michalski, Cindy Larson, Tasha Bibbs-Oakes, Earl O'Brien.

The School board meeting is Tuesday, February 21st, at the Hackley Administration Building at 349 W. Webster, at 7 PM. Show up and support McLaughlin Elementary.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Improving Community

Happy Valentine's Day everyone. For this week's post, an essay from B's daughter, Christine Anthony:

Christine Anthony
February 4, 2012

There are many different ways people help to improve their community, but in order to do that you have to have a positive outlook. This essay is about my positive outlook on my community and how I can help improve the community. There are three main topics I am going to discuss. The three main topics are my attitude in school, and how I treat people in my church, and in my home.

In school my attitude is based on the people I surround myself with. If I were to surround myself with negative influence I would be negative. But instead I surround myself with a positive influence. When I do that younger kids look up to me because instead of getting suspended every day for fighting they see me getting good grades and doing my work.

I learn things from my home and church family. I learn a lot about treating people like I want to be treated. Because when you are looking at someone talking about them, someone you don’t know is talking about you. Imagine if everyone was mistreating each other. This would be a world of hate. Sometimes it is hard. But when someone is mean to you, you are supposed to be nice to them and hopefully they will change their attitude. So there are many different ways people help improve their community. There are companies that get people off the streets, like Community enCompass. But everyone has their own way

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Neighbors Without Borders

Hang around the Community enCompass offices long enough and y9ou'll see some pretty amazing caring. I was there last Thursday answering phones, most for Virginia, who was juggling calls, trying to find help for a homeless woman and a concerned neighbor.

The woman had been abandoned by her friends and family after suffering a stroke and had taken to sleeping in a vacant house. Physical limitations kept her from the homeless shelter. The neighbor across the street took it upon herself to feed the woman and help make sure she was safe. But this neighbor was going to Florida soon and need to find someone to care for her.

I tagged along with Virginia as she went to check out the abandoned house so she could report the situation. We saw the stretch of floor where the woman said she slept the night before, next to a hole where something had been ripped out. The carpet was stained where feces had been cleared away. The front door had been beaten in; there wasn't a back door anymore.

What was amazing to me was that this house was in the Heights. I was amazed that this neighbor would seek out agency after agency to get help until she ended up in our neighborhood seeking us out. I was amazed to watch Virginia give up a whole day from her packed schedule to get this one woman the help she needed.

It's a privilege to watch people fight for each other, and I consider myself lucky to have been a part of the story.