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Garden Tour is this week in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- A local food group is looking to inspire conversation and healthier lifestyles with a look at urban gardens. 

Our Kitchen Table is hosting its third annual Garden Tour in Grand Rapids this week.  Participants go on a walking tour of individual and neighborhood gardens. 

If you have a garden in Grand Rapids and would like to become part of the tour call (616) 719-9779.

Grand Rapids Dance Project prepares for weekend performances

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- Grand Rapids dancers are preparing for two special performances this weekend.  The Grand Rapids Dance Project is rehearsing Wednesday and Thursday for performances Friday and Saturday at the Wege Theater. 

They will include a combination of ballet, jazz and contemporary dance featuring local dancers with dance degrees, or who are professional dancers.  It is the group's first performance at the Wege Theater which offers a more accommodating venue.

Melissa Mondry-Stefson with the Grand Rapids Dance Project says, "Last August, we performed at a different theater and it went very well.  It was a little more intimate.  This theater holds 300 and the stage is quite a bit bigger, we are really looking forward to it."

Tickets for the Grand Rapids Dance Project can be purchased at the Grand Rapids Ballet box office.  They are $10 in advance or $12 at the door.

Vehicle thefts on the rise in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- There is a warning out for drivers in West Michigan; don't leave your cars unlocked.  Grand Rapids Police say auto thefts are on the rise in 2010.

On Wednesday afternoon investigators showed the news media just how easy it was to find targets at a downtown parking lot.  "The interesting thing about this car is, it's open," says Lt. Ralph Mason.

Auto thefts had been on the decline for the past 14 years.  "But, for the first six months of this year, the thefts have gone up 26.6%.  We're not exactly sure why," says Sgt. Stan Lis.

The other problem is drivers leaving valuables inside their vehicles.  Items like iPods, computers, and GPS systems are common stolen items.  "Someone will grab a rock.  Anything to break the window, get in the car and steal whatever they can. And they're gone," says Mason.

Horizen Hydroponics helps gardeners feed the less fortunate

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- A Grand Rapids gardening store is putting extra produce to good use.  Horizen Hydroponics is collecting excess fruits and vegetables from gardeners to feed the hungry here in West Michigan.

This is the second year for the donation drive.  Organizers say they've already exceed last year's donation total with more than 600 pounds of produce already collected this year.

John Ujlaky with Horizen Hydroponics says, "You know many gardeners can't eat everything that comes out of their garden, so let's donate it to Feeding America West Michigan.  It's a great opportunity for the needy people in Grand Rapids to get some fresh produce that they may not be getting otherwise."

Gardeners can drop off their produce at the store located at 1614 Leonard Street Northwest.  The food drive will cap off with a celebration on August 28th.  The most generous donor will be awarded a $500 gift certificate.

'Heartwork is Hardwork' neighborhood improvement project kicks off

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- There's a new project going on in Eastown called "Heartwork is Hardwork."

The American Red Cross and Griffin Properties have joined forces to improve the look of the neighborhood and get import information out to residents.

Volunteers are going door-to-door starting Saturday at 9:00 a.m. They will be hanging blooming flower baskets from each tree in front of homes.

"Heartwork is Hardwork" hopes to offer other ways for community members to volunteer in neighborhoods they may not necessarily be familiar with.

"To be able to really give back to the neighborhoods by providing baskets and giving out good information about the Red Cross door-to-door seemed like a great idea," said Diane Griffin of Griffin Properties.

'Heartwork is Hardwork' neighborhood improvement project kicks off

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- There's a new project going on in Eastown called "Heartwork is Hardwork."

The American Red Cross and Griffin Properties have joined forces to improve the look of the neighborhood and get import information out to residents.

Volunteers are going door-to-door starting Saturday at 9:00 a.m. They will be hanging blooming flower baskets from each tree in front of homes.

"Heartwork is Hardwork" hopes to offer other ways for community members to volunteer in neighborhoods they may not necessarily be familiar with.

"To be able to really give back to the neighborhoods by providing baskets and giving out good information about the Red Cross door-to-door seemed like a great idea," said Diane Griffin of Griffin Properties.

Recycling and Education Center dedicated in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- Kent County leaders hope a new, advanced plant will encourage more people to recycle.  City and county leaders dedicated the new Recycling and Education Center in Grand Rapids Friday.  The Wealthy Street facility is located on the same site that was once home to the Applied Arts stamping plant.

The center can handle more than double the materials than the former recycling site. Residents who use the site do not need to sort their recyclables.