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OPINION: Michigan, Our Great State

OPINION: Michigan, Our Great State

Michigan, our great state. Whether we realize it or not, we really do have a great state.

Granted, we had an unusual winter this past year but then again, have you ever seen the grass and trees so green before? Even people returning from Florida this year have commented about everything being so green!

Despite all of the good things, I still hear people complain about it either being too cool, too cloudy, too hot, etc. To those people I say, maybe it’s time for you to move to a perfect climate, wherever that may be.

I love Michigan and all it has to offer. We have the Great Lakes, a treasure on their own. I used to have an older friend, Bill Hickey, who had apple orchards.

He told me, “You will never, ever find an apple as snappy when you bite into it as a Michigan apple in the fall, because of the Great Lakes.” 

My Town: Our Kitchen Table improves lives through the power of plants

My Town: Our Kitchen Table improves lives through the power of plants

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— A leafy green initiative to improve the lives of Grand Rapids families is leading to a plant free-for-all this weekend.

On Saturday, July 26, Our Kitchen Table will be giving away a variety of vegetable plants to those who rely on the United Church Outreach Ministry and the Asian West Michigan Association for support.  Kale, collars, broccoli, cauliflower, Bok Choy, chard, lettuce, cabbage and Brussel sprouts will all be available on a first come, first serve basis. The plant pick-up will take place at Gerald R. Ford Academic Center, 851 Madison Ave. SE from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

My Town: Consumers Energy backs solar projects for local businesses

My Town: Consumers Energy backs solar projects for local businesses

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—What does a Kalamazoo area school, Ottawa County hops producer and the West Michigan Sports Commission have in common?

All three are teaming up with Consumers Energy to produce solar power.

Consumers has selected 22 projects to back, including  five non-residential programs at Paragon Die & Engineering in Kentwood, Monsignor Hackett High School in Kalamazoo Township, Pure Mitten Hops in Ottawa County, the West Michigan Sports Commission in Grand Rapids and Bonobo Winery in Grand Traverse County.

In addition, Consumers is backing 17 solar projects for residential customers, including those in Kent and Ottawa counties.  The customers were chosen as part of Consumers’ Experimental Advanced Renewable Program.   Consumers will soon be accepting applications for the next phase of EARP.  The deadly to apply is 5 p.m. Aug. 6.

My Town: Volunteers needed for Park Spring Spruce-Up May 31

My Town: Volunteers needed for Park Spring Spruce-Up May 31

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Volunteers throughout Grand Rapids will be rolling up their sleeves this weekend for the Spring Spruce-Up event organized by the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.

Everyone is invited to help pick up trash, debris and brush at the parks as well as installing new Parks Alive amenities and recognition plates.  The volunteer work will take place Saturday, May 31 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

To register to help, click on the park you’d like to work in:

My Town: Kent Innovation High students focus on revitalizing Grand River

My Town: Kent Innovation High students focus on revitalizing Grand River

GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich.--  What does the Grand River need?

That’s the question students of Kent Innovation High are trying to answer, with the community’s help.  Inspired by Grand Rapids Whitewater, a group of sophomores have been surveying Grand Rapids residents downtown and on social media to find out what they would like to see in waterfront’s future.  They are taking that information to make a 25 foot long replica of the river and its banks, complete with ideas to revitalize the space.

 The replica will be on display during the Grand River Innovation Showcase Friday, May 30, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the school, located at 1655 East Beltline Ave. NE.  For more information, click here.

My Town: Student Great Lakes protection projects on display May 14

My Town: Student Great Lakes protection projects on display May 14

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—  High School students from six area districts will showcase their efforts to protect the Grand River watershed and the Great Lakes during the Groundswell Student Showcase May 14.

Grand Valley State University is showcasing the exhibit, which provides hands-on environmental learning for students throughout Kent County.  The projects will be on display on the big screen and in the Beacon Lobby at Celebration Cinema North in Grand Rapids.

My Town: Transforming 2,000 water bottles into a beneficial greenhouse

My Town:  Transforming 2,000 water bottles into a beneficial greenhouse

WYOMING, Mich.—A new greenhouse made out of 2,000 water bottles now sits outside Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center.

Students, along with teacher Char Walsh and school staff teamed up with Goodwill AmeriCorps members to build the eco-friendly greenhouse last Friday, using water bottles collected by the Heart of West Michigan United Way and Grand Rapids Community College.  Many of the additional building materials were donated by a local lumber company.

Students, teachers and the female clients of Dégagé Ministries will grow and harvest vegetables in the greenhouse to make salsa, which will then be sold, with all proceeds going to  Dégagé.