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My Town: City appoints Grand River restoration committee

My Town: City appoints Grand River restoration committee

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The City of Grand Rapids has taken the next step in restoring the Grand River, from Lamoreaux to Millennium Park.

Collabarating with Grand Rapids Whitewater, the city this week appointed 22 people to serve on a newly formed Grand River Restoration Steering Committee.  The panel of local leaders will guide efforts in restoring the Grand River and its riverbank, make sure river studies and projects are effectively communicated, garner support for restoring the river, encourage fundraising and explore potential long-term management options for the river.  The steering committee will advise the city commission on any projects tied to the Grand River.   However, final decisions will be made by commissioners.

The steering committee is composed of:

My Town: Dozens competing in West Michigan Battle of the Buildings

My Town: Dozens competing in West Michigan Battle of the Buildings

UPDATE: Three more buildings have joined the competition.

Organizers say the MATS administration office, Community Mental Health and the Hall of Justice, all in Muskegon County are now involved in the Battle of the Buildings, bringing the total square footage to more than 9 million.  The new goal is 10 million square feet by the registration deadline of March 31.

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—More than three dozen local businesses are competing in cutting down energy in the West Michigan Battle of the Buildings.

The owners of 45 buildings representing nearly 9 million square feet of space have signed up to take part in the inaugural competition, organized by the U.S. Green Building Council West Michigan Chapter. The organization is teaming up with Consumers Energy and Hurst Mechanical to provide workshops on building improvements, optimizing operations and maintance and engaging building occupants to curb energy use.

My Town Grand Haven: Grand Haven Township eyes Diocese land

GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP, Mich.— The 417-acre Hofma Park and Preserve may soon grow by another 40 acres.

Within the next two weeks, Grand Haven Township officials plan to file for a state grant to help pay for purchasing 40 acres of land adjacent to Hofma Park and Preserve.  The land is approximately 52 percent forested wetland and 48 percent upland field with Christmas trees.  The land is currently owned by the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids.

Township Superintendent Bill Cargo says the land acquisition is expected to cost approximately $368,000.  Approximately 75 percent of that cost would be covered by the grant; the other 25 percent would come out of the township’s general fund.

The grant decision is expected to be finalized by November or December 2014.   If approved, Cargo is hopeful the grant would be funded in January 2015.

Cargo says the land would be kept in its natural state.

My Town: Boxed water company riding sales wave to New York

My Town: Boxed water company riding sales wave to New York

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Less than a year after opening a new facility in Holland, a Grand Rapids-based boxed water company is looking to New York to expand its brand nationally.

Boxed Water recently hired Matt Merson to serve as its vice president of sales.  Merson  previously worked with Zico Coconut Water,  SmartWater and Coca-Cola Enterprises.  Merson will represent the company in New York.

“Boxed Water has seen incredible growth in many ways because it knows what it is, what the brand stands for. It has the potential to be a leading, mission-focused brand, and I am eager to help build our national distribution network,” said Merson. “

Merson says Boxed Water also feeds into the focus on better health and wellness, as well as more environmentally friendly living.  The Boxed Water container is made of trees that come from certified, well-managed forests that are constantly replanted to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

My Town Grand Rapids South: Donations sought to build community earthbench

My Town Grand Rapids South: Donations sought to build community earthbench

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--  The Heart of West Michigan United Way is looking for donations to help volunteers build an earthbench for the community.

An earthbench is created by stuffing inorganic landfill trash into bottles until they become compressed like bricks.  Builders then use a mixture of clay, sand, straw and water to naturally cement the “bottle bricks” together into a bench form.  Regular cement and mortar can also be used.

In celebration of Global Youth Service Day and Earth Day, HWMUW is teaming up with local youth and volunteers from Eastown Community Association and the West Michigan AmeriCorps Collaborative to build an earthbench in the ECA’s community garden.  The project will also include improving the garden, planting flowers and picking up trash and debris.  Staff from Cherry Street Health Services will also come out to teach the youth about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

But before an earthbench can be built, v

Introduction to Astronomy Feb. 15

Introduction to Astronomy Feb. 15

KENTWOOD, Mich.-- The public is invited to the annual "Introduction to Astronomy – Sorting it Out", taking place on Feb. 15 at Schuler Books at 2660 28th St. SE.

At 1:00 p.m., Jim Foersh and Bill Grinstead will give participants information on recommended telescopes, guide books, star charts and outline resources, along with stargazing tips.  A "Telescope Tune-Up Clinic" will run from  2:15 p.m.  to 3 p.m. At this clinic, experienced amateur astronomers will be on hand to provide proper telescope use advice, along with personal telescope adjustments.   

The presentation is in connection to the Grand Rapids  Amateur Astronomical Association, based in Lowell, and the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

For more information, call (616) 897-7065 or visit http://www.graaa.org/.

UPDATE: Childhood Center's greenhouse to raise green for charity

UPDATE: Childhood Center's greenhouse to raise green for charity

UPDATE: The Heart of West Michigan United way says an employee of West Michigan Lumber saw this story and now the company is donating many materials for the build.

WYOMING, Mich.--  Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center is looking for building materials to help transform 2,000 water bottles into a greenhouse.

The greenhouse is the brain child of teacher Char Walsh, who teamed up with other staff and LEAGUE MI member Bridget Knight to come up with a creative solution to help Degage Ministries.  The group plans to help students build a water bottle greenhouse, where they will grow vegetables used to make salsa.  That salsa will then be sold at the school, with all proceeds going to support Degage Ministries.