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My Town: Shop and help local charity during Macy's 'Shop For A Cause' Aug. 23

My Town: Shop and help local charity during Macy's 'Shop For A Cause' Aug. 23

GRANDVILLE, Mich.—The back-to-school shopping season is here, and Macy’s is giving customers a charitable reason to open up their wallets.

The department store is holding its ninth annual “Shop For A Cause” event on Saturday, Aug. 23.  Customers who purchase a $5 shopping pass at any of Mel Trotter Ministries four thrift store locations can enjoy special discounts, entertainment and http://www.meltrotter.org exclusive events at the Macy’s in Grandville.  All proceeds from the pass sale will go to Mel Trotter.

My Town: Four fun ways to prepare for heading back to school

My Town: Four fun ways to prepare for heading back to school

The start of the 2014-15 schools year is just around the corner.

As a parent, don’t let the start of a new school year catch you off guard- start preparing your students now to hit the books this fall.  While some activities, like waking up early, may be met with less enthusiasm, back-to-school preparation can be fun. 

Educators at Michigan Connections Academy have developed four fun, yet educational, activities parents and students can do together to help prepare for a successful start to the new school year— and the best part is the students won’t even realize they are learning!

Cooking with Kal: Roll out the zucchini bread

Cooking with Kal: Roll out the zucchini bread

This is the season- zucchini is growing wild and people with gardens can barely keep up with the harvest of this vegetable.

I got a large one last week from Denise, here at work, and could not use all of it right away, but I did process and freeze it for future use. I have never done that before but thought, what have I got to lose? Hopefully, when the snow is flying and I feel like baking zucchini-apple bread, I will be all set.

In the meantime, the following recipe is wonderful. I made it recently but did not have any apples in the house, so I substituted with an approximate amount of crushed pineapple. I did not have any walnuts like I usually use, so I used toasted and salted sunflower seeds. I also added a bag of dried cranberries. It's easy to make changes in recipes, especially if you have made it before. I hope people will give this recipe a try; it is good and it makes three loaves, so you will have plenty to share or freeze. Enjoy!

My Town: Downtown Grand Rapids to be bathed in color Aug. 2-3

My Town: Downtown Grand Rapids to be bathed in color Aug. 2-3

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- What's billed as the Happiest 5K on the Planet will take over downtown Grand Rapids Aug. 2 and Aug. 3, showering participants in a rainbow of colors.

This unique paint race celebrates healthiness, happiness and individuality of all ages and abilities. Participants in this untimed event are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer.  There are only two rules: wear white and finish plastered in color.

Proceeds from this year's Color Run will go to the Van Andel Institute- Purple Community and the West Michigan Sports Commission. The races will begin at 9 a.m. at the intersection of Ottawa and Ionia and end at Calder Plaza. For more details including a map route and road closures, visit  www.thecolorrun.com/grandrapids.

My Town: GVSU and DHS awarded research grant for family support program

My Town: GVSU and DHS awarded research grant for family support program

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The Michigan Department of Human Services is teaming up with Grand Valley State University to measure the success of a family support program in more than 150 Michigan schools.

A three-year, $1.05 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will go toward measuring the impact of the Pathways to Potential program in Michigan.  The program places DHS case workers in schools to make it easier for children and their families to address barriers to their safety, health, education, attendance and self-sufficiency.

“We know that many children struggle in school because of outside of school challenges affecting both students and their families,” Gov. Snyder said. “The goal of Pathways to Potential is to reduce or eliminate those challenges by conveniently connecting families to the services they need to help everyone become more successful.”

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 GR Central: Cruizin' the Calder July 26

My Town GR Central: Cruizin' the Calder July 26

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Calder Plaza comes alive Saturday, July 26 with a tribute to four-wheel classics from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This is the opportunity for the public to check out a collectible and antique car show by the Grand Rapids Street Racers, the fastest car club in West Michigan.

A cruise will follow. For more event information, visit www.grstreetracers.com.