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My Town GR South: Eastown celebrates Earth Day with plant exchange, gardening and bench building

My Town GR South: Eastown celebrates Earth Day with plant exchange, gardening and bench building

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Eastown will be buzzing when Earth Day arrives April 22.

From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the Eastown Community Association will hold an Earth Day garden cleanup and perennial exchange at its offices on 415 Ethel.  The ECA will be working with Heart of West Michigan United Way, West Michigan AmeriCorps Collaborative members and children from the GR Creative Youth Center to clean the community garden, build a new earth bench out of plastic bottles and plant new trees.  Participants in the perennial exchange are reminded to label the plants they bring.

 Residents can also sign up for a community garden plot at the office that day.  There are 16 plots available for rent on a first come, first serve basis.  Registration will take place in the ECA office.

My Town: Kent Intermediate School District gets health program grant

My Town: Kent Intermediate School District gets health program grant

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—  The Kent Intermediate School District is getting a federal boost to physical and nutritional education programs. 

 U.S. Department of Education has awarded 67 grants totaling more than $33 million to local education agencies and community-base organizations.  Only two groups in Michigan were awarded funding; KISD is getting $429,404 for programs to help K-12 students develop healthy lifestyles and meet state standards for physical education.

“A healthy, active lifestyle is an important ingredient of academic success,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “These grants are a resource to help schools and communities develop programs that teach students the importance of staying active and developing healthy lifestyles. We need more states, districts, schools and communities to recognize the critically important role of physical education in improving student engagement and achievement.”

My Town: The Hashtag Battle over the 2014 Jump Jam

My Town: The Hashtag Battle over the 2014 Jump Jam

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—  What started as a hashtag battle about the 2014 Jump Jam has turned into a friendly wager between Grand Rapids Public Schools’ superintendent and Spectrum Health’s senior vice president.

GRPS posted the hashtag battle between Theresa Weatherall Neal and Steve Heacock to YouTube last Friday.  In the video, Weatherall Neal challenges Heacock to a friendly bet on two of the Jump Jam teams, with the loser buying lunch from either the hospital or school cafeteria.  Mayor George Heartwell makes a surprise appearance at the end of the video.

My Town GR South: Meet In The Image's new Executive Director

My Town GR South: Meet In The Image's new Executive Director

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Community members are encouraged to meet the new executive director of In The Image during a spring open house event on April 22 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The In The Image Board of Directors recently appointed Bethann Egan to the post.  Egan has an extensive background in nonprofit leadership and fundraising, most recently with the Boy Scouts of America.  Prior to that role, Egan served as the engagement director at In the Image, from 2011 to 2012.

As executive director, Egan will oversee an organization that serves more than 900 families a week, providing necessities including clothing, bedding, appliances and other household goods.  In the Image also distributes new athletic shoes to at-risk children through the S.H.O.E.S. program each August.

In The Image is located at 1823 S. Division Ave. in Grand Rapids.

Free Tax Help Available

Free Tax Help Available

IRS-certified student volunteers from Davenport College are offering free tax preparation for anyone with an income of  below $52,00.00. Volunteers will prepare and e-file taxes for people on Saturday, April 12th from 10am - 1pm.

The program is free and sponsored by the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. For additional information or for an appointment, called 616-871-6147 or visit:  taxhelp@davenport.edu.

 

Art.Downtown. Returns on April 11

Art.Downtown. Returns on April 11

This one night event for the 5th year offers the community the opportunity to visit more than 30 downtown locations for a peak at the talent of over 300 local artists.<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" />

Volunteers, along with maps will be available to assist with guidance for parking locations, galleries, studios, shops & more. Visitors will also have the chance to converse with local artists.

At Arts in Motion Studio, art is the great equalizer

At Arts in Motion Studio, art is the great equalizer

By Zinta Aistars
This story originally ran in Rapid Growth

Delight Lester, 53, sits comfortably spread out in the corner of the soft couch, her long pale blonde hair draped over her shoulders. She is surrounded by crayons and pastels, colored construction paper and paint brushes.