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My Town: Governor Snyder selects West Michiganders to serve MMSA

My Town: Governor Snyder selects West Michiganders to serve MMSA

LANSING, Mich.—Two community leaders from West Michigan are joining a Michigan authority focused on forging relationships between municipalities and school districts.

On Thursday, Governor Snyder announced the appointment of Al Vanderberg  and to the Michigan Municipal Services Authority and its executive committee,  as well as the appointment of Stacie Behler as chair of the executive committee and the MMSA board.  The MMSA encourages cooperation between communities in school district, overseeing services they can share.

“Increasing collaboration between local units of government and getting the most out of citizens' tax dollars remains an important focus as we continue to reinvent government,” Snyder said. “I appreciate the willingness of both Al and Stacie to serve in these important roles in that effort.” 

My Town GR: City lighting upgrade research begins March 11

My Town GR: City lighting upgrade research begins March 11

GRAND RAPIDS— Grand Rapids is taking the first steps to potentially change lighting across the city.

Beginning Tuesday, March 11, crews will be taking inventory of the city’s utility system, which includes physically checking all 18,000 utility poles.  The work by Davey Resource Group will provide the city with geographical mapping of all the lights and power hubs.  That information will be used as the city considers new lighting options that will save money.

Anyone with questions or concerns about the work can contact the Traffic Safety Department at (616) 456-3066. 

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

Disability Advocates of Kent County hold bus stop clearing contest

Disability Advocates of Kent County hold bus stop clearing contest

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The higher temperatures and rain will likely not rid West Michigan of all of its snow, which is why the Disability Advocates of Kent County is inviting all shovelers to take part in a contest.

The organization is asking everyone to help dig out bus stops in the Grand Rapids metro area, which are buried under snow.  While many people can climb over the snow banks to get on buses, people with disabilities cannot.

People who dig out a bus stop are asked to take a before and after picture and email them to Aric Coleman at aric.c@dakc.us , along with the location of the bus stop.  The Disability Advocates of Kent County will post the pictures on its Facebook Page to recognize your efforts.  Members of the group that clears the most stops by Feb.

Jury duty, trampoline court guidelines signed into law by Governor

Jury duty, trampoline court guidelines signed into law by Governor

LANSING, Mich.—Full-time college students called to jury duty can now postpone their service until the end of the school year.

Governor Snyder signed that bill into law Tuesday.  It allows students attending higher education in Michigan to delay jury duty if they can prove it will interfere with their class schedule. A similar exemption already exists for eligible high school students.

“Serving on a jury is an important part of our civic responsibility,” Snyder said. “However, for college students, jury duty can be disruptive to their studies. This law gives them the opportunity to focus on their education while still giving them the opportunity to serve after the school year.”  

City of Grand Rapids taps community for Chief of Police search

City of Grand Rapids taps community for Chief of Police search

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The first of three community meetings to help select a new Grand Rapids police chief is this Tuesday, Feb. 18.

“Community input is critical to finding the best police chief to lead our community. Residents, businesses, local law enforcement professionals, neighborhood and community leaders, and youth will all have an opportunity to share the qualities they believe the Grand Rapids’ new police chief should possess,” said City Manager Greg Sundstrom.

The community input meetings are scheduled as follows:

Kent District Library announces Write Michigan Contest winners

Kent District Library announces Write Michigan Contest winners

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Six people from Grand Rapids and Ada are among the winners of the second annual Write Michigan Contest.

Judges reviewed nearly 900 entries from writers across the state- that’s nearly double the amount the received last year.  Nearly 500 of the submissions were to the new teen category.

All last month, the public voted for their favorites on the Write Michigan website.  The winners were announced this week.  The Judge’s Choice winners took home a $250 award; Judges’ Choice runners-up were awarded $100.  Readers’ Choice winners were also awarded $250.

This year’s winners are:

Adult Category

  • Judges’ Choice Winner: Oscar Bee, Chelsea
  • Judges’ Choice Runner-Up: Connor Newton, Waterford
  • Readers’ Choice Winner: Eric Dobson, Ypsilanti
  • Published Finalists: Anne Brandt, Benton Harbor; Robert Vander Lugt,