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My Town: Anti-bullying concert tour arrives in West Michigan

My Town: Anti-bullying concert tour arrives in West Michigan

SPARTA, Mich.—A music tour aimed at preventing bullying among teenagers is making its rounds in West Michigan.

The Teen Nation Anti-Bullying Music Tour kicked off Monday morning at Sparta High School.  The 90-minute performances feature young Top 40 recording artists who are also speaking out against bullying.  This tour’s headliners include  former ‘X Factor’ contestant J Ryan, 14, of San Antonio, Texas; and Tristan Blaine, 14, of Frisco, Texas.  Additional guest performers include Faith Marie Shirley, 15 of San Antonio, Texas; Collin Kozola, 17, of Naperville, Illinois, Radio Disney star Celeste Kellogg, 18, of Smithville, Virginia; and Branden Mendoza, 20, of New Carney, Texas.

The school concert assembly schedule is as follows:

My Town: Seed Library now open to greenthumbs

My Town: Seed Library now open to greenthumbs

LOWELL, Mich.—Spring is here, which means the Kent District Library has officially opened its Seed Library at 13 branches.

Patrons can visit the library to “borrow” up to three packets of heirloom seeds for their garden.  People who take seed packets are asked to save seeds from the plants they grow and return them in late summer or fall for someone else to use next year.

The library is also accepting any heirloom variety seeds gardeners want to add to the library.  For more information, visit the library’s website.

Participating branches include those in Alpine Township, East Grand Rapids, Lowell, Grandville, Plainfield Township, Rockford and Wyoming.

My Town: Nominations sought for Heart of West Michigan United Way awards

My Town: Nominations sought for Heart of West Michigan United Way awards

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Heart of West Michigan United Way is seeking nominations for its inaugural GIVE, ADVOCATE and VOLUNTEER awards.

The awards are meant to celebrate nonprofits, companies and people who have made a difference in the community.  The GIVE Award goes to a company that has displayed generosity within the community, and created a culture of giving within its organization last year.

The ADVOCATE Award honors a person or nonprofit organization who leads and works with people to improve the health and wellness of the community, leaving a lasting impact on Kent County.

The VOLUNTEER Award goes to a company that promotes and provides year-round opportunities for employees to volunteer within their community, improving Kent County.

My Town: Grand Rapids-Wyoming among fastest growing places to retire

My Town: Grand Rapids-Wyoming among fastest growing places to retire

WYOMING, Mich.—The Wyoming area is among the nation’s fastest growing places to retire.

That’s according to nerdwallet.  In a report released Thursday, March 13, the financial publication highlighted the Grand Rapids-Wyoming market’s growing population of residents who are 65 or older. Nerdwallet also mentioned the Senior Neighbors centers scattered across the region, providing health and wellness resources, as well as the retirement living communities popping up ion the area, including Clark Retirement Community.

The Grand Rapids-Wyoming area ranked 10 on the list; the greater Detroit area ranked fourth on the list. The Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale metro area in Arizona took the top spot.

My Town: Credit Union backs library book funding campaign

My Town: Credit Union backs library book funding campaign

 

GRANDVILLE, Mich. – Grandville-based First United Credit Union backing the Kent District Library’s campaign to replenish its budget.

Through the Genre Derby, KDL hopes to raise $10,000 for digital and physical books. That’s just a fraction of the $300,000 that’s been slashed from the library’s budget since 2013.

“Our overall budget has been cut by over $2 million in the past three years from changes in tax valuation and personal property tax,” explained KDL Development Manager Linda Krombeen. 

Despite the cuts, KDL is using technology and restructuring to avoid laying off staff.

The Genre Derby allows patrons to direct donations to the type of books they read most. First United Credit Union is pledging to match 50 percent of all donor gifts during the Genre Derby, up to $1,500.

My Town Wyoming: Help needed to make 'Read n' Give' a success

My Town Wyoming: Help needed to make 'Read n' Give' a success

WYOMING, Mich.—The LEAGUE Michigan is looking for more schools, organizations and businesses to help encourage literacy through a statewide book drive.

“Read n’ Give” is focused on boosting literacy among youth.  Schools, organizations and businesses collect K-5 books, which are donated to students involved in literacy programs with Camp Blodgett, The Salvation Army and Schools of Hope, which includes the Grand Rapids, Godfrey-Lee and Godwin Heights school districts.   When students are finished with the books, they are encouraged to donate them back into the program the next year, to foster the continuous cycle of giving.

Bridget Knight, who works with The LEAGUE Michigan, says participants in last year’s program collected 65,000 books statewide.  More than 39,000 books of those books came from West Michigan.  Knight says the goal this year is to collect 70,000 books.

My Town Wyoming: Arcade game ordinance close to repeal

My Town Wyoming: Arcade game ordinance close to repeal

WYOMING, Mich.—The City of Wyoming is one step closer to getting rid of an old ordinance regulating arcade games.

City Clerk Heidi Isakson says the ordinance was likely created because of concerns about illegal gambling using such machines.  However, she says the way the machines are designed now, they are longer a risk to public welfare and peace.  If the repeal takes effect, arcade game owners wouldn’t need an additional license for their games, which would save them $50 to nearly $300 per year.  Additionally, non-cash prize values would be allowed to rise from $150 under the current ordinance to $500, which is the cap under state law.

Isakson says the city collects approximately $1,500 annually from the license fees.

A second reading of the repeal will take place March 17; if all goes well, the ordinance will be stripped from the city’s regulations a few weeks later.