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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: Volunteers needed for Kent County Parks clean-up projects

My Town: Volunteers needed for Kent County Parks clean-up projects

KENT COUNTY, Mich.-- The Kent County Parks Department is looking for volunteers to help clean up parks this spring.

The 2014 Kent County spring clean event has not been scheduled for a specific day,  because of lingering snow cover.  However, volunteers are encouraged to sign up with he Kent County Parks Department and let them know what projects they'd like to work on, when the time comes.

People interested in pitching in to improve any of the county's 34 parks should contact Volunteer Services at (616) 632-7842 or email park.volunteers@kentcountymi.gov .  Volunteers can explain what work they'd like to do, and the Parks Department will then organize the clean-up effort.  The spring clean event provides an opportunity to meet new community members and make a difference throughout Kent County.

My Town Wyoming: Before it rains, clear your drains

My Town Wyoming: Before it rains, clear your drains

WYOMING, Mich.--    The City of Wyoming is asking for residents to help clear street drains and catch basins as rain moves into West Michigan. 

The drains need to be clear of ice and other materials so rainwater and melting snow can flow into them.  Blocked drains could lead to significant street flooding.

Catch basins are located along curb lines, most often near corners and low points on the street.  For more information, contact the city at (616) 530-7272.

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.

Childhood Center's greenhouse to raise green for charity

Childhood Center's greenhouse to raise green for charity

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.

Alcohol distributor rolls out greener fleet

Alcohol distributor rolls out greener fleet

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A beverage distributor’s delivery fleet is getting a little greener.

Great Lakes Wines and Spirits began using its first compressed natural gas trucks in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor this week.  The two vehicles are 20-feet long and refrigerated.  Fuel for each vehicle is approximately $2.40 per gallon, about $1.40 per gallon less than diesel.  Great Lakes Wines and Spirits says the switch will also cut the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by 14 tons a year.

“These two trucks are a critical step in our effort to increase our efficiency and rein in costs at a time when all businesses are working hard to conserve energy. These trucks can help our company and Michigan pave the way to a stronger future for our economy and for the next generation,” said Syd Ross, co-owner of GLWAS.

New bike path to cut through Grand Rapids

New bike path to cut through Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A new bike path will soon take shape in Grand Rapids.

The city is getting a $618,514 grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation to create the Seward Avenue Bikeway.  The 3.5 mile bike route will cut through the heart of Grand Rapids and connect nearly 190 miles of regional trails, including the White Pine Trail, Oxford Street Trail and Kent Trails. The path will run along Seward Avenue from Wealthy Street to the Riverside Park trailhead and include a bike shelter, bike lockers, bike signs and signals and an upgraded pedestrian bridge over Indian Mill Creek at Broadway Avenue.

The project is expected to cost just over $1 million.  Additional funding will come from the City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Bikes Belong and Freewheeler Bike Shop.  The city commission will recognize all financial supporters during its meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.