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My Town: Consumers Energy Foundation awards nearly $31K to volunteer groups

My Town: Consumers Energy Foundation awards nearly $31K to volunteer groups

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Dozens of organizations are getting a financial boost from the Consumers Energy Foundation.

The organization recently awarded 64 grants totaling $30,900 to nonprofits across the state.  The Volunteer Investment Program grants are aimed at encouraging volunteering within Consumers Energy by rewarding those who work or have worked for the company.  This year’s recipients include:

Kalamazoo

  • $650 to Girl Scout Junior Troop 80462 (Jim Cottrell)
  • $450 to Mattawan Consolidated Schools Battle of the Books (Hillary Hogarth)
  • $550 to United States Bowling Congress Kalamazoo Area Youth Association/Airway Lanes (Susan Searles)

Kent

My Town EGR: West Catholic students to earn credits from Aquinas College

My Town EGR: West Catholic students to earn credits from Aquinas College

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Students of West Catholic High School will have a new opportunity to earn college credits beginning this fall.

The school is teaming up with Aquinas College to create a dual enrollment pilot program.  Eligible juniors and seniors will have a chance to take Principles of Accounting in the fall and Principles of Management in the spring.  The college courses will have the same rigor and expectations as those taught on Aquinas’ campus, but will be taught at the high school by Aquinas faculty.  West Catholic students will not need to pay additional tuition for the classes, but will be required to purchase their own books.

My Town GR: Downtown Market bakery moves into its own storefront

My Town GR: Downtown Market bakery moves into its own storefront

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A bakery that got its start in the Downtown Market now has its own storefront.

The owners of Scrumptious Cupcakes and Sweetery served up their first cupcake from their new shop on June 24. The store at 602 Lake Michigan Drive NW features a rotating selection of cupcakes as well as ice cream. 

Scrumptious Cupcakes and Sweetery will also continue to sell cupcakes at the Downtown Market’s incubator kitchen, located at 434 Ionia Ave. SW.  For more vendor information, visit  the Downtown Market’s website here.

My Town: Job outlook for the area largely positive

My Town: Job outlook for the area largely positive

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Despite the harsh winter, businesses in West Michigan added 9,500 jobs during the first quarter of 2014.

That’s according to a newly released report by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. Analysts found employment in West Michigan’s six metropolitan areas jumped 1.1 percent.    The biggest increases were reported in manufacturing and private service sectors.   

In the Grand Rapids-Wyoming area, employers added 7,200 jobs in the first quarter, driving down the area’s unemployment rate to 5.8 percent.   Analysts say there was solid growth across all sectors, and they expect the job market to remain strong in the coming months.

My Town: Local First offers family-friendly Local Treasure Hunts this June

My Town: Local First offers family-friendly Local Treasure Hunts this June

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Local First has put together Local Treasure Hunts for families to do this June.

Participants can choose from two hunts: one in Grand Rapids and one on the lakeshore. Hunters can enter to win prizes in each hunt by texting in codes at each location. The hunts started on June 1 and will conclude at 11:59 on June 30.

In Grand Rapids, participating businesses include:

  • Grand Rapids Children's Museum
  • Grand Rapids Bicycle Company
  • The Cheese Lady
  • Fulton Street Farmers Market
  • Hop Scotch Children's Store
  • Nantucket Baking Company
  • Romence Gardens & Greenhouses
  • Schuler Books
  • The Rapid Central Station
  • GoNuts

On the lakeshore, the following businesses are treasure hunt stops: 

5 flavorful Michigan breweries worth the drive

5 flavorful Michigan breweries worth the drive

(Anne Erickson, Lansing State Journal)-- For many Michiganders, summer and beer go hand-in-hand. Drive through Mitten towns on any given summer weekend, and you’ll likely spot folks sitting on their front porches, sipping on the cool, flavorful drink.

Michigan, of course, has endless top-notch choices when it comes to craft beers and Michigan-made brews. In fact, our state is currently fifth in the U.S. in the number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, according to Pure Michigan.

So, raise a pint and get to know a few great Michigan breweries and distilleries.

Founders Brewery Co.

• Where: Grand Rapids

My Town: Local First Street Party is ready to rock on June 7

My Town: Local First Street Party is ready to rock on June 7

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Local First will hold its 11th annual Street Party on Saturday, June 7 outside Bistro Bella Vita from 3 p.m. to midnight.

This year's event is presented by Founders Brewing Company with stage sponsor Celebration Cinema. Last year, more than 12,000 attendees attended the 10th anniversary Local First Street Party and enjoyed Founders beer, local food  and food trucks, family art  and sidewalk chalk art, interactive music, and a great music set. The Local First Street Party is free and open to all ages; there will be music and entertainment for everyone to enjoy at this event.

"The Street Party is one of the biggest highlights of our year. Local First puts on this event to showcase local businesses and talented individuals, celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of our community, and kick off the summer right!" said Elissa Hillary, executive director of Local First.