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'Above the Influence' campaign informs kids that it's hip to be square

'Above the Influence' campaign informs kids that it's hip to be square

By Victoria Mullen
This story originally ran in Rapid Growth

Old Navy and the Kent County Prevention Coalition (KCPC) have a fabulous message for teens: It’s chic to say ‘no’ to doing drugs and alcohol. Yes, kids, it’s fashionable to stand up to negative pressures, and to live ‘Above the Influence.’

Fundraiser Thursday night for woman with rare disease

Fundraiser Thursday night for woman with rare disease

GRAND RAPIDS--Exhausted; that is how Jen Walsh describes most of her days.

In 2009,  she became very ill with a serious, rare and incurable neuromuscular disease called Myasthenia Gravis. Using an oxygen tank to breathe,  Walsh has endured many lengthy hospitalizations.  She must take more than 30 medications each day and has tried several experimental and alternative treatments.

Walsh's husband is her primary caregiver and the couple has two young children Last year,  Walsh had to quit her job and her family now needs help to ease the burden of living on a tight budget. Proceeds from Thursday night's event will be put into a trust for the Walsh family.  .

The Best Times in Michigan are Free

The Best Times in Michigan are Free

I travel on Butterworth Dr NW in Walker, MI often on my way to the Mall or to visit family and always enjoy seeing people in Johnson Park, just off Wilson Ave NW.

Summertime is an especially busy time at this park with people enjoying a picnic, jogging, playing catch, weddings, family reunions and some just plain enjoying the scenery and people watching. It really is a busy park.

Recently I drove this same way and was very disappointed to see few people enjoying this same park. There were about 8-10 cars in the parking lot of people who were up on the big sliding hill enjoying the sunshine and the thrill of sliding down that hill, some on sleds, toboggans, tubes and some even just with a cardboard box.

As I drove through I wondered, where are all those people who use this park all summer and fall? Why aren’t they out here enjoying the winter sports and seeing the beauty of nature?

Vote for Wine & Wig gala funding recipient

Vote for Wine & Wig gala funding recipient

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-  West Michigan Woman magazine is looking for the next organization to support during its second annual Wine & Wig gala.

Last year, the event generated nearly $15,000 for Susan G. Komen West Michigan.  This year, supporters are being asked to narrow down six organizations nominated for support down to one winner.  The finalists are Children’s Assessment Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids , Baxter Community Center, American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women, Susan G. Komen West Michigan and Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW).

Voting is open until midnight Feb. 14, 2014, and visitors can vote as often as they like.  To cast your vote, visit West Michigan Woman magazine’s website here.

The Wine & Wig gala will take place Oct. 18, 2014 at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Varsity basketball teams to raise autism awareness Feb. 7

Varsity basketball teams to raise autism awareness Feb. 7

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— Four varsity basketball teams will take over the court next month to raise awareness about autism.

Union High School will play against Kenowa High School on Autism Awareness Night Friday, Feb. 7.  The event includes a half-time shoot out and drawings for prizes.  All proceeds from the games will go to Autism Support of Kent County.

General admission is $5 per person or free with the purchase of an autism awareness t-shirt.  T-shirts are $10 and available by contacting Martha Knoll-Loader at (616) 819-3918.

The girls’ varsity game will be at 6 p.m.; the boys will play at 7:30 p.m.  Both match ups will be at Union High School, located at 1800 Tremont Blvd. NW in Grand Rapids.

West Catholic goes purple for games against Northview

West Catholic goes purple for games against Northview

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—West Catholic’s varsity basketball teams will be trading in their green for purple Friday as the school hosts its inaugural Purple Community basketball games.

The West Catholic boys' and girls' teams will take on Northview.  The girls will tip off first at 6 p.m.  The boys’ game begins at 7:30 p.m.  Both West Catholic teams will be wearing commemorative purple jerseys for the game that will be auctioned off to benefit biomedical research at the Van Andel Institute.  Students will also be selling purple t-shirts and hosting a glow stick ceremony to honor loved ones affected y cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

West Catholic High School is located at 1801 Bristol Ave. NW in Grand Rapids. 

LaughFest adds new event: FUNderwear Run 5k

LaughFest adds new event: FUNderwear Run 5k

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—  Organizers of this year’s LaughFest are adding a new event: the FUNderwear Run 5k.

The inaugural 5k event, presented by Universal Forest Products, will take place Sunday, March 9.  Participants are encouraged to wear their finest and funniest underwear over their running clothes, to show their support of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.  Runners can also support the organization by collecting race pledges for Gilda’s Club through active.com.

The 3.1 mile trek begins at 10 a.m. at the Grand Rapids Community College Ford Fieldhouse.  Registration is $25 prior to Feb. 20; after that date, the cost is $30.  The price includes an official race t-shirt. For more information, visit the event page here.

The FUNderwear Run is best suited for ages 18 and above.