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Live United 5K / Walk returns for a second year September 29

Live United 5K / Walk returns for a second year September 29

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- The second annual Live United 5K Run/Walk takes place on Sunday, September 29 at the David D. Hunting YMCA in Grand Rapids.

This year's race is presented by The Heart of West Michigan United Way and Steelcase. People of all ages and abilities are invited to lace up their athletic shoes for this event.  The course will take them by a number of outdoor ArtPrize exhibits.

The Live United 5K Run/Walk begins at 8 a.m.  The David D. Hunting YMCA is located at 475 Lake Michigan Dr.

Oktoberfest West Michigan September 27-28

Oktoberfest West Michigan September 27-28

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- A German tradition is finding its way to Grand Rapids this weekend.

The Edelweiss Club invites the public to the John Ball Park September 27-28 for "Oktoberfest West Michigan." From 12 p.m. to 11 p.m., visitors can enjoy imported German beverages, food, German bands, carnival games and much more. Parking and admission is free.  It's all happening under the tent on the park's south lawn, located at 1300 W. Fulton St.

Proceeds from Oktoberfest West Michigan will go to Kids’ Food Basket, so the charity can extend its free weekday meal program to children at four new schools this year. More than 4,800 children will receive an evening meal every weeknight.

 For more information, visit www.oktoberfestwestmichigan.com or www.edelweissclubgr.com.

Three-county campaign to Take the Stairs kicks off September 3

Three-county campaign to Take the Stairs kicks off September 3

Organizations in Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties are teaming up this week to encourage people to take the stairs.

Take the Stairs Week runs September 3 through September 6.  The three-day campaign is meant to encourage people to become more physically active while saving energy.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, graphic designs promoting healthy behavior have been shown to motivate stair users; that’s why Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University created images for this campaign.  Free color signs are available at the Heart of West Michigan United Way for businesses and organizations with escalators or elevators.

Participating agencies include:

The American Institute of Architects, Grand Rapids Chapte

Grand Rapids Community Foundation announces $385,000 in grants

Grand Rapids Community Foundation announces $385,000 in grants

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Four non-profit organizations are getting $385,000 in funding to improve the neighborhoods, health, engagement and environment of Kent County.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation announced the grants Tuesday.   The foundation awarded Habitat for Kent County $150,000 for its Building Blocks program, which is expected to restore or rehabilitate 36-40 properties in two years for low income families.  The funding also includes $150,000 to West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition to expand and improve trails, and a $60,000 grant to Health Intervention Services (HIS) for dental rooms, a nursing station and an improved volunteer area, which should allow HIS to double the number of patients it serves.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation also awarded $25,000 in grants to John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to create three Grand Rapids area programs to support local arts.

Grand Rapids among top cities for 'youngest smiles'

Grand Rapids among top cities for 'youngest smiles'

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Grand Rapids is among the top cities in the nation for people with the youngest smiles.

Grand Rapids comes in at number three in the rankings released by Sharecare, an online health and wellness community.  The rankings are based on a RealAge Test survey of 250,000 people.  According to Sharecare, Grand Rapids ranked high for diet diversity and happy marriages, which benefit health.

Here are Sharecare’s rankings for Top 10 Cities with the Youngest Smiles:

  • 1: Austin, Texas
  • 2: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 3: Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 4: Sacramento, California
  • 5: San Francisco, California
  • 6: Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • 7: San Diego, California
  • 8: Denver, Colorado
  • 9: Washington, D.C.
  • 10: Seattle, Washington

'Meals at Home' awarded Group Volunteer of the Year Award

'Meals at Home' awarded Group Volunteer of the Year Award

A West Michigan group providing food for the elderly and people with disabilities is being honored.

LeadingAge Michigan recently awarded its Group Volunteer of the Year Award to “Meals at Home.”  Sunset Retirement Communities & Services started Meals at Home in 1997.  Each year, a team of 150 volunteers use their own vehicles and gas to deliver more than 23,000 meals throughout Grand Rapids.  Because of volunteers, Meals at Home has kept costs down to just $5 per meal.

During its 2013 gala, LeadingAge Michigan also honored Porter Hills Retirement Communities from My Town Ada/Cascade with its Care & Services Award.  The non-profit organization serves more than 800 adults from all income levels.

School is over, but the need for blood donations is not

School is over, but the need for blood donations is not

Now that school is out, the need for blood donations is even greater.

High school and college students donate about 20 percent of the blood collected through the American Red Cross, so the organization is anticipating a drop in donations this summer.

“Just because summer is here, it doesn’t mean donating blood is on vacation, too,” said Todd Kulman, Communications Program Manager for the Great Lakes Region of the American Red Cross. “You might find there’s a lot of fun to be had in donating blood, or even sponsoring a blood drive of your own.”

The American Red Cross’ Great Lakes Blood Service Region must collect about 650 units of blood a day to meet patient need in hospitals.