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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

West Michigan Labor Fest returns with freebies September 2

West Michigan Labor Fest returns with freebies September 2

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The community is invited to celebrate Labor Day with the West Michigan Labor Fest September 2 in Ah-Nab-Awen Park.

This is the fifth year for the Labor Fest, which begins shortly after Mayor George Heartwell’s bridge walk.  The event includes free admission to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, which is celebrating what would have been President Ford’s 100th birthday. Visitors can also enjoy live music, food from local restaurants, arts and crafts vendors, the American Made Classic Car & Motorcycle Show and a beer tent.  Children can hitch a free ride on a mini Ferris wheel or check out the bouncy house, Berry-Go-Round, games, chalk art and face painting.

ArtPrize 2010 winner Chris LaPorte will be on hand, creating caricatures for families.  For more information, visit the West Michigan Labor Fest’s website.

ArtPrize winner among participants in Fallasburg Fall Festival 2013

ArtPrize winner among participants in Fallasburg Fall Festival 2013

The winner of ArtPrize 2010 will be among the more than 95 artists taking part in Fallasburg Fall Festival for the Arts.

LowellArts!  recently released the list of festival vendors, which includes ArtPrize grand prize winner Chris LaPorte. LaPorte’s 28-foot wide pencil drawing “Cavalry, American Officers 1921” earned him $250,000.

 Artists from as far away as Florida will be showcasing their skills during the festival, which runs September 14 and 15.  Visitors can enjoy live music while shopping for new art.

This is the 45th year for Fallasburg Fall Festival for the Arts.  For more information about the event, visit the LowellArts! website here.

'Stuff the Bus' challenge to help 3,000 students

'Stuff the Bus' challenge to help 3,000 students

The “Stuff the Bus” community challenge is back.

 Now through August 9, Hand2Hand Ministries and the Student Advancement Foundation will be collecting school supplies and personal items for children.  The donations will be distributed to about 3,000 middle school students in the Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Wyoming, Godfrey Lee, Jenison and Hudsonville school districts.

 “Soap, Socks and Supplies” is the theme for this fourth annual campaign. Donations can be dropped off Fifth Third Bank locations throughout metro Grand Rapids.  Financial donations are also being accepted.

 "Each year Fifth Third supplies the backpacks for the students, and we look forward to working together with the community to fill them," said Scott Stenstrom of Fifth Third Bank.

Saving taxpayer money: Kent ISD consolidates printing services

Saving taxpayer money: Kent ISD consolidates printing services

Grand Rapids Community College and Kent ISD are combining printing services to save taxpayer money and streamline service to school districts and non-profit organizations.

The newly consolidated printing service is located on GRCC’s campus.  The partnership will save money by increasing the efficiency of the college print shop and eliminating the expense of staffing copy services at Kent ISD. 

“In recent years, we’ve continued to hear from our constituents and their elected representatives that we in the public sector should do more to collaborate and, where we can, operate like a business,” said Grand Rapids Community College President Steven Ender. “I’d like to think this is the type of collaboration they have in mind. This reduces costs for both institutions and increases efficiency at the same time.”

Double Up Food Bucks program begins again July 1

Double Up Food Bucks program begins again July 1

A program aimed at helping low income families eat healthier is back for another season.

Double Up Food Bucks runs July 1 through October 31, 2013.  Participating markets will match the amount spent by shoppers using a SNAP Bridge Card.  The maximum match is $20 per day, and shoppers do not need to use their Double Up Food Bucks the same day they get them.

In West Michigan, participating farm markets include:

  • Ada Farmers’ Market (7239 Thornapple Dr.)
  • Byron Farmers’ Market* (84th & Byron Center, Byron Center)
  • Downtown Market Grand Rapids (435 Ionia St. SW)
  • Fulton Street Farmers’ Market* (1147 East Fulton St.)
  • Greenville Farmer’s Market (1325 W. Washington, Veteran’s Park)
  • Healthy Street Farmers’ Market (431 Cass Ave. SE, Grand Rapids)
  • Holland Farmers’ Market (150 W.

Grand Rapids Spring Auction June 6

Grand Rapids Spring Auction June 6

The city of Grand Rapids will hold its 2013 Spring Auction June 6.

M&W Incorporated will auction off the city’s used vehicles and construction equipment starting at 9 a.m.  M&W Incorporated is located at 979 West River Center Dr. NE in Comstock Park.Only cash or check will be accepted. 

For pictures and descriptions of the vehicles and equipment up for auction, click here.