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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?

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. 

Experience Grand Rapids launches personalized travel planning website

Experience Grand Rapids launches personalized travel planning website

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.---Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, recently announced the launch of its new personalized travel planning website, www.GRCityTwist.com.

The new interactive website targets 18 different interests, from “art lovers” to “thrill seekers”, allowing the visitor to customize their trip.  For example, craft beer enthusiasts can find breweries to explore, activities and nightlife related to craft beer, and accommodations for the weekend.

EXGR launched the new, mobile-friendly website on Dec. 17 at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park with the hospitality community, business and political leaders, and its Certified Tourism Ambassadors.

East vs. West Battle of I-96 Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament Dec. 21

East vs. West Battle of I-96 Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament Dec. 21

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Classrooms are closed for winter break, but student athletes will still be breaking a sweat Saturday, Dec. 21 as the East vs. West Battle of I-96 Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament returns to Grand Rapids.

In the inaugural tournament last year, West was best, winning three of its five games.  The rules are the same this year--  the winner of each game will earn one point for its side of the state.  The region with the most points will earn bragging rights until next year.

Half-time entertainment is also planned for many of the games, including half-court shot contests for prizes.  The game day schedule is as follows:

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.    

Gymco gives kids a leg up on building healthy bodies, strong minds

Gymco gives kids a leg up on building healthy bodies, strong minds

By Chealsea Slocum
Photography by Adam Bird