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Grand Rapids Balloon Festival

Grand Rapids Balloon Festival

Grand Rapids Sponsors & the Hudsonville Fairgrounds invite the public to a fun-filled weekend for all to enjoy!

The kick-off of this colorful festival starts at the Ah-Nab-Awen Park located downtown Grand Rapids by the Gerald R Ford Museum on Thursday, July 21 at 6:00pm. Guests have the opportunity, for $1 to walk inside a RE/Max hot air balloon, watch the glow of hot air balloons in the night sky, along with musical entertainment with Picnic in the Park until 10pm.

Bring your own lawn chairs or blanket to the Hudsonville Fairgrounds located at 5236 Park Avenue to experience activities galore on Friday & Saturday.

Friday, July 22 the community can enjoy numerous events from 5pm through 9:00pm and Saturday, July 23, beginning at 6:30am-8:00am (weather permitting) guest can experience Balloon Fly-Ins. Who will win, as pilots fly in the fairgrounds balloon area for a target? Family entertainment returns at 1pm through 9:00pm.

Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters, "The Saturday Experience"

Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters, "The Saturday Experience"

In spite of the cold wintry weather this past weekend, my friend, Pat and I had quite the excursion. One nice thing about Grand Rapids, MI. You can always find something to do and it doesn’t have to cost an arm & a leg.

It all started out with a visit to “The Saturday Experience” at the Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters in Grand Rapids, MI. This wholesale coffee bean business is located in an old factory on Hall St. SW, just beyond Godfrey St., around the back of the building. We entered at the only door we saw that was on the second floor and proceeded to walk up steps to the 5th floor, where we found a room filled with eclectic furnishings, lots to look at, amazing teas and delicious coffee. There is also a freight elevator but I think it was out of order that day.

McDonald’s rebirth in Walker

McDonald’s rebirth in Walker

If you were planning to stop at McDonalds on Alpine Avenue in Walker to grab a burger, you’ll have to make other plans.  The owners of the restaurant  at 2652 Alpine Avenue are in the process of tearing it down to make way for a new McDonald’s. 

The 50 year old fast food restaurant no longer met the needs of today’s customers.  Plans call for three drive-thru windows, a smaller dining room, and the removal of the play area.

The demolition and construction of a new restaurant is expected to take about 60 days.

My Town: 'Battle of the Buildings' underway in West Michigan

My Town: 'Battle of the Buildings' underway in West Michigan

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.— A ‘Battle of the Buildings’ is underway in West Michigan, and the winner gets to keep more of their money.

The U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan says more than 14 Grand Rapids area businesses have signed up for the competition to reduce energy usage.  Participants include Steelcase and Spectrum Health, JSJ Corporation in Grand Haven; Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Steelcase in Kentwood; The Grand Rapids Art Museum; Kent Intermediate School District; Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park; Aquinas College; Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo; the Muskegon County Hall of Justice and Metro Health Hospital in Wyoming.

This is the second year for the Battle of the Buildings.  For more information, including how to sign up your business, visit the campaign website here.

My Town: Huntington bank expands to Meijer stores

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—A new bank is moving into Meijer stores across the area.

Huntington Bank is partnering with the retailer to open 43 branches within Meijer stores, a dozen of which are in the greater Grand Rapids area.  The bank says the deal will create 250 jobs within the state and make Huntington the third largest bank branch network in the state.  Huntington says the partnership will bring its company workforce up to 2,300 people.

The announcement comes months after Chase began notifying customers it is closing its Meijer store branches.  A spokesman for Meijer told WZZM 13 “circumstances have changed and we mutually agreed to end the relationship.”

Huntington’s new Meijer branch locations will include Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Greenville, Ionia, Jenison, Lowell, Muskegon, Portage, and Wyoming.

HBA of Greater Grand Rapids announces winner of $10k giveaway for home renovations

HBA of Greater Grand Rapids announces winner of $10k giveaway for home renovations

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– A homeowner in Eastown is getting $10,000 to renovate her place.

Cami Estep won the giveaway contest by the Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids and Option 1 Credit Union.  The two groups launched the contest in February, during the Grand Rapids Remodeling and New Home Show. 

“Our home is more than 100 years old, so the possibilities for projects are endless,” said Estep. “We were already planning on redoing an upstairs bathroom, but our furnace has been making some interesting noises lately, so we may choose to replace our aging heating and cooling system instead!”

Although she may not know exactly how to invest the money yet, one thing is for certain-- Estep and her family are very grateful for the HBA of Greater Grand Rapids.

My Town: Consumers Energy Foundation awards grants worth $14,125

My Town: Consumers Energy Foundation awards grants worth $14,125


Feb. 23, 2015-- The Consumers Energy Foundation announced today it has recently awarded 28 volunteer grants worth $14,125 to nonprofit organizations in Kent County and the surrounding area to recognize outstanding volunteerism by Consumers Energy employees and retirees. 

The foundation awards Volunteer Investment Program grants to encourage and reward volunteerism by those who work or have worked for Consumers Energy.

The Consumers Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Consumers Energy.  It provides funding for a variety of areas including education, community, civic and cultural development, social services, the environment, and emerging issues.

Michigan nonprofit organizations received more than $10 million in contributions in 2014 from Consumers Energy, its employees, retirees, its foundation and parent company CMS Energy.