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My Town GR Central: Economic Bright Spot Award goes to Varnum

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. –  Varnum is among the companies being honored with a 2014 Michigan Economic Bright Spot Award from Corp! Magazine.

The magazine selected winners based on their growth over the past year, as well as their impact on the state's economy.  Varnum earned the distinction in part because of its MiSpringboard program, through which the firm will give away up to $1 million in legal services to new and developing businesses over a five-year period.  The company's innovative pricing models designed to deliver budget predictability to clients also played a role.

Varnum partner Eric Nemeth accepted the firm's award during a recent ceremony at VisTaTech Center in Livonia.

Armed robber forces bank employees into vault


COMSTOCK, Mich. (WZZM) -- Kalamazoo County Sheriff investigators have released photos of a man who robbed a bank at gunpoint Tuesday morning. The heist happened at 11:41 a.m. at the Comerica Bank, located at 5937 King Highway.

Surveillance images show a lone black man with a silver semi automatic handgun demanding cash from a teller. He then forced bank employees into the vault before running off.

The robber is described as 5'10'' to 6' tall. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, a dark mask, and light grey sweat pants with a double stripe down the pant legs.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to contact the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office at (269) 383-8723, the FBI at (269) 349-9607, or Silent Observer (269) 343-2100.


My Town: Local Little League team to play for state title Wednesday

My Town: Local Little League team to play for state title Wednesday

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--- Western Little League Minors are following in the footsteps of the league's senior baseball team, with a run for the Little League State Championship title.

The 9/10 division beat South Portage Tuesday night in the state semi-final game, 11-4.  Western remains undefeated in the state tournament (5-0) with an overall record of 12-1.  Western will take on Essexville-Hampton for the state title  at 6 p.m. Wednesday on the Southern Little League’s East Field, located at 2525 Kalamazoo Ave. SE in Grand Rapids.

The 9/10 year old division of the Little League State Tournament began Friday, July 25 with 16 teams.  Detroit Red Wings’ Luke Glendening, who is a former Southern Little League player, helped kick off the competition.

My Town: West Michigan community leaders to help state tackle poverty

My Town: West Michigan community leaders to help state tackle poverty

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— Governor Snyder is naming ten more people to a panel in charge of tackling poverty in Michigan.

The Commission on Community Action and Economic Opportunity is a 12-member commission focused on promoting social and economic opportunities for low-income people.  Those appointed to a one year-term on the commission include Hope College graduate Jacob Maas.  The Grand Rapids native is executive director of the Area Community Services Employment and Training Council. He will represent community action agencies.

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My Town: Final rounds of Little League State Tournament unfold in Grand Rapids

My Town: Final rounds of Little League State Tournament unfold in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--- Just one West Michigan team remains in the running for the Little League State Tournament  title.

The Western team based out of the Walker/Standale area carries a 5-2 record into Tuesday night’s semi-final game against South Portage.  The game will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Southern Little League’s East Field, located at 2525 Kalamazoo Ave. SE in Grand Rapids.

The 9/10 year old division of the Little League State Tournament began Friday, July 25 with 16 teams.  Detroit Red Wings’ Luke Glendening, who is a former Southern Little League player, helped kick off the competition.

All games and parking are free to the public. Concessions will be open during all games. For updated scores and information, visit www.southernll.blogspot.com and click on 9/10 Tournament.

My Town: Consumers Energy Foundation awards nearly $39K to nonprofits

My Town: Consumers Energy Foundation awards nearly $39K to nonprofits

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Dozens of nonprofit organizations that are close to the hearts of Consumers Energy employees are getting a financial boost.

The Consumers Energy Foundation recently awarded 78 grants worth $38,350 to organizations in Michigan where Consumers employees and retirees volunteer.  Last year, nonprofits in the state received more than $8 million from Consumers Energy and its employees, retirees, foundation and parent company, CMS Energy.  

The 2014 second quarter grant recipients include:

Allegan County

  • $450 to Fennville Public Schools Youth Baseball (Loren Barnes)
  • $550 to Fennville Public Schools Youth Football (Loren Barnes)

Ionia County

  • $550 to Portland Public Schools Wrestling Club (Chad Miller)

Kalamazoo County

My Town: GVSU and DHS awarded research grant for family support program

My Town: GVSU and DHS awarded research grant for family support program

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The Michigan Department of Human Services is teaming up with Grand Valley State University to measure the success of a family support program in more than 150 Michigan schools.

A three-year, $1.05 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will go toward measuring the impact of the Pathways to Potential program in Michigan.  The program places DHS case workers in schools to make it easier for children and their families to address barriers to their safety, health, education, attendance and self-sufficiency.

“We know that many children struggle in school because of outside of school challenges affecting both students and their families,” Gov. Snyder said. “The goal of Pathways to Potential is to reduce or eliminate those challenges by conveniently connecting families to the services they need to help everyone become more successful.”