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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.

Gun discharges in Kzoo high school; 4 teens arrested

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WZZM) - Four students were arrested after a handgun was discharged in a bathroom at a Kalamazoo high school Tuesday.

The incident happened at Loy Norrix High School.

School leaders say a small-caliber handgun was discharged, and the school went on lockdown as authorities searched for the the weapon.

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety responded to assist. Police say the school resource officer learned about the discharge around 8:45am, and the investigation got underway.

Officers confirmed a round had been fired inadvertently. The weapon was later found in another student's backpack. It had been brought to school by the tenth-grade boy who accidentally fired it. He had no intended target, authorities say. Over the next few hours, two other tenth-graders, a girl and a boy, held onto the gun. The gun was then passed to another tenth-grade boy in a classroom during the lockdown.

The Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan raises awareness through random acts of kindness

The Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan raises awareness through random acts of kindness

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day that is officially observed by the United Nations and will be celebrated on Saturday, March 21, 2015. WDSD was established to help raise awareness of exactly what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how those with Down syndrome are an important part of our communities.

To celebrate, the Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan will be committing random acts of kindness on March 21 in three West Michigan communities:  Grand Rapids, Holland and Kalamazoo.  Random acts of kindness are selfless actions performed with the intention of assisting or lifting the spirits of a stranger.  Some examples include paying for someone’s fuel at a gas station, baking cookies for a local fire station, or handing out bubble gum in a public park. 

My Town Kalamazoo: $2 million gift means upgrades, scholarships for art school

My Town Kalamazoo: $2 million gift means upgrades, scholarships for art school

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Studio upgrades and a new series of scholarships are coming to the Kirk Newman Art School, thanks to a $2 million gift from a Kalamazoo couple.

Rosemary and John Brown announced their donation to the school during a reception at Kalamazoo Institute of Arts earlier this month.  Kirk Newman, who was a longtime director of the art school, was in attendance.

"Our decision to give to the Kirk Newman Art School at the KIA is based on our admiration of Kirk as a person and on our desire to validate his legacy," said Rosemary Brown. "Our hope is that the school will continue to thrive and to have an ongoing positive influence on the cultural life of the Kalamazoo area."

Planting the seed: Drought-resistant corn developer awarded $500k grant

Planting the seed: Drought-resistant corn developer awarded $500k grant


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (Grand Valley State University) — Native Traits Corporation, a start-up bio-technology company in Kalamazoo, received $500,000 in pre-seed funding.

The Bioscience Research and Commercialization Center (BRCC) at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo invested $250,000 and Northern Michigan Angels, an investor group in Traverse City, provided an additional $250,000. The company also received hands-on support from the Michigan Small Business Development Center housed at Grand Valley State University.

Native Traits Corporation is a commercial developer of native traits for the hybrid seed corn industry; the company’s primary focus is the development of genetic traits that can make corn resistant to drought and extreme temperatures.

Bell's Brewery called "bully" in craft beer squabble

(DETROIT FREE PRESS) As craft breweries proliferate, so are the trademark disputes over names — but in some cases, beer makers find it's the court of public opinion that matters most.

"There's only so many names out there," said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colo., who added that companies that don't defend their trademarks with litigation — no matter how significant — end up losing them. "It's getting tougher to come up with a name that hasn't been thought of before."

One of the latest squabbles, first reported by the Asheville Citizen-Times in North Carolina, is between Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo and Innovation Brewing in Sylva, N.C., a much smaller craft brewery. Bell's claims the name infringes on its rights to the slogan, "bottling innovation since 1985," and would be confusing to customers.