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My Town: Consumers Energy Foundation awards $26K to nonprofit groups

My Town: Consumers Energy Foundation awards $26K to nonprofit groups

KENT COUNTY, Mich.— Dozens of nonprofit organizations across Michigan are getting a boost from the Consumers Energy Foundation.

As part of its Volunteer Investment Program, the foundation is awarding more than $26,000 in grants to charities supported by Consumers Energy employees and retirees.  The most recent recipients include:

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My Town Kalamazoo: Growlers turn to public to rename mascot

My Town Kalamazoo: Growlers turn to public to rename mascot

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A dispute within Minor League Baseball means the Kalamazoo Growlers will be holding another naming contest for its mascot.

The Growlers must change their mascot’s name, Barlee because it is similar to the Hillsboro Hopps mascot’s name, Barley.  The Hopps, a team out of Hillsboro, Oregon, have a trademark on the name.  The Growlers learned about the name conflict shortly after wrapping up its public naming contest in spring.  The team decided to change their mascot’s name “in the interest of maintaining a healthy working relationship” with the Hillsboro Hopps.

Kalamazoo Co. jail inmate tries to escape


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WZZM) -- A Kalamazoo County jail inmate tried escaping Thursday morning but was quickly caught, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Around 10:20 a.m., the 35-year-old pre-trial detainee was being taken to a different cell as part of what authorities called a routine cell reassignment. The inmate shoved the corrections officer escorting him, took a set of keys from the officer, and tried using those keys to get through locked doors and escape.

Sheriff Richard C. Fuller III said in a statement that corrections officers don't carry keys to the jail's exterior doors, which prevented the escape attempt. The Sheriff also said the inmate was subdued in seconds and is now held in an administrative segregation unit cell.

Authorities are preparing a report on the incident and plan to have the county prosecutor's office review the case for possible charges.

WMU President visits the White House


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WZZM)— The President of Western Michigan University has left Kalamazoo for the White House.

President John M. Dunn was in Washington, D.C. Thursday to take part in an event focused on making college more accessible for low-income and disadvantaged students. President Obama, the First Lady and the Vice President spoke at the event, called College Opportunity Day of Action. Summit topics included creating school-college partnerships, investing in high school counselors and increasing the number of college graduates in STEM fields. Dunn was a panelist for a session about innovation to better prepare high school counselors to help students pursue college. School Counseling for Post-secondary and Career Readiness is a new course offered by WMU.

College Opportunity Day of Action will end at the White House with the annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.


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My Town Kalamazoo: WMU players trade basketballs for books

My Town Kalamazoo: WMU players trade basketballs for books

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Students at Paramount Charter Academy recently welcomed some special guests during reading time.

Eight members of the Western Michigan University Women’s Basketball team read to students Nov. 21, in honor of the school’s college day.  The athletes also shared their reasons for attending WMU and joining the team.  Each student took home a WMU sports poster.

Paramount Charter Academy serves students in young 5s through eighth grade, focusing on a college-bound curriculum.

My Town: Schools awarded new grant to improve arts programs

My Town: Schools awarded new grant to improve arts programs

GREENVILLE, Mich.—School arts programs in Greenville and Kalamazoo are getting a financial boost from a new program.

Greenville Middle School and Loy Norrix High School in Kalamazoo are two of 43 schools in the state to get a grant of up to $1,200 from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and Michigan Youth Arts.   The funding will be used toward buying or repairing classroom materials used for the arts, including visual arts, music programs, writing and media arts. 

“Applicants from across the state requested a total of $128,000 in grant funding, which exceeded well beyond our expectations, said Marianne Dorais, executive director of Michigan Youth Arts. “While this highlights the success of the program’s debut, it also shines a light on the increasing need for funding within arts education classrooms.”