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My Town: Consumers Energy Foundation awards nearly $31K to volunteer groups

My Town: Consumers Energy Foundation awards nearly $31K to volunteer groups

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Dozens of organizations are getting a financial boost from the Consumers Energy Foundation.

The organization recently awarded 64 grants totaling $30,900 to nonprofits across the state.  The Volunteer Investment Program grants are aimed at encouraging volunteering within Consumers Energy by rewarding those who work or have worked for the company.  This year’s recipients include:

Kalamazoo

  • $650 to Girl Scout Junior Troop 80462 (Jim Cottrell)
  • $450 to Mattawan Consolidated Schools Battle of the Books (Hillary Hogarth)
  • $550 to United States Bowling Congress Kalamazoo Area Youth Association/Airway Lanes (Susan Searles)

Kent

My Town Kalamazoo: United Way gives $7.6 million to support community programs

My Town Kalamazoo: United Way gives $7.6 million to support community programs
-------NEWS RELEASE---------KALAMAZOO, Mich. (United Way)—From early grade reading to support services for seniors, 106 programs operated by nonprofit agencies across the region are welcoming support totaling more than $7.6 million from United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region (UWBCKR).  “Because of our incredibly generous supporters, United Way is able to fund programs that are changing lives in meaningful ways,” said Michael Larson, President and CEO of UWBCKR. “More kids will learn to read well so they can succeed in school. More families will achieve financial stability. More people will embrace healthier lifestyles. More individuals in crisis will get the help they need.”  Larson said this year’s community investments, which total $7,651,690, meets or exceeds overall support provided both locally and regionally over the past several years.

My Town: Local breweries home to some of the best beer in the country

My Town: Local breweries home to some of the best beer in the country

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (Lansing State Journal)-- Congratulations are in order for Kalamazoo-based Bell’s Brewery, Inc.

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale has been named the No. 2 beer in the country by readers of Zymurgy Magazine, the publication of the American Homebrewers Association.

Two other Michigan beers also made the Top 10: Bell’s Hopslam (No. 4) and Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Co.’s Breakfast Stout (No. 9). Founders’ also scored three more spots inside the top-ranks beers list with Kentucky Breakfast Stout (No. 11), All Day IPA (No. 34, tie) and Backwoods Bastard (No. 49, tie).

Zymurgy Magazine earlier this week released the results of the poll, in which readers named their 20 favorite beers that are commercially available in the U.S. California-based Russian River’s Pliny the Elder took the No. 1 spot.

My Town GR North: Meijer Great Choices Student Film Festival winners honored

My Town GR North: Meijer Great Choices Student Film Festival winners honored

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--- More than a dozen promising student filmmakers will be honored Saturday as they accept awards from the Meijer Great Choices Student Film Festival.

As part of the competition, students from across Michigan submitted more than 320 Public Service Announcement videos promoting positive choices among two age groups of youth.  A panel of media students and professors from Compass College of Cinematic Arts, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University helped whittle down the number of entries to 60.

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 7, the competition will culminate with 18 of the 60 finalists being honored with $21,000 in prizes and awards.  The presentation will take place at Celebration Cinema North at Knapp’s Corner, located at 2121 Celebration Drive NE in Grand Rapids. 

5 flavorful Michigan breweries worth the drive

5 flavorful Michigan breweries worth the drive

(Anne Erickson, Lansing State Journal)-- For many Michiganders, summer and beer go hand-in-hand. Drive through Mitten towns on any given summer weekend, and you’ll likely spot folks sitting on their front porches, sipping on the cool, flavorful drink.

Michigan, of course, has endless top-notch choices when it comes to craft beers and Michigan-made brews. In fact, our state is currently fifth in the U.S. in the number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, according to Pure Michigan.

So, raise a pint and get to know a few great Michigan breweries and distilleries.

Founders Brewery Co.

• Where: Grand Rapids

My Town Kalamazoo: Concerts in the Park lineup announced

My Town Kalamazoo: Concerts in the Park lineup announced

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The lineup is out for this year’s Concerts in the Park.

Organizers of the summertime tradition at Bronson Park say this year’s series will feature a variety of musical acts, including jazz, big band, bluegrass, American roots and blues. After a two-year hiatus, The Verve Pipe will return to the Concerts in the Park stage to close out the season.

Each concert is free and family-friendly.  Visitors are encouraged to bring their own blankets, lawn chairs and meals; grilling will not be allowed.  PopCity Popcorn will be selling popcorn and water in the park during the events.

This year’s lineup includes:

June 8 – Kalamazoo Singers

My Town Kalamazoo: $1.4 million grant to go toward STEM instruction reform

My Town Kalamazoo: $1.4 million grant to go toward STEM instruction reform

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (Western Michigan University)--A $1.4 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to Western Michigan University will be used to enhance undergraduate introduction to science, with the goal of attracting and retaining more students in the STEM disciplines--science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The five-year research and development effort, announced May 29 by HHMI, will be centered on WMU's introductory courses in biological sciences. The grant is one of just 37 awards made by HHMI  this year to American research universities invited to compete in the institute's 2014 funding round. A total of 203 universities were invited to apply, and the eventual winners were selected after three rounds of peer review.