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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.

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

EmploymentGroup names winners of 5 in 5 scholarships

EmploymentGroup names winners of 5 in 5 scholarships

KENTWOOD, Mich.-- EmploymentGroup, a solutions-oriented staffing and outsourced services firm, has announced the winners of its 5 in 5 scholarship program. 

Launched in 2013, the program is a five-year initiative in honor of the company’s 55th anniversary as a leading regional provider of business staffing solutions. EmploymentGroup started the program to give Michigan-based community college students the skills and resources they need to succeed.

As part of the 5 in 5 program, each year three students are awarded scholarships totaling $5,000.  This year, students were encouraged to tie their essay submissions to EmploymentGroup’s mission of helping people succeed, explaining how their future plans include both their own professional growth and helping others excel.

My Town Kalamazoo: Child burn survivor camp gets boost from local credit union

My Town Kalamazoo: Child burn survivor camp gets boost from local credit union

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—  Dozens of young burn survivors will enjoy summer at camp, thanks to a donation by the Educational Community Credit Union.

The ECCU handed over a check for $1,154 to the Great Lakes Burn Camp this week.  The funding will go toward activities for 60 children attending the summer session in Mattawan next month.  The camp gives children who survived traumatic burns a chance to relax, have fun and connect with one another.

The funding from ECCU was raised during a recent “pay to wear jeans week” and will be used to support camp activities.

ECCU found out about the Great Lakes Burn Camp through patron Bub Sherwood, who owns an auto repair shop in Galesburg.  Sherwood also raised nearly $9,000 for the camp by sponsoring a classic car show, raffle and other activities at the Texas Corral Restaurant Backyard BBQ on June 29.  

My Town: Local restaurants named winners of wine

My Town: Local restaurants named winners of wine

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—At least half a dozen restaurants in West Michigan have made the cut for the corks they pop.

They are among 3,748 restaurants worldwide to make Wine Spectator’s 2014 Restaurant Wine List Awards.  For the first time this year, top honors went to Clos Maggiore in London, La Toque in Napa, Nice Matin in New York, Saison in San Francisco, The Stonehouse in Santa Barbara and Studio in Laguna Beach.  They join 68 other winners of the Grand Award, which honors restaurants that generally offer guests 1,500 or more wine selections and for superior cellars, service, ambiance and cuisine.

The program’s entry-level Award of Excellence went to 2,791 restaurants; another 883 restaurants earned the Best of Award of Excellence for typically offering a list of 350 or more quality wine selections.  Locally, the following restaurants made the cut:

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

Trivalent Group, Inc. engineer honored with 2014 Microsoft MVP award

Trivalent Group, Inc. engineer honored with 2014 Microsoft MVP award

GRANDVILLE, Mich.-- Trivalent Group, Inc., one of Michigan’s largest IT solution providers, has announced that its Senior Cloud Services Engineer, Andy Syrewicze, was honored with the 2014 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award.

The MVP Award is given to exceptional, independent community leaders who share their passion, technical expertise and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with others.

“We are proud of Andy Syrewicze for achieving this prestigious recognition as one of only five MVPs in the United States for Microsoft Hyper-V,” said Trivalent Group CEO Larry Andrus. “Microsoft is a strategic partner for us at Trivalent Group.  Andy has continually grown both his technical and professional expertise during his nearly eight years with Trivalent.”