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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.

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

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

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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.

My Town: Michigan fruit growers encouraged to complete USDA Fruit Acreage Inventory

My Town: Michigan fruit growers encouraged to complete USDA Fruit Acreage Inventory

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Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Jamie Clover Adams encouraged the state's fruit growers to complete the 2014 Fruit Acreage Inventory being conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

My Town Kalamazoo: Experience downtown with Girlfriends Getaway Feb. 28

My Town Kalamazoo: Experience downtown with Girlfriends Getaway Feb. 28

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More than 15 businesses in downtown Kalamazoo are coming together to offer a day out on the town for the ladies.

The second year event will take place on Saturday, February 28 with a variety of activities going on all day starting at 10 a.m. There’s something for everyone from mixology and wine pairing classes, to health and beauty options including yoga, an into to pilates and barre, and essential oil making. For those interested in crafting, there’s even an opportunity to "make your own tote bag."

"We wanted to create an experience downtown, for women to explore Kalamazoo and have a whole day of fun with their girlfriends," said Dana Schmitt from the Downtown Kalamazoo Retail & Restaurant Association.

My Town: Earth Fare now open in Portage

My Town: Earth Fare now open in Portage

PORTAGE, Mich.--  Shoppers looking for healthy food now have a new option in Portage.

Earth Fare welcomed its first West Michigan customers Wednesday morning. The new store offers fresh meats and dairy that are free of antibiotics and synthetic growth hormones.  The store also sells foods that are free of artificial and trans fats,  high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, artificial preservatives, bleached and bromated flour artificial flavors and artificial colors. Earth Fare says it offers more organic produce than any other store.

The new store is located at 5070 S. Westnedge Ave in Portage, Michigan. Sign-up for e-mail offers at EarthFare.com/Westnedge.

My Town: Local military family honored by Eckrich and country music star Randy Houser

My Town: Local military family honored by Eckrich and country music star Randy Houser

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Thanks to Eckrich, the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and savory deli meats, James Jackson and his family were honored by chart-topping, platinum-selling country music star Randy Houser Tuesday night at his performance at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich. as part of Luke Bryan's That's My Kind of Night Tour.