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My Town Kalamazoo: Alcohol sales restrictions take effect

My Town Kalamazoo: Alcohol sales restrictions take effect

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—New restrictions on alcohol sales within the city of Kalamazoo are in effect.

Last month, city commissioners approved changes to the city ordinance, prohibiting off-premises alcohol sales within 500 feet of churches and school buildings.  The amendment would also limit businesses from selling off-premises within 2,640 feet of another competitor.

The Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department played a key role in the ordinance change, after conducting extensive research.  The agency found the highest concentrations of off-premises alcohol sales sites were in low-income, minority neighborhoods.

To see the entire amended ordinance, click here.

My Town: Consumers Energy backs solar projects for local businesses

My Town: Consumers Energy backs solar projects for local businesses

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—What does a Kalamazoo area school, Ottawa County hops producer and the West Michigan Sports Commission have in common?

All three are teaming up with Consumers Energy to produce solar power.

Consumers has selected 22 projects to back, including  five non-residential programs at Paragon Die & Engineering in Kentwood, Monsignor Hackett High School in Kalamazoo Township, Pure Mitten Hops in Ottawa County, the West Michigan Sports Commission in Grand Rapids and Bonobo Winery in Grand Traverse County.

In addition, Consumers is backing 17 solar projects for residential customers, including those in Kent and Ottawa counties.  The customers were chosen as part of Consumers’ Experimental Advanced Renewable Program.   Consumers will soon be accepting applications for the next phase of EARP.  The deadly to apply is 5 p.m. Aug. 6.

My Town: Job outlook for the area largely positive

My Town: Job outlook for the area largely positive

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Despite the harsh winter, businesses in West Michigan added 9,500 jobs during the first quarter of 2014.

That’s according to a newly released report by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. Analysts found employment in West Michigan’s six metropolitan areas jumped 1.1 percent.    The biggest increases were reported in manufacturing and private service sectors.   

In the Grand Rapids-Wyoming area, employers added 7,200 jobs in the first quarter, driving down the area’s unemployment rate to 5.8 percent.   Analysts say there was solid growth across all sectors, and they expect the job market to remain strong in the coming months.

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: Local children get TV debut with new Meijer commercial

KENTWOOD, Mich.-  A Kentwood boy is getting his chance at TV fame.

Carson, 4, is one of nine West Michigan children featured in Meijer’s newest commercials, starring the retailer’s beloved penny-operated pony, Sandy.  Carson’s mother says he always has to ride Sandy when they visit Meijer every other Thursday.  Afterwards, he leaves extra pennies for kids waiting in line.

 Meijer released two versions of the commercial; the 30-second spot will begin airing in five states in June and the 60-second version is already online.  Both spots feature photos from a Meijer Facebook contest held earlier this year.  For the shorter spot, the retailer selected 28 photos from the more than 3,200 submitted during the contest.  Four additional photos chosen for the 60-second version of the commercial.

My Town Kalamazoo: Governor helps cut ribbon on new design center

My Town Kalamazoo: Governor helps cut ribbon on new design center

KALAMAZOO, Mich.--  The Business Technology and Research Park at Western Michigan University is growing.

Monday, Gov. Rick Snyder helped cut the ribbon on the Newell Rubbermaid Design Center.  The company is investing $2.3 million in the facility and creating up to 100 jobs.

Newell Rubbermaid markets a variety of consumer and commercial products, including Sharpie, Rubbermaid, Graco, Calphalon, Paper Mate and Irwin.  The new Kalamazoo facility will consolidate the company's product and graphic design work.

Newell Rubbermaid chose Michigan over a competing site in Chicago, after receiving a $2 million Michigan Business Development performance-based grant.  The City of Kalamazoo has also offered tax breaks valued at $164,000.

My Town Kalamazoo: ALDI hosts job fair May 19 for new stores

My Town Kalamazoo: ALDI hosts job fair May 19 for new stores

KALAMAZOO, Mich.--   ALDI is holding a job fair Monday, May 19 to hire dozens of workers for two new stores in the Kalamazoo area.

The grocery store chain is looking for store associates, shift managers and manager trainees. Starting wages range from $10.50 per hour to $22 per hour and benefits are included for staff working at least 20 hours a week. 

Applicants must be 18 years or older and have a high school diploma or GED.  They must also be available to work anytime between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., Monday through Sunday, and be able to lift up to 45 pounds.

The job fair will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Career Quest Learning Center, 5115 Portage Road in Portage. ALDI hopes to hire 20-30 employees for future stores in Plainwell and Portage, which should open this summer.