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My Town: Battle of the Buildings energy reduction competition expands for second year

My Town: Battle of the Buildings energy reduction competition expands for second year

Registration is officially open for Michigan commercial and industrial buildings of all sizes interested in joining the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan's (USGBCWM) second annual Battle of the Buildings competition. The statewide competition is an expansion of the Battle of the Buildings that started in West Michigan last year.

Battle of the Buildings is an awards and recognition program for energy use reduction. The competition is a way to encourage energy-efficient practices in buildings across the state of Michigan and to instill a spirit of friendly competition among the area’s building owners and operators. Steelcase, Western Michigan University and Nichols have already committed for the 2015 competition totaling over 3,000,000 sq. feet.

My Town: 12 tips to stay safe in this extreme cold

My Town: 12 tips to stay safe in this extreme cold

The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division are sharing their top tips to stay safe in this extreme cold.

"As we saw last winter, these arctic blasts can create hazardous situations," said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. "Citizens are encouraged to monitor local weather reports and follow the appropriate steps to stay safe during these extremely cold and potentially life-threatening temperatures."

Exposure to these subzero temperatures could potentially cause frostbite and hypothermia, as well as create hazardous driving conditions.

To stay safe during cold weather:

My Town: Time to trash the tree! Free Christmas tree recycling locations

My Town: Time to trash the tree!  Free Christmas tree recycling locations

Christmas is over, which means it’s time to trash the tree.

Many municipalities are offering free tree recycling services to residents with a natural tree.  Some communities are planning to put the trees through a chipper and use the remnants to cover park trails and other green spaces.  Here is the schedule for live tree drop-offs:

Ada Township (Through Jan. 12)

  • Ada Township Park, from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

 

Alpine Township (Through Jan. 31)

  • Behind Township Hall, 5255 Alpine Ave. NW

 

Cannon Township (Through Jan. 10)

  • West side of the township building; RHS Honor Society will help unload trees Jan. 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (donations encouraged)

 

Courtland Township (Through Jan. 31)

  • Fire Station #1 on 14 Mile Road

 

OPINION: Michigan, Our Great State

OPINION: Michigan, Our Great State

Michigan, our great state. Whether we realize it or not, we really do have a great state.

Granted, we had an unusual winter this past year but then again, have you ever seen the grass and trees so green before? Even people returning from Florida this year have commented about everything being so green!

Despite all of the good things, I still hear people complain about it either being too cool, too cloudy, too hot, etc. To those people I say, maybe it’s time for you to move to a perfect climate, wherever that may be.

I love Michigan and all it has to offer. We have the Great Lakes, a treasure on their own. I used to have an older friend, Bill Hickey, who had apple orchards.

He told me, “You will never, ever find an apple as snappy when you bite into it as a Michigan apple in the fall, because of the Great Lakes.” 

My Town Kalamazoo: WMU solar race team takes 25 years of experience on the road

My Town Kalamazoo: WMU solar race team takes 25 years of experience on the road

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A green machine created by Western Michigan University students is about to embark on a cross-country road trip in the 2014 American Solar Challenge.

On Monday, July 21, the Sunseeker solar car racing team will begin its 1,751 mile journey from Austin, Texas to Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The team has one week to complete the trip.

"The team is looking forward to competing against and learning from those national and international teams in attendance, this year," Harris says, "especially as we look forward to building a new vehicle this fall semester."

Before they make the trip, WMU’s 14 person team must qualify during the Formula Sun Grand Prix this weekend.  The closed-course track race runs through July 19 at Austin's Circuit of the Americas Grand Prix facility.

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 Kalamazoo: Visit any county park for free June 18

My Town Kalamazoo: Visit any county park for free June 18

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Celebrate the end of the school year and the start of summer this Wednesday, June 18 with a free visit to any Kalamazoo County park.

The Kalamazoo County Parks & Expo Center is waiving its $5 per vehicle admission to all county parks for the day, to encourage everyone to get outside and explore nature.  The group will also be distributing goody bags at parks, while supplies last.  Visitors can also enter for a chance to win an annual vehicle pass to the parks.

“Many people don’t realize all the opportunities for recreation at the parks right here in Kalamazoo County,” said David Rachowicz, parks director. “This is a great way to kick off the summer and see all that the parks have to offer.”

For more information including park locations, visit www.kalamazoocountyparks.com.