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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.

My Town: The Princeton Review names the nation's greenest colleges

My Town: The Princeton Review names the nation's greenest colleges

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--- While many people are participating in eco-friendly activities this Earth Day,  seven Michigan colleges and universities are doing their part to help the environment on a more regular basis.

Grand Valley State University has made the cut as one of The Princeton Review’s Green Colleges.   This is the fifth consecutive year GVSU has made the list.  Nationwide, 332 schools were deemed Green Colleges, including:

My Town Kalamazoo: City to begin ticketing trash-filled yards April 21

My Town Kalamazoo: City to begin ticketing trash-filled yards April 21

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The snow has melted away, exposing months of litter on many residential and commercial properties.

The City of Kalamazoo wants to remind residents of a city ordinance requiring all garbage be properly stored in trash bins, to prevent rodents and other unsanitary situations.  The city is giving residents a grace period to clean up the litter on their property; starting Monday, April 21, city workers will begin citing properties in violation of the Trash Ordinance.    Violators will receive a ticket and a $74 bill, then get another 10 days to clean up the mess.  If the trash remains, city crews will be called in to clean up the property, and the property owner will be billed for their work.

My Town: Dozens competing in West Michigan Battle of the Buildings

My Town: Dozens competing in West Michigan Battle of the Buildings

UPDATE: Three more buildings have joined the competition.

Organizers say the MATS administration office, Community Mental Health and the Hall of Justice, all in Muskegon County are now involved in the Battle of the Buildings, bringing the total square footage to more than 9 million.  The new goal is 10 million square feet by the registration deadline of March 31.

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—More than three dozen local businesses are competing in cutting down energy in the West Michigan Battle of the Buildings.

The owners of 45 buildings representing nearly 9 million square feet of space have signed up to take part in the inaugural competition, organized by the U.S. Green Building Council West Michigan Chapter. The organization is teaming up with Consumers Energy and Hurst Mechanical to provide workshops on building improvements, optimizing operations and maintance and engaging building occupants to curb energy use.