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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: Downtown detours Thursday for Girls on the Run

My Town Kalamazoo: Downtown detours Thursday for Girls on the Run

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Drivers can expect detours through downtown Kalamazoo Thursday night, as thousands of girls take over the streets.

Nearly 2,000 third, fourth and fifth grade girls will be participating in this year’s Girls on the Run 5k, presented by Eaton Corporation.  The starting horn will sound at 6:30 p.m. at Waldo Stadium.  All athletes will then race down Lovell Street, through downtown, then back onto West Lovell before crossing the finish line at Oakland Drive.

During the run, traffic will be detoured around downtown to the east.  The following streets will be closed up until 8 p.m.:

My Town: Local literacy program gets financial boost

My Town: Local literacy program gets financial boost

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The Literacy Center of West Michigan is getting a big financial boost.

Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently awarded the Grand Rapids organization a $10,000 grant to support adult, family and summer literacy programs.  The funding is part of more than $6 million in grants Dollar General Literacy Foundation awarded last week to approximately 700 schools, nonprofits and organizations nationwide.  Other West Michigan recipients include:

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.

My Town Kalamazoo: Children's wing to be named after philanthropist Bill Wright

My Town Kalamazoo: Children's wing to be named after philanthropist Bill Wright

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—He has died, but Bill Wright’s legacy in helping abused and neglected will live on at Community Healing Centers.

Bill Wright passed away Dec. 28, 2013.  For years, his charity “Wright for Kids” supported kids traumatized by abuse and neglect.  

Wright was also a pivotal force in raising money and encouraging others to donate to the Community Healing Centers’ Roof Sit.  Thursday night at campaign kick-off dinner, children walked into Carabba’s with signs spelling out “thank you Bill Wright for kids”  before the announcement came:  the children’s wing of  the Elizabeth Upjohn Community Healing Center will officially be named the Bill Wright Children’s Advocacy Center.

“This is the perfect homecoming for Wright for Kids…the right time, the right place. It anchors a secure legacy of caring and compassion to Bill’s name,” says Sally Reames, CEO of Community Healing Centers.

My Town Kalamazoo: ALDI hiring for two new stores

My Town Kalamazoo: ALDI hiring for two new stores

KALAMAZOO, Mich.--   ALDI is hiring dozens of workers for two new stores in the Kalamazoo area.

The grocery store chain is holding a job fair Monday, May 19 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.

My Town: National Heritage Academies celebrates record enrollment

My Town: National Heritage Academies celebrates record enrollment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—  It’s National Charter Schools Week and National Heritage Academies is celebrating a record number of applicants.

The charter school system says this year, so many children applied to NHA that 20,952 students were put on the wait list.  When it has more applicants than open seats, NHA uses a random lottery to determine who gets into its schools.

“We have experienced record numbers of applications and demand for our schools with wait lists of more than 2,000 students at some schools,” said National Heritage Academies President and CEO Chip Hurlburt. “We appreciate the support we receive from parents who feel so strongly about the quality school choice NHA provides.”