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Kalamazoo doctor: Chance of Ebola outbreak gripping U.S. is slim

Kalamazoo doctor: Chance of Ebola outbreak gripping U.S. is slim

KALAMAZOO, Mich.— The Ebola virus has claimed more than 1,200 lives in West Africa, but at least one West Michigan doctor says there is little chance the outbreak will take hold in the United States.

"We are monitoring pretty darned carefully if the people coming into the United States from these countries, where this virus is prevalent, whether they have a fever or not," Essani says. "So we really have some idea. But this is biology and there will always be exceptions to it. I do expect the number of cases to go up, there's no doubt about it. So we are going to see these sporadic cases around the globe. But I don't think it will acquire an epidemic form as it has in Africa," says Dr. Karim Essani, virologist and professor of biological sciences at Western Michigan University.

 Essani says Ebola is more difficult to spread than other viruses, like flu.

My Town: Consumers Energy Foundation awards nearly $39K to nonprofits

My Town: Consumers Energy Foundation awards nearly $39K to nonprofits

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Dozens of nonprofit organizations that are close to the hearts of Consumers Energy employees are getting a financial boost.

The Consumers Energy Foundation recently awarded 78 grants worth $38,350 to organizations in Michigan where Consumers employees and retirees volunteer.  Last year, nonprofits in the state received more than $8 million from Consumers Energy and its employees, retirees, foundation and parent company, CMS Energy.  

The 2014 second quarter grant recipients include:

Allegan County

  • $450 to Fennville Public Schools Youth Baseball (Loren Barnes)
  • $550 to Fennville Public Schools Youth Football (Loren Barnes)

Ionia County

  • $550 to Portland Public Schools Wrestling Club (Chad Miller)

Kalamazoo County

My Town: GVSU and DHS awarded research grant for family support program

My Town: GVSU and DHS awarded research grant for family support program

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The Michigan Department of Human Services is teaming up with Grand Valley State University to measure the success of a family support program in more than 150 Michigan schools.

A three-year, $1.05 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will go toward measuring the impact of the Pathways to Potential program in Michigan.  The program places DHS case workers in schools to make it easier for children and their families to address barriers to their safety, health, education, attendance and self-sufficiency.

“We know that many children struggle in school because of outside of school challenges affecting both students and their families,” Gov. Snyder said. “The goal of Pathways to Potential is to reduce or eliminate those challenges by conveniently connecting families to the services they need to help everyone become more successful.”

My Town: WMU engineers create helmet device to detect concussions

My Town: WMU engineers create helmet device to detect concussions

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—In a time when concussions in football continue to make headlines, students at Western Michigan University have created a device to help detect head injuries.

SafeSense is installed in a football helmet to monitor hits to the head.  Student engineers designed the pressure sensor using printed electronics on a flexible organic plastic material that covers the inside of a helmet.  The sensor collects data on when, where and severity of a hit.  The information is then sent to a smartphone.  The helmet’s impact history can then be stored on a cloud-based server.

My Town Kalamazoo: United Way gives $7.6 million to support community programs

My Town Kalamazoo: United Way gives $7.6 million to support community programs
-------NEWS RELEASE---------KALAMAZOO, Mich. (United Way)—From early grade reading to support services for seniors, 106 programs operated by nonprofit agencies across the region are welcoming support totaling more than $7.6 million from United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region (UWBCKR).  “Because of our incredibly generous supporters, United Way is able to fund programs that are changing lives in meaningful ways,” said Michael Larson, President and CEO of UWBCKR. “More kids will learn to read well so they can succeed in school. More families will achieve financial stability. More people will embrace healthier lifestyles. More individuals in crisis will get the help they need.”  Larson said this year’s community investments, which total $7,651,690, meets or exceeds overall support provided both locally and regionally over the past several years.

Caught Being Safe program launches statewide

Michigan State Police, local law enforcement and Michigan’s Field Neurosciences Institute have teamed up with McDonald’s of Michigan to once again launch “Caught Being Safe,” a statewide bicycle/scooter helmet safety program. Kids wearing helmets and “caught being safe” by participating law enforcement officials will treated to a free ice cream cone or Apple Dippers at McDonald’s. 

According to the Field Neurosciences Institute (of Michigan): “Caught Being Safe! has shown a significant increase in both helmet utilization and public awareness regarding the critical importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. This program has impacted not only children but adults as well.” 

My Town: Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo among worst cities for mosquitoes

My Town: Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo among worst cities for mosquitoes

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—If  you’re among the many Americans planning to celebrate Memorial Day weekend outside, don’t forget the bug spray.

The Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek area is among the top 20 cities for mosquito problems.  That’s according to Orkin.  The pest control company based its rankings on the number of treatments it performed last year. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek ranked 13th on the list.  Atlanta took the top spot, followed by Chicago, Washington D.C. and Detroit.  

The rankings are as follows:

1: Atlanta

2: Chicago

3. Washington, D.C.

4. Detroit

5. Raleigh-Durham

6. Boston

7. Houston

8. Nashville

9. Charlotte

10. Dallas-Fort Worth

11. Richmond-Petersburg

12. Miami-Fort Lauderdale

13. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek