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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.

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: Finding free meals while school is out

My Town: Finding free meals while school is out

School is out, leaving many children from low-income families without meals during the summer months.

That’s where the Michigan Department of Education’s Summer Food Service program comes in. The program provides nutritious meals to people 18 years of age or younger for free.  All participants need to do is show up.

There are hundreds of participating locations, including places in Walker, Grand Rapids North, Grand Rapids West, Grand Rapids South, Grand Rapids Central, Grandville, Wyoming, Kalamazoo, Kentwood, Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon, Montague and Greenville. You can find the full list on the state website here.

My Town: How to bridge the summer learning loss gap

My Town: How to bridge the summer learning loss gap

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (National Heritage Academies)—Every child will lose a portion of the academic growth they experienced this school year during the summer break; It’s called summer learning loss. The problem is becoming so apparent the National Summer Learning Association has designated Friday, June 20, Summer Learning Day.

“It is so easy for students to slip into a summertime routine that doesn’t involve reading, writing, or using their math skills,” said Ridge Park Charter Academy Principal Emory Wyckoff. “We are challenging our students to set aside time each day to devote to a book or write about a summer experience they have enjoyed. Summer should be fun and educational.”

Wyckoff has some tips to help parents curb the summer slide:

My Town Kalamazoo: Promise scholarship expands to liberal arts colleges

My Town Kalamazoo: Promise scholarship expands to liberal arts colleges

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Students who receive the Kalamazoo Promise scholarship have even more college options available to them, beginning in the fall of 2015.

The Kalamazoo Promise is teaming up with the Michigan Colleges Alliance to allow scholars to attend any MCA liberal arts college or university in Michigan.  Eligible schools include Adrian College, Albion College, Alma College, Andrews University, Aquinas College, Calvin College, Hillsdale College, University of Detroit Mercy, Hope College, Kalamazoo College, Madonna University, Marygrove College, Olivet College, Siena Heights University and Spring Arbor University.  The Kalamazoo Promise board member Janice M. Brown says the partnership brings the number of eligible schools up to 58.  In each case, tuition and fees will be fully and jointly funded by The Kalamazoo Promise and MCA member institution.

My Town GR North: Meijer Great Choices Student Film Festival winners honored

My Town GR North: Meijer Great Choices Student Film Festival winners honored

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--- More than a dozen promising student filmmakers will be honored Saturday as they accept awards from the Meijer Great Choices Student Film Festival.

As part of the competition, students from across Michigan submitted more than 320 Public Service Announcement videos promoting positive choices among two age groups of youth.  A panel of media students and professors from Compass College of Cinematic Arts, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University helped whittle down the number of entries to 60.

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 7, the competition will culminate with 18 of the 60 finalists being honored with $21,000 in prizes and awards.  The presentation will take place at Celebration Cinema North at Knapp’s Corner, located at 2121 Celebration Drive NE in Grand Rapids. 

My Town Kalamazoo: $1.4 million grant to go toward STEM instruction reform

My Town Kalamazoo: $1.4 million grant to go toward STEM instruction reform

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (Western Michigan University)--A $1.4 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to Western Michigan University will be used to enhance undergraduate introduction to science, with the goal of attracting and retaining more students in the STEM disciplines--science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The five-year research and development effort, announced May 29 by HHMI, will be centered on WMU's introductory courses in biological sciences. The grant is one of just 37 awards made by HHMI  this year to American research universities invited to compete in the institute's 2014 funding round. A total of 203 universities were invited to apply, and the eventual winners were selected after three rounds of peer review.