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My Town Kalamazoo: Growlers turn to public to rename mascot

My Town Kalamazoo: Growlers turn to public to rename mascot

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A dispute within Minor League Baseball means the Kalamazoo Growlers will be holding another naming contest for its mascot.

The Growlers must change their mascot’s name, Barlee because it is similar to the Hillsboro Hopps mascot’s name, Barley.  The Hopps, a team out of Hillsboro, Oregon, have a trademark on the name.  The Growlers learned about the name conflict shortly after wrapping up its public naming contest in spring.  The team decided to change their mascot’s name “in the interest of maintaining a healthy working relationship” with the Hillsboro Hopps.

My Town Kalamazoo: WMU players trade basketballs for books

My Town Kalamazoo: WMU players trade basketballs for books

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Students at Paramount Charter Academy recently welcomed some special guests during reading time.

Eight members of the Western Michigan University Women’s Basketball team read to students Nov. 21, in honor of the school’s college day.  The athletes also shared their reasons for attending WMU and joining the team.  Each student took home a WMU sports poster.

Paramount Charter Academy serves students in young 5s through eighth grade, focusing on a college-bound curriculum.

My Town: Local lawmakers honor Kalamazoo native Derek Jeter

My Town: Local lawmakers honor Kalamazoo native Derek Jeter

KALAMAZOO, Mich.— Michigan lawmakers are celebrating Kalamazoo-native Derek Jeter’s legacy, as he continues his final season with the New York Yankees.

On Aug. 27, State Rep. Margaret O’Brien joined House Speaker Jase Bolger and Speaker Pro Tempore John Walsh in presenting a tribute to Jeter, who will be retiring after 19 seasons with the New York Yankees.  O’Brien says his commitment to Kalamazoo county is just as notable as his accomplishments on the diamond.

“Not only will Derek Jeter be remembered as one of professional baseball’s best players, but he has poured so much time and energy into giving back to our community,” O’Brien said. “His Turn 2 Foundation has directly impacted southwest Michigan, and we are extremely grateful for his generosity.”

Jeter took part in his final game against the Tigers at Comerica Park Aug. 28.

My Town: Local Little League team to play for state title Wednesday

My Town: Local Little League team to play for state title Wednesday

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--- Western Little League Minors are following in the footsteps of the league's senior baseball team, with a run for the Little League State Championship title.

The 9/10 division beat South Portage Tuesday night in the state semi-final game, 11-4.  Western remains undefeated in the state tournament (5-0) with an overall record of 12-1.  Western will take on Essexville-Hampton for the state title  at 6 p.m. Wednesday on the Southern Little League’s East Field, located at 2525 Kalamazoo Ave. SE in Grand Rapids.

The 9/10 year old division of the Little League State Tournament began Friday, July 25 with 16 teams.  Detroit Red Wings’ Luke Glendening, who is a former Southern Little League player, helped kick off the competition.

My Town: Final rounds of Little League State Tournament unfold in Grand Rapids

My Town: Final rounds of Little League State Tournament unfold in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--- Just one West Michigan team remains in the running for the Little League State Tournament  title.

The Western team based out of the Walker/Standale area carries a 5-2 record into Tuesday night’s semi-final game against South Portage.  The game will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Southern Little League’s East Field, located at 2525 Kalamazoo Ave. SE in Grand Rapids.

The 9/10 year old division of the Little League State Tournament began Friday, July 25 with 16 teams.  Detroit Red Wings’ Luke Glendening, who is a former Southern Little League player, helped kick off the competition.

All games and parking are free to the public. Concessions will be open during all games. For updated scores and information, visit www.southernll.blogspot.com and click on 9/10 Tournament.

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: 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.