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My Town: Kent Intermediate School District gets health program grant

My Town: Kent Intermediate School District gets health program grant

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—  The Kent Intermediate School District is getting a federal boost to physical and nutritional education programs. 

 U.S. Department of Education has awarded 67 grants totaling more than $33 million to local education agencies and community-base organizations.  Only two groups in Michigan were awarded funding; KISD is getting $429,404 for programs to help K-12 students develop healthy lifestyles and meet state standards for physical education.

“A healthy, active lifestyle is an important ingredient of academic success,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “These grants are a resource to help schools and communities develop programs that teach students the importance of staying active and developing healthy lifestyles. We need more states, districts, schools and communities to recognize the critically important role of physical education in improving student engagement and achievement.”

My Town: Ada Farmers Market prepares for a new extended season

My Town: Ada Farmers Market prepares for a new extended season

ADA, Mich.—The new season will be an even longer one for the Ada Farmers Market.

The farmers market will celebrate the start of its sixth season on Tuesday, June 10 in the parking lot of The Community Church, 7239 Thornapple River Drive.  Shoppers can peruse fresh produce and other local products from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.   The farmers market will be open every Tuesday through October 28, a month longer than last year. Organizers are expecting the majority of vendors to return this year.

This year, organizers will be adding a new cooking class by local chefs, preparing their own dishes based on whatever is in the market that day.  The cooking class schedule will be posted on the Ada Farmers Market website and Facebook page as it becomes available.

My Town: Frederik Meijer Gardens provides a hot spot during spring break

My Town: Frederik Meijer Gardens provides a hot spot during spring break

GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich.—If you can’t escape to a warmer place this spring break, just head to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, where the Butterflies Are Blooming, and so are the opportunities for fun.

Now through April 30, visit the balmy Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory where more than 7,000 butterflies from Africa, Asia, South America and Central America mature and  fly freely among the tropical plants. Butterflies Are Blooming is the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation.

 “Where else in the Midwest can you walk into a 15 thousand square-foot tropical environment and be instantly immersed in warm temperatures and thousands of exotic butterflies?” asked Steve LaWarre, director of horticulture. “This exhibition gives you the opportunity to experience something different—a taste of the tropics and special winged visitors-- right here in West Michigan.”

My Town: Prepare for a 'Museums Free 4 All'

My Town: Prepare for a 'Museums Free 4 All'

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—One month from today, it will be a “Museums Free 4 All” in Grand Rapids.

On May 4, Amway is once again covering the cost of admission for families to four major Grand Rapids museums, including the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.  Participants can also jump on a free shuttle to travel to and from each museum.  Amway will also be hosting fun, family-friendly activities outside the GRAM.  People who get their “passport” stamped at all four museums will also have a chance to win prizes.

My Town:Students advance to Science Olympiad State Tournament

My Town:Students advance to Science Olympiad State Tournament

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—More than a dozen teams of West Michigan youth will head to Lansing next month for the Science Olympiad State Tournament.

The teams competed for a spot in the competition during the Region 12 Michigan Science Olympiad event held Saturday.  It was the 30th anniversary for the competition, held at Grand Valley State University.

Based on the results, the following teams will compete at the state Capitol:

            Middle School Teams (in order of place)

1.     Lakeshore Middle School

2.     Grandville Middle School

3.     Jenison Jr. High

4.     Chandler Woods Charter

My Town: Nominations sought for Heart of West Michigan United Way awards

My Town: Nominations sought for Heart of West Michigan United Way awards

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Heart of West Michigan United Way is seeking nominations for its inaugural GIVE, ADVOCATE and VOLUNTEER awards.

The awards are meant to celebrate nonprofits, companies and people who have made a difference in the community.  The GIVE Award goes to a company that has displayed generosity within the community, and created a culture of giving within its organization last year.

The ADVOCATE Award honors a person or nonprofit organization who leads and works with people to improve the health and wellness of the community, leaving a lasting impact on Kent County.

The VOLUNTEER Award goes to a company that promotes and provides year-round opportunities for employees to volunteer within their community, improving Kent County.

My Town: Forest Hills Schools using technology to combat snow days

My Town: Forest Hills Schools using technology to combat snow days

FOREST HILLS, Mich.—As many West Michigan schools are preparing to extend their academic calendar into June because of snow days, one district is combating a longer school year with the help of technology.

Anticipating snow days, language arts teacher Kris Schrotenboer recorded two weeks of lessons at the beginning of the semester with Michigan-made TechSmith Relay.  Shrotenboer even recorded some of her lessons on a smart phone at her kitchen table.   The 20-year veteran teacher then assigned students to watch videos on snow days, keeping her lesson plan on track.  Schrotenboer says her some of her students loved spending a little of their snow day on schoolwork, so they don’t have to cram later on.