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My Town: Where to find Santa and holiday cheer this season

My Town:  Where to find Santa and holiday cheer this season

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(West Michigan Tourist Association)-- It’s getting to be that time of year when good ole’ St. Nick starts getting his list out, and checking it twice. Find out where in West Michigan you can catch Santa Claus this holiday season, along with some other special events that will let you get in the Christmas mood.

 

South

Live Reindeer at Silver Beach Carousel

Silver Beach Carousel has some jolly fun planned for the entire family! Come meet two live reindeer on Friday, Nov. 28, noon to 5 p.m., and Thursday, Dec. 18, 4 to 8:30 p.m. Come into Santa’s Christmas Corral in the Shadowland Ballroom where you can pet and have a professional keepsake photo taken with these friendly, gentle animals of North Pole fame.

My Town: Degas sculpture at the center of new GRAM exhibition

My Town: Degas sculpture at the center of new GRAM exhibition

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A sculpture by world renown artist Edgar Degas is at the heart of a new holiday exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is loaning its Degas sculpture, “Dancer Looking at the Sole of Her Right Foot” to the GRAM for its newest display, “Re-Envisioning The Nutcracker.”   The exhibition will be open through Jan. 11, 2015.

"It connects the Museum's collaboration with the Grand Rapids Ballet to Degas's work. He was a 19th century master who was fascinated by the movements and poses of the ballet. Degas made innumerable paintings, drawings and sculptures of ballerinas, and this is one of his finest," said Ron Platt, GRAM chief curator.

Poet Gregory Orr To Speak at Aquinas' Contemporary Writers Series

Poet Gregory Orr To Speak at Aquinas' Contemporary Writers Series

On September 17, the Aquinas College Contemporary Writers Series presents poet and award-winning writer Gregory Orr. A master of short, lyric free verse, Orr is the author of eleven collections of poetry. His most recent volumes include: The River Inside the River, How Beautiful the Beloved, and Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved. His memoir, The Blessing, was chosen by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the fifty best non-fiction books of 2002.

My Town GR South: Calvin professor receives grant to study ants' guts

My Town GR South: Calvin professor receives grant to study ants' guts

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Calvin College)-- To a bacteria researcher like John Wertz, germ is a four-letter word. “I cannot stand the word germ,” said the Calvin biology professor, “because it suggests that all bacteria and viruses are bad.”

In fact, the vast majority of bacteria are good, he said: “We need them. We are much more at risk for disease when our bacteria are out of whack or we don’t have them.”

Wertz has spent his career studying “good” bacteria and was recently awarded $479,000 from the National Science Foundation as part of a $2 million grant to continue his research.

Wertz’s portion will be used to cultivate never-before-seen bacteria in the laboratory, a skill he honed while still a graduate student at Michigan State University.

My Town Ada: $13 million redevelopment project enters new phase

My Town Ada: $13 million redevelopment project enters new phase

ADA, Mich.—The next phase in a new vision for the village of Ada will be on display for the public Monday, Sept. 8.

Ada Township plans to invest $6.5 million in the redevelopment project, which will focus on public facilities and infrastructure improvements to support an estimated $70 million in commercial and residential developments.  In turn, Amway will contribute $3.5 million to the improvements and lead the effort to raise an additional $3 million in private donations.

The Envision Ada project started last year with a series of community meetings to determine what the community should look like in the future. More than 1,200 residents contributed to the process, coming up with a blueprint for retail, residential and green spaces along the riverfront.  To see the entire plan, visit Envision Ada's website.

My Town: Start of school filled with photos and well-wishes

My Town: Start of school filled with photos and well-wishes

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- The 2014-2015 school year is officially underway for West Michigan students.

On Sept. 2, which was the official start of classes for most schools, State Superintendent Mike Flanagan released this statement: 

"It’s a great day to be Back to School in Michigan !

Let me take a moment to wish everyone a positive and successful school year.

Our team here at the Michigan Department of Education, the State Board of Education, and I appreciate the hard work and daily dedication teachers, administrators, school board members, and other school staff devote to our children in Michigan.

My Town: Make a life-saving donation, get a free haircut

My Town: Make a life-saving donation, get a free haircut

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— A life-saving donation could get you a new look.

The American Red Cross is teaming up with Sport Clips to provide coupons for free haircuts to those who sign up to donate blood at participating drives and blood donation centers.  The campaign, called “Saving Lives Never Looked So Good”, runs through the month of September at the Sports Clips locations at Knapps Corner, Shops at Plaza on the East Beltline, in Grandville and the Kenowa Center.

For more information and to find a participating blood drive, visit redcrossblood.org/sport-clips.