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

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

----NEWS RELEASE---

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.

My Town Ada: Final free concert Aug. 26 all in 'The Family'

My Town Ada: Final free concert Aug. 26 all in 'The Family'

ADA, Mich.— Bring your family out to see "The Family" Tuesday, Aug. 26 for the final installment of Ada Historical Society’s “Music on the Lawn” concert series.

The group’s encore performance will include a variety of music selections, including jazz.  The concert kicks off at 7 p.m. at 7144 Headley Street in Ada.  The concert is free; guests are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets to enjoy the performance.

This is the 14th year for Music on the Lawn.

My Town: Final days are here for British icon's garden art exhibit

My Town: Final days are here for British icon's garden art exhibit

GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich.—Time is running out to see the work of a renowned British sculptor at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

“David Nash: From Kew Gardens to Meijer Gardens” ends Aug. 17.  The summertime exhibition features more than 25 sculptures and installations by Nash, scattered across the garden grounds.  The exhibition was organized by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, where Nash served as the first artist-in-resident.

Much of Nash’s work is focused on trees, through cutting, charring, casting, planting, drawing, or documentation.

“In many ways, David Nash and the whole of his career, which conjoins sculpture and the natural world, is at the very heart of the mission of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park,” says David Hooker, president and CEO of Meijer Gardens.

My Town: West Michigan community leaders to help state tackle poverty

My Town: West Michigan community leaders to help state tackle poverty

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— Governor Snyder is naming ten more people to a panel in charge of tackling poverty in Michigan.

The Commission on Community Action and Economic Opportunity is a 12-member commission focused on promoting social and economic opportunities for low-income people.  Those appointed to a one year-term on the commission include Hope College graduate Jacob Maas.  The Grand Rapids native is executive director of the Area Community Services Employment and Training Council. He will represent community action agencies.