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My Town: Community invited to literacy discussion featuring mayor, superintendents and lit org

My Town: Community invited to literacy discussion featuring mayor, superintendents and lit org

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- SLD Read, formerly known as the Specialized Language Development Center, will host a State of Literacy discussion and breakfast on April 30th beginning at 8 a.m.

The event will take place at The ROC, 601 First Street NW, on Grand Rapids’ west side. All community members are invited to attend to discuss the literacy in the West Michigan community as well as learn about the organization’s expansion and rebrand. SLD Read is hosting the event to increase community awareness and understanding of literacy issues within the community. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet SLD Read staff, board, donors and tutors.

My Town: Rock & roll nutrition show tours West Michigan

My Town: Rock & roll nutrition show tours West Michigan

HOLLAND, Mich.—A rock and roll nutrition show has arrived in West Michigan.

“Jump with Jill” kicked off a series of performances at five area schools Monday, with a live show at Thomas Jefferson School in Holland.  It’s one of five schools that won a statewide contest, thanks to the generosity of Michigan’s dairy farmers and milk processors and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan as part of their Fuel Up to Play 60 program. 

“Dairy is one of easiest and richest ways that kids can get the calcium they need for strong bones,” says Amy Viselli with the United Dairy Industry of Michigan. “Jump with Jill has serious fun with a serious message. They even dress up a milk jug as a rapper named Calcium.”

My Town: Lawyer launches new fashion line in East Grand Rapids

My Town: Lawyer launches new fashion line in East Grand Rapids

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--  A Miami lawyer turned  East Grand Rapids entrepreneur is launching her luxury lounge wear line in West Michigan.

Jamie Loeks Duffield came up with the idea for Duffield Lane when she and her mother couldn’t find appropriate pajamas to wear during their traditional Christmas Eve gathering with family.   

My mother and I were looking for quality, appropriate and stylish lounge wear that we would want to wear past December 25th. There just wasn’t anything out there that was fashionable and comfortable,”says Duffield.

The entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in Duffield’s family.  Her Jim and Barrie Loeks, founded Star Theater and her uncle, John Loeks, founded Celebration Cinema.

Duffield is currently teaming up with Michigan- based Fashion Pronto to develop a new line that will be available this summer. 

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.