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My Town: Battle of the Buildings energy reduction competition expands for second year

My Town: Battle of the Buildings energy reduction competition expands for second year

Registration is officially open for Michigan commercial and industrial buildings of all sizes interested in joining the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan's (USGBCWM) second annual Battle of the Buildings competition. The statewide competition is an expansion of the Battle of the Buildings that started in West Michigan last year.

Battle of the Buildings is an awards and recognition program for energy use reduction. The competition is a way to encourage energy-efficient practices in buildings across the state of Michigan and to instill a spirit of friendly competition among the area’s building owners and operators. Steelcase, Western Michigan University and Nichols have already committed for the 2015 competition totaling over 3,000,000 sq. feet.

My Town: 12 tips to stay safe in this extreme cold

My Town: 12 tips to stay safe in this extreme cold

The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division are sharing their top tips to stay safe in this extreme cold.

"As we saw last winter, these arctic blasts can create hazardous situations," said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. "Citizens are encouraged to monitor local weather reports and follow the appropriate steps to stay safe during these extremely cold and potentially life-threatening temperatures."

Exposure to these subzero temperatures could potentially cause frostbite and hypothermia, as well as create hazardous driving conditions.

To stay safe during cold weather:

My Town: Time to trash the tree! Free Christmas tree recycling locations

My Town: Time to trash the tree!  Free Christmas tree recycling locations

Christmas is over, which means it’s time to trash the tree.

Many municipalities are offering free tree recycling services to residents with a natural tree.  Some communities are planning to put the trees through a chipper and use the remnants to cover park trails and other green spaces.  Here is the schedule for live tree drop-offs:

Ada Township (Through Jan. 12)

  • Ada Township Park, from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

 

Alpine Township (Through Jan. 31)

  • Behind Township Hall, 5255 Alpine Ave. NW

 

Cannon Township (Through Jan. 10)

  • West side of the township building; RHS Honor Society will help unload trees Jan. 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (donations encouraged)

 

Courtland Township (Through Jan. 31)

  • Fire Station #1 on 14 Mile Road

 

More green for eating greens: Eat local movement gets federal boost

More green for eating greens: Eat local movement gets federal boost

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The eat local movement is getting a federal boost.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently awarded Local First a two-year $94,000 grant for Community Supported Agriculture.  Local First is teaming up with West Michigan Growers Group and Michigan State University Extension to provide resources for farmers to grow their CSA programs. With CSAs, community members purchase a share of a local farm, which then divides its harvest among investors.  The CSA form of farming provides stability for farmers and allows investors to enjoy seasonable, locally grown produce. The program provides the health, relational and economic benefits that come with eating local.

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: 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.

OPINION: Michigan, Our Great State

OPINION: Michigan, Our Great State

Michigan, our great state. Whether we realize it or not, we really do have a great state.

Granted, we had an unusual winter this past year but then again, have you ever seen the grass and trees so green before? Even people returning from Florida this year have commented about everything being so green!

Despite all of the good things, I still hear people complain about it either being too cool, too cloudy, too hot, etc. To those people I say, maybe it’s time for you to move to a perfect climate, wherever that may be.

I love Michigan and all it has to offer. We have the Great Lakes, a treasure on their own. I used to have an older friend, Bill Hickey, who had apple orchards.

He told me, “You will never, ever find an apple as snappy when you bite into it as a Michigan apple in the fall, because of the Great Lakes.”