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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: Arthrits Walk returns under new name and leader

My Town: Arthrits Walk returns under new name and leader

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The Arthritis Walk will return with a new name and new leader when it returns to Grand Rapids next month.

Dr. Thomas A. Malvitz of Ada will serve as medical chair of the 2014 Grand Rapids Walk to Cure Arthritis, formerly known as the Arthritis Walk.  Malvitz is a surgeon with the Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan in Grand Rapids.

The Walk to Cure Arthritis is a three-mile walk aimed at raising awareness and funds to fight arthritis.  Proceeds from the event go to the Arthritis Foundation, which works to help some of the more than 2.3 million Michiganders with arthritis.

My Town Walker: IHOP to serve up free pancakes March 4

My Town Walker: IHOP to serve up free pancakes March 4

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich.—Skip firing up your skillet Tuesday, March 4 and head to your closest IHOP for free pancakes.

Participating IHOP restaurants will be serving up a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes in honor of National Pancake Day.   The deal will be good from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

In exchange for free pancakes, customers are encouraged to donate to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Shriners Hospitals for Children and other local charities.

"Our guests, our franchisees, their team members, and all of us at IHOP- look forward to National Pancake Day every year. Knowing that every free stack of buttermilk pancakes has the potential to improve the lives of the children in their own community makes serving them and eating them even more enjoyable than usual,” said Julia Stewart, Interim President, International House of Pancakes, LLC and CEO of the parent company, DineEquity, Inc.

My Town Ada: Relay For Life returns June 6-7

My Town Ada: Relay For Life returns June 6-7

ADA, Mich.—Preparations are already underway for this year’s Relay For Life of Forest Hills.

This year’s event will take place June 6-7 at Ada Christian School. 

Relay For Life is a 24 hour event in which teams camp out around a track and take turns walking.  When participants are not walking, there are games, food and other activities to entertain them.  Proceeds from Relay For Life go to the American Cancer Society, for research and to support cancer patients and their families.

For more information about this year’s Relay For Life of Forest Hills, contact Elizabeth Balder at Elizabeth.balder@cancer.org.

St. Matthew Lutheran Church says "no" to hunger

St. Matthew Lutheran Church says "no" to hunger

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- On Saturday, Feb. 8, the new gymnasium and multipurpose room at St. Matthew Lutheran Church was filled with the laughter of children for the first time during a Kids Against Hunger food packing event.

In all, 120 volunteers from the congregation and community packaged 11,376 meals for hungry children and their families.  Of the meals packaged, 3,456 went to the John Knox food pantry on Kalamazoo Avenue in Grand Rapids.  The remaining meals will go to third world countries in dire need and those devastated by a natural disaster.

St. Matthew and Thrivent Financial Services provided the funding for the event.   Kids Against Hunger – Grand Rapids delivered all the equipment, food, packing materials and tables.  Chuck Bailey, director for KAH-Grand Rapids trained the volunteers and managed the event.  They started setting up at 7:30 a.m.

Kent County turns to community to set health priorities

Kent County turns to community to set health priorities

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Healthy Kent and the Kent County Health Department will begin tapping the community for ideas to make the county healthier Tuesday, Feb. 11.

From more health food stores to more mental health services, all ideas are welcome as both groups collect information for the 2014 Community Health Needs Assessment.

"The best way to ensure success of our health programs is to focus on what we can address and what we can improve, said Adam London, Kent County health officer who has dedicated staff working with Healthy Kent. "The data and information gathered in this step will help us develop top priorities to improve health outcomes in Kent County."

Local health departments are required to update their Community Health Needs Assessment every five years for state accreditation.  Hospitals must update their CHNA every three years.

The meeting schedule is as follows:

  • Feb.

Extreme winter conditions cut into blood donations

Extreme winter conditions cut into blood donations

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The recent winter storms and extremely cold temperatures are taking a toll on donations to the American Red Cross.

The organization says more than 7070 blood drives were cancelled last month because of the weather—leading to a loss of more than 25,000 blood and platelet donations. On average, the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints of blood each day to supply medical centers. 

“While thousands of people from across the country responded to the call for blood and platelet donations issued by the Red Cross in January, there continues to be an urgent need for blood donors with type O, especially type O negative,” said Todd Kulman, communications program manager for the Great Lakes Blood Services Region.

Kulman says the recent uptick in cold and flu cases is also taking a toll on blood donations.   Community members are encouraged to donate blood at one of the following drives:

  • Feb. 4, 12 p.m.