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Former Congressional candidate joins Airport Board

Former Congressional candidate joins Airport Board

KENTWOOD, Mich.—There’s a new face on the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Board.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners announced the appointment of Steve Heacock Monday.  The seven-member Airport Board is responsible for the general oversight of Gerald R. Ford Ford International Airport.  Heacock replaces former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, who left the board last December.  His term will run through Dec. 31, 2016.

Heacock has served as chairman of the Convention and Arena Authority, which owns and operates Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place.  He  served on the Kent County Board of Commissioners fir sux years, including two years as the chairman.  Heacock, who is a Grand Rapids resident, is the senior vice president of public affairs for Spectrum Health Systems.  He was also the chief administrative officer, general counsel and board secretary of the Van Andel Institute for six years.

Celebrate the Mitten Writers Conference registration now open

 Celebrate the Mitten Writers Conference registration now open

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--- Rub shoulders with other wordsmiths for free, as the third annual Celebrate the Mitten Writers Conference returns to Grand Rapids.

Publishers, editors and novelists Kristina Riggle and Aric Davis will be among the speakers sharing their tips on how to take your writing to the next level.  Writers from all generes and skill levels are welcome for the free conference, which will take place Saturday, March 29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Kent District Library Cascade Township Branch.

 “Libraries wouldn’t exist without readers, and that requires writers,” said Morgan Jarema, KDL communications assistant and conference organizer. “Last year’s conference drew a full house of 200 people and had a waiting list, so writers in West Michigan clearly are looking to hear from experts in their field to help them navigate the path to publication. We really want to support them.”

Now is the time to register for the conference.

Kent District Library announces Write Michigan Contest winners

Kent District Library announces Write Michigan Contest winners

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Six people from Grand Rapids and Ada are among the winners of the second annual Write Michigan Contest.

Judges reviewed nearly 900 entries from writers across the state- that’s nearly double the amount the received last year.  Nearly 500 of the submissions were to the new teen category.

All last month, the public voted for their favorites on the Write Michigan website.  The winners were announced this week.  The Judge’s Choice winners took home a $250 award; Judges’ Choice runners-up were awarded $100.  Readers’ Choice winners were also awarded $250.

This year’s winners are:

Adult Category

  • Judges’ Choice Winner: Oscar Bee, Chelsea
  • Judges’ Choice Runner-Up: Connor Newton, Waterford
  • Readers’ Choice Winner: Eric Dobson, Ypsilanti
  • Published Finalists: Anne Brandt, Benton Harbor; Robert Vander Lugt,

Local First presents fourth annual LocalMotion Awards

Local First presents fourth annual LocalMotion Awards

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Local First awarded exemplary businesses and individuals with the LocalMotion Awards at their Annual Meeting, presented by Eastern Floral and held at the Goei Center.

The LocalMotion Awards were created to recognize businesses and individuals leading the way in building a vibrant, sustainable community.  They’re a tool to help shift the “norm” towards sustainable business practices and to educate the community on the unique ways locally owned businesses impact our region. The awards were presented by Local First board members Andy Guy and Emily Loeks.

The winners:

The Triple Bottom Line, Up & Coming Business

Presented to a locally owned company that demonstrates a strong commitment to the TBL– either through successful outcomes or innovative programs. Must be in business between two and five years. Previous winners include: Brewery Vivant, Dwelltech Solutions, MadCap Coffee

Kent County Commissioner stepping down Feb. 1

Kent County Commissioner stepping down Feb. 1

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The search is about to begin to replace another Kent County commissioner.

Sandi Frost Steensma will officially resign from her post on Saturday, Feb. 1.  Steensma began serving on the Board of Commissioners seven years ago.  She was re-elected three times to represent District 5, which covers Bowne Township, Cascade Township, Lowell Township and a part of Caledonia Township.

“Commissioner Steensma has operated in a bi-partisan manner in the commission chambers,

while working to maintain the county’s balanced budgets and AAA Credit Rating,” said commission chairman Dan Koorndyk of the Kent County Board of Commissioners. “She has shown a passion for the parks and other programs that make Kent County a quality community, and has worked diligently to create a new entity to oversee John Ball Zoo.”

Steensma was recently appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to serve on the Board of Trustees for Lake Superior State University.

John Decker files candidacy for 73rd District House seat

John Decker files candidacy for 73rd District House seat

CANNON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – John A. Decker, retired auto dealership owner, announced his candidacy in the Aug. 5, 2014 Republican primary for Michigan’s 73rd House District.

The seat is currently held by Peter MacGregor, who has chosen not to seek re-election and is instead vying for a seat in the Michigan Senate.

“I plan to take the knowledge I gained as a responsible businessman to Lansing and represent the 73rd District with the utmost integrity,” said Decker, who has nearly 25 years experience owning General Motors dealerships. “I am fortunate enough to be retired, but I have the desire to give back to the communities that supported me both as a businessman and personally.”

Decker resides in Kent County’s Cannon Township. He has been married for 30 years to his wife, Connie.

Conservative group ads target G.R. businessman in congressional primary

Conservative group ads target G.R. businessman in congressional primary

WASHINGTON (Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press) — The conservative Club for Growth typically only gets involved in a handful of races nationwide each election cycle — and it looks like at least one Michigan primary is on its radar.

The organization’s political action committee today unveiled what it called a “six-figure” TV and radio ad campaign criticizing Brian Ellis, a Grand Rapids businessman and former school board member running in the Republican primary against libertarian firebrand U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Cascade Charter Township.

In the two ads, the Club for Growth says Ellis “raised property taxes, hiked spending and left massive deficits” while a member of the East Grand Rapids School Board. They also accused him, as a member of the Michigan Strategic Fund, of having “wasted ... tax dollars on a golf resort,” as well as businesses producing gourmet mushrooms and pet food.