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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,

Fox Motors' expansion plan clears hurdle

Fox Motors' expansion plan clears hurdle

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich.—Fox Motors’ plan to expand in Cascade Township has cleared another hurdle.

During its regular meeting Jan. 27, the Cascade Township Planning Commission gave preliminary approval to the dealership’s request to rezone 4.5 acres.  Fox Motors wants to expand its East Imports lot on 28th Street to accommodate a new building for Subaru.

The proposal must still be reviewed and voted on by the Cascade Township Board, which is expected to happen within the next four to five weeks.

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.

Cross-country skiing workshop Jan. 11

Cross-country skiing workshop Jan. 11

ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich.—With more than a foot of fresh snow throughout most of West Michigan, it’s a perfect time to learn how to cross-country ski.

The Ada Township Parks and Recreation Department will offer a introductory workshop this Saturday, Jan. 11.  Participants will learn about the necessary equipment and techniques to cross-country ski before heading out into Roselle Park to try it out, with the guidance of a coach.

The workshop is $5 for adults and $3 for youth, not including equipment rentals.   Rentals are available locally at Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus, located at 1200 E. Paris.   Participants can also bring their own skis.

Pre-registration is encouraged.  To register, call (616) 676-0520 or email mfitzpatrick@adatownshipmi.com .

Georgetown Township roadwork earns state honor

GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich.—A stretch of repaved road in Georgetown Township is getting statewide attention.

The Asphalt Paving Association of Michigan recently awarded Rieth-Riley Construction Company and the Ottawa County Road Commission the 2013 Paving Award for work on Baldwin Street, from 20th Avenue to Cottonwood Drive. 

The overlay project ranked among the highest in appearance and smooth ride based on its degree of difficulty.

Experience Grand Rapids launches personalized travel planning website

Experience Grand Rapids launches personalized travel planning website

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.---Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, recently announced the launch of its new personalized travel planning website, www.GRCityTwist.com.

The new interactive website targets 18 different interests, from “art lovers” to “thrill seekers”, allowing the visitor to customize their trip.  For example, craft beer enthusiasts can find breweries to explore, activities and nightlife related to craft beer, and accommodations for the weekend.

EXGR launched the new, mobile-friendly website on Dec. 17 at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park with the hospitality community, business and political leaders, and its Certified Tourism Ambassadors.

Envision Ada plan up for vote Dec. 16

Envision Ada plan up for vote Dec. 16

ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich.—A plan months in the making could hit a milestone Monday.

Ada Township Clerk Susan Burton says the Downtown Development Authority will take up the Envision Ada plan during its regular meeting Dec. 16.  Burton says the DDA is expected to approve the plan ahead of the Board of Trustees meeting Monday night.  The Board of Trustees will be formally briefed on the Envision Ada plan, but will not vote on it.

Meetings for Envision Ada began back in June, after Amway purchased another 22 acres of mostly riverfront land.  The corporation teamed up with the DDA to ask the community for development suggestions.  Read our previous story here.