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Arts & Culture

My Town: Michigan FFA President to celebrate National Ag Day in Washington, D.C.

My Town: Michigan FFA President to celebrate National Ag Day in Washington, D.C.

BELDING, Mich.—  The Michigan president of Future Farmers of America will celebrate National Ag Day this week in our nation’s capitol.

Belding native Alexandria Schut will join Ethan Haywood of Hastings in visiting congressional leaders during the 42nd annual event.  National Ag Day is aimed at raising awareness about the important role American agriculture plays, from how food is produced to agriculture’s vital role in a strong economy.   Producers, agricultural associations, corporations, students and government agencies are expected to take part in the event in classrooms and communities nationwide.

"Agriculture plays a key role in all of our everyday lives," said Kent Schescke, director of government and nonprofit relations for the National FFA Organization. "FFA is pleased that we can play a role in helping others know the importance of agriculture, especially during the National Ag Day program."

My Town: Girl Scout cookie munchers will have to wait

My Town: Girl Scout cookie munchers will have to wait

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— The start of spring usually signals the return of the Girl Scouts’ traditional boxed treats, but cookie connoisseurs will have to wait even longer this year.

The Girls Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore says local cookie deliveries will be delayed by four weeks.  Little Brownie Bakers, which churns out the treats, blames unexpectedly high demand for cookies.

"[Our forecast] has resulted in a tightness in cookie inventory and an inability to meet cookie orders at the dates originally requested," explains sales director Brenda Smith. "The situation was made worse by winter weather that resulted in a plant shutdown for two days in February and an ingredient delivery delay in late February."

Little Brownie Bakers is working around the clock to fill all orders.  All requested boxes should arrive in West Michigan the week of April 13. 

Meijer generates nearly $6 Million for Midwest food pantries in 2014

Meijer generates nearly $6 Million for Midwest food pantries in 2014

----NEWS RELEASE---

The Meijer Simply Give program – held three times a year – generated nearly $6 million in 2014 for food pantries throughout the Midwest, bringing the program’s overall donation total to nearly $14 million since it began in November 2008.

The retailer’s most recent campaign, which ended in January, was the most successful holiday campaign in the program’s history, resulting in a total of more than $1.8 million for hungry families.

My Town: 'The Surprising Story of the Three Little Pigs'

My Town: 'The Surprising Story of the Three Little Pigs'

LOWELL, Mich.-- The community is invited to this hilarious comedy production written by Linda Daugherty.

Daugherty combines three classic fairy tales, “The Three Little Pigs”, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and the “Three Billy Goats Gruff" and includes some surprising twists. A cast of 16 local students and adults from Lowell, Saranac, Grand Rapids and Belding brings this fun production to life.

This comedy takes place Saturday, Jan. 24 at 7:00 p.m. at the Lowell High School Performing Arts Center, located at 11700 Vergennes.

Admission is $5.00 and tickets are available at the door. The Box Office opens at 6:30 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased online at https://threelittlepigsjan24.eventbrite.com.

My Town: Mail-in cancer tests, produce programs get state funding

My Town: Mail-in cancer tests, produce programs get state funding

LANSING, Mich. – Making fruits and vegetables more readily available, cancer screenings by mail, health coaches and exercise programs are just several of the local initiatives getting funding from the Michigan Department of Community Health.

The MDCH recently announced 44 projects are getting approximately $1.34 million, including a dozen projects in West Michigan.  The grants include:

My Town: What 2015 will hold for West Michigan's economy

My Town: What 2015 will hold for West Michigan's economy

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--- Consumers in West Michigan are more optimistic about what 2015 will bring.

In fact, consumers in this market are the most optimistic in the region, according to a new study released by Huntington Bank.  The financial firm found local residents say they are much more likely to buy a new vehicle this year; 17 percent said they plan to purchase a new car, compared to just four percent in 2014.

Home improvement stores may also be busy; 47-percent of West Michiganders surveyed for the Huntington Bank Midwest Economic Index said they were planning some home renovations for 2015, compared to 32 percent in 2014.

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.