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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:

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.

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.” 

My Town: Park patch to help fight hunger in West Michigan

My Town: Park patch to help fight hunger in West Michigan

WYOMING, Mich.—United Church Outreach Ministry is getting down and dirty to help fight hunger in West Michigan.

As part of their newest project, Growing Green Neighbors, ministry members teamed up with community members, Metro Health employees and other volunteers Tuesday to turn a patch of Wyoming’s Marquette Park into a thriving garden.

The food will be donated to Feeding America West Michigan, increasing the amount of healthy fresh vegetables available to pantry visitors.

My Town: Governor names Michigan Tree Fruit Commission

My Town: Governor names Michigan Tree Fruit Commission

------------------------NEWS RELEASE------------

LANSING, Mich. (State of Michigan)– Gov. Rick Snyder today announced nine appointments to the newly created Michigan Tree Fruit Commission.

The nine-member commission was established by growers in 2014 to improve the economic position and competitiveness of the Michigan tree fruit industry.

“The food and agriculture industry is one of the pillars of Michigan’s economy,” Snyder said. “I am confident that this group of appointees will work hard to grow this sector of our economy.”

Initial terms expiring March 1, 2015:

Patrick Goodfellow, of Sparta, is the owner of PG Orchards LLC. He previously worked as a plumbing apprentice and maintenance worker which is beneficial in the day-to-day operations of a farm. Goodfellow graduated from West Catholic High School. He will represent fruit growers in District 2.

My Town: Public hearing May 15 over company's debated move

My Town: Public hearing May 15 over company's debated move

ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich.— The Alpine Township Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Thursday, May 15 over a company’s debated move from Sparta to Fruit Ridge Avenue.

Crop Production Services is asking for site plan approval to move its business onto five acres at 6201 Fruit Ridge Avenue.  The company wants a special use permit to use the site to manufacture its fertilizers and crop protection products.  The plans include building an office, chemical storage facility and dry storage building as well as containment areas. 

 At least one community member is opposing the move, saying the proposed plans would put huge chemical tanks in the middle of apple orchards and vegetable fields, and the influx of semi trucks will only add to the hazards on a busy country road that already experiences a lot of crashes.

The public hearing begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.