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Organizer of Christian music summer concert series hopes to expand next year

Organizer of Christian music summer concert series hopes to expand next year

ROCKFORD, Mich.-- "The old adage, 'You build it - they will come' is spot-on when describing the huge success of Rockford's 2013 Praise in the Park summer concert series," said Rockford city council member Steve Jazwiec during the September Rockford City Council meeting.

Jazwiec was responding to a recap presentation by former Rockford city council member Rich Moll, who organized Praise in the Park. 

The event is staged in the beautiful confines of Garden Club Park adjacent to the Rogue River and the iconic Rogue River Dam every summer Sunday evening, from June through August. Praise in the Park, in its second season, has seen attendance grow week after week.

Community invited to line route for Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall

Community invited to line route for Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall

SPARTA, Mich.—Community members are invited to line the street as the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall arrives in Sparta Thursday, August 29.

The 252 foot tribute is just over half the size of the Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.  The memorial will be open to the public around the clock through September 2.

The wall will leave Westgate Bowl on Alpine Avenue Thursday morning.  The route will take the wall down Sparta Avenue to Division to North Union to Olmstead to Balyeat Field, where it will be set up.

Opening ceremonies for the wall will take place 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Rogers Park.  The Kent County Honor Guard will lead the public to Balyeat Field.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation announces $385,000 in grants

Grand Rapids Community Foundation announces $385,000 in grants

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Four non-profit organizations are getting $385,000 in funding to improve the neighborhoods, health, engagement and environment of Kent County.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation announced the grants Tuesday.   The foundation awarded Habitat for Kent County $150,000 for its Building Blocks program, which is expected to restore or rehabilitate 36-40 properties in two years for low income families.  The funding also includes $150,000 to West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition to expand and improve trails, and a $60,000 grant to Health Intervention Services (HIS) for dental rooms, a nursing station and an improved volunteer area, which should allow HIS to double the number of patients it serves.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation also awarded $25,000 in grants to John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to create three Grand Rapids area programs to support local arts.

How the stacks at Kent District Library stacked up in 2012

How the stacks at Kent District Library stacked up in 2012

The director of Kent District Library (KDL) reviewed the organization’s performance during the East Grand Rapids City Commission meeting August 5.

According to the annual report, patrons checked out about 6.1 million books from KDL in 2012; that’s about half a million fewer than the prior year. However, the report indicates digital book checkouts nearly doubled during that same time period to 370,914.

Based on the report, KDL saw declines in total check-outs, branch visitors and library program attendance in 2012.  However, computer log-ins and summer reading club participation rose.   While KDL’s total expenditures were higher than library revenue, the fund balance covered the $107,521 difference.

Kent District Library operates 18 branches throughout Kent County, serving more than 350,000 people. 

Libraries offer free passes to state parks

Libraries offer free passes to state parks
 

Now’s your chance to enjoy the “MI Big Green Gym” by picking up free state park passes at your local library.

The Michigan Recreation and Parks Association is teaming up with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to offer free passes, allowing visitors to experience free recreation  programs many of the parks offer.

Alpine Township Board admits need for more road funding

Alpine Township Board admits need for more road funding

ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich.—The Alpine Township Board is moving forward with plans to fix roads leading through York Creek Apartments.

The mill and fill projects were recommended by the Kent County Road Commission.  Work on .58 miles of Yorkland Drive may begin anytime.  In May, the board approved increasing the township’s road work budget to $85,000 to help pay for the township’s $83,000 share of the project’s $166,000 bill.

The Township Board previously approved repairs to .21 miles of York Creek Drive, costing the Township $29,050.  The board is also considering more than $2 million in future improvements to roads in the Westgate subdivision. 

Alpine Township contains 66 miles of paved public roads. Board members say it’s evident the Township will need to budget more for future improvements.

Go Green Youth Challenge: How to get fresh trees in your community

Go Green Youth Challenge:  How to get fresh trees in your community

Applications are being accepted for the Go Green Youth Challenge tree planting grants.

Children from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade are invited to participate.  Participants are challenged to collect change individually, with their class or with a club each spring.  The change will go toward community tree plantings by the Michigan Arbor Day Alliance, as well as program outreach efforts.  The team that raises the most for the Go Green Youth Challenge will be awarded with a tree planning in their community.  They also get an invitation to the state Arbor Day celebration in April at Potter Park Zoo in Lansing.

Local governments, public educational institutions, public libraries, non-profit organizations, non-profit organizations, neighborhood associations, churches and tribal governments can also apply for a Go Green youth Challenge tree planting grant by visiting this websit