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My Town: Heart of West Michigan United Way awards $3.3 million in community grants

My Town: Heart of West Michigan United Way awards $3.3 million in community grants

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—More than three dozen organizations and agencies helping people get back on their feet are getting millions of dollars in support.

The Heart of West Michigan United Way awarded $3.3 million in grants to 39 agencies that reach out to the community-from offering home-delivered meals to senior to after school care.

 “We value our partnership and believe a community that takes care of its friends and neighbors is a good place to live. By investing in the basic needs of the community, we are working together to help the people that are the most in need,” says Maureen Noe, president and CEO of Heart of West Michigan United Way.  “If people have their basic needs met, such as food, shelter and a safe home situation, they are able to focus on the future and take the next steps to improving their lives. “

This year’s grant recipients are: 

Residential parking permits coming to Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Residential parking permits are commonplace in large cities; now they're coming to Grand Rapids on a limited level.

Neighbors of the Belknap Lookout region will have them at a cost of $30 for a year; permits in Ann Arbor are $50 a year.

Residents living in the area voted on the idea and approved it by a 60 percent margin. They have grown frustrated with being unable to find parking near their homes and apartments. In recent years there has been a huge influx of cars parking in the area: students and employees from GVSU, MSU, and Spectrum Health.

City Manager Greg Sundstrom noted Tuesday morning, "This is not a money maker for the city. Not only are we not imposing this, but we are losing money."

My Town: Grand Rapids Township restaurant to become new taphouse

My Town: Grand Rapids Township restaurant to become new taphouse

GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The owners of a new tap house taking shape on the East Beltline has a name.

RedWater Restaurant Group will call its newest restaurant “Gravity”, based off the brewing term defining the alcohol level of a particular craft beer.  The restaurant is taking shape at the site of the former Malarky’s restaurant, which closed after its owners announced plans to retire.  Construction on Gravity began late last month.

MORE: Grand Rapids Township restaurant to become new tap house

My Town: Grants introduce more children to fishing

My Town: Grants introduce more children to fishing

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Hundreds of children will get the chance to experience the fun of fishing, thanks to mini-grants from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

MDNR’s fisheries division raised $3,482 through a silent auction for Mentor Michigan.  The funding will go to five organizations statewide to allow children and their mentors enjoy a fishing outing. 

“Every youth should have the opportunity to experience fishing,” said Mentor Michigan Director Amber Troupe. “Unfortunately, there are many obstacles to this fun activity, such as a lack of equipment, transportation or knowledge of the sport.  We are thankful to [the MDNR's] Fisheries Division for providing this generous donation so mentoring programs around the state will be able to introduce fishing and fishing skills to their matches.”

Get Fit: The basics of rowing

Grand Rapids (WZZM) - Four WZZM 13 team members have taken on a new Get Fit challenge. They are giving rowing a try, but there's a competitive element to this particular activity.

Jennifer Pascua and Alana Nehring, also known as Team Eats, have challenged Valerie Lego and producer Erin Zacek, also known as Team Crossfit, to a rowing race. First, they must train together with the help of Elizabeth Embick, a Learn to Row coach with the Grand Rapids Rowing Association.

The first outing with Elizabeth focused on what they need to learn before they get into the water.

"There's lots of parts of the boat and parts of the oar," said Embick. "Often in rowboats, you have a coxswain who gives calls and the whole crew has to follow those instructions. So crew members need to know what those mean."

Cooking with Kal: Lemon Dream Bars (always a favorite)

Cooking with Kal: Lemon Dream Bars (always a favorite)

I got this recipe from Suzie Pomper, after her husband David  brought them into work one day. Believe me, they are delicious bars.

I made them this past week for my son Eric’s birthday but I doubled the recipe to make a half sheet pan of them to share at his work. The only thing I would do differently if I made this size again is to triple the filling only. It would make the bars a little thicker. Instead, I put a Cool Whip flower on each of the bars, to make up for them not having as much filling. Sometimes you just have to improvise.

Lemon dream bars


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt


  • 2 T. flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 T. lemon juice


My Town: Health phone survey in Kent County largest of its kind in the world

My Town: Health phone survey in Kent County largest of its kind in the world

GRAND RAPIDS – Starting this week, people in Kent County will be receiving letters and phone calls asking families to take part in the 2014 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

This health survey is the largest-conducted telephone survey in the world. The survey will help the KCHD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to track critical health issues, as well as creating and evaluating public health programs in Kent County. Issues and Answers, a phone marketing research firm, will be conducting the survey on behalf of the Kent County Health Department (KCHD).