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My Town GR North: Creston Neighborhood welcomes city's first hostel

My Town GR North: Creston Neighborhood welcomes city's first hostel

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Two longtime Grand Rapids residents plan to transform a 150-year-old Victorian home into the city’s first hostel.

Cousins Mark and Phil Bouman plan to open the Grand Rapids International Hostel in 2015. The men recently purchased a home near Leonard and Plainfield for their pursuit.  The house, built in 1878 by a lumber baron, features four bathrooms and five bedrooms, which will welcome up to 30 people a night.

“The hostel experience is really one of community,” said Phil Bouman, co-owner of Grand Rapids International Hostel. “It’s about sharing space, food, knowledge and experience. Mark and I believe Grand Rapids has a lot to offer, and we want to share it with others.”

Jumping ship: Why some local leaders are leaving the corporate world for the social sector

Jumping ship: Why some local leaders are leaving the corporate world for the social sector

By Melinda Clynes
This story originally appeared in Rapid Growth

Thriving cities benefit from a mix of for-profit and nonprofit leadership, and Rapid Growth is taking a look at some West Michigan leaders who have left the corporate world for work in the social sector.

My Town Plainfield Township: Supporter of Michigan Titanium challenges employees to compete

My Town Plainfield Township: Supporter of Michigan Titanium challenges employees to compete

----NEWS RELEASE---

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Want to work for a company that embraces healthy living? Here is one amazing example.

Ryan Leestma, owner of ISI, the new title sponsor of the Michigan Titanium,  truly embraces this philosophy. He has not only committed to support Michigan’s only full iron distance triathlon for years to come as a sponsor, but also walks the talk when it comes to his employees.

Leestma has encouraged his employees to get involved with the ISI Michigan Titanium, Michigan’s only full iron distance triathlon. If they do, he will not only purchase a bike for them, but will provide other equipment and personalize training to ensure they have a great race. Why? He knows that triathletes rank among the top earners, driven, successful personalities out there, according to a recent study by USA Triathlon.

Cooking with Kal: Roll out the zucchini bread

Cooking with Kal: Roll out the zucchini bread

This is the season- zucchini is growing wild and people with gardens can barely keep up with the harvest of this vegetable.

I got a large one last week from Denise, here at work, and could not use all of it right away, but I did process and freeze it for future use. I have never done that before but thought, what have I got to lose? Hopefully, when the snow is flying and I feel like baking zucchini-apple bread, I will be all set.

In the meantime, the following recipe is wonderful. I made it recently but did not have any apples in the house, so I substituted with an approximate amount of crushed pineapple. I did not have any walnuts like I usually use, so I used toasted and salted sunflower seeds. I also added a bag of dried cranberries. It's easy to make changes in recipes, especially if you have made it before. I hope people will give this recipe a try; it is good and it makes three loaves, so you will have plenty to share or freeze. Enjoy!

Maker Faire brings the maker movement to Grand Rapids

Maker Faire brings the maker movement to Grand Rapids

By Audria Larsen
This story originally ran in Rapid Growthhttp://www.rapidgrowthmedia.com/features/073114makerfaire.aspx

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Grand Rapids is a city of the arts; through large scale events like ArtPrize and Festival of the Arts, our community is known for its creative leanings.

My Town: GVSU and DHS awarded research grant for family support program

My Town: GVSU and DHS awarded research grant for family support program

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The Michigan Department of Human Services is teaming up with Grand Valley State University to measure the success of a family support program in more than 150 Michigan schools.

A three-year, $1.05 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will go toward measuring the impact of the Pathways to Potential program in Michigan.  The program places DHS case workers in schools to make it easier for children and their families to address barriers to their safety, health, education, attendance and self-sufficiency.

“We know that many children struggle in school because of outside of school challenges affecting both students and their families,” Gov. Snyder said. “The goal of Pathways to Potential is to reduce or eliminate those challenges by conveniently connecting families to the services they need to help everyone become more successful.”

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: