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Experience Grand Rapids launches personalized travel planning website

Experience Grand Rapids launches personalized travel planning website

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.---Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, recently announced the launch of its new personalized travel planning website, www.GRCityTwist.com.

The new interactive website targets 18 different interests, from “art lovers” to “thrill seekers”, allowing the visitor to customize their trip.  For example, craft beer enthusiasts can find breweries to explore, activities and nightlife related to craft beer, and accommodations for the weekend.

EXGR launched the new, mobile-friendly website on Dec. 17 at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park with the hospitality community, business and political leaders, and its Certified Tourism Ambassadors.

Kent County health officials prepare to MAPP out community health concerns

Kent County health officials prepare to MAPP out community health concerns

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--  The Kent County Health Department and Healthy Kent are getting ready to MAPP out the health concerns of residents.

MAPP stands for Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships.  It’s the framework both agencies will use to create a plan to improve community health.  Every three years, hospitals are required to update their Community Health Needs Assessment for state accreditation.  Local health departments must do the same once every five years.  Healthy Kent and the Kent County Health Department will work with organizations in 2014 to meet both requirements.

Grand Rapids woman wins national photo contest

Grand Rapids woman wins national photo contest

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--  Two photos are all it took to get a Grand Rapids woman to her family in Missouri this holiday season.

Kristie Lynn Schrotenboer is a winner of the Exxon and Mobil Fueling Connections national photo contest.  She created a seamless photo mash-up with the help of her friend Lori.  Their prize: $1,000 worth of ExxonMobil gift cards.  

“I plan on using the gift card on my Thanksgiving drive to my sister’s house in Missouri,” said Schrotenboer. “It’s a 10-hour trip that came up recently when we learned my sister and her family couldn’t come to our parent’s house in Grand Rapids. Instead, our immediate family, all 13 of us, including our parents and brother from Texas, will be driving down to spend Thanksgiving together.”

Wyoming Animal Hospital wins Celebrated Service Award

Wyoming Animal Hospital wins Celebrated Service Award

WYOMING, Mich.--- Wyoming is home to this year’s winner of Celebration! Cinema’s Celebrated Service Award.

Wyoming Animal Hospital won the public vote, which took place Nov. 12- Nov. 26.  The Celebrated Service Award was created by Celebration! Cinema to spark conversation about service in the community. Cinema employees nominated more than 300 businesses for this year’s honor.

“Celebrated service is the magic that happens when people take their work personally,” said Emily Loeks, Director of Community Affairs for Celebration!

Michigan Blood joins alliance to save money and lives

Michigan Blood joins alliance to save money and lives

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Michigan Blood is teaming up with two blood centers based to share services and cut costs.

Michigan Blood is joining the Centers for Transfusion and Transplant Medicine (CTTM).  BloodCenter of Wisconsin and Chicago-based Heartland Blood Centers are already non-profit members of the alliance. Michigan Blood brings its expertise in cord blood and cell therapies to the table. 

“The addition of Michigan Blood marks another milestone for CTTM to shape the future of healthcare,” according to Jacquelyn Fredrick, president and CEO of BloodCenter of Wisconsin and CTTM. “As new affiliates join the strategic alliance, greater opportunities are presented through sharing expertise and resources. This will lead to even greater transfusion medicine services for the hospital systems we serve.”

Michigan Blood serves more than 40 hospitals across the state.

New bike path to cut through Grand Rapids

New bike path to cut through Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A new bike path will soon take shape in Grand Rapids.

The city is getting a $618,514 grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation to create the Seward Avenue Bikeway.  The 3.5 mile bike route will cut through the heart of Grand Rapids and connect nearly 190 miles of regional trails, including the White Pine Trail, Oxford Street Trail and Kent Trails. The path will run along Seward Avenue from Wealthy Street to the Riverside Park trailhead and include a bike shelter, bike lockers, bike signs and signals and an upgraded pedestrian bridge over Indian Mill Creek at Broadway Avenue.

The project is expected to cost just over $1 million.  Additional funding will come from the City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Bikes Belong and Freewheeler Bike Shop.  The city commission will recognize all financial supporters during its meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.    

Vote for your favorite executive 'stache

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—November is coming to an end which means the ‘staches are coming off!

Five executives from West Michigan have been growing mustaches for Movember, a month-long campaign to “change the face of men’s health” by raising awareness of health risks.   The men have been posting their progress on Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s Facebook page.    The final mustache photos will be posted on the Facebook page on December 2 for a public vote.  Visitors can pick their top two favorite ‘staches by “liking” the appropriate photos.  The vote runs from 11 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.  Tuesday.

This year’s participants are: