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Local First presents fourth annual LocalMotion Awards

Local First presents fourth annual LocalMotion Awards

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Local First awarded exemplary businesses and individuals with the LocalMotion Awards at their Annual Meeting, presented by Eastern Floral and held at the Goei Center.

The LocalMotion Awards were created to recognize businesses and individuals leading the way in building a vibrant, sustainable community.  They’re a tool to help shift the “norm” towards sustainable business practices and to educate the community on the unique ways locally owned businesses impact our region. The awards were presented by Local First board members Andy Guy and Emily Loeks.

The winners:

The Triple Bottom Line, Up & Coming Business

Presented to a locally owned company that demonstrates a strong commitment to the TBL– either through successful outcomes or innovative programs. Must be in business between two and five years. Previous winners include: Brewery Vivant, Dwelltech Solutions, MadCap Coffee

Auto parts manufacturer expands in Grand Rapids

Auto parts manufacturer expands in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A Grand Rapids manufacturer is growing.

Wolverine Building Group recently finished an expansion project for Thierica, located on Clancy Avenue NE.  The 9,500 square foot addition includes a portion of a docking system and more manufacturing floor space.  Construction crews also completely renovated the employee break area.

Thierica, which has been in business for more than 65 years, makes firm injection molds, paints robotically and decorates automotive components.  Theirica’s latest projects include creating components for the new Jeep and Ford F-150.

Family life stories net scholarships for two students

Family life stories net scholarships for two students

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— A look at their roots is helping two young students grow their future.

Lily Frey and Anika Verbeek are the winners of this year’s Heritage Life Story Writing Contest.  Both girls were among the fifth grade students at All Saints Academy and West Side Christian School asked to write about someone who made a difference in their lives.

Lily chose her Aunt Paula:

“One of the struggles in her life was her best friend had cancer and died.  My Aunt Paula took care of her until she died.  Also, she took care of my Uncle Art’s parents when they were sick, and she takes care of my Grandma and Grandpa Robach.  My Aunt is kind of like a caretaker,” she writes.

Anika chose her grandpa, Renz Verbeek:

Company steps up to help feed hungry children

Company steps up to help feed hungry children

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A Byron Center company in charge of shipping auto parts to major suppliers is using its expertise to feed thousands of hungry children.

Martin Transportation Systems teamed up with Kids’ Food Basket this holiday season to deliver sack dinners to five area schools for children who often go home hungry.  MTS employees also got hands-on experience in preparing meals for the more than 5,000 area children Kids’ Food Basket feeds each day.  MTS also challenged its employees to donate food and money to Kids’ Food Basket for a company match.  Collectively, the company raised $2,630 which will create more than 2,500 sack suppers.

Both companies plan to continue working together in the future. 

Spectrum Health releases list of top baby names of 2013

Spectrum Health releases list of top baby names of 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The two most popular baby names in West Michigan last year are reclaiming the top spot again in 2013.

“Emma” and “Liam” remain No. 1 on Spectrum Health’s list of Top 10 Baby Names for 2013.  For girls, the only new moniker to break into the top 10 was “Charlotte.”   However, seven new boys’ names made the cut this year, with only “Liam,” “Gabriel” and “Noah” returning from 2012.

Top 10 Names for Girls in 2013

Blood donors treated to a free movie and popcorn

Blood donors treated to a free movie and popcorn

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—They aren’t all on the big screen.

Michigan Blood is getting ready to reward life-saving superheroes right here in the Grand Rapids community. The organization is teaming up with Celebration Cinema to offer a free movie pass and a bag of popcorn to each to person who attempts to donate blood during the holidays.

Michigan Blood needs to collect more than 2,200 units of blood every week to supply patients and hospitals around the state.  Donations traditionally drop around the holidays as people travel.

Days and times for the “Be a Star” donation deal vary around the state.  To find the location near you, visit the Michigan Blood website here.  In Grand Rapids, the following donation drives will take place in Michigan Blood’s Main Donor Center at 1036 Fuller Ave. NE:

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.