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My Town GR North: Record-setting number of pets get a 'Home for the Holidays'

My Town GR North: Record-setting number of pets get a 'Home for the Holidays'

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Hundreds of cats and dogs are starting the New Year in a new home, after a record-setting 2014 at the Kent County Animal Shelter.

The BISSELL Pet Foundation covered all adoption fees at the shelter from Nov. 3 to the end of the year as part of the Home for the Holidays campaign. In turn, potential pet owners were encouraged to bring in donations of canned pet food or new blankets. Altogether, the shelter adopted out 270 pets through the program, bringing the organization’s adoption rate to 80 percent. 

My Town: Hospital under investigation gets new leader

My Town: Hospital under investigation gets new leader

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—  A hospital under investigation for alleged abuse of patients is getting a new director.

Jill Krause will oversee the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital beginning Jan. 7.   Krause has more than 21 years of experience in behavioral health, most recently serving as the director of the adult mental illness division of Network180 in Kent County.

“As a department, we are committed to providing quality care to the patients at Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital,” said Tim Becker, deputy director of the Michigan Department of Community Health. “We continue to make important progress in ensuring the safety of our patients and staff, and I am confident that Jill’s experience and leadership will help us carry this momentum forward.”

My Town: KDL Gives Back nets thousands of donations and dollars

My Town: KDL Gives Back nets thousands of donations and dollars

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Bookworms across West Michigan banded together this holiday season to help local charities.

Kent District Libraries says patrons and staff collected nearly 16,000 items for the 18-month KDL Gives Back initiative.  The donations are going to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, Kent Intermediate School District, Humane Society of West Michigan, Family Promise of Grand Rapids, the Post-Partum Clinic at Pine Rest, School Supply Santa and Kid’s Food Basket.  KDL recently delivered approximately 750 hygiene products, snacks and other goodies to the veterans’ home.  The delivery also included 500 letters to vets written by adults and children and $457 raised through library staff jean days.

My Town: No school, no problem! Four tips to keep your student learning over the holidays

My Town: No school, no problem!  Four tips to keep your student learning over the holidays

During the winter break from school, many students will pack away their books and turn their attention away from learning. 

To help ensure your students are still learning, statewide virtual learning school, Michigan Connections Academy, is sharing activities you can do as a family to keep your young students busy and their brains active over the break.

1.       Practice math while baking holiday cookies. Students struggle with fractions and always want to know when they will “use math in real life.” The perfect time to practice fractions is while you are baking cookies. Two-thirds of a cup plus 1/3 of a cup equals one whole cup, which your child will see as you work on making those cookies, helping develop a real life connection to what they are learning in school.

My Town: A dozen children to 'Shop with a Hero' for the holidays

My Town: A dozen children to 'Shop with a Hero' for the holidays

CASCADE, Mich. – A group of Grand Rapids area children is getting some help with filling the space under their Christmas trees.

Tuesday, a dozen children from Coit and East Leonard elementary schools will meet up with Grand Rapids police officers and firefighters to “Shop with a Hero.”  Each child will be given a $100 Meijer gift card to purchase holiday gifts for family and friends at the Meijer store at 1997 E. Beltline Ave. NE. Community Officer Neil Gomez says the children chosen to participate work hard in school while facing financial hardships at home.

This is the third year Grand Rapids police and firefighters have teamed up with Meijer for the event.  Including this year, Meijer has donated $4,000 to the event, helping 40 children.

My Town: Whooping cough on the rise in West Michigan

My Town: Whooping cough on the rise in West Michigan

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—The Kent County Health Department is seeing a slight uptick in whooping cough cases.

Health Department spokeswoman Lisa LaPlante says from Jan. 1 to Dec. 5, 13 cases of whooping cough were reported in Kent County.  During that same time last year, only nine cases of whooping cough were reported in the county.  Whooping cough last spiked in 2010, with 17 cases locally. In a month-by-month breakdown of the year, January had the most reported cases (5), followed by August (3) and September (2).

The Allegan County Health Department is also dealing with a higher number of whooping cough cases; 21 people reported coming down with whooping cough between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1.  That's more than double the number of cases reported during the same time last year, according to the health department's Dr. Richard Tooker.

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids hires school recruiters

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids hires school recruiters

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— The Diocese of Grand Rapids has hired two more people to ramp up enrollment for its Catholic schools.

Dan Plachta will serve as an admissions enrollment field consultant, guiding the diocese’s 29 schools in outreach and recruitment. While supporting current students, the diocese plans to focus on traditionally underserved groups who could take advantage of school tuition assistance, which is quadrupling to $1,000,000.

Plachta is an alumnus of Blessed Sacrament School (now All Saints Academy) and Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids.

“As a graduate of Catholic schools in the diocese, Dan brings a personal passion for the importance of Catholic education in West Michigan,” said David Faber, superintendent of Catholic schools.