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Literacy Center of West Michigan begins search for new CEO

Literacy Center of West Michigan begins search for new CEO

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—  The search is on for a new President/CEO  for the Literacy Center of West Michigan.

Current President/CEO Susan K. Ledy plans to retire in May 2014.  

Ledy was the organization’s first executive director, hired in 1989.  At that time, the organization had a budget of $22,000 and a total of two employees.  Now the Literacy Center employs 15 people with a budget of more than $1 million.

“I have truly enjoyed serving the West Michigan community in my role at the Literacy Center,” Ledy says.

New Goodwill store on 28th Street takes shape

New Goodwill store on 28th Street takes shape

WYOMING, Mich.--- Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids is helping revitalize the busy 28th Street corridor with a new store in Rogers Plaza.

Goodwill is moving just east of the storefront it currently leases.  Unlike the old space, Goodwill’s new store will feature a donation drive through.  The LEED certified business will have the same footprint as Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids’ new stores, with on open, airy boutique feel.   

This will be Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids 21st store, including two boutiques.  The group’s most recent store opened inside the old Walgreens on Diamond Avenue and Michigan Street in Grand Rapids in late August.

Pinnacle Construction Group began work on the new facility in mid-August.  The new store is expected to open sometime in December 2013, creating at least 20 new full-time jobs. 

Three-county campaign to Take the Stairs kicks off September 3

Three-county campaign to Take the Stairs kicks off September 3

Organizations in Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties are teaming up this week to encourage people to take the stairs.

Take the Stairs Week runs September 3 through September 6.  The three-day campaign is meant to encourage people to become more physically active while saving energy.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, graphic designs promoting healthy behavior have been shown to motivate stair users; that’s why Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University created images for this campaign.  Free color signs are available at the Heart of West Michigan United Way for businesses and organizations with escalators or elevators.

Participating agencies include:

The American Institute of Architects, Grand Rapids Chapte

Foundation awards $4,000 grant to Bethany Christian Services

Foundation awards $4,000 grant to Bethany Christian Services

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--   Dollar General is providing more than a dollar to support youth literacy in West Michigan.

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently awarded a $4,000 grant to Bethany Christian Services.  The foundation awarded more than$2.5 million in grants to about 650 schools, non-profit organizations, libraries and community groups dedicated to literacy.

Since its inception in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $84.9 million in grants, helping educate more than 4.8 million people.

ArtPrize winner among participants in Fallasburg Fall Festival 2013

ArtPrize winner among participants in Fallasburg Fall Festival 2013

The winner of ArtPrize 2010 will be among the more than 95 artists taking part in Fallasburg Fall Festival for the Arts.

LowellArts!  recently released the list of festival vendors, which includes ArtPrize grand prize winner Chris LaPorte. LaPorte’s 28-foot wide pencil drawing “Cavalry, American Officers 1921” earned him $250,000.

 Artists from as far away as Florida will be showcasing their skills during the festival, which runs September 14 and 15.  Visitors can enjoy live music while shopping for new art.

This is the 45th year for Fallasburg Fall Festival for the Arts.  For more information about the event, visit the LowellArts! website here.

Mercantile would become third largest Michigan-based bank under merger

Mercantile would become third largest Michigan-based bank under merger

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— Mercantile Bank is expected to become the third largest Michigan-based bank if the company’s proposed merger with Alma-based Firstbank is approved.

Both banks announced the proposed deal last week.  The combined company would have $2.9 billion in total assets, $2.4 billion in total deposits and 54 branches statewide.  Under the merger, the company’s leadership team will be comprised of executives from both banks, but will operate under the Mercantile name and be based at Mercantile’s current headquarters at 310 Leonard St. NW.

The merger was unanimously approved by the board of directors of each company; however regulatory officials and shareholders must still review the deal.  If approved, both companies expect to make the merger official by December 31, 2013.

 

Organization seeks school supply donations

Organization seeks school supply donations

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - As students prepare to go back to school, a local organization is gearing up to help those needing supplies.

D.A. Blodgett-St. John's is holding its seventh annual backpack and school supply drive. 

Executive Director Sharon Loughridge says back-to-school shopping can be exciting for most students, but for those who cannot afford the things they need this time of year, it can be very stressful. D.A. Blodgett-St. John's is working to alleviate that stress with the backpack drive.

Members of the organization say many children living in shelter care or in foster homes due to parental abuse or neglect have few possessions to call their own. Families living in poverty and those with a disabled child also appreciate help getting children ready for school.  D.A. Blodgett-St.