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Disability Advocates of Kent County hold bus stop clearing contest

Disability Advocates of Kent County hold bus stop clearing contest

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The higher temperatures and rain will likely not rid West Michigan of all of its snow, which is why the Disability Advocates of Kent County is inviting all shovelers to take part in a contest.

The organization is asking everyone to help dig out bus stops in the Grand Rapids metro area, which are buried under snow.  While many people can climb over the snow banks to get on buses, people with disabilities cannot.

People who dig out a bus stop are asked to take a before and after picture and email them to Aric Coleman at aric.c@dakc.us , along with the location of the bus stop.  The Disability Advocates of Kent County will post the pictures on its Facebook Page to recognize your efforts.  Members of the group that clears the most stops by Feb.

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.”

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.    

East Grand Rapids to join group setting ambulance standards

East Grand Rapids to join group setting ambulance standards

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The standards for ambulances running in East Grand Rapids may soon change.

During its regular meeting Monday night, the city commission approved joining an ambulance consortium with other Kent County communities.  The consortium would establish across-the-board ambulance service standards for all communities involved, through contracts. East Grand Rapids currently works with AMR Ambulance, but the city does not have a contract with the company. 

City Manager Brian Donovan says communities that are part of the consortium will create an oversight group which will make sure all ambulance companies are abiding by contractual standards. By consolidating regulation, each community will save staff time and money.

Plainfield Avenue project earns national honors

Plainfield Avenue project earns national honors

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (Michigan Department of Transportation)-- The Transportation and Development Institute (T&DI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has selected a project in the city of Grand Rapids as an example of how public agencies and the private sector can effectively work together to accomplish green initiatives.

A paper on the project was presented this week at the institute's second Green Streets, Highways and Development (GSHD) Conference in Austin, Texas. Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Grant Coordinator Mike Smith and Grand Rapids Engineer Breese Stam are making the presentation.

Businesses donate vehicle to Special Olympics Michigan

Businesses donate vehicle to Special Olympics Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Special Olympics Michigan (SOMI) has a new way to get around.

On Saturday, September 7, the organization accepted a 2010 Toyota Sienna van donated by State Farm.  LKQ Corporation, PPG Industries and Star Collision CARSTAR donated parts, paint and services to restore the damaged van.

SOMI marketing and development director Ashley Diersch says the van will remain at the organization's office in Byron Center.  The vehicle will be used to move equipment, athletes and staff for state and regional tournaments located in southwest Michigan.

Proceeds from the 9th annual Creston Car Show also went to volunteer service organizations like SOMI, which provides sports training and competitions for more than 19,000 people with intellectual disabilities.