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West Michigan Armed Forces Thanksgiving Luncheon to Pay Tribute to United Sates Military Members

Students from across West Michigan are joining area business leaders to celebrate local members of the Armed Forces – past, present and future – during the 2nd Annual West Michigan Armed Forces Thanksgiving Appreciation Luncheon at the JW Marriott in Downtown Grand Rapids on Friday, May 5th. Military members will be in attendance for this event aimed at strengthening awareness and dialogue on the contributions our military personnel have made and continue to make on behalf of their families, their friends and their country.

Tally-Ho! Puppet Festival Returns!

Tally-Ho! Puppet Festival Returns!

For the third year, the Sparta Chamber invites all ages to check out this Puppet Festival fun!

Visit Sparta Civic Center located at 75 N Union Street on Saturday, March 11 from 10:30am – 2:00pm for creative storytelling in a unique way. The family can enjoy the “World of Puppets” by Professor Jason Yancey, Advertureland Puppets, History of Vocal Illusion by David Fowler and The Village Puppeteers in “Lost Storyland” plus puppet making activities between shows.

Cost is $5.00 per person or $15 per family. Puppets, ventriloquist figures, books and more will also be available for purchase.

Call: (616)887-2454 or visit www.spartachamber.com for more information.

Humane Society of West Michigan Places Record-Setting Number of Pets in Forever Homes in 2016

Humane Society of West Michigan Places Record-Setting Number of Pets in Forever Homes in 2016

With a new year underway, the Humane Society of West Michigan (HSWM) is looking back and celebrating another successful year. In 2016, HSWM helped more than 3,700 animals find their forever homes – a record-setting number for the organization.

The new record surpasses the more than 3,000 adoptions that took place in 2015. The increase in adoptions can be attributed to community support of adopting shelter animals, families embracing multiple shelter animals, and the variety of ages and breeds of animals up for adoption at HSWM.

“We cannot thank our team of staff and volunteers, as well as our generous donors, enough for another successful year,” said Trudy Jeffers, Executive Director of HSWM. “They are the backbone of our organization and we are blessed to have them assist HSWM with saving lives, raising awareness and educating the community.”

Candlelight Snowshoeing on Valentines Day

Candlelight Snowshoeing on Valentines Day

Make plans to spend time with your significant other on Valentine’s Day!

Howard Christiansen Nature Center located at 16190 Red Pine Drive in Kent City is offering three Candlelight Snowshoe guided excursion through their scenic trails on Valentine’s Day. You can choose 6:30pm, 7:30pm or 9:00pm.

The excursion includes snowshoe and is a one mile hike through candle lit trails with the chance to warm up by the fire and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. It’s a romantic evening you won’t want to miss.

Member Cost: $8.00 per couple and Non-members are $15.00 per couple.

Call: (616)675-3158 for more information or visit www.howardchristiansen.org to book tickets.

13th Annual Coopersville Chili Cook-Off

13th Annual Coopersville Chili Cook-Off

This Cook-Off is on Saturaday, February 25, 2017 at the Coopersville Farm Museum and Event Center, located at 375 Main St. in Coopersville. Phone 616-997-8555

The event is limited to 12 entries so it will be on a first come basis. Registration fee per contestant or team is $10.00. Cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25 is a first time pay-out.

Chili must be made ahead of time and each contestant/team will get a table to set up and decorate. The committee is suggesting you make 2 - 3 gallons of chili but 4 - 6 gallons is encouraged.

Votes will e sold 2/$1 or 12/$5. Live music along with kids activities and crafts will be featured.

The Chili Cook-Off is sponsored by 327 Pizza & Pub.

3 Things to Consider Before Gifting a Pet this Holiday Season

3 Things to Consider Before Gifting a Pet this Holiday Season

For many people, young and old alike, a pet for Christmas is the top desire for the season. For a long time, it was assumed that pets as gifts were a really bad idea, increasing adopted animals being returned to the shelter after the excitement of the holidays is over. Data supports just the opposite.

“It’s a myth,” states Trudy Jeffers, Executive Director of HSWM, “that giving a pet as a gift is a bad idea. In fact, with the right research, identifying the needs of the new pet, and knowing the person you are gifting to, helps make the right decision for both the pet and the person.”

A 2013 study by Dr. Emily Weiss says, “There is no increased risk of relinquishment for dogs and cats received as a gift.” In her research, Dr. Weiss found that over 87% of the pet owners in the study still had their pet in their home or had kept the pet in their home for the pet’s lifetime, even when the pet was given as a surprise or a gift, according to the ASPCA.

Oldest Toastmasters Club in Michigan Still Talk of the Town on its 70th Birthday

Oldest Toastmasters Club in Michigan Still Talk of the Town on its 70th Birthday

Often listed among the top 10 fears people have, public speaking is a skill that can help anyone regardless of their age or background. Whether it’s at school, work or among friends and family, the ability to speak in front of an audience – even if it’s an audience of one – can be the key to future success. Thus, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the oldest Toastmasters International organization in Michigan – located here in Grand Rapids – continues to thrive as it celebrates its 70th birthday.

Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. With more than 345,000 members around the world, Toastmasters empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders by providing a safe, supportive and structured setting for its members to acquire and practice meaningful communications and leadership skills on a regular basis to promote and enhance career and personal growth.