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My Town: Heart of West Michigan United Way awards $3.3 million in community grants

My Town: Heart of West Michigan United Way awards $3.3 million in community grants

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—More than three dozen organizations and agencies helping people get back on their feet are getting millions of dollars in support.

The Heart of West Michigan United Way awarded $3.3 million in grants to 39 agencies that reach out to the community-from offering home-delivered meals to senior to after school care.

 “We value our partnership and believe a community that takes care of its friends and neighbors is a good place to live. By investing in the basic needs of the community, we are working together to help the people that are the most in need,” says Maureen Noe, president and CEO of Heart of West Michigan United Way.  “If people have their basic needs met, such as food, shelter and a safe home situation, they are able to focus on the future and take the next steps to improving their lives. “

This year’s grant recipients are: 

My Town Sparta: Freehand Band takes the stage for free performance July 23

My Town Sparta: Freehand Band takes the stage for free performance July 23

SPARTA, Mich.—Sparta Town & Country Days is over, but the village isn't done celebrating summer. 

Concerts in Roger’s Park will return this Wednesday, July 23 when Freehand Band takes the stage at 6:30 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets for the free performance, sponsored by Independent Bank and the Downtown Development Authority. The Sparta 4H Club will also be serving up taco salad, chips-n-cheese, deluxe nachos and ice cream floats.

Concerts in Roger’s Park run through Aug. 20. 

My Town: Farmers who lost 2012 crop during freeze now eligible for funding

My Town: Farmers who lost 2012 crop during freeze now eligible for funding

SPARTA, Mich.—Fruit farmers whose crops were devastated because of the unusual spring weather in 2012 are now eligible for federal funding.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin taking applications Tuesday for Michigan farmers who lost their fruit crops due to the freeze.  The funding is available through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program,  which was authorized in this year’s Farm Bill.

 “After the 2014 Farm Bill was enacted into law, USDA expedited the restart of disaster assistance programs as a top priority,” said FSA Administrator Juan Garcia. “Fruit producers experienced significant financial losses from weather-related damage in 2012. NAP provides them with long-awaited disaster relief.”

My Town: Health phone survey in Kent County largest of its kind in the world

My Town: Health phone survey in Kent County largest of its kind in the world

GRAND RAPIDS – Starting this week, people in Kent County will be receiving letters and phone calls asking families to take part in the 2014 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

This health survey is the largest-conducted telephone survey in the world. The survey will help the KCHD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to track critical health issues, as well as creating and evaluating public health programs in Kent County. Issues and Answers, a phone marketing research firm, will be conducting the survey on behalf of the Kent County Health Department (KCHD).

Sparta Town & Country Days underway


SPARTA, Mich. (WZZM) -- The Sparta Town and Country Days fair continues through Sunday.

One of the festival's premiere events is the Art in Sparta Competition and Exhibit. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners.

Friday is kids day. There are activites like kickball, a youth fitness challenge, and carnival rides. Friday evening, there's also a pedal tractor pull.

Saturday's events include a parade at noon and an arm wrestling competition at two o'clock.

Learn more at this link.


My Town Sparta: Duct tape contest July 17

My Town Sparta: Duct tape contest July 17

SPARTA, Mich.—From wallets to tuxedos, pretty much anything can be made out of duct tape these days.

Local artists are encouraged to show off their duct tape creations Thursday night during the Sparta Town & Country Days Duct Tape Contest.  Registration runs from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Balyeat Field.  All entries must be made solely from duct tape, and must be family friendly.  Each piece will be judged on workmanship, originality, degree of difficulty and use of color.  The winners from each of the four age categories will be announced at 7 p.m. The winners will take home $50; ribbons will also be handed out for best effort, most humorous, most creative and best use of fair theme.

For more information, visit the Sparta Town & Country Days website here.

My Town: Sparta Hunting & Fishing Club offers hunter safety class

My Town: Sparta Hunting & Fishing Club offers hunter safety class

SPARTA, Mich.—Hunting season is still months away, but now is the time to brush up on safety methods.

The Sparta Hunting & Fishing Club will be holding hunter safety class beginning Monday Aug. 11.  There is no charge for the class, but participants must attend every session to receive a certificate.  The class schedule is as follows:

  • Monday, Aug. 11, 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 13, 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Aug. 15, 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 16, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. *

*Free lunch provided Saturday.  Soda and snacks available.