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My Town Sparta: GriefShare begins Feb. 3

My Town Sparta: GriefShare begins Feb. 3

SPARTA, Mich.-- The Sparta United Methodist Church is once again offering a GriefShare support group this winter on Tuesdays, Feb. 3 through April 28 at 6:30 p.m.

This support group is for anyone age 13 or older who has lost a loved one from an accident, illness, suicide or cancer. It is a 13 week course with each meeting consisting of watching a 30 minute DVD with different grief topics/situations. The group spends another 30-60 minutes sharing whatever is on their hearts. A participant can come to all or any of the meetings. The facilitators of this support group have both lost loved ones. It is an informal gathering offering coffee, tea, snacks and caring friendships.

For more information or directions, call the church office at 887-8255 or visit www.spartaumc.com. There is no cost or advance registration required.

My Town Sparta: Council divvies up community grants

My Town Sparta: Council divvies up community grants

SPARTA, Mich.—Two organizations helping seniors and parents in need are getting a boost from the Village of Sparta.

During their regular meeting Monday night, council members approved allocating $12,500 of its Community Development Block Grant to Senior Neighbors, which helps 4,000 older Kent County adults remain independent and healthy. Village Manager Julius Suchy says the remaining $4,000 will go to Arbor Circle, which provides mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment and family development programs to the community.

My Town: Mail-in cancer tests, produce programs get state funding

My Town: Mail-in cancer tests, produce programs get state funding

LANSING, Mich. – Making fruits and vegetables more readily available, cancer screenings by mail, health coaches and exercise programs are just several of the local initiatives getting funding from the Michigan Department of Community Health.

The MDCH recently announced 44 projects are getting approximately $1.34 million, including a dozen projects in West Michigan.  The grants include:

My Town: 12 tips to stay safe in this extreme cold

My Town: 12 tips to stay safe in this extreme cold

The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division are sharing their top tips to stay safe in this extreme cold.

"As we saw last winter, these arctic blasts can create hazardous situations," said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. "Citizens are encouraged to monitor local weather reports and follow the appropriate steps to stay safe during these extremely cold and potentially life-threatening temperatures."

Exposure to these subzero temperatures could potentially cause frostbite and hypothermia, as well as create hazardous driving conditions.

To stay safe during cold weather:

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 Sparta: Christmas story comes alive at Ballard Church

My Town Sparta: Christmas story comes alive at Ballard Church

SPARTA, Mich.-- The Christmas story is coming alive right outside Ballard Church.

The Church's "Living Nativity" is on display from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. nightly through Wednesday, Dec. 24.  The nativity is complete with the church's own version of the holy family, shepherds, live animals, wise men and more.

Ballard Church of Christ is located at 1633 10 Mile Road near Sparta.  For more information, call (616) 887-7311 or visit www.ballardcrc.org.

My Town Sparta: Santa is in the house!

My Town Sparta: Santa is in the house!

SPARTA, Mich.—Santa Claus is leaving the North Pole for Sparta this week.

Saint Nick will welcome visitors to the Santa House beginning Saturday, Dec. 13 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  The Santa House is located at 94 N. Union Street, behind Sparta Library.  Visits are free, but you should bring your own camera for photos.

Santa’s visiting hours are as follows:

  • Saturday, Dec. 13, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 18, 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 20, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Monday, Dec. 22, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
  • Monday, Dec. 22, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 23, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 23, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.