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My Town Sparta: Village to weigh in on new restaurant proposals Monday

My Town Sparta: Village to weigh in on new restaurant proposals Monday

SPARTA, Mich.—Sparta council members Monday night will weigh in on plans for a new restaurant in the village

Developers want to add a Subway restaurant to 313 S. State Street.  The plans would include a drive through.

On Thursday, May 8, the Sparta Planning Commission held a public hearing about the site plan.  The planning commission and attendants answered neighbor’s concerns about a possible traffic influx as well as light pollution before the commission unanimously recommended a special land use permit be granted for the development.

 Monday night, council members will also consider plans to build a three-tenant space at 275 S. State Street.  The space would include an orthodontic office and a Biggby Coffee.   The coffee shop is also requesting approval for a drive-through.

The village council meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Sparta Township Chamber.

My Town: Kent County Health Department names 2014 Food Safety Award winners

My Town: Kent County Health Department names 2014 Food Safety Award winners

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—If you’re looking for a clean, safe place to dine out this weekend, the Kent County Health Department has some suggestions- 471 of them, actually.

The KCHD recently announced the winners of its 2nd annual Food Safety Awards.  This year’s 471 winners were selected from more than 1700 licensed facilities that were inspected through 2013.    To qualify, each establishment had to meet the following criteria:

My Town: Outdoor Farmer's Market to feature more than 50 vendors

My Town: Outdoor Farmer's Market to feature more than 50 vendors

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— The Outdoor Farmer’s Market in downtown Grand Rapids will open for its second season this weekend.

Grand Rapids Downtown Market says the new season of outdoor shopping will start Saturday May 3.  The outdoor market will be open every Saturday in May, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The market will host its inaugural “Chefs at The Market” demonstration at 10 a.m.  A chef will showcase simple recipes you can follow using food available at the market.  This weekend’s demonstration will feature rhubarb.

Inside the market, visitors can take part in a free yoga session and enjoy live jazz music by Hugh DeWitt.  At noon, shoppers can also enjoy microgreens grown in the market’s greenhouse as part of a $5 tasting bar.

This year’s outdoor market will feature food and products from more than 50 vendors, including:

Rep. Rob VerHeulen to hear community concerns Nov. 23

Rep. Rob VerHeulen to hear community concerns Nov. 23

SPARTA, Mich.—State lawmaker Rob VerHeulen will visit Sparta Saturday, November 23 to hear community concerns.

VerHeulen, who represents the Walker area, will be available from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Maxine’s Family Restaurant, located at 370 N. State Street.           

"I always look forward to my office hours each month," VerHeulen said. "It gives me an opportunity to leave the office and meet residents in person."

Those who cannot attend VerHeulen’s office hours are encouraged to contact his Lansing office by calling (517) 373-8900 or emailing RobVerHeulen@house.mi.gov.    

Local restaurants serve up free meals to veterans November 11

Local restaurants serve up free meals to veterans November 11

Some West Michigan restaurants are honoring miliatry members  this Veterans Day by serving up free meals.

Lakeshore Partnership is also offering a free meal to veterans at 19 of its local McDonald’s restaurants.  Military identification is preferred, but not required.  Participating locations include:

Kent County honors cleanest restaurants with Food Safety Awards

Kent County honors cleanest restaurants with Food Safety Awards

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Where are the safest places to eat in Kent County?

The county health department is answering that question with the 2013 Food Safety Awards.   The agency whittled down the list of 1,654 eligible restaurants to just 269 facilities, based on routine restaurant and food service inspections over the past year.  Under the county’s criteria, restaurants that earn the award must have a certified food safety manager, no confirmed violations of the Michigan Smoke Free Law and no confirmed foodborne illness outbreaks during the year.

Teachers to help serve up food for classroom grants November 4

Teachers to help serve up food for classroom grants November 4

SPARTA, Mich.-- This academic year is off to a good start for Sparta Area Schools, with staff pledging to donate more than $14,000 to the Sparta Education Foundation (SEF).

Since 1991, the SEF has given the community and school staff an opportunity to work together to provide the “extras for education.” Funds raised are used to award grants in November and February to teachers to benefit their students and also to build an endowment fund for sustained support of Sparta Area Schools.

The first fundraiser of the school year, "Food for Thought at Downtown Trini’s," will be held on Monday, November 4 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. For the past decade, Trini and Joe Paiz have opened their popular Mexican restaurant at 148 E. State St. just for this event. They give all tips, plus a generous corporate donation, to SEF. School staff will be there to greet students and assist the servers.