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My Town: 'Battle of the Buildings' underway in West Michigan

My Town: 'Battle of the Buildings' underway in West Michigan

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.— A ‘Battle of the Buildings’ is underway in West Michigan, and the winner gets to keep more of their money.

The U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan says more than 14 Grand Rapids area businesses have signed up for the competition to reduce energy usage.  Participants include Steelcase and Spectrum Health, JSJ Corporation in Grand Haven; Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Steelcase in Kentwood; The Grand Rapids Art Museum; Kent Intermediate School District; Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park; Aquinas College; Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo; the Muskegon County Hall of Justice and Metro Health Hospital in Wyoming.

This is the second year for the Battle of the Buildings.  For more information, including how to sign up your business, visit the campaign website here.

My Town: Huntington bank expands to Meijer stores

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—A new bank is moving into Meijer stores across the area.

Huntington Bank is partnering with the retailer to open 43 branches within Meijer stores, a dozen of which are in the greater Grand Rapids area.  The bank says the deal will create 250 jobs within the state and make Huntington the third largest bank branch network in the state.  Huntington says the partnership will bring its company workforce up to 2,300 people.

The announcement comes months after Chase began notifying customers it is closing its Meijer store branches.  A spokesman for Meijer told WZZM 13 “circumstances have changed and we mutually agreed to end the relationship.”

Huntington’s new Meijer branch locations will include Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Greenville, Ionia, Jenison, Lowell, Muskegon, Portage, and Wyoming.

My Town Grand Haven: Ice cream entrepreneur to give the scoop on business start-ups March 19

My Town Grand Haven: Ice cream entrepreneur to give the scoop on business start-ups March 19

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.-- Kelly Larson, owner of several ice cream stores in Grand Haven, will share funny stories and insights into the life of a small business owner with her program at the Loutit District Library, Thursday, March 19, titled "I Wish I had Your Job: All You Do is Drive Around and Buy Bananas."

Topics include starting a business, developing a business philosophy and applying it to everyday practices. Larson started scooping ice cream at her parents’ shop in the late 1980s and is now owner of Temptations, Sweet Temptations, Skoops, Front Porch, and more recently, Fortino’s.

Larson’s program is free to the public and runs from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in LDL’s Program Room A. For more information on LDL programs, visit www.loutitilibbrary.org or call (616) 842-5560, ext. 200.

My Town: Greater Ottawa County United Way on the hunt for volunteers to honor

My Town: Greater Ottawa County United Way on the hunt for volunteers to honor

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich.—The Greater Ottawa County United Way is looking for volunteers to honor, as National Volunteer Week approaches.

All county residents are encouraged to nominate people or groups for the Volunteer Star award.  Volunteer Stars will be recognized during National Volunteer Week, which runs April 13-17.

Nominations are due by Friday, March 20.  Nomination forms are available on United Way’s website or at the organization’s office, located at 115 Clover Street, Suite 300 in Holland.  People may also request a form via mail or fax by calling (616) 396-7811.

For more information, including how to locate or post volunteer opportunities on United Way’s website, call Shannon Morton at (616) 396-7811 or visit www.ottawaunitedway.org.

My Town: March Garden Day on Saturday

My Town: March Garden Day on Saturday

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.-- Spring is a week away, which means it's time to brush up on all things gardening.

The Grand Haven Community Center will host March Garden Day this Saturday, March 14.  The community is encouraged to register for the event, which will include speakers, vendors, food and garden education sessions. Seating is limited to 250 people.

March Garden Day begins at 8 a.m. Saturday.  The event is sponsored by the West Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association. WMNLA members are West Michigan wholesale nursery and retail centers, landscape management companies, contractors and landscape designers.

The Grand Haven Community Center is located at 421 Columbus Street.  To register for this event or for more information, visit www.wmnla.com.                

My Town: Girl Scout cookie munchers will have to wait

My Town: Girl Scout cookie munchers will have to wait

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— The start of spring usually signals the return of the Girl Scouts’ traditional boxed treats, but cookie connoisseurs will have to wait even longer this year.

The Girls Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore says local cookie deliveries will be delayed by four weeks.  Little Brownie Bakers, which churns out the treats, blames unexpectedly high demand for cookies.

"[Our forecast] has resulted in a tightness in cookie inventory and an inability to meet cookie orders at the dates originally requested," explains sales director Brenda Smith. "The situation was made worse by winter weather that resulted in a plant shutdown for two days in February and an ingredient delivery delay in late February."

Little Brownie Bakers is working around the clock to fill all orders.  All requested boxes should arrive in West Michigan the week of April 13. 

My Town: Donations dire for Red Cross after storms shut down drives

My Town: Donations dire for Red Cross after storms shut down drives

LANSING, Mich.—Although signs of the harsh West Michigan winter are melting away, the American Red Cross is still hurting from the season’s icy impact.

The organization says March storms forced the cancellation of more than 200 American Red Cross blood drives, leading to a shortage of nearly 7,000 blood and platelet donations. The shortfall comes after severe weather in 27 states led to more than 26,400 uncollected donations.  Meanwhile, the demand for blood and platelets remains high.

“Blood products are being delivered to hospitals almost as quickly as they come in,” said Jim Flickema, CEO of the Great Lakes Blood Services Region. “Donors who give now aren’t just restocking our shelves, they are making sure hope continues to be available for patients in need.”