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Billy Bear Hug Foundation to receive $10,000 from Amway's 'Who Cares' Challenge

Billy Bear Hug Foundation to receive $10,000 from Amway's 'Who Cares' Challenge

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- The Billy Bear Hug Foundation, a non-profit organization in West Michigan which provides quality of life support to children with chronic and terminal illness, announced August 1 that it has been selected to receive $10,000 from Amway’s “Who Cares” Challenge: Youth Leadership Contest.

The online contest selected the top 10 outstanding youth change-makers from across the U.S. and Canada to give them a chance to amplify their impact on the world. The ten recipients were given $10,000 each to provide to the non-profit organization of their choice. Charlie Wondergem, co-founder of the Billy Bear Hug Foundation, nominated the organization in memory of his brother, William B. Wondergem.

Lakeshore Backpacks for Kids Giveaway returns

Lakeshore Backpacks for Kids Giveaway returns

WHITEHALL, Mich.-- The Lakeshore Backpacks for Kids Giveaway returns next month, just in time for the new school year.

This year volunteers will be handing out backpacks filled with school supplies at five locations, including the Holton United Methodist Church, the GateWay Church in Spring Lake, Lebanon Lutheran Church in Whitehall, Samuel Lutheran Church in Muskegon and Mission for Area People in Muskegon heights.  Children can also get their hearing and vision checked, a hair cut, snacks and take part in fun activities.

Both parents and children taken part in the Lakeshore Backpacks For Kids Giveaway must come with IDs.

 

Muskegon Bike Time returns with national act July 18

Muskegon Bike Time returns with national act July 18

MUSKEGON, Mich.—Muskegon Bike Time is back!

The weekend-long celebration will take over downtown July 19 through July 21.  Events include a July 18 kick-off performance by MINI KISS—a KISS tribute band made up of little people.    In 2010, MINI KISS was featured in Dr. Pepper’s Super Bowl Sunday commercial, which aired all year.  The band has been featured on A&E Network TV, TBS, HBO and other channels.  The live entertainment begins at 6 p.m. inside the tent at 6th Street and Western Avenue.  MINI KISS will take the stage at 9 p.m.

More than 60,000 motorcycle enthusiasts are expected to fill Muskegon for Bike Time. Thousands of bikes will line Western Avenue, which is renamed “Steel Horse Alley” for the event.  Visitors can also check out vendor booths, enjoy food and drink and watch non-stop entertainment.

Libraries offer free passes to state parks

Libraries offer free passes to state parks
 

Now’s your chance to enjoy the “MI Big Green Gym” by picking up free state park passes at your local library.

The Michigan Recreation and Parks Association is teaming up with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to offer free passes, allowing visitors to experience free recreation  programs many of the parks offer.

More people snatching up homes in Muskegon County

More people snatching up homes in Muskegon County

MUSKEGON, Mich.—When the temperatures started heating up, so did housing sales in Muskegon County.

According to the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce and Muskegon Area First, 217 county homes were sold in May; that’s the second highest number of sales in the past six years.

 Realtors say more homes are being purchased by people who do not live in the area. 

“The attractiveness of Muskegon is growing,” says Nexes Realtor Steve Schuitema.  “We are seeing an increase in interest from the Chicago market as well as the east side of the state.”

Schuitema says while a lot of clients are discovering Muskegon, many are also moving back. 

In the first six months of the year, the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce has sent out 81 relocation packets to companies and families moving to the area from as far away as France.

Berry season arrives: Find a U-pick location here

Berry season arrives: Find a U-pick location here

West Michigan growers are seeing high demand for berries this summer.

Many farmers have closed their fields for a couple days after visitors picked their plants clean.  The increasing demand also led to a shorter cherry season for some growers.  

Here's a list of some of the U-pick locations open in West Michigan this summer. Prices, fruit availability and hours vary daily, so it's best to call ahead before visiting any farm.

 

Ionia County

 

Bird Berry Farm

5256 Belding Rd. Belding, MI

(616) 794-5041

Blueberries $1.75 per pound

Patch picked out early Friday morning call back for update Wednesday, July 17

 

 

Kent County

 

North Ridge Berries

3555 20 Mile Rd. NW Kent City, MI

(616) 675-5919

Raspberries $3 per pound

Double Up Food Bucks program begins again July 1

Double Up Food Bucks program begins again July 1

A program aimed at helping low income families eat healthier is back for another season.

Double Up Food Bucks runs July 1 through October 31, 2013.  Participating markets will match the amount spent by shoppers using a SNAP Bridge Card.  The maximum match is $20 per day, and shoppers do not need to use their Double Up Food Bucks the same day they get them.

In West Michigan, participating farm markets include:

  • Ada Farmers’ Market (7239 Thornapple Dr.)
  • Byron Farmers’ Market* (84th & Byron Center, Byron Center)
  • Downtown Market Grand Rapids (435 Ionia St. SW)
  • Fulton Street Farmers’ Market* (1147 East Fulton St.)
  • Greenville Farmer’s Market (1325 W. Washington, Veteran’s Park)
  • Healthy Street Farmers’ Market (431 Cass Ave. SE, Grand Rapids)
  • Holland Farmers’ Market (150 W.