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More green for eating greens: Eat local movement gets federal boost

More green for eating greens: Eat local movement gets federal boost

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The eat local movement is getting a federal boost.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently awarded Local First a two-year $94,000 grant for Community Supported Agriculture.  Local First is teaming up with West Michigan Growers Group and Michigan State University Extension to provide resources for farmers to grow their CSA programs. With CSAs, community members purchase a share of a local farm, which then divides its harvest among investors.  The CSA form of farming provides stability for farmers and allows investors to enjoy seasonable, locally grown produce. The program provides the health, relational and economic benefits that come with eating local.

My Town: Waterfowl killer spreads in Great Lakes basin

My Town: Waterfowl killer spreads in Great Lakes basin

MUSKEGON, Mich.—A destructive invader has made its way to the Great Lakes basin.

In a three-year study, researchers from ten universities, including the Grand Valley State University’s Annis Water Resources Institute, recently found invasive faucet snails in many new locations throughout the Great Lakes basin.  The snails carry parasites that are deadly to native waterfowl, including ducks and coots.

The findings suggest faucet snails have spread to more areas along the Great Lakes coastline than experts realized. The snail is only about a half-inch in height, making them easy to transport and spread and difficult to kill.   When waterfowl eat the infected snails, the trematodes the snails carry attack the ducks’ internal organs, causing lesions and hemorrhaging.  Infected birds appear lethargic and have problems diving and flying before dying.

My Town Holland: Dow Foundation Gift to Hope College establishes watershed STEM program

My Town Holland: Dow Foundation Gift to Hope College establishes watershed STEM program

HOLLAND, Mich. – Hope College is adding a new scholars program, thanks to a major donation by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation of Midland.

The STEM Scholars program—STEM is shorthand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics—will begin next fall with 24 incoming freshmen.  The scholars will live in the same residence hall, share courses and become immersed in socially relevant research projects. 

The $3 million gift  from the Dow Foundation will endow the program in perpetuity, with a new cohort of students entering each year.

“The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation’s trans formative gift will benefit Hope students for generations to come,” said Hope College President John C. Knapp.

Hunters Apply Now for Ottawa County Park Permit

Hunters Apply Now for Ottawa County Park Permit

OTTAWA COUNTY, MI – Ottawa County Parks is now accepting applications from those wishing to archery deer hunt at Crockery Creek Natural Area or at Upper Macatawa Natural Area. Crockery Creek Natural Area is a 306 acre site along the east side of Crockery Creek near the Grand River in Crockery Township.  Upper Macatawa Natural Area is a 500 acre site along the Macatawa River in Zeeland Township.  Applications are accepted online and due by 2PM on Friday, September 12, 2014.  Hunters will be selected by lottery to hunt each property during two special seasons:

·        Season One: Saturday, October 18 – Sunday, November 23
·        Season Two: Monday, November 24 – Wednesday, December 31

OPINION: Michigan, Our Great State

OPINION: Michigan, Our Great State

Michigan, our great state. Whether we realize it or not, we really do have a great state.

Granted, we had an unusual winter this past year but then again, have you ever seen the grass and trees so green before? Even people returning from Florida this year have commented about everything being so green!

Despite all of the good things, I still hear people complain about it either being too cool, too cloudy, too hot, etc. To those people I say, maybe it’s time for you to move to a perfect climate, wherever that may be.

I love Michigan and all it has to offer. We have the Great Lakes, a treasure on their own. I used to have an older friend, Bill Hickey, who had apple orchards.

He told me, “You will never, ever find an apple as snappy when you bite into it as a Michigan apple in the fall, because of the Great Lakes.” 

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 Holland: $40K grant approved for DeGraaf Nature Center improvements

My Town Holland: $40K grant approved for DeGraaf Nature Center improvements

HOLLAND, Mich.—DeGraaf Nature Center is growing with the help of a $40,000 grant from Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area.

The funding approved Wednesday will go toward purchasing a neighboring property, which the nature center will transform into a safer entryway for school children and other guests.

The house is expected to sell for $123,000. The rest of the purchasing money will come from donations and a nature center founding grant.

“We are very excited and thrilled that we have been selected to receive this funding, which is needed to support a number of critical improvements to the DeGraaf Nature Center that have been planned for many years. The gains will be enjoyed for generations to come at this very popular natural refuge in the heart of an urban environment,” said Holland City Manager Ryan Cotton.

DeGraaf Nature Center welcomes thousands of visitors each year.