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My Town: Elzinga & Volkers continues growth by adding three employees

My Town: Elzinga & Volkers continues growth by adding three employees

Elzinga & Volkers (E&V), a leading provider of construction management services, today announced the addition of Deb DeYoung as estimator, Brad Frey as senior project manager and Madeline Sagorski as marketing assistant.

With three decades of experience in the construction industry, DeYoung joins E&V as an estimator. Her role will include estimating, bidding new projects and assisting project managers with obtaining costs and budgets. Previously, DeYoung worked for BayShore Contractors, LLC. She holds a bachelor’s degree in construction management from Ferris State University.

My Town: Music awards piling up for West Ottawa family

My Town: Music awards piling up for West Ottawa family

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Lori Hahn takes a breath while listing the many band-related activities of her three children at West Ottawa High School.

Let’s see. All three – Josh, a senior trumpet player; Ben, a junior trombonist; and Aleah, a freshman who plays the French horn – are in marching band and symphony band. Josh and Ben are also in Pep Band, Jazz I and the Holland Symphony Youth Orchestra (HSYO), along with being in the pit orchestra for West Ottawa High School musicals. Aleah is also in the HSYO. The three of them will be performing a piece at the next HSYO concert.

Ben and Josh have been in the Western Michigan University All-Star Band, Ben for the last two years. Ben has also been All-State with the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA) for the last two years after being honorable mention as a freshmen.

 All three also take private lessons and play in the church band.

“It’s insane,” mom says.

My Town: Real estate professionals to give back to public servants

My Town: Real estate professionals to give back to public servants

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.A group of real estate professionals have come together to create a service that is giving back to those who serve the public in the Grand Rapids area.

"U Deserve" has brought together several professionals who are dedicated to lowering costs associated with buying, selling or refinancing a home for active military members, veterans, firefighters, police officers, EMS providers, health care professionals and educators.

“Growing up with a father who served in the National Guard and as a police officer, I was able to see first-hand how much public service individuals give back to their communities,” said Kevin Wildman, founder of U Deserve.  “U Deserve is a way of saying ‘thank you’ to those individuals.”

My Town Holland: Hope College grad receives award and grant for Alzheimer’s research

My Town Holland: Hope College grad receives award and grant for Alzheimer’s research

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Dr. Emilie Dykstra Goris of the Hope College nursing faculty has received an award and a new grant for her on-going research into the genetics of behavioral symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease.

In April, she will be presented the Outstanding Dissertation Award by the Physiology, Behavior, Genomics & Society Research Section of the Midwest Nursing Research Society (MNRS) for work that she conducted while in graduate school.  During the next two years, she will continue her research through a $50,000 grant she recently received from the Kenneth H. Campbell Foundation for Neurological Research.

She has been seeking to learn more about the role played by a specific gene, Oxytocin Receptor (OXTR), in apathy as a symptom among those with Alzheimer’s disease.  It’s research that she notes may also enhance understanding of apathy among those with other disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.

My Town: West Ottawa High School earns top ratings at Solo & Ensemble Festival

My Town: West Ottawa High School earns top ratings at Solo & Ensemble Festival

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Twenty-one soloists, two duets, a trio, three quartets, three choirs and two ensembles from West Ottawa High School received first division ratings at the Michigan School Band & Orchestra Association District 10 Solo & Ensemble Festival at East Kentwood High School on January 31, 2015.

By earning the first division (or excellent) ratings, they qualified to participate in the MSBOA State Solo & Ensemble Festival to be held March 21 at Grandville High School.

“The number of first division medals have been steadily increasing over the past decade,” noted Michael Hamann, band director. “I think this may be the most first division medals our kids have ever earned at this event.”

My Town: Zeeland Festivals Inc. hires director of events

My Town: Zeeland Festivals Inc. hires director of events

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The Zeeland Festivals Board is pleased to announce the hiring of Casey Dunwoodie as the Director of Events.

This is a new position for Zeeland Festivals, Inc., as the organization recently merged all four festivals and events under the direction of a single contractor. These events include: Pumpkinfest, the Show & Shine Car Show and Cruise, Zeeland’s Magical Christmas Parade and Zeelmania. Zeelmania is a partnership between Zeeland Festivals, the City of Zeeland and Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital.

My Town: Thirteen local lawmakers post perfect voting record for 2014

My Town: Thirteen local lawmakers post perfect voting record for 2014

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Mark Jansen tops the list of West Michigan lawmakers who missed the most votes this year, according to the Missed Votes Report compiled by Jack McHugh, editor of MichiganVotes.org.

Jansen missed 46 votes between January and December of this year. The District 28 Republican represents a large portion of Kent County, including Ada, Algoma, Alpine, Cannon, Courtland, Grand Rapids and Plainfield townships, as well as East Grand Rapids, Rockford, Walker and Wyoming.

State Rep. Jon Bumstead, who represents Newaygo, Lake and Oceana counties, had the most missed votes among West Michigan lawmakers in the House, with 21 this year.  

Three senators and three representatives missed 50 or more votes this year.  The top offenders were Rep. John Olumba of Detroit, with 233 missed votes, and Sen. Bert Johnson of Detroit, with 187 missed votes.