Stories

Longform Dwayne Cole at Ruth Ellis Center.

Ruth Ellis Center helps LGBTQ youth feel "celebrated" through integrated primary and behavioral care

The Ruth Ellis Center Health and Wellness Center, an integrative health clinic opened in 2017, provides a wide range of services for the young people it serves.

Development News St James Solar

St. James Apartments find a place in the sun

St. James Apartments and Townhomes’ now has 308 solar panels at its 750 First St. NW affordable housing project, which opened December 2018. With the solar panel installation completed last month, they began capturing energy from the sun and transforming it into electricity for the renovated school’s 52 units. The solar array is expected to generate 125,000 kilowatt hours per year and reduce electricity costs by 50 percent.

Innovation News Heartside

Activating Heartside: Downtown organizations implement new solutions to revitalize S. Division Ave.

With results in from the City of Grand Rapids’ Heartside Quality of Life Study, leading organizations have shifted to implementing the study’s recommendations with innovative, community-based solutions that directly address problems identified; specifically, activating vacant spaces along South Division Avenue.


Feature Story WMSC

Why sports tourism could be the next big economic engine of Kent County

As Grand Rapids continues to grow and invest in key infrastructure, the region attracts global-caliber sporting events, making it a new hotspot for sports tourism.

Feature Story A confection from Mokya.

Shop Local: A Rapid Growth holiday gift guide

For those of us that have yet to check off everything on our holiday shopping list, there are plenty of local options to feed your desire for gifts friendly to the local economy.

Feature Story Alex Romero

RapidChat: Alex Romero on Taking Chances

Back in 2017 Alex Romero took a leap of faith by creating a role for himself within Carbon Stories that wasn't available. Fast forward to the present — this young entrepreneur not only holds the title of Project Manager at Carbon Stories, but he has started his own lifestyle brand appropriately dubbed, Take Chances Lifestyle.

Feature Story Ana Jose, Marielena and Salvia Cano, and Tommy selfie

G-Sync: Marielena and Salvia Cano’s growing restaurant empire began in a neighborhood garage.

For folks seeking an eatery where a smile is served with every amazing dish, I cannot say enough wonderful things about  Marielena and Salvia Cano's restaurants, whose menu items are amazing and the delicious result of their taking very creative first steps in a garage that launched not just one, but two distinct restaurants in our community. 

Development News malamiah

Malamiah Juice Bar moving to Studio Park

Jermale Eddie, co-founder and co-owner of Malamiah Juice Bar, hopes to have his popular enterprise up and running at Studio Park’s 122 Oakes St. SW storefront by December 1.

Innovation News diversity forum

Ottawa County’s diversity forum brought in top DEI leaders, reminded – “equity work is for everyone"

Michigan’s top diversity, equity, and inclusion leaders took center stage at Ottawa County’s fourth annual diversity forum held November 15; its first since hiring Robyn Afrik as the county’s first DEI director. This year’s forum highlighted that diversity, equity, and inclusion work is for everyone.

Feature Story Mary Alice Williams

RapidChat: Political activist Mary Alice Williams on gender equity and "fighting the good fight"

When it came to inequities between genders, "Something didn’t add up for me by the time I was a teenager," Gender Equity Advocate and Political Activist Mary Alice Williams proclaims. While over the years she has noticed gradual progress is being made in some areas, Mary strongly encourages young women to "leave the ladder down," so others know they too can climb.

Feature Story Samaritas

A new project and a national trend: The growing need for affordable housing for seniors

To meet the growing need of senior affordable housing in Michigan, Samaritas broke ground on a new affordable senior living facility: the St. Joseph Seminary Affordable Living project in Garfield Park.

Feature Story Dr. Kennedy Barrington

Rooted in structure and solid work ethics: Local Women veterans promote change in business

As the number of veteran women-owned businesses increase, four West Michigan women veterans share their experiences, challenges, and what the community can do to improve the lives of veteran women entrepreneurs.

Feature Story Dr. Kennedy Barrington

Las mujeres veteranas locales promueven el cambio en los negocios

El numero de negocios de mujeres veteranas ha aumentado, cuatro de ellas del Oeste de Michigan comparten sus experiencias, desafíos y lo que la comunidad puede hacer para mejorar la vida de las mujeres empresarias veteranas.

Feature Story This green roof is an example of a green stormwater infrastructure at corporate headquarters of Johnson Controls, Inc. in Glendale, Wisconsin.

New approaches to large-scale green stormwater infrastructure investment build climate resilience

Here's how large-scale investment in green infrastructure, made possible with community public-private partnerships, are helping cities cope with the effects of climate change.

Longform Susan Salhaney at Judson Family Center in Warren.

Integrating behavioral health into pediatric care holds longterm benefits

Offering behavioral health care at the pediatrician’s office can not only cut costs but also create healthier, happier communities in the future. 

Development News Kingfisher

And Kingfisher makes three: That Early Bird proprietors settle in at the center of the universe

Sarah Wepman and her husband/chef, Joel Wabeke, opened the Kingfisher Restaurant and Deli at 1001 Lake Dr. SE earlier this year. They also own and operate That Early Bird Café and The Littlebird.


Innovation News Grand welcome

A Grand Welcome: Local organizations partner to connect area newcomers to GR's diverse community

For a third year, convention and visitor bureau Experience Grand Rapids has partnered with local organizations to welcome area newcomers and connect them to the city’s diverse professional community.

Feature Story vaccine

Vaccine hesitancy and the spread of information: How Michigan can prevent disease outbreaks

In March of 2019, there was an outbreak of 44 measles cases, 40 of which centralized in one Oakland county community. Outbreaks like these represent a growing trend and threat public safety: vaccine hesitancy. Here's what Michiganders can do to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

Feature Story podcast

UIX: From spooky tales to starving artists, these local podcasters are making noise

Whether you are interested in the unexplained things that go bump in the night, or interviews with the funniest people in West Michigan, a number of locally produced podcasts have the subjects covered. Here are a few you should be listening to.

Feature Story Community Rebuilders

Community Rebuilders solidifies strategies to fight homelessness with last year's $5 million grant

A Grand Rapids-based nonprofit is working to fundamentally make homelessness brief and rare — for veterans and anyone else experiencing housing insecurity. A $5 million grant it received last year from the founder of Amazon has boosted that worthy goal.

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