Stories

Feature Story Connor DenBleyker with his new kitten, Elmer.

Cat adoptions are up during quarantine

The Harbor Humane Shelter has seen an increase in first-time adopters since stay-at-home orders went into effect, says Executive Director Jen Self-Aulgur.

Feature Story Riot

Dawn breaks after protest: Community cleanup provides unexpected opportunity for dialogue

On Saturday, May 30, over 3000 people gathered downtown Grand Rapids to protest the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. What began as a peaceful event ended in violence and the destruction of dozens of properties downtown. Though officials are still working to determine the details of the escalation, hundreds gathered on Sunday to clean and repair damaged spaces in a much-need show of solidarity.

Feature Story scott-shelly-photo

Marketing agency continues giving back amid pandemic

Scott Millen shares how he and his wife, Shelly, are keeping the faith and their commitment to nonprofits even as their small business struggles during the global pandemic.  The good news is 2 Fish Company business was approved for a PPP loan and things are looking up. 

Feature Story Lorena

La Lucha Fund supports undocumented and mixed-status families with direct payments during COVID-19

La Lucha Fund was created as a short-term emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is designed to provide financial resources directly to undocumented and mixed-status families in Kent County who are not eligible for unemployment, CARES Act relief, or other government support.

Partner Content The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids' Nutrition in Action program.

Nutrition in Action serves kids and adults an extra helping of health

For the past 15 years, the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids has brought its Nutrition in Action program to West Michigan schools and other organizations serving families and individuals with income challenges.

Feature Story beach-photos-567

Pandemic, erosion force restrictions at state, county parks

Photo essay illustrates how the potent combination of coronavirus guidelines and high-water levels will create a different experience at lakeside beaches from Holland to Grand Haven this summer.

Feature Story Birdhouse by Richard App

When a birdhouse becomes a work of art: Friends of GR Parks fundraiser supports local green spaces

The Friends of Grand Rapids Parks gave 10 local artists a small wooden birdhouse, and the challenge to transform it into a work of art for the home or the yard. Each of the birdhouses is being auctioned off by Friends on their website to raise money for the mission to empower people to support vibrant parks, trees, and green spaces in the Grand Rapids community.

Feature Story Joe Stowell

How Cornerstone University plans to return to campus this fall: Q&A with President Joe Stowell

Cornerstone University announced that it plans to resume all on-campus services this fall. President Joe Stowell explores the university's plans for "agile teaching," virtual support, social distancing in the dorms, and more.

Feature Story ready-for-school

Community foundation creates stabilization fund as next step in crisis response

The Community Foundation of Holland/Zeeland Area (CFHZ) has created the Community Stabilization Fund to prioritize investment on financial stability, health, and education to prevent people from slipping into poverty.

Longform Arbor Circle therapist Marvin Mckenzie simulates a telehealth visit with a colleague.

Telehealth use surges in Michigan during pandemic, with "tremendous" benefits

Health care visits conducted by phone or videoconference had slowly started to catch on in Michigan in recent years, but now they're the safest way for health care providers to meet with their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Feature Story waukazoo-market-photo

Pandemic spurs Visser Farms to find creative ways to offset losses, serve community

When Visser Farms of Zeeland lost half of their income overnight from the closure of Michigan dining establishments, the farm partners dug deep to find creative solutions to offset the loss of 40 restaurant accounts.

Development News Cam

Indigenous chef ISO kitchen: Camren Stott wants to share healthy meals with those in need

Anishinaabe chef, Camren Stott, is a tribal member of The Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians. His business, Jiibaakwaan Foods, caters dinner parties and offers in-home meal planning based in indigenous-inspired food. He also feels a calling to nourish Grand Rapids’ indigenous community and others who lack access to healthy, whole foods.

Feature Story downtown-holland-borrs

Leaders say Downtown Holland merchants ready, eager to reopen

Hospital and business leaders discuss how downtown merchants can begin partially reopening this week during a webinar hosted by the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce and Lakeshore Advantage.

Feature Story FTparks

Take a hike: Ten favorite West Michigan trails to explore this season

As the weather improves, the hiking scene in West Michigan heats up, with hidden urban paths, colorful trails through the woods, and plenty of day trips offering a welcome respite. Rapid Growth gives you ten hikes to try, so tie your boots and get ready to see the city from a new vantage.

Feature Story memorial-parade-2019

Zeeland creates virtual Memorial Day service to honor the fallen

Memorial Day has always been a special day in Zeeland, with many people showing up for the community’s largest annual parade. This year, organizers came up with a way to carry on the tradition despite canceling the parade.

Longform Tri-County Office on Aging volunteer Robin Barfoot makes a friendly reassurance call from her home.

Friendly reassurance calls help Michigan elders fight isolation during pandemic

COVID-19 has exacerbated the high levels of isolation today's older adults experience. But many providers are working to ease that loneliness by making calls to check in on Michigan’s elders.

Feature Story Lindsay

Nonprofit provides remote cancer and grief support: Adjusting to a "new normal" at Gilda's Club

"There are no breaks when it comes to cancer and grief, even during the current COVID-19 pandemic," says Lindsay Jousma, director of programs and operations for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. As a nonprofit that provides free cancer and grief support through in-person meetings and events, Gilda's Club has shifted to a remote community during quarantine, adjusting their model for a new but equally supportive normal.

Feature Story kristina-county-photo

Q&A: What businesses need to know ahead of reopening

Kristina Wieghmink, Ottawa County Department of Public Health information officer, answers questions about what businesses need to know to reopen under the “MI Safe Start Plan."

Feature Story payton-book-photo

Teens collaborating on storybook put positive spin on quarantine

Inspired by their grandmother, cousins Adeline Kotecki and Payton Hosley collaborate over Zoom calls to write a story about their quarantine experience. 

Feature Story market-main-one

Farmers markets reporting higher attendance as they open within safe shopping guidelines

Farmers markets along the Lakeshore are reopening for the 2020 season. Here's a roundup of schedules for the popular outdoor markets in Holland, Zeeland, Grand Haven, and Spring Lake.

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