Stories

Feature Story Marisela Sierra won the 2022 Start Garden 100 pitch competition with her Navarro’s Mexican Takeout.

Start Garden win lifts third-generation restaurateur’s dreams to next level

After winning the 2022 Start Garden 100 pitch competition, third-generation Muskegon Heights restaurateur Marisela Sierra is ready to get Navarro’s Mexican Takeout’s stone-ground tamales into the freezers of local retailers.

Feature Story You don't have to go half-way around the world to get a different perspective. The Momentum Center and Muskegon Community College have created a cultural exchange with their Cultural Immersion Experiences.

Two Lakeshore communities team up to explore racial, ethnic, cultural divides

Cultural Immersion Experiences Across the Bridge brings together residents from Grand Haven and Muskegon to learn about each other’s communities.

Feature Story Zeeland’s oldest and most beloved festival is back. Pumpkinfest is a 30-year tradition celebrating community, family fun, and fall activities.

October Along the Lakeshore: Goose Festival, the Pumpkin Train, and plenty of haunting

October brings many spooktacular events — including a haunted mansion, a Halloween-themed fundraiser, and a cemetery tour — and so much more along the Lakeshore.   

Feature Story Future residents of the Vista Green neighborhood.

Lakeshore Habitat to host Community Block Party to celebrate 42 home builds

Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity is inviting the community to a block party at its Vista Green Development on the south side of Holland, where 42 homes will be built for affordable homeownership in partnership with Jubilee Ministries. 

Feature Story Robotics Expo 1

Utilizing tech, talent and connections during Tech Week GR and beyond

Tech Week GR underlines Grand Rapids’ claim to the Silicon Valley of the Midwest. The Right Place and other strategic partners have created a foundation for helping technology companies thrive in Grand Rapids, driven by the live event.

Feature Story At this Next 40 event, Host Jon Cauchi moderated the panel with board members Elliot Keyes and Marcus Fairfield and staff members Patrick Parkes and Mary Sibley.

Growing the next generation of disability advocates

How is the next generation of disability advocates getting involved? Associate boards. These informal groups provide a fun way for young professionals to learn about board governance while organizing events that bring people together to better understand disability issues.

Feature Story Graphic illustrates the evolution from a "handicap" sign to an "accessibility" sign.

New accessibility icon better reflects the lifestyles of people with disabilities

Thanks to a new state law, current blue signs portraying wheelchair users as passive and inactive will be replaced with a new accessibility icon that better reflects the lifestyles of people with disabilities.  

Longform Todd Barlass.

Michigan schools expand mental health services in wake of Oxford school shooting

Oxford Community Schools have introduced a host of new mental health supports – even as the state of Michigan itself prepares to make an unprecedented investment in school-based mental health services.

Feature Story Windmill Island Gardens is extending its 2021 season.

Windmill Island Gardens celebrates another record year

The Holland attraction will continue to draw crowds during the cold months. Windmill Island Gardens will host Holland’s Fall Fest on Oct. 7-8 and the Magic at the Mill winter exhibit on Friday and Saturday evenings Dec. 2-17.

Feature Story Members of Ballet Folklorico Sol Azteca, of Holland, Michigan, perform during the International Festival of Holland at the Holland Civic Center. (J.R. Valderas)

International Festival of Holland celebrates community’s diversity

The free, family-friendly festival on Oct. 1 features musicians from around the globe, a children’s fiesta and a World Arena soccer event for middle school athletes.   

Feature Story Lisa Stefanovsky, Ottawa County Public Health community health supervisor

Retiring health department leader considered ‘one of the best’

Lisa Stefanovsky embraced challenge and change during her 33 years leading Ottawa County Department of Health. One important benchmark Stefanovsky achieved was receiving accreditation for the Ottawa public health department from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Feature Story The Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance’s “Nonprofit Community Assessment” launched in 2019 to help measure the overall health of the local nonprofit community. The 2022 report was released at an event at Midtown Center in Holland earlier this month.

Nonprofit survey reveals burnout, DEI struggles and triumphs

Employee burnout in the nonprofit sector is a real threat and one that the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance intends to address.  

Feature Story Hailey Cone (GRCC/Hailey Cone)

GRCC student gaining following for her musical perspective

Hailey Cone, who is blind, is using her perspective as a member of the writing staff for “Inside the Score,” a YouTube channel that seeks to deepen the appreciation of classical, film, and art music.  

Longform Michigan produce at the lunch counter at George Long Elementary School in Grass Lake.

Major expansion coming for program that offers schools "10 Cents a Meal" to serve Michigan produce

The budget for the state of Michigan's 10 Cents a Meal has more than doubled each of the past two years, with $9.3 million available in the coming fiscal year to help schools purchase local fruits, vegetables, and legumes.

Feature Story This historic photo shows a downtown Zeeland parade from the early 1900s. (Zeeland Historical Society)

Zeeland celebrates 175th birthday with week of festivities

The city of Zeeland will celebrate 175 years of community with a week of festivities from Oct. 2-7. Anniversary activities will conclude with Zeeland’s annual Pumpkinfest on Oct. 7-8.

Feature Story A student receives a COVID-19 vaccination at GRCC.

New vaccine rolls out: Where can you find yours?

With fall on the horizon, public health officials are predicting a rise in COVID-19 cases. Those looking for a booster dose of the new bivalent vaccines in Ottawa, Allegan, or Muskegon counties can find more here.

Feature Story The Bebot drone will pick up trash from Muskegon beaches as part of a project funded by a $1 million Meijer grant.

Drones set to join Lake Michigan beach cleanup crews

Muskegon is participating in the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup Program and will serve as home to the Pixie and BeBot drones, made possible thanks to a $1 million donation from retailer Meijer.

Feature Story The Momentum Center and Community Mental Health of Ottawa County are hosting separate events on Sept. 22 focused on socializing, networking and engendering a stigma-free society for those with mental illness, addictions, and disabilities.

Two mental health events focus on socializing, networking, building a stigma-free society

The Momentum Center and Community Mental Health of Ottawa County are hosting separate events on Sept. 22 focused on socializing, networking and engendering a stigma-free society for those with mental illness, addictions, and disabilities.

Feature Story Retired school teacher Frank Kraai was honored for donating a $1 million to build an ice rink in Holland.

Community foundation honors those committed to ‘giving where you live’

Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area highlighted the generosity of retired teacher Frank Kraai, Women of Color Give and Zeeland Farm Services. 

Feature Story One of the Gentex signs at Holland State Park. (Gentex)

Gentex donates water-safety signs as part of life-saving effort at Holland State Park

Gentex donated multiple large digital displays to more prominently identify water and swimming conditions, messaging that corresponds with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources flag warning system.