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My Town: Time to trash the tree! Free Christmas tree recycling locations

My Town: Time to trash the tree!  Free Christmas tree recycling locations

Christmas is over, which means it’s time to trash the tree.

Many municipalities are offering free tree recycling services to residents with a natural tree.  Some communities are planning to put the trees through a chipper and use the remnants to cover park trails and other green spaces.  Here is the schedule for live tree drop-offs:

Ada Township (Through Jan. 12)

  • Ada Township Park, from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Alpine Township (Through Jan. 31)

  • Behind Township Hall, 5255 Alpine Ave. NW


Cannon Township (Through Jan. 10)

  • West side of the township building; RHS Honor Society will help unload trees Jan. 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (donations encouraged)


Courtland Township (Through Jan. 31)

  • Fire Station #1 on 14 Mile Road


My Town: Goodwill Industries of Greater G.R. offers 'Annie' donation deal

My Town: Goodwill Industries of Greater G.R. offers 'Annie' donation deal

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Clean out your closets, help people find jobs and get a deal on tickets for Broadway Grand Rapids with the new deal by Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids.

The nonprofit organization is offering $20 off tickets to “Annie” to people who donate gently used clothing or household items to any Goodwill store. You can find the list of locations here. The coupon is good for select seats during the Jan. 13 performance at DeVos Performance Hall.  Goodwill will also be accepting gently used coats at DeVos Hall on opening night.

“Annie” runs through Jan. 13-18.  The musical is centered on a determined orphan who journeys through New York looking for her parents.  Her adventure includes foiling the plots of Miss Hannigan, who runs the orphanage; meeting President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; and finding a new home with billionaire Oliver Warbucks.

My Town: KDL Gives Back nets thousands of donations and dollars

My Town: KDL Gives Back nets thousands of donations and dollars

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Bookworms across West Michigan banded together this holiday season to help local charities.

Kent District Libraries says patrons and staff collected nearly 16,000 items for the 18-month KDL Gives Back initiative.  The donations are going to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, Kent Intermediate School District, Humane Society of West Michigan, Family Promise of Grand Rapids, the Post-Partum Clinic at Pine Rest, School Supply Santa and Kid’s Food Basket.  KDL recently delivered approximately 750 hygiene products, snacks and other goodies to the veterans’ home.  The delivery also included 500 letters to vets written by adults and children and $457 raised through library staff jean days.

My Town: Lakeshore family gets triple surprise at Meijer

My Town: Lakeshore family gets triple surprise at Meijer

NORTON SHORES, Mich.—A West Michigan family received three surprises while shopping at Meijer for the holidays.

Not only did the store cover Elizabeth Flores’ bill, but co-chairman Doug Meijer and other team members surprised Flores with items that didn’t make it into her grocery cart.  During her trip down the aisles, Flores picked up some gifts, but eventually returned them to store shelves because she was worried she couldn’t pay for them.  Little did she know, Doug Meijer and store employees were picking up those discarded items to surprise her with at checkout.  Doug Meijer also added a bicycle and helmet to Flores’ complimentary order, for her 7-year-old son, Octavio.

Meijer picked up the tab for 213 shoppers this season, as part of its inaugural Very Merry Meijer event on Dec. 13.  Co-chairman Hank Meijer and President J.K. Symancyk also took part in the giveaway at the 28th Street and Plainfield Avenue stores, respectively.

My Town: Meijer shoppers receive checkout surprise

WALKER, Mich.—Christmas came early to 213 Meijer shoppers, who received a checkout surprise.


On Dec. 13, the Walker-based retailer paid for all of the gifts and groceries filling each shopper’s cart, ranging from $350 to $1,200 each.  The company posted video of the event on YouTube, which you can find here.


“The holidays are a time for kindness and joy, and the Very Merry Meijer event was a perfect opportunity for us to share the spirit of the season with those we hold dear: our customers,” Co-Chairman Hank Meijer said. “Our family has always believed that our customers don’t need us, but that we need them. That philosophy still guides us today. We are very thankful for our customers, and wanted to find a special way to wish them a very Merry Christmas.”


From a two-man shop to a global powerhouse: Gill Industries' story of success

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—  In a time when 8 out of 10 businesses fail, one local company is celebrating 50 years of success.

Plainfield Township Supervisor Jay Spencer issued a proclamation this month recognizing Gill Industries’ milestone.

Gill Industries started in 1964 as a small tool and die company run by John Gill and his brother-in-law, Gerald Williams.  Since then, it’s grown drastically, adding stamping products in the 1970s, welding and assembly in the 1980s and a more complex design and engineering system in the 1990s.  In 1985, Gill’s wife, Rita Williams took over the company, growing sales from nearly $8 million to more than $100 million.  In 2010, she handed over the reigns to her daughters Rita Woodruff and Mary Gill-Thornton, who serve as co-CEOs, continuing the family business, which is now a global supplier.

Gill industries now employs 1,898 people across the world, including 620 in Michigan.