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Muskegon Mayor-elect Eager for Challenges Ahead

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MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — In a few weeks, the city of Muskegon will be getting a new mayor.

Voters narrowly elected Ken Johnson Tuesday, ousting current Mayor Stephen Gawron.

Gawron was elected to the city commission in 2001. He later served as the vice mayor in 2005. He held that position until the mayor at the time resigned in 2013 and he was appointed to serve the remainder of the mayors term. In the 2013 election, Gawron was elected by the voters of Muskegon to serve as mayor and has been serving ever since.

This year’s election will end 20 years of service. 

“I’d been serving on the city commission for eight years and public service is a really rewarding experience and I love Muskegon. I love the people here in Muskegon and so I wanted to serve Muskegon in another capacity,” said Mayor-elect Ken Johnson. “Felt like it was time for some fresh leadership.”

Muskegon Mayor-elect Ken Johnson. (courtesy City of Muskegon)

Johnson was born and raised in Muskegon and graduated from Muskegon Public Schools. He says after high school, he moved to Washington, D.C., to attend George Washington University.

Johnson moved back to Muskegon 12 years ago.  

“I’m thrilled that not only am I taking the position of mayor but we have two new commissioners as well — and that’s Rebecca St. Clair and Rachel Gorman — and so eight years ago, when I was on the commission, there were zero women. So I’m thrilled that two are joining us and now we’ve have three women on the commission,” said Johnson. “I’m excited as mayor I’ll be presiding over the most diverse commission in Muskegon’s history.”

Johnson says one of his top priorities when he takes office is improving the city’s parks system.  

“Some of the key things that I want to be working on is investing in our parks and doing so equitably across our community and ensuring when we move forward with economic development that it’s done more inclusively and bringing more people along,” said Johnson.

While crime in the city has been trending lower, Johnson says he’s committed to tackling gun violence too. 

“We need to be working with our community partners to address that, working with our educators to address that and wrap our arms around the problem but more importantly our youth,” Johnson said. “What we see in this community and others is there’s trauma on trauma on trauma and hurt people hurt people.”

Johnson says he’s eager for the challenges ahead.

“There’s a lot of talk about progress in this election and we have made good progress and I’m proud of that progress. But progress is more than buildings and beautification. True progress is about the betterment of lives and lived experiences from the marginalized to the middle class and beyond,” said Johnson.

Johnson will officially be sworn in as mayor on Jan. 3rd. 

Source Here: woodtv.com

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New GR Pharmacy to Serve Spanish-speaking Patients

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — By the end of the year, Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood will have a new pharmacy.

Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria began construction Monday morning on the $1.5 million project. The new pharmacy will include both walk-up and drive-thru services.

Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria practice leader Kameron Selleck it will offer convenience in a neighborhood that doesn’t have a pharmacy close in proximity, making it challenging for patients to get their prescriptions in a timely manner.

“A lot of our patients do encounter a lot of social barriers in their lives,” Selleck said.

He added that a language barrier can make it difficult patients to get their prescriptions. He said nearly every employee at Clinica Santa Maria is bilingual in Spanish and the plan is for that trend to carry over to new pharmacy and pharmacy tech hires.

“I think this project was announced almost five years ago, so it’s here,” Selleck said. “I just really encourage the community to be as excited as we are.

The pharmacy is at 730 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW (formerly Grandville Avenue) at Martin Luther King Jr. Street (formerly Franklin Street) in Grand Rapids. It will be the seventh Trinity Health pharmacy in the Grand Rapids area, with the other locations being Cathedral Square, the Wege Building at Trinity Heath Saint Mary’s, Hudsonville, Rockford, Byron Center and Southeast Grand Rapids.

Original Post: woodtv.com

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Tulip Time Crowds Encouraging for Returning Festivals

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HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Tulip Time saw big crowds this year as it returned to a more regular schedule.

The event was cancelled in 2020 and scaled back last year because of the pandemic.

Hot temperatures caused damage to some of Holland’s tulips, Tulip Time organizers say.

The heat caused challenges for the 2022 festival. The Tulip Immersion Garden, a new attraction, had to close early because the hot temperatures caused too much damage to the flowers, Tulip Time Executive Director Gwen Auwerda said.

“They don’t like 80 degree, 90 degree weather. Tulips prefer it to be about 40 at night, 60 to 70, maybe 80 during the day,” Auwerda said.


Heat closes down Tulip Time Immersion Garden early

The organization is working on final numbers but saw attendance return to pre-pandemic levels.

“I do know that the carnival exceeded 2019 by 25 to 30%, so that was fabulous for them and it was packed everywhere in town,” Auwerda said.

Kevin Knight, the owner of Market Zero, said the festival definitely provided a boost as they worked to keep up with demand. 

“It’s a huge kick off to your summer season,” Knight said. “Our fridges were completely full and got completely empty and completely full and completely empty, so it was about everything we could handle.”

Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022. Inside Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022.

The return of crowds could be good sign for other events coming back this summer, like the Festival of the Arts in Grand Rapids. Mark Azkoul, an organizer for the event that began in 1970, sees the success of Tulip Time as encouraging.


Tulip Time has record-breaking opening weekend

“We’ve been out for two years so this is a big thing for us and for the city to get Festival back up and going,” Azkoul said.

Organizers created the Plein Air event for 2021, which combined outdoor art and music.

The 2022 event runs June 3 through June 5. After taking a break because of the pandemic the festival needs extra help.    

“A lot of people still don’t know yet festival is coming back, so we really want to get the word out. We need more volunteers,” Azkoul said.

People interested in volunteering can sign up on the Festival of the Arts website.

Source: woodtv.com

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Mom Does ‘small Part’ to Help Parents Who Need Formula

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HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Though there appears to an end of the baby formula shortage in sight, it’s still causing problems for parents, so a mother in Holland did what she could to help.

Abbott Nutrition has announced its entered into an agreement with the federal Food and Drug Administration to restart its Sturgis plant within two weeks. The closure of that plant has been a huge contributing factor to the shortage. The company expects its products to ship to stores eight weeks after production resumes.

But for now, many parents can’t find the formula they need. The low supply has some stores limiting the number of formulas customers can purchase, adding that they are in “extraordinary high” demand.

The baby formula shelves at a Meijer in Holland.

So Caitlin Dampier, a mother of two whose youngest is a 3-month-old girl, stepped up to help where she could.

“I really wish I could help out more, but this is just my small part,” Dampier said.

She got a box of Enfamil formulas that she’s not using because she’s breastfeeding.

“When you’re pregnant, you get free samples and so I thought I would just offer mine for free for mothers who need them,” Dampier said. “I kept it around in case I wasn’t able to breastfeed.”


5 things to know if you can’t find baby formula

Dampier made a post on Facebook this week directed at parents who can’t find formula. The box she received included three cans of Enfamil formulas and two ready-made formulas.

Two mothers reached out to her, including Kourtney Hann, another Holland resident. She’s one of thousands of mothers across the country who have had to go to great lengths to find food for their baby.

“I have had to go to stores maybe 45 minutes away just to even try to get formula,” she said. “It’s very hard to find them where I’m at right now. I went to Walmart yesterday and all they had was Similac and my daughter has a really bad reaction to Similac.”

Hann was able to connect with Dampier and picked up a can of Enfamil. Dampier left the box on her front porch with the message, “Please take only the formula you chose and tear out some coupons for yourself. My prayers are with you during this difficult time.”

The box of Enfamil products Caitlin Dampier left at her door for mothers to pick up.

Hann said she was down to her last can of baby formula which lasts her about five days. Now that she has received another can from Dampier, she’ll be able to feed her 9-month-old for the next two weeks.

“Being a mom is hard enough as it is. You have so many other struggles and to be afraid to know if you’re going to be able to feed your baby or not is a struggle,” Dampier said. “You want to do everything for your kids so when you’re not able to it’s hard. It’s just the worst feeling in the world.”

Article: woodtv.com

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