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Community Updates: Friday, July 22

Firefighters and athletes take on the Firefighter Challenge in Grand Rapids; the City of Grand Rapids prepares for election day; and more
The Fish Ladder in downtown Grand Rapids

The Fish Ladder in downtown Grand Rapids /John Rothwell

Firefighters and Athletes Take on the Firefighter Challenge in Grand Rapids

Starting next week, firefighters and civilian athletes from all over the United States will be gathering in Grand Rapids for the Firefighter Challenge, an event dedicated to bringing first responders together and raising awareness for the work they do in their communities. The challenge will take place downtown and is open to spectators of all ages. According to the event's official website, the Firefighter Challenge is made up of five main obstacles -- the "high-rise pack carry," the "hose hoist," the "force machine," the "hose advance," and "victim rescue." Maura Race, the event coordinator for the Grand Rapids Firefighter Challenge, had this to say in a press release published on Tuesday morning:

"We're thrilled to welcome the Official Firefighter Challenge, with its more than 30-year rich history of serving the fire service, to Grand Rapids. This event, brought to us by the Grand Rapids Fire Prevention Foundation, highlights various skillsets and talents of firefighters as competitors climb a five-story tower, drag and hoist fire hoses, simulate forcible entry, and race around obstacles on the most recognized firefighter training course in the world."

The press release also states that there will be events for non-participating members of the community to enjoy -- including a relay race for charity, activities for children, and refreshments. The Firefighter challenge will begin at 9:00am on Friday, July 29 and end at 2:30pm on Sunday, July 31. As of Friday, July 22, 157 people are registered to participate in the Firefighter Challenge. They range in age from late teens to mid-sixties and are coming from as far south as Texas and as far north as Ontario, Canada. 

For more information about the event, visit the Grand Rapids Fire Department's website here. The official trailer for the Firefighter Challenge can also be found on the City of Grand Rapids' official YouTube channel:


The City of Grand Rapids Prepares for Election Day

As the date of the Michigan Primary Election draws closer, Michiganders are being encouraged to make their way to the polls. The Primary Election falls on Tuesday, August 2, and residents can either vote in-person at their designated polling location (according to the city/township, ward, and precinct they live in) or by absentee ballot. Those planning to vote in-person are asked to remember to bring a form of photo identification with them on election day. Individuals voting via absentee ballot can deliver them to the Office of the City Clerk or drop them in one of the many election drop boxes scattered throughout the city. Those locations are:

  • The Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation building (201 Market St. SW)
  • The Seymour Branch of the Grand Rapids Public Library (2350 Eastern Ave. SE)
  • The Ottawa Hills Branch of the Grand Rapids Public Library (1150 Giddings Ave. SE)
  • Cook Library Center (1100 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW)
  • The West Leonard Branch of the Grand Rapids Public Library (1017 Leonard St. NW)
  • The Van Belkum Branch of the Grand Rapids Public Library (1563 Plainfield Ave. NE)
  • Outside of Grand Rapids City Hall (300 Ottawa Ave. NW)

Additionally, on Saturday, July 30, the Office of the City Clerk in Grand Rapids will extend its hours to facilitate voter registrations and absentee ballots.

In this election, Michiganders will see candidates for Governor, Congress, and the state legislature on the ballot. Residents of Kent County will also be able to vote for county commissioners (according to the district they reside in). An unofficial list of the candidates in this election is available on Kent County's official website.


Also in the News:

  • The City of Grand Rapids has announced that Briggs Park (on the city's northeastern side) is now home to a colorful hammock grove and butterfly garden.


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