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City of Grand Rapids issues media release re: state of civil emergency

unnamed (5)Mayor Rosalynn Bliss today signed a proclamation declaring a state of civil emergency and enacted a curfew in the City of Grand Rapids for the next 48 hours. The measures come following a night of violent protests and civil unrest downtown that resulted in substantial property damage and imminent threats of harm to community members and public safety officers.

The curfew is in effect 7 p.m. today through 5 a.m. Monday and 7 p.m. Monday through 5 a.m. Tuesday. It prevents community members from walking, running, loitering, standing or motoring upon any alley, street, highway, public property or vacant premises within the city of Grand Rapids. Community members may travel to and from work during the curfew.

All community members are urged to adhere to the curfew to help protect public safety.

For more on the curfew, CLICK HERE.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has authorized the state of emergency and has deployed the Michigan National Guard to assist with curfew enforcement and the protection of property in Grand Rapids.

“Our city and our partners have taken numerous actions to respond to and protect against this threat,” Bliss said. “We implore our residents and visitors to abide by this curfew so we can restore order and protect our residents. What happened in our city last night is beyond heartbreaking and is unacceptable. Violence, chaos and destruction have no place in our city. This does not represent who we are.

“Despite the sadness that overcame me last night, I am heartened by all the volunteers, downtown business and property owners, DGRI employees and staff from our Public Works and Parks department who came downtown first thing this morning to start the cleanup. They brought brooms, buckets and a desire to take back our city – and we are forever grateful. This is Grand Rapids – people coming together to take care of our city.”

During an afternoon media briefing this afternoon, City officials provided a recap of Saturday night’s events:

  • No injuries to community members or sworn officers
  • No loss of life
  • Seven arrests
  • 100 businesses impacted
  • Seven vehicle fires
  • Three structure fires
  • Several dumpster/trash fires

“What happened last night was totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” City Manager Mark Washington said. “Our law enforcement officers will use every means of appropriate force to prevent another night of unrest.”

Washington addressed concerns alleging the Grand Rapids Police Department did not do enough to stop the violence and did not make more arrests.

“Our police headquarters was under attack last night. Protesters were trying to rush in and disrupt our command center. Our officers and partner agencies were focused on public safety and keeping protesters from impacting those operations. I am proud of our police department’s response to the events that transpired last night and I am grateful for their efforts to prevent injuries or loss of life – and they did this in a professional and respectful manner.”

 

Police Chief Eric Payne said he appreciated the overwhelming community support shown to his officers over the past 24 hours.

 

“Public safety is our top priority, and we are committed to keeping everyone safe at all times – especially under challenging circumstances,” he said. “I want to assure the community that we are using all of our tools to identify the perpetrators responsible for last night’s violence, put their faces out in public in the coming days and ask for the community’s help to identify them.

 

“I am very proud of the professionalism our officers displayed last night in light of some very difficult situations. I welcome the support of our partner agencies to enforce our curfew over the next couple of nights and trust the community will come together to end this unrest.”

 

Anyone with information about the criminal acts that took place Saturday are asked to contact the Grand Rapids Police Department at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 774-2345 or at silentobserver.org.

 

To read the full state of civil emergency declaration, CLICK HERE.

 

To read the temporary curfew order, CLICK HERE.

 

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La ciudad de Grand Rapids declara estado de emergencia civil, promulga toque de queda

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. –– La alcaldesa Rosalynn Bliss firmó hoy una proclamación declarando un estado de emergencia civil y promulgó un toque de queda en la ciudad de Grand Rapids por las próximas 48 horas. Las medidas se producen después de una noche de protestas violentas y disturbios civiles en el centro que resultaron en daños sustanciales a la propiedad y amenazas inminentes de daño a los miembros de la comunidad y los oficiales de seguridad pública.

 

El toque de queda está vigente a las 7 p.m. hoy hasta las 5 a.m., lunes y 7 p.m. de lunes a 5 a.m. martes. Impide que los miembros de la comunidad caminen, corran, merodeen, se paren o conduzcan por cualquier callejón, calle, carretera, propiedad pública o local vacante dentro de la ciudad de Grand Rapids. Los miembros de la comunidad pueden viajar hacia y desde el trabajo durante el toque de queda.

 

Se insta a todos los miembros de la comunidad a cumplir con el toque de queda para ayudar a proteger la seguridad pública.

 

Para más información sobre el toque de queda, HAGA CLIC AQUÍ

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La gobernadora Gretchen Whitmer ha autorizado el estado de emergencia y ha desplegado la Guardia Nacional de Michigan para ayudar con la aplicación del toque de queda y la protección de la propiedad en Grand Rapids.

 

“Nuestra ciudad y nuestros socios han tomado numerosas medidas para responder y protegerse contra esta amenaza”, dijo Bliss. “Imploramos a nuestros residentes y visitantes que cumplan con este toque de queda para que podamos restablecer el orden y proteger a nuestros residentes. Lo que sucedió en nuestra ciudad anoche es más que desgarrador y es inaceptable. La violencia, el caos y la destrucción no tienen lugar en nuestra ciudad. Esto no representa quienes somos.

 

“A pesar de la tristeza que me supero anoche, me animaron todos los voluntarios, dueños de negocios y propiedades del centro, empleados de DGRI y el personal de nuestro departamento de Obras Públicas y Parques que vinieron al centro esta mañana para comenzar la limpieza. Trajeron escobas, cubos y un deseo de recuperar nuestra ciudad, y estamos eternamente agradecidos. Esto es Grand Rapids: personas que se unen para cuidar a nuestra ciudad “.

 

Durante una sesión informativa de prensa esta tarde, los funcionarios de la Ciudad proporcionaron un resumen de los eventos del sábado por la noche:

  • Sin lesiones a miembros de la comunidad o oficiales jurados.
  • Sin pérdida de vidas
  • Siete arrestos
  • 100 empresas impactadas
  • Siete incendios de vehículos
  • Tres incendios estructurales
  • Varios basureros / incendios de basura

 

“Lo que sucedió anoche fue totalmente inaceptable y no será tolerado”, dijo el gerente de la ciudad Mark Washington. “Nuestros agentes del orden público utilizarán todos los medios de fuerza apropiados para evitar otra noche de disturbios”.

 

Washington abordó las preocupaciones alegando que el Departamento de Policía de Grand Rapids no hizo lo suficiente para detener la violencia y no realizó más arrestos.

 

“Nuestra sede de la policía fue atacada anoche. Los manifestantes estaban tratando de precipitarse e interrumpir nuestro centro de comando. Nuestros oficiales y agencias asociadas se centraron en la seguridad pública y en evitar que los manifestantes impactaran esas operaciones. Estoy orgulloso de la respuesta de nuestro departamento de policía a los eventos que ocurrieron anoche y estoy agradecido por sus esfuerzos para prevenir lesiones o pérdida de vidas, y lo hicieron de manera profesional y respetuosa “.

 

El jefe de policía Eric Payne dijo que apreciaba el abrumador apoyo de la comunidad mostrado a sus oficiales en las últimas 24 horas.

 

“La seguridad pública es nuestra principal prioridad, y estamos comprometidos a mantener a todos seguros en todo momento, especialmente en circunstancias difíciles”, dijo. “Quiero asegurarle a la comunidad que estamos utilizando todas nuestras herramientas para identificar a los responsables de la violencia de la noche anterior, poner sus rostros en público en los próximos días y pedir la ayuda de la comunidad para identificarlos.

 

“Estoy muy orgulloso de la profesionalidad que nuestros oficiales mostraron anoche a la luz de algunas situaciones muy difíciles. Agradezco el apoyo de nuestras agencias asociadas para hacer cumplir nuestro toque de queda durante las próximas dos noches y confío en que la comunidad se unirá para poner fin a este malestar ”.

 

Cualquier persona con información sobre los actos delictivos que tuvieron lugar el sábado debe comunicarse con el Departamento de Policía de Grand Rapids al 616.456.3400 o al Observador Silencioso al 774-2345 o al silentobserver.org.

 

Estzos documentos estaran disponibles en la pagina web de la Ciudad el domingo por la noche.

 

Heart of West Michigan United Way shares post about OKT Program for Growth

Reposted from Heart of West Michigan United Way Success Stories

OUR KITCHEN TABLE CULTIVATES FOOD JUSTICE

OKT wins Community Spirit Award

123_1On October 10, women from Our Kitchen Table attended LINC Up’s Community Spirit Awards luncheon and evening program. During the luncheon, LINC announced OKT as winner of the 2019 Community Spirit Award for Health and Wellness. We are truly honored and humbled by this recognition.

LINC’s website says this about the award:
Neighborhoods are complex environments that are facing a series of complex issues. LINC Up understands that it takes many individuals and organizations with various approaches to achieve sustainable change. Each year, LINC celebrates and highlights the work of individuals and organizations influencing and effecting change in our communities. We believe in recognizing organizations with innovative ideas, those committed to advocacy work, youth making a difference in the community, and all of those working for neighborhoods that matter.

OKT receives $25,000 Amway Grant

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Amway has approved a $25,000 grant for Our Kitchen Table’s Program for Growth at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy. The funds will support programming that involves kindergarten and eighth-grade students and their parents and caregivers  in food growing and healthy eating education that addresses and helps prevent lead poisoning. The 49507 zip code is one of Michigan’s lead-poisoning hot-spots. Parents and caregivers involved in the Program for Growth meet regularly over the summer.

Happy holidays!

coexist

 

Have you considered giving to OKT? Our Kitchen Table receives most of its funding from grants … and additional funding from generous donors. If you would like to contribute to our work, please send your check to Our Kitchen Table, 334 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507. OKT is a registered 501c3 nonprofit and your contribution is tax deductible.

This entry was posted on December 22, 2016, in Press and tagged .

OKT Celebrates 2016 Successes

With your support and participation, here’s what OKT accomplished during 2016. We will be releasing our full, formal annual report soon!

greenhouse1Growing food!

OKT grew thousands of organic food starter plants at Blandford Farm. OKT gave away these fruit, vegetable, edible flower and herb plants to households in its residential food gardening program and select school and community gardens.

  • Residential Food Growing. OKT worked with eight households growing food in container and raised bed gardens in their yards, on their decks and patios and even on their window sills. OKT provided containers, composted soil, plants and seeds, basic garden tools and a weekly garden coach visit. In all, OKT residential food growers grew about  2,500 pounds of food.
  • Garden Education. OKT hosted its food growing education series twice. Each series including How to Plan Your Food Garden 1 & 2, Composting, How to Save Seeds and Introduction to Food Justice. Though designed for OKT’s residential food growers, the classes were open to the pubic at no charge. OKT, Baxter Community Center and Urban Roots coordinated growing classes to maximize benefit to community.
  • School Window Gardens. OKT worked with students at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy, where they grew food in windowsill gardens. All food grown was eaten by the students in healthy snacks or brought home to their families.
  • Community and Agency Gardens. OKT provided organic starter food plants to nine community and agency gardens.

Raising Awareness

OKT raised awareness about food justice and policy issues via its ten-part Food Policy for Food Justice series, website, Facebook and at numerous conferences throughout Michigan and at Grand Rapids-based community and university events.

0211161804Healthy Eating Strategies

Cook, Eat and Talk . OKT’s cooking coaches presented one-session, two-session, four-session and eight-session healthy eating series in partnership with various agencies and for its growers and community.

Women of Color Series

OKT brought in recognized community activists from various Michigan organizations to speak on Being a White Ally — Lila Cabbil and Barbara Roos; Uprooting Racism — Shane Bernardo; Herbal Medicine — Lottie Spady; , Food as Medicine — Adela Nieves; and Diagramming Your Food System — Shakara Taylor.

Southeast Area Farmers’ Market

13882561_1253537447998287_2460462587423020698_nIn 2016, OKT decided to hold both its Friday and Saturday markets at MLK Jr. Park, 900 Fuller St. SE. The park setting brought increased traffic to our market vendors. OKT estimates that 656 patrons visited the market  to generate $8,100 in sales.

  • Vendors: A total of nine vendors sold local, safe produce, cottage foods, crafts and Watkins products. Ninety percent of market vendors were women of color from Grand Rapids southeast neighborhoods.
  • Food Assistance Dollars. The market participated in SNAP, Double Up Food Bucks, Senior Project Fresh, WIC, and a new UCC/OKT program, SEAFM Market Bucks, which provided $1 and $5 coupons good for produce at the market.  One-third of sales were Market Buck purchases.
  • Community Partners.  The market hosted a wide range of community partners who shared their resources with market patrons: Planned Parenthood, The Spoke Folks, Grand Rapids Food Co-op Initiative, Great Start Collaborative,  LINC-Up Soul Food Café, Creative Youth Center, Grand Rapids Fire Department , Voice GR and Healthy Homes.
  • Community Events The Market hosted several fun, family friendly events: Urban Foraging Workshop, Fried Green Tomato Festival, Make Your Own Personal Care Items Workshop, Art at the Market and Greens Cook-off.

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on December 8, 2016, in Press and tagged .

Encore blog post featured OKT executive director

Did you ever wonder where Our Kitchen Table got its start? Here’s the story. Reposted from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation Encore program blog.

FROM A HANDED-DOWN KITCHEN TABLE — A PROGRAM OF EMPOWERMENT

LisaOliverKingPhotoResized_1As a youngster, few things struck Lisa Oliver so profoundly as the moments she would join her family around the kitchen table where she grew up in Missouri, just to talk. “A lot of good, good and difficult and funny and serious conversations happened around this table,” she says, as she runs her hands over the smoky glass top. The table now resides in the kitchen of the home she shares with her husband and daughters on Grand Rapids’ southeast side.

Years after serving as a gathering place during her childhood days, the table continued to spawn ideas and it was over wine with a friend years ago that she was challenged to develop a program that might amp up environmental and social justice.

Fast forward to today and Lisa is founder and director of “Our Kitchen Table,” (OKT) a quiet force that empowers urban neighborhoods to improve their health and monitor sometimes life-threatening environments through education, advocacy and community organizing.

“I really wanted to have my children understand the importance of giving back,” she says, acknowledging that her daughters know the power of communicating around the magic table. “It was important that I talk to them and have them understand the value and effect of community.”

Our Kitchen Table didn’t appear on Lisa’s early horizons, but it definitely comprises her Encore life, and reflects a life of service in other areas, all of which helped to build on the concept that drives the success of her non-profit.

She worked in the public health sector well into her 40s, including jobs with the Kent County Health Department, the Michigan Public Health Institute, and Hospice of Michigan. She also did consulting work around public health and it’s during that period that a girlfriend stopped Lisa in her tracks during that table talk and suggested “You should move beyond consulting and do some real community engagement.”

Lisa was more than intrigued and was led by a variety of factors to explore the problems around lead poisoning and how it affected human health and the environment. That concern branched out to explore strategies for mobilizing low-income families, mostly on Grand Rapid’s southeast side and, in 2003, she founded OKT to combat oppression, race and gender bias, and disparities in wealth and power.

Banking on strong social networks, OKT empowers families with the tools to develop homegrown foods even on properties threatened by soils with suspected or actual high lead levels. OKT teaches residents how to grow crops in containers and take full advantage of the Southeast Area Farmer’s Market, which is moving this June through mid-November to Martin Luther King Park at Franklin Street and Fuller Avenue SE.

It’s there that OKT will continue partnering with the Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council and the Kent County Health Department to host educational events and participate in the Bridge Card (SNAP), Michigan Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Project Fresh, Kent County Health Department coupons and DoubleUp Food Bucks programs.

Lisa views her participation as a chance to immerse herself in community and make a difference with a program that meets basic human needs and lifts up families with education as a core element.

“We promote growing from a systemic lens and from understanding what is going on in the community,” she says. “And we look at the entire food landscape, everything from grocery stores to wild edibles to pantries to food-buying clubs and co-ops.

“I don’t do charity,” she emphasizes. “I just do what I’m supposed to do. I’m my brother’s keeper, and I try to emphasize that. It’s the best way to use my gifts, to help people express kindness. It’s what we should be to each other.”

GRTV records PSA about OKT programs

grtv_logo_400x400Thank you GRTV for spreading the word about OKT’s programs!Thank you Ms. Toni Scott for being our spokesperson and for all you do as an OKT cooking coach!

The PSA airs on GRTV (Comcast Cable 25) at 8:30 AM and 10 PM daily.

This entry was posted on June 21, 2016, in Press and tagged .

TURNING THE TIDE OF FOOD INSECURITY ONE TASTE BUD AT A TIME

Encore blog features OKT cooking coach, Toni Scott.

Reposted from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation Encore blog.

IMG_5290A child of the 60s, Toni Scott grew up eating healthy foods. Her family grew fruits and vegetables in their own garden and her Muskegon neighborhood was home to many fruit trees. “My dad had a garden behind the garage. It was full of every vegetable we needed to eat,” Toni recalls. “I would go out and help my mom pick for dinner. She cooked from scratch for my four brothers, two sisters and me.”

As an adult, Toni’s appetite for healthy foods inspired her to become an accomplished cook. About the only thing that makes Toni happier than cooking for her family is cooking for her neighbors, her church and for anyone who might stop by her house at dinner time. “I just love to feed people,” Toni says.  “I especially like to grill, all year long. I grill turkey, fruit and vegetables–when I don’t eat vegetables, I feel sluggish.”

In 2004, Toni woke up one morning with pain and numbness in her arm. At first she thought she had been simply sleeping in a bad position. But, as the symptoms persisted, she sought medical advice. Her doctor diagnosed her with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). As the debilitating disease continued to attack her nervous system, she was forced to quit working. Despite finding herself disabled and on assistance, Toni kept right on eating healthy and feeding people.

To bolster the small amount of food assistance dollars she received, Toni gardened and also learned how to make the rounds at food pantries, a local church and food trucks to supplement her store of nutritious menu ingredients.

In 2013, she participated in a food gardening program with Our Kitchen Table (OKT), a grass-roots, Grand Rapids non-profit that works for food justice and greater access to healthy foods for all. OKT provided Toni with containers, composted soil, organic starter food plants and a garden coach to ensure her success. In addition, Toni attended OKT’s free gardening classes. She was amazed at the amounts of fresh produce she harvested from the OKT container garden in her own back yard.

As Toni’s garden coach and OKT executive director, Lisa Oliver-King, got to know Toni better, she realized what a treasure Toni was. Within a year, Toni was cooking up her own healthy recipes for OKT events and was soon hired as the organization’s first cooking coach.

“Toni Scott has helped OKT create the role and responsibilities of the cooking coach. She has been an essential piece of the food growing experience for OKT participants,” Oliver-King says. “Known as Ms. Toni, she has connected with individual and group participants in a soulful way that lends itself to laughter, exploration and full experience of good, nurturing food. She is our treasure — and our secret weapon for exemplifying what being food secure can be like, despite having limited resources.”

Toni continues to lead OKT’s Cook, Eat & Talk events, some for the general public and others for local agencies and public schools. During the growing season, she creates recipes using produce growing in OKT food growers’ gardens and selling at the OKT-managed Southeast Area Farmers’ Market. Off season, she bases her recipes on foods that OKT makes available through a collective purchase group offering bulk whole foods via EBT card.

As Toni demonstrates each recipe, she engages her audience in friendly conversation; she creates a comfort level that encourages them to share their own family recipes as well as their frustrations with having limited access to healthy foods in their neighborhoods. Thus, the conversation also leads to a discussion of food and environmental justice.

“I have a passion for helping people understand that the media would have us think it costs a lot to eat healthy, as a ploy to get us to eat boxed food.  At the Cook Eat & Talk, I can dismiss that myth and people see how quick and easy cooking from scratch can be — plus it tastes good and is self-rewarding,” Toni says. “If you cook from scratch, it stretches your money and your longevity.”

Author of this blog, Stelle Slootmaker, has been a writer and communications professional for more than 24 years. In addition to serving as Our Kitchen Table’s communication manager, she works with a variety of business, healthcare and nonprofit clients.

– See more at: http://www.grfoundation.org/encore/blog/post/103/turningthetideoffoodinsecurityonetastebudatatime#sthash.SLhnETeG.cKHpAtyR.dpuf

Alert from LINC UP

Grand Rapids Vapor Intrusion Project COMMUNITY MEETING : TOMORROW @ LINCUP

If you follow any of the local news outlets, chances are you have heard the phrase “Grand Rapids Vapor Intrusion Project” recently.  To summarize, because of some recent environmental testing, it was decided that the residents/businesses located at 401 Hall St. SE, 1168 Madison SE and 1170 Madison SE were to evacuate the premises due to unsafe vapor levels. We would like to notify the community that while some news sources referred to the Southtown Square Apartments (413 Hall St SE) as the source of the vapor leakage, the actual source was a former dry cleaning business that was located in that spot but closed in 1995.

Before LINC UP built the Southtown Apartments, LINC UP Offices and LINC Gallery, they constructed a vapor shield to make sure the buildings would be safe to visit and work in, and so the vapors would not come through the ground and into the buildings.  We want to assure our community that the Southtown Square Apartments (413 Hall St SE), LINC UP Offices and the Soul Food Cafe (1167 Madison SE), the Gallery (341 Hall St SE) and all other offices within those buildings are safe, and unaffected by this recent situation.  Regular testing is performed on these properties, and none have shown signs of vapor leakage.

However, we feel this is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed with the community.  We are asking community members to join us tomorrow, at 341 Hall St SE @ 6pm, at a community meeting to learn more about the situation at hand, what other areas could possibly be affected and ask questions about the safety and well-being of our neighborhood.  See the link below for further details:

EPA, DEQ to hold meeting on SE Grand Rapids vapor levels

Anyone with questions should call EPA On-scene Coordinator Betsy Nightingale at 734-770-8402 or email her at nightingale.elizabeth@epa.gov .