To those who reached out to support area food pantries and meal programs through the Christmas holiday. The Northwest Food Coalition has seen an estimated 50 percent-plus increase in the number of people served across the region in 2013. In 2012, area pantries, meal programs and baby pantries fed 281,000 people, according to the coalition. By November 2013, the count stood at 429,000, a 52 percent increase. The group estimated December’s count will bring the total to 467,000.
n To the Mt. Holiday ski area for installing a new zipline, a station-to-station wire on which secured riders zoom downhill, far above the ground. The zipline is the latest attraction at Mt. Holiday, the nonprofit recreational area north and east of Traverse City, and is part of a plan to make the facility a year-round venture. The two current ziplines are the first of what Mt. Holiday hopes will be a 10-station zipline tour through a recently purchased 12-acre parcel on the backside of the ski area.
n To Grand Traverse Industries for taking over Paperworks Studios, a card-making program that employs more than 20 disabled and disadvantaged people. GTI, a nonprofit that already employs more than 300 people with disabilities, hopes to make Paperworks profitable by January 2015. The program lost money in recent years but new buyers, including Whole Foods, helped chip away at the deficit. GTI said the aim is to make Paperworks self-sustaining,
n To the flood of people who have stepped up to seek appointment to the Traverse City Area Public Schools’ Board of Education after an initial lack of candidates. The board is to name a replacement for Marjorie Rich, who has stepped down. It’s encouraging to see so many people willing to serve the district.
n To the dozens of people working to stick to a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get in shape by joining a local gym. Gym owners say they are swamped every year by a rush of people who want to improve their health by working out. Unfortunately, the rush usually dies down within a month, and sometimes just two weeks into January, one gym owner said. The experts advise new exercisers to start slowly and stick to their new plan.
n To area homeless shelters that provided a warm place to stay for dozens of area homeless during the recent bone-cracking cold wave. Homeless individuals streamed into the Jubilee House on Washington Street with red hands and numb toes. The shelter, run by Grace Episcopal Church, extended its hours. Central United Methodist Church served daily breakfasts and provides showers.