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 Creston Connections

 
Powerful window mural "Break The Cycle" by Jasmine Bruce.  Check it out at Lions & Rabbits at 1264 Plainfield Ave. NE.
The vision of the Creston Neighborhood Association is a diverse community where all neighbors thrive.  But all our neighbors cannot thrive under stress and fear that their lives may be in danger because of racism. 

As an organization led by mostly white people, despite the diversity of our community, the Creston Neighborhood Association must wrestle with our complicity in racist structures and our role in making the world a better place, starting with our own neighborhood.  

As staff of Creston Neighborhood Association, you have our pledge that we will work to be accountable to people of color.  The work of anti-racism is not simple or quick, and it will take us time to map our path forward.  For now, here's how we will proceed: 
1.  We will support the work of like-minded community-based organizations that have been at the forefront of advocacy for local community-police relations.  
2.  We will connect you, our neighbors, with news and information about City of Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Police Department policies.  

To that end, please check out the following updates: 
  • Urban Core Collective, Linc Up and Greater Grand Rapids NAACP ask the City of Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Police Department to accept responsibility for the change that must occur, professionally and structurally. They have delineated ways that GRPD can improve transparency and implement changes already recommended by expensive studies from Twenty First Centurcy Policing and a Deployment Study.  Click here for more information.
  • Mayor Rosalyn Bliss Mayor Bliss has publicly committed to 8 Can’t Wait policies as well as President Obama’s pledge to review and restrict use of force policies.  Click here for more information. 


BIG NEWS: Our Creston history walking tour is now LIVE on GRWalks!

To access the tour follow these steps: 
1. Download the GRWalks app on your smart phone.
2. Download the Creston Neighborhood tour.
3. Go for a walk! The walk begins at Choo Choo Grill a
t the corner of Plainfield and Leonard. It's a pretty good, long walk with optional extensions. Dedicate an hour for the full walking tour.

The beautiful Creston Community Garden, located behind our office building at 205 Carrier St. NE has a couple plots left.  You can see this season's progress on Facebook.  The cost for the season is $30. If you are interested, please email Megan at: MKruis@CrestonGR.com

 

Grow Your Own Food with Bridge Card !

 

You can use your Bridge Card to purchase fruit, vegetable and herb (edible) plants.   

Questions?    

Email:
KSpring@CrestonGR.com


Fulton St. Farmer's Market is Open !
Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8:00 am - 2:00 pm.

They are taking extra precautions and following national guidelines to ensure that both our vendors and customers are safe. They remain open to continue to serve the community with fresh produce + food products while also continuing to support the viability of our farms and food businesses. Click here for a sharable flyer with tips for your trip to the market
Kymie drove past the market last SAT. at ~10:30am. People were lined up all the way to Fuller and many were crammed together and NOT wearing masks.
These might be less crowded (?):
  • Rockford Farmers Market: Saturday | 8am-1pm
  • Metro Health Farmers Market: Thursdays  | 9 am – 2 pm

Thank you volunteers! 

On Sunday, May 31 neighbors and volunteers replanted our bioretention islands!  Thank you to Creston.After Dark, North Quarter Corridor Improvement Authority, Creston Business Association, the City of Grand Rapids and other participating sponsors. 

A very special thank you to Hum Native Plantscape for organizing the event!  

Want to say thank you for this community effort?  Support Creston.After Dark with your dollars.  All proceeds go to our Creston business districts.  Donate here.
Public Safety Reminders:
Seniors - Wellness Checks and Supplies Available
Learn more about available resources: Call (616) 456-5664
From the Amazing Area Agency on Aging of West MI.
https://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/2020/04/wellness-checks-added-to-kent-county-senior-millage-during-coronavirus-crisis.html
Many, many Creston neighbors have been upset and disturbed by fireworks being set off on days/nights that are not allowed by the City. One gentleman has been sleeping in the basement with his hysterical dog, veterans have expressed that it triggers PTSD trauma and parents with babies are additionally challenged.  Here's what you need to know: 

FIREWORKS in the City are only legal on personal property on the following days:
  • June 29 - July 4 from 11am - 11:45pm
  • Sat & Sun before Memorial Day and Labor Day 11am - 11:45pm
  • Dec 31 from 11am until 1am on Jan 1
It really helps the police if you have an address when you call. Ask the dispatcher to kindly refrain from putting out a radio call and to email on-duty officers instead because the culprits very well may have a scanner and stop their illegal activity if they hear the call go out. The police need to ‘catch them in the act.’ The police typically give a warning for the first offense and then issue a $1,000 fine for repeated offense(s).
Did You Hear that Siren
on June 5?


The City of GR tests the emergency siren at noon on the 1st FRIDAY of the month.
 
If it’s NOT the 1st FRI and you hear the siren, that means SEEK SHELTER immediately. Really good info about where to seek shelter:
https://www.accesskent.com/Sheriff/LEPC/siren.htm
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Neighbors, thank you for taking care of each other!  

Pandemic, Protests, Power Outages

Neighbors ask, "HOW CAN I HELP?"

1.  Become a block connector!  Block Connectors communicate with neighbors on their block and the Creston Neighborhood Association.  They find out if their neighbors need anything, and they help get out information about upcoming meetings, events and happenings:
  • Resident advocacy for positive police-community relationships
  • Help neighbors access food resources
  • Brainstorm ways to build relationships with your neighbors, even as we continue to be physically distant
  • Share resources for yardwork, storm damage and more.
 To be a Block Connector, contact community organizer Kymie Spring at KSpring@CrestonGR.com or leave a message at 616-454-7900. 

2.  Some neighbors have asked if they can contribute.  Yes.  If you would like to give money for neighborhood relief efforts, you may do so here: www.crestongr.com/donate, or contact Kymie at KSpring@CrestonGR.com if you would like to contribute goods like cleaning products, masks or yard tools.
 
Show you support the work of the Creston Neighborhood Assocation. Become a member!
Donate up to $300 to 501(c)3 Organizations this Year - Get a One Time Deduction

Write-Off up to $300 of your income on Your 2020 Taxes if you take the Standard Deduction (you DON’T itemize) as per recent CARES Act Passed by Congress.
 
With the coronavirus upon us, we're going to need help from charitable organizations like CNA more than ever to climb our way back to normal. To encourage more charitable giving in 2020, the recently enacted government stimulus bill (the "CARES Act") provides some additional tax relief for donors. This makes it easier to give and save at the same time.
 
From Philanthropy.com

Who is eligible to take the deduction?
Only taxpayers who don’t separately itemize their deductions are allowed to claim the new deduction. Alexander Reid, a Washington tax lawyer who served as legislative counsel for Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, notes that when the tax overhaul was passed in 2017, the threshold for the standard deduction was doubled. For individuals in 2020, the standard deduction will be$12,400.

That means only about 12 percent of taxpayers benefit from separately itemizing their deductions, Reid says, noting that most people don’t have enough to deduct to make it worth itemizing.
Are couples who file jointly allowed to claim a $600 deduction?
The legislation is not clear on this point, experts say.
Reid says the deduction is allowed for each tax form that is filed.
 
(From CNA: So if a married couple files jointly, they can only claim a $300 deduction total.)
 
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For those who DO itemize, check out this information from Kiplinger.com

If you itemize on Schedule A of your tax return, you can claim a deduction for your charitable donations. However, the amount you can deduct for cash contributions is generally limited to 60% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). Any cash donations over that amount can be carried over for up to five years and deducted later.
The CARES Act lifts the 60% of AGI limit for cash donations made in 2020 (although there's still a 100% of AGI limit on all charitable contributions). That means itemizers can deduct more of their charitable cash contributions this year, which will hopefully boost charitable giving. As with the new above-the-line deduction, donations to donor advised funds and supporting organizations don't count.

Please consider supporting any or all of these amazing, effective organizations that benefit our community, especially during this COVID-19 crisis. The churches on this list were selected because they have helped CNA with resources for some of the recently distressed neighbors we have contacted. Thank you !!!
 
Berean Baptist Church  https://www.bereangr.org
The Berean Baptist Church operates an emergency food pantry, helping neighbors in the Creston area with food insecurity issues for any reason, and have changed the method of distribution to continue serving clients safely through the Covid-19 crisis, with delivery also as an option.
Catherine’s Health Center    https://catherineshc.org
Non-profit, community-based health facility helping address the need for access to quality healthcare for those who have nowhere else to go.
Creston Neighborhood Association   https://www.crestongr.com/donate
The mission of the Creston Neighborhood Association is to empower neighbors through information, connections, and support to build the Creston community.
Over the last few months, we’ve made over 1,000 calls to support distressed neighbors and we continue to do so. We’ve helped folks who need everything from diapers, food, and cleaning supplies, to help navigating the unemployment quagmire.
 
DAAC –The Division Avenue Arts Collection Moves to Creston!   https://thedaac.org
For 17 years, the DAAC has been a volunteer-run all ages music venue and art gallery, with a focus on after-school arts programming for kids, re-opening at 1553 Plainfield, hopefully this Aug.
 
Disability Advocates https://www.dakc.us/
Even in these upside down times, Disability Advocates continues to work alongside people with disabilities to navigate the many support systems and remains vigilant to ensure equal access for all.
 
Greater Grand Rapids Area Mutual Aid Network*   http://tinyurl.com/GGRMutualAid
We're a COVID-19 response neighbor-to-neighbor care group who focuses on direct cash giving to those who are often left out and marginalized.  In order to disrupt harmful systems of white supremacy, all our money decisions are made by a POC Giving Circle; our direct cash distributions go only to folks of color, including under-documented folks, disabled folks, elders, and LGBTQ folks.  We also support all neighbors with grocery deliveries and by connecting folks who can support each other during this pandemic.
* Greater Grand Rapids Mutual Aid Network is not a 501(c)3. CNA will serve as fiduciary to Mutual Aid for tax deductable gifts from Creston residents. Contact Executive Director Megan Kruis for more information: MKruis@CrestonGR.com
Healthy Homes Coalition   http://www.healthyhomescoalition.org
The Healthy Homes Coalition prioritizes children's health and wellbeing by eliminating harmful housing conditions that lead to asthma attacks, lead poisoning, and accidental injury.
 
New City Neighbors   https://newcityneighbors.org
Empowering youth to reach their full potential through their New City Farm, afterschool program, day camp, and café.
Sunshine Community Church   https://www.sunshine.church
This church moved to Creston with the goal of being more community-centered.
 


Pleasant Hearts Pet Food Pantry
https://www.pleasantheartspetfoodpantry.org/

This volunteer and donation based 501(c)(3) non profit organization works to keep pets with their families at home and out of shelters. Plus, they help them stay healthy so they can have their fun !

 
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Save Money and the Planet

Let's make Creston homes more energy efficient AND more affordable! 
 
We’re working with the Green Home Institute to make housing more affordable (reduced utility costs!) and help reduce climate chaos by connecting neighbors to energy efficiency resources. Many are FREE, especially for lower income neighbors, but there are reduced-cost programs as well.

The 1st step is an assessment to find out what your home needs to be more energy efficient.

To schedule a ‘Virtual Home Energy Assessment’ or an IN-PERSON assessment contact Kymie at KSpring@CrestonGR.com

And here’s information about 2 Consumers Energy programs:
Home Energy Analysis Program: https://www.homeenergyanalysis.com/
Helping Neighbors Program (Income-Qualified): 
https://www.cehelpingneighbors.com/
Call center (both programs): (833) 685-1312
 
Become a Consumers Energy clean energy partner and sign up for a free Home Energy Analysis. A Consumers Energy expert will inspect your home and then identify best opportunities for you to save energy and money while improving comfort.

Possible upgrades include:
- LED bulbs
- LED nightlights
- Pipe wrap
- Faucet aerators

These assessments are offered both in-person and virtually, all at no cost to you! Through the Helping Neighbors program, those who are income qualified may be eligible for additional free energy saving measures.

Business News for Reopening:


MI Occupational Safety and Health Administration –
GUIDELINES for REOPENING

Click HERE for a very sound plan for businesses, etc. re-opening.

MIOSHA Workplace Guidelines, New Hotline to Protect Michigan Workers

Businesses are encouraged to flush water service lines before reopening.
Click HERE to download step-by-step instructions from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy on how to flush a water service line.
It’s also recommended that all appliances that use water for consumption are flushed.
Click HERE to learn more about how to flush refrigerators with ice makers, water softeners, humidifiers, and other devices.
 
JOBS
https://www.westmiworks.org
 
HELP
https://www.hwmuw.org/211
 
It’s a New Fiscal Year for Grand Rapids
The Grand Rapids City Commission on Thursday unanimously approved the fiscal year 2021 fiscal plan and established social zones to help restaurants and bars in their COVID-19 resiliency and recovery efforts.
 
For a recap, please CLICK HERE.
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How are YOU doing?  Don't be shy! 
Take care of yourself and your loved ones. 

It's not too late: Fill out the census today!  


Now more than ever, it's so important to take the census for our neighborhood. Each person that takes the census can get up to $18,000 for our roads, schools, hospitals. In this unprecedented time, we see how essential these services are to our community. 

So, be sure to take the census and help keep Creston flourishing! 

Want to make sure your neighbors fill out their census form too?  Tell them: #CrestonCounts.

Want to read more about the turnout in Grand Rapids?
Instead of a stimulus check, 4 million people will receive a prepaid VISA Debit Card Look for a white envelope with return address: Money Network Cardholder Services.
Be mindful to call 1-800-240-8100 to activate and sign the back of the card.
More info:  www.eipcard.com or NBC News report
Does the information provided by the Creston Neighborhood Association help you feel more informed and more safe? 
Let us know! Click here.

Thank you to our Community Partners! 

The Creston Neighborhood Association belongs to all of us.
  

If you would like to support our efforts to help make the Creston Neighborhood more sustainable, please consider donating or becoming a member of the Creston Neighborhood Association https://www.crestongr.com/donate
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Copyright © 2020 Creston Neighborhood Association, All rights reserved.


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