Morning Buzz: 5 things to know for December 11

1. Kick back, let The Rapid do the driving and snuggle up to a book while enjoying the ride. The Kent District Library in Grand Rapids is partnering with The Rapid for a new program to make reading more accessible.

The Books on the Bus program is available on more than a dozen buses in the Grand Rapids area. People are encouraged to take, or leave a book, and there will be a rotating selection fro all ages.

The library says the average rider spends 25 minutes on the bus each day, so it's the perfect time to do some reading.


2. Thanks to a contest, there's a new design for public park signs all across the city of Grand Rapids.

Steve Voelker's idea got the most support in a public vote. He'll be given $1,000 to work with a design professional to make final renderings.

Voelkers says he plans to use sustainable materials. All 75 city parks will get new signs in the design.


3. A sign of the season, when debts are getting paid off by those in the holiday spirit. Two school districts will have their lunch debts cleared by the end of the week.

Don Miller of Auto West on M-89 in Allegan County wrote a $7,000 check to wipe those debts clean. Both districts are saying they were extremely grateful for the much-needed donation.

35 percent of the student population between both districts are on free or reduced lunch plans, and for some it's the only meal they'll get each day.

Miller is hoping this encourages other business owners in the area to do the same.


4. Good news for Spartan-Nash shoppers, the retailer is unveiling a new app to speed up the shopping process.

It's called "Check Out Now." Shoppers can scan the bar codes on products and bag it themselves at all stores like Family Fare. It's also a way to discover new products.

The app is currently available to use at the Georgetown and Metro Family Fare stores in Hudsonville and Wyoming, and is expected to expand soon.

The app is free to download on Android or Apple Devices.


5. A local distillery and cafe are releasing a coffee flavored spirit, and tonight they're holding a release party to celebrate.

It's all to commemorate the release of Long Road and Madcap Coffee's flavored spirit, Amaro Pazzo.

Organizers say there will be half off Amaro and coffee cocktails available at that party tonight, located at the distillery on Grand Rapids' West side.

The two companies have been working for more than a year to fine tune the recipe, which has notes of citrus, lemongrass and a hint of ginger.

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