Morning Buzz: 5 things to know for March 11

1. Some major kudos to a West Michigan woman who's been named the first female commander of an infantry company for the Michigan Army National Guard.

Once told she was too short to be active duty military police, Captain Amie Kemppainen has the last laugh now.

Kemppainen went on to be an administrative clerk, then to the National Guard, and then in 2004, was deployed to Iraq where she served as a truck driver.

She says it was serving in the Middle East that made her decide she wanted to be an officer and hasn't looked back since.

Kemppainen says it's all about working hard and her motto is she'll never ask someone to do something that she wouldn't do herself.

 

2. Beautiful new artwork will greet visitors at Frederik Meijer Gardens new Welcome Center.

The Grand Rapids attraction  paid Spanish artist Jaume Plensa for the piece titled, "Utopia." It's designed specifically for the center, which opens in 2021.

The artwork consists of 19-foot-tall portraits of four young women of different backgrounds and nationalities.

The sculpture is still being carved out of white marble, all the way from Barcelona, Spain.

 

3. There's still time to get tickets for the 9th annual Hockey, Hops, and Hope, a fundraiser to benefit Easter Seals Michigan.

The Grand Rapids Griffins will host the event tomorrow from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Fox Hyundai Kia on 28th Street in Grand Rapids.

Griffins players and coaches will serve over 100 varieties of wine and craft beer samples to guests at the event.

There will be live music, a dinner and silent auction with items like vacations and tickets to the Detroit Pistons Tickets are $50 each, or $80 for two and can be purchased online or by phone.

 

4. IHOP is celebrating Free Pancake Day for the 14th year in a row.

The chain will offer a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes at all of its restaurants including here in West Michigan.

People are still encouraged to make a donation to kids at Children's Miracle Network Hospitals for children fighting a life-threatening illness.

The money raised will help ids at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital and their families pay for medical care.

The free pancake frenzy runs from  7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 

5. Feeling a little tired this morning after losing an hour of sleep over the weekend? Take a nap for National Napping Day!

The day was designated as an official day to take a short snooze after springing the clocks forward. Studies show even a quick 10 to 20 minute catnap can improve alertness, productivity, and mood. So feel free to catch up on the hour lost during Daylight Saving time.

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