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All the local places to go and things to do.

On May 22, 2013, your American Cancer Society will celebrate its one hundredth birthday—one hundred years of savings lives. Join in and help make some noise! On Wednesday, May 22, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at West Michigan Caterer (located at Centennial Country Club), the Finish The Bite cupcake competition will help Finish the Fight against cancer.

The e-merge Entrepreneur Network of West Michigan, in partnership with the MSU Extension office of Muskegon County and the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (Mi-SBTDC), announce that the final 2012/2013 entrepreneur/small business workshop series will begin March 27. These free workshops are designed for people considering starting a business, people in the process of starting a business, or people who currently own or run a small business. The public is encouraged to attend one or all five sessions.

On March 27 at Aquinas College, Local First will gather area sustainability leaders for its fifth annual Sustainable Business Conference. The half-day conference, noon to 5 p.m., will feature a Local First member business expo, speakers, breakout sessions led by an expert paneled, and a reception following conference events. Speakers include representatives from lauded sustainable businesses Brewery Vivant, Founder's Brewing, and King Arthur Flour.

The April 13 Gazelle Girl Half Marathon is much more than a race. It’s about celebrating the fortieth anniversary of Title IX—the law that made discrimination between men’s and women’s educational programs illegal—and raising money for three nonprofit organizations that support women and girls in Kent County. Gazelle Sports partnered with Nike to bring the inaugural all-women half marathon to West Michigan. A companion Gazelle Girl 5k will take place the same day.    

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), a nonprofit focused on sustainable community development, released the findings of its sixth annual Independent Business Survey. Conducted in partnership with dozens of business organizations, the survey gathered data from 2,377 independent businesses across all fifty states. Among its findings:

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