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Dustin Dwyer

As new development takes off, some find it harder to stay in Grand Rapids

Finding a home in Grand Rapids is becoming more difficult, especially for renters with low incomes. According to Zillow.com, the average cost of a rental unit in Grand Rapids rose almost 8 percent last year. That was the 11 th highest increase in the country , among the 200 largest cities. Even for those who can afford to rent, finding a place isn’t easy.

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Best Buddies Delaware / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Girls from low-income families often feel unprepared for puberty

young man with video camera
Courtesy of Carbon Stories

Erik Lauchié always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit in him. He says he got it from his dad. And it started young. He started his own group in elementary school called Young Entrepreneurs.

“When I was in second grade, I wrote a book called 'The Small Turtle,'” Lauchié  says. “When I started Young Entrepreneurs, that was another thing that I did was bind that book and get the illustrations done by my cousin and then sold the book at my church.”

Girl reading book
Personal Creations / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0 / www.personalcreations.com

I love reading paper books. The process of perusing bookstore and library shelves. The feeling of turning pages and the way they smell.

A few years ago, my husband bought me a Nook from Barnes and Noble so I could download e-books and have them at my fingertips. But I must admit that after a few uses, it now sits unused on my nightstand.

Why? Because reading books in print gives me an experience reading e-books doesn't.

And I'm not alone. Over half of kids ages 6 to 17 prefer to read in print, according to a recent report from Scholastic.

Kid hanging upside down at playground
Virginia State Parks / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

By the time they are just 18 months old, kids from low-income families and those from higher-income families display significant differences in their vocabularies.

Studies suggest that by age three, poor children hear roughly 30 million fewer words than their affluent peers. It's a disparity that researchers in the early 1990s coined the "word gap."

smoking a cigarette
Julie / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Lighting up may become a lot less convenient for smokers who live in public housing.

That's because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a sweeping rule this week that prohibits smoking in all federally subsidized public housing developments in the U.S.

rows of desks in classroom facing chalkboard
User neoproton / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There are more than 90,000 kids in Michigan schools whose primary language is not English.

The number of these English language learners has grown 45 % in the past 5 years, according to data from the state of Michigan.

That has districts, and the state, scrambling to train teachers to help these kids learn.

Pictures of Money / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When people talk about poverty, the conversation typically revolves around the economic condition of a household.

homeless man
Pedro Ribeiro Simoes / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

November is winding down and temperatures here in Michigan are dropping. For many – myself included – the winter months can be a nuisance. But for people experiencing homelessness, the harsh, cold months can be brutal.

Currently, there are nearly 550,000 people in the U.S. experiencing homelessness on any given night. But that number is down nearly 3% from 2015, according to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Dan King / Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Salvation Army is a crucial resource for many people all year round. It provides housing assistance, food assistance, utility assistance and all kinds of other help to people in need.

And around the holidays, that effort ramps up with Christmas assistance.

Wesley Fryer / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

U.S. Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. is urging all states to eliminate corporal punishment - punishments like spanking or paddling - from schools.

Ron Cruz / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. It harms nearly every organ in the body and is linked to health conditions like cancer, heart disease and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And when a mother chooses to smoke during pregnancy, she is harming not only her health, but the health of her baby.

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