Down Town Grand Rapids Night Out

Prismatica on Monroe

If you are looking for something to do, outside, even if it is cold, there are some great things going on in downtown Grand Rapids MI.
Check It Out Here!

Prismatica on Monroe
Fri, Jan 17, 202012:00 PM Sun, Feb 16, 202011:00 PM
Monroe North Lot (map)
“An infinite interplay of lights and colorful reflection…”

We are thrilled to bring a new interactive light installation called “Prismatica” to the World of Winter Festival this year. Prismatica is a collection of light prisms that have toured the world, adding energy and creativity to urban business districts. The interactive installation includes 25 pivoting prisms, creating a modern ice palace that transmits and reflects color and light. As the prisms rotate, a soundtrack of bells plays in the background. Downtown Grand Rapids will host Prismatica at 555 Monroe Ave. NW from January 17 to February 16, 2020.

Conception and execution: RAW Design in collaboration with ATOMIC3

Production: Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, Montreal, Canada

Snowshoe at the Park

  • Tuesday, January 28, 2020
  • 6:00 PM  7:00 PM
  • Ah-Nab-Awen Park (map)

Feel the crunch of the snow under your feet and enjoy nature at this FREE spectacular snowshoeing event led by Friends of Grand Rapids Parks. Snowshoes will be provided. Don’t forget to dress warm!

Movies on the Piazza

  • Saturday, February 1, 2020
  • 11:00 AM  7:00 PM
  • Studio Park (map)

It’s summertime in February! Join us as we show summer-themed movies at the new Studio Park piazza. Enjoy hot-toddies, cocktails, popcorn, food trucks, s’mores, movie-themed programming and fun activities between each movie. Don’t forget to get photos taken with Disney’s Moana!

There will be fire pits – but dress warm anyway!
Camping chairs are available on-site for free rental.
All movies will be played in English with Spanish subtitles

Black History Walking Tour

  • Saturday, February 1, 2020
  • 12:00 PM  1:00 PM
  • Rosa Parks Circle (map)

Join your tour guide for a FREE walk through Grand Rapids’ Black history.

The tour starts at Rosa Parks Circle. To register, visit:

Registration is not required but is strongly encouraged.

Dance in the Annex at Prismatica

  • Sunday, February 2, 2020
  • 2:00 PM  3:00 PM
  • Monroe North Lot (map)

Experience the Prismatica light installation alongside a performance by Dance in the Annex (DITA)!

“With bated breath: we move like colors” is an original concept structured improvisation that will activate the spaces in and around Prismatica for the World of Winter Festival. With the colorful lights and sounds of the Prismatica sculptures as inspiration, DITA will present this site-specific contemporary dance piece in collaboration with percussionist Josh Dunigan.

Dancers: Kara Brems, Jessica Ferguson, Hannah Sullivan, Nicole Reehorst, Amy Wilson

Live musical accompaniment: Josh Dunigan

Photo credit: Art Peers


  • Thursday, February 6, 2020
  • 6:00 PM  7:00 PM
  • Monroe North Lot (map)

Get your downward dog on at this FREE outdoor run and yoga event! Attendees will meet at 555 Monroe Ave. NW at 6:00 PM before heading out for a 20-minute warm-up run. Then, we will regroup at 555 Monroe for a 25-minute yoga session. No mat needed. Don’t forget to wear warm workout clothing! ??‍♀️

Register here:…

Don’t forget to check out Prismatica, the rainbow light installation, while you’re there!

Downtown Market Ice Bar

  • Friday, February 7, 2020
  • 4:00 PM  8:00 PM
  • Downtown Market Grand Rapids (map)

Grab a drink from a bar made of ice and embrace the cold with some frozen tundra yard games!

Human Hungry Hungry Hippo Tournament

  • Sunday, February 9, 2020
  • 12:30 PM  7:00 PM
  • Rosa Parks Circle (map)

Your favorite board game comes to life in this human version of Hungry Hungry Hippos! Adult and family divisions are available at this awesome Downtown extravaganza.

Registration is required and now open!

Note that each team consists of six players. Registration is $60 per team. The winners get awesome prize packages!

Adult Division = All players 18+
Family Division = Minimum of (2) adults 18+ as well as minimum (2) kids under 18 years of age

Learn how the game works here:

Food trucks will serve on-site.


  • Fri, Feb 14, 202012:00 PM  Fri, Feb 21, 20209:00 PM
  • Downtown Grand Rapids (map)

Celebrate winter with a gallery of ice in Downtown Grand Rapids! This annual World of Winter attraction showcases over 50 ice sculptures all throughout Downtown. You can do a self-guided tour of these amazing works of art… or join one of our ice sculpture walking tours so you don’t miss any of them!

Ice Sculpture Walking Tour

  • Friday, February 14, 2020
  • 6:00 PM  7:00 PM
  • Rosa Parks Circle (map)

Downtown Grand Rapids transforms into a gallery of ice with over 50 beautiful ice sculptures all over our amazing city. Make sure not to miss a single ice sculpture by joining our FREE guided tours led by Grand Rapids Running Tours!

Bundle up and walk with your tour guide to learn more about sub-zero art and their interesting backstories.

All tours start at Rosa Parks Circle.

To register for a walking tour, visit:

Registration is not required but is strongly encouraged.

Love on Ice

  • Friday, February 14, 2020
  • 6:00 PM  10:00 PM
  • Rosa Parks Circle (map)

Why spend Valentine’s Day inside when you can enjoy a unique Downtown experience with 2 for 1 ice skating and FREE professional photographs in front of our interactive ice installation?

Don’t miss out on a V-Day to remember!

This event is dog-friendly.

Love on Ice is sponsored by Camp Bow Wow.

Paint the Park

  • Saturday, February 15, 2020
  • 11:00 AM  6:00 PM
  • Rosa Parks Circle (map)

Ain’t no party like a community ice painting party! Grab a brush and help us paint the ice at the Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink. Make your mark Downtown and beautify our city as a community. Please note that painting stops at 4 PM or when the ice rink runs out of painting space.

We’re also closing down Monroe Center in front of Rosa Parks Circle for a street party!


  • Food trucks serving on-site
  • Get your pictures taken with Queen Elsa & Princess Anna from Disney’s Frozen!
  • “Ice Breaker” – live ice carving of the 5000-pound community sculpture
  • Ice rink open for skating from 6:00 PM
  • Check out our partner booths featuring games and other activities

Be sure to visit the web site for additional dates and times!

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Just How Bad is Soda for Your Teeth?

Soda, pop or soda pop. Whatever you call it may likely depend on where you live or what region of the country you grew up in. But, the bottom line is they can be bad for your oral health and deliver a blow to your teeth.

Sugar itself doesn’t do the damage, but the bacteria in your mouth feeds on the sugar to create acid, and that can erode the enamel that protects your teeth.  Soda itself is very acidic. Between the bacteria feeding on the sugar and creating acid, every time you sip, soda starts an acid attack that lasts about 20 minutes. These ongoing acid attacks weaken the tooth enamel. This leads to an increased chance of, you guessed it, tooth decay.

If you’re a soda drinker, we’re not going to ask you to stop, but we do have some quick tips to help reduce any potential harm they may cause:

  • Cut back. Drink soda in moderation. Try not to have more than one a day.
  • Don’t let it linger. The longer it takes to drink a soda, the more time the sugars and acids have to damage your teeth.
  • Rinse. If brushing isn’t an immediate option, rinse your mouth with water after drinking a soda. Flushing your mouth with some water will help wash away any remaining sugars and acids.
  • Drink plenty of water, possibly in place of that extra soda you may have. Fluoridated tap water is best for your teeth.
  • Brush with a fluoride toothpaste and floss.
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dental insurance

Dental Basics

Basics presented by Delta Dental

What are cavities?

A tooth cavity is a hole in your tooth caused by tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when your enamel breaks down, usually from plaque and bacteria in your mouth that eat away at your tooth. Tooth decay may take years to develop into an actual cavity. Caught very early, tooth decay may even be reversed through the use of fluoride or other preventive care you can discuss with your dentist.

What are some causes of cavities?

  • Bacteria in your mouth.
  • It’s not just about candy and soda. Cavities can also be caused by frequent consumption of starchy, refined carbohydrate foods such as chips, crackers and cookies and high sugar drinks such as fruit juices and energy or sports drinks.
  • Not keeping up with your daily oral health routine, including brushing and flossing.

How can I prevent tooth decay?

  • Brush with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day, and floss regularly.
  • Eat nutritious meals and limit snacking and sugary treats.
  • Check with your dentist about the need for topical fluoride and sealants to protect you or your child’s teeth from tooth decay.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for preventive care.

Contact Shield Agency for details on a dental policy with Delta Dental

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Fundraiser for Gabe Dehen

Help us purchase a new and comfy chair for Gabe by referring your friends and family to our Agency. Everyone needs insurance, we hope be able to save them some cash and fund a new chair for Gabe! Have them give us a call at 616-896-4600 !

P Pod Chair with accessories

This year Shield Agency is raising funds to purchase a P Pod for five year old Gabe Dehen. This unique chair with accessories will provide all the clinical benefits Gabe needs, while allowing him to actively participate with the family. We know he’ll be thrilled to hang out in something other than his bed or wheelchair!

Here is how this referral program works:

  • If a person is not already our client calls 616-896-4600 for a quote and says they heard about Gabe’s story, we will donate $25 to Gabe’s family.
  • If a person who is not our client calls 616-896-4600 and was referred by a client then that client will have the option to receive the $20 gift card or have us donate $25 to Gabe’s cause.

So far, we’ve raised a little over $500!

You can see Gabe’s story here,

So start sending us your friends and family to see if we can save them some cash!
We already have $500 towards the new chair!

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2019 tax season is here!

Here’s how to prepare

Attention: 2019 tax filing season has started. Here’s what you can do now to get ready.

3 steps to get ready for 2019 tax filing:

  1. Look for Form 1095-A.
    • If you or anyone in your household had a 2019 Marketplace plan, you’ll get Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement in the mail by early February. It comes from the Marketplace, not the IRS.
    • It may also be available online in your account.
  2. Check Form 1095-A for accuracy.
    • You’ll use Form 1095-A to “reconcile” your premium tax credit if you used advanced payments of the premium tax credit to lower your monthly premium payment, so it’s important the information on it is correct. If you file with an incorrect version, you may need to file an amended return later.
    • Confirm things like your coverage and household information, monthly enrollment premium, and “second lowest cost Silver Plan” (SLCSP).
    • If you find errors, contact the Marketplace Call Center. We’ll send you an updated copy. Wait to file until you have it.
  3. Use your correct 1095-A to “reconcile.”
    • Now that you have an accurate 1095-A and second lowest cost Silver plan premium, you’re ready to fill out Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit.
    • See this step-by-step guide to reconciling for next steps.
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Free preventive medical services in 2020

With Marketplace coverage, you have access to free preventive services, like flu shots, check-ups, and screening tests. Getting these recommended services is an important step toward good health and well-being.

What are preventive services?

  • Preventive services are routine health care procedures, like screenings, check-ups, and counseling to prevent illnesses, disease, and other health problems.
  • Taking advantage of these free services can help detect illness early, when treatment is likely to work best, so talk to your provider about what’s right for you.
  • Note: Preventive services are free only when provided by a doctor or other provider in your plan’s network. (A network is the facilities, providers, and suppliers your health insurer has contracted with to provide health care services. Contact your insurance company to see which providers are “in-network.”)

Where can I learn more?

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7 things to know about rental car coverage

After a car accident, you have enough things to worry about. Getting to work the next day shouldn’t be one of them.

We’ve all been there—and arranging alternate transportation while your vehicle is in a repair shop can be a hassle. But rental reimbursement coverage can help alleviate some stress after an accident while also saving you money.

Here are seven things you should know about before buying rental car reimbursement coverage:

1. It’s optional.
Rental reimbursement coverage does not automatically apply after an accident. As an optional coverage, it must be purchased separately. A common misconception is that auto insurance automatically covers the cost of a replacement rental car. In reality, you often have to select this coverage and apply it to the policy.

2. There is a limit.
You’ll likely have a per day and per occurrence limit. For example, if you have a 25/750 limit, your insurance company will pay up to $25 per day but no more than $750 per claim for the rental vehicle. Most insurance companies will offer several different options, allowing you to choose the limit that is right for you.

3. Your vehicle must be in the shop due to a covered loss.
Rental reimbursement coverage can be used while your vehicle is being repaired after an accident or another covered loss, not for routine maintenance or leisure. So, if your car is at the body shop after an accident, a rental car is covered up to your limit. But if your car is undergoing routine maintenance that will keep it in the shop overnight or you are renting a vehicle for a family road trip, then rental reimbursement coverage would not apply.

4. You can use it right away.
After reporting a claim, if your vehicle isn’t drivable, you can be authorized for a rental car right away. Otherwise, you will be relying on the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and you may have to wait a little while before they can assess the claim and agree to pay for a rental car. With rental reimbursement coverage, there’s no waiting.

5. No need to worry about additional insurance.
For the most part, when you have collision and comprehensive coverages in your auto insurance policy, it will transfer to the rental vehicle, eliminating the need to purchase additional coverage from the car rental agency. Check with your Shield agent, who will be able to tell you when this applies.

6. You may not need it at all.
If you have access to another vehicle, rideshare service or public transportation in the event your vehicle isn’t drivable, you may not need rental reimbursement coverage. But if you prefer the safety net of having a rental available if you need it, you may want to opt-in to this coverage.

7. It costs less than you might expect.
One year of rental reimbursement coverage will typically cost less than one day of out-of-pocket rental car expenses.Want to learn more? Talk to your local independent Shield agent for complete details on rental reimbursement coverage.

– Insurance Information Institute

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5 best insurance tips for millennials

Adulting (verb) – acting like an adult or engaging in activities usually associated with adulthood, often responsible or boring tasks.1

If you’re a millennial, you know this definition all too well. You’ve reached the age where you may be taking out student loans, buying or renting a place to live, having kids and, ultimately, purchasing insurance. These major life events for millennials make it extremely important to have a financial security net. And that’s exactly what insurance is: a financial security net. So it’s troubling that a survey from Princeton Survey Research Associates International named millennials the most under-insured generation.

There are many reasons why people of all generations avoid purchasing insurance. It‘s often seen as a big investment, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s an expensive one. In fact, insurance probably costs less than you think. For instance, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), millennials overestimated the cost of renters insurance by more than five times its actual cost per year.

Also, the complicated terms can make finding a policy a puzzling experience and the subject matter can be tough to digest. No one wants to think about being in a car accident, experiencing a break in, losing everything in an apartment fire or any other sort of bad, unexpected event. But these things can happen, so you’ll want to be prepared.

And don’t let any initial confusion or preconceived notions drive you away. You’re a millennial, after all! Your generation is always tackling new challenges and expanding the way the world works, oftentimes in brilliant ways.

Insurance provides essential financial protection for your future, so now’s the time to start “adulting” and take that first step.

Here are five tips for buying insurance:

  1. Shop smart. When looking for insurance, your No. 1 priority should be to find adequate coverage. Price is important, but you’ll want to determine what kind of coverage you need first. Then you can fit that coverage into your budget and determine which carrier can provide you with the most comprehensive policy for your situation. You may be tempted to choose insurance with the lowest price tag, but if you don’t have enough coverage (or the right kind of coverage), you will see less financial benefit when it comes time to file a claim.
  2. Look for discounts. Once you evaluate your coverage needs, factor in your budget and find ways to save. Ask your insurance agent if there are any discounts on your coverage. Often, carriers offer discounts for things like paying your policy in full, staying auto accident-free or, if you’re in school, getting good grades. You also can save money by “bundling” multiple policies, such as purchasing a home and auto policy from the same carrier.
  3. Fill in the gaps. An average policy will cover the basics, but you may need to add extra coverage to meet your unique needs. For instance, you may have items like electronics or a nice piece of jewelry that would be financially difficult to replace, even with the assistance of your average renters or homeowners policy. You may want to add additional coverage for these items.
  4. Purchase life insurance—you aren’t too young. Life insurance is essential, no matter how young or old you are. And for millennials, buying now may be a smart move because it’s cheaper to buy a life insurance policy when you’re young and healthy. This kind of insurance can help your family cover unexpected costs in your absence, including student loan debt or a mortgage, in addition to end-of-life costs. And if you have kids, a life insurance policy can also support their education or childcare expenses. Additionally, every millennial should consider long-term disability coverage, which helps you stay afloat financially if an accident happens and you become disabled and unable to work.
  5. Talk to an independent agent. An independent insurance agent is an essential resource when purchasing insurance—especially if this is your first time. An independent agent works with multiple different carriers, which is different from captive agents who can only sell insurance from the carrier they work for. Working with an independent agent can help make sure that you are getting the best coverage, for the best price. You’ll also benefit from independent agents’ insurance knowledge; they know how to talk you through your options and actually explain what each policy includes. An independent agent will make sure all of your assets are covered, help you find discounts or other ways to save, and be a valuable resource as your life changes and your insurance needs change, too.

Find a local independent agent and start protecting your finances today.

1 – Grammar Girl

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auto insurance with shield agency

When the Car Doesn’t Start…

You’ve grabbed your coffee, found your car keys and herded your children out the door. Everyone’s buckled up and ready to go – on time. (A small miracle!) But when you go to turn on your car . . . nothing.

Here’s what to do when your car won’t start:

1. Cover the basics.

  • Make sure your car is in Park (P) or Neutral (N) when you try to start it. Also, try pushing the brake pedal.
  • Look at your fuel gauge. Do you have fuel in the tank?
  • What’s the temperature today? Engines are a little harder to start when it’s cold outside, especially when the temperature drops into the negative degrees.

2. Check your battery.

  • If the lights won’t turn on or they are noticeably dim, that’s a good indication that the issue is your car battery.
  • If you have a multimeter, you can use it to verify your battery is at or above 12.4 volts.
  • Make sure battery cables are solidly connected after recent engine maintenance.
  • Look for corrosion on the battery cables. It looks like fluffy green-white deposits, or even glassy.
  • Try jumping your car and see if that fixes the issue.

3. Call for roadside assistance.

  • When you’re still at a loss, it’s time to call an expert so you can get back on the road.
  • Wait for roadside assistance in a safe location. In extreme temperatures, take shelter inside your home or a nearby public building, like a gas station. If you leave your vehicle, lock it and put a note on your windshield with your phone number.
  • When the technician arrives, explain what you SEE and HEAR when you try to start your car to help him or her diagnose the problem faster.

If you have roadside assistance, you can call them using the phone number on the back of your insurance card. If you haven’t already, consider adding Roadside Assistance coverage to your car insurance policy to help cover the costs of unexpected roadside maintenance.

This article is for informational and suggestion purposes only. If the policy coverage descriptions in this article conflict with the language in the policy, the language in the policy applies. Shield Insurance Agency offers Roadside Assistance coverage in select markets that can be accessed during a roadside emergency through a Mobile app or a toll-free phone number. Talk to your local independent agent to learn more about Grange’s auto insurance and Roadside Assistance coverage.

– Advanced Auto Parts

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