Nonprofit produces Blue Tie Ball


Bill Byl. Courtesy WMEAC

A local environmental nonprofit is hosting its Blue Tie Ball in town tomorrow night.

The event by the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, or WMEAC, is dedicated to water protection and will take place just before Earth Day at the Goei Center in Grand Rapids, at 818 Butterworth St. SW, from 6-10 p.m.

Kangaroo Kitchen and Art of the Table will be providing food and drinks throughout the evening, and the Paschke Trio will provide the night’s entertainment.

The ball will highlight stories of water protection.

Winner of Heartwell Environmental Legacy Award

Grand Rapids-based WMEAC will also hand out the the Heartwell Environmental Legacy Award, which is named after former Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell and given to public officials who protect the area’s natural resources.

This year’s Heartwell Environmental Legacy Award winner is Kent County Drain Commissioner William “Bill” Byl.

Byl is completing his 10th year of service as Kent County’s drain commissioner, an elected position responsible for planning, developing and maintaining surface water drainage systems under Public Act 40 of 1956.

WMEAC said Byl is being recognized for his time of service as drain commissioner and his efforts to initiate innovation in the drain office, capturing stormwater through best practices for the environment, including native wetland restoration, rain gardens and other strategies.

Byl has also served as a Kent County commissioner and a state representative.

WMEAC said he has led and contributed to policies, programs and legislation to protect and improve Michigan’s environment.

For instance, he played a key role in developing the Kent County recycling program, improving recycling processing and increasing recycling rates.

As a result, recycling has continued to grow as a viable option to landfills for Kent County residents. 

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