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Ten years ago, Benton Harbor Public Schools drastically cut its arts programming. Anna Russo-Sieber (ARS) knew from her then 20+ years of arts education and programming experience that the arts were needed more than ever in this Southwest Michigan community. So in 2010, she boldly opened ARS Arts & Culture Center in a little corner warehouse at 147 5th Street in the Benton Harbor Arts District. Gershon, one of ARS’s students, will tell you Anna’s decision changed his life.

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After being relegated inside this winter by a frigid polar vortex followed by a soggy spring, it’s time to get moving and have a blast outdoors this July. The place to get going is in and around St. Joseph where you can try all sorts of activities that are energizing and healthy for you, too. So, what excuse is keeping you inside? Here are six excuse busters.

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Southwest Michigan is filled with stories about dads who have successfully started farms and businesses that make it even more fun to visit here. 12 Corners Vineyards is a modern-day story about a dad who is sharing his passion for winemaking with his son. We asked Dad Glen (winemaker) and Son Grant Greiffendorf (marketing and sales coordinator) to tell you more:

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What happens when Paul Mow, one of the nation’s best tenors and former lead performers in the New York City Opera, leaves the glamour and stress of the Big Apple to return to Southwest Michigan? He births one of the most exciting new live performance theaters in the Midwest — the GhostLight Theatre. Get ready to be wowed this summer in the Benton Harbor Arts District!

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The U.S. might designate May 12 Mother’s Day, but in Southwest Michigan, we can celebrate our favorite women every day in May. It won’t take much effort to win Mom’s heart here:

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