Grand Rapids

7.31.14:  Arena Place to house apartments, offices, and retail space


A groundbreaking ceremony took place Wednesday  for a new 11-story building in downtown Grand Rapids’ Arena South District.  The building is located at 55 Ottawa and is just behind the VanAndel Arena.


Plans for the building will include:  offices, apartment space, parking, a restaurant, and retail space.


The Arena Place is scheduled to be finished during the winter of 2015.

7.29.14:  Grand Rapids gets Fireworks Convention



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The National Fireworks Association plans to hold its annual convention in Grand Rapids in 2016.


Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, announced the booking on Monday.


The convention is expected to bring more than 1,000 attendees. It’s scheduled for Sept. 6-11, 2016, at DeVos Place Convention Center.




7.28.14:  Local soldier lost life in car crash


Sgt. Corey Hanson of Grand Rapids died last week in a car crash in Texas.


Hanson was driving his SUV when he strayed into the opposite lane and collided head-on with a semitrailer on Highway 43, about 6 miles south of Smithland, Texas.


The 24-year-old  is a 2008 graduate of Northview High School and served two tours in Afghanistan for the National Guard.  He was reportedly planning a surprise visit home to the Grand Rapids area to see his family and attend a wedding.


Funeral arrangements are pending.

7.25.14:  Housing unit goes up in flames in NW Grand Rapids


A housing unit on the Grand Rapids’ northwest side went up in flames Thursday night.  The smoke from the large fire could be seen throughout downtown Grand Rapids.

The fire broke out in the 600 block of 4th Street near Davis Avenue around 6 p.m.  Those in the area tried to put the fire out themselves before it got out of control.

The two-story housing unit had several apartments.

Flames could be seen coming form the roof and windows and burned for several hours.  No one was hurt in the fire and everyone escaped safely and the Red Cross is assisting residents who lost their homes.





7.24.14:  Gilda’s LaughFest to return for 5th year in March


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Organizers of an annual festival of laughter in western Michigan say the event will return for its fifth year in March.


Dates for the 2015 edition of Gilda’s LaughFest were announced Thursday morning. Organizers say it will take place March 5 to March 15.


LaughFest honors the memory of comedian Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989.

7.24.14:  Statue series grows, to include Betty Ford in 2018


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The Grand Rapids Community Legends project has added a sixth statue to a series that will grow to include former first lady Betty Ford four years from now.


Organizers on Wednesday unveiled a sculpture of civil rights activist Helen Claytor. It’s part of a series that’s expected to have 25 statues before completion.


The project plans sculptures of boxing champion Stanley Ketchel in 2015, businesswoman Anna Sutherland Bissell in 2016 and businessman and politician Julius Houseman in 2017. The Ford sculpture will be installed in 2018, 100 years after her birth.


President Gerald Ford died in 2006, and Betty Ford died in 2011. They lived in Rancho Mirage, California, for decades.


Their hometown was Grand Rapids.

7.21.14:   Body found by kayakers in Grand River


JENISON, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a body has been found by kayakers in the Grand River near Jenison.

The Ottawa County sheriff’s department says the body was found around 5 p.m. Sunday near the area of Baldwin Street and river Avenue not far from the I-196 exit to Jenison.

The name and age of the male whose body was found wasn’t immediately released. An autopsy is planned for Monday to confirm the identity and determine cause of death.

7.18.14:  Car crash results in finding missing teen


It started earlier this week when police found the body of a man in a wooded area of Wyoming. Later his girlfriend was reported missing and now police say some of their questions have been answered.


Police say a missing pregnant woman was found dead in a vehicle, which was driven by a man that is suspected of killing her boyfriend.


Wyoming Police say there was a car chase last night that ended in a crash at US-131 and Burton in Grand Rapids.  The driver was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound and the body of 18-year-old Brook Slocum was found in the trunk.  Slocum’s boyfriend, Charles Oppenneer was found in a Wyoming park on Wednesday.


Police haven’t identified the suspect or disclosed his connection to the couple.


Police say investigators were preparing a search warrant for a Wyoming home when the suspect left.

7.14.14:  Events to honor anniversary of Gerald Ford’s birth


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A series of special events are planned in Grand Rapids to commemorate the 101st anniversary of President Gerald Ford’s birth.


The Ford Presidential Foundation, Library and Museum are joining together for Monday’s celebration.


It includes a wreath-laying ceremony at Ford’s tomb; a ribbon-cutting that marks the opening of a new exhibit on aircraft carriers at the Ford museum; and a luncheon featuring a lecture by former Secretary of State James Baker.


Ford died in 2006, and former first lady Betty Ford died in 2011. They lived in Rancho Mirage, California, for decades. Their hometown was Grand Rapids.