Grand Rapids

5.24.16:  Grand Rapids music center starts public phase of fundraising



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A music center in Grand Rapids has started the public phase of a $5.5 million fundraising campaign that seeks to raise money for renovations and an endowment.

A Monday announcement says the campaign by the St. Cecilia Music Center has raised $4 million so far. The campaign includes replacement of Royce Auditorium theater seats as well as installation of new lighting and sound systems.

Also included in the project are remodeling the lobby and box office, upgrades for accessibility and bathroom improvements.



5.19.16:  Pressure surge causes water main breaks in Grand Rapids



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Officials say a momentary surge in water pressure caused several water main breaks in Grand Rapids.

At least six breaks were reported by the city on Thursday morning, including a 20-inch main downtown and other breaks to 6-inch mains.

The city’s water system manager Joellen C. Thompson says in a statement that the surge was caused by a malfunctioning valve that didn’t open during a pump change. The city says operators quickly reversed the procedure to minimize the issue, but the surge caused the breaks.

City crews will work to repair the breaks with help from contractors.


5.18.16:  Mel Trotter Ministries raising funds for new truck



-Mel Trotter Ministries, a downtown Grand Rapids-based homeless shelter, is launching a crowdfunding campaign May 16-18, 2016, to help raise $34,000 to purchase a used refrigerator truck.

The truck they were using broke down a few months ago so they are in need of a replacement, especially with summer and the warmer months approaching.

The truck will allow Mel Trotter Ministries to safely transport fresh and frozen food donations from area businesses to feed their guests and expand where they can get donations.


Mel Trotter Ministries serves up to 500 meals a day to those in need in the greater Grand Rapids area, and 120 families a week through its food pantry.  This is work that cannot be done without support from the entire community.


As of Tuesday night, they raised just over $14,000 from 75 donors for the Fund the Truck.


More information is available through:


5.13.16:  Kent County voters to decide on tax increase for zoo, museum



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Kent County voters will decide this fall on a proposed tax increase to fund a zoo and a museum.


County commissioners voted Thursday for the millage proposal to be on the ballot Nov. 6. The proposed increase would go toward updating facilities and exhibits at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Public Museum.


Supporters say that for the average Kent County homeowner, the 10-year millage would cost roughly $3 more a month.


5.12.16:  Grand Rapids to host national genealogy conference in 2018




GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The National Genealogical Society has selected Grand Rapids as the location of its 2018 Family History Conference.

The gathering from May 2-5 at DeVos Place will include more than 175 workshops and lectures delivered by nationally recognized experts.

It will be the first national genealogical conference held in Michigan. Organizers say they chose Grand Rapids because of its historical importance as a magnet for people from other regions and nations who helped build the manufacturing economy.

Based in Arlington, Virginia, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogical education, high research standards and the preservation of genealogical records.


5.11.16:  Body in boat fire confirmed as Grand Rapids firefighter



SPRING LAKE, Mich. (AP) — Authorities have confirmed that a popular Grand Rapids firefighter died in a fire aboard his boat in Ottawa County.


An autopsy determined that Lt. David Knisley  died of smoke inhalation. He owned the boat that was destroyed by fire early Sunday at a Spring Lake marina.


The boat sank and the body was found when the boat was raised from the water. The Coast Guard was called to contain a spill of fuel and oil from the boat.


Besides working as a firefighter, Knisley was an announcer for Monster Jam. He also gave talks to hundreds of students in western Michigan.


5-10-16 Five Escape Early Morning Fire in Grand Rapids

Five people made it out of a Heritage Hill home in Grand Rapids this morning after a fire broke out.  One firefighter was slightly injured after the home on Portsmouth Place just north of Fulton suffered significant damage.  The call was first received around three on Tuesday morning.  The firefighter had an arm injury and was taken to a local hospital.

5-9-16 Are Gas Prices Going Up This Summer?

Earlier this year, analysts projected that the price of a gallon of gas, nationally, would average $2.63 in May, up from $1.97 in January.  But we really haven’t seen those prices, with most around 30-40 cents lower than projected.

Will that translate into the rest of the summer?  Many analysts projected the yearly average would be around 2.28 a gallon, similar to where we are now.

But if the past is any indication, gasoline prices typically rise in the summer, simply because more people travel and refineries have switched to a more costly summer blend of fuel.

However, several other factors need to be taken into account.

Instability in several parts of the world will affect gasoline prices.  Inventories of oil will make an impact.  And never forget oil production is controlled by multiple countries with competing interests.

5.6.16:  May is National Bike Month



May is National Bike Month and Grand Rapids is starting a new bicycle safety education campaign.

There will be more billboards and media promotions.   Educational messages from this campaign that work in Grand Rapids will then be available for other Michigan cities to try.

In 2014, there were 71 bicylist involved in traffic crashes in Grand Rapids.

5.6.16:  Gerald R. Ford museum in Michigan will reopen in June



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Michigan will reopen on June 7 after major renovations.

The museum in Grand Rapids has been closed since last fall. Renovations include construction of the 8,000-square-foot DeVos Learning Center.

Ford was a congressman from Grand Rapids before becoming vice president and then president following the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974. He died in 2006.

Ford’s family and some members of his administration will attend a gala on June 6, the day before the reopening. Tickets for the event at a nearby hotel will be sold to the public.