Grand Rapids

4.1.15:  April is Autism Awareness Month


Later today the City of Grand Rapids will join Hope Network in hosting the Bridge Autism Walk.

The purpose is to raise awareness and honor those individuals and families affected by autism.

Lt. Governor Brian Calley and Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell will join others on the Blue Bridge on Front Avenue, for a walk that will begin at 5 p.m.


Autism Disorders affect 1 in 68 children.

To help, you can show your support by getting involved in the Bridge Walk, or donate by going to

4.1.15:  The King of the Netherlands and his wife to visit West Michigan


(Mlive) – Grand Rapids will be one of the stops when Netherlands King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima make their visit to the United States in early June.

The official visit marks the first time the royal couple will travel to the United States as king and queen.

The couple will meet President Obama in Washington, D.C. , and travel to Chicago during the June 1-3 visit.

They will make their way to West Michigan because of the strong Dutch heritage and the ongoing business and cultural ties.

The royal couple will also be accompanied by a delegation representing 50 Netherlands businesses.

The King and Queen will celebrate strong economic, cultural and political ties between their country and the United States that date back 400 years.






4.1.15:  Hotel workers to get $50,000 in case involving back wages


DETROIT (AP) — Nearly 100 Michigan hotel workers will get a total of $50,000 in back wages and damages following a labor violations case.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the agreement this week involving housekeepers and maintenance employees. The government says they weren’t paid for work performed before and after scheduled shifts and didn’t get overtime pay.  Many of them were no proficient in English and were taken advantage of.


The workers were employed at seven hotels in Grand Rapids and Monroe by A&M Hospitality and Management, Grand Hospitality Management and owners Akram Namou and Hikmat Piromari.


The employees in the Grand Rapids area worked for various hotels on the SE end of 28th Street including:  Best Western Hospitality Hotel and Suites, Holiday Inn Express, Clarion Inn and Suites as well as The Hawthorn Suites on the East Beltline and the Sleep Inn & Suites on 29th Street.

They resolved violations by signing a consent judgment in federal court. Their lawyer Patrick N. Butler says in a statement they “remain committed to providing the fairest, most welcoming and accommodating work place as possible to all of their employees.”



3.31.15:  No foul play suspected in man’s drowning death


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say they don’t suspect foul play in the death of a missing Grand Haven native whose body was found over the weekend in the Grand River.

The Grand Rapids Police Department said Monday that it appears 39-year-old Timothy Groenhout drowned, but toxicology results are pending. His body was discovered Saturday by a man looking for fishing lures and cans along the river near Millennium Park in Grand Rapids.

Groenhout was reported missing Jan. 24, and was last seen Jan. 21 walking in downtown Grand Rapids.

He had recently moved back to the Grand Rapids area from Washington.

3.27.15:  Businesses join Start Garden to boost interactive technology


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Six businesses are joining western Michigan entrepreneur Rick DeVos’ Start Garden venture capital effort to help boost the development of new interactive technologies.

Those involved announced Thursday that Amway, Faurecia, Meijer, Spectrum Health and Priority Health are part of the Seamless Coalition and the Seamless Accelerator. They say the next generation of interactive technologies and connected products will be big business.

The Seamless Accelerator program will provide enterprises with access to emerging technologies and businesses as well as give startups access to ideas and funding. It will include a three-month program. Start Garden will host activity at its 16,000-square-foot site.

Start Garden began in 2012, investing in potential ideas, projects and startup businesses. Seamless Accelerator is a member of TechStars Global Accelerator Network.

3.26.15:  West Michigan woman convicted in bacon-less burger shooting


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan woman has been convicted on weapons charges for shooting at a McDonald’s restaurant after workers twice failed to put bacon on her burgers.

Authorities say 30-year-old Shaneka Torres became angry in February 2014 when the first burger she ordered at the restaurant’s drive-up station was missing bacon. She was offered a free meal, but bacon also wasn’t added to a second burger order.

Police say she fired a shot through the restaurant. No one was injured.

A Kent County Circuit Court jury found her guilty Wednesday of carrying a concealed weapon, shooting at a building and possession of a firearm while committing a felony. Her sentencing is April 21, and she faces a minimum of two years’ in prison.

3.25.15:  Grand Rapids asks for Army Corps help to keep out lampreys


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Grand Rapids officials are asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to spend about $10 million for a new barrier to keep invasive sea lampreys from moving up the Grand River.


The new barrier would take over the function of blocking the lampreys’ spread after the planned demolition of a dam as part of an effort to restore the rapids that give the city its name.


The Grand Rapids City Commission voted Tuesday to direct City Manager Greg Sundstrom to apply for inclusion in the Army Corps’ Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration program. The program also is working on a sea lamprey trap in the Muskegon River.


Corps spokeswoman Lynn Rose says the proposal “sounds like a good candidate” for the program.

3.19.15:  Meijer offers $10 coupon after credit card system failures


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Retail chain Meijer is apologizing and offering customers a $10 coupon following two credit and debit card system failures.

The coupon must be used Friday or Saturday and is good as long as shoppers spend $50.

The coupon is accompanied by a message saying: “You deserve better. We’re committed to offering our customers a great experience, and that didn’t happen during a network outage.”

Grand Rapids-based Meijer Inc. has stores in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.

The outages lasted about 30 minutes and happened on Feb. 27-28, forcing some shoppers to leave their carts behind if they didn’t have cash. Meijer spokesman Frank Guglielmi says a glitch at the company’s point-of-sale system caused an outage throughout its stores.

3.18.15:  Agriculture summit connects growers, processors, buyers


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — An agriculture summit in western Michigan aims to connect growers, processors, grocers and institutional buyers.

The Pure Michigan Agriculture Summit takes place Thursday at DeVos Place Convention Center in Grand Rapids. The event is hosted by Pure Michigan Business Connect, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and The Right Place Inc.

The state says grocers and institutional buyers participating in the summit include Meijer, Kroger, Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, the University of Michigan and The Henry Ford.

It’s the second year for the summit. It was started as a long-term commitment by the state agriculture department and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to help improve access to food grown in Michigan, boost the food processing industry and encourage job creation.


3.18.15:  Bomb Squad responds to the airport in Grand Rapids


Grand Rapids, MI -  The Gerald R. Ford International Airport terminal building received a bomb threat shortly after 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Appropriate precautions were made and following a search, no threat was found.

The West Michigan Aviation Academy and all affected tenant and airlines were notified.

All flight operations are running as normal.