Grand Rapids

6.30.15:  Gilda’s Club presents Camp Sparkle



Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids will continue the tradition of Camp Sparkle this summer, for the 11th year.

Camp Sparkle is an annual day camp for children entering kindergarten through those entering 6th grade and have been impacted by cancer or grief.

The camp is free to attend and open to students from all surrounding communities.  It provides children with a chance to connect and interact with other children who have struggled through situations similar of their own.


The camp will be held every Tuesday, beginning June 30 through August 4 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  Campers may join and attend any camp date.


Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids Clubhouse is located at 1806 Bridge Street NW.


6.29.15:  $14M could upgrade Grand Rapids’ flood protection system



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Officials say it’s expected to cost at least $14 million to upgrade Grand Rapids’ flood protection system along the Grand River.

The improvements should restrain insurance rates as well as hold back floodwaters.

A draft report from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency shows that Grand Rapids can achieve one standard of flood protection. In conjunction with an effort to make the Grand River more accessible, the city might end up spending more and get a better designation.

Grand Rapids leaders last year sold almost $5 million in bonds to start funding flood levee upgrades. Much of that work has focused on improving the earthen levee around the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Another $9 million in upgrades could raise sections of flood wall.

6.26.15:  Local students work to raise awareness of human trafficking



A group of local young people have organized an event that they hope will make an impact on human trafficking.  Middle school students through college aged students are taking part in the effort.

Joey Gamrat with “Projext Hope”, says they are setting up lemonade stands Saturday, June 27th, to emphasize the severity of human trafficking in the West Michigan area.  They hope to raise $6,000 for their effort and raise awareness and so far have 12 lemonade stands that plan to participate.


Click here, for more information on where to visit a stand or how to give.




6.26.15:  Man exonerated  after spending 17 years in prison



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A Grand Rapids man who spent about 17 years in prison has been officially exonerated of a rape that officials now say he didn’t commit.

The Grand Rapids Press reports 40-year-old Quentin Carter has denied for more than 23 years that he assaulted a 10-year-old neighbor girl. Kent County prosecutor William Forsyth said earlier this month Carter’s innocence is an “inescapable conclusion,” and his 1992 conviction was formally set aside by a judge Thursday.

Carter was nearly 17 when he was convicted, and he was released on parole seven years ago. The judge’s order calls for his removal from the state’s sex offender registry.

Authorities believe Carter was framed by a man living with the girl’s mother at the time. The man was convicted of first-degree murder this month in a separate case.


6.24.16:  Simulated nuclear explosion testing



The Michigan Army National Guard is holding training exercises focusing on responding to a simulated nuclear explosion.

Teams from federal, state and local law enforcement and disaster recovery agencies will be involved.

Exercises are taking place at military installations and schools in various locations including Muskegon, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, and Kentwood.


If you are in the Kentwood area today, Wednesday, near Crestwood Middle School, you will likely see a high concentration of emergency responders.


6.24.15:  Allegiant offers deals to Florida



GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Allegiant announced the return of low-cost, nonstop, seasonal service between Grand Rapids and Fort Lauderdale beginning Dec. 16, 2015.

To celebrate Allegiant’s resumption of service to Fort Lauderdale, the company is offering fares as low as $99 one way.

For a limited time, Grand Rapids travelers can also save even more on their Allegiant vacation to Fort Lauderdale by using the promo code FLL 100 for $100 off an air+hotel package.


Allegiant says they are pleased to bring back seasonal service to Fort Lauderdale and re-open a popular destination for Michigan travelers.

The new flights will operate twice weekly and will fly nonstop between Grand Rapids and Fort Lauderdale through April 2016.



6.24.15:   6pm at Rosa Parks Circle



South Carolinians will spend the rest of this week saying goodbye to some of the victims of last week’s shooting massacre at a historic black church in Charleston.

President Obama plans to deliver the eulogy on Friday for the Pastor of the church who was killed.


Meanwhile….The Grand Rapids office of Diversity and Inclusion invites the public to a call to action healing gathering Wednesday night at Rosa Parks Circle downtown Grand Rapids.

The citywide race relations gathering is in memory of the Charleston, South Carolina shooting victims and begins at 6 p.m.

6.22.15:  Laid-off state nursing aides get severance



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — An arbitrator says Michigan must pay severance to eligible nursing aides who were laid off when the state privatized their jobs at a veterans home in western Michigan in 2013.


The ruling is a victory for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union representing the workers, and an additional cost the state hadn’t factored in for the privatization move at the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.


How many of the 132 former workers will be eligible for severance pay and how much each will receive hasn’t been determined.


The newspaper says last week’s decision about the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans also could have implications for former state prison kitchen workers who lost their jobs to privatization in 2013.



6.22.15:  About half of marijuana tickets in Grand Rapids going unpaid



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Officials in Grand Rapids say about half of the people ticketed for marijuana possession are paying their fines.

More than $100,000 in civil infraction fines has gone uncollected since the drug was decriminalized in the city. Several hundred offenders haven’t paid up, prompting the court to consider enforcing the lack of response to tickets as a misdemeanor.

Grand Rapids voters in 2012 decriminalized marijuana use and possession. Instead of a misdemeanor crime, marijuana offenses now are civil infractions. Offenders get a $25 fine for a first offense, $50 for a second offense and $100 for a third offense.

Officials say the court typically collects about 80 percent of civil infraction fines for offenses such as housing code violations, barking dogs and fireworks.


6.22.15:  Grand Rapids youth employment effort gets recognition



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A Grand Rapids effort to boost employment opportunities for young people is getting recognition.

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell and the city are being honored Sunday in San Francisco for the “Mayor’s 100 Campaign” at the U.S. Conference of Mayors/USA Funds 2015 National Education Pathways with a Purpose Awards. Part of the recognition is a $10,000 grant.

Officials have worked to boost the number of local employers — particularly those in technology, engineering, science and environmental fields — who are willing to offer young people meaningful jobs. It targets those ages 15 to 24 that live in the city.

The Leadership and Employment, Achievement and Direction program, or LEAD, offers training in employability skills before job interviews under the “Mayor’s 100″ program.