Grand Rapids

10.24.14:  Amtrak gets new train station in G.R.


Amtrak is getting ready to open a new train station in Grand Rapids on Monday, Oct. 27.


The station is slated to send off its first train of passengers at 7:40 a.m. Monday and later around 10 a.m. a public grand opening is scheduled.


The Vernon J. Ehlers Amtrak Station is located at 440 Century Avenue SW and is adjacent to the Rapid Central Station.


MDOT says the $6.1 million station was funded using a $4.6 million Dept. of Transportation grant and a $1.5 million match in other federal, state, and local funds.



10.21.14:  Grand Rapids Community College plans buyouts


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Grand Rapids Community College plans to offer buyouts to some faculty and staff as part of an effort that could save $5 million over the next decade.


The offers seek to trim expenses because of declining enrollment.


School President Steven Ender says any money that the school can save “without having to take a hard look at programs, the better we like that scenario.”


The college’s Board of Trustees approved the buyout offers on Monday night. The college estimates the buyouts would generate $1.3 million in savings over three years if 15 faculty and 10 staff members take them.


The plans come as the college is projecting a budget deficit of between $2 million and $5 million for the 2015-16 school year.


10.20.14:  Lions come from behind to beat the Saints


DETROIT (AP) — Matthew Stafford threw two touchdown passes in the final 3:38, including the winner to Corey Fuller with 1:48 remaining, and the Detroit Lions rallied for a 24-23 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.


The Saints were in control late in the fourth quarter when Stafford found Golden Tate for a 73-yard catch-and-run that made it 23-17. Then Drew Brees was intercepted on third down by Glover Quin, whose 23-yard return gave the Lions the ball at the New Orleans 14.


Detroit caught a break when Rafael Bush was called for pass interference on fourth down. Stafford eventually connected with Fuller in the back of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown and the win.


The Saints committed 12 penalties for 134 yards.

10.17.14:  Public input for future of Grand Rapids


The city of Grand Rapids wants to know your ideas for future planning and will hold an Open House today from 4-8 p.m. at 50 Louis Street.


The public will be asked to provide input on how they would like to see Grand Rapids develop in the future.


Mayor George Heartwell said this planning process allows city leaders to think about the future and examine such areas as economic development, education , housing, transportation and the Grand River.


10.15.14:  Michigan officials plan Laker Line bus system


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Michigan transit leaders have unveiled plans for a $45.5 million Laker Line rapid transit bus system in the Grand Rapids area.


Officials announced the 13-mile line between Grand Valley State University in Allendale and downtown Grand Rapids on Tuesday. The new line could open in 2018, about four years after the launch of the similar Silver Line system this past summer.


The Laker Line would have 14 stations and a maximum of 13 vehicles stopping at six-minute intervals at peak times. Planners say they expect 13,000 riders each day. That’s a 13 percent increase over existing users.


Officials plan to conduct an environmental assessment to identify station locations before applying for federal funding in 2015.


10.14.14:  GRPS to introduce marketing campaign


The Grand Rapids Public School district is ramping up their marketing efforts with a campaign to recruit more students form the city.  The “We Are GR – We Are Proud Parents” campaign was discussed during a school board work session on Monday.


The campaign is expected to be unveiled in late Oct. or early Nov.


The district says they plan to spend about $260,000 to use print, online, broadcast media, and billboards to try and attract more students to their public schools.


If the campaign is successful and if they get even 15 new students, the money coming in from the state should be enough to pay for the advertising efforts.

10.13.14:  Boil-water advisory lifted in Grand Rapids


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A boil-water advisory for some homes in Grand Rapids has been lifted.


The advisory affected about 90 homes near Riverside Park. Water has been deemed safe to drink by officials after testing.


Residents were asked to boil water after a break in a water main last week near Monroe Avenue and Pershing Avenue raised concerns of contamination. The break’s cause was under investigation.

10.10.14:  Fire Departments remind residents to check smoke detectors


This week has been Fire Prevention Week in Michigan.


Many area fire departments are reminding residents to make sure they have working smoke alarms and that you have an emergency escape plan in your home if a fire were to break out.


On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Grand Rapids Fire Department will host an open house.  The event will be split between the Monroe Avenue Fire Station NW and the Regional Training Center, which is a little farther down the road on Monroe.

There will be demonstrations of rope rescues and the jaws-of-life, tours of the station and training center, and a demonstration of how a fire spreads.

Children will receive plastic firefighter helmets.

10.6.14:  ArtPrize announces 20 finalists in public voting


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Organizers of the ArtPrize art competition in Grand Rapids say that 11 days of public voting have produced 20 finalists for the grand prize of $200,000.


ArtPrize says that 37,283 people cast 352,732 votes in four categories. They include two dimensional, three-dimensional, time-based and installation artwork.


The competition announced the finalists Sunday afternoon and posted images and details of them online. It says that the five finalists in each category move onto the second round of voting, which began at 3 p.m. Sunday and runs through 11:59 p.m. Thursday.


ArtPrize has a prize pool of $560,000. The 1,536 entries have come from artists in 42 states and territories and 51 countries.


The works remain on display at venues across Grand Rapids through Oct. 12.


10.6.14:   AAA Michigan: Gas prices fall 13 cents in week


DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — AAA Michigan says gasoline prices in the state have dropped about 13 cents in the last week.


The auto club says that the average price per gallon of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was $3.27 on Sunday. That’s about 7 cents less than it was one year ago.


Dearborn-based AAA Michigan surveys fuel costs at 2,800 Michigan gas stations daily. It says the cheapest price was $3.14 a gallon in the area of Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Holland. The most expensive price was $3.49 in the Marquette area.


Gas in the Detroit area fell about 10 cents to roughly $3.31 per gallon.