Grand Rapids

10.13.15:  Man sentenced to prison after scores of motor home thefts



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after stealing motorhomes in western Michigan and elsewhere.

The Grand Rapids Press reports Monday that 56-year-old Ronald Myers apologized to victims, family and friends when he was sentenced Friday in Grand Rapids. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael MacDonald says Myers deserved the sentence because he has an “extensive criminal history and lack of regard for the basic rules of society.”

A presentencing report described Myers as a “master counterfeiter” who had stolen more than 100 motor homes. The Nevada man was convicted of multiple charges in April related to the thefts of motorhomes in Grand Rapids and Holland, and has multiple convictions in other states.

U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell set restitution at $2.4 million.


10.13.15:  Gas station rewards card helps identify skeletal remains



GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A gas station customer rewards card has helped authorities identify a man’s skeletal remains found in a wooded area near a roadway in western Michigan.

A Speedway card was found at the scene in Gaines Township, south of Grand Rapids.

The man’s name has not been released. An autopsy was inconclusive and there were no signs of trauma on the body. A toxicology test will be done to help determine how the man died.

The Kent County sheriff’s department says a tip on the remains came in Sunday afternoon.


10.12.15:  Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum closing until next summer



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum will be closed until next summer as crews install new permanent interactive exhibits and conduct renovations.

A ceremony is Monday afternoon to place the final beam for the new DeVos Learning Center at the museum in Grand Rapids and to mark the museum’s closure.

The 8,000-square-foot Learning Center is set to be completed in fall 2016.

The “topping off ceremony” follows three years of planning by the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation and Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum. More than $15 million was raised for projects including the Learning Center and exhibit updates.

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.



10.12.15:  Tip leads investigators to skeletal remains in west Michigan



GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a tip led investigators to skeletal remains in a wooded area near  the M-6 highway, south of Grand Rapids.

The Kent County sheriff’s department says the call came in Sunday afternoon and deputies soon found the remains in Gaines Township near the M-6 and Eastern.

In a statement, the department says no cause of death has been determined and no identification has been made. An autopsy is planned Monday.


10.9.15:  2 ArtPrize winners will get $200,000



-The winners of the annual ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids will be revealed, including two $200,000  grand prizes.

The event takes place to night.

20 finalists were announced last weekend for two-dimensional, three-dimensional, installation and time-based artworks.

Over 1,500 entries were considered.


Public votes were cast to determine one of the grand prizes.  There are also awards by category and a juried grand prize.


A free watch party will get underway Friday night at 5:30 p.m. at Rosa Parks Circle and the first awards will be announced shortly after 7 p.m.

10.8.15:  Michigan woman gets $2K fine from TSA over apple butter


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan woman is involved in a dispute with the federal Transportation Security Administration over a $2,000 fine for attempting to carry apple butter onto a flight.

Mary Hostein says she was stopped while trying to board a plane in January 2013 because she had a pint-sized jar of apple butter. After she was told she couldn’t bring it onto the plane in her carry-on bag, Hostein says she tried to go through another security line, but she was stopped again and had to leave the apple butter behind.

Hostein says she received a letter a month later saying she was under investigation for attempting to circumvent security.

She says she got another letter last June informing her of the fine.



10.8.15:  Supporters collect $50K to save Grand Rapids Christmas tree



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A fundraising effort has collected enough donations to cover the estimated $50,000 cost to have a lighted Christmas tree outside the Grand Rapids Art Museum.


Kent County Republican Party chairman John Inhulsen and Charlie Secchia, son of former U.S. ambassador Peter Secchia, launched the “Save the Christmas tree” campaign after the museum announced plans to end a 9-year-old tradition.

The museum has coordinated a pre-Christmas lighting ceremony with the opening of the skating sink at Rosa Parks Circle since 2006. But a spokeswoman had said the museum decided to refocus its priorities on programs related to its mission instead of replacing lights for the Christmas tree.


The museum confirmed Wednesday that it will host a tree lighting this year.


10.2.15:  Fall Parade of Homes kicks off Friday in Grand Rapids area



-35 new and remodeled homes in 12 West Michigan communities, will be featured in the 2015 Fall Parade of Homes.

This year’s parade will take place from Friday, October 2 – Saturday, October 17.


The Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids says the featured homes are valued from $200,000 to more than 1 million dollars.


The event showcases area builders and is a great source of business for the local building industry.

Building permits were on the rise in West Michigan this year as the construction industry continues to rebound.


Tickets are available at Option One Credit Union or at a parade home.

10.2.15:  Goodwill to open Knapp North Retail Store



-Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids is opening their 19th store located to the north of Celebration Cinema North on the East Beltline.


The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce will join together with Goodwill staff for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, October 3 at 9 a.m.

The store is located at 2345 East Beltline NE, Grand Rapids, MI.


Jill Wallace, chief Marketing and Communications Officer said this new location will provide great visibility and offer an affordable shopping experience with a convenient drive-thru donation area.


The revenue from store sales will help fund job training and placement services.

Last year Goodwill placed over 700 people into local employment within the 8 counties they serve.

10.2.15:  Grand Rapids salutes war hero, Polish culture this weekend



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A Polish general who fought in the American Revolution is being celebrated this weekend in Grand Rapids.

And that means a parade, polkas, and pierogi.


Pulaski Days is named for Casimir Pulaski, who fought against the British during the Revolutionary War. Michelle Kershner, the vice president of Pulaski Days, says the festival is a celebration of Polish culture. It started 44 years ago.

Mary Novakoski is the Pulaski Days queen this year. When she talks to children, she says, “I can’t even explain the amount of honor that I feel.”