Grand Rapids

4.29.16:  G.R. celebrates Arbor Day



National Arbor Day is Friday, April 29, 2016.

It’s an opportunity to celebrate the importance of trees.

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks are gathering today with volunteers and a group of students to plant dozens of trees surrounding Mulick Park on the SE side of Grand Rapids.

Trees do more than just beautify an area as they also are an asset to the environment by cleaning the air and helping to manage storm water.

The city of Grand Rapids is working to increase the tree canopy of the city.

4.27.16:  Griffins beat Milwaukee to win series



(Mlive)– The Grand Rapids Griffins celebrated a victory Tuesday with two goals that very few people saw in one of the more bizarre occurrences in a hockey game.

The Griffins swept the Milwaukee Admirals with a 4-1 victory that included two goals that amazingly both went through the back netting and within one minute, 34 seconds of each other.

It took a replay review to decide both.

Every once in a while a shot will angle just right and go through the back of the goal net. That’s rare enough. But twice in such a short amount of time?

“I’ve never experienced anything like that,” said forward Eric Tangradi. “We kind of laughed and joked about it, but definitely a different scenario.”

“It happens maybe once a year or every five years,” said Anthony Mantha, who was credited with one of the goals.

Coach Todd Nelson, asked if he’d ever seen back-to-back mesh breakers before, replied.

“No. Not even close.”

It was even bantered that both shots went through the same spot on the mid-upper right side.

The shots, while bizarre, turned the game around as the Griffins went from trailing to a 2-1 lead, with no looking back.

The first shot fooled nearly everyone as play continued for another 45 seconds. After a stoppage, it took close to five minutes to decide the goal had been scored by defenseman Brian Lashoff in a scrum in front of the net. To add to it, it was Lashoff’s first playoff goal since 2009.


The Griffins lead the world in net-passing goals at Van Andel Arena.

4.22.16:  Special event for local adults with disabilities



There is a special spring event that is planned for Saturday that will involve a number of special volunteers.   The Best Prom Ever event will be held at Sparta High School.

Renee Wyman helps to organize the event that was created by adults with disabilities for adults with disabilities.

This year they are expecting 1,500 gusts.

It takes several volunteers to help at the free event.  The event includes everything from limo rides, to photo booths and dinner.

A number of students and adults with disabilities from around the West Michigan area plan to participate.


More information at:

4.22.16:  Cherry blossoms on view at new Japanese Garden in Michigan



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Cherry blossoms are on view at a new $22 million Japanese garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids.

The Cherry Tree Promenade, which was designed to be a quiet and contemplative space, is open to visitors at the western Michigan attraction.

The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden made its debut last June. It mixes contemporary sculpture with trees and plants. Features include waterfalls, boulders, authentic Japanese structures such as bridges and gazebos, bonsai gardens and a functioning tea house.

The garden was designed by Japanese landscape architect Hoichi Kurisu, who transformed what previously was a marsh and wooded valley.



4.20.16:  State of our Schools address



GRAND RAPIDS, MI (Mlive) –Grand Rapids Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal said choosing your neighborhood school is investing in your community, remarks that came Tuesday as she announced the launch of the district’s “Bring Back Our Kids” campaign during her State of our Schools address.


After losing hundreds of students and millions of dollars each year for decades, Neal told those gathered at Ottawa Hills High School for the April 19 event that the district’s enrollment has stabilized. She said a lot of effort has been put into retention and recruitment, especially as it relates to creating and expanding school choice.


“I won’t be happy until we can finally declare that GRPS is a growth district,” she said to the crowd of more than 200 about adding an admission specialist and student retention recruitment coordinator. “And declare that GRPS is a state and national model for student retention, recruitment and academic performance.”

4.20.16:  Woman accused in stealing credit card information sentenced



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — An 18-year-old Miami woman accused of being involved in stealing credit card information at gas pumps in western Michigan has been sentenced to a year in jail.

The Grand Rapids Press reports Maria Sanchez-Figueredo was sentenced Tuesday after earlier pleading no contest to conducting a criminal enterprise. She was credited by a judge with 230 days already served in jail.

Sanchez-Figueredo was among 11 suspects in separate groups who were arrested last year. Others are awaiting sentencing for conspiracy to commit fraud in federal court in Grand Rapids.

Kent County Circuit Judge Donald Johnston said Sanchez-Figueredo appeared to be a follower. Steven Simkins, her attorney, said that of the defendants, she is the least culpable.


4.19.16:  Registration for ArtPrize is open



GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Artist registration is now open for ArtPrize 2016.

The event will take place in downtown Grand Rapids from September 21 – October 9.

Anyone over 18, working in any medium, from any place on earth can enter to compete for a combination of public vote and awards totaling $500,000 at the world’s largest art competition.


Over the last 7 years, nearly 11,000 artists from around the world have filled every corner of the ArtPrize district with their work.

Artists seeking to enter the 8th annual event must register by June 2 at 5:00 p.m.


Applications for 2016 ArtPrize Artist Seed Grants are also available.  For a third consecutive year, ArtPrize will offer 25 artists $2,000 grants each to realize their ambitious art projects at the event this fall.  Interested artists must demonstrate both financial need and artistic merit and submit their application by the close of Artist Registration on June 2 at 5:00 p.m.


More information at:


4.18.16:  Major solar energy project operational in western Michigan



ALLENDALE, Mich. (AP) — A major solar energy project is up and running in western Michigan.

11,000 solar panels are installed on 17 acres south of Grand Valley State University’s main campus in Allendale along 48th Avenue.

Consumers Energy and Grand Valley State held a groundbreaking for the Solar Gardens project in October. The 3-megawatt site can generate electricity to serve up to 600 homes.

Construction is expected to begin soon on a solar garden at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. And the utility is considering another location in the Lansing area.


Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp.’s Consumers Energy unit this month shut down its seven oldest Michigan coal-fired plants. Consumers Energy is investing in renewable energy such as solar power and the shutdowns leave it with five coal-fired plants in the state.


4.18.16:  Gas prices rise 14 cents



DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen by about 14 cents a gallon in the past week.

The Dearborn-based auto club says Sunday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.12 per gallon. That’s about 31 cents less than it was at the same point last year.

AAA says the national price and prices in all ten surveyed Michigan metropolitan areas also are above the $2 mark.

The lowest average price was about $2.09 per gallon in the Traverse City area, while the highest average was about $2.14 per gallon in the Ann Arbor area.

AAA Michigan surveys daily fuel prices at 2,800 gas stations across the state.


Gas prices in the Grand Rapids area this morning range from:  $1.98 to $2.18 a gallon.




4.14.16:  Tax Day help for low income residents



We are getting closer to Tax Day.

Normally it’s April 15th but because of a federal holiday on Friday this year, Tax Day has been moved to Monday, April 18th.

Some Grand Rapids area college students are providing extra help for procrastinators.  Starting today, and available through Monday, lower income residents are able to get help filling out their forms at the  ACSET Community Action Agency at 121 Franklin Street SE, Grand Rapids. (616-336-4000)

To qualify for help a family income for a year must be less than $58,000.

Those interested in getting help must bring with them necessary paperwork.  Tax assistance is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.