Grand Rapids

2.26.15:  Child Care Center closed following death of child


The Kentwood Police Department and the Grand Rapids Police Department are investigating an infant death that occurred on February 19, 2015 at approximately 6 p.m.

Grand Rapids Police responded to a call in their City of medical emergency.  They arrived to find an infant that was unresponsive.  CPR had been performed by one of the parents.  The three and one-half month old infant had been picked up recently from Bridges Day Care, a child care center in Kentwood.

Because the investigation spanned two cities, the Departments are working together on the case.

The Kent County Medical Examiner’s office has conducted a autopsy and is working with investigators.

Investigators are attempting to determine the cause of death and the location of death.


2.26.15:  Officials in Grand Rapids seek to boost youth employment


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Officials in Grand Rapids are taking steps to boost employment opportunities for young people in the city.

Mayor George Heartwell and Lynn Heemstra, executive director of Our Community’s Children, are discussing plans during a Thursday kickoff event.

The “Mayor’s 100 Campaign” is an expansion of the “Mayor’s 50 Campaign.” It seeks to double the number of local employers — particularly those in technology, engineering, science and environmental fields — who are willing to offer young people meaningful jobs.

Those ages 15 to 24 that live in the city and complete pre-employment training are eligible for jobs under the effort.

Our Community’s Children is a public/private partnership between Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Public Schools and community partners.


2.26.15:  Whitecaps’ annual poll ready for fan voting


The West Michigan Whitecaps have the top 10 new food choices posted on their website and now it is up to the public to decide.

The list comes from hundreds of ideas submitted by fans and dozens from the Gordon Food Service Test Kitchen.


This year’s choices include:


-Cheesy Does It : A cheeseburger uses the cheese as the bun

-Weenie Panini : Panini sandwich with a hotdog inside

-French Fry Pizza Pie : Pepperoni pizza with French fries as the crust

-Beer-A-Misu :  Michigan craft beer float with a scoop of tiramisu gelato

-The Legend of Pickle Hollowed : Hot dog inside a hallowed out pickle

-Crispy Pig Chips : Nachos with pork rinds in place of tortilla chips

-Kat Dog : Hot dog stuffed with a Kit Kat bar

-Hot-To-Tot : Tater Tots with buffalo chicken and blue cheese

-Cotton Candy Curveball : Cotton candy with a Twinkie inside

-Picnic On-A-Stick : Alternating pieces of fried chicken, tater tots and pickles deep fried in cornbread batter.


Voting continues until March 6th.

Click here for more information.

2.25.15:  Summit to help college students


Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell is issuing a “Call to Action” this morning.

He is speaking at a summit organized by the “To college, through college Initiative” and it features comments from students and community leaders on what is needed to help young people be successful in college, work and life.

The mayor is asking for a pledge of commitment and discussing the city’s need for more college degrees.



2.25.15:  Bicyclist, 58, dies after being hit by vehicle


PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a 58-year-old bicyclist has died after being struck by a vehicle along Plainfield Avenue.

The Kent County sheriff’s department says Anita Daugavietis of Grand Rapids was found severely injured about 11:20 p.m. Tuesday in Plainfield Township and was taken to a hospital, where she died.

The department says the bicycle didn’t have any lights on it. A motorist who apparently couldn’t see the bicycle struck it from behind.

2.25.15:  Grand Rapids legalizes backyard chickens after long debate


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Grand Rapids has legalized the keeping of backyard chickens following years of debate.

A two-year trial run is planned starting May 1 in the state’s second-largest city. Roosters are prohibited.

Third Ward City Commissioner Senita Lenear voted against the program, saying “there are some unanswered questions” related to public health.

Permit fees haven’t yet been set. Up to four chickens will be allowed on eligible lots smaller than 5,000 square feet. Up to six chickens will be allowed on lots larger than 5,000 square feet. Violations of city chicken rules will be punishable by a ticket.


2-24-15  GRPS To Ask Voters for Approximately 175 Million Dollars


This November, the districts buildings, technology and security will be on the ballot.
Grand Rapids Public School Board members will start working on formulating exactly how much money they’ll ask residents to pay for renovations to several buildings, technology upgrades and enhanced security measures.
At yesterday’s board meeting the plans were outlined that spokespersons say will impact every school building in the district. As more buildings are renovated, they will need updated technology and security.


A homeowner of a 100-thousand dollar home can expect to pay around 96 dollars a year for the next 30 years.  The district in 2004 asked for 165 million dollars.  Spokespersons say that money went for around a dozen schools.  This measure will pay for upgrades at every school building in the district.


The changes are part of the transformational plan outlined by Superintendent Dr. Theresa Weatherall Neil when she began her tenure.  Weatherall Neil was not in attendance at the meeting.  She is recovering from recent surgery.

2-20-15  Cold Blast Hitting MI and Northeast Hard


We are not the only one’s suffering under this arctic chill.

Michigan is in the grip of this bitterly cold weather and that means school closings, bad roads and trouble with the furnace.

But the arctic air is also putting more pressure on portions of the Northeast United States.  Warnings have been going out to remind people to avoid prolonged exposure.  Health officials in Philadelphia are urging residents who are older or with health problems to avoid going out into the dangerously cold weather.

Boston is getting a little reprieve after suffering under close to 100 inches of snowfall.  Temperatures will move into the teens this weekend.  But the cold weather and snowfall have forced the closure of schools along the east coast.

2.19.15:  Grand Rapids students raise 125 baby chicks


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A group of Grand Rapids middle school students is learning about a bit of farming and business with a class project.

The 60 Blandford Middle School sixth-graders are raising 125 baby chickens for their egg business.

Teacher Cheri McKay says the project teaches economics lessons to students who sell eggs to family, friends and a nature center’s community garden customers. She says students last year did the project, but had to have 100 chickens put down because they contracted a viral tumor-causing disease.

McKay says students are involved in all aspects of raising the chicks. They clean them, feed them and make sure they have new bedding.


2.18.15:  Finance Committee approves new master plan for zoo


The John Ball Zoo is proposing a new long-term plan that features an estimated $50 million in upgrades including an education building, a permanent indoor-outdoor stingray exhibit, a revamped children’s area and a new entryway where black bears would pass over visitors on a sky bridge.

The plan initially called for doubling the number of parking spaces, adding more than 300 in the park and nearly 100 more for employees within the zoo. But to add that many parking spots, some green space would get paved.

John Ball Area Neighbors voted unanimously to “vigorously oppose” the zoo plan, although leaders of the group said Tuesday they are encouraged by a revised plan that replaces a proposed 371-space lot with the more nebulous tag of “future additional parking.”

“We are concerned about preserving our park,” said Margo Johnson, John Ball Area Neighbors president. “It’s more about green space and keeping the integrity of what John Ball donated.”

Johnson questioned whether there’s a need for more parking given the community’s growing promotion of other forms of transportation. The proposed Laker Line bus route would run right by the zoo, for example. And Grand Rapids is pursuing a commuter lot on Lake Michigan Drive NW, about two-and-a-half miles west of the zoo.

But if the zoo is going to spend millions on remodeling and expansion, it may need to draw more people from outside the area to generate enough revenue, said County Commissioner Harold Mast, R-Kentwood.

“You have to attract more people,” he said. “Those people are going to come with cars.”

With approval of the master plan, the zoo then would seek funding from donors for specific improvements, said Kevin O’Neill, the zoo’s chief executive officer. A millage proposal also could be coming to voters, but “that’s not happening this year,” he said.