Grand Rapids

5.22.15:  Grand Rapids fastest grower in Top 10 Michigan communities


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The U.S. Census Bureau says Grand Rapids added about 1,300 people in the latest population estimate, making Michigan’s second-largest city the fastest growing among the state’s 10 largest communities.

The bureau said Thursday that Detroit’s population fell about 6,400 in the year ending last July to about 680,000. That’s a 0.9 percent drop.

The bureau says Grand Rapids had about 193,800 people last year, up 0.7 percent.

Warren added about 200 for an estimated 135,100. Sterling Heights had about 131,700 people last year, an increase of about 500.

Ann Arbor’s population rose about 800 to about 117,800.

Lansing is the only other Michigan community with over 100,000 residents. It added about 300 people for an estimated 114,600.

Michigan’s population rose 0.1 percent to 9.91 million.


5.20.15:  Local residents speak out against zoning change



The Kentwood City Commissioners rejected a rezoning request that would allow for an alcohol and drug rehab facility along Division Avenue.

Guiding Light Mission is looking to relocate its male residential recovery program away from downtown and further down Division.

A large crowd of local residents gathered at Tuesday night’s meeting.  Most said they fear the impact the facility could have  near their Kelloggsville schools and neighborhoods.

5-19-15  Homelessness a Growing Problem in GR

A brutal winter brought out a significant issue for advocates for the homeless.  The number of those without a place to call home has grown.

More people are homeless in Kent County according to a point in time survey conducted in January. The Grand Rapids Coalition to End Homelessness found an increase of 15 percent in people who did not have adequate shelter, even going so far as to say that the places they were staying were not fit for human beings.

There may be several reasons for the increase in homeless over last year. The survey conducted in Grand Rapids reveals an improved method of counting those individuals as well as efforts to assist those fleeing domestic situations and addressing needs of veterans.

But advocates say there is also a considerable need for affordable housing and improved methods of keeping people in those homes.

According to their press release, The Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness is a collaboration of over 50 organizations and is part of the Kent County Essential Needs Task Force. In 2004 it facilitated development of a plan to address the root causes of homelessness and get people into permanent housing as quickly as possible.


5.19.15:  Netherlands king, queen plan June 2 visit to Grand Rapids



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The king of the Netherlands and his wife will stop at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and the Van Andel Research Institute during a June 2 visit to Grand Rapids.

The Dutch Embassy announced March 31 that King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will visit Chicago, Grand Rapids and Washington during a June 1-3 trip to the U.S.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s office and the Dutch Embassy released details of the trip Monday. Snyder says he’s proud of the state’s Dutch heritage “and of the many contributions Dutch-Americans have made to Michigan.”

The governor and embassy say that Michigan has 481,000 people of Dutch ancestry, out or 4.5 million nationwide.

It’s Willem-Alexander’s first official U.S. visit since becoming king in 2013.


5.18.15:  Griffins beat Rockford to win series and move on




(Mlive)–Teemu Pulkkinen scored again early to set the stage for an explosive three-goal second period Sunday to lead the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 5-3 win over host Rockford and a trip to the Western Conference finals.


Goals by Andy Miele, Marek Tvrdon and Tyler Bertuzzi in the second period helped the Griffins pull away at BMO Harris Bank Center and eliminate the IceHogs in five games.
It is the franchise’s second trip to the conference finals in three seasons.


The Griffins will play either Utica or Oklahoma City beginning later next week. Utica, the No. 1 seed in the conference, leads the series 3-2 with Game Six on Monday.
In the Eastern Conference, the finals are set. Manchester and Hartford will open their series Thursday.

5.15.15:  King Tut’s tomb re-creation at Grand Rapids Pub

lic Museum


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — An exhibit on the discovery of King Tut’s tomb is opening at The Grand Rapids Public Museum.


“The Discovery of King Tut” features more than 1,000 reproductions of items found almost a century ago in Tutankhamun’s tomb by British archaeologist Howard Carter. The exhibit opens Saturday and runs through January.


Tut was an Egyptian pharaoh whose remains were lost in the Egyptian desert for more than three-and-a-half millennia.


Grand Rapids will be the third stop for the show created in Germany.



5-13-15  Sad Turn in Case of Missing Four Month Old Child

Sadness has taken the place of hope in a story we began reporting on yesterday. The body of a four month old White Cloud child has been found after family reported she had not been seen since Saturday. Natallya Rich was discovered in the home of her grandmother. Police are only saying she was found in the basement and that it is too early to tell if foul play is involved.

Newaygo County authorities have arrested Matthew Bradley, the father of the child, on unrelated charges. He was wanted for a failure to appear notice. The mother, Brittany Rich, is cooperating with police and is not being held or charged at this point. The pair was picked up in Big Rapids after police say they took off around 10 last night. It is not known why they traveled to that area. Investigators are currently going through the home searching for more clues.

Natallya Rich was reported missing on Tuesday. It is not known why family members waited so long to notify authorities she was gone but family were told she was with a baby sitter who could not be found.

5.11.15:  Store operated by Habitat for Humanity reopens after damage


WYOMING, Mich. (AP) — A building materials store operated by Habitat for Humanity of Kent County is back open after being heavily damaged during a July tornado.


A grand reopening is Tuesday at ReStore in the Grand Rapids-area community of Wyoming. Most of the roof had been torn off, exposing merchandise and the contents of offices to rain for several days.


Repairs for the store came slowly because it was difficult to get contractors in the wake of the tornado. Upgrades were made as part of the rebuilding. The store is brighter and more welcoming, but officials say the merchandise and pricing strategy is the same.


Most of the building materials are donated excess items or reusable materials.

5.8.15:  Letter Carrier’s Food Drive , May 9th



The 23rd-annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is being coordinated by the National Association of Letter Carriers, on Saturday, May 9th.

All food collected in the Grand Rapids area will be donated to Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank.


Hunger threatens 1 in 7 people in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.   Among kids, the rate is 1 in 5.  Feeding America West Michigan just wrapped up a record year, with 26.5 million pounds of food distributed in 2014.


Last year, Grand Rapids collectively gave nearly 94,000 pounds of food during Stamp Out Hunger, enough to provide 73,500 meals to people in West Michigan.  To date, Stamp Out Hunger has collected over 1 billion pounds of food for hunger-relief organizations around the country.


Those who want to participate on Saturday are asked to fill a bag with good, nonperishable food, and leave it by your mailbox in time for your regular Saturday delivery.

5.7.15:  Boy or girl? Family with 12 sons finds out soon about No. 13



ROCKFORD, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan couple with 12 sons is waiting to find out whether baby No. 13 keeps the streak going.

Jay and Kateri Schwandt’s baby is due Saturday, the day before Mother’s Day, and they’re sticking to their tradition of not finding out in advance whether they’re having a boy or girl.

They’ve said they’d be shocked if the baby is a girl. Kateri Schwandt tells The Grand Rapids Press  this week “odds are not in our favor” but they’ll be happy either way. She grew up in a family of 14 kids and says “Every day is Mother’s Day.”

The Schwandts live Rockford, north of Grand Rapids. Jay Schwandt says it’s probably a boy, but “if I could put my order in, I would root for a girl.”