Grand Rapids

2.24.17:  Deadly crash along US-131 near G.R. 




GRAND RAPIDS, MI (Mlive) — Police were called to the scene of a crash along northbound U.S. 131 that  involved a wrong-way driver.

Police started getting calls just before 10 Thursday night that there was a wrong way driver near Burton Street.

The crash happened near 28th Street when a vehicle was south in the northbound lanes.

Police reported that several cars spun out to avoid the wrong-way driver.

No names have been released yet.

2.22.17:  Trump administration unveils changes in immigration enforcement policies.




WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has unveiled sweeping changes in immigration enforcement policies. Any immigrant who is in the U.S. illegally and is charged or convicted of any offense, will be considered an enforcement priority. That’s according to memos signed by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

Legal service organizations say immigrants have been rushing to prepare their applications to become U.S. citizens.


In Grand Rapids, Police Chief David Rehinsky held a meeting at the Hispanic Center and urged members of the local immigrant community to ignore fears of deportation if they become crime victims and to call them for help.  The Hispanic Center says it is important to educate people on what their rights are and stop the spread of misinformation.


2.17.17:  Circuit court starts pilot project to cut school absenteeism




GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A pilot project has been started to reduce student absenteeism in two western Michigan school districts.

Kent County’s 17th Circuit Court in Grand Rapids says Thursday that its Truancy Court will provide up to 20 lawyers to work with students in Wyoming and Godwin Heights schools.

The lawyers are providing their legal services free of charge.

Students and their families also will have access to community services through the court’s crisis intervention program. The goal is to get students services they need to overcome attendance barriers and get them back in school.


2.16.17:  New team reviewing sexual assault allegations at university




ALLENDALE, Mich. (AP) — A criminal case review team has formed to look at sexual assault allegations on or near Grand Valley State University’s Allendale campus. says the update comes after the news organization last year reported some sexual assaults being disclosed to university staff were slow to reach police and some weren’t forwarded to the Ottawa County prosecutor’s office.

The team met last month and will meet monthly. Its members include law enforcement from Grand Valley State and the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, an assistant county prosecutor and the victim advocate from the school’s Women’s Center.

Jesse Bernal, vice president for the division of inclusion and equity at the school, says the partnership will help encourage progress on cases.

The school has said its policies encourage quick reporting of alleged assaults.


2.10.17:  US Rep. Amash’s town hall gets  intense 



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Hundreds of people packed a Grand Rapids school auditorium for the chance to pose, and in many cases shout, questions to Republican U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of West Michigan.

The meeting Thursday evening lasted well past its scheduled one-hour duration as the fourth-term congressman fielded 20-plus queries from the crowd.

Perhaps the most contentions moments were questions about the future of the Affordable Care Act.


2.7.17:  Senate set to confirm education secretary by narrow margin




WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is poised to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary by the narrowest possible margin, with Vice President Mike Pence expected to break a 50-50 tie.

The vote planned around 12 noon today will come after Democrats undertook a marathon speaking binge in the overnight hours in a show of opposition to the nominee, Betsy DeVos. DeVos  had been devoted at looking for ways to improve education, which could mean boosting alternatives to public education and that has sparked concerns among educators and the union,  that she won’t be a strong champion for the nation’s public school systems.

Two GOP senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have announced plans to oppose DeVos in a Senate split 52-48 between Republicans and Democrats.


2.3.17:  DeVos clears major Senate hurdle toward becoming ed secy




WASHINGTON (AP) — Betsy DeVos has cleared a major hurdle in the Senate to become the next education secretary, despite vigorous opposition from Democrats.

Senators voted 52-48 to cut off debate before dawn Friday morning, setting the stage for a final confirmation vote next week.


President Donald Trump’s nominee has spent more than two decades promoting charter schools across the country.

Her nomination has come under fierce criticism from labor unions, who accuse her of seeking to dismantle public education

. Two key Republican senators have announced their opposition to DeVos.


2.3.17:  Grand Rapids plans $30M biodigester project to tackle waste




GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Grand Rapids’ wastewater division is preparing to build a biodigester at its water resource recovery facility.

The city’s environmental services manager, Mike Lunn, tells MLive the division has known for a while that it would need to adjust its operations to treat a growing stream of highly concentrated food waste from Founders Brewing Company, Coca-Cola, Amway and SET Environmental.

The biodigester, including a new pipe and sludge treatment system, is expected to cost nearly $30 million.

Lunn said the city decided building a biodigester was the best option, rather than make a $90 million expansion to the plant or require businesses to pre-treat their waste.

In the first phase, the city wants to build three tanks that each have a capacity of 1.4 million gallons, with the hope of having the system running by 2018.


2.1.17:  DeVos confirmation moves to Senate



A Senate committee has approved Republican donor and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos for education secretary.

After a heated debate Tuesday morning, senators on the Health, Education, Pensions and Labor Committee have voted 12-11 along partisan lines to support DeVos’ nomination, sending it to the full Senate for action.

But two prominent Republicans on the committee, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, say they are not yet sure whether they will vote for her on the Senate floor.

To be confirmed as education secretary, DeVos needs a simple majority vote in the Senate.


2.1.17:  Refugee family reunited in U.S 2 years after fleeing Congo  




GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A family that fled to Rwanda because of the violence in the Congo has been reunited in Grand Rapids after two years of separation, despite President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees.

Chantal Nyiranziza and her husband Modeste Irakiza were separated because Nyiranziza was able to apply for settlement in the U.S. before her husband. She and their 5-year-old son came to the U.S. in October 2014.

Bethany Christian Services helped Nyiranziza apply to bring her husband to America.

The U.S. refugee program has been suspended for 120 days under Trump’s order. However, that didn’t affect refugees already scheduled to arrive before Feb. 3.

Kristine Van Noord of Bethany Christian Services says there was some uncertainty after the order was signed. But the 27-year-old Irakiza was allowed in late Tuesday.