Grand Rapids

10.31.14:  Aquinas College dedicates athletic building


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Aquinas College has opened a 70,000-square-foot athletic building that includes a 200-meter indoor track and turf field in Grand Rapids.


The building was dedicated Thursday. It completes the college’s $14 million athletic complex, which also includes a fitness center that opened in 2010.


Alumnus Greg Alksnis and his family donated $1.5 million to the latest project. It includes athletic space for all the college’s 25 varsity teams as well as intramural teams. It also has rooms for academic classes.


Local elementary schools will use the space in the winter.


10.30.14:  Kelloggsville High School students make threat


Wyoming Police are investigating a threatening statement reportedly made by a couple of Kelloggsville High School students.

Witnesses say a female student told a classmate that she and another student were planning to harm other students during a school assembly and that there was a list of intended targets.

No evidence was found that would indicate the pair planned to carry out the threat.


The Wyoming Public Safety Department still is taking the situation seriously.  No word yet on the consequences for the two students.

10.29.14:  Grand Rapids adjusts odd/even parking rules


The City of Grand Rapids is making changes to the odd/even parking rules for several of their narrow streets.

Instead of drivers keeping track of the date,  and which side of the street to park on, these 19 streets will allow for parking on only one side during the winter months.

The side selected for restricted parking will vary among the streets identified due to factors such as fire hydrant access and driveway spacing.

New parking restriction signs will be installed within the coming weeks.


The City is partnering with the neighborhood associations covering the streets identified to ensure neighbors are informed of the new changes.  Prior to enforcement staring, the City of Grand Rapids Police Department , will issue a warning notice for first-time violators.  Vehicles will be ticketed or towed, if necessary, for repeat offenders.


The new parking restrictions go into effect Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014.

10.29.14:  Grant will allow local school to get free iPads


Students at Grand Rapids’ Burton Elementary School will be getting free iPads.

The school is one of 2 schools in Michigan to receive a grant from Apple that will supply each student and their teachers with iPads.

The grant is part of Apple’s $100 million ConnectED commitment.


Apple selected schools for the grant based on need and focused on the schools in communities where more than 96% of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunches.  More than 85% of the student body is Latino and the new technology will provide ways to improve communication between teachers and parents.


Apple will begin rolling out the new technology to schools in early 2015.

10.28.14:  Grand Rapids Conference to help Veteran business owners


(Mlive)-A statewide conference to help veteran-owned small businesses connect with Michigan companies is making its first appearance in Grand Rapids.

The ninth annual Veterans Business Conference on Wednesday will connect military veterans who own businesses with government and corporate procurement decision-makers.

“Many veteran-owned companies focus on government contracting, but there is another world available in the corporate sector,” said Matt Sherwood, executive director of VetBiz Central Inc., which organizes the annual Michigan conference.

The day-long conference, at Crowne Plaza Hotel, 5700 28th St. SE, features morning educational sessions and meet-and-greet sessions in the afternoon.


Battle Creek food giant Kellogg’s is the platinum sponsor of the event that has drawn major companies from across the state, including General Motors, Herman Miller, DTE Energy and AT&T, along with the purchasing departments of the city of Grand Rapids, Kent County and Michigan State University.

“It’s growing movement that corporate America is seeking to engage more veterans into their supply chains,” Sherwood said.

VetBiz Central helps vets start and run businesses.

The Flint-based nonprofit serves Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Nationally, 16 percent of small businesses are owned and operated by military veterans. There are more than 1,100 disabled veteran-owned businesses across Michigan.

Typically, if a veteran business hits the two-year mark, its chances of success double, Sherwood said.

Many of the veteranowned businesses are franchises because they are a good fit for those with military training, which instills leadership, discipline, attention to detail and following the mission through until the end.

“We like our checklists, our structure,” Sherwood said. “We like essentially having the structure within the business model of a franchise. It’s really providing you with the recipe and you get to make the cake.”


Herman Miller recently expanded its diversity supplier program to include veteran-owned businesses. An employee-led committee goes beyond that goal to provide mentoring to small businesses even if they aren’t ready to supply the Zeeland-based office furniture maker, which does about $3 billion in sales annually.

Kavy Lenon, senior supplier diversity manager at Herman Miller, is part of the committee.

“A lot of times, they might not be a good fit for Herman Miller, but they might be a good fit for each other and other companies,” Lenon said.

In fiscal 2013, the company spent $109 million, or 16 percent of its total purchasing, with businesses that were owned by minorities, women, LGBT and military veterans.

10.24.14:  Amtrak gets new train station in G.R.


Amtrak is getting ready to open a new train station in Grand Rapids on Monday, Oct. 27.


The station is slated to send off its first train of passengers at 7:40 a.m. Monday and later around 10 a.m. a public grand opening is scheduled.


The Vernon J. Ehlers Amtrak Station is located at 440 Century Avenue SW and is adjacent to the Rapid Central Station.


MDOT says the $6.1 million station was funded using a $4.6 million Dept. of Transportation grant and a $1.5 million match in other federal, state, and local funds.



10.21.14:  Grand Rapids Community College plans buyouts


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Grand Rapids Community College plans to offer buyouts to some faculty and staff as part of an effort that could save $5 million over the next decade.


The offers seek to trim expenses because of declining enrollment.


School President Steven Ender says any money that the school can save “without having to take a hard look at programs, the better we like that scenario.”


The college’s Board of Trustees approved the buyout offers on Monday night. The college estimates the buyouts would generate $1.3 million in savings over three years if 15 faculty and 10 staff members take them.


The plans come as the college is projecting a budget deficit of between $2 million and $5 million for the 2015-16 school year.


10.20.14:  Lions come from behind to beat the Saints


DETROIT (AP) — Matthew Stafford threw two touchdown passes in the final 3:38, including the winner to Corey Fuller with 1:48 remaining, and the Detroit Lions rallied for a 24-23 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.


The Saints were in control late in the fourth quarter when Stafford found Golden Tate for a 73-yard catch-and-run that made it 23-17. Then Drew Brees was intercepted on third down by Glover Quin, whose 23-yard return gave the Lions the ball at the New Orleans 14.


Detroit caught a break when Rafael Bush was called for pass interference on fourth down. Stafford eventually connected with Fuller in the back of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown and the win.


The Saints committed 12 penalties for 134 yards.

10.17.14:  Public input for future of Grand Rapids


The city of Grand Rapids wants to know your ideas for future planning and will hold an Open House today from 4-8 p.m. at 50 Louis Street.


The public will be asked to provide input on how they would like to see Grand Rapids develop in the future.


Mayor George Heartwell said this planning process allows city leaders to think about the future and examine such areas as economic development, education , housing, transportation and the Grand River.


10.15.14:  Michigan officials plan Laker Line bus system


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Michigan transit leaders have unveiled plans for a $45.5 million Laker Line rapid transit bus system in the Grand Rapids area.


Officials announced the 13-mile line between Grand Valley State University in Allendale and downtown Grand Rapids on Tuesday. The new line could open in 2018, about four years after the launch of the similar Silver Line system this past summer.


The Laker Line would have 14 stations and a maximum of 13 vehicles stopping at six-minute intervals at peak times. Planners say they expect 13,000 riders each day. That’s a 13 percent increase over existing users.


Officials plan to conduct an environmental assessment to identify station locations before applying for federal funding in 2015.