3.3.15:  Conference hopes to motivate youth to strive for excellence


-The 16th Annual Latino Youth Conference takes place in Grand Rapids today.

The purpose is to encourage and motivate all youth to strive for educational excellence.

This year’s focus will be on science, technology, engineering and math.

The keynote will include viewing the film “Underwater Dreams” and a panel discussion with 4 students who took part in the underwater robot competition.

3.3.15:  Officers acted in self-defense during shootout


WYOMING, Mich. (AP) — A prosecutor has determined two police officers acted in self-defense during a fatal shootout with a suspect in a Grand Rapids suburb.

Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth issued an opinion Monday on the Jan. 29 incident involving Alan James of Wyoming. Officers from the Wyoming and Kentwood police departments were responding to a domestic complaint when James started firing shots.

Forsyth said the two officers in question acted appropriately because the suspect’s actions placed them in imminent danger of death of great bodily harm.

The officers fired 11 shots at James after he pointed a gun at them. He had already wounded Wyoming police officer Frank Hartuniewicz and fired shots at two other officers.

James died nine days later at a hospital.


3.2.15:  Rev. Dr. Maurice Jones dies over the weekend


A longtime pastor at a Grand Rapids church has died.

Rev. Dr. Maurice Jones died Saturday.  He was 85 years old.

Rev. Jones was a pastor emeritus at Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist church.  he had served there for 44 years.

He retired in 2009 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

A community tribute will be held for Rev. Jones on Friday at the church located at 510 Franklin Avenue.  The 6 p.m. service will be held for family and the congregation and then at 7 p.m. the community will be invited.

2.27.15:  Job openings for The Rapids bus service   Grand Rapids – The Rapids will host a job fair on Saturday, February 28, 2015 from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. at Rapid Central Station located at 250 Grandville Ave. SW on the second floor community room. The Rapid seeks exceptional candidates that excel in customer service to fill Bus Operator positions to start training in May and June. All bus operators start in a part-time status and starting rate of pay is $17.91 per hour.

Click here for more information.

2.27.15:  Criminals are asking for pre-paid cards


Authorities are telling us to be on the lookout for criminals that want to steal our money and they tend to particularly target seniors.

Taxes are due and utility bills are higher and thieves are looking to take full advantage.

Crooks are calling area tax payers and claim they are from the IRS.  They are threatening legal action unless money is sent on a pre-paid card.

Consumers Energy also says they have people calling to say they have been contacted and will have service shut off unless they pay up.

One tip:  if you suddenly have an email that pops up and it has a link that directs you somewhere else, that is a major danger sign.

2.27.15:  Michigan groups contributing $4.5M in energy bill assistance


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The Salvation Army and Consumers Energy are partnering to provide statewide energy bill assistance to thousands of Michigan residents.

Consumers Energy announced Thursday at The Salvation Army’s Dickinson Center in Grand Rapids that it’s awarding $1.6 million to the non-profit organization, which has a call center to coordinate energy bill assistance. Along with a contribution from The Salvation Army, energy bill assistance for Michigan customers this winter will amount to $4.5 million.

Consumers Energy provides natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state’s 10 million residents. The Jackson-based utility has given $9 million in total to assist residents statewide.


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:  Police identify couple involved in apparent murder-suicide


WYOMING, Mich. (AP) — Police have identified an estranged West Michigan couple involved in an apparent murder-suicide.

According to the Wyoming Police Department, 44-year-old Bettina Stieglitz-Sanchez was found dead Sunday night in a vehicle’s front passenger seat. Police say she was shot three times.

50-year-old Albert Sanchez was found dead outside the vehicle with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police say a weapon was found at the scene and it appeared someone tried to set the vehicle on fire.

Police say the couple lived in separate residences in Wyoming and had a history of domestic incidents.

Sanchez was arrested in 2003 for domestic violence following an incident at the couple’s home. He also was arrested in 2009 for disorderly conduct at his estranged wife’s home.


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:  3 people will get reward in northern Michigan Medicare probe


HART, Mich. (AP) — Three people who said a northern Michigan medical center was submitting false billings to the government will share more than $200,000 for blowing the whistle.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the reward is related to a settlement in a case involving Oceana County Medical Care Facility in Hart and Agility Health.

They were accused of submitting claims to Medicare for services that weren’t provided or weren’t necessary.

Grand Rapids-based Agility Health managed the therapy department at Oceana County Medical. It has agreed to pay $850,000.

The government says Oceana County Medical will pay $150,000. It provides nursing home and rehabilitation care, 80 miles northwest of Grand Rapids.

Agility Health and Oceana County Medical admits no liability in the settlement.