1.23.15:  Rockford Public School Supt. says schools are safe


Multiple threats have been made over the last several months against Rockford Public Schools.

The superintendent, Dr. Mark Shibler, wants the community to know that their schools are safe and to get his message across he turned to YouTube.

Shiber addressed parents, students and staff about the ongoing investigation of previous threats. He says they are being treated seriously and detectives are looking into each case and tracing calls.  A reward has also been issued.


Several other West Michigan schools have dealt with similar false threats in recent months.

1.23.15:  Community Health Systems announces deal with Metro Health


WYOMING, Mich. (AP) — A Tennessee-based company is taking a significant financial interest in a health system that includes a 208-bed hospital in western Michigan.

Franklin-based Community Health Systems Inc. announced Friday that its subsidiaries executed a definitive agreement for the purchase of an 80 percent equity interest in Wyoming, Michigan-based Metro Health.

The agreement includes Metro Health Hospital, outpatient centers and related assets and businesses. The deal is subject to regulatory reviews.

Wayne T. Smith, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Community Health Systems, says in a statement that Metro Health “provides an opportunity for our company to expand into Michigan and add the state’s fastest growing market to our organization.”


1.23.15:  Whitecaps want your ideas


The West Michigan Whitecaps are looking for ideas for new food items to be served at Fifth Third Ballpark this season.

Fans can submit their ideas regarding what new food items they would like to see served this year.

Submissions will be taken through Friday, February 6.

They can be made through the Whitecaps facebook page (facebook.com/wmwcaps), twitter account (@wmwhitecaps) or via e-mail (playball@whitecapsbaseball.com.

All submissions should be accompanied by a complete description and picture if possible.

The good idea submissions will be whittled down, and starting Thursday, February 26, fans will be able to vote for their choice for the new 2015 concessions item.

The winning entry will be on the menu for all fans to enjoy.

The Whitecaps open the 2015 season on Thursday, April 9 against Dayton.

1.22.15:  An increased number of business and home break-ins


In the past few months there has been sporadic occurrences of overnight break-ins to businesses concentrating around the 84th/Clyde Park Avenue area.

Entry is being made by prying a door or smashing a window.  Cash money appears to be the targeted items.


Most recent victims are:

-Caring Touch Nursing

-Medical Language Specialist

-Lorie’s Hair Garage

-Growers Outlet


Business owners are being encouraged to keep their businesses locked, alarm systems activated, and outside areas surrounding the business well lit.

Citizens in the area are asked to call the police to report any suspicious people or vehicles they observe in the area.

Kent County Sheriff’s Dept.:  616-632-6140

Silent Observer: 616-774-2345


1.20.15:  FAA looking into Lowell plane crash


Just before 6 p.m. Monday, a plane went down near the Lowell City Airport.

The pilot was trying to land and ended up crashing near a home on Lincoln Lake Avenue.

A flight instructor was watching the student pilot.  The pilot had been in training since last April and was flying solo Monday afternoon.

The 30-year-old pilot was able to walk away with minor injuries.

The FAA has been called in to investigate.

1.19.15:  Speakers, events around Michigan honor Martin Luther King


(AP) — Events are planned around Michigan to honor Martin Luther King Jr., including appearances by the mother of Trayvon Martin.

Sybrina Fulton is scheduled to speak Monday at Grand Valley State University’s Fieldhouse Arena and Grand Rapids Community College’s Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse. Her 17-year-old son was fatally shot in 2012 by a neighborhood watch volunteer, sparking widespread protests.

Comedian and activist Dick Gregory will speak at Eastern Michigan University’s Student Center Auditorium. The theme of the Ypsilanti school’s celebration is “Breaking the Illusion: The Movement Continues.”

Jurnee Smollett-Bell also plans to speak during Oakland University’s annual Keeper of the Dream Awards celebration about her work as an actress and activist. The campus straddles Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills.

Other events are planned in Detroit, Flint, Kalamazoo and numerous other communities.


Many area colleges will hold events and peaceful marches today including:

GRCC – noon

GVSU – noon

Davenport – 12:30

Aquinas – 3 pm

Cornerstone University will hold an number of events during the week. Events kick off today at 10 a.m.

1.16.15:  Meijer Gardens presents exhibition of artworks from Japan


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is presenting an exhibition of artworks from Japan that’s opening ahead of this year’s debut of its Japanese garden.

“Splendors of Shiga: Treasures from Japan” opens to the public Jan. 30.

The display will feature more than 75 works of art, most of which have never been seen outside of Japan. The exhibition is timed to coincide with the June opening of The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden.

The exhibition will feature displays of hand-painted scrolls and screen paintings, centuries-old Buddhist statuary and devotional objects, ancient and contemporary kimonos, tea ceremony objects and a variety of pottery.

“Splendors of Shiga” will be displayed through March 22, then from March 28 to June 4 and from June 10 to Aug. 16.

1.15.15:  Muskegon motorcycle fest to expand to include former track


MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — A popular Muskegon motorcycle festival will expand this year.

The Muskegon Bike Time will add 90 acres of activities at a track, formerly known as Great Lakes Downs, to the current downtown location. The event is scheduled for July 16-19.

Bike Time Board Chairman Clyde Whitehouse says the expansion responds to visitor requests and the festival’s long-term sustainability needs. More than 120,000 people and 75,000 motorcycles were at the 2014 event.

The new property is owned by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. It will feature new attractions such as motocross races, motorcycle stunt shows, and more vendors and food. Concerts featuring national acts will also be held.

The festival will have a budget of more than $500,000.

1.15.15:  Endowment to support lifelong learning at Aquinas College


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A $1 million endowment from the Bernard Osher Foundation will support Aquinas College’s efforts to promote lifelong learning.

The funding announced Thursday by the Catholic liberal arts college will support its Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Established in the 1970s, the institute’s program was designed to provide pre- and post-retirement education opportunities to people age 50 and older.

Juan Olivarez, president of the Grand Rapids college, says in a statement that lifelong learning “is at the heart of Aquinas’ mission.”

Today, nearly 1,500 students take more than 160 classes each year through the institute. In addition to interest on the endowment, funding comes from membership fees and community members. A celebration of the program’s 40th anniversary is planned this spring.


1.14.15:  Kent County is looking for volunteers to shovel snow


Kent County emergency management officials are looking for volunteers to help shovel snow.

The county has partnered with others to create a “Shoveling Snow Angels” program where volunteers can help make areas around Grand Rapids safer in the winter.

Snow needs to be cleared from bus stops, fire hydrants, sidewalks, and storm drains.

As a thank you, volunteers can earn points through “MyGRCityPoints”, that can be redeemed at local businesses.

To sign up for the program, individuals can call Disability Advocates at 949-1100.