7.31.15:  Shoppers head to newest Tanger Outlet Mall



Thousands of shoppers are headed to the grand opening of the Tanger Outlet Mall off US-131 near Byron Center today.


Around 75 stores will open and more are expected next year.

Shoppers began lining up early to take advantage of the sales and added gift cards and discount coupons.


There will be extra police on hand to help direct traffic in the area.

7.29.15:  Aldi to hold Job Fair Monday, August 3rd.


Aldi will hold job fairs in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo Monday, August 3rd.

Aldi has been expanding in Michigan and now has 65 locations across the state.

The company says they are looking to hire 40 people for several of their area stores.

The job fairs will be held August 3rd, at Hyatt Place in Wyoming and at Michigan Works! in Kalamazoo.


7.29.15:  Huntington Bank expands Michigan microlending program by $5M


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Huntington Bank says it’s expanding its microlending collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to provide $5 million in loans to small businesses in 17 counties.

The Columbus, Ohio-based bank said in a news release Tuesday that the expansion is within a $25 million microlending program that it announced in 2013 in Michigan. Eligible communities for the loans include those in the Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Detroit and Lansing areas.

The bank says the loans are typically between $1,000 and $100,000. According to the bank, it allocates funds through nonprofit community lenders, who then make microloans to small business owners who can’t access traditional financing.



7.29.15:   Man smuggled guns from US to his native Lebanon



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a 54-year-old western Michigan man used his import-export business to smuggle handguns from the U.S. to his native Lebanon.

A criminal complaint in U.S. District Court says Gilbert Oscar Elian of Grand Rapids bought dozens of handguns from 2012-2014 at retail outlets in the Grand Rapids area, drawing attention from federal authorities.

Homeland Security Investigations says Elian exported or tried to export about 18 shipments since 2004, mostly recently in March. Federal investigators say that they found handguns hidden in shipments of auto parts from his business Prestige Imports.

The Associated Press sent a message seeking comment Wednesday from a lawyer for Elian.

The naturalized U.S. citizen was in court in Grand Rapids on Tuesday and is in custody ahead of a Friday detention hearing.



7.28.15:  Primary Election day is set for next Tuesday



-The Grand Rapids City Clerk’s office is reminding us that this Saturday, August 1st, is the last day to apply to get an absentee ballot sent to you for next Tuesday’s election.

You can also pick one up in person through next Monday afternoon.


Several communities will have items to consider on their ballots.

In Grand Rapids, is will be the primary mayoral race.

If a candidate receives more than 50% of the votes then they will become the city’s next mayor but if not, the top two vote-getters will compete in a run-off election in November.

The 4 candidates include:  Rosalynn Bliss, Robert Dean, John George, and Willard Lee.

7.27.15:  Carmaker Tesla to open charging station outside Grand Rapids



CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Electric car company Tesla Motors is opening a new charging station southeast of Grand Rapids.

The charging station is set to open Monday at a Meijer store in Cascade Township near 28th Street and Kraft. The charging station would work with Tesla’s Model S electric sedan.

Tesla said in May that it purchased a tool-and-die maker in Cascade Township. The Palo Alto, California-based company said the purchase would help it with building new plastic parts.


7.24.15:  Salas, Kirk, Carter share Meijer LPGA Classic lead


BELMONT, Mich. (AP) — Lizette Salas, Katherine Kirk and Dori Carter shared the first-round lead in the Meijer LPGA Classic at 7-under 64 on Thursday at Blythefield Country Club.

Jaye Marie Green and rookie Wei-Ling Hsu were a shot back in the second-year tournament.

Michigan-born Kris Tamulis was at 66 along with Q Baek, Ilhee Lee and Jane Rah.

Top-ranked Inbee Park, who lost to Miram Lee in a playoff last year, had three front-nine bogeys in a 70. Chella Choi, the Marathon Classic winner Sunday in Sylvania, Ohio, opened with a 71.

Salas, Kirk, Carter and Green played in the morning in little wind and perfect scoring conditions. Hsu had the best round in the afternoon after the wind kicked up. Park and Choi also played in the afternoon.



7.23.15:  Spoke Folks will launch a bike-sharing service



GRAND RAPIDS, MI (Mlive)– A couple new employees were preparing a fleet of new bicycles earlier this week at The Spoke Folks on Logan Street SW. The brown and gray vehicles were herded into packs around the shop floor, with two at a time hoisted into the air for fine tuning.

On Thursday, July 23, the nonprofit co-op expects the bicycles to be ready to “set them free in the city” for an app-based bike-share service it’s launching in downtown Grand Rapids.

“We have 65 right now. We found the bikes we wanted to use and we bought all of them we could that are in the country,” said David Bell, a mechanical engineer who’s an investor in a for-profit venture that hired The Spoke Folks to operate the bike-share service.

“In the spring we’re targeting 400 to put on the street, which is I think the right number. From our research that’s what Grand Rapids will be able to support.”

As city administrators evaluate a consultant’s recommendation to start a bike-share service that could cost as much as $2 million, Bell and his partners are teaming with The Spoke Folks to get a private program off the ground now. Instead of building stations to dock bike-share bicycles, as a consultant suggests, they’re using a Spokefly app and existing bike racks around downtown.

Customers can download the app to their phone, use it to find a bike nearby and get the combination to the bike lock, and pay for their ride. The fee will be $1 per ride, plus 15 cents per minute.

A 10-minute ride will cost $2.50, for example. A 30-minute ride will cost $5.50. Keep a bike for an hour and you’ll pay $10.

The service offers 8-speed bikes from Breezer Bicycles, each with a bell and basket for any carry-on bags. Helmets are not provided. There will be 65 bikes to start and a few hundred more on the way next year.

“We want it to be you can walk out (of a building) and see the bike,” said Jay Niewiek, director of The Spoke Folks. “These will be scattered across the city, locked up to regular bike racks.”

7.23.15:  Kent County authorities called to standoff in mobile home park



Cedar Springs — Police were called to a domestic assault incident and standoff at a Cedar Springs trailer park Wednesday night.

Police arrived at the Cedar Springs Mobile Home Estates around 7:30 p.m. to find that a man had assaulted the woman he was living with.

The injured woman was able to escape but their 1-year-old child was still inside.

Hostage negotiators were called in and the incident ended peacefully as the suspect was taken into custody.

7.23.15:  Former LPGA pro to give girls lesson on golf swing



BELMONT, Mich. (AP) — Young female golfers will receive a lesson on the sport from a former pro during the Meijer LPGA Classic in western Michigan.

Michigan native Allison Fouch-Duncan leads a “Swing Like A Girl” session on Thursday for two dozen girls at Boulder Creek Golf Club in Belmont, near Grand Rapids.

The girls are between 10 and 17. They are members of The First Tee youth development program’s Detroit and Grand Rapids chapters. The LPGA and PGA helped start the international youth service organization.

The golf swing session is part of a confidence building campaign for girls.

The Meijer LPGA Classic runs through Sunday at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont.