10.5.15:  Volunteer search continues in Lake Michigan for missing men



WYOMING, Mich. (AP) — A volunteer search is taking place for two men reported overdue from a fishing trip on Lake Michigan.

The update comes after the U.S. Coast Guard says a decision to stop actively looking for Christopher Thode and Aaron Juarez was made Thursday after searches covering nearly 3,800 nautical square miles.

Authorities say the men left Sept. 26 from the Pigeon Lake boat launch in western Michigan’s Port Sheldon Township.

They were reported missing a few days later.

The Grand Rapids Press reported a search involving volunteers took place Sunday. More searches are planned this week.

The Ottawa County sheriff’s office has said the men were roommates in Wyoming, west of Grand Rapids. A SUV and empty boat trailer belonging to one of the men were found at the boat launch.


10.2.15:  Fall Parade of Homes kicks off Friday in Grand Rapids area



-35 new and remodeled homes in 12 West Michigan communities, will be featured in the 2015 Fall Parade of Homes.

This year’s parade will take place from Friday, October 2 – Saturday, October 17.


The Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids says the featured homes are valued from $200,000 to more than 1 million dollars.


The event showcases area builders and is a great source of business for the local building industry.

Building permits were on the rise in West Michigan this year as the construction industry continues to rebound.


Tickets are available at Option One Credit Union or at a parade home.

10.2.15:  Goodwill to open Knapp North Retail Store



-Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids is opening their 19th store located to the north of Celebration Cinema North on the East Beltline.


The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce will join together with Goodwill staff for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, October 3 at 9 a.m.

The store is located at 2345 East Beltline NE, Grand Rapids, MI.


Jill Wallace, chief Marketing and Communications Officer said this new location will provide great visibility and offer an affordable shopping experience with a convenient drive-thru donation area.


The revenue from store sales will help fund job training and placement services.

Last year Goodwill placed over 700 people into local employment within the 8 counties they serve.

10.2.15:  Grand Rapids salutes war hero, Polish culture this weekend



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A Polish general who fought in the American Revolution is being celebrated this weekend in Grand Rapids.

And that means a parade, polkas, and pierogi.


Pulaski Days is named for Casimir Pulaski, who fought against the British during the Revolutionary War. Michelle Kershner, the vice president of Pulaski Days, says the festival is a celebration of Polish culture. It started 44 years ago.

Mary Novakoski is the Pulaski Days queen this year. When she talks to children, she says, “I can’t even explain the amount of honor that I feel.”




10.1.15:  Authorities searching Lake Michigan for 2 missing roommates



WYOMING, Mich. (AP) — Authorities have been searching Lake Michigan and its coastline for two men missing since last week.

The Ottawa County sheriff’s office says Wednesday that the Coast Guard has used helicopters, a plane and boat to help find 25-year-old Christopher Thode and 40-year-old Aaron Juarez.

Their families reported the Wyoming roommates missing Tuesday. The men had not been heard from since late Friday.

They were known to fish in Lake Michigan near Port Sheldon. A SUV and empty boat trailer belonging to one of the men were found Wednesday in a boat launch parking lot near Pigeon Lake in Olive Township.

Cell phone records also show that one of their phones was near the boat launch about 2:30 a.m. Saturday.


9.30.15:  Complaint over service for graduating seniors resolved


BYRON CENTER, Mich. (AP) — Officials say a complaint that a public school district in western Michigan helped plan and promote a religious service for graduating seniors has been resolved.

Mitch Kahle, a representative for the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists, tells The Grand Rapids Press the involvement of a public district in a baccalaureate service gives the impression the district is endorsing the event.

Kahle says the issue involving Byron Center Public Schools came after a student’s family complained. He says “even though it is a tradition that schools have been doing for many years, it does not make it right.”

The newspaper says about 80 of 250 graduates attended the May ceremony.

Superintendent Dan Takens says students or groups may hold the service, but the district can’t promote or plan it.

9.29.15:  Over 200 open positions available through Job Fair



An Online Job Fair and Educational Event, will take place Wednesday, September 30th, from 10 AM – 6PM.


Participants will be able to see open jobs from over 75 different employers in the Grand Rapids area from a variety of industries, apply for over 200 open positions, chat with recruiters, and even get scheduled for in-person interviews.

Participants will also be able to take part in live chats with local experts on employment related topics as well as access educational videos and content.


More information at:  expresspros.com.


9.29.15:  Pilot landing in Grand Rapids reports laser



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a pilot landing at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in western Michigan reported a laser aimed at the plane’s cockpit.

Airport spokeswoman Tara Hernandez says the pilot reported the issue to the airport’s control tower about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.    Airport police and the Kent County sheriff’s department didn’t immediately locate the person responsible.

The pilot, who was flying a non-commercial plane, was still able to land safely at the Grand Rapids airport.

Lasers can distract or temporarily blind pilots. Pointing one at a plane is a federal crime.


9.29.15:  Visitors dismantle ArtPrize entry amid apparent confusion



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Some apparent confusion among visitors to Michigan’s annual ArtPrize competition led to one entry being dismantled.

About 27,000 beaded necklaces decorated a fence for Jeffrey Augustine Songco’s “Revelry” at Calder Plaza in Grand Rapids.

Songco handed out thousands of additional strings of beads and invited people to wear them, share them or add them to the art installation. Signs explained the artwork. On Saturday, however, people began removing beads from the 200-foot long fence.

By evening, they mostly were gone. Songco says “when you put a work of art in the public space, you never know how the public will react.”

The installation is returning in a different form, however. Some people put back beads Sunday and Songco handed out more on Monday.


9.25.15: Trader Joe’s is celebrating today’s opening



West Michigan’s first Trader Joe’s grocery store officially is open to the public today.

Residents have been encouraging the southern California retailer to open a location on the west side of the state for more than a decade.


The store is located on the south side of 28th Street across from Centerpointe Mall.    Store hours are from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.


Instead of a ribbon cutting to open the store, there was a ceremonial lei-cutting.


The store is set up like a neighborhood grocery store and 80% of the items are Trader Joe’s own line of domestic and imported items.


There will be extra traffic around the Grand Rapids area store and they encourage shoppers to enter off 29th Street or consider parking at the Centerpointe Mall lot.