Local

7.29.14:  Grand Rapids gets Fireworks Convention

 

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The National Fireworks Association plans to hold its annual convention in Grand Rapids in 2016.

 

Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, announced the booking on Monday.

 

The convention is expected to bring more than 1,000 attendees. It’s scheduled for Sept. 6-11, 2016, at DeVos Place Convention Center.

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7.29.14:  White House to honor Michigan blueberry producer

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Paw Paw, Michigan blueberry producer is among 15 “Champions of Change” for agriculture.

 

Brookside Farms retail manager Kristin Kubiszak is being honored Tuesday by the White House and U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Champions of Change” are cited for efforts to inspire the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

 

Kubiszak’s Brookside Farms is a fifth generation family farm that grows and packs blueberries for distribution through the MBG Marketing cooperative “The Blueberry People.” She also is on the Van Buren County Farm Bureau board, where she educates others about Michigan agriculture.

 

The program will feature USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. She will discuss efforts to ensure that beginning farmers, and women, young people, immigrants, socially disadvantaged producers, returning veterans and retirees have access to programs they need.

 


7.28.14:  Local soldier lost life in car crash

 

Sgt. Corey Hanson of Grand Rapids died last week in a car crash in Texas.

 

Hanson was driving his SUV when he strayed into the opposite lane and collided head-on with a semitrailer on Highway 43, about 6 miles south of Smithland, Texas.

 

The 24-year-old  is a 2008 graduate of Northview High School and served two tours in Afghanistan for the National Guard.  He was reportedly planning a surprise visit home to the Grand Rapids area to see his family and attend a wedding.

 

Funeral arrangements are pending.


7.25.14:  Housing unit goes up in flames in NW Grand Rapids

 

A housing unit on the Grand Rapids’ northwest side went up in flames Thursday night.  The smoke from the large fire could be seen throughout downtown Grand Rapids.

The fire broke out in the 600 block of 4th Street near Davis Avenue around 6 p.m.  Those in the area tried to put the fire out themselves before it got out of control.

The two-story housing unit had several apartments.

Flames could be seen coming form the roof and windows and burned for several hours.  No one was hurt in the fire and everyone escaped safely and the Red Cross is assisting residents who lost their homes.

 

 

 

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7.24.14:  Gilda’s LaughFest to return for 5th year in March

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Organizers of an annual festival of laughter in western Michigan say the event will return for its fifth year in March.

 

Dates for the 2015 edition of Gilda’s LaughFest were announced Thursday morning. Organizers say it will take place March 5 to March 15.

 

LaughFest honors the memory of comedian Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989.


7.24.14:  Statue series grows, to include Betty Ford in 2018

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The Grand Rapids Community Legends project has added a sixth statue to a series that will grow to include former first lady Betty Ford four years from now.

 

Organizers on Wednesday unveiled a sculpture of civil rights activist Helen Claytor. It’s part of a series that’s expected to have 25 statues before completion.

 

The project plans sculptures of boxing champion Stanley Ketchel in 2015, businesswoman Anna Sutherland Bissell in 2016 and businessman and politician Julius Houseman in 2017. The Ford sculpture will be installed in 2018, 100 years after her birth.

 

President Gerald Ford died in 2006, and Betty Ford died in 2011. They lived in Rancho Mirage, California, for decades.

 

Their hometown was Grand Rapids.


7.24.14:  Man jailed in fatal stabbing of gas station clerk

 

 

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — Police say they’ve arrested a man in the fatal stabbing of a 27-year-old Battle Creek gas station employee.

 

Police answered a call about a robbery and shooting about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday and found the body of Nicole Gates of Battle Creek at a Citgo gas station.

 

Detective Sgt. Jim Martens says it appears that an acquaintance stabbed Gates to death before stealing money, beer, cigarettes and lottery tickets.

 

Police say they arrested 30-year-old Shawn Pike of Battle Creek about 10:30 a.m. on first-degree murder, robbery and other charges. Police also have arrested a 21-year-old man, whose name wasn’t immediately released.

 

The men are expected to be arraigned Thursday.


7.22.14:   Fruit growers get new disaster relief

 

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says fruit growers affected by extreme weather conditions in 2012 will now be able to apply for new disaster relief from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

 

The Michigan Democrat is chairwoman of the Senate’s Agriculture and says new provisions in the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program as part of the 2014 Farm Bill will extend relief to growers hit by disasters that didn’t have access to crop insurance.

 

Stabenow noted in a statement that frosts and freezes in 2012 destroyed crops such as cherries and apples in Michigan and elsewhere. Eligible producers will be able to apply for assistance beginning Tuesday through their local Farm Service Agency office.


7.22.14:  Schuette urges changes after killer’s prison break

 

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s attorney general is recommending numerous changes in prison security after a convicted quadruple murderer escape earlier this year.

 

Bill Schuette’s independent investigation into the February escape from the Ionia Correctional Facility flagged problems with video surveillance, fence alarms, prisoner counts and other issues. The report released Monday also says the Michigan Corrections Department should consider whether to re-station armed guards in towers and make perimeter patrol a full-time job again.

 

Schuette didn’t conclusively determine the lack of staffed towers or continuous perimeter patrols contributed to Michael Elliot’s escape. But his report may be grist for minority Democratic lawmakers and unions who blame the budget cuts.

 

Schuette says staff failures played a “significant” role. Authorities say Elliot took a woman hostage before he was caught 24 hours later in Indiana.


7.21.14:   Body found by kayakers in Grand River

 

JENISON, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a body has been found by kayakers in the Grand River near Jenison.

The Ottawa County sheriff’s department says the body was found around 5 p.m. Sunday near the area of Baldwin Street and river Avenue not far from the I-196 exit to Jenison.

The name and age of the male whose body was found wasn’t immediately released. An autopsy is planned for Monday to confirm the identity and determine cause of death.