1.29.15:  Drop in the number of serious crimes in Grand Rapids


The Grand Rapids Police Department released the full list of crime statistics for 2014.

Part 1 offenses, which are the most serious cases, were down 11% from the year earlier.

The biggest drop was in the number of murders.

Elsewhere, burglaries, rapes and larcenies were all down double digits at 27 percent, 13.2 percent and 12 percent respectively.

However, aggravated assaults, motor vehicle thefts and arson all saw increases at 12 percent, 25 percent and 10 percent respectively.


1.29.15:  No school choice program Thursday night for GRPS


(MLIVE)–Grand Rapids Public Schools Thursday, Jan. 29, cancelled its School Choice Expo planned for City High Middle School because of icy weather conditions.

The expo was scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. and expected to draw a crowd of families interested in learning about the 17,000-student district’s school choices for next year. Free dinner was to be provided along with a number of children’s activities.

Freezing rain has caused significant icing on roads and sidewalks this morning. A winter weather advisory is in effect until 4 p.m. The inclement weather forced GRPS and other West Michigan schools to cancel class and other activities Thursday.


The School Choice Expo is being rescheduled. The application deadline for theme schools and other innovative schools through public-private partnerships, known as Centers of Innovation, is Feb. 27.

1.29.15:  Mythbusters live show coming to Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids



GRAND RAPIDS, MI (MLIVE) — The live touring show based on Discovery TV hit “Mythbusters” and featuring stars Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, is coming to Grand Rapids.

“Mythbusters: Jamie and Adam Unleashed” will take place at 7:30 p.m. April 16, 2015 in DeVos Performance Hall. Tickets are $42.50, $52.50, $62.50 and $72.50, and go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 6, via Ticketmaster.

A presale is happening now through 10 p.m. Feb. 5; use the code “UNLEASHED” to purchase tickets early. VIP tickets, which include premium seating and a post-show meet-and-greet session with Savage and Hyneman, are $147.50.

The live show features Hyneman and Savage taking part in “on-stage experiments, audience participation, rocking video and behind-the-scenes stories,” according to the tour’s official website.

The Emmy-nominated TV series features the duo, former movie special-effects designers, using the scientific method and inventive build projects in an attempt to confirm the plausibility of urban and movie/TV myths. The show has aired since 2003, and is currently in its 13th season.

Hyneman and Savage first took “Mythbusters” on the road in 2011; the upcoming show will be their first stop in Grand Rapids. The current tour also features an 8 p.m. April 17 date in Kalamazoo’s Miller Auditorium.


1.29.15:  Rosalynn Bliss to run for Grand Rapids Mayor seat


Second ward Grand Rapids city commissioner Rosalynn Bliss announced Wednesday that she plans to run for the position of mayor.

Bliss filed paperwork to run for mayor as current Mayor George Heartwell, a major ally of the commissioner, cannot seek another term after voters approved a term limits bill this past November.

The only other candidate who’s filed is 24-year-old Jared Funk.

The deadline to submit a nominating petition to appear on the ballot is late April.

If elected, Bliss would follow in the footsteps of the only other female mayor in West Michigan, Wyoming Mayor Carol Sheets.



1.29.15:  Lansing mayor kicking off new public health initiative


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is kicking off a new public health initiative to help area residents set fitness and weight loss goals.

Thursday night he plans to step on a scale during his State of the City address. The effort, called Lansing Loses a Million, will help connect people with resources and track their progress.

Bernero says weight is “one of our biggest, most identifiable problems.” He wants to “underscore all of the opportunities to get healthy.”

Lansing Loses a Million is the brainchild of Kelly Zielinski and Ashley Logan, who founded the Lansing nonprofit Lettuce Live Well. They were working in nutritional counseling and started the organization to help more people achieve a healthier lifestyle.



1.29.15:  Snow, sleet, freezing rain contribute to Michigan wrecks


(AP) — Snow, sleet and freezing rain are combining to create slippery road conditions across parts of Michigan and leading to traffic wrecks.

The National Weather Service issued advisories Thursday warning of potentially dangerous conditions, especially in the Lower Peninsula.


Two Van Buren County sheriff’s deputies are recovering after two separate crashes along Interstate 94 in southwestern Michigan involving semi-trucks early Thursday. One crash happened near Paw Paw and the other was near the Decatur exit. Roads were icy at the time.

Less than an inch of snow is expected in places, but icy conditions will linger. Officials are urging motorists to slow down on the slippery roads.

In the Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids areas, many school districts shut their doors for the day due to weather.

1.29.15:  Panel recommending changes to military health care, benefits


WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials say an independent commission is recommending broad changes to the military’s retirement and health care systems that could save more than $20 billion over the next four years.

The proposals would allow some of the programs to operate more like existing federal employee systems. But they are likely to face an uphill battle from lawmakers who vigorously protect military benefits and have so far resisted change.

Officials familiar with the report say the panel is recommending that the military’s TRICARE health care system be largely replaced, giving families the ability to choose from a wider menu of insurance plans, similar to those used by federal employees.

Officials described the recommendations on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss them publicly before the report’s release today.


1.29.15:  Plane information from Malaysia and Indonesia



UALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Authority has officially declared the crash of Malaysia Airlines 370 an accident, fulfilling a legal obligation that will allow efforts to proceed with compensation claims.

Malaysia’s civil aviation chief says the search for the jet that disappeared on March 8, 2014, “remains a priority.”

In a pre-recorded message broadcast on Malaysian television he said “it is with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that we officially declare Malaysia Airlines Flight mh370 an accident.”

He says all 239 passengers and crew on board are presumed to have lost their lives.


JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian investigators say the co-pilot of the crashed AirAsia jet was in controls when he struggled to recover the aircraft as stall warnings sounded.

The Airbus A320-200 crashed into the Java Sea Dec. 28, halfway from Indonesia’s city of Surabaya to Singapore. All 162 people on board were killed.

The chief investigator of the National Transportation Safety Commission says the cockpit voice recording indicated that the co-pilot, a French national, was flying the plane while the Indonesian captain was monitoring.

1.29.15:  76ers snap 6-game skid, beat Pistons 89-69


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Robert Covington scored 19 points, Michael Carter-Williams had 14 points and 10 assists, and the Philadelphia 76ers snapped a six-game losing streak with an 89-69 win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.

JaKarr Sampson had 13 points and Luc Mbah a Moute added 12 for the Sixers (9-37). Carter-Williams, back after missing the Sixers’ last game due to an upper respiratory infection, finished one rebound shy of a triple-double.

Greg Monroe led the Pistons (17-30) with 20 points, and Jodie Meeks scored 19 off the bench. Detroit shot just 2 of 20 from 3-point range in a matchup of slumping squads missing their top scorers.

The Pistons have lost four straight, and three since leading scorer Brandon Jennings ruptured his left Achilles in a 101-86 loss to Milwaukee on Saturday. Before Jennings’ season-ending injury, Detroit had won 12 of 15 behind the play of their star point guard.

1.28.15:  Grand Rapids commission OKs spring test of police body cams


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The Grand Rapids City Commission has voted to equip some police officers with body cameras to see how well they work.

The commission voted Tuesday to start a process that could lead to all 300 police in the western Michigan city having body cameras by the end of 2015.

The plan calls for about 12 body cameras getting tested this spring and about 50 more going into service this summer. City Manager Greg Sundstrom says Grand Rapids plans to test four body cameras each from three manufacturers.

Body cameras are one of several recommendations for improving police-community relations. Sundstrom says the cameras and the other proposals will cost about $1.5 million.

The commission plans to discuss a policy for using the cameras March 10.