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Healthy Kent taps into community to identify top health issues


KENT COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM)—A research project to identify the most important health needs in Kent County is in its final stages.

Healthy Kent is heading up the 2014 Community Health Needs Assessment and Community Health Improvement Planning project. In fall, the group identified the top health concerns in Kent County.

Now Healthy Kent is encouraging community members to take an online survey to further define health concerns. The survey will be open until Jan. 12 and should only take a few minutes to complete. You can find that survey here.


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My Town: Looking for a job? Head to Grand Rapids, survey says

My Town: Looking for a job?  Head to Grand Rapids, survey says

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Grand Rapids is where the jobs will be in 2015, according to survey results published by Forbes.

Every quarter, Manpower surveys employers in each market to determine who will be hiring and who will be firing. The biggest jump in employment is expected to happen in the Cape Coral, Florida area, where 32 percent of surveyed companies said they planned to hire new staff in the first quarter of 2015.  McAllen, Texas ranked second for jobs, with an estimated 29 percent of companies hiring; Grand Rapids tied with Deltona, Florida for third place, with approximately 26 percent of businesses planning to add positions. For the complete rankings, visit Forbes’ website.

My Town: West Michigan home to three of most dangerous Mich. places

My Town: West Michigan home to three of most dangerous Mich. places

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich.—West Michigan is home to three of the 10 most dangerous places in the state, according to Movoto Real Estate.

The company based its rankings on cities with populations of 10,000 or more that also ranked high in murder, violent crimes, property crimes and total crimes, based on the 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Report.  Flint topped the list, followed by Benton Harbor, Detroit, Highland Park, Muskegon Heights, Harper Woods, Inkster, Flint Township, Ypsilanti and Kalamazoo. Grand Rapids came in at No. 16, Holland ranked 26th,  Walker took 32nd place, Grandville ranked 41st, Norton Shores landed at No. 42, Kalamazoo Township was 45th and Grand Haven came in at No. 50 among the 102 qualified communities.  To see the entire list, visit Movoto’s website here.

Kent ISD superintendent announces retirement

Kent ISD superintendent announces retirement


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)—After more than three decades helping to educate hundreds of thousands of children, the superintendent of Kent Intermediate School District is leaving his post.

Tuesday, Kevin Konarska announced his plans to retire at the end of the school year. Konarska has worked for Kent ISD for nine years, helping the agency navigate through the Great Recession and deep funding cuts by the state, all while opening new education programs and a laboratory school.

"It will be very hard to see Kevin leave," Board President Claudia Bajema said in a news release to WZZM 13. "He has made such a difference in the schools we serve and in the opportunities available to the more than 100,000 students throughout our service region."

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My Town: A dozen children to 'Shop with a Hero' for the holidays

My Town: A dozen children to 'Shop with a Hero' for the holidays

CASCADE, Mich. – A group of Grand Rapids area children is getting some help with filling the space under their Christmas trees.

Tuesday, a dozen children from Coit and East Leonard elementary schools will meet up with Grand Rapids police officers and firefighters to “Shop with a Hero.”  Each child will be given a $100 Meijer gift card to purchase holiday gifts for family and friends at the Meijer store at 1997 E. Beltline Ave. NE. Community Officer Neil Gomez says the children chosen to participate work hard in school while facing financial hardships at home.

This is the third year Grand Rapids police and firefighters have teamed up with Meijer for the event.  Including this year, Meijer has donated $4,000 to the event, helping 40 children.

My Town: Prepatory schools team up to collect Toys for Tots

My Town: Prepatory schools team up to collect Toys for Tots

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- WZZM 13 is celebrating the end to yet another successful Toys for Tots School Spirit Challenge, thanks to an army of students scattered across West Michigan.

More than 40 schools participated in this year's drive, collecting more than 11,000 toys. Wellspring and Grand River prepatory schools collected 125 toys for the challenge.

For additional toy totals and videos, visit the WZZM 13 Toys for Tots page.

My Town GR North: City High Middle School awarded $100k grant

My Town GR North: City High Middle School awarded $100k grant

-----NEWS RELEASE----

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Grand Rapids Public Schools)-- City High Middle School and the Center for Economicology are the recipients of a $100,000 grant from the Wege Foundation. The grant will support the schools’ International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. Activities covered by the grant include IB trainings, professional development, IB resources, annual IB fees, student camp fees, and greenhouse expenses.

City High Middle School is the only school in the region to offer the rigorous, internationally recognized International Baccalaureate curriculum, which focuses on sustainability and prepares students to be critical thinkers. The school serves students in grades 7-12. The 6th grade Center for Economicology at City is named after a term coined by Peter Wege and provides students with hands-on, outdoor adventures with a sustainability focus.