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Toys for Tots holds shopping spree

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- A $10,000 grant from Toys"R"Us to Toys for Tots is helping give kids a happy holiday season.

Participants ran through the store Thursday afternoon to snag as many toys as they could off shelves.

Organizers say it's a great chance to shop for teenagers and babies for groups that get the least amount of donations.

They ask that you keep these kids in mind as your doing your own gift shopping.

Toys for Tots also has $10,000 to spend at Meijer, and they'll have another shopping spree on Sunday.

24 homes broken into in Kent County

24 homes broken into in Kent County

KENT COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM) -- The sheriff's department is warning residents to lock their doors following a rash of two dozen recent home invasions.

Investigators say since Nov. 1, 24 homes been broken into in Plainfield, Cannon, Ada, Cascade, and Grand Rapids townships.

The method of home invasion and times of break-in vary. In Cannon Township, the burglars made entry to the homes through side doors into garages, where vehicles were rummaged through.

The Kent County Sheriff's Department recommends residents use dead bolts on their doors and not leave valuables inside vehicles.

If you see any suspicious person or vehicle, report it at (616) 632-6100 or call Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

Donor makes G.R. pools free for kids next summer

Donor makes G.R. pools free for kids next summer

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- A donation to the City of Grand Rapids will allow children to use city pools for free next summer.

Businessman Bob Sullivan is donating $50,000. Some of the money will be used to build a basketball court at Fourth Street Woods Park in Grand Rapids. The rest is for the city's swimming program, which should make admission free for children in 2015.

Four years ago, Sullivan donated money to have the Richmond Park pool open.

Sidewalk snow removal varies by community

Sidewalk snow removal varies by community

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - Many roads in West Michigan are still snow covered or icy because of the relentless snow over the past couple of days.

But there's also concern about sidewalks not being shoveled.

We looked into the issue and learned that policies vary from community to community. In Grand Rapids and Alpine Township property owners are required to clean their sidewalks.

In East Grand Rapids the city will do it but they can't plow down to the pavement.

"With a snow plow plowing the sidewalks we have to keep it one or two inches above the sidewalk or we'll be chipping the sidewalk and actually wrecking the vehicles in doing that," says Brian Donovan the City Manager for East Grand Rapids.

The United Way says they have been flooded with calls from people who need help shoveling.

Power outage hits 2,700 in Grand Rapids area

Power outage hits 2,700 in Grand Rapids area

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Consumers Energy crews are working to restore power to thousands of customers in northeast Grand Rapids after an early morning outage.

It started around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday in an area around 4 Mile Road to the north, Dean Lake Avenue to the east, Knapp Street to the south, and Plainfield Avenue to the west.

A utility spokesman says a tree fell on power lines along Dean Lake Avenue NE. Service is expected to be restored by 10:20 a.m.

Consumers reports almost 2,700 customers are without power.

Heavy weather puts emergency responders on guard

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Recent heavy weather in West Michigan has the area's emergency responders making sure they're prepared to respond to people in need as quickly as possible.

On Tuesday, WZZM 13's Bridgette Pacholka rode along with Life EMS Ambulance field supervisor Aaron Schut and learned about how low visibility and slippery roads make it difficult to get to their destinations and how deep snow and cold temperatures can complicate their work on arrival.

"It's a hard enough job to do in normal weather conditions, and it's even harder when it's like this," said Life EMS Ambulance Vice President Kraig Dodge.

See more in the video above.

Weather leaves wheels spinning across West Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- It's so early to have winter hit so hard, but drivers seem to have accommodated pretty well. Although there have been a number of accidents, none have been terribly serious or very large.

A number of people told WZZM 13 Tuesday's road conditions were some of the worst West Michigan driving they've ever experienced.

Travelling on level ground was slow, if steady. Going uphill, though, could be tough -- even for a truck with double tires in back.

Betty Haga lives near Leonard and Perkins on the northeast side of Grand Rapids, one area where slippery conditions have challenged drivers.

"We've been watching this since 6 this morning," she said. "Every time we get snow, it's like this -- they can't make the hill. You get one or two with bad tires. Minivans are bad; they block it all up."