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Kent Co. to open new veterans services offices


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Kent County's new veterans services office opens Friday. On Thursday, the county gave tours of the new facility at 836 Fuller, just north of I-196.

The new location provides on-site parking, including handicap spaces just steps from the main entry.

It should make it easier for veterans to have access to the services the county offers, says Kent County Veterans Services manager Carrie Roy.

"I'm so grateful that we have a location now with easy access for our older veterans, and for all of our veterans who may have difficulty navigating the downtown area," Roy said. "It's so much easier."

Kent County voters approved a millage last fall that generated $1 million for veterans services. That money can be used for increased outreach and emergency services, as well as helping veterans with benefit claims.


GR leaders approve seeking grant for river development


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- The Grand Rapids City Commission is moving forward with a plan to open up a major portion of the land next to the Grand River as a park.

Tuesday night, the commissioners unanimously approved the decision to apply for a DNR trust fund grant. The grant, if awarded, would fund most of the purchase of land on the west side of Monroe Ave. north of the I-196 overpass.

The development would provide access to the river for recreation and control flooding.


Volunteer registration opens for LPGA event


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Golf season is right around the corner and volunteer registration is now open for the LPGA stop in Grand Rapids.

The Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft will be held at Blythefield Country Club from July 20-26. More than 700 people volunteered in the inaugural event in 2014. More than 800 are hoped for in 2015. Volunteers are needed to be marshals, standard bearers, media assistants and drivers.

The volunteer fee is $55 and includes two golf tournament shirts, a tournament hat, weeklong tournament access and parking, four weekly grounds tickets for guests, an invitation to a volunteer appreciation party, and meals and beverages during assigned shifts.

To volunteer, register at meijerlpgaclassic.com/volunteers .


Man leaves shoes behind in getaway attempt


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Police say a man spotted going through backyards in northwest Grand Rapids literally ran out of his shoes trying to get away from officers.

Dispatchers received a call around 12:15 a.m. Tuesday from a woman who reported hearing a gunshot near her home on Quarry Avenue near Leonard Street. The first officer to arrive spotted a man running away through the woman's backyard.

More police soon arrived to begin searching for the man. They soon found he had left behind his shoes while trying to get away.

Investigators say they found the man around 12:45 a.m. at a home near the corner of Turner Avenue and Crosby Street NW. Officers did not find a gun on the man, and spent much of the night searching the neighborhood.


My Town: Kent ISD throws support behind sales tax hike proposal

My Town: Kent ISD throws support behind sales tax hike proposal

KENT COUNTY, Mich.--- The Kent Intermediate School District is throwing its support behind a sales tax hike to fix Michigan’s roads and provide additional funding for schools and local governments.

Thursday, March 19, the Kent ISD Board approved a resolution in support of Proposal 1, which will be on the May 5 ballot.  In the resolution, the Board said Michigan ranks last in the nation in transportation spending per person.  The Board also noted money being siphoned from the School Aid Fund to higher education, since the previous sales tax proposal generating funding for schools did not include colleges and universities.

My Town: Huntington bank expands to Meijer stores

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—A new bank is moving into Meijer stores across the area.

Huntington Bank is partnering with the retailer to open 43 branches within Meijer stores, a dozen of which are in the greater Grand Rapids area.  The bank says the deal will create 250 jobs within the state and make Huntington the third largest bank branch network in the state.  Huntington says the partnership will bring its company workforce up to 2,300 people.

The announcement comes months after Chase began notifying customers it is closing its Meijer store branches.  A spokesman for Meijer told WZZM 13 “circumstances have changed and we mutually agreed to end the relationship.”

Huntington’s new Meijer branch locations will include Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Greenville, Ionia, Jenison, Lowell, Muskegon, Portage, and Wyoming.

GRPS seeks mentors for "Grade School to Grad School"

GRPS seeks mentors for "Grade School to Grad School"


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- The Grand Rapids Public Schools district is looking for mentors to help young African-American boys succeed in the classroom through a program called "Grade School to Grad School."

District leaders say African-American males are chronically absent more than the overall student body, at a rate of 21 percent compared to 32 percent. When it comes to suspensions, there's also a gap. African-American boys are suspended twice as much.

The hope is this program will match mentors with boys to help them stay on track, according to GRPS assistant superintendent Larry Johnson.

"We're asking people to donate their time, but more importantly to be accessible to these young people, not just for a year or two but throughout their academic and their college years," Johnson said.