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Mel Trotter boxes to feed hundreds of families


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)—For the 12th year in a row, Mel Trotter Ministries is helping feed more than 700 West Michigan families with their food box giveaway.

Each box contains a turkey and all of the fixings to make a Christmas meal. People with Mel Trotter are handing out 50 food boxes at each of the organization's four retail thrift stores, and 350 food boxes from the food pantry at Mel Trotter's

downtown shelter.

Families receiving the boxes had to pre-register for a voucher through Access of West Michigan.

"Anyone who comes here today is never in a bad mood. It's just the beginning of the Christmas season so people come, they receive their food box and it's all about spreading Christmas cheer, receiving that food and being able to make that meal at home," says Cindy Smies with Mel Trotter.

The giveaway continues until 2 p.m. Thursday.


Two women hurt after car hits restaurant's wall


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Two women are recovering from minor injuries after an accident on the city's southeast side early Thursday morning.

It happened just before 12:30 on Breton Road near the corner of Burton Street. Police say the car hit the wall of Houlihan's restaurant, just south of the Breton Village Shopping Center. The building did not suffer significant damage.

The women inside the car suffered mostly facial injuries from the airbag going off. They are expected to be okay.

No other cars were involved in the crash but police are not yet sure what caused the driver to hit the building. They are not ruling out alcohol as a possible cause.


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.

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."

Silent march in G.R. protests racial injustice


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- A group of demonstrators marched along Grand Rapids streets Friday evening for a demonstration against racial injustice.

Members of the Madison Square Church and others joined together for the march. They gathered at Madison Square Church (1441 Madison Ave. SE), moved to Grace Christian Reformed Church (100 Buckley St. SE), and then headed to Fulton and Division.

In light of the recent deaths of Eric Garner in New York City and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, participants in Friday's march said they hope to move from discussions about racial issues to action on them.

"This is an action step," said Madison Square Church Pastor Darrell Delaney," so we're moving from meditation and reflection to action now. We as Christians cannot bury our heads in the sand and ignore things that are happening in our current world today."

Calvin goes on lockdown after area robbery


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Calvin College was placed on temporary lockdown overnight while Grand Rapids Police searched for a suspect in an off-campus unarmed robbery.

It happened around 12 a.m. Friday near Burton Street and Edgewood Avenue SE. Officers say a man called 911, reporting someone tried assault him in a robbery attempt. The would-be victim was able to fight off the suspect.

Police entered the area and set up a perimeter, searching streets and yards for the suspect.

Because of the search, Calvin College safety officers placed the campus on lockdown. Students and staff were notified through the school's emergency alert system the lockdown was due to "violent criminal behavior," and were advised to get to a safe location.

Grand Rapids Police tracked the suspect across the campus. They later declared the campus clear of concerns. Calvin lifted the lockdown shortly before 2 a.m. Friday.

Local organization holds Justice Summit to bridge gap between police and community


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - As the issue of race and justice continues to take center stage across the nation, one local organization will hold a summit aimed at bridging the gap between police and black youth.

Organizers of the Justice Summit say recent protests and calls for body cameras are only addressing part of the problem. During the Thursday night meeting, members of the local chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., the legal community and residents will meet to discuss civil policing.

Mike Remo, president of the Grand Rapids alumni chapter, says the goal is to help teach methods to prevent police encounters from turning into tense situations.