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New Uber driver prepared for a busy first night


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Ways to stay safe after a night out including picking a designated driver, getting a taxi -- or catching a ride from an Uber driver.

The Uber service recently came to Grand Rapids, making this the first year it's available during the holidays.

Uber works by downloading an app and using that app to request a ride. The service then uses GPS to find the driver closest to you.

Uber drivers own their own vehicles. We talked to one as she started her first-ever shift on the road Wednesday night, traditionally the busiest bar night of the year.

"I am pretty much a people person," said driver Kelli Holmes. "I have water in the vehicle for them. I thought about a bowl, for in case they puke -- but I forgot it."

Confusion over power lines sparks concerns


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- A Grand Rapids woman is seeking answers to why it took nearly eight hours -- and a call to 13 On Your Side -- to have crews work to cut off a sparking power line outside her home.

It started around 5:30 p.m. Monday, when strong winds brought down a tree branch onto a power line outside Darlene Eaves home on Jefferson Avenue near Hall Street SE.

Eaves called Consumers Energy before and after the line started sparking. Because the line was producing sparks, the utility company told her to call 911.

Firefighters arrived, but told Eaves they could not do anything until the utility shut off power, telling her it was not a higher level emergency.

Eaves says it wasn't until 10:30 p.m. when a Consumers crew arrived, but workers said they could not cut off the line.

Thanksgiving comes early at Ellnora's Kitchen


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Thanksgiving came early in Grand Rapids.

For the fourth year, Ellnora's Kitchen on Monday night offered a free Thanksgiving Dinner with all of the traditional fixings. The restaurant's owner, Elijah Libbett, says it's his way of giving back to the community.

"My mother, she cooked a lot and she would cook for anybody," Libbett said. "She's the one who taught me how to cook, so in honor of her we give back."

Libbett also gives out free meals around Christmas.

He says that last year between the two holidays he gave away more than 2,200 to the community.


Grand Rapids Union HS students help ailing stranger get home


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Three Union High School juniors had an eventful Thursday night. They ride the Rapid bus, usually getting home about 9 p.m. after basketball practice. Thursday night, they didn't get home until 11.

On the transfer bus at Grand Central Station, they noticed a young woman passenger who didn't look right.

"She was breathing kind of funny, she was moving a little funny," said one of the boys, Kedron Davis.

It appears she may have been having a diabetic attack. A chocolate bar student Sergio Diaz gave her helped a bit, but she was still struggling.

"When our stop came up, something just didn't feel right," Diaz said, "so I asked her if she needed help getting home. She shook her head 'yeah.'"

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.

Morning commute hazardous due to snow

Morning commute hazardous due to snow


(WZZM) - The morning commute around West Michigan was treacherous to say the least.

Dozens of slide-offs and accidents were reported around the area. Most area highways were running well below posted speeds.

Trash pickup has been canceled in the city of Grand Rapids today. It is delayed one day.

US-131 has been closed southbound at Howard City. SB I-196 is also closed after Blue Star Highway in Allegan County. I-94 in Calhoun County has a lane closure due to a hazmat spill. Other highways have had lane blockages or short closures.

Click here for the latest WZZM Traffic Map: http://www.wzzm13.com/traffic