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Billboard campaign helps cold case investigation


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Police have released more information about the arrests in the murder of 23-year-old Joel Battaglia.

He was beaten to death in 1990 as he walked home from a nearby bar.

Authorities say recent billboards focusing on unsolved murders in Grand Rapids raised awareness about the case and helped with the investigation.

"On the billboards, we ask people to call Silent Observer -- and people do," said Silent Observer executive director Chris Cameron. "People call us about those crimes, but they also call us about other crimes in their neighborhood, so it's been a really good thing to do."

WZZM 13's parent company helped fund the billboard campaign through a $5,000 grant from the Gannett Foundation.

If you have a tip about a crime, call Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.


Man dies after overnight shooting at barber shop



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) – Grand Rapids Police confirm a man has died after being shot in the chest early Sunday morning.

The shooting happened at 4:50 a.m. at "Your Barber Shop", located at the corner of Hall and Euclid. Police said when they arrived on scene, a large crowd had gathered.

Police describe the suspect as a black male in his late 20's or early 30's. He was wearing a black sweatshirt and dark jeans at the time of the incident.

The victim has been identified as Nathan Seyfer Moore who was 28 years old.

The investigation is ongoing.


Local business donates $100,000+ worth of clothing


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- A West Michigan business owner -- in the process of moving store locations -- decided to donate inventory to help out families during the holiday season.

That donation? Valued at more than $100,000!

The Hall Street Plaza's donation went to the Lamb of God Church in Grand Rapids. Church members in need received brand new clothes, shoes, and boots.


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."