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Repaving, sidewalks & pedestrian bridge part of Grand Rapids 28th Street improvements

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The construction cones and lane closures are gone from one of the busiest stretches of road in Kent County.

The Michigan Department of Transportation Tuesday celebrated the completion of its 28th Street (M-11) project.

The $3.2 million investment included resurfacing the road from Kalamazoo Ave. to S. Division Ave., and adding four miles of sidewalk and a pedestrian bridge over Plaster Creek.  Crews also upgraded traffic signals in the stretch of 28th St.

Federal stimulus money paid for the improvements.

Windy day causing power outages; search for missing man in Ludington postponed

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Strong winds are creating some scattered power problems around West Michigan.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, Consumers Energy is reporting 2,615 outages in Kent County, 1,110 in Muskegon County, 713 in Ottawa County, and 370 in Allegan County.

Mecosta County has 1,268 outages, Manistee County has 985, Ionia County has 514, Newaygo County has 307, and Montcalm County has 226.

If you do encounter a downed power line Consumers Energy wants to remind you to stay away and call 911.

83-year-old convention bureau changes name to Experience Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids (WZZM) - The Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention & Visitors Bureau today announced a new name for the 83-year-old organization - Experience Grand Rapids.

The organization says that the new name and brand more accurately reflects the organization's mission to market the region.  

The development of the new brand is the result of a two-year process of analysis and research that engaged the organization's leadership, staff and community members. The name change also mirrors recent trends by other cities and destination marketing organizations that have made a similar switch, such as Visit Denver and Discover Kalamazoo.

I.W.W Union to picket in front of Wealthy St. Jimmy John's on Labor Day

Grand Rapids, Mi. (WZZM) - Demands for improvements to working conditions have some Jimmy John's employees unionizing around the nation.  One West Michigan location will be a test-ground on Labor Day.

About twenty I.W.W (Industrial Workers of the World) members, from the Grand Rapids chapter, will picket in front of the Wealthy St. Jimmy John's Monday from noon to 1pm, representing the franchise's employees across the nation who feel they're underappreciated in the workplace, in support of the Jimmy John's labor dispute in Minneapolis which started it all.

"A lot of Jimmy John's workers are asked to work one and two hour shifts, or are expected to put wear and tear on their vehicles without compensation," says Cole Dorsey, Grand Rapids organizer of the I.W.W. "It's difficult to get sick days or to get job-related workman's compensation [from Jimmy John's management]."

Wyoming Park 7, South Christian 14

Travis Gregg's one-yard touchdown run helped South Christian to a 14-7 win over Wyoming Park Friday night at Waddell Field.

The Sailors (1-1) trailed 7-0 at the half before rebounding with a pair of third quarter touchdowns.  South tied the score on a 21-yard pass from Hayden Youngs to Brandon Haan.

Wyoming Park's Lonnie Field opened the scoring with a 22-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.  The Vikings are now 0-2 to start the year.

Recycling on the rise in Kent County

KENT COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM)- People in Kent County are recycling more since the county opened its new recycling center.  Public Services Director James Hurt says the amount of recycled waste in the first three weeks of August was 25% higher than the same time last year.

The county recently finished distributing 35,000 recycling bins for its new processing plant.  The facility sorts recyclables so residents do not have to. 

People say they are more willing to take part in the easier system.  Resident Beverly Reid says, "I see more people using them now that they've been delivered to everyone.  I see more of the bins out, the large rolling bins than I did see the smaller bins, so I think more people are utilizing them now which is a good thing."

Over the next few weeks crews will visit homes that they missed during the recycle bin drop-off.  They will also swap out bin sizes.

Grand Rapids man going to prison for child pornography

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- A Grand Rapids man convicted on child pornography charges is going to prison.  A judge has sentenced 28-year old Nicholas Job Woodard to six years in prison.  The Grand Rapids man will also spend the rest of his life on probation.

The Department of Justice says Woodard used a computer to download and share thousands of lewd images of children. 

An undercover FBI agent arrested Woodard. He pleaded guilty to three counts of distributing child pornography.