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Grand Rapids

president trump
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Donald Trump is bringing a campaign rally to Grand Rapids. 

The rally is scheduled for Thursday, March 28 at 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena. Free tickets are available here.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Michigan Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin expects it will be difficult overriding President Trump’s veto of legislation to block his emergency declaration to build a southern border wall.

Map of parts of Grand Rapids, Wyoming, and Walker
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

State and local officials updated some Grand Rapids residents about possible air pollution in the southwest area of the city on Wednesday night.

The company Viant Medical uses a chemical called ethylene oxide to sterilize medical equipment.

Photo by Dustin Dwyer. Statement by Grand Rapids Police Command Officers Association.

This has been a contentious week for officials in Grand Rapids city government. The city is dealing with the fallout over the case of Jilmar Ramos-Gomez, a U.S. citizen and war veteran who was mistakenly detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement based on a tip from Grand Rapids police.

picture of Connie Flachs
People Picture Company / Courtesy of Connie Flachs

Body image is something that people can wrestle with their entire lives. Being hypercritical of what you see in the mirror often starts when you’re young, and carries on throughout the rest of your life.

The Better Body Image Conference, taking place Saturday, March 2nd in Grand Rapids, aims to interrupt that self-critical voice about our bodies. 

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Consumers Energy says it expects to have power returned to all customers by midday Monday. The utility company says it’s already restored power to more than 200,000 customers since last week’s ice storms.

But the recovery isn’t over in the hardest hit parts of West Michigan.

Ice on a tree branch
Susanne Nilsson / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared a state of emergency in Grand Rapids, qualifying the city for additional assistance as it copes with power outages and cleans up from storms.

 

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

The City of Grand Rapids will run an Emergency Operations Center through the weekend to manage the response to this week’s storms.

Areas in and around Grand Rapids took the brunt of the power outages caused by ice storms that swept through the area on Wednesday and Thursday.

Grand Rapids fire chief John Lehman says at the peak of the outages, 56,000 residents in Grand Rapids were without power – that’s about a quarter of the city’s entire population.

Those numbers included retirement homes in the city.

grand rapids mayor rosalynn bliss
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss announced her reelection campaign Monday.

Mayor Bliss became the first woman to be elected mayor in Grand Rapids when she won her election in 2015.

A house  in Grand Rapids
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The number of homes listed for sale in metro Grand Rapids hit a 20 year low last year, according to new numbers released by the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors.

That’s as the average price of homes in Michigan’s second largest city hit an all-time high.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

About 80 families could move into a new emergency shelter in Grand Rapids in the coming weeks.

The shelter is inside a former nursing home. The city planning commission approved the site for use as emergency housing, but only for one year.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office in Grand Rapids
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A Kent County Board of Commissioners meeting had to be relocated earlier Thursday, because protestors caused too big of a ruckus, according to county officials.

Kent County’s Board of Commissioners couldn’t get work accomplished while a group of protestors tried to reignite a conversation about the county’s contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Wave card being used on a bus in Grand Rapids
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids’ bus service wants to be more efficient and help the environment. That’s why it’s introducing a new electronic fare system Tuesday.

The new Wave cards will replace the paper tickets and change that riders usually pay with.

Downtown Area Shuttle
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The Downtown Area Shuttle – or DASH bus – in Grand Rapids will have new hours starting in late August.

Beginning August 27, the DASH will run seven days a week. It will also run until 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Josh Naramore, Director of Mobil GR and Parking Services, says the decision to extend hours was about the number of people in the downtown area.

“Monday through Friday, 6:30 to 10:30 is great for a lot of things, but we’re an ever-growing downtown community with a lot more visitors and a lot more residents,” Naramore said.

James Sofranko dancing
Erik Tomasson

James Sofranko has spent decades dancing on stages from Florida to New York to San Francisco.

After growing up in Cincinnati, he went on to study at Juliard. He's trained with dance legends, some of them students of the iconic dancer and coreographer Martha Graham.

Now, after 18 years with the San Francisco Ballet, James is returning to the Midwest. He officially began his position as artistic director with the Grand Rapids Ballet on July 1.

Irredeemable: Coming clean

Aug 1, 2018
Tholen family
Courtesy of the Tholen family

(Editor's note: We recommend you listen to the story before reading.)

It was December when Rick Tholen was killed. He was working at M&J Grocery in Grand Rapids.

He’d just graduated college and was in his first year of teaching high school English. And he’d decided to take some shifts over Christmas break for extra cash. He was getting married soon.

It was around 10 p.m. The store was empty except for Rick. That’s when Chester Patterson and his co-defendant arrived; Chester had a gun.

“It was a .22 caliber,” says Chester.

pads and tampons
Michigan Radio

People everywhere need access to pads, tampons, and other feminine hygiene products, but throughout Michigan, some women and people in the transgender community are forced to go without. It’s a global phenomenon known as “period poverty.”

Christine Mwangi is founder of Be a Rose, an organization working to fight period poverty in the Grand Rapids area. She joined Stateside to talk about her organization is expanding access to resources and information related to women’s health. 

1950s grand rapids
User: Don...The UpNorth Memories Guy... Harrison / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


This week marks the 51st anniversary of the riots that broke out in Michigan during the summer of 1967.

While the uprising in Detroit is the most well known, Grand Rapids faced a similar event, albeit on a smaller scale. The city had three days of unrest that left 44 people hurt and 350 arrested.

Ellen James is a founding member of the Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees and a leader in Grand Rapid’s African-American community. Tavian Moore is the president of the Greater Grand Rapids NAACP Youth Council.

Downtown Grand Rapids
Grguy2011 / Public Domain

 


When a rebellion exploded in Detroit on July 23, 1967, cities around Michigan watched as bullets flew, windows were smashed, and buildings burned.

Two days later — 51 years ago today — an uprising was ignited in Grand Rapids, setting off three days of violence that left 44 people hurt and 350 arrested.

Downtown Grand Rapids
Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

Today marks the 51st anniversary of the 1967 uprising in Detroit. What some call a rebellion, some a riot, left 43 people dead and thousands of buildings in the city destroyed.

Michigan Radio did a deep dive into the history and legacy of that event last year. This year, we’re focusing on a smaller uprising that started just two days later,  on July 25th, 1967, in Grand Rapids.

Matthew Daley, Associate Professor of History at Grand Valley State University, joined Stateside to talk about what happened. 

Ever Reyes Mejia and his 3 year old son leaving the ICE office in Grand Rapids.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Three parents were able to finally see their children again today in Grand Rapids.

It had been three months since these dads seeking asylum in the U.S. were separated from their children. All of whom are under five years old.

ArtPrize event in Grand Rapids
Rich Evenhouse / flickr user

The Grand Rapids Art Prize festival will no longer be an annual event after this fall.  

In 2019 and every alternating year afterward, there will be a citywide art project – or "Project 1" as organizers are calling it – during the time the festival would take place.

The tenth annual ArtPrize event will be this fall from September 19 to October 7.  The eleventh festival will be in fall 2020.

Organizers did not make it clear why the changes were made, but Project 1 will include free arts and culture programming that are open to the community.

Stacy Peck, Tyler Trowbridge, and Wendy Botts
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

 


The opioid epidemic has been devastating to families and communities across America. For those struggling with addiction, getting clean can be a grueling process, even when they are able to get into a rehab facility. 

Tyler Trowbridge knows that struggle well, which is why he helped design Dirt City Sanctuary. Trowbridge, along with his co-founders Stacy Peck and Wendy Botts, joined Stateside to talk about their efforts to build a new kind of community for recovering addicts. 

Red Lion restaurant sign in Grand Rapids
Rolin Stone Timmerman - Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

A $330,000 state grant will help redevelop a contaminated site in Grand Rapids.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved the grant for the brownfield site earlier this week.

Kara Wood, who oversees the city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, says the grant moves the project forward.

“So this approval helps them cross that starting line to get started on those environmental activities in order to demolish the building and construct the project that they intend to build,” Wood said.

Andrew Jameson / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Justice Department is adding more prosecutors in Michigan.

U.S. attorneys in Detroit and Grand Rapids say they'll benefit from the government's focus on fighting violent crime. Six are being added in the Eastern District, and four will be hired in the Western District.

Detroit U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider says his office will use new prosecutors to "keep the residents of Michigan safe." Grand Rapids U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge says the new hires will "make a positive impact" in western Michigan.

Downtown Grand Rapids
Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

If you’re a Grand Rapids resident with an idea for a community engagement project, the city could give you money to make that idea happen.

Residents can apply every three months for up to $2,500 in match funds for neighborhood projects. These projects can range from community gardens to community yoga classes.

Residents have the entire month of June to fill out an application, which the city is willing to help people with. Application forms are on the city’s website.

Passengers prepare to board the high-speed rail in Minneapolis
Micheal Hicks / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The counties in Southeast Michigan cannot agree on a regional transportation plan. Regional unity, as is well known, is an uphill struggle in the state.

A new report, recently completed for Michigan Future, Inc., discusses another Great Lakes state that has had major success in creating a unified regional transportation for its citizens, among other things.

The new report by journalist Rick Haglund is called Regional Collaboration Matters: How Metro Minneapolis has forged one of the wealthiest and most livable metropolitan areas in the United States.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a new tool that Michigan cities can use to better understand their health care needs.

The NYU School of Medicine has developed what they call the City Health Dashboard, which looks at 36 key measures and drivers of health.   

Marc Gourevitch is the Dashboard’s principal architect. He says health problems like opioid abuse and obesity are tracked on the dashboard.

“Not only looking at health itself,” says Gourevitch, “but some of the things that cause health, like housing and transportation and air quality. So we try to bring all that together.”

People marching and holding signs
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The immigrant community in West Michigan is tired of living in fear of deportation. That’s why about 1,000 people marched in downtown Grand Rapids today. 

The marchers want to be able to drive to work or drop their kids off at school without fear of not returning home to their families.

Erika Telez, one of the marchers, says the protest is about asking for basic American rights.

“We are asking for thing that are simple, like permanent protection, respect and dignity for all immigrant families,” Telez said.

Tuesday's immigrant strike in Grand Rapids
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

More than 1,000 people marched through the streets of downtown Grand Rapids Tuesday in support of immigrants and protesting deportations.

Andy Johnston is the VP of government and corporate affairs for the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. He joined Stateside to explain how immigrants play a crucial role in the Grand Rapids economy.

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