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My Town: 10 ways to protect yourself while shopping

My Town: 10 ways to protect yourself while shopping

KENTWOOD, Mich.—As the busiest shopping day of the year approaches, police are offering 10 ways to protect yourself and your vehicle from thieves.


Help Eliminate Auto Thefts (H.E.A.T.) works with Michigan law enforcement agencies to track down suspected car thieves and those suspected of auto theft-related insurance fraud.    Shoppers are encouraged to follow these tips:

My Town: Schools awarded funding to take students to art hot spots

My Town: Schools awarded funding to take students to art hot spots

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Thousands of students interested in Michigan’s cultural hot spots will now have a set of wheels to get there.

Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs this week announced the recipients of its latest round of grants for its Arts & Culture Trek grant program.  The organization is awarding $60,000 to 161 schools across the state, to pay for field trip transportation.  Each grant is worth up to $500 and must be used between Jan. 5, 2015 and March 29, 2015.

"A record-breaking number of Michigan K-12 teachers applied for an Arts & Culture Trek Grant this year, and the vast majority of recipients were awarded the full amount they requested," said Marianne Dorais, Executive Director of Michigan Youth Arts. "From Detroit to Kalamazoo to Flint to Marquette, this program will serve thousands of students from 42 counties across the state."

Champagne shoplifter caught on tape

GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM)- You could call her the Champagne Shoplifter; cameras have caught a brazen thief stealing a bottle of bubbly and much more from stores in Gaines Township.

"I hope someone recognizes the picture and keeps an eye out for the vehicle -- and her -- and makes a call," says Rochelle Arnold, owner of Marco's Hair Salon, whose store was hit by the bubbly bandit Tuesday afternoon. "She came in and announced she was going to buy a gift card, but she needed a few minutes to eat her hot dogs."

Arnold says it was a busy day. The woman started looking around and stole items off the shelf. She was also able to nab Arnold's wallet, which contained $300.

"She managed to get up to the counter, reach over the desk, take the wallet out of my purse, empty the money, put my wallet back in. All within a 13-second time frame," explains Arnold.

Kentwood home heavily damaged by fire

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WZZM) -- An overnight fire has forced a family out of their Kentwood home. It started shortly before 3:30 a.m. Wednesday on East Meadows Drive, near Forest Hill Avenue and Cascade Road.

The homeowners called 911 from a neighbors house, saying there was a fire on their back porch. The flames then spread to the roof. At one point the flames were so intense, firefighters had to evacuate the house.

Family members told investigators they had cleaned out their fireplace earlier in the evening and placed the ashes in a plastic bag, inside a plastic bucket which was placed on the deck at the back of the house. Firefighters ruled the blaze accidental.

Deputy Fire Chief Greg Ginebaugh says the fire spread from the back deck up the siding of the house and into the second floor and attic. He said the house is not a total loss, but there is significant fire and water damage.

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."

2 hurt in crash that causes car to hit Arby's

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Multiple injuries are reported after a crash involving a vehicle hitting a building.

Shortly before 7 o'clock Monday evening, emergency crews from Cascade were dispatched to an accident reported in front of the Arby's restaurant at 5050 28th St. SE.

Crews responded to a vehicle on 28th St. and another vehicle that struck a pillar at the restaurant.

Authorities tell WZZM 13 the car that hit the building was driven by a 26-year-old Rockford man who had pulled out of a nearby parking lot onto 28th St. The other vehicle involved was driven by a 36-year-old Grand Rapids woman. Her vehicle T-boned the Rockford man's car, which went over the curb, clipped a car in the Arby's parking lot, and slammed into the pillar.

Boeing choses Kentwood factory for 777X equipment

EVENDALE, Ohio (WZZM) -- Boeing has selected GE Aviation to provide its common core system (CCS) and enhanced airborne flight recorder (EAFR) for the Boeing 777X aircraft.

WZZM 13 has learned the Grand Rapids division of GE Aviation will be getting the work.

"This is a critical win for GE to supply the avionics computing system for the Boeing 777X, building on the success of our common core system on the 787," said Alan Caslavka, president of Avionics & Digital Systems for GE Aviation, in a press release. "With the 787 and now the 777X, we have made future civil and military programs more affordable by resetting the avionics cost curve and doing away with escalating software development costs."