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My Town: West Michigan's safest and most dangerous places

My Town: West Michigan's safest and most dangerous places

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—West Michigan is home to one of the safest cities in Michigan, according to a new analysis by Value Penguin.

East Grand Rapids ranked fifth among midsize cities and 16th overall.  Value Penguin based its rankings on FBI crime statistics collected in 2013.  The group excluded towns with populations less than 5,000. Value Penguin then compared crimes in the remaining cities per capita, giving more weight to violent crimes than property crimes. 

The West Michigan communities that came in above the state average for crimes included Spring Lake-Ferrysburg (No. 28), Rockford (No. 45), Zeeland (No. 56), Belding (No. 80) and Grand Haven (No. 118).

Woman dies in Kentwood apartment fire

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WZZM) -- Crews are investigating an early morning fire at a Kentwood apartment complex that killed a woman.

Firefighters were called to the Ashton Woods Apartments on Drummond Boulevard, near Breton Road and 44th Street SE, around 4:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Crews found fire in a first-floor unit of the complex. They were able to get the fire under control quickly and pulled the woman from the apartment.

The victim went to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital by ambulance at what firefighters describe as a high priority. The Kentwood Fire Chief says she was pronounced dead a short time later.

Authorities say it appears the fire started in the apartment's living room and was contained to the single unit. The exact cause is still under investigation.

My Town Wyoming: Businesses at Jan. 14 fair looking to hire hundreds

My Town Wyoming: Businesses at Jan. 14 fair looking to hire hundreds

WYOMING, Mich.—West Michigan businesses are on the hunt for hundreds of new workers.

More than two dozen companies will be represented during a job fair hosted by Kentwood Community Church.  The event will run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesday, Jan.14 on the church’s Wyoming campus, at 2950 Clyde Park Ave. SW.  Altogether, the businesses are recruiting for more than 500 jobs in sales, retail, customer service, health care, auto tech, manufacturing, truck driving, marketing, skilled industrial trades, food service and other fields.

This is the seventh job fair Kentwood Community Church has hosted at its Wyoming Campus, which opened Oct. 6, 2013 in the former Wyoming Adult & Community Education building.  Kentwood purchased the property from Wyoming Public Schools.

For additional job fair information, visit the event website or call the church at (616) 827-3267.

Three new Kent County commissioners sworn in

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)— Three new faces are on the Kent County Board of Commissioners.



District 6 representative Stan Stek, District 9 representative Matt Kallman and District 10 representative Emily Post Brieve were sworn in Tuesday morning. The Board also re-elected Dan Koorndyk of District 18 as Chair. District 11 representative Jim Saalfeld retained his role as Board Vice-Chair and Carol Hennessy of District 14 will continue to serve as Minority Party Vice-Chair.


The 19 commissioners also talked about the budget and a number of other issues during their first meeting of the New Year.


My Town: Goodwill Industries of Greater G.R. offers 'Annie' donation deal

My Town: Goodwill Industries of Greater G.R. offers 'Annie' donation deal

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Clean out your closets, help people find jobs and get a deal on tickets for Broadway Grand Rapids with the new deal by Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids.

The nonprofit organization is offering $20 off tickets to “Annie” to people who donate gently used clothing or household items to any Goodwill store. You can find the list of locations here. The coupon is good for select seats during the Jan. 13 performance at DeVos Performance Hall.  Goodwill will also be accepting gently used coats at DeVos Hall on opening night.

“Annie” runs through Jan. 13-18.  The musical is centered on a determined orphan who journeys through New York looking for her parents.  Her adventure includes foiling the plots of Miss Hannigan, who runs the orphanage; meeting President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; and finding a new home with billionaire Oliver Warbucks.

BP gas station robbed in Gaines Township

GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- The Kent County Sheriff's Department responded to an armed robbery at the BP gas station located at 6045 Kalamazoo Ave SE in Gaines Township. The robbery happened at around 3:30 a.m. Saturday.

The suspect entered the store with a handgun, demanded money from the clerk, and then fled the scene.
Multiple deputies arrived quickly and attempted a K-9 track for the suspect, but it was unsuccessful.

The suspect is a black male, in his early to mid 20's, 5'8" - 6' tall, 160-170 lbs. He was last seen
wearing gray sweatpants, a black hooded sweatshirt, white shoes and a black mask.

Please call the Kent County Sheriff's Department at 616-632-6100 or Silent Observer at 616-
774-2345 with any information about this case.

My Town: What 2015 will hold for West Michigan's economy

My Town: What 2015 will hold for West Michigan's economy

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--- Consumers in West Michigan are more optimistic about what 2015 will bring.

In fact, consumers in this market are the most optimistic in the region, according to a new study released by Huntington Bank.  The financial firm found local residents say they are much more likely to buy a new vehicle this year; 17 percent said they plan to purchase a new car, compared to just four percent in 2014.

Home improvement stores may also be busy; 47-percent of West Michiganders surveyed for the Huntington Bank Midwest Economic Index said they were planning some home renovations for 2015, compared to 32 percent in 2014.