Our network

People

Former Congressional candidate joins Airport Board

Former Congressional candidate joins Airport Board

KENTWOOD, Mich.—There’s a new face on the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Board.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners announced the appointment of Steve Heacock Monday.  The seven-member Airport Board is responsible for the general oversight of Gerald R. Ford Ford International Airport.  Heacock replaces former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, who left the board last December.  His term will run through Dec. 31, 2016.

Heacock has served as chairman of the Convention and Arena Authority, which owns and operates Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place.  He  served on the Kent County Board of Commissioners fir sux years, including two years as the chairman.  Heacock, who is a Grand Rapids resident, is the senior vice president of public affairs for Spectrum Health Systems.  He was also the chief administrative officer, general counsel and board secretary of the Van Andel Institute for six years.

Grand Rapids Police Chief officially retires

Grand Rapids Police Chief officially retires

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk has officially left his post.

Belk’s retirement took effect Friday, Feb. 7.  Belk served the City of Grand Rapids for nearly 34 years, joining the police department as a patrol officer in 1980.  He also served as a police sergeant, investigative supervisor, lieutenant, police captain, commander of the Investigative Division then commander of the Support Services Division.  Belk took over as police chief in 2007, when Harry Dolan retired.

Belk has a wife and three children, including a son, Matthew, who was recently hired as a police officer for the City of Kentwood.

The city has begun its search for his replacement. 

Kent District Library announces Write Michigan Contest winners

Kent District Library announces Write Michigan Contest winners

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Six people from Grand Rapids and Ada are among the winners of the second annual Write Michigan Contest.

Judges reviewed nearly 900 entries from writers across the state- that’s nearly double the amount the received last year.  Nearly 500 of the submissions were to the new teen category.

All last month, the public voted for their favorites on the Write Michigan website.  The winners were announced this week.  The Judge’s Choice winners took home a $250 award; Judges’ Choice runners-up were awarded $100.  Readers’ Choice winners were also awarded $250.

This year’s winners are:

Adult Category

  • Judges’ Choice Winner: Oscar Bee, Chelsea
  • Judges’ Choice Runner-Up: Connor Newton, Waterford
  • Readers’ Choice Winner: Eric Dobson, Ypsilanti
  • Published Finalists: Anne Brandt, Benton Harbor; Robert Vander Lugt,

Basketball game beneficiary recovering from transplant

Basketball game beneficiary recovering from transplant

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich.-- Grand Rapids police say the detective who will benefit from Saturday's Robert Kozminski Memorial Basketball Games has had a successful double lung transplant.

The department says Kent County deputy Aron Bowser is recovering at home.  Proceeds from the games on Saturday, Feb. 1 wil go toward his medical expenses.

This is the seventh year for the friendly competition at Kenowa Hills. The games begin at 6:30 p.m. with Kenowa Hills teachers playing officers from the Wyoming, Grandville, Walker, Rockford, Kentwood and Grand Rapids police departments.  The second game will pit the Grand Rapids Police Department against the Kent County Sheriff’s Department. Griff from the Grand Rapids Griffins will also stop by for the games.

Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. 

Local First presents fourth annual LocalMotion Awards

Local First presents fourth annual LocalMotion Awards

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Local First awarded exemplary businesses and individuals with the LocalMotion Awards at their Annual Meeting, presented by Eastern Floral and held at the Goei Center.

The LocalMotion Awards were created to recognize businesses and individuals leading the way in building a vibrant, sustainable community.  They’re a tool to help shift the “norm” towards sustainable business practices and to educate the community on the unique ways locally owned businesses impact our region. The awards were presented by Local First board members Andy Guy and Emily Loeks.

The winners:

The Triple Bottom Line, Up & Coming Business

Presented to a locally owned company that demonstrates a strong commitment to the TBL– either through successful outcomes or innovative programs. Must be in business between two and five years. Previous winners include: Brewery Vivant, Dwelltech Solutions, MadCap Coffee

Kentwood students earn All-State honors for orchestra and band

Kentwood students earn All-State honors for orchestra and band

KENTWOOD, Mich.-- Kentwood Public Schools is pleased to announce that three students earned a place in the All-State Orchestra and Band. 

These students performed with the All-State groups in DeVos Hall at the Michigan Music Conference.   They were selected from among more than 2,000 students who auditioned.

Claire Ross, a senior at East Kentwood High School, earned the first chair horn position in the All-State Orchestra.  Claire is principal horn in the East Kentwood High School Wind Ensemble under the direction of Mr. James Ross.  Claire studies privately with Erich Peterson, assistant principal horn in the Grand Rapids Symphony.  Claire is also principal horn in the Spartan Youth Wind Symphony at Michigan State University and Grand Rapids Youth Symphony.  

West Michigan butchers heading to Florida for national meat-cutting competition

West Michigan butchers heading to Florida for national meat-cutting competition

KENTWOOD, Mich.— Two West Michigan butchers will put their skills to the test against nearly 90 other professionals from across the nation for a chance to be named Meat Cutter of the Year.

Shawn Foster of Kentwood and Marco Ruiz of Portage will travel to The Ice Factory in Kissimmee, Florida in late February for the competition.  The frigid conditions and large venue make it the perfect place to test the skills of master meat cutters.  Each competitor will be given 30-40 pounds of beef and a set amount of time to butcher it.  Cuts will be judged on quality, yield and speed.

The top eight meat cutters from the Feb. 25-26 matchups will move onto the final round, held on April 27 at Amelia Island, Florida.  The winner will get a grand prize of $20,000 and bragging rights.