Our network

Kentwood company converts waste to energy

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WZZM) - Inside this city's only tax-free industrial renaissance zone,  is Heat Transfer International, a leader in identifying wastes that have the greatest potential for converting waste to energy.  

Governor Jennifer Granholm toured the company today; it's one of nine small Michigan companies to share in $20 million dollars in Clean Energy Advanced Manufacturing grants from the Obama administration. 

She says HTI's machines have successfully turned a variety of waste products into energy, a process known as biomass gasification.   Dave Prouty, the company's president, said  "We've taken latest and greatest new technology, married it with old technology and come up with a product we think will be pretty revoloutionary".

Garage fires plague southeast Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Residents in the apartment complex hit twice by arson say they "can't live like this."  They say fear they will get hit again keeps them from sleeping.

Firefighters battled yet another garage fire in southeast Grand Rapids overnight.

Crews were called to the 2600 block of Woodmeadow Drive S.E. at 2:30 a.m. Thursday.  This is the seventh fire in that general area in recent weeks.  This is the second fire in the Long Meadow Apartments. 

Resident Kristie Walton woke up to the fire and is angry that nobody's been caught. "When I saw the bright orange, I went to my kids' bedroom and told them to get out of there," she says.  "I'm sick of this.  I think the person who did this needs to be caught." 

All of the fires were started between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., between East Paris and Breton avenues.

Grand Rapids man calls arsons attempted murder

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - A resident of a Grand Rapids duplex says the fire that destroyed his building's garage was not just arson, it was attempted murder.

"If I did not wake up when I did,  people would have died," says resident Kemal Hamulic.

The fire in Hamulic's duplex on Mulford Drive early Wednesday was the sixth in a series of seven suspected garage arsons in the past month.  All of the fires have taken place in his neighborhood near the Woodland Mall.

The fire at his home was especially serious because the flames were spreading from the garage to the duplex where five children and four adults were sleeping. Hamulic says he was awakened by the sound of vinyl siding melting from the heat.

"I could see the top of the garage was on fire so I yelled to my wife to get our child and get out, and I went to the neighbors and pounded on the door to tell them it was on fire," he says.

Pfeiffer Gray Sox headed to the Northern Championships

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WZZM)- A group of veteran softball players hopes to make it to the National Championships for senior sports.  The Pfeiffer Gray Sox is a local team made up of players who are 75 or older.  They won a regional tournament in Indiana in July with a 5 - 0 record.  Next week they will play in the Northern Championships in Lansing.

The players say there is a good reason why they are so good.  George Stark says, "We've played all our lives.  Every player out here has played for a whole lifetime.  But the senior part is really strong because there's a corps of six or seven players on this team who have played together for about 20 years."

One of the players, 77-year old George Stark, says he plans to go skiing after the season.

Kentwood Library on Breton Ave. opens Tuesday

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WZZM)- The new location of the Kentwood Library opens to the public Tuesday. 

Residents got an early look at the new 40,000 square foot facility during an open house Monday afternoon.  The $8-million facility, located on Breton Avenue, is three time larger than its original building on Kalamazoo Avenue.  The new library features wireless internet and a special space for teenagers. 

The library opens Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.

Free shoes to be distributed to thousands of students

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)- Thousands of West Michigan students will be starting off their school year on the right foot thanks to the kindess of strangers.

The non-profit organization "In the Image" is hosting it's annual "S.H.O.E.S." program. S.H.O.E.S. is an acronym for "Shoes Help Our Elementary Students."

This year a record number of shoes will be handed out.

It's been almost a year since Jay Starkey took on the role as Executive Director at In the Image. He says he knows firsthand about the need for the S.H.O.E.S. program and he's worked to expand it.