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Kentwood to seek federal grant for more firefighters

KENTWOOD, Mich (WZZM) -- The mayor of Kentwood is opposing a city effort to try to get a federal grant for more firefighters.

The city commission approved the grant application this week. The only vote against the measure came from Mayor Richard Root.

The city clerk says the mayor is worried about the balancing the budget.

The federal grant would pay for three additional firefighters for two years. However, Kentwood would have to cover the costs for a third year.

The mayor says the estimated $256,000 is not in Kentwood's budget.

It's unclear when the federal government will award the grants.

Fire investigators think at least one Grand Rapids-area fire may be linked to previous arsons

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (WZZM) - Kentwood's fire inspector said Tuesday the minor overnight garage fire was not related to the recent string of arson garage fires in nearby Grand Rapids.  "I think it's a strange coincidence" Bob Peterson told WZZM 13.  "And believe me I'm glad" (it was not related) Peterson said.

Firefighters fought two separate garage fires early Tuesday morning. The fires ignited within a mile of each other. Both fires are near the border of Southeast Grand Rapids and Kentwood, near Woodland Mall.

The timing and location of these two fires are consistent with an investigation into a string of seven garage fires this summer which police believe to be arson.

KPS - A Message from the Superintendent: Dr. Scott Palczewski

Several weeks ago, I was honored to be invited to visit the Van Andel Research Institute by the father of one of our students. He and his wife chose Kentwood because they recognized the importance of living in a 21st century global community with a school system that emphasizes creative problem solving and innovation!

As I observed the cancer research being done at Van Andel, ironically, I was struck by the importance of what we do rather than the valuable work they do. The kids in Kentwood classrooms today are the researchers and leaders of tomorrow. They will solve problems yet to be understood. They will take jobs yet to be created. They will receive awards from music and films yet to be heard and seen. Inspire one child in 2010-11, and generations of children will be impacted.
In the year ahead, three attributes of the Kentwood Public Schools will be highlighted:

1. A 21st century global community where relationships matter.

Recycling on the rise in Kent County

KENT COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM)- People in Kent County are recycling more since the county opened its new recycling center.  Public Services Director James Hurt says the amount of recycled waste in the first three weeks of August was 25% higher than the same time last year.

The county recently finished distributing 35,000 recycling bins for its new processing plant.  The facility sorts recyclables so residents do not have to. 

People say they are more willing to take part in the easier system.  Resident Beverly Reid says, "I see more people using them now that they've been delivered to everyone.  I see more of the bins out, the large rolling bins than I did see the smaller bins, so I think more people are utilizing them now which is a good thing."

Over the next few weeks crews will visit homes that they missed during the recycle bin drop-off.  They will also swap out bin sizes.

Armed robbery holds up Gaines Township gas station

GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM)- Kent County Deputies are looking for the armed robber who held up a gas station in Gaines Township early Friday morning.

Deputies say the suspect walked into the BP on the 6000-block of Kalamazoo Avenue Southeast and demanded money.

The clerk did not see a gun, but says the suspect implied he had one.

The robber is described as a black man, approximately five feet, eight inches tall weighing 160 pounds. He was wearing all black.

If you have any information you're asked to call police.

Inkster @ East Kentwood

KENTWOOD (WZZM) -- Having upset Inkster last year, the Falcons of East Kentwood were looking for another win over the Vikings, in week two.

A field goal put the Falcons on the board first in the first quarter with 3 points.  Later in the first quarter Inkster looked to answer.  Player number 2 took a handoff and broke into the open, off the right side, and raced to the endzone to put the Vikings up  6 - 0.

In the second quarter the Falcons fumbled a handoff.  Inkster's Lawrence Deegle picked it up, returning it the endzone and increasing Inkster's lead to 14 - 0.

Later in the second quarter Viking Desean Belle ran the ball up the left side to the endzone, breaking tackles for 38 yards.  He put the Vikings up 21- 3.

The Inkster Vikings went on to post a 35 - 3 win at expense of the Falcons.

Kentwood Teen sentenced to prison for killing a dog

KENTWOOD, Michigan (WZZM)- A 15-year old boy, who broke into a Kentwood home and killed the family's dog, is going to jail.

Jonathan Castelan pleaded guilty to adult charges last month.

Kentwood police say Castelan and another teen broke into a home on Jefferson Avenue in May.

Today a judge sentenced him to 2 1/2 to 4 years in prison for animal cruelty and 3-20 years for home invasion.

Court records show Castelan hit the miniature dachshund in the head with a hammer after it bit him. The homeowner, Abel Soto, came home in the middle of the break-in and used the same hammer to hold the teens captive in a bathroom, until police arrived.

Prosecutor Kevin Bramble said during a preliminary hearing that, "During the course of this home invasion, the dog was nipping at the defendant's heels, and the defendant chose, instead of putting the dog in a room, to bludgeon the dog with a hammer he possessed."