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My Town: Snowfall and predicted rain keeps Kent County road crews busy

My Town: Snowfall and predicted rain keeps Kent County road crews busy

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—The snow piling up outside has kept Kent County Road Commission crews busy this past week, and with a warm up expected this weekend, their work is far from over.

During the week, 90 drivers worked each day and 30 drivers worked each night, clearing the snow from state highways, county roads and local streets and drives.  The Kent County Road Commission says all roads were cleared at least once between Tuesday and Thursday, but additional snowfall and drifting snow may give some roads the appearance of being neglected.  In Comstock Park and Grandville alone, Kent County crews spread 10,700 tons of salt and sand.  In Byron Center, crews used 58,000 gallons of liquid chloride to clear the road.  In all, the Road Commission estimates this first brush with winter cost it more than $1 million.

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Local group reacts to President's immigration plan

WYOMING, Mich. (WZZM) -- The group Michigan United gathered Thursday evening in Wyoming to watch the President's address on his executive action regarding immigration reform.

Michigan United supporters said that while the executive action only provides temporary relief for immigrants, it will keep thousands of Michigan families together until Congress fixes the problem.

"This is not about a political war; it's about children, it's about our families, our homes," said Cindy Hicks. "We are tax-paying members of society, and we want to contribute and be everything we can be in life."

Opponents of the President's plan say he acted more like an emperor, overstepping the authority of the presidency. They say the President's action not only hurts chances of passing immigration overhaul in the House and Senate but also damages his relationhip with the incoming Republican-controlled Congress.

My Town: Reduce fire dangers with free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

My Town: Reduce fire dangers with free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—As temperatures drop, the risk of chimney and heater fires rises, which is why now is a good time to pick up a free smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector from the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan.

The organization is providing these devices for free to households in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Wyoming with a child who is 14 years or younger. For more information, call (616) 241-3300 or email info@healthyhomescoalition.org.

My Town Wyoming: Making Ideal Park ideal again

My Town Wyoming: Making Ideal Park ideal again

WYOMING, Mich.—The City of Wyoming is looking to community members to determine the future of its tornado-ravaged park.

On July 6, an EF1 tornado carved a path through Byron Center, Wyoming, Kentwood and Grand Rapids, battering homes and businesses and causing catastrophic damage to Ideal Park.  City officials say the twister destroyed the park’s playgrounds and ripped apart nearly 98 percent of its trees. Since then, city workers have begun the long process of removing the debris and making repairs.    Now city leaders are looking to community members to help shape a new master plan for the park.

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My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids boosts tuition assistance; deadline nears

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids boosts tuition assistance; deadline nears

The Diocese of Grand Rapids is boosting tuition assistance for students, but time is running out to apply for it.

The deadline for applying for first round funding is Nov. 22.  The first round of grants will be announced in early February and distributed in early fall.

Bishop Walkowiak recently announced the Diocese is more than quadrupling tuition assistance, from $240,000 to $1 million each year.  The funding boost, made possible through donations and diocese scholarship accounts, is part of a three-year effort to make Catholic schools affordable to more families.  According to Private School Aid Service, even after all tuition assistance is distributed, Catholic school families still need $1.2 million a year.

Grand opening held for new VA clinic in Wyoming

WYOMING, Mich. (WZZM) -- After 15 years of planning, the Department of Veterans Affairs officially opened its new health care center in Wyoming on Friday.

The opening ceremony included veterans, politicians, and other local leaders.

The new facility is three times bigger than the current VA clinic in Grand Rapids. The staff of doctors, specialists, and nurses will offer a variety of healthcare options, according to the VA's Mary Beth Skupien.

"Today's event is the culmination of over 15 years of planning for the best facility that we could provide in our area," Skupien said. "We want to improve access to our veterans, we want to live our mission every day so that veterans get the care and the quality of services they deserve -- and this facility represents that."

The new clinic, at 5838 Metro Way SW, is to provide outpatient care for about 18,000 veterans in the West Michigan area annually.

Drawing decides Godfrey-Lee school board race

WYOMING, Mich. (WZZM) -- A West Michigan school board election was decided Friday by the luck of the draw.

On election night, Robert Baker Jr. and Josephine Coleman tied for the third open six-year seat on the Godfrey-Lee School Board. Each garnered 296 votes.

Coleman had offered to concede, but county leaders said state law doesn't allow someone who legally won an election to concede.

As a result, after the state Board of Canvassers confirmed Baker and Coleman had tied, the race had to be decided by a simple drawing.

So, on Friday, the Kent County Clerk held up a box containing two pieces of paper, one of which said, "Elected," while the other said, "Not Elected." The clerk's office tells WZZM 13 that each candidate drew a slip, and Baker, an incumbent, came away with the winning one.