WCSG News

April 9

4/9/21 – England’s Prince Philip, Has Died – Age 99

The Duke of Edinburgh has passed away. Prince Philip, longtime husband of Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 99. He’s credited with helping to bring the royal family into the modern age.  He was the first in the family to conduct a television interview when the tradition was to use radio and avoid public appearances. Funeral services will be different during the covid-19 pandemic.  Plans are currently to hold services at Windsor Castle where Philip also passed away. This is a breaking story.
April 9

4/9/21 – Local Business Survey Shows Signs of Positivity, Caution

As world markets improve, it’s having an impact on the West Michigan economy.    Brian Long with GVSU’s Seidman College of Business says the pandemic has spurred a “Pent up demand out there for a huge range of goods from the industrial market to the consumer market.  As a result, our local numbers are floating right along with those of the rest of the world and look quite a lot better than they did, even a few months ago.”   That means firms are able to stay open, increase orders for supplies and parts, and begin cranking up the production […]
April 9

4/9/21 – Students Suffering While Trying to Learn

A recent survey from the CDC is raising some concerns about virtual learning. Researchers found it can actually be damaging to a child’s mental and emotional health.   “When everything sort of stopped at first, we thought, ‘This is going to be brief, we can all handle this. We can do six weeks.’ And then the six went to twelve and then four months and then six months, to where it got really discouraging for a lot of kids,” said Vanessa Jensen, PsyD, child psychologist for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.   The CDC survey looked at more than 1,200 parents with children […]
April 8

4/8/21 – Financial Literacy Needs to be a Priority

State Rep. Rodney Wakeman recently led the House in adopting a measure to declare April as Financial Literacy Month in Michigan. Wakeman, of Saginaw Township, introduced the resolution to bring awareness to the importance of financial literacy. “As Vice Chair of Financial Services, I want to ensure that residents of Michigan possess the skills and knowledge that will allow them to make informed and effective financial decisions,” Wakeman said. “It’s incredibly important for all of us, especially young people, to learn healthy financial habits. A strong understanding of credit, debt and other financial management skills will build a strong foundation […]
April 8

4/8/21 – U Text U Drive U Pay Enforcement

Kalamazoo Police will join other law enforcement in the U Text, U Drive, U Pay enforcement program.  They’ll be increasing enforcement and cracking down on texting while driving.  “Texting and other forms of distracted driving are increasing habits that put everyone at risk,” said Matt Huber, Assistant Chief of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. “We want motorists to focus on driving, with their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”  According to NHTSA, between 2012 and 2019, 26,004 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver. While fatalities from motor-vehicle crashes decreased slightly from 2018, distraction-related fatalities […]
April 8

4/8/21 – Missing Woman Could Be In Danger

Ottawa County authorities are asking for our help in locating a missing woman who walked away from an assisted living facility in Marne.  60-year-old Dixie Ausema walked away from the Serenity Homes on Tuesday.  She is without her medication and struggles with mental health issues.  She’s described as 5-10, 250 pounds with short, black hair.  She was last seen wearing jeans and a blue hoodie.  If you’ve seen her or know of her whereabouts, please contact the Ottawa County Sheriff’s office. 
April 7

4/7/21 – WCSG ‘Travelin Together’ – Kalamazoo AirZoo offers family friendly activities

The Air Zoo, founded as the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum, is an aviation museum and indoor amusement park next to the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport in Portage, Michigan, 6151 Portage Rd., Portage, Michigan.  The Air Zoo holds many historical and rare aircraft, including the world’s fastest air-breathing aircraft, the SR-71B Blackbird. The Air Zoo is a highly charged, multi-sensory atmosphere that goes beyond anything you’ve ever seen. It’s like no place else on Earth! Voted the “Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners” and “Best Place to Spend a Day with Your Family” three years in a row, the Kalamazoo Air Zoo […]
April 7

4/7/21 – Nearly half of new U.S. virus infections are in just 5 states, including Michigan

(Mlive) – Nearly half of new coronavirus infections nationwide are in just five states — a situation that is putting pressure on the federal government to consider changing how it distributes vaccines by sending more doses to hot spots. New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey together reported 44% of the nation’s new COVID-19 infections, or nearly 197,500 new cases, in the latest available seven-day period, according to state health agency data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Total U.S. infections during the same week numbered more than 452,000. The heavy concentration of new cases in states that account for […]
April 7

4/7/21 – CDC adjusts cleaning guidelines

(ABC News) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on cleaning and disinfecting everyday household surfaces, saying that in “most situations” with no known coronavirus exposure, a thorough scrub with soap and water will suffice — rather than disinfectant sprays and wipes — to ward off COVID-19. “Routine cleaning performed effectively with soap or detergent, at least once per day, can substantially reduce virus levels on surfaces,” the CDC said at a White House briefing Monday. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said “disinfection is only recommended in indoor-setting schools and homes where there has been a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, within […]
April 6

4/6/21 – Venue Registration, Applications for Grants are open for ArtPrize 2021

Venue registration for ArtPrize 2021 opened at Noon last Thursday, April 1. Any space within the ArtPrize district can register as a venue and join ArtPrize in creating an event that is safe, creative and a testament to the indomitable spirit of our community. Venues are encouraged to register early to take advantage of a 50% registration fee discount through April 8, made possible by hundreds of community sponsors and donors. Venue Registration Dates & Fees April 1-8: $50 April 9-15: $100 ArtPrize venues play an invaluable role in the event, working with artists to independently organize the hundreds of exhibitions that make […]
April 6

4/6/21 – DTE Energy Foundation grants help provide meals to families

DETROIT (AP) — More than $100,000 in grants have been awarded by the DTE Energy Foundation to help provide meals for Michigan families facing food insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic. The funding is going to Feeding America West Michigan, Fishes & Loaves and Gleaners Community Food Bank. Feeding America West Michigan near Grand Rapids will receive a $25,000 grant to fund 20 mobile food pantries. Fish & Loaves food pantry will use its $25,000 grant, in part, to extend its hours and supplies to serve additional households. Gleaners Community Food Bank will use a $55,000 grant to help support critical […]
April 6

4/6/21 – Michigan’s top court sides with dad in parental rights case

DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has overturned the decisions of a Kalamazoo-area judge who terminated the parental rights of a poor couple after their two children had missed 25% of school. The absences in 2017-18 were higher than the school’s average. But the Supreme Court says there was no evidence of resulting harm or neglect. It’s a key threshold when a judge decides whether to take jurisdiction over children. The case was closely watched by advocates for poor families, especially during a pandemic when education has been significantly disrupted. The case now will return to Kalamazoo County court. […]
April 5

4/5/21 – Weekend Rapid Testing for Spring Breakers who return

GAND RAPIDS, Mich — (WZZM) –  New COVID-19 rapid testing sites are opening throughout Kent County in a collaboration between Kent ISD, local school districts and the Kent County Health Department. The testing will sites will be open from Friday, April 9 through Sunday, April 11. Testing is free and no appointments are necessary. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Test results will be texted to individuals and are completely confidential. “The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 is on the rise. Kent County is now averaging 203 new cases daily compared with approximately 70 per day one month ago and […]
April 5

4/5/21 – Another group now eligible for the vaccine

(Mlive) – Under federal guidance, Michigan will begin vaccinating all Michigan residents age 16 and up beginning Monday, April 5. Eligibility for Michiganders age 16 and up with disabilities or medical conditions has been open since March 22. At this time, Michigan has administered more than 4.4 million doses of vaccine. As of March 31, 34.5% of Michigan residents age 16 and older had received their first dose, and 20.7% had completed all doses. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses weeks apart, while Johnson & Johnson requires one. Now that more Michiganders are eligible, here’s what you need to […]
April 1

4/1/21 – More Transportation Options to Get a Vaccination

GRAND RAPIDS, MI –As eligibility and appointments expand at the West Michigan Vaccine Clinic (WMVC), The Rapid is working with WMVC partners to provide free shuttle service from remote parking lots to the clinic.  The free shuttle will be in service when the WMVC is open for appointments. Currently, the shuttle provides service to the Gerald R. Ford Museum north and south parking lots, with a drop-off and pick-up stop in front of the DeVos Place Convention Center on Monroe Avenue. Schedules and hours may change as open appointment days and vaccine supply fluctuate.  Shuttle details will be updated as […]
April 1

4/1/21 – Food for College Students

Michigan will expand eligibility for food assistance benefits on Thursday, April 1 so that college students struggling financially during the pandemic, can get help buying food and stay in school. Under the temporary change approved by the federal government, college students may be eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits if their families are estimated to be unable to contribute to their college cots or if their college or university considers them eligible for a federal or state work study program. MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel says many college students lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic and by […]
April 1

4/1/21 – GM recalling 10,000 Chevy and GMC vans due to fire risk

WASHINGTON — General Motors is recalling more than 10,000 vans due to a fire risk and recommending that owners park them outdoors away from buildings and other structures until they are repaired. GM has recalled almost 8,000 2021 Chevrolet Express and more than 2,000 2021 GMC Savana vehicles, saying that drivers may get a low battery voltage warning if a short circuit occurs, which can cause the battery to die or cause a fire under the hood. The short circuits are caused by contact between the positive battery cable and a fuse attachment post. Vehicle owners can visit NHTSA.gov/recalls and […]
April 1

4/1/21 – Governor ups vaccine recommendation

Governor Whitmer announced Wednesday they are increasing their vaccination goal across Michigan from 50,000 to 100,000 shots per day. This comes as cases continue to rise across the state.  “We are going gangbusters on the vaccines and that’s really where people really need to have their personal responsibility following the protocols and getting themselves vaccinated,” she said. “It’s the best thing for them individually and for our economy.”  One of the biggest obstacles health officials face is hesitancy to get the vaccine.  Pfizer recently said their vaccine is safe and effective in those 12 years old and up, but that […]
April 1

WCSG Travelin Together – Spotlight on the Zeeland Critter Barn

As part of our WCSG ‘Travelin Together’ series, we’ll explore some ideas for staycations that will provide excitement and education while not having to travel far from home.  This week we are exploring a family favorite for years.  The Zeeland Critter Barn. Starting back in 1984, the Critter Barn has welcomed tens of thousands of visitors who come to see the animals and learn more about caring and sharing in our world.  The idea started small but grew into a passion that has sustained the farm for decades.  The popularity of the farm has prompted owners to begin an expansion […]
March 31

3/31/21 – Eastbound I-196 to close at U.S. 131 on April 9 through July

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – (Mlive) –  Eastbound I-196 at the U.S. 131 interchange will be closed through July 31. The closure will begin Friday, April 9 and will see the replacement of the eastbound I-196 bridge deck over the Grand River. During the closure, eastbound I-196 traffic will be detoured north onto U.S. 131 and then onto eastbound I-96. Eastbound I-196 traffic will resume as one lane starting at the Ionia Avenue on-ramp off of Michigan Street. Two lanes of westbound I-196 will remain open during the construction. The closure is part of a Michigan Department of Transportation interstate improvement […]
March 31

3/31/21 – Owosso barber fined $9,000 for haircuts at Michigan Capitol, other violations

SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, MI –(Mlive) –  The Owosso barber who became a figurehead for those opposed to executive orders issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer nearly a year ago, is facing a $9,000 fine for giving unlicensed hair cuts on the steps of the state’s Capitol and sanitation and equipment violations. Individual fines of $4,500 were ordered against both Karl W. Manke, 77, and his barbershop, Karl Manke Main St. Barber & Beauty Shop — totaling $9,000 — to be paid to the state of Michigan within 90 days following a Michigan Board of Barber Examiners’ Monday, March 29 review, according to […]
March 30

3/30/21 – More events added to Tulip Time

HOLLAND (WTHC-AM/FM) — Tulip Time Festival officials announced Tuesday, March 30, 2021, the re-opening of Michigan means a few more events are being added to the 2021 festival. Festival Executive Director Gwen Auwerda said she is thrilled for the return, though the carnival is retooled to account for COVID-19 social distancing and sanitizing guidelines. The Midway has been scaled down and there will be fewer attractions, but she promised all the favorites are returning. Tickets are on sale today, Tuesday, March 30, 2021; people need to choose specific times and days for their visits, as 1,000 will be admitted to the gated […]
March 29

3/29/21 – Vaccination Clinic Could Be Setting Record

Thousands of people have been lining up at DeVos Place to receive one of 12-thousand doses expected to be administered today.  Mark VanDyke with Spectrum Health says they knew that they had scheduled the large number because the vaccine had been made available.  VanDyke says it could be a record in Michigan.  “We are scheduled to vaccinate 12,460 patients.  So far, since 10 am, we have vaccinated over seven thousand and fifty.  Which means we are running a little ahead of schedule of our one thousand patients per hour.”  VanDyke says efficiencies have enabled crews to help move patients through […]
March 29

Expired: 3/29/21 – 4 dead after heavy rain in Nashville causes record flooding

(ABC news) – At least four people have died after heavy rain caused flooding to reach record levels in Nashville. One of the victims, a 65-year-old man was found at the Nashboro Village golf course, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department. Police also recovered the bodies of a 70-year-old man, 64-year-old woman and a 46-year-old man. At least 130 people had to be rescued from flooded areas around Nashville, ABC Nashville affiliate WKRN reported. More than seven  inches of rain have fallen in parts of the Nashville metro area in two days, the second-highest amount on record. Some waterways in Nashville have risen […]
March 25

3/25/21 – Detroit Tigers tickets go on sale to the public today

DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers are finishing up Spring Training in Florida.  They will open the 2021 baseball season Thursday, April 1 against Cleveland. The Tigers individual game tickets go on sale today, Thursday, ahead of opening day on April 1. Tickets go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 25,  and can be purchased online. The seats that are available have been strategically chosen so they are socially distanced from other groups of seats. Prior to visiting Comerica Park, guests must complete a health screening questionnaire and present confirmation of the completed form to venue staff prior […]
March 18

Expired: 3/18/21 – IRS delays tax filing deadline to May 17

(ABC) – The IRS said Wednesday it is delaying the April 15 tax filing deadline to May 17 giving taxpayers more time to prepare their filings amid the slew of pandemic-related tax changes. The Treasury Department and the IRS said “the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021.” This will happen automatically, and individuals don’t need to file any forms or contact the IRS, the agency said in a statement. These changes don’t apply to state tax returns and payments, the IRS […]
March 15

3/15/21 – Grand Rapids Offers Free Public Wi-Fi in 10 City Parks

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Ten Grand Rapids parks now have free public Wi-Fi access thanks to a pilot program supported by CARES Act funding. The Network in a Box (NIB) program aims to bridge the digital divide in Grand Rapids that widened during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing year-round outdoor internet access.     The parks were selected based on heavy event use, community need and existing infrastructure like pavilions and community gyms that NIB devices could easily attach to. The selected parks include:  Ah-Nab-Awen Park (220 Front Ave. NW)  Belknap Park (30 Coldbrook St. NE)  Briggs Park (350 Knapp St. […]
March 12

3/12/21 – Kalamazoo Public Schools launches summer program to ‘undo damage’ from pandemic

KALAMAZOO, MI — (Mlive) –  Kalamazoo Public Schools is launching a Summer Readiness program to help students who struggled academically during the pandemic. The Summer Readiness program will begin in-person on June 28 and will be offered for students of all ages, Superintendent Rita Raichoudhuri said during a board of education meeting Thursday, March 11. “Our Summer Readiness program is an initial step in starting to undo some of the damage caused by COVID-19,” Raichoudhuri said. “You’ll notice that we are not calling it summer school because it isn’t. This was not a typical year. Our students didn’t fail, our […]
March 10

3/10/21 – 1.9 Trillion Dollars Going to Businesses, Individuals, Tax Credits

The final passage of the President’s 1.9 trillion dollar Covid-19 relief package has made it through the US House of Representatives with only one Democrat voting against it. The final vote was 220-211. The bill now goes to the White House for President Joe Biden’s signature.  White House spokesperson Jen Psaki says the President will sign it before the weekend. “We expect that delivery to happen sometime tomorrow and then the President will sign it on Friday.  We of course are moving full speed ahead on the implementation of the bill, because we know the American people need help, and […]
March 9

3/9/21 – White Caps 2021 Season

 Comstock Park, Mi. –Tuesday, March 9, 2021– “Let’s play ball!” is the phrase heard most around LMCU Ballpark this week. Baseball in West Michigan is officially back! The West Michigan Whitecaps, High-A Affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, announced today the release of the full 2021 baseball schedule. The summer of baseball begins with the home opener , Tuesday, May 11th.  The Whitecaps will play 60 home games at LMCU Ballpark divided into 10 homestands with six games each. Capacity restrictions this season mean the Whitecaps will work at prioritizing ticket sales. Multi-game ticket plan holders will be accommodated first. Groups are encouraged […]