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My Town: West Michigan home to three of most dangerous Mich. places

My Town: West Michigan home to three of most dangerous Mich. places

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich.—West Michigan is home to three of the 10 most dangerous places in the state, according to Movoto Real Estate.

The company based its rankings on cities with populations of 10,000 or more that also ranked high in murder, violent crimes, property crimes and total crimes, based on the 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Report.  Flint topped the list, followed by Benton Harbor, Detroit, Highland Park, Muskegon Heights, Harper Woods, Inkster, Flint Township, Ypsilanti and Kalamazoo. Grand Rapids came in at No. 16, Holland ranked 26th,  Walker took 32nd place, Grandville ranked 41st, Norton Shores landed at No. 42, Kalamazoo Township was 45th and Grand Haven came in at No. 50 among the 102 qualified communities.  To see the entire list, visit Movoto’s website here.

Guiding Light Mission turns to community for donations

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)- On Sunday, Guiding Light Mission is hosting a Christmas dinner for the men it serves. But, the mission is looking for community support.

Executive Stuart Ray says Guiding Light is in need of pies and coffee to be used at a December 21st Christmas dinner for the men seeking shelter and undergoing rehabilitation at the Mission located in the Heartside neighborhood.

More than 400 people are expected.

Donations for pies and coffee can be dropped off at Guiding Light Mission located at 255 South Division Avenue in Grand Rapids.

Bicyclists get new tool to navigate G.R. pathways

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)— Bicyclists in Grand Rapids have a new tool to navigate the city pathways.

Third Coast Cycles and My City Bikes partnered to create the new Grand Rapids Bikes app for beginner cyclists. The app compiles locations in the Grand Rapids area where cyclists can find road, mountain, recreational, commuter and group bicycling. Grand Rapids Bikes can be downloaded to any Apple or Android device for free.

The new app is part of a national program meant to encourage people to pedal a bike, improving individual and environmental health. More than a quarter of Grand Rapids residents are obese and heart disease is the leading cause of death. In a survey, 19 percent of Grand Rapids residents reported they do not take part in physical activity.

Amway Grand Plaza employee retires after 57 years

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The Amway Grand Plaza's longest serving employee is calling it a career.

The hotel hosted a farewell celebration Tuesday for Franz "Swiss" Imfeld. He began his career 57 years ago as head chef of what was then known as the Pantlind Hotel.

In 1988, he became the director of food purchasing, which has been his role ever since.

"In all those years, the immediate boss I had never told me when to go home, when to come in, what to do. All he wanted was the best I could do, and I always did that," said Imfeld.

No other employee has served more than 50 years with the hotel. In retirement, Franz plans to focus on his family, travel, and hit the golf course.

GR commissioners to reconsider backyard chickens

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Grand Rapids city commissioners want to gather public input as they consider an ordinance that would allow citizens to keep chickens in their backyards.

"There's a lot of safeguards in place for the neighborhood, but it also allows for a family to have chickens in their backyard if they want to," said Commissioner Rosalynn Bliss Tuesday.

A plan to allow chickens in the city died from lack of support a few years ago. Bliss says there is renewed support for urban agriculture driven by the growing desire to source food locally.

Rick Beerhorst once raised chickens in his backyard, and hopes to again if they become lawful.

"We loved having those birds in the backyard and we also feel like its a cultural movement that we want to be a part of," Beerhorst said Tuesday.

Former city clerk files $1 million discrimination suit

Former city clerk files $1 million discrimination suit

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- A former Grand Rapids city clerk today filed a $1 million discrimination lawsuit against Mayor George Heartwell and the city of Grand Rapids, claiming she was fired based on race and gender.



Lauri Parks was fired by the city in 2013, over what city leaders called job-performance issues. City leaders also said race was not an issue.


RELATED: Crowd shows support for fired G.R. clerk Lauri Parks


The city today said it had not received a copy of the lawsuit and cannot comment on pending litigation.


Kent ISD superintendent announces retirement

Kent ISD superintendent announces retirement

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)—After more than three decades helping to educate hundreds of thousands of children, the superintendent of Kent Intermediate School District is leaving his post.

Tuesday, Kevin Konarska announced his plans to retire at the end of the school year. Konarska has worked for Kent ISD for nine years, helping the agency navigate through the Great Recession and deep funding cuts by the state, all while opening new education programs and a laboratory school.

"It will be very hard to see Kevin leave," Board President Claudia Bajema said in a news release to WZZM 13. "He has made such a difference in the schools we serve and in the opportunities available to the more than 100,000 students throughout our service region."