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GRPS Superintendent says schools are moving forward


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal gave her fourth "State of our Schools" address at Ottawa Hills High School on Saturday. She says the district is improved but there is still work to be done.

When GRPS released its transformation plan four years ago Weatherall Neal says "Enrollment was declining, our budget was slipping towards a deficit, academic rates flat, graduation rates stagnate." In that time period things have changed in the district graduation rates have increased by five percent, chronic absenteeism is down 25%, and test scores have improved.

Weatherall Neal says "There's a new energy that you feel and it wasn't always this way, our schools are strong, we're stable and we are poised for growth." She says the district is not where it wants to be but is moving in the right direction.

UICA's Live Coverage 2015 helps the arts and artists


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Art lovers showed up in full force Saturday night to support the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art.

Live Coverage 2015 is the UICA's primary fundraising event for the year. Guests were able to see exciting visual artists create work live and bid on them in the silent and live auctions.

Artists donate 70% of art sales at the event to the UICA. WZZM 13 meteorologist Aaron Ofseyer took part in the festivities as the emcee.


Downtown post office plans construction detour


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) The construction project to revamp the Rowe Hotel at the corner of Michigan and Monroe has prompted a few changes to Grand Rapids' main post office right next door.

The customer traffic lane at the post office will be rerouted for smoother traffic flow as construction on the Rowe Hotel gets underway. That construction is expected to start in June.

Construction on the Rowe Hotel is expected to take at least a year complete.


Grand Rapids fireworks return on July 4


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - The Grand Rapids 4th of July fireworks show is set for 2015.

The Amway Family Fireworks will set off at about 10:30pm downtown on Saturday, July 4. Ah-Nab-Awen Park, next to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum will host music, entertainment, family-friendly activities, and food vendor exhibits throughout the afternoon and evening.

For more details as the event gets closer, check 4thofjulygr.com


New restaurant coming for Arena District


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - A new, Latin-inspired restaurant is coming to downtown Grand Rapids this summer.

Luna will take over the spot in the Arena District where Ritz Koney Island previously operated at 64 Ionia Avenue.

According to a press release, the upscale restaurant will be open seven days a week and will offer lunch and dinner options and a full-service bar. The restaurant also hopes to have options for outdoor seating, using the parklet concept.


Swing dancers pack GR's Blue Bridge


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- For the first time, swing dancers of all ages packed the Blue Bridge in downtown Grand Rapids Tuesday night.

The Grand Rapids Original Swing Society group says weather didn't affect the turn out for the dance on the bridge. Over 300 people came out for swing dancing and line dancing.

Participants including Grace Wammack said they like the new location.

"It's just a cool place to dance, and it's nice and it works," Wammack said. "I like it a lot! It's a super fun experience and everybody should try it at least once!"

Swing dances are held on Tuesday nights throughout the summer.

Next week's event is at Rosa Parks Circle.

The group starts at 7 o'clock with a swing dancing lesson.


Oakdale Park CRC Celebrates 125 Years this Weekend

Oakdale Park CRC Celebrates 125 Years this Weekend

Leaders and parishioners from Oakdale Park Christian Reformed Church, a culturally-diverse place of worship in Grand Rapids, will celebrate the 125th Anniversary of their church with a service led by Senior Pastor Emmett Harrison. The Church service is Sunday, May 17, 2015 at 10:30am followed by a celebration dinner at 12:30pm.

This celebration dinner is open to all people and is free to attend. It will be catered by the LINC Up Soul Food Café and held at the church, located at 961 Temple SE in Grand Rapids, MI 49507. Oakdale’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has helped the congregation grow its’ ministries, community outreach and service programs. The church also helps other outside organizations by providing use of its facilities.

Oakdale Park CRC was founded in 1890 and has more than 400 parishioners and currently is led by Senior Pastor Emmett Harrison.