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Police to take homeless to shelter amid storm


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Amid a winter storm bearing down on West Michigan, officers with the Grand Rapids Police Department are looking for those caught in the elements.

The department are conducting sweeps of the downtown area in an effort to locate homeless people who might not be in shelter.

"We've had weather related deaths in the homeless community, that's something we've had in the past and that's something we are trying to avoid, some of them so needless in an alleyway downtown literally feet from a door that they could have stepped inside," says Lt. Patrick Merrill.

At 2 p.m. Monday search found no persons, and police plan to look again around 3:15 p.m., said Matt Ostapowicz, a captain with the department.

Dégagé offers Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas breakfast


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Many people will celebrate Christmas with a warm, home-cooked meal.

For some, that's not an option.

That's why Dégagé Ministries served up some Christmas cheer on Christmas Eve.

The mission served ribs, stuffing, and rolls to those who would not otherwise be able to afford a Christmas dinner.

This year's dinner was a little different, too. One volunteer opened up dinner with Christmas carols. He says sometimes a song can reach a person better than words.

"We need to sing praises to His name and try to encourage and lift each other up," said volunteer Thomas Carpenter. "I believe a song can touch a person better than words. If it's familiar, it can open up a door and we can get in more."

Kent Co. park system gets boost for improvements


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- A park system in western Michigan is getting a boost for improvements and expansion efforts.

Kent County recently announced that former U.S. ambassador Peter Secchia pledged an additional $500,000 to Meadows at Millennium Park.

In August, the county's board approved an agreement with the Secchia Family Limited Partnership to finance about $3 million in improvements to the park. Bids came in higher than expected, however.

The county says $200,000 is authorized for the Kent County Parks project from the 2016 budget for capital improvements.

Amway Grand Plaza joins Hilton's Curio Collection


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- The most famous hotel in Grand Rapids is now part of a chain.

On Monday, the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel officially became part of the Curio Collection by Hilton.

In a news release, the Curio Collection is said to cater to "passionate travelers seeking local discovery and authentic experiences."

Both companies say the hotel will be able to attract more guests through Hilton's rewards program.


GR Catholic Central students deliver gifts to families in need


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- More than 40 families in need around Grand Rapids will have a happy holiday thanks to some West Michigan children.

Students and faculty at Catholic Central High School delivered Christmas presents on Friday.

It's part of the school's tradition of adopting families from the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in the city's Heartside community.

The school began collecting gifts, household items, and food for the families before Thanksgiving.

Then, the students, faculty, and staff wrapped everything up and made their deliveries.

"For over six decades, we've been given names from the Cathedral of families in need, and our students always rally around the cause," said Principal Greg Deeja.

Hearing delayed for GR man charged with killing girlfriend


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- A hearing for a Grand Rapids man accused of killing his girlfriend last month before fleeing to Detroit was adjourned today to allow Jermaine Arnet Cooper's attorney more time to prepare his defense.

Cooper waved to family members as he was led into Grand Rapids District Court Friday afternoon for a probable cause hearing.

Defense attorney Jonathan Schildgen asked that a preliminary examination set for next week be adjourned.

Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Kellee Koncki did not object, but asked that Cooper have no contact with his two children prior to the hearing because they may be called as witnesses.

Degage Ministries opens annual Christmas Store


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Degage Ministries is offering low-income residents the chance to buy Christmas gifts for loved ones.

Degage has organized its third annual Christmas Store in Grand Rapids' Heartside neighborhood.

The gifts, which were donated, are all available at discounted prices.

"As always, the community, we're so blessed with their generosity, they responded," said Bob Kreter, Marketing Manager. "We received so many items through Amazon and all the items that were being dropped off at the store daily to be able to fill our store."

Some customers can use vouchers to pay for items. Customers can earn vouchers by doing jobs for Degage's mission.