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Movies in the Park gives big return to GR

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- It's paying off for the city of Grand Rapids to show free film screenings at a downtown park during the summer.

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. on Wednesday released its economic report on the popular series.

Ah-nab-awen Park hosted six movies this summer. The screenings brought in $664,000 to the downtown Grand Rapids economy.

The series generated more than $400 for each dollar the city spent to produce the Movies in the Park events, and attendance was up 67 percent from last year.

Grand Rapids fire chief to retire after 31 years

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- After 31 years with the Grand Rapids Fire Department, Chief Laura Knapp has announced her plans to retire. Her last day will be Jan. 9, 2016.

Chief Knapp began her career with Grand Rapids as a firefighter in 1984. She then earned a series of promotions; lieutenant in 1992, captain in 1995, battalion chief in 1999, deputy fire chief in 2004 and interim fire chief in July 2009 before being promoted to chief in December later that year.

"We truly transformed this department and I believe that, collectively, our hard work and dedication has made a positive difference," Knapp said in a press release. "I could not be prouder of what we have accomplished and the GRFD is a better organization today than when we first began."

An interim fire chief will be named in the next 30 days while the city's human resources department begins a search for Knapp's successor.

Grand Rapids city commission chambers rennovations finished

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Tuesday the Grand Rapids City Commission held its first meeting in the newly renovated City Commission Chambers.  

The project included new windows, technology upgrades, and expanding the room's capacity.

The City Commission spent time over the summer and fall meeting in different locations while the work was being done. The good news is, according to the city, the renovation was completed on time, and under-budget by about $10,000.

Tree lighting kicks off the holidays in downtown GR

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- It may not really feel like Christmastime outside, but Grand Rapids is getting into the holiday spirit.

The city on Thursday night lit the towering tree outside the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Opera Grand Rapids Chorus performed first, and then Doug Small of Experience Grand Rapids and mayor-elect Rosalynn Bliss spoke ahead of the 5:45 p.m. lighting.

The tree lighting almost didn't happen this year; the Grand Rapids Art Museum canceled the ceremony back in October, saying it didn't have the money to replace the lights. That work cost $50,000.

Second Annual Chili & Beer Festival follows Parade in Ada

Second Annual Chili & Beer Festival follows Parade in Ada

Ready to buy tickets or enter your chili in the competition? Click Here!

Ada Chili and Beer Festival

December 5: 11:00am-3:00pm

Join us for the second annual Ada Chili and Beer Festival!  This is a family friendly event following the Christmas parade in the center of Ada Village.  12 Breweries will highlight seasonal beer offerings while restaurants and home-cooks compete for the coveted Chili cook-off trophy from 11:00am – 2:00pm. More than 20 kinds of Chili will be featured for everyone to sample. Hot Dogs, prepared by the Ada Fire Department, will be available also.

2016 Secondary Schools International Women’s Day Essay Contest

2016 Secondary Schools International Women’s Day Essay Contest

The non-profit, Grand Rapids Sister Cities International is pleased to announce this Essay contest that is open to Grades 9 – 12 in the City of Grand Rapids.

The 1000 word, double space essay that the student will be creating is “A Special Woman Who Influenced Me”. The essay, about a special woman can be living or deceased, may or may not be someone that the student has met and must be in one of the countries represented by one of Grand Rapids Sister Cities.

The Deadline is January 30, 2016. Essay should be mailed to: GRSCI at 303 Monroe Ave. NW in Grand Rapids, MI 49503 - Attention: 2016 GRSCI International Women’s Contest.

Call Ruth Anne Loma: (616)791-9030 for more information. Visit http://www.grsistercities.org/about/

Grand Rapids' 17th Circuit Court slated for expansion

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- The 17th Circuit Court is growing, thanks to the number of cases that appear on the docket each day.

A committee with the Kent County Board of Commissioners agreed to the additions during a meeting this Tuesday morning.

If approved the board as a whole, the court will add a new judge, two clerks, an assistant prosecutor and two corrections officers.