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Grand Rapids Central's 150th anniversary

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Betty Ford went there.  Astronaut Roger B. Chafee was a student there, too.

Grand Rapids Central High School has thousands of distinguished alumni, and Saturday afternoon many of them will be back to celebrate the school's 150th anniversary.

"See how people are doing since then, from then to now," says Kathy LaMar, class of 1976. "Good memories."

"We had so much fun," says Rick Riley, class of 1968. "We had school spirit, we had school pride."

Organizers of the 150th anniversary celebration says over 37,000 students have graduated from Grand Rapids Central.

"My entire family, my sisters, brother and father all graduated from here," says Riley. "My father said anybody that was anybody went to Central."

"We've invited everyone we can find," says celebration co-chair Jan Zanberg. "Of course, we have been graduating people since 1862 and, obviously, some of those won't be joining us."

The Biggest Bicycle Rally in Greater Grand Rapids

WZZM (GRAND RAPIDS) - If you haven't had a chance to break out your bike yet for Active Commute Week, Friday is the day.

A week of activites have set the stage for Bike to Work Day.

The Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition has rallies planned from 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. across the area.

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell will jump on his bike and commute to work as well.

Rally Stops:

Ada Bike Shop - Fulton Store & Common Ground Coffee - 1311 E. Fulton St., East Fulton District

Alger Bikes - 120 28th St. SW, Wyoming

Central District Cyclery - 52 Monroe Ctr. NW, Downtown (breakfast, snacks, and coffee)

East Hills Center of the Universe - Corner of Lake Dr. & Diamond Ave., East Hills

Grand Rapids Community College - Sneden Hall - 415 E. Fulton St. (at the bus pull in), Heritage Hill

Metro Health & Family Fare - 2275 Health Dr. SW, Metro Health Village

A tour of the old WZZM 13

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- WZZM 13's original home was in the Pantlind Hotel in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids.

Today, the Pantlind is part of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.  The former studios where the news and Bozo the Clown were broadcast from are now the Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and a banquet room. 

Bernie Gorter, who has worked for WZZM 13 for the last 44 years, took us on a tour of the station's former home.  You can see his trip through the memories in the video box on this web page.

Michigan Notable Books Author Speaks at Cooley Law School

On Wednesday, May 16, Jack Dempsey, author of Michigan and the Civil War: A Great and Bloody Sacrifice, visited Cooley Law School’s Grand Rapids campus to talk about his latest book as part of the 2012 Michigan Notable Books Program. The book offers a glimpse into Michigan’s role in the preservation of the Union. Dempsey explained that Michigan has a history of being pro-freedom and anti-slavery and talked about the great sacrifice Michigan made with its 90,000 men (and some women dressed as men) who served in the Civil War.  Nearly 15,000 Michigan soldiers died.  He said that no other state suffered proportionately more losses.

G-Sync: Judy Wicks, Locals' Hero

G-Sync: Judy Wicks, Locals' Hero

Tommy Allen, Lifestyle Editor

Just over 10 years ago, an individual in the sustainable movement came to Grand Rapids. She arrived to share insights about the importance of supporting local businesses and to creating bold practices. At first, such change might terrify us (or our boardrooms) because the actions she advocated were too many. While her recommendations were, at the time, pioneering new ground, they were the right course of action to take. However, they appeared risky to some.

Years ago, when the city of Grand Rapids took those risks, we helped bring about incredible change not just for us as individuals, but most importantly, for our region that was transformed for the better.  Judy Wicks’ project, the Business Alliance of Local Living Economies (BALLE), was all about boldness and her simple message of 'I have seen it work in my town, it will work here' moved many of us.

Erhardt Construction announces charitable plan

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)- One of West Michigan's largest construction companies is marking half a century in business with a new charitable initiative.

This morning Erhardt Construction owners unveiled a plan to donate $50,000 in construction work and cash to non-profits in Kent and Ottawa Counties. Any non-profit can enter the contest by filling out an application on Erhardt Construction's website before June 12, 2012. The winner will recieve $45,000 in construction and four runners up will receive cash prizes of more than $1,000.

Local First business conference in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Business leaders from around the country are in Grand Rapids this week to stress the importance of having strong locally owned businesses.

It's part of the tenth annual BALLE Business Conference. BALLE stands for Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. This is the first time the conference is being held in Grand Rapids.

The conference focuses on the economic and environmental advantages of buying from local stores and businesses.

Local First of Grand Rapids is hosting the conference, which started Tuesday with tours of West Michigan businesses known for using sustainable methods, as well as members of the furniture industry. You can click on the above link to learn more details about the conference, which does still have tickets available.