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Rapid Growth Media - Reader Survey

Rapid Growth Media - Reader Survey

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New children's series filmed in West Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)-West Michigan is the focus of a new children's video series.

A crew is wrapping up filming for the new show called "Charlie & Company". The seven part series is about a golden retriever and his friends who go on adventures, learning along the way.

The production team spent the past two weeks shooting scenes in Norton Shores, Holland, Grand Haven and Grand Rapids. The show's lead actress, producer and writer are all from West Michigan.

"I think today has been my most exciting day so far because we're up, we're moving along and we're having fun," says Danielle Slot, who plays Miss Ellie in the series.

"This is a great chance to teach kids but also to have a lot of fun, and that's what we're doing here," adds producer Adam Mellema.

School Zone Publications is expected to release "Charlie & Company" next summer.

Founders Brewery expanding again

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Demand for Grand Rapids' signature brewer of craft beer is so high, Founders Brewing is embarking on a $26 million dollar expansion.  

The plan was formally announced Wednesday when the Michigan Economic Development Corporation approved a $2 million Business Development Program grant for the company.   Earlier, the city of Grand Rapids approved tax breaks over 12 years worth $300,000.

The Right Place, Inc. said the expansion will result generate "52 new jobs for the area over three years.   The jobs will range from managerial to service, with the bulk of positions being in the operations and services positions."


Tech Boom: Epic Innovator Dan Behm of OST

Tech Boom: Epic Innovator Dan Behm of OST

Matt Simpson Siegel

It’s fitting that Open Systems Technologies (OST) sits inside the former Drueke Toys building on Grand Rapids’ Westside.
Walking in, one feels incredibly welcome. One is tempted to linger at the posh kitchen counter, gazing at the exposed brick and woodwork. Above the fireplace to the left, a monitor broadcasts Santa’s reindeer at the North Pole via http://reindeercam.com. This certainly is not an ordinary office; names of games in tribute to Drueke adorn the various rooms while kitchenettes and club chairs appear peppered about.
 “Here’s my philosophy on company culture and it’s always been this way,” explains the jovial Dan Behm, OST co-founder and CEO. "If it ever fails to be fun then I’m going to change the culture back until it is fun.”

All I want for Christmas is a better ACT score…

All I want for Christmas is a better ACT score…

From: http://www.grpl.org

Do you know any high school juniors or seniors who are preparing to take or retake the ACT? Or perhaps you are one yourself? Don’t miss your chance to better understand and prepare for this important test!

I know after my first try – just winging it really – I signed up for a second test to try to get a higher score that would have meant thousands of dollars more toward tuition at the college of my choice. Unfortunately, I did not take a class from the professionals and ended up with the same score a second time. I actually improved in several specific areas but dropped in others resulting in the same overall score.

Toys For Tots reports increased demand

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - The Toys For Tots have been piling up at WZZM13 and other donation locations.

Now it's time to get everything sorted, packed and distributed in time for Christmas.

"We are usually at our Grand Rapids warehouse about 20 hours a week sorting and boxing up toys and getting them ready to go," says Toys For Tots site coordinator Mindy Pierman. "All toys are sorted by age and gender, counted, packed and taken to distribution sites."

Volunteers do all of the work. Some come back year after year.

"Just felt like doing it," explains volunteer Benjamin Karczewski. "It's the Christmas season."

Toys for Tots coordinator Bill O'Connor says he has been volunteering for over 30 years.

"When I wake up Christmas morning I know we have made a difference," he says. "Because of these volunteers there are children out there opening Christmas presents. It's a cool feeling."

Busiest mailing day of the year

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Are Christmas cards becoming a thing of the past? Not according to the U.S. Postal Service. They say Monday is the busiest mailing day of the year, with more that 15 billion cards mailed nationwide.

As for Grand Rapids, the city will be mailing at least one million letters and packages Monday alone; a 30% increase since last year.

All the mailers we talked to say even though they're using mail less and less for communicating with their families, holiday mail is still something special, which they look forward to all year long.

"I get a few cards from family," said Kristin Heagberg of Grand Rapids. "I get one card from a friend who makes her one. I send a few out; those people who send me cards, I send them back."

Ricky Holt, also of Grand Rapids, does the same: "I still get them and send them out. Actually, we're leaving a couple for the trash guy and the mailman today."