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Home & Garden Show continues this weekend


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- You can think spring over at DeVos Place all weekend long. The West Michigan Home & Garden show kicks off Thursday afternoon.

The expo showcases everything you need to spruce up your home. Nearly 400 vendors will be on hand to share their expertise in everything from kitchen remodeling to roof repair.

You can even walk through a dozen gardens for landscape inspiration, says show manager Carolyn Alt. "You walk in any door and there's going to be a beautiful garden in front of you. There are more than 12 gardens in the show."

This is the 36th year for the home and garden show, which runs through Sunday. You can find a listing of all the events, ticket prices, and dealers at this link: http://bit.ly/1lFlrmp.

Construction strong in Grand Rapids


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The U.S. economy in February added 295,000 jobs the 12th straight monthly gain above 200,000, Numbers added in Grand Rapids are not known yet, but the number of cranes dotting the skyline indicate job growth is gaining here.

Chris Beckering is hiring; he is the VP of Pioneer Construction. Pioneer recently purchased a new, nearly one million dollar crane, its third crane purchase in four years.

"I think that Grand Rapids is doing particularly well within the state of Michigan, I think the state of Michigan is coming back and in some ways outpacing the national economy," Beckering said Friday.

Beckering spoke outside the Hampton Inn his firm is building on Michigan Street. It should be complete in August.

Dégagé honors women who've transitioned out of homelessness


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Dégagé Ministries is honoring West Michigan women who have transitioned out of homelessness.

Dégagé's Open Door, Open Hearts event offered these women an evening of pampering. It highlights the important work taking place in Dégagé's Open Door Women's Center, which every night gives 40 women a safe place to sleep.

Last year, 55 women were able to go from being homeless to having their own apartment, says Dégagé executive director Marge Palmerlee.

"These are women who have been chronically homeless, some of them," said Palmerlee. "Others are homeless and have nowhere to turn, so we are thrilled to be able to walk alongside them."

Since the center opened in 2003, it has served more than 3,000 women in crisis.


GRPD body cam testing underway


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- The Grand Rapids Police Department has begun field testing body cameras.

GRPD announced Thursday that field testing had started on Wednesday.

Police say officers from each operational unit, from each service area, and from each shift volunteered for the field testing.

GRPD leaders have until March 10 to finish drafting a policy to govern how the department will use this equipment.

Dr. Lynne Cheney to speak at event honoring Betty Ford


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Dr. Lynne Cheney plans to visit Grand Rapids to honor former First Lady Betty Ford's birthday next month.

Dr. Cheney is speaking at the program America's First Ladies on April 14. She'll be joined by her husband, former Vice President Dick Cheney, to speak about the influential role of our nation's first ladies.

They'll also share personal stories from a decades-long friendship with Betty Ford, who would have turned 97 years old.


Well-known area comic performing at LaughFest


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - LaughFest starts Thursday, with 10 days of comedy for a good cause.

One of the comics featured in the event is David Dyer, who lives in Grand Rapids and is considered one of the biggest comics to come out of West Michigan.

"I have been doing stand-up for 22 years," explains Dyer. His comedy includes bits about his weight, his family, and his life living in Grand Rapids.

"A lot of guys start before they get married," said Dyer. "I got married in [a] December and I got on stage the following March."

He had wanted to be a comic for a long time, but it was his wife who pushed him 22 years ago to finally take the stage.

Dyer says his first open mic was in Lansing.

Goodwill catering to move into downtown market


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Goodwill Industries announced Wednesday that they will be moving their Blue Spoon catering into the Grand Rapids Downtown Market.

Goodwill will also open Blue Spoon Soup & Spuds cafe in the market as well. 90% of revenues from Blue Spoon catering and Soup & Spuds will go to the organization's job training and placement programs. Blue Spoon is currently the in-house caterer for Blue35, UPS, and several other local corporations, according to Goodwill.

Soup & Spuds will serve lunch and dinner and plans to be open in mid-April.