Our network

News

Man charged in 1990 homicide "should be held accountable,'' victim's mom says


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- For nearly a quarter century, the parents of Christopher Joel Battaglia have sought closure in the June, 1990 murder of their son outside a church in Eastown.

That closure arrived with a phone call from Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth, telling them a 56-year-old man was arrested for the clubbing death of their son.

Jerry and Gail Battaglia sat quietly at a news conference today where Forsyth and Grand Rapids police announced the arrest of Aurelias Jualious Marshall. He was arraigned today for felony murder stemming from the June 11, 1990 attack on the 23-year-old college student, who died two hours after he was found on the sidewalk in front of Trinity United Methodist Church on Lake Drive SE.

GRPD: Arrest made in 1990 Eastown homicide


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Police have made an arrest in the June 1990 murder of Christopher Joel Battaglia, who was bludgeoned to death while walking home in the Eastown neighborhood on Grand Rapids' southeast side.

Aurelias Jualious Marshall, 56, was booked into the Kent County Jail Thursday for open murder. He was arrested last month on a felony perjury charge, but was released after posting a $200,000 bond.

He is being held without bond in the Kent County Jail pending arraignment Friday for open murder.

Battaglia had left Mulligan's Pub in Eastown about 1:45 a.m. on June 11. Passersby found him in front of Trinity United Methodist Church on Lake Drive SE suffering from severe head wounds. Battaglia died a few hours later.

The 23-year-old was about to start classes at Aquinas College.

Grand Valley Metro Council holds meeting on transportation plan


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- The condition of our roads was a hot topic Wednesday night in Grand Rapids, when the Grand Valley Metropolitan Council met to share details of its transportation plans for the Grand Rapids area.

The Metropolitan Transportation Plan is an analysis of the area's different needs and solutions to them. It addresses things like congestion, public transit, and bicycle traffic. The plan accounts for the years through 2040, said transportation planning director Abed Itani.

"It takes time to do these things, so it's always good to plan ahead to make sure you know where the problems are and you know which projects you want to do," he said. "When money becomes available, you can move ahead and start implementing these projects. If you want to wait until the last minute you're not going to be able to do anything."

Dégagé Christmas store helps Heartside neighborhood


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- A charitable organization in Grand Rapids opened its Christmas store Wednesday.

It's the second year that Dégagé Ministries is running that store. It's stocked with items for those who use Dégagé's services to shop for family and friends.

It's a change from how the the ministry used to approach Christmas, in hopes of giving their clients a more normal holiday, according to Dégagé's Liz Warners.

"We used to do Christmas bags that we would hand out to everybody," she said, "but they were pretty generic and we wanted to offer a dignified way for people to come through and purchase items they wanted at a low cost."

Most of the stock was donated. Last year, the Christmas store was so popular that the organization expanded the store hours to include two days.


My Town: Looking for a job? Head to Grand Rapids, survey says

My Town: Looking for a job?  Head to Grand Rapids, survey says

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Grand Rapids is where the jobs will be in 2015, according to survey results published by Forbes.

Every quarter, Manpower surveys employers in each market to determine who will be hiring and who will be firing. The biggest jump in employment is expected to happen in the Cape Coral, Florida area, where 32 percent of surveyed companies said they planned to hire new staff in the first quarter of 2015.  McAllen, Texas ranked second for jobs, with an estimated 29 percent of companies hiring; Grand Rapids tied with Deltona, Florida for third place, with approximately 26 percent of businesses planning to add positions. For the complete rankings, visit Forbes’ website.

Police body cameras, ride-sharing service on G.R. agenda


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)—Grand Rapids city commissioners discussed two hot topics Tuesday night—body cameras and the ride-sharing service Uber.

Commissioners listened to opinions on whether Grand Rapids police officers should wear body cameras. Two weeks ago, hundreds of people packed the commission meeting to speak out about the issue. Body cameras weren't on the agenda at the time, but the issue was Tuesday night.

For over an hour and a half citizens came forward saying that they were in support of body cameras for Grand Rapids police officers. Many felt that instituting the use of them would be like extending an olive branch to minorities.

Police in Grant and White Cloud already use body cameras. In some cases, departments have purchased the devices as a cheaper alternative to in-car dash cameras.

The issue will now move to the City Manager who will make his recommendation on January 13.

Guiding Light Mission turns to community for donations


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)- On Sunday, Guiding Light Mission is hosting a Christmas dinner for the men it serves. But, the mission is looking for community support.

Executive Stuart Ray says Guiding Light is in need of pies and coffee to be used at a December 21st Christmas dinner for the men seeking shelter and undergoing rehabilitation at the Mission located in the Heartside neighborhood.

More than 400 people are expected.


Donations for pies and coffee can be dropped off at Guiding Light Mission located at 255 South Division Avenue in Grand Rapids.