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Sustainability group calls G.R. an emerging city

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- The City of Grand Rapids was officially designated an emerging city Friday morning.

A group called Architecture 2030 is behind the designation.

The effort to earn that distinction in Grand Rapids is part of a project to cut energy and water consumption in the downtown area.

Mayor Heartwell announced the city will work with private developers and businesses to reduce overall power consumption by 50 percent by 2030. He also said he would like to see the city completely switch to renewable power by 2020.

"This is a key piece in reducing our long-term energy consumption and switching from fossil fuels to clean energy solutions," the Mayor said. "It is beyond anything we have ever done before, to really reduce the consumption of energy in our buildings downtown."

Noorthoek Academy students honored

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Poetry was part of a special college celebration in Grand Rapids Thursday night.

It's the end of the school year for special education students at Noorthoek Academy. For 26 years, students with disabilties have been participating in the college experience through that program at Grand Rapids Community College.

This year, a record 76 students were enrolled in Noorthoek. Some have been attending for more than 20 years.

Students were recognized with certificates and medals, and also read poems they wrote this year.

WZZM 13's Juliet Dragos had the honor of emceeing Thursday's celebration.

American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge offering rooms for blood and bone marrow transplant patients

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - The American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge on Jefferson Street in Grand Rapids has provided free housing for families of cancer patients since 2008.

Now they have expanded to include six rooms to accommodate the unique needs of Blood and Marrow Transplant patients.

Kyle Cutler of the American Cancer Society talks with WZZM 13 Health Reporter Valerie Lego about the expansion.

ChoiceOne Bank Supports Habitat for Humanity

ChoiceOne Bank Supports Habitat for Humanity

News Release:

ChoiceOne Bank staff recently participated in Grand Valley State University’s Community Outreach Week: March 21-28, 2015. Jim Bosserd, President & CEO of ChoiceOne Bank, gave the effort his full support.

ChoiceOne bank staff donated their time and efforts at two Habitat for Humanity projects in the area. On March 25, they spent the day at the Newaygo County Habitat for Humanity ReStore painting and building structures. ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price.

On March 27, the volunteers spent the day at a Habitat home construction site in Grand Rapids helping to paint, trim, and provide overall maintenance.

Aquinas getting $2.2M gift from estate

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- Aquinas College is getting a $2.2 million gift from the estate of Helen Palmatier.

The Grand Rapids school says Palmatier, who died in 2014, was preceded in death by her husband Jackman Palmatier, who died in 1981. The family previously supported the school's sustainable business program, annual fund and various fundraising events.

Jackman Palmatier worked at Antrim Iron from 1923 to 1942 and later at Grand Rapids Gravel.

Neighbors in SE Grand Rapids say drug activity must stop

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - People in the South Hill neighborhood on the southeast side of Grand Rapids say drug activity there is becoming too much to bear.

"There are drug deals constantly going on, on this corner constant, everyday all day," said a neighbor who did not want to be identified.

She described what she said happens daily: "They'll get out of their car, they'll walk up half a block, someone walks down and meets them half a block, make a little exchange -- you know, a 30-second exchange -- and the person walks back to the car, and the other person walks back to their area."

Three years ago, she and her husband reached a a tipping point, when they said a bullet flew into their house.

Amtrak: New train schedule allows more time in Chicago

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Amtrak has released its new schedule for the route between Grand Rapids and Chicago.

The Pere Marquette will now leave from Grand Rapids at 6 a.m. and arrive in Chicago a little after 9 a.m. local time. It will leave from Chicago at 6:30 p.m. and get back to Grand Rapids at 11:40 p.m.

The previous schedule gave travelers a six-hour day in Chicago; the new schedule allows for a nine-hour day.

Amtrak representatives tell us the expanded schedule will also add at least eight new jobs based in Grand Rapids.