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GR Catholic Central students deliver gifts to families in need


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- More than 40 families in need around Grand Rapids will have a happy holiday thanks to some West Michigan children.

Students and faculty at Catholic Central High School delivered Christmas presents on Friday.

It's part of the school's tradition of adopting families from the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in the city's Heartside community.

The school began collecting gifts, household items, and food for the families before Thanksgiving.

Then, the students, faculty, and staff wrapped everything up and made their deliveries.

"For over six decades, we've been given names from the Cathedral of families in need, and our students always rally around the cause," said Principal Greg Deeja.

Hearing delayed for GR man charged with killing girlfriend


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- A hearing for a Grand Rapids man accused of killing his girlfriend last month before fleeing to Detroit was adjourned today to allow Jermaine Arnet Cooper's attorney more time to prepare his defense.

Cooper waved to family members as he was led into Grand Rapids District Court Friday afternoon for a probable cause hearing.

Defense attorney Jonathan Schildgen asked that a preliminary examination set for next week be adjourned.

Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Kellee Koncki did not object, but asked that Cooper have no contact with his two children prior to the hearing because they may be called as witnesses.

Degage Ministries opens annual Christmas Store


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Degage Ministries is offering low-income residents the chance to buy Christmas gifts for loved ones.

Degage has organized its third annual Christmas Store in Grand Rapids' Heartside neighborhood.

The gifts, which were donated, are all available at discounted prices.

"As always, the community, we're so blessed with their generosity, they responded," said Bob Kreter, Marketing Manager. "We received so many items through Amazon and all the items that were being dropped off at the store daily to be able to fill our store."

Some customers can use vouchers to pay for items. Customers can earn vouchers by doing jobs for Degage's mission.

GRPD officers begin body cam training


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Training is starting for the first Grand Rapids Police Department personnel learning to use body cameras.

GRPD will be the first agency in the country to use the Axon Body 2 camera made by TASER International.

The decision to use that model was made after a pilot program earlier this year, which helped officers learn about how they wanted the cameras to function.

This particular Axon Body 2 camera requires less officer involvement, thanks to automatic functions and other features.

The department has only received 20 of the body cameras so far, because the rest are still in production. Eventually, all 298 sworn officers will have one.

These body cameras have a longer battery life and more storage capacity. They also have a vibrate alert when the camera is recording, whereas others only have an audible alert.

When Grand Rapids police cruisers could carry rifles


UPDATE:  At the city commission meeting Tuesday evening, the purchase of more rifles for GRPD was given a final approval.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Grand Rapids Police cruisers could be equipped with rifles in the coming year following a 5-2 vote Tuesday morning.

A lengthy discussion engaged Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, city commissioners and police Chief David Rahinsky as to the purchase of roughly $69,000 for 65 rifles for 59 vehicles starting as early as summer 2016.

First Ward commissioners Walt Gutowski and Dave Shaffer voted for the proposal. So, too, did Heartwell and mayor-elect Second Ward Commissioner Rosalynn Bliss. Third Ward Commissioner Elias Lumpkins, Jr. also voted in favor.

The city is slated to spend an additional $230,000 on rifle ammo and officer training — money already allocated in the police budget.

Downtown Grand Rapids becomes a "2030 District"


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- The City of Grand Rapids is taking a big step toward becoming more energy efficient.

Monday morning, Grand Rapids was officially designated a 2030 District city. The public and private partnership involves property owners and operators in downtown Grand Rapids. The 2030 Plan is a long-range policy to reduce energy use within the district, which covers nearly 10 million square feet of downtown real estate.

Grand Rapids is just the 11th city in the nation, and the 12th worldwide, to establish a 2030 district.

3 years after Sandy Hook, group marches against gun violence


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Dozens of people wearing orange marched along the streets of downtown Grand Rapids on Sunday to spread a message of peace and resolution, in wake of recent gun attacks.

The march commemorates the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, which took place on Dec. 14, 2012. The organization Moms Demand Action states on its social media page that during the past three years, they have honored victims and survivors of gun violence by calling on Congress and local governments for more realistic and logical gun policies.

The local chapter encouraged the crowd to learn more about state Senate Bill 442, which if passed would allow concealed carry in schools, churches and other public places. A candlelight vigil, walk and several guest speakers were included in Sunday's event at the Fountain Street Church.