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Grandville Parks & Rec Board backs parade safety plan


GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) -- Grandville's Park and Recreation Board is backing a plan to keep giveaways during the city's 4th of July parade.

That comes after safety concerns of parade-goers getting too close to the floats to collect candy or other hand-outs.

The parks board had previously backed a temporary ban on parade giveaways but has now decided to back this new plan requiring at least 200 volunteers to line the parade route and walk alongside the floats to act as spotters.


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Hudsonville's reference to God could spell legal trouble


HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) -- Weeks after a controversy over a sign with biblical language in a Jenison park, a neighboring community added religious language to a city memo. Starting this year, an updated version of Hudsonville's city newsletter includes the phrase 'strive to serve God,' which is already part of the city's mission statement.

WZZM 13 spoke to city leaders about whether the changes were tied to other religious controversies in Ottawa County.

One word, perhaps even one letter, changes the meaning of Hudsonville's mission statement.

"Probably 'striving to serve good' would satisfy many people, but isn't God good," says John O'Brien, Mayor pro tem and council member for the city of Hudsonville.

The words 'strive to serve God' came to light in an updated version of the city's memo to staff and media.

One state lawmakers is pushing for a bill that would allow school districts more snow days per year.


JENISON, Mich. (WZZM) -- School districts are quickly using up their snow days. Now, one state lawmaker is pushing for a bill that would allow school districts more snow days per year.

Winter's grip is putting the squeeze on school snow days once again.

"These last two winters have made it very very difficult in terms of making the call," says Tom TenBrink, Superintendent of Jenison Public Schools.

TenBrink says he typically calls off school about two times a year. This year is already double that, and last year was more than triple the average.

"Last year, we used seven snow days and that was the most in the history of Jenison Public Schools," says TenBrink.

Released killer convicted in June rape of elderly Grandville woman


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) – An hour after Shawn James Jarrett was convicted for the June 2014 rape of an 85-year-old Grandville woman, the Kent County Prosecutor's Office today authorized a warrant charging him with the April slaying of a co-worker in Walker.

Jarrett, 51, is charged with open murder stemming from the April 24 disappearance and murder of Berta Yolanda Reyes. They worked together at Neal Mast & Sons Greenhouses in Walker.

Reyes' partially-clothed body was found May 20 at a construction site a half-mile from where the two worked.

Jarrett was identified as a suspect shortly after he was arrested for the June 19 rape of the elderly woman inside her home on Prairie Street SW. Walker police say Jarrett's criminal background and circumstantial evidence made him a prime suspect.

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Elderly Grandville rape victim testifies


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- An 85-year-old Grandville woman testified Tuesday morning about how she was beaten, raped, and robbed by a convicted murderer in her home.

Testimony began in the trial of Shawn Jarrett, who is charged with criminal sexual conduct and home invasion. He is also a suspect in a murder case in Walker last April.

RELATED: Paroled killer had special interest for slain co-worker

Prosecutors say Jarrett broke into the woman's home in June 2014, assaulted her, stole money and then rode away on a bicycle.

Jolie Ledford to co-star in Nickelodeon Show on February 14

Jolie Ledford to co-star in Nickelodeon Show on February 14

HUDSONVILLE, Mich.--Jolie Ledford of Hudsonville will be co-starring in Episode 116 of Nickelodeon’s “Henry Danger” on Saturday, Feb. 14.

Jolie, 10, started acting in a local theater two years ago. Jolie has been busy with her venture to Hollywood; in 2014, she had a small speaking role in the made for TV movie “Naughty & Nice” that appeared during the Christmas season on the UP Channel. She also had a principle role in “Camp Nottahope”, a speaking role in AT & T’s Industrial, “Connection is Universal”, and a small role in a web series, “Apartment 201." Jolie then played a supporting role in a student film, “Miss Madeline” and a lead role in a student film, “Last Seen”.

She recently landed the co-star role on the popular Nickelodeon kids show, "Henry Danger," which premiers this Saturday at 8 p.m.

Jolie’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jolieledford

Meijer generates nearly $6 Million for Midwest food pantries in 2014

Meijer generates nearly $6 Million for Midwest food pantries in 2014

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The Meijer Simply Give program – held three times a year – generated nearly $6 million in 2014 for food pantries throughout the Midwest, bringing the program’s overall donation total to nearly $14 million since it began in November 2008.

The retailer’s most recent campaign, which ended in January, was the most successful holiday campaign in the program’s history, resulting in a total of more than $1.8 million for hungry families.