kent county http://michiganradio.org en Another Kent County Commissioner facing felony charge resigns http://michiganradio.org/post/another-kent-county-commissioner-facing-felony-charge-resigns <p>A Kent County commissioner is resigning. <a href="http://www.michaelwaweejr.com/">Michael Wawee Jr </a>is facing a felony embezzlement charge for between $1,000 and $20,000, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.</p><p>Wawee announced his resignation Thursday. The Republican from the Grand Rapids suburb of Walker was arrested earlier this month.</p><p>He's accused of overcharging families for the engraving of grave markers while working as a salesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids. Police say the diocese was not aware of the overcharging.</p> Thu, 13 Feb 2014 18:25:36 +0000 Lindsey Smith 16431 at http://michiganradio.org Kent County Commissioner resigns to focus on proving 'absolute and complete innocence' http://michiganradio.org/post/kent-county-commissioner-resigns-focus-proving-absolute-and-complete-innocence <p>Gary Rolls resigned from the Kent County Commission today. In a <a href="http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/michigan/files/201312/Statement_from_Mr._Rolls.pdf?__utma=227721857.737606320.1381320433.1386857893.1386864035.261&amp;__utmb=227721857.77.5.1386864784245&amp;__utmc=227721857&amp;__utmx=-&amp;__utmz=227721857.1386822951.257.6.utmcsr=facebook.com|utmccn=(referral)|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/l.php&amp;__utmv=-&amp;__utmk=96727324">brief written statement </a>to the board, Rolls thanked his constituents for allowing him to serve.</p><p>“I will use this time to prepare for trial to prove my absolute and complete innocence,” Rolls’ letter said. The resignation takes effect January 1<sup>st</sup>, 2014.</p><blockquote><p align="LEFT"><font face="Times New Roman">“We accepted the resignation of Commissioner Rolls this morning,” said Dan Koorndyk, </font><font face="Times New Roman">Chairman of the Board of Commissioners. “We appreciate that he recognizes it is better for the </font><font face="Times New Roman">Board of Commissioners to select a new member who can represent District 4 without distraction</font><font face="Times New Roman">.”</font></p></blockquote><p> Thu, 12 Dec 2013 16:58:55 +0000 Lindsey Smith 15656 at http://michiganradio.org Kent County Commissioner resigns to focus on proving 'absolute and complete innocence' Pilot program in Kent County hopes aims for better outcomes, savings in foster care system http://michiganradio.org/post/pilot-program-kent-county-hopes-aims-better-outcomes-savings-foster-care-system <p>Kent County is a part of a new pilot program for children in the <a href="http://michiganradio.org/term/foster-care">foster care </a>system.</p><p>Michigan has been <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/new-agreement-gives-michigan-fresh-start-fix-foster-care">working to overhaul</a> its child welfare system for years, after it was sued over problems in the system.</p><p>&ldquo;(That case) tells us that we don&rsquo;t have a perfect system. So we have to continually improve,&rdquo; Kent County Assistant Administrator Wayman Britt said.</p> Sun, 13 Oct 2013 06:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 14824 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan's governor asks for presidential disaster declaration for counties affected by spring flood http://michiganradio.org/post/michigans-governor-asks-presidential-disaster-declaration-counties-affected-spring-flood <p>Gov. Snyder seeks a presidential disaster declaration for 16 Michigan counties hit hard by floods this spring.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">Heavy rains in April and early May led to flooding in many parts of Michigan.&nbsp;</span></p> Fri, 07 Jun 2013 19:55:52 +0000 Steve Carmody 12951 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan's governor asks for presidential disaster declaration for counties affected by spring flood 150 allowed home after flooding in Kent County http://michiganradio.org/post/150-allowed-home-after-flooding-kent-county <p>GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Officials say about 150 people who were evacuated from homes in Kent County because of flooding have been allowed to return home.</p><p>Kent County spokeswoman Lisa LaPlante says those allowed home by around midday Wednesday are among nearly 700 officials believe are evacuated. She says officials want to make sure homes are inspected before people return and utility crews restore power and natural gas service.</p><p>The Kent County number doesn't include about 1,000 people evacuated from downtown Grand Rapids' Plaza Towers because of the rain-swollen Grand River.</p><p>LaPlante says it could be weeks before Kent County officials have estimates of the financial cost of the flooding damage in the area.</p><p> Wed, 24 Apr 2013 18:05:32 +0000 The Associated Press 12273 at http://michiganradio.org 150 allowed home after flooding in Kent County Legal battle over decriminalizing marijuana in Grand Rapids gets even more complicated http://michiganradio.org/post/legal-battle-over-decriminalizing-marijuana-grand-rapids-gets-even-more-complicated <p>The City of Grand Rapids and a group behind the decriminalization of marijuana there are at odds over how to enforce the <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/election-results-show-michigan-cities-more-marijuana-friendly">charter amendment voters passed in November.</a></p><p>In a recent court filing, the city argues police should have discretion, if not the duty, to turn over marijuana charges to the state. That way, offenders would be charged with a crime, not a civil infraction.</p> Mon, 08 Apr 2013 22:08:50 +0000 Lindsey Smith 12051 at http://michiganradio.org Legal battle over decriminalizing marijuana in Grand Rapids gets even more complicated With restraining order lifted, Grand Rapids can decriminalize marijuana… for now http://michiganradio.org/post/restraining-order-lifted-grand-rapids-can-decriminalize-marijuana-now <p>Grand Rapids will work to put a new charter amendment in place that decriminalizes marijuana, now that a Kent County judge today lifted a temporary restraining order preventing implementation.</p><p>City residents voted overwhelmingly for the amendment in November. Under the charter amendment people who get busted with a little pot in Grand Rapids would just pay a fine.</p> Wed, 23 Jan 2013 22:05:16 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10913 at http://michiganradio.org With restraining order lifted, Grand Rapids can decriminalize marijuana… for now Confirmed flu cases down, health officials warn people to keep guard up anyway http://michiganradio.org/post/confirmed-flu-cases-down-health-officials-warn-people-keep-guard-anyway <p>Maybe people are washing their hands and staying home when they’re sick. Maybe they’re not even going to the doctor’s office; toughing it out at home on the couch instead.</p><p>We don’t know why exactly, but the number of confirmed flu cases in Kent County this week <a href="http://www.accesskent.com/NewsRoom/PressReleases/2013/01152013.pdf">dropped 43-percent from the week before</a>. The number of people visiting the emergency room with flu-like symptoms has also decreased.</p><p><a href="http://www.michigan.gov/documents/MIFluFocus_1_5_06_146893_7.pdf">Statewide numbers are less dramatic</a>, but also down from a peak in December.</p><p>Still...</p><p>“If you haven’t gotten a vaccination yet, get it,” Lisa LaPlant, a Kent County Health Department spokeswoman said. “There is a possibility that we could see resurgence of flu,” she adds. Tue, 15 Jan 2013 22:35:42 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10788 at http://michiganradio.org Confirmed flu cases down, health officials warn people to keep guard up anyway Protestors circle Kent Co. prosecutor’s office building, demand respect for marijuana vote http://michiganradio.org/post/protestors-circle-kent-co-prosecutor-s-office-building-demand-respect-marijuana-vote <p>The City of Grand Rapids was prepared to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana today. But a Kent County judge <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-voters-decriminalize-marijuana-kent-county-prosecutor-sues?nopop=1">issued a temporary restraining order </a>to stop it.</p><p>So, roughly a hundred protestors gathered outside Kent County Prosecutor Bill Forsyth’s office at high noon.</p><p>“It’s such a bummer that we’re ignored,” resident Nick Monroe said.</p> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 22:47:56 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10260 at http://michiganradio.org Protestors circle Kent Co. prosecutor’s office building, demand respect for marijuana vote Grand Rapids voters decriminalize marijuana, Kent County prosecutor sues http://michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-voters-decriminalize-marijuana-kent-county-prosecutor-sues <p><strong>Update 9:00p.m.</strong> - There's a growing crowd of people who say they'll protest the prosecutor's decision in Grand Rapids on Thursday. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/522360374455396/">The event was posted on facebook </a>this evening.</p><p>The City of Grand Rapids was ready to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana this week. But a Kent County judge issued the city a temporary restraining order Monday afternoon at the request of the Kent County prosecutor to prevent implementation.</p> Tue, 04 Dec 2012 00:28:48 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10193 at http://michiganradio.org Grand Rapids voters decriminalize marijuana, Kent County prosecutor sues Prosecutor says Bolger-Schmidt investigation halted to influence election http://michiganradio.org/post/prosecutor-says-bolger-schmidt-investigation-halted-influence-election <p>Republican Kent County Prosecutor Bill Forsyth said today he halted the investigation into Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Monroe) and Rep. Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids) because he wanted the information about Bolger and Schmidt's scheme to be made public prior to the election.</p><p>If he continued with his investigation, <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120820/POLITICS01/208200398#ixzz246doQW9a">the Detroit News reports</a>, Forsyth said it could have continued beyond November.</p> Mon, 20 Aug 2012 19:33:07 +0000 Mark Brush 8736 at http://michiganradio.org Prosecutor says Bolger-Schmidt investigation halted to influence election Kent County GOP rallies around Hoekstra, Amash, and R-turned-D Roy Schmidt http://michiganradio.org/post/kent-county-gop-rallies-around-hoekstra-amash-and-r-turned-d-roy-schmidt <p>Now that the primary is over, Kent County Republicans are working to get more people to rally behind their nominees.</p><p>Even Democrat-turned-Republican State Representative Roy Schmidt Schmidt was among the GOP nominees at a unity rally in Grand Rapids Wednesday night.</p><p>He narrowly defeated a write-in candidate who decided to challenge Schmidt in the wake of a criminal investigation into Schmidt&#39;s party switch. No charges were brought in the case. However, the Secretary of State&#39;s office is still investigating allegations Schmidt violated campaign finance laws.</p> Thu, 09 Aug 2012 03:34:14 +0000 Lindsey Smith 8609 at http://michiganradio.org Kent County GOP rallies around Hoekstra, Amash, and R-turned-D Roy Schmidt Roy Schmidt party switch prompts Dems to call for perjury investigation http://michiganradio.org/post/roy-schmidt-party-switch-prompts-dems-call-perjury-investigation <p>Democrats in Kent County are asking for an investigation after a state representative switched political parties this week.</p><p>Longtime Democrat Roy Schmidt from Grand Rapids switched parties to run as a Republican Tuesday.</p><p>22-year old Matt Mojzak filed to run in the district which includes Grand Rapids. The Secretary of State&rsquo;s office says Mojzak changed his address from one in neighboring Ottawa County to one within the district just this week. But the affidavit says Mojzak had lived at the Kent County address for 22 years.</p> Fri, 18 May 2012 16:32:19 +0000 Lindsey Smith 7532 at http://michiganradio.org Roy Schmidt party switch prompts Dems to call for perjury investigation Kent County’s ‘reverse eBay’ saves thousands on supplies http://michiganradio.org/post/kent-county%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98reverse-ebay%E2%80%99-saves-thousands-supplies <p>Kent County is saving tens of thousands of dollars a year on supplies thanks&nbsp;<a href="https://www.accesskent.com/RFPPublishing/Auction.jsp">to a customized online auction</a>. The program is like the online auction site eBay in reverse.</p><p>When Kent County needs office supplies, like printer paper, it opens an auction online. It lists a maximum price it&rsquo;s willing to pay based on previous bills. Vendors offer to sell the county printer paper at that price or lower.</p> Sun, 01 Jan 2012 22:00:46 +0000 Lindsey Smith 5604 at http://michiganradio.org Kent County’s ‘reverse eBay’ saves thousands on supplies Man infecting people with HIV “an extremely serious health concern” in Kent County http://michiganradio.org/post/man-infecting-people-hiv-%E2%80%9C-extremely-serious-health-concern%E2%80%9D-kent-county <p>51-year-old David Smith faces one count of failing to disclose his HIV status to a sexual partner.</p><p>The Kent County Health Department issued a press release Thursday afternoon that said it&rsquo;s treating this as &ldquo;an extremely serious health concern&rdquo;:</p><blockquote><p>Police say the suspect, 51 year old David Smith from Kent&nbsp;County, made statements that suggested his activities may have included people from outside of the area, including individuals he met over the internet.</p> Wed, 28 Dec 2011 02:29:07 +0000 Lindsey Smith 5573 at http://michiganradio.org Kent County Sherriff reviewing undercover procedures some say unfairly target gay men http://michiganradio.org/post/kent-county-sherriff-reviewing-undercover-procedures-some-say-unfairly-target-gay-men <p>Undercover officers arrested at least a dozen men at public parks during the fall of 2010. During the sting operation, male undercover officers would approach men and suggest engaging in sexual activity. Those who reciprocated interest were charged with soliciting sex or accosting.</p> Sun, 11 Dec 2011 20:30:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 5338 at http://michiganradio.org Computer glitch leads to challenge before Michigan Supreme Court http://michiganradio.org/post/computer-glitch-leads-challenge-michigan-supreme-court <p>The Michigan Supreme Court will hear a case tomorrow where an African-American man claims he was denied a fair trial because of a computer error. The error caused fewer jury notices to go to households in African-American neighborhoods. &nbsp;</p><p>Ramon Bryant is challenging his convictions on charges of criminal sexual conduct, stealing $90, and possession of marijuana. Bryant says he was denied a trial before a jury of his peers that is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment.</p><p>The question is whether the unintentional exclusion of African-Americans from the jury pool entitles Bryant to a new trial with a new jury. A computer error caused fewer jury notices to be sent to ZIP codes&nbsp;in Kent County with higher minority populations.</p><p>Bradley Hall is with the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan. He says&nbsp;the law requires juries be a &ldquo;fair cross-section&rdquo; of the community.</p><p>&quot;Excluding of a minority population from jury service does not create a fair and reasonable representation of the community,&quot; said Hall. &ldquo;&quot;So it sort of happened by happenstance but there&#39;s no question it&#39;s systematic.&quot;<br /><br /> The prosecutor argues the mistake was accidental, and&nbsp;that&nbsp;there are other explanations as to why so few African Americans reported for jury duty.</p><p>Michigan&#39;s Attorney General says Bryant&#39;s conviction should stand. The AG&#39;s office contends the jury chosen made its decision based on the evidence. Mon, 05 Dec 2011 21:31:01 +0000 Rick Pluta & Steve Carmody 5255 at http://michiganradio.org Computer glitch leads to challenge before Michigan Supreme Court Talks about Grand Rapids, Kent County merger will go on http://michiganradio.org/post/talks-about-grand-rapids-kent-county-merger-will-go <p>Discussions about a proposal to merge the City of Grand Rapids and Kent County into a single unit of government will move forward despite numerous concerns about the final outcome.</p><p>Earlier this year a group of business leaders launched the &ldquo;One Kent Coalition&rdquo;. They didn&rsquo;t really inform the city or the county of their plan ahead of time so initially there was a backlash against it. Many government leaders, like Grand Rapids City Commissioner Dave Shaffer, remain cautious.</p> Tue, 27 Sep 2011 23:45:15 +0000 Lindsey Smith 4341 at http://michiganradio.org Talks about Grand Rapids, Kent County merger will go on 95,000 Consumers Energy customers left powerless by strong storms http://michiganradio.org/post/95000-consumers-energy-customers-left-powerless-strong-storms <p>It may take until Thursday before tens of thousands of people in west and central Michigan get their electricity back.&nbsp; Two strong storm fronts moved through the state today, packing powerful winds.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Terry Dedoes&nbsp;is a Consumers Energy spokesman.&nbsp; He says the utility is busy trying to restore electricity to 95 thousand Consumers Energy customers.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Mon, 11 Jul 2011 20:33:40 +0000 Steve Carmody 3252 at http://michiganradio.org Private sector leaders proposing Kent County, Grand Rapids merger http://michiganradio.org/post/private-sector-leaders-proposing-kent-county-grand-rapids-merger <p>More than a dozen private business leaders are taking steps that would make it possible to merge Kent County and Grand Rapids to a single government. The One Kent Coalition includes more than a dozen lawyers, businessmen, and former elected officials.</p><p><a href="http://www.varnumlaw.com/People/DeemsNyalD">Attorney Nyal Deems</a> (former mayor of East Grand Rapids) presented the One Kent proposal to the Kent County Board of Commissioners Thursday. He says the coalition would like to see broader approach to governing the metro Grand Rapids region, rather than a number of smaller municipal governments.</p><blockquote><p>&nbsp;&ldquo;All of our flow and economic interaction and cultural and social interaction ignores all those boundaries but governmentally we live by them. It would be good to mirror our communities more to match the way we live and work and function.&quot; Sun, 27 Feb 2011 19:27:27 +0000 Lindsey Smith 1440 at http://michiganradio.org Private sector leaders proposing Kent County, Grand Rapids merger