kent county

Health
1:23 pm
Sat June 28, 2014

Group wants "Health" to be a key consideration in all government decisions

The idea is that the “health” is determined by many factors that fall outside the control of health care professionals. Factors include: income, employment, education and where people live, work, and play.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A handful of Michigan county health department leaders say “health” should play a bigger role in local decision making. 

Health department officials from Wayne, Genesee, Ingham, Kent, Kalamazoo, Saginaw and Washtenaw counties met in Lansing this past week to strategize how to change the way local governments do pretty much everything. 

Linda Vail is Ingham County’s Chief Health Officer.   She says city and county leaders often fail to consider the potential effects their decisions will have on their community’s health.

Read more
Politics & Government
5:46 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Former Kent County commissioner to serve a year in jail for sex crimes against minor

Credit File photo / Kent County Sheriff

A former Kent County commissioner will spend a year in jail after pleading guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charges.

Gary Rolls resigned his county commission seat earlier this year. He was accused of beginning a sexual relationship with a girl when she was nine. She's now in her late 20s.

Rolls said nothing before he was sentenced Thursday afternoon.  

In a statement, the victim told the judge Rolls used his position in power to threaten her.

“I saw him with police officers and important people in the news and I believed him,” she said.

Read more
Law
5:35 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Same-sex couple from Grand Rapids sues to get state to recognize out-of-state marriage

Governor Rick Snyder's statement after a federal court overturns Michigan's ban on same sex marriage in March 2014.

Read more
Law
11:16 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Former Kent County Commissioner reaches plea deal with prosecutors in sex case

Gary Rolls (file photo)
Credit File photo / Kent County Sheriff

A former Kent County commissioner will be sentenced next month after pleading guilty this week to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charges.

As part of the agreement, prosecutors dropped four counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct against former Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls. He could’ve faced life in prison if convicted on those more serious charges.

Instead, Rolls pleaded guilty to a lesser charge plus illegal use of a computer and tampering with evidence.

Read more
Politics & Government
9:21 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Kent County considers asking voters for dedicated veteran millage

World War II veterans from west Michigan on a trip to Washington D.C. in November 2013. (file photo)
Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Like a lot of counties in Michigan, Kent County uses money out of its general fund to pay for services for veterans who live there. Right now that amounts to $8 per veteran. As a comparison, Oakland County spends more than three times as much per veteran. Livingston County spends nearly seven times as much.

Read more
Politics & Government
1:25 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Another Kent County Commissioner facing felony charge resigns

A Kent County commissioner is resigning. Michael Wawee Jr is facing a felony embezzlement charge for between $1,000 and $20,000, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Wawee announced his resignation Thursday. The Republican from the Grand Rapids suburb of Walker was arrested earlier this month.

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.

Read more
Politics & Government
11:58 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Kent County Commissioner resigns to focus on proving 'absolute and complete innocence'

Gary Rolls' booking photo
File photo Kent County Sheriff

Gary Rolls resigned from the Kent County Commission today. In a brief written statement to the board, Rolls thanked his constituents for allowing him to serve.

“I will use this time to prepare for trial to prove my absolute and complete innocence,” Rolls’ letter said. The resignation takes effect January 1st, 2014.

“We accepted the resignation of Commissioner Rolls this morning,” said Dan Koorndyk, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners. “We appreciate that he recognizes it is better for the Board of Commissioners to select a new member who can represent District 4 without distraction.”

Read more
Law
2:00 am
Sun October 13, 2013

Pilot program in Kent County hopes aims for better outcomes, savings in foster care system

Kent County is a part of a new pilot program for children in the foster care system.

Michigan has been working to overhaul its child welfare system for years, after it was sued over problems in the system.

“(That case) tells us that we don’t have a perfect system. So we have to continually improve,” Kent County Assistant Administrator Wayman Britt said.

Read more
Politics & Government
3:55 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Michigan's governor asks for presidential disaster declaration for counties affected by spring flood

Flood waters in Ada, Michigan (file photo)
Dustin Dwyer/Michigan Radio

Gov. Snyder seeks a presidential disaster declaration for 16 Michigan counties hit hard by floods this spring. Heavy rains in April and early May led to flooding in many parts of Michigan. 

Governor Snyder declared a state of disaster on May 7. That set the stage for state and federal teams to review damage and property losses in 19 counties. The assessment has led the governor now to seek a presidential disaster declaration in 16 counties. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will review the governor’s request.

Read more
Environment & Science
2:05 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

150 allowed home after flooding in Kent County

Michigan State Police

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.

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.

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.

LaPlante says it could be weeks before Kent County officials have estimates of the financial cost of the flooding damage in the area.

Law
6:08 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Legal battle over decriminalizing marijuana in Grand Rapids gets even more complicated

DecriminalizeGR attorney Jack Hoffman explains to reporters Monday morning why he's unhappy with the city's legal position.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The City of Grand Rapids and a group behind the decriminalization of marijuana there are at odds over how to enforce the charter amendment voters passed in November.

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.

Read more
Law
5:05 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

With restraining order lifted, Grand Rapids can decriminalize marijuana… for now

Protestors circle the Kent County Prosecutor's office building in December.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

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.

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.

Read more
Health
5:35 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Confirmed flu cases down, health officials warn people to keep guard up anyway

Robert Couse-Baker Creative Commons

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.

We don’t know why exactly, but the number of confirmed flu cases in Kent County this week dropped 43-percent from the week before. The number of people visiting the emergency room with flu-like symptoms has also decreased.

Statewide numbers are less dramatic, but also down from a peak in December.

Still...

“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.

Read more
Law
5:47 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Protestors circle Kent Co. prosecutor’s office building, demand respect for marijuana vote

Around a hundred people circle the block where the prosecutor's office building is located in downtown Grand Rapids.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The City of Grand Rapids was prepared to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana today. But a Kent County judge issued a temporary restraining order to stop it.

So, roughly a hundred protestors gathered outside Kent County Prosecutor Bill Forsyth’s office at high noon.

“It’s such a bummer that we’re ignored,” resident Nick Monroe said.

Read more
Law
7:28 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Grand Rapids voters decriminalize marijuana, Kent County prosecutor sues

Under Grand Rapids charter amendment voters adopted in November, people caught with small amounts of marijuana would face only a civil infraction.
Garretttaggs55 wikipedia commons

Update 9:00p.m. - There's a growing crowd of people who say they'll protest the prosecutor's decision in Grand Rapids on Thursday. The event was posted on facebook this evening.

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.

Read more
Politics & Government
3:33 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Prosecutor says Bolger-Schmidt investigation halted to influence election

Michigan Rep. Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids), and Speaker of the House Jase Bolger (R-Monroe).

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.

If he continued with his investigation, the Detroit News reports, Forsyth said it could have continued beyond November.

Read more
Politics & Government
11:34 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Kent County GOP rallies around Hoekstra, Amash, and R-turned-D Roy Schmidt

"Beating an incumbent senator will not be easy. It is hard work. But I’ve got every ounce of confidence that we can get this done with us all working together,” Hoekstra said at the Kent County GOP unity party.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Now that the primary is over, Kent County Republicans are working to get more people to rally behind their nominees.

Even Democrat-turned-Republican State Representative Roy Schmidt Schmidt was among the GOP nominees at a unity rally in Grand Rapids Wednesday night.

He narrowly defeated a write-in candidate who decided to challenge Schmidt in the wake of a criminal investigation into Schmidt's party switch. No charges were brought in the case. However, the Secretary of State's office is still investigating allegations Schmidt violated campaign finance laws.

Read more
Politics
12:32 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Roy Schmidt party switch prompts Dems to call for perjury investigation

Rep. Schmidt at a rally against Governor Rick Snyder's budget cuts to education funding in June of 2011. He's now switched to the GOP.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Democrats in Kent County are asking for an investigation after a state representative switched political parties this week.

Longtime Democrat Roy Schmidt from Grand Rapids switched parties to run as a Republican Tuesday.

22-year old Matt Mojzak filed to run in the district which includes Grand Rapids. The Secretary of State’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.

Read more
government
5:00 pm
Sun January 1, 2012

Kent County’s ‘reverse eBay’ saves thousands on supplies

Kent County's Adminstration building in downtown Grand Rapids.
Steven Depolo Creative Commons

Kent County is saving tens of thousands of dollars a year on supplies thanks to a customized online auction. The program is like the online auction site eBay in reverse.

When Kent County needs office supplies, like printer paper, it opens an auction online. It lists a maximum price it’s willing to pay based on previous bills. Vendors offer to sell the county printer paper at that price or lower.

Read more
health
9:29 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

Man infecting people with HIV “an extremely serious health concern” in Kent County

51-year-old David Smith faces one count of failing to disclose his HIV status to a sexual partner.

The Kent County Health Department issued a press release Thursday afternoon that said it’s treating this as “an extremely serious health concern”:

Police say the suspect, 51 year old David Smith from Kent County, made statements that suggested his activities may have included people from outside of the area, including individuals he met over the internet.

Read more

Pages