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Chris Van Allsburg promotes new book in West Michigan


EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- There was a big turn out Monday night in East Grand Rapids for author and West Michigan native Chris Van Allsburg.

Van Allsburg is best known for his book "The Polar Express," which was later made into a movie starring Tom Hanks. It also featured many Grand Rapids area landmarks.

Monday, he talked about his new book, "The Misadventure of Sweetie Pie," and the set he designed for the Grand Rapids Ballet's updated presentation of the Nutcracker.

"It won't look like anything Grand Rapids fans have seen before," Van Allsburg said. "I was fairly diligent in doing my research to make sure that I didn't inadvertently do something that somebody else had done before, so I hope it would strike most people as pretty original."

The Nutcracker runs two weekends next month: December 12-14 and December 19-21.


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My Town: Snowfall and predicted rain keeps Kent County road crews busy

My Town: Snowfall and predicted rain keeps Kent County road crews busy

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—The snow piling up outside has kept Kent County Road Commission crews busy this past week, and with a warm up expected this weekend, their work is far from over.

During the week, 90 drivers worked each day and 30 drivers worked each night, clearing the snow from state highways, county roads and local streets and drives.  The Kent County Road Commission says all roads were cleared at least once between Tuesday and Thursday, but additional snowfall and drifting snow may give some roads the appearance of being neglected.  In Comstock Park and Grandville alone, Kent County crews spread 10,700 tons of salt and sand.  In Byron Center, crews used 58,000 gallons of liquid chloride to clear the road.  In all, the Road Commission estimates this first brush with winter cost it more than $1 million.

EGR public safety reports thefts


EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Police in East Grand Rapids say there have been more reports of thefts from vehicles in recent days.

Perpetrators are getting into unlocked vehicles parked on streets, in driveways, and in unlocked garages. The suspects are three unknown males seen on bicycles in the early morning hours of November 13, 14, and 15.

Six of the larcenies happened on November 13, between 2am and 5am. Two larcenies occurred in that same time frame on November 15.

The larcenies happened in an area from Argentina Drive to the north, Breton Road to the east, Wilshire Drive to the south, and Plymouth Road to the west.

Authorities ask residents to lock their vehicles and to call 616-949-7010 to share any information on these cases or to report any suspicious activity.


My Town EGR: Philanthropist's generosity continues even after death

My Town EGR: Philanthropist's generosity continues even after death

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Even in death, philanthropist Peter Wege is finding a way to give back to the West Michigan community.

Wege passed away in July.  The East Grand Rapids native was 94 years old. The Air Force veteran was also passionate environmentalist, coining the term “economicology.”  He donated $20 million to the LEED certified Grand Rapids Art Museum, and was the lead donor of the Wege Center at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.  He also supported Grand Rapids Public Schools and The Grand Rapids Ballet.

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Sidewalk snow removal varies by community

Sidewalk snow removal varies by community


EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - Many roads in West Michigan are still snow covered or icy because of the relentless snow over the past couple of days.

But there's also concern about sidewalks not being shoveled.

We looked into the issue and learned that policies vary from community to community. In Grand Rapids and Alpine Township property owners are required to clean their sidewalks.

In East Grand Rapids the city will do it but they can't plow down to the pavement.

"With a snow plow plowing the sidewalks we have to keep it one or two inches above the sidewalk or we'll be chipping the sidewalk and actually wrecking the vehicles in doing that," says Brian Donovan the City Manager for East Grand Rapids.

The United Way says they have been flooded with calls from people who need help shoveling.

My Town East Grand Rapids: Officers warn of uptick in thefts

My Town East Grand Rapids: Officers warn of uptick in thefts

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—East Grand Rapids Public Safety officers are looking for three suspects in a string of thefts.

Investigators say three males where seen on bicycles between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Nov. 13 and Nov. 15, around the same time as the crimes took place.  Officers say the thieves targeted eight unlocked vehicles parked along streets, in driveways and in unlocked garages between Argentina Drive, Breton Road, Wilshire Drive and Plymouth Road.

Officers are asking residents to deter these thieves by locking their garages and vehicles.  Anyone with information about these crimes is asked to call the Public Safety Department at (616) 949-7010.

My Town: Senator from Lowell picked to help balance Mich. budget

My Town: Senator from Lowell picked to help balance Mich. budget

----NEWS RELEASE----

LANSING, Mich.—Senate Majority Leader-elect Arlan Meekhof announced Wednesday that Sen. Dave Hildenbrand is his pick to serve as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee for the legislative session that will begin Jan. 1, 2015.

“I’m very proud that my first committee chair announcement is the appointment of Senator Dave Hildenbrand to lead the Appropriations Committee,” said Meekhof, R-West Olive. “Dave has the experience, leadership and common sense we need to build on the great work of current Chairman Kahn, and to work closely with the governor and the House to balance the budget, control spending and protect Michigan’s hard-working taxpayers.”