Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is offering qualified support of a federal plan to prevent invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes. Whitmer submitted comments this week on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to install fish-blocking devices at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. The Corps is preparing a report to Congress proposing use of technologies such as noisemakers and a water-flushing lock at Brandon Road, a key choke point between the carp-infested Illinois River and Lake Michigan.

Samantha Fuentes portrait
Samantha Fuentes

A survivor of the 2018 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School visited Grand Valley State University speaking about gun violence and school safety.

Samantha Fuentes recalls Valentine’s Day 2018 when 19-year old Nicholas Cruz shot and killed 17 of her Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School classmates using an AR-15 style rifle. She remembers scrambling for cover when Cruz sprayed her classroom with a shower of bullets. She was hit in the legs and still has shrapnel lodged behind her right eye.

Michigan lawmakers may be close to giving final passage to legislation that would restrict the government's ability to take ownership of property seized in drug cases unless there is a conviction.
     The House approved the bills on 107-3 votes Thursday. Similar legislation previously passed the Senate, though lawmakers must iron out which ones go to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
     Law enforcement could still take ownership of seized property in drug cases if the cash and other assets are worth more than $50,000, excluding the value of contraband.

City of Grand Rapids

It was last Monday that The American Civil Liberties Union released all the documentation revealing that Grand Rapids Police Department Captain Curt Vanderkooi contacted Immigration Customs and Enforcement, while off duty, regarding U.S citizen and veteran, Jilmar Ramos-Gomes.

Grand Rapids City Commission Meeting ends abruptly on Tuesday

Feb 28, 2019
John Rothwell

“ICE and cops go hand in hand, ICE and cops go hand in hand”

That is the sound of the dozens in attendance protesting against Grand Rapids police Curt Vanderkooi who was responsible for contacting immigration and Customs Enforcement on behalf of Jilmar Ramos-Gomez, a U.S citizen and veteran. 

“We ask that you immediately remove Captain Vanderkooi from his position as a trusted U-Visa certifier and ICE liaison, and place someone in who has a proven track record of trust in that position.”

A judge has cleared the way for the release of a 74-year-old man who is the oldest Michigan prisoner serving a life sentence for murder as a teen.
     Sheldry Topp has been in prison since 1962. But he was resentenced Tuesday to a minimum of 40 years. Attorney Deborah LaBelle says the new sentence means Topp should immediately be eligible for freedom.

Michigan to begin statewide 'drugged driving' testing

Feb 27, 2019

A program that had some police officers asking drivers to allow a swab of their mouth to determine if they've been using drugs is expected to be expanded to more parts of Michigan. An initial one-year pilot program started in late 2017 in Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties. Police officers who are trained as drug recognition experts collected oral fluid if they suspected a driver is impaired by drugs.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says the state can use existing economic development incentives to assist Fiat Chrysler's expansion without her needing to ask lawmakers to approve new incentives for the company. She said Wednesday the state's package for Fiat Chrysler will be publicly released at a future meeting of Michigan Strategic Fund, which awards companies grants in exchange for job creation. 

Habitat for Humanity


Habitat Kent, the local chapter Habitat for Humanity, has launched a fundraising effort called the ‘Bright Future Campaign’ to help assist the non-profit of providing hundreds of affordable homes to residents in Grand Rapids Roosevelt Park neighborhood.

Officials say, the scope of the project is nothing short of ambitious. While typically Habitat Kent focuses on building one single home at a time, this project is providing homes to 100 families, while improving 300 homes through repairs and block projects.

Immigration advocates ask city of GR to fire police captain

Feb 27, 2019
John Rothwell

The demand to the City of Grand Rapids comes after the American Civil Liberties Union released emails between the Grand Rapids Police Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The two groups making the demands are Movimiento Cosecha GR and GR Rapid Response to ICE.

In the emails between GRPD and ICE, police captain Curt Vanderkooi asks ICE to check the status of Jilmar Ramos-Gomez eight hours after his arrest. Vanderkooi serves as GRPD’s liaison to ICE.