Kent County

Grand Rapids Innovation Park rendering
City of Grand Rapids

When the Secchia Center opened in 2010, it began a new era for Michigan State University moving its medical school to Grand Rapids. More than 10-years later, MSU’s footprint along the city’s Medical Mile has expanded with the construction of the MSU Grand Rapids Research Center.

Currently under construction are the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building and Perrigo’s new North American Corporate Headquarters.

picture of GR Ford Airport Logo
Gerald R. Ford International Airport

The numbers of people using a western Michigan airport are approaching levels prior to the start of restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Management at Gerald R. Ford International Airport outside Grand Rapids say travel numbers are about 90% of what they were in March 2020, WOOD-TV reported.

About 60,000 people are expected to travel through the airport in Cascade Township in the next 10 days.

The airport finished 2020 with half the number of travelers it normally sees. By the end of this year, it is hoping to get closer to 70%.

Grand Valley State University

Beginning in the 2021 fall semester, qualifying low-income students can receive free tuition through the Grand Valley Pledge. A program removing financial barriers.

“Focus on families with incomes of less than $50,000, adjusted gross income, and make sure that these prospective learners have a great opportunity to come to Grand Valley State University.”

Students from six Michigan counties; Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Grand Traverse, Calhoun and Wayne.

Gerald R. Ford International Airport logo
Gerald R. Ford International Airport

In 2020, the usual hustle and bustle of holiday travel at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport is anything but.

“Last year at this time around 7,000 people came through the building. Now, we’re going to expect around 3,000 to 4,000.”

That’s roughly half the usual holiday traffic. It’s welcomed business in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.

Alex Peric is Gerald R. Ford International Airport’s COO. “We are experiencing an uptick from the average day. So, our average day now is around 2,500 passengers through the terminal building.”

Voting booths photo

WGVU is keeping an eye on seven Michigan House of Representative races in Kent County.

In the 72nd District Grand Rapids Democrat Lily Cheng-Schulting holds a slight edge over Republican Steven Johnson of Wayland.

In the 73rd District, Greenville Republican Bryan Posthumus is leading Democrat Bill Saxton and U.S. Taxpayer party candidate Ted Gerrard.

Moving to the 74th House District, Mark Huizenga is ahead of Democrat Megan Hintz.

Absentee Voter Drop Box photo
Associated Press

The outcome of a tight Presidential election race in Michigan is now hinging on absentee ballots being counted in urban cores that traditionally skew for democrats.

In Kent County, roughly 360,000 residents cast ballots for a voter turnout over 72%.

“So, we have received from all of our jurisdictions full reporting which includes the Election Day results and it includes the absentee ballot results with the exception of the City of Grand Rapids absentee ballots. We still are waiting on those.”

Your Vote Counts button

As voters head to the polls, Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons tells WGVU the polling locations are following public health safety protocols and is reminding everyone that absentee ballots must be returned to the local city or township where they’re registered to vote.

Lisa Posthumus Lyons photo

In 2016, Kent County issued nearly 71,000 absentee ballots. In 2020, as of this week, the county has issued more than 205,000 absentee ballots. Nearly 147,000 have been returned to the clerk’s office for about a 71-percent return rate.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Friday, October 30th.

GRPD badge
Grand Rapids Police Department /

Police in the Grand Rapids area are asking the public for help in locating the body of a homicide victim. The body of a Black man in his 60s likely was dropped in a ditch or tall grass in northern Kent County on Aug. 20. A suspect in the homicide is in custody. Police also want to talk to a woman who stopped along the road on Aug. 20 to ask the suspect if he had car trouble and needed help. He said no and she drove away. Anyone with information can call (616) 456-3380.


Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday that she was closing indoor seating in bars in parts of the state, including a college town where one brewpub has been linked to about 140 infections.

Whitmer also signed a bill allowing bars and restaurants to sell to-go cocktails in an effort to help those businesses.

MI Safe Start logo

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has lifted Michigan's coronavirus stay-at-home order and is allowing for the reopening of restaurants to dine-in customers next week. But does the relaxing of social distancing measures in West Michigan meet the requirements of the MI Safe Start plan?

There are five metrics required for moving into Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start plan which includes reopening aspects of retail, restaurants and bars, public transportation, education and office work.

Novel coronavirus graphic

As of Wednesday, April 22nd, there are 750 recorded cases of COVID-19 in Kent County. An increase of 100 from the prior day. Why are cases rising here when other parts of the state are experiencing a plateau or decrease?

The increase of COVID-19 cases in Kent County can be attributed to the expansion of testing. More tests performed can identify an increased number of cases.

“At the beginning of this month, there were only a few dozen tests being done on a daily basis. We’re now at a point where hundreds of tests are done daily.”

School sack lunch photo
Wikimedia Commons

Twenty public school districts across Kent County will continue serving meals. “Sack” type lunch and breakfast will be available for pick-up at more than 25 parking lot sites. Grand Rapids Public Schools will open four sites today adding three more tomorrow.

Kids Food Basket is also continuing providing children living at or near the poverty level sack suppers. It serves more than 8,800 school children attending 52 schools in Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa and Allegan Counties.

“A virus does not stop hunger. A virus cannot stop hunger.”


Mar 12, 2020

 ACT brings special education classes to Kent and Ottawa Counties, discussing today about this unique residency programming with Emille Petersmark.

Grand Valley State University

Keeping tabs on health trends impacting residents in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Allegan Counties, Grand Valley State University has released its 2020 Health Check report. WGVU breaks down some of its findings.

In its 11th year, Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business has been tracking health trend data critical when businesses, health care, and higher education organizations map out health-related policies and decision-making.