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Rockford woodshop students give away toys for Christmas

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WZZM) -- Everyone knows that wonderful feeling of getting a homemade gift.

Students at North Rockford Middle School have been hard at work all semester in their own North Pole of sorts: woodshop class.

On Thursday, the students gave away the rocking airplanes they made for kids in need.

Watch the video above to see what they had to say about making Christmas especially meaningful for others.

Kent ISD superintendent announces retirement

Kent ISD superintendent announces retirement

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)—After more than three decades helping to educate hundreds of thousands of children, the superintendent of Kent Intermediate School District is leaving his post.

Tuesday, Kevin Konarska announced his plans to retire at the end of the school year. Konarska has worked for Kent ISD for nine years, helping the agency navigate through the Great Recession and deep funding cuts by the state, all while opening new education programs and a laboratory school.

"It will be very hard to see Kevin leave," Board President Claudia Bajema said in a news release to WZZM 13. "He has made such a difference in the schools we serve and in the opportunities available to the more than 100,000 students throughout our service region."

Rockford student diagnosed with whooping cough

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WZZM) -- A Rockford middle school student has been diagnosed with pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough.

Mike Ramm, principal of East Rockford Middle School, sent a health advisory letter to parents Wednesday and said the Kent County Health Department has been notified of the case.

My Town Rockford: Bank damaged by fire celebrates reopening with donation

My Town Rockford: Bank damaged by fire celebrates reopening with donation

ROCKFORD, Mich.—  A bank that was damaged in a fire last year is back open for business.

During the summer of 2013, the Huntington Bank at 6835 Belding Road NE was hit by lightning, sparking a fire.  After undergoing renovations, the bank celebrated its grand reopening last month by donating $500 to the Cannon Township Fire Department.  The check will go to the Great Lakes Burn Camp.

“We have a strong, loyal base of customers here and we really wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to thank the Rockford community for their continued business as we worked to renovate this branch and provide them with a superior banking experience,” said branch manager Bob Jones. “The entire community, particularly the Cannon Township Fire Department, was there when we needed them and this is our chance to thank them for helping us out.”

Police: Driver on drugs hits tree, injuring three

CANNON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) – Kent County Sheriff's deputies say a driver was likely high when he lost control of his car and hit a tree, injuring himself and two passengers.

Three men, all in their early 20s, were trapped in the car during the crash Thursday morning near the intersection of Nine Mile Road and Young Avenue NE.

The driver, Jacob Taylor, 21, of Rockford was airlifted to the hospital in serious condition. His passengers, Bret Bailey, 21, is in critical condition while Mitchell Fabro, 22, is in serious condition.

Crash slows morning Rockford traffic

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WZZM) A serious crash slowed northern Kent County traffic Tuesday morning.

The crash happened on 14 Mile Road at Podunk. No one was seriously hurt.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the crash.

Another crash snarled East Beltline traffic near Woodland Mall. No one was seriously injured in that crash.

Coach: Rockford girl on football team better than most boys

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WZZM)—A 9-year-old girl traded in her point shoes for a pair of cleats and followed in her brother's footsteps, joining the Rockford football team.

Ava Guernsey danced for Rhythm Dance for four years before taking this year off to play football.

"I never thought I would see her play but she just followed in my footsteps and really likes playing," says her brother, Ethan.

Ava's love of football started with attending her brother's games, where she would cheer him on.

"She was watching her brother and she sees her friends playing, so she asked me one day, 'Dad, can I play tackle football?' And I thought about it for half a second and I said, 'Absolutely.' I'm going to give her the chance just like her brother had," says Ryan Guernsey.