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'Prevent the Pit' signs posted in Rockford

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WZZM) -- A group called Prevent the Pit has put up signs all over Rockford, protesting a sand-pit project by Sable Developing at 11 Mile Rd. and Shaner.

The group says loud machinery and an unsightly sand pit is not what they want to see each day in the area. The developer claims a type of sand that's hard to find was discovered there.

WZZM 13 On Your Side checked with the Kent County Road Commission about that sand, and officials there say there is not a lack of this particular sand.

The Courtland Township planning commission will take up the sand-pit issue at its next meeting on April 30.

YMCA offering free prom dress rentals

BELMONT, Mich. (WZZM) - Going to the prom is a time-honored tradition for high school students, but it can be expensive.

Studies show hundreds of dollars are spent per student on this one night each year. But the Wolverine Worldwide YMCA in Belmont is offering a more affordable alternative with free dress rentals. All you have to do is dry clean them after and return them.

The program has been in place since 2010. Donations can be dropped off at the Wolverine Worldwide Family YMCA at any time. No appointment is required to do so.

Animal Welfare Fund Provides $155,500 to Local Animal Shelters

Animal Welfare Fund Provides $155,500 to Local Animal Shelters

News Release:

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill announced the Michigan Companion Animal Welfare Fund check-off will fund projects totaling over $155,500 for 26 registered shelters in 2015. 

The Michigan Animal Welfare fund was established under Public Act 132 of 2007 as a tax check-off to support animal shelters statewide. This year’s awards will go to the spaying and neutering of animals, fund registration fees for anti-cruelty training conferences, and help cover costs for protecting and caring for Michigan animals subjected to cruelty or neglect.

“Thanks to the generous support of Michiganders, local shelters will be able to train more staff on anti-cruelty, care for animals looking for their forever home, and conduct spay and neutering programs in their communities,” said Averill.

My Town: Kent ISD Board names new superintendent

My Town: Kent ISD Board names new superintendent

KENT COUNTY, Mich.-- The search for Kent Intermediate School District's next leader is over.

Grandville Superintendent Ron Caniff will replace Kevin Konarska, who is retiring.  Caniff was the lone finalist left after West Ottawa Superintendent Tom Martin withdrew his application for the job.  Caniff's final interview with the Kent ISD Board was held Tuesday.

“The Board is thrilled to welcome Ron Caniff as the next leader of Kent ISD,” said Kent ISD School Board President Claudia Bajema. “He brings 15 years of experience and the strong support of his peers.

“We are confident that the transition from Kevin to Ron will be very smooth, and that Ron will lead with the talent, energy, and interpersonal skills that we have enjoyed for the past nine years under Kevin’s leadership. We also wish Kevin all the best in the next phase of his life,” she added.

Rockford MSU student helps MSU to the final four

Lansing, Mich. (WZZM) - It takes more than a good basketball team and a good coach to be dominate in the NCAA tournament. You need to know your opponents inside and out, and that's where the MSU student managers come in.

Jake Schemmel is one of them.

"I do all my scouting reports here on this computer," explains Schemmel in the back office at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. "Here we got stuff getting ready for Duke." The computer displays lines of information about each Duke player.

Schemmel is part of a team that prepares information about opponents for MSU coaches and players. Information like where Duke players like to shoot from and who likes to do quick passes. Other useful pieces of information include identifying players who like to drive the lane and other aspects of the game.

And it's not just Duke they're preparing for.

Special Olympics state basketball finals Fri. & Sat.

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WZZM) -- Approximately 530 athletes and 170 coaches and chaperons gathered in Rockford Friday for the Special Olympics state basketball finals. The event lasts through Saturday at Rockford High School, Freshman Center, and North Middle School.

Friday's opening ceremony was hosted by WZZM 13's Juliet Dragos, who also serves as board of directors vice chair for Special Olympics Michigan.

WZZM 13 is a media sponsor of the event, and the news team, along with some of our friends from Free Beer and Hot Wings, faced off with elite Special Olympics athletes in a game following the tournament's opening ceremony. The Special Olympics athletes, the KEC Blazers, beat the media team.

Rockford planning commission approves condo development

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WZZM) -- Despite loud opposition, a development is moving forward that will bring major changes to downtown Rockford.

The community shared their concerns with the city planning commission Thursday night. Commissioners still gave the project the go-ahead.

Back in February, the city commission approved the preliminary plan to build the 51-unit Tamarack Run condo development.

Thursday evening, the planning commission also approved the plan, by a five-to-one vote.

City hall was packed, though, with community members strongly opposed to the project. Among their concerns are the environmental impact and increased traffic. The new construction will nearly double the amount of homes in the area near Monroe Street.