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Palm Sunday tornado outbreak: 50 years later

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. (WZZM) -- April 11, 1965 is remembered as one of the worst tornado outbreaks in Michigan history. 53 people were killed and hundreds hurt when a dozen tornadoes touched down across the state, including Kent County.

Like so many early April days in West Michigan, the morning of Sunday, April 11, 1965 was cool and quiet; the morning observations taken by the Grand Rapids office of the U.S. Weather Bureau reported several hours of fog. Only the day before, a strengthening low-pressure system in the Plains was heading towards the Great Lakes region.

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.

Whitecaps prep for Opening Day

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. (WZZM) -- The West Michigan Whitecaps kick off its season on Thursday and crews are spending their final days cleaning up the ballpark before the home opener.

It's been more than a year since part of the Fifth Third Ballpark burned down, forcing officials to update the facilities sooner than expected. A new viewing deck and craft beer shop are just some of the new additions to the ballpark. Sixteen Michigan beers will be on tap and on opening day, one keg of KBS will be served.

What else is new? The food. The organization is rolling out several new dishes this year, including the Hot-to-Tot the fan food vote winner and beer-a-Misu.

The Whitecaps will face off against the Dayton Dragons with the first pitch set for 6:35 p.m.

Meet the Whitecaps' new play-by-play announcer

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. (WZZM) -- April 9 is opening day for the West Michigan Whitecaps and it will be the debut of their new radio announcer, Dan Hasty.

Dan Hasty gave WZZM 13 a behind the scenes tour of his broadcast booth in the suites behind home plate. In the booth he wears a headset and looks out at the field. "You can't beat that view," says Hasty, wearing a headset. "This is the most fun type of job you can ever ask for."

Hasty is a Central Michigan University graduate who started as an intern for the Great Lakes Loons baseball team in Midland nearly 10 years ago. His first game pitted the Loons against the Whitecaps, so now his broadcasting career has gone full circle.

He is excited to start calling plays for his new team. "I am real passionate guy. I really get into baseball, I love baseball," he explains. Listening to Hasty announce, you can hear the excitement in his voice.

Whitecaps' craft clubhouse to feature local beer

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. (WZZM) -- Founders Brewing has teamed up with the West Michigan Whitecaps to create a new bar featuring all Michigan brews.

The craft clubhouse is still under construction, but Whitecaps organizers said it will be ready by the April 9 home opener.

"The whole idea is that people ask for it and we give it to them-- they love these Michigan craft brews and Grand Rapids is a place that is known for their craft brews," explained Matt Timmon, director of food and beverage for the West Michigan Whitecaps. "It is a perfect opportunity to bring Founders in with some other craft brews and do something cool."

The craft clubhouse will have16 craft brews on tap from the following brewers: Founders, Mitten Brewery, Saugatuck Brewing Company, New Holland Brewing Company, Brewery Vivant, Arcadia Brewing Company, Bell's Brewing Company, Mountain Town Brewery, and Perrin Brewing Company.

Kentwood Packaging Company Undergoing Renovations at Former Leer Plant

Kentwood Packaging Company Undergoing Renovations at Former Leer Plant

News Release:

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.