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Defense contractor relocating to Walker

WALKER, Mich. (WZZM) -- A Vermont-based defense contractor plans to bring 120 new jobs and $12.3 million in new investment to Walker when it relocates to the area, according to economic development group the Right Place.

The Right Place announced Wednesday that Plasan North America's corporate office, research and development, and production resources will be moving into 3236 Wilson Dr. NW. The company's leased space there will be near its sister company, Plasan Carbon Composites.

A Michigan Works! worker training program, local tax abatements from the City of Walker, and a performance-based grant through the Michigan Business Development Program helped the Right Place and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation encourage Plasan North America to choose Walker over competing locations in Vermont, Georgia, Texas, and Tennessee, according to a statement.

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.

Early morning storms cause fires, outages

WALKER, Mich. (WZZM) -- Early morning storms caused problems for home and business owners in Ottawa and Kent counties.

Storms with embedded lightning moved through the area between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. Wednesday, causing 949 utility customers in the Grand Haven area and 250 more in Comstock Park to lose power.

Lightning strikes are also being blamed for causing fires and electrical problems in a handful of homes and businesses.

One possible strike hit a nursing home on Four Mile Road NW, while another strike caused a fire in a nearby condominium. No one was hurt in either incident.

Police chase ends in crash, search in Walker

WALKER, Mich. (WZZM) -- Police are looking for the driver who led them on a high speed chase overnight through parts of Grand Rapids and Walker.

Officers spotted the man speeding northbound on Alpine Avenue, and began chasing his car near Three Mile Road NW.

The driver crashed while trying to turn onto the ramp from Alpine to southbound U.S. 131. He ran off, leading police to begin an intense search around homes and businesses in the area, including a motel at Alpine and Three Mile.

Investigators have a vague description of the driver.

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.

Pet expo: DeltaPlex goes to the dogs (and cats)

WALKER, Mich. (WZZM)— The DeltaPlex is going to the dogs (and cats) this weekend, as the West Michigan Pet Expo returns.

The expo features everything a pet owner needs, including entertainment, educational seminars and dozens of vendors. Animal lovers can even adopt a pet at the expo; however, for the safety of the animals being adopted, organizers ask visitors to leave their other pets at home.

The expo is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children between 5 and 12 years old. Children age four and younger get in free.

WZZM 13 is a proud sponsor of the West Michigan Pet Expo.