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John Ball Zoo ready for 500,000th visitor

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - If you head to the John Ball Zoo this week, you could be the 500,000th visitor of 2014.

As of Monday afternoon, the zoo was at 494,000 guests for 2014. The previous record for attendance for a season was last year when almost 470,000 people visited the zoo. The zoo says they plan to hit the 500,000 visitor some time today before 11:30 a.m. The zoo started the countdown yesterday at 11:00 a.m.

Kevin O'Neill, the CEO of the zoo says that "There will be plenty of hoopla when that magical 500,000th visitor walks through the gates!"

The half-millionth guest will receive a family membership to the zoo and a zoo-themed prize package.

Fire at Spring Air Mattress in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Fire broke out Friday morning inside a mattress facility on the city's northwest side, near the border with Walker.

The flames started about 10:15 a.m. at the Spring Air building in the 600 block of Myrtle NW.

Workers at the facility, along with firefighters, were able to put the fire out before it spread to the building.

John Ball Zoo holds annual Zoo Goes Boo event to celebrate Halloween

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - John Ball Zoo is helping West Michigan families get into the spirit of Halloween with its annual Zoo Goes Boo event.

Last year more than 14,000 people showed up during for six days of fun. Organizers have decorated a "Kooky not Spooky" trail where kids can trick-or-treat. Zookeeper, Kristi Koole says they will hand out more than 300,000 treats during the event.

"There are decorations covering the whole trail. We have inflatables. You can meet a live mermaid and take part in other entertainment and games,"' she said.

Boo at the Zoo runs the next two weekends, October 17th - 19th and 24th - 26th. The event runs each day from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Admission is $7. For more information on Boo at the Zoo go to theJohn Ball Zoo's website.

Opinion: This is the Way I see It-Government Cell Phones

Opinion: This is the Way I see It-Government Cell Phones

Free Cell Phones; what will the next giveaway be?

I, along with a lot of other people, often wonder why the government ever decided to give away free phones to people. I can’t even begin to imagine the cost that is shared by every working person in the United State of America.

I see people who are covered with tattoos, smoking cigarettes, buying beer & booze and have a nice vehicle with these phones and wonder, if they can afford all these things, why can’t they afford a phone? Don’t they have family members that can be of help to them? Family are supposed to help their own.

I grew up in a large family who took care of themselves. We didn’t have a phone in our home until it was almost time for me to graduate from high school but we all seemed to survive. If it was something really important, we had a neighbor who was gracious enough to let us use their phone but that was rare.

High-speed Laker Line would connect GVSU's campuses

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- A bus line similar to the Rapid's Silver Line could connect Grand Valley State University's campuses in Grand Rapids and Allendale.

Tuesday, the Rapid bus system held its third and final public meeting about the proposed service. The Laker Line would be an upgrade to the Rapid's Route 50 bus line that already connects the campuses.

GVSU wants to request federal and state funding to create a new bus rapid transit, or BRT, line.

"It's going to look like the Silver Line stops that you see downtown right now and also on Division -- that same kind of orientation from Allendale to the downtown Pew Campus and up to the Medical Mile and potentially down the road, maybe go further east of that," said the Rapid's Nicholas Monoyios. "A majority of this process is really looking at how we can maximize the cost effectiveness of this transportation."

Boo at the Zoo coming to John Ball Zoo

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Halloween is less than three weeks away, that means John Ball Zoo is getting ready to transform into a ghoulish spectacle for Boo at the Zoo. Sarah Bontinen stopped by the WZZM 13 studios with some zoo friends to talk with Dan Harland about the upcoming fun.

Boo at the Zoo runs the next two weekends, October 17th - 19th and 24th - 26th. The event runs each day from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Admission is $7. For more information on Boo at the Zoo go to the John Ball Zoo's website.

Brewery expansion among reasons Bridge St. is G.R.'s next destination

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - The 400 block of Bridge Street, once home to an adult theater and lingerie store, is going upscale, as part of a renewed investment across the city's West Side neighborhood.

Holland-based New Holland Brewing on Tuesday announced it would expand there, creating a brew pub in the former Cini-Mini II site. That brew-pub and distillery tasting room will fill half of a development planned by Rockford Construction and Rockford Development Group. The other half will include residential and retail space.

New Holland says its Grand Rapids location is expected to create about 150 jobs. Its to house the company's sour beer program and produce small-batch whiskey. The company also plans to brew a monthly specialty beer there, with portions of its proceeds supporting the local neighborhood association.