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Westside Stride group brings walkers & runners together

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)-- The Westside Stride 5K group brings walking lovers, and running lovers together in Grand Rapids.

Jes Slaydon and Sam Gutowski stopped by WZZM to explain why they created the group.

The group meets every Tuesday at 404 Bridge Street, on the corner of Summer. Participants can walk or run the 5K route through the city, and meet new people along the way. The group gets together after the run to socialize as well. It is free to attend. After walking or running 10 times, participants will receive a special T-shirt.

For more information on the group, visit their Facebook page.

Camp Sparkle helps kids cope with loss or grief

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)-- Grief is a difficult topic to address with children. But parents don't have to attempt it alone. Gilda's Club Grand Rapids is continuing the tradition of Camp Sparkle this summer, for the eleventh year.
Camp Sparkle is an annual day camp for children entering kindergarten through entering 6th grade in the fall and that have been impacted by cancer or grief.

Camp Sparkle is every Tuesday, beginning June 30 through August 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It's at Gilda's Club Grand Rapids Clubhouse, 1806 Bridge Street NW.

Registration is now open. Those interested should contact the Clubhouse by emailing JScherer@gildasclubgr.org.

Campers may join and attend any camp date.

Visit the Gilda's Club website for more information.

Both incidents happened Tuesday evening between 7 and 8, in the areas of the Quarry & Crosby and Myrtle & Escott.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Grand Rapids police are investigating two separate cases of indecent exposure on the city's northwest side.

They both happened Tuesday evening between 7 and 8, in the areas of the Quarry & Crosby and Myrtle & Escott.

The man was riding a bicycle when he exposed himself to children. Police described him as a clean-shaven white man about 50 to 60 years old, with short gray hair, tall, and with a thin build.

Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call Grand Rapids police at 616-456-3896 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

Westsiders Facebook group helps rescue fawn

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - Wednesday's Going Social segment takes you to Alpine Avenue on the west side of Grand Rapids, after video of a fawn found on this busy roadway was posted on the We Are Westsiders Facebook page.

Amber Elliot posted video of the fawn approaching Mike Zamarripa.

"It was in the middle of the street in front of the old GM plant," Zamarripa told WZZM 13's Jennifer Pascua. After getting help capturing the fawn from a nearby construction worker, the duo eventually released it back into the woods in hopes it would reunite with its family.

That's when another member of the We Are Westsiders group, Robin Walenga, saw the post on Facebook and decided to head back to the area to make sure it was okay.

City manager expects 'huge payoff' with return of police academy

City manager expects 'huge payoff' with return of police academy

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)—Grand Rapids Police are hoping to inspire a new generation of officers by bringing back their youth police academy.

The police department announced the return of the program in February. The first session begins June 22; the second program starts on July 20. The academies are open to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors in the Kent County area who might be interested in a career in law enforcement.

"Our hope and our belief is some number of years down the line, this is going to have a huge payoff," says City Manager Greg Sundstrom.

For more information, visit the Grand Rapids Police Department's website.


Church cancels Mass after vandals hit

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- A Catholic church is canceling its Friday morning Mass after vandals broke into the building.

The Facebook page for Sacred Heart of Jesus parish on Valley Avenue SW has posted photos of the aftermath of Thursday afternoon's break-in.

According to the post, church leaders say young people spilled paper and other items on the floors and emptied fire extinguishers, covering everything with dust.

Nothing was broken -- but at least one of the vandals was barefoot and left footprints.

"Pray for our neighborhood, especially for youth who seem to find no better ways of spending their time than in vandalizing not just property but the most sacred property," says the post.

The church hired a professional company to clean the building, but the work will not be done in time to hold the 7:45 a.m. Friday Mass.

Plans on hold for new GVSU park-and-ride lot

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- A proposed 18-acre parking lot project on the west side of Grand Rapids is on hold.

Grand Valley State University is easing its pursuit of building a park-and-ride lot near Lake Michigan Drive and Maynard. The proposed 340-space lot sits along the bus route between GVSU's Allendale and downtown campuses.

More than 300 neighbors put their signatures on an opposition petition given to the Grand Rapids Planning Commission last month.

The City Commission paused the process of rezoning the property, said GVSU's Mark Rambo in a statement:

Since our first community informational session, we have received many comments about the project ranging from very positive to very negative. I believe the city commission's action captures what we were all thinking - we need to listen a little longer before we finalize any of the plans.