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Kent County ranks high for car-deer crashes

KENT COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM)- Kent County is once again at the top of the list for car-deer crashes.  The Michigan Car-Deer Crash Coalition says more than 2,100 such accidents happened last year.  That's about 200 more than the next highest - Oakland County.

The coalition was in Grand Rapids Thursday to launch its fall safety campaign - just a week before the worst time of year for car-deer crashes.

Lori Conarton with the Michigan Car-Deer Crash Coalition says, "Deer crashes are not only a concern with life and injury, but it costs us all through higher insurance premiums.  The average deer-car crash costs $2,100 to fix your car.  That's the average.  And that totals about $130 million year in damages to vehicles."

Kent County was number two for car-deer crashes in 2008, behind Jackson County.

ArtPrize contestants claim they're over-ticketed

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)-  Artists invested thousands of dollars into their ArtPrize entries, but one thing they didn't budget for is all the parking tickets they say they're getting. Artists told 13 On Your Side that the City of Grand Rapids is over-ticketing them while they're unloading their art pieces.

The courtyard near the BOB is vibrant with artwork, but some artists are getting an unwanted splash of color on their cars. Mike Moy says the tickets are out of control. He says it's been a problem seen since last year when he got $200 in parking tickets unloading his work.

Moy says, "I had to bring my equipment everyday so I'd park and I got 4 tickets in one day. It was pretty frustrating."

Eric Kravako also got nailed while moving his artwork.

"We're trying to unload and keep everything moving, it's just another damper to have another parking ticket on your car."

Deal could save Israels Furniture

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - There is new hope for Israels furniture and a possible deal that could keep the company alive in West Michigan.

The Israels family says they are in talks with Gorman's furniture, which is based out of Southfield. The exact nature of those business talks is not yet clear, but Gorman's company officials say they will remain committed to Israels' existing customers and will take care of warranties during this transitional time.

Owner Bob Israels announced last weekend Klingman's and Israels furniture are going out of business. The surprise announcement comes just weeks after Macatawa Bank announced it was filing a lawsuit demanding immediate repayment of a $6 million loan.

Israels and Klingman's employ about 150 people in West Michigan.

Neighborhood ArtPrize parties start today

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)- Two official ArtPrize events happen on Thursday night.

One will be held downtown and he other will take place on the Westside.

The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel will host what's called "PechaKucha."  Basically, it's a simple presentation where artists show 20 images and will only be given 20 seconds to talk about it.  The fun and informal gathering will run from 6-8 p.m. Thursday.

Then, the first of five neighborhood days begins. The Westside neighborhood is inviting community members are invited to gather for a special outdoor screening of the "West Side Story."

It's happening at the corner of Seward Avenue and 5th Street. Concessions are on the house courtesy of Celebration Cinema.

ArtPrize exhibits damaged by Tuesday's storms

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- ArtPrize got off to a bit of a rough start Wednesday because some of the exhibits were damaged by Tuesday night's storms.  WZZM 13's Sarah Barwacz has details in the attached video report. 

How Many People Have YOU Fed Today?

Meet  my son, Paul. He’s five years old. And we’re really proud of him.

I’m a little tired of referring to him as “Buddy Boy” or just the impersonal “my son,” and besides that, there’s no getting around seeing his name in this post anyway.

The kid deserves some recognition, if I’m allowed to be a proud mommy today.

Paul forfeited gifts at his fifth birthday party (the kids’ version) in lieu of food for Kids Food Basket, a local organization that provides sack suppers for school kids who might otherwise go home hungry.  Besides that, he willingly (more or less) left his friends playing outside to volunteer to make sandwiches for an entire school.

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ArtPrize piano project begins in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids (WZZM) - With only a few days until the start of ArtPrize 2010, the artists are making sure their pieces are in their place.

Sunday, English artist Luke Jerram, placed the first of 20 street pianos at the El Sombrero restaurant on Bridge Street.

Jerram's entry is called 'Play Me I'm Yours.'

The concept is to bring music to urban communities.

The pianos were donated and will be placed throughout Grand Rapids in the hope that people will share their creativity by playing them.

"The pianos really act as a blank canvas for everyone else's creativity," said Jerram.  "So rather than asking the public to go into a museum, we're effectively delivering a piano to their doorstep. It's a way of taking ownership and activating the urban landscape."

Each piano will be painted by various groups.