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Windy day causing power outages; search for missing man in Ludington postponed

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Strong winds are creating some scattered power problems around West Michigan.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, Consumers Energy is reporting 2,615 outages in Kent County, 1,110 in Muskegon County, 713 in Ottawa County, and 370 in Allegan County.

Mecosta County has 1,268 outages, Manistee County has 985, Ionia County has 514, Newaygo County has 307, and Montcalm County has 226.

If you do encounter a downed power line Consumers Energy wants to remind you to stay away and call 911.

83-year-old convention bureau changes name to Experience Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids (WZZM) - The Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention & Visitors Bureau today announced a new name for the 83-year-old organization - Experience Grand Rapids.

The organization says that the new name and brand more accurately reflects the organization's mission to market the region.  

The development of the new brand is the result of a two-year process of analysis and research that engaged the organization's leadership, staff and community members. The name change also mirrors recent trends by other cities and destination marketing organizations that have made a similar switch, such as Visit Denver and Discover Kalamazoo.

Recycling on the rise in Kent County

KENT COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM)- People in Kent County are recycling more since the county opened its new recycling center.  Public Services Director James Hurt says the amount of recycled waste in the first three weeks of August was 25% higher than the same time last year.

The county recently finished distributing 35,000 recycling bins for its new processing plant.  The facility sorts recyclables so residents do not have to. 

People say they are more willing to take part in the easier system.  Resident Beverly Reid says, "I see more people using them now that they've been delivered to everyone.  I see more of the bins out, the large rolling bins than I did see the smaller bins, so I think more people are utilizing them now which is a good thing."

Over the next few weeks crews will visit homes that they missed during the recycle bin drop-off.  They will also swap out bin sizes.

Grand Rapids man going to prison for child pornography

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- A Grand Rapids man convicted on child pornography charges is going to prison.  A judge has sentenced 28-year old Nicholas Job Woodard to six years in prison.  The Grand Rapids man will also spend the rest of his life on probation.

The Department of Justice says Woodard used a computer to download and share thousands of lewd images of children. 

An undercover FBI agent arrested Woodard. He pleaded guilty to three counts of distributing child pornography.

GRPS to begin blended learning curriculum at high schools

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)-  Starting Tuesday, high schoolers at Grand Rapids Public Schools will have to adapt to a blended learning curriculum. It's a new way of instruction and learning that has generated strong opinions from both supporters and opponents.

The blended model will offer two subjects, Social Studies and Math, in a blended form starting this school year. Students will operate on a three day schedule. On day one, students will meet in a traditional classroom setting where the teacher explains a concept. Days two and three the students will meet with one or more teachers and assistants and much of the work will be technology based.

West Michigan schools receive federal improvement grants

LANSING, Mich. (WZZM) - Twenty-eight of Michigan's lowest achieving schools have been awarded federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds to help them increase student achievement, including seven schools in West Michigan.

The funds are from the federal School Improvement Grant, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) signed into law by President Barack Obama last year.

In West Michigan, the schools getting grants are:

August & Summer 2010 Weather Stats

Grand Rapids

Temperatures last month averaged 74.9°F, 5.5°F above average, and 5.9°F warmer than last year (69.0°F), making it the sixth warmest August on record, and the warmest since 1959 (75.5°F). Twenty seven days were warmer than usual; three were cooler, and one was average. The highest temperature occurred on August 29 with 93°F while the lowest temperature occurred on August 27 with 51°F. Temperatures for the summer season (June, July and August) averaged 73.2°F, 3.9°F above average, and 5.3°F warmer than last summer, tying for the fifth warmest summer on record, and the warmest since 1934 (73.3°F).