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Local woman gets thousands involved in community art project

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WZZM) -- ArtPrize is still a month away but one local artist has already started to share her work. It's a community art project that will more than a thousand people will participate in. Tuesday, some Grand Rapids Public School students got a chance to add their touch.

"We are a venue this year as well and to be an actual part of an ArtPrize exhibit is just so exciting for the kids and for me, said Mary Geeting, Art Teacher at Coit Creative Art Academy.

Garden Tour is this week in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- A local food group is looking to inspire conversation and healthier lifestyles with a look at urban gardens. 

Our Kitchen Table is hosting its third annual Garden Tour in Grand Rapids this week.  Participants go on a walking tour of individual and neighborhood gardens. 

If you have a garden in Grand Rapids and would like to become part of the tour call (616) 719-9779.

Vehicle thefts on the rise in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- There is a warning out for drivers in West Michigan; don't leave your cars unlocked.  Grand Rapids Police say auto thefts are on the rise in 2010.

On Wednesday afternoon investigators showed the news media just how easy it was to find targets at a downtown parking lot.  "The interesting thing about this car is, it's open," says Lt. Ralph Mason.

Auto thefts had been on the decline for the past 14 years.  "But, for the first six months of this year, the thefts have gone up 26.6%.  We're not exactly sure why," says Sgt. Stan Lis.

The other problem is drivers leaving valuables inside their vehicles.  Items like iPods, computers, and GPS systems are common stolen items.  "Someone will grab a rock.  Anything to break the window, get in the car and steal whatever they can. And they're gone," says Mason.

John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids gets new monkeys

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - The John Ball Zoo has two new residents.

A pair of Colobus monkeys are now hanging out in the former tiger exhibit. It's the first time the zoo has ever had the black and white primates in their collection.

The new exhibit features a walk-in element that allows visitors to get up-close and underneath the monkeys.

The John Ball Zoo is open daily from 9:00am to 6:00pm.

Recycling and Education Center dedicated in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- Kent County leaders hope a new, advanced plant will encourage more people to recycle.  City and county leaders dedicated the new Recycling and Education Center in Grand Rapids Friday.  The Wealthy Street facility is located on the same site that was once home to the Applied Arts stamping plant.

The center can handle more than double the materials than the former recycling site. Residents who use the site do not need to sort their recyclables.

Aquinas College students volunteer for Project Unite

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- College freshmen opened their hears before their school books by performing community service projects Friday.  500 new students at Aquinas College are taking part in the volunteer program as part of their orientation.  The service program is called Project Unite.

Eric Bridge with Aquinas College said the students served at 13 sites around the community doing "everything from landscaping projects to working for Kids Food Basket."

This is the 17th year for Project Unite.  The new students also performed service projects on the Aquinas campus and work for ArtPrize.

New immunization requirements for Michigan children

KENT COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM)- This year children heading back to Michigan schools will have new immunization requirements. 11-year-olds need a meningitis and a whooping cough vaccine. You also need those shots if you're 11 or older, and changing school districts.

Lisa Newton knows back to school shopping all too well, she has ten children about to start the year. But this summer, Newton's to do list is growing as her kids will need extra vaccines to meet state guidelines.

Newton says, "We do have some more going into high school this year so we'll make sure they get the meningitis."

Many like Newton are making appointments at local health departments, but Kent County immunization supervisor Mary Wisinski says some residents are confused about the 6th grade requirements.

"The confusing thing for moms I believe is some 10-year olds starting 6th grade, but those kids are okay until they turn 11 years of age"