GRCC In the News, 10-14-14

Man gets probation and suspended jail term for crash that killed Grandville High student, cousin

Oct. 13, 2014; MLive

MECOSTA COUNTY, MI — The driver in a crash that killed two cousins – a Grandville High School student and a Coopersville man – was sentenced to two years probation and a suspended jail term.

… Two passengers in his vehicle, Michael Aguilar, 22, of Coopersville, and Roman Aguilar-Emmons, 18, of Wyoming, were killed in the May 3 crash. Fuentes-Perdomo was seriously injured. The driver of the pickup truck, a 31-year-old Cedar Springs man, suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.

(This article does not mention it, but Roman Aguilar-Emmons had enrolled in GRCC’s Police Academy.)

Trayvon Martin’s mom to speak at West Michigan colleges to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy

Oct. 13, 2014; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin – whose fatal shooting in 2012 sparked a nationwide debate and protests over racial profiling – will speak in January at programs celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College and Davenport University.

Ask the Community College Presidents

Oct. 9, 2014; WGVU

(Video features President Ender, Robert Ferrentino of Montcalm Community College, and Dale Nesbary of Muskegon Community College.)

Changing lives, one ramp at a time

Oct. 13, 2014; WOOD 8

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOOD) — Recently, a group of students from GRCC’s Tassell M-TEC Construction Trades teamed up with the pros at Home Repair Services to work on a very special project. Every year Home Repair Services teams up with the Grand Rapids Home Builders Association for Community Repair Days. They help to build wheelchair ramps for disabled and low income. For the students, it was a great chance to get out of the classroom and see what happens on a construction site. Home Repair Services tries to build 15 wheelchair ramps a year.

18th Annual GRAND RAPIDS GRAND AWARDS Are Announced

Oct. 14, 2014;

For performers and audiences alike, the name on everyone’s tongue this week is “The Grand Awards!”

… Community theatres presently participating in the Grand Awards are Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Jewish Theatre, Actors’ Theatre, Circle Theatre, and Master Arts Theatre. Participating colleges include Grand Rapids Community College, Aquinas College, and Cornerstone University.

Meet the teacher: Kentwood Public Schools welcome 37 new teachers

Oct. 13, 2014; MLive

KENTWOOD, MI — With a little over a month at a new school under their belts, MLive and The Grand Rapids Press asked area school districts to share information about new staff members.

… Stacey Stankewicz, resource room teacher at Explorer Elementary School. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Aquinas College and a Master of Arts degree in special education from Ottawa University. Previously, she taught in London, England, and Grand Rapids Community College.

GR officials see development as next stop for bus rapid transit

Oct. 13, 2014; Crain’s Detroit Business

The first exploration of bus rapid transit in the Grand Rapids area is already halfway to its goal of 5,000 riders a day most weekdays. And although nothing is shovel-ready yet, city officials think developers are starting to get interested in investing along the corridor of the new bus line.

… “We are hearing that we have a lot of Grand Rapids Community College students and a lot of people who are working on Medical Mile, especially Spectrum Health employees,” (Jennifer) Kalczuk said.


GRCC In the News, 10-1-14

50 Healthiest College Towns

Sept. 30, 2014;

There are lots of factors to consider when searching for the best college for you. One such factor to consider is the surrounding town(s). It’s doubtful that you’ll spend 100% of your time on campus, so you’ll probably want to think about what kind of attractions are nearby and what kinds of activities are popular with the local community. And if you’re a health nut, you’ll definitely want to consider towns that will cosign your obsession with an active lifestyle and nutritious eating.

… 45. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids Community College, Calvin College, Davenport University, Cornerstone University, Aquinas College, Everest Institute, Grand Valley State University, Hope College, Muskegon Community College, Western Michigan University

While Grand Rapids does average about 75 inches of snowfall each year, the snow doesn’t stop 79.9% of residents from staying physically active. Some may train for the Fifth Third Riverbank Run, the country’s largest 25K road race. Some may hit the trails in the Best Town for Mountain Biking, as named by Outside magazine. Some may just enjoy the walkable downtown area as they move to and from activities. Grand Rapids also has the healthy advantage of local farming, as Michigan is the third largest apple producer in the U.S. and is behind only California in agricultural diversity. This may contribute to the city’s high percentage of residents in a normal weight range (38.8%) and its low diabetes rate (9%). An interesting mix, Grand Rapids has been called one of the nation’s Most Exciting Mid-Sized Cities by Movoto but also the #2 Most Secure Large City by Farmers Insurance.

Why This Michigan Manufacturing Company Wants To Hire More Ex-Cons

Sept. 30, 2014;

When Jahaun McKinley was released from prison, he ran into a common problem: It’s extremely difficult to get a job after you have a criminal record.

… Today, Cascade (Engineering) has dozens of former prisoners on its roster. It’s not the only company in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area to take up the cause, either. Along with a handful of other organizations, including Butterball Farms and Grand Rapids Community College, Cascade leads something called the 30-2-2 initiative, which aims to work with 30 local organizations that will each hire two individuals with criminal background and track them for two years. The goal is to prove that there is a real business case for hiring formerly incarcerated employees.

‘A dream come true’: Scott Merlo named new chief of WMU Department of Public Safety

Sept. 30, 2014; MLive

KALAMAZOO, MI — A Western Michigan University alumnus and veteran of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety who retired as an executive lieutenant in 2012 has been named the new chief of the WMU Department of Public Safety, school officials said Tuesday.

… Since 2012, (Scott) Merlo has worked as a lieutenant and was second in command for the police department at Grand Rapids Community College, which had a total of 13 sworn officers.

GRCC warns of scam artist claiming to be fundraising

Sept. 30, 2014; WZZM

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) — A man knocking on doors, claiming to be collecting cash donations for Grand Rapids Community College and the Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids, is trying to scam people, according to GRCC.

NAACP offers funding to increase number of black cops in Grand Rapids

Sept. 30, 2014; Aljazeera America

In a move to help correct a deep racial disparity in the demographics of the Grand Rapids police force, a local Michigan chapter of the NAACP announced Monday that it will offer a $2,500 scholarship to assist African-American men and women cover the costs of police training.

… Students can take the courses they need at Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College or Ferris State University. Becoming a GRPD officer requires at least two years of college, and courses can last 10 to 17 months, (interim NAACP President Cle) Jackson said.

College Notebook: WMU’s Beckwith keeps on winning

Sept. 30, 2014; The Battle Creek Enquirer

… The Kellogg Community College volleyball team played their seventh match in as many days on Tuesday, as the Lady Bruins looked to end an 8-match losing streak.

… After a road loss to NJCAA Division II No. 2-ranked Grand Rapids CC on Sept. 23, the Lady Bruins lost at Ancilla and then dropped four matches at the G.R.C.C. Raider Challenge on Sept. 27-28.

September projects for 100 Ways to Give


Here are some of the 100 Ways to Give projects that have been organized for September:

  • The Admissions and Enrollment Center is collecting 100 bottles of HE (high-efficiency) laundry detergent for Ronald McDonald House.
  • The English Department wants to provide 100 books for the laboratory preschool.
  • The library and the Criminal Justice Department are teaming up to collect 200 paperbacks — new or used — for Kent County Jail inmates.

Our drop boxes are being set up this week! You can drop off items being collected for 100 Ways to Give projects — to drop boxes at:

  • the Enrollment Center.
  • the Student Success Center in Sneden Hall.
  • at Tassell M-TEC.
  • in the Student Life office at the Student Center.
  • the first-floor circulation desk at the library.

GRCC’s Finance & Administration management staff plans to provide 100 hours of job shadowing this October. If you know students who might be interested, have them e-mail the Purchasing Department by September 19 at to find out more.

To see the full list of projects, click here. When getting involved don’t forget to share it on social media by using #GRCC100years and #100waystogive on Twitter and Instagram, and “Grand Rapids Community College” on Facebook.



100 Ways to Give: books for inmates


As part of GRCC’s 100 Ways to Give project, the Library & Learning Commons and the Criminal Justice department are teaming together to collect books for Kent County Jail inmates. Visit the Library anytime between September 1 and October 31 to drop off your books.  You can also drop books — or any other items being collected for other 100 Ways to Give projects — to drop boxes at:

  • the Enrollment Center.
  • the Student Success Center in Sneden Hall.
  • at Tassell M-TEC.
  • in the Student Life office at the Student Center.

We can accept new or used paperbacks – the men and women at the facility are looking forward to new reading material!

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact:


GRCC In the News, 8-28-14

Man enters plea in crash that killed Grandville High School senior, cousin

Aug. 27, 2014; MLive

MECOSTA COUNTY, MI — An 18-year-old has entered a plea in a crash that killed a Grandville High School senior and his cousin in May.

(Roman Aguilar-Emmons, who was killed in the crash, planned to attend GRCC’s Police Academy.)

Grand Rapids director Brian Miller enjoys significant career boost, helming two Bruce Willis films

Aug. 28, 2014; MLive

Brian Miller recently took a significant step forward in his film directing career and then took a much-needed vacation.

… Miller graduated from East Grand Rapids High School in 1993, and studied acting and film first at Grand Rapids Community College, then Grand Valley State University. He finished his degree in 1999 and moved to Los Angeles in 2003, where he wrote and pitched screenplays while working day jobs in sales and marketing. He got his break in 2009, when producer Randall Emmett gave the green light to his screenplay for Crossfire; the film starred Chris Klein (American Pie) and rapper 50 Cent.

Memphis-style BBQ restaurant to open downtown before ArtPrize

Aug. 27, 2014; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Steve Elkowitz is bringing a little bit of Memphis to downtown Grand Rapids.

… Elkowitz, who lives in Caledonia, graduated with a culinary degree from Grand Rapids Community College in the late 1990s, and also has degrees from Cornerstone University and Liberty University.

Top 5 things to do around Grand Rapids include Makers Faire, Whitecaps baseball, El Toro!

Aug. 28, 2014; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — If you’re staying in the area for Labor Day, here are a few entertainment options for your holiday weekend.

… Local creators will showcase their work at Grand Rapids’ first Maker Faire, to be held in the Public Museum, 272 Pearl St. NW, on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 30-31. A Maker Faire combines elements of a science fair, engineering expo and design show. They have been popping up all over the country after debuting in California in 2006 and expanding to Detroit, New York and other cities since 2010.

The family friendly celebration will feature rockets and robots, DIY science and technology, unique handmade crafts, and more. Patrons will see installations from GR Makers and the Geek Group as well as other local West Michigan inventors and innovators. The Grand Rapids Mini Maker Faire is being organized by the GR Makers, The Geek Group, Grand Rapids Community College, Genesis Inc. and the Grand Rapids Public Museum and will be a smaller version of the festival that celebrates tinkering and the DIY crowd.

Michigan’s Skilled Trades and High-Tech Future

Aug. 27, 2014; YouTube

(Much of this video was shot at GRCC.)


Hudsonville student receives scholarship to attend Police Academy

Megan Stacey

Megan Stacey

Hudsonville High School graduate Megan Stacey plans to attend GRCC’s Police Academy with a $1,000 college scholarship she received from the Law Enforcement Education Program.

“I have plans to develop my interest in the law, constitution and government through further education at college and a police academy,” she said. “I am on track to enter the Police Academy in January 2015 in order to fulfill my dream of becoming a certified  police officer. Subsequent to my graduation from the Police Academy, I expect to earn my bachelor’s degree and go on to have a long career in Criminal Justice.”

In its 10th year, the nonprofit LEEP has awarded some $123,000 in Dream scholarships to students who are interested in public service or law enforcement careers.

GRCC In the News, 8-20-14

Healthier west Michigan economy a drag on GRCC enrollment

Aug. 19, 2014; WGVU

Grand Rapids Community College’s 2014-2015 academic school year begins in less than one week at. While there are plenty of students buying text books and preparing for a semester of studies, their numbers are down from last year.

A festival of innovation

Aug. 18, 2014; WOOD TV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — This is the season for back to school, but there is something to be learned every day! The Grand Rapids Public Museum is partnering with the Geek Group and GR Makers for the Grand Rapids Mini Maker Faire.

(Article doesn’t mention it, but GRCC is a sponsor of this event.)

Tenants get first look at townhouses that replace dilapidated Madison Square apartments

Aug. 19, 2014; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — JoAnna Brown yelped in delight as she entered the kitchen at her new home on Gilbert Street SE.

… Brown, a 26-year-old criminal justice major at Grand Rapids Community College, said the three upstairs bedrooms and two bathrooms also will improve the quality of life for her sons, ages 6 and 11.

Jordan Shimmell steps into the Doghouse: A Cruiserweight Destined to Be Champion – Interview

Aug. 18, 2014;

With the kind of resume Jordan Shimmell, of Hudsonville, MI, had as an amateur, he looks like a sure thing to be fighting for a professional championship within 2 to 3 years. He is 16-0 (13) as a pro. His father, Dennis Shimmell Jr., and advisor Al Haymon, plan to do it the right way and not rush the 25 year-old in before he is ready.

… Jordan’s younger brother Niall boxed prior to joining the Air Force. Jordan was on the Dean’s list at Grand Rapids Community College. He played football in high school and was part of a rock band. He also performed in a school play. He has a love of off-roading with dirt bikes, go-karts, golf carts, lifted 4x4s, quads, etc. He goes to sand dunes and trails.

GRCC In the News, 8-4-14

GRCC, Davenport sign articulation agreement for health courses

Aug. 1, 2014; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – An articulation agreement aims to smooth the transfer process for Grand Rapids Community College medical assistant students who are looking to transfer to Davenport University for a health-related program.

Drivers of both vehicles involved in crash that killed Grandville High School student face charges

Aug. 1, 2014; MLive

MECOSTA COUNTY, MI — Two drivers are facing charges after a May crash that killed a Grandville high school senior and his cousin in May.

… He (Roman Aguilar-Emmons) planned to enter Grand Rapids Community College’s police academy in the fall.

GRCC In the News, 7-29-14

Summer Games to Play

July 2014; Beacon (newsletter for the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children)

Cootie Catcher Nature Game

Here is an idea for older preschoolers and school age kids to get them outdoors and in touch with nature during the summer months. Most children can make their own Cootie Catchers with a little help from an adult or older child. This activity is a wonderful way to develop vocabulary and encourage creative problem-solving. It can be done anywhere outdoors on the sidewalk, in the backyard, or in a park.

(Article written by Maureen Milarch, from GRCC’s preschool.)

Inside Track: Walker chief marks 40 years in law enforcement this year

July 25, 2014; Grand Rapids Business Journal

Catherine Garcia-Lindstrom stands as a much-needed example of how law enforcement can be an accepting and viable career path for women and members of minority communities.

… Business/Community Involvement: Michigan Crime Victims Appeal Board chairperson, chairperson of the Police Academy Advisory Board for GVSU, member of the Police Academy Advisory Committee at GRCC, member of the Criminal Justice advisory committee for KCTC, member and former president of the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Fund of Detroit, World Medical Relief board member.

ABA’s Chicago Steam signs Roy Jackson of Flint, same league that launched Dr. J’s legendary career

July 28,2014; MLive

FLINT, MI — If you follow Roy Jackson on any of his social media accounts, then you’re already aware that he eats, sleeps and breathes the game of basketball.

… His father, Teddy Jackson, wasn’t the only one in his corner when things got rough, his mother Delois Jackson, sister Lakrisha Jackson and girlfriend Dynasia Walker were there to uplift him, too. Prior to attending UAPB, Jackson enjoyed a solid two-year career at Grand Rapids Community College from 2010-12.

GRCC In the News, 6-27-14

Construction alliance earns statewide honor

June 26, 2014; Grand Rapids Business Journal

An industry-wide initiative has been recognized by the Michigan Works! Association for its accomplishments in building the talent pipeline for opportunities in construction throughout West Michigan.

… Norm Brady, president and chief executive officer at the ABC Western Michigan Chapter, said the Prosperity Award recognized the collaborative arrangement that has developed among the three associations of CWDA and its strategic partners: Michigan Works! Kent & Allegan Counties and Grand Rapids Community College.

Four GRCC certificate programs now approved for federal student aid

June 26, 2014; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Four certificate programs at Grand Rapids Community College are now eligible for student financial aid.

Bruce Willis movie ‘The Prince,’ from Grand Rapids director Brian Miller, to debut in August

June 27, 2014; MLive

The new movie from Grand Rapids-born director Brian Miller, “The Prince,” has a new trailer and an official release date. The action-thriller stars Jason Patric, Bruce Willis and John Cusack.

… The director attended Grand Rapids Community College and studied filmmaking at Grand Valley State University before moving to Los Angeles in 2003.

Learn how to cook in the moment

June 26, 2014; The Holland Sentinel

Holland, Mich. — Salt of the Earth’s Executive Chef, Matthew Pietsch, will host the Chef Series at the Holland Farmers Market on Saturday. Beginning at 10 a.m., Pietsch will share ideas for recipes that will allow cooks to shop at the Farmers Market in the morning and have a gourmet meal ready that same night for dinner.

… Pietsch is a West Michigan native who has been involved in the hospitality industry since 1997. After he graduated from the Grand Rapids Community College Culinary Arts program, he held an apprenticeship with the US National Pastry Team. He worked throughout West Michigan for several years as an executive pastry chef and later relocated to Dearborn, where he operated the famed Opus One kitchen and managed Opus Ones corporate food service program for Ford Advertising.

Women’s Club scholarship winner

June 26, 2014; The Post (Cedar Springs)

The Cedar Springs Women’s Club awards an annual $1,000 scholarship to a female of any age who resides in the Cedar Springs School District. She may be considering any type of skill training or degree program. The award is made without regard to race, creed, color, religion or national origin.

… Kate (Miller) is a very motivated young woman who is planning to attend Grand Rapids Community College for a year and then transfer to Central Michigan University to work for a Bachelors in Kinesiology and a minor in Spanish. She hopes for a career as a Physical Therapist.

Grand Rapids’ next police chief is a two-man race, forum crowd says

June 26, 2014; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — A public safety director in Port Huron could be the frontrunner for city police chief, based on an informal survey of people who attended the second public forum featuring four finalists for the job.

… The committee members are Tom Almonte, assistant to the city manager; Christina Arnold, director of GRCC’s Woodrick Diversity Learning Center; Johnny Brann, Jr., restaurateur; Mari Beth Jelks, the city’s managing director of administrative services; Joe Jones, Grand Rapids Urban League president; Ralph Mason, retired Grand Rapids police lieutenant; Catherine Mish, city attorney; and Sundstrom.


Police Academy visit means parking changes

The Metro High School Police Academy will be visiting the Devos Campus on Wednesday, June 18. There will be several police cruisers, armored vehicles and mobile command vehicles from area police agencies parked in the lot between the Mable Engle and Lettinga buildings from 7 A.M. to 4 P.M.. We are asking all students and staff members who normally park in this lot to park in the parking structure or the surface lot on the North side of the Sneden building. We will have Police Recruits from GRCC’s Police Academy on site to assist with traffic on the day of the event. Please contact Officer Bo Peters at ext. 3743 with any questions. We appreciate your assistance.