Tag Archives: WKTV

WKTV airs special on Muskegon Bike Time as event revs up in downtown Muskegon

In honor of this year’s Muskegon Bike Time, which is July 13 – 16 in downtown Muskegon, WKTV will be airing the highlight reel of the Muskegon Bike Time 2016.


The half-hour show, produced by WKTV volunteer producer Gary Vande Velde
aka GV Wheels, will air on WKTV 25 this Thursday, July 13, at 1 a.m. and will repeat on Friday, July 14, at noon followed by by DMX Sports Blessing of the Bikes. It also will air on Saturday, July 15, at 12:30 p.m.


The 2016 event marked the 10th anniversary of the annual Muskegon Bike Time, which attracts more than 100,000 people and 75,000 bikes from across the country. The goal of the event is to produce entertainment opportunities in Muskegon aimed at attracting a broad spectrum of motorcycle enthusiasts for a vacation experience on Michigan’s West Coast.


The event’s activities include the Relentless Stunts Show featuring a motorcycle stunt team performing an array of nonstop action acrobats. There also is the Harley-Davidson Rushmore Experience Demo Rides along with the Blessing of the Bikes and the Patriot Ride on Sunday. The four-day event also will have food and plenty of live entertainment.


For more information on the Muskegon Bike Time, visit www.muskegonbiketime.com.


Learn about rip currents before heading to Lake Michigan through WKTV program

With Lake Michigan only being about an hour away, it is easy during a hot summer day to pack up the family and head to the beach to enjoy the sand and waves.


Those waves also contribute to Lake Michigan being the deadliest of the Great Lakes. In fact, Grand Haven has one of the highest current related incidents, 109 from 2002 to the present according to the National Weather Service. Of those incidents, eight have resulted in deaths.


The major cause of those incidents have been rip currents. To help increase awareness about riptides the National Weather Service has designated the first week in June as National Rip Current Awareness Week. In honor of that, WKTV will air “Respect the Power,” on Channel 25 June 5 at 9:30 a.m.; June 6 at 6:30 p.m.; June 7 at 11:30 a.m. and June 9 at 7:30 p.m.


The video was produced by the Great Lakes Beach & Pier Safety Task Force and was created in memory of Andrew Burton Fox and Daniel Reiss, both who were swept off the Grand Haven pier and drowned in Lake Michigan.


According to Grand Haven officials, rip currents and powerful breaking waves are common in the area of the pier. But education, including recognizing what a riptide looks like and what to do if you are caught in one, can increase the chances of a happy outcome.


From the “Respect the Power” website, it states that the Great Lakes are better understood as inland seas rather than lakes. Storms not he lakes can easily generate waves up to 30 feet in the most sever storms. However, even smaller waves can be dangerous.


When waves break, water is pushed up the slope of the shore. Gravity pulls this water back toward the lake. When the water converges in a narrow, river-like current moving away from the shore, it forms what is know as a rip current. Rip currents can be 50 feet to 50 yards or more wide. They can flow to a point just past the breaking waves or hundreds of yards offshore. You can sometimes identify a rip current by its foamy and choppy surface. The water in a rip current may be dirty from the sand being turned up by the current. The water may be colder than the surrounding water. Waves usually do not break as readily in a rip current as in adjacent water.


According to both the “Respect the Power” and the National Weather Service websites, if caught in a rip current, try to relax. A rip current is not an “undertow” and will not pull you under. Do not try to swim against the current as this is very difficult, even for an experience swimmer. If you can, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current, then swim directly toward shore. If you are tired, tread water and float and call and wave for assistance. The current will carry you to the end or head of the current, where once rested you can swim back to shore.


Some other water safety tips:


1. Learn to swim.


2. Check with a lifeguard or with the park’s current conditions board before entering water.


3. Never swim alone.


4. Never dive headfirst into unknown waters or shallow breaking waves.


5. Piers are navigational structures and not designed as walkways, proceed at your own risk.


6. Do not jump or dive off pier structures.


7. Avoid piers when waves begin to spill over the pier surface.


8. To avoid rip currents, avoid swimming in areas that are discolored with sand and has a choppy or foamy surface.


9. If caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore (about 30-50 yards) to get out of the rip current before swimming to shore.


10. Protect yourself from the sun. Use sun screen.

All aboard as WKTV features a unique look at passenger trains

Take a trip down memory lane as WKTV presents “All Aboard!: The Legends of the Rails” June 2 and 3.


The special will air on WKTV Channel 25 at noon on Friday, June 2, and 5 p.m., Saturday, June 3.


The production shows the story of passenger trains in America, taking the viewer on a coast-to-coast journey to re-live the history, color and fascinating story of some of America’s most popular passenger trains. From the earliest-steam locomotives to today’s streamlined Amtrak diesels, the viewer will be treated to spectacular cinematography as these legends of the rails glide through the mountains, valleys cityscapes and back country of America.


Featured locomotives include the Union Pacific 3985, 844, and E9’s, Nebraska Zephyr, Norfolk & Western 611, Frisco 1522, and Southern Pacific 4449. As a special treat, viewers will get to “sit” next to the engineer for ride on the Southwest Chief. Also part of the video includes exclusions, dinner trains, tourist lines, the Dever & Rio Grande Ski Train, and footage of Amtrak from coast to coast.

Kentwood’s Amvets Post to host annual Memorial Day Parade


The City of Kentwood will mark Memorial Day with a parade on Monday, May 29, hosted this year by the Amvets Post 23.


For the past several years, the Amvets Post and the America Legion D.W. Cassard Post 208 have shared the responsibilities of hosting the annual parade and service with one group hosting it one year and the other hosting it the next. For 2017, it is the Amvets who have organized the event.


The parade will kick off at 10 a.m. from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), near the corner of 48th Street and Eastern Avenue. From there, it will head west down 48th Street to Kentwood’s Veteran’s Memorial Park located in front of the Kentwood Activities Center, 355 48th St. SE. At the park, there will be a ceremony including the laying of five wreaths, one for each of the branches of the military service: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The service will last about an hour.


The entire parade and service will be rebroadcast on WKTV 25, at 12:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29. In fact, the entire program for that day will focus on Memorial Day activities and will include “Salute to Honor” at 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.; a Memorial Day Tribute at 10 a.m.; “Lost Boat Ceremony” at the USS Silverside at 10:15 a.m. and 9 p.m.; City of Kentwood Memorial Day Parade at 12:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; “Lest We Forget” at 1 p.m.; the Vietnam Moving Wall at 6:30 p.m.; and the City of Wyoming Memorial Day Service at 8:30 p.m.


The WKTV Government 26 channel will feature “Salute to Honor” at 6:30 p.m. and the National Veteran’s Creative Arts Festival at 7 p.m.

Game on:WKTV’s featured games for March 20-25

This week in WKTV’s featured high school sports games are:


Tuesday, March 21, the quest for a basketball state championship is underway as Tri-Unity Christian will face Buckley.

Tri-Unity Christian faces Burkley tonight.


Tri-Unity enters the contest with a 16-8 record while Buckley remains undefeated with a 24-0 record. The game will be at Tri-Unity Christian, 2100 44th St. SW.  where they will have the home court advantage and the winner of this game will advance to play at Michigan State in the semi-finals in hopes of winning a state championship.


Wednesday, March 22, both of Wyoming’s baseball and softball teams will be opening their season with an away game at Lowell. The boys will play at 4 tp.m. and the girls will play at 4:15 p.m.


Thursday, March 23, Wyoming will take on Grand Rapids Covenant Christian for a baseball game, while the softball team of Wyoming will play against Zeeland West. Both games will be at Wyoming and played 4:15 p.m.


Friday March 24, South Christian will have its season opener at Holland Christian in a boys lacrosse game at 6 p.m.


Saturday, March 25, Grand Rapids Christian will play against East Kentwood’s baseball team at Davenport University at 6 p.m.


WKTV videos and broadcasts several games each week during high school sports season.


For a complete schedule of all local high school sports action in January, see now.wktv.org/sports/


DVDs of each game are also available for purchase at $20 including shipping. For more information, visit WKTV.org

Deadline for 2017 Eclipse Award entries fast approaching 


By WKTV Staff


Calling the best and brightest producers, directors, actors, writers, and filmmakers to submit their entries for the 2017 Eclipse Awards! Entries are accepted until March 27th, 2017.


The Eclipse Awards honor content creators for Excellence in Craft in the disciplines of film, television, video, acting, sound, music and writing. Created by WKTV Community Television and Media as a means of empowering the West Michigan “voice” of content creators, the Eclipse Awards has become the “big event” for the creative community.


“There really are a large number of content creators here who are either fully established and enjoy the recognition or who are just starting out and have that spark of genius with a great idea,” said Tom Norton, General Manager of WKTV.


Tom Norton, General Manager of WKTV Community Television and Media

In the first round of voting beginning right after March 27th, voting members from Michigan select the nominees. Nominees are then announced at 7 pm EST on Monday, April 17th and streamed live on the WKTV Youtube Channels. A link will be available on The Eclipse Awards website, theeclipseaward.com. A second round of voting begins following the announcement and this time, voting members are joined by industry peers across the US and in Europe.


The tallies from those votes then decide from the list of nominees who will be the recipient of The 6th Annual Eclipse Award in each category and craft.


The Hyperion Award — a leadership award given to outstanding leaders in TV, Film and the Arts — is voted on by the Eclipse Awards Board of Governors. The name “hyperion” refers to the light that exists behind an eclipse and this is the leadership that The Hyperion Award honors; the individual in West Michigan who by example and leadership encourages others to excel and contribute to an already thriving community of content creators.


The 2017 Hyperion Award recipient will be announced on the day the Eclipse Nominations are announced and will be presented at the 6th Annual Eclipse Awards Ceremony televised live from City Flats Ballroom on Thursday, May 18th.


NEW to the Eclipse Awards this year, Los Angeles distributor FairwayFilm Alliance, through their Rogue Arts label, is offering a first look to the 6th Annual Eclipse Award winners in the feature film and documentary category. Following the night of the awards ceremony, when the winners are known, the connection between Fairway Film Alliance and the winner(s) in these categories will be arranged.


“We’re tremendously pleased to be working with all of our sponsors,” said Norton. “They really believe in the importance of West Michigan having regional awards recognition to help foster the creative spirit. The democratization of media over the last few decades has really given voice to a much wider array of creativity and WKTV wants to see it grow and expand.”


Here are the important dates:

  • Friday, March 27th at 5pm — Entry Window Closes
  • 1st Round of Voting Begins
  • Nominations Announcement 7pm on Monday, April 17th
  • Hyperion Award Recipient Announcement Monday, April 17th 7pm
  • 2nd Round of Voting Begins with National Judges
  • Nomination Certification Party, Monday May 15th
  • The 6th Annual Eclipse Awards Excellence in Craft Award Ceremony, Thursday, May 18th 7pm


More information can be found on the website www.theeclipseaward.com or by calling 616.261.5700. Entries are $35 for content creators and $20 for students, however there is no student criteria for voting by the judges.


The 6th Annual Eclipse Awards is sponsored by WKTV Digital Cinema, the West Michigan Film Video Alliance, West Michigan Film Office, Compass College of Cinematic Arts and Ferris State University.


Local Government Matters: Chamber to host informational meeting

WKTV Staff


The Wyoming-Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Government Matters Committee meeting will be Monday, Feb. 13, from 8-9 a.m. at Wyoming City Hall, 1155 28th St SW, at the corner of 28th and Michael Avenue SW.


The meetings alternate between Wyoming City Hall and Kentwood City Hall.


The meeting, where chamber officials meet with local, county and state government officials, is free and open to the public. It will also be recorded by WKTV community television for viewing.


The Feb. 13 meeting will be delayed broadcast on WKTV community television Channel 26 on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. until the next Government Matters Committee meeting. It is also available on-demand at wktv.viebit.com


For more information on the chamber visit southkent.org.


Wyoming Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes businesses, volunteers at annual event

By Bob O’Callagahn

Wyoming-Kentwood Chamber of Commerce


The Wyoming-Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 36th Annual Meeting & Awards Dinner Jan. 27 at Grand Rapids’ Crossroads Conference Center 6569 Clay Ave. SW.


Guests were welcomed by music from the East Kentwood High School Jazz Combo and a slide presentation with pictures from 2016 Chamber Events.


A strolling dinner and silent auction started the evening off. The nights program started with a welcome from President/CEO Bob O’Callaghan. O’Callaghan then introduced State Senators Tonya Schuitmaker, Peter MacGregor, and State Representative Tommy Brann. Mayor Stephen Kepley then updated the guests on activities in the City of Kentwood. City Councilmen Kent Vanderwood shared the accomplishments in the City of Wyoming in 2016.


The Awards portion of the Program started with Lacks Enterprises receiving the Manufacturer of the Year honors. Craig’s Cruisers was selected Retail Business of the Year. The final business award went to the Service Business of the Year Valorous Circle. Each award was preceded by a video of the winning business, prepared by WKTV.


The Daniel McLaren Committee of the Year Award went to the Annual Meeting Committee.


The Daniel Vandyke Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Keith Morgan from All Clean Again.


The Chamber’s final award, The Gerald E. Fessell Distinguished Service Award went to Terry Merriman, owner of PCO Associates, and the 2015 and 2016 Chairman of the Board. The 2017 Board of Directors were introduced and the meeting adjourned.

Locally-produced sewing craft show back for 2nd season on WKTV

OnPoint focuses on host Nancy M. Roelfsema’s “Learning to Quilt” lessons. (Supplied)

By Thomas Hegewald



When OnPoint Tutorials, Tips & Tours debuted in 2015, the production team had no idea what the audience reaction would be to the show. While the team pledged to focus on all things creative, they didn’t know they would create a following which would look forward to a new tutorial, tip or tour every week.


From the start they have endeavored to demonstrate host lessons to a broader audience. By showcasing these lessons, the show has created a large “classroom” for viewers and novice quilters alike. OnPoint will complete these lessons in the course of the second season along with showcasing other crafts.


The OnPoint production team includes team Bill Roelfsema, Gina Greenlee, Karen Giles, Nancy Roelfsema, Athina Morehouse, Michelle Sheler, Eric Sheler, and Thomas Hegewald.


The OnPoint production team includes team, from left to right, Bill Roelfsema, Gina Greenlee, Karen Giles, Nancy Roelfsema, Athina Morehouse, Michelle Sheler, Eric Sheler and Thomas Hegewald. (Supplied)

Each month the production team records a number of segments for a half hour program. In addition to providing viewers with step-by-step tutorials on a particular technique, they also feature helpful tips and an insider’s view of local trade shows, quilt stores, quilt guilds and artist’s studios.


For this, the second season, they’ve produced additional episodes featuring demonstrations that were recorded in October at the 2016 Quilts on the Grand Show held at the DeltaPlex.


Season 2 of OnPoint Tutorials, Tips & Tours debuted last week on WKTV and will continue weekly with initial broadcasts on Monday at 6 p.m., with an encore broadcast on Friday at 10:30 a.m.


For more information on OnPoint, visit onpoint-tv.com or on FaceBook at OnPoint.


Winners for the Saugatuck Shorts Film Competition to air on WKTV

Seth Yergin was the adult winner for his film “Summer.”

The winners of the Saugatuck Shorts Film Competition will be aired on WKTV Tuesday, Jan. 10, at 9 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 14, at 10 p.m.


The theme for the 2016 competition was “Michigan Flavor.” Each filmmaker was to make a film, no longer than five minutes that show their interpretation of Michigan Flavor.


There were two different groups for the competition, one for students under the age of 18 and one for adults over the age of 18. Three prizes were awarded at the screening: $500 judges’ award for best student film, $1,000 judges award for best adult film, and $1,000 for “Fan Favorite.” Audience members had the opportunity to vote for their favorite after all the films were screened.


Brennan Huizinga took home the student award and Fan Favorite.

The winner for the student category of this year’s competition was Brennan Huizinga for his film A Lake Michigan Sunset. Not only did Huizinga win the student category but his film also won the award for “Fan Favorite.” This is Huizinga’s second time submitting his films for the competition, his second time being in the top ten finalists, and his first time winning both of these awards.


The winner for the adult category of this year’s competition was Seth Yergin for his film Summer. This is Yergin’s first time entering the competition and he said he couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.


Interact with policymakers at ‘Government Matters’ Nov. 14

wkacc-logoLocal government matters most. Many people don’t realize how decisions at the local level affect members of the community. Here’s your chance to get engaged!
Monday, Nov. 14, Wyoming-Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Government Matters Forum with elected officials, will take place at the Kentwood City Hall, 4900 Breton Rd. SE, Kentwood from 8-9:15 am.

One of the topics of discussion will be the new Overtime Law that goes into effect Dec. 1, 2016. If you would like to comment or have figured out how much this will cost your company, please come to the Forum and share with us your input.

This meeting is an opportunity for business owners and the community to face our appointed officials and bring to light any issues or concerns they would like to address. You are welcome to be recognized by the moderator — and present your questions at the allotted time.

Bring your top issues and interact with policymakers from

  • City of Kentwood
  • City of Wyoming
  • County of Kent
  • Michigan House of Representatives
  • Michigan Senate

This monthly meeting will be televised by Cable Channel 25 WKTV.

WKTV to feature Democracy Now! live election coverage

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez from Democracy Now! Photo courtesy of Democracy Now! by Steve J. Sherman
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez from Democracy Now! Photo courtesy of Democracy Now! by Steve J. Sherman

For its election coverage, WKTV will host a live broadcast of the independent news program Democracy Now! Tuesday Nov. 8, on WKTV Government Channel 26.


The five-hour broadcast will start at 5 p.m. and will feature Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez who will be co-hosts for the special election night coverage.


The program will include real-time results from presidential, gubernatorial and congressional races as well as state and ballot initiatives from around the country.


The co-hosts will look at what the election results mean for war and peace, climate change, income inequality, racial and economic justice, LGBTQ rights and the global issues.


Democracy Now!’s election night special will feature unique interviews and perspectives. The program will include the voices of activists, analysts and grassroots leaders discussing how the movements on ground will go forward following this historic election.


For more information, visit democracynow.org.

Meow! The Amazing AcroCats came to Grand Rapids!


By Victoria Mullen



More cowbell, Tuna. Oh, c’mon.

Tuna on cowbell

“Tuna, more cowbell,” coaxed Samantha Martin as the proud, white cat raised her paw, looked Martin straight in the eye and then put her paw back down. “No cowbell for you,” the feline’s face seemed to convey.


At least not right at this moment.*


Tuna and her cohorts, the Amazing AcroCats were in Grand Rapids Oct. 16 and 17 for three performances at the Wealthy Theatre in Eastown. The troupe comprises regular, down-to-earth house cats rescued by Martin and trained to perform tricks of their choosing.


As Chief Executive Human, on any given day Martin oversees the well being of about 14 performing cats — and sometimes an abundance of kittens. On Martin’s cue, the cats perform tricks with skateboards, roll balls over parallel ropes, play the piano, strum the guitar and even read signs.


With a background in animal training, Martin has a natural affinity for animals, especially felines. She uses clicker training techniques to build better relationships and solve behavioral problems. Her career as animal circus master began in the ’80s with an act called the Amazing AcroRats. After a few years, she realized she wanted to do something more challenging when she decided, why not cats?


Kittens in the studio!!!!
Kittens in the studio!!!!

“Cats have a reputation for being notoriously difficult to train,” said Martin. “But I love a challenge.”


To Martin’s delight, she discovered that cats are highly trainable. The training method differs from that of dogs — cats prefer real treats (chicken, salmon) versus a paltry “good kitty!” after performing a trick.


There’s much more to the show than music and acrobatics, and each cat has an amazing rescue story. One was found behind a dumpster. Others were abandoned as tiny kittens. All are well cared for and loved by Martin and her colleagues.


“We’re devoted to promoting cat-training awareness,” Martin said. “We support feline adoption and rescue across the country. We usually travel with foster kittens and cats. Right now, we don’t have any as we’ve adopted the last group out.”


Martin brought some of her AcroCats came to WKTV’s studio on Saturday to share some tricks and tips on why it’s important to train your cat.


Samantha Martin and WKTV's Bill Jung
Samantha Martin and WKTV’s Bill Jung. Love the ears, Bill.

In the studio with Martin was Smudge, a kitten who came on board with a sibling just yesterday. Already he is in training to become an AcroCat.


“I start training them as soon as they can eat solid food,” said Martin. “I observe to see what each cat likes to do and then build upon that using clicker training.”


Already Smudge is exhibiting some great paw action. Surely he has a promising future.


*Seconds later, Tuna did more cowbell. What a tease.


Ho, ho, ho. Santa’s arrival is only two months away

kids at santa paradeIt’s October and believe it or not, the 9th Annual Santa Parade is less than two months away.


This year’s parade is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, and will head down S. Division Avenue from 33rd Street southbound to Murray Street. After the event, residents are invited to stop by Brann’s Sizzlin’ Steaks & Sports Grille, 4132 S. Division, for pictures with Santa immediately after the parade.


And there is still a lot to do in Wyoming and Kentwood in preparation for the arrival of the Big Guy. The Wyoming Kentwood Chamber of Commerce is looking for chamber members interested in helping with this year’s parade. The Chamber is looking for people who want to help in making this year’s event even bigger and better. If you are interested, contact the Chamber office at 616-531-5990.


santaIt is never too early to book your spot in the parade. It is $25 for corporate/business participants for a float or fleet car and marchers in the parade. Company information must be included for the WKTV broadcast of the parade. It is $10 for any non-profit for a float or fleet car and marchers. It is also $10 for public participants.


For questions or more information including sign up forms for parade or Chamber membership, contact the Chamber office at 616-531-5990. The Santa Parade is sponsored by the Wyoming Kentwood Chamber of Commerce.

Saugatuck Center for the Arts puts the call out for submissions to its annual film competition

shorts-logo-largeFilmmakers have until Oct. 14 to submit entries to the Saugatuck Center for the Arts’ fourth annual Saugatuck Shorts Film Competition.


This year marks the fourth year of the Saugatuck Center for the Arts’ (SCA) film competition, which is Nov. 5. Professional and student filmmakers will compete for $2,500 worth of cash prizes for their short films — five minutes or less — that feature some sort of Michigan flavor. Student submissions (age 18 and under) are free, and adults (age 19 and up) are $20 per entry. Video projects by schools, clubs, and religious organizations are encouraged to enter. Registration for Saugatuck Shorts is open now until Oct 14, and can be completed at sc4a.org.


“Over the past four years, the SCA’s Saugatuck Shorts competition has brought in filmmakers from across the state for a wonderful night of engaging entertainment on the big screen,” said SCA Executive Director Kristin Armstrong. “The competition is a great way for students and professionals alike to get their work in front of the community. We are very excited to bring this special competition back!”


Saugatuck Shorts is the only film competition in West Michigan that offers a cash prize for film submissions in a juried category and an audience favorite. Similar to ArtPrize, a panel of judges will choose the top tens shorts to be shown on screening night. Of those top ten, a winner from the student and from the adult category will be chosen. The Student Winner will be awarded $500 and the Adult Winner, $1,000. On screening night, after the audience has viewed all ten shorts, they will cast their votes for the “Audience Favorite” which will be awarded another $1,000.


This year’s competition also marks the second year that the SCA will partner with Wyoming- Kentwood Television (WKTV) to promote Saugatuck Shorts. In addition to the station coming to the event to broadcast it live on Nov. 5, WKTV will also feature the top ten juried films on the station.


WKTV is a community television station located at 5261 Clyde Park Avenue in Wyoming, Michigan. WKTV is one of the oldest community television stations in the country that is still in operation, celebrating 40 years in 2014. More information about WKTV can be found at www.wktv.org.


For more information and registration details for Saugatuck Shorts can be found at sc4a.org or by calling 269-857-2399. Saugatuck Center for the Arts is located at 400 Culver Street, Saugatuck.


WKTV and Global Force Productions are going on a safari

Global Force Productions, a West Michigan-based international production company, specializing in CG animation, is bringing a new children’s educational program to WKTV. “Jake’s Safari,” was written by West Virginia actor/writer, George R. Snider, III. Global


“We fell in love with Mr. Snider’s story and its characters, so we attracted the production work to Grand Rapids,” said Randy Bassin, Force’s founder and executive producer of this show.


Together with talent from west Michigan and throughout the Midwest, along with the animation team at Global Force’s south India studios, under the direction of Terry Vanden Akker, TV audiences will experience a truly international safari for kids from pre-kindergarten through second grade. The show will air Mondays at 3:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m. on WKTV channel 25.


Randy Bassin xxxxxxx
Globe Force Productions Founder Randy Bassin with Chiku from the company’s animated children’s show “Jake’s Safari.”

“Jake’s Safari,” which was nominated for a 2016 Eclipse Award for animation, is a half hour children’s program produced with both live actors and CG animated characters. The show will attract an international audience of both girls and boys. It is the story of Jake, a photo-journalist with “Wild World Magazine,” who experiences new adventures with his wise Zulu guide, Jabali, and his two animated sidekicks — a precocious monkey named Chiku and an easy living tiger named Tahla. Throughout the episode, audiences will meet Maribel, the assignment editor for “Wild World Magazine,” and Jake’s animated email messenger Rasul (a cheetah). Along the way you’ll be introduced to a wide variety of CG animals from different countries.


On Safari with Jake and his friends, viewers will traverse the world meeting new cultures, exploring exotic locations, learning about wildlife, promoting healthy childhood development, good morals, and even sharing photography tips designed for children.


For more information, visit Jake’s website at www.jakessafari.com or email Jake at goingonsafari@jakessafari.com.

‘Waiting On Division’ project humanizes homelessness

waiting on division








By Victoria Mullen


Just a word

To many people, ‘homelessness’ is just a word. Maybe we understand this state of being intellectually and academically, but it’s next to impossible to empathize — unless we’ve experienced similar circumstances or have a friend or family member who has lived on the streets. Putting a real face on this dilemma helps humanize the condition, and that’s what Tom Gunnels’s project, Waiting On Division‘ is all about.

tom gunnels
Tom Gunnels (by Tom Gunnels)


You may recognize the name — Gunnels played banjo with local folk band, The Crane Wives for five years (2010-2015) before moving on to work on the Great Lakes Natives music project. Currently, he’s a free-lance photographer and videographer.


Interested in humanitarian efforts since he was a kid, Gunnels originally considered joining the Peace Corps to help disadvantaged people in other countries. Then one day, he realized that there were people in dire straits right in our own backyard.


It doesn’t take much

Earlier this year, he began documenting his encounters with homeless folks by writing a nearly daily diary on Facebook, taking still photos and videotaping people’s stories. Some days he doesn’t unpack his equipment. It all depends on whether or not people feel like being filmed or photographed. Some days are better than others.


“Several of [the street people] are now my friends,” said Gunnels. “They’re people with feelings, just like you and me, it’s just that their circumstances have one way or another led them down this path.”


I shadowed Gunnels one day as he made his “rounds” visiting the street people of downtown Grand Rapids. Soft-spoken and unassuming, he walks with a heavy backpack containing camera and video equipment on his back, trudging through downtown everyday on a personal mission to help folks less fortunate than him by listening, offering a hug when needed and making sure his friends are OK.


Portrait of David by Tom Gunnels

“Sometimes, all someone needs is a listening ear or a hug or just a kind word,” he said. “Such simple things make a huge difference in someone’s life. It really doesn’t take much.”


He carried a book with him, Ending Homelessness: Why We Haven’t, How We Can, edited by Donald W. Burnes and David L. DiLeo, as well as a blank journal and a scan disk. He planned to give the journal to a friend who loves to write. The scan disk was for another friend whose camera needed more memory. He’s been in touch with Burnes, who wants Gunnels to be involved with a major project.


The day was hot and muggy and it was only 9 am. Less than an hour in, I was already dripping and wilting. How do people tolerate this day after day after day? I just can’t fathom it.

What is going on in our world? To say this is not okay would be a major understatement. ~Tom Gunnels

“This project is so much more about process than it is anything else,” Gunnels wrote in a Facebook post. “The process of walking downtown with all of the gear, being recognizable on the street as ‘that guy who is filming.’ I try to make a morning walk downtown every day that I can, just to say hi and maybe catch someone who has been wanting to film, but maybe just waiting for the right day.”

Puritan values still rule

Homelessness in Grand Rapids is a microcosm of what is happening across America, where the impact of 1600s Puritan values still thrives. Many people hold on to the notion that one only needs to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and into the pursuit of the American dream. Those who can’t “deserve” to be destitute, as they are thought to bring no added value to society.


Portrait of Dan by Tom Gunnels

Many homeless folks are disabled or suffer from addiction, some are war veterans, all face social disadvantages that go far beyond the lack of a safe and suitable home. They have reduced access to private and public services, as well as limited access to vital necessities such as healthcare and dental services. They are often seen as unsuitable for employment and their travel options are few.


Getting proper help when one is homeless can seem insurmountable. First, you have to know what services are available. That may take some time to figure out if you’re new in town or mentally ill, as many homeless folks are. Or perhaps you’ve been homeless for a few years and have given up on “the system,” but for whatever reason, today you’re going to give it another shot. Either way, you’ll need to fill out the correct forms. If you don’t have the proper I.D. — like a Social Security card or birth certificate — you can’t apply for basic social services.


If you don’t get it right that day, you’ll have to start all over again. The process is demeaning, time-consuming and frustrating.


On a more basic, day-to-day level, homeless folks are discriminated against at every turn. People cross the street to avoid them. Access to drinking water is limited, even on the hottest days, and some people suffer from dehydration as a result. Access to restrooms is another huge problem.


Then there is the matter of trespassing and loitering. Gunnels showed me a small patch of grass between a building and a fence. It was maybe eight square feet.


“See how small this space is,” he said. “A couple of my friends were just standing here the other day, not bothering anybody, when the owner of the property came out and threatened to call the cops.”

no sitting closer
No Sitting
no public restrooms close up
No Public Restrooms. No Soliciting. Thank You.


Moving onto the sidewalk was not an option.


“They tell them that it’s still trespassing,” said Gunnels. “Now, if I were to stand here for a while, that’s OK, because I don’t look homeless.”

Everybody is waiting

‘Waiting On Division’ is not simply about a street in downtown Grand Rapids.


“It’s about division in every sense of the word,” said Gunnels. “What divides us as people, as humans.”


One observation became apparent to Gunnels early on: Everybody was waiting for something, whether waiting in line for food, to get in a shelter or waiting for a social services facility to open.


“There’s just a lot of waiting,” said Gunnels. He was convinced that one of the first people he met was just waiting for someone to be his friend.


I was with Gunnels when his friend, Michael offered up some photography equipment. Michael has some camera lenses in storage and wants to give them to Gunnels — for free. This, from a man who has little to nothing in the way of possessions.



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Gunnels said he sees countless such acts of giving and selflessness on the street. And he noted that many street people are surprised when Gunnels tells them he’ll be back and then returns. They’re so used to people blowing them off that a simple gesture of showing up moves them to tears.


Later on our walk, Gunnels introduced me to Amber and her friend, George. Amber looked rough around the edges. She was in pain and told Gunnels that she had pancreatitis — probably a result of her heavy drinking — and would be going to the hospital later in the day. Gunnels spent a good amount of time with her, listening and offering support. I found out later that Gunnels gave Amber a cell phone so that she could call him if she needed anything.


Such simple gestures as this go a long way.


“Amber writes poetry when she can, but it’s easy to lose things on the street,” said Gunnels. “It’s easy to lose a notebook or have it ruined by the rain, while you’re sleeping outside.”

All I can do is listen, film, be a messenger, and shed a few tears along the way.

On the ‘Waiting On Division’ Facebook page, Gunnels wrote, “It’s easy to lose things like pencils and paper, or even motivation to write. Motivation lost because somebody gave you a black eye and a swollen jaw, like Amber received just a few weeks ago. Motivation lost because of dehydration and difficulty staying in the shade on a 92-degree day, or out of the rain during a mid-summer thunderstorm.”


(To see Gunnels’s film of Amber reading her poem, ‘I’m a Bum,’ go here.)


Many of the people Gunnels meets are initially shy to be photographed, but once they get to know him, they open up.


“When I first met a man named Henry, he didn’t want my camera out,” Gunnels said. “After meeting him a few more times, he apologized because he said he thought he was rude towards me, and he then asked me to take his photo.


“This time, we were all hanging out and he asked if I would take my camera out again, so I did.”

Making a difference

“I guess I just hope that by explaining what I see and hear, I hope that others will hear and these stories make their way to somebody who can step up and actually help,” said Gunnels. “Respect is an important thing. If it is given, it will be received.”


One by one, Gunnels is making a difference. Since beginning the project earlier this year, Gunnels has helped get three people into rehab. A fourth was considering the option.

Portrait of Red by Tom Gunnels. When Gunnels and Red first met, Red was convinced he had only three months left to live. Gunnels helped get Red into rehab.


Social media plays a huge role in the project. People enjoy seeing themselves in photos and videos and proudly share these with their Facebook friends. The exposure gives them confidence. They feel they are valued.


Many of the folks downtown have a presence on Facebook — yet their own friends may have no idea that the person they see on Facebook has nowhere to live.

Being pushed out

Gunnels’s project comes at a time when friction between business owners and people on the street has steadily been increasing. Business owners in downtown GR see these folks as a nuisance and a deterrent to business. Signs in windows warn, “No Sitting” or “No Public Restrooms, No Soliciting, Thank You.”


Don’t let that bit of politeness fool you.


Recently, Propaganda Doughnuts closed shop after operating on South Division Ave. for two years. In a Facebook post, the owners blamed the business’s failure on customers being harassed and approached by panhandlers, and having to walk past intoxicated and passed out people on the sidewalks and in the doorways.


“To lump everyone together, assume they are all the same and they are a problem, is not okay,” said Gunnels.


Other business owners and landlords have gone so far as to try blocking a permit for Heartside Ministry to move into the former Goodwill store at the corner of Cherry St. SE. They worry that an expanded ministry may lead to more “harassment, drugs, alcohol intoxication, panhandling and other undesirable activities” along the corridor, according to an appeal filed with the city. 


At the time of this writing, the city had affirmed its decision.


Cruising through DreamWheels!

2016 DreamWheels for newsWith Metro Cruise upon us and WKTV’s DreamWheels! set to film on Saturday, we take a look back on the stories of the people and cars who make the cruise such a large attraction. From the history surrounding the inception of Metro Cruise to the shops and talents it takes to rejuvenate the beauty of a classic car, and everything in between, our full coverage is below:


DreamWheels! comes to the red carpet

History of Metro Cruise

Art Cruise

Engine House No. 9

Steve’s Antique Auto Repair

Pal’s Diner

The ‘artwork’ of Dom Federico

Lowriders come to DreamWheels!

Metro Cruise Pin-Up Girls

SoCal Speed Shop comes to Metro Cruise

DreamWheels!: Pin Up Girl Contest set to take place at Rogers Plaza

Pin ups
The preliminary round for this year’s 28th Street Metro Cruise Pin Up Girls Contest featured 14 young ladies who were narrowed down to 10 finalist. Those finalists will compete for the title this Saturday.


A few years ago, Stacey Davis was walking through the 28th Street Metro Cruise when she happened upon the Pin Up Girl contest at Rogers Plaza.


“My dad restores classic cars so I grew up going to car shows like the Metro Cruise every summer,” said Davis, whose stage name is Ginger Snaps. “I grew up seeing the girls in the poodle skirts, the Marilyn Monroe impersonators and I saw the Metro Cruise contest and decided to sign up.”


Last year, the former Grand Rapids resident, who recently moved to Midland, was crowned Miss Metro Cruise 2015.


“It definitely helped with my confidence to know that I had won that title,” Davis said, adding that it has been a fun time visiting with little girls and meeting new people. “It was a great experience.”


This year Davis is joined by Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll and Jeremiah White, owner of Reflections Salon, to judge the 2016 Pin Up Girl Contest which is part of the Metro Cruise fun. The even takes place Saturday, Aug. 27, from 1 – 3 p.m. at Rogers Plaza.


ginger snaps
The 2015 28th Street Metro Cruise Pin Up is Stacey Davis a.k.a. Ginger Snaps.

The Pin Up Girl Contest has been a longstanding tradition at Metro Cruise, said Wyoming-Kentwood Chamber of Commerce Bob O’Callaghan. And it makes sense. Flip through any car magazine and within the first few pages you will see a very pretty girl next to a candid apple red street racer or a bright green hotrod.


The pin up girl is an interesting American phenomenon which was born in the 1800s through magazines like Life, boomed in the 1930s due to the calendars of Brown and Bigelow, and peaked during World War II. Today, pin up girls remain a fabric of the American cultural and an ode to what many have called “a simpler time.”


For the 28th Street Metro Cruise Pin Up Girl Contest,  there was a preliminary contest in July where the number of girls were narrowed down to 10 finalist who will compete for the title on Saturday. The girls come from all over to compete in the contest, which this year is being organized by JA PR Group.


Spectators are welcomed to watch and cheer for their favorite.


Rogers Plaza serves as the central spot for the Metro Cruise with a host of activities taking place all around the mall. The “DreamWheels!” television program will be broadcasting live from Rogers Plaza as well Cascade’s Pal’s Diner from 6 – 7:30 p.m. Pete Chapouris from So-Cal Speed Shop will be signing autographs at the Rogers Plaza tent for Steve’s Antique Auto Repair.


For more, visit 28thstreetmetrocruise.com.

DreamWheels!: WKTV brings the red carpet event right to you

2016 DreamWheels for newsFor the fifth year in a row, WKTV Community Media and the Wyoming-Kentwood Chamber of Commerce host the red carpet classic car event, “DreamWheels!” in conjunction with the 2016 28th Street Metro Cruise.


The event will be broadcast live Saturday, Aug. 27, from 6 – 7:30 p.m. from two locations — Pal’s Diner, 6503 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, and Rogers Plaza, 972 28th St. SW, Wyoming. The show will air at Saturday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. on WKTV Channel 26.


“As one of the largest and most proactive community media centers in the state, WKTV prides itself in being able to provide high-end, community-focused television into people’s living rooms,” said WKTV GM Executive Director Tom Norton, who is the producer of the “DreamWheels!” show. “‘DreamWheels!’ is a true WKTV original; community media designed to make people love where they live. Our hundreds of volunteers it takes to pull this off year after year always look forward to making it happen.”


Returning to host is Kim
Returning to host is WLAV’s Kim Carson who is joined by WLAV’s Tony Gates.

This year’s event spotlights some of the finest classic cars from the past century — from luxury models of the 1930s to some of today’s fastest and sportiest rides. Owners from across the Midwest have gathered to show off these wonderful vehicles and to share with us their one of-a-kind stories.


Some of the classic vehicles on this year’s red carpet are a 1937 Packard 120; a 156 Lincoln Premiere; a 1979 Ferrari 308; a 1973 Chevy Corvette Stingray; a 1947 Dodge Power Wagon; and a 1958 Package Hawk.


Additionally, Ziegler Auto Group in Grandville, one of the underwriters for the production will be bringing a Maserati Grand Truism Convertible, an Alfa Romeo 4C Spider and a Fiat 124 Spider for the red carpet.


There will be a number of classic and xxxx cars heading down this year's red carpet at "DreamWheels!."
There will be a number of classic cars and even some of today’s sportiest rides heading down this year’s red carpet at “DreamWheels!.”

A special treat will be three lowriders built by West Michigan residents. Holland resident Pablo Lopez, a.k.a. Mr. Lowpez who is known for bringing the lowrider movement to West Michigan, will bring his 1963 Impala SS. Wyoming resident Anbrocio Ledesma will have his 1951 Chevy Delux and West Michigan resident Derrick Bickham will bring his 1953 Chevy Bel Air.


There will be a special tribute to former “DreamWheels” host David Knisley who died in boat fire accident in May. The Engine House No. 5 Museum, 6610 Lake Michigan Dr., Allendale, will be bringing a 1876 Silsby Steamer pulled by two draft horses.


“Participating in this tribute to David Knisely, an individual whose community service both as person and as a firefighter which has touched so many lives is a great honor to all of us at Engine House No. 5 Museum,” said Museum Board President Jeff Blum.


Hosted this year by WLAV FM’s Tony Gates and Kim Carson, “DreamWheels!” combines a Hollywood- style movie premiere with a classic car show.  For more about the show, visit dreamwheels.org and visit the Facebook page.


Make sure to check out the “DreamWheels” show which will be broadcasting live Saturday, Aug. 27 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at Pal’s Diner, 6503 28th St. SE, and Rogers Plaza, 972 28th St. SW. The show will air Saturday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m. on WKTV Channel 25.

National Night Out a huge success in Wyoming, Kentwood

Mayors from the communities of Kentwood, Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Walker and Rockford attend the National Night Out kick-off event at Consumers Energy. Police officers from the various municipalities also were on hand.
Mayors from the communities of Kentwood, Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Walker and Rockford attend the National Night Out kick-off event at Consumers Energy this morning. Police officers from the various municipalities also were on hand.

By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma


The mayors and police officers from both Kentwood and Wyoming kicked off National Night Out activities in the wee hours of the morning at Consumers Energy, 4000 Clay Ave. SW.


Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll and Kentwood Mayor Stephen Kepley were joined by officials from Rockford, Walker, and Grand Rapids at the Consumers Energy location for the annual reading of the official National Night Out proclamation which all the participating communities’ governing boards have approved.


Established in 1984 with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, National Night Out marks its 33rd year. The event’s goals are to heighten crime prevention awareness; generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police community partnerships and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.


Wyoming Police Chief James Carmody and Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll are interviewed by WOOD-TV's Eva Aguirre for National Night Out.
Wyoming Police Chief James Carmody and Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll are interviewed by WOOD-TV’s Eva Aguirre for National Night Out.

“This is an opportunity for people to get to know their neighbors,” said Wyoming Police Chief James Carmody. “When I was young, your community and the people you knew were  your neighbors as people spent time on the front porch.”


Today, people are more transient with individuals and families moving in and out of a community on a regular basis. Neighborhood groups are still the main “eyes and ears” of a community, Carmody said adding that Neighborhood Watch groups are helpful in preventing crime before it even happens.


National Night Out is administered by the National Association of Town Watch. The National Association of Town Watch officials have indicated that the 2016 National Night Out event could be the largest ever, involving about 38.3 million people in more than 16,700 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases around the world.


Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalyn Biss and Kentwood Mayor Stephen Kepley talk at the Consumers Energy's National Night Out event.
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and Kentwood Mayor Stephen Kepley talk at the Consumers Energy’s National Night Out event.

For 22 consecutive years, Consumers Energy has been recognized by the National Association of Town Watch as the recipient of the National Electric Utility Award.


The Wyoming Consumers Energy location has served as the early morning kick-off to the local activities with police cars from various municipalities on hand as early as 5 a.m. Two large Consumers Energy trucks also were on site with buckets extended above U.S. 131.


“We appreciate the support we receive from our cities and law enforcement agencies not only for this annual event, but during every day of the year,” said Guy Packard Consumers Energy vice president of electric operations. “We feel it’s very important to show our appreciation of police officers across our state.”



Kentwood seeking old photos, film for 50th anniversary celebration

This photo is from the book "The Story of Kentwood." It is a the ribbon cutting ceremony for Kentwood's City Center on March 17, 1979. From the left is, Frank Jefferis, representative for U.S. Senator Donald Riegle; James Jansma, representing Robert L. Wold, city center architect; Peter M. Lamberts, Kentwood mayor; Donald TerHorst, president, TerHorst and Rinzema Construction Co., general contractors; Thomas B. Clayton, administrative assistant, Kentwood; the Rev. Robert  McBroom, South Kent Baptist Church.
This photo is from the book “The Story of Kentwood.” It is a the ribbon cutting ceremony for Kentwood’s City Center on March 17, 1979. From the left is, Frank Jefferis, representative for U.S. Senator Donald Riegle; James Jansma, representing Robert L. Wold, city center architect; Peter M. Lamberts, Kentwood mayor; Donald TerHorst, president, TerHorst and Rinzema Construction Co., general contractors; Thomas B. Clayton, administrative assistant, Kentwood; the Rev. Robert McBroom, South Kent Baptist Church.

Next year is going to be golden in the City of Kentwood as the municipality marks its fiftieth anniversary in 2017.


In preparation, a group of area residents and city officials have come together to plan the city’s 50th anniversary celebration. Part of this planning has included work on creating a video on the city’s first 50 years that will be put together by the local media center WKTV, which serves the Wyoming and Kentwood communities.


The Octagon House is one of the iconic landmarks of Kentwood. The house was built in 1855 by Sluman and Delia Bailey.
The Octagon House is one of the iconic landmarks of Kentwood. The house was built in 1855 by Sluman and Delia Bailey.

The City of Kentwood’s 50th Anniversary Committee is looking for photographs, videos and even stories to help tell the story of Kentwood’s birth and first 50 years. Photos, video and other media can be scanned so originals can be returned.


Kentwood officially became a city on Feb. 20. 1967. The move was partly to prevent the City of Grand Rapids from its continuing annexation of Paris Township, the name of the municipality before the area incorporated into a city. The goal also was to be able to provide the services residents were demanding as the rural township moved to a suburban community. Various efforts to incorporate started in the 1940s. The 1967 vote passed with 2,212 for incorporation to 2,035 opposed.


If you have something or would be willing to share with the committee, please contact Lisa Golder in the city’s planning department. You can reach her at 616-554-0709 or at golderl.ci.kentwood.mi.us.

Young musician shines on the marimba at Grand Rapids Youth Symphony performance

Noah Mallett was one of the featured performers at the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony May concert. The concert will be broadcast on WKTV Saturday.
Noah Mallett was one of the featured performers at the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony May concert. The concert will be broadcast on WKTV Saturday.

Most toddlers, at some point, will bang on pots and pans, but Adriana and Ed Mallett couldn’t help but notice that their son, Noah, seemed to have more of an interest beyond just making noise.


“He would strike the sources with a few wooden spoons,” said Adriana Mallett. “It seemed liked he was really listening as he struck a pan, a lid, then the handle of the lid.


“As he got a little older, he would find different objects around the house that would give him different sounds. By the time he was four, he was setting up cocktail drum kits out of a few stools and cardboard boxes, trying to mimic the shapes that he saw in music magazines, but he knew the sound was not right.”


Finally, at the age of six, Mallett received his own drum set and debuted alongside jazz drummer Bernie Dresel at Tuba Bach Chamber Music Festival. And since then, his star keeps rising. The freshman at Big Rapids’ Crossroads Charter Academy was recently selected as the 2016 Grand Rapids Youth Symphony Skip Gates Concerto Competition winner. With that honor, he was a featured performer at the Youth Symphony’s May concert which will air at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 21, on Comcast Live Wire Channel 24 in Wyoming, Kentwood and the entire Grand Rapids Metro Area and again on Tuesday, May 24, at 9 p.m. and Saturday, May 28, at 10 p.m. on WKTV Comcast 25 and AT&T U-verse 99 in Wyoming and Kentwood.


It won’t be the drums though that you’ll see Mallett perform, rather the marimba, an instrument he became intrigued with a few year ago for its melodic range and versatility. His family was able to borrow a marimba from Ferris State University and this year, a person who believed in his talents purchased a marimba for him as a loan.


Noah Mallett was named the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony's Skip Gates Concerto Competition winner.
Noah Mallett was named the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony’s Skip Gates Concerto Competition winner.

At the May concert, he performed one of the most popular marimba concertos of all time, according to “Percussive Notes,” Ney Rosaura’s Concerto for Marimba, the piece he performed in the Skips Gates Concerto Competition.


“It was suggested to me by one of teachers,” Mallett said for his reason in selecting the piece. Mallett is currently studying with Grand Rapids Symphony percussionist David Hall and Gwendolyn Dease, head of percussion studies at Michigan State University.


“It has a lot of rhythmic drive is very exciting and athletic,” Mallett said, adding that the piece has some memorable themes and melodies that some might recognize. In fact the piece is so athletic that Mallett has been told by some “to watch myself perform it,” he said with a laugh.


The Skips Concerto Competition honor is not the the first for the young musician, who also enjoys composing and arranging music. In fact, one of his compositions was selected to be performed at the Michigan Music Educators Association 2015 Honors Composition Concert.


Mallett is a member of the Con Brio Voce Brass & Percussion Ensemble and the Ferris State University Summer Band, which he has performed several times as a feature soloist. This summer, he continues his studies at North Carolina’s Brevard Music Center Institute.


For more about the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony, including its upcoming audition notices and its European summer tour, visit www.grys.org.

WKTV airs Saugatuck Short Film Festival in support of this year’s call for entries

Last year's Saugatuck xxxxxxxx
Last year’s Saugatuck Short Film Festival will be aired on WKTV this week.

The Saugatuck Center for the Arts, 400 Culver St., Saugatuck, is calling all filmmakers to submit their short films to the fourth annual Saugatuck Shorts Film Competition.


This year marks the fourth year of the Saugatuck Center for the Arts’ (SCA) film competition, where professional and student filmmakers will compete for $2,500 worth of cash prizes for their short films—five minutes or less—that feature some sort of Michigan flavor. Student submissions (high school students and younger) are free, and adults (college and up) are $20 per entry. Video projects by schools, clubs, and religious organizations are encouraged to enter. Registration for Saugatuck Shorts is open now until Oct, 9, and can be completed at sc4a.org.


“Over the past three years, the SCA’s Saugatuck Shorts competition has brought in filmmakers from across the state for a wonderful night of engaging entertainment on the big screen,” said SCA Executive Director Kristin Armstrong. “The competition is a great way for students and professionals alike to get their work in front of the community. We are very excited to bring this special competition back!”


Saugatuck Shorts is the only film competition in West Michigan that offers a cash prize for film submissions in a juried category and an audience favorite. Similar to ArtPrize, a panel of judges will choose the top ten shorts to be shown on screening night. Of those top ten, a winner from the student and from the adult category will be chosen. The student winner will be awarded $500 and the adult winner, $1,000. On screening night, after the audience has viewed all ten shorts, they will cast their votes for the “Audience Favorite” which will be awarded another $1,000.


This year’s competition also marks the second year that the SCA will partner with Wyoming-Kentwood Television (WKTV) to promote Saugatuck Shorts. In addition to the station coming to the event to broadcast it live, WKTV will also feature the top ten juried films on their station.

WKTV will be airing last year’s 3rd Annual Saugatuck Shorts Film Festival Tuesday, April 26, at 9 p.m. and again Saturday, April 30 at 10 p.m. on Comcast, channel 25.


WKTV is a community television station located at 5261 Clyde Park Ave. SW. WKTV is one of the oldest community television stations in the country that is still in operation, celebrating 40 years in 2014. More information about WKTV can be found here.

Black April event at WKTV

By: Adrian Dang


On April 30, WKTV will host an evening to commemorate, through the lenses of music, the fateful Black Friday April event in Vietnam 41 years ago.


The event starts promptly at 7 p.m. Admission is free and please be on time.

Janice Limbaugh: An Appreciation

Janice4By: Colleen Pierson


Janice Limbaugh has been an avid student of life. She was a beacon of humor, creativity, intelligence, and compassion to all who knew her. Death succumbed her last week after fighting a lengthy, courageous battle with cancer. She served as a model of a life well lived.


JaniceJanice made a name for herself here at WKTV Community Television as one of the individuals who started the Citizen Journalism program. I, along with the rest of the staff, had the opportunity to be alongside her in that journey. When you walked into her cubicle, we would all light up to see her face breaking grin and the way she celebrated life with uncommon vigor and joy. In a word, she was a SUPERSTAR.


She could write about anything, but what interested her most were stories that surrounded the history of the Wyoming/ Kentwood area, and people stories. On some days, we would just hang out at Marge’s Donut Den, and anyone that walked through those doors was fair game for a well-told story. She had a crisp mind and an uncanny focus when she sat down to write.


Janice2“Startup programs are never easy,” remarked Tom Norton, General Manager at WKTV. “Janice attacked all the challenges we gave her day in and day out in building a successful Citizen Journalism program here at the station. Always with a smile on her face.  Always being the consummate professional.”


Gratitude always encompassed Janice. She always felt positively grateful for her family, friends, the winning performance of the Detroit Red Wings, and the ability to find a scenic camp site.


She also told me numerous times how thankful she was to the WKTV Board of Directors and Tom Norton who helped her extensively with medical bills and financial help throughout her cancer fight.


Janice1“Not many places of employment would do that for an employee these days,” Janice would relate.


She graduated from Redford Union High School in 1977, and from there went on to Grand Valley State University. Janice later transferred to Ferris State University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and journalism in 1981.


Her Catholic faith played an important role throughout her entire life and helped her through the death of her beloved daughter Hannah and husband Dan Limbaugh. Her sons Dave and Nick have been a constant source of love.


In 2013, Janice met John Gore, and he later became her fiancé. She loved spending time outdoors which led to the purchase of a camper. The enjoyment continued as they traveled all over Michigan, enjoying the state’s natural beauty along the way. During Janice’s final days, John became her primary and devoted caregiver.


Janice6Because she was such a great friend and family person, her death leaves everyone who was part of her life in such profound grief.


The staff at WKTV may feel utterly bereft and sad for a while– losing the affable, huggable writer who was never at a loss for words. So, be kind to them. She was loved by all, and will not soon be forgotten.


I spoke to her two days before she died.  The last thing she said was, “I do not want to suffer.”


I will always hold onto that.


In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Koss National Triple Negative Breast Cancer Research Foundation at curetnbc.org.

Volunteers shine at the Volunteer Award Banquet

  • WKTV's Volunteer Award Banquet
  • Doug Hansen - Lifetime Achievement
  • Thomas Hegewald - Community Service Programming
  • Citizen Reporters
  • Members of the 100 hour club
  • First time volunteers at the station
  • Five year award winners
  • 10 year award winners
  • Started volunteering at the start of the millennium - 15 years
  • 20 years of service to WKTV

















The WKTV community gathered at Stony Brook Country Club on April 1 – and that’s no April Fools – to celebrate the volunteers to who make the station so special.


Since its inception as only the second community media station in the country in 1974, WKTV has given everyday citizens a platform for their voice and message to be heard. Volunteers have access to state-of-the-art video and editing equipment, studio space, a television channel, and an online newspaper to help mold their messages and stories about the communities they live in.


The best part? It’s all free!


Volunteer Banquet 2016Over 300 volunteers take advantage of the services WKTV has to offer in production, recording, editing, writing and filming. The Volunteer Appreciation Banquet is one way for the station to say thank you.


The banquet started with cocktails and a meet and greet before everyone sat down for dinner. The presentation of the awards followed dinner, but not before the premier of the annual volunteer appreciation videos courtesy of Nate Diedrich and the WKTV Production Staff.


“Producing these videos for the volunteer appreciation event allows us to express our sincere gratitude for all the effort our volunteers and producers put into creating quality content throughout the year,” said Nate.



When the room finally quieted down from all the laughter, the awards were ready to be handed out.


Volunteer of the Year - Doug Remtema
Volunteer of the Year – Doug Remtema

Volunteer of the Year was rewarded to Doug Remtema for his willingness and ability to help out on multiple projects at the station. Doug is a real pro and makes life easier on whichever project is lucky enough to utilize his talents.


Doug Hansen was recognized for Lifetime Achievement. Doug started at the station back in the 80s and has continued to be a resource for both volunteers and staff members.


Kathryn Gray was chosen as Citizen Reporter of the Year for her ability to make individuals come alive through the written word.


Community Service Programming went to Thomas Hegewald. The Community Service award is given to the volunteer who not only creates their own programming, but is also willing to volunteer on other projects as well.


On top of the four individual awards, volunteers were recognized for their individual service at the station.


23 volunteers were first year volunteers, 16 joined the 100 hour club, six citizen reporters in attendance were recognized for their yearly contributions, four volunteers were recognized for five years at the station, two volunteers were recognized for 10 years, four volunteers were recognized for 15 years, and two volunteers were recognized for 20 years of service.


20 years of volunteering at WKTV
20 years of volunteering at WKTV

19 shows were recognized for Program Dedication Awards.


WKTV is run by the volunteers who make everything possible. The volunteer banquet is one more night for them to shine.


Full list of volunteers recognized:


Volunteer of the Year: Doug Remtema


Citizen Reporter of the Year: Kathryn Gray


Community Service Programing: Thomas Hegewald


Lifetime Achievement Award: Doug Hansen


100 Hour Club

Terri Rees – 711

Doug Remtema – 494

Gary Vande Velde – 480

Alan Dunst – 446

Mike Bacon – 279

Barb VanDuren – 278

Thomas Hegewald – 249

Tom Sibley – 220

Sophia Maslowski – 190

Phil Moore – 172

Carrie Bradstreet – 149

Dan Simone – 122

Kristyn Miller – 117

Nathan Krzykwa – 111

Doug Hansen – 110

Athina Morehouse – 103


Program Dedication

A Day in the Dirt – Gary Vande Velde

Catholic Forum – Alan Dunst

Community Awareness – Donna Smith

Feel Like You Belong – Alan Headbloom

Fools for Christ – Jim Dohm

High School Sports – Paul Kableman

Is That Really Me on TV – Melanie Evans

OnPoint – Thomas Hegewald

River Reflections – Rosemary Burns

Senior Exercise – Chris Rush

Silent Voices – Dennis Lawrence

So & Mo Presents – Sophia Maslowski

Sounds of Summer – Patty Williams

Talking God & Guns – Janice Brown

Tips, Tricks & Techniques – Chef Terri Rees

Veteran’s History Project – James Smither

Whittlin’ Time – Mike Bacon

VMTV – Hung Nguyen

You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me America – Carrie Bradstreet


First Year


Dan Davis – Whittlin’ Time

Gina Greenlee – OnPoint

Robert Gonzalez – Sports/Plus

Wendy Jenkins – Silent Voices

Mark Kelly – Sports

Mark Lange – Sports

Linh Le – VMTV

Cameron McCargar – Sports

Brice Miller – Sports

Athina Morehouse – OnPoint

Angela Peavey – Indie Films

Reid Petro – Indie Films

Steve Pham – VMTV

Bill Roelfsema – OnPoint

Eric Sheler – OnPoint

Michelle Sheler – OnPoint

Downie Streahl – Sports/Plus

Kevin Ton – VMTV

Lillie Towns – Silent Voices

Barb VanDuren – Chef Terri Right Hand

Arturo Varela – Mision Evangilistica

Chris Williams – Sports


5 Years


Ray Boisvenue – Fools for Christ

Karen Graham – Schubert Chorus/Plus

Mike Moll – Sports Announcer

Ron Schultz – Sports Announcer


10 Years


Mark Bergsma – Sports

Anne VanDreumel – Shubert/Plus/Plus


15 Years


Girbe Eefsting – Digital Cinema Guild

Eddie Grover – Various Shoots

Gary Vande Velde – Day in the Dirt/Sports/Plus

Mike VanDreumel – Mr. Fix It/Everything


20 Years


Mark Tangen – Dream Wheels/Festivals of Chefs

Dick Visser – Board/Direct: Reading Train/Beanie Babies/Crafty Ladies

WKTV readies to air Golden Gloves for the 32nd straight year

michigan golden glovesThe Golden Gloves have a long, outstanding history throughout the country in the sport of boxing. What started in New York in 1927 as an amateur boxing tournament has morphed into The National Golden Gloves, a boxing program with affiliates in all 50 states who focus in training young people for success.


Grand Rapids started their involvement in 1932 under the sponsorship of the Grand Rapids Press and the Furniture City Post of the American Legion to foster competing teams in Grand Rapids. In 2008, Grand Rapids and the Michigan Golden Gloves Association hosted the 2008 National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions.


Back in 1985, the Michigan Golden Gloves Association and WKTV formed a partnership to film the state championship boxing bouts. When the partnership began, the tournament was held at Stadium Arena (now known as the DeltaPlex). When Stadium Arena was no longer suitable, the tournament was moved to the Grand Valley National Guard Armory on 44th street.


2016 marks a return to the DeltaPlex and the 32nd year of WKTV’s coverage of the Golden Gloves Boxing Championship. Catch all the action on Live Wire Comcast Channel 24 with a tape delayed airing of each evenings bouts the following day at noon.


West Michigan Championships
Saturday, April 9
Wednesday, April 20 (airing at 8:30pm)


State Championships
Saturday, April 23
Friday, April 29
Saturday, April 30

WKTV’s new associate anchor falters big-time, then disappears

grave marker for Nigel


[Obligatory April Fool’s story.]


In the beginning, he was WKTV’s mascot, always cheerful and unassuming. He often stayed into the wee hours of the night after everyone else had gone home. For months, we marveled at his always-sunny, can-do attitude, which is no mean feat in today’s dangerously depressing world. No matter what, Nigel was consistent in his utterances and deeds.


Lesser folk would have run chittering from the building, but Nigel put up with the station’s less-than-ideal working conditions like a champ. Our station director’s temper tantrums didn’t faze Nigel. He tolerated the bizarre antics of our managing editor. Even the newest CJ reporter’s grammar Nazi tirades didn’t crack him.


cricketIronically, it was a well-deserved promotion that did him in.


In his capacity as station mascot, Nigel thrived and excelled. His attendance was exemplary. When things got crazy around here, his easy-going manner and uplifting chirps kept the station on course. And he never got in anyone’s way.


Then we began taking him for granted. As often happens with mild-mannered folk in the corporate realm, Nigel was overlooked for plum assignments. He seemed happy enough. His chirps seemed genuine. But at WKTV, we do not stand for the status quo. We celebrate each team member’s strengths and help them overcome their weaknesses.


I believe it was on a Wednesday we first realized that Nigel’s talents were being wasted in such a limited role. The community needed to know about him, about what he stood for, about his very existence. Nigel needed to be celebrated and exalted for his simplicity and love for nature. It was sure to be a win-win.


And so we promoted him to broadcasting associate.

Bye gravestone


There is always a learning curve with any new position, and Nigel put up a brave front. He appeared to soak up new knowledge like a sponge, and we coached him in his new role. But it soon became apparent that Nigel, for all of his seemingly extroverted traits, was an introvert at heart. In his new, highly visible role, Nigel faltered. He couldn’t bring himself to attend meetings. I remember seeing him once by a pipe close to the window, but when I tried to talk to him, he quickly escaped down a tiny black hole.


No amount of persuasion could entice Nigel to contribute to our on-air broadcasts. He began wandering around the office, unseen. But we heard him. He chirped incessantly.


In any other situation, one might have considered Nigel mentally ill, but we knew better. Nigel was a unique individual, and at WKTV, we celebrate diversity. However, when someone’s happiness is at stake, swift action is required.


And so Nigel returned to the position where he was happiest, as our mascot. Two days later, he disappeared.


We believe a wolf spider sealed poor Nigel’s fate.


Click here to listen to an interview with Nigel. (Before he went missing.)




Post-script: Nigel was real. He was the office cricket.

OnPoint Tutorials, Tips & Tours – the show about all things creative

The crew prepares for an upcoming taping of OnPoint Tutorials.
The crew prepares for an upcoming taping of OnPoint Tutorials.

By Thomas Hegewald

A story begins with an idea; a television series with a concept.


Last spring, four of my coworkers and I met to discuss the possibility of producing a television series. Our previous endeavor, a nine-part series (Quilt Show Tutorials), was attracting thousands of views on YouTube. We could build on this success and produce a regular series to air on WKTV. Initially, we’d focus on quilt-related topics, adding other craft segments later. When a fellow quilt and craft enthusiast joined our ranks, our six-member production team was complete and Frayed Productions was born.


Nancy Roelsema, the host of OnPoint Tutorials
Nancy Roelfsema, the host of OnPoint Tutorials

We began recording our show, OnPoint Tutorials, Tips, & Tours in July 2015. Each month we record a number of segments for a half-hour program. In addition to providing our viewers with step-by-step tutorials on a particular technique, we also feature helpful tips and an insider’s view of local trade shows, quilt stores and guilds, and artist’s studios.


Utilizing the HD studio and field cameras, studios and edit suites available at WKTV Community Media allows us to focus on the content of our shows without the added stress of equipment costs. Four of our team members have degrees in broadcasting or a related field, so working in this environment helps us to develop our skills in television production. In addition to assisting us with our recordings, the WKTV staff created a new set which we personalize for each show.


OnPoint Tutorials, Tips & Tours – the show that focuses on all things creative. We’ll cover everything from A to Z – appliqué to zentangles. Airing Mondays at 6 p.m. and Fridays at 10:30 a.m. on WKTV Community Media.

18-year-old pianist wows crowd performing Rachmaninoff at Grand Rapids Youth Symphony concert

Sami Ahmad
Sami Ahmad is this year’s Grand Rapids Youth Symphony’s Piano Concerto Winner

By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma



Most would admit – whether musicians or just lovers of classical music – that Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 is one of the more difficult pieces for a pianist to master.


So it was bit of a surprise when 18-year-old Sami Ahmad performed it at the 2016 Grand Rapids Youth Symphony’s Piano Concerto Competition held this past January.


“It was amazing,” said Kin M. Ma, who heard Ahmad perform the concerto during the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony’s March 6 concert where Ahmad was the featured soloist.


“I chose the Rachmaninoff because two years ago I was looking for a concerto to play,” said Ahamd, who attends both Portage Northern High School and Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center. “So I printed the score and found that my hands could reach the big opening chords so I played through the first few pages and listened to a bunch of recordings and found I really loved the piece.


“I have asked my teacher [Susan Wiersma Uchimura] to play it ever since then and this year, she finally said yes. So I have been playing it for about a year now. “


Ahmad certainly showed he had mastered the piece as he went on to win the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony’s Piano Concerto where he earned a $300 cash prize along with the honor of being the featured soloist at the March concert. That concert will be broadcasted on WKTV (channel 25 on Comcast, channel 26 on AT&T, and channel 99 on U-verse) Saturday, March 19, at 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 22, at 9 p.m. and Saturday, March 26, at 10 p.m.


Besides featuring Ahmad, the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony’s second concert of the season also included Mozart’s Sinfonie in A KV 201 featuring the Grand Rapids Classical Orchestra. Franck’s “Le Chasseur Maudit” also was on the concert program and the performance finished with Berlioz’s “Symponie Fantastique,” a popular piece that has been featured in the films “The Shining” and “Sleeping with the Enemy.”


As Ahmad, who has performed with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony, and at the Grand Rapids Bach Festival, finishes up his high school career, he said his plans to pursue a major in the history of science and medicine with at least a minor in music. He has not yet selected a college.


The Grand Rapids Youth Symphony, under the leadership of John Varineau who is also the Grand Rapids Symphony’s associate conductor, was formed in 1959 with the goal of bring together West Michigan’s most talented young musicians to rehearse and perform together under professional standards. In 2000, the Classical Orchestra was founded and focuses on musical literature from the Classical period.


The Grand Rapids Youth Symphony’s last performance of the season is May 1 at 3 p.m. at DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Ave. SW. Tickets will be available at the door.


For more information on the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony, click here. For more on upcoming programs at WKTV, click here.