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Tag Archive | "Grand Rapids Community College"

Undersheriff to retire from Kent County


Undersheriff Jon Hess

Undersheriff Jon Hess

Undersheriff Jon Hess announced last week that he plans to retire June 1.

“My years at this wonderful organization have been an absolute blessing. My many positive experiences both professionally and personally will always be remembered fondly,” said Hess. “The Kent County Sheriff Department is a tremendous organization with a strong, adhesive management team that has a clear strategic direction for the future. This Department is second to none. It has been a privilege and a pleasure serving the citizens of Kent County the last 36 years.”

Hess graduated from Ottawa Hills High School, and received an Associate of Science from Grand Rapids Community College. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice from Southern Illinois University.

Hess started his career in the Grand Rapids Police Department in 1980, and then became a Corrections Officer at the Kent County Sheriff Department the same year.

He moved up through the ranks in corrections, being promoted to Corrections Sergeant in 1987, Corrections Lieutenant in 1994, and Corrections Captain in 1996. He was promoted to Undersheriff in 2001 by Sheriff Lawrence Stelma.

Over the years, Hess took several educational courses to help him in his career: He graduated from Northwestern University Staff and Command, 1994; became a Certified Jail Manager in 1998 through the American Jail Association;  graduated Kalamazoo Valley Community College Police Academy in 2000;  graduated Federal Bureau of Investigation LEEDA Session #3825, 2004; graduated the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy Session #221, 2005; and is a graduate of General Electric’s Executive Leadership Class—November 2014.

Hess took part, along with Chief Deputy Michele Young, in the planning and presentations to the public, when the Kent County Sheriff Department took over law enforcement in Cedar Springs.

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Cedar Springs Schools and GRCC partner to form Middle College program

Dr. Steven Ender of GRCC and Dr. Laura VanDuyn of Cedar Springs Schools.

Dr. Steven Ender of GRCC and Dr. Laura VanDuyn of Cedar Springs Schools.

By Judy Reed


Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn and Grand Rapids Community College President Dr. Steven Ender signed a letter of intent Monday evening to create the Cedar Springs Middle College for fall of 2015.

Under the program, freshman with at least a 2.5 GPA will be able to apply for the program, which would begin in their sophomore year, and provide the opportunity for them to earn both a high school diploma and an associate of arts degree in five years. The student will graduate high school and also earn an associate’s degree, without spending any money towards tuition.

It’s just the third program of its kind in Kent County. GRCC also partners with Wyoming, and Davenport partners with Kenowa Hills High School.

Dr. Steven Ender, president of GRCC

Dr. Steven Ender, president of GRCC

Utilizing dual enrollment/early college status, these students will continue to acquire high school credits toward graduating with a Michigan Merit Curriculum diploma, while also completing requirements toward an associate of arts degree. To do this, students will take fewer classes toward high school completion and more toward their college degree in each subsequent year. Due to the uniqueness of acquiring both certifications, the program would take an additional (fifth) year of high school.

Dr. VanDuyn said she was proud of the district’s students, of whom 72 percent go on to post secondary education, the same as the national average. But she said this program could be a big change for our community, noting that the program has about a 95 percent success rate of those going on to get their four-year degree.

Dr. Ender noted GRCC is celebrating 100 years of post-secondary education, and this is currently a program wave happening in post-secondary education. “It’s a price you can’t beat. You are clearly on the right track. And your students will definitely get a university education,” he assured the Board of Education.

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School board chooses new interim member

Michelle Bayink

Michelle Bayink

Introducing Michelle Bayink

The Cedar Springs Board of Education has chosen Michelle Bayink as the new interim board member to finish out the term of Todd Hanson, who resigned last month, due to moving out of the district. His term is up at the end of December.

Michelle has lived in Cedar Springs for over 27 years, and is a graduate of the Cedar Springs class of 1999. She has been married to Brad for 14 years. They have three wonderful boys Graham, Carter, and Noah, who all attend Cedar Springs Public Schools.

Her education includes Associates Degree from Grand Rapids Community College and a Bachelors Degree in Sales and Marketing from Western Michigan University. Currently she works for Cintas, as a new business Facilities Sales Representative in the West Michigan area.

She wanted to join the School Board because she has always been passionate about education. When she spotted the opening on the school board, she decided she wanted to be a part of it. Michelle’s goal is to help continue the current positive direction with the budget and the high level of education for each and every student.

Michelle’s hobbies include spending time with family and friends. You might be able to catch her snowboarding in the winter and spending time on her boat in the summer. Michelle enjoys watching all sports and Ioves meeting new people.

Michelle is also running on the November ballot for a six-year term.

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GRCC millage fails; Pierson president survives recall

Kent County voters sent Grand Rapids Community College the same message Tuesday that they’ve sent three times since 2007: NO NEW TAXES.

The college had asked for a $98 million bond proposal to upgrade facilities, and it was soundly defeated by a vote of 26,417 (no) to 19,856 (yes). While Grandville, Northview and Lowell also had millages on the ballot, most communities had nothing else on the ballot, which led to low voter turn out.

Voters in Grandville nixed a $22.85 million bond proposal by a narrow margin—only 38 votes. There were 2,508 no votes, to 2,470 yes votes.

Lowell renewed their operating millage, and Northview passed an $11.9 million bond proposal.

In Montcalm County, Pierson Village President Karl VanHaren survived a recall election by three votes—24 to 21. He has filed a recall petition against three of the trustees involved in the recall against him: Rebecca Starr, Duane Grifes, and Verna Smigiel. That vote will take place in August.

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Radar unit donated to Sand Lake Police

Grand Rapids Community College donated one Decatur Genisis II radar unit to the Sand Lake Police Department on Friday, October 14. George Zeeff, Professor/Department Head of Criminal Justice at GRCC represented GRCC in making this donation.
Also present was Police Academy Student Intern Jerry Seevers. Jerry and two other academy students completed 90 hour internships with the Sand Lake Police Department this year.
The Sand Lake Police Department cannot wait to bring the new unit into service, according to Sand Lake Chief of Police Ken Williams. “The new radar features Ka band frequency, which broadcasts farther and is more reliable than the previous K band system,” said Williams.
The new system features two antennas, allowing officers to track vehicles approaching from the front of the car as well as the rear of the car, while sitting stationary or while moving. The old system had only one antenna, which allowed officers to monitor vehicles in front of the car while stationary and had limited use while moving.

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