Hilary Farrell


Hilary is a General Assignment and Enterprise reporter for WGVU Public Media. She joined WGVU in September 2014 after several years of experience as a local news reporter, anchor and photojournalist in Midland, Saginaw and Bay counties. She's also worked as a financial and business reporter and audio field producer.

Hilary's investigative work has been recognized by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and the Michigan Associated Press, including awards for best investigative and documentary journalism.

Ways to Connect

Hilary Farrell

A Muskegon Community College-hosted event focuses on former ITT Technical Institute students seeking their next steps.

"There are some issues with transferring. It’s not just as simple as, 'we took these classes at ITT Tech'."

Dan Rinsema-Sybenga is the dean of workforce and talent development at Muskegon Community College.

"But there are processes for evaluating that sort of thing," he says. "One of the goals of the event is to explain those processes and to let students know what they could reasonably expect."

Rapid central station.
Hilary Farrell

Continued friction between Rapid officials and its local union raises concerns among some riders.

National Weather Service

The National Weather Service warns of hazardous waterfront weather in west Michigan.

The Grand Rapids office of the NWS says Tuesday's high waves and strong currents make for dangerous swimming conditions.

In a beach hazards statement, the agency cites three to five-foot waves, strong winds and strong longshore and structural currents from Grand Haven to Manistee.

Particularly strong currents are expected at the Grand Haven State Park and the Pere Marquette Park in Muskegon.

Downtown Grand Rapids
Wikimedia | Grguy2011

It’s going to cost more to park in Grand Rapids, but it may cost less to get around.

Across-the-board parking fee increases and expanded, free transit services kicked off Thursday across areas of downtown Grand Rapids.

Increases include short and long-term parking at city-owned lots and meters, as well as special event parking opportunities. Monthly passes jumped at all city lots.

The lowest monthly rates are $48 and include DASH West areas.

Guests mingle at a Heartside unity picnic held Thursday, August 18.
Hilary Farrell

The Heartside neighborhood in Grand Rapids is going through some pretty significant changes, spurred by redevelopment interests and talk of gentrification. 

Dennis VanKampen is the CEO and executive director of Mel Trotter Ministries. He spoke with WGVU at a neighborhood unity picnic earlier this month about the event’s goals - and how he sees solutions to community challenges.

Rapid bus

Two proposed pilot programs would make Rapid transit tickets more cost-effective for certain agencies and students.

If approved, the proposals create lower-cost options for non-profits serving homeless or low-income clients, and semester bus passes for students and staff at Grand Rapids Community College.

The move for reduced-cost fares is meant to lessen the financial burden for agencies that purchase rides for clients, and follows across-the-board increases approved by Rapid leadership earlier this year.

books in a library
Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0 / Wikimedia.org

A public schools partnership is bolstered by a $1.7 million-dollar federal grant. 

The grant benefits a Grand Valley State University collaboration with local educational districts, including Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Officials say the funding allows GVSU's TRIO Educational Talent Search to expand opportunities to more than 700 students at a total of six GRPS middle and high schools.

The program works with sixth through 12th grade students facing challenges in furthering their education – particularly low-income or future first-generation college students.

Pixabay | CC BY 2.0 / pixabay.com

Health officials are looking into recent illness linked to a local high school program. 

The Kent County Health Department says it’s investigating a likely outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis in people connected to Rockford High School varsity football.

Officials confirmed a second case on Friday and say about 30 people have reported similar symptoms.

Cryptosporidiosis is a contagious, parasitic infection that can be spread in a variety of ways but most commonly through water.

Rapid transit employees address Grand Rapids City Commission on Tuesday, August 23.
Hilary Farrell

Monthly healthcare premiums for Rapid union employees are set to increase hundreds of dollars beginning October 1, under a state law regarding expired union contracts.

The increased premiums start at $238.23 a month for a single high-deductible HSA and rise to $886.99 a month for a family PPO, according to paperwork provided to WGVU. A similar family plan currently costs about $218 a month, according to employees.

Police car lights
Wikimedia | Matty Ring | CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia.org

A west Michigan teenager’s death has been ruled a homicide by Kent County officials, and a suspect has been identified.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department says an autopsy found 18-year-old McKenna Hilton died of strangulation.

A charge of open murder has been issued for sixteen-year-old half-brother Savon Schmus.

Authorities say arraignment is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Police allege Savon strangled McKenna last week inside an apartment they lived in with their father and McKenna’s mother.