Kent County

After 33 years of public service, Grand Rapids City Clerk Darlene O’Neal is stepping down from her post this February. Beginning her career as a typist in the Housing Inspections Department in 1985, O’Neal rose through the ranks at City Hall before being appointed as Grand Rapids City Clerk in 2014. WGVU’s spoke with O’Neal about how Grand Rapids has changed in her 33 years of public service, and what she plans on doing once she leaves City Hall for good.

ITS Partners

A Grand Rapids-based IT consulting firm is making a multi-million dollar investment in a new headquarters and creating dozens of high-tech jobs.

Business is good for Grand Rapids’ ITS Partners with the development of new technologies and security threats. So good, that it will more than double its workforce over the next three years from 56 locally to 124.

The information technology consulting firm has been around for 30 years, but lately its increase in sales has produced a need for not only more talent but more space.

A western Michigan county is hoping to start a shift in its waste management by investing almost $230,000 in a planning effort for a new sustainable business park.

Kent County wants to build the park on more than 200 acres of land that were initially set aside to expand the South Kent Landfill.

A preliminary estimate shows that about 75 percent of the nearly 500,000 tons of material entering the landfill could be reused, repurposed or recycled. Officials hope the sustainable business park could attract companies that focus on reclaiming or converting waste material.

In an effort to eliminate the nearly 500,000 tons of trash disposed of by Kent County residents each year, the Department of Public Works is kicking off a series of meetings to explore the idea of building a sustainable business park next to the Byron Center Landfill.

Voters in West Michigan headed to the polls yesterday to vote on a number of proposals in both Kent and Muskegon Counties. In the City of Grand Rapids, voters re-elected Commissioner Senita Lenear for a second term. Originally elected to the city commission in 2014, Lenear held off challenger Kent Boersema and maintained her seat on the City Commission.

Election Day: Here's what you need to know

Nov 7, 2017

Voters in West Michigan are heading to the polls today to cast their ballots on a number of proposals and elections. 

In the City of Grand Rapids, Commissioner Senita Lenear is hoping voters re-elect her in the city’s 3rd Ward. Originally elected to the city commission in 2014, Lenear faces challenger Kent Boersema, a political science and criminal justice graduate of Grand Valley State University. / Kent County

A new grant given to the Kent County Board of Commissioners will create a Mental Health Court in the county. This specialized court docket was created for certain defendants with mental illness. 

“What the mental health court will do is it will pair social work and treatment with the criminal justice system for individuals that don’t fit real nicely in the criminal justice system.”

Water faucet
Public domain image /

Testing has found unsafe levels of hazardous chemicals from a decades-old tannery waste dump site in western Michigan in private residential drinking water wells in an expanded area. T

he Grand Rapids Press reports that multiple properties near Belmont have tested positive for high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

State toxicologists say exposure to PFAS have been linked through human studies to cancer as well as other health issues. / Kent County

Kent County is introducing a new program this weekend intended to improve outcomes for foster care children. This Kent County private/public partnership will change how foster care services are delivered.

The pilot program is called West Michigan Partnership for Children or WMPC. It will link local childcare agencies like Bethany Christian Services, Catholic Charities West Michigan, D.A. Blodgett/St. John’s, Samaritas, and Wellspring Lutheran Services with county services Network 180, the 17th Circuit Court and the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services. / Kent County

Work has begun to expand methane collection, containment and monitoring after the potentially explosive gas was found seeping from a closed landfill in western Michigan.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that work started last month to collect the gas leaking from decomposing waste underneath the soil at Kentwood Landfill near Grand Rapids.

Crews worked to drill a 94-foot-deep (28.6-meter-deep) hole into the soil, sediment and mostly decomposed garbage Sept. 5. The holes are designed to draw methane from deep and shallow underground areas of the old landfill.