Category Archives: News

ABC Anchor Details Epstein Story Being Spiked by Execs in Leaked Video

A shocking revelation swept online forums and, no doubt, corporate boardrooms at ABC this week as James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas group released leaked video of Good Morning America and 20/20 co-anchor, Amy Robach, making stunning accusations in August regarding editorial decisions at ABC as far back as 2016. Robach divulges distressing information of ABC’s alleged spiking of a story involving notorious pedophile and financier, Jeffrey Epstein, and several global power players, ranging from Prince Andrew to Bill Clinton.

Robach’s troubling claims in the video have been answered by defensive press releases from ABC, which aims to fight back against the onslaught of negative public reaction. ABC argues in the statement that the story did not rise to the required limits of their network’s journalistic standard, but continued to investigate in the past three years.

Robach informs her producer, sitting off screen in the video, that the Epstein story, which had just broke following his arrest in August was something she had long known and worked to expose at least as early as 2016. She alleges to have convinced Virginia Roberts (now Guiffre) to come forward and tell her story. She goes on to explain that Guiffre made several other pieces of corroborating evidence, including photographs, and witnesses available to ABC.

However, critics have been quick to point to a host of other recent stories that have seemingly passed ABC’s journalistic muster, only to be quickly debunked or presented by the outlet with little to no corroborating evidence (See: Jussie Smollet, Covington Catholic Students, Brett Kavanaugh accusers).

Further complicating the public perception of the story, the timeline of events detailed by Robach fall in line with the run up to the 2016 presidential election. Bill Clinton’s alleged involvement and Guiffre’s accusations cause additional concern that the story was dumped for less than ABC’s “journalistic standards.” As Robach mentions, “there were a lot of powerful men,” surrounding Epstein and this all seems to continue to stoke the fires of public conspiracy theories regarding Epstein’s pedophile ring and recent death.

Robach concludes by saying what many in professional circles and general public have argued in recent weeks: “Epstein did not kill himself.”

This story continues to develop and may pose serious legal problems for ABC. While the story may or may not have risen to the level of reporting from the anchor desk, it remains to be seen if these apparent victim statements and other pieces of evidence were turned over by ABC to the FBI or other law enforcement. The requirement to disclose even suspected incidences of child abuse to authorities is mandated by Federal and New York State law, though such laws may not always apply to journalists. Calls have been raised for ABC to release the interview in the wake of Epstein’s operation being roundly verified.

Grand Rapids’ Upcoming Visitor: Tim Tebow

Photo: BRYAN SODERLIND

NFL quarterback and devoted Christian Tim Tebow will be making a visit to Calvin University’s campus on Thursday, October 24. Tebow will serve as the keynote speaker for the Second Global Congress on Sport and Christianity conference, which is being co-sponsored by Calvin University and Hope College. 

While maintaining his spotlight in professional athletics, Tebow also started the Tim Tebow Foundation, with its main purpose to serve children in need in the United States and abroad. He is also an author of three bestselling books and currently pursuing a career in professional baseball; spending the last four seasons within the New York Mets minor league system.

For more information on Tebow’s upcoming talk at Calvin, visit the event’s Facebook page. For information on tickets to attend his talk, visit www.calvin.universitytickets.com

Gov. Whitmer Orders Michigan Health Department to Place Ban on Flavored Vaping Products

(Feature Photo credit: Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan)

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced an emergency directive to the state health department to place a ban on flavored e-cigarette and vape juice products.

Via unsplash.com

Whitmer cited children as her primary concern for the new rule and fears that flavored vapes could pose a risk to minor’s health.

Online reaction to the news seemed to be primarily negative Wednesday morning from the smoking and non-smoking community, alike, with most arguing the move is a gross overreach. There is no timeline on when the sale or marketing of flavored vape products will go into effect or how long such a directive will be in place before being sent to the Michigan congress for action.

Via unsplash.com

We will keep you updated on any further developments as this story progresses.

Back to School: Through the Eyes of a Student

As we begin to enter the final weeks of August, high school students are preparing themselves for an annual bittersweet event: Back to School.

Teens across the state brace themselves for the highs and lows of the academic rigor, athletic endeavor and social life that await them this year in the modern high school experience. We wanted to dive deeper into the mind of students preparing to trudge their way to school in the coming weeks and see what excitement or apprehensions they have about the forthcoming school year.

We gathered six area high school students and asked them four questions about back to school expectations in hopes of gaining some valuable insight from today’s high school students.

The Students

Sarah W, 16, Junior at East Grand Rapids High School
Karlton Z, 17, Senior at Grant High School
Lauren S, 17, Senior at Kent City High School
Nick F, 18, Senior at Kent City High School
Hannah G, 16, Sophomore at Sparta High School
Jared S, 16, Sophomore at East Kentwood High School

“What are you most excited about when going back to school?”

Sarah W: ““My first hour online class. I’m learning sign language.” 
Karlton Z: “Getting back to playing tennis. It’s my favorite sport.” 
Lauren S: “To start preparing for my future through taking some more advanced classes and some more classes that are geared toward what I want to do for a future career.” 
Nick F: “To finish my senior year of sports so I can make a decision on where I want to compete at the next level.” 
Hannah G: “The new things I’ll be learning. Mostly academic, but it’ll be nice to see my friends and create new relationships with the new teachers I’ll be having.” 
Jared S: “Being able to see my friends once I get back to school.” 

“What are you least excited about when going back to school?”

Sarah W: “I am not looking forward to seeing the immature and rude people at my school.” 
Karlton Z: “All the stress that comes along with school. Trying to get good grades in classes and on tests and exams and stuff like that. Balancing school and other things is stressful as well.” 
Lauren S: “Trying to balance extracurriculars and work. I love my sports and stuff like that, but I need to make money for college and post graduation things. It’s just a lot of stuff to balance.” 
Nick F: “The tough college classes that I’m taking this year.”
Hannah G: “Any drama that might come my way.”
Jared S: “The amount of stress that the start of school and sports is going to put on me.”

“What would you like to accomplish this school year?”

Sarah W: “I want to try to have at least all A’s and B’s.”
Karlton Z: “I’d really like to be valedictorian of my graduating class. It’s been a dream of mine for a while.” 
Lauren S: “I really want to make it into a good college and have my future plans set before school gets out. Also, a state championship in band, basketball, and/or softball would be really nice.” 
Nick F: “I would really like to get in the top 10 in the state for cross country this year.” 
Hannah G: “I want to get good grades on my future exams, and I want to have a 95% or above in all of my classes.” 
Jared S: “I would like to get a 4 on my college board exam for my AP World History class.” 

“What are you most nervous about?”

Sarah W: “I’m most nervous about dangerous people entering the school. Bomb threats and shootings and things like that.” 
Karlton Z: “I’m really nervous about not making it to state for tennis. It’s my last chance to experience it, being a senior.” 
Lauren S: “I’m most nervous about stretching myself too thin. I have high goals set for myself and I gotta be smart about not over committing myself.”
Nick F: ” “I’m most nervous about what my final GPA is going to be. I’m hoping to keep it up this year.” 
Hannah G: “Not succeeding and not making my parents proud.”
Jared S: “The start of sports going into this upcoming school year.” 

The Similarities

Within the students answers, there were a couple similarities. The six were divided on what they were looking forward to between classes, extracurriculars, and seeing their friends at school.

Most, if not all of the students at one point mentioned being concerned about the high levels of stress that high school students have to experience at times. The current education system, combined with time consumed by other activities, can cause enormous amounts of stress and anxiety, not to mention the stressors that can be caused by peers and personal expectations.

As schools begin the 2019-2020 school year this week, it is important that family and friends help support students in classes and extracurriculars as well as keeping a watchful eye on any stress or anxiety that may be starting to build up. Check back for future articles detailing the warning signs family and friends should be monitoring.

Great Lakes Wanderers Add Women’s Soccer Club Heading into 2019 Season

It was 2015 and the small town of Cedar Springs, MI was rocked, as local family, Brian and Kim Ricker, discovered that their son, Brison, had been diagnosed with cancer. Brison, 15 at the time, was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma and given an estimated 9 months to live. Just 11 months into their journey with Brison, the Rickers were dealt another blow as their youngest son, Preston, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

The family created Team Rickerstrong on Facebook to request prayer and share information with the community of over 16,000 followers that rallied to support them in various ways.

Medical costs and other financial stresses were piling up and community members looked for ways that they could help shoulder some of that burden. Brison and the Rickers, known as avid soccer fan in the Cedar Springs community, were approached about putting on charity soccer matches at the Cedar Rock Sports Plex to help raise money in support of their fight and the first annual charity soccer match took place in the spring of 2017.

The event included an evening full of excellent soccer on the indoor pitch and even provided fun halftime entertainment in a successful effort that brought community members together in support of their neighbors.

Later that year, Brison Ricker ended his nearly 2 year battle with cancer just before Christmas on December 23, 2017.

As Preston’s recovery from his diagnosis continued, so too did the community spirit to help the Rickers and others like them in their battles with cancer and follow-up charity matches have continued in spring 2018 & 2019.

In late 2018, the idea was had to create a full time team in the Cedar Springs community, known as the Great Lakes Wanderers, that would play home games at the Cedar Rock Sports Plex and participate in the Premier Arena Soccer League.

The team would be comprised of players from across the talent-rich West Michigan landscape. The PASL was eager to add the Wanderers to their roster of talented indoor teams and put them on an accelerated schedule, which provided them to participate long before ownership had ever thought possible.

The Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL), part of the American Association of Soccer 567 (5 player, 6 player and 7 player), gave the Wanderers established clubs to test themselves against and the opportunity to earn a bid in the post-season for a chance to play for a national championship in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Wanderers play with 5 fielders and a goalie with rules, speed of play and contact that mimic hockey, a fitting choice as the team play on a field that matches the standard hockey rink size.

The annual charity game is still at the heart of the team and the Wanderers concluded their third annual charity matches this past spring.

From the outset, the plan had always been to partner the men’s team with a women’s club, but the accelerated schedule before the ’18-19 season required them to put that on hold. However, ownership was hard at work and the ’19-20 season will mark the inaugural outing for the women’s team.

Both clubs plays their season from December to March and have recently been undergoing competitive tryout processes for the upcoming indoor schedule.

The Wanderers have also displayed their eagerness to support soccer development in the area by establishing youth programs under the Wanderer shield and helping to prepare a local men’s team to compete towards qualifying in the upcoming US Open Cup in the US Arena League this September.

The second day of tryouts take place this evening at the Cedar Rock Sports Plex from 6pm to 9pm for those interested in earning a spot on this year’s squads.

For ticket, tryout or other information, contact the club at their Website or Facebook. The team can also be followed on Instagram.

Michigan Doe Applications Now Available Online

It seems summer is slowly coming to an end as nightly temperatures start to drop lower and day time temps begin to dwindle. To Michigan’s many hunters this is the time of year they await with baited breath.

The Michigan DNR has recently opened up online Doe applications and many others will be following over the course of the next few months. Applications may be filled out and submitted HERE.

For hunters that need reminding, we have included the 2019 hunting schedule below so that you can mark your calendars and prepare for another great season.

DEER HUNTING SEASON DATES

  • Early Antlerless Firearm: Sept. 21-22, 2019
  • Liberty Hunt: September 14-15, 2019
    • Youth and Hunters With Disabilities Hunt
  • Independence Hunt: Oct. 17-20, 2019
    • Hunters With Disabilities Hunt
  • Archery: Oct. 1 – Nov. 14, 2019 and Dec. 1, 2019 – Jan. 1, 2020
  • Regular Firearm: Nov. 15-30, 2019
  • Muzzleloading:
    • Zone 1: Dec. 6-15, 2019
    • Zone 2: Dec. 6-15, 2019
    • Zone 3: Dec. 6-22, 2019
  • Late Antlerless Firearm:
    • Dec. 23, 2019 – Jan.1, 2020

Stay safe. Shoot straight. Have fun!

5 Tips for the Best Back to School

It’s almost that time of year again. The days get shorter. The temperatures get cooler. The kids grasp the last threads of summer freedom and parents gently nudge their grip loose. It is BACK TO SCHOOL!

Across Michigan, parents will be tearfully seeing their child off to the bus for the first time, loading shopping carts with various office supplies, and perhaps celebrating the trudge of their high schooler from bed and out the door at an hour they haven’t seen the past three months.

Regardless of which situation you find yourself in, the moment is nearly here and we have some tips for handling back to school in the most effective, efficient and value-friendly way possible.

Tip #1

Start your back to school at Meijer or similar chains. These stores will often have supply lists submitted by the school and can be picked up in advance of your actual back to school shopping day. Grab one in a trip for groceries and take it home in order to form your plan of attack. Resist the urge to start grabbing things on the list during that initial trip.

Tip #2

While it may seem advantageous to “get it done in one trip,” it is wise to break your list up and attack it based on categories. While many stores have back to school specials, the tried and true dollar store is an unbeatable deal for 90% of your student’s office supplies. Folders, pens, scissors, notebooks, calculators and other items can all be had in various styles & types for a fraction of what you will find at bigger box stores.

Tip #3

Check with the school office or even send a message to the school’s social media account to see if an open house is going to be available ahead of your student’s first day. This can be beneficial for first time students or students transitioning between grade levels or buildings. This is a great time where the students (and you) can familiarize themselves with the new environment, meet a teacher, see familiar faces and even make a couple new acquaintances with new ones.

Tip #4

It is certainly easier to shop for school clothes without your child present, but be aware that while we all like to think we are on the cutting edge of fashion, our student likely has a firmer grasp on the trends and styles that they would like to express in their clothing. Check with the school handbook to make sure articles are up to code, but aside from that, let their style be theirs. This will save you the time of having to return items and save them the embarrassment of looking like their parent dressed them.

Tip #5

Have fun! This is an exciting time of year for children and parents, alike. These days can be among the most fun memories your children will have from their school days. Relish the opportunity to spend some time with them and don’t be afraid to make a separate day of it with each child. Back to school can be an incredible opportunity to bond with your child, learn about apprehensions they might have and open up a dialogue that will be vitally important throughout the school year.