Despite a very aggressive Covenant Christian team, the Eagles continued their journey towards the grand prize, a State High School Championship.
Covenant Christian led most of the first quarter, with the Eagles trailing close behind. But soon the tide changed and the Eagles took off.
Lexi Bowers finished with 19 points, but it was Madelyn Geers who had to take charge when Bowers got her fourth foul at the begging of the 3rd quarter. The Kent City Eagles defeated Covenant Christian 46-32.
A sizable and energetic crowd gathered in Calder Plaza on Sunday afternoon for a “Get Out the Vote” event to rally with 2020 presidential democrat candidate Bernie Sanders. The crowd in the packed plaza looked a lot like Bernie’s support might be expected to based on turnouts around the country in 2016 and the 2020 race thus far: generally young and predominantly urban white. The vast majority of the crowd appeared to fall in the 30 & below demographic, unusual for a standard political gathering (we estimate a staggering 70% of those in attendance fell into this general age range), though Sanders has proven to be anything but the standard political figure.
There also seemed to be an additional smaller chunk of Sunday Sanders congregants hovering around the 50-60 year old demographic. While the vast majority of those in attendance were young white Michiganders (there was a decent contingent of minority support in the 7,600 attendees), polling and recent voting results were validated with most minority supporters falling into the 30 & below crowd.
The demographics in yesterday’s gathering should not go unnoticed. Bernie has connected with many who are just beginning their careers as well as those just beginning to wind them down and the crowd on Sunday afternoon reflected that very consistently. While his fellow democratic candidate, Joe Biden, has seen sweeping victories among older racial minorities – thanks in no small part to standing as Vice President for Barack Obama – Sanders has just as impressively and emphatically garnered support among the younger generation in those communities.
While the attendance breakdown on Sunday should hardly be surprising, as Sanders has routinely reached out directly to younger voters with calls to get engaged, the sheer turnout of so many young people for a political rally the morning after a Saturday night in the city was staggering.
“Bernie represents so many people that I feel he is our best choice.”
Of the dozen people we spoke to before events kicked off, only one had ever attended a political rally previously, a hopeful sign for Bernie’s prospects in Michigan’s primary this Tuesday. His repeated calls for a new generation of voters to get involved in the process have yet to materialize in the primaries in large enough numbers to swing results his way thus far, a realization he made in a recent interview. However, yesterday’s rally shows that there are some signs that a change in that trend may be coming his way in Michigan.
We spoke to two older Bernie supporters, Michelle & Daniel Benningfield, as the plaza began to fill about why they came to the rally and how they interpreted Sanders’ support among the younger generations.
Michelle was the only attendee we spoke with that had ever been to a political rally before Sunday. Michelle has seen Bernie speak before, but wanted to make it out to see him with the full momentum of the presidential primary underway. She explained why she supports Sanders, “I think Bernie is the best person to help lots of people,” explaining that his message reaches beyond the rich to the mass of everyday people that Sanders has argued are often overlooked by the political establishment. Daniel agreed, “Bernie represents so many people that I feel he is our best choice.”
Before interviewing some of the younger attendees in the growing crowd, we also asked them what they felt was at the root of so many young people turning out for a political rally on a weekend. Michelle said, “I think (young people) are sick of the status quo, like many people in my generation. It hasn’t change yet and now we’ve got a chance to change things. Vote for Bernie!” Daniel put it simply, “The change that needs to occur is what Bernie represents.”
“The environment is more open than if we went to a different type of rally.”
Those sentiments were validated when we headed off to interview other attendees making up the largest swath of the crowd: young people.
Shelby Denhof described what motivated her to attend her first political rally on Sunday and what she finds so appealing about Sanders, “I appreciate how Bernie amplifies the voices of underrepresented people in our communities.” She also appreciated Sanders’ direct appeals to young people, specifically in the realms of college tuition and student loan debt, as well as Sanders’ unique positions on US/Israel foreign policy.
Brothers, Gabe and Zach Stepanovich, each had their own reasons for attending as well. Gabe told us, “I think it’s just good to see all the political candidates,” while Zach specifically liked Bernie’s consistency in speaking to the issues of healthcare and economic justice in the United States over the course of his political career.
We asked another group of friends (last names withheld) what appeal Sanders had with them. Daniyelle told us that his policy of decriminalizing marijuana on the federal level and its impact on the current and future prison population was important to her. Emily doesn’t intend to go into education, but nonetheless found Sanders’ attention to the issue important. She explained that his calls for raising teacher salaries was one of the issues that most intrigued her about Bernie and thought it was necessary to reward the profession, which routinely covers classroom necessities out of pocket. Nile explained that she loved how passionate Sanders was about climate issues and most impressed by the way he has put his climate plans and strengthening of governmental agencies like the EPA at the forefront of his campaign.
We asked what inspired them to attend their first political rallies on Sunday. Daniyelle described her reasoning, “The environment is more open than if we went to a different type of rally.” Emily agreed, “The energy is a lot different and more accepting.” Finally, Nile chimed in, “Same. Accepting environment,” before adding, “but also something to do.” That sentiment should not be understated. The notion that a political rally is “something to do” for a young person is definitely a far different vision of passing the time than young people have had historically. However, it has been widely recognized that Sanders rallies often have the appeal and energy of a rock concert; something remarkable for the political scene and a 78 year old headliner.
“We are going to move the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. We are going to have equal pay for equal work…We are going to make it easier for workers to join unions, not harder.”
March 8, Bernie Sanders in Grand Rapids.
Sanders has undoubtedly tapped into the youthful exuberance and passions of the younger generation and his rallies reflect that. When asked what had them coming out to attend a political rally on a weekend, the overwhelming and succinct initial answer of nearly every one we asked was nearly the same in almost every case: “Bernie Sanders!”
Things got kicked off with a rock concert in the less metaphorical sense as Grand Rapids punk rock band, Singing Lungs, took the stage. The band played the soundtrack to the steady march of attendees through security and into Calder Plaza. The crowd grooved along to the band’s traditional punk sound for around 20 minutes. Before playing their final song, the lead singer remarked “This song is called ‘Disappearing Act’ and we hope that’s what #44 (sic) is going to do!”
Next up to the stage was the Kalamazoo artist, Michigander. The band departed from the rougher punk sound of the opener and, instead, brought a more ethereal style reminiscent of an amalgamation of the bands U2 and Manchester Orchestra. Michigander played songs from their most recent EP and the crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy their sound. Both bands repeatedly reminded attendees to get out and vote on Tuesday in Michigan’s democratic primary.
After both bands wrapped up their sets and most of Calder Plaza had filled, opening speeches were given by a succession of various supporters, activists and political figures including, most notably, Jesse Jackson, who officially endorsed Sanders at the rally in Grand Rapids.
“In the richest country in the history of the world, we are not going to continue to have three billionaires owning more wealth than the bottom half of American society.”
March 8, Bernie Sanders in Grand Rapids.
After one speaker left the stage, an “Eat the Rich” chant broke out on the risers behind the podium and spread to significant portions of the crowd before staff rushed to quiet it. The chant marked one of only a few occasions that broke away from a largely positive afternoon, aside from the more typical criticisms and attacks on rich Americans, the pharmaceutical industry, health insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry, etc.
Campaign staff and volunteers were visibly frustrated and concerned that the chant would be picked up by opponents of the campaign or cast a shadow over the event as a whole in media coverage.
While certainly not the majority of Sanders’ supporters nationally or in attendance on Sunday, there has been concern about a worrisome segment of supporters that run in the more aggressive and radical lane of his various political positions. For some Sanders supporters, the political revolution is not (or should not be) as much about creating a system of fairness and reform, but levying derision and punishment on the guilty classes at the heart of Sanders’ scorn. Sanders recently spoke out against the more antagonistic rhetoric and vitriol which at times has infected lower levels of his campaign and grass roots support this primary season, though with an addendum that included all campaigns.
While these factions of his movement are surely not the lion’s share of his support, it is an issue that Sanders should deeply consider as he hopes to spin his political revolution into a whirlwind of delegates that can carry him to the nomination. History has shown us this: Revolutions have a nasty habit of first-generation idealists succumbing to the unbridled vitriol and inflamed passions of the next.
His hope for a movement that lasts beyond this campaign season must take into account the unintended consequences of the often unparsed language used by his surrogates and even Sanders, himself.
As Jesse Jackson took the stage, it further underscored the narrow dichotomy attempting to be navigated: attacking the rich, corporations, various sectors of industry and economic power, while attempting to propel a message of widespread unity. Jackson’s “Nobody Out” speech in Calder Plaza called for justice, equality and various other unifying principles for all and with no one left out. However, that message of unity can sometime seem to end for Sanders and his supporters where feelings of anger, resentment and disenfranchisement begin towards the faceless “rich.” If Sanders hopes to broaden his support, it will likely be necessary to modulate the revolutionary tones of his anti-rich sentiments and forward the same policies under a more tempered approach that embraces the contributions of the rich to our society and future, even if he believes they need to take on a larger share of the burden than they do presently.
“We are going to move this country to public funding of elections so all people can vote.”
March 8, Bernie Sanders in Grand Rapids.
Sanders’ speech highlighted all his familiar issues and had the crowd cheering most of the afternoon. Among those issues were campaign finance reform, a rise in the minimum wage, increasing labor union formation, removing government restrictions on abortion, raising taxes on wealthy Americans, upending the healthcare industry and replacing it with “Medicare for All” and so on.
While many of the issues Sanders discusses are handled with the height of seriousness, not all disagreements were handled in the absence of a little humor. Sanders joked about the hard undertaking he has endured in congress over the course of his career of listening to the conservative republican speeches of his colleagues, which drew chuckles from the candidate and the audience.
The test will be whether the excitement and enthusiasm among Sanders’ most devoted supporters will generate the necessary turnout to win or if the movement he has worked to build represents as big a portion of the electorate as Sanders and his supporters believe. In short, are Sanders and his policy proposals as popular on the scale necessary to win as his supporters and the candidate believe them to be.
That differential, voter enthusiasm vs. voter plurality, has left similar political movements on the outside looking in: George McGovern & Ron Paul come to mind. While Sanders has seen more success than most could have predicted when he announced his initial run for the nation’s top office in 2015, whether that passion can hand him the presidency is yet to be seen. Sanders’ two rallies in Michigan on Sunday (Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor) netted an impressive 17,000+ ardent attendees, but that number pales in comparison to the over 1.2 million Michiganders that voted in the 2016 Democratic primary.
Sanders won that primary over the eventual nominee, Hillary Clinton, in 2016, and he hopes to do it again on Tuesday, but he will have to lock down several other states with progressive-leaning democrats at their core and likely expand his base if he hopes to gain the nomination.
You can check the status of your registration, find your polling place and even preview your precinct’s ballot using the State of Michigan’s voting tool here: https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us.
For Immediate Release via Bernie 2020 March 4, 2020 (Featured Image: Gage Skidmore)
WASHINGTON －Sen. Bernie Sanders will travel to Michigan this weekend to rally supporters in Detroit and Grand Rapids ahead of the March 10 primary.
Sen. Sanders’ previous trips to the Great Lakes State include joining the picket line in solidarity with striking United Auto Workers (UAW) members in Hamtramck, as well as rallies at Macomb Community College in Warren and Cass Technical High School in Detroit.
Itinerary for both events:
Friday, March 6 7:00 p.m. Bernie 2020 GOTV Detroit Rally with Sen. Bernie Sanders The TCF Center – Hall C & D, 1 Washington Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226 Doors open at 5:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Bags are prohibited. Tickets are not required, but an RSVP is encouraged. Entrance is provided on a first come, first served basis. Parking is available at the Washington, Congress, and Roof garages for $15 (credit card only); attendees are encouraged to walk, bike, carpool or take public transportation.
Sunday, March 8 12:30 p.m. Bernie 2020 GOTV Grand Rapids Rally with Sen. Bernie Sanders Calder Plaza, 351 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Doors open at 11:00 a.m. This event is free and open to the public. Bags are prohibited. Tickets are not required, but an RSVP is encouraged. Entrance is provided on a first come, first served basis. Parking garages are located off of Ottawa Ave, Monroe Ave, and Pearl Ave. Attendees are encouraged to walk, bike, carpool or take public transportation.
Amash breaks district record with fourth quarter fundraising
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Rep. Justin Amash, the independent incumbent in Michigan’s Third Congressional District, on Friday announced a fourth quarter fundraising haul of nearly $600,000.
With net contributions totaling $592,362, Amash brought in the highest quarterly total ever recorded for the district and more than all 10 challengers in both parties combined.
Demonstrating Amash’s strength with the grassroots, he raised nearly $350,000 through unitemized small-dollar donations—over 200 times the $1,698 in small-dollar donations raised by his closest total-dollar competitor. Over 1,000 of Amash’s unitemized donations came from Michigan, highlighting his ongoing support from the community.
In the fourth quarter alone, Amash received support from over 12,000 individuals, including roughly 10 times as many Michigan donors as his closest total-dollar competitor.
“I’m especially grateful to the people of my district, who have been so supportive and kind,” said Amash. “I’m humbled and honored to represent you as an independent.”
Amash ended the year having raised over $1,000,000, with $720,000 cash on hand and no debt.
In what could only have been called must-see high school action in rural West Michigan, four teams traveled from Morley Stanwood to Kent City in a rescheduling of games that were postponed due to a possible ice storm.
The games may have been postponed, but Morley Stanwood ran into a storm of a different kind on Tuesday night.
With JV Girls and Boys splitting courts between the middle school and high school in the interest of time, fans were warmed up for a night of CSAA Silver intraleague action. The Kent City JV boys battled back to beat the Mohawks by four points and the JV girls bested MSHS by double digits with a standout performance by freshman post-player, Abby Pecynski, who hauled in an incredible 18 rebounds for the Eagles.
With two wins under their belt, the Kent City Eagles prepared to take center stage for the main events of the night: two varsity matches with conference championship implications.
The first game of the night was between the lady Eagles (9-1) and Mohawks (8-0). Morley Stanwood came into Kent City boasting an undefeated record and the one-loss Eagles looked to bring momentum from a conference drubbing of Hesperia and victorious battle against class A and local foe Cedar Springs in the week preceding Tuesday’s showdown at The Nest.
Many in attendance likely assumed they were in for a real (and rare) treat, a tight game of highly contested basketball. What they witnessed was far from outside the ordinary and more of what Kent City faithful have come to expect from the Eagle women in recent years. Namely, absolute domination from tip off to buzzer.
A week earlier at home, the Eagles had used a high pressure full court defense and a searing combination of dribble drives and three point shooting to jump out to an early lead against Hesperia. However, such a start seemed far less likely against the undefeated Mohawks.
It happened again.
Kent City got hot early by forcing offensive turnovers and errors, which set up the Eagle three point attack by Jenna Harrison, who hit several in just the first few minutes. Mikayla Loew and both Lexie & Kenzie Bowers joined in the barrage. The Eagles eventually finished the game with an astonishing 16 three point buckets.
With the scoring in full swing it looked like Kent City was in position to hold a solid lead, which could resist a likely run by the Mohawks. No run ever happened, however, and Kent City continued to build upon their lead before closing out the game with a jaw-dropping 75-33 win over the previously undefeated Mohawks.
The boys game also professed to give fans a great battle between conference leaders, but while the girls game had come to a shocking, though anticlimactic end, the boys game proved to be all it was predicted to be. Morley Stanwood (7-0) also entered the game with an undefeated record, though the Eagles (4-3) had posted similar scores against mutual opponents.
Morley Stanwood started fast in the second game with a host of open three point shots generated off of sagging help defense by the Eagles trying to take away the dribble-drive by hyper-athletic senior guards Aiden McLaughlin & Axel Woolworth.
Kent City was able to withstand the spree and began generating offense on the other end through a combination of cutting drives by senior guard, Eli Carlson, and superbly fundamental post play by fellow senior, Shawn Anderson. The two gave Kent City several early buckets while the rest of their scorers got going and both teams settled into the flow of the game defensively.
Things went into the second half with neither team looking as though they were ready to put the game out of reach. Each successive run was quickly answered, which kept things close late into the third quarter.
Kent City managed a huge run that got them up by double digits in the fourth before Morley Stanwood mounted another comeback and looked to put the game in striking distance in the final minute as Kent City held a narrow one point lead.
Morley Stanwood managed to foul after a wide open Shawn Anderson wisely passed on a corner three to run time and force the Mohawks to scramble to foul. A haphazard three point attempt by Morley Stanwood was no good and the Eagles knocked off the previously unbeaten Mohawks 67-61.
As if they planned their performance down to even the weather, Trans-Siberian Orchestra arrived in Grand Rapids as soft blankets of snow covered the city sidewalks and trees lining the way to Van Andel Arena.
TSO has entered its 21st consecutive year of touring and cornered the Christmas Metal market. Perhaps such a niche was once so small that it seems almost reasonable that such an achievement would appear unimpressive. However, two decades and over 17 million tickets later, TSO proves that carving out their own space in the saturated Christmas scene is as much a result of finding a unique presentation to grab hold as it is their quest to present a truly remarkable show in its own right.
Part rock opera and part classic metal concert, TSO provides a show that appeals to all ages and manages to even engage audiences one might not expect to entertain the idea of attending a metal spectacle of screaming guitars, howling vocals and a laser-light show that is second to none.
The audience in attendance runs the gamut from 5 to 85 and everything in between. You might even believe you are arriving for a classical ballet production of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker with gentle acoustic guitar, piano and Christmas bells laying the soundtrack for packed rows filing to their seats.
You might believe that notion correct as a narrator arrives on stage to set the story outlining the first half of the show and laying the bedrock of a few unique tunes brought to the stage this year. A man in a long overcoat and scarf approaches the microphone with a deep barreling voice made even silkier by the gentle neon glow lighting his performance as the stage transforms into the set of “The Old City Bar.”
What follows is a show that manages to pull off the improbable: a two and a half hour rock show without an opening act, intermission or pause that isn’t planned or efficient in creating an experience as much as a concert.
The show ranges stylistically between traditional Christmas music, Beethoven’s Requiem, arena ballads and more brought alive with dueling guitars, shredding violin and incredible vocal talent that echos stylistic characteristics of 80’s metal bands such as Queensryche and the Scorpions. The show manages to provide auditory and visual breaks with soft acoustic ballads lit only by a spotlight and an arena full of camera flashlights swaying to the music.
These breaks are worked in so seamlessly that the show is bereft of a single moment that quantifies “a good time to slip out” for concessions or a bathroom break. The shows is worth seeing from start to finish.
Two and a half hours later when TSO begins their final medley, Wish Liszt/Requiem/Sarajevo Finale, the audience is snapped out of the trance that managed to move them with such pace that the time has quite literally passed in an instant. The finale did not disappoint as the presentation reaches new peaks and shows TSO at its absolute best with lights beaming, fire shooting and music rocking at full force until the climactic end.
As the band prepared to take their final bow, they brought a young boy up on stage and presented him with one of their guitars from the performance as the boy held the guitar high above his head the band took a bow, the lights came on and the crowds of the most diverse metal audience you could expect funneled out of Van Andel Arena.
Christmas season is officially kicked off in West Michigan.
Grand Rapids Catholic Central will be returning to Ford Field for another run at a state title in what has become a bit of an annual tradition for the Cougars.
Unity Christian proved to be no match for GRCC and the Cougars dominated from start to finish en route to a 56-17 victory.
Unity Christian went into the half with at least some modicum of hope as senior kicker Grant Balcer booted a huge 48-yard field goal as time expired and the ball crossed just past the middle of the crossbar into the wind.
Sophomore QB Joe Silveri and Junior wide receiver Jace Williams connected on several leaping catches on deep balls on an afternoon where Silveri rushed for 4 tds and passed for another. GRCC advances to the division 4 state championship game next Saturday against Detroit Country Day. One thing is for certain: Country Day will be in a fight with an absolute juggernaut.
There will be several reasons to celebrate during the Art Van Christmas parade this weekend, other than Santa’s early visit to Grand Rapids. This parade serves as a kickoff to the holiday season, and it happens to be the parade’s 100th birthday.
The parade started in 1919 as the Wurzburg’s Santa Clause Parade on Campau Square. Its main goal was to bring people in and excite them for holiday shopping. The parade was soon taken over by the Grand Rapids Jaycees.
It wasn’t until 2010 when Art Van Furniture joined the board for the parade, bringing a partnership with WoodTV8 to broadcast the event on live television.
The parade is currently the second largest in the state and competes with Detroit’s Thanksgiving parade. The event attracts about 30,000 individuals each year, and even more who watch the parade on live television.
Along with Santa’s early visit, promotions coordinator Wayne Bersano said that Miss Michigan 2019 Mallory Rivard will be making a special appearance.
The event is free for families and individual goers, and there will be time for a meet and greet with St. Nick after the parade. More information about the event can be found at https://www.santaparadegr.com/.
There is simply no better way to kick off the 2019 holiday season than the annual Grand Rapids Santa Parade. This year’s parade will mark the 100th year in a row that Santa Claus has come to town the Saturday before Thanksgiving and greeted the glittering eyes & bright smiles of children from Grand Rapids and beyond.
The “real” Santa Claus, known to those with the requisite North Pole clearances as Kraig Haybarker, is from Lowell, Michigan and resides there with his wife. His journey started in 2002 when two young kids met him at church and called him Santa because he literally resembled the jolly gift and joy giver.
He was then presented with the opportunity from the director of the Chamber of Commerce from Lowell to be their Santa during the holidays. Since then, he has completed studies at CWH Santa School and continues to spread joy wherever he goes.
When asked what the most rewarding part of his job was, Haybarker said the best part was obviously the kids and celebrating their innocence. All negative thoughts and troubles disappear in the moment when Haybarker meets children and their families, he said.
“Every visit I make is rewarding in its own way,” Haybarker stated. In his time as Santa, he has worked with hospice programs for young children and shared that he has attended funerals of kids he’s met while dressed in full Santa gear.
“It was the best way to honor them,” Haybarker said.
All parade attendees will have the opportunity to meet Haybarker as Santa on November 23 for the Grand Rapids 100th Anniversary Santa Parade. The parade is expected to start at 9 am. More details regarding the parade and tips for viewers and participants can be found at https://grkids.com/grand-rapids-santa-parade/.
(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.
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.
We will keep you updated on any further developments as this story progresses.