Grand Rapids: an update on the city we live in

Story by Madison Wilder, The Saint Reporter
Photo courtesy of

On January 1, 2016, Grand Rapids’ 59th and first female mayor, Rosalynn Bliss, will take office. Bliss will be vacating her spot as Second Ward city commissioner to replace current mayor George Heartwell.

In an interview with the Grand Rapids Press, Bliss said she wants to target neighborhoods with infrastructure spending.

“We made infrastructure improvements in that (Cherry Street) area and a significant amount of private development followed that,” Bliss told the press, “so there is a synergy between the two.”

Bliss is moving forward with plans to make Grand Rapids a safer and more convenient place to live.  

When Bliss was elected to commissioner 10 years ago, Heartwell told Mlive that he was the “second happiest person in the room” and that he sees support for Bliss as “a new progressive direction in this city.”

In addition to the recent political achievements of Mayor Bliss, Grand Rapids is also filled with festivals and events this month.

Upcoming Events

The Dirty Duel trail race will be held on November 14 at Robinette’s Apple Haus. The race includes a choice of two challenging trails of sand dunes, cornfields, monster hills and off trailing. for more information visit

Also on November 14 at the Peter Martin Wege Theater will be GR’s Big Talent finale. The event is held at 6pm and the winners will be earning up to $1000 and first place will be performing at the Hot 105.3 #NYE party in Grand Rapids. The event is hosted by Emcee Todd Chance from Mlive.

For those with an eye for the arts, The Urban Insittute for Contemporary Arts opened “The Keeping Room,” a film described on as “…female fronted Western set towards the end of the Civil War, Southerner Augusta encounters two renegade, drunken soldiers who are on a mission of pillage and violence. After escaping an attempted assault, Augusta races back to the isolated farmhouse that she shares with her sister Louise and their female slave Mad. When the pair of soldiers track Augusta down intent on exacting revenge, the trio of women are forced to take up arms to fend off their assailants, finding ways to resourcefully defend their home – and themselves – as the escalating attacks become more unpredictable and relentless.”

The event cost is $4 and the film shows every day until November 19. For more information on this or other events going on in the area at all different costs, visit

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