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Butterflies Are Blooming opens this weekend

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- This weekend you will find a bit of springtime at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

The annual Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition opens Sunday.

"You can feel the heat just kind of soak into you when you walk in, especially from outside -- sometimes your glasses fog up -- and it's just a great place to get out of the cold and really enjoy the tropics," says Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Director of Horticulture Steve LaWarre.

Butterflies Are Blooming runs through April 30. Learn more about the exhibition at this link.

My Town: Real estate professionals to give back to public servants

My Town: Real estate professionals to give back to public servants

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.A group of real estate professionals have come together to create a service that is giving back to those who serve the public in the Grand Rapids area.

"U Deserve" has brought together several professionals who are dedicated to lowering costs associated with buying, selling or refinancing a home for active military members, veterans, firefighters, police officers, EMS providers, health care professionals and educators.

“Growing up with a father who served in the National Guard and as a police officer, I was able to see first-hand how much public service individuals give back to their communities,” said Kevin Wildman, founder of U Deserve.  “U Deserve is a way of saying ‘thank you’ to those individuals.”

LaughFest blood drives benefit Gilda's Club Grand Rapids

ADA, Mich. (WZZM) -- I think we can all agree it's been a bit of a rough winter, and when the roads are bad, it makes it tough to make it in to donate blood.

Michigan Blood is holding several blood drives in partnership with LaughFest, including one Tuesday evening at Keystone Church, 655 Spaulding Ave. SE, Ada, MI. It wrapped up at 8 o'clock.

Blue Care Network is also a partner in these LaughFest blood drives. For every person who donates blood, Blue Care Network is donating $10 to LaughFest's High Five campaign, which aims to raise $50,000 for the children's cancer, grief, and in-school emotional health programs of Gilda's Club Grand Rapids. Amway, the matching partner of the High Five campaign, is also matching each $10 donation from Blue Care Network.

More LaughFest blood drives are scheduled:

My Town: Rep. Afendoulis to lead criminal law reform work group

My Town: Rep. Afendoulis to lead criminal law reform work group


State Rep. Chris Afendoulis today announced he will co-chair a House workgroup tasked with reforming Michigan’s criminal laws.  Afendoulis will co-chair the workgroup with Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth.

 “I look forward to working with Rep. Heise and my other colleagues to bring common-sense reforms and improve consistency within Michigan criminal law,” said Afendoulis, R-Grand Rapids Township. “It’s time to focus on identifying and repealing unnecessary criminal statutes and burdens currently in state law that result in over-criminalization and over-penalization of Michigan citizens.

“Too many good people are being unfairly punished by laws that were written to serve the 19th century and not the needs of the modern Michigan family. It is well past time to change this.”

Mother of FHC teen hit by car talks about honoring her son

CASCADE TWP., Mich. (WZZM) -- It's been just over a month since a Forest Hills Central student was hit and killed as he headed to a bus stop, and this week he will be honored at a basketball game at the high school.

The mother of Lucas Van Sprange, Melissa Conner, says it's a daily struggle.

"I have to wake up every day and think, 'He's not here anymore,'" Conner said. "That's utterly excruciating."

On January 16, her oldest son was hit and killed on Cascade Road. Conner says the initial feeling was shock, "and once that wears off, the pain hits you. You feel like you're hitting rock bottom."

Driver arrested after 28th Street pursuit

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- One man is in custody after a police chase on 28th Street through Cascade Township.

It started just before 1 a.m. Tuesday near Patterson Avenue, when deputies tried to pull over a man in a pickup truck.

The driver refused to stop, leading Michigan State Police troopers and Kent County deputies east on 28th Street SE.

The pursuit ended at 28th and Cascade Road, when the truck crashed into a tree in front of a bank.

Deputies are not yet saying what charges the driver may face.

After rare diagnosis, athlete fights to salvage senior year

ADA, Mich. (WZZM) – Your senior year of high school is supposed to be filled with a lot of lasts: the last high school football game, the last homecoming and the last prom, to name a few.

Missing key moments means they're gone forever.

A West Michigan student athlete is currently missing out on her senior year after a major health scare forced her to the sidelines.

Like many high school student athletes, AnnaLee Konsoer-Rose had it all going in the right direction. She excelled in four sports at Forest Hills Eastern and was team captain of two. She also was earning straight A's in the classroom.

But during her junior year an unwanted visitor showed up and started to take away almost everything. You only get one senior year of high school and AnnaLee was determined to make hers count no matter what.