The Rapidian Home

Mayor Heartwell's live call-in show to lose host of eight years

At 5 p.m. Monday night, Mayor Heartwell's live interactive public access show City Connection was simulcast right here on The Rapidian.
Underwriting support from:
Mayor Heartwell and Sr. Barbara on a past episode of City Connection

Mayor Heartwell and Sr. Barbara on a past episode of City Connection /GRTV Courtesy Photo

After 12 years with the program, tonight will be Sister Barbara Hansen’s last episode of City Connection. A live call-in show with Mayor Heartwell, City Connection is an opportunity for Grand Rapidians to talk with our mayor about important city issues.

“It has been a privilege and a pleasure to host City Connection these past eight years,” Hansen said, “There is no level of government where we can have as much influence as at our local unit.”

City Connection began as a GRTV production in the basement of the Grand Rapids Public Library’s main branch in the 1990s under former Mayor John Logie. Hansen joined the City Connection family as a volunteer in 2002, operating the cameras and working behind the scenes. She assumed co-hosting duties when Rev. George Heartwell was sworn in as Grand Rapids’ current mayor in 2004 and has stayed in that position ever since.

“As a citizen of Grand Rapids,” she continued, ”I have treasured being able to bring topics of community importance to the attention of the viewers. We started with only telephone questions and progressed to email, Facebook and Twitter connections. I know of no other public access station that brings citizens’ questions live to their mayors.”

There are a few questions from last month that remain unasked, so expect them to be a topic of discussion tonight. For example, Twitter user @voidcomp has two questions in the hopper: one about the mayor’s opinion on the future of Grand Rapids Community College as it modernizes and expands and another about developing a transportation link between the airport and Grand Rapids’ downtown area.

If you have any additional questions or anything they would like to say to Mayor Heartwell, Grand Rapidians are encouraged to call in to the program, leave a comment on this article, email [email protected], tweet @GRTVaccess,  or leave a Facebook comment.

Hansen, though no longer volunteering as a host for City Connection, will continue to serve as an employee for GRTV. Community Media Center’s Linda Gellasch, who has acted as a replacement host several times in the past, is excited to take on full time hosting duties on February 6.

“Facilitating a conversation between citizens and our Mayor is among the essence of free speech in the local community,” she said, “And I look forward to following up on the amazing good work Sister Barbara Hansen has done with City Connection over these many years on public access TV.”

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.


Mayor Heartwell:

Of all the things being covered during the commission meeting tomorrow, what issues or agenda items would you say are of particular interest to the average citizen? And any things coming up in the future that we should especially pay attention to?