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Community updates: Friday, May 29

Grand Rapids Police Department issues statement on George Floyd death, Mayor Bliss and local faith leaders to host citywide moment of silence and prayer for coronavirus victims, and more statements issued May 28-29.
Riverside Park in Grand Rapids at dusk.

Riverside Park in Grand Rapids at dusk. /Experience Grand Rapids

Shared in this May 29 update are developments relevant to local life from the Grand Rapids Police Department, City of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Kids, and Michigan Secretary of State.


Grand Rapids Police Department issues statement on George Floyd death

Following the death of George Floyd, an African American man killed by a white Minneapolis police officer, the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) released a statement May 28 offering sympathy to community members impacted by the events.

Floyd died on May 25 after officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd down with his knee for at least eight minutes, reported Minneapolis-based WCCO. A recorded video shows a handcuffed Floyd repeatedly saying “I can’t breath” as three officers watch on. His death has sparked nationwide protest, prompting statements from government and law enforcement leaders across the U.S.

Our department’s thoughts and prayers are with the people of Minneapolis and everyone in our community and across the country who are impacted by the events there,” said GRPD Police Chief Eric Payne. “We share your anger over the death of Mr. Floyd and we offer our sincere condolences to his family.”

Our hearts are with community members who are hurting, angry, and afraid. We stand with our fellow officers around the country who serve with honor and integrity in asking that our communities do not allow this tragedy to define our profession.”

Payne said he doesn’t typically comment on incidents in other jurisdictions, but believes the situation needs to be addressed by law enforcements leaders across the country.

The full statement by Payne, on behalf of the GRPD, is available on the GRPD’s Facebook page.


Mayor Bliss, local faith leaders to host citywide moment of silence, prayer for lives lost to coronavirus

Mayor Rosalyn Bliss and a group of local faith leaders are inviting the Grand Rapids community to join them June 1 for a moment of silence and prayer. The gathering, held online, will honor those who have died from the coronavirus pandemic.

Part of the U.S. Conference of MayorsNational Day of Prayer, the gathering will be live-streamed on Bliss’ Facebook page at noon. Bliss is also asking faith leaders to provide prayers with their congregations and networks, ring bells at their places of worship, and share the online gathering on their social media.

“In partnership with mayors across the country, I am asking our community to join me for this important moment,” Bliss said. “With the rapid spread of COVID-19, the scope of its impact and the need for physical distancing, we have not been given the time or space to mourn and remember those whose lives have been taken by this deadly virus.” The gathering comes on the heels of America’s coronavirus death count surpassing 100,000.

Faith leaders joining Bliss come from a diverse range of congregations, such as St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Community, Islamic Center of Grand Rapids, and West Michigan Hindu Temple.

More details about the June 1 gathering are available in a statement on the City of Grand Rapids’ website.


Grand Rapids Kids shares list of reopening status for family-friendly businesses

Some recreational businesses in West Michigan are opening back up in light of loosened stay-home restrictions by Gov. Whitmer.

To help families stay up to date on the status of local reopenings, Grand Rapids Kids published a list on ts website detailing what’s open, partially reopen, opening soon, and still closed for family-friendly fun.

Among the businesses listed are The Mud Room, now open, U-Pick farms and orchards, now open, and TreeRunner Grand Rapids Adventure Park, opening May 30.

The status of these businesses can change rapidly,” Grand Rapids Kids said in its list. “Check with the business to confirm before heading out.”


Michigan Secretary of State offices reopening June 1 by appointment only

Michigan’s Secretary of State branch offices will reopen June 1 by appointment only for essential transactions not available online.

Starting June 1, all 131 offices will be open 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday. Appointment-only services include:

  • Driver licenses and state ID transactions that must be done in-person
  • Title transfers
  • Operator, CDL, chauffeur, mechanic, and motorcycle testing
  • Seasonal commercial vehicle renewal

Said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson: “While the offices were closed to the public, we conducted more than 3,000 emergency appointments for essential workers and planned and implemented protocols so that we could reopen in a way that ensures the safety of employees and all Michiganders. Customers can be confident they’ll be able to conduct their business with us safely and efficiently.”

Office staff will be following strict safety protocols and continuously disinfecting commonly-shared surfaces. Customers with appointments will be instructed to arrive alone, wear face coverings, and wait in their vehicles or outside prior to their appointment times, among other safety requirements.

More details about the Secretary of State office reopenings are available in a statement on the Michigan Secretary of State’s website.


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