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Holland mayor unveils $11M project for Civic Center


HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- An $11 million project will transform the aging Holland Civic Center and the surrounding area according to plans announced by Kurt Dykstra on his final day as Mayor. The plans include adding green space, a performance stage, and an ice rink.

A final goodbye from Holland's mayor came with a big hello to a new city project.

"It will transform this facility, remodel it, restore it, but make it functional into the future," said Dykstra.

The project will make major changes both to the 60-year-old building's inside and the surrounding area. A diagram from the city shows added green space, a performance stage, and a reflecting pool designed to double as an ice rink in the winter.

Mayor Dykstra says currently the parking lot is often empty, unless there's a special event like the farmer's market.

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LG Chem expanding, hiring


HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- A West Michigan company says it's expanding and adding new jobs. It held a job fair Tuesday looking for candidates.

LG Chem says it wants to double its workforce by the end of the year.

The Holland battery maker says it's expanding its operations and building the workforce to support an increase in demand and a new customer. In total, the company says this is a $25 million expansion.

It will include new production lines new shifts.

LG Chem has already hired 100 new people in the past 90 days, but the company wants to bring in 80 more by the end of this year. The company is hiring for all shifts.

Tuesday's job fair was 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Crossroads Conference Center on Clay Avenue in Grand Rapids.


Holland says goodbye to Mayor Kurt Dykstra


HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- His time as the mayor of Holland is winding down. Friends and family gathered Monday afternoon to take a look back at Kurt Dykstra's career as mayor, and a member of Holland's city council, on his last day in office.

Dykstra starts his new job in the Chicago area on Wednesday. He's been appointed president of Trinity Christian College.

He said Monday's events were humbling.

"It's a little embarrassing, frankly, because all these nice things get said, and I know that deep down a tenth of it is true, and the city and the organization and the community really deserves most of the credit," he said. "I've just had the privilege to have this role for a period of time, and try to do my best."

Holland police got in on the fun as well and jokingly arrested him. His daughters definitely enjoyed that joke.


Film screening supports suicide prevention


HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- They lost a brother to suicide; now, a Holland family wants to help others in their community avoid that pain.

Monday evening, the Elhart family helped host a film screening and question-and-answer session about preventing suicide. The event was in honor of Wayne Elhart, who took his own life earlier this year.

Event organizers said the movie, Hope Bridge, helps viewers who are dealing with losing a loved one to suicide and helps people look for signs of depression.

"It's a topic that people don't want to talk about, but it's the only way that we're going to bring exposure to this enemy that basically wants to steal family members, and loved ones, and friends, and students and veterans," said Hope Bridge producer Christine Eaton. "We just wanted to elevate the conversation. We know that talk does save lives."

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Holland leader on gay rights: 'We still have an issue'


HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage is bringing attention to gay rights in Holland. The city voted down a local ordinance in 2011 meant to prevent discrimination against members of the LGBT community.

WZZM 13 spoke to one city council member who hopes to revisit the issue in light of the Supreme Court's decision.

What a difference a single vote makes: that's demonstrated by the celebrations among same sex couples, after the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision. However, gay rights supporters were at the losing end of a 5-4 vote at Holland's city council back in 2011.

"Yes, you can get married in the state of Michigan, but we still have an issue with keeping your job or equal housing rights for the LGBT community -- so those kinds of things need to be addressed, too," said Holland city council member Jay Peters.

Masked gunman robs Holland Twp. gas station


HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- Investigators are looking for the gunman who robbed an Ottawa County gas station overnight.

The Sheriff's Office says it responded to the Oasis Mobil gas station at 9673 Adams St., east of I-196, just before midnight Sunday night. A man with handgun had entered the store, demanding money. He took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled.

Investigators described the robber as a white man with long, brown hair. He was wearing a dark mask; a black, long-sleeve t-shirt; blue jeans; and black tennis shoes with white soles.

Anyone with information on the case should call the Ottawa County Sheriff Office at 616-738-4000 or Silent Observer at 1-877-88-SILENT.

Quick Stop robbed in Holland, suspect at large


HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- Police are searching for a man they believe robbed the Family Fare Quick Stop at 1149 S. Washington.

Just before 10:30 Saturday night, the suspect entered the Quick Stop and demanded the clerk give him all of the money in the cash register. A weapon was not seen by the clerk, but the suspect implied he was armed based on where he placed his hand inside his sweatshirt. The suspect fled on foot.

A Holland Department of Public Safety K-9 was called to the scene and was able track the suspect for a short distance but ultimately was unable to find him.

The suspect is described as a White or Hispanic man in his mid-twenties, 5'7"-5'10" with a thin build. He was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and a black bandanna covering his face.