WGVU Top Story
Safe house for sex trafficked victims opens in Grand Rapids
May 16, 2013 | WGVU “There isn't any specialized treatment in the entire state of Michigan for minors who are caught in sex trafficking and so we set about to put together a specialized home, secure, for the girls where it would be a treatment program to develop new social and job skills as well as to continue their education."
Boelkins, Chair of the Board of Directors of Wedgewood at today’s opening
ceremony for the Manasseh Shelter/Trauma Recovery Center. The home is for sex
trafficked and severely abused girls under the age of 18. Andy Soper is the driving
force behind the program. After rescuing a 13 year old girl from the streets of
Grand Rapids Soper realized there was nowhere to take her for treatment - hence his
vision for the Manasseh Project.
“It never came in on their write ups that they had been trafficked or exploited - it came in as they are sexually acting out and truant and once we really started wrapping our minds around what it looked like - red flags went up with a lot of different young women and, and honestly, a lot of
different young men.”
originally started working at Wedgewood in residential treatment with boys but realized
how big the problem was when he started working with young girls who make up 80
percent of trafficked victims. Along with third party exploitation perpetrators
or pimps, victims can be trafficked by their own families in return for drugs.
"They were being exploited and there wasn't a sense that we needed to provide specialty treatment. As we talked with the community it became clear there was a population that needed it and we had the capacity to do it." Marie Brown
is the home supervisor for the safe house. The house has 14 rooms – 12 of those
are already occupied. Staff members work around the clock and include a
wellness specialist, a training specialist for staff and a nurse.
"Our hope for them is to be able to build them up - to teach them to be able to live life to the fullest although that trauma has happened to them."
also affects young men in who identify themselves with the Lesbian, Bisexual,
Gay, and Transgender (LGBT) population - young men exploited by
other men. Wedgewood is looking at ways to engage that population through
community outreach programs. The Manasseh Project Home is only one of six safe houses of its kind in the country.
Weekend warm-up in Michigan to melt some snow
Grand Rapids MI November 21, 2014 | WGVU Forecasters say a weekend warm-up in Michigan will lead to melting snow and rain that could combine to bring rising river levels and even flooding in places.
Woman with gun arrested outside White House
Washington DC November 21, 2014 | WGVU A Michigan woman carrying a gun was arrested outside the White House just after President Barack Obama completed a nationally broadcast speech announcing his plan for the U.S. immigration system.
Dallas to host 19-day ArtPrize competition in 2016
Dallas, TX November 21, 2014 | WGVU Members of the public will have a say in honoring aspiring artists when Art Prize Dallas begins in 2016.
Thanksgiving travel to include 1.5M in Michigan
Dearborn, MI November 21, 2014 | WGVU AAA says nearly 1.5 million people in Michigan plan to travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday period.
County, GRCC decline city tax plan
November 21, 2014 | WGVU Grand Rapids Community College and Kent County have both opted out of a $5 million western Grand Rapids development project.
“The Discovery of King Tut” exhibition tour coming to Grand Rapids
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. November 21, 2014 | WGVU Coming in 2015, visitors to Grand Rapids Public Museum can experience one of the world’s greatest archeological discoveries.
West Michigan U.S. Representative responds to President Obama's immigration order
November 21, 2014 | WGVU In response to President Barack Obama’s executive order protecting roughly 5 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally from deportation, House Speaker John Boehner says the president’s decision to go it alone "cemented his legacy of lawlessness and squandered what little credibility he had left." One west Michigan House Republican calling the order an overreach of Constitutional power.
Immigration and Nationality Act provides President with "legal basis"
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. November 21, 2014 | WGVU Is President Barack Obama’s executive order to shield as many as 5 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally from deportation, and grant them work permits, legal? Republicans on Capitol hill are raising that question. WGVU ran it by Grand Rapids immigration attorney, Susan Im.
Kalamazoo Democrat seeks state Senate vote recount
KALAMAZOO, Mich. November 21, 2014 | AP Democratic state Rep. Sean McCann says he'll request a recount in the 20th District state Senate race, which a preliminary count shows him losing by 59 votes.
Economists predict continued Michigan job growth
ANN ARBOR, Mich. November 21, 2014 | AP University of Michigan economists say the state's economy will continue to move forward over the next two years after five years of steady job growth.
Winds, snow, cold make Michigan roads hazardous
Grand Rapids MI November 20, 2014 | WGVU Windy weather, a fresh coating of snow and cold temperatures are combining to create hazardous driving conditions around Michigan.
Authorities: 3 children hurt in school bus crash
Inverness Township, MI November 20, 2014 | WGVU Authorities say three children were hurt after a school bus slid off an icy road in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula.
Woman who faked disappearance faces sentence
Monroe, MI November 20, 2014 | WGVU A Michigan woman who faked her own disappearance and even put an ad on Craigslist to find an abductor is returning to court for her sentence.
Kent phone fraud cases reported
November 20, 2014 | WGVU Kent County law enforcement warns of a new phone scam.
NEDx focuses on meeting socio-economic demands
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. November 20, 2014 | WGVU As the middle class declines a group of innovative Grand Valley State University students are promoting frugal innovation. Thursday, the NEDx event was held in Grand Rapids.
Police follow footprints in snow to bust suspects
IONIA, Mich. November 20, 2014 | AP Michigan State Police say footprints in the snow in Ionia County led troopers to bust two theft suspects.
$47.6M spent on TV ads in Michigan governor's race
LANSING, Mich. November 20, 2014 | AP A campaign finance watchdog says $47.6 million was spent on TV ads in the Michigan governor's race.
Prison reform activists see opportunity in “lame duck” for legislative overhaul
November 20, 2014 | MPRN Bills that seek to reduce prison spending in Michigan seem to have momentum going into the last weeks of the Legislature’s 2014 session.
Jake Neher has more.
Nativity scene proposed for Michigan Capitol lawn
Lansing MI November 19, 2014 | WGVU Michigan officials are considering whether a Christian Nativity scene and a counter-display from a secularist group should join the state Christmas tree on the Capitol lawn this holiday season.
Prison next for man in med student's death
Ann Arbor MI November 19, 2014 | WGVU A young man is facing a no-parole sentence in the fatal shooting of a University of Michigan medical student last year.
Lansing bar scene includes church service
Lansing MI November 19, 2014 | WGVU Bibles are next to beer and popcorn at a new religious gathering in Lansing.
Michigan man sentenced for throwing, stomping cat
Grand Rapids MI November 19, 2014 | WGVU A western Michigan man who fatally threw and stomped on a cat in front of a crowd that included children has been sentenced to prison.
Gov. Snyder not injured in minor car accident
Hartland Twp., MI November 19, 2014 | WGVU Gov. Rick Snyder is uninjured after the state-owned vehicle he was riding in was hit from behind at a traffic light in Livingston County.
Grand Rapids group seeks circus ban
November 19, 2014 | WGVU A campaign to ban circus-like animal entertainment gains traction in Grand Rapids.
Victims in fatal van-train collision identified
OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. November 19, 2014 | AP Authorities have released the names of three people killed when their minivan was struck by a passenger train at a crossing in western Michigan.
Oregon-Michigan bait probe leads to $2,000 fine
SAUGATUCK, Mich. November 19, 2014 | AP Authorities say an Oregon bait company has paid a $2,000 fine after shipping Pacific herring to Michigan in containers labeled as worms.
Michigan jobless rate falls slightly to 7.1 percent
November 19, 2014 | MPRN Michigan’s monthly unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been so far this year.
We have more from Rick Pluta.
Effort to get LGBT civil rights protections pressing on after setbacks
November 19, 2014 | MPRN Business and civil rights groups that want state lawmakers to add civil rights protections for LGBT people are not giving up their effort.
Jake Neher reports.
Judge allows legal challenge to emergency manager law to move ahead
November 19, 2014 | MPRN A federal judge in Detroit has refused to toss out a legal challenge to Michigan’s emergency manager law.
Weather shuts schools, including Grand Valley State University
Kalamazoo MI November 18, 2014 | WGVU Severe weather has prompted officials to close schools for the day including Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College and Grand Valley State University.
Expert to discuss light rail's economic benefits
Detroit, MI November 18, 2014 | WGVU Streetcar expert Michael Powell will discuss the economic benefits associated with Detroit's light rail project.
AmeriCorps members prepare for new year of service
Lansing MI November 18, 2014 | WGVU Four hundred AmeriCorps members from Michigan will attend a swearing-in ceremony in Lansing to begin a new year of community service.
Car strikes police officer, woman amid snow
Mattawan, MI November 18, 2014 | WGVU Authorities say a car has struck a police officer and a 74-year-old woman he was helping along a southwestern Michigan roadway.
Severe weather brings Michigan flight cancelations
Grand Rapids MI November 18, 2014 | WGVU Severe weather in Michigan is prompting flight cancelations and delays at Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
Ford recalls Fusions for ignition key problem
Detroit, MI November 18, 2014 | WGVU Ford is recalling about 65,000 Fusion midsize cars in North America because the ignition keys can be removed if the transmission is not in park.
Crews continue snowstorm clean-up
November 18, 2014 | WGVU Road crews across West Michigan have been busy tackling more than eight inches of snow in some areas.
MI Supreme Court will decide whether Right To Work covers state workers
November 18, 2014 | WGVU The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether 35 thousand state civil service employees and the unions that represent them are covered by the right-to-work law.
WGVU-HD Frontline: Firestone and the Warlord
November 18, 2014 | WGVU Tuesday night on WGVU-HD, Frontline investigates the relationship between an iconic American tire maker and an African warlord. Did Firestone help fund a Liberian war that killed 100s of thousands of people?
Here comes round two and rain for the weekend
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. November 18, 2014 | WGVU One winter storm system winds down…the next one is on the way. Get ready for the second half of what the National Weather Service is calling a one-two punch. Monday night into Tuesday frigid Canadian air and strong winds produced over a foot of Lake Effect snow blanketing West Michigan. Wednesday, a second system moves in.
West Michigan data added to fair housing complaint
November 18, 2014 | WGVU More allegations against U.S. Bank for poor treatment of foreclosed properties in minority neighborhoods include two West Michigan cities.
State education officials preparing for adoption of new science standards
November 18, 2014 | MPRN The state Board of Education is poised to approve new statewide science standards.
We have more from Jake Neher.