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Rick Martinez

Digital Managing Editor, Townsquare Media Grand Rapids
Niki Bloem/Townsquare Media Grand Rapids
Niki Bloem/Townsquare Media Grand Rapids
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Army Spec. Mitchell Oliver Visits for Fourth of July Week Leave Through Fly A Soldier Home [Video]

U.S. Army Spec. Mitchell Oliver is currently back home in Greenville, spending a 17-day leave that includes the Independence Day weekend thanks to an unexpected assist.

The 20-year-old soldier flew home June 21 to heartwarmingly -- and unsuspectingly for his mother -- see his parents, Deann and Gary Oliver, at Gerald R. Ford International Airport. He arrived with a welcoming reception from Blue Star Mothers of America and Patriot Guard Riders.

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Daredevil Circus Company/Anthony Nowack
Daredevil Circus Company/Anthony Nowack
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Daredevil Circus Company Performs at Amway Family Fireworks on July 5 [Video]

A homegrown Grand Rapids circus troupe is performing Saturday in a return show for the Amway Family Fireworks celebration.

Daredevil Circus Company brings its Cirque du Soleil-style show to the Amway Family Fireworks at 8 p.m. July 5 at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids.

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Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
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Fireworks Season Means Enjoying Community Displays, Celebrating Safely [Video/Infographic]

It's the season for fireworks, which are synonymous with Independence Day celebrations.

July 4 marks the 238th anniversary this year of the United States' independence from England through the Declaration of Independence. It means celebrating our nation's founding through community events, with professionally-done aerial fireworks displays such as the Amway Family Fireworks on July 5 at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids.

If consumer fireworks are used at home or elsewhere, enjoy them safely to protect lives and property while embracing Independence Day.

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Re/Max
Re/Max
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Re/Max of Grand Rapids’ Family Fun Zone, Hot Air Balloon at Amway Family Fireworks

The Amway Family Fireworks will light up the Grand Rapids skies July 5 at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids in celebration of Independence Day.

But before that colorful display next Saturday, Re/Max of Grand Rapids' Family Fun Zone from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. EST at Ah-Nab-Awen park.

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Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard
Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard
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Safe Boating Tip of the Week: Follow the Rules of the Water [Sponsored]

Summer is here! It officially arrived last Saturday, and this is truly the season when many love to relax and play out on the water.

Grand Valley Marine, with locations in Grandville and Grand Haven, says to keep you and those around you safe on the water when boating.

In embracing summer and enjoying the great outdoors on the water and at the beach, here's another tip good for boaters and beach-goers to help you stay safe out there: Follow the rules of the water.

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Photo Courtesy of Amway
Photo Courtesy of Amway
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Have a Blast with Amway Family Fireworks on Fifth of July in Downtown Grand Rapids

The Amway Family Fireworks will light up the Grand Rapids skies on July 5 at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids in celebration of Independence Day.

The 2014 event marks the fourth year of Amway’s title sponsorship of the annual fireworks display.

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Niki Bloem/98.7 WFGR
Niki Bloem/98.7 WFGR
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Army Spec. Mitchell Oliver Returns to Hometown of Greenville Through Fly A Soldier Home This Summer [Photos]

Deann Oliver greeted an unexpected soldier Saturday.

In helping welcome home returning U.S. military personnel at Gerald R. Ford International Airport, she was doing a supportive shift with fellow Blue Star Mothers of America members and Patriot Guard Riders. A handful of families had already been reunited with loved ones when her eyes fell on someone she wasn’t expecting to see until at least next week: U.S. Army Spec. Mitch Oliver. It was her son.

Deann shrieked with delight, clutching into her knees just beyond Gate B as others in two greeting lines, many holding and waving American flags, clapped, smiled and cried tears of joy. Also beaming was Mitch, who had a bouquet of red roses for his mother snuck to him by his father, Gary Oliver.

He was flown in through Fly A Soldier Home This Summer, a contest sponsored by Ed Koehn Automotive Group in conjunction with Classic Hits 98.7 WFGR and affiliated stations 97.9 WGRD, Channel 95.7 (WLHT), 100.5 The River (WTRV) and 1410 AM The Touch (WNWZ).

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Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard
Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard
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Safe Boating Tip of the Week: Be More Wary of Lightning in Summer [Sponsored]

This is the time of year when many love to relax and play out on the water.

Grand Valley Marine, with locations in Grandville and Grand Haven, says to keep you and those around you safe on the water when boating.

Summer officially arrives at 10:51 a.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service's Grand Rapids Office.

In embracing summer and enjoying the great outdoors on the water and even at the beach, here's a tip good for boaters and beach-goers to help you stay safe out there.

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John F. Martin/Getty Images
John F. Martin/Getty Images
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Safe Boating Tip of the Week: Be Weather Ready [Sponsored]

Many look forward to relaxing and playing out on the water.

Grand Valley Marine, with locations in Grandville and Grand Haven, says to keep you and those around you safe on the water when boating.

Michigan Safe Boating Week runs through Saturday and National Marina Day is Saturday.

In embracing those campaigns and seeking to help you enjoy getting out on the water for relaxation, recreation and to enjoy the great outdoors, here's another boating tip to help you stay safe out there.

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