11.19.14:  Mel Trotter Ministries Turkey Drop today


Mel Trotter Ministries is looking for turkeys.  The ministry in downtown Grand Rapids is collecting donations of frozen turkeys that will be used during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Tim Sweeny says they are hoping to collect some 1,000 birds that will be included in the special food boxes.  The meals will go to families who might otherwise not have a traditional meal during these times when families gather together.

Today’s Turkey Drop will take place from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. and the turkeys can be dropped off at Celebration North and South locations as well as the 4 Mel Trotter retail stores.  One is located along 28th Street, another in Jenison, as well as in Sparta and Belding.


Click here for more information.

11.19.14:  3 die when van ignores gate, hit by Amtrak train


OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — State police say three people in a minivan were killed when the driver went around vehicles stopped at a railroad crossing in western Michigan and into the path of an Amtrak train.

First Lt. Dale Hinz says the crash happened Tuesday afternoon in Kalamazoo County’s Oshtemo Township, near Kalamazoo.

The crossing gate at 11th Street was down and the lights were flashing.

The crash killed all three people in the van, who are believed to be in their late teens or early 20s. Their identities weren’t immediately released.

The passenger train was traveling about 80 miles per hour.

T the train was eastbound from Chicago to Detroit when the crash happened about 4:15 p.m. No one aboard the train was hurt.


11.18.14:  Severe weather brings Michigan flight cancelations


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Severe weather in Michigan is prompting flight cancelations and delays at Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

At least four flights were cancelled Tuesday morning and three flights had been delayed from departing the Grand Rapids airport.

All arrivals were listed on time. The cancelations and delays come as heavy lake-effect snow hits parts of western and northern Michigan.


11.18.14:  Snow causes problems on roads and delays air traffic


BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Three feet of snow already has fallen in the Buffalo, New York area, forcing the closure of a 105-mile stretch of the state Thruway.

The Thruway Authority says white-out conditions have closed Interstate 90 in both directions from the Rochester area to Dunkirk, on Lake Erie, 35 southwest of Buffalo.

The National Weather Service says the lake-effect storms will last into tomorrow for western New York and areas east of Lake Ontario.


Forecasters say the Great Lakes are a snow magnet today.  The National Weather Service says the Lake Michigan shoreline could get 6 to 16 inches of snow by today while 4 to 18 inches is forecast along Lake Superior.

11.14.14:  Pre-winter storm brings snow, 1 death to Michigan


SCHOOLCRAFT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Winter-like weather is holding Michigan in its grip, dumping as much as nine inches of snow in the western Lower Peninsula and causing crashes that shut highways and claimed at least one life.

A 59-year-old woman died Thursday morning in a chain-reaction crash on U.S. 131 in Kalamazoo County’s Schoolcraft Township, south of Constantine. State police identify the victim as Deborah Mead of Constantine.


The National Weather Service reports nine inches of snow fell Thursday at Coopersville and eight inches at Allendale, both in western Michigan’s Ottawa County.

Cold and snow hit lower Michigan one day after a several-day storm brought up to 42.5 inches snow in the Upper Peninsula.

Temperatures Thursday evening ranged from the 20s to near freezing around the state.

11.14.14:  Officials look at green lights for Michigan plows


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Officials in western Michigan are testing green emergency lights for possible use on snow plows as part of an effort to cut down on crashes involving the vehicles.

Jerry Byrne, the Kent County Road Commission’s director of maintenance, says the lights could help increase visibility of snow plows on the road. About six snow plows are rear-ended each year in Kent County alone.


Kent County is currently testing out green lights on one of its pickup trucks. They flash and then change colors to grab drivers’ attention.

Snow plows with green lights have been pioneered in other parts of the country. Ohio started using green lights in recent years, for example. Ohio Department of Transportation spokeswoman Melissa Ayers says officials “have found them to be valuable.”


11.13.14:  Rockford gets 2 bomb threats this week


For two consecutive days, Rockford High School students stayed in their classrooms while law enforcement investigated bomb threats.  The threats were not credible but it prompted some increased security measures.

Wednesday the high school received a phone call saying there was a bomb in the buildings.  That was similar to a call they took the day before.


As a precaution, extra police were on hand this morning and students were only allowed to enter from the front entrance of the school.


The school notified parents yesterday that the district is working with local, state and federal law enforcement to find out who is responsible for the threats and that they are taking extra precautions.



11.12.14:  Diocese of Grand Rapids boosts tuition aid to $1M


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The Diocese of Grand Rapids is boosting the amount of tuition assistance available for Catholic school students from $240,000 to $1 million.


Officials announced the increase Tuesday. Bishop David Walkowiak says he wants more young people to have access to a good education as well as guidance in leadership and integrity.


The diocese launched a three-year marketing campaign in 2013 to expand enrollment.


An aid agency the diocese uses says there has been $1.2 million in unmet need per year after distributing all available tuition assistance. Superintendent of Catholic schools David Faber says officials often hear the schools need to be more affordable.


The school system has about 5,600 students. The average tuition at Catholic Central and West Catholic high schools is about $7,500 before aid.

11.12.14:  Calvin says they’ll sell the Ladies Literary Club building


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Calvin College plans to sell the more than century-old Ladies Literary Club building, which for the past seven years has served as a music, theater and entertainment venue.

Sally Vander Ploeg, the school’s vice president for finance and administration,  says the college hasn’t yet determined what real estate broker will handle the sale nor has it settled on an asking price.

The decision to sell the property was approved last month by the board at the Christian liberal arts school. The sale comes as the college works to reduce long-term debt of $102 million by selling real estate assets that aren’t deemed core to its mission.

Historical preservation advocates say they’re hopeful the buyer will appreciate the aesthetic and historical value of the building.

11.11.14:  Veterans being remembered across the country


Today is Veteran’s Day.

It is a time to honor those who have served in the military.  There are numerous events and displays statewide to mark Veteran’s Day.

Grand Rapids will pay tribute with a parade this evening that gets underway at 7:30 p.m. at Division Street Bridge.

Grand Rapids Community College and Davenport will hold tributes this morning.

The City of Wyoming will hold a special ceremony at 6 pm. at the Veteran’s Memorial Garden.


World War II veterans are being honored at the Capital in Lansing on Thursday.  Michigan veterans will be publically honored.  An open house will take place in the morning, along with lunch and a special ceremony at 2 p.m.


Many businesses are offering up something free for veterans today, whether it be a car wash or a meal.

Some of the restaurants offering a free breakfast this morning include:  IHOP, Denny’s, Bob Evans, McDonalds, and Burger King.   Others that will include a special meal for veterans include:  Applebee’s, Red Robin, Texas Roadhouse, Red Lobster.

Locally the Gilmore Collection says all active service military, veterans and first responders can eat for free with a purchase of a second entrée.