7.22.14:   Fruit growers get new disaster relief


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says fruit growers affected by extreme weather conditions in 2012 will now be able to apply for new disaster relief from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


The Michigan Democrat is chairwoman of the Senate’s Agriculture and says new provisions in the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program as part of the 2014 Farm Bill will extend relief to growers hit by disasters that didn’t have access to crop insurance.


Stabenow noted in a statement that frosts and freezes in 2012 destroyed crops such as cherries and apples in Michigan and elsewhere. Eligible producers will be able to apply for assistance beginning Tuesday through their local Farm Service Agency office.

7.22.14:  Schuette urges changes after killer’s prison break


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s attorney general is recommending numerous changes in prison security after a convicted quadruple murderer escape earlier this year.


Bill Schuette’s independent investigation into the February escape from the Ionia Correctional Facility flagged problems with video surveillance, fence alarms, prisoner counts and other issues. The report released Monday also says the Michigan Corrections Department should consider whether to re-station armed guards in towers and make perimeter patrol a full-time job again.


Schuette didn’t conclusively determine the lack of staffed towers or continuous perimeter patrols contributed to Michael Elliot’s escape. But his report may be grist for minority Democratic lawmakers and unions who blame the budget cuts.


Schuette says staff failures played a “significant” role. Authorities say Elliot took a woman hostage before he was caught 24 hours later in Indiana.

7.21.14:   Body found by kayakers in Grand River


JENISON, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a body has been found by kayakers in the Grand River near Jenison.

The Ottawa County sheriff’s department says the body was found around 5 p.m. Sunday near the area of Baldwin Street and river Avenue not far from the I-196 exit to Jenison.

The name and age of the male whose body was found wasn’t immediately released. An autopsy is planned for Monday to confirm the identity and determine cause of death.

7.18.14:  Car crash results in finding missing teen


It started earlier this week when police found the body of a man in a wooded area of Wyoming. Later his girlfriend was reported missing and now police say some of their questions have been answered.


Police say a missing pregnant woman was found dead in a vehicle, which was driven by a man that is suspected of killing her boyfriend.


Wyoming Police say there was a car chase last night that ended in a crash at US-131 and Burton in Grand Rapids.  The driver was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound and the body of 18-year-old Brook Slocum was found in the trunk.  Slocum’s boyfriend, Charles Oppenneer was found in a Wyoming park on Wednesday.


Police haven’t identified the suspect or disclosed his connection to the couple.


Police say investigators were preparing a search warrant for a Wyoming home when the suspect left.

7.17.14:  Ford International Airport celebrates turning 50


The Gerald R. Ford International Airport opened the runways at its current location on November 23, 1963.  To commemorate 50 years of service in the West Michigan area, the Airport, in partnership with Special Olympics Michigan is holding a 50th Anniversary Airport Day and Plane Pull.


The event is scheduled for Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on GFIA grounds.  All celebration activities will take place at the Air Cargo and Trade Center located on the east side of the airfield, accessible from Thornapple River Drive.


In addition to the Plane Pull event, GFIA is hosting an Airport Day complete with static aircraft displays, skydivers, kids’ activities, giveaways and a tent offering 50-cent hot dogs, chips and other foods.


GFIA Executive Director Brian Ryks, said that they have been celebrating their 50th anniversary throughout the year, but this celebration is to thank the West Michigan community for supporting the local airport and local jobs.


Click Here, for more information about Saturday’s event.

7.17.14:  Body found in wooded area of Wyoming


A homicide investigation is underway after Wyoming police officers found a man’s body Wednesday in a wooded area near Gezon Court in Wyoming.


Officers had been checking out an abandoned vehicle that had been in area for a few days.


The body that was found was that of a man in his 20′s and police are treating the death as a homicide at this point.  An autopsy is scheduled for today.

7.17.14:  Weather service confirms 2 more July 6-7 tornadoes


PEWAMO, Mich. (AP) — The National Weather Service says it’s confirmed two more tornadoes hit Michigan during severe storms on July 6 and 7.


The weather service says in a report on its website that one tornado was near Pewamo in Ionia County, traveling on the ground about three-fourths of a mile. The other was west of St. Johns in Clinton County and its path was 1.6 miles.


Tree and structure damage was reported in both areas from the early July 7 tornadoes.


The weather service earlier said a severe thunderstorm late on July 6 spawned a tornado with winds reaching the 100-110 mph range in Kent County, causing significant damage to homes and businesses.


A weaker tornado touched down near Ionia early July 7. Damage was reported to trees, crops and farm buildings.

7.16.14:   Grandmother killed in car crash


A grandmother was killed in a one-car crash north of Freeport Tuesday afternoon.


The accident occurred along M-50/92nd Street, when a woman and her three grandchildren went off the roadway.


Police say the driver swerved and then over-corrected, lost control, and ended up in the ditch.


The grandmother was killed.  The victim’s name has not been released yet.

7.16.14:  Death certificate: Slain jogger shot several times


DALTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A death certificate says a jogger found along the side of a road in Muskegon County died of multiple gunshot wounds.


The certificate lists “actual or presumed time of death” for Rebekah Sue Bletsch as about two hours before her body was found on June 29, but doesn’t offer an explanation.


Undersheriff Dan Stout says he has no information on the number of shots or the time of death. A task force is investigating.


The 36-year-old Dalton Township resident was discovered by a passer-by. Bletsch is believed to have been out for a jog on her regular route. Authorities say she had valuables on her, but nothing was taken.


Bletsch lived about three-quarters of a mile away from where she was found.