8.29.14:  Chicago-bound Amtrak train hits car in Michigan


OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a Chicago-bound Amtrak train hit a car that got stuck on tracks in southwestern Michigan, destroying the car.


No injuries are reported following the crash about 10 p.m. Thursday in Kalamazoo County’s Oshtemo Township. Sheriff’s Deputy Ron Kelly says the car had tried to use a crossing that was closed for maintenance when it got stuck.


Kelly says two people in the care got out before the train, which was traveling about 60 miles per hour, struck the car.


Kelly says there were roughly 190 people aboard the train. He says the driver likely will face a misdemeanor charge and could be forced to pay for damage.


8.29.14:  Swim across Straits of Mackinac planned for 2015


ST. IGNACE, Mich. (AP) — A long-distance swimmer from Michigan is hoping to start a new Labor Day tradition next year with a swim across the Straits of Mackinac.


Jim Dreyer, who is serving as event director of the 2015 Mighty Mac Swim, announced the plans on Friday. Dreyer says the swim will take place alongside the annual Bridge Walk, which draws thousands each year to make a 5-mile crossing on the Mackinac Bridge.


Dreyer says the Sept. 7, 2015 swim between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas will serve as a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity of Michigan.


On Labor Day in 2007, Dreyer organized a swim across the straits as part of a 50th anniversary celebration for the suspension bridge.


Dreyer has made direct crossings of the five Great Lakes.


8.28.14:  Police identify pedestrian hit, killed by minivan


NORTON SHORES, Mich. (AP) — Police in Norton Shores have released the name of a Muskegon man who was struck and killed by a minivan.


Albert White III was hit around 1 a.m. Wednesday while trying to cross an intersection in the community in western Michigan.


Police say he was pronounced dead at a local hospital.


The minivan’s 63-year-old driver told police he had a green light. When he saw the pedestrian, he says he tried to stop, but couldn’t.


Police are seeking witnesses to the crash for their investigation.

8.27.14:  After bad winter, new salt costs leave bad taste


ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — With temperatures in the 80s, who’s thinking about winter road salt? Road agencies are — and they’re seeing higher prices.


The County Road Association of Michigan says there’s sticker shock out there. Washtenaw County is reporting an increase of at least $500,000 for the next winter. Road Commission operations director Jim Harmon says the “budget hits just keep on coming.”


The Kent County Road Commission expects to pay $66 a ton, more than double the price from a decade ago.


Denise Donohue, director of the County Road Association, says it’s a matter of supply and demand, especially after salt reserves were pounded last winter. The association says the average cost statewide will be up nearly 50 percent.

8.27.14:  Replicas of Columbus’ ships make it to Muskegon


MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — Replicas of two of 15th-century explorer Christopher Columbus’ ships have arrived in Muskegon.


The 65-foot Nina and the 85-foot Pinta made it to town on Tuesday.


They will remain docked at Heritage Landing until Sept. 2, and will be open for tours beginning on Wednesday.


North Muskegon resident Cheryl Eyestone says she didn’t see the replicas when they last visited Muskegon in 2011, but will be bringing her five daughters to see them this time around.


The ships’ Muskegon stop is part of a tour that has taken them to Maine, New York and Ohio.


8.27.14:  Storms packing 60 mph winds hit Michigan


CANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Severe thunderstorms have hit parts of southern Michigan, bringing 60 mile-per-hour wind gusts that knocked down trees and power lines and blacked out about 169,000 electricity customers.


The National Weather Service says winds reaching 60 mph in Wayne County’s Canton Township near Detroit and in Washtenaw County’s Pittsfield Township. It says a 2-foot-diameter tree fell in Redford, near Detroit.


DTE Energy Co. says 120,000 of 160,000 affected customers remained powerless Tuesday night. CMS. Energy Corp. says 3,000 of 9,000 affected customers remained out.


Flooding closed parts of some Detroit-area expressways Tuesday evening.


Lightning is suspected in a fire that heavily damaged an apartment in the Detroit suburb of Taylor.


Three people sustained non-life threatening injuries when lightning struck an Ionia County garage.


A lightning strike Tuesday afternoon caused damage to Holland Christian Middle School.  Smoke was seen coming from the roof of the gym but it didn’t take crews long to put it out.  Only minor damage was done to the school as a result.

8.26.14:  Cab driver robbed in Holland Township


The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the robbery of a cab driver Monday afternoon.


The 27-year-old victim said it was just after 2:30 p.m. that he was called to the Whispering Pine Apartments in Holland Township.  When he arrived a man armed with a handgun demanded money.  The driver was not injured.


The suspect was spotted running north toward the Cascade Apartment off 136th Avenue.


Anyone with information is asked to call Silent Observer or the Police Department.


Police say they are looking for the suspect who is described as a black male in his 20′s, around 140 pounds, 5’7″, who was wearing a blue windbreaker, and white sunglasses with the American flag embossed on the lenses.

8.25.14:  Michigan man hospitalized after welding explosion


ORLEANS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Grand Rapids-area man has been hospitalized after his welding project on top of an oil drum caused an explosion.


Orleans Township Fire Chief Leslie Doty says the man was trying to build a lawn roller Sunday and was welding on a 55-gallon drum in his garage.


Doty says sparks from welding ignited fuel residue in the drum, which caused the explosion. The top of the barrel flew through the wooden garage.


The man was burned on his arms and face. He extinguished a small fire on the garage door before authorities arrived.


He was taken to an area hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.


8.25.14:  Grand Rapids to open $40 million rapid bus system


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Grand Rapids is launching a $40 million rapid transit bus system that connects the city center with southern suburbs.


The 9.6-mile Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit system will kick off this week with free rides to attract commuters. About $32 million came from the federal government, while the state paid almost $8 million.


Transportation planners say the system cuts a typical 45-minute drive to a 27-minute commute. They say it’s the city’s first mode of transportation to compete with cars.


Jeff Steinport from the Kent County Taxpayer’s Alliance says the line is a boondoggle that duplicates existing public transportation routes.


The National Transit Database says city’s traditional bus system had 11.9 million passenger trips in 2012. That’s up from 10.8 million in 2011 and 9.7 million in 2010.


8.25.14:  Man dies testing ultralight being offered for sale


VERGENNES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities in western Michigan say that a New Mexico man has died while test-flying an ultralight aircraft that was being offered for sale.

Kent County sheriff’s Sgt. Russ Larson says the crash happened about 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Lowell Airport  in Vergennes Township, just north of Lowell.

Larson says the man drove from out-of-state to test the airplane, which an area resident was selling.

Authorities have identified the dead man as 67-year-old Bryan Bowker of Edgewood, New Mexico.

Witnesses say he took off successfully once but crashed while trying a second takeoff.