Local

7.24.14:  Gilda’s LaughFest to return for 5th year in March

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Organizers of an annual festival of laughter in western Michigan say the event will return for its fifth year in March.

 

Dates for the 2015 edition of Gilda’s LaughFest were announced Thursday morning. Organizers say it will take place March 5 to March 15.

 

LaughFest honors the memory of comedian Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989.


7.24.14:  Statue series grows, to include Betty Ford in 2018

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The Grand Rapids Community Legends project has added a sixth statue to a series that will grow to include former first lady Betty Ford four years from now.

 

Organizers on Wednesday unveiled a sculpture of civil rights activist Helen Claytor. It’s part of a series that’s expected to have 25 statues before completion.

 

The project plans sculptures of boxing champion Stanley Ketchel in 2015, businesswoman Anna Sutherland Bissell in 2016 and businessman and politician Julius Houseman in 2017. The Ford sculpture will be installed in 2018, 100 years after her birth.

 

President Gerald Ford died in 2006, and Betty Ford died in 2011. They lived in Rancho Mirage, California, for decades.

 

Their hometown was Grand Rapids.


7.24.14:  Man jailed in fatal stabbing of gas station clerk

 

 

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — Police say they’ve arrested a man in the fatal stabbing of a 27-year-old Battle Creek gas station employee.

 

Police answered a call about a robbery and shooting about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday and found the body of Nicole Gates of Battle Creek at a Citgo gas station.

 

Detective Sgt. Jim Martens says it appears that an acquaintance stabbed Gates to death before stealing money, beer, cigarettes and lottery tickets.

 

Police say they arrested 30-year-old Shawn Pike of Battle Creek about 10:30 a.m. on first-degree murder, robbery and other charges. Police also have arrested a 21-year-old man, whose name wasn’t immediately released.

 

The men are expected to be arraigned Thursday.


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.