11.9.15:  Final coal delivery for power plant in western Michigan



MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — A power plant in western Michigan is getting its last load of coal after nearly 70 years.

As hundreds of people watched, the James R. Barker freighter arrived Sunday with 58,000 tons of coal for a Consumers Energy power plant on the shore of Muskegon Lake, near Lake Michigan.

The utility is pulling the plug at the B.C. Cobb plant next spring. It began producing electricity in 1948 and is named for a former Consumers president.

The plant burns mostly western coal from Wyoming and Montana, which has lower sulfur content than eastern coal.

Consumers vice president Timothy Sparks calls it a “bittersweet” day. He says the Muskegon port has a “promising future.”

On Saturday, more than 200 miles away, DTE Energy imploded an old coal-burning power plant in Marysville.


11.3.15:  Man sentenced in slaying of high school basketball player



MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — A man who pleaded no contest in the fatal drive-by shooting of a 17-year-old high school basketball player from western Michigan has been sentenced to prison.

22-year-old Shundarius Lawson of Muskegon was sentenced Monday to 21 to 46 years in prison. He made the plea last month to second-degree murder in the April 2014 death of Marquis Gresham.

Gresham, a junior at Muskegon Heights High School, was walking to a sports banquet when he was shot. Prosecutors called him an innocent bystander.

Gresham family friend Perry Bennor said relatives wanted “the highest possible punishment.” Prosecuting attorney Matt Roberts says he explained to the family the plea deal and judge’s 21-year minimum sentence cap.


11.2.15:   Final coal shipment expected at Muskegon energy plant



MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — The final coal shipment has been scheduled for the Consumers Energy B.C. Cobb plant in Muskegon.

The Muskegon Chronicle reported Sunday that the James R. Barker could arrive November 8th at the Port of Muskegon in western Michigan.

Utility spokesman Roger Morgenstern says in an email to the newspaper that the ship is to be loaded with 58,000 tons of coal Thursday in Superior, Wisconsin.

The energy plant is scheduled to end operations in April. Demolition for much of the facility could take place by the end of 2018. An electrical switch station would remain on site.

At least nine coal plants in the state are slated to shut down in the next 10 years due to emission restrictions.



10.29.15:  Norton Shores considers getting out of cemetery business



NORTON SHORES, Mich. (AP) — A community in western Michigan is trying to figure out what to do as it faces the prospect of running out of space in its cemetery.

Norton Shores’ Public Works Director Jerry Bartoszek said this week that Norton Cemetery could sell out of standard full-body grave sites in three to four years.


City officials are considering whether to get out of the cemetery business.

Bartoszek says the cemetery, which sells about 50 to 60 spaces annually, has about 200 standard sites and 300 cremation burial sites available for sale. Norton Shores could acquire land to expand the cemetery, but Bartoszek notes that would bring additional expenses.