1.27.15:  Judge postpones party death sentencing over Instagram post


MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — A judge has postponed the sentencing of a man for a fatal shooting at a party after discovering new evidence on social media that the attack may have been premeditated.

Muskegon County Circuit Judge Timothy G. Hicks scheduled a hearing Monday to sentence 23-year-old Alexander Bumstead, who pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter in the December 2013 killing of 21-year-old Gary L. Ogreen.

But The Muskegon Chronicle says Hicks delayed the sentencing, saying he received pre-sentencing letters showing that Bumstead posted a photo of himself before the killing with text that says he’s “probably going to jail.”

The judge says that the Instagram material “really grabs at you.”

Bumstead has identified Deontay Black-Wickliffe as the shooter. Black-Wickliffe is serving 30 years after pleading no contest to second-degree murder.

1.26.15:  2 stabbed at Muskegon Heights’ Brooks Correctional Facility


MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Department of Corrections says two inmates were stabbed on the same day in what appear to be unrelated attacks.

The Muskegon Chronicle says both attacks happened Saturday afternoon at Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility in western Michigan.

Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz says the first stabbing happened during a fight and says the second stabbing happened while guards were breaking up that fight.

Gautz says a hospital treated both inmates and says the injuries aren’t life-threatening.

State police are investigating the stabbings. There was no immediate word on suspects.

The 1,200-bed prison is in Muskegon Heights.

1.15.15:  Muskegon motorcycle fest to expand to include former track


MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — A popular Muskegon motorcycle festival will expand this year.

The Muskegon Bike Time will add 90 acres of activities at a track, formerly known as Great Lakes Downs, to the current downtown location. The event is scheduled for July 16-19.

Bike Time Board Chairman Clyde Whitehouse says the expansion responds to visitor requests and the festival’s long-term sustainability needs. More than 120,000 people and 75,000 motorcycles were at the 2014 event.

The new property is owned by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. It will feature new attractions such as motocross races, motorcycle stunt shows, and more vendors and food. Concerts featuring national acts will also be held.

The festival will have a budget of more than $500,000.

1.5.15:  Homicides in Muskegon County rose to 20-year high in 2014


MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — The number of homicides in Muskegon County rose to a 20-year high in 2014, prompting efforts by law enforcement agencies and community members to boost efforts to stop more killings.

The tally shows 12 murders or non-negligent manslaughters in the year, not counting one shooting of an intruder by a homeowner that hasn’t resulted in criminal charges and may soon be ruled justifiable.

Muskegon and Muskegon Heights saw the most in the county. The total is up from nine homicides in 2013, excluding one justifiable homicide as well as three violent deaths classified as accidental or negligent. In 2012, Muskegon County had four non-justifiable homicides.

Still, the newspaper reports that the 2014 homicide rate for Muskegon County is only slightly higher than the statewide average.


12.24.14:  Muskegon teen to be tried in death of her newborn


MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — A 17-year-old girl has agreed to stand trial on a murder charge after her newborn daughter was found partially buried outside an apartment complex in western Michigan.

Jessica Brewster waived her right to a probable cause hearing Tuesday in Muskegon County District Court. She now faces trial in Muskegon County Circuit Court on an open murder charge.

An open murder charge means a jury can choose between first- and second-degree murder verdicts.

Police say Brewster admits smothering the baby because she feared her mother’s reaction to the pregnancy.

Brewster was a straight-A student at Muskegon High School with no criminal record. The baby was born in a bathroom on Oct. 15.

A janitor at an apartment complex where Brewster’s grandmother lives found the body Nov. 10.

12.19.14:  ‘Safe Baby Haven’ signs seek to raise awareness


MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — “Safe Baby Haven” signs at the Muskegon police and fire departments are part of an effort to make sure people know unwanted newborns can be safely turned over to authorities.

Muskegon Public Safety Director Jeffrey Lewis says police and firefighters will meet a new mother anywhere to safely take into their care a baby within 72 hours of birth. A 911 call is needed to arrange a meeting spot.

Michigan law allows people to leave an infant at a fire station, police department or hospital and the infant must be handed over to an emergency or medical worker.

The awareness effort follows the arrest in November of a Muskegon teen for allegedly killing and attempting to bury her newborn daughter. Lewis says he believes the girl may have gone to a city fire station if she had known she could surrender the baby anonymously.

Each of Muskegon’s three fire stations now has yellow and black signs indicating a “Safe Baby Haven” for unwanted newborns. The police station also is getting a sign. The signs, which are in English and Spanish, include the words “only when staff is present.”

Mothers who leave a baby with emergency and health workers do have the ability to reclaim the child if they change their mind.


12.16.14:  World War II landing ship getting new paint job


MUSEKGON, Mich. (AP) — A World War II landing ship that’s now a museum in western Michigan is getting a new paint job.

The USS LST 393 Veterans Museum in Muskegon is seeking donations and volunteers to help paint the ship.

The museum in Muskegon has launched a campaign to return the ship to its original “D-Day Gray” color scheme. It’s currently painted in “Pacific Jungle Camouflage” and hasn’t been repainted in more than seven years. The museum says it looks like it needs a fresh coat.

The fundraising goal is $30,000.

Museum manager Ron Morzfeld says it’s a “huge undertaking” to paint the 330-foot-long, 50-foot-wide ship. Potential volunteers are urged to contact the museum, which is open for tours from May through September. Donations are tax-deductible.

The landing ship tank was launched in 1942 and museum officials say more than 9,000 military members made their way into battle in Europe aboard LST 393. Decommissioned in 1946, the ship was used to carry automobiles across Lake Michigan.


11.11.14:   Body of newborn found outside; teen held


MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — Police say a 17-year-old girl has been arrested after the body of a newborn was found on the ground in Muskegon.

Police say the child appeared to have been exposed to the elements for a period of time. Muskegon Public Safety Director Jeffrey Lewis tells The Muskegon Chronicle that the teen was arrested Monday night and investigators believe the newborn was her child.

Lewis says the teen “readily admitted” her connection to the death. He says it’s believed that the teen acted alone.

Muskegon County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Maat says his office is expected to review the case Wednesday and the girl will be jailed until then.

The body was found outside around 3 p.m. Monday following a call to authorities. Officers sealed off the area as they investigated.

An industrial accident in Muskegon County claimed the life of one man working at a plant in Coopersville.  A driver, Ronald Hart was pulling away from the dock at Continental Dairy on Saturday. 54-year old Michael Yell, who was standing on the passenger side of the semi-cab, was helping direct Hart out when Yell was run over.  Ottawa County Sheriff’s pronounced Yell dead at the scene.  The investigation is ongoing.

10.17.14:  Muskegon County opens juvenile transition center


MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — Muskegon County has opened a $6 million juvenile transition center for housing and treating young offenders.


Judges, law enforcement officials and youth workers attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour of the building Thursday. The 32-bed facility was constructed along with the nearby adult jail, which is not yet finished.


Juvenile residents are scheduled to move into the building Tuesday. It has four classrooms, two exercise areas, a computer lab and a medical and dental wing.


The center’s youth services director Vernon Oard says the building represents “hope for the future” and isn’t “a place of punishment.”