5.26.16:  Michigan man faces murder charge in 2014 death



MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — A man charged with killing a jogger in western Michigan in 2014 has appeared in court to hear the accusations against him.

Jeffrey Willis appeared in court Wednesday without an attorney, which is typical at arraignments. The Muskegon County judge entered not guilty pleas on Willis’ behalf. He will get a court-appointed attorney.

The 46-year-old Willis was arrested last week and charged with kidnapping after a 16-year-old girl says he abducted her and she escaped from his van. Now he’s charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Rebekah Bletsch, who was killed while jogging about two years ago.

Police say they’ve connected a gun seized from Willis’ van to Bletsch’s death. Willis is also a suspect in the 2013 disappearance of a gas station clerk, Jessica Heeringa.


5.18.16:  Dedication of DNR boat planned for officer who died in 1908



MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — Western Michigan law enforcement officers will dedicate a patrol boat to a conservation officer who died in the line of duty in 1908.

The Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday evening will dedicate a SAFE, or Secure All-Around Flotation Equipped, boat to Julius Salomonson in Muskegon. He was a Game, Fish and Forestry deputy warden who drowned while trying to arrest people illegally netting fish.

He died on White Lake with his brother, Martin Salomonson, and Deputy Sheriff J.C. Hazeltine.

The police memorial service is planned in front of “The Protectors” statue at the Muskegon County Hall of Justice.

The scheduled guest speaker is Lin Emmert. She’s the mother of Grand Haven Public Safety Officer Scott Flahive, who was killed in 1994 by an escaped jail inmate.


5-9-16 Are Gas Prices Going Up This Summer?

Earlier this year, analysts projected that the price of a gallon of gas, nationally, would average $2.63 in May, up from $1.97 in January.  But we really haven’t seen those prices, with most around 30-40 cents lower than projected.

Will that translate into the rest of the summer?  Many analysts projected the yearly average would be around 2.28 a gallon, similar to where we are now.

But if the past is any indication, gasoline prices typically rise in the summer, simply because more people travel and refineries have switched to a more costly summer blend of fuel.

However, several other factors need to be taken into account.

Instability in several parts of the world will affect gasoline prices.  Inventories of oil will make an impact.  And never forget oil production is controlled by multiple countries with competing interests.

5-9-16 Rising Costs to Park at Local Beach

If you enjoy the Pere Marquette beach you could pay more to get there.  Muskegon City Commissioners will discuss the possibility of increasing beach parking rates as a way to pay for the rising cost of maintenance and operations.  Muskegon area residents could also see an increase in sewer rates with additional increases a possibility in the future.

5-9-16 Trail Improvements in West Michigan

Work is resuming on improvements to one of Michigan’s oldest rails-to-trails projects. The William Field Memorial Hart Montague Trail State Park winds for 22.6 miles through rural and wooded terrain. It also goes through the communities of Hart, Mears, Shelby, New Era, Rothbury and Montague. Improvements began last year and will be completed this summer. They include widening, resurfacing and improving bridge structures.

5-9-16 Trying to Identify Person Found in Sunken Boat

An investigation is now underway to determine the identity of a person found on a boat that sank Sunday in the Barrett Boat Works marina in Spring Lake.  Some reports suggest that boat is owned by a Grand Rapids firefighter who has not been found.  Residents reported hearing an explosion around five yesterday morning and when crews arrived they found the boat fully engulfed in flames.

5.2.16:  Michigan’s Adventure seeks to link to public sewage system



MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan amusement park that last month received a permit allowing it to increase how much sewage it treats and releases into groundwater is now seeking to hook into a public system.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports Michigan’s Adventure said in a news release Friday that it is working with Muskegon County, Fruitland Township and Dalton Township to finalize an agreement to connect to the Muskegon County wastewater system.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issued a permit on April 6 allowing Michigan’s Adventure to increase the amount of sewage it treats and releases into the groundwater by up to 10 times the current limit. A vocal group had opposed the permit because of concerns the wastewater discharge could harm the Duck Creek-Duck Lake watershed.


4.29.16:  Lake Express kicks off 13th Season 




The Lake Express Ferry is launching its 13th season of service Friday, April 29, providing modern high-speed ferry service from Milwaukee, Wisc. to Muskegon, MI.

The 4-engine powered, 148-ton, 248-passenger- carrying ferry takes only two and a half hours to cross the lake.  The ferry is able to transport cars, motorcycles, bicycles and pets.


The ferry will provide service with four daily trips through June 15 and six daily trips from June 15 through September 6th.  Service continues through October 24 with four daily trips.


For full offer details and additional savings opportunities on the Lake Express Ferry, visit



4-26-16 Family Marks Three Years Since Jessica Herringa Disappears

It’s been three years since Jessica Herringa disappeared from her job at a gas station in Norton Shores.  Jessica’s family continues to mark the sad anniversary.  The family posts regular updates on the “Find Jessica Herringa” Facebook page and it garners several tips a week.  Police report they follow up on each one but so far, none has been the breakthrough they had hoped for.

Jessica’s case was featured recently on a national broadcast and according to the Facebook page did result in a number of tips.  The program was described as “accurate” according to family members and identified several people who have not been ruled out as suspects.

The family is still hopeful but told MLive the loss is still palpable and there are no plans to stop looking,  but “you have to go on.”

4.15.16:  Ex-funeral director pleads guilty to 1 of 4 charges



MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan funeral director accused of empty-box burials has pleaded guilty to drunken driving.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports a judge Wednesday accepted Thomas Clock III’s plea and scheduled a May 23 sentencing.

His January arrest led to the discovery of a woman’s body in Clock’s parked funeral van. Authorities say Clock buried an empty urn and misled relatives into thinking it contained her remains.

He waved a hearing earlier this week and awaits trial.

He faces another fraud charge after a container meant to hold the cremated remains of a baby was found empty.

He’s been in jail or a hospital under guard since his arrest last month in a second drunken driving case.

Clock was owner-operator of the now-closed Clock Funeral Home of White Lake in Whitehall.