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.”

10.15.14:  Man arrested after 2 women slain at nearby homes


MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say they arrested a 61-year-old man following the slayings of two women who lived about three blocks apart in western Michigan.


Muskegon Heights police said Tuesday the man was a “person of interest.” The Muskegon Chronicle reports he was charged in 1989 with the stabbing deaths of his estranged wife and her mother, but the case was dropped.


The Muskegon County Jail website indicates he’s being held Wednesday. He’s not formally charged in the new slayings.


Police identify the women found dead Tuesday morning as 63-year-old Anna Lawson and 62-year-old Judy Bushman. Police started separate investigations of the killings but authorities are looking for possible connections.


Police say it appears Lawson was stabbed and they were seeking a vehicle missing from her home. They haven’t indicated how Bushman died.

10.8.14:  Fire official: Elk attacks man in western Michigan


EGELSTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say an elk has attacked a man at a western Michigan campground.


A fire official confirmed Tuesday that the elk injured the 59-year-old man at the Wolf Lake Resort & Campground in Egelston Township. The official says the man required hospital treatment Monday but his condition was unknown Tuesday.


Authorities say the man was inside a home and the animal was back in its pen at a nearby elk and deer farm when fire department officials arrived. It’s unclear how the elk attacked the man.


A woman at the campground office denied the incident happened when contacted by the Muskegon Chronicle.


10.1.14:  Muskegon County, Detroit, get lead abatement aid


MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — The federal government has awarded $4.74 million to Muskegon County and Detroit authorities to protect children from lead poisoning at home.


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the grants Tuesday. It says 39 state and local agencies are getting $112 million under several programs designed to reduce the risk of lead exposure to children and families.


The department says that Muskegon County is getting $1.1 million under a program that focuses on the danger of lead-based paint exposure at home. It says Detroit is getting $3.64 million under the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant Program.


 9.30.14:  15-year-old hit by car


Police say a 15-year-old from Muskegon suffered critical injuries Monday night after being struck by a vehicle along a Crockery Township roadside.


Cameron Smallegan had been walking with a group of friends along State Road when the group was approached by a westbound Plymouth neon.  The car was driven by a 50-year-old woman from Muskegon.


Cameron was taken to the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in critical condition.

9.22.14:  Grant money to help Muskegon non-profit


MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials have awarded $2.1 million in grants to a western Michigan nonprofit organization that provides services for seniors and disabled residents.


Pioneer Resources director Greg Scott says the Muskegon-based group used the state Department of Transportation grants to buy 15 buses and retire a fleet of 10. He says the new buses provide more space for clients who use wheelchairs.


The nonprofit offers specialized housing, job training and recreational programs and provides transportation to clients. Scott says the group serves about 1,350 people each day during the school year.


He says Pioneer Resources expects the department to give another $300,000 to install GPS technology in the new buses.