4.24.15:  Bears sighted in Ottawa County



The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department says they have received reports of Black Bear sightings.

The sightings were reported around 2:30 Thursday afternoon in the area of 152nd and Riley in Park Township.


The DNR says it is not uncommon to see the bears in the spring as they look for food that is left out,  such as trash cans and bird feeders.

4.24.15:  Kalamazoo woman killed in early morning crash



A 52-year-old Kalamazoo woman was killed in a crash while fleeing  police in Portage.

The crash occurred early this morning around 3:30 near the railroad tracks and in front of the Portage Police Department.

The woman’s vehicle was being briefly pursued when she hit the curb and then the railroad tracks which caused her vehicle to roll several times.

Crews were called to repair part of the train tracks.

The woman’s name hasn’t been released yet.

4.24.15:  Planting trees for Arbor Day



Tree planting efforts have been planned across Michigan as we mark Arbor Day this weekend.


The Michigan International Speedway and Consumers energy are partnering to promote the planting of 50,000 trees throughout Michigan.

The trees that are being donated will be planted in public places so people can help care for them.


Calvin College was recently honored as 2014 Tree Campus USA  for its commitment to effective urban forest management.

Students have worked with the college to participate in an ongoing campus tree-care plan.

4.23.15:  St. Joseph Catholic Church to unveil new 1,576-pipe organ



ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — A new 1,576-pipe organ is set to be blessed during a concert this weekend at St. Joseph Catholic Church in St. Joseph.


The $230,000 organ was built by the Lauck Pipe Organ Co. in Otsego. It will be unveiled Sunday afternoon with guest organist Christopher Dekker performing. He is director of music at Trinity United Methodist Church of Grand Rapids.


The new organ was installed in stages and was completed in January. It replaces a smaller Kilgen organ, but about 450 pipes from the old organ were used for the new one.



4.23.15:  White Cloud teen sentenced in abandoning newborn case



WHITE CLOUD, Mich. (AP) — A 15-year-old girl who abandoned her baby after secretly giving birth has been sentenced to six months of probation in Newaygo County Family Court.


The teen was sentenced Wednesday, about a month after pleading no contest to fourth-degree child abuse. She initially was charged with second-degree child abuse and child abandonment following the July 28 birth.


Authorities say the girl gave birth near a fire pit outside her home and left the infant across the street in the grass. A resident in the girl’s White Cloud neighborhood found the newborn about five hours later.

Investigators found the teen, who admitted that the baby was hers.


The baby was placed in a temporary foster home, but the mother and father have said they want custody.



4.23.15:  Group started by drowning survivor wants safer Lake Michigan


MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (AP) — Drowning survivors and victims’ families are pushing for increased education on how to stay safe in Lake Michigan waters.

The Times of Munster reports a group called the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project led a water safety conference Tuesday in Michigan City, Indiana with educators, first responders and others. The group also teaches classes and works with families to promote water safety.


The group’s founder, Dave Benjamin, nearly drowned in December 2010 when he was surfing in Lake Michigan off the Portage coast. He battled waves and currents but managed to float on his back for 40 minutes before he was pushed to open water and made it to shore.

Benjamin says schools need curriculum for water safety similar to tornado and fire drills.


4.23.15:  Senate committee approves religious-objection adoption bills



LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Faith-based agencies could refuse to participate in adoptions by gays or by others that violate their religious beliefs under bills approved by a committee in the Republican-controlled Michigan Senate.

The bills approved Wednesday also would prevent governments from refusing to issue a license or provide funding for adoption agencies exercising objections.


The committee approved the three bills along party lines.

The GOP-led House passed the bills mostly along party lines in March.

Republican Governor Rick Snyder says he fears the religious-objection legislation could lead to lawsuits.


Sponsors say the legislation codifies existing practice. They say no one will be prevented from adopting because referrals would be made for prospective adoptive parents if an agency chooses not to aid them.

Opponents say the bills would wrongly legalize faith-based discrimination.

4.23.15:  Michigan House panel OKs $37.8 billion general budget bill



LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan House Appropriations Committee has passed a $37.8 billion general budget bill setting spending for state departments.

Minority Democrats expressed frustration at Wednesday’s vote.

Democratic committee member Representative Brandon Dillon of Grand Rapids says the bill “fails to properly account for enrollment in Healthy Michigan. He says its “short-sighted budget shifts” will increase future structural budget challenges.

Also Wednesday, the Republican-led Senate’s budget committee approved spending plans for schools, universities and community colleges.

The House Appropriations Committee could vote as early as Thursday on its version of that bill.

Legislative leaders seek to complete next fiscal year’s budget by early June. The budget could change drastically if voters approve a sales tax hike for road improvements on May 5th and once legislators get revised revenue projections in mid-May.

4.22.15:  45 anniversary of Earth Day


Today is Earth Day.

It was created 45 years ago to highlight the need for regulatory action to protect our natural resources.


There are several events planned around the state of Michigan to not only celebrate but also raise awareness.

The largest event is being held in Lansing where thousands of people are expected to attend  and celebrate at Constitution Hall.  The event will  feature dozens of interactive exhibits on topics that include recycling, conservation, and plants and animals.


Many businesses are offering special discounts and events that are tied to Earth Day.

4.22.15:  Attorney general to co-host vigil remembering crime victims


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Attorney General Bill Schuette will co-host a vigil at the state Capitol remembering victims of crime in Michigan.

He’ll be joined by legislators, law enforcement officers, victim advocate groups, and victim families at the Capitol rotunda at 6 p.m. Wednesday to remember victims and honor outstanding service providers.

Schuette says it’s a privilege to support families who’ve lost loved ones and “honor the selfless women and men dedicated to serving crime victims.”

Republican Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker of Livonia is vice chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary committee and will be the keynote speaker.

The 27th Annual Michigan Crime Victims Vigil is sponsored by The Crime Victim Foundation. It’s part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.