8.28.15:  40,000 expected for Labor Day walk across Mackinac Bridge



ST. IGNACE, Mich. (AP) — More than 40,000 people are expected to take part in this year’s Labor Day walk across the Mackinac Bridge.


Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will kick off the 5-mile walk between the state’s two peninsulas at 7 a.m. Sept. 7. Walkers can start their trek after Snyder and up until 11 a.m.


The Michigan Department of Transportation is asking people participating to share photos and video on social media, with one person chosen at random to get a tour atop the Mackinac Bridge.




8.28.15:  Pilot dies in small plane crash at Michigan airport



BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say the pilot of a small plane has died after a crash at a southwestern Michigan airport.

The plane crashed Thursday evening at Battle Creek’s W.K. Kellogg Airport, killing its lone occupant.

Broadcasters report the pilot was practicing takeoffs and landings.

Authorities haven’t released the identity of the pilot or additional details of the accident.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating. The airport was closed late Thursday and early Friday.



8.28.15:   Vintage WWI cannon swiped from outside Michigan VFW post



BENTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Veterans of Foreign Wars official in southwestern Michigan fears a stolen WWI cannon may be sold for its metal.

The Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph reports Thursday that the vintage military hardware was hauled away earlier this week from outside the VFW Post 1137 in Benton Township, southwest of Grand Rapids.

The building has been closed since October.

Post adjutant quartermaster Robert Williams told the newspaper the cannon may be headed to a scrap yard and adds: “Who’s going to put it in their yard?”

The 12- to 14-foot-long cannon has a heavy metal barrel, wooden wheel spokes and sat on a concrete slab. It had been displayed at the post since 1976.

Police says recycling and scrap yards will be notified to look out for the cannon.


8.28.15:  Man surrenders to police in crash that killed bicyclist



MONTAGUE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 26-year-old western Michigan man faces charges in a hit-and-run crash that killed a 50-year-old Detroit-area bicyclist.

Ronnie Jo Claflin of Muskegon Township surrendered Thursday to police. He had been sought for failing to stop at the scene of an accident causing death.


Susan Cummings, a nurse from Lake Orion, was part of a group of people bicycling across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula to raise money for the Hope Water Project. She was struck August 8th by a truck while riding from Montague Township to Bay City.


Prosecutors have said the truck driver failed to stop although he “knew or had reason to know he’d been at fault in that accident.”



8.28.15:  Police task force investigating reported freeway shootings



BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — A police task force is investigating reports of shots fired at vehicles along two freeways in western Michigan.

The first reported daylight shooting occurred August 19th when a car’s side view mirror was struck on Interstate 94 near Marshall.

Other motorists have contacted authorities about similar incidents on mostly rural parts of I-94 and I-69 stretching back to July.

A slug was found in a SUV after a side window was shattered.

Detectives say they also are seeking help from authorities who dealt with a series of freeway shootings in the Detroit area. Two-dozen vehicles were struck by gunfire on and around I-96 northwest of Detroit in 2012. Raulie Casteel was convicted and is serving up to 40 years in prison.


8.27.15:  Ford Airport records busiest month in airport history 



Grand Rapids, Mich. –  July 2015 was the single busiest month in Gerald R. Ford International Airport history.


July passenger numbers were up 9.4% year-over-year; resulting in the busiest July ever, and breaking an all-time monthly record from March 2015.  It goes down as the busiest July on record, surpassing July 2011 by nearly 6%.


“Month after month our numbers are increasing, and we could not be more thrilled by the support from our area passengers,” said GFIA Executive Director Brian Ryks.


“As a result of this growth, our airline partners are taking interest by investing in more seats through the introduction of larger aircraft and additional nonstop routes to and from Grand Rapids, which is good for our entire region.”


GFIA is on pace to break its annual passenger total, already 9.6% ahead of passenger totals from 2015.

8.27.15:    Judge rules against putting Grand Haven cross back up 



GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit over the city of Grand Haven’s decision to remove a 48-foot cross from city-owned land on Dewey Hill sand dune.

The judge determined Tuesday that the city has the right to do what it wants with its own property. He disagreed with the argument that the cross should continue to be displayed as a matter of free speech.

The lawsuit was filed earlier this year by a group of residents who claimed removing the 50-year-old cross was unconstitutional. An attorney representing the residents tells the Grand Haven Tribune that they’ll appeal.

A similar lawsuit was thrown out in June after the judge ruled that another group of residents, whose names were kept anonymous, didn’t meet the criteria for an “unincorporated voluntary association.”


8.27.15:  Name of man who jumped from freighter is released



LUDINGTON, Mich. (AP) — Authorities have released the name of a 41-year-old Ohio man who jumped from a freighter in Lake Michigan in northern Michigan.

The Mason County sheriff’s office identified him as Jerald Rinaldi of Cleveland. He’s been missing since jumping from the Stewart J. Cort early Sunday.

Authorities say Rinaldi was in trouble with his bosses on the ship because of alcohol use. The search in Lake Michigan has been suspended, but volunteers have been walking the beach.


8.27.15:  Shots reported along major highways in southwestern Michigan



TEKONSHA, Mich. (AP) — Authorities in southwestern Michigan are investigating reports of shots being fired at cars on Interstate 94 and Interstate 69.

The Calhoun County sheriff’s office says the damage is being blamed on “projectiles.” But a closer look at some vehicles confirms that damage is related to gunshots.

The incidents occurred between July 29th and August 21st in Calhoun and Branch counties. No injuries have been reported.

Officers from many agencies are working on the case. Anyone with information can call (269) 781-9700.



8.26.15:  Scholarship honors Grand Valley alumnus killed in wildfire



ALLENDALE, Mich. (AP) — A scholarship has been created at Grand Valley State University in memory of an alumnus who died battling a wildfire in Washington state.

The university says the scholarship was formed in honor of 31-year-old Richard Wheeler, who was one of three firefighters who died last week when flames consumed their crashed vehicle. Wheeler is from South Haven and graduated from Grand Valley in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in natural resources management.

The scholarship will be open to students who are dependents of fallen first responders, including firefighters, paramedics and police officers.

Grand Valley says a memorial service for Wheeler is being planned.