8.27.15:  TV station mourns loss of employees



(AP) – The employees at WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia, are trying to go on, following yesterday’s on-air killing of a reporter and cameraman out in the field.

The station had an on-air moment of silence today for reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward.

They were gunned down by a disgruntled former employee who had been fired.


People are visiting memorials that have been set up outside the station.

The memorials are full of balloons, flowers, candles, and other tokens.


A grief counselor joined staff members at the station.

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:  2 vehicle crash involving teens in northern Kent County



Early Wednesday evening, the Kent County Sheriff’s Office responded to a two car injury accident on Myers Lake Road and 13 Mile Road in Courtland Township, Kent County.
A 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer driven by 17-year-old Matthew
Gorkowski of Sparta, was traveling westbound on Myers Lake Avenue and did not stop for the stop sign at 13 Mile Rd.
Gorkowski’s vehicle was struck in the passenger side by a south bound 2003 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck driven by 18-year-old Andrew Rotunno of Cedar Springs.
Neither driver was injured, however a 15-year-old female passenger in Gorkowski’s vehicle sustained life threatening injuries.
She was transported by Rockford Ambulance to Spectrum Downtown and then to Helen Devos Children’s hospital where she remains in critical condition.
All occupants were wearing their seatbelts and alcohol was not a factor. The accident remains under investigation.

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.



8.27.15:  Verlander takes no-hit bid into 9th, Tigers beat Angels 5-0



DETROIT (AP) — Justin Verlander lost a bid for his third no-hitter when Chris Iannetta lined a leadoff double in the ninth inning that landed barely fair on the left-field line, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-0 Wednesday night.

Trying to become the sixth major leaguer to throw three no-hitters, Verlander settled instead for a one-hit shutout.

He was an inch away from so much more.

Iannetta’s shot kicked up chalk and rolled into the left-field corner. Verlander attempted to will it foul with body English, then arched his back in disappointment after the ball hit right on the line.

Verlander hasn’t won since July 29, but entered with a 2.00 ERA over his past four starts.

Verlander’s most recent no-hitter came at Toronto on May 7, 2011. He also pitched one against Milwaukee on June 12, 2007.



8.26.15:  Former employee fires shots during live interview



— A TV reporter and a cameraman at a Virginia TV station were shot and killed in the middle of a live on-air report this morning.

The general manager of WDBJ-TV in Roanoke identifies them as reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward.

The shooting happened at a shopping mall in Moneta, about 25 miles southeast of Roanoke.


The gunman used social media to document the incident.

Officials have named Vester Flanagan as the suspect.   Police say they apprehended Flanagan hours later as he sped away from troopers on the highway, crashing his car.  Police say they found him with a life-threatening gunshot wound and he later died at the hospital.

The gunman is believed to be a “disgruntled” employee of the TV station.  He sent a lengthy fax to a national news organization before the shooting.


The third victim in the shooting is Vicki Gardner.   She is the executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce and was being interviewed live by Alison Parker when the gunman killed Parker and the cameraman.  Gardner was taken to the hospital and is listed in stable condition.






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.


8.26.15:  EMU gets federal aid to help students who are veterans



YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — Eastern Michigan University is receiving nearly $2 million from the federal government to help students who are veterans or the first generation in their family to attend college.

EMU says the goal is to help students succeed through tutoring, mentoring and other services over five years. The university says the grants were awarded after a rigorous application process.

Officials hope to serve 80 veterans as well as 140 freshmen from low-income families.