Wednesday State News Summary
Wed, 08 May 2013 12:51:51 EDT
(Muskegon Co-Heeringa Investigation-UPDATE)
There's a new development in the search for a missing West Michigan woman.
Norton Shores Police Chief Dan Shaw says authorities have determined that blood
found outside the gas station where Jessica Heeringa (HAIR-ing-UH) was allegedly
abducted is Heeringa's. DNA samples had already been taken from Heeringas
parents and Heeringa's toothbrush and hairbrush.
Shaw will not say exactly where on the premises the small amount of Heeringa's
blood was found. The 25-year old went missing on April 26 during her closing
shift at the Exxon Mobil gas station in Norton Shores.
Police believe Heeringa was abducted because all of her personal belongings were
found in the store and no money was missing from the cash register. They
continue to search for silver or gray minivan seen in the area of the gas
station around the time she disappeared.
A suspect or suspects have not yet been identified.
The task force reports that it continues to receive tips and members are
conducting follow up investigations as quickly as possible.
(Help from: Greg Ghering, WOOD, Grand Rapids/Walt Zerlaut, WGHN, Grand Haven)
Rescue crews have recovered the body of a firefighter who was killed while
fighting a fire at a Westland shopping center.
Hes been identified as 29 year-old Brian Woehlke who was on the force for only
Several fire departments were assisting after the blaze broke out this
(Wednesday) morning at the Electric Stick, a billiards hall and charity poker
The fire completely destroyed the Electric Stick and Marvaso's (mar-VAY-sohs)
Italian Grill next door.
A thrift store, an internet cafe and a dollar store were also heavily damaged.
Other stores sustained some smoke damage.
No one else was hurt. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
(Help from: WWJ, Detroit)
A new report concludes Michigan has much work to do to give infants the Right
Start in life with little progress made in improving maternal and infant health
from 2005 to 2011.
The report, released today (Wednesday) by the Michigan League for Public Policys
Kids Count in Michigan project ranks the states 54 Great Start Collaboratives on
eight maternal and infant health measures. Livingston County is number 1, or
best, while Genesee and Wayne Counties tied for last.
Statewide, the largest increase in risk was in more births to unmarried women,
rising from 36 percent of all births to 42 percent, an 18 percent jump.
Jane Zehnder-Merrell, Kids Count in Michigan Project director, says children
born to single mothers are much more likely to face economic hardships and
insecurity while policies that grow opportunities for low-income workers will
The most positive change was a 9 percent improvement in repeat teen births, to
teen moms who already had a child, showing that public policy can make a
Michigans teen birth rate has been halved since 1990 as the result of a
sustained public health and education campaign.According to the report, using
federal dollars for health care for low-income uninsured women in Michigan;
decreasing the pay equity gap to help female-headed households; and increasing
job training opportunities for high school graduates to build skills necessary
to earn family-sustaining wages could drive improvements in Michigan.
The group hoping to overturn the state's wolf hunting law at the ballot box in
November 2014 is asking the Natural Resources Commission to delay making any
decisions on that hunt until after the vote.
Legislation on its way to Governor Rick Snyder's desk allows the NRC to
designate game species and retain the ability to establish a wolf hunting
Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, says Michigan's 7.4
million registered voters would be discounted if the NRC doesn't respect the
will of the people. She adds that legislative chicanery must not allow
democratic principles to be circumvented and place Michigan's fragile wolf
population at risk.
The NRC's Policy Committee on Wildlife and Fisheries is expected to discuss the
issue this (Wednesday) afternoon, with possible action on a wildlife order at
the commission's regular meeting on Thursday.
(Grand Traverse Co-Body Found)
Authorities in northwest lower Michigan are working to identify a body found on
The Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Office says two horseback riders made the
discovery while riding in a field in East Bay Township. Due to circumstances
surrounding the condition of the body the identity, age, and gender is not
Deputies say the person is white, 6 feet tall with a medium build, and was
wearing black shoes, dark pants, and a dark sweatshirt. The body was also found
with a black backpack.
The remains were taken to Grand Rapids for an autopsy.
Anyone with information on who the victim might be is asked to call the Grand
Traverse County Sheriff's Office.
(Saginaw Co-School Financial Crisis-UPDATE)
Administrators in the Buena Vista school district in Saginaw County cancelled
classes again today (Wednesday) and say it's unclear when classes will resume.
The school board laid off all teachers Monday night after the state suspended
aid payments for the rest of the school year to recoup money for a juvenile
detention education program the district no longer operates.
Superintendent Deborah Hunter-Harvill says she's in constant contact with the
Saginaw Intermediate School District and state education officials, and hopes to
bring more infomaion to a board session to be held Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at
Buena Vista High School.
(Walled Lake-Bus Driver Sickout)
School is canceled today (Wednesday) for students in Walled Lake following a
mass sickout by bus drivers.
One-fourth of the districts nearly 100 bus drivers unexpectedly took the day off
in an apparent protest over the recent decision to outsource busing.
Walled Lake Consolidated School District spokeswoman Judy Evola said despite the
closure, some students are still required to go to school because of ongoing
advanced placement testing.
The closings affect roughly 15,600 students.
Evola said administrators will be working on an alternate transportation plan,
should there be another bus driver sickout before the end of the year.
Superintendent Kenneth Gutman said the district hired a private company to
provide busing services after they failed to reach an agreement with the Walled
Lake Transportation Association. Dean Transportation is set to take over bus
duties for the district beginning in the fall.
Officials say the move will be good for the schools bus drivers, by offering
jobs at a competitive rate. The district has until June 30 to submit a balanced
budget, which Gutman said they plan to cut by $10 million.
(MI-Award Ceremony Cancelled)
A planned ceremony by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration
at the Marathon Refinery in Detroit was cancelled today (Wednesday).
The facility was to receive the CET Platinum Award but was cancelled as Marathon
continues to investigate an explosion and fire that occurred on April 27th.
It's not clear if the award has been withdrawn or postponed until the
investigation is complete.
State Representative Rashida Tlaib (TUH-leeb) whose district covers the area
says Marathon should not receive any awards since the company has been cited in
the past for pollution violations.
(24/7 News Source)
(Bay Co-USS Edson Permanent Home)
The U.S.S. Edson is now at its final home at the Independence Park Boat Launch
in Bay County's Bangor Township.
The Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum acquired the ship from the U.S. Navy and
took possession last August. The Edson has been at the Wirt Stone Dock in
Essexville since then, as the mooring system was being completed. Also, a tug
boat had to be available to move the ship and the winter season made it more
Museum president Mike Kegley says the ship will now be open daily for tours from
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
More information about the Edson is available at www.ussedson.org.
(Isabella Co-Stolen Tabernacle)
State Police are investigating the theft of a holy Tabernacle from a Catholic
church in Isabella County.
The theft happened sometime between Wednesday and Friday of last week at the St.
Charles Church in Leaton.
A Tabernacle is one of the most sacred items in a Catholic church. It holds the
wafers used for communion.
Detectives believe at least two people were involved in the theft since the gold
case is so heavy. It's valued at 12-thousand dollars. Troopers say there were no
signs of a break in.
Anyone with information on the theft is asked to contact State Police at the
Mount Pleasant post.
The consolidation of Democratic support behind former U.S. Representative Mark
Schauer as the unannounced but likely Democratic nominee for governor continues
with State Board of Education President John Austin announcing his backing for
Austin, who had considered running himself, says the time is right for Schauer
adding that he knows what matters for Michigan and for its people to succeed.
Austin says Schauer is positioned to run strong, unify Democrats, and win over
independents who elected Governor Snyder in 2010.
The other Democrats weighing a bid are state Representative Vicki Barnett of
Farmington Hills and former Upper Peninsula congressman Bart Stupak of
Menominee. But both are expected to stand aside for Schauer.
(Detroit-Hazardous Materials Spill)
Four people were rushed to the hospital from the scene of a chemical spill at
the CSX rail yard in Detroit this morning (Wednesday).
A hazardous materials crew was called to the yard on the city's southwest side.
The chemicals that spilled are insecticides that officials say can damage the
human nervous system even at low exposure levels.
No evacuations were ordered due to the spill and those affected by the chemicals
were treated at the scene.
It's not known if those exposed were employees of CSX and the company has not
commented on the spill.
(WWJ, Detroit/24/7 News Source)
(Oceana Co-Worker Dies After Fall)
A worker fell 30 feet to his death in West Michigan this morning (Wednesday).
The Oceana County Sheriffs Office says the man apparently fell through a
skylight at Rothbury Steel onto the floor and castings in the facility. He was
with several other workers on the roof of the foundry at the time.
The man's name has not yet been released.
The incident remains under investigation.
Michigan State University police led a dramatic duck rescue this morning on the
East Lansing campus.
Around 8 a.m., a mother duck attempted to lead her 10 ducklings across West Shaw
Lane near Red Cedar Road. While the mother duck and one duckling crossed
successfully, 9 ducklings fell into a storm sewer.
MSU police managed traffic and along with other MSU employees helped remove the
ducklings from the drain.
Using a duck bucket, a plastic bucket with holes drilled into it, the rescue
team lowered it into the storm drain. With a little prodding - some whistling
and possibly some quacking - the rescuers lifted all of the ducklings to safety.
The duck family was last seen happily waddling away steering clear of all storm