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My Town: Spaghetti helps Sled Wings skate through Midwest

MARNE, Mich. (WZZM)—The spaghetti was flowing at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Marne Saturday night, as the Grand Rapids Sled Wings raised money to pay for team equipment and travel costs.

The Sled Wings consist of a junior and adult team with physical disabilities.  The teams are sponsored by Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.

This was the ninth year for the dinner benefit. The players say they’re happy to help out.

“They’re excited to be able to participate in things that fund raise for their team, so that they have equipment so that they can travel out of state to different tournaments,” explained Alicia Hass, coordinator for the Sled Wings.

“It helps our travel greatly.  We travel out of state to Columbus, Toledo, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Detroit, Fort Wayne, so it helps our travel immensely,” added team coach Steve Kozlowski Jr.

My Town: Mail-in cancer tests, produce programs get state funding

My Town: Mail-in cancer tests, produce programs get state funding

LANSING, Mich. – Making fruits and vegetables more readily available, cancer screenings by mail, health coaches and exercise programs are just several of the local initiatives getting funding from the Michigan Department of Community Health.

The MDCH recently announced 44 projects are getting approximately $1.34 million, including a dozen projects in West Michigan.  The grants include:

Winter storm warning issued for near-blizzard conditions

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Road conditions continue to be poor as a Winter Storm Warning stays in effect through Friday afternoon.

A winter storm warning is in effect for Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Allegan, Barry, Van Buren, Newaygo, Oceana, Mason and Lake counties. A winter weather advisory is in effect for the remainder of West Michigan until 4 p.m. Friday.

Heavy snow started Thursday afternoon; the 13 On Target Weather team is predicting 6-12 inches of snow by Friday afternoon for the counties under the winter storm warning.

Forecast & radar: www.wzzm13.com/weather

Closings & delays: www.wzzm13.com/closings

Winter's return causes many crashes

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- The holidays over; it's back to school, back to work, and back to winter.

With the slick, icy roads, chances are you were stuck in traffic at times Monday.

Across the region, crashes closed lanes of highways, leading to long back ups. Some drivers just spun out, like a young woman who was headed west on I-196 in northeast Grand Rapids before the noon hour. A crash near Wayland temporarily closed northbound US-131 in that area, and I-96 was affected by crashes around Coopersville and Nunica.

Police and the plows will be busy this week. People would be wise to give them both plenty of room and slow down.

One problem for road crews is that they can't use salt when temperatures become too cold.

My Town: What 2015 will hold for West Michigan's economy

My Town: What 2015 will hold for West Michigan's economy

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--- Consumers in West Michigan are more optimistic about what 2015 will bring.

In fact, consumers in this market are the most optimistic in the region, according to a new study released by Huntington Bank.  The financial firm found local residents say they are much more likely to buy a new vehicle this year; 17 percent said they plan to purchase a new car, compared to just four percent in 2014.

Home improvement stores may also be busy; 47-percent of West Michiganders surveyed for the Huntington Bank Midwest Economic Index said they were planning some home renovations for 2015, compared to 32 percent in 2014.

My Town: Thirteen local lawmakers post perfect voting record for 2014

My Town: Thirteen local lawmakers post perfect voting record for 2014

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Mark Jansen tops the list of West Michigan lawmakers who missed the most votes this year, according to the Missed Votes Report compiled by Jack McHugh, editor of MichiganVotes.org.

Jansen missed 46 votes between January and December of this year. The District 28 Republican represents a large portion of Kent County, including Ada, Algoma, Alpine, Cannon, Courtland, Grand Rapids and Plainfield townships, as well as East Grand Rapids, Rockford, Walker and Wyoming.

State Rep. Jon Bumstead, who represents Newaygo, Lake and Oceana counties, had the most missed votes among West Michigan lawmakers in the House, with 21 this year.  

Three senators and three representatives missed 50 or more votes this year.  The top offenders were Rep. John Olumba of Detroit, with 233 missed votes, and Sen. Bert Johnson of Detroit, with 187 missed votes.

My Town: New legislation to save parents time and money

My Town: New legislation to save parents time and money

WYOMING, Mich.—New legislation is now in place to save families time and money when it comes to paternity cases and child support payments.

Governor Snyder recently signed a set of 13 bills that streamlines the state system.  Legislation sponsors included Tom Hooker, who represents Wyoming; Roger Victory, who represents Coopersville, Georgetown Township and Polkton Township; Rick Outman, who represents Greenville; and Marcia Hovey-Wright, who represents Whitehall Township, Muskegon and Muskegon Heights.  The reforms include:

Establishing that a positive genetic test is a conclusive method of determining paternity, if certain conditions are met and without requiring a court determination (House Bill 5463, sponsored by Denby and HB 5464 sponsored by Hooker);