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Dogs sniffing for human waste in local waterways


COOPERSVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) -- A pair of specially-trained dogs are following a hot trail to find contaminated waterways in Ottawa County.

WZZM 13 followed the canines sniffing out human waste in local streams. It's probably not a job many people would want, but in a dog's world, it comes with the territory.

"It gets a little nasty out there sometimes; the dogs enjoy it- they think it's a game," says Scott Reynolds, co-owner of Environmental Canine Services.

The dogs, Sable and Logan, are specially trained to sniff out human feces.

"We're trying to locate sources of E. coli," says Reynolds.

Monday, the dogs focused on water samples from Deer Creek in Coopersville. Logan first indicated there were levels of contamination; Sable's response was not as clear.

My Town Coopersville: Another break-in attempt reported as city adds security fence

My Town Coopersville: Another break-in attempt reported as city adds security fence

COOPERSVILLE, Mich.— Work is underway to improve security at the Department of Public Works garage, just as the city handles yet another break-in attempt at the site.

City Manager Steven Patrick says earlier this month, someone tried to break the door knob at the garage but failed.  The city’s recreation building did experience a break-in, but Patrick believes the suspect was just looking for a place to spend the night, as nothing of value was taken.

The city is adding a gate and fence around the DPW site to prevent thieves from driving off with city property.  That project is expected to be finished within the next couple weeks, if the weather cooperates.  However, the security measures only prevent vehicles from entering, not thieves who walk onto the property.  Patrick expects the city will need to further upgrade security at the site in the future.

Family offers reward in fatal hit & run


MARNE, Mich. (WZZM) -- The family of a man killed in a hit and run is offering a reward for the arrest of the person responsible.

Travis Ryke, 24, died last month when he was hit by a car while walking on Arthur road in Ottawa County. The incident happened late at night, as Ryke was returning home from a bar in Coopersville.

RELATED: Hit and run victim's family: Anger comes after grief

Police do not yet have any suspects in the case.

Ryke's family is offering $1,000 for a tip that leads to an arrest.


Inside the August Primary: The close calls and votes cast

Inside the August Primary: The close calls and votes cast

LANSING, Mich.-- Fewer voters cast their ballots Tuesday than when Governor Rick Snyder was elected.

That's according to Fred Woodhams, spokesman for the Secretary of State's Office.  Woodhams says 1.3 million Michiganders visited the polls during the primary, accounting for approximately 20.3 percent of active voters. Active voters are defined by the Secretary of State as people who have voted within the last six years. Woodhams says approximately 17.9 percent of registered Michigan voters cast a ballot Tuesday, but that number may be skewed because people who have moved out of the state may still be registered to vote in Michigan.

My Town: Voters to decide key issues during Aug. 5 election

My Town: Voters to decide key issues during Aug. 5 election

Voters across West Michigan are expected to head to the polls Tuesday, Aug. 5 to decide some key issues and races.

Proposal 1 would alter Michigan’s tax infrastructure by eliminating equipment taxes for businesses that already pay taxes every year.  A portion of sales tax revenue that goes to the state treasury would be reallocated to local governments to cover the tax revenue loss.  Plainfield Township Superintendent Cameron Van Wyngarden says the ballot measure would make Michigan more economically competitive with other states.

Tractor, pickup collide in Coopersville


POLKTON TWP., Mich. (WZZM) -- Emergency crews extricated a pickup driver after the truck hit a tractor Tuesday afternoon. It happened on 56th Ave. between Taft and Roosevelt.

The tractor was pulling a trailer for hauling manure. The trailer was empty, and the tractor driver was going back for another load, turning left from 56th Ave. onto a farm's driveway.

The pickup tried passing the tractor on the left and collided with the tractor, knocking it and its wagon three feet.

The pickup went onto its left side. The pickup driver was unconscious and had to be cut out, according to the driver of the tractor. The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office says the pickup driver is 36-year-old William Goodale of Wyoming. He was hospitalized in serious condition.

The tractor driver was uninjured.


Hit and run victim's family: Anger comes after grief


MARNE, Mich. (WZZM) -- Autopsy results confirm that 24-year-old Travis Ryke died from blunt force trauma, after being hit by a vehicle in Marne late Friday night.

Members of his family tell WZZM 13 they're now feeling a sense of emptiness.

"I loved Travis; he loved me," says Debbie Ryke, Travis' stepmother.

Ryke was only a few hundred yards from home when he was hit and killed by a vehicle. His stepmother was one of the first to get the call.

"My first thought was, 'How am I going to wake up my husband and tell him that his son is gone,'" says Ryke. "I got on my knees and I said, 'Honey, Travis got hit by a car and he didn't make it.'"

It happened just before midnight on Friday. Investigators say the driver of the vehicle took off.