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Funeral for former Coopersville coach held Saturday

SPRING LAKE, Mich. (WZZM) - The community of Coopersville said goodbye to a long time coach and teacher Saturday. The funeral was held at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Spring Lake with around 1,000 people there to remember to Jim Meerman.

Meerman graduated from Coopersville High School in 1977, before spending 30 years coaching at the school. He was the varsity football coach for 25 years. Meerman was inducted into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame last year.

His teams went 177-77, with 8 conference titles, they also finished State runners-up three times, in 1991, 2000, and 2006. He retired from coaching in 2010.

Meerman died at the age of 55 on Monday after a long battle kidney cancer.

With many people questioning the teenager's sentence, WZZM 13 took the concerns to the Ottawa County Court Administrator.

COOPERSVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) -- WZZM 13 taking a closer look at how Coopersville boy was punished, after he pleaded guilty to being an accomplice to swatting. The 14-year-old was ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution and now has a felony on his record.

The punishment provoked some strong reaction on the WZZM 13 Facebook page. Most people commenting agreed with Melissa, who says "The boy admitted his sin and called police. He should be punished but a $10,000 fine and felony charges? Just ridiculous."

However a few people, like Chris, point out that "This isn't a 'mistake' that anyone should take lightly. This could have had serious ramifications."

With many people questioning the teenager's sentence, WZZM 13 took the concerns to the Ottawa County Court Administrator.

Family of boy convicted in school swatting: it 'ruined our life'

COOPERSVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) – Bomb threats and other swatting incidents are on the rise in West Michigan, with nearly a dozen in recent months at area school districts. As the troublesome trend continues, frustrated police, school leaders, and parents are looking for ways to stop them.

WZZM 13 spoke with the mother of a 14-year-old boy who was convicted as an accomplice in an incident in Coopersville last fall. We are not naming the student because he is a juvenile, even though he has been identified elsewhere and is known in the community. Also for that reason, we are not naming his mother, either.

That doesn't change what she had to say about how the incident has affected her family and how easily she says her son got snarled into a very serious crime.

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.