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'Singing Christmas tree' ready for performances

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- It's a tradition more than three decades old.

Volunteers began making preparations for the Mona Shores' singing Christmas tree on Sunday. Now, it's nearly ready.

And after 31 years, this year the scaffolding that holds 220 choir members is completely new. The choir has been planning and saving to buy the new structure for the past three years.

The tree is 67 feet tall, and it's lit with more than 25,000 lights, which are now LEDs that produce less heat and make it safer for students, especially those near the top of the tree.

Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. There is also a Saturday matinee at 3 p.m.

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Drivers, public works dept. thrilled with low gas prices

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- West Michigan has some of the lowest gas prices, not only in the state but nationally. As of Tuesday, it cost about a $1.77 a gallon on average. That's about three cents less than on Monday. When you consider the averages over the last couple of years, drivers are saving more than a dollar a gallon compared to last year. Compared to 2013, we're saving about $2 a gallon.

WZZM 13's Jon Mills met some drivers in Muskegon County who said it's about time Michigan has the lowest average price in the nation.

At a Muskegon Marathon station where the price dropped to $1.65, drivers said they're excited about the extra savings it means at this time of the year. Elsewhere around the city, some stations were selling regular for $1.61 a gallon.

"You can go gas up now for, like, a $20 bill," said Chris West of Muskegon. "It is great; it gives you some extra money for the holiday."

Tow truck driver awarded medal for bravery

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- Muskegon County tow truck driver Jeremy Dykstra says it was an honor to be nominated, and he never expected he would receive a medal for bravery.

"Just to have them recognize me and think highly enough of me to put in a nomination was an honor," he explains. "I didn't expect to get the award."

American Tow Man magazine awarded Dykstra the medal during a ceremony in Baltimore.

It was for his actions during a 40 vehicle pile-up on U.S. 31 Jan. 7, 2015.

Dykstra had just pulled a car out of the median near Russel Road when he was surrounded by a 40 vehicle chain reaction pile-up.

Ignoring the danger, he towed a car out from under a semi and then helped clear a path for emergency vehicles.

Man sentenced for killing estranged wife, mother-in-law

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- More than 20 years after the murders of two Muskegon County women, a judge on Monday handed down punishment for the man who killed them.

Earlier this year, 62-year-old Leon Means pleaded no contest to two counts of second-degree murder, for the 1989 deaths of Cynthia Herrera and her mother Linda, both from Muskegon Heights. Means is already serving a life sentence for two other murders he committed last year.

In 1989, Means jumped from a prison transport van. He was on the run from prison guards and police for days. During that time, on June 15 that year Means used a knife to kill his estranged wife Cynthia Herrera and her mother Linda.

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Muskegon man to spend life in prison after killing grandfather

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- The Muskegon man convicted for killing his own grandfather with a hatchet will spend life in prison.

A judge sentenced 26-year-old Trent Humphreys-McPherson today. In October,a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder.

Prosecutors say he broke into his grandfather's Muskegon township home and brutally killed 71-year-old Dennis McPherson.

They said the grandson was after money or belongings he could sell to buy drugs.


Man, 51, killed on way to work in US 31 crash

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- One person was killed in a crash on Muskegon's north side.

The crash happened around 8:35 a.m. Sunday on southbound U.S. 31 in the River Flats area, according to a Muskegon Township Police news release.

Police say Paul Allen Klein, a 51-year-old Dalton Township resident, was traveling south on U.S. 31 in the far right lane when his truck drifted left across all three lanes and hit a guardrail. The truck overturned twice before coming to a rest on its tires.

Klein was the only person in the truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Family told police he was on his way to work in Holland and had just left home. Traffic conditions at the time were light, police said.

Muskegon Museum of Art hosts teddy bear breakfast

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- Children flocked to the Muskegon Museum of Art with their teddy bears in hand Saturday for the annual "Teddy Bear Breakfast," part of the Festival of Trees fundraiser for the museum.

The event included multiple activities, including breakfast with the bears, a visit with Santa, crafts, teddy bear adoptions and checkups from volunteer nurses from the Muskegon Community College program.

Muskegon Museum of Art Executive Director Judy Hayner says the event sells out every year. The breakfast contributes to the Festival of Trees, which is the museum's biggest fundraiser.

The "Teddy Bear Breakfast" was held November 28th from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.