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Would-be hitman turns in friend, shares his story

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- A lakeshore man is speaking with WZZM 13 after he says a mother tried to hire him to kill her husband. But the plan fell apart after Carlos Ramos went to police and they set up a sting to arrest her.

Julia Merfeld, 21, was charged Thursday with trying to hire a hit man to murder her 27-year-old husband. Investigators say they believe Merfeld would have gone through with the scheme, if not for the courage of Ramos.

"I did what I thought I had to do because I thought that it was serious," he told WZZM 13.

Ramos says while he and Merfeld were working one night at a Muskegon area restaurant when she asked him to kill her husband.

"She first came to me in February. She was laughing and joking and I thought she was kidding. So I did not pay any mind to it," Ramos said.

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April rains bring flooded basements

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- The Pothoff home has been through a lot this year; high winds knocked down a fence, and heavy rains this week flooded their basement. It's a scene playing out in neighborhoods across West Michigan.

Trudging down the stairs to her basement, Bobbi Pothoff notes the water has receded. A day or two ago it was up to the first step on the stairs.

"It was the worst it's ever been since we've been here," Pothoff said Friday.

They've lived in the home for seven years. They have their weekend plans set: Fill up the dumpster now sitting in their driveway with wet items now sitting in their basement.

Three to five inches of rain have fallen across the area this week, and all of West Michigan is under a flood watch.

There is some good news from all the rain. Experts say Lake Michigan's water level, which is at a historic low, has risen two inches this week.

38 students awarded 2013 MEA Scholarship

EAST LANSING, Mich. (MEA) -- The Michigan Education Association today announced the recipients of the 2013 MEA Scholarships, honoring exemplary public school students from across the state who will be attending a Michigan public university next fall.

Among the 1,116 applications submitted for scholarship awards this year, the MEA Scholarship Fund Trustees chose 20 new award recipients who will each receive $1,500. In addition, 18 repeat winners who are already enrolled in college will receive $750 each.

Since 1997, the MEA Scholarship Fund has awarded 410 scholarships totaling $440,790 to graduates of Michigan public high schools.

The general criteria for awarding the scholarships include academic achievement, extra-curricular activities as well as school and community service. All other criteria being equal, children of MEA members and students from lower income households are given first consideration.

Muskegon Hts. church damaged by fire

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WZZM) - A church is Muskegon Heights was significantly damaged by fire and smoke Friday morning.

Firefighters were called to the Queen Esther Baptist Church on Superior Street just before 7:00am.  Smoke was coming from the roof of the church's Fellowship Hall and flames were seen in the basement.

Church leaders will be determining later today whether or not services will be able to be held this weekend.

The cause of the fire is not known at this time.

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Coast West Music Festival selling all-event passes and merchandise

Coast West Music Festival selling all-event passes and merchandise

MUSKEGON, Mich.—Passes and merchandise to Muskegon’s newest summer festival go on sale April 13.

Organizers of Coast West Music Festival plan to release a limited number of six day, all-event passes from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Frauenthal Box Office, located at 427 West Western. The passes will cost $109; the same deal is available online April 13, from 10 a.m. through midnight.  After that time, the all-event pass price will increase.

Single night tickets to the Coast West Music Festival are already available at the Frauenthal Box Office, through ShowClix at coastwest.showclix.com, or by phone at 1-888-718-4253.

Coast West Music Festival will take place at Heritage Landing July 1 through July 6.

How to Hire a Real Estate Agent

Contact info:

Dave Spyke

Professional Real Estate Land Development

880 W. Broadway

Muskegon, MI 49441


Man will attend daughter's funeral thanks to good samaritans

UPDATE: Friday 11:00 p.m. (WZZM) -- Thanks to the generosity of two WZZM 13 viewers, Tony Bailey will be able to attend his daughter's funeral on Friday.

One has offered to drive Tony to the Detroit Airport Friday morning. He will then fly to Oklahoma thanks to a viewer who offered to buy him a ticket  to get him there. 

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- A Muskegon man will miss his daughter's funeral, he says due to Greyhound's mishandling of his bus ticket to Oklahama.

Tony Baily says the ticket miscommunication is one thing. He's more disappointed in Greyhound's response.

He says he was told "There's nothing we can do," over and over again.

"She's in our heart, but I need to be there, I want to be there and I can't," Bailey said, speaking to his daughter by phone in the Grand Rapids Greyhound station Thursday afternoon.

His daughter is in Norman, Oklahoma, preparing to bury her 30-year-old sister, Velinda.