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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

231-739-3501

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.

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New acts for Coast West, ticket deal tomorrow

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) - More acts have been announced for the Coast West Music Festival and there is a special offer tomorrow for tickets.

The festival runs from July 1 - 6 at Heritage Landing in Muskegon.  Previously announced acts include Josh Turner, LeAnn Rimes, O.A.R, Chicago, Foghat, Cheap Trick, and Here Come The Mummies.

Friday, festival organizers announced that Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers will appear on the main stage on July 6.  Country star Easton Corbin has been added to the lineup for July 1.

Muskegon woman accused of trying to hire hit man

Muskegon, Mich. (WZZM) - Investigators say a Muskegon woman wanted her husband dead so she could collect on his insurance policy.

"She is charged with solicitation to commit murder," says Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson.

Julia Merfeld, 21, was in court Thursday. She is accused of trying to hire a hit man to murder her 27 year old husband.

"I think it's kind of crazy," said Oradawn Villarreal, one of the defendant's neighbors on W. Forest Avenue. "She's only 21 and got 2 little kids."

Police say they found out Merfeld was looking for someone to kill her husband.

They organized a sting and put her in touch with a "hit man" who was really an undercover officer.

"I'm convinced, had the tip not come into our office and this had gone forward, we would be investigating a homicide," says Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler.

After they say she tried to hire the police decoy to kill her husband, Merfeld was arrested.

Muskegon woman accused of hiring hitman

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) - A Muskegon woman is in custody, accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill her husband.

Julia Merfeld, 21, was arraigned Thursday on charges of Solicitation of Murder.  If convicted, Merfeld could face life in prison.

Investigators say the person Merfeld believed was a hitman, was actually an undercover officer.

The case began with a tip. "Had the tip not been received into our office," said Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler, "and this had gone forward as the defendant intended it, there would be a homicide we would be investigating."

Investigators say they believe the motive was money from an insurance policy.

Merfeld is being held on $500,000 bond.