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Lakeshore residents play in the snow

Lakeshore residents play in the snow

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM)- The new year arrived with something we haven't seen much of in recent weeks -- snow and winter conditions. 

In Muskegon, visibility along Lake Michigan was just a few hundred feet for drivers.  Around the corner at Beachwood Park, children and adults were making the most of the last day of the holiday break from school.  The park had only about two inches of snow, but that was just enough to spend the morning snowboarding and sledding.

Muskegon resident Bob Gagnon said, "They have been disappointed because we have not had the snow.  Now that it is here they are loving it."

Muskegon resident Alkawan Ervin said, "We've been waiting for snow all this year.  It was good to see it.  And it might melt and we could not risk it melting on us so we had to get out here early."

For many, the first snow storm of 2012 was the first time getting out a snow shovel or snow blower for the winter.

Degage expands hours to combat cold weather

Degage expands hours to combat cold weather

To meet the needs of our city’s homeless population, Dégagé Ministries has expanded their hours. Identifying a gap in the community, local social service and municipal agencies have struggled to know where to direct our city’s homeless population during the afternoon hours so they can “warm up” and get off the street. Dégagé was grateful to answer the call and recently expanded its Dining Room services by 5 ½ hours each afternoon. It is now open seven days a week from 7:00 am-8:00 pm. Men and women staying in local missions must leave their facilities by 7:00 am and often have no place to go during these hours.  

Degage expands hours to combat cold weather

Degage expands hours to combat cold weather

To meet the needs of our city’s homeless population, Dégagé Ministries has expanded their hours. Identifying a gap in the community, local social service and municipal agencies have struggled to know where to direct our city’s homeless population during the afternoon hours so they can “warm up” and get off the street. Dégagé was grateful to answer the call and recently expanded its Dining Room services by 5 ½ hours each afternoon. It is now open seven days a week from 7:00 am-8:00 pm. Men and women staying in local missions must leave their facilities by 7:00 am and often have no place to go during these hours.  

Soldier comes home to Muskegon County

EGELSTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- A West Michigan serviceman who survived an attack in Afghanistan is back home.

Army Corporal Johnathon McDonald, 23, was injured by an explosive while serving his third tour of duty.

After months of recovery he's back home in Muskegon County.

He was welcomed with a gathering at his mother's restaurant, where customers thanked McDonald for his service.

"He did not expect this much," says mother Patty McDonald. "Who would have expected this? I did not expect all of this."

"I see lots of friends and family and it makes me feel better knowing that I have people that support me," says CPL McDonald.

About 100 friends and supporters attended the gathering, including members of two area Veterans of Foreign Wars posts.

McDonald will spend a few weeks with his family before returning to therapy at an army facility.

Injured soldier on way to home to Muskegon

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) - A Muskegon County mother is counting down the hours as she waits for her injured son to return from Afghanistan.

One of Patty McDonald's sons was injured by an explosive while serving his third tour of duty in the Middle East. The injury left 23-year old Army Corporal Jonathan McDonald with a closed head injury and some paralysis.

After months recovering in a hospital in Afghanistan, tonight he's on his way home to Muskegon and thanks to a customer at his mom's restaurant, he'll arrive to a big welcome.

The public can join the welcome home event by lining the sidewalks on Apple Avenue near Patty's Cafe just before noon on Friday. Jonathan McDonald will arrive around noon escorted to his mother's restaurant by police, fire trucks, and members of VFW posts.

Humane Society makes changes after cat death

PHOENIX (Arizona Central) -- The Arizona Humane Society on Wednesday changed its policy of not accepting credit cards over the phone and apologized for "failing" a Muskegon man whose cat was euthanized.

Agency officials also announced that they are establishing an emergency assistance fund for pet owners who are unable to immediately pay vet bills.

The policy changes come amid a public outcry over the Humane Society's decision to euthanize a cat when its owner could not afford to pay an estimated $400 clinic bill at the moment he brought it in for treatment.

"The agency is immediately taking steps to ensure that the Daniel Dockery situation never repeats itself," Humane Society spokeswoman Stacy Pearson said. "We truly and sincerely apologize to Daniel Dockery."

New music festival coming to Muskegon

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) - A Summer Festival Task Force, created after Summer Celebration folded, is planning a ten day music event at Heritage Landing in Muskegon next summer. The event does not yet have a name or a board of directors. Decisions on both are expected in January.

Tim Lipan chairs the Summer Festival Task Force created under leadership from The Community Foundation for Muskegon County. Lipan confirmed on Thursday that the event will start on June 29 and run until July 8th. It will include Art In The Park, which has been held in Hackley Park for decades.

The Community Foundation for Muskegon County took ownership of Summer Celebration's equipment in November. That equipment will be used by the newly announced festival. The equipment includes fence, trailer and electrical equipment.