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Soldier with Muskegon ties killed

(The Salinas Californian/WZZM) - A U.S. soldier from Salinas, California with ties to West Michigan lost his life in defense of his country Saturday, two days before Memorial Day, according to the Defense Department.

Army Spc. Vilmar Galarza Hernandez, 21, died from wounds suffered in Zharay, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

A Defense Department spokesman said Hernandez and an undetermined number of other U.S. soldiers were patrolling during the attack. Information on whether other soldiers were killed or injured was not immediately available.

The spokesman said Hernandez was likely on foot when attacked. No other details were provided.

Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue said he learned of Hernandez's death while attending Sunday's Memorial Day service at the Monterey County Vietnam Veterans Park. The news spread quickly moments after the ceremony.

Muskegon's desire: to be known for art

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) - A lakeshore community want's to be known for its public art and next month community leaders will take another step towards that goal.

In 2003 the Muskegon Mall came down and a newly formed public art committee went to work.

The nine members helped design a downtown space for something special.

"To do something significant and dramatic that would become an icon for Muskegon," said Chris McGuigan, President & CEO of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.

Muskegon Together Rising was the result. It and other works have been paid for with private funds.

"It gives you goose-bumps," said McGuigan. "You go by and see Charles Hackley and you feel his presence."

Interaction with the art is encouraged.

Next is a work to honor former Muskegon resident Sherm Poppen. He created the Snurfer, which eventually evolved into the modern snowboard.

KDL Holiday Closing — Memorial Day

KDL Holiday Closing — Memorial Day

All Kent District Library branches will be closed on Monday, May 28, in observance of Memorial Day. We will resume normal operating hours on Tuesday, May 29.

All KDL branches will be closed on Sundays from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Sunday hours will resume on Sunday, September 9.

For additional 2012 holiday closing information, please view our holiday closings page.

We appreciate your patronage and wish you a Happy Memorial Day!

Weekend Wakeup: Oakridge Elementary

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- Sunday's morning greeting comes to us from the students at Oakridge Lower Elementary School.

Another complaint against Muskegon cemetery

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) - A second woman is speaking out against Sunrise Memorial Gardens after a story WZZM 13 News aired earlier this month.  Both women claim the Muskegon cemetery is selling a service, but not delivering on its promise. 

The story has gotten the attention of State Senator Rick Jones (R-Eaton Rapids), who has contacted Michigan's Cemetery Commissioner to look into the accusations.

Previous Coverage: Mom's grave still lacking grave marking

Almost a year after purchasing a granite marker for her parents' grave, Jamie Brewer says it became clear something was wrong.

"There are so many families that have no idea what takes place here," says Brewer.

Local students use green thumbs to beautify Lake Michigan beaches in preparation for summer

Local students use green thumbs to beautify Lake Michigan beaches in preparation for summer

Timberland Charter Academy’s 5th grade students recently did their part to care for the environment by cleaning up Lake Michigan’s beaches at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in preparation for summer.

Students visited P.J. Hoffmaster State Park and combed the beaches and fore dunes, gathering trash washed ashore during the winter months so visitors can enjoy nature at its best: our beautiful Lake Michigan and her litter-free beaches. The class enjoyed a picnic-style lunch and divided the remaining waste into parts to be recycled.

This green initiative taught the students the responsibility of caring for the environment while being good stewards within their community.

Police search for attempted counterfeiters

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WZZM)- Detectives in Norton Shores hope surveillance video will help them catch a pair of attempted counterfeiters.

On May 16, police say they tried to use fake $20 bills at the Mobil Mart on Henry Street. The clerk refused the counterfeit bills but police say the same two people have tried to use phony money at other businesses.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call Norton Shores Police, or Silent Observer, at (231) 722-7463.