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Massive road salt pile a reminder of mild winter

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM) -- In 2014, the massive road salt pile staged at the Verplank Dock in downtown Muskegon was completely diminished.  This year, the 200,000-pound pile is not going anywhere fast. It's just another sign of the unusually mild winter.

It's perfect conditions for the Muskegon County Road Commission to get a jump on spring projects like removing trees and trimming back limbs. That's what work crews were doing Thursday along Dangl and Sternberg roads in Fruitport Township.

Road commission supervisor Eric Scott says the mild weather is also a time to do vehicle and equipment maintenance.  

So far this winter the road commission has used less than 2,000 tons of road salt, Scott said. "We are less than half of what we used last year at this point."

Survey helps Muskegon County find Internet 'dead zones'

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM) -- Economic leaders in Muskegon County hope results from a survey leads to greater Internet access in their county, including economic growth.

County residents have until the end of January to let the county know what options they have for Internet access to their home or business and if those options satisfy their needs. The survey is available on line.

Paper copies are available at the Muskegon County Economic Development Coordinator's office inside the county building on Terrace Street.

There are some area in the county known for poor or no Internet options.

"It is definitely a need," Blue Lake Township Supervisor Melonie Arbogast said.

Woman makes frigid swim to celebrate 60th birthday

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- Just a little less than 30 seconds.

That's how long a Muskegon woman's swim in Lake Michigan lasted on Tuesday.

Chrissy Rudat had the Pere Marquette beach to herself to celebrate her birthday.

"Oh my God, I did not think it was so wavy," she said.

She turned 60, and celebrated the same way she did when she turned 50 and 55.

Her husband Steve and some close friends were there to support her.

"If she had a birthday in June, it would be better," said Janice Dutkiewicz.

"I would not do it," said Pat Dutkiewicz.

"I say don't do it, and I tried to talk her out of it today," Steve Rudat said.

From toes in, to toes out, the splash lasted 23 frigid seconds.

"It was really cold but I love, love, love Lake Michigan," Chrissy said.

Grandparents proud of police officer wounded during traffic stop

RAVENNA, Mich. (WZZM) -- His grandparents in Ravenna say they are still worried, but relieved to know Winston Salem police officer Nicholas Powell will recover after he was shot and wounded during a traffic stop.

"Very thankful," says Grandmother Jean Powell.

Investigators in North Carolina say Officer Powell, 27, was dragged and shot at least 4 times while trying to prevent a man suspected of marijuana possession from speeding away from a traffic stop.

His family in Michigan were notified within a few hours.

"It's a call you don't want to get," says Grandfather Paul Powell. "It's terrible. Like a big punch in the stomach."

"There isn't much you can say," recalls Grandmother Jean Powell. "I'm thinking I'm dreaming."

Powell grew up in Ravenna, graduated from Grand Valley State University and joined the Winston Salem police force 5 years ago.

Betrayal, $1.9M credit union theft brings prison

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) – The former manager of a Norton Shores credit union who embezzled more than $1.9 million, using the money on vehicles and cruises, had an "immense toll'' on her victims, the sentencing judge said Monday.

"It was a very serious offense with apparently not much respect for the law,'' U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell said. "What I get here are cruises, pickup trucks, boats – all kinds of things that are not necessary.''

Kathryn Sue Simmerman, who joined Shoreline Federal Credit Union in 1986, made a tearful apology for what she conceded was a betrayal of her co-workers and the 4,100 member Muskegon County credit union.

B.C. Cobb plant to offer tours

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- Consumers Energy will offer limited guided tours of the coal-fired B.C. Cobb plant in Muskegon.

The free tours will happen next Saturday, January 9.

Trolleys will take visitors from the former Masonic Temple building in Muskegon to the plant.

B.C. Cobb has generated electricity since 1948 and will close on April 15.

Demolition for most of the facility could take place by the end of 2018.

Passenger killed when driver passes stop sign

NUNICA, Mich. (WZZM) -- One person is dead after a driver failed to stop at an intersection, police say.

The victim, only identified as a Baldwin woman in her 20s, was a passenger in a vehicle traveling eastbound on Sternberg Road at Maple Island Road, according to Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler. The driver did not stop at the junction, resulting in a collision with a northbound vehicle.

The crash happened just after 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Police said the at-fault driver was taken to an area hospital in serious condition.

The driver of the non-fault vehicle was not injured, but a male passenger was transported to an area hospital with non-critical injures.