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Vandalism means historic blockhouse may move or close


MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- Spray paint and flames from an arsonist -- those are the two biggest problems at a historic site in Muskegon County.

It sits on the county's highest elevation, just around a sharp curve on Scenic Drive.

The original blockhouse lookout at Muskegon State Park was a Civilian Conservation Corps project built in 1934 and destroyed by fire in 1962. The current structure is a replica.

Muskegon State Park supervisor Greg Sherburn says the isolated structure was covered in graffiti. "More often than not, we were able to use a pressure washer to get most of it off."

Graffiti has appeared on sidewalks, too, and park staff have spent many hours removing most of it.

Driver, 14, charged in fatal Ravenna crash


RAVENNA, Mich. (WZZM) -- A 14-year-old driver will be charged in a crash that caused the death of his 10-year-old friend.

The Muskegon County prosecutor decided Tuesday to charge the 14-year-old boy in the fatal crash from Dec. 3, 2015, near Ravenna.

The teen will be charged with three counts. Count one is reckless driving causing death. Count two is operating a motor vehicle without a drivers license causing death. And count three is unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

The 14-year-old will be charged in juvenile court. An arraignment has not been scheduled yet.

Culinary students create 'Snoopy's Christmas' in chocolate


MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- Students at the Culinary Institute of Michigan have again gone over the top in creating some extraordinary confectionery creations.

The works are the final exams for the 21 students taking the wedding cake and chocolate classes. The students spent weeks learning how to manipulate chocolate and sugar. Then, they had three days to complete their final project: creations fitting the theme "Snoopy's Christmas."

The display is located in the lobby of Baker College of Muskegon's downtown campus on West Clay Avenue.

The program's director, Chef Luis Amado, says students will use the skills taught in the class after they leave school. "Regardless of where our graduates end up, more than likely they will be requested to do some type of art; that is why it's called culinary arts!"

Muskegon winter parking ban goes into effect


MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- There's just one day remaining before Muskegon's winter parking ban goes into effect.

City officials remind residents that parking is not allowed on any street between the hours of 2-6 a.m. starting Tuesday, Dec. 15 through Feb. 29, according to a news release. A red "warning" tag will be placed on offending vehicles into the holiday season.

Vehicles can be legally parked on the terrace -- the area between the street and sidewalk -- however.

During significant winter weather events, a snow emergency can be declared by the city. Residents have six hours to move all vehicles and/or trailers from city streets to be cleared of snow and ice.


Man loses appeal in 2013 jail assault


MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- A man who attacked two Muskegon County jail deputies during an escape attempt will not get a reduced sentence.

Terry Raap was sentenced to 23 years for the attacks in 2013.

A Muskegon County judge determined that Raap didn't attempt to kill one of the guards during the August 2013 escape attempt.

Raap then asked for a shorter sentence, but the Michigan Supreme Court this week said Raap isn't entitled to shorter sentence, siding with a similar decision in July from the Court of Appeals.


Orchard View schools warn of suspicious person


MUSKEGON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- A warning for parents with children in the Orchard View School District: the Superintendent sent home a letter Thursday about a suspicious person in a white van possibly trying to lure children.

The warning is also posted on the district website.

The incident reportedly happened near Orchard View Elementary. District leaders say it's similar to other reports at Mona Shores and Holton schools.

The district is reminding parents to talk to their children about what's happening and educate them about appropriate and inappropriate conversations with strangers.


Former restaurant owner to prison for disability fraud


NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WZZM) -- The former owner of a popular restaurant will be spending the next 15 months in federal prison for Social Security fraud.

Pablo Razo Fierro, the owner of Pablo's Tacos in Norton Shores, was sentenced Wednesday for fraudulently collecting disability benefits for more than six years.

He opened Pablo's Tacos in 2004, but he didn't tell the government so he could collect disability payments for a back injury he got in 1992.

Prosecutors say he lied about not having worked in years.

A 2008 newspaper article with photos of Fierro working at Pablo's Tacos launched the fraud investigation.

Fierro is also ordered to pay the government more than $232,000 in restitution.