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My Town: 10 ways to protect yourself while shopping

My Town: 10 ways to protect yourself while shopping

KENTWOOD, Mich.—As the busiest shopping day of the year approaches, police are offering 10 ways to protect yourself and your vehicle from thieves.

 

Help Eliminate Auto Thefts (H.E.A.T.) works with Michigan law enforcement agencies to track down suspected car thieves and those suspected of auto theft-related insurance fraud.    Shoppers are encouraged to follow these tips:

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Fire victims get Christmas surprise from law enforcement


ZEELAND, Mich. (WZZM)—A Zeeland family that lost many of its belongings in a house fire last year is in for a big surprise, just in time for Christmas.

Several lakeshore police and fire departments banded together to provide the family with everything it needs for the holidays, even a Christmas tree. Friday evening, officers and firefighters visited the family to deliver their gifts, which included clothing, household items and food.

Two teens arrested for Ottawa County pick axe attack


HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM)—Two teenagers are facing felony charges for attacking a Holland Township homeowner with baseball bats and pick axes.

The assault happened around 2:35 a.m. on Dec. 17 in the 400 block of Howard Avenue. Capt. Mark Bennett with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office says the teenagers entered the home, attacked the homeowner and then fled the scene. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital with injuries. He is now recovering at home.

Investigators caught up with the suspects Thursday evening at a Holland Township apartment, where they were arrested without incident. Both suspects-- 19-year-old Codi James Antoniello from Holland City and a 16-year-old teenager from Holland Township-- are charged with first degree home invasion and felonious assault. Antoniello is in the Ottawa County jail and the other teenager was taken to an Ottawa County youth home.

My Town: Schools awarded funding to take students to art hot spots

My Town: Schools awarded funding to take students to art hot spots

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Thousands of students interested in Michigan’s cultural hot spots will now have a set of wheels to get there.

Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs this week announced the recipients of its latest round of grants for its Arts & Culture Trek grant program.  The organization is awarding $60,000 to 161 schools across the state, to pay for field trip transportation.  Each grant is worth up to $500 and must be used between Jan. 5, 2015 and March 29, 2015.

"A record-breaking number of Michigan K-12 teachers applied for an Arts & Culture Trek Grant this year, and the vast majority of recipients were awarded the full amount they requested," said Marianne Dorais, Executive Director of Michigan Youth Arts. "From Detroit to Kalamazoo to Flint to Marquette, this program will serve thousands of students from 42 counties across the state."

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Woman killed in Ottawa Co. crash


HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- A Holland woman has died after a crash Thursday afternoon.

The two-vehicle crash on E. 24th St., east of Waverly Rd., happened around 1:50pm. Holland police say a 28-year-old Holland man was driving west in the westbound lane on 24th St. and was slowing down to make a left turn into a private drive.

Authorities say another westbound driver, Dolores Slikkers of Holland, was passing in the eastbound lane as the first driver started to turn. Slikkers's vehicle was sideswiped, went off the left side of the road, and crashed into a tree.

Firefighters extricated Slikkers, and she was taken to Holland Hospital, where she died. Investigators say there are some signs that Slikkers had a medical emergency which might have been a factor in the crash, but they will not know for sure if that's the case until receiving autopsy results. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor.

Falling gas prices increase demand for SUVs, trucks


HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- Falling gas prices are changing the way some people shop for a new car. WZZM 13 went to a local dealership where sellers say sport utility vehicles and trucks are back in high demand.

Outside Barber Ford on 8th Street near US-31, there's hardly enough snow fall to notice, but the falling gas prices have the sales staff paying attention.

"They give an added bonus to come in and take a look at a new truck," sales representative Matt Bol said of the dropping prices at area pumps.

Bol says winter is usually the busiest time of year for selling trucks and SUVs.

"Because of not having as much snow as we typically get this time of year, the bigger SUV and the truck kind of fell off. Now with the lower gas prices, you see more demand," says Bol.

My Town: West Michigan home to three of most dangerous Mich. places

My Town: West Michigan home to three of most dangerous Mich. places

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich.—West Michigan is home to three of the 10 most dangerous places in the state, according to Movoto Real Estate.

The company based its rankings on cities with populations of 10,000 or more that also ranked high in murder, violent crimes, property crimes and total crimes, based on the 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Report.  Flint topped the list, followed by Benton Harbor, Detroit, Highland Park, Muskegon Heights, Harper Woods, Inkster, Flint Township, Ypsilanti and Kalamazoo. Grand Rapids came in at No. 16, Holland ranked 26th,  Walker took 32nd place, Grandville ranked 41st, Norton Shores landed at No. 42, Kalamazoo Township was 45th and Grand Haven came in at No. 50 among the 102 qualified communities.  To see the entire list, visit Movoto’s website here.