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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.

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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.

First Zeeland brewery set to open in former dry city


ZEELAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- The first-ever brewery in Zeeland marks the changing times in what was a dry city for decades. This week, Tripel Root will become the newest business to sell alcohol after city law changed in 2006.

Building a business takes time and so does changing public opinion.

"We'll be like the other business that have liquor licenses downtown. We'll be responsible with it," says Laura Gentry, who co-owns Tripel Root with her husband.

On Thursday, Tripel Root will open as the first brew pub in Zeeland's history. Alcohol sales were banned in the city for decades until voters changed the law in 2006.

"We've really had positive feedback. We haven't really had anyone who's been concerned," says Gentry.

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My Town: Waterfowl killer spreads in Great Lakes basin

My Town: Waterfowl killer spreads in Great Lakes basin

MUSKEGON, Mich.—A destructive invader has made its way to the Great Lakes basin.

In a three-year study, researchers from ten universities, including the Grand Valley State University’s Annis Water Resources Institute, recently found invasive faucet snails in many new locations throughout the Great Lakes basin.  The snails carry parasites that are deadly to native waterfowl, including ducks and coots.

The findings suggest faucet snails have spread to more areas along the Great Lakes coastline than experts realized. The snail is only about a half-inch in height, making them easy to transport and spread and difficult to kill.   When waterfowl eat the infected snails, the trematodes the snails carry attack the ducks’ internal organs, causing lesions and hemorrhaging.  Infected birds appear lethargic and have problems diving and flying before dying.

Rep. Huizenga talks budget deal, issues


HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) - U.S. Congressman Bill Huizenga (R) had a full plate of issues to address in Holland this morning, including the recently passed budget.

It was part of a "Breakfast with Bill" event, sponsored by the West Coast Chamber of Commerce.

Huizenga says both Democrats and Republicans wanted to avoid another government shut down. He voted in favor of the $1.1 trillion spending package, but says there's still more that needs to be done.
Those issues include the Keystone Pipeline and President Obama's executive order on immigration reform.


Feel the Zeel of Giving held in Zeeland


ZEELAND, Mich (WZZM) -- People could "Feel the Zeel of Giving" Friday evening in downtown Zeeland.

The event was a chance for local businesses to stand out from malls and chain stores during the holiday season.

Participants could pet live reindeer, snap a photo with Santa, and take a horse-drawn trolley ride. A few lucky kids even got to ride the trolley with Santa.

Santa asked one little girl if she's been good for her mom and dad.

"Yeah," she replied. "Even when you don't give me presents, I have a really special present: my family."

Proceeds from Feel the Zeel of Giving are going to His Harvest Stand, a Zeeland-based ministry and food pantry which assists low-income and hurting families.