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My Town: What 2015 will hold for West Michigan's economy

My Town: What 2015 will hold for West Michigan's economy

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--- Consumers in West Michigan are more optimistic about what 2015 will bring.

In fact, consumers in this market are the most optimistic in the region, according to a new study released by Huntington Bank.  The financial firm found local residents say they are much more likely to buy a new vehicle this year; 17 percent said they plan to purchase a new car, compared to just four percent in 2014.

Home improvement stores may also be busy; 47-percent of West Michiganders surveyed for the Huntington Bank Midwest Economic Index said they were planning some home renovations for 2015, compared to 32 percent in 2014.

Duck Lake home destroyed by fire

HOLTON, Mich. (WZZM) -- A house near Duck Lake is destroyed after it caught fire Monday morning.

Flames were spotted around 10 a.m. on Brickyard Road, just east of Twin Lake.

Authorities are investigating the cause, but they believe the blaze may have been caused by a chimney fire. The homeowner was not there at the time and no one was hurt.

Several agencies responded to the fire, including Muskegon Township and Holton Township fire departments.

One dead, three hurt in crash near Twin Lake

BLUE LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- A Muskegon County woman was killed and three other people were hurt when the driver of an SUV lost control and struck a tree.

The accident happened around 11 p.m. Sunday on Russell Road at Owasippe Road, north of Twin Lake.

The Muskegon County Sheriff's Department says the victim, a 36-year-old woman, was a passenger in Dodge Durango. The driver and two other passengers were also hurt.

Investigators believe the driver, whose name has not been released, was under the influence of drugs and speeding was also likely a factor. The driver's injuries were non life-threatening.

Board may dissolve White Lake Ambulance Authority

Fruitland Twp., Mich. (WZZM) A $900,000 debt could force the White Lake Ambulance Authority board to dissolve the operation.

The service covers seven communities in Muskegon County including Fruitland Township, Whitehall, Montague, Whitehall Township, Blue Creek Township, White River Township, and Montague Township.

Fruitland Township Supervisor Sam St. Amour, tells WZZM 13 the former director, Jean Dresen, was operating the service at loss of an estimated $100,000 a year since 2009. St. Amour says authority board members were not aware of the debt for years. They have since fired Dresen as director.

St. Amour says unless each community is able to contribute financially to help pay off the debt, the board will likely be forced to dissolve the operation. No final decisions are expected at a meeting tonight.

My Town: New legislation to save parents time and money

My Town: New legislation to save parents time and money

WYOMING, Mich.—New legislation is now in place to save families time and money when it comes to paternity cases and child support payments.

Governor Snyder recently signed a set of 13 bills that streamlines the state system.  Legislation sponsors included Tom Hooker, who represents Wyoming; Roger Victory, who represents Coopersville, Georgetown Township and Polkton Township; Rick Outman, who represents Greenville; and Marcia Hovey-Wright, who represents Whitehall Township, Muskegon and Muskegon Heights.  The reforms include:

Establishing that a positive genetic test is a conclusive method of determining paternity, if certain conditions are met and without requiring a court determination (House Bill 5463, sponsored by Denby and HB 5464 sponsored by Hooker);

My Town: Alcoa details expansion plans

My Town: Alcoa details expansion plans

WHITEHALL, Mich.— Muskegon County’s largest manufacturer is preparing to double its production to keep up with demand for advanced jet engine parts.

Alcoa Power and Propulsion is expanding production of its high-technology coating for blades and vanes, which improve jet engine fuel efficiency. A 7,700 square foot expansion will take place at the company’s Thermatech plant.  The work will include installing an electron beam physical vapor deposition machine, which combines coating processes.  The expansion is expected to create 25 full-time jobs.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has awarded a $285,000 grant toward the $16.7 million project. Construction is set to begin this month, with production ramping up in 2016.

White River Twp. purchases disputed dune property for $900K

WHITE RIVER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- Township officials have reached a settlement with the owners of a unique dune property on Lake Michigan.

The pristine two-acre lakefront parcel is near Ferry and North Old Channel Trail, just north of the White Lake channel. For years it been owned by the Bro G Land Company; partners have tried unsuccessfully for state and local permission to build on the property.

Now, the land company has agreed to sell the property to White River Township for $900,000. It's the outcome many of the township's residents were hoping for.

"We were having nature walks through there when all of this started to come up and we wanted people to be more aware of it," said resident Jamie Lloyd. "There were local people who had never walked the dune before and they were just amazed at how beautiful it was. It is going to be very special."