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Debate sparked over faith-based club in public schools


GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) -- A new religious dispute is emerging along the lakeshore, after complaints were made about a faith-based club at two schools. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union is stepping in and school leaders are backing down, at least for now.

From the cross atop Dewey Hill in Grand Haven to the American flag outside Fruitport Middle School, opposing voices have yet to find common ground.

"There was a cross, now there's an issue with the nativity scene. We feel we're just one more step in this process," says Russ Gabel, founder and director of Freewater Experience.

Gabel and his faith-based organization, Freewater Experience, are caught in an age-old debate. After receiving complaints, the ACLU began targeting a club he runs during lunch time at schools in Fruitport and Grand Haven.

St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish to Hold Fair Trade Gift Sale Dec. 6-7

St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish to Hold Fair Trade Gift Sale Dec. 6-7

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.-- One-of-a-kind crafts and food items from artisans and farmers from 30 developing countries will be available Saturday, Dec. 6 and Sunday, Dec. 7, during the St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish Fair Trade Gift Sale.

The general public is invited to attend and support artisans and farmers move toward sustainability.

“We are offering this event to promote moral spending, which is a conscious act to support both the artisan and product.  Through the Fair Trade co-operatives in developing countries, chocolate and coffee farmers as well as other artisans receive a fair price for the items they produce and sell here in the United States,” said Sally Moser, co-chairwoman of the St. Patrick―St. Anthony Social Justice Commission.

Teen driver injured in Grand Haven Twp. crash


GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- A West Olive teen was hospitalized after a crash Thursday afternoon in Ottawa County's Grand Haven Township.

The Sheriff's Office says the crash happened around 3:50 p.m. on Lakeshore Drive at Lake Michigan Drive.

A 32-year-old Coopersville man driving a pickup had been southbound on Lakeshore Drive and was stopped, waiting to turn eastbound onto Lake Michigan Drive, when he was rear-ended by the West Olive teen's vehicle.

The 17-year-old girl was pinned in her vehicle and was extricated. She was then taken to a hospital in serious but stable condition. Authorities say she had been wearing her seatbelt.

The Coopersville man was not hurt; his two- and four-year-old daughters riding with him were also uninjured.


Cellmate charged with killing Grand Haven inmate


SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) - Authorities say a 51-year-old man already in a Michigan prison for a 1991 slaying has been charged with murder in the October death of his cellmate.

The Saginaw News reports Steven D. Sandison is charged with an open count of murder in the Oct. 29 death of 67-year-old Theodore Dyer at Saginaw Correctional Facility in Saginaw County's Tittabawassee Township, near Saginaw.

Saginaw County District Court said Thursday that Sandison didn't yet have a lawyer on record. He has been transferred to another prison, where he is serving a sentence of life behind bars without parole for an October 1991 killing in Wayne County.

Dyer, who was from Grand Haven, was sentenced in January to 25-50 years in prison for first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

My Town Grand Haven: Christmas Arts & Craft Show returns this weekend

My Town Grand Haven: Christmas Arts & Craft Show returns this weekend

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.-- With the holidays just around the corner, the community is invited to check out more than 50 booths with one-of-a-kind craft items that could make great gifts.

The Christmas Arts & Craft show will run this Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.  to 3 p.m. at the Grand Haven Community Center, located at 421 Columbus Ave. 

For more upcoming events, call (616) 842-5518 or visit www.visitgrandhaven.com.

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids hires school recruiters

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids hires school recruiters

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— The Diocese of Grand Rapids has hired two more people to ramp up enrollment for its Catholic schools.

Dan Plachta will serve as an admissions enrollment field consultant, guiding the diocese’s 29 schools in outreach and recruitment. While supporting current students, the diocese plans to focus on traditionally underserved groups who could take advantage of school tuition assistance, which is quadrupling to $1,000,000.

Plachta is an alumnus of Blessed Sacrament School (now All Saints Academy) and Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids.

“As a graduate of Catholic schools in the diocese, Dan brings a personal passion for the importance of Catholic education in West Michigan,” said David Faber, superintendent of Catholic schools.

My Town: Local First & Boxed GR showcase businesses in Local Treasure Holiday Box

My Town: Local First & Boxed GR showcase businesses in Local Treasure Holiday Box

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Local First and Boxed GR are collaborating this fall to offer the Local Treasure Holiday Box - a holiday gift box full of full-size and sample products and gift cards,  all from West Michigan retailers and specialty service providers.

The box’s contents are valued at more than $350, but only cost $32, making this limited edition gift a smart and easy way to give local goodies to those who love all things Michigan.

Unwrap the following items in the box: