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Fire Barn Gallery kicks off new art dsiplay


GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM)-- The Fire Barn Gallery has just kicked off it's newest art show. It's called "New York Cityscapes" by Mariangela Fremura and Tyler Loftis. The artists were asked to make paintings of the city for display.

Fire Barn Gallery is located at 18 North 5th St. in Grand Haven. It is open on Wednesdays from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

For more information on the exhibit, visit www.firebarngallery.com.


My Town Grand Haven: New owner of Fortino's shares plans for mainstay

My Town Grand Haven: New owner of Fortino's shares plans for mainstay

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.—A community cornerstone that’s been in business for more than a century has a new owner.

Dave Ten Cate with Capstone Real Estate says the deal for Fortino’s closed Tuesday.  Kelly Larson is buying the store, which is a popular destination for children looking for candy.  Larson already owns a couple of candy and ice cream stores in the area, including Sweet Temptations in Grand Haven.  She tells Ten Cate she intends to keep Fortino’s as it is; even the store’s name will remain untouched. 

Three generations of Fortinos owned and operated the downtown store for more than 107 years, making it one of the oldest family businesses in Grand Haven.  Former owner Ken Michlitsch said the shop came into his family by way of his wife’s grandfather.

Grand Haven schools superintendent announces retirement


GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) -- The head of a lakeshore school district has announced he's retiring next summer.

Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Keith Konarska is retiring on June 30, 2015. He's been with the district 16 years.

Konarska announced his retirement at Monday night's school board meeting, saying, "It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this community. I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of our students and school district. The support from our stakeholders has been overwhelmingly positive, for which I will be forever grateful."

In a statement, the district highlighted Konarska's accomplishments leading the Grand Haven public schools. Among those achievements, he led the district to successful bond proposals in 2009 and 2014.

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.

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.

Fruitport Twp. officer fired after DUI arrest


FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- A Fruitport Township police officer arrested last week for drunk driving on Int. 96 with a three-month-old baby in his car has lost his job.

Officer Timothy Michael Thompson was a full-time officer with Fruitport Police for just over two years. The Township's Director of Public Safety would only say Thompson is no longer employed with the department.

Thompson, 36, was arrested about 4:30 a.m. near the 68th Avenue exit in Coopersville. He had a blood alcohol level of .14; court records show. The threshold for drunken driving in Michigan is .08.

According to a criminal complaint in Hudsonville District Court, Thompson was charged Nov. 25 and released after posting bond. He is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 3 on a charge of drunken driving with a person under the age of 16 in the vehicle.