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My Town: West Michigan's safest and most dangerous places

My Town: West Michigan's safest and most dangerous places

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—West Michigan is home to one of the safest cities in Michigan, according to a new analysis by Value Penguin.

East Grand Rapids ranked fifth among midsize cities and 16th overall.  Value Penguin based its rankings on FBI crime statistics collected in 2013.  The group excluded towns with populations less than 5,000. Value Penguin then compared crimes in the remaining cities per capita, giving more weight to violent crimes than property crimes. 

The West Michigan communities that came in above the state average for crimes included Spring Lake-Ferrysburg (No. 28), Rockford (No. 45), Zeeland (No. 56), Belding (No. 80) and Grand Haven (No. 118).

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.

My Town: Highway renamed in honor of fallen soldier

My Town: Highway renamed in honor of fallen soldier

MONTCALM COUNTY, Mich.—A portion of a Michigan highway is being named for a West Michigan soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Army Spc. Joseph Prentler died Oct. 4, 2010 from wounds he suffered when insurgents bombed his military vehicle.  The 20-year-old was from Fenwick, but graduated from Carson City-Crystal High School.

Earlier this week, Governor Snyder signed a bill designating M-57 in Montcalm County be known as the Joseph Prentler Memorial Highway.  The bill was sponsored by state Rep. Rick Outman.

My Town: Thirteen local lawmakers post perfect voting record for 2014

My Town: Thirteen local lawmakers post perfect voting record for 2014

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Mark Jansen tops the list of West Michigan lawmakers who missed the most votes this year, according to the Missed Votes Report compiled by Jack McHugh, editor of MichiganVotes.org.

Jansen missed 46 votes between January and December of this year. The District 28 Republican represents a large portion of Kent County, including Ada, Algoma, Alpine, Cannon, Courtland, Grand Rapids and Plainfield townships, as well as East Grand Rapids, Rockford, Walker and Wyoming.

State Rep. Jon Bumstead, who represents Newaygo, Lake and Oceana counties, had the most missed votes among West Michigan lawmakers in the House, with 21 this year.  

Three senators and three representatives missed 50 or more votes this year.  The top offenders were Rep. John Olumba of Detroit, with 233 missed votes, and Sen. Bert Johnson of Detroit, with 187 missed votes.

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);

Gas falls below $2 per gallon in Greenville, Lowell


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Prices continue to tumble at the pump and for the first time in five years, gasoline is selling for less than $2 in West Michigan.

Multiple stations in Lowell and Greenville are selling regular unleaded gas for $1.98 or $1.99, according to GasBuddy.com.

It seems the Citgo stations in Greenville led the price plunge Tuesday afternoon, causing other stations to follow suit.

Good Samaritans aid rider injured in hit-and-run crash


EVERGREEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM)—A driver suspected of hitting a bicyclist then driving away is expected to be officially charged Tuesday.

The incident happened on Sheridan Road near Pakes Road in Evergreen Township around 2:21 p.m. Monday.

Montcalm County deputies say the driver was heading north on Sheridan Road when he veered off the road and hit 27-year-old Joseph Pruitt of Greenville. Pruitt was riding southbound on the shoulder of the road. A witness followed the suspect's vehicle as it drove off and took down a vehicle description while another witness stopped at the scene to help Pruitt.

Pruitt was taken to a nearby hospital then flown to a Grand Rapids hospital where he is in serious condition.