Downtown Grand Rapids

 The site of a future Embassy Suites in downtown Grand Rapids may now be the site of two future hotels.

Brian Beukema is the president of property development for hotel management company Suburban Inns. He tells city commissioners a co-branded opportunity is the reason Suburban’s requesting a new extension from the city.

“[It’s an] opportunity that arose with one of the franchise companies that we work with. They came to us with a concept and an idea for the site," Beukema says.

Michigan legislative leaders report having a productive meeting with Gov. Rick Snyder on road funding but no deal.  Lawmakers are working on a $1.2 billion plan that could include a boost in fuel taxes and vehicles fees along with shifting money from other spending priorities. There's some optimism a plan can be approved this week.

Manager at credit union pleads guilty to embezzling $1.9M

Aug 18, 2015

A manager at a Muskegon County credit union has pleaded guilty to embezzling $1.9 million from its cash vault between 2001 and this year.

The U.S. attorney's office in Grand Rapids said Tuesday Kathryn Sue Simmerman made the plea in federal court after being charged last month and admitting to the embezzlement.

Authorities say she took cash from the vault at Shoreline Federal Credit Union in Norton Shores and hid it in her purse.

Court documents say Simmerman was fired from her job in February.

She's scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 30.

2 Michigan lawmakers back for session after sex scandal

Aug 18, 2015

Two Michigan lawmakers who are under fire for an extramarital relationship and fictional email intended to minimize attention are back in the Capitol for the first House session since the scandal broke. Republican Rep. Todd Courser of Lapeer tells reporters Tuesday he's in Lansing because "it's my job" and his voice is needed to oppose tax hikes for road repairs. He declined to comment about the controversy. Courser separately posted a statement calling on Michigan's attorney general to investigate the Senate's planned moved into new offices in 2017. Republican Rep.

Bridge at Ionia State Recreation Area open to public

Aug 18, 2015

  The state of Michigan says the bridge over Sessions Creek in Ionia State Recreation Area is now open to the public. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the bridge replaces one that was destroyed by a tree knocked down by heavy rains and flooding in 2009. The DNR says Tuesday bridge replacement was postponed due to budget constraints and a growing list of higher priority infrastructure issues around the state. The project was funded by a trail grant and the bridge allows people to complete the 3.5 mile loop on Sessions Lake Hiking Trail without interruption. The popular trail

The Untold Stories Project

Aug 18, 2015

We follow up on the Untold Stories Project. Veronica Kirin shares an update on a launch party for a kickstarter happening this Thursday evening.

A Michigan woman who was believed to be the nation's oldest veteran at 110 has died a month after meeting President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.
The Oakland County medical examiner's office says Emma Didlake died Sunday in West Bloomfield, northwest of Detroit.
Didlake was a 38-year-old wife and mother of five when she signed up in 1943 for the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. She served about seven months stateside during the war, as a private and driver.
She was born in Alabama. She moved with her family to Detroit in 1944.

A city in the Upper Peninsula has donated a 29-ton piece of iron ore to Michigan State University in honor of graduates in the mining industry.
WILX-TV reports the piece of iron ore donated by the city of Ishpeming now sits outside the school's Natural Science Building, which the geological sciences department calls home.
Ishpeming city manager Mark Slown says officials were "thrilled" to give the iron ore specimen to Michigan State. He says the city believes it adds a "very nice aesthetic" to campus.

A navigation lock at Sault Ste. Marie has reopened after it was closed late last month for emergency repairs.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Detroit District says the MacArthur Lock reopened Monday at the Soo Locks. It was taken out of operation July 29 after officials say there were issues with closing the gates.
The Corps says the original estimate for the lock's closure was 10 days, but says it took 20 days to reopen due to "complicated repairs" and "heavy work."

Michigan awards grants for coastal protection projects

Aug 18, 2015

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has awarded more than $700,000 in federal grants for projects to boost water quality and reduce pollution in Great Lakes coastal areas.
The DEQ's Office of the Great Lakes recently distributed the funds, which came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
A grant of $125,000 went to the Michigan Association of Planning to help communities improve coastline protection. Central Michigan University received $100,000.