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Slippery road conditions causing accidents

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- Authorities have been responding to accidents Thursday afternoon and evening as cold temperatures, wind, and snow make the roads slippery.

There have been multiple slide-offs and rollovers across West Michigan. Around 4pm, scanner traffic indicated three separate rollovers were reported on southbound US-131 past Post Drive. There reportedly was a minor injury.

Also around 4pm, a rollover was reported on westbound I-196 at Zeeland.

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.

We have a heartwarming Christmas Day update for you on the Plainfield Township family whose home is a complete loss after a Christmas Eve fire.

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM 13) - Through the generosity of others, a Plainfield Township family celebrated Christmas, despite losing everything in a fire Christmas Eve.

At 1:30 Christmas Eve morning, things were looking pretty bleak for the Langston family of 7. A fire destroyed their mobile home, claiming all of their belongings, their Christmas gifts, and two family pets.

But it didn't take long for the community of Plainfield Township to step in, in a big way. Dozens brought gifts to the fire station and many contributed to the "GoFundMe" page set up by a friend.

Plainfield Twp. family loses home to fire on Christmas Eve

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- A fire that destroyed a local family's home and nearly ruined their Christmas is sparking a powerful reaction from the community. Money and clothing donations are pouring in to help the family, after the fire which started around 1:30am in Plainfield Township.

At the front door, there's rain instead of snow. In the back yard, gifts turned to ashes. It's not what Christmas is supposed to look like.

"I don't know what to say, everything's gone," says homeowner Megan Langston.

Langston, her husband, and five children made it out of the fire when they heard the smoke alarm, but two other family members did not: their pet cat and dog.

"I panicked, I completely lost it," says Langston.

"I heard the house was a total loss, and my first thought was Christmas," says Kelly Heltzel, Langston's best friend.

Kent ISD superintendent announces retirement

Kent ISD superintendent announces retirement

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)—After more than three decades helping to educate hundreds of thousands of children, the superintendent of Kent Intermediate School District is leaving his post.

Tuesday, Kevin Konarska announced his plans to retire at the end of the school year. Konarska has worked for Kent ISD for nine years, helping the agency navigate through the Great Recession and deep funding cuts by the state, all while opening new education programs and a laboratory school.

"It will be very hard to see Kevin leave," Board President Claudia Bajema said in a news release to WZZM 13. "He has made such a difference in the schools we serve and in the opportunities available to the more than 100,000 students throughout our service region."

My Town: Plainfield Township bulks up law enforcement patrols

My Town: Plainfield Township bulks up law enforcement patrols

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—More officers will be patrolling Planfield Township starting this spring.

During its last meeting, the Township Board recently approved creating a new contract with the Kent County Sheriff’s Department to add 16 hours of an additional daily road patrols and a new community policing officer.  Township Superintendent Cameron Van Wyngarden says the sherriff’s department needs to rearrange its staffing to honor the contract, so the new patrols will likely begin in March 2015.

Van Wyngarden says the biggest question for the board was how to pay for the additional patrols. He says the first year of costs will come out of the General Fund balance, then the normal budget will be adjusted to include the cost, beginning June 2015.

This is the township’s first law enforcement patrol increase in more than 40 years.

Northview HS teenager dies following tonsil surgery

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- A memorial is being held Thursday and Friday for a 15-year-old girl who died unexpectedly Saturday, Nov. 29.

Katie Wessely had outpatient tonsil surgery on Nov. 21. Her family says Katie seemed to be recovering fine when her father, Mark, found her unresponsive the following Monday. She died a few days later, at the hospital.

Wessely says the family decided to donate her organs. "It was going to do Katie any good to take them with her. Besides that, it gives us the feeling there's still a little bit of life of Katie going on out there."

Right now the exact cause of death is not known; the family is waiting for autopsy results. "It's supposed to have been a normal procedure for tonsils, and kids aren't supposed to die from tonsillectomies."