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My Town Lowell: Utility phone scam sparks warning from police

My Town Lowell:  Utility phone scam sparks warning from police

LOWELL, Mich.--  The Lowell Police Department is warning residents about another utility scam making its rounds by phone.

 

A resident recently complained about a caller who claimed to be from Consumers Power.  Police say the suspects have an elaborate phone system set up, with recordings and prompts included.  In voicemail messages, the suspects will leave a call back number of 1-888-288-6909, extension 2 and tell you a technician is en route to shut off your electricity.  An officer who called the suspect’s number says the scammers became very outraged and threatened legal action, but when the officer identified themselves and asked for an address to send “a check”, the scammer hung up on them.

 

Police want to remind residents they should never give someone money over the phone.

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: Gas prices plunge even closer to $2 per gallon

My Town: Gas prices plunge even closer to $2 per gallon

GREENVILLE, Mich.— Gas prices are closing in on the $2 mark in parts of Michigan, according to gasbuddy.com.

Drivers reporting on the website say regular gas at several stations in the Greenville area have dropped to $2.08 a gallon.  Lowell has the second lowest gas prices, at $2.10 a gallon at five stations.

According to the Associated Press, oil has now fallen 47 percent since reaching a peak of $107 a barrel in June this year. The prices are good news for consumers but there are also worries the recent plunge is a sign of a sickly global economy.

My Town Lowell: Police department repaid in kindness after viral video

My Town Lowell: Police department repaid in kindness after viral video

LOWELL, Mich.— The Lowell Police Department is getting repaid in kindness after posting a video of its officers giving gifts to drivers they pulled over.

The video posted Tuesday quickly went viral, with more than 220,000 views on YouTube by Wednesday afternoon.  According to the police department’s Facebook page, their campaign of kindness attracted attention from everywhere; the department has handled phone calls and messages from around the world.

The citizens of Lowell are also showing their appreciation. One person dropped off a box of doughnuts at the police station Wednesday morning, and three young people also left a cake and ornaments for all of the officers.

RELATED: Lowell police surprise drivers with Christmas presents 

VIDEO: Lowell police surprise drivers with Christmas presents

VIDEO: Lowell police surprise drivers with Christmas presents


LOWELL, Mich. (WZZM) -- Instead of issuing traffic tickets, Lowell police helped warm hearts recently by handing out presents to unsuspecting drivers.

A video posted Tuesday morning shows officer Scot VanSolkema pulling over drivers for minor traffic offenses--violations police normally don't stop people for.

While questioning the drivers, officer VanSolkema asked what they would like for Christmas. A team at the nearby Meijer was listening by radio and quickly chose and wrapped the gifts within 10 to 15 minutes.

Officer VanSolkema then presented the drivers with a wrapped present. The reaction is a joy to watch: disbelief, laughter, gratitude, and even tears.

Man who produced pornography at daycare gets prison


LOWELL, Mich. (WZZM) - A young man who made pornographic videos of children at his mother's Lowell-area daycare center will spend the next 30 years in prison.

A federal judge in Kalamazoo today sentenced Travis Charles Stiehl, 23, to the maximum term possible for sexual exploitation of a child. He admitted to taking lascivious photos of nude children as young as two-years-old.

At the time of his arrest, he had about 2,000 images and videos of child pornography. Stiehl took nude videos at a home on Foreman Street west of Cumberland Avenue SE in Lowell Township, where his mother operated a licensed daycare.

Six days after police interviewed Stiehl in December, the day care was shut down.

My Town: Farm to turn cow patties into power

My Town: Farm to turn cow patties into power

COOPERSVILLE, Mich.—A Coopersville farm will soon be powered by animal waste.

Sustainable Partners LLC (Spart) plans to develop an anaerobic digester for Consumers Energy and Beaver Creek Farms, located at 18080 80th Ave. The biogas plant will transform cow manure from the farm, as well as fats, oils and restaurant grease into methane using natural bacteria in an oxygen-free environment.  That methane is then used to fuel a heater and power engine that produces electricity and thermal energy.

Beaver Creek Farm owner Bill Henke says the bio digester will provide additional benefits for his farm- the manure will retain important nutrients for field spreading, but lose the odor and reduce the general hassles of managing manure.