Local Updates from ABC News Radio for Grand Rapids.


Michigan Selects State Christmas Tree from Kingsford

(LANSING, Mich.) -- A 63-foot blue spruce from the city of Kingsford has been picked as the state's 29th Christmas tree.

The tree was selected by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget, and will be delivered to the state capitol on Saturday, Nov. 1.

“We scoured the entire state and have found the perfect tree for this year’s 30th annual Silver Bells in the City celebration,” said DTMB Director and state CIO David Behen in a statement. “It will be a great sight for all Michiganders when all the hard work pays off with the annual tree lighting celebration in downtown Lansing.”

The tree lighting will take place on Friday, Nov. 21 as part of the 30th Silver Bells In The City celebration. It will be strung with 4,000 lights, helping to illuminate Capitol Avenue with an estimated total of 8,000 to 9,000 lights.

The blue spruce will be harvested at no cost to the owners, Bill and Helen Bjorkman, in Kingsford on Thursday, Oct. 30.

This is the 20th time that the state tree has been selected from the Upper Peninsula.

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Peppers Distributed in MI Potentially Contaminated with Salmonella 

(LANSING, Mich.) -- State officials are advising consumers against eating serrano peppers distributed in Michigan, warning that the food may be contaminated with Salmonella.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said the peppers were supplied by Bailey Farms Inc. in Oxford, North Carolina, and distributed by Meijer stores in the state.

The products were sold from Oct. 14 to Oct. 19, shipped on Bailey Farms labeled boxes with a 3x4 barcode label on the outside containing code 33714 and 1460410.

A random sample taken by health officials on Oct. 13 tested positive for Salmonella on Oct. 18.

No illnesses have been reported.

Customers who purchased the peppers during the affected dates are urged to return the product for a full refund.

Individuals infected with Salmonella may experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

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Thousands of MI Propane Customers to Be Reimbursed in AmeriGas Settlement

(LANSING, Mich.) -- More than 5,000 Michigan propane customers are set to receive a total of $500,000 in reimbursement following a settlement with AmeriGas, Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Wednesday.

The Attorney General filed a lawsuit against propane supplier AmeriGas after customers complained of pricing issues from last winter's heating season.

The suit alleged that consumers were charged prices higher than the per-gallon rates they had initially locked in for last winter, while others were charged "grossly in excess" compared to prices given by other propane retailers throughout the state.

"Cooler autumn weather means many Michigan families are already anxious about upcoming heating bills," Schuette said in a statement. "I'm happy we can put money back into the wallets of hard-working families who paid steep prices to heat their homes last winter while already trying to make ends meet."

Affected customers will receive a letter from the Attorney General, and AmeriGas will issue reimbursements no later than Nov. 1.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


State Reaches Settlement to End Odors from Detroit Waste Incinerator 

(DETROIT) – Following complaints from midtown city residents, the state announced a civil settlement with two Delaware-based companies to end chronic odors from a Detroit municipal waste incinerator.

Under the agreement the companies will re-engineer the facility, deemed “the nation’s largest municipal waste incinerator” by officials. The improvements include a new air ducting system, which will send foul-smelling air into the incineration process for destruction.

Companies will also face fines up to $5,000 for each day they do not control the odors.

"I am confident Detroit has a better, brighter future ahead as we continue to see economic improvement in the Motor City," Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement.

"Investing in Detroit is important, but we must also prioritize the quality of life of Detroit families and business owners," the statement continued.

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New Bill Extends Treatment Options for Terminally Ill Patients 

(LANSING, Mich.) -- New legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday allows Michigan residents with advanced illnesses to try experimental treatments under the care of a physician.

The Right to Try Act is open to patients who have "exhausted all other options," according to officials. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. John Pappageorge and state Rep. Nancy Jenkins, will give individuals the opportunity to receive medication outside of FDA-approval.

“Allowing Michiganders dealing with extremely difficult medical situations to try alternative treatment options could extend or save their lives,” Snyder said in a statement.

Under the law, medical professionals and health care facilities will be protected from liability if the treatment does not pose positive results.

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