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My Town: Bus fire sparks inspections, repairs to Forest Hills fleet

My Town: Bus fire sparks inspections, repairs to Forest Hills fleet

FOREST HILLS, Mich.—Nine Forest Hills school buses that were pulled off the road after a  school bus fire are back in service.

Forest Hills School Superintendent Daniel Behm says the buses were pulled as a precautionary measure, to replace electrical components, which posed a fire hazard. The buses were the same make and model as the bus that caught on fire Nov. 20, 2013.  All of the students and the driver safely escaped the fire, which started in the bus’ engine compartment area.  Two investigations found a failure within the bus’ power distribution module likely caused a short circuit, which led to the fire.  The dealer, Hoekstra Transportation, Inc., replaced all nine of the buses power distribution modules, connection cables and any corroded parts.

My Town Kentwood: TSA expands prescreening option at Ford Airport

My Town Kentwood: TSA expands prescreening option at Ford Airport

KENTWOOD, Mich.—The Transportation Security Administration is expanding its Pre✓™ option at Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

Passengers flying on Delta Airlines via Checkpoint A and on Southwest, United and American Airlines via Checkpoint B can now utilize the TSA Pre✓™ program.  It allows pre-approved travelers to leave on their shoes, light outwear and belt and keep their laptop and complaint liquids/gels in their carry-on in select screening lanes.

To become a pre-approved traveler, passengers must go through a pre-enrollment process online at www.TSA.gov and visit an application center to provide personal information, payment and identification papers.  To find an enrollment center, visit the Department of Homeland Security page here.

My Town Ada: Phase I of 'Envision Ada' expected to begin this summer

My Town Ada: Phase I of 'Envision Ada' expected to begin this summer

ADA, Mich.—The first stage of Ada Township’s transformation plan is expected to start this summer.

Township Supervisor George Haga says the township is starting to get into the financing aspect of "Envision Ada." He says the plan has been adopted by the Downtown Development Authority, but the township must still go through the master plan process.

The work is expected to begin on Headley Street this summer.  Haga says the township plans to move Headley north and line it with retail buildings.  The old street will be abandoned.

You can find the entire 176 page Envision Ada plan on the township website here.

Ford Airport ranks among best in the world

Ford Airport ranks among best in the world

KENTWOOD, Mich.—West Michigan is home to one of the top five best airports in the world.

The Airports Council International ranked the Gerald R. Ford International Airport fifth among airports that serve 2 million to 5 million passengers a year.  The rankings are based on passenger reviews of security, amenities and customer service.

“Customer service is a top priority for our entire team at the Gerald R.

Former Congressional candidate joins Airport Board

Former Congressional candidate joins Airport Board

KENTWOOD, Mich.—There’s a new face on the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Board.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners announced the appointment of Steve Heacock Monday.  The seven-member Airport Board is responsible for the general oversight of Gerald R. Ford Ford International Airport.  Heacock replaces former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, who left the board last December.  His term will run through Dec. 31, 2016.

Heacock has served as chairman of the Convention and Arena Authority, which owns and operates Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place.  He  served on the Kent County Board of Commissioners fir sux years, including two years as the chairman.  Heacock, who is a Grand Rapids resident, is the senior vice president of public affairs for Spectrum Health Systems.  He was also the chief administrative officer, general counsel and board secretary of the Van Andel Institute for six years.

Fox Motors' expansion plan clears hurdle

Fox Motors' expansion plan clears hurdle

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich.—Fox Motors’ plan to expand in Cascade Township has cleared another hurdle.

During its regular meeting Jan. 27, the Cascade Township Planning Commission gave preliminary approval to the dealership’s request to rezone 4.5 acres.  Fox Motors wants to expand its East Imports lot on 28th Street to accommodate a new building for Subaru.

The proposal must still be reviewed and voted on by the Cascade Township Board, which is expected to happen within the next four to five weeks.

Snowy owl sightings up in Michigan this winter

Snowy owl sightings up in Michigan this winter

DEWITT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Snowy owls are out in force in Michigan this winter, thanks to a population boom in their Arctic breeding lands.

The Lansing State Journal says area birdwatchers have been sighting the 2-foot-tall raptors.Snowy owl sightings have taken place at Capital Region International Airport in Clinton County's DeWitt Township, Ingham County's Alaiedon Township north of Mason and at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in suburban Grand Rapids. Capital Regional airport Operations Director Lisa Adams says people have spotted the owls with some regularity at the airport over the past two months, including nine times in December.

Snowy owls breed in the Arctic and typically move south in the winter. Experts say the owl's population boom may be because of an abundance of one of their favorite foods, lemmings.