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WMU aviation dean foresees pilot psychological testing


BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WZZM) -- The dean of Western Michigan University's College of Aviation says future pilot training may include psychological testing.

Captain Dave Powell, who retired as a United Airlines chief pilot before coming to WMU seven years ago said Thursday, "We're always evaluating how we train, so is this something that's going to have to be evaluated? I'm absolutely convinced it will be."

Powell notes since 9/11, U.S. airlines have required two people be in the cockpit at all times. That's not true in Europe, but Powell says it's no guarantee that safety is 100 percent assured.

"Saying the co-pilot didn't let the captain back in can that happen? Absolutely. Could it happen here in America? Absolutely."


Bell's or Founders? Craft beer bracket showdown looms


(Detroit Free Press) -- Part of the fun of NCAA tournament time is voting in all the zany custom brackets that websites put out each March.

Here's one you might be interested in: For The Win's craft beer bracket, which started Monday with 32 of the best breweries in America and has moved on to the Sweet 16.

Two major Michigan breweries are still in the running: Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo and Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids. Not only are they the top two seeds, but they're on pace to face off in the Elite Eight on Wednesday.

As of about 2 Tuesday afternoon, Bell's is beating Boulevard Brewing Co. from Kansas City at a 73%-27% clip, while Founders is ahead of Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Cleveland at 68%-32%.

Sign of spring: bars celebrate annual release of Oberon


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Monday, March 23, is the day people in West Michigan and many other parts of the country wait for all winter -- the day Bell's Brewery releases its Oberon Ale.

The seasonal beer is a top seller for the Kalamazoo County-based company and one of the most popular craft beers in the Midwest.

Many West Michigan bars are holding release parties Monday to mark the occasion; it's a day affectionately known as Oberon Day.

In Michigan, Bell's makes Oberon available from the end of March through Labor Day. Many beer lovers call it the perfect summer beer.

Visit the Bell's Brewery website for a list of launch parties and events across Michigan.


Tribute at WMU campus honors fallen Michigan Marines


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WZZM) -- Gone, but never forgotten.

That's the message of a special tribute for three Michigan Marines killed in a helicopter crash last week.

On Wednesday, students, staff, and fellow Marines at Western Michigan University wrote notes of gratitude next to photos of the brave young men. The memorial will be sent to their grieving families to let them know they are not alone.

At noon, students and others at Western Michigan University had a moment of silence for the three fallen Michigan Marines.

Staff sergeants Marcus Bawol of Warren, Trevor Blaylock of Lake Orion, and Andrew Seif of Holland were killed in a helicopter crash last week during a training exercise off Florida.

Next to their photos at Wednesday's event, there were thank-yous from strangers.

My Town: Huntington bank expands to Meijer stores

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—A new bank is moving into Meijer stores across the area.

Huntington Bank is partnering with the retailer to open 43 branches within Meijer stores, a dozen of which are in the greater Grand Rapids area.  The bank says the deal will create 250 jobs within the state and make Huntington the third largest bank branch network in the state.  Huntington says the partnership will bring its company workforce up to 2,300 people.

The announcement comes months after Chase began notifying customers it is closing its Meijer store branches.  A spokesman for Meijer told WZZM 13 “circumstances have changed and we mutually agreed to end the relationship.”

Huntington’s new Meijer branch locations will include Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Greenville, Ionia, Jenison, Lowell, Muskegon, Portage, and Wyoming.

Gun discharges in Kzoo high school; 4 teens arrested


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WZZM) - Four students were arrested after a handgun was discharged in a bathroom at a Kalamazoo high school Tuesday.

The incident happened at Loy Norrix High School.

School leaders say a small-caliber handgun was discharged, and the school went on lockdown as authorities searched for the the weapon.

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety responded to assist. Police say the school resource officer learned about the discharge around 8:45am, and the investigation got underway.

Officers confirmed a round had been fired inadvertently. The weapon was later found in another student's backpack. It had been brought to school by the tenth-grade boy who accidentally fired it. He had no intended target, authorities say. Over the next few hours, two other tenth-graders, a girl and a boy, held onto the gun. The gun was then passed to another tenth-grade boy in a classroom during the lockdown.

My Town Kalamazoo: $2 million gift means upgrades, scholarships for art school

My Town Kalamazoo: $2 million gift means upgrades, scholarships for art school

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Studio upgrades and a new series of scholarships are coming to the Kirk Newman Art School, thanks to a $2 million gift from a Kalamazoo couple.

Rosemary and John Brown announced their donation to the school during a reception at Kalamazoo Institute of Arts earlier this month.  Kirk Newman, who was a longtime director of the art school, was in attendance.

"Our decision to give to the Kirk Newman Art School at the KIA is based on our admiration of Kirk as a person and on our desire to validate his legacy," said Rosemary Brown. "Our hope is that the school will continue to thrive and to have an ongoing positive influence on the cultural life of the Kalamazoo area."