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My Town: Girl Scout cookie munchers will have to wait

My Town: Girl Scout cookie munchers will have to wait

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— The start of spring usually signals the return of the Girl Scouts’ traditional boxed treats, but cookie connoisseurs will have to wait even longer this year.

The Girls Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore says local cookie deliveries will be delayed by four weeks.  Little Brownie Bakers, which churns out the treats, blames unexpectedly high demand for cookies.

"[Our forecast] has resulted in a tightness in cookie inventory and an inability to meet cookie orders at the dates originally requested," explains sales director Brenda Smith. "The situation was made worse by winter weather that resulted in a plant shutdown for two days in February and an ingredient delivery delay in late February."

Little Brownie Bakers is working around the clock to fill all orders.  All requested boxes should arrive in West Michigan the week of April 13. 

My Town: 12 tips to stay safe in this extreme cold

My Town: 12 tips to stay safe in this extreme cold

The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division are sharing their top tips to stay safe in this extreme cold.

"As we saw last winter, these arctic blasts can create hazardous situations," said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. "Citizens are encouraged to monitor local weather reports and follow the appropriate steps to stay safe during these extremely cold and potentially life-threatening temperatures."

Exposure to these subzero temperatures could potentially cause frostbite and hypothermia, as well as create hazardous driving conditions.

To stay safe during cold weather:

My Town: Black ice blamed for highway crash involving three semi-trucks

My Town: Black ice blamed for highway crash involving three semi-trucks

PORTAGE, Mich.—Portage police say black ice covering Interstate 94 played a role in a crash involving three semi-trucks.

The crash happened in the westbound lanes over S. Westnedge Avenue shortly before 4:45 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 8.  Officers say a car lost control on the ice and began to spin out.  A semi-truck driver tried to avoid crashing into the vehicle also lost control on the highway and bounced off the median barrier, colliding with two other semis traveling west.  No one was injured in the crash.

Police say many other crashes were reported in the area because of the icy road conditions caused by the extreme cold.

OPINION: Michigan, Our Great State

OPINION: Michigan, Our Great State

Michigan, our great state. Whether we realize it or not, we really do have a great state.

Granted, we had an unusual winter this past year but then again, have you ever seen the grass and trees so green before? Even people returning from Florida this year have commented about everything being so green!

Despite all of the good things, I still hear people complain about it either being too cool, too cloudy, too hot, etc. To those people I say, maybe it’s time for you to move to a perfect climate, wherever that may be.

I love Michigan and all it has to offer. We have the Great Lakes, a treasure on their own. I used to have an older friend, Bill Hickey, who had apple orchards.

He told me, “You will never, ever find an apple as snappy when you bite into it as a Michigan apple in the fall, because of the Great Lakes.” 

My Town Kalamazoo: Emergency fuel relief now available

My Town Kalamazoo: Emergency fuel relief now available

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Families who are tight on money because of costly heating bills this past winter can now sign up to get relief.

The Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services’ Community Action Agency has funding available for homeowners who purchased any fuel source to heat their home between Jan. 1 and March 31, and are now facing financial hardship.  Each household can file for up to $850 in reimbursement.

The Community Action Agency also has an emergency fuel purchasing program for people who may be low or out of fuel for the colder season.  Each household may be eligible for up to $1,000. Both programs are open to all Kalamazoo County residents who meet the required federal income guidelines. Fuel funding will be available until the end of August or until all funds have been awarded.  To make an appointment of for more information, call the Kalamazoo County Community Action Agency at (269) 373-5066.

Reminder for residents: Clear your sidewalks

Reminder for residents: Clear your sidewalks

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The city wants to remind residents about an ordinance requiring property owners to remove snow and ice from sidewalks running along their land.

All snow and ice should be removed from adjacent public sidewalks within 48 hours of a storm.  The city also recommends treating sidewalks with sand, salt or another substance to prevent it from being slippery.  Residents are also encouraged to assist neighbors and relatives who may have difficulty clearing sidewalks on their own. 

Anyone with concerns about a snowy sidewalk is encouraged to call Public Services at (269) 337-8660 during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday).

The city says clear sidewalks are important for the safety of pedestrians, including children and those who are physically challenged who rely on the paved pathways.

Mitten Tree warms hands and hearts at Paramount Charter Academy

Mitten Tree warms hands and hearts at Paramount Charter Academy

KALAMAZOO, Mich.The Christmas tree in the kindergarten hallway of Paramount Charter Academy is not decorated with lights, ornaments, or tinsel; instead, it is adorned with mittens to donate to struggling children in the area.

The mitten tree has been a staple at Paramount for the past 16 years. It was started by kindergarten teacher Annelies Baker after she read the book “The Mitten Tree” by Candace Christiansen.

“I thought it would be a wonderful service project that five and six-year-old children could understand and relate to,” said Baker. “The children are encouraged to do extra chores around the house to earn money so they can buy mittens, a hat, or scarf for the tree.”