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Opinion: Robo Calls, Everyone's Nightmare

Opinion: Robo Calls, Everyone's Nightmare

I just read an article about robo calls in the Consumers Report magazine (September issue) called “Rage Against Robo Calls.” Telemarketing fraud that often begins with a robo call is estimated to cost consumers $350 Million dollars a year.

Some of the most common types of calls state that your computer has a virus, then promise to fix it, if you provide access to your computer, thereby opening the door to identity theft. The IRS scam is another one that has been going for months. The caller threatens, saying you will be jailed or imprisoned because of taxes you owe, even leaving messages like this on answering machines. In the first place, the IRS does not make phone calls and secondly, if you do not owe anything to the IRS, why would you ever take this serious? Another claims that you did not show for jury duty and asks that you verify your date of birth and Social Security number.

Chemical spill contained at Haviland Enterprises


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- About 50 gallons of diluted sodium hydroxide entered a storm water drain flowing into Mill Creek during a late morning spill at Haviland Products on the city's Northwest Side.

About 200 gallons of the chemical, commonly known as lye, spilled at Haviland's Ann Street facility, located west of U.S. 131. Haviland employees were able to contain 150 gallons on site, but the remainder entered the city's storm water drain, Grand Rapids Battalion Chief Bruce Veldkamp said. The incident was reported at 11:15 a.m.

The chemical was 50 percent diluted and the amount entering the water system does not pose a health risk, Veldkamp said.

Police interview suspect in attempted abduction


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Police say they have interviewed the suspect in an attempted abduction.

The incident happened Monday afternoon on the northwest side of Grand Rapids. A 13-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl were walking dogs along Alpine near Sylvia, north of Richmond, when a man in a pickup truck approached them. He started asking them questions and then told them to get into the truck.

The kids ran away and called police.

Tuesday evening, police said the investigation is ongoing and authorities are still determining what they'll do.

GRPD investigating attempted abduction


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Grand Rapids police are trying to find a man they say tried to lure two kids into his vehicle Monday afternoon.

Investigators say that around 2:20 p.m., the man pulled his pickup up to two kids, a 13-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl, who were walking their dogs on the sidewalk near Alpine NW and Sylvia, north of Richmond. He then asked them several questions and told them to get in the truck. The kids ran away and called police.

Police described the suspect as white, 55 to 65 years old, with receding white hair, white spots on his face, dark eyes, and a deep voice. He's heavy-set and wore a white t-shirt. His pickup is an older, white truck with rust along the bottom. It was quiet but dirty, and the bed was empty.

Fulton closed for construction between Seward & Winter


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Crews have shut down Fulton St. between Seward and Winter, just west of downtown Grand Rapids, to work on the railroad line.

The road won't re-open until Thursday morning.

Eastbound drivers must detour from Seward to Lake Michigan Dr. to Mount Vernon.

Westbound drivers cam take Winter to Lake Michigan Dr. back to Seward.


Cherry Health holds back-to-school fair


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Classes start in about a month for most West Michigan schools, and one organization wants help students get a healthy start.

Cherry Health held a back-to-school health fair Friday at its Westside Health Center.

The event brought families from Grand Rapids' West Side together for games, healthy snacks, and even a school supply giveaway. The goal is to help teach children and parents about healthy habits heading into a school year, said Cherry Health's Marsha Hazen, teaching about "things like the importance of brushing your teeth, the importance of ready everyday and just having your well-child checks regularly, and all those preventative health screenings that kids need to have a healthy start to their school year."

Woman to face trial on ethnic intimidation, assault charges


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- A Grand Rapids woman will go to trial on charges including ethnic intimidation.

Police say 56-year-old Judy Syrek threatened three people with a pellet gun and shouted racial insults near her home on Jackson Street. All three were African American.

Syrek appeared in court Friday. She waived her hearing, sending her case directly to trial. Investigators say Syrek was upset because a dog owned by the three soiled her lawn.

Syrek also faces assault charges.