FLOOD WARNINGS CONTINUE

Flood Warning & Areal Flood Warnings

The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids maintains a FLOOD WARNING for the Muskegon river at Croton Dam indefinitely.  While the river is falling, the latest measurement of 12.4' is still more than 3' above flood stage, which is 9.0'.  

AREAL FLOOD WARNINGS remain for Muskegon, Oceana, Newaygo, Mecosta, and Montcalm counties for county and backroads that are under water.  Driving will be dangerous in some cases.  These warnings expire tonight.   

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Declaring war on the War on Christmas

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 12:38 AM EDT
Declaring war on the War on Christmas story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Tomorrow is the last day of November, and Thanksgiving is behind us, while Christmas is straight ahead.

For a variety of reasons, many don't use the word Christmas as often anymore, opting instead for the Holiday, or simply the Season.

In tonight's Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says please, though, don't blame it on some vast conspiracy.

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We are a people of euphemism's--always have been.

If there's a word that bothers us, we find some other, less bothersome, word or expression to take its place.

I guess the classic is the word "die."

We really don't like it. It's too final. Too cold.

So we say a person has "passed on" or "passed away". For the less sensitive there's always "bought the farm," bit the dust," or bit the big one."

We like "revenue enhancements" over taxes.

And we increasingly use words like "holiday" or "season," or both, instead of Christmas.

But with apologies to the gang over at FOX News, it's time to declare war on their long-running war against what they call the  War on Christmas.

It's good for ratings and profits for some TV people, like Bill O'Reilly and Pat Robertson, to tilt at windmills in the name of Christianity. Lots of people are quick to climb on board.

But the whole storm reeks of being a manufactured conflict. A blizzard in a snow globe.

It's a given that the United States is a predominately Christian nation. 85 to 90 percent. We know that.

But our government is not. Our first amendment—not the third or fifth or ninth—the first, makes it clear that our government will not choose or promote one religion over another.

So, no government-sponsored nativity scenes. No civic Christmas lighting ceremonies, but lots of lighting ceremonies for the holidays. Lots of enhanced "season's greetings."

Its a way of trying to please every religion: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, agnosticism, atheism, and who knows how many others.

They're all here.

And stores that promote "holiday shopping" and "seasonal savings," they're just trying to please everyone, too.
 
And in the process, avoid getting sued by someone who perceives an injustice by a baby in swaddling clothes lying in a manger in a public park.

That's the way it is.

If there's an enemy in all of this, as pogo once noted, it is us.

Christians may have built this treehouse, but the sign below says everyone is welcome—your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

And we never have, and hopefully never will, pull up the ladder based on a newcomer's religion. In fact more religions are represented here than in any country in the world.

That doesn't come without a problem or two.

In the meantime, its up to Christians to celebrate, with joy and conviction, the birth of Jesus Christ.

Who cares if our favorite stores don't cater to the religion most of us were born into.

It's Christmas.

There's magic in the air. Ya just gotta reach out and grab it.

Merry Christmas!

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.
Declaring war on the War on Christmas
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Business News

Last Update on April 17, 2014 07:32 GMT

WORLD MARKETS

HONG KONG (AP) -- Asian stock markets were mostly lower today, with Japan's Nikkei leading the retreat as investors locked in profits after a strong rally.

Profit taking set in following a sharp rise in Tokyo the day before and as comments from the country's central bank governor left investors unimpressed.

Other regional benchmarks were unable to find direction in spite of optimism in the U.S., where major benchmarks closed at least 1 percent higher, and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank would continue to provide stimulus for the job market.

Trading in some markets such as Hong Kong and Australia was subdued ahead of a long weekend.

Benchmark crude oil rose above $104 a barrel.

The dollar slipped against the euro and the yen.

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

Major business and economic reports scheduled today

WASHINGTON -- Investors today will be taking a close look at the government's weekly jobless claims report.

Also due out is Freddie Mac's weekly mortgage rate report.

There are a slew of companies set to report their quarterly financial results today. All results will be released before the bell.

Among the major companies reporting are industrial giants DuPont and General Electric.

Two big investment banks, Goldman Sachs; and Morgan Stanley, will report earnings.

Also set to release quarterly results today are PepsiCo, Philip Morris International, Union Pacific, Mattel, UnitedHealth and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

FAST TRADING-SUBPOENAS

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- An official familiar with the investigation says the New York Attorney General's Office has issued subpoenas to six firms and sent a letter to another for details about split-second stock trading and any unfair advantages.

The official tells The Associated Press the subpoenas went last week to trading firms including Chicago-based Jump Trading LLC and Chopper Trading LLC and Tower Research Capital in New York. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to publicly discuss the subpoenas.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has said advantages in computer hardware and placement enable some traders to get millisecond timing advances on trades.

His office, with New York authority to investigate securities fraud, is seeking details about trading strategies and special arrangements with trading venues.

DISNEY-SECURITIES FRAUD

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A man will plead guilty to securities fraud and pay regulators around $801,000 for using insider information to profit from Disney's $4 billion acquisition of Marvel Entertainment in 2009.

According to the deal filed in Los Angeles federal court Wednesday, Toby Scammell learned from his then-girlfriend, a Disney corporate strategy employee, that Disney would acquire a well-known company she didn't name.

Scammell learned from his consulting company that Disney had previously wanted to acquire Marvel. He bought call options in Marvel stock for around $5,500, and later sold them for $192,000 in profit.

Last month, Scammell agreed to settle a parallel civil case and pay $801,000 to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which will be credited to his fine in the criminal case. He also faces prison time.

VOLKSWAGEN-UNION

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The fight over whether workers at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee can unionize is moving to Washington.

Two House Democrats said Wednesday they will investigate whether Republicans in that state may have violated "or otherwise run afoul" of any federal laws ahead of a February vote in which workers narrowly opted against joining the United Auto Workers.

Congressmen George Miller of California and John Tierney of Massachusetts say they want to know if any Tennessee Republicans attached any inappropriate strings to the state's $300 million incentive package to get VW to expand the Chattanooga plant.

The union claims the election was tainted by Republicans including U.S. Sen. Bob Corker.

Corker and others have denied doing anything inappropriate.

A hearing on the UAW's complaint is set for Monday in Chattanooga.

YAHOO SEVERANCE

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Yahoo's recently fired chief operating officer, Henrique de Castro, left the Internet company with a severance package of $58 million even though he lasted just 15 months on the job.

The disclosure in a regulatory filing may lead to more second-guessing of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's decision to hire de Castro as her second-in-command in October 2012.

Mayer dumped de Castro in January after concluding he wasn't executing on her plan for reviving Yahoo's lackluster ad growth. De Castro had been in charge of ad sales.

Yahoo Inc. previously disclosed de Castro would be getting a severance package, but didn't reveal the amount until Wednesday.

The company's board said most of the severance stemmed from the costs of luring de Castro from his previous job at Google Inc.

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