The National Weather Service has issued a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for all of West Michigan except counties along the Michigan-Indiana border, effective from 7 pm Saturday until 6 am Monday. A strong storm will be crossing the Ohio Valley Sunday, bringing snow to West Michigan, with some areas perhaps seeing as much as 10" of accumulation. Snowfall will be heaviest south as opposed to north, so along/south of I-94 is where the highest accumulations are expected. However, Allegan, Barry and Eaton counties could see between 4-7", and between 3 and 5" could fall along a line from Holland to Grand Rapids to Lansing. Additionally, gusty winds will be blowing the snow quite a bit, causing drifting on roads along with poor visibility. Travel is discouraged from late Saturday night through Sunday night.

The National Weather Service has issued a WINTER STORM WATCHfor the following counties in West Michigan, effective from 7 pm Saturday until 10 pm Sunday: Berrien, Cass, St.Joseph, Branch, and Hillsdale. A strong winter storm moving into/across the Ohio Valley will bring periods of heavy snow to the Watch area, beginning late tonight and extending through at least Sunday evening. Forecast models indicate between 7 and 10" of accumulation are possible. Additionally, strong winds will cause blowing and drifting snow. Driving conditions will be hazardous Sunday. Travel is not encouraged.

Stay with Newschannel 3 and for the latest updates.

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Donors come out in droves for first Nat'l Gay Blood Drive

Updated: Friday, July 11, 2014
Donors come out in droves for first Nat'l Gay Blood Drive story image

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Across the country and right in West Michigan, donors are coming out for a blood drive, but some people are banned from taking part.

Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids are two of 60 cities nationwide to host the National Gay Blood Drive.

The event is trying to call attention to the fact that gay and bisexual men are still banned by the government from giving blood.

Friends and family lined up to give blood, and to honor those who are blocked from doing so.

They want to change the ban one pint at a time.

Christine Kiel gave blood for the first time Friday. She got up her courage to do it, just for the National Gay Blood Drive.

"I think the nation is losing out on a great resource; it's unfair they can't," she said.

Kiel is talking about the millions of gay and bisexual men blocked by the FDA from donating blood.

The FDA says men who have sex with men are at a high risk for contracting HIV, which can later develop into AIDS.

"The ban comes out of 1983, when the screening was much different for blood than it is now," said organzier Austin Wines. "It was at the height of the AIDS scare."

Wines says considering blood banks already screen for various diseases, including HIV, it's time to bring donations into the 21st century.

"Judge and determine people's eligibility based on individual risk factors and sexual behavior and not sexual orientation," he said.

The blood drive was held at the local American Red Cross Headquarters.

Everyone on hand is still following the rules from the government, but in a statement, the Red Cross says the ban should be changed.

Instead, donors should be screened on risk factors.

The Red Cross has proposed a 1-year stop to the ban on blood from gay donors.

"It's about saving lives too," Wines said. "Showing the FDA we're ready and willing to contribute."

The blood drive was packed with donors.

While the men can't give blood yet, they say it's about raising awareness and having friends and families donate in their place.

"Discrimination in any other area wouldn't be tolerated," Wines said. "In this circumstance, we could be saving lives."

Organizers also had a petition on hand.

After collecting 100,000 signatures nationwide, they hope to get a response on the issue from President Obama.

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