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Archive | August, 2009

Truckload of footwear stolen from Wolverine

Someone is on the run with a semi trailer full of footwear.

This container is similar to the one stolen on Monday from Wolverine World Wide in Howard City.

This container is similar to the one stolen on Monday from Wolverine World Wide in Howard City.

The Howard City Police Department and U.S. Customs officials are investigating the theft of a semi trailer loaded with footwear from the Wolverine World Wide Distribution Center, located at 214 E. Washburn St. in Howard City. Police believe the theft occurred in the early morning hours of Monday, August 24.

A 40-foot long shipping container mounted to a flat bed semi trailer chassis (a type of shipping container that is used universally on cargo ships, trains, and semi trailers) was stolen from the loading dock area of the business. They have not determined how much cargo was in the container at the time of the theft.

The container is grey, with the company name and logo of “MAERSK” on it. It has an Oregon vehicle registration of HQ76192. The suspects brought their own semi truck to remove the trailer from the scene.

Police are requesting any potential witnesses, particularly from an adjacent residential neighborhood, to contact the Howard City Police Department 231-937-4311. They are particularly interested in any bright lights or unusual activity in the loading dock area.

If any trailer similar to the above description is observed unattended or seems suspicious, please contact your local law enforcement.

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Man Sentenced for attempted abduction

The Solon Township man who tried to abduct a 19-year-old Sparta woman last January could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Leon Howard Anderson, 49, was sentenced August 20 to a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 90 years for assault with intent to commit a felony.

Leon Anderson

Leon Anderson

According to police, Anderson pulled up alongside the woman while she was walking in the village of Sparta and asked for directions. When she pointed in another direction and started to answer him, he jumped from the truck and assaulted her when she wouldn’t get into the truck. Another vehicle with three passengers pulled up to the intersection and witnessed the attack. When one of them opened their car door, Anderson jumped back in his truck and fled, driving past the stopped vehicle. They got his license plate number and called police. Police tracked the license plate number to a truck owned by Anderson, but the license plate was reportedly missing.

Anderson pleaded innocent to the charges, and testified that he was with family at the time of the assault. His parents also testified on his behalf. He was convicted last month.

Anderson served time previously on two counts of 2nd degree attempted criminal sexual conduct, and one count of criminal sexual conduct 3rd degree, for an offense in 1993.

Judge Mark Trusock exceeded the sentencing guidelines (3-13 years) for Anderson’s crime because he reportedly believed that the sentencing guidelines didn’t take into account Anderson’s predilection for assaulting young girls and didn’t make provision for his past crimes.

Besides the prison term, Anderson was assessed $700 in court costs, $60 for crime victim rights, and the minimum state fee of $68. He was also given credit for 223 days served.

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New rescue truck for Spencer fire

N-Spencer-rescue-vehicleSpencer Township Fire Department is not superstitious. Instead, they feel lucky to have gotten a new rescue vehicle, no matter what the number is.

“This new Rescue vehicle is #13, but we are sure this number will save someone’s life one day and make it their new lucky number,” said Spencer Chief Alan Wright.

He explained that Rescue 13 is not replacing any truck. “It’s just adding to our fleet,” he said.

Wright said that Rescue 13 would also be used for those rainy, cold or hot days to get patients out of the elements, and will also serve as a rehabilitation place for the fire fighters.

The rig, which was donated by a local ambulance service, is the result of several entities working together, and Wright is thankful to them all. Fire personnel put in many volunteer hours painting and putting it together. “A special thanks goes out to Bob Kijawski for putting in the most volunteer hours,” said Wright.

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Rain failed to dampen Danish festivities

By Sarah Read

Post photo by S. Read

Post photo by S. Read

Scattered showers may have slowed down a few of the activities for the 45th Annual Danish Festival in Greenville, but the crowds refused to let a little rain spoil their fun last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. An arts and crafts fair, marketplace, various parades and bed race, games, thrill of the grill contest, theater performances and a family fun day with pony, camel and elephant rides were just a handful of the festivities that filled the three-day schedule celebrating Greenville’s Danish heritage. The Grand Dansk Parade, which took place on Saturday, August 22 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. featured countless floats, multiple marching bands, local and greater area veterans, classic car clubs, a dozen different clowns throughout, along with all surrounding area queens and courts in addition to the 2009 Danish Festival Queen, Chelsea Kreiner. The theme for this year’s festival was Hans Christian Andersen’s “Thumbelina.” Perfomances of the children’s fairy tale story were held at the Greenville Community Center. Festival officials were reportedly pleased with the outcome and are looking forward to next year’s event, held the third full weekend of August.

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Punch n’ Company rocks the house


Post photo by J. Reed

A wet, windy day threatened to ruin the last concert in the park of the summer, but some alternate plans saved the day for both young and old alike.

The Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation had a fun, family-friendly event scheduled in Morley Park last Thursday, August 20, but a little rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm. About 3:00 p.m., Director Amanda Gerhardt made the decision to hold the evening event in the Cedar Springs Middle School. “It had been raining all morning and was still black to the west at that time. We couldn’t risk it. The bounce houses may not have withstood the 20 mph winds either,” she explained.

They got the word out through Facebook, email, telephone, and their website. They still had over 250 people in attendance.

Post photo by P. Crystal

Post photo by P. Crystal

Kids enjoyed looking at and sitting in the new Cedar Springs Fire truck, jumping in three bounce houses and listening to Dilly songs with Aaron Vanderwege. They also received free water bottles and toys.

Adults enjoyed the music of Punch n’ Company, with American Idol contestant Jake Mellema, free popcorn, and a myriad of door prizes given out by local businesses. The Red Flannel Queen and court were on hand to help hand out tickets and door prizes. They also danced with the band. The Cedar Springs Police Department was also on hand.

According to Gerhardt, when Punch n’ Company took the stage, the place started rocking. “We had people dancing and saying it was the best band to date,” remarked Gerhardt. “We are already planning on having them return in 2010.”

She estimated that over 1,000 people attended this summer’s concert series, and is looking forward to 2010.

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Reading rocks in Rockford

N-Reading-rocksRockford Mayor Janiece Rogers and Rockford Rotary President Ramona Hinton review the Mayors proclamation for “Reading Rocks in Rockford” reading festival on Saturday, Aug 29. Mayor Rogers, dressed as a Seuss’s StarBellied Sneetch, will lead the storybook character parade from city hall to the library up Bridge Street to Authors Row in Garden Park. Garden Park will feature over 20 Michigan Authors and a center stage of celebrity authors reading from their books. There are many activities and lots of freebies around town to promote reading and use of Krause Memorial Library. Register with Krause Memorial Library to have breakfast with the authors.

For more information call Ramona Hinton at 866 1517.

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Two gas stations robbed in Montcalm

The Montcalm County Sheriff Department is investigating robberies at two different gas stations in the county last week.

The first one occurred Tuesday, August 18, about 2:06 a.m. at the BP Gas station at 7990 South Sheridan Road in Fairplain Township. A white female reportedly entered the store wearing a hoodie and sunglasses, and threatened the cashier. Although no weapon was brandished, the cashier did see a weapon in the pocket of the suspect, and described it as having a black handle with screws. The robber received an undetermined amount of cash and fled through the front door. The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Rex tracked the suspect to a business lot just north of the scene, where the scent was lost.

The suspect is described as a white female, with a small frame, five-foot three-inches to five-foot five-inches in height, wearing a red hoodie and jeans.

The second robbery occurred two days later, August 20, at 3:38 a.m., at the Admiral Gas station, 6990 S. Greenville Road, in Eureka Township. A male wearing a ski mask confronted the clerk while she was outside the store. The robber took her by the arm and led her into the store behind the counter, to the cash register, which she opened. The clerk was told to stay down the floor and the robber took the money from the register. The robber then fled in an unknown direction. The clerk did not see a weapon. Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Rex was called to the scene but was unable to find a track.

The robber is described as a male, approximately five-foot 9-inches, slender build, wearing a ski mask, light-colored long sleeve shirt and gloves.
Anyone with info on either of these crimes should call the Sheriff Department at 989-831-7593.

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A teacher for four years and a friend for a lifetime

By Hope Cronkright

Pulling up in a 1937 Chevrolet Coupe, Ray Rynberg was welcomed to his first day of teaching at Cedar Springs High School by a large group of students sitting on a hill, waiting for school to begin.

He describes his feelings about that first day in 1939 as apprehensive. “[I was] wondering if I was going to be accepted,” he remembered. Seventy years later, at the age of ninety-two, he looks back at his experiences as a teacher with “a lot of good things to reminisce about.”

It turned out that Rynberg had nothing to worry about. According to his students, he made a lasting impact on them—especially the 35 in the class of 1942. Richard Goodell, 85, one of Rynberg’s history students, noted how close the class is to Rynberg. “He has always been there for us,” explained Goodell. He added that the class is also close to each other. “This class has a wonderful relationship—a camaraderie.”

It all started when, by class majority vote, Rynberg became class advisor during their sophomore, junior, and senior years. The class dedicated their yearbook to him saying, “We, the senior class of 1942, respectfully dedicate this, our annual, to Mr. Ray Rynberg, whose perseverance, friendship, and sense of leadership, have contributed much to the success of our class during the three years he has been our sponsor.”

It was only a few years after that Rynberg starting teaching history at Hilltop, although he had a major in Biology and Physical Education.

Since that time, he has attended the Class of 1942’s high school reunion every year. This year, Rynberg walked in to the 67th reunion of the class to see a sign saying “Thank you Mr. Ray Rynberg -Your Kids.”

“He always called us his kids,” explained Goodell.

“It was like a big family,” said Rynberg.

Before coming to Cedar Springs in 1939, Ray Rynberg lived in Grand Rapids.  He attended the University of Michigan and Central Michigan after graduating from Grand Rapids Union High School.

Besides teaching, Mr. Rynberg coached basketball, football, track and baseball. In 1940, he took his basketball team to the state semi-finals.

In 1953, he became the principal of Grant High School while coaching football there. During his career as a coach at Grant, he had seven undefeated championships. Today, a football stadium stands in Grant named in Rynberg’s honor.

But it’s the students he met at Hilltop that hold a special place in his heart. “I have scrapbooks [and] medals. It doesn’t mean a thing compared to the relationships [I have]. I have made friends with them,” he remarked.

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Sludge spill at Cedarfield

By Judy Reed

Russ Johnson, of Infrastructure Alternatives, reported to the Post that there was a 500-gallon spill last week of stabilized sludge out of a holding tank at Cedarfield Community, 3592 17 Mile Road, just west of US131. The company manages the community’s wastewater treatment system.

Johnson said the spill happened last Wednesday, August 19, in the fenced in area of the wastewater plant, and posed no threat. “There was no risk to groundwater or recreational streams,” emphasized Johnson. “It just makes your grass greener.”

He explained that the stabilized sludge is hauled away once a year in August by Synagro, and is then used to fertilize farmland. “We were hoping to get all the sludge into the tank before they hauled it away, and must have miscalculated how much it would hold,” he said.

Ryan’s Municipal Cleaning came in to clean up the spill, and what was left was limed.

Johnson said that they would be taking precautions to be sure that this type of incident would never happen again. “If we are transferring sludge, we’ll keep someone there the whole time to monitor it,” he said.

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Stepped up drunk driving patrols honor victims

Muskegon woman urges drivers to “think before they drink”

It has been nearly 12 years since Dianna Ockaski’s life was changed after a crash with a drunk driver. The Muskegon woman was on her way to work in the early morning when a drunk driver, traveling about 55 mph, broadsided her vehicle and trapped her inside.

It took firefighters 45 minutes to free her from the vehicle, and when they did, she was taken into emergency surgery to remove a large piece of glass from her eye and reconstruct the eye and socket. She received more than 110 stitches in her face and suffered soft tissue damage to her ribs and severe bruising over most of her body.

Although the crash occurred over a decade ago, she still struggles daily with eye issues, including infection and discomfort. “I would never want anyone to go through what I’ve been through,”Ockaski said. “I want people to think before they drink and get in the car. This is avoidable.”

Ockaski and five other victims and their families across the state are being recognized and remembered as officers in West Michigan and across the state step up drunk driving patrols leading up to Labor Day. They started the patrols last Friday, August 21.

“More people are injured and killed in drunk driving crashes in August than in any other month,” Office of Highway Safety Planning Director Michael L. Prince said. “Everyone should be aware of the extra patrols and remember to plan ahead and never drive drunk.”

OHSP is coordinating the Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. crackdown by administering federal traffic safety funds to more than 300 agencies in 54 counties, including Kent, Montcalm, Newaygo, Muskegon and others. The Cedar Springs Police Department will be one of the agencies taking part in the crackdown, which runs Aug. 21 through September 7. According to Chief Roger Parent, they will have at least one extra patrol out for the program. “We’ll look for legal reasons to stop vehicles, and will look for alcohol-impaired drivers. We’ll also encourage seat-belt use,” he noted.

About 35 percent of all traffic fatalities in Michigan involve alcohol and/or drugs, including four during last year’s Labor Day weekend.

A first-time drunk driving conviction carries heavy penalties, including up to 93 days in jail, up to a $500 fine, up to 360 hours of community service, six points on a driver’s license, and up to 180 days license suspension.

Convicted drunk drivers will be subject to a $1,000 fee for two consecutive years, for a total of $2,000 in additional costs. Anyone who refuses a breath test the first time is given an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension.

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Serving in Steeler country

Youth from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church recently returned from a mission trip to Pennsylvania. Back row (L to R): Sue Elenbaas, Carrie Kiaunis, Pastor Mark Love, Eric Chisholm, Deb Petersen, Aaron Elenbaas, Patti Chaney, Gabe Westveld, Eric Simonton, Kyle Chaney. Front row (L to R): Andrew Elenbaas, Andee Petersen, Elyse Sholtis, Angela Barnes and Anna Ruark.

Youth from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church recently returned from a mission trip to Pennsylvania. Back row (L to R): Sue Elenbaas, Carrie Kiaunis, Pastor Mark Love, Eric Chisholm, Deb Petersen, Aaron Elenbaas, Patti Chaney, Gabe Westveld, Eric Simonton, Kyle Chaney. Front row (L to R): Andrew Elenbaas, Andee Petersen, Elyse Sholtis, Angela Barnes and Anna Ruark.

As the summer is winding down, a group of high school students from Rockford and Cedar Springs chose a selfless way to spend one week of it. The group of nine students and five adults from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church went on a mission trip to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. Beaver Falls was once a booming steel town, thanks to two large steel mills that the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie built over 150 years ago. The steel mills closed in the 1980s and the town has not recovered. At the invitation of a local congregation to help this struggling community, the senior youth of St. Peter’s chose to go to Beaver Falls and “Serve the Lord in Steeler Country” (the theme for this mission trip).

The group left on July 12, and teamed up with other youth groups from Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana to assist Mount Olive Evangelical Lutheran Church. The church lined up several projects within the community. One team worked at removing overgrown shrubs and brush that completely covered steps that connected two different level streets. This eliminated an extra mile of walking required to get to the other street. Many locals commented that they never knew those steps were there. Another group worked on cleaning up a vacant lot that had become dangerous with broken glass, metal shards, and overgrown vegetation that made it prime for drug activities.

The group from St. Peter’s was split up to handle four different jobs through the week.  One team helped at the local fire station with whatever they needed done in preparation for the annual carnival they put on as their major fundraiser. The kids washed the fire trucks so they would look nice for the parade on Wednesday, and helped prepare the carnival grounds by picking up and emptying trash. They also kept the chili fries coming from the fire station down to the carnival. For all their hard work, the firemen asked Eric Chisholm, Andee Petersen, Anna Ruark, Elyse Sholtis and Gabe Westveld to ride in the fire truck during the parade. They had a great time, especially seeing all those smiling faces on both the children and adults!

A second team spent the entire week at the Carnegie Free Library. The library is over 100 years old and was the first free library that Andrew Carnegie paid for. With direction and help from Pastor Love and Sue Elenbaas, this team worked on repairing and painting the damaged walls in the computer room and hallways. This was a tall order (working on 12 foot walls), but Kyle Chaney climbed the high ladders and handled the washing and painting with ease and laughter. Andrew Elenbaas worked with Pastor Love on the wall repairs and trimming the areas with paint. Sue Elenbaas was our paint chief and spotter. If a spot was missed, she saw it!

A third team painted a storage barn at a local park and cleaned up two local parks. The parks were pretty well maintained, just needed broken glass picked-up, shrubs trimmed and weeds pulled. This left plenty of time to paint the storage barn, which Aaron Elenbaas, with an eye for detail, made look great.

The third team from St. Peter’s helped organize a store run by Tiger Pause Youth Ministry. This organization helps disadvantaged youth in the area with a six-week summer camp and many other activities. Their “thrift store,” where donations can be dropped off and customers can come in and get what they need (for a donation) has been a blessing to the community. One customer commented how grateful she was for this store because the Goodwill and Salvation Army stores in town were too expensive for her to shop at. The store was disorganized, however, with items stacked on top of each other, and many things still in boxes. The team from St. Peter’s and other teams worked at cleaning up and organizing the contents of the store. On Friday this team went to the mini-golf (that the Tiger Pause organization had built for the community) and painted the rails and the back of billboards that displayed drawings and bible verses. They were excited to end their work at the mini-golf course they had admired all week, and enjoyed some ice cream at the Dairy Queen next to it.

The host of this mission trip, Mount Olive Lutheran Church, did a great job with offering great meals, devotions, and nightly entertainment. All the volunteers went to a local park for outdoor activities, took a boat tour of downtown Pittsburgh, had a pool party, went to Kennywood Amusement Park and enjoyed a concert by the Christian group “Third from First.”

The Servants in Steeler Country mission trip was a great success! The nine youth and five adults gave their time and abilities to help others. The team’s spiritual growth through daily devotionals and just lending an ear to listen cannot be measured.

The youth at St. Peter’s would like to thank the congregation and the community for all their support for this mission trip. They are already looking forward to next years mission trip and are in full swing with activities and fundraisers to help them get there (car washes, Community Sale, Halo tournament and many more).  Please visit their website at www.stpetersrockford.org to get more information on their latest activities.

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The “Loving Lizzie” benefit a success

By Tammy Francisco
Lizzie enjoyed visiting her friends and family at the benefit.

Lizzie enjoyed visiting her friends and family at the benefit.

Caring community members came out in droves to the Loving Lizzie benefit held August 4 at Creative Technologies Academy. “There were almost 1,000 people that attended the benefit, raising over $13,000,” said Steve Mogdis. For those who attended and planned the benefit, it was unreal how the community came out and embraced the August Family, lifting them up with their support.

The August Family was able to attend the benefit for a short time, but Lizzie had to wear a mask for protection. When they pulled into the parking lot they were overcome with emotion, upon seeing the people who came together that evening for them.

Lizzie made it through her first round of chemo and is doing great. She has started on the second one, which should be complete by the end of this week. Please continue to keep her in your prayers.

None of this would have been possible without the support of local residents, businesses, and the media. It was a heartwarming event that brought this close-knit community even closer together.

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