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Archive | September, 2009

Fire guts home

N-FireFive fire departments battled a blaze in the wee hours of Friday morning that consumed a Cedar Springs home.

According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Jerry Gross, they were dispatched to the scene of the fire at132 S. Grant, at 3:07 a.m. on Friday, September 11 and were on scene at 3:14 a.m. They had it under control by 4 a.m.

According to neighbors, the home belonged to the Hunter family, and Bobby Hunter Jr. was staying there at the time. He was home at the time of the fire, and escaped with minor burns near his left elbow.

Gross said that construction and additions to the home contributed to the difficulty in extinguishing the fire in the attic area. The cause has not been determined, and is still under investigation.

Courtland, Sand Lake, Solon, and Algoma Township Fire Departments all assisted at the scene.

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Youth fair hosts Edward and Bella

By Hope Cronkright

N-4H-Fair-goatLike Elvis, Edward and Bella from Twilight now have impersonators. Instead of singing on stage in front of an audience, these impersonators are a girl and her beloved goat from a 4-H fair project.

Kelly McCauley, as Bella, and her Alpine Bore goat, now named Edward, made their debut the beginning of August at the Kent County Youth Fair.

Kelly explained how the idea of “Edward” got started. Kelly needed to think of a costume for her and her goat to wear in the goat costume class. She said, “My aunt is obsessed with Twilight and she told me, ‘you should be a vampire.’” Sporting a tux and a dress complete with the cast, Edward and Bella were easily identified by 4H fairgoers.

Edward and Bella received three awards—1st in Breed and Market, and 3rd in showmanship. Edward was a market goat purchased in a livestock auction by the Cedar Springs Family Fare. The store then donated the goat back after the auction, and Kelly takes care of it at their Green Acres Farm (yes, named after the old TV show) in Cedar Springs.

“We work hard all year for fair,” remarked Kelly. “You learn responsibility [by] taking care of the animals.” Kelly became a 4-H explorer at the young age of five and plans to continue 4-H until the age of 19.

Lori Ostrom, Kelly’s mother said, “It’s fun to see kids enjoy their animal. And learning by doing as a 4-H member puts my kids in a spot where I know where my kids are, they are safe, and staying out of trouble.”

Edward the goat has created such a sensation that he now he has 50 fans on Facebook after only three weeks. One fan wrote, “Robert Pattinson has nothing on you.”

If you’d like to see Edward and Bella, they will be visiting a petting zoo in Sparta on September 26 at the Harvest on the Ridge Festival.

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Driver killed in head-on collision on M-57

By Judy Reed

The Michigan State Police are still investigating what may have caused a driver to cross the center line of M-57 Tuesday and crash head-on into a semi-tractor trailer.

The Michigan State Police are still investigating what may have caused a driver to cross the center line of M-57 Tuesday and crash head-on into a semi-tractor trailer.

A family was left fatherless Tuesday after a vehicle and semi-truck crashed head-on in Oakfield Township Tuesday.

Witnesses Joan and Chuck Carpenter were heading westbound on 14 Mile to a doctor’s appointment Tuesday about 12:08 p.m., near Redmond Avenue, when the accident occurred.

“The car in front of me just swerved across the center line and into that truck,” said Chuck, who was visibly shaken by the accident.

The car in front of them, driven by Kevin Fazio, 41, of Rockford, had hit an eastbound semi-tractor trailer hauling diesel fuel. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“It was like something out of a wild movie,” remarked Joan. “The car flew up and spun around. I really thought it was going to hit us.” The car did sideswipe the Carpenter  vehicle, but they were unhurt.

According to Michigan State Police Trooper Mike Hall, the truck driver swerved to the shoulder, where the truck overturned and caught fire in the cab. It also spilled its contents.

Shortly after the accident occurred, a Kent City fireman and a reserve officer stopped and checked on the victims, and helped get the truck driver out of the burning cab. Courtland and Oakfield Fire Departments responded to the scene, and quickly doused the flames. The truck driver escaped with non-life threatening injuries.

*N-Accident Fatal CarTrooper Hall said that an autopsy would be conducted to see if there was any medical condition that would have caused the driver to cross the centerline. He is survived by his wife Cathy, and two children, Nate and Megan.

Assisting Michigan State Police at the scene was the fire departments, Kent County Sheriff’s Department, and the Kent County Road Commission. The road was closed for several hours while a Hazmat company and the fire departments cleaned up the scene. The accident is still under investigation.

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Stolen puppies recovered

N-Stolen-puppies1Seven pit bull puppies are home safe again after being stolen from a Sparta Township home Labor Day weekend.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, Linda and Timothy Driscoll were caring for seven 6-week old pit bull puppies belonging to their son, Shane Griffin, when they were stolen last week. Griffin was out of town, and the puppies were being kept in a chain-link fence behind Griffin’s home on Phelps Avenue, in Sparta Township. The Driscoll’s live next door.

Police said that the puppies had been advertised on Craig’s List for sale. Two individuals from Grand Rapids visited Driscoll’s property Labor Day weekend to look at the puppies. The following day, at 2 a.m., the two came back with two more people from Grand Rapids, and cut through the chain link fence to steal the puppies. The puppies were then taken to one of the suspects’ homes in Grand Rapids.

_N-Stolen-puppies2Investigators recovered all seven puppies and returned them to their owner, as well as the mother, 2-1/2 year-old Reba.

The suspects will be charged with a felony, larceny over $1,000, but the case is still currently under investigation and warrants have not yet been issued for arrests. The puppies are valued at $250 each.

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National POW/MIA recognition Day

N-POW-MIA-2009The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs will host a remembrance ceremony on Friday, Sept. 18 at 1:30 p.m., in the State Capitol Rotunda in Lansing to mark National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

POW/MIA Recognition Day is a day when the nation pauses to remember those U.S. military members and civilians who remain missing from past and current wars, while the search continues each day to find those who are not accounted for. In Michigan we remember Army Reserve Soldier, Sgt. Ahmed K. Altaie, of Ann Arbor, who was listed as missing/captured in Iraq on Oct. 23, 2006, and remains so.

On this solemn day, the POW/MIA flag flies over the White House, the Michigan

Capitol, and veteran’s war memorials nationwide as a pledge to account for the missing U.S. service members. Missing Michigan service members include:  361 from the Korean War, 53 from the Vietnam War, four from the Cold War, and one Soldier from Iraq, Sgt. Altaie.

In addition, 4,400 American military personnel remain missing from WWI; 78,000 from WWII; more than 8,000 from the Korean War; 1,753 from the Vietnam War; 128 from the Cold War; one from the Persian Gulf War; one from the Iraq War; and one from the war in Afghanistan.

The public is welcome to attend the ceremony.

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Kent City teen injured in crash

A Kent City teen was seriously injured last weekend in a crash in Sparta Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, Samuel Limon, 17, was traveling eastbound on 17 Mile about 3 p.m. Sunday September 13, in a Dodge Caravan, when he ran the stop sign at Fruit Ridge Avenue and was struck by a southbound F150 pickup.

Limon was airlifted by AeroMed to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital with neck, back and chest pain, and facial injuries. He was later upgraded to fair condition.

The driver of the pickup, Charles Crandall, 48, of Grand Rapids, was transported to Butterworth Hospital by Rockford Ambulance with arm, leg and stomach pain.

Alcohol was not a factor in the accident, and both were wearing seatbelts.

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Land donated for trail staging area

By Judy Reed

N-Staging-area1The dream of the city of Cedar Springs for a staging area along the White Pine Trail came one step closer last week with the donation of a piece of property to build it on.

Gary and Joanne Gust, of Cedar springs, donated a parcel of property at the end of Maple Street, between Second Street and the White Pine Trail.

The city is grateful for the donation. “This donation will allow the city to construct a parking lot and restrooms for trail users,” explained City Manager Christine Burns.

On the property is an old freight depot used by the GR&I railroad, which will need to be torn down. But there is another railroad connection to this property. Gary’s mother, Clara Gust, is the daughter of George Sillaway, the last railroad station agent in Cedar Springs. George’s post was at the TS&M station, near where the recently closed Speedway sits on Northland Drive, next to Morley Park. He retired in May 1936, just before the last train rolled through Cedar Springs.

In exchange for the property, the Gust family asked that a memorial of some kind, such as a gazebo, be erected on the property to honor Clara Gust. The city is planning a dedication, in honor of Mrs. Gust, but has not yet set a date.

N-Staging-area-Fig-3_WPSA_9Two years ago the city secured a lease with the Department of Natural Resources for the parcel at Maple and the trail. The city currently has about $57,000 put aside for the staging area and has applied for a matching grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund. City officials are excited about the possibilities the grant would offer. The planned restrooms, picnic area, and paved parking area might well entice users to explore what else the city has to offer. If the grant is denied, the $57,000 would only fund a gravel area for trail users. “One way or another we’ll have a staging area, but it might not be elaborate,” noted Burns.

The staging area would complement plans for what is shaping up to be the “new” center of Cedar Springs. In the early days of the town, the area was busy with the railroad, water tower, festival days, games, and other activities. It was also the first area settled in Cedar Springs, and still has one of the original flowing wells, which the city hopes to turn into a fountain. Other plans include a new library, an ampitheatre, skate park, picnic area, restrooms, the staging area with parking, and a walking trail along Cedar Creek.

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Officer Jason Schaefer honored

The Cedar Springs City Council honored Cedar Springs Police Officer Jason Schaefer at its last meeting, on Thursday evening, September 10, when Police Chief Roger Parent presented a letter of appreciation to the officer.

Schaefer was honored for a job well done, relating to the handling of a mobile home fire call.

According to Chief Parent, the fire occurred on September 7, at 10:30 p.m., at 368 S. Allan St. Parent said that he was pleased to see the quick response and how Schaefer took command of the situation, kept making decisions to keep the general public back while investigating the status of the fire, and checked  to see what else could be accomplished before the fire department arrived.

Schaefer reportedly checked inside the home, which was filling with smoke, and ordered people outside. He also ordered family members sitting in a vehicle to move across the street. While inside the home, he realized the smoke was heavy and coming from the rear of the home, so Schaefer went back outside and checked from the rear door. He saw the clothes dryer on fire, with flames shooting from it. He then asked Officer Paul Feutz to assist by bringing a fire extinguisher, and he then put out the fire.

“Fire Chief Jerry Gross informed me that you did one heck of a job in helping keep this fire call to just a minor incident,” wrote Parent. “Your control of the scene and actions are to be commended.”

The letter of appreciation written by Chief Parent will go in Officer Schaefer’s file.

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Cash 4 Kibble Program

Helps Animals at the Humane Society and throughout West Michigan

The Humane Society of Kent County is still collecting pet food in its Cash 4 Kibble program in hopes of placing more animals into loving homes as well as helping to feed pets in need throughout the community.

Cash 4 Kibble allows individuals to bring in donations of new or unopened pet food and receive cash toward their adoption fee. All pet food donations will go to the Humane Society’s Kibble Konnection pet food bank program. For every 20 pounds or more of pet food donated, individuals will receive $25 toward one pet adoption fee at the Humane Society. The maximum discount is $25 per adoption. The program runs until October 1, 2009.

“We distribute around 7,000 pounds of pet food to families in need each month,” said Karen Terpstra, executive director for the Humane Society of Kent County. “We are in desperate need of pet food in order to continue to help these animals. Plus, our adoptions at the Humane Society are low, so in an effort to help both the animals here at our shelter and throughout the community we developed Cash 4 Kibble. It’s a win-win.”

Pet food donations can be dropped off during the Humane Society’s adoption hours Tuesday through Friday from 12pm to 7pm and Saturday from 11am to 4pm. A $25 Cash 4 Kibble coupon will be issued at the time of drop-off and is good until December 1, 2009. Dry dog and cat food are needed the most.

For more information on the Cash 4 Kibble program, please contact Jennifer Self-Aulgur at (616) 791-8066 or visit www.hskc.org. Founded in 1883, the Humane Society of Kent County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the humane treatment and responsible care of animals in West Michigan through education, example, placement and protection.

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Special speaker at Crossfire harvest celebration

David Ogren, International Russian radio and television North American representative to speak

ENT-Speaker at Crossfire dave ogrenEach year Crossfire Ministries celebrates a Harvest Celebration featuring a key international speaker from an effective Missions Ministry.  On Sunday, September 20, Reverend David Ogren will be the special speaker at the 10:00 a.m. worship service, in the conference room adjacent to MVP Health Club at 515 E. Division, Rockford. The public is cordially invited to attend this service.  Special music will be provided by Crossfire’s Worship Team led by Pastor Judy Hemmila. Chili, cornbread, and pie will be served for lunch following the service.

Dave Ogren has pastored four congregations over the past 35 years. He pastored two churches on the West Coast in Washington State and two congregations in the Midwest. Pastor Dave has been married for 37 years to his wife Colleen and is the father to three children and the grandfather of four. While pastoring Philadelphia Church in Seattle, WA, from 1996-2007, Pastor Ogren served as the Mission’s Director for International Russian Radio and Television.  After he resigned his church in 2007, IRR/TV asked him to be the U.S. and Canadian representative for this Mission’s Ministry. He now travels throughout North America casting vision for IRR/TV and ministering to pastors and churches.

International Russian Radio and Television is a non-denominational, modern mission’s organization, which focuses on taking the Gospel to the nations of Russia, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Missions are the heart of God for all people groups in our world today.  This service will help you understand how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is communicated in a different culture.  Pastor Ogren will inspire and challenge you to make your Christian witness relevant in the world in which you live. Don’t miss this opportunity.

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