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Archive | January, 2010

BREAKING NEWS Fisk found guilty

Bobby Fisk guilty of murder

The jury has found Bobby Fisk guilty of first degree premeditated murder in the murders of Robert and Norma Bean of Howard City. They also found him guilty of kidnapping, home invasion and several other charges.

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Village sues township over petition

By Judy Reed

They share a municipal office building. They built a library together. And they both were caught off guard when two residents of the village of Sand Lake collected signatures and filed a petition with Nelson Township asking for the disincorporation of the village—something neither municipality wants. Now, in a move that could stop the question from being on the ballot, the Village of Sand Lake has filed a lawsuit against Nelson Township and their clerk, Laura Hoffman, contesting the sufficiency of the petition.

Sand Lake Village Manager Kirk Thielke said that according to MCL74.18A(4), the township clerk is required to verify the signatures and determine the sufficiency of the petition. “We’re saying that it’s not enough to consider the signatures. You also must consider whether it’s facially defective,” he said.

The crux of the matter comes in the wording of the last phrase of the petition. “We, the undersigned qualified and registered electors, residents of the Village of Sand Lake, in the County of Kent, State of Michigan, respectfully petition the disincorporation of the Village, thereby transferring all its usages to the Township of Nelson.”

Thielke noted that they couldn’t transfer all usages to the township, which makes the petition defective. “Services such as roads, lights, and water all have a special assessment,” he said.

Village lawyers Jeffrey Sluggett and Steven Stapleton, of Law Weathers, filed the lawsuit in Kent County’s 17th Circuit Court. It says that by law, the streets and other public rights-of-way currently operated and maintained by the Village can only be transferred to the Kent County Road Commission, contrary to the proposition submitted to signers of the petition. It also noted that the city’s water and sewer system could not be transferred to the township, but would need to be transferred to the Kent County Department of Public Works, or discontinued all together. Police duties would also need to transfer to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department.

The lawsuit further states that the proposed election on this issue (in August) would produce irreparable harm to the Village in three ways. One, it would interfere with the Village’s ability to obtain financing and grants for Village operations and capital improvements (negotiations with the U.S. Department of Rural Development); second, debt on various bonds and assessments would be accelerated and applied against Village properties; and third, if the election is held and passed before the court rules, and they find the petition was defective, the disincorporation would need to be reversed through legal and administrative efforts.

Nelson Township Supervisor Glen Armstrong said he has seen the lawsuit, but has not yet heard back from the township attorney on how they should respond to it. “Once I do, I’ll then check with the board and see what they want to do,” said Armstrong.

The Village of Sand Lake is also waiting to see what they will do. “It’s our hope that they are not going to challenge it,” said Thielke. “Rather than contest it let the judge decide.”

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Police seek suspects in home invasion

By Judy Reed

It started out like any other Wednesday morning for a rural Sand Lake family. Mom and Dad got ready for work, kids got ready for school, and Mom dropped them at the bus stop. They were all out of the house by 6:15 a.m.  But when Mom returned to their house in the 5000 block of Grosvenor about 1:30 p.m. to let the dog out, things were anything but normal.

“She saw the windows were broken and stuff sitting outside the garage,” said Yvonne Taylor, the victim’s mother.

According to both Taylor and the police, thieves broke in and not only stole numerous items but vandalized the home as well. They reportedly took an axe to all the bedroom doors and the drywall, smashed a big screen television, tipped over the pool table, smashed pool sticks, wine bottles, and various other items. “They damaged property in every room in the house,” said Lt. Kevin Kelley of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department.

They stole at least 50 items from the home, including Gameboys, a Playstation, Nintendo, DVDs, jewelry, two quads (youth-size ATVs), and at least $4,000 worth of tools. They reportedly gained entry by forcing the door.

Police did receive a description of the suspects from a neighbor who saw a truck but didn’t think much about it at the time. According to the neighbor, it was a dark-colored blue or black pickup without a cap, and was not new. They saw one of the stolen yellow four-wheelers in the bed of the pickup. The suspects are two males, with the driver being described as tall and quite thin, and his accomplice being a little smaller.

Police said no other homes in the vicinity have had a break-in or had their home vandalized like this. But according to Lt. Kelley, everyone should be alert and take precautions. “Daytime home invasions are the most common type,” he said. “Thieves disguise themselves to blend in and try to appear normal. Although they are sometimes observed, they do not appear unusual because it’s during the day. Most people think of it happening at night. But they happen during the day, when people aren’t there,” he explained.

Anyone with information regarding the break-in should call the Kent County Sheriff Department at (616) 632-6100, or Silent Observer at (616-774-2345) or toll free at 1-866-774-2345. You can also text a tip to CRIMES (274637) and start your message with TIP138.

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Go Postal

By Lois Allen

There’s nothing like a quiet stolen moment, a comfortable chair and a downloaded already printed version of your local news.

No computer, no passwords, no pop-up ads; “You’ve won!” Just you and the local newspaper.

It’s old-fashioned. It is, according to experts, outdated and passé.

“Go online!” That’s what those in the newspaper industry say. No more print! It’s just too expensive. Businesses are pulling away to other more “modern” forms of advertising.

You will soon have to have a paypal account to read news on the web. It all sounds pretty complicated.

But, unlike the rest of the crowd, The Cedar Springs Post Newspaper has remained old-fashioned. We haven’t become a chain newspaper covering news for several towns. We haven’t changed our name (we thought about it)  or our image. We strive to maintain the individuality of this community, which is unique to us. It’s something rarely found in the new age of communication. Less news, less print and more ads, that’s the way to make money.

If we become bigger, we are no longer The Cedar Springs Post. If we stop printing local news, it won’t be The Post. If we go strictly web and stop printing actual newspapers, it just wouldn’t be The Post!

Our subscription drive money will ultimately go towards postage costs, but will bring in operating funds during the bleakest month for newspaper advertising, allowing us to stay in the black until what are considered the better months for selling ads. You know, kinda like a government bailout! Only, this time, you get something in return.

So let’s keep the Post what it is, a small town, old-fashioned newspaper. For those of you who want to keep the print, so to speak, send in your subscription during our drive and maybe you’ll get to read that old-fashioned hometown newspaper in a BRAND NEW ROCKER/RECLINER! Your subscription automatically enters you into our drawing for an Ashley Rocker/Recliner provided by Larry’s Northtown Furniture in Greenville (must be over 18 yrs).
Publisher’s reminder: Remember, The Cedar Springs Post is advertiser supported! Thank your local business community for supporting their local newspaper. Hug a Post advertiser today. We couldn’t do it without them.

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Suspect arrested for sending graphic images to cell phone

A Connecticut man was arrested after he sent images of child pornography to the phone of a Howard City resident.

According to Howard City Police Chief Steven DeWitt, the police responded to a call, in October of 2009, from a citizen who reported that they received graphic images on their cell phone from an unknown source. Officer Moeggenberg responded to the call, and found multiple photos that displayed adults in graphic sexual conduct with very young children. The phone was seized by police, and during the first night, the suspect continued to send additional photos while it was in police custody.

Police executed multiple search warrants and subpoenas for phone records in an effort to identify the suspect, and found it led to someone from Connecticut. Howard City Police then began a joint investigation with the Connecticut State Police, and located the suspect. He was arrested, and reportedly admitted his involvement, stating that he had accidentally sent the pictures to the Howard City resident because he sent them to the wrong phone number.

The investigation is continuing in Connecticut, with investigators seizing a large amount of physical evidence and multiple suspects being identified and sought by police.

“This investigation and arrest was a direct result of a concerned citizen getting involved and making the initial report police,” said DeWitt.

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Students rock the Kent

Post photo by J. Reed.

Post photos by J. Reed.

The CSHS Musicians Club kicked off its series of concerts at The Kent Theatre in downtown Cedar Springs on Friday, January 22. They had a pretty good turnout, with about 50 students coming to see featured artists Nick Bonarski, Alexis Kent, and the band Alchemy Anthem. The show, created by Jordan Sagorski and Jesse Franks, was all student-run, including manning the concession stands. The group gets 100 percent of ticket sales, and will get 15 percent of future concessions. All the money will go to upgrade or buy new equipment for the Kent. The next Rock the Kent! Will be Friday, February 26 at 1 p.m. All shows take place on Friday afternoons when the students are released early for staff development days.

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City approves Taser purchase

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs City Council approved the purchase of another Taser for the Cedar Springs Police Department, at its regular meeting January 14. According to Police Chief Roger Parent, this electronic stun gun will be for the reserve officers that police school sports events and other activities.

“The reserves volunteer for free, but they carry the same duty weapons, and get the same training with Tasers that our regular officers do,” explained Parent. He said they’ve never been able to carry a Taser before because there weren’t enough available. The new Taser will cost $827.

Councilor Ronny Merlington questioned the use of Tasers as he has done before, citing the number of cases where individuals have died after being shot with one. But Parent noted that none of those deaths were caused by the Taser itself.

“It has proven to save a lot of officers from injury, and suspects as well,” said Parent.

He had no qualms about the reserves using it. “They handle themselves well, and it will come out of their own funds,” he said. When they are not using it, regular officers will carry the Taser, so that it gets used 365 days a year.

The vote passed 7-1, with Merlington voting no.

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Gas prices down

By Judy Reed

Gas prices in the Cedar Springs and Grand Rapids areas fell for the second week in a row, with the low in Cedar Springs being $2.58 Wednesday. The average price in the Grand Rapids area was $2.59. Last year at this time, the price was about $1.84 in the Grand Rapids area, according to fuelgaugereport.com.

The Energy Information Administration reported the highest prices on the West Coast, with Los Angeles being the highest at $3.05 gallon.
Denver and Colorado had the lowest prices, at $2.53 a gallon Monday.

See charts accompanying story to for the twelve-month trend in gas prices for the U.S. and Michigan, and to see what exactly you are paying for in a gallon of gas.

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Returned missionaries share Haiti stories

Rockford residents knew more about the earthquake in Haiti before missionaries and Haitians did, said Cliff VanKoevering, of the Baptist Haiti Mission (BHM) in Rockford.

Baptist Haiti Mission volunteers took photos of the devastation.

Baptist Haiti Mission volunteers took photos of the devastation.

VanKoevering was with several volunteers with the mission in Haiti during the earthquake and the 6.1 aftershock. At a press conference held Saturday, January 23, VanKoevering, John Bredeweg and George Meppelink, all just returned from the ravaged country, shared their experiences with members of the media.

VanKoevering goes to Haiti every year and performs maintenance work on vehicles for BHM. He was working on a dump truck when the quake hit.

“At first I thought the truck had started running rough,” he said. When he saw the ceiling start to come down, for a moment he thought the truck’s dump unit had risen and was tearing up the building.

“Immediately after the earthquake there was this eerie sense of stillness,” he said. Then came the dust clouds and the pandemonium. Because communications systems were destroyed, no one on the ground in Haiti knew the extent of the quake, or who was safe.

Television crews film Cliff VanKoevering and his daughter, Anna, 10, on Saturday, January 23.

Television crews film Cliff VanKoevering and his daughter, Anna, 10, on Saturday, January 23.

VanKoevering said the worst of what he saw is too graphic to share. What impressed him the most was the resiliency of the Haitians and how quickly the missionaries were able to reorient themselves into relief work.

From one day to the next after the earthquake VanKoevering switched from relatively routine work of fixing vehicles to emergency relief delivery.

At the BMC compound and hospital near Port-au-Prince the structures survived surprisingly well, allowing the missionaries to provide desperately needed medical services.

The resiliency of the Haitian people impressed VanKoevering and others. They said it was amazing to see people who had lost everything—homes, possessions—show up for work every day to offer their help.

VanKoevering said it wasn’t difficult to return to the United States and felt that the window of time when he, Bredeweg and Meppelink could be of service had passed.

“It’s hard for people to relate to what it is like there, how limited are the facilities,” said Ron Sparks, board member of BHM.

VanKoevering said he believes it was time for the next level of relief workers to take his place, whether it be medical help or rebuilding. “Long after Haiti is out of the news, there will be great need,” he said.

VanKoevering himself will return to Haiti. “It gets in your blood,” he said. He and his wife Deb have six children, two adopted from Haiti. He was greatly moved by his experiences during this difficult time. “My plate is very full as far as being able to process this. I don’t know where it will end,” he said. To find out more about BHM visit online at www.bhm.org.

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Girl Scout Cookies make a difference

Annual cookie program started Jan. 23

Girl Scout Cookies are definitely America’s favorite treat, but they are also so much more. Girl Scout Cookies make a difference in the lives of local girls and the community.

The purchase of Girl Scout Cookies supports local Girl Scout troop and council activities, where girls gain valuable skills and knowledge that build self-confidence and help them develop their own personal leadership style.

Across the state, Girl Scout Cookies will be for sale from Saturday, January 23, to Sunday, February 14. Girls will take door-to-door orders and conduct Booth Sales at retail locations. Booth Sales run from Saturday, March 13, to Saturday, May 15. Girl Scout Cookies cost $3.50 per package, and all money raised supports girls in Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore, with a portion of the money going directly to the Girl Scout troop for activities, such as service projects or exciting trips.

When Girl Scouts participate in the annual cookie activity, they are part of the largest girl-led business in the country that generates more than $700 million for girls and communities nationwide. The cookie activity is a unique and valuable way to learn business skills, people skills, money smarts, ethics in action and financial goal setting. Girl Scouts also have the chance to participate in an online goal-setting club, where they set goals, track their progress and e-mail their family and friends to ask them to purchase. Girl Scouts have the option to secure orders with family and friends through social networking as well; however, Girl Scouts cannot collect money online for cookie purchases. Girl Scouts is credited by many businesswomen as the place they learned their early business skills through selling cookies.

The new cookie this year is the Thank U Berry Munch. Great with a cup of your favorite warm beverage, these hearty cookies contain cranberries and white fudge chips and help Girl Scouts show gratitude for their loyal cookie customers in the community. This year’s Girl Scout Cookie varieties will again contain zero grams of trans fat per serving. New this year, the Dulce de Leche, Lemon Chalet Creme, Thank U Berry Munch and Trefoil cookie varieties contain no hydrogenated oil. The eight cookie varieties this year are Do-Si-Dos, Dulce de Leche, Lemon Chalet Cremes, Samoas, Tagalongs, Thank U Berry Munch, Thin Mints and Trefoils.

Making the world a better place is central to the Girl Scout mission. During the cookie activity, Girl Scouts will continue to honor the non-profit organizations, food banks, military and uniformed personnel who are so important to our community through Girl Scouts’ Gift of Caring program. Through this program, customers have the opportunity to purchase a package of cookies to donate to Girl Scouts’ heroes – a perfect solution for those who pass on the tempting treats! Girls learn about the invaluable work of their recipients by taking tours, learning about careers in public service and helping with community service projects.

Please call the Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore service center nearest to you (Grand Rapids Service Center (616) 784-3341), or go to www.gsmists.org for more information about ordering cookies.

For more information on being part of the fun and friendship of Girl Scouting, call the service center nearest you, or visit the council Web site and click on “Join Us.”

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