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Archive | January, 2011

Sand Lake man dies in fire


Firefighters responded to the scene of a tragic house fire on Northland Drive, just south of Sand Lake, Thursday morning, January 20, that killed a man and sent his sister to the hospital.
According to Sgt. Steve Dabkowski, of the Kent County Sheriff Department, the homeowner, Sandra DeVault, 57, came out of her bedroom a little before 7 a.m. to find the living room, where her brother slept, engulfed in flames. She was unable to get him out.
Both Sand Lake and Cedar Springs Fire Departments fought the blaze. Dabkowski said they had initially knocked the fire down, and firefighters were inside, and ambulance workers almost inside, when it caught fire again. The man, William Samalot, 58, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Dabkowski said according to DeVault, her brother was on oxygen and often smoked. “That looks to be the probable cause of the fire,” said Dabkowski.
DeVault was taken to Spectrum Butterworth, where she was being treated for smoke inhalation.
The fire is still under investigation.

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Charges dropped in falling rock death

Audra BrownellA Texas teen will not go to trial in the death last summer of Cedar Springs High School student Audra Brownell.
Brownell, 17, daughter of Scott and Diane Brownell, of Algoma Township, was on a trip with her church youth group when she was struck by a falling rock in Estes Park, Colorado on June 17. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Estes Park Police investigated the incident, and on October 26, the prosecutor in Larimer County, Colorado filed a delinquency petition against a 15-year-old Texas male, alleging that he had recklessly caused the death of another by purposefully dislodging a rock from a cliff, with knowledge that a number of people were on the ground below.
The fifteen-year-old male was a member of a separate church group visiting Estes Park. Initial reports, from witnesses who were with the 15-year-old male, indicated that he intended the rock to fall from the cliff and into the river below, in an attempt to facetiously cause others to believe that he, himself, had fallen into the river. There was no evidence that the fifteen-year-old male intended to cause injury to anyone. The charge reflected reckless behavior.
On January 20, 2011, District Attorney Larry Abrahamson filed a motion asking the Court to dismiss the delinquency petition against the fifteen-year-old male. The prosecutor said it became apparent that the parents of many of the juvenile witnesses were very concerned with re-traumatizing their children by having them testify about this highly emotional event, and that some of them now had different recollections of what was said and what happened. He also said that experts could not determine the exact cause of the rock’s movement.
“After extensive discussion and analysis, it was determined that justice would be best served by the dismissal of the juvenile delinquency petition against the fifteen-year-old male. In our opinion, currently, sufficient competent evidence does not exist that would allow a jury to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, ethically the District Attorney cannot proceed with the prosecution,” he said.
He said he had discussed it with Brownell’s family, and he offered condolences to those affected by this tragic accident.

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Crash kills Cedar Springs man

state police carA 77-year-old Cedar Springs man was killed last week when the car he was driving rear-ended another vehicle in Newaygo County.
According to the Michigan State Police Post in Newaygo, the accident occurred on January 21, at 10:20 p.m. at the intersection of M-82 near Cypress Avenue in Croton Township. Witnesses reported that Raymond Truman, 77, of Cedar Springs, was traveling westbound on M-82 near Cypress Avenue when he rear-ended a full-size van also traveling westbound. Truman was pronounced dead at the scene.
The occupants of the van, Stanley and Nancy Robbins, of Newaygo, were treated and released at the scene.
Truman is survived by his wife, Anna, children, Judith Meihls of Belmont, Joseph Benedict of Pierson, Carolyn Lynema of Sparta, Randall Benedict of Cedar Springs, and Robert Benedict of East Grand Rapids. See a complete obituary on page 7.

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It’s snow much fun!

snow castleIt’s every little girl’s dream is to have a castle of her very own. That dream came true for two girls from Sand Lake last week. Greg Pease, with his daughters, Ashlee and Jewelea (twins, age 7), from Sand Lake made great use of the all the snow we got last week—they made a snow castle using a 10 gallon rubbermaid tote, and had to fill it 76 times! Afterward they sprayed it with red food coloring. A big thank you to their mom, Jamie, for sending in their photo!
Do you have winter fun photos? Send them to us at news@cedarspringspost.com, with a short description, and  you could see them in the paper or online.

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Hometown Hero

Taylor JonasArmy Pvt. Taylor A. Jonas has graduated from the Infantryman One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga. The training consists of Basic Infantry Training and Advanced Individual Training.
During the nine weeks of basic combat training, the soldier received training in drill and ceremonies, weapons employment, map reading, tactics, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid skills, and Army history, core values and traditions. Additional training included development of basic combat skills and battlefield operations and tactics, and experienced use of various weapons and weapons defenses available to the infantry crewman.
The Advanced Individual Training course is designed to train infantry soldiers to perform reconnaissance operations; employ, fire and recover anti-personnel and anti-tank mines; locate and neutralize land mines and operate target and sight equipment; operate and maintain communications equipment and radio networks; construct field firing aids for infantry weapons; and perform infantry combat exercises and dismounted battle drills, which includes survival procedures in a nuclear, biological or chemical contaminated area.
Jonas is the son of William LaRose of Cedar Springs.
The private is a 2009 graduate of Cedar Springs High School.

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Cedar Springs is taking steps to build schools in Uganda

African childA local non-profit organization is gearing up for a fundraising event that will help build schools in communities in Africa that need it.
To: Africa From: U.S. (TAFU), founded by Cedar Springs High School science teacher Mary Fournier, has built a dorm, computer lab, a well, and a water tank since its inception in 2009. It has also provided text books and school supplies for schools and mattresses and medical supplies for medical clinics. The next thing TAFU aims to do is build a school building with three functional classrooms for a school in desperate need of them.
“The school that needs it has over 150 students and just 2 classrooms that are not much bigger than a dorm room,” explained Fournier. “The school is for children ages 3-8. It is one of the only schools in the area that does not turn away students with special needs. They have built temporary classrooms from branches and tarps. These rooms are even smaller than a dorm room and they fit about 30 children each with no desks.”
Fournier said they only need $10,000 more to build a school building (it costs $14,000) and they hope to raise it February 1-14 with their Miles to Uganda challenge. Some students, as well as some staff will be making the effort to cover the distance between Cedar Springs and Uganda, 7582.4 miles. Participants will be finding people to sponsor them and then covering as much distance as they can, anyway they can—running, walking, sledding, shopping etc.
At the High School, Fournier said students are getting involved in different ways. Every t-shirt bought raises $5 for the cause. The girls basketball program will be donating money through the miles it covers on the court at their Feb.8 home game to the cause. “This will total more than 200 miles on that night alone,” she noted.
On Feb. 11, following the home basketball games against Coopersville, there will be a dance at the school where some of the proceeds will go to the cause as well. Each hour that someone dances counts as 3 miles. “Cedar students could easily cover over 500 miles at this dance in only a few hours,” said Fournier.
Fournier said she thinks it’s powerful for our students in Cedar Springs to know that their peers half-way around the globe are fighting for a chance at education while we often take it for granted here.
“We, as Cedar Springs, have an opportunity to reach out and make a world of difference to a few hundred children in Africa,” remarked Fournier. “I will watch them build this building this summer as I travel there. The mark I would love to leave there is a big Red Hawk on the side of the school knowing that the great people of Cedar Springs cared enough to make this happen.”
The public can also become involved. To find out more or to register for the hour-long challenge to be held at a local Greenville fitness club on February 5, check out their website at http://2africafromus.com/agenda.html.

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Belding man arrested for larceny

A Belding man was arrested last week after he illegally removed property from a vacant house southwest of downtown Greenville.
The Montcalm County Sheriff Department reported that a neighbor called and said they saw a man removing items from an unoccupied residence that was for sale at 10061 Fletcher Road. Deputies responded to the scene, and were in the process of interviewing the witness and property owner when the witness saw the suspect’s vehicle drive past the scene. Deputies initiated a traffic stop and identified the suspect as a 46-year-old Belding man.
The man told officers he was in the process of purchasing the home, and that the realtor told him he could begin cleaning up the property. Deputies contacted the realtor in charge of the property, and they refuted his claim. They said no one had made an offer on the property, nor had they given anyone permission to clean it up. The realtor did tell officers that the man had been speaking with them expressing interest in the property, however.
The man was arrested and lodged in the Montcalm County jail for larceny from a building and driving while license suspended. The incident remains under investigation.

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Last vessel traverses Soo Locks

soo-locksShipping season over

DETROIT – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District announced the seasonal closing of the world-famous Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. The Corps has operated and maintained the locks as part of its navigation mission since 1881 and will use the downtime to perform critical winter maintenance on the lock structures.
The season’s final vessel, the tug Invincible, with the integrated barge McKee Sons, a 579-foot vessel, cleared the Poe Lock downbound at 3:42 a.m., Jan. 19. It was loaded with iron ore at Silver Bay, Minn., and bound for Cleveland.
Traffic was up considerably in the 2010 shipping season, with 9,982 passages through the Soo Locks, carrying 74.5 million tons of cargo, compared with 3,098 passages and 53.3 million tons in the 2009 shipping season.
“The Locks are the linchpin of the Great Lakes navigation system, facilitating the transport of important commodities,” said Lt. Col. Michael Derosier, district engineer. “We are proud of our responsibilities to operate and maintain the locks.”
The Poe and MacArthur locks will undergo inspection and routine maintenance of structural, electrical and hydraulic components during the next two months.
The Poe stayed open three days past the traditional closing date of the navigation season, at the request of the shipping industry. The locks are scheduled to re-open March 25.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, maintains a navigation system that includes 95 harbors and the Great Lakes Connecting Channels that join lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie.

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Diversity speaker to perform

Free public performance January 27

Michael Fowlin

Cedar Springs and Sparta High Schools will each host two performances of Michael Fowlin’s one-person show, You Don’t Know Me, Until You Know Me. The program deals with issues of tolerance including racism, personal identity, gender equity, homophobia and related emotional pain. During the performance, Fowlin slips in and out of nine different characters, both male and female from various cultural backgrounds. A free public performance is scheduled on January 27 at Cedar Springs High School Auditorium beginning at 7:00 pm. All of the performances are made possible by grant funding provided by the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and Kent ISD Diversity Initiative.
“Michael Fowlin is a great performer with a wonderful message for all students.  I hope all students walk away with some deeper insight to how they treat each other and a plan for improving the school’s culture,” says Daphne Cattenhead, Cedar Springs District Diversity chairperson.
Fowlin has performed in West Michigan schools since 1999. “We are very excited to give our students this opportunity. We hope many parents and community members will attend the evening performance,” says Assistant Principal April Stevens.
Kent Intermediate Superintendents’ Association launched the Diversity and Healing Racism Initiative in 2001 to help students develop knowledge, skills and attitudes leading to action around issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and open-mindedness. The diversity initiative is important to our schools because we want all students to learn and achieve in an environment in which every student feels comfortable. Performances and events like this are helping their schools get closer to this goal by inviting Fowlin to perform.

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2011 subscription drive

Thank you to the following subscribers

Kim Tompkins
Leona Wainright
Bruce & Cheryl Tacoma
John & Carol Ritzema
Norma Kawka
Richard & Carol Kidder
Scott & Michele Hanmer
Helen Pike

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