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Archive | April, 2021

Family loses home in fire

By Judy Reed

A Solon Township family is trying to put their life back together after a fire destroyed their home Monday.

According to Solon Township firefighter Matt Schievink, they were toned out at 11:50 a.m. on Monday, March 29, to a structure fire at 13421 Sunset View, which is off 16 Mile, west of Algoma. It was called in by someone across the street, and they reported that smoke and flames could be seen through the roof.

Schievink said that when he got up to 18 Mile Rd, he could see the smoke.

Multiple area fire departments assisted Solon at the scene, including Cedar Springs, Kent City, Sparta, Algoma, Courtland, and Rockford, who brought in their ladder truck. “We needed the ladder truck because everything was collapsing in the entry and it made it harder to get into,” he explained.

Schievink said that it started in the attached garage and spread from there. The cause was not determined.

The fire departments had cleared the scene by 3 p.m. 

The house was the home of Nick and Naomi Calhoun and their five children, ages 2-14. Those who were home got out safely and there were no injuries.

For those asking about helping the Calhoun family, who lost everything, there are a couple of ways. 

Here is a list of clothing sizes needed for family members:

Girl: 4T

Boy: boys 6-7

Girl: girls 8

Boy: 14-16 pants, youth large shirts

Girl: junior size 6 pants, adult medium shirts

Nick: 36-32 pants and XL shirts

Naomi: Size 12 pants and large shirts

Contact Stacey to make donations at 616-690-3436.

A go fund me page has also been set up if you’d like to donate. Just go to https://gofund.me/ffea768f.

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Odyssey of the mind team takes second at state

Red Hawk Elementary Odyssey of the Mind team. Pictured L to R: Talon Smith, Quentin Bliss, Kaleb Russell, Luke Brown, and Blake Stump.

The Red Hawk Elementary School’s Odyssey of the Mind team showed off their creativity and placed first at their regional competition, and second at their state competition held last weekend. The team will move on to compete at World Finals and are waiting to hear whether they will have an opportunity to compete in-person on Memorial weekend in Orlando, Florida. 

This year’s Michigan Odyssey of the Mind was virtual, which brought on extra problem solving and imagination for the team. We congratulate you on your hard work and dedication and wish you the best of luck at World Finals!

Team members include Blake Stump, Kaleb Russell, Luke Brown, Talon Smith, and Quentin Bliss. The team is coached by Rachel Stump and Kimberly Durkee.

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West Michigan Vaccine clinic expands vaccine availability to all 16 and older

Additional non-clinical volunteers are needed to support this effort

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., March 30, 2021 – The West Michigan Vaccine Clinic at DeVos Place, operated by Kent County, Spectrum Health and Mercy Health in collaboration with Vaccinate West Michigan, is immediately expanding vaccine availability to everyone 16 years and older.

The clinic operates by appointment only. Patients can now self-schedule online. To set up an appointment for someone ages 16 or 17 or for people who need special assistance, please call 833.755.0696. A parent or guardian must accompany minors.

Additionally, non-clinical volunteers are needed to help support this expansion. Volunteers may assist with greeting clinic attendees, providing directional assistance, escorting attendees who need help, sanitizing and organizing supplies, performing temperature checks and more. Volunteers need not have prior healthcare experience.

To begin the volunteer process, community members ages 18 and older are asked to complete a survey with Kent County Emergency Management, which is partnering to assist with volunteer management at the clinic. Go to https://kentcounty.sjc1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bdTpo7wUOj1gKj4.

Additionally, volunteers must not have any felonies or misdemeanors within the last ten years, have a valid driver’s license with no suspensions in the past five years, and not had a fever or symptoms of the COVID-19 virus for at least 14 days prior to volunteering. The survey will include authorization for a routine background check. Upon completion, eligible volunteers will receive a confirmation email and instructions for signing up for available shifts.

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Michigan State Police Rockford Post to move

This weekend, an iconic building in Rockford will close its doors for good.  The Michigan State Police Rockford Post, which was built as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) Post in 1936, will continue its service with a purpose in a new location starting Monday.  Its current location on Northland Drive was the main road going north until the construction of US-131.  Now, the building has more than served its purpose and the post has become part of the Grand Rapids Consolidated Project of the Michigan State Police (MSP).

The new facility, located at 2290 4 Mile Road in Walker, will bring three MSP units together into one building. The Grand Rapids Forensic Science Lab, Sixth District Headquarters, and Grand Rapids Post will now be co-located in a single, modern law enforcement complex, which will increase efficiency and decrease costs associated with maintaining and operating multiple, aging facilities. 

“We are excited to be in a state-of-the-art facility while continuing to provide quality service to the public,” stated F/Lt. Chris McIntire, Commander of the new Grand Rapids Post. “This move better serves our entire post area as it is close to the freeway and provides greater efficiency in providing service to Kent, Ottawa, and Muskegon Counties.”   

Work on the 100,000 square foot facility, constructed by Owen Ames and Kimball Construction Company and Hobbs and Black Architects, began with groundbreaking on August 16, 2018.  The Sixth District Headquarters is currently moving into the facility while the Forensic Science Lab and Computer Crimes Unit are scheduled to move in mid-April.  

No info has been released yet on what the plan is for the old building.

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Spectrum Health, Health Dept. team up on COVID-19 vaccine

Up to 1,000 doses a day can be given at United Lifestyles location

To accommodate more patients getting the COVID-19 vaccine, Spectrum Health United Hospital has moved its vaccination clinic from within the hospital to the Spectrum Health United Lifestyles building at Marketplace Shopping Center.

The first vaccine clinic at the new location occurred Friday with 400 people receiving the vaccine.

Jon Ashford, chief operating officer for Spectrum Health United and Kelsey Hospitals, said the clinic Friday went very smooth.

“Our team did a great job in setting up the clinic,” he said. “We have more room to serve more people and it’s exciting to be able to ramp up distribution now that more people are eligible to receive the vaccine.”

More than 1600 people were scheduled to be vaccinated at the new site March 29 and April 2.

Mid-Michigan District Health Department is partnering with Spectrum Health in pooling its vaccine doses for additional community distribution.

After evaluating vaccination data, especially that in Montcalm and Ionia Counties, health department and hospital leadership collaborated to arrange to get more doses into the community. They were able to arrange for special shipments of Pfizer vaccine to United Hospital from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

“We’re delighted to partner with Spectrum Health and add our doses to make the most community impact,” said Marcus Cheatham, health officer for Mid-Michigan District Health Department. “We want to help get the most people vaccinated in the most efficient way possible.”

“We’re very excited to collaborate with the health department to maximize the impact of our clinics,” Ashford said. 

Beginning April 5, anyone 16 years and older in Michigan can register to receive the vaccine. 

Patients can now self-schedule their vaccination appointment at spectrumhealth.org/covid19/covid-19-vaccine.

The United Lifestyles building at Marketplace Shopping Center is at 701 S. Greenville West Drive, Suite 1 in Greenville.

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Keep digging

Rev. Bobby Gray

Solid Rock Worship Center

11862 Shaner Ave NE, Cedar Springs


Years ago, I heard a pastor rehearse a unique story about an acquaintance. The man had been country-born, country-bred, and, as he said, “When I die, I will be country-dead.” The gentleman had a unique spin on life. He left the farm and pursued higher education and went on to become a very wealthy entrepreneur. Late in life he decided to go back and purchase the old home place. The house his father built many years before was now in disrepair. Weeds and debris covered the yard as well as the entire acreage that had once been the family farm. He hired the finest architects to design the restoration.

While they were busy with the renovation and restoration of the home place, he secured some local well-diggers to re-dig the old shallow well on the property. The man remembered when he was just a small boy that his father had dug this well himself. Through the years of his growing up, it had served the family. Yet, now, it had long since been filled with all kinds of rubbish and rubble. Many years had passed since it had been functional.

After several days away from the work himself, the gentleman revisited the site. The men informed him the well had successfully been re-dug. He went over and looked at the pile of debris tdhey had excavated. He turned to the foreman on the job and said, “Sir, I regret to inform you that the task is not yet completed. You have not actually dug to the bottom yet. Please keep digging.”

He went back to the city for several days and upon his return was again told the well had been re-dug, additional refuse had been removed from the old well. Again, he passed the foreman and said, “Keep digging. You still have not reached the bottom.”

On his third visit back to the home place, the foreman told him, “Sir, we have completely re-dug this well. We simply cannot dig any deeper.” Upon inspection of the dregs last hauled out with this last excavation, the owner nodded his head in agreement.

The foreman, almost in jest, said, “You never looked in the well. You only looked at the trash heap. How do you know we really completed the job this time?”

The old gentleman walked over to the top of the most recent pile of debris and picked up the old rusty and dilapidated remains of a teakettle. He said, “You see this teakettle? I was just a little boy the day my father completed this well and told us it was filling with water. For some mysterious and mischievous reason, I slipped out and threw this teakettle into the well to hear it splash at the bottom. Needless to say, I was in trouble with my mother when she discovered her teakettle was gone. When the digging began, I knew this simple fact: since that teapot was the first thing that fell into the well, it would be the last thing that came out.”

I wonder what the teapot is in our well that needs to be extracted.

Ephesians 4:31-32: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Maybe we have dug several times trying to get “to the bottom of things.” Life has a way of sometimes stepping on you. It has its own rhythm of “catch and release.” Things can get in our spirits. God’s kids sometimes have a way of getting under our skin. If they stay there, they will fester, and then there is trouble. How do we clean out our well? There is nothing to do but keep digging until we get to the teapot. If it does not get in our spirit, it cannot control our destiny.

 The point of the story and verse: Keep digging!

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LINDA KAY VELTING

Linda Kay Velting 74 of Newaygo died Wednesday, March 24, 2021at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital. She was born March 21, 1947 in Grand Rapids, the daughter of James & Jean (Curtiss) McGee. She loved her family and grandchildren and will be missed. Surviving are her husband, Carl whom she married May 11, 1963; children, Carl (Dana) Velting, Brien (Stacey) Velting, Alan Velting, Shane Velting; grandchildren, Carl Jr, Joshua (Tonya), Christopher, Levi (Emilie), Sean, Alexis (Ricky Mohnke), Bryar, Alanah Velting; 7 great-grandchildren; siblings, Ken (Melissa) McGee, Sharon (Rick) Leach, Jim (Sandy) McGee; brother-in-law, Don (Deb) Velting. She was preceded in death by son, David and grandson, Nathan. The family greeted friends Saturday, March 27 until the time of service at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastor Chuck Smith officiating. Interment Blythefield Memory Gardens. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Lung Association 1475 E. 12 Mile Rd. Madison Heights, MI 48071. 

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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ROBERT J. SNOW

Robert J. Snow, age 86 of Ensley Township, Sand Lake, passed away Monday, March 29, 2021 Bob was born to Robert and Marie (Verburg) Snow on July 7, 1934 in Sand Lake. He graduated from Howard City High School in 1952 and married his high school sweetheart February 13, 1954. Bob enjoyed his family, fishing, deer hunting trips, snowmobiling, antique tractor rides and restoration, gardening, bicycling and playing euchre. Surviving are his wife, Jean (Kinney) Snow; children, Donald (Deb) Snow of Belmont and Baptist Lake, Denise Snow of Cedar Springs, James Snow of Grand Ledge, Brian (Gail) Snow of Ensley Center, Diane (Dana) Spence of East Lansing; grandchildren, Jaclyn (Jeremy) DenOuden, Andrew and Hannah Snow, Michele (Anton) Dimovski, Jeffrey Heiss, Patrick and Adam Snow, Claudia, Noel, Owen and Allison Spence; step grandson, Sean O’Dell; great grandchildren, Ramona, Henry and Calvin DenOuden, Landon Dimovski; step-great grandchildren, Bryson and Kaden O’Dell; sisters-in-law, Joan (Kinney) Timmer, Mary Ann (Kinney) Douglass and Garnet (Jerry) (Kinney) Kaiser. Preceded by sister, Carolyn Hartway; sister-in-law, Donna (Kinney) Adams and grandson, Kyle Snow. The family will greet friends Monday, April 5 from 5-8 p.m. at Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home in Cedar Springs Mass of Christian Burial on Tuesday, April 6 at St. Bartholomew Church, Newaygo at 11:00 a.m. with one hour visitation prior to Mass. Interment St. John’s Cemetery in Ensley Township. Memorial contributions to Love INC of Newaygo County.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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Thank you

I would like to thank everyone for all the love. I have received so many cards and gifts that I will treasure everyday. I had two suprise birthday parties, one from my family and the other by Lake Side Restaurant. Turning 100 was a blessing. Thank you so much.

Love,

Virginia Fisher

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DNR celebrates 100 years of conservation success

From restoration and recovery to resiliency and relevancy

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichinger is shown on a hunting walk with his dog. Photo from Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

One hundred years ago Wednesday (March 30), the Michigan Department of Conservation—the precursor to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources—was created as part of a state government reorganization effort by then Gov. Alex Groesbeck.

The legislation approved a century ago combined numerous components of state government into the departments of agriculture, industrial and labor, and conservation.

“That was a time when the conservation movement and the fish and wildlife movement across the country was just kind of getting born,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger.

In Michigan, those early Department of Conservation efforts focused on restoration of damaged landscapes and the recovery of game species and the habitats they live within. That work would characterize much of the new department’s activities over its first 100 years.

Otter River in Baraga County – AGR expedition, large log jam September 15, 1925. Photo from Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Eichinger said the Department of Conservation was created to be a hub where several state functions could be housed, managed and provided for. These activities included Michigan’s state parks program, game and fish law enforcement and the nascent movement toward protecting and conserving fish and wildlife and the places they depend upon.

“We’ve seen that mission expand and grow over the intervening 100 years from just being state parks, just doing some wildlife reintroductions, just doing fish stocking to now having a really expansive menu of areas that we work in,” Eichinger said.

In 1968, the name of the Michigan Department of Conservation was changed to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to reflect widening responsibilities.

Over the decades, several key pieces of legislation worked to aid the department in its mission to remain “committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations.”

In an interview earlier this month on the program Naturally Speaking on WGVU-FM in Grand Rapids, Eichinger discussed the importance of significant wildlife species recoveries achieved in Michigan.

A cover from the November-
December 1965 issue of
Michigan Conservation is shown.
Photo from Michigan Department
of Natural Resources.


Some of these species that have attained recovered status include the Kirtland’s warbler, wild turkey, bald eagle and gray wolf.

“These are really important milestones because it’s sort of proof-positive that when you have the alignment of resources, the alignment of talent and the alignment of partnership, we can be successful in recovering species that were critically endangered and that is not only providing a regulatory framework to provide for their long-term conservation, but actually doing the really hard work on the ground, making sure that those habitats are conserved and that they’re restored,” Eichinger told program host Shelly Irwin.

Eichinger said none those alignment activities happen in a vacuum.

“That’s one of the remarkable things about what we have here in this state, that the story of the Department of Natural Resources is as much a story about the citizen conservationists across our state and throughout our history who have supported our work, stood side-by-side with us as we have worked to recover species, help to identify places the department needs to be pointing effort and pointing work towards,” Eichinger said. “The species that we have stewardship responsibility for are the fortunate beneficiaries of that tremendous partnership with state government, our citizens, federal actors, the non-profit community. It’s a fantastic and important part of the story of conservation.”

Eichinger said the DNR’s mission is necessarily long-term and makes the department “think over the horizon.”

“That’s one of the things I think is really gratifying about this work and I think why the folks who work in this space are so passionate about it—that the resources that we enjoy today in the good condition that they’re in is because of work that was done, 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago,” Eichinger said. “Folks who had long-term vision to say, ‘I might not necessarily see all the fruits of my efforts today, but I know future generations will be able to derive benefit from them.’”

Throughout 2021, the DNR is commemorating and celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the department. Plans for in-person events have been scaled back because of the coronavirus pandemic.

DNR staffers have created a webpage at Michigan.gov/DNRCentennial to link the public to several ways to participate in exploration of the past century of the department’s efforts. As part of this, the DNR has produced 100 ways to celebrate the centennial.

Eichinger said the best way the department and everyone else in Michigan can celebrate the shared success of the past century of conservation commitment is to get outdoors.

“Find a way that you and your loved ones can connect with nature, find a pathway that you’ve never walked down, find your way or make your way to one of our beautiful state parks, one of the tremendous hidden places in our state forest system, wherever it is that you go, find a way and find a reason to get outdoors and share that with special people in your life,” Eichinger said. “There’s no better way to celebrate the work that we’ve all been able to accomplish than by simply getting outdoors and enjoying what we have in this beautiful state.”

For more information on the wide range of outdoor recreation opportunities and natural resource conservation activities the DNR is responsible for, visit Michigan.gov/DNR.

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