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Meet the Hawks: JaVon Welch

West Michigan Hawks linebacker JaVon Welch

West Michigan Hawks linebacker JaVon Welch

By Shae Brophy

Meet West Michigan Hawks linebacker JaVon Welch. A versatile athlete, Welch played numerous sports in high school, including basketball, football, track and field, swimming, and bowling. After high school at Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills, Welch went on to play college football at Valparaiso University. Upon the conclusion of his time at Valparaiso, he jumped on the opportunity to join the semi-pro ranks.

After playing with the Lakeshore Cougars last season, a season in which he was voted into the All-Star game and named as the All-Star Game MVP, he decided to make his way over to Cedar Springs to play with the Hawks.

Welch, whose biggest idols are his father Kevin Welch and brothers Keyven Welch and Amir Harris-Welch, also has some coaching experience in semi-pro ranks. He spent a full season as a defensive coordinator.

When Welch isn’t on the field, he enjoys hunting and fishing with his father and brothers.

When asked why he wanted to come to Cedar Springs and be a member of the Hawks organization he said, “I played a tournament game with them, and I noticed what they did off the field. I was very impressed. I wanted in!”

Head coach/owner David Lange is glad that Welch is on his side, and not an opponent. “JaVon is a proven leader. He shows it time and time again. He is an outstanding linebacker, and is the kind of hitter that make running backs think twice before running to his side.”

You can see Welch and the Hawks in action again a week from Saturday at Skinner Field when they host the Kalamazoo Grizzlies at Skinner Field. We hope to see you there!

Posted in SportsComments (0)

Sports physicals for 2016-17 school year available in June

Sports physicals for the 2016-17 school year will be held on Thursday, June 16, 2016 and Wednesday, August 3, 2016 at Cherry Health (behind Red Hawk Elementary) from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Call ahead for an appointment at 616-696-3470.

Students must bring a signed parental consent form and an MHSAA physical card to the appointment. Forms are available in the High School Athletic Office or online at http://highschool.csredhawks.org/Athletics/index.html.

Please remember to complete the medical history section of the physical card before the student’s appointment. Parents are encouraged to attend the visit.

Services are provided regardless of ability to pay and no money is needed at the time of visit. However, services may be billed to insurance when possible, so please have your insurance or Medicaid card available.

Completed physical forms are required.

Per MHSAA, all 2016-17 athletes must have a physical on file dated after April 15, 2016.

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Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche: Lead in wildlife 

Ranger Steve Mueller

Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller

The U.S. Army is going with green ammunition. This summer soldiers in Afghanistan began using a new “green” bullet that experts say is more effective than the traditional lead round. The green bullet will eliminate up to 2,000 tons of lead from the manufacturing process annually.

Lead hazards in the environment have been known for over a century. Alternatives for lead shot are known. Questions remain regarding the impact on wildlife. Some hunters are concerned that more wildlife will be injured and escape if alternates are used. For the past 40 years, I have heard hunters state that steel shot is not as lethal so we should not use it. Research conducted at Shiawassee River State Game Area in 1973 and other locations across the US showed no significant statistical difference in crippling loss between steel and lead shot. People’s perceptions often do not match verifiable research studies.

The distance at which waterfowl are shot is important. Shooting birds from too far away results in escape of injured birds. It is an unfortunate reality that there will be injured wildlife that are not killed for various reasons.

In 1977, steel was required in the Mississippi flyway for waterfowl hunting and that includes Michigan. Lead is still permitted for upland game hunting. This is not the place to list decades of research papers. For quick concise information I suggest reviewing the Michigan DNR website.

Embryonic exposure to lead can affect avian immune systems, brain development, and hatchability. Early post-hatch exposure can affect behaviors critical to survival including brain development, and growth. In adult birds, the effects of lead exposure include anemia with potential detriment to migration capability, increased mortality due to environmental temperature stress, immunotoxicity, behavioral deficits, and reduced egg production.

The banning of lead shot for waterfowl hunting in wetlands 40 years ago has likely reduced lead levels in some areas. Lead poisoning in animals continues. Animals ingest it thinking pellets are seeds, nuts, or eat it when scavenging on carcasses. It is ingested as stones to grind food in their gizzard.

Similar concerns have made headlines recently regarding lead exposure to people in Flint’s water and how it affects people’s health. For some reason it has been ok to knowingly inflict this on wildlife but not people.

What goes around comes around and I suspect what we do to life in nature niches will return to impact our families. We want to believe we are isolated from damaging substances we put in to the environment but we are not. Whether it is lead, excessive carbon, DDT, oil in drain sewers, or toilet boil cleaners, we are not isolated.

Three studies, as example, estimated densities of 11,000 lead pellets per acre in a field managed for dove hunting in Indiana; the Washington Fish and Wildlife Nontoxic Shot Working Group in 2001 estimated densities of 188,000 to 344,000 pellets per acre at two pheasant release sites in Washington; and over 122,000 pellets per acre were in uncultivated fields near duck blinds in Missouri.

Hunting and fishing gear containing lead could economically be replaced with non-toxic alternatives. I still have lead sinkers in my tackle box but I do not use them. They were my grandfather’s. I do not think my grandfather understood the dangers from lead. I didn’t, as a youngster. I bit on lead split-sinkers to attach them to my fishing line. My dad had a lead rod used for soldering. I demonstrated my strength by showing how I could bend a “steel” rod like superman. My hands probably went in my mouth afterwards. What damage was done?

Once lead reaches toxic levels in tissues, muscle paralysis and associated complications result in death in eagles, loons, ducks, geese, swans or others that ingested it. The Common Loon on display at Howard Christensen Nature Center washed into the shore of Lake Michigan. A DNR autopsy showed it died from lead pellet ingestion. I would rather see it live in a healthy wild world than be displayed as a casualty of lead we put in the environment.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

Posted in Ranger Steve's Nature NicheComments (0)

State lab begins testing for Zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses

Earlier this month, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services state laboratory began conducting diagnostic testing for Zika, dengue and chikungunya, which are mosquito-borne viruses.

This represents an expanded effort by the department to identify and monitor new cases of these viruses in Michigan travelers returning from areas where the viruses are currently circulating. These testing services are being provided to healthcare providers in Michigan through the department’s Bureau of Laboratories. It builds on the current testing the Bureau conducts for West Nile, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis and La Crosse encephalitis viruses.

Michigan is considered “low risk” for mosquito transmission of Zika, dengue, and chikungunya virus, as the mosquitoes that spread the diseases are not present in the state. Zika is a virus that is newly emerged in the western hemisphere; while its symptoms are not considered severe, the virus can cause birth defects in fetuses of pregnant women exposed to the virus. To date, there have been three travel-related cases reported in Michigan; none in pregnant women.

Dengue and chikungunya viruses can also infect people who travel to areas where these viruses are present in mosquitoes. These areas include tropical and sub-tropical destinations. There were 14 cases of dengue and eight cases of chikungunya reported in Michigan in 2015. All cases of dengue and chikungunya were in travelers returning from areas with ongoing transmission.

Zika, dengue and chikungunya virus disease are reportable conditions in Michigan. Healthcare providers and laboratories must report suspect and confirmed cases of these viruses to a local public health department.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising those traveling to foreign countries to exercise caution because of the Zika virus, particularly pregnant women. It recommends:

*Pregnant women should not travel to areas with active Zika transmission. If they must travel, they should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

*For non-pregnant women and men who travel and experience no symptoms, it is recommended they avoid pregnancy for eight weeks.

*For men who return from travel and do have symptoms, it is recommended they use condoms for six months.

*Men who have a pregnant partner and have been in an area with Zika transmission should either use condoms the right way every time they have sex, or not have sex for the duration of the pregnancy.

For the most current information about Zika, visit www.cdc.gov/zika.

Posted in HealthComments (0)

Quick beauty tricks for a busy morning

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

(Family Features)

When you’re crunched for time, you may be tempted to ditch the pampering from your morning routine. No matter how quickly you have to dash out the door, you can always find shortcuts to your daily beauty regimen that let you look and feel your best.

These time-saving tips will let you give your body the TLC it deserves, even when you’re pressed for time.

Be a multi-tasker. You can do two things at once to save time, such as applying a face mask or wash before brushing your teeth or letting a deep-conditioning hair mask work while you shave your legs. Letting the face wash sit on your skin while you brush allows you to get more of the skin care benefits without the added time, and pinning up your hair in the deep-conditioning mask while shaving then rinsing it out will help your hair feel softer and more hydrated.

Keep up with conditioner. You may find it tedious, but hair care is no place to cut corners. Keeping your hair well-conditioned helps keep it healthier in the long run. Healthy strands are easier to detangle and style, which ultimately saves time. Have an all-in-one shampoo and conditioner on hand for days when you simply can’t do both and save detangling time by using a wide-tooth comb in the shower.

Use products that do double-duty in the shower. Using a multi-benefit body wash can give your skin and senses needed nourishment in the shower. One example is the new line of Softsoap Luminous Oils Body Washes, which contain a touch of luxurious oil, essence of peony or iris and an alluring fragrance. The sheer, non-greasy formula will leave your skin feeling radiant and soft.

Master a few simple hair styles. Whether your hair is long or short, experiment with a few go-to styles you can rely on when time is short. Sleek ponies and messy buns can disguise a hectic morning. For shorter cuts, look for a style that lets you air dry for a carefree tousled look.

Lighten up when it comes to cosmetics. You may be surprised by how pulled together you appear with a minimalist approach to makeup. Use a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen to even your skin tone, then use natural shades to enhance your best features. Save complex eye makeup for a less rushed day and stick to the basics: mascara, a dusting of blush for color and a pretty nude gloss.

Speed up those busy mornings with these time-saving beauty tips. For more information, visit softsoap.com.

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Mother thanks blood donors who saved her baby’s life

“Thank you to blood donors for saving my little girl’s life. Without you taking the time to donate blood, she wouldn’t be here today.” – Jamiee Mentink, mother to premature baby Ava whose life was saved through blood transfusions.

“Thank you to blood donors for saving my little girl’s life. Without you taking the time to donate blood, she wouldn’t be here today.” – Jamiee Mentink, mother to premature baby Ava whose life was saved through blood transfusions.

Premature baby girl survives infection after two blood transfusions

As many people nationwide celebrated the special women in their lives during Mother’s Day earlier this month, Michigan Blood is celebrating Jamiee Mentink and her story of becoming a mom for the first time.

In March of 2012, daughter Ava was born through emergency C-section at only 28 weeks, due to Jamiee’s severe illness, preeclampsia. Ava, a tiny 1 lb, 11 oz. at birth, had been doing great in the NICU, but then fell sick to infection. Two blood transfusions were needed to save Ava’s life.

“Immediately after the transfusions, you could see a difference. Ava’s skin turned pink again, and she became her feisty self again,” said Jamiee. “All the medical stuff in the world couldn’t replace the blood that Ava so desperately needed.”

With time, Ava fought her way back to being a healthy, thriving baby. Ava is now a fun, feisty, sweet little girl who is energetic about dance lessons and loved being a wedding flower girl recently. She just celebrated her 4th birthday in March.

Through the experience with Ava, and as the Director of Inpatient Emergency Services at South Haven Hospital, Jamiee realizes first hand the importance of blood donation. She is now a loyal blood donor herself.

“As a nurse I used to give blood to patients regularly, but I feel bad that it took Ava’s experience for me to regularly donate,” adds Jamiee. “Like I did, I think people take for granted that somebody else is donating blood. If people could realize that donating takes just a short amount of time, but it’s something that’s so worth the cause.”

Jamiee also wishes to thank those donors whose blood saved Ava’s life.

“Thank you for saving my little girl’s life. Without you taking the time to donate blood, she wouldn’t be here today.”

To view Jamiee and Ava’s full story, watch their video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pisYzF9iGAQ

Upcoming blood drives nearby include:

  • 6/03 – Spectrum Health – United Hospital, Conference Rooms Sides A and B, 615 S. Bower Street, Greenville, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • 6/06 – Rockford Area Donor Site at the Community Cabin, main room, 220 N Monroe St., Rockford, 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • 6/09 – Cedar Springs United Methodist Church – 140 S. Main Street, from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is a blood drive to support three local students. Emma Orr, Brison Ricker and Bree Town. For every person that attempts to give blood, $10 will be donated. Please call 233-8509 or go to www.miblood.org to make an appointment.
  • 6/21 – Cedar Springs Area Donor Site at Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, 140 S Main St., Cedar Springs, 12:30 pm to 7:00 pm.

Michigan Blood is the sole provider of blood and blood products for more than 60 hospitals in Michigan, including Spectrum Health, Metro Health, and Mercy Health St. Mary’s. Donations given outside of Michigan Blood do not have direct local impact. Donating blood with Michigan Blood helps save the lives of patients in Michigan hospitals. Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) who weighs at least 110 pounds may be eligible to donate. Blood donors should bring photo ID. We are currently in urgent need of O-Negative blood donations. To schedule an appointment, please call 1-866-MIBLOOD (642-5663) or schedule online at https://donate.miblood.org

Posted in Featured, HealthComments (0)

Add sparkle to your landscape with unique containers 

Crates, recycled or purchased, can be painted and personalized to create a colorful, unique planter for flowers and edibles.

Crates, recycled or purchased, can be painted and personalized to create a colorful, unique planter for flowers and edibles.

By Melinda Myers

Perk up your containers and add a bit of sparkle to your landscape with bright colors, unusual materials or a unique purpose.

Include an elevated garden to increase planting space and make planting, weeding and harvesting easier on the back and knees. Liven things up with a robin egg blue VegTrug™ or washtubs elevated on a support for a bit of rustic charm.

Add wheels to make it easier to move planters around the patio or deck.  This allows you to follow the sun or make room for company at summer gatherings.

Recycle items into containers or invest in some of the new planters made from galvanized metal, wooden apple crates and more. Look for new colors or personalize them to create a warm greeting for you and your guests.

Increase growing flexibility with lightweight grow bags. They now come in a variety of colors and sizes. These fabric containers fold flat for easy storage when not in use.

Save space with sleek designs and built in trellises. You’ll be growing pole beans, tomatoes and flowering vines in a compact space. The colorful flowers and fruit will brighten a blank wall or screen a bad view.

Use containers and elevated gardens to increase the fun factor at your summer gatherings. Start your party with a trip to the outdoor bar. Weather-resistant butcher-block with built in planting space is sure to get the conversation going.  Gardener’s Supply Company is offering a new reclaimed wood outdoor bar with an integrated planter called “Plant A Bar.” Fill the planting space with some favorite cocktail herbs. Then mix up your beverage and let your guests add a bit of homegrown flavor.

Include the next course by growing your own salad bar. Guests will enjoy harvesting and creating their own bed of greens to accompany the main course. Fill a pot or elevated garden with greens, radishes, onions, carrots, herbs and your other favorite salad fixings.

Keep your containers healthy and productive with proper care. Water thoroughly whenever the top inch of soil is dry.  Check pots daily and water as needed. Extend the time between watering with self-watering pots.  Look for features such as weep holes that allow excess water to drain, funnels for top watering, and moisture indicators that let you know when it is time to add more water.

Further reduce maintenance by adding a slow release fertilizer to the potting mix at planting. Small amounts of nutrients are released over time, eliminating the need to mix and fertilize weekly. Give planters a mid-season boost or when making a second planting by sprinkling slow release fertilizer over the soil surface.

Harvest regularly to keep vegetables producing and looking their best. Replace early plantings as they fade with a second crop. You’ll extend the harvest and your enjoyment.

So take a second look at your patio, deck or front steps and move in a bit of color, fun and flavor for this growing and outdoor entertaining season.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Gardener’s Supply Company for her expertise to write this article. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.

Posted in Diggin' Spring, Spring Spruce UpComments (0)

Five easy tips for a stunning summer yard

_SPR-Stunning-summer-yard(BPT)

Summer’s arrival brings longer days and more sunshine. This season also means more of your favorite outdoor activities, such as relaxing in the backyard or working in the garden. In fact, there is no better time to refresh your outdoor space.

“The secret to a well-manicured yard is preparation,” says Chris Lambton, yard and garden expert for Fiskars. “Once the weather warms up, your lawn and garden will need a little extra TLC to be ready for outdoor activities or entertaining. Having the right tools on-hand is essential to making the process simple and enjoyable.”

Lambton offers his tips and tools for making your yard beautiful and easy to care for all season long:

Prune strategically

If you turn your back for too long, Mother Nature can take over your yard in the spring growing season. Trim and shape your plants by cutting 1/4 inch above a growth bud at a 45 degree angle to promote healthy growth. High-quality garden tools, like the Fiskars PowerGear2 Pruner or Lopper, make taming shrubs and cutting through dead or overgrown limbs easier.

Plan your planting

Summer is a great time to plan your outdoor space and give it a fresh new look. When plotting out your yard or garden, be sure to leave extra space around plants to account for their growth or plant in containers to easily move them around, if needed. Raised garden beds for herbs and veggies are great for keeping plants in order and allow you to plant, water and harvest more easily. Choose tools to help with planting that are easy to grip and will stand up throughout the season, like the Fiskars Big Grip Trowel or Transplanter.

Mulch carefully

Shallow layers of mulch work to keep your soil cool, cut down on weeds and slow the loss of moisture. But be careful not to mulch too deeply, as too much mulch can inhibit oxygen from reaching plant roots and encourage mold. As a rule of thumb, mulch only two to three inches on top of the soil.

Water wisely

A healthy lawn and garden will have deep roots that can tap reserves of moisture way down in the soil. Water deeply – but not too often – and you’ll encourage plants to develop even deeper roots. The best time to water is between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. when the air is cooler and there is less risk of evaporation from heat and wind. Use tools that are easy to maneuver and durable to stand up to the elements season after season, like the Gilmour Flexogen Hose and Thumb Control Watering Nozzle.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor

Remember to spend time outside in your yard and garden when the weather is nice and enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables you grow. Use Herb and Veggie Shears to make healthy cuts on your plants so you have fresh and delicious produce throughout the season.

With the right tools, yard and garden work is fun, not frustrating. Use these tips to keep your yard maintained and beautiful so you can enjoy it all summer long.

Posted in Diggin' Spring, Featured, Spring Spruce UpComments (0)

Get your car spring ready

Car care tips for safe driving in seasonal weather

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

(Family Features)

Spring breezes may be blowing, but before you put those windows down and settle in for a leisurely drive to soak up that fresh air, your car needs some seasonal freshening of its own.

Regular car care helps ensure that your vehicle looks and runs its best, and timing your car care to the seasons can help ensure all of your equipment is in top condition to protect your safety in seasonal weather conditions.

One of the most common threats in spring is stormy weather, which can affect your visibility and traction. Ensure you and your car are well-protected and ready for spring with this spring car care checklist.

Give your car a checkup

An all-over maintenance checkup is a good starting point to get a pulse on your car’s condition. A multi-point inspection can help alert you to signs of wear or damage on parts such as your belts, which can weaken as a result of cold winter weather, and your brakes, which are critical for safe driving.

Your engine relies on clean oil for smooth operation, so if it’s time for a change (usually every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on manufacturer recommendations) you can schedule a change to coincide with your service appointment.

CAR-WipersKeep your view safe and clear

Keeping your windshield clear is an obvious necessity for everyday visibility, but the quality of your wiper blades is even more important in inclement weather. Old or damaged blades may not be up to the task of keeping your line of sight clear during a heavy spring downpour. When it comes to choosing new blades, give careful attention to performance.

Traditional metal wiper blades, installed on many new cars, have exposed suspension components that can become damaged with exposure to extreme weather. Newer vehicles may include beam blades, with a pre-sprung steel beam designed specifically for that vehicle. However, many replacement beam blade designs are compromised to fit a large array of vehicle models and do not properly adapt to the varying curvature of windshields. This results in reduced wrap and contact pressure on the windshield, as well as poor wiping performance.

A better option is hybrid blades, such as Michelin Stealth Hybrid wiper blades, which feature an exclusive Smart Flex technology that automatically adjusts wiper blade contact pressure across the curvature of the windshield for improved wiping performance. Engineered for durable wiping in extreme weather conditions, the wiper frame and suspension system are completely covered to protect the blades from weather-related damage. The Michelin EZ-Lok Connector System allows for a quick and simple blade replacement. Learn more at MichelinWipers.com.

If your vehicle has a rear wiper, remember to replace it, too.

Check your traction

Your tires are another of your car’s essential safety features. Excess or uneven tire wear can be extremely dangerous in wet and slick road conditions. If your tires can’t get adequate traction, you may find yourself hydroplaning or losing control. What’s more, tires are an expensive investment, so before embarking on your next road trip, make sure your tires are properly inflated, balanced and rotated. This can help ensure you get the most mileage out of your tires before needing to replace them.

CAR-ShiningShow your shine 

Sound operations aside, you’ll get more enjoyment out of your car when it looks as great as it runs. A thorough cleaning of the exterior after the harsh winter months helps whisk away any damaging substances, such as the salt used to melt ice and snow.

Protect and preserve your vehicle with products, such as Barrett-Jackson Auto Care’s full line of interior and exterior products. Liquid Wax, a signature product in the line, is specially designed with Carnauba wax to achieve a long-lasting, deep shine with no powdery residue. Barrett-Jackson Wash & Wax saves time by lifting away dirt and enhancing shine in one step, while the rapid detailer is great for those in between touch ups. For an all-over shine to complete the freshly cleaned look, Tire Shine is a quick, no-hassle way to maintain sleek, wet-look tires. Make sure to select a tire shine that will not sling off on your car when driving. Find more information about these and other products designed to keep your car looking flawless at barrett-jacksonautocare.com.

Once the exterior is complete, turn your attention inside. Pick up any trash or debris, vacuum and wipe down all interior surfaces. A moisturizing treatment will help clean and condition leather, preventing it from drying out and cracking. Also give interior glass a wipe down for the clearest visibility possible and be sure to pick an interior protectant that doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue to help renew and protect all interior surfaces, including plastic, vinyl, rubber and trim.

Posted in Auto Life, FeaturedComments (0)

Four injured in crash

One person was sent to the hospital via Aeromed Tuesday morning after a crash at 17 Mile and Sparta Avenue. Post photo by J. Reed.
Two people were sent to the hospital via Aeromed Tuesday morning after a crash at 17 Mile and Sparta Avenue. Post photo by J. Reed.

by Judy Reed

UPDATED with names May 18.

Four people were injured in a crash in Tyrone Township Tuesday morning, with two being sent to the hospital via AeroMed.

The accident occurred around 10:30 a.m. May 17, at the corner of 17 Mile and Sparta Avenue. According to the Michigan State Police, a 1998 tan Ford Windstar van was heading north on Sparta Avenue, when the driver disregarded the stop sign at 17 Mile Rd. and was hit in the front passenger side by a westbound 2010 white Chevy HHR. The vehicles rolled and landed in the yard of a home on the northwest corner of the intersection. There is a stop sign on Sparta Avenue, but not on 17 Mile.

This PT Cruiser was heading west on 17 Mile when it was hit by a northbound van at Sparta Ave. Post photo by J. Reed.

This car was heading west on 17 Mile when it was hit by a northbound van at Sparta Ave. Post photo by J. Reed.

The driver of the HHR, Darryl Metzer, 28, of Clare, was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. He was the only occupant in the vehicle.

The driver of the van, Timothy Watkins, 38, of Sand Lake, was transported to the hospital by Rockford ambulance and is in stable condition.

One person in this van was airlifted to the hospital via Aeromed and the other two passengers were transported by Rockford Ambulance after the van collided with a PT Cruiser Tuesday morning. Post photo by J. Reed.

Two people in this van were airlifted to the hospital via Aeromed and the other two passengers were transported by Rockford Ambulance after the van collided with a Chevy HHR Tuesday morning. Post photo by J. Reed.

Police said that the two rear passengers in the van, Mitchell Helton, 43, of Sand Lake, and Peggy Helton, 54, of Sand Lake, were not seatbelted, and were transported to Butterworth Hospital by AeroMed and are in serious condition.

The Michigan State Police, Kent County Sheriff Department, Sparta Fire and Rescue, and Kent City/Tyrone Township Fire and Rescue were all on the scene.

According to one witness at the scene, Laura Glidden, owner of the Cheap Buys Thrift Shop on the northeast corner of the intersection, she had just went out to her car seconds before the accident occurred. “I saw the white car go by, then heard the crash,” she said.

Glidden is worried about the number of accidents occurring at the intersection. “There was an accident here just last week. There have been eight accidents at this corner since I moved into the store a year and a half ago,” she remarked. She also said that during the afternoon hours when kids get out of school at Algoma Christian, which is located just north on Sparta Avenue, cars will speed through her parking lot, cutting through to avoid the buses. “What if a child is coming out of my store and is hit by a car?” she asked. “Do you think anyone will take a look at  putting another stop sign or light here now?”

The cars landed in the yard of James and Cindy Hart. Cindy said that she was in the backyard when she heard a “bang bang.” When she came around the house, she saw the cars. But she wasn’t surprised. “All of the cars end up in my yard,” she noted, including one last year that she said stopped only inches from the house.

She said her husband has spoken with the township about trying to get a light at the intersection. “He has talked to a lot of people over the last 19 years, but nothing has been done,” she said.

“That car hit that tree so hard that it took the top off,” she said pointing to her yard. “That’s why we have the trees. He (James) planted them because they (the township) won’t do anything.”

Hart also complained that no one completely cleans up after the crashes. She said that officials might sweep up some glass off the road, but that she and her husband end up cleaning up a lot of debris–and repairing their property. “When we try to get a copy of the police report to submit a claim to insurance for repairing our property, they (police) say we have to pay for it,” she said. “It doesn’t seem fair.”

The Post called the Kent County Road Commission to get the facts on how many accidents have occurred at this intersection, and to find out if any kind of a study has been done or is warranted. We are waiting to hear back from them.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)