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Man arraigned on third rape charge

A former manager of a Stanton golf resort has been arraigned on a third rape charge.

Daniel Carlson

According to the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office, Daniel Carlson, 35, of Farmington Hills, was arraigned on Monday, March 11 2019, in the 77th District Court on a third rape charge. These charges, Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree and Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree stem from an incident in 2016 at the Tullymore Resort in Morton Township of Mecosta County. This is the second charge with a separate victim from that incident in 2016. He was arraigned in May of 2018 on rape charges of the first victim in this incident.

Carlson was convicted of rape in 2018 and is currently serving 5 to 15 years for a rape that occurred in 2017 in the same location. He was video arraigned on the new charge from prison.

He remains in prison with an added $1 million bond. He is scheduled for a preliminary earing on the two separate multi-count rape charges in early April.

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Thieves chop hair from horses’ tails

By Judy Reed

When Solon Township resident Emily Scott went to check on her horses on Tuesday morning about 9:45 a.m., she couldn’t believe what she saw—someone had chopped hunks out of two of her three horses’ tails.

“I saw them and thought what in the world happened to you guys?” she said.

Someone chopped the hair from the tails of these Solon Township horses. Courtesy photo.

“They just took big handfuls and chopped it off. The gelding has almost no hair left.”

She’s glad that whoever did it didn’t touch their third horse, a baby Tennessee Walker. “Her hair wasn’t long enough,” explained Scott.

She said with the wind and blowing snow, no tracks were visible, and they found no trace of the horsehair on the ground.  

“My horses are so nice. We raised them like dogs,” said Scott. “They are so loving, and love to be petted and wouldn’t have fought back.” 

Scott had a lot of things running through her mind. She wondered if she had made someone mad. And did they do anything else to harm the horses? But that was not the case.

Instead, she found out through some online articles that there is a market for horsehair, and found some stories similar to her own. Horsehair is used in crafts, hair extensions for horses, strings for musical instruments, and more.

While the horses weren’t physically injured, they will miss their tails. “It’s cruel,” she said. “The hair will take a long time to grow back and they need their tails to swat flies during the summer.” They had also been planning to start showing the horses this year.

Emily and her husband Chris called the Kent County Sheriff’s Office to their home on Albrecht, and a deputy took the report, but there aren’t currently any leads. If anyone has any information about this incident, please call Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

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Cedar Springs schools makes adjustments for snow days

Snow and ice have made driving on back roads dangerous for school buses this winter. 
Photo by Evelyn Avery.

By Judy Reed

Icy, snowy and dangerous winter weather, including sub-zero temperatures and power outages, caused both Cedar Springs Public Schools and Creative Technologies Academy to close 14 times this year. That’s eight more times than the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) allows without the days being made up. And winter isn’t over yet.

The MDE also allows schools to apply for a waiver for three extra closings, above the six. Both Cedar Springs Public and CTA applied for the waiver. CTA was approved, but Cedar Springs Public was denied. Meaning CTA will make up five days, while Cedar Springs will make up eight. Why the disparity?

According to Cedar Springs Superintendent Scott Smith, it’s because Cedar Springs is currently in session less than 180 days, the amount currently required by state law, though they are in session the 1,098 required hours. The school has only been in session 172 days a year since the 2013-2014 school year, because of an eight-year bargaining agreement with staff signed in June 2013.

“The time requirement, a minimum of 1098 hours per year, was first applied to the 2010/11 school year,” explained Smith. “The rules changed again beginning with the 2014/15 school year, when districts were required to provide at least 1098 hours of instruction and have at least 175 days of instruction. Beginning in the 2016/17 school year districts were required to provide at least 1098 hours of instruction and have at least 180 days of instruction.  There is a provision in the law that honors collective bargaining agreements that were effectively in place on July 1, 2013. Cedar Springs Public Schools signed an eight-year collective bargaining agreement with the Cedar Springs Education Association in June of 2013.  

“We are in compliance with the minimum of 1098 hours of instruction but we meet that standard with 172 days of school,” he added. “Our school day is slightly longer, a minimum of six hours and 23 minutes, than districts that have 180 days of instruction on their calendar. A district like Sparta would have a minimum of six hours and six minutes of instruction per day.”

The bottom line is that they are in class the same number of hours per year as those that go 180 days. And yet, they were denied the extra three days.

There may, however, be some help from the legislature, as a couple of bills have been introduced to forgive days missed during a state emergency, as happened earlier this year. The Post contacted Senate Majority Floor Leader Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, about the issue.

“Legislation has been introduced in both the state Senate and House of Representatives that seeks to forgive school districts for cancelling school due to a declared state emergency,” he said. “I think that there is sufficient interest amongst my colleagues for the bills to be taken up for consideration. The Legislature will need to find the balance between offering relief for a declared emergency and the amount of time students are spending in the classroom.”  

In the meantime, Cedar Springs has made a few changes to their schedule because of the many school closings. All early release days left on the calendar will become full days. Not because it would count towards time made up (it wouldn’t) but to help the students get back instructional time they’ve missed. “This change will allow our students and teachers to recapture over 10 hours of instructional time before the upcoming State and Advanced Placement testing cycles begin in April and May,” Smith explained.

Additional days added to their calendar to make up the eight days missed are May 24, June 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14.  

See more info from the Superintendent on the Cedar Springs School page on page 11.

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Kent District Courts announce waiver program

Do you owe traffic or criminal fines, fees and/or court costs that are past due?

Is there an outstanding warrant for your failure to appear regarding your non-payment?

62-B District Court in Kentwood and the 63rd District Court announced a waiver program for individuals to comply with court orders by settling their debts without further penalty or incarceration.

Specifically, the program addresses outstanding warrants for non-compliance with a court order of fines, fees, court costs and any outstanding traffic or parking tickets that have gone into default or suspension. The waiver program will be effective March 1, 2019 through March 31, 2019.

“The waiver program gives people who have outstanding fines, fees, and court costs an opportunity to more reasonably resolve their business with the court,” said Chief Judge Sara J. Smolenski. “During the month of March, individuals have a great chance to meet their responsibilities and the program allows for payment plans to resolve their debts to the court without the worry of incarceration. This is a great program and people who qualify should jump at it.”

The 62-B and 63rd District Courts guarantee that those who pay in full will not be jailed because of the late payment. If the account is paid in full, the courts will waive all court-imposed late fees or warrant fees except for the $45 License Suspension Reinstatement Fees.

If an individual is unable to pay in full, but makes a significant payment, the courts will work with the individual to set-up a new payment plan regarding any outstanding balance and they will not be jailed. Any existing driver’s license suspension will not be lifted until the account is paid in full.

Payments must be made by contacting the 62-B at (616) 698-9310 or 63rd District Court at (616) 632-7770 for further information. You can also email DCCollections@kentcountymi.gov.

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First Graders celebrate library card drive

First grader holds a free book from local author Amanda Litz

For March is reading month

The library’s annual campaign to get every first grader his/her own library card or access to a family card culminated in the annual “March is Reading Month Celebration” at the Kent Theatre for all of the first graders at Cedar Trails and at Creative Technologies Academy on March 4 and 5. 

Every first grader got in to see the new “Mary Poppins” movie for free, and a library card got them a free bag of popcorn. 

On hand to emphasize books and reading were representatives from the local libraries: Director Donna Clark and Youth Services Parapro Melissa Dubridge, from the Cedar Springs Public Library; Youth Librarian Sara Magnuson and Youth Parapro Bethany Metivier, from KDL-Nelson Twp/Sand Lake Library; and Youth Parapro Heidi Fifield, from the KDL-Spencer Township Branch. 

Students enjoyed free popcorn with their library card.

“I love this program,” said Clark. “We’ve teamed up with our local schools, families and Kent District Library now for 22 years. It’s great to partner as an extended community to promote a lifelong love of reading.”

Magnuson agreed. “Working together on this project is one of the highlights of our year. I love getting to visit all the first graders and see how excited they get about libraries and reading. It’s a great way to get local students and their families into our libraries and encourage reading every day!”

Clark said the program would not have been a success without the enthusiastic support from Cedar Trails Principal Beth Whaley and her wonderful first grade teaching staff, Mrs. Birdsong, Mrs. Brussow, Mrs. Shepard, Mrs. Tiffany, Mrs. Boggiano, Mrs. Doncis, Mrs. Holtrop, Mrs. Upham, Mrs. Saneford, Mrs. Bonsall, Mrs. Sendler, Mrs. Schmidutz, and Mrs. O’Brien. All but a couple of the teachers were able to attend and greet their first graders as they came in. Also in attendance were students from our local charter school, Creative Technologies Academy, from Mrs. Parker’s class. 

There was a good attendance, in spite of the single digit temperatures. Over the two nights of the celebration, a total of 97 first graders and 179 family members attended, for a total of 276 celebrating the first grade library card drive. 

Library cards from Cedar Springs and KDL Libraries can be used in seven counties in Michigan.

Donna:  “I love this program. We’ve teamed up with our local schools, families and Kent District Library now for 22 years.  It’s great to partner as an extended community to promote a lifelong love of reading.”

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Gravelin benefit a success

Round they go for the cake walk at the benefit for Terry Gravelin. Photo by Donna Clark.

A spaghetti fundraiser, bake sale and raffle for local martial arts instructor Terry Gravelin was a success, according to organizer Clarisa Keuhs.

“It went very well. A great deal of money was raised for him between the dinner, and donations and the bake sale/cake walk,” said Keuhs.

The benefit was held last Saturday in the Cedar Springs Public Library community room. 

Gravelin recently had triple bypass heart surgery, and with no income coming in the bills have been mounting. The families of his students wanted to do something to help him keep his karate school open and came up with the idea for the benefit.

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One City Council seat open for election this year

Have you ever thought about running for the Cedar Springs City Council? There will be one seat open for election this year so now is your chance.

According to the City of Cedar Springs Facebook page: The Cedar Springs City Charter states that anyone seeking office must be a qualified elector of the City, a United States citizen and cannot be in default to the City, County or School District. This means all current City and School tax statements, water bills. or any other financial obligations to those entities must be current.

The City’s Charter allows residents to sign the same number of petitions as there are openings. As there is one seat open this year, residents may only sign one nominating petition.

City Charter requires an August Primary for City Council seats if valid petitions have been filed for more than twice the number of persons to be elected. If we do not have more than two candidates filing nominating petitions by the April 23 deadline, the names of the City Council candidates will be on the November 5, 2019 General Election Ballot. If three or more candidates do file petitions by April 23, those candidates’ names will be on the August 6, 2019 Primary Ballot.

Petitions must be picked up in person at City Hall. Petitions are due in the Clerk’s office by 4:00 p.m. April 23, 2019.

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Police search for suspect in string of electronic thefts

This man allegedly stole $4,500 worth of electronics from Walmart in Big Rapids.

The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office is looking for the person that stole almost $4,500 in electronics from the Big Rapids Walmart early Tuesday morning, March 5.

Photo of suspect’s vehicle caught on surveillance footage during a previous theft. Same vehicle was at the Big Rapids Walmart, but the photo was more blurry.

According to police, surveillance footage showed a black male suspect enter the store at 21400 Perry Ave at about 3:20 a.m. He then pried open a locked case behind the employee counter and also cut a security cable to access high dollar electronics.  The man then stole 5 Apple watch 4th gen, 4 iPad 6th gen, 2 ACER laptops and 3 Lenovo Tab 4s, totaling $4,485.98.

According to Sgt. Mike Mohr, this is just one of 12 similar thefts, mostly occurring in Michigan. The first theft occurred January 22, 2019, and the latest was Tuesday at the Big Rapids Walmart Store.

If you recognize the suspect in the photo, or the suspect’s vehicle, or have any information on this theft, the Sheriff’s Office is asking you to contact the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office at 231-592-0150 or through email at tips@mecostacounty.org.

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Thieves steal tools from car dealership

The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a break-in that occurred at Ed Koehn Ford Lincoln, 11064 West Carson City Road between March 2 and March 4, 2019.

Employees arrived at Ed Koehn Ford the morning of March 4 to find the business had been broken into and a large amount of tools were taken. The Sheriff’s Office is contacting area law enforcement agencies to determine if they have recently experienced similar thefts. Area businesses are being checked as well. 

According to Detective Andy Doezema, they also have a report of an unsuccessful attempt to break into Tinney Automotive, which is across the street. 

Doezema said the preliminary estimate on the loss at Ed Koehn is in the 10s of thousands of dollars, but they don’t have a firm number yet.

Anyone with information regarding the theft or were in the area during the time frame of the break and saw activity at Ed Koehn Ford Lincoln are asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 989-831-7590.

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Sumner man dies in crash

Nicholas James Corder

Troopers from the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post responded to a single vehicle crash that occurred on Friday March 1, 2019 at approximately 4:25 p.m. on S. Crystal Rd. near E. Pakes Rd. in Crystal Township in Montcalm County.

The vehicle, driven by Jacob James Jaunese, 25, of Stanton, was driving southbound on Crystal Rd and was passing another vehicle when he lost control and left the roadway. The vehicle traveled through thick brush and rolled over numerous times before striking a tree.  

The driver was taken by Aero Med to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. The 28-year old male passenger in the vehicle, Nicholas Dale Corder, of Sumner, was pronounced deceased on scene.  

Speed is believed to be a factor and alcohol or driver distraction are not suspected. The crash remains under investigation.  

State Police were assisted on scene by, Montcalm County Sheriff’s Department, Carson City Police Department, Montcalm County EMS, Crystal Township Fire Department, Aero Med, Safety First Towing, and Montcalm County Central Dispatch.

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