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Two injured in crash

N-MontcalmSheriff-logo-rgbMontcalm County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a two-vehicle personal injury crash Friday, February 20, at 2:06 p.m. in Pine Township, on M91, south of Stanton Road.

Police said their investigation revealed a 60-year-old Trufant man was driving a 2003 Dodge Ram 4 door pickup northbound on North Greenville (M-91, and while entering a curve south of Langston, a southbound 1997 Mercury Mountaineer, operated by a 52-year-old Stanton man, crossed the centerline and into the northbound traffic lane.

A witness reported to police that the Mercury Mountaineer was being operated erratically and at a high rate of speed, and failed to negotiate the curve. The southbound Mercury struck the 2003 Dodge Ram head on. The Mountaineer had a gas leak and caught fire, which was extinguished by passersby. Both drivers were pinned and had to be extricated from their vehicles.

The driver of the Mercury Mountaineer did not appear to have been wearing a seat belt. A German Shepherd in the Dodge Ram was uninjured in the crash and was taken by Animal Control. There were no other occupants in either vehicle.

One of the drivers was transported to United Memorial Hospital and one was transported to Spectrum-Butterworth Campus. The Montcalm County Sheriff’s office continues to investigate this incident.

Montcalm County Sheriff’s deputies were assisted at the scene by Michigan State Police, Lakeview Fire Department, Montcalm Fire Department, Montcalm Emergency Medical Services, and Montcalm County Road Commission.

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Firefighters on scene of house fire

Firefighters were called to this home on Harvard Avenue in Oakfield Township shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday. Post photo by J. Reed.

Firefighters were called to this home on Harvard Avenue in Oakfield Township shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday. Post photo by J. Reed.

Firefighters from multiple departments are battling a house fire in the 13000 block of Harvard Avenue, just south of 16 Mile Road. It started shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday morning. The homeowner, who has a young family, said everyone got out safely.

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City letter regarding freezing pipes

Due to the cold weather, the City of Cedar Springs is sending out a letter to residents about how to avoid frozen pipes.

DPW Superintendent Tom Stressman said they have had some complaints about water lines freezing, and are advising residents who are worried about it to leave a faucet on low flow.

Residents would still pay for any extra water used, however.

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Judge denies Gabrion’s “emergency” request

Marvin Charles Gabrion

Marvin Charles Gabrion

Rachel Timmerman and her daughter, Shannon, who was never found

Rachel Timmerman and her daughter, Shannon, who was never found

By Judy Reed

Marvin Charles Gabrion, convicted in the 1997 slaying of Rachel Timmerman, of Cedar Springs, and sentenced to death, will not get an “emergency” psychiatric review to determine his mental functioning.

Gabrion’s attorneys sought the order as part of a claim to show Gabrion’s trial lawyers were not up to standards. They also questioned whether he was “even competent to be executed.”

U.S. Judge Robert Holmes Bell rejected the request. “The Court is reticent to enter an order allowing an expert to evaluate Defendant without some showing that such an examination is necessary,” wrote Bell. “Defendant has not provided an affidavit indicating circumstances that warrant further inquiry.”

U.S. Attorney Timothy Verhey wrote that there is no emergency in this case, and that there is no basis for a fourth mental assessment. Gabrion has been evaluated three times previously, and found competent.

Gabrion is on death row at a federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Although Michigan does not have the death penalty, Gabrion was sentenced to death by lethal injection, because Rachel’s body was found on federal land, in the Manistee National Forest.

Prosecutors believe Gabrion murdered Rachel to keep her from testifying that he raped her the previous fall. The rape trial was set to begin within days of her disappearance.

Rachel disappeared from her father’s house in Cedar Springs in June 1997. She had told her father she was going on a date with a man named John Weeks, who had been calling her. He asked her to bring her 11-month-old baby, Shannon, along with her. Weeks was reportedly calling Rachel at the request of Gabrion.

Her body was found in Oxford Lake, in Newayo County, weighted down by cinder blocks, on July 5, 1997. Her daughter, Shannon, was never found. Gabrion reportedly told inmates that he killed the baby, too.

Gabrion is suspected of killing at least three other people—including John Weeks, who disappeared shortly after the crime and was never seen again.

Rachel’s father, L.C. (Tim) Timmerman and his brother, John, have written a book that tells the story of Rachel and Shannon’s disappearance and Gabrion’s subsequent arrest called The Color of Night. The book can be found on Amazon in both hard cover and as a kindle e-book.

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Driver slides into freight train

This Pontiac Sunfire is towed away after sliding into the path of a freight train near Sparta. Photo courtesy of WOODTV.com.

This Pontiac Sunfire is towed away after sliding into the path of a freight train near Sparta. Photo courtesy of WOODTV.com.

A teenaged driver reportedly couldn’t stop on a slippery road last Sunday, February 15, and slid into the path of a freight train.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, Jessica Poirier, 16, of Sparta, was traveling west on Schultz Avenue, just east of Alpine Avenue, about 2:42 p.m., when the accident occurred. She reported that the lights activated at the crossing, but she was not able to stop due to icy road conditions. As she continued westbound across the tracks, her Pontiac Sunfire was struck by the freight train and pushed to the east. She was treated for minor injuries at the scene. She was the sole occupant of the Sunfire.

The train engineer, Sean Woolworth, 43, of Sparta, was not injured.

The accident is still under investigation. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor.

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Large donation made to local non-profit

An anonymous donation of $170,000 was made to the Community Building Development Team. Treasurer Betty Truesdale holds a sign announcing the donation.

An anonymous donation of $170,000 was made to the Community Building Development Team. Treasurer Betty Truesdale holds a sign announcing the donation.

A Cedar Springs-based non-profit is gaining steam in its efforts to make the community a better place to be.

Betty Truesdale, treasurer of the Community Building Development Team, reported at the February meeting that the group received an anonymous donation of $170,000.

“This entire community has been extremely supportive of the CBDT’s goals and efforts,” remarked Truesdale. “All of the money donated has been done in a spirit of hope and commitment to our community and without an ‘ask’ or official fund raising effort. It is heart-warming and encouraging, as well as a testimony of the type of people living in our community.”

The non-profit organization was created two years ago, with a focus on constructing buildings and spaces where the greater Cedar Springs community can gather for cultural, educational, recreational, commercial, and family/community events.

The group has been working closely with various local, state, and federal organizations in securing a wide range of grants and improvements for Cedar Springs. The CBDT, in cooperation with the City of Cedar Springs Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Trout Unlimited, and CS Tool and Die, recently installed a rain garden and stream buffer on the banks of Cedar Creek on the corner of Fifth and Cherry Streets. There are other proposed rain gardens and ponds to be created in support of the unique trout habitat in Cedar Creek, a major contributor to the Rogue River, a designated Michigan trout stream.

Other projects include a partnership with the Friends of the White Pine Trail, which allowed a recent clean-up along the trail within the city limits. They said great progress is being made in naming Cedar Springs a North Country Trail Town, with an official declaration to be announced soon. The group purchased the Coxon property, which adjoins other properties along the White Pine Trail and the city lot on the northwest corner of Maple and Main Streets.

The CBDT continues to support the efforts of the Cedar Springs Library Board by funding site evaluations, environmental studies, and soil preparations for the future library building. City Councilors are working in partnership with the CBDT’s efforts of building an amphitheater tentatively scheduled to begin this summer.

“The CBDT currently has about 40 members on the team but is seeking additional volunteers to lead the efforts of making the Cedar Springs Community one of the best small towns in America,” said Kurt Mabie, President of the CBDT Board. “We hope more will join in to share their ideas, time, and talents and help to shape the future of our community.”

The CBDT meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 6 pm in the school board meeting room at Hilltop School. More information can be found on the newly designed website at www.CSCommunityCenter.org as well as updates on the Facebook page under Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team. Or, contact any CBTD board member Kurt Mabie, Tom Mabie, Betty Truesdale, Carolee Cole, Tom Holloway, Dale Larson, Sally Howland, Nick Andres, or Sue Wolfe.

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The Post travels to Flagstaff 

Dean and Kris Anderson and their son, Austin, recently traveled with the Post to Flagstaff, Arizona to visit both the San Francisco Peaks and the Grand Canyon.

“What beautiful places,” said Dean. “The drive from Phoenix to Flagstaff up I-17 is one of the most beautiful drives you can ever make. Gaining more than a mile in altitude, in about a 150-mile span. Gorgeous! Then to top it off the next day, on a visit to one of the World’s 7 natural wonders (Grand Canyon) the was icing on the cake,” remarked Dean. “I would also highly recommend dinner at Black Carts Steakhouse Saloon and Musical Revue. Great Steak and very entertaining.”

Thank you, Dean and Kris, for taking us with you!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

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Aura of the sun

N-Sun

A representative of the Christian motorcycle group Riders of the Son snapped a photo of the sun Monday with a halo around it and passed it on to the Post. Thanks so much!

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Best Lips winner

Lynn Marion and her prizes.

Lynn Marion and her prizes.

Our Best Lips winner, Lynn Marion, of Cedar Springs, stopped in Friday to pick up her prize package including a $50 Visa gift card, Russel Stovers candies, and tulips.  Thanks so much, Lynn, for entering the contest! Congratulations again on having the most luscious lips of 2015.

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Snowmobile drag racing comes to town

N-Snowmobile1-at-Sand-Lake

If you’d like to get out and find something fun to do in this winter weather, you might want to check out the snowmobile drag races next weekend.

The Cedar Springs 500’ Snowmobile Drag Races will premier Saturday, February 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Cedar Springs Drag Way, located at 13540 West Street, Cedar Springs. “This event will feature four at a time Snowmobile Drag Racing, with teams from all across the U.S. and Canada racing snowmobiles, with engines producing over 600 horse power, and delivering speeds in excess of 125 mph, in a distance of 500’ and that’s hauling the mail,” said organizer Jimmy McHugh.

On Saturday, February 28, at 4 p.m., the Cedar Springs 500’ will feature “The Stud Boy KING of the SNOW championship” event. This race will feature all the chrome plated 600 horse power go fast snowmobiles, in a shoot out battle for the Stud Boy King of the Snow championship crown.

A similar snowmobile drag racing event was held a few years ago in Sand Lake.

A similar snowmobile drag racing event was held a few years ago in Sand Lake.

“The Cedar Springs 500’ Snowmobile Drag Races are not just limited to pro drag teams,” explained McHugh. “The average trail riding snowmobiler can participate also. The event is located right next to the White Pine snowmobile trail #5, so you can ride or trailer your snowmobile to the event and race your snowmobile just like the pro teams do, without having to own a pure Drag Racing Snowmobile. All trail Snowmobiles are welcome to participate. The cost to race your Snowmobile is $20 per Snowmobile, which allows you to make as many passes down the track as you like.

Spectator admission is $10 per person. Kids 12 and under are free.

For more information on the Cedar Springs 500’ Snowmobile Drag Races please contact Jimmy McHugh @ 616-260-4382 between 8am and 8pm EST.

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