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Cold case solved

Andrew Jackson Greer

DNA confirms that “John Doe” buried in Georgia in 1979 is missing 15-year-old from Addison, Mich.

On Feb. 12, 1979, 15-year-old Andrew Jackson Greer left Addison High School and failed to return home. Greer’s whereabouts have been unknown for the past 39-plus years. The case remained cold after early investigations by the Michigan State Police in 1979 and the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Department in 2000. The cold case was re-opened in 2014, and with developments in technology and resources, the mystery of Andrew’s whereabouts has finally been solved.

A forensic analyst from the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas confirmed on Tuesday, August 14, that DNA from a “John Doe,” who was buried in a pauper’s grave in Macon, Ga. in 1979, matches Greer’s DNA.

In December 2017, a retired Bibb County Sheriff’s Department deputy made the connection between the “John Doe” and Greer. The retired deputy notified MSP detectives, who then traveled to Macon, Ga. in April 2018 to exhume the body of “John Doe.” With the assistance of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Department, Macon District Attorney’s Office and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, detectives were able to successfully recover the body to send for additional testing.

A DNA sample was taken from “John Doe” at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and sent to the Center for Human Identification for comparison. The results concluded that it was 1.9 trillion times more likely that the DNA from “John Doe” was that of Greer than not. Together, the DNA results and police reports conclude they are one in the same.

All indications are that Greer ran away from home on Feb. 12, 1979, and was killed two days later, on Feb. 14, 1979, when he was struck by a semi-truck while hitchhiking down I-75 near Macon, Ga. Greer’s identity has been a mystery to Georgia authorities until now, and the Michigan State Police had no information on his whereabouts until the connection was made in December 2017.

Arrangements are currently being made to bring Greer’s body back to Michigan.

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Parents charged in baby’s death

Seth Michael Welch

Tatiana Elena Fusari

The parents of a 10-month-old child who died Thursday, August 2, in Solon Township have been charged with homicide-felony murder and first-degree child abuse.

Seth Michael Welch, 27, and Tatiana Elena Fusari, 27, found their infant daughter Mary unresponsive Thursday and called authorities at 12:06 p.m. to their home at 16509 Algoma Avenue, known by many in the community as Blackacre Farm. The baby was pronounced dead at the scene.

An officer at the scene reported that the baby’s eyes and cheeks were sunken into her head. 

Deputies executed a search warrant for evidence of child abuse/neglect causing the child’s death. The couple told police that they noticed their daughter’s skinny appearance the month prior. Fusari reportedly told police they did not seek medical help because they did not want Child Protective Services called, had a lack of faith and trust in medical services and cited religious reasons.

The parents were taken into custody August 3, after an autopsy revealed the cause of death was ruled as malnutrition/dehydration due to neglect on the part of the adult caregivers. The baby’s death was ruled a homicide, and the Kent County Prosecutor authorized charges on August 5. 

Welch and Fusari were arraigned on Monday, August 6. Bail was denied for both, and they have a probable cause hearing set for August 20 at 63rd District Court at 8:45 a.m.

The couple’s other two children were placed with family members.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office said they had only responded to the home once before on a matter unrelated to child welfare. 

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Kent County Sheriff’s Office at 616-632-6357 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

ORIGINAL STORY

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Crash sends elderly couple to hospital

Post photo by J. Reed.

Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

An elderly Grand Rapids couple was injured Wednesday after their vehicle ran a stop sign and was hit by another vehicle at Edgerton and 14 Mile Road.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, they were called to the scene of the crash at 5:20 p.m. August 8. 

The investigation showed that a Ford Focus, driven by an 83-year-old Grand Rapids woman, was traveling northbound on Edgerton and failed to stop at the sign at 14 Mile Road. A Ford Taurus, occupied by a Cedar Springs couple, was traveling westbound on 14 Mile Rd, and hit the Focus in the passenger side.

Both the 83-year-old woman and her passenger, a 90-year-old male, were transported to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital by Rockford Ambulance with possible internal injuries.

The male driver of the Taurus complained of a wrist injury, and his wife complained of a possible ankle injury. They went to Spectrum United Hospital in Greenville by private transport to be checked out. 

Algoma Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene.

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Firefighter discovers fire at local business

Firefighters work to put out a fire at RMS Refrigeration last Friday, August 3. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

The last thing Lt. Jason Clauser of the Algoma Fire Department expected to see when he crested the hill on White Creek Avenue between Russell Road and 14 Mile about 6:30 p.m. last Friday, August 3, was smoke and flames from a business there.

“It was kind of a unique situation,” he explained. “I was driving by and saw some black smoke and then saw flames from the east side of the building,” he said, referring to a storage facility used by RMS Refrigeration, an HVAC contractor at 11800 White Creek Avenue.

Clauser called it in, and was in charge at the scene when other units arrived. There were seven fire departments at the scene. Assisting Algoma was Cedar Springs Fire, Rockford Fire, Solon Fire, Grattan Fire, Courtland Fire, and Sparta Fire. Rockford Ambulance was also on scene if needed.

Clauser said the fire started on the east side and got up into the roof and rafters. “When it got into the ceiling it got into the insulation so we had to pull the ceiling down because the tiniest spark could cause it to rekindle,” he explained. They also had to tear off some of the siding from the outside.

The cause of the fire was undetermined.

After first arriving, Clauser said they cut open the door and were able to back out a work truck from the facility. “The owner was super grateful for that because it enabled his business to keep functioning,” he said.

Clauser said they cleared the scene by about 10 p.m.

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Supervisors run close race

By Judy Reed

One local township voted to retain their Supervisor in Tuesday’s August primary, while another township voted a new leader to take the helm. 

In Nelson Township, current Supervisor Robyn Britton won with 449 votes to Tom Norton’s 343. There are 3,487 registered voters in Nelson Township, and 1,136 ballots were cast, for a turn out of 32 percent. Both Britton and Norton were registered as Republicans, which meant most all of the parties (except for 53 Democratic write ins) had to vote Republican since you couldn’t split your ticket. Some were happy to do it if it meant voting for the candidate they thought should win the Supervisor race, while others weren’t happy about it.

In an even closer race in Courtland Township, trustee Matt McConnon won the Supervisor job by just 36 votes. He took 457; current Supervisor Mike Krygier had 421; and challenger Eric Smith had 209. They also all ran on the Republican ticket, so voters in Courtland also had to vote Republican to vote for their Supervisor candidate. There are 6,358 registered voters in Courtland Township, and 2,118 cast ballots, for a turn out of 33 percent.

Fire protection millage renewals in both townships passed.

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The Post travels to the Netherlands and Germany

Recently the Post traveled to the Netherlands and Germany with Carl and Fran Hoitenga of Cedar Springs; Dave and Beth Hutchings of Rockford; Howard and Maryanne Wilson, Rick and Lorie Fahner, and Brenda Chafee all of Howard City; plus friends from other areas around the country.

The group traveled aboard Avalon Cruise Line’s “Felicity.” The cruise was described as an “active discovery experience” featuring walking and biking excursions in many ports along the Rhine River. At each port, passengers could choose from among many tours according to their own interests.The tours consisted of both historical and contemporary points of interest up close.

The cruise started in Amsterdam, Netherlands with stops at the German ports of Xantem, Duisberg, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Engers, Koblenz, Rudesheim, Eltville, and Mainz. 

Thanks so much 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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Summer reading ends with a splash

Bounce houses and water slides were a big hit at the summer reading celebration last week. Post photo by J. Reed.

Kids loved the sno cones supplied by the Green family at the summer reading celebration. Photo by Donna Clark.

By Judy Reed

Last Thursday, August 2, was a great day for the celebration that ended this year’s summer reading program for the Cedar Springs Library.

Over 1300 people turned out for the event, which was held in Morley Park, from 1-3 p.m. Included in the celebration was a lot of fun stuff for kids to do—bounce houses, water slides, carnival games by the Green family, a petting zoo with Animal Junction and Double K Farms, the Kent County Sheriff mounted police, face painting, and more. 

There were long lines for sno cones supplied by the Green family, and Mayor Gerald Hall and his wife, Amy, popped 12 pounds of popcorn! Lots of great prizes were also given away at the event.

Librarian Donna Clark and her staff sure know how to put on a great party. Hope to see you all there next year!

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Garden Club celebrates new community flower garden

The Cedar Springs Garden Club is celebrating the completion of the newly designed Community Flower Garden. Located in the center of town, it brightens the daily trip to the Post Office for many citizens.

The garden renovation started last fall after Kristin Perez of Shaner Avenue Nursery designed a new plan that was easier to maintain than the previous garden. The old plants were removed and offered to the public. 

In April of this year, the dolomite path was installed around the Norway Spruce tree with the help of some great volunteers. Six men from the Men’s Bible Study group of Maranatha Baptist Church, plus Mark Millering, Dennis White, Fred White and Calvin Moore provided the muscle power that was needed along with a front end loader and a gas powered compactor. The job was done in less than three hours including snacks and lunch provided by the garden club ladies. It was a lot of work!

Next came the planting of shrubs and perennials in May with the whole garden club and some community volunteers participating. Another day was devoted to mulching which included preparing for the mulch with an underlayment of newspapers. The Cedar Springs Post helped out by providing some old newspapers for the job.

In June the annual beds were planted. Plants were chosen for color and durability. Mulch was recently added to retain moisture and prevent weeds. 

Patricia Moore has been chairman of this beautification project and she expresses gratitude to all of the volunteers and donors. The volunteers include the above mentioned men, Abby Millering, Bev Lane, and Garden Club members Sandy McEwen, Cindy Litwinchuk, Sharon Nielson, Caroline Bartlett, Chris McFarlane, Rose Powell and Colleen White. Thank you to Kristin Perez and Shaner Avenue Nursery, Great Lakes Landscape Supply, City manager Mike Womack and Bill with DPW.

Donations came from individuals, businesses, and garden club members. 

The City of Cedar Springs provided a water source and the dolomite material. Cedar Springs Garden Club donated over 25% of the total cost from it’s own treasury and continue to volunteer their time to water and maintain the garden. 

Thank you to all of the community who provided. We hope it is enjoyed by all. 

A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned at the garden at 7:00 pm on Monday, August 13. Everyone from the community is invited.

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We’ve been “Hawked!”

 

This was the sight when we arrived at the office last Thursday morning, August 2. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Have you seen the red flamingoes (or are they hawks) gracing the yards of your neighbors recently? They might be coming to your yard soon, too!

The Post was one of several places in the area that was recently “hawked.” Accompanying the hawks was a note explaining that the red flamingoes (painted red like a hawk) is a fundraiser for the Cedar Springs Senior All-Night Party. The hawks will be in your yard for 24 hours and will then be picked up. For a minimum $10 donation, you can specify where they will go next. For $20, you can buy insurance that guarantees they won’t show back up in your yard. You put the money in the envelope, along with the slip that specifies where they go next, and you are all set.

What a fun way to help out the Senior All-Night Party so that our kids are guaranteed a great evening. We hope that you can soon say you’ve been hawked, too!

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Trailer flips while making turn

Photo credit: Steven C. Reed

By Judy Reed

Monday did not start out well for this driver. 

According to the Michigan State Police Post Rockford, a truck driver was heading westbound on Belding Road while hauling a trailer shortly before 9:40 a.m. Monday, August 6, when he turned south on Wolverine Blvd (Northland Drive) and the trailer overturned and broke free from the truck.

No one was injured in the crash.

Thanks to Steven Reed for sending us this photo!

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