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Arrests made in Spencer Township homicide

Christopher Paul Duncan

Christopher Paul Duncan

Zachary Wayne Bennett

Zachary Wayne Bennett

Jaman Amr Parish

Jaman Amr Parish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tyler Coty Rohn

Tyler Coty Rohn

Isaac Michael-Paul Fezzey

Isaac Michael-Paul Fezzey

Kevin Carson Berry

Kevin Carson Berry

The Kent County Sheriff Department released the names last Friday of the six people arrested for the murder last month of Brent Luttrell, of Gowen. One of them, Christopher Paul Duncan, 29, of Lakeview, is the ex-boyfriend of Luttrell’s girlfriend, and the father of her child, who was there at the time of the home invasion.

Police believe that greed and jealousy were behind the attack, and that Duncan helped plan the home invasion, though he wasn’t present when it happened. Luttrell had been dating the woman for about six weeks, and had reportedly posted photos of himself on social media with large amounts of cash. Duncan and Luttrell had reportedly been friends at one time.

Police said that Luttrell, 34, was sleeping at his home, at 12849 Pinewood N.E., in Spencer Township, on September 8, when three armed masked males entered the residence about 1 a.m. Luttrell immediately ran outside and was confronted by at least one of the suspects. He was then forced into a red passenger vehicle with a loud muffler (driven by another person) and transported to the area of Lincoln Lake and Pinewood, where he was later found in the roadway with multiple wounds. Luttrell was transported to Spectrum Health Butterworth, where he died as a result of his injuries.

An autopsy was conducted and it was determined Luttrell died from multiple gunshot and stab wounds.

Police reported there were three other adults in the residence (Luttrell’s male cousin, his cousin’s girlfriend, and Luttrell’s girlfriend) and a juvenile male (Luttrell’s girlfriend’s son). The cousin received facial injuries and was treated and released from the hospital.

Arrested was:

Christopher Paul Duncan, 29, of Lakeview. He is facing charges of Conspiracy to commit home invasion and habitual offender, 2nd notice.

Zachary Wayne Bennett, 21, of Lyons. He is charged with conspiracy to commit home invasion; conspiracy to commit armed robbery; armed robbery; home invasion; and habitual offender, 3rd notice. He was sentenced in May to probation for committing larceny from a motor vehicle and breaking and entering a building with intent in February of this year.

Jaman Amr Parish, 34, of Ionia. He is charged with felony murder, armed robbery, unlawful imprisonment, home invasion, felony firearm, and habitual offender, 4th notice. Parish was on parole, as of May of last year, for assaulting a prison employee, and breaking and entering with intent.

Tyler Coty Rohn, 25, of Ionia. He is charged with felony murder, armed robbery, unlawful imprisonment, home invasion, and felony firearm.

Isaac Michael-Paul Fezzey, 21, of Ionia. He is charged with felony murder, armed robbery, unlawful imprisonment, home invasion, felony firearm, and assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder.

Kevin Carson Berry, 21, of Saranac. He is charged with felony murder, armed robbery, unlawful imprisonment, home invasion, and felony firearm.

The Sheriff Department said that the investigation is ongoing, and other people may be arrested in the future.

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Local agencies train for worldwide Ebola outbreak

 

News came out this week that a second healthcare worker in a Dallas, Texas hospital has tested positive for the Ebola virus, after caring for a man who died there from it last week. So far, it is the only place in the U.S. affected by the virus. However, officials in Kent County aren’t twiddling their thumbs. Instead, they are proactively preparing to combat the threat.

Officials from the City of Grand Rapids, Kent County, area hospitals and first response agencies met Monday to discuss emergency preparedness regarding the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus worldwide. Discussions centered on the virus, transmission, prevention, patient isolation and monitoring, in case there was a patient with Ebola–like symptoms who had travelled to (or had close contact with someone from) the region impacted by Ebola.

“This meeting brought key first responders and healthcare providers to the same table to discuss our preparedness plans with county and city officials,” said Jack Stewart, Emergency Management Coordinator. “We need to be able to respond quickly, while making sure we are protecting our front-line personnel and others.”

The meeting resulted in a decision to reestablish the Metropolitan Medical Response System, which will ensure a coordinated effort.

The meeting included representatives of Emergency Management, the Grand Rapids City Manager’s Office, Grand Rapids Police Department, Grand Rapids Fire Department, Kent County Health Department, Kent County Administrator’s Office, Kent County EMS, Spectrum Health, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, and Metro Health Hospital.

“We are working to bring all of the right people to the table to discuss this emerging health threat,” said  Greg Sundstrom, Grand Rapids City Manager. “Knowing who to call before an emergency helps us provide the most successful response we can.”

The Kent County Health Department has provided guidance to area health care providers, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) direction. “The region’s top emergency and medical professionals are making sure all providers have the right information and tools,” said Dan Koorndyk, Chair of the Kent County Board of Commissioners. “This type of cooperation ensures that our team is always prepared and informed.”

Area hospitals are continuously training for the unexpected. “We welcome the opportunity to work with our Kent County partners on this issue,” Michael Kramer, MD, Spectrum Health Senior Vice President & Chief Quality

Officer. “Spectrum Health is committed to providing all available assistance to our partners to educate and protect our community and health care workers.”

“As a community well-known for its collaboration, West Michigan’s health care providers and key stakeholders are preparing as best as we can, focusing on education, awareness and monitoring to prevent Ebola from occurring within our region,” said Mary Neuman, RN, BSN, MM, CIC, Director of Infection Control at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “All these pieces to keep our community safe will require constant and open communication among our health care systems.”

“By working together with the Kent County Health Department and area hospitals and using CDC guidelines, we are able to share best practices that truly benefit our community,” said Svetlana Dembitskaya, Metro Health chief operating officer. “Our community can rest assured that we are working together to provide the high quality care West Michigan residents expect and deserve.”

Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease in humans. The CDC continues to issue regular updates to state and local authorities. The outbreak continues to affect several countries in West Africa: Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

Currently, those at highest risk include healthcare workers and the family and friends of a person infected with Ebola. A person infected with Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear, which can take up to 21 days.

Signs and symptoms of Ebola are flu-like in nature. They typically include:

Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)

Severe headache

Muscle pain

Vomiting

Diarrhea

Stomach pain

Unexplained bleeding or bruising

No one in Kent County has met the criteria for testing at this time, and no cases of Ebola have been confirmed in Michigan.

 

 

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Man convicted in cat killing

Michael Stackhouse

Michael Stackhouse

A Cedar Springs man rolled the dice and lost.

Michael Patrick Stackhouse, 35, killed a cat outside his home in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates last April. He was reportedly offered a plea deal in May that would reduce his sentence if he pled guilty to a charge of animal cruelty causing death. Under the plea deal, he would not be charged as a multiple felony offender, which could have reduced his sentence. But he rejected the deal, and instead decided he wanted a jury trial.

His decision backfired this week when he was convicted by that jury on the animal cruelty charge. He was remanded to jail immediately to await sentencing.

It started on April 7, when a call came into police dispatch, with the caller telling them that a cat had jumped over a partial door barrier to their mobile home on Susan Street, and then went inside the home and was fighting with their dogs. Later the caller said the cat was dead and that her husband may have killed it.

When officers investigated, they found that the man had thrown the cat into the street, in front of children and neighbors. He admitted to then stomping on the cat’s head, because it was twitching from seizures.

Stackhouse never denied he did it. He told reporters that he did it to put it out of its misery.

Killing and torturing an animal is punishable by up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine. As a two-time felony offender, the judge could sentence him prison time up to eight years. Under the plea deal, he would have faced no more than a year in jail.

He is scheduled to be sentenced November 18.

 

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Four Michigan conservation officers honored for lifesaving efforts

Four Michigan conservation officers were honored last week for their role in the search and rescue operation that eventually recovered Newaygo County toddler Amber Smith, who had been lost in the woods for nearly 24 hours in October 2013. Pictured here (L to R) are Officer Brian Lebel; Officer Mike Wells; Officer Jeff Ginn; and Sgt. Mike Bomay.

Four Michigan conservation officers were honored last week for their role in the search and rescue operation that eventually recovered Newaygo County toddler Amber Smith, who had been lost in the woods for nearly 24 hours in October 2013. Pictured here (L to R) are Officer Brian Lebel; Officer Mike Wells; Officer Jeff Ginn; and Sgt. Mike Bomay.

The Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division recently honored four Department of Natural Resources conservation officers who worked as part of a search and rescue operation and who ultimately found a missing 2-1/2-year-old child in the woods in Newaygo County last year. The officers were honored at last week’s meeting of the Natural Resources Commission in Cadillac, Michigan.
Sgt. Mike Bomay and conservation officers Jeff Ginn, Brian Lebel and Mike Wells were presented with Lifesaving Awards by DNR Director Keith Creagh and DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler for their role in locating Amber Smith, a toddler who disappeared Oct. 8, 2013, from her Barton Township home.

“Our officers go through extensive training to locate lost persons in the woods and they are experts in the areas where they work, knowing the terrain better than anyone,” said Hagler. “I would like to congratulate all of the officers involved for their diligence on this search. Some had already worked a full shift when they were requested to help and did not hesitate to assist.”

The DNR conservation officers responded to a request from the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department to assist with the search of the heavily wooded area around the girl’s home. The area is part of national forest land and contains a maze of two-track roads and power lines. The officers searched the area until 1 a.m. and then were relieved by another search team. The conservation officers reported back once the sun came up and continued their search, locating the little girl approximately 24 hours after she was reported missing.

The conservation officers used an off-road vehicle and utility task vehicle in their search. As they searched, the officers retrieved items that were potential evidence and turned them over to an evidence collection team. After a brief meeting at an intersection of two-track roads, the officers separated to continue the search and, shortly after that, while cresting a hill, CO Ginn stopped short, got off his ORV and walked into the woods and returned carrying the toddler, alert and unharmed. CO Wells immediately contacted Incident Command to report the missing girl was found and that she was alive.

To learn more about Michigan conservation officers and the work they do, visit the DNR website www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers

 

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Red Flannel POST

RedFlannelpg8Download this week’s Red Flannel Post pages for all your Red Flannel News!

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RedFlannelPost4014.pdf

RedFlannelPost3914.pdf

RedFlannelPost3814.pdf

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Red Flannel rocks despite weather

 

This photo was taken by Natalie Kieda as she rode in the helicopter over the town on Red Flannel Day last Saturday.

This photo was taken by Natalie Kieda as she rode in the helicopter over the town on Red Flannel Day last Saturday.

 

 

Natalie Kieda won a complimentary helicopter ride on Red Flannel Day.

Natalie Kieda won a complimentary helicopter ride on Red Flannel Day.

By Judy Reed

 

The weather held true to the spirit of the Red Flannel Festival Saturday, with temperatures in the 40s. The nip in the air and the sporadic sprinkles didn’t put a damper on the festivities, however, as thousands of people lined the streets to celebrate the Red Flannel Festival’s 75th anniversary.

Helicopter rides were one of the highlights of the day, and the helicopter could be seen and heard buzzing over the town all day long. Courtland Township resident Natalie Kieda was one of the people who took advantage of the attraction. Kieda, who works at Cedar Springs Public Schools, said she won the ride as a door prize the school gave away.

“I really enjoyed it,” remarked Kieda. “I had never ridden in a helicopter before. I was a little nervous, but it was an amazing view. It was nice to see the town from the air.” She took some aerial photos, which she shared with us.

She said the helicopter took off from Red Hawk Elementary, went north of town, out over the highway, and circled back to Red Hawk. “It was a nice experience. A pretty smooth ride, too,” she added.

Events and attractions could be found all day, up and down Main Street, on side streets, at the schools, in Morley Park and up on 17 Mile in the Tractor Supply parking lot (the car show was there). People were able to take the trolley to various locations.

As usual, the Grand Parade was a big hit, with Cedar Springs TV production teacher Justin Harnden and crew filming a live lip dub production during the parade, and the Scottville Clown band entertaining at the end of the parade, and in a concert afterward. Activities continued on into the evening, with the Red Flannel Talent show, a movie at the Kent Theatre, a powder puff football game, and live music at the Grand Lodge and at the American Legion.

To see the lip dub, go to youtube.com and type in Red Flannel lip dub.

Many people submitted their Red Flannel photos to the Post Facebook page this week. We couldn’t fit them all in, but download this week’s Red Flannel Post and see if you can find yours!

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State dismisses campaign finance suit against city

 

By Judy Reed

 

The Michigan Bureau of Elections decided last week that the City of Cedar Springs did not violate section 57 of the Campaign Finance Act when it used city funds to investigate whether a violation of the Open Meetings act had occurred.

The complaint, which was filed by Cedar Springs resident Mark Laws, was dismissed.

“I think this validates that the city was trying to do the right thing,” said City Manager Thad Taylor.

The saga began a year ago last July, when the Council voted to take then Mayor Bob Truesdale into closed session to hear complaints against him. According to Truesdale, he did not ask for the closed session, but was instead told by two of the council members that they were going to do this in closed session. Truesdale said he voted with the council to go into closed session, figuring he had nothing to hide, and was not aware of his rights to end it at any time.

Mark Laws then filed recall petitions against two of the council members—Patricia Troost and Ashley Bremmer—and the alleged Open Meetings violation is one of the reasons listed. (Those two council members were the only two he could recall at that time due to laws regarding where they were in their terms.)

The City Council then voted to conduct an investigation into whether a violation of the the Open Meetings Act had occurred, and directed City Manager Thad Taylor to proceed. When Taylor went to the Michigan State Police, he was told that the City needed to collect as much information as possible, submit it to the Kent County prosecutor, and then the State Police would investigate.

Taylor then began to have staff collect the information necessary. It was then that Laws filed a complaint with the State Bureau of Elections, asserting that any money spent by the City in connection with the investigation, was an effort by the City to show that the recall was baseless and to encourage voters to vote against the recall.

The City then stopped their investigation into the alleged Open Meetings Violation, since there was now a complaint on whether they had violated the Campaign Finance Act.

Attorney Michael Hodge filed an answer to the CFA complaint on behalf of the city and five of the council members, and asserted that the minutes of the City Council meetings (March 13 and April 3, 2014) reveal that the Cedar Springs City Council and their City Manager were concerned with the public allegation that they had broken a state law which imposed potential criminal penalties.

The decision letter sent to complainant Mark Laws by the state noted that “They [City] also had real and credible concerns that the public should know if they complied with the Open Meetings Act or not. Because the City Officers had legitimate legal concerns regarding the alleged Open Meetings Act violation, the Department finds that the evidence does not tend to show that the City Officers made an expenditure in regard to the recall election and your complaint is dismissed.”

Taylor was pleased with the decision. “It shows they recognized the city’s concern to the legality of its actions,” he said. “As Council discussed, they felt it was their responsibility to find out if they acted properly.”

Laws said he wasn’t surprised by the decision. “It’s unfortunate, but it is the way the process works,” he remarked. He explained that he didn’t know much about the Open Meetings Act, when the alleged violation happened, and missed his opportunity to file a lawsuit compelling compliance. Under the OMA, any action must be taken within either 30 or 60 days after the minutes become publically available, depending on what was being considered when the violation occurred.

“The violation of the Campaign Finance Act was the only thing I could do,” he explained. “I just thought someone else should have been doing the investigation.”

Taylor said that they are moving forward on the investigation on whether they violated the Open Meetings Act. He said that the State Police contacted him last week, after Mark Laws contacted them to prod the investigation along. “Our intent was not to seek them out until this was resolved. We were abiding by our decision, but that was taken out of our hands when Mr. Laws contacted them,” he explained. He said that the State Police investigator should be here this week.

 

 

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The Post travels to Mt. McKinley in Alaska

N-Post-travels-Mt-McKinley-DickersonDavid and Loraine Dickerson, of Cedar Springs, went on a two-week vacation in June, with five of Loraine’s six sisters and their spouses. And of course, they took a Post along.

“The first half of our vacation started in Vancouver, on a cruise of the Alaskan Inside Passage,” wrote Loraine. “We enjoyed stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway and ended at Seward. We were lucky to see an iceberg break off and fall into Glacier Bay.”

During the second week, they rode the Alaskan Railway and stopped at Anchorage, Talkeetna, and Denali. “Due to bad weather on the mountain, our first flight was cancelled,” explained Loraine. “We rescheduled and flew in a Talkeetna Air Taxi (a ten-seat plane) up to a glacier approximately 1/4 of the way up Mt. McKinley. We had to wear coats, sunglasses, and special boots.”

The photo above is of David and Loraine in front of the McKinley range. “We were able to see the top of McKinley several times while in Talkeetna and Denali, and joined the 30 percent club,” remarked Loraine. “Only 30 percent of the people who visit McKinley ever see the top. Alaska is a must-see destination!”

 

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School board chooses new interim member

Michelle Bayink

Michelle Bayink

Introducing Michelle Bayink

The Cedar Springs Board of Education has chosen Michelle Bayink as the new interim board member to finish out the term of Todd Hanson, who resigned last month, due to moving out of the district. His term is up at the end of December.

Michelle has lived in Cedar Springs for over 27 years, and is a graduate of the Cedar Springs class of 1999. She has been married to Brad for 14 years. They have three wonderful boys Graham, Carter, and Noah, who all attend Cedar Springs Public Schools.

Her education includes Associates Degree from Grand Rapids Community College and a Bachelors Degree in Sales and Marketing from Western Michigan University. Currently she works for Cintas, as a new business Facilities Sales Representative in the West Michigan area.

She wanted to join the School Board because she has always been passionate about education. When she spotted the opening on the school board, she decided she wanted to be a part of it. Michelle’s goal is to help continue the current positive direction with the budget and the high level of education for each and every student.

Michelle’s hobbies include spending time with family and friends. You might be able to catch her snowboarding in the winter and spending time on her boat in the summer. Michelle enjoys watching all sports and Ioves meeting new people.

Michelle is also running on the November ballot for a six-year term.

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Man in Texas dies from Ebola virus

 

Health Department & Emergency Management monitors Ebola situation 

 

GRAND RAPIDS – The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) and Kent County Emergency Management (KCEM) continues to monitor the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the case in Texas, where a man from Liberia who came to the U.S. died from Ebola Wednesday. Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease in humans. KCHD and KCEM are regularly receiving updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on this emerging outbreak.

The outbreak involves several countries in West Africa: Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and Nigeria. Currently, those at highest risk include healthcare workers and the family and friends of a person infected with Ebola. Area health care providers have received information from the KCHD based on CDC guidance.

“The death in Texas today is a tragic reminder that Ebola is a serious illness,” said Adam London, Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department. “But it also has been an excellent reminder of how well our public health system works in the United States. There have been no additional reports of illness as a result of this one case at this time, because of the emergency response and precautions taken by health care providers and epidemiologists.”

“The level of cooperation and information-sharing between emergency agencies helps keep local municipalities like Kent County informed and well-prepared,” said Jack Stewart, Emergency Management Coordinator for Kent County. “Keeping community leaders, first responders and our local emergency departments updated has been our top priority.”

A person infected with Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear, which can take up to 21 days. Signs and symptoms of Ebola are quite flu-like in nature. They typically include:

Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)

Severe headache

Muscle pain

Vomiting

Diarrhea

Stomach pain

Unexplained bleeding or bruising

No one in Kent County has met the criteria for testing at this time, and no cases of Ebola have been confirmed in Michigan.

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