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Three-car crash sends four to hospital

This three-car crash sent one woman to the hospital with serious injuries and injured several others.

A Morley woman who hit another vehicle from behind Friday morning in Reynolds Township may have been distracted by one of her children trying to loosen their seat belt. According to the Montcalm County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred about 9:39 a.m. on Friday, June 16, in the 22000 block of West Howard City Road (M-82).

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred about 9:39 a.m. on Friday, June 16, in the 22000 block of West Howard City Road (M-82).

Police said that Vanessa Dyer, aged 25 from Morley, was travelling eastbound on Howard City Road (M-82) in her 2003 Chevrolet minivan with her three children, ages 2, 3, and 4. Joseph White, aged 61 from Muskegon, was travelling eastbound in front of Dyer, in his 1989 Chevrolet van. White was slowing to wait for traffic to clear so he could make a left turn into a private drive. A westbound 2000 Chevrolet Tracker, driven by Carl McNees, age 65, from Sand Lake, was slowing to make a right turn into the same private drive. Dyer told police she was distracted by her children and did not realize White was slowing on the roadway. Dyer struck White’s vehicle from behind causing White’s vehicle to strike McNees’ vehicle.
Dyer was pinned in her vehicle and the Jaws of Life had to be used to remove her. She suffered serious injuries and was flown to Spectrum Butterworth in Grand Rapids by Aeromed. Dyer’s three children were transported via ambulance to Spectrum for observation.
White was not injured in the crash. His wife, Gloria aged 56, was a passenger and was complaining of injuries. She sought her own medical treatment.
McNee sustained minor injuries during the crash and refused treatment. His wife, Donna, aged 63, was passenger and was not injured.
In addition to Aeromed, ambulances from the Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services and Life EMS assisted at the scene, as did the Howard City Fire Department.
Police believe that one of the Dyer children was attempting to undo his seat belt in the vehicle. However, the remaining occupants, and the occupants of the other vehicles, were properly restrained and there were no other known contributing factors that led to the collision. The crash remains under investigation.

 

 

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Summer reading takes off

By Judy Reed

“If you build it, they will come.” That iconic line from the movie “Field of Dreams”  came true for the new Cedar Springs Community Library at the kickoff of their Summer Reading program on Monday, June 12, when between 950 and 1,000 people attended the opening event.

“At the end of yesterday we had 920 people signed up for summer reading, which is 300 more sign-ups than we ever had over an entire summer, and 400 more people came in Monday than have in the past,” remarked Library Director Donna Clark.

Double K Petting Barn with Animal Junction 4H had their petting zoo set up out back, under a tree, near the creek. But the heat didn’t seem to deter people. In fact, children took the opportunity to splash in the creek, hang out on the bridge, and rest on the well. “It was so great seeing kids rediscovering the creek,” remarked Clark.

The Cedar Springs Fire Department also had an engine pulled out for the kids to explore. The ice cream cups provided by Kelly’s Restaurant were also a big hit. One of the biggest hits was the appearance of Ronald McDonald himself, who entertained kids first outside with a book and some magic tricks, then inside in the area around the fireplace. “He was so kind and so funny,” said Clark. “Kids were lined up to get their picture taken with him.”

June and July will be filled with reading and special events. The more hours a person reads (K-12) and the more books adults read, the better his/her chance is to win one of the prizes offered by 29 local businesses.

The last day to turn in reading logs is July 21. The program will end with a carnival at Morley Park on July 27, where the prizes will be given away. But kids in grades K-12 don’t have to wait until July 27 to win something—they win with every one of the five reading coupons turned in throughout the summer.

For a complete schedule of events, stop in and pick up a brochure at the library.

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Newaygo woman charged with OWI, domestic abuse

 

Christa Ann Knox

A Newaygo woman that got into a fight with a passenger in her vehicle has been arrested on several charges.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff Department, deputies were alerted to a possible drunk driver within Reynolds Township, on June 8, about 10:52 p.m. The report indicated a burgundy minivan was being driven in an erratic manner. Before the vehicle could be located by officers, an additional report was received advising the vehicle was stopped near the intersection of Gates and Dagget Roads and there was a woman lying on the road near the vehicle. Upon arrival, the deputy determined that there had not been a vehicle crash at that location, but several other law violations were discovered.

Through the investigation, it was determined that the driver, Christa Ann Knox, 36, of Newaygo, had been travelling westbound on Gates Road when she suddenly stopped her vehicle. Knox then engaged in some type of altercation with a 51-year old Newaygo woman who was a passenger in the vehicle. The 51-year-old woman was found lying in the roadway. She was transported to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids for treatment and it was determined she sustained no serious injuries.

The deputy determined that Knox was intoxicated, was not a valid driver, had her young child in the vehicle, had previous driving related convictions, and had several warrants out for her arrest. Knox was arrested and transported to the Montcalm County Jail where she was lodged.

After review, the prosecutor’s office authorized a warrant charging Knox with Operating While Impaired, third offense; driving on a suspended license, second offense; and domestic violence, second offense. Knox is currently being held at the jail with a $7,000.00 bond for those charges.

The Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services and the Michigan State Police assisted at the scene.

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Concerts in park kick off summer

The band Mane Street will is the opening band for this year’s concerts in the park. Courtesy photo.

Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation will kick off their summer series of free concerts at Morley Park tonight—Thursday, June 15, with Mane Street at 7 p.m.

Now in its 11th year, the concerts put on by Cedar Springs Parks and Recreation and sponsored by area businesses give people a chance to relax with friends and family, while listening to some great music.

There are concessions on site, and free raffle tickets give concert-goers a chance to win prizes from area businesses.

Other dates this summer are July 20 with the Oxymorons, and August 17 with The Sea Cruisers.

Be sure to bring a lawn chair. Concerts start at 7 p.m. In the case of rain, the concert will be moved to Cedar Springs Middle School.

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Boy Scouts donate time to Library

Boy Scouts Ben Barber and Derek Bordeaux donated their time at the Cedar Springs Community Library putting magnets on 100 bookends that were donated by a Lakeland Library and freshly painted by Bassett’s Auto to match the library’s new shelving. Way to go!

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Woman killed in car vs pedestrian crash

An 18-year-old Caledonia woman was killed Sunday evening, June 11, when she was struck by a pickup truck in Montcalm County.

According to the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post, the crash occurred on June 11, 2017 at 8:54 p.m. on East Holland Lake Road east of Staines Road, in Sheridan.

Police said the woman was struck by a 2005 Ford F-250 pickup truck on East Holland Lake Rd.  The vehicle was driven by a 45 year old Douglas Weaver of Sheridan. The pedestrian was airlifted to Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids where she passed away due to her injuries. The name of the pedestrian is being withheld at the request of family members.

Alcohol, speed, and weather conditions are not believed to be a factor.

Troopers were assisted at the scene by the Sheridan Fire Department and Montcalm County EMS.

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Police departments to host Citizens’ Academy  

 

The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) and Michigan State Police (MSP) Lakeview Post is pleased to announce a Citizens’ Academy, which will start September 19, 2017 and end November 14, 2017. Attendees will meet from 6pm – 8pm every Tuesday night. The eight week academy will give citizens the opportunity to become familiar with the mission and operation of the MCSD and MSP, understand the procedures deputies and troopers follow, increase their awareness of law enforcement’s role in the community, and get to know personnel at the MCSD and Lakeview Post.

The eight week academy will meet at Montcalm Community College’s Sidney Campus. A graduation ceremony will be held on November 14, 2017 at 7:00pm. Individuals who are interested in attending the Citizens’ Academy should contact Undersheriff Mike Williams at 989-831-7586 (mwilliams@montcalm.us) or F/Lt Kevin Sweeney at 517-719-1195 (sweeneyk@michigan.gov) to receive an application.

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School board dismisses complaints against Superintendent

 

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education passed a resolution 4-2 Monday evening to dismiss several complaints filed against Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn, including one filed by board member Ted Sabinas.

The board went into closed session Monday evening before voting on the resolution. The two board members voting against the resolution included Vice President Brooke Nichols and trustee Michelle Bayink. The resolution was read but there was no discussion.

The Post asked for a copy of the resolution, which was handwritten, from both Board President Matthew Shoffner, and the Superintendent’s office, but received no response from either.

According to Sabinas and others present at the meeting, the resolution dismissed complaints filed by Sabinas, Sue Wolfe, and Tammie Drake, which all asked for an investigation into whether Dr. VanDuyn had violated the school’s bullying and harassment policy (1162) in a statement she made to Sabinas in a previous board meeting on April 24, 2017. It happened during a presentation on privatizing the transportation services. Sabinas had tried to attend what was listed as an informational meeting between the bus drivers and administrative team, but was locked out. Sabinas said he was told that the drivers voted it down during that meeting, but that VanDuyn and Transportation supervisor Jerry Gavin then walked out and met privately, then went back into the meeting and told the drivers that if they voted against it, Gavin would be out of a job, but if they voted for it, he would work for Dean. The vote then passed. The statement under question from VanDuyn was uttered in an effort to explain why she and Gavin went outside.

“You had your truck backed in the parking lot and they felt stalked or intimidated by you sitting in the parking lot. And, so we had to check and see if things were safe for our drivers,” she said.

Sabinas had asked for an independent investigation. It was reportedly handled by Shoffner and treasurer Heidi Reed.

Sabinas reported that under the resolution, there would be no mention of the complaints in the Superintendent’s file.

The passage of the resolution did not stop people from airing their complaints during public comments. Many people addressed the board Monday evening, including current and former employees, and at least one high school student.

Teacher Erin Cairy (wife of former Asst. Superintendent Dave Cairy), who took a leave of absence this year to stay home with her three-year-old son, said the 2015/16 year was demeaning and toxic, and she had feared returning to the vicious things said about her family both verbally and on social media. After she submitted her leave of absence in August, many of her colleagues reached out to her, as did parents of the students she was to have, but the administration did not communicate with her at all. She said she sent emails and texts asking how she could help with the transition but they were not answered. She wrote a personal letter that she hoped to have delivered to the parents of her students, but it was not. She said she sent emails asking if she still had insurance. Those also went unanswered. On Sept. 4 she said she sent one final email begging for communication, but it also was not answered.

Kristina Cassiday also spoke. She worked for 13 years in the teaching and learning office. She said that she had always felt respected and well-liked by the principals, teachers and support staff, and had been thought of as dependable, trustworthy, knowledgeable and hardworking. However, she said that prior to her leaving, she was accused of unprofessional and unethical practices, including deleting appointments from Asst. Superintendent Jo Spry’s calendar; inappropriate charges on a purchase card; releasing confidential budget information to staff members; and cheating the system, in regard to vacation, sick and personal days. “This kind of leadership (false truths, devious, accusatory, strong arming and deceit) has spread fear and distrust throughout our district and community,” she said.

Senior Peyton Elliston spoke about how “our once cohesive, friendly town has turned into a divided battleground that has pitted teacher against teacher and student against student.” She talked about how teachers help students, and not just academically, but also as a mentor, and how several of those teachers she relied on as mentors were now gone. “I’m standing before all of you today to tell you that this—without a doubt—affects the students,” she said. She questioned how the people that are supposed to help students feel safe can do that when they don’t feel safe themselves. “Multiple staff members have stood before you over the last two years, simply asking for your help because they feel bullied and intimidated, yet you haven’t even acknowledged them, because they keep coming back. Imagine having a playground bully you can’t escape, and your repeated cries for help fall on deaf ears.” She noted that they are sending a message to students that their voices are insignificant.

Retired teacher Peggy Hansen asked why the board is turning a blind eye to all the controversy. She said teachers need to be reassured that they can speak out without retaliation. She also asked why the board is not getting back to community members regarding the questions they ask.

Teachers Union representative Brett Burns also spoke while 30-plus teachers stood behind him. “We stand before you this evening as a unified group of educators who you trust with your children every day. We want you to know that we love our kids, we are positive, we are united, we are hopeful. We want to begin the very important process of mending fences in order to build bridges to a bright future. Knowing that you want the same thing for our community and its children, we are extending an invitation for an open dialogue between educators and you, the members of the Cedar Springs Board of Education. We look forward to working as a team on this shared goal. Thank you for listening to this positive, caring majority who deeply desire the best for our staff, our community, and most importantly our kids,” he said.

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Dangerous currents, waves and water safety week 

 

Important to be prepared in natural waters

On average, more than ten people die each year because of dangerous currents in the Great Lakes. While residents are encouraged to visit and enjoy Michigan beaches, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is urging everyone to learn about safe swimming and the signs of dangerous currents.

Dangerous currents develop when winds blow toward the shore, and waves are moderate to high (3 feet or higher). The Great Lakes produce structural currents, rip currents, outlet currents, longshore currents, and channel currents—all of which can cause serious danger to swimmers.

The eastern shore of Lake Michigan has the most current-related incidents of all the Great Lakes, and out of the 514 current-related incidents (rescues and drownings) that occurred on the Great Lakes from 2002-2016, more than 71 percent were on Lake Michigan.

The good news for beachgoers is that currents and high wave activity can be forecasted, and with the right information, you can help have a safe and enjoyable time in natural waters.

MDHHS encourages all residents to remember the following before planning a trip to the beach:

  • Everyone is encouraged to learn to swim and how to be safe in and around the water.
  • Watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip currents (water that is discolored and choppy, foamy, or filled with debris and moving in a channel away from shore).
  • It is never safe to swim near a structure such as a pier or break wall.
  • Never go swimming alone, and designate someone to watch people who are in the water.
  • Follow beach hazard statements and avoid the water when conditions are not safe for swimming.

While it is important to avoid currents altogether, it is equally important to know how to survive one.

If you find yourself in a rip current, flip on your back, float to conserve energy, and follow the safest path out of the water – which could be along the line of the current until it is less strong, or along the shoreline.

To learn more about drowning risks in natural water settings, visit https://www.cdc.gov/features/dsdrowningrisks/ or the national weather service site at http://www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov/ for information about rip currents.

To check Great Lakes beach hazards, visit http://www.weather.gov/greatlakes/beachhazards

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MDHHS Director and four others charged in Flint Water death

 

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced on Wednesday, June 14, that he has charged Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, former City of Flint Water Department Manager Howard Croft, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Drinking Water Chief Liane Shekter-Smith, and Water Supervisor Stephen Busch, with involuntary manslaughter related to their alleged failure to act in the Flint Water Crisis.

Involuntary manslaughter is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and/or a $7,500 fine.

In addition to the involuntary manslaughter charges, Schuette also charged Lyon with Misconduct in Office, a felony, subject to 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells has also been charged with lying to a peace officer and obstruction of justice related to an alleged attempt to stop an investigation into the health crisis in Flint and later misleading investigators as to her actions.

INVESTIGATION INTERIM REPORT

With more than a dozen people now having been charged, and pre-trial hearings and other legal proceedings occurring, Schuette released the initial results of the more than yearlong investigation. Included in the report is a look at today’s and past charges made, as well as a review of the facts and evidence in the case. (You can find the report by clicking on this link – Flint-Water-Interim-Report.pdf)

DEFENDANTS 

Multiple Flint-area residents died of Legionnaires’ disease in the time immediately following the switch from Detroit Water and Sewer Department to the Flint River. All defendants charged with involuntary manslaughter are charged in relation to the death of Robert Skidmore, 85, of Mt. Morris, Michigan. Skidmore died of Legionnaires’ disease after many others had been diagnosed with the illness, yet no public outbreak notice had been issued. The charges allege failure to notify and lack of action to stop the outbreak allowed the disease to continue its spread through Flint’s water system.

NICK LYON – As the Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, a position whose duties are outlined in the Michigan Constitution, Lyon has a duty to protect public health. The investigation has shown that Lyon allegedly received notice of a deadly Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Genesee County nearly one year before he informed the public.  After being informed about a potentially fatal health risk, Lyon allegedly deliberately failed to inform the public of a deadly Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak, which resulted in the death of Robert Skidmore.  Furthermore, Lyon allegedly participated in covering up the source of Genesee County’s Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak by repeatedly attempting to prevent an independent researcher from looking into the cause of the outbreak.

Charges: COUNT 1 – HOMICIDE – MANSLAUGHTER – INVOLUNTARY Did cause the death of Robert Skidmore on December 13, 2015, by failing to alert the public about a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan when he had notice that another outbreak would occur; contrary to MCL 750.321. [750.321-C] FELONY: 15 Years and/or $7,500.00. DNA to be taken upon arrest.

COUNT 2 – MISCONDUCT IN OFFICE Did between February 2015 and May 2017, commit misconduct in office, an indictable offense at common law, in violation of his duty to protect the health of the citizens of the County of Genesee, State of Michigan and to protect the public health enjoined upon him by the Michigan Public Health Code, MCL 333.5111(1); MCL 333.5111(2)(f);MCL 333.2251(1): MCL 333.2251(3); and MCL 333.20531 and the Critical Health Problems Reporting Act; contrary to MCL 750.505. [750.505] FELONY: 5 Years and/or $10,000.00.

EDEN WELLS – As the Chief Medical Executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Eden Wells has a responsibility to protect the health and welfare of Michigan residents. During the course of the investigation of the Flint Water Crisis, it is alleged that Wells attempted to withhold funding for programs designed to help the victims of the crisis, and then lied to an investigator about material facts related to the investigation.

Charges: COUNT 1 – OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE Did commit the common law offense of obstruction of justice by knowingly providing false testimony to a Special Agent and by threatening to withhold funding for the Flint Area Community Health and Environment Partnership if the partnership did not cease its investigation into the source of the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan; contrary to MCL 750.505. FELONY: 5 Years or $10,000.  DNA to be taken upon arrest.

COUNT 2 – LYING TO A PEACE OFFICER – 4 YEAR OR MORE CRIME INVESTIGATION After being informed by Special Counsel Todd Flood, in the presence of Special Agent Arthur Wimmer, that they were conducting a criminal investigation, did knowingly and willfully make a statement or statements to the officer that he or she knew was false or misleading regarding the following material fact or facts relating to the investigation: the date she knew of the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan, and the officer was conducting a criminal investigation regarding involuntary manslaughter; contrary to MCL 750.479c(2)(c). [750.470C2C]. HIGH COURT MISDEMEANOR: 2 Years and/or $5,000.00.

STEPHEN BUSCH – Stephen Busch served as the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality District 8 Water Supervisor, a position which would have allowed him to order the Flint Water Treatment Plant be shut down because it was not producing safe water. In January of 2015, Busch was made aware of the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak, yet he allegedly represented to the public that Flint’s drinking water was safe.

Busch was previously charged with felony Misconduct in Office, Tampering with Evidence, Conspiracy to Tamper with Evidence, and two misdemeanor counts for both a treatment and monitoring violation of the Michigan Safe Water Drinking Act.

Charges: COUNT 1 – HOMICIDE – MANSLAUGHTER – INVOLUNTARY Did cause the death of Robert Skidmore on December 13, 2015, by failing to alert the public about a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan when he had notice that another outbreak would occur; contrary to MCL 750.321. [750.321-C] FELONY: 15 Years and/or $7,500.00. DNA to be taken upon arrest.

LIANE SHEKTER-SMITH  – As the Chief of the Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance at the Department of Environmental Quality, Shekter-Smith had the ability to order the Flint Water Treatment Plant shut down for failure to produce safe water.

Shekter-Smith was previously charged with a felony of Misconduct in Office and a misdemeanor charge of Willful Neglect of Duty.

Charges: COUNT 1 – HOMICIDE – MANSLAUGHTER – INVOLUNTARY Did cause the death of Robert Skidmore on December 13, 2015, by failing to alert the public about a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan when he had notice that another outbreak would occur; contrary to MCL 750.321. [750.321-C] FELONY: 15 Years and/or $7,500.00. DNA to be taken upon arrest.

HOWARD CROFT – As Director of Public Works for the City of Flint, Croft had the ability to mandate changes to the treatment processes at the WTP to ensure proper disinfection was occurring, or switch back to DWSD. Mike Glasgow, former Flint Water Treatment Plant Operator, was allegedly pressured by Croft to start using the Flint Water Treatment Plant. Croft’s alleged failure to treat the water properly contributed to the bacterial outbreaks found in Flint, including the legionella in the spring of 2015.

Croft was previously charged with felony False Pretenses and Conspiracy to Commit False Pretenses.

Charges: COUNT 1 – HOMICIDE – MANSLAUGHTER – INVOLUNTARY Did cause the death of Robert Skidmore on December 13, 2015, by failing to alert the public about a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan when he had notice that another outbreak would occur; contrary to MCL 750.321. [750.321-C] FELONY: 15 Years and/or $7,500.00. DNA to be taken upon arrest.

DARNELL EARLEY – As an appointed Emergency Manager for the City of Flint, Earley was tasked with ensuring the health and welfare of the City. During his terms as Emergency Manager, Earley contributed to the decisions that allegedly caused the death of Robert Skidmore by keeping the City on the water source even as it became obvious the source should be switched back to Detroit Water & Sewer.

Earley was previously charged with felony False Pretenses, Conspiracy to Commit False Pretenses, Misconduct in Office and a misdemeanor charge of Willful Neglect of Duty.

Charges: COUNT 1 – HOMICIDE – MANSLAUGHTER – INVOLUNTARY Did cause the death of Robert Skidmore on December 13, 2015, by failing to alert the public about a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan when he had notice that another outbreak would occur; contrary to MCL 750.321. [750.321-C] FELONY: 15 Years and/or $7,500.00. DNA to be taken upon arrest.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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