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MDOT to redo US-131 between 14 Mile and 17 Mile

MDOT will resurface US131 and repair ramps and three bridges starting 2 miles south of 14 Mile, and ending 2 miles north of where US131 crosses over White Creek Ave.

MDOT will resurface US131 and repair ramps and three bridges starting 2 miles south of 14 Mile, and ending 2 miles north of where US131 crosses over White Creek Ave.

Public meeting March 16 at Cedar Springs High School 4-6 p.m.

By Judy Reed

Are you tired of driving over the rough spots on US131 between 14 Mile and 17 Mile Road and wondering (probably for the millionth time) when they are going to fix this road? You won’t have to wonder much longer.

The Michigan Department of Transportation announced details on Friday, March 3, of their plans to reconstruct that stretch of highway. The project will begin on April 15 and should be open to traffic on November 5.

There will be a public informational meeting about the project at Cedar Springs High School, 204 E. Muskegon, in the cafeteria, on Thursday, March 16, from 4-6 p.m.

According to John Richard, spokesperson for MDOT, the construction influence area will begin with warning signs on US131 two miles south of 14 Mile and continue to two miles north of where it crosses over White Creek Avenue. The influence area will also include one mile east and west of intersection roads and ramps.

The work will include hot mix asphalt (HMA) reconstruction and rehabilitation of three bridges, including concrete curb, gutter and culvert, drainage, signing and pavement markings.

Traffic impact

Two lanes of traffic will be maintained in each direction on US-131 with the use of temporary crossovers and a split-merge traffic shift. Southbound US-131 will have a single lane closure while maintaining one lane of traffic for one week to place top course of HMA. Northbound US-131 will have a single lane closure while maintaining one lane of traffic for one week to place top course of HMA.

Ramp closures

Ramp closures for ramp reconstruction will be allowed for a maximum of 14 calendar days per ramp. Ramps to be reconstructed include all 17 Mile Rd ramps, northbound 14 Mile Rd on ramp, and southbound 14 Mile Rd off ramp.

Detours when ramps are closed:  

*17 Mile NB US-131 off ramp: drivers will get off at 14 Mile instead and take White Creek Ave. north.

*17 Mile NB US-131 on ramp: Drivers will get on SB US-131 instead and get off at 14 Mile Rd, then back on to NB US-131.

*17 Mile SB US-131 on ramp: drivers will take White Creek Ave to 14 Mile Rd. and get on SB US-131.

*17 Mile SB US-131 off ramp: drivers will get off at 14 Mile Rd and back on to NB US-131.

*14 Mile Rd NB US-131 on ramp: drivers will take White Creek Ave to 17 Mile Rd. and get on NB US-131.

*14 Mile Rd SB US-131 off ramp: drivers will get off at 17 Mile Rd. and take Algoma Ave. to 14 Mile.

*When SB US-131 outside lane is under construction, the 17 Mile Rd off ramp, 17 Mile Rd on ramp and 14 Mile off ramps will be closed. A pre-detour will utilize 22 Mile Rd to White Creek Ave to 14 Mile Rd.

*When NB US-131 outside lane is under construction, 14 Mile Rd on ramp, 17 Mile Rd off ramp and 17 Mile on ramps will be closed. A pre-detour will utilize 14 Mile Rd to White Creek Ave to 22 Mile Rd.

Shoulder closures

14 Mile Rd and 17 Mile Rd will have lane/shoulder closures but will maintain two-way traffic at all times with the exception for the paving of ramp terminals, when traffic will be maintained using traffic regulators.

When the bridge over White Creek Avenue is being worked on, it will require access to the bridge from down below, so White Creek Ave will have one lane maintained for two-way traffic by utilizing a temporary signal. Bridge work will include substructure reinforcements, joint replacement on the bridge deck and painting.

Be sure to attend the meeting at the high school on March 16 and get your questions answered.

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Man charged in murder of infant

14-month-old, Laylah Heether

14-month-old, Laylah Heether

Wayne Arthur-Scott Brown has been charged in the abuse and murder of his 14-month-old stepdaughter Laylah Heether.

Wayne Arthur-Scott Brown has been charged in the abuse and murder of his 14-month-old stepdaughter Laylah Heether.

The Newaygo County Sheriff Office arrested a man last week and charged him with the abuse and murder of a 14 month old girl.

According to police, deputies were called to a suspected child abuse complaint in Big Prairie Township on February 14. A 14-month-old girl was taken by ambulance to the emergency room for apparent head injuries. The girl, Laylah Heether, succumbed to her injuries on February 21 while in the ICU.

The child’s stepfather, Wayne Arthur-Scott Brown, 29, reportedly told police that Laylah’s mother, Breean, was out running errands, and that Laylah fell off the couch while he was in the kitchen.

However, doctors reported that the child’s injuries were consistent with physical and sexual abuse.

Brown was arrested on February 23 by Newaygo County Sheriff detectives and the Michigan State Police. He was arraigned on February 24 on charges of felony murder and first-degree child abuse.

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Renters and sellers beware of scammers 

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By Judy Reed

If you are trying to sell your home, don’t be surprised if someone comes knocking at your door and asks if it’s for rent. Or, if you’ve already moved out and are still trying to sell it, you might come by to find someone living there. That’s because scammers are stealing house for sale listings and putting them up on Craigslist as rentals.

Local realtor Brynadette Powell, with Arthur K. Eggerding Realty, said this happened to a home she had listed recently on Hoskins. “The lady of the house was home sick, and she had four people come to the door in two days asking if it was for rent,” she explained. She said the next day she was in a broker class and received three messages saying the home was listed on Craigslist to rent for $1200 a month.

“I sent the info to Craigslist and they took it down in about two hours,” said Powell.

Powell said she emailed the poster of the ad, pretending she was interested. She asked who they were, and they emailed back a form letter saying that they had recently settled in Nigeria, and sent her an application. She was told to send them the first month’s rent and a security deposit and she could move in.

Powell said that sometimes the listers tell people that they moved and forgot to leave a key, and that they can just break in.

“I also just recently had a buyer for another agent’s house, and that listing was also hijacked. There were people trying to break into the house because they thought they had a lease,” she explained.

Powell said that one agent she knows called the police about it. “The agent was told that the people who sent the money had a crime against them, but not the owners,” she said.

It’s possible that people get embarrassed and don’t want to report it, however, or they don’t realize they can. According to the fraud division at the Kent County Sheriff Department, there haven’t been any reports in our area recently, but they are aware of the problem, because it has been around awhile.

Powell said she now tries to avert this type of problem by putting a sign on the door that says, “This house is not for rent.”

Powell said part of the problem is that there are not enough rentals out there to meet demand, especially in Cedar Springs. “Cedar Springs is amazing in regards to people sticking around. There just aren’t enough rentals out there,” she explained.

Phil Catlett, of the Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan, is also aware of the problem. “Scammers look on Craig’s List, or M-Live, or a Real Estate website, and find homes for sale. The scammer creates an ad listing the property for rent. Every year we learn of someone getting ripped off this way,” he said.

Catlett supplied the following info from the BBB:

Researchers reviewed more than 2 million for-rent posts and found 29,000 fake listings in 20 major cities. Of those, there were three key types of scams. In the first, a fake post instructs a would-be tenant to purchase a credit report. The scammer gets a commission from the credit reporting site, even though there is no property for rent.

In another scheme, con artists duplicate rental listings from other sites and post on Craigslist at a lower price. Prospective renters pay a deposit via wire transfer. Another pervasive scam is “realtor service” companies. Targets are asked to pay fees to access listings of pre-foreclosure rentals or rent-to-own properties. In the majority of cases, the companies leading the scams have no connection to the properties listed.

How to Spot a Rental Scam:

  • Don’t wire money or use a prepaid debit card: You should never pay a security deposit or first month’s rent by prepaid debit card or wire transfer. These payments are the same as sending cash – once you send it, you have no way to get it back.
  • Watch out for deals that sound too good: Scammers lure in targets by promising low rents, great amenities and other perks. If the price seems much better than offered elsewhere, it may be a scam.
  • See the property in person: Don’t send money to someone you’ve never met for an apartment you haven’t seen. If you can’t visit an apartment or house yourself, ask someone you trust to go and confirm that it is what was advertised.
  • Don’t fall for the overseas landlord story: Scammers often claim to be out of the country and instruct targets to send money overseas.
  • Search for the same ad in other cities: Search for the listing online. If you find the same ad listed in other cities, that’s a huge red flag.

For More Information

Read the full report from New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering on rental scams on Craigslist. The report is the first systematic study of online rental scams. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/renter-beware-study-finds-craigslist-catches-barely-half-of-scam-rental-listings-300228037.html.

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Lightning strikes transformer

Lightning struck a transformer at S. Main and South Street Friday morning, February 24.

Lightning struck a transformer at S. Main and South Street Friday morning, February 24.

A piece of transformer on the ground after the lightning strike. Courtesy photo.

A piece of transformer on the ground after the lightning strike. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

A lightning strike on Friday morning, February 24, was a narrow miss for a woman and her sister and left a handful of residents without power for about 25 minutes.

According to the woman, N. Green, she and her sister were driving back home to Cedar Springs and ran into a storm front that included lightning and downpours on M57. When they started to turn on to South Street off S. Main St. (where the self car wash is located) they heard a deafening boom that she said left their ears ringing. “The van was then covered with electric arcs which looked like fireworks raining down on us,” she said.

They pulled into the car-wash parking lot and saw the transformer on the utility pole was still smoking from the strike, although the rain put it out quickly. “We were directly next to the utility pole that was hit, driving on South St., which is a gravel road, then full of puddles, and so very blessed that the tires beneath us, grounded us against the electric arcs!” she said. “We were fine, though the van showed some markings.”

Green said the car wash still had power, but when they arrived home, a short distance away, they did not have power, nor did their neighbors.

Green said she called Consumers Energy to report it.

“I was impressed with how quickly they got the power back on,” she said.

According to Roger Morgenstern, spokesman for Consumers Energy, lightning struck a transformer (the cylindrical piece of equipment on a pole that reduces voltage before its sent to customers) and power was out between 9:19 a.m. and 9:44 a.m. for less than 20 customers.

Morganstern said what Green saw raining down like fireworks was likely sparks from the transformer fire instead of actual electrical arcs. However, if the car had become entangled in a downed power line, the rubber tires would’ve helped stop the flow of electricity.

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American Legion honors first responders

The Courtland Fire Department was one of the fire departments honored at the American Legion dinner.

The Courtland Fire Department was one of the fire departments honored at the American Legion dinner.

The evening of February 20 was set aside at the American Legion Post in Cedar Springs as a time to honor the First Responders of the community.  A wonderful Swiss steak meal was provided for our local heroes for their sacrifices, contributions and dedication to public service.

The Kent County Sheriff Department was also in attendance

The Kent County Sheriff Department was also in attendance

Seventy-five attendees from the Sand Lake Police and Fire Department, Solon Township Fire Department, Cedar Springs Fire Department, Spencer Township Fire Department, Courtland Township Fire Department, Oakfield Township Fire Department, Algoma Township Fire Department and the Kent County Sherriff’s Department enjoyed the meal and were given certificates of appreciation.

Twenty-five members of the Glen Hill Post 287 Family worked to make this event possible, as well as assistance on items for the dinner from Save A Lot and Kelly’s Restaurant.

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More winter fun

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Have you ever seen a blue snowman? We hadn’t either until we received this photo from the Adrianse family. Here you see Jaden, 12, and Brooklyn, 10, from Cedar Springs, with their creation. “They were playing right in our front yard helping each other build a snowman. They used a spay bottle with food coloring to make their snowman unique!” explained their mom, Michelle.

Thank you for sharing your winter fun photo with us!

We are still looking for winter fun, wildlife, and Post travels photos. Please email them to news@cedarspringspost.com, with your contact info and a short summary. They will be published as space allows.

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Benefit raises over $2000 for Ricker family

 

Brison headed back to Texas for more treatment

Classic Kelly’s raised over $2000 for the Ricker family at a spaghetti dinner benefit Sunday evening. Photo from Classic Kelly’s facebook page.

Classic Kelly’s raised over $2000 for the Ricker family at a spaghetti dinner benefit Sunday evening. Photo from Classic Kelly’s facebook page.

By Judy Reed

Classic Kelly’s Family Restaurant put on a spaghetti dinner benefit for the family of Brison and Preston Ricker Sunday night, and raised over $2200 to help them with the medical costs of fighting cancer.

The restaurant put on the benefit during the evening dinner hours, and donated 100 percent of the proceeds to the Rickers. All the employees at the restaurant donated their time to the cause. Dinners were sold for $10 each.

The next fundraiser will be the March can drive at Meijer in Cedar Springs on Monday, 6, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Brison was diagnosed with a rare, inoperable brain tumor called DIPG a year ago, and his younger brother Preston was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in December. Preston has had surgery and other therapy, and Brison has been undergoing alternative cancer treatments since last summer, after his oncologist here said there was nothing more they could do. Those treatments are $17,000 per month, and not covered by insurance.

Brison had showed signs of getting better and feeling better, and his family was hopeful that his latest MRI’s would show that progress. However, according to Brison’s mom, Kim Ricker, the latest spinal MRI shows progression, with several spots on the lining of his brain, and extensive nodular enhancing metastatic disease along his spine. Doctors here had been giving him his Avastin treatment free of charge, but will not do that now, since they don’t believe it is working. That will be another $7,000 per month the family will need to pay. The doctors here have offered full brain and spinal radiation, but Kim said that is not an option they are considering because of the great harm involved with radiation.

They will be traveling back to Texas next week, where Brison will be started on an additional Antineoplaston treatment.

To donate to the Ricker family through their gofundme page, go to https://www.gofundme.com/rickerstrong.

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Greenville native supports Naval aviation modernization 

Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Corey

Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Corey

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Wyscaver, Navy Office of Community Outreach  

LEMOORE, Calif. – A Greenville High School graduate and Greenville, Mich. native is serving in the U.S. Navy with Commander Strike Fighter Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CSFWP). Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Corey works as an intelligence specialist and operates out of Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, California. Corey is responsible for updating and maintaining personnel security clearances as well as making sure that the command is adhering to physical security requirements.

“As an intelligence specialist I enjoy the knowledge that comes with my job,” Corey said. “There are so many different types of intelligence that I’m always learning new things and expanding on the knowledge I’ve already learned,” Corey said.

“Lemoore has been home to the Navy’s west coast strike fighter community since 1980, when strike fighter squadron VFA-125 was the first squadron established to train Navy and Marine Corps aviators in the F/A-18 Hornet,” said Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, Commander, Naval Air Forces. The strike fighter wing, headquartered at NAS Lemoore, ensures that each squadron is fully combat-ready to conduct carrier-based, all-weather, attack, fighter and support missions for the Pacific Fleet.

“I like the opportunities that the command provides for professional growth,” Corey said. “The command has been very helpful with assisting in my desire to apply for an officer program.”

With the CSFWP consisting of more than 20 squadrons, highly specialized jobs range from training new aviators to maintaining airframes and engines, to handling and flying aircraft.  “Hard work is important,” Corey said. “I’ve done work that I’ve loved and I’ve done jobs that I didn’t enjoy so much. I’ve learned to push through those mental barriers to ensure mission accomplishment. I feel like there isn’t anything that I could face in the civilian world that the Navy hasn’t prepared me for.”

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Sheriff Department crime stats

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The Kent County Sheriff Department has issued their crime statistics for the year for the cities and townships they patrol.  Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some of those statistics. Below are some statistics from three of the cities/townships in our area.

City of Cedar Springs: Population: 3.561. Had 2,178 dispatched calls, 956 traffic stops. The top five dispatched calls were for assists (225), suspicious condition/noise/subject (221); Alarms ((182); domestic argument-no assault (131); and disorderlies (94). The top five criminal offenses were driving violations (94); obstructing justice (74); domestic simple assault (60); intimidation/stalking (37); and non-aggravated assault (36).  The highest number of calls occur on Friday and then Saturday; the peak time of day is 6 p.m. The hotspot for service calls is in the Cedar Springs Mobile Estates, on Susan, Sarah, and Allan Streets.

Solon Township: Population: 5,974. Had 1,101 dispatched calls, 332 traffic stops. The top five dispatched calls were for assists (111); suspicious conditions/noise/subject (96); Fraud (62); Traffic crash-property damage (62); broadcast (56). The top five criminal offenses: Retail fraud (38); domestic simple assault (36);  driving law violations (29); OUIL or OUID (24); obstructing justice (23). The highest number of calls occurs on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with 5 and 7 p.m. being the peak time for calls. The hotspot for service calls is in the 17 Mile area around Cedarfield, Meijer, Edgerton, and US131.

Nelson Township: Population 4,764. Had 633 dispatched calls, 196 traffic stops.

The top five dispatched calls were for suspicious condition/noise/subject (66); assists (49); traffic crash-property damage (48); domestic argument-no assault (42); broadcast (31). The top five criminal offenses were domestic simple assault (28); obstructing justice (18); OUIL or OUID (15); intimidation/stalking (13); driving law violations (11). The highest number of calls occur on Monday, with 7 p.m. being the peak time of day. The hotspot for calls is in the area surrounding Northland, Ritchie, Coan, and 19 Mile Rd.

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MSP Troopers take aim at left lane drivers 

MSP-logo

All motorists would agree that one of the most frustrating situations on a freeway is being caught behind a left lane driver. This is not the person who is attempting to actively pass, but the person who believes the left lane is for general travel.

The MSP Sixth District Headquarters has been receiving numerous complaints about this violation in West Michigan and has planned an education and enforcement initiative to address the problem. Now through the end of April, troopers from the Lakeview and Rockford posts will be on the lookout for these “southpaw drivers” on all of West Michigan’s major freeways.

“The thrust of this initiative is education; many people simply don’t realize that the left lane is reserved for the passing motorist,” said F/Lt. Chris McIntire of the Rockford Post. “Besides being generally disruptive to traffic flow, this violation can actually be dangerous, as frustrated motorists attempt risky maneuvers to get around the log jam.”

A motorist stopped for this violation during the enforcement period can expect at the very least a short lesson on the law and how their actions disrupt traffic flow. “We just want motorists to understand the law and work on developing courteous driving habits,” he said.

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