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City approves contract with Sheriff Department

N-City-logo-webBy Judy Reed

This time next month, officers in the Cedar Springs Police Department will be wearing Kent County Sheriff Department uniforms.

The Cedar Springs City Council voted unanimously Thursday evening, October 9, to approve a contract with the Kent County Sheriff Department for police services. Council member Jerry Hall was absent, and Council member Ashley Bremmer asked to abstain, since she is employed by the Sheriff Department.

Undersheriff Jon Hess and Chief Deputy Michele Young were on hand to explain the contract and answer questions from the council. Sheriff Larry Stelma was also there, as was Sgt. Kelley, who will be the transition sergeant and most likely the supervising sergeant once the transition takes place.

Young said she expects the savings to the City to be about $119,000 for 2015. She explained that by using the township pool, their costs would be lower, since there will be 34 officers in the pool. Our five would make up about 15 percent of that. “They are joining us at a mid-range (on the pay scale),” explained Young. “That’s a minor raise for them. But with the pool you won’t see those high spikes.”

N-Car vs Motorcycle Kent County Sheriff badgeThe five full-time officers were given welcome packets, which also contained an application. The Sheriff Dept. hopes to give them an offer of employment by the end of next week. The target starting date is November 7. Those officers will stay in the Cedar Springs unit unless they decide they want to move elsewhere.

While the part time officers don’t get that same offer, Undersheriff Hess said they have a lot of part time positions open. “We have some openings we have purposely kept open in case they want to apply,” he explained. He also mentioned that there are opportunities for the reserves as well.

The Cedar Springs unit will use the current Cedar Springs Police offices at City Hall. Officers will begin and end their day there. The sergeant will be their daily, five days a week, and serve as the supervising officer for the patrol deputies. A sector lieutenant will also give oversight to the unit.

There will be on deputy on patrol each 12-hour shift. If Cedar Springs decides they need to add a deputy for a short time period, they can do that, but there would be a charge.

The officers will enforce all the city ordinances, like they do now, as well as all other laws. They will also respond to private property accidents, help unlock cars, and respond anytime an officer is requested, the same way they do now. Those were some things Cedar Springs specifically asked for.

All police equipment will be turned over to the KCSD and used for half of the allocation costs. The other half are being waived for the 5-year agreement.

The agreement can be rescinded anytime with 60 days notice.

 

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City to vote on police contract Thursday night

N-City-logo-webby Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs City Council will vote Thursday evening on whether to contract with the Kent County Sheriff Department for police services.

Both the Kent County Corporate Counsel and the City Attorney approved the form of the draft agreement.

According to City Manager Thad Taylor, the agreement covers the specifics the City asked for, including hiring their full-time officers, and leaving them in the Cedar Springs unit. “They didn’t use the word ‘guaranteed’ but they are basically saying, ‘if you meet the criteria, we’ll hire you.’ They are accelerating the hiring process for them and they won’t have to go up against 400 other officers.”

Under the contract, Cedar Springs would have police coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They would supply one sergeant five days a week, eight hours a day, to supervise deputies. One deputy would patrol each eight-hour shift. Shifts would begin and end at the Cedar Springs Police Department. A Lieutenant at the Kent County Sheriff Department would help oversee the Cedar Springs unit.

Officers will still respond to calls for unlocking vehicles, private property accidents, and for any other reason a person calls requesting for a police officer.

One thing that did not come out quite as estimated was the cost savings. Initially, the cost savings were estimated at $100,000 to $120,000. In the agreement presented to the City, expenses used were estimated using actual Byron Township billing, and an estimated 6 percent inflationary factor. This brought the savings down to $57,809. However, Chief Deputy Michele Young wrote that she thinks they could still realize a savings of $111, 176 by changing the way some of the costs are calculated. She will be on hand Thursday evening to help explain that to the City Council.

Taylor said that he had spoken to Chief Deputy Young, and that the lower savings was a worst-case scenario. “She has shared some more realistic costs, and I have full confidence she will explain it,” said Taylor. “It’s made more difficult to estimate because they are on a calendar budget year (January through December) and ours starts in July.”

If Cedar Springs transfers equipment (such as vehicles, weapons, radar units, etc.) to the Kent County Sheriff Department, they will face no allocation costs in the initial five-year agreement, but they will in subsequent terms. “That’s a pretty standard accounting practice,” noted Taylor.

The agreement can be rescinded anytime with 60-day notice by either party.

The City Council meets Thursday evening, October 9, at City Hall. Workshop at 6:15, and meeting at 7 p.m.

You can download the agenda packet, which includes a copy of the contract at the city’s website www.cityofcedarsprings.org. Click on meetings, then 2014 council documents, and scroll down to 10-09-2014 and click on agenda packet.

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Arrests made in Spencer Township homicide

Brent Luttrell

Brent Luttrell

The Kent County Sheriff Department arrested six people Tuesday and Wednesday for the murder last month of Brent Luttrell, of Gowen.

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 a fourth 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 (one male and two females) and a juvenile male. The adult male, reported to be a cousin of Luttrell, received facial injuries and was treated and released from the hospital.

Arrested this week was:

Duncan, Christopher Paul

Christopher Duncan

 

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

Zachary Bennett

Zachary Bennett

 

 

 

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 Parish

Jaman Parish

 

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 Rohn

Tyler Rohn

 

 

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

 

Isaac Fezzey

Isaac Fezzey

 

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

 

Kevin Berry

Kevin Berry

 

Kevin Carson Berry, 21, of Saranac. He is charged with 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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A new Red Flannel Queen reigns

The 2014 Red Flannel queen and court, from left to right: Kaleigh Keech (court), Melissa Maguire (Queen) and Ellie Ovokaitys (Court).

The 2014 Red Flannel queen and court, from left to right: Kaleigh Keech (court), Melissa Maguire (Queen) and Ellie Ovokaitys (Court).

Excitement was in the air at the 2014 Red Flannel Queen Scholarship Pageant, held Saturday, September 27, at Cedar Springs High School, where six girls competed for the title.

Chosen as this year’s Red Flannel Queen was Melissa Maguire, daughter of Brian and Teresa Maguire. Court members are Kaleigh Keech, daughter of Amanda Keech and niece of Aaron and Melissa Armstrong; and Ellie Ovokaitys, daughter of Thomas and Donna Ovokaitys. Ellie was also chosen as Miss Congeniality.

According to pageant director Kaleigh Rosenberger, this year they focused on celebrating the Diamond Anniversary (75 years) of the Red Flannel Festival, and 70 years of the Red Flannel Queen’s Scholarship Pageant. To open the show each of the six contestants was assigned a decade from the past 75 years. The contestants dressed in decade wear, chose a song from their assigned decade to play behind them as they gave some fun facts about things that happened in their decade around the country, in Cedar Springs, and within the festival.

The pageant emcee was Andy Rent, radio personality for 100.5 The River. He has helped crown over 10 Red Flannel Queens since the 1970s.

N-Red-Flannel-Royalty-past-web

Before the pageant there was a reception for all past royalty to reconnect and reminisce, and during the pageant they were all invited back on stage and were individually introduced. Rosenberger said that there were over 30 past Queens and Court Members in attendance. There was also a video presentation looking back at all 70 years of Red Flannel Pageants, starting with our first Queen Maxine Smith. A highlight of the evening was the presence of Jean Thrall Erickson, our 1941 Red Flannel Queen. She was the third Red Flannel Queen chosen.

See the new Queen and Court this Friday and Saturday at the Red Flannel Festival. Check out the schedule and other information on our Red Flannel Post pages.

 

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Red Hawk senior honored in National Merit program

Gabriella Schatz

Gabriella Schatz

Cedar Springs High School principal Ronald Behrenwald announced this week that Gabriella Schatz, a senior at Cedar Springs, has been named a Commended Student in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program.

The principal will present a letter of commendation from the school and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which conducts the program, to this scholastically talented senior.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2015 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2015 competition, by taking the 2013 preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

“The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” commented a spokesperson for NMSC. “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishment, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their education opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.”

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The Post travels to Moose Jaw

N-Post-travels-Moose-Jaw-Canada-Sovereign

Thelma Sovereign-Taylor, from Cedar Springs, recently went to visit a friend, Lori Benson, in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada and took along a copy of the Post. Lori is Thelma’s golfing partner in Casa Grande, AZ in the winter months. Thelma spent a week with Lori touring the city and the tunnels under the city, which are rumored to have been used as part of Al Capone’s bootlegging operation in the late 1920s.

Thanks, Thelma, 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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Post travels to Dollywood

N-Post-travels-Dollywood-Brace

Dollywood, here we come! Another graduate in the Dibble family means another trip.

We stopped first at Camp Nathanael in Kentucky, to visit family and friends and to get some horseback riding in. After the weekend there, off we went—13 of us in all, with Grandma Brace, Uncle Tim and Aunt Beth tagging along.

Upon arriving at the park in Tennessee, there was much to see, much to do, and it was much too hot! In between sights and rides, we people-watched from shady spots, with ice water in hand.

Then it was on to Gatlinburg for a day of fun. Of course, we had to take in the “Dixie Stampede.” After a week, our tired group caravanned back home to Michigan, and of course the Post went with us!

Thanks so much for taking the Post with you to Dollywood!

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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Correction

 

In last week’s Red Flannel Post section, we ran article about the new cancellation that the US Post Office will use to hand stamp mail brought to the counter on Red Flannel Day, in honor of the special 75th anniversary. Unfortunately, our typist was cross-eyed from staring at a computer screen for so long that evening, and misspelled the last name of the Cedar Springs Postmaster. Her name is Linda Pompa (not Popma). Our typist is now looking for a new job. We recommended that she not apply at the Post Office, however.

(Actually, Linda was very nice about the mistake. Sorry, Linda!)

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Former exchange student to attend 50th reunion

Annika Sandberg - 1964

Annika Sandberg – 1964

Annika Sandberg Eklov, former Swedish exchange student with the Class of ’64, is returning to Michigan to attend the 50-year reunion with the Cedar Springs Class of 1964 this Saturday, October 4. The reunion is being held at the Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club, 7463 18 Mile Rd NE  following the Red Flannel Day Parade.

Annika is arriving in Cedar Springs Friday afternoon and staying with Joyce and John Hansen over the weekend. Annika last visited for the 40-year reunion and is looking forward to seeing many of the people she knows from her 1963-64 stay in Cedar Springs.

Former classmates and friends are invited to visit with Annika Friday evening after 6:00 p.m. at the Hansen’s home at 4171 Indian Lakes Road. Light snacks will be provided. Please contact Joyce Hansen at 696-2173 or jkhansen@surfmagnus.com for more information or to let them know you will be visiting.

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Library creates strategic plan

 

Asks for public comments

The Cedar Springs Public Library is looking to the future and planning for growth—and they want the public to be involved. With a new library planned as part of the growth on the corner of Maple and Main Streets, the Library Board has developed a strategic plan to guide the Library as it grows. The board would like the public to read and comment on the plan. It is available for viewing on the Library’s website at cedarspringslibrary.org or at the library, 43 W. Cherry Street.

 

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