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Kent County Youth Fair

KCYF-logo

August 8th-13th

225 S Hudson, Lowell MI 49331

Download schedule here: KentCountyYouthFair2016.pdf

Or visit http://kcyf.org

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Federal charges filed against former Rockford rowing coach

By Judy Reed

Timothy Warren Vallier

Timothy Warren Vallier

A former Rockford coach that allegedly recorded videos of high school girls changing their clothes in the locker room now faces federal charges.

Timothy Warren Vallier, 30, the former head coach of the rowing team at Rockford Public Schools, was arraigned in federal court on Thursday, July 28, on federal criminal charges of possession and attempted production of child pornography.

The Plainfield Township man was arrested on July 8, after an investigation by the Kent County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Rockford Public School Superintendent Mike Shibler contacted the Kent County Sheriff Department on the morning of July 8 after receiving a call from one of the crew (rowing) parents informing him that a video camera had been found in a crew vehicle with inappropriate footage.

Two assistant coaches in the vehicle reportedly saw the camera, and when one of the girls got curious and looked at it, found footage of two female athletes changing their clothes inside the changing room area of the Rockford Crew House located at 5501 Jupiter Ave., in Plainfield Township.

Vallier reportedly admitted to police that he put the camcorder in the girls changing room on multiple occasions. He also said he has done this several times over the last few years, and has videos of other female athletes.

He was initially arraigned in 63rd District on two obscenity charges—one charge of child sexually abusive commercial activity and one charge of possession of child sexually abusive material; and two charges of using a computer in the commission of a crime.

The state charges will be dropped now that criminal charges have been filed.

The federal criminal complaint alleges that Vallier took hundreds of hidden videos of girls changing in locker rooms while he was the head rowing coach at the Rockford Public Schools and that a computer in his possession contained additional child pornography.

The government asked the court to detain Vallier pending trial, and he will remain in custody pending a hearing on the matter early next week. He has been in the Kent County Jail since his arrest.

If convicted, Vallier faces a minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison on each count of attempting to produce child pornography and up to 20 years for possession. Each offense also carries a requirement for sex offender registration, a potential fine of up to $250,000 and financial compensation to the victims, and up to lifetime of intensive supervised release after incarceration, during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST. For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tessa K. Hessmiller as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, county prosecutor’s offices, and federal, state, and local law enforcement are working closely together to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children. Individuals with information or concerns about possible child exploitation should contact local law enforcement.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood in West Michigan, including resources for children and parents, visit: http://www.justice.gov/usao/miw/programs/psc.html.

 

 

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Police seek armed robbery suspects

This is a surveillance photo of one of the armed robbery suspects at the Circle K gas station on West River Drive.

This is a surveillance photo of one of the armed robbery suspects at the Circle K gas station on West River Drive.

Police are asking for information regarding two suspects that robbed a gas station in Plainfield Township early Wednesday morning, July 27.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, two suspects, armed with a handgun, entered the Circle K gas station, located at 4811 W River Dr. NE in Plainfield Township, about 4:40 a.m. and demanded money from the clerk. The suspects, who had their faces covered, were last seen getting into a vehicle of unknown make or color parked nearby and fleeing the area. No shots were fired during the robbery and no one was injured. The suspects got away with an undetermined amount of money.

One of two suspects that robbed the Circle K gas station on West River Dr. early Wednesday morning.

One of two suspects that robbed the Circle K gas station on West River Dr. early Wednesday morning.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Bowser at (616) 632-6128 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

Robbery suspect's hat.

Robbery suspect’s hat.

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Meijer salads and sandwiches recalled

Could be tainted with salmonella 

N-Recall-meijer-saladsIf you bought any premade cold salads (potato, macaroni, etc.) or sandwiches from Meijer between 7/20 and 7/25, you need to know the details of this recall.

Prime Foods, LLC, the supplier of a cooked egg ingredient in several Markets of Meijer products, is recalling the product due to the potential for salmonella. There have been no known illnesses reported to Meijer from the product affected by this recall.

The products being recalled were sold at Meijer stores between 7/20 and 7/25. Consumers who have purchased any of these products should discontinue use and return the product to the nearest Meijer store for a full refund.

They include:

UPC’s Carried by Meijer:

UPC UPC Description
0-41250-16058-8 MEIJER MACARONI SALAD 1 LB.
0-41250-16060-1 MEIJER MACARONI SALAD 3 LB.
0-41250-16074-8 MEIJER POTATO SALAD AMISH 1 LB
0-41250-16076-2 MEIJER POTATO SALAD AMISH 3 LB
2-17306-00000-3 MARKETS OF MEIJER (MOM) SALAD SEASHELL MACARONI
7-08820-52935-9 MOM SANDWICH TUNA SALAD WEDGE CK 7 OZ EA
7-08820-54345-4 MOM SANDWICH EGG SALAD 8 OZ EA
7-08820-62022-3 MEIJER EGG SALAD SPREAD 12 OZ
7-08820-62033-9 MEIJER CHICKEN SALAD SPREAD 12 OZ.

Consumers with questions regarding this recall should contact Meijer at1-800-543-3704 any time of day.

Consumers with questions or concerns about their health should contact their Physician.

 

 

 

 

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Pedestrian hit and killed by motorcyclist

Jerud Schneider

Jerud Schneider

A motorcyclist could be facing charges after hitting and killing a man early Friday morning in Pierson Township.

According to the Michigan State Police Post in Lakeview, the crash occurred about 5:30 a.m. Friday, July 22. Jerud Schneider, 32, of Wyoming, was walking along Stanton Road, in rural Pierson Township, near the intersection of Neve Road, when the motorcyclist struck and killed him.

The motorcyclist, who was also injured, left the scene after being picked up by someone. The motorcyclist called in the crash a short time later to get medical attention and was taken to Butterworth Hospital for treatment.

Police found his motorcycle in a field near the crash.

Police are not yet releasing the name of the motorcyclist. They do not yet know whether alcohol was a factor. The crash is still under investigation.

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Fire sends nine to hospital

A firefighter breaks a window at the scene of a fire at the corner of 14 Mile and Podunk, in Oakfield Township, on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Photo by J. Reed.

A firefighter breaks a window at the scene of a fire at the corner of 14 Mile and Podunk, in Oakfield Township, on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Firefighters at the scene of a fire on 14 Mile and Podunk on July 19, 2016. Photo by J. Reed.

Firefighters at the scene of a fire on 14 Mile and Podunk on July 19, 2016. Photo by J. Reed.

A fire that broke out in an Oakfield Township home Tuesday morning sent nine people to the hospital, including six children.

Fire departments were dispatched at 10:34 a.m. July 19, to a house on the northwest corner of 14 Mile and Podunk. According to Carl Rood, a witness at the scene, he was in the basement when he heard people hollering. But he said he had his music on, and it wasn’t unusual for the kids to be hollering. A few minutes later, his dad, Don Rood, was yelling at him through his window that the house was on fire. When he got outside, he saw several of the children on the roof.

“I had to get a ladder to help them down,” said Rood, who also said that one of them jumped out the window. He said that some passersby also stopped to help.

According to Oakfield Deputy Fire Chief Trachet, when they arrived on scene some of the children were on the roof above the porch on the west side of the house. “The bedroom window opened above it. We were setting up to push water out while they were getting the kids down,” he said.

Trachet explained that the nine people were sent to the hospital to be checked out because they were covered in soot, which carries carcinogens. “We just wanted them to get checked out,” he said.

Trachet also said that one of the passersby went above and beyond the call of duty when she helped out the family. “One young lady, Jennifer Brunges, was key in getting people out. She carried one of the homeowners out, kept the children safe, washed their faces, and even gave the ambulance two car seats from her own car. She then followed them down to the hospital. That young lady was a hero, and I don’t use that word too often,” remarked Trachet. “She saw smoke, saw people trying to get down, and went to help. Someone who is willing to follow the ambulance down to the hospital to make sure they are all ok is somebody special.”

Besides Oakfield, Courtland, Spencer, Montcalm, Cannon, Algoma, and Grattan Township Fire Departments were all on scene to fight the fire. The Kent County Sheriff Department was also on scene to assist.

Trachet explained that there were so many fire departments on scene because during the day volunteer firefighters are working day jobs. “It’s tough. Each department came with two or three firefighters,” he remarked.

The firefighters had the fire extinguished within about 80 to 85 minutes, but stayed on scene for several hours to make sure there were no hot spots. They cleared the scene at 3:53 p.m.

Trachet said the damage to the home was extensive.

While they have some preliminary ideas on how and where the fire started, Trachet noted that it’s still under investigation. A state investigator from the Michigan State Police Fire Marshal’s office will be investigating the fire this week.

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City approves manager contract and others

Michael Womack

Michael Womack

By Judy Reed

As of August 1, the residents in Cedar Springs will have a new City Manager. That’s the day that Michael Womack officially begins his new job in Cedar Springs.

The City Council approved his contract at their regular meeting Thursday, July 14. Womack was on hand to take the oath of office.

Womack has been serving as an Executive Intern, for the Village of Lake Orion, Michigan, which is located on the east side of the state.

He is also currently a Graduate Assistant, in the City Manager’s office in the City of Eastpointe, Michigan; and an Attorney at Womack & Womack P.C., in Shelby Township.

The contract calls for a salary of $72,000, with a 2 percent increase annually at the anniversary of his start date; five days vacation to start; insurance; and other benefits. The entire contract can be found in the agenda on the city’s website at cityofcedarsprings.org.

The City also approved the contract for interim City Clerk Christine Witt. She started Monday July 17. She will work part time until the City Manager can hire a new, full time clerk. She will be paid $16.00 per hour for up to 25 hours of work.

The City also approved the contract for property assessing services with Grand Rapids Township. The township will provide property assessing services to Cedar Springs for approximately $24,600, which is about the same as was budgeted for the prior assessor, Jason Rosenzweig. The City Council fired Rosenzweig after a vote of no confidence resulting from a dispute over whether the City should pay taxes on their own property.

Bryan Jager and Robin Rothley will do the work, while Jager will be signing the assessment role on behalf of the city. There have been no conversations yet on whether Jager feels the city should be taxed on its own property.

The Council also approved an amendment to current interim City Manager Barbara VanDuren’s contract. She was originally scheduled to stay until August 31, but since Womack starts August 1, her contract will be revised to that date. But it also states she may continue her assignment here to assist in the transition if that’s acceptable to both parties.

Each of the contracts voted on at the meeting were approved unanimously.

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Dangerously hot weather prompts warnings

*Hot weatherSummer heat can be uncomfortable for some, but temperatures in the 90s can be deadly. With the hot weather in the forecast, there are a few things people can do to beat the heat. Children, the elderly, and pets are especially at risk. Kent County Emergency Management and the Health Department has a few reminders about keeping safe during hot summer days.

Never leave children or animals in a parked vehicle unattended. “The temperature inside a parked car can reach 120 degrees or more in a matter of minutes, even with windows cracked open,” says Jack Stewart, Kent County Emergency Management Coordinator. “Heat stroke and death can occur in these dangerous situations.” Nineteen children in the United States have already died so far this year when left unattended in hot cars, according to San Jose State University. (In all of 2015, 24 children died in hot cars in the U.S.)

Elderly people have a difficult time cooling down. Their bodies may not adjust as quickly to changes in temperature. “If you know elderly adults, check on them twice a day, and make sure they drink cold, non-alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “If they appear to be suffering from dizziness, muscle weakness/cramping, vomiting, heavy sweating, or paleness, they may be suffering from heat exhaustion.” Get them to a cool area and medical treatment as soon as possible. Keep in mind that some medications can cause adverse reactions to heat.

Drink non-alcoholic fluids often. If you wait to drink until you’re thirsty, you may already be dehydrated. (Some people may be limited in the amount of fluid they drink due to certain conditions or medications. Check with your doctor to see how much you should drink while the weather is hot.) Avoid alcohol or sugary-drinks, as they can cause you to dehydrate faster.

Pets dehydrate fast, so be sure they have fresh, clean drinking water. Keep them indoors or provide a shady place for them to stay out of the sun. Don’t let them overheat: keep strenuous activity and playtime short.

The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan may be able to provide air conditioners and/or fans for residents ages 60 and older through the Kent County Senior Millage. Call Senior Neighbors at 616.459.6019 to find out if you are eligible. If you are looking for additional resources during hot weather, the Heart of West Michigan United Way may be able help. Call their free informational and referral service by dialing 211 for more information.

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The Post travels to Bay City

Steve Reed holding up The POST in front of the Pride of Baltimore II. Photo by Judy Reed.

Steve Reed holding up The POST in front of the Pride of Baltimore II. Photo by Judy Reed.

The Post recently traveled to Bay City, Michigan, with Steve and Judy Reed, of Cedar Springs, for the Tall Ship Celebration. Festival-goers were able to tour 11 different tall ships from various time periods and countries, as well as take part in other festivities on the grounds.

In the photo above, Steve stands in front of the Pride of Baltimore II, a replica of a 19th century Baltimore Clipper originally named the Chasseur. The topsail schooner gained fame as a privateer during the war of 1812. According to the Tall Ships website, “in a daring voyage to Great Britain, her captain declared a solo blockade of the British Isles. This caused the British Admiralty to call vessels back to the British Isles to protect their merchant ships. Chasseur captured or sank 17 vessels before returning home in 1815. Upon her arrival in Fells Point, she was greeted by cheering crowds and dubbed the Pride of Baltimore.”

Thanks for taking us with you on your expedition!

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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Scout project helps Bellowood dog rescue

Austin Anderson (center) and friends Jacob Swinehart (left) and Andrew Watts (right) recently completed projects at Bellowood Dog Rescue to help Austin earn his Eagle Scout rank. The fence behind them and Welcome sign were two of the projects. Photo by J. Reed.

Austin Anderson (center) and friends Jacob Swinehart (left) and Andrew Watts (right) recently completed projects at Bellowood Dog Rescue to help Austin earn his Eagle Scout rank. The fence behind them and Welcome sign were two of the projects. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Austin Anderson loves his rescue dog. So when it came time to pick out a project to help him earn his Eagle Scout rank—the highest rank in Boy Scouts—he was inspired to give back and do something to help a local dog rescue. With some help from his mom, he chose Bellowood Dog Rescue in Cedar Springs.

Because of his generosity and help from his friends, family and local businesses, the Bellowood welcome center has a freshly painted fence, new welcome sign, and 20 specially crafted dog bowls.

“I am so thankful,” said Kim Schreuder, the founder of Bellowood. “The boys did a great job.” She explained that the Welcome Center is a place where people come to meet the dogs they want to adopt, so it’s important that it look nice.

Austin, the son of Dean and Kristine Anderson, will be a senior next year at Cedar Springs High School. He and his friends, sophomore Jacob Swinehart and junior Andrew Watts, paid a visit to Bellowood, and Schreuder showed them around and explained what projects needed to be done. They then chose what they wanted to do.

The boys also designed and made dog bowls to help dogs with megaesophagus.

The boys also designed and made dog bowls to help dogs with megaesophagus.

The dog bowls were made to especially help dogs with megaesophagus—a condition that is an enlargement of the esophagus, a muscular tube connecting the throat to the stomach. Dogs with that condition have a harder time moving food and liquid down to the stomach. According to Pet MD, some breeds, such as wire-haired terriers and miniature schnauzers can be born with it. Other breeds prone to the condition include German shepherds, dachshunds, great Danes, Irish setter, Labrador retriever, pug, and Chinese shar-pei. With the new bowls, they are up high enough that the dogs will be able to swallow their water and food much easier.

The boys created their own dog bone design from scratch, and made 10 large bowls and 10 small ones. “They are much better quality than the plastic ones you can buy in the store,” remarked Schreuder.

The scouts, with some help from parents, also cleaned, scraped, sanded, and painted the front fence, and created a new welcome sign. The materials were either bought at cost, donated, or paid for with gift cards from local businesses.

“I am so very very thankful for all their hard work and what they gave to us,” said Schreuder. “It’s such a blessing! They are great kids.”

Austin said he now needs to turn in his paperwork as the next step toward getting his Eagle Scout rank. His friend Jacob Swinehart previously achieved his Eagle Scout rank with work on the Kent Theatre.

“I’m so happy to be a part of this, and thankful,” said Schreuder. “It’s fantastic. I think it’s special that the boys do things like this—not just for me, but for others in need, too.”

On their last day there, the boys got to play with some of the rescue dogs up for adoption. (See photo). For anyone interested in adopting one of these or another rescue dog, contact Kim Schreuder at xbellowoodx@yahoo.com, or visit their page on www.petfinder.com.

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