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Tag Archive | "Sand Lake Fire Department"

Village Council asks President to resign


by Judy Reed

With less than a month left on his term, the Sand Lake Village council voted at their regular meeting on Monday evening to ask Village President Tom Norton to resign. The motion, introduced by trustee Danielle Hardenburg, passed 5-0.

Norton has been under fire most recently for taking a Sand Lake Fire Department brush truck on Saturday, October 6 without speaking directly to the Fire Chief about it first, and allowing it to be used in the Pulaski Days parade by the Curt Benson for Judge campaign. 

Norton told the Post last week that as President, he had a right to take it. “The Chief doesn’t run the fire department, the President of the Village does,” he said.

Hardenburg had told the Post she felt it was an abuse of his power, and she was going to ask for his resignation at the meeting.

Norton, however, was not in attendance at Monday’s meeting, due to a family medical issue.

Hardenburg introduced the motion at the meeting, and the council discussed it.

“There was some discussion on the part of the council that we can’t force him to resign,” explained President pro-tem Dave Dewey. “But as a council we sensed that there was no way people would be content unless we sent him a letter requesting his resignation. So we decided we would send a letter out to Tom, and he would say yes or no.”

Dewey said an email went out to Norton Tuesday morning requesting his resignation. If he does resign, the Village council would then need to appoint an interim to run the village until after the November election, when a new president will be elected. Hardenburg is running for that position as a qualified write-in candidate. Former trustee Nyha French appears on the ballot, but she moved out of the area and is no longer a candidate.

Norton decided earlier this year not to run for reelection in Sand Lake, but instead ran for Supervisor of Nelson Township against their current Supervisor Robyn Britton and lost in the primary election. He told the Post last week that he and his family would soon be moving out of the area.

The Sand Lake Village council has seen several of its trustees leave recently, and will have several openings on the November ballot. Dave Dewey is retiring after 13 years; his wife Jan resigned earlier in the summer; trustee Greg Wheeler resigned; and French moved out of the district. 

All write-in candidates need to file declaration of intent forms by October 26.

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Missing fire truck sparks controversy in Sand Lake


By Judy Reed

Some tempers are flying hot again in the Village of Sand Lake after Village President Tom Norton took a Sand Lake Fire Department grass fire/medical truck without discussing it with the Fire Chief and allowed someone in the Curt Benson for Judge campaign to drive it in the Pulaski Days parade last Saturday, October 6.

The Post got a tip about it from someone earlier this week, and then called Fire Chief Ed Holtzlander to verify what had happened. 

According to Holtzlander, he went into the fire station Saturday and saw it was missing. “We already had engines 6 and 7 reserved to go to Cedar Springs for the Red Flannel parade and now this one was missing. We use it for grass fires but it’s also our second medical truck,” explained Holtzlander. 

He said he found out that Norton had spoken with a DPW taking the truck. When Holtzlander saw it was missing, he immediately called Norton. 

“I told him to he had 20 minutes to get it back here or I’d report it stolen,” said Holtzlander. “He told me he didn’t need permission to take it.”

The pickup did arrive back at the building about 20 minutes later. But none of the firefighters recognized the guys who brought it back.

The Post spoke to Norton about it, and he verified that he did take the truck without calling Holtzlander. “The Chief doesn’t run the fire department, the President of the Village does,” stated Norton. 

When the Post asked why he didn’t call him and let him know, Norton responded, “The Chief never calls me back anyway.” He also said he had a new phone and didn’t have everyone’s phone number in it.

He assured the Post that it was completely legal. “Under a general law village, a president can do that.” 

“We were asked by someone to send a truck to the parade. An email was sent out on Friday evening to the Chief and Council,” he said. “I got no response. People have smart phones with emails popping up all the time. There’s no reason not to see it.”

The email was reportedly sent at 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

“One of the reasons I delayed the email was to see if we were going to have rain,” explained Norton. “We’d had three days of rain so knew we wouldn’t need it. The only time it’s used is during a grassfire so this is a complete non-issue.”

But Holtzlander said that’s not the case. It’s also a four-wheel drive vehicle with medical supplies and they just recently used it to get back to where someone had fallen out of a tree stand.

But who was driving it in the parade? Norton said he swore a guy into the village so that he would be covered by the village insurance and legally be able to drive it.

In the email that was sent out (which Norton read to the Post over the phone) it was mentioned that doing this would help with grants by making other community’s parades look bigger. The Post spoke with some other Village sources (not Sand Lake) who said that they knew of nothing like that. Instead, they said they don’t allow the use of Village property for political purposes to avoid the look of impropriety.

“I’m appalled,” said Sand Lake Village Council member Danielle Hardenburg. “I did some investigating and don’t like what I found out at all,” she said. 

Hardenburg is also a firefighter and said she understands Holtzlander’s frustration. “We don’t even know the drivers, or if they were certified to drive the vehicle. I had to take a course, and then a test, and then a driving test, and then an annual test every year just to be able to drive it. The fire chief also signs off on who drives it.”

Hardenburg said the vehicle should only be used for when the village is responding to a call. “We just had a conversation recently about who can use village property,” she said. She also doesn’t think it should be used to endorse a candidate. “We should try to stay neutral.”

“This was a complete disrespecting of the head of the fire department by not asking to use the vehicle,” she added. “It shows extremely poor judgment and a complete disregard for public safety. This is a serious matter. I think he should resign and let president pro-tem Dave Dewey take over, even though he only has a month left.”

Norton’s term will be up this fall and he will soon be moving out of Sand Lake.

Hardenburg, who will run for Village President as a write-in in the November election, said she plans to call for Norton’s resignation at the next meeting.

“I feel Tom is incapable of performing his presidential duties. He’s abused his power. It’s a dishonorable service to the community. It makes our board look unhealthy and it needs to stop. I am so floored. What if we had been toned out and showed up at the station and the truck wasn’t there? What would’ve happened?”

The next Sand Lake Village Council meeting will be Monday, October 15, according to the dates posted on their website.

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LARRY GOULD


Larry Gould, 68, of Grand Rapids, died Saturday, July 21, 2018 at his home. Larry was born October 24, 1949 in Greenville, Michigan, the son of John Edward and Marian (Wulff) Gould. He had worked for Earl Phelps Heating and Cooling for 20 years and enjoyed hunting and fishing. Larry was on the Sand Lake Police Department for 12 years, an EMT for 15 years and Fire Chief for Sand Lake for 20 years. He was a member of the Sand Lake Chamber of Commerce and volunteered at the car shows and parade and was an avid coin collector. Surviving are his fiancée and loving caretaker, Mary Husar; children, Clinton (Gwen) Gould, Jesse (Kristin) Gould, Paul Gould, Spencer (Jennifer) Gould, Josh (Krystal) Bialik, Matthew (Jennifer) Husar, Joshua (Zorayda) Husar; 15 grandchildren; brothers, John (Martin) Gould, Bill (Donna) Gould, Steve Gould; sister, Sue (Jim) Pike; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and two grandchildren. The family greeted friends Tuesday, July 24 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs, where the service was held Wednesday, July 25. Pastor Jorge Ballivian officiating. Interment Crandall Cemetery, Ensley Township. Memorial contributions may be made to the Sand Lake Fire Department.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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Toddler drowns in backyard pond


 

Michigan State Troopers from the Lakeview Post and emergency personnel were dispatched to a residence on Neve Rd in Pierson Twp, Montcalm County on Sunday, April 29, about 1:40 p.m., after family members found their two-year-old son unresponsive in water behind the residence. Police described the body of water as bigger than a pond, but smaller than a lake.  

Lifesaving efforts by family members, and later by medical first responders from Sand Lake Fire Department and Montcalm County EMS, proved fruitless. The child was pronounced deceased at Spectrum Health Hospital a short time later.   

The boy was identified as Alexander Sheldon, age 2.

According to police, the case is still under investigation.

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Fire destroys Nelson Township home


Fire consumed this Nelson Township home last Friday evening, April 13. Photo from Bruce Duncan.

By Judy Reed

An old home at 8147 19 Mile Rd, about ¼ mile east of  Pine Lake Rd, was destroyed in a fire Friday evening, April 13. 

According to Bruce Duncan, who lives nearby at 19 Mile and Pine Lake Rd, the house was under renovation and had recently received a new steel roof and had other repairs done.

“We don’t know how it started, but we were still up when the firefighters started to arrive,” said Duncan. “I walked out to the corner to look and counted 7 fire trucks, 2 ambulances and 2 tanker trucks that were bringing in water from Pine Lake. It was pretty involved by the time the first trucks started to come in. The house on the corner was damaged some from the heat of the fire.”

There wasn’t much left of this home at 8147 19 Mile Rd. Post photo by L. Allen.

Duncan said that years ago the home belonged to a Gladys Hicks, who was his girlfriend’s grandmother. “She remembers visiting and playing in the old house growing up. She was from the Gillespie family and with family ties, it was sad to watch it burn down. There’s a lot of history in that old house. The house on the corner next to it that received some damage was smaller back then and was a tenant house for the field workers,” he explained.

Some of the fire departments on scene included Spencer, Sand Lake, and Cedar Springs Fire Departments. The Post put in a call to Spencer Fire and Sand Lake Fire for some official information, but did not yet have that info by press time. 

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Marijuana wax operation causes fire


Fire crews at the scene of a house fire after an explosion on Lime Lake Dr on June 21. Photo by Cheryl Barrigear on WZZM13.com.

By Judy Reed

Neighbors called 9-1-1 after hearing an explosion on Wednesday evening, June 21, at 13386 Lime Lake Dr.

According to Solon Township’s Deputy Fire Chief Chris Paige, they were called out at 10:59 p.m. The first unit arrived on scene to see heavy smoke, with flames showing in the main floor of the home. The three occupants of the home were already out of the house.

“We had it out within about a half hour, but were on scene an addition 1-1/2 hours checking for hot spots,” said Paige.

Algoma, Kent City, and Sand Lake Fire Departments all assisted at the scene.

The Kent County Sheriff Department also responded to the scene. According to police, a 39-year-old resident told deputies that they were making marijuana wax prior to the explosion. The man suffered severe burns to his hands and feet, as well as cuts from glass, and was transported to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital.

The fire is still under investigation, and authorities have not yet released any more information.

Marijuana wax is also known as Honeycomb, Wax, Butter, and BHO (butane hash oil). It’s made from oils found in pot plants and has a higher concentration of THC than most marijuana products. Highly flammable butane gas is used to extract the THC from the marijuana leaf, and has resulted in home explosions, injuries, and deaths.

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Lawn mower starts car on fire


A fire spread from a lawn mower to a car in Nelson Township Monday. Post photo by L. Allen.

By Judy Reed

What started out as a fire in the engine of a lawn mower in Nelson Township Monday turned into something bigger when it spread to the homeowner’s automobile.

According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, they were called to a home on Myers Lake Avenue, between Stout and 19 Mile, about 2:45 p.m., Monday, June 19. “It came across as a lawn mower/tractor fire, and it was next to a car,” explained Fraser. “It was then updated when were on the way to a car fire.”

Post photo by L. Allen.

Fraser said that the homeowner had been mowing the grass, then parked it next to the car and went into the house. When she came back out, she tried to restart the mower but it wouldn’t start, so she checked under the hood and found it was on fire. She then called 911, and the fire quickly spread from the lawn tractor to the car.

Fraser said both were burning when they arrived on scene. The cause was undetermined.

Sand Lake assisted at the scene, and Spencer Township Fire was put on standby in case the fire spread to the garage before they got it out. “It melted some vinyl on the garage but that was it. They were lucky,” said Fraser.

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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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Ensley Crime Watch 5K and Community Picnic


 

The 5K race starts the day with registration at 8:30 and the race starting at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, July 30, at Baptist Lake Park, 8810 Oak Drive, Sand Lake. The registration fee is just $20.00 for all ages. Registration forms are available on line at ensleytownship.org/crimewatch.  Registration is also available the day of the race. The event is being sponsored by the Ensley Crime Watch, The Baptist Lake Association, and the Englewright Lake Association.

The picnic begins at 11:30. The firemen grill hotdogs; there will be chips, cookies, homemade pies, coffee, pop and more. There will be a small fee for lunch.

Special guests include the Sand Lake Fire Department (trucks/equipment will be available for viewing), the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Deputies (SWAT vehicles on site), and the Newaygo Marine Patrol and Dive team.

There will be a 50/50 raffle and nearly $1,000 in prizes will be raffled off from local businesses.

The afternoon concludes with candidates running for local office available for a meet and greet.

Proceeds from the event will help the Sand Lake Fire Department purchase rescue equipment.

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Couple escapes mobile home fire


This home was a total loss. Photo by J. Reed.

This home was a total loss. Photo by J. Reed.

Photo by J. Reed.

Photo by J. Reed.

By J. Reed

A Cedar Springs family made it to safety early Tuesday when their mobile home caught fire on the coldest night of the year.

According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, the call came in at 2:11 a.m., on January 5, for a home at 365 Sarah Street, in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates. Fraser said that the homeowner got up during the night and saw smoke, and was able to get his wife and dog out.

Fraser said that the fire started in the hot water heater/furnace room area, but they do not yet know the cause. He said the fire was mostly contained to the room of origin, but some flames, smoke, and heat escaped to other areas. He said that due to the age of the home, it was probably a total loss. “There was some structural damage,” he explained. He added that the home was insured.

The fire did not reach a cargo van parked in the driveway, nor a shed that was next to the home.

The home did have two operating smoke detectors, which Fraser said were going off when they arrived on scene. “Unfortunately some flames that spread across the ceiling melted them,” he said.

The Sand Lake Fire Department assisted Cedar Springs at the scene.

Fraser said that it took about 20 minutes to get the fire knocked down, and a total of 2-1/2 hours before they cleared the scene. “The cold temperatures factored into the cleanup,” said Fraser, who explained that hoses stuck to the ground, and one was impossible to fold. “The cold also takes its toll on the firefighters,” he said. Temperatures dipped to about 10 degrees overnight.

Fraser said that the couple has family in the park that they are now staying with.

The fire is still under investigation.

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