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Construction to start on US131 north of Sand Lake


Commuters traveling US131 north of Sand Lake need to be prepared—reconstruction starts Monday on a 12-mile stretch that won’t be completed until next fall.

According to the Michigan Department of Transportation, the work will be done from Cannonsville Road north to M-46. Bridges over Tamarack Creek and Kendaville Road will be improved and widened, as will the freeway access ramps there.

Northbound traffic will be down to one lane, and will use crossovers. Ramp closures with posted detours will be used at M-82 and M-46.

The work is not expected to be completed until November 3.

 

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Sand Lake gets new fire truck


Sand Lake has a new fire engine thanks to a program overseen by the Kent County Fire Commission. Post photos by J. Reed.

It’s been a long time coming, but the Sand Lake Fire Department finally got its brand new engine with the help of Kent County.
All the fire departments in the county are on a rotation system, and each fire department gets a new engine every 17 years, with the county paying a portion and Sand Lake paying a portion. The department also gets the option to purchase the previous county engine.
According to Sand Lake Fire Chief Ed Holtzlander, the new fire truck costed $325,000. “It’s the first engine in the county with a clean burn diesel emission system,” he said.
The engine was designed for not only fire equipment, but also for rescue equipment, such as the Hurst tool.
The Sand Lake Fire Department consists of 20 volunteer firefighters covering two stations—one in the Village of Sand Lake, and one in Ensley Township, at Cypress and 120th. With the addition of the new engine, they now have two engines, two tankers, two grass rigs, and a rescue truck.
Holtzlander said that 1997 was the last time that they purchased a new fire truck.

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Church celebrates 65 years


before

The Church of the Full Gospel, at 180 E. Lake Street, Sand Lake, is celebrating 65 years in its present location. They will be celebrating this milestone on New Year’s Eve, Saturday, December 31, from 7 p.m. to midnight. There will be a special speaker, music, and photos taken through the years. Refreshments will be served during intermission. What follows is a condensed version of the church’s history submitted by the members.
How it all began
A group of young people, in a local church, was hungry for the things of God. Our spiritual needs were not being met. We cried unto the Lord to bring us someone to help us, someone who would be more interested in service than in money.
Meanwhile, Mr. Frank Allen, who lived nearby, had become a widower, and asked his sister, Harriet Eaton, who lived in Washington state, to come back to Sand Lake to help him. It just so happened she was a home missionary.

after remodel

Shortly after her arrival in Sand Lake, in the summer of 1942, Frank and Harriet attended the Old Settlers picnic in town. When the time came for regulars and visitors to say a few words, Sister Eaton arose and openly proclaimed, “I left t his place a sinner and have returned a child of God!” Afterward, the first one to seek her out was her old-time friend, Vita Giddings Davies. The two were close friends from then on.
Some young people asked Harriet if she would come and speak for the youth group. She said she would and also bring her guitar. We were delighted and told her so. She said, “Come and see me.” We agreed to do so. This is the way Tuesday evening meetings began in Frank Allen’s home. She started us off studying the book of Genesis. The blessed word of God began to open to us. We learned how to pray. She ministered to us the whole counsel of God.
She told us to bring our friends and we did. A good number of teenagers and older women made their way to the Allen home that snowy winter. We were still attending the other church, and did so for quite some time. Meetings were held in various homes in the area, and we were teaching Sunday School in the church we had been attending. Finally the pastor told us to make a choice and the break with the church came. The new gathering then drew more people together.
The group eventually rented the local Grange Hall for Sunday night meetings, and began to search for their own building. Finally, 1-1/2 lots were purchased from Charles and Maude Williams on E. Lake Street in Sand Lake. The group then found an old schoolhouse, the Cherry Dell School, near Entican, about 30 miles northeast of Sand Lake. Built in 1882, the school was still in sound condition. They purchased it and moved it to their new property on E Lake St. It was a welcome sight to all to see the building moving south on old US131 and into the Village of Sand Lake. The building was replastered and a new chimney built. The first service was held in the building on December 31, 1946.
Sister Eaton had gone back to Washington to live with her son and grandson. Evelyn Rush, who had come for a two-week visit with Harriet in 1944, stayed on to help and became the pastor of the Sand Lake church group. Verta Kibbe was her assistant.
Through the years, there have been different improvements made to the building—a basement dug, a furnace, bathrooms and west wing installed, entry changed from the front to the side, classrooms added, etc.
Many of the original group of believers have died or moved away. New ones have come in and taken their place. But the message preached when the group started has not changed.
The Church of the Full Gospel has several meetings every week. J-O-Y children’s meetings during the school year, daily Vacation Bible School and a youth camp during the summer, three-day Labor Day fellowship meetings, and end-of-year anniversary gatherings on New Year’s eve. They also have gospel meetings at Metron twice weekly.
Verta (Kibbe) Giddings and Gary Giddings pastor the meetings. There are also capable elders, deacons, worship leaders and teachers.
The regular schedule is Sunday school at 10 a.m., followed by a worship service at 11 a.m., and Sunday evenings at 6 p.m. On Wednesdays Bible study at 7 p.m.

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Santa arrives in Sand Lake


There wasn’t much snow on the ground when Santa made his grand entrance at Sand Lake’s Santa Claus parade last week Saturday, but it was definitely a chilly celebration.
Santa and Mrs. Claus, Frosty the snowman, firetrucks, police and several floats made their way west on Lake Street from Fourth to Eighth, and over to the Sand Lake Nelson Township Library Saturday morning, much to the delight of dozens of children and their parents. Frosty greeted children as they went inside, and once inside, they had the opportunity to sit on Santa’s help.
Later that evening, the community held a tree lighting ceremony. They decorated the tree in Salisbury Park planted in memory of Jennifer Kowalczyk, 12, who died in 1984 of Burkette’s Lymphoma. The VFW served cookies and hot chocolate afterward, and there was music in the gazebo in the park.

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Sand Lake to celebrate community Christmas


This pine tree in Salisbury Park in Sand Lake was planted in memory of Jennifer Kowalczyk, 12, who died in 1984. It is Sand Lake’s community Chistmas tree this year.

Residents in the Village of Sand Lake have stepped up to make this year’s celebration on Saturday even more special than in year’s past.
Not only will they have the annual Santa parade and a visit with Santa at the library, they have decorated a special tree in Salisbury Park and will hold a tree lighting Saturday night.
The pine tree was planted in the spring of 1984 by the Mothers Club of Sand Lake Elementary, in honor of Jennifer Suzanne Kowalczyk, 12, who died of Burkettes Lymphoma. Jennifer, the daughter of Mike and Sue Kowalczyk, was a 7th grader at Tri County Middle School, and attended Resurrection Lutheran Church with her family. Jennifer died on March 30, 1984, at St. Jude’s Children Hospital. Each year, the church holds a fundraising preschool bike-a-thon for St. Judes, that raises awareness of the needs of cancer stricken children like Jennifer. The bike-a-thon has reportedly raised thousands of dollars for the hospital in her memory.
And now the community is lighting her tree.
Volunteers decorated the tree and the fencing around it. “Volunteers too numerous to name came together for a labor of love,” said one resident. “We thank the community for decorating and their donations.”
The fun starts at 10 a.m. this Saturday, December 10, with the Santa parade, at the corner of Fourth and Lake St. The parade will go down to the Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library, where Santa will see children beginning at 10:30 a.m. The Christmas tree lighting and caroling will start at 6:30 p.m., and winner of the Gingerbread Contest will be announced at that time. Refreshments will be served afterward at the VFW Hall.

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More fawn photos


Bambi and friend

Ashley Nielsen sent us these photos of an adorable baby fawn they rescued this past summer. “We found the fawn on our property of almost 90 acres outside of Sand Lake,” said Nielsen. The family kept the fawn for four days, until they found a man outside of Fremont that takes in injured or rescued deer at any age and then releases them back into the wild.
“When we rescued the fawn, she slept inside our home with us because we have three dogs that we didn’t trust alone with her,” said Ashley. “We named her Bambi because when she tried to walk through our kitchen, she slipped around just like the storybook Bambi on the frozen pond. It was a really awesome few days.”
Bambi is shown here with Ashley’s daughter, Abbigail, 4. “Abby still talks about missing her,” said Ashley.

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Thielke wins another term


Kirk Thielke

The voters in Sand Lake spoke Tuesday, and gave current Village President Kirk Thielke another two years in office. This will be his third two-year term.
Out of 336 registered voters in Sand Lake, 87 turned out at the polls (25.9 percent).
Thielke got 55 votes (64.7 percent) and candidate Todd Finkel received 30 votes (35.3 percent).
“I am grateful for another chance to serve,” said Thielke. “I thank all those who voted for me, and even those who didn’t—I thank them for coming out and participating in the process,” he said.
There were four trustee positions open, and only three candidates running—incumbents Dave Tibbe and Roger Towsley, and write in Duncan Rogers.
In Kent City, which has 598 registered voters, only 34 people (5.7 percent) turned out. None of the candidates on the ballot were contested.

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Sand Lake to host parade honoring emergency workers


The Village of Sand Lake is hosting a solemn parade of emergency vehicles on Sunday, September 11, 2011. The public is encouraged to attend and show their support for their local police, fire and EMS personnel.
All police, fire and EMS across Michigan are invited to be a part of the parade. According to Sand Lake Police Chief Ken Williams, about 20 agencies have said they will participate, including Cedar Springs Police and Firefighters, Howard City Police and Firefighters, and more from surrounding townships. “There could be up to 60 vehicles,” he said.
The parade lineup will begin at 7:30 p.m. and the parade will start at 8 p.m. at Lake and 7th Street, and end at Lake and 4th Street. The vehicles will make two passes. The first time through they will run lights and sirens, and the second time through it will be a silent, remembering time.
After the parade, everyone is encouraged to stay and meet local emergency personnel, and bring a lawn chair or blanket to Salisbury Park and watch a special outdoor large screen showing of news and documentary footage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and heroic responses.
For more information, call Chief Williams at (616) 799-1900.

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Sand Lake to vote on Tuesday


By Judy Reed

Sand Lake voters head to the polls Tuesday to choose their next village president for the next two years. They will also vote several trustee positions, but none of them are contested.
There are four trustee positions open, and only three people running. Incumbents Dave Tibbe and Roger Towsley are running to retain their position on the board, Duncan Rogers is a write-in for Dave Dewey’s position (Dewey is not running again), and no one has filed for the partial term previously filled by Tonia Parkhurst.

Kirk Thielke

Kirk Thielke is running for his third two-year term as president of the village of Sand Lake. The former business owner said he looks at running again as a continuation of the civic service he’s done in Sand Lake for the last 25 years. During that time he has served on both the fire and police department, coached, served on the Sand Lake Chamber of Commerce and more. “I’ve been the same guy all the way through. I’ve been consistent, with the same tenacity and integrity I’ve always had. That’s what people are going to get. I enjoy it. It’s a challenge. Sometimes we have to make hard decisions that aren’t always popular. But I’ll do what the village asks me to do,” said Thielke. “The village president position is a privilege. With it comes responsibility, not a personal agenda. I think I’ve proven that. If they like what they’ve seen, then vote for me.”
He said that while he’s been in office, they have had several opportunities to cut costs through pay adjustments and looked at ways to absorb increases, and updated policies and procedures. There are also some new people in charge of various departments. One of the big projects that will pay off in the future is a $2.1 million sewer project. They received a $1 million-plus grant to update and repair the sewer system, and a $1 million loan from the USDA to fund the rest. Thielke said that they previously weren’t charging enough to ensure they had money for repairs, and in order to borrow the money, they had to up the user fee from $42 to $69 per quarter to show they could pay back the loan. He said that while some people may not like the increase, without the grant and the loan, they would be paying $135 per quarter for the repairs.
Thielke urges voters to get out and vote and not be apathetic. “We usually have about 60 people vote. There are 500 people in Sand Lake, and about 300 voters,” he said.

Todd Finkel

Todd Finkel is a newcomer to politics and is running against Kirk Thielke for the Village President position. He is manager at Tire Wholesalers Plus in Rockford, and has been a resident of Sand Lake for three years. Finkel said he has no background in politics but was asked by several people to run. “I know how to run a business, and I can’t imagine it is too much more complicated to get into the political end of it,” he said. “I’ve been running businesses my whole life.”
Finkel said he is running with the intent to save the village money, such as by moving the village election from September to November. “It’s costly to the taxpayers to have this special election,” he said. He noted that in Sand Lake they pay taxes to both the village and Nelson Township and that there must be some way to reduce taxes.
Finkel admitted he was one of the people that signed the petition last year to dissolve the Village. The Post asked Finkel, if he was elected, and another petition came around, would he vote for it or support the village? “I believe you are supposed to work for the people, not against them,” said Finkel. “People want the village to remain. It was quite unanimous that people wanted to keep the special amenities of the village. So, if elected, I would not vote for it. I’m not ashamed I did it, though, because we need change.”
Finkel said he would have an open door policy, and that he would return calls.

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Catch of the Week


Kaitylynn Magoon, 9, of Sand Lake, caught this blue gill while fishing for the first time this summer in Sand Lake. The fish was so small that they didn’t bother to measure it. Instead, they threw it back to grow a little more and be caught another day! And who knows? Maybe it will be Kaitylynn that catches it again, because she is planning to do a lot more fishing!

Congratulations, Kaitylynn, you made the Post Catch of the Week!

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