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Sand Lake residents will vote on street improvements

This drawing shows a more upscale version of the Village of Sand Lake streetscape project, which would not include as much red brick and the curbs would not jut out as far. This drawing is looking east from 5th Street (at the Park) toward Northland Drive. Drawing by Fleis & VandenBrink

This drawing shows a more upscale version of the Village of Sand Lake streetscape project, which would not include as much red brick and the curbs would not jut out as far. This drawing is looking east from 5th Street (at the Park) toward Northland Drive.
Drawing by Fleis & VandenBrink

By Judy Reed

When the residents in the Village of Sand Lake head to the polls November 8, they will vote on a street improvement bond that would take effect in June, 2018.

They are asking voters to approve a bond that would allow them to borrow up to $775,000 to pay the costs of designing, constructing, reconstructing, and paving streets, streetscape improvements, and costs of related improvements.

According to Village President Roger Towsley, the bond would be used to pave Lake Street from Northland Drive to 5th Street. It would include new sidewalks, curb and gutter, and more decorative street lights.

He said it’s been at least 25 years since they’ve done a project like this. “We want a nice 6-inch curb,” explained Towsley. “We’ve just been putting bandaids on, and there is no curb left in spots.”

“The sidewalks will also be wider than they are now,” explained Towsley. “We want the sidewalk to be a connector between the White Pine Trail and Salisbury Park.” He said it would one to one-and-half feet wider, which would make parking a bit narrower, but not much. They may also install a bike path.

The goal, he said, is to make it a more walkable community, which is something that the State of Michigan looks for when awarding grants for this type of project.

The streetscape project would not have as much red brick as seen in the photo, nor would the curbs be bumped out as far. “We scaled it back a bit,” he said.

The proposed millage of 3.8035 mills ($3.8035 for each $1,000 of taxable value) would generate the funds to pay for the project, along with a $352,950 grant from Grand Valley Metro Council.

The engineer on the project is Fleis and VandenBrink.

If it passes, the millage would not begin until the current 5 mills they are paying for a road pavement project in 2003 is completed. That will be paid off in June 2018.

In addition, the road project plans for spring 2017 include the crush and reshaping of Lake Street from 5th to Ritchie Avenue. That project will be paid for with a $250,000 grant from the State of Michigan, and a $130,000 loan from the State Infrastructure Bank. That loan will be paid back over a period of 10 years using Act 51 revenue from the State of Michigan.

For more information, call the Village Office at (616) 636-8854 Monday through Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

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Sand Lake Bank robbery suspect arrested after crashing car

A bank robbery occured at the Sand Lake branch of Independent Bank on Thursday, August 18. Post photo by L. Allen.

A bank robbery occured at the Sand Lake branch of Independent Bank on Thursday, August 18. Post photo by L. Allen.

Bank robbery suspect, Edward Lucas

Bank robbery suspect, Edward Lucas

A bank robbery suspect was pulled from a burning vehicle last week Thursday by Kent County Sheriff Deputies after he crashed his car and the engine compartment burst into flames.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, a white male entered the Sand Lake branch of Independent Bank at 5 S. 3rd Street, about 4:06 p.m., Thursday, August 18. He passed the teller a note demanding money, and the teller placed an undisclosed amount of money in an envelope. As he exited the bank with the money, the silent alarm was activated, and 911 was called. He was last seen driving southbound on Northland Drive.

A detailed description of the suspect and his vehicle were given to dispatchers. His description was relayed to all police units in the northern part of Kent County as well as to Montcalm County dispatch.

Twenty minutes later, a vehicle that matched the description of the suspect’s vehicle was spotted on 17 Mile Road in Cedar Springs.  The deputy was able to see the driver, who also matched the description that had been broadcasted. The vehicle then ramped onto southbound US-131 as the deputy followed. Once a second deputy caught up to the first, they made a traffic stop, but the suspect then sped away, continuing south on US-131. Police said the vehicle reached speeds between 80- 90 mph before slowing down and exiting on Post Dr. The suspect vehicle turned onto Post Drive heading toward Belmont.

A very short time later the suspect’s vehicle appeared to cross into oncoming traffic, side swiping a Jeep Liberty before hitting a second vehicle head on. The suspect’s vehicle then left the roadway and rolled two or three times before coming to a rest.

As Deputies approached the suspect’s vehicle, the engine compartment burst into flames. Deputies were able to pull the suspect from the vehicle and use an extinguisher to extinguish the fire.

A Michigan State Police Sergeant who saw the crash, said that it looked like the suspect appeared to deliberately stray across the centerline to crash into the other vehicle.

Two individuals from the vehicle that was hit head on were treated at the scene and released. One person from the Jeep Liberty was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. The suspect was transported with much more severe injuries to Butterworth Hospital, where it was determined that he broke his leg, injured his neck, and suffered a severe contusion to his chest.

The local FBI office will be handling the actual robbery and the Kent County Sheriff Department will be handling the pursuit. Also assisting on scene was the Michigan State Police and Plainfield Township Fire and Rescue.

According to paperwork filed in Federal Court this week, the suspect is Edward Ray Lucas, 49, who also was convicted of bank robbery in 1999 in Michigan.

The Sand Lake Police Department posted the following thanks on their Facebook page: “The Sand Lake Police Department and the entire community would like to give a huge shout out to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department for their quick response and apprehension of a possible bank robber that occurred at the Independent Bank in the village of Sand Lake. God Bless each and every one of you.”

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Sand Lake 4th of July Celebration

Independence Day is a time to celebrate our freedom and Sand Lake has all the activities and events for a fun filled family weekend. Starting Thursday, June 30th through Monday, July 4th, 2016 come out and enjoy some of the great events including the Firemen’s Parade of Lights, Kiddies Day “The Spirit of Freedom” with Kids parade and activities, book sales, carnival rides, live music, die cast car races, a greased pig contest, antique car and tractor show, Grand Parade, demolition derby, bingo, FIREWORKS and MORE…


Download the Sand Lake 4th of July Celebration schedule below…


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The eagles have landed

Tim Hindenach sent in this photo of the eagles at Pine Lake.

Tim Hindenach sent in this photo of the eagles at Pine Lake.

Randy Johnson snapped this shot of an eagle at Sand Lake

Randy Johnson snapped this shot of an eagle at Sand Lake

We continue to get eagle photos from area readers. This week we received clearer photos of an eagle sighting at Pine Lake that we ran last week (thank you Tim Hindenach) and a new sighting at Sand Lake. Randy Johnson took his photos on Friday morning, April 22. “I was able to get a few reasonable photos (low light/foggy conditions) from the north shore of Sand Lake, of this beautiful bird,” he wrote. Thank you, Randy!

We have gotten photos from Algoma, Solon, Nelson, and now Sand Lake. The Post asked Ranger Steve Mueller about whether there were now quite a few eagles here, or whether these could be the same birds.

Eagle numbers have increased significantly during the last several decades due to the Clean the Water and Clean Air Acts and the discontinuance of chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides like DDT,” explained Mueller. “It is likely that some eagle pictures may be the same individuals by different people because eagles are wide ranging.”

Eagles can often be found near bodies of water, since fish make up over half of their diet. They also consume other birds, mammals, and small prey.

Do you have wildlife photos you’d like to send us? Email them to news@cedarspringspost.com, along with your contact info and some information about the photo (what’s in it, where it was taken, etc.) We will print as space allows.

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Why is there a gate on Sand Lake boat launch?

N-Sand-Lake-boat-launch-gateBy Judy Reed

People in the area have been using the boat launch on 22 Mile at Sand Lake to get their boats in and out of the lake for as long as anyone can remember. So many people were surprised when it was gated and locked the first part of March. The Post fielded some questions from readers about it, and contacted the Village of Sand Lake to find out what was going on.

According to Sand Lake Village President Roger Towsley, contrary to what people might think, it is not a “public” boat launch. Instead, it’s part of the thin strip of property at 551 W. Lake Street, that runs to the west of the boat launch.

The person who used to live there allowed the public to use it, and the people before him never minded,” explained Towsley. “I’ve lived here 40 years and it was always used. Others have told me that it’s been in use since the early 1900s.” The Village has helped maintain the property by putting gravel in there and mowing it.

He said that the problem is that when the property was sold, the new owner became concerned about the liability of people using it, and decided to put up the gate.

Towsley said that the Village of Sand Lake has spoken to the owner and asked if he’d be willing to sell the east end of the property to the Village, so that the public could use the boat launch. “He said he would be willing to do that. We just need to get it appraised,” said Towsley.

Towsley also said that they had contacted the Village of Sand Lake’s insurance company, and that their insurance would not go up. “As soon as we get a price, we can make an offer, and hopefully open it up to the public. The offer will depend on the assessment, and whether we have the money.” He noted that they would be open to taking donations for the project.

If we can buy it at a fair price, we will,” he said.

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Snowmobile museum moves to Sand Lake


N-Snowmobiles1West Michigan Snowmobile Museum and Library would like to invite everyone to visit their new location at 29 East Lake Street in Sand Lake. They purchased the building located on the main drag and also by the White Pine Trail number 5.

The museum’s opening date is Friday, April 17, 2015. The museum’s summer hours will be Fridays 12 to 6, Saturdays 11 to 5, and Sundays 12 to 4.  They’re also open by appointment by calling Ron Knapp at 616-636-7232.

Entrance fee by a requested donation of $5.00 each, children 12 and under are free, $20.00 per family, senior citizens $3.00, and veterans are free.

Please join them as they celebrate their new location in the great friendly town of Sand Lake.

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Dorothy Parker

Dorothy ParkerDorothy A. Parker, 74 of Sand Lake, passed away Friday, December 5, 2014. Dorothy was born October 18, 1940 in Pierson, MI. She was a 1958 graduate of Howard City High School. She enjoyed making wedding flowers, loved to cook and had a great sense of humor. She loved her family tremendously. Surviving are her husband, Leon “L.D.”; sons, Gene (Kimberly), Jeff (Terri), Jamie (Sarah); grandchildren, Jake, Tyllor, Amy, Tayllor, Trenton, Tanner, Trinity; great grandson, Jace; sister, Joan (Jim) Ostrander; sister-in-law, Doris Parker; nieces and nephews. The family will greet friends Tuesday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs, where services will be held Wednesday 11:00 am. Ross Merlington officiating. Interment Sand Lake Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to RAI Care Center, Rockford.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike.

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Local bar loses liquor license

The Sand Bar in Sand Lake has closed its doors after losing its liquor licenses. Post photo by J. Reed.

The Sand Bar in Sand Lake has closed its doors after losing its liquor licenses. Post photo by J. Reed.

A Sand Lake bar that’s been in business almost 24 years will not see its 25th. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission revoked the licenses of the Lake Street Station (The Sand Bar), after a penalty hearing on May 13.

The bar, located at 38-42 S. Lake St., had the penalty hearing due to having three violations within a consecutive 24-month period. After reviewing the record of the violations and hearing arguments from owner Toni Bush, the Commission decided to revoke the licenses. They noted that since they issued the liquor licenses on October 12, 1990, the bar has been cited for multiple violations of the Michigan Liquor Control Code and Administrative Rules, including:

The Sand Bar post this sign on its door after  losing its liquor licenses. Post photo by J. Reed.

The Sand Bar post this sign on its door after losing its liquor licenses. Post photo by J. Reed.

*Issuing eight non-sufficient funds checks to the Commission for purchases of spirits totaling $3,238.45.

*Allowing credit sales for alcoholic liquor.

*Allowing gambling and gambling devices on the licensed premises.

*Allowing marijuana on the licensed premises.

*Allowing the sale, service and consumption of alcoholic liquor after the legal hour.

*Allowing the premises to be occupied after the legal hour.

*Allowing an employee to be intoxicated on the licensed premises.

*Allowing intoxicated minors to consume and loiter on the licensed premises.

*Seven (7) violations for allowing the sale of alcoholic liquor to intoxicated patrons; and allowing intoxicated patrons to consume and loiter on the licensed premises.

*The licensee, Toni Bush, was identified as the intoxicated person consuming alcoholic liquor on the licensed premises and failing to cooperate with law enforcement officials in the course of inspecting the licensed premises in an incident that occurred on July 6, 2013.

“The Commission finds that the licensee failed to demonstrate policies and procedures for prevention of selling to intoxicated patrons, and further finds that the Commission has no confidence that the licensee takes these matters seriously or would be able to prevent future violations,” wrote the MLCC.

They also found that Bush did not demonstrate the ability or willingness to ensure control over the establishment and its employees, ensure compliance with the code and rules, and prevent future violations.

The order to revoke was effective immediately, and MLCC officials were at the business last week to seize any alcohol on the premises. They revoked the business’s 2014 Class C and Specially Designated Merchant licenses with Sunday Sales Permit (P.M.), Entertainment Permit (without dressing rooms), and Dance Permit.

The building is now up for sale.


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Spring cleanups start soon

By Judy Reed


SPR-Spring-clean-upsAs the weather warms up and residents begin to spring clean, some municipalities are offering drop off sites to help get rid of the clutter. Check out the list below to see when it’s offered in your area.

Algoma Township: Spring cleanup days are Wednesday, April 23, through Saturday, April 26. Dumpsters will be available at the township hall at 10531 Algoma Ave. Hours will be Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m to 3 p.m. No shovel offs or loose trash allowed. No liquids, no hazardous waste (no paint, oil, fuel, gasoline etc.) No brush or yard waste, no cement.

All tires must be cut in half, propane and fuel oil tanks must be cut in half. Fencing must be folded or rolled up. Barrels must have one end open or be full of holes. Will also collect E-Waste at the same location (cell phones, computers, TVs, stereos, speakers, etc.). Call the township for more info 866-1583.

City of Cedar Springs: The city will collect E-waste on Saturday, April 26, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., during the Earth Day cleanup. A dumpster will be located behind City Hall and manned by Rotarians. Bring all your electronic waste for disposal such as computers, monitors, keyboards, cell phones, radios, stereos, laptops, VCRs, TVs, modems, power cords, etc. Almost any electronic item, working or non-working, with a cord or battery, will be accepted. Computer hard drives will be wiped and destroyed.

The annual brush pickup will be Monday, April 28. Please have brush out by 6:00 a.m. and neatly stacked as close to the curb as possible. No brush larger than six inches, tree removals or stumps will be picked up. They will make one pass through town.

There is no longer a spring trash cleanup date. Check with your waste hauler for pickup.

Also note that the city will be flushing City hydrants on April 25. To avoid staining laundry, allow water to run until clear before washing white or light colored clothing.

Courtland Township: No spring cleanup, they have a fall cleanup in September.

Nelson Township/Sand Lake: Spring cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, June 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 5th and Cherry Streets, near the water tower in Sand Lake. We accept appliances, sheet metal, auto parts and engines (liquid drained), aluminum and copper wire, fencing (flattened and folded), mattresses, furniture, carpeting, clothing, glass, etc. No garbage please. No hazardous or toxic waste. No yard clippings or brush. No shovel offs of shingles and drywall. Will also collect E-Waste and metal at the same location. Please call the township for more info at 636-5332.

Sand Lake: Sand Lake will have a brush only pickup April 17-25. Pile brush along side of the road. See Nelson Township (above) for regular spring cleanup.

Solon Township: Spring cleanup dates have been set for two consecutive Saturdays, May 3 and May 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 15185 Algoma. One 5×8 trailer with 48-inch sides or one pickup box per household. All items should be boxed or bagged, 45 pounds maximum. Tires must be cut in four pieces, car or light truck only, limit four. Appliances such as washers, dryers, etc. will be accepted, but not appliances that used Freon  or other toxic chemicals. Call township for more info at 696-1718.

Spencer Township: Call township for info at 984-0035.


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Family loses everything in fire

This fire in Sand Lake Saturday left a family of six homeless.

This fire in Sand Lake Saturday left a family of six homeless. Courtesy photo.

A Sand Lake family is homeless and has lost everything after a fire consumed their home last weekend.

According to Sand Lake Fire Chief Ed Holtzlander, the fire began around 7 p.m. Saturday evening, December 28, at 125 W. Oak Street in Sand Lake. Six people lived in the home.

Holtzlander said that the homeowner, Kimberly Sanborn, told him that her boyfriend, Dean MCollum and friends were in the basement when the smoke alarms upstairs went off. They went back upstairs to find both the couch and Christmas tree on fire.

Sand Lake Fire had someone on the scene within 2 minutes, and a fire engine within five minutes. But flames were already shooting out of the roof. “We didn’t have a chance,” said Holtzlander. He noted that it was an older home without firestops.

He said they got the fire knocked down within about 45 minutes, but then had to delay going into the structure for about two hours to finish putting it out because they had to wait for DTE Energy to arrive on the scene to turn off the gas. The gas line below the meter had burned off, and they had to go into defensive mode while they waited. “It wasn’t safe to go in,” he explained.

Sand Lake, Cedar Springs, Solon and Howard City Fire Departments all assisted at the scene, but Solon and Howard City were sent home because of the delay.

The home was a complete loss.

According to neighbor Dawn West, the family lost everything in the fire, including the family dog. Dawn is collecting clothing and household donations for the family at her home at 126 W. Oak Street, Sand Lake.

Clothing is needed for three boys ages 4, 6 and 9, in sizes 4, 6, and 8-10. Clothing is also need for a 17-year-old male in size 30/32 pants and men’s medium in shirts.

Financial donations are being taken at Independent Bank in Sand Lake. Cash or checks can be deposited in account number 74981309. Checks should be made out to Dawn West.

Please call Dawn with questions at (616) 821-8548.

*N-Fire2 Sand Lake Dawn West

This home at 125 W. Oak Street in Sand Lake was a complete loss. Courtesy photo.

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