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Sand Lake man dies in fire

Firefighters responded to the scene of a tragic house fire on Northland Drive, just south of Sand Lake, Thursday morning, January 20, that killed a man and sent his sister to the hospital.
According to Sgt. Steve Dabkowski, of the Kent County Sheriff Department, the homeowner, Sandra DeVault, 57, came out of her bedroom a little before 7 a.m. to find the living room, where her brother slept, engulfed in flames. She was unable to get him out.
Both Sand Lake and Cedar Springs Fire Departments fought the blaze. Dabkowski said they had initially knocked the fire down, and firefighters were inside, and ambulance workers almost inside, when it caught fire again. The man, William Samalot, 58, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Dabkowski said according to DeVault, her brother was on oxygen and often smoked. “That looks to be the probable cause of the fire,” said Dabkowski.
DeVault was taken to Spectrum Butterworth, where she was being treated for smoke inhalation.
The fire is still under investigation.

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Improvements made at cemetery

By Judy Reed

N-Sand-Lake-CemeteryFunds from a community development block grant recently enabled the village of Sand Lake to make improvements at the Sand Lake Cemetery, located on Ritchie Avenue, just south of 22 Mile Road.

According to Beth Miller, Sand Lake Village Clerk, they put up a new fence, a new sign, and put vinyl siding on the old brick building in the cemetery. “We’re pretty proud of what they’ve done,” remarked Miller. “It gave it a complete facelift.”

Miller said they allocated $38,000 to the project, and completed about $23,000 worth of work.

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Sand Lake weighs election date change

By Judy Reed

Only a handful of voters in Sand Lake trickled into the village offices on Tuesday, September 15 to exercise their right to vote. And that, along with budget cuts, is causing Sand Lake to look at the possibility of changing their election date to November in future years.

According to Beth Miller, Sand Lake village clerk, 16 people made it to the polls, and six more voted through absentee ballot. That’s out of 322 registered voters.

But Miller wasn’t that surprised. “It was an uncontested election,” she noted.

Board president Kirk Thielke received 22 votes, trustees Carol Simpson 18, Billi Jo Thielke 20, and newcomer Celena Rosset 15.

Two years ago 48 voters turned out, in a contested election.

Miller estimated that this year’s election cost the village about $1,200.

“We’re considering moving the election to November to consolidate it with Nelson Township elections to save on costs,” explained Miller.

Sand Lake is one of approximately 90 villages in Michigan to exercise a special option that permits them to hold elections on the first Tuesday, after the second Monday in September, in odd-numbered years.

Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land urges villages to make the change to November. “In these tight budget times, I strongly encourage cities and villages holding their elections in September to consider changing them to the even-numbered year November election,” said Land. “It’s more convenient for the voter and saves cities and villages taxpayer dollars.”

Miller noted that if they did decide to change the date, that they would have to do it by resolution, and that terms of currently elected officials would need to be extended.

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Young Sand Lake reader visits Capitol

Rep. Pearce welcomes 2009 reading contest winner to Lansing

Katarina Michnick, 8, of Sand Lake, and her family, spent a day learning about the Michigan Capitol and the state Legislature with Rep. Tom Pearce as the winner of the lawmaker’s third annual reading program, in conjunction with local libraries.

Children who participated in their local summer reading program were able to enter their names in a random drawing, with each library forwarding a semi-finalist to Pearce. The Rockford lawmaker then drew the winner from those names.

“Reading during the summer is a great way for young people to continue to build and maintain their skills so they are ready for school to start,” Pearce said. “Reading is a key to success in all aspects of your life, as well as an enjoyable activity that can lead to enrichment as well as learning. I thank all the parents, librarians and teachers who help promote the importance and excitement of reading.”

Katarina Michnick, her mother and father, Mary and Gregory, and her brother Alexander, visited Lansing last week as the guest of Rep. Tom Pearce. Katarina was selected the winner of the lawmaker’s third annual reading program in conjunction with local libraries.

Katarina Michnick, her mother and father, Mary and Gregory, and her brother Alexander, visited Lansing last week as the guest of Rep. Tom Pearce. Katarina was selected the winner of the lawmaker’s third annual reading program in conjunction with local libraries.

Katarina, her mother and father Mary and Gregory, and her brother Alexander, toured the Capitol building, went on the House floor, attended a House committee session and visited the Michigan Historical Museum, along with being treated to lunch with Pearce.

“I liked the chandeliers in the hallways with the deer and elk on them and the big door hinges with the state Seal,” Katarina said of her first visit to the Capitol building. “It was also neat when Rep. Pearce told us about the first elevators working with water buckets as weight.”

The home school family was happy to add the Lansing visit to lessons on government learned while closely following the 2008 presidential election and inauguration. Even though Katarina is currently focusing her future on horse riding and ballerina training, she got in some legislative experience with Pearce by discussing her views against abortion with the lawmaker.

Katarina and Alexander each participated in the contest through the Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library.

Pearce’s reading program was available at Plainfield Township Library, Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library, Spencer Township Library, Tyrone Township Library, Krause Memorial Library, Comstock Park Library, Sparta Carnegie Township Library and Cedar Springs Library.

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