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Tag Archive | "Skinner Field"

Police recover fallen soldier’s monument, arrest suspects

The Kent County Sheriff Department has recovered the stolen monument dedicated to fallen soldier Timothy Brown and arrested three suspects in connection with that crime and others.

The Kent County Sheriff Department has recovered the stolen monument dedicated to fallen soldier Timothy Brown and arrested three suspects in connection with that crime and others. Photo courtesy of the KCSD.

by Judy Reed


Four Cedar Springs men were arrested last week in connection with two acts of theft and vandalism that recently occurred in the city.

Three of the men—David Edgar Sommerville, 17, Austin Lee Coleman, 20, and Justin Lynn Rossman, 27—were arrested Thursday, October 27, for a break-in at Skinner Field, and the theft and desecration of the monument of fallen hero SPC. Timothy Brown from Veterans Park. A fourth man, Tracy Lyn Coleman, 45, the father of Austin Coleman, was arrested on Friday October 28.









The break-in at Skinner Field was discovered Friday morning, October 21. Pieces of cooking equipment were taken from the concessions stand, as well as food items. The suspects also took items out of the cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer and scattered them all over the floor. Other buildings on the property were also broken into.

The Brown family discovered the monument was missing Saturday, October 22, and called police. They also appealed to the public to have the suspects return the statue, no questions asked, but that never happened.

Police took video from the trail cam at Skinner Field and displayed video and photos of the suspects on their Facebook page and distributed the information to media, who also posted the photos online. Police received several tips in the investigation, which helped them to identify the three suspects shown in the video.

Police obtained a search warrant for a home owned by Tracy Lyn Coleman, in the 100 block of E. Muskegon. They found several items in the home from the Skinner Field break-in, and the stolen monument was also found on the property.

After they completed the search, they arrested David Sommerville, 17, and Austin Coleman, 20. The search then led them to arrest Justin Rossman, 27, who resided at Red Flannel Acres on Maple Street.

The three were arraigned on charges of breaking and entering a building with intent (for the Skinner Field break-in), and Rossman and Sommerville were also both charged with receiving and concealing stolen property worth more than $1,000 but not more than $20,000 (in relation to the stealing of the monument). Rossman is also being charged as a habitual offender.

On October 28, police arrested Tracy Lyn Coleman and he was arrested for receiving and concealing stolen property. He reportedly admitted to police that he knew the rifle and helmet were stored in his shed, and that he had told one of the defendants to get it out of there. Rossman reportedly told police that Sommerville stole the rifle and helmet and hid them in the storage shed.

“We are proud of the work of our investigators as they worked tirelessly to bring SPC Brown’s Monument back into safe hands,” said the Kent County Sheriff Department in an announcement on their Facebook page.

The Brown family is relieved that the monument has been found. “It’s great news!” said Dan Brown, who is Tim Brown’s uncle and the man who helped create Veterans Park and Tim’s monument. “I’m glad it’s back. The Kent County Sheriff Department did a great job.”

The community raised $10,000 in donations several years ago to fund the creation of the monument for Timothy Brown, who died in November 2005 in Iraq (see his memorial on page 5). Residents were outraged when they heard the monument had been stolen, and not only shared the suspect photos, but offered the Browns their support. “The community has been great,” remarked Dan Brown. “There has been such an outpouring of people just asking what they can do to help.”

According to Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack, the monument is city property, so they will pay to have it repaired. “We have been in contact with someone to fix the monument, which will cost the city approximately $500. We are thankful to the Sheriff’s department for the recovery of the monument that was stolen, otherwise it would’ve cost the City approximately $10,000 to replace,” he explained. “We will likely pay the $500 out of pocket and then seek restitution as part of any sentencing that might occur with the three individuals who were arrested for the crime.”

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Thieves break into Skinner Field concession stand

Several items were stolen and the contents of the cupboards and freezer emptied during a break-in at the Skinner Field concession stand last week. Photo courtesy Shawn Kiphart.

Several items were stolen and the contents of the cupboards and freezer emptied during a break-in at the Skinner Field concession stand last week. Photo courtesy Shawn Kiphart.

UPDATE 10/27: The three suspects in this case have been arrested and items recovered. More info to come.

by Judy Reed

Shawn Kiphart, with Friends of Skinner Field, thought maybe this would be the year that they were going to make it through the

Items were dumped on floor during break-in at Skinner Field. Photo courtesy of Shawn Kiphart.

Items were dumped on floor during break-in at Skinner Field. Photo courtesy of Shawn Kiphart.

season without their concession stand being broken into. They had just one more Saturday of rocket football games left when they discovered last Friday morning that not only had they been broken into, but major theft and vandalism were also part of the crime.

“Last year we were broken into twice, and the year before we were broken into twice,” explained Kiphart. “In years past they just took some candy or pop, and left everything else alone. But this year was different. It was more violent.”

It wasn’t as simple as getting through a window. The suspects kicked in a heavy metal door.

Photos showed extensive vandalism on the inside of the concession stand. The suspects stole a couple of major appliances, along with all the candy and cases of soda pop. They dumped out all the chips and used the totes to carry other items. They also dumped stuff out of the freezer onto the floor, including bags of ice.

After being broken into last year, the group decided to install a trail cam in the concession stand. The suspects tried to obscure the camera’s lens by smearing nacho cheese on it, but it caught video of them in the act. There appeared to be at least three males caught

Photo from trail cam, courtesy of Kent County Sheriff Dept.

Photo from trail cam, courtesy of Kent County Sheriff Dept.

on video.

The concession stand wasn’t the only building they broke into. They also smashed a front window on the tower, and

The suspect smeared nacho cheese on the camera lens. Photo courtesy of Kent County Sheriff Dept.

The suspect smeared nacho cheese on the camera lens. Photo courtesy of Kent County Sheriff Dept.

broke into two other buildings near the concession stand.

The break-in happened between midnight and 2 a.m. Houses line the streets surrounding Skinner Field at Morley Park, but no one in the area reported hearing anything suspicious. “They had to be really whaling on that door and nobody reported anything,” said Deputy Jason VanDyke. “We need people to pay attention and report anything suspicious.”

Police suspect that that these same suspects may be involved in the

Photo courtesy of Kent County Sheriff Dept.

Photo courtesy of Kent County Sheriff Dept.


Photo courtesy of the Kent County Sheriff Dept.

theft at Veteran’s Memorial Park, and several car larcenies in the area. If you have any information on this break-in, recognize anyone in the photos, or the clothing, please call the Kent County Sheriff Department at (616) 632-6100, or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.



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Police seek info on larceny of vehicles

UPDATE 10/27: Three suspects in this case have been arrested. More info to come.

The City of Cedar Springs has seen a rash of larcenies in the last week, including articles stolen from the Timothy Brown monument at Veteran’s Park, a break-in at the Skinner Field concession stand, and numerous larcenies involving unlocked vehicles.

The Sheriff Department is asking for your help by reporting any suspicious activity you see, particularly after dark. This can be reported by calling (616) 632-6100.

They would also like to remind all residents to:

  • Remove all valuables from vehicles. Never leave purses, wallets, electronics, jewelry or other valuables in your vehicle.
  • Lock your vehicles. The vast majority of vehicle larcenies are from unlocked cars and trucks. Locking your vehicle is the easiest way to prevent becoming a victim.
  • Report any suspicious activity. Police need your help to be the “eyes and ears” in our community. When you observe someone or something suspicious, contact (616) 632-6100 immediately. The assistance of our residents is necessary to successfully investigate these incidents.

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Rocket Football


Rocket Football for grades 3-6 is back! Listed below are the games for next week Saturday, September 24.  Home games are at Skinner Field.


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Hawks fall to Force, drop third consecutive game


By Shae Brophy

A warm evening at Skinner Field saw the West Michigan Hawks host the West Michigan Force on Saturday, July 23. With both teams holding identical 4-2 records, this game had a big influence on playoff position.

After a hard fought battle, the Hawks came up on the short end. The Force took home a 30-14 victory, ensuring that the Hawks will finish no higher than 4th in the “Big 8” division, and will not get a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

The Force scored a touchdown on their first drive of the game, taking an 8-0 lead. Hawks wide receiver Monta Swanigan tied it up on the next drive, scoring a 12-yard touchdown on a pass from Charles Manny Hodges. That tied the score at 8-8. The Force scored two consecutive touchdowns in the second quarter, taking a 22-8 lead into halftime.

Things didn’t get any better in the third quarter for the Hawks, as the Force scored another touchdown, and increased their lead to 30-8. Robert Bell brought the Hawks a little closer, scoring on a 6 yard passing play, but the 30-14 deficit was as close as the Hawks would get.

“We’re facing some major adversity right now, and we aren’t responding the way we should at this point,” said head coach David Lange. “We still have a lot to play for this season, and we still expect to make some noise in the playoffs. But right now, we need to get back to the basics, which is what we expect to do this weekend when we travel to Ohio to play the Lima Warriors.”

Despite the loss, the Hawks were able to raise $933 for 3-year-old Libby Walla, who suffers from a disease known as PVL.

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Hawks fall on Saturday, still clinch playoff spot

Brant Brooks celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter. Photo by Marcie Crouch.

Brant Brooks celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter. Photo by Marcie Crouch.

By Shae Brophy

With the top spot in the MLFA’s Big Eight division on the line, the West Michigan Hawks hosted the Toledo Thunder on Saturday evening at Skinner Field. The teams shared identical 4-1 records coming into the game, and a win for either team would put them in the drivers seat for the top seed in the division.

A tough, hard fought game saw the Thunder come out on top with a 12-7 victory. After returning the game’s opening kickoff 99 yards to the one-yard line, Toledo opened the scoring with a one yard scamper on the game’s first play from scrimmage. After missing the extra point, the score remained 6-0.

The Hawks responded late in the second quarter, when Brant Brooks hauled in a five yard pass for a touchdown from quarterback Charles Manny Hodges. The extra point gave the Hawks a 7-6 lead, which they took into halftime.

Toledo was able to answer early in the third quarter, regaining the lead on a 26 yard touchdown run. Their two-point attempt was stuffed by the Hawks, keeping the score at a reasonable 12-7 margin.

With the score still the same late in the fourth quarter, the Hawks got the ball back at their own nine-yard line with just over a minute remaining. A big play brought them out to the Toledo 45-yard line with 24 seconds left, but a holding penalty and the subsequent 10-second run off put the Hawks in a tough spot, with the ball on their own 45-yard line and seven seconds remaining. On the final play of the game, they completed a long pass down field, but they were not able to find the end zone. Overall, Toledo outscored West Michigan by a margin of 393-242.

Cornerback Omar Haynes finished the game with three interceptions for the Hawks, while linebacker JaVon Welch had 12.5 tackles.

Despite the loss, the Hawks still clinched the franchise’s first appearance in the playoffs as a result of losses from other teams across the league.

“I thought we played a solid football game,” said head coach David Lange. “We missed a few opportunities to take the lead, but overall I thought we adjusted nicely. All we can do is look to the next game.”

The Hawks will be in action again this Saturday at Skinner Field when they host the West Michigan Force. Tickets are $6 a piece, with children eight and under free. The Hawks will be raffling off numerous items from local businesses, such as pizza from Hungry Howies and Vitale’s, gift cards to KC’s, and much much more! We hope to see you there!


“An incident occurred in the stands of Saturday evening’s West Michigan Hawks game. Members from the West Michigan Force attended the game to scout our team before our game against them this upcoming weekend. I’d like to personally and formally apologize to the fans who witnessed this incident. The actions from these players were unacceptable, and will not be tolerated by the Hawks or Skinner Field. The Force were reprimanded by the league for their actions, with eight of their players being suspended for this weekend’s game. I have also ensured that there will be a heightened police presence at the game, and a security presence on the field. Our fans and the safety of our fans is our highest priority when we play at home, and we have taken steps to ensure that the integrity of the upcoming game will be of the highest quality.”

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Hometown Happenings

Hometown Happenings articles are a community service for non-profit agencies only. Due to popular demand for placement in this section, we can no longer run all articles. Deadline for articles is Monday at 5 p.m. This is not guaranteed space. Articles will run as space allows. Guaranteed placement is $10, certain restrictions may apply. You now can email your Hometown Happenings to happenings@cedarspringspost.com please include name and phone number for any questions we may have.

CS Youth Football Sign-ups

July 21: Cedar Springs Youth Football sign-ups will be held on Thursday, July 21st, Tuesday, July 26th and Thursday, July 28th  from 6-7:30 pm at Skinner Field Concession Stand or sign up online @ www.cedarspringsyouthfootball.com. Rocket: 3rd – 6th grade, Middle School, 7th  – 8th. Contact April Victorson 616-890-5869, a_victorson@yahoo.com. #29,30p

Fill the Truck to Support Tiffany’s Tiny Cat Rescue

July 23: Boy Scout Troop 222 will be collecting donations on Saturday, July 23rd in the Tractor Supply parking lot from 9 am to 2 pm. Items needed include food (Purina Cat & Kitten Chow), litter, cat care products, cleaning & laundry products, paper towels, and old blankets/sheets/towels. For more information or to arrange alternate drop off time, please contact Laurie at 616-304-9929. #28,29p

Praise the Lord at Cowboy Church

July 24: 2nd Chance will be having Cowboy Church on Sunday, July 24th at 6 pm. It will be at 2nd Chance School at 810 – 17 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs (corner of 17 Mile and Olin Lakes Rd). The message and music will be shared by Ben Crofoot and the Crofoot Family and Friends group. Invite your family and friends. Cowboy Church will be every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month. Each service will have different people sharing God’s word and music. If you have questions, call 616-293-2150. See you there! #29

Take off pounds sensibly

July 26: Take off pounds sensibly (TOPS), a non-profit weight loss support group for men and women, meets every Tuesday at the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Sand Lake. Your first visit is free so come check out what TOPS can do to help you reach your weigh loss goals! Weigh-ins 8:15-9am, meeting starts at 9:15am. Call Barb at 696-8049 for more information. #29

Senior Lunch at Pine Grove Community Church

July 27: Roses are red, Violets are blue ‘tis time for Chuck Roast Barbeque. A fruit salad full of color and slaw o’ so green, if you’ve not joined us before, well, where have you been. Pine Grove Senior Cafe is throwin’ a picnic for our friends age 60 or perhaps even more. Come on over, twill be July 27th at Noon when we throw open our door. The time as just stated, the where you’ll find a seat; is right here on the corner of M-82 and the Avenue of Beech. #29

AYSO Registration

July 28: The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) Registration for the Fall season TODAY. Visit www.ayso902.org. Registration ends Thursday, July 28th. #29,30p

Cedar Springs Museum’s Summer Car Show

July 30: Be sure to join the fun at the Cedar Springs Summer Car Show in Morley Park on Saturday, July 30 from 8:00am-2:00pm. Free to all visitors and only $10.00 to register a car. A grilled hotdog lunch will be served “free” to the public from 11:00am to 1:00pm. We will have Pat Patin as DJ. Trophies will be given out at 1:00pm to “Best of Show” and the “Top 19” favorites. The F.F.A. students will sell a light breakfast at 8:00a.m. The museum uses this car show to help bring programs to our community and especially to allow us to host family programs without charge. #29

Fallen Heroes Golf Outing

July 30: The 7th Annual Fallen Heroes Golf Outing will be held at 2 pm on Saturday, July 30th at North Kent Golf Club. $70 per person includes golf w/cart, and steak dinner. Grand prize is a fishing trip for 4 with Hillbilly Charters, Grand Haven, Hole-In-One Contest, 50/50 raffle and other contests and prizes. Contact North Kent Golf Club 616-866-2659. Monies raised will be donated to the Veterans Memorial Park in Cedar Springs. #28-29p

One Book Discussion in Howard City

Aug. 1: A book discussion for the One Book One County Montcalm selection “True Grit” by Charles Portis, is August 1st from 1:30 to 2:30 pm in the Timothy C. Hauenstein Reynolds Township Library in Howard City. For discussion questions or more information, visit www.montcalm.edu/onebook or call 989-328-2111, ext. 334. #29

Register Now For Free Hunter Education

Aug. 9: To register for firearm Hunter Safety Classes  at the Red Flannel Rod & Gun Club, call Jim Pope at 231-834-5545 after 6 pm or 616-634-3167. Classes at the Club, 7463 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, will be Tuesday, August 9th, from 6-9 pm,  Thursday, August 11th, from 6-9pm,  Saturday, August 13th, from 8 am-4 pm. Class size limited to 40 students. #28,29p

Female Self Defense Program

Aug. 2: The Sand Lake Police Department will present S.H.A.R.P. Sexual Harassment, Assault and Rape Prevention for Women on Tuesday, August 2nd at 6 pm. This female self defense program covers countermeasures for everything from school or work harassment to sexual battery. The course is offered by nationally certified instructor Dr. Scott Shaw. Training is free of charge. Registration is required to ensure materials are available. To Register please call Sand Lake Police department, 616-799-1900. #29. Contact Tim Bauer for more information at (616) 799-4935 or at network153usa@gmail.com. #25-28p

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United Methodist Church to Celebrate Sesquicentennial 

The original Methodist Episcopal Church built on the corner of Main and Church Streets in Cedar Springs. Its cornerstone was laid August 17, 1870 and the church was dedicated June 7, 1871. This newly built Methodist church cost $6000 and was the tallest building north of Grand Rapids in 1871. The spire with the bell tower could be seen for miles.

The original Methodist Episcopal Church built on the corner of Main and Church Streets in Cedar Springs. Its cornerstone was laid August 17, 1870 and the church was dedicated June 7, 1871. This newly built Methodist church cost $6000 and was the tallest building north of Grand Rapids in 1871. The spire with the bell tower could be seen for miles.

by Sue Harrison

The roots of religious heritage in Cedar Springs are as deep and long as the history of the people who settled it. No group or community can survive long without some common belief or religions commitment to bind them together.

The very first sermon in Cedar Springs was preached in 1855 by a Methodist Episcopal preacher, Rev. W. W. Johnson, a circuit rider. Those services were held in the little log schoolhouse, which was then located on the southeast corner of Main and Muskegon Streets. A class of eight persons formed and continued to be served by Laphamville Circuit riders. (Laphamville was the original name for Rockford, Mich.)

The Methodist Episcopal Society was organized on October 6, 1866, with Preacher in Charge, Rev Burton Smith, along with four circuit riders who served eight other outposts in the North Kent area. Thus, the Methodist Episcopal Church became the second organized church in Cedar Springs.

This year, 2016, marks a milestone for the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, which will be celebrating 150 years serving Cedar Springs through Christian worship. As part of its Sesquicentennial celebration, the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church has planned the following events open to the public throughout the summer and fall.

June 25 – Following a week of Vacation Bible School, there will be a Field Day held at Skinner Field with games, bounce house, and face painting. Hot dogs, chips and water will be provided.

July 31 – Hymn Sing and Ice Cream Social held at the church.

August 28 – Tent Revival in Morley Park, with hot dogs, chips, and water served afterward.

Oct. 1 – Red Flannel Day. Parade entry of circuit rider and a horse-drawn float.

Oct. 16 – Jubal Brass Concert at the CS United Methodist Church with a reception following the concert.

Nov. 20 – Rededication of the church cornerstone. Former pastors will be invited. A potluck will be held after the morning church service and before the ceremony.

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West Michigan Hawks win over Grizzlies

West Michigan Hawk Ryan Williams holds on to the ball while being tackled by a pack of Grizzlies. Photo by M. Crouch.

West Michigan Hawk Ryan Williams holds on to the ball while being tackled by a pack of Grizzlies. Photo by M. Crouch.

By Shae Brophy

A soggy Saturday evening at Skinner Field saw the West Michigan Hawks start the conference portion of their schedule with a dynamic 50-8 victory over the Kalamazoo Grizzlies.

While both teams were fighting the turnover bug, the Hawks refused to let that stop them from having a big night. Running back Brant Brooks got the scoring started in the first quarter with a 31-yard touchdown run, and wide receiver Ryan Bell got on the board with his first touchdown of the season, an 18-yard catch from quarterback Charles Hodges. After one quarter, West Michigan led 13-0.

 WM Hawk Ryan Bell did a flip when he crossed the goal line to celebrate a touchdown. Photo by M. Crouch.

WM Hawk Robert Bell did a flip when he crossed the goal line to celebrate a touchdown. Photo by M. Crouch.

The second quarter saw the Grizzlies get on the board by way of a blocked field goal that was returned 70 yards for a touchdown. With a two-point conversion, the score was 13-8. Hawks recevier Monta Swanigan brought in a 10-yard pass from Hodges to close the scoring in the quarter, and the Hawks took a 19-8 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Brooks scored his second touchdown of the game early in the third quarter on a

15-yard run, extending the West Michigan lead to 25-8. Swanigan, having already scored earlier in the game, upped the lead to 31-8 with an 84-yard touchdown reception on the Hawks’ next drive. Next, cornerback Omar Haynes returned an interception 47 yards for a touchdown, making the score 37-8 after three quarters.

Safety Robert Bell continued the scoring early in the fourth quarter with an astounding 97-yard interception return for a touchdown, extending the lead to 44-8.

Haynes concluded the scoring with his second touchdown of the game, a 58-yard punt return.

“It was a great day to be a Hawk,” said head coach David Lange. “What’s not to love about a 50-8 victory over a conference opponent?  I think one thing we do need to work on is the exchange of play calling from sidelines to the huddle. I would also like to see a little bit more consistency on offense, as well as improved ball control. We had way too many fumbles on the quarterback/running back exchange that could prove to be costly in future games. But overall, I think it was a great performance.”

We hope to see you at Skinner Field this Saturday when the Hawks host the Southern Michigan Timberwolves at 7 p.m. This week’s benefit is for Alan Beamer in his continued battle against Alzheimer’s Disease. Ticket are $6, with children 10 and under free.

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Meet the Hawks: Charles Hodges

West Michigan Hawks quarterback Charles “Manny” Hodges

West Michigan Hawks quarterback Charles “Manny” Hodges

Meet West Michigan Hawks quarterback Charles “Manny” Hodges. A 2008 graduate from Creston High School, Hodges has experience in numerous different sports dating back to his high school days. Those sports include football, basketball, and track.

His biggest idols in life are his hard-working parents. When not on the football field, Hodges likes bowling and enjoying time with his kids.

“What made me want to be a West Michigan Hawk was the love and dedication of everyone that I tried out for this team with,” said Hodges.

Head coach David Lange is thrilled to have a competent signal caller on the team. “Manny is a phenomenal quarterback, and a great leader. He is definitely a guy who can take charge, and is also quite a play caller,” said Lange. “It definitely takes quite a bit to get him rattled.”

You can see Hodges and the West Michigan Hawks in action again this weekend, when they host the Southern Michigan Timberwolves at Skinner Field on Saturday. Game time is 7 p.m.

This week’s benefit is for Alan Beamer in his continued battle against Alzheimer’s Disease. Ticket are $6, with children 10 and under free.

We hope to see you there!

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