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Archive | December, 2011

Established In

Established In

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The year in pictures – 2011

click here to download Year in Review 2011

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Sand Lake man charged in murders

Christopher Perrien

A Sand Lake man has been charged in the murders of an Eaton County couple.
Christopher Allen Perrien, 38, of Sand Lake, was arraigned last week for the September 22nd murders of Michael and Terri Greene, of Delta Township. Perrien was charged with two counts of felony murder and two counts of felony firearms. He is being held in the Eaton County jail with no bond.
According to Eaton County Sheriff Mike Raines, Perrien became a suspect on September 27, within 5 days after the couple was found shot at their home. He reportedly became a suspect after policed discovered someone was using the victim’s cell phone and credit cards, and surveillance tracked the transactions back to Perrien. Evidence was also reportedly found in his storage unit.
Perrien allegedly committed the murders while out on work release. He was convicted and sentenced on a property crime on September 1 in Eaton County, and was granted work release by the court, despite a long criminal history.
“Perrien was assigned a probation/parole agent but his actual employment was never verified,” explained Sheriff Raines. “Our investigation determined he was on work release without actually having a job.” He went on to say that “work release is a valuable tool, designed for those convicted of relatively minor offenses to serve their time in jail, while maintaining their ability to support a family. However, in my opinion, Perrien never should have been granted the opportunity for work release, considering his lengthy criminal history, which began nearly 20 years ago.”
Michael Greene was a retired Michigan State Police sergeant. Perrien reportedly took his badge and police ID.
Some have wondered whether Perrien could also be tied to the murders last November of a Pierson couple with similar names, Michael and Kathy Greene. A sketch of a man seen in the area matches what Perrien looks like, and no suspect has been arrested in that case. The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office is investigating whether it’s a coincidence or if it’s a possibility that Perrien murdered the Pierson couple in a case of mistaken identity.
Perrien’s preliminary exam is set for Thursday, January 5 at 10 a.m.

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Christmas day fire leaves family homeless

This Sand Lake area home caught fire Christmas day.

An Ensley Township family is now staying with relatives after their home caught fire Christmas Day.
According to Sand Lake Fire Chief Ed Holtzlander, the fire broke out about 3:30 p.m., Sunday, December 25. He said the family was playing cards at their home, located at 12905 S. Elm Street, in Ensley Township, when the dog started barking. When someone went to see why the dog was barking, the person discovered the fire in the breezeway, which was between the garage and the house. All five people at home at the time got out safely.
“It may have been caused by Christmas lights in the breezeway,” said Holtzlander, “but we won’t know for sure until the fire investigator comes out to look at it this week.”
Both Cedar Springs and Grant Fire Departments assisted Sand Lake at the scene. Holtzlander said they had the fire knocked down within about a half hour and cleared the scene a little after 6 p.m.
Holtzlander said that home would likely be a total loss, but that probably 95 percent of the family’s belongings were salvageable. “We had enough help on scene that we were able to move their belongings to the west side of the house,” he explained.
While the whole house didn’t burn down, the kitchen area by the breezeway was damaged, the fire got into the attic, and the trusses were charred. The house also had smoke damage.
The house, which belongs to Don Vandenberg, is reportedly insured.

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Hometown Hero

Cpl. Donald P. Bergman

Marine Corps Cpl. Donald P. Bergman is a member of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit returning from a deployment of the Pacific region, including the Philippines.
The Okinawa, Japan-based Marine expeditionary unit is made up of more than 2,000 Marines and sailors that conduct amphibious operations, as well as crisis response and contingency operations throughout the Pacific region.
Bergman is a field radio operator assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan. The corporal has served in the military for three years.
He is the son of Mark and Lisa Bergman of East 120th Avenue, Sand Lake.
Bergman graduated in 2007 from Creative Technologies Academy, Cedar Springs.

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Hometown Hero

Staff Sgt. Randolph J. Steadman

Army Staff Sgt. Randolph J. Steadman has arrived for duty at the Great Lakes Recruiting Battalion.
Steadman is a new Army recruiter assigned to the Grand Rapids Recruiting Station, Mich. The staff sergeant has served in the military for five years.
He is the son of Tammy and Randolph Steadman of Stout Avenue, Cedar Springs, Mich. His wife, Ashley, is the daughter of Tammy and Chris Jones of Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
Steadman graduated in 2004 from Northview High School, Grand Rapids.

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Man claims he spread HIV on purpose

David Smith

A Kent County man is in jail after telling police that that he has been sexually active and injecting drugs without disclosing his status.
Police say that David Dean Smith, 51, suggested that he was intentionally trying to spread the virus to as many people as possible, and that hundreds of people may have been exposed to HIV.
Smith allegedly made statements that suggested his activities may have included people from outside of the area, including individuals he met over the Internet. The man is currently being held in the Kent County Jail, charged with one count of “AIDS -sexual penetration with uninformed partner” (failing to disclose HIV status).
The Kent County Health Department is working with both Grand Rapids Police and the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the claims made by the man and tracking down potential victims. The man reportedly alerted one victim by text. A second warrant was filed in court on behalf of another victim Wednesday. Other victims will need to come forward in order for more charges to be leveled against Smith.
Lisa LaPlante, spokesperson for the Kent County Health Department, urges people who may have been exposed to get tested. “While the threat of transmission varies based on the activity, this is still an extremely serious public health concern.  Anyone who is concerned should immediately have his or her HIV status tested,” she said. The KCHD provides quick, safe, anonymous and confidential testing.  Call their Personal Health Services Clinic at 616.632.7171 for more information.

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Weight loss contest to benefit library

Are you looking to lose weight, get healthy, and fit and trim in 2011? How about doing that and benefitting the Cedar Springs Public Library at the same time?
You can now do both by joining the Biggest Lozer contest, right here in Cedar Springs!
There is a $25 entry fee, with proceeds benefitting the Cedar Springs Public Library building fund $50,000 match challenge.  Ten percent of the entry fees will go toward the grand prize. If 50 people sign up, that would be $125. If 100 people sign up, it’s $250. The grand prize will go to the person who loses the largest percentage of body weight.
Other prizes include a 3-month membership at Curves for a woman, a 3-month membership at Max Fitness for a man, and for seniors $40 cash, courtesy of the Curiosity Shoppe.
If you’d like to join the contest, email Alicia at lovelearndaycare@yahoo.com to sign up. Weigh-in will be at Curves on January 7 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. You will pay the entry fee there. Each week you will email your confidential weekly weight. Weigh-out is March 3 at Curves. You will also receive weekly emails of fitness tips, recipes and more.
If you’d like to help the library but don’t want to join the contest, you can also give an end-of-the year donation. Since November 10, the library has raised over $7,000, but has $43,000 to go. You can postmark a donation before January 1 and claim a tax credit. Just mail it to Cedar Springs Public Library, PO Box 280, Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call or text Library Director Donna Clark at 616-901-7173 to make arrangements for your donation to count for 2011.
Also—more gowns are needed for the formal gown sale, also taking place January 7, 8 a.m. to noon, at Cedar Springs High School media center. Short dresses sell for $20, long dresses for $35. Drop gowns off at Cedar Springs City Hall until January 6 and receive a tax receipt.

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For gifts that give back, think vehicle donation

Donating an unwanted vehicle to charity is a simple way to have a surprisingly large effect.

(NAPS)—Giving a generous gift doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. Instead, you can get on the road to giving joy by donating your old car. Vehicle donation is one gift option that’s sometimes overlooked, but, to charities, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
A recent donation behavior study found that nearly three out of four Americans have made charitable contributions in the last five years. Of these, 69 percent donated cash, 67 percent donated used goods and 47 percent donated their time.
According to the report, however, only 6 percent have ever donated a used vehicle and 76 percent of the rest said they never even considered doing so.
“Donating one car can generate enough cash to supply a month’s worth of food for a family of five or provide more than two years’ worth of generic drugs for a senior citizen,” said Pat Walsh, who oversees the national vehicle donation campaign, One Car One Difference. “That’s why we launched the One Car One Difference program: to help raise the public’s awareness about the ease and benefits of donating vehicles, and convert donated cars to much-needed funds for charities.”
The program’s partners, which include the National Kidney Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the American Heart Association, select chapters of Ronald McDonald House Charities, Boy Scouts of America and the Yellow Ribbon Registry Network, work closely with it to demonstrate the benefits of vehicle donation.
To donate your car or learn more, you can call (877) 557-1CAR or go to www.1car1difference.com.

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Galle letters available at library

Evan Galle, 11, is shown here with the books that contain the writings of his late grandmother, Kris Galle. Evan is her youngest grandson. Post photo by J. Reed.

Even while suffering with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Kris Galle, 70, was always good for a laugh. It was the humor of both Kris and her family that helped them get through the dark days of her disease, before it took her last October.
During the latter part of the summer and fall, we ran several of Kris’s humorous letters to friends and family. Many people asked the Galle family for copies of the letters, and they would like to let people know that they have combined the letters into books that are available to check out at the Cedar Springs Public Library and the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church.
The writings make up two separate books. There is one set of the books in hardcover at the library, and two sets of the books in soft cover at the church.

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11th annual New Year’s Resolution Walk

The Friends of the White Pine Trail are planning their 11th annual New Year’s Resolution walk this Sunday, January 1, 2012. While it now has a new name (the board decided to rename the walk the “Fred Meijer New Year’s Day Resolution Walk” to honor Fred Meijer), most of the details are similar to year’s past.
Meet at the Rotary Pavilion in the beautiful downtown Rockford at 10 a.m. on New Year’s Day. There will be a quick gathering in front of the pavilion for a few quick comments and pictures, and then it’s off to the trail to walk north to Twelve Mile Road (or whatever distance suits you best) and back.
The Friends will be serving refreshments upon your return in the pavilion. The pavilion is a good place to meet friends and get acquainted with other trail users.
Everyone is welcome!  Being a member of the “Friends” is not a requirement.
Dave Heyboer said they enjoy seeing a lot of people that have been brought out by their dogs for a great time. (Well behaved pets are welcome! )
If there is snow, the trail will be plowed but they will not be putting salt or sand on the trail, so be careful if there is a chance of ice.
If possible, please send an email to sheeepdog@msn.com so they will have a rough idea of how many people are likely to attend.
As a reminder to winter trail users, they will be plowing the trail from around the Fifth Third ball park in Comstock Park to the Russell Road Staging area this winter. This is done with the help of the City Rockford, who does the area from Rockford to Russell Road. “If you are on the trail when we come through plowing, please step off to the side of trail beyond the normally plowed area,” said Heyboer. “We are required to plow only 5-6 feet, leaving the other portion of the trail for cross-country skiing. We do not want to endanger someone out there and we must move swiftly to do the proper plowing.”
“If you encounter problems on the trail please let us know as soon as possible so we can address the problem,” he added. “Too many times we do not hear about issues as soon as they happen and we can only deal with that which we know about.”

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This week’s happenings…

FREE Grand Rapids Children’s Museum tickets
NOW: FREE Grand Rapids Children’s Museum tickets at the Cedar Springs Public Library with a valid library card. Good for up to 6 people and must be used within one week of “check out.” Take your family and friends today! This offer good indefinitely due to a partnership between the CSPL and the GRCM. A person may have 1 free ticket per year per library card. Library located at 43 W. Cherry St., Cedar Springs, 696-1910. #52

TOPS weight loss support group
Jan. 3: 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 weight loss goals! Exercise 8-8:30am (optional), weigh-ins from 8:30am–9am and the meeting starts at 9:15am. In case of inclemeent weather, meetings are cancelled if Tri-County or Cedar Sporings schools are closed. Call Martha at 696-1039 for more information. #52

Hoot – Whoo – Who: Michigan’s Owls
Jan. 8: Hoot – Whoo – Who: Michigan’s Owls on Sunday January 8, 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16190 Red Pine Dr., Kent City. Listening to the hooting of owls has to be one of life’s most special pleasures. Learning more about Michigan’s owls gives those calls even more meaning. Join naturalist Greg Swanson as he introduces you to owl biology and a number of live owls during an indoor presentation then head outdoors in search of these elusive nocturnal wonders. Cost: $6/person or $10/Family. To register or for more info email cperski@lilysfrogpad.com or call 616-675-3158. Registration is not required, however it is appreciated. #52

Serious Snowshoe Sundays
Jan. 8: Serious Snowshoe Sundays hosted by Cindy Perski or Amaris Holst on January 8 & 22, February 5 & 19, March 4, 12:00 Noon – 3:00 PM at the Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16190 Red Pine Dr., Kent City. Are you serious about getting in shape this winter? Don’t want to do it by yourself? Snowshoeing is a great cardiovascular workout. Start with an indoor program on a variety of different topics, then suit up and hit the trails for a bout of invigorating exercise, increasing our speed and distance as the weeks progress. Best suited for teens and adults. If snow conditions are not adequate, a vigorous hike will be substituted. Cost: $5/session or $20 for the entire series; includes snowshoe rental. To register or for more info email cperski@lilysfrogpad.com or call 616-675-3158. Registration is not required, however it is appreciated. #52

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