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Tag Archive | "Algoma Township"

Man charged in shooting

An Algoma Township man is in critical condition after being shot by an acquaintance Sunday morning.

Jared Scholten has been charged in the shooting.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were dispatched to the shooting at 6:28 a.m. on February 28, in the 4000 block of Mercury Dr. NE, in Algoma Estates, a manufactured home community off 13 Mile Rd.

The victim, Anthony White, 31, of Rockford, was transported to an area hospital and remains in critical condition, as of Monday afternoon.

The suspect, Jared Shane Scholten, 22, of Coopersville, who is reportedly an acquaintance of the victim, was taken into custody a short time after the shooting and lodged in the Kent County Correctional Facility.

On Monday, March 1, the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office charged Scholten with Assault with Intent to Murder and Felony Firearm in the shooting of Anthony White. Scholten’s bond was set at $500,000 cash/surety. He remains in custody, and shows he is now serving a sentence for assault and battery.

Police have not released a motive for the shooting.

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Three injured in crash

Three were injured in this crash at 13 Mile and Grange last Friday. Photos by L. Allen.

Three people were injured in a two-car crash in Algoma Township last Friday afternoon.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred at 3:55 p.m. on February 14, at 13 Mile and Grange. A 15-year-old driver’s education student was traveling southbound on Grange Ave NE and stopped for the stop sign at 13 Mile Rd NE. She thought she had enough time to cross over 13 Mile and was struck by a westbound car driven by a 43-year-old Sparta woman.

The at fault car was occupied by the 15-year-old driver, her 38-year-old father, and  her 8-year-old brother. Both drivers and the father had minor injuries. They were treated and released from local hospitals.

Algoma Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene.

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One dead, three injured in Algoma Twp. crash

A 35-year-old Cedar Springs mother died when her car collided with another in Algoma Township Wednesday afternoon, March 20.

A Cedar Springs woman died Wednesday, March 20, in this crash on Algoma near Rector. Post photo by J. Reed.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred about 2:40 p.m. on Algoma Avenue, between 13 Mile Rd and Rector, just south of the Algoma Township Hall. One of the cars involved was a Ford Focus driven by a 35-year-old woman from Cedar Springs. Her two young children were in car seats in the backseat. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. The two children were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The second vehicle involved was a Ford pickup truck driven by a 35-year-old man from Cedar Springs. He was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The Algoma Fire Department, Life Ambulance, and Rockford Ambulance all assisted the Kent County Sheriff’s Office at the scene.

Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash. The incident is still under investigation. Names are being withheld pending notification of family.

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Louis T. Gryka, age 90 of Rockford, passed away on Monday, December 3, 2018. Louis was born on December 21, 1927 in Algoma Township, the son of George and Helen (Pawlowski) Gryka. He graduated from Rockford High School in 1945 and was a Veteran of the United States Army. Louis was a member of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Belmont. He retired from Wolverine World Wide Tannery in 1990 and also had snow plowing and landscaping business. Louis was preceded in death by his parents; his sons, Larry, Eric and Tom Gryka; his brother, Walter Gryka; and his sister, Josephine Hikade. Surviving are his wife of 67 years and best friend, Maude (Fessenden) Gryka; his children, Paul (Terri) Gryka, Anne (Steve) Rowloff, Nicholas (Lynne) Gryka, Helen Metzger, Jennifer Kwiecinski, and Christina Clonan; daughters-in-law, Mickey Gryka and Cheryl Gryka; 21 grandchildren; 38 great-grandchildren; 4 great-great-grandchildren; brother, George (Rosemary) Gryka; sisters-in-law, Della Fessenden, Beverly Leys, Sharon Jacobson and Laurie (Douglas) Potter; and many nieces and nephews. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Friday, December 7, 2018 at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Belmont with visitation one hour prior to the service at church. Military Honors will be rendered at church with burial at Assumption Cemetery to follow. Visitation will also be held from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, December 6, 2018 at the Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N Monroe Street in Rockford. The Praying of the Rosary will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the funeral home Thursday.

Arrangements by Pederson 

Funeral Home, Rockford

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Sheriff Department crime stats


The Kent County Sheriff Department has issued their crime statistics for the year for the cities and townships they patrol.  Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some of those statistics. Below are some statistics from three of the cities/townships in our area.

Algoma Township: Population: 9,932. Had 1,493 dispatched calls, 320 traffic stops. The top five dispatched calls were for broadcast to area police (832); suspicious conditions/noise/subject (193); assists (189); traffic crash-property damage (180) and alarms (160). The top five criminal offenses were obstructing justice (29); domestic simple assault (25); intimidation/stalking (25); driving law violations (23); OUIL or OUID (20). The highest number of calls occur on Friday; the peak time of day is 5 p.m. The hotspots for service calls are areas of US131.

Courtland Township: Population: 7,678. Had 829 dispatched calls, 143 traffic stops. The top five dispatched calls were for suspicious condition/noise/subject (104); assists (93); traffic crash-property damage (65); alarms (60); broadcasts (38).  The top five criminal offenses: domestic simple assault (16); obstructing justice (16); intimidation/stalking (14); damage to property (10); driving law violations (10). The highest number of calls occurs on Monday, with 9 p.m. being the peak time for calls. The hotspot for service calls is in the area around Peninsula, Eva, Orun and 11 Mile Rd.

Oakfield Township: Population 5,782. Had 707 dispatched calls, 91 traffic stops.

The top five dispatched calls were for assists (72); suspicious condition/noise/subject (62); alarms (48); domestic argument-no assault (45); traffic crash-property damage (39). The top five criminal offenses were domestic simple assault (17); violation of controlled substance (14); OUIL or OUID (10); intimidation/stalking (9). The highest number of calls occurs on Saturday, with 4-5 p.m. being the peak time of day. The hotspot for calls is in the area surrounding 14 Mile, Old 14 Mile and Lincoln Lake.

Next week we’ll review Spencer, Sparta, and Tyrone Townships.

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Mark H. Doren


Mark H. Doren, 97 of Cedar Springs passed away at his earthly home Tuesday, September 20, 2016 and was welcomed into his heavenly home by his bride of 77 years, June (Moul) Doren who went before him on February 8, 2016. Mark was born April 23, 1919 in Kent City, Michigan the son of Charles and Ruth (Carlson) Doren. He was drafted into the U.S. Army and served as a Tech Sergeant in Patton’s 6th Armored Division during WWII. He took part in the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp located outside of Wiemer, Germany. Mark started serving the Lord at Alpine Baptist Church and then in 1955 when moving to Cedar Springs he became a longtime member of First Baptist Church, Cedar Springs. He drove bus, was Sunday School Superintendent, lead the singing and served on the Church, Camp and Missions Boards. He was an engineer at Sackner Products retiring in 1981. He served Algoma Township for 28 years on the Planning Commission, as a Trustee and as Supervisor. After retirement he enjoyed traveling and time at his cabin in Munising, which he called “God’s Country.” When not up north, he enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table and having coffee with anyone who stopped to visit. Surviving are his children, Sharon (LaVerne) Schut, Dennis Doren, Debra Ergang; daughter-in-law, Marilyn Doren; son-in-law, James (Rose) Hunt; 14 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; 8 great-great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Marie Doren; several nieces and nephews. He was also preceded in death by a daughter, Marlyn Hunt; son, Mark N. Doren; brothers, Willard, William and Charles Doren. The family will greet friends Thursday from 4-7 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service will be Friday 1:00 pm at First Baptist Church, 233 S. Main St., Cedar Springs. Pastors Robert P. Smith and Stanley Mohr officiating. Interment Pine Grove Cemetery, Alpine Township with military honors by the U.S. Army. Memorial contributions may be made to David’s House Ministries, 2375 Banner Dr. SW, Wyoming, MI 49509 or the First Baptist Church, Cedar Springs.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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GR man injured in crash

A Grand Rapids man suffered internal injuries after he ran a stop sign at 14 Mile and Pine Island and was struck by another vehicle. Post photo by J. Reed.

A Grand Rapids man suffered internal injuries after he ran a stop sign at 14 Mile and Pine Island and was struck by another vehicle. Post photo by J. Reed.

A Grand Rapids man was ejected from his jeep Tuesday after he failed to stop at a stop sign in Algoma Township and was t-boned by another vehicle.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred about 4:20 p.m., Tuesday, July 5, at the intersection of 14 Mile Road and Pine Island. The 1999 jeep, driven by Randolph Galaszewski, 55, of Grand Rapids, was eastbound on 14 Mile and did not stop at the sign at Pine Island. He was then struck by a southbound 2000 Ford pickup driven by Matthew Wudkewych, 21, of Algoma Township.

The impact of the crash caused the driver of the jeep to be ejected. He was transported to Butterworth Hospital by Rockford Ambulance and is being treated for internal injuries. Police reported he was not wearing a seatbelt.

Neither the driver of the pickup nor his passenger, Hannah Krumenacker, 19, of Alpine Township, was injured.

Police said alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash, which is still under investigation.

Algoma Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene.

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Man dies in auto accident

Terrance Gage, of Courtland Township, died last week after his Jeep was struck at the intersection of Indian Lakes and Pine Island. Photo by woodtv.com.

Terrance Gage, of Courtland Township, died last week after his Jeep was struck at the intersection of Indian Lakes and Pine Island. Photo by woodtv.com.

Terrance Gage

Terrance Gage

A Cedar Springs man was killed last week in a two-vehicle accident in Algoma Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, Terrance Gage II, 39, of Courtland Township, was traveling westbound on Indian Lakes, about 3:30 p.m., May 21, in a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee, when he ran the stop sign at Pine Island. His vehicle was then struck by a northbound 1997 Saturn, driven by Johnny Castellanos, 42, of the City of Cedar Springs.

Gage was pronounced dead at the scene.

Castellanos was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.

Algoma Fire and Rescue and Rockford Ambulance both assisted at the scene.

Police said that both drivers were wearing seat belts, and alcohol did not appear to be a factor. The crash is still under investigation.

Funeral services were  held for Terrance Gage this week. See his obituary here.

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Bridge recognized as historic, one-of-a-kind


By Beth Altena, Rockford Squire


Did you know that the Pine Island Drive Bridge, just north of the Pine Island and Ten Mile Road intersection, in Algoma Township, is the only one of its kind in the country? Built 90 years ago, the bridge has never been more beautiful. It underwent a lengthy restoration, and was recently recognized by the State of Michigan with a historic marker detailing its unique qualities.

Julie Sjogren, of Algoma Township, described the long process of recognizing the bridge among the state’s historic landmarks, a process begun in 2006 with the help of Tom Byl, with the Kent County Road Commission. Sjogren spoke at the dedication on Friday, October 17, at the site of the marker, before its unveiling, and practically in the shadow of the bridge it references.

N-Bridge-signAlgoma Township Deputy Supervisor Nancy Clary was the next speaker at the event, addressing a crowd of onlookers and news cameras. “This bridge has always been the jewel and crown of Algoma Township and its never shined brighter than it does since it was restored.”

James Carr spoke about the research he undertook to better recall the bridge’s history. “History means so much more when it is local,” he stated. Construction for the bridge began in 1922, and the county still has copies of the original plans. He said he looked to find his father’s initials on the project because at that time his dad was director of the road commission. “Many individuals had a hand in making this happen,” he said.

David Groenleer, P.E. Vice Chairman for the Kent County Board of Road Commissioners spoke next. He said the bridge was completed in 1924. “If you look at the plaque on the bridge, you’ll see Townsend, Johnson and Ramsdell. Townsend was Warren Townsend of Townsend Park.” Johnson was another notable public servant, recognized by the park in his name in Grand Rapids. Ramsdell, although lacking a park in his name, is the individual after which Ramsdell Road is called.

“I thought that was pretty neat, those three guys were pretty important to this area.” He also recognized another local of note, Otto Hess. “Otto was the driving force behind the organization of the Road Commission,” Groenleer stated. He said the road commission was organized in 1911. Hess was later recognized by the State of Michigan for his implementation of many of our lovely roadside parks.

Groenleer said he can picture Hess at his former place of work, sitting, tie loose, undoubtedly with a cigar in his mouth. Back in those days, Hess had some options when a new bridge was needed, and at the time, a replacement to the old 14-foot-wide steel truss bridge was needed.

N-Bridge-Old“This was a state reward bridge, where the state designed it and paid half,” Groenleer described. He said Hess was reluctant to put in another steel bridge because he had just paid $5,000 to repair the North Park steel bridge. That bridge, finally replaced with the current bridge in the 1980s, was a segmented steel bridge. When it was replaced in the 80s, one of the conditions was that a section of it be preserved. That one section from the original seven or eight, is now in Riverside Park.

“They floated the section down, but what you might not know, is that when they got it where they were supposed to, they pushed a spike into the riverbottom to stop it but it just kept going.”

Hess knew that if he put in another steel bridge, he was going to continue to see maintenance costs, so he considered the concrete camel back bridge design, similar to one in Ada, which is now gone. Another Michigan camelback bridge can be seen from I-96 near Nunica.

The Pine Island Bridge, however, is unlike either of its Michigan cousins because of the unique braces across the top, joining it all the way around. The low banks of the Rogue River under the bridge required an additional structural component, to keep the bridge from failing if the river floods it.

In this respect the Pine Island Bridge is unique from any other camelback bridge in the entire United States, a structure both beautiful, but built for purpose.

“The concrete was shipped by rail from Englishville,” Groenleer said. “A lot of towns have gone away but this one is still there if you want to look it up on a map.”

Groenleer quoted the Grand Rapids Press at the time the bridge was built. It read: “The Algoma/Solon Road bridge will last indefinitely.” He said he looked in Webster’s Dictionary for a definition of indefinitely and failed to find one. “Well, for sure we know indefinitely means at least ninety years.”

“Now in 2014 for ten times the cost of the 1920 construction it has been renovated.” He praised the contractor and noted some details. The concrete was cleaned with baking soda blasts to remove graffiti and grime. He said damage to the superstructure, such as chipping and pitting, was hand-repaired with epoxy seal silicone and the rail on the northwest corner was replaced.

He credited the Kent County Road Commission and staff, specifically Wayne Harroll for “all their efforts on this historic structure that is also an important transportation structure.”

Larry Wagenaar, Michigan Historical Commissioner, had the honor of unveiling the historic designation marker for the bridge. “I am here wearing three hats,” he stated. First he was present for the State of Michigan on behalf of the Historic Commission. Second, he is the Executive Director for the nonprofit Historic Society of Michigan. Finally, he stated, he was there as a resident of Kent County, specifically Ada, which lost its own camelback bridge.

“This is a unique span of 100 feet and is the only one like it in the country. I hope it stands another 90 years, gets restored again and stands another 90 years,” he said.

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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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Algoma Township Historical Society

April annual meeting


Saturday, April 19, 2014, will be the Algoma Township Historical Society Annual Meeting. It will be held at 2:00 p.m. at the Chalmers’ School building on the Southwest corner of Fonger St and Pine Island Dr.

They will have Election of Officers to elect a Secretary and Treasurer. If you are interested in serving on the Board of Directors please contact Julie at 866-1583 so she can put your name on the ballot. Planning meetings are the first Thursday of each month at Chalmers’ at 9:00 am.

They will show a movie on the Michigan White Pine Era and try to utilize the 16 MM movie projector that was donated by the Eileen (Munn) and Gordon Bitely family.  The projector was Eileen’s parents, Betty & Merrill Munn.

The ATHS is looking to publish a book on Algoma Township. Your input will be greatly appreciated and they will be categorizing and getting information on the contents for this book at this meeting, so that during the year they will be able to put the contents together for publication.

“This book will be a great way to share the history of our township and to preserve those events, activities and people for generations to come,” said Julie Sjogren.


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Drowned diver at dam a false alarm

Dozens of first responders help in search

Algoma Township rescue dive team officers search the waters of the Rogue River for a diver suspected of drowning after failing to surface for more than an hour. A visitor to the dam called 911 after suspecting the diver had run into trouble. Photo by B. Altena.

Algoma Township rescue dive team officers search the waters of the Rogue River for a diver suspected of drowning after failing to surface for more than an hour. A visitor to the dam called 911 after suspecting the diver had run into trouble. Photo by B. Altena.

By Beth Altena


Rockford Police and fire, Algoma Fire and Rescue with their inflatable rescue boat, the Kent County Sheriff Dive team, the Kent County Sheriff motorized emergency rescue boat and Rockford Ambulance were all on the scene Tuesday, July 9 for a possible drowning at the Rockford dam.

According to Rockford Police Chief Dave Jones, a visitor to the dam called 911 after observing that a scuba diver had been under the water without coming up for over an hour. They had seen the diver drop a snorkel on to the dam and then go back underwater.

With over a dozen first responders and more than half a dozen rescue vehicles on the scene, the Algoma Township dive team, attached to shore by ropes, searched the water without success. Kent County Sheriff Deputy and rescue diver Don Hamilton prepared his scuba gear and rescue equipment with the assistance of other officers.

Hamilton had begun a search of the water under the dam when the diver returned to the surface near where he had placed his snorkel over an hour before. Chief Jones said that he believed the man was not following safety practices for diving. Hamilton called the man’s behavior “very unsafe.”
A group of residents had gathered at the dam watching rescue efforts. The diver, upon coming out of the water, seemed unaware of the efforts made on his behalf. He stayed in the water for awhile, telling rescue officers he needed some time to “get his land legs back.”

Hamilton said the individual broke many safety rules of scuba diving and that he had personally seen the man in the water at 2 p.m. when Hamilton was driving downtown.

Hamilton said divers are required to dive within 100 feet of a flag so boaters are aware of their presence. “If you drag a flag above you, it makes it really easy for us to find you if we suspect a problem,” he explained. Hamilton said rescuers and observers at the dam noticed no air bubbles indicating a diver’s breathing. “That’s what really made me believe this was a very bad situation,” he stated. However, after talking with the diver, he explained that the diver had been coming up for air, but under the dam spillway where he couldn’t be seen. He also was diving under the spillway while he was in the water so air bubbles were not visible. He noted that it is also very unsafe to dive alone and not an accepted practice.

Hamilton said the diver was not issued a ticket but received a severe talking to by authorities. He said the man seemed to think he had done nothing wrong. “This goes to the bill State Representative Pete MacGregor is trying to get passed where departments can recoup the cost of rescues when people are being stupid,” he said.

“Stupid is the best way to describe it, like kayaking in the river when there are record high levels of water.” Hamilton said he made several rescues during this spring’s flood, where people believed they were good enough kayakers to take on the flooded Grand River.

“You just never know what’s in the river in that kind of a situation,” Hamilton said. He also noted the Tuesday rescue is not the first where the outcome was lucky. In March 13, 1991 a boy fell into the Rogue River at the dam and was underwater for 37 minutes. The water was cold enough that it slowed his body function and when he was revived he suffered no permanent damage. “I just ran into that guy fishing in the river the other day,” Hamilton said.


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