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Tag Archive | "Newaygo County"

DNR fire crews respond to wildfires May 1


Three major blazes in Crawford, Newaygo and Wexford counties

Michigan Department of Natural Resources fire personnel spent much of the overnight May 1 and early-morning hours May 2 working to contain several wildfires, including three that were significant.

The one nearest our area was the “Oak fire.” It was reported at approximately 6:45 p.m. south of M-82 in Newaygo County, just over 6 miles east of Newaygo. The estimated 105-acre fire, located primarily on federal land, was contained at around 1 a.m. Wednesday. Fire crews stopped the head of the fire before it reached M-82, although the flanks of the fire were still very active. This fire burned primarily in mature pine and oak. Two residences were evacuated and 15 structures were threatened, but excellent work by 11 local volunteer fire departments, U.S. Forest Service crews and DNR fire crews resulted in all of the structures being saved. The fire initially caused the closure of M-82 between Elm and Spruce, which has since reopened. Fire crews continued fire-suppression and mop-up efforts throughout Wednesday. 

The Grayling Fire was reported at approximately 4 p.m. Tuesday along I-75 in southern Crawford County, about 7 miles south of Grayling. The fire jumped the southbound lane of I-75 and stopped when it hit the northbound lane. As a result, a stretch of I-75 was shut down for about an hour and a half. DNR crews contained the fire, estimated to be just over 44 acres in size. 

The Bond Mill Pond Fire was reported shortly before 5 p.m. in Haring Township, Wexford County, approximately 5 miles north/northwest of Cadillac. The fire was contained and is estimated at 79 acres with 2.8 miles of perimeter around the fire. A majority of the fire burned on state forest land. The fire burned a variety of fuel types including scotch, red, and jack pine; leaf litter; hardwoods, and aspen. The fire caused the evacuation of 79 residences, but all were allowed to return home the same evening. A U.S. Forest Service helicopter provided air support for the fire-suppression efforts and dropped 1,600 gallons of water before being grounded due to high winds. Fire crews continued fire-suppression and mop-up efforts throughout the day Wednesday. 

The cause of all three fires is unknown and currently under investigation. 

After the fire in Newaygo.
Post photo by M. Kleyn

Red flag fire conditions Tuesday across the northern Lower Peninsula resulted in an active day for wildfires throughout the area. Red flag fire warnings are issued when weather conditions are expected to include strong winds, warm temperatures and low relative humidity—a combination that can lead to very high or extreme fire danger. 

Weather Wednesday significantly assisted in the fire-suppression efforts, as both the Bond Mill Pond and Oak fires received rainfall in the morning. Although rain is forecast for the next few days, fire danger will pick up again with any significant stretches of dry weather.

“These fires were contained as a result of the hard work and excellent cooperation of multiple agencies,” said Jim Fisher, the DNR’s state wildland fire supervisor, citing the efforts of the DNR, the U.S. Forest Service, Michigan State Police, the Department of Transportation, Wexford County Emergency Operations, Newaygo County Emergency Operations, the Crawford County Road Commission, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Life EMS and several volunteer fire departments.

The public is reminded to take precautions when doing yard work this spring. Be sure to check local weather and fire danger before burning debris, and always check to see if a burn permit is required for local areas. Other safety tips include burning debris in barrels with metal screens, clearing vegetation around burn areas, ensuring a water source is nearby, and staying with a fire until it is completely extinguished. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/firemanagement.  

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Wife convicted in husband’s murder

Glenna Duram (right) was convicted last week of murdering her husband, Martin Duram (left), in May 2015. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

A Newaygo County jury found an Ensley Township woman guilty last week of murdering her husband.

Glenna Duram, 49, was convicted Wednesday, July 19, of first-degree murder in the May 2015 shooting of her husband, Martin Duram, 45. The jury deliberated about eight hours before rendering their verdict.

“We are happy Glenna is finally convicted; sad it took over 2 years to happen,” said Christina Keller, Marty Duram’s ex-wife, on behalf of their children and herself. “And we give gratitude and thanks to the 12 fine people of Newaygo that took the time and made the hard decision to convict Glenna.”

According to the original police report, firefighters responded to a garage fire on 128th Street, near Balsam, on Wednesday, May 13, 2015. A neighbor reportedly asked firefighters to check on some neighbors, and when they did, they found a man and a woman inside the home, and apparently deceased.

Troopers from the Michigan State Police Hart Post responded to the scene, and after making the scene safe, determined that the woman, Glenna Duram, was seriously injured, but still breathing. She had two gunshot wounds to the head. Martin Duram reportedly had been shot five times. Glenna was transported to the hospital.

On the following day, when Martin’s three children (from a previous marriage) were going through things in the house, they found a manila envelope with suicide letters written to Glenna’s children and ex-husband. They said she was sorry, but didn’t admit to killing Martin.

According to Keller, Martin and Glenna were married in 2005, and Glenna became his caregiver in 2010 when his health began failing. She said that Glenna managed the money and the bills. About two weeks before the murder, a family member called Martin and told him that his house was in the paper in foreclosure, and was to be auctioned off. He reportedly got a copy of the paper and showed it to Glenna, who said it was a misprint and that she would call the paper. However, papers reportedly strewn around at the scene of the crime showed it was indeed going to be put up for auction.

In an odd twist to the case, the African grey parrot that was the Duram’s pet ended up with Keller after the murder, and began to repeat a conversation he had heard—complete with expletives—that ended with “Don’t f#%&g shoot!”

“After Marty’s murder my kids brought me the bird. He used to be mine and I have another parrot here so it made sense to give him to me,” explained Keller. “Anyway, a few weeks after Bud being here he started ranting in two voices I recognized…so I recorded him and realized what he was saying and it upset me that he saw what happened to Marty,” she said. A video of the bird’s rant can be heard on the Justice for Marty Facebook page.

It had been a year since Duram’s murder, with no arrest, when a family member alerted a television reporter about the bird. “Bud helped us get attention for Marty’s murder and I believe it put pressure on the prosecutor to make the arrest with all the media pressure,” remarked Keller.

Duram is due to be sentenced August 28 on the first-degree murder charge and a firearms charge.

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Muskegon River task force keeps violators in line


A law enforcement task force made up of multiple agencies will help keep things safe and peaceful on the Muskegon River in Newaygo County this summer.

Last summer, the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office partnered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan State Police, and the Newaygo Police Department to create a Muskegon River Multi Agency Enforcement Task for increased presence and enforcement on the Muskegon River. The task force was created in response to complaints on the river including trespassing, disorderly conduct, underage drinking, littering, and other violations of the law.

The task force allows more resources and personnel to be assigned to enforcement on the Muskegon River. They also created a “River Watch” program to utilize homeowners along the river and volunteers to assist in spotting law violators on the river, and reporting to enforcement officers patrolling the river.

They have been working with community members, livery owners, the County Board of Commissioners, the City of Newaygo, and the townships along the river to put the project together. Their goal is to change the culture of the river and expectations of those that use the river.

The Muskegon River is approximately 40 miles long, from Croton Dam to Maple Island Road, in Newaygo County. The enforcement plan calls for more patrol craft on the river, as well as patrol cars on the river corridor.

“We have deputies, conservation officers, and police officers working on the river in patrol boats,” said Newaygo County Sheriff Pat Hedlund. “In addition, the Michigan State Police and the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office are patrolling roads along the Muskegon River. These officers will be proactively looking for people who are violating laws regarding trespassing, indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, drunk driving, drugs, underage drinking, and other violations.”

During the summer of 2014, police made 234 traffic stops along the river corridor and at river access sites. They issued 276 traffic citations. There were 136 total arrests and/or appearance citations on the river. Overall, officers gave 322 verbal warnings where citations could have been issued but were not.

There will be upwards of five patrol boats on the water each weekend all summer long. Each boat will have two officers on board. The officers in boats are from the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office, the DNR, and the Newaygo Police Department.

“We want people to have fun and enjoy themselves, but we also want people to know that we will enforce the law in order to protect people and property,” Hedlund said.

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Bears sighted in Algoma, Newaygo

This photo of a bear was taken at the US131 exit to 14 Mile Road. It appeared on Woodtv.com.

This photo of a bear was taken at the US131 exit to 14 Mile Road. It appeared on Woodtv.com.

By Judy Reed

Bears are on the move, and have been seen recently in communities closer to home.

On Monday, June 8, deputies from the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report that a vehicle had struck a bear in M-37 near 24th Street in Newaygo County. The bear died at the scene, but the driver was not injured. They turned the bear over to the DNR, along with three cubs they found in the area, that they presumed were hers.

On Tuesday, June 9, a man sent a photo to WoodTV.com through reportit, saying he had spotted a bear just off the US131 exit at 14 Mile, in Algoma Township, about 4 p.m. Alan Brunges snapped the photo with his cellphone.

It’s not the first bear spotted nearby. A few years ago the Post ran a photo from a surveillance camera that caught footage of a bear in a yard in Nelson Township.

Bears have also been sighted in Ottawa County and even further south.

To keep bears away from your yard, remove bird feeders, garbage bins, and other sources of food.

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Newaygo County toddler found safe

Amber Rose Smith was reported missing from her home in Paris, Michigan on Tuesday, October 8.

Amber Rose Smith was reported missing from her home in Paris, Michigan on Tuesday, October 8.

An Amber Alert that was issued Tuesday for a 2-1/2 year-old Newaygo County girl resulted in over 100 police and volunteers combing woods, swamps and fields for 24 hours to find the toddler, who was finally found safe on Wednesday, about 1-3/4 miles southeast of her home.

According to the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office, Amber Rose Smith was reported missing from her home at 8227 E. 13 Mile Road, in Paris, about 2 p.m. October 8.

Her father, Dale Smith, reported that he had gone into a different room in the residence and when he returned, Amber was gone. He and his wife, Diane Smith, searched the residence and immediate area for about a half hour and could not locate her, so they called 911. Officers arrived on scene and immediately began searching the area with police canines and an MSP helicopter. Search parties were formed with dozens of volunteers.

Reportedly close to 100 people searched overnight for the girl, but did not find her until Wednesday afternoon. DNR Conservation Officer Mike Wells, who was assisting with the search for Amber, located her on the edge of a two-track near 12 Mile Road and Cedar Avenue, approximately 1-3/4 miles south east of the residence she left from.  Amber was standing and alert. She was transported to Spectrum Health Hospital in Big Rapids.

The Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, FBI, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Forestry Service jointly investigated her disappearance.


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Crash kills Cedar Springs man

state police carA 77-year-old Cedar Springs man was killed last week when the car he was driving rear-ended another vehicle in Newaygo County.
According to the Michigan State Police Post in Newaygo, the accident occurred on January 21, at 10:20 p.m. at the intersection of M-82 near Cypress Avenue in Croton Township. Witnesses reported that Raymond Truman, 77, of Cedar Springs, was traveling westbound on M-82 near Cypress Avenue when he rear-ended a full-size van also traveling westbound. Truman was pronounced dead at the scene.
The occupants of the van, Stanley and Nancy Robbins, of Newaygo, were treated and released at the scene.
Truman is survived by his wife, Anna, children, Judith Meihls of Belmont, Joseph Benedict of Pierson, Carolyn Lynema of Sparta, Randall Benedict of Cedar Springs, and Robert Benedict of East Grand Rapids. See a complete obituary on page 7.

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