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Tag Archive | "snowmobile"

Snowmobiler drowns in Lincoln Lake

Joseph Brown died last Wednesday evening, February 13, when his snowmobile dropped into open water on Lincoln Lake. Photo from gofundme page.

An evening snowmobile ride on Lincoln Lake with a friend turned into tragedy when one of the riders drove into open water.

A 911 call came into Kent County Dispatch on February 13 at approximately 10:25 p.m. reporting a snowmobile accident on Lincoln Lake in Spencer Township. The caller reported he was on the lake on a snowmobile riding with another person who was on a separate snowmobile. The caller believed the other rider went into open water. 

Multiple fire departments along with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area immediately. The caller was on unstable ice and was rescued by Cannon Fire Department’s hovercraft. The hovercraft was then used to search for the missing rider. The Sheriff’s Office also deployed a drone with a Forward Looking Infrared Camera to search the lake. They were not able to locate the missing rider or his snowmobile after several hours and finally called off the search. 

The search resumed at daylight on February 14. Joseph Brown, 29, of Spencer Township, was found near the bottom of the lake, not far from where his friend was rescued.

Sgt. Joel Roon said that the recovery was challenging because the water was dark, cold, and very deep—about 50-60 feet. It was near where Cedar Creek flows into Lincoln Lake. “There’s a lot of moving water under there and it’s a recipe for dangerous conditions,” he said.

Roon said it looked like Brown made an effort to get to the ice shelf because they found some of his clothing. “We believe he tried some things ice fishermen would do like shed his shoes and bulky clothing.” He noted that it looked like he made it 15-20 feet before going under. 

Roon said the snowmobile probably would not be recovered right away. He said the DNR would get involved because of the fluids in the sled, and currently it was too dangerous to try to remove it.

A gofundme account has been set up to assist with funeral expenses. Go to https://bit.ly/2GV1Qzg to donate.

A benefit is also being held this Saturday, February 23, at 3 p.m. at the Trufant hall. Dinner $5 a plate, 50/50 raffle tickets, and a live auction. Live band High Risk will be playing as well. 

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Sparta man dies in snowmobile accident

Edwin Larsen

Edwin Larsen

An evening snowmobile ride on the White Pine Trail turned deadly for a Sparta man last weekend.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the accident occurred on Saturday, January 22, shortly before 10:43 p.m. That was when they responded to a call about an injured snowmobiler on the White Pine Trail, near Northland Drive and Grosvenor, in Nelson Township.

Once police arrived, they found it was a fatality.

Police said that the victim, Edwin Larsen, 37, of Sparta, was traveling southbound on the White Pine Trail on his snowmobile, at a high rate of speed, when he lost control and crashed. He was wearing a helmet.

The victim was traveling with two other riders, who were not injured. Police believe that alcohol was a factor in the accident.

Funeral services for Edwin Larsen will be Friday, January 29, at Hessel-Cheslek Funeral Home in Sparta.

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Vintage snowmobile mystery solved


This unique snowmobile is owned by Dean and Kristie Wall. Photo by Oliver Johnson.

This unique snowmobile is owned by Dean and Kristie Wall. Photo by Oliver Johnson.


Last week, we ran the above photo in the Post, asking if anyone knew who owned the vehicle in the above photo. Within just a few hours of the newspaper hitting the stands, we found out that Dean and Kristie Wall, of Sand Lake, own this unique 1929 Ford Model A Pickup with an Arps Corporation’s Super Snowbird Snowmobile attachment.

“I purchased the model A pick up snowmobile in Marquette about two years ago, after looking for a model A snowmobile for about eight years,” explained Dean. “It looked pretty much like it does now but I totally dismantled it and rebuilt the engine, rear end, and the track system. I also added a set of original gear reduction to the rear axle. It will go through 2 to 2 1/2 feet of snow at a top speed of about 25 to 30 mph but will get stuck if you’re not careful.”

He explained that the snowmobile attachments were popular in the 20s and 30s before they plowed the roads and they packed the snow instead. “When mailmen, doctors and other delivery people had to get through, they would utilize the snowmobile attachment. Adm. Byrd took them to the South Pole on his second expedition,” he added.

The original snow attachment was created by Virgil White, a Ford dealer in Ossippee, New Hampshire, who built his first snow attachment in 1913, for the Model T. He put it on the market in 1922, and sold the attachments through Ford dealers. Snow attachments were also made for other makes of vehicles, such as the Model A. “The Super Snowbird Snowmobile attachment for the Model A has an extra idler wheel due to the extra weight of the A’s,” explained Dean. “Arps made these until the early 40’s for the V-8 powered vehicles.”

While they have taken the snowmobile to a couple of shows, Dean said they enjoy driving it the most, including to a camp they have in the Upper Peninsula. But that’s not the only vintage vehicle they own. “We have a 1930 original model AA dump truck; a 1929 fully restored AA stake bed truck; a 1929 model A pick up and a 1930 Model A 4-door sedan that we drive to church every Sunday that the roads are dry enough, regardless of how cold,” he said.

Thank you, Dean, for telling us about this vintage snowmobile! And thanks to Oliver Johnson, for sending us the photo!

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Man arrested after stealing snowmobile

Nicholas Spoors

A Cedar Springs man who was on parole is back in jail and facing a multitude of charges in two counties after he cut his tether and stole a snowmobile.
Nicholas William Spoors, 21, is now lodged in the Kent County jail and is also facing charges in Montcalm County.
According to Howard City Police Chief Steve DeWitt, the Howard City Police Department responded to the Village Trails residential park on January 16 about 10:45 a.m. on a report of an attempted larceny of a snowmobile. The victim went outside in the morning to find someone had removed his Ski Doo snowmobile off of a trailer and attempted to hot wire the ignition to steal it, but they were unsuccessful. The victim’s vehicle was also broken into and a snowmobile helmet and gloves were stolen.
Officers tracked the suspect in the snow and it appears he tried to enter a shed and prowled around in the area and backyards of other residences.
Officers then located another abandoned and heavily damaged snowmobile on the nearby White Pine State Park trail. This snowmobile was registered to a victim in Cedar Springs, who was not aware of its theft until the Kent County Sheriffs Department made contact with them, on behalf of the Howard City Police Department.
Howard City PD developed information on two suspects after canvassing the area, gathering evidence, and witnesses contacting police with information on two suspicious subjects observed that same morning. A security video from a nearby business showed the suspects. This information and a description was provided to the Cedar Springs Police Department, who supplied the name of a possible suspect from the description. Howard City Police then reviewed this subject’s prior arrest photo and made a positive identification of the same subject on the security video. This person was located by the Cedar Springs Police Department later that evening.
The Howard City Police Department and Kent County Sheriff’s Department then located a second suspect, Spoors, hiding under a bed in a home in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates. He was an escapee from Prison Parole since he had cut off his tether days earlier. Stolen property from Howard City and Cedar Springs were recovered from this residence.
Chief DeWitt said the two suspects had ridden the stolen snowmobile from Cedar Springs to Howard City, where it had broken down on the trail, and then one of the suspects attempted to steal the Ski Doo belonging to the victim at Village Trails, in an attempt to flee the area.
Spoors was arrested and charged in Kent County with the larceny of the snowmobile, being a habitual offender, and the breaking and entering of a building in Cedar Springs. Arrest warrants were obtained in Montcalm County as well, charging the suspect with the attempted larceny of a motor vehicle, larceny from a motor vehicle, being a habitual offender, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. He had not yet been arraigned in Montcalm County at press time.
Chief DeWitt said the first suspect is not being charged at this time.
Spoors was paroled in May after serving time for stolen property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $20,000. He also served time for breaking and entering a building, attempting to assault/resist/obstruct a police officer, fleeing from a police officer, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
“The successful investigation and arrest of the suspect was a direct result of the multi-departmental investigation,” said DeWitt. “The call from a concerned citizen to the police of their observations of suspicious persons and/or activity was also instrumental to the investigation.”
He said that the Howard City Police would like to remind all persons to keep your vehicles, home, and storage buildings locked at all times, and to report any suspicious persons or activity immediately. “Many times it’s the smallest bit of information that leads to the arrest of criminals and recovery of stolen property,” noted DeWitt. “Law Enforcement is a community activity that relies heavily on the participation of the average person.”

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Reminders for snowmobile and ORV riders

Winter is a beautiful time to experience Michigan’s outdoors. Whether riding a portion of Michigan’s groomed snowmobile trails or riding an off-road vehicle (ORV) to a favorite remote ice fishing hole, the Department of Natural Resources reminds riders to always exercise safety.
“With Michigan’s riding opportunities also comes inherent risks associated with motorsports,” said Gary Hagler, chief of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “It is each rider’s responsibility to ensure their safety and the safety of their passengers and bystanders.”
There are several common factors with snowmobile and ORV accidents in Michigan.  The DNR urges snowmobilers and ORV operators to take simple precautions this winter season.  Excessive speed, alcohol use, inexperience, failure to wear helmets, operating on roadways and unfamiliarity with terrain are some of the most common factors involved in accidents. Many fatal accidents have one or more common factors as contributing causes.
“Operators should respect the speeds that snowmobiles and ORVs are capable of attaining, and the demands that operating over snow and ice pose,” Hagler said. “Safety education is a crucial factor in safe and responsible snowmobile and ORV operation. Safety education is required for youths and highly recommended for all others.”
Persons interested in finding a safety course, go online to www.michigan.gov/dnr and click on the “Education & Outreach” menu and then select Hunter Education & Recreational Safety Classes.  Safety training classes are offered in a classroom setting and some are available online.
The DNR does not recommend operating on the frozen surface of water; however, the DNR recognizes that it is a popular activity.  If an ice crossing is unavoidable there are several safety concerns operators need to be aware of in the event they fall into the freezing water.
Once a person is suddenly immersed in freezing water, their respiratory system will automatically and instantly have an uncontrollable inhaling gasp reflex because of the cold shock. If initially under the water, individuals will inhale water into their lungs. It is critical to get your head above the surface and first get your breathing under control which will take at least one minute. If you do not control your breathing the chances of drowning sooner are exponentially increased. Once you have your breathing under control, get to the edge of the solid ice you were at before you fell in because you know that ice held your weight at one point.  Secure your arms on top of the edge of good ice.  Use your arms to lift your body up and kick your feet hard in a swimming motion while leaning over the good ice.  Get your upper body up onto the solid ice and roll away from the open water. Using self-rescue ice spikes, which typically consist of two plastic cylinders with spikes on one end connected with a line, can greatly assist in pulling yourself out of the water onto safe ice.  Once you are out, do not stand up immediately or you will have an increased risk of falling through thin ice again. Once far enough away from the open water, begin to crawl away and eventually walk.
If you’re unable to get yourself out of the water, ensure your arms and as much of your upper body are out as far as possible. Reach out as far as you can onto the ice and do not move your arms. This will hopefully freeze your clothes to the ice and keep you from falling farther back in and increase the chances of being rescued. You will lose effective movement in roughly 10 minutes, but you can remain conscious for up to two hours. You should yell or signal for help.
Do not remove any protective gear such as a helmet or jacket. Your appropriate protective gear (riding clothes, suit and helmet) will offer some degree of floatation and provide insulating qualities. Helmets, while not marketed as a Personal Flotation Device (PFD), are partially constructed of foam liners and offer about the same amount of buoyancy as a PFD. Wearing a helmet will also help retain body heat around your brain which would otherwise be lost quicker, hastening unconsciousness, if not wearing a helmet.
There are free safety videos available online to illustrate what to expect and how to react in cold water immersion scenarios. These videos made be viewed at:  http://www.yukonman.com/cold_water.asp.

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Snowmobile Trail Permit Fee Increase

Michigan Snowmobile Association and DNR support increase

The 2011 snowmobile season marks the next stage of a new fee structure for snowmobile permit fees.  This season the price for a permit is $45, an increase of $10 over last year’s price.  The fee will remain $45 through the 2015 snowmobile season.  A state law signed in 2008 provided for the incremental increase in snowmobile trail fees, which support maintenance and grooming of the state’s snowmobile trail network.
Michigan’s snowmobile trail network is successful because of the unique relationship that exists between the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and partners.  The DNR provides grants to local snowmobile trail partners, who in turn are responsible for the grooming and maintenance of the trails.
“We have strong relationships with our partners in the snowmobile community,” said Jim Radabaugh, section manager for the DNR’s Recreation and Trails Program in the Forest Management Division.  “It is because of our partnership with 68 snowmobile trail sponsors that Michigan is able to offer over 6,400 miles of designated, groomed and signed trails.”
The fee increase is necessary to offset the increasing snowmobile grant sponsor costs such as fuel, engineering services and insurance, to maintain the designated and groomed trail network, and to fund long-term trail infrastructure needs, such as bridges and culverts.
“When it comes to keeping Michigan’s trails safe and groomed, a little goes a long way,” added Lynne Boyd, chief of the Forest Management Division at the DNR.  “This fee increase is a way for every snowmobiler to do his or her part toward providing season-long access to miles and miles of magical Michigan trails.”

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DNR approves online snowmobile course for youth

An online snowmobile safety course aimed at youth operators has received the endorsement of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. It is the first online course for snowmobile safety endorsed by the DNR.
Successful completion of the online course would satisfy Michigan’s snowmobile safety education requirement for youth operators. Under Michigan law, snowmobile operators at least 12 years of age, but less than 17, are required to successfully complete an approved safety training program. Youth operators are also required to carry the safety training certificate with them whenever they are operating a snowmobile in Michigan.
The online course, offered by Fresh Air Educators Inc., provides another option for those interested in taking an approved safety course. Traditional in-person classroom courses are still offered throughout Michigan. There is a $29.95 fee to take the online course. More information on the online course can be found at www.snowmobilecourse.com/usa/michigan/. There is also a quick link on the DNR website under Education and Outreach when searching for available Recreational Safety classes in your area.

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Increase snowmobiling fun with these cool tips

Secretary Land reminds operators to stay safe, obey the law

snowmobilersWith winter here, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land reminds snowmobilers that a safe riding season depends on proper training and abiding by state safety rules and regulations.
“With more than 6,000 miles of designated trails crisscrossing the Upper and Lower peninsulas, Michigan provides some of the best and most varied snowmobiling available,” Land said. “Safe riding involves more than just ensuring that your snowmobile is in good working order. Proper training and an understanding of the laws regarding this wonderful recreational activity are equally important in keeping you safe this winter.”
Safe snowmobiling includes the following:
*Don’t ride alone
*Keep headlights and tail lights on at all times
*Keep your snowmobile well maintained
*Wear appropriate clothing for the weather — always include a helmet, gloves and eye protection
*Always check the weather and leave a travel plan
*Avoid crossing frozen bodies of water when possible and never cross single file
*Be aware of fences, low-strung wire or depressions in the snow
*Do not ride on a street or highway
*Be cautious at intersections, stop and look carefully for traffic before proceeding
Land said that a snowmobile safety course is an excellent idea for all operators. Children ages 12-16 may operate a snowmobile if they have a valid snowmobile safety certificate with them or are under the direct supervision of an adult age 21 or older. Only those with a valid snowmobile certificate may legally drive across a street or highway.
Children younger than 12 must be under the direct supervision of an adult unless they are operating a snowmobile on property owned or controlled by a parent or legal guardian. They are not allowed to cross a highway or street.
Snowmobiles are registered by the Department of State. Operators must have the registration certificate with them when riding. The registration is the ownership document; snowmobiles are not titled. Registrations are issued for three years and should be renewed before Sept. 30 of the year shown on the registration decal. Decals are displayed on the forward half of the cowl above the foot well.
A snowmobile trail permit sticker is also required under Michigan law, with a few exceptions such as when riding solely on private property. Trail permits are issued for one year and are placed on the forward half of the snowmobile directly above or below the headlight. They are available from snowmobile dealers, Department of Natural Resources and Environment offices and retail license agents.
Snowmobile operators are reminded to never operate a snowmobile under the influence of drugs or alcohol or at speeds that are unreasonable for conditions. Residents whose driver’s license has been suspended or revoked may not legally operate a snowmobile.
Snowmobiles may operate on the right-of-way of public highways under certain situations. Traveling single file is permitted with the flow of traffic on the extreme right of the right-of-way. Driving on the roadway or shoulder is restricted to crossing bridges or culverts.
There are a number of other regulations regarding the speed, time of day, place and circumstances in which snowmobiles may safely and legally operate. This information is available on the DNRE Web site and snowmobile owners are encouraged to review it before riding.
For more information about snowmobile safety training, regulations and trail permits, visit the DNRE Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnre.
Nearly 87,000 snowmobile renewal notices were mailed by the Department of State this year. There are more than 347,000 snowmobile registrations on file, including original, renewed and expired certificates.
Additional information about registering snowmobiles is on the department’s Web site at www.Michigan.gov/sos.

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