5.25.15:  5-year-old in critical condition



(Mlive)– The status of a 5-year-old boy is unknown after he was pulled unresponsive from a swimming pool Sunday evening.

Kentwood police and fire crews responded to the Wingate apartment complex around 7:20 p.m. Upon arrival, paramedics began performing CPR on the child in an attempt to resuscitate him.

He was transported to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, where his condition was not yet known, Kentwood Police Sgt. Bryan Litwin said. His identity has not been released.

The pool is situated behind an apartment building, secured by fencing, and only is accessible by using a house key to get through a gated entry, residents say. Police believe the 5-year-old and his 9-year-old brother jumped over the fence to enter the pool.

Litwin said the older brother hopped over the fence to seek help when the youngest was in trouble. Residents ran over to the pool and assisted in getting the young boy out.

The pool had been secured for the season, only to be opened again in a matter of days at the least, Litwin said.

Resident Vanessa Brown has lived at the complex for several years and said she’s never heard of anyone having problems at the pool. Her grandson and the boy played together in the past.

It is not yet known whether the brothers live in the area. Police say their father and grandmother, however, are residents.

5.22.15:  Cedar Springs man dies in crash



Kent County authorities say one person was killed and another was seriously injured after a crash in Algoma Township Thursday afternoon.

The crash occurred at the intersection of Pine Island Drive and Indian Lakes road.

Police say an SUV ran a stop sign and collided with another vehicle.   Both vehicles then struck a tree.

Killed in the accident was Terrance Gage of Cedar Springs.

5.20.15:  Local residents speak out against zoning change



The Kentwood City Commissioners rejected a rezoning request that would allow for an alcohol and drug rehab facility along Division Avenue.

Guiding Light Mission is looking to relocate its male residential recovery program away from downtown and further down Division.

A large crowd of local residents gathered at Tuesday night’s meeting.  Most said they fear the impact the facility could have  near their Kelloggsville schools and neighborhoods.

5.20.15:  Man finds message in bottle from 1994 in western Michigan



IONIA, Mich. (AP) — An Ohio man says he found a 21-year-old message in a bottle of sorts after it had traveled down the Grand River in western Michigan.

Terry Smith says he found a film case with the message inside while hunting for mushrooms Monday in Ionia. According to Smith, inside the case were three pieces of paper written by two 12-year-old Lansing girls in 1994.

Two of the papers have drawings of the girls, while the third is a letter to the finder of the film case.

Smith says the papers are water-stained and were damp, but are in good condition.



5-19-15  Homelessness a Growing Problem in GR

A brutal winter brought out a significant issue for advocates for the homeless.  The number of those without a place to call home has grown.

More people are homeless in Kent County according to a point in time survey conducted in January. The Grand Rapids Coalition to End Homelessness found an increase of 15 percent in people who did not have adequate shelter, even going so far as to say that the places they were staying were not fit for human beings.

There may be several reasons for the increase in homeless over last year. The survey conducted in Grand Rapids reveals an improved method of counting those individuals as well as efforts to assist those fleeing domestic situations and addressing needs of veterans.

But advocates say there is also a considerable need for affordable housing and improved methods of keeping people in those homes.

According to their press release, The Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness is a collaboration of over 50 organizations and is part of the Kent County Essential Needs Task Force. In 2004 it facilitated development of a plan to address the root causes of homelessness and get people into permanent housing as quickly as possible.


5.19.15:  Michigan man dies, 2 firefighters hurt after electric shock



CROCKERY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say two firefighters were shocked while trying to help a 43-year-old man who went into cardiac arrest and died in western Michigan.

Firefighters had responded Monday afternoon to a Crockery Township home, where the man’s wife had returned to find him in cardiac arrest. He was lying in the front yard next to a lift vehicle, which had its boom raised and was touching a power line.

Ottawa County Sheriff’s Capt. John Wolffis says one firefighter stepped near the lift and was shocked, and he went into cardiac arrest. Wolffis says other firefighters used a defibrillator to save him. Police say he was taken to the hospital and his condition was stable.

The shocked firefighter had fallen onto another one, who suffered a minor shock.

Firefighters were unable to revive the homeowner.

5.19.15:    $100K settlement reached with family of boy who died at farm



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A $100,000 settlement has been reached in a federal wrongful death lawsuit by the family of one of two young people who died in 2010 after falling into a tank at a Barry County dairy farm.

The Grand Rapids Press reports the family of 17-year-old Francisco Martinez reached the agreement with Yankee Springs Dairy Farm and its owner in U.S. District Court.

A  judge is to rule June 12 on the settlement.

Martinez and 18-year-old Victor Perez were overcome by fumes emitted by decaying molasses in the tank at the farm, about 20 miles southeast of Grand Rapids. Authorities say they died of asphyxiation after being trapped in the oxygen-depleted environment.

The Perez family has a lawsuit pending in Barry County Circuit Court. Trial is planned next month.


5.19.15:  Part of Michigan’s I-94 renamed for slain police detective


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A part of the Interstate 94 business loop in Battle Creek will be renamed for a police detective from the area who was killed in the line of duty.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed the legislation Monday to rename a portion of the highway as the Detective LaVern S. Brann Memorial Highway. Brann served with the Battle Creek police department for 20 years. He was killed while investigating a homicide in May 2005.

Snyder says officers like Brann are “heroes who put their own safety aside to protect Michiganders every day.”

Snyder adds that Brann “made the ultimate sacrifice for his community” and says it is an honor to name a portion of I-94 in memory of the detective.


5.19.15:  Judge dismisses criminal charges in workplace death



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A judge in western Michigan has dismissed criminal charges in the case of a man who plunged 26 feet to his death while working on a commercial roof.

Black River Builders owner Joe Novak of Holland was charged with a safety violation causing death, a felony. But a Kent County judge dismissed the charge Monday, saying the company could be charged but not Novak.

An appeal by state lawyers appears likely.

In 2012, Brian Tarachanowicz fell while removing a roof deck at a commercial building in Sparta, north of Grand Rapids. The state says the victim was not wearing protective equipment, and no inspections were performed to detect hazards.

Tarachanowicz was working as a subcontractor.

The state says Black River Builders has been cited for past safety problems.

5.19.15:  Netherlands king, queen plan June 2 visit to Grand Rapids



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The king of the Netherlands and his wife will stop at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and the Van Andel Research Institute during a June 2 visit to Grand Rapids.

The Dutch Embassy announced March 31 that King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will visit Chicago, Grand Rapids and Washington during a June 1-3 trip to the U.S.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s office and the Dutch Embassy released details of the trip Monday. Snyder says he’s proud of the state’s Dutch heritage “and of the many contributions Dutch-Americans have made to Michigan.”

The governor and embassy say that Michigan has 481,000 people of Dutch ancestry, out or 4.5 million nationwide.

It’s Willem-Alexander’s first official U.S. visit since becoming king in 2013.