Judy Reed

Bear sightings in Algoma, Solon

July 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

By Judy Reed Bear sightings have continued in northern Kent County in the last two weeks. The most recent sighting reported to the Post was last Saturday, June 20, at 19 Mile and Algoma, in Solon Township. Russ DeBoer, of Solon Township, said he was traveling north on Algoma about 1:00 p.m. last Saturday, June 20, with his son, Nick, and grandson, Ethan, when a bear crossed the road at Algoma 19 Mile. He said it ran behind Solon Center Wesleyan Church, on Algoma, toward the Solon Fire Department to the west. “I saw a lot of cars in the church parking lot, so I pulled in, and saw a playground in back, so I went inside and told people. They were having a baby shower, and they had young kids, so I wanted to tell them so the kids didn’t go out on the playground,” he explained. DeBoer said that he thinks it was a younger bear because it was smaller. “It wasn’t a cub, but it wasn’t full grown,” he said. The Post called the church to check out the story, and while talking with Kathy Mabie, she told us about a parishioner who had also recently caught footage of a bear on his game camera. Luke Tonneberger, who lives on 13 Mile near the intersection of Algoma, said that they had been gone on Saturday, June 13, and when he came home, he found a note taped to his door that said a neighbor across the street had seen a bear cross his driveway. “I think the bear headed toward 13 Mile, then went back along my fence, by my house, and by my garden and compost pile,” said Tonneberger. He also has woods behind his house with trail cams. Friday, June 19, he decided to check his game cameras, and sure enough, there was the bear. “If I was standing there, it couldn’t have been any clearer that it was a bear,” he said. Tonneberger said that he has seen evidence in the past—6 to 8 years ago—of bears on his property, but nothing recent. “I see pictures on my camera of other wildlife, such as deer, raccoon, skunk, etc., but it’s pretty cool to get pictures of a bear,” he […]

What warrants a four-way stop? Residents consider intersection deadly

June 30, 2011 // 0 Comments

by JUDY REED A serious accident at the intersection of 15 Mile Road and Shaner Avenue on June 7 in Courtland Township have neighbors wondering what it will take to get a four-way stop put in. “Does someone have to die?” asked Sharon Parker, a neighbor who was at the scene of the crash, and helped lift the SUV off of a teen pinned underneath the tire. Several people have complained to the Cedar Springs Post that it is hard to see at the intersection if you are traveling on 15 Mile. But does that warrant a four-way stop? According to data on the Kent County Road Commission website, traffic volume in the area has grown little over the last several years, and sees about 2,000 cars in a 24-hour period. That’s two-way traffic, so could be 1,000 cars going then coming home. Traffic counts have actually dropped on 15 Mile through that area, between 2005 and 2008, and increased only slightly on Shaner. Tim Haagsma, P.E., director of traffic and safety at the Kent County Road Commission, said that they have to follow a manual put out by the federal government called the Public Manual of Safety Control Devices, when gauging whether an intersection warrants a four-way stop. “We look at both traffic volumes and crash rates,” he explained, “and they have less than one-third of the number of crashes needed.” He went on to say that according to their data, there were three crashes reported at that intersection between 2005 and 2010, and what would warrant a four-way stop would be five crashes in a 12-month period. “That intersection is not near the rate where we’d say a problem occurs,” noted Haagsma. He said that following federal guidelines helps eliminate a proliferation of four-way stops where they could do more harm than good. Haagsma noted that while a four-way stop would reduce right-angle crashes, it would lead to more rear-end crashes. “We always have to look at the trade-off,” he said. But Parker would like to see the guidelines changed, and she is asking concerned residents to call Senator Mark Jansen’s office at (517) 373-0797. “Maybe if enough people call, we can get it changed,” she said. Parker also had a request for […]

Man critically injured in accident

June 16, 2011 // 0 Comments

by JUDY REED A two-car accident in Courtland Township last week left one man with critical injuries and several others with minor scrapes and lacerations. The accident happened about 4 p.m. June 7, at 15 Mile Road and Shaner Avenue. According to police, a witness told them that a red Chevrolet Malibu was at the stop sign in the eastbound lane of 15 Mile at Shaner, when it pulled out in front of a white Dodge Durango traveling north on Shaner. There is no stop sign on Shaner, and the two vehicles crashed in the intersection. The Durango left the roadway and overturned in a yard north of the crash. A teen male sitting in the rear of the Durango was ejected and landed underneath the tire of the SUV in a yard just north of the intersection. The victim, Matthew John Slabbekoorn, 17, of Algoma Township was airlifted from the scene by AeroMed with a head injury. There were seven passengers in the Durango. The driver, Benjamin Creed Sullivan, 19, of Courtland Township was treated for minor injuries at the scene. Brooklynn Jenette Hommerson, 17, of Sparta was transported to Butterworth by Rockford Ambulance with minor injuries. The other passengers were treated for minor injuries at the scene and declined to be transported to the hospital. There were four passengers in the Malibu. The driver, Terese Clement, 42, of Courtland Township and three children, Jack Clement, 6, John Clement, 1, and Greg Clement, 1, suffered minor injuries and were all transported to the hospital by ambulance. Assisting at the scene was the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, Cedar Springs Police, Sand Lake Police, Courtland Township Fire, Cedar Springs Fire and Rescue, Rockford Ambulance, and AeroMed.  

Blind dog smells out morels

June 2, 2011 // 0 Comments

by JUDY REED For 10 years now, Mike Cook of Solon Township has been using dogs he’s trained to find some of the first morel mushrooms each year. But when his dog Pugsley died a couple of years ago, he had to start over and train a couple of new dogs. Enter Muffin, a one-year-old dachsund, and Toby, a blind one-year-old dachsund. “Morels smell funny, so I get them used to the smell, like training a drug dog,” explained Cook, when asked how he trains them to find morels. Recently Cook took them out on a test run. Cook spotted a morel from his truck, and let Toby out to see what he would do. “He went crazy barking, and even though he’s blind, he was able to find them,” said Cook. “He ran around in a circle around them, and we got them all in about 15 minutes.” The mushrooms shown in the photo are about one-third of what they found near Algoma Avenue and 17 Mile, in Solon Township. “Now if only I could get the dogs to smell trout for me,” Cook said with a laugh. Cook said that the morels seem to grow best around ash, poplar and dead elm trees, old apple orchards, and land that’s been burned.    

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