by JUDY REED Pair planned to release animal into the wild The owners of a private deer farm in Algoma Township have been arrested and charged with violating the Chronic Wasting Disease quarantine order issued by the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) last summer. The MDA and Department fo Natural Resources (DNR) announced last August that a three-year-old white-tailed doe from a privately owned facility in Rockford had tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, a neurological brain and nervous system disease found in deer, elk and moose. It is the state’s first case. According to Mary Detloff, of the DNR, James and Brian Schuiteman, owners of J&B Whitetails, where the original deer was found, attempted to move a male deer from the facility on August 23, the day after the quarantine was issued. At approximately midnight, DNR Conservation Officers David Rodgers and Michael Mshar observed two people enter the quarantined facility with flashlights and a tranquilizer gun. The officers watched the men single out a specific deer and tranquilize it. They then loaded it into an enclosed trailer and towed it from the property, where officers conducted a traffic stop to detain the suspects. Officers determined a live male white-tailed deer was in the trailer, with identification tags removed. Upon questioning the suspects, the officers learned it was the men’s intent to release the buck into the wild. Officers returned the animal to the facility, where it was euthanized and immediately transported to the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health at Michigan State University for testing. The deer tested negative for CWD. All 40 of the remaining deer at the farm were also shot and killed, then tested for the disease. All the test results came back negative. Four other deer that had been moved to farms in Montcalm and Osceola counties also tested negative for the disease. James Arthur Schuiteman, 52, and Brian Lee Schuiteman, 24, were arraigned in Rockford’s 63rd District Court, and charged with violating Michigan’s Animal Industry Act for movement of an animal in violation of the quarantine placed on their facility by MDA. This is a felony charge carrying a penalty of $1,000 to $5,000 in fines and imprisonment of up to five years. Both men waived their right […]
March 5 2009
Getting there first isn’t the greatest accomplishment in life or in endurance long-distance horse races. Rockford junior Maddie Anderson knows this lesson – and it has taken her to the number one national spot in the youth category in this challenging sport. As a participant in the American Endurance Rider Conference (AERC), winners are those whose horses complete the 25 to 100-mile courses not only in good time, but in the best condition. Maddie and her Arabian, JJ, out-traveled fellow riders by over 200 miles, finishing the seasons’ races at 505 miles. The runner up barely passed the 300 mile mark. Horses in this sport are tested regularly during competition for metabolics – heart rate, hydration, respiration – and even attitude. Participants race in two, three, or four-day races that can range up to 100 miles. The courses are challenging – wooded or bouldered paths through national forests in Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. Maddie took first in her division before moving up to the national level. A rider since an early age, she is dedicated to her horse and to keeping him fit and well, just as a human athlete should be. An endurance effort in fact as well as by name, the AERC races can be a trial for the human half of the two-part team. In a recent four-day race Maddie was one of only two riders who completed the course. The other was a 50-year-old woman with a seasoned horse. Maddie competes locally with the Great Lakes Distance Riding Association (gldrmi.org). She and her mother often ride together, and Maddie is out every other weekend putting in miles. In one week last fall she and JJ put in 125 miles, in another week, 175 miles. The sport is good for the mind as well as the body. “She’s learned empathy. She’s learned to set goals – how much work and conditioning it takes to get the horse to this level,” another rider said of Maddie. “It takes consistency and work to get to your goals. She’s the one who rode her horse smart.”
by CHRISTINE BIGNEY Rotarians from Rockford, Sparta, Grand Rapids North and Cedar Springs gathered at the Wolverine World Wide Corporate Headquarters for an evening of camaraderie, hors d’oeuvres and the chance to bid on favorite art pieces, all for a good cause. North Kent Service Center was the recipient of the Rotarian’s bidding efforts for the 2009 Art Gala. Eight thousand in art was sold, with $2,000 collected from the silent auction. Final donation percentage was not known at press time. Michele DeSelms from WXMI emceed the program. She introduced John and Connie Decker as the honorary co-chairs. They welcomed the guests to the auction. “2009 is going to be more in need than 2008, Decker said. “Everything you do here tonight raises awareness, but it also does so much more. What we raise tonight will go a long way.” Sandy Waite, Director of North Kent Service Center stated that the proceeds of the auctions will go towards helping families in the area who are in need. “These are families that never had to use us before. These are your neighbors. These are people who used to donate to Kent Service Center. Now they are coming to us in need of our help.” Although bidding was sluggish, Auctioneer Steve Little auctioned the art pieces off quickly, showing over 165 items in two hours. Available for auction were prints, oils, serigraphs, lithographs, sports collectibles and some various art objects such as a huge eucalyptus wreath and hand blown glass vases. Little kept the audience alert by interjecting humor throughout the night. While explaining the bidding system, Little said, “…And remember: the more you pay for it, the more you’ll enjoy it.” This elicited a few smiles and laughter. Some of the highlighted pieces of art during the evening were several hand-signed J. Wooster Scott’s, a hand-signed Salvidor Dali, and a hand-signed Marc Chagall lithograph, which went to a local businessman for $1,975. Other items auctioned off were a special vacation time-share week anywhere in the world, donated by Rick and Jill Eriksen; a three day, two night package at a beautiful cabin in Kalkaska was donated by RCI; a whole-home humidifier was donated by Blakeslee and Son Heating and Cooling; a stained glass lamp was donated […]
Every month since December of 2007, St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 6070 Kuttshill Dr. NE, has been distributing thousands of pounds of food to North Kent area families in need. Through Second Harvest Gleaners “Mobile Food Pantry” program, this local congregation has been able to provide approximately 7,500 pounds of produce, dairy, bread and other food items each month to families who come to their Mobile Food Pantry events. During 2008, over 75,000 pounds of food was distributed to over 1,300 families, representing a value of over $160,000 if purchased at retail. This program has helped families dealing with the effects of job loss, illness, and other issues make ends meet during difficult economic conditions. Each month, more than 25 St. Stephen volunteers of all ages take part in unloading, repacking, and carrying out boxes, bags and cartloads of food. Volunteers report being touched and blessed in many ways by this opportunity to serve their neighbors. From spring to fall, food distribution takes place in the church’s large and conveniently located parking lot, at the corner of Northland Drive and Rogue River, with the entrance off Kuttshill Drive. During cold months, distribution is moved indoors. St. Stephen’s Mobile Food Pantry will be held on the third Monday of each month through 2009, with the next event March 16. Distribution begins not later than 5 p.m. All area families experiencing financial hardship are invited and welcome.
On March 11, between 7 and 9 p.m., local residents may be receiving a phone call for a survey about downtown Sparta. Be nice – this isn’t a telemarketer. This will be a call from Sparta business representatives, as well as many Sparta High School Interact Club members, to conduct a short phone survey to ask questions about downtown businesses. The questions will include topics such as why shoppers visit downtown Sparta, how often do they visit downtown Sparta, where do you do most of your family shopping, and why do you choose to shop in other areas. The purpose behind this anonymous survey is to collect information about current downtown Sparta to current and new potential shoppers from as far as 20 miles away. Working with the national consultants HyettPalma, downtown Sparta business representatives are kicking off the residential phone survey project as part of the blueprint process. The blueprint process is a program designed to give a community a market-based downtown action plan, used to guide downtown’s revitalization efforts of the next five years. The blueprints program was a grant awarded to the Village of Sparta as one of six eligible communities. The “Blueprint for Michigan’s Downtown” program is a grant award from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). In addition to the phone survey, Sparta area business representatives, as part of the Blueprint Committee, are scheduled to host a Sparta area town meeting on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at the Sparta Civic Center at 7 p.m. The town meeting is open for community members, business representatives, organization leaders, and residents to voice their thoughts of the future for downtown Sparta. Working with the consultants, the community will answer questions such as: If the residents, business community, and government were to work together over the next five years to make downtown Sparta the best it could be, what would you like to see result from that effort? For you to consider those efforts a success, what kind of an experience would you like to be able to have in downtown Sparta five years from now? What would be the type of businesses found in downtown? Who would the customers and users of our successful downtown be in five years? What kinds of […]