October 28 2010

Manslaughter charges filed in falling rock fatality

October 28, 2010 // 0 Comments

Death of 17-year-old Algoma Township teen made national news On October 26, the Eighth Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed manslaughter charges, a class four felony, against a juvenile male in the case of Audra Brownell, who died when she was struck by a falling rock on June 17, 2010. The incident took place in the Knoll-Willows open space in Estes Park. A court date has been set for November 5, 2010. The following is the story reported by the Squire on June 24, 2010: According to Kate Rusch, spokesperson for Estes Park, Colorado, Brownell, the daughter of Scott and Diane Brownell, of Algoma Township was struck about 4 p.m. in an open space off the Estes Park’s Town Hall parking lot called Knolls Willow. It was reportedly a town “green space” in a grassy area with a creek running through it. A cliff rises above the area. Rusch said that emergency responders were on the scene immediately, and the young woman was pronounced dead from her injuries. The Estes Park Police Department conduced a death investigation and interviewing numerous witnesses to the incident. The area was closed to the public until the investigation is complete. “The community is devastated by this tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim,” said Estes Park Mayor Bill Pinkham. “Our police department is working around the clock to sort out the details of the incident.” The accident occurred while Audra was on a backpacking adventure with the senior high youth group at Rockford Reformed Church. “She was a wonderful Christian young lady,” said Lead pastor Rick Tigchon, “a really sweet person.” He noted that she and her family are very involved in ministry at the church, and that Audra was especially involved in kids ministry. “A lot of people are grieving, it’s been very traumatic,” said Tigchon. “But we feel God will help us through it.” Audra had just finished her junior year at Cedar Springs High School. “She was a fabulous young lady,” remarked principal Ron Behrenwald. “She was a little reserved, but not so much that it affected her socially or academically.” He said that she was in the top 10 of her class, and very academically-oriented. She was just inducted […]

‘Better than Twilight’ author says of vampire movie, e-book

October 28, 2010 // 0 Comments

Independent film to premier November 13 by BETH ALTENA They were confronted by Kent County Sheriff’s Deputies because someone thought they were grave-robbing in a local cemetery. “When you are wielding swords in a cemetery at night, nothing good is going on,” explained Kay Bouma. Bouma was describing one of the adventures that went into filming an independent movie related to her book, The Mysterious Legend of Vladimir. The movie premieres November 13 at Kent Theatre in Cedar Springs. Vampire fans should show up early, and Bouma believes all who attend will be impressed at what can be done with a zero budget. A children’s book explaining hemophilia was the first step in what may become a career as an author and independent film producer for Bouma. The 1978 Rockford graduate gave birth 11 years ago to twins with a severe bleeding disorder. She soon realized the condition was not generally understood and wrote a children’s book about it. “I sold the book,” she explained about her entry into the life of an author. A pharmaceutical company purchased her story and uses it for education. That was Bouma’s first sale, now far surpassed in sales by a different kind of story. Bouma e-published The Mysterious Legend of Vladimir on the self-publishing website Smashworks in April 2009 and its sequel that same spring. “It hit the best seller list in two weeks and sold 2,000 copies the first year,” she said. Cousin to The DaVinci Code author Dan Brown, Bouman said she has a modest job now and hopes to be able to write full time if her success continues. The two volumes together constitute a full-length novel, and rave reviews came from such unexpected sources as musician Michael Bublé. “It’s a very different kind of vampire story,” Bouma said of her work. Vladimir has a Smashworks reader rating of five stars, the highest. A review by Heather Sakosky at Suite 101 online describes the book as, “An incredibly worthy read and at only $2.95, it is affordable and accessible.” Descriptions of the story show that Bouma was successful in her attempts to give a new twist to an old topic. Bouma said her interest in the world of vampires predates the current popularity of the […]

Stephen J. May Scholarship free throw fundraiser in memory of well-loved student

October 28, 2010 // 0 Comments

‘Everybody Love Everybody’ was teen’s philosophy by BETH ALTENA Stephen May was known as a peacemaker and liked to see those around him get along. A favorite saying of his was “Everybody love everybody.” In the spirit of that philosophy, friends of the family are raising money for a self-sustaining humanitarian scholarship to be offered in Stephen’s name. There will be an evening of events Friday, Nov. 26 at Assumption Catholic Church Family Center with live music. a silent auction and activities, but prior to that event, the Stephen J. May #10 Free Throw Shooting Contest will take place at Rockford High School on Sunday, Nov. 7 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. “We are all throwing ourselves into this,” said Linda Crosby, who is one of the organizers. She said both events are efforts to keep Stephen’s memory alive with the scholarship and as a way to honor his life. Stephen, son of Jamie and Gerilyn May, was a popular student at Rockford and a three-sport athlete, who died of accidental causes this past spring. Crosby said community support for the May family and events to build a scholarship fund are an indication of how well loved Stephen was. She said organizers continue to be amazed at the response they receive in their fundraising efforts. The name of the contest includes #10 because that was Stephen’s number in varsity basketball, varsity track and in his position as a starting player on the varsity football team. “We had t-shirts made up, thinking the organizers could wear them,” Crosby said. Almost immediately, people asked if they could buy a shirt of their own. Crosby said they have already ordered more of the shirts several times. The shirts are available at Rockford High School on Friday afternoons and cost just $8, with $5 going straight to the scholarship fund. The Free Throw Shooting Contest begins with registration from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Rockford High School gymnasium. The entry fee is $5 per person with a limit of three entries per person. Crosby said each entry will allow 10 free-throw shots, so those who enter three times will have 30 shots in which to prove their skill. One hundred percent of all entry fees goes to the […]

First band car raffle puts Chevy Malibu keys in couple’s hands

October 28, 2010 // 0 Comments

Winning a new car for the cost of a $25 ticket, and all for a good cause is probably a great feeling. This year’s Rockford marching band program fundraiser was a raffle for a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu. According to Chris Vanzee, band booster president, this is the first year the band tried to raise funds by raffling a car. Volunteers sold a total of 1,344 tickets for the fundraiser, which supports the sixth- through 12th-grade band programs. “We would love to thank the community for their support of our fine band program,” Vanzee said. “It takes lots of hard work and creative fundraising to bring in enough money to put together a competitive marching band show. Thankfully we have several volunteers to help us with this great task. We had people who were eager to pound the pavement and contributed to the success of this raffle. We also appreciate Ric’s grocery store, D&W Fresh Market, The Score, Thunderbay car wash, Buffalo Wild Wings, and the City of Rockford for allowing us to bring the car to their locations and sell tickets.” The winner, Karen DeBlaay, is a great-aunt to one of the band’s trumpet players, Travis Van’t Voort. It was very exciting for their entire family to see someone they knew win the car. DeBlaay was very excited and was shocked that she had won. She had stated that she didn’t intend to win, but just wanted to help the band. She is very excited and would love to see the marching band perform at their next competition, the Lakeshore Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 30 at the Ted in Rockford.

Magic man helps make theater appear at Robinette’s

October 28, 2010 // 0 Comments

There are plenty of magical things about to appear at Robinette’s, and one will be coming from a local magician with more than a few tricks up his sleeve. Magician Russ Niedzwiecki has launched a food-with-entertainment website called DinnerAnd.com. He has plans to incorporate his own sleight-of-hand performances in addition to a variety of other entertainment choices in unique venues throughout West Michigan. The wine taste/magic performance/four-course dinner slated for November 11 is the inaugural event for DinnerAnd.com, an Internet-based site that combines the best of food and entertainment in an “all-in-one price” package. The first evening’s event will include wine-tasting at the Robinette Cellars, a stand-up magic performance by Niedzwiecki in the Robinette Loft, and concludes with a four-course dinner at Carino’s Italian Restaurant. “The historical buildings of Robinette’s have so much character,” said Niedzwiecki. “When I saw the loft area inside the main barn, it looked like such a cool place for a performance venue. It has seating for an audience of 60 people, and is perfect for an intimate performance of any kind.” Niedzwiecki decided to move forward with the DinnerAnd.com concept because of his own loss for what to do for an evening out. “Sometimes, when my wife and I wanted to go out, we could come up with a place to eat, but we didn’t know what to do afterward. Having a theme that compliments the whole night out seems like such a natural.” Niedzwiecki hopes the solution catches on. He has additional plans for both a jazz night and a folk music night in the near future. “Some events may lean more toward the entertainment; some may lean toward the menu. We want to try and have different themes, and stick to the ones that people want.” Though the first event is geared toward the adult crowd, some shows will be suited for the entire family. There’s even a special event coming up that’s billed as the very first visit of the season from Santa Claus. “I don’t know how we were to be so lucky, but the man himself is coming to Robinette’s—before the Thanksgiving Day Parade,” Niedzwiecki said. The one-ticket-per-family event will include snacks, storytelling and a professional photo-sitting for an 8×10 print. The Santa event takes […]

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