Jury huddles for 9 hours before verdict
By Ken DeLaat
Wednesday morning saw the 12 jurors from the Glenna Duram murder case return to the courthouse to continue the deliberation that consumed more than three hours the day before. They arrived at 8:30 and after instructions retreated to the jury room.
Six hours later they returned with a verdict.
Ms Duram was found guilty on both Murder in the First Degree and the Felony Firearms charge.
First Degree Murder carries a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole according to Michigan law.
Duram family members and friends expressed relief and hugs were shared as they made their way out of the courtroom.
The Honorable H. Kevin Drake who presided over the trial thanked the jury, recognizing the amount of time and effort they put into the process.
Newaygo Prosecutor Ellsworth Stay also expressed his appreciation to the 12 who brought forth the verdict
"I want to thank the jury for their service during this lengthy trial. I would also like to thank the Michigan State Police for the investigation done in this matter,” he stated.
“Justice was served today for Marty Duram, the victim of this murder."
Sentencing for Glenna Duram is to be handed down on Monday, August 28th at 1pm at the 27th Circuit Court in White Cloud.
“Justice was served today for Marty Duram, the victim of this murder," said Newaygo County Prosecuting Attorney Ellsworth Stay who argued the case.
Duram case heads to a second day of deliberation
By Ken DeLaat
The 9 women and 3 men who make up the jury in the Glenna Duram murder trial were dismissed for the day by Judge H. Kevin Drake after failing to reach a verdict during their 4 hour deliberation. Sent to the jury room at 11:30am the 12 had not yet arrived at a decision by 3:30pm.
There were just over 50 spectators in the courtroom on Tuesday morning,to hear the closing arguments in the trial of Glenna Duram who is accused of killing her husband Martin Duram in May of 2015.
With last week filled with testimony brought forth by Prosecutor Ellsworth Stay, Monday saw the defense team rest without calling a single witness. Judge H. Kevin Drake sent the jurors home for the day and they returned Tuesday morning to hear Mr.Stay and the defense team of Mark Miller and Rick Prysock deliver their final discourse to the panel of citizens before them.
After hearing instructions from Judge Drake the jurors settled as Mr. Stay began his close.
“The evidence presented in this case demonstrates that the defendant is guilty of 1st Degree Premeditated Murder. That after killing Martin Duram she made an unsuccessful suicide attempt," he began.
Reviewing testimony and citing the many pieces of evidence that had been presented Mr. Stay focused on reminding the jury of the facts offered by witnesses including the autopsy report, the medical reports, DNA evidence pointing to Ms. Duram, the existence and cover-up of financial issues, visits made on her phone to websites involving the gun used in the murder, and the suicide notes found that were determined by the Michigan State Police (MSP) handwriting expert to be from Ms.. Duram’s hand. The Prosecutor continued to bring the jury back to prior testimony using images and recalling statements and conclusions made by expert witnesses.
Mr. Stay cited the four elements of first degree murder stating Ms. Duram not only caused the death of her husband and meant to kill him, but that the action was planned beforehand and deliberate in that she considered the pros and cons before acting.
“Ladies and gentlemen this is the only conclusion to arrive at. You should find Glenna Duram guilty as charged.”
Mr. Prysock then took the podium and questioned the evidence presented by the Prosecutor. He argued that despite the 38 witnesses and 234 pieces of evidence provided by the prosecution that the evidence did not paint an accurate picture of the events.
Mr. Miller spoke of ‘reasonable doubt’ and expressed that it existed “in each and every element of this case”. He reminded jurors that the MSP had taken an hour to discover Ms. Duram was alive.
“How can we be sure the other members of the investigative team were correct in their findings?”
Mr. Miller also questioned the Prosecution’s case stating “All they did was show you smoke and mirrors.”
Mr. Stay countered by asking the jury to consider each piece of evidence as well as the evidence as a whole. He also spoke to the looming loss of the Duram home to foreclosure.
“This was not just about financial problems, there was a betrayal of trust,” said Stay “She lied about the foreclosure notice being in error and lied about taking care of it.”
“Then she shot Marty dead and tried to kill herself.”
“The bill came due that day and Marty paid for it with his life.”
The jury returns Wednesday morning to continue deliberation.
Case going to jury Tuesday morning
By Ken DeLaat
At the start of proceedings Monday morning Defense Attorney Mark Miller stated “The Defense rests,” as the murder trial of Glenna Duram wrapped up testimony without a single witness being called to the stand by Mr. Miller.
Prior to the jury entering Judge Drake asked Ms. Duram if she understood that she was deciding not to testify and she stated she did.
The jury was brought in and then dismissed for the day by Judge H. Kevin Drake with the usual instructions about not discussing the case or reading news reports, etc. about the case. He explained that he would be conferring with the attorneys for Ms. Duram and Prosecutor Ellsworth Stay on instructions he would be delivering to them Tuesday morning beginning at 9 a.m. prior to sending them to the jury room for deliberation.
By Ken DeLaat
The Newaygo County Board of Commissioners recognized Deputy Court Clerk Kathy Daniels as Employee of the Quarter at their regular meeting on July 12th.
Administrator Chris Wren read from a letter submitted by Wendy Jarvis Trial Court Director/FOC praising the dedication and high level of professionalism displayed by Ms. Daniels while also citing the caring attitude shown toward the patrons she serves as well as her colleagues in the office.
Commissioners elected to increase the number of members on the Veteran’s Affairs committee but not before some discussion. Commissioner Vern Willett questioned the need of adding two more members to the 5 member board. Commissioner Phil Deur referenced the need for increased diversity with a wider range of veterans to sit on that board. Some back and forth discussion ensued before a 6-1 vote to approve the change with Mr. Willett casting the dissenting vote.
The Dragon Trail, the non-motorized, multi-use, natural surface trail around Hardy Pond continues to move forward as the board approved an Interlocal Agreement with Mecosta County to provide construction and maintenance of the trail.
During public comment Justin Visser of the Sheriff’s Department took time to talk about his experience after a work related injury. Mr. Visser had high praise for Human Resources Director Jodi McGarry for her assistance in helping him navigate the process involved. He also spoke to his dealings with Ms. McGarry and Administrator Chris Wren in his role as Union Steward. Though going into this position with some trepidation Mr. Visser said that he found both to be open in their communication during negotiations and remarked on the high level of professionalism displayed.
The next meeting of the Board of Commissioner is scheduled for Wednesday, July 26 at 9:30 a.m.
Prosecution Rests In Duram Trial
By Ken DeLaat
Wednesday through Friday saw continuing testimony in the trial of Glenna Duram, accused of killing her husband Martin Duram. Jurors heard from medical personnel, forensic experts, and law enforcement as well as from family members.
During the ambulance ride to the hospital following the incident, EMT and State Police personnel stated Ms. Duram would become agitated whenever touched and said at one point during the transport “Why are you doing this, Marty?”
Thursday, Neurosurgeon Dr. Hayden Boyce spoke to the injuries Glenna Duram presented and was asked by Prosecuting Attorney Ellsworth Stay about the possible effects of the injuries to the brain from the gunshot wounds. Dr Boyce explained that the bullet crossed an area of the brain not vital to life with no major blood vessels involved. Asked by Mr. Stay if this could alter behavior and Dr. Boyce stated it could affect memory motivational drive and speech difficulty.
Mr Stay asked about the prognosis and Dr Boyce reported that the quality of life might be impaired depending on the memory or speech impairments but the injuries would not cause death.
Defense attorney Rick Prysock questioned an earlier statement by Dr Boyce when he replied ‘it’s possible’ to a query from Mr. Stay as to whether a person could walk around after an injury such as the one Ms. Duram had.
“You said someone could walk around?”
“I said it’s possible”
“But you didn’t see Glenna Duram walk around correct?”
“No. I have no way of knowing what she could do afterwards.”
Lieutenant Detective David Johnson spoke of assisting the investigative team in the collection of evidence.
Defense Attorney Mark Miller inquired about the manila envelope that contained letters from Glenna Duram’ to her two children and ex-husband. Mr. Miller asked Lt. Johnson of the MSP who was called in to help gather evidence whether this envelope was included when material was gathered and Lt. Johnson stated it was not.. The item was apparently found later when Martin Duram’s children began looking through the house the day after evidence gathering had been completed.
There was a great deal of attention given to this envelope. Jessica Duram daughter of Martin Duram testified she had found the item during their search of the house and shared it with her brothers. Justin Duram, Martin’s son, also reported his sister had found the envelope and that she called the letters inside ‘suicide notes’. The MSP were called and the letters were turned over to them.
Questions were also asked about money found in the home by Martin Duram’s children, an amount of about $5000. Jessica Duram stated the money was used to help pay for Martin Duram’s funeral. Justin Duram also testified that money was found that day.
On Friday the first witness called was Jason Duram who corroborated the money was found and taken from the house. Jason also stated he had visited with his father the previous Saturday and denied feeling any particular concern for the couple at that time.
He, like his siblings, was asked about the relationship between Martin and Glenna and reported they joked around a lot and that their relationship seemed to be ‘pretty good’.
Neighbor Tena Christie testified that she was a close friend to the Durams often seeing them up to five times a week at their house. She was asked if she knew much about their finances and she stated that Marty had once said that Glenna paid the bills.
Mr. Prysock asked if she had told a detective that she could not imagine Glenna doing anything like this and she stated she had.
Mr. Stay asked if she had known what had occurred when she said this and she replied “I wasn’t there.”
Mr. Prysock asked if she still felt that way resulting in an objection from Mr. Stay. After a sidebar Mr. Prysock asked what time she had seen them on the 11th and she stated it was after 4pm. He asked if she had concerns at that time and she said she did not.
Next on the stand were Martin Duram’s father and mother. Charles Duram was shown the handgun recovered at the house after the incident and stated the gun was his and that he had given it to his son for safekeeping. Mrs. Lillian Duram was asked if she was aware of an impending foreclosure of the house and she said there had been conversations about it with her son and Glenna.
Two witnesses reported serving notice of a sheriff’s sale of the home due to foreclosure that was to be held on May 12th 2015.
The final witness for the prosecution was Jeff Hoffman Detective Trooper Specialist for the MSP. Mr. Hoffman, a computer specialist,testified that the phone belonging to Glenna Duram had been used to access websites related to the Ruger 22 handgun that has been at the center of the investigation as the murder weapon in the early morning hours before the incident occurred.
During cross examination Mr. Miller asked if the witness had any knowledge of what was contained on the web pages found on the phone. Mr. Hoffman answered that he did not.
Mr. Miller also stated that with no DNA or fingerprints, “You don’t know if it was Glenna Duram that was using the phone.” and the witness agreed that this was true.
The focus of the proceedings this week seemed to be on the envelope containing three letters written by Glenna Duram, the money recovered by the three Duram siblings and the financial situation of Martin and Glenna Duram. Some witnesses spoke of believing there were money issues while others stated they had no knowledge of such problems. All seemed to agree that the Durams often were sarcastic with each other using humor that spoke to getting rid of each other. None who testified reported taking the statements seriously.
Financial problems involving the possible loss of their house was brought up many times but few who knew the Durams seemed to have a clear awareness of the nature or extent of their personal financial difficulties.
The trial resumes Monday when the defense team begins calling their witnesses.
By Ken DeLaat
On Tuesday July 11th jurors heard from the medical examiner and a weapons expert from the Michigan State Police during the second day of testimony in the murder trial of Glenna Duram.
Detective Lieutenant Jeff Crump went over the process used in testing the firearm found in the Duram household after Marty Duram was found shot to death in the Ensley Township home he shared with his wife,who stands accused of ending his life. Lt. Crump was asked if he could verify the cartridges came from the firearm in question and he reported that though there wasn’t enough evidence to say it was a match and there was also not enough evidence to eliminate it. It was inconclusive.
Lt. Crump also described how the pillow found with holes in it near the scene was determined to have been shot through twice from close range.
Defense Attorney Rick Prysock questioned some of the details of the results of the testings during cross examination. He pointed out what had been reported earlier that there was no conclusive evidence as to whether the bullets came from the gun found at the scene.
The jury also posed some questions to Lt. Crump, read by the Honorable Judge H. Kevin Drake who is presiding over the trial.
Most of the inquiries had to do with the pillow, asking if using it would muffle the sound and if it could even possibly silence it. The Lt. replied that it could have an effect on the sound though not silence it completely. Another question asked if it could still be heard by neighbors but Lt. Crump stated there was no way to determine that since too many unknown factors were involved.
The trial continues Wednesday morning.
By Ken DeLaat
Jurors in the trial of Glenna Duram who is accused of first degree murder in the death of her husband Marty Duram began to hear testimony as Prosecutor Ellsworth Stay brought forth witnesses who came onto the scene at the Duram home.
The first was Connie Ream who described herself as a friend and neighbor to the Durams. Ms. Ream was asked about the days leading up to the incident and explained how after a couple of days of not being able to connect with the Durams as they usually did, she and her husband Wayne became fearful that something as amiss. She also recalled hearing gunshots previously but assumed they were from hunters. Mr. Ream was out of town on his job as a truck driver and encouraged his wife to check out the house.
After knocking on doors and windows and attempting to contact the Durams via text messages and phone calls Ms Ream, who heard the dog belonging to the couple barking from inside the house, entered the house and when she went to the bedroom she found Marty Duram curled up on the floor of the bedroom with apparent blood stains and Glenna Durham lying nearby.
“Can you describe your emotional state at that point?” asked Mr. Stay.
“Horrified,” she replied.
Ms. Ream told how she ran to a nearby house where firemen had been extinguishing a garage fire and brought them back to the house. Upon entering the room the firemen recognized it to be a crime scene and retreated, calling for the police.
Sergeant Gary Wilson of the Michigan State Police was the next to take the stand. He described arriving on the scene seeing casings on the bed and the Durams on the floor.
Mr Stay asked the Sergeant if he or anyone else stopped to check on Ms. Durham and the reply was no each time explaining that they were operating under the assumption that there were two deceased bodies in the room.
After they received assistance from Ms. Ream to get the dog out of the bedroom where it maintained a position over the body of Mr Duram Sergeant Wilson said he looked at Glenna Duram and felt she did not look deceased. When he went to take her pulse she lurched forward struggling with the officer yelling “Leave me alone” and “I don’t feel good”.
Wilson said he tried to reassure her saying ‘we’re here to help you’ but she continued to struggle. When strapped into a stretcher for transport to the hospital Wilson said Ms. Duram kept fighting to try to undo the straps.
During cross examination Defense Attorney Mark Miller asked Sergeant Wilson if he knew who had been in the room prior to himself to which Wilson replied that only Ms. Ream and a couple of First Responders. Miller also inquired about Wilson’s testimony that Ms. Durham did not look deceased.
“What does it look like?”
“It’s a different look. I’ve been doing this 23 years and I’ve seen it a lot There’s just something different about the way they look."
Wayne Ream was also called and was asked questions about the friendship he and his wife had with the Durams
Mr Stay called several of the First Responders and other state police personnel who each delivered similar accounts to those given by the previous witnesses. He also called Joseph Bozek of the MSP Canine Unit who told of searching the area around the house with his dog Garo, a search that turned up nothing.
Mr. Miller and M. Prysock questioned each witness briefly and the day's hearing came to an end.
The trial resumes Tuesday morning.
Ensley Township woman standing trial in 2015 death of her husband
By Ken DeLaat
The murder trial of Glenna Mary Duram charged with first degree murder in the May 2015 death of her husband Marty Duram got underway in the 27th Circuit Court in White Cloud Friday as the jury of 12 + 2 alternates (11 women and 3 men) heard opening arguments from the prosecution and the defense.
The Honorable H. Kevin Drake presided over the proceedings that began with Newaygo County Prosecuting Attorney Ellsworth Stay addressing the jury as to the evidence that will be presented including DNA, the firearms report, phone messages and letters gathered by the Michigan State Police during their investigation.
He also spoke to the financial problems that may have been a factor in the tragic event with a Sheriff’s sale of the house pending that very week.
Citing a preponderance of evidence gathered at the scene and through further investigation Mr. Stay concluded “It quickly becomes evident that the defendant murdered Marty Duram and attempted to commit suicide.”
Defense attorneys Rick Prysock and Mark Miller then took their turn talking to jury members with Mr. Prysock discussing the role of the jury in such cases and Mr. Miller casting doubts on the efficacy of what had been presented as evidence.He also questioned the influence of the financial difficulties pointing out that the Duram’s had adequate resources.
“They didn’t have financial problems, they had bill paying problems,” he stated.
“Mr. Stay has to prove without a reasonable doubt that Glenna Duram killed Marty Duram,”said Mr. Miller.
“Glenna Duram did not pull that trigger,”
Ms. Duram sat quietly through the proceedings though she appeared to tear up when Mr. Miller spoke of the relationship between she and her husband.
Judge Drake related instructions to the jury advising them to not discuss the case and to refrain from looking at news reports or social media posts regarding the case.
The jury was then dismissed until Monday morning when the trial will resume.
By N3 News Team
Grand Rapids resident Lawrence Amante was heading home from a camping trip in the northern part of the state Thursday morning and as he pulled into White Cloud he began to smell gas in the 30 foot front engine motor home he was driving.
According to White Cloud Police Chief Dan Evans when Amante reached the traffic light on M-37 he saw flames coming from the floor between him and the passenger seat. Amante pulled the vehicle into the parking lot just beyond the light and exited as the motor home burst into flames.
The White Cloud Fire Department assisted by the Newaygo Fire Department extinguished the fire but not before it devoured the motor home and melted electrical wires above.
Chief Evans stated that traffic was diverted for about an hour with the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department assisting.
County Still Seeking Fremont Recycling Site
By Ken DeLaat
At the regular meeting of the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday June 28th, Commissioner Vern Willett made a motion that the Road Commission be disbanded and the duties now assigned to that group come under the Board of Commissioners.
Mr.Willett expressed his concern that the three member Road Commission was not accountable to the public under the present arrangement and also felt the compensation received by the Road Commission could be saved by having the Board run the organization.
“I think it would be a great step to help eliminate all the money this county is wasting,” he stated. “Three unelected road commissioners run the road commission for 6 year terms and their pay is equivalent to what a board commissioner makes.”
“It’s just one more layer of bureaucracy.”
Commissioners Brian Kolk and Phil Deur expressed reservations about making any changes to the current structure and Commissioner Jim Maike did as well, adding the concern that this issue is brought before the board before going through the channels of appropriate committees.
Commissioner Chris Ortwein stated he had high regard for the work being done by Road Commission and singled out praise for the job performance of Director Kelly Smith .
“They’re doing a great job. Why rock the boat?” added Commissioner Ortwein
Commissioner Chuck Trapp also expressed support for the current arrangement and spoke to the innovations such as the fuel depot installed years ago.
“They’ve saved us thousands and thousands of dollars, “ said Mr. Trapp.”We’ve got a good thing and I won’t tamper with it.”
Board Chair Patrick Gardner clarified the money paid to members of the RC stating “The highest paid member is the chair and he makes $5013 a year with a $50 monthly per diem and the health insurance is optional.”
He also expressed concerns over liability costs should such a change occur and stated that only 3 counties have tried this with one reverting back to the previous system.
In the end the Board voted 6-1 against the motion with Commissioner Willett casting the lone vote in favor.
In other business Rich Kooistra was recognized by the Board of Commissioners on the occasion of his retirement Mr. Kooistra has been with the county since 2004 and with the Equalization Department since 2005.
The resolution cited his dedication, loyalty and long term service to Newaygo County
Commissioners selected Burton Cooper to serve on the Veterans Affairs Committee. Mr. Cooper was one of four candidates for the position.
A motion to change the per diem rate for those serving on county boards from $30 to $50 was referred to committee for further research by a 6-1 vote with Commissioner Willett casting the dissenting vote.
Administrator Chris Wren reported the county is continuing to search for a recycling site in Fremont to replace the one closed last month.
The next Board of Commissioners meeting will be on Wednesday July 12th at 9:30am. Meetings are held at the County Administrative building in White Cloud.
From Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office:
On July 1st at 3:54 PM, Newaygo County Central Dispatch received a report of a missing tuber on the Muskegon River. Sheriff’s Deputies were sent to the area of Devil’s Hole, in Brooks Township, and upon arriving found that a 25 year old male had gone missing while tubing on the river.
Divers from the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office, and the Newaygo Fire Department, searched the river until the victim’s body was located approximately 1 ½ miles downriver. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
The victim is identified as 25 year old Dwight Keene Coleman of Grand Rapids, MI.
Deputies were assisted at the scene by the Newaygo Fire Department, Michigan DNR, Newaygo Police Department and the Michigan State Police. This incident remains under investigation by the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office.
The Muskegon River continues to be at higher levels than normal which causes stronger currents. If your plans are to use the Muskegon River over the Holiday, please be vigilant of the dangerous conditions and plan appropriately.
NC RESA Recognizing a Pioneer – Dr. Larry Ivens
Fremont-After 45 years of serving schools and communities in Newaygo County, Dr. Larry Ivens is logging off at Newaygo County RESA for the last time. Beginning as a Data Processing teacher at the Newaygo County Career-Tech Center in the early 1970s and promoted through the years to the Executive Director of Technology Services, Dr. Ivens has truly been a pioneer in Newaygo County.
Dr. Ivens is credited as our local “Father of Internet” spurred by his professional contributions in writing and winning the federal Challenge grant in 1994 that made the technology infrastructure throughout Newaygo County possible. He has navigated technological innovation from microprocessors to various programming languages; from dial-up Internet to wireless services; from hard disks to floppy disks to the Cloud. Larry has experienced it all.
He founded the Newaygo County Advanced Technology Services (NCATS), a unique Educational Telecommunications Network established in 1995, that connects Newaygo County’s K-12 schools, agencies and governments with a long-term fiber optic solution ready to adapt to changing demands. Dr. Ivens also established a consortium to govern the use of Newaygo County’s Educational Telecommunications Network.
Dr. Ivens has led the Newaygo County Advanced Technology Services (NCATS) and has been providing services to Newaygo County’s educational community for many decades. He has stayed abreast of the many changes in technology over the years and now the community wishes him well in his next change journey.
DNR confirms presence of a cougar in Lower Peninsula;
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of a cougar -- also referred to as a mountain lion – in Bath Township, Clinton County. This is the first time the presence of a cougar has been verified by the DNR in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
On June 21, 2017, a Haslett resident took a photograph of an animal from his vehicle in Bath Township near the DNR’s Rose Lake State Wildlife Area. The individual reported that he spotted a large cat in his headlights as the animal attempted to cross a road. He captured the photograph as the cougar turned back from the road into an area of thick vegetation.
The picture was made available to the DNR June 26. A field investigation ensued. DNR biologist Chad Fedewa and biologists from the DNR’s Cougar Team reviewed the photo and visited the site where it was taken, determining that the animal in the photo was a cougar.
“Even with this verification, questions remain, especially regarding the origins of the animal,” said Kevin Swanson, DNR wildlife specialist and member of the agency’s Cougar Team. “There is no way for us to know if this animal is a dispersing transient from a western state, like cougars that have been genetically tested from the Upper Peninsula, or if this cat was released locally."
Cougars originally were native to Michigan, but were extirpated from Michigan around the turn of the century. The last time a wild cougar was legally taken in the state was near Newberry in 1906. Over the past few years, numerous cougar reports have been received from various locations throughout Michigan. Until this time, all confirmed sightings or tracks have been in the Upper Peninsula. Since 2008 a total of 36 cougar sightings have been documented in Michigan’s U.P. To date, the DNR has not confirmed a breeding population of cougars in Michigan.
Cougars are protected under the state Endangered Species Act and cannot be harmed except to protect human life.
Interested landowners within the area of the recent Clinton County sighting may wish to place trail cameras on their properties. The DNR encourage citizens to submit pictures of possible sightings for verification. Observations should be reported at mi.gov/eyesinthefield. If you find physical evidence of a cougar such as scat, tracks or a carcass, do not disturb the area and keep the physical evidence intact. Please include any photos with your report.
The odds of encountering a cougar in the wild are very small, and attacks on humans are extremely rare. Should you encounter a cougar:
Fremont Area Community Foundation Welcomes Two New Trustees
At their annual meeting on June 15, the members of Fremont Area Community Foundation elected two new trustees to the Community Foundation board.
William Leaver and Peggy Rossler were elected to join 13 other trustees who guide the Community Foundation’s operations, strategic direction, and grant allocations.
Leaver grew up in Fremont and had a 40-year career in hospital administration. He retired as president and CEO of UnityPoint Health in Iowa and he and his wife Jeanne returned to Newaygo County. They share an interest in supporting vulnerable families and helping to raise local people out of poverty.
Leaver noted that involvement in the Community Foundation allows him to build on his family’s efforts in a more organized way.
“I see the opportunity through Fremont Area Community Foundation,” said Leaver. “I have always been impressed by the effect the Community Foundation has on the broader community. I want to contribute in a positive way and to share my expertise. My goal is to be supportive in a way that’s helpful and moves the organization forward.”
Rossler came to Newaygo County in the early 1980s when her husband took a job as a school administrator in White Cloud. They raised their three sons in the area and Peggy worked in special education for Newaygo schools. She later worked as a teacher and consultant for West Shore Educational Service District.
“I have a heart for education, particularly for early and special education,” said Rossler, who will also serve on the Amazing X Charitable Trust board. “I am particularly interested in supporting families with young children as they provide opportunities to develop early literacy skills.”
Added Rossler, “I’m very honored and very happy to be part of this organization I’ve respected for so long. I look forward to having a voice to make a positive impact in all of our communities in Newaygo County.”
Leaver and Rossler fill vacancies left by retiring trustees Dr. Robert Clouse and William Johnson.
“We are so grateful for the years of faithful service given to the Community Foundation by our departing trustees,” said Carla Roberts, FACF president and CEO. “And we are excited to welcome Peggy and William. Their experience, expertise, and commitment to Newaygo County will be great additions to our board.”
Board officers were also elected at the annual business meeting. Lindsay Hager will continue as chair, and Cathy Kissinger will continue to serve as vice chair. William Alsover was elected as treasurer, and Lola Harmon-Ramsey will be secretary.
Vanderlaan’s take ownership in Grant, Croton
By Ken DeLaat
Grocery stores are big news in these parts having made frequent appearances in the local headlines of late what with the looming presence of Meijer in Fremont and Leppink’s recent opening in Newaygo.
And now an entrepreneurial young couple has purchased two stores that have served the customers of our area for 6 decades.
N3 recently caught up with the very busy Elliott and LaRissa Vanderlaan, new owners of the Gene’s Family Market stores in Grant and Croton. The couple who met while in high school at West Michigan Christian, continued the courtship through their college years before taking their vows as husband and wife.
And now they are embarking on a new journey.
DNV GL failed to follow conflict of interest rule; second contractor’s alternatives report continues
Lansing-The State of Michigan today terminated a contract with Det Norske Veritas, Inc. (DNV GL), the firm preparing a risk analysis report on the Line 5 pipeline below the Straits of Mackinac. The contract was terminated prior to the draft report being delivered to the state’s project team.
Within the past month, the state’s project team became aware that an employee who had worked on the risk analysis at DNV GL subsequently worked on another project for Enbridge Energy Co., Inc., which owns the Line 5 pipeline, while the risk analysis was being completed. This is a violation of conflict of interest prohibitions contained in the contract.
“We took the initiative to terminate the contract based on our commitment to the complete integrity and transparency of this report. Ultimately the state will have to decide how to proceed with Line 5 and we can’t do that if there is any doubt regarding the nature of the information,” said C. Heidi Grether, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
“The evaluations of Line 5 were supposed to be independent, not tainted by outside opinions or information, but that’s not what happened. Instead, our trust was violated and we now find ourselves without a key piece needed to fully evaluate the financial risks associated with the pipeline that runs through our Great Lakes, this is unacceptable,” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. “Terminating the contract is the only option we have to maintain the integrity of the risk analysis.”
DNV GL was hired by the state in 2016 following an extensive request for proposal process including review and selection by a team with diverse technical backgrounds. The contract requires that DNV GL employees working on the risk assessment maintain complete independence from any other project involving Enbridge during the term and length of the contract.
At the same time it hired DNV GL, the state also hired a separate firm, Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems, Inc., to prepare an alternative analysis report on the Line 5 pipeline.
“The State put strict rules in place that required both contractors to avoid any appearance of impropriety. We are disappointed that those requirements were not followed by DNV GL, as that rendered the work essentially unusable to us,” said Valerie Brader, executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy. “That led to us making today’s decision to terminate the contract.”
Dynamic Risk Assessment System’s draft report is proceeding and will be delivered to the state project team by the end of this month. Their draft alternative analysis will be posted on the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline website, www.mipetroleumpipelines.com, for public review and comment by the end of the month.
“Public discussion of the alternatives analysis will help inform next steps regarding the risk analysis on Line 5,” said Keith Creagh, director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “Fundamental to the state’s actions is a shared commitment to protecting our Great Lakes.”
Representatives from Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems will present their findings to the public on July 6, 2017, beginning at 5:00 p.m. at Holt High School, 5885 Holt Road, Holt, Michigan, 48842. Later in July, the state will hold three public feedback sessions on the report: July 24 in the Lansing area and Traverse City; and July 25 in St. Ignace.
The State of Michigan commissioned the two independent contractors to complete risk and alternative analyses on the Line 5 pipeline following a recommendation in the 2015 Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force Report.
Looking to buy property? Interested in purchasing 5 to 40 acres?
Foreclosed properties go on the auction block August 3rd
Newaygo County will be holding its first auction of foreclosed property for nonpayment of the 2014 property taxes on August 3, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. in the Board of Commissioner’s Room in the Administration building.
“We are very proud of our work in the Treasurer’s Office helping taxpayers save their properties,” stated Holly Moon, Newaygo County Treasurer. “This year marks the lowest foreclosure numbers ever in Newaygo County with 71 total foreclosures, and 41 of the total parcels are for the most part non-conforming parcels in one of our northern townships.”
The upcoming auction is open to the public and registration begins at 12:00 p.m. Online registration will be available prior to the sale by linking onto the County Treasurer’s webpage. A potential buyer must bring a $1,000 deposit in the form of cash, money order or cashier’s check made out to themselves in order to register. If a person is a successful bidder, the deposit will apply towards their purchase and the balance of the transaction is due by 5:00 p.m. on the day of auction. An unsuccessful bidder will receive their deposit back in full the day of auction. There is a 10% buyer’s premium and $59 deed preparation fee added to each parcel purchased. According to State statute, buyers must pay the 2017 summer tax bill before the deed can be executed.
The list of properties available for auction along with any available pictures and maps can be found on the County website at www.countyofnewaygo.com; then navigate to the County Treasurer’s page and select the “Properties for Auction” tab.
Additionally, Frequently Asked Questions and the Terms and Conditions of the Sale are located there as well. The Newaygo County Treasurer’s Office also has a hard copy of the property list available for purchase for $9. All properties offered at auction are sold “as is” “where is,” and it is up to the buyer to do their homework as to the use of the property and to execute any eviction process that may be necessary.
This auction is for the real property only, and the buyer will receive a Quit Claim Deed to the property. There are no liens carrying forward on any of the parcels offered, but the new buyer is responsible for all of the 2017 and future property tax bills.
Any parcels not sold on August 3, 2017, will be offered again on September 21, 2017. This auction will be run the same as the August auction with the possibility of some additional parcels being added for property owners who did not pay their 2014 property taxes by the extension deadline. Online registration will also be available by linking onto the County Treasurer’s webpage for the September Auction.
From the Newaygo Police Department Regarding Recent Vandalism in the City
Graffiti occurred the evening of Saturday 6/17/2017 after 9pm and before Sunday 6/18/2017 at 0830 hours. If anyone saw anything suspicious, please call Newaygo police Department at 231.652.1655 and speak to the on-duty officer. The graffiti has caused significant damage to private residents and businesses. Officers are actively investigating leads and conducting follow up. Along with that, we are pulling video surveillance at the locations and along the route.
The graffiti is on a path from the church on Quarterline to downtown city businesses.
Illegal Dumping Prompts Closure of Fremont Recycling Site
BPW seeking new location
From the Newaygo County Board of Public Works:
The Fremont recycling location is closing. Recycling for Newaygo County ceased all operation and ownership of all county sites they once maintained on March 31, 2017 and the County of Newaygo has taken on the responsibility for all remaining sites. Recycling for Newaygo county was informed months ago of the need to find a new location by the city of Fremont. The County has been diligently looking for a alternative since we took over on April 1, 2017. The city of Fremont has worked with us to help find a site and to give us as much time as possible to relocate. However, because of almost daily illegal dumping and misuse of site it is not controllable and is closing. Users have been dumping non-recyclable items such as house siding, televisions, construction waste, used motor oil, vehicle windshields, carpet, carpet padding and toilets. Removing and disposing these non-recyclables is costly, time consuming and unsightly.
We have a meeting with a potential alternative on Monday, June 19, but will take a fair amount of time to get done if at all. The one thing we know is a new recycling site will need a greater ability to be controlled through some optional means. As for now we are still looking for volunteers who can help police sites and do other minor things like site clean ups and educating users. We would also love to have people who witnessed any of the unlawful dumps at our sites to come forward so we can prosecute. We are currently pursuing one case and will go after others if and when possible.
Newaygo County Man Missing
The Michigan State Police Hart Post - Newaygo Detachment is attempting to locate Terry Glenn Watts, white male, date of birth: January 25, 1963. Mr. Watts left his residence on foot last evening, sometime around 10:00 p.m. He was last seen in the area of 10136 Spruce Street, Grant Township, Newaygo County, wearing a green t-shirt, gray shorts, flip-flops and socks. Mr. Watts has several different medical conditions and is without his medication. If he is located, please contact Newaygo County Central Dispatch at (231) 689-5288.
By Ken DeLaat
Mark Guzniczak of The Right Place and the Newaygo County Economic Development Office delivered an update to the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners at their regular meeting on June 14th. In it he outlined some of the initiatives undertaken and on tap to enhance the local economic and employment picture.
Mr. Guzniczak spoketo the efforts that resulted in two major investments this past year including expansion at HWI (formerly Narco) and the new Co-op facility in White Cloud and current projects referring to the relocation of a Chicago area company to this area which is projected...
Bears In Your Woods?
With numerous recent sightings of our large and furry friends in our parts we at N3 World Headquarters and Ursine Avoidance Center felt this timely information from the DNR might be worthy of a glance.
The Department of Natural Resources asks Michigan residents to help keep the state’s up-north icon a wild animal by keeping bears at a distance. With many people (whether they're seasonal visitors or year-round residents) outdoors and enjoying northern Michigan in the summer months, removing bird feeders is an easy answer to bear problems.
“When situations occur concerning a bear, some form of food has usually attracted the bear into the area,” said DNR wildlife communications coordinator Katie Keen. “The common element is usually a bird feeder – seed, suet and even hummingbird feeders. The good news is a homeowner can choose to take control of the situation.”
Michigan’s estimated black bear population is over 12,000 adult bears – 2,000 in the northern Lower Peninsula and 10,000 across the Upper Peninsula. Typically, black bears are shy animals, but they have a great sense of smell and can remember a food source. As a result, a black bear will go places it normally wouldn’t if a food reward is available.
In addition to bird feeders, pet food, garbage, barbeque grills and bee hives also can attract bears. Pet food should be stored indoors, as should garbage until the time of pickup. Garbage that is set out the night before can attract bears and can have more of an impact than just an overturned garbage can.
“Bear are smart, so we have to be smarter,” said Keen. “They are wild animals that are unpredictable and can travel many miles. Your habits can affect those around you, and a bear that loses its natural fear of humans because food has been introduced can end up being bold or dangerous and may need to be put down.”
Michigan’s bear population generally is found in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula and across the Upper Peninsula. Bears eat most items found in the forest, including plants, berries, nuts, acorns, insects and, occasionally, small mammals. Because bears will eat most anything, their behavior and normal travel patterns will change if an easy food source is discovered.
“Don’t wait for the first time a bear knocks down your bird feeder or garbage can; be proactive and don’t let a habit form,” said Keen.
Learn more about living with bears and ways to avoid attracting bears to your property with the DNR’s “The Bear Essentials” video.
Bear population and distribution are managed through regulated bear hunting. Michigan’s bear hunting seasons vary by bear management unit, with the first 2017 season starting Sept. 8. A total of 7,140 bear hunting licenses will be available this fall. Bear hunting licenses are distributed through a preference point system.
Fremont Area Community Foundation Awards $2.45M in Spring Grant Round
Fremont Area Community Foundation recently announced the results of its spring community grant round, awarding $2.45 million to local agencies and programs.
Among the wide variety of organizations and projects receiving funding were three grants that strengthen efforts to move local residents from poverty to prosperity.
Family of God Community Church in Newaygo received a $20,000 grant to support their Hope 101 transitional housing program. The congregation purchased and renovated a three-apartment home called Anchor Home in Newaygo, which now gives individuals and families a safe place to live while they set goals and work toward self-sufficiency.
Renovations recently began on a second, single-family home, which was donated to the ministry. Through Hope 101, residents also have access to mentoring and counseling services.
In addition to grant support for poverty to prosperity work, community grants were also awarded in the areas of community and economic development, education, and nonprofit sustainability.
“We’re proud to support great organizations and programs taking collective action to solve critical local needs,” said Carla Roberts, Community Foundation President and CEO. “By connecting our generous donors to identified needs, our community will achieve much greater success.”
Community grant applications are accepted in two rounds per year, with the next deadline on September 1. Eligible agencies must be located in, or directly serve, the people of Newaygo County. For more information, visit facommunityfoundation.org/grants.