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Grand Rapids officers plan to begin patrolling on horseback


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Police in Grand Rapids plan to begin patrolling on horseback.

The Grand Rapids Police Department is partnering with the Kent County Sheriff's Department for some city officers to work with the mounted unit.

The police department notes there are several benefits of having officers on horses, including offering a better vantage point, controlling crowds and interacting positively with the public.

Officers involved in the effort will participate in training sessions.

Police Chief David Rahinsky says there's no new cost to the city. The sheriff's department has several horses in its mounted unit.

Bus beating brings ex-Rapid driver community service


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- A Rapid Bus driver convicted of assaulting a teen passenger during an afternoon run last April was sentenced Tuesday to community service.

Alicia Miller, 54, was sentenced in Grand Rapids District Court today for assault and battery, a misdemeanor.

Judge Jennifer Faber ordered her to perform 56 hours of community service and pay $575 in fines and court costs.

The charge stems from an April 30, 2015, verbal confrontation on Tremont Boulevard NW with a teenage passenger that turned physical.

‘Selfishness and greed’ brings serial embezzler prison


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) – For more than a decade, Shannon Marie Schelling has had a problem keeping her hands off of other people’s money.

The Cedar Springs woman with two embezzlement convictions took an office job at H2Oasis near Rockford about three years ago. It didn’t take long for money to start disappearing.

Owner Richard Brill called the losses to the family-run company “devastating.’’

“Whether we survive this, I don’t know,’’ he told Schelling in court Monday. “You’ve done more damage to your kids than you have to my company. Everything you have done is focused just on what’s best for Shannon.’’

That faceoff took place in Kent County Circuit Court, where Schelling appeared for sentencing on a conviction of embezzlement of more than $100,000.

Ralph Hauenstein: Philanthropist, war veteran dies


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Ralph Hauenstein passed away Sunday at the age of 103.

Hauenstein has worn several hats through the years. He was a journalist, World War II veteran, successful businessman and a philanthropist.

"I'm no DeVos, or Van Andel, Wege, or Meijer, but with what little I made, I'm sharing, which I'm glad to do," he said in a 2007 interview with WZZM 13. 

One of those donations went to Grand Valley State University, where he helped build the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University. 

Kent County prosecutor declines reelection bid


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth announced he will not seek reelection in the coming year.

Forsyth, who has served Kent County for the past 30 years, said it is time to step aside, according to a news release. He spent an additional 12 years as a prosecutor prior to the county position.

"Although witnessing the acts of inhumanity that we as a society inflict on one another can take its toll, the opportunity to have been an advocate for the victims of crime has been incredibly rewarding," Forsyth said in the news release. "Nothing will ever match or replace the joy, the pride and the heartache I experienced as a prosecutor."


New chairperson picked for Kent County board


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- The Kent County Board of Commissioners selected Jim Saalfeld as the new chairperson Tuesday morning.

Jim Saalfeld, who has served as the District 11 commissioner since 2010, was appointed to replace former chairperson Dan Koorndyk. Saalfeld is employed by BISSELL Homecare as director and in-house legal counsel.

"... We have the seventh lowest tax millage rate than any county in Michigan out of 83 counties, so you can tell on those stats alone that we're very well run," Saalfeld said. "I'm fortunate to inherit that legacy, and my primary goal is to continue to run the county in that way."

District 13 Commissioner Dick VanderMolen, who has served since 1987, announced the upcoming term will be his last.


Husband blames postpartum depression for wife's suicide on Christmas


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Cody Hettich says postpartum depression drove his wife Sasha, the mother of his two children, to commit suicide on Christmas Day.

Early that afternoon he says Sasha told him she and their 3-year-old daughter and 5-month-old son were going to Starbucks.

The next day deputies found her in a remote area dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Her shivering baby son was strapped inside her vehicle.

Her 3-year-old daughter was snuggled up against her body. Both were treated for hypothermia.

Cody Hettich blames postpartum depression for his wife's behavior.