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‘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.

GR's first 2016 bridal show held at art museum

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- An event in Grand Rapids wanted to take advantage of all those holiday proposals. The Winter Bridal Show, the area's first bridal show of 2016, was Monday night at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Future brides and grooms checked out offerings from area florists, photographers, and bakeries, and saw what's trending for 2016 weddings.

Organizers say the planning party is a great way to see a lot of wedding options all in one place.

"It's a full-fledged bridal show in a very unique setting," said Kohler Expos president Denise Kolesar. "Planning your wedding all under one roof makes it easy and accessible."

Woman gets leniency for accidental death of child

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) – Although a Kent County jury convicted Rebecca Joy Cotes of involuntary manslaughter for the accidental asphyxiation death of her special needs daughter, the circumstances do not warrant prison.

That was the determination of Kent County Circuit Court Judge George Jay Quist, who on Monday sentenced the 37-year-old Wyoming mother to 4½ months in jail.

A Kent County jury convicted Cotes in the March 2014 death of 18-month-old Hannah Hoag, who died after her breathing tube became dislodged as the child slept.

Hoag was a niece Cotes adopted in 2013. She moved from northern Michigan to the Grand Rapids area where the child could receive better medical attention, the woman's attorney said.