Grand Haven Tribune

October 25 2014

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By Krystle Wagner Three candidates are looking to fill three six- year term seats on the Grand Haven school board on Nov. 4. In addition, five write- in candidates are after one two-year term. Incumbent John Siemion, former school board member Seth Holt and newcomer James O'Neal are on the ballot for the three six-year terms. The write-in candidates for the one two- year seat are incumbent Chris Houghtaling, former school board member Brandon Hall, Nichol Stack, Brett Tompkins and Matt Wiedenhoeft. In order to vote for a write- in candidate, voters must write in the candidate's name and fill in the oval on the ballot. Hall said he applied as a write-in candidate because nobody else was running for the school board seat, and he thought it would be disappointing for the board to appoint someone. Hall said he has a passion for the district, which he describes as unique and an amazing place. "I know we have an awesome district, and I know there are some areas we can do better," he said. Houghtaling said he didn't file the necessary documents to get his name on the ballot in time because he considered not running, but he changed his mind because he would like to finish the work he's been part of for the past dozen years. "I think I still have many things I can contribute," Houghtaling said. Nichol Stack is a Grand Haven High School alumna and has been involved in the Coast Guard Festival. She attended school to become a math teacher, but she didn't want to leave the area despite the lack of available jobs in her field. "This is a way to get back involved in that educational aspect without being a teacher," Stack said. Brett Tompkins is also a graduate of Grand Haven High School. He said his oldest child just started preschool in the district and his son will also attend Grand Haven schools. Tompkins said the district is good, but believes changes can be made. "I want to make Grand Haven Area Public Schools a blue-ribbon school district," he said. Wiedenhoeft said he wants to be part of making decisions so Grand Haven maintains its top status. While his three children attend St. Mary's Catholic School in Spring Lake, Wiedenhoeft said he believes he can contribute to the public school district with his experience in teaching economics and BUSY. BUSY. BUSY. BUSY. BUSY. BUSY. BUSY. BUSY. Life insurance shouldn't wait. Even though life is busy, take a moment to reflect on what's most important. For peace of mind, protect your family with State Farm ® life insurance. We put the life back in life insurance. ™ CONTACT AN AGENT TODAY. State Farm Life Insurance Company (Not licensed in MA, NY or WI), State Farm Life and Accident Assurance Company (Licensed in NY and WI), Bloomington, IL 1311012 Mike Heck, Agent 923 Franklin Avenue Grand Haven, MI 49417 Bus: 616-847-8400 Sam Martin, Agent 1475 Robbins Road Grand Haven, MI 49417 Bus: 616-846-8470 Doug Heins, Agent 701 E Savidge Spring Lake, MI 49456 Bus: 616-846-4040 2013 & 2014 Newspaper of the Year Saturday, october 25, 2014 50¢ Weekday, $1.00 Saturday INSIDE: What does organic mean? See Story, Page 7 INSIDE: Your Fall Photo Contest winners See Living Local, Section C tomorrow's Weather Sunny, cooler High 57 Low 44 Grand Haven Tribune Keep up with breaking news 24/7 at WEEKEND EDITION Woman charged in fatal crash Motorcyclists killed in head-on collision; police say car's driver intoxicated Courtesy photo robert and susan Kammeraad, seen here "riding off into the sunset" as robert wrote in his Facebook page, died June 1 after a car driven by a grand Haven woman swerved into their lane and hit them, police said. Tribune photo Ciara Byers, left, posted this photo of herself on Facebook one week after causing the motorcycle crash that killed a Holland couple. Police say she was intoxicated when driving the car and, after a lengthy investigation, have charged her with the couple's deaths. GH board candidates talk funds Tribune photos/Krystle Wagner TOP: Knoah sweat keeps an eye on his brother, Jacob sweat, during a game of "freeze tag." Knoah, 7, was born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. Knoah's mother, tonya Bennett, has made raising awareness about dwarfism a passion to help others understand her son's affliction. MIDDLE: tonya Bennett helps Knoah off the playground equipment near their grand Haven township home. tonya, a mother of three children, said some people become confused when they see Knoah acting like an average 7-year-old despite his height of about 39 inches. "He's a child in a short, compact body," she said. BOTTOM: Knoah's loose joints allow him to be flexible. In addition to doing the splits, Knoah can touch his foot to his forehead and lick his elbow 'Way God made me' Boy, 7, and mom bring awareness to dwarfism By Krystle Wagner GRAND HAVEN TWP. — Knoah Sweat bolted out the front door of his family's home. "Mom, can I drive your car? I won't crash it," the 7-year-old said with a smile. Despite his charming grin, Tonya Bennett declined to let her young son jump behind the wheel. Instead, Knoah settled for playing a game he calls "Ball Tag" with his older brother, Jacob Sweat. From the time Bennett learned her son had a birth defect, she made it her mission to learn more about dwarfism, and particularly achondroplasia, which Knoah was diagnosed with at 2 days old. While Knoah looks forward to celebrating his 8th birthday in a few weeks, November holds a special place in his mother's heart. Since 2009, Michigan has recognized November as Dwarfism Awareness Month, which Bennett helped make happen because she felt nothing was being done. As Knoah and Jacob threw a small, blue bouncy ball across the road trying to catch it, Bennett's smile faded and tears clouded her eyes as she remembered the early years of Knoah's life. "It's changed my perspective of differences," the Grand Haven Township woman said. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, achondroplasia occurs in about 1 in every 15,000 to 40,000 newborns, and it's the most common form of short-limb dwarfism. The U.S. National By trIBUne staFF A Grand Haven woman faces felony charges for the deaths of a husband and wife in a summer motorcycle crash. Ciara Siobhan Byers, 23, was arrested Oct. 18 and charged with two counts of operating while intoxicated causing death and operating under the influence or impaired causing serious injury. She was arraigned Oct. 20 by Magistrate Kirby Goodwin in Allegan County District Court. She is free on $5,000 bond. Motorcyclist Robert John Kammeraad, 69, and his wife, Susan Mae Kammeraad, 68, the passenger on the motorcycle, died in the 5:40 p.m. crash on June 1 at M-40 and Babylon Road in Allegan Township. The vehicle, driven by Byers, was southbound on M-40 and she failed to notice vehicles had stopped in front of her for a left turn, police said. She swerved into the northbound lane to avoid the vehicles and struck the motorcycle in a head-on collision. See GHAPS on Page 3 See KNOAH on Page 3 See CHARGED on Page 3 Page 9 SPORTS East Kentwood 56, Grand Haven 17 Spring Lake 56, Shelby 19 DeWitt 40, Fruitport 0 Muskegon CC 42, Ravenna 0

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