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New family friendly summer event: 'Movies in Roger's Park'

New family friendly summer event: 'Movies in Roger's Park'

SPARTA, Mich.—A new family event is coming to Roger’s Park this summer.

The Sparta Downtown Development Authority has given the green light to Movies in the Park.  The first movie will be “The Little Rascals” on August 2.  Visitors to Roger’s Park can catch a showing of “Mary Poppins” August 16.    

Both showings begin at dusk and are free, but families should bring their own blankets, lawn chairs and popcorn.

Special performance – Beautiful Africa

SPARTA, Mich.-- Since 1994, the Watato Children’s Choir has travelled internationally as advocates for the estimated 50 million African children orphaned due to poverty, HIV/AIDS, war and disease.

The Sparta United Methodist Church invites the community to witness the vision and mission of this choir through stories, music and dance on Tuesday, June 25.  The performances begin at 7 p.m. at the chuch, located at 54 E. Division St. There is no charge for the event but an offering is encouraged to support orphans of the Watoto Children’s Village.

For more information, visit  http://www.watoto.com/ or call (616) 887-8255.

Suspect caught in Sparta gas station hold-up

SPARTA, Mich. (WZZM) - Sparta police say a man suspected in a weekend gas station hold-up is in jail.

The robbery happened just after 10 p.m. Saturday at the Admiral Gas station at the corner of State Street and Gardner.

Authorities say the suspect, who was armed with a knife, entered that store and demanded money and cigarettes from the clerk.

Police were able to locate the man only a few hours later, thanks to a detailed description from the clerk and the help of a canine unit.

Officers recovered most of the stolen money.

Thousands play in Meijer Games

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Thousands of athletes filled Fifth Third Ballpark Friday night for the opening ceremonies of the Meijer State games.

6-thousand athletes of all ages are expected to compete in 34 different events this weekend in West Michigan.

The games include ultimate frisbee, softball and cricket.

But organizers say it's not just about who gets the gold medal.

Eric Engelbart says, "... our athletes' shirts, we got people walking around, it says "participation" and that's what it's about. Get registered, and get out, and life a healthy lifestyle, and look forward to competing in the Meijer State Games of Michigan."

All the events couldn't be held at Fifth-Third ballpark, so there are additional sites in Sparta and Kalamazoo.

Organizers tell us if you would like to participate Saturday, there's still time.

Teenager accused of killing girlfriend's dog

SPARTA, Mich. (WZZM) - A Howard City teenager tells police he killed his girlfriend's dog at her Sparta home because the pet Chihuahua bit him.

But 18 year-old Dylan Brooks is now facing prosecution and a possible 4 year prison sentence if he's convicted on "killing or torturing an animal" charges.

Sparta police were initially involved when his girlfriend's mother told police Dylan Brooks was threatening the young woman.

Then the family told the officer Brooks had already killed her dog.

"I was on the phone with a friend and I heard a dog yelping," recalls he dog owner's younger sister, who we have agreed not to name. "I asked what was going on and my sister said, 'Dylan is killing Athena because she bit him'."

Court records indicate Brooks admitted he twisted and broke the small dog's neck.

Teen charged with killing girlfriend's dog

SPARTA, Mich. (WZZM) -- A Sparta teenager is facing criminal charges for killing his girlfriend's dog.

WZZM 13 obtained a copy of court records alleging Dylan Brooks, 17, had threatened his girlfriend and admitted to killing her dog.
Brooks claims the miniature Chihuahua, named Athena, bit him and he killed it by twisting its neck.

An examination, performed by animal control shows the dog suffered a severed spinal cord injury and a fractured spine.

Brooks is charged with killing and torturing an animal and faces a maximum of four years in prison and $20,000 fine.

Fruit Ridge Farm Market kicks off U-pick strawberry season

Fruit Ridge Farm Market kicks off U-pick strawberry season
SPARTA, Mich.—Fruit Ridge Farm Market’s U-pick is officially open for the season. Visitors can pick their own strawberries Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. or until the crop lasts.  Fruit Ridge Farm Market offers containers to use for picking, but customers are asked to bring their own containers to take home the produce.  U-pick strawberries are $1.25 per pound; picked strawberries are also available, at $3.50 per quart or $24 per flat (eight quarts.) Fruit Ridge Farm Market expects to begin U-pick raspberry season in a few weeks.  Cherries will be available around the 4th of July.  For more information, call (616) 887-7013.