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Grandfather gets prison for sexual assault of girl, 6


SPARTA, Mich. (WZZM) -- A 71-year-old Sparta grandfather who sexually assaulted a young girl apologized for the "mental pain and suffering'' he inflicted on the child; a final act of contrition before he was led away to prison for a minimum of 10 years.

"All I can say is I make a humble apology,'' Lawrence Norman Gibbons said. "I'm sorry for the mental pain and suffering I put her through and the mental anguish she'll have for the rest of her life.''

Gibbons in August pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for having sex with the six-year-old girl, whom he knew, at his Sparta home last summer.

The victim's stepmother told Kent County Circuit Court Judge George Buth the girl, now 7, "is scarred for life.''

Sparta event offers chance to fly on historic Ford Tri-Motor airplane


SPARTA, Mich. (WZZM) - People in West Michigan are getting a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly in a historic Ford Tri-Motor airplane. The Experimental Aircraft Association has brought its famous tour to the Sparta airport for this weekend's Great Lakes Aviators event.

"This is a very big deal for us," said Paul Kovalak, the chapter president for the organization. "We have an annual event, and we have been trying to get this thing for two years. We had to prove that we could handle it. We had to prove the airport could handle it. And, here it is."

Kovalak describes the four-day event as a car show for airplanes, and the Tri-Motor is the star attraction. The plane is also known as "The Tin Goose" because it is the first all-metal airplane ever built. Pilot John Maxfield gets the honor of flying it.

Sparta man to compete for World Statue Title


SPARTA, Mich. (WZZM) - An artist seen at ArtPrize is heading overseas to a world championship competition. Robert Shangle of Sparta, will represent the United States in the "World Living Statue Championships" on September 27th in the Netherlands.

Shangle won the time-based category in ArtPrize 2014. He participated in the 2009 world statue championships.

 


Celtic Festival in Sparta on Saturday, August 8th

Celtic Festival in Sparta on Saturday, August 8th

Whether you are Irish or not, Sparta, MI is the place to be on Saturday, August 8th for their Celtic Festival. The party begins at 10:45am at Rogers Park with the blessing of the Bagpipes!

The Festival will feature 5 Irish Bands, one of them being Pet in the Creel with Toby Bresnahan, five Dance Troupes, Celtic Food & Craft Vendors and a children’s area from noon until 5pm. At 9pm, Paddy’s Road takes the stage to close the festival.

Rogers Park is located at 75 N. Union St. Events will also take place at Balyeat Park, located at 208 Olmstead St.

Del Shannon Days Celebration this Week

Del Shannon Days Celebration this Week

The 25th Annual Summerfest Celebration featuring Del Shannon Days in Coopersville, MI unofficially started on Saturday, August 1st with “Quilts and their Stories” Show. There are more than 140 different quilts to view on display. Officially the festival was renamed the “Del Shannon Days” in 2014.

Antique tractors go on display at the Farm Museum on Tuesday, August 4th. Del Shannon Days officially kicks off from 4 – 8pm Wednesday, the 5th with “Kids Fest,” held at the corner of Main & Mason St.  The Teddy Bear Parade starts at 5pm. There will be plenty of different games and events for children throughout the celebration.

Friday Night, the 7th, features the Annual “Car Cruise” starting at 6pm throughout the Village ending at Keyser Manufacturing for the after-cruise party. Saturday, the 8th will feature more than 600 show cars, trucks and motorcycles. The show runs all day beginning at 7am.

Summer Festival at St. Joseph Church in Conklin, August 9th

Summer Festival at St. Joseph Church in Conklin, August 9th

It is Festival Time once again at St. Joseph’s Church in Wright Township on Sunday, August 9, 2015  from 12 Noon until 5:00pm.

A great Country Style BBQ Chicken Dinner will be served from Noon until 4:00pm. Dinner is $8.00 for Adults and $5.00 for Children ages 5 – 12 years of age. Under 5 will eat FREE!

Along with live music, there will be games for children through teenagers, a Grand Raffle, quilt and mini raffles, craft booths, bake sale, a grocery wheel with home grown produce as prizes and a Vegas Tent.  A little bit for everyone!

St. Joseph’s Church is located at 18760  8th Ave, Conklin, MI.  Take I-96 West to the 8th Ave. Exit #25 and proceed North for 5 miles.  Ph: 616-899-2286

Sparta Town & Country Days this weekend


SPARTA, Mich. (WZZM) -- The Sparta Town & Country Days, a summer tradition in Kent County, are going on right now. The festivities started on Wednesday and run through the weekend.

Friday is kid's day, featuring all kinds of fun for the little ones -- including pony rides, a stay and play kid zone, and a "kidsgroove" dance party.

Organizers say a key to Town & Country Days is the community's involvement.

"We have lots of events spread out throughout downtown Sparta," said volunteer Kristi Caine. "We just like to bring the community out for a great big party and have a good time."

One of the main events for the weekend is the run through Sparta Saturday morning.

The annual fireworks display at Balyeat Field has been rescheduled to Saturday, July 25 due to weather.

Learn more at this link.