Archive for the ‘News’ Category
by Matt Vande Bunte | The Grand Rapids Press
ROCKFORD — At point-blank range, they shot a parade of former presidents, and scoped out Elizabeth Taylor and Bob Hope.
From Gerald R. Ford to Ted Kennedy, the assortment of national figures photographed by Clarence Blakeslee is matched only by the collection of cameras he used to film them.
More than 200 cameras used by Blakeslee, at least one more than 100 years old and others he picked up on the front lines of World War II, are for sale this week at the 93-year-old’s former Rockford home.
“He was everywhere, I tell ya,” Brenda Haynes said as she and her son flipped through black-and-white pictures from several political rallies.
Haynes, whose grandparents were friends with Blakeslee and his late wife, Lois, was one of the shoppers Monday sifting through items in the home at 17 River St. She bought a $5 camera she remembers Blakeslee using when she was a girl.
“You never see him without a camera. Still don’t,” said Nathan Haynes, who bought a few World War II books. “He has always had a camera around his neck.”
The estate sale run by Joan & Associates continues from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Wednesday. Items include tools, televisions, fishing poles, kitchenware, maps, jackknifes, furniture and other household goods.
Then, there are the cameras, such as the Ernemann Klapp strut-folding model that kicked Blakeslee’s photography hobby into focus. A forward observer in the U.S. Army infantry, Blakeslee picked up the camera in Germany.
As U.S. troops came into a town, they confiscated weapons, cameras and other items.
“I had a pile of cameras this high,” said Blakeslee, holding his hand at his waist. “We backed the jeep up and put about 100 cameras in. I got a camera for everybody in the company.”
The most valuable of Blakeslee’s cameras is priced at $250 and looks more like an accordion. There is a turn-of-the-century Conley, a Korona II C and shelves of others including a Kodak Flashfun II, Imperial Six-Twenty, Brownie Starmite II and Sable 620.
“Some of them are run-of-the-mill old stuff, but some of them are pretty cool,” said Ellis White, who owned the former Camera Center in Eastown and priced Blakeslee’s collection. “These are all workable cameras. They all can use modern film.”
Blakeslee moved out of the home last fall into a retirement home.
Blakeslee, a retired plumber and sheet metal tradesman, also is a former Rockford mayor and Kent County commissioner. His connections gave him close access to visiting politicos.
One camera was used at a Rockford Rotary Club meeting to catch a rising local politician with a pipe, the “only time I saw Jerry Ford smoking.”
Describing his brush with Elizabeth Taylor on a visit to Lansing, Blakeslee said, “She never made a pass at me or anything, but she was a sweet girl. I could see why people fell for her.”
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – An Aeromed helicopter on a training flight crashed atop Spectrum Health in downtown Grand Rapids, injuring the pilot and a passenger.
Richard Breon, the president and CEO of Spectrum Health said the pilot was a Vietnam veteran. He and the passenger, possibly an FAA official, are in stable condition at the hospital.
There is no word yet on why the 14-year-old helicopter crashed, and when it crashed it landed on its side.
At an early afternoon press conference, Grand Rapids Fire Chief John VanSolkema said, “There’s not a whole lot left, but you can tell it was a helicopter.”
At a 3:30 p.m. press conference, Spectrum Health officials Breon and Matt Van Vranken said all the patients who had been moved out have been returned to the hospital.
Most of the patients who were moved were transferred to different rooms inside the facility, though some were moved to the fieldhouse at Grand Rapids Community College. Approximately 75 patients were evacuated – about 25 per floor.
Breon added there were a few women in labor at the GRCC fieldhouse, but no one gave birth there.
Most of the damage sustained to the building is water damage, and the officials are working to get the helipad “back in service as soon as we can. It’s important not only to Grand Rapids, but to West Michigan,” said Van Vranken, the Spectrum Health president.
Spectrum Health owns three helicopters, one of which is decommissioned. The one that crashed Thursday is the oldest of the three.
When asked if the hospital would re-think the use of helicopters, Van Vranken said, “We’ve had over 12,000 flights in 21 years, and our pilots have, on average, 6,000 hours (of flight time.)” By and large, he said, helicopter transportation is extremely safe.
The pilot who crashed is their most experienced pilot.
Both were “extremely impressed” with the response to the accident. “You plan and train for these things,” Breon said, and later “you analyze what you can do better.” Overall, he said, “Our disaster planning is very, very strong.”
There is a meeting next week to review the response and make adjustments as necessary.
An official with the FAA in Chicago told 24 Hour News 8 the helicopter was practicing approaches – known as “touch and go” – when it crashed at 11:02 a.m.
Floors 7-9 — the pediatric floors of the hospital — were evacuated and patients were taken to different parts of the hospital. Any overflow patients would be taken to other Spectrum Health facilities.
Surgeries were closed, and the electricity was temporarily shut off for safety. There will be no surgery performed at the downtown Spectrum facility on Friday.
The Grand Rapids Fire Chief said almost the department followed their high-rise building disaster plans. The streets surrounding the hospital were closed for about an hour, but have since re-opened.
Witnesses said they saw the helicopter wobbling around just before the crash. Paul King saw the crash, and alerted hospital officials. Debris hit his van.
Both the FAA and the NTSB are investigating the crash. Breon and Van Vraken deferred causes for the crash to the government officials.
24 Hour News 8 will have more information as soon as possible.
People, please be smart and safe. No picture is worth your life.
GRAND RAPIDS – Grand Rapids police are investigating the death of a man who fell from a 12 story downtown building Monday morning.
So far, they know three men were making their way down the fire escape of an office building at 77 Monroe Center, and one of them fell onto the roof of the Louis Benton Steakhouse just after 4 a.m.
Firefighters used a fire truck ladder to reach the rooftop to retrieve the body a few hours later.
A source close to the investigation says the 21-year-old who died and his two friends were climbing the escape to take pictures of Grand Rapids.
One of the men is enrolled in a photography class at Grand Rapids Community College.
UICA is planning on moving to an exciting new location. To make this happen, I’m volunteering as part of the cabinet members to ask companies and individuals for big bucks. At todays meeting, we all got this brand spankin’ new brochure. I’m a cover girl now! And inside, one of our very own GR flickr stars has a photo featured. Way to go, powerbooktrance!
This summer, people of all ages can submit their stories and photos for the opportunity to win prizes in the Great Lakes Story and Photo Contest.
It Can Only Come Down, Right?
I am not one of those people that is angry about the price of gasoline. As Americans we enjoy unusually low prices for fuel even now. What I am most angry about is that we have chosen to stick our heads in the sand (both figuratively and literally if you take my meaning) in regard to this finite resource. We as a collective society MUST do something to move away from oil. Ethanol is not going to be a viable option, bio-diesel either. If we had done what we said we were going to do thirty years ago, you and I would have a Mr. Fusion on our cars ala “Back to the Future”. In many ways I wish gas would go to ten bucks a gallon. We all need to wake up and realize it is not our God given right to have $0.50/gal gasoline and drive big ass SUVs. Oh, and as far as I can tell, even if you can afford to buy “carbon credits” to offset your impact, it is a complete farce. Reduce your usage – don’t pay someone to plant an effing tree! Better yet, reduce your usage and you could afford to plant your own trees.
For those of you who stumbled on this site looking for River Bank Run photos, please click here.
Saturday, May 12th was a fantastic day to run the Fifth Third River Bank Run!!! 25k = Rock Star!
Race Results: 2 hours 21 minutes and 17 seconds. w00t!
Congratulations to all the runners
Terry Johnston will be showcasing his photography at Four Friends Coffeehouse in Grand Rapids, Michigan the entire month of May. On Friday, May 4th from 7-9pm he will be at Four Friends and would be a great night for anyone who would like to meet the photographer, ask questions or just talk about photography with him. Browse the 20+ photos with the photographer being there and if you can’t make it Friday don’t worry the photos will be up the entire month of May.
Address: 136 Monroe Center, Grand Rapids, MI 49503