Grand River Times Editor-in-Chief Duncan J. Stuart III anticipated that he might wake up this morning with a post-celebration hangover, but he never expected to spend the night in the Ottawa County Jailhouse, or to wake up facing arraignment in front of Chief Circuit Court Justice Edward Post. After launching the new Grand River Times online Gift Shop yesterday afternoon, Stuart left the Times offices to attend a Grand Opening Celebration with two hundred local artists, luminaries, and civic officials gathered at Grand Haven’s Community Center. Despite weeks of planning and hard work, however, the Times’ launch-party was interrupted suddenly and violently as a police S.W.A.T. Team stormed the Community Center, firing tear-gas canisters and shoving guests in their dash to subdue and arrest Duncan Stuart; dragging him from the venue before guests had even been seated for their chicken dinner.
Artist Christi Dreese, whose local-landscape paintings are featured prominently in The Times’ new ‘Lakeshore Collection‘ of fine-art-posters, had been scheduled to deliver the event’s keynote address, and witnessed the unfolding drama firsthand. “I was talking with Duncan Stuart and News Editor Jerome Lawrence near the open bar when the S.W.A.T. Team stormed in and all hell broke loose”, said Dreese from the back of an EMS vehicle at the scene. “It was terrifying, people were screaming and running for the exits”, described Christi, while still trying to wash the sting of tear-gas from her eyes, “The cops threw Duncan to the floor, and handcuffed him at gunpoint, before taking him away.”
According to initial reports, Law Enforcement Officials were acting on an anonymous tip alleging that Times Editor Duncan Stuart was trafficking in stolen artworks and black-market auto-parts, using The Grand River Times as a front. While Stuart was defending himself in Tweets from a holding-cell in the Ottawa County Jailhouse last night, further investigation by The Times identified the anonymous tipster as Marcus Blanderson, a disgruntled former employee of The Grand River Times. Blanderson, fired by Duncan Stuart six weeks ago for chronic misuse of apostrophes, and a string of offensive sexual comments directed at Times Lifestyle Editor Sandi Dune, has allegedly been threatening Stuart and other Times staffers on a regular basis since his termination in early July. His whereabouts are currently unknown.
At his arraignment in Circuit Court this morning, a haggard and disheveled Duncan J. Stuart III attempted to explain how he’d been unjustly maligned and framed by Marcus Blanderson, before proceeding to flatter Judge Post’s excellent and renowned photography skills, especially his recent photos of the Coast Guard Festival’s fireworks display, but the Judge/Photographer was unmoved, and remanded Stuart into custody under a special provision of Remandment Statute Number Nine; at least until Blanderson can be found and questioned by Police.
While Duncan Stuart awaits release from jail and anticipates the eventual dismissal of all charges against him, fans and supporters of The Grand River Times, and its beleaguered Editor-in-Chief, have sprung to Stuart’s defense. John Martin, Director of Loutit District Library and outspoken member of the local Intelligentsia (not to be confused with the troublesome local Chapter of The Illuminati), expressed the dismay felt by many over Stuart’s arrest. “Duncan is such a well-known lover and supporter of The Arts, it’s a shame the launch of the Times’ Gift Shop might be overshadowed by his arrest on such obviously bogus charges”, said Martin during a break from teaching his popular, two-day seminar on the Dewey Decimal System. Christi Dreese agrees. “The photographer Bob Walma and I worked really closely with Duncan to create this ‘Lakeshore Collection‘ of art-prints for the Times”, said Christi from her Ferry Street Mat & Frame Shop this afternoon. “He was always fair to us, and very complimentary of the work we were doing. He might run a phony newspaper, but he would never deal in fraudulent artworks, and I believe him when he says the 37 carburetors police found in his garage don’t belong to him.”