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Archive | September, 2009

Local artist enters ArtPrize

Over the last few weeks we’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about ArtPrize, billed as part arts festival, part social experiment. It’s giving away the world’s largest art prize—$250,000—and a 1995 Cedar Springs High School grad has the chance to win it.

Lisa Spielmaker entered this painting, called “Essence” in the ArtPrize contest in Grand Rapids.

Lisa Spielmaker entered this painting, called “Essence” in the ArtPrize contest in Grand Rapids.

Lisa Spielmaker, now of Lakeview, is a bookkeeper by day at White Creek Lumber in Cedar Springs, but she loves art and paints in her spare time. She took her first art class between 5th and 6th grade, and while in high school, two of her pieces were chosen for a show at Calvin College, for which she received an award. She earned a degree in 1998 from Grand Rapids Community College, where she focused on art and art history. Two of her pieces are still in GRCC’s collection.

When she heard about ArtPrize, she was intrigued.

“It’s exciting. I think it’s cool to be part of something that brings people together,” said Lisa.

Lisa Spielmaker often does portraits for people, like this one of a young friend.

Lisa Spielmaker often does portraits for people, like this one of a young friend.

ArtPrize is a radical new art contest based in Grand Rapids. Over 1,260 artists will display their work in 159 different venues in Grand Rapids. The boundaries are Leonard to the north, Wealthy to the south, College Ave. to the east, and Straight/Alpine Ave. to the west. The international contest will be decided solely on a public vote.

For her entry, Lisa created a piece of art titled “Essence” that is being displayed at the Ledyard building, 125 Ottawa, in Grand Rapids. According to her work statement about the painting, ESSENCE is “the inward nature, the true substance, or constitution of anything, as opposed to what is accidental, phenomenal, illusory. To me nature is one of the greatest inspirations. It brings us an inner peace. It is the essence of everything.”

N-ArtPrize2-artist-Lisa-SpiLisa said that to her, the greatest pleasure in being an artist is to have a meaningful effect on other people. “Art is something that should inspire others. Art is the perfect way to communicate with people. I want people to see my work and take it for what it is. I don’t create to be picked apart or critiqued. I create to create. I believe that is what art is, the love of creating something and no matter what it is, it is beautiful. Out of that blank white canvas, or board, or paper was nothing, and it became something.”

Voting began yesterday for artist’s works. Those who want to vote can pre-register online at www.artprize.org, then go to one of the various locations in Grand Rapids to register in person, and then start to vote. During the first week, artists will check out and vote on individual works of art, giving them a thumbs up or thumbs down. Voting can be done online at home, through texting on your cell phone, through your mobile browser, or iPhone app. Live results can be viewed online, and the first week of voting ends September 30. The top ten finalists will be announced the evening of October 1, and then you can only vote once, for one of the top ten pieces of art. Voting then ends Oct. 7. Winners will be announced in a celebration at Rosa Parks Circle, October 8, at 7 p.m.

For more info please visit www.artprize.org.

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Red Flannel fun starts this weekend

Soaring at 70 and beyond

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Fire Department are always fun to watch in the yearly bed races. For a complete listing of events for this weekend and next, turn to page 10.

The Cedar Springs Fire Department are always fun to watch in the yearly bed races. For a complete listing of events for this weekend and next, turn to page 10.

Red Flannel festival-goers will celebrate the 70th anniversary this year of the first Red Flannel Festival, held in Cedar Springs on November 11, 1939.

That first festival was full of fun and exciting lumberjack-themed events, including a Red Flannel clothesline race, a wood piling contest, and a horse-shoe pitching contest. There was even a spittin’ contest. The spittin’ contest was for the regional championship, and the world-championship was at East Jordan the following spring. The Cedar Springs Story recorded that Herbert Whiteside, of Sand Lake, won the title with a total of 153 points for expectorating his cud of tobacco into a can on the sidewalk.

The first Red Flannel Queen, Maxine Smith, had been chosen in a pageant at the Kent Theatre days earlier, and was crowned on Red Flannel Day during half-time of the football game between the Red Flanneled Hawks of Cedar Springs, and the Wildcats of Sand Lake.

An account in the Grand Rapids Press of that first event said, “Grandpa’s drawers may have blushed unseen, but Red Flannels faced the world in all of their flaming glory today. It was Cedar Springs first Red Flannel festival, celebrating the fame of the town that New York neither had nor knew everything.”

The festival ran for three years—1939-1941—and then took a break during World War II. The festivals resumed in 1948.

While this year’s Red Flannel Festival won’t include a spitting contest, some of the events are the same as the first year—including a horse shoe contest, getting thrown in jail for not wearing red, and holding the Red Flannel Queen contest in the historic Kent Theatre. Others, such as the Lumberjack dinner, came along later, but have stood the test of time. And new events have continued to be added over the years, finally culminating in a festival that spans two weekends—the last weekend in September and the first weekend in October.

According to Festival president Michele Andres, the board has added 18 new events in the last few years. A new children’s fun run has been added to the 5K this year, and the car show has a new larger area. In keeping with this year’s theme, “Soaring at 70 and beyond,” also new this year is a remote control airplane demonstration, on Saturday, October 3, from 10 am until 2 pm. at North Park. At 1:30 pm the same day the Allegan Skydiving demonstration team will soar over the festivities and land at North Park to join the Remote Control Airplane Show. The skydivers will be available to sign autographs. Also new this year is the 70th Anniversary Fireworks Show, to begin at dusk on Saturday, Oct. 3, at the corner of White Creek Avenue and Solon Road. In case of rain, the show will be held Sunday evening.

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Sand Lake weighs election date change

By Judy Reed

Only a handful of voters in Sand Lake trickled into the village offices on Tuesday, September 15 to exercise their right to vote. And that, along with budget cuts, is causing Sand Lake to look at the possibility of changing their election date to November in future years.

According to Beth Miller, Sand Lake village clerk, 16 people made it to the polls, and six more voted through absentee ballot. That’s out of 322 registered voters.

But Miller wasn’t that surprised. “It was an uncontested election,” she noted.

Board president Kirk Thielke received 22 votes, trustees Carol Simpson 18, Billi Jo Thielke 20, and newcomer Celena Rosset 15.

Two years ago 48 voters turned out, in a contested election.

Miller estimated that this year’s election cost the village about $1,200.

“We’re considering moving the election to November to consolidate it with Nelson Township elections to save on costs,” explained Miller.

Sand Lake is one of approximately 90 villages in Michigan to exercise a special option that permits them to hold elections on the first Tuesday, after the second Monday in September, in odd-numbered years.

Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land urges villages to make the change to November. “In these tight budget times, I strongly encourage cities and villages holding their elections in September to consider changing them to the even-numbered year November election,” said Land. “It’s more convenient for the voter and saves cities and villages taxpayer dollars.”

Miller noted that if they did decide to change the date, that they would have to do it by resolution, and that terms of currently elected officials would need to be extended.

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Hometown hero

Air Force Airman Kimberlyn Dickerson graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

N-Hometown-Hero-DickersonThe airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

She is the daughter of Steven Dickerson of Cedar Springs, Michigan.

Dickerson is a 2009 graduate of Cedar Springs High School.

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Woman attacked in Sparta park

The Sparta Police Department is investigating an assault at Roger’s Park last  Friday.

According to Sparta Chief Andrew Milanowski, a woman was walking through the park in the wee hours of the morning, when she was approached from behind by three Hispanic males. The woman was able to fight off her attackers and give police a description of at least two of them.

One is reportedly short and stocky, about 5-feet 4-inches, 160 pounds; and the other is about the same height, but slender in build.

Both were wearing soccer-type shirts, one solid purple, and the other possibly black with green stripes. One was wearing a “Texas” type hat, and one of them had a scar on the right side of his face.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sparta Police Department at 887-8716 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345 or toll-free at 1-866-774-2345.

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Smile—you’re on candid camera!

N-Howard-City

Pictured are Donna Webster- Foster Grandparents, Howard City Police Chief Steve DeWitt, Mike Haefner-Assoc. Pastor First Congregational Church of Greenville, and Doris Case- Montcalm County EMS Supervisor.

Underage drinkers, drunk drivers and other criminals in Montcalm County had better beware—police have a new tool in their arsenal to investigate and prosecute crime.

The Montcalm Coalition to Prevent Underage Drinking and Montcalm County Prosecutor Andrea Krause recently donated funds to purchase and distribute 24 “Scorpion” personal video cameras that officers wear on their duty uniforms.

“The cameras are about the size of a thumb and record in High Definition video. Incidents of criminal investigations such as drunken driving arrests and underage drinking can all be recorded,” explained Howard City Police Chief Steve DeWitt.

The portable devices are then easily transferred to computers for courtroom presentations and evidence.

The 24 devices will equip approximately a third of the police officers in Montcalm County. Additional funding is being sought to continue to equip all of the Officers. If you are interested in funding additional camera units, please contact Chief DeWitt of the Howard City Police Department at 231 937-4311.

The Montcalm Coalition to Prevent Underage Drinking is very active in the education of the public and students. They actively take steps to prevent the ready access of alcohol to minors and the adults who supply it. According to them, 28 percent of Montcalm County 11th graders have participated in binge drinking in the past 30 days. For more information, please visit www.mcpud.org.

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Class of 1959 holds 50th reunion

N-Reunion-Class-of-59-50thThe Cedar Springs High School Class of 1959 celebrated its 50th Reunion on Sunday afternoon, September 13, 2009, at Boulder Creek Golf Course. Twenty-six of the 53 graduates attended, along with one of their class advisors, Mrs. Helen McLaughlin.

There was a total of 46 in attendance. Nine classmates are deceased.

After many group pictures were taken, the classmates had dinner and cake, watched a DVD of slides of their school years put to music, spoke about their families, and reminisced about their past adventures. After an enjoyable evening, all left with souvenir coffee mugs and booklets of classmate information.

The Class of ’59 was the last Cedar Springs High School class to attend all 13 grades in the school on the hill, now known as Hilltop Administration/New Beginnings. Since the “new” high school (now Red Hawk Elementary) was built and finished in the spring of 1959, the 53 graduates of the Class of ’59 were the first to hold their graduation ceremony in the “new” high school gymnasium.

Members of the Reunion committee were Sue (Grannis) Harrison, Joanne (Ballard) Cahoon, and Judy (Winter) Rowland.

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Mobile home parks not high crime areas

When people think about crime in the city of Cedar Springs, there are certain neighborhoods that spring to mind as “high crime areas.” But when Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent took a look at the statistics for July 2009, he found something many might find surprising.

“My goal was to see how many calls are related to the two mobile home parks—Cedar Springs Mobil Estates and Northland Estates, and on calls related to our two apartment complexes, Red Flannel Apartments and Meadow Creek Apartments,” explained Chief Parent. None showed crime disproportionate to the number of residents.

They had a total of 273 calls or incidents in July. Fifty-six (20 percent) were at Cedar Springs Mobile Estates; seven (2 percent) were at Northland Estates; and 18 (6 percent) at the two apartment complexes on E. Oak Street.

Cedar Springs Mobile Estates has 216 lots with 190 filled. “Averaging four per household, 760 residents would be very close to 24 percent of our city population, and they had about one-quarter of the calls. That makes sense,” said Parent.

“I also found it interesting that five of the 18 calls at the apartment complexes were fireworks,” noted Parent. Northland Estates had one fireworks complaint while Cedar Springs Mobile Estates had two.

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Church to give back to community

The city of Cedar Springs and its residents will get a helping hand with yard chores this Sunday.

According to Cedar Springs City Manager Christine Burns, members of The Springs Free Methodist Church in Cedar Springs will forego a traditional church service on Sunday, September 27, 2009, and will instead disperse into the community to perform a city-wide clean-up.

“Congregation members will be trimming hedges, washing windows and pulling weeds in public areas along with a host of other tasks,” said Burns. “Pastor Barry Briggs approached the City several weeks ago, requesting a list of items that needed to be accomplished before the Red Flannel Festival on October 3rd. Pastor Briggs tied the concept of community service to a recent sermon, hoping to spark others to give back.”

Burns said the congregation also plans to assist homeowners at Cedar Springs Mobile Estates with basic home repair and maintenance. It is estimated that 200 worshipers will spend 2 hours canvassing Cedar Springs.

“If you see them, please extend a warm ‘thank you’ for their contribution to make Cedar Springs a great place to live, work and play,” she remarked.

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Read to ride for Red Flannel day

The 2nd annual “Read to Ride” program is a great way to get kids excited about both Reading and Red Flannel Day. This program allows students in preK-6th grades to earn 2 FREE coupons to “cash in” for carnival rides, popcorn or a hotdog on Red Flannel Day.

To qualify, children read books with “red” in the title or “red” on the jacket cover or “red” as a word in the book. Celebrate red!

If children read three books, they get one free coupon, if they read six, they get two free coupons to use as they choose. They must read the books, have their logs initialed by an adult, and “cash it in” at  the Cedar Springs Public Library by 6pm, Friday, October 2, to receive their free coupons.

Need a reading log? Download it from www.redflannelfestival.org.

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