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Archive | October, 2009


C-Eng-KragerRon & Cheryl Karger of Cedar Springs would like to announce the engagement of their daughter Marisa to Corporal Zachary Wheeler of the United States Marine Corps.  The bride-to-be is a graduate of Cedar Springs High School.  The future groom is a graduate of Kent City High School and is currently stationed at Camp LaJeune, North Carolina.  His parents are Brian and Karen Wheeler of Kent City. Wedding plans will be announced at a later date.

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Baptism of Leo Matthew Gillette

C-Announce-GilletteNamed for his great-great grandfather who hailed from Cedar Springs, Leo Matthew Gillette was baptized on Sunday, October 18th at Wyoming Presbyterian Church in New Jersey, home to his parents Joe and Lisa Gillette.  Baby Leo’s older brothers Dean (9) and JJ (7) as well as his grandparents, Ralph and Barbara Gillette, from Harrisburg, PA were in attendance.  His great aunt and uncle, Caroline (Gillette) and Tom Green, reside in Cedar Springs, as did his recently passed great uncle, Roger Gillette, who is survived by his wife Connie. Leo has many second and third cousins in the Cedar Springs area. We “east coast” Gillettes want to share this blessed event with all our friends and relatives in the Cedar Springs area.

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C-Announce-BelkPlease support Andrew as he battles with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He will be undergoing a bone marrow transplant in December at Wayne State University in Detroit. We are raising funds to help Andrew with medical bills and all other living expenses.
Location: Resurrection Lutheran Church, 180 Northland Dr. Sand Lake, MI Date: Saturday, October 24th, 2009. Time: 2:00pm-6:00pm. There will be a lunch-in provided. Asking $15 per plate for support. (50/50 Raffle, Silent Auction, Entertainment) All donations may be sent to Grace Evangelical Free Church.  Please make all donations out to GRACE. Note in the memo line “Benevolence Fund” Please do not put Andrew’s name on the check.  All donations will be tax deductible and should be sent to 4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford, MI 49341.

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Douglas N. De Ward

Mr. Douglas N. De Ward, age 62, of Rockford, passed away on Saturday, October 17, 2009. He grew up in Wyoming, MI and was a member of the Boy Scout Troop #3217. Doug was a 1965 graduate of Ottawa Hills  High School and was a wrestler in the 103# weight class. He also had a part time job at Woodland Roller Rink. Doug tried to enlist, but he did not weigh enough. He went on a diet of bananas and mashed potatoes so he could be in the service. After he gained weight, he entered the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. After the military, Doug worked for Superior Sea Foods and then worked for Steelcase for 27 years, retiring in 1996. For the next 12 years, Doug worked for the  Cedar  Springs School District in the Maintenance Department and did delivery and copy work. He was an avid snowmobiler and served as President of the Snowmobile Club. Doug was very active at the Glenn Hill Post, serving as the Assistant Club Manager and Financial Manager, and prior to that he was active with the Newaygo Post. He was a member of the Forty and Eight Club.  His children have many joyful memories of the times at their camp when snowmobiling, tubing, and water skiing. Doug loved cars and while in England in the Air Force he bought a “MG.” He and his wife loved to travel and hoped to one day visit England. Doug is survived by his loving wife, Jennifer Dagley De Ward, children, Jamie De Ward of Grand Rapids, Jennifer Schumacher of Sparta, Sarah Dagley of Grand Rapids, and Trevor (Jill) Dagley of Cedar Springs; 8 grandchildren; brother and sisters, Mrs. Beverly Anderson, Karen (Tex) Moore, Mary (Dale) Wind, Rob (Kristin) De Ward; mother-in-law, Mrs. Jean VanEck; brother-in-law, Rob VanEck; nieces, nephews, and many extended family members. The service for Doug was Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. at the Pederson Funeral Home with Pastor Craig Owens officiating. Military honors under the auspices of the Kent County Veterans Honor Guard with interment in Courtland Township Cemetery. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider Friends of Michigan Veterans Homes Inc.,  PO Box #150251,  Grand Rapids, MI  49515. Relatives and friends met with the family from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.
Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford

Posted in Church Connection, ObituaryComments (0)

Fantastic Fridays are a hit

Photo courtesy of Amanda Gerhardt

Photo courtesy of Amanda Gerhardt

Are you looking for a fun, safe way to entertain kids on the Fridays that Cedar Springs Public Schools releases kids two hours early? Cedar Springs Area Parks and Rec has the answer in its new program “Fantastic Fridays.”

“We’ve had two Fridays and are having a great time, but would love for more students to get involved,” said CSAPR Director Amanda Gerhardt. She said they have had 20-30 students, and initial plans were to serve 60-80.

Fantastic Fridays was developed as a partnership between the Parks and Rec and the school system to help ease the burden of parents on the 11 early release Fridays spread throughout the school year for professional development.

Designed for students in first through 6th grade, Fantastic Fridays is an enrichment program that includes healthy snacks, activities, and a certified teacher and daycare provider on staff. Each Friday will have a theme, and could include special guest speakers, craft projects, and recreational activities.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Gerhardt

Photo courtesy of Amanda Gerhardt

“The first week was themed “red” for Red Flannel Weekend, so the Red Cross came and spoke to the group about first aid, weather safety, household safety and more,” explained Gerhardt. “The second week was about healthy lifestyles.  We did a lesson on the food pyramid, played nutrition bingo, learned some basic dance moves with former Red Flannel Queen Rebecca Tackmann, exercised to the new ZUMBA craze with instructor Kate Rehmus, and relaxed and toned with our yoga instructor, Chelie Simmons.  It was a great day.”

The next early release date will be October 30 and the theme will be responsible pet care. A veterinarian assistant will visit with animals.

Programs run from directly after school on early release days until 5:30 p.m. Students can be picked up earlier, however. The cost is $8 per Friday. Scholarships are available for those on free or reduced lunch programs.

To register for the Fantastic Fridays, pick up a registration form at the district office at Hilltop, or visit the Parks and Rec website at www.csaparksandrec.com.

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Police recover runaway

A Cedar Springs teenager missing for four days was found Tuesday evening, and those who harbored her may face charges.

According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, the 13-year-old girl was reported missing Saturday to the Kent County Sheriff Department. The Cedar Springs Police assisted them by checking out any leads and speaking with friends and fellow students of the girl.

Officer Mandy Stahl met with the girl’s parents on Tuesday, October 21 at 6 p.m. Police found out that the girl was inside an apartment at the Meadowcreek Apartments complex on East Oak Street. When Officer Stahl entered the apartment, she was told the girl was in the rear bedroom. When the officer entered the bedroom, she saw the girl jump from the second floor window. The girl then ran off into the woods.

Deputies from Kent County were called to help set up a perimeter, and a K-9 unit responded from the Michigan State Police. The K-9 handler followed a trail that circled through the woods, swamp and nearby fields. By 7:30 p.m. they called off the track.

The teenager was seen later, about 9 p.m., by a perimeter unit and taken into custody. An ambulance was called to the scene to treat the girl for numerous cuts and abrasions, caused from running through the thick, wooded area. “At one point, she removed much of her outer clothing because they were wet and very heavy from walking through the swamp,” explained Parent. “This only added to her receiving so many soft tissue injuries.” The girl was transported and treated at the hospital.

Chief Parent said their investigation is continuing, and that they will seek charges for those who assisted her or harbored her as a juvenile runaway. “The apartment she was found at has been warned before for allowing young teens to hang out while skipping school,” explained Parent. “In addition to seeking charges, the apartment management will be contacted and asked to take appropriate action.”

State law has both a 90-day misdemeanor for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and a one-year misdemeanor for harboring a juvenile runaway.

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Learn about victim’s rights

Are you or your loved ones a victim of a crime? On Thursday, October 29, Teresa Good, the Montcalm County Crime Victims Rights Advocate will join us and explain, among other things, what our rights are as victims, how the court system operates, the importance of a Victim’s Impact Statement, and how you can be notified when a perpetrator is being released. Ms. Good has worked for Montcalm County as an advocate for crime victims since 2000, and says she enjoys helping others and meeting the challenges that this position presents.

Regardless of what the crime is or how it is perpetrated, victims directly involved will be asked to participate in a series of events revolving around our criminal justice and court systems. This, in itself, can be daunting and traumatizing for some. Ms. Good will explain some of these processes and the services that are available to help us navigate the legal system, deal with our emotions, recapture our security, and continue with life.

Crime does not adhere to socio-economic boundaries. It can happen to the rich, the poor, the young, or the elderly, regardless of race or gender. Some crimes are violent in nature; others rob us of our sense of security, and other crimes are merely a nuisance.
Please join us on October 29 at 7 p.m. at the Village of Pierson Community Building to learn more about this very real and difficult aspect of our lives. Plan to come early at 6:30 for refreshments and to meet your neighbors. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Dawn Miles at (616) 204-0378.

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Are you in the picture?

By Judy Reed

Last week we ran this picture and asked people to call and tell us if they were in the picture. We said we thought it might have been taken at the old Nelson Center School on 19 Mile Road about 60 years ago.

This class photo was taken at Huggard School in Nelson Township in either 1945 or 1946. Some in the picture are: Back L to R: Jim Bryant, Delores Brace, ?, Darryl Brace, Dave Newton, Sonny Peterson, teacher Lois Graham? Caldwell. Front left is Karen Newton. Others are unknown – girl in the glasses may be someone named Vera.

This class photo was taken at Huggard School in Nelson Township in either 1945 or 1946. Some in the picture are: Back L to R: Jim Bryant, Delores Brace, ?, Darryl Brace, Dave Newton, Sonny Peterson, teacher Lois Graham? Caldwell. Front left is Karen Newton. Others are unknown – girl in the glasses may be someone named Vera.

Boy, did we get phone calls! Most were from people who attended Nelson Center during those years and said they didn’t think it was from that school, because they didn’t recognize anyone in the photo. One person called and said she thought it might be East Nelson school, because her husband thought he recognized himself in the photo, but not really anyone else. It turned out, however, that the photo was of neither one of those.

The person who brought the photo in took it back to the original owner, and got more information. It was of a class at Huggard School, on 21 Mile near Tisdel, in Nelson Township. Huggard Church began in the school house, then later built on property adjoining it.

Dave Newton, 75, who owns the photo, positively identified several members in the class, including the teacher, and his sister, Karen, who died while attending there. According to the written recollection of the teacher (provided by the Cedar Springs Historical Society), Karen Newton died during Lois Caldwell’s second year of teaching. She started teaching there in September 1945, which means the photo was taken in either 1945 or 1946.

“We had sad times, too,” wrote Caldwell. “In the winter of my second year of teaching, Karen Newton, a much loved student, died of spinal meningitis. We all mourned and wept together.”

That reportedly was one of the last photos the Newton family had of Karen.

Caldwell wrote that in September 1945 she had signed a nine-month contract to teach at Huggard School, for $1,100. She had twelve students in  her class that first year.

She recalled that the schoolhouse, with its attached wood shed, sat on one acre of land, and that two paths ran to the two “privies” at the back of the lot. All water supplies came from a hand pump. The yard was mowed with a hay mower in the fall before school “took up.”

Caldwell noted that the people of the district were very helpful and interested in their children and school. “They took me ‘under their wing’ and I became a part of the community,” she wrote. Living in Sand Lake, she sometimes couldn’t make it over the muddy roads to the school in the spring in her 1937 Ford. So she sometimes stayed with families and enjoyed many home-cooked dinners.

She recalled one spring when she and a male teacher took the whole seventh and eighth grade to Detroit on a field trip in her car. She also recalled a field meet at Sand Lake’s playing field.  She said that Pierson, a larger school, had won the banner for years. But this year it was snowing, and Pierson’s students were reluctant to go out for the events. But Huggard kept winning ribbons, and when all was counted Huggard had won the banner. They took it back to the school and hung it in a place of honor. She said it was their only victory over Pierson.

Teaching at Huggard School

Copy of a letter retrieved from the Cedar Springs Historical Museum



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Flu is on the rise in Kent County

By Judy Reed

The latest statistics on influenza show that schools have been hit four times harder this year than in the previous three years.

According to the Kent County Health Department, at the end of last week, 2.36 percent of students across the county were out with influenza. Between 2006 and 2008, the average at this time of year was only .52 percent, or just over one-half of one percent.

“While we are seeing an unprecedented number of school-aged students out with flu-like illnesses very early in the season,” said Cathy Raevsky, Administrative Health Officer for KCHD, “this does not come as a surprise. We anticipated that seasonal and H1N1 influenza would be very active this fall, and that’s exactly what has happened as kids spend more time in close quarters and flu season gets underway.”

Many schools across West Michigans are closing due to the number of student absences. According to Cedar Springs Superintendent Ron McDermed, they also have seen an increase in absences, but not enough to close. “Our buildings today are running between nine and 14 percent absences,” said McDermed. “Although this is higher than normal for this time of year, it is not cause for alarm. Buildings and districts closing are in the 25 percent range. The idea of closing is to stop the spread of the virus, so if we begin to notice a marked spike upward, we would close to protect the well-being of our kids.”

According to Assistant Superintendent Dave Cairy, they call the numbers of absences in daily to the Health Department, who then keeps track of how many cases they have.

The KCHD statistics do not differentiate between the different types of influenza.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness that spreads through respiratory secretions from an infected person. Most people recover from the flu without needing medical treatment. Simple precautions can help prevent the spread of flu. KCHD strongly recommends that anyone with flu-like symptoms stay home for at least 24 hours after fever subsides without the use of fever-reducing medications. Also, it is important to cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and wash hands often to avoid spreading germs.

Vaccination is the number one way to prevent the flu. The Health Department recommends getting a seasonal flu vaccine as early as possible. Because H1N1 was identified too late to be included in this year’s seasonal flu shot, two shots are recommended this year—one for seasonal influenza and one for novel H1N1 influenza. Novel H1N1 flu vaccinations are expected to be widely available in the coming months and when they are, they will be administered by area physicians, pharmacies, and special clinics at KCHD. As novel H1N1 flu vaccine clinic dates and times become available, they will be posted at stickittotheflu.com as well as on the vaccination information line, (616) 742-4FLU.

Check out our health section on page 7 to find out where flu shots are being offered next week.

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Operation Christmas Child

Students pose with shoebox gifts they made in 2007.

Students pose with shoebox gifts they made in 2007.

Cedar Springs High School students are putting together “Shoebox Gifts” as part of a community service project with Samaritans Purse International Relief. Operation Christmas Child brings joy and hope to children in desperate areas throughout the world.

Students are also giving shoebox gifts to “Senior Neighbors” in the local community as well. Gifts will be delivered with senior meals via the North Kent Service Center.

To donate a box:

Wrap an empty shoe box—wrap the lid separately.
Fill the box with new toys, candy, personal items and a note for a boy, girl or Senior Neighbor. Label the box by age & gender.
Drop the Shoebox Gift off at the CSHS Community Service Office before November 13.
Donations of new “items” to be included in the boxes are welcome as well.
The students will use the items to create additional shoe box gifts.

It is a great way to volunteer and brighten the day of a child or senior in need. For many of these folks, this will be the only gift they receive the entire year!

For more information, contact the CSHS community service office at 616-696-1200 ext.  1438

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