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Archive | December, 2009

Roger on the Road

rogerheaderMerry Christmas!

This is the time of year we are filled with hope and joy. We are warmed by friends, family, and neighbors. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could keep this feeling all year long? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had peace on earth? Let’s all hope and work for it.

Nagging problems

We will get a health care bill and then Congress will start working on what they did wrong. We can’t fix it so we can forget it and enjoy the season.

We will get out of Afghanistan some day. People are working on it. We can’t fix it so we might as well enjoy the holiday season.

Global warming is looming over us as the most serious risk to our way of life. We can take steps at home to help fix the problem. We can start now while we enjoy the season.

Merry Christmas to all!

Mistaken identity

We were dressed and ready to go out for the New Years Eve Party. We turned on a night light, covered our pet parakeet and put the cat in the backyard.

We phoned the local cab company. The taxi arrived and we opened the front door to leave the house. The cat scooted back into the house. We didn’t want the cat shut in the house because she always tries to eat the bird. My wife went out to the taxi, while I went inside to get the cat. The cat ran upstairs, with me in hot pursuit.

Waiting in the cab, my wife doesn’t want the driver to know that the house will be empty for the night. So, she told the driver I would be out soon. “He’s just going upstairs to say goodbye to my mother.”

A few minutes later, I got into the cab. “Sorry I took so long,” I told my wife. “But that stupid thing was hiding under the bed. I had to poke her with a coat hanger to get her to come out! She tried to take off, so I grabbed her by the neck. Then, I had to wrap her in a blanket to keep her from scratching me. But it worked! I hauled her fat butt downstairs and threw her into the back yard!”

The cab driver was so startled he hit a parked car!

Paid reunion

A man in Scotland calls his son in Edinburgh the day before Christmas Eve and says, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing. Thirty years of misery is enough.”

“Dad, what are you talking about?” the son screams.

“We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,” the father says. “So you can call your sister in Aberdeen and tell her “

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. “They’re not getting divorced,” she shouts. “I’ll take care of this.”

She calls home immediately, and screams at her father, “You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. My brother and I will be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?” and hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. “Okay,” he says, “they’re coming for Christmas and they’re paying their own way.”

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One point twenty-one gigawatts?

Prayer can be the bolt of lightening you require

By Sarah Read

I need a do-over day today. I needed a do-over since before the day began. In fact, I required a reset button before the sun came up. My son had his 1-year check-up yesterday. I declined his Chickenpox vaccine, but he still got two shots, the last in a series he was due. At 2:30 a.m., I was giving him another dose of Tylenol and by the time he was back asleep, my husband’s 3:45 a.m. alarm was buzzing. At 4, I decided it may be a good idea, as tired as I was, to get my much-needed shower in before my husband left for work and the kids woke up. Note to self: bad idea. It did not result in a quiet, calm, kid-free start to the day. Instead, I wound up with my 3-year-old daughter in the shower with me and my son in a screaming, crying fit in his dad’s tired arms. Even with the three of us back to sleep from 5-7, I still have had grouchy, rest-deprived, misbehaving children the duration of the day. I keep thinking, if I could just go back to that 4:00 hour and undo my decision to shuffle into the shower, all would be fine. Alas, lacking a DeLorean, flux-capacitor and 1.21 gigawatts, it cannot be undone. So, onward and upward with the day!

It feels next to impossible to keep my composure in tact on days like today, when so many factors are working against us. Lack of sleep, teething, shots, terrible-3’s temper tantrums, spilt milk and flung applesauce, even a van with a dead battery that won’t start after I have the kids bundled up and loaded in, topped off with a joint-injured, limping dog that can hardly get up and down the back steps in the snow and ice.

When I am worn down and weak, I know I am an easy target to let evil and anger consume my day. It is tricky finding peace and praise when you are surrounded by pandemonium. But the Bible tells us that we should be alert and mindful in the face of challenges. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” -1 Peter 5:8

Instead of hunting down Marty McFly, or losing my cool yet again with round 12 of time-outs, I decided to take my own time-out, along with a sequence of deep breaths and seek out the presence and patience of the Lord at my side. I may not get a do-over for the day, but God has another day in store for me tomorrow, and His promise to help me survive days like today. “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you.” – Isaiah 41:10

As it turns out, when it feels as though my only escape is hitting 88 miles per hour in a cheesy 1985 film, all I need is the even more powerful drive of graceful prayer.

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Pearce Points

N-Pearce-awarded-fellowshipBy Rep. Tom Pearce

What if…?

One of the greatest joys I experience is living in such an incredible community. When there is a need we give, when someone is hurting we care, and when someone experiences success we celebrate. What if this Christmas, while we remember the greatest gift ever given, we each look for a neighbor in need and take the time to reach out in some small way. Who knows how much good can come from a few simple acts of kindness?

New Year begins district office hours change

To improve efficient and effective service to the residents of the 73rd House District, beginning in January 2010 my meetings with constituents will be done on an appointment basis rather than the open district office hours schedule. The monthly district office hours format was great for meeting people informally, but often it has been the case that no residents were using the district office hours opportunities to meet with me. Another matter I have taken into account in making this decision is fairness to the businesses and their staffs who have graciously hosted my meetings over the years. The scant and sometimes nonexistent attendance needlessly ties up part of their serving area. I am thankful to each restaurant that worked around my district office hours schedule. I also thank those residents who have met with me at the district office hours. I still look forward to meeting in the local community with anyone who has concerns, opinions or difficulties with state government issues or services using an appointment process.  To establish an appointment time and location, please contact my office toll free at 888-414-3684.

“Helping hand” info makes online debut

A new state Web site is making it easier for people facing economic hardship to find state programs and services, tips and how-to information. There are five primary links at www.michigan.gov/helpinghand to access information on Michigan’s unemployment benefits program, food assistance, affordable medical care and help with mortgage trouble, as well as other useful information. The site also has links for United Way’s 2-1-1 local cooperating agencies, including the online Heart of West Michigan United Way Community Resource Directory. Another Web site that can be of use for seniors looking for answers is the AARP’s www.aarp.org/quicklink. This site can help people learn about public benefit programs they may not know are available, and how to get help from them. These programs can help save money on health care, medication, food, utilities, children’s health costs and more. There are options for federal and state-specific program searches.

Reminder: unemployment assistance available 24/7

I included this information in my last column, but with Michigan’s high unemployment I want to remind people that unemployment insurance help can be reached online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Claims can be filed online at www.michigan.gov/uia anytime from 7 a.m., Monday until 7 p.m., Saturday. Claims can also be filed by telephone by calling toll-free 866-500-0017 which is available anytime from 7 a.m., Monday, until 7 p.m., Saturday, with live assistance available from 8 a.m., until 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Those connecting before or after the regular business hours will not have access to live representatives. Those calling the automated system during off-hours and who cannot complete the filing of their claims because additional information is required will be advised to call the agency back during normal business hours, excluding holidays, to speak with an agency representative. Another service upgrade allows workers to choose their benefit payment option from debit card to direct deposit or vice versa. UIA also has helpful video Webcasts available on its site, www.michigan.gov/uia. There are answers and explanations to more than three dozen common questions on ‘UI Tube’ in the format of guides or tutorials to help users understand and access unemployment programs or benefits.  Most of the on-demand programs are less than 10 minutes long.  Employers can learn about different aspects of the tax program, as well as how to file quarterly wage, tax and payroll reports. Unemployed workers can learn about unemployment benefits, including the step-by-step process for filing an unemployment claim and registering for work through Michigan Works!  They can also learn about their benefit payment options, how to use MARVIN and some of the common problems they may have with claims.

Contact me

Residents are encouraged to contact me anytime through my Lansing office by calling toll free (888) 414-3684; mailing to the State Capitol, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909-7514; or e-mailing tompearce@house.mi.gov.

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Varsity boys win one, lose one in basketball

_S-BB-Varsity-boysThe Belding Redskins came to town on December 15 to take on the Cedar Springs Red Hawks in the first OK Blue boys basketball game of the year. Belding got off to a good start and led 7-5. A pair of Kyle Chaney free throws knotted the score at 7 and started an offensive flurry for the Red Hawks. During the last 2:40 of the first quarter, Jason Gust scored 4 straight points, followed by 5 points from Hank Porter and then 5 points from Seth Coxon to build a 21-12 Cedar lead after one Quarter.

Cedar Springs came out hot in the 2nd quarter with Trey Reed, Ryan Dines, Coxon, Gust and Ryan Harper all scoring to give the Red Hawks a commanding 37-21 lead at the half.

The second half was a slow-moving, hard fought battle with the teams combining for 30 fouls and 42 free throws. Belding managed to cut the Red Hawk lead to 11 points early in the fourth quarter. Then Gust, Coxon, and Porter scored the next 18 Red Hawk points to clinch the 72-54 victory for Cedar Springs.

Coxon led the Red Hawks with 20 Points, Gust had 19, Porter 14, Reed and Harper 5 each, Dines 3, Chaney, Alec Hanmer and Jake Holtrop 2 points each. Coxon also lead Cedar with 7 Rebounds.

“I was very happy with the way we played in the first half.,” said Coach Andy Secor after the Red Hawk victory. “The second half was very sloppy—lots of turnovers and lots of fouls. A lot of that had to do with how aggressive Belding was with their press and getting the ball inside. In all 20 of our games this year the opposing team will be bigger, faster, and stronger than we are. This game was a true test of that. The offense of Seth Coxon and Hank Porter was really important for us,” he said.

On December 18, The Falcons of Grand Rapids West Catholic visited Cedar Springs. The game started off in a frenzy of scoring for both teams. Cedar Springs Senior Jason Gust came out on fire scoring 13 first quarter points to keep the Red Hawks close. West Catholic led after 1 quarter by a score of 26-24. In the 2nd quarter, things calmed down and with Cedar outscoring the Falcons 6-5 and West Catholic leading 31-30 at the half.

Gust came out in the 3rd quarter and scored 9 more points, thrilling the crowd with a deep 3 pointer from 10 feet behind the arc. But during the quarter, the hot shooting Falcons built a 7-point lead. During the 4th quarter, the Red Hawks cut the lead to 5, but could get no closer as West Catholic made their free throws down the stretch. The final score was West Catholic 70, Cedar Springs 63.

Jason Gust led the Red Hawks with 35 points. Hank Porter had 12 points and led team with 7 rebounds. Ryan Harper scored 8 points, Coxon 4, Trey Reed and Tyler Baker had 2 each.

Coach Secor was pleased with his teams’ effort, but disappointed with the loss. “It may sound crazy, but after the first 4 minutes I was pretty happy with how we played,” noted Secor. “Jason was sensational and really kept us in the game single-handedly in the first half. The size and athleticism of West Catholic gave us fits all night long. We saw what their athletes did during football season, and a group of those same kids gave us problems on Friday night. I loved our effort and determination throughout the game. The difference in the game turned out to be how poor we were on defense the first four minutes, free throw shooting, and their offensive rebounding,” he explained. “I thought the crowd was great for the first girls/boys doubleheader and the student section was rocking and rowdy. I just wish we could’ve gotten the W for them.”

Cedar Springs will host a Boys Basketball Holiday Tournament on December 28 and 29. The teams included are Lakeview, Kent City, Fremont, and Cedar Springs. There will be six games each day at the Cedar Springs High School starting at 9 a.m. with the freshmen games. On Monday the 28, Cedar Springs plays Lakeview. The freshmen play at 11 a.m., The Junior Varsity plays at 3 p.m. and the Varsity plays at 8 p.m. On Tuesday, the games will be determined by Monday’s winners. The Red Hawk Varsity will play at either 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. The JV at 1 or 3 p.m., and The Freshmen at 9 or 11 a.m.

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Red Hawk Varsity wrestlers undefeated at Freeland

_S-Wrestling1On Saturday, December 19, the CSHS Varsity wrestling team was invited to Freeland, Michigan to compete in a tournament with several schools from the east side of the state.

The Hawks started off strong against Elkton-Pigeon winning the round with a score of 60-18. The competition then got heavy as the Hawks took to the mat with the hometown team from Freeland. The rounds were intense with each team gaining points back and forth. The score was tied 34–4. The start of the last match had Jake Marsman (152 lb) battling his opponent for 3 periods to get the win and beat Freeland 38-34.

_S-Wrestling2That win continued the positive momentum for the Hawks as they beat Gladwin 44-30, Reed City 48-24, and ended out the day prevailing against Vassar 72–12.

“The guys did a great job today,” said Coach Jake Lewis.

Six wrestlers went undefeated during the tournament: seniors Scott Vodry and Kirk Moore, juniors Joe Simon, Nick Baird and Ricardo Rios, and freshman Cody Oehme.

The team will travel to Comstock, Michigan for their next tournament on Wednesday, December 30.

Go Hawks!

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CTA Chargers win hard fought battle at Grattan Academy

On Tuesday night, December 15, the Creative Technologies Varsity boys basketball team traveled to Greenville to tussle with the Grizzlies of Grattan Academy in what is fast becoming a heated rivalry. The Chargers used a solid defense and great free throw shooting down the stretch to pull away for the 51-45 victory.
The Chargers were paced by junior forward Tim Hubbard, with 14 points. Junior guard David Irish-Empie sealed the victory by making 9 of 10 free throws in the last two minutes. He checked in with 13 points.  The victory puts the Chargers record to 1-0 on the season.

The Chargers travel to Muskegon to take on Waypoint Academy on Friday, December 18, and then they will not be back in action until after the winter break when they take on West Michigan Academy of Environmental Sciences on January 6.

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CTA Girls Basketball

Creative Technologies Academy Girls Basketball opened their season with a fine performance against Grattan Academy in Greenville on Tuesday, December 15.  Although they took the loss, Coach Robin Greene was encouraged by the effort of her squad. “The girls played extremely hard tonight. They hustled after every loose ball, won a lot of rebounding battles, and we are improving in a lot of ways on the offensive and defensive ends of the court,” she said.

Junior, Ashley Witherspoon, and senior, Amber Bowen, combined for 18 of the 21 Charger points.

This was the first official girls’ basketball game in CTA history. A strong crowd of cheering, banner-waving fans made the trip to Greenville to support their basketball teams. Coach Greene appreciates the participation of students and parents, “I love to see so many people out at the games cheering the kids on, and our fans really gave us a boost and made this game a whole lot of fun,” said Greene.

The CTA girls play next on January 6 at West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science.

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Snowman sighting!

_OUT-Snowman-BrownEmily Brown, age 8, and her Grampam created this snowman on Sunday, December 6, in Nelson Township, “before it got too doggone cold to roll a decent snowball,” explained her Grampaw.

Emily is a 3rd grader at Beach Elementary. “She’s also known as the best granddaughter in the whole universe!” he said.

Great job, Emily!

If you have a snowman or winter fun picture, send it to us and we’ll print them as space allows. Email it to postnews@charter.net with your name, phone number, and a brief description, or mail it to Snowman, c/o The Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, Michigan 49319.

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Snowmobile trails ready for riding

With recent heavy snowfall across much of the state, state snowmobile trails are ready for riders in many locations, the Department of Natural Resources announced last week.

“As a result of early, significant snowfall, trails in portions of the Upper Peninsula and Lower Peninsula are already in great shape due to the hard work of the many snowmobile clubs who have packed down snow and developed a good base for grooming,” said Steve DeBrabander, DNR State Trails Operations and Construction supervisor. “Snow conditions vary from county to county, so be sure to call ahead for information on the condition of the trail in the area you are going to ride. With cold temperatures in the forecast, trails should be in great condition for the holidays.”

Up-to-date snowmobile trail conditions can be found online at www.trailreport.com or by checking with local DNR field offices or convention and visitor bureaus.

One change snowmobilers should be aware of for the 2009-2010 season is the increase in snowmobile trail permits from $25 to $35. At the request of snowmobilers, the Michigan Legislature passed an increase in these fees as a way to close a $1 million budget gap in the 2010 Snowmobile Trail Improvement Fund, which pays for trail maintenance and creation along with law enforcement. The legislation was signed into law by the

Governor in January 2009.

Funding to support the Snowmobile Trail Improvement Fund comes from the annual snowmobile trail permits, a portion of the snowmobile registration fee and a portion of state gas tax revenue. The Snowmobile Trail Improvement Fund is constitutionally protected and can only be used for the snowmobile trails program.

The 6,500-mile designated snowmobile trail system is a statewide network of signed and groomed trails that extends from Southwest Michigan, up the west side of the Lower Peninsula, in the thumb area and throughout the Northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula. This network of trails is on both public and private lands. According to snowmobile industry estimates, snowmobiling in Michigan is a $1 billion economic impact to the state.

Questions about the program may be directed to Steve DeBrabander a (517) 241-3687. For more information on Michigan’s snowmobile program, please go to www.michigan.gov/dnr, click on Recreation, Camping and Boating, and then click on Snowmobiling.

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Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche

Kent County Christmas Bird Count

The Kent County Bird count will be January 2, 2010 and is hosted by the Grand Rapids Audubon Club, Michigan Audubon, National Audubon Society and area nature centers. The Post outlined the national program in last week’s paper and our local details follow.

Last year we saw 54 species of birds and 7,435 individuals on the Kent County effort. Each year provides new conditions and variations. We have been conducting the local bird count since the 1940’s. I became the count coordinator in 1987. It is a great joy to compile local records with people who share the joy of bird watching.

We will tbe out enjoying birds and countryside by 8 a.m. with friends and knowledgeable birders. Join us on Saturday, January 2, 2010 at Wittenbach/Wege Agri-science and Environmental Center in Lowell at 11715 Vergennes Rd. Gather at 7:30 a.m. and small groups will head out to areas within the count circle. Return around noon for a lunch prepared by Danford Richmond ($5) or brown bag a lunch. At 5 p.m. we gather to tally findings. You can participate part or all day.

Come dressed in layers for outdoor adventure. Bring binoculars and a bird field guide. If you do not have those, just come and others will share. We car pool and stop frequently to count birds in swamps, forests, fields, and streams.

The Howard Christensen, Blandford, and Wittenbach/Wege Centers are part of a Connecting Families with Nature Passport Program. The bird count is a way kids can get an entry on their passport. For passport program details go to: http://kentconservation.org/families/

Grand Rapids Audubon pays the adult $5 participation fee for club members as a membership benefit. People joining the club that day ($15) will also have their $5 fee paid by the club plus receive club benefits for a year. Otherwise non-members can just pay their own $5 participation fee. There is no charge for youth 18 and younger to participate.

Bird counts are fun and valuable for tracking bird locations and species abundances. It will be exciting to discover this year’s bird activity and we hope you will participate.

For questions or additional information on the bird count contact Ranger Steve at 616-696-1753 or at Odybrook@chartermi.net

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve at Odybrook@chartermi.net or the Cedar Springs Post, P.O. Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319

Ranger Steve (Mueller)

Ody Brook Enterprises

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