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Archive | February, 2010

Pedestrians struck by car after argument

An argument that started in an area bar spread to the roadway early Friday morning,  sending two men to the hospital.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, there was a verbal argument between a 23-year-old man and a 27-year-old man, both from  Greenville, at about 12:56 a.m. on February 26, at the Harvard Bar, on Harvard Ave.  in Oakfield Township. The argument was broken up by several bystanders, and the 23-year-old took off, walking southbound on Harvard Avenue with two friends, a 21-year-old from Greenville, and a 22-year-old from Gowen.

The 27-year-old then got into a vehicle with two friends and took off southbound on Harvard Avenue. As the vehicle approached the three that were walking, it swerved towards the group. The front passenger opened the door, striking the 21-year-old and knocking him to the ground. The 23-year-old was struck by the front passenger side bumper of the vehicle and also knocked to the ground. The vehicle then fled southbound on Harvard Ave.

The 21-year-old suffered cuts to his right knee and right arm, and was transported privately to Butterworth Hospital. The 23-year-old was knocked unconscious. He was listed as having serious but non-life threatening injuries, and was transported to Butterworth Hospital. The suspect vehicle was described as a dark-colored four-door vehicle.

Oakfield Fire assisted at the scene.

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Fire destroys mobile home

By Judy Reed

A young woman lost her home Sunday in a fire at Cedar Springs Mobile Estates.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene of a possible dryer fire at 385 S. Linda at 3:12 p.m. on Sunday, February 21. When they arrived on scene, they found a singlewide mobile home in flames. The Sand Lake Fire Department also responded to the scene for mutual aid. The Cedar Springs Police Department was also on scene.

The renter and two friends escaped unharmed, and also got the family dog and cat out safely.

According to Fire Chief Jerry Gross, materials behind the dryer caught on fire and then spread. “The fire was knocked down in a short period of time, but we stayed on scene to ensure that there were no hot spots inside,” said Gross.

He noted that because of the close proximity of the home to the doublewide next door, that home also suffered heat, smoke and water damage. Siding on the front melted off.

Flames shoot from windows and doors of home. Photos by Greg Kurylowicz.

Flames shoot from windows and doors of home. Photo by Greg Kurylowicz.

Photo by Greg Kurylowicz.

Photo by Greg Kurylowicz.

The siding on the mobile home next door melted from the heat. That home also suffered smoke and water damage. Post photo by J. Reed.

The siding on the mobile home next door melted from the heat. That home also suffered smoke and water damage. Post photo by J. Reed.

Smoke pouring from inside the mobile home. Post photo by J. Reed.

Smoke pouring from inside the mobile home. Post photo by J. Reed.

The back side of the mobile home. Post photo by J. Reed.

The back side of the mobile home. Post photo by J. Reed.

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Sand Lake’s “mom” passes away

By Judy Reed

Beth Miller of Sand Lake, Michigan

Beth Miller

She had six kids of her own, but she thought of all of Sand Lake as her family.

“She called herself Sand Lake’s mom,” said Village President Kirk Thielke, as he spoke about longtime village clerk Elizabeth Ann (Beth) Miller. “She was always helping where she was needed.”

Beth, age 51, died last weekend at her home after a battle with cancer.

“It’s a tragic loss on several levels,” noted Thielke, “both personal and professional.”

Beth was Sand Lake Village Clerk for 16 years, and worked under several Village Presidents. Former Village President and current trustee David Dewey remembered Beth as someone that always held the village in her heart, and had a positive attitude when dealing with people. “She was always friendly, and greeted everyone with smiles. She also had a terrific sense of humor,” he said.

Thielke said she was constantly giving of herself and time. “Beth was a great person. Everyone knew her. She was always the first to volunteer when something needed to be done, whether planting trees or flowers, or something else.”

He also noted that she was a big help to him when he came on board two years ago as Village President. “I wouldn’t have made it without her,” he said. “She knew everyone—she had the connections, phone numbers, etc. Whatever would make me look good, she would do. Sometimes you don’t realize that until after the fact.”

The office here at the Post also enjoyed working with Beth. She was bright and cheery, and always joking around with us when she called. She will be deeply missed.

Beth’s family held visitation Wednesday evening at Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral home, and will hold a memorial service at a later date.

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Michigan band kicks off national tour at the Kent

By Steven Reed

breathe owl breathe opened their national tour at the Kent Theatre in Cedar Springs last Thursday night.

breathe owl breathe opened their national tour at the Kent Theatre in Cedar Springs last Thursday night.

Last Thursday, The Kent Theatre in Cedar Springs hosted the kick-off concert for the national tour of Michigan band Breathe Owl Breathe.
The five-band set opened with Dava Klein, a very talented local guitarist.  Next up was another local, Aura (also known as Pamella Crystal), who displayed her talent by playing a fully acoustic set, accompanied only by her vocals. Previously a drummer in a rock band, this is her first solo project.

The third artist was a man who calls himself The Inner-Astronaut.  He also played a fully acoustic set, in a very quirky, relaxing Jason Mraz-esque style of playing. He was clearly a crowd favorite.

The next band on stage was Gideon Lee, a folksy band that included local musician Robbie Carlstrom. They put on a wonderful show.

Gideon Lee on stage.

Gideon Lee on stage.

Last, but certainly not least, was Breathe Owl Breathe. Breathe Owl Breathe is a folk band founded in East Jordan, Michigan, who decided to start out their national tour at the Kent Theatre. Carlstrom, of Gideon Lee, is a personal friend of some of the members of Breathe Owl Breathe, and was the one to recommend the Kent to them.

Breathe Owl Breathe is a band that knows how to please an audience. They were incredibly friendly and entertaining, often getting the audience involved in the songs. Their lyrics were strange and quirky (they sang about werewolves and a dragon and a princess being pen pals), and their music was fantastic.

Aura (also known as Pamella Crystal) performed an acoustic set.

Aura (also known as Pamella Crystal) performed an acoustic set.

While things may have seemed a bit rocky early on, the concert overall was a very pleasant experience. We look forward to many more concerts at the Kent in the future!

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Sand Lake Elementary wins $1,000 for art department

This is just one of the pieces of student art found at Artsonia. Com. From exhibit “NW Coast Indians—Animal Paintings” by Ashleigh414 (Art ID #8054692) from Sand Lake Elementary School—grade 5.

This is just one of the pieces of student art found at Artsonia. Com. From exhibit “NW Coast Indians—Animal Paintings” by Ashleigh414 (Art ID #8054692) from Sand Lake Elementary School—grade 5.

Sand Lake, MI—Artsonia.com, the world’s largest online student art museum, has just announced the winners of its Fall Art Drive Contest. More than 2,300 art teachers in the US submitted at least 100 pieces of artwork to their online school galleries this fall, making them eligible for the contest’s grand prize drawing. Of those who qualified, five teachers were randomly selected to each receive a $1,000 gift card to Blick Art Materials.

The winning teachers include: Aaron Turner (Johnsville Elementary School, Schauk, OH), Tina Jenkins (Parkview Elementary School, Van Buren, AR), Sandy Sedine (Sand Lake Elementary School, Sand Lake, MI), Nancy Lennon (Minot Forest School, Wareham, MA), and Elise Ward (All Saints Catholic School, Davenport, IA).

Sandy Sedine, the art teacher at Sand Lake Elementary School, created the school’s online art gallery in 2008. Since then, thousands of visitors have viewed the student work, joined fan clubs for the young artists and posted comments in their guest books. This school year, Sedine has added over 700 pieces of student artwork, which can be viewed online at www.artsonia.com/schools/sandlake1.

Headquartered in Gurnee, Ill., Artsonia was established in 2000 as an online kid’s art museum providing free, educational resources for kids, families and schools to create art projects. Since its inception, Artsonia continues to integrate technology in the classroom, develop multi-cultural understanding through art and increase family involvement in children’s education. To find out more, visit www.artsonia.com.

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Pilgrim Bible students essay winners

Jonathan Guiles (left) and James Raisch (right) are local winners of the America & Me essay contest.

Jonathan Guiles (left) and James Raisch (right) are local winners of the America & Me essay contest.

Two students from Pilgrim Bible Academy in Cedar Springs have been named local winners in the 41st annual America & Me essay contest, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance.

The two students, who earned the first and second place awards for their school, are James Raisch (first place), and Jonathan Guiles (second place). Both received award certificates for their achievement. As the school’s first place winner, James’s name will also be engraved on a plaque for permanent display in the school.

James now advances to the state level competition, from which the top 10 essays in Michigan will be selected. The top 10 statewide winners, who will be announced in April, will each receive a plaque, a medallion, and a cash award of $1,000. In addition, the top 10 essayists will be honored at a banquet in Lansing, meet with Michigan’s top government leaders, and be the featured guests at a Lansing Lugnuts minor league baseball game dedicated in their honor.

A team of finalist judges that includes a top Michigan government official and the sponsoring teachers of last year’s top two statewide winners will determine the ranking of the top 10 statewide winners this year.

Several thousand 8th grade students from nearly 500 Michigan schools participated in the 2009-10 essay contest. The topic was “My personal Michigan hero.” Started in 1968 and open to all Michigan 8th grade students, the contest encourages youth to explore their roles in America’s future.

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Beware of computer offers for the credit impaired

BlueHippo—it was a catchy name and a great logo. You might have been okay buying their coffee mug or even the boxer shorts they peddled on their website. But the company’s primary business was selling computers and other electronic equipment over the Internet to people with low incomes and impaired credit. If you were one of those customers, you’re probably still regretting it.

The BBB issued our first local warning about BlueHippo in 2004 and the BBB system issued a nationwide alert in 2007. The company was sued by the Federal Trade Commission and numerous state Attorney Generals. At one time, the FTC had over 8,000 pages of complaints about BlueHippo; the number is probably much higher now.  BlueHippo filed for bankruptcy in November when its payment processor froze its accounts after reading an FTC press release that BlueHippo said was “replete with factual inaccuracies.”

Even though BlueHippo is apparently on its way out of business, it offers valuable lessons for consumers who may be enticed by offers from similar companies that are still operating. Two of them are Guaranteed Consumer Funding and Tronix Country, both of which have an F rating with the BBB based on complaints and practices similar to BlueHippo’s. I saw a primetime commercial for Tronix Country on a local TV station recently.

BlueHippo is located in Maryland but advertised its offer nationwide via the Internet, TV and newspapers. It sold computers and other electronic equipment on a hybrid layaway and installment payment plan to financially strapped consumers. Its newspaper ads touted “New Computer – Bad Credit? No Credit? No Problem! Guaranteed Approval.” Consumers who signed up to make weekly payments for a year were supposed to receive their equipment after making the first 13 payments.

BlueHippo customers complained to the BBB that they never received their computers after making the required number of payments, that they paid up to four times the price they would have paid at a local store, and that they never received free plasma TVs that were supposed to accompany their computers. The FTC alleged that BlueHippo continued to deceive consumers after it entered into a court approved agreement to revise its practices. The FTC found that 35,000 consumers contracted for BlueHippo’s financing deal during a nine-month period in 2008, but the company only shipped one computer.

Consumers can take away a number of lessons from the long and sordid history of BlueHippo. First, they should ask themselves why a company in a faraway state will lend them money to buy a computer if a local retailer or lender won’t. I’m not suggesting there aren’t legitimate Internet lending deals. But they require closer scrutiny, which brings us to the next lesson. Check out companies like this (actually, any company) with the BBB. While tens of thousands of people were victimized by BlueHippo, many more were saved from grief because they pulled the BBB’s report on the company and saw its F rating and the many government actions filed against it. Finally, be sure you fully understand a company’s refund policy and the terms of any financing agreement.

Ken Vander Meeden, local BBB of Western Michigan P esident, noted, “Free MP3 player, free printer, and free plasma TV if you order a computer with your bad credit should be a red flag to most reasonable consumers. Given the poor performance of numerous companies for these misleading offers, we also alert media to be more selective in accepting advertising from bad performers.”

Visit www.bbb.org for 3.9 million reports.

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Burned out house belonged to Red Flannel Factory owner

By Judy Reed

This photo shows the house at First and Maple immediately after the fire was put out. The Cedar Springs Post is on the right. Post photo by J. Reed.

Last week we asked if anyone had any history of the house at 40 E. Maple that was destroyed by fire in the early hours of February 7. As it turned out, we got a small, but significant piece of information.

According to Deb (Riggle) Gates, sister of former Post editor Terri Riggle, and daughter of Janet and Howard (Slim) Riggle (a former city manager), she grew up on the northeast corner of Maple and First, opposite from the home.

“A lady by the name of Vivian, (Sally) Wall lived there,” recalled Deb. “She was the one who established the Francis Lee Red Flannel Factory in the building which now houses the Cedar Post.”

Deb said it was a large, elegant, house with six bedrooms, and a front door that was on an angle at the corner of the house and faced northeast. “She also had a nice porch on the side,” she said.

Both families appear to have moved there in the early 1950s. Deb’s house sat where the parking lot of The Springs Church is now. She said others who lived nearby included the Newlands, who owned the home across the street on the southeast corner of Maple and First; Bert Lewis, who lived east of the Riggles; the Watsons; and Millard Engberg, a former publisher of the Cedar Springs Clipper.

According to the Cedar Springs Story, by Sue Harrison and Donna DeJonge, Sally and her husband, Francis Lee Wall, bought the large home in 1954. She had taken over sewing Red Flannels in 1952 from Mae Oppenneer, who had done it for three years. Sally used the six rooms upstairs in her new home for the shop. Five years later, she and her husband remodeled a barn, located adjacent to the home at 36 E. Maple Street, and called it the Francis Lee Red Flannel Factory. Finished garments were displayed in a showroom up front, and a cutting room was located upstairs. That building is now the home of the Cedar Springs Post.

This shows the Post when it was the Francis Lee Red Flannel Factory, owned and operated by Sally Wall from 1959-1971. Photo from the Cedar Springs Story.

“This place was always busy,” remembered Deb. “Especially on Red Flannel Day. And I remember taking tours of it with other kids.”

The Walls retired in 1971, and sold the business to another group called Cedar Springs Red Flannels. They operated the factory out of 36 E. Maple for two more years before moving to 73 Main Street.

The Wall home at 40 E. Maple was converted to apartments sometime later.

The apartment house property was separated from the Cedar Springs Post property by a chain link fence, but the buildings were in close proximity. Many residents have commented that it was a miracle our building didn’t catch fire as well. “I’m glad we didn’t burn down,” remarked Post publisher Lois Allen.

We thank the Cedar Springs Police Fire Department for doing an outstanding job of controlling and containing the fire. The cause was not determined.

A vacant lot now sits where the old home was, ready to play another part in the history of Cedar Springs.

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Springs runs the river

Both beginning and experienced runners welcome

Jeff Ells (left), Maureen Baker (center), and Matt Kuzma (right) are two runners that enjoy training with others in the area to run the Fifth Third River Bank Run.

Would you like to train with someone to run in the annual Fifth Third River Band Run on May 8? Would you like the encouragement of other runners? Then you just might be interested in joining the group called “Springs runs the river.”

Organized by Cedar Springs Parks and Recreation, the group meets on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. at Cedar Springs Middle School, and consists of both beginning and more experienced runners.

Maureen Baker, a teacher at Tri County, had not run before joining the group last year. She trains for the 5K, and said that she ran three more races last year after the River Bank Run. “I even took first place in the Howard City Sneaker Run in September,” she said. “The Cedar Springs running group inspired me to see myself as a runner and I look forward to improving my times this year.”

Another participant from last year is Jeff Ells, another teacher from Tri County. Jeff ran the 10K last year and went from being a casual runner into a fan of the sport. “I shaved 5 minutes off my 10K time and completely changed my running gate,” explained Jeff. “I felt stronger and more healthy by the time of the River Bank run.”

But better health wasn’t the only thing Jeff liked about the group. “I also enjoyed the companionship and spirit of the other runners,” he said. “We supported each other and pushed each other. It was not only healthy but a lot of fun.”

Cedar Springs resident Matt Kuzma had been a runner before the program, but decided to join the group for the encouragement of others during the hard runs. “I had my best 25K time and I credit it to being in the running group,” said Matt. “It is always easier to get motivated when you have others supporting you and giving you encouragement.”

If you think you’d like to try out running with the group, registration forms can be found online at www.csaparksandrec.com.

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For the birds

February is national birdfeeding month

(NAPS)—Americans love their feathered friends. More than 65 million people feed the birds that visit their backyards each year.
A new book offers these backyard birders some ideas to tweet about. “For the Birds” contains 50 all-natural recipes—from fruity favorites to beak-smacking suets and enticing nectars—to delight steady backyard guests and lure a variety of new species as well. No exotic ingredients are required.

Here’s a recipe to help birds produce healthy eggs.
Calcium Feast
3 cups wild birdseed or homemade seed mix
3–5 eggs (shells only)

Rinse the shells and put them on a cookie sheet to bake at 350°F (177°C) until dry. Use a rolling pin or spoon to crush them into fine pieces and sprinkle them into your seed mixture. Fill a tube feeder with this calcium-enhanced seed or serve in a tray feeder. Yields: 3 cups

You’ll find more recipes like this as well as tips on how to make recycled feeders using coconuts, grapefruits, muffin tins or apple boxes. Easy-to-read charts also let readers know which plants, feeders and nesting boxes are best for the types of birds they want to attract.

“For the Birds” is published by Reader’s Digest and is available wherever books are sold.

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