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Archive | February, 2010

Red Hawks defeat Sparta, 3 straight wins

It was a great week for the Cedar Springs Boys Varsity Basketball team, a week they really needed. It started out on Friday, February 12, with an easy 74-42 victory over the struggling Grand Rapids Central Rams. The outcome was never in doubt as Cedar jumped out to a 22-9 lead after one quarter and never looked back. All 13 Red Hawks saw plenty of action and 12 Red Hawks scored in the game. Senior Achrim Tillbrook, playing his first year of high school basketball, scored his first points of the year on a driving lay-up through the Central defense. Jason Gust and Seth Coxon each had 12 points and Ryan Harper chipped in 10.

Next up was the re-match with arch-rival Sparta, on February 16, at Cedar Springs High School. Sparta narrowly defeated Cedar earlier this season at Sparta, snapping a 16 game Red Hawk winning streak against the Spartans. The Red Hawks have not lost to Sparta at home since 1999 and didn’t want that streak to end. Sparta entered the game as the favorite with an impressive 11-4 record. Cedar Springs was 5-10. The game was close the entire first half with the lead changing hands 6 times. A 3-pointer by Seth Coxon late in the 2nd quarter gave Cedar a 23-19 halftime lead.

Cedar built a 9-point lead early in the 3rd on 7 straight points by Jason Gust. Sparta cut the lead to 5 at the end of 3 quarters. The Red Hawks clawed their way back to a 9-point lead with 4 minutes to go on a Ryan Dines lay-up, a Ryan Harper free throw, and 6 points by Seth Coxon. After a Sparta basket, Cedar held the ball for over a minute forcing Sparta to foul. Cedar failed to convert the free throw and Sparta rebounded and made a quick 3-pointer that cut the Red Hawk lead to 4 with 2:30 to go. After another missed free throw and a Red Hawk turnover, Sparta tied the game, but only for about 5 seconds. Cedar quickly broke the Spartan full court press, and Jason Gust fired a pass to Trey Reed for a wide-open lay-up to give Cedar the lead again with a minute to go. Sparta then turned the ball over and was forced to foul. The Red Hawks converted 6 of 8 free throws in the final minute to clinch the 55-51 victory.

Gust led all scorers with 26 points, Coxon had 10, Harper 7, Reed 6, Hank Porter, Branden Atkins and Dines had 2 each for the Red Hawks. Coach Secor was pleased with the victory. “It was a big win for our team, the thought of being swept by our rival was very motivating. Beating them 17 of the last 18 games is important to our program. Team defense was the key. Dines and Porter were very good guarding Plite (Sparta’s best player) and Gust made his free throws down the stretch.” Gust also made his 1000th point during the game.

On February 19, Cedar traveled to Coopersville to take on the Broncos. Eight first quarter points by Hank Porter led the Red Hawks to a 15-13 lead after one quarter. Cedar increased their lead to 35-22 at the half, on 11 second quarter points by sophomore Trey Reed and 7 points by Jason Gust.

Fifteen seconds into the 3rd quarter, Hank Porter hit a 3-pointer to give the Red Hawks a commanding 38-22 lead. Then the wheels came off for the Red Hawks. In an almost unbelievable turn of events, Coopersville outscored Cedar Springs 33-6 in the next 11 minutes and the Broncos went from being down by 16 points to being up by 11 (55-44) with 4:30 to go in the game. The Red Hawks were in trouble.

The Red Hawks quickly regrouped and went on a 7-0 run in the next 45 seconds to cut the Bronco lead to 4, then a 3-pointer by Coopersville gave them a 7-point lead with 3 minutes to go. Jason Gust answered with a quick 3 for Cedar to bring the Red Hawks within 4 again. Cedar’s defense then forced a Bronco turnover and Ryan Harper hit a jumper to make it a 2-point game. Then a huge Jason Gust steal led to a Ryan Harper lay-up to tie the game and send it in to overtime.

In overtime, the score was tied 60-60 with 1:25 to go and Seth Coxon hit a huge 3-pointer for the Red Hawks. Then Coxon stole the ball and the Broncos were forced to foul. Cedar converted on 5 of 6 free throws in the last minute to give the Red Hawks a 68-65 hard fought comeback victory.

“This was the biggest roller coaster of emotions in my 12 years of coaching,” said an emotionally drained Coach Secor. “We showed a lot of grit and character. Hank Porter and Trey Reed gave us a big lift offensively. After losing 5 games this season by 3 points or less, it was really good for us to win a couple close ones this week.”

Gust again led all scorers with 21 points, but had lots of help from his teammates. Hank Porter had 17 points and Trey Reed had 13. Ryan Harper narrowly missed a double-double with 9 points and 11 rebounds. Seth Coxon scored 4 points including the game winning 3-pointer. Two points each by Josh Hall and Tyler Baker rounded out the Red Hawk scoring.
The Red Hawks take on league leading Comstock Park at home in a Girls-Boys Varsity double-header on Friday, February 26.

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Last day for tax option for Haiti relief donations

WASHINGTON — Taxpayers wishing to claim their Haiti relief donations on the tax return they are filling out this season must make those donations by the end of this month, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
Individuals and corporations have until midnight on Sunday, Feb. 28, to make cash contributions to charities providing earthquake relief in Haiti. These contributions can be claimed on either a 2009 or 2010 return, but not both. Contributions made after that date but before the end of the year can only be claimed on a 2010 return.
Contributions made by text message, check, credit card or debit card qualify for this special option. Donations charged to a credit card before the end of February count for 2009. This is true even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until after Feb. 28. Also, checks count for 2009 as long as they are mailed by the end of this month and clear your financial institution shortly thereafter.
Taxpayers can benefit from their donations most quickly by filing their 2009 returns early, filing electronically and choosing direct deposit. Refunds take as few as ten days and can be directly deposited into a savings, checking or brokerage account, or used to purchase Series I U.S. savings bonds.
This special provision, enacted Jan. 22, does not apply to contributions of property. Eligible contributions must be made specifically for the relief of victims in areas affected by the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. Gifts made directly to individual victims are not deductible. Notice 1396 a one-page notice describing this provision, is available on IRS.gov and is printed in English, Spanish, French and Haitian Creole.
To get a tax benefit, individuals must itemize their deductions on Schedule A. Those who claim the standard deduction, including all short-form filers, are not eligible.
Taxpayers should be sure their contributions go to qualified charities. Most organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible donations are listed in a searchable online database available on this Web site under Search for Charities. Some organizations, such as churches or governments, may be qualified even though they are not listed on IRS.gov. Donors can find out more about organizations helping Haitian earthquake victims from agencies such as USAID.
The IRS reminds donors that contributions to foreign organizations generally are not deductible. IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, provides information on making contributions to charities.
Federal law requires that taxpayers keep a record of any deductible donations they make. For donations by text message, a telephone bill will meet the recordkeeping requirement if it shows the name of the donee organization, the date of the contribution and the amount of the contribution. In addition, for text message donations of $250 or more, taxpayers must obtain a written acknowledgement from the charity. For cash contributions made by other means, be sure to keep a bank record, such as a cancelled check, or a receipt from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. Publication 526 has further details on the recordkeeping rules for cash contributions.

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Falling short

The sports world has given us a lot to think about in recent weeks. First, we’ve seen the best of who we can be. I’m not a winter sports enthusiast, but I’ve been captivated by the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. I love to watch the competition and see athletes who’ve trained so long and so hard do their very best.  Sometimes they win a medal, and sometimes they don’t. Regardless, they teach us that focus, practice, and more practice are keys to fulfilling our dreams and finding our passion in life.

I’ve been moved by the stories of athletes who’ve overcome injuries and obstacles to get to the Olympics and compete for the love of their sport and their country. U.S. alpine skier Bode Miller won his first gold medal in the men’s super combined this year after competing in 2002 and 2006. U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn won gold in the women’s downhill after dealing with a leg injury. Many of the athletes and their families from around the world have made sacrifices just to get to the Olympic Games.

For all of the joy of the 2010 Olympics, another story from the sports world challenges us to look at ourselves for the ways we fall short of being our best. It was late last year when golfer Tiger Woods was found to have had extra-marital affairs. In a speech last week, Woods made a public confession of his behavior and public apology to his wife, family, and fans. He claimed full responsibility for his actions.

Here are some of his words: “I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in. I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn’t apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn’t have to go far to find them.”

“I was wrong. I was foolish. I don’t get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself. I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife’s family, my friends, my foundation and kids all around the world who admired me.”

It’s easy for us to point fingers at Woods and focus on his terrible behavior, but each of us has sin in our lives.  Woods’ sin is public because of his fame and fortune, but we stand in need of forgiveness just as much as he does. Perhaps our sin isn’t the same as his, but anything that separates us from God is sin. Anything that keeps us from being what God intends for us to be is sin.

And it’s interesting that we deal with these examples of the best and the worst just as we’re entering into the season of Lent (the 40 days before Easter, not counting Sundays).  This is time to hold up a mirror to our lives and see how we’re doing according to God’s call on us. Are we following God or going our own way? Have we strayed from what God calls us to be as spouses, parents, children, friends, and neighbors? Are we willing to admit to God, to ourselves, and to others that we have messed up? Are we ready to seek true forgiveness?

When we put our trust in God through Jesus Christ, we have hope to overcome whatever it is that separates us from God. Jesus was very clear about his purpose: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).  And Paul, who struggled with his own sin, offered great hope: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5: 8). Friends, there is Good News for us, even when we struggle: we are loved, cared for, and redeemed by God when we offer God all that we are.

So, enjoy these Olympics and the moments of triumph that we see there. And, when you see people struggle, whether it’s someone famous or not, remember that we all stand in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. God calls us to be our best every day!

If you don’t have a church home, join us on Sunday mornings at Cedar Springs UMC.  If you’ve been away from church for a while, consider getting back to church. I invite you to worship with us this Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. We share the warmth and hope of Jesus Christ!

Pastor Mary Ivanov
Cedar Springs United Methodist
140 S. Main, Cedar Springs

Posted in Church Connection, From the PulpitComments (0)

Marie Bush is almost “90”!

Marie Bush, a long-time resident of Sand Lake, will be turning “90” March 6, 2010. Driving school bus was her passion (along with her grandchildren) and is THE best driver Tri County ever had!
All of her riders, family and friends please send a birthday card to Marie Bush, Apt. 205, 11500 King Crest, Fredricksburg, VA 22407. Lets see if we can get 90 cards to her to celebrate her BIG day!!!

Posted in Birthday, Church ConnectionComments (3)

Helen Brown

May 14, 1925 – February 22, 2008

“If roses grow in Heaven Lord, please pick a bunch for me.
Place them in my my mother’s arms and tell her they’re from me.
Tell her I love her and miss her, and when she turns to smile, place a kiss upon her cheek and hold her for awhile.
Because remembering her is easy, I do it everday,
But there is an ache within my heart that will never go away.”


Posted in Church Connection, MemorialComments (0)

Lisa Jo Holt “Wrady”

October 4, 1967 to March 1, 2004

We love you, miss you and think of you always.

Love Mom,
Kim & Connie

Posted in Church Connection, MemorialComments (0)

Robert Walter Stay Sr.

Robert Walter Stay Sr., 54, passed away Monday February 22, 2010 in Cedar Springs. He was born May 15, 1955 in Lansing and was the son of the late Robert V. and Nancy (Fisher) Stay. He worked as a Plant Manager for Meridian Automotive for 23years. Robert was an avid outdoorsman who loved fishing and hunting. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife Judie (Jarvis),  four children Alicia Stay, Kristene (Terry) Gross, Robert (Sabra) Stay Jr., Ryan Stay, 11 grandchildren, brother Tim Stay Sr., two sister’s Mary Fehrenbach and Kathleen Buchin and several nieces and nephews.  Robert was a loving father, grandfather, brother and son and will be deeply missed.  In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by a Father-in-law S. Lary Jarvis. Funeral Service will be held Friday February 26th at 2p.m at the Reyers North Valley Chapel 2815 Fuller Ave NE and 3 Mile Rd.  Visitation will be on Thursday from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at the funeral home.  Memorial contributions can be made to The Miniature Pincher Rescue and The Kent County Humane Society with envelopes provided at the funeral home.
Arrangements by Reyers North Valley Chapel, Grand Rapids

Posted in Church Connection, ObituaryComments (0)

Elizabeth Miller

Elizabeth Ann “Beth” Miller, 51 of Sand Lake, passed away Friday, February 19, 2010 at her home. Beth was born October 20, 1958 in Lakeview, MI. She was a 1976 graduate of Tri-County High School. She was employed as the Sand Lake Village Clerk for the last 16 years and had worked summers at Cedar Chase Golf Club for the past 8 years. She loved camping, biking, gardening and going on walks. Most of all she loved her family and leaves behind a host of family and friends. Surviving are her children, Sarah Chicky, Douglas (Liz) Miller, Mandy Miller & fiancé Balaji, Theodore (Amber) Miller, Shanda (Keith) Hoogerhyde, Alyssa Miller; 9 grandchildren; boy friend, Dale Fill; mother, Jane Sherburne; siblings, Howard, Martin, Brenda, Roland, Vanita, Katharine, John, Walter, and Randolph; many nieces and nephews. The family received friends Wednesday evening, Feb. 24, 2010 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs, www.blisswitterspike.com  A memorial service will be held at a later date in Sand Lake. Memorial contributions may be made to the Tri-County Eagles, Sand Lake.
Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs, www.blisswitterspike.com

Posted in Church Connection, ObituaryComments (0)

Rex J. Morris

Rex J. Morris, 79 of Cedar Springs, died Monday, February 22, 2010 at Metron of Cedar Springs. Rex was born January 16, 1931 in Cedar Springs, MI the son of D.J. and Meryl (Hanna) Morris. He served in the U.S. Army and was one of the original Hell’s Angels paratroopers. He was a truck driver working for C.S. Tool & Die, VanKampen Trucking, and Reith & Riley. Following retirement he worked for the City of Cedar Springs. Rex was a member of the Glen Hill American Legion Post, Sons of American Legion, Tri-County Eagles, and the Lowell Moose. He was affectionately known as Grumpy Gramps.  Surviving are his wife, Betty; daughters, Tanya (Richard) Eadie of Cedar Springs, Rexanne (Kim) Montague of Howard City; stepchildren, Cynthia Morris of Grand Rapids, Terri (Mike) Cegelis of Kent City, Darryl Holbrook of Cedar Springs, Greg Walters of Texas, Howard Walters of Howard City; 16 grandchildren; 20 great grandchildren; sisters, Bonnie Rowland, Sally (John) Fortuna, Sandy (Morton) Reed; brother, Dick (Jo An) Morris; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, nephew, Ricky Fortuna; great grandson, Dustin Montague. The family will receive friends Thursday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs, www.blisswitterspike.com where services will be held Friday 11:00 am. Pastor Mary Ivanov officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Special Olympics Area 11 or the Ronald McDonald House. The family extends a special thank you to the caregivers at Metron of Cedar Springs.
Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs, www.blisswitterspike.com

Posted in Church Connection, ObituaryComments (0)

Donna J. Empie

Mrs. Donna J. Empie, age 75, of Cedar Springs, passed away on Sunday, February 21, 2010. She was born in the Upper Peninsula and was the daughter of Thorald and Katherine Leonard and moved with her family so they could find work in Grand Rapids. When Donna was 13 years old, her mother passed away.  While growing up, she was the caregiver for her younger sister, Vicki. Donna graduated from Creston High School in 1952. She married Gordon Empie and worked at Lippert Pharmacy and later at Rite Aid as a bookkeeper. Donna was the “hub” that kept the family together. By ear, she could play the accordion and organ. She enjoyed dancing, especially the polka, bowling in leagues, playing bingo, and crocheting doilies. Donna is survived by her children, Don and Lucille Empie and Ray and Chom Empie of Cedar Springs, Sue Liscombe and her friend, Olie Johnson of Harvard, Sandy and Bob Myers of Orrstown, PA, Pete and Pam Empie of St. Johns, Ruth and James Mulvey of Waterford, WI; 13 grandchildren; 12 great grandchildren; sisters, Vicki and Tim Chaney, Mrs. Leona Perry; nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gordon Empie on August 6, 1997, grandson, Alan Joseph Empie, and great grandchildren, Amanda Empie and Marcus Empie. The service for Mrs. Empie was Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor Chad White officiating. Interment in Elmwood Cemetery. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the   Patient Activity Fund at Metron of Cedar Springs or the needs of the family. Relatives and friends met with the family at the Pederson Funeral Home from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

Posted in Church Connection, ObituaryComments (0)

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