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Archive | April, 2010

City celebrates groundbreaking

By Judy Reed and Nancy Noreen

Mayor Charlie Watson and Nathan Brown plant a tree at Veteran’s Memorial Park.  Cedar Springs Mayor Charlie Watson, Mayor Pro-tem Christine Fahl, Dan Brown, Rich Freiburger, Councilor Pat Capek, City Manager Christine Burns, and Rex Rowland break ground on the new Veteran’s Memorial Park.  Denise and Kyra Hanna get ready to go clean up.

Cedar Springs Mayor Charlie Watson, Mayor Pro-tem Christine Fahl, Dan Brown, Rich Freiburger, Councilor Pat Capek, City Manager Christine Burns, and Rob Rowland break ground on the new Veteran’s Memorial Park. Denise and Kyra Hanna get ready to go clean up. Photo by J. Reed

It was cause for celebration Saturday when residents gathered on Saturday, during the Cedar Springs Earth Day celebration, for a groundbreaking and tree planting ceremony at the new Veteran’s Memorial Park, at the corner of Oak and Main Streets in Cedar Springs.

“Being a veteran, this park has special meaning for me,” said Cedar Springs Mayor Charlie Watson. “I hope that everyone who uses it will remember those that served even one day in the military.”

Watson noted that everything was donated for the park. Other than the property, the city didn’t spend any money on it. Instead, Dan Brown, uncle to Timothy Brown, who was killed in action in Iraq, was the driving force behind the park. Watson thanked him for finding sponsors for the park, and thanked all the volunteers for their generosity.

Watson, Mayor Pro-tem Christine Fahl, Councilor Pat Capek, City manager Christine Burns, and sponsors Rob Rowland of Rowland Excavating and Rich Freiburger of Rapid Concrete turned the ceremonial first shovel of dirt with gold-painted shovels.

Burns announced that the push to get donations for the light poles in the park had been a success, and that there would now be five instead of only four.

Mayor Charlie Watson and Nathan Brown plant a tree at Veteran’s Memorial Park.

Mayor Charlie Watson and Nathan Brown plant a tree at Veteran’s Memorial Park.

Immediately following the groundbreaking, a small row of Cedar trees was planted along the east boundary of the new park. Brown, Rowland, Watson, Freiburger, Tim Brown Sr. and Nathan Brown were among those who helped place the trees in the ground.

Next on the Earth day schedule was the city cleanup. The volunteers who came to collect their t-shirts, trash bags and assigned work areas didn’t seem daunted by the weather. Some were sent to work on the White Pine Trail, others picked up trash along 17 Mile Road and out by the highway.

Ready for clean up

Denise and Kyra Hanna get ready to go clean up. Photo by N. Noreen.

People also took advantage of the opportunity to recycle E-waste, shred documents, and buy seedlings at various stations around town that morning. “E-waste disposal was a much bigger hit than the hazardous waste disposal was last year,” said Burns. She said they would continue with the e-waste disposal as long as the vendor is available. She also noted that this year’s auction was also well attended.

At noon, volunteers gathered at the Legion for pizza and popcorn. During lunch there were recycling coloring books and posters for kids to color, a library book display, and the opportunity to make your own earth friendly toilet bowl cleaner and laundry sheets.

City Clerk Linda Branyan, with the help of Representative Tom Pierce and Mayor Charlie Watson, also took time during lunch to award prizes to the winners of the photography competition. (Watch for more on that next week.)

Earth Day helpers staying dry

cleaning up

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Man charged with child porn

Gregory Kurylowicz Jr

Gregory Kurylowicz Jr

A convicted sex offender was arrested again last week after police found images of child pornography on his computer.

Michigan State Police received a tip that Gregory Kurylowicz Jr., 35, had moved from his father’s house in Cedar Springs and not changed his address on the sex offender registry. When police arrived at the house to follow up, his father told police he was the one that tipped them off, and that he had caught his son watching child porn on the computer.

Police subsequently tracked Kurylowicz Jr. down, and found images of children on his computer, ranging in age from babies to teens, having sex with adults.

He was arraigned on Monday, April 26, in 63rd District Court on two counts of obscenity-child sexually abusive commercial activity, and one count of being a habitual offender. Bond was set at $50,000 cash or surety.

Kurylowicz Jr. was previously convicted in 2002 for criminal sexual conduct 2nd degree, with a child under 13 years of age.

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Woman injured in motorcycle mishap

A car and motorcycle collided in front of Holton’s LP Gas on Northland Drive Monday morning.

A car and motorcycle collided in front of Holton’s LP Gas on Northland Drive Monday morning.

Traffic came to a standstill on Northland Drive in front of Holton’s LP Gas Monday morning when a car and a motorcycle collided about 10:30 a.m.

A young woman in her 20s was riding the motorcycle at the time of the accident, and was taken to the hospital by ambulance with minor injuries. The other driver was not hurt.

The Kent County Sheriff Department and Cedar Springs Fire and Rescue were assisted at the scene by Cedar Springs Police and Solon Township Fire and Rescue.

Complete details of the accident were not available at press time.

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Man injured when car hits tree

A Greenville man veered off the road and hit a tree on Grosvenor, near Northland Drive Monday morning. Photo courtesy of WOOD-TV.

A Greenville man veered off the road and hit a tree on Grosvenor, near Northland Drive Monday morning. Photo courtesy of WOOD-TV.

A Greenville man was injured Monday when his vehicle slammed into a tree on Grosvenor, south of Sand Lake.

The Kent County Sheriff Department received a call about 8:56 a.m. Monday that a vehicle was on fire with someone trapped inside near Grosvenor and Northland Drive. When deputies arrived, they found a man pinned in the vehicle, but no fire.

According to Deputy Jason VanDyke, Allen Peckham, 36, of Greenville, was traveling on Grosvenor, east of Northland, when his vehicle left the road and struck a tree. Peckham was able to talk with deputies and fire personnel on the scene, but had an altered level of consciousness. He was extricated from the vehicle using the Jaws of Life, and flown by Aeromed to the hospital, with multiple leg fractures.

It is unknown at this time why his vehicle left the roadway. The accident is still under investigation.

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Fine arts night shines

Martin Yakes, 7, a first-grader at Cedar Trails Elementary, proudly shows off his artwork. Post photo by J. Reed.

Martin Yakes, 7, a first-grader at Cedar Trails Elementary, proudly shows off his artwork. Post photo by J. Reed.

Music rang through the halls, laughter rose from the crowd, and proud children pointed to their artwork during the annual Fine Arts night at Cedar Springs High School Tuesday. It was back after a one-year hiatus.

“I’m really glad we were able to bring it back this year,” said art teacher Millie Sandelius.

Parents and community members enjoyed the music of elementary students, the Cedar Springs HS Jazz band, and various solo artists throughout the night.

Students from Mr. Harnden’s advanced drama class entertained spectactors with their improv talent at the Fine Arts night. Post photo by J. Reed.

Another draw was the high school’s Advanced Drama team, who showed their talent by keeping the crowds entertained with their improvisational performances. They would often ask the spectators for ideas then act them out on the spot.

Lining the halls was artwork from the students from elementary through high school. Kids had fun finding and pointing out to their parents the pieces they had created.

The only grade level that did not have artwork displayed was sixth grade, because they did not have an art class this year.

Advanced Drama in action

Advanced Drama entertains spectators

advanced drama boys in action

Tim Mol and Steve Reed in action

displayed artwork

Artwork on display

jazz band

Jazz band performs

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Nine-year-old soccer player goes the extra mile

By Adam Kenyon

Brison Ricker and Father, Brian, take a break from training to show their CASSA pride at Skinner Field.

Brison Ricker and Father, Brian, take a break from training to show their CASSA pride at Skinner Field.

While many school boys are playing with action figures or glued to video games in their spare time, nine-year-old Brison Ricker has been gearing up for something a bit more challenging. This 3rd grader from Beach Elementary School is training to complete the upcoming 33rd annual Fifth Third River Bank Run 10K with his father, Brian.

Several months ago, Brian and his wife, Kim, noticed that Brison enjoyed running on the treadmill, sometimes to the point of becoming restless if not allowed to do so. On a recent treadmill jog, he went six miles, so they asked Brison about the idea of running the River Bank Run on May 8. He readily agreed.

Brison is athletic by nature and participates in several types of sports and events. He took 2nd place in the Rockford Area Kid’s Triathlon last July, his second year in the competition, and plans to participate again this summer. He also enjoys basketball, football and his dirt bike. However, he is quick to tell you that his favorite sport is soccer.

“I like playing soccer. It’s my passion,” says Brison, who has had tremendous success as both a field player and goalie for the under-10 boy’s team of Cedar Area Select Soccer Association, the CASSA Tri-Hawks.

Brison, typically a boy of few words, becomes animated as he describes, with a gleam in his eye, one of his most memorable goals last fall. “The goalie came up. I faked him out and I went to kick with my left foot and I made it.”

In fact, Brison is currently pounding the pavement not only to train for the 6.2-mile race, but also raising funds for CASSA. The girls and boys travel club has expanded significantly over recent years causing a need to acquire land for practice fields. Brison has stepped up to the plate to help out, already having raised a much-needed contribution in pledges for the club.

Brian, who also coaches Brison’s team, has become a huge believer in CASSA. The group’s philosophy involves athleticism, teamwork and instilling character in the kids, but above all, the goal is to make the experience positive and fun for everybody. “I like coaching a lot more than I thought I would, even more than I enjoyed playing sports. It’s watching kids grow and get better, teaching kids and being able to be there with my son. The reward you get is just unbelievable,” said Ricker.

Brian is bolstering Brison by running the River Bank with him, a method of support that he also employs as a CASSA coach. At a typical Tri-Hawks practice, Brian leads by example, often working out alongside the team while coaching. Whether it’s warm-ups, conditioning drills, sprints, practice drills or scrimmages, Brian is doing the physical work with the boys, which gives them that extra boost of team-morale and support during the exhausting moments of practice. Plus, a little fun competition with one of the dads never hurts to motivate the players during practice.

The Rickers are looking forward to the River Bank Run, the remainder of the spring CASSA season and the fall tryouts that take place in mid-June. If you would like to root Brison on in his outstanding accomplishments by pledging or becoming involved with CASSA go to:  www.cassasoccer.com. Way to go, Brison!

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Homeschoolers dig in to help for Earth Day

By Sarah Read

Even the littlest of hands can be big helpers.

Homeschoolers from Greenville, Sand Lake, Cedar Springs and the surrounding areas helped spread wood chips as part of a community service project for Earth Day.

Homeschoolers from Greenville, Sand Lake, Cedar Springs and the surrounding areas helped spread wood chips as part of a community service project for Earth Day.

Members of the Greenville Michigan Homeschoolers group rolled up their sleeves on Earth Day last week to help the Greenville Parks and Recreation Department distribute an enormous shipment of new woodchips that arrived for Danish Kingdom Playground, April 22. Children of all ages lent a hand raking, shoveling, wheeling and hauling the woodchips to spread them throughout the play area during the community service, from 9 a.m. until noon. “[It was] lots of fun for our whole family,” said homeschooling mom, Erin Snook, of Stanton.

“[My daughter was] so proud to be able to help in this way!” added Teresa Janzen.

The Danish Kingdom Playground is where the Greenville Michigan Homeschoolers support group holds their park play days, making it the ideal location for the students to learn the importance of community service and taking care of the places they live and play.

The Greenville Homeschoolers group took a tour of a recycling facility last week to learn about recycling.

The Greenville Homeschoolers group took a tour of a recycling facility last week to learn about recycling.

Following up the community service project, members took a field trip the next day to Recycle World, a recycling facility which handles and processes recycling for all of Montcalm County. “It was a simple, but very informative tour,” explained Barb Kaaikala, of Greenville. “We were shown the various steps in the recycling process from the time the materials come in the door to the time that they leave. It was interesting to see the ‘crusher’ being fed and to see the big bales of recycled plastics with the containers still recognizable inside.”

Stephanie Herzog, of Orleans, shared, “I learned a lot about the process and some do’s and don’ts that I didn’t know about before. [The] kids walked away with a better grasp of what actually starts to happen to the items that we put in the recycle basket here at home.”

Greenville Michigan Homeschoolers is an inclusive group providing connection, support, group activities, field trips, mom meet-ups and more to area homeschoolers. Members include families from Greenville, Stanton, Ionia, Lowell, Sand Lake, Cedar Springs and the surrounding areas. For more information, visit www.greenvillemichiganhomeschoolers.com

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Don’t forget to vote for school board May 4

By Judy Reed

Residents of the Cedar Springs Public Schools District will head to the polls on Tuesday, May 4, to vote on who will fill several open seats. Four candidates are running for two four-year terms and a one-year partial term. The two four-year seats currently belong to long-time trustees Carolee Cole and Norton Johnson, who will not be running again. The one-year seat is currently held by Jeff Gust, who was appointed when Pamela Conley resigned earlier this year. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Jeff Gust

Jeff Gust, 42, is running for the one year term. He was born and raised in Cedar Springs, and he and his wife, Barb, have three children: Jason, 18, Brooke, 17, and Jacob, 14. All attend Cedar Springs Public Schools. He is president and owner of Gust Construction in Cedar Springs. He has a degree in Construction Mgt. from Ferris State University. He has been athletics booster treasurer for the last three years, and served on the board of education for the last three months.

Why are you running for school board?

“Since being appointed to the vacant seat in March, I have enjoyed and learned so much. I would like to continue to serve on the board and see some of the tough issues we have been dealing with completed,” he said.

What is the main strength you bring to the board of education?

Jeff said he thinks the main strength he brings to the board would be his strong background in business dealing with many of the same issues facing the school district.

What do you see as the major challenge facing education in Cedar Springs and how would you address this challenge?

Jeff said the major challenge is working with the state to provide a better way of funding public schools, and balancing their budget in a way that is  in the best interest of the students.

Donna Cotton

Donna Cotton, 41, is running for one of the four-year terms. She has been married to Rick Cotton since 1988, and has five children and one grandchild. She graduated from Cedar Springs in 1987, and her two oldest children graduated in 2008 and 2009. After being a stay-at-home mom for 10 years, she attended Davenport University and graduated in 2003 with an accounting degree. She currently works for Michigan Family Resources (Head Start), and with her husband owns Stripe It Parking Lot Line Striping & Seal Coating.

Why are you running for school board?

“I have always tried to volunteer for the school district when possible. I am running for school board because I am interested in helping the community. This community helps make me the person I am today, and I feel this is a great opportunity for me to give back to them.”

What is the main strength you bring to the board of education?

“I feel being a mother and small business owner I have to juggle a lot of different responsibilities, and I feel that the experience I have received from this would be a strength I could bring with me to problem solving,” she said.

What do you see as the major challenge facing education in Cedar Springs and how would you address this challenge?

“The thing that comes to mind is budget cuts that we’ve had to deal with,” said Cotton. “Times are hard on everyone right now in one way or another. I feel we need to sit back and look at the picture as if it’s not the big problems, but maybe if a lot of little things could change it would help the big problems work out.”

Shannon Vanderhyde

Shannon Vanderhyde, 32, is running for one of the four-year seats. She grew up in the Rockford area, and says she has always loved this area. She substitute taught in Cedar Springs schools many times and was impressed with the school district. “My husband and I bought our house here one week before we were married. We have been living here for 7 years now, and we still love it,” she said. Vanderhyde worked as a teacher for 3 years before deciding to stay at home with her three children. She currently has a daughter in Kindergarten and a daughter in 4 year old preschool at Cedar Trails, and has worked with the Cedar Trails PTO. She works at the Cedar Springs Public Library and likes working with the public. She is the Youth Services Coordinator there, and is responsible for the storytimes.

Why are you running for school board?

“My primary reason for running for the Cedar Springs Board of Education is that I want to be involved in the distribution of the little money we are getting from the state. It is very easy for me to sit at home and complain about the way things are run and decisions that are made, but I think it is important to act, rather than complain.  It’s time for me to start being involved,” she said.

What is the main strength you bring to the board of education?

“I think that the main strength I bring to the board would be my open mind and varied background,” said Vanderhyde. “I have been a teacher, my parents are teachers, and my husband is a teacher. I have relatives who are on school boards. We have family friends who are in administration. I can see problems and issues from most perspectives and am able to think logically about things.”

What do you see as the major challenge facing education in Cedar Springs and how would you address this challenge?

“I think it is obvious that the main challenge of the Cedar Springs district is the lack of funding coming in from Lansing. We can ask for more, go to Lansing and argue for more, form committees to solve the problem, but we need to focus our efforts here and try to work with the money we have.” She also thinks they need to refocus on early childhood programs. “We have wonderful teachers, support staff, and administration at Cedar Trails; however, from year to year the program changes. This is frustrating not only to the parents who have had children in the program, but also the teachers..I would like to focus on creating an early education program that is not only wonderful, but also consistent.”

Matthew Shoffner of Rockford, is running for one of the four-year seats, but did not respond to our questions.

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Travelogue series ends successful season

Many different groups helped put on the Travelogue series this season.

Many different groups helped put on the Travelogue series this season.

The Travelogue series, hosted by the Cedar Springs Library this past year, recently ended a very successful trial season, and brought in some much needed fundraising for a new library.

According to Library Director Donna Clark, the Travelogue series brought in $3,700. “It far exceeded our expectations in the way of fundraising,” she said.

According to Clark, the money they brought in from the shows paid for all but $123, which means the donations of underwriters Don and June Mabie, Mike and Alice Holton, and one other anonymous donor will all go to the new library building fund—approximately $3,600.

The Cedar Springs High School Jazz Band played music for attendees at the latest Travelogue

The Cedar Springs High School Jazz Band played music for attendees at the latest Travelogue

Despite the success of the series, the Library board decided this week that they would pass the reins to the Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation to manage next year. Plans had been in the works for a joint effort between the two groups.

“The board felt I should be more focused on library programs at this time,” explained Clark. “But we’re sure the program will be successful under the leadership of Amanda (Gerhardt). She does a wonderful job.”

Clark thanked the many groups who helped out at the Travelogues, including the Rotary, Lions Club, Garden Club, Women’s Club and Superintendent Ron McDermed, who adopted Intermission. “We couldn’t have done it without you all,” she said.

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Mother-son fun night this Friday

Do you ever wish that there was a neat event for mothers and sons to share together, the same way fathers and daughters share the daddy-daughter dance? There is and it is being held this Friday, April 30, at the Cedar Springs Middle School from 6-9pm. This Mother-Son event is special because it’s held one week before Mothers Day. The event allows the moms to share an evening of fun while playing games, watching the movie “Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs.” snacking on pizza and popcorn, and having the son make a card and gift special for Mothers Day .

This is the third year of the event and it is continuing to see growth. We hope that that this event will provide moms a chance to spend some quality time with their sons and start the Mother’s Day celebration a little earlier. The event was created because Amanda Gerhardt, Director of Cedar Springs Parks and Recreation has sons and thought it would be special to share a night with them like what she sees in the eyes of the girls and fathers that attend the Daddy-Daughter Dance each year.

Tickets are on sale now during normal daytime office hours at Hilltop and at the Middle School and on Thursday evening from 6-9pm.  Tickets in advance are $12 for two people, or $15 for three or more. Tickets can be purchased at the door for an additional fee, $15 for two people, or $20 for three or more.

For more information call 696-7320 or email director@csaparksandrec.com.

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