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Archive | May, 2010

Mobile home fire “suspicious”

A mobile home fire that occurred in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates overnight is being called “suspicious” by authorities.

The fire broke out about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, May 20, at 329 Sarah. The Cedar Springs Fire Department quickly extinguished the blaze. No one was at home at the time of fire.

Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent said the fire was suspicious because the police had been to that address earlier Wednesday

mobile home fire

The fire that burned a portion of this home Thursday morning is under investigation.

on a report from a co-owner that property had been removed from the home. He added that Fire Chief Jerry Gross was calling in a fire investigator today.

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CTA students use their artistic talents

On May 4, 2010 five students from Creative Technologies Academy used the high school awards ceremony as their platform to tell the students and parents about their painting. The painting is on a 4’ X 5’ canvas and it was a cooperative artistic endeavor by five students:  Erin Willis, Amber Bowen, Tyler Felty, Grace Van Enk, and Maria De la Fuente Villaverde.

“The painting represents the students’ view of life,” stated Gabriella Olsen, the CTA art teacher.

As shown in the picture, the students took the idea of a tree and showed how its life was affected by the seasons of the year. On five branches were words written to express what is needed to make it through life—Laugh, Family, Friends, Love, and Learn—and beneath the tree are the words “Life is a great big canvas; throw all the paint on it you can.”

“It reminds us all of what it takes to enjoy life to the fullest,” said Amber Bowen, a senior at CTA.

Whether the students are showing their accomplishments through their studies, on the court, or through the fine arts, CTA is always in celebratory mode as we are proud of our students’ gifts and talents. Keep it up Chargers!

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Suspects arrested in Admiral robbery

The Admiral gas station in Cedar Springs was robbed by a man with a knife last week.

Two Cedar Springs residents who weren’t afraid to get involved helped lead to the arrest of four robbery suspects last Thursday evening.

According to Detective Sergeant Scott Rios, of the Michigan State Police Newaygo Post, MSP responded to a call of a robbery with a knife at Gillette’s Trading Post, on Mason Drive/M-37, in Ashland Township, near Grant about 9:15 p.m. May 13. The suspects then allegedly drove to Cedar Springs, and held up the Admiral gas station at the corner of Main and Muskegon Streets.

According to Cedar Springs Police Roger Parent, Officer Chad Tucker responded to an armed robbery at Admiral at about 9:59 p.m. A man reportedly walked in and pulled a knife on the female clerk and told her, “I don’t want to hurt you. Just give me all your money.” The suspect then fled on foot.

Ellissa Phillips, 25, was just going to walk into the store when the suspect came barreling out. “He almost knocked me over,” she said.

Phillips said that she and her aunt had come up First Street on their way to Admiral, and noticed a truck parked in front of the Young home (behind Admiral) with its lights on. “I thought that was weird,” she said. When she got to the gas station, Phillips said she spoke to someone outside she knew, then reached down to stub out her cigarette outside the door. It was then that the suspect came running out. “I had to move really quick,” she said.

When Phillips walked into the store, the clerk screamed, “He just robbed me!” Phillips quickly ran outside and told her friend, and he took his vehicle and followed the suspect, who ran to the truck on First Street. Phillips’ friend got a license plate number then returned to the gas station to give it to the police.

The Kent County Sheriff Department sent out a broadcast alerting law enforcement that an armed robbery with similar suspect information had taken place earlier in Newaygo County. Then, at 10:10 p.m., the KCSD saw a vehicle matching the description at North County Store on Old 14 Mile at Lincoln Lake. It is unknown whether they were planning to rob that store, but officers were able to connect the group with the other two robberies, and they were all taken into custody. They were questioned at the Rockford State Police Post, then transported and lodged in the Newaygo County Jail.

The suspects were arraigned in the 78th District Court in Newaygo County on charges of armed robbery for the Gillette Trading Post robbery. Charged was Zachariah Raymor, 20, of Lowell; Seth Dillon, 20, of Coral; Casey Jo OConnor, 20, of Belding; and Christopher Ridgeway, of Sand Lake.

The investigation is ongoing, and suspects have not yet been charged in the Admiral robbery. “Cedar Springs continues to work on establishing appropriate charges for those involved in the Cedar Springs robbery,” said Chief Parent.

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City extends city manager contract

Christine Burns

The Cedar Springs City Council voted last Thursday evening, May 13, to extend the contract of City Manager Christine Burns and give her a raise.

The Council took the recommendation of the compensation committee and not only renewed their contract with Burns, but extended it to June 30, 2014. Her salary went from $66,133 per year to $67,786.

They said her evaluation shows that she is doing a good job, especially in the areas of fiscal management and long range planning.

“As the city looks to the future and tackles its next major projects (the new Fred Meijer/White Pine Trail staging area and the building of a Veterans Memorial Park and new library), we look forward to many more exciting years with Chris as our City Manager,” noted an official press release from the compensation committee.

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Man sentenced on child porn charges

Leonard Glen Overmyer III, of Solon Township, was sentenced last week to 87 months in prison for sending child pornography through the Internet.

U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney also ordered 10 years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment.

Overmyer was arrested last year, after a 10-month investigation, by the Michigan State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. They started the investigation after 43 cyber tips were received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NMEC).

Overmyer initially pled not guilty, but changed his plea to guilty in December, after negotiating a plea deal, where seven of the eight charges were dropped.

Overmyer reportedly had no contact with any of the children shown in the photos, and lost his job because he viewed pornography at work.

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Man arrested on CSC charges

A Cedar Springs man charged last fall with harboring a runaway has been arrested again, this time on criminal sexual conduct charges.

Mark Junior White, 21, of Cedar Springs, was arrested by the Cedar Springs Police Department on May 12, for an outstanding felony warrant. The warrant was issued for two counts of criminal sexual conduct 3rd degree (CSC) based on an investigation by the Kent County Sheriff Department. White was arraigned on May 13, in 63rd District Court. His preliminary exam was set for May 26 at 1:30 p.m. He received a $5,000.00 cash-surety bond.

White was charged by the Cedar Springs Police Department last fall for his involvement in harboring a juvenile runaway. He was living with his brother in the apartment where the 13-year-old runaway was found. He later entered a guilty plea.
“These new charges are not a surprise to us,” noted Cedar Springs Chief Roger Parent. “When we see a 21-year-old man befriending young girls, a person who is old enough to purchase alcohol and tobacco products, we know that inappropriate activity is a possibility. Parents need to talk to their children and know where they are going and who they are hanging out with.”

Parent said that he was told by Detective Bill Heffron, KCSD, that a concerned parent did become involved and brought this situation to the attention of the Sheriff’s Department.

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Community pulls together for cancer patient

Red Hawk Elementary held a spaghetti dinner fundraiser during conferences in March for a family dealing with cancer. Tyler Tanis, a sixth grade student at Red Hawk was diagnosed earlier in the school year with bone cancer in his right femur. Although at first Tyler thought he would lose his leg and learn to walk with a prosthesis replacement, the doctors at Henry Ford Hospital just outside of Detroit were able to remove Tyler’s femur bone and replace it with a steel rod.

(From left back row) Jacob Nelson, Madison Misner, Anne Kostus, Eileen Nelson, and Tyler Tanis in the wheelchair.

Recently, Tyler developed an infection in the incision and had to return to Detroit. His family has had to make many trips across the state, so Anne Kostus, principal at RH wanted to hold a fundraiser to help the family with all of the extra expenses involved.

Volunteers from the staff and community came together for two evenings of serving dinners to busy families coming for conferences. They could dine in the cafeteria or bring home take-out for later. The meal consisted of spaghetti and meat sauce, salad, garlic bread, and decorated cakes donated by Family Fare.

Once the ad for the event was published in the Post’s Home Town Happenings, a local division of the Modern Woodmen of America stepped forward to offer a matching $500 grant. The hungry crowds gave rise to the occasion. Families gave above and beyond, surpassing the matching grant and raising over $2,100. With the grant, the grand total was $2,623.80. Although Tyler was still recuperating from surgery when the fundraisers were held, he was able to visit his teacher, Mrs. Daily, and her classroom last week. Junior members of Modern Woodmen had bussed tables at the dinner and were on hand with Mrs. Kostus to present the funds to Tyler during his visit.

“This money will really come in handy, because our van is in the shop getting repairs done,” Tyler’s mother, Mandy Tanis stated. She was very grateful for all of the community support.

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Guest reader at the library

Preschool children at the Cedar Springs Public library had a guest reader last week when former Kent City Superintendent Bruce Hawley (and current candidate for 73rd District rep) popped in to read a few stories to the kids during Story time. He also donated money to purchase a book on CD for the children’s department called Marly, a dog like no other.

“We are halfway to reaching our Spring goal to add six new books on CD for children,” said assistant director Christine Fritz. “We were delighted when Mr. Hawley stopped by to read to our Story time children and add a new book on CD to our collection.”

If you’d like to donate, stop by the library at the corner of Cherry and Second Street, or call 696-1910.

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Church steps up to the plate

By Judy Reed

When part of a baseball or softball team, everyone has a responsibility to take their turn in the batter’s box. And Solon Center Wesleyan Church hit a homerun last weekend, when about 150 members of their congregation spread out over the Cedar Springs area to do some major cleaning on “Get off the bench” Sunday.

The effort was part of the sermon series titled “Step up to the plate—servanthood is not an option.”

‘I’m so happy that so many participated,” said Pastor Doug DiBell. “Not only did we bless people, but we were blessed by serving the community. It was great to see people smile and say thank you.”

According to Kathy Mabie, administrative assistant at the church, members had a short service at the church before setting out at about 11:30 a.m. They washed windows on Main Street; delivered plates of cookies to businesses for employees; cleaned the roadside on White Creek from 17 Mile to Pine Street, and Pine Street from White Creek to the water tower; pulled weeds and trimmed grass around the city welcome signs and the Prairie Run development sign; cleaned area parks; visited residents at Metron; and picked up along the White Pine Trail.

“It’s amazing how much has already accumulated since it was last cleaned,” noted DiBell.

They also had a crew at Wesco, washing car windows, refilling wiper fluid, and  passing out popcorn.

Some people stayed back at the church and prayed, while others prepared lunch for the crews.

Mabie said it was the first time in the 127-year history of the church that they had done this. “People appreciated our efforts and it was great to be out in the community,” she said.

DiBell hopes that it won’t be the last time. “I think it should be an ongoing thing to take pride in your community,” he explained.

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Seniors to “Stay Connected” at baccalaureate service

With graduation approaching, it’s an exciting and busy time for senior high school students. Graduation announcements, open house plans, honors convocation, senior breakfast, rehearsal and the actual ceremony are all parts of the experience for most students. There is one part of the experience, however, that many students don’t know much about—the Baccalaureate celebration.

The Baccalaureate is a celebration of graduating students from either high school or college, and is usually faith-based. It is believed to have originated at Oxford University in 1432, when each bachelor was required to deliver a sermon in Latin as part of his academic exercise. Since the earliest universities in this country were founded primarily to educate ministers, the British practice of the Baccalaureate Service was continued.

The seniors of Cedar Springs High School will have their Baccalaureate service on Sunday, May 23, at 6 p.m. in the HS auditorium. The Cedar Springs Ministerial Association is working with the students on the service. They plan to have a video presentation of the students and activities they’ve been involved with, music, and testimonies from students. This year’s guest speaker will be Pastor Chad Wight, also a football coach at the high school.

“A lot of students today don’t understand what Baccalaureate is,” said Craig Carter, pastor at North Kent Community Church. But he thinks it’s important. “For those students who have a relationship with Christ, it might be their last chance to have a lasting impact on their class.”

They hope to emphasize that kids should try to stay connected to God throughout their life. “Hopefully they will remember that they have someone to talk to when facing life’s challenges,” said Carter.

After the service, the Ministerial Association will present each student with a gift. There will also be refreshments served, and a time to connect with friends and family. Everyone is invited—no RSVP needed.

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