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Archive | October, 2010

From the Pulpit

God’s green earth

The environment is a hot topic lately (pun intended). Everybody is “going green” and worried about their “carbon footprint,” which can’t be a bad thing—can it? The environment is, after all, God’s creation.  So what is our responsibility as children of God and followers of Jesus Christ to the environment?

When God created us He gave us a job description. In Genesis 2:15 (NIV) it says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” We were made to manage the resources that God put on the earth. And we’re responsible for using them wisely.

For instance, God provides the forest and says, “I want you to take care of the forest.”  We can use the trees, but the problem is we often take what we want out of greed, not out of need. We need to be wise in what we use, wise in how we manage, wise in the ways we use the earth’s resources.

I love the hymn “This is my Father’s World.” It’s a beautiful song about how God created the world and how the world belongs to Him. We sing it, but do we treat the earth as if it belongs to God? Are we caring for the environment the way God wants us to?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces about 4.4 pounds of garbage a day, or a total of 29 pounds per week, and 1,600 pounds a year.  This does not take into account industrial waste or commercial trash. With the garbage produced in America, we could bury more than 990,000 football fields under six feet of waste. Paper waste makes up 35 percent of the total material filling up landfills. It takes 1000 years for a water bottle to degrade. Landfills are filling up. We need to stop creating so much trash.

God wants us to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. We live in a fallen, broken world. It is broken because of sin. And our sin continues to have devastating effects on all of creation. In fact, the Bible says that creation groans with pain.

Romans 8:20-22 (NLT) says, “Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God’s curse. All creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

When Adam and Even sinned everything on earth was cursed. The corruption introduced into God’s creation by sin made an impact on all of nature, so that even the power of nature was corrupted from God’s original plan.

Scientists call this the “second law of thermodynamics.” That law states that everything in this universe is decaying. What seems fresh and new one day will someday be old and broken down. The Biblical term for the second law of thermodynamics is simply this: God’s curse—death and decay.

The good news is God is the Great Recycler, and you and I are proof of it. God is into recycling things that most people don’t think have any use anymore. He’s into restoring things that are broken—like us. He’s all about recycling, about taking us from a trashed state and turning us into a renewed state.

The story of Noah is a great example of the redemptive process that God wants to work in creation and in our personal lives. It shows us that God has a heart for His creation. He didn’t want it all to be destroyed and lost by the flood. He wanted to preserve it and save it.

Noah is a Biblical example of environmental stewardship. God gave Noah an assignment to ensure that God’s creatures would be preserved when the flood came. God can use us to preserve creation like He used Noah. How? What could you do that would make a difference? Take the simple first steps. Noah started building the massive ark—a ship the size of the Titanic—with a single board. He picked up the first board and the first nail and he started pounding away at the problem. That’s what we can do too.

Maybe for you the first step would be to start recycling. Maybe it would be to stop drinking bottled water and start drinking water out of a refillable container. One less bottle makes a difference. Maybe your first step is to start using energy more efficiently.  It starts by taking the simple first steps. You can make a difference. Thank you for doing your part to take care of God’s green earth.

Pastor Barry Briggs
The Springs Church
Corner of Oak/Grant, Cedar Springs

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Clair Middleton

In loving memory of Clair Middleton who passed away 11 years ago October 27, 1999.

Still your presence we miss. Your memory we treasure forever.
Loving you always, forgetting you never.

Loved and missed so much,
Your family

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CEDAR SPRINGS PUBLIC SCHOOLS ALERT 10/26

Please note that all after school and evening activities have been canceled.

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Bear hunting preacher

A country preacher decided to skip services one Sunday and head to the hills to do some bear hunting. As he rounded the corner on a perilous twist in the trail, he and a bear collided, sending him and his rifle tumbling down the mountainside. Before he knew it, his rifle went one way and he went the other, landing on a rock and breaking both legs.
That was the good news. The bad news was the ferocious bear was charging at him from a distance, and he couldn’t move.
“Oh, Lord,” the preacher prayed, “I’m so sorry for skipping services today to come out here and hunt. Please forgive me and grant me just one wish: Please make a Christian out of the bear that’s coming at me. Please, Lord!”
That very instant the bear skidded to a halt, fell to its knees, clasped its paws together and began to pray aloud right at the preacher’s feet:
“Dear God, bless this food I am about to receive….”

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Varsity Soccer wins OK Blue championship

Varsity Soccer team

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks Varsity Soccer team did something last week that no boys Red Hawk Varsity soccer team has ever done—they won the OK Blue conference championship! They finished the conference part of the season with an overall record of 16-2, and a conference record of 11-1. Click here to read all about it.

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Halloween Spook-tacular!

Halloween 2009

Are you looking for a fun, safe place for your child to go trick-or-treating this year?

The City of Cedar Springs will be hosting their annual Halloween Spook-tacular, on Sunday, October 31, beginning at 6 p.m. Kids under 18 have the chance to get some tasty treats, as well as some great prizes donated by local businesses. First stop is City Hall to register and get your game board. The Cedar Springs Police, Kent County Traffic Squad, and Cedar Springs Fire Department will be at the Fire Department on Maple Street handing out reflective trick or treat bags, candy, cider and donuts, and many businesses will be handing out candy. Kids who visit every participating business get their names entered into a drawing for some fantastic prizes. Be sure to be at the Kent Theatre at 7:10 p.m. for the drawing. Kids must be present to win! Watch for an ad in next week’s Post with all the details!

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Councilor Ronny Merlington retires

By Judy Reed

Ronny MerlingtonLast Thursday’s Cedar Springs City Council meeting wasn’t memorable for any ordinances passed or any breaking news. It was memorable, though, for one reason—after 28 years of serving the people of Cedar Springs, it was Ronny Merlington’s last meeting as a City Councilor.

Merlington said he wasn’t at all nervous about his last meeting. “I was all pumped up for it,” he said.

A reception was held prior to the meeting so that friends, colleagues and residents could celebrate with him and wish him well. Several proclamations were read from top legislative officials, including Governor Jennifer Granholm, Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Sen. Carl Levin, Rep. Vern Ehlers, Kent County  Commissioner Roger Morgan, and another signed by the governor, Rep. Tom Pearce, and Sen. Mark Jansen. One that meant a lot to him was handwritten by City Councilor Pat Capek.

“I don’t know if it brought more tears to my eyes or to hers,” quipped Merlington.

City Clerk Linda Branyan did some lengthy research on Merlington and put it all in a proclamation as well. One of the things gleaned from that is that Merlington was the longest serving City Councilor in Cedar Springs. “I didn’t know that,” he said.

Ronny has been involved in government much of his life. Branyan noted that “He developed his love of politics while helping his father run for State Representative by working on his campaign, attending meetings in smoke filled rooms and handing out flyers…” He also taught government at Sand Lake and at Cedar Springs High School for 38 years.  While there, he helped negotiate the first 18 teacher contracts. That expertise helped him when he became a city councilor. “I knew we were not paying city employees enough to pay their bills,” he recalled. He helped implement a fair wage with a good pension, and fringe benefits such as medical and dental insurance.

It’s hard for him to name one thing he’s most proud of. “Just serving this community and having been reelected for 7 consecutive terms,” he said.

But a lot has been accomplished by the council since he stepped on board in 1982. “I’ve seen so much change and all of it good,” recalled Merlington. “I didn’t do it. The council and residents allowed us to do it,” he noted.

Some of the big accomplishments while he was on the council included the 425 agreement with Solon Township, which brought city water up 17 Mile Road and White Creek for area businesses. “That really kicked off growth for the highway/commercial district,” he said.

The decision to build the wastewater treatment plant was another. “We didn’t have a permit to expand the lagoons and they were already not working properly,” he explained. “We went to the townships and no one wanted to buy in.” They ended up in court in a bitter dispute with Algoma Township, but in the end, successfully got it financed and built about 12 years ago. Part of the court order said they had to put $50,000 into a fund for a future staging area for the White Pine Trail, and they now used that money to get the matching grant for the staging area that will be built this month.

He pointed to the buying of the property for Veterans Park as foresight on the part of the council.  But one thing he hasn’t seen is a new library. “That’s one thing we still need,” he said. “I’m excited about that area (where the new library will be built) and I hope it’s not forgotten.”

The DDA Façade program and street reconstructions are other things he mentioned. “I’m proud of all those things,” he noted.

During his years of service on the City Council, Merlington reportedly served as Mayor Pro Tem 15 years, and Mayor for three years. He worked with six City Managers; three City Treasurers; two City Clerks; four Assistant City Managers; three Police Chiefs; four Mayors; 22 Councilors and numerous staff members.

Merlington said there is hardly any committee that he hasn’t served on. He has served on the Zoning Board of Appeals since it began in 1983 and has been Chair since 1985. He has never missed any of the 117 meetings held over the years.

Branyan said he may be best known for his passion for uncapping the old flowing well at the corner of Main and Maple Streets, and that his legacy will be his ability to recall the history behind decisions that were made and the “eagle eye” he kept on the City’s finances often telling new Councilors “to be good stewards of the City’s Fund Balance.”

Merlington remarked that the city has been fortunate in a poor economy to not have more budget problems. “We haven’t had to cut personnel. They still have a steady job. We’ve tightened our belt—but we’ve always lived within a tight budget. We’re accustomed to it,” he explained.

He also noted that he thinks the city will continue to grow, and he hopes someday the linear park along Cedar Creek that they dreamed about will come to fruition. “Will I see it in my lifetime? I don’t know. But you have to have goals and keep reaching for them,” said Merlington.

The Cedar Springs Post salutes Ronny Merlington for his years of dedicated service, and wishes him well in all he does!

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Cedar Springs homecoming court

homecoming court
Cedar Springs High School  held their homecoming football game and dance last weekend. Senior Trevor Hemry was crowned as homecoming king, and Senior Briona Keeshan was crowned homecoming queen. Pictured above is the entire senior homecoming court: Back row (L to R): James Putnam, A.J. Olszewski, King Trevor Hemry, Steven Reed, and Jared Kelley. Front row (L to R): Lindsey Klein, Megan Rosenberger, Queen Briona Keeshan, Emma Loye, and Shelby Myers.

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Child falls from hayloft

A three-year-old child was rushed to the hospital in serious condition Sunday after falling from a hayloft.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff’s office, they responded to a report at about 3:21 p.m. October 17, that a child fell inside a barn on S. Vickeryville Road, in Bushnell Township, about 15 miles east of Greenville.  Jadon Seth Shrock, 3, was playing inside a barn at the family home, when he fell from a hayloft, 8 to 9 feet, on to a cement floor.
The boy suffered a serious injury as a result of the fall. He was transported by AeroMed to a Grand Rapids hospital in serious condition.

Deputies were assisted at the scene by the Sheridan Fire Department and Montalm County Emergency Services.

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Son assaults elderly mother

The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office responded to a domestic disturbance early Wednesday evening that resulted in a short standoff.

According to police, an elderly woman in the 2800 block of W. County Farm Road in Sidney Township contacted lifeline and reported that her son, who also lived at the residence, was assaulting her. She reported that he had several weapons inside the house and was threatening to shoot responding deputies.

Deputies surrounded the house and began to negotiate with the suspect. A family member inside the residence got the firearm and convinced the suspect to go outside and surrender to police. Deputies took the 63-year-old man into custody without further incident.

The elderly woman had minor injuries and sought her own medical treatment. Deputies seized two long guns from the residence. The road was closed for about an hour during the incident.

Montcalm County Emergency Services assisted deputies at the scene. Alcohol may have been a factor in the dispute. The case remains under investigation.

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