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Archive | December, 2010

God—the great “give-away-er”

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

Last week, I was watching the evening news, and a “good news” story came on.  Though these kinds of stories don’t get a lot of press, I know good news happens everyday. This story was about a man named Loren Krueger who had given away a total of over $3 million dollars to all of the churches and many organizations in his hometown of LeRoy, Minnesota. People were stunned by Krueger’s gift, especially because he seemed very frugal with his money. It was only after his death that people realized how generous he was. His gifts to the community have allowed churches to offer new ministries, the local senior center to thrive, and the community nursing home to make much needed improvements so that they can better care for the residents who live there.
When the news was over, my daughter asked some questions about what this man had done. And then she said, “Wow, he was a great give-away-er!” I wrote down her quote immediately because I’d never heard that expression before.
As I sat thinking about what she said, I realized that she hit on the true spirit of Christmas. Yes, we give gifts out of love and thankfulness, but we also give because our faith rests in a God who is the ultimate Giver of all that is good. God is a great give-away-er!
On Friday and Saturday, many of us will gather in our churches to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I look forward to Christmas Eve services every year. And it’s not just good memories that come back for me; it’s faith memories.  I remember sitting with my family and singing hymns. I remember going out of church and seeing stars on cold, clear nights. I remember the wonder of those moments as a child.
And even though we might know the story (read in Matthew 1: 18-25 and Luke 2: 1-20), every time we gather, the Holy Spirit brings it to our hearts again. Jesus is the One who comes to save us from our sins. Jesus is Emmanuel—God with us!  Jesus is the One the people had waited for—the Messiah.  And, Jesus is the One we have been waiting for!
God is a great give-away-er! God gives us the most precious gift of all—the Son of God who comes to be with us and be one of us so that we might know better what God is like and what God wants us to be like as we live in God’s world.
As you give gifts this year, remember that God is a great give-away-er who offers you a gift that cannot be bought in a store or online. God offers a relationship that brings forgiveness, healing, and hope. As you worship this year, I pray that the story that’s so familiar would sound fresh and new on your ears so that you can claim God’s promises again or for the first time.
And if don’t have a church home or have been away for a while, consider getting back to church or trying it out for the first time. I invite you to worship with us on Christmas Eve at 7:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m., join us this Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.
We share the love and hope of Jesus Christ!

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Thank You

We would like to Thank all our friends & family for all your Donations & support from our spaghetti dinner benefit. We appreciate everything.
Thanks again,
Jack Emmorey & Sheila Hilbrand

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Delores Phoebe Eldred

Delores Phoebe Eldred, 92 of Cedar Springs, passed away Tuesday, December 21, 2010  at her son’s home. Mrs. Eldred was born August 14, 1918 to Henry and Edith (Clemons) Zank in Cedar Springs, MI, the first of four children. She graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1936 and was married to Vernon Eldred on March 25, 1939. She was a very caring person who had a great heart for others and put them first. She was a loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She was preceded in death by her only daughter, Carol Ruth Tiede on February 15, 1971; her brother, James Zank; and son-in-law Richard Tiede. She is survived by her husband, Vernon; son, Bruce (Sheryl) Eldred; grandchildren, Mark Eldred, Melissa (Casey) Ward, Matthew (Marie) Eldred; great grandchildren, Nicole Renee, Stephen Cruse, Nayeli Rose, Triston Matthew, Colton Jon, Riley Davis, Cody James, Kira Elaine, Skylar Devon; sisters, Dorothy A. Zank, Marjorie Cole; sisters-in-law, Dorothy T. Zank, Myrtle, Margaret and Wilma Eldred. The family will receive friends Sunday from 2-5 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs, www.blisswitterspike.com. Services will be held Monday at 11:00 a.m. at Pilgrim Bible Church, Pastor Michael Shiery officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Mission Fellowship or the Pilgrim Bible Church.

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Winter storm blankets area

icy branchesMichigan was socked with a winter storm that blew across the Midwest on Sunday, canceling more than 1,600 flights in Chicago and dumping enough snow in Minnesota to collapse the Metrodome just hours before game time.
School closings raced across morning television on Monday and tow trucks were busy clearing vehicles from icy roadways. No serious injuries were reported in our area which escaped inches of snowfall that hit places in Indiana with 30-plus. Get ready readers, it’s just getting started!
Help out our editor! Send in your storm or winter pics, i.e. snowmen, snow scenes, wintry weather… Send with info to news@cedarspringspost.com.

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City receives $200,000 brownfields grant

Four area governments formed a coalition and received a $200,000 brownfields assessment grant. Signing the agreement: (L to R) Kirk Thielke, Sand Lake Village President; Charlie Watson, Cedar Springs Mayor; Glen Armstrong, Nelson Township Supervisor; Denny Hoemke, Algoma Township Supervisor.

The City of Cedar Springs has been awarded a $200,000 Community-Wide Brownfields Hazardous Substance Assessment Grant by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA.)
The City, along with the Village of Sand Lake and Algoma and Nelson Townships, formed a coalition to apply for the grant.  The City and Coalition members formalized a Memorandum of Agreement describing the process by which the Coalition partners will conduct grant tasks and disburse grant funds.  The funds will be used to conduct environmental assessments within the coalition region to support redevelopment and reuse of brownfield sites.
Coalition members met Tuesday, Dec. 7 to sign the agreement at Cedar Springs City Hall.
“This grant application is a perfect example of northern Kent County communities working together to improve the quality of life for our residents,” said Cedar Springs City Manager Christine Burns.
As the lead coalition member and grant recipient, the City will manage the grant program and report to the USEPA. The City has retained Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc. (SME, Inc.) of Grand Rapids, as its brownfield environmental consultant.  SME, Inc. will assist the City with grant management tasks, perform environmental assessments and prepare technical documents.
Grant projects must be located within the jurisdictional limits of one of the participating coalition communities.  The grant is intended to fund environmental assessment activities at properties where known and/or suspected releases of hazardous substances or comingled hazardous substances and petroleum products have occurred.
The Coalition is currently accepting applications for projects to be considered for funding.  The project period for the grant is Aug. 1, 2010 through July 31, 2013.  Applications will continue to be accepted during the grant project period or until all of the available funds are expended.  The City will review and approve applications for site assessments.
Forms for submission for potential projects are available at Cedar Springs City Hall, 66 S. Main St., Cedar Springs or can be downloaded from the City’s website http://www.cityofcedarsprings.org/.

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Gingerbread galore!

It was gingerbread central at the Cedar Springs Public Library on Saturday, December 11. That’s when 51 gingerbread houses were decorated by children and even a few adults.
“Yes, those houses went out of here looking very festive indeed,” noted Library Director Donna Clark.
Clark said there were 114 people in the library that day. “It was a good reminder to keep asking Santa for a new library!” she said.

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Easement legacy a permanent protection for Rogue River

by Beth Altena

One family’s dedication to protecting the land and their generous spirit is good news for those in Algoma Township. The Cok family has preserved 126 acres of property along the Rogue River as a conservation easement through the Land Conservancy of West Michigan—an action that ensures the property will never be developed. Stu Cok was one of the speakers at the annual meeting of the Rogue River Watershed Council (RRWC) and spoke before the group at the Rockford Community Cabin on Wednesday, Dec. 1, describing why a nature easement was the right choice for his family and their land.
Cok said land has been important to him since he was a child in the Great Depression and was in seven schools in three years. As a young man just out of service in the Marine Corps, he drove around Kent County looking for waterfront property. He was determined to find his own homestead and stay put. “I bought the land in 1953,” he said of his property on the Rogue River downstream of Sparta.
Property prices actually slowed the timeline and size of the easement, Cok noted. The easement allows the Cok family to be compensated for some of the value of the land, but with property prices so low it was difficult to get an estimate.
“While we felt it was important to protect the land with a conservation easement for a multitude of reasons, here are just a few that stand out,” Cok stated.

The Cok family protects over 125 acres of forested floodplain.

Cok described the importance of land for his family as well as himself. “We built our home here in 1964 and all of our children, and now our grandchildren, have grown up on the land. We feel that all of us have been able to form a close relationship with the natural world here, and preserving its natural beauty was very important to us.”
“Also, while we have contemplated developing small portions of the land in the past, we have come to the conclusion that even minimal development would do irreparable harm to the beauty and natural values that we hold dear. These forests and wetlands drain into a valley, creating a tributary stream, which flows into the mainstream of the Rogue River, all on our land. We felt protection was important to the long-term sustainability of the water quality of the rivershed to maintain its natural characteristic.”
“Lastly, we were able to continue our sustainable forestry operation under the terms of the conservation easement. We are able to periodically remove trees under our forest stewardship plan, which the conservancy has accepted, and this provides the next generations of our family a realistic opportunity for continued ownership. Future generations will have the ability to maintain the property as we have and this legacy aspect of protecting the property was important. We feel a conservation easement was a ‘win-win’ situation for our family and the natural environment into the future.”
Being a good neighbor was on the list of reasons to offer the land for an easement. The Algoma Township resident has been on the Board of Review and Planning Commission for the township. He said the reason people choose to live in the township is because it is less developed.
“The purpose of a conservation easement is to prohibit development. We ask our residents what they want and they say, ‘To preserve open space.’ They want to feel they live in the country,” said Cok.
Cok said it was exciting news to hear the Rogue River has been chosen by Trout Unlimited as a Home Rivers Initiative, a long-term preservation project with the goal of protecting and improving the quality of the river. He said 40 years ago he and others formed a group to protect the Rogue River from the United States Army Corps of Engineers, who proposed a series of dams on the waterway. The dams would flood large bodies of land to make lakes for recreational use. He said the fight his Rogue River Protection organization faced was long and hard and speculated how the dams would have affected the health of the Rogue. Just one of the proposed dams, north of Rockford by US-131, would have created an 11,000-acre parcel of land.
“We beat them, with the help of Jerry Ford, we beat the United States Army Corps of Engineers and seven other federal agencies,” Cok said.
With the easement along the Rogue of Cok’s property, he has again proven to be a protector of land and water. The conservation of the Coks’ land was completed at the end of August 2010.

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City designates overnight parking lots

The city of Cedar Springs adopted an ordinance last week that will allow city residents to park overnight in specific public lots from November 1 to April 1.
The council discussed whether to allow parking in one, two or three lots. The initial discussion centered on the old community building parking lot at the corner of Ash and Second Street. Councilor Raymond Huckleberry said he’d like to see a public lot on each side of Main Street, possibly the lot behind the Kent, across from the Post Office.
Councilor Neil Gomez suggested opening one on each side of Main Street instead of opening three. Mayor Charlie Watson said he felt the taxpayers own the lots and didn’t see why it would hurt to open all three.
Mayor Pro Tem Christine Fahl mentioned that there would be extra cost in signage and work for the DPW with a third lot.
The council voted to open the lots at Ash and Second and at Cherry and First (across from US Post office) for overnight parking, and possibly add a third lot later if needed.
Parking signs in the lots would specify which side or spaces cars would need to park in to comply with rules on snow removal, and drivers would be ticketed if they did not comply. “I’m 100 percent behind enforcement of tickets for people who don’t follow the rules,” said Watson.

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Hometown Hero

Matthew P. Schneider

Matthew P. Schneider

Air Force Airman 1st Class Matthew P. Schneider graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.
The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills. Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.
Schneider earned distinction as an honor graduate.
He is the son of Maxine Schneider of 16 Mile Road, Cedar Springs, Mich.
The airman graduated in 2010 from Cedar Springs High School.

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Gowen woman wins World Championship Paint Horse title

American Paint Horse Association (APHA) amateur competitor Cheryl Vasi, of Gowen, Mich., captured a World Championship title recently at the 2010 Fall World Championship Paint Horse Show. The show, which was held November 4–13 in Fort Worth, Texas, is one APHA’s premier events.
Vasi claimed the championship in Amateur Yearling Stallions showing Xtreme Ambition, a 2009 stallion owned by Danielle Vasi and C. Vasi-Koeberle of Staten Island, NY. In the class, horses are shown in-hand and judged on their physical qualities.
Amateurs are competitors aged 19 and over. They are required to show a self- or family-owned horse and cannot show, ride, judge or train horses for payment.
The World Championship Paint Horse Show features the finest gathering of Paint Horses from around the globe. APHA hosts two annual world-class competitions to showcase the talents of American Paint Horses and their owners. The second in the 2010 series, the Fall World Championship Show was held at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth’s cultural district. With 956 talented Paint Horses and more than 2,000 entries, exhibitors competed for prizes and cash payouts totaling $450,000.
APHA, a non-profit organization, works to preserve bloodlines, to educate the public about the beauty and talent of the breed and to maintain the outstanding characteristics of Paint Horses.

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