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Archive | March, 2011

Sheriff’s deputy honored for distracted driving awareness program

Deputy Tim Erhardt

Kent County Sheriff’s Deputy Timothy Erhardt was be honored at the Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission (GTSAC) annual awards luncheon Wednesday at the Kellogg Conference Center in East Lansing for initiating a distracted driving awareness program.

Each year the commission honors organizations, programs and individuals for outstanding contributions to traffic safety. The awards luncheon is part of the 16th Annual Michigan Traffic Safety Summit. Six 2010 traffic safety and three long-term awards were presented.

In 2008, Erhardt initiated a distracted driving awareness program for Kent County high school students. The program begins with an education segment and then challenges students to create their own distracted driving awareness campaigns.

These projects are judged by fellow students and winning projects are publicized through the local media. Winning projects have included a television public service announcement (PSA) that was aired on WOOD TV-8 for a month, a poster that was made into a billboard and posted along US-131, and a radio PSA that was played on local radio stations.

The program has grown to 11 schools involving more than 12,000 students. Local businesses and media outlets fund the program.

The GTSAC was formed in 2002 to serve as the state’s forum for identifying key traffic safety challenges and developing and implementing plans to address those issues. The GTSAC is comprised of representatives from the departments of: Community Health, Education, State, State Police and Transportation, as well as Office of Services to the Aging, Office of Highway Safety Planning and the Office of the Governor. There are also three representatives from local government appointed by the Governor.

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Setting a Good Example

Winners of Rotary 4-way test essay competition

By Donna Clark and Tom Noreen

Eight classes participated this year in the Cedar Springs Rotary’s Annual 4-Way Test Essay Contest with the 5th grade at Cedar View Elementary. All essays were written at school in 200 words or less. Teachers chose the two best essays from their class, and from those 16, our 4-Way Committee, Julie Wheeler, Carolyn Davis and Donna Clark, were to choose three.

It was very hard to choose just three, so we didn’t—we chose five. We had a tie for 4th place!

The top three stories talk of the great example that was set by someone and then how that special example inspired them to change or respond in some way.

We read some great stories on the theme of Setting a Good Example, like my Grandma wrote the meaning of my name and put it on a plaque and I look at it every day; Kyanna encourages her little sister to do her homework, get a good education, and a good career; boredom can do strange things to boys, such as cause them to throw berries at Mrs. Penny’s house, run off when she appeared, and then later coming back to apologize and clean up the mess. Needless to say, it was very interesting for our committee to have the chance to read the top two essays from each class.

Rotary has developed a meaningful partnership with Principal Mike Duffy and the teachers and students of the 5th grade class over the years. Mrs. Boverhof has been our contact person for the essay writing partnership between Rotary and Cedar View for four years now.

Mrs. Boverhof noted, “Every year something new pops up. This year when I introduced the topic of ‘Setting a Good Example,’ I was met with blank stares.” She explained they could give examples. Hopefully as a result of these essays we will have “given the kids an awareness of what ‘setting a good example’ looks and feels like.”

This year’s winners are in order Nicole Kukla, Peyton Elliston, Mariah Reich and tied for fourth Blake Williams and Brandon Owens. You can find Nicole’s essay below.

One of the most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics in the world is the Rotary 4-Way Test. It was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 when he was asked to take charge of the Chicago-based Club Aluminum Co., which was facing bankruptcy. Taylor looked for a way to save the struggling company mired in depression-caused financial difficulties. He drew up a 24-word code of ethics for all employees to follow in their business and professional lives. The 4-Way Test became the guide for sales, production, advertising and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company was credited to this simple philosophy. The 4-Way Test was adopted by Rotary in 1943.

Nicole’s essay:

My Mom My Hero

By Nicole Kukla

Incredible! That is what I think about my mom. She is a single mom who takes care of two kids, works Monday through Friday, and still has time to do exciting things with us. She has taught me so many things and is always setting a good example for me. One of the most important things she taught me is to never give up. It’s something she never does. She probably doesn’t even think about it. I have watched her do so many things, but the thing I never saw her do is give up.

My mom takes care of my sister and I all by herself. She feeds us, pays for sports, and most importantly puts a roof over our heads. I don’t know how she does it. She works so hard to make sure we are successful in everything we do. My sister and I are sometimes very hard to take care of because we argue. But we get along fifty percent of the time. On top of all of the other things she does, she works. I have never seen anybody work so hard before. My mom also has to make a ton of sacrifices for us. On the weekends, my mom takes us to sports. My sister has winter guard and I have soccer. She could be hanging out with her friends but she doesn’t. These are her famous words, “my kids come first.”

Sometimes my sister and I make sacrifices for our mom. Sometimes on the weekends, we like to hang out with her. It is like our way of saying thank you for everything that she does. Our sacrifices aren’t really important though because it is fun to spend time with her. When I’m older, I want to be like my mom and set good examples for the people around me.

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Missing three-year-old found

A three-year-old Montcalm County girl was missing for three hours Monday before being found by police.

According to Howard City Police Chief Steven DeWitt, the Howard City Police Department was dispatched to an area in the 11,000 block of North Federal Hwy, in Reynolds Township on Monday, March 21, on a report of a 3-year-old missing girl, in a heavily wooded area. The child had wandered away from a guardian while going for a walk in the woods near the residence, and had been missing for about an hour.

A telephone alert system was used to automatically notify persons in the surrounding area of the missing child, and an Amber alert was issued to alert the general public.

The Michigan State Police, Montcalm County Sheriff Department and the Mecosta Co. Sheriff Department assisted Howard City Police. Over a dozen police officers were at the scene assisting in the search.

At one point, helicopters from the Michigan State Police and the U.S. Coast Guard were requested for assistance, as well as K-9 “Rock” tracking unit from the Michigan State Police Ionia Post, and tracking dogs from the Mid Michigan Working dogs volunteer organization.

The child was located by utilizing a K9 unit and searchers calling out her name. The child responded and was found behind a distant tree.

She was found about one mile from the residence, after wandering through a heavily wooded, swampy area. The child appeared to have crossed a stream at one point and was found soaking wet.

The victim was transported to a local hospital to be treated for exposure by  Montcalm County Ambulance. The victim appeared otherwise ok and told searchers that she “was lost” and “looking for home.”

The case remains open pending investigation.

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Subscription winners!

Have you subscribed yet to the Cedar Springs Post? If not, you are missing out on a chance to win some great prizes from local businesses!

You, too, can win by subscribing to the Post for only $25 per year. Fill out the entry form on this page and mail, or subscribe through our website (www.cedarspringspost.com) using Paypal.

This week’s winners are:

*Deborah Grimes, of Sand Lake, won a $5 gift card from Family Video on Main Street in Cedar Springs.

*George and Eldona Allington, of Solon Township, won a free hot-n-readt one-topping pizza from Little Caesar’s on 17 Mile in Cedar Springs.

*Jeff Sixbury, of Nelson Township, won a $25 gift card to White Creek Lumber on White Creek Avenue in Cedar Springs.

Winners must pick up their prizes HERE at the Post within 14 days or the prize will be awarded to someone else. We are open from 9-5 Monday through Friday. Please call 696-3655 to make other arrangements.

Thanks so much to the businesses partnering with us in this drive! If you are a business who would like to donate a prize, call us at 696-3655.

*Subscribers are assigned a number, and then chosen at random through a computer website, www.random.org.

Thank you to all of this week’s subscribers!

William Winters
Shirley DeYoung
William Brace
Barbara Lapekes
Emilie & Jerome Zeboor
Jeanice Goltz
Lynn Wilson
Josephine Smith
Daniel & Jody Green
Donald & Audrey White
Mary & Walter Ridout
Michael & Betty Brooks
Michael & Tena Hoxie
Mark & Lynne Carlson
Frances Rentsman
Raymond Huckleberry

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The Circus is coming to town this Friday!

Walker International Events is bringing its show “Circus, Circus and more Circus” to the Cedar Rock Sports Plex, 4758 Cornfield Drive, this Friday, March 25, with shows at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Adults are $14.00, which allows two children 14 and under in for FREE with one paid adult. Any extra children are $5.00.

According to Walker Events, “This year promises more excitement, thrills, comedy and animal antics, all under the direction of our master of ceremonies, 5th generation circus performer Jason Walker. As promised we will bring the famous Forniasari family with their comedy Matadors, our hilarious circus clown, and the balancing agility of Miss Carmen on her low wire will astonish. Also featuring Roman riding excellence under the direction of World renowned bareback rider Timmy Loyal, and our aerialist will amaze you with their graceful and daring feats high above the circus ring! Teen Juggling sensation Paolo is back with more clubs, rings and of course more dancing! Tons and tons of affordable family friendly fun at its finest. Don’t miss out!”

You can buy tickets at the door or online at www.walkerbrotherscircus.com.

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Moses and Jesus Play Golf

Moses and Jesus were part of a threesome playing golf one day. Moses pulled up to the tee and drove a long one. The ball landed in the fairway, but rolled directly toward a water trap. Quickly Moses raised his club, the water parted and it rolled to the other side, safe and sound.

Next, Jesus strolled up to the tee and hit a nice long one directly toward the same water trap. It landed right in the center of the pond and kind of hovered over the water. Jesus casually walked out on the pond and chipped the ball right up on to the green.

The third guy got up and sort of randomly whacked the ball. It headed out over the fence and into oncoming traffic on a nearby street. It bounced off a truck and hit a nearby tree. From there, it bounced onto the roof of a shack close by and rolled down into the gutter, down the drain spout, out onto the fairway and straight toward the aforementioned pond. On the way to the pond, the ball hit a little stone and bounced out over the water and onto a lily pad, where it rested quietly. Suddenly, a very large bullfrog jumped up on a lily pad and snatched the ball into his mouth. Just then, an eagle swooped down and grabbed the frog and flew away. As they passed over the green, the frog squealed with fright and dropped the ball, which bounced right into the hole for a beautiful hole in one.

Moses turned to Jesus and said, “I hate playing with your Dad.”

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The Good, Bad and Ugly of Gov. Snyder’s First Budget

By Michael D. LaFaive | Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Gov. Rick Snyder’s first budget fell short of the “atomic bomb” promised by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, in part due to the fact that a megaton of further spending and tax cuts were left on the table. Overall, however, the budget moves the state in a positive direction with greater tax simplicity, more transparency, less corporate welfare and fewer discriminatory tax policies.

This comparison shows the inequity between public-sector and private-sector employees for overall compensation.

Among the lost opportunities is the fact that the net effect is a tax shift, not a tax cut. Yet as Mackinac Center analysts have shown, by bringing government employee benefits in line with private-sector averages, $5.7 billion in savings could be made available for real tax cuts without reducing programs or laying off employees.

That said, there’s plenty of good news here: Gov. Snyder intends to scrap the complicated and hated Michigan Business Tax and surcharge, replacing it with a simpler corporate flat tax of 6 percent. The Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation estimates this will move Michigan from 48th place in its business tax rankings to 22nd, even without a net tax cut.

Also positive is Gov. Snyder’s intention to eliminate the Michigan Economic Growth Authority and other discriminatory tax breaks. Given that the governor was once the vice chair of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., which presides over the state’s current corporate welfare regime, this has a certain “Nixon goes go to China” aspect. It’s not quite the “fair field and no favors” recommended by Mackinac Center scholars, because special treatment for certain firms won’t be eliminated entirely, but the process will henceforth be done through straightforward legislative appropriations, bringing a huge leap in transparency.

And there are real cuts in this budget, including revenue sharing haircuts of up to $300 million, trimming school grants by $300 per pupil from current year levels, and $280 million from higher education spending. However, there are devilish details that may partially undercut potential savings—schools, universities and local governments may be able to reclaim some of those dollars by agreeing to reforms in their own governance, for example.

The most unfortunate part of the budget is the proposal to raise taxes on pensions. While the tax fairness and simplicity arguments are not invalid, it’s still a very large tax hike, and one that’s totally unnecessary — those $5.7 billion in potential government employee fringe benefit savings would save several times the estimated $700 million in new revenue from this tax. It’s worth noting that such a hike could be far more tolerable if the offsetting personal income tax cut was deeper. Currently, the personal income tax is scheduled to drop in Fiscal 2012 by one-tenth of 1 percent. In revenue terms, that’s about $161.8 million. A proper tradeoff for the pension tax hike would be an income tax cut of at least $700 million.

It’s worth mentioning, too, that the pension tax revenue projections may assume that taxpayers are just sheep who will stick around to be sheared, but many won’t. In effect, the move charges a retiree with a $40,000 annual pension about $1,700 a year for choosing to remain in Michigan rather than move to sunny, income tax-free Florida.

In his essay “How to Save $2.2 Billion,” my colleague Jack McHugh points out that just requiring school employees to pay 25 percent of their own health insurance premiums could save $650 million annually. Other ideas abound too. The state could devolve state police road patrols to county sheriffs and save $65 million. Mackinac Center analysts have published literally hundreds of ideas for saving more than $2 billion from the state budget since 2003, and many of the ideas have not yet been adopted or adapted by the state.

The governor also let slip an opportunity to call for even bolder reforms in government employee relations, such as those recently seen in states such as Wisconsin and Ohio. That may come in the future, but meanwhile, there’s much to like in this budget and tax proposal. In effect, it represents a huge change from an opaque and dishonest tax-and-spend system to one that’s transparent and forthright.

Michael LaFaive is director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich.

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Main Street

Roger on Main StreetWell-aged

Here’s a part of aging I like: For people my age, a good-sized chunk of history is within our living memory. I personally remember some of the Great Depression and all of WWII, including war bonds, ration stamps, VE Day and VJ Day.

Although not around for the Wright brothers’ first airplane flight, I was already approaching middle age by the time Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon.

I remember walking to first grade. The newest cars that passed me that day were 1934 models. Looking back, it seems like a scene from a period movie.

Famous people, now passed on, were alive and working during the lifetimes of us old folks. Robert B. Parker and Dick Francis, two of my favorite authors, are gone now. I remember a young Joe DiMaggio, as well as Fess Parker, Peter Graves, Art Linkletter, Ernie Harwell, Jimmy Dean, Mitch Miller, Eddie Fisher, and Bob Feller.

Local people I knew for decades remain alive in my memory. Clarence Blakeslee is a treasured example.

People my age have a seasoned view of the world. I’m happy with my memories and recommend old age for everybody.

The blonde is back

“How come you’re late?” asks the bartender when the blonde waitress comes through the door.

“It was awful,” she explains. “I was walking down Elm Street and saw a terrible accident. A man got thrown from his car. He was lying in the street with a broken leg and a fractured skull and there was blood everywhere. Thank God I took that first-aid course.”

“What did you do?” asks the bartender.

“I sat right down,” says the blonde, “and put my head between my knees to keep from fainting.”

Personnel management

The CIA had an opening for an assassin. After the background checks and testing, three candidates remained: two men and one woman.

For the final hurdle, the CIA agents took one of the men to a metal door and handed him a gun. “We must know that you will follow your instructions, no matter what. Inside this room you’ll find your wife sitting in a chair. You have to kill her.”

“You can’t be serious,” said the man. “I could never shoot my wife.” The agent replied, “You’re not the right man for this job.”

The second man was given the same instructions. He went into the room with the gun. All was quiet for five minutes. Then he came out with tears in his eyes. “I tried,” he said, “but I can’t kill my wife.”

“You don’t have what it takes,” said the agent.

It was the woman’s turn. She was told to kill her husband. She took the gun and went into the room. Shots rang out. The agents outside heard screaming, crashing, banging on the wall. Then all was quiet. The door opened and there stood the woman. She wiped the sweat from her brow and said, “You guys didn’t tell me the gun was loaded with blanks. I had to beat him to death with the chair.”

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Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

Get out of the house!

Last week we had a fire in our home. Our aged heat pump flashed out, blowing smoke throughout the house, tripping alarms and setting off smoke detectors. Thankfully, it turned out to be a minor inconvenience. But at first, we didn’t know this. We had smoke in the house and could not find the source. So I called 911 and explained our situation: “Everything looks okay now, but could you send someone just to take a look?” The dispatcher sent someone all right. In five minutes we had a dozen fire-fighters, six fire trucks, and a battalion chief standing in the front yard.

Everyone involved was consummately thorough, especially the dispatcher. She did not care that everything “looked okay.” Minor event or four-alarm fire, her instructions were direct and clear: “Get out of the house!” I protested several times stating that it was cold outside and we were safe. She continued to answer: “Get out of the house,” growing more forceful each time until finally I relented and did as I was told.

That dispatcher would make a wonderful preacher. See, the best sermons are not the ones that reinforce our comfort or our long-held beliefs, causing us to rest well in pews. The best sermons are those that cause us to get up and run from the sanctuary. The best sermons say directly and clearly: “Get out of the house!”

I cut my theological teeth in a tradition fixated with defending the Bible. We worked hard to protect the always-under-siege Scriptures. Thus, I heard much high oratory on the inspiration, infallibility, incorrigibility, and inerrancy of the Bible. This was an almost weekly subject. In short, I heard a whole lot about the Bible, but didn’t get much help in how to live the Bible.

But we need less information about the Bible coming from inside the church house, and need more real-world, life-giving ways to put the Bible into practice outside the church house. We need to practice some of the oldest words from the New Testament: “Don’t just listen to the Word. Do what it says.”

No, the proof of truth is not how often we use the correct theological buzzwords or how long we sit and listen inside our houses of worship. The proof of truth is the practice of God’s grace and burning love out in the communities around us. Get out of the house.

Ronnie McBrayer is the author of “Leaving Religion, Following Jesus.” He writes and speaks about life, faith, and Christ-centered spirituality. Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.net.

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Happy 80th Birthday

Kay F. Merlington

Please join us in celebrating at Tri-County Eagles #4467, 32 E. Lake St., Sand Lake from 2-5pm on April 2nd. Lunch will be served & no gifts please.

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Intandem Credit Union
Ray Winnie


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