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Archive | April, 2011

Volunteers needed for community garden

Do you like to help people in need? Or maybe just help things grow? North Kent Community Services needs your manpower in their Community Garden! Last year the agency received over 3,570 pounds of fresh vegetables to distribute to families in need. That huge amount of food was planted and harvested by a handful of volunteers, who worked an acre of land to create a Community Garden. The NKCS is the largest food pantry in Kent County and services over 12,000 families. The fresh vegetables were a welcome sight for families who normally received canned or frozen when they pick up groceries.
Merrill Post, of Post Berry Farms, donates the land, on Myers Lake Avenue and 12 Mile Road, where the volunteers plant and harvest. For the third year in a row, Mr. Post has set aside an acre of land that he tills, fertilizes, and waters to make sure that the plants will grow. He even allows the group a space in his own private garden, where a high fence keeps the deer away from the tender bean plants. Post also donates to the NKCS corn, pumpkins, berries and other food that the volunteers do not grow in the Community Garden.
All of the seeds needed for planting are donated by The Cedar Mill in Cedar Springs. Also, several of the group members start seeds in peat pots or flats at home.
This year, there are two specific planting dates already set. Many more volunteers are needed because the goal is to harvest two tons of food this year. If you would like to help, volunteers will meet on Wednesday, May 10, at 7:00 p.m., at Post Farms, 9849 Myers Lake Road, to plant seeds in the greenhouse.
Once the seeds are ready to be transplanted outside, other dates and times will be determined for planting and a schedule will be set for weeding and harvesting. If you love to garden, want to learn more about gardening, need to put in hours for community service at your school, or have a desire to feed people in need, then call Deb McIntyre, volunteer coordinator at the NKCS, at 616-866-3478 ext. 103 Monday–Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. No gardening experience is necessary.

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How to start composting for your garden

Composted soil is great for your garden.

(StatePoint) Ecological experts have proposed countless ways to improve the environment, but something as simple as changing the way you dispose of your trash could have a significant impact on the future of our planet.
By composting biodegradable materials, such as yard trimmings, food waste and disposable paper products in a pile or bin, a nutrient-rich soil is created that can be used for gardening. This soil reduces the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, is better for the environment and will save you money. It also promotes healthy foliage and growth—a boon to gardeners everywhere.
“Few Americans realize that nearly 50 percent of the waste from their home is compostable,” says Eric Happell, Director of Fiber Business Unit at Huhtamaki, the makers of Chinet paper products. “If every American household composted, we could reduce our solid waste stream by more than 60 percent.”
He said that the average American produces four pounds of landfill waste daily, and that composting is a simple solution to reducing that number.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to starting a composting pile at home:
* Select a convenient spot for composting. This spot can either be indoors in a compost bin or outdoors in a semi-shaded and well-drained area. Don’t put your compost pile under acid producing trees like pines.
* Combine organic wastes such as yard trimmings, food scraps and biodegradable products into a pile, then add bulking agents such as wood chips to accelerate the breakdown of organic materials.
* Let nature take its course.  Typical compost will turn into rich soil in two to five weeks.
A properly managed compost bin or pile will not attract pests or rodents and will not smell bad. Therefore, make sure you know what you can and cannot add to a compost pile.
Many everyday items can be used, including fruits and vegetables, yard trimmings, eggshells, coffee grounds, teabags, and certain paper products. You can also add dryer and vacuum cleaner lint, pet fur and fireplace ashes.
Other biodegradable materials, like hay, straw, grass clippings, saw dust and leaves can also be added to compost piles, with the exception of black walnut leaves, which release chemicals that are harmful to plants. Also, don’t include diseased or insect-ridden plants, or plants treated with chemicals or pesticides; these, too, will make the compost harmful or toxic.
Be sure to avoid adding food and organic matter that will make the compost pile smell, such as dairy products, egg yolks (whites are okay), fats, grease, lard and oils. Meat and fish scraps are compostable, but make sure they do not contain parasites or bacteria.
For more tips on composting and other environmental activities, visit www.mychinet.com and click on “Environment.”

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Digging soon? Make a call to 811

(ARA) – It’s that time of year again. All across the country, homeowners can finally put away the snow shovel, put on a pair of shorts and venture out into their yards with a digging shovel for an adventure in home improvement.
Now that the weather is getting warmer, Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the association dedicated to protecting underground utilities and the people who dig near them, reminds homeowners and professional diggers that calling 811 is the first step to protect everyone from the risk of unintentionally damaging an underground line.
Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811, which connects you to your local one-call utility notification center. Installing a mailbox, building a deck and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after making a call to 811.
Here’s how it works:
1. One free, simple phone call to 811 makes it easy for your local one-call center to notify all appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig.
2. Call a few days prior to digging to ensure enough time for utility lines to be properly marked.
3. When you call 811, a representative from your local one-call center will ask for the location and description of your digging project.
4. Your local one-call center will notify affected utility companies, who will then send a professional locator to the proposed dig site to mark the approximate location of your lines.
5. Once lines have been properly marked, roll up those sleeves and carefully dig around the marked areas.
There are nearly 20 million miles of underground utility lines in the United States that your family depends on for everyday needs, including cable TV, high-speed Internet, landline telephone, electric, gas, water and sewer.
Unintentionally striking one of these lines can result in inconvenient outages for entire neighborhoods, harm to yourself or your neighbors, and repair costs. Digging damages an underground utility line once every three minutes nationwide, according to a recent CGA report, and one out of three incidents are caused because someone did not call 811.
To find out more information about Call 811 or the one-call utility notification center in your area, visit www.call811.com.

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Subway manager staged robbery

By Judy Reed

It appears that the armed robbery of the Cedar Springs Subway on 17 Mile Road last week was an inside job.
According to the Cedar Springs Police Department, daytime manager Kristin Joy Fredrickson, 35, of Solon Township, the alleged victim of the robbery, admitted to police she was involved and that she had another employee and former employee assist her.
Cedar Springs Police responded to an armed robbery call at the Subway, located at 4116 17 Mile Road, at 8:22 a.m., April 12. Fredrickson, the day shift manager reported that a masked man entered through the rear door soon after she arrived to open the business and robbed her at gunpoint. He then fled to a vehicle parked to the east at a neighboring business. Witnesses reported seeing a man running to this vehicle and getting into the passenger side door.  The vehicle then fled eastbound at a high rate of speed.
Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent said that they looked at all possible ways this crime could have occurred, and it appeared from the very first day that it could have been staged. He said that within days the investigation turned from interviewing the “victim,” who was the on-duty daytime manager at the business, to an investigation suspecting her of being involved.

Kristin Fredrickson

“We asked detectives from the Kent County Sheriff Department to look over our evidence and they agreed,” said Parent. Detective Sgt Jack Smith (KCSD) and Detective Jason Kelley (KCSD north sub-station) along with Sgt Good (CSPD) continued with the investigation.” He said they spent many hours interviewing people about the crime, and finally obtained additional names of suspects. The manager finally admitted she was involved, and her two male accomplices, Ryan James Christopher Dalton, 20, of Courtland Township, and Daniel James Coon Jr., of Solon Township, also confessed.
Parent said that the three got away with a large amount of cash, which would normally be unusual in the morning. However, the manager had reportedly not made any deposits for about a week leading up to the robbery. Parent said that only a small amount of the cash was recovered, and that all three parties would be responsible for restitution.

Ryan Dalton

Fredrickson was arraigned Wednesday in 63rd District Court on counts of filing a false police report a four-year felony; larceny by conversion-a five-year felony; and larceny in a building-a three-year felony. She has a May 3 preliminary hearing at 10:15 a.m. Her accomplices were arrested Wednesday, and should be arraigned today. They will face charges of larceny in a building and larceny by conversion. Parent said that since they were acting out a staged event, there was no victim where a gun charge would apply.

Daniel Coon

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Post Easter egg hunt THIS Saturday!

Sunny skies, colorful eggs, lots of kids, candies and prizes—it’s what we’re hoping for this Saturday, April 23, for the annual Post Community Easter Egg Hunt!
The event kicks off at 1:00 p.m. at Red Hawk Elementary, on the Cedar Springs Public Schools campus. Be sure to get there a little early to find a parking spot. We wouldn’t want you to be late for the hunt! Remember to bring a bucket or bag to put your eggs in.
It will feature hunts for four different age groups up to age 10, real colored eggs, candy, coins and great prizes. And The Cedar Springs Fire Department, Keystone Kops, Red Flannel Queen and Court, Post staff, and of course, the Easter Bunny, will all be on hand to help with the festivities! Call us at 696-3655 with questions.

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Post travels to Mexico

News of the Cedar Springs High School cheerleading team’s march to state competition crossed the Mexican border on March 16! Posing with the March 3 edition of the Post, in Progresso, Mexico, is (left to right) Tina Howard, Phil Wolters and Mary Wolters.
Thanks, Mary, for sharing your photo with us!

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Voters asked to approve sinking fund levy

When residents in the Cedar Springs Public Schools district go to the polls May 3, they will be asked to approve a one mill sinking fund levy to help fund maintenance and repairs on the school campus.
“There is no extra money in the general fund at this time,” said Board President Joe Marckini. “We’ve been putting things off, that’s why we are asking for a sinking fund.” He explained that with shrinking revenue, they follow board procedures and keep funds spent as close to the students as possible—which means cutting back in other areas, such as maintenance.
But with additional cuts and costs for schools this upcoming school year, they could be facing a $2.4 million deficit. And that could mean cutting education programs that affect kids.
A committee of parents, community members and staff began looking at the needs in October 2010, and brought the recommendation to ask for a sinking fund levy to help fund maintenance and operations early this year.
The levy, which would be for a period of 10 years, would cost a person with a $100,000 property value $50 per year. It saves taxpayers money over a general bond, which runs 30 years, because there are no interest payments or borrowing costs. “It’s not practical to extend a payment for repairs over 30 years when we’ll have to make repairs multiple times during that period,” noted Marckini. “This is a ‘pay as we go,’ which shows the transparency of the board.”
The sinking fund levy can only be used for infrastructure. While they are identifying the true needs in each building, some of the priorities are parking, roads, and student drop offs; safety and security needs; technology and energy upgrades; and replacement of the synthetic turf on the athletic field.
The board says they’ve worked hard to be good financial stewards, increasing their fund balance from 5.7 percent to 14.99 percent, which allows them to make payroll during the summer months without borrowing, before the state payments come in; and decreasing dollars spent on payroll from 85 percent to 75 percent. They said teachers, administrators and support staff have all taken freezes and benefit cuts to help support student needs.
The Board of Education will have a booth at Community Night tonight (Thursday) with information on the sinking fund. To print out a flier, click link: Sinking Fund Flyer

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Hometown Hero

Felicia Collins and Spc. Kyle Kelley

Spc. Kyle Kelley

Spc. Kyle Kelley, a 2005 Cedar Springs High School graduate and a 2009 graduate of Ferris State University, has completed his basic training in the U.S. Army. He received the Commanding General Award of excellence, which is the highest honor.
He will continue at Fort Leonarwood, Missouri, with his advanced training in transportation and airborne.
Felicia Collins (his significant other), parents Bob and Joyce Kelley, and his brother, Sgt. Korey Kelley (U.S. Marines), are extremely proud of him.

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Looking back: The Village of Cedar Springs

Several residents, including Craig Cole and Robert Plank, brought in this old postcard of Cedar Springs. It shows what Cedar Springs looked like 140 years ago when it became a village.
According to the Cedar Springs Story, by Sue Harrison and Donna DeJonge, the photo was taken in 1871, and the village was incorporated in March of that year. The photo shows the intersection of Main and Muskegon Streets, looking north. The building on the left is Black’s first store. On the right is O’Dell’s Blacksmith shop, with his wagon shop just north of that. You can also see the United Methodist Church to the north of the wagon shop.

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Butterfly Exhibit delights

A kindergartner enjoys a butterfly on her shoulder during a field trip to FMG last week. Photo by S. Read

By Sarah Read

Seventy-five homeschoolers filled Frederik Meijer Gardens last week during a field trip organized by Greenville Michigan Inclusive Connection for Home Learners to visit the popular Butterflies are Blooming exhibit. As the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibit in the nation, the FMG exhibit is open from March 1–April 30 and features more than 6,000 tropical butterflies flying free in the 15,000-square-foot Lena Meijer Conservatory.

More than 6,000 tropical butterflies are flying free in the Lena Meijer Conservatory until April 30. Photo by S. Read

This is the second annual trip for G-MICH to this exhibit, where students of all ages could enjoy an up close look at butterflies, their eating habits, living chrysalis in various stages and more. “[Our] family had a great time,” shared homeschool mother, Kristin Harrison. “[There was] fantastic weather.”
Prior to the field trip, G-MICH hosted a 3-hour unit study on butterflies at their weekly learning cooperative. Students created the butterfly life cycle with dried pasta, read various butterfly books, made butterfly feeders and experimented with rope to measure the length and strength of a cocoon thread.
To learn more about this home learning support group, please visit www.greenvillemichiganhomeschoolers.com

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