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Archive | July, 2011

Reading program ends with a bang

Who knew reading could be so much fun?

The Cedar Springs Public Library ended its summer reading program Tuesday, July 26, with a carnival for all ages in Morley Park.  About 340 people enjoyed the petting zoo, inflatable water slide, bounce houses, games, face painting, music, popcorn, chips, ice cream sandwiches and drinks. The Cedar Springs Police paid a visit, and the Cedar Springs Fire Department was there to hose the kids down and keep them cool.

Karla Glerum, on staff for a year at the library, enjoyed her second summer reading program. “Our park party went very smoothly this year.  The water games were a lot of fun! I felt the carnival was a good ending to our reading program.”

Sharrel Bailey, on staff for seven months at the library, enjoyed her first summer reading program. “Seeing so many people in the park, celebrating our reading program, was very fun for me.  I saw the Police and Fire Department on hand and was especially impressed by the show of community support.”

Prizes were also given away. Ethan Eadie, grade 4 and Paige Marsman, grade 3, each won a bike.

The following kids each won a chance to win the big prizes offered Cooperative-wide: Thomas Metiva, 6th grade; Maddie Boomgaard, 3rd grade; Evie Nista, 1st grade; Hannah Reed, Kindergarten; Mumina Ciise, 7th grade. Prizes they could win include a trip to NYC for 4, including $500 in spending money and $500 for food; an overnight stay at Boyne Mountain Resort for 4, including passes to Avalanche Bay; an overnight stay for 4 at Double J Resort in Rothbury; a family 4 pack to the Cranbrooke Institute in Bloomfield Hills; a family membership to John Ball Zoo.

The library’s summer reading program had 1,297 participants this year, starting with opening day on June 13. They had 773 people sign up for the program, with 506 from ages 0 to 6th grade. Grades 7-12 and adults read a whopping 807 books, and there were over 100 prizes to give away. (Watch the August 18 Post for a special ad thanking volunteers and sponsors.)

“We could never have so many quality programs without the support of our local businesses, service organizations and individuals,” said Library Director Donna Clark. “This program is all about our community. We have tremendous support and an outpouring of cash, prizes, in-kind donations and volunteer time.  We are building our community together through our local library. It’s just heartwarming!”

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Renovation to begin on water tower

By Judy Reed

It’s been a long time coming, but Cedar Springs residents will soon see work begin on the city’s water tower on Pine Street—maybe as early as August 1. The 300,000-gallon water storage tank, which was built in 1971, will undergo a complete renovation and repainting, inside and out.

According to the city’s Department of Public Works Director Roger Belknap, the whole project could take 6-8 weeks to complete, depending on weather conditions. Rain and wind greater than 15 mph will delay the work.

City water users should note that with the water tower offline, the only storage available to meet water demand is the water in the mains and service lines, until more is pumped from the city’s wells. The city is asking residents to keep water use to a minimum during this time, and to forego watering lawns and garden irrigation. The city will not have the capacity to use hydrants for firefighting during this time, but several nearby fire departments will have tankers available if needed.

Residents may also see hydrants releasing water from time to time to relieve pressure in the system. Hoses will be attached to the hydrants to prevent erosion and ponding of water.

While the tank has been repainted and/or maintenanced over the years, this is the first complete renovation. The company doing the work will come out each year and inspect the tank and complete any repairs needed. In 11 years, another complete renovation will be done. The whole project, paid over a 10-year period, will cost $440,848. That is a savings of $127,386 over the traditional method where work is done only three times in a 10-year period.

City residents recently saw their first increase in their water and sewer bills since 2007. Water went from $2.65 to $3.65 per thousand gallons and sewer went from $3.01 to $4.01 per thousand gallons. According to city officials, the average family of four uses about 2,000 gallons per person, per month, and will see an increase of about $16.00 per month. This increase will help fund future water and sewer improvements and maintenance.

When the tower is back up and running, those wishing to water their lawns or fill their pools may want to consider installing a special sprinkling meter from the city that costs about $260. You will also need to have a plumber install a backflow device, and it will need to be inspected every three years. While the sprinkling meter has an upfront cost, it will save residents money in the long run because they will only pay a flat water rate with no sewer cost.

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Happy birthday, Post!

By Post editor, Judy Reed

What were you doing, in July, 23 years ago, when the Cedar Springs Post was born? Some of the headlines for July 1988 included:

•    USSR launches Phobos II for Martian orbit
•    Sting performs first rainforest concert
•    Florence Joyner runs 100m in 10.49 seconds for world record
•    4 billion tv viewers watch Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday tribute
•    Michael Dukakis selected as Democratic presidential candidate

Some people here grew up with the Cedar Springs Post, and don’t remember what it was like not to have their own hometown newspaper. The previous newspaper, The Cedar Springs Clipper, served the area well for over 100 years. Once it closed, the area relied on out-of-town newspapers for four years to publish only bits and pieces of Cedar Springs news, much like area newspapers do today. Then on July 28, 1988, Roger Allen, publisher of the Rockford Squire, rented out an office from Sipple TV, on 36 E. Maple Street in Cedar Springs, and started the great little newspaper you still have today—The Cedar Springs Post.

Roger’s daughter, Lois, took over operation of the paper, with her mother Alice, in 1989, and the paper has undergone changes in staff, style and adapted to the times. We started out as an all black and white newspaper, and slowly introduced color. We now have more color pages on a weekly basis than ever before, which means more room for color photos showcasing our community. We’ve also introduced technology for those who would rather interact with us through the computer. You can communicate with us by email, and we now have our website newspaper (cedarspringspost.com) and a facebook page. Both sites are interactive and we really like to see your questions and comments.

We’ve also recently introduced another product—an e-edition. The e-edition is a digital pdf copy of the paper that goes to print each week, complete with ads. This edition, which you can find a link to on our website, is for those people who might prefer to read our paper online, but want to see everything as it was published. It’s a good option for those who live in another city, state or country and don’t like to wait weeks to get their paper in the mail. This version is not interactive, however. It’s just an electronic version  of the paper copy. You can access the e-edition by going to our website (www.cedarspringspost.com) and clicking on e-edition. This version will be free for a limited time, and will eventually be added as a choice of something you can subscribe to. Please take a look, and let us know what you think of the e-edition, by email (news@cedarspringspost.com), by commenting on this story on our website, or posting on our facebook page.

On the down side, our newsroom and sales staff is the slimmest it’s ever been. And that is a reflection of the newspaper industry in general. We thank you, our readers, for your loyalty and willingness to step in and be citizen journalists from time to time. We love getting your photos and news about local events. And we thank our business partners for seeing the importance of supporting us, your local newspaper. Local businesses that advertise in the paper are what pays for the paper to be printed each week. We ask our readers to also thank them by shopping with them and letting them know you saw them in the Post!

One thing that hasn’t changed is our mission. We still try to deliver the news you can use each week. In addition to the regular “hard” news such as accidents and fires, where else will you find what size catfish Johnny caught, who won the spelling bee, what the women’s club did last week, and who was arrested for drunken driving? Nowhere! Because the other papers don’t care—but we do. This newspaper is about YOU. And it will continue to be about you as long as we’re here. Thank you for the opportunity to let us into your home each week, and we look forward to a new year of serving you.

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Enjoying a bite to eat

Alice Jackson sent us some photos of the “wild” things going on in her yard on Harvard Avenue.

“I set up a trail camera to see what was eating up all the things I bury in the garden,” she wrote. “They would dig it up, so I started putting it in a dish.”

She was surprised when she saw images caught on camera. “I didn’t think it would be coyotes,” she said.

She was even more surprised when she saw a raccoon and coyote feeding at the same time out of the same bowl. “It’s very unusual to see a coyote and raccoon eating together,” she remarked.

Do you have a wildlife photo you’d like to send us? Send it to news@cedarspringspost.com. We’ve also been hearing rumors again of bears in the area. If you have photos, and have seen one, please let us know!

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Give me some sugar!

Ron Parker, of Courtland Township, sent us these photos of a downy woodpecker eating from his hummingbird feeder.
“Maybe other folks have seen this happen, but it is a first for our feeders,” he said.
It’s true—while woodpeckers love to eat insects, nuts, berries, suet and sunflower seeds, they also love the sugar water in hummingbird feeders. Thanks, Ron!
Send your wildlife or plant photos to news@cedarspringspost.com.

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Stolen bear statue returned

A 7-foot, 250-pound, hand-carved bear statue that was stolen from in front of a business in Montcalm County has been recovered.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff Department, the unique bear was stolen sometime during the evening of Sunday, July 17, from in front of Distinct Discovery Homes, 8091 W. Peck Road, northeast of Greenville.

After seeing a story on the incident on a local news station, the suspect called police. The statue was recovered by deputies about 10 miles away at the home of a teenage boy. The bear’s arms were missing and its face was damaged.

The Sheriff department said that media coverage of the incident played a substantial role in recovery of the bear.

The suspect is expected to be charged with larceny.

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Man arrested for assault

An Algoma Township man is facing charges of aggravated assault and resisting/obstructing a police officer after he wandered into a Cedar Springs couple’s yard and assaulted a man he didn’t know.

Cedar Springs Police responded to a disorderly subject call about 10 p.m. Saturday, July 23, on Beckett Blvd in Northland Estates Mobile Home Park. While enroute, they received additional calls that this person had assaulted a citizen who was outside in their driveway.

Officers arrived to find an incoherent subject sitting in a vehicle that was not his. Police said the suspect did not comply with verbal commands, and one officer was ready with a TASER, while others ordered the 19-year-old man to the ground. The suspect again became aggressive, fighting and kicking at officers. An ambulance was called to transport the suspect to an area hospital due to his unknown condition and combative behavior.

Investigating officers learned that the suspect had injured a 26-year-old Grand Rapids man, after he head-butted him in the nose. According to witnesses, the suspect wandered into the yard, and threatened to kill the man living at the home if he didn’t stand still and talk to him, and then head-butted and punched the Grand Rapids man, who was a dinner guest of the family and just leaving the home. The family had never met the suspect before. The victim was treated at an area hospital for a fractured nose.

On Monday, July 25, police obtained an arrest warrant and arrested the suspect on charges of aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, and resisting and obstructing a police officer. He posted a $2,500 bond and was released. His name will be released after his arraignment in 63rd District Court on August 3. Police said that drug evidence taken from the him could result in additional charges. The suspected drug evidence will be sent to the Michigan State Police lab for analysis.

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Increase in drug-related crashes, deaths and injuries

The 2010 Michigan Drunk Driving Audit shows a decline in alcohol-related crashes, fatalities and arrests, but an increase in crashes, deaths and injuries involving drugs.

Overall, deaths resulting from alcohol and/or drug-related crashes increased slightly from 351 in 2009 to 357 in 2010, while injuries decreased from 6,271 to 6,175. However, alcohol-involved traffic deaths decreased from 299 to 283, while drug-involved fatalities went up 29 percent, from 119 in 2009 to 153 in 2010. Part of this increase is due to increased testing to detect drug-impaired driving.

“Law enforcement officers are continually finding drugged drivers behind the wheel during traffic stops,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police (MSP). “To help address this growing issue, officers have been receiving advanced training to assist them in identifying and arresting these impaired drivers in an effort to make our roadways safer.”

The Drunk Driving Audit is an annual report issued by the MSP Criminal Justice Information Center and is a collaborative effort between the MSP and the Michigan Department of State.

“Education remains critical in preventing people from driving under the influence,” said Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. “While the drinking and driving data are encouraging, we must continue educating people about the dangers of driving under the influence and especially drugged-driving. By working with law enforcement and other safety advocates, we can make Michigan roads even safer.”

In 2010, 41,883 alcohol and drug-related driving arrests were made. Male drivers were three times as likely as female drivers to be arrested for impaired driving, with 31,021 men arrested compared to 10,862 women. There were 41,887 persons convicted of operating under the influence of liquor or other impaired driving offenses. Some of these convictions include arrests made in prior years.

The 2010 Drunk Driving Audit is available at www.michigan.gov/msp. Click on Publications, Forms & Statistics, then select Statistical Information and then choose Drunk Driving Audit.

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Golf course break-ins

Over the past few weeks the Kent County Sheriff Department has investigated at least six golf course break-ins in the eastern and southeastern portions of Kent County. In each of the break-ins, suspects have forced their way in to either the pro shop or storage buildings and targeted merchandise or cash.  Investigators believe the break-ins are related and the Kent County Sheriff Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying either of the subjects pictured.

The first suspect was seen at one of the break-ins wearing mostly white. He is described as a white male, with a tall thin build. The suspect has dark hair and wears glasses. He had a unique hat on with a short bill, similar to that of a train engineer. Headphones can also be seen around the top of the hat.  See the first two pictures below.

The second suspect was seen wearing a dark shirt with lighter colored pants. He is described as a white male, shorter than the first suspect, with a thin build. He also was wearing a hat which was dark in color and a dark colored bag with a shoulder strap.

Any information can be forwarded to Silent Observer 1-866-774-2345 or to Detective Roon at 616-632-6142.

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No Novacaine

A woman and her husband interrupted their vacation to go to the dentist.
“I want a tooth pulled, and I don’t want Novacaine because I’m in a big hurry,” the woman said. “Just extract the tooth as quickly as possible, and we’ll be on our way.”
The dentist was quite impressed. “You’re certainly a courageous woman,” he said. “Which tooth is it?”
The woman turned to her husband and said, “Show him your tooth, dear.”

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