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Archive | July, 2011

Make change campaign

From Left to Right: CTA’s Kyle Bohl, Jennifer August, Danielle August, and Lizzie August present a check to Devos Children’s Hopsital representative, Jenifer Adams.

This past spring, Creative Technologies Academy once again took part in Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital fundraiser entitled “Make Change.” For the second straight year, CTA was able to donate over $1,000 to the children’s hospital. When asked about the campaign, School Leader Dan George stated, “This type of fundraiser puts ‘feet and hands’ to the words of our character education program. We teach about helping others through service learning, and it’s obvious that our students understand what that means and take it seriously.”

For the last 5 years, CTA has been working with the directors of Smart Character Choices to train CTA’s staff in order to purposefully infuse character education into every corner of the school. By the end of the year, students are using their service learning training to look for ways to help in their school, their community, and ultimately to help better the world. Kyle Bohl, Director of Student Services stated, “This was a total school effort, headed up by teachers like Amy Burton, our fourth grade teacher.  Ms. Burton, along with other teachers and staff at CTA, go above and beyond with every task at hand, including this service-learning project. I am so proud of their efforts as their excitement and initiative rub off on the students and parents.  Kuddos to our staff!”

When asked about projects that CTA’s students will take on this upcoming fall, Mr. George said, “That’s the beauty of service learning, the students are taught to keep their eyes open for opportunities; our faculty and staff just help facilitate the students’ ideas and we help them to make the change that they feel is important.” Along with the “Make Change” campaign, CTA’s students completed many other service projects/fundraisers in the 2010-2011 school year, including cleaning the White Pine Trail, a school carnival to raise funds for relief efforts in Japan, and raising money for Alpha Family Center.

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The Chores

The Armstrong family home was located on Algoma Avenue, just north of 14 Mile Road. Cedar Creek flows through the farm. Photo courtesy of the Algoma Township Historical Society.

By Eloise Armstrong Covey
Courtesy of the Algoma Historical Society

Eloise Armstrong Covey died in June at the age of 90. She was a longtime resident of Algoma Township and often shared her memories and stories of her childhood with The Post. We are reprinting a story here that ran in the Algoma Township Historical Society newsletter.

When I was a little girl we lived on a 120-acre farm that my parents, Milton and Minnie Armstrong, owned on what is now Algoma Avenue and 14 Mile Road. Helping with the chores was a required thing with all farm kids, and after we came home from school, we changed from our school clothes to our work clothes, as there was plenty of work to be done. We usually had about eight or ten head of milking cows plus calves, horses, pigs and chickens.

The cows were pastured in the woods, about an eighth mile from the barn and where Cedar Creek ran through it. We would have to go down the stump fence-lined lane, find the cows and drive them up the lane to the barn. Sometimes they were ornery and ran across the creek and we would have to wade across and drive them back. I learned to milk cows when I was very young. The calves nursed from their mothers for a while and then they had to be taught to drink from a pail. We would put some warm milk in the pail and dip our fingers in the milk and then put our fingers in the calves’ mouth and then we slowly lowered our hand into the pail until they learned to drink from the pail.

In the winter, the fence lane would fill with snowdrifts between the stumps but we still had to drive the cows to the creek for water until the lane filled completely with snow and the creek froze. Then we had to pump water by the hand pump and carry it to the barn for the animals to drink after the path to the barn was shoveled. Chickens and pigs also had to be cared for and wood chopped and carried in for the kitchen stove and the living room stove.

In the evening, we studied by kerosene lamps and went to bed by 9:00 p.m. Chores had to be done in the morning before we changed to school clothes for another day at school.

We did not have electricity for many years. My parents got electricity when I was about 18 years old.

How well I remember the cold, snowy, shoveled path to the “out house” and the Sears & Roebuck Catalog for toilet paper.

Food had to be carried to the basement in summer to keep it as cool as possible. Vegetables and fruits were kept there for winter use.

I’m glad I experienced those years. We were happy and pretty healthy. God bless us. I’m glad for the “good old days” but more for the conveniences of today!

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CTA improves ACT scores

By Judy Reed

Creative Technologies Academy, a charter school located here in Cedar Springs, saw a big improvement in their high school ACT scores this year. In fact, they led all public high schools in the amount of points they added to their average score, with a gain of 1.9 points. Crossroads Charter Academy in Big Rapids followed with a 1.6 gain, and Lee High School added 1.3. All other public high schools added less than 1 point to their average, stayed the same, or lost points.

CTA, located at 350 Pine Street, in Cedar Springs, has 300 students enrolled K-12. Thirty-two students took the ACT, which is part of the Michigan Merit Exam. Their average score is now 18.5, up from 16.6 last year. “While I hate to stress numbers, that’s a pretty significant jump for a school our size,” said CTA Superintendent Dan George.

The Michigan Merit Examination is given each spring to Michigan 11th grade students. The test is administered to most students over a three-day period. The components of the MME are sequenced so that students take the ACT Plus Writing® college entrance exam on Day 1, three subtests of the WorkKeys® job skills assessment on Day 2, and additional items in mathematics, science, and social studies that complete the measurement of Michigan High School Content Expectations on Day 3.

On last year’s MME, only 10 out of 35 students at CTA met or exceeded proficiency guidelines (28 percent), and this year, that number jumped to 15 out of 32 (46 percent).

George said they implemented a plan to improve student achievement when he took over in January of 2010. Some of that included reviewing and implementing best teaching practices; working on the assessment of student learning by offering teacher professional development in that area, and testing students three times a year with Scantron’s performance series; using the online resource “Study island” to provide additional instruction for students; using ACT’s college and career readiness system; and using Quality Core, an end of course assessment for geometry and algebra.

“We have also made a few staff changes to increase instructional effectiveness and improve communication,” said George.

The state average score on the ACT is 19.3, which has risen the last four years from 18.7 in 2008.

The average score on the ACT for Cedar Springs High School stayed the same at 19.8. They had 134 out of 251 students test proficient on the MME this year (53 percent), and last year 126 out of 233 tested proficient (54 percent).

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Solon delays pole barn removal

By Judy Reed

About 20 people attended the Solon Township board meeting last Tuesday, July 12, to voice their opinion on why a horse barn on township property should not be pulled down to make room for a new township hall.

At the meeting, the board decided to table action for authorization of the sale and removal of the barn. They approved preliminary plans last fall for the construction of a 6,000 square-foot building with community room, at a cost of about $750,000.

Solon Township Supervisor Bob Ellick said that they had not yet seen the site plan, though were told it was complete, and would not act until they could review it. He also feels that if they wait a couple of years, they would be in a good financial position to pay for it without financing any of it. “Our revenue sharing went up substantially, but these are still tough economic times,” he said. “Why rush it?” He noted they would still need to pay for heat and electricity for the current building, which also houses the fire department.

Currently the pole barn is being used to host a farm, craft, and flea market every Saturday during the summer, at no charge to vendors. The originally thought they might be able to convert it into offices or a new fire department, but an engineer told them it would be cost prohibitive to do that.

“We could probably sell it through an auction,” said Ellick.

Solon bought the 19-acre horse farm at 15185 Algoma two years ago in a tax foreclosure sale for $28,378.

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The Post received a call from a retired gentleman, in Courtland Township, about a phone call he received this week from someone trying to scam him out of money.

The man said he got the call just before 10 a.m. Tuesday morning. A male caller, with a deep, resonant voice, identified himself as “Sam Davis” and told the man he had won $50,000 in a contest, and that to get his winnings, he needed to go to the nearest Walmart and purchase a green moneypak reload card, and put $350 on it. The caller instructed the man to call him back at 818-627-9802 after he purchased it, and they would set up a meeting at 1:30 so the man could collect his winnings.

Immediately suspicious, (especially since he had never entered a contest) the man did not go get the card, but called the Kent County Sheriff Department instead, and they told him they would send a deputy out to take the report.

“Sam Davis” called the man back about noon and asked if he had gotten the card yet, and the man told him no. “Davis” called back again later in the afternoon, while the deputy was there. But when the deputy got on the phone, the caller hung up.

Later on, after the deputy left, the man received another phone call, this time telling him he had won between $1.2 and $2.3 million in a lottery, and that to get it, he needed to buy a moneypak card and put $250 on it and mail it to him. The caller id showed the call came from Kingston, Jamaica.

The first call came through as “private” but the number shows it is out of California. An Internet search on the number shows this is not the first complaint. Others have experienced a similar scam.

Remember: if you have won any type of lottery or sweepstakes, you will not have to pay out any type of money to collect your winnings.

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We all scream for ice cream

Winners of the banana split eating contest were Donny Soules, 10, Jayden Phillips, 11, and Roger Wiggins.

Rylie Wilcome, 3, tests her banana split.

It was a perfect Saturday afternoon for a banana split eating contest—sunny and hot! About 20 people were glad to be part of the free contest, which was held last Saturday, July 16, at the Sparta Tasty Treat, after the Sparta Town and Country Days parade.

The youngest entrant was Rylie Wilcome, 3, of Sparta. She didn’t seem to be too worried about winning—she was just glad to have the ice cream!

There were three categories of winners: adults, 11-15 years old, and 10 and under. Winners were Donny Soules, 10, of Kent City; Jayden Phillips, 11, of Sparta; and for the second year in a row, Roger Wiggins, of Sparta, won the adult category. Everyone received a coupon for participating, and the winners received a trophy.

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Summer reading celebration carnival

Kids get cooled off by the fire department at last year’s carnival.

Summer has zipped by and it’s already time for the Cedar Springs Public Library’s summer reading celebration carnival! The carnival will take place on Tuesday, July 26 from 2-4 p.m. at Morley Park in Cedar Springs.

There will be games, two bike giveaways, announcements of prizes won by readers, free ice cream, the fire truck to hose us down, a giant water slide, petting zoo, dunk tank, free popcorn, Festida cinnamon chips, pop, water, and music by Deb Eadie, and all the fun you can have in 2 hours!
Call 696-1910 for more information.

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Concert in the park tonight

Music is back in Morley Park, in Cedar Springs, and there will be another concert tonight, Thursday, July 21 at 7 p.m. with the group “Brena.” It may be warm outside, but come try and relax to the sweet sounds of this awarding winning band, that even has their own CD.

In addition to the entertainment, there will be concessions and door prizes, along with cotton candy and frozen snacks. These frozen snacks and the cold beverages will help you counteract the heat. The event is free to the public and will include a free raffle of door prizes during the bands intermission. The door prizes are donated by local businesses.

This is the fifth year that the Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation department and local businesses have sponsored concerts in the park.  The events began in 2006 with one concert and grew in 2007 to holding three concerts.  The Cedar Springs businesses work with the department to offer these events at no charge to the community. “These concerts have grown in size and have become a mainstay summer event for the Cedar Springs area,” said CSAPR Director Amanda Gerhardt. “We enjoy watching the community come and relax for an evening. The hard economic times make it difficult for some families to do activities, so we are thrilled to provide them this opportunity to have some fun.”

An additional concert will be held on August 18 in Morley Park and will feature 50’s and 60’s music by “ The Sea Cruisers.”

Another event that the Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation department is sponsoring is the 3rd Annual  mud volleyball tournament on Saturday, August 13. Registration is open currently and continues through August 5. Forms are available online and at CS Public Schools District Office.

For more information on this program or others, please call 696-7320 Monday-Wednesday  or email director@csaparksandrec.com anytime.  There is also a Facebook page to stay aprised of programs and information, just search for “Cedar Springs Area Parks & Recreation.”

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Irish blonde roller

An attractive blonde from Cork, Ireland arrived at the casino. She seemed a little intoxicated and bet twenty-thousand Euros on a single roll of the dice.

She said, “I hope you don’t mind, but I feel much luckier when I’m completely nude.”

With that, she stripped from the neck down, rolled the dice and with an Irish brogue yelled, “Come on, baby, Mama needs new clothes!”

As the dice came to a stop, she jumped up and down and squealed, “YES! YES! I WON, I WON!”

She hugged the dealers, then picked up her winnings and her clothes and quickly departed.

The dealers stared at each other dumbfounded. Finally, one of them asked, “What did she roll?”

The other answered, “I don’t know – I thought you were watching.”

Moral of the story
Not all Irish are drunks, not all blondes are dumb, but all men… are men.

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Hometown Happenings

TOPS, weight loss support group

Tuesdays: Take off pounds sensibly (TOPS), a non-profit weight loss support group for men and women, meets every Tuesday at the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Sand Lake. Your first visit is free so come check out what TOPS can do to help you reach your weight loss goals! Exercise 8-8:30am (optional), weigh-ins from 8:30am – 9am and the meeting starts at 9:15am. Call Martha at 696-1039 for more information. #tfn

PandaMania VBS
July 24-28: What happens when a pack of Panda Bears invade The Springs? A wild celebration of God’s unconditional love! At PandaMania Vacation Bible School kids ages 4 yrs. – 6th grade will discover that God has a purpose and plan for everyone and that He crafted each of us with His own loving hands. Sunday, July 24-28, 6:30-8:30pm at The Springs Free Methodist Church, 135 N. Grant St., Cedar Springs. Get your registration form at www.thespringschurch.info. For more information contact the church office at 616-696-2970. #28,29p

Rocket Cheer Sign Ups
July 26: Rocket Cheer Sign Ups at Skinner Field during Flag football games on Tuesday, July 26th 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, July 28th  6:00 p.m. to 7:30p.m. Rocket Cheer leading is open to any and all young ladies ages 3rd through 8th grade! Also taking Registrations for Rocket Cheer Camp on Saturday, August 13th~ Open to 3rd thru 8th grade girls. $20 camp fee includes camp shirt.  Registrations for camp due August 8th. You can down load both registration forms and mail them in from our website www.cedarspringsyouthcheerleading.com.
Questions Contact Anne Olszewski at 696-9250. #29

Senior lunch at Pine Grove Community Church
July 27: Fellas take your gal and a few of your best friends, pile in the ol’ Packard and come on over to the Pine Grove Senior Grill for Brats on the Barbee. For all those age 60 and over we’re throwing our annual “Brat Picnic” at noon the 27th of July. Come n get ‘em, brats hot off the grill can be found on the northwest corner of M-82 and Beech Ave. #29

Register now for free hunter education
Aug. 2: To register for Hunter Safety Classes (firearm and bow) at the Red Flannel Rod & Gun Club, call Jim Pope at 231-834-5545. Classes at the Club, 7463 18 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs, will begin Aug. 2 & 4 from 6-9pm, Aug. 6 from 8am-4:30pm, and Aug. 9 from 6-9pm. #29,30p

Community Cholesterol Screenings
Aug. 4: The Kent County Health Department is offering Community Cholesterol Screenings from 7:30 to 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 4th, at its North County Clinic, 4388 14 Mile Rd, Rockford. The screenings are by appointment only and include a full lipid profile including blood pressure, cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. A health educator will give participants an immediate explanation of results. The screening includes a follow-up visit for high-risk individuals.  The cost is $25, which covers testing materials. To sign up, please call (616) 632-7290. There are 25 appointments available and the clinics may fill up, so it’s best to make appointments as far ahead of time as possible. #29

Heritage Festival
Aug. 4-6: SIDNEY – Heritage Village celebrates its 25th anniversary with its annual Heritage Festival, Aug. 4-6 in Montcalm Heritage Village, located on Montcalm Community College’s Sidney campus. The three-day celebration features historical displays, events, refreshments and music for all ages. Visit www.montcalm.edu/HeritageFestival.aspx for more information. #29

Calling all Vietnam Veterans!
Aug. 6: If you are a Vietnam Vet, we are having a meeting on Saturday, Aug. 6 at 1pm at the Cedar Springs American Legion club house to discuss a monument for the Veteran’s Park. For more information call Dan 616-292-8767. #29,30p

Pilgrim Bible Church VBS
Aug. 8-12: Answers in Genesis Gold Rush: Discovering the Rock of Ages Vacation Bible School at Pilgrim Bible Church, 361 Pine Street, Cedar Springs, Monday-Friday, August 8-12, 6:30-8:30 p.m. (registration/snacks begin at 6:00 p.m. each evening). Closing Program: Sunday, August 14, 10:30 a.m. To pre-register, go to www.pilgrimbiblechurchmi.org and click on the VBS Registration link. #29

Cedar Springs Class of 1976 Reunion
Aug. 13: The Cedar Springs Class of 1976 Reunion is Saturday, Aug. 13 5-10pm at Long Lake Park. Looking for classmates – check out Facebook CSHS Class of 1976 for a list of names that need addresses. Call Carollee 231-984-6213 or Allyn 231-748-7543.

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