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Archive | September, 2011

Red Flannel royalty crowned

This year’s 2011 Red Flannel Queen Tranaya Verstrat with court members Kaitlyn Caron and Esther Couturier.

The 2011 Red Flannel Pageant, held last Saturday night at Cedar Springs High School, was a royal affair, complete with a king, knights, and of course, a new Red Flannel Queen!
This year’s 2011 Red Flannel Queen is Tranaya Verstrat, daughter of James and Tasha Verstrat. Court members are Kaitlyn Caron, daughter of Tim and Lisa Caron, and Esther Couturier, daughter of Michael and Debra Couturier.
This year’s theme was “Believe in Red Flannel Knights.” Local resident and teacher, John Willette was the emcee, and dressed as a King. The set decorations included a castle and moat, throne, and the Red Flannel Festival’s 7-foot Knight in shining armor.
Susan Reason performed an excellent rendition of the National Anthem while the Cedar Springs American Legion Glen Hill post presented the flags.
Entertainment was a beautiful dance, performed by 2010 Red Flannel Queen Tinsley Nulph, and in keeping with the theme, local musician Sam Peterson played several songs on his bagpipe, dressed in a traditional kilt.
The contestants selected Red Flannel Festival history questions from the “King” in a beautiful gold goblet, delighting the crowd.
The Knight theme carried through the Pageant with their opening number, and the contestant fathers escorting their daughter in the evening gown portion.
“Justin Harnden and the CSHS Drama Club did a tremendous job of technical support for the Pageant, and a special thanks to Superintendent Ron McDermed and the CSPS School Board for use of the beautiful auditorium,” said Red Flannel Festival President Michele Andres. “Cindy Patin directed the Pageant for the 14th year, and the entire team of volunteers did an outstanding job!”
There is still time to donate to the Queen Scholarship Fund. 100 percent of all donations are used for their college scholarships and are tax deductible. Please send a check to: Queen Scholarship Fund, PO Box 43, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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Firefighter parade honors emergency workers

A firefighters parade rolled through downtown Cedar Springs last Friday night.

Cedar Springs first ever firefighters parade was held last Friday evening, September 23, in an effort to honor local firefighters, police and rescue personnel. It was part of this year’s Red Flannel Festival.
The fire trucks did one pass with sirens and lights going, and the second pass was a silent one in remembrance of those that have lost their lives on duty.
“We were in the parade, and I think that it was amazing! It truly shows how the people of the community feel about not only the great local firefighters, but the surrounding area firefighters, too,” said Vicki Wysocki, on the Post Facebook page. “Everyone that came made us feel truly appreciated.”
The parade started after the varsity football game ended, but it still may have been too soon for some people attending the game. “We were at the game and we wanted to take the kids to the parade, but they could have waited until most of the spectators left so we could enjoy it,” wrote Heather Male, on our Facebook page. “We missed it waiting in the parking lot.”
If you have thoughts on the firefighter’s parade, let the Red Flannel Festival know if you’d like to see it again next year by visiting their Facebook page.

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Local show filming at Red Flannel Festival

Attend the Red Flannel Festival next Saturday and you could be on TV.
“We’re excited to share the news that the PBS Television Show, “Under the Radar Michigan” will be here on Saturday, Oct. 1, to film the Red Flannel Festival as one of the six coolest Festivals in the State of Michigan!” said festival president Michele Andres.
According to a news release, “the true mission of the program is to discover and uncover the thousands of incredible ‘under the radar’ people, places and things we may not know about in Michigan. Through this discovery, we hope to develop a deeper dimension of pride in our state.”
According to a note from the show’s host, Tom Daldin, they are broadcast on every PBS TV station across Michigan, and also have millions of viewers across Canada, Ohio and Wisconsin, and will be moving into the Chicago market this season. “Our fans are loyal and very engaged in the program. When we talk about a place, people travel long distances in great numbers for the experience… so it’s good for everyone. We often have people tell us that we literally  ‘doubled their business’… it’s a nice feeling to be able to do that!” he wrote.
In each episode, the UTR crew travels from city to city uncovering the people, places and things that make Michigan a great place to be. To learn more about Under The Radar Michigan, visit utrmichigan.com.  To become a fan of the program, visit the Under The Radar Michigan Facebook page and send in suggestions for future shows.
“Please help us spread the news to put our best red foot forward this year,” said Andres. “It’s phenomenal exposure for the festival, sponsors and supporters, business community, citizens and the entire community!”

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North Kent Cash Outlet opens new location

In need of cash? Get quick cash for stuff you don’t want, don’t use, or want to sell or pawn at North Kent Cash Outlet in Cedar Springs. Get top dollar prices for your gold without traveling out of the county.
Located right on the corner of 14 Mile and Northland Drive, North Kent Cash Outlet has been buying, selling and trading everything from gold and silver to home audio equipment, jewelry, video game systems, computers, TV’s and lots of other treasures. “We pay with cash never a check,” said owner operator Scott Clevenger.
North Kent Cash Outlet is more than a gold buyer. It’s a pawn shop plus gold buyer and Boost mobile distributor all in one location. You can leave with cash, or find a great deal on merchandise. You can even leave with a working phone in hand.
North Kent Cash will soon offer even more with the opening of a new store in Lowell starting October 1. If you don’t see what you’re looking for in the Cedar Rock store location, they may be able to get it from the Lowell store. Stop in and check them out Monday through Friday 10 am – 7 pm and Saturday 10 am – 4 pm. Closed on Sundays. For more info call (616) 696 PAWN (7296) or you can also check them out on Facebook!

This is a paid advertisement

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Beyond the walls

A group from the Springs Church finishes up work on a local home.

By Judy Reed

When most people think of going to church, they think of going to a building where they sing a few songs, say a prayer, hear a good sermon, drink some coffee with other church members, and go home.
But the Springs Church did something radical last Sunday—they took “church” to the streets.
The church, located on the corner of Grant and First Street in Cedar Springs, first held a “Beyond the Walls” Sunday two years ago, and helped clean up Cedar Springs before Red Flannel Day. This year’s outreach was not as much about cleaning (although they did that) as it was about reaching out and forming relationships with the community.
“Being a church and ‘doing’ church is more than gathering for worship services,” explained Senior Pastor Barry Briggs. “By serving our neighbors, we are worshiping and honoring the Lord.”
Over 100 people divided into teams and headed out to spend a couple of hours on their mission. Activities included finishing work on a widow’s home, helping a couple of homeowners with outdoor cleanup, picking up trash on the west side of town, a free car wash, holding a worship service for the elderly at Mildred Houting in Sand Lake, children singing to residents at Metron, others playing board games with residents at Metron, delivering trays of homemade goodies to the waiters and waitresses in town, and more.

A group from the Springs picks up trash on the west side of Cedar Springs.

“What we did Sunday is more church than what we do the rest of the year,” explained Briggs. “Church is not confined to four walls; our mission field is not confined to four walls. I like to think of our building as the place we get our assignments and then go out on a mission to serve.”
He noted that Jesus said he came to serve, and that our American culture is more about us being served, rather than us doing the serving. And he hopes that people see the Springs differently. “The Springs has a reputation of top tier worship services but we are more than that—we are a church that cares. That’s why we brought on a local missions pastor, to help those in need, give hope to the hopeless,” he said. “It shows our heart’s desire—what we want to be about all the time.”
Local missions Pastor Cherri Kerr had a lot to do with getting things organized for the Beyond the Walls event. She spoke with the city, mobile home parks, the school, and other organizations to get ideas on where manpower was needed. Kerr said a couple of the events especially touched her. “The kids going over to Metron were a real eye-opener,” she said. “The kids sang and the residents sang along. Some of the kids have already made the commitment to go back.”
Another event she talked about was taking the goodie trays to area restaurants and giving them to servers. “I had heard a rumor that the servers hate working Sundays, because the Christians get out of church and go to eat, and many of them are rude and don’t tip,” explained Kerr. “That broke my heart.”
She said the servers were excited that they took the time to give something back. “I hope that some of them will now see church in a different way,” she said. “This was about connecting with the community and building relationships with people.”
The Springs will continue to serve this weekend. Instead of marching in the Red Flannel parade, they will man a hospitality tent for the volunteers working Red Flannel Day. The church will provide refreshments for those workers in appreciation for all they do on Red Flannel Day.
They also will be expanding their Trunk or Treat on Halloween this year. They will still have the car trunks full of candy, a giant slide, hot cocoa and donuts, but they are adding carnival games in the foyer of the church and a puppet show in the fellowship hall.

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Lcpl. Garry Lewis, a 2009 graduate of Cedar Springs High School, graduated in September 2009 from the Marine Corp Recruit Depot in San Diego, California.
He will be deployed to Bahrain in the beginning of October to train with their foreign military.
Garry is the son of Eric and Tracie (Lewis) Stroh, of Spencer Township, brother of Cierra and Carissa, and grandson of James and Luania (Skip) Lewis.

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End-of-summer crackdown nets over 200 drunk drivers

The seasons may be changing, but some Michigan motorists are still dealing with the consequences of their summer drunk driving arrest during the Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. Statewide enforcement crackdown.
Between Aug. 19 and Sept. 5, officers conducted more than 11,300 traffic stops resulting in 230 arrests for drunk driving. This includes 34 drivers arrested for a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .17 or higher under Michigan’s High BAC Law.
“Over the Limit. Under Arrest. is designed to keep our roads safer by deterring people from driving drunk,” said Michael L. Prince, Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) director. “We use a high visibility advertising campaign and increased police presence to get the word out, because the consequences of a drunk driving arrest last long after the summer travel season.”
This year’s crackdown also included seat belt enforcement zones and patrols during which officers issued 2,530 seat belt and child restraint citations.
In addition, officers made 74 drug-related arrests and issued 835 speeding citations, as well as 2,225 citations for other traffic violations.
The crackdown was coordinated by OHSP and paid for with federal traffic safety dollars. More than 200 state, county and local law enforcement agencies in 35 counties participated in the extra patrols.
Preliminary results from the Michigan State Police, Criminal Justice Information Center show there were 11 fatalities in 10 traffic crashes over the Labor Day holiday weekend in Michigan. Four of the crashes involved alcohol and a seat belt was not used in five of the seven fatalities in passenger vehicles. This represents an over 50 percent decrease in fatalities from the 2010 Labor Day holiday weekend when 21 people died in Michigan crashes; ten of those fatalities involved alcohol.

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Brothers donate to Locks of Love

It’s not unusual to hear about girls or women getting their hair cut and donating it to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss. But we had never heard of boys donating their hair until last week.
Stacey Hinton wrote and told us that her sons, Logan Force, 7, and Lelan Force, 6, have been growing their hair for a year. She said they saw a show on TV about children who lost their hair, and one of the children told how they got to have real hair, by other people growing their hair, cutting it and donating it to Locks of Love.
“From that day they decided to grow theirs out to donate,” said Stacey.
On Sunday, September 25, they finally cut their hair to send in. Stacey said Logan’s braid was 15 inches long and Lelan’s was 12 inches. “Even though the minimum required is only 10 inches, they wanted to do a bit more,” she explained.
“They were very excited and sad at the same time,” noted Stacey. “But knowing this was helping someone feel better made it ease the pain of cutting the hair they had grown used to having. When they first starting growing out their hair, some of the kids at school would tease them. They just brushed it off knowing they were doing something good for another child. As a mom, I couldn’t be more proud of my sons.”

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Grand Rapids sergeant receives meritorious award

Sgt. Joseph Roney

At a special ceremony held in Lansing last week, Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue presented Sgt. Joseph Roney, a member of the Bomb Squad, with the MSP Meritorious Award for placing his life in danger to protect others.
In April, after returning from a call, Sergeant Roney saw smoke and flames coming from his vehicle, caused by an electrical failure, as he parked it in the garage.
As a result of the earlier call, the truck was now transporting high explosives. Recognizing this danger, Sergeant Roney backed the burning truck outside of the garage. After several unsuccessful attempts to extinguish the fire, he contacted the local fire department. Before firefighters arrived, he made several trips into the burning and smoke-filled truck to remove the explosives it held.
In awarding Sergeant Roney with the MSP Meritorious Award, the department recognizes that because of his quick actions and decision to enter the burning vehicle transporting the explosives, he was able to protect not only the property, but also the lives of the nearby employees.
Sergeant Roney enlisted with the department in 1994, graduating as a member of the 110th Trooper Recruit School. He served at the Ionia Post before being assigned to the Bomb Squad.

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Greetings from the Hillcrest Church of God in Cedar Springs!

Pastor Kristi J. Rhodes
Hillcrest Community Church
5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

I was listening to the “Message,” (which is on XM Radio), in my car the other day and I heard one of the band members from “Tenth Avenue North” talking about one of their new songs. The song is titled “Love Is Here.” He shared their inspiration for the song and I thought “oh, how often we miss the fullness and the depth of the love of Christ for all of humankind!”
Sometimes we drift into this trap of thinking, “I’ll know God loves me if He gives me a parking spot, or I’ll know God loves me if He fixes my marriage, or if He gets me this job, or if He heals my loved one, or if this or that! Don’t get me wrong; it’s not wrong to ask for these things, but we play a dangerous game when we ask God to prove something He already proved when He died on the cross for us. Romans 5:8 (NIV) tells us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He has already proven His love for us. God is love and he can’t love us any more than He does and He won’t love us any less!  Even when we mess up He won’t love us any less.
Even so, it does break God’s heart when our choices lead to destructive behavior, but that’s our doing and our choices, not His!  He’s not sitting on His throne just waiting for us to mess up! On the contrary, He’s the one who sits at our bedside just waiting for us to wake up saying, “Come on, get up!  I want to spend the day with you!” Romans 8:35, 37-39 (NIV), “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So when you are tempted to wonder if God really loves or cares about you, please remember He has already proven His love.
The greatest man in History, named Jesus, had no servants, yet they called Him Master. Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher. Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.  He had no army, yet kings feared Him. He won no military battles, yet he conquered the world. He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him. He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today and his love endures forever and ever!
We are so blessed!

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The Path of Least Resentment

Ronnie McBrayer

Ronnie McBrayer

by Ronnie McBrayer

Near Mpumalanga, South Africa, are the marvelous wild fig trees of Echo Caves. Researchers have followed the roots of these trees deep into the earth, the deepest known root system in the world. These trees have survived and thrived in an arid climate for decades, wringing hydration from the deep, rocky soil. This is a lesson for life, as you probably know a person or two not unlike the wild fig trees of Echo Caves.
Their environment is harsh. They have endured the drought of loss, injustice, and suffering. Their circumstances have been oppressive. The soil that life has given them is rocky and hard. Yet, somehow, they thrive. Their roots must be incredibly deep.
But deep into what? Maybe the Apostle Paul gives the best answer in a beautiful first century prayer: “I pray your roots will grow down deep into God’s love and keep you strong.” It seems that those who flourish in the worst of conditions are those who have a connection to God’s goodness and grace, and refuse to blame God for every wrong that life dishes out. They have rooted themselves deeply in his love, rather than in bitterness or resentment.
Granted, bitterness is the easy route, the path of least resistance that sends shallow, malignant offshoots in all directions. Our resentment feels so justifiable, so satisfying, especially when we flip through the catalog of past hurts, regrets, ways we have been mistreated or harmed, and the conniving, unjust treatment inflicted upon us by others.
But bitterness cannot hydrate the soul. It can only poison the water and prevent love and grace from soaking in. If we are going to get on with life and blossom in the desert of our days, it won’t be because we keep going back wishing things could be different, bemoaning how life has been so unfair, or repeating and re-repeating how someone did us wrong. The only way forward is by going deeper, deeper into the love of God.
In the smallest rift, the smallest crevice or opening in the hardness of life, that is enough to find the depth of God’s love and for that love to take root. Yes, it feels like groping along in the dark. It is slow, pulverizing growth, sometimes millimeter by tiny millimeter, but it gives us the life we need, life so much more satisfying than the bitter shallowness that resentment offers.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author. His books include “Leaving Religion, Following Jesus” and “The Jesus Tribe.” Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.net.

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Happy 70th Wedding Anniversary

Donald and Audrey White

Lifetime Cedar Springs area residents, Donald and Audrey (Brownell) White celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on Monday, September 19th, 2011. Their family surprised them with a party in their honor on Saturday, September 24th at the White Creek Country Estates Club House. Don and Audrey’s children are Suzanne and Jennings Johnson of Cedar Springs, Bonnie and Tom Reynolds of Portland, Michigan and Donald C. White of Crystal, Michigan. They have eight grandchildren, nineteen great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandsons.

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