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Archive | December, 2011

11th annual New Year’s Resolution Walk

The Friends of the White Pine Trail are planning their 11th annual New Year’s Resolution walk this Sunday, January 1, 2012. While it now has a new name (the board decided to rename the walk the “Fred Meijer New Year’s Day Resolution Walk” to honor Fred Meijer), most of the details are similar to year’s past.
Meet at the Rotary Pavilion in the beautiful downtown Rockford at 10 a.m. on New Year’s Day. There will be a quick gathering in front of the pavilion for a few quick comments and pictures, and then it’s off to the trail to walk north to Twelve Mile Road (or whatever distance suits you best) and back.
The Friends will be serving refreshments upon your return in the pavilion. The pavilion is a good place to meet friends and get acquainted with other trail users.
Everyone is welcome!  Being a member of the “Friends” is not a requirement.
Dave Heyboer said they enjoy seeing a lot of people that have been brought out by their dogs for a great time. (Well behaved pets are welcome! )
If there is snow, the trail will be plowed but they will not be putting salt or sand on the trail, so be careful if there is a chance of ice.
If possible, please send an email to sheeepdog@msn.com so they will have a rough idea of how many people are likely to attend.
As a reminder to winter trail users, they will be plowing the trail from around the Fifth Third ball park in Comstock Park to the Russell Road Staging area this winter. This is done with the help of the City Rockford, who does the area from Rockford to Russell Road. “If you are on the trail when we come through plowing, please step off to the side of trail beyond the normally plowed area,” said Heyboer. “We are required to plow only 5-6 feet, leaving the other portion of the trail for cross-country skiing. We do not want to endanger someone out there and we must move swiftly to do the proper plowing.”
“If you encounter problems on the trail please let us know as soon as possible so we can address the problem,” he added. “Too many times we do not hear about issues as soon as they happen and we can only deal with that which we know about.”

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This week’s happenings…

FREE Grand Rapids Children’s Museum tickets
NOW: FREE Grand Rapids Children’s Museum tickets at the Cedar Springs Public Library with a valid library card. Good for up to 6 people and must be used within one week of “check out.” Take your family and friends today! This offer good indefinitely due to a partnership between the CSPL and the GRCM. A person may have 1 free ticket per year per library card. Library located at 43 W. Cherry St., Cedar Springs, 696-1910. #52

TOPS weight loss support group
Jan. 3: 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. In case of inclemeent weather, meetings are cancelled if Tri-County or Cedar Sporings schools are closed. Call Martha at 696-1039 for more information. #52

Hoot – Whoo – Who: Michigan’s Owls
Jan. 8: Hoot – Whoo – Who: Michigan’s Owls on Sunday January 8, 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16190 Red Pine Dr., Kent City. Listening to the hooting of owls has to be one of life’s most special pleasures. Learning more about Michigan’s owls gives those calls even more meaning. Join naturalist Greg Swanson as he introduces you to owl biology and a number of live owls during an indoor presentation then head outdoors in search of these elusive nocturnal wonders. Cost: $6/person or $10/Family. To register or for more info email cperski@lilysfrogpad.com or call 616-675-3158. Registration is not required, however it is appreciated. #52

Serious Snowshoe Sundays
Jan. 8: Serious Snowshoe Sundays hosted by Cindy Perski or Amaris Holst on January 8 & 22, February 5 & 19, March 4, 12:00 Noon – 3:00 PM at the Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16190 Red Pine Dr., Kent City. Are you serious about getting in shape this winter? Don’t want to do it by yourself? Snowshoeing is a great cardiovascular workout. Start with an indoor program on a variety of different topics, then suit up and hit the trails for a bout of invigorating exercise, increasing our speed and distance as the weeks progress. Best suited for teens and adults. If snow conditions are not adequate, a vigorous hike will be substituted. Cost: $5/session or $20 for the entire series; includes snowshoe rental. To register or for more info email cperski@lilysfrogpad.com or call 616-675-3158. Registration is not required, however it is appreciated. #52

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Learned from a snowman

All I need to know about life I learned from a snowman….
•    It’s okay if you’re a little bottom heavy.
•    Hold your ground, even when the heat is on.
•    Wearing white is always appropriate.
•    Winter is the best of the four seasons.
•    It takes a few extra rolls to make a good midsection.
•    There’s nothing better than a foul weather friend.
•    We’re all made up of mostly water.
•    You know you’ve made it when they write a song about you.
•    Accessorize! Accessorize! Accessorize!
•    Avoid yellow snow.
•    Don’t get too much sun.
•    It’s embarrassing when you can’t look down and see your feet.
•    It’s fun to hang out in your front yard.
•    Always put your best foot forward.
•    There’s no stopping you once you’re on a roll.

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Delicious and Aromatic, These Holiday Dishes Delight

(Family Features)

There is something about warm, delectable dishes and the aroma of a freshly prepared meal that really bring loved ones closer. This season, when planning your holiday menu, consider adding some scrumptious dishes made with quality ingredients that are sure to become fast favorites with your family.
Try the recipes below to help take your holiday dishes to a new level, perfect for the season. Find more holiday recipes at www.JohnsonvilleKitchens.com.

Risotto with Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, Peas and Asparagus

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
5 1/4     cups (42 ounces) chicken stock
3     sprigs fresh herbs; basil, oregano or thyme, (optional)
4     tablespoons olive oil
1     medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1     package (19 ounces, casings removed) Johnsonville Mild Italian Sausage
2     cups white button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
2     cups Arborio rice or medium grain risotto rice
1/2     cup dry white wine
1/2     pound asparagus, stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2     cup peas; fresh, shelled or frozen
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3     cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Shaved or shredded Parmesan for garnish
Pour stock into sauce pan. If using fresh herbs, add to stock and bring to gentle simmer. Cover until ready to use.
In large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat, add onion. Sauté until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add sausages. Using wooden spoon, break up sausage as it cooks into bite size pieces until browned, about 5 minutes.
Add mushrooms; cook, stirring until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Mix in rice; cook, stirring until kernels are hot and coated with oil; about another 2 minutes. Add wine; stir continuously until liquid is absorbed.
Using a ladle, add hot stock about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and making sure stock has been absorbed before adding more to rice. Continue adding 1/2 cup of stock and stirring rice constantly and gently. When rice is about half cooked or only 1 1/2 cups of stock remains, add asparagus pieces into rice and continue stirring.
When you have about 1 cup of liquid left, stir peas into rice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue stirring. Risotto is done when rice kernels are creamy on the outside and firm yet tender to the bite, about 20 to 25 minutes total.
When risotto is just right, remove from the heat; stir in shredded Parmesan cheese. Spoon into large soup bowls. Top with shaved Parmesan; serve immediately.

Spicy Sausage Queso

Yield: 6 cups
1     package (16 ounces) Johnsonville Hot
All Natural Ground Italian Sausage
2     pounds Velveeta process cheese, cubed
1     jar (16 ounces) chunky salsa
2     teaspoons fennel seed, crushed
2     teaspoons garlic powder
1/4     teaspoon dried basil Garlic toast
In skillet, cook and crumble sausage until no longer pink; drain. Place cheese in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 6 minutes or until melted, stirring every 2 minutes. Stir in salsa, seasonings and sausage. Microwave 2 minutes longer, or until heated through. Serve with garlic toast.

Italian Sausage Stuffing

Yield: 12 servings
1     package (16-ounces) Johnsonville Italian All Natural Ground Sausage
1/4     cup olive oil, separated
2     loaves (12 ounces each) focaccia bread
1     teaspoon ground black pepper
1     cup shredded Parmesan
1     small green pepper, diced
1/2     cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
5     large fresh basil leaves, chopped
2     cloves garlic, minced
2     large eggs
1 1/2     cups white wine, or chicken stock
2     tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
In skillet, cook and crumble sausage in 1 tablespoon olive oil until no longer pink; set aside.
In large bowl, combine bread cubes and remaining oil. Sprinkle with pepper; toss to coat. Transfer to lightly oiled 15 x 10-inch baking pan. Bake at 350˚F for 10 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned, stirring once. Remove pan to wire rack to cool slightly.
In very large bowl, combine bread cubes, reserved sausage, Parmesan cheese, green pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and garlic. Combine eggs and wine or stock; pour over bread mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to buttered 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Dot with butter, bake, uncovered, at 350˚F for 35 to 40 minutes or until heated through and top is starting to appear slightly toasted.

Italian Sausage Appetizer Bread

Yield: 16 appetizer servings
1    package (16 ounces) Johnsonville Italian
All Natural Mild Ground Sausage
1    loaf (1 pound) frozen white bread dough, thawed
4    ounces cream cheese, softened
2    garlic cloves, minced
1    jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers, well drained and sliced
1/3    cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
2    cups (8 ounces) Swiss cheese, shredded
1    teaspoon poppy seeds
In skillet, brown sausage until no longer pink; drain.
On lightly floured surface, roll bread dough to 16 x 12-inch rectangle.
Transfer dough to greased baking sheet. Combine cream cheese and garlic, spread lengthwise over center third of dough. Top with sausage, peppers, olives and cheese.
Fold dough over filling, pinching seam to seal. Make slits across top of dough every 2 inches. Brush lightly with water and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

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Edward R. Baird


Edward R. Baird, age 51, died on December 25, 2011 after fighting a courageous battle with cancer surrounded by his family.  He was preceded in death by his father, Theodore Baird. He is survived by his wife, Kamie K. Baird; his children, Katy J. Baird, Nic T. Baird and Emily E. Baird; his mother Karen H. Baird; his brother James F. Baird; parents-in-law, James and Sharon Leverence; brother-in-law, Ron Leverence; and a large family of friends. To celebrate his colorful life a party in his honor will be held from 1-5 p.m. on Friday, December 30, 2011 at The Harvard Tavern, 12607 Harvard Avenue N.E., Harvard. To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Ed’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit: www.ChristiansenCares.com Cremation arrangements were entrusted to the Christiansen Funeral Home & Cremation Center, Greenville.

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Ten ways to get your joy back

Pastor Barry Briggs
The Springs Church
135 N. Grant, Cedar Springs

If someone were to ask you, “What’s the easiest thing to lose?” what would you say? My keys, my cell phone, the TV remote? Do you know what the easiest thing to lose is?  Your joy. You can lose it just like that. One phone call, an email, a letter, a conversation and boom – it’s gone.
David prayed this in Psalm 51:12a (NIV) “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation…”
He had lost the joy. Maybe you have too.  If so, God wants to restore your joy. And one of the quickest ways to get your joy back, believe it or not, is by spreading joy. You can actually restore your joy by spreading joy.
I heard about a guy this Christmas who paid off someone’s lay-a-way bill at Kmart.  They came to pick up their stuff and found out it was all paid for. I’m sure that spread the joy!  How fun would that have been for the person who received it, and for the person who did it? It inspired another guy who heard the story and he went and paid off $2000 worth of lay-a-way items for people!
Don’t just take and take and take.  Find some way in life to give something back.  That will restore your joy.
The Bible says this in Acts 20:35b (TEV) “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.”
That’s absolutely true.  There’s more happiness in being the gift, than in getting a gift.  God says, “You need some joy?  Here’s what I want you to do, be the gift to someone this week. Spread some joy. Brighten up someone’s day.  It will brighten your day too.”
Here are 10 ways that you can spread joy this week:
1. Be positive.
With the down economy and bills falling behind this can be really tough to do; but being positive will encourage those around you and bring you joy in the process.
2. Smile at everyone you come in contact with.
Smiles are contagious! Someone can be going through a hard time, really discouraged, and you give them a big smile, and they can’t help but smile back. I love giving the gift of joy because this gift gets passed around so easily! Giving out smiles, looking people in the eye and being super friendly is something that we all are capable of doing.
3. Leave an encouraging sticky note on a few of your co-workers computers. Don’t sign it. Just do it.
4. Give a Thank You card to someone who has made a difference in your life.
5. Run errands for a new mom (or someone who is sick).
6. Say “Please” and “Thank you” – show sincere appreciation.
7. Invite a friend over for coffee or dessert.
8. Give kind words freely.
Honestly, after a day of “You didn’t accomplish this; and you got a D on that test; and your monthly projections were off by a long shot… blah, blah, blah…” we all need to hear something positive.
9. Thank our wonderful military personnel each and every time you see someone in uniform. Look them in the eyes and say “Thank you”.
10.    Write a note to your children expressing how proud you are of them.  Leave it on their pillow or in their lunch box.
There is something deep within us all that knows it is better to give than to receive.  There’s no joy like spreading joy! Start looking for opportunities to spread joy. When you do, you’ll see them pop up all over the place. This week do just one thing a day to spread the joy to the people around you. Each and every act of joy, regardless of what it is, will make a difference. It will give joy to others, and at the same time it will give joy to you.
You can make a difference!  The real question is—will you? How are you spreading joy?

Posted in From the PulpitComments (0)

Belief, not Belligerency

By Ronnie McBrayer

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” These are the words of Simon Peter, one of Jesus’ first disciples. And like most words put down on paper, these instructions have not always honored the intent of the author.
Peter wrote this during a time when Christianity was new and very often viewed with suspicion. Thus, a graceful and thoughtful explanation “for the hope that you have” was absolutely required. Thousands of years later, Christianity is still handled with suspicion by many. Not because it is a novel invention, but because a large core of its adherents have misapplied Simon Peter’s good words.
Having a prepared answer—a ready opportunity to dialogue and discuss beliefs with others—has been replaced with defensiveness, anger, and out-and-out hostility. Many have forgotten to read the second half of old Peter’s instructions: “But do this in a gentle and respectful way.”
Yes, I am a follower of Jesus. Yes, I consider myself a Christian (on most days). Yes, there are a number of essential beliefs important to me and to which I hold. Yes, some of these beliefs are in conflict with the beliefs of others, and these conflicts are not easily dismissed. But my beliefs, as important as they may be, do not give me the right to be belligerent toward others who do not share my beliefs.
This may be the way the world works, but it is not the way of Christ. For Christians, if Jesus is who this thing is about, then things should be different. Our beliefs need not,  should not, cannot, must not be used to hurt or harm others.
Personally, I don’t think Jesus came to create an “in” group. I believe he came to create a “come on in” group, a crowd of fellow-journeyers who come to know God, experience grace, live life, and serve others together. But why would anyone want to come in to such a group if its representatives are constantly rude, arrogant, and unyielding?
Even if such a group had all the answers to all the questions in the world (and humility should caution anyone from making such a claim), it would be impossible to hear what they had to say, because it is simply impossible to hear the truth when it is communicated from a hard heart.
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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Lady Red Hawks get a win at Coopersville

#22 Allie Veltkamp driving hard to the basket

#33 Tiffany Karger driving hard in for a layup

Cedar Springs girls’ varsity traveled to Coopersville Tuesday night to play the Broncos. Cedar pulled out the victory win 35 to 33.

The Red Hawks got off to a quick start taking an early lead 13 to 7 at the end of the first quarter. The Broncos stepped up their defensive pressure in the second quarter holding Cedar to only eight points and hitting a buzzer beater at the end of the half to trail 21 to 13.

The third quarter saw some outstanding shooting for the Broncos as they connected on two three pointers and went on a 7 to 1 point run to put themselves right back into the game. Coopersville out scored the Red Hawks 13 to 6 in the period leaving Cedar with only a one point advantage to begin the final stanza.

#34 Rachael Ludtke laying up between two opponents

The contest remained close for the entire fourth quarter, with Cedar Springs maintaining a slim 3 to 5 point margin for most of time. Coopersville continued their hot outside shooting finishing the game at 55 percent from three but Cedar managed some timely defensive stops to hold off the Broncos.

Coach Scott Taylor was pleased with the win, and noted that he knew that Coopersville was a good shooting team from scouting them earlier  this month. “We did contest their shots well but we need to work on the rebounding. At the end of the game we knew that they had fouls to give and would be coming after the ball hard and we take better care of the ball,” he said.

Tiffany Karger led the Red Hawks with 16 points and 8 rebounds. She got help from Rachael Ludtke, who finished with 11 points, Brittany Todd with five, Hannah Wight with two and Allie Veltkamp with one.

Cedar Springs improved their record to 5-­1 and Coopersville slipped to 3-­4.

The team is off until January 3, when they take on Kenowa Hills at home.

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11-year-old gets first buck

Brennan Harkema, 11, of Cedar Springs took his first deer—a four-point buck—on Sunday, Dec. 18, on an evening hunt with his dad.  Brennan was on the ground, set up behind a downed tree, while his dad was in a tree stand watching over a swamp.
Brennan’s buck stood up about 250 yards out and came straight to him. Brennan got a shot at about 20 yards with his crossbow. It was a great night for both Brennan and his dad.
Congratulations, Brennan!

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Wolves removed from endangered species list

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to remove wolves in the western Great Lakes region from the federal endangered species list. The decision returns management of the species to the state level.
The federal delisting rule removing wolves from the endangered species list will be published in the Federal Register Wednesday, Dec. 28, and will take effect Friday, Jan. 27, 30 days after its publication.
Returning wolves to state management will allow the Michigan Department of National Resources to more effectively manage the species under Michigan’s highly-regarded Wolf Management Plan, which was created through a roundtable process involving interested parties representing viewpoints from all sides of the wolf issue.
“This is great news for the state’s wolf population and for Michigan citizens who have been affected by this issue,” said DNR Director Rodney Stokes. “Treating wolves as an endangered species, when the population has exceeded federal recovery goals in Michigan for more than a decade, has negatively impacted public opinion in areas of Michigan where wolves are established on the landscape. I firmly believe that the more flexible management options allowed under the state’s Wolf Management Plan will help increase social acceptance of the species while maintaining a healthy, sustainable wolf population.”
Once wolves are removed from the endangered species list, the DNR will continue to recommend nonlethal methods of control first, including flashing lights, flagging and noisemakers. In addition, the DNR administers a grant program that provides some funding to livestock owners with depredation issues for improved fencing and guard animals such as llamas, donkeys and Great Pyrenees dogs.
However, in cases where nonlethal methods are not working or feasible, DNR officials will now have the ability to kill problem wolves when appropriate. Under federal Endangered Species Act protection, wolves are protected from lethal control measures except in defense of human safety.
Livestock and dog owners in Michigan will also be able to legally protect their private property from wolf depredation once wolves are removed from the endangered species list.
The Michigan Legislature passed laws in 2008 to allow livestock or dog owners, or their designated agents, to remove, capture, or, if deemed necessary, use lethal means to destroy a wolf that is “in the act of preying upon” (attempting to kill or injure) the owner’s livestock or dog(s). These state laws will go into effect on Friday, Jan. 27, 30 days after the Final Rule is published in the Federal Register.
After the wolf is taken off the federal endangered species list, the animal will remain a protected species in Michigan. There is no public hunting or trapping of wolves allowed in Michigan. The DNR and the US Fish and Wildlife Service will investigate and continue vigorous prosecution of any wolf poaching cases. Illegally killing a wolf is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both, and the cost of prosecution. Reports about poaching can be made to the DNR’s Report All Poaching (RAP) Hotline, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-292-7800.
For more information on Michigan’s wolf population and to see the state’s Wolf Management Plan, go to www.michigan.gov/wolves.

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