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Archive | January, 2012

Countertop business goes up in flames

By Judy Reed

Six fire departments worked together Saturday night to put out a fire at a Solon Township business.
The Solon Fire Department got the call at 7:04 p.m. January 21 that Quality Formica, 2396 17 Mile Road, at the southwest corner of 17 Mile and Algoma (across from Huck’s Corners),  was on fire.
According to Solon Fire Chief Joyce VanderMey, the fire started after someone had been doing some soddering on a copper water pipe earlier in the day. She said it was in a back room, close to the ceiling, and fire got into an attic space.
Algoma and Sand Lake Fire Departments were called for their tankers, Kent City was on full assignment, Cedar Springs was called for pump help, and Rockford was called in for their ladder truck.
Vandermey said they cleared the scene about 12:36 a.m. “We did a lot of salvaging and hauling out brand new stuff they had just purchased while we were fighting the fire,” she explained. Two vans and hi-lo were included in that. “We tried to save as much equipment for them as we could.”
The extreme cold and ice on the ground made it harder for firefighters to get around, but no one was injured.
The two-year-old business specializes in sales and installation of Formica countertops for both homeowners and businesses. The owner says he plans to rebuild.

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Connecting across the miles

CS grad on mission with Jamaican deaf school


Rachel Hunt (left center), her husband, Josh (right center), and other members of the Jamaica mission team and friends.

By Judy Reed

Rachel (Reed) Hunt loves kids and they love her, too. And now, for the fourth time, the 2003 graduate of Cedar Springs High School has taken that love, along with a team of Cornerstone University students, and shared that love with deaf children in Jamaica.
Hunt graduated from Cornerstone University in 2008 with a BA in Accounting, and with an MBA in 2011. She is also staff accountant at the university.
She was in her senior year (2008) at Cornerstone when she heard there was a mission trip forming for Jamaica, in conjunction with Jamaica Link Ministries, based in Grand Rapids. She joined the team and handled their finances on the trip. The small mission team stayed at Fairhaven Ministries, and worked at the Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf for 10 days, redoing their library. “We stripped it down, catalogued books, set them up by genre, set up the computer and scanners, made it like a real library,” recalled Rachel. They also played with the kids at the school during downtime, did devotions at public schools, and visited an orphanage for the severely disabled.

Team members help mix cement for addition.

After the first trip, she was hooked. In 2009 she went with a team to Mexico, but in 2010 she co-led the next trip to Jamaica, and then headed up the trips in May 2011 and January 2012. Each time they’ve worked with the Jamaica School for the Deaf and Robin’s Nest orphanage.
Rachel said the goal was to foster a relationship and build connections with the children and people there. “A lot of teams go to the school for a day and then are gone,” she explained. “So when a team comes and stays, they get very excited. Some of the kids recognized me as soon as I got there,” she said of her most recent trip.
In 2010, Rachel and the team helped with construction on the school’s kindergarten building, by filling in the foundation, and mixing and pouring cement for the ceiling. Last spring they bought windows for the entire kindergarten building and helped with painting. On the most recent trip, they helped with the addition of a second floor to the kindergarten building by mixing and filling cinder blocks with cement. “We helped them get ready for the bigger teams that will be going there this summer,” she said.

Josh Hunt holds a sleeping Jamaican child.

The teams from Cornerstone are usually small—only 5-11 people. But the smaller size helps the relationship be more intimate. And that growing relationship is what Rachel likes best about the trips. “We have been able to make such an impact on the people in such a consistent way. Our picture from two years ago is still up on their file cabinet (at the JCSD). It’s a special connection.”
While the team sees some change in members from year to year, one special addition to the team this year was Rachel’s new husband, Josh. The two got to work together, and he got to see firsthand what she loves about the place. “Josh was the muscle of the team,” she said with a laugh. “But really, I liked showing him a place that was like a second home.”
It was Josh’s first mission trip. “I liked that it was an opportunity to connect with another culture, and that we were invited to work and help them,” said Josh. He also expressed an interest in going back.
The group did have some down time. After working they played with the children, and had their own bonding times as a group in the evening, playing cards, board games, uploading their daily blog, and sometimes swimming in the ocean, which was right across the street. They also saw some of the sights and visited the marketplace.
Rachel said one of the neatest things is to see what some of the students that were on the team in the past are now doing because of their experience. “We had one guy lead a trip from his church to Jamaica, and a girl who went on the trip in the spring and this month is going back to Jamaica this summer to live and help out at the Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf. Another went on the trip to see if she liked being out of the country, and then went to Korea for a semester to study. For those who think they might want to be a missionary, it’s a good way to see what it’s like,” she said.
Rachel said that her goal is to continue the trips, and build on the relationships they’ve established with the people. But she’s confident that can continue with others, if for some reason she can’t go in the future. She said the trips are sometimes open to others, and if other organizations are interested, they can also contact Jamaica Link at www.jamaicalink.org to set up their own trip.
For more info on Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf, visit www.jcsdeaf.org, and for Cornerstone University, visit www.cornerstone.edu.

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Living better for less with Sarah’s deals

UPDATE: If you want to sign up for her coupon class on Feb. 11, please go to http://www.sarahsdeals.net/search/label/Coupon%20Class. We had incorrect instructions at the bottom of the article.

Sarah Jehntzen

By Judy Reed

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to get the most for your money, you won’t want to miss a free workshop on Saturday, February 11 at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, with Cedar Springs resident Sarah Jehnzen, author of the blog “Sarah’s Deals.”
Sarah has appeared on WZZM13’s Super Saver with Derek Francis, and was a shopping expert on WOODTV during Black Friday. She was also a guest columnist in the Rockford Independent, a coupon expert in the Detroit Free Press, and has been featured in other media.
Sarah, a part-time working mother of two, has lived in Cedar Springs for 8 years. She said she grew up in a family that needed to watch their money, and developed habits that stuck with her into adulthood. Instead of her family saving money to pay bills, they now save together to give back more and have fun in the process.
Sarah has been running her blog, Sarah’s Deals, for 3-1/2 years. She said she started saving coupons about 10 years ago, when she worked part-time at Walgreens. She said they would have 7-8 freebies at the end of the month, and she found that by using coupons, she would make a little money. Over the years she progressed to using a coupon database, began posting on and moderating message boards, and finally set up her own blog, where she helps readers get the best deals each week on goods and services. And she does it for free. The affiliate links and ads on her website help support the time she puts into the blog.
“I like helping people and getting the info out there,” explained Sarah. “There is nothing better than to have someone say ‘you saved me $50!’ and it didn’t cost me anything.”
Each week she does ad matchups—for example, she’ll list things on sale at Meijer and match them to coupons you can use, tell you whether you get something back, and your final price. She also lists other coupons she finds, local giveaways and discounts, special promotions, free samples, downloads, tips on frugal living, cooking in bulk and recipes. “I wanted to be a resource, not a ‘one and done’ type of site,” explained Sarah. “I try to find anything people might be interested in.”
She also teaches coupon and shopping tip classes for both the public and private organizations, for free.
Sarah said it’s been a great learning experience. “I’ve learned how to run my own business, build relationships, handle sticky situations, and learned how to do research in a major way. I want to give the most accurate info,” she noted.
For anyone interested in beginning to get their spending under control by using her site, she advised they use baby steps. “Start small and work your way into it. If you try to do too much you will burn yourself out,” she said.
The workshop on Februay 11 will feature Shopping Tips 101 from noon to 2 p.m., and from 2-4 p.m. will cover creating a stockpile and bulk cooking tips. To register for the event, go to http://www.sarahsdeals.net/search/label/Coupon%20Class. Admission is an item for the Cedar Springs Food Pantry.
You can also follow Sarah on social media such as Facebook and twitter. Go to her blog and click on the icons for the links.

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American Legion Officers visit Glen Hill Post

On January 7th, in keeping with a longstanding tradition, the Cedar Springs American Legion, Glen Hill Post 287, presented State Department Commander Dick Chatman, Auxiliary Department President Carrie Bowerman and S.A.L. Detachment Commander Dwaine Verville with their very own pair of red flannels from the Red Flannel Capital of the World.
Every year at our annual Early Bird Dinner, we have a fine meal for those members who have paid their dues early.  Invited to the dinner are the State level officers of our organization, as well as past dignitaries.  After the dinner, the present and past Department officers graciously wear their Red Flannel attire and perform the Chicken Dance.
Back Row:  Past Detachment Commander David Mennel, Past Detach. Commander Pat Pustay, Past Detach. Commander Greg Price, Detachment Commander Dwaine Verville, Past Dept. Commander John Skinner, Past Department Commander John Mella, Past Department Commander Jerry Dennis, Past Detach. Commander Skipper Townes.
Front Row: Past Department President Mary Goller-Kilts, Past Dept. President Brenda Dees, Honorary Junior President Chelsea Kovacs, Department President Carrie Bowerman, Past Dept. President Donna Fueling, Past Dept. President Jackie Skinner and Past Dept. President Ivy Lee Reinhardt.

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Old time family hockey and broomball tournament

Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent modeling the Kent County Law Enforcement t-shirt.

Proceeds to benefit Cedar Springs Public Library

There is a new event coming on Saturday, February 25 that puts the FUN back in fundraising!
Come out and enjoy some fun at the Old Time Family Hockey and Broomball tournament, which will benefit the Cedar Springs Public Library’s construction fund. It’s one more event to get the library closer to a $50,000 match grant challenge.
The event will be held at the Cedar Rock Sports Plex, 4758 Cornfield Drive, just off Northland Drive. The fun starts at noon, when the Cedar Springs Police take on Kent County Law Enforcement. At 2 p.m. see the Squirts (Dewey Decimals vs the Book Ends). At 3:30 p.m. it’s time for broomball with the Bureaucrats vs. the Guns and Hoses, and more broomball at 5 p.m. with the Cedar Springs High School Co-ed game. At 6 p.m. is open skate.
There will be door prizes, a shoot-out competition, and chuck-a-puck competition
You can either buy a shirt to support your team for $18 and get in free, or pay $5 at the door.  Some shirts will be available the day of the event at the door. You can see them online at the City of Cedar Springs Facebook page, or call Cedar Springs City Hall (696-1330) for more information.

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Greenville fire deemed arson

The Greenville Department of Public safety announced this week that a house fire that occurred at 313 E. Cass Street in Greenville on January 13 is being treated as an arson. PSO Jamie Sorsen, lead investigator in the case, determined that the fire was intentionally set on the second floor.
The Greenville Department of Public Safety responded to the house fire on E. Cass Street, at about 5:55 a.m., January 13. Officers Casey Huber and Erik Hoig, and firefighter Tom Miller rescued an occupant from the second floor of the residence assisted by Officer Cole. He was later identified as Dennis R. Vanderzand, 65.  An 83-year-old woman was also assisted from the residence. Initial dispatch information available to investigators indicated Vanderzand claimed the second person in the residence started his clothes on fire in his bedroom.
Both individuals were transported to West Michigan hospitals for treatment and evaluation. Sgt. Brian Blomstrom initially investigated the scene and interviewed individuals at the scene of the fire; a search warrant was then executed on the residence in order to determine the origin and cause of the fire.
“Investigations of this detail take time and extensive training,” said Blomstrom. “Acquiring measurements, capturing photographs, conducting interviews, reconstructing the scene, and analyzing all possible fire ignition sources into account are all part of a complete investigation. Having an internal specialized team available to perform these duties is very beneficial to the department and the community.”
Both Sgt. Blomstrom and PSO Sorsen investigated the fire within the structure.  The result of the entire investigation as a whole led PSO Sorsen to rule the fire was intentionally set in the upstairs bedroom of the house.
Once the entire report is completed and finalized, it will be sent to the Montcalm County Prosecutor’s Office for review regarding arson-related charges.

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Holiday enforcement results in more than 300 drunk driving arrests

More than 300 motorists are starting 2012 with a budget-busting bill after being arrested during a statewide drunk driving crackdown over the holidays. Of those arrested, 38 were charged under the state’s high blood alcohol content (BAC) law with having a BAC of .17 or higher.
On average, a drunk driving arrest in Michigan costs about $15,000, including court costs, legal fees, bail, towing, license fees and increased insurance rates.
Law enforcement officers from more than 165 agencies conducted stepped up enforcement aimed at curtailing drunk driving during the Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. crackdown Dec. 16-Jan. 2. This resulted in 7,334 traffic stops and more than 3,800 citations or arrests, including 108 for other alcohol- and drug-related charges such as open intoxicants.
The Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) coordinated the effort which was funded with federal highway safety grants in 26 counties. In addition to the 308 drunk driving arrests, 175 other misdemeanor and felony arrests were made. Officers also issued 91 seat belt and child restraint, 649 speeding and 360 uninsured motorist citations. Three stolen vehicles were recovered, 317 drivers were found to be driving on suspended licenses and 171 fugitives were arrested during the enforcement effort. During a similar effort last year that included 35 grant-funded counties, officers made 9,462 traffic stops and arrested 356 drunk drivers.
“Drunk driving is not tolerated in Michigan,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. “Those motorists who made the poor decision to drive while impaired will be paying the price in 2012 and beyond.”
Preliminary reports from the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center indicate 15 people died in traffic crashes during the recent Christmas and New Year’s holidays, with four of those deaths involving alcohol. Three of those killed were pedestrians and one was a snowmobiler. This is an increase over the 2011 holiday periods when 11 people died in traffic crashes. Four of those deaths were also alcohol-related.
Grant-funded counties included: Allegan, Bay, Berrien, Calhoun, Chippewa, Delta, Genesee, Grand Traverse, Houghton, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Marquette, Monroe, Muskegon, Oakland, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, Van Buren, Washtenaw, Wayne and Wexford counties.

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Name patches returned to family of pilot that died in crash

It took a long time, but the name patches belonging to a Cedar Springs man that was killed in a helicopter crash 42 years ago have finally been returned to his family.
The Post recently received a note from Wayne Price, the brother of 2nd Lt. Jack Price, who was killed at the age of 28, while taking a Chinook helicopter on a test flight in South Viet Nam. Wayne said that Jack’s flight engineer saw one of the memorial websites he had put up in honor of Jack and contacted him. It turns out that not only did he have a story to tell, but that he had something for Wayne: the name patches from Jack’s uniform.
The soldier, Donald Rogers, told Wayne that he had just finished preflighting the Chinook that Jack was going to fly and was about to walk into the Chinook’s ramp. A fellow Fight Engineer tapped him on the shoulder and told him the commander wanted to see him.  On his way to the commander, Donald turned and saw Jack lift off.  Later, Donald said he saw Jack’s Chinook on his landing approach about a half-mile from the runway.  He said the Chinook’s nose rose as normal for landing, but kept on rising, did a half loop, nosed into the ground and burst into flames. He said that the fire was so intense that there was nothing anyone could do. Seven men died in the fire.
Donald then went to the barracks and collected the name patches from the uniforms of the men that died. He told Wayne he spent 40 years trying to find relatives of those seven men, so he could give them the patches. He sent Wayne a cloth 2nd Lt. patch, and a unit patch.
Wayne sent this information to some of the other soldiers that worked with Jack. It turns out that one of the men from his OCS class, and several other classmates, chipped in together and had a granite memorial made honoring Jack and three other classmates who lost their lives in Viet Nam. It stands at Fort Sheridan. Jack’s wife, Darlene, and his children Dawn, Jack Jr., and Jeff, recently visited the memorial.
“(It’s) through the Grace of God I continue to receive bits and pieces of my brother’s military life,” remarked Wayne.
Many residents will remember the Chinook helicopter that landed in Cedar Springs on Veterans Day. That happened as a tribute to 2nd Lt. Jack Price and all veterans in the area.

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Voter registration deadline for primary is Monday

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson reminds residents that they have until Monday, Jan. 30 to register in order to vote in the Feb. 28 presidential primary election.
“This year will present Michigan residents with important choices at the voting booth, whether they’re voting for president or local offices,” said Johnson, Michigan’s chief election officer. “I encourage everyone who is not yet registered to do so in order to participate in one of the foundations of our democracy, and that is casting a ballot.”
The polls will be open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
To register, applicants must be at least 18 years old by Election Day and be U.S. citizens. Applicants must also be residents of Michigan and of the city or township in which they wish to register.
Voters may register by mail, at their county, city or township clerk’s office or by visiting any Secretary of State office. The mail-in form is available at www.Michigan.gov/elections. First-time voters who register by mail must vote in person in their first election, unless they hand-deliver the application to their local clerk, are 60 years old or older, are disabled or are eligible to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.
To check their registration status, residents may visit the Michigan Voter Information Center at www.Michigan.gov/vote. Residents can also find information there on absentee voting, Michigan’s voter identification requirement, how to use voting equipment and how to contact their local clerk. In addition, they will find a map to their local polling place.
Voters who qualify may choose to cast an absentee ballot. As a registered voter, you may obtain an absentee ballot if you are:
*age 60 or older.
*physically unable to attend the polls without the assistance of another.
*expecting to be absent from the community in which you are registered for the entire time the polls will be open on Election Day.
*in jail awaiting arraignment or trial.
*unable to attend the polls due to religious reasons.
*appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.
Those who wish to receive their absentee ballot by mail must submit their application by 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25. Absentee ballots can be obtained in person anytime through 4 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 27. Voters who request an absentee ballot in person on Monday, Feb. 27 must fill out the ballot in the clerk’s office. Emergency absentee ballots are available under certain conditions through 4 p.m. on Election Day.
The February election, like all elections, is open to all registered voters. Michigan does not require voters to register as a member or supporter of a political party, so voters can choose to participate in either the Democratic or Republican party primary. By state law, this is called a closed primary. When voters request an absentee ballot or arrive at the polls and fill out their application to vote, they must indicate in which party’s primary they wish to vote. They will then receive a ballot listing candidates for that party. That ballot will also contain any special election issues. Some communities will have additional items on the ballot aside from the presidential primary election. Sample ballots will be available online at www.Michigan.gov/vote. Note: The Aug. 7 primary will be an open primary, and voters will not be required to formally indicate their choice for a specific political party ballot.
Voters who wish only to vote in the special election may request a ballot that does not include presidential candidates.
As a reminder, voters will be asked to provide identification when at the polls on Election Day. They will be asked to present valid photo ID, such as a Michigan driver’s license or identification card. Anyone who does not have an acceptable form of photo ID or failed to bring it with them to the polls can still vote. They will be required to sign a brief affidavit stating that they’re not in possession of photo ID. Their ballots will be included with all others and counted on Election Day.
Voters who don’t have a Michigan driver’s license or identification card can show the following forms of photo ID, as long as they are current:
*Driver’s license or personal identification card issued by another state.
*Federal or state government-issued photo identification.
*U.S. passport.
*Military identification card with photo.
*Student identification with photo from a high school or an accredited institution of higher education, such as a college or university.
*Tribal identification card with photo.
Additional election information can be found at www.Michigan.gov/elections.

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$12 Dollars Short!

Pastor Craig Carter
North Kent Community Church
1480 Indian Lakes Rd., Sparta, • Church Phone: 550-6398

I recently spent some time with a friend and his family. He shared a personal story about his son, who recently went through some legal difficulties. We had the privilege of praying for and encouraging his family and his son through these difficulties. Since that time, my friend’s story has profoundly touched my heart and life. It has reminded me of how much I need God and am dependent upon Him.
His story went on to include details about his son’s arrest. He shared that after having been arrested, his son appeared before the judge, where his bond was set.   His son had some money on him personally and was hoping to simply bond himself out of jail. Unfortunately, the judge set the bond amount for $12 more than he had on his person. He found himself $12 short! His financial shortfall required him to call his father for help. Of course, this was not want he wanted to do. His son’s desire was to just take care of his problem on his own.
Does this sound familiar? How many times in our lives as human beings have we tried to solve our problems on our own? We, like my friend’s son, respond the same way. We say, “I can take care of this myself.” The problem with this thought process is that God never intended for us to do things on our own. As a result, we too fall short. I do not like this feeling of “falling short.” It makes me feel inadequate and nobody likes that feeling. However, I have come to realize that is exactly how God planned it. Our “shortfalls” and inadequacies, if we let them, will cause us to rely on God for his help. The Apostle Paul knew this truth when he wrote, “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Rom 3:22-24 –NIV). Paul reminds us that trust (faith) in Jesus Christ makes up the difference. We are redeemed from our sin, and our shortcomings, simply by trusting in God and His amazing grace. You cannot earn it, you must simply believe and receive it! In essence, God provides the $12 you need, but you have to ask Him for it. Have you ever asked God to make up the difference in your life? Have you ever acknowledged that you are a sinner and that you fall short? Even if you are a Christian, do you live with the realization that without God, you will always come up short of what you need?  Or do you live a self-reliant life? In another portion of scripture, the Apostle Paul said, “In Him I live and move and can’t get away from him (Acts 17:28 -The Message). We realize that without him we can do nothing. You have to come to realize that your self-reliant nature does not like this truth. That is what I have come to realize in this story.  My self–reliant nature always leaves me $12 dollars short of what I need. However, when I simply acknowledge my complete dependence upon God, He always makes up for what I lack. I just need to humble myself, like my friend’s son, and call my Heavenly Father.

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Virginia M. Bliss

Virginia M. Bliss, 92 of Pierson, went to be with her Lord, whom she loved on Friday, January 20, 2012 at Spectrum Health – United Memorial Campus, Greenville. Mrs. Bliss was born April 22, 1919 in Grand Rapids, MI the daughter of Phylo and Ila Bell (Sales) Fletcher. She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Leland Bliss on July 5, 2010 after 72 years of marriage. She spent her life as a loving wife, mother and person. Surviving are her children, Janet Glidden of Cutlerville, Lanette Stevens of Edmore, Muriel Kay Hoover of Grand Rapids, Irving (Elizabeth) Bliss of Sand Lake, Hazel (David) Hawley of Cedar Springs, Ila (Ron) Fisk of Sand Lake, Leland (Debra) Bliss of Cedar Springs, Sherrie (Jeff) Peters of Cedar Springs; 110 grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren; brother-in-law, Arthur (Delores) Bliss; sister-in-law, Althea Welch; many nieces and nephews. The family received friends on Monday from 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs, where services were held on Tuesday 11:00 am. Pastor Larry Young officiating. Interment in the spring at Solon Township Cemetery. Arrangements by Bliss Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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Story of Fanny Crosby at the Kent

Songs in the night Feb. 3-4

Songs in the night, a historical biography depicting the life of one of America’s most well-known and beloved song writer’s—Fanny Crosby—will be performed at the Kent Theatre on February 3 and 4 by the Senior High Koinonia Players.
The play, written by Robert Henninger and directed by Ruth Andrus, tells how while overcoming the tragic accident that blinded her, Crosby saw deep into the heart of God and shared that vision in songs. As the story follows this woman’s life through the mid 1800s, there is both humor and tragedy. The play brings an eternal message of perseverance and love, and will be a memorable experience for both the cast and audience.
Showtimes are at 3 and 7 p.m. on Friday, February 3; and at 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 4. Tickets are $5.
For more info, call Ruth at (616) 901-0749.

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