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Archive | February, 2012

Main Street with Roger Allen

Go green!

Peter Skyllberg was dug out of his car a few days ago. The car, in a seldom-traveled location, had become buried in deep snow. That occurred in December. His rescuers and doctors are surprised he’s alive. Apparently, warm clothes, melted snow, and “the hibernation effect” saved him.

This news item is out of Sweden. I mention it only because you may have noticed that WE aren’t having our normal winter. It’s February and that’s grass we see on the lawns. Global warming doesn’t distribute its effects evenly. I can manage, thank you, with our version of winter this year—no hibernation necessary!

Go away!

Are you tired of the deluge of election ads that misquote, fudge the truth, and paint opponents as a danger to America? Hang in there. Once the primaries move on to other states, we’ll get a temporary break from the political carnival.

Speaking of carnivals

A carnival truck and a revival preacher’s truck collide head-on, and everyone gets killed. The next thing anyone knows, Saint Peter is interrogating the revival preacher very thoroughly. Suddenly, the carnival crew arrives at the Pearly Gates, noisy and reeking of beer. Saint Peter waves them all through as he continues questioning the preacher. The Reverend splutters indignantly and asks, “How can you let those filthy, unrighteous hooligans into heaven while you give me the third degree?”

“Take it easy,” Saint Peter says. “They’re only going to be here a week.”

Speaking of computers

Well, we weren’t, but I’m writing this on one. So here’s a computer story.

New customer to Tech Support: It says hit any key, and when I do that nothing happens.

Tech Support: Can you try again and tell me what happens?

Customer: Tried, but nothing.

Tech Support: What key did you hit?

After a moment and some ching-aling sounds, the customer replies: Well, first I tried my car key and just now my office key.

Senior wisdom

The best way to forget all your troubles is to wear tight shoes.

The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don’t know what you’re doing, someone else does.

The older you get the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat are really good friends. (Amazing! You hang something in your closet for a while and it shrinks two sizes!)

I know what Victoria’s Secret is. The secret is that nobody older than 30 can fit into their stuff.

Time to retire

Three elderly airline pilots are walking on the ramp. First one says, “Windy, isn’t it?” Second says, “No, it’s Thursday.” Third one says, “So am I. Let’s go get a beer.”

Last words

The argument you just won with your wife isn’t over yet. “And lastly…”

 

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Varsity wrestlers place at regionals

Pictured is sophomore Jared Vodry, senior Austin Wamser, Coach Scott Troost, and junior Cody Oehme.

Will move on to state competition

 

The Cedar Springs Red Hawk Varsity Wrestlers endured a hard weekend wrestling last weekend at the regional competition. Cedar Springs had three boys qualify for the regional competition that was held in Mount Pleasant on Saturday Feb. 18, and all three were able to advance to the state competition that will be held at the Palace of Auburn Hills on March 3 and 4.

Senior Austin Wamser, ranked 5th in the state, claimed a second place finish in the 152 pound weight class, losing to Travis Curley from St. Johns, who is currently ranked Number 2 in the state. Wamser went head to head with Curley, without getting pinned but lost by points in the end.

Junior Cody Oehme grabbed a 4th place finish in the 125 pound weight class, losing only to the #6 division 2 state ranked wrestler Alec Ward, from Greenville, and honorable mention wrestler Luke Klein, from Sparta.

Sophomore Jared Vodry wrestled his way back to grab a 4th place finish in the 135 pound weight class, after losing to the #1 state ranked wrestler Brant Schafer, from St. Johns. Vodry then won his next match and moved on to take on state honorable mention wrestler Cameron Bender, also of St. Johns.

“The boys did a heck of a job,” Said Coach Scott Troost. “I knew Austin and Cody were going to make it through, but Jared was more of a long shot considering he had to wrestle a wrestler that had beat him twice the week before, but he pulled it off and beat that same wrestler, and that’s when I knew all 3 were going to advance to the state finals.” Troost continued, “I am very proud of them, just going to state is a huge accomplishment, all having very tough kids to beat to get there.  But the hard work isn’t finished yet. We have a week and a half to have them ready for state.”

Good luck to our regional finishers and we wish them well as they travel to Auburn Hills for the state competition on March 3 and 4. We are very proud of our wrestler Hawks.

 

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National wrestling champs

The 2012 NUWAY National Wrestling Duals were held in Battle Creek, MI on Sunday February 12, 2012. There were 32 teams in four different age groups, competing for the NUWAY National Team Champion title. Teams came from all over the nation, from as far Pennsylvania, North Carolina and California to compete.  Four of the wrestlers who were sent to represent Team Michigan were from the Cedar Springs Youth Wrestling Club, one in each age group.

Landon Demorest and Jordan Ringler both made the MYWAY Red Teams.  Landon, who went 4-1 with 3 pins, wrestled on the MYWAY U8 Red team, which placed 5th over all. Jordan, who went 2-2 with 1 pin, wrestled for the MYWAY U14 Red Team which placed 7th overall.

Ryan Ringler and George Gonzales Jr. both made the MYWAY Blue teams. Ryan, who was on MYWAY U10 Blue team, was the only undefeated wrestler in the 95lb weight class. He went 6-0 with 3 pins. His team took the championship in U10 division. George Gonzales Jr, who was on the U12 MYWAY Blue team, also went undefeated in the 140lb weight class, but was the only wrestler in his weight class to pin all of his opponents. He defeated Jalen Lesane from North Carolina, who was 40-0, with a pin in the third period. George was also awarded the Oustanding Wrestler Award in the U12 division for having 5 pins in an accumulative time of 4:55. His team also took the championship in the U12 division. Overall, Team Michigan Blue took championships in each age group.

 

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Red Hawks push season record to 15-3

Red Hawk Molly Holtrop keeping her opponent at bay.

The Cedar Springs girls varsity basketball team won two more contests last week, upping their win total to 15 for the season, with victories over Holland West Ottawa 58-46 and a league victory over Comstock Park 58-40.

Tuesday night, Feb. 14, the ladies came out of the locker room on fire as they put in 19 points to take an 11 point lead at the end of the first stanza. Their offensive ways continued into the second quarter and, at the break, they had a comfortable 21point margin 35-14. They needed all of that lead, as West Ottawa looked like an entirely different team in the second half.

The Panthers played extremely hard in the second half, pressuring defensively and going hard to the basket. West Ottawa outscored Cedar in the second half by 9 points, but once again Cedar’s excellent free throw shooting prevailed. The Red Hawks went 16 of 19 from the line, to put the game away.

Rachael Ludtke led the team with 18 points followed by Tiffany Karger with 14.  Hannah Wight contributed 10, Chaya Coxon had 9, and Molly Holtrop chipped in 7.

Friday brought the Panthers of Comstock Park to the Hawks’ Nest and it was a special night all around. The team was presented a banner from the Army National Guard and the MHSAA for their sportsmanship, as judged last season by game officials, opposing coaches, and athletic directors. It was also senior night for the ladies, and four seniors were honored for their contributions: Chaya Coxon, Tiffany Karger, Rachael Ludtke, and Nicole Shevock.

After a tough first quarter, the game was tied at 13 each as the two teams traded baskets. Once again, as it has been all season, the team turned it up on the defensive side of the ball, holding the Panthers to only 4 points in the second quarter to lead at the half 24-17.

The second half belonged to the Red Hawks, as they built their advantage to 20 points midway through the fourth quarter. The team was able to get more players into the game late and allow some game time experience in front of a good crowd.

Rachael Ludtke was high scorer with 14, Chaya Coxon was 3 for 3 from beyond the arc and contributed 12, and Tiffany Karger just missed another double/double scoring 11 points with 9 rebounds. Molly Holtrop and Allie Veltkamp both scored 6 points, Hannah Wight had 5, Abby VanDusen 2, and Jeanette Sukstas 2.

The Red Hawks travel to Belding on Tuesday night and finish up the regular season with West Catholic on Friday night at home, which could decide the OK Blue Championship.

 

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CS JV girls get another win

#14 Aly Hamilton getting the steal against Comstock Park. Photo by Ron Francis.

Cedar Springs girls JV basketball continue to have a great season. After a 12 -game winning streak, the Red Hawks suffered a tough loss at home last Tuesday against a very talented West Ottawa team.

They traveled to Comstock Park last Thursday to take on the Panthers on their home court.  They came out strong against Comstock in the 1st quarter and after several fouls for both teams, they ended it with a 13-point lead.  After allowing the Panthers only 2 points in the 2nd quarter and making several free throws they went into halftime leading 33-6. Comstock started strong in the 3rd  but Cedar responded with some very tough defense to end the quarter 44-20. With nearly everyone sharing in the scoring, they ended the game out on top, 54-26.  This improved their record for the year to 16 wins and only 2 losses.

Still undefeated in conference play, the JV girls traveled to Belding on Tuesday, the 21st and will end their season on their home court today, Thursday, to play the Falcons from West Catholic.

 

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Red Hawks lose heartbreaker to Panthers

For the second time this season, the varsity boys basketball team dropped a heartbreaker in overtime to the Comstock Park Panthers.

The Red Hawks used a strong defensive effort in the first quarter to jump out to a 9-5 lead.  The defensive battle continued throughout the 2nd quarter, and Cedar Springs took a 19-15 edge into halftime. Great defense by both teams led to Cedar Springs shooting just 35 percent in the first half and the Panthers only 22 percent.

A key steal and a basket by Comstock Park late in the 3rd quarter trimmed the Red Hawk lead to six and gave the Panthers momentum heading into the fourth. The lead went back and fourth throughout the 4th quarter.  With 8 seconds remaining, the Panthers missed a free throw and Cedar Springs appeared to be fouled in the act of shooting. However, the official ruled that the foul occurred prior to the act of shooting and no free throws were awarded. Ryan Dines’ desperation 3-point was off the mark and the game went to overtime, which the Panthers dominated en route to a 50-44 overtime win.

Coach Secor commented, “I was awfully proud of the fight, effort, and energy we played with for 32 minutes. In a few crucial situations, we made some mental errors that really cost us. Having said that, I think we have proven that we can play with anyone in this league and the difference between who finishes first and who finishes fourth is very slim. I look forward to the challenge of the next 3 games and preparing to host districts for the first time in nine years.”

Brandon Slater played a key role throughout the contest, coming off the bench to score 10 points and grab 3 rebounds in one of his best games as a Red Hawk.  Ryan Dines led the team in scoring with 14 points. Dines and Jason Gingrich also combined to play solid defense on Comstock Park junior guard Ryan Schall, the leading scorer in the OK Blue. Their defense led to Schall shooting 2/19 and only mustering 10 points. The Panthers converted on 25/32 from the free throw line while the Red Hawks shot just 5/12.

Cedar Springs, now 8-9 overall and 5-5 in the OK Blue, finishes up league play with home games this week vs. Belding and West Catholic.  Tuesday the 28th will be “Senior Night” when the Red Hawks host undefeated, and ranked #4th in the state in Class “B,” Godwin Heights

 

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Eight things to know about medical and dental expenses and your taxes

If you, your spouse or dependents had significant medical or dental costs in 2011, you may be able to deduct those expenses when you file your tax return. Here are eight things the IRS wants you to know about medical and dental expenses and other benefits.

1. You must itemize You deduct qualifying medical and dental expenses if you itemize on Form 1040, Schedule A.

2. Deduction is limited You can deduct total medical care expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income for the year. You figure this on Form 1040, Schedule A.

3. Expenses must have been paid in 2011 You can include the medical and dental expenses you paid during the year, regardless of when the services were provided. You’ll need to have good receipts or records to substantiate your expenses.

4. You can’t deduct reimbursed expenses Your total medical expenses for the year must be reduced by any reimbursement. Normally, it makes no difference if you receive the reimbursement or if it is paid directly to the doctor or hospital.

5. Whose expenses qualify You may include qualified medical expenses you pay for yourself, your spouse and your dependents. Some exceptions and special rules apply to divorced or separated parents, taxpayers with a multiple support agreement or those with a qualifying relative who is not your child.

6. Types of expenses that qualify You can deduct expenses primarily paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or treatment affecting any structure or function of the body. For drugs, you can only deduct prescription medication and insulin. You can also include premiums for medical, dental and some long-term care insurance in your expenses. Starting in 2011, you can also include lactation supplies.

7. Transportation costs may qualify You may deduct transportation costs primarily for and essential to medical care that qualify as medical expenses. You can deduct the actual fare for a taxi, bus, train, plane or ambulance as well as tolls and parking fees. If you use your car for medical transportation, you can deduct actual out-of-pocket expenses such as gas and oil, or you can deduct the standard mileage rate for medical expenses, which is 19 cents per mile for 2011.

8. Tax-favored saving for medical expenses Distributions from Health Savings Accounts and withdrawals from Flexible Spending Arrangements may be tax free if used to pay qualified medical expenses including prescription medication and insulin.

For additional information, see Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses or Publication 969, Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax-Favored Health Plans, available at www.irs.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

 

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Kent County braces for flu

Vaccination best shot for avoiding influenza 

From the Kent County Health Department

 

Influenza cases generally start peaking in February. The Kent County Health Department notes the trend is rising, so now is a good time to remind everyone how to avoid the flu.

Testing has determined that many of the cases being reported are “Influenza type A,” also known as the seasonal flu.  This is one of the types contained in the flu vaccination. If you haven’t received a vaccination against the flu this year, now is a good time to do it. “You should note that the vaccination can take about two weeks to become effective,” says Cathy Raevsky, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “Flu vaccines for children and adults are safe, and we have plenty of injection and nasal mist available right now.”

There are other steps you can take to prevent getting the flu other viruses.  Avoid people who are already sick or running a fever if possible, and if you are sick, stay home, to prevent spreading the illness to others.  Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and toss the tissue in the trash after you use it. Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer. And remember, germs spread when you touch your eyes, nose and mouth.

While everyone should get vaccinated against the flu virus, we especially recommend people at high risk of serious flu complications (young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, and people 65 years and older) get vaccinated. Health care workers, and those who care for high-risk people, should also. Children under 6 months are too young to be vaccinated, so people who care for them should be vaccinated instead.

Signs and symptoms of flu include fever (or feeling feverish/chills), cough and/or sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). Not everyone with flu will have a fever, or experience all of the symptoms.

Be sure to check out the Kent County Health Department website, “Stick it to the Flu” at http://www.stickittotheflu.com/ to learn more about flu vaccinations, prevention tips and treatment, or call (616) 632-7200 to make an appointment.

 

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Alzheimer’s educational series

The Alzheimer’s Association is offering a three-part educational series to residents on March 14, 21, and 28 from 7-9 p.m. at the Greenville Senior Center, 715 South Baldwin Street, Greenville, Mich.

March 14: A local physician will discuss the latest information, treatment and research developments for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

March 21: A local elder law attorney will discuss legal and financial issues, including Medicare, Medicaid and Veteran benefits.

March 28: Learn strategies for interacting with a person with dementia and practical solutions for the daily challenges of caring for someone with memory loss.

Call the Alzheimer’s Association to register at 1-800-272-3900. A $10 donation per family, per session, is suggested.

 

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Charity ball raises funds for heart & vascular center

GREENVILLE– On Saturday, February 11, the Spectrum Health United Memorial Foundation held its 10th annual Many Hearts, One Mission Charity Ball at the Fredrick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. With over 440 people in attendance, the event featured live music, gourmet dining, live and silent auctions, raffle opportunities and more.

Each year, the proceeds of the Charity Ball are allocated to a specific service area or need within Spectrum Health United or Kelsey hospitals. For 2012, proceeds from the Charity Ball are designated to the Spectrum Health United Hospital Heart & Vascular Center, scheduled to open May 2012. Heart disease is a major threat to the health of Americans.  It is the leading cause of death for men and women. Heart and vascular specialists will treat outpatients in the center and be available for inpatient and emergency consultants. The Heart & Vascular Center includes six physician exam rooms, two cardiovascular ultrasound rooms and two nuclear medicine cameras. The Spectrum Health United Hospital Heart & Vascular Center is a perfect example of collaboration between the hospital, specialists, and community members to open doors to greater care, both now and into the future.

Annually, the Spectrum Health United Memorial Foundation honors a community member who exhibits extraordinary commitment to volunteerism and philanthropy. While announced each October at the Spirit of Caring Dinner, the honoree is celebrated and commended for their dedication to the community at the Charity Ball. William T. Ham is the recipient of the 2012 Fred and Lena Meijer Spirit of Caring Award.

“Bill is truly an asset to our hospitals. We are grateful for the time and dedication he has provided to our organization,” said Tina Freese-Decker, President, Spectrum Health United Memorial.

The Charity Ball plays a vital role in United Hospital’s strategic plan for growth.  “Not only does it raise financial support for services and technology, it brings together members of the community around a common purpose: quality health care that’s close to home,” said Freese.

“To everyone who contributed to the success of the United Hospital Heart & Vascular Center, many thanks for your generosity and dedication.  We will continue to work toward bringing the very best in services, technology and specialists to Greenville, Lakeview and the surrounding communities.”

 

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