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Archive | February, 2012

Library almost halfway to matching grant


After the all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner fundraiser at Big Boy Restaurant last Thursday night, the library now has almost $23,000 towards the $50,000 matching grant. They raised $5,551 between the dinner and the tips.

“It was a great evening,” said Library Director Donna Clark. “We’re having fun and that’s important.”

Several door prizes were given away, including a Red Flannel town license plate, license plate frame, pies, books, and other items.

The next Big Boy fundraiser will be a taco bar in April.


Come out this Saturday, February 25 and enjoy some fun at the Old Time Family Hockey and Broomball tournament, 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 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. Red Flannel Town license plates and frames will also be available for sale, with plates $12 and frames for $18.


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Nature Center events

UPDATE: Postponed due to weather…

Daddy daughter date night, astronomy


The Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16190 Red Pine Dr NW, Kent City, has a couple of fundraising events coming up that you won’t want to miss.

On Friday, February 24, from 6-9 p.m., dad and their daughters, ages 5-16, can enjoy a pizza dinner and an evening of dancing at the Daddy Daughter date night. In addition to dancing, there will be lots of games and activities being played throughout the evening. A light pizza dinner will be served between 6-7 p.m. Bring your dancing shoes and have a blast! Registration not required but is appreciated.

On Saturday March 3, individuals or families can have some fun learning about astronomy, from 7-9 p.m. This event will help satisfy that desire to know more about the heavens and show you how to see objects in the night. The class covers information about the earth, moon, planets and stars—from making a scale model of our systems to understanding the difference between stars. Instruction is given on viewing the night sky using binoculars and natural sight. Following the workshop, we will go outside to view the stars. Basics will be given on how to use (provided) binoculars to see the planets and stars. For more info call (616) 675-3158.


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Septic truck sign

Septic truck sign

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Hometown Happenings

Sparta Fire Honor Guard Spaghetti Dinner

Feb. 25: In the mood for a home-cooked, firehouse-style spaghetti dinner? Then make plans to join the Sparta Fire Honor Guard on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 6 to 9 pm at The Moose Lodge, 11510 North Division, as we don aprons to sling pasta and roll meatballs. Cost is only $5 per person, so come hungry and with your entire family and all your friends. All proceeds go to support the purchase of uniforms, as well as the ongoing training of Sparta Fire Honor Guard, which is a volunteer organization providing funeral and memorial planning assistance to families of public service personnel – regardless of department affiliation (fire, police, EMS), religious, political or any other preference.  #8


TOPS weight loss support group

Feb. 28: Take off pounds sensibly (TOPS), a non-profit weight loss sport 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. tfn


Around the World in 80 Minutes

Feb. 29: In just over an hour, we’ll explore games, crafts and activities enjoyed by people worldwide. Get ready to become a virtual globetrotter with fun, hands-on activities for the whole family! For all ages. Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 6:30 pm at the Sand Lake/ Nelson Township Library, 88 Eighth St. Sand Lake.  #8


Free Women’s Exercise Class

Mar. 2: Come Walk Away the Pounds at the Solon Center Wesleyan Church. Beginning Friday, Mar. 2nd. This 5 week walking program is for all ages and all fitness levels. There will be open walking and the use of Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away the Pounds videos. The class will meet on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6 – 7 pm. Please contact the church office at 616-696-3229 or scwc@juno.com and register for this free class, which will start you on your way in increased fitness and weight loss. The church is located at 15671 Algoma Ave., just north of 19 Mile Rd.  #8,9p


Star Gazing

Mar. 3: Do you have an interest in Astronomy? This event will help satisfy that desire to know more about the heavens and show you how to see objects in the night. The class covers information about the earth, moon, planets and stars – from making  a scale model of our systems to understanding the difference between stars. Instruction is given in viewing the night sky using binoculars and natural sight. Following the workshop, we will go outside to view the stars. Basics will be given on how to use (provided) binoculars to see the planets and stars. Sat. March 3 from 7 to9 pm. Donation: $8/ person, $6/ seniors. $26/ family of four or more. Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16190 Red Pine Dr. Kent City. If interested simply email cperski@lilysfrogpad.com.  #8


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Residents to vote on sinking fund millage

POTHOLE HEAVEN: Miles of roads on the Cedar Springs School campus are in dire need of repair. The district hopes that voters will pass a sinking fund millage to help pay for the costs.

By Judy Reed


When voters in the Cedar Springs Public School district head to the polls on February 28, there will be more choices than whom they want for president. They will also be voting on whether to allow the school to levy 1 mill to create a sinking fund to help renovate and repair school roads, buildings, and other items allowed under the law.

If passed, the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would pay about $50 a year toward the fund over a 10-year period. It’s estimated that the first year would bring in about $521,000.

“It must be used for capital improvements,” said Assistant Superintendent David Cairy. “It cannot be used on supplies or new equipment.” He said they have a 75-page document that is very specific about what the funds can be used for. Cairy said they would look first at what was deteriorating the most.

He said that milling and repaving roads would be a top priority, given the age and the rate at which they are deteriorating. They have been doing small sections at a time and patching where needed, but major work needs to be done. “If we keep putting it off, we’d have to make a larger investment later,” he explained.

Hundreds of vehicles drive over the campus everyday, including buses, school vans, staff, student and parent vehicles. “It’s especially more worn where the buses are grinding over the road four times a day,” noted Cairy.

The cost to mill and repave, do curb and gutter work, and sub-pavement aggregate work is estimated to cost somewhere between $1,000,000 and $1,500,000, which would eat up a big portion of the maintenance budget. The current school budget for maintenance is $2 million.

Second on their priority list is parking expansion at Cedar Trails Elementary, Beach Elementary and the High School, with improved pick up and drop off, which could cost $235,000 to $450,000. Other items on the list put together by a community advisory committee include security modifications, technology infrastructure, and replacement of aged gym floors at Beach and Cedar View.

Cedar Springs, like many in Michigan, has been battling increasing costs and shrinking revenue from the state, forcing millions of dollars in cuts over the last few years. And while it is still early in the state budget process, Cairy estimated that according to the Governor’s plan, they might see $500,000 less in revenue than last year. And that doesn’t take into account increased expenditures.

Cairy noted that the great thing about the sinking fund is that it will be carefully scrutinized and audited, and that every dollar that comes in can be spent on their needs. “It meets our goal of not incurring any debt,” he said.

And what if the millage doesn’t pass? “Things will get reallocated, or we may have to take money out of the fund balance. But we have done cold-patching on the roads as long as we can.”


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Skinner Field: should it be improved?

OUT OF THE RUNNING—The rubberized track at Skinner Field, once state of the art, is showing some age. The question is, who has the money to repair it?

By Judy Reed


When SSGT Charles Towns comes home to Cedar Springs from Georgia, he runs on the track at Skinner Field—and wonders what will become of it. He was recently upset to hear that the school was seeking a sinking fund millage for school repairs, and there was no mention of repairs for the track at Skinner Field. “I just want to know what their plan for Skinner is,” he said in an email to the Post.

On Friday, July 6, 1948, the Village of Cedar Springs paid tribute to Bert Skinner, a leading citizen and businessman. Part of the tribute was the dedication of Cedar Springs Public School’s lighted athletic field, on the west side of Morley Park. In 1991, a gift was given to the school district, to construct a running track at the field. An agreement signed by both the school and city made it available for both school athletic events and the community to run on. It was created partly on school property and partly on city property, with the school district responsible for maintenance for a period of 99 years, or until they relocated the field and running track.

PEELING PAINT—The school district only has the budget to do basic maintenance at Skinner Field.

That happened in the mid-2000s, when Red Hawk Stadium was approved by the voters as part of a bond issue. Most school athletic events are now held at Red Hawk Stadium, although the middle school still uses the track at Skinner, as do members of the general public.  Red Hawk stadium is not open for the public to run on. Other groups also use Skinner Field, such as Rocket football and semi pro teams.

In 2007, the school transferred the last parcel they owned at Skinner Field to the city of Cedar Springs, but the school has continued to do maintenance on the field, such as mowing, trimming, picking up trash, maintaining the turf, watering, and paying the water bill. According to Asst. Superintendent David Cairy, they spend about $10,000 to $15,000 per year on Skinner Field.

Neither the city nor the school system, both with shrinking revenues, currently has money budgeted for repairs at Skinner Field. Under the terms of the contract, the school could remove the improvements if the cost to repair exceeded the cost of removal. The visiting side bleachers were removed due to safety issues several years ago.

“As a voter I would go with a compromise that would allow them to save up for several years. I do not want to sink the school district, but if their plan for Skinner is not to even be concerned, and just let it fall apart, while they maintain Red Hawk Stadium, I find that unacceptable. The whole community uses that track, and they promised to maintain it,” said Towns.

Cairy said that repair of a track is allowable under a sinking fund millage, but they need to look at what their most urgent needs are. He noted that repair of the track could cost as high as $20,000.

Emails by Towns to both the school and the city has gotten the two entities to begin discussing what the future of Skinner Field might be. “In the past 10 years we’ve worked pretty closely together, and share many of the same goals,” said Cairy.

The two groups plan to meet in the near future to discuss the issue.

Do you use the track at Skinner Field? Email us and let us know what you think of the issue at news@cedarspringspost.com.


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Winter shows up for Winterfest

JOHN ON THE RUN-Outhouse races were a fun part of Winterfest in Sand Lake last weekend.

Sand Lake had an unexpected visitor for the second annual Winterfest last weekend—old man winter decided to drop in for the festivities, bringing lots of cold and snow with him. But that didn’t dampen enthusiasm for the festival, which included a Pinewood derby, snow ball, outhouse races, chili cook off and more.

First place winners in the Pinewood derby were: Jeremiah Simons (5-7 yr olds); Corey Dymerski (8-10 yr olds); Zachary White (11-15 yr olds); and Kris Preston, (16 and older). Corey Dymerski was also overall winner. Find complete results of the Pinewood derby on our website at cedarspringspost.com. No other results were available at press time.



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Best lips winners

Dawn Grigsby - 1st place winner

Who has the most luscious lips in the area? After six days of voting, the answer is—Dawn Grigsby, of Cedar Springs! Dawn snagged the most votes to take first place, with 35 percent of the vote. Coming in second was Emily Hamel, of Gowen, with 21 percent of the vote; and we had a tie for third place between Stephanie Inskeep, of Pierson and Julie Fisk, of Cedar Springs, with each taking 11 percent of the vote.

As the grand prize winner, Dawn will receive a dinner for two (up to a $20 value) at Main Street Restaurant in Cedar Springs; a $15 gift card for Bay Leaf Books in Sand Lake; a large pizza (up to 6 toppings) or two subs, and breadsticks from Mr. Pizza in Sand Lake; and a haircut from Corner Hair Design in Sand Lake (a $14 value). There are also prizes for second and third place. Winners can pick up their prizes at the Post as of Friday, February 17.

A big thanks to all who entered and all who voted!

Julie Fisk- tied for 3rd place

Stephanie Inskeep - tied for 3rd place

Emily Hamel - 2nd place winner

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No explanation for purple squirrel

COLOR ME PURPLE: What caused the purple fur on this squirrel is a mystery. Photo courtesy of Accuweather.com.

Written by John Marsh, AccuWeather.com


Accuweather.com reported last week that a Pennsylvania couple trapped, of all things, a purple squirrel on Sunday, February 5. Percy and Connie Emert, of Jersey Shore, Pennyslvania, caught the unusual animal when trying to keep birds safe from the rodents.

“We have bird feeders out in our yard, and the squirrels are constantly into them,” said Jersey Shore resident Connie Emert. “My husband traps them and then sets them free elsewhere so they don’t get into your bird feeders.”
Emert said she had spotted a purple squirrel on her property but no one believed her.
”I kept telling my husband I saw a purple one out in the yard. ‘Oh sure you did,’ he kept telling me,” said Emert. “Well, he checked the trap around noon on Sunday and sure enough, there it was.
”The squirrel’s been eating peanuts. That’s what we used in the trap,” she continued.

The Emerts do not know why the squirrel is purple.
”We have no idea whatsoever. It’s really purple. People think we dyed it, but honestly, we just found it and it was purple. We put him in an extra big cage so he has room to run around, and we’ll release him soon. In the meantime, all the neighbors have been by to see him. No one can believe we have a purple squirrel!”
The Emerts released the squirrel back into the wild on Tuesday, February 7.

Some AccuWeather.com meteorologists have their own theories. Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity said, “The squirrel could have been looking for somewhere warm and fallen into a port-a-potty or something similar.”

AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski has a different idea. “Squirrels get into all kinds of stuff. He could have gotten into some purple ink or purple paint at some point.”
Purple ink was the theory when people saw a purple squirrel called Pete in the U.K. in 2008. There were no theories when another purple squirrel was spotted in 1997.

Krish Pillai, a professor at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, commented that “This is not good at all. That color looks very much like Tyrian purple. It is a natural organobromide compound seen in molluscs and rarely found in land animals. The squirrel (possibly) has too much bromide in its system.”

Local squirrel enthusiast Erik Stewart said, “If it has white hair on it at all, it’s probably not dyed. I’ve had multiple squirrels as pets, though, and I’ve certainly never seen a purple one. I’ve seen dark red, light red, gray and brown, but never purple. Also, I’ve tried to dye my dog before, and trust me it didn’t look like this. Though, I’ve only seen a picture, so your guess is as good as mine.”

In just a week, the purple squirrel’s new Facebook page has gotten over 8,500 likes. “Like” the purple squirrel at facebook.com/thepurplesquirrel or follow it on Twitter.

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Sand Lake resident honored in Lansing

From L to R: Sheri Thompson, Senator Mark Jansen, Nikki Stoner, Lexi Stoner, Patrick Nimphie, Kevin Stoner, Senator Darwin Booher, Joe Hufnagel, Tina Scully, Paul Griffith, Larry Emig

Michigan Works! West Central recently honored Sand Lake resident Kevin Stoner, for upgrading his skills and entering a new profession after a car accident left him unable to do his job.

The 2012 Michigan Works! Alumni Celebration highlighted recent hiring and employment successes achieved across Michigan through the “demand-driven employment strategy” laid out last year by Governor Snyder.

Stoner and his employer, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, were recognized in Lansing by lawmakers and state workforce development officials alongside 24 other companies and individuals. The event, held at the Anderson House Office Building in Lansing, highlights the achievements of local job makers and 25 individuals who displayed an ability to upgrade their skills and transition into new high-demand occupations and industries including manufacturing, health care, information technology, criminal justice and more.

Stoner, formerly of Reed City, came to Michigan Works! West Central in 2009 after he had been severely injured in a car accident and could no longer perform the work he’d been doing for the last 13 years as a concrete finisher. He knew that in order to provide for his family, he needed to find a new career path. He researched his options and went with what he had a passion for, which was helping amputees.

“I have 10 years personal experience with the life and limitations of an amputee, as my wife is a below the knee amputee. Because of my love for her, I was determined to learn and get the education needed to become an orthotic and prosthetic technician,” said Stoner.

In February 2010, Stoner volunteered at a prosthetics company in Kalamazoo as an understudy to learn general design and fabrication of lower extremity prosthetics from start to finish. Stoner received mileage reimbursement for his travels to Kalamazoo for some time until funding was exhausted through No Worker Left Behind. But this didn’t stop him from finishing his training. Neither did surgery on his injured shoulder due to the injuries he sustained in his car accident.

“Michigan Works! West Central works each and every day to assist job seekers and to help them find a career, not just a job,” said Michelle Herron, business services director. “We are focusing on a demand-driven employment strategy that connects employers with the skilled workers they need while preparing job seekers for the careers of tomorrow.”

In addition to providing Stoner with mileage reimbursement, Michigan Works! helped him obtain work attire as well as relocation assistance to move closer to his job in Grand Rapids.

“Everything just came together for me,” Stoner added. “Everyone at Michigan Works! West Central went out of their way to support me and help me achieve my goals.”

Governor Snyder recognized the strength and importance of Michigan Works! One-Stop Service Centers during his recent special message on workforce development. The Michigan Works! System has more than 100 Service Centers in cities across Michigan, and each offers a broad spectrum of services to meet the needs of local businesses and assist those seeking employment.


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