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Archive | April, 2012

Bird feeder battles: winning the war against squirrels

(ARA) – For bird lovers, the sight of a bushy tail hanging off the side of a feeder means just one thing: war.

Sure, squirrels have to eat, too, and no one wants to harm the persistent critters. But that doesn’t mean you have to put up with squirrels scarfing down the seed you put out for the birds, damaging your feeders and bumping up your blood pressure. It’s possible to discourage squirrels – and even outsmart them – with the right seed mix and some nature-friendly squirrel-control tactics.

Plant the seed. Birds, like people, are selective—even picky—when it comes to food. Seed is the best option to attract the most birds to your feeder. Unfortunately, squirrels also love seed. And while birds will sort through mixed seed to find what they like and ditch the undesirable filler, like red milo, on the ground below the feeder, squirrels are not so picky. They’ll eat the cast-offs on the ground and then move on to the good stuff in the feeder, and devour that, too.

To entice birds, avoid brands that wash or coat seeds with chemicals and mineral oil. Look for brands manufactured by companies that focus on bird feed, like Cole’s, rather than treat it as a sideline business. Some feed mixes are full of cheap filler seeds, crop leftovers and the lowest quality oil sunflower. Cole’s uses only high quality seeds, and each blend is designed to attract specific groups of birds.

Taste aversion. Serving seed that birds find delicious, but squirrels consider down right distasteful, is an effective way to keep squirrels out of bird feeders. Check out a squirrel-proof birdseed blend that uses hot spicy flavor to repel squirrels. Cole’s offers “hot” products that are designed to appeal to birds while dissuading squirrels. Its Hot Meats blend infuses top-quality sunflower meats with a Habanero chili pepper and Safflower oil that birds find delectable, but squirrels simply detest. Or, you can opt to add Flaming Squirrel Seed Sauce to any Cole’s blend. It’s a safe, effective and human way to feed birds and thwart squirrels. You can learn more at www.coleswildbird.com.

Squirrel-proof your bird feeders

Another option is to try to make your feed less accessible to squirrels, although that can be hard to do since squirrels are smart problem-solvers. You may find the best results from a combination of methods, including:

* Locate feeders far from trees, wires, porches or other launching points to make it more difficult for squirrels to reach the feeder. Remember, squirrels can jump distances of 10 feet or longer. Mounting feeders on a smooth metal pole at least 6 feet high with no surrounding branches or bushes within 12 feet may also work.

* Place a wire cage around the feeder with openings just large enough to admit birds but too small for squirrels to fit through. This can also help keep larger birds, such as starlings or pigeons, from accessing the feeder.

* Try specially designed feeders that have doors which close when triggered by a squirrel’s weight on the feeder. The doors keep squirrels from reaching the seed. And if you’ve had plastic feeders gnawed to destruction by squirrels, try switching to metal which they’ll be less likely to chew through.




If you can’t beat ‘em …


Sometimes you just can’t win the war and the squirrels refuse to leave. Or maybe you have a soft spot for those fluffy-tailed felons. When you can’t convince squirrels to vacate your yard, another option is to serve them something they’ll find even more appealing than bird seed. If you can lure them away from your feed, squirrels can be an amusing addition to your backyard landscape.

Squirrels love whole, dried corn-on-the-cob and loose dried corn. Cole’s offers Critter Munchies, a blend of whole yellow corn, striped sunflower, peanuts in the shell, black oil sunflower and raw peanuts. Serve on an open platform-style feeder. Or place an ear of dried corn on a stick. A stake or pinecone can be coated with peanut butter.

Set up your squirrel feeding station away from bird feeders and make it as easy as possible for the squirrels to access their feeder filled with temptations like nuts, corn and berries.

If you can make peace with the squirrels, these intelligent characters and their antics can be a welcome sight in your backyard.


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CSPS Honor Roll

2nd Trimester Honor Roll is here!

Click link to download!



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High winds take down 100-year-old tree

Post photo by J. Reed.


Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed


High winds blew down a towering Norwegian Spruce in Elmwood Cemetery Monday afternoon.

Al Kensil, Assistant DPW Superintendent for Cedar Springs, was doing some work in the cemetery about 200 feet away from the tree, when he heard a loud CRACK! “I looked up just as it was hitting the ground,” he said.

The tree, which was estimated at 100-feet tall, was 109 years old, according to the rings. That means it would have been planted about 1903. “It was one of the bigger trees in the cemetery,” said Kensil. There are several other towering trees nearby.

The tree was located toward the front, on the south side of the cemetery. And while it fell on some tombstones, Kensil said none were damaged. “We might need a little restoration to the ground,” he said.

The trunk of the tree was 5-feet across, but was rotted in the middle. “It looked healthy, but the first 10-feet up was rotted,” explained Kensil. “With 35 mph winds, there was a lot of force.”

The DPW had the tree cleaned up within 24 hours.

The land for Elmwood Cemetery was purchased in 1871.


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Residents frustrated over parking situation

By Judy Reed


Two disgruntled residents brought their complaints about the city’s parking ordinance to the Cedar Springs City Council meeting last Thursday night. And one of them, Beth Karafa, of 108 S. First Street, also called WZZM13 and the Post to tell her side of the story.

“I’m frustrated,” Karafa told the Post. “Are they trying to run people out of town?”

Karafa is frustrated because under the city’s ordinance, she cannot permanently park in the gravel area between her yard and the road, in the city’s right of way. And Officer Nick Barbour, the city’s code enforcer, has paid her several visits and ticketed her on at least two occasions. The ticket last year resulted in a court order saying that she could not allow any vehicle to park on her property unless she installed a driveway.

“I’ve lived here and parked there for 16 years,” she said, pointing to where her fiancé (now deceased) had built steps down to where they parked. Karafa does not have a regular driveway, and says she cannot afford to put one in, being a single mom of two teens. She also has several adult children that often visit.

City Manager Christine Burns explained that they are not asking her to put in a driveway. She said they have given Karafa several other options for parking, but that she has refused to use them. The options included asking for permission to park at the American Legion Hall lot, which is across the street and 33 feet from Karafa’s home; on the street in designated parking spaces just west of her residence and to the south of the Legion; or in front of the house directly across the street from her. Those areas have a curb, and the road is wider there.

Burns noted that other residents also struggle with parking, but make a choice to shuffle cars or park elsewhere. “I don’t know of anyone who has more choices for parking than she does,” said Burns.

Karafa told the Post that she didn’t want to have to park across the street near the Legion. “What if I have groceries or laundry?” she asked.

Burns said that under the ordinance, guests could park in front of Karafa’s home, in the gravel area on Beech, just nothing permanent. She said that if Karafa had laundry or groceries, she could park there to unload and then move her car.

Karafa said that since she received her ticket, she has been parking in a side yard, in what was once a driveway, before she moved in. She has also been warned about that. But Burns said that if she can prove it was a driveway, it could be grandfathered in.

Karafa does have photos of it being used as a driveway before she moved in.

“She should bring those photos to the next court date on her latest ticket,” said Burns.

Burns said that the parking ordinance is not unusual, and that many other cities and villages have the same type of ordinance. She said that the gravel area in front of Karafa’s house was not meant to be for parking. “It should be grass, but it has been eroded from all the years of parking on it,” she explained.

Karafa said she has spoken to her attorney about the issue. She said she has also gotten a lot of positive support from people and there is now a petition on Facebook to change the parking ordinance. She said she hopes to get a group of people to go to the next City Council meeting to voice their concerns and find out what to do to get changes made to the ordinance.

According to Burns, any resident with concerns on parking or other issues can call her at 696-1330 ext. 104, or email her at manager@cityofcedarsprings.org.

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Sand Lake girl sings at White Caps

Six-year-old Kacie Platz, of Sand Lake, did something last Saturday that most adults can’t do or will never get the chance to: she sang the National Anthem at the West Michigan White Caps baseball game in Comstock Park.

Her mother, Deana, submitted her name to the White Caps, after Kacie had sung at a couple of other events, including last September’s 9-11 parade, and a Tri County basketball game. The White Caps watched a video of her, and decided they wanted her for the game.

A whole group of family and friends—26 in all—made the trek to Fifth Third Ball Park to hear Kacie sing. “I think she was a little nervous at first, but once she  had the microphone, she nailed it. Afterwards, she was just that normal 6-year-old at the game playing with her friends,” explained Deana.

Her mom said Kacie loved the applause and good jobs she received from staff, players and all the people that cheered her as she went back to her seat. She was also interviewed for FOX17 news.

Deana said Kacie will be singing at her kindergarten program May 1, and has been asked to sing at the Miss Sand Lake pageant in early May.



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Lions plant trees along trail

Photo courtesy of Friends of White Pine Trail.

On April 14 and 17, the Cedar Springs Lions Club planted 400 Red and White Pine seedlings along the White Pine Trail between 16 and 18 Mile Roads. This is the area that the Lions Club maintains. A portion of the trees also went to three locations on the school grounds.

Volunteers that helped plant the trees included Cub Scout Troop 3222 and Boy Scout Troop 222. “They did a great job,” said Lions Club member Jerry VanderWal.

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CS grad starts sports talk radio show

Shae Brophy

By Judy Reed

A 2005 Cedar Springs graduate is beginning to live a dream that he didn’t even know he had.

Shae Brophy, 24, who currently lives in Grand Rapids, won a contest to help host the Huge Show with Bill Simonson, for a day last year. He met another college student, Aaron Smith, of Caseville, Michigan, who also won the chance, and the two worked with Simonson on the show. “Bill is a big name in our industry and it was very exciting to work with him for a day,” explained Brophy.

After that, Brophy went back to Colorado Springs where he had been attending school. But that didn’t stop him and Smith from talking through emails and texts about creating their own show. And then last fall, “Sports Now! With Smitty and Shae” was born, at blogtalkradio.com.

“We decided that this is something we both want to do because of our immense passion for sports,” explained Brophy. “Being able to talk about all things happening in the world of sports, as well as making different connections in the industry, has quickly made me realize that this is something I want to do with my life.”

One thing that makes the show unique is that the day on the Huge Show is the only time that Brophy and Smith, his on-air co-host, have ever met. But it hasn’t been an issue. “We exchange numerous phone calls and text messages everyday talking about different things happening in the sports world, as well as preparing for our show,” Brophy noted.

The show airs Monday through Thursday at 9 p.m. He said they don’t really have a format for the show, but if they have an interview lined up, they usually air it at 9:15. Some of the guests they have had include: Barry Melrose (former NHL player and head coach, works for ESPN right now), Mario Impemba (Detroit Tigers play by play voice), Dan Miller (Detroit Lions play by play voice), Trevor Thompson (Fox Sports Detroit reporter), Cameron Bradfield (current Jacksonville Jaguar, former stand out at Grand Valley), and former MSU Spartan and Cedar Springs Red Hawk, Austin Thornton.

They also try to cover the main stories going on not only in Michigan sports, but nationwide as well. The duo plans to continue on the same track, getting big name interviews, providing great content, and expanding their fan base.

Brophy is no longer attending college in Colorado Springs. Instead, he moved back to West Michigan to pursue a degree in Broadcast Journalism, and will take classes at Grand Rapids Community College in the fall.

“As for a career, I would love to make a living on the radio,” said Brophy. “One of our goals with the radio show is to end up working for ESPN in the future. They have many different radio opportunities, and we feel like our hard work now will pay off in the future.”

Brophy said he would be seeing Smith again in the near future. “I will be competing in an MMA (mixed martial arts) fight on April 28 for Ground n Pound Promotions at Klackle Orchard. That will be the 2nd time I have ever met my co-host, as he is going to be in attendance,” he explained.

Besides listening to the show on blogtalkradio.com, people can like their page on Facebook. Search “Sports Now! with Smitty and Shae.”





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Fire Chief sworn in

Fire Chief Marty Fraser. Post photo by J. Reed.

Marty Fraser, recently selected as the new Cedar Springs Fire Chief, was sworn in at the Cedar Springs City Council meeting last week Thursday, April 12.

Police Chief Roger Parent has been serving as interim Fire Chief for the last year, with Fraser serving as Deputy Chief. Fraser is a 35-year veteran of the department and has served in various roles. He has been a first responder since 1990.

Fraser publicly thanked Parent for his help with the department and how he’s helped during this transition.

Parent thanked Fraser, too, saying his 10 months as fire chief would not have been as easy without him.


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Out of the Attic

Solon Township family held up


It’s the kind of story you expect to hear about today: one man, down on his luck, the other a gun-wielding parolee, break into a home, tie people up, flee, then grab a hostage and have a standoff at another home. It happened on April 18 but it wasn’t this week; it happened 85 years ago.

A story in the February issue of the Golden Times, put out by the Cedar Springs Historical Society, recounted the tale, as told in several articles in the Cedar Springs Clipper.

On April 21, 1927, the Clipper headline read: “Dan Reichelt, wife and brother tied and abused.” About 4 p.m. in the afternoon on Monday, April 18, two men drove to the Reichelt farm, 6-1/2 miles northwest of Cedar Springs (in Solon Township). They went into the barn where Dan Reichelt and his brother were unloading hay. One of the men drew a gun and held them up, while the other tied them. They then went to the house and tied up Mrs. Reichelt. They tore the telephone from the wall, then went to the cellar and got potatoes and canned fruit and put them in the car.

Just before dusk, Albert Reichelt, another brother, drove to Dan’s to see why he had not returned for another load of hay. When he drove into the barnyard, one of the men held a gun on him until 9 p.m. In the meantime, Mrs. Reichelt had freed herself and ran ¾ of a mile to the home of Frank Seigel and called the Sheriff and Deputy Arthur Woodhull, in Cedar Springs. She was quite badly bruised about the face, neck and arms.

About 10 p.m., when Deputy Woodhull and several men deputized by Justice Totten arrived at the Reichelt farm, they met a posse of citizens who had joined the hunt. Here they captured Wm. Boynton, who denied he had anything to do with the incident. Dan Reichelt shot at the other man and thought he wounded him, but he escaped.

Questioning Boynton, they found where he lived and the identity of the other man. They drove to Boynton’s house and found his wife, seriously ill, with six children, ages 5 months to 9 years, and nothing to eat in the house.

They learned that the other man was Joe Golliver, alias Joe Williams, and was a paroled convict from Marquette. The next morning, Tuesday, the sheriff and deputies searched the Reichelt neighborhood but found no trace of him.

Tuesday afternoon the suspect was discovered hiding in the barn on the Fitz farm, two miles west of Solon Center. Seventeen-year-old Floyd Koehnle, who lived on the farm, went to the barn to do evening chores. He was faced with a revolver in the  hands of Golliver and told to go about his chores. Ed Koehnle drove in from the field and was also confronted by Golliver. The father was tied to a post in the potato cellar and Golliver took the boy to the house to get something to eat. The father freed himself and left the barn through a small window and ran through the fields to the Frank Peterson home. They drove to the Dines farm, and the three men were met with the posse on the way back to the Koehnle farm.

About 5:30 p.m., Golliver, in the house with the boy, discovered that a posse was surrounding the house. He told Floyd that they had him, but he would get some of them before they got him. Golliver left the house through the rear, taking Floyd with him. As he started to run through the barnyard, he left the boy behind. Golliver knew he was cornered, so he turned and began shooting. The only shot he fired went into a board fence. The posse closed in from all directions and as Golliver again shot at the posse, he was shot in the head. According to Floyd Gibson, editor of the Clipper and on the scene, Golliver would have killed one member of the posse and possibly more if he had not been shot down when he was.

On Thursday, April 21, hundreds of people gathered in Cedar Springs to be present at the inquest of Joseph Golliver, who was shot to death by a member of a posse of Solon Township farmers. The jury brought in a verdict that Golliver came to death on the farm of Edward Koehnle, in Solon Township, Tuesday night, resisting arrest, and the fatal bullet that ended his life was shot by some unknown person, a member of the posse. The jury commended the officers and farmers.

Joseph Golliver Williams, 31, had spent 18 years of his life in prison and was on parole from Marquette after serving only part of a 15-year sentence for robbery. A series of similar crimes in Kent and Ottawa County were also blamed on him. His brothers-in-law told police they had been asked to join him in “jobs.” Several of his family members had served time for various crimes also. His own family refused to accept his body, and it was sent to the medical school at the University of Michigan for use by medical classes.

Special thanks to the Cedar Springs Historical Society for allowing us to use this story.


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Sand Lake Lions recycle for sight

As spring cleaning gets underway, the Sand Lake Lions are asking people to look through dresser drawers and closets for used eyeglasses and donate them to the Lions Recycle for Sight program.

During the months of April and May, the Sand Lake Lions Club will be collecting used prescription eyeglasses and prescription and non-prescription sunglasses as part of a unique recycling program. The collected glasses will be cleaned and prepared for distribution in developing countries where eye care is often unaffordable and inaccessible.

“We need everyone to donate their used eyeglasses, reading glasses and sunglasses,” said Rick Long, project chairman. “In most developing countries, an eye exam can cost as much as one month’s wages and a single eye doctor may serve a community of hundreds of thousands of people.”

The donated glasses will be shipped to a regional Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center where they will be cleaned, categorized by prescription, and prepared for distribution by Lions and other groups.

To donate used glasses (including sunglasses and reading glasses), place them in the specially marked Lions Recycle for Sight collection boxes located in Sand Lake at Independent Bank, Wesco, the Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library, and Sand Lake Foods.

The Sand Lake Lions Club is looking for new members, and meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m., and the fourth Saturday of the month at 9:30 a.m. at the Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library. Lions clubs are a group of men and women who identify needs within the community and work together to fulfill those needs. For more information or to get involved, please contact Rick Long at (616) 813-7533.


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