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Archive | June, 2012

Cedar Springs rocked the park with Maranda

3,500 kids and families turn out for free food and fun

Maranda gets the crowd pumped up at the first park party of 2012.
Photo courtesy of WOODTV.

Maranda kicked off the Park Party season in Cedar Springs last Thursday, June 21 with a bigger and better bash than ever before. The first party in the summer lineup was held from Noon-2:00pm at the Public School Complex, with about 3,500 attending. The storms held off, so that thousands of families could enjoy free fun, food, activities, games and prizes.

“Kicking off the 2012 Park Party season in Cedar Springs was ideal! It was great working with the City of Cedar Springs and the Public Schools,” said Maranda. “The best part of the day was meeting so many amazing kids and families who were enjoying an afternoon of free fun!”

The Cedar Springs Park Party offered kids and families an afternoon of unforgettable memories. The Public School Complex was packed with families who came early to enjoy a free picnic-style lunch of healthy grilled turkey burgers from Jennie-O Turkey, the Michigan Department of Education and the area Public Schools.

The stage rocked all afternoon with great entertainment including: Strike Percussion Ensemble, local dancers and Star 105.7. The Cedar Springs Park Party had tons of activities provided by local non-profit groups along with big attractions like the climbing wall, Country Fresh Bounce House and an inflatable obstacle course.

 

Amanda Gerhardt, Director of Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation, coordinated the park party with Maranda and her team.

Rest of Park Party Schedule
(12pm-2pm) for 2012:

June 28 – Lamar Park, Wyoming
July 5 – Barry County Expo Center, Hastings
July 12 – Kollen Park, Holland
July 19 – Northwestern Middle School, Battle Creek
July 26 – Allegan County Fairgrounds, Allegan

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ATF investigating Nelson Speed Shop fire

Estimated losses at Nelson’s exceed $5 million.
Post photo by L. Allen.

The National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been activated by request from the Michigan State Police to investigate a fire at the Nelson’s Speed Shop, 4566 South Greenville Road, in Greenville.

A fire was reported to the Montcalm Township Fire Department last Friday, June 22, at approximately 1:30 a.m. Montcalm Fire reported heavy flames through the roof of the structure upon arrival. The Greenville Daily News reported that 11 fire departments and about 75 firefighters fought the blaze and cleared the scene 10-12 hours later.

The fire reportedly started in the back of the business, where fuel and oil was stored. The structure and contents are a total loss. The structure occupies approximately 50,000 square feet and the total estimated loss exceeds $5,000,000.

Nelson’s Speed Shop in flames last Friday morning.
Photo courtesy WOODTV.

“ATF will utilize all resources available and necessary to help determine the cause of this fire,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Arron Graves. “Our activation of the NRT speaks to the seriousness of which we hold this fire. ATF along with our partners will work tirelessly to determine the cause of this fire.” This is the 10th activation of the NRT in Fiscal Year 2012 and number 731 since the inception of the team in 1978. The NRT includes 20 team members and arrived on scene on Monday, June 25.

ATF is investigating this fire jointly with the Michigan State Police, the Greenville Department of Public Safety, the Montcalm Township Fire Department and the Montcalm County Sheriff Department. In addition to ATF NRT members, ATF is utilizing special agent investigators from the ATF Grand Rapids office as well as special agents from the Detroit Field Division.
Nelson’s was also destroyed in a fire in 2001. Two men were convicted of arson in that fire, and a third with having knowledge of it and failing to report it.

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City manager accepts Spring Lake job

By Judy Reed

Christine Burns

It’s official—Cedar Springs City Manager Christine Burns will be taking the Village Manager position in Spring Lake. She gave her official notice of resignation to Mayor Charlie Watson on Monday, June 25, and her last day will be Wednesday, July 25.

“Working for Cedar Springs for the past 5 years has been a phenomenal experience for me and I simply could not ask for a better group of people to work with and for,” she said in her letter. “I feel that, as a team, we have accomplished much in five years and am proud to have been part of making Cedar Springs a great place to live, work and play.”

Burns told The Post that leaving is bittersweet. “I love the people that I work with. They are phenomenal. It’s been tough. But I am excited about starting there.”

Burns’ salary in Spring Lake will be $77,500 annually, with 12 percent of her wages contributed to a deferred compensation plan. She will start with four weeks vacation, $50,000 in life insurance and $50 per month for a cell phone. She will also receive a leased vehicle. Her base salary in Cedar Springs is $67,786.

The city will now begin their search for a new city manager. They will decide at a special council meeting on Friday whether to hire former Cedar Springs City Manager Frank Walsh to conduct the search. He is currently the City Manager for St. Joseph.

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Principal arrested for embezzlement

By Judy Reed

Tri County Middle School principal William Robert Cichewicz was arrested last week on embezzlement charges.

According to the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post, they began an investigation in February on money missing from the Booster Club Fund. Cichewicz turned himself in on June 20, and was arraigned on a five-year felony charge of embezzlement of over $1,000 but under $20,000.

Cichewicz, an employee at Tri County Schools for 13 years, was initially put on administrative leave, and then fired last week.

“As a school community, we are committed to excellence in all that we do,” stated Al Cumings, Superintendent. “This commitment means that we hold our students, staff, and, most of all, our leadership accountable for behaviors and choices that do not reflect our community values.”

Cumings noted that Cichewicz accepted the termination and had made full restitution. “I am pleased that in addition to owning his decisions and paying back the missing funds, Mr. Cichewicz also has released a public letter of apology to the community that is on the district web site (www.tricountyschools.com),” said Cumings. You can also view it here.

In his letter, Cichewicz acknowledged that he had made serious mistakes and violated the community’s trust over the last year. “In my role as principal, I had access to booster funds that were acquired from the school store. Over a period of months, as I collected and took those funds to the bank, I was tempted by the money that was available and I began to take some each time. Ultimately, I took $1,350 of booster money to benefit myself,” he wrote. He added that his family knew nothing about what he was doing, and that he planned to return the funds immediately. He also said he felt horrible about what he did.

Cichewicz served as a teacher, vice-principal, and principal while employed at Tri County.

He posted a $2,000 bond and has a pretrial date of July 2 and a preliminary exam on July 3.

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Hometown Hero

Air Force Airman 1st Class Nicholas R. Sizemore graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.
Sizemore earned distinction as an honor graduate.

He is currently undergoing AIT training at Sheppard AFB in Texas. He will specialize in electronics, and after graduation, will serve in Japan for two years.
He is the son of David Sizemore of Solon Road, Cedar Springs, and Kimberlee Norman of Grange Avenue Northeast, Rockford.

The airman is a 2006 graduate of Kent City High School.

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Miss Sand Lake to be crowned

Miss Sand Lake and Court (L to R): Court members Shana Shquair, Tonya Rivard and Natasha Azur, and Queen Kristina Nozal.

Junior Miss Sand Lake Nicole Masion, and Queen Kristina Nozal.

The Sand Lake Fourth of July Celebration kicks off Wednesday, July 4, and part of that celebration will be the crowning of Miss Sand Lake and Miss Junior Sand Lake at noon.

The Miss Sand Lake and Junior Miss Sand Lake pageant was held on May 3, 2012. Chosen as Miss Sand Lake was Kristina Nozal. She lives in Sand Lake and attends Tri County High School. She is involved with the Equestrian Team and 4-H and enjoys spending time with friends and family.

The Queen’s court includes Shana Shquair, Tonya Rivard, and Natasha Azur.
Shana lives in Sand Lake and attends Tri-County High School. She is involved as a volunteer soccer coach, with the National Honor Society, and enjoys jazz music. Tonya lives in Pierson and graduated from Tri-County High School     in 2011 and is now attending Montcalm Community College, spending her time riding dirt bikes, four wheelers and going mud bogging. Natasha lives in Sand Lake and attends Tri- County High School. She is involved in soccer, cheerleading, and the National Honor Society.

Junior Miss Sand Lake is Nicole Masion, age 12. She is a 6th grader at Tri-County. Her interests are singing and spending time with her friends and family. Runner up was Janaye Dotson, 13. Her interests are singing, reading, and caring for animals.

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Fire causes damage to kitchen

Smoke came from roof on the left side of the porch. Post photo by J. Reed.

A Cedar Springs man came home last Thursday, June 21, to see smoke rolling out of his roof.

The Cedar Springs Fire Department responded to the call at 40 W. Cherry Street, across the street from the library, about 11:29 a.m. Smoke was coming out of the eaves around the kitchen area of the two-story home.

According to Fire Chief Marty Fraser, the fire started in the attic or ceiling over the kitchen area, around a light fixture in the ceiling. He said the actual cause of the fire was undetermined.

Fraser said there was minimal structure damage, but a lot of cosmetic damage because they had to pull down the ceiling to get to it.

No one was injured in the fire, and there were no animals in the home at the time.

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Synthetic drugs illegal July 1

Effective July 1, it will be illegal to buy, sell or use synthetic drugs, such as K2 and Spice, in the State of Michigan.

Manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to sell will be a 7-year felony. Possession will be a two-year felony, and use of will be a one-year misdemeanor.

These drugs include:

*Synthetic Cannabinoids, which are sold as incense and herbal blends. They are commonly known as synthetic marijuana, K2 or Spice.

*Synthetic Cathinones, which are sold as bath salts and plant food. Common brand names include Aura, Bliss, Blow, Blue Silk, Bubble Love, Charge+, Cloud 9, Cosmic Blast, FrogE Magic Plant Food, Hurricane Charlie, Ivory Snow, Ivory Wave, MDAI, MDPV, Molly’s Plant Food, Ocean Burst, Rave, Red Dove, Scarface, Serenity, Sonic, Vanilla Sky, White Dove, and White Lightning.

This is only a short listing and does not include all brand names.
If you are a business owner who sells these products, you must stop prior to July 1, 2012.

If residents are aware of any businesses that are selling these products on or after July 1, notify the Kent County Sheriff’s Department (632-6100), or call the Michigan State Police tip line at 855-MICH-TIP (855-642-4847).
Governor Snyder signed the bill into law earlier this month. K2, Spice and similar products are made of plant matter sprayed with chemicals designed to mimic the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the high-inducing compound found in marijuana. However, the chemicals are unregulated and often produce negative side effects like elevated heart rate, seizures, vomiting and paranoia.

To learn more, visit www.michigan.gov/DesignerDrugs.

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Six-year-old hit by car

A six-year-old Gowen boy was struck by a car Monday, while crossing the street.
Montcalm County Sheriffís Deputies responded to the scene on West Sidney Road near S. Johnson Road, in Montcalm Township at 6:45 p.m. Monday, June 25.

According to Det/Sgt. Thomas Goerge, the boy was on his way home from a neighborís house when he ran across the road, in front of a 1998 Lincoln Town Car driven by a 32 year old Lowell man. The boy was transported by ambulance to United Memorial Hospital in Greenville and then flown by Aero Med to a hospital in Grand Rapids. Goerge said the family reported that the child is in serious but stable condition.

Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash.

Montcalm County Sheriffís Deputies were assisted at the scene by Michigan State Police.

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New fireworks law causing confusion

With the July 4th holiday approaching, residents should be prepared for neighbors to be celebrating with more of a bang than usual.

It used to be that most any firework that made a loud noise or shot into the air was illegal in Michigan. That all changed on January 1, when the new Michigan Fireworks Safety Act went into effect. The Act allows the sale and use of consumer fireworks such as Roman Candles, Bottle Rockets and other items that leave the ground.

Those fireworks are legal to use any day of the year, unless a city or township ordinance prohibits it. To make it even more confusing, however, is that there are 10 holidays out of the year where local ordinances cannot prohibit their use for three days—the day before a holiday, the day of, or the day after. That means fireworks could be shot off at 3 a.m. July 3, 4, or 5, and police cannot stop it unless the users are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or under 18. They also cannot be used on public, school or private property of another person without permission.

While some local governments have addressed the ordinance, the city of Cedar Springs has not yet done that. For example, Rockford enacted an ordinance that does not allow fireworks between 11 p.m. and 11 a.m., excluding those 10 holiday time frames. The cities of Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Wyoming have banned them completely except for those holiday times. A fire in Grand Rapids causing $32,000 in damage was blamed on bottle rockets that set the dry ground on fire.

According to Cedar Springs City Police Chief Roger Parent, many law enforcement agencies are getting so many calls about fireworks they have trouble getting to them all. However, he said that here in Cedar Springs, if they get complaints, he has an officer check them out to make sure they are using the correct fireworks and not professional grade, and that the residents are not intoxicated. Parent said the fireworks should be labeled as consumer fireworks, or Division 1.4, which were the old Class C fireworks. “They can be pretty big and can go higher than the tree line,” said Parent.

He added that if he receives a lot of complaints about fireworks on days of the year other than holidays, and the city has not addressed the ordinance, he would then ask the city attorney to clarify whether they fall under the noise ordinance.

 

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