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Archive | August, 2012

Cedar Springs teen killed in accident

Wyatt Phillips

A 16-year-old Cedar Springs teen was killed and two other teens were injured Thursday morning, August 23, when the car they were riding in ran off the road and hit a tree.

According to Kent County Sheriff Sgt. James Loughrin, the accident occurred about 8:20 a.m. The 16-year-old male driver and two male passengers were headed north on White Creek Avenue, north of Wiersma, when the car veered off the road and hit a tree.

The driver, Wyatt Phillips, 16, of Cedar Springs, was pronounced dead at the scene. The front seat passenger, Johnny Klaasen, 16, of Cedar Springs, suffered a shoulder injury and was transported to the hospital by ambulance. It took over an hour to extricate the back seat passenger, Sean Thompson, 16, of Sparta, who was critically injured with head and leg injuries. Rescue workers had to open up the back of the car to get him out. Sean was awake and talking to officers and rescue personnel as they worked. He was taken to Butterworth by AeroMed, and is still hospitalized with serious injuries.

According to investigating Deputy Jason VanDyke, police believe that excessive speed was the cause of the accident. They do not believe alcohol was involved. All were wearing their seatbelts.

Cedar Springs High School set up a crisis team in the high school media center for students to come in and talk to a counselor. A candlelight vigil was held for Wyatt Phillips at Cedar’s first home football game, Friday, August 24.

Wyatt is the son of Scott and Danielle Phillips of Cedar Springs. Wyatt, a junior this year, was a member of the Cedar Springs High School Varsity Soccer team, and appeared in several theatre productions, including some written by his father, Scott. He was well loved by fellow students, and will be missed.

Wyatt’s memorial service was held Monday, August 27, at Cedar Springs High School. Click here for obituary.

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United in worship

Several hundred Christians across the Cedar Springs area dropped their denominational differences last Sunday and gathered for a time of worship together in Morley Park in the annual “United” worship service. At least 11 churches participated in the event.

A praise band made up of several churches led the worship time with uplifting songs, and several pastors gave inspiring messages about God’s love for us all, and our need to reach out and show Christ’s to love our community. The service ended with a time of people praying together for our nation and community.

“I thought it went great,” said Craig Carter, pastor at North Kent Community Church, and chair of the Cedar Springs Area Ministerial Association. “I heard a lot of good feedback. People were encouraged and said thanks for inspiring for them.” He said that there were also some people that had never attended before and told him they were glad they came.

Carter said he really liked the time of prayer. “People of various ages were praying with and for each other and the community. That was a nice touch for the time we are in right now. “

The offering that was taken will help offset some of the costs of the event, and some of the money was also contributed to a memorial in memory of Wyatt Phillips.

After the event, attendees were welcomed to stay and take part in a free hot dog lunch.

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Work started on new Solon hall

L to R: John Rideout, Bob Ellick, Fred Gunnell, Rich Straub, and Heather Zenker. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Five months from now, Solon Township residents will have a new township hall. Site work began this week at 15185 Algoma.

The new township hall will be approximately 6,200 square feet, with a large community room that will hold 125 people. According to Supervisor Bob Ellick, the cost of the project is estimated to be about $784,000. The township saved up the bulk of the money, then borrowed $200,000 toward the project.

The township offices, currently located on 19 Mile, just west off Algoma, will move to the new building, which is due to be completed January 13.

Solon bought the 19-acre horse farm two years ago in a tax foreclosure sale for $28,378.

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Pamper your pet at Tail Waggers Dog Groomers

When you go home at the end of a long day, who is waiting at the door to greet you? If you own a dog or cat, chances are they show you just how happy they are to see you. Why not show them a little love back with a visit to Tail Waggers Dog Grooming?

Tail Waggers, owned by Donna Cotten and her daughter, Fallon Cotten, just opened up at 4757 14 Mile Road, across the street from NorthStar Cinema. The two women, who have always owned pets, opened the shop to help Fallon earn some money while she goes to college. “My daughter loves animals,” explained Donna, “and it’s a step into her animal enforcement (rescue) career. She can earn money while going to school.”

The shop offers dog and cat grooming, including bathing, brushing, blow drying, clipping nails, trimming around face, feet and bottom, and more. There are two packages to choose from. They also do $5 walk-in nail trims.

No appointment is needed, but you can make one if desired. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Early drop off or pick up on request. For more information call (616) 696-3900.

This is a paid advertisement

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Gas prices hit $4.00

The price here in Cedar Springs was $4.06 at press time.

Gas prices rose to over $4 Tuesday, and are expected to stay high through the weekend.

“I expect stations to have increased prices as much as 10-35 cents per gallon by the conclusion of the weekend,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst.

DeHaan warns that Tropical Storm Isaac, as well as murky regional refining issues, boosted wholesale gasoline prices to their highest level so far this year, rising 7cents per gallon higher than their previous peak back in March. Wholesale gasoline prices, which is the price stations pay for new shipments of gasoline, rose 35cents per gallon Monday, the largest one day increase in a year. While this situation is a significant pinch for motorists, DeHaan says it is temporary.

“I expect the situation to slowly resolve itself over the next few weeks, but as gasoline prices tend to fall slowly, motorists may not have a sense of real relief until late September,” DeHaan said.

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Skinner Field a great place

Warming up in the photo, left to right: Taryn, 9, Logan, 7, and Cade, 3.

Jacquie Troupe wrote us this week to let us know how grateful she is that her family is able to use Skinner Field, next to Morley Park, on Cedar St.

“Skinner Field is a wonderful addition to our community! In a time where everything has a price, finding a physical outlet for your family can be expensive. My kids (ages 3, 7 & 9) beg to run at Skinner Field every day!” said Jacquie. “It’s a fun, safe environment that encourages them to be competitive with each other and themselves.”

She noted that they are also respectful of the grounds. “They have picked up water bottles & wrappers, knowing that if it’s not taken care of we won’t be able to use it,” she explained. “And, as my 7-year-old points out, as he’s stretching, “It is so cool to come here and make muscles!”

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Last Friday’s town hall meeting canceled

The Town Hall meeting that was advertised in the Post last week for Friday, August 24, about the Red Flannel trademark issue, did not take place. We were notified Thursday evening (after the paper was out) that the organizer had canceled it. We apologize to any readers who may have tried to attend, and especially to the man who drove 300 miles to attend a meeting that didn’t happen. We fielded a lot of phone calls from people asking whether the meeting was on or off, with many wondering why it was canceled. See the press release below from a consultant that organizer Steve McBride was using. It explains the cancellation.

Thursday, Aug. 23: “I was introduced to Steve McBride earlier this week. After hearing reports about a dispute between the Red Flannel Festival Board and Cedar Springs City Council he stuck his head in the middle of small town storm. For over 70 years the two parties worked together to host a Festival celebrating “red flannel” underwear. One thing led to another and now the two were arguing about the trademark, permits, and fees. Steve asked that I help facilitate a Town Hall meeting to help settle the dispute and allow citizens to air feelings.

In spending time with each party Steve and I realized the heated nature of this dispute is rooted in enmeshed relationships which are playing out in of all places, Facebook. Here, citizens and users of social networking are taking snippets of conversations and sound bites from media, coupled with historical accusations to leverage their own perspective. Both parties cited the cheap shots and inaccuracies of the public debate which is fodder for more of the same. The issues are personally debilitating because of the long history people have with one another. Members of the Festival Board and City have gone to high school together, kids have grown up together, and they’ve had good relationships with one another because “… we all know each other.” Now, for a myriad of reasons (namely a trademark issue) the two sides are at odds and the community is torn, and people are wondering about the future of the Festival and the identity of Cedar Springs.

From the Festival Board’s standpoint, “We feel the trademark issue has been resolved and look forward to fostering a flexible, reasonable and accommodating environment which will fertilize the roots of this tradition by working with the businesses and community.”

The City has something similar to say: “Aside from logos being removed from City property the community won’t see much different… we’ll remain supportive of the Festival Board and consider the Red Flannel Festival a part of our hometown pride,” explained Mayor Pro tem Christine Fahl. She continued, “Just in the last two days we have worked with the Festival Board to insure that the City (through the Cedar Springs Public Library) will continue to sell Queen Pageant Tickets and promote the “Read to Ride” program for the children of the community. In fact, the two sides are working together to host a fantastic Festival this year.”

“The Festival volunteers need to focus on this year’s Festival, there are only 44 days remaining”, a (RFF) board member commented. The City agrees.

In fact, the Red Flannel Festival was never in question – this October you can bring your family to Cedar Springs and expect a parade, a queen, great food, and bed races! You will see “red flannels” all over the city streets and the citizens can celebrate the logging tradition and underwear as it has for over 70 years.

Yes, issues remain and will always need to be discussed. No one has an unlimited budget and both have to work together to ensure the Red Flannel Festival continues for another 70 years. Steve has put into focus the necessity of working issues out before they go to this public space on Facebook. We are not citizens of the Middle East trying to force a regime change toward democracy. We have a democracy and if citizens have an issue with how the elected officials have handled public money then there are vehicles to have questions addressed. Namely, talk to Charlie Watson (616-437-9839) or Christine Fahl (616-262-8693) or stop by City Hall anytime. Similarly, if citizens don’t like how the volunteer Festival Board has handled the trademark issue, stop by the office at 21 Maple in Cedar Springs or give them a call (616-696-2662) – they’re always looking for volunteers, too! My experience is that both groups have hard working people dedicated to the Red Flannel Festival. Yet, actually talking and listening to someone is a more cumbersome vehicle to express citizen concern. People would actually have to pick up the phone or go to a meeting and listen to the facts in their entirety. It takes about seven seconds to lob a bomb online – but what has that done for the people of Cedar Springs?

In fact, both the City and the Festival Board are working (likely at this very moment) to host a great Red Flannel Festival come October 6th. They could use a hand. So take some of that “energy” from the sideline and dig in to make it better – just like Steve did, saying, “After reflecting on the meetings with the City and Festival Board I’m now more hopeful that we can begin to heal and work toward a great Red Flannel Festival.”

While both the City Council and Festival Board were willing to participate in a Town Hall meeting this Friday, the logistics of facilitating such a meeting was proving too complex to figure out in this short time. Steve has done what a Town Hall was intended to do; get the two sides back on track and working together to have a great Festival. There won’t be a Town Hall meeting this Friday. Instead let’s all go to the Football game and get ready for the 73rd Red Flannel Festival this October 6, 2012.
Mike Schuler, Ph.D.

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Three teens injured in head-on accident with tree

Three teen girls suffered minor injuries Tuesday, when the truck they were riding in left the road and hit a tree. Post photo by J.Reed.

Three teen-aged girls on a joyride were injured Tuesday morning in Nelson Township, when the driver lost control of the vehicle they were in and hit a tree head-on. The accident occurred just one day after students, friends and family buried fellow student Wyatt Phillips, also a victim of an auto accident.

According to Sheriff Deputies Jason VanDyke and Brad Mercer, Kaitlyn Twork, 17, an unlicensed driver, took the family’s Chevrolet 4×4 for a spin with two of her friends, Fawna Flanagin, 15, and Shelbi Link, also 15. According to a witness, the truck was headed eastbound on 16 Mile and stopped at the stop sign at Shaner. The driver then gunned it across the intersection and continued east on 16 Mile (which is gravel) at a high rate speed. The truck traveled a short distance before veering off the left side of the road and hitting a tree head on.

“It’s a good thing they weren’t going any faster than they were,” said VanDyke. “But they were going fast enough to drive the engine compartment up into the dashboard.”

The three girls were all seatbelted, and suffered minor cuts and contusions, according to police, but were quite emotional and upset at the scene. All three were sent to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Deputy VanDyke said Twork would be cited with careless driving and driving without a license.

The Cedar Springs Fire Department and Rockford Ambulance assisted at the scene.

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Man arrested for larceny

Dennis Jordan

Dennis Napoleon Jordan, 35, of Cedar Springs, was arrested August 15 on two felony charges for Larceny in a Building that occurred on July 29 and August 3.

According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, one case involved Jordan knocking at a resident’s door on N. Grant Street around 10:30 p.m. asking to use the phone. The couple at the home allowed him inside and, after using the phone, he asked to use the restroom. He continued talking to the couple but before leaving asked for a tissue. It was then that the 49-year-old female victim noticed that her small wallet/purse was missing from the counter.

Parent said that the victim confronted Dennis and at first he denied taking it and pulled out a long propane lighter from under his shirt. When he was threatened that they would call the police, he took the wallet from under his shirt and placed it back on the counter. He then left in a hurry, walking down the street.

“I cannot stress enough that the police should be called when a stranger is knocking at the door late at night. If the person leaves before we arrive, call back and give the dispatcher a description of the person by age, size and clothing worn,” said Parent.

The second case against Dennis Jordan involved the theft of a mountain bike at a home on E. Ash Street.

“This person has been a person of interest on a number of police investigations by the Kent County Sheriff Department and the Cedar Springs Police Department,” said Chief Parent. “Our investigations had sufficient evidence to have the prosecutor issue felony warrants for his arrest. His parole agent also approved a parole detainer if we could find him.”

Officers did locate Dennis Jordan on August 15 and he was lodged in the Kent County Jail. He was arraigned on Monday, August 27, in 63rd District Court, where he waived his preliminary hearings and was bound over to Circuit Court. Bond was set at $15,000.00 on each count.

Jordan previously served time in prison for home invasion second degree. He was sentenced in March 2011 to a minimum of one year and maximum of 15 years, and was paroled on December 1, 2011.

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Police seek armed robber

The Cedar Springs Police Department is investigating an armed robbery that took place Monday at an apartment on S. 7th Street.

According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, the occupants of the apartment were still up when a person knocked at their door Monday, August 27 at 2 a.m. and asked to use the phone. As one person turned to go get a cell phone, the person at the door came inside and closed the door. At some point this person grabbed one of the men inside the apartment, placed a sharp item to his back and demanded money. The suspect was given an undisclosed amount of cash. He then took their cell phones before fleeing the apartment.

The suspect was described as a white male around 30 years of age, with his left arm fully covered with tattoos (a sleeve). This tattoo had black and gray flames.  The victims also said his front teeth were rotted or in bad condition.

Responding officers requested a K-9 unit but none were available. We continue to work this investigation and would like anyone having information to help identify the suspect to call the Cedar Springs Police Department at 696-1311 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345 or “Text a Tip.”

Chief Parent said they don’t think this was a random robbery. “The victims had recently sold a vehicle and we feel the suspect may have been informed about this address as a place to get some money from,” he explained. “Because we cannot be sure, we continue to advise citizens to call the police when they see something suspicious or have an unknown person knocking at the door during the nighttime hours.”

Parent also said they continue to take reports of property being stolen from vehicles left unlocked. “Do not leave valuables inside a parked vehicle, and it’s always best to lock the doors,” he said.

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Picking up the pieces

Pastor Kristi J. Rhodes  

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs


Sometimes life has a way of taking our breath away and it hurts so bad, we’re sure there must be blisters on our hearts. These last few weeks have been extremely hard on our community, with tragedy affecting so many of our young people. Sometimes it seems like more than one can bear.

We cry out to God and ask WHY Lord? Why is this happening? When will the hurting stop? Please stop the pain.

The good news is that God knows how bad things are, but He promises they won’t stay that way. Soon we’ll trade all this suffering for something much better. In Isa. 41:10 (NIV), God promises us that He Himself will be right there with us and will not leave us to face tragedy alone. He said, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand!” God never said life wouldn’t be hard but the promise is that we would be held by Him when it is.

One thing that I have noticed that has been a beautiful thing, is witnessing the community coming together in a time of great tragedy. God tells us to mourn with those who mourn. I see countless people coming to the aid of those hurting, wanting to help in any way possible. Prayers are actually reaching all around the world as word spreads of the need. Isa. 61:1-3 expresses beautifully how the Spirit of God is sent to comfort the brokenhearted and that He also will make something beautiful out of the ashes and broken pieces. It reminds me of a beautiful piece of mosaic art.

The mosaic is made from broken pieces of this and that, some leftovers and other damaged pieces. At first glance, those broken pieces don’t seem to be related to each other. The sharp edges had the ability to cut and damage. But when the pieces were placed together and the light shines, the broken pieces are transformed into something beautiful.

As we look over the course of our lives, often broken pieces seem to stick out. Many of those pieces have sharp edges: difficult memories that continue to jag and cut into our hearts. Other pieces have been rubbed smooth and shiny; we recognize them as things of beauty. Up close, we may not see the pattern. But, when we look from the right distance, the pieces come together and, even though it may be difficult to admit, something of beauty is created. Indeed, our lives are mosaics: God takes our shattered pieces and creates something beautiful.

Perhaps as you look over the broken pieces of your life that are still sharp enough to cut and wound your spirit, you will in time, be able to look back at them and find that a beautiful mosaic is emerging.

When God answers our prayers we say, “Oh God is SO good”(as we should). We must also remember that when God doesn’t answer exactly how we were expecting, or how we wanted, that God is still just as good!

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Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

I took my sons to the park a few days ago to enjoy a new playground installed by the city fathers, apparently with the help of a team of safety experts and a host of litigation-preventing-attorneys. There was no dirt, mud, or gravel. Gone was the sharp-edged chain link fence, traded in for a short polymer-slotted wall. Even the equipment had changed. There were no monkey bars; no metal slides; no rocket-shaped-climby-thing, not even a seesaw.

There was one piece of missing playground equipment that, for all my nostalgia, I’m glad was removed: The merry-go-round, or as some call them, the round-a-bout. I haven’t been on one of these things since I was ten-years-old and with good reason. The game we played was simple. About a thousand pounds of elementary-aged children would climb aboard while someone’s older brother started spinning the thing with the G-force of a fighter jet. This resulted in half the kids immediately flying off or getting sucked beneath the thing, breaking arms and noses.

Those who remained stuck to the handlebars usually began to spew their lunches like shaken cola cans, and the one who didn’t get sick, suffer a compound fracture, or could walk the straightest line when the spinning stopped was naturally the winner.

The truth is no one ever wins on the round-a-bout. The round-a-bout I am speaking of is the always spinning cycle of human anger. The eye-for-an-eye, tit-for-tat rotation that leaves everyone flattened on the ground, barely holding on, or staggering about, dazed and broken. Is there a way to stay safe and “win” this dangerous game?

Jesus says there is: Don’t play the game at all. He said, “If you remember that someone has something against you, go settle your differences quickly.” The solution, according to Jesus, was not to assault your enemies with a preemptive strike or to dig in further by strengthening your grip on the rails. The solution is early intervention by defusing anger and retaliation before it even gets started.

You see, before the first blow is ever struck, before a trigger is ever pulled, or before the revenge scheme is ever hatched, emotions have already been weaponized and the round-a-bout is already on its not-so-merry-go-round way. Jesus understood that the only way to stop accelerating anger was to graciously neutralize it as soon as possible. That’s the only real way to stay in the game.


Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me


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