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Archive | September, 2012

Flowing well a victim of dry summer

By Judy Reed

Some people have questioned whether the historic flowing artesian well fueled by an underground spring just south of Cedar Creek is really flowing. It’s hard to tell, when driving down Main Street, if water is actually coming out of the well, located behind the fire barn on Maple at Main St. The Post took a look, and it is indeed flowing—although there is less water than usual.

The State of Michigan defines flowing artesian wells as “water wells where the pressure in the aquifer (waterbearing geologic formation) forces ground water above the ground surface so that the well will flow without a pump.”

According to Cedar Springs interim DPW Supervisor Al Kensil, the low flow from the well is because we’ve had such a dry summer. “The aquifer hasn’t had a chance to recharge yet,” he explained. “After the wintertime when the snow melts, it will bounce back.” He went on to say that the water level goes up and down each year.

According to the United States National Geological Survey, the nearest water table measurement is in Rockford, near the Rogue River, and it is low.

This flowing well has been here as long as anyone can remember. Many of the town’s elderly residents remember getting drinks or playing in it as a kid. It’s thought to be in the general area where the first dwelling in the village of Cedar Springs was established.

According to the Cedar Springs Story, by Sue Harrison and Donna DeJonge, Ora Lewis related that when his grandfather, Dennis Lewis, lived in Grand Rapids, he heard of a place far north called Cedar Springs. Near the road by the creek was a tavern, and close by were some Cedar trees and a large spring, giving the town its name. It was probably owned by John and Lydia Smith, who settled here in 1851. He ran a sawmill and their home was a log cabin in the forest, and also served as a hotel.

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Language to recall Mayor rejected

Petition language to recall Cedar Springs Mayor Charlie Watson was rejected Friday morning, September 21, by the Kent County Election Commission.

According to Kent County Elections Director Susan deSteiguer, the Commission felt there were two concerns with the language. One, the language stated that it was to recall Mayor/Councilperson Charlie Watson. It came out in the hearing that citizens can not recall the Mayor, because citizens don’t elect the Mayor—the City Council does. Watson’s term as Mayor ends in November, and his term on the council ends in November 2013.

Sue deStiguer said the second reason it was rejected was that they felt the language was insufficient to allow the Mayor to justify his conduct to his constituents. (A spot would be given to him on the ballot for him to do that.) The language read “fiscal mismanagement regarding Red Flannel logos, resulting in a larger expense to the taxpayers.” She said that one of the comments made was that it wasn’t clear whether he didn’t buy enough logos or what the problem was.

deStiguer said that new language was filed immediately after the hearing by the petitioner, Cedar Springs resident Molly Nixon, and that a new clarity hearing was set for Wednesday, October 10, at 8:45 a.m. in the second floor training room of the Kent County Administration building. The new language reads “Failure to reach an agreement with the Red Flannel Festival regarding the city’s use of their logos. Rejecting an offer to keep using the logos for $4,000 per year of in-kind services. Causing the city’s legal bill alone for this matter to top $6,000, which is more than if we had just kept using the logos.”

The Kent County Elections Commission is made up of the Chief Probate Judge, the Kent County Clerk, and the Kent County Treasurer.

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Mother and daughter make 5K a tradition

By Judy Reed

For Lori Ostrom and her mother, Beverly Hale, the annual Red Flannel 5K walk/run as become a tradition that means something special. It means that Beverly is still here to walk it.

The two began walking in the race 5 years ago. It was then that they got the idea to make it an annual event. “We met a man and his son who told us they had made it a tradition. It didn’t look like the father would be around much longer,” explained Lori. “They were such gentlemen. During the race we would pass each other, and as we neared the finish line, they lingered behind and let us win.”

Since then the women have done it every year. But two years ago this Christmas, they weren’t sure there would ever be another race together. “She almost died of pancreatitis,” Lori said of Beverly, now 65. “We thought she wasn’t going to make it.”

But Beverly fought back. And last year she won in the senior category. “We laugh because we always come in last,” remarked Lorie. “We do what we can, when we can. The idea is just to cross the finish line.”

Beverly has been out walking every day with her husband to prepare for the walk. “She’s been encouraging me,” explained Lorie. “She’s trying to stay healthy.”

Lorie encourages everyone to try it. “Just go do it—even if you think you can’t,” she said.

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Local man sentenced in Montana

By Judy Reed

A Cedar Springs man that led police in Montana on a high-speed chase in a stolen car earlier this year was sentenced last week and will serve two years in Montana State Prison.

Purdy

Nathaniel James Purdy, 28, of Cedar Springs, pled guilty to one count of felony Criminal Endangerment, one count of felony Assault on a Peace Officer and one misdemeanor count of fleeing and eluding. Under the plea agreement, the Stillwater County Attorney’s office recommended that Purdy be sentenced to five years with three years suspended. He was also given credit for time served, 260 days.

The saga started with a car that was stolen from a Cedar Springs gas station. According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, a 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix was stolen from the Admiral Gas Station at 194 S. Main in Cedar Springs, about 8:45 p.m. January 2. The 43-year-old female driver left it running while she went inside to pay for gas. Surveillance footage shows a short, stocky person wearing a hooded sweatshirt and baggy clothing get into the car and drive away. Police say it appeared to be a smaller size female.

Two days later, on January 4, the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Department in Montana arrested Nathaniel James Purdy, 28, of Cedar Springs, after a high-speed chase topping 100 mph. According to the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy located the stolen vehicle about 10:15 a.m., after it was involved in a gas theft in Billings, Montana. The deputy attempted to stop the vehicle in the Park City area of I-90, but the driver fled, leading the deputy and two highway patrol troopers on the high-speed chase. As they neared Columbus, Montana, Sheriff’s deputies and the Columbus Police Department put down spike strips, but Purdy still refused to stop, and exited into the town of Columbus. Purdy’s damaged tires gave out when he turned down an alley and he crashed into a building. He then fled on foot, but police pursued him and ordered him to the ground at gunpoint about 50 feet away from where he had crashed.

The Stillwater County News reported on the sentencing.

“You put a community I care about at risk. You put people I care about at risk,” said District Court Judge Blair Jones.

Jones also sought input from two of the lawmen involved in the chase who happened to be in the courtroom. The Chief Deputy of Stillwater County, Nancy Rohde, told Jones that neither deputy wished to talk, so she spoke on their behalf. Rohde herself became emotional when describing the fear law enforcement experienced that day.

“My undersheriff felt like he was not going to see his grandkids again, like he was not going to see his wife again,” said Rohde, her voice breaking.

Undersheriff Woody Claunch was the victim of the Assault on a Peace Officer charge, stemming from Purdy driving directly at him while on Pike Avenue.

Purdy apologized to everyone involved and told Jones he accepted and respected whatever sentence he was given.

“There’s no excuse. I’m glad no one got hurt,” said Purdy.

Defense attorney Paskell said Purdy has “metamorphosed” during his time in jail—transforming himself from an “urban city gang-banger” to a young man who is now sober and trying to live his life right. Purdy is one test away from getting his GED and scored exceptionally high on the reading portion. He also has plans to enroll in the University of Montana’s culinary school.

Probation officer Steve Hurd cautioned against Purdy being given too much credit for being clean and sober during the past 260 days.

“I’m not a huge fan of incarcerated sobriety,” said Hurd.

Jones asked Purdy what would be different about this go around. He previously served a prison sentence in Michigan and had been off probation for just two months before the Columbus chase. Purdy said his surroundings were different and the bad influences that seemed to drag him into things that weren’t in Montana.

Jones cautioned that Missoula was a community with “rampant drug use” and plenty of trouble. Purdy acknowledged that and said his faith was the big difference in his life now.

“I have faith that God is going to work miracles in my life,” said Purdy.

Purdy has not been charged in connection to the vehicle being stolen. Anyone with info on the original theft of the auto should contact the Cedar Springs Police Department at 696-1311.

Thanks to Marlo Provonost, of the Stillwater County News, for her contribution to this story.

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Teen swims with jellyfish in Myers Lake

By Beth Altena

Jade Powell was waterskiing when she noticed something funny in the water of Myers Lake, in Courtland Township, Sunday, September 16. The lake was full of freshwater jellyfish!

Thousands of jellyfish could be seen from the Powell’s pontoon boat on Wednesday, September 12.

Thousands of jellyfish could be seen from the Powell’s pontoon boat on Wednesday, September 12.

“I put my feet in the water when I saw them. I thought they looked like jellyfish,” she said. She was right. From that Sunday until at least Wednesday the following week, the warm waters of Myers Lake hosted thousands of swimming jellyfish.

According to Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Biologist Mark Tonello, the freshwater jellyfish are quite common in Michigan’s lakes. He said they traditionally are spotted in lakes throughout Michigan in the fall and can be in large numbers. The jellies are harmless to humans and don’t seem to be eaten by fish, at least in his observation.

Tonello said the whitish, translucent jellies in Myers Lake are typical, but he has seen them with blue or purple hues. Unlike saltwater jellyfish, which can be larger and tougher—and sting people—the little Michigan jellies likely disintegrate after death, the reason their dead bodies aren’t found on shore as they are at the seaside.

“They are so fragile they probably just disintegrate when they die,” he said. Not claiming to be an expert on this non-fish hydrozoan, Tonello said he has never heard of them in streams, rivers or the Great Lakes. He said the small creatures do have stingers that they use to catch food but can’t sting humans.

Internet research finds the jellyfish, craspedacusta sowerbyi, are known to exist on every continent in the world except Antarctica and are believed to have originated in the Yangtze River in China, where they are found today and where they are a native species. They were first discovered elsewhere in the lily tank ponds in Regents Park, London in the 1800s where they likely were introduced as polyps in the imported Chinese lilies.

They often “bloom” in large numbers, mostly in still, warmer waters, in the fall. They feed for a week or two, and asexually reproduce by creating polyps that sink to the bottom of lakes, where perfect conditions and timing cause them to develop into the jellyfish such as the Powells found.

Jars of Jellies—The Powell family have caught lots of bluegills, bass and perch from Myers Lake, but never before caught jellyfish. Jade, Vance, Gage and Chase Powell are pictured with a jar of the freshwater creatures they scooped up from the lake on Sunday, September 16.

Jars of Jellies—The Powell family have caught lots of bluegills, bass and perch from Myers Lake, but never before caught jellyfish. Jade, Vance, Gage and Chase Powell are pictured with a jar of the freshwater creatures they scooped up from the lake on Sunday, September 16.

Tonello said there are lots of things in our Michigan ponds and lakes that would amaze and astound residents, such as a predacious water beetle that reaches the length of three inches. He also said he had to look up a huge specimen eventually identified as a waterbear. He said the thing was a type of plankton about the size of a quarter with a quite startling appearance. He said residents would not, however, find any of the following in our local waters: starfish, squid, anemonies, puffer fish, urchins or seahorses.

Jade Powell said, after her initial alarm and after the family captured and carefully handled a few of the jellies, she lost her concern over their potential danger. She continued her waterskiing despite thousands of swimming jellyfish around her. Such an activity would probably cost her several hundred dollars if it were a tourist attraction at Seaworld. Given the difference between the benign jellyfish in Michigan and the stinging nature of the saltwater variety, that likely won’t be available anytime soon.

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Man pleads guilty in mobile home fire

A man charged in the arson of a Cedar Springs mobile home has pled guilty to a lesser charge.

Brent Koelisch

Brent Koelisch

Brent Koelsch, 41, of Cannon Township, pled guilty in 17th Circuit Court to “preparation to burn personal property over $1,000,” which is a five-year felony. He was originally charged with one count of arson of a dwelling and one count of home invasion.

According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, the fire broke out about midnight June 26, 2010, at 368 Allan Street. Witnesses said a man arrived at the mobile home just before midnight, reportedly yelling and kicking in the door. Soon after, the man exited the mobile home and fled. Witnesses saw flames shortly after and called the fire department.

No one was home at the time of the fire.

The 14 X 70 1992 Patriot mobile home was a total loss. State Police Fire Investigator Gregory J. Stormzand assisted Cedar Springs PD with the fire investigation, and confirmed it was arson.

Upon investigation, police found that the owner, a 38-year-old Cedar Springs man, had a brief encounter with a person earlier in the night, who he felt had broken into his home and started the fire. After reviewing evidence, the prosecutor issued a two-count warrant for Brent Robert Koelsch, 40, of Cannon Township. But authorities were told he left the state. Koelsch was finally picked up on August 30, 2011, in Ottawa County, on a traffic stop.

He will be sentenced on the lesser charge November 12.

 

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Bomb threat results in arrest

A former Cedar Springs man has been charged with calling in a bomb threat to a local mobile home park.

Jeff Klein

According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, officers were out on a call at 2:02 a.m., Tuesday, August 25, when the dispatch center informed them that a person had called in a bomb threat at the Cedar Springs Mobile Estates. The male caller told dispatch that a bomb would go off in four hours. Officer Mike Stahl alerted management and a property check was done at the office building and surrounding grounds. They were told to alert police if they did find anything suspicious.

The dispatch center pinged the cell phone, which provided information on the subscriber. Officer Stahl made contact at the address and asked about the cell phone and where the female owner of the phone was. He knew the call was made by a man and questioned the person at this address who denied making the bomb threat.

Officer Stahl spoke with management and learned that this male resident had a number of violations/issues with management. The next day, after listening to the recording of the call, Officer Stahl knew the caller was the man he questioned the night before.

The officer returned and questioned Jeffrey Allan Klein, 42, of Cedar Springs. Klein eventually admitted that he made the bomb threat because he was upset with management.

A felony warrant was issued by the Prosecutor’s Office. Because this suspect had a number of medical problems he was allowed to appear at court. The felony charge would then be bound over to Circuit Court. On Wednesday, September 5th he did arrive at court, but, while still outside in the parking lot, he presented court staff with a medical condition and was transported to the hospital. The following Wednesday, September 12, he arrived and was arraigned on his charge in 63rd District Court. When he heard they would be remanding him to jail he presented court staff with another medical condition that required him to be transported to the hospital.

Jeff Klein now has a new felony warrant for his arrest “Fail to appear/pay bond as ordered by the Judge.” He has moved to Grand Rapids and no longer lives in Cedar Springs.

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Man who faked child abduction charged under new law

Eugene Rose

The Tyrone Township father who admitted to police that he made up the story about someone attempting to abduct his child, has been charged under a new law that went into effect in July. The law makes it a crime to lie to police in a criminal investigation.

Eugene Rose, 32, was charged with lying to a peace officer on a 4-year or more crime investigation.

The original story was that the father was working in his garage on September 4, when he noticed a man walking away holding the hand of his 2-year-old son, who had been playing in the front yard. The father yelled at the man, who continued walking, and the father then ran after the man and got his son back after a confrontation. He didn’t report the incident to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department until September 7. On September 18, the father admitted to police that it didn’t really happen.

Rose turned himself in to police on Tuesday, September 24, and bonded out on a $500 cash/surety bond the same day. His arraignment is scheduled in 63rd District Court on Wednesday, October 3 at 8:30 a.m.

According to Lt. Ron Gates, with the Kent County Sheriff Department, they heard about the attempted abduction through other sources, and when they contacted Rose about it, he stuck to his story. “We later caught him in lies and inconsistencies, and eventually he admitted making it up,” explained Gates.

He said the man has given police various stories on why he made it up, so they are not sure what the true motive was.

The new law, Public Act 104 (HB5050), makes it a crime to “knowingly and willfully conceal from the peace officer any material fact relating to the criminal investigation” or to “make any statement to the peace officer that the person knows is false or misleading regarding a material fact in that criminal investigation.”

Penalties vary depending on what type of crime is being investigated. According to Gates, an attempted abduction is a 20-year felony. The new law says, “If the crime being investigated is a felony punishable by imprisonment for 4 years or more, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.”

Gates said the new law fits this circumstance. “A report like this creates a certain panic in the community. We take them seriously and try to get the bottom of it. Often, people don’t realize how their actions affect others,” he said.

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City begins to discuss new logo and tagline

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs City Council heard an idea from an area business owner about a new tagline for the city at the last City Council meeting, and opened up discussion about how to start the process on adopting a new logo. The discussion proved to get a little heated, and inaction on whether they wanted to exercise an option on the tagline “Gateway to the North” seemed to leave some council members and the public frustrated.

Sonya Cronkright, owner of the Hair Craft Company, brought to the City Council information on the tagline “Gateway to the North,” after investigating whether it was trademarked and after talking with Mayor Charlie Watson. “It’s just a tagline—a slogan or phrase that conveys the most important idea. It’s not a logo, it’s not meant to replace Red Flannel Town USA,” she explained to the Council. “But we need a new identity.” She went on to explain why she chose “Gateway to the North” as a possible tagline. “Psychologically, it (the north) starts here. It’s the last stop for a while for food, gas, etc. for people on their way up north. I think it’s a landmark identity we could build on. I love this town, I’ve been here a long time, and I’m just trying to help the town and get the community to move forward,” she said.

Cronkright explained that she had spent her own money to hold the tagline from being trademarked for a limited time. And that all the Council needed to do if they wanted to consider it was to show somehow they were using it—such as on a business card. But there was only a short period of time that the option would remain open.

When discussion of a new city logo (graphic) came up, Councilor Pat Capek said she felt the tagline and logo should complement each other, and that they could decide the tagline and give the public the option to create and vote on a logo—possibly through the Post. Others felt only city residents should vote.

Some Council members wanted to secure the option of Gateway to the North to start the process, while others were opposed.

“I don’t see any problem with at least securing it,” said Councilor Neil Gomez. He said he’d be willing to put it on business cards.

Mayor Charlie Watson said he’d like to see Neil do that, because he would hate to later see it was their best option. He also said he felt it was a starting point, and that they could always go with something else if they didn’t like it.

Pam Conley said she was uncomfortable with that. “I think I’ve seen that somewhere,” she explained. “I want Cedar Springs to have something original.”

Mayor Pro Tem Christine Fahl was also against adopting it. “I appreciate all the work she (Sonya) put into this. But I’m a little irritated that I’m being pushed to make a decision. The timeline isn’t my problem. We hadn’t even asked for input,” she remarked.

Gomez said they had experienced a lot of personal attacks on Facebook, and now they couldn’t seem to make a decision. “Maybe we need to man up, “ he remarked.

Conley appeared upset by that remark. “Just because I feel uncomfortable making a decision I need to man up?” she responded.

In the end, the Council asked new City Manager Thad Taylor to come up with a process for deciding on a new logo/tagline and bring it back to the Council in October.

Gateway to the North is a phrase that has been used by Clare County in mid-Michigan, and St. Ignace, in the Upper Peninsula.

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roger on main streetMarketing with reptiles

As a general rule, soft and furry equals cute. That’s what seems odd about that gecko. He’s not soft and not furry, but Geico Insurance Company’s ad creators made their gecko just about the cutest thing on TV.

A little free information for the curious: geckos are found in warm climates throughout the world. They range from an inch to a couple of feet in size. Geckos can’t blink. Instead, their eyes have a fixed lens inside each iris that enlarges in darkness.

Geico’s gecko stars in a batch of ads that get a laugh out of me every time. He swallows hard and tries to remain polite when his CEO suggests crazy marketing ideas. Funny!

He spreads his message on a topless beach, which doesn’t bother him because he goes around naked anyway. Funny!

He pitches his product in heavy traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge. Funny!

Love that gecko.

Many years ago, another company found a reptile to associate its products with. Who among us doesn’t have at least one of Lacoste’s crocodiles among our shirts?

I saw a picture of the frilled lizard the other day. He’s frilly, all right. Victoria’s Secret, are you listening?

The big three in jokes

1. Old folks

Two elderly ladies are enjoying the sunshine on a park bench. They’ve been meeting in the same park every sunny day for over 12 years, chatting and enjoying each other’s friendship.

One day the older of the two says, “Please don’t be angry with me, my dear, but I am embarrassed. After all these years, what is your name? I’m trying to remember but just can’t.”

The younger friend looks distressed and says nothing for two full minutes. Finally, with tears in her eyes, she says, “How soon do you have to know?”

2. Marriage

When Joe’s wife ran away he got so depressed that his doctor sent him to a psychiatrist. Joe told the new doc his troubles and then sighed, “Life isn’t worth living.”

“Don’t be stupid, Joe,” said the psychiatrist. “Allow work to be your salvation. I want you to totally submerge yourself in your work. Now, what do you do for a living?”

“I clean out septic tanks,” Joe replied.

3. Blondes

A blonde was hunched over the bar, toothpick in hand, spearing futilely at the olive in her martini. A dozen times the olive eluded her. Finally, another patron, who had been watching from a nearby stool, got up and grabbed the toothpick. “Here’s how you do it,” he said, as he easily skewered the olive.

“Big deal,” muttered the blonde. “I already had him so tired out he couldn’t get away.”

Last words

Follow your dreams, but not the one where you’re in kindergarten dressed only in your underwear.

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