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Archive | March, 2013

Cedar Springs High School Montage

On Thursday, March 21, Cedar Springs High School held their “Montage” event, which is their annual talent show. I was very impressed with the truly talented students that entertained at this event. There were many excellent singers and musicians that brought down the house. And who knew that a martial arts demonstration set to music could be that much fun to watch! The most unique act was a modern dance that used colored “glow balls” performed in near darkness—simply superb. (I was glad I wasn’t one of the judges because so many deserved to win.) If you missed out this year, watch for it next year and see what the young people of our community have to offer!

Cherri Rose, Sand Lake


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Daddy Daughter Dance

CTA-DD-DanceOn Thursday, February 28, CTA had their second annual Daddy/Daughter Dance.  Over 70 people attended this year’s Hoe Down.  Dads and daughters had an amazing time getting their pictures taken, playing games, dancing, and enjoying desserts.  Senior Austin Armstrong and sophomore Hunter George led the dads and daughters in line dance lessons.

CTA’s fourth grade student, Madelin DeKraker, stated, “I loved it!  The detail and decorations were wonderful.  I also loved spending time with my Dad.  It was fun to dance with him.”  Overall, this dance was a huge success.  “The kids and staff had an incredible time.  It was nice to see families spending time together.  I can’t wait for next year’s dance!” stated the kindergarten teacher, Miss Bostic.

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Reading Month Celebration

CTA-K-5-Celebrate-ReadingMarch is Reading Month and our elementary school is celebrating! Grades K-5 set and exceeded their goal of 600 books for the month and met last week to set a new goal. 4th Grader Gillian Crowder gave this report:

“Today at CTA, students are reading like crazy! It’s a reading frenzy! The elementary students had a goal of 600 books, and they have already read 853 books as of last Wednesday, March 20th. With one week left, can the elementary students reach their new goal of 1000 books, or will the frenzy fail? Stay tuned to find out if they’ll meet their goals.”

School Leader, Dan George, reads to the CTA 2nd graders

School Leader, Dan George, reads to the CTA 2nd graders

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CTA 2nd Trimester Honor Roll

Middle School

Student Name • Grade • GPA

Armstrong, Dawson 07 4.00

August, Danielle 06 4.00

Beardsley, Grace 07 3.84

Beck, Brandon 08 3.33

Bouma, Jarod 08 3.44

Caldwell, Anna 07 4.00

Calkins, Brianne 06 3.75

Davison, Matthew 06 3.83

Fulkerson, Lily 06 3.92

Grabinski, William 07 3.50

Heydenburg, Emily 08 3.22

Hickox, Annalise 08 3.78

Hofstra, James 07 3.17

Howard, Austin 07 4.00

Ingersoll, Dawson 06 4.00

Jenkins, Derek 08 3.67

Kangas, Kaelen 06 3.67

Knott, Ryan 08 3.22

Konrad, Allen 06 4.00

Konrad, Arabelle 08 4.00

Korody, Michael 07 3.17

Lawson, Tatyanna 08 3.67

Lehman, Ethan 08 4.00

Lovett, Nathan 06 3.08

McKinney, Thomas 08 3.67

Miner, Leslie 07 4.00

Price, Nicholas 07 4.00

Shelagowski, Autumn 08 3.89

Starr, Marjorie 06 3.50

Watson, Autumn 07 3.34

Winters, Logan 06 3.00

Wortz, Charles 06 3.50


High School

Student Name • Grade • GPA

Armstrong, Austin 12 4.10

Beck, Alicia 11 4.00

Bishop, Emmalee 11 3.95

Boshoven, Tyler 12 3.07

Botruff, Kaylynn 10 3.22

Bricker, Brianna 10 3.42

Colburn, Lydia 11 3.80

Colburn, Naomi 12 3.97

Cooper, Daniel 12 3.00

Couturier, Esther 12 3.42

Davison, Joshua 09 3.72

Fahling, Adam 12 3.29

George, Dani 11 4.17

George, Jonathan H 10 4.08

Herweyer, Kyle 10 3.17

Hickox, Evan 09 3.56

Holmberg, Timothy 12 3.17

Hoops, Jonathan 10 3.63

Hubbard, Esther 12 3.78

Hubbard, Hannah 10 3.90

Huizinga, Clare 09 3.56

Huizinga, Maria 12 3.08

Ingersoll, Skyler 12 4.09

Johnson, Travis 12 3.67

Keech, Kaleigh 09 3.67

Kibitz, Colton 12 3.00

Knott, Stephen 11 4.25

Kyser, Jordan 09 3.28

Larsen, Kaitlin 10 3.00

Marek, Ashley 12 3.47

Marek, Caitlin 12 3.56

Mead, Justin 11 3.56

Munger, Erin 11 4.06

Ogden, Logan 10 3.33

Patchett, Sage 12 3.50

Price, Grace 10 4.08

Smith, Michaela 11 3.89

Stahle, Jared 09 3.53

Temple, Rachelle 10 3.86

Tow, Kathryn 11 4.17

VanEnk, Annalise 09 3.95

VanEnk, Grace 12 4.17

Wheaton, Matthew 11 3.61

Winters, Andre 12 3.42

Winters, Derek 10 3.92

Wortz, Jeremiah 12 3.61

Yarrington, Dylan 10 4.08

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Parent/Superintendent TOWN HALL MEETING

Monday, April 22 – 7 PM


CTA invites all parents and stakeholders to the annual spring Parent/Superintendent Town Hall Meeting on Monday, April 22 at 7 pm in the CTA auditorium. You will hear about new initiatives for 2013-14 in technology, curriculum, specials classes, and before and after school child care. 

All families present will participate in a drawing for a $100 gas card!

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March 29 Weather Make Up Day – School is in session!


April 1-5 No School for Students and Staff – Spring Break

April 18 Cedar Springs Community Night @ Cedar Springs High School – Come visit our booth!

April 22 Family Night – 5-7 pm

April 22 Parent / Superintendent Town Hall Meeting – 7-8 pm

April 23-25 K-8 Parent/Teacher Conferences (by appointment)

April 25 9-12 Parent Teacher Conferences (by appointment)


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Michigan’s Endangered barking Owl

OUT-barking-owl-(short-eared)-photoThe Short-eared Owl is listed as a vulnerable species worldwide and somewhat common in North America, South America, Eurasia and many oceanic islands. However, in Michigan it is listed as an endangered species, having been observed in less than a dozen counties state-wide within the last three decades. The Short-eared Owl has been showing a steady decline in numbers for the past several years in most of its range.

The Short-eared Owl is a medium sized owl, measuring 13-17 inches in length. As the name suggests the owl displays short ear tufts but is accompanied by a heightened sense of hearing. This owl has a large head with big eyes and a wide wingspan ranging from 33-41 inches, more than 2.5 times its own body length. The coloration of streaked brown and buff helps it blend in with its surroundings and can make it difficult to identify. The scratchy barking call that the Short-eared Owl makes is its most distinctive feature and the easiest way to identify the owl.

This species of owl prefers large, open grasslands close to marshes, streams or wet meadows with a good mix of small rodents and insects on which to feed. The Short-eared Owl is unique from most owl species because it hunts both day and night and is not strictly nocturnal. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources it is likely that the Short-eared Owl was never overly abundant in Michigan due to the lack of large contiguous grassland habitat in our state. However, the population numbers in Michigan have been rapidly declining due to the loss of habitat to development and succession and the use of pesticides that kill off the owl’s food sources.

Luckily, the owl can benefit from many of the management plans currently in use for restoring bird populations in grasslands and marshes. The best techniques to help bring back the Short-eared Owl include prescribed burning and scheduled mowing, done every few years between mid-April to mid-July.

A good place to observe the Short-eared Owl in Michigan is at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw County.The refuge has teamed up with the Saginaw Valley Audubon Society (SVAS) to provide high quality habitat for theendangered owl while also providing unique opportunities to observe this rare bird. Members and volunteers from the SVAS now host auto tours of the refuge to see the bird without disturbing its habitat. In 2006, the refuge had a record 18 owls observed.

Short-eared Owls are also consistently observed on the Raco Plains in the Eastern Upper Peninsula, near Saulte Ste. Marie according to Tom Funke, Michigan Audubon Conservation Director.

Although the owl was never overly abundant in Michigan, many Short-eared Owls migrated and spent time in Michigan.

Management plans in place for Pheasants will help increase population numbers of Short-eared Owls in Michigan and hopefully remove the bird from the Michigan Endangered Species list.

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Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche

Waves of Birds

On March 11 a south wind brought the first big wave of birds on their northerly migration. A flock of twenty Red-winged Blackbirds clustered in a tree near my home. Two individual Common Grackles were flying about the area. One American Robin was singing in a neighbor’s front yard. Over 100 American Crows flocked northward. This occurred during a short walk between 8:30 and 9 a.m.

We were still experiencing NE winds for a couple days prior to the south wind but some birds anxiously pushed their way against the wind to get to a desired destination. I saw the first redwings on 7 March. A friend and I have a contest to see if we can best predict the date of first arrival for redwings. This year he predicted the 6th and I chose the 7th. It happened that I hit the date right on. I am not usually that accurate.

Scientists gather evidence and make a hypothesis based on available data. It appeared snow would linger in depth into March and the National Weather Service was predicting that March would be cold. Based on that limited information I thought the redwings would arrive later than usual this year and was lucky that I selected the exact date. I have seen them as early as 28 February here in Cedar Springs but usually expect them the first week of March.

When I saw that Indiana was getting hit with 8 inches of snow just prior to my selected date and saw that northeast winds were expected to continue for days, I thought my prediction was probably too early. Instead three redwings forged their way here anyway. Thank you redwings!

Other first sightings providing evidence of spring were exposed skunk cabbage flower spathes along the creek edge where snow melted by 3 March. I was sure many were up already up in February but I could not see them beneath the 15 inches of snow. I need my hand lens to see if the small flowers on the spadix enclosed by the hood-like spathe are already mature and receptive for pollen.

Snowfleas were active on the snow but that may occur in January on a sunny day. Their abundance increases as spring nears and are usually most abundant near the base of the tree trunks where snow has melted. Snowfleas are not fleas and only resemble them in size. They are important and desirable soil insects that are present in the billions and trillions.

The first pussy willow shrub exposed its fuzzy gray buds 7 March along my hiking trail on the south side of a shrub clump where the sun could warm plant tissues. There were three beetle larvae crawling on top of the deep snow. I could not identify the half-inch long larvae beyond that of being a beetle. In the higher late winter sun, red-osier dogwood shrubs have already brightened their red bark with anthocyanin.

My first robin sighting was here in Courtland Township on 9 March. Two were together at road’s edge. I heard the first one singing on 11 March. Get out to see, hear, feel, smell, and touch spring nature niches. They will touch and energize your body in return.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net or Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433, 616-696-1753.

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Fundraiser for fire truck restoration


The Cedar Springs Fire Department is having a spaghetti dinner at Big Boy on Wednesday, April 10, to raise money to help restore its antique Model A fire engine. The 1929 engine is used for special events such as parades and community events, usually with the Keystone Kops at the helm.

Dinner tickets are $10 for adults, and $6 for children, and are available at Big Boy or from any Cedar Springs Firefighter. You can also call the station at 696-1221 and leave a message.

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Taking it with you

A man lying on his deathbed called his lawyer, his doctor, and his pastor to his bedside. “I am going to die tonight,” he said, “and I want to prove that when you go to heaven you can take it all with you. So, I am giving $50,000 to each one of you, my three most trusted friends, in these envelopes. When I die, you must come to my funeral and put the envelopes in my coffin with me.” The man handed the three men identical envelopes.

A day later they each received the news that  the old man had died . So each knew they must go to his funeral and fulfill his death wish.

Standing over the coffin one week later the pastor confessed, “I can’t hide what I’ve done. I took $10,000 from the envelope because the church needed to be painted.”

Then as he did so the doctor also started to fidget and finally confessed, “I took $30,000 from my envelope because the hospital needed a new wing.”

The lawyer was enraged. “You bunch of crooks! I wrote him a check for the full amount!”


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