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Archive | April, 2013

Slimming seasonal staples for spring

HEA-Slimming-seasonal-staplWith spring finally upon us, you may be inclined to add some fresh foods into your diet. The season synonymous with change provides a variety of seasonal produce that can recharge your diet, as well as aid in your weight-loss efforts.
Incorporating specific springtime staples into your diet can help keep you fuller and more satisfied while improving your overall health. TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, offers the following tasteful recommendations that work overtime to help benefit your body.
• Sugar snap peas – One cup of these sweet veggies contains only 26 calories. Besides being loaded with flavor and crunch, they also are full of fiber and vitamin K.
• Ginger – According to researchers at Florida’s University of Miami, just a teaspoon of ginger can make you feel full twice as quickly. This is due to the gingerol and zingibain inside ginger that act as powerful appetite suppressants. Ginger is also a great anti-inflammatory.
• Green onions – Also known as spring onions, these have all the flavor of regular onions without the smell. Stanford University researchers have found the high amounts of sulfur in spring onions help your pancreas burn carbs for fuel before they are stored in your body as fat. Add these to recipes for a little flavor and color.
• Eggplant – Eggplant can be incorporated into many recipes as a low-calorie meat replacement or eaten on its own. Baked or grilled, eggplant is a great choice at just 20 calories per cup. Its low sugar content and muscle-strengthening high protein and potassium levels make it a powerhouse of taste and nutrition.
• Button mushrooms – According to UCLA research, the plant protein in button mushrooms slows down carbohydrate absorption in the intestines and helps your body soak up and burn sugars fast, aiding weight-loss efforts. The study has shown that eating one cup a day could accelerate your weight loss by 50 percent.
• Peppermint – Add this fresh and light herb into your diet as often as possible. Studies from Chicago’s Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation have shown that adding one tablespoon of fresh, chopped peppermint to a meal can cause you to feel full on 100 fewer calories. Plus, its lively flavor and smell are perfect for the season!
• Cucumber – A spring and summertime favorite, cucumbers are a guilt-free flavor booster to any salad or a great snack on their own. One cup of cucumber slices equals only 16 calories. They’re water-rich and high in fiber, so they work double to make you feel full and satisfied.
Founded more than 65 years ago, TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind. Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. To find a local chapter, view www.tops.org or call (800) 932-8677.

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Protect your skin from the sun

With spring upon us and summer just around the corner, Michiganders will certainly be wearing less clothing. Activities will increase at the pool, beach, garden and yard, as well as bike and motorcycle riding, and other outdoor activities.
The Michigan Primary Care Consortium stresses the risk of skin cancer and premature skin wrinkling are significant. The Consortium states it’s important to have sun tanning and exposure guidelines adhered to.
According to the Michigan Department of Community, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, in 2008 there were 2,156 cases of invasive melanomas of the skin and 2,083 cases in 2009.
Individuals who are pale skin, have blond, red, or light brown hair, being treated for skin cancer or related skin issues, or a family history of skin cancer are most susceptible.
Here are some helpful guidelines. Be sure to consult with your primary care physician for additional guidelines which may be important to your particular care plan.
Reduce Time in the Sun
It’s important to limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest. Even on an overcast day, up to 80 percent of the sun’s ultra-violet (UV) rays can get through the clouds. Stay in the shade as much as possible throughout the day.
Dress with Care
Wear clothes that protect your body. If you plan on being outside on a sunny day, cover as much of your body as possible. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves, and pants. Sun-protective clothing is now available. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration only regulate such products if the manufacturer intends to make a medical claim. Consider using an umbrella for shade.
Be Serious about Sunscreen – Check product labels to make sure you get:
A “sun protection factor” (SPF) of 15 or more. SPF represents the degree to which a sunscreen can protect the skin from sunburn.
“Broad spectrum” protection—sunscreen that protects against all types of skin damage caused by sunlight.
Water resistance—sunscreen that stays on your skin longer, even if it gets wet. Reapply water-resistant sunscreens as instructed on the label.
Your pharmacist can also offer recommendations.
Tips for Applying Sunscreen
Apply the recommended amount evenly to all uncovered skin, especially your lips, nose, ears, neck, hands, and feet.
Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going out in the sun.
If you don’t have much hair, apply sunscreen to the top of your head, or wear a hat.
Reapply at least every two hours.
Give babies and children extra care in the sun. Inquire with your primary care physician or pediatrician before applying sunscreen to children under six months old.
Apply sunscreen to children older than six months every time they go out.
Protect Your Eyes
Sunlight reflecting off sand and water further increases exposure to UV radiation and increases your risk of developing eye problems.
Tips for eye-related sun safety include: 
When buying sunglasses, look for a label that specifically offers 99 to 100 percent UV protection..
Eyewear should be labeled “sunglasses.” Otherwise, you can’t be sure they will offer enough protection.
Pricier sunglasses don’t ensure greater UV protection.
Ask an eye care professional to test your sunglasses if you don’t know their level of UV protection.
People who wear contact lenses that offer UV protection should still wear sunglasses.
Wraparound sunglasses offer the most protection.
Children should wear real sunglasses (not toy sunglasses!) that indicate the UV protection level.
Check Your Birthday Suit on Your Birthday
If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see your family physician. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.
More in-depth information can be found at the American Academy of Dermatology at www.aad.org, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at www.fda.gov, and the Skin Cancer Foundation at www.skincancer.org  Search under sun safety and tanning.

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Didn’t like cartoon

I am writing in reference to the cartoon on page 7 (of April 18 issue).
I feel this is in very poor taste for a newspaper to print.
I wonder how the families of the 3 people killed would feel about seeing this. You should actually be ashamed of yourselves. Being a Vietnam vet we have had enough of this type of stuff.

Donald Cronk, Solon Township
(Editor’s note: to see the cartoon from last week, download our free e-edition from our website at www.cedarspringspost.com)

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Review shows need for reform of overseas basing costs

By Sen. Carl Levin
Recently, the Senate Armed Services Committee, which I chair, completed a year-long investigation into the costs of maintaining our nation’s overseas military presence.  The investigation produced a bipartisan report that reaches some troubling conclusions.
I directed the review of our costs in Japan, South Korea and Germany. Together, those countries account for 70 percent of the roughly $10 billion we spend each year on overseas bases – a figure that doesn’t include personnel costs to pay and take care of our troops and their families.  All three countries are also key U.S. allies. In order to better sustain our presence in these important locations, we need to understand and control our costs.
Our review found that contributions from our allies are failing to keep up with rapidly rising costs, increasing the burden on U.S. taxpayers. At the same time, allied payments are increasingly coming as in-kind , rather than cash payments.
This shift to in-kind payments makes it harder to monitor how funds are used.  In fact, our review found that, in many cases, in-kind payments are spent without proper oversight, congressional notification or approval.   In some cases, in-kind payments are being used for projects that simply aren’t necessary.
Cost increases and the use of funds on projects that aren’t mission critical are unacceptable at a time when there is incredible pressure on the defense budget and the federal budget as a whole, and when cutbacks to bases in the U.S. are under debate.
Our review found that South Korean contributions are not keeping pace with the growth in U.S. costs. While South Korea’s estimated contribution grew by about $42 million between 2008 and 2012, U.S. costs increased by more than $500 million.
Japan’s contributions also have not kept pace with U.S. costs.  For example, at its peak in 1992, Japan’s contribution to funding for infrastructure and facilities amounted to more than $1 billion. That figure has fallen by 80 percent.
Our use of in-kind payments from South Korea and Germany is especially worrisome.
South Korea’s contributions to a program that supports the construction of U.S. military facilities amounted to about $339 million in 2012 alone – all of it in-kind. But projects built using these in-kind contributions are not reviewed at all by the Department of the Army and only undergo limited review at higher headquarters or at the Pentagon. Congress isn’t even notified, let alone given a chance to review and approve these projects. That lack of oversight increases the chance that funds will go to non-essential projects. In fact, our review found that plans for using in-kind contributions include a $10.4 million museum.
In Germany, we receive in-kind payments as compensation for facilities that we turn over to the German government as we reduce our military presence there. We found millions of dollars of in-kind payments from Germany earmarked for projects that simply don’t make sense. For example, $200,000 was spent on sunroom additions for senior officer homes.
We also have to take a hard look at the cost of our future commitments.
In South Korea, the Army has proposed a public-private venture to build housing for military families that, if approved, would add hundreds of millions of dollars to our costs. Setting aside questions about the wisdom of bringing additional families in the region while North Korea continues its belligerence, the plan is simply not affordable.
The Defense Department is also planning a series of troop movements in the Asia-Pacific region. We found that rough estimates provided for some items in the plan are highly speculative and do not account for potentially significant additional costs. Congress already has barred most spending on these projects until the Pentagon produces more detailed and useful estimates, and our review found no reason to set aside those conditions.
The military should always be careful with taxpayer dollars. There is never a good time for large construction projects to go forward with little or no oversight. But at a time when the military, and the entire federal government, are facing significant budget cuts, cuts that will damage our national security and important domestic programs, the current situation is simply not acceptable. I’m working with my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee to develop reforms that will increase oversight and help ensure that we only spend money on projects we really need.
Carl Levin is the senior U.S. senator from Michigan.

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Gas tax and fee discussion worth having

By Michael D. LaFaive, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Michigan’s roads must be addressed, but the state government must first properly raise the funds.
Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed increased spending on Michigan roads, which is surely a discussion worth having. The Mackinac Center has long said the state should place a higher priority on roads and has authored two lengthy studies on the subject, in 1995 and 2007, respectively. But the question of how to go about raising the needed revenue to fund $1.2 billion in additional road spending needs to be answered.
It is wise to tie additional road funding to something akin to a true road user fee, but the hikes should be offset with dollar-for-dollar cuts to other financial burdens on taxpayers, such as state personal income taxes.
Last year, Gov. Snyder floated the idea of a tax on the wholesale price of gasoline and a major hike—67 percent increase by one accounting—in auto registration fees. These ideas remain on the table in 2013.
Two points about these proposed tax and fee increases must be stated up front.
First, gas taxes and car registration fees are very close to a true user fee and much better than funding road improvements through, say, a general sales tax hike. A user fee attempts to more closely tie the cost of a government service to those who most enjoy its benefits. Other related options, such as toll roads or some odometer-based user fees, have great merit, but probably not in the short-run. Michigan needs more and better infrastructure investment and making this policy a priority is a sound decision.
Second, a net tax and fee increase simply isn’t necessary. It is wise to tie additional road funding to something akin to a true road user fee, but the hikes should be offset with dollar-for-dollar cuts to other financial burdens on taxpayers, such as state personal income taxes. Ideally, the net result of such tax changes will be a cut in the burden, not merely a shift. Gov. Snyder has a record of such dramatic tax changes. It does not strain credulity to suggest that he could do so again.
Revenue losses from offsetting a personal income tax cut would require reducing government spending, but as the Center has pointed out time and again, the money is there to be had if only lawmakers are willing to make the cuts happen.
Let us start with one simple idea: Eliminate Michigan’s department of corporate welfare and crony capitalism, otherwise known as the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
The state could save a conservative $118 million by reducing MEDC expenditures and redirecting 21st Century Jobs money and Indian Gaming revenues to personal income tax relief (though this money will run out in 2015). The great irony in this is that investing these savings in state roads and bridges might actually produce a positive return on investment.
This is just one idea and it gets us almost 10 percent of the way to the $1.2 billion in road repair dollars Gov. Snyder is seeking. The fact is the Mackinac Center has made hundreds of suggestions over the years for saving (and in some cases, generating) billions of dollars in savings.
The Center has authored three formal budget studies, the last of which recommended more than 200 ideas for saving $2 billion without reducing the School Aid Fund. Since the last was published we have suggested even more ideas, big and small, controversial and not.
Two ideas for saving money listed in our 2007 transportation study include repealing the state prevailing wage law and competitive contracting for road maintenance. Prevailing wage laws artificially raise the cost of government construction projects. One conservative estimate published by the Center in 2007 was that the repeal of this law in 2002 could have saved Michigan taxpayers some $107 million in public construction costs that are not related to schools. Savings like that are worth chasing.
Michigan’s infrastructure system needs repair. We have been saying that in print for almost two decades. Tying the repairs, however, to a net tax increase is unnecessary. The best alternative is to offset hikes a fuel tax with spending and tax cuts elsewhere.
Michael D. LaFaive is the director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich.

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Be careful what you wish for

A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him. The waitress asks them for their orders.
The man says, “A hamburger, fries and a coke.” He then turns to the ostrich and asks,  “What’s yours?”
“I’ll have the same,” says the ostrich.
A short time later the waitress returns with the order. “That will be $9.40 please,” and the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.
The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, “A hamburger, fries and a coke.”
The ostrich says, “I’ll have the same.”
Again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.
They do this every day for a couple of weeks. Then one day the man orders something different. “I will have a steak, baked potato and a salad,” says the man.
“Same,” says the ostrich.
Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, “That will be $32.62.”
Once again the man pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table.
The waitress cannot hold back her curiosity any longer. “Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to pay with the exact change every time?”
“Well,” says the man, “one day I was cleaning the attic and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it, a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there.”
“That’s brilliant!” says the waitress. “Most people would ask for a million dollars or something, but you’ll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live! But what’s with the ostrich?”
The man sighs. “My second wish was for a chick with long legs and who agrees with everything I say.”

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Hometown Happenings

Hometown Happenings articles are a community service for non-profit agencies only. Due to popular demand for placement in this section, we can no longer run all articles. Deadline for articles is Monday at 5 p.m. This is not guaranteed space. Articles will run as space allows. Guaranteed placement is $10, certain restrictions may apply. You now can email your Hometown Happenings to happenings@cedarspringspost.com please include name and phone number for any questions we may have.

Kindergarten Open House
April 30: Ready, Set, Go! On Tuesday, April 30 from 6 to 7 pm, our kindergarten team will be welcoming the parents/guardians of the 2013-14 Kindergarten Class to Cedar Trails Elementary. Parents/guardians will move in small groups from classroom to classroom getting a glimpse at the typical kindergarten day and curriculum expectations. There will be five stations in all. We hope to answer questions and get everyone ready for an exciting start to the school year. Hope to see you there. #17

Huge Book Sale
May 2-4: Great deals on a variety of books, movies and more. $2 bag sale on Saturday (excludes specially marked items). Sale will be held at the VFW Hall (corner of 5th and Lake Streets) Starting May 2 at 10 am. Sponsored by the Friends of the Sand lake/ Nelson Township Library. #17

Rummage Sale for Relay for Life
May 4: The Cedar Steppers will be holding a Rummage Sale on Saturday, May 4th, from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm at Red Hawk Elementary. All proceeds will be donated to Rockford Relay for Life benefiting the American Cancer Society. We are also looking for more donations for the sale. We accept good, clean items such as clothing, household items, toys etc. You may drop off your donations at Red Hawk Elementary on Friday, May 3rd from 3 – 5:30 pm. To make arrangements for pick up  of donations, please contact Tina Tiethoff (616)644-0369 or tina@tiethoff.com. Please keep us in mind when doing your spring cleaning and donating your used items. The sale is for a great cause and your donations will help celebrate more birthdays! All items left after our sale will be donated to local charities. #17,18p

Ensley Center Nature Center Arbor Day Celebration
May 4: Come join us to enjoy the awakening of Spring in the forest with crafts, games, treats and walk the trails. Saturday, May 4 at 10 am. Ensley Center Nature Center, located on 136th Street, ¼ mile west of Cypress Ave. Questions call 616-636-5880. #17

Brant Michael Anderson Memorial Benefit
May 4: A Memorial Benefit for Brant Michael Anderson will be held on Saturday, May 4 from noon to midnight at the Tri County Eagles #4467, on Lake St. in Sand Lake. There will be live music, a silent auction (closing at 9 pm), 50/50 drawings, a quilt raffle (drawing at 4 pm) and a bake sale. Donations also may be made at any Chase Bank, no account number needed. #17,18p

Red Flannel Festival Volunteers and Meetings
May 21: Interested in Volunteering?! The all volunteer Red Flannel Festival Board meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at the RFF Officer at 21 E. Maple Street at 6:30pm. Would love to see YOU there to help in this 74 year community tradition! Please direct any inquires to president@redflannelfestival.org. #17p

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State of Emergency Declared for Kent County

Kent County is experiencing the worst flooding in more than a century, and a state of emergency was declared Friday.  They said the flooding crest is still perhaps two days out, and hydrologists are saying the water will not recede below flood stage until the middle of next week. Kent County Board Chairman Dan Koorndyk signed a Declaration for a Local State of Emergency, which will allow the county to receive damage assessment resources from the state, and is the first step for possible Federal Emergency Assistance.

The Kent County Emergency Operations Center – EOC – opened Thursday afternoon. “Our personnel has been in contact with residents, businesses, long-term care facilities, wastewater treatment plant operators, the American Red Cross, National Weather Service and many others as we deal with this unprecedented flooding event,” said Jack Stewart, Kent County Emergency Management Coordinator.

Sheriff Larry Stelma urged people to exercise caution and good judgment. “As the water continues to rise and the wind gusts continue to affect so many of our residents, we need to remind everyone that safety is a critical issue,” Sheriff Stelma said. “We need people to be prepared for the unexpected.”  He provided the following safety tips:

  • Do not attempt to drive through roadways covered in water – the road could be washed out or there could be strong currents.
  • Avoid floodwaters; water may contain debris, gasoline or raw sewage.
  • Softened ground can cause trees to fall, and wind gusts can break tree branches.  Be aware of this in your travels, and exercise caution when around trees.
  • If you see a downed power line, do not approach it, call 911.
  • Please respect our emergency responders and Public Works crews. Avoid areas that are flooded.  People seeking photographs or those who want to see the damage first-hand may impede emergency personnel trying to respond.

The flooding could also have a significant impact on homeowners with septic systems or well water. “If you have a well head that is submerged in flood waters, do not use water for “potable” use, such as cooking, drinking, brushing your teeth, and bathing,” said Adam London, acting Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department.  “Use only bottled water until further notice.”  Once the water recedes, have the well tested for contamination, before allowing potable use again.  Test bottles are available at the Kent County Health Department. About 400 homes with wells in Kent County could be impacted.

Until the flooding event passes, they ask all residents, regardless of water and sewer type, to use water very conservatively. This means –

Flush the toilet less;

Shower for a shorter time;

Avoid doing laundry, or do larger loads at once;

Avoid the dishwasher – hand-wash dishes instead.

The Kent County Animal Shelter has been assisting those residents living in mandatory evacuation areas with their pets.  The shelter has space for pets to be held for seven days.  They are also working to make sure any livestock in these areas are evacuated and protected.

“We are taking precautions to make sure that protecting life is our top priority,” said Kent County Administrator Daryl Delabbio. “Kent County Emergency Preparedness Agencies have gone through a number exercises that have prepared us for this emergency event.  I appreciate all of their efforts to protect the residents of Kent County.”

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Standoff ends in surrender

A standoff south of Cedar Springs ended peacefully Saturday after the suspect turned himself in.

A standoff south of Cedar Springs ended peacefully Saturday after the suspect turned himself in.

Floyd Frank McCauley

Floyd Frank McCauley

A Courtland Township man arrested earlier this year on shoplifting charges was involved in a standoff with police Saturday after a domestic dispute.

Kent County Sheriff Deputies responded to a home in the 12000 block of Harvest Lane (near Northland and 15 Mile) early Saturday morning, April 13, at about 1 a.m. after a domestic assault. The suspect, Floyd Frank McCauley, 34, had fled in a car before deputies arrived. Police determined that an assault had indeed occurred, and tried to locate the suspect. The victim and her children were moved to a safe location until the suspect could be found.

At around 10 a.m., deputies saw the man’s vehicle back at his residence, and attempted to make contact with him through a loudspeaker but were unsuccessful. There was concern that he may have armed himself with a firearm that was missing. Deputies eventually made contact him through the telephone, and negotiated his surrender. He was then taken into custody without incident. The firearm was found at another location.

Cedar Springs Police assisted the Kent County Sheriff Department at the scene.

McCauley was charged with one count of domestic violence, third offense, and interrupting a 911 call. He was arraigned Monday, April 15, and bond was set at $100,000 cash/surety.

McCauley was previously arrested by Cedar Springs Police in January for retail fraud at White Creek Lumber and Tractor Supply.

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Missing Rockford teens arrested


Galvin Vilchez

Galvin Vilchez

Renee Hunt

Renee Hunt

Two Rockford High School teens that went missing Monday were arrested in Montcalm County Wednesday.

Galvin Vilchez and Renee Hunt, both 17, skipped their fourth and fifth hour classes Monday, April 15 and disappeared. They had last been seen together on Atlanta Ct near the City of Rockford at 1 p.m. Monday. Both had backpacks and were believed to be on foot. Police had said both were in need of medication and had left it at home.

The Kent County Search and Rescue team was activated to look for them.

The teens were located safe in Howard City Wednesday, and are facing charges of breaking into an unoccupied home. They were lodged in the Montcalm County Jail pending a review of the charges by the Montcalm County Prosecutor’s Office.

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