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Archive | January, 2014

Winter storm watch raises new safety concerns

roof collapse

This roof collapsed on a storage building in Shaffer Estates this past week. Kent County Emergency Management is asking people to be aware that this next round of snow this weekend will be heavy with water and may cause your roof to collapse if you have a buildup. Courtesy photo.

A Winter Storm Watch has been issued through 10 p.m. Saturday and the forecast calls for another six inches of snow, with possibly more in some areas. Kent County Emergency Management is encouraging residents to stay home if possible during this storm period.

“We advise anyone who plans on heading out this Saturday to rethink their plans,” says Jack Stewart, Kent County Emergency Management Coordinator.

“Heavy snow is in the forecast, and driving in it could be dangerous. If you must drive, allow plenty of extra time to reach your destination. Be aware that many roads are narrow due to the amount of snow that lines our streets.” Be sure to check the parking laws and regulations in your community if parking on a street.

Those hosting events should weigh the dangers of asking people to drive, and consider cancelling events. If you must drive, there will areas where drifting snow creates road hazards. Be mindful of these areas, which are usually adjacent to open fields. Also note that some corners may have large piles of snow, making it difficult to see approaching cars. Use extreme caution when pulling out at these intersections. Keep a well-charged cell phone in the car, as well as an emergency kit and blanket within your reach.

The forecast models are calling for this winter storm to include snow with high water content. “There have been several roof collapses in the past month in Kent County,” Stewart says. “If you have a flat or low-pitched roof, or it there is a lot of snow already on your roof, you may be at increased risk of dealing with a roof collapse.” Emergency Management suggests monitoring weather conditions throughout the weekend.

Road crews will be working throughout the weekend to clear streets and highways, but we remind everyone to please be patient. And note that many communities have regulations about snow removal. “If you have neighbors who are elderly or have special needs, be sure to check on them,” Stewart adds. “If you are healthy and able, consider asking them if they would like your help in removing the snow.”

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Family loses meat, supplies in fire

Three departments were called to the scene of this outbuilding that burned directly behind a home in Courtland township Thursday. Post photo by J. Reed.

Three departments were called to the scene of this outbuilding that burned directly behind a home in Courtland township Thursday. Post photo by J. Reed.

*N-Fire2 Courtland Wood

 

Wind was a factor in a fire that burned an outbuilding to the ground in Courtland Township last Thursday.

According to Courtland Fire Chief Mickey Davis, the call came in around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, January 23, reporting a fire at 5240 Russell Road. A building behind the residence was on fire. Cedar Springs and Algoma Fire Departments were also called to the scene.

Homeowner John Wood said that he and his wife Carla heard a pop but he didn’t know what it was. He said he looked outside, but didn’t see anything. He then started to make a cup of tea, and noticed cars driving by very slowly, and wondered what they were looking at. When he looked out back again, he saw the smoke and called 911.

Chief Davis said the building was already on the ground by the time they got there. “We had the fire knocked down in about 20 minutes,” said Davis. They cleared the scene by about 6 p.m.

Davis said they think the fire started from trash the family was burning nearby. “The wind was blowing in that direction,” said Davis.

The building was actually two buildings joined by an overhang. The Woods kept various supplies there, including materials for an addition to the home, a coop for ducks they raise, beehive supplies, green goods they had canned, a refrigerator, and a freezer full of duck meat. The meat was incinerated in the fire.

The Woods are not insured. He said that they had recently switched insurance companies, and that they had made all the changes to the home that the insurance required, and were accepted. Then, after a month, the insurance company sent them a cancellation notice, because they were doing the work on the addition themselves, rather than hiring a contractor.

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RF Festival threatens Chamber with legal action

By Judy Reed

 

The Red Flannel Festival has sent a “cease and desist” letter to the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, ordering them to stop using the terms “The Red Flannel Town” and “Red Flannel Town, USA” or face legal action.

When the Chamber organized the city’s annual holiday event this year, they named it “A Red Flannel Town Christmas, Come Mingle with Kris Kringle” and registered the name with the State of Michigan on October 8, 2013. “Our position is that Cedar Springs is Red Flannel Town and always has been, and that’s why the holiday event was so titled,” explained Chamber president Shawn Kiphart.

N-pull-quote-KiphartThey also registered two other taglines, which were both approved by the state: A Red Flannel Town Christmas, and The Original Red Flannel Town, USA, Cedar Springs, MI.

The Red Flannel Festival shows they registered “The Red Flannel Town” on June 3, 2005, and “Red Flannel Town, U.S.A.” on June 27, 2011.

Although the state approved the Chamber’s taglines, the Red Flannel Festival feels it is trademark infringement. “We believe the Chamber’s use of these trademarks constitutes trademark infringement, unfair competition, as well as other common law causes of action,” read the cease and desist letter sent by the Red Flannel Festival’s lawyer, Frank Scutch.

Kiphart responded with a letter asking where they had infringed on the Red Flannel Festival’s property, stating that they would not use their specific phrases without permission. The Festival’s law firm then sent a response that the Chamber insignias specifically incorporate the Festival’s registered marks “The Red Flannel Town” and “Red Flannel Town, U.S.A.” and that their use on their own or as part of a phrase is a direct violation of the Red Flannel Festival’s trademark rights. The letter also said that was likely to “cause confusion as to the source or sponsorship of Chamber materials and events.”

Kiphart doesn’t agree. “Red Flannel Town is part of a larger title we use. We are referencing Cedar Springs. There is no confusion. I don’t think people think, ‘Oh, it’s the Red Flannel Festival,’ we believe they think of Cedar Springs.”

He noted that Cedar Springs was known as the Red Flannel Town long before the Festival trademarked it. On their application, it states that the first time the phrase was used in commerce was October 1, 1950. But there are meeting minutes by the City of Cedar Springs dating back to December of 1941 showing the city was using it on their letterhead at that time.

Kiphart said he would like to know, does the Red Flannel Festival not think Cedar Springs is the Red Flannel Town? That it should only be used in connection with the Festival itself?

The Post asked Festival President Michele Andres that question. “The Festival has owned several state and federal trademarks for many years,” she said. “Red Flannel Town and Red Flannel Town, USA are both owned legally by the Festival regardless of anyone’s personal opinion. The Festival has readily granted permission to several organizations and entities who formally request to use its various trademarks. These marks simply do not belong to the Chamber.”

Kiphart said he doesn’t think they should belong to either entity. “It doesn’t belong to us. It’s the town’s identity,” he said. “If they are asking us to stop referring to Cedar Springs as the Red Flannel Town, we will not. Fear and intimidation tactics will not work on us. They are more than welcome to keep spending money on attorney fees to strip the town of its identity, but we will not play ball.”

Andres remarked that Kiphart needs to schedule some time to professionally and maturely discuss the matter directly with the Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors. “We have asked to meet numerous times and have received no response. It is extremely disappointing that this organization’s leadership does not understand or comprehend basic trademark infringement, especially as business owners.”

Kiphart said they have never declined to meet with them about using the Festival’s  logo. “As we have not wanted to use their exact logo, we haven’t met,” he explained. “We didn’t contact them to ask permission to use the town’s identity.”

Kiphart said the Chamber might be open to sitting down with the Festival to discuss the issue, as long as it was open to the public.

“We want to know what the community thinks,” said Kiphart. “We will do what the community wants. If the community wants us to tell them (the RFF) to take their ball and go home, we will.”

According to the most recent letter sent to the Chamber by the Festival, they have until February 4 to discuss with the Festival the steps they will take to “cease infringement of the RFF’s trademarks.” If they do not hear from them, “the RFF will have no choice but to take legal action against the Chamber,” the letter said.

What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor at news@cedarspringspost.com (limit 350 words), comment on this post, call the Chamber at 616-773-5126, or the Red Flannel Festival at 616-696-2662.

The Red Flannel Festival will also be having their annual board meeting tonight (Thursday, January 30) at 6:30 p.m. at their office on 21 E. Maple Street, where they will vote on a new grand marshal for this year’s 75th Festival, and elect their officers for the year. Those wishing to volunteer are also welcome.

 

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Boil water advisory has been lifted

BOIL_ADVISORY photo

UPDATE  January 31, 2014: THE BOIL WATER ADVISORY HAS BEEN LIFTED – According to DPW Superintendent Tom Stressman, the second water sample came back with no problems and residents can resume using the water without boiling it first.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Both the Meadow Creek Apartments and Red Flannel Acres apartment complexes at the end Oak Street in Cedar Springs are under a boil water advisory until further notice.

According DPW Superintendent Tom Stressman, a water main valve failed in the Meadow Creek Apartments parking lot Tuesday night, and they needed to shut it off. It was fixed early in the day Wednesday, and the water was turned back on. They took a water sample and sent it to the lab to make sure no bacteria got into the water when they lost pressure, and will take another sample 24 hours after that, on Thursday. Stressman said that probably the soonest the advisory could be lifted is noon Friday.

In the meantime residents in the apartment complexes should follow instructions below.

DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and preparing food. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water. Continue using boiled or bottled water until further notice.

For those in the apartment complexes that need to fill water bottles or jugs, you may do so at City Hall, 66 S. Main St. If it is after hours, use the phone box outside the building to call inside, or use the police line 696-1311 and have a dispatcher ask a police officer to meet you at City Hall.

Stressman said this advisory does not affect other city residents. He explained that when they lost pressure, it sent water backward into the system, which stirred up minerals, such as iron, and is why some residents may have seen yellow water. He advised people to let their water run to clear out the iron, which is from the water pipes.

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Petition language approved for recall

Ashley Bremmer

Ashley Bremmer

Patricia Troost

Patricia Troost

The petition language to recall two Cedar Springs City Council members was approved by the Kent County Elections Commission Wednesday morning at a clarity hearing.

City resident Mark Laws filed the petition to recall Patricia Troost and Ashley Bremmer.

According to Elections Director Susan deStiguer, the petition language was approved 2-1. Chief Probate Judge David Murkowski expressed concern that the language might not be clear enough and voted no.

This was the second attempt by Laws to file petition language. The language was denied at the first hearing, because a new law says the language must be both clear and factual. The Election Commission’s approval of the petition language does not mean the statements are true, only that they are clear and provide facts. The language reads:

The new language (reason for recall) reads:

“1) On July 11, 2013 the city council motioned and supported to adjourn to a closed session and then adjourned. The Open Meetings Act 267, 15.267, 8A allows a closed session if the named person requests a closed hearing. No such request was made.

2) City council has a protocol in place requiring any change of import to be on agenda for public input and comment before it can be acted on by council in a following meeting. Former council member Merlington wrote this protocol. The new logo that was approved in November 2013 council meeting was not presented to the public for input or comments.”

The first reason applies to a council meeting where then Mayor Bob Truesdale was allegedly taken into closed session without asking for one and yelled at by other council members. The second reason has to do with the process of adopting the new logo.

Councilors Troost and Bremmer have 10 days to appeal the Election Commission’s decision to Circuit Court. If the court approves it, or if they fail to file an appeal, Laws can begin to collect signatures. If enough signatures are collected within the time frame allotted, and they are all valid, the recall would be on the ballot in November.

 

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Dog loves the Post

N-dog-caught-reading-PostIt appears that it’s not only people that love the Post—man’s best friend thinks its pretty cool, too!

Noah Bayink, 7, of Cedar Springs, sent us an email and told us that his family caught their two-year-old Chihuahua, Willy, reading the Post! We wonder what section is his favorite? Perhaps he’s looking for a friend in Critter Corner, or looking for a girlfriend in Pet of the Week. Whatever he’s reading, we hope he enjoys it. We are both a pet and family-friendly publication!

Thanks for sharing that with us, Noah!

 

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Quilt Show raises funds for library

Despite the wrath of Mother Nature and eight inches of snow overnight, the Friends of the Cedar Springs Library held their 2nd Annual Quilt Show at the United Methodist Church on Saturday, January 25, as planned. The turnout was not what they had hoped for, nevertheless there were 32 excellent quilts on display—and they were beautiful, colorful and unique!

The quilts were judged by the public, according to personal favorite. First place went to Pauline Woronko, who entered a patriotic quilt with very intricate detail. She won a solid oak quilt rack donated by Bob and Betty Truesdale of Amish Warehouse Furniture and Gifts. Second place went to Nita White, who entered a beautiful “Wedding Ring” pattern, and third place to Kathy Marsman, with twisted stars on a vivid purple background. Nita and Kathy received gift baskets containing a new book, a warm Red Hawk sweater, and a Red Hawk beanie baby, with other things added in for fun.

The sale table included quilting and crafting magazines, books, fabric,  fat quarters, etc.  A silent auction was going on throughout the six hours, as was a bake sale operated by the youth group for Modern Woodmen of America.

Modern Woodsmen Youth Club (led by Annette Nelson) and Women’s Life (led by Liz Pigorsh and Dena Wever) each matched a portion of our profits with an equal donation, ($500 each). Amish Warehouse also donated the use of their truck and trailer to transport the quilt racks from approximately 70 miles away. We were able to raise just over $1000, matched for a grand total of over $2000!

We would like to thank all of our community supporters for helping us earn money for our Library.  Please join us next year—in the Spring!

 

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Remembering and building community

N-Community-bldg-originalBy Sue Wolfe

Many of you will remember being served a hot peanut butter fudge sundae or a cherry coke at the soda fountain of Skinners Drug Store on Main Street. What about shopping for new shoes, accessories, or school clothes at Mather’s or Pollock’s stores? The Bait Shop on north Main Street met all the sportsman’s needs. Walsh’s 5 & 10 Cent Store was a favorite for the kids. I bought a Honda 90 motorcycle from Dave Carlson at Hough’s Gas Station across from the IGA. McIntyre’s’ Meat market and Jack’s Party Store were popular spots. While working at Jeffrey’s Bakery, my mailman, Harold Foley would personally deliver greatly anticipated letters to me from my then-boyfriend and now-husband serving in Viet Nam. More sweet treats awaited us at the A & W Root-beer Drive-in and Janet’s Dairy Bar.

However, the Community Center was the anchor where all the big and important events took place. Square dances, rock concerts, Rotary, Women’s Club, and Lions meetings, grilled chicken dinners, weddings, scout events, receptions, sports banquets, class reunions, showers, retirement celebrations, dance recitals and town hall gatherings all happened there. But eventually the community center became too small, worn out, and was finally torn down when asbestos and mold made it unsafe.

Do you want a new anchor for our community? Do you wish you had a place in Cedar Springs to celebrate special occasions, gather and visit with family and friends, and make new memories?

If so, please consider getting involved with a group of area residents who share a vision to make that wish come true. Cedar Springs has many unique, beautiful, natural and man-made assets, including flowing wells, Cedar Creek, the White Pine Trail, and the North Country Trail. This group believes a community center surrounded by these features would center our family and community events back inside Cedar Springs, bring greater opportunities and clients to our businesses, and make a space for recreational and cultural activities.

The group, working under the name of the Community Building Development Team (CBDT), first met last February with a burning desire to continue to raise funds to help build our new library. Enthusiasm was high and soon a vision for a community building that would complement the benefits a new library would bring, was born. Momentum has been building over the last few months, with more people attending the regular monthly meetings. Fifteen presentations have been made so far, to service and governmental entities within our community, with the purpose of garnering ideas and input from the residents on what they would want and need in a Community Center.

The CBDT has elected a Board of Directors (Kurt Mabie, Tom Mabie, Carolee Cole, Betty Truesdale, Shannon Cooper, Sonya Cronkright and myself), officers, and acquired legal status as a 501(c)3 corporation. In just the last few weeks $453,800 has been donated.

A great deal has been accomplished in a short period of time. The next step focuses around creating a building design that will foster community pride and serve the needs of our residents.

“We want this to be your building and be something for all ages. A place to gather and celebrate life here in Cedar Springs. A place that will allow new memories to be created and relationships strengthened,” said Kurt Mabie, CBDT President.

If you want to get involved and be a part of this gift to our community please contact Carolee Cole at  caroleecole@gmail.com, Kurt Mabie at kmabie55@gmail.com or attend the next meeting on Tuesday, February 18, at 5:30 pm. held at Solon Wesleyan Church, 15671 Algoma Ave (just north of 19 Mile Rd). Also, “Like” our Facebook page for regular updates. Just search for “Cedar Springs community building development team.”

 

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Local food pantry in need of donations

Need for emergency food donations at an all-time high

By Sue Harrison

 

“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” Matthew 25:40.

For more than 28 years, the Cedar Springs Community Food Pantry, located in the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, has served our community. Over 35 volunteers provide assistance, compassion, a listening ear, and comfort to those families who come to the pantry each day. North Kent Community Services can refer up to 30 families a week, from all parts of Northern Kent County, to receive five days of emergency food and essentials. Clients may come to the pantry up to five times in one calendar year with at least 30 days between visits.

The pantry store is located in the basement of the church. The pantry shelves are stocked with food and staples bought by pantry volunteers, donations from individuals, food drives by different organizations, and food purchased by a faithful volunteer who has a coupon mission. Several freezers and refrigerators hold donated baked goods and breads, venison donated by area hunters, as well as hamburger, hotdogs and other meats.

The need for this emergency food support is at an all time high. Transportation costs and food prices have sky rocketed and many people are finding themselves without income and the means to feed their children and themselves.

The pantry needs help! Cash donations are always needed. In 2013, the approximate expenditures for the Cedar Springs Food Pantry were $30,000 not counting the food and other items donated. It takes the faithful cash donations of many to keep this food pantry serving those in need.

In addition to cash donations, the pantry is always in need of personal care items such as dish soap, laundry soap, tooth brushes, toothpaste, bar soap, toilet paper, facial tissue, deodorants, shampoo, and feminine hygiene items. Non-perishable foods such as powdered milk, cereals, soups, oatmeal, canned meats, fruit juice, peanut butter, and canned fruits and vegetables are also in high demand.

Donated items or money can be dropped off at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church office any time during office hours Monday through Friday. The pantry accepts checks made out to the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church and in the memo line put “Community Food Pantry.”

 

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Fourth flu-related death reported in Kent County

Testing has confirmed a recently-deceased individual was suffering from the flu. This is the fourth death in someone over the age of 50 in Kent County who was suffering from influenza. The initial test confirms influenza A, but not the strain. (Three earlier cases were H1N1.) In this case, there were additional, known underlying medical conditions. As of January 28, there were 583 reported flu cases in Kent County this season.

“This year, we’ve seen several tragic consequences connected to the flu,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “While three of the four cases had known pre-existing medical conditions, we know that the flu has impacted individuals of all ages and health levels.” Nationally, most of the cases of influenza being reported this year are H1N1, which in some cases leads to pneumonia and other severe respiratory issues.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age. The influenza vaccine this year is highly effective protection against the flu, including H1N1. It takes 10-14 days after receiving the vaccination for a person to develop immunity. This is why you often hear people wrongly claim that they got the flu from the flu shot. Multiple studies have confirmed that the flu vaccine does not cause influenza. People can, however, become ill from exposure to contagious people during those 10 – 14 days before their immunity develops.

Some children ages 6 months to 2 years old may require two doses of vaccine (parents should check with a health care provider for details).

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). If you think you have the flu, try to limit spreading the illness. Do not go to school or work until you recover.

The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. Vaccines start at $25 for injection, and $33 for FluMist nasal spray. Children from six months through eighteen years who have no insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines, will pay a sliding scale administration fee of up to $15. The Health Department can only bill Medicaid and Medicare. Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover are accepted. To make an appointment at any of our five clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com. Flu information is also available on our information only line at (616) 742-4FLU (358).

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