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Archive | January, 2014

Park rangers rescue lost snowmobilers in the Porcupine Mountains

 

Two snowmobilers, missing in the backcountry near Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park for more than 24 hours during blizzard weather conditions, were rescued Monday afternoon by a team of Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation staff working in conjunction with local, state and federal agencies.

At approximately 2 p.m. Monday, after snowshoeing through blinding snow, wind chills of 40 degrees below zero, and snow depths in excess of four feet for several hours, DNR Parks and Recreation district supervisor Bill Doan and park rangers Jimmy Newkirk, David Merk and Emily Pleiness successfully located Benjamin M. Jenney Sr. and Benjamin M. Jenney Jr., a father and son from Albertville, Minn., approximately 2 miles from the nearest road.

The Jenneys, who were suffering from frostbite, hypothermia and dehydration, were helped to nearby snowmobiles and transported by Michigan State Police and local volunteers to an area accessible by ambulance.

The pair became stranded after their snowmobiles broke through the ice on the Little Iron River Sunday afternoon. Although the area does not receive reliable cell phone coverage, the Jenneys were able to send several text messages to family relaying their situation.

Using geo-location data attached to the text messages, Michigan State Police and the Civil Air Patrol identified a remote four-square-mile area where the Jenneys were last known to be, allowing the DNR ranger team to begin a coordinated search and rescue effort along the Little Iron River corridor Monday morning.

Due to deep snow off trail and open water on the river, Doan determined the rangers would need to search by snowshoe rather than by snowmobile. The team broke up, with Doan and three rangers hiking in from the north end while ranger Justin Farley and a local volunteer hiked in from the south, traversing rugged terrain, thin ice and open water.

“This is truly an incredible survival story on the part of the snowmobilers who were able to keep moving and survive a night outdoors in these extreme elements,” said park supervisor Kasey Mahony. “The effort of our park staff is also commendable, with one ranger spending more than eight hours searching off-trail on snowshoes in exceptionally difficult weather conditions. The dedication of our staff in responding to backcountry emergencies, and their commitment to regularly completing search and rescue and emergency response training, proved instrumental in the positive outcome for these snowmobilers.”

The DNR rangers were part of a search and rescue effort coordinated by the Michigan State Police, in partnership with the Michigan Civil Air Patrol, Ontonagon County Sheriff’s Department, Ontonagon County Community Emergency Response Team, Ontonagon County Emergency Manager, U.S. Forest Service, DNR Law Enforcement Division, U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard, AmericInn of Silver City, Sled Necks of Wisconsin, Sonco Ambulance, and many other local volunteers.

For snowmobile safety tips and regulations, visit www.michigan.gov/snowmobiling.

Posted in OutdoorsComments (1)

Time and Space

By Ranger Steve Mueller

A clear black sky perforated with brilliant illuminations from countless stars lighted the luge-like chute depression of our snow path during last night’s walk. Crisp snow squeaked under foot in the -9 degrees Fahrenheit air. No owls called. It was too early for activity. I have not discovered a particular hour Barred Owls select to call. They seem to call earlier in the evening than the Great Horned Owl. Horned owls schedule hoots for midnight and again at 5:30 a.m. in mid winter.

The New Year is an exciting time for emergence and rebirth of one’s spirit from the womb of the year. Old memories are lost in recesses of the mind and only resurface when triggered by smells, sights, sounds, tastes, or touches that draw them forth. The Pleiades star constellation is a distant friend that looks like the Big Dipper removed so far in space that it looks like a dipper that has lost size. The depth of the dark night reveals the immense size of surroundings.

It is only with thought that we penetrate time and space in any real manner. Both are too remote to experience with our physical senses. With our physical senses we enter the natural world to gain access to the spirit of the universe. Physical senses allow us to experience the wonders around us. Then we can contemplate and reflect on the spirit of nature and begin to understand the wonders of birds, plants, mammals, water, insects, and air in the natural world. Our place in the universe is small. The big dipper is perceptively small when compared with its galaxy. The galaxy is minuscule among the billions and billions of galaxies peppering light throughout the grand darkness of space.

Time loses meaning in the distance of space but here on Earth it is real. We share nature niches in a fleeting moment of time and space with other species. For that instant it is the most important moment of life. There is no past and no future at the moment when I see a chickadee, hear its call, or feel its presence as it wings past my hand at the feeder. For that moment we are alone and yet together in the universe at the same time in the same space. The universe has suddenly been reduced in size by my perception and a spiritual bond is created between bird and me.

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

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Cedar Springs Women’s Club Scholarship Available

 

The Cedar Springs Women’s Club awards an annual $1000 scholarship to a female, of any age, who resides in the Cedar Springs Public School District. The recipient may be considering any type of skill training or degree program.

This Scholarship is awarded by June first of each year at the direction of the membership of the Cedar Springs Women’s Club, based on the recommendations of the scholarship selection committee. All awards are made without regard to race, creed, color, religion, or national origin.

Applications may be obtained at the Cedar Springs Public Library; at the counseling offices at Cedar Springs High School; at Creative Technologies Academy; or by calling 616-696-0090 or 616-696-0456.

Applications must be mailed to the Scholarship Committee and must be postmarked by March 15, 2014.

 

 

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The Obedient Wife

There was a man who had worked all his life, had saved all of his money, and was a real miser when it came to his money.

Just before he died, he said to his wife, “When I die, I want you to take all my money and put it in the casket with me. I want to take my money to the afterlife with me.”

And so he got his wife to promise him, with all of her heart, that when he died, she would put all of the money into the casket with him.

Soon after, he died. He was stretched out in the casket, his wife was sitting there dressed in black, and her friend was sitting next to her. When they finished the ceremony, and the undertakers got ready to close the casket, the wife said, “Wait just a moment!”

She had a small metal box with her, and she got up and put it in the casket. Then the undertakers locked the casket down and rolled it away.

The woman’s friend stared at her. “Girl, I know you were not foolish enough to put all that money in there with your husband!”

The loyal wife replied, “Listen, I’m a Christian; I cannot go back on my word. I promised him that I was going to put that money into the casket with him.”

The friend’s mouth dropped open. “You mean to tell me you actually put the money in there?!

“I sure did,” said the wife. “I got it all together, put it into my account, and wrote him a check. If he can cash it, then he can spend it.”

Thanks to Gordon Welch for this joke. He gave it to us 6 years ago. RIP Gordon. We miss your weekly visits.

 

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Red Flannel Festival threatens Chamber with legal action

One of the taglines registered by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

One of the taglines registered by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

By Judy Reed

The Red Flannel Festival has sent a “cease and desist” letter to the Cedar Springs Area Chamber 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.

They 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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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.

 

Actors del Arte Auditions

Feb. 3: Actors del Arte Ensemble of Western Michigan is having auditions for a Shakespearean Comedy “Ragnil’s Folly” Monday, February 3rd at Rockford Reformed Church, 4890 – 11 Mile Rd. in Rockford from 6 to 8:30 pm. Looking for teens (16-18), adult men and women. For details 616-874-5264. #5

 

Green Acres HeArt Prize

Feb. 3: Green Acres HeArt Prize will be held February 12 – 15 from 10 am to 4 pm. 1601 Winter Creek Court, Greenville. No charge to enter or attend but donations will be accepted for the Alzheimer’s Association. Art entry deadline is Monday, February 3. Anyone interested is entering their artwork please contact Sue or James at 616-754-8850 or visit Green Acres Greenville. #5

 

TOPS weight loss support group

Feb. 4: Take off pounds sensibly (TOPS), a non-profit weight loss support group for men and women, meets every Tuesday at the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Sand Lake. Your first visit is free so come check out what TOPS can do to help you reach your weigh loss goals! Weigh-ins 8:15-9am, meeting starts at 9:15am. In case of inclement weather, meetings are cancelled if Tri-County or Cedar Springs schools are closed. Call Martha at 696-1039 for more information. #4

 

Preschoolers Happy Birthday “Howie”

Feb. 4: Come Celebrate Howie’s birthday party; Who doesn’t love a party; we are keeping the memory of the individual that HCNC is all about “Howard Christensen”. We will have cake, ice cream, birthday games and so much fun. Games will be pin the tail on the White Tailed Deer, Find and Insect, Sing along with Froggy our mascot, indoor mock turtle race and other fun games. Tuesday, February 4 from 1 to 2:30 pm. Free for children and their guardians. Please give a gift of food for the animals (sun flower seeds, pig food, goat oats, turtle worms, bunny food) or a cash gift donation in Howard’s memory. 16190 Red Pine Dr., Kent City. 616-675-3158. #5

 

Spring Soccer Registration

Feb. 4&6: Spring 2014 Soccer Registration for American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) is Tuesday, February 4 and Thursday, February 6 at Burger King Restaurant, 4065 – 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs from 6 – 8 pm. Fee for the Spring Session is $60 per child with a $5 discount per child for families registering 3 or more players. Players must be at least 4 years of age by March 24, 2014. First time players – please bring Birth Certificate for age verification. Please complete online application at www.eayso.org – print two copies and take advantage of our Express Lane! These will be the final registration dates for the Spring Season. Please tell you friends and neighbors. If you have questions please contact us through the link on our website: www.ayso902.org. #4-6p

 

Candlelight Snowshoe Walk

Feb. 8: Enjoy this tour-guided excursion through the nature center’s scenic trails. Hot refreshments will be served and all snowshoe equipment will be provided. A two-mile hike through candlelit trails. We will also stop after one mile for romantic stories around the campfire at Camp Lily’s location. This is for all ages so rekindle that love in the candlelit walk. Maybe the moon will shine. Saturday, February 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Donation of $5 per person/ $15/family of 4 or more. Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16190 Red Pine Dr., Kent City. 616-675-3158. #5

 

Heart to Heart Craft Party!

Feb. 11: Roses are red, violets are blue, join our Valentine event, just for you! Celebrate Valentine’s Day with snacks and crafts. For all ages. Tuesday, February 11 at 10:30 am at the Sand Lake/ Nelson Township KDL branch, 88 Eighth St. #5

 

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Three arrested for operating meth lab

 

Police descended on a meth lab in Greenville Sunday morning, January 19. Photo courtesy of Woodtv.com.

Police descended on a meth lab in Greenville Sunday morning, January 19. Photo courtesy of Woodtv.com.

The Central Michigan Enforcement Team (CMET) and the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post investigated a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory in the City of Greenville on Sunday, January 19.

MSP Lakeview troopers responded to the scene in an attempt to arrest the homeowner on an outstanding warrant and investigate the reports of illegal activity taking place at the residence. When troopers from the Lakeview Post attempted to make contact with the residents, they refused to answer the door. The residence was secured and a search warrant was obtained.

The Michigan State Police Emergency Response Team responded to the scene. After a brief standoff, the occupants of the residence exited and were arrested. CMET then responded and a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory was removed from the residence.

Arrested was John Vogl, 43; Cassaundra Kidder, 22; and a 17 year old male. All were arrested and lodged at the Montcalm County Jail on methamphetamine related charges.

CMET was assisted at the scene by Michigan State Police Lakeview Post, Greenville Department of Public Safety, and the Michigan State Police Emergency Response Team.  CMET is a multi-jurisdictional drug task force operating in Montcalm, Newaygo, Mecosta and Ionia County. CMET consists of detectives from the Michigan State Police, Montcalm County Sheriff’s Department, Ionia County Sheriff’s Department, Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department, Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department, Big Rapids Department of Public Safety and Ferris State University Department of Public Safety.

This investigation continues and anyone with information can contact Silent Observer or CMET at 1-800-342-0406.

 

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Howard City man arrested for child abuse

Sean Robert Griffin

Sean Robert Griffin

A 26-year-old Howard City man was arrested last week on child abuse charges involving a 13-month old child.

The baby’s mother took the baby to Gerber Hospital in Fremont after seeing injuries the baby girl had sustained while in the mother’s boyfriend’s care. The Michigan State Police were then called to Gerber Hospital.

The baby reportedly suffered three broken ribs and bruising, which doctors identified as abuse.

The suspect was identified as Sean Robert Griffin, of Howard City. He was arraigned on a charge of first degree child abuse, a felony.

 

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The Affordable Care Act: what businesses need to know

N-healthcare

By Judy Reed

While individuals have been confused about the new requirement for health insurance and what they need to do, many business owners are also struggling with what it means for them.

Gabrielle Warner, of Innovative Solutions Agency, Inc., gave the Post some insight on basic things that business owners need to know. Warner is a Chartered Benefits Consultant, and Marketplace and SHOP registered agent.

Things to know:

Timeline

The mandate for businesses to offer insurance to employees has been pushed to January 1, 2015.

What is considered a full-time employee?

The definition of a full-time employee changed under the Affordable Care Act. It used to be someone who worked 40 hours. That has been reduced to 30 hours.

Small groups of 2-25 employees

Small businesses with 2-25 employees do not have to offer coverage. However, if they do, they may be eligible for a tax credit. (It is based on the income of the employees.) However, if a small business wants to offer insurance in 2014, and try to get the tax credit, the plan must be SHOP eligible, even if they have already been offering insurance and getting the tax credit. (SHOP is the Small health options program.) The tax credit is in addition to the tax deduction business owners can claim. An agent will help owners choose a plan, and then help enroll the employees. A small group can enroll anytime during the year.

Businesses could also offer employees a self-funding arrangement, or use a defined contribution arrangement.

Small groups of 26-49 employees

Any business with 2-49 employees does not have to offer coverage. But groups with more than 25 employees are not eligible for the tax credit.

Instead of offering insurance, the businesses could offer assistance to employees on how to purchase individual polices, either on or off the healthcare exchange. An agent could go in and help educate the employees on the process.

Businesses with 50-plus employees

Businesses with 50 or more employees must offer coverage that meets Essential Health Benefits and Affordability standards or pay a penalty. The fine for 2015 is $2,000 per FTE (full time equivalent) beyond the first 30 FTE. In a full time equivalent, you don’t just count full time people. You must count part time hours as well. Two part time people might count as one FTE. (An agent can help with the formula.)  So a business with 55 FTE would deduct the first 30, leaving a penalty to be paid on 25 FTE at $2,000 each, or $50,000 per year. It would be divided up monthly.  The penalty will not stay $2,000 per FTE, however. In future years it will be adjusted upward. Some businesses may choose to do this rather than purchase insurance. “Even if the employer doesn’t provide coverage, the penalty is their way of pitching in. Their penalty goes into a pool to help pay for subsidies, although not directly to their employees,” explained Warner.

Rate structure change

Most people are used to seeing a rate or individuals, couples, and families. That is no longer the case. Rates will now be set according to each individual in your family. That means some plans will increase in cost, while others will drop.  Plans in both the individual and small group markets (both on and off the exchange) will be guaranteed—you will always qualify and can always renew. And the base rates will be the same. However, premiums may vary according to age, whether you use tobacco, and your geographic rating area. Rates can no longer be dictated by gender.

Waiting period

There will be no more than a 90-day waiting period before benefits begin for a new employee.

Cadillac plans

In 2018, a “Cadillac” tax goes into effect—a 40 percent tax on the value of benefits over $10,200 for single person plans and $27,500 for family plans. It includes the value of all employer-sponsored coverage.

 

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The Post travels to Pasadena

N-POST-goes-to-Pasadena

The Cedar Springs Post travelled to Pasadena, California earlier this month, with Gary and Barb Woodhull. They were “with a few close friends” in the stands along the Rose Bowl Parade route. Their grandson, Bryant Stock, marched in the Carmel, Indiana High School Marching band. The band was invited to march in the Rose Parade because they were the 2012 State of Indiana Champions and Band of America National Champions.

Gary and Barb were able to tour two of the locations to watch the floats being decorated. And no, they did not have tickets to the Rose Bowl game!

Thanks so much for taking us with you to Pasadena!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

 

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