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Archive | May, 2014

A Day to remember

Residents gathered at cemeteries and other locales Monday to remember those who died in the service of our country, and all those that have made our freedom possible.

The American Legion Glen Hill Post #287 held services at Elmwood, Solon, and East Nelson Cemeteries and the Cedar Springs Veterans Park. Assisting with the service was the American Legion  Honor Guard, the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary, the Sons of the American Legion and the Boy Scouts.

Services were also held in Algoma Township, Sand Lake and Pierson. The Cedar Springs Historical Society held their annual cemetery walk in Elmwood Cemetery on the Sunday before Memorial Day.

 

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City to study Sheriff proposal for policing

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By Judy Reed

 

With Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent retiring in September, the Cedar Springs City Council has a choice to make: either hire a new police chief, or contract with the Kent County Sheriff Department to provide law enforcement for the city of 3,500-plus residents.

Last month the City Council directed City Manager Thad Taylor to ask Sheriff Larry Stelma to provide a cost for the same level of service the current police provide. The Sheriff and his team presented Taylor and Chief Parent with a proposal last week that contained two options to consider.

“It’s not quite apples to apples but as close as they can get,” explained Taylor.

Currently, the Cedar Springs Police Department has six full-time officers (not including the Chief), four part-time officers, three unpaid reserves that work special events, one unpaid chaplain, and a part-time clerk. The police provide 30 hours a day of patrol. Three officers work 10 hours each, with two officers on duty during 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. There is then one day per week where they are all scheduled, although not all are usually working. “It’s a day where they can take vacation, or comp time,” explained Taylor. “It’s just the way the schedule falls so they get an 80-hour pay period.” That equals 10,140 hours of patrol per year.

The Chief works 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year. That equals 1,980 hours yearly.

The clerk works 20 hours weekly, for 1,040 hours.

That is 13,160 hours of law enforcement accountable to the City. Last year’s police budget came in at $681,190. The 2014-2015 budget is projected at $685,511. (According to Chief Parent he gave back some of his budget to the city last year.)

Under the Sheriff Department proposal, option 1, they would provide one patrol officer on duty at all times—24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition to the patrol officer, they would provide a Sergeant to work a 40-hour week. The Sergeant would provide supervision and command staff support, and work with the City leadership to establish the agenda and direction of the patrol officers. The Sergeant would also provide additional services, which could include neighborhood watch, business watch, presentations, communications to city officials, working with the schools, and some zoning enforcement.

Detective services, scientific support, record management (an $11,000 savings), management reports, IT and radio service support for mobile equipment, dispatch services ($35,537) would all be included.

Vehicle costs would be provided free of charge for the regular patrols, but the city would be responsible for the sergeant’s at $350 per month. They would provide a vehicle credit for the current police cruisers.

All uniforms, equipment, supervision, liability and training costs would be provided at no additional charge. Cars and uniforms could look the way that Cedar Springs wants them.

The patrol officer would provide 8,760 hours of straight patrol. The sergeant would provide the same amount of hours as the Chief—1,980.

While it appears to be less patrol hours, according to the Sheriff, they would actually provide 338 hours of more patrol time, because the detective bureau would compensate for approximately 16 percent of the city officer’s patrol time—the time they spend following up on investigations for felonies, warrant processing, and other follow up. Based on 2013 calls for service, that would equal 1,718 hours of service.

Clerical support would be provided at no charge and would include things like sex offender registration, gun permits, records checks, freedom of information reports, etc. Clerical support is available in Grand Rapids or at the north substation. The part time clerk that works two days a week could be at the north substation, or possibly relocated to Cedar Springs City Hall.

This entire option would cost $560,384, a potential savings over last year of $120,806.

Option 2, would be exactly the same, except instead of a sergeant to provide supervision, they would provide a community policing deputy. The deputy would provide the other services such as neighborhood watch, business watch, working with city officials, schools, etc. That option would be $548,306 per year.

While it looks like the Sheriff proposal would be a savings, there is also the human element to consider. All of the city’s full time officers—six of them, several with 10 to 14 years of service—would all have to reapply for their jobs.

“The Council has to decide what the current officers bring to the community,” said Taylor. “They give us a good level of coverage, similar to what the Sheriff proposed, but double coverage between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. These are officers that have made a commitment to the community—they work here because they want to be here. They know the community, and that’s very important in law enforcement. And people know them. How do you quantify that? They’ve made a commitment and are very dedicated. That’s not saying anything against any deputy; we just don’t have the certainty that they would be here any longer than a year or two. It’s difficult to imagine one being here for 14 years, like Officer Chad Potts has been.”

Taylor also noted that the current clerk is at City Hall 5 days a week to help people if an officer is not in. That might not be the case under the new options.

Another point to think about is if the Council decides to go with the Sheriff Department to save the money formerly spent on law enforcement, what will they use that money for? To lower taxes? Make road improvements? New sidewalks? Something else? “People will want to know how it’s going to impact them,” said Taylor.

He explained that the Sheriff department proposal would be a new way to provide law enforcement to the community, but he thinks the City Council needs to engage the public and find out what they want. “It’s a huge decision,” he remarked.

The Sheriff Department will have representatives at the June 12 City Council meeting at 7 p.m. to answer questions from Council. The Council is also expected to announce at that meeting a date for a special meeting just to hear comments and questions from the public on what they want.

In the meantime, you can contact City Manager Thad Taylor with comments at manager@cityofcedarsprings.org, or one of the City Council members. Just go to www.cityofcedarsprings.org, and click on council. Choose one of the names and click on it. It will give you a bio of the council member and an email address.

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Beat the Boredom

BTB-bored-boya summer survival guide

By Judy Reed

 

When you’re a kid, the long, hot days of summer seem to go on forever. It’s not long before kids exhaust their ideas of what to do and moms hear the familiar refrain, “There’s nothing to do! I’m bored!” Well, don’t you believe it! With a little searching, you’ll find hundreds of activities taking place in West Michigan where families can have fun and spend some quality time together. In this week’s special pullout section of “Beat the Boredom: a summer survival guide,” you’ll find just a fraction of the many things going on this summer—festivals, summer enrichment programs, camps, concerts, and more! Click here to download the pdf and see what’s on tap for you this summer!

 

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The Post travels to Nashville

N-Post-travels-to-Nashville-webDave and Diane Taghon took Kathy and Katia Corwin to Nashville and to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Asheville, North Carolina for spring break. And they took a Post along with them to get a photo! They enjoyed the Grand Ole Opry and a day at the Biltmore Estate. “We had a blessed getaway,” said Katia.

Thanks for taking us with you!

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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Dangers of leaving children in cars

 

As the long-awaited warmer weather arrives, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), Michigan State Police (MSP) and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson are reminding parents and caregivers to be diligent and never leave children alone in vehicles. Last year, at least 44 children died from heatstroke in vehicles across the country. Three of these deaths happened in Michigan alone.

“We know from past experience that these fatalities can happen anytime, anywhere, including in moderate temperatures,” said James K. Haveman, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). “We don’t want to see this happen to any family. We are asking everyone to help protect kids from this very preventable tragedy by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute.”

It doesn’t have to be the middle of the summer for a child to get overheated. Even with mild temperatures outside, the temperatures inside a car can rise 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s, making them more susceptible to heatstroke. Temperatures inside a car can easily be double the temperature outside.

“As a mom, I know how important it is to protect our children,” Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said. “By taking small steps, we really can prevent a tragedy and save lives.”

Too many children have lost their lives to this preventable, heartbreaking tragedy. Together, we can cut down the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT:

A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when not using it so kids don’t get in on their own. C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine. T: Take action. If you see or hear a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.

“Heatstroke is a preventable tragedy – to save lives we must raise awareness of the need to ACT,” said MSP Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue. “Parents and caregivers need to know just how dangerous it is to leave a child alone in a vehicle for any amount of time.”

The MDCH, MSP, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and additional agencies have come together to raise awareness of this issue. The MSP is reinforcing this message through the outreach efforts of their community service troopers, and Safe Kids Coalitions across the state are working in their communities to increase awareness. For more information and safety tips about preventing child heatstroke deaths, visit www.safekids.org/heatstroke.

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Bus and car collide

N-Bus-accident-webA Cedar Springs Public School bus was turning left last Thursday, when a motorist tried to pass and struck the bus.

According to Kent County Sheriff Deputy Armstrong, the bus was westbound on 17 Mile and had a signal on to turn left on Stout when the car came around the left side of the bus as it was turning. The motorist reportedly thought the bus was letting traffic pass.

The car clipped the left front bumper of the bus. Both drivers were fine, and one student complained of a bumped head, but all students went on to school.

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Beyond the Walls to hit the streets

Members of a Beyond the Walls team worked on trimming shrubbery at the Post last year. Post photo by J. Reed.

Members of a Beyond the Walls team worked on trimming shrubbery at the Post last year. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

 

Three area churches will join together to take their service beyond the walls this Sunday and reach out into the community.

Both The Springs Church, 135 N. Grant, and Solon Center Wesleyan, located at 19 Mile and Algoma, have done separate events in the past, and decided this year to join forces. Hillcrest Community, located on 18 Mile in Nelson Township, is also joining the event. Not only will all three churches do projects on the same day but they will be on the same teams.

“We just thought it would be good for the churches to do one day together—meet   others, work together and make an impact on the community,” explained Cherri’ Kerr, local missions pastor at The Springs Church.

Projects the teams plan to work on include visiting patients at Metron; roadside cleanup; city sign maintenance; planting flowers; greeting customers at the Wesco gas stations in Cedar Springs and Sand Lake; working at Alpha Family Center; visiting three Hope Network homes; building a sandbox for a family; handing out freezer pops to people; and more.

Leaders will meet at The Springs Church at 9 a.m. Sunday to get to know each other and what is expected, and then will head to Morley Park at 10:30 a.m., where all three congregations will do a short worship time together and divide up into their teams. They will then go out into the community to complete their projects, and return afterward to the park for a free lunch.

Kerr said that anyone from the community who would like to help should come to Morley Park at 10:30 a.m. and they can join a team. “Everyone is welcome,” she said. Anyone coming may want to bring lawn chairs, or a blanket, and sunscreen.

“I’m so excited we’ve been able to pull this together,” remarked Kerr. “I’m looking forward to it.”

The event will be held rain or shine. If it is dangerous—if there is severe weather—it will be canceled. In the event of rain, the lunch will be held at The Springs Church. For more info email Kerr at office@thespringschurch.info.

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Four arrested in burglary ringFour arrested in burglary ring

Michael Parris

Michael Parris

Four suspects from Kent County have been identified by Kent County Sheriff Detectives as being involved in a series of incidents that occurred over several days and spanned  several counties—including Kent, Montcalm and Newaygo.

The complaints included a stolen vehicle, receiving and concealing stolen property, breaking and entering a building, and malicious destruction of property.

All four suspects were interviewed and the burglary complaints were determined all be related based upon suspect statements, recovered property, geographical location and date and time of complaint. At least 18 complaints were linked to the suspects.

The investigation resulted in search warrants at a residence in Wyoming and a business in Grand Rapids. Additionally, consent searches were conducted at residences in Hastings, Wyoming, Grand Rapids Township, and Cadillac.

All six searches resulted in the recovery of thousands of dollars in stolen property connected to the complaints. Some of the recovered stolen property included a Borg Warner T10 4 Speed Transmission, which the victim described as being one of only twelve currently for sale in the nation in its current condition/mileage, a Triumph motorcycle, Chevrolet impala, Yamaha Golf cart, Miller 212 mig welder, 350 Small block GM engine, compound bows, large John Deere toolbox, multiple tools, Top Flight golf bag and golf clubs, Coleman generator, antique military paraphernalia and a 20 gauge Shotgun.

-First suspect (21-year-old male) has been charged and with two counts of breaking and entering a building with intent, possession of a stolen vehicle and habitual offender out of Kent County.

-Second suspect, Michael Edward Parris, 22, has been charged with two counts of breaking and entering a building with intent.

-Third suspect (juvenile) has been petitioned to juvenile court for two counts of breaking and entering a building with intent.

-Fourth suspect (17-year-old male) charges pending out of other counties.

Additional charges are pending out of Newaygo and Montcalm Counties.

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Moving on from mistakes

Pastor Jim Alblas

Pioneer Christian Reformed Church

Cedarfield Community Center • 3592 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs

Cedarfield Community room

 

On a few occasions in my life I’ve made the mistake of forgetting to roll up my car windows before a rainstorm. It’s always a terrible feeling to get ready to go somewhere only to realize that your seat is soaked! But sometimes in life the mistakes we make are much more serious. I’d like to share with you an example of a regrettable matter that came from Peter, one of Jesus disciples.

When Jesus had been arrested and led on a series of early morning trials, Peter followed from a distance to see what would happen to his master. Peter saw Jesus beaten, slapped, spit on, insulted and told that He was worthy of death. Soon after, someone noticed Peter watching all of this and questioned whether or not he was one of Jesus disciples, but Peter said no. A little while later another person questioned him about this and again he denied any connection to Jesus. A third time Peter was accused in this way and a third time he disassociated himself from Jesus. Peter’s disowning of Jesus was very sad, especially when we consider how well he did know Jesus and how much Jesus had done with and for Peter. It’s no surprise, then, that immediately afterwards Peter went out and wept bitterly in regret.

For many of us, we can identify with Peter’s experience. Certainly, we have all done things to hurt others, even people that we love. And perhaps, like with Peter, we feel very guilty about it. Maybe it’s hard for us to enjoy these nice sunny days we’ve had because we still dwell on our mistake. Is there any hope for mistake-prone people who do regrettable things? The answer is yes.

After His trials, death upon the cross and eventual resurrection from the dead, Jesus made it a point to talk with Peter knowing what he had done. Three times Jesus asked the question “Peter, do you love me?” Perhaps Jesus asked him three times as a reminder of how Peter had denied Him three times. When Peter answered yes, Jesus told him to Feed His Sheep and take Care of His Lambs. Jesus probably didn’t have any real sheep or lambs, but he was speaking figuratively. What Jesus was communicating to Peter was that He wanted him to work as a shepherd, caring for the spiritual and material needs of people. That Jesus offers Peter this job showed that Peter was forgiven and there was still a future for him. As it turned out, Peter’s regrettable actions were not the end of him, but rather a turning point for something special heading forward.

In the same way, our mistakes don’t have to be the end of us. When we confess our sins to God, when we repent of our regrettable ways, The Lord offers His forgiveness to us, and, a bright outlook for future service to Him. Don’t dwell on your mistakes and stay trapped; instead, dwell on The Lord’s grace and use that as a springboard to do better and brighter things for Him moving forward.

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Marguerite Lynn Totten

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Marguerite Lynn Totten was born May 2, 2014 to her loving parents Benjamin Sr. and Jennifer and big brother Benjamin Jr. She weighed 8 lb. 4 oz and was 19 inches long.

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