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Archive | December, 2014

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.

TOPS weight loss support group

Jan. 6: Start the New Year off right with TOPS (Take off pounds sensibly), 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 Barb at 696-8049 for more information. #50

 

M*A*S*H* Auditions

Jan. 6,7: The Rogue River Community Theatre group is holding auditions for the play “M*A*S*H*” on January 6 and 7 at 6:30 pm at North Rockford Middle School Auditorium. Performance dates at March 19-21. Large adult cast, all experience levels welcome. Also looking for non-acting support roles. For more information go to www.rrctc.org or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rrctc. #51-53p

 

God’s Kitchen in Cedar Springs

Jan. 6,13,20,27: Join us for dinner every Tuesday. God’s Kitchen – Cedar Springs welcomes families from Northern Kent County and the surrounding area to a Tuesday Evening Meal. No charge – no registration required!  Served from 5:30 – 6:30 pm at the St. John Paul II Parish, 3110 – 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs. For more information, call the Church office at 616-696-3904. #53

 

Mush! at Spencer KDL

Jan. 8: Tun-Dra Kennels owners will talk about sled dogs, mushing equipment and the Iditarod. Families can meet the dogs and watch a demonstration outside, weather permitting. For all ages. Thursday, January 8th at 6 pm. Spencer Township KDL Branch, 14960 Meddler Ave., Gowen. #53

 

Michigan’s Owls: Who’s Watching Who

Jan. 10: Listening to the hooting of owls has to be one of life’s most special pleasures. Join naturalist and expert Greg Swanson as he introduces you to owl biology during an indoor presentation. Then we will all head outdoors in search of these elusive nocturnal wonders that Greg has the ability to actually call in. Includes refreshments. Saturday, January 10 from 6 to 8 pm. Donation of $5 person or $15 for family of four or more. Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16190 Red Pine Drive, Kent City. 616-675-3158. #53

 

Volunteers Needed for Cleanup

Jan 10: The Community Building Development Team (CBDT) is seeking volunteers to help clean up brush and trees along the White Pine Trail located at the TD Johnson property at the West End of Maple Street. The property was recently purchased by CS Manufacturing which is planning to donate a portion of the property to the CBDT for the future development of a Community Center. Pizza is being donated through the Cedar Springs Brewing Company by Little Caesars of Cedar Springs. Chainsaws and people to stack brush and wood are needed. Wood resulting from the cleanup will be free to the public. The cleanup is planned for January 10 at 9am. Please contact Nick Andres at 616-893-4338 with questions. We look forward to your support in cleaning up the area and furthering the improvement efforts for the community by the CBDT. #53

 

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Cherry Crop Pest Management

OUT-Cherries

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

Cherries and plums for our Christmas festivities depend on crop production. Michigan has an important cherry orchard industry. We eat cherries throughout the year and I particularly like Traverse City Pie Company cherry pies.

The American Plum Borer is a micro moth that few people ever see but it feeds on cherry and plum trees. It is the most important pest of these trees in Michigan. Natural control species such as birds, spiders, beetles, ants, and wasp parasitoids are important for maintaining pest control.

Legislation has been introduced to revise the definition of “conservation” regarding biological diversity to remove key provisions regarding restoration, distribution and the “continued existence” of native species and communities. It would prevent biodiversity from being considered when managing natural resources. Biodiversity is fundamental to healthy functioning nature niches. It is beyond my comprehension and the scope of the article to address political motivations that undermine maintenance of healthy ecosystems. By the time this article is printed the vote will likely have occurred.

The focus here is on the American Plum Borer, Euzophera semifuneralis (Walker), a Pyralid moth and other species that control it. Like so many aspects of the natural world, very little is known about the moth’s biological control despite it being the most important pest of the cherry and plum trees. A change in how we harvest cherries is one reason it is an important pest. About 40 years ago we shifted to hydraulic tree shakers from human manual pickers. The mechanical harvesting by machines instead of humans causes cracking and tearing of the bark.

The moth lays eggs that hatch and enter through the bark injuries. Caterpillars feed on the thin cambium that produces new tissue for transporting food, water, and nutrients. Trees usually die within five years if the insects are too abundant. To control the insect, pesticides are used but pesticides used are being discovered as harmful to us. They are increasingly restricted to safeguard our health. That makes a case for maintaining natural biodiversity of native species to help control the insect that takes food from our tables.

A variety of birds including the Northern Flicker and other woodpeckers were commonly found probing the bark in spring and summer for moth larvae. White-breasted Nuthatches and other birds search the tree wounds and bark for larvae and over-wintering hibernators.

The most common parasitoid eating the moth larvae is a tiny ichneumon wasp. Parasitoids are different from parasites in that they kill their prey. They feed inside the caterpillar on non-vital tissues at first and later eat vital organs causing death. A true parasite does not kill its host. A mosquito is a good example of a parasite on us.

Crab spiders species were found preying on the moths. A beetle, nematode roundworms, fungi, and ants are important natural controls. Many natural control species await discovery. Often when pesticides are used, the natural control species are more severely reduced than the pest species because they are not as abundant. The pest species is then able to reproduce more rapidly in the absence of natural controls and create increased economic harm.

Two things that would help keep cherries on our tables would be to reduce the mechanical damage to tree bark by tree shaker machines and to maintain natural biodiversity so native species are able to continue their ecological role in the food web. One might think it would have minor impact for politicians to prevent scientists and land managers from using best practices to maintain biodiversity but their action can be devastating. Details about the biological control of the American Plum Borer can be found in a scientific paper written by David Biddinger and Tim Leslie in the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of The Great Lakes Entomologist journal.

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

 

 

 

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Celebrate the New Year 

The Easter Redbud is one of the free trees you receive for joining the Arbor Day Foundation. Photo courtesy of the Arbor Day Foundation.

The Easter Redbud is one of the free trees you receive for joining the Arbor Day Foundation. Photo courtesy of the Arbor Day Foundation.

With 10 free flowering frees from the Arbor Day Foundation

 

Residents of Michigan can ring in the New Year with 10 free flowering trees by joining the Arbor Day Foundation any time during January 2015.

By becoming a part of the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation, new members will receive two Sargent crabapples, three American redbuds, two Washington hawthorns, and three white flowering dogwoods.

“These beautiful trees will give your home in Michigan lovely flowers with pink, yellow and white colors,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “These trees are perfect for large and small spaces, and they will provide food and habitat for songbirds.”

The free trees are part of the Foundation’s Trees for America campaign.

The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting, between February 1 and May 31, with enclosed planting instructions. The 6- to 12-inch tall trees are guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced free of charge.

Members will also receive a subscription to the Foundation’s bimonthly publication, Arbor Day, and The Tree Book, which includes information about tree planting and care.

To become a member of the Foundation and to receive the free trees, send a $10 contribution to: Ten Free Flowering Trees, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410, by January 31, 2015. Michigan residents can also join online at arborday.org/january.

 

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A Christmas miracle

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Man receives thousands of cards from around the world

By Judy Reed

 

Donnie and his Uncle Denny.

Donnie and his Uncle Denny.

A simple request on a facebook page has led to an amazing outpouring of Christmas wishes for a Cedar Springs man. Donnie Whipple has received thousands of Christmas cards from every state in the U.S., except Utah and Hawaii, and several other countries around the world.

Donnie, 50, lives with his younger half sister, Spring Hobbs, and her husband, Neil, in Nelson Township. Spring became Donnie’s guardian 15 years ago, after their mother passed away. “He’s like a son to me,” explained Spring. “I’m a three-time cancer survivor, and it took my ability to have children. He is the joy of my life. My mother left him to me as a gift; that’s the way I’ve always seen it.”

One of the things Donnie looks forward to each year is sending a card to his Uncle Denny and receiving one from him. It’s the only contact he has with him, since he lives in Jackson. He hadn’t seen him in 30 years.

This year, the card Donnie sent was returned with no forwarding address. At first, Donnie thought it was a card from his Uncle. But when Spring explained it was his own card that came back, Donnie was devastated. She told him she would try to locate him. And she also did something else—she tagged 20 of her friends in a facebook post and asked them to send Christmas cards to her brother. “They took it from there, bless their hearts,” remarked Spring.

This was early December. Within days, cards began pouring in. She had 31 the first day. Spring met with her mail carrier, Janine, to let her know that there might be even more. “We haven’t had less than 200 a day since then,” she remarked. “Janine is no longer the bill lady, she’s the card lady.” As of last count on Tuesday, they were just short of 3,000 cards.

And Donnie loves opening each one. “It’s exciting, but also a little overwhelming for him,” explained Spring. She said that by the third or fourth day, he was just sitting and staring, and then began to cry. “I can’t believe all these people love me,” he told her.

“It’s really a big deal for him,” she said.

But it’s also a big deal for Spring. “It’s shown me there are still a lot of really good people out there. With everything going on in the world, to find out there are so many people who would do this, is amazing.”

But Spring said it’s doing just as much for others as for Donnie. “It’s no longer about what they are doing for Donnie; it’s what he’s doing for them. We get so many cards with people thanking him for reminding them what Christmas is all about.”

She said they also get Christmas cards with donations, but they don’t plan to keep the money. “He wanted to get a calendar, and a movie, and I’ll let him do that, and then we’ll donate the rest. Possibly to Special Olympics,” she said. “We just want Christmas cards. We are not a family in need.”

After Donnie’s story hit the news, a man who works with Donnie’s Uncle Denny in Jackson contacted Spring, and told her how to contact him. She said Denny  knew nothing about what was going on. He had apparently moved, and that was why the card was returned. Spring called him to set up a meeting between him and Donnie, and that happened last weekend.

“It was very emotional for Donnie, since he hadn’t seen him in 30 years,” she explained.

Spring is grateful to all who have sent cards to Donnie. “Thank you for making such a huge difference in his life this Christmas,” she said.

If you would like to follow what is happening with Donnie, you can follow the facebook page that Spring set up called cardsfordonnie. She said she would be updating it monthly. If you want to write Donnie Whipple, send your card or letters to: 15263 Pine Lake Ave, Cedar Springs MI 49319.

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Merry Christmas! Gas prices still falling

Drivers are lining up to take advantage of the lower gas prices. They fell to $1.94 this week. Post photo by L. Allen.

Drivers are lining up to take advantage of the lower gas prices. They fell to $1.94 this week. Post photo by L. Allen.

Gas prices fell another 19 cents in Cedar Springs this week. Last Wednesday, prices were at $2.13 a gallon, the lowest they had been since the spring of 2009. As of Tuesday, December 23, they had dropped to $1.94 per gallon. The average in Grand Rapids is $2.03, and the Michigan average is $2.18. The national average is $2.37.

“As Americans take to the road for Christmas travel, they’ve all been given a gift that keeps on giving: falling gas prices,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. “Americans are saving over $13 million dollars an hour versus gas prices a year ago- adding up to over $315 million every day. Big declines were witnessed in Montana, Michigan, Indiana, Idaho, and Ohio, where average prices fell over 20 cents on average just in the last seven days but everyone has been a winner.”

“Just in the last 24 hours, the national average has declined nearly 7c/gallon, one of the largest single day decreases ever. However, I’m worried the decline may soon begin slowing- oil prices have held in the mid-$50s, and the concrete may be setting in. If it does, and oil prices fail to drop below $50/bbl, gas prices likely won’t drop more than another 10-20 cents per gallon. Either way, a sneak peak at our soon to be released 2015 gas price forecast reveals a yearly national average far lower than what we saw this year,” DeHaan said.

 

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The Post travels to Europe

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The Post recently traveled to Europe with Nadine Raders, of Grand Rapids, (formerly of Cedar Springs,) Nadine’s sister and husband, Nora and Bill Bolthouse, of California (formerly of Grant and Cedar Springs), and cousin Jeanette Denton from Baptist Lake, in Sand Lake, Michigan.

The group took a Viking Boat trip down the Rhein River. They flew into Amsterdam, Netherlands, and spent two days touring Holland, and then left on the Viking “Idi,” going through 15 days of touring Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.

“It was a beautiful trip all the way to Budapest,” wrote Jeanette. “We spent two more days there, and what a beautiful city. It was a wonderful three weeks, so much history and lots of fun.”

Thanks for taking The Post with you on your adventure!

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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The Light of Christmas

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By Tom Noreen

 

Victoria Merlington, (owner of The Barn Vintage Décor and Consignment shop), and 35 volunteers brought “The Light of Christmas” to the residents of Cedar Springs Mobile Estates on December 14. Hundreds turned out as the group treated the community to a live nativity, a chili bar with macaroni and cheese, lasagna, and cookies galore. Teachers led the singing of Christmas Carols. Care packages of food were passed out to the elderly that couldn’t make the event and gifts were given to all of the kids.

N-Christmas-CS-Mobile-estates2-webBoth community members and businesses offered donations of money, food, gifts, and volunteers and time to make this 1st annual Light of Christmas possible. Over 450 gifts were collected.

With the success of this event, that of putting a smile on a child’s face and showing them the love of Christ, Victoria is planning an Easter event as well and some summer events as well. She said, “Our plan is to continue loving on this neighborhood.”

 

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City Council declines to investigate possible OMA violation

 

By Judy Reed

 

The Cedar Springs City Council has been in the news for over a year and a half regarding a possible violation of the Open Meetings Act, when it took then Mayor Bob Truesdale into a closed session to hear complaints against him. Since then, an open meetings act violation was filed, two council members recalled, a complaint was filed with the state bureau of elections over funding the investigation, rhetoric, drama and accusations took up time in countless Council meetings, and, after the most recent City Council declined to proceed any further with the investigation, we may never know if there really was any wrongdoing.

The saga began in July 2013, when the Council voted to take then Mayor Bob Truesdale into closed session to hear complaints against him. According to Truesdale, he did not ask for the closed session, but was instead told by two of the council members that they were going to do this in closed session. Truesdale said he voted with the council to go into closed session, figuring he had nothing to hide, and was not aware of his rights to end it at any time.

Citizen Mark Laws then filed recall petitions against two of the council members—Patricia Troost and Ashley Bremmer—and the alleged Open Meetings violation is one of the reasons listed. (Those two council members were the only two he could recall at that time due to laws regarding where they were in their terms.) The petitions were finally approved in February of this year.

The City Council then voted to conduct an investigation into whether a violation of the Open Meetings Act had occurred, and directed City Manager Thad Taylor to proceed. When Taylor went to the Michigan State Police, he was told that the City needed to collect as much information as possible, submit it to the Kent County prosecutor, and then the State Police would investigate. Truesdale said he didn’t feel it was necessary, that as far as he was concerned, it was water under the bridge.

Taylor then began to have staff collect the information necessary. It was then that Laws filed a complaint with the State Bureau of Elections, asserting that any money spent by the City in connection with the investigation, was an effort by the City to show that the recall was baseless and to encourage voters to vote against the recall.

The City then stopped their investigation into the alleged Open Meetings Violation, since there was now a complaint on whether they had violated the Campaign Finance Act.

Laws didn’t realize they had stopped the investigation, and once he found out, he filed his own OMA complaint with the MSP.

Attorney Michael Hodge filed an answer to the Campaign Finance Act complaint on behalf of the city and five of the council members, and the State dismissed the complaint in October, stating that “They [City] also had real and credible concerns that the public should know if they complied with the Open Meetings Act or not. Because the City Officers had legitimate legal concerns regarding the alleged Open Meetings Act violation, the Department finds that the evidence does not tend to show that the City Officers made an expenditure in regard to the recall election and your complaint is dismissed.”

Then, in mid-November, City Manager Thad Taylor was told by MSP D/1st LT Mike Anderson that Mark Laws reportedly called and told him he no longer wanted the investigation completed or presented to the prosecutor for review. Laws said that he asked the MSP to drop it right after the election in November, because he felt the voters took care of the issue. “None of those people are still on Council, so I thought why waste the MSP’s time when they have more important things to work on,” he explained.

Lt. Anderson also told Taylor that he did not find anything in the investigation so far that suggested an OMA violation. Taylor told him that the City still wanted the investigation and asked a summary of their conversation by email.

Taylor brought it to the Council in December to vote on continuing the investigation and presenting it to the prosecutor. Four of the council members are new, and did not vote on it last spring. When new council member Perry Hopkins made the motion, no one on the council gave it a second, causing the motion to die.

Mayor Jerry Hall told the Post that they didn’t want to spend any more money on lawyer fees. “The MSP didn’t think they (the previous council) did anything wrong; Mark withdrew the lawsuit; so why should we spend more money to prove we did nothing wrong?” he asked. “We would still have to pay our attorney.” He also noted there is still the other pending OMA lawsuit over the City Manager contract that they are paying attorney fees for.

City Manager Thad Taylor said it is possible there would be some attorney fees to continue the investigation; however, he felt they would be minimal. “But it’s now a moot point,” he added. “The council was comfortable with not continuing.”

Citizen Kathy Bremmer recently requested through the Freedom of Information Act the amount of attorney fees spent on three separate cases, and shared the figures with the Post: the City reportedly spent $1,439.50 in attorney’s fees for the alleged OMA violation regarding Bob Truesdale; $5,020 to defend itself against the Campaign Finance complaint; and so far has spent $6,372 on the lawsuit for the alleged violation of the OMA regarding the City Manager Contract.

 

 

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How fast are you going?

This radar speed sign showed people how fast they were traveling down Main Street in Cedar Springs last week. The speed limit is 25 mph. Photo by S. Reed.

This radar speed sign showed people how fast they were traveling down Main Street in Cedar Springs last week. The speed limit is 25 mph. Photo by S. Reed.

Drivers who drove by Cedar Springs City Hall last week may have been surprised to see a radar speed sign that told them how fast they were going.

According to Sergeant Jason Kelley, of the Kent County Sheriff Department’s Cedar Springs Unit, the sign was there simply to record traffic speeds, times and dates. He assured us that no tickets were written because of it, or people pulled over near it.

The Post asked what he was going to do from the information gleaned from it. “I have no particular plan for the information obtained from the sign at this point,” explained Kelley. “I just wanted to get a pulse on heavy traffic times and speeds.”

He said that the sign, which was temporary, came at no additional cost to the city.

 

 

 

 

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Woman injured in semi accident

A Sand Lake woman escaped with minor injuries after a semi tractor trailer collided with her car last week.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff Office, Edie Peterman, 43, of Sand Lake, was heading west on the Howard City-Edmore Road, in a 1999 Dodge Caravan, on Friday, December 19, about 10:56 a.m., when a 2015 freightliner semi tractor trailer, which was heading east, turned north on to Six Lakes Road, and the two vehicles collided.

Peterman was transported by Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services to Spectrum-UMH in Greenville, with minor injuries. Deputies issued the uninjured semi driver a citation for failing to yield to oncoming traffic. The semi driver was identified as Cesareo Jesus Miguel Torena, age 32 of Cape Coral Florida.
Police said both were wearing seatbelts. Neither alcohol nor speed was a factor in the crash. Airbags deployed in the Dodge and greatly minimized the extent of injuries. Michigan State Police troopers also assisted Deputies at the scene.

 

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