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Archive | May, 2015

Car bursts into flames after crash


A Howard City man was injured Monday, after his vehicle crashed into a tree and later caught fire.

Shortly after 5:30 p.m., Montcalm County’s Central Dispatch received several reports of a possible single vehicle crash near the 8400 block of Garbow Road, in Reynolds Township. Upon arrival, the responding Deputy found a Tan Toyota Corolla that had hit a large tree. The vehicle was also on fire.

The driver of the vehicle, 46-year-old Scott Huff of Howard City, was found lying in the grass, near the burning vehicle, and appeared to be unconscious. The Deputy and a bystander were able to drag Huff to a safe location, as the vehicle became more engulfed in flames. The Deputy was later told that two other bystanders had removed Huff from the vehicle prior to it catching on fire.

The initial police investigation found that Huff was traveling northbound on Garbow Road, prior to veering off the roadway and striking two mailboxes. After striking the mailboxes, he veered back onto the roadway, traveled a short distance and collided with the tree, which caused his vehicle to catch fire. The vehicle airbags deployed, as a result of the collision.

Huff was later transported to Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids for treatment of injuries sustained from the crash. He was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the incident. Alcohol is believed to be a factor and the accident remains under investigation.

The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the Howard City Fire Department and Montcalm County Emergency Services.

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Animal shelter urges caution during canine flu spread 


Many people are contacting the Kent County Animal Shelter with concerns about Canine Flu. The flu has been confirmed in 1,200 dogs in 10 states, with two cases here in Kent County, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. This H3N2 virus can cause a fever, make dogs lethargic, and symptoms can last two weeks.

The Kent County Animal Shelter (KCAS) said they don’t have any cases of illness at this time, but they urge dog owners to take steps to protect dogs. Most importantly, avoid contact with other dogs that might be carrying the virus. “As a dog owner, I think it’s reasonable to be concerned,” said Chris Buckley, DVM, staff veterinarian at KCAS. “But it would be unreasonable to avoid dog parks, grooming, or boarding and daycare facilities at this time.” More information from the American Veterinary Medical Association can be found here: https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/FAQs/Pages/Control-of-Canine-Influenza-in-Dogs.aspx

Use caution at dog parks, by making sure your dog doesn’t play with a dog that looks tired or ill. Talk to your boarding facility to see what measures they have in place to safeguard pets from illness. “If your dog gets loose and has an updated tag, our Animal Control Officers can, in many cases, immediately return the dog to his or her home,” said Carly Luttmann, Kent County Animal Shelter Supervisor. “If the dog must be brought into the shelter, we vaccinate immediately for other illnesses, but there is no vaccination from canine flu. We know viruses can quickly spread. Make sure your dog is licensed to avoid a trip here.”

A dog license helps to get your dog home safe if they become lost. Dog licensing provides funding for animal control in Kent County. This allows us to investigate and prosecute animal cruelty and neglect, as well as responding to loose or aggressive dogs. Licensing protects the community by ensuring dogs are vaccinated against rabies. Michigan law requires that all dogs over the age of four months are licensed and all new dogs are licensed within 30 days.

Numerous veterinarians are offering One-Stop Vaccinations and Licensing. You must contact the veterinarian’s office directly for pricing and to make an appointment. Many township and city offices provide licensing, as well as the Kent County Animal Shelter, Humane Society of West Michigan, C-Snip, or online. For more information on licensing locations, pricing, or to buy your dog’s license online, go to www.accessKent.com/KCAS.

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The Rev. David Meyers

Holy Spirit Episcopal Church

1200 Post Dr., Belmont, MI  49306


This article is written at the beginning of the season of Pentecost. Pentecost begins on the 50th day after Easter. The season occupies most of the remainder of the calendar year and celebrates the birth, action, and mission of the church. We know Pentecost primarily as the time in which the Holy Spirit visited the disciples in the form of tongues of fire. The Spirit’s presence gave them understanding and power to do the mission of Christ. They emerged from a state of disorganization to a position of knowledge and power. A group of ragtag followers received an identity out of which the gospel took root and made an impact on the world.

There is, however, another form of Pentecost that is less well known.  A much older celebration occurred among the Hebrew people as the feast of Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks. In the Jewish tradition, Pentecost or Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai.  Subsequently, the Hebrews developed the awareness that they were the people of God. As Easter and Passover are celebrated at the same time, so are the two Pentecosts.

The two feasts of Pentecost follow a pattern. In both, the people were lost. They were waiting and wandering. In both, God gave the gift of himself, in the word and in flame. The presence of God in the lives of the followers resulted in a new identity in both cases. The people understood that God had chosen them and, in return, they dedicated themselves to God.

These two major Pentecosts might be prototypes to an ongoing cycle of Pentecosts. These major events are, at some level, enacted in the life of each individual.  We all have our personal Pentecosts. For wanderers seeking God, there will be events in which God visits with a gift. That gift might be miraculous or might be seen in kindness, goodness, relationship, or sacrament. When people receive that gift and are aware of the presence of God, then new things happen. Dedication, faithfulness, change, and even rebirth all can be the result.

Friends, we are all wanderers. Even those with a strong belief system, find themselves occasionally groping in the dark. The task is to be attentive to God. Look for those gifts through which God visits and invites his people. When awareness of the gift occurs, then life is transformed and new identity awakens.

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The Faith to fall 

By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

There I stood, in front of the climbing wall. You know the behemoth: a slick, black wall, with colorful rubberized grips peppered across its face. The climber gets fitted with a harness and hard hat, and off he or she goes to the top to ring the bell of conquest. I tried, with my friends mostly jeering rather than cheering,  but I couldn’t do it.

Climbing wasn’t the problem. I’ve got mad monkey skills and a gorilla grip. It was the height. I have a morbid case of acrophobia, and nothing makes me pop out in hives or go looking for a toilet bowl to hug like being faced with traversing an unstable structure that is more than 10 feet high.

What made this incident all the more challenging were the last words of the attendant as I mounted the wall: “When you get to the top, you have to let go.” There was no climbing down (because of the tension on the safety rope), and there was no backing out. When you reached the terminus, wherever that was on the wall, the only way down was to free-fall. I got halfway up the wall and froze like a bug stuck to a windshield. The thought of letting go and falling, of trusting a ½-inch rope to save me, was too much for my anxious mind to overcome.

How much faith did it take to climb that wall? None. It took strength, balance, and a plan of attack; but not faith. It took faith to fall, and I didn’t have very much of that to give. As long as we can keep conquering, going, achieving, or getting better, stronger, and higher we feel like everything is okay. But what happens when our strength runs out; when all our plans for climbing higher fail? What happens when we can no longer focus? What happens when control is taken from us or when we are forced to let go? That’s when faith is required.

We have to bet on God, by falling into the grace and infinity of what cannot be proven or explained. What most of us call faith is actually nothing more than human determination. It is confidence in our own ability, and that is nothing that resembles trust in God whatsoever. It’s only when we are ready to let go that we are ready to believe.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, blogger, pastor, and author of multiple books. Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.net.

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Congratulations to Nicole Hall and her brother Joshua Hall, both graduates of Cedar Springs High School. Nicole graduated April 25, 2015 from Grand Valley State with her Masters of Science in Speech-Language Pathology. Joshua graduated May 9, 2015 from Ferris State with his Bachelor of Science in HVACR Engineering Technology and Energy Management.

We love you both,

Rob & Shelli Hall, Boppa & Nana Hanna, Grandma Hall, Uncle Al & Aunt Sandra, Austin & Alyssa

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Three Red Hawk grads national champs in cheer

(L to R) Brittani Tozer, Heather Howard, and Amber Dunham are part of the Davenport University Cheer Team, which won national championships in both Competitive cheer and Stunt this spring.

(L to R) Brittani Tozer, Heather Howard, and Amber Dunham are part of the Davenport University Cheer Team, which won national championships in both Competitive cheer and Stunt this spring.

Three Cedar Springs High School graduates performed a rare feat—they captured two national championships, in different events, in the same season. Brittani Tozer, Heather Howard, and Amber Dunham, accomplished this in Competitive Cheer and Stunt, as part of the Davenport University Cheer team.

The team won their third national competitive cheer title in a row, after competing on April 9 and 10, in Daytona Beach, Florida. On April 9, 26 teams participated in the preliminaries, with Davenport finishing in the top spot. Half the teams moved on to the finals on April 10, with Davenport performing last. They had a near perfect performance to win the NCA/NDA Division III All Girls Competitive Cheer National Championship.

In May, the team won their first national title in Stunt, in which they have only competed two years. The dates were May 1-3, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The top four schools in each division were invited to participate. The divisions were I and II, and Davenport was rated 2 in Division II. Their challenge was to defeat Oklahoma Central University, who had won this championship three years in a row. The tournament was double-elimination. Davenport defeated Oklahoma Central in the semi-final, and then again in the final.

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Meet the Hawks: Joel Paasch


By Shae Brophy

Meet cornerback Joel Paasch. A 2010 Tri County High School graduate who is originally from “small town” Howard City, MI, Paasch moved around a lot as a kid, but somehow made his way back north. One of the rookies on the team, Joel has always enjoyed playing sports. He played as many sports as possible during school, eventually getting into MMA for about two years, before being able to step back on the field wearing a Hawks jersey.

“Football is where my heart is,” were Joel’s exact words.

His number one idol in life has always been his father. Joel, who is also one of the captains on the team, credits his Dad for the way he helped raise him as a kid, pushing him to be the best he could be and reaching his full potential, and teaching Joel the right morals to become the man he is today.

Outside of football and work, Joel enjoys spending time with his daughter, going to the gym, and spending time with friends and family with a grill.

When asked what his desire to join the Hawks was based on, Joel’s response was simple: “For love of the game.”

Coach David Lange has nothing but good things to say about what Joel brings to this team. “Joel is fun to watch because he is a heavy hitter, and he is always ready to work,” he explained. “Regardless of whether its practice, a game, or a community event, his work ethic is second to none.”

Paasch and the West Michigan Hawks will be in action this Saturday, as they travel to Battle Creek to take on the #3 ranked Battle Creek Coyotes. Fans are invited to make the trip with the team, as they take on their biggest challenge to date. The game will be played at Battle Creek Central High School, located at 100 West VanBuren Street, Battle Creek, MI 49017. We hope to see you come out and support your team!

Shae Brophy is the Media/Public Relations Director for the West Michigan Hawks.

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CTA 5k raises funds for Wounded Warriors


S-CTA-5K2Creative Technologies Academy’s newest after school running program, Girls Charging Ahead, which encourages preteen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running, held its first 5k on Monday, May 18.

The team consisted of over 20 girls from grades 2nd-6th, many high school volunteers, and the two head coaches, Samantha Liscombe and Amy VanHarten. In connection with the celebration 5k, the girls on the team chose to take pledges to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Foundation, as their team service project. The group raised a total of $1,003.35 for the foundation.

The 5k was held on the portion of the White Pine trail just North of Pine St. There was a huge turnout that consisted of many CTA staff and students as well as family members of the girls on the team.

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Hummingbird Brawl

By Ranger Steve Mueller


OUT-Nature-niche-hummingbirdRuby-throated Hummingbirds are a joy to watch as their iridescent throat patches catch sunlight and radiate brilliant ruby. It is not viewed with equal joy, when a male sees another’s ruby throat.

I watched a male performing its mating display by swooping down and up in a U pattern to impress a female. The Rudy-throated Hummingbird display was not as impressive as some western species I have observed. I watched western species loop 75 feet down and up. Here the bird was looping 20 feet.

When the male favorably captures the attention of a female, she will land nearby. His flight changes to sideways movement back and forth, as he tries to woo her.

At the feeder, birds are less tolerant and unwilling to share food resources with females or males. This evening turned into a Saturday night brawl for two males.

At 8:30 EDT, two tumbled to the ground and rolled around. I did not know if they were opposite sexes engaged in mating or males fighting. When they flew up, I could see both had ruby-throat patches. One tried visiting the feeder and the other charged from above, in a blur of speed. I thought both would be severely injured if they made physical contact.

The feeding bird quickly took evasive moves and the two continued aerial combat maneuvers for twenty minutes. In mid air they would come into physical contact and separate. Sometimes their contact would bring them to the ground, where I could only see them thrashing in the grass.

At 8:50 p.m., the two engaged in a ground brawl that I observed with binoculars. I could see one appeared to be pinning the other beneath. At times, both would be in view until one was subdued underneath again. This continued 20 minutes. It was getting dark. I left the window for a moment, and, on my return, I saw one at the feeder and could not see other.

I went outside to look for an injured, maimed, or dead male hummingbird, where they had a 20-minute exhausting fight. Fortunately, I did not have an unpleasant discovery. I did not see the second male again.

Why can’t animals get along? Hummers seem to be particularly anti-social with others of their species. In general, the behavior is common for many species and driven somewhat by hormone levels. Books and research papers elaborate and are beyond review here. In brief, reasons include:

*Individuals desire adequate breeding and nesting space with appropriate food, water, and shelter. This applies for species from hummers to people.

*Food is critical and many are unwilling to share a limited resource. Hummingbirds gather food in a small home range. Other species, like us, access food from around the world as well as from local farm markets.

*Water is generally accessible in our region for birds and people. Historically and currently, water rights conflicts abound. Proposals to pipe Great Lakes water to arid regions are frequent. Some question why people want to retain the Great Lakes instead of draining or lowering them to supply the southwest deserts and California. Lowering the Great Lakes would dry many wells, inland lakes and alter Great Lakes agriculture and ecosystem.

*Successful nesting requires good nest sites. It is difficult to raise young to adulthood. In the case of humans, we have become quite proficient with modern medicines, vaccines, food distribution, and community health programs. We expect most children to survive. A century ago, youth deaths were common. Youth deaths are still common for animals in nature niches. Help by allowing natural living space in a portion of your yard. We can each support Earth’s biodiversity.

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 or call 616-696-1753.

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Weekly Fishing Tip: 


Northern pike season open – now get out there and fish!

Seasons for northern pike are finally open across the state. Will you soon be getting out to try your hand at northern pike fishing?
Northern pike like to spend their time in the weedy shallows of both the Great Lakes and inland waters. In rivers, they can be found around log jams or fallen timber. They are often taken with live bait (such as large minnows) or different kinds of artificial lures. When fishing for northern pike, many anglers like to use a six to eight-inch wire or steel leader directly in front of hook or lure. Pike have large, deep mouths with extremely sharp teeth. They are known to engulf the entire bait or lure and sever the fishing line with their teeth when it is attached directly to the hook or lure. This leaves the angler watching as the fish swims away with their offering. Want to learn even more about northern pike in Michigan? Go to www.michigan.gov/dnr and type northern pike in the search box.

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