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Archive | July, 2015

Changes coming to Kent District Library


By Judy Reed

Residents in the Cedar Springs and surrounding area may be glad to hear that as of September 17, they can have two “home” libraries where they can pick up books they’ve put on hold.

In 2010, members of the Lakeland Library Cooperative, an organization consisting of 41 libraries (81 if you count all branches), of which Kent District Library and the Cedar Springs Public Library are both members, voted that patrons had to go to their “home” library (where they paid their taxes) to pick up holds. This decision, along with some others relating to non-print materials and new books, was made due to cuts in revenue across Michigan.

However, Kent District Library is making a big change come this fall that opens up the opportunity for a patron to have a “home away from home” library as well. Currently, all the materials available at Kent District Library, Cedar Springs Public Library, and the other 38 Lakeland Cooperative members (excluding Grand Rapids) are available for viewing in the Lakeland Catalog. But, on Thursday, September 17, Kent District Library will launch an exclusive new KDL catalog, much as Grand Rapids did in 2008.

With the passing of a new millage of 1.28 mills, Kent District Library decided it was time to make a KDL specific catalog (Symphony) that would give KDL cardholders easier access to KDL materials. Having their materials mixed in with the holdings of 38 other libraries in the Lakeland-shared catalog was sometimes confusing and required extra steps to hold eMaterials.

“For the library to make the significant service improvements our customers want and that the library promised to them during the 2014 millage campaign, KDL needs to offer an improved catalog experience,” says Lance Werner, KDL Executive Director.  The new catalog allows KDL to offer better customer service to KDL patrons, such as integrated access to the library’s significant digital collection, an improved searching experience, and more user-friendly policies, including increasing the number of holds allowed on physical items from 15 to 25 and allowing customers to renew material up to three times if there are no holds.

While KDL will still be a member of the Lakeland Coop, other Lakeland Coop patrons, such as those who are Cedar Springs Library members, will no longer see the materials available at KDL when perusing the Coop’s catalog, much the same way they can’t see Grand Rapids. The catalogs are not integrated.

KDL, however, is offering a compromise. They have offered that on or after September 17, all libraries in the Lakeland Coop can choose one of their 18 branches as their KDL “home away from home.” They can then enter the KDL catalog through their website, kdl.org, place up to 15 holds on print materials and pick them up at their new KDL Home Library. New books, audio, music, dvds, blue-ray, and video games cannot be placed on hold, but can be checked out when a non-KDL patron visits a KDL library. Due to licensing restrictions, digital items are limited to KDL members.

The Cedar Springs Library is also offering to KDL patrons the same privilege. Their patrons may enter the Lakeland Library Catalog though the Cedar Springs Library website, cedarspringslibrary.org, and order books to be sent to their Cedar Springs Library “Home away from home.”

“This arrangement will make a lot of people happy,” said Cedar Springs Public Library Director Donna Clark. She explained that many patrons who used both Cedar Springs and KDL were not happy with the 2010 vote to choose a home library. Now they will be able to pick up materials at both places.

However, until September 17, there will be some service interruptions. One to be aware of is that after July 31, non-KDL patrons will not be able to place holds on KDL materials, and KDL members will not be able to place a hold on materials in the shared Lakeland catalog. That can resume on or after September 17, once their catalog goes live, and patrons of the Cedar Springs Public Library and the other Coop libraries physically visit a KDL location and make it their home library.  For more information, visit www.kdl.org.

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About those 10 commandments

Courtland-OakfieldUMCRobert Eckert, Pastor

Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church

10295 Myers Lake NE, Rockford


They are found in the 20th chapter of Exodus and the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy. They are posted in courtrooms in the United States and the subject of lawsuits heard within courtrooms in the United States. They represent the pinnacle of what is universal, timeless, and sacred for some. They are historical artifacts to others. And what about commandment number six? Does it prohibit killing? Does it prohibit murder? Is there a difference?

If we were playing a word association game any one of those thoughts might have popped into your head when you saw “10 Commandments” in the title of this piece. By any chance, did “thou shalt not” come to mind? My perception is that the 10 Commandments have a reputation for being restrictive, judgmental, and damning. People read “thou shalt not” but hear “THOU SHALT NOT!!” Both Exodus and Deuteronomy describe the Decalogue as having been written by the finger of God and depending on how they’ve been delivered to us, they just might have come across as divine finger wagging.

With that kind of notoriety, the 10 Commandments could use some good press. I was pleased to encounter what I found to be a refreshingly positive take on these ancient injunctions recently. I was reminded that recitations of the 10 Commandments often omit their introductory sentence, their preamble, if you will: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exodus 20:2, New Revised Standard Version).

In the context of remembering where they had been and what their circumstances were while there, the 10 Commandments sound less threatening and more entreating. “I just brought you out of slavery; don’t slip back into it by worshiping false gods or by taking me for granted. Don’t go back to trying to solve your problems by means you already know to be ineffective. Don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t kill.”

Contributors to the Bible frequently speak of humankind as God’s children. Sometimes a parent has to say to a child, “Didn’t I just tell you [fill in the blank]?” Maybe the 10 Commandments are God’s way of saying, “C’mon, we’ve been through this. You’re free now. Don’t make yourselves slaves again.”

Human beings are plagued with self-destructive tendencies, bad habits, and addictions. We are trapped in cycles of behavior governed by the rubric that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. But there’s a wonderful little sentence in Galatians 5:1: “For freedom Christ has set us free” (NRSV).

Unlike what the Egyptians were to the Israelites, and unlike what our own insecurities and lusts are to us, God has no interest in being our task master. God desires to bring us out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. If the idea of commandments seems harsh to you, consider them as compassionate, heart-felt reminders that God loves you and truly desires only what is best for you.

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In Scorn of the Consequences

By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

“If there was one last crust of bread in this town, it would be mine.” That’s a quote from a rather pretentious member of the clergy, stating how God would take care of him should the world come unhinged tomorrow. “Everyone else may starve, but God has promised me that I will always have enough.”

The spiritual mathematics of such self-confidence says: “I am godly, so I will always have what I want and will never go without.” The corollary for such a statement is also true: “If you are ungodly, then you will not always have what you need, and you will suffer.”

To hear advocates of this position explain, those who please God always land on top of the heap. Their cupboards are always full, their gas tanks never empty, their table always running over, and their checks never bounce.

But countless numbers of good and godly people have suffered, have gone without, have been tortured, have been chained in prison, and have died by stoning, firing squad, holocaust, and worse. They suffered, not because they possessed an inferior faith, a faith not big or strong enough to get them out of trouble, but because of their unwavering belief.

The writer of the book of Hebrews concludes that those who suffer this way are “too good for this world and earn a good reputation because of their faith.” Their stomachs didn’t growl be-cause their faith was defective. On the contrary, they suffered because of their virtue. These heroes of faith weren’t standing behind a pulpit, in the midst of chaotic times, bragging about how the last bread truck in town was going to make a special delivery to their home. No, they led a life of faith, a life lived “in scorn of the consequences,” to quote the late Clarence Jordan, taking integrity as its own reward.

After leaving the man who had called dibs on the last loaf of Wonder Bread in town, I was left to wonder myself. What happens to this kind of faith when the promised bread truck doesn’t arrive? What is the outcome when the pantry is found to be empty? When the last check bounces? When life produces more suffering than satisfaction?

I imagine a chink in this armor of belief makes for one incredible crisis of faith. And it should, because faith that leads to arrogance isn’t faith at all.

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

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30-OBIT-marionVicki Lynn Marion, 59, of Sidney Township, Stanton, died Friday, July 24, 2015 at her home. Vicki was born April 26, 1956 in Cedarville, Michigan, the daughter of Darwin and Viola (Marks) Minard. She loved gardening, being outdoors and kayaking. She was an amazingly strong woman, with the biggest heart and a mom to many. Surviving are her daughter, Lynn Marion of Cedar Springs; boyfriend, Jerry VanHolstyn; brothers, Keith (Diane) Minard, Steve (Charlene) Minard, Mike Minard; sisters, Darlene (Jack) Bonenberger, Barbara Minard, Sheila Minard-Brady; many nieces and a nephew. She was preceded in death by her husband, Mark Marion in 1996 and a nephew, Darwin “James” Minard. The family greeted friends Tuesday, July 28 from 12 noon until time of service at 1:00 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastor Michael Shiery of Pilgrim Bible Church officiating. The family would appreciate memorial contributions to help with funeral expenses.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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EPSON scanner image

Mark Stephen Schupp, 54, of Howard City, went to be with his Lord and Savior on Sunday, July 26, 2015 while on a hiking trip with the youth group. Mark was born February 11, 1961 in Chester, Pennsylvania, the son of John and Doris (Williams) Schupp III. He worked in maintenance at Rockford Public Schools since 1989. Surviving are his wife, Cynthia (Owen); children, Stephen, David, Luke, Isaac, and Jenna; brothers, Kevin and Joel; sister, Linda Thomas; mother-in-law, Joyce Owen; brothers-in-law, Howard and Mick; special uncle and aunt, Clarence (Nancy) Hamilton. He was preceded in death by his parents and father-in-law, Moses Ray Owen. At the age of 20, Mark gave his life to the Lord under the influence of his friend and mentor, Rich Steptoe. He accompanied Rich in his bus ministry, inner-city ministries, and visitation. Mark will be remembered for being kind and caring, intent on being a warrior for Christ. He lived to serve others with an intense passion and took special pleasure in serving his beloved wife, Cindy, and their five children. He made life fun, coaching their basketball teams, taking them on trips, and creating adventures around their home. Life with Mark was never dull, as his creativity filled their lives with pirates, caped heroes, Indians, cavemen, knights, dinosaurs, fireworks, bonfires, zip lines, forts, tea parties, science lessons, woodworking, wrestling/boxing, and so much more. Every birthday was marked with a special Mark-created cake. Mark proudly invested in his children’s interests by attending sporting events, plays/musicals, and recitals. After all the fun, he was a dad willing to listen, read, talk, and fill his children’s lives with the Word of God. Mark was a member of the First Baptist Church of Newaygo where he taught an adult Sunday school class and was an AWANA leader. In the past, Mark served as a VBS coordinator, visitation team member, youth leader, and basketball ministry helper. His dedication to God was evident in how he served his church and community. When Mark met Cindy, he was a city boy. He let himself be led to the woods of Michigan and never looked back. He assimilated himself into her world, and together they created a life for their family. He worked alongside Cindy to help care for their family members, their children, and their church family. It’s this Mark that will be greatly missed, but we celebrate that he is now enjoying being in the presence of his Lord. The family will greet friends Thursday from 5-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, in Cedar Springs. The celebration of life will be held Friday at 11:00 am at First Baptist Church, 233 S. Main St., Cedar Springs. Pastors Daryl Crawford, Danny Hicks, Mark Holman, Mike King, and Steve Mackey officiating. Interment at Algoma Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Pine Ridge Bible Camp Sports Discipleship Ministry or to an education fund for Mark’s children.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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30C birth Dart

Christopher and Trisha Dart of Cedar Springs would like to announce the birth of their daughter, Kora Lucille Dart. Kora was born on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 5:32 pm at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was 7 pounds, 15 ounces at birth and 19.5 inches. Kora was welcomed home by proud grandparents; Lee and Christine Mullennix of Cedar Springs, Michigan, and Ron and Carolyn Marr of Rodney, Michigan; great-grandparents Kay and Phil Hallock of Cedar Springs, Michigan, Marilyn Nance of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Diane and Dave Pollock of Pratts, Virginia and Mary Korreck of Palm Bay, Florida.

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Kent County Youth Fair – August 10th – 15th

KCYF-logoDaily Events – Free fun all day long!

Chase’s Racing Pigs… shows at 1pm, 4pm & 7pm Daily; Saturday at 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, & 7pm… by Draft Horse Tent

Ag Adventure… play and learn about livestock and agriculture… Foreman Building

Meijer Children’s Barnyard… petting zoo by Fair Entrance

Antique Tractors on Display… Foreman Bldg

Draft Horse & Tractor Shuttles… park & ride in fair style

Free Entertainment Tent… fantastic events everyday… near Midway

BINGO… 1pm-5pm; 6pm-10pm Daily… next to Free Entertainment Tent

Track Events… Pulls and more, evenings on the track!

Ron Wenger Memorial Tractor… play & learn on the tractor!… by Children’s Barnyard

Schedule of events

Friday, AUGUST 7TH

10am Dog Showmanship, Obedience & Rally… Klackle Orchards Pavilion

Saturday, AUGUST 8TH

10am-3pm Still Exhibit Judging… Free Ent Tent


2:30pm Explore Recognition… Free Ent Tent

4:30pm-6pm Pork Dinner… bbq pork or chicken ($6.50) or hot dog ($4)… Event Tent

6:30pm Opening Ceremonies & Royal Court Coronation… Free Ent Tent

7pm Goat Team Fitting… Reath Barn

8pm Horse Kick-Off Event… Practice Arena

Monday, AUGUST 10TH – Heroes’ day

Heroes’ park free! Active military, Veterans, Fire, Police and EMT’s show your ID at the gate for free parking and The Kent County Youth Fair thanks you for your service.

9am Horse Judging: Showmanship… Horse Arena

9am-1pm Off Road Vehicle Safety Class… free, but please register at kcyf.org/off-road-vehicle-boating-safety-classes… King Building

9:30am Goat Judging: Showmanship Breed and Market Classes; Costume Contest follows… Reath Barn

Noon-2pm Youth Talent Contest Registration… entry forms available at kcyf.org… North Entrance

1pm Cavy Breed & Showmanship… Rabbit Tent

2pm Horse Judging: Grand & Reserve Showmanship… Horse Arena

3pm Horse Explorers: Explorer Showmanship & Riding… Horse Arena

4pm-7pm Michigan Blood Center Blood Drive… Get on the bus! Please register at kcyf.org to make an appointment or stop by the bus.

5pm Rabbit Breed Judging… Rabbit Tent

5pm Antique Tractor Pull Weigh In… Track

5pm-Close Carnival Rides Open… Wristband Special: $14; Mega Pass Specials*: Any 5 days for $50, a savings of at least $33; Any 3 days for $36, a savings of at least $17! *Mega Passes *Non-transferable *No Rain Checks *No Refunds *Available at the Fair Business Office.

6pm Swine Showmanship… Reath Barn

6pm Horse Judging: Senior/Horsemasters Presentations… Horse Arena

6:30pm Youth Fashion Show… Free Ent Tent

7pm Antique Tractor Pull: Open Event… Track

7pm Youth Talent Contest… Open Event with Cash Prizes; see kcyf.org/entertainment for more details… Free Ent Tent

7:30pm Horse Judging: Contesting: Down & Back; Poles… Horse Arena

Tuesday, August 11th – reading for rides day

10am-8pm The college of veterinary medicine… Meijer Children’s Barnyard

8am Horse Judging: Jumping… Horse Arena

9am Poultry Judging… Poultry Barn

9am Swine Judging: Market Class; Explorer Showmanship Following… Reath Barn

9am-2pm Boating Safety Class… free, but please register at kcyf.org/off-road-vehicle-boating-safety-classes… King Building

11:30pm Performing Arts Vocal & Instrumental: Registration… Free Ent Tent

Noon Performing Arts Vocal & Instrumental Judging… Free Ent Tent

Noon Horse Judging: Hunter Hack… Horse Arena

Noon-4pm Reading for Rides & Book Exchange… Kids ride carnival free with completed registration form!… Go to kcyf.org for registration form and complete rules… Midway

Noon-4pm Free blood Pressure Check… Event Tent

1:30pm Horse Judging: Hunt Seat Ground Poles… Horse Arena

2pm Cattle Fitting Clinic, Team Fitting Contest… Beef Arena

2pm-Close Carnival Rides Open… Wristband Special: $18; $3.00 off Carnival Coupon available at many locations in Kent County; Carnival coupon is good for Tuesday ONLY. Mega Pass Specials*: Any 5 days for $50, a savings of at least $33; Any 3 days for $36, a savings of at least $17!

3:30pm Horse Judging: Hunter Hack… Horse Arena

4pm Dog Agility Registration… Football Field

4pm Goat Trail Class… Reath Barn

4pm Horse Judging: Saddle Seat… Horse Arena

4:15pm The Illusionist, Tom Coverly… Free Ent Tent

4:30pm Horse Explorers: Stick Horse Construction… King Building

4:30pm Dog Agility Judging… Football Field

5pm Rabbit Judging: Showmanship… Rabbit Tent

5:30pm Horse Explorers: Stick Horse Parade… Midway to Horse Barns/Arena

7pm Horse Judging: Pleasure: Hunt Seat, Western… Horse Arena

7pm Club KCYF with the Mid-West Dueling Pianos… Free Ent Tent

Wednesday, August 12th – Community Day

Local non-profits join us at fair from 2pm to 7pm

8am Beef Steer Market Classes… Horse Arena

8am Horse Judging: Hunt Seat Equitation… Horse Arena

8:30am-10am Performing Arts: Storytelling, Puppetry & Theater Judging… Free Ent Tent

9am Goat Milking Contest… Goat Barn

9am Dairy Market Judging: Showmanship, Market, Explorer… Reath Barn

9am Horse Judging: Hunt Seat, Saddle Seat, and Western Riding Patterns… Horse Arena

10am-8pm The college of veterinary medicine… Meijer Children’s Barnyard

10:30am-Noon Performing Arts: Dance and other evaluations… Free Ent Tent

12:30pm-2pm Performing Arts: Clown Judging… Free Ent Tent

1pm-5pm Michigan Blood Center Blood Drive… North Entrance

1pm Feeder Beef Judging & Beef Breed Heifer Show (time approx. following lunch break)… Beef Arena

2pm Rabbit & Cavy Individual Quiz Bowl and Breed Identification… Rabbit Tent

2pm-7pm Visit Local Kid-Oriented Non-Profit Organizations… Midway

2pm-Close Carnival Rides Open… Wristband Special: $18; Mega Pass Specials*; Any 3 days for $36, a savings of at least $17

4pm Horse Judging: Reining and Bareback… Horse Arena

4pm Sheep Judging: Market, Showmanship & Breed… Reath Barn

5pm Dodge Ball Tournament… Teams of 5 will work their way to the top! Get rules & entry form at kcyf.org/dodgeball… Football Field

5pm Alpaca Obstacle Course… Football Field

6pm Rabbit & Cavy Costume Class & Adult Showmanship… Rabbit Tent

6:30pm Horse Explorers: Explorer Stick Horse Reining Event… Practice Arena

6:30pm Horse Judging: Contesting: Speed & Action and Keyhole… Horse Arena

7pm Draft Horse Pull… Using Barnyard Rules…Track

7pm Kari Lynch Band… Free Ent Tent

Thursday, August 13th – Agricultural Day

8am Horse Judging: Dressage Tests… Horse Arena

8am Beef Showmanship… Beef Arena

9am-11am Goat Quiz Bowl… Free Ent Tent

10am Rabbit & Cavy Explorer…Rabbit Tent

10am-2pm The college of veterinary medicine… Meijer Children’s Barnyard

Noon Horse Judging: Equitation: Dressage Seat; Western; Gymkhana… Horse Arena

Noon Livestock Auction begins… Small Animals Sale Order: Rabbit, Poultry, Goats followed by the Sale of Champions; Large Animals Sale approximately 2pm. Sale Order: Swine, Sheep, Feeder Calf, Gallon of Milk, Beef followed by the Sale of Champions… Reath Barn

1pm-3pm Youth Variety Show… Free Ent Tent

2pm-Close Carnival Rides Open… Wristband Special: $18; Mega Pass Specials*; Any 3 days for $36, a savings of at least $17

6pm Tractor Games Check-In… Bring your tractor and compete in various timed events… Track

6:30pm Horse Explorers: Stick Horse Contesting Event… Practice Arena

6:30pm Horse Judging: Contesting: Flag and Cloverleaf… Horse Arena

7pm Extrication Demonstration… Near Foreman Bldg

7pm Tractor Games… Track

7pm-9:45pm West Michigan Bluegrass Music Association Presents Steam Powered BlueGrass & Out of the Blue… Free Ent Tent

Friday, August 14th – Handi-capable Day

8am Horse Judging: Trail… Horse Arena

10am Dairy Showmanship Classes: Dairy Type Classes immediately following… Reath Barn

11am Rabbit Agility & Cavy Obstacle Course…Rabbit Tent

11am-2pm Carnival Rides & Luncheon for Special Needs Individuals… Lunch is 11am-1pm, rides from noon-2pm… King Building/Midway, attending is free but please register at kcyf.org/handi-capable-day

Noon Horse Explorers: Stick Horse Trail Event… Horse Arena

1pm Horse Judging: Grand & Reserve Equitation… Horse Arena

2pm-Close Carnival Rides Open… Wristband Special: $18 6pm Cow Pie Bingo Ticket Sales… Beef Barn

2pm Goat Parent “Fun bowl” Class… Rabbit Tent

2pm-4pm Teen Leadership Judging… Event Tent

2:30pm Tractor Driving Judging… Track

3pm Alpaca Showmanship (including Explorers)… Reath Barn

3pm Horse Judging: Versatility… Horse Arena

6pm Horse Explorers: Stick Horse Team Games… Horse Arena

6:30pm Horse Judging: Team Performance Games… Horse Arena

6:30-10:30pm Country Karaoke with Diva Productions… Free Ent Tent

7pm Extrication Demonstration… Presented by Lowell Fire Dept.

7pm Cow Pie Bingo, Silent Auction…Beef Arena

8pm-11pm Family Line Dance with Lia’s Line Dancing & Dance Moves… Reath Barn

Saturday, August 15th – Meijer Kids’ Day

9am-Noon $1 parking with 3 or more non-perishable food items. All food items will be donated to the food pantry at F.R.O.M.

All Day Scavenger Hunt… Get your scavenger hunt page at guest services or print at kcyf.org/kids-day. All who complete the hunt will be put into a drawing to win one of several bicycles… Fairgrounds

8:30am Showmanship Sweepstakes… Reath Barn

9am Horse Awards Ceremony… Free Ent Tent

10am Little Britches Rodeo- Slack… Horse Arena

Noon-5pm Live & Local… local youth bands… Free Ent Tent

Noon-6pm Carnival Rides Open… BOGO FREE Ride Armbands: Noon-2; Use your $2 off food coupon from Reading for Rides for some great food!

2pm Alpaca Costume Classes… Reath Barn

2pm Little Britches Rodeo… Rodeo fun for everyone!… Horse Arena

2pm Ice Cream Social hosted by the Milky Way 4-H Club… Free, while supplies last… Midway

3pm Princess Tea Party… King Building

3pm Puff the Dragon Pedal Pull: Youth Classes… Midway

5pm-8pm Release of Horses

6pm Little Britches Rodeo… Main Event. No cover charge… Horse Arena

7pm Truck Stop Cobras… Free Ent Tent

9pm Release of Breeding Stock & Still Exhibits

10pm Release of Market Animals

11pm Kent County Youth Fair Closes for 2015.

Release of all other Exhibits

See you in 2016!

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Hawks drop close game to Vipers


By Shae Brophy

Saturday evening, the West Michigan Hawks hosted the #7 ranked Michigan Vipers. In what was a very close game, the Hawks were unable to finish their attempt at a comeback, and fell short by a final score of 20-13.

Things did not go according to plan for the Hawks as the game began. The Vipers were able to score three touchdowns in the first quarter, and take a 20-0 lead going in to the second quarter. From that point on, the Hawks defense took over, and the offense did the same.

Hawks wide receiver Dontae Ensley scored two touchdowns in the second quarter, giving the Hawks some much needed momentum going into the halftime break, with the score being 20-13. The Hawks defense came out firing in the third quarter, as well. Cornerback Omar Haynes had an interception, and the defense forced two turnovers on fourth down in the third quarter, giving the Hawks offense a chance to get back on track. After a couple of attempts from the Vipers side of the field, the Hawks were unable to find the end zone.

In the fourth quarter, with the score still 20-13 and four minutes remaining on the clock, the Hawks were given their biggest chance to get back in the game. Cornerback Joel Paasch intercepted the ball at the Hawks’ goal line, and returned it all the way back to the Vipers’ 40. The Hawks proceeded to get into the red zone, but with 1:06 left on the clock, a Vipers interception put the game away.

“The Vipers started out firing on all cylinders. They jumped out to a 14-0 lead really early but it didn’t bother us like it has in past games. We made them play our game from that point on, and we started to wear them down,” said Ensley. “After we made the score 20-13, we had all the hope in the world that we could shock not just the Vipers, but the entire league. It was a very hard fought game, but we came up just short in the end.”

Added head coach David Lange, “I thought we started the game a little flat footed, but we were able to pick it up. We played a heck of a game for the last three quarters, and our guys put it all on the line, it just didn’t work out for us in the end. The guys on our team have really come together more than ever the last couple of weeks, and it is really showing by how we are playing. This week, we play for home field advantage in the post-season. That is where our minds will be for the entire week.”

For details on the Hawks game this weekend in Detroit against the Motor City Jaguars, be sure to follow the West Michigan Hawks on Facebook!

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Meet the Hawks: Austin Garza


By Shae Brophy

Meet #32, linebacker/tight end Austin Garza. The youngest member of the West Michigan Hawks, at 18 years old, Garza has played an essential role with the team. While playing football in high school, Austin also ran track and power-lifted. He was selected to be in the all star game for football during his senior year. It has been very obvious that there was no gap between his playing time, as he went straight from the high school gridiron onto the semi-pro stage.

Originally from Grant, Garza enjoys restoring cars and tractors, hunting and fishing, and hanging out with his friends and teammates. His idols include (former Detroit Lions running back) Barry Sanders, (former Baltimore Ravens linebacker) Ray Lewis, and (current Green Bay Packers linebacker) Clay Matthews.

To this point on the season, Garza has shown the tendancy to be in the right place at the right time to make important tackles, as well as showing some versatility by taking some reps at the tight end position.

“I wanted to join the Hawks because it was a chance to play football at the next level,” said Garza. “It sounded like fun to join a team that has just become established.”

Owner/head coach David Lange added: “Austin has a love of this game, no doubt about it! He is an amazing athlete, and is strong as an ox. He doesn’t let size intimidate him. He gives every play 110 percent and I can’t ask for more than that. He is a huge asset to this team!”

The Hawks will be making the journey to Detroit this weekend to take on the Motor City Jaguars to close out the regular season. With a victory in this game, the Hawks will earn home field advantage in the Crossroads Tournament. You are welcome to join the team as they travel to enemy territory. We would love to see you there!

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

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Human Health and Insect Surveys


OUT-Nature-niche-Swamp-milkweed-monarchSome people might wonder why the Monarch butterfly is currently proposed for Federal Endangered Species status. Monarch numbers have declined significantly during this new millennium and there are several contributing factors. One concern is the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO). GMO crops have been genetically altered to be herbicide resistant so more chemicals can be used on crops, allowing higher yield to support our growing human population.

It is difficult for farmers to purchase seeds that are not genetically modified. The increased use of chemicals in farm fields has eliminated many of the milkweeds that Monarch butterflies require to successfully migrate from Mexico to Michigan.

Lincoln Brower conducted studies in the 1960’s to gain understanding about how Monarchs acquire chemicals from milkweeds that protect them from bird predators. Milkweeds developed chemical protections through natural selection that protected them from most insects trying to feed on them. Most insects cannot feed on milkweeds because of the plant’s poisons. Monarchs, milkweeds bugs, milkweed longhorned beetles and some others have developed the ability to feed on the plant and have developed ways to isolate the poisons without being killed.

Brower fed Monarchs to blue jays and the birds became ill, vomited, and had an irregular heartbeat. The birds learned to not eat Monarchs or other orange insects.

Later other scientists studied cardiac glucocides ingested by monarch’s from the milkweeds to learn how they affect the heart. It was discovered that if a person has an irregular heartbeat, the chemical could be used to help correct the heartbeat. After learning its medical value, the chemical has been manufactured in the laboratory and used to save human lives.

If monarchs were allowed to become extinct before the study, we might never have made the life saving discovery. Many, if not most, medicines first come from studying plants, fungi, and other organisms to understand their role in nature niches. Scientists do not just throw chemicals together and test them to see how they might be useful. They look to the natural world.

Butterfly and other insect surveys conducted by citizen scientists aid in monitoring the abundance and distribution of insects. Similar surveys for birds, mammals, and plants help us understand trends for various species populations. Most species have not been studied for their value to humans. The value of many has been lost to extinction and will never reveal their life saving secrets. What if the chemical in milkweeds and Monarchs was lost before the life saving use was discovered?

The recent local butterfly survey conducted by citizens like you has value for fun and learning about local nature niche relationships. It also is important in tracking population changes. The information can be used to preserve species that save human lives. Some people require a known human use before they are willing to support saving a species from extinction. It is impossible to know the value of each species. It is estimated that between five and fifteen million species live on Earth and possibly 30 million. We have named about 1.5 million so far and, for most of those, we know little about their value for us.

Insects that live in your yard might be human life saving organisms provided we do not eliminate them with pesticide and herbicide use. You have life saving control that is important for future generations. If we eliminate species, their value disappears with them. Encourage people to live in harmony with nature rather than trying to dominate it.

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

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