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Archive | October, 2015

In the line of duty

 

Law enforcement officers killed and assaulted

N-FBI-report-51-law-enforcement-officers-killedOn May 29, 2014, a 42-year-old trooper with the New York State Police made a traffic stop on an interstate highway north of Binghamton. The veteran trooper parked behind the stopped car and approached the driver’s side window. In that fleeting moment, a truck traveling in the same direction at about 90 miles per hour suddenly swerved, sideswiping the car and striking the trooper, killing him instantly. The truck’s driver, a 60-year-old man with a criminal record, admitted after his capture that he intentionally veered to hit the trooper.

The chilling account of the unprovoked attack is just one of dozens of detailed narratives recounting the felonious deaths of law enforcement officers in the United States in 2014. The accounts are a central component of the latest Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) report, issued today, which shows that 96 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty last year—51 as a result of felonious acts and 45 in accidents. The annual report, released by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, also shows that 48,315 officers were victims of line-of-duty assaults in 2014.

In addition to the narratives, the online-only report includes comprehensive data tables that provide a closer look at the incidents: officer profiles, circumstances, weapons, locations, and identified suspects.

The felonious deaths of the 51 officers—all males—occurred in 24 states and Puerto Rico. The figure represents a significant increase over the number that occurred in 2013, when 27 officers were killed, but is lower than the numbers from 2009 (56 officers) and 2005 (55 officers).

Among the report’s findings:

  • The average age of the officers who were feloniously killed was 39, and they had served for an average of 13 years.
  • Offenders used firearms to kill 46 of the 51 victim officers: 33 were slain with handguns, 10 with rifles, and three with shotguns.
  • 59 alleged assailants (54 of them males) were identified in connection with the line-of-duty deaths; 50 had prior criminal arrests.
  • 39 of the officers feloniously killed with firearms were wearing body armor at the time of the incidents.
  • The largest percentage (30.8) of assaults on police officers occurred while they were responding to disturbance calls.

The LEOKA publication contains data on duly-sworn city, university/college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement officers. The information in the report comes from various sources: the law enforcement agencies participating in the UCR Program, FBI field offices, and several non-profit organizations, such as the Concerns of Police Survivors and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

In addition to collecting details about the critical aspects of fatal confrontations and assaults, the FBI’s LEOKA Program conducts extensive research on the data that eventually gets incorporated into officer safety awareness training the FBI provides for partner agencies. For summaries of officers killed on duty, visit: https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/leoka/2014/officers-feloniously-killed/summaries-of-officers-feloniously-killed

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Wrong way driver arrested

 

N-Wrong-way-driver-Dean-Armstrong

Dean Armstrong

A Cadillac man who was spotted driving the wrong way down US131 was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.

The incident happened on Thursday, October 22, about 1:45 a.m. A Montcalm County Sheriff deputy was dispatched to US131, after Meceola Central Dispatch reported a dark colored minivan traveling south in the northbound lane of US131. The Montcalm County Deputy was able to locate the vehicle, a 2000 Dodge, and pulled it over near mile marker 114, in Pierson Township. The deputy asked the driver to perform a series of dexterity tests and determined the driver to be intoxicated.

Dean Edward Armstrong, 46, of Cadillac, was arrested and arraigned in 64B District Court on a charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He was later released on $500 bond.

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Halloween Coloring Contest 2015 winners

Kate Hanes Age 4, of Cedar Springs

1 st Place Winner Age Group 3-4 years Kate Hanes
Age 4, of Cedar Springs

1 st Place Winner  Age Group 5-7 years Taylor McLean Age 6, of Gowen

1 st Place Winner
Age Group 5-7 years
Taylor McLean
Age 6, of Gowen

1 st Place Winner  Age Group 8-10 years Emma Lange Age 10, of Rockford

1 st Place Winner
Age Group 8-10 years
Emma Lange
Age 10, of Rockford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to our winners of the 2015 Halloween Coloring Contest! Winners may pick up their prizes at The POST on Friday, October 30th, between 10am and 2pm. Or call 616-696-3655 to make other arrangements.

 

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Red Hawks advance to playoffs after win against Northview

Red Hawk QB Collin Alvesteffer is looking healthy again after an ankle injury early in the season.

Red Hawk QB Collin Alvesteffer is looking healthy again after an ankle injury early in the season.

By Lauren VanDenHout

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks faced off against the Northview Wildcats for a spot in the 2015 playoffs. This matchup took place last Friday, October 23, at Northview. The Red Hawks took charge of the field early on, and carried an aggressive mentality throughout the entire game. With a final score of 52-29, Cedar Springs proved they have what it takes to be back to back conference champions.

Cedar Springs started out strong in the first half. The first touchdown was made by senior Isaiah MacDonald, while junior Collin Alvesteffer made the two-point conversion. This dynamic duo managed to make another connection later on in the first quarter, with three minutes remaining. Macdonald again got the touchdown, and Alvesteffer scored the conversion.

In the second quarter, senior Da’Marcus Barnett intercepted a Wildcat pass that reignited the Red Hawks’ offensive brutality. Junior John Todd earned the third touchdown for Cedar Springs that quarter, while senior Cameron Umphrey made the two-point. Umphrey also made an explosive run down the middle that the Wildcats’ defense was unable to stop until the Red Hawks got dangerously close to their end zone. This run led Alvesteffer to score another touchdown. The quarterback also made the pass to MacDonald for the two-point conversion. To end the second quarter, Alvesteffer put another touchdown on the scoreboard to make the score 32-14 leading into the second half.

The Wildcats started to fight back offensively in the third quarter, however, the Red Hawks were stronger. Offensively, Alvesteffer was the only one to score a touchdown in the third quarter. The conversion was completed by Umphrey. The score was now 46-21.

Alvesteffer intercepted a pass early on in the final quarter. With an unstoppable lead, this gave other Red Hawks the chance to step up and contribute to their team. Senior Connor Willitts made an aggressive run for a touchdown with three minutes remaining in the quarter. This final touchdown sealed the win for Cedar Springs to make it into the playoffs. The conversion after Willitts’ touchdown was incomplete, however. Defensively, big blocks put up by senior Alex Tanis and junior Ryan Ringler in the final quarter helped ensure the Red Hawks’ victory.

The Red Hawks finished the regular season 4-1 in conference (6-3 overall), and tied with Forest Hills Eastern, also 4-1 in conference (8-1 overall), for a share of the OK Bronze championship. This is the second year in a row they are OK Bronze champions.

Cedar Springs is away at Zeeland East against the Chixs for the first round of the playoffs on Saturday. Kickoff time is 1 p.m.

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Red Hawks place 2nd at Warrior Invite

Ellie Ovokaitys placing second at Warrior Invitational. 

Ellie Ovokaitys placing second at Warrior Invitational.

By Megan Kilts

The lady Red Hawks had the rain to compete with this past Saturday when they raced at the late season Chippewa Hills Warrior Invitational. As usual, the girls worked hard, taking home a trophy as the runners up out of ten teams.

“It was hilly and challenging, but a good race,” said senior Allyson Marvel, about the course at Chippewa Hills.

This year, the course was rearranged, but it didn’t throw the ladies off. They all had excellent races that helped propel their team to the podium.

Senior Ellie Ovokaitys led the Red Hawks, placing 2nd, while Marvel, junior Tara Tepin, and senior Kelsie Plugge-Webber took 11th, 17th, and 18th, respectively. Freshman Carolanne Merlington, and sophomore Hannah Gibbs both took home medals for placing in the top 50. Juniors Brooke Ross and Kayla Vanassen, along with seniors Nadja Jepson and Molly Doherty, also ran impressive races for the Red Hawks, with Ross setting a new personal record for herself.

“It’s been a great season of teamwork,” said coach Marie Covey. “It was exciting to watch [the girls] run at Chippewa Hills and finish second, our best finish of the season.”

The girls will head to the Michaywe Golf Course in Gaylord on October 31 to compete in the Division 2 MHSAA Regional meet. The top three teams in the division and any individual medalists will qualify for the State Finals, which will be held at Michigan International Speedway on November 7.

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MS cross country places first at Conference

Cedar Springs Middle School Girls cross country team took first at conference.

Cedar Springs Middle School Girls cross country team took first at conference.

Cedar Springs Middle School Boys cross country team took first at conference.

Cedar Springs Middle School Boys cross country team took first at conference.

The middle school boys and girls cross country teams traveled to Allendale on October 20 to compete in their conference meet. After an amazing season for both teams, they were ready to fight for the conference title. With hard work and determination, they were both able to come home with conference titles to show for it. Nine boys and eight girls earned medals by placing in the top 20, while all the team ran their personal best time.

Congratulations to both teams on a great season!

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Red Hawk Volleyball winding up season

 

Cedar Springs Varsity Volleyball went 1-3-1 last week, beginning with a three-set away loss to conference rival Northview on Thursday, October 22. The Lady Red Hawks competed at the Sparta Invite on Saturday, October 24, where they opened pool play with a 0-2 loss to Greenville (17-25 and 12-25), convincingly beat Martin 2-0 (25-14 and 25-13), and handed Sparta their only pool play loss for the day in a tight split match (24-26 and 25-23). The team then advanced to Bracket play were only the top six teams played, losing in two sets in the quarterfinals to ranked Class C Kent City (14-25 and 16-25). The Lady Red Hawks are 1-8 in the conference and 5-26-3 overall.

Leading for the Red Hawks at the Sparta Tournament, sophomore hitter Sydney Plummer tallied 24 kills, 4 blocks and 39 digs followed by Brooke Morris and Lauren VanDenHout with 12 and 10 kills.  Freshman middle Julia Jackson put down 9 kills, while leading in blocks for the day at 6. Setter Sienna Wight recorded 43 assists, 3 kills, 1 block and 4 digs. The defense was led by Libero Kaitlyn Coons with 44 digs, who also added 4 aces and 21 service points.  Cassie Rivard registered 24 digs, 1 ace, 24 service points and 3 kills. Defensive Specialist Lindsey Lehman led the team at the service line with 5 aces and 23 service points.

The Varsity team will close out the regular season this week when they host Forest Hills Northern on Thursday, October 29, in their final conference match, followed by the Central Montcalm Tournament on Saturday, October 31. On Thursday evening, the team will honor their seniors (Brooke Bennett {C}, Sara Kriekaard, Samantha Taylor, Lauren VanDenHout {C} and Ashley Vanderhoef, as well as the parents of the athletes. The evening begins at 5 pm with the Freshman and JV matches, followed by the Varsity competition at 6pm.

The Lady Red Hawks, who drew a bye the first round, begin District competition on Thursday, November 5 at Lowell High School. The team opens their Districts against the winner of Forest Hills Northern v. Rockford match played in the 11/3/15 quarterfinal round. Match time begins at 6pm.

Good Luck Red Hawks!!

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Be the referee

 

By Mark Uyl, Asst. Director, MHSAA

Be the Referee is a weekly message from the Michigan High School Athletics Association that is designed to help educate people on the rules in different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.

Official Demographics

A daily activity of the MHSAA is to recruit more officials in all of our sports. There is an urgency to try and bring new, younger people into the game as current average age of an MHSAA registered official is 51.86. Young officials are needed now so they can gain experience and be ready to step into the varsity and tournament ranks when many of our aging officials are ready to hang up the whistle. With players getting bigger and faster all of the time, it is important that our officials keep up with the pace of play, and the more younger, athletic officials we can recruit, the better off all of our games will be.

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Congress’s problems are deep-seated but fixable 

 

By Lee H. Hamilton

A lot of ink is being spilled about the speakership drama in the U.S. House and the turmoil besetting the Republicans who run Capitol Hill. There is a pervasive sense in Washington that Congress has gone, at least temporarily, off the rails.

All this attention on the crises of the moment suggests that resolving them will fix Congress. It won’t. Three deep-seated issues must be addressed before Congress can return to a constructive role.

The first is that Congress should work its will by letting members vote on the major issues of the day. In legislatures, whoever controls procedure usually controls results. In Congress, leaders — and sometimes followers — in both parties for years have manipulated the process to avoid tough decisions or skew results. Giving members of the House and the Senate a fair shot at addressing the nation’s challenges would deal Congress back into the policy-making arena.

Second, Congress has developed several bad habits that it needs to fix. These include huge bills that become vehicles for special-interest provisions and leadership wish-lists; bypassing the committee process; concentrating power in the leaders; curbing the participation of most members; and limiting debates and amendments.

The most pernicious of these is the practice of legislating by omnibus bills. These consist of hundreds of provisions, usually drafted in the dead of night by leadership staff — not members of Congress — and brought to the floor with scant time for anyone to read them, limited time for debate, and few amendments allowed. A lot of members have never known anything different.

There’s another way, and it brings me to my third point. We have over 200 years of experience on Capitol Hill that have taught us how to run a legislature so that the voice of the people can be better heard, multiple viewpoints get considered, and ordinary legislators get a fair shot at influencing the results. It’s called the “regular order,” and it gives members a fair crack at crafting policy for the nation.

The American people want Congress to work. They don’t expect a solution to everything, and they certainly don’t expect miracles. But they do expect a Congress that tries to make progress and that’s capable of developing creative approaches to the major problems of the day. The frustration for me is that we know how to do things better with a time-tested process, but members of Congress simply ignore it.

Lee Hamilton was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years. He writes regularly about Congress and what individuals can do to make our representative democracy work better. His columns are part of the educational mission of the Center on Congress at Indiana University, where he is director. Visit www.centeroncongress.org or go to Facebook to express your views about Congress, civic education, and the citizen’s role in representative democracy. “Like” them on Facebook at “Center on Congress at Indiana University.”

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What’s happening to our school board?

 

To the Cedar Springs Community,

I am a concerned parent and community member. At Cedar Springs Public Schools, we prided ourselves on evolving our school district into one of the best in Kent County. The pillars of success that we are known for include Cognitive coaching, Adaptive schools and Professional Learning Communities dedicated to ensuring our teachers and administrators are trained and proficient in delivering and enhancing our children’s learning. Our children’s education was our number one priority. But the state of our district has changed and there are behaviors and patterns that cause concern for our future.

According to the Center for Public education, the school board is supposed to serve their communities in several important ways:

  • First and foremost look out for students.
  • When making decisions about school programs, incorporate their community’s view of what students should know and be able to do.
  • Be accessible to the public and accountable for the performance of their schools.
  • Ensure that students get the best education for the tax dollars spent.

It is increasingly apparent that our leadership is acting in their best interests and beliefs vs. the community’s.  Parents, teachers and administrators have brought forward example after example—written and verbally—of concerns, mismanagement and actions not in alignment with the excellence we have achieved and come to expect in Cedar Springs. The board has not demonstrated the behaviors expected of a board:  willingness to listening, understanding the issues fully, and then acting on behalf of our children and community and what is best for their academic success. They have gone to great lengths to defend and protect their direction and new leadership, despite the feedback they are hearing. Discussion at board meetings has been misrepresented in the published minutes; they have sent numerous signals through behavior and words that our concerns don’t matter; there has been no communication on the academic strategy of our district; and they have undervalued our teaching staff. When is enough, enough?

Three of our top performing administrators have left in the last nine months—Steve Seward, Jennifer Harper and now Dave Cairy. Why?

Our focus and resources dedicated to the cognitive coaching discipline have been cut by four positions in the last year, while the data shows the overwhelming impact and value it has given to our teaching staff and student outcomes. Why?

These are just a few of the big questions. We need parents to be aware, ask questions, be informed on what is going on and help to hold the board and our superintendent accountable. Form your own opinions.

We have worked way too hard as a district to come this far and allow it to slip away. Come to the board meetings, be curious and let your voice be heard.

Laura Davis, Algoma Township  


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