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Archive | November, 2015

Invitation to all citizens

Help build the heart of Cedar Springs

From the Community Building Development Team

This drawing shows the site plan for the “Heart of Cedar Springs” and how much money has been raised. See it in more detail by clicking this picture to enlarge.

This drawing shows the site plan for the “Heart of Cedar Springs” and how much money has been raised. See it in more detail by clicking this picture to enlarge.

Over two dozen organizations and businesses in Cedar Springs, along with dozens of individuals, have been working together for the past three years to develop eight acres of land, within the City limits, into “The Heart of Cedar Springs.” This place can be called our own “Town Square,” where the local citizens and visitors can enjoy a new library building, a community building, a recreation center, and an amphitheater, all placed among beautiful rain gardens and sculptures along a board walk on the banks of Cedar Creek.

The team overseeing these projects was organized three years ago when the representatives of the businesses, public and private organizations, Library Board members, City and School officials, and many community members started meeting regularly to discuss the future needs of Cedar Springs.  They named themselves the Community Building Development Team (CBDT) and by the middle of 2013, it was clear that this group’s vision could be fulfilled under the right leadership and structure.  The group chose Kurt Mabie, a retired school administrator, as their leader.  They applied for and obtained 501 (c) 3 status, appointed eight more directors, and have met monthly ever since.

Donations of land and cash, as well as pledges, as of November 2015, total over $2,555,000.  The overall project is expected to cost approximately $10,000,000.  The plan is to raise funds for each individual project and to break ground for each facility when funds are adequate. Donations may be designated.

The Cedar Springs Library building is scheduled to be built first, breaking ground early next spring. A few years ago the Library Board employed the Breton Group, a professional consulting team in Grand Rapids, to do a feasibility study regarding the need for a new Library.  Over the past three years, Library Board members have implemented the recommendations in that study and are working together with the CBDT to move as quickly as possible to begin the building project.

Two men, very influential to Cedar Springs, will be honored at this site. President Gerald R. Ford visited Cedar Springs annually for many years as a Congressman and later as Vice President Designate. The day following his appointment by President Richard Nixon as his Vice President, Gerald Ford held his first press conference at the Jordan College Chapel, now owned by Creative Technologies Academy.

The second person to be honored is Fred Meijer. Fred’s father, Heinrik, opened his second Meijer Grocery Store in Cedar Springs and Fred became the manager. He also became a charter member of the Cedar Springs Rotary on April 6, 1942. Thanks to Fred’s support of recreational trails, the White Pine Trail was paved from Russell Road through Cedar Springs and on to Sand Lake. Fred attended a dedication of the Trail that took place in Cedar Springs a few years ago.

A Capital Campaign Committee was appointed by the CBDT and they are in the process of writing grant proposals to large corporations and foundations to raise the funds needed to complete these projects. Other committees have also been appointed and are serving to meet other goals. Thousands of hours have been donated by professionals and by our local citizens who are now looking to you to make this vision a reality for you, those who have gone before and for your children.

We invite you to participate in building the foundation of the “Heart of Cedar Springs” by purchasing a plaque to be imbedded into a concrete block that will form a retaining wall between the Creek and the new library building. There will be approximately 30-40 of these 18”x47” limestone-like blocks. The cost of each plaque is $1,000.  Other opportunities for engraved recognition at the $100 level, such as a “wall of fame,” will soon be available. You could choose to memorialize a loved one or honor a current family member or members and you would be very welcome to donate enough to cover multiple plaques of recognition.

Besides the above options, donations of any size will be greatly appreciated.

You will receive a tax receipt for your gift.  Checks can be written to the Cedar Springs Public Library and either sent to Box 280 or dropped off at the Library. They can also be written to the Community Building Development Team and sent to the treasurer of the CBDT, Betty Truesdale, 141 S Main Street, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.  Thank you all for your support.

 

 

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Christmas Coloring Contest

ChristmasColoringPage14Hey kids,

Would you like to win your very own Star Wars-The Force Awakens BB-8 Remote Control Droid? It’s time for our annual Christmas Coloring Contest and your chance to win!  Please color the picture above with crayons, markers or colored pencils. Our judges will choose 3 finalists from three age groups: 5-7 years; 8-10 years; and 11-12 years. All finalists will be placed in a drawing and one lucky winner will be the Grand Prize winner of a  Star Wars-The Force Awakens BB-8 Remote Control Droid (valued at over $100.)

Good Luck and remember to be creative but follow the rules!

Click on link below and print coloring page, don’t forget to print and fill out the entry form as well.

ChristmasColoringContest2015-web

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Wildlife officials ask hunters to help  eliminate chronic wasting disease 

DNR wildlife pathologist Tom Cooley and Julie Melotti test deer at the MSU Wildlife Disease Lab as a result of a CWD-positive deer found in Meridian Township./

DNR wildlife pathologist Tom Cooley and Julie Melotti test deer at the MSU Wildlife Disease Lab as a result of a CWD-positive deer found in Meridian Township./

From the Michigan DNR

The 2015 Michigan deer season is the first being conducted following a finding of chronic wasting disease in a free-ranging deer in Michigan. The disease was first detected in an Ingham County white-tailed deer this past spring.

Wildlife officials are optimistic, however, that CWD can be eliminated in Michigan and are asking for hunters’ assistance.

So far, public response has been “overwhelmingly positive,” said Chad Stewart, the Department of Natural Resources deer and elk specialist.

“Most people right now are on board with what we are doing,” he said. “They seem to understand the regulatory changes we’ve made. Not everyone likes them, but they understand them.”

DNR summer interns Anthony Klein and Kurt Wolf collect deer carcasses along I-69 and U.S. 127 in Dewitt Township, Clinton County.

DNR summer interns Anthony Klein and Kurt Wolf collect deer carcasses along I-69 and U.S. 127 in Dewitt Township, Clinton County.

In April, Meridian Township police dispatched a 6-year-old female deer that was exhibiting signs of neurologicaldisease. An initial screening at the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Disease Laboratory identified the deer as a CWD suspect. Soon, the National Veterinary Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the DNR’s suspicion: Michigan became the latest state to have found CWD in its free-ranging deer herd.

CWD is a type of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The disease is an always fatal affliction for cervids—deer, elk and moose—that attacks the brain, causing lesions, which leads to emaciation, loss of fear of humans, loss of body control, drooling and, ultimately, death. It is not caused by bacteria or virus but by prions, which are mutated proteins. It is spread by animal-to-animal contact with saliva, urine, feces, blood or infected soil. There is no treatment for CWD in deer. The ailment has never been shown to cause illness in humans. For more than two decades, CWD has been present in free-ranging populations of mule deer and elk in Colorado. During this time, there has been no known occurrence of a human contracting any disease from eating CWD-infected meat.

Because of the occurrence of CWD in other states, the Michigan DNR has been vigilant about testing for the disease. Since 1998, tens of thousands of free-ranging deer have been tested in the state. The Meridian Township deer marked the second time CWD was identified in Michigan. In 2008, a single deer was found to be CWD-positive in a captive cervid facility in Kent County.

With the most recent finding, the DNR immediately instituted a policy that called for reducing deer numbers in the area of the infected deer and testing all deer—those taken by federal animal damage control officials as well as road kills—from the area for CWD.

In July, a 2-year-old buck found less than a mile from the initial CWD-positive female tested positive. In August, a 5-year-old CWD-positive female was found in close proximity to the other two. Genetic testing showed all three positives were related. Finding deer with CWD within the same extended family is not uncommon.

Wildlife officials are encouraged that so few additional CWD-infected animals have been found and that those found were closely related.

“When we found the first one, we didn’t know what we would find,” Stewart said. “Given that that deer was symptomatic—it obviously had the disease for some time—we expected to find additional animals. It’s encouraging that the ones we’re picking up are from the same family group and relatively close to where we found her. But we still have a long road ahead of us.”

Last week, a suspect positive deer was found in DeWitt Township, which is still pending final testing.

Prior to deer season, the DNR established a CWD Management Zone consisting of Ingham, Clinton and Shiawassee counties, as well as a nine-township Core CWD Area (also known as Deer Management Unit 333). The nine townships—Lansing, Meridian, Williamstown, Delhi, Alaiedon and Wheatfield in Ingham County; DeWitt and Bath in Clinton County; and Woodhull in Shiawassee County—have stringent regulations relating to possession of deer.

It is illegal to salvage a deer killed by a motor vehicle, and no rehabilitation of deer will be allowed within DMU 333. Hunters who shoot deer in the core area are required to bring the entire carcass to one of three DNR check stations within 72 hours. The DNR will retain the head for testing; if it’s a trophy-caliber animal, the DNR will work with the hunter to make sure the trophy is not marred but the necessary tissue is made available for testing.

Once the deer has been checked, it may be processed. All leftover parts should be disposed of in the garbage, a landfill, or the dumpster provided by the DNR at check stations.

Negative test results will be posted online at www.michigan.gov/dnrlab within a week after the head has been submitted for testing.  Hunters with deer that test positive will be notified by telephone. And although human health effects have not been documented for people eating CWD-infected deer, the DNR recommends that only healthy animals be consumed.

Hunters are reminded that there is no baiting or feeding of deer allowed in the three-county CWD Management Zone. Nose-to-nose contact of deer can spread the disease. Hunters who travel out of state to hunt deer, elk or moose are reminded that there are restrictions on bringing carcasses back from states or provinces where CWD has been found. Only deboned meat, antlers, hides and skullcaps that have been cleaned of all brain or muscle material may be brought into Michigan.

Any hunter who has been notified by out-of-state authorities that a deer, elk or moose they brought into Michigan tested positive for CWD must contact the DNR’s Wildlife Disease Lab within two business days and provide details. The DNR can dispose of any meat from a CWD-infected animal.

Extensive testing of deer from the CWD-infected area is ongoing. As of Nov. 13, of the 1,403 deer tested in DMU 333—and another 337 in the three-county area—only three have been determined to have chronic wasting disease, with a fourth suspect positive waiting final testing.

All 141 tested from other counties have been negative. Hunters who harvest deer outside DMU 333 and are concerned about CWD may submit their deer for testing at any DNR check station. (A list of check stations is available at www.michigan.gov/deer).

For more information on CWD in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/cwd.

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19th Century Observations

 

By Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller

In the late 1800’s, Henry Fabre made detailed observations in nature niches that required months and sometimes years. Detailed observation records allowed more accurate conclusions than those made with too little data or observation. Hasty conclusions are what we want but it is not how science works.

We expect instant gratification. On TV, crimes are solved in an hour; but in real time, they may take years for evidence collection, testing and prosecution.

Fabre made observations on dung beetles. Watching the beetle bury animal dung clarified one of nature’s methods for recycling nutrients in pastures. He identified the importance for having dung beetles in our pastures. In their absence, dried dung remained on the surface landscape. It prevented nutrient use by plants in pastures. Nutrients eventually were lost when washed into streams and water bodies, where they became a pollutant. We in turn added fertilizers to fields to replenish lost nutrients.

Those were not his intentions or even his conclusions. Others learned from his studies. He was simply trying to understand the life of dung beetles, which to many seemed like a non-productive activity. He unintentionally built a case 150 years ago for protecting biodiversity in yards, farms, and countryside. Aside from describing how the beetles were important for nutrient recycling, he learned the beetles were better weather forecasters than people.

He summarized months of tedious observation of dung beetles as follows:

First he noted the beetles were actively fussing about in cages with impatience for nocturnal tasks of burying dung to provide buried food for a new generation. Following a good weather day came another good weather day. The beetle activity did not prove that good weather was coming the following day.

Second conclusion. Days with fine weather that appeared to Fabre would be followed by good weather, were perceived differently by the beetles. The beetles did not come out and it rained during the night and part of the next morning.

The third observation was when the sky was overcast and appeared to foretell coming rain. The beetles were instead flying about with high activity in the cages. The apparent building storm passed without precipitation. Days following such behavior patterns demonstrated good weather.

After three months of observation, Fabre had repeatedly verified that the beetle activity could be used to accurately predict the next day’s weather better than he or weather forecasters.

The twilight activity of the beetles demonstrated they were living barometers that were more accurate than scientists of the time for weather prediction. He concluded, “The exquisite sensitiveness of life is mightier than the brute weight of a column of mercury.”

Most of us make quick observations on a wide variety of things and think we have made accurate conclusions. Unfortunately, science is not able to make rapid accurate conclusions without repeated experiments that often required months, years, or decades. Evidence for things like human-caused climate change has been predicted for over a 100 years. Scientists have been warning of the long term dangers human-caused climate change poses for coming generations.

Last year one senator brought a snowball to show Congress proof that the planet is not warming. Many chose to believe him. He does not understand the difference in climate and weather research. What we want to believe often takes precedence over long term evidence for what is really occurring in nature.

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

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Holiday happenings

 

Check out some of the fun, family activities going on in the area for the holiday season.

CEDAR SPRINGS

Christmas card class 

Nov. 28: Join the free Christmas Card Class at the Cedar Springs Library, Saturday, November 28. Kits to make three classy cards for those special people in your life.  Age-appropriate kits for children, as well.  Must be at least 6.  Sessions start at 10:15 and 11:30. Space is limited so reserve a place today!  By phone: 616-696-1910 or by email: ced@llcoop.org.

2015 Cedar Springs Christmas – Mingle with Kris Kringle 

Dec. 5: Celebrate the kick off to the Christmas season with “Come Mingle with Kris Kringle,” presented by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Looking for something sweet? Pick up some awesome baked goods at the Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion Bake Sale at the Artisan Market Place 60 N. Main St.

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Make two ornaments at the Cedar Springs Library, 43 W. Cherry Street—one to take home and one to take with you to decorate the Community Christmas tree at 3 p.m. (see below).

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Ornament Making at the CS Historical Museum (for the first 100 kids) and a Victorian Christmas Display  (Cedar Street by Morley Park)

2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Story time with Mrs. Claus at Perry’s Place llc for herbs, teas, and more.. (corner of Maple and Main Street)

3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Decorating the Christmas Tree with the CS Cheerleaders at the corner of Main and Ash Street ( get your picture taken with the cheer leaders and tree)

3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Free Hot Chocolate at the corner of Ash and Main Street

4 p.m. Double K Farms& Animal Junction 4H Club Petting Zoo & Bake Sale at corner of Main and Ash Street.

4 p.m. Parade Line Up corner of Second and Maple Street

4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. candy canes handed out by Laura and Patrick Ensley

4:30 p.m. Christmas Parade starts at Maple and Main street**

4:45 p.m. Christmas Tree Lighting and Caroling at the corner of Main and Ash Street

5 p.m. Live Nativity Scene (reenacted by Calvary Assembly of God) then Mingling with Kris Kringle (at the corner of Main and Ash Street)

5 p.m. to 6 p.m. The CS Cheerleaders will hand out candy canes (at the corner of Main and Ash)

Main Street will be closing down (from Oak Street to Beech) from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the mini Christmas Parade, Tree lighting, and Mingle with Kris Kringle portion of the event.

Edible Christmas Tree Decorating at the library

Dec. 12: Make an ordinary ice cream cone magically turn into a fabulous Christmas tree at the Cedar Springs Public Library! An assortment of candy and fun awaits you! RSVP for sessions starting at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. RSVP by calling 616-696-1910 or stop by and sign up at 43 W. Cherry Street during open hours.

2015 Kent Theatre Christmas Concert

Dec. 12: The 2015 Annual Kent Theatre Christmas Concert hosted by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce (CSACOC) is scheduled for December 13th from 3pm to 5pm. Come out an have some holiday family fun! 

2015 Kent Theatre Dance Extravaganza

Dec. 13: The 2014 Annual Kent Theatre Christmas Dance Extravaganza hosted by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce (CSACOC) is scheduled for December 14th from 3pm to 5pm. Come out an have some holiday family fun!

Watch ad in next week’s paper for more information.

GREENVILLE

Celebrate Christmas on the green in Greenville.

Hometown Christmas parade and Santa party

Dec. 4: Come join the fun in downtown Greenville on December 4! The Santa park party will take place from 4:00-5:30 p.m. at Lafayette park. Get your picture taken with Santa, enjoy games and live music, then watch while Santa magically lights the Christmas Tree at 5:45 p.m. The parade will start at 6:00 p.m. on Lafayette Street. You won’t want to miss out on all the fun!

Enjoy local events and shop local businesses Dec. 5

Dec. 5: Greenville Community Center, 900 E. Kent, will host a craft fair and indoor flea market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and a make and take craft party from 10 a.m. to noon.

Dec. 5: Greenville Senior Center, 715 S. Baldwin, will host a holiday marketplace from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. will dolls, marionettes, quilts, crafts and baked goods.

Dec. 5: The Daily News, 109 N. Lafayette, will host an arts, crafts and gifts bazaar from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Dec. 5: Flat River Historical Museum, 213 N. Franklin, will host a holiday open house 2-4:30 p.m. Santa visits from 2-3 p.m.

Dec. 5: Town and Country animal clinic, 9191 Greenville Rd, will offer pet photos with Santa, starting at noon. Bring in your pet and get a photo with Santa free.

Dec. 5: Handel’s Messiah at the Greenville High School performing arts center at 7 p.m. Free admission. Nearly 100 talented area musicians in the orchestra and chorus will perform.

Dec. 5: Check out deals at Greenville businesses for December 5 by going to the Greenville Chamber of Commerce webpage at http://www.greenvillechamber.net.

Gingerbread house decorating

Dec. 12: The Greenville Area Community Center will host a gingerbread house decorating workshop from 10 a.m. to noon. Registration Deadline: December 4, 2015. Make sweet memories, we’ll clean up the mess! Icing and assorted candies will be provided. 900 E. Kent Rd., Greenville. (616) 754-9163.

HOWARD CHRISTIANSEN NATURE CENTER

Holiday make and take

Dec. 12: You do not want your kids to miss this one! We will help your child create a gift from their heart that can be cherished and passed down to their children for generations. They will make unique gifts and wrap them up with the assistance of our volunteer team. Voila! Your children’s holiday shopping is done.

This event is most appropriate for K-5th graders. A cherished gift from your child’s heart, what could be better! 10 to 12:30 p.m. Donation $6.00 per child (includes supplies). 16190 Red Pine Dr NW, Kent City.

Winter Break Day Camp

Dec. 21-23 & 28-31: Send the Kids to day camp at Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16190 Red Pine Drive, Kent City, during the Holiday Break. This program run the duration of the two week break (no camp on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year’s Day) Multiple curriculums will be covered from crafts to animal interactions and of course plenty of showshoeing and ice skating (weather permitting). We’ll make gifts and Christmas decorations, enjoy the roaring fireplace and have plenty of hot cocoa! $55 per child and 5 and over (all 7 days of the program). Bring a sack lunch (cocoa will be provided). Register online www.HowardChristensen.org or call the office 616-675-3158. All camps require 9 students minimum to be held.

ROCKFORD

Discover a Rockford Christmas

Take a step back in time and capture the magic of the holidays with these special events!

Holiday lighting ceremony

Dec. 4: Holiday lighting ceremony from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Rockford Dam overlook. Help us ring in the holiday season with the Holiday Lighting Ceremony. Enjoy the sounds of the Rockford High School Jazz ensemble prior to the Rockford Choirs singing Christmas Carols. The Rockford Mayor will present a message of peace prior to thousands to lights coming to life in downtown Rockford and at the dam. This is a wonderful way for your family and you to start the holiday! Music starts at 5:30 p.m. and the Ceremony begins at 6 p.m.

Also Holiday Carriage Rides at the Rockford Pavilion from 5:30-7 p.m.

Santa Parade

Dec. 5: Join us for Rockford’s 72nd Annual Santa Parade on December 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in downtown Rockford. The jolly man in the red suit makes Rockford one of his first stops on his world tour. More than 60 floats line the downtown streets to welcome Santa Claus. He always arrives in style in a gorgeous white carriage. After the parade, he visits all good boys and girls in the Rockford Rotary Pavilion to hear their wish lists. The event features free photos, free milk and cookies, children’s activities, Christmas carols and each child receives a goodie bag after visiting with Santa.

Free horse-drawn carriage rides available after the parade from noon to 2 p.m.

Cookie walk

Dec. 5: St. Peter’s Ladies Guild Annual Cookie Walk is Saturday, December 5 at 310 E. Division in Rockford, from 9 a.m. until the cookies are gone. The cookies are sold by the pound and you pick the combination. This is a perfect time to pick up cookies for the holidays.  Proceeds help our Mission Projects throughout the year.

Santa at the Pavilion

Dec. 9: 6-8 p.m. Tired of battling the mall crowds? Why not bring your child to Rockford to visit Santa at the Rotary Pavilion, all in the idyllic setting of downtown. Kids can give Santa their wish lists, and enjoy free hot cocoa and cookies!

Holiday carriage rides

Dec. 10-11: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Take a free horse-drawn carriage ride and enjoy the sights and sounds of the beautifully decorated streets of the downtown area. It is a beautiful way to recapture the feelings of Christmases past and make memories with your loved ones.

Santa at the Pavilion with Live reindeer

Dec. 16: From 6-8 p.m. at the Rotary Pavilion. Kids can give Santa their wish lists, and enjoy free hot cocoa and cookies! Santa will be bringing his LIVE reindeer for the kids to get a closer look at these amazing animals.

Holiday carriage rides

Dec. 17-18: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Take a free horse-drawn carriage ride and enjoy the sights and sounds of the beautifully decorated streets of the downtown area. It is a beautiful way to recapture the feelings of Christmases past and make memories with your loved ones.

SAND LAKE

Advent by Candlelight

Nov. 29: Advent by Candlelight, 6-8 p.m., for ladies of all ages, at Mary Queen of Apostles Parish Center in Sand Lake. The theme is Mary Christmas. Bring an hors d’oeuvre to pass. RSVP (616) 636-5671.

Live nativity

Dec. 4-5: Once again this year the Sand Lake United Methodist church fellowship hall will be transformed into the village of Bethlehem. The transformation is amazing as you are greeted by Roman soldiers registering you for the census (asking you to sign the guest book). You will make your way through the market place as you hear angels singing in the distance. Then you find a stable with a young couple inside with a newborn child as the angels sing their praises. Around the corner you will come to a garden where you will find a snack and a time to visit. On your way out, you may run into some wise men looking for the newborn king. And if you wish, you can pay your tribute (leave a free will donation). Come and experience the joy of the Christmas story with us! Friday December 4 from 6-8 p.m. and Saturday, December 5 from 1-3 p.m. Everyone is welcome!

SPARTA

‘Tis the season! Check out these fun Sparta holiday events.

Nov. 26: Turkey Trot in Sparta, Thursday, Nov. 26, 9 a.m. Race begins at Sparta Civic Center, 75 N. Union. Registration forms at spartachamber.com. Proceeds to Sparta Rugby club.

Nov. 28: 3rd annual Ugly Christmas Sweater 5K Run, 9:30 a.m. Starts/finishes: Mamrelund Lutheran Church, 4085 Lutheran Church Rd., Kent City. Proceeds to Adopt a family and food pantry at Mamrelund. Register at michianatiming.com. Contact Cindy 616-799-0500 with questions.

Dec. 5: Horse-drawn trolley rides with Santa noon to 3 p.m. 112 E. Division.

Dec. 5: Festival of trees meet and greet noon to 3 p.m. Fenton Records 203 E. Division.

Dec. 5: Kid’s Day at Biggby Coffee 275 S. State. Come decorate a holiday picture to hang on our wall. Free kid’s drink with every picture (12 and under).

Dec. 8: Santa Workshop 6-8 pm at Maddie LaRoues, 126 E. Division. Hosted by Independent Bank. Free photos with Santa, activities, & more!

Dec. 10: Sparta High School holiday concert with concert band, jazz band, and choir. 6:45 p.m. Sparta High School auditorium.

Dec. 12: Horse-drawn trolley rides 1-4 p.m.

Dec. 12: Santa in the Santa house 1-4 p.m.

Dec. 12: Santa fly in! 7-9 p.m. Sparta Airport 9000 Vinton Ave. Indoor activities, gifts for 12 and under. Refreshments of cocoa and cookies.

Dec. 13: Children’s Christmas program 10:10 a.m. at Sparta United Methodist Church. All children who come (ages preschool through elementary) are invited to dress up and participate. No rehearsal necessary.

Dec. 14: Gingerbread House Decorating Party, 6-8 p.m. at Sparta Township Library, 80 N. Union. For all ages! Houses & decorating items will be supplied. Pre-registration required.

Dec. 14: Biggby snow ball celebration 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Contests, giveaways iand other special events. 275 S. State.

Dec. 15: Sparta Middle School band holiday concert 6:45 p.m. Sparta High School auditorium.

Dec. 17: Visit Santa Claus in the Santa House, 6-8 p.m.

Dec. 19 Visit Santa Claus in the Santa House, 11-1.

Dec. 19: Free horse-drawn trolley rides 11-1.

Dec. 21-24: Ballard Church of Christ, 1633 10 Mile Road, presents “The Living Nativity,” from 7-8 p.m.

Dec. 23: Visit Santa Claus in the Santa House, 6-8p.m.

Dec. 24: Children’s Christmas pageant at Holy Family Catholic Church 4 p.m.

 

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Homemade gifts for a heartwarming holiday season

 

(Family Features)

Instead of fighting crowds at the store, head to the kitchen and whip up Pinterest-worthy treats and crafts. Whether you’re gifting a gracious host or just want a few extra presents on hand for unexpected holiday guests, flavorful and aromatic kitchen creations are a delicious way to show you care this holiday season.

“Christmas cookies are always a popular gift but they’re not the only homemade option for the cookie lovers on your list,” said Chef Kevan Vetter of the McCormick Kitchens. “A small jar of spreadable Gingerbread Cookie Butter brings the taste of a classic holiday treat to unexpected places like toast and pancakes.”

Need more gift-giving inspiration? Discover new ideas and recipes for everything from homemade seasonal butters to fragrance jars by visiting McCormick Spice on Pinterest and Facebook.

Gingerbread Cookie Butter

Gingerbread Cookie Butter

Gingerbread Cookie Butter

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 2 minutes

Servings: 24 (1 tablespoon each)

8 ounces gingerbread cookies, about 8 (3 1/2-inch long) cookies

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup water

2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon McCormick Ground Ginger

Pulse cookies in food processor until resembling fine crumbs. Add sugar; pulse until just blended.

Heat oil and water in small saucepan on low heat until coconut oil is melted. Slowly add oil mixture to processor while pulsing. Add vanilla and spices; pulse until just blended.

Cinnamon and Pine Fragrance Jar

Cinnamon and Pine Fragrance Jar

Cinnamon and Pine Fragrance Jar

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Makes: 1 jar

2-3 pine branches (4 inches long)

2 McCormick Gourmet Cinnamon Sticks

1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Whole Jamaican All spice

water

Place pine, cinnamon and allspice inside 8-ounce jar. Pour water to fill jar, leaving 1/2-inch headspace; seal.

To add a lovely fragrance around the house, pour all contents of jar into small saucepan. Simmer on medium heat 10-15 minutes or until fragrant, adding additional water as needed.

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Tour of lights

 

There’s nothing like the warm glow of Christmas lights this time of year to give you a good dose of Christmas cheer!

Every year The Cedar Springs POST hosts a Tour of Lights giving area residents the scoop on where the hot spots for Christmas lights are glowing.

In order for us to make an accurate listing, one that includes YOUR house as a “drive-by” we need you to lead the way.

Simply mail your name and address to Tour of Lights, P.O. Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. You can also email them to news@cedarspringspost.com or call the office at 616-696-3655 to let us know.

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Baby’s First Christmas

BFC-Atlas-santa-hat1We want to give you the opportunity to celebrate your baby’s very first Christmas in a special way. The  Cedar Springs POST will be featuring area newborns in “Baby’s First Christmas,” a special feature for babies celebrating their first Christmas.

Photos will be run at no cost to our readers, but space is limited so get your photos in early. Deadline is Monday, December 21 by 5 p.m. and pictures with name and date of birth will appear in the December 24th issue. We cannot guarantee return of photos. Show the community your precious gift!

Photos may be dropped off at the Cedar Springs POST – 36 E. Maple St., or mailed to Baby’s First Christmas, P.O. Box 370,    Cedar Springs, MI 49319, or emailed to news@cedarspringspost.com. Please include baby’s name, and birth date, as well as a contact name and phone number.

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Letters to Santa Claus

Hey kids, it’s time to write a letter to Santa!  Photo courtesy of S. Read.

Hey kids, it’s time to write a letter to Santa!
Photo courtesy of S. Read.

It’s that time of year again, when kids can’t wait to mail their letters to Santa! To help parents out, the Cedar Springs Post will have a special North Pole drop box. Every year dozens of kids use our special box for express delivery to the North Pole, and we make sure Santa reads each and every one! So, if you’d like to send a letter to Santa, and maybe get it printed in the newspaper, just drop off your letter, in the bright red box labeled “Santa Mail” outside our office at 36 E. Maple Street, or mail your letter to: Letters to Santa, c/o the Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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Postal Service Holiday Shipping Deadlines 

 

If you mail packages to friends and family for the holidays, you will want to take note of the 2015 holiday shipping deadlines released by the U.S. Postal Service.

Mail-by Dates (Domestic Services) 

• Dec. 15 – Standard Post
Ground service for less-than-urgent deliveries and oversized packages.

• Dec. 19 – First Class Mail
Service for standard-sized, single-piece envelopes and small packages weighing up to 13 ounces with delivery in 3 business days or less.

• Dec. 21 – Priority Mail
Domestic service in 1, 2, or 3 business days based on where your package starts and where it’s being sent, variety of Flat Rate options.

• Dec. 23 – Priority Mail Express
Fastest domestic service, guaranteed overnight scheduled delivery to most locations.
Complete details on Mailing and Shipping services can be found on usps.com.

• Mail-by Dates (International Services)
Customers mailing internationally during the holidays are advised to review the chart below for specific deadlines based on the locations they are mailing to and the service they are using. When mailing and shipping internationally, customers must also follow necessary customs guidelines. Please visit the International Shipping page on usps.com for more information.

HOL-shipping-chart

Mail-by Dates (Military) 

The Postal Service is committed to ensuring those serving in the nation’s armed forces and diplomatic service receive their presents, care packages and cards in time for the holidays. Complete military mailing deadlines to APO/FPO/DPO (Air/Army Post Office, Fleet Post Office and Diplomatic Post Office) destinations worldwide, as well as tips and guidelines can be found https://www.usps.com/ship/apo-fpo-dpo.htm.

Shipping Supplies 

As an added convenience, the Postal Service offers a wide variety of shipping supplies in multiple sizes at local Post Offices and online at usps.com. Some supplies, such as Priority Mail products, can also be delivered to the sender free of charge.

Shipping supplies available online and at local Post Offices include:

• Priority Mail boxes: complimentary with Priority Mail shipping service.

• Priority Mail non-padded envelopes: complimentary with Priority Mail shipping service.

• ReadyPost boxes: beginning at $4.29.

• ReadyPost bubble mailers: beginning at $1.79.

• ReadyPost clear packing tape: $3.29.
Customers may also ship using their own materials. As a reminder, all packages weighing more than 13 ounces and bearing only stamps as postage cannot be deposited in collection boxes or given to letter carriers. These packages must be presented to a Postal Service employee at a retail window counter.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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