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Archive | February, 2016

Local grad a Burge-oning success

Joshua Burge center, and Leonard DiCaprio, front right, at the red carpet premiere of “The Revenant.”

Joshua Burge center, and Leonard DiCaprio, front right, at the red carpet premiere of “The Revenant.”

By Judy Reed

The movie “The Revenant,” which premiered in December, was nominated for more Academy Awards than any other film in the running, with 12. And chances are, if you saw the film, you also saw a hometown grad, who is currently living out his acting dream in Hollywood.

Joshua Burge, a 1998 graduate of Cedar Springs High School, and the son of Michael K. Burge and Kim (Burge) Stout, landed the role of Stubby Bill in the period drama about a frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s, who fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy are just two of the seasoned actors that Burge got to work with.

The Post asked Burge what it was like working with some of the bigger actors in Hollywood. “Fantastic, the thrill of lifetime,” he remarked. “Everyone was so cool and kind. I didn’t know what to expect, but everyone was so down to earth and generous. Just a great group of people.”

Joshua Burge and his mother, Kim (Burge) Stout at the red carpet premiere of “The Revenant.”

Joshua Burge and his mother, Kim (Burge) Stout at the red carpet premiere of “The Revenant.”

Burge came to Cedar Springs from Detroit, when he was in the second grade. He was in one of the musicals while in high school, “Babes in Arms,” during his junior year. “It was a blast. Sue Harrison directed it—a wonderful lady. My senior year they did ‘Sound of Music’ but I didn’t pass the audition,” he explained.

But that didn’t hold Burge back. He went on to college to study filmmaking. “While I was there, I really got the songwriting bug and started developing the character of Chance Jones, which was certainly a performance,” he said. He used that as his stage name, and then put together a band in 2006 with the same name. The group then won “Best Contemporary Group” at WYCE-FM’s 10th annual Jammie Awards in 2009. They also made several albums.

Burge continued to take small acting jobs, then got the part in “Coyote” in 2009, which was the first movie in the Animal Trilogy that he worked on with Joel Potrykus, who wrote and directed all three films. In 2011 they did “Ape,” followed by “Buzzard” in 2014.

So how did Burge get the role in Revenant? “After ‘Buzzard’ premiered at SXSW (Film Festival) in March 2014, the reviews were very kind. Amazing, really. All the trades—Variety, Hollywood Reporter, even the New York Times—gave it a great review. This was noticed by a casting agency in L.A. They called me up at home in Michigan and asked if I could send in a videotape audition for this movie called ‘The Revenant.’ Long story short, I eventually met with the director and auditioned for him in person and got the part,” explained Burge.

His mother, Kim, said that they had been excited for a long time about seeing Josh in the movie. “We were excited when he got the part, and then he filmed it, and we didn’t think we could wait a year to finally see it,” said Kim, who works in Cedar Springs at Creative Technologies Academy.

When the movie was finally released, Kim got to see it in the best way possible—by accompanying her son to the red carpet premiere of the movie in Hollywood. “I was very honored that he asked me to accompany him,” remarked Kim. “He didn’t have to. He has a girlfriend, a sister, other people he could have asked. But he asked me.”

Kim flew out and spent a couple of days with Josh sightseeing before the premiere. When the time came and they arrived on the red carpet, she said they were some of the first people there, and it was kind of quiet. “We didn’t know what to expect. At the beginning of the red carpet, they just told us to walk. As soon as Josh stepped out on it, flashbulbs started popping, and photographers started telling him to ‘look this way’ or ‘look that way.’ It was pretty exciting,” she recalled.

Burge was pretty excited about all the awards “The Revenant” is up for. “Well, I always felt it would happen because of the world class people involved in making it. Alejandro (G. Iñárritu, director) is a genius. Chivo films the most amazing images. Leo (DiCaprio) and Tom (Hardy) and the rest of the cast are absolutely brilliant. While we were working on it, you had a feeling that this wasn’t like anything else. But it is certainly a wonderful thing that it has been recognized so widely,” he said.

What is Burge’s next project? “I worked on a film last fall called ‘20th Century Woman,’ and right now it’s pilot season for television in Hollywood. That’s pretty wild to experience for the first time,” he said.

Currently Burge is living in California, though he is maintaining his house in Grand Rapids for now. He said that he doesn’t work a side job. “The nature of what I’m doing requires 100 percent availability. Anything could pop up at anytime,” he explained. “If I had another job, they would probably fire me within a week.”

Kim is glad he is taking this time to live out his dream. “It’s a high risk job. But if he didn’t do it, he might look back someday and wish he had. Now he won’t have that regret.”

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American Legion donates to food pantry

The local American Legion presents a check to the Cedar Springs Community Food Pantry. Pictured left to right: Post Finance Officer Paul Schrier, Pastor Steve Lindeman, Commander Bill Yuncker, and Chaplain Gordon Frost.

The local American Legion presents a check to the Cedar Springs Community Food Pantry. Pictured left to right: Post Finance Officer Paul Schrier, Pastor Steve Lindeman, Commander Bill Yuncker, and Chaplain Gordon Frost.

In January, a generous donation was made to the Cedar Springs Community Food Pantry by the American Legion Glen Hill Post #287. The check was given to Pastor Steve Lindeman, of the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, where the Community Food Pantry is located. The check was presented by Post Commander Bill Yuncker, Post Finance Office Paul Schrier, and Post Chaplain Gordon Frost.

“The American Legion is a vital part of this community, helping to meet the needs of those in this area who need assistance providing for their families,” said Commander Yuncker. “The Post recognizes that the community is an important part of our American way of life and takes a leadership role in community betterment. It was an honor and a privilege to help our Community Food Pantry in this way.”

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FFA Celebrates 70 Years in Cedar Springs

The Cedar Springs FFA group in its second year, 1947.

The Cedar Springs FFA group in its second year, 1947.

By Madison Strain

The 51 members of the Cedar Springs FFA Chapter are celebrating their 70th birthday in the Red Flannel capital. This chapter became official on January 23, 1946, and was organized by John P. Coady.

In conjunction with the celebration, National FFA Week runs February 20-27. This is a yearly tradition to honor George Washington, giving recognition for his agricultural legacy. During the weeklong celebration, FFA chapters all over the country work to educate and promote FFA in their communities and schools.

In 1947-1948, the first Cedar Springs FFA annual banquet was held. There were 36 members present, including the officers: President Lyle Sipple, Vice President Don Emory, Secretary Bill Sovey, Treasurer Wayne Bigney, Reporter Carl Olmsted, Sentinel Charles Kramer, and Advisor John P. Coady.

Today they continue to host an annual banquet for members, their families, and friends of the Cedar Springs FFA, featuring a pig roast and smoked trout raised by the group.

The 2015-2016 chapter currently has 39 high school members. This year’s officers include: President David Schoenborn, Vice President Nathan Schoen, Secretary Adam Parker, Treasurer Austin McConnon, Reporter Mykenzie Gage, Advisor Larry Reyburn, Sentinel Matthew Batchelder, Historian Cade Hall, Jr. Historian Diane Howe.

Over the past two months, the FFA began a middle school program that currently has 12 members. The middle school officers include: President Bailey Newberg, Vice President Trevor Marsman, Secretary Ian Little, Treasurer Bryan Correll, Reporter Taryne Troupe, Sentinel Fred White, Advisor Colleen White, Jr. Advisor Hannah Green, Historian Travis Swift, Jr. Historian Tyler Swift.

The main objective of the middle school program is to get kids interested in agriculture and FFA before high school. They do fun activities and fundraisers. This Saturday, February 27, the high school and middle school chapters will be hosting fundraisers at Tractor Supply and Family Farm and Home in Cedar Springs.

The FFA mission is to develop premier leadership, personal growth, and career success. This is accomplished by following the FFA Motto “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.”

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City misses taking 2015 water sample

By Judy Reed

The City of Cedar Springs posted a public notice on their website earlier this month noting that in September 2015, they missed taking an extra water sample after total coliform bacteria was found in a routine water test.

According to DPW Supervisor Tom Stressman, they sample all three wells once a month, as well as four points in the water distribution system once a month. In August 2015, a routine sample tested positive for total coliform, which, according to the EPA, is a group of related bacteria that is not harmful (with few exceptions) to humans. Instead, the EPA considers total coliforms a useful indicator of other pathogens in the drinking water, such as bacteria, parasites and viruses. Total coliforms are used to determine the adequacy of water treatment and the integrity of the distribution system.

If a sample tests positive for total coliform, the water supply is required to collect no less than five routine samples during the next month, which would have been September. Instead, the DPW only collected four.

Stressman said that they had never before had a positive test for total coliform, so he called the Department of Environmental Quality about it. “They told me to take another sample, and it came back fine. But they didn’t tell me I had to take an extra one (the next month), instead of the normal four. But that’s on me; I take the blame for that. As director of the water department I should have known that,” he said.

They did, however, take five samples the following month, in October 2015.

“The City is making efforts to ensure that all sampling is conducted properly in the future,” it said in the public notice.

The Post also asked Stressman about the possibility of lead in the city water supply, with the problem in Flint being in the news. He said there would not be any chance of lead in our water supply. “We didn’t have any construction here when they used lead (in the pipes),” he explained.

They do, however, test for lead, along with other things. “We are on a three-year rotation for sampling for lead. With our history of no lead pipes in Cedar Springs, we were able to get on that three-year rotation,” said Stressman.

He also noted that he posted the water quality report early this year on the website for consumer confidence purposes. Residents can access it at http://www.cityofcedarsprings.org/2016/02/04/2012-water-quality-report/ or pick one up at City Hall.

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The Post travels to Nepal

James Putnam, a 2011 graduate of Cedar Springs High school, and his wife Shelby in Nepal.

James Putnam, a 2011 graduate of Cedar Springs High school, and his wife Shelby in Nepal.

James Putnam, a 2011 graduate of Cedar Springs High School, and his wife, Shelby, traveled to Nepal recently on a short missions trip. The village they stayed in was about an hour outside of Katmandu, the capital of Nepal. While in Nepal, James and Shelby lived in a refugee camp with a small community of Nepali people who had recently lost their homes during the earthquakes this past spring. While they were there, they (along with 20 other team members) were able to help build new shelters, made a water drain system to protect the village from flooding during the rainy season, and even leveled ground for a soccer field for the children to play on. During the evenings, they bonded with the Nepali people over a campfire as they shared a meal and sang songs.

James and Shelby Putnam with children in Nepal.

James and Shelby Putnam with children in Nepal.

This week stretched us both greatly, but it is through those struggles that God taught us so much. First, be grateful for the

blessings we have been given, and to bless others as a result of it. And most of all, that by serving others God’s love becomes tangible and t hat He is very pleased when we serve,” they said.

Thank you, James and Shelby, for taking us with you to Nepal!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

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Odyssey of the Mind comes to Cedar View Elementary

Team 1 will tackle the vehicle problem.

Team 1 will tackle the vehicle problem.

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem solving competition where teams of up to seven students led by coaches tackle an open ended (long erm) problem and a spontaneous question. The long term problem can be anything from creating your own vehicle with a propulsion system the team devises, to a performance with humor, scripts, sets, props and costumes all created, written, and performed by the students!

Odyssey of the Mind offers an amazing opportunity for kids to discover the millions of ways to problem solve, create, invent, reuse and recycle all while working within your team, using team work and team building skills. 

The leaders of the future emerge from Odyssey of the Mind participation and involvement.

Cedar View has two teams this year:

Team 1, coached by Tanja Griffee and Aaron Anderson is tackling the vehicle problem. Team members include: Ethan Griffee -5th grade, Riley Robb-4th grade, Judy Visser-5th grade, Hannah Anderson-5th grade, Ella Buttermore-5th grade and Nate Slager-4th grade.

Team 2 will tackle the performance problem.

Team 2 will tackle the performance problem.

Team 2, coached by Emily Elliot, Michelle Wiles and Abby Briggs, is tackling the performance problem. Team members include: Annalise Elliott-4th grade, Coryn Wiles-4th grade, Ember Briggs-4th grade, Ryan Rypma-4th grade, Devin Jobson- 4th grade, Aiden Lake-5th grade, J.R. Nulph-5th grade.

The competition takes place on February 27 at Greenville Middle School. The public is welcome to attend.

Team 1 is at 10:20 a.m. in the gymnasium, and Team 2 is at 9:00 a.m. in the 300 block of rooms.

For more information visit Odysseyofthemind.com (the national site) or Miodyssey.com (region 2) our local Michigan site.

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1Web-Mem-Denton-fcWe’re all thinking of you on your 80th birthday, Mick.

Missed so much and loved by many.

Happy Birthday in Heaven.

Wife – Jeanette

Sons – Michael, Jim & Nora

and all the Grandchildren

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1Web-menefee-Mem-fcOn March 2nd, 2014 you went to be with the Lord. You left on earth your wife Luanne Menefee; kids, Christina Menefee Welmers, Daniel Menefee, and Dennis Menefee; grandkids, Jeremy and Ryan Menefee, Abbie and Emily Vernon, Mikala and Daniel and Schorian Menefee; great-grandkids, Tyanna and Layla Menefee and Aiden Piotrowski. It’s been two years and not a day goes by we don’t think about you. We love and miss you dearly.

Love, The Menefees

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1Web-obit-Fox-fcMarjory Fox, age 86, of Sand Lake, passed away February 19, 2016, at Arbor Grove Assisted Living in Alma. She was born July 6, 1929 in Missouri, the daughter of Eugene and Jenny (Reid) Seaborn. During her working years, she worked at Keeler Brass for over 15 years, as well as General Motors. She also worked as a waitress at the Fifth Wheel restaurant, now known as Kelly’s in Cedar Springs. Marge enjoyed camping, snowmobiling and Polka dancing. Surviving are her children, Dennis (Laura) Fox, of New Mexico, Linda (Don) Vandenberg, of Howard City; stepchildren, Kurt Fox, of Sand Lake, Carolyn (Greg) Wagner, of Howard City, Sue Fox, of Florida; six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren; one brother Don Seaborn; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Erwin and three sisters. Funeral services will take place on Friday at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor Scott Sloan officiating with burial in the Solon Township Cemetery. The family will greet friends on Friday from 10 a.m. until time of serves at 11:00 a.m.

Arrangements by Heckman Funeral Home, Howard City

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Ian Paul Pellow Robbins

1Web-Obit-RobbinsIan Paul Pellow Robbins passed away peacefully in the arms of his wife, and in the presence of his mom and sister on Valentines Day 2016. He was born Oct. 22, 1981. He was a 2000 graduate of Cedar Springs High School. He was passionate and influential — a true artist in every way. He will be missed relentlessly by his family and friends. A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, February 27 at 12 p.m. at Saint Marks Episcopal Church in Newago, Michigan, followed by a wake at the American Legion in Morley, Michigan.

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School board needs to listen to community

Dear Cedar Springs Public Schools Board Members,

There are some deeply disconcerting issues that I and many parents are very concerned about. These are issues that I’m sure you are aware of, but the lack of leadership and reluctance to stand up to do the right thing necessitates the need for me to bring them to your attention publicly.

Over the past 18 months, we have lost four highly acclaimed and accredited administrators. These administrators were well thought of in the community and had given many years of selfless dedication to our children. Their departures were premature and the direct result of intimidation and a hostile work environment. When will this critical drain of vital resources end?

Morale among administrators, teachers, and support staff is at an all-time low. The current culture of “My way or the highway” and lack of institutional support does nothing to foster an innovative, healthy learning experience for our children.

Budget deficits are threatening our children’s quality of education. Blaming the deficit on past administrations, a trick many of our politicians often use, doesn’t explain how the district goes from financially healthy for many years to a sudden deficit. Maybe it has something to do with all the money being spent on lawyers, legal fees, consultants, financial experts, etc. that we never seemed to have needed before.

When will the impassioned pleas of the community make an impact? No credence is given to the phone calls and emails you most assuredly have received. It is difficult to watch you sit indifferent and stone-faced at BOE meetings while the future of our children and district is at stake.

Make no mistake, Board of education members. This school district is at a crucial point. It will take years to rebuild the trust of our leaders, restore a healthy learning culture, and ensure our future financial stability. You can no longer sit passively on the sidelines and watch.

There’s an old saying, “Lead, follow or get out of the way.” The time has passed for you to indulge in the luxury of following.


Steve C. Harper, Algoma Township

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Youth wrestlers finish strong at Meijer games

Cedar Springs Youth Wrestlers show off their medals from the Meijer State Games. Photo by J. Troupe.

Cedar Springs Youth Wrestlers show off their medals from the Meijer State Games. Photo by J. Troupe.


Cedar Springs Youth Wrestling Club travelled to Grandville High School on Sunday, February 21, to participate in the Meijer Winter Games Open, Novice and High School Tournament. They brought 14 wrestlers, and eight placed in the top four.

It was a great showing in our first statewide tournament,” said Coach Goike.

First place championships went to Blake Falan in the 55lb 07-08 Novice; Keaton Klaasen in the 55lb 05-06 Open; and Carter Falan in the 95lb 03-04 Open divisions.

Second place finishers were Jonathan Libera in the 58lb 09-11 All, and Hudson Crystal in the 72lb 07-08 Open divisions. 

Third place finishers were Blake Pickard in the 80lb 05-06 Novice, and Andrew VanGessel in the 85lb 01-02 All divisions.

Fourth place went to Marek Russ in the 72lb 07-08 Novice division.

Of the 38 matches wrestled, 16 brought CSYWC a victory on the mat. Jonathan Libera had two pins for the day in a total time of 1:17; Blake Pickard had two pins for the day in a total time of 2:05; and Carter Falan had two pins for the day in a total time of 3:10. Keaton Klaasen had two tech falls in a total time of 6:29. Tucker Crystal had the team’s fastest pin with 36 seconds, and Jonathan Libera was close behind with 37 seconds. Way to go boys!

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