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Archive | February, 2016

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.

Sincerely,

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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WMP takes top spots at Meijer games

 

Jayden Marcano-Cruz was a champion at the Meijer State Games last weekend for West Michigan Pursuit. Photo by B. Chong.

Jayden Marcano-Cruz was a champion at the Meijer State Games last weekend for West Michigan Pursuit. Photo by B. Chong.

 

By B. Chong

West Michigan Pursuit traveled to Grandville High School this past weekend to compete at NEMWA State and the Meijer State Games. The philosophy of the Meijer State Games of Michigan is that everyone participates regardless of age or ability; everyone is welcome and everyone plays. WMP entered 13 grapplers to compete and nine placed in the top four. Out of 49 battles, WMP claimed 31 victories. Individual results are as follows:

Third place medalists include 95 lb Gage Bowen, 9/10 age group; 59 lb Michael Cannon (NEMWA State) 9/10 age group; and 61/64 lb Isaiah Sostenes, 7/8 age group.

Second place medalists include 55 lb Quinton Cassiday, 7/8 age group; 61/64 lb Luke Egan; 52 lb Kellen Weckesser, 7/8 age group; and 133 lb Maston Wood, 11/12 age group.

Champions are 43/49 lb Jayden Marcano-Cruz, 7/8 age group and 72/77 lb Blake Peasley, 7/8 age group.

Our numbers were down this week, but we plan to come back in full force next week,” said Head Coach Dave Andrus.

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Four Varsity wrestlers headed to state

Cutline: These four varsity wrestlers placed in the top four at regionals last weekend, which qualified them for the state finals. Photo by B. Chong.

Cutline: These four varsity wrestlers placed in the top four at regionals last weekend, which qualified them for the state finals. Photo by B. Chong.

By Barbra Chong

The Cedar Springs High School Wrestling team had their 2016 Individual Regionals last weekend, which were hosted by the Bull Dogs of Byron Center. The Red Hawks had six regional qualifiers that entered the competition and four are advancing to the State Finals.

Heavyweight Patrick Depiazza is a junior and has been wrestling since he was four years old. He also holds three All State Michigan Youth Wrestling Association (MYWA) titles and is the 2015 MYWA National runner up. His current record is 49-0 and he is the Heavyweight 2016 Conference, District and Regional Champion. Patrick is currently ranked #4 on Michigan Grappler.

Ryan Ringler is a 171 lb freshman, and has been wrestling since he was four years old. He also holds five MYWA State Championships and a National Championship title. His current record is 47-4. He is the 2016 189 lb Conference Champion, and the 171 lb District and Regional Runner Up. Ryan is currently ranked #7 on Michigan Grappler.

Jordan Ringler is a 119 lb junior and has been wrestling since he was five years old. He also holds seven All State MYWA titles. His current record is 42-9. He is the 2016 119 lb Conference Runner up, and he finished in fourth place at Regionals. Jordan is currently ranked #8 on Michigan Grappler.

Lucus Pienton is a 145 lb freshman, and has been wrestling three short years. His current record is 28-11. He is the 152 lb Conference Runner Up, and he finished in fourth place at Regionals.

Congratulations to these four individuals for qualifying for the State Finals. If you would like to support your local Red Hawks, they will be competing at the Palace of Auburn Hills, March 3-5.

Do your best. Play hard. It’s more fun if you win,” said Head Coach Nick Emery.

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Two Cedar Springs seniors to play in All-Star football game

Cutline: Two Red Hawk senior football players will play in the Muskegon All-Star Classic next summer. Shown here is senior Cameron Umphrey (far left), MAC founders Terrence Williams and Nick VandenBosch, and senior Taylor VanDyke (far right).

Two Red Hawk senior football players will play in the Muskegon All-Star Classic next summer. Shown here is senior Cameron Umphrey (far left), MAC founders Terrence Williams and Nick VandenBosch, and senior Taylor VanDyke (far right).

Taylor VanDyke and Cameron Umphrey, both seniors at Cedar Springs High School, have been awarded a spot on the “Muskegon All-Star Classic” football team. They attended the MAC selection banquet on February 17,where they received their awards. This is a great honor, as the MAC chooses players for the All-Star team from 40 West Michigan schools. Taylor and Cameron will be playing in the All-Star game at 7:00 p.m., on June 17, at Orchard View High School in Muskegon, Mich.

The award states “These awards are presented for your hard work and excellence both on and off the field. The WV Foundation is pleased to recognize your achievements among the elite student-athletes in West Michigan, and excited to include you as a participant in the Muskegon All-Star Classic football game and scholarship program.”

The WV Foundation is founded by Terrence Williams and Nick VandenBosch.  The mission of the MAC is to use athletics as a vector toward higher education and community growth.

The Muskegon All-Star Classic gives graduated senior athletes an opportunity to showcase their talents with the best student athletes in West Michigan, as well as become eligible for scholarship funding and internships through The WV Foundation.  

Since 2011, The WV Foundation has awarded over $35,000 in scholarships to West Michigan students. Scholarships are generated from proceeds from the Muskegon All-Star Classic.

Watch the website at www.wvfoundation.org for tickets to go on sale.

 

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Designing land use for people and nature

Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche By Ranger Steve

Nature Niches are vital for human survival. Designing land use for people and nature protects current and future generations. Individual humans and future generations are important. Personal wants and needs make it easy to dismiss the wellbeing of grandchildren and great-grandchildren and those that follow. The President and Congress wrestle with this balance daily.

On February 12, new National Monuments were designated by Presidential proclamation using the Antiquities Act of 1906. Congress takes decades to establish protection for proposed areas of national importance while they discuss the pros and cons. They often defer action to future legislators. By the time action is taken, the areas needing protection for future generations could be degraded or lose the value they were proposed to protect. The President is only allowed to protect land that is already owned by the American people. Private property is excluded. The proposed Arctic Wilderness in Alaska and Red Rock Wilderness in Southern Utah are two of the largest Wilderness areas awaiting designation. Wilderness designation has been debated and deferred for well over 50 years by Congress with no resolution. The Antiquities Act was created to mitigate while Congress takes slow or no action. It allows some protection, while Congress debates and considers long term land use. Some areas are approved as National Parks, other federal designations, or can be sold to private interests with Congressional approval.

Most of our national parks began by presidential proclamation. When you see a designation called National Monument it means a president protected it and Congress has not acted yet to make it a national park or eliminate it from monument or federal protection. If it is designated as a National Park, Congress has acted to support the designation. Yosemite is an example of a Congressionally approved National Park in California. It is likely Congress will not complete action on the newly designated California monuments during the lifetime of children born when the monuments were established. Some national parks and federal lands determined as non-vital for society have been closed and sold. National Forests began in a similar manner. Bureau of Land Management lands were established for management to meet different society and private interests. Designation of parks, national forest, and BLM lands have different regulations designated with varied use emphases.

National Monuments limit consumptive use more than national forest and BLM lands. At the Howard Christensen Nature Center, I worked to establish varied protections on a small local scale by acting locally but thinking globally. When driving in the entrance to the Welcome Center, one will find dispersed parking for cars scattered along the drive instead of one large parking area. That entrance area was designed to provide visitors with a natural experience before walking to the Interpretive building. Parking is located far enough away from the Red Pine Interpretative Center to hide view of the building in the woods. It is comparable to parking in a Meijer parking lot farthest from the store. Of course, at the store the building is still visible. The two parking areas have different purposes. At Meijer the purpose is to help visitors gain fast close access for target products. At HCNC the target product is the natural area instead of a building where people become separated from an outdoor experience. It provides people a chance to slow down and enjoy the ambiance of the natural world on their way to the building.

The HCNC buildings (Red Pine Center and Lily’s Retreat Center) have primary parking out of sight of the building but are also accessible by driveways that allow people close access when needed. Nature center areas were designated with high, passive, and limited activity areas. High activity areas reduce the value for survival of native species nature niches and are comparable to your house, driveway and lawn areas. Passive use areas are designated trails through intact nature niche habitats. Limited use areas hopefully prevent impairment of natural areas and include game trails, unnamed trails, and natural areas between trails that serve primarily wildlife species. Use by people should not be obvious or impair wildlife use value in limited use areas.

The new Mojave Trails, Sands to Snow, and Castle Mountains National Monuments in California include sand dunes, Native American petroglyphs, one of the continent’s youngest volcanoes, and critical habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife. They connect Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve, and 15 wilderness areas.

HCNC has 135 acres connected to the 5000 acres of the Rogue River State Game Area. The game area provides wildlife habitat for hunting, Grand River Watershed flood control, forest management and other uses. HCNC is outstanding for education, recreation, and it models land use designations on a small local scale. HCNC use protection designations have changed since my retirement but that is to be expected, just like Congress land use decisions change with each new Congress. My best advice is to act locally on private property under your management control with long term care designed to include future generations. Think global and act local. Support HCNC by visiting and purchasing a membership.

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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Four injured in rollover crash

This rollover crash at 15 Mile and Shaner Avenue Sunday sent four people to the hospital. Courtesy photo from S. Caudill.

Four people were sent to the hospital—two of them with life-threatening injuries—after two vehicles collided Sunday in Courtland Township. One of the passengers with life-threatening injuries died Tuesday.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the accident occurred about 5:36 p.m. at the corner of 15 Mile and Shaner Avenue. Police said that a 2008 Chevy Cobalt, driven by Nicole Grindel, 44, of Nelson Township, was eastbound on 15 Mile Road, and failed to stop at the stop sign at Shaner Avenue. The Cobalt was then struck by a 2008 Chevy Silverado that was traveling north on Shaner and had the right of way. The impact caused both vehicles to roll over.

Grindel was transported by Rockford Ambulance to Butterworth Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the Silverado, Shirley Poeder, 58, of Greenville, suffered serious injuries and was also transported to Butterworth by Rockford Ambulance.

Poeder’s front seat passenger, Thomas Gee, 86, of Cedar Springs, suffered life-threatening injuries, and the backseat passenger, Emerson Gee, 55, of Cedar Springs, suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Both were transported to Butterworth Hospital by Rockford Ambulance. Thomas Gee later passed away of his injuries on Tuesday, February 23.

Police do not believe alcohol was a factor, and the accident is still under investigation.

Cedar Springs Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene. The intersection was closed to traffic for several hours.

 

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Red Hawk boys bowlers win OK Bronze team title

The boys bowling team are conference champs in the OK Bronze. Pictured back row (L to R): Blake Fisk, Jacob Cartwright, Jarod Plank, Jared Caniff, Josh Hamilton and Coach Jackson.
The boys bowling team are conference champs in the OK Bronze. Pictured back row (L to R): Blake Fisk, Jacob Cartwright, Jarod Plank, Jared Caniff, Josh Hamilton and Coach Jackson. Front row (L to R): Dugan Conely and Trevor Ruark.

 

Cutline: All conference girls bowlers include (L to R) Emma Schut, Breanna Feikema, and Allyson Marvel.

All conference girls bowlers include (L to R) Emma Schut, Breanna Feikema, and Allyson Marvel.

Girls team ties for second place

The Cedar Springs boys bowling team clinched sole championship of the OK Bronze last Saturday, February 13, over Northview. Two years ago, in the 2013-2014 season, they shared the championship with Northview.

The post season conference matchup was close, with each team taking the lead at various points, but Cedar Springs came out on top in the end.

“I’m really proud of the boys becoming conference champs,” remarked Coach Jackson.

They finished the regular season with a record of 7 wins, 0 losses, and 1 tie.

The girls team finished second in the OK Bronze, in a tie with Forest Hills Eastern.

Top 10 boys bowlers for the day included (L to R) Trevor Ruark, Jacob Cartwright, Dugan Conely, and Blake Fisk.

Top 10 boys bowlers for the day included (L to R) Trevor Ruark, Jacob Cartwright, Dugan Conely, and Blake Fisk.

Four boys and one girl got medals for being the top 10 bowlers for the day: Blake Fisk got first, Dugan Conely got second, Jacob Cartwright got fourth and Trevor Ruark got tenth.   Allyson Marvel got 3rd place for the girls.

Also at the post season conference, four boys and three girls made all conference, which is based on their bowling average for the high school season. For the boys, Dugan Conely was first place for all conference with a 204.7 average; followed by Trevor

Top 10 girls bowlers for the day included Allyson Marvel.

Top 10 girls bowlers for the day included Allyson Marvel.

Ruark in second with a 196.8 average; then Jacob Cartwright was third with a 195.9 average, and Blake Fisk was eighth with a 189.2 average. The girls who made all-conference were Allyson Marvel, who got third with a 164.4 average; Breanna Feikema was fourth with a 158 average; and Emma Schut was 6th with a 156.1 average.

The boys and girls have regionals on Friday, February 26 and Saturday, February 27.

 All conference boys bowlers include (L to R) Blake Fisk, Jacob Cartwright, Trevor Ruark and Dugan Conely.

All conference boys bowlers include (L to R) Blake Fisk, Jacob Cartwright, Trevor Ruark and Dugan Conely.

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Accident sends one to hospital

 

These two vehicles were involved in a traffic crash in front of Arby’s on 17 Mile Tuesday. Photo by Autumn Schovey.

These two vehicles were involved in a traffic crash in front of Arby’s on 17 Mile Tuesday.
Photo by Autumn Schovey.

Photo by Autumn Schovey.

Photo by Autumn Schovey.

A traffic crash Tuesday afternoon, on 17 Mile Road, about ¼ mile east of White Creek Avenue, sent one driver to the hospital and caused traffic to be rerouted.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, with the Kent County Sheriff Department’s Cedar Springs Unit, witnesses reported that at about 4 p.m., February 16, a 59-year-old Algoma Township woman entered traffic on 17 Mile from a private drive without first stopping, and was struck by an eastbound vehicle driven by a 19-year-old Cedar Springs man.

The woman was transported to the hospital by Rockford Ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries. The accident is still under investigation.

Cedar Springs Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene.

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Red Flannel Queen, court spread the love at Metron

N-Red-Flannel--Queen_Court-at-MetronThe Red Flannel Queen and Court visited Metron on Sunday, Feb. 14 to personally hand out homemade Valentines cards to each of the residents. Shown here is Jessica Plowman (Court); Baily Lachniet (Queen) and Megan Zinn (Court).

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