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Archive | February, 2017

Varsity wrestlers headed to state

Senior heavyweight Patrick Depiazza, who is ranked #2 in the state, wrestled the #1 ranked wrestler in the state, Chase Beard, of Allegan, at regionals last week.

Senior heavyweight Patrick Depiazza, who is ranked #2 in the state, wrestled the #1 ranked wrestler in the state, Chase Beard, of Allegan, at regionals last week.

For the second year in a row, four Cedar Springs Varsity wrestlers are headed to the individual state finals at the Palace at Auburn Hills March 2-4. The four include senior heavyweight Patrick Depiazza, who remains unbeaten at 44-0 and is ranked at #2 in the state; sophomore Ryan Ringler 171 lb, who is 45-1 and ranked #2; senior Jordan Ringler, 135 lbs, 38-8 and ranked #6; and sophomore Lucus Pienton, 145 lbs, 33-8, and ranked #8. To find out more, read the story here.

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Men sentenced in memorial theft


Justin Lynn Rossman

Justin Lynn Rossman

David Edgar Sommerville

David Edgar Sommerville

Also sentenced in Skinner Field break-in

By Judy Reed

Three men were sentenced earlier this month in connection with stealing and concealing the monument last fall from Veteran’s Park that was erected in honor of fallen hero SPC. Timothy Brown.

The Brown family discovered the monument was missing Saturday, October 22, and called police. Thieves broke the statue, taking the helmet, rifle, and dog tags. Only the boots were left on the memorial stone. Police suspected the same culprits took the statue as broke into concessions at Skinner Field just a day prior. They posted surveillance footage of the break-in, featuring three young males, and asked media to share the photos. Within days, suspects in the thefts were arrested.

Police found the statue in a shed on the property of Tracy Lyn Coleman, 45, in the 100 block of E. Muskegon, along with several items in the home from the Skinner Field break-in.

Police arrested David Edgar Sommerville, 17, Austin Lee Coleman, 20, and Justin Lynn Rossman, 27, all of Cedar Springs, on Thursday, October 27. All three were charged in the Skinner Field break-in, and Sommerville and Rossman were charged with the monument theft. The older Coleman was arrested the next day on receiving and concealing stolen property. He reportedly admitted to police that he knew the rifle and helmet were stored in his shed, and that he had told one of the defendants to get it out of there. Rossman reportedly told police that Sommerville stole the rifle and helmet and hid them in the storage shed.

Both Rossman and Sommerville pled guilty to breaking and entering and receiving and concealing stolen property of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000.

Sommerville was sentenced to 240 days in jail, 30 months probation, and ordered to pay $500 in fines, and $2,143 in restitution. He was credited for 190 days time served.

Rossman was sentenced to 240 days in jail, 30 months probation, 80 hours of community service, $500 in fines, and $2,143 in restitution. He was credited for 103 days served. His expected release date is in mid May.

Tracy Lyn Coleman

Tracy Lyn Coleman

Austin Lee Coleman

Austin Lee Coleman

Tracy Coleman was sentenced to 64 days in jail, a year of probation, and ordered to pay $500 in restitution. He was credited 64 days for the time he served.

Austin Coleman, 20, was sentenced last week for the breaking and entering at Skinner Field. He pled guilty to breaking and entering with intent, and was sentenced to 240 days in jail, 30 months probation, and has to perform 120 hours of community service. He also was ordered to pay $2,143 in restitution, and was credited with 50 days served. He is expected to be released in mid July. He was sentenced under the Holmes Youthful Trainee act, which would allow his record to be expunged if he serves his sentence without any major missteps.

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Pastor’s leader dog passes away

Pastor Darryl Miller and his leader dog, Rowdy.

Pastor Darryl Miller and his leader dog, Rowdy.

By Judy Reed

In early January, we did a story about Pastor Darryl Miller and his leader dog, Rowdy. Miller, who is legally blind, is pastor at both South Ensley United Methodist Church and Sand Lake United Methodist. Rowdy, an 11-year-old black lab who was Miller’s faithful companion and seeing eye dog, needed surgery to fix a fistula—a hole in the roof of his mouth—and the Sand Lake United Methodist women was holding a fundraising event on January 14 to help pay the mounting medical bills. He had already undergone five surgeries, but the hole had not healed due to an infection in his jawbone. Once they discovered it, he was put on antibiotics, and they hoped the next surgery would help the dog to finally heal.

Unfortunately, Rowdy did not survive the surgery, and died on January 30.

“Rowdy had been on heavy duty antibiotics for nearly three months trying to get the infection which had prevented the previous surgeries from being successful under control,” explained Miller. “During the last week before the surgery he had a hard time trying to eat and he got weak. He did not make it through the surgery, and it was probably a blessing, as we discovered that the infection had spread into the skull around his left eye socket.”

Rowdy’s death has been hard on Miller. “Even three weeks later I find myself reaching down beside my chair both at home and at the churches to pet him,” he said. “We were together the last nine years and only were separated for about ten days.”

But he is not the only one who misses him. “It has been truly amazing to see how many lives he touched,” remarked Miller. “From young people who knew him from district youth group eight or nine years ago, to the newest members of our churches. We all miss him a lot.”

The Post asked Miller what his plans for the future were. Since he had relied on Rowdy to help get him where he needed to go, would he get another dog? “At first I didn’t plan to get another dog. It was very hard watching such a close friend struggle for the past eight months,” he explained. “But after a couple weeks, I realized just how much I depended on him and have decided to begin the process to get another leader dog.”

Rowdy was trained at the Leader dog school in Rochester, Michigan—a school founded by the Lions Club, and that’s where Miller will apply for another dog. There is no charge for the guide dog.

Miller is grateful to all those who have supported him during this time. “Thank you so much for all your prayers and donations for my Leader Dog Rowdy. My family and I along with our church families want to thank you for your love and help,” he said.

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Newaygo woman dies in crash


A Newaygo woman was killed last week when she failed to stop at a stop sign and was hit by another car.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred about 7:33 p.m. in Sparta Township. Deborah Dexter, 65, of the City of Newaygo, was driving a 2005 Jeep Cherokee east on 15 Mile, just west of Fruit Ridge, when she failed to stop at the stop sign at the intersection and was struck by a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado that was traveling south on Fruit Ridge.

Dexter was pronounced dead at the scene. A toddler in the Jeep, Arabella Milligan, age 2, of Kent City, suffered facial lacerations and was transported to Spectrum Butterworth by Rockford Ambulance.

The driver of the Silverado, Andrew Duffy, 22, of Sparta Township, had facial lacerations, but was not transported to the hospital.

Assisting at the scene was the Sparta Fire Department, Kent City Fire Department, Rockford Ambulance, and Michigan State Police.

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Snowmobile races cancelled

This photo shows a previous snowmobile event. From the Michigan Winter Fest Facebook page.

This photo shows a previous snowmobile event. From the Michigan Winter Fest Facebook page.

While many residents are enjoying the warm, spring-like temperatures we have experienced over the last week, some of the area events have suffered. The 2017 Michigan Winter Fest “SNOW” extravaganza, which was to take place on West Street in Cedar Springs last weekend, February 17-18, was cancelled due to the lack of snow. The event, billed as Michigan’s largest snow festival, would’ve included snowmobile sno-cross, cross country, and drag racing. It is the second year in a row the event was cancelled due to weather.

Last weekend was also the DNR’s free ice fishing weekend. However, the ice was thin on most lakes, and there were 9-1-1 calls of ATV’s or people falling through the ice. Please be safe out there and stay off the ice!

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More winter fun


Ashlee Shain, age 2, and Kaylie Shain, age 5, the daughters of Ed and Jenny Shain, of Nelson Township, are shown here having fun playing outside in early January. What a difference in the weather in just a few weeks!

If you have winter fun or wildlife photos you’d like to send, please email them to news@cedarspringspost.com with some info. We will print as space allows. Publication is not guaranteed.

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North and south: are directions really important?

By Judy Reed, Editor

Once upon a time there was a reporter who wrote a story on deadline (at midnight) describing a new left hand turn signal installed at a busy intersection in town. The story was pretty straight forward, but the reporter read it over three times, and made sure she had the directions listed in the photo caption right. Despite having gulped down several cups of coffee to stay awake and being amped up on sugar because of the delicious dark chocolate brownies brought in by an admirer, she did not catch that the directions in the story itself were not right—north was south and south was north. If you are traveling eastbound on 17 Mile and want to turn left on White Creek, it’s north not south; and those traveling westbound who turn left will be headed south, not north. We had several phone calls Thursday and an email letting us know we were heading in the wrong direction. So what’s a reporter who is directionally challenged to do? Is it a real malady? Well, I researched it to find out.

The first thing I found was something called dysorientation. That sounds about right, I thought. It was a facebook page. Maybe this would be a group where I could belong. Hurray! I’ve found my people! I even did a little happy dance. Then I read the description: “A Berlin based party line dedicated to vintage psych, grooves and dancefloor sleazyness from the golden days of analog production.” Ok, well maybe not my people, but it could be fun to listen or dance to if I was ever in Berlin. I’ll add it to my bucket list.

The second thing I found was geographical dyslexia or directional disability. There are people out there (and you know who you are!) who panic when you have to meander the corridors of the hospital or parking ramp to get back to your car; who fear you are lost forever when you leave your hotel to walk to the nearest restaurant but nothing looks familiar on the way back so you consider putting out an amber alert on yourself; or you break out in a cold sweat when you have to drive yourself somewhere you’ve never driven to before. You could’ve been to the place a million times—but if you were just riding along, you may not have been paying attention. You were probably playing Yahtzee with buddies (send me a bonus roll please) or Words with Friends on your cell phone and now you have to drive there yourself and you’re going to die because you have no idea what the streets are and your GPS just told you to turn in 200 feet and you don’t know how far that is and instead you turn in 100 feet onto a one-way street going the wrong way and directly into the path of a bus. Aaah! Don’t laugh! The struggle  is real! But this isn’t me either. Ok, maybe a little bit.

I also found out there are not guide dogs for the directionally impaired. Though I’m sure it could be a thriving business if someone took an interest. Because in my research, it looks like there are a lot of people out there who are perpetually lost. And they could really use a helping hand. Or paw.

As for this story, it was a simple mistake that got readers talking. If that’s what it takes to get readers talking, maybe I should slip in a few more mistakes. What will you find this week? And please—if you are traveling eastbound on 17 Mile in the left hand turn lane to White Creek, whatever you do, don’t try to turn south. Or you just might make the front page of next week’s paper!

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Animal Shelter staff heads to stable for some horse sense 


When you think of the Kent County Animal Shelter (KCAS) you may think of dogs and cats but Animal Control Officers (ACOs) often respond to calls regarding horses. Successful outcomes in these incidents are not possible without proper training. Animal professionals may be working to ascertain the health of multiple animals or they may need to help round up, corral and transport horses that have managed to escape their enclosures. In all cases, the safety of the public, the animal and first responders may hinge on proper training.

Kent County Animal Shelter staff got some training with horses last week. Photos courtesy of the Kent County Health Department.

Kent County Animal Shelter staff got some training with horses last week. Photos courtesy of the Kent County Health Department.

On Thursday February 16, 2017, KCAS staff got the opportunity to expand their skills by working with live horses. Staff learned more about capturing and securing horses and how to make better judgements regarding a horse’s health based on its physical appearance.

Members of the executive committee working to form an Equine Response Team (ERT) also participated in the training. The ERT will be a group of volunteers who are equine professionals in Kent County. The ERT will act as a liaison between KCAS staff and individuals or groups who, for example, may have access to care, boarding facilities or trailers to move horses. KCAS staff can contact the ERT as situations warrant.

“Once the ERT is finalized, it will allow our staff to concentrate on securing a scene,” says Carly Luttmann, Program Supervisor at the Kent County Animal Shelter. “Animal Control Supervisors and Officers will have the peace of mind that a volunteer is contacting and securing the necessary resources while they take care of more immediate concerns.”

The Kent County Animal Shelter continues to work to finalize the formation of the Equine Response Team and hopes to have all volunteers, resources and procedures established by mid-summer of 2017.



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Fundraiser for CS Fire department


Spaghetti fundraiser March 8 for lifesaving equipment

By Judy Reed

In 2016, there were more than 350,000 instances of sudden cardiac arrest (outside of hospitals), according to the American Heart Association. About 46 percent had CPR performed on them by a bystander, and only 12 percent survived. That might not sound like a high number, but it’s a number that’s climbed over the last several years, thanks to new lifesaving equipment available to paramedics that will automatically do chest compressions. And Cedar Springs Fire and Rescue is trying to raise money to buy the equipment to treat people locally.

According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, the department responded to 11 heart attacks in 2016, and two since the first of the year. One of the two did not survive.

Fraser said that each call averages 8 people per call, averaging 60-70 minutes each, and they must do CPR manually. “60-70 minutes is a long time,” he said, adding that manual CPR calls for 120 compressions a minute. He also noted that daytime staffing can also be difficult, with firefighters working during the day.

With an automatic chest compression system, they could do the call with only three people. And the device would keep the patient’s blood circulating, delivering oxygen to organs while waiting for the ambulance to arrive to transport the patient to the hospital.

Algoma Fire and Kent City Fire both have one of these systems, and Algoma brought it to the Cedar Springs City Council to show them how it would help Cedar Springs. The Council then challenged Chief Fraser to do some fundraising for the $15,000 piece of equipment. “We have some money in next year’s budget, but would like to supplement that,” said Fraser.

He also said that the need for the equipment would only increase, with two senior citizens opening in Cedar Springs in the near future.

Their first fundraising event will be a spaghetti dinner on Wednesday, March 8, from 5-8 p.m. at Cedar Springs Big Boy, 13961 White Creek Ave. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children ages 12 and under. Tickets may be purchased from any firefighter or medic. You may also purchase at the door. Call 696-1221 to order tickets. Leave a voicemail, the station will return your call.

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Vacancies on Kent citizen boards and committees 


N-Kent-County-logoThe Kent County Board of Commissioners is seeking citizens who are interested in serving the community through appointment to the following Boards and Committees:

Community Mental Health Authority Board – to fill an unexpired three-year term ending March 31, 2019. This board meets the first Monday of each month at 5:15 pm at 790 Fuller Ave. NE, Grand Rapids.

Fire Commission – to fill an unexpired two-year term ending December 31, 2018. Applicant must be a township elected official from a unit of government that participates in the Fire Commission. The Fire Commission meets monthly on the second Friday of the month (does not meet in April, July and October) at 8:30 am at the Kent County Road Commission, 1500 Scribner, Grand Rapids (with the exception of the October meeting).

Kent District Library Board Region 1 – to fill an unexpired four-year term ending December 31, 2018. Applicants must live in Nelson, Oakfield, Spencer or Tyrone Township. The Kent District Library Board meets monthly at the District Headquarters, 814 W. River Center, Comstock Park, as well as at other participating libraries.

Land Bank Authority – to fill an unexpired two-year term ending December 31, 2017. Applicant must be a township elected official. The Land Bank meets bi-monthly on Thursday at 8:00 am at 347 S. Division, Grand Rapids.

Applicants must complete an online application form via the County’s website at www.accesskent.com/boardappointments. Resumes and cover letters are encouraged and may be attached. The deadline to apply is Friday, March 10, 2017.

Please call the Board of Commissioners Office at 616.632.7580 if you have any questions.

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union


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