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Archive | February, 2017

Cedar Springs Cheer are OK White champions!

The Varsity Cheer team after winning the OK White conference title last week.

The Varsity Cheer team after winning the OK White conference title last week.

The Cedar Springs Varsity Competitive Cheer team has been District Champs. They have even been Regional Champs. But the closest they have ever been to Conference champs is second place—until last week. The Lady Red Hawks left it all on the mat last Wednesday, February 8, at Northview High School and walked away as OK White conference champs—their first conference title in school history. Way to go! They head to Districts this weekend at Kenowa Hills High School. For more on their win, click here.

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New left turn signals at 17 Mile and White Creek

 

This photo shows a new left-hand turn signal for westbound traffic at 17 Mile and White Creek. There is also a signal on the other side for eastbound traffic turning left. Photo by J. Reed.

This photo shows a new left-hand turn signal for westbound traffic at 17 Mile and White Creek. There is also a signal on the other side for eastbound traffic turning left. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Kent County recently installed two new traffic signals at White Creek and 17 Mile Road that will hopefully cut down on crashes in that intersection. Drivers that travel eastbound on 17 Mile and wish to turn left (north) on White Creek and those traveling westbound who wish to turn left (south) on White Creek now have a left-hand turn signal to help time their turn.

“Our Traffic and Safety Division had received a number of concerns regarding the intersection and had been monitoring the location,” explained Maura Lamoreaux, communications spokesman for the Kent County Road Commission. “Integral to the decision to install the signal was data that included the types of crashes occurring and the volume of traffic at the intersection, particularly the volume of eastbound left turns coupled with the lack of gaps in opposing westbound traffic.”

Lamoreaux said that the most recent 24-hour count showed approximately 19,000 vehicles travel through that intersection every day.

People might also be happy to know that another busy intersection in the area will get a stop and go signal later this year. The Michigan Department of Transportation will put in the signal at M-57 (14 Mile) and Myers Lake Avenue. “The traffic signal study showed significant delays on Myers Lake Rd, high enough traffic volumes, and a lack of gaps in the M-57 traffic stream,” explained John Richard, with MDOT. He said the signal will be installed sometime in their 2017 fiscal year, which means by or before September 30, 2017.

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Three arrested for prescription fraud

Lavelle Butler

Lavelle Butler

Roberto House

Roberto House

Jermaine Traylor

Jermaine Traylor

An alert pharmacist tripped up three men who traveled from Illinois to Sparta last week to fill a fraudulent prescription.

According to Sparta Police Chief Andrew Milanowski, three men from out of state were arrested on Friday, February 10, by the Sparta Police Department for Conspiracy to Obtain a Controlled Substance by Fraud.

The three men were stopped by a Sparta Police Officer after one of them attempted to get phenergan with codeine and amoxicillin from the false prescription.  The suspect fled the pharmacy before obtaining any items.

“I want to point out that these suspects would not have been caught had it not been for an alert and suspicious Pharmacist,” said Milanowski.

The  prescription was reportedly phoned in, and the pharmacist thought it was suspicious, and phoned the doctor who supposedly prescribed it. When one of the men came in to pick it up, the pharmacist tried to stall him, but the man left.

The three men are identified as Lavelle Butler, age 25 of Riverdale, Illiniois; Roberto House, age 23 of Chicago, Illinois; and Jermaine Traylor, age 23 also of Chicago, Illinois.

Jermaine Traylor faces the charges of: Conspiracy to Obtain a Controlled Substance by Fraud; Possession of Marijuana; Driving on a Suspended License; and Providing false information (his name) to a police officer. He is also being held on an extradition warrant out of the state of Illinois for failing to appear in court for similar prescription fraud charges. Bond was set at $25,000.

Lavelle Butler faces the charge of Conspiracy to Obtain a Controlled Substance by Fraud. Bond was set at $20,000.

Roberto House faces the charge of Conspiracy to Obtain a Controlled Substance by Fraud. Bond was set at $20,000.

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Greenville man dies in crash

 

A Greenville man died Tuesday when his car crossed the centerline and crashed into an oncoming vehicle.

The crash occurred on Tuesday, February 14, about 11:10 a.m. on Sidney and Berridge Road in Montcalm Township, east of M91.

According to the Michigan State Police Lakeview post, a silver Honda passenger car was travelling eastbound on Sidney road when the driver of that vehicle crossed the centerline into the west bound lane and into the path of a Ford F-250 pickup headed westbound.

The male driver of the Honda passenger car was pronounced dead on scene. State Police identified him as Lee Pattison, 40, of Greenville.

The male driver of the F250 sustained injuries and was transported by family members to the hospital.

The cause of the accident is still being investigated; alcohol is not believed to be a factor.

Assisting at the scene was Montcalm County Sheriff’s office, Montcalm Township Fire Departments and Montcalm County EMS.

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Solon spaghetti dinner raises funds for township park

A spaghetti dinner and dessert auction last weekend raised over $1,000 for Solon Township’s Velzy Park.

A spaghetti dinner and dessert auction last weekend raised over $1,000 for Solon Township’s Velzy Park.

By Vicky Babcock

The mood was warm and festive, the company, in turns, warmly supportive and fiercely competitive. It was a gathering of friends, family and community motivated by a common cause—to eat—and to aid in the culmination of a dream. It was Solon’s second annual spaghetti dinner/dessert auction fundraiser for Velzy Park.

The community came together in support of Velzy Park. With mood music created by Courtney King and tables dressed in Valentine splendor, about 80 area residents sat down to a buffet style supper of spaghetti, garlic bread and salad cooked in house by our own Annette Ellick.

The atmosphere changed when the first desserts were brought out to be auctioned, however.  Friends and neighbors vied for their choices of desserts from the huge array of donated items. It was good-natured rivalry, with some desserts reaching upwards of $50. Many of the desserts were shared table to table and there was plenty left to take home for later. Desserts ruled, but they were not the only choice for bidding as a growler fill and tee shirts donated by David Ringler also shared the auction table.

The event was made possible by the Park Committee, its many volunteers, both in service and donated desserts and other related items. It was a community effort enjoyed by the community.  The event brought in over $1,350 with about $1000 for the park realized after expenses.

The creation of the park will help fill a gap in the Township’s infrastructure. While Long Lake Park—a County Park—is located within its boundaries, Solon has no structured parks of its own. The Township envisions a green area with a soccer field, baseball diamond and playground area, as well as picnic tables and a walking trail. With the North Country Trail planning a route through the park, it will become an important pit stop from the West as it makes its way into Cedar Springs.

Velzy Park is the collective dream of a number of citizens, an area where the community can come together for social events and play, both structured and unstructured. The park will be open to everyone and will not rely on tax dollars. Look for groundbreaking on the trail this spring or summer as the committee continues fundraising efforts. For more information or to donate or volunteer, please call the township office at 616-696-1718.

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More winter fun

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Jasmine Roy, 4, the daughter of Lacie Roy, is shown here making a snow fort on the back deck with her uncle Mike Heethuis. Jasmine looks like she’s having lots of fun!

If you have winter photos you’d like us to consider for publication, email them to news@cedarspringspost.com with “winter fun” in the subject line. We publish them as space allows, and do not guarantee publication.

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Spring Sting: Farewell cheap gas, prices on the rise 

Gas in Cedar Springs was $2.34 on Wednesday, February 15. Photo by J. Reed.

Gas in Cedar Springs was $2.34 on Wednesday, February 15. Photo by J. Reed.

GasBuddy analysts call “bottom” on U.S. gas prices 

You’ve been warned. Gas prices are about to get pumped up, eventually climbing to the year’s highest levels as refineries across the nation are preparing for maintenance season and the seasonal switch to cleaner burning gasoline, a tradition despised by many.

The hikes are due to summer’s more expensive blend of gasoline, required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Clean Air Act, as well as refinery maintenance work lasting several months that causes gasoline production to drop, creating a pinch at the pump. Last year, the national average jumped 69 cents during this season, from a low of $1.69 to a high of $2.39; in 2015 we saw an even larger increase of 78 cent, from a low of $2.03 to a high of $2.81 per gallon.

Highlights of what’s to come at the pump across the nation:

  • Average gasoline prices will rise 35-75 cents between recent lows and peak prices, just in time for spring break travel plans. Gas prices will likely plateau in May.
  • America’s daily gasoline bill will swell from today’s $788 million to as much as $1.1 billion daily by Memorial Day. This is $312 million more spent every 24 hours.
  • Some of the nation’s largest cities will be $3 a gallon gasoline very soon, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Seattle, with other large cities possibly joining due to various stringent summer gasoline requirements.
  • Watch out for more gas price volatility in the Great Lakes and West Coast versus other areas, based on prior year outages at refineries in these areas. As a result, there may be temporary gas price spikes.

“While I remain optimistic this year will not bring a ‘running of the bulls,’ we’re likely to see some major increases at the gas pump as the seasonal transition and refinery maintenance get underway,” says Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “Overall, most areas will see peak prices under $3 per gallon, and while that’s far under prices a few years ago, watching prices surge every spring certainly brings heartburn with it. If we were to add the 5-year average increase we see during the spring, the national average would be thrust to $2.85 per gallon around Memorial Day, a 59 cent rise from the $2.26 per gallon observed February 9.”

States observing the largest seasonal jump between mid-February and Memorial Day at the pump last year:

1. Michigan, up 95 cents per gallon

2. Ohio, up 92 cents per gallon

3. Illinois, up 92 cents per gallon

4. Indiana, up 90 cents per gallon

5. Wisconsin, up 86 cents per gallon

6. Minnesota, up 82 cents per gallon

7. Kansas, up 76 cents per gallon

8. Oklahoma, up 75 cents per gallon

9. Missouri, up 74 cents per gallon

10. Kentucky, up 73 cents per gallon

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State Police warns of telephone scam

MSP-logo

The Michigan State Police Lakeview Post would like to remind citizens to never provide personal information via email, telephone, and/or social media.

Troopers from the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post have received several calls from citizens advising they have received unsolicited calls from unknown subjects advising citizens that they owe money to the Internal Revenue Service.  The unknown callers are advising citizens that they have warrants for their arrest and to meet them at specified locations with money or they will be subject to arrest.

The IRS advises if you receive contact of this nature and suspect the caller is not an IRS employee:  1) Ask the caller for their name, badge number, call back number and caller ID if available.  2)  Call 1-800-366-4484 to determine if the caller is an IRS employee with legitimate need to contact you. If the person calling you is an IRS employee, call them back. If not, report the incident to the IRS at 1-800-366-4484.

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Michigan SOS recommendations to strengthen elections system

 

Five-point plan seeks to eliminate voter fraud vulnerabilities in states

N-VotingSecretary of State Ruth Johnson has sent a list of recommendations on strengthening the integrity of the elections system to Vice President Mike Pence and Michigan’s congressional delegation asking that the federal government provide state and local officials with the tools they need to ensure election integrity.

Pence is expected to head a special commission to investigate election issues.

“I believe the most critical parts of election administration are getting eligible citizens registered to vote and ensuring that only those individuals who are eligible to vote appear on the voter rolls,” Johnson said in her letter to Pence. “The United States as a whole must strive for the cleanest voter lists to eliminate vulnerabilities to voter fraud. To allow an ineligible person to cast a ballot is to disenfranchise an eligible citizen.”

Johnson has made election integrity and the accuracy of Michigan’s Qualified Voter File a top priority since she took office in 2011. Her department has removed 1.1 million ineligible people from the voter rolls, including 482,427 deceased voters, 104,126 who were registered in two states and 3,359 noncitizens. Her office also has performed 1,400 post-election audits and sends out a reminder to Michigan residents when they turn 18 years old and asks people who aren’t registered when they visit a Secretary of State office. Michigan has been named the top state for registering people to vote at motor-vehicle offices.

Her five recommendations:

Make Social Security Administration data available – The federal government should help states remove the names of deceased voters from the voter rolls. The Social Security Administration holds this data and it should be made available at no cost to all state election officials and updated at least once per month.

Remove those registered in more than one state – Congress, with the support of the administration, needs to pass a law that allows a voter to be efficiently removed at state motor vehicle offices from the voting rolls if that voter registers in their new state of residence. There is no process, system or law to prevent people from being registered in more than one state. This needs to be an automated system for all states. Former Congresswoman Candice Miller worked hard on a bill that would have accomplished this but it never passed.

Share noncitizen info – The federal government should allow states to verify noncitizens are not on the voter rolls. For years, the federal government required motor-vehicle agency clerks to ask customers—without regard to their citizenship—if they would like to register to vote. As a consequence, many noncitizens registered in error. Johnson met with Homeland Security officials in 2012 and asked for assistance in removing noncitizens from the voter list but never heard back or received any information or cooperation despite numerous attempts.

Create an election crime database – A comprehensive, national database or repository of election-related crimes needs to be created by the administration or Congress with the participation of all states. It would be invaluable to have a federal repository of election crimes categorized with information easily retrieved to help quantify and qualify problems. This will help identify vulnerabilities and fix them.

Require a voting paper trail – Voting machines or tabulators across the U.S. should be required to have some form of a verifiable paper trail that allows officials and citizens to review the results instead of having to blindly trust electronic devices. Voting machines or tabulators that don’t provide election officials with a paper record do not instill confidence in our elections systems and lack the accountability needed. Additionally, voting machines should not be connected to the internet.

A copy of Secretary Johnson’s letter to Vice President Pence is available online at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/Letter_to_Vice_President_Pence_551502_7.pdf.

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MSP 132nd Trooper recruit school graduates 

N-trooper-grads

Twenty-eight become State Police Troopers 

Twenty-eight new Michigan State Police (MSP) troopers will report for work at MSP posts across the state next week after graduating from the 132nd Trooper Recruit School last Friday, February 10.

Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP, administered the Oath of Office during the ceremony at the Training Academy.

“These men and women should be very proud of themselves today,” said graduation keynote speaker, Governor Rick Snyder. “They have what it takes to join the elite ranks of the Michigan State Police. We wish our newest troopers safety each day. My hope is that they enjoy long and rewarding careers serving and protecting the residents of our great state.”

In her address to the graduates, MSP Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue said, “In everything you do, I ask that you provide ‘Service With a Purpose.’ Michigan’s citizens are depending on you, as am I. You have an opportunity to positively impact our communities. Do what’s right, do your best and treat others the way you want to be treated.”

Tpr. Tyler Rutkowski was elected Class Orator by his fellow recruits and spoke on behalf of the graduating class at the ceremony. Other award recipients included Tpr. Jacob Grinwis, who received the Academic Achievement Award, Tpr. Brandon Coil who received the Marksmanship Award, Tpr. Tyler

Ruffer who received the Team Building Award and Tpr. Curtis Alward who received the Outstanding Performance Award.

Four of the trooper grads will be serve in the sixth district. Tpr. Grant Huber, of Clarkston, will serve at the Rockford post; Tpr. Jacob Grinwis, of Whitehall, will serve at the Hart post; Tpr. Maya Hairston-Moore, of Lansing, will serve at the Mount Pleasant post; and Miguel Mendez-Ibanez, of Lansing, will also serve at the Mount Pleasant post.

The 132nd Trooper Recruit School began on Aug. 28, 2016, when 37 prospective troopers reported to the MSP Training Academy in Lansing. For the past 24 weeks, recruits received training in firearms, water safety, defensive tactics, patrol techniques, report writing, ethics, first aid, criminal law, crime scene processing and precision driving.

In order to be selected to attend the academy, all applicants had to pass a stringent selection process that included a physical fitness test, background investigation and hiring interview.

As part of the department’s commitment to “Providing Service With A Purpose,” the recruits participated in a community outreach project in which they assisted in building a playground at Wacousta Elementary School.

The 132nd Trooper Recruit School is the fourth of four trooper recruit schools started in 2016, as well as a motor carrier officer recruit school; a first in the department’s 100-year history.

The MSP is actively recruiting for a trooper recruit school anticipated to begin in June; interested candidates should visit www.michigan.gov/mspjobs for more information on how to apply.

Including these new troopers, there are currently more than 1,050 troopers assigned statewide.

 

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