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Archive | August, 2017

Hurricane Harvey: how you can help

Soldiers with the Texas Army National Guard move through flooded Houston streets as floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey continue to rise, Monday, August 28, 2017. More than 12,000 members of the Texas National Guard have been called out to support local authorities in response to the storm.

By Judy Reed

Hurricane Harvey swept into Texas last weekend, and at least 25 people have died as the storm battered the southeast region of Texas and nearby Louisiana. Houston has been hit especially hard. Floodwaters have begun to recede, but thousands of people and pets have been left homeless in the storm’s wake. Some 18,000 people have been rescued from the flooding in SE Texas; at least 32,000 people are in shelters, with thousands more seeking to get in.

How can you help?

Hurricane Helping Hands: There are some people right here in Cedar Springs organizing relief for both humans and their pets. Friends Jamie Garcia, Melissa Lombard, and Tiffany Rop are asking for physical donations—not monetary—though gas cards would be accepted. Jamie will be driving some things down to Texas, and someone else has offered one or two semi tractor trailer to drive items down. There are many items needed such as flashlights, batteries, lanterns, socks, bandaids, trash bags, toilet paper, biodegradable wipes, rubber gloves, peanut butter, etc. Please see their Facebook page for the entire list. https://www.facebook.com/HurricaneHelpingHands/

Melissa posted on the Facebook page that there is also a big need for baby items—formula, diapers, wipes, etc. They are also putting together personal care packs and are in need of combs, razors, pads/tampons, tissues, toothbrushes, hair ties, etc. She is also making natural soap to go into the bags, so is looking for donations of lard, coconut oil, sunflower oil and olive oil, but would need those this week. Her goal is to make 100 pounds of soap.

The friends are also collecting items for pets that have been rescued.

The Post will have a drop box for donations, and other drop off points will be announced on their Facebook page. Please email them or send a message through their Facebook page for more information.

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund: https://ghcf.org/hurricane-relief/ Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that will accept tax-deductible flood relief donations for victims that have been affected by the recent floods. The fund will be housed at the Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity.

Workers with the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals rescue a horse in rising floodwaters.

Houston Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: The Houston SPCA is the lead nonprofit animal-related agency responsible for disaster rescue, recovery and relief efforts. You can donate online at http://www.houstonspca.org/.

UMCOR – The United Methodist Committee on Relief is currently working with disaster coordinators and early response teams in Louisiana and Texas to provide relief to the many people whose lives have been impacted by hurricane/tropical storm Harvey. They give you five things you can do at http://www.umcor.org/umcor/resources/news-stories/2017/august/0825umcorrespondstoharvey. One is to make relief kits. You can download the packing list and shipping label from their website. You can also donate online or by mail.

Save the children: This organization is delivering family-friendly relief supplies including cribs, strollers, changing tables, baby shampoo, diapers and baby-safe portable tubs. They are also setting up child-friendly spaces in shelters where kids can play and learn while parents manage their family’s emergency needs. Go to www.savethechildren.org to learn more and to donate.

American Red Cross: Visit the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org to donate.

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Sparta soldier killed in motorcycle crash

Joshua Daniel VanBelzen Facebook photo.

A 26-year-old Sparta man died on Saturday, August 26, when his motorcycle crashed into a pickup truck in southeast Michigan.

Joshua Daniel VanBelzen, 26, had attended an event hosted by Foundation 14, a veteran’s riding group, at a restaurant and bar in Lenawee County. After the event, VanBelzen was heading east on US12 and was west of the public access to Allen Lake when he went into a curve and crossed the centerline. His motorcycle hit a pickup truck, driven by William Szentmiklosi, 90, of Addision.

VanBelzen was pronounced dead at the scene. He was reportedly wearing a helmet. It’s unknown whether alcohol was involved.

The driver of the pickup and his wife, Elizabeth, a passenger in the pickup, went to the hospital to be checked out.

A group of fellow riders came upon the scene shortly after the crash but did not witness it.

VanBelzen did a tour in Afghanistan and was currently serving in the Army Reserves as a drill sergeant, according to his obituary. He was also working as a Federal Corrections officer.

His obituary said that Josh touched many lives, had an amazing sense of humor and could always be counted on to make some smart remark. “He always had a smile and loved cars, trucks and motorcycles. Josh was trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation,” it said.

Services for Josh will be held on Friday, Sept. 1, at Sparta Baptist Church at 11:00 a.m. Family will meet visitors on Thursday, August 31 from 2-4:00 and 6-8:00 p.m. at Hessel-Cheslek Funeral Home and on Friday at the church for 1 hour prior to the service from 10-11:00 a.m. Interment in Fairplains Cemetery. Those wishing to make a donation in Josh’s name may do so to Wounded Warrior Project at woundedwarriorproject.org.

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Wife sentenced to life in husband’s murder

 

Glenna Duram (right) was convicted last week of murdering her husband, Martin Duram (left), in May 2015. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

An Ensley Township woman was sentenced to life in prison earlier this week for the murder of her husband.

Glenna Duram, 49, was sentenced on Monday, August 28, in Newaygo County Circuit Court to life in prison without parole, for the May 2015 shooting of her husband, Martin Duram, 45. She was convicted last month of first-degree murder and a felony firearms charge.

“We would just like to say we are glad that she will never get out of prison and we are hoping that our family is now able to move on,” said Christina Keller, Marty Duram’s ex-wife, on behalf of their children and herself. “We want to remember Marty, not fight for him anymore.”

According to the original police report, firefighters responded to a garage fire on 128th Street, near Balsam, on Wednesday, May 13, 2015. A neighbor reportedly asked firefighters to check on some neighbors, and when they did, they found a man and a woman inside the home, and apparently deceased.

Troopers from the Michigan State Police Hart Post responded to the scene, and after making the scene safe, determined that the woman, Glenna Duram, was seriously injured, but still breathing. She had two gunshot wounds to the head. Martin Duram reportedly had been shot five times. Glenna was transported to the hospital.

Duram reportedly shot her husband and then herself. She had left several suicide letters to her own children and ex-husband saying she was sorry, though she never admitted to killing Marty.

Glenna had reportedly hidden from her husband that they were losing their home, and it was going up for auction. When he confronted her about it, she denied it, but papers strewn around the scene confirmed it.

In an odd twist to the case, the African grey parrot that was the Duram’s pet ended up with Keller after the murder, and began to repeat a conversation he had heard—complete with expletives—that ended with Marty yelling at his wife not to shoot.

It had been a year since Duram’s murder, with no arrest, when a family member alerted a television reporter about the bird. “Bud helped us get attention for Marty’s murder and I believe it put pressure on the prosecutor to make the arrest with all the media pressure,” remarked Keller.

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The Post travels to Kentucky

The Post went with Phil and Sue Harrison, of Nelson Township, to the American TriFive Nationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky on August 10-12, 2017. This is the 60th anniversary of the 1957 Chevy. Sue and Phil drove their 1957 Chevy convertible over 1,162 round trip miles to join the 2,717 other 1955, ‘56, ‘57 Chevys at the convention.

That sounds like fun! Thank you Phil and Sue, for taking us with you!

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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Milestone achieved for family farm

Pictured from left to right: Andrew, Noah, and Nate Reyburn, Larry, Janice, and Dean Reyburn.

Shining white and tall with the gold and green insert, the new Centennial Farm sign in front of 2727 Indian Lakes Rd., Cedar Springs proudly displays an important milestone for the Reyburn Family.

In 1916, Orange and Etta Burnap (the current owner’s grandparents) purchased the farm, which was sold to Shelby and Edith Reyburn (Orange’s daughter and son-in-law), then sold to Walter and Genevie Penrose (Shelby’s daughter and son-in-law), and finally to current owners Shelby L. (Larry) and Janice Reyburn (Shelby’s son and daughter-in law).

The beautiful acreage at Shady Grove Farm reaches from Indian Lakes Rd. to the Consumers Power lines, and has hosted apple orchards, fields of soybeans or corn, flowers, vegetables, pumpkins, tomatoes, and deep shady woods. There is a well-kept old wooden barn with several outbuildings, and two homes.

Larry grew up here on this property, and throughout the years he spent in the Michigan State Police it always called him back. He purchased the farm from his sister and brother-in-law in 1968. Even though he worked and lived wherever he was posted, he returned to tend the orchards and work the land.

After his retirement in 1982 from the State Police until 2000, Larry and Janice concentrated on their flower business, growing, drying, arranging, and selling beautiful bouquets at fairs across the state. Currently they grow pumpkins, sweet corn, tomatoes, and other vegetables, which are sold right at the farm.

Larry and Janice would tell you that they are blessed by God and are proud to continue the 100-plus year heritage of this beautiful farm.

 

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Cedar Springs Brewing Company wins three titles at London World Beer Awards

The awards are the latest in a string of international competitions to recognize the brewery

A local brewery in Cedar Springs is being recognized internationally for its German-style beer.

The World Beer Awards announced August 10 that Cedar Springs Brewing Company took three “Best in the U.S.” titles in the international competition.

The awards were for their Küsterer Original Weissbier, named “Best Bavarian Hefeweiss” in the U.S.; Küsterer Salzburger Märzen, named «Best Seasonal German Pale» in the U.S.; and Küsterer Weizenbock, named “Best Strong Wheat Beer” in the U.S.

The contest is the third international competition the two-year-old brewery has entered and placed in.

“It is our goal to create a world-class destination here in Cedar Springs, Michigan,” said the brewery’s Director of Happiness David Ringler, “and we are thrilled to once again have been recognized for the quality of our Bavarian and German style beers by an international judging organization.”

The World Beer Awards are a global competition selecting the “very best in all internationally recognized styles.” Judges from around the world tasted 1,900 entries from 36 countries.

“Very few Americans have had the chance to truly experience some of these styles if they haven’t traveled to Europe,” Ringler said. “That’s why it’s our goal to create true-to-style Bavarian brews here in the U.S.”

The recent awards are heartening for Cedar Springs, as evidence of their success.

“We want to do justice to these styles,” Ringler said, “and we’ve been fortunate to beat some of the breweries that are viewed as the gold standards.”

“It’s amazing to be included in that conversation,” he said.

The brewery is located at the corner of N. Main and W. Maple Street in Cedar Springs.

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Library signed over to city

The Cedar Springs Community Library reverted to the City of Cedar Springs in a signing ceremony Wednesday, August 30. From L to R: Julie Wheeler, notary Independent Bank; Kurt Mabie, Chair of the CBDT; Bob Ellick, Library Board Chair; Gerald Hall, Mayor of Cedar Springs; and Rebecca Newland, Cedar Springs City Clerk. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

The ownership of the Cedar Springs Community Library was transferred to the City of Cedar Springs Wednesday in an official signing ceremony at the new Library.

The Community Building Development Team had previously entered an agreement with the City to develop the library on City property, and then sign it over to the City on completion. Both the CBDT and the Library signed a real estate conveyance agreement, quit claim deed, and transfer agreement.

Signing for the CBDT was Chair Kurt Mabie; signing for the Library board was Chair Bob Ellick, who is also Solon Townships Supervisor; and signing for the City of Cedar Springs Mayor Gerald Hall. City Clerk Rebecca Newland was on hand to distribute the paperwork, and Julie Wheeler of Independent Bank served as notary.

The City will now lease the building to the library board.

The new $1.6 million facility was completed in the spring. “This just shows what we can do when we work as a team,” remarked Hall. “We owe a debt of gratitude to a great many people.”

Included are Tom and Claudia Mabie, who donated $300,000 in December of 2006 toward the construction of a new library in an effort to kick start enthusiasm for the project. The signing was an emotional event for Claudia, who has waited a long time to see the library come to fruition. “Cedar Springs is full of kind, caring, hard working people. Good things can and will happen in Cedar Springs,” she said. “Cedar Springs has something to be proud of.”

Other people mentioned included the Holton family for their contributions; Duane McIntyre for his volunteer work; and the dedication of Nugent Builders on the project.

Kurt Mabie said that the next part of the project would be the amphitheatre, which will sit to west of the library. They also hope to have all the bricks in place by Red Flannel Day. There are bricks still available to purchase. You can pick up a brochure at the Library or contact them at 616-696-1910.

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New manufacturing facility coming to Cedar Springs

J-Star‘s new facility will manufacture linear motion and lifting systems for the office furniture industry.

J-Star Motion Corp. adding 122 jobs; investing $4.9m in manufacturing facility

On Wednesday, August 30, The Right Place, Inc., in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), announced a local Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by Chinese furniture component manufacturer Jiecang Linear Motion Technology Co., Ltd. The company, operating in the United States as J-Star Motion Corporation, will establish a new manufacturing facility at an existing location in Cedar Springs, Michigan. The company intends to hire 122 employees and invest $4.9 million.

The company recently opened office and warehouse facilities at 83 South Main Street, Kent City, and with a new available site, is adding manufacturing operations at 500 West Street, in Cedar Springs (in what was the Wolverine building). The company will inhabit the north side of the building. Display Pack is located on the south side.

The new facility will support J-Star’s American business growth, which centers on making linear motion and lifting systems for the office furniture industry.

The MEDC is supporting the expansion effort with the approval of a $738,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.

“Securing this new Chinese Foreign Direct Investment is significant for our region,” said Birgit Klohs, President & CEO, The Right Place, Inc. “The investment reaffirms that West Michigan is a global destination for international investment and business expansion.”

J-Star has maintained a small presence in the country since 2014 when it opened warehouse and administrative offices in Southern California, which is still serves as its American headquarters.

Parent company Jiecang Linear Motion Technology Co., Ltd was established in 2000 in Xinchang, China as an original equipment manufacturer of linear actuators and lifting columns. Due to the company’s high standards, its products quickly became globally respected for use in medical and home care equipment. With an annual production capacity of 600,000 actuators – lifting columns and 200,000 control boxes, Jiecang has become a leading supplier for companies around the world.

The company had considered expanding closer to its California base, but The Right Place was able to build a business case and convince J-Star leaders that the region’s historically-significant furniture manufacturing roots were worth exploring.

“West Michigan was identified as an excellent location due to the proximity to many of the leading office furniture manufacturers and the skilled manufacturing talent available in this area,” said Michael Fedrigo, General Manager, J-Star Motion Corporation. “The support available through The Right Place and the MEDC was a significant factor in their final site selection.”

J-Star is in the process of building its team and hopes to begin local production by mid-2018.

The Right Place, Inc., is a regional nonprofit economic development organization founded in 1985 and supported through investments from the private and public sector. Its mission is to promote economic growth in the areas of quality employment, productivity, and technology in West Michigan by developing jobs through leading business retention, expansion and attraction efforts.

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Man charged for resisting arrest, destruction of property

 

David Nichols

The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office responded to a suspicious person complaint in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, August 30, which led to the arrest of a Sand Lake man on several charges.

According to Sheriff Michael J. Williams, they responded to an area near the intersection of Elmwood and Fir Lane, in Howard City, about 1:20 a.m. August 30, on a report of a male running down the street screaming and taking his clothes off. Deputies spotted the man, later identified as David Nichols, 31.

When confronted, Nichols charged the officer, pushed him aside, and began striking the patrol car. During the attempts to take Nichols into custody, Nichols resisted and fled. Nichols was apprehended and had to be tasered numerous times. He was eventually taken into custody with the assistance of two Michigan State Police Troopers. The Sheriff’s Deputy did sustain minor injuries during the altercation. He was treated and released from a local hospital.

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Michigan DNR wildfire fighters help battle western blazes

Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildland firefighters are on the scene in Montana to help with fires around the state. Michigan personnel on loan in Montana include two three-man engine crews and an incident management team. Photo by Michigan DNR firefighter Cory Mallory.

Helicopters fly over a burning hillside in Montana recently as firefighters work to control a grass fire. Two Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildland fire engines staffed by two three-man crews as well as an incident management team are in Montana now helping with fire suppression efforts. Photo by Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Surrounded by smoke, constantly watching the wind and trying to tamp down fast-moving flames, Michigan Department of Natural Resources firefighters using two specially equipped fire trucks have been helping battle grass and forest wildfires in Montana since mid-July.

They may do what firefighters call “black lining”—purposely burning a strip of grass to deprive an approaching wildfire of fuel and stop it in its tracks.

Or they may “wet line”—dousing combustible materials in the path of a fire to keep a blaze from spreading.

Or they might, during a breather from work, do what any of us would: whip out cell phones to shoot a quick video as a low-flying tanker plane releases a belly full of water over a hot spot of burning trees, brush or grass.

“Statistically, it’s the grasses that are the most dangerous. They move fast and burn quick,” said Ben Osterland, who led one of two three-man teams that drove the Michigan fire engines to Montana.

Fires have consumed more than half a million acres across Montana so far this season, and Michigan wildland firefighters are playing critical roles in helping put them out. The engines remain in Montana and a third set of crews rotated into the fire zone this week.

In mid-July, Osterland and Cory Mallory each led an engine team, driving the massive, four-wheel-drive vehicles from Michigan to Montana on a 20-hour trek at speeds that maxed out around 64 miles per hour to work long days and live under sometimes primitive conditions.

“Montana absolutely loved our people and they love our trucks,” said Lee Osterland, who also worked on an incident management team in Montana this summer. “It’s a really good opportunity to help another state out.” Michigan firefighters also are serving in Oregon and Washington state now and spent time in Arizona and British Columbia earlier this summer.

The four-wheel-drive fire vehicles are equipped with brush guards and a winch. They carry 800 gallons of water as well as a pump and two reels of hose.

When laying a wet line, the driver may drive slowly along while another firefighter walks alongside, spraying water, and the passenger sprays water from nozzles controlled from inside the cab. Then they set a fire between the wet line and the advancing fire.

“You burn the fuel in front of the fire, so you are essentially fighting fire with fire,” Mallory said.

Firefighters might stay in hotels if the blaze is close to a big-enough city, but they often camp near the site or even sleep in their trucks.

“Where I was, we slept in the dirt,” Ben Osterland said. “We were in tents every night. Some nights, we were on the night shift and we would sleep during the day, when it was the hottest.”

For several days in a row, his crew ate only prepackaged military meals; they also went 10 long days without a shower. But living conditions weren’t the hardest part, he said.

“We were away from cell phone service and you could go days without talking to anyone back home,” he said.

“At the same time, you meet a lot of great people when you’re out there. I’ve created a lot of friendships from those trips. I have met a lot of great people.”

Mallory also says the hardship is worth it, especially when you’re talking to a rancher whose cattle might go hungry if the fire spreads.

“You know you’re making a difference,” he said.

As they work in other states, Michigan firefighters gain valuable experience and earn additional certifications. For example, Mallory started his firefighting career as a key man – a temporary, on-call firefighter – during the Upper Peninsula’s Duck Lake Fire in 2012. Since then, he has worked fires in Georgia and Missouri as well and earned certifications to become a crew leader.

“I was a little nervous when I first got out there, I didn’t know what to expect,” Mallory said of being a crew leader. “But when you work with a team you can trust, it gives you peace of mind.”

The Department of Natural Resources is fully reimbursed for all costs associated with sending firefighters on out-of-state blazes. Learn more about DNR firefighting efforts at michigan.gov/firemanagement.

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