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Archive | September, 2017

Hometown Happenings

Hometown Happenings articles are a community service for non-profit agencies only. Due to popular demand for placement in this section, we can no longer run all articles. Deadline for articles is Monday at 5 p.m. This is not guaranteed space. Articles will run as space allows. Guaranteed placement is $10, certain restrictions may apply. You now can email your Hometown Happenings to happenings@cedarspringspost.com please include name and phone number for any questions we may have.

Wine and Watercolor at HCNC

Sept. 30: Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16160 Red Pine Dr., Kent City, is hosting Wine and Watercolor on Saturday, September 30th. Meet our resident artist Tracey, as she takes you through the steps of creating your own masterpiece! Joined by Kare, our Sommelier, you are sure to have an enjoyable evening, full of laughter. You don’t drink? No problem! Come along for our reduced price and learn to paint with us. Pre-registration deadline is September 29th. This is an adult only event. Members and Non Drinkers: $20. Non Members: $35. Please pre-register online at www.HowardChristensen.org. 616-675-3158. #39

Dinner at the Legion

Oct. 2: American Legion, 80 S. Main St. Cedar Springs, is hosting a Baked Chicken dinner on Monday, October 2nd from 5 – 7 pm. Included will be mashed potatoes, stuffing & gravy, veggies, salad, roll, dessert and drink. The cost is $9 for adults, children (15 and younger) $4.00. Come and enjoy home cooking. Take out is available. 616-696-9160.  #39

God’s Kitchen in Cedar Springs

Oct. 2,10,17,24,31: Join us for dinner every Tuesday. God’s Kitchen – Cedar Springs welcomes families from Northern Kent County and the surrounding area to a Tuesday Evening Meal. No charge – no registration required!  Served from 5:30 – 6:30 pm at the St. John Paul II Parish, 3110 – 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs. For more information, call the Church office at 616-696-3904. #39

Help Promote Literacy

Oct. 3,12,18,27: The need is urgent at this time! The Literacy Center of West Michigan has scheduled  information sessions for prospective volunteer tutors. These sessions last one hour. It allows persons interested in becoming volunteer tutors to find out more about the Literacy Center and its programs. At the end of the session there will be a chance to sign up for tutor training. Sessions are Tuesday, October 3rd at 10 am, Thursday, October 12th at 6 pm, Wednesday, October 18th at 10 am and Friday, October 27th at 2 pm. By training people to be tutors, the Center can offer one-on-one reading help to adults asking for assistance in reading or English as a Second Language (ESL). You do not need to speak another language to tutor ESL. The Literacy Center of West Michigan is located at 1120 Monroe Ave., NW, Suite 240, Grand Rapids. Please call 616-459-5151 (ext. 10) or email us at info@literacycenterwm.org to register. #39

Cedar Springs High School Class of 1977 Reunion

Oct. 6: The 40th class reunion of the C.S.H.S. Class of 1977 will be held on October 6th. This is a casual get together at the Long Lake Park pavilion, 5 miles West of 131 on 17 Mile Road (M-46) from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. Bring a dish to pass if you’d like but not required and B.Y.O.B. Please get the word out to our classmates! #38,39p

Book Sale at CS Library

Oct. 6,7: The Friends of the Library will be holding at Book Sale at the Cedar Springs Community Library, 107 N. Main St. on Friday, October 6th from 10 am to 6 pm and Saturday, October 7th from 10 am – 5 pm. 616-696-1910. #38,39p

Fiddlers Jamboree

Oct. 7: The Original Michigan Fiddlers Association is putting on a Fiddlers Jamboree on Saturday, October 7th at the Coral Community Center located at 4662 Bailey Rd. Open to the public and FREE of charge. Donations welcome at the door. Anyone who plays an acoustic instrument and desires to join in is welcome to play back-up, fiddle at the microphone, or jam with other musicians. Fiddlers performing at the microphone all afternoon from 1-4 pm, open microphone from 4-5:30 pm, during the dinner hour, square and round dancing begins at 5:30 pm. Food and refreshments will be available. Need more information? Contact Jean Kain 616-984-2206. #39

Acoustic Instrumental Group

Oct. 9: Come join in for worship and fun through Christmas music. Monday evenings from 7 to 8:15 pm. October 9th  thru December 4th at Cedar Springs United Methodist Church. For more information call Keith Caldwell, 616-696-1246. #39,40p

Fairy Festival at HCNC

Oct. 14: Fairy Princesses and Princes! Come one come all, to our Fairy Festival on Saturday, October 14th from 10 am to 2 pm at Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16160 Red Pine Dr., Kent City. Join us for a tea party, spritely crafts and, of course, an enchanted walk in the woods. See if you can spot our Fairy homes while on your adventure! Please dress in your Fairy best, and remember to invite your other magical friends. $5 non-members/ $3 for members. Please pre-register online at www.HowardChristensen.org. #39

2018 Class Reunion of 1973

Aug. 18: SAVE THE DATE for Saturday, August 18, 2018 for the Class of 1973 Reunion. More info in Spring. Look for Facebook page soon. #39,40p

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Sand Lake mother killed in fatal crash

Meranda Baguss and her 5-year-old twin boys were victims of a hit-and-run crash on Friday, September 15 that took her life and put her boys in critical condition. Photo from gofundme.com

by Lois Allen

The suspect in the fatal hit-and-run is in custody while two 5-year-old boys are recovering from critical injuries and facing a long road to recovery without their mother who died in a Friday night crash.

Douglas James Crystal, 36, of Cedar Springs, is facing multiple charges including reckless driving causing death and failure to stop at the scene of a serious personal injury accident, according to Kent County Correctional Facility.

Douglas Crystal fled the scene of the crash leaving the totaled truck behind. Deputies searched the area and were unable to locate Crystal. Photo courtesy of woodtv.com

According to officials, the crash happened around 8:23 p.m., Friday, September 15 at the intersection of 15 Mile Road and Ritchie Avenue in Courtland Township.

Authorities said Crystal was traveling northbound at a high rate of speed on Ritchie Avenue when his pick-up truck blew the stop sign at 15 Mile Road and slammed into a vehicle heading westbound on 15 Mile Road.

Meranda Baguss, 33, of Sand Lake was on her way to meet the father of the two boys in Byron Township driving a 2011 Ford Fusion when her vehicle was broadsided by the 2015 Ford F150 pick-up truck. It was estimated that the pick-up was traveling at approximately 90 miles per hour. Baguss was killed instantly and pronounced dead at the scene. Both boys, who were in the back seat in their car seats, were critically injured. Five-year-olds Chauncey and Tony Anthony III, were taken to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids with life-threatening head injuries.

The twins remain in recovery without their mother and were listed in critical but stable condition surrounded by family on Sunday. They had just started kindergarten at Cedar Trails Elementary in Cedar Springs.

“She’s a beautiful young lady, she was sweet and she loved her babies,” said grandfather Tony Anthony Sr. “They meant the world to her and now we have to decide how to tell them that their mother has been taken away from them.”

Baguss was a certified nursing assistant for Spectrum Health. “She took care of others and she took care of her own. She was great,” said Anthony Sr.

Crystal fled the scene of the crash leaving the totaled truck behind. Deputies searched the area with multiple canine units and were assisted by the Michigan State Police Helicopter for several hours but were unable to locate Crystal. Police say alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.

“For someone to just do what he did and then leave, just discard them like waste, is horrible,” Anthony Sr. said. “It’s unspeakable.”

Acting on a tip, Kent County authorities located and arrested Crystal taking him into custody where he is facing multiple charges. He was arraigned on Monday, September 18.

Cedar Springs Superintendent Laura VanDuyn said the district is working to support the family and that counselors will be made available.

A gofundme page has been established at https://www.gofundme.com/jn5a88-meranda-baguss-tony-chauncey. All proceeds will go to Meranda’s family for funeral expenses and if there is any left over, will go towards the boys medical expenses.

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State Trooper dies from injuries in motorcycle crash 

Tpr. Timothy O’Neill

It is with the utmost sadness that the Michigan State Police (MSP) confirms that Tpr. Timothy O’Neill of the Rockford Post has passed away as a result of injuries sustained in an on-duty motorcycle crash Wednesday morning, September 20.

“It is with a very heavy heart that I confirm the death of one of our own, Tpr. Timothy O’Neill,” stated Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. “I ask that you please keep his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers in the difficult days ahead.”

O’Neill was on patrol on his department motorcycle at approximately 7:45 a.m. Wednesday morning when he was involved in a crash near the intersection of Wolverine Boulevard NE and Belding Road NE in Plainfield Township. No one else was injured, and the crash remains under investigation.

O’Neill, 28 years of age, enlisted with the MSP in January of 2014, graduating as a member of the 126th Trooper Recruit School. He has served at the Rockford Post his entire career.

O’Neill is survived by his mother, father, brother, sister and fiancé. He was set to be married on October 7, 2017.

The MSP wishes to acknowledge our many law enforcement partners and emergency responders who assisted at the scene and who continue to provide support to our department during this difficult time. We also want to thank the staff and medical professionals at Spectrum Health Butterworth for their outstanding care.

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City Manager gets high marks in first year


Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack recently completed his first year on the job here in Cedar Springs, and the City Council gave him high marks. The Council completed a one-year performance review of City Manager Mike Womack at their September 7 meeting.

“The worst thing they said was they think I work too much. I was surprised that was the worst thing, but I’ll take it,” he said.

Mayor Gerald Hall was the one who voiced concern about that. “I feel Mike is doing an excellent job as our Manager,” he said. “But he might get burned out if he continues to work as he does.”

Womack has been with the City since August 1, 2016 and has hired several new staff members in that time. The team at City Hall now includes a new Finance Director, Deputy Finance Director, City Clerk, DPW Director and Utility Billing Clerk. Womack has received high praise from City Council for recruiting multiple high-quality employees and building a strong team.

“I was both unlucky and fortunate to lose so many people over my first year,” Womack said. “I was given the opportunity to bring together the team I wanted in City Hall representing the direction that Council and I envision for the City.” Womack elaborated that, “It was important to bring in friendly people with fresh ideas who want to do good things for the City.”

City Hall has invested a lot of work and time in ongoing projects in the City over the last year. Womack stated, “The City is really coming alive with economic activity,” and “I’m proud of the steps we’ve taken towards being more business friendly here in the City.”

“Some of the sign and zoning ordinances are out of date and unnecessarily restrictive, and we’ve got blighted property that we’re trying to manage,” he explained.

He plans to continue City Hall’s efforts to update and streamline City ordinances and to address the blighted properties in the City. Womack said that having a good staff and an active Council is helping propel these many plans forward.  Womack also praised local businesses and philanthropic groups for their work. “From the Halloween Spooktacular event to the new Community Library Building we are very fortunate to have so many that donate their time and money to make this such a great place to live, work and play,” Womack said.

When asked about his goals over the next year Womack talked about all the businesses coming to town. He also specified that “I’m focusing on pedestrian safety, the new fire station and bringing more life to the downtown area, especially the pocket park in front of City Hall and working with the CBDT on the Heart of Cedar Springs amphitheater.”

For their part, City Council rated Womack an average of 4.66 out of 5 and noted that overall they were very satisfied with his work, his commitment and the professional environment he brought to City Hall. Councilor Powell stated that “This small city is growing so fast.  We need his knowledge and experience in all these new projects.” Councilor Nixon appreciated his “emphasis on best practices and planning for the future.” Councilors did note that Womack could come off as somewhat distant and unfriendly due to his direct communication style, dry sense of humor and naturally straight-faced demeanor.

“What can I say, people who get to know me like me. I’ll try to smile more!” he joked.

Womack has two more years in his current contract and said he was very happy working in Cedar Springs.  “The City has been so warm and welcoming to me over the last year,” Womack said. “It’s been a nice change of pace for my life.” He said he really enjoys living in the west side of the state and likes the slower pace and smaller cities in the area. Womack came to Cedar Springs from his legal practice in Macomb County and lives in the local area with his wife Glenna and their two dogs, Fitz and Leo.

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Kids who wrote “April’s Baby” book get surprise

These Beach Elementary students wrote the book “April’s Baby” in Vicki Burke’s art class last spring. Courtesy photo

By Judy Reed

Earlier this year, second and third grade students at Beach Elementary School in Cedar Springs celebrated March is Reading Month by illustrating and publishing a book about the internet sensation, April the Giraffe. They will now get something in return.

Thirty-one students, affectionately dubbed “Team April,” volunteered their drawing talents for a short story titled “April’s Baby,” which Vicki Burke, Beach Elementary art teacher,  penned and graphically designed. The book has received rave reviews on Amazon, and Burke has received positive feedback from people she meets in person as well.

“What started as a simple art project exploded into so much more,” remarked Vicki Burke, at the Cedar Springs Board of Education meeting Monday evening, Sept. 11. She said that the book taught the children about art, literacy, giraffe conservation, and more. When it was finished, it went on Amazon.

This summer, Burke went to New York to see the giraffes. But it was bittersweet, because she felt like she wanted the kids to see the giraffes, too. So, while they cannot take a field trip to see April and her baby, a couple people and businesses worked together to make something happen closer to home.

Transportation supervisor Jerry Gavin, who now works with Dean Transportation, said they are willing to donate one school bus and one school bus driver free of charge to take the kids to Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park in Alto, to see the giraffes. And Ryanne Donahue, with the new State Farm office on Main Street here in Cedar Springs, said she will donate admission for the students and chaperones and also enough for them to feed the giraffes as well. The announcement was made at the school board meeting.

The children who were there were all smiles, and seemed excited by the news.

There is no word yet on when the trip might happen.

To purchase the book, go to www.amazon.com and search for “April’s Baby.”

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The Post travels to E3 in Los Angeles

Chris Grondman, Cody Cook and Jacob Prahl of Cedar Springs traveled to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, California and brought their favorite newspaper along. It was a three-day event that showcased many new gaming products, designs and concepts.

It sounds like a great time! Thanks so much 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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Walking path paved at library


The walking path behind the library was paved with asphalt last week. It’s between Cedar Creek and the North side of the library. The bricks and blocks will also soon be installed on the retaining wall. If you haven’t been over to the new Cedar Springs Community Library to see how the landscaping and grounds are coming together, you should take a walk around and see what a beautiful place it is!

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Bark in the Dark in the park


Fun run/walk to benefit animals awaiting their forever family

Is there anything more enjoyable than seeing a dog walking or running in the park—tongue hanging out without a care in the world? How about hundreds of dogs (and owners) in Halloween costumes at the park? That’s what participants in Humane Society of West Michigan’s (HSWM) 5th Annual Bark in the Dark extravaganza at Riverside Park will witness on Saturday, October 7 at 6:30 p.m.

Hosted by HSWM, Bark in the Dark is an annual fundraising 5K & 1 Mile fun run/walk supporting animals awaiting their forever families. This fun-filled event, perfect for the whole family, but especially those furry family members, will feature a photo booth, face painting, and balloon animals before the run/walk from 5:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. The run/walk begins at 6:30 and will be followed by music, complimentary snacks, and a beer tent!

In 2016, more than 3,750 animals found their forever homes through the efforts of HSWM. However, there is much work left to be done, as HSWM continues to work tirelessly to support animals in crisis.

“Bark in the Dark has grown substantially since its introduction five years ago,” said Tammy Hagedorn, Director of Development at HSWM. “Animal lovers across West Michigan look forward to catching up with old friends and making new ones, while enjoying a beautiful Michigan fall evening. We continue to be blown away by the generosity and support we receive from participants and sponsors as we seek to achieve our primary mission—promoting humane treatment and responsible care of animals through education, example, placement and protection.”

Those interested in participating in this annual event are encouraged to register and create an online fundraising page at www.barkinthedark.org, and then share on social media platforms or through email to facilitate donations to benefit HSWM. Because HSWM operates solely on donations, all funds raised allow continuation of care for thousands of animals each year, which includes: daily care, medical treatment, spay/neuter surgeries, behavior assessments, training, exercise, and enrichment.

Kids under 5 free with registered adult; youth 5-17 $10; and adults 18 and over $35 ($40 on race day).

To learn more about Bark in the Dark, visit www.barkinthedark.org.

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Fact correction on Nature Niche article


By Ranger Steve Mueller


In the Nature Niche article titled Solar Eclipse and Science Credibility printed August 31, 2017, I stated Copernicus was placed under house arrest for not recanting that the Earth goes around the sun. It was Galileo that was placed under House arrest for building on Copernicus’ work. Source of corrected information is found by Googling Copernicus house arrest and reading Wikipedia account. Galileo’s information is near the end.

“In 1633 Galileo Galilei was convicted of grave suspicion of heresy for «following the position of Copernicus, which is contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scripture», and was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life.”

I apologize for my error in memory recollection.

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Little Free Library at Spencer KDL

Spencer Township resident Tim Nowak built this Little Free Library, which now sits in front of Spencer Township Library. Courtesy photos.

 The Spencer Township Branch of Kent District Library is pleased to present a Little Free Library located at Spencer Township Park, 14960 Meddler Ave. in Gowen. The structure was created by a library patron and will house around 30 books, including youth, teen and adult fiction and nonfiction materials. People are encouraged to take a book and leave a book.

“We are so excited to have a Little Free Library so close to our branch,” said Kaitlin Tang, Branch Manager of the Spencer Township Branch of Kent District Library. “If the branch is closed, people still have free access to an assortment of books. This is also a great place to drop off unused books for others to enjoy!”

Kent District Library would like to thank Spencer Township resident Tim Nowak for handling the installation of the library. The new structure is registered with Little Free Library, a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. Through Little Free Libraries, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.

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