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Archive | December, 2017

Merry Christmas

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Little Library project in city

 

A free little library was installed at City Hall this week. It resembles an English phone booth, because there used to be a telephone at this location. Courtesy photo.

City also approves DDA Tif plan, CBDG grant application

By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs High School teacher Steve Ringler’s machining woods class was honored at the Cedar Springs City Council meeting last Thursday evening for their partnership with the City and Cedar Springs Library in creating three unique “Little Free Libraries” to place around the City of Cedar Springs.

A little free library is usually some type of wooden box where people can take a book or give a book to share. They come in all shapes and sizes, and are unique to the area they are placed in. 

According to Cedar Springs Library Director Donna Clark, the free little libraries were City Manager Mike Womack’s idea. Ringler came up with the ideas on what they should look like. 

One of them is red, and looks like an English phone booth. He said that one would be placed right outside City Hall, because there used to be a phone in that location. That little library was installed this week.

Teacher Steve Ringler’s machining woods class created the free little libraries. Also in the photo is Mayor Pro Tem Pam Conley (front) and City Manager Mike Womack (far right).

A second one models a train depot, and will be placed near the staging area of the White Pine Trail (just off Maple and Second Street), but that is near where the old train depot used to be located.

The third little library resembles a barn because there are a lot of farmers in our community, and will be placed near the Cedar Springs Historical Museum.

DDA TIF plan approved

In other action at last week’s City Council meeting, the Downtown Development Authority’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan was approved. Womack said that one of the most important things to understand is that the TIF plan does not raise your taxes. It captures a portion of them and that would normally go into the general fund and reallocates them to the DDA for reinvestment back into the community. 

Under the city’s plan, the improvements within the development area will consist of storm sewers, resurfacing existing streets, parking lots and alleyways, creating new off street parking, lighting improvements, landscaping, and property acquisition for further improvements as needed.

DDA revenue in the first year of the plan is estimated at $17,743, with an increase each year thereafter, based on growth percentages of 2-3 percent. In total, the DDA is projected to generate $1,394,405.57 in tax increment revenue over the 20-year term of the plan.

The first project would be to create a parking lot in the grassy area off 2nd and Maple street east of the staging area. Womack said that would cost approximately $60,000.

Grant application for new sidewalks

The City Council also approved a resolution to approve an application for Community Development Block Grant funding to create ADA compliant sidewalks in the downtown area (five feet wide) with curb and gutter. If they get the grant, all sidewalks in the area between First and Second Streets and Muskegon and Maple would be replaced on both sides of the street. Project expenses are estimated at $625,069.60. The city is asking for a grant of $468,802.12, and they would then have to come up with a partial matching grant of $156, 267.38.

Womack said that the city intends to use the general fund balance to cover that amount. “The fund balance is currently about double the required minimum and I feel comfortable drawing down that amount if we are expecting to get back more than 2:1 money,” explained Womack. “The improvement of sidewalks was considered a main priority for the City Council when I got here and this is the best opportunity that we have to potentially get it done. While we have a good chance of getting the grant there is no promise at this point. Neither homeowners nor businesses will be asked to contribute to the cost of this project.”

Water and sewer to new restaurant approved

The Cedar Springs City Council approved extending water and sewer to the location at 17 Mile and White Creek where a new Culver’s restaurant will be built this spring. The restaurant will be built on land located across the street from Big Boy, behind Arby’s and Citgo. The parcel is currently made up of three lots, which will be combined and split into two, with Culver’s taking the north parcel and the other left open for another drive thru restaurant. Gary Coleman, who was there to represent Culver’s, thanked City Manager Mike Womack for making the city more business-friendly. He also said they were hoping to start construction in March, and open in July.

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Beautiful sunrise

Rob Pastoor sent us this beautiful photo of a recent sunrise in Nelson Township. 

“I took this pic on a December morning at the corner of Benham and Pine lake Rd. of the sunrise. It was simply breathtaking,” he said.

Thanks so much, Rob, for sharing this and allowing us to enjoy the sunrise, too!

Do you have a nature or wildlife photo you’d like to share? Send us the photo and some information about it to news@cedarspringspost.com. We print them as space allows.

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Merry Christmas from Bud

We received our first snowman of the season from the Poulson family, of Solon Township. Grandpa Dwight Poulson recently built this snowman for his grandkids from Jacksonville, Florida who will be here for Christmas and have never seen a Michigan snowman before. And he definitely looks like a Michigan fan! We hope Bud the snowman didn’t lose too much weight the last couple of the days with the warmer weather. Good job, Grandpa!

Send us your snowman or winter fun photos and include some info about the picture. You can email them to news@cedarspringspost.com and put “winter fun” in the subject line.

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North Kent Connect provides extra food for holidays

Algoma Township’s Community Deputy Mike Allen on hand at North Kent Connect.

Nearly 400 seniors and other community members braved snowy roads and single digit temperatures to pick up healthy, nutritious food from North Kent Connect (NKC) on Thursday, December 14. It was a team effort with many volunteers and supplies from area businesses and Algoma Township’s Community Deputy Mike Allen on hand to direct traffic if needed. 

During the week leading up to Thursday’s distribution, 35 volunteers assembled the food bags. On the day of distribution, over 20 volunteers and NKC staff worked together to quickly and efficiently dispense the food to clients. The seniors gathered in the conference room at NKC to stay warm and chat with their neighbors while waiting their turn.

 NKC is the “hub” in northern Kent County for many programs and services, including food for low-income individuals. On December 14, NKC distributed food from the federal government’s TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program) and Senior Pantry, a monthly service of Meals on Wheels Western Michigan to seniors age 60-plus. People received such food as whole chickens, apples, canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, milk, ground turkey, cheese, bananas, and potatoes.

 “Partnerships like these allow us to offer additional free food to families in need in northern Kent County,” said Claire Guisfredi, NKC Executive Director. “We’re especially thankful for the volunteers who took time out of their day and worked in freezing temperatures outside to make this one of the smoothest running distribution days we’ve ever had!”

For more information on North Kent Connect, please visit www.nkconnect.org and follow them on Facebook @North Kent Connect.

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Opioid addiction assistance program expands statewide

Angel Program Now Available at all 30 MSP Posts

The Michigan State Police (MSP) Angel Program, which is a pre-arrest diversion program for persons struggling with drug addiction, is now active and operational at all 30 MSP posts statewide. Those seeking treatment can go to any MSP post during business hours, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Angel Program, which is modeled after a similar initiative developed in 2015 by the Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Department, allows someone with a drug addiction to walk into a state police post to seek help for their addiction, without the fear of arrest or investigation. If accepted into the program, the individual is guided through a professional substance abuse assessment and intake process to ensure proper treatment placement. An “Angel” volunteer, who is a member of the local community, is present to support the individual during the process and to provide transportation to the identified treatment facility.

“The opioid epidemic is real and we all need to do our part to stop it,” stated Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. “More people in Michigan die from drug overdoses than car crashes, and the Angel Program is one way the Michigan State Police is helping to reduce drug demand and serve those struggling with this deadly addiction.”

The Angel Program first launched in October 2016 at the MSP Gaylord Post. Since then it has expanded across the state, most recently becoming operational in metro Detroit. To date, 37 people have been admitted to treatment through the program.

“The addiction epidemic is impacting every community in our state and having the Angel Program available across Michigan will help families struggling with addiction have more second chances and fewer funerals,” said Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. “Congratulations to the Michigan State Police and everyone involved in expanding this life-saving program for this national problem.” 

The Angel Program is made possible thanks to a partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Prepaid Inpatient Health Plans, private donations and a grant from P.A.A.R.I. (the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative). P.A.A.R.I. is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the Gloucester Police addiction initiatives, aid other police departments to implement similar programs, and foster a dialogue around the unique opportunity for police departments to take direct action against the disease of drug addiction in their communities. 

If you are interested in learning more about the MSP Angel Program, would like to become an Angel volunteer or wish to make a donation to support the initiative, visit www.michigan.gov/AngelProgram

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Bus slides off road

A Cedar Springs Public School bus slid off the road last Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday afternoon, about 3:30, we received a phone call from a passerby that said a school bus had slid into Pine Lake at 17 Mile. Or at least that’s what we thought they said. When we arrived on scene, we were happy to see that was not what had happened. Instead, a bus had slid off the road on 17 Mile, near Pine Lake Ave.

Jerry Gavin, who oversees Cedar Springs Public Schools transportation for Dean Transportation, was at the scene. He said it was a high school bus on the way back from its run and was empty when it slid off the north side of 17 Mile Rd. The bus was towed out of the ditch and the driver was not injured.

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Have you seen this man?

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in locating a man wanted by both the U.S. Marshal Service and the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Wade Thompson, 50, is a parole absconder with a lengthy criminal record who has served time in prison for various charges including retail fraud, felonious assault, and fleeing and eluding police. He has recently been stealing large quantities of liquor in Kent County, typically totaling around $250 per theft, according to police.

If you encounter him, call 911 and do not attempt to apprehend him, as he has been known to evade apprehension with no regard for the safety of others. If you have information that can lead agents to his location, you can call Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

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State Police request info from Montana authorities 

Tanner’s photo is shown age-progressed to 11 years He was last seen on November 26, 2010. Tanner was last seen wearing camouflage pajama pants and a Scooby-Doo shirt. Photo from National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Andrew’s photo is shown age-progressed to 15 years. He was last seen on November 26, 2010. Andrew was last seen wearing brown pajamas with orange trim.

Alexander’s photo is shown age-progressed to 13 years. He was last seen on November 26, 2010. Alexander was last seen wearing black pajama pants and a grey shirt.

following discovery of human remains 

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, the Michigan State Police (MSP) First District Special Investigation Section learned that human remains were found in Montana in September, that were recently determined to likely be the skeletal remains of three children. 

MSP investigators are working with Missoula police to determine if there is any connection to Andrew, Alexander and Tanner Skelton, who were reported missing from Morenci, in Lenawee County, the day after Thanksgiving in 2010. There has been nothing previously reported to police linking the brothers to Montana, and it is not known at this time if the remains are from related siblings. 

Further forensic testing has been requested by police in Montana that may provide more answers. Until this testing is completed and additional investigation by law enforcement in Montana occurs, it cannot be determined if these remains belong to the missing Skelton brothers. 

In the years since the Skelton brothers disappeared, their vanishing has been vigorously investigated by the Morenci Police Department, FBI and MSP. Significant assistance has also been provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

In 2013, the MSP became the lead investigating agency. New age-progression photos of the three brothers were released in November 2016. 

At the time the boys went missing they were in the care of their father, John Skelton. Skelton pleaded no contest to three counts of unlawful imprisonment in September 2011, after he claimed he gave the boys to unknown individuals. Skelton is currently serving a 10-15 year prison sentence. 

The public is asked to provide any tips or information to the MSP at www.michigan.gov/michtip or by calling 517-636-0689. 

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Christmas Coloring Contest Winners

Age group 4-5 years Winner:
Megan Grimes, age 5, of Greenville

Age group 6-7 years Winner:
Greyson Mosher, age 7, of Comstock Park

Age group 8-10 years Winner: Emilee Carter, age 9, of Howard City

 

Thank you to all who entered our Christmas Coloring Contest. Choosing a winner from each age group is always a tough decision. Congratulations to all our winners. 

Winners may pick up their $50 Gift Cards on Friday, Dec. 22 or next week at our office located at 36 E. Maple St., Cedar Springs or call for other arrangements 616-696-3655.Our Office hours are Friday 10am-2pm, Monday (Closed for Christmas), Tuesday through Thursday 10am to 5pm.

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