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Archive | March, 2018

Self-driving semi hits the road

Photo by Sharon Parker

We have electric cars, solar-powered cars, self-driving cars, race cars, Hot Wheels cars—just about any type of car you can think of. And just last week, a brand new type of vehicle hit the road for a test drive: a self-driving semi tractor trailer that can drive forward or backward. 

Yes, you read that correctly. Because to this vehicle both ways are forward. It just depends on what direction you want to go. 

Some of the perks include:

*Run into a traffic jam? No problem. You can go back the way you came and never even have to turn around. It’s the same thing with a dead-end road.

*Someone tailgating you? Just turn on your bright lights and it will be like throwing a spotlight into their windshield. We guarantee they’ll back off.

*Rear-end someone? No worries, just head in the other direction as fast as you can. 

*And last, but certainly not least, if the brakes should fail and a crash is imminent, you can push “the red button” and the truck will transform into robot superhero Optimus Prime, keeping you airborne until you can find a safe place to land.

We are sure you can think of some great ways to use this truck yourself! Just check them out at your nearest car dealer. They should be hitting the showroom floor on April Fool’s Day!

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Easter Coloring Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the annual Cedar Springs Post Easter Coloring Contest sponsored by Northwest Kent Mechanical.

Entries came from all over the area including Cedar Springs, Rockford, Sand Lake, Pierson, Sparta, and Greenville. 

Congrats go to Reese Szudzik, of Rockford,  who won in the 4-5 yrs. age group. Alana Smith, of Cedar Springs took 1st place in the 5-7 yrs. division. And 1st place for 8-10 yrs. competitors goes to artist Adeline Bender, of Cedar Springs for her creative  art. Good job to all of the entries!

Prize baskets may be picked up at The Post Newspaper office located at 36 E. Maple Street in Cedar Springs on Friday, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. or next week during regular business hours.

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, FeaturedComments (0)

Bald eagle sighting

This bald eagle is looking for his next meal.

Wendy Russell sent us this photo she took of a bald eagle near Meijer, in Solon Township on Friday, March 23. She said he grabbed a squirrel but then dropped it in the middle of 17 Mile Road.

Thank you, Wendy, for sending us your photo!

Do you have a photo of wildlife you’d like to send us? Email it to news@cedarspringspost.com, along with some info about the photo and your contact information. We will print as space is available.

Posted in Featured, OutdoorsComments (0)

Michigan’s 2018 fishing license season kicks off April 1

 

A new fishing license is required April 1 to coincide with the 2018 fishing season. Anglers can pick up a license and a 2018 Michigan Fishing Guide at retailers located across the state.

Don’t forget—new license required

For those interested in going fishing in Michigan, a new license is required starting Sunday, April 1. That day is the kickoff to the state’s 2018 fishing license season, as well as the new fishing regulation cycle. All 2018 fishing licenses are good through March 31, 2019.

Anglers have eight options to choose from when making their purchase. All fishing licenses are good for all species.

  • Resident annual – $26
  • Nonresident annual – $76
  • Senior annual (for residents age 65 or older) – $11
  • 24-hour (resident or nonresident) – $10
  • 72-hour (resident or nonresident) – $30
  • Resident combo hunt/fish (base, annual fishing, two deer) – $76
  • Senior resident combo hunt/fish (base, annual fishing, two deer) – $43
  • Nonresident combo hunt/fish (base, annual fishing, two deer) – $266

There are several regulation changes this year, creating many new fishing opportunities for anglers. The new regulations go into effect on April 1, 2018, including the following: 

  • Muskellunge harvest season has changed statewide to the first Saturday in June and includes a new catch-and-immediate release season open all year.
  • A new suite of waters has been added where anglers may retain an additional five brook trout in their daily possession limit of trout (10 brook trout possession waters).

Additionally, a new registration system has been put into place for anglers who harvest a lake sturgeon or muskellunge. The lake sturgeon fishing permit and harvest tag and the muskellunge harvest tags are no longer required or available. An angler who harvests a lake sturgeon or muskellunge is now required to report the harvest within 24 hours, either online at michigan.gov/registerfish, by calling the toll-free number 844-345-FISH (3474) or in person at any Department of Natural Resources Customer Service Center during normal state business hours with advance notice of arrival. Please note that fish registrations won’t be accepted at any state fish hatcheries or DNR field offices, only at DNR Customer Service Centers.

For more information on Michigan fishing licenses and regulation changes, check out the 2018 Michigan Fishing Guide—available at license retailers or online at  www.michigan.gov/dnrdigests. The online version is always up to date and available to download.

Don’t forget, there are two simple ways to buy a fishing license in Michigan:

Visit a local license retailer or DNR Customer Service Center and make a purchase in person.

Use the E-License system to buy a license online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just visit mdnr-elicense.com on your computer, smartphone or tablet to get started.

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Enhancing community health

 

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

Nick Sanchez, our district forester with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, is sharing a cost-effective incentive to help protect our health, stream health, ground water, and air quality. A healthy community depends on people caring for themselves, neighbors, and community. The program available was included in the Farm Bill in 2014 that Congress approved.

Nick states, “Trees have many benefits. They provide food and a home for wildlife, and even help keep your family happy and healthy! Did you know that trees filter dirty water and keep our topsoil from washing away? Trees also help store water underground, preventing flooding in the spring and low levels during summer drought. Even the shade from trees provides a benefit, keeping streams clear and cold, ideal for fish like trout! Planting trees along a stream provides big benefits and we want to help you keep our home rivers clean and healthy for your family, fish, and other cool wildlife!” 

He would like community members and farmers know about the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. A representative from the Rogue River Partners came to Ody Brook to enlist my advice for protecting the quality of the local environment for the benefit of people and wildlife. 

Nick would like all to know, “Conservation partners have teamed up to bring farmers and forestland owners access to a unique pool of funding to help them take actions on their land to help prevent soil loss, and to create and improve fish and wildlife habitat in the Rogue River and Indian Mill Creek watersheds, a 250 square mile area in northern and western Kent County. Financial assistance is available now to help you plant: filter strips, grassed waterways, cover crops, and riparian forest buffers, as well as many other options to help in this effort. This special opportunity is available through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) over the next four years. Call Matt Soehnel, NRCS District Conservationist, at (616) 942-4111 ext. 3 for more information!” Programs are available for others besides farmers. Give Matt a call to learn how NRCS can help you be a good land steward in your neighborhood. 

I receive requests asking me to address the PFAS groundwater issue, the water mining issue impacts on wells and wetlands, and other pressing issues. I could write an article a week on issues for the entire year. Environmental quality for our lives depends on sound science-based data being scrubbed from the EPA website. Information is being censored to downplay the impact of human caused climate change that is degrading the environment. The long-term cost of anti-environmental policies threaten a sustainable economy, our health, and future generations. Scientific data supported by decades of research is not “fake news.” 

I encourage people living in the Rogue River Watershed to take positive action locally to enhance the health of the environment that supports our physical and financial health. First contact the NRCS at the number listed above to learn what you can do on your property and in the community to enhance the health of our neighborhoods. Second contact your US Representative and Senators to protect environmental laws established in the 1970s that are currently on the chopping block. They protect a sustainable economy and our health. Both actions are important for your family. The current administration is working to remove Water, Air, Endangered species, and Wilderness Act protections. Such actions will allow a return to things like PFAS dumping that was stopped decades ago. Things like the PFAS contamination that occurred prior to the federal environmental protection acts could result again if laws are dismantled.

It is less expensive to protect the environment that supports our livelihoods and health than to try to clean it up after we discover it is injuring our health, killing people, and causing economic hardship such as lowering home and property values. Contaminated fish and wildlife affects their health. It makes them dangerous for us to eat.

Nature niche health for fish, bees, birds, and mammals ensures healthy conditions for people. The triple bottom line of economic, social, and environment stewardship protects your family’s future. 

 Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

Posted in Ranger Steve's Nature NicheComments (0)

JV Baseball opens season with wins

Sophomore pitchers Connor Ellison and Kyle Wise both pitched winning games for the JV Red Hawks last week.

Under new coaches Justin Glyshaw and Matt Greenland, the Cedar Springs Boys JV baseball team is off to a 2-1 start.  

They opened their season last Thursday, March 22, at home by taking two games from rival Tri County. Connor Ellison got the win in the first game. He pitched a complete game, striking out 5 and walking only 2. In the 12-5 victory, the Red Hawks were led at the plate by Jeremy Campioine, who had 2 hits and 3 RBI. The frigid temperatures led to several Tri County errors and our Hawks were able to play aggressively and get the win.

In game two, sophomore Kyle Wise took the mound in the 3-inning shortened game as the Red Hawks rolled to a 15-0 victory. Caden Markey-Vandenberg led the team with 2 hits, while Jeremy Campione, Dylan Knauf and Clyde Dykhouse each added a hit. The boys played with a great deal of energy, despite the weather.

On Friday, freshman Dylan Knauf got the start on the mound against Sparta.  They managed to score 6 runs in the first inning. The Red Hawks fought back, closing the gap, but were unable to overtake the Spartans, losing 8-4. Colton Moore saw some time on the mound, while leading the team with two hits. Trenton Snoeyink came in to close out the game, also adding two hits himself. Jerome Patin, Jeremy Campione, Caden Vandenberg, Willy Zain, Clyde Dykhouse and Dylan Greenland each had hits as well. Overall, the Red Hawks hit the ball well, but just weren’t able to bring base runners around to score.  

This week the JV home game against Forest Hills Eastern on Tuesday was cancelled, but they did play Newaygo at home on Wednesday. Watch for those results next week!

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WMP wrestlers earn all-state

By Barbra Chong

West Michigan Pursuit traveled to Kalamazoo for the 2018 State Finals this past weekend. WMP entered 25 grapplers to compete and 16 earned All State Recognition. We also had 2 enter the All Girls division, Tatianna Castillo and Hannah Pienton. 52 lb Castillo earned her first State Title in the 7/8 age group and 139 lb Pienton finished 6th in the high school division. 

With over 280 teams competing, WMP is currently ranked as follows: #16 for Most Pins/Least Time with 28 pins in 53.21; #53 for most Tech Falls/Least Time with 2 tech falls in 8.09; #18 for most Pins/Tech Falls/Least Time with 30 in 61.30; #14 for Most total match points with 482 points; and #34 for Winning Percentage—73 wins/34 Losses, 69 percent win ratio.

Individual results are as follows: 63 lb Hunter Eek and 55 lb Kaleb Pautke, 7/8 age group finished in 8th. Pautke has a season record of 43-10. 49 lb Blake Werkema, 7/8 age group finished in 7th. Werkema has a season record of 26-10. 75 lb Ian Cook and 59 lb Kellen Weckesser finished in 6th. Weckesser has a season record of 35-18. 70 lb Xavier Carpentier and 64 lb Aaiden Vasquez finished in 5th. Carpentier has a season record of 21-15 and Vasquez has a season record of 38-11. 63 lb Quinten Cassiday, 138 lb Aaron Smith and 65 lb Josh Vasquez finished 3rd. Cassiday has a season record of 52-11 and Vasquez has a season record of 48-9. 67 lb Luke Egan and 75 lb Tyler Parmeter are both a State Runner Up. Egan has a season record of 50-14 and Parmeter has a season record of 33-25. 2018 State Champions are 43 lb Brody Compau, 75 lb Ayden McClurken, 64 lb Drew Moro and 85 lb Blake Peasley. Compau has a season record of 28-11, McClurken has a season record of 41-1, Moro has a season record of 59-5 and Peasley has a season record of 50-8. 

WMP also recognizes Drew Moro and Blake Peasley on earning their 3rd State Title. MYWAY also recognized and awarded Quinten Cassiday, Luke Egan, Ayden McClurken and Blake Peasley a gift for placing in the top four at all of the Greights tournaments for their dedication to the sport. 

“A wrestling season is built on preparation, determination and heart. It is difficult to achieve personal success without the support of each wrestler’s family. Every wrestling family knows you give it your all. A season is not defined on wins and losses but rather watching your athletes move in a positive direction. For a coach, it is the greatest joy to have an athlete run off the mat and into your arms after achieving their goal,” said Head Coach Dave Andrus.

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Youth wrestlers shine at state

By Jacquie Troupe

Last weekend 309 teams and 3,335 wrestlers from every region in the state competed for the top placings at the 2018 MYWAY State Championship, March 23-25, at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. Cedar Springs Youth Wrestlers took 26 competitors. 

“We were very pleased with all of the kids that went to Kalamazoo this weekend, said Coach Scott Marsman. “They wrestled some of their best matches of the year over the past three days. We’re all so very proud of them. They certainly finished the year on a positive note and are already looking forward to picking up right where they left off next year.” 

The team had 27 pins in 50:58 (19th over all), 347 Team Match Points (34th) and went 58-52 for the weekend (181st). 

Nolan Averill had the fastest pin for the team and tied for 9th over all with :09! He had 2 pins in :31 and scored 23 TMP. Gavyn Byxbe had 2 pins in 1:56. Tucker Crystal had 1 pin in :54. Jaxon Fitzgerald had 1 pin in 1:52. Kaiden Dreyer had 1 pin in 3:57. Dakota Winchel had 1 pin in 4:05. Logan Troupe had 1 pin in 4:18 and scored 28 TMP.

In the 2011-13 67lb bracket, Ben Streeter placed 2nd after four matches. He had 2 pins in 2:11 and scored 11 TMP.

In the 2009-10 77lb class, Jon Libera placed 5th after eight matches. He had 1 pin in :37 and he scored 31 TMP.

In the 2008 71lb class, Blake Falan placed 8th after five matches and he scored 30 TMP. 

In the 2007 90lb class, Hudson Crystal placed 3rd after eight matches. He had 5 pins in 8:34 (10th), his fastest pin was in :14 (tied for 52nd) and he scored 36 TMP.

In the 2006 183lb class, Wyatt Cooper placed 2nd after four matches. He had 1 pin in 2:03 and scored 15 TMP.

In the 2004 114lb class, Carter Falan placed 8th after five matches. He had 2 pins in 3:33 and scored 13 TMP. In the 170lb bracket, Maston Wood placed 5th after five matches. He had 3 pins in 5:57 and scored 18 TMP.

In the 2011-13 Girls 49lb class, Taylor Crystal placed 6th after 5 matches, had 1 pin in 2:33 and scored 9 TMP. 

In the 2009-10 Girls 58lb class, Caleigh Wood placed 4th after five matches. She had 3 pins in 7:57 and scored 27 TMP. 

Look for Cedar Springs Youth Wrestling Club on Facebook!

Posted in SportsComments (0)

Rude comments and spending money

 

We attended the Cedar Springs School Board Meeting on March 26 and made several observations.

Our first observation came when the school board president Heidi Reed stated that the school board pays an outside consulting firm (from Ohio) for school policies. While it might be common practice to pay a consulting firm for crafting of school policies, is it the best practice? How much of the community’s money was spent on this out-of-state consulting firm? We believe that our local school policies should be determined by those who live here, not in some other state. We have no problems with getting ideas and inspiration from any and all sources, but community members should determine our local policies. How about having a public forum with debate and discussion of what policies we would like to have in our local school district? We can see what other communities are doing, but this is our school district, serving our children, and our community. If our school board members are unwilling or unable to make policies that fit and form our local community, perhaps they should not be serving on the board.

We got the impression that Ms. Reed was attempting to absolve herself and the board from having any personal responsibility for unpopular policies.  

Over the past several years, public comments and statements made by board members and the superintendent seem to reflect a view that spending public money is good. Instead of focusing on results or finding the best value for taxpayer dollars, the board and superintendent appeared to try to solve problems by spending money.

We were also shocked and offended by comments made by board president Reed and board trustee Tim Bauer. Ms. Reed made a comment that seemed to be a personal attack on those members of the community that spent their own money, time and resources on yard signs and t-shirts. She said that she wished that effort had gone to supporting the kids who are going to The Odyssey of the Mind competition. The audience reaction to her statement was shock, immediately followed by comments. At that time, another board member demanded that the audience “respect the board president.” The audience should respect the position of board president, but the board president should respect members of the audience and community as well. While she’s entitled to her own personal opinions, we feel that this comment was inappropriate. 

We had serious concerns regarding Trustee Tim Bauer, but those are now moot since he announced his resignation.

The board approved paying an interim superintendent $600 per day plus mileage. We would like to see how that figure was reached and the rationale behind it. Is this the best value for our tax dollars?

As a final thought, perhaps we should consider adding another board member. This new member would be elected by and from the district’s teachers to provide direct representation of those who teach our children. The new position could either be a full voting member, or an advisory member depending on statutory and regulatory requirements. 

Chris and Emily Scott

Solon Township

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Congress tanks—but does it care?

 

Lee Hamilton

By Lee Hamilton

We’re at a watershed moment in American political history. Our Congress — I’m talking about the people’s body, the institution created by our founders, and not just the men and women who currently inhabit it — is in deep trouble. And no one seems to be offering hope.

Its public standing is abysmal, occasionally dropping into the single digits in polling. Very few people seem to respect it, even on Capitol Hill. Small surprise, as the Pew Research Center reported the other day, that “More members of the U.S. House of Representatives are choosing not to seek re-election to that body than at any time in the past quarter-century.” Since filing deadlines haven’t passed in most states that number is almost certain to grow.

Just as worrisome, power is shifting decisively to the President. The “balance of power” you read about in 7th-grade civics? It’s a myth today. Co-equal branches? Not any more. Members of Congress over the years have delegated much of their power to other branches, especially the executive, so that they can escape accountability for tough choices. It allows them to focus more on getting re-elected, and on the local and constituent interests that are their electoral bread and butter.

Here’s what may be the most discouraging thing of all: there was a time when congressional leaders would forcefully defend the Congress. They don’t even bother to do that any more. In fact, it’s not unusual to find them defending their own leadership but criticizing the institution they lead.

To ponder what we can do about it is to confront a long list of daunting challenges. For starters, congressional leaders have abandoned two centuries of precedent, a traditional set of norms, customs and procedures that allowed a body representing the complexities of the entire country to arrive at policy solutions that by and large spoke to the public good.

Today, bills are often drafted outside the committee system, without careful deliberation, consideration, or even participation by most members. The leadership has accumulated more and more power, leaving ordinary members out of the loop, especially in the all-important budget process.

We’re saddled with a Congress that affords special interest groups far too much power. Their representatives and lobbyists swarm over Capitol Hill to influence and cajole, write speeches, supply talking points, and funnel money and favors of all descriptions to members. And because re-election is so expensive, Congress not only accepts all this, but seeks it out. Ordinary citizens have lost influence in the process.

The body itself has become extremely polarized, which means that the decisions it makes are more extreme. House districts are gerrymandered, which has increased the tendency for them to elect the most extreme candidates in both parties, which only accentuates polarized views when these legislators arrive in Washington.

And Congress has largely rejected its oversight responsibilities, which ought to carry a weight equal to legislating — and which put it on a par with the executive branch. It uses the subpoena power rarely, grills administration and other witnesses only occasionally, and even more rarely holds the executive branch accountable. Want an example? We’ve got half a dozen conflicts going on around the world, armed forces in some 70 countries, we’re incurring casualties and putting our men and women in extreme danger — and Congress holds no hearings of any consequence to ask what’s going on or what we’re gaining from the commitments we’ve made around the world.

You can take the agenda for reform from this depressing litany. Congressional leaders need to stop manipulating the process and let members vote on the tough issues of the day. Finding ways to stem the tidal wave of money and favors is crucial. So are ending gerrymandering and tamping down the politics of polarization. Congress needs to reassert the authority given it by the Constitution to serve as a check on executive overreach and misguided policy-making.

Americans have a right to be disappointed in the performance of the legislative branch. But they also have an obligation to speak up about it and demand action not just on a favored bill, but on improving the effectiveness of the Congress itself.

Lee Hamilton is a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar, IU School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

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