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Archive | May, 2018

Pedestrian dies in crash in Oakfield Township

Stock photo.

UPDATE: The pedestrian was identified as Nicolaus Martin, a 22-year-old male, from Evart, Michigan.


A man walking along Lincoln Lake Avenue was hit by a car and killed Saturday evening.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, a 2003 Cavalier driven by a 17-year-old male from Greenville was traveling southbound on Lincoln Lake when it struck a man walking on the unlit roadway. A second vehicle then also struck the pedestrian but did not stop.

The pedestrian died of his injuries.

Assisting at the scene was Oakfield Township Fire and Rescue and Rockford Ambulance.

The police were working on notifying next of kin. The crash is still under investigation.

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Cedar Springs Board of Education selects candidates for Superintendent

The Cedar Springs Board of Education met Friday evening, May 18, at 6 p.m., to review over 29 applications for the Superintendent position.

The board started in open session, but then went into closed session to review the applications. They were not allowed to deliberate in closed session; they were only allowed to ask questions of Gary Rider, of the Michigan Leadership Institute, who is leading the search. They then moved back into open session, where Rider led the board in narrowing down their choices. 

The board decided on three candidates to interview in a public meeting on June 8:

Karl Heidrich, Superintendent at Stockbridge Community Schools, will interview at 5 p.m.

Scott Smith, Asst. Superintendent at Hudsonville Public Schools, will interview at 6:30 p.m.

John B. VanLoon, Superintendent at Ravenna Public Schools, will interview at 8 p.m.

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Man takes own life after setting fire to home

by Judy Reed

This pole barn was completely destroyed in a suspicious fire Friday morning, May 18, 2018. Post photo by J. Reed.

An arson investigation ended in further tragedy Friday morning when a 71-year-old Algoma Township man took his life in the parking lot of a local funeral home.

According to Algoma Fire Chief Troy Guerra, they were toned out at 6:48 a.m. May 18 to a structure fire at 12131 Algoma Ave, between 14 and 15 Mile Roads. When they arrived on scene, they found the basement of the home on fire, as well as the pole barn. He said they sent out a second alarm on the pole barn fire to call in more aid.

Guerra said didn’t find anyone inside the home.

The fire also spread to a small shed behind the home, which was extinguished. The pole barn was destroyed.

A fire started in the basement of this home on Algoma Ave. Post photo by J. Reed.

The fire was deemed suspicious, and while firefighters from multiple fire departments battled the blazes, the Kent County Sheriff Department followed up on information they were given about a contentious divorce, in case it was deemed arson, and began to search for the 71-year-old homeowner.

At approximately 9:30 a.m. the Kent County Sheriff Office  received a call from an employee at Bliss-Witters & Pike funeral home in the 13000 block of Northland Dr NE. The person reported a suspicious person who had just arrived at their facility. Dispatchers learned the 71 year old male resident of the Algoma Township home where police and fire had responded earlier, was sitting in his vehicle in the parking lot after dropping off a last will and testament to the funeral home.

The man was still sitting in his vehicle when officers arrived, but as deputies approached, they saw him shoot himself with a handgun. No shots were fired by responding deputies.

The individual was safely transported to Spectrum Butterworth with life threatening injuries. Shortly after 1:00 p.m., the man was pronounced dead by medical staff at Spectrum Butterworth.

There were no injuries to the man’s ex-wife, who was not living at the home at the time of the fire.

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Police investigate suspicious fire

This pole barn was completely destroyed in a suspicious fire Friday morning, May 18, 2018. Post photo by J. Reed.

by Judy Reed

Police are investigating a fire in Algoma Township that burned part of a home, a shed, and destroyed a pole barn early Friday morning.

According to Algoma Fire Chief Troy Guerra, they were toned out at 6:48 a.m. May 18 to a structure fire a 12131 Algoma Ave, between 14 and 15 Mile Roads. When they arrived on scene, they found the basement of the home on fire, as well as the pole barn. He said they sent out a second alarm on the pole barn fire to call in more aid.

“We attacked it like two separate fires,” he explained.

The first firefighters on scene focused on the dwelling, to make sure no one was inside.

A fire started in the basement of this home on Algoma Ave. Post photo by J. Reed.

“We didn’t find anyone,” he said.

The fire also spread to a small shed behind the home, which they also extinguished.

As many as eight or nine area fire departments assisted at the scene. The scene was finally cleared at 12:11 p.m.

Peterson noted that the fire was suspicious, and that the Michigan State Police would be in charge of the fire investigation, and the Kent County Sheriff Department would be in charge of the criminal investigation.

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Three hurt in Ensley crash

This crash in Ensley Township sent three people to the hospital. Photo from woodtv.com.

A rollover crash in Ensley Township sent three people to the hospital Sunday afternoon. 

The crash occurred around 5 p.m. Sunday, May 13, at the corner of 104 Street and Cypress Avenue.

A jeep headed west on 104th reportedly ran the stop sign and hit a southbound pickup truck, causing it to roll. 

One of the drivers was ejected and suffered a head injury. Both that driver and the other driver were transported to the hospital in critical condition. A passenger in one of the vehicles was also sent to the hospital. 

The crash is still under investigation.

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Culver’s to open in July

Construction on the new Culver’s on White Creek Avenue is moving right along.

By Judy Reed

Come mid-July, residents in Cedar Springs (and those traveling US-131) will have another restaurant to choose from. Culver’s, a restaurant chain famous for their butter burgers and frozen custard, is building a new restaurant near the southeast corner of 17 Mile and White Creek, behind the gas station, and across the street from Big Boy.

According to owner Tom Goldsmith, they plan to have a crew of 60 team members. “We will have a diverse team of full and part time, friendly and energetic people ready to help deliver the Culver’s mission statement of ‘Every guest who chooses Culver’s leaves happy,’” he said. (Watch for their help wanted ad in next week’s issue).

The Post asked Goldsmith what drew him to Cedar Springs. “Cedar Springs is a community that has a culture that believes in the same values Culver’s does.  Service, family and a commitment to doing things the right way. Culver›s and agriculture go hand in hand and strong groups like the FFA make us very excited to join the Cedar Springs community,” he explained.

Goldsmith said they are shooting for a mid-July opening.

For more business news, click here.


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Library hosts get ready party for Best Prom Ever

By Judy Reed

Several years ago, Laura Ensley’s nephew wanted to go to prom. But the school he attended for students with disabilities didn’t have one. So when she heard about the “Best Prom Ever,” put on annually by the mildly cognitive impairment classroom of Renne Wyman at Sparta High School, she decided she wanted to get involved.

That was six years ago. And she has been helping ever since. 

Best Prom Ever is a dinner dance event for adults and high school-aged teens with disabilities. The event is 100 percent free to guests, and is attended by 800-1,000 guests each year.

Ensley reserved the community room at the Cedar Springs Library last Saturday afternoon, May 12, to help get the teen girls and adults get ready for the prom. The girls could get their hair, makeup, and nails done, thanks to volunteers from Panopoulos Salons and Mary Kay. People also donated dresses and shoes for those that needed them. 

“I think it’s great that the library allowed us to rent the room for free to do this,” said Ensley. “When I did it in Rockford, I had to rent one for $300. This gave us more money to work with to buy things for the girls,” she said.

The event also included free limo rides, free food, music and photos later that night at the prom, held from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Sparta High School. It was the 13th year for the event. 

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Library celebrates one-year anniversary

The Cedar Springs Library one year after opening. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

The patio off of the library community room. Post photo by J. Reed.

The new Cedar Springs Public Library just celebrated one year of being in their new building, and what a year it’s been!

The library, which is designed to resemble a train depot, is a star attraction in the heart of Cedar Springs. The new building is beautiful, spacious, modern, and comfortable. And it sits right in the forefront of a parcel containing lush green grass, a flowing well, a decorative sculpture, a foot bridge, and Cedar Creek rushing by.

The new 10,016 square-foot building was built with donated funds, products, and services from the community and local businesses. The additional 8,000 square feet has allowed for much greater areas for reading, special events, and small group gatherings.

Last summer the library was able to hold many of their summer reading programs on site, both indoors and outside, something they had a hard time doing before.

As a matter of fact, the number of people registering for library cards, and those visiting, has doubled, and in some cases tripled. From April 2016 to April 2017, the library issued 337 library cards; from April 2017 to April 2018, they issued 956! During the summer reading program months of June and July, the old library had 5,469 patrons visit in 2016, but had 15,356 in 2017!

The new library includes separate areas for children, teens, and adults; 12 computer stations that are consistently being used by kids after school, as well as teens and adults; four stations for children’s computers; a cozy reading or meeting area with fireplace and chairs; three small group rooms for tutoring or studying, which has also been constantly in use; and a classroom with white board and screen. 

Another draw has been the community room, which holds up to 75 people with the tables and chairs, and 100 without. “This has been bringing in income and is being rented a lot,” noted Library Director Donna Clark. “It’s a really great resource for area families.”

A complete kitchen opens up into the community room. People can walk out of the community room to a patio with a beautiful view of the creek and other amenities of the parcel, which will  also include an amphitheatre in the near future.

Clark said they plan to celebrate their one-year anniversary with a big party on June 11, in conjunction with the big community summer celebration and their summer reading program kickoff from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“The entire Heart of Cedar Springs will be buzzing with fun activities, games, animals (no, not the kids!), the City, the Fire Dept., the Chamber, local organizations—everyone is getting in on celebrating all that is wonderful in Cedar Springs!” said Clark. 

“I want to personally thank all of you for the part you played, and still play, in the success of our new library; and for being forward-thinking to the amphitheater and other projects. The Library is just one example of what we can do as a team. Every day that we can work and serve our community in this new, spacious building is a blessing, and it all happened in our CBDT (Community Building Development Team) meetings with Kurt Mabie’s reminders to look up and say, ‘What’s best for Cedar Springs?’  That was our guiding star…and still is.  On the ground there are things to complain about, but that’s why we look up!

 “I’ve often said that God could have given us a new Library building years ago, but now, after years of the process of working together, we have a community library! Thank you all for helping our community get to this special day! You are all invited to come to the Heart of CS on June 11 to celebrate!” 


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How a single lightning strike can claim many lives

From AccuWeather

AccuWeather reports a lightning strike killed at least 16 people and injured approximately 140 others in Rwanda on Saturday, March 10. The bolt struck the Seventh Day Adventist church in the country’s south, said a provincial governor.

Cases in which lightning causes multiple fatalities can occur when lightning either strikes the ground or an object on the ground, such as a tree. The energy from that lightning strike radiates outward along the ground.

Therefore, anyone in the immediate vicinity of that lightning strike may be killed or injured by the lightning, according to National Weather Service (NWS) Lightning Safety Specialist John Jensenius.

“It’s not all that frequent in the United States. However, in Africa, it’s actually quite common because many areas don’t have adequate protection,” Jensenius said.

Lightning strikes are frequent across Rwanda. The country’s police record a number of human and livestock deaths each year.

The number of fatalities in the recent Rwanda incident was unusual but not unprecedented, according to Jensenius.

In June 2011, a lightning strike killed 19 children at a school in Uganda, according to Mail & Guardian.

“Children were on a dirt floor and the lightning spread across the floor. It killed a number of children and also the teacher,” Jensenius said.

In the U.S., events of this nature are less common because the homes and buildings have wiring and plumbing in them. Therefore, if lightning strikes a home or a building, it will follow the wiring or plumbing to the ground, according to Jensenius.

“In Uganda and some of the other African countries, many people live in huts or homes that don’t have any wiring or plumbing. So if lightning strikes those homes, it doesn’t have a path to follow to the ground,” Jensenius said.

While these events are rare in the U.S., there is a possibility of it happening if proper lightning safety precautions are not followed. For example, in events where people gather in unsafe structures, such as in an outdoor tent for a wedding or a reunion.

“There is a possibility that if lightning were to strike the tent or nearby, there could be a large number of people killed or seriously injured by a lightning strike,” Jensenius said.

While it is a concern in the U.S., the likelihood of that happening is rare because there are often safe buildings nearby so most people are inside where it is safe.

“If you’re outside at some kind of outdoor event, just simply go in your car and stay there for at least 30 minutes after the last clasp of thunder,” Jensenius said.

The best way to avoid these deadly events is to go inside a substantial, safe building during a storm.

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Out of the Attic: 


Trufant baseball team

Lenn Perry brought in this old photo of his grandfather Lyle Perry Sr.’s baseball team of Trufant. Does anyone know what year this might’ve been taken? Or who some of the people in the photo might be? He thought that in the front row, second from left, is Elwood Larson; and that in the back row, third from right, is Lyle Perry Jr. If you know what year this was taken, or who might be in the photo, send us an email at news@cedarspringspost.com, or call 616-696-3655. 

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