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Archive | June, 2018

Board approves Superintendent contract


New Superintendent, Scott Smith

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education approved the contract of their new Superintendent, Scott Smith, at their regular board meeting on Monday, June 25.

“The Board of Education is pleased to culminate months of work, by approving a 3-year contract with Scott Smith as our superintendent, with a unanimous board vote of 7-0,” said Heidi Reed, board president. 

“The entire board is thankful for the support and input from staff, students, parents and community members during this process.”

The board extended an offer of employment to Smith, who is currently an assistant superintendent at Hudsonville Public Schools, after a rigorous day of Smith meeting with eight different focus groups, dinner with the board, and then a second round interview with the board at 7 p.m. June 18. 

Gary Rider, of Michigan Leadership Institute, led the search to replace former superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn, who resigned in March. The board hired interim superintendent Mark Dobias to fill the vacancy until the end of the June.

“We are grateful to Gary Rider, our search consultant; Mark Dobias, our Interim Superintendent; and all of our building leaders and staff who assisted during this time of transition in our district,” noted Reed.

Smith’s contract starts July 1 and will cover the 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21 school years. His salary will be $150,000 for 2018-19. His salary the following years will depend on if he is rated effective or highly effective. If he is rated effective for 2018-19, his salary for the following year will not be less than $153,000. If he is rated highly effective, it will not be less than $154,500. If he is rated effective in 2019-20, his salary the following year will not be less than $156,500. If rated highly effective, it will not be less than $159,500. He also may be eligible for one percent or two percent stipend based on whether he is effective or highly effective.

The district will also help with moving expenses, not to exceed $10,000, if Smith should decide to move into the district, which he has said he would like to do. He and his wife, Sarah, currently live in Hamilton.

Smith will be in the office starting Monday, July 2.

“We are excited to get started with Scott (Smith) and continue the important work of our district, which will benefit our students,” said Reed.

You can download a copy of Scott Smith’s contract below: 

Superintendent Scott Smith Contract – 2018-2021.pdf

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“Live by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16)

Father Lam T. Le, Pastor

St. John Paul II Parish

3110 17 Mile Rd

Cedar Springs, Michigan 49319



June is the time that we celebrate commencement exercises of our high schoolers. This is a time of joy and excitement for all! 

To the families, especially moms and dads, you probably watched your son/daughter graduate with joy and amazement. It probably seemed like it was just yesterday that you held this newborn child in your arms and now he/she is about to enter the world as an adult. As an uncle of five nieces and nephews, I now begin to share this joy and amazement with my brothers and sisters as my oldest nephew just graduated from high school. Thank you to all parents for accepting the gift of life and being a good steward of such a gift.

To the graduates, some of you will continue your education in colleges/universities; some will enter the work force; and some will take time off to explore the world and discern God’s plan for your life. What an exciting time! Many of you will be on your own for the first time. Not living under your parents’ roof will provide a certain sense of freedom. You are still their son/daughter, but now you will be making your own decisions. With this freedom comes with great responsibility. I encourage you to make wise choices for all the actions in your life. 

How does one make good choices in our life? “Live by the Spirit” (Gal 5:16) is the advice of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians. This is good advice. When we live according to the guidance of God’s spirit, our lives will bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit as well. The apostle continues:  “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (5:22-23).  

Ask yourself these questions when making decisions: Is this choice motivated by love for God and others? Will it increase joy for those involved? Will it preserve a sense of peace in the environment? Will it be an act of kindness and an expression of generosity? Will it be a faithful response to God’s love and relations with others? Is it an act of gentleness and shows my maturity in overcoming selfishness? If the action does not lead to these fruits, then it is not living by the Spirit and therefore, not a good choice.

Congratulations to all the graduates! May you live by the spirit so as to find true happiness in the exciting journey ahead of you! May you bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit and transform the world, which is filled with the “fruits of the flesh” (Gal 5:19-20). Graduates of 2018, you are called to be salt of the earth and light of the world (Mt 5: 13;14).   Amen.

In addition to being the priest of St. John Paul II Parish, Cedar Springs, Father Lam also proudly serves as Pastor of Mary Queen of Apostles Parish, 1 W Maple Street, Sand Lake, MI. 49343. Phone 616-636-5671.

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Katherine J. “Jane” Verheek, age 91, of Coker Creek, Tennessee and formerly of Greenville, Michigan went home to be with the Lord Thursday, June 21, 2018 at her home while surrounded by her loving family. She was preceded in death by her husband, George J. Verheek; parents, Emerson and Amelia Bulcher Brown; sisters, Arlene Dielman and Margaret Moss and sons-in-law, Frederick Philippus and Ronald Kroes. Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan then for 40+ years Greenville, Michigan was home where she partnered with her husband in “Three Seasons RV Park”. The last 4 ½ years Jane has lived on a mountaintop in Coker Creek, Tennessee with her daughter, Merrisue and late son-in-law, Ron. Jane loved her family and God. A Christian woman of deep faith, Jane can now rest peacefully. She is survived by her daughter, Carol (Richard) Engstrom of Chapel Hill, North Carolina; son, Gary (Sandra) Verheek of Winter Haven, Florida; daughter, Merrisue Kroes of Coker Creek, Tennessee; son, Jeffery (Susan) Verheek of Greenville, Michigan; sister, Eleanor Kiley of Chicago, Illinois; 11 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews and her special friend for Monday morning telephone calls, Carol Scott. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at a later date in Coker Creek, Tennessee. If you are unable to attend, you may sign the guest registry on our website at www.myersfuneralhometn.com.

Arrangements by Myers Funeral Home, Tellico Plains, Tennessee

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John Blue, 77, of Cedar Springs, Michigan passed away peacefully at home on June 12, 2018. His wife, Deloris, of 58 years, was by his side. John is survived by his children; Lora, Rodney, Jody and Shawn. Also surviving are 10 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. As he wished, cremation has taken place. Please join the family to celebrate John’s life on July 12, 2018 from 4 to 8 p.m. at White Creek Country Estates community building.

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Michael J. Flintoff III

In memory of 

Michael J. Flintoff III

May 1, 2018 – May 12, 2018

I never knew I could love so much,

until the day I felt your touch.

I softly kissed your cheeks

And from under your lashes I saw you peek.

Your sweet smile and soft laugh

Little memories that will always last

You taught me in your short time

That not every heart is kind

We only had a little while

I’ll remember ever heartbeat, every smile.

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Police investigate embezzlement from youth football 

The Cedar Springs Youth Football League needs the community’s help to stay afloat after it was discovered funds were embezzled from the group. Photo by April Victorson.

By Judy Reed

When the Cedar Springs Youth Football League board met in January and heard what their balance was, they knew something was very wrong. A lot of money was missing—including the $7,000 they had saved over the past two years to be able to buy new jerseys with this season.

The board began digging into bank and financial statements to try to piece together what happened. They also began getting invoices and collection calls from their equipment supplier. What they found was that they had $10,000 missing and $6,800 in unpaid invoices.

“It was a huge double whammy for us,” said trustee Amy Gillette.

And the only two board members that had previously had access to the money or bank account are no longer on the board.

According to Detective Mike Tanis, with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, they received the case on March 16. “We think it was two different people skimming the funds,” he said. “Each didn’t know the other was doing it.” He is working to bring charges against the people he believes is involved, possibly by the end of this month. He confirmed the two suspects are no longer on the board, and that the members of the current board were not involved. 

“We are working closely with the Kent County Sheriff Department to bring justice and answers about the embezzlement of our program to our football players, families, and community,” the league said in a letter on page 5. They apologized that it happened, and noted that they are implementing an embezzlement-proof system going forward.

In the meantime, the league could use the community’s help to get the season off the ground. Gillette said that the registration fees should cover what they need to run the program this year, but grades 3-6 will have to wear the old jerseys they were trying to replace. She said the most urgent need is the unpaid invoices from 2017 equipment sales ($6,800). They also suffered from the vandalism that hit Skinner Field earlier this year, but she said Skinner Field was going to try to cover that cost. 

One way you can help is by attending a fundraising event they are holding on July 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Skinner Field. There will be a dunk tank, kids games, bake sale, plant sale, can drive, gift basket raffles, spirit wear, and concessions. Tickets will be used for all events, and are two for $1.00. 

They will also be holding some can drives. From July 8-13, you can drop them off at Family Farm & Home from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. On July 14, drop them off at Skinner Field from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. On July 15, drop off at Family Farm & Home, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Other ways to help include volunteering, and personal and corporate sponsorships. 

Please call Amy Gillette at 616-915-5509 if  you’d like to help in any way.

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Tyrone woman killed in crash

Elizabeth Wirgau

A Kent City area woman was killed in a crash early Sunday morning in Alpine Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, they responded to a head-on traffic crash on Fruit Ridge Ave NW near 5 Mile Rd about 12:06 a.m. June 24.

The investigation showed that a southbound 2006 Dodge Durango, driven by Thomas Ybarra, 28, of Grand Rapids, struck a northbound Chevrolet pickup truck towing a trailer driven by Christopher Wirgau, 36, of Tyrone Township. Elizabeth Wirgau, 36, Christopher’s wife and a passenger in the northbound vehicle, sustained fatal injuries as a result of the crash. 

A passenger in the southbound vehicle, Esperanza Rocha, 34, of Grand Rapids was transported by ambulance to Butterworth hospital with possible injuries. 

Alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the crash, which is under investigation.

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Relocation of Cedar Springs Drain approved


By Judy Reed

The Kent County Board of Determination met last Thursday evening, June 21, at Cedar Springs High School to consider whether a petition to relocate the Cedar Springs Drain was valid. After hearing testimony from Kent County Drain Commissioner Ken Yonkers, assistant Drain Commissioner Doug Sporte, other public officials and members of the audience, the three-member board voted unanimously that the 80-year-old drain needs to be moved.

The reason is that it runs under several buildings and lots, and if it collapsed, it could be a hazard to anyone in the building. “When we have drains that old, we replace them,” said Yonkers. “If a drain fails under a building, the floor will sink.” He spoke about a old drain that collapsed last year under a Lowe’s parking lot in Grand Rapids and created a huge sinkhole.

“This is probably one of the hardest projects I’ve faced,” remarked Yonkers. “It was a no-win for me. I could’ve ignored it and waited until someone was hurt. But going on the side of safety, I can help them but they have to pay some money. I can’t bring back a loved one.”

Currently the drain runs west along Beech and north on Grant Street, then west again between Cherry and Elm, under some Main Street businesses, under the parking lot where the old community building stood and westward to Cedar Creek.

The relocation of the drain would affect the following properties: 18-20 N. Main; 23-25 N. Main; 45 Third St.; 141 W. Cherry St., and 145 W. Cherry St. Once a new drain is in place, the old drain will be filled with a substance to keep it from being used any longer.

The assessment for the project will affect many of the properties in the city, especially on the east side. However, the city will also be assessed a portion, and other properties in the city will help with that tax burden.

The problem of the drain running under buildings came to light when a business wanted to buy and remodel the Gun Tavern and turn it into a sit down restaurant. They want to expand it in the back, but are unable to because of the drain. The City is facing the same problem with the lot they want to build the new fire station on. The Drain Commission holds an easement wherever the drain pipe is located and won’t allow any development. 

However, the board was quick to note that they don’t base a decision on economic impact. “It’s based on health and safety,” they said.

The engineer for the city will now be looking at the best way to reroute the drain. Once they know how much it will cost, they will then know how much the properties in the drainage area will be assessed. When that point is reached, they will hold a “day of review” and will explain how they arrived at the percentage each property owner will pay. “It’s based on the benefit to your property,” said Yonkers.

Several of the people at the meeting complained that they didn’t get a notice about the meeting and didn’t know about it until they read it in the Post a couple of weeks ago. We didn’t get one here at the Post either, and we are also in the drainage district. 

We wondered if maybe it was because we have a PO box and cannot get physical mail at our building. Many others within a few blocks of the post office have the same problem. So we asked Sporte if they had sent any to PO boxes. He confirmed that they did not use PO boxes, only street addresses. So we then went to the Cedar Springs Post office and asked if they remembered seeing a large group of letters come through that would’ve been from the Kent County Drain Commissioner, but were missing PO #s. They said they did not see anything like that, and if they knew whose box it was, they would’ve put it in there. If they didn’t, they would return it. However, Sporte said that they didn’t receive any letters back. So it remains a mystery where the missing letters went.

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The Post travels to Ohio by ambulance

The Post went with Phil and Sue Harrison to the Chevy Classics State Rep Show in Fairborn, Ohio near Dayton, June 21-24. Over 80 cars were registered for the four-day show. Despite two days of sporadic rain, the show went on and cars were judged and admired. Sue and Phil drove their “one-of-a kind” 1955 Chevy Ambulance about 350 miles to the show. 

Thanks so much, 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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Hometown Hero


Spc. Scott Stockreef, 24, the son of Bart and Mary Stockreef of Cedar Springs, and brother of Austin and Will, has returned home for a few weeks from a recent nine-month deployment in Afghanistan (Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Resolute Support).  

He is a 2012 Cedar Springs graduate.  

Scott enlisted in the Army on October 2015. He started his active duty Army career at Fort Sill, Oklahoma where he attended Basic Combat Training (BCT). After graduating BC, he attended Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Huachuca in Arizona for his Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) training to become a qualified 15W Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) operator. After graduating AIT, SPC Stockreef attended Basic Airborne Course (BAC) at Fort Benning, Georgia and became airborne qualified.

Upon graduating BAC he PCSd to his first duty station at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska.  While at JBER he has been a part of one Brigade level FTX and two CTC rotations with his platoon to the National Training Center (NTC) (rotation 17-03) and the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) (rotation 17-07.5).

Spc Stockreef has filled the role of Mission Coordinator (MC) as a qualified UAS operator.

His assignments include: 6th BEB, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division (ID), Ft. Richardson, AK.

Education includes: UAS Operator School (AIT) and BAC.

Awards and decorations: Parachutist’s badge and the Aviation badge.

He has enlisted for 6 years in the service with 2 years in the reserves and will have completed his 3rd year in October of this year.

After his leave, he will return to his station base in Alaska and continue his education and rank advancement to Sergeant status upon completion of four weeks of sergeant school later this summer/early fall.  He then will proceed to Instructor Operator School.

We welcome our local, resident soldier home, congratulate him on his success, thank him for his service to our great country and wish him well on his future military career! God bless you soldier and the many others serving and we pray for your safety.

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Lifewalk celebrates 25 years

New this year was the baby & me Lifecrawl at Lifewalk. Courtesy photo.

Over 80 walkers participated in the two-mile walk through downtown Cedar Springs.
Courtesy photo.

Alpha Family Center held its 25th annual fundraising event, Lifewalk, on Saturday June 16. 

“It was a great day to celebrate life,” said Executive Director Teresa Hathaway. “This year’s theme was ‘Celebrating 25 years for Life!’ which relays the message we have been faithful in serving individuals and families with the issue of life,” she explained. 

The day began at 7:30 a.m. with their first LifeRide, a cycling event. They had 5 participants travel the White Pine Trail on either 10, 20, 30 or 40 miles ride, and had 9 runners taking part in Alpha’s 5K LifeRun. 

LifeWalk began with a welcome, instructions about the walk, and an opening prayer. They had 81 walkers follow behind the LifeWalk banner for the 2-mile walk down through the heart of Cedar Springs, stopping at key points to pray for community leaders, churches, schools and Alpha Family Center. 

“This year the walk once again included a prayer stop at Metron Senior Citizen Center to help emphasize life is precious at all stages,” said Hathaway.  

The walkers returned to the park to either participant in or watch our first Baby & Me LifeCrawl. This was a fun event for parents and infants. They had 4 teams join in the fun. This year a box lunch and cake was provided to those in attendance. There was also face painting and a clown for the children, and a Kid’s FunRun.

One difference in LifeWalk this year was that they had an online option available for those raising funds to use with their social media accounts. “We raised over $20,000!” remarked Hathaway. “LifeWalk covers a large portion of Alpha’s operating expenses as we assist over 100 families per year, and give away over 8,000 baby and maternity items per year.”  

Alpha also offers free pregnancy self-testing, parenting classes, support for abuse, miscarriage, post-abortion and sexual integrity classes. New this summer Alpha is partnering with Positive Options Mobile Medical Center in providing free ultrasounds to clients.

Hathaway presented the awards for top walkers. Lifewalk ended with a closing prayer and the sky filled with colorful balloons that were released in memory of the over 56,000,000 babies that have been aborted since abortion became legal in 1973.  

Alpha wishes to offer a special “Thank you” to the local communities for their ongoing support of Alpha throughout the years. See ad on page 5.

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Presenter collects E-coli data from Rogue River 


Molly Rippke, Aquatic Biologist Specialist, DEQ, testing for E.coli in the Rogue River, at 12 Mile Road. Photo courtesy of Gretchen Zuiderveen, Rogue River Watershed Partners.

This summer, Molly Rippke, on behalf of the DEQ, is determining what the E-coli levels are in the Rogue River.

The Rogue River Watershed Partners sponsored one of their “Tuesday Talks” at the Cedar Spring Brewery this year on March 27. Rippke, an Aquatic Biologist Specialist with the Department of Environmental Quality, gave a memorable talk and power point presentation about E.coli. She focused on answering these four questions:  What is E-coli? How does it get into rivers? Why should we care? What can we do about it? 

Once a week, for five consecutive weeks, Molly Rippke, with the help of an intern, is testing the Rogue at the same seven locations, starting at 22 Mile Road and ending at Twelve Mile Road. They deliver the samples collected at each site to a laboratory in Lansing that same day. In addition, the team measures the dissolved oxygen content at these sites, a measure of special interest to those who fish the Rogue.

The DEQ does similar monitoring on the rivers in Michigan as a matter of routine every five years but this is the first time E.coli has been measured on this scale in the Rogue River.  Testing is done in order to evaluate whether the bacterial level in the river is safe for partial or full-body contact. Because human health is the priority, the DEQ  responds to reports from the public that question the safely of a river’s E-coli levels, regardless of the five year schedule.

 E.coli (short for Escherichia coli) comes from the feces of warm-blooded animals, and is a common problem in rivers. E-coli enters rivers through pasture runoff, illicit sanitary connections, failing septic systems, urban run-off, and manure land-applications in agricultural areas. 

If you’d like to learn more about E-coli, go to this website:  www.mi.gov/waterquality.gov, and click on surface waters.

The testing phase is not finished yet, so the results are not available.

However, the RRWP plans to post the resulting data when it become available, at their website: rogueriverwp.org. 

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