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Archive | June, 2018

CTA Calendar

2018-19 — First Semester


Grades K-5: 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Grades 6-12: 7:45 AM – 2:45 PM

FlexTrac Grades 9-12: (7:45 AM – 2:45 PM including 2 self-scheduled hours)

 *Early Release Schedule Grades K-5 dismiss at 1:00 PM

Grades 6-12 dismiss at 12:45 PM


20 First day of Classes for ALL students

23 Early Release for Students and Staff

24 No School for Students and Staff

30 Early Release for Students and Staff

31 No School for Students and Staff – Labor Day Break


3 No School for Students and Staff – Labor Day Break

14 Student Early Release

28 Student Early Release 


5 Early Release for Students and Staff 

12 Student Early Release

22 16th Parent/Superintendent Town Hall Meeting 

22-25 Fall Student Led Conferences (K-12)

26 Early Release for Students and Staff


2 Student Early Release

16 Early Release for Students and Staff

20 Early Release for Students and Staff

21,22,23 No School for Students and Staff – Thanksgiving Break


7 Student Early Release

19,20,21 MS & HS First Semester Exams

21 Early Release for Students and Staff

21 Last Day before Winter break

21 End of 1st Semester – (85 days)

22-Jan 6 No School for Students and Staff – Winter Break Release


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Sand Lake Fourth of July celebration starts next week

The Britton family. Scott and Robyn Britton are serving as Grand Marshals for this year’s Fourth of July celebration in Sand Lake. Courtesy photo.

Scott and Robyn Britton chosen as Grand Marshals

The 149th Fourth of July Celebration in Sand Lake starts next week with the theme Celebrating the Decades. This long-running event celebrating our country’s independence is a fun tradition for families in the Sand Lake, Cedar Springs, and surrounding areas.

The event starts next Thursday evening, June 28, with a fireman’s parade of lights at dusk. On Friday, June 29, the carnival opens at 1 p.m., and the fun continues with a variety of activities daily through July 4. Highlights of that day include a grand parade and one of the best fireworks shows around. For a complete schedule of events, click here.

Grand Marshals for this year are Scott and Robyn Britton. They have lived in Nelson Township for the majority of their lives, and both are graduates of Cedar Springs High School, and have known each other since their freshman year. They have been married almost 29 years, and have raised three children, all whom have graduated from Tri County High School. Their oldest daughter, Hannah, just graduated from St. Mary’s Notre Dame; son Jesse just finished his third year at Ferris State University; and their youngest son, Jake, is heading to Northern Michigan University this fall. 

The Brittons have been construction workers and farmers their whole life. Hard work is what the Brittons have brought to the township for the last three decades. Britton Builders has built a number of homes in the area while employing people from within the community. They have also volunteered their services to Sand Lake Little League and other charities through the years. Just recently Scott arranged for local musician Luke Gitchel to entertain Tri County seniors at Nelson/Sand Lake Library on Friday senior day.

Scott also likes to show the art of being a “hands on” carpenter. He has employed a number of high school students from Tri County and Cedar Springs, and college students on summer breaks, teaching them hard work and skilled trades. Scott believes putting trades back into high school gives kids a career if they choose not to go to college. Scott is also a longtime member of the Tri County Eagles.

Robyn has had her hands full for a number of years as a Tri County school volunteer. With farming and working in the construction industry, she has supported her family and community, bringing in her own skills. She also serves in a governmental capacity—last year she was appointed to the position of Supervisor by the Nelson Township board. Robyn has numerous hours of involvement in the community, attending over 90 meetings and traveling over 3,000 miles in one year to bring awareness to the Sand Lake and Nelson Township communities. You will also find Robyn doing what she loves, restoring old homes and bringing value back to them and the community.

The Brittons would like to thank everyone for beng a part of the fourth of July celebration and the Sand Lake Chamber of Commerce for all the hard work they do to make this week a huge success for our community.

Scott and Robyn wish everyone a safe and happy fourth of July!

Article reprinted by permission of the Sand Lake Chamber of Commerce.

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Cedar Springs chooses new superintendent


Scott Smith has been selected as the new superintendent

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education voted 7-0 Monday evening, June 18, to extend an offer to Scott Smith to be their new superintendent.

Smith currently serves as an assistant superintendent at Hudsonville Public Schools.

The offer came 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. The news was given to Smith by board president Heidi Reed shortly after 9 p.m. via speakerphone, accompanied by loud applause from the approximately 50 staff and community members present for the interview.

“It is an incredible honor to receive an invitation to join the Cedar Springs team as its Superintendent of Schools,” said Smith. “This opportunity has been on my radar for nearly ten years. Cedar Springs has a rich history as a student-centered and teacher-centered school district nestled within a strong, supportive community. I can’t wait to get started doing this exciting work!”

Community members and staff gave feedback to the board about Smith after the focus groups and after both the first and second round interviews. Several board members noted that the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

 “We had tremendous feedback from staff, students, parents and community members during the process,” remarked Reed. “Scott had overwhelming support and was clearly a great fit for the candidate profile. He is very well prepared to be our next Superintendent and we look forward to having he and his wife Sarah become part of our community. The unanimous decision to offer the job to Mr. Smith is the result of several months of work by the board with support and input from staff, students, parents and community members. We are all excited to get started with Scott on the important work of moving our district forward.”

Contract negotiations will start immediately between the district and Smith, with the board voting that Reed and the lawyers for Cedar Springs lead that effort.

The board opted to forego a site visit, with several members explaining that they had already received a lot of input from members of the Hudsonville community and district. Reed noted that some of the people they had heard from were people that they would talk to during a site visit. Three of the board members—Traci Slager, Matt Shoffner, and Shannon Vanderhyde—all mentioned being open to the possibility of a site visit to add an extra layer of thoroughness to the search process, but were completely ready to move forward without it if the others were also ready to move forward. 

Before the vote, board members mentioned some of the things they liked about Smith, and all agreed that he was a perfect fit to the profile that they had developed with the help of search consultant Gary Rider and the results of the community survey.

Smith has served as Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources for the Hudsonville Public Schools for seven years. Prior to this work he served as the Middle School Principal for Hamilton Community Schools for six years, and as a Middle School Science teacher for Holland Public Schools for three years.  Mr. Smith holds a Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Valley State University, and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Earth Science both from Western Michigan University. He currently lives in Hamilton but noted that he will be looking to sell his home and find something in the area.

Cedar Springs is one of seven districts in Kent County who will have new superintendents for this next school year. The others are Caledonia, Comstock Park, East Grand Rapids, Sparta, Thornapple Kellog, and Wyoming.

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Students build plant stands for elderly

Trevor Marshall (left) and Matthew Maxwell (right) constructed plant stands for residents at Green Acres recently.

Container gardening is gaining in popularity, and one group of people who really benefits from it are the elderly. Bending and kneeling are hard on everyone, but older people tend to lose that mobility as they age. Two students here in Cedar Springs have done something to help seniors enjoy the art of gardening, even if they can’t get down on the ground.

Men of Honor students Matthew Maxwell and Trevor Marshall recently built 11 plant stands for the elderly at Green Acres Assisted Living Facility. The residents will be able to plant fresh fruits and vegetables using their walkers and wheelchairs. Way to go, Matthew and Trevor!

Men and Ladies of Honor is a Christian character-building club for 6th-8th grade young men and young ladies. It focuses on building qualities such as integrity, honesty, perseverance, chivalry, compassion, leadership and more. For more info contact rrbadge@hotmail.com.

The two boys with Men of Honor leader Randy Badge. Courtesy photos.

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The Post travels to Fiji

Samantha and Emilee Pastoor, of Courtland Township, recently took the Post with them on a trip to the Fiji Islands. Samantha gave the trip to Emilee as a graduation present, after she graduated recently with highest honors from Cedar Springs High School. While in Fiji, the girls spent 12 days on two different islands. They went snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, and even skydiving. 

That sounds like a great trip! 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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Cereal recalled due to Salmonella

Kellogg Company announced last week that it is voluntarily recalling 15.3 oz. and 23 oz. packages of Kellogg’s ® Honey Smacks ® cereal (with code dates listed below) because these products have the potential presence of Salmonella. No other Kellogg products are impacted by this recall.

Kellogg launched an investigation with the third-party manufacturer who produces Honey Smacks immediately after being contacted by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding reported illnesses.

According to the CDC, use or consumption of products contaminated with Salmonella may result in serious illness. It can also produce serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals infected with Salmonella can experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most persons recover without treatment. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses.

How to identify the recalled product

The affected product includes the following varieties distributed across the United States as well as limited distribution in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, the Caribbean, Guam, Tahiti and Saipan. The BEST if Used By Date can be found on the top of the cereal box, and the UPC code can be found on the bottom of the box.

  • Honey Smacks (with limited distribution outside the U.S.)
  • 3800039103 15.3 oz  JUN 14, 2018 through JUN 14, 2019
  • Honey Smacks  3800014810  23 oz  JUN 14, 2018 through JUN 14, 2019

Kellogg is asking that people who purchased potentially affected product discard it and contact the company for a full refund. Consumers seeking more information, can visit kelloggs.com/honeysmacksrecall or call 1-800-962-1413 Monday-Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET as well as Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.  to 4 p.m. ET.

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Grant awarded for hands-on environmental education program


Students will experience it at Plainsong Farm

Raking mulch on the Plainsong farm. Courtesy photo.

The Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds (LGROW), in collaboration with Plainsong Farm, Trout Unlimited and the Kent Conservation District, has received a $38,000 grant from the Wege Foundation for a pilot program that exposes middle-school students to sustainable agriculture and land/water conservation. The two-year curriculum will provide practical, immersive farm-based environmental education for middle-school students in the Rogue River watershed. Students from Sparta Middle School and East Rockford Middle School will participate in the program.

This project connects to the Wege Foundation’s long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability by cultivating a new generation of watershed stewards who are knowledgeable about land-use practices and sustainable food systems. Plainsong Farm, at 6677 12 Mile Rd NE, will provide a place where teachers from the watershed can bring students of different backgrounds for shared experiential learning and practice. Specifically, they will learn about: soil health, water conservation, integrated pest management and pollinators, sustainable food systems, and agroecology. Student learning will be connected to real-life conservation taking place in the Rogue River and Indian Mill Creek watersheds under the $8 million Regional Conservation Partnership Program grant the Grand Valley Metropolitan Council received from the Natural Resource Conservation Service in 2017.

Planting crops at the Plainsong farm. Courtesy photo.

“Sustainable food production and rural land use are important to maintaining and improving watershed health. We’re excited to nurture practical skills and a stewardship ethic in local students through this program,” said Eileen Boekestein, Environmental Education Coordinator at GVMC.

Upon completion of the pilot program, the collaborative organizations will develop a strategic plan for Plainsong Farm to be used for ongoing, year-round environmental education programming, including demonstration workshops highlighting student-led stewardship projects. 

“When we began Plainsong Farm, we hoped to create a location for environmental education for students, faith groups, and all members of the community. It’s exciting to see this program begin,” said Nurya Love Parish, Executive Director of Plainsong Farm.

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Friend of the Court Opens the Responsible Parent Program Center 

Responsible Parent Program Center office. Courtesy photo.

Friend of the Court Opens the Responsible Parent Program Center 

The Kent County Friend of the Court (FOC) is pleased to announce the opening of the Responsible Parent Program (RPP) Center, located on the second floor at 82 Ionia Avenue NW, Grand Rapids. 

This new center makes it easier for participants in the program to meet with their case manager, see updated job postings, and apply for jobs on-line. 

Launched in 2016, RPP has established partnerships with over 30 agencies and employers to assist those who are having difficulties paying their court-ordered child support. Once in the program, a FOC case manager will meet with the participant to identify any barriers the person may be facing, make appropriate referrals for job placements and searches, determine whether a case qualifies for a support review to ensure the current order is based on ability to pay, and provide information about parenting time issues and services. 

The goal of the RPP is to place 75% of those who complete the program into jobs. The RPP started in 2016 with ten partner agencies and employers and has grown to 34 current partners. In its first two years, 53% of those accepted into the program reported employment following their initial appointment with the case manager; 41% met their court-ordered obligation and 67.5% made some payment. “These are cases where little to no payment was being made. Our primary goal is to make sure the children of Kent County are receiving court-ordered support,” said Friend of the Court Director Dan Fojtik. “We are here to help anyone who is sincerely interested in improving their financial position and getting their FOC case back on track.” 

To qualify for the program, a participant must have a FOC case, no gainful employment, be able to work, have no pending child support related felony warrant, and be interested in participating. Enforcement actions such as show-cause hearings, bench warrants, and license suspensions will be deferred while the participant is in the program. The RPP Center has three designated computer terminals where payers can search for jobs, and the Center holds drop-in times when no appointment is needed on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons. 

Anyone who is interested in this special 90-day program may contact the FOC for more information at (616) 632-6888. Case managers are also available to meet in person without an appointment at Michigan Works, Urban Family Ministries, Strong Fathers, Hispanic Center, and Guiding Light Mission; call (616) 632-6825 for days and times. 


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Michigan traffic fatalities decreased three percent in 2017

Although Michigan traffic deaths remained above 1,000 for the second consecutive year there was a 3 percent decrease in fatalities during 2017, according to just-released data from the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center.  The 1,028 fatalities in 2017 marked a small decline from 1,064 fatalities in 2016.  

  • Injuries also decreased slightly but crashes and serious injuries were up:
  • Injuries: 79,724 in 2016 to 78,394 in 2017, down 2 percent.
  • Crashes: 312,172 in 2016 to 314,921 in 2017, up 1 percent.
  • Serious injuries: 5,634 in 2016 to 6,084 in 2017, up 8 percent.

The percentage of alcohol-involved fatalities increased 32 percent from 271 in 2016 to 359 in 2017.  This rise reflects, in part, better reporting methods and data collection.   

 “Attention must be paid when we see nearly half of all traffic crash fatalities involving alcohol or drugs,” said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP).  “This noteworthy change is causing great concern, and effective safety strategies to address this issue require a comprehensive approach in coordination with our local, county, state and federal partners.  The OHSP will continue to allocate resources in the form of federal funding to improve our capabilities in the detection, apprehension, prosecution and treatment of impaired drivers. 

  “Clearly, our most basic safety countermeasures, focused on increasing seat belt use and reducing impaired driving, remain just as important now as they have ever been,” he added.

 Michigan Traffic Crashes 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Crashes 314,921 312,172 297,023 298,699 289,061
Injuries 78,394 79,724 74,157 71,378 71,031
Fatalities 1,028 1,064 963 876 951

In other areas:

  • Bicyclist fatalities decreased from 38 in 2016 to 21 in 2017, down 45 percent.
  • Teen fatalities decreased from 94 in 2016 to 64 in 2017, down 32 percent
  • Commercial motor vehicle-involved fatalities decreased from 120 in 2016 to 95 in 2017, down 21 percent.
  • Motorcyclist fatalities decreased from 141 in 2016 to 137 in 2017, down 3 percent.
  • Pedestrian fatalities decreased from 165 in 2016 to 158 in 2017, down 4 percent.
  • Deer-involved fatalities increased from 14 in 2016 to 17 in 2017, up 21 percent. 

More detailed 2017 crash information will be posted to Michigantrafficcrashfacts.org in the coming months.  Statewide crash information can be found at Michigan.gov/crash.

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Free credit freezes available to consumers


LANSING- Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is reminding Michigan residents that effective June 17th, 2018, free credit freezes became available to all Michigan residents, according to a new state law.

“Following multiple security breaches that have exposed personal information of millions of Michigainians, I worked with the legislature to make sure that after a breach, it would not cost those exposed their hard-earned dollars when they weren’t at fault,” said Schuette. “I applaud our legislature for taking the important step to protect Michigan residents, and I encourage those who have been impacted and those who want to limit who has access to their credit reports to take advantage of our new zero-cost credit freeze law.”

A credit freeze is a temporary block on third parties’ ability to access a consumer’s credit report. Credit reporting agencies can no longer charge fees associated with freezing a consumer’s credit report. The benefit of freezing a credit report is that no one can sign up for a new financial service using your stolen information.

Protecting Michigan Consumers During the Equifax Security Breach

Schuette joined with more than 40 other states and the District of Columbia in an investigation of credit giant Equifax in September 2017. The investigation remains open.

If you are uncertain as to whether your credit was breached, Schuette encourages Michigan residents to go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to see if your information has been impacted.

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