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Archive | July, 2018

Dorothy A. Quist

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Dorothy A. Quist 84 of Cedar Springs went to be with her Lord on Thursday, July 26, 2018 at Green Acres of Cedar Springs. Mrs. Quist was born October 4, 1933 in Arlene, MI the daughter of Adrian and Bertha (Visscher) Fryling. She graduated from Manton High School in 1950, had a Master’s degree from Michigan State University and taught reading and music in Cedar Springs for 20 years retiring in 1993. She attended Pilgrim Bible Church. Music was her life, playing in church, as a worship leader, giving lessons, playing at weddings and for plays with the Cedar Springs Community Players. Surviving are her husband of 65 years, Chester; daughter, Jackie (Dave) Mourer; daughter-in-law, Kimberly Quist; 6 grandchildren; 5 great grandchildren; sister, Patricia (Ray) Bigelow; sister-in-law, Patricia Fryling. She was preceded in death by her parents; son, Kevin; 5 sisters; 2 brothers; 16 brothers and sisters-in-law. The family will greet friends Thursday, August 2 from 12:00 pm until time of service at 1:00 pm at Pilgrim Bible Church, 361 Pine St. Cedar Springs. Pastor Mike Shiery officiating. Private interment Solon Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimers Association.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs.

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Linda A. Christensen

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Linda A. Christensen 68 of Cedar Springs, died Wednesday, July 25, 2018 at Mercy Health – St. Mary’s. Linda was born March 24, 1950 in Ludington, MI the daughter of Robert and Edith (Clark) Matson. She was the City Clerk for Cedar Springs for over 20 years and prior to that was a stringer for the Grand Rapids Press. She was involved with the Cedar Springs Community Players Marketing Committee and enjoyed traveling and lighthouses. Surviving are her husband, Doug; children, Ben (Connie) Branyan, Luke (Rachel) Branyan, April (Chelsea) Branyan; step children, Kate (Stan) Mathuram, David (Erica) Christensen; 12 grandchildren; sisters, Barb (Jim) Husted, Marjorie “Midge” Holmes. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Ralph Branyan; one brother, Robert “Bud” Matson; brother-in-law, Tom Holmes; stepson, Hans. A memorial service will be held Friday, August 3 at 11:00 am at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastor Chuck Smith officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs. Memorial contributions may be made to the Cedar Springs Community Players.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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Happy 30th birthday to us

by Lois Allen

Thirty years. The Post has been here for 30 years! When I started the Post operations in 1988, I wasn’t sure we’d make it thirty days! But we have. Starting with a staff of three, my mother, Alice, myself, and shortly after, a salesperson. We struggled to produce and publish the small weekly paper.

I had worked for The Squire doing administrative work. No reporting. But after the Squire was sold in 1988, the new owner had no interest in owning the Post. The Post had been produced in Rockford at the Squire offices. It was then that I became a publisher. 

Operations began in the old Kent Theatre building. Not the theater part, which was then used for storage by the previous owners, but in an office area in the building. A small office with small rent. Almost too small for my mother and me to work together!

It was so long ago, that we didn’t even use computers. Oh, I had one. It was a Mac. The screen was about the size of a toaster. There was no software for layout or ad composition. Everything was cut and paste on a light table. Very labor intensive.

I wasn’t even sure what a newspaper did. I knew I had to cover accidents and fires, so I bought a $50 used camera and a police scanner. With my Mac, a copy machine, a waxer and my mother, I began to make a newspaper. Then I became a journalist. 

I lived in Rockford at the time and having grown up in Grand Rapids, I didn’t know a soul in Cedar Springs. I was alone and on my own. But the one thing I learned quickly was that the people here loved their little local newspaper. It kept me going when things seemed overwhelming. 

After two years of consistent publishing without missing a week, I went down to GR City Hall and applied to be a legal newspaper. Quite an accomplishment for three employees, although my mother wasn’t really an employee because we didn’t pay her.

As each issue hit the streets, I began to understand the value of a local newspaper and what it did for a community. I could see that it is definitely a public service, however not supported with tax payer money. All funding came from advertising dollars paid by the local businesses which is why I hired a salesperson. 

We were always grateful to have just enough advertisers who said “yes” to the local paper, giving us enough revenue to pay the bills and our meager paychecks. It was, and is, a labor of love. You don’t get rich and there were no benefits, no 401K, no health care and sometimes no paycheck. 

It’s difficult to place a value on what we [the newspaper] offer to a community. While other news publications covered several communities, we covered just the one. If it was important to the people of Cedar Springs, we covered it.

It was also near the time when shoppers began to “bloom” as journalists were laid off and news print with advertising minus the news was the new way to advertise. Then came the internet and then Face Book, and now tariffs that threaten all newspapers, big and small.

I don’t think anyone can truly understand what a miracle it is that the Post is still here with so much going against it. There were times when our bank balance was literally at zero. I would write a check to the printer and then go out and collect money from advertisers to cover it. At one point, we mortgaged our building to keep going. Another time, during a severe wind storm, the roof from our neighboring building blew off and landed on top of us, just like the wicked witch of the West! We lost power, but we got the paper out that week anyway.

There are 30 years of “behind the scenes” stories I could tell about running a weekly newspaper. I like to joke and say that I don’t run the paper, it runs me! We have never missed an issue, not one. Missing just one week would mean the paper would lose its legal status and no longer be able to print legal or public notices. No pressure!

Now, we have a staff of five. All working together like a well-oiled machine. I wouldn’t be lying if I said we’re all pretty tired, especially on Wednesdays when the paper is finished and “put to bed” for Thursday’s delivery. Everyone works hard especially our super duper editor, Judy Reed, who I think we all agree does an outstanding job of covering all the important stuff that CNN and other news agencies don’t. She’s our only reporter doing the work of three. 

There’s an old newspaper saying, and I mean really old, that goes, “A dog bite in [Cedar Springs] is bigger news than a war in Europe!” And that has proved true to this day. It also applies to coyote attacks as well, which we also covered in this week’s issue.

The story of the local newspaper can be summed up as a whole bunch of challenges and obstacles. This little paper has overcome them all! And it’s never, ever boring.

We continue to struggle and will always struggle like a print form of David & Goliath, as advertising dollars continue to leave newspapers to go to other, more exotic and “smart” ad venues. And yet, we still survive. Truly a miracle.

We especially appreciate and owe our survival to the businesses that continue to say, “Yes, we want to advertise in our local newspaper.” With so many other choices they are truly our heroes. They are vital to us. They invest in community by giving back more with their ad money, delivering an invaluable service to you, the people that call Cedar Springs home.

Will The Post make it another year, or another 30? I hope so, but we never know. I need to wrap this story up, as it’s Wednesday night and they’re waiting for this piece so the paper, and then we, as well, can go to bed.

Happy birthday Cedar Springs Post!

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New hotel coming to Cedar Springs

Holiday Inn Express and Suites planned to open early summer 2019

Visitors to Cedar Springs and the surrounding areas next summer won’t have to travel far to stay in a hotel. West Michigan hotel developer and operator Belmont Lodging announced plans this week to construct a four-story, 76-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites near U.S.-131 and 17 Mile Road in Cedar Springs.

The hotel will be built on property at 14190 White Creek Avenue, across the street from Save-A-Lot.

According to the press release, market demand in northern Kent County and the understanding of the positive economic influence of a hotel motivated local investors to pursue the project.

On-site amenities will provide guests with a complimentary hot breakfast, free high-speed Internet access, an exercise room, indoor pool, and outdoor patio. The hotel’s location and easy access to downtown Grand Rapids will provide both corporate and leisure travelers a small town alternative when visiting the area.

They expect it to bring about 20 jobs to Cedar Springs. Construction is expected to start in September. 

Belmont Lodging also developed the Holiday Inn Express in Hastings and the AmericInn Lodge and Suites in Greenville.

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Two charged in youth football embezzlement

By Judy Reed

Photo by April Victorson

Two former officers on the 2017 Cedar Springs Youth Football League board were arraigned this week on charges of embezzlement in 63rd District Court. 

According to Det. Mike Tanis, with the Kent County Sheriff Department, past president James Michael Crouch and former treasurer Heather Marie Vaughn were both charged with embezzlement of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 from a non-profit or charitable organization, which is a 10-year felony.

The CSYFL contacted the police in March, after they found they had $12,000 missing, and $6,800 in unpaid invoices. About $7,000 of the missing funds was money they had saved to buy new jerseys for the kids. 

There were only two board members responsible for the money during the 2017 year—Vaughn and Crouch.

As the investigation proceeded, it was discovered that the two board members each took money from the league at different times. The missing money was never deposited into the league’s bank account.

The current board has since been doing fundraising to make up some of the shortfall. If you would like to donate, you can do it online by visiting https://cedarspringsyouthfootball.sportngin.com/register/form/058188639.

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Coyote attacks dog in Ensley Township

by Lois Allen

Watch out for coyotes in the area.

An Ensley township couple were relaxing at home last week Thursday, July 19, when they heard  a commotion coming from their back yard. They were shocked to see a coyote mauling one of their two dogs, a Yorkie Poo, in broad daylight. 

The Castles, who live in Ensley township near Gould’s Mini Mart, have two dogs, a Yorkie Poo (Jack) and the other an Australian Shepherd (Ruby).

It was approximately 7 a.m., when they had let their dogs out into the back yard to do their “business.”

Jack, a Yorkie Poo, was a victim of a coyote attack last week.

Machell Castle said it was shortly after when she heard a bunch of “yipping” coming from the backyard. When she looked to see what was going on, she saw a large coyote with the Yorkie Poo in its mouth that was heading back into the woods. However, the Australian Shepherd, Ruby, was hot on its tail and the coyote eventually dropped the 12 pound Yorkie Poo.

After the coyote let loose of Jack, both dogs headed for the house with the coyote chasing them, literally on their tails. “I flung open the back door and they came running in,” said Machell.

It was then that the coyote retreated back into the woods.

Pictured here is one of Jack’s puncture wounds on his back left leg.

Thanks to Ruby’s bravery, Jack the Yorkie Poo survived the attack and was taken to the animal hospital to be treated.  “Ruby saved him,” said Machell. 

Jack’s injuries included approximately four puncture wounds on his back and leg, the largest on his back left leg. He is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery.

According to the DNR of Michigan, “…coyotes can be killed without a hunting license on private land by the landowner or designee if the coyote is doing or about to do damage to private property, pets, livestock, or humans…” To learn more about Michigan Coyotes go to the DNR website by visiting www.michigan.gov/wildlife found under the “Mammals” section.

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Superheroes to make special appearance at car show

The Dark Knight of Michigan gives a thumbs up in a recent parade appearance. He will be on hand with his bat bike from 11-1 at the museum’s summer car show this Saturday. Photo courtesy of Dana Hess.

By Judy Reed

The annual car show at the Cedar Springs Historical Museum this Saturday will have a wide variety of antique cars, trucks, and motorcycles on display—and a really cool superhero vehicle for the kids as well. 

The show runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Morley Park, on Cedar Street in Cedar Springs. Special guests include the Cedar Springs Fire Department, and DJ JoJo Girard from radio station WFGR 98.7 will be on site playing those golden oldies for all to enjoy. Maranatha Baptist Church will serve donuts in the morning, and a free hot dog lunch. Biggby Coffee to provide coffee. There will be trophies and prizes, and dash plaques to the first 100 cars.

Also on hand for the kiddoes will be the Cosplay Crusaders, including Thor and the Black Panther, and the Dark Knight of Michigan with his bat bike. Kids can sit in the bike for a donation from 11 to 1 p.m. The Crusaders will be there about 10 a.m. All proceeds collected from the bat bike will go to the Howard Christiansen Nature Center (HCNC). The effort is a fundraiser by Cub Scout Ryan Hess, age 8.

According to Ryan’s mom, Dana, he had to identify an issue in the community and present it to the Cub Scout committee. He chose to do a pop can drive for HCNC after hearing of them needing funding to pay their bills. It started in the spring but they have extended the drive, and there will be also be a trailer on site to take pop cans if people want to bring them. Other Cub Scouts from pack 3220 will also be on hand, and they will be selling beef sticks. Proceeds from all those things will go to HCNC. 

See ad for car show here

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Shop the Cedar Springs farmer’s market

The Farmer’s Market has a great selection of veggies

The Farmer’s Market has a great selection of Cheese also.

By Judy Reed

If you haven’t visited the local farmer’s market here in Cedar Springs, you’ve been missing out! The farmer’s market, held on Thursdays from 3-7 p.m. behind the Cedar Springs Library on W. Maple Street, has an assortment of items to please the palate, and samples to try before you buy. At last week’s market there was a wide variety of locally grown vegetables; farm fresh eggs; homemade breads; delicious baked goods; tasty jerky; delectable cheeses; popsicles made from fresh fruits; and more. Most of the vendors take cash, credit, or debit. Do yourself a favor and shop local this week at the Cedar Springs Farmer’s Market, managed by Cedar Springs Brewing Company. You won’t be sorry!

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Now is the time to consider adopting a cat

The Kent County Animal Shelter (KCAS) is seeing an increase in its populations of cats and kittens. If you have considered adding a feline friend to your home, now may be the perfect time with the large selection that is currently available.

To qualify potential adopters simply need to come to KCAS and fill out an adoption form. Shelter personnel will verify that the pet is a good match for its new owner and that landlords of those adopters who rent, accept pets. Adoption fees for kittens 2-4 months of age is $40 and it’s only $5.00 to adopt a cat that is 4 months of age or older.

All of the cats available for adoption have been spayed or neutered. All have been tested for Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Every cat is up to date on all vaccinations, has been microchipped, and has received a flea treatment.

“While there is a seasonal fluctuation to the community cat population and a summer increase is certainly normal, it’s a reminder of the importance of spaying and neutering pet cats and the cats in our community,” says Carly Luttmann, Program Supervisor at KCAS. 

The Kent County Health Department reminds potential adopters that there are health benefits that come with owning any pet. According to a University of Minnesota study that focused on cats, found cat owners were 30-40 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than non-cat owners. The study also found benefits from lower stress, lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of stroke.

The Kent County Animal Shelter is located at 740 Fuller N.E. in Grand Rapids. The shelter is open Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-6:30 p.m.

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Candidates vie for township seats


By Judy Reed

Voters will head to the polls on August 7 for the 2018 primary, where they will vote for a slate of both Michigan and local candidates for office. Locally, there are two township races for Supervisor, as well as a couple of open trustee seats. and millage renewals.


Nelson Township has two people running for Supervisor to complete a partial term ending in 2020. 

Robyn Britton

Robyn Britton, the current Nelson Township Supervisor, is running to retain her seat. She was appointed to fill the spot when former Supervisor Tom Noreen retired. Britton said her primary reason for running is to give back. “My community has given me and my family so much it was time I did the same. Plus, I wanted to bring awareness to our community; for years I grew up in farm fields and understood that development was coming our way. I wanted to do my part to make sure there was a balance.”

Besides her experience as Nelson Township Supervisor, she also has served on Tri County Middle School youth soccer board for over 8 years; Secretary to the Board of Review; and Served on the Task Force for the Community Development (Kent County). 

She feels the main strength she brings is her experience in that position. “After attending over 90 meetings representing our community, I have a full understanding on where we are on the food chain when it comes to funding for our community. It takes relationships to get things done and I’ve built those relationships. Face to face still works better then a computer or phone. And I offer that. I also have a full understand of our Planning Commission because I’ve attended nearly all the meetings. I understand what is coming in the future and how we can make sure there is a balance for development and farmland preservation. We have been blessed with a growing economy but we need to be mindful of our current fiscal responsibility. Running two successful businesses, I understand having a balanced budget and not spending money you don’t have. I’ve also attended all but one Board of Review to understand our land prices and value. Anyone that has lived in Western Michigan understands we are the last of the big development areas and farmland areas and with the work of the Planning Commission I believe we are addressing this.”

Britton feels the main challenging facing Nelson Township is maintaining a balance between farmland and development. “Having attended the planning commission meetings has given me the insight of what is coming our way,” she said. Being only 20-25 minutes from Grand Rapids, it’s a balance not just with property but also with local residents and new residents moving into the area. She said she’d also like to see local township, village, and city governments work together to share road repairs and grants to relieve the tax burden on residents. Britton is also concerned with the CWD outbreak among deer, and what it means for residents and the local deer population. “This will have an impact on our land values and economy,” she said.

Tom Norton

Tom Norton is also running for Supervisor in Nelson Township. He is currently the Village President in Sand Lake. Norton, 35, has been a resident of the Village of Sand Lake for nine years. He was born in northern Kent County and was a student at Sand Lake Elementary School and Cedar Springs High School. He served in the Army National Guard and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. He currently works as a salesman. He and his wife Jami have been married for almost ten years and have three children: Sienna 9, Kaitlyn 8, and Michael 6. They attend Saint Paul Lutheran Church.

What is Norton’s main reason for running? “I am running to get rid of the 20 percent add on retirement that Nelson Township gives to its elected officials and not to any of its workers. The money saved from this retirement could have paid for streets like 19 Mile and Becker to be paved and repaved. I am running to continue what I have done as President of Sand Lake, which is complete construction projects, getting streets like Oak and 7th repaved, and work with Lansing to get more grants for safer roads. For instance, downtown Sand Lake is having construction this fall which could only have been approved had our village been running in the black. Our council, despite its differences, has been very productive and that productivity is important.”

Besides serving as Village president for two years, Norton’s other experience on boards and committees includes serving on Village council as a Trustee for two years; Commander for the American Legion Post 2 from 2015-2016 located at the Boat and Canoe Club in Grand Rapids, the same post as Gerald R. Ford. “While commander of Post 2, we started a Veterans Suicide prevention program with our first and second Range day being at the Cedar Springs Gun and Rod Club, located right here in our township. Which eventually led to the West Michigan Veterans Ranch, which I am also on the board of,” he said.  

Norton feels the main strength he brings to the position is military experience and problem solving. “I have spent most of my adult life in management, from working at Meijer to serving in the military. Leadership is extremely important in each position I have been put into. Sand Lake, for instance, wouldn’t have a boat landing had there not been leadership to keep it open to the public. Roads would not have been getting completed without a certain amount of leadership. Our duty is to make sure tax dollars are spent effectively, not to benefit friends but to benefit the community and that’s the type of leadership that is necessary for the community as a whole.”

What does he see as the biggest challenge facing Nelson Township? “The biggest challenge that will be facing us is getting the roads fixed properly, hence ending the retirement and then going to Lansing to get more money to fund our infrastructure through an aggressive grant program. We pay taxes, which the state collects, and my biggest goal is to get as much of that money back as possible to the taxpayers.”



Three people are running to fill out a partial term for Courtland Township Supervisor, and one person is running unopposed for a trustee seat, also a partial term. Both end in 2020.

Mike Krygier

Mike Krygier, the current Courtland Township Supervisor, is running to retain his seat. He was appointed to the position when Chuck Porter retired earlier this year. He was born in Grand Rapids and graduated from Rockford High School in 1975. He was a manufacturing representative to Meijer for 25 years, and also held a real estate license specializing in farmland development. He has lived in Courtland Township 20 years. He and his wife Jackie have been married 39 years and have three grown children and 2 dogs.

Krygier said his main reason for running for office is because he has always been interested in local government, grassroots law at the base level, and working with the people. Besides his experience serving as Supervisor, he has been involved with the township for 12 years. He has served as a trustee; also served on the ZBA; Planning Commission; board of review; is a voting member for North Kent Sewer Authority; and a member of Grand Valley Metro Council.

He feels the main strength he brings to the position is communication. “Working and talking with people, listening to people. You deal with local issues and conflicts. My strength is being able to listen to both parties and come to a resolution,” he said.

What does he see as the major challenge facing Courtland Township? “Being primarily an agriculture community and also keeping a balance between subdivisions and agriculture. Keep it as green as we can, but realize we do have people coming in also.” 

Parks and rec is also high on his list. “One of my goals is to improve on our parks and recreation in the township with a possibility of a dog park. and connecting the White Pine Trail to our township parks,” he said.

Matt McConnon

Matt McConnon is also running for Courtland Township Supervisor. He is 46 years old, has been married for 22 years, and has four children. Two have graduated and two are in high school. He is a 20-year resident of Courtland Township and has served on the Planning Commission as well as being a Trustee. He works for Atkins Global as a contractor to MDOT in Grand Rapids.

McConnon said his main reason for running is that he currently serves as a trustee on the board and would like to take on a more active role in the leadership of Courtland Township. Besides his township experience, he also serves on the Board of Education for Cedar Springs Public Schools. “I have served on many different boards throughout my career. Some include Board Member for Michigan Association of Ambulance Services, Kent County Emergency Medical Services Executive Board and Deacon at Rockford Reformed Church.”

McConnon feels the main strength he brings to the position is leadership. “I bring leadership in policy making, finances, communication and collaboration. I am able to work with all people to develop strategies while taking several different views into account. I look for opportunities to gain input from the community in order to do what is best for Courtland Township.”

What does he feel is the major challenge facing Courtland Township? “Courtland Township has a large agricultural presence that I believe is important to maintain. Along with this, we have to look for ways to provide opportunities for growth both for commercial and residential. Growth will continue so we need to proactively look for ways to best accommodate this without losing our country living appeal. I also believe that we need to continually work on our infrastructure (roads and public utilities) to plan for this growth.”

Eric Smith

Eric Smith is also running for Courtland Township Supervisor. He is 44 years old and has lived in Courtland Township for 21 years. He grew up in Lowell, Michigan. He has been married for 16 years and has a 20-year-old son and a 15-year-old son who attends Cedar Springs High School. “I recently, after fighting Charcot disease for 6 years, had to have my left lower leg amputated, which has not stopped me from living my life. I have been self employed my whole adult life and have owned and operated Doowutchyalike Carts LLC locally for 13 years.”

Smith said that his main reason for running for office is communication. “I think that communication is key in all avenues of life and I think that we need more communication between the township and the citizens. We live in a digital era and I think we need to communicate better with Courtland Township residents. I also believe we need to preserve our agricultural base here in Courtland Township. I want to make sure our farming community stays here.”

He said transparency is the main strength he brings to the position. “I am a strong believer in the strength of transparency. By being more transparent, we can have more community involvement,” he said.

What does he see as the major challenge facing Courtland Township? “I would stop useless ordinances and regulations that hinder agricultural and economic growth in Courtland Township and redirect funds into fire and rescue and road repair.”

Michele Mojzuk is running to retain her seat as trustee on the Courtland Township board, where she has served approximately a year. She is 52 years old, and has lived in Courtland Township for approx 30 years. She grew up in Sparta. Mojzuk works for Charter Industries in Accounting, where she does Credit/Collections as well as Accounts Payable. She is married to Steve Mojzuk, current Fire Chief for Courtland Township. They have two daughters, Tara and Alexis.

Prior to becoming a Trustee on the board, she served as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals for Courtland Township. She is currently a member of the Myers Lake Improvement Association where her main responsibility is Weed Control Treatments.   

Mojzuk said the main strength she brings to the position is an open mind. “My main strength would be to keep an open mind during discussions regarding any changes affecting our Township. That being said, I do listen to the community’s comments and concerns regarding what they feel is best for the township.”

What does she see as the major challenge facing Courtland Township? “In the short time I have been on the board we have been faced with several challenges. The best thing I can do is educate myself on each situation so that we as a Township can work together to find a workable solution for those challenges.    That may involve researching what others have done in similar situations or maybe just group discussions to see how members of the township feel about those challenges.” 


There is one person running to fill a partial term for trustee in Spencer Township. The seat will expire in 2020.

Sharon Rasmussen Fasea

Sharon Rasmussen Fase is running for trustee in Spencer Township. Her family has lived in Spencer Township since 1870. She and her husband Ron live in the furthest northeast corner of the township on the Montcalm County border. While her degree is a Bachelor of Arts, she has been a Project Manager, first in Facilities and then IT, since 1991. “We have 4 horses, a dog and way too many cats,” she said.

What is her main reason for running for office? “I am running for Trustee to serve my neighbors and constituents. The large population tracts push their own agendas. Our local community has just as much value as urban areas. Our issues are important, too. My voice will represent OUR voice.”

Fase has served on the Spencer Township Zoning Board of Appeals since 2013. She  has also been an Eastern Star member since 1981. She is currently the secretary of Trufant Chapter #383. She is a member of PORT, the Pediatric Oncology Resource Team associated with the Devos Children’s Hospital, and is a member of the IT and Properties Committees of her church.

She feels the main strength she brings to the position is that of being a resourceful project manager for many years. “My job has been managing environments and change, reviewing risks and issues, maintaining strict control of budgets while listening to project owners and meeting their needs. I have excellent long-standing training and experience for this position.”

What does she see as the major challenge facing Spencer Township? “Our biggest challenge is accommodating population growth while maintaining our rural character. To manage this I will continue to weigh the benefits and challenges to find those changes that best support the goals of Spencer Township.”

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DNR seizes record amount of illegal crayfish

Michigan DNR conservation officers seized more than 2,000 pounds of live, illegal red swamp crayfish in 55 bags, the largest aquatic invasive species seizure by the DNR.

More than 2,000 pounds of live, illegal red swamp crayfish recently were seized by Department of Natural Resources conservation officers on July 13—the largest aquatic invasive species seizure by the Michigan DNR.

Growing from 4 to 7 inches in length, red swamp crayfish are dark red with bright red, raised spots on their claws and a black wedge-shaped tail that is a black or dark blue color underneath.

Red swamp crayfish are prohibited in both Michigan and Canada. They burrow and create shoreline erosion, creating instability. Additionally, they compete with native crayfish, reducing the amount of food and habitat available for amphibians, invertebrates and juvenile fish.

Conservation officers in St. Clair County were notified Friday, July 13, by U.S. Customs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when a commercial hauler transporting red swamp crayfish was denied entry into Canada and would be returning to Michigan. The commercial hauler was stopped by Canadian officials at the Sarnia, Canada, border crossing in an attempt to leave the United States.

“Our officers have great working relationships with professional law enforcement partners across the U.S. and Canada. This is a fine example of how important those relationships are in protecting Michigan’s natural resources,” said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division.

Assisted by customs officials, DNR conservation officers stopped the truck and obtained 55 bags of live crayfish. After interviewing the driver, the officers learned the truck originated from Canada and made stops in Maryland and Arkansas to pick up cargo prior to attempting its return to Canada. The driver did not have appropriate records, other than a few purchase receipts. DNR Law Enforcement Division’s Great Lakes Enforcement Unit is conducting further investigation. It currently is unknown if any stops or sales were made in Michigan.

The first concern regarding red swamp crayfish in Michigan was in 2013, when conservation officers learned the illegal crayfish was being used as bait in southwest Michigan. The first live infestations in Michigan were detected and reported in 2017. Confirmed infestations include locations in southeast Michigan.

Native in southeast states of the U.S., red swamp crayfish are the most widespread invasive crayfish in the world, and often are used in classrooms as teaching tools and at food festivities such as crayfish boils. Any possession of live red swamp crayfish in Michigan is illegal. The DNR is working to increase awareness and reporting of the illegal crayfish, in addition to removing infestations from confirmed locations.


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Genes and inheritance

By Ranger Steve Mueller


Some male and female organisms look nearly identical. It is not easy to recognize a male and female robin apart. Is it a boy or girl cottontail hopping through the yard? Plants like wild strawberries have both sexes in one flower while others like willows are either male or female plants.

Male and female American Goldfinches look very different in summer but by winter look quite similar. It is the outward appearance we notice. What is hidden from view is the genetics. We can observe the results but the secrets for how genes and inheritance help species survive in nature niches is an ongoing discovery process. 

DNA sequencing has become popular for tracing personal family origins and is a tool for solving cold case crimes. As an ecological tool, molecular analysis aids understanding the evolution of species. 

DNA and RNA analysis has provided great advances toward understanding origins of species. It has also revealed new difficulties to decipher. When I first encountered the Northern Blue butterfly in Michigan, I confused it with Karner Blue butterfly. The two are nearly identical twins in appearance. 

Mo Nielsen immediately told me I did not make a Karner Blue discovery in the Upper Peninsula when I reported one. He said there is no wild blue lupine there that the Karner Blue requires. He instructed me to look closely at the wing pattern to see if it was a Northern Blue. I was unfamiliar with the Northern Blue but that is what I found. It was a breeding colony that confirmed the species as a Michigan resident. The Michigan DNR nongame program provided a grant for me to conduct life history research for this new Michigan species. 

I was not involved with the molecular analysis, but it was found the Northern Blue showed a closer relationship with the Karner Blues genetically than with the Northern Blues of western North America. Outwardly, Michigan Northern Blues look more like Karner Blues than they look like western Northern Blues. 

As scientific abilities become more advanced, we find separation between species is more difficult to assess. We like to think species are distinct entities that are clearly separated. They are not. A key feature that helps define species separations is ecological nature niche adaptations. Species adapt to utilize different food plants and micro-habitats that result to speciation. 

Many species are cryptic. Physically they look alike but are ecologically and reproductively separated. They share habitat but have developed isolating survival strategies that are different from the parent species. Specific isolating adaptations create new species but interbreeding during the process complicates analysis. 

Yellow-shafted and Red-shafted Flickers (woodpeckers) were considered separate species. We planted trees across the Great Plains and the two got together. They mate and produce fertile offspring. The two are now lumped as one species called the Northern Flicker. Interestingly where they live together, the yellow and red do not readily interbreed. This has caused some ecologists to think they should be considered separate sibling species. Others think they are one species with two color forms that reduces interbreeding based on appearance. 

We experience the same difficulty among humans where Danes, Germans, French, Hispanics, and other races live together. Our genes are fully compatible. There was a time when people thought each race was a separate species but DNA sequencing indicates our genetic differences are superficial and too minor to separate humans as different species. The differences are primarily cultural. We are one species that developed different physical adaptations that helped us survive in various climatic conditions. Cultural isolation helped define our races.

Science is supported by physical evidence. It often conflicts with what we want or choose to believe. Our cultural background helps define our behavior. Like flickers, some people like Karen (Norwegian) and me (German) intermixed our genes while others choose to limit relationships to their race and cultural history. 

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 Off on Genes and inheritance



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