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Archive | September, 2018

Mackinac Center applauds Gov. Snyder’s “outside the box” reforms

 

Reforms make it easier for those with criminal records to gain employment 

 MIDLAND — Gov. Rick Snyder issued an executive order September 7 making it easier for people with criminal backgrounds to earn a second chance at gainful employment. Applicants for state employment and people seeking an occupational license will no longer be disqualified just because they have a criminal record. Also, people enrolled in job training programs while incarcerated will know upfront if their background prevents them from obtaining certain employment, and the state will help them get licensed if they need to.

Removing barriers to employment for people with criminal records—which is a large and growing demographic—benefits the public in multiple ways. Research has shown that employment is a key factor influencing someone’s probability to reoffend. Employed ex-offenders are much less likely to commit new crimes, improving public safety. Further, removing these barriers for ex-offenders may help Michigan employers find the talent they need.

More than 20 percent of Michigan jobs now require a state license, which mandates fees, training, exams and more. The vast majority of these licenses, prior to Gov. Snyder’s executive order, restricted people with criminal backgrounds from working legally in these fields. This disproportionately impacts blue-collar workers and those with trade skills, including roofers, painters, cosmetologists, barbers, security guards and many other jobs in high-demand fields.

“A past mistake should not prevent someone from being able to shampoo hair or put up gutters for a living. But that was the reality,” said Jarrett Skorup, director of marketing and communications at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “This is a great move by Gov. Snyder that will help ex-offenders, job creators and the rest of society.”

As a result of these orders, the Michigan Department of Corrections will ensure that prisoners meet the licensing requirements prior to enrolling in job-training programs, like Vocational Village. As part of this reform, additional trades will be taught at Vocational Village.

Kahryn Riley, director of the Mackinac Center’s criminal justice initiative, sees these changes as transformational for former offenders, and a significant step forward for Michigan in the national effort to get smart on crime.

“Michigan’s government has done a great thing by banning the box for state employment—and it has set a great example.” Riley said. “Our state courts hand out nearly 50,000 felony convictions every year, so it’s incredibly important to ensure that people who have made mistakes can still find work and become contributing members of society. This could also be a game-changer for trades facing labor shortages.”

About the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonpartisan, free-market think tank dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Michigan residents. Its policy experts develop solutions to state and local economic policy challenges based on fundamental principles of free markets, individual liberty, limited government and the rule of law. Headquartered in Midland, Mich., the Mackinac Center has grown into one of the nation’s largest state-based think tanks since its founding in 1987. For more information, visit www.mackinac.org.

Posted in Voices and ViewsComments (0)

Red Hawks quash Northview pass attack in 26-10 victory

Cedar Springs’ Sage Serbenta rushed for 200 yards in the win over Northview last Friday.
Photo by Kelly and Rob LaLone.

Red Hawk offense gains 300 yards rushing

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks Varsity Football team kept their winning streak against Northview alive Friday night, September 7, defeating them 26-10 in their sixth straight victory against the Wildcats. But the Red Hawks did more than that—they limited the Wildcats to only 10 points, something the two previous teams Northview faced couldn’t do.

The Wildcats had scored 68 points in their 68-47 win over Comstock Park, and 36 points in their 43-36 loss to Jenison. But Cedar Springs stood up to the pass and didn’t allow them to get an edge.

“Our defensive coaching staff did a great job with the game plan and our kids really executed it on Friday night,” said Red Hawk Coach Gus Kapolka. “I thought we tackled well against a dangerously explosive team in the open field, and limited their opportunities. Our special teams were key as well with a blocked punt to set up a score, as well as a blocked field goal.”

Northview attempted to score first with a field goal with 6:04 left in the first quarter but it was blocked by Cedar Springs. The first score of the game came in the second quarter, with 11:35 remaining, when Cedar Springs running back Sage Serbenta ran for a 60-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion was no good.

Northview attempted a second field goal with 9:55 left in the second quarter and the 31-yard kick by Chris Mendez was good this time. The score was now 6-3.

Cedar Springs scored again with 4:55 left in the quarter when Sage Serbenta ran for a 15-yard touchdown. The two point conversion was no good, leaving the score 12-3. But the Red Hawks came back and scored again when Ryan Ringler ran for a 12-yard touchdown with 57 seconds left in the quarter. The two-point conversion was no good, and the quarter ended with a score of 18-3, Cedar Springs.

Northview scored again in the third quarter, when Jalen Williams ran for a 10-yard touchdown with 6:01 left. The extra point was good, making the score 18-10.

Cedar Springs put one more nail in the coffin with 3:07 left in the fourth quarter, when Ryan Ringler scored again with a 5-yard run. They scored two more points when Kolby Swank ran the ball in to get the two-point conversion. Final score Cedar Springs 26, Northview 10.

Overall, Cedar Springs had 301 yards rushing (but lost 15 on penalties), with Sage Serbenta getting 203. “Sage is new to our program, but he has picked up our offense quickly,” remarked Kapolka. “He has great speed and vision when running the ball, and our offensive line did a good job opening up space for him.”

Other rushing leaders included Ryan Ringler with 43 yards, Ethan West with 30, Lucas Pienton with 15, and Ben Shaw with 9.

Defensively, Ryan Ringler led in tackles with 9; Landon Totten had 7; Graham Bayink 6; Lucas Pienton and Sage Serbenta each had five. 

Cedar Springs is 1-0 in conference and 2-1 overall. They will host Greenville (also 1-0 in conference, 1-2 overall) this Friday, September 14, at Red Hawk Stadium. The Hawk’s Nest spirit theme is a blackout. Dress in black and come on out and cheer on your Red Hawks!

Posted in Featured, SportsComments (0)

Boys cross country win first conference meet 

 

Cedar Springs girls pushing through the heat at Lowell.

From L to R: Corey Bowers, Jaydon Moleski, and Dilan Sargent running at Lowell.

Girls take sixth

The stifling heat didn’t keep the Cedar Springs Boys Cross Country team from winning the first OK White conference meet on Wednesday, September 5, at Lowell High School.

The team went 1-3-4-12-15 for a team score of 35 points. It was a close race between Cedar Springs and Forest Hills Central, who took 2nd with 42 points. Scoring for the Red Hawks were Corey Bowers, Dilan Sargent, Jaydon Moleski, Gavin Braciak, and Austin Mann.

“Everyone ran great today. We knew the times weren’t going to be fast, but Lowell’s course is probably the toughest we will see all season, and when you consider that along with the heat today I thought everyone ran admirably. I told the team pre-race that more than times I just wanted to see them racing hard out there and competing for spots. Every point matters in meets like these and I was glad to see that kind of fight from everyone,” said Coach Lacy.

The lady Red Hawks had a sixth place finish for their first conference meet.  Scoring for the girls was Maggie Prins, Jill Detweiler, Ally Ladd, Marjorie Hosking, and Isabel VanDusen.  

“The girls ran so well despite the weather. I’m proud of them for fighting through the tough elements. This was the first conference meet and we have some work to do but with it being so hot and the course so challenging I’m proud of the girls for helping each other out and working together to do the best they could,” said Coach Stressman.

The Cedar Springs Cross Country team traveled to the Central Montcalm Hornet Invite on Saturday, September 8, where several members of the team walked away with a season best or a lifetime personal best time. Several also walked away with hardware for their efforts of placing in the top 25 of their race. This meet was different from traditional meets as each runner competed only against his/her grade instead of as a team.

Leading off for the girls was senior Carolanne Merlington, who finished with a time of 28:07 placing 21st. Juniors Jill Detweiler and Tonya Tepin placed 10th and 14th respectively in their race with times of 24:26 and 25:11. Next the sophomores took to the course where Maggie Prins placed 6th with a time of 22:43, followed by Marjorie Hosking 13th (24:41), and Antonia Eigemann coming in not far behind at the 15th spot (25:11). Next for the lady Red Hawks was Paige Marsman securing a medal at the 22nd spot with a time of 26:03. Hannah Helton ran her season best with a time of 37:57 placing 31st. Each of the freshman girls medaled and got personal best times. These ladies included Isabel VanDusen (23:35, 6th), Lily Howland (24:32, 11th), Ally Ladd (25:08, 15th), Madison Golliver (25:31, 17th), Julia Peckover (26:04, 20th), and Emily Caldwell (26:39, 21st).

“This meet was fun to watch and coach. The girls are going to do great things as the season progresses. We’ve just got to keep working hard and doing the little things that makes us better,” said Coach Stressman.

For the boys, the three juniors on the team finished in the top six of their race. These individuals included Dilan Sargent (17:08, 2nd), Jaydon Moleski (17:13, 3rd), and Gavin Braciak (17:50, 6th). Each sophomore came away with season or personal best times and included Corey Bowers (16:40, 1st), Austin Mann (18:09, 7th), Alex Nylaan (20:21, 24th), Sam Kleynenberg (20:39, 27th), Caleb Menefee (20:50, 30th), Justin Voskuil (20:52, 31st), and Logan Douglas (21:03, 34th). Each of the freshman boys medaled and came away with some personal records as well. These boys included Carter Moleski (19:06, 4th), Gabe White (19:57, 9th), Cayden Steinebach (20:03, 10th), Gabe Minnich (20:58, 17th), and Trenton Murphy (21:41, 22nd).

“We were very grateful to finally get some cool temps to race in, and the boys did not disappoint. We had members of our team at the front of the pack in each grade level race, and nearly every member of the boys’ team came away with season best times. We have a lot of work to do yet, but this was a big step forward in achieving the goals that we have set for ourselves this season,” said Coach Lacy.

The team travels next to the Sparta Invite on September 15.

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Be the Referee

By Mark Uyl, Asst. Director, MHSAA

You make the call: face guarding

Let’s check out your knowledge of high school football rules with a you make the call. The quarterback drops back to pass and his intended receiver gets a step on the cornerback. As the ball approaches the receiver, the defensive player sticks his hands and arms out in front of the receiver’s face without contact. The receiver loses sight of the ball, and the pass falls to the ground. What’s the call?

A national high school playing rule instituted last year removed the  penalty for face guarding without contact. The change brought high school football rules in line with collegiate and professional rules.

The pass is incomplete and there is no flag for defensive pass interference.

Be the Referee is a weekly message from the Michigan High School Athletics Association that is designed to help educate people on the rules in different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.

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Preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species

Boaters and anglers who use their equipment in multiple bodies of water without properly cleaning it, easily spread many aquatic invasive species’ non-native plants and animals that can disrupt the natural ecosystem, tourism and the economy.

As part of efforts to manage aquatic invasive species, a habitat enhancement project at Fort Custer Recreation Area in Augusta, Michigan, recently kicked off. The DNR is working with Kieser & Associates, an environmental science and engineering firm in Kalamazoo, on a plan to enhance the recreation area’s habitat by managing aquatic invasive species in its lakes. The project is funded through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment as part of the settlement levied against Enbridge Energy in connection with the July 2010 oil release on Line 6B into the Kalamazoo River.

In addition to aquatic plant surveys, which have found invasive species in all of Fort Custer’s lakes, the three-year project will include several different treatments to control these species. This will help determine the best long-term, cost-effective options for invasive species management in the lakes. The project also involves a public outreach and educational component to help park visitors understand their role in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

You can help by following these simple steps:

  • Clean boats, trailers and equipment.
  • Drain live wells, bilges and all water from boats.
  • Dry boats and equipment.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Learn more about preventing the spread of invasive species at michigan.gov/invasives.

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Michigan extends “Do not eat” fish advisory for Huron River to Lake Erie 

 

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recently issued an expanded “Do not eat” fish advisory for all fish in the Huron River in Livingston, Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne, and Monroe Counties. The original advisory was issued on August 4, 2018. 

The “Do not eat” advisory for the Huron River starts where N. Wixom Road crosses in Oakland County and extends downstream to the mouth of the Huron River as it enters Lake Erie in Wayne County. This includes: 

  • Norton Creek (Oakland County) 
  • Hubbell Pond, also known as Mill Pond (Oakland County) 
  • Kent Lake (Oakland County) 
  • Ore Lake (Livingston County) 
  • Strawberry & Zukey Lake (Livingston County) 
  • Gallagher Lake (Livingston County) 
  • Loon Lake (Livingston County) 
  • Whitewood Lakes (Livingston County) 
  • Base Line & Portage Lakes (Livingston/Washtenaw County line) 
  • Barton Pond (Washtenaw County) 
  • Geddes Pond (Washtenaw County) 
  • Argo Pond (Washtenaw County) 
  • Ford Lake (Washtenaw County) 
  • Bellville Lake (Wayne County) 

This extension is a result of new perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) fish data from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Base Line Lake and Argo Pond fish fillet data, downsteam from Kent Lake, were found to have high PFOS levels. Additionally, high PFOS surface water levels were found upstream of Kent Lake. 

Touching the fish or water and swimming in these water bodies is not considered a health concern as PFAS do not move easily through the skin. An occasional swallow of river or lake water is also not considered a health concern. 

For current guidelines relating to PFAS fish contamination, visit Michigan.gov/pfasresponse. For more information about the Eat Safe Fish guidelines, visit Michigan.gov/eatsafefish. 

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Window view

 

Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

As evening settled in, I knelt like a kid on the couch and drifted into the wild outside my window. The sun had set but dusk lingered. A large cluster of fleabane flowers decorated the view. Most gardeners would have long removed the plant in favor of something more glamorous. It is my joy to have the fleabane. I should have spent part of the day watching its flowers to meet its visitors. 

Instead of a manicured lawn, the yard is an unkempt marvel of plants and animals. A bird feeder brings visitors that brighten the day. A handful of common species keeps me company. For the serious birder, travel is required to see species other than the common place. I am a common place person with common place birds. It is a pleasure to see the more unusual birds or even common birds like the Gray Catbird that remain in the thickets at yard’s edge. The catbird watches me from thickets as I take daily walks. It often mews or calls a variety of sweet melodies. It has now retreated for the night and is not heard or seen from my window view.

Ragweed populates bare ground around the feeders with blooms that most would not consider flowers. Nondescript flowers producing pollen remain hidden in plain sight as tiny green bumps. Those bumps release massive quantities of minute pollen that irritate the sinuses of untold numbers of people and animals. They will be cut or pulled tomorrow when the sun rises and I make a futile attempt to reduce their “hay fever” effect. 

People tend to blame beautiful goldenrod flowers as the “hay fever” culprit. Its pollen is too large and heavy to be carried far from the parent and seldom enters our sinuses. It falls rapidly to the ground. Insects are required to carry its pollen from one plant to another. 

A large ash tree killed by the emerald ash borers, stands just far enough from the house that it should not cause home damage when it falls. Other ashes whose cambium was destroyed by the beetle grubs have begun to fall. They crumble piecemeal with branches breaking and falling before the main trunk crashes. It has surprised me that the trees are falling so soon after being killed. Other species like elms and cherries stand for long periods after succumbing to age or disease.

A Ruby-throated Hummingbird has a couple favorite perches on the dead ash’s branches. The skeleton stands tall above the butterfly garden and provides an ideal location for the hummer to guard the sugar water feeder and nectar flowers. 

My mind has drifted with the sights and sounds of the outdoors without leaving my reading and writing room. The surrounding abundance of life in view from my window offers contentment. Night has crept over the yard. Black-horned tree crickets are trilling their best tunes to call mates in their nature niche. 

A welcome rain dampened the landscape after weeks of dryness. Plants stood stoic during the drought. Their leaves stayed green and coiled in the dryness waiting for a needed drink. Several times I have witnessed the plants response to welcome water after dry conditions. Within a day of roots capturing as much liquid as possible, some leaves and branches turn dead brown while others revive. This occurred with the arrowwood viburnum this week. The plant will live but not all leaves or branches. 

I have never understood the reaction. It appears the plant maintains the appearance of life for all its green leaves until it finally has a drink. Then it rapidly sends vital fluid to leaves able to survive but not to those too desiccated. Those almost instantly turn brown and will be discarded. Plants are resilient. They only keep parts that can be sustained.

From my kneeling perch on the couch, I turned and sat like a proper adult to contemplate the wonders of nature surrounding the house. 

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.

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Red Green back in 2019 with brand new show

“This could be it!” April 3 at DeVos Hall

The name says it all. Potentially Red’s last tour as he heads out on the road to hold Lodge Meetings all over North America. It might be your last opportunity to catch Red live (or as live as he gets) before he takes a long look at his birth certificate and decides not to keep pushing his luck. 

This latest one man show features some brand new handyman projects, advice to married guys and teenage boys, tips on getting old, an apology to the world on behalf of all baby boomers, special contributions from Harold and a couple of other cast members, talking animals, and a final wish from Red to all of his loyal fans. 

The “This Could Be It!” tour comes to Grand Rapids on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 at 7 p.m. in SMG-managed DeVos Performance Hall. You won’t want to miss this show. It may not be his last but why take the chance? 

Tickets went on sale to the general public Thursday, September 6. Tickets will be available at the DeVos Place® and Van Andel Arena® box offices, online at Ticketmaster.com, and charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000. See Ticketmaster.com for all current pricing and availability.

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, FeaturedComments (0)

Read to Ride

 

Red Flannel Day is just around the corner on Saturday, October 6. PreK through 8th Graders, are you ready to take “The Red-Reading Challenge?” Our Community’s annual Read-to-Ride program has officially started! You have until October 5 at 6 p.m. to get your (6) hours of reading done and cashed-in at the Cedar Springs Public Library. At that time you will receive your free red ticket to ride a Carnival Ride with Elliott’s Amusements on Friday night, October 5 from 5-9 p.m. or Red Flannel Saturday until 5 p.m. You have all of September, plus five October days, to accomplish this easy-to-do goal. Hurry, there are a limited number of tickets printed each year.

Elliott’s Amusements has been Cedar Springs’ valued reading partner for 12 years now. Michele Andres, former Red Flannel President, pitched the idea to Deb Elliott and the Cedar Springs Library in 2006, and it has been an annual event ever since. We are carrying this tradition forward!  

Red-Reading Logs are available at the Library and online at cedarspringslibrary.org, cityofcedarsprings.org, redflannelfestival.org, and at solontwp.org. Our community sponsors of this year’s Read-to-Ride Program are Clint and Pam Conley, in memory of Pam’s father, Robert Medford. 

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, NewsComments (0)

What did you say?

 

A farmer walked into an attorney’s office wanting to file for a divorce. The attorney asked, “May I help you?” 

The farmer said, “ I want to get one of those dayvorces.” 

“Do you have any grounds?” asked the attorney.

“Yeah, I got about 140 acres.” 

“I mean do you have a case?” 

“No, I don’t have a Case, but I have a John Deere,” replied the farmer.

 “No you don’t understand,” said the attorney. “I mean do you have a grudge?” 

 The farmer smiled. “Yeah I got a grudge. That’s where I park my John Deere.” 

“No sir, I mean do you have a suit?” 

“Yes sir, I got a suit. I wear it to church on Sundays.” 

“Well sir, does your wife beat you up or anything?” asked the attorney.

“No sir, we both get up about 4:30.” 

“Okay, let me put it this way. WHY DO YOU WANT A DIVORCE?” 

The farmer shook his head. “Well, I can never have a meaningful conversation with her.”

Posted in Joke of the WeekComments (0)

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