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Archive | January, 2019

Cedar Springs Village life a century ago

The old Union High School, which sat up on the highest hill in town. It was razed in 1923. A mosaic of the school is in the entryway of our current high school.
This photo was from a vintage postcard posted at genealogyhound.com.

Contributed by Sharon Jett, Cedar Springs Historical Society

Picture our small town in 1890. Many of its dirt streets were lined with maple trees. We had wooden sidewalks and gas street lamps. From George and W.J. Hake’s blacksmith shop the sharp ringing sounds of hot iron being pounded into shape could be heard. They made cant hooks for the lumbermen’s use. Hardware stores, hotels, and a tavern or two lined each side of the street.

The three-story school sat high on a hill at the south end of town [where Hilltop is now]. An apple orchard behind the school was a great place to swipe a snack after school.

Mac Sellers, editor and publisher of the Cedar Springs Clipper, could be seen through the front window of the Clipper building. Mac’s large bowl of popcorn was kept warm on the pot-bellied stove. You were always expected to have some when you stopped in, as he was greatly insulted if you didn’t.

We had four churches at that time, their steeples standing tall. On Sunday morning you could hear their bells toll. When there was a death in the village, the bell would ring once for each year the person had lived. 

The sound made by the horse and wagon as it clattered and jingled down the street was common, and your watch could be set by the whistle of the trains passing through the village. Hitching posts and water troughs were found in front of most establishments.

The old-timers would gather around the pot-bellied stove in Black’s Busy Store and talk about the great fire of 1884. Black Friday, they called it. Forty acres in the heart of town turned to ash. Eight blocks of the finest businesses and homes were lost. They would all shake their heads and agree they would never forget Black Friday.

Hearing the train whistle in the distance, announcing the train’s approach, the old-timers easily recalled the early days when Cedar Springs was the end of the line. The sounding whistle was a call to all able men to come to the turntable at the end of the tracks. The engine would be disconnected from her cars, moved onto the turntable and all these men would push the turntable around to face the engine south again.

Business was good in the village of Cedar Springs. In 1883, we had nine doctors and five hotels, some with 20-30 rooms. One of these was the Union Hotel, whose register shows that Senator Horace Greeley and former President Ulysses S. Grant stayed there in 1878.

We had a music shop, sewing machine shop, barber shops, furniture stores, jewelry and clock shops, and shoe and boot shops. Everything you could ever need could be found in the Village of Cedar Springs. 

Social life revolved around school, church, family, and friends. Horse races were held often just south of town and many area people raised racing horses. A large fair was usually held after harvest. You could plan on games, livestock competition, a pie-baking contest, and photographers waiting to take your family photo.

Life was good in Cedar Springs.

You can get learn more about the history of Cedar Springs by purchasing a copy of The Making of a Town, A Historical Journey Through Cedar Springs, Michigan. The book is a collection of stories about the pioneering families and businesses they build along Main Street. The book was put together and published by the Cedar Springs Historical Society. You can pick one up at the museum at Morley Park on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Kent County Libraries join forces to increase student reading scores

All of the libraries in Kent County have teamed up with the Kent Intermediate School District and the Literacy Center of West Michigan to form Partners in Reading Success. The group is pleased to launch Mission Read, a reading program designed to help young and beginning readers pass new Michigan reading proficiency requirements. The mission is to read for 1,000 days before 6th grade.

Reading assessments conducted in 2016 show that only 46 percent of third-graders passed the English language arts exam. Of the 54 percent who did not pass, 25 percent were deemed “partially proficient” and 29 percent were “not proficient.” The strategy behind Mission Read is to help beginning readers develop a daily reading habit and improve reading proficiency.

“There’s an urgent need to help these kids,” explains Mark Raffler, English Language Arts Consultant at Kent Intermediate School District. “When kids love to read, everything else in school comes more easily and with greater effectiveness. The results of good reading habits carry throughout their schooling and into adult life.”   

The first objective of Mission Read is to help instill strong reading habits and improve overall reading assessment scores. Families with beginning readers (kindergarten through grade three) can sign up for Mission Read at Cedar Springs Public Library, Sparta Township Library, any Grand Rapids Public library location or any Kent District Library location. For every 100 days of reading, each participant will get a planet sticker. The 500-day prize is a book and the 1,000-day prize is a digital tablet reader.

The second objective of Mission Read is to help students with low reading assessment scores. When an in-school assessment identifies one or more of five specific reading skills that need improvement, the student and family are referred to their local public library. Public libraries throughout Kent County have curated books and activities aimed at strengthening these specific skills.

Mike Nassar, Director of the Community Literacy Initiative at the Literacy Center of West Michigan, said “Mission Read adds a new dimension to public libraries as a powerful resource for schools and, most importantly, for beginning and developing readers. This is precisely the type of collaboration that can help us move the needle for early literacy.”

Starting in the 2019-20 school year, students who are at least one grade level behind in reading by the end of third-grade will be held back, although superintendents have the option to grant exemptions in some instances. This new law is aimed at improving childhood literacy and is based on research showing that high literacy scores among third graders is a key predictor of student academic success.

Beginning in Kindergarten, all students are assessed three times per year to measure their reading progress. Students reading below grade level will have an Individual Reading Improvement Plan (IRIP) that must be provided by the teacher and shared with parents. The IRIP identifies up to five specific reading skills that may need improvement. These skills include phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. It also includes a “Read at Home Plan” to encourage reading support outside of school.

Third-grade students will be tested near the end of the school year with the M-STEP reading assessment. If their score is below the threshold, they may not advance to fourth grade.

To learn more about Mission Read, visit missionread.org. 

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Board of Ed selects officers, swears in trustee

Mistie Bowser was sworn in Monday, January 14, as a new trustee on the Cedar Springs Board of Education. Photo from csredhawks.org.

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education held their annual organizational meeting on Monday, January 14.

Newcomer Mistie Bowser was sworn in as a new trustee. Bowser is a perfect example that persistence pays off. She ran for the board in 2011 and 2016, and was defeated both times. She also applied for the interim positions that popped up throughout last year after several board members resigned but was not chosen. She decided to run again for a position in 2018, and was elected. 

The board also chose their officers for the year. President is Heidi Reed, Vice President is Matt Shoffner, Treasurer is Trent Gilmore, and Secretary is Traci Slager. Rounding out the board are trustees Jeff Rivard, Shannon Vanderhyde, and Bowser.

The remaining meeting dates for the 2018-19 school year are February 11, 25,* March 11, 25,* April 22, May 13, June 10, 24. *Dates are a work session.

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Grant woman named C10F Sea Sailor of the Year

by Petty Officer 2nd Class William Sykes, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. TENTH Fleet

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (NNS) – U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet (FCC/C10F) announced the 2018 Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year for C10F Jan. 11. 

190110-N-XK809-1113 WASHINGTON (Jan. 10, 2018) Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 1st Class Shastyn Nelson, from Grant, Mich., poses for a photo in the U.S. Navy Museum at the Washington Ship Yard. Nelson is U.S. 10th Fleet’s Sea Sailor of the Year. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William Sykes/Released)

At an award ceremony held in the FCC/C10F Fleet Operations Center at Fort George G. Meade, Md., Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 1st Class Shastyn Nelson, assigned to Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Georgia, was named the C10F Sea Sailor of the Year and Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 1st Class Anthony Kevan, assigned to NIOC Colorado, was named the C10F Shore Sailor of the Year. 

Also announced during the ceremony were the C10F Junior Sailors of the Year. Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 2nd Class Kayleen Stoeser, assigned to NIOC Georgia, was named the C10F Sea Junior Sailor of the Year and Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 2nd Class John Rapetti, assigned to NIOC Pensacola, was named the C10F Shore Junior Sailor of the Year.

Twelve Senior Sailor of the Year nominees from commands across C10F traveled to FCC where they participated in a final selection board for a chance to represent C10F as Sailor of the year. 

According to Command Master Chief Dee Allen, the command master chief of FCC and Sailor of the Year board member, Sailor of the Year boards are always difficult when you have a community full of outstanding Sailors.

“Selecting winners from this group of Sailors was very difficult since we had to choose from some of the highest performing Sailors in the U.S. Navy,” Allen said. “Each and every one of our Sailor of the Year candidates demonstrated sustained superior performance in support of our mission and has shown a dedication to our Navy that sets them apart. They have all earned the right to be here today.”

Allen said Petty Officers Nelson and Kevan epitomize the Navy’s core values and are clear leaders among their peers.

“What set these Petty officers apart was their confidence and ability to articulate their leadership vision and how they are able to make such a significant impact at their commands. I’m filled with pride to be in the Navy today and feel privileged to be able to recognize these Sailors,” Allen said. “They are an inspiration to me and fill me with great confidence that the future of the Information Warfare Community is in great hands.”

Nelson, a native of Grant, Mich., will travel to Suffolk, Va., to compete for the Naval Information Forces Sailor of the Year. She attributes her selection as Sailor of the Year to her mentors and fellow Sailors.

“My mentors have been my toughest critics and biggest supporters for many years,” said Nelson. “They helped me in becoming the Sailor I am today. Also, every single Sailor that I have had the privilege of serving with and working with or for; all their hard work inspires me to push harder. It was such an honor to be selected. My Sailors and I have worked extremely hard over the last year and I feel this selection is a direct reflection of that.” 

Kevan, from Merced, Calif., will compete in Washington to be named the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations Sailor of the Year. He views his selection as a way to set an example for others and to represent his command. 

“It is an absolute honor to be selected to represent C10F as Shore Sailor of the Year,” said Kevan. “I have had a remarkable opportunity to stand next to some of the best Sailors in the fleet which is a very humbling experience. These First Class Petty Officers display the best attributes in leadership and care deeply for the growth of their Sailors and continuing their development as fine Navy leaders.”

While at FCC, the Sailor of the Year candidates toured cultural and historic sites in the area as well as attending a social, hosted by Vice Adm. Timothy “T.J.” White, commander, FCC/C10F. 

“This whole week I have learned so much about naval history, had the great pleasure to meet different levels of leadership, and understand the bigger picture of why we do what we do,” said Nelson. 

“There are many ways the Navy recognizes its Sailors, but none more distinguished than the Sailor of the Year program. It is a time to bring together the very best Sailors our commands have to offer, show them our appreciation for their hard work over the past year, and publicly recognize their outstanding performance,” Allen said while reflecting on the week’s events.

Since its establishment, FCC/C10F has grown into an operational force composed of more than 14,000 Active and Reserve Sailors and civilians organized into 28 active commands, 40 Cyber Mission Force units, and 26 reserve commands around the globe. FCC serves as the Navy component command to U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Cyber Command, and the Navy’s Service Cryptologic Component commander under the National Security Agency/Central Security Service. C10F, the operational arm of FCC, executes its mission through a task force structure similar to other warfare commanders. In this role, C10F provides support of Navy and joint missions in cyber/networks, cryptologic/signals intelligence and space.

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Wolverine investigation town hall meeting postponed

Due to the federal government shutdown, the joint EPA and DEQ Wolverine town hall meeting, originally scheduled for January 23, 2019 at the Rockford High School, is postponed until further notice. This meeting will be rescheduled once EPA staff returns to work.

For more information on DEQ’s Wolverine House Street investigation visit the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) web site at www.michigan.gov/belmont. Additional information on EPA’s investigation can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/mi/wolverine-world-wide-tannery.

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District Courts of Kent County Celebrate 50th Anniversary

 “People’s Court” began operations in 1969

The District Courts of Kent County gathered last Friday, January 11, at the 63rd District Court to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Michigan’s district court system with past and current judges, community leaders and court employees. Kent County joined other district courts across Michigan in marking the milestone.

As required by the 1963 Constitution, legislation took effect on June 17, 1968, creating district courts and abolishing justices of the peace and circuit court commissioners. Today, the public has more contact with the district court than with any other court in the state and many people go to district court without an attorney.

“District court is known as the people’s court because thousands of people interact with this court each year,” said 63rd District Court Chief Judge Sara J. Smolenski. “Our court employees across the entire County are very proud of our service and we look forward to providing even better service in the years ahead.”

The district court has exclusive jurisdiction over all civil claims for damages up to $25,000, small claims (damages up to $6,000), landlord-tenant disputes, land contract disputes, and civil infractions. The court may also conduct marriages in a civil ceremony. Additionally, it handles a wide range of criminal proceedings, including most misdemeanors, for which the maximum possible penalty does not exceed one year in jail. These offenses include driving under the influence of intoxicants or on a suspended license, simple assault and shoplifting. Lastly, district courts also conduct preliminary examinations in felony cases, after which, if the prosecutor provides sufficient proofs, the felony case is transferred to the Circuit Court for arraignment and trial.

“I am happy today to recognize the achievements of the district courts and district court judges who have worked for 50 years in dealing with criminal and civil matters fairly and justly,” said Judge William G. Kelly (62-B Kentwood). “We look forward to the next 50 years.”

Additional historical information can be found on the Michigan District Judges Association 50th Anniversary page at https://courts.michigan.gov/Courts/trialcourts/Pages/District-Court-50th-Anniversary.aspx.

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Police still seek info on deadly house fire

Evelyn Ware

The Michigan State Police in Mt. Pleasant is still looking for information in regard to a deadly house fire that happened a year ago.

January 10, 2019, marked one year since the homicide of Evelyn Louise Ware, 79. She was discovered deceased beneath the rubble of a house fire at her home at 1487 Lakola Rd, Ellsworth Township, Lake County, Michigan.

The Lake County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Ms. Ware’s death a homicide. Detectives from the Michigan State Police (MSP) continue to investigate this case and encourage anyone with information to come forward. The information does not have to be firsthand knowledge of the crime, and any information, regardless of seeming importance, is requested. Remember, the information you possess could be the information investigators have been hoping to receive, and it could lead to a critical advancement in this case. 

There is still up to a $5,000 reward in place for anyone who contributes information that leads to an arrest in this case.

There are several ways to submit information. Tipsters can contact the MSP Mt. Pleasant Post at 989-773-5951. They can also contact the Cadillac Area Silent Observer at 231-779-9215 or 1-800-528-8234.  Tips can also be submitted through www.P3tips.com.

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January is National Radon Action Month

Test your home and protect your family

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is reminding homeowners that January is National Radon Action Month. This is an opportunity for all Michiganders to take steps towards protecting themselves and their families.

One in every four Michigan homes is expected to have radon levels that exceed the recommended federal action level. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that that cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted. It’s estimated that radon causes more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States, with more than 600 of those occurring in Michigan. In-house testing is the only way to know if residents of the home are at risk.

Testing is recommended every two years because as homes settle, new cracks form in the foundation, and radon levels can change. Accurate short-term radon testing requires closed house conditions, and the length of the testing period is a minimum of 48 hours. January is an ideal time to test.

If test results show radon levels at or above 4 picocuries per liter, a radon mitigation system can be installed. These systems capture radon gas before it enters the home and vents it outside.

During National Radon Action Month, the U.S. Surgeon General, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality urge homeowners to protect their health by testing for radon.

For more information about radon testing, mitigation, levels across the state, etc., visit http://www.michigan.gov/radon. For a free packet of information about radon, e-mail radon@michigan.gov, or call 1-800-RADON GAS (1-800-723-6642).

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Mary Jane “Janie” Harper, age 72, of Rockford, MI passed away on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at her home surrounded by her loving family. She was born April 9, 1946 to John and Evelyn (Shears) Nagelhout in Ensley Center, MI. She was a very devoted and dedicated mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. Janie was an excellent cook and loved to share her food with everyone. Surviving are her husband of 37 ½ years Darold Harper; children, Teresa (Tim) Boehm, Tanya (Rick) Sevey, Todd (Mary) Hall, Trever (Ann) Hall, Cathy (Scott) Hayden, Craig (Valerie) Harper, David Harper and Lori (Patrick) Bielecki; brother, John (Delores) Nagelhout; sister, Roxanne (Paul) Wilson; 23 grandchildren and 34 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents and sister and brother-in-law, Sharon and Harm Daling. The family will greet friends Friday from 4-7 p.m. and Saturday from 2 p.m. until time of service at 3:00 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastor Chuck Smith officiating. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Heartland Hospice.

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

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Michael Flanagin Sr., 73, of Cedar Springs, passed away on January 14, 2019 at his home. He was born on February 26, 1945, in Grand Haven, MI, the son of Dewain and Ella (Mason) Flanagin. Mike attended Alden Elementary School and Mancelona Public Schools until enlisting in the military. From 1962-1965 Mike served in the U.S. Army. In the 3 years in the military, one year was in Korea. While in Korea, he drove the mail carrier. He was also a marksman sharpshooter. Mike worked at the Sparta Foundry for 26 years and retired in 1991. Mike loved being outside and working on cars and was always willing to help his friends and neighbor’s. He enjoyed going to Mancelona, MI to spend time with his siblings and visiting with his lifelong friends, the Windish family. He loved spending time with his grandchildren and loved his family very much. Mike was always there for them when they needed him. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Sandra Flanagin (Brown); 4 children, Michael (Tina) Flanagin Jr., Daniel (Angie) Flanagin, Kimberly (Jim) Flanagin, Kristy (Bruce) Flanagin; 5 grandchildren, Michael Flanagin IV, Jason (Becka) Flanagin, Brittany Flanagin, Fawna Flanagin, John Dietz; great-grandson Michael Flanagin the 5th; brother Frank (Cindy) Flanagin, sister Esther Grody and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Dewain and Charles Flanagin, and two grandsons, Michael III and John Flanagin. Funeral services will take place on Saturday, January 19 at 12 noon at the Mancelona Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes with Pastor Ross Corne officiating. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. until the time of services on Saturday. Military honors will be held immediately following services at the funeral home. Burial will take place in Fairview Cemetery, Mancelona in the spring when weather permits. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Arrangements have been handled by the Mancelona Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes. Please visit his online guestbook www.mortensenfuneralhomes.com.

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