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Archive | April, 2019

Families flock to Easter Eggtravaganza

By Judy Reed

Kids had a great time hunting eggs at the Easter Egg Extravaganza. Photo by K. Mabie.

Laughter filled the air as kids scrambled over the lawns at Solon Center Wesleyan Church last Saturday, April 20, excitedly picking up colorful plastic Easter eggs filled with goodies. It was a beautiful day for the event, with over 650 people attending the church’s annual Easter Eggtravaganza.

Rachel (Reed) Hunt and her boys, Maverick, 2, and Atlas, 4, showing off their eggs. Photo by J. Reed.

According to Kathy Mabie, Administrative Assistant at Solon Center Wesleyan, located on Algoma Avenue, just north of 19 Mile Rd, they have always had an Easter Egg hunt, but in 2009 it changed to an Easter Eggtravaganza. This year was the biggest one yet, with 10,000 plastic eggs filled with candy. Last year they did about 7,500.

Over 50 volunteers manned the event, which featured three hunts, bounce houses, balloons, face painting, free hot dogs, chips, and water, the Solon Fire Department, Rockford Ambulance, Michigan State Police with fingerprinting, and more. The Kent County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit was scheduled to be there, but the dog had to work that day, explained Mabie. At the end of the hunt, they gave away two girls bikes and two boys bikes, several Easter baskets, and gift certificates.

Mabie said it wasn’t just the kids and parents that had a good time. Their volunteers had a blast working the hunt and interacting with everyone.

“We do this solely to serve our community and break down the barriers of people coming to church. We want to show the love of Christ to our community,” she remarked. 

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Civilian Response to Active Shooter event

By Judy Reed

“You never think it’s going to happen to you. But it’s going to happen again. It’s always someone else’s community, and then someone else’s community, until it’s not.”

Deputy Tom McCullough explaining what to do in an active shooter situation. Photo by J. Reed.

Those words, paraphrased from a video of a parent at Sandy Hook Elementary asking people to be ready and help it stop, were a stark reminder to those attending the CRASE event Tuesday evening at Cedar Springs High School that a shooting can take place anywhere, at any time. Another event will held tonight, Thursday, April 25 at 6 p.m.

School Resource Officer Deputy Tom McCullough, of the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, gave an informative presentation Tuesday evening outlining how people can prepare for a high stress event, such as a shooting or a fire. “It’s about having a plan. If you go into a place, and something bad happens, it’s about knowing ahead of time what you can do. It’s to educate you so you are empowered,” explained McCullough.

Between 2000 and 2014, there were 179 shootings in public places. 

McCullough also encouraged parents to talk to their kids and convince them to tell if they know anything. “Before all of these shootings, someone knew about it,” he said.

He instructed people to always look for the various exits when they go anywhere—every time. And if they hear or see something happening that shouldn’t be, to get out quickly. “If you hear a loud noise, don’t walk toward it to find out what it is,” he said. “You leave.”

He also told parents that if the school is in lockdown and a parent gets a call from their child about it, they should NOT go to the school. He explained that there would be cops from all over the county on scene quickly and that they are there to neutralize a threat, not apprehend someone. “And we don’t know who you are,” he remarked. He noted that there would be a reunification spot and that parents would be notified.

McCullough added that if you are ever in a situation or come up on a scene where there is an active shooter, to do exactly what the police tell you. “If they tell you to put your hands up, you put them up. If they tell you to get on the ground, you get on the ground.”

McCullough went through several video clips of various situations and the circumstances and talked about what people did and what people can do in such an event. But the main thing is having a plan, so you don’t freeze during an emergency. You need to plan to flee, and if you can’t, to fight. “Your life is not expendable,” he said. 

If you missed Tuesday’s event, there is an event tonight, Thursday, April 25 in the auditorium at Cedar Springs High School. If you cannot attend, the Kent County Sheriff’s Office has been offering other CRAS Events throughout the county. Check out the events on Facebook. You can also go to http://www.avoiddenydefend.org and watch a video about surviving an active shooter event.

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Woman killed in Courtland Twp crash

By Judy Reed

Three people were injured and a woman was killed in a crash in Courtland Township Monday.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred at the intersection of Tefft Ave and 13 Mile Road at about 6 p.m. Monday, April 22. Police said that Anne Van Dommelen, 68, of Rockford, was traveling south on Tefft in a 2016 Nissan Murano when she failed to stop at the stop sign at 13 Mile Rd and collided with a westbound 2006 Mercury Mountaineer driven by Bryan Russell, 44, of Cedar Springs. Traffic traveling on 13 Mile Rd does not stop at the intersection.

Anne Van Dommelen was pronounced dead at the scene.

Russell was transported to the hospital by ambulance with possible broken bones. His two passengers—Latrice Russell, 38, and Leland Russell, 9—also went to the hospital by ambulance with minor injuries.

 Assisting the Kent County Sheriff’s Office at the scene was Courtland Township Fire and Rescue, Rockford Ambulance, and Consumers Energy, due to a power pole being broken.

The crash is still under investigation.

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Getting from here to there

Spring into the past museum tour

This phone box from the early 1900s will be on display at the Cedar Springs Museum for the Spring into the past museum tour May 4 and 5. Photo by J. Reed.

How do you travel to get from here to there? Do you drive a car, take the bus, hop a train or fly? Perhaps you prefer walking or hiking or riding a bike? Or maybe you love to cruise the seas.

“Getting from Here to There” is the theme of this year’s Spring Into the Past tour of the Tri-River Historical Museum Network. The event will held May 4th and 5th and hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 on Sunday.

Each year the member museums and historical societies set aside the first weekend in May to be open the same days and hours for the convenience of their visitors. Located in Barry, Eaton, Kent, Ionia and Montcalm counties, they extend a warm invitation to bring the family to visit during this annual event.

Museums will display the travel theme in many unique ways, depending on their collections. Some may depict how their own pioneers came to settle their areas and even display the trunks that carried their belongings. Train or toy collections, photo displays, travel clothing and other exhibits may add flavor to show the life and history of their community. Information also travels from here to there, so look for communication exhibits like switchboards, telegraphs or mail delivery—and even telephones.

The Cedar Springs Historical Museum, located in Morley Park on Cedar Street, will feature a collection of communication devices and technology from the old telephone box with a hand crank (circa 1900) to the smart phone, and more. Volunteer Guy White will be setting up the display.

The covered bridge was a way to get from here to there across the river and is featured in the Averill Historical Museum in Ada, which has reopened after its expansion and renovation. The Flat River Historical Museum in Greenville is undergoing construction of a new ramp and entry, so may not be open due to safety concerns. However, the Fighting Falcon Military Museum nearby will be open, so keep Greenville on your list. Tri-River museums from Edmore to Eaton Rapids, Plainfield to Sunfield and parts in between encourage your visits. All are free, but welcome donations of appreciation for their efforts.

Booklets of information are available at each museum or can be found online at commoncorners.com. A handy map is included so you can plan the best route “Getting from Here to There” to visit several during this special weekend. 


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Act of kindness shines at Easter

Kerri Mayo, of the City of Cedar Springs, was happily surprised last weekend when her 8-year-old daughter received a letter in the mail from the Easter Bunny.

“I wanted to share a shining moment that happened over Easter weekend, which brightened a little girl’s day and kept the magic of childhood flourishing for just a while longer in her imagination,” she told the Post. 

Mayo said that last week her 8-year-old daughter Cassidy wrote a note to the Easter Bunny, put it into a small, pink envelope, and addressed it to “Easter Bunny, Bunny Lane.” As an afterthought, she scrawled her name and address at the bottom of the envelope. “Just in case,” Cassidy told her.

She then dropped it into her mailbox, without a stamp, for the postal carrier to pick up.

Mayo said that sometime Saturday a reply appeared. “It was on thick, white cardstock, and penned in a beautiful dark pink,” said Mayo. “There were tiny colored eggs drawn at top and bottom in a rainbow of sparkly inks. There was even a small bunny footprint next to the signature.” 

How the letter she sent made it to the Easter Bunny is a mystery, though. “You see, she’d addressed it Bunny Lane, but the return address on the reply said Bunny Trail,” explained Mayo.“I can only speculate that our wonderful post office staff spotted her mistake in the address, and corrected it for her to make sure her letter got to its destination. What a wonderful thing for them to do!” she said.

The girl was happy to receive the letter, and mom was delighted to see her daughter happy.

“Their efforts went above and beyond the requirements of their jobs, and for that this mom is truly thankful,” she said.

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Middle school student wins art award

Cedar Springs Middle School student Brendan Allan Marshall, 14, traveled to Adrian, Michigan on Saturday, April 13, where he was presented a Michigan Art Education Association (MAEA) award for placing in the top 100 middle school students in the state of Michigan for his artwork.

Brendan Marshall with his polygonal portrait of George Washington. Courtesy photo.

Brendan is the son of Rick and Laura Marshall, of Solon Township. He was one of five students chosen by art teacher Sarah Griesenger, at Cedar Springs Middle School, where he attends 8th grade.

His artwork was a polygonal (many angled) portrait of our first president, George Washington, done in colored pencil and sharpie.

Student artwork from across the state was presented to MAEA and judged by a panel of professionals. Those chosen went on display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum in February. The artwork chosen from that presentation continued on as part of a state traveling show.

As one of the state’s top finalists, Brendan was presented with his award and was able to attend a free workshop at the Adrian Center for the Arts. Keep up the good work, Brendan!

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Sheriff Deputy call is a scam

From the Kent County Sheriff’s Office

A scam we have seen before has resurfaced in Kent County. 

Just recently, two Kent County residents received phone calls from a person claiming to be a Kent County Sheriff Deputy. The alleged deputy informed the resident that their family member, who is a sex offender, is in violation of the Sex Offender Registry in some way and would be arrested unless a fine was paid. Both calls were made to senior citizens who did in fact have a family member on the Sex Offender Registry. A phone number was given to the senior citizens to call so they could “resolve the matter” and when the number was called it was answered by someone greeting the caller by saying “Kent County Sheriff’s Department.”

Residents should be advised that we will never solicit funds for this purpose, and law enforcement in general will never ask for payment in the form of a voucher, gift card, iTunes gift card, or prepaid credit card. Residents can call their local police to verify the employment of a person claiming to be a police officer, however, we suggest the resident either obtain or verify the police department’s phone number from a known, reputable source. 

If you receive a scam call like this you may call your local police non-emergency number to determine whether or not a report should be filed. If you live in the Kent County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction that number is 616-632-6100.

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Rockford man dies in pedestrian accident

A Rockford man died early Friday morning, April 19, after he was struck and killed by a vehicle on West River Drive near US131.

Brett David Riebschleger

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, they were dispatched to a “suspicious subject” call in the area of West River Drive and US131 about 3 a.m. April 19. The caller said a man was standing in the roadway.

Just before deputies arrived, they received another call that said a pedestrian in the roadway had been struck by vehicle. 

The pedestrian, identified as Brett David Riebschleger, 20, of Rockford, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The driver of the vehicle, Justin Montgomery, 33, of Belmont, suffered a minor injury and was treated at the scene.

Assisting at the scene was Plainfield Fire, Life Ambulance, and the Michigan State Police. They don’t believe alcohol or drugs to be a factor in the crash.

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Woman injured in crash in Reynolds Twp

A Fenwick woman was seriously injured early Thursday morning when she hit a tree in Reynolds Township.

courtesy photo

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office, they responded to a report of a single vehicle personal injury crash on Federal Road near Cutler Road in Reynolds Township at approximately 12:03 a.m. on Thursday, April 18, 2019.

The investigation revealed that a 2007 Chrysler Crossfire was travelling northbound on Federal Road when it left the roadway and struck a tree. The driver of the vehicle, a 56-year-old Fenwick woman, was pinned in her vehicle. The jaws of life were used to extricate the driver from the vehicle. Aero Med flew her to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital with serious injuries. Police said the driver was wearing her seat belt and that high speed was a factor in the crash. 

Deputies were assisted by Montcalm County Emergency Services, Howard City Fire, Morely-Stanwood Fire, Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office Posse, Michigan State Police, Montcalm County Central Dispatch and Aeromed.

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Fire Safety

City Hall Corner |
By Mike Womack, Cedar Springs City Manager

Monday’s Red Flag Fire Warning from the National Weather Service and our subsequent burn ban in the City are stark reminders that burning and campfires can be dangerous if safe fire practices are not observed. 

The City of Cedar Springs allows fire and open flames to be used outdoors for things like cooking, heating and entertainment. The City does have some requirements such as the fire must be 25 feet from a structure on a neighbor’s property and at least 8 feet from any part of a structure on your property. Fires may be up to 9 square feet and may only burn natural gas/propane, charcoal or clean natural wood not garbage, glue, plastic or yard waste. Fire-pits must be in a device designed to be enclosed with a cover that can be securely fastened like a spark screen. All fires shall be monitored by an adult with ready access to a hose or fire extinguisher and only between hours of 7 a.m. and 11:59 p.m.  

For the complete fire safety rules, or if you have any fire safety related question, please check out the Fire Department page on the City of Cedar Springs website or you can call the fire department at 616-696-1221. If you are requesting a burn permit, please call a few days ahead of time.  

In 2018, the fire department responded to 22 house or building fires, 18 grass or rubbish fires, and 31 fire alarms. Following the fire safety rules can reduce those response numbers where people and property are put in danger.

Violations of the City’s fire ordinances may result in a warning, extinguishment of the fire, municipal fines, cost recovery, injunctive relief or other remedies.

The Fire Department still has free smoke detectors available for senior citizens and some low-income residents. Please call to see if you are eligible.


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