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Archive | September, 2019

First queen recalls pageant


The first Red Flannel Queen, Maxine Smith Townsend, tries on a pair of the red longjohns that made Cedar Springs famous. This photo was taken in 1939. 

This article is a partial reprint of an article that appeared in the Cedar Springs Clipper on October 4, 1977, 38 years after the first Red Flannel Festival.

Maxine Smith Townsend, the first Red Flannel Queen, lives quietly with her husband in nearby Rockford. 

Mrs. Townsend was 16 when she became Red Flannel Queen in 1939. A tiny 4-foot 10-inches, she appeared in the contest in a hunting outfit. Because of her small stature, she recalls, “I had a problem with those hunting clothes.” Fitting men’s hunting garb on a 4-foot 10-inch frame was far from easy she says.

“I remember looking at all of us in those hunting clothes,” Mrs. Townsend says, “and wondering how the judges could even tell us apart.” 

The next year Red Flannel Queen contestants appeared in long gowns.

In 1939, Mrs. Townsend says Cedar Springs businessmen picked a girl to sponsor as a contest entry. Selection, she says, was mainly based on interviews.

As Red Flannel Queen, she not only presided over the Red Flannel Day festivities, but also presented red flannels to Michigan Governor Lurel Dickinson, who passed them on to his legal advisor, Judge Emerson R. Boyles. Dickinson’s summation of red flannel underwear: “It itches.”

During the year she rode the Snow Train to Petoskey for the Winter Sports Festival. Cedar Springs residents had chartered a car, she recalls. At Petoskey, she presented red flannels to Snow Queen Adelyne Eustrom.

She has fond memories of the Clipper Girls, Nina Babcock and the late Grace Hamilton, credited with starting the Red Flannel celebration.

“The Clipper Girls were dolls,” Mrs. Townsend says, “just terrific.”

Many thanks to Leonard Cadwell for bringing in this issue of the Cedar Springs Clipper.

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Red Flannel to celebrate 80 years


By Judy Reed 

Warm days and chilly nights, football, leaves beginning to change color—it all can mean only one thing—fall is almost here and it’s Red Flannel Festival time again! And not only is it that time again, it’s a milestone year. It was exactly 80 years ago that our town celebrated the first ever Red Flannel Festival. To celebrate that, the Post will be running a few articles that are oldies but goodies over the next few weeks—articles that will give you some insight on what it was like way back then, and how it came to be. The first one we are running this week on page one—Memories of the first Red Flannel Queen.

In line with the 80th celebration is this year’s theme: Still going 80—celebrating 80 years! According to RFF president Nancy Deyman, Rose Powell came up with this year’s theme. Brynadette Powell created the initial rough draft design of the logo, and artist Doris Vinton created the final design. 

The fun once again covers two weekends: September 27-28, and September October 4-5.

There will be a Silent Light Parade on the evening of September 27 after the football game, and lots of fun activities on Saturday, September 28, including
Kids Zone day from 11 -2 in the Heart of Cedar Springs park with games, bounce houses, raffle tickets for purchase, etc.; a 5/10k run/walk; a chili cook off from 9-noon; and the Lumberjack Supper and Queen’s pageant in the evening. That’s right—the chili cook off is back! Read more about that and some of the other events in our Red Flannel Post. Download here RedFlannelPost3819.pdf

Things to know about Red Flannel Day: the Lumberjack Show is back again this year; the car show will be back downtown again this year using both sides of Elm St.; the Market Place has been moved this year to Church Street; and the Children’s parade will line up inside the Main Parade (it no longer will be in the beginning of the main parade). 

Red Flannel booklets have been distributed around town at area businesses, and keep watching the Post for more news and information and a complete schedule of upcoming events!

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School saves taxpayers $500,000 by refinancing bonds


On Tuesday, September 10, 2019, Cedar Springs Public Schools successfully refinanced its School Loan Revolving Fund (SLRF) Balance, and saved the taxpayers over $500,000 in interest payments.

The District received its “AA” rating on the Michigan School Loan Qualification Program and an “A+” underlying district rating from Standard and Poor’s. The underlying rating reflects the District’s stable economy and a strong market value per capita, coupled with access to the greater Grand Rapids area. Steady enrollment projections, two consecutive audited general fund surpluses and moderate debt with above-average amortization were also contributing factors.

The day of pricing saw stable market conditions. The bonds, which have a final maturity of November 1, 2026, attracted interest from multiple investors, which is a strong indication that the Board and Administration are responsibly managing the District’s finances. The Board of Education recognized the opportunity to save taxpayer dollars and took advantage of a great bond climate for issuers.  

“Many other districts throughout the state are now following our lead and taking advantage of the great rate climate and are refunding their SLRF balances,” explained Cedar Springs Schools Superintendent Scott Smith. “Our goal is to be good stewards of the dollars provided to us by local taxes. The community and School District should be very pleased with the results of the bond sale.”

The federally taxable 2019 bonds were refunded in the amount of $6,100,000 at a lower interest rate for seven years. 

“The School District was able to save over $504,000 in interest payments for our taxpayers with a new true interest rate of 2.18 percent. The SBLF current variable rate is 3.40 percent and has a minimum 3.00 percent interest rate for the fund. The difference between the SBLF rate and the new fixed true interest rate of 2.18% is the recognized savings,” explained Smith.

Smith added that as the District faces an upcoming bond proposal, it is important to note that Cedar Springs Public Schools is an attractive place for investors. “Responsible financial stewardship will serve Cedar Springs Public Schools well as it looks to enhance the facilities used by our students and community.”

If you have any questions related to the 2019 refunding, please contact Scott Smith, Superintendent, at 616-696-1204 ext. 1004 or via email at scott.smith@csredhawks.org.   

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The Post travels to Alaska


The Post traveled to Ketchikan, Alaska, with Arvid Kiander of Cedar Springs when he traveled there in August to visit his sister. Together with his son and daughter-in-law, Kevin & Shila Kiander, they traveled on an Alaska Marine Highway Ferry from Bellingham, Washington to Ketchikan, through the inner passage. 

It sounds like you had a great time! Thank you to the Kianders for taking us with you!

Are you going on vacation? Be sure to take along a printed edition of the Post and get someone to snap a photo of you or your family with it. Send it to us along with some info about your trip (where you went, who went along, what you saw) and send the photo and info to news@cedarspringspost.com. We will print as space allows. If you forget the Post, please do not photoshop it into a photo. Just take it with you next time!

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Taking a ride on the wild side


Just because you grow older doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the things you used to, or that you can’t dare to pursue a dream. The Sparta Senior Neighbors have been doing just that. 

The Sparta Senior Neighbors Center consists of seniors from all over Kent County, including Sparta, Rockford, Cedar Springs, Sand Lake, Kent City, and Comstock Park.  There is no cost for membership and all are welcome. The center offers meals, socialization, exercise, trips and parties for any senior citizen, with or without membership. 

“We are currently working through our bucket lists with enthusiasm and excitement,” said Jane Ringler, coordinator at the center. “We are attempting to fulfill dreams if possible; many of the older generation still envision living life to the fullest.”   

The most recent opportunity came on Friday, September 6, when Hal and Sharon Vandervoord and the Sparta Moose Lodge bikers gave their time to help seniors check off yet another item from their bucket list. The morning was filled with the roar of Harleys, music, fun, and laughter. Every senior, including those who came out to watch, had a great time.  

“Friendships are a big part of staying active and healthy,” said Ringler. “To feel young at heart and get encouragement from friends is exhilarating.” 

For anyone who may be interested in the quest for new adventures and working on their bucket list with friends, please stop by the Sparta Senior Neighbors Center at 100 Ida Red Ave, inside the Harvest Way building, in Sparta. They meet Mon-Fri 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and lunch is served at 11:30 a.m.

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Final Adopt-A-Highway cleanup of year starts Saturday


As summer gives way to fall, volunteers will soon fan out along Michigan state roadsides looking for trash during the year’s final Adopt-A-Highway pickup. Thousands of volunteers in the popular Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) program will be picking up litter from Saturday, Sept. 21, through Sunday, Sept. 29.

There are three scheduled Adopt-A-Highway pickups each year: one each in the spring, summer and fall. Volunteers in Michigan have been participating in the program since 1990. Every year, Adopt-A-Highway volunteers collect 65,000 to 70,000 bags of trash. The popular program has grown to involve nearly 2,800 groups cleaning 6,100 miles of highway.

Motorists should be on the lookout beginning Saturday for volunteers wearing high-visibility, yellow-green safety vests. MDOT provides free vests and trash bags, and arranges to haul away the trash.

Volunteers include members of civic groups, businesses and families. Crew-members have to be at least 12 years old and each group must include at least three people. Groups are asked to adopt a section of highway for at least two years. There is no fee to participate. Adopt-A-Highway signs bearing group names are posted along the stretches of adopted highway.

Sections of highway are available for adoption all over the state. Getting involved in the program is straightforward. Interested groups can get more information at www.Michigan.gov/AdoptAHighway.

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Recall: 5 lb bags Gold Medal unbleached all purpose flour


General Mills announced on September 16, 2019, a voluntary national recall of five-pound bags of its Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flour with a better if used by date of September 6, 2020. The recall is being issued for the potential presence of E. coli O26, which was discovered during sampling of the five-pound bag product. This recall is being issued out of an abundance of care, as General Mills has not received any direct consumer reports of confirmed illnesses related to this product.

This recall only affects this one date code of Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flour five-pound bags. All other types of Gold Medal Flour are not affected by this recall.

Consumers are asked to check their pantries and dispose of the product affected by this recall. Consumers who have had to discard products covered by this recall may contact General Mills Consumer Relations at 1-800-230-8103. or visit www.generalmills.com/flour.

Guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continues to warn that consumers should refrain from consuming any raw products made with flour. E. coli O26 is killed by heat through baking, frying, sautéing or boiling products made with flour. All surfaces, hands and utensils should be properly cleaned after contact with flour or dough.

This voluntary recall includes the following code date currently in stores or consumers’ pantries:

Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose 5LB Flour

Package UPC: 016000 196100

Recalled Better if Used by Date: 06SEP2020KC

Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can make you sick. E. coli O26 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. Seniors, the very young, and persons with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.

Any consumers concerned about an illness should contact a physician. Anyone diagnosed by a physician as having an illness related to E. coli O26 is also urged to contact state and local public health authorities.

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MDHHS reports four new cases of mosquito-borne disease


And two additional deaths in Southwest Michigan

photo credit: James Gathany CDC

LANSING, Mich. – State residents are being strongly advised by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to protect themselves from mosquito bites as four additional cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) have been confirmed in Southwest Michigan—including two that were fatal.

MDHHS is taking further action to protect the public health as the mosquito-borne disease remains a threat that has now resulted in seven confirmed human cases of EEE in Michigan with onset dates in July. The new cases expand the geographic area affected by human EEE cases to include Barry, Cass and Van Buren counties, along with previously identified cases in Kalamazoo and Berrien counties. Two of these additional cases, in Cass and Van Buren counties, were fatal, as was an earlier case in Kalamazoo County.

MDHHS is encouraging local officials in the five Southwest Michigan counties that have been impacted by human EEE cases and St. Joseph, Genesee and Lapeer counties–which have had animal EEE cases–to consider postponing, rescheduling or cancelling outdoor activities occurring at or after dusk, particularly activities that involve children. This would include events such as late evening sports practices or games or outdoor music practices.

The MDHHS recommendation is being made out of an abundance of caution to protect the public health and applies until the first hard frost of the year.

The Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department also issued a recommendation to local municipalities and schools to consider cancelling outdoor events or moving them inside if they are scheduled at or after dusk.

“Michigan is currently experiencing its worst Eastern Equine Encephalitis outbreak in more than a decade,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy

for health. “The ongoing cases reported in humans and animals and the severity of this disease illustrate the importance of taking precautions against mosquito bites.”

All Michigan residents can stay healthy by following these steps to avoid mosquito bites:

• Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-registered product to exposed skin or clothing, and always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.

• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.

•  Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.

• Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.

•  Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.

Infections can occur even when mosquito bite numbers are low.

EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33 percent fatality rate in people who become ill. People can be infected with EEE from the bite of a mosquito carrying the viruses. Persons younger than age 15 and over age 50 are at greatest risk of severe disease following infection.

Signs of EEE include the sudden onset of fever, chills, body and joint aches which can progress to a severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis. Permanent brain damage, coma and death may also occur in some cases.

Anyone experiencing these symptoms should visit their physician’s office.

In addition to the human cases, as of Sept. 16, nine cases of EEE in horses had been confirmed in Barry, Kalamazoo, Lapeer, and St. Joseph counties. None of the horses were vaccinated against EEE and all animals have died. There is an EEE vaccine available for horses, but not for people. Also, five deer in Barry, Cass, Genesee, Kalamazoo, and Van Buren counties have been confirmed with EEE infection and were euthanized due to the severity of their disease symptoms.

For more information about mosquito-borne diseases, visit Michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.

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Ban of flavored nicotine vaping products effective immediately


Retailers will have 14 days to comply with emergency rules

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Whitmer’s emergency rules banning flavored nicotine vaping products were released today. The flavored nicotine vaping ban was developed in response to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) finding of a public health emergency created by skyrocketing levels of youth vaping.

Michigan was the first state in the nation to announce a ban on the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products such as e-cigarettes. Whitmer announced her intention to issue these emergency rules Sept. 4, and they are effective immediately, although retailers and resellers—including online sellers—have 14 days to comply.

“I’m proud that Michigan has been a national leader in protecting our kids from the harmful effects of vaping,” Whitmer said. “For too long, companies have gotten our kids hooked on nicotine by marketing candy-flavored vaping products as safe. That ends today. This bold action will protect our kids and our overall public health.”

Following Whitmer’s announcement of the flavored vaping product ban, the White House followed Michigan’s lead with a call for similar actions by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to move forward with flavored nicotine vaping product bans and the New York plans have been approved.

The MDHHS Bureau of Health and Wellness filed the Protection of Youth from Nicotine Product Addiction Emergency Rules with the Secretary of State.

“Today’s filing is necessary to protect the public health,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health at MDHHS. “Youth vaping is a public health emergency and has been declared an epidemic by the U.S. surgeon general. Nicotine in e-cigarettes is harmful to developing brains and has dangerous long-term health consequences such as heart disease and cancer.”

The rules are effective for 180 days and can be extended for six months. MDHHS has also filed a Request for Rulemaking, which will allow the department to promulgate permanent rules to keep Michiganders safe from the harmful effects of addiction to nicotine.

On June 4, Whitmer signed Senate Bills 106 and 155, which prohibit the sale of ecigarettes and other non-traditional nicotine products to minors. In her signing message to the Legislature, the governor criticized the legislation for not going far enough to protect Michigan’s kids from nicotine addiction, calling the marketing, packaging, and taste of e-cigarettes a “bait-and-switch” engineered to “create new nicotine addicts.”

Nationwide, e-cigarette use among middle and high school students increased 900 percent from 2011-2015. From 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette use spiked 78 percent among high school students and 48 percent among middle school students. In 2018, more than 3.6 million U.S. kids, including 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students, were regular users.

The rules and other information about Michigan’s flavored e-cigarette ban can be found at www.michigan.gov/e-cigarettes.

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RICHARD JAMES FREY SR.


Richard James Frey Sr., age 86, of Sand Lake, passed away peacefully on Monday, September 16, 2019 with his loving family at his side. Born September 3, 1933, he learned the value of hard work helping with the family fruit orchards and dairy farm. He married Eleanor Patin on April 16, 1955 at St. Mary’s Parish in Sand Lake. They have two sons: Richard and David; and three daughters: Mary, Margaret, and Catherine. Richard served his country in the U.S. Army from 1955-1957, stationed in Fort Benning, GA and Colorado Springs, CO. He was a group leader at Rowe AMI in Grand Rapids, where he worked for 41 years. Richard was a true family man who was always there to love, support, and encourage his large family. He never missed a birthday or family function, and he rarely missed sporting events. His love for sports was undeniable as he cheered on all University of Michigan teams. True to his competitive nature, he played softball until age 80. In recent years he also enjoyed watching his sons’ softball games. He lived in Sand Lake his whole life but made friends everywhere he went. Richard joins his parents Harry and Blanche (Verberg) Frey; mother-in-law and father-in-law Aloysius and Dorothy (Rouse) Patin; sister Jean, brothers Donald (Betty), John, William (Evelyn), George; sister-in-law Vera Frey, brothers-in-law Eugene Smith, Rod Misner, and Clarence Miller. He is lovingly remembered by his wife of 64 years, Eleanor; siblings and siblings-in-law Robert, Maynard Smith, Rosemary (Patin) Frey, Mary Ann Misner and special friend John Cornell, Maxine (Frey) Miller, Jim and Sharon Frey, Dorothy Smith, Virginia Patin, Bernadette Thomas and Larry Deane, Mary Anne Patin; children Richard (Jennifer), Mary (Jeffrey Perrin) Frey, Margaret (Mark) Jackson, Catherine (Douglas) Huizinga, and David; grandchildren Michael (Jill), Theresa (Josh), Catherine (Ryan), Paul, Emily, Jennifer (Lester), Jeremy (Grace), Megan (Bryan), Christopher, Abigail, Ryker (Rosie), Rachel, Caleb; great-grandchildren Henry, Vivian, Donovan, Benjamin, Alayna, Catherine, Jana, Benjamin, and Caleb. He had countless very special nieces and nephews, cousins, friends, and neighbors. He will be missed by all. The family will greet friends Thursday from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where a Rosary will be prayed at 7:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday 11:00 a.m. at Mary Queen of Apostles, Sand Lake. Rev. Fr. Lam Le celebrant. Interment St. Mary’s Cemetery, Sand Lake. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of donor’s choice. 

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

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