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Archive | October, 2019

OK White conference champions!


The Cedar Springs boys cross country are OK White champs two years in a row

The OK White Cross Country Conference Champions. Courtesy photo.

The course conditions were not ideal and neither was the weather for racing but that did not stop the Cedar Springs boys cross country team from bringing home their second consecutive OK White Conference championship. The team finished first out of six teams scoring 35 points at the OK White Conference meet at Riverside Park last Wednesday, October 16.

Scoring for the Red Hawks was Corey Bowers who placed 1st (16:27), Daniel Vermulm 6th (17:01), Jaydon Moleski 8th (17:03), Dilan Sargent 9th (17:06), and Gavin Braciak placing 11th (17:10) .  Rounding out the varsity squad were Austin Mann 19th (17:31) and Gabe White 32nd (17:59) with Carter Moleski right behind in the 34th spot (18:01). Individuals earning All Conference included Bowers, Vermulm, Moleski, and Sargent with Braciak earning All Conference honorable mention. 

 “One of this team’s biggest strengths is their grit and competitiveness,” said Coach Justin Jones. “The weather was cold, rainy, and windy and the course was very muddy.  We weathered the storm and came away with another OK White Conference Championship trophy to bring home to Cedar Springs.” 

 The JV boys finished out their season strong at the Late Season Warrior Invite held at Chippewa Hills on October 19.  The team finished in 3rd place against eight varsity teams and were just 4 points off from snagging a trophy from those varsity squads. 

Gabe White crushed the race finishing 3rd in a time of 17:41 earning himself a new lifetime personal best.  Cayden Steinebach also earned a new lifetime PR of 18:05 and finished 13th.  Next were Espen Wood (15th, 18:13) and Clayton Akerman (19th,18:29).  Ben Mallory hit yet another personal best finishing 22nd in a time of 18:45.  Eli Malon was only a few seconds off his lifetime PR running an 18:49 and finishing 23rd.  Caleb Menefee (24th) and Justin Voskuil (26th) broke their way into the 18s both earning lifetime personal bests with times of 18:53 and 18:59 respectively.  Gabe Minnich placed 36th (20:09), Connor Skelonc (47th) 20:38, Jonathan Reed (62nd) 22:25, and Matthew McQueen (64th) 22:45) rounded out the Red Hawks. 

 “This is one of the toughest courses we see all season. In the last meet for our JV boys, they were determined to finish the season on a high note. We saw many PRs and some of the best races I’ve seen from them all year. We bested many strong varsity teams today as well which is always a highlight for a JV squad.  This was only the beginning for this talented young group and the future of CSXC is bright,” said Coach Jones.

The team will travel to Benzie Central High School on Saturday, October 26, to compete in the Division 1, Region 1, regional meet.

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Cedar Springs man killed in crash

The Michigan State Police released the name today of the 24-year-old Cedar Springs man that died early Wednesday in a single-vehicle crash on US131.

According to Spl/Lt. David Cope, troopers from the Rockford Post are investigating the crash that occurred about 3:30 a.m. October 23 on northbound US131, north of 14 Mile Rd in Algoma Township. They said that Patrick Alan Ream, 24, from Cedar Springs, was traveling north when he lost control of his pickup truck, and ran off the road and into the median, where he hit several trees.

AeroMed flew the driver, who was the only occupant of the vehicle, from the scene to Spectrum-Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids due to his serious injuries. He later died at the hospital. 

The incident remains under investigation. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.

The State Police were assisted on scene by the Kent County Sheriff Department, and Algoma Township Fire Department.

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City to hold public forum on marijuana businesses

A person weighing out marijuana. Photo by Get Budding on Unsplash.

November 15 5:30-6:30 p.m. at CS Public Library

The City of Cedar Springs wants to hear what citizens have to say about whether to allow marijuana businesses in the city, and if they do, what type of businesses they would like to see. Citizens can give their input at a public forum/conversation in the Cedar Springs Public Library’s community room Friday, November 15, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

“As I stated following the City’s decision to opt-out in November 2018, the City Council is reexamining their position on allowing marijuana businesses now that the State of Michigan has released their rules governing the businesses,” explained Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack.

The Village of Sand Lake rescinded their ordinance on medical marijuana earlier this week, and approved an ordinance allowing up to two marijuana dispensaries in the village. 

“After much discussion, research and deliberation, the Village passed a new ordinance allowing a dispensary,” explained Sand Lake Village President Tracy Quinlan. “We will allow up to two dispensaries that need to be part of a franchise.”

Muskegon also passed an ordinance allowing dispensaries, microbusinesses, and special pot events earlier this month.

Grand Rapids passed an ordinance allowing them earlier this year.

The purpose of the public forum is to discuss the recreational marijuana law and also ask for public input on some of the questions that the City Council members are considering. Womack said the questions he will be asking for the public’s input on include:

1. What types of recreational marijuana businesses/licenses are citizens interested in having in the City? Types include: Marijuana grower, marijuana processor, marijuana secure transporter, marijuana retailer, marijuana safety compliance, marijuana microbusiness, temporary marijuana event, marijuana consumption establishment.

2. Where in the city are citizens interested in seeing marijuana businesses? B-2 Central Business District (Main Street from Muskegon to Maple St.); B-3 Highway business district (Main Street from Maple to 18 Mile Rd); HC Highway commercial (Muskegon from Advanced Auto to US131 and White Creek Ave from Save-A-Lot to White Creek Lumber); I-1 Industrial.

3. How many marijuana businesses should the city allow to open? The city can allow any number between zero and unlimited for each type of business. (See number 1 for types of businesses.)

4. What reasonable (not “Unreasonably Impracticable”) restrictions should the City consider requiring of marijuana businesses in the City? 

a. 1000 feet from schools is standard but can be increased or decreased

b. Separation between different marijuana businesses?

c. Prohibit use of the marijuana leaf symbol in signage

d. etc.

Womack said depending on how the forum goes, he may schedule another public forum in December as well.  

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Singer/songwriter releases book and songs on infant loss


Becky Nordquist

She will be doing book signings at Perry’s Place Saturday, Oct. 26 1-3 p.m. and at Rustic Roof Saturday, Nov. 2 2-4 p.m.

Becky Nordquist, a resident of Cedar Springs for more than 26 years, recently released a compassionate and poignant project titled, Before we said hello. 

The release was on October 15, and planned to coincide with National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, which includes, but is not limited to, miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS and the death of a newborn. The project includes two songs, “Before We Said Hello” and “Heaven’s Playground,” along with a companion devotional book, Before We Said Hello.

Nordquist is a singer, songwriter, worship leader, author and speaker. She has led worship at Resurrection Church and Blythefield church both in Rockford and Ensley Center. 

She will be doing book signings at Perry’s Place Saturday, Oct. 26 1-3 p.m. and at Rustic Roof Saturday, Nov. 2 2-4 p.m.

This new project was released through Music for the Soul, an organization that uses songs to tackle life’s toughest issues, including infant loss, abortion recovery, depression, abuse, and others, in ways that can be heard, remembered, and revisited. Each song is crafted with input from those who’ve suffered through the hurt, as well as professional counselors and clergy. The results are honest and real, offering a path to healing and hope.

When it came time to produce a project addressing infant loss, Nordquist was the perfect artist. She knows a thing or two about broken-heartedness, having experienced multiple losses early in her life, including the death of her father when she was a young woman, divorce and the demands of single motherhood, as well as multiple experiences with miscarriage and infant loss.

“I never thought I would remarry again, let alone have more children,” she muses. “But God had a different plan! I met and married my second husband, Dave. My youngest child was 14 and I was a long way from sleepless nights and diapers when we discovered we were pregnant.”

But three months into the pregnancy, a routine OB/GYN visit revealed their baby had died in the womb. “We were crushed and in shock,” Nordquist confesses. “I had never lost a pregnancy, and we felt so alone. We were encouraged to try again and soon we were blessed with our rainbow baby, Isabella Grace. We decided to try for a second baby so Grace wouldn’t grow up alone, but we suffered two more consecutive pregnancy losses before conceiving our baby Niklas. Everything looked great. But on January 8, 2014, Niklas David was stillborn, but still born.”

“Miscarriage often involves an invisible grief,” Nordquist declares. “The world moves forward while you feel you’re frozen in time. It is crucial to take the time to grieve. Jesus modeled this for us at the death of his friend Lazarus. He stopped. He sat. He wept. What is invisible to the world is very visible to

Him.”

A gifted singer-songwriter and worship leader, Becky continued pressing into God for comfort and sustenance. She also continued to hone her music writing skills with John Chisum, founder of Nashville Christian Songwriters, and Grammy Award-winning songwriter/recording artist David Baroni.

As she poured out her heart through her music, a providential introduction to Dove Award-winning songwriter Steve Siler led to an offer to record a song for his Music for the Soul community of professional musicians, therapists, pastors and ministry leaders committed to offering life-giving resources to those whose hearts are hungry for understanding, self-worth, wholeness, and peace.

The result was the touching and encouraging song, “Before We Said Hello,” written by Siler. Becky and Siler then joined with Dove Award winner Tony Wood to pen the evocative “Heaven’s Playground.” Recognizing the need for an additional resource to help those who have suffered such a loss, Nordquist has also written a new devotional book. “The Before We Said Hello devotional book includes short passages, space for journaling, scripture, encouragement and real life stories from those who are walking this same road,” she notes.

“People often don’t know how to comfort friends or family members who are going through the loss of an infant or pregnancy,” says Nordquist. “Some people think if you never saw your baby, there is no need to talk about your loss. You might not even feel you have the right to grieve. I’m here to assure you—your  baby’s life matters. And you are not alone.”

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The Best (and Worst) of Michigan’s NCT: Border to Border

Backpacker Dale Painter


Sunday, November 3, at Cedar Springs Library

The public is invited to come tag along with backpacker Dale Painter of Newaygo and vicariously experience the North Country Trail as it snakes its way 1,100 miles across the Great State of Michigan. “Trail Dale” covered the distance between Wisconsin and Ohio this past summer with the logistic support of his recently “retired” distance-hiking partner (a.k.a. wife), Kathy. 

Dale will be the featured speaker at the Western MI Chapter of the North Country Trail’s annual meeting at Sunday, November 3, at the Cedar Springs Public Library. A meet and greet begins at 3:30 p.m.

Dale’s presentation is titled: “The Best (and Worst) of Michigan’s NCT: Border to Border.” The talk will feature the pictorial highlights of Dale’s completely unbiased rankings of the NCT in 10 different categories, ranging from “the best-maintained trail segments” to “the best in hiker fashion” to “the oddest hiker encounters.”

Attendees of the Annual Meeting are encouraged to talk personally with Dale (and Kathy) and perhaps take-a-peek at his backpacking gear in the “meet-and-greet” session that begins at 3:30 pm.  Folks are also invited to discuss or debate Dale’s various NCT rankings at the post meeting dinner at the Cedar Springs Brewery that begins at 6:00 p.m. The business meeting begins at 4:00 p.m. and the speaker begins at 5:00 p.m. There is no charge for the business meeting and speaker. Meal cost $20 for a German style buffet. Reservations are required for the meal, just email Beth at bkeloneva@gmail.com. 

Dale started backpacking 40 years ago with his wife Kathy and their two children and continues to challenge himself into retirement with more hiking! Over the years he has hiked such trails as the Wind River Range in Colorado, the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide, the Grand Enchantment Trail and a number of long distance hikes on the NCT in both the lower and upper peninsula of Michigan. 

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City manager receives positive review


Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack

The Cedar Springs City Council like what they see in City Manager Mike Womack. 

Not only did they give him an overall positive review on his personnel evaluation at their October meeting, they also offered him a new three-year contract that has him working for the City through 2022.

Mayor Pro Tem Pamela Conley indicated that she appreciates Womack’s hard work as well as his application of both knowledge and skill in moving the City forward. “Over the last several years the City has seen sidewalk improvements and much needed repairs on water infrastructure and roads,” said Conley. “I find that Mike collaborates really well with groups like the CBDT to help get stuff done such as the amphitheater and the work for the new fire station. It is his skill and hard work that have helped make these improvements possible.”

Mayor Gerald Hall noted that the last 3 years with Manager Womack at the helm have been a large part of the positive direction of Cedar Springs. “Mike laid a lot of the groundwork for the economic development we’re seeing in the City and he’s been on top of all of the major projects such as the new fire station building and the West Street project,” said Hall. “Mike works well with the Council, the Planning Commission and the DDA board and I get mostly positive feedback from the community about him.”  

Hall added that Womack’s input into the community isn’t just during office hours. “His after-hours engagement in the community shows that he is truly working towards the betterment of Cedar Springs. He goes to a lot of community meetings and events; I see him pick up trash along the roads; and I know he has shoveled out a few driveways during the winter,” Hall added.  

Councilor Race said that Womack had been very helpful in her first year on the Council. “He is always professional and always takes the time to answer my questions…I like his leadership style. He does his best to get the Council where the Council wants to go—not where the City Manager wants to go.”

The City Manager’s review consisted of City Councilors scoring his performance in key areas such as Personnel Management, Administrative Skills, Intergovernmental Relations, Long Range Planning, Interpersonal Skills, Relationship with Council and Personal and Professional Attributes.  His performance was scored an overall average score of 4.16 out of 5.

Council members did indicate that the City Manager needed to work on not internalizing so much job stress and asked him to seek out additional customer service and conflict resolution training opportunities.

Womack is originally from the east side of the state, but has settled in. “I’m happy to be in Cedar Springs,” he said. “The community has been very welcoming to me, and the Council, all the boards, volunteers, and City Hall staff have worked together so well, it’s really a beautiful thing.”  

When asked what has been the best and worst parts of managing Cedar Springs over the last three years, Womack stated, “the best is obviously the number of amazing people that I’ve been privileged to work with in the community and how much we’ve been able to accomplish together. The worst is probably the constant battle of trying to stay ahead of the rumors and alternative facts to get the true information out and available to the public.”

Womack started as City Manager on August 1st, 2016, replacing Thad Taylor, who departed the City for Manistee in November, 2015.

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CTA Board of Directors stands up for local students


Panel adopts “Fairness First” resolution, protests unequal funding for school

Members of the Creative Technologies Academy board voted last Wednesday, October 16, to oppose Gov. Whitmer’s recent veto of a plan to reduce the funding gap that penalizes students who choose to attend public charter schools.

In adopting its “Fairness First” resolution, the board said it was answering the learning needs of its own students and families.

“All Michigan students should receive the same per-pupil funding amount, no matter what school they choose to attend,” said Dan George, Superintendent. “To suggest otherwise, is a violation of all that we believe as a society. We are a nation that prizes equality. Freedom. Opportunity. To create institutional inequity through this kind of budget policy is harmful and wrong.”

According to its resolution, the board believes the governor’s actions are political moves that victimize CTA students. The measure states that the board’s contention is that its students are being singled out, because every other public school student in Michigan received its legislatively-appropriated funding amount.

“Only public school students attending charters are being discriminated against by this action,” the resolution said. 

The resolution calls on the governor and legislature to come to an agreement that quickly restores the $240 per pupil increase it FY 2020 school budget was built upon. CTA is already four months into their fiscal year, and was depending on that increase to help fund students’ education.

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Two hurt in crash


Troopers from the Michigan State Police Rockford Post are investigating a serious crash that occurred early Monday morning, October 21, in Tyrone Township.

According to Spl/Lt. David Cope, the crash occurred about 6:21 a.m. at the intersection of 17 Mile Rd and Sparta Ave. Two vehicles were involved in the crash—a 1996 Dodge Ram pickup driven by a 57-year-old Kent City man, and a 2011 Chevrolet pickup driven by a 62-year-old Cedar Springs man. The crash remains under investigation, as troopers continue to work toward determining exactly what happened to cause the crash. 17 Mile Rd. was closed for approximately four hours as troopers processed and cleared the scene.

Both drivers were transported from the scene by ambulance to local hospitals. Police said the driver of the Ram pickup was property restrained during the crash and is in stable condition. The driver of the Chevrolet pickup was not wearing a seatbelt and remains in critical condition following the crash.

Names of the drivers have not yet been released.

Kent City Fire assisted the MSP at the scene.

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LOREN G. SCHERMERHORN


Loren G. Schermerhorn, age 85, of Cedar Springs, died Monday, October 21, 2019 at Spectrum Health – Butterworth Campus. Loren was born October 29, 1933 in Greenville, MI the son of the late Glen and Lulu (Walton) Schermerhorn. He graduated from Sand Lake High School and served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He enjoyed farming and fishing. He was patient and kind and always willing to lend a hand to others. He was a very active and faithful member of the East Nelson United Methodist Church and the Cedar Springs American Legion Post #287. Surviving are his wife of 64 years, Barbara; sisters-in-law, Patricia Riggs and Marlene Califf; many nieces and nephews. The family will greet friends Wednesday, October 30 from 10:00 a.m. until time of service at 11:00 a.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastor Inge Whittemore officiating. Interment with military honors at East Nelson Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to East Nelson United Methodist Church or the Cedar Springs American Legion.

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

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SANDRA J. BYRNE


Sandra J. Byrne, age 75, of Cedar Springs, died Sunday, October 20, 2019 at Faith Hospice Trillium Woods. Sandra was born November 2, 1943 in Grand Rapids, MI the daughter of Herman and Dorothy (Lydell) Vander Veen. She had worked for Aetna Insurance for 21 years. She was a member of Resurrection Lutheran Church, Sand Lake, the Tri-County Eagles and the Cedar Springs American Legion. She enjoyed playing Trivia three days a week. Surviving are her husband, Ronald Neiderheide; daughters, Joanne (Scott) Perschbacher, Tina (Matt) Zegunis; grandchildren, Brad, Laura, Isaak, Noah, Rick, Sonya, Duane & their spouses; several great-grandchildren; brother, Robert (Judi) Vander Veen; many members of the Byrne family; several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; first husband, Donald Byrne in 2004; her daughter, Michele Slabbekoorn. The family will greet friends and relatives Thursday, October 24 from 6-8 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service will be held Friday, October 25 at 11:00 a.m. at Resurrection Lutheran Church, Sand Lake with a luncheon to follow. Pastor Lee Zabrocki officiating. Interment Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens, Grand Rapids. Memorials may be made to Resurrection Lutheran Church.

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

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