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Archive | July, 2020

Top ways to take a safe vacation

(StatePoint) After months spent indoors at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s clear that many people are itching to get back out there and take a vacation. This is with good reason. Staying isolated for too long can take a substantial toll on one’s mental health and well-being, according to the American Psychological Association.

If you still feel uncomfortable with going far from your home for a travel experience however, traveling domestically can be a step in the right direction. There are lots of great places to visit a few hours’ drive from your home that you probably didn’t think of! Whether you’re looking for a beach stay, or some nature, exploring options close to home can allow for an escape you and your family want, and in a safe environment, such as an apartment or home vacation rental. And it’s an increasingly popular choice. According to trivago, a global accommodation metasearch provider, the share of users clicking on deals for such vacation rentals increased by 5 percent from February to June 2020, both in the U.S. and internationally.

As you book and plan your travel, here are a few tips to consider to help ensure you have a healthy and safe experience:

  • DIY Cleaning: If you are worried about cleaning standards, consider seeking out accommodations where you don’t have to worry about someone else coming into your space during your stay. Bring your own wipes, anti-bacterial soap and other supplies and wipe down surfaces when you arrive, and as often as needed. Of course, you should always check with your accommodation provider about their hygiene standards to make sure they meet your expectations. Major hotel chains have announced special cleaning protocols in light of the coronavirus.
  • Beating the Crowds: From beach houses to mountain cabins, try to look for a vacation experience away from densely populated city destinations, which is a good choice for those wanting to beat the crowds.
  • Staying Active: Getting away doesn’t have to mean staying indoors somewhere new. Take a leisurely stroll on a beach. Go on a hike in the mountains. Explore a national park you’ve always wanted to see. Brunch at a small local café. There are plenty of ways to stay active and have fun, all while following social distance guidelines.
  • Choosing Your Destination: So where is everybody going? The current most popular U.S travel destinations by click share according to trivago are:
  • 1. Las Vegas
  • 2. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  • 3. Panama City Beach, Fla.
  • 4. Virginia Beach, Va.
  • 5. Destin, Fla.
  • 6. Miami Beach, Fla.
  • 7. Ocean City, Md.
  • 8. Galveston, Texas
  • 9. South Padre Island, Texas
  • 10. Orlando, Fla.
  • 11. Key West, Fla.

For more travel tips and ideas, visit trivago.com, and trivago.com/corona for the most up-to-date travel restrictions.

Whether you hit up a popular destination or head somewhere remote, make sure you adhere to local health guidelines when traveling. And above all, stay safe and healthy.

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, FeaturedComments (1)

Vote for Curtis DeJong

Dear Citizens of Nelson Township,

You have an opportunity to vote for an outstanding member of our community for trustee.  Curtis DeJong is an enthusiastic young man with the skills, energy and desire to contribute and make a positive difference in our township.  I have known Curtis since he was in my first grade class, and he has always been willing to work hard to set and achieve his goals.  His background and experience in business and education makes him uniquely qualified to be an excellent leader and communicator for the people of Nelson Township.  Please vote for Curtis on Tuesday, August 4.  

Respectfully,

Karen L. Gebhardt, Nelson Township

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Assertions on school bond proposal not accurate

(response to letter last week from Daniel Davis)

Mr. Davis,

Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying a well-informed electorate is a prerequisite to democracy. Many of the assertions shared in your letter published in the Post on July 23 were not accurate. Cedar Springs Public Schools is not asking our community to “just trust us” concerning this upcoming bond election or any other facet of our operation. Countless public meetings have taken place since November 2018 discussing the District’s facility needs. We are asking our community to “join us” as together, we can partner to make Cedar Springs an even more attractive place to live, learn, work, and play. 

Please allow me to clarify the ballot’s wording regarding the general obligation unlimited tax bonds. While the word “unlimited” does appear on the ballot, it does not relate to the amount of money Cedar Springs Public Schools can obtain from its community through taxes. The bond application approved by the Board of Education in a public meeting on April 13, 2020, and on file with the State Department of Treasury, clearly spells out the details of the projects included in the bond proposal. The maximum amount of bonds that can be legally issued cannot exceed the $68,000,000 stated in the ballot language. The word “unlimited” pertains to the full faith and commitment of Cedar Springs Public Schools to repay the bond debt through the collection of taxes.  

Even an extremely conservative estimate indicates CSPS will not need to increase the tax rate to repay these general obligation bonds. The district will have thirty (30) years to repay the obligation. However, it is estimated that passage of the $68,000,000 bond would still only keep the debt millage rate at 7.00 mills through 2036 before slowly declining as a result of bond repayment and taxable value growth. For the record, property values in Cedar Springs are increasing. The present five-year average historical taxable value growth for properties located in the Cedar Springs Public Schools District is 4.74%. The twenty-year average historical taxable value growth rate is 4.09%. The taxable value growth for 2020 and 2019 have been 5.36% and 6.37% respectively.

Chris LaHaie, Chief Financial Officer

Cedar Springs Public Schools

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The pirate life

Two pirates, Morty and Sol, meet in a bar. Sol has a patch over one eye,
a hook for a hand, and a wooden peg leg. “Ye gads, matey,” says Morty. “What happened to ya?”

Sol says, “Me pirate ship was attacked, and a lucky shot lopped off me leg. So now I got me a wooden peg.”

“And yer hand?” asks Morty.

“When me ship sank, a shark bit me hand off. So now I got me a hook.”

“OK, but what’s with the eye patch?”

“I was standin’ on a dock, and the biggest seagull I ever saw poops right in me eye.”

“But ya don’t go blind from no seagull poop!”

“True,” says Sol. “But it was me first day with the hook.” 

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Discernment? Apply now!

Pastor Thomas K. Schmidt 

Solon Center Wesleyan Church

15671 Algoma Ave NE, Cedar Springs

Discernment is a necessary principle to apply to our lives in these days. The news has exploded with people taking negative action. Action that is demoralizing and degrading. Protesting is not necessarily a negative action but when protests are acts of disgrace and not honoring to God, they begin a downward spiral of disobedience, destruction and demoralization.

Discernment is an aspect of spiritual growth. All of us should be on the journey of spiritual growth. Spiritual growth can only take place when we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Spiritual growth comes about by Surrender to God.  Surrender is an act of obedience which seeks God’s will for our life. It is saying “yes” to God as the Holy Spirit purposely provides opportunities to follow God’s plan for us individually.

Spiritual growth is application of God’s Word in a personal way.  It is the application of prayer, listening to God to act according to His plan.

Spiritual growth is vision. Vision to be enlightened to the needs of others. Vision to see that a difference can be made. Vision of light penetrating darkness.

Spiritual growth is evidenced by engagement. Engagement of not only seeing the needs of others but taking action so that all people are honored as God’s creation.

The Apostle Paul calls us to a spiritual growth that includes discernment in our daily walk with God. To the people of Philippi Paul declared And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” Philippians 1:9-11 (NIV).

Discernment needs to be pursued.  

My mother lives in another state and when traveling to visit her there are moments while traveling long distances the hunger pangs get my attention and a decision is made to seek out a restaurant to satisfy the desires of my stomach.  

Discernment is stopping to recognize a need or allowing the Holy Spirit to open our minds eye to action that is necessary to follow.

We can actively practice discernment by asking questions: “Does this honor God?” “Will God be pleased with my actions?” “What can I do that will help and not create more conflict?” Discernment will cause a rise of perception much like active yeast activates the ingredients in bread to rise.

Also, discernment that is pursued and practiced will be evidenced in how we perform obediently to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The desires of evil are to distract us to be self-satisfied, self-centered, and self-gratified. A continual surrender to God will keep a focus on His will and His way which prepares our spiritual soil for growing truth and discerning right from wrong.

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HERBERT T. WELCH

July 27, 1930 – July 9, 2012

In loving memory of our father and grandfather, who passed away 8 years ago. 

We will always remember the happiness and fun times you brought to our lives. 

Love, Mike, Sarah and Terry, Jane and Nick, Jenna and Sean, Brian, Luke, Jake, and Molly

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Red Flannel Festival canceled for this year

By Judy Reed

The Red Flannel Festival committee followed in the footsteps of most other fairs and festivals this year and posted an announcement this week that they have canceled this year’s Red Flannel Festival due to the restrictions on gatherings due to COVID-19.

“With the current restrictions set in place due to COVID-19, the Festival board did not see a path forward that did not put our most important asset, our community, at risk,” they said.

“This was a very difficult decision to make, and one not made lightly,” said RFF President Nancy Deyman. “With the current Executive Orders from the Governor, and it not looking likely they will change anytime soon, the Board thought it was best to cancel. Our first thought is the health and safety of our town and community, of our volunteers, vendors and board members. We will be back next year bigger and better!”

Deyman noted that Cindy Patin, who was selected to be Grand Marshal this year, will serve next year instead. And while there will not be a festival this year, there will still be a Red Flannel pageant. More details will be coming soon on that.

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Man sentenced in Family Farm and Home gun robbery

by Judy Reed

The Grand Rapids man who stole 89 guns from Family Farm and Home in November 2019 was sentenced to 42 years in prison this week for stealing guns, witness retaliation, arson and drug crimes.

Charles Edward Skipp

According to U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge, the sentence was delivered by U.S. District Judge Janet Neff, who called Charles Edward Skipp a “one-man crime spree.”

Skipp stole 89 guns from Family Farm & Home in Cedar Springs the evening of November 3, 2017 or early morning November 4. According to Birge, Skipp attempted to cover his tracks by intimidating and retaliating against a witness to the theft, which included shooting at the witnesses’ house and later setting it on fire. Skipp also used one of the stolen guns to rob and shoot a drug dealer. Many of the stolen firearms remain unaccounted for and law enforcement is still attempting to locate them. Before his crimes, Skipp had prior convictions for carrying a concealed weapon, reckless discharge of a firearm causing injury, armed robbery, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and domestic assault.

Skipp, 39, was charged in October 2019 and pleaded guilty to 10 felony offenses in February 2020, which included being a felon in possession of firearms; stealing firearms from a licensed firearm dealer; retaliating against a witness; discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; knowing transfer of firearms for use in a crime of violence; aiding and abetting retaliating against an informant; aiding and abetting arson in the commission of a federal felony; attempted possession with intent to distribute heroin; discharging a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime; and knowing transfer of a firearm for use in a drug trafficking crime.

 “This sentence represents good news for the community, which is much safer with Mr. Skipp in prison,” commented Birge. “And the 42-year sentence sends an unmistakable message to anyone else who might embark on a way of life in which one dangerous crime begets another and so on: Your spree will end with you in prison for decades; so don’t even start.”

“We often underestimate the enormous impact one lawless person can have in our community,” stated James Deir, Special Agent in Charge for ATF’s Detroit Field Division. “We all deserve to feel safe working and living in our community. Through hard work with our law enforcement partners in the Grand Rapids area, we have removed this violent criminal from our streets, so that we all can feel safer going about our daily lives.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives worked with the Grand Rapids Police and Kent County Sheriff’s Departments to investigate this case as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, a nationwide initiative to reduce violent crime. As part of this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, county prosecutors’ offices, and federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement work closely together to identify and prosecute individuals responsible for driving violent crime in our communities to make neighborhoods safer for everyone. Individuals with information or concerns about violent crime or firearms offenses should contact local law enforcement. For more information about Project Safe Neighborhoods, visit: https://www.justice.gov/psn.

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Finally time to celebrate!

CSHS seniors celebrate commencement

Madi Morris was one of many CSHS seniors to officially graduate last week. Courtesy photo.

It took some planning and teamwork, but the 2020 graduates and their families finally got to celebrate commencement over several days last week at Red Hawk Stadium.

“Graduation went very well given the requirements we were under for Covid-19,” said high school principal Ron Behrenwald. “The graduates and their families and guests who participated in the awarding of the diplomas (just over 2/3 of the class) exhibited the full spectrum of emotion that we have at a traditional ceremony.  We made every effort to make this as meaningful and memorable as possible for all involved.”

Behrenwald said the students came to their scheduled appointment dressed in their gowns, cords, medals, and with their caps decorated. They walked with their family and guest from Red Hawk Stadium entrance to the stage set up on the track near the 50-yard line. The families and guest were able to get into position in front of the stage where the Board of Education members awaited the graduate who walked forward at the reading of their full legal name over the stadium speakers and the sound of Pomp and Circumstance playing in the background. 

The graduates then received their diploma cover from a BOE member and a professional photographer from Geskus took their picture. There was an area set up for the graduate and their family/guest to get a picture together.  Since students signed up for their timeslots on Sign-up Genius, they were able to walk through near their friends they wanted to and then get some photos with their friends behind the home side bleachers or around the school campus.  

“We even had the scoreboard lit up with 2020 on the time and the home score being 20 and the visitor score set at zero with it being 4th quarter, 1st and 10, with the ball on the 1 yard line.  All to represent the end of high school and the great start the Class of 2020 will have on the rest of their life and their post secondary choices,” explained Behrenwald.

The event was scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 7 to 10 p.m.  Behrenwald said Wednesday night got cut an hour short due to rain, but they came back the next night and finished the students who had to be rescheduled, which actually allowed one or two students who couldn’t make it any of the first two nights to come that night.

“We also videotaped the event and are in the process of recording the speakers scheduled to speak at commencement (Salutatorian, Valedictorian, and Commencement Speaker-Mr. Dave Stuart) and will be producing a video and hopefully a digital media piece that students and families will have as a record of the historical event,” noted Behrenwald. “We will use excerpts from the video to show each graduate receiving their diploma cover and then a school pic or senior pic of those who couldn’t be there with their name in the video.” 

The Class of 2020 leadership also decided to cover the cost for providing one 5×7 photo of the diploma presentation and one 8×10 of the family photo to each graduate since they had extra funding that would have normally been spent on the class but which wasn’t due to COVID restrictions.  

“All in all, we have heard VERY positive remarks and sincere thank yous from graduates and families who participated for making this as special as possible,” said Behrenwald. “Many were surprised by how personal and authentic as possible we made the presentation of the diploma covers. 

“This was my 21st commencement to plan and preside over in my career (13th at Cedar and 8 from Marshall High School) and yet was by far my most memorable and personally emotional one thus far for me.  I am nearing 4,000 signed diplomas in my time as a high school principal!” he remarked.

This is actually the second graduation ceremony held this year. There was one performed in the spring for a small group of students who were heading off to the National Guard and active army duty. 

Army and National Guard recruits graduated earlier in the spring. Pictured from L to R: Alexis Saagman,  Nathaniel Hackbardt, Alyssa Washington, Paige Oosting, and principal Ron Behrenwald.

“When the high school graduation had to be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 restrictions, I reached out to Mr. Behrenwald and asked if there could be some way to honor Alyssa and any other students that were joining the military and may be leaving before the new date,” explained Jody Washington. “He worked with us and was able to put together a special graduation event for four kids.”

They were Alyssa Washington, Alexis Saagman and Paige Oosting, who all joined the Army National Guard; and Nathaniel Hackbardt who joined active duty Army. 

Congratulations to you all!

Thank you to those who shared photos on our facebook page, see below:


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Cedar Springs Library is now open

By Judy Reed

Princess Bella (Camila Moma) checking out books at the Cedar Springs Library. Not only is she signed up for summer reading, but also for 1,000 books before kindergarten. Courtesy photo.

The Cedar Springs Public Library, at the corner of Main and W. Maple Streets, is officially back open to the public.

According to Librarian Donna Clark, they are open regular hours, but with a limited capacity. You do not need to make an appointment, but there is a limit of 22 people at a time. Masks are required.

There is a 30-minute limit on computers, a one-hour limit in study rooms, and a short visit time to browse books/dvds. The playroom is closed.

For those who wish to continue using curbside pickup, that is still an option. They will deliver your order right to your car.

Their programs will remain online for now. “We are having a great response to our online programs and Facebook live mini programs,” said Clark.

Readers won’t want to miss the end of summer celebration program that will air online Wednesday, July 29, featuring a prize giveaway and puppeteer event beginning at 1 p.m. See the details on the library ad below.

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union

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