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Archive | January, 2021

City installs free public WiFi

Free WiFi area at Morley Park.
Free WiFi area at the Heart of Cedar Springs.

Have you ever wanted to take your tablet or laptop and go to the park to do some work but can’t find a place in the city with free internet? Do your kids need to find free internet to do some remote learning?

The City of Cedar Springs, working with Kent County and the Right Place, recently installed two free public WiFi hotspots in the City. The hotspots will enable visitors to Morley Park and the Heart of Cedar Springs Park to have free wireless internet on their laptops, tablets, phones and other WiFi enabled devices.  This wireless internet is being provided to the public free of charge to help students do homework, let professionals attend meetings remotely and let visitors enjoy online socializing, communication and entertainment in the City’s outdoor park system.

To use the wireless internet, use your electronic device to connect to the “Heart of CS” or “Morley Park” WiFi networks when within range.

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Snow happy!

This snowman was created by the Arnone family on Englewright Lake. It has a great smile, and it even has hair! Fifteen-year-old Jessica took a moment to share a smile with their new creation. 

Thanks so much for sharing your snowman with us!

Do you have a winter fun photo you’d like to share with us? Email it to news@cedarspringspost.com, along with a little info about the photo—what’s happening, who is in it, where it was taken, etc. We will print them as space allows.

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Creative Technologies Academy names secondary principal

Creative Technologies Academy recently completed its search for a secondary principal to take effect on January 18, 2021, and is pleased to announce that Tom Wilcox will fill the position. 

Mr. Wilcox brings to CTA many years of experience in education. He has served as both a building administrator at Lakeview Community Schools and as a teacher at Morley Stanwood. He has seven (7) years of administration experience serving as an 8th– 12th-grade athletic director, assistant principal, and building principal. He also has 15 years of experience teaching social studies at the middle school level for the 7th and 8th grades. He has a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Valley State University as well as undergraduate degrees from GVSU and Aquinas College.

Mr. Wilcox resides on Rainbow Lake in Trufant, Michigan. He has four sons: Randy (22), Tyler (20), Brandon (18), and Trever (16). Outside of education, he enjoys spending time boating, hunting, fishing, and running.

Superintendent Autumn Mattson commented, “Mr. Wilcox brings a wealth of experience as a teacher and administrator to this position. His accomplishments at the secondary level with compliance, interventions, academic support, leading PLC groups, leading technology initiatives, and supporting teachers and students will launch him into success as our CTA Secondary principal. It was obvious during the interview process that he has a passion for education; at his core, he prides himself in having great relationships with staff, students, and families.”

Elementary Principal Kate Bialkowski commented, “Mr. Wilcox’s energy and passion for teaching, learning, and students were palpable throughout the entire interview process. His extensive professional experiences and relational capacity will serve him well as he joins the CTA family. We are excited to have him!”

Mr. Wilcox shared, “I am very excited to join the team of educators at CTA! I am looking forward to working alongside the staff, students, and families in providing a positive learning experience for all students and developing the next generation of leaders in our community.”

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Local U.S. Post Offices closed January 18 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

No mail delivery or retail service, customers encouraged to mail early

Grand Rapids MI – On Monday January 18, 2021 the U.S. Postal Service will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day which is a federal holiday.  

Local Post Offices in the Greater Michigan District (Zip Code prefixes beginning with 486-491, and 493-499) will be closed and there will be no mail delivery or retail service on this day.

“It is advised that anyone drop stamped or metered mail ready for delivery into a blue collection box early in the day,” said Sabrina Todd, Media & Communications spokesperson for the Greater Michigan District Postal Service.  “This also applies to business customers that are open during the holiday.”

Post Offices will reopen for business on Tuesday January 19th.  

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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January is radon action month

Testing helps detect hazard as more work from home

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared January 2021 as Radon Action Month in Michigan, and she encourages all Michigan residents to learn more about this environmental hazard and test their homes during the heating season.

You cannot see, smell or taste radon, and there are no short-term side effects that could cause alarm or warn of its presence.  However, long-term exposure to radon increases the risk of developing lung cancer, which accounts for more deaths in both men and women than any other form of cancer in the United States. Behind smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and is considered a leading environmental cause of cancer mortality in the United States.

Radon testing takes on increased importance with many Michiganders now working from home. It is easy, inexpensive, and the only way to determine if a radon problem exists.  Residents are encouraged to test for radon every two to five years. If a radon mitigation system was previously installed in the home, residents are encouraged to test every two years to make sure that radon levels remain in the acceptable range.

One in every four Michigan homes is expected to have radon levels exceeding federal action level of 4.0 picocuries per liter.  Radon poses a serious threat to our community’s health, but high radon concentrations are also easily fixed.

You can pick up a radon test kit at the Kent County Health Department at 700 Fuller Ave, in Grand Rapids. Enter through the Environmental Health entrance on the east side of the building, near the Animal Shelter. They have a stand set up in the vestibule with brochures and kits, where you can help yourself. There are a set of instructions with each kit, telling you what to do and where to send it after you do the test.

If you don’t live in Kent County, you can go to Michigan.gov/Radon, call 800-723-6642, email Radon@Michigan.gov, or just stop at a local hardware store.  To access new resources and information including radon testing, mitigation, and levels across the state, visit Michigan.gov/Radon.  For a packet of information about radon, e-mail Radon@Michigan.gov, or call 800-RADONGAS (800-723-6642).

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Funding available for outdoor fitness courts across Michigan

Grant applications open, funding available January 2021

(MICHIGAN – Dec. 8, 2020) Michigan-based health plan Priority Health and the National Fitness Campaign (NFC) have launched a statewide partnership to expand free access to high quality workouts by bringing outdoor Fitness Courts® to communities across Michigan. This partnership was formed to fight obesity, improve quality of life and create equitable access to exercise for communities around the state.

Through the partnership, Priority Health Fitness Courts® will be constructed in easily accessible public spaces with the goal of building 15 more Fitness Courts® in the next 18 months. NFC’s award-winning initiative is now supporting more than 150 cities across America, including cities in Michigan such as Brownstown, Roseville, Garden City, Big Rapids and Saginaw. NFC launched the pilot program in Michigan when Priority Health assisted with funding a fitness court on the campus of Oakland University in 2019.

“This partnership with NFC couldn’t be more timely as we continue to look for innovative partnerships that help create more safe, equitable access to health and wellness for Michigan residents,” said Marti Lolli, Chief Marketing Officer and SVP of Consumer and Government Markets at Priority Health. “We believe that all people deserve the opportunity to live a healthy life and we are proud to be Michigan’s first statewide sponsor to show our commitment to improving the health of our communities.”

NFC’s best-in-class outdoor gym features a series of seven-minute workouts with the benefits of digital coaching on the free Fitness Court App, which delivers regular content to keep fitness training fun for adults of all ages and fitness levels. There are also opportunities for free fitness classes through an ambassador program featuring local trainers.

Beginning in January 2021, municipalities, schools and other organizations may apply for grant funding to assist in building a Fitness Court®, courtesy of Priority Health and the National Fitness Campaign. Grant recipients will receive tools, education and planning resources to build and sustain an exceptional outdoor wellness culture.

“The National Fitness Campaign is proud to welcome Priority Health as its state sponsor in Michigan,” said Mitch Menaged, Founder of the NFC. “This program will deliver tremendous resources to contribute to the important mission of fighting obesity and improving health outcomes as the network of Fitness Courts® grows across the state. We look forward to working with Priority Health to make this campaign a great success.”

NFC and Priority Health will begin accepting applications in January 2021 for grant funding to support building Fitness Courts® in local communities. To learn more about completing a grant funding application, go to: www.nationalfitnesscampaign.com/michigan.

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New MDHHS epidemic order allows indoor group exercise

Restaurants will not open for indoor dining until Feb. 1

MDHHS Director Robert Gordon

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) updated its epidemic order Wednesday to allow re-opening of additional activities where Michiganders can remain masked and socially distanced. This includes indoor group exercise and non-contact sports. The new order is effective Saturday, Jan. 16 and will last until Sunday, Jan. 31.

Previously, MDHHS had identified stabilization or declines in three metrics as critical for relaxing protocols. MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said that although Michigan saw improvements across all three following the “pause” implemented in mid-November, some numbers have plateaued or begun to increase in recent days:

  • Hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 patients has been in 13-day decline, with current capacity is at 12% for beds with COVID-19 patients. Peaked at 19.6% on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
  • Overall case rates: increasing, currently at 266 cases per million. Peaked at 740 cases per million on Saturday, Nov. 14 and declined to a low of 239 on Friday, Dec. 25
  • Positivity rate: plateauing; currently at 9.1% after reaching a low of 8.1% on Monday, Dec. 28 and increasing up to 10% since then.

“We are reopening cautiously because caution is working to save lives. The new order allows group exercise and non-contact sports, always with masks and social distancing, because in the winter it’s not as easy to get out and exercise and physical activity is important for physical and mental health,” said Gordon. “We are glad that we made it through the holidays without a big increase in numbers, but there are also worrying signs in the new numbers. We need to remain focused and continue to see declines in hospitalizations and to bring case rates and percent positivity down by doing what we know works.”

Indoor residential gatherings remain limited to 10 people and two households. MDHHS continues to urge families to avoid indoor gatherings or to pick a single other household to interact with consistent with guidance already released by the department. Families are encouraged to stay home as much as possible to maintain momentum and to protect loved ones. Families are also encouraged to Mask Up, Mask Right, using guidance for what masks to wear and how to wear them.

The epidemic order continues to temporarily pause indoor dining in bars and restaurants, but they can continue to offer outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery. The working plan is to open indoor dining with mitigation measures, capacity limits and a curfew on February 1, but the ultimate decision depends on data continuing to stabilize. Additional details on the reopening pathway are expected next week.

Colleges and universities can have students return to campus for the winter semester and restart in-person courses as of Jan. 18.

As before, employees who work in jobs that cannot be performed from home can continue to go to work, while employees who can work from home should continue to do so. Individualized activities with distancing and face masks are still allowed: retail shopping; public transit; restaurant takeout; and personal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment.

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Snowmobiler involved in crash dies at hospital

Michigan DNR conservation officers urge riders to use caution

Ride Right poster 11 x 17

A Huron County man who crashed his snowmobile in Chippewa County earlier this month died Jan. 8 at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.

Richard David Dufty, 55, of Cassville succumbed to injuries he suffered in the Jan. 2 crash along Snowmobile Trail UP 472 (Bobby Gay Truck Trail), in the Hiawatha National Forest, northeast of Trout Lake.

Dufty was riding a 2017 Ski-Doo MXZ XRS 800 E-tec snowmobile within a group of six riders traveling west on the trail.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Mike Olesen and Sgt. Calvin Smith were dispatched to the crash site at 3:35 p.m. EST.

Investigation showed Dufty had passed the other riders in the group at a high rate of speed. When they caught up, they saw a snow cloud in the air at the spot where Dufty’s sled left the trail.

Olesen said Dufty’s sled gradually went off the righthand side of the trail, traveling on a slight corner. Toxicology reports indicated alcohol was a factor in the accident.

Dufty’s snowmobile hit several trees alongside the trail before the snowmobile flipped end over end and Dufty was ejected.

Dufty, with attending EMS personnel, was transported in the back of Sgt. Smith’s DNR patrol vehicle from the crash site along the trail to a waiting ambulance.

After forecasted poor weather conditions prevented air transport to Petoskey, Dufty was taken to McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital by Mackinac Straits EMS personnel. On Jan. 3, Dufty was transferred to the hospital in Royal Oak.

Additional agencies assisting at the scene of the crash included the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police.

Including Dufty, four snowmobilers have died from snowmobile crashes in Michigan this winter. Three of the four crashes have occurred in the Upper Peninsula. Last winter, the DNR logged a total of 14 snowmobile fatalities, 10 of which occurred in the U.P.

Conservation officers remind snowmobilers to ride safely, including traveling at safe speeds, not drinking and driving and staying on the right side of the trail.

For more information on snowmobile safety, visit Michigan.gov/RideRight. To learn more about snowmobiling in Michigan visit Michigan.gov/Snowmobiling.

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Thirteen charged in Federal Court Following riot at US Capitol

Approximately 40 charged in Superior Court

This man, Richard Barnett, of Arkansas, was one of 13 people charged in Federal court in connection with the riot at the U.S. Capitol. Here he is shown in Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office, filming himself.

Thirteen individuals have been charged so far in federal court in the District of Columbia related to crimes committed at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C, on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. In addition to those who have been charged, additional complaints have been submitted and investigations are ongoing.

“The lawless destruction of the U.S. Capitol building was an attack against one of our Nation’s greatest institutions,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin. “My Office, along with our law enforcement partners at all levels, have been expeditiously working and leveraging every resource to identify, arrest, and begin prosecuting these individuals who took part in the brazen criminal acts at the U.S. Capitol. We are resolute in our commitment to holding accountable anyone responsible for these disgraceful criminal acts and, to anyone who might be considering engaging in or inciting violence in the coming weeks, know this: you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“ATF is committed to the rule of law and the protection of all citizens’ Constitutional rights,” said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Deputy Director Regina Lombardo. “We continue to support our law enforcement partners to ensure those who violated the law during the events at the Capitol this week are brought to justice. ATF has dedicated all appropriate resources to complete these investigations as soon as possible.”

“Today’s charges are just the beginning of the FBI’s ongoing efforts to hold those responsible for the criminal acts of violence and destruction that unfolded during the U.S. Capitol building breach on January 6th,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “To be clear, what took place that day was not First Amendment-protected activity, but rather an affront on our democracy. The FBI, along with our local, state and federal partners, is committed to ensuring that justice is served. We will continue to aggressively investigate each and every individual who chose to ignore the law and instead incite violence, destroy property, and injure others.”

“Deputy U.S. Marshals responded to support U.S. Capitol Police after the incursion into the Capitol building. Our deputies helped to clear the building and escorted members of Congress back to the main chamber for official business,” said U.S. Marshals Service Director Donald Washington. “US Marshals will now bring to bear our fugitive investigations expertise to ensure that individuals charged in federal warrants are brought to face justice. Respect for the rule of law is a foundational principle for our democracy and the freedoms that it provides.  Unlawful acts will not go unpunished.”

“The events that happened at and around the United States Capitol were unconscionable, and those responsible will be held accountable for their attempts to thwart Democracy,” said Metropolitan Police Department Chief of Police Robert J. Contee III. “While these charges represent a positive step, there is still work to be done. Our collective intentions are to work diligently to identify all of the persons responsible for the insurrection at our U.S. Capitol.”

Thirteen individuals have been charged with federal crimes. The defendants and charges are outlined below:

Cleveland Meredith was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with making interstate threats to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Richard Barnett, of Arkansas, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful entry; violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and theft of public money, property, or records. Barnett allegedly entered a restricted area of the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Lonnie Coffman, of Alabama, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with possession of an unregistered firearm (destructive device) and carrying a pistol without a license. It is alleged that Coffman’s vehicle contained 11 explosive devices known as Molotov cocktails and firearms. It is further alleged he was in possession of two firearms. Coffman was arrested and is currently being held. His detention hearing is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2021.

Mark Leffingwell, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; assault on a federal law enforcement officer; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Leffingwell allegedly entered the Senate side of the Capitol and when stopped by law enforcement, struck an officer in the helmet and chest. Leffingwell is currently being held and has a detention hearing in district court today.

Christopher Alberts, of Maryland, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with carrying or having readily accessible, on the grounds of the United States Capitol Building, a firearm and ammunition. Specifically a Taurus G2C, 9mm handgun and 9mm caliber ammunition. The defendant appeared in district court and was released. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 28, 2021.

Joshua Pruitt, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority. The defendant appeared in district court and was released. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 28, 2021.

Matthew Council, of Florida, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Council allegedly unlawfully entered the Capitol building, and when stopped by law enforcement, he pushed the officer.

Cindy Fitchett, of Virginia, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.  

Michael Curzio, of Florida, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. 

Douglas Sweet, of Florida, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. 

Bradley Ruskelas, of Illinois, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. 

Terry Brown, of Pennsylvania, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. 

Thomas Gallagher was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. 

In addition, approximately 40 individuals have been arrested and charged in Superior Court with offenses including, but not limited to, unlawful entry, curfew violations, and firearms-related crimes.

The cases are being prosecuted by the U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and are being investigated jointly by the FBI; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; United States Marshals Service; U.S. Capitol Police Department; and the Metropolitan Police Department.

The ATF and FBI continue to urge the public to report suspected use of explosive devices, or violent, destructive acts associated with the recent unrest. Anyone with information can call 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477), email ATFTips@atf.gov or submit information anonymously via ReportIt.com.

The FBI is looking for individuals who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at fbi.gov/USCapitol.

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BARBARA J. WEEKS

Barbara J. Weeks age 83 died Friday, January 8, 2021 at Crestwood Retirement Community in Mt. Pleasant, MI. She was born July 23, 1937 in Chicago, IL to George and Irma (Zarbeck) Wheelock. Barb sewed for 29 years at General Motors. She and her family always looked forward to the annual summer trip to Iowa to visit the Herbst Family. She and her husband Bob were able to travel to many other states. Barb enjoyed camping and going to the casino, and vacations with her kids. She had a comical sense of humor that continued to the end. You always knew were you stood with Barb. Her grandkids “fondly” remember being chased by her with a fly swatter. Surviving are her children Wayne (Vickie) Weeks, Roger (Tammie) Weeks, Debbie (Gene Perski) Mogdis; daughter-in-law Cathy Weeks; 12 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; sister Doris (Lewis) Todd; brother Marvin Monroe; brother-in-law Daniel Herbst. She was preceded in death by her husband of 47 years, Bob Sr.; sons, Greg and Bobby Jr.; granddaughters, Nicole Van Wagoner and Andrea Beeman; sisters Carol, Phyllis and Dorothy. The service was held Wednesday at Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home. Pastor Chuck Smith, officiating. Interment Courtland Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity your choice.

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

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