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Fire burns Harvard home

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This home on Harvard Avenue, between 15 and 16 Mile Roads, caught fire Tuesday. Post photo by J. Reed.

 

Post photo by J. Reed.

Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

The Oakfield Fire Department and four other departments battled both the elements and a structure fire Tuesday morning in the 13000 block of Harvard Avenue NE.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene shortly after 10 a.m. Flames were coming through the roof. According to Oakfield Fire Chief Sam Peterson, the wind and cold were problems, but an even bigger problem was that the fire had gotten into the attic, and that area was restrictive.

Peterson said the fire started in the bathroom, possibly from some wiring issues. He said a fire investigator would be investigating the scene.

They cleared the scene at about 2:30 p.m.

A mom was home with children at the time of the fire, but the family had gotten out safely, as did their cat. No one was injured at the scene.

Oakfield was assisted by Courtland, Spencer, Grattan, and Montcalm Fire Departments.

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Shirley Merlington named 2015 Grand Marshal 

 

Cedar Springs resident Shirley Merlington has been named the 2015 Grand Marshal for the 76th Annual Celebration

Cedar Springs resident Shirley Merlington has been named the 2015 Grand Marshal for the 76th Annual Celebration

N-GrandMarshal-Merlington2By Judy Reed

The Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors proudly named Cedar Springs resident Shirley Merlington as the 2015 Grand Marshal for the 76th Annual Celebration, to be held on Saturday, October 3, 2015.

“The Festival is extremely proud and thankful for the many years of Shirley’s outstanding dedication to the Cedar Springs community,” said Michele Tracy, President of the Festival.

Shirley was shocked when she found out the board had selected her. “I was really surprised,” she said. “It never entered my mind.”

Shirley was born in Cedar Springs, at a house on Beech Street. She went to Cedar Springs Public Schools until 3rd grade, when her family moved to Sand Lake. She graduated high school there, and met her future husband there, Ronny Merlington. Shirley and Ronny settled in Cedar Springs after he graduated from Michigan State. “I’ve been in the same house in Cedar Springs for 48 years now,” she said.

Shirley served as Executive Director of the Red Flannel Festival from 1990 to 2003. She also served as Director of the Cedar Springs Chamber of Commerce for 12 years, served on the Cedar Springs Board of Education, the Cedar Springs Women’s Club and was 5th District President of American Legion Women’s Auxiliary. “For 25-30 years I’ve been involved in everything in Cedar Springs,” remarked Shirley. Other positions she’s served in include the Board of Review, the DDA, the Elections Commission, and the Selective Service board. At age 77, she is still active in the Legion Auxiliary and has been for 34 years.

“It’s very obvious Shirley loves the Red Flannel Town, and especially the Red Flannel Festival! Her connection to Festival Founders Grace Hamilton and Nina Babcock is very special to us. The Red Flannel Town is a better place because of her involvement and extraordinary volunteerism!” said Tracy.

Shirley said it’s true that she loves Cedar Springs. “I love it! I love the Red Flannel Festival, and look forward to it every year. We usually have company. It’s always been thrilling to me. Ronny and I were both proud to be involved in it all of these years,” she remarked. “We couldn’t ask for a better town to live in.” Ronny was also a Grand Marshal several years ago.

Shirley will reign this year, the Festival’s 76th, over the two weekends of the 15th oldest Festival in the state of Michigan, sharing the Red Flannel warmth of our community with visitors and residents.

 

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Cedar Trails principal resigns

Longtime Cedar Trails Elementary principal Jennifer Harper with a student.

Longtime Cedar Trails Elementary principal Jennifer Harper with a student.

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education approved a resolution Monday evening to enter into a separation agreement with longtime Cedar Trails Elementary principal Jennifer Harper.

Harper, who was co-principal with Mike Duffy, has been on paid administrative leave, and recently resigned. The reason for her paid leave and subsequent resignation has not been made public.

The Post has been contacted by concerned parents, who said she was there one day, and gone the next, with no explanation to staff or students and parents. “As a parent with students in the school I want to know what is going on,” wrote one parent. “This is crazy that the school district has said nothing to parents about this or anything that is going on. The kids are asking where she is.”

The Post spoke with the district office about the matter. “It’s been an ongoing personnel matter,” explained Superintendent Laura VanDuyn. “We can’t reveal the nature because it is a personnel matter. But I think it’s important to say that it’s not a matter that has to do with criminal conduct or the safety of students.”

Van Duyn said Harper was put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. “We have clearly followed our district’s legal counsel in the matter,” she said.

Harper was originally hired to run the Parents as Teachers program, and then became co-principal with David Cairy.  She continued on as a principal at Cedar Trails after Cairy moved to Assistant Superintendent. Andy Secor and Mike Duffy have served as co-principals with Harper. Secor currently is principal at Cedar View.

VanDuyn said that Duffy would continue as principal at Cedar Trails and Harper would not be replaced.

While Harper said she could not discuss the terms of her resignation, she did have a statement for parents, staff and students.

“I have gladly dedicated my heart and soul to the students, staff and families of the Cedar Trails Community for the last 17 years. I have loved working with the staff, mentoring your young children, and have always supported high expectations for all. I wish only the best for CSPS and I pray for its continued success,” she said.

The Post submitted a request through the Freedom of Information Act on Monday, asking for any emails, documents, and minutes referencing the resignation of Jennifer Harper.

Harper is the second administrator to resign since the beginning of the school year. Assistant Superintendent Steve Seward resigned earlier this year.

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Chamber to hold auditions for Renaissance royalty

Chamber members in royal attire at last year’s festival.

Chamber members in royal attire at last year’s festival.

The Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce is planning their second annual Renaissance-themed summer celebration to kick off the summer during the second week of June. The celebration will take place from 18 Mile south to Morley Park in downtown Cedar Springs.

“This will be a great time to dress up as your favorite Renaissance character like Robin Hood, King Arthur, Merlin, Sir Lancelot, Gypsies, Pirates, Woodland Elves, Fairies, etc.,” said Chamber president Perry Hopkins. “This is a family event so kids of all ages can participate (adults can be kids too). We will have an outdoor movie in the park on Friday and have a variety of entertainers and vendors on Saturday and Sunday!”

Any individual or group who would like to participate in this event (vendors, volunteers, performers, etc) can contact Perry at 616-439-0890 or email kinofhope@yahoo.com. “We are looking to have as much of the community involved as possible,” he said.

 Mandy Stephenson, of Kalamazoo, will reign as Queen Victoria of Morleyshire, at this year’s Cedar Springs Renaissance Faire, put on by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

Mandy Stephenson, of Kalamazoo, will reign as Queen Victoria of Morleyshire, at this year’s Cedar Springs Renaissance Faire, put on by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s Cedar Springs Renaissance Faire’s Theme is Robin Hood.

Most Renaissance Faires have a royal court that is a part of the event. We would like to announce our Queen Victoria of “Morleyshire” for this year’s Cedar Springs Renaissance Fair—Mandy Stephenson, from Kalamazoo. “She was chosen by the Cedar Springs Renaissance Faire Committee for her for her experience with Renaissance Faires, her dress experience, language and knowledge,” explained Hopkins. He said she has been royalty at many Renaissance Faires, and has 13 years of experience in improvisational acting.

The Committee for the Cedar Springs Renaissance Faire will also be holding auditions for the rest of the royal court. We are auditioning for Prince, Princess, Duke, Dutchess, Lords,and Ladies, towns people and rogues (possibly other roles too).

Auditions will be held on Saturday March 28 at 4:30 p.m. at 90 North Main Street, Cedar Springs, in the dance studio on the second floor. Those interested in auditioning need to come dressed to part. For more details please call Perry at (855) 627-2262 ext. 103 or 616-439-0890

You can find more information on our face book page Cedar Springs Renaissance Faire. The CSACoC also has an event page on face book for the event The Cedar Springs Renaissance Faire  https://www.facebook.com/events/348962938597221/

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Post travels to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

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Kenneth Mitz and Tammy Metzger recently took the Post along on a Royal Carribean cruise to San Juan, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. They visited the islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Grenada.

Thanks to Ken and Tammy for taking us with you!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

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Police search for stolen vehicle

Kent County Sheriff DeptPolice are on the look out for a red truck that was stolen Tuesday evening.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department-Cedar Springs Unit was dispatched at 6:58 p.m., on Tuesday, February 24, to the Tractor Supply Company on 17 Mile Rd regarding a stolen vehicle. It was reported that a 2001 Ford F350, Dark Red 4×4, with a black stripe near the bottom, chrome running boards and clearance lights on the truck cab, along with a snowmobile trailer and four sleds, were stolen from the parking lot while the owner was inside. The keys were with the vehicle.

On the morning of February 25, the trailer and contents were recovered near Howard City at the M-82 park and ride. The truck is still outstanding. Kent County Sheriff Department Scientific Support Unit responded to the park and ride to process the trailer.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345 or the Kent County Sheriff’s Department.

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Arrests made in Sparta robbery

Corey Steven Robach

Corey Steven Robach

Joel Francis Thompson

Joel Francis Thompson

The Sparta Police and Kent County Sheriff Department arrested two suspects this week for the armed robbery that occurred on January 12 at 10 p.m. at the AGO gas station, 560 E. Division Street, in Sparta.

Two suspects entered the store, with one pulling a gun on the clerk, and the other watching the door. Video surveillance was distributed to the media to help identify the suspects.

According to Police Chief Andrew Milanowski, they arrested Joel Francis Thompson, 23, of Wayland, and Corey Steven Robach, 25, of Sparta, after an extensive investigation by Sparta Police Officer Natashia Smith and Detective Porter from the Kent County Sheriff Department.

Thompson was reportedly the gunman, and Robach watched the door.

Both men were charged with armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. Thompson was arraigned Wednesday, February 25, and Robach will be arraigned Thursday, February 26. Bond was set at $250,000.

Thompson is being charged as a habitual offender. He was a parolee, and previously served time for first-degree home invasion, and resisting arrest.

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Resident helps put out fire

 

The quick thinking of a Nelson Township resident probably helped save his home from burning down, according to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser.

Cedar Springs and Sand Lake Fire Departments were dispatched to a structure fire at 6590 19 Mile, at 2:03 a.m., Friday, February 20. When the first firefighter arrived on scene, Fraser said flames were seen coming through the roof of the attached garage.

Fraser said that the man who lives there, Thomas Gilchrist, was on the roof of the home, throwing snow on the roof of the garage. “With what he did, combined with the firewall, it probably saved his house from burning,” said Fraser.

The Chief said it took firefighters about 25-30 minutes to put out the fire. There is a wood stove in the garage, and Fraser said the fire started in the attic, around the chimney. “It just goes to show that a proper firewall and resistant materials really help in a fire,” he said.

Fraser said the garage wasn’t a loss; it probably just needs a new roof.

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Two injured in crash

N-MontcalmSheriff-logo-rgbMontcalm County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a two-vehicle personal injury crash Friday, February 20, at 2:06 p.m. in Pine Township, on M91, south of Stanton Road.

Police said their investigation revealed a 60-year-old Trufant man was driving a 2003 Dodge Ram 4 door pickup northbound on North Greenville (M-91, and while entering a curve south of Langston, a southbound 1997 Mercury Mountaineer, operated by a 52-year-old Stanton man, crossed the centerline and into the northbound traffic lane.

A witness reported to police that the Mercury Mountaineer was being operated erratically and at a high rate of speed, and failed to negotiate the curve. The southbound Mercury struck the 2003 Dodge Ram head on. The Mountaineer had a gas leak and caught fire, which was extinguished by passersby. Both drivers were pinned and had to be extricated from their vehicles.

The driver of the Mercury Mountaineer did not appear to have been wearing a seat belt. A German Shepherd in the Dodge Ram was uninjured in the crash and was taken by Animal Control. There were no other occupants in either vehicle.

One of the drivers was transported to United Memorial Hospital and one was transported to Spectrum-Butterworth Campus. The Montcalm County Sheriff’s office continues to investigate this incident.

Montcalm County Sheriff’s deputies were assisted at the scene by Michigan State Police, Lakeview Fire Department, Montcalm Fire Department, Montcalm Emergency Medical Services, and Montcalm County Road Commission.

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Are your car seat fears founded?

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(BPT) – Driving your newborn home from the hospital is when you know your life has changed. Car safety before kids is relatively simple, but after your first child is born, it becomes more complicated, especially when it comes to proper car seat installation.

More than 50 percent of new fathers and 40 percent of new mothers expressed concern over mastering the proper car seat installation as one of their top fears when bringing home a newborn from the hospital, according to research from Cars.com and Toluna QuickSurveys.

Since the majority of newborns spend multiple hours in the car, knowing how to properly install a car seat is essential, and all too often done incorrectly. Seventy-five percent of children ride in car seats that aren’t properly installed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Although car seats (and the children in them) are all unique, Cars.com editor and expert mom Jennifer Newman offers these simple steps that are generally applicable to most car seat installations:

* Once you purchase a car seat, perform a car seat check in your own vehicle to see if your new car seat and car are compatible. Some stores will even let you try it out in your car before you buy.

* Make sure you’re using a car seat that meets the latest federal safety requirements and the height and weight of your child.

* Read both the car seat’s owner’s manual and your car’s owner’s manual to make sure you’re following the recommendations regarding installation.

* Locate your local child car seat inspection station, offered throughout the country to teach parents, both new and experienced, how to properly install any car seat.

* Car seats can be installed with either the latch system – the lower latch and tether anchors often found in the backseat – or with the seat belt. Use whichever is easier for you but never use both at the same time – this setup hasn’t been crash-tested and it could put too much stress on the car seat.

* After connecting the seat, using either method, make sure to push down on the seat as you tighten the latch straps or seat belt. The seat shouldn’t move more than an inch at the belt path.

* Register your car seat with the manufacturer and sign up for recall emails to ensure your child is not riding in a defective car seat.

* Visit Cars.com to learn more tips on child driving safety.

“Even seasoned parents should take some time to learn how to properly install the new car seats on the market. This will lower the risk of any injuries and will help keep your child protected if you ever get into a car crash,” Newman says.

Although many precautions should be taken by any parent before driving with a child, new parents should not be worried to take their child for a ride. By taking the proper steps parents should feel comfortable and confident while driving with their newborn so they can focus on the road and keep their child protected.

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