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Village Council asks President to resign

by Judy Reed

With less than a month left on his term, the Sand Lake Village Council voted at their regular meeting on Monday evening to ask Village President Tom Norton to resign. The motion, introduced by trustee Danielle Hardenburg, passed 5-0.

Norton has been under fire most recently for taking a Sand Lake Fire Department brush truck on Saturday, October 6 without speaking directly to the Fire Chief about it first, and allowing it to be used in the Pulaski Days parade in Grand Rapids by the Curt Benson for Judge campaign.

Norton told the Post last week that as President, he had a right to take it. “The Chief doesn’t run the fire department, the President of the Village does,” he said.

Hardenburg had told the Post she felt it was an abuse of his power, and she was going to ask for his resignation at the meeting.

Norton, however, was not in attendance at Monday’s meeting, due to a family medical issue.

Hardenburg introduced the motion at the meeting, and the council discussed it.

“There was some discussion on the part of the council that we can’t force him to resign,” explained President pro-tem Dave Dewey. “But as a council, we sensed that there was no way people would be content unless we sent him a letter requesting his resignation. So we decided we would send a letter out to Tom, and he would say yes or no.”

Dewey said an email went out to Norton Tuesday morning requesting his resignation. At the time of this story, they had not yet gotten a response. If he does resign, the Village Council would then need to appoint an interim to run the village until after the November election, when a new president will be elected. Hardenburg is running for that position as a qualified write-in candidate. Former trustee Nyha French appears on the ballot, but she moved out of the area and is no longer a candidate.

Norton decided earlier this year not to run for reelection in Sand Lake, but instead ran for Supervisor of Nelson Township against their current Supervisor Robyn Britton and lost in the primary election. He told the Post last week that he and his family would soon be moving out of the area.

The Sand Lake Village council has seen several of its trustees leave recently and will have several openings on the November ballot. Dave Dewey is retiring after 13 years; his wife Jan resigned earlier in the summer; trustee Greg Wheeler resigned and French moved out of the district.

All write-in candidates need to file declaration of intent forms by October 26.

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Red Flannel Day 2018

Post photo by L. Allen.

It was the first Red Flannel Day for this cute little munchkin. Rylee Dines, just one-year-old, and her mom, Rita, had something special to celebrate—Rylee was born on Red Flannel Day last year! All dressed up in long johns and a granny cap, Rylee had a good time taking it all in. 

Although it was a little wet at times, thousands of people still descended on Main Street and the surrounding area for the day and had a great time visiting the many shops, booths, food vendors, marketplace, lumberjack show, carnival rides, playing games, watching the parades and much more. Click here to see more Red Flannel photos.

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Scholarship fund set up in honor of Cora Gonzalez

Cora Gonzalez was a happy, spunky fifth-grader at Cedar View Elementary. She died in October 2017 from injuries she suffered after being hit by a car. Courtesy photo.

Purple out game set for October 20

As the anniversary of the death of sweet Cora Gonzalez nears, both the Gonzalez family and Cedar Springs AYSO knew they wanted to do something to honor her memory.

Cora, 11, was the daughter of George and Cookie Gonzalez. She was hit by a car on  October 6, 2017, and died from her injuries on October 25, 2017. The Gonzales family knew from the beginning they wanted to set up a special scholarship fund in Cora’s name. Cora was a giver and her family wanted to honor her by giving back. Cora was a gifted athlete, but her heart is what many remember best about her. 

“Her spunk and love of life was evident all the time. Setting up a scholarship fund is a fantastic way for us to remember Cora while helping kids in her community be able to play soccer, a sport she loved,” said Cookie. 

Cora was a member of Cedar Springs AYSO and they wanted to do something fun and special in her honor. The Purple Out day was an idea board member Michelle Tate came up with. “I just wanted to support the Gonzales family and I knew others would as well. It was an idea to celebrate the spirit of Cora with a fun day of fundraising for the scholarship fund.” The rest of the board felt it was a great idea. The thought of players donning their purple, Cora’s favorite color, while playing the game she loved so much was a perfect fit.”

The Gonzales family along with Cedar Springs AYSO would like to invite our community to the 1st Annual Purple Out games to benefit the Cora Gonzales Memorial Scholarship fund on Saturday, October 20.  Almost all of the AYSO games are home that Saturday so it is a perfect day to hold the event.  All AYSO players will be wearing purple soccer socks with their uniforms to show their support. Neighboring regions are invited to join in as well, even if they don’t have games in Cedar Springs that day.

This is an all-day, free event at Boomer Park on Ritchie Ave. “Our first game starts at 9 a.m., the last starts at 4 p.m. Mata’s Fun Foods will be joining us, we will have face painting and a silent auction. All proceeds go to the scholarship fund. Come on out for some awesome soccer and fundraising for a good cause!” said Nozkowski.

If you are interested in donating items for the silent auction please contact Michelle at registrar902@gmail.com.  If you would like to lend a hand throughout the day, please contact Anna at anozkowski@gmail.com.

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Missing fire truck sparks controversy in Sand Lake

By Judy Reed

Some tempers are flying hot again in the Village of Sand Lake after Village President Tom Norton took a Sand Lake Fire Department grass fire/medical truck without discussing it with the Fire Chief and allowed someone in the Curt Benson for Judge campaign to drive it in the Pulaski Days parade last Saturday, October 6.

The Post got a tip about it from someone earlier this week, and then called Fire Chief Ed Holtzlander to verify what had happened. 

According to Holtzlander, he went into the fire station Saturday and saw it was missing. “We already had engines 6 and 7 reserved to go to Cedar Springs for the Red Flannel parade and now this one was missing. We use it for grass fires but it’s also our second medical truck,” explained Holtzlander. 

He said he found out that Norton had spoken with a DPW taking the truck. When Holtzlander saw it was missing, he immediately called Norton. 

“I told him to he had 20 minutes to get it back here or I’d report it stolen,” said Holtzlander. “He told me he didn’t need permission to take it.”

The pickup did arrive back at the building about 20 minutes later. But none of the firefighters recognized the guys who brought it back.

The Post spoke to Norton about it, and he verified that he did take the truck without calling Holtzlander. “The Chief doesn’t run the fire department, the President of the Village does,” stated Norton. 

When the Post asked why he didn’t call him and let him know, Norton responded, “The Chief never calls me back anyway.” He also said he had a new phone and didn’t have everyone’s phone number in it.

He assured the Post that it was completely legal. “Under a general law village, a president can do that.” 

“We were asked by someone to send a truck to the parade. An email was sent out on Friday evening to the Chief and Council,” he said. “I got no response. People have smart phones with emails popping up all the time. There’s no reason not to see it.”

The email was reportedly sent at 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

“One of the reasons I delayed the email was to see if we were going to have rain,” explained Norton. “We’d had three days of rain so knew we wouldn’t need it. The only time it’s used is during a grassfire so this is a complete non-issue.”

But Holtzlander said that’s not the case. It’s also a four-wheel drive vehicle with medical supplies and they just recently used it to get back to where someone had fallen out of a tree stand.

But who was driving it in the parade? Norton said he swore a guy into the village so that he would be covered by the village insurance and legally be able to drive it.

In the email that was sent out (which Norton read to the Post over the phone) it was mentioned that doing this would help with grants by making other community’s parades look bigger. The Post spoke with some other Village sources (not Sand Lake) who said that they knew of nothing like that. Instead, they said they don’t allow the use of Village property for political purposes to avoid the look of impropriety.

“I’m appalled,” said Sand Lake Village Council member Danielle Hardenburg. “I did some investigating and don’t like what I found out at all,” she said. 

Hardenburg is also a firefighter and said she understands Holtzlander’s frustration. “We don’t even know the drivers, or if they were certified to drive the vehicle. I had to take a course, and then a test, and then a driving test, and then an annual test every year just to be able to drive it. The fire chief also signs off on who drives it.”

Hardenburg said the vehicle should only be used for when the village is responding to a call. “We just had a conversation recently about who can use village property,” she said. She also doesn’t think it should be used to endorse a candidate. “We should try to stay neutral.”

“This was a complete disrespecting of the head of the fire department by not asking to use the vehicle,” she added. “It shows extremely poor judgment and a complete disregard for public safety. This is a serious matter. I think he should resign and let president pro-tem Dave Dewey take over, even though he only has a month left.”

Norton’s term will be up this fall and he will soon be moving out of Sand Lake.

Hardenburg, who will run for Village President as a write-in in the November election, said she plans to call for Norton’s resignation at the next meeting.

“I feel Tom is incapable of performing his presidential duties. He’s abused his power. It’s a dishonorable service to the community. It makes our board look unhealthy and it needs to stop. I am so floored. What if we had been toned out and showed up at the station and the truck wasn’t there? What would’ve happened?”

The next Sand Lake Village Council meeting will be Monday, October 15, according to the dates posted on their website.

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The Post travels to the Netherlands

Last August, Herm and Rosemary Standhardt travelled to the Netherlands  and took a Post with them. They stayed several days in Amsterdam. 

One of the sites they visited was the Amsterdam Central Train Station, which they said is a huge station built in 1890s and handles over 200,00 travelers a day. 

“Next to this station are many, many bicycles,” said Herm. “People who commute per train from this station park their older bikes there.

They also visited the Rembrandt Plein or Rembrandt Square. “All the painted characters in Rembrandts most famous painting,

the Nachtwacht or the Nightwatch, were cast in bronze and posted three-dimensional,” he explained.

Sounds like you guys had a great time. Thanks so much 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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School PTO walkathon raises $44,000

 

The Cedar Springs Elementary schools held their PTO walkathon fundraiser last Friday, October 5, and raised over $44,000 to support students and teachers with various purchases throughout the year.

The PTO raised funds from local companies to sponsor t-shirts so that every student and staff member was given a free Red Hawk pride t-shirt. Students collected pledges from family and friends to try and beat classroom and building goals. Each grade had a winning classroom with the most pledges. 

Each Elementary building walked for about 45 minutes. K–6th grade participated. The kindergartners ended up having their walkathon in the building due to the rain.  The Red Flannel Court Members came and watched them parade around the building. The other grade levels held their walkathon outdoors.

All elementary buildings, along with the sponsors, raised over $44,000. Red Hawk raised $3,770.77; Cedar View raised $10,363.48; Beach raised $7,918.87; Cedar Trails  raised $10,318.71; and sponsors contributed $11,650.

This money will go towards supporting teachers and students through PTO funded technology, playground equipment, books, and other purchases throughout the year.

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Schools can apply for teen safe driving initiative

 

October 21-27 is National Teen Driver Safety Week

Students at high schools across Michigan have the opportunity to help make their fellow teens better, safer drivers by taking part in this year’s Strive for a Safer Drive (S4SD) traffic safety awareness campaign. This public-private partnership between Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) seeks to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities among new teen drivers.

Inexperience, risk-taking behavior, immaturity, and greater risk exposure are all factors that increase crash risk for young drivers. In 2017, the 15-20 age group represented 7.8 percent (80) of all traffic deaths, with 57.5 percent (46) of those deaths being the driver. Overall, 10,521 teenagers and young adults were injured in a crash in 2017 in the state.

Up to 75 schools will be selected to develop and implement a student-led, peer-to-peer traffic safety awareness campaign as part of the S4SD program. Campaign topics may include distracted driving, seat belt use, underage drinking and impaired driving, speeding, and winter driving.

Participating schools will receive $1,000 to conduct their campaign. The application deadline to apply is November 14, 2018. Following the campaign completion, cash prizes will be awarded to the top five schools. All participating schools will have the opportunity to send students to a free Ford DSFL hands-on driving clinic in the spring with professional driving instructors.

The number of participating high schools has tripled since S4SD began in 2011–from 16 schools to a record setting 61 schools in 2018. Last year, West Shore Educational Service District Career and Technical Education Center students in Ludington won first place for their campaign titled “Drive Focused or Die Distracted.”              

All Michigan high schools are encouraged to apply for the S4SD program. Participation and application information is available on Michigan.gov/s4sd.

The S4SD application process coincides with National Teen Driver Safety Week, which is October 21-27. The week is an effort to raise awareness and emphasize the role parents play in keeping teens safe on the road. It’s important parents have conversations with their teens about some of the greatest dangers while driving: alcohol; no seat belt use, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding and too many passengers in the vehicle.

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Coral fungi and others

These large mushrooms were found growing in a fairy ring in Cam Teusink’s yard at Beech and Second Street last month. Ranger Steve thought they might be Lepista irina, but there are others that grow in fairy rings as well. Photo submitted by Ed Bremmer.

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

Many interesting mushrooms popped up in the yard, woods and fields during the wet hot weather this fall. Colorful Amanitas with yellow spots on the red cap are beauties to behold but dangerous to eat. Many fungi are edible like puffballs but one needs to pay attention to details and be careful. 

My friend Donna Hickey had four sisters and a brother. Donna died in her 90’s in the 1990’s. When they were young girls, their mother sent them out to pick mushrooms with instructions not to eat any until she looked at each one. Her 5-year old sister ate one before her mother looked at them. She got sick and they sent for the doctor. It took him awhile to get there with horse and buggy because of a bridge washout. He could do nothing and she died from liver damage. Mushroom chemicals destroy liver function and death comes rapidly. 

It amazes me how many mushrooms are eaten by wildlife with no harmful effects. It would not surprise me to learn animals make deadly mistakes that we never discover.

When I taught at Brainerd Community College before moving here to become director of the Howard Christensen Nature Center, I worked with Rudy Hillig, who was director of the Northland Arboretum (then called Paul Bunyan Arboretum) in Brainerd, Minnesota. Rudy told me about a friend who was President of Minnesota Mycology (Mushroom) Society. His friend from the Twin Cities stopped in to visit Rudy in the morning and they made plans to meet for supper. His friend went mushroom collecting for the day. 

While collecting, an elderly gentleman asked him if he was concerned about picking a deadly mushroom. Irritated with that frequently asked question, Rudy’s friend said they are rare and he grabbed a mushroom and bit it to make his point. He immediately realized his error and asked the man to get him to the hospital. The man said he did not drive. Rudy’s friend did not show up for dinner. Rudy learned he died from his mistake.

Collecting edible mushrooms is a favorite outdoor activity many people enjoy. It adds delicious flavor to meals. Even the choice morels that people seek in aspen forests and near dead elms in spring have a look alike that  should not be eaten. Learn what to collect by studying mushroom details in their nature niches.

I am not a fan of mushroom taste but I enjoy looking at the tremendous variety that abounds when conditions are ideal. Warm falls with heavy rain are wonderful for producing great varieties to feed our eyes. I led a group at Ody Brook where we saw about three dozen mushrooms growing from the top of an old dead stump. The scene captured joyful attention of the hikers. That one event made the entire walk worthwhile. 

Seeing a large variety of mushrooms growing from tree bark to fairy rings sprouting from damp ground is enjoyable. The mycelium growing out of sight underground or under bark on dead trees remains hidden from view throughout the year. It secretes digestive enzymes that leave its body where it digests food that needs to be absorbed into the fungus. It is not the most efficient method of food capture but it works. When conditions are right, reproductive structures seem to rise into view overnight from the hidden mycelium. 

There are many varied types of beautiful fungi. The coral fungi look like they should be growing on a coral reef submerged in a shallow warm ocean. Instead they display reproductive coral-like growths with branching upright arms from soil here. Their colors include white, orange, and purple. Most are white and lure me outside to explore the varieties after a warm fall rain. The coral-like appearance is unmistakable. 

Major groups of fungi include the bracket fungi that protrude like shelves from trees. They have little pores on the bottom that expel spores. Gill mushrooms release spores from slits under the umbrella like roof and are sought by mushroom hunters to eat. A type of sac fungi displays beautiful little cups with bright red interiors. Enjoy the colors, shapes, and taste found in wild places. Fungi are essential for returning nutrients to the soil allowing plants healthy growth. Without fungi facilitating nutrient cycling, plants would cease and so would we. 

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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Archery deer season: know the new rules

 

Michigan is the top state in the nation for deer taken with archery equipment, and archery season started Oct. 1. The DNR wishes all archery deer hunters a safe and successful hunting season. Below are a few reminders and clarifications for those heading to the field.

Reminders

  • Archery hunters in the Lower Peninsula can use a deer combo, deer or antlerless license during this season. 
  • There are no safety zones when using archery equipment.
  • Over-the-counter antlerless licenses are still available in select deer management units; see michigan.gov/deer.
  • Crossbows are legal to use in entire state Oct. 1-Nov. 14 and additionally in the Lower Peninsula from Dec. 1-Jan. 1.

CWD Areas

CWD and other regulations

  • To learn more about chronic wasting disease (CWD), including a map of where the disease has been found, visit michigan.gov/cwd.
  • Carcass disposal and transportation restrictions can be found in the Hunting Digest (pages 39 and 52) or under Hunting Information at michigan.gov/cwd.
  • To understand baiting and feeding restrictions for certain locations within the state, see page 50 of Hunting Digest.
  • Approved urine and lure attractants can be found at michigan.gov/cwd page 49 of Hunting Digest.
  • For antler point restrictions throughout the state, see page 36 of Hunting Digest.
  • For hunting hours, see page 13 of Hunting Digest.

Mandatory check, deer check stations and drop boxes

There is no longer mandatory check anywhere in the state unless you move your deer out of CWD areas! If you are in the Core CWD Area or the CWD Management Zone, there are carcass transportation restrictions in place (click map for larger map image).

If you hunt in one of the CWD areas and will not be leaving the area, you do not have to have your deer checked nor are you subject to transportation restrictions.

If you are leaving CWD areas (including taking deer from the Core Area to the remaining counties in the Management Zone), you may do so only with the following:

  • deboned meat;
  • quarters or other parts of a cervid that do not have any part of the spinal column or head attached;
  • antlers;
  • antlers attached to a skull cap cleaned of all brain and muscle tissue;
  • hides;
  • upper canine teeth; or
  • a finished taxidermy mount.

OR you must present your deer to any DNR check station in the state (including partnering processors or taxidermists) or place the head in a drop box within 24 hours of harvest.

  • Find DNR check station and drop box locations, , including partnering meat processors and taxidermists, at michigan.gov/deercheck. On the interactive map, it is important to check the open dates and times for each check station. These are not consistent throughout the state.
  • Some drop boxes are open 24 hours as indicated on the interactive map.
  • CWD test results may take up to 14 business days during the busier times of the season. Visit michigan.gov/dnrlab to check your test results.

Drop boxes are self-serve, and you should assume that you will have to leave the deer head in the box unless you are doing a European or shoulder deer mount. If this is the case, you should visit a drop box, electronically register the deer through your smartphone, then take a CWD specimen tag from the drop box and keep the tag with the deer. Once the taxidermist capes out your deer, you need to bring the skinned-out head back to the drop box or to any DNR check station and submit the head with the CWD specimen tag.

Partnering processor check stations may or may not remove your deer head, so you should be prepared to remove the head yourself so that it can submitted for testing.

NEW antlerless license opportunity

Hunters hunting on private land in the CWD Management Zone have the option of purchasing discounted antlerless licenses at 40 percent off the usual price. These licenses are good for private land anywhere within the CWD Management Zone through Nov. 4, 2018, when they expire. Ask for Hunt # – 2CWD when purchasing this license. In addition to these discounted licenses, hunters can still purchase regular, over-the-counter antlerless deer licenses (see pages 39 and 40 of the Hunting Digest). Note: This not a separate season. This license only may be used to take antlerless deer during the archery season on private land with archery equipment from Oct. 1 to Nov. 1.

Tree-stand safety

  • Always use a fall-arrest system full body harness.
  • Always use a haul line—a line anchored to the tree stand that reaches the ground, to lift your unloaded firearm, crossbow and other equipment in and out of the tree stand. Be sure the barrel is pointed down and that the line is not attached through the trigger guard.
  • Always let someone know where you will be hunting and the exact times you will be gone.
  • Carry a communication device that you know receives a signal in the area you will be hunting.
  • Refrain from using screw-in steps on your tree stand.
  • Always step down onto your raised platform (tree stand) to ensure it is secured properly.
  • Always maintain three points of contact when climbing up to or down from your tree stand.

Help Michigan families in need this hunting season 

Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger is an organization that works with the DNR to help feed families in your community. You can help by making a donation when you buy your hunting license OR by donating a harvested deer and delivering it to a participating processor. Each deer donated will provide more than 125 meals, and financial donations offset the cost of processing, packaging and transporting donated venison. To find a participating processor or learn more, visit sportsmenagainsthunger.org.

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Solon recognizes new firefighters

Pictured from L to R:  Solon Fire Chief Jeff Drake, Firefighters John Elliott, Rob Schmidt, and Ben Robinson.

Solon Fire Department (SFD) Firefighter Appreciation and Service Awards Dinner occurred on September 16, 2018. This annual event occurred at the Sparta Lanes with lane rental donated by Jr. Slaughter, proprietor of the lanes. Dinner from the Garden Patch restaurant was provided by the Solon Township Board.  Neighboring departments, including Sand Lake, Cedar Springs, Algoma, and Kent City Fire Departments provided alarm coverage during this time period.  

“This event provides the opportunity for the SFD members and their families to spend some non-alarm time together and recognize and thank everyone for their commitment and sacrifice to serve our wonderful community,” said Solon Fire Chief Jeff Drake.

 At this year’s event the following members received their badges upon successful completion of the Michigan Fire Fighter’s Training Council Fire Academy in April of 2018:

  • Rob Schmidt
  • John Elliott

At this year’s event, the following member received his badge after being hired as a certified fire fighter and upon successful completion of the SFD Field Training Program in March 2018

  • Ben Robinson

 No member received the customary 5 year length of service award this year.

 

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