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Thieves break into Skinner Field concession stand

Several items were stolen and the contents of the cupboards and freezer emptied during a break-in at the Skinner Field concession stand last week. Photo courtesy Shawn Kiphart.

Several items were stolen and the contents of the cupboards and freezer emptied during a break-in at the Skinner Field concession stand last week. Photo courtesy Shawn Kiphart.

by Judy Reed

Shawn Kiphart, with Friends of Skinner Field, thought maybe this would be the year that they were going to make it through the

Items were dumped on floor during break-in at Skinner Field. Photo courtesy of Shawn Kiphart.

Items were dumped on floor during break-in at Skinner Field. Photo courtesy of Shawn Kiphart.

season without their concession stand being broken into. They had just one more Saturday of rocket football games left when they discovered last Friday morning that not only had they been broken into, but major theft and vandalism were also part of the crime.

“Last year we were broken into twice, and the year before we were broken into twice,” explained Kiphart. “In years past they just took some candy or pop, and left everything else alone. But this year was different. It was more violent.”

It wasn’t as simple as getting through a window. The suspects kicked in a heavy metal door.

Photos showed extensive vandalism on the inside of the concession stand. The suspects stole a couple of major appliances, along with all the candy and cases of soda pop. They dumped out all the chips and used the totes to carry other items. They also dumped stuff out of the freezer onto the floor, including bags of ice.

After being broken into last year, the group decided to install a trail cam in the concession stand. The suspects tried to obscure the camera’s lens by smearing nacho cheese on it, but it caught video of them in the act. There appeared to be at least three males caught

Photo from trail cam, courtesy of Kent County Sheriff Dept.

Photo from trail cam, courtesy of Kent County Sheriff Dept.

on video.

The concession stand wasn’t the only building they broke into. They also smashed a front window on the tower, and

The suspect smeared nacho cheese on the camera lens. Photo courtesy of Kent County Sheriff Dept.

The suspect smeared nacho cheese on the camera lens. Photo courtesy of Kent County Sheriff Dept.

broke into two other buildings near the concession stand.

The break-in happened between midnight and 2 a.m. Houses line the streets surrounding Skinner Field at Morley Park, but no one in the area reported hearing anything suspicious. “They had to be really whaling on that door and nobody reported anything,” said Deputy Jason VanDyke. “We need people to pay attention and report anything suspicious.”

Police suspect that that these same suspects may be involved in the

Photo courtesy of Kent County Sheriff Dept.

Photo courtesy of Kent County Sheriff Dept.


Photo courtesy of the Kent County Sheriff Dept.

theft at Veteran’s Memorial Park, and several car larcenies in the area. If you have any information on this break-in, recognize anyone in the photos, or the clothing, please call the Kent County Sheriff Department at (616) 632-6100, or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.



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Fallen soldier’s monument stolen

The way Timothy Brown's statue looked in 2010. Parts of it were stolen last weekend. Post photo by J. Reed.

The way Timothy Brown’s statue looked in 2010. Parts of it were stolen last weekend. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

On November 4, 2005, while engaged in combat operations in Habbaniyah, Iraq, Timothy Brown, a 2002 Cedar Springs

The way the Timothy Brown statue looked after someone stole the replica rifle, hat and dog tags. Post photo by J. Reed.

The way the Timothy Brown statue looked after someone stole the replica rifle, hat and dog tags. Post photo by J. Reed.

graduate, was killed when a land mine detonated near his humvee. The community mourned the sacrifice of their local son. But the family, led by Timmy’s uncle Dan Brown, turned their grief into something good: the creation of Veteran’s Park, in honor of all Veterans. And in September 2010, a monument was dedicated in Tim’s honor at Veteran’s Park in Cedar Springs.

The replica dog tags have been stolen a couple of times from the statue, but on Saturday, October 22, his family discovered something worse: someone had stolen the replica rifle, hat, and dog tags from the statue, and left only the boots.

The monument, which came from the Fallen Heroes Memorial Foundation, cost $10,000. It was paid for through donations from the community and fundraising.

Police and the family are asking for the statue’s return, either to City Hall or the Veteran’s site, no questions asked. If you have any information on the whereabouts of the statue, please contact the Kent County Sheriff Department at (616) 632-6100 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

Police believe that the suspects who took parts of this statue may be involved with other larcenies in the area.


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Meth lab found in stolen vehicle

Jay Allin Pluskhat

Jay Allin Pluskhat

An Algoma Township man is facing charges after he stole a vehicle Monday and set up a meth lab inside.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, they took a report of a stolen vehicle from the 6400 block of 14 Mile Rd, in Courtland Township, on Monday, October 17. Also stolen with the vehicle was a handgun, which was inside the vehicle at the time.

A short time later the vehicle was spotted at Meijer, at 3700 17 Mile Rd, and the driver was taken into custody. The gun was still in the vehicle.

When deputies searched the vehicle, the found a meth lab inside. The Kent Area Narcotics Enforcement Team (KANET) responded to process the meth lab.

The suspect, Jay Allin Pluskhat, 26, of Algoma Township, was arraigned on Tuesday, October 18, on charges of delivery and manufacturing of methamphetamine; receiving and concealing a firearm; and unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle. Bond was set at $25,000 cash or surety.

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Crash sends four to the hospital

This crash occurred at 18 Mile and Myers Lake Friday morning, and took out a telephone pole. Post photo by J. Reed.

This crash occurred at 18 Mile and Myers Lake Friday morning, and took out a telephone pole. Post photo by J. Reed.

A two-vehicle crash in Nelson Township Friday morning sent four people to the hospital, including one with life-threatening injuries.

The crash occurred around 10:30 a.m. at the corner of 18 Mile Road and Myers Lake Avenue.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the investigation determined that a Red 2008 Dodge Caravan, driven by Kellie Austin, age 41, from Rockford, was traveling southbound on Myers Lake Avenue. The red Caravan pulled out in front of a 2012 Black Chevy Suburban driven by Tia Powell, age 30, from Gowen, that had the right of way while traveling eastbound on 18 Mile Road. The black Suburban struck the front passenger side of the red Caravan. This sent both vehicles into the southeast corner of the intersection. The Suburban then struck a utility pole.

According to emergency personnel on scene, Kellie Austin was sent to Spectrum Health with life-threatening injuries. She had no passengers.

Tia Powell suffered back and stomach pain. The front seat passenger of the black Suburban, Tamera Townes, age 55, from Cedar Springs, suffered back pain. The rear center passenger of the black Suburban, Isaiah Powell age 2 from Gowen, suffered a bump to his lip. All three were transported by Rockford Ambulance to Butterworth Hospital.

All occupants were wearing seatbelts. Isaiah Powell was in his car seat.

Assisting at the scene was Cedar Springs Fire Department and Rockford Ambulance.

The intersection was closed for several hours while the police investigated the scene.

The case is still under investigation.

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In support of Sabinas and Bowser

Dear Community Members,

I am a graduate of Cedar Springs Public Schools and taught in Cedar for 24 years before retiring in 2010. I loved my job. We were a close-knit group. We learned from each other, helped each other and were supported by our administrators. I worked on the negotiating team with board members and administrators collaboratively. We could talk openly, expressing any concerns we had.

Cedar schools were at the cutting edge professionally and academically. Cedar was known as the “best kept secret in Kent County.” Now other districts are questioning what is going on in our district and we have become the laughing stock of West Michigan.

Teachers continuously go through change; new leadership, new curriculum, new students.  They are not afraid of “Change.”

The change I currently see and feel in our district makes me sad and concerned for the future. We have lost excellent teachers and administrators. We have lost more than 50 employees since January 2016. Why? Our district is divided with their loyalties to each other and the direction the district is going. They fear saying anything because they don’t know whom they can trust and have watched the retribution time and time again. They are scared and don’t want to be the next one targeted as so many to date.

Currently the board has lawyers showing up at “collaborative” contract negotiations. We have paidconsultants supporting some of our new administrators. I wonder how much money has been spent on lawyer fees and consultants in the last two years.

We have students leaving our school system because of the conflicts in the community. Our fund balance is diminishing.

Our top three administrators chose to not live in our wonderful district and the superintendent does not even send her children to Cedar schools. What does that tell our community?

Is this really the direction you think is best for us to be heading? The best thing for kids?

I support electing Ted Sabinas and Mistie Bowser for board members. What they stand for and their vision is what Cedar schools need now!!


Concerned citizen for Cedar Springs Schools

Peggy (Nielsen) Hansen,

Nelson Township

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 A vote to preserve and improve quality of school system

As a parent and active volunteer at my children’s school I care deeply about the students and staff at CSPS. The upcoming school board election will have significant impact on the future of CSPS. We need to elect individuals who are dedicated to addressing the educational needs of the district, are financially responsible and whose only agenda is in preserving and improving the quality of our school system. That is why I am voting for Joe Marckini and Heidi Reed.

Liz Grice, Algoma Township

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Candidate will ask ‘Who benefits?’

The primary function of the Board of Education is to oversee the education of students in the community. I support electing Heidi Reed for a school board member on November 8. The Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) lists indicators of effective boards and board members and it is my opinion that Heidi Reed will:

Focus on Student Achievement-Focus on issues that will improve student achievement.

Accountability-Play an active role in committee meetings and work sessions. Visit schools and other community events and help shape a positive public opinion about the district.

Culture and Conduct of Board Meetings-Value differences of opinion and don’t let the differences denigrate into personality conflicts. Publicly support the Superintendent and staff.

Ethics-Ensure that commitments and directives are in the best interest of the entire board and district and not the individual board member. Create an environment that discourages micromanagement or undermining of the Superintendent.

Heidi Reed’s desire is to watch over the districts assets, focus on finances and help create a collaborative environment amid ever changing dynamics and requirements of education. Her priority is to keep kids first by asking, “who benefits?” She looks forward to being a trustee for kids and the community.

Kathy Corwin, Solon Township

Community Member and Parent of CSHS Student

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Out of the attic

_n-library-fire-housebwSharon Jett, of the Cedar Springs Historical Society, sent this photo to us of the old fire barn, which used to sit where the current library is, at the corner of Cherry and Second Street.

Sharon wonders if anyone knows for sure when this building was torn down. She said she thinks it was torn down around 1950, and that in the 1930s, the library was upstairs in the building.

If you know when this building was torn down, or have any info on it, you can send it to news@cedarspringspost.com.

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From the Pulpit: Pastor Ryan Black

Cast your cares on the Lord

Are many of your life activities worrisome? I believe the most obvious answer is yes! God recognizes and understands this hardship, which is why He tells us to “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22). Even many in the medical field would agree that “An anxious heart weighs a man down” (Proverbs 12:25).

If we look at the Bible, Christ speaks to us about letting our fears and uncertainties govern our lives. This is captured through a moment in the Gospel of Luke 10:38-42:

Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” 

Don’t you think we can easily sympathize with Martha? At one time or another, we are like Martha overwhelmed by all the activities of our lives. We find ourselves trying to do what everyone else expects. We are going in many directions and then we become irritable, resentful and angry.

Christ’s gentle rebuke was for anxiety and distraction. We have no need to be anxious when we can go to the throne room of heaven and simply ask Him. Worrisome issues can lead to a separation from our spiritual life. God encourages us to balance our activities by adding prayer and Scripture with serving others. Surprisingly, when we add balance to our lives foolish anxiety vanishes. We don’t have to worry because we can simply let God know our needs. God does not want us wringing our hands with worry over things in this life.

Next time you find your day driving you crazy, give yourself a break. Take a deep breath and remember Our Lord’s rebuke and meditate on it.

Pastor Ryan Black

Cedar Springs Christian Church

304 Pine St. Cedar Springs, MI


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Hotel informational meeting planned for Cedar Springs

Could town support an effort to attract a hotel?

There will be an informational meeting next week regarding funding for a hotel study that would determine whether a hotel could be supported in Cedar Springs.

The meeting will be held on October 25 at Cedar Springs Brewing Company at 5:30 p.m.

According to Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack, the City was approached by investors from AmericInn about the possibility of opening a hotel near US131.

He said they claimed that they needed a “hotel feasibility study” to be conducted before they can commit to building a hotel in Cedar Springs.

The City has a group prepared to conduct the study, which would show whether the area could support the hotel and turn a profit for investors. But it would cost $7,500 for the study.

“The difficulty lies in the fact that the Americinn people think that the City should pay for the study and the City has both financial and philosophical concerns regarding paying for the study,” said Womack. “The financial concern is that $7,500 is a significant amount of money for a city the size of Cedar Springs and the philosophical concern is that the City isn’t sure that spending taxpayer money to support a private business decision is appropriate,” he explained.

Private funding may be the answer. Womack noted that at least one interested party has promised $1,000 toward the study, and depending on the outcome of the meeting, the city may seek additional donations to fund the study.

“The City is definitely interested in locating a hotel within city limits,” said Womack. “A hotel located in Cedar Springs would not just benefit the City but would also be great for the surrounding area.”

The closest hotels to Cedar Springs are in Greenville and Comstock Park — both 14-15 Miles away.

“We here at city hall have been asked on a regular basis for the closest hotel to stay at by people visiting local factories, families attending tournaments at the Art Van Sports Complex, people in town for weddings or funerals, people visiting Rockford, golfers in town, snowmobilers, bicyclists, and people enjoying the Cedar Springs brewery,” explained Womack. “Furthermore, Cedar Springs is an ideal place to stay just outside Grand Rapids for people that prefer small town charm.”

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