web analytics

Community grieves loss of student

by Judy Reed

Students, family and community members are grieving the loss of a former Cedar Springs Middle School student who died early Wednesday morning.

Cedar Springs Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn shared the news with staff and parents in emails Wednesday morning. “It is with a broken heart that I share with you sad news in our Cedar Springs community. This morning a student who attended 8th grade at our middle school previously this year has passed away,” she wrote.

Van Duyn told the Post that she was notified early Wednesday, May 4, around 7:30 a.m. not to send any transportation to students in the area of 17 Mile and Shaner, but was not told why. She later learned that the teen had passed away outside in that area, and that police and fire had the area blocked off. “I am heartbroken for his family, and his mother,” said Van Duyn, as she choked back tears.

A team of social workers and counselors were quickly put in place to support students and staff. They were available at both the high school and middle school for anyone who wanted to see them—students, staff, or parents. She said they would remain available.

VanDuyn commended the principals, teachers and counselors for the warm and compassionate way they handled breaking the news to students. “When you work with thousands of students, you just can never predict these things. Counselors assembled quickly, and teachers shared with their heart and soul,” she explained.

Van Duyn said she could not say why the teen was not currently attending school. She did say that the family was new to the district this year, and that the teen has two siblings still attending in the district. She said they would assemble a team to give them the support they need.

Mlive.com reported that a student told them that their bus came upon the scene of the mother outside in a ditch cradling the boy in her arms. Supt. VanDuyn said she could not confirm what students on the bus may have seen. She said that counseling was also offered to the bus driver, whom she called a warm and caring person.

Van Duyn was encouraged by the outpouring of concerned phone calls she received from parents in our community, the Kent Intermediate School District, other Superintendents, and counselors. She also had high praise for the Kent County Sheriff Department and Cedar Springs Fire Department. “It gives us confidence that we live in a community that takes care of us,” she said.

The Kent County Sheriff Department had not released any official info on the death to the Post as of press time Wednesday evening. However, MLive was reporting that the Sheriff Department had confirmed to them that they were investigating the death as a suicide.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Consumers urged to throw away potentially contaminated foods

mdard-horizontal-logo-no-background_originalIf you’ve done any shopping at food stores in the Ann Arbor, Midland, or Flint area in the last month, you will want to know about this.

The Michigan departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Health and Human Services are cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement in Ann Arbor on an investigation involving intentional food contamination at retail grocery stores in Ann Arbor.

Thanks to citizen tips, the suspect was apprehended by the Ann Arbor Police Department. During interrogation, the suspect admitted to intentionally contaminating salad bars and/or produce sections of at least three grocery stores in the greater Ann Arbor area—Whole Foods, Meijer, Inc. and Plum Market—at least twice in the last month. The suspect claims to have sprayed the food with a mixture of a commercial mouse poison, alcohol-based hand-sanitizer and water. Samples have been sent for further laboratory analysis to determine concentration.

The chemicals found in this mixture are a form of anti-coagulant, similar to what is found in medicines that have an anti-clotting function. Based on the known ingredients in the mixture at this time, MDHHS does not anticipate any adverse health effects on individuals who may have ingested potentially contaminated products.

The stores involved have been contacted and additional samples have been collected by law enforcement for further testing. MDARD food inspectors are in the stores this evening conducting follow-up assessments of the potentially affected stores.

“Out of an abundance of caution and to protect public health and food safety, I encourage consumers to dispose of any foods purchased from salad bars, olive bars and ready-to-eat hot and cold food areas from these stores between mid-March and the end of April,” said Jamie Clover Adams, MDARD director. “Although most of these types of foods may have already been eaten or disposed of, some may still be in refrigerators or freezers.”

Based on FBI investigation, there is the potential that other stores in Michigan may also have been targeted. These stores include:

Busch’s
2240 S Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI

Cupcake Station
116 E Liberty
Ann Arbor, MI

Family Fare
2026 North Saginaw
Midland, MI

Kroger
3838 Richfield Road
Flint, MI

Meijer, #108
7300 Eastman Ave
Midland, MI

Meijer, #64
3145 Ann Arbor-Saline
Ann Arbor, MI

Meijer, #213
9515 Birch Run Rd
Birch Run, MI

Millers Mini Mart
3001 Bay City Rd
Midland, MI

Plum Market
375 North Maple
Ann Arbor, MI

Target
2000 Waters Road
Ann Arbor, MI

Tsai Grocery
3115 Oak Valley Drive
Ann Arbor, MI

Walmart
910 Joe Mann Blvd
Midland, MI

Walmart
7000 E Michigan Ave
Saline, MI

Whole Foods
990 W Eisenhower Pkwy
Ann Arbor, MI

Whole Foods
3135 Washtenaw Ave
Ann Arbor, MI

“While the risk for adverse health effects appears to be low, more investigation is being done to determine what level of exposure may have occurred,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive, MDHHS. “If you have any health concerns, contact your healthcare provider or call Michigan Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 with questions.”

The departments would like to acknowledge the diligence of employees at Whole Foods, the quick response of the FBI, law enforcement agencies, and local health officials, and those who provided tips via social media, which has led to a speedy resolution to this issue.

Food industry employees and consumers are reminded to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activities. Remember, “If you see something, say something.” Any suspicious activities should be immediately reported to local law enforcement.

Examples of things to watch for include employees or strangers who:

*spray unknown substances in your store

*enter or exit your operation through the wrong doors

*hang around display cases, exposed food displays (e.g., produce or salad bars) or cold/hot food displays

*loiter in aisles

*leave suspicious materials in your store

MDARD and MDHHS will continue to coordinate with all agencies involved, along with Washtenaw County Health Department and Michigan’s retail grocery industry. Updates will be provided as new information becomes available.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

UPDATED FOOD SAFETY ALERT: Organic frozen vegetables recalled

True Goodness by Meijer organic green peas and white supersweet corn are being recalled.

Several varieties of True Goodness by Meijer organic vegetables are being recalled, along with hundreds of other fruit and vegetables products produced at a Washington facility.

UPDATED MAY 3, 2016

Last week CRF Frozen foods issued a recall on organic frozen corn and peas, including Meijer True Goodness, Organic by Nature from Costco, and several other brands, because they could be contaminated with listeria. They are now recalling ALL organic and traditional fruit and vegetable products manufactured in their facility since May 2014. Seven people from three states have become ill and been hospitalized due to listeria. Two later died, though not from listeria. Please visit the link below to see if you have any of the products in your freezer.

Recall on frozen vegetables

ORIGINAL STORY (April 25, 2016):

Organic frozen peas and organic white supersweet corn sold through various retail outlets, including Meijer, Costco and Schwan’s, are being recalled.

CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington is voluntarily recalling 15 frozen vegetable items that have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Organic by Nature white supersweet corn and peas sold at Costco are being recalled.

Organic by Nature white supersweet corn and peas sold at Costco are being recalled.

No illnesses have been reported to date, but the company is recalling the products as a precaution. The Listeria was discovered through routine testing by state health officials in Ohio. Listeria monocytogenes was found to be present in one lot of Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) organic petite green peas and one lot of IQF organic white sweet cut corn.

Recalled items were sold in plastic bags and are marked with Use By Dates located on the back of the package. Listed below are details regarding the recalled items:

True Goodness by Meijer 10 oz organic petite green peas and 10 oz organic white sweet corn.

Organic by Nature 4 and 5 lb packages of organic green peas, organic vegetable medley with shelled edamame, and organic white superweet corn.

Organic by Nature – Canada 2.5 kg organic green peas.

Schwan’s 16 oz organic supersweet yellow and white cut corn.

Wellsley Farms Organic 4 lb packages of organic mixed vegetables and organic green peas.

The recalled frozen vegetables were distributed to retailers and distribution centers between September 13, 2015 and March 16 in the following states, and may be redistributed in other states nationwide: AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NV, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, and in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan of Canada.

Consumers are urged not to consume these products. Consumers who purchased these products may take them back to the store where they purchased them for a refund or simply discard them. Consumers seeking information may call 844.551.5595 Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Pacific Standard Time.

To check out specific UPC codes recalled and use by dates, visit http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/default.htm.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Two die in traffic crash

An elderly Grand Rapids couple was killed in this traffic crash in Montcalm County Sunday.

An elderly Grand Rapids couple was killed in this traffic crash in Montcalm County Sunday.

An elderly couple from Grand Rapids was killed Sunday evening, May 1, when another vehicle tried to pass several cars and hit their vehicle head-on in Montcalm County.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred on M-66, near Schmeid Road, in Belvidere Township, about 7:18 p.m. Police said that a red 1999 Buick LeSabre was traveling south on M-66, as a northbound black 2012 Audi S4 was attempting to pass multiple vehicles. The Audi was not able to complete the pass, and took evasive action to avoid a collision with the Buick. The driver of the Buick tried to avoid a collision as well. Both vehicles swerved to the west shoulder of M-66 and collided head-on.

The driver of the Buick, Raymond J. Wrona, 88, of Grand Rapids, was injured and transported to Kelsey Hospital in Lakeview, where he later died. His wife, Mary Wrona, 88, the only passenger in the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Audi, Joel Ibarra, 26, of Wyoming, and his passenger, Maria Mancha, 28, from Comstock Park, were both transported to Kelsey Hospital and treated for their injuries.
Drivers and passengers all wore seatbelts and there are no other known factors that contributed to the crash.

The crash remains under investigation.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

The eagles have landed

Tim Hindenach sent in this photo of the eagles at Pine Lake.

Tim Hindenach sent in this photo of the eagles at Pine Lake.

Randy Johnson snapped this shot of an eagle at Sand Lake

Randy Johnson snapped this shot of an eagle at Sand Lake

We continue to get eagle photos from area readers. This week we received clearer photos of an eagle sighting at Pine Lake that we ran last week (thank you Tim Hindenach) and a new sighting at Sand Lake. Randy Johnson took his photos on Friday morning, April 22. “I was able to get a few reasonable photos (low light/foggy conditions) from the north shore of Sand Lake, of this beautiful bird,” he wrote. Thank you, Randy!

We have gotten photos from Algoma, Solon, Nelson, and now Sand Lake. The Post asked Ranger Steve Mueller about whether there were now quite a few eagles here, or whether these could be the same birds.

Eagle numbers have increased significantly during the last several decades due to the Clean the Water and Clean Air Acts and the discontinuance of chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides like DDT,” explained Mueller. “It is likely that some eagle pictures may be the same individuals by different people because eagles are wide ranging.”

Eagles can often be found near bodies of water, since fish make up over half of their diet. They also consume other birds, mammals, and small prey.

Do you have wildlife photos you’d like to send us? Email them to news@cedarspringspost.com, along with your contact info and some information about the photo (what’s in it, where it was taken, etc.) We will print as space allows.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Sen. MacGregor reads to CTA students

State Sen. MacGregor

State Sen. MacGregor read to the kindergarten and first grade students at CTA

N-MacGregor-reads2Michigan Senator Peter MacGregor stopped by Creative Technologies Academy for a visit on Friday morning, April 22, and read to the kindergarten and first grade students. He read “Bobby Bramble Loses His Brain” by Dave Keane. Senator MacGregor discussed the difference between fiction and non-fiction books with the young students and encouraged them to read with their peers, siblings and adults. He made sure to allow time to answer the many questions the students had, such as: How did you get elected, who’s your boss and what’s your favorite food?

Posted in NewsComments (0)

The Post travels to Colombia

N-Post-travels-to-Colombia-Springs-ChurchThe Post recently traveled to Colombia with The Springs Church mission team. Members of the team included Matt Goehler, Pastor Barry Briggs, Cindy Mason, Cathy VanOss, Bill VanOss, former Springs Pastor Gary Cruce, Johna Alexander, Floretta Reighn and Shane Jewell.

The group traveled to Bogota, Colombia on Saturday, April 9, and then on to Medellin, Colombia on Thursday April 14. They did some painting at a church, and spent time with the girls at an orphanage called Findesin, which means “the end of without.” They also handed out the Gospel of John and tracts to people in both communities. “There were a couple of people that came to know Christ through this activity,” said Cindy Mason.

Cindy described the area around the orphanage. “There are homeless people that sleep in the median along the road of the orphanage, and people pulling around carts, picking through trash.”

She said they took the girls on a day outing. “We enjoyed the arcade and lunch with them, and then purchased each of them a new outfit. We gave them homemade new dresses, snacks from the U.S. and crocheted stuffed animals. We gave them donated backpacks and shoes. We gave the girls love. Although verbal communication was tough, we were still able to spend time with them and show them how much we all cared for them through playing, photo taking and lots of laughter. And in the end, we shared tears with them. We have no idea whether or not those same girls will be in the orphanage when we return or if they will be back with their parent(s). Therefore, the good-bye that we experienced could very well have been good-bye forever.”

Thanks so much to The Springs Church 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!

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Beware: you may be visited by pink flamingos

Flocking is a new way for Rotary Interact members to raise money for their organization. From left to right: Holly Scheer, Kaylee Klompstra, and Alec Falicki.  

Flocking is a new way for Rotary Interact members to raise money for their organization. From left to right: Holly Scheer, Kaylee Klompstra, and Alec Falicki.

By Randy VanDuyn

On Sunday afternoon, April 24, a flock of pink flamingos took up residency on the front lawn of Marge and Jack Clark’s home. The flamingos allegedly escaped from the Cedar Springs Rotary Interact Club. Jack and Marge were surprised and entertained to see the exotic pink birds in their yard with a hot pink sign stating, “You’ve been flocked!”

The Clarks now have a unique opportunity to pay a small fee that supports the Interact Club and they get to select the next recipient to flock. This is confidential until the chosen recipients see the flock of pink flamingos in their yard! It’s a great way to support our local kids, community, and to have fun throughout Cedar Springs.

The Interact Club, sponsored by the Cedar Springs Rotary Club, is made up of high school students from CSHS and CTA. This is exciting, as it’s the first year Cedar Springs has had an Interact Club. Other communities with Interact clubs include Greenville, Rockford, Lowell and Kenowa Hills.

The Interact Club is a great service organization, like the Cedar Springs Rotary Club. It’s all about our youth learning to lead and be great community volunteers. This will help to build our community with a philosophy of “service above self.”

Some students of the Interact Club were part of the Rotary Life Leadership Conference last June. The CS Rotary sponsors student participation in the Life Leadership Conference each year. Students are selected by CS Rotarians Julie Wheeler, of Independent Bank, and Aaron Gauger, of White Creek Lumber. Selected students attend a camp with approximately 140 other young leaders from Rotary District 6290.

The CS Interact Club was spearheaded by Dr. Laura VanDuyn, Cedar Springs Superintendent of Schools, after joining the local Rotary Club and working alongside local Rotarians. The Interact Club is now led by Rotary advisors, Nicole Kozminski of Independent Bank and Randy VanDuyn, who serves on the Board of Directors for the CS Rotary and the Red Flannel Festival. Josh Cooper, CSHS teacher, assists the Club leaders and offers his classroom as the meeting place for the Club.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Montcalm educator wins excellence in education award

Kathy Maguire poses for a photo with Baldwin Heights principal, Mike Walsh, and her mother, Elizabeth Fraser, after accepting her Excellence in Education award from Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.

Kathy Maguire poses for a photo with Baldwin Heights principal, Mike Walsh, and her mother, Elizabeth Fraser, after accepting her Excellence in Education award from Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.

Kathy Maguire talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting her Excellence in Education award.

Kathy Maguire talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting her Excellence in Education award.

A Montcalm County educator known for her commitment to encourage students to read and explore new books and for devoting her own time to help teachers and students has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Kathy Maguire, is a media center specialist at Baldwin Heights Elementary School in Greenville. The school is part of the Greenville Public Schools district.

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education award program in 2014 to recognize outstanding public school educators across the state during the school year. 

Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school or school district. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Each winner also is featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations:  WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, and FOX 47 in Lansing. The news segments featuring Maguire aired last week.

For the Excellence in Education awards program, the Lottery has teamed up with Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo. Izzo met recently with Maguire at the Breslin Center and presented her with the award.

Maguire said her favorite part of being an educator is “helping teachers and students find the resources they need to excel. It’s also seeing the joy on students’ faces when they find just the right book and it clicks with them and changes their lives.”

Maguire said she was attracted to a career in education because of her father, Morley Fraser, who was a football and baseball coach and teacher at Albion College. “He instilled the love of education in all six kids in our family. In fact, the whole family entered the education field.”

She said she’s motivated to do her best each day because “my father taught me to help ‘win the game’ in every job, so I go the extra mile to help the teachers win the game in their classrooms and to win the game with students so they know they are valued and respected and that I’ll help them in any way that I can.”

The Excellence in Education award nomination for Maguire described her as “the most upbeat person on our staff” and who “always goes beyond anything that is expected.”

Our media center is a welcoming, friendly place to be thanks to her caring, diligence and the love of the staff and kids. It’s not unusual for students to stop in the media center after school just to talk to her. Taking time for students never stops for Kathy,” the nomination said, adding that “volunteers are a common sight in our media center because she is so accepting and appreciative of anyone who might want to help.”

Maguire has been an educator for 15 years, the last 11 with the Greenville Public Schools.  She attended Alma College and the Moody Bible Institute.

Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:

Excellence – Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement.

Dedication – They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed.

Inspiration – Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations either academically or professionally.

Leadership – They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts

Effectiveness – The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Presentation clarifies school board’s role

By Judy Reed

A special presentation at Cedar Springs Public Schools last week Tuesday, April 19, shed some light on what the community should expect from both the Board of Education and the Superintendent, and how the board operates under the open meetings act.

The presentation was given by Scott Morrell, a senior facilitator with the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB).

Recently there have been complaints from some longtime school staff members about a negative atmosphere at the school brought on by a new administration, and complaints from members of the community regarding board members not responding to concerns. Other staff and community members have voiced their approval of the current administration. People have spoken at board meetings, and sent letters to the Post. Many who are not happy with the way things are going, cite the resignations of four long-time administrators in the last year and a half.

Morrell said he had seen the letters in the Post, both positive and negative, and didn’t think either were helpful. “How many of them were about kids?” he asked.

One person in the audience asked him, “You don’t think those letters were positive, encouraging?”

Morrell said no. “Some were positive but many were hurtful. That’s not looking at what’s best for kids. When we have scores that aren’t where we want, it’s easy to have peripheral stuff going on…Once we start focusing on adult issues, neither side wins.”

Another community member pointed out that some of those issues are affecting the kids. Another said that four administrators had left.

Morrell noted that the administrators won’t share why they left because they are looking for another job. “There are two sides to every story and the truth is usually somewhere in the middle,” he said. “At some point, we’ve got to let some of this stuff go. Change is hard. You could have staff leaving every year as expectations get harder. It’s not that they are bad people. Sometimes it’s just a bad fit.”

He remarked that he is also concerned about where Cedar Springs is headed, and that he wants the district to succeed. “I also have skin in this game. If it fails, I’m also partly responsible. I interact with the board.”

Morrell did a presentation for the board in the fall, and he also does classes that the board members take. He has been a board of education member elsewhere in Michigan, and served on the MASB board of directors. And he does not envy the board members in Cedar Springs. “As an outsider reading those letters, I’m glad that I’m not on this board,” he said.

According to Morrell, the board is in charge of developing policy that governs the district, setting the vision for the district, and adopting the budget. The superintendent is in charge of managing the day-to-day operations of the district, such as hiring staff, managing the budget, implementing the vision and policies that the board adopts, and communication with the board.

The board is also responsible for maintaining two-way communication with staff, students, and members of the community. However, while a board meeting is an open meeting that the public may attend, it is not a public meeting with the community. We are basically watching the board do their business. And while the public may have an opportunity to speak, the board does not respond.

They don’t do dialogue with the public,” explained Morrell. “If they answer one question, and nine others don’t get anything, they would be mad at the board.” He noted that instead, comments are referred to the superintendent to handle.

Morrell explained that the board also cannot do exit interviews. If a staff member is let go, they can appeal to the board under the law. “The board approves resignations and terminations because they are the legal entity, but they may not see why (someone was terminated) unless a grievance reaches them.” He also explained that the board cannot grant a closed session or hearing before the board for a resignation. “Boards don’t do exit interviews because they don’t hire (except for the Superintendent). Their hands are tied—they have to follow policy and the law. They have been advised by their attorney not to do exit interviews.”

Former Athletic Director Autumn Mattson had requested an exit interview with the board after she resigned and was turned down.

Dr. VanDuyn explained that the school has started doing exit interviews with human resources, and that the Superintendent or Asst. Superintendent can sit in when requested. “People can also write or speak to the board, or come to a board meeting and speak during the public comment time and share,” she said.

Morrell noted that when people speak at the meetings, that they shouldn’t be throwing people under the bus. “You (the speaker) are liable, not the district. You could be guilty of libel if it’s not true,” he explained. “And even if it’s true, you still have to be careful, because it could be violating staff members’ rights.”

A resident asked if a former administrator was identified as someone who made a mistake, was that ok? “Some people saw that as an attack on a person,” he said.

Morrell said that was ok. “It’s not an attack on a person, it’s on the process. There will be times it has to come out,” he said.

He also addressed whether letters read at board meetings and requested to go in the minutes should be recorded. “No, because it’s not a board action,” he explained. Morrell said that minutes are not recorded word for word. There is roll call, when the meeting was called to order, motions voted on, etc.

He also covered when the board can go into closed session, how to know when a board is in trouble, and other ins and outs of the system.

But the bottom line was that everyone has their own job to do, and the board of education sets the tone. “As the board goes, so does the district,” said Morrell.

IT works best when everyone swims in their own lane. It takes a community to educate our kids. But we can’t do each other’s jobs. It’s when the district works best. We need to start working collaboratively, working together.”

For a copy of the powerpoint presented at the meeting, visit csredhawks.org.

Posted in NewsComments (0)