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Tour of lights

HAVE YOU SEEN ANY AWESOME CHRISTMAS DISPLAYS? We’re in need of entries for our Tour of Lights….

Every year The Cedar Springs POST hosts a Tour of Lights giving area residents the scoop on where the hot spots for Christmas lights are glowing. 

There’s nothing like the warm glow of Christmas lights this time of year to give you a good dose of Christmas cheer! 

In order for us to make an accurate listing, one that includes YOUR house as a “drive-by” we need you to lead the way. 

Simply mail your name and address to Tour of Lights, P.O. Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. You can also email them to news@cedarspringspost.com or call the office at 616-696-3655 to let us know. 

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Christmas Coloring Contest

Hey kids, 

It’s time for our annual Christmas Coloring Contest and your chance to win one of three $50 gift cards, one for each age group. Winners choose their own prize and get what they really want!

Please print out and color the picture below with crayons, markers or colored pencils. Our judges will choose the three winners – one from each age group: 4-5 years, 6-7 years; and 8-10 years.

Good luck and remember to be creative but follow the rules! Please no help from parents or older siblings/helpers.

Rules: 

1. Only one entry per child. 

2. Only one winner per family. 

3. We are not responsible for lost mail. 

4. All entries must be at our office by December 17 5. Use only crayons, markers or colored pencils.

Winners will be announced in the December 20th issue of The Cedar Springs Post. Don’t delay, get your entry in as soon as possible – deadline is Monday, December 17 by 5:00 p.m. but we’d like to display your entry on our windows throughout the month. Our office hours are 10am to 5pm Monday-Thursday, and 10am to 2pm on Fridays. We’re closed this Thursday & Friday for the Thanksgiving Holiday. 

Please deliver entries to: 

36 E. Maple St., Cedar Springs.

Or mail to: Christmas Coloring Contest

P.O. Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, Home for the HolidaysComments (0)

Baby’s First Christmas

Photos will be run at no cost to our readers, but space is limited so get your photos in early. Deadline is Monday, December 17 by 5 p.m. and pictures with name and date of birth will appear in the December 20th issue. We cannot guarantee return of photos. Show the community your precious gift!

We want to give you the opportunity to celebrate your baby’s very first Christmas in a special way. The  Cedar Springs POST will be featuring area newborns in “Baby’s First Christmas,” a special feature for babies celebrating their first Christmas. 

Photos may be dropped off at the Cedar Springs POST – 36 E. Maple St., or mailed to Baby’s First Christmas, P.O. Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319, or emailed to happenings@cedarspringspost.com. Please include baby’s name, and birth date, as well as a contact name and phone number.

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, Home for the Holidays, NewsComments (0)

Family loses 50 animals in fire

This barn with a stray cat sanctuary burned on Monday, November 28, killing all the animals inside.

By Judy Reed

When Jody Willer did her final check of the night on the 15 cats and dozens of chickens, ducks and other fowl in their pole barn, she had no inkling that anything was wrong. But her whole world blew up just two hours later.

Willer and her young adult daughter, Kristeena, live with Willer’s brother, Bob Versluys, in the 8000 block of 20 Mile Rd, in Nelson Township. Willer, who is disabled, moved in there with her daughter after a divorce, and her life has revolved around taking in and caring for stray cats, as well as caring for the various chickens, ducks and geese. She had a “cat condo” in the barn, with a “cat camp” in a fenced in area in the yard behind it for the cats to play in. The birds had their own part of the barn, and were able to roam freely during the day.

“I went out to the barn about 7 or 8 and made a fire that night (in the wood stove) because I knew it was going to be cold,” she said. “At about 11 I went back to restock it for the night, and everything was ordinary. I never would’ve given it a second thought.”

Willer said she normally goes to bed about 11 but stayed up until about 1 watching TV. When going to bed, she noticed through the window that the mercury light at the barn was out. She told her daughter she was going out to check the breaker. 

When she got to the barn, she opened the first door with her key. When she went to open the inner door, she realized the handle was hot. When she opened the door, thick black smoke blew her back and the flames ignited. Willer said she screamed for her daughter, who came out and tried to break open a back window to get to the animals but couldn’t. Her brother, who happens to be the Fire Chief at Grand Rapids Township, was on the job in Grand Rapids and not home at the time.

According to Sand Lake Fire Chief Ed Holtzlander, the call came in around 1 a.m., and both Sand Lake and Cedar Springs responded to the scene. “We were there about an hour and a half,” said Hawkins. “There was tar paper in the roof, and we had to pull all that down.” 

All the animals perished from smoke inhalation. “We got all the animals out and buried them,” said Willer. “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever been through. We loved our animals and treated them like grandkids. That’s 49 lives, so sad and traumatizing.”

The three oldest cats were 17 years old. “I got them from Cedar Animal Hospital,” she said. The oldest chicken was also 17 years old, she said. “They usually only live about 11 years,” she added.

For now, she’s at a loss with what to do with herself. “Taking care of animals gave me a purpose,” she said. “Thank goodness we kept some in the house, too,” she said, referring to the several cats that have the run of the house, including a two-month-old stray someone dropped off.

While the fire department felt it may have been a spark from the wood stove that started the blaze, Willer said that an insurance inspector called and said that he cannot rule out whether it was electrical or a spark from the stove, so he will be back out to continue to investigate it. 

Regardless, she said that when they rebuild, they would not have a wood stove in it, and plan to make it mostly concrete to allow any fire to burn itself out more quickly.

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Santa brings smiles at holiday ceremony

Santa holds a young child at the “Merry Grinch-mas” celebration at the Cedar Springs Library. Photo by Kristen’s Flashback Photography.

Mrs. Claus poses with children after story time at Perry’s Place. Photo by Kristen’s Flashback Photography.

Hundreds turned out last Saturday, December 1, for the city’s annual Mingle with Kris Kringle holiday celebration.
The day started off with the Jingle Bell Run (a fundraiser for the Cedar Springs Senior All Night Party). Then over 700 people attended the “Merry Grinch-mas” at the Cedar Springs Library, where the community was invited to “Whoville” to make Christmas tree ornaments, decorate cookies, make gifts and cards, visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, have popcorn popped onsite by Mayor Gerry Hall and Amy, and join “Whos” Melissa Dubridge and Cassie Hall for a great show in “Whoville.” Cindy Karafa, leader of 4H Animal Junction, came with 27 volunteers and 500 sugar cookies to decorate. All but 3 cookies were claimed. The 4H students competed for “Best Gingerbread House” recognition. The Library gave away 4 prizes in a free raffle (the favorite prize was a LEGO Model Car, donated by City Manager Mike Womack).
The Library provided supplies to make lovely ornaments for home and the City Christmas Tree, a necklace for mom, a key chain for dad, letters to Santa and holiday coloring pages
Santa and Mrs. Claus flew from the North Pole to Cedar Springs just to bring good cheer to Cedar Springs families. They chatted with kids and parents for three and a half hours.
Following the library celebration, story time with Mrs. Claus at Perry’s Place llc for herbs, teas, and more was a big hit with children and parents a like. Later, the Cedar Springs High School choir sang at the tree while the crowd awaited the arrival of Santa Claus, who was a wee bit late. Double K Farms and Animal Junction (and 4H) brought their animal friends (goats, rabbit, etc.) out to have fun with everyone. The live nativity was canceled due to the weather.

Santa and Mayor Gerald Hall at the tree lighting ceremony. Photo by Kristen’s Flashback Photography.

After the Santa parade and tree lighting, Santa greeted children in the American Legion Hall. While they waited, children were able to do crafts and other activities, and were provided free hot chocolate by the Women’s Auxillary.
This weekend will be the second weekend of the holiday celebration, with music and dance at the Kent Theater on Saturday and Sunday, and free carriage rides on Monday. See ad on page 20 for more details.

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Sand Lake removes police chief

Board also hires new interim clerk, gives audit update

by Judy Reed

The Village of Sand Lake is seeking a new police chief after the Village Council voted Monday, December 3, to remove Chief James Reamsma from the position.

The move came during a special meeting. The council went into closed session at 7:05 and returned about an hour later. President Danielle Hardenburg explained that Reamsma had personal matters happening right now and couldn’t perform his job. President pro-tem Tonia Parkhurst made a motion to remove him as police chief, and the vote was unanimous, 5-0. No other information was released.

Reamsma had been with Sand Lake since 2013. The Village will be accepting applications for the position.

In other business, the council also voted to approve former councilmember Nyha French as the new interim clerk. She started work Tuesday in the Village offices. The Village has been without a clerk since Kent Boersma abruptly quit on November 20, after their auditor spoke in a meeting the night before about Boersma not getting reports to him that he needed to do the audits. He had also not balanced the books in eight months. Boersma was an interim clerk recommended by former Village President Thomas Norton.

Hardenburg said that they had brought in an accounting firm to go through everything and hoped to be able to give the auditor the reports he needed this week. The firm will also balance the books for them.

 

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Post travels to Israel

 

The Post recently traveled to the holy land of Israel with Rachel (Reed) Hunt and her husband, Joshua, of Martin. The couple spent five days on the escorted tour. They stayed in Tel Aviv, and in Ginosar, near Tiberius, on the Sea of Galilee.

They visited quite a few sites, including Pzfat, a city well known for art, and they went to a couple of art galleries there; they toured the Golan Heights, which used to belong to Syria; visited the the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount; visited Capernaum, where they saw the ruins of the Apostle Peter’s house and the synagogue next door where Jesus taught; and in Caesarea they saw the ruins of Herod’s palace and visited a winery. 

In Jerusalem they visited the Holocaust museum and visited an Israeli museum where they saw the Dead Sea Scrolls. They toured the old city section of Jerusalem, where they saw the tomb of Schindler; visited the supposed site of King David’s tomb; visited the upper room where the last supper allegedly occurred before Jesus’ death; visited the Wailing Wall; and walked the Via De La Rosa which ended at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. On their last day they floated in the Dead Sea, after covering themselves in a sticky muck, which washed off in the water, but left their skin feeling soft and smooth. They also visited Masada.

“One of our favorite things was going to Masada,” said Rachel. “But it really was enjoyable seeing all the sites and learning about the history with a group of people.”

Thanks so much, Rachel and Josh, 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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Water meters to be replaced

By Judy Reed

In January or February, many residents in the City of Cedar Springs will receive a letter from Ferguson Enterprises asking them to schedule an appointment to have their water meter replaced. It is not a scam.

City Manager Mike Womack said that before DPW worker Al Kensil retired, he had replaced many of them, but there are about 550 more to go. With the technology of the new water meters, a worker will be able to just drive down the road to radio read the meters, rather than walking house to house.

Once the meters are all installed, the city will go back to actual readings every month, rather than the estimated ones, which have not been popular. Womack estimated that change would probably occur in April.

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Can you identify these people?

   

Do you know who these people are? Deputies are requesting assistance with identifying a male and a female person of interest in a larceny complaint which occurred at the Morley Depot (Marathon) in Morley, Michigan, Aetna Twp, Mecosta County on Monday, December 3, at approximately 3-3:30pm. Below are photos of the white male and female as well as the white Buick car they were driving. Anyone with any information should contact the Mecosta County Sheriff Office at 231-592-0150 and speak to Deputy John Bongard or a Detective.

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School board needs to fill short-term vacancy

By Judy Reed

Do you want to be on the Cedar Springs Board of Education? Now that certified election results are back, they have an open seat to fill for a term of only 21 days. 

They will be accepting applications for the vacancy until noon on December 10. If it’s decided they need to do interviews, you will be contacted no later than 4 p.m. that day, and the interviews would take place that evening at 6:45 p.m. For more info please click here.

So why is there an opening for only 21 days—December 10 through December 31?

According to Superintendent Scott Smith, it’s because of the way the law is written regarding appointed and elected positions. 

Two seats were up for election this year: seat #5 and seat #6. The people who won those seats will start their terms in January. Mistie Bowser and Jeff Rivard won those four-year terms.

The other two seats voted on were #2 and #7. Those were appointed seats, where someone left this year but their term was not up at the end of this year and the person appointed had to run for the seat again in November. The people who won those seats (Tracie Slager and Trent Gilmore) will start serving immediately since the term was not up.

Traci Slager was appointed in early 2018 to seat #2 to replace Ted Sabinas, and after winning seat #2 in the November election, she will serve out the remaining four years. She will take office immediately since the term was not up.

Mistie Bowser was elected to seat #5. Matt McConnon has been serving in that seat. He was appointed to fill that seat when Patricia Eary resigned. The term was up at the end of this year. McConnon did not run for it because he wanted to run for Courtland Township Supervisor. Mistie Bowser ran for the position and she will serve a four-year term starting in January.

Here is where it gets tricky. Jeff Rivard and Trent Gilmore did not run for the seats they were serving in. They ran for each other’s seats. One was an appointed seat where the term was not up, and the other was one due for election this year.

Jeff Rivard was appointed earlier this year to seat #7 to replace Tim Bauer, who had been appointed to replace Michelle Bayink, whose term was not up until 2020. When Rivard ran for election, however, he ran for seat #6, because the term on that seat was up. He will start serving a four-year term in that seat in January. 

Trent Gilmore was appointed this summer to seat #6 to replace Brook Nichols. Her term was to be over Dec. 31. When Gilmore ran for election, he actually ran for seat #7, the one currently held by Rivard, which is an appointed seat. So, Gilmore will take office immediately, and serve the final two years of the term for seat #7. Which means seat #6, won by Rivard, will be open because Rivard won’t begin to serve until January.

The remaining board members’ seats won’t be up for election until 2020 (Matthew Shoffner and Shannon Vanderhyde) and 2022 (Heidi Reed).

Posted in Cedar Springs Public Schools, NewsComments (0)

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