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Bus driver cited in crash


Police cited a Tri County bus driver last week after she lost control of her school bus on an icy road and hit a tree, which injured some students.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office, they responded to the accident at about 2:56 p.m., Wednesday, December 10. The bus driver, Penny Grear, 41, of Coral, was travelling south on Dagget Road, approaching the curve, where it turns into Tamarack Road. She reportedly lost control as she entered the curve, left the road, and struck some trees.

Five students were on the bus at the time. Both a 7-year-old and a 17-year-old were transported by ambulance DeVos Children’s Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Two others, a 16-year-old and 12-year-old, were treated for minor injuries at the scene, and then released to their parents. A 15-year-old was turned over to her parents at the scene.

The driver was cited for Failure To Use Due Care/Caution While Operating A Motor Vehicle.

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Gas prices falling

Gas prices fell in Cedar Springs fon Wednesday, December 17. This photo shows a price of $2.14 at Wesco, but it had fallen to $2.13 by the end of the day. Photo by J. Reed.

Gas prices fell in Cedar Springs fon Wednesday, December 17. This photo shows a price of $2.14 at Wesco, but it had fallen to $2.13 by the end of the day. Photo by J. Reed.

For the first time since the spring of 2009, gas prices in Cedar Springs are nearing the $2.00 mark.

At the end of the day Wednesday, prices had dropped to $2.13, 10 cents lower than the Grand Rapids average, and 25 cents lower than the Michigan average, according gasbuddy.com.

Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at Gasbuddy.com, said that as of midday Sunday, all 48 lower U.S. states saw averages under $3/gallon, with New York being the last of the lower 48 to join. “Motorists are saving $270 million dollars every day versus pump prices a year ago,” he said.

A year ago, gas prices hovered just below $3.00 in our area.


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Helping with history

Nolan Patin, 13, is shown here dressed as a turn of the century newspaper boy for the Cedar Springs Historical Museum’s recent Candlelight Tour. Photo courtesy of the CS Historical Museum.

Nolan Patin, 13, is shown here dressed as a turn of the century newspaper boy for the Cedar Springs Historical Museum’s recent Candlelight Tour. Photo courtesy of the CS Historical Museum.

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Historical Museum has a new unofficial program director, who has a passion for history, which is not unusual. What is unusual is that he is only 13 years old and yet harbors more passion for his work and is better at communicating it than many adults.

Nolan Patin, 13, the son of Jeff and Cindy Patin, of Algoma Township, has been working with the museum for the last year or so. He started by creating the haunted schoolhouse the museum has done for Halloween the last two years.

Nolan said that it all started last year, when his aunt spoke with him and his brother about being on their pirate float. “She also wanted input on a haunted house, and I brought up my ideas,” he explained. “It was a big hit and we did it again this year.”

After that event, Nolan was hooked. He’s been helping out with various tasks and events ever since.

“He’s been a real blessing,” remarked Sharon Jett, of the Cedar Springs Historical Society. “To have him approach us, on his own, about wanting to do these things, is really something.” Jett said he took the haunted house idea and created everything for it. He also was recently a newspaper boy on their Victorian candlelight tour after the Christmas tree lighting. “He was so into it,” said Jett. “His enthusiasm is wonderful. He’s extremely creative.”

Nolan Patin created a small Christmas light display set to music in front of his home at 2207 15 Mile Road. Those who visit it may leave a donation for the CS Museum if they wish. For more homes on our Tour of Lights, visit page 9.

Nolan Patin created a small Christmas light display set to music in front of his home at 2207 15 Mile Road. Those who visit it may leave a donation for the CS Museum if they wish. For more homes on our Tour of Lights, visit page 9.

Nolan is being homeschooled this year, and goes to the museum on Wednesdays to help anywhere he’s needed. Jett said he has been helping index the funeral home books, and has helped in getting the schoolhouse ready for tours.

“He’s polite and kind-hearted,” noted Jett. “It’s hard to get people who want to help, especially younger people.”

Nolan said that he has a lot of interest in the history and being around the people there, and helping them with their tasks. He noted that he also likes helping with events, bringing different ideas to people, and doing research.

However, Nolan is also helping out the museum in another way. For the second year in a row, he has created a Christmas light show set to music, in front of the Patin home at 2207 15 Mile, one block west of Algoma. And he set up a donation box for the museum. “I have a huge passion for Christmas,” he remarked. “I love Christmas.” He fell in love with light shows after seeing one in Grand Haven. “I thought, I have to have that in my yard,” he explained.

After looking up on YouTube how to create one, he realized the expense involved. So when he raised his 4H animals and sold them, he used that money to buy the necessary supplies to create the light show, which he programmed himself. It runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. daily. It is a smaller but fun show, with 4,000 lights set to three popular songs. You can pull into the driveway to watch and listen, just tune your radio to 103.5. You can also leave a donation in the box for the museum if you like. Nolan said that those donations would be used toward the haunted schoolhouse for next year.

He said that what they really want, is for more people to come through the museum when they have those special events. “We do a lot of work for them,” he explained.

Nolan also encourages younger people to become a junior member of the museum and help out. “There is always a need for us,” he said.


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Fun at the library with edible trees

Kids also had the opportunity to make a fun holiday ornament.

Kids also had the opportunity to make a fun holiday ornament.

Children and adults decorated Ice cream cones with frosting and various candies to resemble a Christmas tree. Photos courtesy of the Cedar Springs Public Library

Children and adults decorated Ice cream cones with frosting and various candies to resemble a Christmas tree. Photos courtesy of the Cedar Springs Public Library

Children and adults alike had some holiday fun at the Cedar Springs Public Library last Saturday, where 14 adults and 34 children decorated edible Christmas trees.

“They used frosting, licorice, and even coconut to create and decorate,” explained Children’s Librarian Shannon Vanderhyde.

She said that each person was given two trees. Some children chose to decorate them the same, some gave each its own theme. Each child also had the opportunity to make a fun ornament.


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The Post travels to Cancun


The Post recently traveled with Ken and Connie Mitz, of Pierson, to Cancun, Mexico on their honeymoon. They visited Mexico for eight stress-free days in September. While there, they saw many sights, and saw first-hand how different their lifestyle is from ours.

Ken was especially amazed by all the small motorcycles they use for transportation. He saw women and children—two and sometimes three or four people—on a motorcycle. He said that a lot of the motorcycles were interesting, although not allowed in the states because of emissions.

“Another interesting thing is that all the bus drivers’ last names must be Andretti because they all drive like they are qualifying for the Indy 500,” he said.

Ken and Connie both took time out of their vacation to read their favorite newspaper, and are talking about returning to Mexico for their anniversary.

Thanks, Ken and Connie, 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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N-Mingle3-Shepherds-by-Judy-webIn last week’s Post, a caption on a photo for the Christmas tree lighting article was incorrect. A photo of shepherds with their sheep noted that Calvary Assembly of God had a live nativity—which they did, but the shepherds and sheep in the photo were part of 4H Animal Junction. We appreciate them being a part of the event, along with Double K Farms, and hope they continue to be a part of it for many years to come!


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American Legion presents checks 

Pictured (from L to R) is Pastor Steve Lindeman, Commander Bill Gregones, food pantry volunteer Caroline Bartlett, and food pantry volunteer Sue Harrison. Post photo by J. Reed.

Pictured (from L to R) is Pastor Steve Lindeman, Commander Bill Gregones, food pantry volunteer Caroline Bartlett, and food pantry volunteer Sue Harrison. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed


The Cedar Springs American Legion Glen Hill Post #247 presented checks last week to both the Cedar Springs Ministerial Association and the Cedar Springs Community Food Pantry.

American Legion Commander Bill Gregones presented Pastor Steve Lindeman, representing the Ministerial Association, with a check for $200, to help with the requests they receive at Christmas time.

Gregones presented Sue Harrison with a second check for $100 for the Community food pantry, which is located at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, on Main Street, where Lindeman is pastor.

The American Legion makes the presentations annually. “They do quite a bit to make sure the unfortunate have something on the table for the holidays,” noted Gregones.

The Community food pantry serves up to six families per day, up to 30 families per week. The pantry can always use donations. They have needs for personal care products such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper, etc. Foods they are currently in need of include dry milk, eggs, milk, butter, margarine and venison. “We received no venison this year,” said volunteer Sue Harrison. Any venison would need to be processed through a commercial processor in order for them to use it.

If you’d like to drop off food, the pantry is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Food can also be left near the church office. Anyone wishing to become a client at the center must be referred through North Kent Community Services.


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Flu illness on rise in Kent County 


The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is seeing more cases of suspected flu reported from area emergency departments and health care providers, in comparison to what is typical this time of year. More than 10 percent of people visiting emergency departments in Kent County last week were suffering from flu-like illness, and 6 out of ten patients presenting with flu-like illness were under the age of 18. So far this season, there have been 74 confirmed cases of flu reported to KCHD, but not every person who is sick with influenza goes to a health care provider or gets tested, so the actual number of illnesses is likely much higher.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and in some cases, it can be deadly.

Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). Not everyone with flu will experience all of the symptoms.

The flu can have serious complications for children under the age of five, the elderly, and people with already-weakened immune systems. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age to protect against flu viruses. “We know there has been some mutation in the flu virus that was expected for this year when the influenza vaccine was produced,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “But the flu vaccine is still very useful and the best protection you can get against influenza. Even in those cases where people get the flu, the illness is not as severe as it is in those unvaccinated.”

Now is the time to get you and your family vaccinated. It can take about two weeks for the vaccination to become effective. The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. The cost of the vaccine ranges from $39-$55; FluMist nasal spray (a live, preservative-free, four strain vaccine) is available for $41.

Children from six months through eighteen years who have no insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines, will pay a sliding scale administration fee of up to $15. The Health Department can only bill Medicaid and Medicare; private insurance is not accepted. Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover are accepted. To make an appointment at any of our four clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200.

You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com.


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New superintendent impressed with community pride


Dr. Laura VanDuyne

Dr. Laura VanDuyne

By Judy Reed


It’s now been five months since Dr. Laura VanDuyne, a Detroit, Michigan native, and her family moved from California to take over as Superintendent at Cedar Springs Public Schools. For them, she says, it’s like coming home.

“We love the cold weather, the snow. We longed for that—the seasons, the culture, the friendliness,” she explained. “We’ve been here five months and never looked back. It almost feels like you never left.”

VanDuyne was born in the suburbs of Detroit and graduated from Memphis High School, which is about 60 miles north of Detroit. So the west side of the state is new to her, but not to her husband, who grew up in Jenison, and remembers participating in the Red Flannel Marching Competition and marching in the parade in high school. In fact, she said he had grandparents who owned 40 acres on Myers Lake Road near 14 Mile—Roy and Elizabeth Reynolds.

VanDuyne said she met her husband eight years ago, after getting her doctorate. They had always planned to come back to Michigan; but after they had their two children—Izzy and Vance—she said they started making a concerted effort to get back here—where the grandparents are. “I had checked out the district, and it looked like a location we’d like to be. So when the opening came up, I threw my name in the hat and never expected to get the call, but I did, and here we are! It’s an amazing place,” she said.

After graduating from Memphis High School, VanDuyne went to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she also taught. She then came back to the Midwest and received her masters in education administration from Minnesota State University, and a post-MA in educational leadership from St. Mary’s University in Minnesota. She was also a teacher and principal there. From there she moved to the San Francisco bay area, where she earned her doctorate degree from the University of San Francisco. She was a full-time principal there, and for the last four years, was executive director of the State SELPA, Contra Costa Special Education Joint Powers Authority. “That’s similar to an Intermediate School District superintendent,” explained VanDuyne. “I was responsible for overseeing 16 school districts—10,000 students—in regard to special education, such as funding and other things.”

So how does that compare to being Superintendent of a 3,800-student district? “That’s the fun part of being here,” responded VanDuyne. “I always wanted to be a superintendent and I knew I wanted to be back at the local level,” she explained. And she hasn’t been disappointed.

“The board, the staff, the community, the parents are all working towards a better future for our kids. It’s such a close-knit community, and they are so proud. We have great innovative teaching, and the support staff is totally invested. It’s all about the children, and that is energizing for me,” she explained.

She noted that she is also impressed by the level of heartfelt interest by the Board of Education. “It’s all about the kids. I have not seen agendas, and that has left an impression with me. They have had to make some tough decisions.”

While some on the Board of Education thought it might be a large learning curve for her, coming from another state, VanDuyne said that hasn’t been the case. “This is the third state I’ve been an administrator in; making those changes are not difficult. They all have similar tenets, with some nuances in local legislation,” she noted.

VanDuyne said the biggest thing she has focused on is getting to know the teaching and support staff—faces, names, what they teach, etc. She said she likes to meet with every individual and get to know them. “That’s been wonderful; I’ve learned so much,” she remarked. “That’s where I’ve gleaned pride in the community.”

VanDuyne said she is big on input and grassroots information gathering. An example of that was the recent selection of a website vendor. She said they wanted something that would highlight the district, yet be easy to use for parents and staff. They had 30 employees and citizens from all areas of the school system—all people who would use the website—and had them watch four presentations from web vendors. They then selected the vendor, without input from either VanDuyne or Asst. Superintendent David Cairy.

“When you can bring bright minds together that’s powerful. They will do more, they will buy into it,” she explained.

VanDuyne also wants residents to know that her door is always open for them. “I answer my own emails, and take my own calls. I want a personal connection,” she explained. “I value face to face discussion—a handshake. I want to hear your concerns.”

VanDuyne said their family is enjoying being here with friends and family, something they have long looked forward to. And she noted that the community doesn’t need to worry about her going anywhere anytime soon. “I plan to be here a long time, to become an integral part of Cedar Springs and Red Hawk pride.”



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More than 1,800 seat belt citations issued 



Officers from more than 150 local police departments, sheriff’s offices and the Michigan State Police issued 1,814 seat belt and child restraint citations during the Click It Or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign Oct. 27-Nov. 9.

“Officers from local, county and state agencies conduct seat belt enforcement zones to remind motorists that seat belts are your best and primary defense in the event of a crash,” said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP). “These efforts are about saving lives and preventing injuries.”

For the first time since 2009, seat belt use in Michigan increased slightly in 2014, from 93 percent to 93.3 percent.

During the two-week effort, officers also issued 512 citations for speeding, 319 citations for driving with a suspended license, 258 citations for red-light running and 445 citations to uninsured motorists. Officers arrested 119 fugitives and 142 others for misdemeanors. Of the 180 arrests for drunk driving, 23 had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.17 percent or higher.

A seat belt enforcement zone in Berrien County resulted in an arrest for a concealed pistol violation. In Wayne County, a driver arrested with a BAC of 0.17 had an infant in the vehicle. In addition, a teenage driver in Marquette County was arrested for drunk driving.

According to preliminary reports, there were six traffic fatalities Oct. 31-Nov. 1. One of those involved alcohol and two drivers were not wearing seat belts. There were 13     fatalities during the same period in 2013.

Law enforcement officers from Allegan, Berrien, Calhoun, Chippewa, Delta, Eaton, Genesee, Grand Traverse, Houghton, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Marquette, Monroe, Muskegon, Oakland, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, Van Buren, Washtenaw, Wayne and Wexford counties participated in the Click It Or Ticket campaign.

The traffic enforcement effort was paid for with federal traffic safety funds coordinated by OHSP.

Grant-funded seat belt and drunk driving enforcement is part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in February 2013.

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