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Christmas comes to the city

The City of Cedar Springs is aglow with holiday lights. Photo by Perry Hopkins.

By Judy Reed

It is now officially the Christmas season, and if you drive through downtown Cedar Springs after dark, you can’t help but feel some Christmas cheer now that all the holiday lights are up!

The Cedar Springs Downtown Development authority is also giving businesses some incentive to decorate with lights. The Cedar Springs DDA will reimburse up to $50 of newly purchased holiday lights or lighted décor for any business in the DDA district, limited to the first 20 businesses to submit a receipt and a name for the check (that the city will cut in February). Lights must be installed visible to the public and kept up through January. Receipts should be submitted to City Hall. 

In other Christmas news, this Saturday will be the annual Christmas Tree lighting, but it will be held virtually this year, on the facebook page of the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. The tree and amphitheatre will be lit after dark during the Christmas season so that families can come and take photos if they like. 

For more Christmas events, including reading with Mrs. Santa Claus, visit this week’s Home for the Holidays section.

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Library hosts Christmas events

The Moma family dropping of their entry for the Gingerbread house contest. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Public is hosting a variety of Christmas events this season that families can participate in to keep their spirits up. 

Their annual gingerbread house contest is one. The deadline for dropping them off was earlier this week, and voting by the public starts today and ends on December 18. The public will vote for their choice to win in each category, by voting on the Library’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CedarSpringsPublicLibrary. The entries with the most votes in each category will win a gift card.

Other events coming up include chatting with Santa via ZOOM, a Christmas sing-along video, and free Christmas kits with crafts, cookies and hot cocoa.

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Police search for armed robber

The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help to identify the man who robbed a store in Stanwood Thanksgiving Day.

On Thursday, November 26, at approximately 2:26 p.m., deputies from the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the Davis Bridge General Store on 8 Mile Rd in Stanwood, Mecosta Township on an armed robbery in progress. They said that a male suspect entered the store with a note demanding money and also verbally14demanded money, claiming to be armed. After taking the money from the cash register, he fled the store on foot and headed westbound through the parking lot.  No one was injured during the incident

 The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 30 to 40 years old, 5’8” to 5’10” medium build, dark hair.  He was wearing a red hooded sweatshirt, blue/white medical style mask, and a baseball style hat.

Police discovered that the suspect was scoping out the store at approximately 1:34 p.m. as well. If this subject looks familiar or you were in the area of the Davis Bridge General Store and remember seeing this subject and or his vehicle please contact the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office at 231.592.0150

The incident remains under investigation.

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Drivers killed in head-on crash

Two people were killed in Montcalm County Monday when their vehicles collided head-on.

Troopers from the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post were dispatched on Monday, November 30, 2020 at approximately 6:32 p.m. to a two-vehicle traffic crash resulting in fatal injuries to both drivers on M-46 near Cedar Lake Road, in Home Township, Montcalm County.   

According to police, their preliminary investigation showed that a 2015 Chevrolet sedan was driving east on M-46 when it crossed the center line and struck a 1998 Chevrolet truck, head-on, that was traveling west on M-46. The driver and sole occupant of the Chevrolet sedan, Josue David Chaparro, a 21-year-old male from Guymon, Oklahoma, and the driver and sole occupant of the Chevrolet truck, Breanna Malynn VanHorn, a 23-year-old female from St Louis, Michigan, suffered fatal injuries from the crash. 

The crash remains under investigation by the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post.  Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash.

Troopers were assisted on scene by Montcalm County EMS and Home Township Fire Department. 

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Christmas card drive

The Cedar Springs Public Library is hosting a Christmas card shower for our elders at Mission Point. Anyone is welcome to make or buy a card. Residents would love to read a personal message, so feel free to include your name, what your favorite Christmas hobbies are, etc.

Please drop your cards off either inside the Library or in the Library dropbox by Monday, December 21.

Let’s spread some cheer this holiday season!

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OHSP urges caution on roadways as winter season nears

Safe driving awareness campaign includes new website with tips, useful resources

As snow begins to fall in some areas of the state, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) is launching its winter driving safety campaign to remind drivers to slow down and use caution when traveling on slick and snow-covered roads.

Of the more than 1.5 million total crashes reported in Michigan from 2015-2019, 14.2 percent (220,526) were winter-weather related, according to the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center. Of those crashes on icy, snowy, or slushy road conditions, 361 involved fatalities in which 402 people lost their lives.

 “The goal of the ‘Drive Slow on Ice & Snow’ campaign is to save lives and decrease the number of serious injuries on Michigan roadways,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. “By raising awareness about the challenges and dangers inherent in winter driving we hope to encourage everyone to reduce their speed when driving on slick surfaces and leave plenty of space between vehicles.”

This year, the OHSP is expanding its winter driving safety outreach by launching a new website packed with tips and useful resources. When drivers visit www.michigan.gov/WinterDriving, they can find advice addressing a wide range of cold-weather challenges, including: planning a safe route, how to control their vehicle, what to do in an emergency, passenger safety, tire tips and more.

The OHSP also is sending “Drive Slow on Ice & Snow” banners to more than 600 traffic safety partners throughout the state to promote winter driving safety in their communities.

“It’s a sad fact that when winter storms arrive, fatalities and serious injuries on ice and snow-covered roads are soon to follow,” Prince said. “After months of driving on mostly dry surfaces, it’s the time of year to remind everyone that driving in wintry conditions is hazardous, and drivers must take charge of their vehicle to ensure their safety and the safety of others.”

The “Drive Slow on Ice & Snow” campaign is supported by federal traffic safety funds. 

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Businesses cited, liquor licenses suspended for not following public health order

Most establishments across the state are doing their part by following the order

From the Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services

Both last week and this week the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued citations and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) suspended liquor licenses to establishments that are in violation of the recent public health order issued on Sunday, Nov. 15. The order was put in place to control the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health by establishing restrictions on gatherings, including prohibiting gatherings of patrons in food service establishments. 

The MLCC issued emergency suspensions of the liquor licenses and permits held by Michigan businesses in Fremont, Newaygo and Fenton last week. Licensees’ multiple violations of the current MDHHS Emergency Order include: allowing non-residential, in-person gatherings; providing in-person dining; failure to require face coverings for staff and patrons; failure to prohibit patrons from congregating.

“Our office is working closely with the Commission as it exercises its duties and we are prepared to prosecute these summary suspensions,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel. “Although none of us wants to take such actions, the deliberate and blatant defiance of the state emergency public health orders by these owners put their businesses at risk. While we are heartbroken at the toll these closures invariably have on the businesses affected, first and foremost the state has an obligation to protect the lives of our residents.” 

MLCC Commissioners ordered emergency suspensions of the liquor licenses and permits held by: 

• Cory’s Restaurant, Inc. d/b/a Jimmy’s Roadhouse located at 8574 S. Mason Dr., Newaygo. The Commission ordered an emergency suspension of its licenses and permits: Class C and SDM liquor licenses with a Specific Purpose Permit (Food), Outdoor Service Area Permit, Sunday Sales (P.M.) Permit, and Dance Permit on Nov. 24, 2020.

• M.B. and D., LLC d/b/a Brew Works of Fremont, located at 5885 S. Warner Ave., Fremont. The Commission ordered an emergency suspension of the Class C/Specially Designated Merchant (SDM) and Brew Pub licenses, and permits for an additional bar, Dance-Entertainment, Catering, Sunday Sales (P.M.), Outdoor Service, Specific Purpose (Food), Specific Purpose (Golf), and Specific Purpose (Bowling) on Nov. 24, 2020. 

• The Meeting Place LLC, located at 3600 Owen Rd, Fenton. The Commission ordered an emergency suspension of the Class C and Specially Designated Merchant licenses and permits for Sunday Sales (A.M. and P.M.) and Outdoor Service on Nov. 25, 2020.

A virtual hearing before an Administrative Law Judge is scheduled on Dec. 4, 2020, for each of the above-named licensees via Zoom to determine whether this summary suspension should continue, or other fines and penalties should be imposed. 

In addition, citations were issued by MDHHS to the following establishments, with penalties of up to $1,000 for each violation or day that a violation continues:

• Big Boy of Sandusky, 422 West Sanilac, Sandusky ($5,000)

• Café Rosetta,102 Fifth Street, Calumet ($1,000)

• Woodchips Barbecue, 315 West Nepessing Street, Lapeer ($1,000)

• The Meeting Place, 3600 Owen Road, Fenton ($1,000)

This week, MLCC Commissioners ordered released info about emergency suspensions of the liquor licenses and permits held by:

1) Chapz Roadhouse, LLC, d/b/a Chapz Roadhouse located at 9950 N. Greenville Rd., Lakeview. The Commission issued an emergency suspension order of its Class C, and Specially Designated Merchant (SDM) liquor licenses, and Sunday Sales (P.M.) Permit on November 25, 2020.

2) KMPD, Inc. d/b/a Rock House/Mine Shaft located at 915 Razorback, Houghton. The Commission issued an emergency suspension order of the Class C and SDM liquor licenses with a Specific Purpose Permits (Food and Bowling), Outdoor Service Area Permit, Sunday Sales (P.M.) Permit, Extended Hours Permit, Additional Bar and Dance-Entertainment Permits, on November 25, 2020.

The above-named licensees are scheduled to appear before an Administrative Law Judge on December 4, 2020, for a virtual hearing via Zoom, to determine whether this summary suspension should continue, or other fines and penalties should be imposed.

3) ASJJ Hotel Properties, Inc. d/b/a Silver Beach Hotel located at 100 Main St. St. Joseph. The Commission issued an emergency suspension order of the B Hotel License with a Specific Purpose Permit (Food), Sunday Sales (P.M. Permit), and Dance/Entertainment Permits on December 1, 2020.

The above-named licensee is scheduled to appear before an Administrative Law Judge on December 11, 2020, for a virtual hearing via Zoom, to determine whether this summary suspension should continue, or other fines and penalties should be imposed.

“The Commission’s Enforcement team is working diligently to ensure that licensees are compliant with the MDHHS most recent Gatherings and Face Mask Order which took effect on November 18, 2020, and remains in effect until December 8, 2020said,” LARA Director Orlene Hawks. “Any licensed establishment that is in violation of the MDHHS emergency order will be held strictly accountable and risk suspension or revocation of its license.”

Since September 2020, the MLCC has also suspended liquor licenses of establishments located Muskegon Heights, Conklin, and Grand Rapids for violations of the emergency and executive orders due to the pandemic.

Information was received by MDHHS from local health departments and local law enforcement regarding non-compliance with the order. The civil fines are due within 30 days of receipt of the citations. Additional establishments are slated to be cited. 

“The vast majority of restaurant and bar owners are doing the right thing and they have temporarily closed their indoor service to help prevent the spread of the virus,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “We know this is not easy for anyone, this is not an action we take lightly, but the sooner we can mitigate the spread of COVID-19 the sooner we can all get back to doing the things we enjoy.” 

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Winter parking in the city

No overnight parking on streets from November 1 to April 1

The City of Cedar Springs is reminding residents that winter rules for parking in the city are now in effect.

According to Sec. 36-86 of the code of ordinances, there is no parking on the City’s streets between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. from November 1 to April 1. Persons unable to park their vehicle on their own property may park in public parking lots but must move their vehicles to a plowed parking spot as soon as possible following any snowfall. Examples of public lots include the NW corner of Cherry and First Street and the City Hall parking lot at First and Ash St. 

This rule applies every night regardless of whether snow has fallen or not. A violation of the ordinance is a civil infraction.

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Law Enforcement impersonation phone call scam

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents of law enforcement impersonation phone call scams.

In this scam, fraudulent callers pose as law enforcement officers and threaten to arrest the victim, extort the victim with physical or financial harm, or release sensitive data if money is not sent. The scammers may ask you to retrieve money from your bank account or obtain a prepaid credit card or gift card from a local store and provide them with the credit card number. Scammers will often spoof or fake their phone numbers so the call appears to be coming from a legitimate police department, like the Kent County Sheriff’s Office. In a recent incident, the scammer’s phone number appeared as the Kent County Sheriff’s Office South Substation. Oftentimes, scammers are not from the area and are difficult to identify because they use fake phone numbers that are untraceable and change frequently.

As a reminder, any legitimate law enforcement officer will not demand cash or gift cards from you.

Other common scams to avoid include:

  • A stranger sends you a check and asks you to cash it while keeping some of the money. This is a different variation of the Craig’s List transaction where the buyer/sender “accidentally” overpays and asks you to cash the fraudulent check and send them the amount of the overpayment. Banks will most likely cash the check and not realize the check is forged until several days later. You are then financially responsible for the amount of the bad check.
  • A person says they have found a virus on your computer. They ask for remote access to the computer and then hold the computer hostage until a ransom is paid.
  • A person contacts you over the phone and claims to be your relative who has been arrested or injured in an accident. They ask you to provide them with the number of a prepaid credit card for bond money or medical expenses.
  • A person claims that your account has been hacked and that your social security number is being placed on hold.

Scammers are becoming more sophisticated and organized in their approach, they are technologically savvy, and often target young persons and the elderly. To protect yourself from falling victim to scams, be wary of answering phone calls from numbers you do not recognize. Never give out your personal information, including your social security number and banking information. Do not send money to anybody that you do not personally know and trust, including those claiming to be law enforcement officers. If in doubt, hang up the phone and contact the person they are claiming to be. Please share this information with your close friends and family members.

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COVID and holidays create perfect storm of fraudsters

By Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Michigan News Connection

LANSING, Mich. — With the spike in COVID cases and the upcoming holiday season, consumer groups are warning Michiganders that a proliferation of scam artists is emerging.
Mark Hornbeck, associate state director for communications at AARP Michigan, said folks should be on the lookout for the typical cons related to shopping, including bogus websites impersonating major brands, gift cards that already have been drained of their funds and porch pirates who steal packages. He said the pandemic also has fostered a huge number of scams.
“You’ve got folks calling you about bogus home-testing products for COVID,” Hornbeck explained. “They’re peddling non-existent equipment like masks and ventilators and that type of thing; they’re offering additional stimulus checks. Don’t believe it. It’s not happening.”

With nearly half of all charity donations made during November and December, Hornbeck noted that’s another area ripe for fraud.
Before opening your wallet, he suggests researching the charity to find out where the contribution will be going. Learn more about how to protect yourself from scams online at aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.
Hornbeck added during times of high anxiety, like the holidays, scam artists often are able to trap their victims by getting them into an emotional frenzy.
“They try to scare you,” Hornbeck warned. “And when you’re in a heightened emotional state, your self-discipline and your due diligence are reduced and you’re more susceptible to the scam artists than you would be otherwise.”
Hornbeck recommends avoiding impulse purchases, and not buying anything late at night when people are most vulnerable. And he said never buy something without first looking into who’s selling it.
“It can take just a single step like a phone call or a Google search to check out a company that’s trying to sell you something,” Hornbeck suggested. “Beware of popups that appear on your computer, and don’t give anyone, under any circumstances remote access to your computer. And use a credit card, not a debit card, for purchases.”
He said another good step before making a purchase is to consult a friend, family member or agency that monitors businesses and charities.

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