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Linda Michaels

4C-Obit-michaelsLinda Michaels, 72 of Rockford, unexpectedly went to her heavenly home on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 in Casa Grande, AZ.  She was a loved wife, mother, aunt, sister, grandmother, expectant great-grandmother and friend.  She was born August 16, 1944 to the late Ralph and Alice Pratt and she lived her entire life in Kent County.  She was a middle child, placed right between two loving sisters, Ann Scott (Jim) and Carolyn Reed (Mike).  She married Gene Michaels on September 13, 1991 and they recently celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.  She will be missed by many family members including her husband, two sisters, many nieces and nephews and her children, Christine Hofstra (John), Dan Rogers (Theresa), Ann VerWys (Jim) and Shannon Novak (Russ) in addition to her eight grandchildren, Zachary Rogers (Ashley), Lauren Linde (Chase), Ben Rogers (Maaret), Annalyse Haarer (Brandon), Austin Stevens, Nate Rogers, Lucy and Josie Novak. Linda was a loving, funny, spunky and caring woman.  She was a long-time employee at Hartwell Mortgage Company.  Some special memories include her incredible cooking ability and the meals she shared with friends and family alike. There was a fresh cookie for every occasion.  She enjoyed reading, studying, and was actively involved in a women’s Bible study.  We are thankful that she is in heaven with her Savior. There will be a memorial service at a later date.

Local arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs.

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One injured in five-car crash

Photo from WOODTV.com

Photo from WOODTV.com

Photo from WOODTV.com

Photo from WOODTV.com

A five-car crash in Oakfield Township Sunday evening reportedly sent one person to the hospital.

The crash occurred around 8:40 p.m. Sunday evening, on 14 Mile Road, near Podunk. The Oakfield Fire Department told WOODTV that the initial report was that one of the drivers crossed the centerline.

One person was extricated from a vehicle and sent to the hospital. The road was closed in both directions while crews cleaned up. It reopened around 10:30 p.m.

No other information was available at press time.

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Community raises funds for Ricker family

The Ricker family, L to R: Preston, Brian, Brison, and Kim Ricker.

The Ricker family, L to R: Preston, Brian, Brison, and Kim Ricker.

By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs Brewing Company was the place to be Monday evening, as the community came out to show its support for brothers Brison and Preston Ricker, who are both battling cancer, and their parents, Brian and Kim.

CS Brewing donated 10 percent of sales proceeds and had a donation box set up for extra donations for the family. With sales and donations combined, they raised $3,300 for the Ricker family’s medical fund.

Cedar Springs Brewing Company was packed Monday evening as people flooded in to support the Ricker family in a fundraiser. Photo from CS Brewing Facebook page.

Cedar Springs Brewing Company was packed Monday evening as people flooded in to support the Ricker family in a fundraiser. Photo from CS Brewing Facebook page.

“The place was packed and everyone was very patient as our crew worked their tails off to serve as many people as possible,” said owner David Ringler, in a Facebook post. “Thank you to our wonderful community for your generous support!”

Kim was also thankful. “We feel incredibly blessed to live in such an amazing community with so many caring and kind people,” she said. “We are grateful to Cedar Springs Brewing Company for holding the event, all the employees who worked so hard, and everyone who showed up to support our family and make it such a successful night!”

Brison was diagnosed a year ago with an inoperable brain tumor – DIPG. Conventional treatment did not work, and doctors here had nothing left they could do. The Rickers then sought alternative treatment at the Burzynski Clinic in Texas. His treatments cost $17,000 per week, but the tumor has shrunk, and the medication is working. “Brison is continuing to push hard with physical therapy and getting stronger and more mobile everyday,” remarked Kim.

Then, as the Post reported back at the end of December, Brison’s brother, Preston, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He recently had surgery to remove his thyroid and several lymph nodes on each side of his neck. “Preston is doing well and will do radioactive iodine in three weeks or so,” said Kim.

It’s been a big blow to a family that has already had to endure more than their share of trials. But their faith in God and support of the community is what carries them through. (Also see the WM Pursuit story on page 10 to see how the wrestling community has recently raised funds for the Ricker family.)

If you would like to help this family, you can donate through their gofundme page at https://www.gofundme.com/rickerstrong and follow the Team Rickerstrong page on Facebook for fundraising updates.

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Greenville man dies in crash


A Greenville area man died Tuesday when his vehicle hit a tree in Ada Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, they responded to the scene of the crash on Honey Creek Avenue, north of Knapp St., on Tuesday, January 17, at 4:53 p.m. They found that a 59-year-old man driving a black Volvo northbound on Honey Creek lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene from injuries sustained in the crash.

The driver was identified as Patrick Wayne Cardenas, 59, of Eureka Township.

Cannon Township fire and rescue assisted at the scene.

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North Kent Community Services receives Rotary Grant

Rotary grant presentation to North Kent Service Center with Jason Parker, Kim Burge-Stout, Claire Guisfredi,  and Tom Noreen.

Rotary grant presentation to North Kent Service Center with Jason Parker, Kim Burge-Stout, Claire Guisfredi, and Tom Noreen.

In October 2016, Cedar Springs Rotarian Kim Burge-Stout submitted a $7,000 matching grant to Rotary District 6290 in support of North Kent Community Services (NKCS) in Rockford. The Rotary Clubs of Cedar Springs and Rockford each donated $3,500 towards the grant. In December, the Cedar Springs Club was notified that the grant had been approved and NKCS would receive a total of $14,000.

On January 11, the Rotary Clubs of Cedar Springs and Rockford presented NKCS Executive Director Claire Guisfredi a check for $14,000. Presenting the check on behalf of the two clubs were Rockford President Jason Parker, (a former Cedar Springs Rotarian), Kim Stout, and Cedar Springs’ President Tom Noreen.

Claire updated the Club on how past grants have been applied toward some of the Center’s programs. She talked about the difference the Thrive Empowerment Program for Women was making in the lives of mothers in the area. Women who were at their wits end have found hope and success after attending the six-month program held in the annex of the Cedar Springs Public Schools’ Hilltop Administration Building. Facilitated by NKCS Program Director Chérie Elahl, the students learn life skills, goal setting, and mindfulness skills, while holding each other accountable for the goals they have set for themselves.

Guisfredi went on to explain how the current grant money would be used. About $6,000 would be used for technology upgrades to the Center’s hardware and network. The remaining $8,000, along with funds from the Sparta Community Foundation and other organizations, would be used to fund a Community Needs Assessment.

NKCS is implementing a three-year strategic plan and has a bid out to select a group to conduct the assessment to determine whether NKCS is meeting the community’s needs with its current programming. It will look at clients, current programs, the community at large, and several other factors to determine what NKCS could be doing better to fulfill its mission “….improving the lives of all people in northern Kent County by providing access to basic needs and promoting economic independence.”

The local portion of the Rotary grant comes from funds raised by the Cedar Springs and Rockford Clubs. For the Cedar Springs Club, funds raised at the annual golf outing and Red Flannel Day chicken dinner were used. The matching portion is money returned to the district from contributions to the Rotary Foundation by Rotarians and others world-wide. The Rotary Foundation, which has a four of four-star rating by Charity Navigator, returns one-half of the funds raised within a Rotary District back to the District after three years. The District then can use these funds for local and international projects. Every Rotarian is encouraged to give $100 to the Rotary Foundation each year.

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The Post travels to St. Jude Children’s Hospital


The Post recently traveled with Jim, Kelsey, Tyler, Chris and Trevor Ruark to St. Jude Children’s research hospital, in Memphis Tennessee. Kelsey (who is holding the Post newspaper in the photo) is a patient there. “We traveled there for her 10-year (last) check up,” explained Kelsey’s mom, Chris. “She was diagnosed with leukemia AML in 2006 and received a bone marrow transplant on Dec. 1, 2006, from her younger brother Tyler. Kelsey has gone back for yearly visits for 10 years. We were celebrating 10 years cancer free!”

Thanks so much for letting us celebrate with you! We are happy that Kelsey is cancer-free!

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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Winter fun!


Jocelyn White, 16 months, recently built a snowman and snow fort with her grandpa, Matt Redner, at his home, in Sand Lake. It looks like they had some fun together! Jocelyn is the daughter of Mike White and Autumn Wood, of Howard City.

If you have winter photos you’d like us to consider for publication, email them to news@cedarspringspost.com with “winter fun” in the subject line. We publish them as space allows, and do not guarantee publication.

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Solon working on community park


Volunteers and members of Solon Township’s Park Planning Committee are continuing work on plans to develop a community park on 19 acres on the west side of Algoma Avenue where the Township Hall is located. They have named it Velzy Park, to commemorate what the area was first called.

The park, when all five phases are completed, will feature walking trails, restrooms, picnic facilities, a playground, designated sports fields, a farmer’s market pavilion, and a native prairie restoration area. The North Country National Scenic Trail plans to connect to the walking trail and make Velzy Park a rest stop for hikers. Their trail will also join with the White Pine Trail in Cedar Springs.

The committee used grant funds and a professional design company to develop a Park Master Plan, 5-year Rec Plan, and Park Concept drawings.  Although an application for the DNR Michigan Trust Fund to help with construction of the walking path and restroom facility was not approved, the committee remains hopeful other grant applications will be looked upon more favorably. Volunteer hours and matching funds are an important part of successful grant applications so commitment from the community remains a very strong asset in constructing the park.

Over $42,000 has already been raised toward the project through donations from individuals, area businesses, and a series of fundraisers.

Memorial benches and landscape rocks, which will be engraved and spaced around the walking path, will be available for order soon.

The next opportunity for the community to show their support is the 2nd Annual Valentine Spaghetti Dinner planned for Feb. 11, 2017, at 6 p.m. and featuring a dessert auction, 50/50 raffle, and song requests for pianist Courtney King. Updates for 2017 construction plans will be shared with the community at the event. The committee looks forward to receiving input on the proposed plans.

All gifts are tax deductible.  Checks can be sent to Solon Township/Velzy Park Project. For additional information, visit www.solontwp.org.

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Gas prices fell in GR area


It might be hard to believe, but at this time last year, gas stations in Houghton Lake waged a price war that had gas prices fall well below $1 a gallon. Gas in Cedar Springs was $1.67 at that time.

We are seeing higher prices than that this year. Over the past week, average retail gasoline prices in Grand Rapids fell 10.1 cents per gallon, averaging $2.37/g Monday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 246 gas outlets in Grand Rapids. This compares with the national average that has fallen 2.5 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.34/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com. As of Wednesday, this week, gas prices in Cedar Springs were $2.38/g.

Including the change in gas prices in Grand Rapids during the past week, prices Monday were 60.7 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 13.0 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 10.3 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 43.0 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

According to GasBuddy historical data, gasoline prices on January 16 in Grand Rapids have ranged widely over the last five years: $1.77/g in 2016, $1.96/g in 2015, $3.32/g in 2014, $3.17/g in 2013 and $3.59/g in 2012. Areas near Grand Rapids and their current gas price climate: Kalamazoo- $2.30/g, down 13.9 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.44/g. Lansing- $2.39/g, down 8.0 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.47/g. South Bend- $2.16/g, down 11.9 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.28/g.

“For the first time since November, the national average price for gasoline has fallen over the last week, helped by weak demand and rising gasoline inventories,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “This downward trend is evident in over two-thirds of states but may take additional time to materialize in others, yet is a familiar pattern for late winter as refiners build inventories prior to the late-February start of refinery maintenance season and thanks to the year’s weakest demand occurring over the next four weeks. However, motorists shouldn’t expect the trend to last long. After the sweetness of Valentine’s Day roses and chocolates is gone, they will be in store for a jump at the pump as maintenance season begins and the long transition to summer gasoline becomes a pinch point, leading to gas prices that will mostly trend higher for two to three months.”

For live fuel price averages, visit http://FuelInsights.GasBuddy.com. You can also see live gasoline prices at the Post website, www.cedarspringspost.com, and click on Current Gas Prices at the top. It will give you current prices in Cedar Springs, Rockford, and Sparta.

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MSP Troopers recognized for outstanding patrol and investigative efforts

Troopers that win the Mapes award have the first opportunity to drive the new special edition black and gold patrol cars, painted to resemble the MSP’s iconic 1937 Ford Model 74 patrol car.

Troopers that win the Mapes award have the first opportunity to drive the new special edition black and gold patrol cars, painted to resemble the MSP’s iconic 1937 Ford Model 74 patrol car.

The Michigan State Police (MSP) is pleased to announce that several troopers from the Rockford, Lakeview, and Mount Pleasant MSP Posts are recipients of the Cpl. Samuel A. Mapes Criminal Patrol and Investigation Award. They were recognized at a ceremony in Lansing on Jan. 11, 2017.

Corporal Mapes, an early pioneer in criminal patrol and investigation, was killed in the line of duty during the prohibition era. The annual award honors the top five percent of troopers in each district for looking “past the traffic stop” to excel in proactive criminal patrol and criminal investigations closed by felony arrests.

The 2017 Col. Sam Mapes Award recipients are:

Trooper Cory Zimmerman

Trooper Cory Zimmerman

Trooper Jim Yeager

Trooper Jim Yeager

Trooper Ben Stadler

Trooper Ben Stadler

Lakeview Post:

Trooper Ben Stadler, with five years at Lakeview

Trooper Jim Yeager, with 23 years at Lakeview

Trooper Cory Zimmerman, with five years at Lakeview.

Mount Pleasant Post: (no photos available)

Trooper Dillard Hayes, at Mount Pleasant 1-1/2 years

Trooper Michael Zeilinger, at Mount Pleasant six years

Trooper Brent Haag, at Mount Pleasant two years

Rockford Post: (no photos available)

Tpr. Chris Boven

Tpr. Jordan Lohman

Tpr. James Luttrull

Tpr. Adam Keasler

Each award recipient receives a special service ribbon to wear on their uniform. It includes seven blue stars in honor of Corporal Mapes, who was the seventh MSP trooper to die in the line of duty.

In addition, top award recipients have the first opportunity to drive special edition black and gold patrol cars, which were recently added to the MSP patrol fleet in honor of the department’s 100th Anniversary. Fifty fully equipped 2016 Dodge Chargers are painted to resemble MSP’s iconic 1937 Ford Model 74 patrol car.

For more information about the MSP’s 100th Anniversary, visit www.michigan.gov/MSP or follow the conversation on social media using #MSP100.

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