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Grumpy old robin a sign of spring

OUT-Robin

It’s now officially Spring, which means we see more robins. Jackie Gage, of the City of Cedar Springs sent us this photo of a robin visiting outside her window.

“Recently, I had a robin visit that looked old and grumpy,” wrote Jackie. “His back was a light gray and the orange breast was light also compared to the younger ones. He even had feathers sticking out of his chest, which reminded me of an old man’s hairy chest. He was huge, almost the size of a mourning dove. I named him Max, after the character of Walter Matthau on Grumpy Old Men. He came right up to my slider and had a staring match, eyeball to eyeball with my cat, Benny. Max looked grumpy about something and I tried to take a pic but he flew away each time he saw me. My granddaughter, Brenda Reed, 18  came to visit me last week and I told her about Max. Right after that he came again and she got some pretty good pictures!”

Thank you, Jackie, for sending us your photos of Max the robin!

Do you have a wildlife, Post Travels, Catch of the week, or other photo you’d like to send us? Email it to news@cedarspringspost.com. Include some information about the photo and your contact info. We will publish as space allows. Publication is not guaranteed.

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Motorists should report road-killed deer in southern Mecosta, NW Montcalm 

 

The Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development announced the finding of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a Mecosta County deer farm in late January 2017.

As part of the CWD surveillance effort in the area, the DNR requests that road-killed deer within specific townships in Mecosta and Montcalm counties be reported to a wildlife disease hotline. Samples are being collected from road-killed white-tailed deer found within Mecosta, Austin, Morton, Hinton, Aetna and Deerfield townships in Mecosta County, and Cato, Winfield and Reynolds townships in Montcalm County. To report road-killed deer in these townships only, call 231-250-2537. Leave a voicemail (or text) with location information, and staff will collect the deer as soon as possible.

The DNR asks the public and hunters to continue reporting deer that appear ill or are exhibiting unusual behavior (e.g., excessively thin, drooling, stumbling, approachable, etc.). To report such a deer, call the DNR Wildlife Disease Lab at 517-336-5030 or fill out and submit the online observation report form, found on the DNR website at http://www.michigandnr.com/diseasedwildlifereporting/disease_obsreport.asp.

CWD affects members of the deer family, including elk and moose. It is caused by the transmission of infectious, self-multiplying proteins (prions) contained in saliva and other body fluids of infected animals.

To date, there is no evidence that CWD presents any risk to humans or other animals outside the deer family. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend that infected animals not be consumed as food by either humans or domestic animals.

More information about CWD, including Michigan’s CWD surveillance and response plan is available at www.michigan.gov/cwd.

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DNR urges boaters to ‘Spring Aboard’ for training

 

Boaters encouraged to enroll in safety classes prior to season

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages boaters to enroll in a boating education course prior to the boating season. The reminder coincides with the national Spring Aboard – Take a Boating Education Course campaign at http://www.nasbla.org/spring that runs March 19-25.

“Educated boaters will have a safer, more enjoyable experience on the water,” said Lt. Tom Wanless, Michigan’s boating law administrator. “There are many safety courses across Michigan and online, making it affordable and convenient. Don’t wait until the season starts. It’s important to know what you’re doing before you head out on the water.”

Boaters born after June 30, 1996, and most personal watercraft operators must have a boater education card.

“Nationally, we are seeing an upward trend in the number of accidents and fatalities with nonmotorized vessels, which include canoes and kayaks,” Wanless said.

With this in mind, officials encourage all boaters, regardless of age or experience, to take a safety class.

The U.S. Coast Guard reports that of the nationwide accidents in which the level of operator education was known, 80 percent of boating deaths occurred on vessels where the operator never received boating education.

During the Spring Aboard awareness campaign, some course providers may offer discounts or other incentives for students who enroll in or complete a course. The campaign is promoted by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the Coast Guard and several public and private organizations.

Get more information on boating safety, including who is required to take a safety class, on the DNR website www.michigan.gov/boating.

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Coyotes, Ducks, and People

 

Ranger Steve Mueller

Ranger Steve Mueller

 

One would expect coyotes to prey on ducks and their eggs. They do, but foxes are better duck hunters than coyotes. When coyotes are present, they keep fox numbers down. Studies by National Biological Survey research scientists found predator control programs that reduce coyote populations increase fox populations. The increase in foxes causes a greater reduction in duck production.

Many people support coyote control programs because they think it will reduce duck predation. Instead the increased fox population preys more heavily on ducks. At the same time, people support draining wetlands. Many wetland areas are drained or filled for farming or human habitation development. Wetlands are also filled to eliminate species we do not like such as mosquitoes. That reduces duck reproduction. Ducks Unlimited and other organizations work to establish conservation easements that restore drained wetlands and support programs that pay farmers to keep natural wetlands on their land. The Wetland east of Cedar Springs on 17 Mile Road is restored wetland that was drained for farming and has restored to the liking of waterfowl.

Loss of wetlands reduces spawning beds for fish like the northern pike. When pike decline, society spends money on hatcheries for restocking of pike. Poor land use decisions cost society more to maintain clean water, reduce flooding and to restore wildlife. The current proposed elimination of the Clean Water Rule by President Trump will have negative impacts on wildlife as well as community water of human use.

In Michigan’s past, predator control programs supported killing wolves. In locations where wolves and coyotes live in the same area, wolves kept coyote numbers low. Historically, coyotes were rare in Michigan.

Nature niches are finely tuned systems that function quite well until people decide to reshape them. When large predators live close to humans, there are occasions when they take the opportunity to kill domestic animals.  It is more effective to control a specific wolf or coyote problem than to try to eliminate a population.

When coyotes are removed through predator control, ecologic/economic studies have found coyote’s social structure is damaged and rapid reproduction occurs. Rapidly increasing populations spread into new areas. Additional money is then needed for more extensive predator control. A cost/benefit analysis shows it is generally poor and ineffective to try to control coyote populations instead of handling a specific problem.

It does not seem to make common sense that coyotes help duck populations increase but they do by controlling fox population predation. It does not seem to make common sense that wolves strengthen deer herd health but they do by keeping the deer population from over browsing habitats and causing long-term habitat damage. Human population expansion also reduces duck populations by destroying critical habitat. Many attributed reduced duck populations to predators, when it is often caused by human population increase. Human altered habitats and draining wetlands is more harmful to the ducks than predators. We do notice a growing human population reduces other life on Earth.

Coyotes live in our area but usually are not excessively abundant. Foxes live in our area but are not abundant. Life is very hard for all wildlife. Most coyote pups never live a year.

Predator nature niches are complex systems. It is necessary to control particular individuals that interfere with our livelihoods but large scale predator programs are usually unproductive, wasteful of life and money.

As a society, we have not recognized the positive role of predatory mammals like coyotes and wolves. Public understanding has gradually increased its understanding for how nature niches function. Public policy has not kept pace to reflect healthy land management but positive changes are gradually being implemented. Emotions usually trump research-based evidence and practices.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

 

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WMP West Regionals results

WMP state qualifiers. Photo by B. Chong.

WMP state qualifiers. Photo by B. Chong.

By Barbra Chong

West Michigan Pursuit traveled to Caledonia for the 2016-2017 Regionals. Twenty-one individuals entered the tournament and 17 placed in the top four, which qualifies them to compete at the State tournament in two weeks at the Lansing Center.

Finishing in fourth place was 90 lb Logan Bennett, 11/12 age group.

In third place was 52 lb Kaleb Pautke, 7/8 age group.

Finishing in second place was 67 lb Chayson Eberspeaker, 7/8 age group; 122 lb David Erxleben, High School division; 75 lb Blake Peasley, 9/10 age group; 61 lb Selina Stalker, 4/6 age group; and 55 lb Kellen Weckesser, 7/8 age group.

Regional Champions are 61 lb Quinten Cassiday, 7/8 age group; 70 lb Carter Castillo, 11/12 age group; 63 lb Luke Egan, 9/10 age group; 58 lb Drew Moro, 7/8 age group; 67 lb Tyler Parmeter, 7/8 age group; 155 lb Lucus Pienton, High School division; 138 lb Ahmad Starr, High School division; 59 lb Josh Vasquez, 9/10 age group; 46 lb Blake Werkema, 4/6 age group and 158 lb Maston Wood, 11/12 age group.

“My first year running WMP, I had seven individuals qualify with three Regional Champions. Five years later, I have 17 individuals qualifying with 10 Regional Championship titles. These kids and their parents continue to impress me with their neverending support and dedication. The combined efforts are what makes this program a success,” said Head Coach Dave Andrus.

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CS Youth wrestlers heading to state

S-Wrestling-CS-Youth

Front row, L-R: Deegan Pike, Blake Falan, Brandson Wood, Tucker Crystal.  Back row, L-R: Coach Bryan Goike, Wyatt Cooper, Carter Falan, Andrew VanGessel, Trevor Marsman, Hudson Crystal, Coach Jake Marsman. Not pictured: Logan Troupe, Ben Brunner, Landen Totten. Photo by J. Troupe.

By Jacquie Troupe

Last weekend, March 18-19, 662 area wrestlers traveled to Caledonia High School for the MYWAY West Regional Tournament. CSYWC competed with 50 other teams to determine who will head to the State Championships in Lansing March 31-April 2. Of the 23 kids from CS Youth Wrestling Club, 17 placed in the top 6. Of those 17, 12 took a top four position and qualified for State. They were 12th over all in Most Pins/Least Time with 17 in 27:31; 6th in Match Points with 301; and finished the weekend 41W-37L.

“As a culmination of the year’s hard work, it was exciting to see 12 of our wrestlers take the top spots to head to the State Championship,” Coach Goike stated after practice Tuesday evening. “So many times kids are burned out by this time. These wrestlers are still going strong and ready to face the next challenge.”

In the 2010-2012 40lb class, Sierra Streeter placed 5th after 4 matches. In the 49lb class Tucker Crystal was the Regional Champion after 4 matches with the final match a :20 pin. He was 3rd over all in Most Pins in Least time with 4 in 4:35 and tied for 21st fastest pin with :20. In the 55lb class Jaxon Fitzgerald placed 6th after 4 matches and Benjamin Streeter placed 5th after 4 matches.

In the 2008-2009 58lb class Deegan Pike placed 5th after 6 matches. In the 64lb class Blake Falan placed 3rd after 6 matches.

In the 2006-2007 55lb class, Brandson Wood placed 3rd after 3 matches. In the 80lb class Hudson Crystal placed 5th after 6 matches. In the 110lb class Dakota Winchel placed 5th after 4 matches. In the 150lb class Wyatt Cooper placed 2nd after 4 matches.

In the 2005 80lb class, Tommy Stevens placed 3rd after 3 matches.

In the 2004 105lb class, Carter Falan was the Regional Champion after 2 matches. Ben Brunner placed 2nd after 2 matches. Logan Troupe placed 3rd after 2 matches.

In the 2003 85lb class, Trevor Marsman placed 2nd after 3 matches.

In the 2002 95lb class, Andrew VanGessel placed 2nd after 3 matches. In the 195lb class, Landen Totten was the Regional Champion after 2 matches.

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Know these facts before deducting a charitable donation

 

If taxpayers gave money or goods to a charity in 2016, they may be able to claim a deduction on their federal tax return. Taxpayers can use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool, Can I Deduct my Charitable Contributions?, to help determine if their charitable contributions are deductible.

Here are some important facts about charitable donations:

Qualified Charities. Taxpayers must donate to a qualified charity. Gifts to individuals, political organizations or candidates are not deductible. To check the status of a charity, use the IRS Select Check tool.

Itemize Deductions. To deduct charitable contributions, taxpayers must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions. File Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, with a federal tax return.

Benefit in Return. If taxpayers get something in return for their donation, they may have to reduce their deduction. Taxpayers can only deduct the amount that exceeds the fair market value of the benefit received. Examples of benefits include merchandise, meals, tickets to events or other goods and services.

Type of Donation. If taxpayers give property instead of cash, their deduction amount is normally limited to the item’s fair market value. Fair market value is generally the price they would get if the property sold on the open market. If they donate used clothing and household items, those items generally must be in good condition or better. Special rules apply to cars, boats and other types of property donations.

Noncash Charitable Contributions. File Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, for all noncash gifts totaling more than $500 for the year. Complete section-A for noncash property contributions worth $5,000 or less. Complete section-B for noncash property contributions more than $5,000 and include a qualified appraisal to the return. Taxpayers may be able to prepare and e-file their tax return for free using IRS Free File. The type of records they must keep depends on the amount and type of their donation. To learn more about what records to keep, see Publication 526, Charitable Contributions.

Donations of $250 or More. If taxpayers donated cash or goods of $250 or more, they must have a written statement from the charity. It must show the amount of the donation and a description of any property given. It must also say whether they received any goods or services in exchange for the gift.

Taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/electronic-filing-pin-request.

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Top ten adoption tax credit facts to consider

 

Taxpayers who have adopted or tried to adopt a child in 2016 may qualify for a tax credit. Here are ten important things about the adoption credit:

The Credit. The credit is nonrefundable, which may reduce taxes owed to zero. If the credit exceeds the tax owed, there is no refund of the additional amount. In addition, if an employer helped pay for the adoption through a written qualified adoption assistance program, that amount may reduce any taxes owed.

Maximum Benefit. The maximum adoption tax credit and exclusion for 2016 is $13,460 per child.

Credit Carryover. If the credit exceeds the tax owed, taxpayers can carry any unused credit forward. For example, the unused credit in 2016 can reduce taxes for 2017. Use this method for up to five years or until the credit is fully used, whichever comes first.

Eligible Child. An eligible child is an individual under age 18 or a person who is physically or mentally unable to care for themselves.

Qualified Expenses. Adoption expenses must be reasonable, necessary and directly related to the adoption of the child. Types of expenses may include adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees and travel.

Domestic or Foreign Adoptions. Taxpayers can usually claim the credit whether the adoption is domestic or foreign. However, there are different rules regarding the timing of expenses for each type of adoption.

Special Needs Child. A special rule may apply if the adoption is of an eligible U.S. child with special needs. Under this special rule, taxpayers can claim the tax credit, even if qualified adoption expenses were not paid.

No Double Benefit. In some instances both the tax credit and the exclusion may be claimed but not for the same expenses.

Income Limits. The credit and exclusion are subject to income limitations. These may reduce or eliminate the claimable amount..

IRS Free File. Use IRS Free File to prepare and e-file federal tax returns for free. File Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses, with Form 1040. Free File is only available on IRS.gov/freefile.

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Caution: dodging potholes

Rev. Chadrick Brown

Solon Center Wesleyan Church

15671 Algoma Ave NE | Cedar Springs, MI 49319

 

With all the freezing and thawing we have had lately, I have noticed a whole lot more potholes on the road. Some of which take my car right out of commission if I am not watching. It may be time to put some of those orange signs out that simply say CAUTION.

You know another area in our lives that I have found that all of us should approach with caution is in our words and within our conversations. Do you remember the childhood saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” Of course you do. We all remember that rhyme and have more than likely said it a time or two.

We use to say that in order to let bullies know they were not going to get under our skin. But in reality, that childhood rhyme is not so true. Name-calling really hurts down inside. All of us have been hurt by someone calling us names and more likly than not, we have hurt someone else with our words. We can say that little phrase all day long and to whomever we want to, but being called names really does hurt us deeply.

Someone said that we should handle words carefully because they have more power than atom bombs. It’s true! When we are getting ready to say something we shouldn’t say, we need one of those big orange caution signs to pop up in our minds to help stop us or at least to help us choose our words wisely.

God’s Holy Bible is the greatest book for showing us how to live a balanced life. It says, “Be quick to listen and slow to speak” (James 1:19). Can I say that again? “Be quick to listen and slow to speak.” If there were ever a bright orange sign saying CAUTION, I think that would be it. When we speak quickly, we speak dangerously, possibly hurting other people along the way. Words can be painful when spoken in anger or jealousy or fear. And the words we choose not only affects the moment, but they can have lasting affects for a lifetime. We need to choose them carefully. I have found that words are so powerful. They have the power to hurt, but they also have the power to heal. What’s the deciding factor? The choice you make. The caution you take by choosing your words.

So friends, just as we have to slow down to avoid some of those potholes that are out there on the road, let’s all slow down before we respond to someone. Let’s be cautious. Let’s be careful of what we say. Let’s really listen and then choose our words wisely and lovingly. Let’s begin to heal our community and start with our words.

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DELLA L. SHIRLEY

 

C--obit-ShirleyDella L. Shirley, 84 of Sand Lake, died Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at Spectrum Health – Butterworth Hospital. Mrs. Shirley was born January 27, 1933 in Green Township, Michigan the daughter of Nelson and Catherine (Palmer) Swiger. She had worked at General Motors Alpine Avenue Plant for over 30 years and was a member of the Rockford Sportsman’s Club and the UAW Retirees. She enjoyed many winters in Florida and spending time with her grandchildren. Surviving are her husband, Edward whom she married on July 30, 1965; children, Rocky (Mary) Dorey, Linda (Bruce) Yeakey, Johnnie (Rita) Simon, Steven Simon; 10 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; 2 great-great-grandchildren; brother, Les Swiger; sister-in-law, Geraldine Swiger; several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by a son, Robert Shirley; sister, Leona Sperlik; brothers, Melvin, Gilbert and Albert Swiger; 3 nephews. The family greeted friends Sunday at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the services were held Monday. Pastor Ralph Kilpatrick officiating. Interment Crapo Cemetery, Green Township. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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