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DNR recommends charges in elk-poaching case

Reward offered for other elk-poaching incidents

A Jackson County man has confessed to the illegal killing of a small bull elk during the firearm deer season in Otsego County, according to Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers who investigated the incident.

A passerby discovered elk parts dumped along a rural road Nov. 29, 2014. A DNR conservation officer investigating the scene located a grocery store receipt among the entrails of an elk. A six-week investigation ensued, and they identified and interviewed a suspect, who confessed. The Otsego County prosecutor is now reviewing charges.

According to Lt. Jim Gorno, DNR law enforcement supervisor in Gaylord, officers from southern Michigan, a diligent Report All Poaching (RAP) Hotline dispatcher, and a detective from the department’s Special Investigations Unit assisted conservation officers from the DNR’s Gaylord Customer Service Ce nter in the investigation.

“This case started with very limited clues and evidence, but through solid investigative follow-up, in conjunction with excellent teamwork being displayed by several of our officers around the state, it was brought to a successful conclusion,” said Gorno. “It shows diligence and tenacity in investigating cases involving our high-value fish and game species.”

Elk poaching carries fines of up to $2,500, restitution to the state of up to $1,500, loss of the firearm used in the incident and loss of hunting privileges for up to three years.

Conservation officers continue to investigate a number of poaching-related incidents involving elk in northern Michigan. Anyone with information regarding any incident is asked to call the DNR Law Enforcement Division at the Gaylord Customer Service Center at 989-732-3541 or the 24-hour RAP Line at 800-292-7800.

Any fish, game or natural resources violation can be reported to the DNR’s RAP Line or with the online reporting form available at the DNR website www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

Information leading to an arrest and conviction is eligible for a cash reward funded by the Game and Fish Protection Fund. Information also may be left anonymously.

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Five key facts about unemployment benefits


IRS Tax Tip 2014-30 

If you lose your job, you may qualify for unemployment benefits. The payments may serve as much needed relief. But did you know unemployment benefits are taxable? Here are five key facts about unemployment compensation:

1. Unemployment is taxable.  

You must include all unemployment compensation as income for the year. You should receive a Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments by Jan. 31 of the following year. This form will show the amount paid to you and the amount of any federal income tax withheld.

2. Paid under U.S. or state law.  

There are various types of unemployment compensation. Unemployment includes amounts paid under U.S. or state unemployment compensation laws. For more information, see Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income.

3. Union benefits may be taxable.  

You must include benefits paid to you from regular union dues in your income. Other rules may apply if you contributed to a special union fund and those contributions are not deductible. In that case, you only include as income any amount that you got that was more than the contributions you made.

4. You may have tax withheld.  

You can choose to have federal income tax withheld from your unemployment. You can have this done using Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request. If you choose not to have tax withheld, you may need to make estimated tax payments during the year.

5. Visit IRS.gov for help.  

If you’re facing financial difficulties, you should visit the IRS.gov page: “What Ifs” for Struggling Taxpayers. This page explains the tax effect of events such as job loss. For example, if your income decreased, you may be eligible for certain tax credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you owe federal taxes and can’t pay your bill, contact the IRS. In many cases, the IRS can take steps to help ease your financial burden.

For more details visit IRS.gov and check Publication 525. You can view, download and print Form W-4V at IRS.gov/forms anytime.

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Hometown Happenings

Hometown Happenings articles are a community service for non-profit agencies only. Due to popular demand for placement in this section, we can no longer run all articles. Deadline for articles is Monday at 5 p.m. This is not guaranteed space. Articles will run as space allows. Guaranteed placement is $10, certain restrictions may apply. You now can email your Hometown Happenings to happenings@cedarspringspost.com please include name and phone number for any questions we may have.

AA Meetings at Rebos House 

Rebos House, 10 N. First St., Cedar Springs is open on Sunday, 9 am, 2 pm and 7 pm. Monday, noon, 7 pm Big Book, 8:15pm, Tuesday, noon, 5:30 women’s, 7 pm men’s & women’s. Wednesday, noon, 7 pm 12X12, 8:15 pm. Thursday, noon, 7 pm, Alanon 7 pm. Friday, noon, 7 pm and Saturday, 8:30 am, 10 am, 2 pm and 7 pm. #9

Fish Fry at the Legion

Mar. 6: Now serving Alaskan Pollock! The American Legion in Cedar Springs on the corner of Main and Beech Streets, is hosting a fish fry on Friday, March 6th from 5 to 7 pm. Fish fries, coleslaw, dinner roll, coffee, punch and dessert. $8 per person, all you can eat. #9

Snowmobile Museum Show & Swap

Mar. 7: The West Michigan Snowmobile Museum and Library is holding a Show & Swap on the museum grounds. Saturday, March 7th from 9 am to 4 pm. All sleds welcome! Trophies for 10 classes, food and raffles. Sled Raffle in honor of board member Bob Shively. 13969 Francis Way, Cedar Springs, 616-636-7232. #9p

Languages of Love

Mar. 10: Rescheduled from Feb. 24th. Anne King, Teach & Motivation Consultant is the featured speaker. There are five basic love languages – five ways to express love emotionally. Each person has a primary love language that we must learn to speak if we want that person to feel loved. Learn to identify your language, the language of your family members and how to best relate to your child. Tuesday, March 10th at the Cedar Springs High School Auditorium from 6:30 to 8 pm. Sessions are open to parents, students and community members. #9

Free Nutrition Classes

Mar. 12: Free Nutrition Classes beginning March 12th at 11 am at Solon Center Wesleyan Church, 15671 Algoma Ave. “Eat Healthy, Be Active.” This class is presented thru the Michigan State University Extension. This will be a 6 week course. Please call the church office to register. 616-696-3229. #9,10p

KDL Lab: Get Revved Up

Mar. 12: Interested in cars? Want to learn how an engine works? Create your own rubber band car, help us build an engine model and even design you won style of car or truck. For all ages. Thursday, March 12th at 6 pm at the Spencer Township KDL Branch, 14960 Meddler Ave, Gowen. #9

St. Patrick’s Festival

Mar. 15: The second annual Saint Patrick’s Festival will be held 4 pm Sunday, March 15th at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, 140 South Main Street. Admission is free and includes a traditional Corn Beef and Cabbage Dinner or a Chicken Nugget with Mac and Cheese dinner. Enjoy dinner with traditional and inspirational Irish music. You may even catch a glimpse of The Saint Himself. Contributions for outreach are accepted. Free tickets are required to ensure a seat and may be ordered at The Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, Saint John Paul II Church, The Barn, Copies Plus or Take 2 Game Shop. #9,10p

St. Patty’s Scavenger Hunt

Mar. 15: Celebrate the Holiday with a “Nature Scavenger Hunt.” There will be prizes. Fun for all ages. Hidden things will be in our center and outdoors, so rain or shine come find that pot of gold! For all ages. Sunday, March 15th from 2:30 – 4 pm. Donation of $5 per person. See our website for details. Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16190 Red Pine Drive, Kent City. 616-675-3158. www.lilysfrogpad.com. #9

Michigan Blood Drive

Mar. 17: Michigan Blood Drive, March 17th from 2 – 7 pm, sponsored by the Solon Center Wesleyan Church Outreach Team. Anyone who attempts to give blood will be entered into a drawing for a $100 Meijer Gift Card. Appointments are appreciated, however, walk-ins are welcome! Located at 15671 Algoma Ave. 616-696-3229. Be a Hero, Give Blood! #9,10p

CS 1995 State Wrestling Championship Reunion

Mar. 21: What a season to remember! Cedar’s wrestling team traveled to Battle Creek and brought home the State Trophy! It’s been 20 years already. So, lets celebrate it again and travel down memory lane. Join the 1995 wrestling team, coaches, parents and all other supporters on Saturday, March 21st at 6 pm in the High School cafeteria for a time of refreshments and fellowship. At 7 pm we will move to the gymnasium to spend some time capturing some of the best pictures and lots of fond memories that we all experienced during that exciting season. For more information, contact Gail Armstron at 616-984-6033 or Brandon Wood at 616-916-9751. Hope to see lots of you there! #9

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Have you seen this missing woman?

Teresa Curry has been missing since Feb. 27.

Teresa Curry has been missing since Feb. 27.

This photo shows Teresa where she was last seen, at the Speedway gas station on West River Drive, Comstock Park, on Friday, February 27.

This photo shows Teresa where she was last seen, at the Speedway gas station on West River Drive, Comstock Park, on Friday, February 27.

Teresa Lynn Curry, 44, has been missing from her Alpine Township home near Comstock Park since Friday, February 27. The family contacted the Kent County Sheriff Department about her disappearance, on Sunday, March 1.

She is described as a white female, 5-feet 2-inches tall, 120 pounds, short brown hair, and last seen wearing a pink coat, jeans or khaki pants, black knit hat and blue tennis shoes.

Teresa was last known to be at the Speedway Gas Station at 4100 West River Dr NE at 8:00 a.m. on February 27 using the ATM. She was on foot. She was also reported to have quit her job at the Kohl’s Department store in Grandville two weeks prior.

The family is concerned for her well-being. They indicate that is out of her character for her not to have contact with family. Teresa is described as being near deaf requiring hearing aids in both ears. At this time there is no other medical condition known to investigators.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Kent County Sheriff Department at 616-632-6357 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.


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Sand Lake man dies in crash

John William Roberts IV

John William Roberts IV

A 21-year-old Sand Lake man died Tuesday evening, February 28, in a three-vehicle accident on 14 Mile Road, just east of Northland Drive, in Courtland Township.

According to the Michigan State Police Rockford Post, an eastbound 2004 Subaru crossed the centerline about 11:30 p.m. and struck a westbound 2006 Toyota pick up truck. A westbound 1995 Honda then struck the pickup from behind.

The driver of the Subaru was pronounced dead at the scene. Police identified him as John William Roberts, 21, of Sand Lake. An obituary in the Grand Rapids Press lists him as from Grand Rapids.

The occupants of the pickup truck were transported to Spectrum Butterworth by ambulance. The male driver was in stable condition, and the female passenger was listed as critical. Police said they were not yet releasing their names, however the Grand Rapids Press reported them as Adam Jacobsen, 34, and Michelle Jacobsen, 37, of Cedar Springs.

The occupants of the Honda, identified by the Grand Rapids Press as Michael Bazen, 49, of Grand Rapids and passenger, Sandra House, 47, of Wyoming, were not injured.

Police said all occupants appeared to have been wearing seatbelts.

Courtland Fire Department, the Kent County Sheriff Department, and Rockford Ambulance all assisted at the scene.

The investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Sgt. Jeffrey Varga of the MSP Rockford Post at (616) 866-4411.

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Fire burns Harvard home


This home on Harvard Avenue, between 15 and 16 Mile Roads, caught fire Tuesday. Post photo by J. Reed.


Post photo by J. Reed.

Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

The Oakfield Fire Department and four other departments battled both the elements and a structure fire Tuesday morning in the 13000 block of Harvard Avenue NE.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene shortly after 10 a.m. Flames were coming through the roof. According to Oakfield Fire Chief Sam Peterson, the wind and cold were problems, but an even bigger problem was that the fire had gotten into the attic, and that area was restrictive.

Peterson said the fire started in the bathroom, possibly from some wiring issues. He said a fire investigator would be investigating the scene.

They cleared the scene at about 2:30 p.m.

A mom was home with children at the time of the fire, but the family had gotten out safely, as did their cat. No one was injured at the scene.

Oakfield was assisted by Courtland, Spencer, Grattan, and Montcalm Fire Departments.

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Shirley Merlington named 2015 Grand Marshal 


Cedar Springs resident Shirley Merlington has been named the 2015 Grand Marshal for the 76th Annual Celebration

Cedar Springs resident Shirley Merlington has been named the 2015 Grand Marshal for the 76th Annual Celebration

N-GrandMarshal-Merlington2By Judy Reed

The Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors proudly named Cedar Springs resident Shirley Merlington as the 2015 Grand Marshal for the 76th Annual Celebration, to be held on Saturday, October 3, 2015.

“The Festival is extremely proud and thankful for the many years of Shirley’s outstanding dedication to the Cedar Springs community,” said Michele Tracy, President of the Festival.

Shirley was shocked when she found out the board had selected her. “I was really surprised,” she said. “It never entered my mind.”

Shirley was born in Cedar Springs, at a house on Beech Street. She went to Cedar Springs Public Schools until 3rd grade, when her family moved to Sand Lake. She graduated high school there, and met her future husband there, Ronny Merlington. Shirley and Ronny settled in Cedar Springs after he graduated from Michigan State. “I’ve been in the same house in Cedar Springs for 48 years now,” she said.

Shirley served as Executive Director of the Red Flannel Festival from 1990 to 2003. She also served as Director of the Cedar Springs Chamber of Commerce for 12 years, served on the Cedar Springs Board of Education, the Cedar Springs Women’s Club and was 5th District President of American Legion Women’s Auxiliary. “For 25-30 years I’ve been involved in everything in Cedar Springs,” remarked Shirley. Other positions she’s served in include the Board of Review, the DDA, the Elections Commission, and the Selective Service board. At age 77, she is still active in the Legion Auxiliary and has been for 34 years.

“It’s very obvious Shirley loves the Red Flannel Town, and especially the Red Flannel Festival! Her connection to Festival Founders Grace Hamilton and Nina Babcock is very special to us. The Red Flannel Town is a better place because of her involvement and extraordinary volunteerism!” said Tracy.

Shirley said it’s true that she loves Cedar Springs. “I love it! I love the Red Flannel Festival, and look forward to it every year. We usually have company. It’s always been thrilling to me. Ronny and I were both proud to be involved in it all of these years,” she remarked. “We couldn’t ask for a better town to live in.” Ronny was also a Grand Marshal several years ago.

Shirley will reign this year, the Festival’s 76th, over the two weekends of the 15th oldest Festival in the state of Michigan, sharing the Red Flannel warmth of our community with visitors and residents.


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Cedar Trails principal resigns

Longtime Cedar Trails Elementary principal Jennifer Harper with a student.

Longtime Cedar Trails Elementary principal Jennifer Harper with a student.

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education approved a resolution Monday evening to enter into a separation agreement with longtime Cedar Trails Elementary principal Jennifer Harper.

Harper, who was co-principal with Mike Duffy, has been on paid administrative leave, and recently resigned. The reason for her paid leave and subsequent resignation has not been made public.

The Post has been contacted by concerned parents, who said she was there one day, and gone the next, with no explanation to staff or students and parents. “As a parent with students in the school I want to know what is going on,” wrote one parent. “This is crazy that the school district has said nothing to parents about this or anything that is going on. The kids are asking where she is.”

The Post spoke with the district office about the matter. “It’s been an ongoing personnel matter,” explained Superintendent Laura VanDuyn. “We can’t reveal the nature because it is a personnel matter. But I think it’s important to say that it’s not a matter that has to do with criminal conduct or the safety of students.”

Van Duyn said Harper was put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. “We have clearly followed our district’s legal counsel in the matter,” she said.

Harper was originally hired to run the Parents as Teachers program, and then became co-principal with David Cairy.  She continued on as a principal at Cedar Trails after Cairy moved to Assistant Superintendent. Andy Secor and Mike Duffy have served as co-principals with Harper. Secor currently is principal at Cedar View.

VanDuyn said that Duffy would continue as principal at Cedar Trails and Harper would not be replaced.

While Harper said she could not discuss the terms of her resignation, she did have a statement for parents, staff and students.

“I have gladly dedicated my heart and soul to the students, staff and families of the Cedar Trails Community for the last 17 years. I have loved working with the staff, mentoring your young children, and have always supported high expectations for all. I wish only the best for CSPS and I pray for its continued success,” she said.

The Post submitted a request through the Freedom of Information Act on Monday, asking for any emails, documents, and minutes referencing the resignation of Jennifer Harper.

Harper is the second administrator to resign since the beginning of the school year. Assistant Superintendent Steve Seward resigned earlier this year.

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Chamber to hold auditions for Renaissance royalty

Chamber members in royal attire at last year’s festival.

Chamber members in royal attire at last year’s festival.

The Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce is planning their second annual Renaissance-themed summer celebration to kick off the summer during the second week of June. The celebration will take place from 18 Mile south to Morley Park in downtown Cedar Springs.

“This will be a great time to dress up as your favorite Renaissance character like Robin Hood, King Arthur, Merlin, Sir Lancelot, Gypsies, Pirates, Woodland Elves, Fairies, etc.,” said Chamber president Perry Hopkins. “This is a family event so kids of all ages can participate (adults can be kids too). We will have an outdoor movie in the park on Friday and have a variety of entertainers and vendors on Saturday and Sunday!”

Any individual or group who would like to participate in this event (vendors, volunteers, performers, etc) can contact Perry at 616-439-0890 or email kinofhope@yahoo.com. “We are looking to have as much of the community involved as possible,” he said.

 Mandy Stephenson, of Kalamazoo, will reign as Queen Victoria of Morleyshire, at this year’s Cedar Springs Renaissance Faire, put on by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

Mandy Stephenson, of Kalamazoo, will reign as Queen Victoria of Morleyshire, at this year’s Cedar Springs Renaissance Faire, put on by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s Cedar Springs Renaissance Faire’s Theme is Robin Hood.

Most Renaissance Faires have a royal court that is a part of the event. We would like to announce our Queen Victoria of “Morleyshire” for this year’s Cedar Springs Renaissance Fair—Mandy Stephenson, from Kalamazoo. “She was chosen by the Cedar Springs Renaissance Faire Committee for her for her experience with Renaissance Faires, her dress experience, language and knowledge,” explained Hopkins. He said she has been royalty at many Renaissance Faires, and has 13 years of experience in improvisational acting.

The Committee for the Cedar Springs Renaissance Faire will also be holding auditions for the rest of the royal court. We are auditioning for Prince, Princess, Duke, Dutchess, Lords,and Ladies, towns people and rogues (possibly other roles too).

Auditions will be held on Saturday March 28 at 4:30 p.m. at 90 North Main Street, Cedar Springs, in the dance studio on the second floor. Those interested in auditioning need to come dressed to part. For more details please call Perry at (855) 627-2262 ext. 103 or 616-439-0890

You can find more information on our face book page Cedar Springs Renaissance Faire. The CSACoC also has an event page on face book for the event The Cedar Springs Renaissance Faire  https://www.facebook.com/events/348962938597221/

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Post travels to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands


Kenneth Mitz and Tammy Metzger recently took the Post along on a Royal Carribean cruise to San Juan, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. They visited the islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Grenada.

Thanks to Ken and Tammy 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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