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The Barn – on a mission

BUS-The-Barn2-webFor Victoria Merlington, owner of The Barn, a vintage and consignment shop at the corner of Main and Cherry Streets, in Cedar Springs, her business is about more than just vintage décor. It’s about helping others. All profits from her shop go to help the people of Honduras and her trips there to work with them.

Her passion was ignited 30 years ago when her grandfather went to Honduras and built a school and church. She was a child and wanted to go with him, and finally did in 2001. She worked on an orphanage, and returned annually to feed the poor, build homes, provide dental work, give away shoes, and hand out Bibles to the people.

*BUS-The BarnIn 2004, Victoria held a benefit in memory of her grandmother, who had passed away, and raised funds to build a home for nine orphan boys in Honduras. In 2012, she opened The Barn, in Rockford, as a way to raise the funds she needed for Honduras. She later moved to Cedar Springs, and has held fundraisers to benefit another home she created in Honduras, this time for girls and young moms, called Hannah’s Home, a safe house for girls to be educated in skills, as well as about life, self worth, and purity.

The Barn features upcycled, repurposed and reloved
vintage decor, shabby chic, collectibles, chippy, industrial, leather goods, clothing and accessories. Check them out at 6 S. Main Street Tuesday through Friday 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. For more info call 616-240-3080.

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Kent County’s Delabbio elected VP of Professional Association

*BUS-DelabbioKent County Administrator/Controller Daryl Delabbio has been elected as a Regional Vice President of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Delabbio will serve alongside 20 other members of the ICMA Executive Board; his term runs for three years, and begins in October 2014. Delabbio has been in local government for 37 years, and has held the Administrator/ Controller role since 1998, after three years as Assistant County Administrator. Prior to working at Kent County he was City Manager in Rockford for 11 years and served in two other Michigan cities.

“Daryl is dedicated to doing what is best for Kent County residents and businesses,” said County Board of Commissioners Chair Dan Koorndyk. “His ability to work in an inclusive, professional manner has helped Kent County stay on course. He truly has a ‘servant’s heart’ and his leadership is admired by many.”

“It’s quite a distinction for Daryl to be selected to this role,” says Kent County Commissioner Roger Morgan, who previously served as Board Chair.  “Kent County is fortunate to have such great leadership for the past two decades.”

“Serving as one of 21 members of the ICMA Executive Board is one of the highest honors that a member of the local government management profession can receive,” noted ICMA Executive Director Bob O’Neill. “It is a significant career achievement and a tremendous expression of confidence in Daryl by his peers.”


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By Bill Leete, SCORE Counselor

The Business Plan

The business plan is a document that should be prepared by each potential new entrepreneur prior to starting a new small business. The business plan, which consists of narratives, financial projections and action items requires research, planning and thinking about a business in a systematic manner. The plan is the blueprint that the entrepreneur should follow to bring his/her   ideas for a new business to fruition and ultimately to a successful enterprise. With a business plan, the entrepreneur can compare the business’ actual performance to the plan. When actual performance starts to deviate from the plan, the red flag should go up and the entrepreneur should take actions to bring the business back to plan and/or to update the plan to reflect the new realities of the business. Failure to do a business plan will almost always result in the failure of the business no matter how great the business idea.

Established businesses should also update and create new business plans to reflect changes in their markets, new business opportunities as well as operational, financial and other problems that impact the viability of their businesses.

In addition to being a planning tool for the entrepreneur, the business plan is also required when approaching financial institutions for funding the business start-up as well as ongoing funding needs. The business plan and executive summary should be the basis for presentations and applications when requesting funding from banks and investors.

The typical business plan consists of several sections and should be concise, clearly written and easy to understand. These sections include the following plus an Executive Summary of the plan that should be prepared last:

General Company Description

Products and Services

Marketing Plan

Operational Plan

Management and Organization

Personal Financial Statement

Start-up Expenses and Capitalization

Financial Plan (Profit & Loss, Cash Flow & Balance Sheet Projections)

The marketing plan is the first section that should be developed. No matter how good the product or service, the new business cannot succeed without a marketing and sales plan. There are many elements to a marketing plan all of which will require considerable research. These elements include the size of the market, market trends, competitors and their market share, distribution channels, pricing, barriers to entering the market, projected market share and most importantly, the market niche for the new business. After the market research is completed, a sales forecast in units and dollars must be developed for the next 2 to 4 years. This sales forecast is the basic input to the other   sections and especially to the financial projections required for the business plan.

The most effective way to create a business plan is to download templates. These templates, which are available from several sources, provide the format and outline of the business plan with questions for each section that should be answered for the specific business being planned. Thus, the complete business plan can be created on the entrepreneur’s own computer and can be modified and updated during the planning process and later as needed. The SCORE website at www.score.org has an extensive template gallery with business plans and financial statements available for downloading as well.

The time and effort required to produce a viable business plan are well worth the investment and significantly increase the probability that the new small business will be successful.

Get free and confidential counseling with SCORE, 111 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. Call (616) 771-0305. Visit our website at www.scoregr.org or email us at score@grandrapids.org.


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Avoid summertime tax scams


Ah, summertime! Warm days, rest and recreation and…tax scams. Thieves don’t stop victimizing unsuspecting taxpayers with their scams after April 15. Identity theft, phone and phishing scams happen year-round. Those three top the IRS’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of tax scams this year. Here’s some important information you should know about these common tax scams:

1. Identity Theft.  Identity thieves steal personal and financial information to commit fraud or other crimes. This can include your Social Security number or bank information. An identity thief may file a phony tax return to claim a fraudulent refund.

The IRS has a special identity protection page on IRS.gov. It has many resources you can use to reduce your risk of becoming a victim. The page can also tell you what steps to take if you are a victim of identity theft and need help. This includes how and when you should contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit.

2. Phone Scams.  In these scams, thieves pose as the IRS and call would-be victims with one goal in mind: to steal their money. Callers will tell you that you owe taxes and demand immediate payment. They will tell you that you must pay the bogus tax bill with a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. The callers are often abusive and threaten arrest or deportation. They may know the last four digits of your Social Security number. They also rig caller ID to falsely show that the call is from the IRS.

Keep in mind that if a person owes taxes, the IRS will first contact them by mail, not by phone. The IRS doesn’t ask for payment with a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. If you owe, or think you might owe federal taxes and you get one of these calls, hang up. Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. The IRS will work with you to pay what you owe. If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.

3. Phishing Scams.  Criminals use the IRS as bait in a phishing scam. Scammers typically send emails that purport to come from the IRS. They often lure their targets with a false promise of a refund or the threat of an audit. They may also set up a phony website that looks like the real IRS.gov. These phony sites often have the IRS seal and other graphics to make them appear official. Their goal is to get their victim to reveal personal and financial information. They use the information they get to steal identities and commit fraud.

The IRS doesn’t contact people by email about their tax account. Nor does the agency use email, social media, texting or fax to initiate contact or ask for personal or financial information. If you get an email like this, do not click on a link or open any attachments. You should instead forward it to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov. For more on this topic visit IRS.gov and select the ‘Reporting Phishing’ link at the bottom of the page.

Don’t let tax scams take the fun out of your summer. Be alert to phone and phishing email scams that use the IRS as a lure. Visit the genuine IRS website, IRS.gov, for more on what you can do to avoid becoming a victim and how to report tax fraud.

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Christmas in July? You betcha!


Want to cool off on a hot summer day? Think snow. Think sleigh bells and mistletoe. Think Christmas.

Solon Market is hosting its third annual Christmas event this Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. at 15185 Algoma Ave. There will be cookies to decorate, pictures with Santa shared via Facebook, games and activities. Santa will arrive at 10:00 a.m. but activities begin when Market opens at 8:00 a.m. Browse the Market while the kids are occupied.  Get an early start on your Christmas shopping or pick up flowers for the garden.

Solon Market is a nonprofit entity catering to the community.  We are located at 15185 Algoma Ave. in Cedar Springs. Call us at 616-696-4227 or 616-696-1718.  Like us on Facebook for updates.

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Cedar Springs Author/Publisher Partners with the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum to Host Event Featuring Other Local Authors

Amanda Litz is the owner of Traveler’s Trunk Publishing and also the author of various children’s fiction – including chapter/early reader books and a picture book. Her latest book is The Traveler’s Trunk: Medieval Quest.

Amanda Litz is the owner of Traveler’s Trunk Publishing and also the author of various children’s fiction – including chapter/early reader books and a picture book. Her latest book is The Traveler’s Trunk: Medieval Quest.

Cedar Springs, MI – This Thursday, July 17th, local author Amanda Litz is slated to host an event at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum called  AuthorPalooza! — a family–friendly event where kids will receive free books and get the chance to meet other local authors.

Litz created this year’s event – hopefully the first of many – because she wanted to create a unique and personal interactive experience where kids can meet local authors and get free copies of their work – enriching their overall experience with books.

“Traveler’s Trunk Publishing is dedicated to promoting literacy in children, and is excited to find new opportunities that not only help kids discover new books, but also help fuel their desire to read more,” said Litz.

AuthorPalooza! runs from 5:30 to 7:30 pm and coincides with “Family Night” at the Grand Rapids Children’s Muse m – where admission is only $1.50 per person, ages 1 year and above starting at 5:00 pm.

The other authors/illustrators participating in this year’s event includes:

• Christy Beckwith – illustrator of multiple books including The Great Gumshoe: The Case of the Missing Bear and The Traveler’s Trunk: Medieval Quest.

• Katie Seifert – author of four picture books. Her most recent title is Littleleaf Linden.

• Laura Becklar – author of an interactive, rhyming picture book called, Bumblebee Bumblebee.

• Dave Stricklen – author of the YA fantasy series, Blackwater Pond. His newest book is Through the Eyes of the Beast.

• Sharon Willett – author of a middle–grade trilogy including, Country and the Rock and Country Captured.

• Anneke Huisman – author and illustrator of two picture books. Her lasts release is Wet Giraffe.

• Wendy Nystrom – author of the James and Syvok Adventure series, which is set to release its’ fourth book, Amongst the Clouds, in July.

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Ensley 5K Run/Walk


Picnic event to follow race


Ensley Township’s five-kilometer run and walk event will be held on Saturday, July 26.

The race is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. at the Baptist Lake Park. Race day registration will start at 8:30 a.m. The registration fee for runners is $25.00 unless pre-registered by July 11. For more information, visit www.ensleytownship.org/crimewatch.htm or to register, call 616-636-8510 or e-mail: clerk@ensleytownship.org.

Proceeds from the event will help the Sand Lake Fire Department purchase rescue equipment.

The event is being sponsored by the Ensley Crime Watch, The Baptist Lake Association, and the Englewright Lake Association. Awards will be presented to the first three finishers in each of seven age groups. All ages are invited to participate in the race and the post-race activities.

The Ensley Community Picnic will be held after the race. The picnic is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. The firemen do the cooking, and there is lots of good food and refreshments to go along with it. A 50/50 raffle is held, a bounce house for the kids, fire trucks, the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Patrol and the Newaygo County Marine Patrol.

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No Novacaine

A woman and her husband interrupted their vacation to go to the dentist.

“I want a tooth pulled, and I don’t want Novacaine because I’m in a big hurry,” the woman said. “Just extract the tooth as quickly as possible, and we’ll be on our way.”

The dentist was quite impressed. “You’re certainly a courageous woman,” he said. “Which tooth is it?”

The woman turned to her husband and said, “Show him your tooth, dear.”


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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.

MCC Summer Camps

July & Aug: Registration for Montcalm Community College’s summer camps for youths is available now. Youths can focus on fine arts, language, culture, agriculture, writing, engineering, science and radio communication. Camps include: “Fine Arts Camp: Fairy Tales,” July 21-25 from 8:30 am to 4 pm daily in MCC in Sidney. The cost is $90. “Camp Aloha” August 4-7 from 9 am to 12 noon daily at MCC in Greenville. The cost is $55. “Spanish Camp,” August 4-7 from 9 am to 1 pm daily at MCC in Greenville. The cost is $55. “Pull Back Frenzy,” August 11 – 14 from 9 am to noon at MCC in Greenville or August 18-22 from 12:30 to 3:30 pm in Ionia. The cost is $129. “Dreamworld,” August 11 – 13 from 12:30 to 3:30 pm at MCC in Greenville or August 18 – 22 from 9 am to noon in Ionia. The cost is $129. Visit www.montcalm.edu/camps for more information. #29


Dinner at the Legion

July 21: American Legion, 80 Main St. Cedar Springs, is hosting a Swiss Steak dinner on Monday, July 21, from 5 – 7 pm. Included will be mashed potatoes and gravy, baked beans, veggies, salad, rolls, dessert and drinks. The cost is $9 for adults, children (12 and younger) $4.00. Come and enjoy home cooking. Take out is available. 616-696-9160. #29p

Open House for Prayer

July 21: Come to an Open House for Prayer every Monday night from 7 to 8 pm. July 21 focus: Finances. Ps. 107:28-29. Let us pray for your needs. The Cedar Springs Christian Church, 340 W. Pine Street. Follow driveway down the hill of Creative Technologies Academy (no affiliation) for a sweet time of prayer. #29

Worship in the Park

July 23: Solon Center Wesleyan Church presents Worship in the Park. Come join the fun at Morley Park in Cedar Springs on Wednesday evening, July 23rd. A free picnic style meal will be served at 6:30 pm followed by worship music from our praise band. There will be inflatables for the kids and lots of fun, fun, fun! Grab a lawn chair and enjoy the music and festivities. Everyone is welcome. #29

Wild Wednesday at HCNC

July 23: “Reptiles & Amphibians” Hunt down a frog or two, possibly a snake. With this class you can get dirty and touch the outside world. Our Naturalist will lead children on an outdoor excursion in finding where amphibians and reptiles live, what the eat and their worlds. Children use nets to capture living creatures and discover greater knowledge with hands on teaching. Wednesday, July 23 from 10 am to 2 pm. Bring a lunch and dress for the outdoors (no flip flops or crocs) Rain or shine. Ages 5 – 15. $8 per child. Parents are not required, however are encouraged to come along free of charge. Howard Christiansen Nature Center, 16190 Red Pine Dr., Kent City, 616-675-3158. #29

The Terrible Misgivings of Dr. Frankenmuth

July 23: Frankenmuth had a terrible childhood, never went to the library, never got to check out any books, never got to see any great programs. So, like many Mad Scientists he has spent his life with an axe to grind; but his was against the most innocent: Books and Libraries. See what he mixes up to get revenge. Wednesday, July 23 at 2 pm. Cedar Springs Middle School. Presented by the Cedar Springs Public Library. 616-696-1910. #29

Skinner Field Flea Market

July 25: Come one, come all! On Friday, July 25th from 4 to 7 pm we welcome the public to come shop for crafts, home-made goods, Origami-Owl, and more. All proceeds will benefit “The Friends of Skinner Field Committee” in efforts to refurbish Skinner Field. Follow on Facebook at, Skinner Field Flea-Market. #29

Stormy the Magician

July 26: Stormy the Magician Presents the Magic of Science. Go on an entertaining adventure into the magic of science and the science of magic. For all ages. Saturday, July 26th at 1:30 pm at the Sand Lake/ Nelson Township KDL Branch, 88 Eighth St. #29

VBS at Cedar Springs UMC

July 28-31: Come join us at the “Workshop of Wonders”. Imagine and Build with God. Monday through Thursday evenings, July 18 – 30 from 6 to 8 pm. All children from pre-school through sixth grade are warmly welcome. Cedar Springs Untied Methodist Church, 140 S. Main St. Cedar Springs. Call 616-696-1140 for additional information or to pre-register. #29

Great Dads Seminar

Aug. 2: The Cedar Springs United Methodist Church would like to invite all dads, past, present and future to attend a Great Dads Seminar on August 2 from 8:30 am until noon. Learn the basics of being a great dad and fellowship with fellow fathers. Get registration forms and information from the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, call 616-696-1140or email Tom Noreen@aol.com. #29



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Tornado hits south of Grand Rapids

Photo from WOODTV.com

Photo from WOODTV.com

By Judy Reed


Photo from WOODTV.com

Photo from WOODTV.com

The National Weather Service confirmed Monday that the damage done just south of Grand Rapids during thunderstorms on Sunday evening, July 6, was due to a tornado.

Calls began pouring into Kent County’s 911 dispatch about 10:30 p.m. reporting roofs caved in, power lines and trees down, and people trapped in homes and vehicles.

The tornado reportedly developed near 64th Street and Burlingame in Byron Center about 10:20 p.m, and traveled 6.25 miles, through Wyoming and Kentwood, ending at 28th Street and Breton. It was on the ground for about 10 minutes and produced significant damage. The NWS rated the tornado an EF-1, with maximum wind speeds from 100-110 mph. Its width was 300 to 400 yards wide. There were six injuries, and no fatalities. It was the first EF-1 in Kent County since 2001, and the first tornado since 2006, when an EF-0 hit Caledonia.

Daniel Cobb, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said it was definitely a tornado, and not straight-line winds, explaining during a news conference that the debris they surveyed had the classic signature of a tornado.

People have questioned why there was no warning with the tornado. Cobb explained that the tornado developed near the ground and grew upward. And, because of the time delay between radar scans, they didn’t realize it was there until they picked up the debris on radar that lifted in Kentwood. It was already lifting back up moments later, too late for a warning.

“They always want to get it right, and it kills them if it doesn’t play out right,” he explained. “If they warned on every scan that looked like a possible tornado, they would be warning all the time. We prefer to wait for two scans. We are trying to say with severe thunderstorms that a tornado is possible, and warn on the big tornadoes.”

“We are very successful at detecting big tornadoes that blow your house down,” he noted.

He also noted that these smaller tornadoes are not rare, but not frequent either. Here it just happened in a populated area. “You have to respect Mother Nature. Always be inside during a storm,” he urged.

On Wednesday, July 9, the NWS also confirmed another tornado that spawned from the storms that moved through Sunday evening and Monday morning, July 6-7. This one was an EF-0 in Ionia County, and developed about 12:16 a.m., July 7, just a couple of hours after the one near Grand Rapids. It started just east of Sunfield Highway, and south of Reeder Road. It went about one mile, ending just west of South Keefer highway, north of Reeder Road. It lasted about 4 minutes. One home lost roofing material and five farm buildings were damaged along Reeder Road. Tree and crop damage also occurred along the path of the tornado.


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