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Be part of a focus group at North Kent Community Services

Be part of a focus group at North Kent Community Services

North Kent Community Services (NKCS) has partnered with the Dorothy A. Johnson Center’s Community Research Institute at Grand Valley State University to complete a community needs assessment for northern Kent County. This initiative, funded in part by the Sparta Community Foundation, Cedar Springs Rotary, and Rockford Rotary, will give insight to how NKCS can best address the needs in our community.

The Community Research Institute will be facilitating and gathering information from three community focus groups. These groups will be made up from individuals in the community whose households’ income are at or below the 200 percent federal poverty guidelines and who have never received services from NKCS. The focus groups will be held on:

Wednesday, March 22 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Friday, March 24 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Friday, March 31 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

If you or somebody you know are interested in attending one of these focus groups, please call (616) 331-7585 to sign up. Attendance is limited to the first 30 people who reserve a spot. Those who reserve a spot and participate in any of these focus groups will receive a $20 Meijer gift card.

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First grade library card celebration

Mike Metzger, who founded the First Grade Library Card drive 20-plus years ago, is shown here with two of the attendees of the March is Reading month celebration at the Kent last week. Courtesy photo.

Mike Metzger, who founded the First Grade Library Card drive 20-plus years ago, is shown here with two of the attendees of the March is Reading month celebration at the Kent last week. Courtesy photo.

The First Grade Library Card Roundup ended with a Grand Party at the Kent Theatre last week to celebrate “March is Reading Month.” The Cedar Springs Public Library and Kent District Library Branches from Nelson and Spencer Townships each sponsored a free ticket for all first graders from the Cedar Springs Public Schools and Creative Technologies Academy to see “Lego Batman.” Invitations were for Monday and Tuesday nights,  6 pm on March 6 and 7. The Kent Theatre offered free popcorn to all first graders with a library card, counting 81 over the two evenings. Family members, who shared the fun, numbered in at 258.

(L to R): Sara Magnuson (Youth librarian at Nelson Township/Sand Lake branch of KDL); Mary Shallman (Youth Paraprofessional at Spencer Township branch of KDL); teen Sierra and her mom, CS author Amanda Litz; CS Librarian Donna Clark; and Mike Metzger, found of the First Grade Library Card roundup. Courtesy photo.

(L to R): Sara Magnuson (Youth librarian at Nelson Township/Sand Lake branch of KDL); Mary Shallman (Youth Paraprofessional at Spencer Township branch of KDL); teen Sierra and her mom, CS author Amanda Litz; CS Librarian Donna Clark; and Mike Metzger, found of the First Grade Library Card roundup. Courtesy photo.

This year marked 20 years of celebrating first grade readers since the inception of the program in 1997, when Library Board Member, Mike Metzger, put his idea in motion.  As a part of this year’s celebration, Mike, at the request of Cedar Springs Library Director Donna Clark, sponsored a free book giveaway for all first graders.  Students had the choice between “Pirate’s Treasure,” “The Great Gumshoe,” and “Medieval Quest,” all by Cedar Springs Children’s Author, Amanda Litz.  Amanda and her two teens, Sierra and Jacob, were on hand both nights to celebrate.  Kent District Youth Librarian from Nelson Township/Sand Lake, Sara Magnuson, and Mary Shallman, Youth Paraprofessional from Spencer Township, brought several items for first graders to take home as well.

First grade teachers Mrs. Doncis, Mrs. Brussow, Mr. Avink, Mrs. Sendler, Mrs. Holtrop, Mrs. Graf, Mrs. Shepard, Mrs. Boggiano, Mrs. Upham, Mrs. Benham, Mrs. Tiffany, and Mrs. Schmidutz all welcomed their students with hugs, while keeping track of attendance for the libraries.

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Sheriff Department crime stats

Kent-County-Sheriff-logo

N-Sunshine-logoThe Kent County Sheriff Department has issued their crime statistics for the year for the cities and townships they patrol. Over the last few weeks, we have been sharing some of those statistics. Below are statistics from the last three townships in our area.

Spencer Township: Population: 3,960. Had 535 dispatched calls, 45 traffic stops. The top five dispatched calls were for suspicious conditions/noise/subject (50); assists (47); traffic crash-property damage (37) and alarms (27); domestic argument-no assault (22). The top five criminal offenses were domestic simple assault (19); obstructing justice (12); OUIL or OUID (9); driving law violations (9); non-aggravated assault (8). The highest number of calls occur on Monday, then Saturday; the peak time of day is a tie: 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. The hotspots for service calls are in the areas surrounded by Hemlock and Verlin.

Sparta Township: Population: 9,110. Had 934 dispatched calls, 221 traffic stops. The top five dispatched calls were for assists (110); suspicious condition/noise/subject (93); traffic crash-property damage (71); domestic argument-no assault (60); alarms (41). The top five criminal offenses: domestic simple assault (33); obstructing justice (27); intimidation/stalking (15); damage to property (15); driving law violations (13). The highest number of calls occurs on Sunday, with about 8 p.m. being the peak time for calls. The hotspot for service calls are in the area of Viking and Long Lake Drive; Glen Park; and the area of Alpine, Schultz, and Vinton.

Tyrone Township: Population 6,107. Had 946 dispatched calls, 91 traffic stops.

The top five dispatched calls were for assists (87); suspicious condition/noise/subject (77); traffic crash-property damage (71); domestic argument-no assault (56); domestic assault (36). The top five criminal offenses were domestic simple assault (23); obstructing justice (19); intimidation/stalking (13); violation of controlled substance (8); driving law violations (8). The highest number of calls occurs on Friday, with about 8 p.m. being the peak time of day. The hotspot for calls is in the area surrounding M-37, Main Street, and Ball Creek; and the area of 17 Mile, Daily and Nellie.

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Rotary Club honors 5th grade essay winners

Pictured are the Cedar Springs Rotary 4-Way Test essay winners. From L to R: Sally Odren, Makenna Nichols, Jack Cairy, Analiese Van Harten, and Josh Trendt. Courtesy photo.

Pictured are the Cedar Springs Rotary 4-Way Test essay winners. From L to R: Sally Odren, Makenna Nichols, Jack Cairy, Analiese Van Harten, and Josh Trendt. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Rotary handed out awards to students last week in their annual Rotary 4-way test essay contest. They invited fifth grade students from Cedar View and Creative Technologies Academy to participate. All essays were written in 200 words or less. Teachers chose the 2 best essays from their class and submitted them to the committee, which included Julie Wheeler, Carolyn Davis, Donna Clark and Bea Hesley.

Clark and Rotary president Tom Noreen spoke with each of the classes ahead of time, and gave them some background on Rotary. “We talked about having integrity and the 4 way formula (is it the truth, is it fair, will it build goodwill, will it be beneficial) and how it ties in with habits of mind,” explained Clark. “People who live by these have integrity and impact their community in a positive way. We told them to think about one of these that they practiced in their own lives—a real life situation that would touch us, and told them to write about it.”

The students were then on their own to write the essays. And the students who won had a good grasp of what the committee was looking for. Out of 14 essays, they chose five. There were ties for second and third place.

“We feel like these essays were the best ever,” said Clark.

The two second place essays were about volunteering to feed hungry families. The third place winners wrote stories about how a community can work together to benefit one another, such as the fundraisers for the Rickers.

The first place winner spoke about how things people say can be cruel, but we can choose to be inspired rather than let their words have a bad effect on us.

The first place winner was Sally Odren, of Mr. Moleski’s class at Cedar View. She won $50.

Second place winners were Jack Cairy, of Mrs. Kahler’s class, and Makenna Nichols, of Mrs. Miller’s class, both at Cedar View. They each won $25.

Third place winners were Josh Trendt, of Mr. Moleski’s class at Cedar View, and Analiese Van Harten, of Mrs. Norman’s class at CTA. They each won $10.

“We as Rotarians are aware of the example we set as individuals and as a Club in our community,” said Noreen. “As community leaders and partners, we are mindful of what we think, say and do.”

The 4-Way Test was adopted by Rotary in 1943 and is a code of ethics each Rotarian aspires to live by both in their business and personal lives. It says: “Of the things we think, say or do: 1. Is it the TRUTH? 2. Is it FAIR to all concerned? 3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? 4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

This is the ninth year that the Rotary has partnered with local schools on this project.

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WMP at Fremont and Eagle Claw

Pictured is WMP wrestler Selena Stalker, who took 2nd Place in the 4/6 age group at Fremont. Photo by B. Chong.

Pictured is WMP wrestler Selena Stalker, who took 2nd Place in the 4/6 age group at Fremont. Photo by B. Chong.

By Barbra Chong

West Michigan Pursuit had one individual enter the Eagle Claw tournament in Carson City last weekend. Logan Bennett entered the 11/12 age group in the 85 lb wt class. Bennett went 3-1 and finished for a True 2nd Place.

The rest of the team traveled to Fremont for the MYWA Greights tournament. WMP had 20 individuals enter and placed 16 in the top four.

Finishing in fourth place was 155 lb Aaiden Dowdell, 13/15 age group; 122 lb David Erxleben, High School division; 67 lb Tyler Parmeter, 7/8 age group and 80 lb Isaiah Smith, 9/10 age group.

Finishing in third place was 75 lb Carter Castillo, 11/12 age group; 67 lb Chayson Eberspeaker, 7/8 age group; and 61 lb Spencer Schoenborn, 7/8 Novice age group.

Finishing in second place was 64 lb Quinten Cassiday, 7/8 age group; 80 lb Blake Hammer, 11/12 Novice age group; and 61 lb Selena Stalker, 4/6 age group. Champions of the day were 63 lb Luke Egan, 9/10 age group; 58 lb Drew Moro, 7/8 age group; 75 lb Blake Peasley, 9/10 age group; 59 lb Josh Vasquz, 9/10 age group; 55 lb Kellen Weckesser, 7/8 age group and 46 lb Blake Werkema, 4/6 age group.

“West Michigan Pursuit and the Cedar Springs Youth Wrestling have been stepping up their training and combining practices as they head to Regionals,” said Head Coach, Dave Andrus. “These kids have been pushing each other to secure their spot for an opportunity to compete at the State Finals. I have the highest confidence in these kids to do so.”

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CS Youth wrestlers at Greights competition

S-Wrestling-CS-Youth

Twenty-three Cedar Springs Youth wrestlers competed alongside 107 other teams last weekend for the final regular season and last MYWAY Greights competition. Almost 700 grapplers competed for the final piece of this year’s Greights medal and a chance to be Champion for the last West Region regular season tournament.

CSYWC finished 10th in match points with 188. Deegan pike scored 31, Wyatt Dickinson, 20; Chasyn Winchel & Wyatt Cooper, 19; Carter Falan, 16; Tucker Crystal, 13; Bllake Falan & Cade Troupe each scored 9, David DeWeese and Bryson Streeter each scored 7, Logan Troupe, 6; Daniel Vaughn, Remington DeWeese, and William Dickinson, 5; Matthew Vaughn & Landen Totten, 4; Hudson Crystal, Gavyn Byxbe & Dakota Winchel scored 2 each. We finished the day 37-35 and 7th in pins with 17 in 25:51.

According to Coach Goike, “Its good to see the kids peaking just in time for Regionals this week! They are really pushing themselves in practice and are not showing any signs of burn out. They are ready for the strong competition at Caledonia!”

Wyatt Cooper came in 25th over all and first on the team with 3 pins in 4:11. David DeWeese was 51st over all and 2nd on the team with 2 in :40. He also had the 4th fastest pin of the day in  :13! Awesome job, David! Wyatt Dickinson tied for 12th in most single match points with 18. Deegan Pike had the most match points for the day and tied for 40th over all with 31. David DeWeese had the top fastest pins for the team with :13 and :27, William Dickinson was 3rd with :34, Landen Totten was 4th with :40 and Wyatt Cooper was 5th with :41.

In the 2008-2012 Girls division, 40lb class Sierra Streeter placed 2nd after 2 matches.

In the 2002-2004 Girls division, 122lb class Ashly Erxleben placed 1st after 2 matches.

In the 2010-2012 All division, 52lb class Tucker Crystal placed 4th after 4 matches. In the 58lb class Chasyn Winchel placed 2nd after 4 matches.

In the 2008-2009 Open division, 64lb class Blake Falan placed 3rd after 3 matches. In the 72lb class Jonathan Libera placed 3rd after 2 matches. In the Novice division, 52lb class Caden Troupe placed 4th after 3 matches. In the 58lb class Deegan Pike placed 3rd after 4 matches.

In the 2006-2007 Open division, 100lb class Matthew Vaughn placed 2nd after 2 matches. In the 150lb class Wyatt Cooper placed 2nd after 4 matches. In the Novice division, 130lb class David DeWeese placed 1st after 2 matches.

In the 2004-2005 Open division, 105lb class Carter Falan placed 1st after 3 matches.

In the 2002-2003 Open division, 195lb class Landen Totten placed 1st after 2 matches.

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DNR seeks comment on inland trout management plan

The public is welcome to comment on the DNR’s draft Inland Trout Management Plan, designed to protect species like Michigan’s state fish, the brook trout.

The public is welcome to comment on the DNR’s draft Inland Trout Management Plan, designed to protect species like Michigan’s state fish, the brook trout.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has released its draft inland trout management plan and is seeking public comment on it. The plan, available online at michigan.gov/fishing under Angler Alerts, focuses on the ecology and management of populations of inland trout in rivers and inland lakes of Michigan.

The intent of the inland trout management plan is to provide an overview of inland trout habitats in Michigan, the biology and ecology of inland trout populations, and management activities directed toward inland trout and their habitats. This information provides a basis for understanding the role of inland trout in current and future management of fisheries in Michigan’s inland lakes and streams.

This report does not cover species such as Chinook or coho salmon and migratory rainbow trout (steelhead), which reside in the Great Lakes and migrate inland on a seasonal basis. It does cover inland trout that primarily reside in streams and inland lakes throughout their lives.

Sections of the report focus on distribution of trout waters in the state, origin of inland trout fisheries, biology of inland trout in streams and lakes, fishing regulations, status of fisheries and other topics.

Public comments may be submitted via email to DNR-FISH-ManagementPlans@michigan.gov by Friday, April 14. Written public comments also will be accepted at Marquette Fisheries Research Station, attention Troy Zorn, 484 Cherry Creek Road, Marquette, MI 49855.

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Make life better

 

Ranger Steve

Ranger Steve

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

Thanking Mr. Hayes was important for both of us. He taught middle school social studies to help me develop social responsibility and understanding for my role in living a healthy productive life for myself. Several years ago, I wanted to thank him. When I looked at the city’s long list of Hayes in the phone directory, I had no idea which one would be his phone number.

I called my high school biology teacher to ask if he happened to know Mr. Hayes so I could call to thank him for his role in my life. Serendipitously, he said, “Yes. Do you want to talk to him now? He is here visiting.” Though it had been 40 years since we heard each other’s voices, I recognized his immediately. I doubt he recognized mine or clearly remembered me.

We had a nice conversation and I mentioned a social studies assignment that was helpful. We were told to interview someone in a profession we might want to pursue. I interviewed a conservation officer. After the conversation, I imagine Mr. Hayes probably asked Fred Case to remind him about who I was. Hopefully, my good points were shared. Mr. Hayes did not let on that he did not recall me, but I did not think he could picture me in his classroom. Mr. Case died about a decade ago. Perhaps Mr. Hayes did also.

What we do during our lives can have important impacts on those around us while it improves our own lives. Think about your neighbors and their role in your life. Bees and other insects are good neighbors. They make it possible for us to eat many choice foods. They bring birds to our yards. We cannot call to thank them for their role in our lives but we can do better.

We can provide yards as safe havens full of selected native genotype plants. Buying plants native to the region instead of cultivars is a first major step. Ask landscape nurseries if they sell native genotype plants. If they do not, request they start by having a small section designated for such plants. Hopefully they will and the section will grow larger each year if buyers like you select plants that support native pollinators and wildlife.

Many cultivars sold have had important qualities needed for animal nature niches bred out of them by accident while other characters were selected. Some characteristics like larger flowers or double petals are nice but the breeding process often results in some valuable wildlife characteristics being bred out of them. Take joy in plant characteristics of native stock that evolved with insects, birds, and mammals instead of seeking excess of one character.

Google River City Wild Ones to view their web site and learn more about sources for native plants. Providing yards that support native species is one way to thank species we cannot directly converse with. Avoid use of pesticides and herbicides in yards and gardens. It will provide a richer and safer habitat for you to enjoy and supports survival of native species.

Our thank you is well received by native plants that grow and support native animals. Spring life is well underway in the wild natural areas of the yard. On 9 March, high wind gusts broke a silver maple branch that revealed its flowers had already shed pollen from anthers. A willow shrub had fuzzy pussy willow buds. Both hazelnut and speckled alder catkins had elongated but flowers were not yet open. Skunk Cabbage spathes with spadix flowers were present on the floodplain muck. On the 10th, an Eastern Screech Owl spent the morning peering at us from the nest box we provided. Eastern Bluebirds were inspecting nest boxes.

Thank a person important for improving your life. Allow plants and animals to thank you for providing them good living conditions in your yard. They will thank you by being present for you see and enjoy.

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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Tuesday Talks: Trout in Cedar Creek

OUT-Tuesday-Talk-Brook-TroutThe Rogue River Watershed Partners present:

Tuesday Talks: Trout in Cedar Creek

Learn about the fascinating results of GVSU student Justin Wegner’s brook trout movement study on Cedar Creek. He will be at Cedar Springs Brewing Company on March 28, 6-7 p.m. The talk is free and open to the public.

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March Reading Madness

Senator Peter MacGregor read to young students.

Senator Peter MacGregor read to young students.

Senator Peter MacGregor stopped by Creative Technologies Academy for a visit the morning of March 13 and read to the kindergarten, first, and second grade students. He read Bobby Bramble Loses His Brain by Dave Keane. Senator MacGregor discussed the difference between fiction and nonfiction books with the young students and encouraged them to read with their peers, siblings, and adults. He made sure to allow time to answer the many questions the students had, such as: How did you get elected? Who’s your boss? What do you like to read? What’s your favorite color?

Players from the Ferris State University Girls Basketball team take time to pose with third grade student, Aiden Dood, after reading with his class.

Players from the Ferris State University Girls Basketball team take time to pose with third grade student, Aiden Dood, after reading with his class.

Ferris State University’s women’s basketball Coach, Kendra Faustin, and Assistant Coach, Sharonda Hurd, brought a few of their players to the CTA elementary in order to spend time reading with students during March is Reading Month. The coaches and players also visited with the middle and high school students in an assembly to share powerful lessons about the importance of personal responsibility and accountability in everyday life.

CTA’s middle school students were visited by the Grace Bible College Tigers basketball team. The students watched a video, produced by MAPSA and Buddy Morehouse, about the story of Curtis Jones. Jones was widely considered the greatest basketball talent ever to come out of the city of Detroit, but his dreams died and his life spiraled downward because he couldn’t read and write. After viewing the video, team members led small group discussions with CTA students about lessons to be learned from Curtis Jones, specifically, about the importance of getting the best education possible.

Players from the Ferris State University Girls Basketball team pose with several middle school students.

Players from the Ferris State University Girls Basketball team pose with several middle school students.

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