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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.

Summer Reading Teen Crew Orientation

May 1: Enthusiastic and energetic teen volunteers are wanted to help with Summer Reading at KDL. Fun times are guaranteed, with the added benefit of service experience! Registration is required via a paper application. Applications available after May 1st. Visit your local Kent District Library branch for applications deadline and more details. For teens grades 6-12. #17

TOPS weight loss support group

May 3: Take off pounds sensibly (TOPS), a non-profit weight loss support group for men and women, meets every Tuesday at the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Sand Lake. Your first visit is free so come check out what TOPS can do to help you reach your weigh loss goals! Weigh-ins 8:15-9am, meeting starts at 9:15am. In case of inclement weather, meetings are cancelled if Tri-County or Cedar Springs schools are closed. Call Barb at 696-8049 for more information. #17

God’s Kitchen in Cedar Springs

May 3,10,17,24,31: Join us for dinner every Tuesday. God’s Kitchen – Cedar Springs welcomes families from Northern Kent County and the surrounding area to a Tuesday Evening Meal. No charge – no registration required!  Served from 5:30 – 6:30 pm at the St. John Paul II Parish, 3110 – 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs. For more information, call the Church office at 616-696-3904. #17

Kentucky Derby Party

May 7: 2nd Chance School invites you to join us at the Kentucky Derby Party Fundraiser on Saturday, May 7th at the Sparta Moose Lodge, 11510 N. Division, Sparta MI 49345, from 4 pm to 12 midnight. Watch the Kentucky Derby, pick a winner, Chinese Auction and other games. Gordon Thayer and his band providing music and entertainment from 8 pm to midnight. Lots of fun to be had to benefit 2nd Chance. #17

Red Flannel Queen Scholarship 

information meetings

May 10 & 17: Attention all young ladies living in the Cedar Springs School district, or attending school within the CS School District, who will be in the 11th grade in the 2016-2017 school year, with a 3.0 or greater GPA.  There will be after-school information meetings for anyone interested in being a part of the 2016 Red Flannel Queen Scholarship Pageant – Cedar Springs High School: Tuesday, May 10 at 2:40 pm in the auditorium. CTA: Tuesday, May 17 at 2:50 in the cafeteria. For more information, or if you can not make one of these meetings, contact pageant director Kaleigh Rosenberger at redflannelpageant@gmail.com. #16,17b

Annual Morel 

Mushroom Hunt

May 14: Join a Seasoned Mushroom Hunter and let us see how many of these tasty morel mushrooms we can find! We will be going off trails – this is why a guide is best! Guided Morel Hunting ONLY on HCNC property. Saturday, May 14th from 12 – 4 pm. Morel Presentations at Noon and 2 pm. Guided hunts depart promptly at 12:30 and 2:30 pm only. $5/person, $15/family, Members $3. Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16160 Red Pine Dr., Kent City. 616-675-3158. #17

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Cedar Springs to hold City manager interviews

Cedar-Springs-new-logoThe Cedar Springs City Council will be holding interviews on Monday, May 9, to select a candidate to replace former City Manager Thad Taylor. These interviews are open to the public and will be held at Cedar Springs City Hall.

They will interview five candidates starting at 9 a.m., with their last interview scheduled for 3:30 p.m. After the last interview, they will break for dinner, then come back and narrow it down to their top candidate that evening.

The following individuals were chosen from a pool of 45 candidates:

9:00 a.m. Steven Buter, Budget & Management Analyst for the City of Greensboro, NC

10:30 a.m. Andrew Potter, Downtown Development Authority Executive Director/Main Street Manager, Holly MI

12:30 p.m. Kurt Perron, Veterans Service Community Coordinator, Altatum Institute, Ann Arbor, MI, self-employed contract investigator for MSM Security Services LLC, San Antonio, TX and former Village Manager of Baraga, MI

2:00 p.m. Michael Burns, Assistant City Manager, Fenton, MI

3:30 p.m. Richard Marsh, Jr., former City Manager, Inkster, MI

The Michigan Municipal League has been conducting the City Manager search. Clerk Linda Christensen has been doing double duty as both the City Clerk and City Manager since Taylor left last November for a job in Manistee.

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FOOD SAFETY ALERT: Organic frozen vegetables recalled

True Goodness by Meijer organic green peas and white supersweet corn are being recalled.

True Goodness by Meijer organic green peas and white supersweet corn are being recalled.

Organic frozen peas and organic white supersweet corn sold through various retail outlets, including Meijer, Costco and Schwan’s, are being recalled.

CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington is voluntarily recalling 15 frozen vegetable items that have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Organic by Nature white supersweet corn and peas sold at Costco are being recalled.

Organic by Nature white supersweet corn and peas sold at Costco are being recalled.

No illnesses have been reported to date, but the company is recalling the products as a precaution. The Listeria was discovered through routine testing by state health officials in Ohio. Listeria monocytogenes was found to be present in one lot of Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) organic petite green peas and one lot of IQF organic white sweet cut corn.

Recalled items were sold in plastic bags and are marked with Use By Dates located on the back of the package. Listed below are details regarding the recalled items:

True Goodness by Meijer 10 oz organic petite green peas and 10 oz organic white sweet corn.

Organic by Nature 4 and 5 lb packages of organic green peas, organic vegetable medley with shelled edamame, and organic white superweet corn.

Organic by Nature – Canada 2.5 kg organic green peas.

Schwan’s 16 oz organic supersweet yellow and white cut corn.

Wellsley Farms Organic 4 lb packages of organic mixed vegetables and organic green peas.

The recalled frozen vegetables were distributed to retailers and distribution centers between September 13, 2015 and March 16 in the following states, and may be redistributed in other states nationwide: AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NV, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, and in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan of Canada.

Consumers are urged not to consume these products. Consumers who purchased these products may take them back to the store where they purchased them for a refund or simply discard them. Consumers seeking information may call 844.551.5595 Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Pacific Standard Time.

To check out specific UPC codes recalled and use by dates, visit http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/default.htm.

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Attorney general speaks to Cedar Springs students

 

Michigan State Attorney General Bill Schuette with Cedar Springs students.

Cedar Springs students team with Schuette, Michigan State Police to tackle bullying, violence

By Judy Reed

Students walk the hallways at school every day carrying weights that others know nothing about. Some are victims of physical abuse, either at home or at school; some are being bullied by their peers; some are victims of sexting or date rape; and others feel like failures and are contemplating suicide or violence.

Cedar Springs High School and Middle School students kicked off a program last Thursday, April 14, that gives students a way to report and stop bullying and violence.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette was on hand, along with the Michigan State Police and local law enforcement, to kick off the OK2SAY program, a student safety initiative that enables students to confidentially report criminal activities or potential harm directed at students, school employees, and schools. Leaders from numerous community groups were also on hand for the presentation.

Since its inception in 2014, students have submitted more than 3,700 tips across the State of Michigan. Bullying, cyber bullying, self-harm, and suicide are the categories that receive the most tips. Other categories that receive tips include: drug use, weapon possession, and assault.

Based on research from the U.S. Secret Service, in 81 percent of violent incidents in U.S. schools, someone other than the attacker had knowledge of the attacker’s plan but failed to report it.

“OK2SAY is about communication, early intervention, and prevention,” said Michigan State Police Inspector Matt Bolger. “When students make the courageous decision to break the code of silence and speak out against harmful behavior, they equip authorities with the information needed to respond to threats and avert tragedy. That’s a good thing for Michigan schools, communities, and families.”

The goal of OK2SAY is to stop harmful behavior before it occurs by encouraging students (or adults) to report threatening behavior to caring adult authorities who can help. They can confidentially submit tips anytime by using the OK2SAY mobile app, online, email, texting, or by calling trained program technicians. Upon receipt of a tip, specially trained OK2SAY technicians address the immediate need and forward the information to the appropriate responding law enforcement agency or organization. Tips go to schools, local law enforcement agencies, community mental health agencies or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Schuette told the students and The Post that it is about changing the culture from “don’t be a snitch” to “it’s ok to communicate to save a life.”

“OK2SAY has made a difference. We are stopping violence in its tracks and making school a safer place for our kids,” said Schuette. “Credit for the program’s success is directly attributable to the thousands of student ‘heroes in the hallway’ who stepped up and took ownership of their roles in keeping their schools and classmates safe.”

“The thing that struck me about the program, is that it has saved lives,” Schuette told the Post. “It’s not perfect. But what we have done is reached out to say, here is an opportunity to help people stop bullying, to stop a weapon being brought to school. It’s tech friendly, confidential. It can be done without fear of intimidation,” he explained.

Students have several ways they can communicate a tip to authorities. They can download and use the mobile app for either iPhone or android; they can call 1-8-555-OK2SAY, 1-855-565-2729; Text: 652729 (OK2SAY); they can email ok2say@mi.gov; or visit the Web: www.ok2say.com fill out an online form.

Attorney General Schuette honored Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Jo Spry, with a special license plate in a frame that reads “OK2SAY.”

Attorney General Schuette honored Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Jo Spry, with a special license plate in a frame that reads “OK2SAY.” Photo by J. Reed.

The state program, which started in fall 2014, just happened to be inspired by our current Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Jo Spry, before she came to Cedar Springs. Spry, who grew up in Greenville, was a principal at a school in Colorado, during the years after the attack at Columbine. Colorado adopted a program called “Safe to Tell,” and Spry said they adopted it at her high school in the Woodland Park District. “I knew the impact it had. It was a way for students to have that voice. They are not always comfortable coming forward,” she explained.

When Spry came home to Michigan, and settled in Cadillac, she began to work with legislators, the attorney general’s office, and community organizations to adopt a similar program here in Michigan. “I didn’t run across anyone who didn’t want it,” she said.

Schuette honored Spry during the program with a special license plate in a frame that reads “OK2SAY.” Spry did not know that was going to happen.

“It’s truly a passion of mine to make sure students in all of our schools are safe,” said Spry. “OK2SAY is a wonderful program, and I will be eternally grateful to the legislators, community groups and the attorney general that stepped up to see it through.”

Schuette explained that he does not often get to go to the kickoff of the programs. “We have a team of 35 of us that do this, and I go when I can,” he said. He seemed visibly pleased with the turnout of the crowd and the way that the program was embraced. “I think from the moment I walked in, and saw everyone, it was powerful and uplifting. It’s really a powerful tool. The more we can communicate this and get it out there, the better it will be.”

“School should be a safe and welcoming place for all students,” said Dr. Laura VanDuyn, Superintendent. “Cedar Springs Schools are committed to a bully-free environment. We are grateful that the Attorney General choose to visit our school to address our students and encourage them to step up and do the right thing.”

Attorney General Schuette poses with the new peer listening club. Photo by J. Reed.

Attorney General Schuette poses with the new peer listening club. Photo by J. Reed.

OK2SAY is not the only program being implemented to help students. The anti-bullying program in use at the elementary level, “Be Nice” is being moved up to secondary level, and a new peer listening club has been formed. The group was formed after senior Jessica Durrell heard about the program at a youth group she attended. She brought it back to her Rotary Interact Leadership group (another new program at the high school this year) and the peer listening group spun off into it’s own group. It is made up of nine members—six girls and three boys—who can listen to other students as needed during the day. “They will listen to peers who need to vent, talk about stressors, academics, etc.,” explained Dr. VanDuyn. “They are there to listen, not give advice.” Counselor volunteers have trained all the students.

For more information on OK2SAY, visit www.ok2say.com.

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CTA students found what’s bugging us in Cedar Creek

Nichol DeMull, of Trout Unlimited, instructs a CTA student on how to search for insects in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

Nichol DeMull, of Trout Unlimited, instructs a CTA student on how to search for insects in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Stream monitoring done by Creative Technologies students this week show that Cedar Creek has excellent water quality, according to Nichol DeMull, of Trout Unlimited.

CTA biology and conservation students and teachers Jim Fredenberg and Trisha Rose teamed up with Trout Unlimited this week to do stream monitoring in Cedar Creek, at Riggle Park. According to DeMull, Fredenberg contacted her about possibly participating in the activity, since the school is nearby. DeMull and Jamie Vaughn did a presentation to the students on Monday, April 18, and the students donned waders and gloves Tuesday, April 19, to collect bugs from Cedar Creek and identify them. Some students waded through the Creek to scoop up the bugs, other students helped empty the nets, and others sorted through them. They identified and counted them, and recorded what they saw on a data sheet put together by the Michigan Clean Water Corps.

Students identify and count bugs found in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

Students identify and count bugs found in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

According to DeMull, bugs are the evidence of stream quality. “The students found a large diversity of insects in Cedar Creek. In the cleanest rivers, lakes, and ponds you’ll find the greatest diversity of aquatic invertebrates,” she explained. “In polluted waters, only a few species of stream insects can survive. Some of the insects they found included caddisflies, mayflies, and stoneflies. These insects are sensitive to pollution and can only survive in clean water.”

She said the students identified the kinds of insects, whether they were rare or common in the stream, and used a formula to come up with the Stream Quality Score.

CTA students teamed up in several groups to monitor bugs in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

CTA students teamed up in several groups to monitor bugs in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

DeMull said that we can assume that the excellent stream quality extends to a certain degree in both directions from Riggle Park. “We have another monitoring location at the mouth of Cedar Creek that we have been monitoring for about 5 years now. It also has an excellent stream quality score based on the stream insects found there,” she said.

DeMull explained that there are other things outside of the water that can also affect stream quality. “Cedar Creek has the cold groundwater and stream habitats to support a diversity of insects, but the land use around the stream has a lot to do with the kinds of insects you will find at a site. As an example, if we sample in a location where all of the trees are cut down and there is no shade (warming up the water) or if there is a lot of erosion on the banks (covering up the gravel with sand) the stream quality score might be lower.”

She said that they will continue to work with Creative Technologies Academy to work on Cedar Creek. “Something that Trout Unlimited is certainly interested in is having community members become stewards of their home waters,” said DeMull.

Trout Unlimited is still looking for volunteers to help with another stream monitoring event coming up on Saturday, May 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rockford Community Cabin, 220 N. Monroe St. in Rockford. Volunteers will be assigned to a monitoring group with a team leader.  Each group will collect and identify insects from different stream sites in the Rogue River and Bear Creek watersheds. You don’t need any experience with stream insects to participate and all ages are welcome.

What will you need?  Please RSVP to Nichol De Mol at 231-557-6362 or ndemol@tu.org if you would like to attend.  Lunch will be provided for all volunteers. Please bring waders if you have them and dress for the weather conditions.

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Car crashes into business

A vehicle smashed into the Dollar Tree last Friday, April 15, causing damage inside and out. Thank you to the readers who shared photos with us.

A vehicle smashed into the Dollar Tree last Friday, April 15, causing damage inside and out. Thank you to the readers who shared photos with us.

The Dollar Tree, located on 17 Mile Road, behind Independent Bank, does not have a drive through window—but they almost did last Friday, April 15, when a customer hit the building with their vehicle.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, of the Kent County Sheriff Department’s Cedar Springs Unit, they received a call at approximately 10:40 a.m. of a private property crash at The Dollar Tree, 4117 17 Mile RD NE. The incident involved a vehicle that struck The Dollar Tree, causing damage to the building.

N-Dollar-store-crash2The investigating deputy interviewed a 52-year-old Cedar Springs woman who was driving the vehicle. The driver told deputies that she mistakenly pushed the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal when parking her vehicle in front of The Dollar Tree. The vehicle lurched forward and struck the building, causing a large hole where it struck.

The crash did not cause any injuries.

N-Dollar-store-crash3

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The Post travels to Arizona

N-Post-travels-Arizona-Corwin

Kathy and Katia Corwin spent spring break in Arizona with Dave and Diane Taghon visiting Aunt Karen Shafer in Sun Lakes. They all enjoyed the Grand Canyon, Sedona (pictured is Chapel of the Holy Cross), and Jerome. Dave, Diane, Kathy and Katia spent a day embracing the beauty of Superstition Mountain, Canyon Lake and the history of Goldfield Ghost Town. The last day was spent at Picacho Peak and relaxing in Sun Lakes. What a great trip—being blessed with family and God’s amazing creations.

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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Schuette reads to Beach 2nd graders

N-Attorney-General-Schuette-reads-Beach-2nd-Graders

Michigan State Attorney General Bill Schuette was in Cedar Springs on Thursday, April 14, for the kickoff of the OK2SAY program for the high school and middle school, and afterward he visited Amy Dood’s second-grade class at Beach Elementary to read “The Three Little Javelinas” to the students.

Thank you, Bill, for visiting and taking time out to read to kids!

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Eagles spotted at Pine Lake

N-Eagles-Pine-Lake-Bernie-Hale

Several readers have sent photos of eagles spotted around the area. This week we received another. Reader Bernie Hale spotted these eagles at Pine Lake on Tuesday, April 19. He also spotted one in Algoma Township last month. Thanks, Bernie!

Do you have nature or wildlife photos  you’d like to send us? You can email them to news@cedarspringspost.com. Include some information about the photo (what it is, where you took it, what’s happening) and your contact information. We will print as space allows.

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Restoring wetlands can put cash in your pocket

 

Do you own property that was historically wet but the natural drainage has been altered by the installation of ditches or agricultural drain tiles?

Do you own marginal agricultural land that is often difficult to plant in the spring or harvest in the fall because of wetness?

Are you interested in receiving technical assistance and cost-share money to improve wildlife habitat on your property by restoring wetlands?

You could be eligible to receive between $2,000-$5,000/acre for land that is restored to a wetland and protected with a conservation easement!

The Rogue River Watershed Partners and Trout Unlimited will be hosting a free wetland workshop for landowners at Rockford Brewing Company on Tuesday, April 26 from 6:00-7:30pm.  The workshop will highlight programs that assist private landowners to restore historic wetlands on their properties. Landowners that meet federal requirements may be eligible for wetland restoration payments that pay between $2,000-$5,000 per acre in Kent, Newaygo, and Ottawa Counties.

Hear from leading wetland experts, including representatives from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

If you have an interest in restoring wetland habitat on your property, this is the free workshop for you!

Why are wetlands necessary?

Wetlands provide a multitude of ecological, economic and social benefits. They provide habitat for fish, wildlife and a variety of plants. Wetlands are also important landscape features because they hold and slowly release floodwater and snow melt, and recharge groundwater.  This combined action of slowing and storing water reduces flooding downstream and shoreline erosion. Flooding and high flows in local rivers are becoming worse with increased development pressures, which add impervious surfaces, such as driveways and roads, which do not absorb rainfall.

Wetlands also act as filters to cleanse water of impurities, such as sediment and nutrients. Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus contribute a large amount of pollution to Michigan’s lakes, river, and streams. Excess nutrients contribute to increased algae growth, which reduces the amount of oxygen in the water. Wetlands can filter out as much as 91 percent of the phosphorus and 86 percent of the nitrogen. Sediment (soil particles) is the leading non-point source pollutant in Michigan’s lakes, rivers and streams. Sediments that are suspended in running water can also be removed by wetlands. As the running water enters a wetland, the water slows and the sediments settle out. Some wetlands can retain as much as 94 percent of this sediment.

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