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Gas prices rise

Average retail gasoline prices in Grand Rapids have risen 13.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.71/g Monday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 246 gas outlets in Grand Rapids. This compares with the national average that has increased 1.8 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.65/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Grand Rapids during the past week, prices Sunday were 63.2 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 20.9 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 30.4 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 48.1 cents per gallon higher than one year ago. According to GasBuddy historical data, gasoline prices on September 11 in Grand Rapids have ranged widely over the last five years: $2.08/g in 2016, $2.29/g in 2015, $3.53/g in 2014, $3.55/g in 2013 and $4.00/g in 2012.

Areas near Grand Rapids and their current gas price climate: Kalamazoo- $2.68/g, up 11.5 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.57/g. Lansing- $2.70/g, up 11.4 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.59/g. South Bend- $2.60/g, up 10.5 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.50/g.

Here in Cedar Springs, it was $2.67 at press time Wednesday.

“Harvey may be long gone, but his wrath continued to drive gasoline prices up in much of the country in the last week. However, the effects are finally starting to weaken as refineries return to production and fuel begins to flow once again from many Houston refineries,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “The national average gasoline price appears to have peaked last week Thursday at $2.67 per gallon and is beginning to slowly decline for the time being. Once again, motorists shouldn’t expect to see any impact from Irma on gasoline prices due to the path being a considerable distance from sensitive areas of the energy sector. With summer driving season now over, motorists stand to benefit from falling demand, which will help refineries bring gasoline inventories back to normal and thus gas prices, but as many Americans are now acutely aware, the impact on gas prices can outlive a storm, especially one like Harvey.”  For LIVE fuel price averages, visit http://FuelInsights.GasBuddy.com.

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MDOT construction updates

By Judy Reed

There are several road construction updates from the Michigan Department of Transportation that drivers will want to be aware of.

Paving on 17 Mile

Sept. 15-17: MDOT will be paving the interchange area on 17 Mile Road (M-46) between Edgerton Ave. and White Creek Ave. starting Friday, Sept. 15 at 7 a.m. to Sunday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. Both directions of 17 Mile Rd. will be maintained in a single lane with flag control for paving.

Ramp closure

Sept. 15-16: The off ramp from southbound US-131 to 17 Mile Road will close for road work 6 a.m. this Friday, Sept. 15, through 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16.

Resurfacing of US-131 from Sand Lake to Pierson

Sept. 11-October 6: The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will invest $1 million to resurface 4.2 miles of US-131 from the Kent/Montcalm county line (22 Mile Road) to Cannonsville Road.

At least one lane will remain open in each direction at all times. Lane closures will not be in effect for northbound US-131 on Fridays, no lane closures on Saturdays for both bounds, and no lane closures will be in effect on Sundays for southbound US-131.

This project will improve and maintain a smooth driving surface as well as extend the service life of the roadway.

The project started on Monday, Sept. 11, and is expected to run through Friday, October 6.

10 Mile reconstruction project

Sept. 11-Oct. 31: This project includes 0.62 miles of hot mix asphalt cold milling and resurfacing and concrete divider removal on 10 Mile Road from the US-131 northbound ramps to east of Belmont Avenue, from east of Belmont Avenue to east of Meijer Drive and from Childsdale Avenue to Rogue River Bridge. A signal will also be removed from 10 Mile Road at Belmont Avenue.

Spot curb, gutter removal and replacement, and sidewalk ramp upgrades started Monday, September 11 on 10 Mile Road between US 131 and Thrifty Drive and between Childsdale Avenue and the Rogue River Bridge.

Cold-milling and HMA paving is scheduled for the week of September 18.

All work will be completed with lane closures, while maintaining two-way traffic (minimum of one lane in each direction) at all times.

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Beekeeping ordinance sent back to Planning Commission


By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs City Council decided last Thursday evening to send the new beekeeping ordinance back to the City Planning Commission for more research and discussion, at the suggestion of City Manager Mike Womack. The Planning Commission had previously approved the new ordinance by a 5-4 vote.

The decision was made after the first reading of the new ordinance at the City Council meeting Thursday, September 7.

“The Planning Commission discussion went off track (in my opinion) and made a 5-4 recommendation to City Council to approve with some additional language. After discussing the matter with each individual PC member it sounded like a majority didn’t feel as though they had sufficient time to research and discuss the matter,” explained Womack. “So, I gave the City Council the recommendation of the PC but also made the suggestion to send it back to the PC for further research and discussion based upon the discussions that I had with PC members. This is obviously a complicated issue and I want the City to get it right and I don’t see any reason to rush to a decision.”

Womack said he received an email from one of the PC members asking for specific information regarding the resident who asked to be allowed to keep bees, Joe Frank. While he felt they were good questions if reviewing an applicant, the ordinance is a policy issue. So Womack sent an email to Planning Commission members explaining some of the things they should be thinking about regarding the beekeeping ordinance. “The Bee-Keeping Ordinance was brought to the PC’s review for policy reasons.  The question that PC members should be asking themselves is whether the PC is a body capable of reviewing an application to keep bees, whether the proposed ordinance gives the PC enough guidance with which to make future decisions regarding an individual being able to keep bees, whether there are any spelling mistakes, errors or omissions that you think the ordinance should have but that I missed and whether you have any problems with individual aspects of the ordinance, a good example would be whether you think 2 hives is too many on any property under 8,XXX square foot and instead you think that it should be only 1 hive etc. When the City makes policy/ordinances we absolutely should not be thinking about how it will affect any single individual but rather how it will affect everybody. A typical lot in the City is 66X132=8,712 square feet, If the PC wanted to limit bee-keeping it could recommend that the minimum lot size should be 9,000 square feet before being allowed to keep any bees. We also have parcels as small as 5,000 square feet (or smaller) in the City, does the PC want to say that there is a minimum size for the lot prior to allowing bees?”

City resident Joe Frank asked the city to consider allowing beekeeping in the city earlier this summer. He has kept honeybees as a hobby for several years. He had several hives on property he owned in Hesperia, and when he decided to sell the property, he re-homed all of the hives, except one, with other beekeepers. He had previously asked a city official if he could keep a hive on his property here, and was told he could. He moved the hive to his property, but was later told that he couldn’t have it under the current ordinance. That ordinance, Sec. 8-1 Domestic Animals and Fowls reads: “No person shall keep or house any animal or domestic fowl within the city, except dogs, cats, canaries or animals commonly classified as pets which are customarily kept or housed inside dwellings as household pets, or permit any animal or fowl to enter business places where food is sold for human consumption, except for leader, guide, hearing and service dogs as required by MCL 750.502c.”

“Bees are animals and no animals shall be kept except for the ones listed or are commonly classified as pets, which bees are not,” explained City Manager Mike Womack.

Frank said he was happy with the draft ordinance the council was considering.

“The State of Michigan has guidelines for beekeeping and the proposal is in line with the State of Michigan Agriculture guidelines, which I think is a good way to go,” he said.

A few of the other cities that allow bees in West Michigan include Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Holland.


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AccuWeather says cost of Harvey, Irma to be $290 billion

It has been a destructive and costly hurricane season, following the historic impacts from Hurricane Harvey and now Hurricane Irma.

This is the first time in the history of record keeping that two Category 4 or higher hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, have struck the U.S. mainland in the same year.

“That is extraordinary by itself,” Dr. Joel N. Myers, AccuWeather founder, president and chairman, said Monday.

“And also unprecedented is that this particular storm, Irma, has sustained intensity for the longest period of time of any hurricane or typhoon in any ocean of the world since the satellite era began,” Myers said.

Irma has great staying power, and it is a unique storm. It had a brush with several islands in the Caribbean and ran on land in Cuba. It then hugged the Florida coast as a major hurricane.

“The storm is not only intense, it is also very large. The area affected by the strong winds along the west coast near the center of the storm will barrel along and hug the coast closely heading due north, and will bring winds gusts of well over 100 mph and conceivably over 125 mph,” Myers predicted earlier this week.

These types of storms cause extremely hazardous conditions, including flying objects, fallen trees, downed power lines, which carry the potential for electrocution, broken window glass on homes and cars and damage to roofs and other structures. Storm surge was another major threat.

Hurricane Irma caused damage from wind, flooding from heavy rain and damage from the sea in different places in Florida.

While the storm weakened as it pushed through the state, heavy rainfall over North and Central Florida from Hurricane Irma swelled 23 rivers and creeks to beyond flood stage Wednesday, threatening homes along their banks and potentially forcing a massive re-routing of drivers along I-75, according to the Miami Herald.

“We believe the damage estimate from Irma to be about $100 billion, among the costliest hurricanes of all time. This amounts to 0.5 of a percentage point of the GDP of $19 trillion,” Myers said.

“We estimated that Hurricane Harvey is to be the costliest weather disaster in U.S. history at $190 billion or one full percentage point of the GDP. Together, AccuWeather predicts these two disasters amount to 1.5 of a percentage point of the GDP, which will about equal and therefore counter the natural growth of the economy for the period of mid-August through the end of the fourth quarter,” Myers added.

  • Economic costs are incurred by, but not limited to, the following:
  • Disruptions to businesses
  • Increased unemployment rates for weeks, and possibly months in some places
  • Damage to transportation, infrastructure
  • Crop loss, including cotton crop and 25 percent of orange crop, which will impact the cost of consumables for all Americans
  • Increased gasoline, heating oil and jet fuel prices impacting all Americans
  • Damage to homes, cars, furniture, antiques, jewelry and other valuables
  • Loss of valuable papers, cherished belongings such as photos

“Some of the losses will be covered by insurance, some will not, so the losses will be felt in a variety of ways by millions of people. Many millions of people have already been evacuated, so their lives have already been affected and they have incurred costs of one sort or another,” Myers said.

“AccuWeather takes our responsibility of providing the most accurate forecasts and warnings and the impact on people and business very seriously. This is a solemn responsibility that we have and our people are working extremely hard and with great intensity to make sure that all the people we reach can depend on our info for the utmost in reliability so they can make the right decisions during these stressful times.”

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Man loses arm in farming accident


A West Olive man called Kent County 911 dispatch about 4:30 p.m. Thursday, September 7, to report his arm had been amputated.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the 56-year-old man was involved in a farming accident at 8095 Peach Ridge, in Alpine Township, which is south of 10 Mile Rd.

Police said the operates a hog farm on the property, and it appears that he was working near the PTO shaft of a manure spreader when his clothing became entangled and his arm was wrapped up in the shaft. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The man’s name has not yet been released.

The Kent County Sheriff Department was assisted at the scene by an MSP Trooper, Alpine Fire, and Rockford Ambulance.

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Michigan National Guard Soldiers depart in support of Irma response

More than 400 Soldiers departed Michigan hometowns and National Guard armories across the state, on Monday, Sep. 11, in preparation to go to Florida to support the Florida National Guard with relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

One CH-47 Chinook helicopter, with eight air and ground crew personnel, departed from Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mt. Clemens, Mich. The crew is likely to provide aerial support for personnel and logistical movement. They will stage in North Carolina, then move to Cecil Field, Jacksonville, Fla., once the weather allows.

Approximately 425 Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment left four Michigan National Guard armories for Camp Grayling, Mich., the first leg of their trip, where they consolidated and packed equipment, includes more than 120 vehicles and trucks.

The armories included:

*Grand Valley Armory:  HHC, Co B, and Co I, 3rd Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment

1200 44th St SW, Wyoming, MI

*Company A, 3rd Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment, 4400 East 8 Mile Road, Detroit, MI

*Company C, 3rd Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment 700 W Prairie Ronde St, Dowagiac, MI

*Company D, 3rd Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment, 415 Haynes St, Cadillac, MI

The 3-126 Infantry is expected to deploy to the west side of southern Florida where they are likely to provide humanitarian assistance and security. The battalion departed Grayling and headed for Florida on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

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What are you being called to do?

Pastor Inge Whittemore

East Nelson United Methodist Church

9024 18 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs


Hello and happy fall! Well, truth be told, I am sad that summer is drawing to an end because I love the long days and warm evenings. Yet September brings us to many new activities and our ambitions are quickened and we get back into our routines and there is actually some joy in that. I believe many parents of young children especially appreciate it.

The fall brings about a renewed focus on the activities of the church since everyone is returning from summer vacations and the routine sets in. Kid ministries start up, including the KidzClub here at East Nelson Church on Thursday evenings. Mission trip planning gets into full gear. High school youth begin meeting. It’s a lot of fun to watch the joy that comes from community activities.

September is a great time for each of us to recommit once again to what the Spirit might be calling us to do. Might a Bible study group be calling to you? How about a recommitment to daily devotions? Maybe there’s a new sense of calling to attend regular worship? Are you feeling called to begin some new ministry?

We read that Jesus told his disciples that discipleship requires commitment and then we take that and begin to worry that a commitment might be a cross that we could not possibly bear. But, if we try to do this on our own and try to figure out ways to do this all by ourselves, we can get all tangled up! Jesus told his disciples “for mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God, all things are possible.” Let’s open ourselves to the working of the Holy Spirit and answer the call on our lives.

The terrific news is that the Holy Spirit is at work all the time. The work of the Holy Spirit is in leading and guiding us, counseling and inspiring us. When we feel called yet worry that we can’t do it or we simply don’t have the time, just listen to the words of Jesus and understand that we are not in this all by ourselves. The Holy Spirit will give us the strength to work together and we will be given the ability to support each other. We will be able to do the work of our church communities.

So, should you think you can’t, open yourself to the workings of the Holy Spirit and you will be filled by the amazing action of God in your life.

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Maxine Ellen Knox age 89 of Belmont, our beloved mother, grandmother and great grandmother passed away Saturday, September 9, 2017 at Sanctuary of St. Mary’s. She was born January 28, 1928 in Ensley Twp. to Hans and Hilda (Larson) Hanson. She attended Howard City High School and graduated in 1947. She enjoyed singing, dancing, cooking for all occasions, watching sunsets, and tending flowers in her garden. She worked at the GM Alpine plant for 32 ½ years. After retiring she moved to Belmont, MI where she enjoyed her family and wonderful friends including her best friend and companion, Ralph Bosgraff. She loved bringing joy to others and her kindness and love was felt by whomever she met.  She is survived by her son, Stephen and Denise Knox; daughter-in-law, Kay Knox; grandchildren, Kyle (Katie) Knox, Kristine (Ehren) Dollberg, Craig Knox and Christa Knox and many great grandchildren; sister, Shirley (Jack) Hanes; brother-in-law, Loren Frey; several nieces, nephews, cousins and precious friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gerald; her baby girl; son, Stan Knox; grandson, Cory Knox; sisters, Pauline (Norman) Kranz, Violet Frey, Lorraine (Fay) Gordon. The service was held on Wednesday, September 13 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastor Paul Frey, officiating. Interment North Ensley Cemetery. The family would like to thank the Sanctuary of Saint Mary’s for the compassionate care Maxine received in her final days. Memorial contributions may be made to South Ensley Methodist Church or charity of one’s choice. Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs.

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passed away August 29, 2017 surrounded by his children. Bob was an active outdoorsman who loved hiking, fishing, camping, panning for gold, hunting, sunsets, the Great Lakes, and story telling. He will be remembered for his engaging debates, his ability to fix anything and his love of history. Bob spent winters in Golden Valley, Arizona followed by summers in Michigan with family. He is survived by his children Michelle (Rick) Wernet, Michael Havens, Mitchell (Carolyn) Havens; special friend Valerie Adams; grandchildren Marc, Kurt (Caitlin), Trevor and Ali Wernet, Cody Havens; great-grandchildren William and Kensley; and brother-in-law Dave DeBruyn. Bob was preceded in death by his wife Charlotte, friend Gloria Mulholland and sister Nancy (Dave) DeBruyn. A celebration of life was held Friday, September 15, 2017 at Caledonia Lakeside Park pavilion, 370 N. Lake St. SE, Caledonia, MI 49316. The family received visitors from 6-7pm followed by a memorial at 7pm. The family wishes to express their gratitude for the nurses and doctors involved in his care this summer, especially his nurse Anna. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation in Bob’s name to the American Cancer Society.

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Thank you

Thank the Lord for sending his angels of protection to watch over me when I was in a car accident on White Creek Avenue last Wednesday night, September, 6th.  It was a very scary thing to have someone’s headlights coming at me in my lane and swerving off the road to avoid hitting the oncoming car head on. I know I ended up in the ditch and totaled my car but it could have been a lot worse if I had hit the car head on. Too bad the driver of the other car never stopped, I don’t even know if they even were aware of what happened.

Thank you to the kind couple that stopped to help me after my accident. You were very kind and helpful and I appreciate it very much. Thank you to Rockford Ambulance for getting me to Spectrum Butterworth where I got checked over and nothing was broken, just bruised pretty good. I’m doing much better now.  Thank you to my husband, Michael Sanderson for coming to my aid so quickly and being by my side at the hospital. Thank you to all the doctors and nurses that helped take care of me.

With many thanks, 

Belinda Sanderson

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