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Spectrum Health United Hospital earns award

Receives Outstanding Patient Experience award for second year

Spectrum Health United Hospital announced this week that it has achieved the Healthgrades 2018 Outstanding Patient Experience Award™. This distinction recognizes United Hospital among the top 15 percent of hospitals nationwide for the second year in a row (2017-2018), according to Healthgrades, the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals.

Healthgrades evaluated 3,478 hospitals that submitted at least 100 patient experience surveys to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), covering admissions from April 2016 to March 2017 to identify hospital performance in this area. 

In order to be recognized by Healthgrades, hospitals must meet eligibility requirements for consideration, which includes clinical performance thresholds in addition to a minimum of 100 survey responses. Nationally, almost 3,000 hospitals met those requirements with 439 hospitals outperforming their peers—based on their patients’ responses—to achieve this distinction. Spectrum Health United Hospital’s performance places it among the top 15 percent in the nation.

“We are proud to be recognized for outstanding patient experience. This recognition emphasizes our continuing commitment to provide our community with the best possible care,” said Andrea Leslie, Spectrum Health United Hospital President. “I want to thank our colleagues and physicians, who deliver excellent care to our patients every day.”

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New cider taproom coming to town


According to an article published this week at MiBiz.com, Ada-based Sietsema Cider LLC,  will be opening a second tasting room at 70 N. Main Street, in the old Car Quest building, across the street from Cedar Springs Brewing Company.

They have reportedly leased 1,350 square feet of space in the building, and will apply for a microbrewery and distillery license so they can offer an array of alcoholic beverages. The tasting room will offer 12 taps to start, and seating for 25-35 people. They will also have a small kitchen for appetizers.

They hope to open before the start of summer after securing all permits. 

The article reported that David Ringler, owner of Cedar Springs Brewing Company, has encouraged owner Andy Sietsema to open the new business here.

The company started five years ago as a production-only alcoholic cider producer with the tasting room during the harvest season. No changes are planned for the current tasting room in Ada.

To read the entire article, go to https://mibiz.com/item/25819-sietsema-cider-to-open-satellite-tasting-room-in-cedar-springs.

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Manage your home office the right way


SCORE, Counselors to America’s Small Business – Free Business Counseling


Sooner or later, in a moment of frustration, any home-based entrepreneur will ask, How in the world did I get myself into this business? You did your research, found your niche, worked out the start-up money and household logistics. Self-employment was a dream that one day became a reality. Some days, though, it seems impossible to manage. You’re not alone. ·

Perhaps your number-one goal has been to survive your first year of entrepreneurship. Consider these tips for sustaining a mind-set of success:

  Don’t go it alone. A sense of isolation is a common hazard of being in a home-based environment. You may have fond memories of comparing notes with coworkers at your last job when a problem needed solving and miss that camaraderie.  Consider creating an advisory board of knowledgeable allies: trusted colleagues with some business acumen of their own who want to help you succeed.

• Reward yourself. You’re the boss. Now and then, give yourself the rest of the day off, or at least take extra time away from your office for a family project or an overdue lunch with a good friend. Let them know what you have to celebrate and a little about how you have succeeded so they can share your sense of accomplishment. Small victories add up.

• Stay focused on your primary goals for your business. Your long-term goals can affect the decisions you make in your first year. The reverse is also true. If necessary, revisit your business plan. This is the best way to make the tough decisions about how to spend your valuable time and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Not every task demands perfection.

• Lastly, keep your perspective. Every entrepreneur has bad days, difficult customers and unfortunate setbacks. Don’t let them snowball, sapping your energy and productivity and leaving you totally discouraged. Remembering why you’re in business for yourself will do wonders to restore your faith in tomorrow.

Contact SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” for guidance on how to make the most of your home-based business. SCORE is a nonprofit organization of volunteer business counselors who provide free and confidential business mentoring to small business owners. Call 1-800/634-0245  for the SCORE chapter nearest you, or find a counselor online at www.score.org. You may also call the Grand Rapids Chapter of SCORE at 1-616-771-0305 or find a counselor online at www.scoregrandrapids.org.

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City Hall update

From Pam Conley, Mayor Pro-tem, City of Cedar Springs

I wanted to take an opportunity to check in and let you know about some of the fabulous things that the City, under the direction of the City Council and in coordination with the City Manager, is working on. 

We are beginning a large sidewalk project; the construction of a pocket park near city hall; a landscaping project being implemented by the Garden Club; starting the first phase of building a new fire station; and implementing several water and sewer up grades. Through the generous support of the Community Building Development Team, we have seen the completion of a new library and we are now looking forward to the construction of an amphitheater in the reclaimed green space that is now known as The Heart Of Cedar Springs. 

Since the beginning of my residence in Cedar Springs I have served on a variety of boards, in a variety of positions both elected and appointed, and the current Council is among the most hard working, diligent, and collegial I have had the honor of serving with. 

Rose Powell attends a multitude of meetings every month for various organizations and reports back to the rest of Council. 

Lisa Atchison brings her experience from Planning Commission and her eye for detail to every ordinance and contract that comes across our desks. 

Molly Nixon has followed through with her commitment to transparency by supporting the use of YouTube to publicize meetings and supporting the “Ronny Merlington Policy” of ensuring we hear items twice before voting on them. 

Jerry Gross, as a former Fire Chief, has been instrumental in explaining details of service and explaining needs regarding the fire department and safety of our community. 

Perry Hopkins has been a link to the business community, helping to provide a voice for their issues and concerns. 

Mayor Gerald Hall is very much the straw that stirs the drink. His deep knowledge regarding infrastructure has been invaluable as we manage up grades to our water, sewer, sidewalks, and roads. His long history in the community is priceless in working with existing and new businesses as they look to up grade or move in to our community. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve with him, and the rest of this Council.  

Mike Womack, our new City Manager has been a wonderful addition to our team. His expertise—not only in city government but also as an attorney—has saved the City tens of thousands of dollars. He has provided faster responses to questions that would have previously required a consult with the City Attorney, which not only costs billable hours but also requires wait time for a response.  

I invite you to stop in, hear about the great things we are working on, and take a few minutes during public comment at our monthly meetings to let us know concerns you many have, things happening in the community you are excited about, or to just say hello. I can say this entire Council would love to hear from you. 

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We’re all in this together


By Lee H. Hamilton

Our republic is under stress. So much so, in fact, that if you’re not worried about its future, you probably haven’t been paying attention.

What makes me say this? Our public discourse has become uncivil and shrill. Corruption and unethical actions by prominent politicians headline the daily news. Too many politicians make their mark by fueling division, exploiting frustration and casting doubt on our democratic institutions—and too many Americans respond by agreeing with them.

On the whole, Americans’ regard for our political institutions and the people who run them is scraping rock bottom. By two-to-one margins, parents urge their children not to go into politics.

And who can blame them? These days, it’s far easier to enumerate the things that are wrong with our republic than what is right. It’s marked by a proliferation of special interests, an avalanche of money, disregard for facts, gridlock, partisan gerrymandering, excessive partisanship, and indifference to the common good among political leaders.

So it’s not surprising that many Americans have tuned out. They understand our republic only vaguely and participate in it less. Voting rates are depressing, and a disturbing number of young Americans reject politics in all its forms.

While political engagement, as measured by people taking to the streets, may be on the rise, that’s not necessarily a sign of good civic health. In fact, we appear to be caught in a dangerous downward cycle. Government is seen as dysfunctional and corrupt; this causes the ablest people to stay out of government and politics; and this, in turn, hobbles politics and government.

The risk in all this is that as Americans disengage, we place the entire American democratic enterprise in jeopardy. Lincoln’s burning question at Gettysburg, “Whether a nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure,” was apt then; it is disturbingly so today.

So what do we do? There are plenty of steps we could take to strengthen our democratic institutions and make government more efficient, effective, and responsive. But what we need most of all is for our citizens—that’s you and me—to appreciate this democracy we’ve inherited, and to step up to the responsibilities it asks of us.

Our republic, despite its many challenges, is at its core a monumental achievement. It is marked by strong independent branches of government, entrusted to exercise limited and defined powers within the bounds of the Constitution. It enshrines checks and balances, separation of powers, equal individual rights and opportunity, and the rule of law.

It provides fair, free elections—mostly free from fraud and manipulation. Most remarkably of all it is constructed to allow us to seek a more perfect union—to improve it as the nation evolves. This is its great strength.

But we can only take advantage of its strength when we act as though we’re all in this republic together—when we work cooperatively to secure a country where all people have the opportunity to enjoy the promise of America by living a life of honor, excellence, and responsibility.

Because democracy places demanding responsibilities on its citizens—to cast an informed vote, to engage in the dialogue of democracy with civility and a willingness to learn, to make discriminating judgments about politics and politicians, to work with others to strengthen the institutions of democracy and improve our part of the world.

We will disagree with one another about all kinds of issues but also know that we need to accept and tolerate those differences because we are far stronger when we seek to reconcile them rather than ignore or exacerbate them.

Let’s not deny it: the trends these days are worrisome. We face a bewildering array of dangers to our republic. Authoritarian rule and autocratic leadership, once unthinkable, are now true concerns. We are subject to unwanted foreign influence, prey to public and private figures who use government to pursue money and power and manipulate the rules of the game for personal gain, and at the mercy of politicians who believe that whatever it takes to win is just fine.

But if we also lose trust that we, as citizens, can turn the republic around by shouldering our responsibilities to act, that’s when we’re truly sunk.

Lee Hamilton is a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar, IU School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

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Wear a poppy this National Poppy Day

Ann Fournier spends her hour-long commute piecing together tiny petals of red crepe paper to assemble poppies to support veterans.

(BPT) – For many Americans, it starts with wearing the poppy on National Poppy Day, an annual tribute to the price of freedom. This year, National Poppy Day is May 25.

For Ann Fournier, it starts with a train ride. She has taken the same train at 5 a.m. and 4:50 p.m. daily for 30 years. She spends her hour-long commutes piecing together tiny petals of red crepe paper to assemble poppies to support veterans.

Fournier’s work has made her a symbol on the train. Known as the “Poppy Lady,” she has created 100,000 poppies each year over several decades. Her commitment began as a tribute to her brothers, who served during Vietnam, but has continued as a way to honor each veteran and civilian she has met on her ride to the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) state headquarters in Boston.

“The conductor saves a seat with a table for me every day,” says Fournier, who serves as ALA Department of Massachusetts secretary/executive director. “He’s a veteran as well. Sometimes he sits with me to help. Sometimes strangers ask me what I’m doing. But the best moments happen when a veteran sits down or thanks me. I don’t do it for the thanks; I do it because I can, and these little red flowers are a way to help those in need. Our veterans don’t get enough of anything.”

The red poppy holds great meaning for veterans all over the world. After the battles of World War I, the blood-red poppy flourished in France and Belgium when battlefields became burial grounds. The red flowers suddenly bloomed among the newly dug gravesites of fallen service members, turning the new graveyards into fields of red. Today, the poppy is a symbol of sacrifices made from WWI to today’s war on terror.

Millions of people worldwide wear the red poppy as a call to honor living veterans and those who lost their lives. The tradition can be traced back to 1918 when Moina Michael popularized the idea of wearing a poppy flower in memory of the military lives lost in WWI. She drew inspiration from the poem In Flanders Fields, written by WWI Col. John McCrae as he gazed at the rows and rows of graves where his comrades had been recently buried. In the decades that followed, poppies have been worn, displayed and distributed for fundraising efforts for veterans service organizations around the world.

The American Legion Family is the driving force behind the now trademarked National Poppy Day because of its support for veterans and long-standing connection to the poppy flower. In the early 1920s, the Legion Family adopted the poppy as its official memorial flower to pay homage to the battlefields of WWI. Now, it is the Family’s mission to support the military community by promoting the significance of the flower and the meaning behind it.

Members and volunteers connected to the ALA, one of the nation’s most prominent supporters of veterans’ rights, leverage the poppy in service to the veteran community through Poppy Day distributions and outreach. ALA volunteers hand out red paper or fabric poppies in exchange for donations that go directly to support veterans. Many of those poppies are made by hospitalized and disabled veterans as a form of rehabilitation and a source of income through this ALA program. In 2017, ALA members throughout the U.S. distributed nearly 6 million poppies or poppy items and raised $3.9 million in donations that went directly to help veterans, military and their families.

“This flower is personal to me,” says Fournier. “Because of it, I’ve been able to share stories about our veterans and the ALA’s work. I’ve also been able to explain that helping a veteran can be as simple as donating money in exchange for a poppy or as committed as making 100,000 poppies each year. It’s about what you can do to help.”

Donning a poppy this National Poppy Day and every day is one simple way to show gratitude for a community that has given its lives to protect ours. To learn more, visit www.poppydayusa.org.

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After a ship sank in the ocean, three men ended up stranded in a lifeboat. They floated around for days without food or water. One afternoon a bottle floated up to the boat. The men grabbed the bottle and when they pulled the cork out of the bottle, a genie appeared.

“I’ll grant each of you a single wish,” said the genie.

“I wish I was home,” said the first man. Then, poof! He disappeared.

“I wish I was home, too,” said the second man. Poof! He disappeared, too.

The third man looked around and then thought hard what he should wish for. “I have no one at home waiting for me, so maybe I should ask for money and hope a boat picks me up. Or, maybe I should ask for a beautiful woman to marry,” he said to the genie. 

The genie looked bored. “C’mon! Make up your mind!” he urged. 

“Oh, I don’t know what to wish for!” cried the man in frustration. “I wish my friends were here to help me decide!”

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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.

Original Play at the Kent Theatre

May 18-20,25,26: Cedar Springs Players presents “Murder on the American Express” an original play by Scott Phillips. May 18, 19, 25, 26 at 7:30 p.m., May 20 at 3:00 pm at the Kent Theatre. #20,21

Indoor Garage Sale at Masonic Lodge

May 18,19: An indoor Garage Sale will be hold at the Masonic Lodge, 1430 Northland Dr. NE, Rockford, sponsored by Rockford Chapter 215, Order of the Eastern Star On Friday and Saturday, May 18 and 19. Booth tables as well as household items, clothing, seasonal items, a variety to choose from. Join us on Friday from 9 am to 5 pm and Saturday, from 9 am to 3 pm. #20

Artists, Authors & YOU! Entries

May 21: Artists, Authors & YOU!, a continually-changing art exhibit sponsored by the Cedar Springs Public Library, will be reviewing potential entries on Monday, May 21st from 6-9 pm for its next quarterly installation. If you’re an artist who’s interested in participating in the program, or you own a piece of art you’d like to share with the community, please visit the library for your Request to Participate form and instructions about the May 21st meeting. #19,20p

UMC Guitar Boot Camp

May 21: Basic training for guitar will be taught at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church. Registration will be held Monday, May 21st  at 7:00 pm. Students must be registered on this date.  To register enter at the South door Located on Church Street; class size is limited to 12 students ages 12 – 16. Registration fee is $65. A parent or guardian is required to sign. Guitar and all supplies are furnished these may be kept at the completion of the class. Classes will be Monday evenings for 12 weeks starting June 4th. #19,20b

Great Lakes Fur Trade

May 24: Howard Chirstensen Nature Center is pleased to present an introduction to the Great Lakes Fur Trade and the Straits of Mackinac during the 1600’s – 1800’s by Bob Ham. Bob will take us through the major events and characters of the fur trade in the Great Lakes area, when 3 foreign powers and the indigenous peoples held often times uneasy business and military alliances. On display will be some of the clothing, weapons, trade goods and tools of the fur trade. Thursday, May 24th at the HCNC Interpretive Center, 16190 Red Pine Dr., Kent City from 6 to 7:30 pm. Ages: Older middle school through adults. Cost is $3 for non-members and free to HCNC and CS Historical Society members.  616-675-3158, www.howardchristensen.org. #19,20p

Senior Stroll at HCNC

May 25: Join Senior Naturalist, Joyce Hosmer the last Friday of the month for a leisurely walk through the woods at Howard Christensen Nature Center. Joyce will lead you along our quiet trails while pointing out the plants and wildlife that inhabit our little piece of the planet. Friday, May 25, June 29 and July 27th at 1 to 3 pm. If it rains, we will reschedule for the next Friday. Cost is $3 for members and $5 for non-members. Refreshments provided. Limited to 25 people. Call to register or visit our website. 616-675-3158, www.howardchristensen.org, info@howardchristensen.org. #20

CS Historical Society’s Memorial Cemetery Walk

May 27: The Cedar Springs Historical Society is holding its 18th annual Memorial Cemetery Walk on Sunday, May 27th, at 2 pm to honor veterans of all wars. This years’ veterans will be Alfred Sliter, Civil War; Samuel Armstrong, Spanish/Philippine American War; Russell VanDore, World War I; Mark Wheeler, World War II; Don Miles, Korean War; Carl Straub, Vietnam War. Biographical and historical information will be presented at each gravesite. The Glen Hill Post of the American Legion honor guard will assist at the presentation. We will leave from the museum in Morley Park at 1:30 and return there for refreshments. In case of severe weather warnings we will cancel the event. In case of rain we will do the presentations in the museum. #20,21b

FREE Movie at Kent Theatre

May 29,30: En Gedi will present a FREE movie at the Kent Theatre, God’s Not Dead 2, on Tuesday, May 29th and Wednesday, May 30th both at 6:30 pm. The Christ-centered movie tells a story about high school history teacher Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart) who is asked a question about Jesus in class, her response lands her in deep trouble. The ensuing epic court case could expel God from the classroom and the public square once and for all. God’s Not Dead 2 is a powerful call to action. #20,21b

Spa Day/Tai Chi at HCNC

June 3: Ever seen someone do Tai Chi and think to yourself “That looks cool… I’d love to learn that..?” Now’s your chance! Come on out to the first Spa Day at Howard Christensen Nature Center on Sunday, June 3rd. We’ll take a short hike out to a beautiful spot and get our Zen On! Join our experienced Tai Chi instructor for a class in the woods, suitable for beginners and experienced practitioners alike… and if it rains, we will move activities indoors. But wait – there’s more! Pamper yourself with a relaxing chair massage or reflexology session to soothe your aching muscles or sore feet. From 2 – 5 pm. Cost is $3 for members and $5 for non-members. Limited to 20 people. Call to register or visit our website. 616-675-3158, www.howardchristensen.org, info@howardchristensen.org. #20

Sand Lake HS Alumni Banquet

June 9: The 126th (1892-2018) Annual Sand Lake High School Alumni Banquet will be held on Saturday, June 9th at Resurrection Lutheran Church, Sand Lake. Social hour at 5 pm and dinner at 6 pm. The cost of the meal is $13.00. Open to anyone who attended Sand Lake Schools. Please RSVP by June 2 by calling your reservation in to Dave Groner 616-557-3098. #20-22p

Red Flannel Queen Pageant

June 10: Attention all young ladies living in, or attending school within, the Cedar Springs School District, including homeschoolers, who will be in the 11th grade in the 2018-19 school year. There will be a MANDATORY parent meeting for any young lady who would like to participate in the 2018 Red Flannel Pageant and her parent(s). The meeting will be Sunday, June 10th at 2 pm at the Springs Church (135 N. Grant St.). For more information or if there is a concern that you can’t make the meeting please contact pageant director Kaleigh Goehler directly at redflannelpageant@gmail.com. #19-23b

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Driver sentenced to prison for fatal crash

Meranda Baguss, who was killed in a car crash last September, is shown here with her twin boys, who were injured in that same crash. Photo from gofundme.com.

Douglas Crystal, the at fault driver in the crash that killed Meranda Baguss, has been sentenced to prison time.

A Cedar Springs man that fled a crash last fall that killed a Sand Lake mother and critically injured her twin 5-year-old boys was sentenced last week to prison time on multiple charges. 

Douglas Crystal, 36, was sentenced on May 3 in Kent County Circuit Court to 10 to 15 years in prison for drunk driving causing death in the crash that killed Meranda Baguss, 33, and three to five years in prison for drunk driving causing serious injury.

On September 15, 2017, at about 8:23 p.m., Crystal was traveling northbound on Ritchie Avenue at about 90 mph in his Ford F150 when he failed to stop at the stop sign at 15 Mile Road and slammed into a 2011 Ford Fusion traveling westbound on 15 Mile Rd. The crash killed the driver of the Ford Fusion, Meranda Baguss, 33, a 2003 graduate of Cedar Springs High School. Her five-year-old twins, Chauncey and Tony Anthony III, were in the back seat in their car seats, and were critically injured. They were taken to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids with life-threatening head injuries.

Crystal, who was reportedly on his way home from a golf outing, fled the scene. He hid from police for about 8 hours before finally being arrested.

On Monday, April 9, he pled no contest to charges of operating while intoxicated causing death; failure to stop at the scene of an accident causing death; and operating while intoxicated causing serious injury.

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Beat the Boredom

Playing at an area park is just one of the ways for kids and parents to beat the boredom of long summer days until school starts again.

By Judy Reed

When you’re a kid, the long, hot days of summer seem to go on forever. It’s not long before kids exhaust their ideas of what to do and moms hear the familiar refrain, “There’s nothing to do! I’m bored!” Well, don’t you believe it. With a little searching, you’ll find hundreds of activities taking place in West Michigan where families can have fun and spend some quality time together. In this week’s special pullout section of “Beat the Boredom,” you’ll find just a fraction of the many things going on this summer—festivals, summer enrichment programs, camps, fishing and more! Click here to see what’s on tap for you this summer!

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