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Women injured in crash

Two women were sent to the hospital Saturday after the car they were riding in left the roadway and struck a tree. 

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred on 10 Mile Rd, east of N. Division Ave., at about noon on Saturday, December 30. 

Police reported that Kathleen Busalacchi, 55, of Cannon Township, was driving her silver 2005 Nissan Xterra westbound on 10 Mile Rd when she lost control of her vehicle. It then left the roadway and struck a tree. 

Busalacchi suffered a possible broken ankle. The front seat passenger, Geraldine Kurzynski, 77, of Cannon Township, suffered serious injuries. They were both transported by Rockford Ambulance to Butterworth Hospital. 

Both parties were wearing seatbelts. Alcohol was not a factor.

Algoma Fire and Sparta Fire also assisted at the scene.

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American Legion to host state commanders

The Sons of the American Legion Commander Dominic Merlington

American Legion Commander for the State of Michigan is Brett Holt

The American Legion Post #287 in Cedar Springs is proud to welcome their State Commanders and Presidents to our Post home for the annual Early Bird Dinner. The dinner is held the first week in January to show our appreciation to the members of our Post, Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion who have paid their dues by Veterans Day of the previous fall. It is our tradition to invite the leaders of our State to attend this event. In the past this dinner was held to give them red flannels to keep them warm on their Upper Peninsula trip that usually follows right after our dinner. 

This year the American Legion Commander for the State of Michigan is Brett Holt. Brett is from Post #439 in Saginaw, having served in the Navy during the Lebanon/Grenada era. He has been on many committees and held most positions at the Post, District,State and National level. His special project this year is Michigan American Legion Foundation. His theme is MEMO-Communicate to Succeed. 

American Legion Auxiliary President for 2017-2018 is Deanna Cortright

Honorary Junior President is Emma Damouth

The American Legion Auxiliary President for 2017-2018 is Deanna Cortright. She is a member of the Auxiliary Unit #52 in Coldwater. She is a 35-year member, eligible through the service of her father who served in both Korea and Vietnam. She has held all offices and many chairmanships on her way to the office of President. Her special project is Project Boits on the Ground. Her theme is “Dolls and Bears Together for our Veterans.”  

The Sons of the American Legion Commander is from our own Post. The Legion family is proud to have Dominic Merlington representing us as State Detachment Commander. He has been a member of Squadron #287 for over 30 years, joining under the service of his grandfather, Robert Merlington. He is following in the footsteps of his father, Ronny Merlington who served as Detachment Commander in 1986/87. He and his family live in Cedar Springs. His special project is Fisher House Foundation, which provides temporary accommodations for veterans and military personnel and their families while the veteran is receiving medical attention at a VA medical center. His theme is “Sons Will.” 

Our honorary Junior President is Emma Damouth. She is a sophomore at Niles High School. Her favorite subject is art. She also loves music. Her special project is Walking Across Michigan-Keeping our Veterans Warm. She is collecting blankets to give to homeless veterans. Her theme is “Lion King.” 

All of our State officials will be at the dinner to speak about their projects. They will be treated to a warm red flannel welcome and even join in our annual “chicken dance.” The dinner will be held Saturday night at Post #287 at 80 S. Main St., Cedar Springs.    

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GasBuddy Warns 2018 gas prices to be highest since 2014 

 

Motorists will be digging a bit deeper for the second straight year as the yearly national average price for gas will rise 19 cents versus last year to $2.57 per gallon, the highest since 2014, according to the 2018 Fuel Price Outlook released Wednesday by GasBuddy.

Some highlights from GasBuddy’s 2018 Fuel Price Outlook include: 

  • The nation’s yearly gasoline bill will rise to $364.6 billion dollars, some $25 billion higher than what motorists spent last year as the average household sees their yearly gasoline bill rise to $1,898, up from $1,765 in 2017. Compared to 2016, motorists will be shelling out $62 billion more during the year, enough to buy a fleet of 670 Boeing 737s. 
  • GasBuddy’s forecast does not expect any record-breaking prices to be set in 2018, and most of the country will see prices peak under $3 per gallon, but unexpected disruptions could push the national average close to $3. 
  • Metro areas including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C. will likely see prices eclipse $3 per gallon. Cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis, Orlando, St. Louis and Tampa may get within arm’s reach of such prices. 
  • How accurate have past forecasts been? In 2017, the forecast called for a yearly national average of $2.49. Actual: $2.39. In 2016, the forecast called for a yearly national average of $2.28. Actual: $2.12. 

 “Many will be quick to ask why we’re expecting higher prices. Ultimately, OPEC bears much of the responsibility for cutting oil production, leading oil inventories to begin 2018 nearly 50 million barrels lower than a year ago. Yet, understanding many factors, including OPEC, fuel taxes, the economy and their impact on supply and demand is integral to providing a thorough and balanced outlook on gas prices for 2018,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Even one event can completely change trajectory of fuel prices for months. Look what impact Hurricane Harvey and Irma had on gas prices and availability. No one could have expected the unexpected, but still, our forecast was less than a dime away from being spot on.” 

 “While gasoline prices overall remain affordable, one aspect that continues to worsen is the gap between what stations are charging. It’s become nothing short of crazy how one station might sell gasoline 20-40 cents lower or higher than a nearby competitor. In addition to GasBuddy data showing spreads have risen to record levels, I’ve heard hundreds of complaints of motorists who get stuck at the pricier station, drive down the street and see it far cheaper. Always shop around when filling your tank. We spend thousands of dollars a year filling the tank; a dime or quarter per gallon adds up to hundreds of dollars,” he said.

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Thank you for stealing my money

 

I would like to thank the nice employee at Marathon who found my wallet that I dropped on December 28. I had just finished my second day in a row of a 9-hour shift. It was below zero, after 9 p.m., and I just needed gas to start another 8-hour shift at 9 p.m. 

That being said, I would also like the person or persons that found my wallet before him and stole (yes, stole, look it up,) the $180.00 or so out of it, to think about this. I worked very hard for my money! I am a waitress and do not receive the standard minimum wage; I’m on my feet with a smile for as long as my shift. At a pay rate of $3.23 per hour, tips are what support my family of 8, yes 8. So I hope when you are spending my hard earned dollars this brings you happiness and joy and the New Year brings you all that you deserve. Now I have to call the electric company and beg them not shut of my power. Merry Christmas. 

Lisa Bennett, Cedar Springs

 

POST SCRIPT NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to Post Scripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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Varsity wrestlers shine on and off the mat

Red Hawk wrestler Jacob Galinis. Courtesy photo.

The Cedar Springs High School wrestling team kicked off their season early in December and have been busy handing out surprises both on and off the mat ever since.

Off the mat, high school wrestlers adopted a family for the holidays, and team mom Teresa Galinis, along with some of the wrestlers, shopped, wrapped, and delivered gifts to the family for Christmas.   

On the mat, wrestlers have brought home some exciting wins this season against schools with historically good wrestling programs, including Fruitport, Grant, Mona Shores and Greenville. 

Individually, five wrestlers placed at the Kent County Championships held two weeks ago, where 22 schools were represented, and that number is expected to increase before finals in February. Off-season training camps along with an unbeatable work ethic, depth, returning talent and upcoming talent has propelled Cedar Springs wrestling to a viable (and feared) contender in a very difficult OK White conference. 

Wrestlers head to Greenville today to face both Lowell and Northview in what was sure to be a nail biter in an OK White conference showdown. Come out and show them your support!

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Red Hawk bowling news

Back row L to R: Assistant coach Trevor Ruark, Sarah Galloway, Katelyn Paige, Alexa Thompson, Rose Baty, Coach Tim Jackson.
Front row L to R: Michayla Paige, Omani Morales, Gabi Lamek.

On December 16, Cedar Springs hosted a tournament at Westgate. The girls lost in the first bracket of the tournament round to Wayland. Junior Rose Baty bowled her high school high of 178. 

On December 20, Cedar Springs had a conference match against Ottawa Hills. Both the boys and girls won 30-0.

On December 26, Cedar Springs attended a baker tournament at Park Center lanes. The boys finished 6th out of 11. The girls took home a 2nd place trophy  losing to Caledonia by 1 pin—317 to 318.

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Varsity ice hockey schedule

 

A few weeks ago, we ran the sports schedules for Cedar Springs High Schools. One team was missing from the schedule—the ice hockey team. The team is made up of three schools: Coopersville (C), Cedar Springs (CS), and West Catholic (WC). Below is their team photo and the season schedule.

VARSITY: Front row, left to right: Noah Herzhaft (C), Brendan Hofmann (WC), Joel Kolenda (CS), Avery Matthews (CS), Tyler Messock (C), Lukas Jenkins (C), David Hoving (WC), Max Goodfellow (WC), Nathan Szyszko (C), Conner Julien (C).
Back row, left to right: Coach Jake Ochsner, Coach Mike Davey, Adam Bocian (WC), Danny Ebert (CS), Tyler Hofmann (WC), Isaac Oswald (C), Ian Waldecker (WC), Dawson Homik (C), Colin Jewell (WC), Jaydon Moleski (CS), Corbin Venckus (WC), Coach Alex Ostrowski, Head Coach Mike Maas.

 

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Wetlands a vital resource for Michigan’s wildlife, environment, citizenry

More than 50 percent of Michigan’s wetlands, like this one in Marquette County—now recognized for their importance to wildlife, people, the environment and the economy—have been lost over the last two centuries.

By Casey Warner, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michigan regularly ranks in the top three states for Canada goose harvest and hunters in the nation. The sport, and other outdoor recreation pursuits, requires healthy wetland habitat.

When thinking about Michigan’s important, valuable landscapes, many of us first think of the Great Lakes, northern forests and sandy beaches. Wetlands might not immediately come to mind.

They certainly didn’t for early Michigan settlers, who were less than impressed with the state’s abundance of swamps and marshes – more than 10 million acres of wetlands before European settlement.

“The banks of the Detroit River are handsome, but nine-tenths of the land in the Territory is unfit for cultivation,” said General Duncan McArthur, stationed at Fort Detroit, in 1814.

The 1816 Tiffin Report by Edward Tiffin, surveyor general of the United States, had equally disparaging things to say about Michigan’s land and agricultural potential, including: “Michigan apparently consisted of swamps, lakes, and poor, sandy soil not worth the cost of surveying. Not more than one acre in a hundred, or perhaps a thousand, could be cultivated.”

In the two centuries that followed, about half of Michigan’s original wetlands have been drained and filled.

Every amphibian in Michigan—including the state’s largest frog, the bullfrog—uses wetlands.

“Michigan was once considered a mosquito-infested, godforsaken swamp, and wetlands were drained to establish roads and agriculture and build communities,” said Steve Shine, who coordinates wetland mitigation banking – the process of establishing new wetland areas before development or other projects impact existing wetland areas—for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “This historic conversion of wetlands has made Michigan what it is today, but now we’re focused on restoring wetlands to replace those impacted by agriculture, public works projects and development that are also important to the state.”

Today, we recognize the value of wetlands; even celebrate them with observances like American Wetlands Month in May, and the need to conserve them.

“Michigan residents, whether they know it or not, have a strong connection to our state’s wetlands and the waterfowl that rely on them,” said Barb Avers, DNR waterfowl and wetland specialist. “Some go duck hunting every year, while others sit on their back porches and watch the annual fall waterfowl migrations. And many citizens get clear drinking water from groundwater purified by Michigan’s wetlands.”

In 1979, the Michigan legislature passed the state’s wetlands protection statute, which recognizes the benefits and important functions and values provided by wetlands. Administered by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan’s wetlands protection statute requires permits for construction activities in wetlands.

Home to a wide variety of birds, including the secretive sora, Michigan’s wetlands make great wildlife viewing destinations.

What exactly is a wetland?

Michigan law defines a wetland as “land characterized by the presence of water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances does support, wetland vegetation or aquatic life, and is commonly referred to as a bog, swamp, or marsh.”

More simply put, wetlands are areas where land and water meet.

They are characterized by the presence of water that saturates the soil or covers the land for some or all of the year, which leads to the development of plant and animal communities adapted to these conditions.

The three major types of wetlands are marshes, which have standing water from less than an inch to several feet deep and might be called flooded grasslands; swamps, dominated by woody plants and best described as flooded woodlands or shrublands; and bogs, which occur where accumulations of decaying vegetation form mats that eventually cover and then fill in old ponds or lakes.

Wetlands play a critical role in managing Michigan’s water-based resources, providing flood storage, groundwater recharge, wildlife habitat, pollution treatment, erosion control and nutrient uptake.

Wetlands are a significant factor in the health and existence of Michigan’s other natural resources, such as inland lakes, groundwater, fisheries, wildlife and the Great Lakes.

Wetlands are “like nature’s kidneys,” Avers said, in that they filter pollutants from surface runoff, trapping fertilizers, pesticides, sediments and other contaminants, helping to break some of them down into less harmful substances, improving water clarity and quality.

They also replenish surface and underground drinking water sources.

“Wetland soils help to filter pollutants and excess nutrients out of the water to create a cleaner water supply for all of us,” said Holly Vaughn, DNR wildlife communications coordinator. “They also provide important flood control, acting like sponges to soak up extra rain and storm water.”

Wetlands are vital to Michigan’s wildlife as well. Acre for acre, they produce more wildlife and plants than any other Michigan habitat type.

“About 25 percent of mammals, 50 percent of birds, nearly all reptiles, and every amphibian in Michigan use wetlands,” said Avers.

Avers added that, although wetlands make up only 5 percent of the area of the contiguous U.S., more than a third of threatened and endangered species live only in wetlands.

“Wetlands provide excellent benefits to wildlife, including important migratory stopover habitat for waterfowl and migratory songbirds too,” Vaughn said.

While many wildlife species find homes in Michigan’s wetlands, many people find recreation destinations there.

This includes waterfowl hunting—Michigan  regularly ranks in the top three states for Canada goose harvest and hunters in the nation, and in the top 10 for average annual sales of federal duck stamps—and a variety of other outdoor pursuits.

“Michigan has exceptional wetland recreation opportunities,” Vaughn said. “Among the best of them, our Wetland Wonders (the DNR’s managed waterfowl areas) offer great waterfowl hunting, wildlife viewing, trapping, hiking, fishing and boating.”

Those recreation opportunities lead to significant economic impact.

“Wetlands are important for the state’s economy,” said Avers. “Waterfowl hunting trips, which take place largely in wetland areas, generate $22 million each year in Michigan. Fish, wildlife and recreational activities related to Michigan’s coastal wetlands generate $52 million annually.”

Avers added that renowned waterfowl and coastal wetland areas like Saginaw Bay, St. Clair Flats and the Detroit River have built and supported local economies and communities with industries such as duck decoys, boats and hunting clubs.

“Great Lakes coastal wetlands are highly productive and rare ecosystems, and are widely recognized as vital to the overall Great Lakes ecosystem, providing habitat for migratory waterfowl, wading birds, sport and forage fish, amphibians and reptiles, and many other native wildlife,” said Anne Garwood, DEQ Great Lakes coastal wetland ecologist. “In some parts of the state, where up to 90 percent of Michigan’s coastal wetlands have been lost, the protection and restoration of coastal wetlands is especially critical.”

Although now recognized for their importance to wildlife, people, the environment and the economy – and with laws in place that have helped slow their loss – wetlands still face threats.

These threats include invasive species, climate change and declining Great Lakes water levels, and demand for development on existing wetlands.

“More than 50 percent of Michigan’s historic wetland base has been lost, and the rate of wetland loss in key waterfowl landscapes exceeds 90 percent,” said Avers. “We need to do more to conserve Michigan’s wetlands and our great waterfowl heritage.”

The DNR, along with many other organizations, has undertaken efforts to conserve and restore wetlands in Michigan.

Take, for example, Michigan’s Wetland Wonders, the seven premier managed waterfowl hunt areas in the state, scattered across the southern Lower Peninsula.

The DNR created these areas in the 1960s to generate exceptional waterfowl hunting opportunities and still manages them today to provide habitat for waterfowl and other species of wetlands wildlife.

But Michigan’s wetlands successes don’t end there.

“We’ve been very successful across Michigan in protecting and restoring wetland habitat, primarily driven by partnerships with other organizations,” said Avers. “Our best success story is the collection of North American Wetland Conservation Act grants that we’ve received.”

The North American Wetland Conservation Act program, which began in 1989, supports on-the-ground wetland conservation efforts by providing matching grants for projects in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

In Michigan, the 50 NAWCA projects either completed or under way have conserved a total of 56,762 acres of wildlife habitat. The program’s funding of more than $18 million has stimulated partner contributions of more than $62 million for Michigan wetlands conservation.

Recently the DNR has partnered with the Michigan Municipal Wetland Alliance on a new wetland mitigation banking program that will preserve and restore wetland habitat on public lands to offset unavoidable impacts to existing wetlands. Look for a future “Showcasing the DNR” story about this effort.

While there is still much work to do on the wetlands conservation front, Michigan has come a long way from the days of treating these vital assets as godforsaken swamps.

To learn more about Michigan wetlands, visit michigan.gov/wetlands

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Plan to use an ORV on state forest roads? 

 

Check maps first

Many—but not all—state forest roads opened to off-road vehicle traffic on Jan. 1. Before riding, make sure roads are authorized for ORV use by checking online maps. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources forest roads maps are found at www.michigan.go/forestroads

“Due to frozen ground conditions, closed roads are not all marked yet,” said Deb Begalle, DNR Forest Resources Division chief. “Some roads remain closed to balance motorized recreational access with the need to protect our resources.”

Approximately 6,300 miles of roads in the state forest system in the northern Lower Peninsula will open to ORVs. About 1,200 miles of roads will remain closed.

Opening the roads to ORV use is authorized by Public Act 288, signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in September 2016. Besides opening roads, the statute required the DNR to inventory and map all state forest roads. 

Examples of areas that will remain closed to ORV traffic include the Pigeon River Country State Forest, Jordan Valley, Mason Tract, Deward Tract, and Sand Lakes Quiet Area, all of which emphasize quiet recreation. Other roads will remain closed to reduce conflict with non-motorized uses and protect natural resources.

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Snowy Owls

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

Forty-eight transmitters were attached to Snowy Owls from North Dakota to Maine during 2013-17. The solar powered devices track movements by recording latitude, longitude and altitude. Some owls remain within a quarter mile of where they were tagged and others move hundreds of miles. “Project SNOWstorm” research focuses on winter movements but reveals information gathered on the summer range in the far north that has previously not been accessible.

In winter, some owls spend weeks or months floating on Great Lakes ice where they hunt gulls, ducks, geese, and grebes. Recently, I have observed Snowy Owls on the center dike between massive ponds at the Muskegon Wastewater facility. Thousands of gulls and waterfowl are found in these ponds. I thought the owls depended on lemmings in the far north and ate a similar diet of voles here.

Evidence indicates gulls and waterfowl can be an important part of their diet and is a reason owls perch on floating ice. Capturing a gull provides more food per catch than a small rodent. I wonder what the success rate is for capturing a rodent compared with a bird. It might be more efficient hunting rodents when abundant. 

Massive numbers of gulls are present at the Muskegon wastewater facility. It is a birding hotspot where people scan with scopes to find rarer gulls. My friends, the two Gregs, Jim, and I have seen Greater Black-backed, Glaucous, and other infrequently seen gulls among abundant Ring-billed and Herring Gulls. 

We have only seen the owls observing or moving to new perch locations. They stand patient. It would be nice to see one pursuing a gull. They have 14 neck vertebrae that allows them to turn their head more than half way around. Other birds and mammals have seven cervical vertebrae preventing such great head swivel. Owls can look straight backwards from the direction their body is facing. It appears their head is on backwards. 

Adult males and females can be distinguished by plumage. Males are nearly all white, while female have brown or black flecked feathers. Immatures are more heavily dark marked. Snowy Owls appear larger than they are because fluffy feathers provide a robust appearance. Under the fluff is a lean 3 to 6-pound body. Visible contour feathers covering the body shed water. Underneath, non-waterproof down feathers trap air and insulate. 

Large eyes have a yellow iris with dark penetrating pupils. Like ours, their eyes are on the front of the face providing depth of field binocular vision. Close one eye and notice how the distance of two objects is difficult to discern. When hunting it is important to judge distance while flying. Notice birds at your feeder have eyes on the side of the head. To determine distance, they must move their heads to gain a three-dimensional view. Eyes on the sides of the head provide an advantage of a nearly 360º view for spotting predators.

I did not notice a black transmitter on the back of any owls. It would be just below the skull. With only 48 tagged, I would not expect to see an owl with one. Owls are captured in fine mess nets strung in flight areas. Mist nets are similar to golf course screens installed to prevent balls from entering highways and hitting cars. 

Owls living in the tundra far from human activity reveal their movements when they migrate to our region. Information stored in transmitters north of cell tower range is retrieved when they enter tower range in winter. 

Periodically large numbers move south when arctic food is scarce or populations are high forcing hunting dispersal. This year is an excellent year for learning more about the daily lives of owls for which we know little. Many have already arrived southward. 

Spend time exploring farm country and areas with large fields to search for white bumps. Look with binoculars and you might find a Snowy Owl. Enjoy exploring on your own or participate on Audubon field trips.

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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