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Mr. Donald Jon Roelofs, age 62 of Howard City, passed away unexpected Thursday, November 26, 2015, at his home. He was born to Howard and Beatrice (Boersen) Roelofs on October 6, 1953, in Zeeland, Mich. He served his country and flag in the United States Army. Don worked for Blackmer Pump for 30 years. In his free time, he enjoyed fishing and driving his dune buggy on the sand dunes at Silver Lake State Park. He also enjoyed walking the Lake Michigan beach and watching the sunsets. He is survived by his soul mate, Kathy; mother, Beatrice; brothers, Gary (Susan) Roelofs, Martin (Sally) Roelofs, Douglas Roelofs; sisters, Linda (Bruce) McGoffin, Gloria (Gerry) Gebhardt, Sandra (Ron) Starr, Beth (Mitch) Cole. He was preceded in death by his father, Howard; sister, Susan. There will be a time of visitation with the family from 5:00-8:00 pm Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at the Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe St., Rockford, MI 49341. The funeral service will be 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, December 2, 2015, at the Pederson Funeral Home. There will also be a time of visitation one hour prior to the service. Those wishing to offer gifts of sympathy are encouraged to donate to a charity of your choice in Donald’s name.
Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, pedersonfuneralhome.com.

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Wildlife officials ask hunters to help  eliminate chronic wasting disease 

DNR wildlife pathologist Tom Cooley and Julie Melotti test deer at the MSU Wildlife Disease Lab as a result of a CWD-positive deer found in Meridian Township./

DNR wildlife pathologist Tom Cooley and Julie Melotti test deer at the MSU Wildlife Disease Lab as a result of a CWD-positive deer found in Meridian Township./

From the Michigan DNR

The 2015 Michigan deer season is the first being conducted following a finding of chronic wasting disease in a free-ranging deer in Michigan. The disease was first detected in an Ingham County white-tailed deer this past spring.

Wildlife officials are optimistic, however, that CWD can be eliminated in Michigan and are asking for hunters’ assistance.

So far, public response has been “overwhelmingly positive,” said Chad Stewart, the Department of Natural Resources deer and elk specialist.

“Most people right now are on board with what we are doing,” he said. “They seem to understand the regulatory changes we’ve made. Not everyone likes them, but they understand them.”

DNR summer interns Anthony Klein and Kurt Wolf collect deer carcasses along I-69 and U.S. 127 in Dewitt Township, Clinton County.

DNR summer interns Anthony Klein and Kurt Wolf collect deer carcasses along I-69 and U.S. 127 in Dewitt Township, Clinton County.

In April, Meridian Township police dispatched a 6-year-old female deer that was exhibiting signs of neurologicaldisease. An initial screening at the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Disease Laboratory identified the deer as a CWD suspect. Soon, the National Veterinary Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the DNR’s suspicion: Michigan became the latest state to have found CWD in its free-ranging deer herd.

CWD is a type of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The disease is an always fatal affliction for cervids—deer, elk and moose—that attacks the brain, causing lesions, which leads to emaciation, loss of fear of humans, loss of body control, drooling and, ultimately, death. It is not caused by bacteria or virus but by prions, which are mutated proteins. It is spread by animal-to-animal contact with saliva, urine, feces, blood or infected soil. There is no treatment for CWD in deer. The ailment has never been shown to cause illness in humans. For more than two decades, CWD has been present in free-ranging populations of mule deer and elk in Colorado. During this time, there has been no known occurrence of a human contracting any disease from eating CWD-infected meat.

Because of the occurrence of CWD in other states, the Michigan DNR has been vigilant about testing for the disease. Since 1998, tens of thousands of free-ranging deer have been tested in the state. The Meridian Township deer marked the second time CWD was identified in Michigan. In 2008, a single deer was found to be CWD-positive in a captive cervid facility in Kent County.

With the most recent finding, the DNR immediately instituted a policy that called for reducing deer numbers in the area of the infected deer and testing all deer—those taken by federal animal damage control officials as well as road kills—from the area for CWD.

In July, a 2-year-old buck found less than a mile from the initial CWD-positive female tested positive. In August, a 5-year-old CWD-positive female was found in close proximity to the other two. Genetic testing showed all three positives were related. Finding deer with CWD within the same extended family is not uncommon.

Wildlife officials are encouraged that so few additional CWD-infected animals have been found and that those found were closely related.

“When we found the first one, we didn’t know what we would find,” Stewart said. “Given that that deer was symptomatic—it obviously had the disease for some time—we expected to find additional animals. It’s encouraging that the ones we’re picking up are from the same family group and relatively close to where we found her. But we still have a long road ahead of us.”

Last week, a suspect positive deer was found in DeWitt Township, which is still pending final testing.

Prior to deer season, the DNR established a CWD Management Zone consisting of Ingham, Clinton and Shiawassee counties, as well as a nine-township Core CWD Area (also known as Deer Management Unit 333). The nine townships—Lansing, Meridian, Williamstown, Delhi, Alaiedon and Wheatfield in Ingham County; DeWitt and Bath in Clinton County; and Woodhull in Shiawassee County—have stringent regulations relating to possession of deer.

It is illegal to salvage a deer killed by a motor vehicle, and no rehabilitation of deer will be allowed within DMU 333. Hunters who shoot deer in the core area are required to bring the entire carcass to one of three DNR check stations within 72 hours. The DNR will retain the head for testing; if it’s a trophy-caliber animal, the DNR will work with the hunter to make sure the trophy is not marred but the necessary tissue is made available for testing.

Once the deer has been checked, it may be processed. All leftover parts should be disposed of in the garbage, a landfill, or the dumpster provided by the DNR at check stations.

Negative test results will be posted online at www.michigan.gov/dnrlab within a week after the head has been submitted for testing.  Hunters with deer that test positive will be notified by telephone. And although human health effects have not been documented for people eating CWD-infected deer, the DNR recommends that only healthy animals be consumed.

Hunters are reminded that there is no baiting or feeding of deer allowed in the three-county CWD Management Zone. Nose-to-nose contact of deer can spread the disease. Hunters who travel out of state to hunt deer, elk or moose are reminded that there are restrictions on bringing carcasses back from states or provinces where CWD has been found. Only deboned meat, antlers, hides and skullcaps that have been cleaned of all brain or muscle material may be brought into Michigan.

Any hunter who has been notified by out-of-state authorities that a deer, elk or moose they brought into Michigan tested positive for CWD must contact the DNR’s Wildlife Disease Lab within two business days and provide details. The DNR can dispose of any meat from a CWD-infected animal.

Extensive testing of deer from the CWD-infected area is ongoing. As of Nov. 13, of the 1,403 deer tested in DMU 333—and another 337 in the three-county area—only three have been determined to have chronic wasting disease, with a fourth suspect positive waiting final testing.

All 141 tested from other counties have been negative. Hunters who harvest deer outside DMU 333 and are concerned about CWD may submit their deer for testing at any DNR check station. (A list of check stations is available at www.michigan.gov/deer).

For more information on CWD in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/cwd.

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How to have a worship-filled feast

The-Springs-blurred-webPastor Barry Briggs

The Springs Church

135 N. Grant St., Cedar Springs


The famous “theologian” Andy Rooney had this to say about Thanksgiving: “The emphasis is more on what we have for dinner this Thursday than it is on any other holiday. Once you’ve given thanks on Thanksgiving, there isn’t much else to do but watch football and eat.”

Is that true? Is Thanksgiving just a quick prayer followed by food and football and maybe a little online shopping? Thanksgiving can be so much more; in fact, it is intended to be. More than food, more than football, more than door busters, Thanksgiving can be a day of worship, and a chance to share a meal in Jesus’ honor. But how?

I’d like to share three secrets with you for turning an otherwise traditional Thanksgiving meal into a worship-filled feast.

Secret #1: Read a Thanksgiving Psalm together after you sit down to the table and before you say grace.

Colossians 3:16-17 (NLT) says, “Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use His words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.  And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”

One of the ways you can turn your Thanksgiving meal into an opportunity for worship is to incorporate Scripture into it. Reading a Thanksgiving Psalm before the meal lets the words of Christ live in your hearts and sets the table for a worship-filled feast. Some great Thanksgiving Psalms from the Bible include Psalm 30, 32, 34, 40, 66, 100, 116, and 138.

There are lots of ways to do this. Here are two: everyone gathered could read the Thanksgiving Psalm together in unison, or one person could read it out loud for the whole group. Be creative and have fun.  After you read the psalm, go around the table and have each person share what they are thankful for.

Secret #2: Give thanks before and AFTER the meal.

Deuteronomy 8:6-10 (NLT) reads, “Obey the commands of the Lord your God by walking in His ways and fearing Him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with springs that gush forth in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley, of grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, olives, and honey.  It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking…When you have eaten your fill, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you.”

I’m assuming most of us give thanks before our Thanksgiving meals. But the idea of giving thanks afterward may be foreign to many of you. Giving thanks after a meal is a tradition that has been lost by most Christians, especially Protestants.  But it is a tradition that goes back to the earliest believers, and to Jewish practice as well. Tertullian, a famous early church theologian wrote, “We do not recline at a banquet before prayer be first tasted; in like manner prayer puts an end to the feast.”

Jesus Himself gave thanks before and after meals. We see Him modeling this at the Last Supper where He gave thanks for the bread at the beginning of the meal, and gave thanks for the cup at the close of the meal.

We get our word “gratitude” from the word “grace.” So saying grace before or after a meal literally means to give thanks or to give gratitude. After we have finished eating and our stomachs are full, it is only natural to express our gratitude to God for all He has blessed us with. Like Deuteronomy 8:10 says, “When you have eaten your fill, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you.”

This year you might want to start a new Thanksgiving tradition of giving thanks after your done eating in addition to saying grace before your meal.

Secret #3: Make your meal a time for serving others, sharing love, and seeking reconciliation.

A quick sprint through the New Testament shows how thankful Paul was for his brothers and sisters in Christ. Romans 1:8a (NLT): “Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you…” 1 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT): “I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts He has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:3 (NLT): “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.”

Thanksgiving is a great time to follow Paul’s example and share with others how thankful we are for them.

The truth is, for Christians this should be a daily practice, not just once a year on Thanksgiving. Acts 2:46-47 (NIV) describes how the first Christians lived a thanksgiving lifestyle on a daily basis.

“Every day they continued to meet together in the Temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

From the beginning Christians have broken bread and eaten together.  The act of breaking bread together is rich with symbolism. Jesus broke bread with His disciples at the Last Supper, making it symbolic of forgiveness and reconciliation.  Jesus fed a crowd of 5000 people with broken pieces of bread from 5 loaves, making it symbolic of care and compassion.  In the Old Testament the ritual of breaking the Passover bread symbolizes God’s power to deliver His people.

Thanksgiving incorporates all of this symbolism. It is a time for forgiveness and reconciliation, a time for care and compassion, and a time to give thanks for all that God has done to save us.

Turn your Thanksgiving meal into a worship-filled feast by having each person share what they thank God for in another person at the table.  Again there are lots of ways to do this, so be creative.  As dishes are being passed the person who is passing could tell the person they are passing to what it is about that person they are thankful for.

At the end of the day, our Thanksgiving meals should always be held in Jesus’ honor.  Jesus was the guest of honor at many meals.  I’m reminded of Matthew’s party, the meal at Zacchaeus’ home, when Jesus visited Mary and Martha’s home, and when Jesus visited Peter’s mom.

For those of you who are really extreme you might consider leaving an empty chair at the head of your table to symbolize that this meal is in Jesus’ honor and to remember that He is present with you.

This year, try some of these ideas to turn an otherwise traditional meal into a worship-filled feast. By incorporating Scripture, prayer, serving and sharing into your Thanksgiving meal you can do just that.

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Timothy Rama, 59 of Sand Lake went to be with the Lord on Monday, November 23, 2015 at Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus after a long battle with cancer. Tim was born September 7, 1956 in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Leo and Mona (Vicchio) Rama. Surviving are his sister, Diane (Larry) Jenkins; brothers, Dan, Jack, and Jeff Rama; several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, and a brother, Mike in 2013. Cremation has taken place and there will be no services.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs.

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Happy 100th Birthday



An Open House celebrating Kenneth Becker’s 100th Birthday will be held on Saturday, December 5th from 2 to 4 pm at Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church, 10295 Meyers Lake Rd., Rockford. Please join us in celebrating his centennial birthday! It would make it very special for him to see all his family and friends come by and share cake and ice cream with him. Hope to see you there! (No presents please, your presence is present enough.)

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Seeds and spheres of influence

Pastor Robert Eckert

Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church

10295 Myers Lake Ave NE, Rockford


I might have missed one while scanning the lineups, but I think because of its location, Courtland-Oakfield UMC is the only church in the Rockford/Cedar Springs area whose pastor has the pleasure and privilege of being a contributor to the religious columns of both the Squire and the Post. There are more individuals who write for “From the Pulpit” (Post) than for “A Message for You” (Squire) and there are annual tweaks to each roster, so in the four and a half years that I’ve been serving Courtland-Oakfield the rotation has never resulted in my turn coming up in the same week for both papers until this week. Now I know a little bit of how it feels to be a syndicated columnist.

Give God credit for good comedic timing because this moment of having potential access to an audience twice as big as usual arrives smack dab in the middle of God teaching me to be grateful for any opportunity, no matter what size, to be a means of God’s grace.

I was describing to a friend only a few days ago what I had been experiencing for about three months as a disheartening feeling of increasing irrelevance and ineffectiveness. With compassion and wisdom she crashed my pity party suggesting I pray that God would remind me that my only responsibility is to plant seeds; whether or not they grow and bear fruit is in God’s hands. “Your sphere of influence might only reach a few people,” she said, “but each of them has a sphere of influence, too, so you never know how God is using you.”

It was only a couple hours later when the speaker making a presentation to a group of pastors of which I’m a part mentioned in his comments, “It can be frustrating for pastors when they plant seeds but never get to see if they grow or bear fruit.”

Call it coincidence if you like, but I certainly sat up and took notice. I went into that night’s Bible study, one of those settings where I’d been counting who wasn’t present instead of appreciating who was, with a new-found enthusiasm. “I get to plant seeds!” I repeated to myself. And that was enough.

That was enough to transform a growing burden of unmet, albeit self-imposed, expectations into a celebration of being invited by God, entrusted by God, empowered by God simply to represent as best as I am able God’s unconditional love, and leave it to God to do with that what God will.

The numbers don’t matter. How many and how much are not mine to measure. Even if it is only one person to whom I can communicate the slightest glimpse of the hope,  healing, and hospitality God offers, I have done my part.

If you’re reading this, then maybe a seed is being planted that will germinate in you in the same way that a brief conversation with a friend and a general remark from a public speaker planted seeds in me that are beginning to sprout in welcome, meaningful, and productive ways.

May we all find comfort and satisfaction that God has placed us and places us in relationships with others where we and they can give and receive what is needed, when it is needed. What becomes of that is in God’s hands. Our task and our joy is to plant seeds.

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December 9, 1955 to November 22, 2012

Three years have gone by

since we have seen your face,

and still in our hearts you hold

a special place.

We still remember things

throughout the years.

Sometimes with laughter and

sometimes with tears.

We miss you.

In Loving Memory

Sharon, Heather & Lindsay

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Betty Jane Peterman, age 71, of Howard City passed away early Saturday morning, November 14, 2015 at her home in Howard City.  She grew up in Riverbend, Michigan and married her high school sweetheart, Bob, on February 4, 1963.  Betty worked with her beloved husband at the Howard City Auto Clinic and made the Howard City area home for 30 + years.  She was preceded in death by her son Steven Peterman.  Surviving are her husband Robert; daughter Peggy; son and daughter-in- law John & Charlene Peterman; grandson, Christopher Larsen; granddaughters, Kati Rife and Ariel Yeager and three great grandchildren.  Memorial services will take place on Saturday at 11:00 am at the Heckman Funeral Home with Pastor Joshua Putnam officiating.  The family will greet friends from 10 am until time of services.  A luncheon will follow at the Morley American Legion.

Arrangements by Heckman Funeral Home, Howard City

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Scott Allen Cook Sr


Scott Allen Cook Sr, age 51, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, November 10, 2015. He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Barbara Cook; sister, Christina Martin.  Scott will be lovingly remembered by his children, Melissa Cook & Dave Roark, Sara & Ivan Cook-Cerda, Scott Jr. & Dayna Cook; grandchildren, Kylee, Kendall, Kayden, Christina, Kamdon and Alexa; his longtime companion, Robin C. Daugin; his children’s mother, Mary Cook; sister, Marcy & Chuck Hosler; several nieces and nephews.  Funeral services will be held at the funeral home on Saturday, November 14 at 6:00 P.M.  with Rev. Leonard Meyer officiating.  Friends may meet the family on Saturday, 4 – 6 P.M.  In Lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made to assist the family with expenses.

Arrangements by  Hessel-Cheslek Funeral Home, Sparta, www.hesselcheslek.com

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Alvin “Butch” Ostrander, 73, of Cedar Springs, died Monday, November 9, 2015 at his home. Alvin was born August 9, 1942 in Evart, Michigan, the son of Aaron and Mildred (Stanton) Ostrander. He enjoyed antique tractors and going to the Old Engine Show in Buckley. Surviving are his children, Barbara Walters, Tammy Ostrander, and Brian Ostrander; five grandchildren; two great grandchildren; brother, Harold Bushey. He was preceded in death by four brothers and sisters. The family will greet friends on Friday from 5 to 7 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. There will be no formal service. Private family interment Solon Township Cemetery.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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