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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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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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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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E. Ray Gordon, 89, of Cedar Springs, went to be with his Lord and Savior on Friday, November 6, 2015. E. Ray Gordon was born on January 17, 1926 in Sand Lake, Michigan, the son of Fay and Cora Gordon. After graduating valedictorian from Cedar Springs High School he enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He then married his high school sweetheart, Janet Gunnell on December 29, 1945. He went on to graduate from the University of Michigan with a degree in civil engineering. He was a founding partner in WBDC, Inc. He was a past president of the Exchange Club of Grand Rapids and a past officer of the Michigan Society of Professional Engineers. He had been a scout master for Boy Scout Troop #222. Ray enjoyed fishing, golfing, traveling and attending Cedar Springs School athletic events. He was a member of the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church and the Cedar Springs School Board for 29 years. Surviving are his children, Susie (Ken) Parker, Doug Gordon, Pam (Tim) Covell, Joel Gordon; 16 grandchildren; 27 great grandchildren; brother, Murry (Eva) Gordon; brothers and sisters-in-law, Cliff Snyder, Fred (Carollee) Gunnell, John (Mayda) Gunnell, Nancy (Ed) Bremmer, Shirley (Charlie) Gumina, Cam (John) Teusink, Maxine Gordon, Suzanne Gordon; several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Janet (Gunnell) Gordon; son, Tom Gordon; brothers, Ken Gordon, Don Gordon, Fay Gordon; sister, Lillian Snyder; brother-in-law, Tom Gunnell; sisters-in-law, Helen Gordon and Lorraine Gordon. The family received friends Monday, Nov. 9 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service was held Tuesday 11:00 am at the United Methodist Church, Cedar Springs. Pastor Steve Lindeman officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the United Methodist Church, 140 S. Main St., Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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

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Mr. Richard B. Goodell of Fruitland Park, Florida, formally of Cedar Springs, Michigan, age 91, passed away Monday, November 2, 2015. He was born on Saturday, February 16, 1924, to Garner and Jessie (Heiss) Goodell in Solon Township and was a graduate of Cedar Springs High School. As a truehearted countryman, Richard proudly and courageously served his flag and country in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. After the war, he was a dairy farmer for most of his life, which he truly enjoyed. Richard also was mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew him. Richard is survived by his beloved wife Betty; loving children, Bonnie (Zane) Ziviski, Janet (Larry) Gomaat, Keith (Cheryl) Goodell, Robert K. (Cathy) Brooks, Linda C. (Ron) Harper; ten grandchildren; nine great grandchildren; one great-great grandchild coming in February; sisters, Thelma Morris, Marie (Winfield) Bigney, and Donna Rhoades; sisters-in-law, Rosemary Goodell, Dorothy Visger; brothers-in-law, Edward Batchelder, John Batchelder, Shirley (John) Brenner. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Eleanor; brother, Donald; sister, Norma Robinson; son-in-law, Jay Markham; brothers and sisters-in-law, Natalie (Charles) Bolthouse, George (Geraldine) Batchelder, Elmer (Laura) Batchelder, Bob Visger, Harley Morris, Raymond Rhoades, and Patricia Batchelder. The funeral service for Richard will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 12, 2015, at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street, Rockford, MI 49341. A time of visitation with the family was held from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. and from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 11, 2015, at Pederson Funeral Home.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home


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Mrs. Sue E. Smith, aged 58, of Cedar Springs went to her heavenly home to see her sister and mother on Sunday, November 1, 2015. She is survived by her soul mate of 34 years John; stepdaughter Cynthia Smith; six step grandchildren; sisters, Sharon (Leroy) Simmons, Patricia Muste, Kathy Kenyon; brothers, James (Bernice) Muste, Tom (Cretia) Muste; brother-in-law Chet Neal; several nieces, nephews, cousins; father-in-law Edwin P. Smith; sister-in-law Pat (Dan) Fry; brothers-in-law, Alan (Marina) Smith, Terry (Maureen) Smith; good friend Barbara Anderson. She was a long time member of the Grand Rapids Griffins Boosters Club and enjoyed crocheting and making things for others. The family will greet friends from 1-4 pm on Sunday, November 8, 2015 at The Masonic Temple, 233 Fulton St., East Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503.

Arrangements by Memorial Alternatives

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Lela R. Spicer, 87, of Traverse City, formerly of Cedar Springs, passed away Saturday, October 24, 2015 at the Grand Traverse Pavilions with her family by her side. Mrs. Spicer was born August 18, 1928 in Barryton, Michigan, the daughter of Joseph and Edith (Adams) VanSyckle, she was one of 17 children. She was preceded in death by her husband, Richard in 1988 and a son, Danny in 2015. Surviving are her children, Patty (Steven) Osburn, Bruce (Rose) Spicer, Roger (Pat) Spicer, Debra VandenHeuvel, Rockland (Teresa) Spicer, Theodore (Tracy) Spicer, Gail (Dave) Spicer; countless beautiful and gorgeous grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. A private family graveside service was held at East Nelson Cemetery, Cedar Springs. Larry and Debbie Eadie sang and led the service. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or the Alzheimers Association.

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

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Minnia A. Hanes, 59 of Cedar Springs passed away October 22, 2015 in Grand Rapids, MI. Minnia was born November 10, 1955 in Sparta, MI, the daughter of George and Bernice Loughin. Surviving are her children, Cheryl (David) Finnila, Joshua (Kerri) Hanes and Jeremy (Carrie) Hanes all of Cedar Springs; grandchildren, Stephanie Finnila, Ethan and Allison Hanes and Alexander and Katherine Hanes; significant other, Daniel Towns of Cedar Springs and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded by her parents and several siblings. The family received friends Sunday from 6-8 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. No formal services will be held. Memorials to donor’s charity of choice.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home.

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