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Early snowstorm slams West Michigan

Blowing snow, wind chills in the single digits and icy roads put the area in a deep freeze, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, causing hundreds of schools to close and many drivers to slide off the road.

Heavy lake effect snow piled up across the area, with most areas getting somewhere around a foot. According to WOOD-TV8, Tuesday’s high temperature of 19 degrees was the coldest high temperature ever recorded for that date in Grand Rapids. That’s 27 degrees below average. At this same time last year, on November 17, we had severe weather that even spawned tornadoes across the state.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Kent County was under another winter weather advisory until early Friday morning, with another 6-8 inches of snow expected. By Saturday and Sunday, temps are expected to climb above freezing again.

Now that winter seems to be here, Kent County Emergency Management reminds everyone to pay attention to weather conditions before heading out the door. Give yourself a few extra minutes to arrive on time.

The cold can cause problems for many, especially people with pre-existing medical conditions, young children, and seniors. “Be a good friend or neighbor. Check on those who are elderly or have a medical condition,” says Jack Stewart, Kent County Emergency Management Coordinator. “Making a daily call or visit part of your routine could really help someone in need.”

If you haven’t shut off water to your outdoor spigots yet, do it now. Make sure you have emergency kits in your car and home this winter. The Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness recommends you keep the following items in your home: Battery-powered flashlight, Batteries, Weather and/or portable radio, Extra food (canned or dried food is best) and a can opener, Bottled water (at least 3 gallons per person), First aid kit.

“If you lose power in your home and use a generator, be sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning,” Stewart says. “Also know the hazards if you need an emergency heating source, like a space heater.” Keep emergency supplies in your car as well. A small battery powered radio and extra batteries, a cell phone, and a blanket should always be kept within reach.

This early in the season, pets may be more vulnerable to the cold. Keep pets indoors as much as possible. The smaller the pet, the quicker the cold impacts them. Puppies and kittens are especially sensitive to the cold, as are older pets. Watch out for community cats that might crawl under the hood of your car to keep warm. Bang loudly on the hood before starting the car, and never leave pets in a car during the winter. Temperatures can be just as cold inside the car as they are outdoors.

More tips on winter preparedness from the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness can be found at: www.mcswa.com/Winter-Hazards.html.

 

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Red Hawk’s Alvesteffer voted WZZM13’s MVP of the season

Cedar Springs sophomore Collin Alvesteffer (center) receives the 2014 Season MVP award from WZZM13 and sponsor Mercy Health during last Friday’s edition of “On your sidelines.” Brent Ashcroft, left, and Dan Harland, right, are the show’s anchors. Photo by K. Alvesteffer

Cedar Springs sophomore Collin Alvesteffer (center) receives the 2014 Season MVP award from WZZM13 and sponsor Mercy Health during last Friday’s edition of “On your sidelines.” Brent Ashcroft, left, and Dan Harland, right, are the show’s anchors. Photo by K. Alvesteffer

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks Varsity Football team had a great season, going 9-2 and winning the OK-Bronze Conference Championship outright. They won their first playoff home game at Red Hawk Stadium, against Forest Hills Northern, and were defeated by Muskegon in the district regional the following week. They scored an average 35 points per game.

One of the sparkplugs that fired that success was sophomore quarterback Collin Alvesteffer, who was equally efficient on both offense and defense. He received a great honor last week when he was voted by fans as WZZM13’s 2014 Season MVP. WZZM listed 10 nominees for the award, and fan voting online narrowed it to three. Fans then voted again, and Collin came out on top. He was given the award on their final “On your sidelines” show of the season last Friday evening.

Collin was selected as a MVP of the week earlier in the season, and also voted to MLive’s defensive dream team. That’s a lot of attention for a 15-year-old. The Post asked how he was dealing with all the attention.

Collin Alvesteffer scored both touchdowns against the Muskegon Big Reds. Photo by K. Alvesteffer.

Collin Alvesteffer scored both touchdowns against the Muskegon Big Reds. Photo by K. Alvesteffer.

“It’s all exciting, but I just try to focus on the team’s success instead of my own,” said Collin. The attention was not something he was expecting. “I knew I was not the best football player that we had, so figured they would get all the attention,” he added.

Football is in Collin’s blood. He started playing flag football at ages 4-6, and then Rocket at age 7. He’s continued to play ever since.

The Post asked him if he did anything special to prepare for this season. “I just tried to become the best player and teammate that I could,” he remarked.

And it seems to have paid off, not just for him but the whole team. “We had excellent team work and effort in practice and during the offseason,” he explained, when asked why he thought the team did so well.

Collin knows his success was made possible by those around him.

“I want to thank my teammates and coaches for always pushing me and making me better,” said Collin. “But most importantly, I want to thank my Mom and Dad, because they support me no matter what and are my biggest fans.”

Collin’s Mom, Kelley Alvesteffer, won’t argue with that. “Collin has always excelled at football and I have always been proud of him for that. However, this year he learned that it is not about him. He learned to play for the team—not for himself. He learned good sportsmanship and learned to be truly humble.”

Congratulations to Collin, and we look forward to seeing what the Red Hawks can do in 2015!

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The Post travels to the Arctic Circle

N-Post-goes-to-Alaska-AGAINThe Cedar Springs Post traveled to the Arctic Circle last summer with John Osburn, of Nelson Township. Thanks so much, John, for taking us with you!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

 

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Do you remember the 1965 Palm Sunday tornado? 

N-Tornado-1965

The National Weather office in Grand Rapids needs your help. April 11, 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak and they  are looking for photos, home movies and eyewitness accounts of the tornadoes to be documented as part of their commemoration event. They are especially interested in details on the tornado that struck from near Marne to Comstock Park on that day. If you have firsthand accounts of the tornadoes or film of the event, please contact them at w-grr.webmaster@noaa.gov. You can also leave a phone message with your contact info at 616-949-0643 extension 356.

 

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Fundraiser brings in cash for camp

A live auction raised over $25,000 for Pine Ridge Bible Camp.

A live auction raised over $25,000 for Pine Ridge Bible Camp.

With Christmas songs playing in the background and holiday decorations on every table, 250 people shopped at the Pine Ridge Bible Camp’s 11th annual auction, held at Cedar Springs High School on November 8. A beautiful display of free Hors d’oeuvres and slices of layer cake added to the festive atmosphere, and shoppers tried to outbid each other during the silent and live auction.

Director Kevin Grifhorst spoke halfway through the live auction and read portions of letters describing what going to Pine Ridge Bible Camp means to children and their families. Bidders were given the opportunity to contribute towards scholarships for children. In a matter of minutes, over $7,000 was raised to help send children in need to camp.

In just one evening, 380 items were sold to raise a record-breaking $25,500. Then, an anonymous donor matched that amount and doubled it to $51,000. With $14,000 set aside for the camp scholarships, the rest will be used to help finish the lower level of the VerLee Dining Hall & Retreat Center at Pine Ridge Bible Camp.

 

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Red Hawk 8th grade football team undefeated

S-football-Eighth-grade

Congratulations to the 8th Grade football team, who have had two straight undefeated seasons. Way to go!

Back Row:  Coach Paul Ringler, Jason Magoon, Cody Gott, Wyatt Knauf, Colton Pope, James Myers, Coach John Gott, Coach Bob Wier

Middle Row:  Ryan Ringler, Jarrett Hoogerhyde, Kolby Swank, Ethan West, Bill Hammer, Kaleb Gordon, Xavier Anderson

Front Row:  Caleb Cook, Logan Hull, Austin Emmorey, Graham Bayink, Derek Egan

Missing from picture:  Lucus Pienton, Gage Gardner, Tucker MacDonald, James Powell

 

 

 

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Hunters can help fill food bank freezers 

OUT-Sportsmen-against-hungerSportsmen Against Hunger program

From the Michigan DNR

With Michigan’s deer season swinging into high gear, it won’t be long before many hunters are bringing their harvested deer into the local butcher shop to have the venison processed and prepared for the freezer. And thanks to the generosity of those same hunters, thousands of pounds of that venison will end up not in their home freezers, but at local food banks and soup kitchens to feed the state’s needy and hungry citizens.

The donated venison is made possible through the Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger program, a collaboration between the Department of Natural Resources and a number of conservation groups, designed to help hunters share their bounty with the less fortunate. Participants can donate an entire deer, a certain number of pounds of venison, or can simply make a monetary donation to support the program.

“We had around 30,000 pounds of venison donated through Sportsmen Against Hunger last year,” said Ray Rustem, who coordinates the DNR’s participation in the program. “Between the two buck tags and antlerless permits, some hunters are able to harvest multiple deer but don’t necessarily want or need that much venison in the freezer. By participating in the program, they are able to help feed the hungry while continuing to enjoy their sport.”

Since 1991, Sportsmen Against Hunger has helped connect wild game processors with hunters by providing a list of the processors that participate in the program. Hunters can simply drop off their deer at one of the facilities and the program will reimburse the processors $1 per pound for the venison that goes into the program.

“What’s an average deer produce for hunters, about 40 pounds of venison?” Rustem asked. “It costs more than $40 for most hunters to have a deer processed, so not all of the processor’s time and expense is being reimbursed with the $1 per pound they receive. They effectively end up donating that lost profit and we really appreciate their willingness to do so.”

Barb Haveman, who runs Barb’s Meat Processing in Comstock Park, said she’s already processed five deer for the program this year and predicts it will pick up with firearm deer season.

“There are so many people without food—folks who are disabled or are just trying to make ends meet. Who wouldn’t help somebody out like that? There are a lot of people who can’t afford meat. People are tickled to death to get the venison.”

Haveman said she usually charges $75 to $80 to process a deer. At the reimbursement rate of $1 a pound, she barely meets her expenses, let alone makes a profit, when she processes a deer for Sportsmen against Hunger.
“I still do it anyway,” she said. “It helps so many people. It just gives you a good feeling to help somebody.”

Hunters who don’t have an entire deer to donate can participate in the program by donating a pound of their ground venison when their deer is processed. Some meat processors only participate in the Give-A-Pound option rather than processing entire deer, to hunters should check http://www.sportsmenagainsthunger.org for a list of participating locations and what services they offer before bringing their deer in.

Dean Hall, the president of the Michigan Bow Hunters Association, has been managing the Sportsmen against Hunger program for eight years. He’s seen the program grow on an annual basis. “Participation numbers and donations are getting to the level we’d like to see, but of course we hope it will continue to be even more effective,” he said. “We definitely understand when people want to keep their deer to feed their families, but a lot of hunters will fill one tag for themselves and then take an additional deer, especially if they have doe permits. As awareness of the program spreads we’re seeing more participation from hunters, especially those who have harvested more than one deer,” Hall said. “Sportsmen Against Hunger helped feed 150,000 families statewide last year. Hopefully we’ll exceed that this year.”

Hall said there are a handful of areas in the state where participation numbers are higher than others – the Thumb, southern central Michigan, Kent County and Macomb County all particularly stand out.
“Over in Kent County, Barb’s Deer Processing really puts a lot of deer through the program, every single year,” Hall said. “The owner and the workers at that facility put 110 percent effort into making sure that they’re there to process the deer that people want to donate.”

There is a fear, Hall said, that because of the reduction of available antlerless deer licenses available in a number of areas this year, that there may be fewer deer donated this season. To make up for the potential deficit, Hall said his group is making an extra effort to reach out to landowners who have Deer Management Assistance Permits, asking them to remember the hungry this season when they fill their permits.

“Keep in mind two things,” Hall said. “The donation of deer is very important to feed the hungry. It’s staggering how many people are working but remain below the poverty level and who have to depend on food assistance.
And the second most important thing is when you purchase a hunting or fishing or trapping license, right then and there you can donate a dollar to the Sportsmen against Hunger program. If the license vendor doesn’t ask you if you want to donate, go ahead and tell him you want to donate.”

An administrative change in the DNR’s license sales system has made donating at the point-of-sale easier this year, Rustem said.
“In the old days, the system treated the donation as a separate license and vendors had to go back into the system and order the additional license,” he explained. “This year, we reduced the number of steps it takes to make a donation to one. That makes it much easier for hunters to donate.”

Current records show that sportsmen have responded well to the change.

“We think the program will hit around $70,000 in monetary donations this year,” Rustem said. “In the past we collected about $25,000 a year. This significant increase will allow the amount of venison that goes into the program to more than double in one year’s time. Knowing that the program will provide a minimum of 60,000 pounds of venison to those who utilize Michigan’s food banks and soup kitchens this year is pretty astounding, and is something our hunters can be very proud of.”

For more information on the Sportsmen against Hunger program, visit www.sportsmenagainsthunger.org.

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4th and 5th Grade Essay Contest

 5th Grade – Mrs. Harwood’s class with 1st place winner Nathan Fisk standing next to Mrs. Harwood

5th Grade – Mrs. Harwood’s class with 1st place winner Nathan Fisk standing next to Mrs. Harwood

4th Grade – Ms. Norman’s class with 1st place winner Rebekah Wineman standing next to Ms. Norman

4th Grade – Ms. Norman’s class with 1st place winner Rebekah Wineman standing next to Ms. Norman

Mr. George challenged the 4th and 5th graders to participate in grade level essay contest. 1st place for the fourth grade went to Rebekah Wineman. Nathan Fisk took first place for the 5th grade. Mr. George presented each of them with a Charger sling bag and declared all of the students in the two grades were winners because of their participation.

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Exciting football season ends at district final

Kaden Myers attempting to block an extra point.  Photo by K. Alvesteffer.

Kaden Myers attempting to block an extra point.
Photo by K. Alvesteffer.

 

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks Varsity football team had a phenomenal season, but it ended Saturday, November 8, when they faced the Muskegon Big Reds. Fans had a lot to cheer about this year, especially the team winning the OK Bronze championship—something the team hadn’t done since 1978. Great job, guys! We all look forward to seeing what the team has in store next year under Coach Gus Kapolka and staff.

Click here for highlights from Saturday’s game.

 

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Cedar Springs Police now Sheriff Deputies

Four Cedar Springs Police officers were sworn in as deputies Friday evening, November 7. From left to right: Deputy Mike Stahl, Deputy Chad Tucker, Deputy Chad Potts, and Deputy Ed Good. Post photo by J. Reed.

Four Cedar Springs Police officers were sworn in as deputies Friday evening, November 7. From left to right: Deputy Mike Stahl, Deputy Chad Tucker, Deputy Chad Potts, and Deputy Ed Good. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Four Cedar Springs Police officers were sworn in to the Kent County Sheriff Department Friday night, November 7, in a change of command ceremony at the Hilltop Administration building.

Officer Mike Stahl, Officer Chad Tucker, Acting Chief Chad Potts, and Sgt. Ed Good are now officially Kent County Sheriff Deputies. Sgt. Jason Kelley, from the Kent County Sheriff Department, will be in charge of the Cedar Springs unit.

The officers went through an unpinning ceremony, where their spouses unpinned their Cedar Springs badges. Officers Mandy Stahl and Jonathan Ludwick also participated in the unpinning, but will not be working for the Sheriff Department. Officer Mandy, who had been with the Cedar Springs Police Department for 12-1/2 years, decided to retire from police work, and is now working with animals at the Kent County animal shelter. Officer Ludwick was a part time officer.

The Cedar Springs Police before the ceremony. From left to right: Officer Chad Tucker, Officer Jonathan Ludwick, Acting Chief Chad Potts, Officer Mandy Stahl, Officer Mike Stahl, Sgt. Ed Good, and retired Police Chief Roger Parent. Photo courtesy of Kent County Sheriff Department.

The Cedar Springs Police before the ceremony. From left to right: Officer Chad Tucker, Officer Jonathan Ludwick, Acting Chief Chad Potts, Officer Mandy Stahl, Officer Mike Stahl, Sgt. Ed Good, and retired Police Chief Roger Parent. Photo courtesy of Kent County Sheriff Department.

After the unpinning, the officers then went out and changed into their deputy uniforms. Mayor Mark Fankhauser and others gave a few remarks to the audience during that time. “I want to express our sincere appreciation for the work they’ve done. They are top notch. They are still our police department, just with a different uniform. We will grow in a positive and dynamic manner and they will represent us on a much larger scale,” he said.

Dan Koornydke, with the Kent County Board of Commissioners called it a big day, and historic for Kent County. “It’s a great thing we are doing. It’s a win-win for Kent County and Cedar Springs,” he said, noting that Cedar Springs will get all the resources that the Sheriff Department has to offer.

Sheriff Larry Stelma also called it a historic event, and the largest partnering program in Kent County. “It’s innovative and progressive, and you don’t hear that much with City Councils,” he noted. He thanked them, and talked about the meetings with City Manager Thad Taylor and former Police Chief Roger Parent that got the ball rolling. He thanked Kent County Administrator Daryl DeLabbio for his work with staff to make sure interests of both parties were met.

Sheriff Larry Stelma (left) introduces Sgt. Jason Kelley (right), who will be in charge of the Cedar Springs unit. Post photo by J. Reed.

Sheriff Larry Stelma (left) introduces Sgt. Jason Kelley (right), who will be in charge of the Cedar Springs unit. Post photo by J. Reed.

Stelma also thanked the Cedar Springs Police Officers, who he said gave the program their vote of confidence. “It was a courageous move on their part,” he said.

He also thanked his staff, including Chief Deputy Michelle Young, for working out all the details, and thanked the community for having faith in the Sheriff Department.

“Change can be hard,” remarked Stelma. “It’s intimidating and unsettling. Both change and failure to change can be dangerous. When we fail to change, it leads to stagnation. Knowing when to change and how to manage it is critical.”

Stelma gave some history of law enforcement and the changes the city has faced over the years. “This is my town, my community, too, for over 50 years,” he told the audience. “This should be a happy time, an opportunity to build on what the Mayor, the Council, and the City Manager has done. We are maximizing services and being a better steward of our scarce dollars.”

When the deputies returned, they were pinned with their Sheriff badges, and sworn in by Sheriff Stelma. Chaplain Larry VandeVoren, who also used to work for the Cedar Springs Police Department, said a blessing over the officers, asking God to keep them from harm.

The officers and retired Chief Roger Parent were all presented with shadow boxes that contained a Cedar Springs Police Department badge and police patch. A shadow box was also given to the city to display.

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