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The eagles have landed

Tim Hindenach sent in this photo of the eagles at Pine Lake.

Tim Hindenach sent in this photo of the eagles at Pine Lake.

Randy Johnson snapped this shot of an eagle at Sand Lake

Randy Johnson snapped this shot of an eagle at Sand Lake

We continue to get eagle photos from area readers. This week we received clearer photos of an eagle sighting at Pine Lake that we ran last week (thank you Tim Hindenach) and a new sighting at Sand Lake. Randy Johnson took his photos on Friday morning, April 22. “I was able to get a few reasonable photos (low light/foggy conditions) from the north shore of Sand Lake, of this beautiful bird,” he wrote. Thank you, Randy!

We have gotten photos from Algoma, Solon, Nelson, and now Sand Lake. The Post asked Ranger Steve Mueller about whether there were now quite a few eagles here, or whether these could be the same birds.

Eagle numbers have increased significantly during the last several decades due to the Clean the Water and Clean Air Acts and the discontinuance of chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides like DDT,” explained Mueller. “It is likely that some eagle pictures may be the same individuals by different people because eagles are wide ranging.”

Eagles can often be found near bodies of water, since fish make up over half of their diet. They also consume other birds, mammals, and small prey.

Do you have wildlife photos you’d like to send us? Email them to news@cedarspringspost.com, along with your contact info and some information about the photo (what’s in it, where it was taken, etc.) We will print as space allows.

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Sen. MacGregor reads to CTA students

State Sen. MacGregor

State Sen. MacGregor read to the kindergarten and first grade students at CTA

N-MacGregor-reads2Michigan Senator Peter MacGregor stopped by Creative Technologies Academy for a visit on Friday morning, April 22, and read to the kindergarten and first grade students. He read “Bobby Bramble Loses His Brain” by Dave Keane. Senator MacGregor discussed the difference between fiction and non-fiction books with the young students and encouraged them to read with their peers, siblings and adults. He made sure to allow time to answer the many questions the students had, such as: How did you get elected, who’s your boss and what’s your favorite food?

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The Post travels to Colombia

N-Post-travels-to-Colombia-Springs-ChurchThe Post recently traveled to Colombia with The Springs Church mission team. Members of the team included Matt Goehler, Pastor Barry Briggs, Cindy Mason, Cathy VanOss, Bill VanOss, former Springs Pastor Gary Cruce, Johna Alexander, Floretta Reighn and Shane Jewell.

The group traveled to Bogota, Colombia on Saturday, April 9, and then on to Medellin, Colombia on Thursday April 14. They did some painting at a church, and spent time with the girls at an orphanage called Findesin, which means “the end of without.” They also handed out the Gospel of John and tracts to people in both communities. “There were a couple of people that came to know Christ through this activity,” said Cindy Mason.

Cindy described the area around the orphanage. “There are homeless people that sleep in the median along the road of the orphanage, and people pulling around carts, picking through trash.”

She said they took the girls on a day outing. “We enjoyed the arcade and lunch with them, and then purchased each of them a new outfit. We gave them homemade new dresses, snacks from the U.S. and crocheted stuffed animals. We gave them donated backpacks and shoes. We gave the girls love. Although verbal communication was tough, we were still able to spend time with them and show them how much we all cared for them through playing, photo taking and lots of laughter. And in the end, we shared tears with them. We have no idea whether or not those same girls will be in the orphanage when we return or if they will be back with their parent(s). Therefore, the good-bye that we experienced could very well have been good-bye forever.”

Thanks so much to The Springs Church 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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Beware: you may be visited by pink flamingos

Flocking is a new way for Rotary Interact members to raise money for their organization. From left to right: Holly Scheer, Kaylee Klompstra, and Alec Falicki.  

Flocking is a new way for Rotary Interact members to raise money for their organization. From left to right: Holly Scheer, Kaylee Klompstra, and Alec Falicki.

By Randy VanDuyn

On Sunday afternoon, April 24, a flock of pink flamingos took up residency on the front lawn of Marge and Jack Clark’s home. The flamingos allegedly escaped from the Cedar Springs Rotary Interact Club. Jack and Marge were surprised and entertained to see the exotic pink birds in their yard with a hot pink sign stating, “You’ve been flocked!”

The Clarks now have a unique opportunity to pay a small fee that supports the Interact Club and they get to select the next recipient to flock. This is confidential until the chosen recipients see the flock of pink flamingos in their yard! It’s a great way to support our local kids, community, and to have fun throughout Cedar Springs.

The Interact Club, sponsored by the Cedar Springs Rotary Club, is made up of high school students from CSHS and CTA. This is exciting, as it’s the first year Cedar Springs has had an Interact Club. Other communities with Interact clubs include Greenville, Rockford, Lowell and Kenowa Hills.

The Interact Club is a great service organization, like the Cedar Springs Rotary Club. It’s all about our youth learning to lead and be great community volunteers. This will help to build our community with a philosophy of “service above self.”

Some students of the Interact Club were part of the Rotary Life Leadership Conference last June. The CS Rotary sponsors student participation in the Life Leadership Conference each year. Students are selected by CS Rotarians Julie Wheeler, of Independent Bank, and Aaron Gauger, of White Creek Lumber. Selected students attend a camp with approximately 140 other young leaders from Rotary District 6290.

The CS Interact Club was spearheaded by Dr. Laura VanDuyn, Cedar Springs Superintendent of Schools, after joining the local Rotary Club and working alongside local Rotarians. The Interact Club is now led by Rotary advisors, Nicole Kozminski of Independent Bank and Randy VanDuyn, who serves on the Board of Directors for the CS Rotary and the Red Flannel Festival. Josh Cooper, CSHS teacher, assists the Club leaders and offers his classroom as the meeting place for the Club.

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Montcalm educator wins excellence in education award

Kathy Maguire poses for a photo with Baldwin Heights principal, Mike Walsh, and her mother, Elizabeth Fraser, after accepting her Excellence in Education award from Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.

Kathy Maguire poses for a photo with Baldwin Heights principal, Mike Walsh, and her mother, Elizabeth Fraser, after accepting her Excellence in Education award from Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.

Kathy Maguire talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting her Excellence in Education award.

Kathy Maguire talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting her Excellence in Education award.

A Montcalm County educator known for her commitment to encourage students to read and explore new books and for devoting her own time to help teachers and students has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Kathy Maguire, is a media center specialist at Baldwin Heights Elementary School in Greenville. The school is part of the Greenville Public Schools district.

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education award program in 2014 to recognize outstanding public school educators across the state during the school year. 

Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school or school district. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Each winner also is featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations:  WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, and FOX 47 in Lansing. The news segments featuring Maguire aired last week.

For the Excellence in Education awards program, the Lottery has teamed up with Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo. Izzo met recently with Maguire at the Breslin Center and presented her with the award.

Maguire said her favorite part of being an educator is “helping teachers and students find the resources they need to excel. It’s also seeing the joy on students’ faces when they find just the right book and it clicks with them and changes their lives.”

Maguire said she was attracted to a career in education because of her father, Morley Fraser, who was a football and baseball coach and teacher at Albion College. “He instilled the love of education in all six kids in our family. In fact, the whole family entered the education field.”

She said she’s motivated to do her best each day because “my father taught me to help ‘win the game’ in every job, so I go the extra mile to help the teachers win the game in their classrooms and to win the game with students so they know they are valued and respected and that I’ll help them in any way that I can.”

The Excellence in Education award nomination for Maguire described her as “the most upbeat person on our staff” and who “always goes beyond anything that is expected.”

Our media center is a welcoming, friendly place to be thanks to her caring, diligence and the love of the staff and kids. It’s not unusual for students to stop in the media center after school just to talk to her. Taking time for students never stops for Kathy,” the nomination said, adding that “volunteers are a common sight in our media center because she is so accepting and appreciative of anyone who might want to help.”

Maguire has been an educator for 15 years, the last 11 with the Greenville Public Schools.  She attended Alma College and the Moody Bible Institute.

Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:

Excellence – Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement.

Dedication – They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed.

Inspiration – Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations either academically or professionally.

Leadership – They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts

Effectiveness – The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.

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Ease into gardening with a raised bed 

Raised bed gardens with benches make it easier to plant, maintain and harvest. Photo credit: Bonnie Plants  

Raised bed gardens with benches make it easier to plant, maintain and harvest. Photo credit: Bonnie Plants

By Melinda Myers  

Raise your garden to new heights for easier access and greater productivity. Raised beds allow you to overcome poor soil by creating the ideal growing mix, plus make gardening time more comfortable thanks to less bending and kneeling.

Whether you purchase a kit or build your own, there are a few things to consider when creating a raised bed garden.

Locate the garden in a sunny area if possible. Most plants require at least six hours of sun, and vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and melons produce best with a full day of sunlight.

Select a long-lasting material such as interlocking block, fieldstone, plastic lumber or naturally long lasting wood like cedar. The material selected will influence the shape and size of your garden. Some materials allow for curved beds while others are limited to squares, rectangles and other angular shapes.

Design your raised bed to fit your space and your needs. A three- or four-feet width makes it easy to reach all parts of the garden for planting, weeding and harvesting. Raising your planting bed at least 8 to 12 inches improves drainage and provides an adequate space for most plants to root and grow. If you want to minimize bending, go higher. Add benches to increase your gardening comfort and ease. Bonnie Plants has free downloadable plans (bonnieplants.com/library) for building a raised bed garden with benches in just one afternoon.

Roughen or loosen the existing soil surface if your bed is built on compact, slow-draining soil. This will allow water to readily move from the raised bed into the soil below. Cover the bottom of the bed with newspaper or cardboard, if needed, to suffocate existing weeds and grass.

Line the bottom of your raised bed with hardware cloth to reduce the risk of animals burrowing into your garden. Lay the hardware cloth over the ground and bend it up along the inside of the raised bed walls.

Fill the bed with a quality growing mix that is well drained but also able to retain moisture and nutrients. This may be a mixture of quality topsoil and compost, a high quality potting mix, or a planting mix designed specifically for raised bed gardens.

Grow any plants that you normally would grow in ground. Just make sure the plants are suited to the growing conditions (such as sunlight, heat and wind) in your area. Since the soil mix and drainage is ideal in a raised garden, you will be able to grow more plants per square foot. Just be sure to leave sufficient room for plants to reach their mature size.

Keep your plants healthy and productive with proper watering. This is critical for growing any garden, but even more crucial in a fast-draining raised bed. The simple act of raising the garden height increases drainage, and a raised bed filled with planting mix means more frequent watering. Consider using drip irrigation or soaker hoses for watering ease. Always water thoroughly when the top inch of soil is dry.

Add some mulch to help reduce watering and the need for other garden maintenance. Spread a layer of evergreen needles, pine straw, shredded leaves or other organic matter over the soil surface. This helps conserve moisture, suppresses weeds and adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes. You’ll spend less time watering and weeding throughout the season.

Add an organic fertilizer at planting if your planting mix does not already contain one. Apply again mid-season if the plants need a nutrient boost. Always follow the label directions on the fertilizer container.

The time and effort invested in creating raised beds will be returned many times over with years of healthy and productive gardens.

Gardening expert Melinda Myers has written over 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Bonnie Plants for her expertise to write this article. Myers’ website is www.melindamyers.com

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New girls 7-8 softball teams have winning records

8th Grade softball team

8th Grade softball team

From Amanda Gerhardt

The Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recration Department is proud to be offering a 7th and 8th grade Softball team for the first time. The teams are coached by Neal Kooiman, 7th grade, and Dave Castor, 8th grade. They held try outs in February and are fielding teams of 11 players each. The girls worked hard with practices in March and then started their season on April 11 at Northview. The teams have played Northview, Lowell, Godwin, Wyoming Lee, and Sparta, and so far and both teams have a winning record!

The 7th grade team has had some exciting moments including a homerun from Katelin Kooiman. The teams is currenlty 8-3. The next home game for them is on Monday May 2, versus Sparta. The game will be played at Rockford Springs Community Church on M57, just east of Ritchie. They will play a double header at 4:30 p.m. They will close out their season at home on Monday May 9 vs. Wyoming.

With a current record of 6-3 the 8th grade is doing great as well. They have seen some exciting homeruns from Kaylie Andres, Kyla Andres, Zoe Castor and a grand slam from Kaelyn Colclasure. They have their next home game on Wednesday, May 4 vs Sparta. There will be double header at 4:30 p.m. at Rockford Springs Community Church.

We hope you will get out to watch these girls and show them the support of our great Red Hawk Community!

7th Grade softball

7th Grade softball

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DNR to give folks a hand in their hunt for morels

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources provides an online interactive map that highlights the state’s 2015 wildfires and prescribed burns—each more than 10 acres in size—to help mushroom hunters in their quest for morels.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources provides an online interactive map that highlights the state’s 2015 wildfires and prescribed burns—each more than 10 acres in size—to help mushroom hunters in their quest for morels.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources provides an online interactive map that highlights the state’s 2015 wildfires and prescribed burns—each more than 10 acres in size—to help mushroom hunters in their quest for morels.

Morel mushrooms are often found in locations where large fires occurred the previous year,” said Jim Fisher, resource protection manager for the DNR Forest Resources Division. “Each spring we get calls from people who are seeking details on those sites to hunt morels. We’ve enhanced the features of this map to give our customers the information they are looking for in a mobile-friendly, easily accessible package.”

The DNR’s interactive Mi-Morels map provides forest cover type information, latitude and longitude coordinates and state-managed land boundary information. You can find it at www.michigan.gov/mi-morels.

Morel mushrooms commonly sprout in locations burned by wildfires or prescribed burns with a tree canopy; grass or sunlit open areas are less likely to produce the tasty fungi.

While the map may provide details on the cover type that was burned, it’s up to the user to investigate whether morel mushrooms are growing at any location on the map,” Fisher said. “Just because a spot is marked on the map, it doesn’t mean morels will be growing at the area identified. We’re providing a resource, but it’s up to the hunters to head out to the forest and see what’s available.”

The information and data in the map on burn locations, state forest cover type, and state-managed land boundaries are available for users to interact with and download via the DNR Open Data portal. This site gives residents and public land users of Michigan access to Michigan DNR spatial data and information.

The Department of Natural Resources is not responsible for the incorrect identification of morel mushrooms. For more information on safe mushroom hunting, visit the DNR’s website.

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Girls tennis wins Sparta Invite

S-Tennis-varsity

The Cedar Springs Lady Red Hawks Varsity tennis team traveled to Sparta on April 16 to compete in the annual Sparta Invitational, and came home with the first place trophy. Host Sparta came in second place, followed by Fremont in third place, and Grand Rapids Union in fourth place.

According to Coach Ed Russel, medals were awarded to team members who finished in first or second place.

Cedar Springs players earning medals for first place included #1 singles Emily Pastoor; #2 doubles Anna Krupp and Alyssa Marshall; and #3 doubles Michaela Tawney and Morgan Shevock.

Taking second place for the Red Hawks was #3 singles Jordan Ackerman; #1 doubles Anna Behrenwald and Mariah Rios; and #4 doubles Makeelie Lemery and Sam Finch.

The rest of the lineup for the day included Emma Schut at #2 singles and Jessica Brunett at #4 singles.

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March was National Reading Month

Second grade students Issabell Barr and Leda Gitchel reading with flashlights during Camp Out Day.

Second grade students Issabell Barr and Leda Gitchel reading with flashlights during Camp Out Day.

In the CTA Elementary, we celebrated reading all month long in March! Our celebrations included:  dressing up for Beach Day, “camping out” in our classrooms, having special visitors share their favorite books, and having a grand Battle of the Books showdown for students in grades third through sixth!

Beach Day occurred on the wettest day of the month, so all activities were forced indoors. Students took it all in stride though and still donned their sunglasses while reading their favorite books on beach towels. We at CTA don’t allow a little rain to bring us down!

The Hard Covers team (L to R):  Sage Sidlauskas, Jack Fulkerson, Kate Norman (5th Grade teacher), Kylee Turoski, Austin Fisk and Ethan Slock.

The Hard Covers team (L to R): Sage Sidlauskas, Jack Fulkerson, Kate Norman (5th Grade teacher), Kylee Turoski, Austin Fisk and Ethan Slock.

Camp Out day was a very cool day, too! We had many students bring in their favorite camp-out flashlight to read as though we were under the stars! Classrooms were pitch-black dark, except for the glowing of the flashlights. You could hear a pin drop throughout the halls except for an occasional “This is so cool!”

We had a few very special visitors throughout the month of March. On March 11, we had the Red Flannel Queen and Court come and read their favorite story books. Then, on March 25, the very busy State Representative Rob VerHeulen visited our school to share one of his favorite books, Duck for President!, with the students. Thank you Representative VerHeulen for your very informative visit!

State Representative Rob VerHeulen read to Kindergarten and First grade students during National Reading Month.

State Representative Rob VerHeulen read to Kindergarten and First grade students during National Reading Month.

As the end of National Reading Month drew to a close, we celebrated by having a Battle of a Books competition. Mrs. Norman, the fifth grade teacher at CTA, worked endlessly to make the battle a huge success. Five teams – The Book Hoarders, The Readinators, The Book Wizards, The Hard Covers, and The Book Dominators – went head-to-head to answer really tough questions about pre-selected books. The battle lasted seven rounds and ended with a tie breaking question, pushing The Hard Covers forward with the win; The Book Dominators came away with the second place win!

It was another great Reading Month at CTA! We can’t wait to see what next year’s celebration brings.

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