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Aeromed drops in for “Show and Tell”

Students with a Kent County Sheriff Deputy and horse from the mounted unit. Courtesy photo.

The students at Cedar Trails Elementary received a special treat Wednesday when School Resource Officer Deputy Tom McCutcheon arranged a little “Show and Tell” for the kids out on the school lawn.

The theme was public safety, and on hand to show and tell the kids about what they do was the Cedar Springs Fire Department, Kent County Sheriff Department Mounted unit, the Grand Rapids Police Department, and even Aeromed dropped in for a visit.

Excited students got an up close look at the Aeromed helicopter. Courtesy photo.

Deputy McCutcheon has organized the Cedar Trails “Show and Tell” for the students the last few years. 

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Fuel spills, causes fire

By Judy Reed

A Nelson Township man was working on a fuel tank in his garage on Sunday, May 12, when gas spilled and ignited, sending the garage up in flames.

According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, they were toned out to the 7400 block of 16 Mile Rd about 3:27 p.m. A firefighter who lives nearby was on the scene within 5 minutes, and helped the man get a vehicle and a boat out of the three-stall garage.

Fraser said that the garage was unattached so the fire was contained to the structure. The roof came down shortly after they arrived on scene. “It burned hot and quick,” he said.

Courtland and Sand Lake Fire assisted Cedar Springs at the scene.

Fraser said the bulk of the fire was knocked down in about 45 minutes. “With the roof down, it made it harder to get to certain spots,” he noted. They cleared the scene after about 1-1/2 hours.

Fraser wants to remind people when they have a fire, do not attempt to put it out yourself before calling 911. He said that the man threw soapy water on the fire in an effort to extinguish the flames before calling for help.

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The Post travels to Ireland

The Post recently traveled to Ireland with the Bolinger family, of Solon Township. Steve and Tammy and their daughter Juliana, 14, recently returned from a two-week trip to both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. While in Ireland they explored numerous castles, kissed the Blarney Stone, explored Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Coast, crossed a suspended rope bridge, saw where parts of Star Wars were filmed and much more. In the photo above, Juliana is shown holding the Post in front of Cahir Castle.

Thank you, Bolinger family, for taking us with you!

Are you going on vacation? Be sure to take along a printed edition of the Post and get someone to snap a photo of you or your family with it. Send it to us along with some info about your trip (where you went, who went along, what you saw) and send the photo and info to news@cedarspringspost.com. We will print as space allows.

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Red Hawk baseball wins 3, loses 2

Jarrett Hoogerhyde on the mound against Ottawa Hills.

On Monday, May 6, the varsity baseball team traveled to Fremont to play a double header against the Packers. In game one, junior Kyle Wise took the mound. With a great defense behind him, he managed to throw a one-hitter. At the plate the Hawks managed 13 hits, led by Thomas Reed and Peyton Newman who each had 3. Trevor Reed added two and Dylan Williams hit a bases-loaded triple. Bryce Marvel, Logan Kobayashi, Jarrett Hoogerhyde and Conner Ellison each had hits as well. Great defense and aggressive bats led to a 10-0 win.

In game two, the Packers game to play. Nathan Draper threw the first four innings, allowing 4 runs. Bryce Marvel finished the game on the mound and led the team at the plate with two hits. Nathan Male dropped a perfect bunt in the sixth inning to get his hit. Kobayashi, Newman, Thomas and Trevor Reed, along with Williams each scattered hits throughout the game. It came down to the bottom of the 7th, when a couple of costly errors allowed Fremont to score the winning run. The final score was 5-4.

Trevor Reed crossing the plate to score a run.

On May 9, Ottawa Hills came to town in a rescheduled rain out game from two weeks ago. Senior Jarrett Hoogerhyde took the mound for the Red Hawks. He threw a complete game, striking out three. At the plate, the Red Hawks totaled 13 hits, led by senior Nathan Draper with 3. Seth Biggs had a pair of hits, as did Kyle Wise who also had 4 RBI. Other Hawks with base hits were Hoogerhyde, Dylan Williams, Peyton Newman, Trevor Reed, Bryce Marvel and Aiden Brunin. The final score in the rescheduled game was 15-0.

On Saturday, May 11, the Hawks traveled to Allendale to play in a tournament. They drew Allendale in their first game. Despite a great pitching performance from Bryce Marvel, who struck out 9 in 5 innings of work, the Hawks fell to Allendale 7-3. Our boys were up 3-1 going into the bottom of the 7th and just couldn’t close it out, committing 5 errors in the inning. Peyton Newman led the team with 2 hits, while Trevor Reed, Dylan Williams, Seth Biggs, and Conner Ellison each added one hit each.

In the second game, the Red Hawks played a tough Ravenna team. Seth Biggs and Conner Ellison split the first 6 innings on the mound and Nathan Draper game in and closed out the 7th inning to earn the eleventh victory of the season in the 10-3 win. The boys pounded the ball, getting a total of 14 hits. Nathan Male, Thomas and Trevor Reed, Peyton Newman, Bryce Marvel and Jeremy Campione each had two. Dylan Williams and Seth Biggs added one hit apiece.  

With the exception of the final inning in the Allendale game, the Red Hawks played excellent defense. Nathan Male made a few eye-popping plays in right field. He threw 3 runners out at first base and used his great speed to make a full-speed diving catch. The Red Hawks are sitting at 11-9 as they enter the final two weeks of the regular season.

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Showcasing the DNR

A photography moment, outside the door, at the side of the road

By John Pepin, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

“Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing,” – Pete Seeger 

Rolling through the bucolic countryside on some forgotten copper-claim byway, I glanced over my shoulder as I crested a small hill.

A beautiful crocus garden, with a knobby rubber truck tire, underneath an apple tree, outside an abandoned home. Photo by John Pepin.

When I saw what I saw I pulled the car into the crunching gravel at the side of the road. I turned around and headed back, parking on the shoulder.

Just beyond a shallow ditch was a house set back off the road. There was an old, leafless apple tree to the side of the front yard. The gnarled, gray fingers and upturned arms of this old matriarch reached wide to protect a sublime treasure lying beneath.

Around the sides of a big, knobby tractor tire were dozens and dozens of blooming crocuses, white, purple and even a handful colored yellow, bright and bold like buttercups. I had never seen so many crocuses in one place – it was like a sea of purple and white, moving slowly with bursts of wind that blew across the brown grass of the yard.

I wanted to take some close-up photographs of this wonderful spray of heaven. I turned to approach the house to knock on the door to ask permission. When I did, I stood shocked to see that not only was no one at home, but the house was dark, broken and abandoned.

A couple of rows of crocuses ringed the outside of a knobby rubber tire in a beautiful garden found not far off the side of the road. Photo by John Pepin.

The house was a green, metal, put-together kind of structure with white pines standing tall in a row behind. An old car was left in the back. Some animal had chewed through the screens that covered the doors. The concrete foundation had big holes in it. The roofline was busted uneven, and the steps were gone from under a sliding glass door that sat about midway down the length of the house.

No sidewalk, pathway or trail through the grass was discernable.

All kinds of questions were swirling around in my head, basically amounting to, “What happened here?”

By the look of things, this house had once indeed been a home. There had been someone here to drive the old car, to likely walk out to the mailbox on a warm summer’s day and sit underneath the pines on a cool autumn evening.

And there was someone here who obviously admired the simple and profound magic produced by mixing sunlight, rich earth, a little bit of rain and a few flowering plants. I wondered whether this unknown gardener was here long enough to witness for themselves the exquisite crocus garden beneath the twisted branches of the apple tree.

Did someone die, lose a job, divorce, go to jail or endure some other hardship? I saw no toys or swings or other signs of children around the place. I was reminded of something Bob Dylan wrote: “I see the screws breaking loose, I see the devil pounding on tin, I see a house in the country being torn apart from within.”

Did these people maybe just leave to be gone for good? Gone from the hardscrabble living a lot more than a few people find within these remnant locations – scatterings of bleak houses, situated between rusted railroad tracks, broken-down, left-behind schools, country stores and the cracked pavement off blacktopped county roads that inevitably lead to nowhere special?

There was no way to know, at least not from where I was standing.

John Fogerty wrote, “Looking out across this town, kinda makes me wonder how all the things that made us great got left so far behind. This used to be a peaceful place, decent folks, hard-working ways.”

That spring day, I was like most people, I suspect.

I was on my way to another thing, in another place, with my watch running slow amid the relentless crush of demands of this world, and its nagging “Where-are-you?” technology, tugging at the corner of my jacket.

It felt like someone had ahold of my arm, leading me away from this lonesome and quiet place where I could have sat all afternoon, just wondering.

Before I left, I did take several photos of the dazzling spring crocuses.

I wanted to bring with me a little bit of that garden out from under the shadows of that apple tree and whatever happened to those folks in the green-metal house.

I wanted to shine for these people a little bit of the light they’d left behind in their presumed misfortune – that magnificent blanket of flowers. And so, I share this story and photos to try to spread around the beauty left outside the door, at the side of the road.

Of course, I could have this whole thing wrong.

Maybe the people who once lived here found a big payday somehow—a la “Kinfolk said, ‘Jed, move away from there.’” I want to hope that’s what happened—“swimming pools, movie stars”—however unlikely.

At the very least, I hope they made out all right someplace else, in another state, country or atmosphere.

Maybe right now, there’s a lady on her knees in the green, spring grass, with a garden spade, digging a hole in the ground.

In the distance, there’s an old man approaching. He’s taking a good long time to get there because he’s trying to roll a big, knobby truck tire in a straight line. He’s going to roll that wheel until it falls over on its side next to the lady, under the shade of an aging apple tree.

In the skies above, swallows tip and turn, the breezes are warm and light.

Back up on their new porch, with the green-metal roof, the couple will later sit and sip something sweet while the sun falls behind the pines. Cool air descends, bringing down the purple night.

Those tough times they might have had trying to make a life living in the Michigan north woods exist now only in their dreams and memories, a long time gone. Maybe there’s a picture of their Michigan crocus garden hanging on their wall.

Meanwhile, that old house, with the torn screens and sagging frame, sits alongside the road with the howling elements of nature pounding a little harder on the roof and walls each year—sensing weakness in the structure, the inevitable decay and demise.

But under that tree remains, a delight for the eyes and the soul – a promise of renewal, regeneration and revival—he purple and white crocuses, with a few dashes of yellow sprinkled in.

No more than a few inches tall, they have the unlikely power to stop a passing car whirring along the roadside, to make a man get out with a camera to wonder and to think.

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Alpha Family Center appoints development director

For over twenty-six years, northern Kent County has been home to Alpha Family Center of Cedar Springs, an organization that has supported over 6,000 families making life decisions. Chrystal Newman, longtime resident of Rockford, has taken on the role of Development Director. She will work to increase Alpha’s presence within the community by building relationships with individuals, churches and businesses.

From left to right: Teresa Hathaway, Executive Director, Chrystal Newman, Development Director, and Pastor Chuck Smith, Board President. Courtesy photo.

“I have been a supporter of Alpha Family Center for years and know the tremendous reputation it has within the community,” said Chrystal. “I am humbled to be part of such a dedicated organization.” When asked how the community could help, Chrystal stated that the Board of Directors is seeking two items in the immediate future. First, a gently used passenger van is needed for transporting clients. “We have seen too many women over the years unable to take advantage of community services because of lack of transportation,” she explained. The second way the community can help is by making a monetary donation to assist in paying off the existing mortgage balance of approximately $23,000. 

Alpha Family Center is known for providing an array of services to the community, including parenting education, material support with clothing, formula and diapers, etc., self-administered pregnancy tests, options education, as well as an onsite GED and H.S. diploma program. The Center’s board members are: Chuck Smith, Michael Kornoely, Tom Kaastra, Janice MacFarlane and Laurie Russo. Anyone wishing to volunteer or make donations can contact Alpha Family Center at 616-696-2616.

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State Department of Ed visits Cedar Springs

From left to right: High School Principal Ron Behrenwald; Martin Ack- ley, MDE; a New Beginnings High School student with her citizenship award; and Superintendent Scott Smith. Courtesy photo.

Cedar Springs had had a special visitor last Wednes- day, May 1, when Mr. Mar- tin Ackley, Director of theOffice of Public and Gov- ernmental Affairs at the Michigan Department of Ed-ucation, paid a visit to Cedar Springs Public Schools to see the great things being done inthe district.

Interim State Superinten- dent Sheila Alles has made it a priority at the MichiganDepartment of Education to stay focused on Customer Service, and each member ofthe MDE Leadership team is visiting at least 5 local dis- tricts or child care centers this school year.

Martin Ackley listens closely to Asst. HS Principal Jeremy VerWys, while Superintendent Scott Smith looks on. Courtesy photo.

When asked why he waspaying Cedar Springs Public Schools a visit, Ackley said, “We want to high-light and celebrate the great things happening in our education centers, and find out what MDE can do for students and school districts throughout the State.”

The MDE hopes these vis-its will aid staff members by helping them see withtheir own eyes the things that are making a difference to the children in Michigan.

Superintendent Scott Smith and others toured the cam-pus with Ackley. The tour included visiting the CherryHealth Clinic at Red Hawk; the R1TS program at Red Hawk; iReady with Jo Spry at Beach; an MICI class- room at Beach; and ASD room at Cedar Trails; and then New Beginnings Alternative High School, Early Middle College, FFA, and the broadcasting studio atCedar Springs High School.

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Court affirms Duram conviction

Glenna Mary Duram, 50, convicted of first degree premeditated murder in the May 2015 shooting death of her husband, Martin Duram, in Ensley Township, will not be getting a new trial.

Glenna Mary Duram

Duram had appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals–before Chief Judge Pro Tem Jane Beckering, Judge Deborah Servitto, and Judge Cynthia Stephens–contending that evidence admitted in court showing the titles of websites she had visited on her cell phone on the morning of the murder constituted inadmissible hearsay and was unfairly prejudicial. The titles of the websites were all Ruger-related—which was the type of gun she shot her husband Marty with.

The judges disagreed with her assertion, in an opinion on April 29, saying that “Although the evidence did not disclose the content of the webpages or the purpose for which the user accessed them, reasonable jurors could infer from the evidence that defendant had accessed web-pages related to the murder weapon in contemplation of killing Martin…The evidence was relevant because it had a tendency to make the existence of the state of mind required for first-degree premeditated murder more probable.”

The court found no due process violations in the case, which was tried in Newaygo County Circuit Court. Duram had shot her husband five times before shooting herself twice in the head. She was found under a blanket on the floor. Evidence showed, however, that she had moved around the home, even locking the door, after shooting herself.

All three judges affirmed the conviction.

Duram is currently serving a life sentence without chance of parole.

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Beat the Boredom

By Judy Reed

Playing at an area park is just one of the ways for kids and parents to beat the boredom of long summer days until school starts again.

When you’re a kid, the long, hot days of summer seem to go on forever. It’s not long be-fore kids exhaust their ideas ofwhat to do and moms hear thefamiliar refrain, “There’s noth-ing to do! I’m bored!” Well, don’t you believe it. With a lit-tle searching, you’ll find hun- dreds of activities taking place in West Michigan where fam-ilies can have fun and spend some quality time together. In this week’s special pullout sec-tion of “Beat the Boredom,” you’ll find just a fraction ofthe many things going on thissummer—festivals, summerenrichment programs, camps,fishing and more! Turn to pag-es 7-18 to see what’s on tap for you this summer!

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Ditch walkers clean up trash

If you are from this area, you might be familiar with the wild orange tiger lilies. They are sometimes referred to a “ditch lilies” since they grow abundantly in road ditches. On Saturday, May 4th, five Ensley residents became “ditch walkers.”

Back row (L to R): Glenda Middleton, Ed Davis, Susan Cohen, Aaron Nieubuurt. Front: Bridget Nieubuurt. Courtesy photo.

They began what they hope to blossom into a bi-annual roadside pickup. “Maybe you saw us as we spent two hours on Cypress Avenue from 136th to Hometown Express and bagged trash from both sides of the street,” said Susan Cohen. “Our haul, including some pickup from earlier in the week was 15 bags of trash and recyclables.”

Ensley Township cleanup is scheduled for May 10th and 11th and Cohen said they will first separate what is recyclable from the trash. Trash will be brought to the township and recyclables will be taken to recycle centers. Any funds from returnable bottles and cans will be donated to Love, Inc. in Newaygo.

They received donations from an Ensley resident and donations from two businesses to purchase supplies. They are planning another cleanup walk in the fall with a meal to follow.

“This was truly a win/win experience meeting neighbors and enhancing the beauty of our neighborhood,” said Cohen. “As stewards of the earth we plan to grow as a mustard seed.”

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