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Special tribute to Alice Allen

By Lois Allen

I would like to extend a big old “thank you” to State Representative Mark Huizenga for his special tribute, as well as a birthday card and note that he personally sent to my mother, Alice Allen in honor of her 90th birthday. The State of Michigan Special Tribute was impressive and thoughtful to say the least. Framed and signed by both Representative Mark Huizenga of the Seventy-Fourth District and Peter McGregor, State Senator of the Twenty-Eighth District, it read, 

“Let It Be Known” that it is a genuine pleasure to extend special greetings to Alice Allen upon the occasion of her 90th birthday. We are grateful for this opportunity to join with her family and many friends to honor an individual who truly understands the beauty of life in its challenges and triumps.

Born on 07/18/1930, Alice Allen grew up in a world quite different in many ways from the one we know today. In the span of her lifetime, tremendous cultural, sociological, and technological changes have transformed our world. That Alice has lived and experienced life thoughout this period has given her insight, experience, and wisdom few of us can fully appreciate.

Alice Allen has richly blessed her community through her involvement with the Cedar Springs Post. As  a co-founder of the paper, Alice has dedicated an admirable proportion of her time to informing the public on important topics. Her commitment and virtuous character have set an example for all to follow.

Long ago, Charles Dickens made an observation on aging that often seems applicable to people like Alice, who have contributed a great deal to life around them. He said:

Father Time is not always a hard parent,

and, though he tarries for none of his

children, he often lays his hand lightly

on those who have used him well.

Surely, Alice breathes great meaning into this thought.

The One Hundredth Legislature

At Lansing

Saturday, July 18, 2020

She was proud to show me and I am truly grateful that you, as well as many others here in Cedar Springs, were able to put a smile on her face.

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State police investigating fatal accident

Troopers from the Michigan State Police (MSP) Lakeview Post are investigating an accident resulting in fatal injuries to a 26-year-old male from Hubbardston, MI. The incident occurred at the Crystal Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 26, 2020 at approximately 4:51 a.m. in Montcalm County’s Crystal Township.  

Preliminary investigation revealed three occupants were riding in the open back of a SUV passenger vehicle in a public area of the Crystal Motor Speedway before being ejected from the vehicle as it accelerated. A 26-year-old Hubbardston man, identified as Alex Richards, died as a result of injuries sustained after falling from the vehicle. A 26-year-old Vestaburg man also suffered serious injuries and had to be transported to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing by Aero Med medical helicopter. The third occupant ejected, a 25-year-old Sheridan woman, was not injured. 

The driver of the vehicle, a 30-year-old Ionia man, was arrested following the incident for Operating While Intoxicated Causing Death and lodged at the Montcalm County Jail pending arraignment. A 30-year-old Ionia woman riding in the front passenger seat of the vehicle was not injured.  The incident remains under investigation.

Troopers were assisted on scene by the Crystal Twp. Fire Department, Montcalm County EMS, Aero Med and Montcalm County Central Dispatch.

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School sports to start next week

From CS Athletic Director John Norton

Cedar Springs High School Fall Sports start the week of August 10.  All the tryout information you need—times, locations, etc. can be found on the school website by going to: http://www.csredhawks.org/Departments/Athletics/index.html 

Or just go to www.csredhawks.org and follow the link from the home page.

Remember, if you have a valid physical from sports last year, you do not need another one, but you must complete a form which is available at the website.

All highs school sports will begin on Wednesday, August 12, except for Football which will begin Monday, August 10 at 9 a.m. at Red Hawk stadium.

Middle school sports will begin later in August, and contact information and those days can be found at this website as well. If you have any questions, or you are new to the District, please email the athletic director at john.norton@csredhawks.org

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Michigan wolf surveys show stable, healthy population

A DNR trail camera image, taken in August 2019, of a gray wolf in the Upper Peninsula.

Recent winter survey results point to a minimum estimated Upper Peninsula population of nearly 700 wolves

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said this week that the state’s wolf population has remained relatively stable over the past nine years, with the most recent survey completed this past winter. DNR Wildlife Division staff who participated in this latest survey estimate there was a minimum of 695 wolves found among 143 packs across the Upper Peninsula. Pack size has remained stable and averages just under five wolves.

Dan Kennedy, acting chief of the Wildlife Division, said the DNR has surveyed wolves since 1989 when they began naturally recolonizing the U.P.

“The survey is important because it helps us monitor wolf distribution and abundance, answer research questions and evaluate progress toward state and federal recovery goals,” Kennedy said. “Our survey results continue to demonstrate that Michigan’s wolf population has recovered.”

Two gray wolves bedded down in the snow. Taken during a previous winter’s aerial wolf survey.

The survey was conducted from December through March, before wolves had produced pups, when the population is at its lowest point in the annual cycle.

“Once survey units have been identified for a given year, surveyors drive roads and trails in trucks and on snowmobiles looking for wolf tracks,” said Dean Beyer, a DNR wildlife research biologist who organizes the sampling and generates the wolf population estimate for the biennial survey. “Once they find wolf tracks, surveyors follow the tracks as long as is practical to determine the number of individual wolves that made the tracks.”

The wolf survey is completed by DNR Wildlife Division and U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services staff who search specific survey areas for wolf tracks and other signs of wolf activity, such as territorial marking or indications of breeding.

“Surveyors try to locate adjacent packs on the same day, to ensure they are not double-counting the same wolves,” said Beyer. “State and federal wildlife staff also trap wolves in the spring and outfit them with GPS collars to help determine pack boundaries. This helps determine which tracks belong to each pack during the winter survey.”

In 2019-2020, approximately 62 percent of the Upper Peninsula was surveyed.

After wolves returned naturally to the U.P. through immigration from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario in the 1980s, the population rebounded remarkably over time. The pronounced long-term increase in wolf abundance is evident, despite human cause-specific mortality, such as poaching and vehicle collisions.

Over the past decade, Michigan’s minimum estimate has hovered between 600 and 700 wolves, which is indicative of a stabilizing population.

“Given the relatively consistent abundance estimates since 2011, it appears the wolf population has likely reached the carrying capacity of the Upper Peninsula,” said Cody Norton, a wildlife management specialist with the DNR’s bear, wolf and cougar program in Marquette.

Since the winter of 1993-94, combined wolf numbers in Michigan and Wisconsin have surpassed 100 wolves, meeting one of the federally established goals for delisting wolves in the Great Lakes states. In 2004, Michigan achieved its recovery goal of a minimum sustainable population of 200 wolves for five consecutive years, and wolves were removed from the state list of threatened and endangered species in 2009.

Wolves in Michigan remain a federally protected species and may be killed legally only in defense of human life.

More information about Michigan›s wolf population can be found at Michigan.gov/Wolves.

Posted in Featured, OutdoorsComments (0)

Post Covering Cedar Springs for 32 years

Happy 32nd Birthday to The POST

by Lois Allen

Pandemic or no pandemic, birthdays keep coming. The Post is closing in on 32 years of local coverage. Thirty-two! We here at The Post are not here at The Post. Normal disappeared just as our staff has left the building. No one knows the future. How many businesses will survive? How many will disappear. Will we make it another year? Another month?

The Post building, where all the magic happened before COVID-19.

I’ve been through many difficulties keeping a local newspaper going since I took over operations over three decades ago. There have been some really tough weeks. But, thanks to a great crew, we always manage to pull it all together into a very nice little weekly. There it is on the newsstands, every week, The Cedar Springs Post. But the toughest week will be the one when I have to tell my staff that they no longer have a job. Tough. Like many small and independent business owners, it is heartbreaking.

How do I fit all the stories; the highs, the lows of over 30 years into one story? We’ve covered tragedy and triumph; the people and the life and experience of a close and ever growing community. 

Fortunately, we have saved all those stories. Not in my barn (bad idea), not in my pickup truck, (although it is full of old editions) not on the internet, although currently we are on it for now, but in book form, bound into hardcover and donated to the Cedar Springs Historical Society. Thirty-some books to showcase and chronicle Cedar Springs for the past thirty-two years.

Newspapers have struggled since the dawn of the web. Once, they were the place where you could find out what’s going on in your town while at the same time reading what’s on sale at the local grocery store or which restaurant is having a dinner or lunch special. It was all there in print. No connection needed, no power source and no password or user name required. Newspapers were the backbone of our newly formed nation, the land of the free. And it was news you could trust.

But things change. Sometimes for the good and sometimes not so good. Advertisers have so many venues to choose from now. The internet, robo calling, social media, Facebook, direct mailing… and so on and so forth. While big corporations have the means and the money to advertise nationally and are using the internet to boost business, small independent businesses do not. But the local newspaper is affordable to anyone and good for local businesses. These “mom & pops” and independently owned shops, facilities and restaurants make our town unique. 

We appreciate the businesses that are still with us, keeping us going in these crazy times. But many of our advertisers are struggling to stay afloat as well. When we lose them, we all lose.

The paper is a partnership that brings their customers to them while providing a public service that is actually not paid for with your tax dollars. It’s an independent business reflecting the uniqueness of a community while offering a service that is so much more than just covering accidents and fires. How often do you attend a school board meeting? That’s o.k. If you don’t, Post editor Judy Reed is there. She’ll let you know what’s happening while you enjoy some free time. Do you think city council meetings are boring? That’s because for the most part they are. But sitting there in your place is that editor from the local newspaper, and she’s taking notes. When we get a “tip” from our readers or a rumor starts to spread, she knows exactly who to call, who to talk to and what the public has a right to know. You can trust what you read because unlike “social” media and the worldwide web, legitimate newspapers are subject to libel laws if they print misinformation. 

Did your child make the sports team or the honor roll? They can feel a sense of pride when they are featured in the newspaper. We also have a partnership with the schools to get you up to speed on what’s going on there.  Sadly, a hometown newspaper has now become a luxury that is literally irreplaceable. When you lose your local paper, you’ve thrown out the baby with the bathwater. 

Without it, who can we really trust? Where will we get our information? How do we know if it’s true?

I’m not saying that the internet and social media aren’t great for some things. But when it comes to news, then forget about it. How many stories can you believe in the newspaper? All of them.

For those of you who love your Post, and we know thousands of you do, we wanted to show you what the inside of a newspaper looks like. I took a picture of our office which many never see. I wanted to hold onto the memory, the moment in my camera and in my mind, just in case it disappears.

In this issue we are introducing the people behind the scenes and our office cat as well. (see below). We hope to stay in Cedar Springs covering what’s up, but nothing is guaranteed except for death and taxes after all. Mostly, we thank you for reading and loving our Cedar Springs Post.

The POST Family

Publisher: Lois Allen

Lois’s workspace, where she does payroll.

“I started the paper in 1989 when my father sold The Squire and was going to drop The Post. I took over operations with just my mother and one employee. I run the paper by doing the paperwork, paying bills and taxes (lots of taxes) cleaning, doing the payroll, feeding the cat, coming up with promotional ideas and making sure it runs like a well oiled machine. The trick is to hire good people. And good workers are sometimes hard to find. 

I never married and never had children. The Post has always been my “baby.” It needs constant attention. 

I grew up in Grand Rapids and graduated from East Grand Rapids High School in 1973. 

I held many jobs. From factory, to cleaning restrooms, nurse aid, long-haul truck driver, and even worked for FEMA. I even joined the army and traveled to Germany for my job as a cargo truck driver in an effort to obtain my GI bill. I went to Davenport College where I majored in retail management.

I never worked for a newspaper until I helped out at The Squire, doing their payroll. After The Squire sold, I came up here to keep The Post going. When I started the paper, I knew little about newspapers or reporting and knew almost no one in Cedar Springs. I did know they really liked this little paper, because they were always eager to tell me. So, I gave it a shot thinking it would never make it more than a few months. Now, it’s been over 30 years and I’ve come to know Cedar Springs as my home. I find that people here pull together unlike in Grand Rapids. It was always exciting to be the center of whatever was happening. There’s never been a dull week!”

Editor: Judy Reed

Judy’s Office

“I have been editor at the Post since 2006, but I have been part of the Post family since the mid- 1990s.

I began by submitting public release articles for the soccer and girl scout organizations my kids were part of, and then one day Lois called and asked if I’d like to freelance for them, and so I did.

I attended school in both the Kenowa Hills and Sparta school districts and graduated from Sparta in 1979. That’s where I met my husband, Steve, and have now been married for 41 years. We have three children, and three grandchildren, whom we spoil whenever we get the chance, which is often! 

I love the work I do at the Post. It can be hard sometimes to write about the tragedies that occur in people’s lives, or the violence going on, or to listen to the petty bickering. But it is also a wonderful thing to be able to tell the stories of the people in our own backyard, to highlight their accomplishments, hopes, and dreams, and to hear back how much they appreciate it. If we don’t tell their stories, who will?

And lastly, I love my boss, Lois, we’ve come a long way together and she’s taught me a lot. She’s a great boss to have. She trusts me to do my job and has allowed me to be flexible on when and where I do my job—whether in the office or at home”

Office Manager: Mary Randall

Mary’s workspace.

“You will find me at the front desk just inside the front door. I am usually the one who answers the phone, takes classifieds, handles the accounts receivables, subscriptions for the paper, and tries to find answers to questions that come up.

I am married to Dan Randall and have 2 children, Jennifer and Thomas, with 5 grandsons, Westley, Nicholas, Gabriel, Seth and Lucas.

I have worked at the Post since 1994 for 26 years. 

We have lived in the Cedar Springs area since 1987 when we moved north from the Wyoming, Michigan area. 

Dan and I both graduated from Rogers High School in Wyoming.

I am old enough to retire but don’t want to, this job is perfect for my needs.

I have enjoyed a relaxed atmosphere at the Post and how everyone gets along to make a great team.

I appreciate the fact that Lois is flexible and understanding.”

Paper Delivery: Dan Randall

“I deliver the Post to businesses and drop boxes from Cedar Springs to Howard City.

I retired from General Motors in Wyoming after working in the factory for 30 years.

I started out filling in for the regular deliverers and then delivered regularly after they retired.

I am the husband of Mary Randall, The Post’s office manager.

I graduated from Rogers High School in Wyoming.

I always enjoyed seeing people and being out and about.”

Advertising Consultant: Melissa Kleyn

Melissa’s empty workspace. She’s been working from home since the COVID-19 shutdown.

“I have been the lead sales/marketing person for 4 years, since July of 2016. 

I am originally from Grant, Michigan. I graduated from Grant High School in 2005. After my husband and I married in 2011 we bought our first home in  Cedar Springs. 

I have been married to my husband, Evan Klyen, for 9 years and we have two girls, Skyler, 8, and Ella, 4. We have a 13 year old Yorkie named Harley and 2 cats! Luna and Daisy.

I love building amazing friendships with business owners and people in our community.  I also love helping them get news about their business to the community as well. 

I love my boss, Lois, so so much!”

Graphic Design/Composition: Belinda Sanderson

Graphics Department, taken over by Lois. Belinda has taken her computer and needed materials to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, since March 16, 2020.

“I have been working at The Post since Dec. of 2004, over 15 years! I started out part-time as a graphic designer building ads, and eventually learned composition and have been the lead graphics/composition person since July of 2007.

My husband, Michael Sanderson Jr., and I were married July 9, 2005 and I helped raise his daughter, Autumn, from the time she was 6 years old, she is now 21. I consider her my daughter. I’m also a step-mother to his two older sons, Devin and Michael the 3rd. 

I grew up in Cedar Springs on 16 Mile Rd off of Pine Lake Rd, the Allen’s were one of our neighbors. I graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1991. I’ve furthered my education by taking some classes at ACT, and GRCC.

I like EVERYTHING about working at The Post! I love all my co-workers, I love what I do – designing ads and designing the layout of the paper. I love the flexible hours, I don’t have to get up early – lol. 

I love my boss Lois BUNCHES! She’s a friend as well as a boss. She helps me out when I’m in a jam and gives me good advice, although sometimes I don’t listen – lol. She’s forgiving and understands that I can have a temper, but my heart is in the right place.”

Advertising Consultant: Marybeth Ford

Marybeth works from home. The above is our extra workspace for sales, as you can see Waldo likes to chill in the chair and wait for customers to greet. He’s been sad and lonely since the pandemic started.

“I started working at The Post in 2007 as a part-time sales consultant.

I grew up in Grand Rapids and moved to Cedar Springs because I wanted to move to a small town to raise my two children, LeeAnne and Christopher, who both graduated from Cedar Springs High School. I now have eight grandchildren, ages 1 – 17.

I have been with my partner, Scott, for nine years and we have three cats that we love like children and they cost just as much.

I graduated from Northview High School and got an associates degree from Jordan Collage in business administration and attended GVSU for a couple years.

I like talking. That’s what makes me good at my job. I enjoy working at the paper because every week I get to see an end product that brings the community and businesses together. Also, where else can you open the newspaper and see your child or grandchild’s picture.

I love my boss, Lois. She’s my friend and she’s afraid to fire me.”

Our Mascot: Waldo

Waldo loves to jump up on the front counter and greet everyone.

“I showed up at The Cedar Springs Post about four years ago. Lois didn’t want me, but I convinced her to take me in. I needed a home. She got me fixed and my shots and was looking for a home for me. I had to convince her that I was already home! 

The best part of my job here is greeting the customers when they come in and make sure they know they are welcome here. And more than welcome to pet me! Sometimes I throw myself on their papers or I might try and climb in their purse. Some people love to pet me, some not so much. I try to convince them. I’m a good convincer.

Other than that, I mostly lie around. Sometimes I lick myself. I usually take a nap around 3 p.m. It’s a good life. I love the people of Cedar Springs and am missing them.”

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Don’t forget to vote

Voters can vote safely from home or in person

Voters can safely cast their ballots in Michigan’s statewide primary election on Aug. 4 to determine candidates at the local, state and federal levels for the general election on Nov. 3.

The Aug. 4 primary election has a partisan section and voters should only vote in one party section. Voters must choose whether to vote for candidates in either the Democratic Primary or Republican Primary (or neither). If a voter crosses over and votes for candidates in both primary sections, none of those votes will count. Every voter can vote in the nonpartisan and proposal section of the primary ballot.

The Secretary of State encourages voters who already have a ballot at home to fill it out and sign the back of the envelope. Then, with the election a week away, voters should put it in the mail immediately or, to avoid possible U.S. Postal Service delays, deliver it to their local clerk’s secure ballot drop box if they have one, or to the clerk’s office if possible.

In-person voting will be available in every jurisdiction for voters who choose to do so and will be provided in accordance with social distancing and safety protocols to ensure the safety of voters and election workers. Wearing a mask is strongly encouraged.

Applying for an absent voter ballot

Voting from home is a right all Michigan voters have and is a safe way to vote and protect your health, and the process is secure.

To obtain an absent voter ballot, voters must submit a request to their local clerk in one of the following ways:

  • Voters with a Michigan driver’s license or ID may apply online for an absent voter ballot at Michigan.gov/Vote.
  • Voters may download and complete an absent voter ballot application at Michigan.gov/Vote, print it and sign it, OR write out a request for an absent voter ballot and sign it.
  • ° Signed applications/requests may be mailed to the clerk OR scanned or photographed and emailed to your clerk. Make sure the entire application, including your signature, is readable in the picture.
  • ° You can find your clerk’s contact information at Michigan.gov/Vote or by calling your city or township office.
  • Accessible absent voter ballot applications are available at Michigan.gov/Vote. Voters with qualifying disabilities may apply for an accessible electronic ballot that can be marked remotely, printed and returned to the clerk.
  • Requests to have an absent voter ballot mailed to you must be received by your clerk no later than 5 p.m. the Friday before the election (July 31). However, to avoid possible U.S. Postal Service delays as Election Day nears, voters are encouraged to request their absent voter ballot in person at their clerk’s office.

Voting and returning an absent voter ballot

Once your request is received by the local clerk, your signature on the request will be checked against your voter registration record before a ballot is issued. After receiving your absent voter ballot, you have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to complete the ballot and return it to the clerk’s office. Your ballot will not be counted unless your signature is on the outside of the return envelope and matches your signature on file.

If you’re already registered at your current address, you can request an absent voter ballot in person at your clerk’s office anytime up to 4 p.m. on the day prior to the election.

In-person voting available

Beginning 40 days prior to Election Day, voters have the option of voting early in their clerk’s office until 4 p.m. on the day before the election.

Polling places will be open in every jurisdiction on Election Day for voters who want to vote in person and will follow distancing, hygiene and safety protocols. Voters are encouraged to wear masks and maintain social distance while at the polls.

Each polling location will have at least one voting station adapted to allow a person to vote while seated. In addition, all voters, including voters with disabilities, have access to a Voter Assist Terminal in all polling places. The Voter Assist Terminal helps the voter mark a ballot. It will mark the ballot with the voter’s choices but does not tally the votes. Once the ballot is marked, it is counted in exactly the same fashion as all other ballots.

You can register to vote through Election Day

Citizens who are not yet registered to vote but who wish to do so in the Aug. 4 election may do so at the office of their local clerk up until 8 p.m. on Election Day. You can find your clerk’s information at Michigan.gov/Vote.

Proof of residency must be provided if registering within two weeks of an election. Acceptable documents include a driver’s license, state ID card, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document. Documents must have name and current address. Digital copies are acceptable.

Be democracy’s MVP: Sign up to be an election worker today!

Election workers are the Most Valuable Players of our democracy, ensuring free and fair elections for all. And our democracy needs election workers more than ever for the upcoming elections in August and November. Serving as an election worker is a paid position, and all election workers are trained on proper protocols.

During the coronavirus crisis, election workers are needed to assist clerks and count ballots. They will adhere to strict public health guidelines, including exercising social distancing, using sanitary equipment, and maintaining strong hygiene to protect themselves and others from coronavirus transmission.

Interested voters can sign up at Michigan.gov/DemocracyMVP.

Elections are the foundation of our democracy, and the way that all Michiganders can hold their leaders accountable in times of uncertainty.

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MDARD issues advisory regarding unsolicited packages of seeds from China

Consumers should not plant them and should report it to USDA-APHIS

From the Michigan Department of Agriculture

LANSING—Across the United States, people have been reporting receiving unsolicited packages containing seeds from China in the mail. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is warning residents who receive these packages not to open or plant the seeds.

The seeds are usually sent in white packages displaying Chinese lettering and the words China Post. Most recipients say they did not order anything, and that the packaging was labeled as jewelry. Some recipients have reported ordering seeds on Amazon and receiving these seeds.

“If you receive unsolicited seeds from another country, do not plant them. If they are in sealed packaging, do not open the package,” said Mike Philip, director of MDARDs Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division. “We don’t know what type of seeds are in the packages, but we do know they come in a variety of sizes and colors, with some reported to be very tiny. These unsolicited seeds could be invasive, introduce diseases to local plants, or be harmful to livestock.”

The packages may be a part of a brushing scam. A brushing scam is an exploit by a vendor used to bolster product ratings and increase visibility online by shipping an inexpensive product to an unwitting receiver and then submitting positive reviews on the receiver’s behalf under the guise of a verified owner.

“If planted, these unknown and potentially invasive species could have a very negative impact on the environment. Additionally, we’re asking people not to throw the seeds or packages away or dispose of them,” added Philip. “MDARD appreciates the cooperation of Michiganders who receive these packages as we work together to protect Michigan agriculture.”

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Services Plant Protection and Quarantine Smuggling, Interdiction and Trade Compliance Unit is currently investigating this situation across the nation. If you receive an unsolicited package of seeds from China, hold on to the seeds, packaging and mailing label, and contact MDARDs Customer Service Center, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.  5 p.m., at 800-292-3939 or via MDA-Info@michigan.gov.

For more information on MDARDs Pesticide and Plant Pesticide Management Division, visit www.michigan.gov/mdard.

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Top ways to take a safe vacation

(StatePoint) After months spent indoors at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s clear that many people are itching to get back out there and take a vacation. This is with good reason. Staying isolated for too long can take a substantial toll on one’s mental health and well-being, according to the American Psychological Association.

If you still feel uncomfortable with going far from your home for a travel experience however, traveling domestically can be a step in the right direction. There are lots of great places to visit a few hours’ drive from your home that you probably didn’t think of! Whether you’re looking for a beach stay, or some nature, exploring options close to home can allow for an escape you and your family want, and in a safe environment, such as an apartment or home vacation rental. And it’s an increasingly popular choice. According to trivago, a global accommodation metasearch provider, the share of users clicking on deals for such vacation rentals increased by 5 percent from February to June 2020, both in the U.S. and internationally.

As you book and plan your travel, here are a few tips to consider to help ensure you have a healthy and safe experience:

  • DIY Cleaning: If you are worried about cleaning standards, consider seeking out accommodations where you don’t have to worry about someone else coming into your space during your stay. Bring your own wipes, anti-bacterial soap and other supplies and wipe down surfaces when you arrive, and as often as needed. Of course, you should always check with your accommodation provider about their hygiene standards to make sure they meet your expectations. Major hotel chains have announced special cleaning protocols in light of the coronavirus.
  • Beating the Crowds: From beach houses to mountain cabins, try to look for a vacation experience away from densely populated city destinations, which is a good choice for those wanting to beat the crowds.
  • Staying Active: Getting away doesn’t have to mean staying indoors somewhere new. Take a leisurely stroll on a beach. Go on a hike in the mountains. Explore a national park you’ve always wanted to see. Brunch at a small local café. There are plenty of ways to stay active and have fun, all while following social distance guidelines.
  • Choosing Your Destination: So where is everybody going? The current most popular U.S travel destinations by click share according to trivago are:
  • 1. Las Vegas
  • 2. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  • 3. Panama City Beach, Fla.
  • 4. Virginia Beach, Va.
  • 5. Destin, Fla.
  • 6. Miami Beach, Fla.
  • 7. Ocean City, Md.
  • 8. Galveston, Texas
  • 9. South Padre Island, Texas
  • 10. Orlando, Fla.
  • 11. Key West, Fla.

For more travel tips and ideas, visit trivago.com, and trivago.com/corona for the most up-to-date travel restrictions.

Whether you hit up a popular destination or head somewhere remote, make sure you adhere to local health guidelines when traveling. And above all, stay safe and healthy.

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, FeaturedComments (1)

Red Flannel Festival canceled for this year

By Judy Reed

The Red Flannel Festival committee followed in the footsteps of most other fairs and festivals this year and posted an announcement this week that they have canceled this year’s Red Flannel Festival due to the restrictions on gatherings due to COVID-19.

“With the current restrictions set in place due to COVID-19, the Festival board did not see a path forward that did not put our most important asset, our community, at risk,” they said.

“This was a very difficult decision to make, and one not made lightly,” said RFF President Nancy Deyman. “With the current Executive Orders from the Governor, and it not looking likely they will change anytime soon, the Board thought it was best to cancel. Our first thought is the health and safety of our town and community, of our volunteers, vendors and board members. We will be back next year bigger and better!”

Deyman noted that Cindy Patin, who was selected to be Grand Marshal this year, will serve next year instead. And while there will not be a festival this year, there will still be a Red Flannel pageant. More details will be coming soon on that.

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Finally time to celebrate!

CSHS seniors celebrate commencement

Madi Morris was one of many CSHS seniors to officially graduate last week. Courtesy photo.

It took some planning and teamwork, but the 2020 graduates and their families finally got to celebrate commencement over several days last week at Red Hawk Stadium.

“Graduation went very well given the requirements we were under for Covid-19,” said high school principal Ron Behrenwald. “The graduates and their families and guests who participated in the awarding of the diplomas (just over 2/3 of the class) exhibited the full spectrum of emotion that we have at a traditional ceremony.  We made every effort to make this as meaningful and memorable as possible for all involved.”

Behrenwald said the students came to their scheduled appointment dressed in their gowns, cords, medals, and with their caps decorated. They walked with their family and guest from Red Hawk Stadium entrance to the stage set up on the track near the 50-yard line. The families and guest were able to get into position in front of the stage where the Board of Education members awaited the graduate who walked forward at the reading of their full legal name over the stadium speakers and the sound of Pomp and Circumstance playing in the background. 

The graduates then received their diploma cover from a BOE member and a professional photographer from Geskus took their picture. There was an area set up for the graduate and their family/guest to get a picture together.  Since students signed up for their timeslots on Sign-up Genius, they were able to walk through near their friends they wanted to and then get some photos with their friends behind the home side bleachers or around the school campus.  

“We even had the scoreboard lit up with 2020 on the time and the home score being 20 and the visitor score set at zero with it being 4th quarter, 1st and 10, with the ball on the 1 yard line.  All to represent the end of high school and the great start the Class of 2020 will have on the rest of their life and their post secondary choices,” explained Behrenwald.

The event was scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 7 to 10 p.m.  Behrenwald said Wednesday night got cut an hour short due to rain, but they came back the next night and finished the students who had to be rescheduled, which actually allowed one or two students who couldn’t make it any of the first two nights to come that night.

“We also videotaped the event and are in the process of recording the speakers scheduled to speak at commencement (Salutatorian, Valedictorian, and Commencement Speaker-Mr. Dave Stuart) and will be producing a video and hopefully a digital media piece that students and families will have as a record of the historical event,” noted Behrenwald. “We will use excerpts from the video to show each graduate receiving their diploma cover and then a school pic or senior pic of those who couldn’t be there with their name in the video.” 

The Class of 2020 leadership also decided to cover the cost for providing one 5×7 photo of the diploma presentation and one 8×10 of the family photo to each graduate since they had extra funding that would have normally been spent on the class but which wasn’t due to COVID restrictions.  

“All in all, we have heard VERY positive remarks and sincere thank yous from graduates and families who participated for making this as special as possible,” said Behrenwald. “Many were surprised by how personal and authentic as possible we made the presentation of the diploma covers. 

“This was my 21st commencement to plan and preside over in my career (13th at Cedar and 8 from Marshall High School) and yet was by far my most memorable and personally emotional one thus far for me.  I am nearing 4,000 signed diplomas in my time as a high school principal!” he remarked.

This is actually the second graduation ceremony held this year. There was one performed in the spring for a small group of students who were heading off to the National Guard and active army duty. 

Army and National Guard recruits graduated earlier in the spring. Pictured from L to R: Alexis Saagman,  Nathaniel Hackbardt, Alyssa Washington, Paige Oosting, and principal Ron Behrenwald.

“When the high school graduation had to be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 restrictions, I reached out to Mr. Behrenwald and asked if there could be some way to honor Alyssa and any other students that were joining the military and may be leaving before the new date,” explained Jody Washington. “He worked with us and was able to put together a special graduation event for four kids.”

They were Alyssa Washington, Alexis Saagman and Paige Oosting, who all joined the Army National Guard; and Nathaniel Hackbardt who joined active duty Army. 

Congratulations to you all!

Thank you to those who shared photos on our facebook page, see below:

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