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Police investigate homicide near Sand Lake

Police at the scene of a homicide in Ensley Township. Photo courtesy of woodtv.com.

Police at the scene of a homicide in Ensley Township. Photo courtesy of woodtv.com.

Police are investigating the death of an Ensley Township man last week as a homicide.

Firefighters responded to a garage fire on 128th Street, near Balsam, last Wednesday, May 13. A neighbor reportedly asked firefighters to check on some neighbors, and when they did, they found a man and a woman inside the home, and apparently deceased.

Troopers from the Michigan State Police Hart Post responded to the scene, and after making the scene safe, determined that the woman, Glenna Duram, 46, was seriously injured, but still breathing. She was transferred to the hospital and is still under medical care.

The man, Martin Duram, 45, was deceased.

Police reported that both had suffered gunshot wounds, and that the man would be examined during an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact D/Sgt. David Johnson, of the MSP Hart Post, at 231-873-2171.

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North Country Trail to travel through area

N-North-Country-Trail-logo

By Judy Reed

The North Country Trail, one of 11 National Scenic Trails, is one step closer to passing through the Cedar Springs and Solon Township areas, and Cedar Springs is one step closer to becoming a National Trail Town.

Mark Weaver, of the National Park Service, and Superintendent of the North Country Trail, presented a memo of understanding to representatives from the two communities Tuesday evening, at the Community Building Development Team meeting. Mayor Jerry Hall received it for Cedar Springs and passed it on to City Manager Thad Taylor, and Supervisor Bob Ellick received it for Solon Township.

The North Country Trail stretches 4,600 miles, across seven states, from the New York/Vermont state line, to North Dakota. It is the longest of the 11 trails.

From left to right: Mark Weaver (Superintendent of the North Country Trail), Luke Jordan (intern with the National Park Service who has actually hiked the entire trail), Andrea Ketchmark (NCTA In Lowell), Charles Vannette (president West MI Chapter NCTA). Photo by Tom Noreen.

From left to right: Mark Weaver (Superintendent of the North Country Trail), Luke Jordan (intern with the National Park Service who has actually hiked the entire trail), Andrea Ketchmark (NCTA In Lowell), Charles Vannette (president West MI Chapter NCTA). Photo by Tom Noreen.

The Community Building Development Team began working with the North County Trail Association and National Park Service last summer on the possibility that it could come through the area, and has outlined possible routes.

Weaver explained that the National Park Service would be the arm responsible for planning the trail by doing the optimum location review. “We will inventory all the cool stuff in the area and start gathering information on the 30th,” he said, referring to the National Trail Celebration Day at Long Lake Park, on May 30, from noon to 4 p.m., where residents can give feedback on what cool and interesting features in the area that people should see. There will also be maps available. (More info on that at the end of story.)

After the celebration, they will begin to sift through the feedback they get, and figure out which sites would best be featured on the trail.

“We look at the scenic, cultural and historical qualities of an area, and try to connect that in as many ways as possible,” explained Weaver. “The North Country Trail is a collection of stories. There may be a lot of cool sites that have nothing to do with the people and their history, or their culture. We are telling the story of your community.”

He said they would then look at all the issues, come up with three alternate routes, and then decide on the best one. And just because certain cool features in the area might not make the cut, doesn’t mean that they couldn’t be accessed by a loop off the trail. “This could help your community identify other places for trails. Loops create of richness of experience,” he explained.

Weaver noted that the White Pine Trail would be considered, along with others in the area, and that they would not strong arm anyone into selling property. “We work with willing sellers and public lands,” he said. “The lines on the map are a guide; it sets the general direction for the way we are going. It sets the stage, rather than writes the script.” He also promised that at every milestone in the planning process, they would come back to the community. He hopes that they will have the plan completed this summer.

Also on hand was Luke Jordan, an intern with the National Park Service, who has walked all 4,600 miles of the trail; Andrea Ketchmark, of the North Country Trail Association (NCTA) in Lowell, and Charles Vannette, President of the West Michigan Chapter of the NCTA. The NCTA is responsible for maintaining the trail, and designating the National Trail Towns. A Trail Town is a community through which the North Country Trail passes that supports hikers with services, promotes the Trail to its citizens and embraces the Trail as a resource to be protected and celebrated.

“We are definitely committed to Cedar Springs being a North Country Trail Town,” said Ketchmark. She later noted that the only way to get the trail done is by communities being involved, and that with the determination she saw in that room Tuesday night, it wouldn’t be a problem.

To give your input and to have some fun, come out to the National Trails Day Celebration at Long Lake Park in the pavilion, 13747 Krauskopf NE, Sparta (south off 17 Mile Road), from noon to 4 p.m. There will be hot dogs, ice cream, a petting zoo, games, music, popcorn, face painting, identification of medicinal plants, history of logging in Northern Kent County, a guided hike on the North Country Trail at 3 p.m., and a ham radio demonstration.

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Rockford Ambulance paramedic wins award 

Kevin Nawrot, a paramedic/FTO with Rockford Ambulance, was named the 2015 Michigan EMS Practitioner of the Year.

Kevin Nawrot, a paramedic/FTO with Rockford Ambulance, was named the 2015 Michigan EMS Practitioner of the Year.

The Michigan EMS Practitioners Association has named Kevin Nawrot, a paramedic/FTO with Rockford Ambulance, the 2015 Michigan EMS Practitioner of the Year.

“Kevin has quickly climbed the ranks to become Lead FTO and has proven to be a great role model to everyone that comes into contact with him,” said Matt McConnon, Operations Manager at Rockford Ambulance.

While Nawrot has a record of achievements during his tenure at Rockford, he is most notably known from a call that came in May 2014, when Nawrot was the lead provider and witnessed a cardiac arrest. He and his team worked on the pulseless patient for over 55 minutes.  Once at the hospital, the patient regained pulses and was treated by the hospital staff.  The patient was able to make a great recovery and was discharged home with minimal deficits.

“To walk out of the hospital after 55 minutes is very unusual,” reported Dr. Todd Chassee during a media interview in May 2014. Chasse had cared for the patient at the hospital.  “Without their efforts, I don’t think the patient would be here today.”

Rockford Ambulance has a cardiac arrest survival rate of 50 percent, higher than the national average of 33 percent.

The EMS Practitioner of the Year award recognizes an individual for his/her excellence and outstanding achievement that they have accomplished in the emergency medical services. Qualifications for the award include:

Hold a current license either as a Medical First Responder, EMT, Specialist, Paramedic, or Instructor-Coordinator

Licensed for a minimum of two years in the State of Michigan

Continually promote the profession of EMS through innovation and leadership

High personal integrity and character on and off the job.

The Michigan EMS Practitioners Association is the state’s largest professional association for licensed EMTs.

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2015 Wall of Honor

CTA Wall of Honor Members (L-R): Dr. DeWayne Coxon, Lexie K. Coxon, Alecia J. Terpstra, Amy Burton-Massey, Gary Bailey, Kyle Bohl, Gerry Verwey

CTA Wall of Honor Members (L-R): Dr. DeWayne Coxon, Lexie K. Coxon, Alecia J. Terpstra, Amy Burton-Massey, Gary Bailey, Kyle Bohl, Gerry Verwey

CTA inducted five people into the Wall of Honor for 2015, joining the two inaugural inductees from 2014, Dr. DeWayne Coxon and Lexie K. Coxon. The 2015 inductees are:

Gary Bailey – Director of Student Services, Board Member (President)

Mr. Bailey started the position of Director of Student Services and served the school for eleven years in that position. He most recently served CTA as President of the Board of Directors.

Kyle Bohl – Teacher, Director of Student Services, Board Member (Vice President), Mentor

Mr. Bohl is the only person to serve CTA as a teacher, administrator, and board member. Always willing to share his time and knowledge, he remains one of the most popular staff members among students, parents, and colleagues.

Amy Burton-Massey – Teacher, Building Leader, Mentor

Mrs. Massey was an elementary teacher for 11 years at CTA. Her infectious smile and outgoing personality was the face of our K-5 grades during her time her. She provided a safe, warm, and welcoming environment for our students and leadership for young teachers in our elementary.

Alecia J. Terpstra – Teacher, Class Advisor

Mrs. Terpstra is completing her 14th year of teaching secondary mathematics at CTA. She created the driver education program and taught driver education for several years. She has worked tirelessly over the years as a class advisor, sponsoring dances, fundraising, and planning, organizing, and implementing senior trips.

Gerry Verwey – Teacher, Coach, Mentor, NHS Advisor

Mr. Verwey taught secondary science for 7 years at CTA and he continued to coach cross country and basketball after leaving to teach at another school. He was a mentor to several young teachers and he will always be our “Coach” no matter where he is teaching and coaching.

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Water wisely for a beautiful garden and landscape

Collecting rain in rain barrels when it is plentiful and storing it until needed is an effective way to manage water for the landscape.

Collecting rain in rain barrels when it is plentiful and storing it until needed is an effective way to manage water for the landscape.

By Melinda Myers

Too much or not enough water and never when you need it. That seems to be the long time plight of gardeners. Add to this extended droughts, flooding and watering bans. What is a gardener to do? Become a water wise gardener.

Water wise is not just about growing drought tolerant plants or eliminating plantings. It is a holistic approach to managing water to avoid flooding that overwhelms sewer systems; improper watering that wastes water; and poor landscape designs that generate too much work and require too many resources.

Make this the season that you incorporate a few water wise habits into your gardening. You will find it is good for your garden, the environment and your pocketbook. Start with one or more of these strategies this year.

Select the right plant for the growing conditions. Plants that thrive in normal growing conditions for your area will be healthier, require less care and need less water. Look for drought tolerant plants that require less water once established.

Keep water out of the storm sewers and in the garden instead. Prevent flooding while improving your garden. Adding several inches of compost to the top 8 to 12 inches of soil increases the soil’s ability to absorb and retain water. This means less runoff into the storm sewers and less frequent watering.

Use plants to prevent runoff and conserve water. Plant trees, shrubs, and groundcovers to slow the flow of rainwater, increase the amount of water that stays in your landscape for your plants, and to filter water before it enters the groundwater. Install one or more rain gardens to intercept surface water runoff for use by rain garden plants and to help recharge the groundwater.
Provide plants with a healthy diet. Use a slow release non-leaching organic nitrogen fertilizer like Milorganite (milorganite.com). You’ll encourage slow steady growth, so your plants will require less water and be less prone to insect and disease problems. Plus, the slow release nitrogen encourages healthy growth and does not prevent flowering and fruiting.
Water wisely. Water plants thoroughly and only when needed. Water the soil, not the plant, using a watering wand, drip irrigation or a soaker hose so less water is lost to evaporation. Water early in the morning, whenever possible, to reduce water loss during the heat of the day and diseases caused by wet foliage at night.
Manage your lawns to reduce water use. Select drought tolerant grass varieties to reduce watering needs. Prepare the soil before seeding or sodding, or aerate and spread a thin layer of compost over existing lawns to increase water absorption and reduce runoff. Mow high to encourage deep roots that are more drought-tolerant and pest resistant. Allow lawns to go dormant during hot dry weather. If irrigating, water thoroughly when needed—that’s when your footprints remain in the lawn.
Conserve water and reduce time and money spent on plant care. Mulch the soil around trees, shrubs and other plants with several inches of woodchips, shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic material. Mulching reduces watering frequency, prevents soil compaction from heavy rainfall thus increasing water absorption. It also adds organic matter to the soil as it decomposes.
Repair leaking faucets, fittings and garden hoses. A slow leak of one drip per second can waste up to nine gallons of water per day.

Look for and use wasted water. Collect the “warming water” typically wasted when preparing baths and showers. Use a five-gallon bucket to collect this fresh water and use it for your containers and gardens. Collect water from your dehumidifier and window air conditioners for use on flowering plants. Do not use this water if environmentally harmful solvents have been used to clean this equipment.
Check with your local municipality if you are considering using gray water. Once you wash clothes, dishes or yourself, water is classed as gray water and most municipalities have guidelines or regulations related to its use.
Harvest rainwater if your municipality allows. The ancient technique of capturing rainwater in jugs, barrels and cisterns has made a comeback. Collecting rain when it is plentiful and storing it until it is needed is one way to manage water for the landscape. But first check local regulations before installing a rain harvesting system. Several states have banned rain harvesting, while others offer rebates or rain barrels at a discount to gardeners.

Melinda has over 30 years of experience as a gardening columnist and TV/radio host. She has a master’s degree in horticulture and has written more than 20 gardening books. Visit www.melindamyers.com for gardening videos and tips.

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Wedded Abyss

Tony (Steve Hutchins) and Elizabeth (Judy Schultz), both standing, help their daughter, Jessica (Anna Ambrose sitting) plan her wedding in Scott Phillips’ latest comedy at the Kent Theatre.

Tony (Steve Hutchins) and Elizabeth (Judy Schultz), both standing, help their daughter, Jessica (Anna Ambrose sitting) plan her wedding in Scott Phillips’ latest comedy at the Kent Theatre.

Reviewed by Tom Noreen

Wedded Abyss is a comedy that anyone who is married, is in the planning process of getting married, or knows someone who is any of the above can take to heart. At some point, writer Scott Phillips hits on about every aspect of the marriage process from proposal to the fait accompli. Intertwined in the irreverent treatment of the institution of marriage are pearls of wisdom. Jill Phillips’ music complements the dialog like a fine wine with a gourmet meal.

The laughs start with Scott’s instructions on proper audience etiquette and Grace Berlin’s critique of his performance and keep right on rolling until the very last line is spoken. Park people, flasher/bum Jon Gamm and his self-righteous bag lady cohort, Roshanah Dayton, are a hoot as they observe/participate in Kyle’s (Mark Stoll) proposal to Jessica (Anna Ambrose) in the local park. Before Jessica gets home to officially announce the engagement, her domineering mother, Elizabeth (Judy Schultz), has already begun planning the dream wedding of any young lady. Helping her with the details is wedding planner extraordinaire, Ambrosia (Terri Riggle) and Jessica’s teenage sister, Tiffany (Bre’Anna Schultz), who wants to ensure that the standard set is high enough for her own future wedding. All the while, Jessica’s dad, Tony (Steve Hutchins), is counting the pennies in his checkbook.

The first counseling session with Pastor Tom (Russ Cole) turns into a three ring circus, as more and more unannounced folks show up to put their two cents in to the pot.

At the other end of the spectrum are Kyle’s parents, Michelle (Lynda Ambrose) and Jake (Skip Schuster), who were never married and do not live together, yet got along very well.

As the planning continues, with little consideration for either the bride or groom, stress begins to build. The breaking point comes at Kyle’s house as the planning group tries to put their stamp on the rehearsal dinner. At this point the wedding is off.

To find out how it ends, you will have to buy a ticket for one of this week’s performances on either May 22 or 23. Adult tickets are $12 if purchased or reserved in advance, and $15 at the door.  If you are under 18 years of age, the price is $6. Tickets can be purchased at the Cedar Springs Library or by sending an email to phillips4ba@yahoo.com. For more details, please visit the CSCP website at http://www.cedarspringscommunityplayers.org or access the events Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1397681320550106.

 

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Boys track OK Bronze champions

The Red Hawk boys track team won the OK Bronze Championship last Friday. Courtesy photo.

The Red Hawk boys track team won the OK Bronze Championship last Friday. Courtesy photo.

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks boys track and field team took home the 2015 OK Bronze Conference Championship last week. After securing a number one seed during the dual season by going 5-0, the Hawks defeated the league last Friday at Forest Hills Northern. Final scoring was: Cedar Springs 130.50, Greenville 105.50, FHN 80.75, FHE 80.25, Northview 76 and Wyoming 50. This is their fifth conference title since 2000.

Leading the way for the Hawks was senior Austin Sargent, with a first in the 1600m, 800m, and 3200m runs, and he anchored the winning 4x800m relay team. The other three members of the relay team included senior Justin Jones and juniors Remington Sawade and Brandon Harthorn. Senior MavRick Cotten won both hurdle events, while Sawade was champion in the pole vault.

Earning All-Conference were: Sargent, Cotten, Jones, Sawade, Harthorn and sophomore hurdler Alex Douglas.

Other teammates that captured necessary points were Caden Burrows and Jaron Spencer in the shot put; Mike VanAssen and Brandon Sawade in the pole vault; Nikc Jackson and Taylor VanDyke in the high jump; Dallas Mora in the 3200m run; Jones in the 800m run; Cotten in the long jump; Douglas in both hurdle events; the 4x200m relay team of Jacob Hooker, Paul Mead, Lane Gott and John Todd; the 4x100m relay team of Gott, Austin Basso, Todd and Cotton; and the 4x400m relay team of Gott, Todd, R. Sawade and Jones.

“We struggled out of the gate in the field events. That is typically an area that we are strong at,” commented Coach Jeff Myers. “We didn’t earn the places and points that we expected. Yet, we didn’t panic, and got after it in the hurdles, relays and distance events. Many athletes set personal bests in 14 of the 17 events. All four relays ran their best times of the year.That’s what we focus on here, ‘What can we do to better the team?’ We don’t worry about what the competition is trying to do,” he added.

This week, the Hawks host the JV Conference meet before heading to GR Houseman Field and competing at the MHSAA regional meet.

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Council approves easement for brewery

N-Brewery

By Judy Reed

Construction is underway again on the Cedar Springs Brewing Company, at 95 N. Main, after the Cedar Springs City Council approved a right-of-way easement last Thursday, May 7, allowing them to move the building two feet to the north.

Excavation of the site was started two weeks ago, and temporarily halted, when they discovered that the building next door, Liquor Hut, did not have a foundation, and they could not construct their building with a zero lot line without possibly damaging that one. The Liquor Hut building was built in 1900, and it’s unknown whether it was built on a slab, or if there is foundation under other parts of the building.

City Manager Thad Taylor told the Council that the most feasible plan was to move the proposed construction two feet to the north, on the city-owned property (where the sidewalk is.) They approved the easement 6-0.

Owner Dave Ringler said there will still be parking, and they are still looking at a late summer/early fall opening.

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Program helps kids become money smart

Bank teller Genda Farnsworth working with kids on their piggy banks during the money smart program at the Cedar Springs Library. Courtesy photo.

Bank teller Genda Farnsworth working with kids on their piggy banks during the money smart program at the Cedar Springs Library. Courtesy photo.

The Cedar Springs Library partnered with ChoiceOne bank and the Kent County MSU Extension to educate preschoolers about money on April 18 and April 22. Age-appropriate books, including Max and Ruby in “Bunny Money” and the Berenstein Bears in  “Dollars and Sense” were the delight of 32 children and their parents.

Every child had “Bunny Money” amounting to $10. Throughout the book, Max and Ruby spent a dollar here, a dollar there until all their dollars were gone. The children were very engaged as they spent their Bunny Money a bit at a time, handing it in to ChoiceOne Bankers Stacey Helsel and Genda Farnsworth, as Children’s Parapro Kelly Roach took them through their $10 shopping spree.

Children received gift bags from the bank, a copy of “Dollars and Sense” from MSU, and made a piggy bank to take home, along with 10 pennies each to drop in the slot on top.

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Brownie troop donates to Fire departments

Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser accepts donation from Brownie troop #4282. Photo by J. Reed.

Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser accepts donation from Brownie troop #4282. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Girl Scout brownie troop #4282 recently sold Girl Scout cookies at cookie booths in Cedar Springs and Sand Lake, with the intention of donating proceeds to both towns’ fire departments.

On May 11, the troop made their donation of $50 to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, along with several boxes of cookies. “There’s not too many young girls that would donate their money to the fire department,” commented Fraser.

They also gave them $15 they raised at the cookie sale, through a donation jar, for people who didn’t want to buy cookies.

Sand Lake will also receive $50, cookies, and an extra $13 they received through donations at the cookie booth in Sand Lake.

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