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Two die in Montcalm crash

Two people were killed Monday, January 17, after a driver lost control during icy road conditions and hit another vehicle.

According to the Michigan State Police, troopers from the MSP Lakeview Post were dispatched to the scene at approximately 1:23 p.m. Monday on Sidney Road, east of Fitzner Road, Montcalm Township, Montcalm County. 

Their preliminary investigation showed that a 2002 Dodge pickup was traveling west bound on Sidney Road when the driver lost control on the icy roadway, crossed the centerline, and struck an eastbound 2009 Ford head-on.  The driver of the pickup, a 67-year-old female from Edmore, and the driver of the Ford, a 64-year-old male, also from Edmore, were both declared deceased on scene.  

The passenger in the Ford, a 66-year-old female from Edmore, was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.  

Troopers were assisted on scene by Life EMS, Montcalm EMS, Montcalm Township Fire, Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office, and MSP Sixth District Accident Reconstructionist.

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Red Cross: National blood crisis may put patients at risk

Dire situation facing blood supply, those in need of blood transfusions; donors have the chance to help save lives, win trip to Super Bowl LVI

Kala Breder and her family. Kala needed 58 different blood products to save her life. Courtesy photo. 

The American Red Cross is facing a national blood crisis and they say it’s the worst blood shortage in more than a decade. A recent news release said that dangerously low blood supply levels are posing a concerning risk to patient care and forcing doctors to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available.

The Red Cross said that blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in vital medical treatments, and donors of all blood types—especially type O—are urged to make an appointment now to give in the weeks ahead.

In recent weeks, the Red Cross had less than a one-day supply of critical blood types and has had to limit blood product distributions to hospitals. At times, as much as one-quarter of hospital blood needs are not being met.

Pandemic challenges

The Red Cross continues to confront relentless challenges due to COVID-19, including about a 10 percent overall decline in the number of people donating blood as well as ongoing blood drive cancellations and staffing limitations. Additionally, the pandemic has contributed to a 62 percent drop in blood drives at schools and colleges.

“Winter weather across the country and the recent surge of COVID-19 cases are compounding the already-dire situation facing the blood supply,” said Dr. Baia Lasky, medical director for the Red Cross. “Please, if you are eligible, make an appointment to give blood or platelets in the days and weeks ahead to ensure no patient is forced to wait for critical care.”

Make an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 

The Red Cross and the NFL are partnering this January, during National Blood Donor Month, to urge individuals to give blood or platelets and help tackle the national blood shortage. Those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma in January will automatically be entered for a chance to win a getaway to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. As an extra thank-you from the Red Cross, those who come to donate will also be automatically entered to win a home theater package and a $500 e-gift card. Terms apply; visit RedCrossBlood.org/SuperBowl for more information.

Who donations help

Kala Breder knows all too well how dire not having blood available can be. In July 2020, hours after the birth of her son by emergency Cesarean section, Breder developed a complication and began bleeding uncontrollably. As doctors fought to save her life, they exhausted the entire blood supply at the hospital as well as all available blood within a 45-mile radius. Ultimately, she was flown to another hospital because there wasn’t enough blood locally.

Breder credits the 58 different blood products she received with helping save her life. “Without one of those, I probably wouldn’t be here,” she said. “I needed every last unit.”

Volunteers needed

In addition to blood donors, the Red Cross also needs the help of volunteers to support critical blood collections across the country. Blood drive volunteers play an important role by greeting, registering, answering questions and providing information to blood donors throughout the donation process. Blood transportation specialists – another volunteer opportunity − provide a critical link between blood donors and blood recipients by delivering blood to hospitals in communities across the country. To volunteer to support Red Cross blood collections, visit redcross.org/volunteertoday.

Blood drive safety 

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive. 

Save time during donation

Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.

Health insights for donors 

At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease who require trait-negative blood. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.    

 Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.  

Editor’s note: So there is no confusion, the American Red Cross is NOT affiliated with Versiti (formerly known as Michigan Blood), who holds blood drive in Cedar Springs each month (see page 2). Both supply blood to hospitals in Michigan.

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Winter storm hits Michigan

This was the scene on US131 southbound Wednesday near Post Rd. There were no injuries. Photo courtesy of Michigan State Police.

The snow is falling, the wind is blowing, and US131 is like a skating rink, with no relief in sight. That’s the situation as we go to press Wednesday evening, amid a winter storm warning that has been extended until Friday morning at 10 a.m.

“It’s not impossible that some places in Michigan could get 2 feet of snow in 72 hours and a drift of 4-5 feet,” said Bill Steffen, former Chief Meteorologist at WOOD-TV.

There have been at least two different pile ups on US131 today, with cars involved numbering in the double digits. And dozens of slide offs all over the area.

If you can, avoid traveling during the storm. Check on your neighbors and the elderly. The National Weather Service said temperatures will be in the 10s and 20s, with blizzard-like conditions.

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Red Hawks overcome adversity to have stellar season

Top story of the year

The Red Hawks Celebrate the District Title after a 21-14 win over Muskegon. Photo by Brandon Kramer.

By Judy Reed

In a season that was an emotional rollercoaster for the Cedar Springs football players, coaches, and fans, the team overcame adversity and showed everyone exactly what they are made of.

The team started out well, winning two of their first three games, winning by handy margins over Saginaw Swan Valley and Ottawa Hills, and losing only to Division 1 powerhouse Rockford. The Red Hawks were fresh off a a record-setting win over Ottawa Hills (70-35) and preparing for the game against Kenowa Hills when they were blindsided by a tragic event—the death of longtime assistant football coach and middle school teacher Kevin Martens. 

Martens, 46, of Sparta, passed away of an unknown heart condition on Thursday, September 16, 2021, at his home in Sparta.

Coach Kevin Martens was honored posthumously as Asst. Coach of the Year for Region 1 Division 3.

Martens had been a teacher at Cedar Springs Middle School since 1999. He coached middle school track and was a Cedar Springs High School assistant football coach for over 20 years. 

“Kevin was the first coach I hired when I became the head coach 9 years ago,” said Cedar Springs Head Coach Gus Kapolka. “His passion for young people and helping them succeed was obvious the first time I met him.”

The blow was something that could have derailed the Red Hawks. Instead, it spurred them on to play better than ever. The Red Hawks were pumped up to win the game. They took the field like they were on fire. They scored five times, racked up over 400 yards total, and limited Kenowa Hills to only 48 yards in the 38-0 win. But the team didn’t stop there. 

The Red Hawks went on to play some outstanding football, beating Forest Hills Eastern, Middleville Thornapple Kellogg, and Wayland. They lost by only one point (41-40) to Division 5 state champion Catholic Central (no other team scored that many points against them). They they went on to be the first Cedar Springs team in history to beat South Christian (38-32), and take second in the OK-Gold behind Catholic Central. They beat Coopersville easily in the Pre-District game, and the biggest thrill of all, was defeating the Muskegon Big Reds to win the district championship game 21-14. Their season ended with a loss to DeWitt in the regional championship game. 

Their accomplishments included the team finishing with a 9-3 record; being district champs; making it to the state quarter finals; Coach Kapolka getting his 100th win; Aiden Brunin kicking an 86-yard punt in the 3rd quarter of the Muskegon game that is the 2nd longest punt in MHSAA history, and the longest punt in a playoff game ever; losing to Catholic Central by one point; beating both South Christian and Muskegon for the first time ever; being ranked as having the best team offense in the OK Gold by media covering the OK Gold; being ranked 7th in Division 3 in the final AP Poll and Detroit Free Press; rnked 8th in Grand Rapids Press final power poll; ranked 18 out of the top 50 teams in the state by MLive’s final power poll; and having many players voted to the final dream teams and all state teams. And to top it all off, Coach Kevin Martens was voted assistant coach of the year in region 1 of Division 3, by the MHSFCA (Michigan High School Football Coaches Association).

“This was the most resilient team I have ever coached,” said head coach Gus Kapolka. “They have had to deal with unimaginable tragedy and heartbreak, but it only served to bring us closer together. I couldn’t be prouder of this group of young men. I am honored to be their coach.”

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Christmas tree still shines bright

But funds for upkeep are dimming

By Judy Reed

It’s a colorful beacon for miles around. And when you see it lit, you know Christmas is just around the corner.

The beacon of cheer we are talking about is the 90-foot-plus evergreen at 427 S. Main Street (Northland Drive), Cedar Springs, at the Reep family home. 

The former owner of the home, Evelyn Cossin, used to decorate the tree with red and white lights each Christmas, and the city has continued that tradition. When she died in 1988, she left a $15,000 CD to help the city with a portion of the expenses to maintain the tree each holiday season. 

However, according to City Manager Mike Womack, with the low interest rates over the last few years and an increase in maintenance costs, the CD is no longer able to generate enough funds in interest to pay the DPW to complete the necessary upkeep costs.

“I know that the DPW has worked with the current property owner to explore various ways to reduce costs and the current owner has also volunteered to pay some of those upkeep costs but any way you slice it, the interest just is no longer sufficient to maintain the holiday light display’s costs,” he said.

Womack said he’s developed an administrative policy for the City where they will begin dipping into the principal of the trust to help maintain the tree, which will eventually eliminate the funding for the yearly maintenance but should enable the City to continue paying for the tree for a few more years.  

“We have also discussed the idea of simply restringing the entire tree with brand new heavy duty LED bulbs, which should be relatively maintenance free for years to come (7-8) but would also come at a substantial price now and would likely eliminate most of the Cossin principal,” he said.

Womack also noted that the Cedar Springs City Council has not yet weighed in on the issue, and perhaps they might have some other ideas or want to go in a different direction.

In the meantime, enjoy the beauty of the lights, and have a merry Christmas!

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Area hit by high winds during storm

While Michigan didn’t get any tornadoes during last weekend’s storms, we did get high winds that toppled trees and power lines and caused power outages for over 160,000 residents.

Saturday’s windstorm featured 55 miles per hour gusts across the lower peninsula. Severe weather swept through Michigan knocking out power along the lakeshore, moving across mid and southern Michigan Saturday morning. According to Consumers Energy, winds knocked down trees, limbs, broke 192 poles, and damaged over 2,500 power lines.

We asked readers to share your storm damage photos, and you can see them here and on Facebook.

At the same time the high winds roared through Michigan, some southern states also saw devastating tornadoes. For information on how to give to a charity to help those affected in Kentucky, Arkansas, and other states, turn to page 3.

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Christmas events begin

The city Christmas tree in the Heart of Cedar Springs. Other trees in the park are also lit up. Post photo by J. Reed.
Santa came in on a Cedar Springs Fire Truck. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

It was a beautiful day last Saturday, December 4, for Mingle with Kris Kringle, the annual kickoff in Cedar Springs to the Christmas season. 

Various events went on, including the Cedar Springs Library’s Polar Express Open House (see event this page); storytime with Mrs. Claus at Perry’s Place; a Santa parade; the Christmas tree lighting, and the Polar Express movie at the Kent Theatre.

Tonight, December 9, are carriage rides from the White Pine Trail staging area. Turn to page 8 for details on that and other holiday happenings.

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Come Mingle with Kris Kringle

Santa Claus cuddles a baby after the 2018 tree lighting in Cedar Springs.
Photo courtesy CS Area Chamber of Commerce.

Are you ready to see Santa this weekend? Several area communities will host festivities this Friday and Saturday where you can get a glimpse of Santa, and kids can even get a chance to tell him what they want for Christmas.

Cedar Springs will hold their annual tree lighting and Mingle with Kris Kringle event this Saturday, December 4, and Rockford and Greenville will hold their annual Santa Parades this weekend as well. Sand Lake will hold their Indoor Nativity.

Click link for a list of Holiday happenings with all the details.

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Santa Claus is coming to town

By Judy Reed

Are you ready for some holiday cheer? With Thanksgiving this week Thursday, that means the holiday season will be in full swing! Sana Claus will be making appearances in the surrounding areas, and nearby cities and villages will hosting  their annual festivities, including tree lightings, parades, carriage rides and more! 

Cedar Springs will be holding their annual Mingle with Kris Kringle next Saturday, December 4, along with other events in December. Turn to pages 7-10 for more information on that and a list of holiday events in the surrounding areas.

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Local veteran selected for honor flight

Gordon Reyburn and his daughter, Pam Jurick.

Gordon Reyburn, of Cedar Springs, was recently chosen to be on the honor flight, a trip for veterans to Washington D.C. to visit 14 national monuments that are dedicated to veterans of World War II, the Korean conflict, and the Viet Nam war. 

Gordon Reyburn was part of the honor guard to place a wreath on the grave of the Unknown Soldier in Washington D.C.

The trip took place the first weekend in November.

The highlight of the trip for Gordon was being selected for the honor guard that placed a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier. 

Gordon was accompanied by his daughter, Pam Jurick, who is a nurse at the Grand Rapids Veterans Home.

The honor flights have been underway since 2005 and have taken over 225,000 veterans to Washington D.C. The trips provide veterans with the opportunity to visit the memorials alongside fellow veterans, while telling their stories, sharing camaraderie, and receiving well-deserved recognition from a grateful nation.

“I was so honored to be chosen for the trip,” said Gordon.

For more information on honor flights, visit honorflight.org.

Gordon Reyburn and the other veterans who went on the honor flight.

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Intandem Credit Union
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