web analytics

Archive | Featured

Red Flannel Festival moves to Main Street

N-Red-Flannel-building-web

The Red Flannel Festival has a new home at 18 S. Main Street, most recently the home of Take Two Game Shop. The RFF bought the building from Terry and Diane Bengtson on June 27. Bengtson ran his State Farm Insurance business from that location before he retired several years ago.

“Since 1969, the Bengtson’s have owned this building and a successful insurance business, and we are proud to continue their legacy of honesty and integrity,” said Michele Tracy-Andres, Festival President. “It meant a lot to us to receive such a warm welcome from our new neighbors!”

Andres explained that they decided to buy the building at 18 S. Main Street because they felt it would be better to be in the center of town. “The visibility will be great for selling souvenirs,” she said. “Our goal is to eventually have it open all the time.”

The Festival still owns the building at 21 E. Maple, which they bought in 2006, the former Bob’s Barbershop. The building is up for sale or lease. And for now, they will still hold their meetings there. “It was a great buy for us at the time, but we didn’t really need this big of a building,” she said.

Andres said that the Maple Street has been paid off for a year or two, and that they bought the new building on a land contract. She said the money would come out of the Festival’s operating expenses. “It’s a small monthly payment,” she noted.

The Festival headquarters will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. New additions to their shop include Red Flannel Festival coffee, and coming soon will be custom cookie cutters and cake pans made especially for the RFF.

See pages 14-15 for more business stories in our Business section.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

Local researcher honored at museum

Post photo by J. Reed

Post photo by J. Reed

By Judy Reed

 

For Betty Heiss, 91, doing genealogical research isn’t a job; it’s a passion. And on Wednesday, July 16, The Cedar Springs Historical Society honored Betty by naming their genealogical library after her.

“It’s such an honor,” shared Betty through her tears, after the board surprised her with a plaque reading “Betty L. Heiss Genealogical Library.”

“When we started here 20 years ago, all we had was a bookshelf with a couple of books and they weren’t even genealogical books,” recalled Sharon Jett. “Betty came in and asked if she could help, and she built this entire library over the last 20 years, and so it seemed appropriate to name it after her.”

They now have an extensive collection that Betty acquired a piece at a time—microfilm, microfiche, a civil war collection, census books, surname histories, county histories, phone books, all the school yearbooks, Cedar Springs Clipper newspapers, Cedar Springs Post newspapers, and much more. Betty said a fund was set up for the collection through the research she did. She was frugal with the money and shopped estate sales, and other low cost venues for items.

Post photo by J. Reed

Post photo by J. Reed

Betty said that she got the genealogy bug when she was 12 years old. “My grandfather showed me a book that had been written about the Martin family (her family) and I knew I wanted to write a book about our family,” she explained.

She has now written two books, which can be bought at the museum, and helped countless people with their family research. “I liked being helpful to people. When I saw them happy, I was happy,” she explained. “It made me feel like I had done something worthwhile. “

Betty retired last year, but still comes in on Wednesdays to help finish up some of the things she was working on before she retired, such as making cards for the old library cabinet donated from the library. “I just don’t take work home anymore, “ she explained. That gives her more time to spend with her husband Melvin (Jack) Heiss. They will have been married 64 years in October.

Post photo by J. Reed

Post photo by J. Reed

But Betty doesn’t feel her work is done yet. “I want to write another book—my memoirs,” she said, with a twinkle in her eye.

We think she can do it.

The Post thanks Betty for her tireless dedication, and all the help she has given to others and us over the years. You deserve the honor!

The Cedar Springs Historical Museum is located in Morley Park, on Cedar Street, and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, and other days by appointment.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

Should you move turtle eggs?

*N-Turtle question Snapping turtle_2_mdWe had a question recently from a reader about a turtle nest he felt was in danger. Here is his email:

There is what I believe is a snapping turtle nest up against a hot top road that I walk on a daily basis. I only noticed it because an animal dug up and destroyed all the eggs the first year, which made me aware it was there. The second year the baby turtles hatched but the vegetation adjacent to the nest was so thick they stayed on the road and were all killed by cars. This year I know where the nest is and was wondering if it would be wise to carefully dig up the eggs and bring them home buried in a small pail of the same dirt they were in by the edge of the road? If I leave them where they are, I know with certainty that none of them will survive. If this is feasible then I could release them in a much safer environment once hatched. Please advise.

Thank you, Paul

We went to Ranger Steve and asked his advice. Here is his response.

“It will be dangerous to move them. Turning an egg will usually cause them to die. For some reason they are very fragile. I do not have a good solution but have a couple ideas.

1. Fence the road for a short distance to force the turtles to go a different direction.

2. Make a pathway the baby turtles can access away from the road.

Turtles like loose bare soil away from water to lay eggs. Near water they are even more vulnerable to raccoons, skunks, and other egg predators. Roadsides and trails are often selected for egg laying.

Raccoons and skunks have become over abundant and have made turtle survival difficult.”

We hope Ranger Steve’s suggestions help you protect these baby turtles!

 

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

New library moving ahead

N-Library-front-South-elevation-web

If you noticed stakes on the property just northeast of the firebarn, it’s because the Cedar Springs Public Library board recently voted to put the new library on the east side of the property. Board Chair Earla Alber gave an update to the City Council on the new library Thursday evening.

The building will be 10,000 square feet.

Alber explained that she was the lone nay vote, because she thought the library would be better served on the rear (west) portion of the property. She said the board had been “bullied” into the decision.

Council member Bob Truesdale noted that the property was bought and donated to the city (where houses used to be along Main Street) for the library to be put on.

However, at the time, it was thought that the fire barn would be moved, and that has not yet happened.

Mayor Mark Fankhauser pointed out that the west side would not require as much work to prepare, and Alber said that the east side would require a lot of a fill, being so near the creek.

Alber said she thought the east property should be put back on the market and bring money back to the city.

Truesdale then asked her, “What would you tell the people who bought and donated the property for a library?” Alber commented that only the corner was bought privately (where the parking lot is going to be), and it would fit about four cars.

The library building committee was interviewing architects for the project this week.

 

 

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

Create an outdoor resort in your backyard 

34_6008_WH.tifBLOOM-BackyardResortC(NewsUSA) This year, many people will spend vacations at home instead of traveling. According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), with a few updates to your outside lighting, you can enjoy a mini vacation at home. Believe it or not, it’s easier and less expensive than you might think to transform your existing patio, deck or pool area into a lovely retreat. Rather than buying a costly designer patio set or lounge chairs that will lose their luster by next season, invest in a new lighting scheme that will enhance your existing outdoor furniture and amenities.

“Creating a beautiful landscape doesn’t have to be expensive,” says Rick Wiedemer of Hinkley Lighting. “A few well-placed, low-voltage path or accent lights can make a huge impact on a well-manicured landscape.” No lawn is too small. “Even modest homes or those with limited yards or gardens can benefit,” he says.

All that is needed are some basic tools, a transformer (which reduces standard 120-volt household current to the safe 12-volt level), outdoor low-voltage copper cable and low-voltage lighting fixtures—all of which you can find at your local ALA-member lighting showroom.

“The best thing about using low-voltage lighting outdoors is you don’t have to do everything at once. I recommend purchasing a transformer that is larger than you immediately need,” says Lew Waltz of Philips Hadco. That way, when you are ready to install additional lighting, the larger transformer will already be in place and ready to handle the task. “You only pay for the energy consumed by the fixtures,” says Waltz. “In other words, a 600-watt transformer that only has 200 watts of fixtures on it, uses 200 watts of energy, not 600.”

When laying out your project, remember that a little light goes a long way outdoors. Consulting with a lighting professional at your local ALA-member lighting showroom can help you avoid making the common mistake of too many fixtures in one area. To find more information about lighting all areas of your home, go to www.AmericanLightingAssoc.com.

 

Posted in Bloomin' Summer, FeaturedComments (0)

Researcher gives rare turtles head start 

*OUT-Woodturtle1 harding

To Jim Harding, spending nearly a lifetime studying wood turtles just makes sense.
“These are very long-lived animals,” Harding said. “And if you want to understand them, you have to study them over a long period of time.”
An instructor and outreach specialist with Michigan State University’s Zoology Department, Harding has been studying the wood turtle population along an Upper Peninsula river since 1969, when he was working on his master’s degree. But, he’s quick to tell you, he’s been interacting with them even longer; he has a photograph of himself and a turtle from his study site – on property owned by his grandfather – when he was five years old.
*OUT-woodturtle2 walks across sand“I was always fascinated by turtles,” he said. “It wasn’t until many years later that I realized these weren’t just any turtle. They were special.”

The wood turtle is one of 10 species of turtles that live in Michigan. Of the 10, one species is considered threatened (spotted turtle) while the wood turtle joins the box turtle and Blanding’s turtle as a species of concern, explained DNR fisheries biologist Tom Goniea, who oversees reptiles and amphibians as coordinator of the state’s Scientific Collector’s Permit program.
Wood turtles join Blanding’s and box turtles in a group of turtles that are unusually long-lived, Harding said. Wood turtles have unfortunately been attractive to the pet trade, due to their ornate, ridged shells that look like carved wood; their striking, brightly colored yellow bodies; and their similarities to tortoises, which seems to lead people to believe wood turtles are more intelligent or wiser than other species of turtles.

Wood turtles are associated with moving water, from small creeks to large rivers. Although Harding finds them upland at times, “you never find them too far from the river,” he said. The population on his study site is “just a shadow of its former self,” Harding said, something he attributes to two causes: collection by the pet trade back in past decades and a burgeoning raccoon population.
“For years we’ve had no evidence of natural reproduction at all,” said Harding, who recently spent time with several associates looking for wood turtles – and their nests – on his study site. “We don’t see any juveniles. The raccoons are getting all of their nests.”
As a result, Harding, who has the appropriate permits from the DNR, has taken to “head-starting” wood turtles. If he finds a turtle nest, he collects the eggs, incubates them, and raises the hatchlings for a year, then releases them at the study site.

By head-starting the young turtles, they are able to reach the size of a three- or four-year-old by the time Harding releases them, which he hopes will lead to better survival rates, even with some loss of adult turtles to raccoons. Raising the hatchlings for a year is more of a chore than it sounds; the eggs are delicate and must be handled with care. The juveniles must be kept in separate holding areas as they’ll bite each other’s tails and limbs if left together.
To accommodate the hatchlings, Harding raises a few himself, has help from some fellow turtle aficionados with a couple more, and enlists the aid of John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids for help with the rest. So far, his work appears to be bearing fruit as he’s found some of his released turtles surviving in the wild.

Omnivorous creatures that have developed a unique hunting technique—they thump the ground with their shells, creating vibrations that send earthworms to the surface—wood turtles are in short supply across their home range, which extends west to Minnesota, north into Canada and southeast to perhaps Virginia. In Michigan, wood turtles are found across most of the U.P and northern half of the Lower Peninsula.

“Michigan may be one of the states that is very important to their future because we have habitat,” Harding said. They use a mosaic of forest and more open terrain. Timber harvests don’t bother them. Wood turtles do not require wilderness. All they require is that they be left alone.

“They live long lives because, even under the best of conditions, most of their eggs and young are destroyed,” he continued. “So few of them grow up, they have to lay eggs over 30 or 40 years in hopes that they can replace themselves. Every individual is valuable.”
Harding can’t tell you how long they live, but he has one specimen that he marked when the turtle was at least 20 years old and subsequently observed 45 years later, making the creature at least 65.
“I suspect they can live a lot longer than that,” he said.

Wood turtles lay five to 18 eggs, with an average clutch size of around 10. The turtles nest on sand banks that are large enough that they can get above typical high-water stages so the nests are not drowned out by floods. Harding said he “used to find dozens of clutches of eggs,” but these days, if he finds five or six nests “it’s a really good year.”
“I’m happy finding any,” he said. “Some years I’ve gotten skunked.”
If a hiker or paddler encounters a wood turtle, they are advised to enjoy the sighting but then to move on.
“It is illegal to collect, possess, kill or otherwise harass or harm wood turtles or any other species of special concern,” Goniea said.

Except for possibly helping one across a road, observers should keep their hands to themselves. And that will serve wood turtles splendidly, Harding said.
“All they ask is to be left alone” he concluded.
For more information about wood turtles or the other nine species of turtles found in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/wildlife. To learn how to get involved with citizen monitoring of reptiles and amphibians in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/herpatlas.

 

 

Posted in Featured, OutdoorsComments (0)

Family Fare Store up for sale

BUS-Family-fare-webRumors have been swirling through the community for months that Family Fare, located at 4175 17 Mile did not renew their lease on the store, which is up in November.

The Post called SpartanNash for confirmation and received this response from Meredith Gremel, Director of Corporate Affairs. “SpartanNash is continually looking at ways to coordinate our distribution and retail business segments to become more efficient to better meet all of our customer needs. We do not respond to store closing rumors.”

However, a simple Google search pulled up the store on several different commercial real estate sites showing retail property for sale.

The property shows it is listed at $1,850,000. A partial description for the property reads: Cedar Springs Family Fare store, Remodeled inside and out, very well maintained, existing lease runs through November 2014 with great income remaining. Building also offered for sale. Different suite sizes available for lease – see other lease listings. Great location with easy access to 131.“

Family Fare was formerly Great Day, before it joined the Spartan chain of stores, and has been a fixture in Cedar Springs for many years. We will let readers know when we receive more info from SpartanNash.

Posted in Business, FeaturedComments (0)

Christmas in July? You betcha!

ENT-Christmas-in-July-web

Want to cool off on a hot summer day? Think snow. Think sleigh bells and mistletoe. Think Christmas.

Solon Market is hosting its third annual Christmas event this Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. at 15185 Algoma Ave. There will be cookies to decorate, pictures with Santa shared via Facebook, games and activities. Santa will arrive at 10:00 a.m. but activities begin when Market opens at 8:00 a.m. Browse the Market while the kids are occupied.  Get an early start on your Christmas shopping or pick up flowers for the garden.

Solon Market is a nonprofit entity catering to the community.  We are located at 15185 Algoma Ave. in Cedar Springs. Call us at 616-696-4227 or 616-696-1718.  Like us on Facebook for updates.

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, FeaturedComments (0)

Tornado hits south of Grand Rapids

Photo from WOODTV.com

Photo from WOODTV.com

By Judy Reed

 

Photo from WOODTV.com

Photo from WOODTV.com

The National Weather Service confirmed Monday that the damage done just south of Grand Rapids during thunderstorms on Sunday evening, July 6, was due to a tornado.

Calls began pouring into Kent County’s 911 dispatch about 10:30 p.m. reporting roofs caved in, power lines and trees down, and people trapped in homes and vehicles.

The tornado reportedly developed near 64th Street and Burlingame in Byron Center about 10:20 p.m, and traveled 6.25 miles, through Wyoming and Kentwood, ending at 28th Street and Breton. It was on the ground for about 10 minutes and produced significant damage. The NWS rated the tornado an EF-1, with maximum wind speeds from 100-110 mph. Its width was 300 to 400 yards wide. There were six injuries, and no fatalities. It was the first EF-1 in Kent County since 2001, and the first tornado since 2006, when an EF-0 hit Caledonia.

Daniel Cobb, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said it was definitely a tornado, and not straight-line winds, explaining during a news conference that the debris they surveyed had the classic signature of a tornado.

People have questioned why there was no warning with the tornado. Cobb explained that the tornado developed near the ground and grew upward. And, because of the time delay between radar scans, they didn’t realize it was there until they picked up the debris on radar that lifted in Kentwood. It was already lifting back up moments later, too late for a warning.

“They always want to get it right, and it kills them if it doesn’t play out right,” he explained. “If they warned on every scan that looked like a possible tornado, they would be warning all the time. We prefer to wait for two scans. We are trying to say with severe thunderstorms that a tornado is possible, and warn on the big tornadoes.”

“We are very successful at detecting big tornadoes that blow your house down,” he noted.

He also noted that these smaller tornadoes are not rare, but not frequent either. Here it just happened in a populated area. “You have to respect Mother Nature. Always be inside during a storm,” he urged.

On Wednesday, July 9, the NWS also confirmed another tornado that spawned from the storms that moved through Sunday evening and Monday morning, July 6-7. This one was an EF-0 in Ionia County, and developed about 12:16 a.m., July 7, just a couple of hours after the one near Grand Rapids. It started just east of Sunfield Highway, and south of Reeder Road. It went about one mile, ending just west of South Keefer highway, north of Reeder Road. It lasted about 4 minutes. One home lost roofing material and five farm buildings were damaged along Reeder Road. Tree and crop damage also occurred along the path of the tornado.

 

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

Knee high by the Fourth of July?

N-Lois-in-the-corn-web“Knee-high by the fourth of July” is an ages-old yardstick we tend to think of when we see corn around this time of year. With modern techniques, however, it’s usually waist-high at this time.

However, as you can see in the photo, taken in Courtland Township, the corn height varies right now, from three to over five feet.

According to the Michigan State University Extension’s  southwest Michigan crop report dated July 9, field activities continue to be slowed due to rains on June 30 and July 1 and then added to by rains this week. Many fields have standing water over the rows. Significant soil erosion has occurred in some fields causing washouts and covering plants. Some hail damage was reported from the storms on June 30 and July 1.

“This is usually the time of year we want rain, but many sites have had 3 or more inches already in July on top of the six or more inches in June,” reported Ron Goldy with MSU.

Sweet corn grown under row covers should be close to harvest. Early, uncovered plantings are silking.

Other crops, such as early planted summer squash, zucchini and cucumber fields are being removed. Watermelon and cantaloupe fruit is sizing well. Pumpkins are at early bloom. With the continued wet weather, growers need to protect these crops against powdery mildew.

 

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)