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West Michigan Hawks call it quits

Three-year-old Libby Walla led the team onto the field to start the last home game they played on July 23. They raised $933 to help in her fight against periventricular leukomalasia.

Three-year-old Libby Walla led the team onto the field to start the last home game they played on July 23. They raised $933 to help in her fight against periventricular leukomalasia.

By Shae Brophy

In a surprising announcement, West Michigan Hawks owner David Lange has confirmed that the team has ceased operations after losing several players. Due to this, the team did not play in their scheduled playoff game on August 13 against the Battle Creek Coyotes. Their playoff spot was filled by the Lima Warriors.

“This stems beyond the issues that the Hawks had,” said Lange. “This is an issue with semi pro football in general. There are a lot of issues at this level that I do not find acceptable. Some examples include owners allowing their players to drink on alcohol free grounds; (players/coaches) starting fights with no consequence; players fighting with other players, refs, coaches, owners etc. These are only a few things out of many that cross my mind or that have happened. It was my dream and passion to not only put on a great family event, but to help those in need in the process. It takes a collective effort from all teams involved to make these things happen, and I do not feel that we can successfully do that, as there are only a handful of semi pro teams who aspire to do the same.”

The Hawks had a two-year run in the Minor League Football Alliance, which saw them win the league’s “Organization of the Year” award in 2015, the team’s first year of existence. The team won their first four games of the 2016 season, before dropping their last four to close out the regular season.

Over the course of their two years, the team was able to raise funds and awareness for numerous causes, including Brison Ricker (16 year old battling a brain tumor; Libby Walla (3-year-old battling Charlie Finch (who passed away in an auto accident); and Alan Beamer (suf periventricular leukomalasia); Shae Brophy (brain tumor); Stephanie Cornwell (breast cancer); the family of fering from advanced Alzheimer’s Disease).

“I’d like to sincerely thank every single person who helped with the organization over the last two years,” said Lange. “Everyone from those who ran the concession stands at our home games, to those who ran the chains during the games. Josh Morris, who controlled the audio/music at home games; Shae Brophy, who announced our home games; Scott Fuller, who painted the field for us before each game; Friends of Skinner Field for allowing us to play at their facility; all of our sponsors; the Cedar Springs Fire Department and medical response team; all the players who stuck it out until the very end; and coaches Rashaad Powell and Michael Henderson. And, last but most definitely not least, the fans/community. Without the support of the fans and the community, none of what we accomplished would have been possible.”

Lange has a unique appreciation for the game of football, and plans to continue getting valuable experience in the realm of coaching. “I am all about progression,” he said. “I will continue to learn the game of football, and continue to coach at the youth level until another progression opportunity arises. When one door closes another opens. I aspire to inspire.”

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Solon Market’s Pet Daze Expo 

 

Kids and animals alike enjoyed Solon Market’s Pet Daze Expo last Saturday, August 13. Photos courtesy of Rachaelyn’s Photography.

Kids and animals alike enjoyed Solon Market’s Pet Daze Expo last Saturday, August 13.
Photos courtesy of Rachaelyn’s Photography.

N-Pet-Daze-Expo-red-haired-girlA chorus of joyful voices greeted Market-goers as they entered the community room at Solon Township’s Dog Daze Pet Expo Saturday, August 13. Humane Society of West Michigan led the choir with six puppies who were excited to be there. Excitement was the general consensus among the canine crowd, as they mingled while their people browsed exhibits, watched demos and stayed to watch and participate in the popular Pet Show.

Many people and their pets braved the weather to attend and forever homes were found for several of the animals, including five of WMHS’s six pups. The fundraiser garnered over $200.00 for area rescues and non-profit services and served to educate the public and bring awareness to animal needs, as well as highlight pet-related services. Kids who entered the Pet Show received bags of gifts donated by area businesses. Three lucky winners received pet beds and gift cards, donated by another business.

Kent County Sherriff’s Deputy Dekorte and his canine partner, Ritzey, a goldador, demonstrated their skills in arson detection and stayed to answer questions related to their duties. The Sheriff’s department is looking to add six dogs to their unit including a therapy dog. Donations can be made by accessing the following link:  http://www.trafficsquad.com/#!k9/c66d3

For more on the Expo, check out Solon Market’s facebook page and to see photos of the event.

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Vote: Designated driver

West MiN-Drive-sober-or-get-pulled-overchigan agencies participate in stepped up enforcement

 

This election year, selecting a designated driver is a vote to get home safe as police departments, sheriff’s offices and the Michigan State Police (MSP) in west Michigan will be conducting extra drunk driving patrols across the state to locate and arrest drunk drivers.

The stepped up enforcement is part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign Aug. 18-Sept. 5.  The initiative includes the Labor Day holiday period, a popular Michigan travel time.

“Motorists who choose to drive drunk endanger everyone on the roadway. In 2015 Michigan saw a drastic increase in alcohol- and drug-involved fatalities,” said Michael L. Prince, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) director. “The extra officers participating in this enforcement effort will send a clear message: if you drive drunk you will be arrested.”

According to information released by the MSP Criminal Justice Information Center this spring, alcohol-involved fatalities were up 28 percent, from 236 in 2014 to 303 in 2015. Drug-involved fatal crashes spiked 19 percent, up from 150 in 2014 to 179 in 2015.

During last year’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement, officers arrested 351 drunk drivers and issued 2,630 seat belt and child restraint citations. Fifteen people died in 12 traffic crashes during the 2015 Labor Day holiday period, a significant increase from six fatalities during the 2014 Labor Day holiday. Nearly two-thirds of the 2015 Labor Day holiday cashes involved alcohol.

In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, although motorists can be arrested at any BAC level if an officer believes they are impaired. Motorists face enhanced penalties if arrested for a first-time drunk driving offense with a .17 BAC or higher.

Grant-funded drunk driving enforcement is part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013.

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Set the Stage for Success

SCH-Success

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Tips for a smooth transition back to school

(Family Features)

For parents putting bright-eyed students on the bus for the very first time and for seasoned moms and dads who know the drill inside and out, gearing up for another year of school is a process. The shopping extravaganzas, trips to the doctor for physicals, endless forms and paperwork all culminate in a single moment: the first day back to school.

Often, it’s this first day (or days) that set the tone for the school year to come. Help your child feel prepared and confident to tackle whatever the school year brings with these tips for a successful start.

Plan well-balanced meals:

Summer break brings a lax approach to many aspects of life, and healthy eating is often one of them. However, nutrition plays an important role in overall development and countless studies show correlation between academic performance and good nutrition. As the school year approaches, work at creating healthy menus. If hectic scheduling makes it difficult to get well-balanced meals in lunchboxes and on the dinner table through the week, allocate a portion of the weekend for a family prep session.

Reinstate bedtimes:

Easing back into earlier bedtimes will make things smoother for everyone when the alarms start ringing on early school day mornings. Well before the start of school, gradually back off more time each night – in 15-minute increments, for example – to get kids back in bed early enough to capture at least 10 hours of sleep, the amount recommended for school-aged children and adolescents by the National Institutes of Health.

Get creative to boost enthusiasm:

Part of the fun of heading back to the classroom is a shiny new set of supplies. Build your kids’ excitement by letting them select the tools they’ll use to bring home good grades, like pens and pencils. Despite a keyboard and touchscreen-driven world, sales of color-focused products like felt-tip markers, porous (fine line) pens and colored pencils are on the rise.

In an effort to follow and respond to trends, Zebra Pen continues to introduce products that allow for personal expression, whether in the ink color chosen for notes or the barrel design to complement your kids’ style.

We’re conscious of the influx of technology in the school, but still see the importance of writing instruments in the school environment. There is a great deal of pen or pencil and paper activity in the classroom and we have focused on providing products that meet the needs of teachers and students alike,” said Ken Newman, Director of Marketing at Zebra Pen.

Our Sarasa retractable gel pen, which comes in 14 vibrant colors, boasts one of the fastest drying inks on the market. And for those looking to express style through design, consider a Z-Grip Plus ballpoint pen, featuring our smoothest ballpoint ink and a fashion-friendly barrel design, or perhaps a traditional Z-Grip ballpoint with a floral or animal pattern. For the younger writer whose world of writing is confined mostly to pencil, the Cadoozles line of No. 2 and colored mechanical pencils offers functionality and fun.”

There are options for every stage of a student’s development, whether they are a beginner, intermediate or have progressed toward the end of their academic careers. A complete selection can be found online at ZebraPen.com.

Explore outside of academics:

Developing interests outside the classroom builds confidence and character, teaches discipline and may help reveal hidden passions or talents that translate into future scholarships or career choices. Now is an ideal time to explore the options available in your community and complete necessary registrations as many extra-curricular activities are closely linked to the traditional school calendar.

Follow the paper trail:

The volume of paperwork associated with sending a child to school can be overwhelming. From registration forms and emergency contact sheets to physicals and immunization records, the list goes on and on. Keep on track with a list of all the materials you’re responsible for completing, along with special notes for those that require visits to the doctor’s office or other appointments.

Take a tour:

Especially for new students, but even for experienced kids, spend some time getting familiar with the school before the big day. Seeing the bus drop-off location, classroom, bathrooms, cafeteria and any other major features ahead of time can help soothe jitters and lets you proactively answer worries or questions about how those first days may unfold.

Establish a transition tradition:

Celebrate the end of summer and the fresh start ahead by creating a special family tradition. It may be a final backyard campout for the season or a scrapbooking project that captures memories from the summer and describes goals for the school year. The time together to talk about what lies ahead can help get the family geared up for a successful school year.

Express Personality with Style

SCH-Success-suppliesEncouraging your child to develop his or her own unique personality can be tough with social “rules” and official policies that determine dress code, supplies and more. When you get down to it, though, there are dozens of ways to let kids explore personal expression without breaking any rules or subjecting them to unwanted attention.

Accessories: Even at schools with uniforms or dress codes, there is some latitude when it comes to accessorizing. Dress codes vary, but many allow flexibility in things such as socks, shoes, hair bows and jewelry.

School supplies: Let kids choose their own writing implements as a personal statement of self-expression, which is especially important to middle and high school students. With so many options, it’s easy to bypass the basic bargain selection and choose from an array of new designs and creative features, such as those offered by Zebra Pen.

Personal space: For younger students, the area designated as a student’s own may be limited to a backpack or storage cubby. For older kids, there’s an entire locker to consider. Customizing these personal areas lets kids assert a clear stamp of individuality. Photos, artwork and treasured mementoes bring these personal spaces to life.

 

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Nongame Wildlife Fund helps aid comeback success stories

 

Most of us recognize the American robin. With its cheery song bringing a welcome sign of spring, these red-breasted birds are a common sight in Michigan; so familiar and appreciated, in fact, that the robin was named the state bird in 1931.

But there was a time after World War II when robins had become less common due to the damaging effects of DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) and other pesticides.

Fortunately, robin populations bounced back after DDT use was banned in the United State in 1972. However, many other nongame species—meaning wildlife that isn’t hunted—have needed, and continue to need, help to protect them from becoming rare or even extinct. That’s where the Nongame Wildlife Fund comes in.

Mechanics and administration

The fund, which is coordinated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Division, assists with the division’s goals by identifying, protecting, managing and restoring Michigan’s biological diversity.

The Nongame Wildlife Fund is responsible for initiating, developing and implementing critical projects vital to the needs of Michigan’s endangered, threatened and nongame animals, plants and their habitats.

Since its inception, the Nongame Wildlife Fund has raised nearly $24 million in support of critical projects for nongame species, which includes more than 80 percent of Michigan’s wildlife.

“The fund aims not only to restore populations of endangered and threatened species but to maintain present populations of animals and plants and to promote appreciation of Michigan’s nongame wildlife,” said Hannah Schauer, a DNR wildlife technician.

Funds have been raised for these important management efforts through voluntary check-off contributions on state income tax forms (the check-off ended when the fund reached $6 million, as dictated by state law), sales of the wildlife habitat specialty license plates and direct donations.

Another component of this approach has been the Living Resources Patch program. Proceeds from the sale of these patches also are directed to the Nongame Wildlife Fund.

For more than 40 years, the patch program has raised awareness of Michigan’s nongame wildlife species. The 2016-2017 Living Resources Patch, which will be the final one issued in the series, features the American robin.

“The state bird seemed fitting for the final patch, since 2016 is also the centennial for the Migratory Bird Treaty, which has benefited the robin, as well as many other nongame bird species,” Schauer said.

American robin patches, along with several previous years’ patches, are available for purchase on the Michigan e-store website.

Kirtland’s warbler

The effort to bolster Michigan’s nongame wildlife has yielded some notable progress over the last few decades.

One of the most significant success stories—and one that’s unique to Michigan—stars a rare songbird called the Kirtland’s warbler, one of the original species to be listed as part of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Visitors come from all over the world to see these birds, which nest in just a few counties in Michigan’s northern Lower and Upper peninsulas, a few sites in Wisconsin and Ontario, and nowhere else on Earth.

The DNR and many partners manage the specific type of jack pine habitat that the Kirtland’s warbler requires by logging, burning, seeding and replanting on a rotational basis.

Trees aren’t cut down until they’re mature and large enough to be economically valuable, which helps maintain nesting habitat for the warblers while supporting the commercial harvest of jack pine.

Several million jack pine seedlings are planted each year. The birds have specific nesting requirements which include reliance on young jack pine trees.

“The population of the rarest warbler in North America has increased dramatically through management and protection of more than 150,000 acres of jack pine habitat in Michigan,” said Dan Kennedy, DNR threatened and endangered species specialist.

The annual Kirtland’s warbler census, which tallies the number of singing males, has shown a significant increase in the species’ population over the last 40 years, from approximately 200 singing males in 1972 to 2,300 this year.

“The recovery of the Kirtland’s warbler is a real success story for endangered species management,” Kennedy said. “This conservation effort has benefited Michigan’s economy, including jobs associated with tourism and timber products, and helped conserve our biological legacy.”

Michigan’s osprey population, once threatened, is making a comeback with support from the Nongame Wildlife Fund.

Michigan’s osprey population, once threatened, is making a comeback with support from the Nongame Wildlife Fund.

Osprey

Many of Michigan’s nongame wildlife conservation victories involve birds, more specifically birds of prey. One notable example is the osprey.

Once nearly absent from much of Michigan due to the effects of DDT, other pesticides and habitat loss, Michigan’s osprey population is making a comeback thanks in part to the DNR’s osprey reintroduction program.

Started in 2008 and supported by the Nongame Wildlife Fund, this reintroduction program removed chicks from active nests in northern Michigan and reared them in man-made towers in southern Michigan, a process called “hacking.”

In 2015, at least 60 active nests were identified in southern Michigan – a substantial increase from the single active nest reported in 2002.

“Each year we have new nests, and we have already exceeded our original goal of 30 active nests by 2020,” said Julie Oakes, a DNR wildlife biologist. “We have been able to remove ospreys from the threatened species list to a species of special concern and restore their numbers in Michigan.”

The DNR and several partner organizations monitor the revitalization of this species by outfitting osprey chicks with “backpack” GPS telemetry units and tracking their movements and migration patterns.

Anyone can follow along and find out where the birds have been by looking at the Michigan Osprey website, www.michiganosprey.org.

Falcons and eagles

Peregrine falcons, which had been virtually eradicated from eastern North America at one time, today are successfully nesting atop places like urban buildings and bridges.

Peregrine falcons, which had been virtually eradicated from eastern North America at one time, today are successfully nesting atop places like urban buildings and bridges.

Peregrine falcons and bald eagles—two other birds of prey whose populations were decimated by pesticides—also are on the upswing as a result of similar conservation efforts.

Peregrines, virtually eradicated from eastern North America by the middle of the 20th century, today are successfully nesting in urban centers of southern Michigan, on the most iconic bridges across the state and along the Upper Peninsula’s rocky Lake Superior shoreline.

In 2015, biologists recorded 33 active peregrine nests, which produced 73 wild chicks.

The bald eagle’s numbers declined dramatically in the 1950s and 1960s until there were fewer than 1,000 nesting eagles remaining in the U.S. by 1963. Today, the species has recovered to a point where its existence is no longer imperiled.

With over 800 active eagle nests in Michigan, eagles can be found in almost all of the state’s 83 counties.

Moose

 In an operation known as the “moose lift” in the mid-1980s, the DNR translocated 59 moose via helicopter from Ontario, Canada, to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

In an operation known as the “moose lift” in the mid-1980s, the DNR translocated 59 moose via helicopter from Ontario, Canada, to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“Most of the mammal successes have been so successful that we have seasons on them: marten, fisher, deer and elk,” said Chris Hoving, adaptation specialist with the DNR Wildlife Division. “At one time, they were nongame, or at least not hunted.”

Although moose are not an example of a species that has rebounded to the point where it can be hunted, one memorable nongame endeavor was the reintroduction of the species to Michigan in the Upper Peninsula.

Native to Michigan, moose disappeared from the Lower Peninsula in the 1890s and only a few scattered individuals remained in the Upper Peninsula.

In the mid-1980s, the DNR translocated 59 moose—using helicopters, in an operation remembered as the “moose lift”—from Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, and released them in Marquette County.

A 2016 moose population survey estimates a population of 323 moose in the western U.P.

Reptiles and amphibians

As for reptiles and amphibians, collectively known as herpetofauna or “herps,” ongoing projects include the Michigan Herp Atlas, which aims to collect data about Michigan’s native amphibians and reptiles in order to document their distribution and changes in their populations statewide, and the annual spring volunteer frog and toad survey.

“We have collected a large, valuable data set to help us evaluate Michigan’s frog and toad populations,” said DNR nongame wildlife biologist Lori Sargent. “We’re now able to start watching trends and thinking about how to slow down some of the species’ declines and, hopefully, increase awareness of their plight so that conservation efforts will be enacted in the future.”

Distinctions

Schauer said it’s important to remember that not all nongame animals are threatened or endangered species, or even species of special concern.

“Nongame also includes animals that aren’t harvested but aren’t necessarily listed as special concern, threatened or endangered—a good example of that would be the American robin,” she said. “One of the primary goals of the Nongame Wildlife Fund is to keep these common species common.”

Pitch in

Want to help Michigan’s nongame wildlife? There are several ways to contribute: by purchasing a wildlife habitat license plate or Living Resources patch or by making a tax-deductible donation.

Learn more about the Nongame Wildlife Fund at www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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CS Brewing Company honored again

 

BUS-CSBrewery-front-viewNamed #5 in top 10 new breweries in Michigan

The Cedar Springs Brewing Company continues to win accolades from loyal customers and critics alike. In May, customers voted it the best brewery in West Michigan. In June/July, customers nominated them for their fried chicken and MLive visited and named them as one of the best (#11 out of 52) in their search for Michigan’s best fried chicken, calling it absolutely delicious. And now, they’ve done it again, coming in at number five out of MLive’s top 10 new breweries in Michigan.

Customers nominated their favorite new breweries all across the state (from 2012 til now), and then MLive reporters Amy Sherman and John Gonzalez visited 30 finalists before making their decision on the top 10. When writing about Cedar Springs Brewing Company, they talked about how owner David Ringler learned to brew in Germany, and how his love for their country, traditions and traditional beers is infectious. They called his German beers excellent examples of classic styles, and called the Cedar Springs beer, CSIPA, a subtle, clean, quality beer. “The beers have nothing to hide behind, and don’t need to,” they wrote. “Their taste speaks volumes.”

The top ten new Michigan breweries named by MLive were:

#10-One Well Brewing, Kalamazoo

#9-Territorial Brewing, Springfield

#8-Cognition Brewing, Ishpeming

#7-Tapistry Brewing, Bridgman

#6-Grand River Brewing, Jackson

#5-Cedar Springs Brewing Company, Cedar Springs

#4-Hop Lot Brewing Company, Suttons Bay

#3-Batch Brewing, Detroit

#2-Transient Artisan Ales, Bridgman

#1-Stormcloud Brewing Frankfort

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Is your lawn and garden bird-friendly?

BLOOM-Is-your-lawn_garden-bird-friendly

(StatePoint)

Birds are more than just beautiful visitors to your lawn and garden, they are an important component of a healthy local ecosystem.

Making your property a safe haven for birds will beautify your garden and is the right thing to do. Here are a few simple steps to take to keep birds safe.

Offer Food and Shelter

Many birds will simply be using your yard as a rest stop on a long migration. Keep this in mind and fill your yard with native species of trees, shrubs and flowers to provide shelter and food.

You can supplement this nourishment with strategically located bird feeders that will prevent birds from striking your home’s windows. Ideally, bird feeders should be located within three feet of a window or more than 30 feet from a window.

Prevent Bird Strikes

Ninety-eight million birds are killed annually in the U.S. when colliding with windows, according to Western EcoSystems Technology estimates. Stem the loss of life by exploiting the keen vision of birds.

“When windows are visible to birds, they will enjoy a safer migration,” says Spencer Schock, founder of WindowAlert, a company that offers decals and UV Liquid that is visible to birds but not people.

Products from WindowAlert are proven to effectively alter the flight path of birds and prevent window strikes. An easy weekend project to complete this season is applying decals to your home’s windows and using UV Liquid to fill the gaps in order to form a visual barrier for birds. The ultraviolet reflecting coating will look like etched glass to humans, but be quite visible to birds. The coating can fade over time, so remember to periodically replace decals. More best practices can be found at windowalert.com.

Limit Other Hazards

Pet cats can prove hazardous to birds. Keep cats inside or monitor their time outdoors in order to prevent attacks.

Promote a natural food source for birds by avoiding the use of pesticides and fertilizers that kill off the insects that birds need to thrive.

By taking a few important measures at home, you can create a haven for migratory birds right in your own backyard.

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River Rock Church hosts annual summer festival August 21 

ENT-River-rock-Festival

Entire community invited to free event with something for everyone 

On Sunday, August 21, River Rock Church will host their annual summer Festival event from 4-7 p.m. The event, which is completely free of charge, will take place on the grounds of River Rock Church at 6060 Belding Road, Rockford, Mich.

River Rock’s Festival event is an opportunity for the greater community to come together and simply have fun. What can you expect to do at Festival? Kids can enjoy inflatables, many kid’s games, face painting, pony rides, a petting zoo, a clown and more. But Festival isn’t just for kids! Adults who attend can listen to live music, play yard games, or sign up for a raffle drawing for prizes such as getaways to Double RR Ranch, local restaurant gift cards, a patio set and more! Plus, everyone can enjoy great food, grab a photo in the photo booth, have your caricature done by artist David Wodarek , be awed by local magician Alan Kazaam and reflect at the community prayer tent.

In 2015, River Rock welcomed approximately 900 people to Festival. And while a great turnout is expected, the true goal is to give back to the community.

“Since our beginning in 2000, River Rock Church has existed to prayerfully connect those in the greater Rockford community to Jesus and one another. We seek to do this in a variety of ways including worship services, serving opportunities inside and outside of our church, programming for all ages, and community outreach events like Festival,” said River Rock’s Senior Pastor, Jon Huizenga. “Festival is something we can give back to the community who has blessed our church in so many ways.”

For more information on River Rock’s Festival, visit www.riverrockcommunity.com or contact the church office at 616-874-0400.

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Meet City Manager Mike Womack

Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack started August 1. Post photo by J. Reed.

Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack started August 1. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

It took nine months, but the City of Cedar Springs finally has a new full time City Manager overseeing operations at City Hall.

Mike Womack, 34, started in his new position August 1.

Just prior to coming to Cedar Springs, Womack was an Executive Intern for the Village of Lake Orion, Michigan, which is located on the east side of the state,

and a Graduate Assistant, in the City Manager’s office in the City of Eastpointe, Michigan. He was also working as an Attorney at Womack & Womack P.C., in Shelby Township.

Womack said his time at EastPointe and the Village of Lake Orion was valuable. “I learned a lot. There is no substitute for the mentoring you get through internships. It helped me to prepare for this job,” he explained.

Womack was born in Rochester, Michigan, and grew up in Troy. He graduated from Eisenhauer High School in Shelby. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Oakland University; his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and his Masters of Public Administration from Central Michigan University.

As a lawyer, Womack defended felony and misdemeanor cases, probate, and juvenile law. He also worked in oil and gas, and property law for a time in Pennsylvania. During that time, he would commute back to Michigan for classes. “I was always going, but began to feel worn out,” he said.

So why did he decide to make a career move into small town government?

“After seven or eight years of being a lawyer, I decided I wanted to do something else,” he explained. “As a child, I thought I might do something in government. I first thought of politics, but then realized I could do more good behind the scenes.”

Womack met his wife, Glenna, when they were both undergrads. They married in 2013, at the Beach and Yacht Club at Disney World, in Florida. The children they have are of the furry variety. “We have four dogs and a chinchilla,” he said.

Womack said he was somewhat familiar with this area of Michigan, from going camping up in White Cloud, and traveling up and down the west coast of the state, and visiting the Grand Rapids area. “During college I had a few buddies who went to school here,” he explained.

What does our new city manager like to do during his free time? “I’m a bit of a policy wonk,” he admitted, “I like to go home and read a white paper on best practices.” The Post asked him what he likes to do when he’s not reading white papers. He said he likes to do some shooting, though he doesn’t like to hunt. “That doesn’t mean I don’t look forward to a bit of venison jerky every now and then,” remarked. He also likes to do some long distance running and triathalons occasionally. “I used to do some amateur astronomy, but there was too much light where I was,” he explained. He also likes computer and video games, playing softball, and watching baseball. “I’m really looking forward to enjoying some White Caps games,” he said.

Womack has been living in a hotel, but was moving into an apartment this week. He said it would be about six months before his wife is able to join him. She needs to close up her law practice first. He said that they would look at buying a house somewhere in the area within a  year.

What does he think of Cedar Springs? “I think the city is on an upward trajectory. I’ve interviewed at places where people are losing jobs, and things are going downhill. I don’t see that here.” He said he’s excited about the “Heart of Cedar Springs” project at Main and Maple. “It will be great for the community. And I love libraries, and sculptures, and sculpture parks. If I can walk there on my lunch hour, get my mile in, it will be great,” he remarked.

His first priority, he said, is to get some city positions filled: both a full time clerk, and a finance director. A temporary clerk was hired to fill Linda Christiansen’s position until Womack can find someone, and the finance director will be leaving for another job in the near future.

Womack wants residents and business owners to know that he has an open door. “I’m happy to talk about problems. There may not always be an easy solution; we have to work within the personnel and financial constraints. But I’ll do what I can.” He said that the preferred way to reach him is through email: manager@cityofcedarsprings.org. But you can also reach him by phone at 696-1330, ext. 104.

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Post travels to Adirondack mountains

(L to R) is Angela Swinehart, Kelli and Jessica Hamilton on Weston Mountain.

(L to R) is Angela Swinehart, Kelli and Jessica Hamilton on Weston Mountain.

The Post went mountain-climbing in late July with Kelli and Jessica Hamilton, Angela Swinehart, and 10 others at Adirondack Adventure Camp, in New York, through the United Methodist Church Conference.

The photo shows Weston Mountain/nun-da-ga-o ridge, with an elevation of 3,195 feet, on July 26.

“The Post also climbed Hadley Mountain, Cook Mountain, and Peaked Mountain, July 25-29,” said Kelli.

Thanks so much for taking us with you on your mountain-climbing adventure!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

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