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En Gedi holds auction; creates memorial scholarship

 

The En Gedi Auction is always a successful event.

The family of Marilyn Magnuson was on hand to share stories about her at the En Gedi Auction. From L to R: Craig Carter, Michelle (Magnuson) Carter, and Matt Magnuson.

The 2018 En Gedi Auction held at the Cedar Springs High School on Friday, March 23 was another successful event. Numerous donations from area businesses including furniture, wood pellets, tools, home furnishings, food and entertainment certificates, and collective sports memorabilia were some of the items included in the silent and live auctions. En Gedi is a Cedar Springs non-profit Christ-centered organization focused on building community and providing our young people with a safe and fun place to hang out. 

“Our community continues to support the En Gedi Mission, which the entire team is very grateful for,” commented John Huffman, Chairman of this year’s event. “We want to thank all those who participated and especially CS Manufacturing for their leadership and matching donation.”

The Silent Auction helps fund En Gedi throughout the year.

Appetizers from Red Rock Grill were served and games were available to play prior to the live auction.  

En Gedi announced the creation of the Marilyn Magnuson Memorial Scholarship. Magnuson was a founding member of En Gedi in 2009 and continued to serve both at the youth center and on the board until health issues forced her to resign. Some of the Magnuson Family were on hand to share stories of the late Marilyn Magnuson and her passion for introducing Jesus to young people. Magnuson was an art teacher and evangelist with a special heart for the youth. Memorial donations were requested to be made to En Gedi along with funds earned from her various art featured at the 2018 auction. The scholarships will be awarded to young people needing funding assistance to attend a Christ-centered camp, mission trip, or conference in varying amounts. Applications can be obtained from Pastor Craig Owens, the En Gedi Youth Center Executive Director or from Randy Badge, Chairman of the Scholarship Committee. 

The Men and Ladies of Honor directors presented information about their programs as they continue to work with En Gedi. This program offers students the opportunity to deepen their faith and build meaning relationships with other young people on their faith journey.

Along with providing a free after-school youth center for 6-8th graders at Red Hawk Elementary, En Gedi will be showing the movie God’s Not Dead 2 on Tuesday, May 29 and Wednesday, May 30 at 6:30 p.m., and then God’s Not Dead 3, if available, on June 11 and 12 at Kent Theatre in Cedar Springs. All movies will be provided free of charge. A summer concert featuring the group Out of Darkness is also planned for Thursday, July 26. Watch the Cedar Springs Post for more details.

The En Gedi youth center continues to look for community members willing to share their hobby, interest, or skill with our young people. Past presenters included teaching wood carving, guitar, various art forms, and sail boat building. Please contact Pastor Craig Owens at EnGediYouthCenter@gmail.com or at www.EnGediYouthCenter.com if you can share a few hours of your time.

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Michigan DNR lauds federal announcement on comeback of Kirtland’s warbler

Cutline: The Kirtland’s warbler, which lives in northern Michigan’s jack pine forests, is one of our state’s biggest wildlife conservation success stories. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed in early April 2018 to remove the songbird from the federal list of threatened and endangered species.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes removing the bird from the Endangered Species list

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources applauded the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to potentially remove the Kirtland’s warbler from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. The proposed delisting now enters a 90-day public comment period. A final decision is expected within a year. 

“This is a great day for conservation and for Michigan,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “This decision recognizes over 50 years of dedication and commitment to Kirtland’s warbler conservation by many agencies, organizations, industries, and individuals in our state and beyond. Together we have been able to benefit local economies while at the same time providing necessary nesting grounds for this species. The decision by our federal partners marks a significant wildlife success story.” The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today applauded the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to potentially remove the Kirtland’s warbler from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. The proposed delisting now enters a 90-day public comment period. A final decision is expected within a year. 

“This is a great day for conservation and for Michigan,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “This decision recognizes over 50 years of dedication and commitment to Kirtland’s warbler conservation by many agencies, organizations, industries, and individuals in our state and beyond. Together we have been able to benefit local economies while at the same time providing necessary nesting grounds for this species. The decision by our federal partners marks a significant wildlife success story.”

Forty years ago, the Kirtland’s warbler was on the brink of extinction. Today, the yellow-breasted songbird, which lives in northern Michigan’s jack pine forests, has made a comeback. The bird rebounded from a population low of about 350 in 1987 to more than 4,000 today. The Kirtland’s warbler population continues to grow and has for the past 16 years exceeded population recovery goals. Once thought confined to northern Michigan, the bird species has since been found in Wisconsin and Canada. 

“Kirtland’s warblers were one of America’s rarest birds, but today they represent the power of partnership to recover imperiled wildlife,” said Tom Melius, Midwest Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

The Kirtland’s warbler was among the first animals to gain federal protection in 1967 under the Endangered Species Preservation Act, a precursor to the Endangered Species Act. The species started to rebound once agencies and their partners began to implement long-term efforts to conserve young jack pine. Large areas of jack pine of a certain age class are essential for Kirtland’s warbler nesting. Also essential to a thriving Kirtland’s warbler population is control of brown-headed cowbirds. The brown-headed cowbird is a nest parasite that knocks eggs out of Kirtland’s warbler nests and replaces them with its own. 

The Kirtland’s Warbler Breeding Range Conservation Plan was developed in 2015 by the Michigan DNR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service. The plan is now the guiding management strategy for the species. Additionally, funding and other commitments to habitat management and cowbird control are in place to ensure continuation of conservation actions in the absence of Endangered Species Act protections. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will receive comments on the proposed delisting through July 11, 2018. 

To submit comments electronically visit www.regulations.gov (available starting Thursday, April 12) and enter FWS–R3–ES–2018–0005 in the search box. To submit a hard copy, submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R3–ES–2018–0005, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.

More information about the Kirtland’s warbler and the proposal to remove Endangered Species Act protections is available at:  https://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/birds/Kirtland/index.html

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WMP wrestlers earn All American status at Nationals

Two West Michigan Pursuit wrestlers became NUWAY National Champions last weekend. Courtesy photo.

By Barbra Chong

West Michigan Pursuit traveled to Lansing for the 2018 NUWAY Nationals. WMP entered 12 grapplers to compete and 8 earned All American Status.

Tatianna Castillo entered the All Girls event in the 9U, 52 lb wt class. Castillo battled her way into the Championship but came up short taking the runner up spot. She ended her season with a 37-22 record.

65 lb Hunter Eeck, D3 division finished 8th. Eck finished his season with a record of 30-24. 

59 lb Kellen Weckesser, D3 division finished 6th. Weckesser finished his season with a 38-21 record. 

58 lb Tanner Cowles, D2 division finished 4th. Cowles finished his season with a 40-15 record. 

86 lb Blake Peasley, D3 division and 66 lb Josh Vasquez, D4 division both finished 3rd. Peasley finished his season with a 53-8 record and Vasquez ended his season with a 50-10 record. 

2018 NUWAY National Champions are 65 lb Quinten Cassiday, D3 division and 64 lb Drew Moro, D2 division. Cassiday finished his season with a 57-11 record and Moro ended his season with a 62-5 record. 

“From the beginning of season, my expectations were set high,” said head coach Dave Andrus. “I was very pleased they were met and some were exceeded. I’m so very proud of all my kids. It’s the greatest feeling as a coach to have your athletes jump into your arms after they accomplish what they work so hard for.” 

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Red Hawk Odyssey of the Mind team to go to World Finals

Odyssey of the Mind held State Finals on March 17, the second step for creative teams competing their way to the World Finals. State Finals hosts the best teams from the entire state of Michigan and Cedar Springs sent two teams this year. The teams, made up of up to seven members, choose a challenging, open ended “problem” to solve and then test their solution against other teams in the same age division. Teams must use their creativity, ingenuity, acting, artistic talents and recycle, rework, and create, using teamwork and solving solutions on the spot to advance. 

Life skills are learned in abundance here.

To earn the right to advance, teams must place first or second against the best, most creative kids in Michigan.

Placing in second and earning the right to advance to world finals is our team from Red Hawk Elementary coached by Michelle Wiles and Traci Slager.

Team members are: Aiden Lake, Brielle Sarniak, Jade Yowtz, Nate Slager, Annalise Elliot and Coryn Wiles.

The team is busy now creatively fundraising for their upcoming trip. At world finals over 16 countries and more than 35 states have teams competing! It will be an amazing memory maker for this creative team! Good Luck to you! 

If you would like to donate, you can visit their gofundme page at https://www.gofundme.com/om-world-finals.

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Tips pour in about Skinner Field vandals

This photo shows just a portion of the damage done in the Skinner Field locker recently. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

Police say that four juveniles, ages 15-16, are allegedly responsible for the malicious destruction of property in the locker room at Skinner Field the weekend of March 24.

The vandalism was discovered on Sunday, March 25, and police were called. According to Shawn Kiphart, president of the Friends of Skinner Field, the locker room has large steel doors that you cannot get into, so the suspect(s) broke out a small daylight window that sits about seven feet off the ground. Nothing appeared to be stolen, but the vandals smashed and destroyed toilets, urinals, 11 new first aid kits, showerheads, football equipment and more. Two of the toilets were brand new. They also burned a flag in the sink. 

Cedar Springs Youth Football uses the locker room, and photos of the damage were posted to their page. According to Kiphart, tips began pouring in from the community. By Wednesday, March 28, police were interviewing the suspects. 

“This shows that the community will not stand for this type of behavior,” said Kiphart. “It really was the community that caught them.” He was also complimentary to the Kent County Sheriff Department. “We are very happy with the police department in how quickly they got on it, how many were involved, and how quickly they solved it. They did a great job,” he said.

The case has been forwarded to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

Earlier that same week, the concession stand was also vandalized. In that incident, the vandals dumped cleaning supplies on the floor, then put paper on it and tried to burn it. The floor will need to be replaced. The police have not yet closed that case.

Kiphart said they have had an outpouring of community support to help clean up, as well as replace and repair what was damaged. A gofundme page at https://www.gofundme.com/skinner-field-fund has raised just over $2,300, and they have gotten several people in the community who are skilled laborers (such as plumbers) who have volunteered to come out fix things like the urinals, and donate their time. The Cedar Strong Facebook group also approached them about organizing a cleanup day for the lockeroom and concession stand. “We have not yet started on the cleanup and upgrades because we couldn’t get into the buildings while the investigation was going on,” explained Kiphart. “We’ve only just been able to get into the locker room this week, and we cannot yet get into the concession stand, so a cleanup date has not yet been set.” He hopes they will be able to set one soon.

While he’s pleased that the suspects in the locker room incident have been identified, it’s kind of a bittersweet victory.

“I’m very happy that the suspects were caught, but saddened that there seemed to be no rhyme or reason for what they did, and because they seemed to be local,” said Kiphart. “While they need to be punished, I also hope they get the help that they need.” 

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Severe weather awareness week

 

This photo shows a tornado in the Grayling area.

April 8-14

Next is week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Michigan, and The Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (MCSWA), has released their annual packet of info and tips to help families prepare for severe weather.

When thinking of severe weather, we most often think of tornadoes. While tornadoes can occur any time of the year, they are especially common during the late spring and early summer months. As one of nature’s most violent storms, they can devastate homes and property in just seconds. Average lead time for tornadoes is 10 to 15 minutes, which is why Michigan citizens are encouraged to prepare and plan before a tornado strikes.

Here are some tips to prepare your family for a tornado:

  • Create an emergency preparedness kit for your home.
  • Develop and implement a family communications plan with family members living in your home.
  • Listen to your NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
  • Be aware of the danger signs indicating a tornado.

What to do when a tornado warning is issued for your area:

  • Quickly move to shelter in the basement or lowest floor of a permanent structure.
  • In homes and small buildings, go to the basement and get under something sturdy, like a workbench or stairwell. If a basement is not available, go to an interior part of the home on the lowest level. A good rule of thumb is to put as many walls between you and the tornado as possible.
  • In schools, hospitals and public places, move to the designated shelter areas. Interior hallways on the lowest floors are generally best.
  • Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Broken glass and windblown projectiles cause more injuries and deaths than collapsed buildings. Protect your head with a pillow, blanket, or mattress.
  • If you are caught outdoors, a sturdy shelter is the only safe location in a tornado.
  • If you are boating or swimming, get to land and seek shelter immediately.

You can download the entire packet at https://www.mcswa.com.

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JV baseball takes win over Newaygo

Freshman Trenton Snoeyink earned the save for the JV Red Hawks baseball team over Newaygo.

The JV baseball team improved to 3-1 with a nail-biting victory over Newaygo on Wednesday, March 28.  

Once again sophomore Caden Vandenberg led the team in hitting with two singles and three RBI.  Trenton Snoeyink, Dylan Greenland, Jeremy Campione, Willy Zain and Connor Ellison each added a hit as well.  

The Red Hawks were tied 3-3 going into the 5th inning. After an Ellison single to start the inning, Clyde Dykhouse hit a rocket at the third baseman, causing him to misplay the play, leaving runners at first and third. The Hawks proceeded to score 4 runs with timely hits by Greenland and Vandenberg to take a 7-3 lead.  

In the sixth, Newaygo managed to put together a collection of hits. Those, accompanied by a pair of Red Hawk errors, got them to within 7-6.  

In the seventh inning, freshman lefty Trenton Snoeyink went out to the mound to try closing the game out. He walked the first hitter, then proceeded to catch him stealing second with a well-timed pick off move. Trenton then struck out the final two hitters to end the game and earn the save.  

The JV will play next after spring break at home on Wednesday, April 11 against Forest Hills Northern and will play Northern again on the 13th on the road.

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Another bald eagle photo

Mike and Rosemary Gray, of Cedar Springs, spotted this eagle on a deer carcass along Myers Lake Rd between 15-16 Mile Roads on Monday, March 26, about 11:30 a.m. They took several photos, including this one (which doesn’t show the deer carcass, but is a clearer photo of the bird).

Thank you for sending it our way!

Do you have a wildlife photo you would like to send us? Please email us your photo with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com.

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Cedar Springs Superintendent resigns

Many of those demanding the resignation of the Superintendent marched to Cedar Springs High School from the Hilltop building Monday evening. Photo by Aleshia Smith.

by Judy Reed

After several years of complaints from teachers and community members against Cedar Springs Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn, the Cedar Springs Board of Education voted Monday evening to accept her resignation.

The main complaint was of creating a hostile and toxic work environment, with a turnover of 70-plus employees in the last three years. Several complaints of bullying had also been lodged against her in the past but dismissed by the Board of Education.

Many who had voiced comments against the Superintendent at previous board meetings felt the board was not listening or did not care. That fueled a movement that recently grew in the community to get their voice heard.

A sea of red shirts sporting the logo “#ResignVanDuyn” filled the auditorium at Cedar Springs High School before the regularly scheduled board meeting Monday night. Many also held signs with the same logo. The group, made up of parents, teachers, and other community members, had come to demand that either the board put the Superintendent on immediate leave pending an investigation, or that they negotiate with her to resign. They also had petitions for the recall of three board members.

Some supporters of the Superintendent came with signs that read “B kind to VanDuyn.”

Signs in support of Superintendent VanDuyn. Post photo by J. Reed.

As the board members filed in at the start of the meeting, one person was conspicuously absent: Dr. VanDuyn.

Board president Heidi Reed announced that the Superintendent had been excused from the meeting. After making some introductory statements about the board, they made a motion to go into closed session to discuss “a personnel matter.” After more than an hour of deliberation, they reconvened and made a motion to accept the resignation of Dr. Laura VanDuyn.

Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn.

Cheers filled the auditorium as the motion was announced. The vote passed 5-1, with Board trustee Tim Bauer the lone no vote. Trustee Shannon Vanderhyde was not present.

Bauer, who was appointed earlier this year to fill an empty seat, said he felt it was wrong. He noted that many of those wearing the red shirts had probably went to church on Palm Sunday. He then compared them to the angry mob that had crucified Jesus when they didn’t get their way. A Facebook post by Bauer Tuesday morning speaking of judgment on those that wore the red shirts caused more furor and scrutiny by law enforcement. He later announced on Facebook he would resign at the next board meeting.

Board Vice President Matthew Shoffner gave one of the most heartfelt speeches from the board. “I hoped for something better and that has not come about. I hoped for unity and I hoped for this community to be brought together. That is still my hope. I hope that we can do this together,” he said.

Katy Austin, one of the founders of the “Cedar Strong” movement, was one of those thankful that the board finally heard their voice. “I’m incredibly thankful to each and every person who helped the community be heard. I’m excited for the future and I can’t wait to see our kids soar,” she said.

Dr. VanDuyn will remain at Cedar Springs through the end of the week. An announcement from Board President Heidi Reed said VanDuyn would also continue as an ad-hoc consultant through June 30, 2018. 

Reed noted that the Superintendent still has many supporters in the district.

“During her almost four years with our District, Dr. VanDuyn’s leadership has blessed our district with talent and new ways of thinking while challenging us to rise to a higher standard.

“Dr. VanDuyn’s top priority has always been the children and creating the best environment to promote academic growth and development. Her exceptional beliefs and leadership built a strong foundation for our journey to excellence. The board is thankful for Dr. VanDuyn’s dedication and service to CSPS and we wish her well in future endeavors,” she said.

The board appointed Mark Dobias, former superintendent of Allegan Area Educational Service Agency (AAESA) and Fennville Public Schools as interim Superintendent. He is scheduled to start on April 9. “Our strong building leadership coupled with his operational background will assure a seamless transition as we begin the search process for a permanent replacement,” said Reed.

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Brush fire burns out of control

Wind caused this fire to burn out of control last week. Post photos by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Dry and windy conditions caused a brush fire to spread out of control behind a home in Nelson Township last week. 

Cedar Springs Fire was called to the scene behind a home on 18 Mile, just to the east of Hillcrest Community Church, on Friday, March 23. 

According to Fire Chief Marty Fraser, when the fire began to spread, the homeowner attempted to put it out but could not get it under control. Approximately two acres was burned. 

The fire department got it knocked downand then went over the hot spots.

The Michigan DNR had a burning ban out for northern Michigan, and most of the fire departments in the lower peninsula also had a burning ban on for the dry, windy conditions. Anyone in the lower peninsula who wants to burn brush needs to call their local fire department to get a burn permit prior to burning.

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