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Enjoy a historic summer as a Tawas Point Lighthouse keeper

Volunteer keepers who participate in the light-keeper’s program at Tawas Point Lighthouse provide tours and do some routine cleaning and light maintenance work during their stay. Enjoy a historic summer as a Tawas Point Lighthouse keeper.

Volunteers in the Tawas Point Lighthouse keeper’s program are trained to provide tours in the lighthouse and area’s unique history.

Winter may have just begun, but it’s the perfect time to start making summer travel plans. Looking for uncommon travel experiences? How about a two-week stay at the historic Tawas Point Lighthouse, located in Tawas Point State Park off Tawas Bay in Lake Huron?

The Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program is now accepting applications for volunteer keepers for May 1 through Oct. 29. The program gets more than 100 applications a year. Those selected will get to live in the restored keeper’s quarters. Each participant pays a $75 per-person fee and provides roughly 35 hours of service each week in and around the historic lighthouse that attracts visitors from all over the world.

“The Tawas area is known as Michigan’s Cape Cod,” said Hillary Pine, Tawas Point Lighthouse historian. “It’s a lovely area favored by bird-watchers, sailors, history enthusiasts and others. We make sure our volunteer lighthouse keepers have plenty of time to enjoy Lake Huron, Tawas Bay and other recreational opportunities.”

Keeper duties at this nationally accredited museum include greeting visitors, giving tours, sharing information about the lighthouse, and routine cleaning and maintenance. Lodging is in the second story of the keeper’s quarters attached to the lighthouse. Accommodations include two bedrooms that sleep up to four adults, a modern kitchen, bath and laundry. Keepers must commit to a two-week stay.

Pine said the program looks for teams of two, three or four adults — especially those with knowledge of lighthouse lore or Great Lakes maritime history, but that background is not required. Prospective keepers should be able to climb up and down the 85 lighthouse stairs and have excellent customer service and public speaking skills.

“We give our volunteer lighthouse keepers historical information and on-site orientation to help prepare them for their experience,” Pine said. “They take great pride in helping to promote and preserve the lighthouse and who wouldn’t love waking up to a beautiful view of the bay every day?”

Applications will be accepted through Feb. 1. The application and additional information are available at michigan.gov/tawaslighthouse. For more information, email dnr-tawaskeepers@michigan.gov or contact Hillary Pine at 989-348-2537.

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WMP wrestlers finish in top four at Orchardview

Carter Giles, 54 lb 9/10 Champion for West Michigan Pursuit.

By Barbra Chong 

The first tournament of the 2018-2019 MYWA Western Region was hosted by Orchardview wrestling. West Michigan Pursuit entered 15 grapplers to Orchardview. We also had three grapplers travel to Iowa to compete at the Hawkeye Nationals. 

Blake Peasley entered the 5th/6th grade age group, 95 lb wt class going 3-2 finishing in 5th at Nationals. Peasley also entered the Eaton Rapids tournament in the 95 lb 11/12 age group and claimed his first championship of the season. 

At the Orchardview tournament, our team placed 13 of our competitors in the top four. Out of 61 battles, WMP claimed 39 victories. 67 lb Jaxen Bowyer, 7/8 age group; 78 lb Logan Galinis, 9/10 age group and 85 lb Isaiah Sostenes, 11/12 age group all finished 4th. 61 lb Desmond Smith, 7/8 age group finished 3rd. 66 lb Kellen Wekesser, 9/10 age group and 58 lb Blake Werekema, 7/8 age group both finished 2nd. And Champions of the day are 69 lb Evan Andrews, 9/10 age group; 85 lb Alex Buskirk, 11/12 age group; 58 lb Tatianna Castillo, 7/8 age group; 49 lb Brody Compau, 7/8 age group; 54 lb Carter Giles, 9/10 age group; 90 lb Ayden McClurken, 11/12 age group and 75 lb Josh Vasquez, 11/12 age group. Congratulations to all of the grapplers for stepping out on the mat and working as hard as they did. 

“I was very pleased at the progress from several of our wrestlers,” said Heach Coach, Dave Andrus. “Lesson plans have been adjusted and have had positive results at a faster pace. I truly have some of the best parents in the sport and am grateful to them.” 

If you are interested in learning more about this sport or if your wrestler is looking to compete at the next level, check out West Michigan Pursuit. They are located in the Cedar Springs Sports Plex and practices are Tuesday and Thursdays.

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Reminder: Clear sidewalks, winter parking

Now that the snow is here, below are a couple of reminders for residents and business owners in the City of Cedar Springs. The info on hydrants and mailboxes applies to township residents as well.

Keep sidewalks and fire hydrants clear of snow and ice

Kids walking to school, customers shopping, firefighters putting out fires, and postal workers delivering mail all have one thing in common—they depend on residents and business owners to make sure ice and snow are cleared away.

In the City of Cedar Springs, every occupant of every lot is required to remove the snow and ice from their sidewalks. 

Area fire departments would also appreciate residents keeping fire hydrants free of snow. 

Our firefighters often spend several hours shoveling out hydrants after a snowfall, and if an emergency should arise (such as in the case of a house fire), hydrants need to be in clear view. So if you have one near your house, a few extra minutes shoveling might make the difference! You could save a life.

Postal workers also need help from residents to keep snow and ice from piling up around their mailbox. Your carrier needs a good clear approach and path on leaving the box. Also, if your mailbox needs to be repaired or replaced, ask your carrier or call the Post Office (696-1230) for the required height. 

Winter parking in effect

For the residents of the City of Cedar Springs, winter parking is now in effect.

Under Ordinance No. 180 Section 36-86, no parking is allowed from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. from November 1 to April 1 on streets and areas that have a curb, such as Main Street and connecting side streets, and no parking within a distance of 20 feet of the center of a street for all other areas. The ordinance was created to help with snow removal.

There are public lots available to park in overnight, but cars must be moved daily. Lots can be found at the NE corner of Ash and Second; the SE corner of Elm and Second; the SW corner of Ash and First; and the NW corner of Cherry and First.

A violation is a civil infraction and a ticket will be issued by the Kent County Sheriff Department.

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Savickas pleads guilty to felony charges

Jacob Abraham Savickas

By Judy Reed

The man who robbed the Cedar Springs Admiral gas station and a string of other businesses here in Michigan and Ohio (including two banks) in the summer of 2017, pleaded guilty on Monday to four felony counts.

Jacob Abraham Savickas, 34, of Howard City, entered the pleas in Kent County’s 17th Circuit Court on Monday, November 26, as part of a plea agreement. Savickas started his crime spree Wednesday, July 26, 2017, with unarmed robbery of the J&H Mobil gas station at 4404 Clyde Park Ave., Wyoming. He then robbed the Admiral gas station on the corner of Main and Muskegon Street in Cedar Springs the next day, Thursday, July 27. Shortly after police found him at the rest stop on US-131 near 10 Mile Rd., but after a brief foot chase, he got back into his car and sped away. Police pursued him, but terminated the chase on 10 Mile Rd. 

Savickas drove to Indiana later that day, where he committed three more robberies, including two gas stations and a credit union. He then drove back to Michigan, and robbed the Next Door Food Store at 4616 Alpine Ave., N.W., where he struck the clerk with his vehicle. He also robbed the Independent Bank, 3090 Plainfield Ave NE on Wednesday morning August 2. 

He was arrested without incident on Wednesday, August 9, at a local hotel, by the FBI Fugitive Task Force.

Savickas pleaded guilty to the Independent Bank robbery, larceny from a person, attempted larceny from a person, and being a habitual offender. In exchange, two other felony charges and two separate cases were dismissed.

Savickas was previously convicted in 2015 of retail fraud, first degree. He was arrested after he tried to steal plasma cutters from Family Farm and Home in Cedar Springs. Employees recognized him at the time as someone who previously stole welders and interrupted the theft of the plasma cutters. He fled but was arrested and held on six charges, several for retail fraud at other locations. He was sentenced to a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years in prison. His record on the Michigan Corrections website shows him listed as a parole absconder as of July 6, 2017.

Savickas could be sentenced to up to life in prison. He will return to court for sentencing in January.

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Don’t be scammed


Free training

Don’t be scammed by counterfeit—know your money. The Kent County Sheriff’s Office, Cedar Springs Unit, will be hosting a free training session on identifying and reporting counterfeit money on Tuesday, December 11, at Cedar Springs City Hall. 

The presenter will be Steve McMahon, Resident Agent in Charge, of the US Secret Service Grand Rapids Office. The presentation will focus on security features in genuine currency and identify characteristics of counterfeit currency. The presentation is free, and the duration is approximately one hour. Anyone planning to attend the training should contact Sgt. Todd Probst by email at todd.probst@kentcountymi.gov.

Probst said that since January 2018, Kent County has taken 66 calls of counterfeit money. In one particular call a subject was found to be in possession of $2,000 worth of $100 bills. 

“With the big shopping season upon us, we wanted to train the area business owners how to protect themselves from this fraud,” he said. 

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Local family honors child with international fundraiser

 

Local family joins an international team of over 130 families funding innovative cancer research on Giving Tuesday.

On Giving Tuesday, November 27, Brison Ricker’s family honored the late teen’s memory with a virtual telethon to benefit Homerun Cure cancer research for children afflicted with brain cancer. 

The Cedar Springs teen died on December 23, 2017, after a two-year struggle with a rare and deadly childhood brain tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).

Joining the ranks of over 130 families around the world, the Rickers helped not only raise awareness for Brison’s fight, but also helped other families in the fight by funding critical research to provide cures for all cancers. An unprecedented event, The Cure Starts Now’s “100 Families Strong” online telethon planned to raise over $100,000 for research, and the Rickers planned to raise $1,000 of that. Both goals were met and then some. The Rickers raised $1,200 and the overall program raised over $170,000!

“Thanks to each of you who supported us in our mission to fund research and fight for a cure for DIPG in honor of Brison,” his mom, Kim Ricker, wrote on the Facebook page. “Foundation wide with 130 families fighting for the same mission, we crushed the $100,000 goal and raised over $170,000! This will fund over 1500 research hours! Together we can and will make a difference! We are so grateful for continued support! God bless.” 

Last year The Cure Starts Now raised over $50,000 through the combined effort of 25 families and provided the basis for the development of one new cancer research protocol to help children in the fight. While the Giving Tuesday telethon is over, you can still donate by visiting Brison’s page at http://www.donate2csn.org/brison.

About The Cure Starts Now

The Cure Starts Now was started in honor of 6-year-old Elena Desserich, a Cincinnati girl who battled a rare, aggressive form of brain cancer known as DIPG. Today, The Cure Starts Now Foundation has nearly 40 locations in four countries and is the only cancer foundation dedicated to finding the Homerun Cure™ for cancer by focusing on one of the rarest, most aggressive forms of cancer. Believing in more than just awareness, The Cure Starts Now has funded over $12 million in cancer research, resulting in over 80 cutting edge research grants in 6 countries since 2007. Learn more about The Cure Starts Now and their mission to find the Homerun Cure for cancer at https://www.thecurestartsnow.org/.

Brison Ricker died of DIPG in December 2017.

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Tree lighting this weekend

After the tree lighting in 2017. Photo by J. Reed

Tree lighting this weekend

By Judy Reed

Looking for some holiday cheer? You don’t want to miss the “Mingle with Kris Kringle” event this Saturday, December 1, put on by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. 

The day will run from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., with various fun, family-friendly, events. The day starts with a Jingle Bell Fun run/walk. Registration at 9 a.m. and registration at 9:30 a.m. 

Families can make and take Christmas ornaments and crafts at the Cedar Springs Library from 9-noon. You can also enjoy a story time with Mrs. Claus from 2-3 p.m. at Perry’s Place llc for herbs, teas, and more. There will also be a meet and greet with Cedar Springs cheerleaders, a petting zoo, and caroling, all before the mini-parade that brings Santa to the corner of Main and Ash Street at about 4:30-4:45.

Following the parade will be a live nativity scene near the Christmas tree, and mingling with Kris Kringle at the American Legion Hall, where kids can meet Santa and write him a letter, and families can enjoy hot cocoa. 

The fun then continues next weekend with the Kent Theatre Christmas Concert on Saturday, December 8 from 3-5 p.m., and the Kent Theatre Christmas Dance Extravaganza on Sunday, December 9, from 3-5 p.m. Admission is $3 for each show. Then on Monday, December 10, enjoy a free Christmas Carriage ride from 5-8 p.m., starting at the White Pine Trail staging area at the end of W. Maple Street. 

See more activities and details in the Chamber of Commerce ad on page 16.

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Christmas decorating competition

 

The Cedar Springs Chamber of Commerce would like to bring a little more hometown charm to our community this Christmas season. They are looking for businesses, organizations and individuals to compete in their “Cedar Springs Christmas Decorating Competition.” 

“We are looking for creative people to make Cedar Springs beautiful this Christmas Season,” said Chamber president Perry Hopkins. 

You can decorate a storefront, a church, a home, or any building within the 49319 zip code area. The fee to enter is $20. To sign up, email Perry Hopkins with subject line “Cedar Springs Christmas Decorating Competition” at csacocpresident@gmail.com  and include contact name, business/family/ organization name), phone number, a picture of your decorated business/building/home and a signed copy of the form, which you can find at https://www.facebook.com/events/265859090797202/?active_tab=discussion. The CSACoC Treasurer will send you an electronic invoice after they receive your emailed application. You can also sign up at Perry’s Place llc for herbs, teas, and more… located at 90 N Main St. He will have some forms on hand. The $20 entrance fee must be received for your application to be accepted.

A Survey Monkey link with list of participants will be posted December 3. Residents can then vote in an online poll and also paper ballots will be accepted at the Maple Street Staging Area during the “A Cedar Springs Christmas Carriage Rides” on Monday December 10, from 5p.m. to 8:00p.m. Results will be broadcast on the CSACoC Facebook page and the winners notified. Once the online poll is established each participant will be given that information so that they can post a request for the public’s vote.

Awards will be given to the best decorated building/business/home as determined by the winner of the Community Poll (determined by most votes received between the online and paper voting).

Funds collected as part of this contest will be used for the purchase of any awards and the remainder shall be split 50 percent donated to local charity of winner’s choice and 50 percent going towards the lights needed for decorating the trees along Main Street in 2019.

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New KDL Bookmobile hits the streets

Will visit Nelson Twp/Sand Lake Library on Thursdays

Many of the area’s baby boomers will remember the Bookmobile—a mobile library that visited neighborhoods during the 1960s and 70s. Kent District Library has resurrected that idea, and now has a Bookmobile delivering library service to local schools and communities. It will visit the Nelson Township/Sand Lake Library on Thursdays, starting November 1, from 1-5 p.m.

The Bookmobile was designed and created with the support of a $208,000 grant from the Steelcase Foundation.

This mobile library will enable KDL to bring its services, programming and staff to Kent County residents living in underserved areas. One of KDL’s goals in bringing the Bookmobile to schools is to increase reading proficiency in third grade students. In 2016, 50 percent of Kent County third graders were not proficient in English language arts. Beginning in the 2019/20 school year, third graders who do not pass reading proficiency tests will be held back. The Bookmobile will help deliver services that are focused on improving third grade reading proficiency.

The Bookmobile is equipped with a collection of materials provided by a generous grant from the Frey Foundation. It also includes Wi-Fi, a large exterior video screen and modular shelves. The vehicle is also handicapped accessible and offers security features. A full year of fuel will be provided by the J&H Family Stores.

Julie Ridenour, president of the Steelcase Foundation, said: “The Steelcase Foundation is honored to partner with the Kent District Library and the Frey Foundation to return the bookmobile to Kent County. It is our hope that the travels of this vehicle will allow readers of every age to be part of the Steelcase Foundation vision of empowering people to reach their full potential. We hope the Bookmobile lights the imagination of all who visit, whether to check out books, use the bookmobile’s wireless and computer devises, or tap into the talents of the librarian.”
The Bookmobile will allow Kent District Library to make its programs and collection available to patrons, particularly students, beyond the walls of the branch library. Through a close partnership with Kent School Services Network, KDL will bring the Bookmobile to seven schools every other week. It will also visit senior centers, rural centers, summer day care programs and a variety of other locations throughout Kent County.

“This project is a game changer for KDL” said Sara Proano, community engagement manager for KDL. “Now we have the capacity of bringing the library to patrons, wherever they are. We understand that the services we offer not only foster learning and bring entertainment, but they help communities connect with available resources and that impacts their quality of life at many levels.”

The Bookmobile is 36 feet long, 11 feet tall and 8.5 feet wide. It weighs 22,000 pounds with the collection inside. The collection includes books, books in other languages, DVDs, audiobooks, magazines and videogames.

The Bookmobile schedule typically runs Mondays through Thursdays, plus Saturdays. Fridays are reserved for maintenance and special events.

For more information or to request a visit from the Bookmobile, visit www.kdl.org/bookmobile.

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Holiday event honors Marge Clark

Marge Clark

Cross stitch by Marge Clark

The Cedar Springs Public Library invites you to join in a festive holiday event that will be held on Friday, November 9, 2018 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The library will be honoring our local artist and treasure Marge Clark with a holiday display of counted cross-stitch. Marge will be at the library to greet everyone during this time. Along with honoring Marge there will be a cross-stitch demonstration by our local seamstresses Pat Capek and Dorothy Bishop. And best of all there will be refreshments!

We hope that you will be able to join us for this unique holiday kick-off celebration. Two of Marge’s works are already on display in the library near the fireplace. Don’t forget to check them out. See you then!

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