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Firefighters presented with life saving award

From L to R: Andrew Bobo, Matt Schievink, and Taylor Hunt received a special life saving award Tuesday evening at the Solon Township Board meeting. Missing from the photo is Solon Firefighter Rich Hays, who also is an award recipient. Courtesy photo.

On September 10, 2019 at the Solon Township Board Meeting, four members of Solon FD were presented a Life Saving Award by the Kent County Emergency Medical Services, Medical Control Authority Systems Administrator, Mr. Lance Corey.

This award was given for their efforts with “Exceptional Patient Care” of a critically injured patient on August 16, 2018 suffered during a motor vehicle crash on Algoma Avenue near Quarter Horse Drive in Solon Township. The patient, Lila DeLine, had slowed or stopped to turn into a driveway and was hit from behind by another driver. The force of the impact caused her to suffer a life-threatening spinal cord injury—she was internally decapitated, an injury that usually proves fatal. She spent just over a week at Spectrum Health, and then transferred to Mary Free Bed for Rehabilitation. 

The members of the Solon Fire Department receiving the award included Matt Schievink, Taylor Hunt, Andrew Bobo, and Rich Hays. 

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Rise Up Church to hold first worship service

Sunday, September 15, at Cedar Springs Middle School

Some of the launch team members preparing for September 15. Courtesy photo.

Rise Up Church, a new church in Cedar Springs, is holding its first ever worship service on September 15, at 10:00 a.m. at Cedar Springs Middle School. The church’s pastor, Rev. Jon Huizenga, said that this would be the first of three monthly services scheduled (September 15, October 20, November 17). A grand opening of weekly Sunday worship will follow later.

“We want to be an accepting, non-judgmental church community that celebrates God rising up to show his compassion in Cedar Springs,” said Huizenga. The young church has been active since January holding weekly launch team gatherings plus monthly invitation events and monthly community engagement and serving projects. 

According to church information, one can expect to experience at the service: “Safe, enjoyable children’s ministry for infants through elementary school. Drinks and snacks. Freedom to wear what you want and to be accepted as you are. A new church community that celebrates God rising up to show his compassion in Cedar Springs.”

Jon and his wife, Sam, have worked with teams to start two other churches. Most recently Jon started and led River Rock Church in Rockford. The Huizengas are planning to move into their new home on Dio Drive at the end of September. “We love the city of Cedar Springs and look forward to living alongside all of our neighbors here,” Huizenga said. “We would love to meet you on September 15 if you are able to join us.”

Follow them on Facebook, just search for “rise up church.”

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First OK White conference win for boys cross country

The Red Hawks taking charge at the start of the race.

The Red Hawks ran smart to secure their first OK White conference meet win on September 4 on the challenging course located at Lowell High School. They came away with a 42-point performance and a 6-point victory over Lowell and the rest of the OK White conference. 

Corey Bowers (3rd), Daniel Vermulm (4th), Jaydon Moleski (6th), Dilan Sargent (11th), and Gavin Braciak (20th) rounded out the top 5 each running smart and tactical races. Austin Mann (25th) and Carter Moleski (29th) rounded out the varsity squad with some nice insurance for the team. 

Gabe White (30th), Cayden Steinebach (47th), Espen Wood (53rd), Caleb Menefee (72nd), Justin Voskuil (74th), and Ben Mallory (NT) previewed what proves to be a bright varsity squad in a couple of years. Eli Malon (96th), Logan Douglas (101st), Connor Skelonc (104th), Jonathan Reed (121st), and Gabe Minnich (142nd) showed great improvement and determination that will prove to continue throughout the season. 

 “Our boys ran a smart, tactical race on Wednesday. Lowell’s course is one of the toughest we’ll see all season. We knew the Red Arrows were a much improved team this year and would be working hard to give us a run for our money on their home course, and our veterans came through in a big way. This was our sixth consecutive first-place finish in OK White competition. Our consistent preparation and mutual trust on race day has made that possible. We’ll be working to continue this exciting stretch of success throughout the remainder of the season and beyond,” said Coach Jones.

On Saturday, September 7, the team traveled to Central Montcalm High School where they took to the course at a grade level meet. All four of the seniors were in the top 10 finishers of their race with each receiving medals. These individuals included Jaydon Moleski, Daniel Vermulm, Gavin Braciak, and Dilan Sargent. All of the juniors competing also received medals and included Corey Bowers, Austin Mann, Justin Voskuil, Caleb Menefee, and Logan Douglas. The sophomores had four receive medals for their times.  These individuals were Carter Moleski, Gabe White, Cayden Steinebach, and Ben Mallory. Freshmen earning medals for the first time this season were Espen Wood, Clayton Akerman, Eli Malon, and Connor Skelonc.  

“This was a great opportunity for our younger runners to get a real idea on where they stand against runners their age. We had a lot of breakout performances, and I was very proud of our performance. Despite not having any team scores to show for it, I believe we had the strongest team performance that day. Our future is bright. Training will continue to intensify over the next couple of weeks. They are ready for some tough workouts that will prepare them for championship racing.  I’m looking forward to watching these guys continue to improve and hit some faster courses as the season progresses. Next Friday’s MSU Invite will be the first true test as to where these boys stand against some of the best teams in Michigan,” said Coach Jones.

The team travels to the MSU Spartan Invite for competition on Friday, September 13.  

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Minks, otters, skunks, weasels, fishers, and martens

Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche

By Ranger Steve Mueller

It is a favorite to watch mink and otters in what appears to be fun-filled lives. Like all animals, they need to meet the needs of finding food, water, shelter, and living space. The more time we spend outdoors in wild places, the better the opportunity to encounter these sleek active animals. Mink seldom stray far from streams or lake edges. They use other animal burrows or hollow logs for dens. 

Mink are generally secretive and stay out of view among dense wetland vegetation near water’s edge. I observed one investigating a shoreline in search of food. It was looking for aquatic life. They are in the Mustelidae weasel family that includes otters, weasels, skunks, fishers, and pine martins. They are predators that feed almost entirely on animal matter. 

The mink diet is varied. Bird eggs, frogs, and fish are frequent food. They capture live animals such as birds, chipmunks, mice, amphibians, snakes, worms, crayfish, and insects. Larger prey like ducks, squirrels, and rabbits are a jackpot feast. They will take leftovers to their den for later eating.  

The mink searching the shoreline approached a Common Loon sitting on her nest. We wondered if it would kill the loon or if the loon would successfully protect its nest. Mink kill prey by biting it behind the head on the neck. Before the mink got close enough to find the loon nest, it diverted into the forest. We did not see the drama play out as life or death for the loon family. Though it would have been interesting, I was happy for the loon.

American river otters. 
Photo by Dmitry Azovtsev. http://www.daphoto.info

Otters are more elusive and when seen, they are usually swimming in rivers. Their muscular tail is used as a rudder. Large feet with webbing between toes provide strong swimming paddles that propel them well when pursing prey. Like all carnivores, they have canine teeth used for capturing and tearing prey. 

A family of three half grown otters were jostling in field near a wetland. They were having great fun and were oblivious to surrounding activity. When one saw me, it ended their jovial fun and they ran for cover. The open area was harvested for timber and tree top branches were piled. The otters ran for cover in the brush pile. 

I approached and saw them peering at me with wide eyes. My presence made them nervous and they contemplated what they should do. Two stayed in the brush pile but the third felt it needed to escape. It left the pile and ran across the logged clearing for more secure safety. Had I been wolf, coyote, or bobcat that might have spelled death for the young otter. This time the otter escaped with only fear and no injury or death. 

Encounters with mink, otters, and weasels have been infrequent. Skunks make their presence known by the odor that follows them. Even without spraying, the scent lingers in areas they traverse. They are predators with a diet heavily weighted toward insects. Amazingly, they dig up yellow jacket nests at night to feed heavily on pupae. It seems they would be stung to death but apparently not. 

Two members of the weasel family rarely encountered are the American pine marten and fisher. Both inhabit areas with more wilderness character where they depend on extensive forest. I have seen each species once in the wild. 

Though the marten is a predator, it also feeds on nuts, berries, and fruit to meet its metabolic needs. It is known primarily for capturing squirrels and chipmunks but its diet is broader to include mice, voles, insects, and fish. The one I saw ran across a trail I was hiking in the backcountry at Seney National Wildlife Refuge. 

My encounter with a fisher was in northern Minnesota when it ran across the road at dawn. My personal experience about its nature niche is basically nonexistent. I need to spend more time exploring outdoors.

Weasel family members have their own predators like owls, hawks, bobcats, wolves, coyotes, and even snakes.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

Posted in Featured, Ranger Steve's Nature NicheComments (0)

Pastors and community leaders feud for a cause

Single tickets are now on sale for the sixth annual North Kent Connect (NKC) fundraiser, “North Kent Pastors’ Feud: Part Deux.” The event takes place on Thursday, October 10, 2019, at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. 

Jeff “Spanky” Amlotte, from Mamrelund Lutheran, will be hosting a rousing version of “Family Feud,” along with emcee and NKC Board President, Michael Bohnsack. Joining them on stage will be numerous pastors and community leaders.

The 2019 fundraiser features a strolling small-plates dinner for guests to mingle and enjoy the venue before the festivities.  

“It’s a fun evening with 600 of your friends and colleagues,” said Claire Guisfredi, executive director at NKC. “We are grateful for all of the wonderful pastors, community leaders, and guests that help us to provide basic needs and empowerment programs for our neighbors in northern Kent County.”

Tickets are available to the public for $75 each, and table sponsorships are available as well. For more information, visit https://nkconnect.org/pastorsfeud2019/, or call North Kent Connect at (616) 866-3478. 

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, FeaturedComments (0)

Cedar Springs wins home opener over Swan Valley

Red Hawk quarterback Jeremy Champione, a junior, runs with the ball against Saginaw Swan Valley. Photo by Rob and Kelly Lalone.

By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs has not been shy about opening their football seasons by playing strong opponents. And this year was no exception. Last year, they traveled to Saginaw and lost a tough first game to the Saginaw Swan Valley Vikings (21-12), a Division 5 team that consistently appears in the playoffs. This year they took on the Vikings again, but this time on Red Hawk turf and came away with a solid 34-21 win.

The game was scheduled for last Thursday evening, August 29, but due to lightning and storms, it was continually delayed and then finally postponed to Friday, August 30, at 3 p.m.

Swan Valley scored the first touchdown of the game with 3:46 left in the first quarter, when Viking Khyree Harris ran right for a 26-yard touchdown. The extra point kick by Easton Goldensoph was good, making the score 7-0, Vikings.

Swan Valley scored again with 8:43 left in the second quarter, when quarterback Avery Goldensoph passed to Trent Alworden for a 35-yard touchdown. The extra point kick was no good, making the score Swan Valley 13, Cedar Springs 0.

Red Hawk QB Jeremy Champione hands the ball off to Zack Schmid. Photo by Rob and Kelly Lalone. 

The Red Hawks didn’t wait long after to score. Just 20 seconds later, with 8:24 left in the second quarter, Ben Shaw ran up the middle for a 60-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion was no good, making the score now 13-6.

But Cedar Springs didn’t stop there. They scored two more times in the second quarter—once on a 45-yard pass from QB Jeremy Champione to Aiden Brunin, with an extra two points from Zack Schmid, and again when Ben Shaw ran up the middle for a 35-yard touchdown. At half, the Red Hawks led the Vikings 20-13.

Cedar Springs scored again in the 3rd quarter. With 6:20 left, QB Jeremy Champione ran the ball two yards into the end zone for the touchdown, and then made a short pass to Kaden Liggett for the two-point conversion. The score was now CS 28, Saginaw SV 13.

Swan Valley scored their final touchdown of the night with 2:41 left in the 3rd, when QB Avery Goldensoph ran 1-yard up the middle to score. He then passed to Ethan Champney for two points. The score was now CS 28, SV 21.

Cedar Springs scored one more time early in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. With 11:12 left to play, Landon Totten ran 53 yards for the touchdown. The two-point conversion was no good. Score was now CS 34, SV 21.

It looked like the Red Hawks might score again when Ben Shaw broke away from the pack and headed down field with about 3 minutes to go. However, he took a knee, and the team continued to play the ball, running out the clock, and winning the game, 34-21.

The Post asked Coach Gus Kapolka what he felt his team did well. “It was a great win for our team against a quality opponent,” he said. “It showed the resiliency of our team in coming back from 13 down and scoring 28 unanswered points. We executed our offense well, especially after the first couple of drives.

“I’m proud of how our kids hung in early, took their best shot and responded by getting a tough victory under adverse circumstances.” 

What did he think Swan Valley did well? “Swan Valley ran the ball well and completed some big 3rd down conversions to their All State Receiver #7 Ethan Champney,” he remarked.

Cedar Springs gained 360 yards on the ground. Leading rushers for the Red Hawks included Ben Shaw with 146 yards on 10 carries, including two touchdowns; Landon Totten with 99 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown; and Jeremy Champione with 38 yards on 8 carries and one touchdown. Other ball carriers included Zack Schmid, Aiden Brunin, Da’montae Barnett, and Nathan Male. 

Cedar Springs gained 58 yards in the air. QB Jeremy Champione completed 3 passes on four attempts. Receivers included Aiden Brunin on a 45-yard pass (and TD); Da’montae Barnett on a 7-yard pass; and Zack Schmid on a 6-yard pass.

Swan Valley had 201 yards on the ground. Leading rushers included Khyree Harris with 141 yards on 13 attempts and one touchdown; Avery Goldensoph with 13 yards on nine attempts and one touchdown; and Andrew Rousseau with 42 yards on five attempts. Miekael Brooker and Callen Reaume also carried the ball.

Swan Valley had 155 yards in the air. QB Avery Goldensoph completed 8 passes on 20 attempts. Receivers included Ethan Champney, 4 passes for 92 yards; Ara Nab, 2 passes for 19 yards; Trent Alworden 1 pass for 35 yards and 1 TD; and Khyree Harris 1 pass for 9 yards.

This Friday, the Cedar Springs Red Hawks play another non-conference game, this time at Caledonia. Make the trip out there to cheer on your Red Hawks! The game starts at 7 p.m.

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The Post travels to Las Vegas

The Post traveled to Las Vegas with Pam and Lester Cooke, of Nelson Township, when they traveled there to celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary.

“We stayed at the Golden Nugget, saw the sites on Fremont street, visited the Mob Museum and relaxed around the pool,” wrote Pam.

It sounds like you had fun! Thanks for taking us with you!

Are you going on vacation? Be sure to take along a printed edition of the Post and get someone to snap a photo of you or your family with it. Send it to us along with some info about your trip (where you went, who went along, what you saw) and send the photo and info to news@cedarspringspost.com. We will print as space allows. If you forget the Post, please do not photoshop it into a photo. Just take it with you next time!

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Did you walk the Mighty Mac on Labor Day?

2019 Mackinac Bridge Walk

For the first time in three years, crowds at the Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk grew, with an estimated 30,000 people shrugging off blustery weather to walk the Mighty Mac this Labor Day.

This was the third year that the bridge was closed to public traffic during the walk, and the second year of the event starting from both Mackinaw City and St. Ignace with options for participants. About 25,000 people participated in the walk each of the last two years.

“We’re thrilled that more people chose to join us this morning for this 62-year tradition,” said Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) Executive Secretary Kim Nowack. “Each year is different, with people from across the globe coming to walk the bridge, and we hope everyone enjoyed this opportunity to see the bridge from this vantage.”

Michigan State Police St. Ignace Post Commander F/Lt. John Schneider, who coordinated the law enforcement security and traffic control during the walk, said the event went incredibly well from a safety standpoint.

“The numerous agencies and entities involved in the security component worked together flawlessly with great cooperation and collaboration to ensure the welfare and safety of the staff and the citizens,” Schneider said. “An event of this magnitude would never succeed at this level without such great partners.”

The bridge was closed to public traffic from 6:30 a.m. to noon during the event, as it was in 2017 and 2018. Although southbound traffic on US-2 and northbound on I-75 did start to back up at around 11:30 a.m., traffic cleared quickly once the bridge reopened at noon.

The most significant change to the walk for people who had not participated prior to 2018 was that it started from both ends of the bridge, eliminating the need for buses transporting participants from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace. Many people reported walking the entire bridge, either in one or both directions, and arranged their own transportation, if needed.

Starting the walk from both ends of the bridge offered new options for participants, including turning around at the midpoint of the bridge and returning to the city they started from, walking the entire bridge and arranging their own transportation, or walking the entire bridge twice and returning to the city they started from.

The MBA decided to close the bridge to public traffic during the walk beginning in 2017, based on recommendations from the Michigan State Police and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Emergency vehicles are still permitted to cross the bridge during the event, but no public vehicles were allowed until the walk concluded and participants were off the bridge.

2019 Mackinac Bridge Walk

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High winds take down trees

High winds that preceded the storm last Thursday evening, August 29, took down several trees in the area, including this tree near Beach and Linda Street in the City of Cedar Springs. According to Tom Parker, who took the photos, this tree fell about 4 p.m. last Thursday, near the City pump house.

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DNR makes 40th cougar report confirmation


Biologists from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ cougar team confirmed this week the 40th cougar report in Michigan since 2008.

“This latest cougar confirmation came from a trail camera set up on public land in Delta County,” said Cody Norton, large-carnivore specialist with the DNR’s bear and wolf program.

The trail camera photo was taken at 8:55 p.m. Aug. 17. A black-and-white image from the camera shows a cougar heading away from the camera into a stand of cedar trees.

Norton visited the area and, with the help of members of the cougar team, substantiated the report.

The confirmation comes from an area about 170 miles from where a cougar trail camera image was snapped July 7 in Gogebic County and verified by the DNR earlier this month.

That cat was photographed by a private landowner July 7 in daylight hours northwest of Ironwood, in the far western portion of the Upper Peninsula.

Since 2008, the DNR has now confirmed 40 cougar reports, with all but one of those occurring in the Upper Peninsula. In some cases, these reports may include multiple sightings of the same cougar, not necessarily 40 individual animals.

So far, there remains no conclusive evidence of a Michigan breeding population of mountain lions. Cougars are an endangered species in Michigan protected by law.

Michigan cougar confirmations have been derived from trail camera video, photographs, tracks, scat or, in the case of two male cats, poached carcasses.

Previous genetic testing on tissue samples from those two cougars poached in the U.P. showed the two animals likely came from a population found generally in South Dakota, Wyoming and northwest Nebraska.

This research matched a hypothesis held by DNR wildlife biologists that mountain lions documented in this region were males looking to establish territories, dispersing from a population west of Michigan, east of the Rocky Mountains.

Researchers investigated the potential population of origin for the two cougars using a database that included samples from cougar populations in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Oregon and Florida.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, cougars were once the most widely distributed land animal in the Western Hemisphere but have been eliminated from about two-thirds of their historic range.

At one time, cougars lived in every eastern state in a variety of habitats, including coastal marshes, mountains and forests. They were native to Michigan but were trapped and hunted from the state around the turn of the 20th century.

To learn more about cougars in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/Cougars.

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