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Get your car spring ready

Car care tips for safe driving in seasonal weather

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

(Family Features)

Spring breezes may be blowing, but before you put those windows down and settle in for a leisurely drive to soak up that fresh air, your car needs some seasonal freshening of its own.

Regular car care helps ensure that your vehicle looks and runs its best, and timing your car care to the seasons can help ensure all of your equipment is in top condition to protect your safety in seasonal weather conditions.

One of the most common threats in spring is stormy weather, which can affect your visibility and traction. Ensure you and your car are well-protected and ready for spring with this spring car care checklist.

Give your car a checkup

An all-over maintenance checkup is a good starting point to get a pulse on your car’s condition. A multi-point inspection can help alert you to signs of wear or damage on parts such as your belts, which can weaken as a result of cold winter weather, and your brakes, which are critical for safe driving.

Your engine relies on clean oil for smooth operation, so if it’s time for a change (usually every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on manufacturer recommendations) you can schedule a change to coincide with your service appointment.

CAR-WipersKeep your view safe and clear

Keeping your windshield clear is an obvious necessity for everyday visibility, but the quality of your wiper blades is even more important in inclement weather. Old or damaged blades may not be up to the task of keeping your line of sight clear during a heavy spring downpour. When it comes to choosing new blades, give careful attention to performance.

Traditional metal wiper blades, installed on many new cars, have exposed suspension components that can become damaged with exposure to extreme weather. Newer vehicles may include beam blades, with a pre-sprung steel beam designed specifically for that vehicle. However, many replacement beam blade designs are compromised to fit a large array of vehicle models and do not properly adapt to the varying curvature of windshields. This results in reduced wrap and contact pressure on the windshield, as well as poor wiping performance.

A better option is hybrid blades, such as Michelin Stealth Hybrid wiper blades, which feature an exclusive Smart Flex technology that automatically adjusts wiper blade contact pressure across the curvature of the windshield for improved wiping performance. Engineered for durable wiping in extreme weather conditions, the wiper frame and suspension system are completely covered to protect the blades from weather-related damage. The Michelin EZ-Lok Connector System allows for a quick and simple blade replacement. Learn more at MichelinWipers.com.

If your vehicle has a rear wiper, remember to replace it, too.

Check your traction

Your tires are another of your car’s essential safety features. Excess or uneven tire wear can be extremely dangerous in wet and slick road conditions. If your tires can’t get adequate traction, you may find yourself hydroplaning or losing control. What’s more, tires are an expensive investment, so before embarking on your next road trip, make sure your tires are properly inflated, balanced and rotated. This can help ensure you get the most mileage out of your tires before needing to replace them.

CAR-ShiningShow your shine 

Sound operations aside, you’ll get more enjoyment out of your car when it looks as great as it runs. A thorough cleaning of the exterior after the harsh winter months helps whisk away any damaging substances, such as the salt used to melt ice and snow.

Protect and preserve your vehicle with products, such as Barrett-Jackson Auto Care’s full line of interior and exterior products. Liquid Wax, a signature product in the line, is specially designed with Carnauba wax to achieve a long-lasting, deep shine with no powdery residue. Barrett-Jackson Wash & Wax saves time by lifting away dirt and enhancing shine in one step, while the rapid detailer is great for those in between touch ups. For an all-over shine to complete the freshly cleaned look, Tire Shine is a quick, no-hassle way to maintain sleek, wet-look tires. Make sure to select a tire shine that will not sling off on your car when driving. Find more information about these and other products designed to keep your car looking flawless at barrett-jacksonautocare.com.

Once the exterior is complete, turn your attention inside. Pick up any trash or debris, vacuum and wipe down all interior surfaces. A moisturizing treatment will help clean and condition leather, preventing it from drying out and cracking. Also give interior glass a wipe down for the clearest visibility possible and be sure to pick an interior protectant that doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue to help renew and protect all interior surfaces, including plastic, vinyl, rubber and trim.

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Four injured in crash

One person was sent to the hospital via Aeromed Tuesday morning after a crash at 17 Mile and Sparta Avenue. Post photo by J. Reed.
Two people were sent to the hospital via Aeromed Tuesday morning after a crash at 17 Mile and Sparta Avenue. Post photo by J. Reed.

by Judy Reed

UPDATED with names May 18.

Four people were injured in a crash in Tyrone Township Tuesday morning, with two being sent to the hospital via AeroMed.

The accident occurred around 10:30 a.m. May 17, at the corner of 17 Mile and Sparta Avenue. According to the Michigan State Police, a 1998 tan Ford Windstar van was heading north on Sparta Avenue, when the driver disregarded the stop sign at 17 Mile Rd. and was hit in the front passenger side by a westbound 2010 white Chevy HHR. The vehicles rolled and landed in the yard of a home on the northwest corner of the intersection. There is a stop sign on Sparta Avenue, but not on 17 Mile.

This PT Cruiser was heading west on 17 Mile when it was hit by a northbound van at Sparta Ave. Post photo by J. Reed.

This car was heading west on 17 Mile when it was hit by a northbound van at Sparta Ave. Post photo by J. Reed.

The driver of the HHR, Darryl Metzer, 28, of Clare, was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. He was the only occupant in the vehicle.

The driver of the van, Timothy Watkins, 38, of Sand Lake, was transported to the hospital by Rockford ambulance and is in stable condition.

One person in this van was airlifted to the hospital via Aeromed and the other two passengers were transported by Rockford Ambulance after the van collided with a PT Cruiser Tuesday morning. Post photo by J. Reed.

Two people in this van were airlifted to the hospital via Aeromed and the other two passengers were transported by Rockford Ambulance after the van collided with a Chevy HHR Tuesday morning. Post photo by J. Reed.

Police said that the two rear passengers in the van, Mitchell Helton, 43, of Sand Lake, and Peggy Helton, 54, of Sand Lake, were not seatbelted, and were transported to Butterworth Hospital by AeroMed and are in serious condition.

The Michigan State Police, Kent County Sheriff Department, Sparta Fire and Rescue, and Kent City/Tyrone Township Fire and Rescue were all on the scene.

According to one witness at the scene, Laura Glidden, owner of the Cheap Buys Thrift Shop on the northeast corner of the intersection, she had just went out to her car seconds before the accident occurred. “I saw the white car go by, then heard the crash,” she said.

Glidden is worried about the number of accidents occurring at the intersection. “There was an accident here just last week. There have been eight accidents at this corner since I moved into the store a year and a half ago,” she remarked. She also said that during the afternoon hours when kids get out of school at Algoma Christian, which is located just north on Sparta Avenue, cars will speed through her parking lot, cutting through to avoid the buses. “What if a child is coming out of my store and is hit by a car?” she asked. “Do you think anyone will take a look at  putting another stop sign or light here now?”

The cars landed in the yard of James and Cindy Hart. Cindy said that she was in the backyard when she heard a “bang bang.” When she came around the house, she saw the cars. But she wasn’t surprised. “All of the cars end up in my yard,” she noted, including one last year that she said stopped only inches from the house.

She said her husband has spoken with the township about trying to get a light at the intersection. “He has talked to a lot of people over the last 19 years, but nothing has been done,” she said.

“That car hit that tree so hard that it took the top off,” she said pointing to her yard. “That’s why we have the trees. He (James) planted them because they (the township) won’t do anything.”

Hart also complained that no one completely cleans up after the crashes. She said that officials might sweep up some glass off the road, but that she and her husband end up cleaning up a lot of debris–and repairing their property. “When we try to get a copy of the police report to submit a claim to insurance for repairing our property, they (police) say we have to pay for it,” she said. “It doesn’t seem fair.”

The Post called the Kent County Road Commission to get the facts on how many accidents have occurred at this intersection, and to find out if any kind of a study has been done or is warranted. We are waiting to hear back from them.

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Girl Scouts beautify Hilltop grounds

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The Girl Scouts are doing their part to make Cedar Springs a beautiful place. On May 12, Troop 4482 did a community planting project at the Cedar Springs Public Schools Hilltop administration building.

The troop, which is made up of 25 girls in kindergarten, first and second grades, and four leaders, pulled weeds and planted flowers donated by V&V Nursery.

This is their second year completing this community service project for the schools.

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The Post travels to Arizona

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The Post recently spent some family time with Walt Bouck, Pam and Cole Guarisco, and Brenda, Shane, Tyler and Trevor Robart in Tuscon, Arizona.

While there, they went up Mount Lemmon, with a summit elevation of 9,159 feet. “It was beautiful up there,” said Pam. “We drove up and also took a ski lift.”

“There is a great story on how it got its name,” she explained. “Mount Lemmon was named in honor of Sara Lemmon, who trekked to the top of the mountain with Native American guides, by mule and foot, in 1881, the same year as the gunfight at the OK Corral.”

Their photo with the Post was take at Mount Lemmon. They also visited Tombstone.

“It was so beautiful. God is great,” remarked Pam.

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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Statewide Click It or Ticket campaign starts next week

 

Make buckling up part of your summer routine

N-Click-it-or-ticket-logoAs the weather turns warmer and Michigan families look toward the travel season, police departments, Sheriff’s offices and the Michigan State Police will be conducting extra patrols across the state to encourage seat belt use.

The stepped up enforcement is part of the national Click It or Ticket campaign May 23-June 5. Research shows when seat belts are used properly, the risk of being killed in a crash is reduced by nearly 45 percent. The life-saving properties of a seat belt are more important than ever with recent data indicating Michigan crashes have increased in severity.

N-Click-it-or-ticket1-CIOT-Infographics“This campaign is about achieving 100 percent voluntary compliance with the state’s mandatory seat belt law with zero citations issued,” said Michael L. Prince, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) director. “Seven percent of those surveyed still are not wearing seat belts and that only increases the risk of serious injury or death.”

The campaign seeks to save lives by increasing seat belt use. For many drivers, stepped up enforcement and the threat of a ticket are greater incentives to buckle up than the risk of death or injury in a crash.

During last year’s Click It or Ticket enforcement, 6,113 seat belt and child seat citations were issued. Eight people died in traffic crashes during the 2015 Memorial Day holiday period, including three fatalities in one crash in Calhoun County and an unbelted driver in Ottawa County.

Michigan law requires drivers, front seat passengers, and passengers 15 and younger in any seating position to be buckled up. Children must be in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4’9” tall, and children under 4 years old must be in the back seat.

OHSP coordinates the Click It or Ticket effort which is supported with federal funds. Grant-funded seat belt enforcement is part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013.

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Test reveals positive case of mumps on Calvin College Campus 

 

This image depicts a child with a mumps infection. Note the characteristic swollen neck region due to an enlargement of the boy’s salivary glands. Photo from the Public Health Image Library at CDC.gov.

This image depicts a child with a mumps infection. Note the characteristic swollen neck region due to an enlargement of the boy’s salivary glands. Photo from the Public Health Image Library at CDC.gov.

GRAND RAPIDS – Last Friday, May 13, the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) received the test results from a sample obtained from a student at Calvin College. The results, provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, confirmed mumps infection.

The Kent County Health Department is aware of approximately 16 students on the campus who have not been vaccinated for the mumps virus and strongly recommends that those individuals now receive proper immunization. Calvin College will be offering vaccinations for those students.

For those students who are not willing to be vaccinated, the Kent County Health Department has strongly recommended to Calvin College administration that they be excluded from all campus activates such as attending classes; gathering in dining halls; attending extracurricular activities; or attending any other public

gathering. These measures are consistent with guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Mumps is a highly contagious vaccine preventable disease that is caused by a virus. It is spread through saliva and can be transmitted by coughing, sneezing, sharing drinks or utensils, or even talking with an infected person.

Mumps is best known for the puffy cheeks it causes. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle ache, tiredness, and loss of appetite. People with these symptoms are advised to contact a physician.

For more information on the mumps go to: www.cdc.gov/mumps/about/index.html.

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Sam Taylor signs to play at Muskegon Community College

S-Taylor-signing-with-MCC

Cedar Springs High School senior Sam Taylor has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her basketball career at Muskegon Community College.

Sam is a four-year letter winner for the Red Hawks basketball team. Over the past two seasons, Taylor was team captain and compiled averages of 7.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. She was often tasked with defending the other team’s top player.

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Feathered visitor nesting in your yard this spring?

Goslings: Goslings are a common sight in Michigan in the spring.

Goslings: Goslings are a common sight in Michigan in the spring.

Michigan residents may get a surprise this spring in their garden, flower box or even in the landscaping by their office building. Bird nests can be found in some unusual locations.

Ducks’ nests, particularly mallard nests, seem to appear just about everywhere in the spring. Female mallards commonly will build nests in landscaping, gardens or other locations that humans may consider inappropriate, but the duck may think otherwise.

While finding a duck’s nest in an unexpected location may be a surprise, there is no need for concern.

“She will be a very quiet neighbor and with her cryptic coloration, she may go largely unnoticed,” said Holly Vaughn Joswick, Department of Natural Resources wildlife outreach technician. “Leave the duck alone and try to keep dogs, cats and children away from the nest.”

Mallard brood: A mother duck will lead her ducklings to water shortly after they hatch.

Mallard brood: A mother duck will lead her ducklings to water shortly after they hatch.

If she is successful and her eggs hatch, the mother will lead her ducklings to the nearest body of water, often the day they hatch.

“Don’t worry if you do not live near water – the mother duck knows where to take her ducklings to find it,” added Vaughn Joswick.

You can expect the female mallard to sit on the nest for about a month prior to the eggs hatching. If the nest fails on its own – something that happens regularly – Joswick advises to just wish her luck on her next attempt.

Canada geese sometimes build nests near houses or in parks, often near water. Similar to mallards, Canada geese will lead their young to water soon after they hatch. Adult geese can be quite protective of their nests and their goslings and may chase people or pets away by hissing and running or flying toward the intruder. If possible, try to avoid the area.  If this is not possible, carry an umbrella and gently scare the bird away.

Those who have been fortunate enough to have a bird’s nest built in their yard, in a tree or on the ground, may have noticed that the baby birds are starting to outgrow their nests. Baby birds learn to fly through trial and error. They may feel they are ready to fly, but their flight feathers might not have fully grown in yet. It is common to find baby birds on the ground after an attempt to fly. If this is the case, please do not touch them. Their parents will continue to take care of them, even when they are on the ground.

Touching a baby bird will not cause the adults to abandon it; however, if you move a baby bird the parents may be unable to find and care for it. It is better to leave the baby bird alone to be raised by its parents.

In the event that you find a chick on the ground that is sparsely feathered, it may have accidentally fallen from the nest before it is ready to fledge (learn to fly). If you know where the nest is, you can put the chick back in the nest ONLY if you can do so safely.

Birds, their nests and their eggs are protected by law and must be left alone. Unless you have a license, taking a baby bird or eggs from the wild is breaking the law. The Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects migratory birds and their nests and eggs.

This year marks the centennial of the Convention between the United States and Great Britain (for Canada) for the Protection of Migratory Birds – known as the Migratory Bird Treaty – signed Aug. 16, 1916. Three other treaties were signed shortly thereafter with Japan, Russia and Mexico. The Migratory Bird Treaty, the three additional treaties and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act are the cornerstones of efforts to conserve birds that migrate across international borders. To learn more about the Migratory Bird Treaty centennial, visit www.fws.gov/birds/MBTreaty100.

Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators may possess abandoned or injured wildlife. Unless a person is licensed, it is illegal to possess a live wild animal, including birds, in Michigan.

The only time a baby animal may be removed from the wild is when it is obvious the parent is dead or the animal is injured. A licensed rehabilitator must be contacted before removing an animal from the wild. Rehabilitators must adhere to the law, must have gone through training on proper handling of injured or abandoned wild animals, and will work to return the animal to the wild, where it will have the best chance for survival.

A list of licensed rehabilitators can be found by visiting www.michigandnr.com/dlr/.

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Back to Basics: Low maintenance flower garden care

SPR-Low-maintenance-flower-Ageratum

By Melinda Myers

Grow a beautiful flower garden with minimal care by investing a bit of time at the start of the season to reduce on-going care.

Always match flowers to the growing conditions and the care you are willing to provide. Low maintenance plants need minimal or no deadheading and staking. This means you’ll be growing good-looking plants with little effort on your part. And if the plants are suited to the growing conditions and resistant to common pests you’ll be doing less work managing insect and disease problems.

Further reduce your workload by selecting self cleaning or free flowering annuals and perennials and those bred for long bloom and compact growth. You’ll enjoy more colorful flowers with less pruning and grooming.

Ageratum, angelonia, calibrochoa and many of the newer petunia cultivars are just a few of the annuals that do not need regular deadheading for continual bloom.  Include perennials like willow amsonia, bugbane, Solomon seal, turtlehead and sedum autumn joy for lower maintenance and big results.

Prepare the soil and provide proper fertilization before planting. Work several inches of compost or other organic matter into the top 8 to 12 inches of soil to improve drainage and water holding ability. Incorporate a low nitrogen organic fertilizer like Milorganite (milorganite.com) at the same time. The slow release formulation provides needed nutrients throughout most if not all of the season. Plus, it promotes slow steady growth that won’t interfere with flowering, is less susceptible to pests and is more drought tolerant.

Properly space the plants, making sure they have sufficient room to reach their full size. Overcrowding means you will be thinning or dividing plants more often or battling disease problems instead of enjoying the full beauty the plants provide.

Consider removing flowers on annuals at planting. This allows plants to focus energy on establishing roots instead of flowers. Can’t bear to do this? Then remove the flowers on every other plant or every other row. Then a week or two later remove the flowers on the remaining plants. You will soon be rewarded with full compact plants that will produce more flowers throughout the season.

Pinch back long and leggy transplants. Use a hard pinch to remove the tip and several inches of stem. Use your pruners or fingers to remove stems just above a set of leaves. The remaining plant will still look good while you wait for new leaves and stems to grow and produce new blooms.

Encourage branching on single stemmed plants with a soft pinch. Remove just the uppermost portion of the stem where the leaves and tip are starting to develop. Soon you will have a well branched plant and more blossoms.

Improve plant posture and reduce the need for staking with early season pruning. Keep mums and asters compact by pinching them back to six inches throughout June to encourage compact growth. Eliminate floppy growth and the need for staking on late bloomers like Boltonia, Autumn Joy sedum, Russian sage and Heliopsis. Revive catmint and perennial salvia that flop open in the center with pruning. Cut flopping plants back halfway once or twice a season as needed.

And don’t forget to mulch. Covering the soil surface with an inch or two of shredded leaves, evergreen needles/pine straw or other organic material will conserve moisture, suppress weeds and improve the soil as they decompose.

Always water new plantings often enough to keep the top few inches of soil moist. Once established water thoroughly and only as needed. This encourages drought tolerant roots, so you’ll need to do less watering in the future.

With proper planning, plant selection and soil preparation you can keep your ongoing care to a minimum. That means more time to relax and enjoy your beautiful garden.

Gardening expert Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden MomentTV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and spokesperson for Milorganite. Myers’ website is http://www.melindamyers.com.

 

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May Women’s Club Celebrations

Pictured in the photo (from left to right): Grandson Alec Falicki, daughter Soonja Koole, Woman of the Year Carolyn Davis, husband Dan Davis, daughter Kelli Koole Clark.

Pictured in the photo (from left to right): Grandson Alec Falicki, daughter Soonja Koole, Woman of the Year Carolyn Davis, husband Dan Davis, daughter Kelli Koole Clark.

By Sue Harrison

The May meeting of the Cedar Springs Women’s Club was full of celebrations.

Every year one woman of the Cedar Springs Women’s Club is recognized for her exemplary spirit in the promotion and support of Cedar Springs Women’s Club and her involvement in community activities. This year’s recipient of the 2015-2016 Outstanding Women’s Club Member is Carolyn Davis. Carolyn has been active on the Women’s Club CAN committee, has volunteered at North Kent Service Center, has held the offices of 1st and 2nd Vice President, and served as Club President  from 2012-2014. Her husband Dan, daughters Kelli Clark and Soonja Koole, and grandson Alec Falicki, surprised Carolyn at the ceremony and luncheon. Past Woman of the Year recipients, Penny Darling, Caroline Bartlette and Sue Harrison presented Carolyn  with a dozen roses (the Club flower), as well as a certificate and wall plaque designating her as the 2015-2016 award winner.

Thelma Morris celebrated her 95th birthday on May 2 and was presented with a bouquet of flowers.

The Cedar Springs Women’s Club celebrated the election of a new Board of Officers for 2016-2017.  They are: President Sue Harrison; 1st Vice President Penny Darling; 2nd Vice President Donna Clark; Secretary Caroline Bartlette; Corresponding Secretary Sally Grayvold; Treasurer Char Heim; Directors: Kristina Kornoely, Louise King, and Kathy Anderson. The officer installation ceremony takes place at the June meeting.

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