web analytics

Archive | Featured

Drama Club Brings Laughs with Improv Show

 

(L to R): Lena Mauric, Tatyanna Lawson, Danielle August, Devin Simpson and Johnathon LeTourneau

(L to R): Lena Mauric, Tatyanna Lawson, Danielle August, Devin Simpson and Johnathon LeTourneau

CTA’s drama program got its first chance to be in the public spotlight on April 22 and 23 with the first ever CTA Improv Show.  This Improv show featured students in the newly formed Drama Club.  Fifteen students have been attending drama club rehearsals twice a week after school and practicing Whose Line Is It Anyway-style games that they would eventually perform in front of an audience.  The show started with a game called XBox where students had to perform short skits based on audience suggestions such as the color blue or the animal, the tiger.  Given only short prompts, students then had to create full scenes.  The audience really enjoyed the show and a lot of laughter filled the evening.  Some members of the Friday audience enjoyed the show so much, they came back on Saturday to see all new games and scenarios.  The highlight of both evenings was the final game, “Helping Hands.”  In this game, one student gets to be a world famous chef with a variety of food items on the table in front of her.  The only catch is that she can’t use her own hands.  Instead, another actor stands behind her and picks up the items as she goes, making a hilarious mess.  This event was also a fundraiser for CTA’s drama department with hopes to use the funds to put on a play next year.  With the success of the Improv show, the drama department is well on their way toward the goal.

 

Posted in CTA, FeaturedComments (0)

Beat the Boredom

Playing at an area park is just one of the ways for kids and parents to beat the boredom of long summer days until school starts again.

Playing at an area park is just one of the ways for kids and parents to beat the boredom of long summer days until school starts again.

By Judy Reed

When you’re a kid, the long, hot days of summer seem to go on forever. It’s not long before kids exhaust their ideas of what to do and moms hear the familiar refrain, “There’s nothing to do! I’m bored!” Well, don’t you believe it. With a little searching, you’ll find hundreds of activities taking place in West Michigan where families can have fun and spend some quality time together. In this week’s special pullout section of “Beat the Boredom,” you’ll find just a fraction of the many things going on this summer—festivals, summer enrichment programs, camps, plays, and more! Click below to download and see what’s on tap for you this summer!

BeatTheBoredom2016.pdf

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, Featured, NewsComments (0)

Man dies while caring for toddler

Ron Finkler is shown here with the little girl he was caring for, in a photo taken a little over a year ago. The photo is from his Facebook page.

Ron Finkler is shown here with the little girl he was caring for, in a photo taken a little over a year ago. The photo is from his Facebook page.

A 49-year-old man was found dead inside his home Tuesday in Tyrone Township, while a 2-1/2-year old girl he had been caring for appeared to be in good health.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, they were dispatched to the home at 15175 Peach Ridge, between 18 and 19 Mile Roads in Tyrone Township, near Kent City, on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, at approximately 9:40 a.m. Family members called police to check on his well-being because they had not heard from him for several days. Upon arrival, police found the man deceased from unknown causes. They said there is no immediate indication of foul play.

Deputies also found the 2-½ year old girl inside the home. The victim was reportedly caring for his friend’s child.

Police said that the child is unharmed and was transported to Helen DeVos Childen’s Hospital for evaluation. She was turned over to Child Protective Services.

Detectives and the Medical Examiners’ Office are continuing their investigation into the cause of death.

Police have not yet released the name of the deceased, pending notification of relatives.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

CTA selects new dean of students/athletic director

Cutline: Autumn Mattson will become the new dean of students/athletic director at Creative Technologies Academy. She is shown here with her husband, Scott, and their two sons.

Autumn Mattson will become the new dean of students/athletic director at Creative Technologies Academy. She is shown here with her husband, Scott, and their two sons.

Autumn Mattson, the former athletic director and dean of students at Cedar Springs High School, has been selected to fill that same position at Creative Technologies Academy at the end of this school year.

Creative Technologies Academy, a Ferris State University-authorized public school academy located on Pine Street in Cedar Springs, made the announcement Monday, May 9, after a five-week search.

Mattson will assume her new position in June. She succeeds the school’s current and outgoing dean of students/athletic director, David Oldebekking, who will remain in the position until the end of the school year to ensure a seamless transition.

CTA School Leader/Superintendent, Dan George believes Mattson is the right person for this position.

“Autumn knows the Cedar Springs community well and has a passion for helping kids. We are excited to have her fill the position of Dean of Students at CTA,” he stated. “My goal for CTA since I came here over six years ago was for us to be a valued, and viewed as, a partner, not a competitor, with the other exceptional school districts that surround us in doing what is best for kids. I believe Autumn will help us in that endeavor,” George continued.

Mattson served as athletic director at Cedar Springs for almost 10 years and was both dean of students and athletic director for almost 3 years. She also held several other positions within the school district prior to that. She resigned in February 2016.

Mattson holds her Masters of Education and Leadership and Elementary Teaching Certification from Aquinas College and her Bachelor of Arts from Lake Superior State University. Mattson has received many honors, including the 2014 Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrator Association Regional Athletic Director of the Year, and the 2014 West Michigan Officials Association Athletic Director of the Year recognitions.

“I am so honored to have this opportunity to work with the staff, families and students of CTA,” shared Mattson. “From the minute I stepped on the campus I knew this was the place for me. The love and care this staff shows towards their students is inspiring. I am looking forward to getting to know the entire CTA family and working with our community to help each student dream big, reach their goals and experience success.”

Mattson is married to Scott Mattson, and they have two children.

Oldebekking, who was appointed in 2012 after spending six years teaching at CTA, led the school during a period of growth and also oversaw student athletic programs.

“My time at CTA has been great. I started as a teacher and the relationships with the students, staff and families are irreplaceable,” said David Oldebekking, current dean of students. “There are so many great people that make up this school family and I am going to miss them all.”

“Dave Oldebekking has exceptionally served CTA for 10 years,” shared Dan George, School Leader/Superintendent. “I am sad to see him leave education because he has been an outstanding teacher, administrator, coach, mentor, and role model for kids and staff. I am also excited for him and his family for the opportunity that awaits him in his new position.”

When Oldebekking’s new opportunity arose, he hoped that CTA would find someone who loved the school and wanted to see it flourish and believes that Mattson fits the bill. “I am confident that she will do great things and I cannot wait to see what she does,” he commented.

 

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

Bear that mauled teen in 2013 killed in Wexford County

Black bear attacks on humans are highly unusual, according to the Michigan DNR, but can occur if a sow is protecting her cubs.

Black bear attacks on humans are highly unusual, according to the Michigan DNR, but can occur if a sow is protecting her cubs.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced Wednesday, May 11,  that a black bear recently shot and killed in Haring Township, north of Cadillac in Wexford County, is the same bear that mauled a teenage girl, Abby Wetherell, in that same township in 2013.

The DNR confirms a 9-year-old female black bear was killed April 30 by an individual, who wishes to remain anonymous, acting in self-defense. The individual let out a dog, which then immediately ran after what appeared to be a bear cub. The dog was stopped at the end of the tree line barking when the owner saw a bear appear and attack the dog. The individual went to assist the dog and the bear ran off. As the owner attempted to render aid to the injured dog, the bear retuned to the scene and approached the resident, who then shot the bear. The situation was reported to the DNR and investigated. It was determined to be a justifiable killing of the bear.

The bear carcass was sent to the DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory in Lansing for pathology review. DNA samples were sent to Michigan State University for genetic testing. MSU’s Jeannette Kanefsky of the Molecular Ecology Laboratory did the genotyping.

“The results of the genetic testing are consistent between the sample from the 2016 shot black bear and the evidence at the 2013 black bear mauling scene,” said Kanefsky. “The genotypes obtained from the samples are a match.”

The Wetherells were informed late Tuesday of the findings.

Through a process called “cementum annuli analysis,” DNR wildlife biologists examined the bear’s teeth to assess her age and number of litters. They determined this bear had three litters throughout her lifetime, including in 2013 when the mauling took place. It remains uncertain whether cubs were in the vicinity when the attack on Abby occurred.

After the attack on Abby, the DNR put extensive effort into setting traps and responding to bear activity in the area.

“DNR staff is relieved to have this matter resolved for both the Wetherells and the community,” said Keith Kintigh, field operations manager for the DNR’s Northern Lower Region. “Over the last three years, we have been highly responsive to multiple bear issues in the hopes of catching this animal.”

Michigan has an estimated black bear population of approximately 11,000 bears, with roughly 80 percent of the population in the Upper Peninsula. There is an established bear population in the area of Wexford County. The DNR reminds the public that black bears generally are fearful of humans and usually will leave if they become aware that people are present. Bear attacks on human beings are highly unusual and in most cases occur because a sow is protecting her cubs.

Here are some important facts to remember when in an area where bears may be present:

• To avoid surprising bears, travel in small groups and make noise.

• If you encounter a bear, stand your ground and then slowly back away. Do not turn away. Do not show fear and run. Do not play dead.

• Make yourself look bigger and talk to the bear in a stern voice.

• If actually attacked, fight back with a backpack, stick or bare hands.

For additional information on living with bears, visit the DNR website atwww.michigan.gov/bear.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

Rotary Cow Plop Winners

Rotary member John Rohrer with Ana the calf.

Rotary member John Rohrer with Ana the calf.

By Tom Noreen

The Cedar Springs Rotary Club conducted their Cow Plop Raffle on May 7 with the help of Ana the calf. The winners, thanks to Ana’s strategic aim, were Stacey Helsel, first place; Kurt Mabie, second place; and Amanda Gerhardt, third place.

The Rotary Club would like to thank everyone that bought a ticket in support of the club’s good works programs. The club sold 816 tickets and raised $2,380, which will be used to send students to Rotary District 6290’s Life Leadership Conference in June.

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, FeaturedComments (0)

Ellie Ovokaitys signs letter of intent with Cornerstone

Ellie Ovokaitys recently signed a letter of intent to run for Cornerstone University. She is shown here with her parents.

Ellie Ovokaitys recently signed a letter of intent to run for Cornerstone University. She is shown here with her parents.

On Wednesday, May 4, senior Red Hawk runner Ellie Ovokaitys, the daughter of Tom and Donna Ovokaitys, signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her running career at Cornerstone University. Ellie will run both cross country and track, and has run cross country and track all four years of high school.

“Ellie was a leader on her team and finished her cross country season at the MHSAA Cross Country State Finals, which she ran the last three years,” said Varsity Coach Marie Covey. “Ellie also ran at the MHSAA Track and Field State Finals.”

“Ellie has been an essential part of the success of the girls cross country program during her four years running,” said Middle School Coach Julie Weiler. “Ellie has helped the team make it to state as well as this fall qualifying individually. She has been all conference in cross country as well. Ellie is one of the leading distance runners in track and is always willing to run in events where needed.”

We wish Ellie the best as she continues her journey as a Golden Eagle.

 

Posted in Featured, SportsComments (0)

Top 2016 trends in outdoor living

_SPR-Top-trends2(BPT) – Take a deep breath of fresh air. Feel the warm sunshine on your skin. Kick back and listen to the peaceful sounds of nature. There’s a reason people are investing in spaces that allow them to spend more time relaxing, dining and entertaining outside.

In addition to expanding livable space, outdoor enhancements also offer a strong return on investment at the time of sale. Convinced this is the year you’re going to jump on the outdoor living bandwagon? To refresh your space and start enjoying the outdoors from the comforts of home, consider the top outdoor living trends of 2016.

Eclectic design 

Homeowners are embracing the same eclectic trends that they love indoors and bringing this same design approach to their outdoor spaces. Mixing materials is at the heart of this trend. From all-weather wicker and teak to concrete and aluminum, using different materials means creating durable spaces with one-of-a-kind looks. Beyond the hardscape, using a variety of patterns, textures and shapes adds visual appeal.

SPR-Top-trends1Upholstered soft seating 

This year, homeowners are revamping patios and decks by bringing the comforts of indoors outside. The perfect example of this movement is the use of upholstered furniture for the outdoors. Arhaus Furniture offers a variety of upholstered sofas, sectionals and chairs that look just like the classics used indoors, but are specifically designed to withstand the elements outside.

Outdoor cooking 

Summer entertaining is enhanced when meals are cooked outdoors. Home chefs are thinking beyond the grill to incorporate other useful mediums for al fresco cooking. For example, hearths and stone ovens offer undeniable outdoor ambiance while providing a unique way to cook pizzas, bread and other baked goods. The finishing touch: add an herb garden for quick access to the fresh flavors of the season.

Customization 

Customizing helps create outdoor spaces that are a reflection of the homeowners’ personalities. More than just personalized decor, the customization trend is evident in outdoor furniture. Expert stylists at www.Arhaus.com offer complementary design services including space design, product selection and customization with a wide variety of outdoor fabrics so they can get the exact look they desire.

Evening entertaining 

Outdoor entertainment shouldn’t be restricted by daylight, so homeowners are making thoughtful additions to ensure when dusk arrives the party can go on. Strategic deck lighting on posts and stairways illuminates gathering spaces. Torches, pathway lighting and string lights are great for landscaped areas. Finally, propane and citronella gel fueled fire pits are the ideal gathering place and bugs will stay far away.

Reconstructed stone 

Reconstructed stone is in demand for tabletops on dining, coffee and accent tables. When researching options, it’s important to remember not all reconstructed stone is created equal. For example, Arhaus makes reconstructed stone out of composite concrete so it’s lighter, less brittle and withstands weather well. Even when left outside year-round at the company headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, there was no cracking, color fading or changes to material.

Posted in Featured, Spring Spruce UpComments (0)

Two die in traffic crash

N-Fatal-crash-Montcalm

An elderly Grand Rapids couple was killed in this traffic crash in Montcalm County Sunday.

An elderly couple from Grand Rapids was killed Sunday evening, May 1, when another vehicle tried to pass several cars and hit their vehicle head-on in Montcalm County.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred on M-66, near Schmeid Road, in Belvidere Township, about 7:18 p.m. Police said that a red 1999 Buick LeSabre was traveling south on M-66, as a northbound black 2012 Audi S4 was attempting to pass multiple vehicles. The Audi was not able to complete the pass, and took evasive action to avoid a collision with the Buick. The driver of the Buick tried to avoid a collision as well. Both vehicles swerved to the west shoulder of M-66 and collided head-on.

The driver of the Buick, Raymond J. Wrona, 88, of Grand Rapids, was injured and transported to Kelsey Hospital in Lakeview, where he later died. His wife, Mary Wrona, 88, the only passenger in the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Audi, Joel Ibarra, 26, of Wyoming, and his passenger, Maria Mancha, 28, from Comstock Park, were both transported to Kelsey Hospital and treated for their injuries.

Drivers and passengers all wore seatbelts and there are no other known factors that contributed to the crash.

The crash remains under investigation.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

Middle school teacher receives Cool Teacher award

Middle school teacher Tim Relich receives Cool Teacher award at middle school.

Middle school teacher Tim Relich receives Cool Teacher award at middle school.

N-Cool-Teacher-award-Mr-Relich-cmykTim Relich, 8th Grade teacher at Cedar Springs Middle School in Cedar Springs, is the latest teacher to receive the WGVU Cool Teacher Award. WGVU honored Tim and his class with a pizza party on April 18.

Kristen Lubben nominated Tim Relich for the award because he makes everyday fun and doesn’t hesitate to admit his mistakes.

Each month WGVU judges all new entries and selects the best letters based on the students’ evidence of learning. WGVU hosts a pizza party for the winning teachers and their classes, and videotapes the celebration to promote the winning teachers and the Cool Teacher program on the airwaves of the local public broadcast station. Each winning teacher and their nominating student will receive vouchers for the USS Silversides Museum in Muskegon, Michigan. On May 4, 2016, WGVU hosted a year-end awards celebration at Eberhard Center Conference center on the downtown campus of GVSU to honor all of this year’s winning teachers.

Students from kindergarten through eighth grade can nominate their teacher by writing a letter describing why they think their teacher is cool. Included should be the student’s name, address and phone number, the teacher’s name and grade, and the school name, address and phone number. Entries should be sent to: WGVU Cool Teacher, 301 Fulton St. W, Grand Rapids, MI 49504-6492. Students can also nominate their teachers and see winning teachers online at wgvu.org.

Cool Teacher is an example of WGVU’s mission to provide educational, informational, and entertaining programs and events to the West Michigan community as a service of Grand Valley State University.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)