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The Post travels to the Bahamas

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The Post recently traveled to the Bahamas with the Mabie family. Shown here is June Mabie, with her great-granddaughters, Emerson and Failla, in the Bahamas during the first week of March.

Thanks so much for taking us with you to the warm, sunny Bahamas!

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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House burned for training

Pictured here with area firefighters is Taylor and Eli Gunderson, during the last burn on their old home. Courtesy photo.

Pictured here with area firefighters is Taylor and Eli Gunderson, during the last burn on their old home. Courtesy photo.

When a Cedar Springs family decided to build a new home on their property, they decided to donate their old home to a good cause—fire training.

According to Jaime Gunderson, they built the new home behind the old one, and offered the old home to the Solon Fire Department, who has used it for the last year for training. On March 25, Solon and firefighters from other area departments burned it down.

Gunderson said the property has been in the family for 75 years. “We will clean up the mess and fill in the hole (basement), and turn it into a yard (with grass) for our new house,” explained Gunderson.

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School board considers privatizing busing

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By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education held a special meeting on Monday, March 27, to finalize contract issues, and heard information on the possibility of privatizing transportation.

Earlier in March, a split board had voted to issue non-renewals of contracts for high school principal Ron Behrenwald and transportation supervisor Jerry Gavin. Those were rescinded after Behrenwald and the administration agreed on a contract, and Gavin decided to retire from public education. It appears he will likely go to work at Dean Transportation, and do the same job he is doing now with Cedar Springs, if the school chooses to privatize.

The board did vote 5-2 to approve a non-renewal for part time employee Linda Bayink. Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn explained that Linda had been with the school for many years and they couldn’t appreciate her more, but they needed someone full time in that position. She said that Linda understood, and that they were hoped to keep her in the district, and that they were checking out other positions for her. Both Ted Sabinas and Michelle Bayink voted no, with Sabinas saying he didn’t think it was an accurate account.

The board heard a presentation on the possibility of subcontracting busing to Deans Transportation. Dean’s currently buses Cedar Springs special education students, and several area districts also currently use them, including Sparta, Tri County, Muskegon, Reeths Puffer, Grand Rapids, Kent Intermediate School District, and Ottawa Intermediate School District.

VanDuyn said that the same team that currently oversees Cedar Springs transportation would be running it for Dean’s, using the same software, and from the same building they currently work out of. The buses would be housed at Cedar Springs, and Dean’s is willing to hire the drivers.

In January they received an informal quote from Dean’s, then meetings began with the district and the bus drivers. VanDuyn said they wanted the drivers to know what it would look like to be employed by Dean’s, what their pensions would like, etc., so had Dean’s meet with the drivers, then the drivers met with the administration. Then, in a private vote, the bus drivers voted to go with Dean’s. There were 21 drivers present, with 16 voting yes, 3 no, and 2 undecided.

Gavin said that when he started in the 1970s in transportation, it was a whole different type of job—many retirees and others who only needed some part time work took advantage of the job. He said that now, with all the changes, such as training and medical requirements, it’s no longer really part time. “You can’t expect to keep people working split shifts with no insurance and no summer hours. We haven’t been fully staffed for the last 6-10 years.” He also noted their aging bus fleet. “If Dean comes in, we’ll automatically nine buses out,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing. I think it’s the right thing to do at this point.”

Bus driver Rebecca Fisk, who has been with the district for 15 years, spoke to the board on behalf of the bus drivers. She told the board that to be honest, she was going to work for Dean (no matter what they decided). “They have what I need,” she said. She explained how she is supposed to be unassigned—to sub for other drivers—but they are understaffed. “When Obamacare hit, it reduced my hours to 28. It hurt. That’s $300-$400 a month. At Dean’s we can get that,” she said.

The 2016/2017 Transportation Budget is $2,943,208, The 2017/2018 Transportation Budget is set at $3,683,314, which includes six new buses and two mechanics instead of just one, because they cannot keep up with the repairs.

The proposed budget from Dean’s, comparing apples to apples will be $1,774,274. The school will still be responsible for fuel ($270,000) and payments to other schools ($1,146,000), for a total of  $3,190,274. That’s a savings of $493,040.

Dean’s will also purchase their bus fleet at blue book value, which causes a one-time infusion into the budget of $638,600. Between the savings and the purchase of the bus fleet, the school would see a financial impact of $1,132,640.

They also received bids from three others:

Durham bid $1,615,000 plus requiring CSPS to buy buses as follows: 1st yr 12, 2nd yr 1, 4th yr 13.

First Student bid $1,450,000, a generic quote per bus figure but it was verbal only with nothing in writing.

Operation Engineers Local 324 – Operate as they  currently do or $3,683,314 with CSPS running all operations.

Sabinas noted that when he was asked if he could attend the meeting between the administration and the bus drivers, he was told yes (by board president Matt Shoffner) and that later he was told no by VanDuyn.

“I know that I said that,” explained Shoffner, “but I did send an email rescinding that saying that it probably wasn’t the best thing for one of us to be there.”

Sabinas noted that it was a big decision. “We will be remembered as the board that decided,” he remarked.

The board may vote on it at their next meeting on April 24, at 6:45 p.m.

In other action, the board also voted to update facility fees for users within and outside of the community.

For a complete list of items discussed and voted on, visit the school website at www.csredhawks.org. The meetings are also recorded on video, and you can access them through the school website.

 

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Tornado confirmed in Kent/Ionia Counties

This covered bridge at Tyler Creek in Bowne Township sustained damage from Monday night’s tornado. It was built in 1955. Photo from Woodtv.com.

This covered bridge at Tyler Creek in Bowne Township sustained damage from Monday night’s tornado. It was built in 1955. Photo from Woodtv.com.

By Judy Reed

Tornado sirens sounded here in Cedar Springs and all across Kent County Monday evening, April 10, as severe thunderstorms rolled through.

N-Tornado2-pathThe National Weather Service in Grand Rapids confirmed that a brief EF-1 tornado formed and touched down in southeast Kent County about 8:36 p.m. and traveled about five miles into.

According to the NWS report: “Dozens of large trees were snapped or uprooted and three barns were heavily damaged. The damage began on 100th St just east of Alden Nash Ave and then continued to the east-northeast, crossing Wingeier Ave where a barn lost metal roofing. One metal section was carried 0.6 miles by the tornado and landed in a field. The tornado damage intensified as the funnel narrowed and crossed 92nd St in the vicinity of the Tyler Creek Golf Course, where a swath of trees were snapped and uprooted. Peak winds in this area were estimated at 90 mph. The tornado crossed Freeport Ave and Keim Road. It then crossed Hastings Road with peak winds estimated around 65 mph, taking down large tree limbs. The damage ended around Bell Road north of Keim Road.”

The tornado lasted about five minutes. It was the first tornado in Kent County this year. Last year there were two.

Next week (April 16-22) is Severe Weather Awareness Week, and according to Michigan’s Committee for Severe Weather Awareness, there were 16 tornadoes across Michigan in 2016. Michigan averages about 15 each year. Six of the 16 tornadoes occurred across the Upper Peninsula, a record for that peninsula. All of the tornadoes in Michigan were in the weak categories of EF0 and EF1 (tornadoes are rated from the weakest EF0 to the strongest EF5).

The August 20, 2016 tornado outbreak across southwest Lower Michigan was the most damaging and significant event across the state in 2016. Six tornadoes touched down from Bangor to Grand Rapids to Orleans, causing over $5 million in damages. The longest and strongest of the August 20 tornadoes touched down just southwest of Bangor and then tracked through the town. The 10-mile long EF-1 winds estimated up to 110 mph, caused the entire city to lose power and downed hundreds of trees. Multiple structures in Bangor were damaged, including the police department. The outbreak also produced two EF0 tornadoes in the metro Grand Rapids area. The first hit Grandville and Wyoming, and the second was in Grand Rapids. Both of these tornadoes downed trees, some onto homes.

Kent County has seen 35 tornadoes from 1950-2016, the second highest number of tornadoes in the state. Genesee leads with 45 tornadoes during that same time frame, and Kent is followed by Monroe County with 34, and Allegan with 33.

“Severe Weather Awareness Week is the time of year to learn what to do before, during and after severe weather occurs,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “That includes flooding, thunderstorms and tornadoes. By taking the initiative and learning about possible hazards, you and your family will be better prepared when an emergency or disaster happens.”

Spring and summer frequently bring fast-changing weather conditions that increase the potential for severe weather. Steps can be taken to prepare before severe weather strikes to minimize damage and ensure safe evacuation or shelter, such as understanding severe weather warnings and terms, preparing an emergency supply kit, making an emergency plan, and creating an emergency contact list.

To learn more about severe weather in Michigan and what you should do, download the Severe Weather Awareness packet at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/msp/SWApacket_554981_7.pdf.

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WMP wrestlers end season at national tournaments

By Barbra Chong

West Michigan Pursuit had wrestlers registered to compete in two different National tournaments last weekend.

Drew Moro traveled to Missouri for the Adidas Nationals. Moro entered the 2nd Grade division in the 61 lb wt class. He went 3-1 for the day, finishing in 2nd Place, and earning All American status. He ended with a 44-11 season record. Moro also entered their Mohawk contest and won with 190 votes.

The rest of the team traveled to Battle Creek for NUWAY Nationals. As a team, West Michigan Pursuit finished 32 out of 297 teams. WMP entered seven wrestlers and five earned All American status by placing in the top 8.

Chayson Eberspeaker entered the 7/8 age group in the 64 lb wt class. He went 2-2 for the day, finishing in 7th Place and ending with a 36-11 season record. Quinten Cassiday entered the 7/8 age group in the 61 lb wt class. He went 4-2 for the day, finishing in 5th Place and ending with a 52-6 season record.

Josh Vasquez and Blake Werkema both finished in 4th Place. Vasquez entered the 9/10 age group in the 59 lb wt class. He went 4-2 for the day and ended with a 48-7 season record. He also made the top 100 for number of pins for the National tournament. He had 3 pins with a combined time of 4:45 out of 1,221 wrestlers. Werkema entered the 4/6 age group in the 47 lb wt class. He went 3-2 for the day and ended with a 50-5 season record.

Kellen Weckesser entered the 7/8 age group in the 54 lb wt class. He went 3-1 for the day, finishing in 2nd Place and ending with a 40-15 season record.

“My mission from the start has always been the Pursuit of Champions,” said Head Coach Dave Andrus. “I am extremely proud of the success we are having. It’s not always about how these kids win; recovering after an emotional loss and continuing to succeed is equally important. These are valuable life lessons as they continue to grow and mature. I feel fortunate to have so many parents trust me as I try to instill these values into their kids.”

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CS Youth wrestlers at Nationals

These three Cedar Springs Youth wrestlers competed at Nationals last weekend. (L to R): Tucker Crystal-2nd Place, Hudson Crystal, Chasyn Winchel-4th Place, and in front, Coach Jake Marsman. Photo courtesy of Terry Troupe.

These three Cedar Springs Youth wrestlers competed at Nationals last weekend. (L to R): Tucker Crystal-2nd Place, Hudson Crystal, Chasyn Winchel-4th Place, and in front, Coach Jake Marsman. Photo courtesy of Terry Troupe.

By Jacquie Troupe

Spring break was a great time to travel for many families. For local wrestlers, it was also the culmination of long months of preparation, travelling every weekend to competitions and learning from their mistakes and triumphs to turn them into Championship victories on the mat. For Chasyn Winchel, Hudson Crystal and Tucker Crystal, it was the opportunity to compete at the national level in the NUWAY Nationals in Battle Creek, MI on April 8-9. They joined 1,218 fellow grapplers from all over the U. S. for this two day competition.

“The boys wrestled really well, holding their own against wrestlers from 25 different states to try to win The Eagle Trophy and their All-American certificates,” said Doug Crystal. “This is such an exciting tournament in which to compete. I hope we bring more wrestlers next year!”

Of the 90 competitors in the D1-6 & Under Division, Tucker Crystal placed 2nd after 3 matches, was 13th in Most Pins/Least Time with 2 in 2:38. He had the 33rd fastest pin with :58 and the 51st fastest with 1:46.

Chasyn Winchel placed 4th, tied for 1st in Most Matches with 5, was 50th in Most Pins/Least Time with 1 in 2:38, the 70th fastest pin with 2:38 and tied for 14th in Most Match Points with 24.

Of the 195 competitors in the D3-9 & 10 Division, Hudson Crystal had some of the best competition all year and fell short of his goal to win a match at Nationals. He is very optimistic and said he cannot wait for next year.

This is the final regular season competition for our club. We would like to thank everyone who joined us for the End Of Year Banquet, the parents for bringing their kids to all the practices and competitions every week, The Post for sharing these articles, and everyone who takes the time to read them and cheer for our kids. They really love seeing their names in the paper every week! We hope you all have a wonderful summer and we will see you next fall!

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Experience the excitement of spring birding 

scarlet tanagers are among the many bird species that can be found on Michigan’s birding trails

Scarlet tanagers are among the many bird species that can be found on Michigan’s birding trails

Common yellowthroats are among the many bird species that will be celebrated with birding events around the state this spring.

Common yellowthroats are among the many bird species that will be celebrated with birding events around the state this spring.

Events, trails around the state 

Michigan is home to a variety of important bird habitats and an exciting array of public birding events and birding trails. Now is the time to start making plans to get out and enjoy the spectacular diversity of birds in Michigan.

“Michigan has so many great opportunities for birders and wildlife watchers, with more events popping up all the time,” said Holly Vaughn, Department of Natural Resources wildlife communications coordinator. “There is no better place to begin birding than Michigan, and there are opportunities to observe birds anywhere you may be in the state.”

In addition to the many festivals listed below, Michigan is home to a growing number of birding trails, with six already existing and more planned. Michigan’s birding trails are open to the public and provide great opportunities for family recreation.

Spring birding events in Michigan include:

APRIL

  • Mackinaw Raptor Fest in Mackinaw City, April 7-9
  • Spring Fling at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory in Paradise, April 29-30
  • Thornapple Woodpecker Festival in Middleville, April 29
  • Brockway Mountain Hawk Watch in Copper Harbor, now through June 15

MAY

  • Keweenaw Migratory Bird Festival in Copper Harbor, May 20
  • Ziibiwing Annual Bird Celebration in Mt. Pleasant, May 13
  • Tawas Point Birding Festival in East Tawas, May 18-20
  • Warblers on the Water on Beaver Island, May 27-28
  • Kirtland’s Warbler Tours at Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling, May 14 through July 4

JUNE

  • Kirtland’s Warbler Festival in Roscommon, June 2-3
  • Cerulean Warbler Weekend in Hastings, June 10-11
  • Keweenaw Migratory Bird Festival in Copper Harbor, June 3, 10 and 11

“These birding events contribute significantly to the local economies, and attract attention to the value of local birds and habitats,” said Caleb Putnam, Michigan bird conservation coordinator for Audubon Great Lakes and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “As birders from across the country converge on Michigan’s diverse habitats, the energy continues to grow for conservation in Michigan.”

Birding is a great way to enjoy the diversity of Michigan’s wildlife and their habitats and to build a true appreciation for the uniqueness of the state’s natural resources. Birding events and trails are made possible through the efforts of Audubon chapters, government agencies, land conservancies, private industries and many dedicated individuals working together to create opportunities for people to experience the outdoors and visit local communities.

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MDHHS reminds parents spring chicks may carry Salmonella

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LANSING, Mich. – Health experts at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are warning parents about the potential for baby poultry to carry Salmonella. A common bacteria found in the droppings of poultry, Salmonella can cause illness in people. Salmonella germs contaminate feathers, feet and beaks of birds, as well as cages, coops and the environment where the birds live and roam. “Washing your hands thoroughly before and after handling chicks and other poultry protects both you and your family from the risk of Salmonella, and also helps keep the birds healthy,” said MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Eden Wells. “Even birds appearing cute, healthy, and clean can carry bacteria that can make people sick.”

In 2016, there were nine nationwide outbreaks of Salmonella illness linked to contact with live poultry, causing illness in 911 people in 48 states. Michigan reported 55 cases, of which almost half (45 percent) were in children.

During spring, live baby poultry are often displayed in stores in a way that children may be able to reach and touch the birds or areas where the birds are contained. This is one way people become exposed to harmful bacteria that leads to illness. People may also obtain birds through the mail by placing an order directly with a hatchery that supplies baby birds to raise for food or as pets.

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever and/or abdominal cramps lasting four to seven days or more. Salmonella infections can be especially serious for the very young, the very old, and those with weak immune systems.

Baby poultry have special requirements for warmth and protection. Backyard flock owners may not be aware of the risk of Salmonella from baby poultry and consequently, may keep the birds inside their home. Potential poultry owners should plan ahead to provide a proper space that is safe for the birds and for the people in the household. To address this, backyard flock owners should give live poultry their own space to live, outside of the home. People should follow these recommendations to protect themselves and others:

  • Children younger than five years old, older adults or people with weak immune systems should not handle or touch chicks, ducklings or other poultry because they are more likely to become severely ill.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching the birds or anything in their environment. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.
  • Use hand sanitizer until you can wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Always keep poultry away from areas where food or drink is prepared, served or stored, such as kitchens or outdoor patios.
  • Do not kiss the chicks.
  • Do not put anything to or touch your mouth, eat or drink after handling poultry.
  • Do not keep live poultry inside the house where people live, eat or sleep.
  • Do not give live baby poultry as gifts to young children.

Stay outdoors when cleaning any equipment associated with raising or caring for poultry, such as cages, feed, water containers and other materials.

For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonellababybirds/.

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Easter Coloring Contest Winners

Winner of the 8-10 yrs. age group: Grace Fittro, 8 yrs., of Cedar Springs

Winner of the 8-10 yrs. age group: Grace Fittro, 8 yrs., of Cedar Springs

Winner of the 6-7 yrs. age group: Trent Staal, 6 yrs., of Cedar Springs

Winner of the 6-7 yrs. age group: Trent Staal, 6 yrs., of Cedar Springs

Winner of the 4-5 yrs. age group: Hazelle Mosher, 5 yrs., of Comstock Park

Winner of the 4-5 yrs. age group: Hazelle Mosher, 5 yrs., of Comstock Park

Congratulations to the winners of the annual Cedar Springs Post Easter Coloring Contest sponsored by Northwest Kent Mechanical.

Entries came from as far away as Las Vegas, Nevada! Others came from areas including Sand Lake, Howard City, Pierson, Comstock Park, and even Horton, Michigan.

Congrats go to Trent Staal, of Cedar Springs who won in the 6-7 yrs. age group. Hazelle Mosher, of Comstock Park took first place in the 4-5 yrs. division. And first place for 8-10 yrs. competitors goes to artist Grace Fittro, of Cedar Springs for her creative flair. Good job Grace!

Prizes may be picked up at The Post Newspaper Office located at 36 E. Maple Street in Cedar Springs on Friday, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. or next week during regular business hours.

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CBDT installs clock tower near library

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Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

The Community Building Development Team installed a new clock tower at the corner of Main and Maple Streets this week, a perfect accent to the new Cedar Springs Community Library.

According to CBDT president Kurt Mabie, Dale Larson, of North Kent Mechanical, made and donated the clock tower, which would have cost the CBDT thousands of dollars to purchase. The dark red paint perfectly matches the accent on the new library, as well as the Cedar Springs Brewing Company across the street.

Jerry Gebhardt, also of North Kent Mechanical, oversaw the design and building of the tower, which is 20 feet high.

Mabie said the current clock faces are only temporary, and they are working with the American Legion to get other faces that may honor veterans.

A new clock tower was installed this week on the northwest corner of Main and W. Maple St. Post photo by J. Reed.

A new clock tower was installed this week on the northwest corner of Main and W. Maple St.
Post photo by J. Reed.

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