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Kent County Youth Fair to kick-off 83 years of family fun and education 

The Kent County Youth Fair (KCYF) opens August 7-12 with more than 50 planned attractions, entertainment, and education for West Michigan families.

From HandiCapable day to the summer learning initiative, Reading for Rides, KCYF aims to reach people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.

Earlier this year, the Kent County Youth Agricultural Association (KCYAA) announced a major purchase agreement for the organization. In September of 2017, it will officially purchase a large piece of land, with development beginning in spring of 2019. The area will house new fairgrounds for the annual fair along with many other events throughout the year.

“This has been an especially exciting year for the entire fair community,” says Jon Bieneman, President of the Kent County Youth Fair. “While we look forward what the future holds for the Kent County Youth Fair, we are focusing on making these final years at this location exceptionally memorable. It seems appropriate, considering these grounds have been the source of many family memories and growth in our community for the past 82 years.”

This year’s fair theme is “Raising the Steaks.” Event highlights include:

  • Children’s Barnyard petting area full of cute animals to interact with
  • Reading for Rides Day free carnival rides with completed registration on Tuesday, August 8
  • Expanded Ag Adventure Barn and new FairTRADE Educational Trading Cards
  • Handicapable Day rides and luncheon on Friday, August 11
  • Racing Pigs with shows three times daily
  • Free Entertainment Tent with performances daily
  • A full scale Ninja Obstacle Course open daily

To see the full list of events and daily themes, check out the Kent County Youth Fair schedule on their site at https://www.kcyf.org/fair-schedule/ or download the schedule featured in our paper by clicking the link below:

KCYF-2017.pdf

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Shifting Sands

A sand dune at Silver Lake swallowed up a house in April. Photo from woodtv.com.

 

Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

Reading the landscape is a development skill taught in middle school Earth science. It is taught to preschoolers by parents. Young minds are open to learning.

The local news reported advancing sand dunes are burying homes. An Earth science lessen is easily forgotten without experiential learning. The dangers of building or buying a home too close to the big lake can be seen during family or school outings. It is a gamble to determine exactly which homes will get buried.

A trip to Lake Michigan’s shoreline dune complex for a swim will be a fun outing where one can see trees buried by moving sand at Hoffmaster State Park or in other parks. Some of the trees have adaptations allowing them to produce adventitious roots from tree trunks as their original roots get buried too deep to survive. The new roots give the tree continued life under tough circumstances.

At some future date, the sand dunes will shift and uncover tree trunks, exposing the roots developed from the growing trunk that was previously high in the air before being buried. If fortunate, the tree will have lived and died before sand is blown away to expose its skeleton.

One might refer to sand dunes as a living, moving, entity, but by reading the landscape, we discover they are not. Moving dunes bring life or death to species by the lake and will crush buildings. Contractors build and sell homes close to the shoreline. They arrive, construct and leave with a profit. The buyer that did not learn to read the landscape might lose their home to the crushing weight of sand depending on where the home was built.

The news showed a cottage that collapsed under the weight of moving sand. People were interviewed about nature’s destroying power. Owners are hiring bulldozer operators to move sand to save homes and resorts. The reporters hoped the home owners would win the fight against nature’s forces.

A fight is not necessary. If the people refused to buy homes close to shore or on shifting dunes, their homes would not be endangered. Many want the shoreline view and are willing to gamble their home’s future. The result is their home might be buried or washed into the lake. A Go-fund-me account has been established to help save homes because people cannot afford to hire contactors to keep moving sand.

Learning the school lessen might have resulted in choosing to live in a safer location. In the 1980’s I observed homes falling into Lake Michigan when high lake levels undercut foundations. I witnessed multi-million dollar homes fall into the Pacific Ocean as erosion undercut cliffs. The homes were too large to move and should not have been built close to the ocean.

Homes are built on barrier Islands along the Atlantic Ocean even though barrier islands are known to move and wash away. Classroom education is valuable but field trip experience is essential for learning to read the landscape. Book learning requires supplemental practical experiences to learn to read the landscape. That is the purpose of places like the Howard Christensen Nature Center and for parents to take families to natural areas.

I began as director at HCNC in 1986 when an Environmental Education Advocacy Council and School administrator agreement required some Kent ISD teachers to bring students to HCNC. I was told HCNC was securely funded by property taxes. As time passed, and shifting sands of education politics changed. I was told environmental education was no longer a priority in America after the early 2000’s presidential election. The Kent ISD stopped funding HCNC. An impact of that decision might result in students losing their homes to nature’s forces when they are grown. We are in a phase of political temperament again when many want to focus only on the present without considering the triple bottom line of economic, social, and environmental impacts for the future. Economic health cannot be sustained without social and environmental sustainability. Security in our personal nature niche depends on the shifting sands of politics and how well people learn to read the landscape to protect their wellbeing and investments.

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.

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Lakes appreciation month: enjoy and protect Michigan’s lakes

Michigan is blessed with all types of waterbodies, including scenic locations without much civilization in site, like this view of Tahquamenon Natural Area between Newberry and Paradise in the state’s Upper Peninsula.

Michigan offers unique combination of four Great Lakes and 11,000 inland lakes

With Gov. Rick Snyder’s proclamation of July as Lakes Appreciation Month in Michigan, it›s the perfect time to encourage residents to enjoy and protect the state’s lakes.

Recreation on Michigan’s lakes—boating, fishing, birding, swimming and more on the water—leads to jobs throughout the state in support of a $7 billion recreational fishery, a $4 billion boating industry, and a major part of the state’s $38 billion tourism revenue.

Michigan’s 11,000 inland lakes and four Great Lakes provide a combination of water resources and recreational opportunities not available anywhere else. In his proclamation, Gov. Snyder recognized “the need to protect these resources for future generations,” stating that “lakes and shorelines are critical resources to Michigan’s environment and quality of life, providing sources of drinking water, irrigation, energy, commerce, recreation, scenic beauty, and habitat for fish and wildlife.”

“It’s important for everyone who uses and values Michigan’s lakes to do their part to protect them,” said Joe Nohner, inland lakes analyst for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “Our inland lakes face threats from declining water quality, invasive species, changing climate and unnatural shorelines that lack vegetation or woody habitat. There are simple steps each of us can take to protect the lakes we love.”

Fishing and boating go hand in hand as staple activities on many of Michigan›s lakes, making huge contributions to the state’s economy.

Here are just a few ways to show appreciation for these valuable natural resources:

Be a lake volunteer. Volunteer opportunities are available with programs across Michigan. Clean Boats, Clean Waters (http://micbcw.org/) is recruiting “volunteer heroes” to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by showing boaters how to inspect their boats, trailers and gear. Michigan’s Clean Water Corps supports volunteers engaged in water-quality monitoring through its Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program. Adopt-a-Beach volunteers remove litter from shorelines around the Great Lakes.

Protect your shore. Lakefront property owners can learn more from the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership about maintaining natural shorelines to improve fish and wildlife habitat and keep the water clean. Learn how to be recognized through the Michigan Shoreland Stewards program. http://www.mishorelandstewards.org/.

Prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Lakes Appreciation Month and Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week were kicked off by the 4th annual AIS Landing Blitz with outreach events at more than 60 boat launches, to raise awareness and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species through recreational boating and related activities. When it’s time to head home from the lake, take steps to ensure aquatic invasive species don’t come with you:

  • Remove weeds, mud and debris from boats and gear, and drain live wells and bilges before leaving the landing.
  • Give boats and equipment at least five days to dry thoroughly before heading to a different body of water.
  • If that’s not possible, clean boats, water receptacles and gear with hot water or a diluted bleach solution before the next trip.

In short, remember to clean, drain and dry boats, trailers and gear after a day on the water. Concerned about aquatic invasive species? Consider inviting the free Mobile Boat Wash to a boat launch near you. https://www.michigan.gov/documents/invasives/Boat_wash_flyer_2017_554286_7.pdf or check them out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MobileBoatWash/.

Take a friend or a young person fishing. Fishing Michigan’s lakes provides an opportunity to spend quality time with someone, reunite a friend with a favorite hobby, or introduce someone to a new pastime. Whether it’s taking the boat to that favorite fishing hole or casting from a pier or quiet dock, fishing is a unique way to connect with the water.

Spend a day at the beach. A picnic or a day of swimming is a great way to get the kids outdoors in the summer. A sunset stroll along the shoreline can be a relaxing end to a perfect day. Looking for a place to take your four-legged best friend? According to bringfido.com, there are 27 dog-friendly beaches across Michigan.

Float your boat. If that boat is still covered and sitting on the trailer, or the kayaks haven’t yet left the garage, it’s time to hit the water. Take a cruise or paddle around the shoreline of your favorite lake to admire the waterfowl and flowering plants, or visit a new lake – with more than 1,300 public boating access sites around the state to choose from, it’s easy to plan a water-bound adventure.

The Lakes Appreciation Month proclamation was supported by the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership, an organization that promotes collaboration to advance stewardship of Michigan’s inland lakes.

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Red Hawk wrestler named All-American

Ryan Ringler received the title of “All American” after placing in the top eight at the Fargo National Wrestling Tournament this summer. Courtesy photo.

Cedar Springs junior Ryan Ringler, 16, the son of Paul and Jane Ringler, is an outstanding athlete who qualified for the Fargo National Wrestling Tournament this summer. He placed in the top eight in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman Cadet level, and received the title of “All American” wrestler.

Team Michigan, consisting of one to three wrestlers from each weight class, traveled to the Fargodome in Fargo, North Dakota on July 13, for the highest level of wrestling competition for high school wrestlers in the U.S. This prestigious eight-day competition is unique. It is the largest, most competitive wrestling competition, and it is common to see as many as 150-plus extremely tough competitors in a particular weight class. Competing in Fargo is invaluable for a wrestler who wishes to excel at the highest level, such as collegiate or international levels. College coaches and scouts attend looking for the best up and coming talent. Ringler was approached and invited to lunch with a group of college coaches.

This was Ryan’s first time to qualify and attend Fargo. As intimidating as the competition can be, he did exactly what he set out to accomplish, which was to place in both styles of wrestling. He placed 7th in freestyle, taking his first loss immediately and having to do something that is rare, which was to win his way back six consecutive times to place.

Ringler’s determination and upper body strength is remarkable. He was able to place third in Greco-Roman with just one loss to the Illinois Cadet Greco champ, who media claimed was unstoppable. Ringler was dominating this important match with the only points scored; however, after a throw by Ringler and being awarded two points, Illinois challenged it and the two points were removed from Ringler and four points were awarded to Illinois. Illinois gained another point due to Ringler’s head position. Ringler scored the last two points, but time ran out before Ringler could score another 2 points to win. The match ended 4-5. The sting of losing to the Champion by one point was tough, but placing top three and being awarded membership into the USA National team was a goal realized.

Up next for this amazing student athlete is football, where he plans to lead the Cedar Springs varsity team in tackles for the third consecutive year. Then it’s back to training for high school folk style wrestling and researching colleges to attend and wrestle for.

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Cedar Springs grad selected to U.S. Youth Futsal team

Northern Kentucky University freshman Isaiah Schatz, with Keith Tozer, who is the coach of the Men’s U.S. Futsal National Team. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

Isaiah Schatz, 17, a 2017 Cedar Springs graduate and freshman goalkeeper on the Northern Kentucky University men’s soccer team, was selected to play for the national U.S. Youth Futsal team, after participating in the national futsal i.d. trials earlier this month.

Futsal is the official indoor soccer game. It is small sided (5v5), played on a smaller pitch (roughly basketball court sized) and with a smaller ball.

Schatz is currently in Costa Rica with the team, where they will train and play three international matches between July 23 and July 30.

“Anytime someone is called up to represent their country, it is a great honor, and I have no doubt Isaiah will benefit greatly from this experience ahead of his freshman year at NKU,” said head coach Stu Riddle.

“I think it speaks volumes to the caliber of players we are recruiting to NKU, and I certainly expect to see plenty more National Team representation from members of this year’s incoming class and in future years.”

Schatz excelled in soccer while at Cedar Springs High School, and also was a member of the track and field team.

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Cedar Springs Community Library is paid-in-full

Presenting the final check to Nugent builders is: back row, L to R: Bob Ellick, Chairperson, C.S. Library Board; Julie Wheeler, Independent Bank; Tom Mabie, community supporter; Claudia Mabie, community supporter; Duane McIntyre, Library-appointed Construction Supervisor; and Darla Falcon, City Finance Director, representing the City of Cedar Springs. In the front row, L to R: Louise King, C.S. Library Board; George Germain, Project Manger/Safety Director for Nugent Builders; and Donna Clark, Library Director.

The completion of the new Cedar Springs Community Library was a dream come true, and it came with a lot of hard work on the part of dozens of people. And now, the $1,845,190 project has been officially paid off.

“We are so excited to be able to announce that our community’s library building is now completely paid for,” said Library Director Donna Clark. “With a lot of substantial financial help and support of the Community Building Development Team, the Library Board’s Building Committee and the wonderful members of our community, we have no mortgage, no interest, no debt!”

Credit for this amazing accomplishment goes largely to the generous donations of money and/or time by local individuals, families, business professionals and artisans, some  donations over $30,000 apiece. Leading the way was local Cedar Springs graduate and builder, Duane McIntyre, who researched, developed and drew the initial library building plan, in seven different versions, over the last four years.  He then saw it through with the help of Kurt Mabie, Sue Wolfe and others from the Community Building Development Team, the Library Board’s Building Committee, City and Solon Township officials, several local community groups and organizations, Andrus Architecture and Nugent Builders, who subcontracted companies, many from the Cedar Springs area.

“Our fabulous, new building is drawing a lot of attention from area residents, greatly increasing the numbers of those coming in  and those checking out and ordering materials,” said Clark. There were 6,932 items checked out in June, up from the Library’s average of 2200. There were 1,048 people who attended Opening Day for the Library’s annual Summer Reading Program on June 12. Since then around 1,500 patrons of all ages from the Cedar Springs area have signed up for reading, prizes and fun.  She said there has been an average attendance of 230 – 300 people per day since the Library opened on May 8.

While the library building itself is paid off, there are still some outstanding needs. They include a an electronic, digital sign on Main Street identifying the building as the Cedar Springs Community Library.  “A conservative estimate for the sign is $14,000,” noted Clark. Other signs are also needed: a handicap parking sign (2), staff parking signs (2), do not enter (1), a sign identifying the drive-by as “one way book drop only,” all for $995. They also need additional security measures between $8,000 to $10,000; 10 round tables and 40-80 chairs; electronic tags to put in all library materials for security measures at around $7,000.

There is also a focus on selling the last of the $1,000 Retaining Wall Blocks. There are eight left of the 40 set in place on the north side of the Library. The brass plate inserts are presently being engraved by CS Tool Engineering, Inc. The last $8,000 will go to help build up the CBDT’s project budget to begin the amphitheater down by the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail and Cedar Creek. In August of this year a cement foundation will be laid for the amphitheater, with plans to hold a concert during the festivities of this year’s Red Flannel Festival to raise money to get it up as soon as funds allow. The $50 and $100 bricks are also still for sale. Stop by the Library for more information.

If you would like to give toward any of these projects, they will be pleased to hear from you.  In the meantime, CBDT groups are still meeting and are always trying to come up with ways and means to bring in funds to continue to Build the Heart of Cedar Springs, which will include a Community Building, and eventually a Recreational Center.

And if you haven’t been by to see the building yet, please stop in on Monday through Friday between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. or on Saturday between 9:00 a.m. and noon. Visit online at cedarspringslibrary.org.

“We look forward to meeting all of you, and yes, your KDL card is good at your local, community library in Cedar Spring and in seven other counties in the WestMichigan area!” said Clark.

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Possible bear sighting in Cedar Springs

A bear and her cub were sighted in a field at the end of West Street last month.

By Judy Reed

The Post was alerted this week that there was a possible bear sighting early last month at the end of West Street.

According to Sally Hoornstra, she saw what she thinks was a mama bear and her cub in a field behind where the Wolverine Skyhawks fly their remote-control airplanes. It was on June 4, at about 8:57 p.m.

“It sure looked like a bear to me,” she said, and noted that she wasn’t going to get any closer.

Hoornstra said that was the first time she had seen it, and has not seen it since. She did not report it to the DNR but said she would in the future if she sees another bear.

The sighting was passed on to Victor Hansen, the owner of Display Pack, (which is near the site) last weekend, who passed it on to the Kent County Sheriff Department. The City then passed it on to the Post, to make people aware that there could be bears in the area.

According to Nick Kalejs, with the Muskegon State game area, he did not hear about the bear sighting, so couldn’t confirm it. But seeing one in Kent County isn’t as unusual as it used to be. “Twenty years ago, it would’ve been a real eye-opener,” said Kalejs, “but now it’s irregular.”

He said they know there are denning bears as close Newaygo County. “Reports are usually of young bears. They can wander quite aways from their den,” he said. “So it’s not so much a matter of them passing through as heading back north.”

Kalejs said that if you see a bear, back away slowly, stand tall, look large, and make noise. “Black bears are shy, and will usually head in the other direction,” he said.

He also noted that if you have bears near your home, try to get rid of food sources such as bird feeders and grills.

For more tips on what to do if you see a bear, watch this video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=AB5AS6BRuY8.

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Construction begins on new assisted living facility

This property on the south side of Solon Rd near White Creek will be the site of a new retirement facility called The Brook. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Come spring next year, seniors in Cedar Springs will have another new retirement home ready to be filled. The Brook of Cedar Springs, a new 42-unit facility that will offer both independent and assisted living, is currently being built on Solon Street, just east of White Creek Avenue.

“We are very excited to be coming to Cedar Springs in the spring of 2018,” said Kim Pappas, marketing and communications specialist for The Brook. She added that they will employ 15-20 people, and they will have a nurse on staff for 24-hour care.

“We offer the comfort of worry-free living,” she said. Pappas explained that there are many activities for the residents, three meals a day, a theater room, billiard room, and a van that will take residents to sporting events and other activities.

“We help them to be as independent as possible but we are still tailored to their specific needs,” she said.

The Brook has ten locations throughout Michigan, with Cedar Springs being the 11th.

You can read more about them at www.brookretirement.com/.

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Ruff readers at the library

Pictured is Chase with his handler, Judy Nortier, and Amy Hall, Library Board member, coordinating children and their turn to read. 

Fifteen children read for 15 minutes each to one of two trained therapy dogs on Thursday, July 13, from 11-12 p.m. at the Cedar Springs Community Library.

One dog on hand was Chase, and his handler Judy Nortier. The other dog was named Chewy, and he was handled by Sandee Hermann.

Hermann said she takes him to hospitals, schools, libraries, and nursing homes. “Anywhere to share comfort, joy and fun,” she said.

The Ruff Readers will go on again this Thursday (today) from 11-12.

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CSBrewery Shoppe

Cedar Springs Brewing Company is now using the retail space next door at 81 N. Main St. that was vacated by Coldbreak Brewing to sell a variety of brewing and wine-making equipment and other supplies.

You can also find a variety of Cedar Springs Brewing Company merchandise at the location.

Coldbreak Brewing, who was renting the space from the CS Brewing Company, decided to return their focus to manufacturing their equipment and no longer need the space.

The CSBrewery Shoppe also plans to offer classes in brewing beer, and in making wine, cider, and mead.

Stop in and see them today! Hours are 12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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