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“Boaty McBoatface” leads names for new research vessel

_N-Boat-storyWebThe Natural Environment Research Council will be launching a new polar research vessel, and they are asking for the public’s help to name it.

According to NERC’s website, the vessel will be the UK’s largest and most advanced research ship yet. She will allow scientists to carry out research safely and efficiently, even through the harshest of winters, in both Antarctica and the Arctic. She will be the first British-built polar research vessel with a helideck, opening up access to new locations for scientists. She will be one of the most sophisticated floating research laboratories operating in the polar regions. She will carry nine double-decker buses worth of scientific equipment, and be able to blast through ice up to a meter thick.

The ship is due to launch in 2019, and they are letting the public name it. Leading in votes right now is RRS Boaty McBoatface, with 106,815. Coming in a distant second is RRS Poppy-Mai, with 16,991 votes. Other interesting entries include Boatimus Prime, Boatasaurus Rex, Clifford the Big Red Boat, Flying Spaghetti Monster, and Ship Happens.

To submit an entry or vote for your favorite, go to: https://nameourship.nerc.ac.uk/

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Three arrested in after attempted break-in

Three suspects are in jail and another suspect is being sought after an attempted break-in at the Cedar Springs Public Schools Hilltop administration building early Wednesday morning, March 23.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, they responded to the call at 3:22 a.m. of several suspects trying to break in to Hilltop. A witness reportedly scared off the four suspects. It was initially reported that they could be armed with weapons, but detectives haven’t been able to verify that any weapons were used.

After an intensive search by the deputies on scene, two white males were taken into custody for questioning.

The two suspects admitted to breaking into at least two homes and at least six motor vehicles over the past month. According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, they took place in the City of Cedar Springs.

During the interview, the remaining two suspects were identified. One was located in the Cedar Springs area and taken into custody for questioning. This suspect also confirmed the break-ins.

Two adult males and one juvenile have been lodged in the Kent County Jail for charges ranging from Home Invasion 1st, Probation violation and Larceny from a Motor Vehicle. The fourth suspect has been identified and is currently being sought for questioning.

Names of the suspects are being withheld until after arraignment.

This investigation remains open.

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Credit card skimmer found at local gas station

_N-Credit-card-Skimmer_file-photoOn Saturday, March 19, 2016, state and federal regulators and various law enforcement agencies conducted a full-scale gas pump blitz across Michigan as part of the ongoing efforts to crackdown on consumer credit card information being hacked by credit card skimmers.

The Kent County Sheriff Department participated in the sweep that was coordinated by the Department of Agriculture and partnered with the FBI. Michigan State Police, and other Sheriff Departments in several counties. During the sweep, a credit card skimmer was found a pump at the Citgo gas station, located on 17 Mile and White Creek, in Cedar Springs. The skimmer was collected by the Kent County Sheriff Department and turned over to the FBI.

Due to the skimmer being proactively located, it is believed that several people were protected from credit card fraud, as the unknown suspect(s) were unable to retrieve the information contained on the skimmer,” said Sgt. Jason Kelley, with Sheriff Department’s Cedar Springs unit.

During Saturday’s blitz, which took officials from Grand Rapids to Saginaw to Lansing to the U.P. to Detroit and Traverse City, three credit card skimming devices were removed and confiscated and more than 3,000 pumps were checked. The other two skimmers were found at gas stations in Howell, Michigan.

These blitzes make it clear to these cyber-criminals we’re actively looking for skimming devices – not just during the traditional work week – but on weekends too,” said Jamie Clover Adams, MDARD Director. “Credit card skimmers will not be tolerated and Michigan’s Weights and Measures inspectors, gas station owners, and law enforcement will continue to be on the hunt for skimmers to protect the state’s consumers from fraud.”

Credit card skimmers can’t be seen from outside the pump. Criminals use keys to quickly open the pumps, insert the skimmers and leave. Skimmers can be installed in seconds. The skimmers then make a copy of the consumer’s card information for criminals to make fraudulent purchases.

Some steps station owners can take to protect their patrons are changing locks, using tamper-proof security tape, and adding security cameras. Additionally, owners should also be increasing their dispenser inspections, and be more aware of these attacks,” said Clover Adams.

Jennifer Holton, with the MDARD, said that checking for skimmers has been an everyday practice since August 2015, but occasionally they do a blitz. “Not only do we check the quality of the gasoline, but we check for skimmers, too,” she explained.

Holton said that if something seems off at the pump, go inside to pay, and alert the cashier if you see something off. You should also regularly monitor your credit and debit card info to make sure you recognize purchases. “Immediately notify your banking institution if you notice something that shouldn’t be there,” she said.

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It’s time for Easter Eggs

_N-Easter-eggsPost photo by J. Reed

The home at 3240 17 Mile, Solon Township, sports a sea of pastel colors at Easter time each year. Yvonne Cook, and her husband Mike, who recently passed away, have been decorating their yard with these colorful eggs for the past 10 years. Take a drive by and see for yourself!

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A kingly bird


Mary Jo Giaimo sent us this photo of an eagle perched on top of a barn on Northland Drive, between 14 and 15 Mile Roads, on Saturday. Are those also eagles soaring above or some type of hawk? Either way, they are all big birds!

See more wildlife photos in our Outdoors section.

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Odyssey of Mind team takes third at State

Members of the Odyssey of the Mind team.

Members of the Odyssey of the Mind team.

By Judy Reed

A first-year Odyssey of the Mind team at Cedar View Elementary did something this year that is rarely seen—they finished second at regionals, then went on to take third place at state.

Team members Ethan Griffee, Hannah Anderson, Nate Slager, Ella Buttermore, Riley Robb, and Judy Visser were coached by Tanja Griffee and Aaron Anderson. Regionals were held February 27 at Greenville Middle School, where they placed second and earned a silver medal. The state finals were held March 19, at Thornapple Kellogg Schools in Middleville, where they placed third, and received a bronze medal.

The problem they competed in was called, “No-Cycle Recycle.” They had to build a car and perform a skit involving recycling and repurposing trash items.  

“They are an amazing group of kids,” said Coach Griffee. “They worked hard and did great as a team. I am extremely proud of them for their accomplishments!”

Regional Director Linda Blackmore, of Cedar Springs, was surprised at the progress the group made for being a first year team of fourth and fifth graders.

The program is overwhelming, and so I usually tell the coaches to have two goals: survive and have fun,” explained Blackmore. “They just need to get through it the first time, to learn the ropes. But then they went on to state. That hardly ever happens. It’s an accomplishment against the best of the best at state finals—to not only be there, but to place as well. It’s only happened maybe once in the 20 years I’ve been doing this,” she said.

Blackmore said that she’s hoping to get more teams from Cedar Springs involved in Odyssey of the Mind. Teams can be created at any grade level, from grades K-12, and grade levels can have more than one team, as Cedar View did this year. If anyone is interested in getting involved, contact your building principal, or contact Blackmore at region2@michiganodyssey.com.

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Sheriff, Larry Stelma meets with local Pastors

Sheriff Larry Stelma with Pastor Timothy Hall of Grace Community Church in Belmont.

Sheriff Larry Stelma with Pastor Timothy Hall of Grace Community Church in Belmont.

Asks for their help to address root cause of youth crime

Grand Rapids — In a recent meeting with Kent County area pastors, Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma urged active involvement from the clergy to address youth crime and incarceration. He outlined the scope of the problem with troubled youth who end up in custody.

 Far too many teenagers that we see in our facility lack adequate education and have no marketable skills to be successful in the workforce,” said Sheriff Stelma. “Furthermore, many have mental health issues and are drug or alcohol dependent.”

Sheriff Stelma said the Kent County Correctional Facility will process 25,000 inmates a year. “Of that 25,000 inmates, over 2,100 are teenagers—14 to 19 years old. And these numbers do not include those in juvenile homes.  Of the 2,100 teenagers incarcerated in the Kent County Correctional Facility during the course of a year, 1,500 of them indicate they have some gang affiliation,” Sheriff Stelma added. 

 Sheriff Stelma said 78 percent of these teenagers will go back in the system within three years. At $80 a day, with the average length of stay being ten days, this equates to $1.7 million dollars a year to jail teenagers in the Kent County Jail.

 Sheriff Stelma also addressed solutions to the youth crime problem that that can begin early in a child’s life—before a crime has even been committed. These solutions include high-quality early education and programs that support at-risk youth and families and are shown to address the root behavioral causes of criminal activity.

 He pointed to the evidence developed by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit anti-crime organization, of which he is a member. It includes more than 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, attorneys general and other law enforcement leaders and violence survivors. 

 “Fight Crime: Invest in Kids supports programs that are proven to cut crime and save taxpayer dollars by making wise investments in programs that reach kids early,” he said. “I am proud to be a member of this organization since it started 20 years ago. We have worked with our lawmakers both in Lansing and Washington to make sure they understand the benefits of investing public dollars in proven programs to help kids succeed in school and beyond,” Sheriff Stelma emphasized. 

Programs that Fight Crime: Invest in Kids supports include high-quality preschool, voluntary home visiting, effective programs delivered in the after school time period, and child and family coaching for troubled children. All these programs help kids get on track and stay on track for success and opportunity—and avoid a life in and out of the criminal justice system.

 In Michigan, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids is led by more than 500 of Michigan’s best-known police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and crime survivors. It operates under the Council for a Strong America, the umbrella nonprofit for five membership organizations comprising the unique and powerful voices of law enforcement, business, military, faith and sports, working together to prepare young Americans for success.

The Council for a Strong America’s faith organization, Shepherding the Next Generation, is led by former Kent County State Representative Tom Pearce, who serves as the national director. Pearce also spoke to the pastors and encouraged them to join Shepherding the Next Generation and to be advocates for youth as part of their ministry.

By getting at the front-end through prevention programs, as pastors we can reduce the negative consequences at the tail-end that usually result in shattered lives and high costs associated with incarceration,” he said.

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Overcoming your fear of donating blood 

"I have never been a fan of needles, which is why it took me so long to become a donor. Even though I was scared, I gave it a chance because my son received blood when he needed it. It's worth a little discomfort to give back and help those in need." Sommer Deering, blood donor and mother to son who is a blood recipient

“I have never been a fan of needles, which is why it took me so long to become a donor. Even though I was scared, I gave it a chance because my son received blood when he needed it. It’s worth a little discomfort to give back and help those in need.”
Sommer Deering, blood donor and mother to son who is a blood recipient

Sommer Deering faces her fear for the sake of her son

From Michigan Blood

When Traverse City residents Sommer and Mike Deering met at the county fair as teenagers, they hit it off right away and bonded over their hobby of raising pigs. They had no idea that their summer meeting would change the course of their lives forever. They fell in love, have been married for 15 years and have two sons.

When their youngest son, Cam, was an infant, he became very sick. The family brought him to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. Baby Cam was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), which is a disorder that causes an overproduction of cells that can form tumors or damage organs. During his week in the hospital, he needed a blood transfusion to survive.

“It was a super scary time for my husband and me,” says Sommer. “But having blood available when we needed it most was very comforting.”

Cam and his family made numerous trips to the hospital for more treatments. Sommer and Mike continued to notice several bags of blood hanging from the IV stands of other sick children.

“It really made me think about how giving blood could be such an incredible help to these little ones going through such tough times,” adds Sommer. “I wanted to start donating blood after witnessing this. I wasn’t sure when I would make that commitment because I am scared of needles and blood—but I knew I wanted to someday.”

Beginning last year, Sommer decided to make good on her promise to donate blood in honor of her son. She was afraid, but gave it a chance because she was so grateful for the donors who saved her son’s life through blood donations.

“Even though I am scared, I get through the process by not looking at the needle or the blood, and then I am just fine! I keep going back—it’s worth a little discomfort in order to give back and help those in need. It makes me happy,” exclaims Sommer.

Michigan Blood thanks the Deering family for their dedication to the mission of saving lives through blood donation, and joins them in their challenge to others to overcome their fear of donating by giving it a chance. What better way to ease someone else’s pain than by facing your fears and donating to help save a life?

Michigan Blood is the sole provider of blood and blood products for more than 60 hospitals in Michigan, including Spectrum Health, Metro Health, and Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. Donations given outside of Michigan Blood do not have direct local impact. Donating blood with Michigan Blood helps save the lives of patients in Michigan hospitals. Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) who weighs at least 110 pounds may be eligible to donate. Blood donors should bring photo ID. There is an urgent need for O-Negative blood donors. Donors with type O-Negative blood, or new donors who do not yet know their blood type, are encouraged to visit their local blood donation center. For additional information on donating blood, and to make an appointment, visit www.miblood.org.

Grand Rapids Donor Center is at 1036 Fuller Ave NE, Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, noon to 7 p.m.; Tuesdays and Fridays, 8 a.m. to  3:30 p.m.; and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The next blood drive at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church will be Tuesday, April 19, from noon to 7 p.m..

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Feeding more than the birds

OUT-Feeding-more2-chipmunkOUT-Feeding-more1-bunnyRon Parker, of Courtland Township, sent us some beautiful wildlife photos last week. “We have been feeding wild birds all winter, but now that Spring seems to  be here we have been receiving other visitors who are just as much fun  to watch,”  he said. Thanks, Ron, for sharing your photos with us!

We would love to see your wildlife photos! Snap a photo and send it to us with some information and your contact info. Send it to news@cedarspringspost.com.

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Youth wrestlers finish strong at regionals


Cedar Springs Youth Wrestlers had a strong showing at regionals, with 15 placing in the top 6. Several will be headed to state in two weeks. Photo by J. Troupe.

Cedar Springs Youth Wrestlers had a strong showing at regionals, with 15 placing in the top 6. Several will be headed to state in two weeks. Photo by J. Troupe.

By Jacquie Troupe

Last weekend, 19 Cedar Springs Youth Wrestlers competed in the MYWAY West Regional Tournament. There were two days of intense competition that resulted in 49 wins, with 15 wrestlers placing in the top 6 spots. Seven of those wrestlers will head to Battle Creek in two weeks for the state tournament. 

Hudson Crystal had the fastest pin for the team with :10, Brandson Wood with :22, and Blake Falan with :30. According to Coach Goike, “Having 15 out of 18 wrestlers place place made for a very impressive finish for the year. The dedication that they have all shown in practice has given them the edge they need to be successful for the State Tournament and beyond.” 

Placing 2nd in the 11-09 ALL 61lb division was Jonathan Libera; in the 08-07 ALL 72lb division was Hudson Crystal; and in the 02-01 ALL 85lb division was Andrew VanGessel.

Placing 3rd in the 06-05 ALL 59lb division was Keaton Klaasen; in the 08-07 ALL 67lb division was Gavyn Byxbe; and in the 04-03 ALL 75lb division wasTrevor Marsman.

Placing 4th in the 08-07 ALL 58lb division was Blake Falan.

Placing 5th in the 11-09 ALL 46lb division was Tucker Crystal, and in the 04-03 ALL 90lb division, Carter Falan.

Placing 6th in the 11-09 ALL 46lb division was Caleigh Wood; in the 11-09 ALL 49lb division was Chasyn Winchel; in the 08-07 ALL 52lb division was Brandson Wood; in the 08-07 ALL 97lb division was Dakota Winchel; in the 06-05 ALL 80lb division was Blake Pickard; and in the 06-05 ALL 130lb division was David DeWeese.

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