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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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Wireless Zone backpack giveaway

Cedar Springs Wireless Zone, 4021 17 Mile Rd, is working to alleviate the rising costs of school supplies by giving away 200 backpacks to school children this Sunday, July 23, from 1-4 p.m. The giveaway is part of the annual School Rocks Backpack Giveaway in partnership with The Cellular Connection (TCC) and Culture of Good.

According to Renee Doren, general manager at Wireless Zone, an authorized Verizon retailer, the canvas backpacks will come in six colors, and will come with notebooks, pencils, rulers, a pencil box, and glue sticks.

Both the parent and child must be present to claim the backpack.

On hand at the event will be Cedar Springs Fire Department, Solon Fire Department, and the Kent County Sheriff Department. There will also be pop, popcorn, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles.

“It will be three hours of fun,” remarked Doren. “We expect a huge turn out and are so excited to give back to our community!”

This is the first year that Wireless Zone has participated in the event. TCC, who bought the Wireless Zone franchise last year, gave away 235,000 backpacks last year in a nationwide event.

For more info, call 696-2395.

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Invasive red swamp crayfish found in Michigan

Red swamp crayfish, like the one pictured here, recently were discovered in Sunset Lake in Vicksburg (Kalamazoo County) and a retention pond off Haggerty Road in Novi (Oakland County).

The crayfish were found in two different locations

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently confirmed the presence of invasive red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) in Sunset Lake in Vicksburg, south of Kalamazoo (Kalamazoo County), and in a retention pond off Haggerty Road in Novi (Oakland County).

Reports of the crayfish at Sunset Lake came to the DNR from two separate landowners Thursday, July 13. DNR staff verified the reports during a survey of the area July 14, finding several crayfish in the grass in a local park and in shallow areas on the lake’s west side.

A citizen reported possible red swamp crayfish in the Novi retention pond Monday, July 17, after a child captured one in a dip net. DNR staff responded that afternoon and removed 111 specimens from the pond.

These two reports represent the first live detections of red swamp crayfish in Michigan. In 2015, discovery of a pile of dead red swamp crayfish at Kollen Park in Holland (Allegan County) led to an intensive trapping effort by the DNR in Lake Macatawa and portions of the Grand River. No live crayfish were found at that time.

What are red swamp crayfish?

Red swamp crayfish, also known as Louisiana crayfish, are deep red in color with bright red, raised spots covering the body and claws. They have a black, wedge-shaped stripe on the top of the abdomen. Between 2 and 5 inches in length, these crayfish resemble miniature lobsters. They are native to the Mississippi River drainage and the Gulf Coast and are the popular “crawfish” or “crawdads” used in southern cooking.

Why are they a concern?

Red swamp crayfish are a serious concern because of their ability to damage earthen structures and the threats they pose to the environment.

“Eradicating red swamp crayfish is very difficult,” said Nick Popoff, aquatic species and regulatory affairs manager for the DNR. “They dig deep burrows near lakes and rivers and can spread quickly over land.” Popoff said that such burrows, which can be more than 3 feet deep, can cause damage (through bank destabilization) to infrastructure such as dams, levees, irrigation systems and personal property. In Wisconsin, the only solution for one instance of a red swamp crayfish invasion was an extreme measure to pave over a pond.

Red swamp crayfish are considered invasive in Michigan because they compete aggressively with native crayfish species for food and habitat. They feed on plants, insects, snails, juvenile fish and other crayfish, disrupting the food chain for many aquatic species.

Red swamp crayfish can survive drought conditions and are known to migrate as much as approximately 2 miles over land in search of habitat. They are very fertile, with females laying up to 600 eggs at a time and reproducing up to two times in a year.

How did red swamp crayfish get here?

Sources of the two infestations are not known, but according to Popoff, live crayfish may have been brought from southern states for use as bait or for human consumption. Red swamp crayfish also are sold in some states as personal or classroom aquarium pets, and release of those pets is one way invasive species are spread.

“Red swamp crayfish are a prohibited species in Michigan, which means it is unlawful to possess, introduce, import, sell or offer them for sale as a live organism, except in special circumstances, including providing specimens to the DNR for identification,” said Popoff.

What is being done?

Department staff will continue survey and removal efforts on Sunset Lake and its tributaries to determine the size and extent of the infestation. Staff will be out during the daytime and evening hours setting nets and crayfish traps and using electrofishing equipment to capture and remove the crayfish. Connecting water bodies including Austin, Barton and Howard lakes will be surveyed in the coming weeks. Survey and removal efforts are ongoing at the Novi location.

How can people help?

“These two cases show the importance of citizen involvement in the fight against invasive species,” said Popoff. “Alert citizens noticed something unusual and reported it to the DNR, allowing us to initiate a quick response to each situation.”

Residents and visitors to the Sunset Lake area are asked to try to capture any red swamp crayfish they find and place them in a container in the freezer, then report the location of the find to the DNR at 269-685-6851, ext. 0, or by email to herbsts1@michigan.gov.

Sightings of red swamp crayfish in the Novi area or elsewhere in Michigan should be photographed and reported with the date and location of the find to herbsts1@michigan.gov.

For more information about red swamp crayfish and other invasive species of concern in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies.

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