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What is this white bird?

 

OUT-White-bird-newReuben Hoxsie, of Solon Township, brought in a photo he took at his home, of a white bird at one of his feeders. He said he thought it might be a white house finch, after looking at photos online.

We sent the photo to our resident expert, Ranger Steve Mueller and asked him what he thought it was, could it be a white house finch, and whether it could be an albino. He said it looks like a snow bunting. “They come here during the winter and head back north when winter begins to recede,” he explained. He also did not think it was an albino. “There are albinics that partially lack pigment but this bird does not look like that. It appears the bird is beginning to change to its breeding plumage.”

Thank you so much, Reuben, for the photo, and Ranger Steve, for your insight!

If you have wildlife photos you’d like to send us, please email them to news@cedarspringspost.com, with your name and contact info, and a short summary of the photo. Publication is only as space allows, and is not guaranteed.

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Athletes sign letters of intent

Hannah signing her letter of intent with Cedar Springs Cheer Coach, Anne Olszewski

Hannah signing her letter of intent with Cedar Springs Cheer Coach, Anne Olszewski

Congratulations to Hannah Cederquist on committing to cheer next year at Davenport University.  Hannah is pictured signing her letter of intent with Cedar Springs Cheer Coach, Anne Olszewski. (right)

Maddie signing her national letter of intent with her parents and Soccer Coach, Justin Harnden

Maddie signing her national letter of intent with her parents and Soccer Coach, Justin Harnden

Congratulations Maddie VanDusen on committing to play soccer next year at Ferris State University.  Maddie is pictured here signing her national letter of intent with her parents Jon & Kim VanDusen and Cedar Springs Soccer Coach, Justin H

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Varsity wrestlers headed to state

Senior heavyweight Patrick Depiazza, who is ranked #2 in the state, wrestled the #1 ranked wrestler in the state, Chase Beard, of Allegan, at regionals last week.

Senior heavyweight Patrick Depiazza, who is ranked #2 in the state, wrestled the #1 ranked wrestler in the state, Chase Beard, of Allegan, at regionals last week.

For the second year in a row, four Cedar Springs Varsity wrestlers are headed to the individual state finals at the Palace at Auburn Hills March 2-4. The four include senior heavyweight Patrick Depiazza, who remains unbeaten at 44-0 and is ranked at #2 in the state; sophomore Ryan Ringler 171 lb, who is 45-1 and ranked #2; senior Jordan Ringler, 135 lbs, 38-8 and ranked #6; and sophomore Lucus Pienton, 145 lbs, 33-8, and ranked #8. To find out more, read the story here.

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Pastor’s leader dog passes away

Pastor Darryl Miller and his leader dog, Rowdy.

Pastor Darryl Miller and his leader dog, Rowdy.

By Judy Reed

In early January, we did a story about Pastor Darryl Miller and his leader dog, Rowdy. Miller, who is legally blind, is pastor at both South Ensley United Methodist Church and Sand Lake United Methodist. Rowdy, an 11-year-old black lab who was Miller’s faithful companion and seeing eye dog, needed surgery to fix a fistula—a hole in the roof of his mouth—and the Sand Lake United Methodist women was holding a fundraising event on January 14 to help pay the mounting medical bills. He had already undergone five surgeries, but the hole had not healed due to an infection in his jawbone. Once they discovered it, he was put on antibiotics, and they hoped the next surgery would help the dog to finally heal.

Unfortunately, Rowdy did not survive the surgery, and died on January 30.

“Rowdy had been on heavy duty antibiotics for nearly three months trying to get the infection which had prevented the previous surgeries from being successful under control,” explained Miller. “During the last week before the surgery he had a hard time trying to eat and he got weak. He did not make it through the surgery, and it was probably a blessing, as we discovered that the infection had spread into the skull around his left eye socket.”

Rowdy’s death has been hard on Miller. “Even three weeks later I find myself reaching down beside my chair both at home and at the churches to pet him,” he said. “We were together the last nine years and only were separated for about ten days.”

But he is not the only one who misses him. “It has been truly amazing to see how many lives he touched,” remarked Miller. “From young people who knew him from district youth group eight or nine years ago, to the newest members of our churches. We all miss him a lot.”

The Post asked Miller what his plans for the future were. Since he had relied on Rowdy to help get him where he needed to go, would he get another dog? “At first I didn’t plan to get another dog. It was very hard watching such a close friend struggle for the past eight months,” he explained. “But after a couple weeks, I realized just how much I depended on him and have decided to begin the process to get another leader dog.”

Rowdy was trained at the Leader dog school in Rochester, Michigan—a school founded by the Lions Club, and that’s where Miller will apply for another dog. There is no charge for the guide dog.

Miller is grateful to all those who have supported him during this time. “Thank you so much for all your prayers and donations for my Leader Dog Rowdy. My family and I along with our church families want to thank you for your love and help,” he said.

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Snowmobile races cancelled

This photo shows a previous snowmobile event. From the Michigan Winter Fest Facebook page.

This photo shows a previous snowmobile event. From the Michigan Winter Fest Facebook page.

While many residents are enjoying the warm, spring-like temperatures we have experienced over the last week, some of the area events have suffered. The 2017 Michigan Winter Fest “SNOW” extravaganza, which was to take place on West Street in Cedar Springs last weekend, February 17-18, was cancelled due to the lack of snow. The event, billed as Michigan’s largest snow festival, would’ve included snowmobile sno-cross, cross country, and drag racing. It is the second year in a row the event was cancelled due to weather.

Last weekend was also the DNR’s free ice fishing weekend. However, the ice was thin on most lakes, and there were 9-1-1 calls of ATV’s or people falling through the ice. Please be safe out there and stay off the ice!

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Animal Shelter staff heads to stable for some horse sense 

N-Animal-Shelter1

When you think of the Kent County Animal Shelter (KCAS) you may think of dogs and cats but Animal Control Officers (ACOs) often respond to calls regarding horses. Successful outcomes in these incidents are not possible without proper training. Animal professionals may be working to ascertain the health of multiple animals or they may need to help round up, corral and transport horses that have managed to escape their enclosures. In all cases, the safety of the public, the animal and first responders may hinge on proper training.

Kent County Animal Shelter staff got some training with horses last week. Photos courtesy of the Kent County Health Department.

Kent County Animal Shelter staff got some training with horses last week. Photos courtesy of the Kent County Health Department.

On Thursday February 16, 2017, KCAS staff got the opportunity to expand their skills by working with live horses. Staff learned more about capturing and securing horses and how to make better judgements regarding a horse’s health based on its physical appearance.

Members of the executive committee working to form an Equine Response Team (ERT) also participated in the training. The ERT will be a group of volunteers who are equine professionals in Kent County. The ERT will act as a liaison between KCAS staff and individuals or groups who, for example, may have access to care, boarding facilities or trailers to move horses. KCAS staff can contact the ERT as situations warrant.

“Once the ERT is finalized, it will allow our staff to concentrate on securing a scene,” says Carly Luttmann, Program Supervisor at the Kent County Animal Shelter. “Animal Control Supervisors and Officers will have the peace of mind that a volunteer is contacting and securing the necessary resources while they take care of more immediate concerns.”

The Kent County Animal Shelter continues to work to finalize the formation of the Equine Response Team and hopes to have all volunteers, resources and procedures established by mid-summer of 2017.

 

 

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Varsity Cheer headed to regionals

The Cedar Springs Varsity Competitive Cheer team is headed to regionals after their fourth place win at districts last weekend.

The Cedar Springs Varsity Competitive Cheer team is headed to regionals after their fourth place win at districts last weekend.

Cedar Springs Varsity competitive cheer team is headed to regionals and one step closer to their goal of making it to the State Finals!

On Saturday, February 18, the team traveled to Kenowa Hills to compete in the District finals.

With sickness hitting the team hard last week, these ladies had to give it all they had and prove their ability to come out on top, even with the odds stacked against them.

Fifteen teams competed for the top four spots and a chance to move on to Regionals.

In Round 1 they earned a score of 217.5, putting them in 6th place. Round 2 gained them an additional 219.46 points, a subtotal score of 436.96 and moving them up to third place. The completion of round 3 earned an additional 291.3, a total score of 728.26, and a fourth place finish securing their spot in regionals.

Mona Shores took first place, followed by Kenowa Hills in second, and Reeths Puffer in third.

Next stop for the Lady Red Hawks will be Saturday, February 25, at 10:00 am to compete in MHSAA Regional Finals at Mona Shores high school.

The top four placing teams at regionals will then move on to the State finals at the Delta Plex on Saturday, March 4.

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What’s “bugging” you in our streams?: Volunteers needed for insect monitoring

Trout Unlimited National and Michigan Trout Unlimited will be holding a Stream Insect Monitoring Event on Saturday, May 6 at the Rockford Community Cabin.

Trout Unlimited National and Michigan Trout Unlimited will be holding a Stream Insect Monitoring Event on Saturday, May 6 at the Rockford Community Cabin.

In many cases we think bugs are a nuisance, but bugs in a stream can be very useful.  Stream insects are a good measure of water quality.  Unlike fish, stream insects cannot move around much so they are less able to escape the effects of sediment and other pollutants that diminish water quality. Stream insects can also be easily identified.

Trout Unlimited National and Michigan Trout Unlimited will be holding a Stream Insect Monitoring Event on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the Rockford Community Cabin – 220 North Monroe Street in Rockford. Volunteers will be assigned to a monitoring group with a team leader. Each group will collect and identify insects from different stream sites in the Rogue River watershed. You don’t need any experience with stream insects to participate and all ages are welcome.

What will you need?  Please RSVP to Jamie Vaughan at jvaughan@tu.org or 312-391-4760 if you would like to attend.  Lunch will be provided for all volunteers.  Please bring waders if you have them and dress for the weather conditions. Children under 16 years old need to be accompanied by an adult.

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Cedar Springs Cheer are OK White champions!

The Varsity Cheer team after winning the OK White conference title last week.

The Varsity Cheer team after winning the OK White conference title last week.

The Cedar Springs Varsity Competitive Cheer team has been District Champs. They have even been Regional Champs. But the closest they have ever been to Conference champs is second place—until last week. The Lady Red Hawks left it all on the mat last Wednesday, February 8, at Northview High School and walked away as OK White conference champs—their first conference title in school history. Way to go! They head to Districts this weekend at Kenowa Hills High School. For more on their win, click here.

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New left turn signals at 17 Mile and White Creek

 

This photo shows a new left-hand turn signal for westbound traffic at 17 Mile and White Creek. There is also a signal on the other side for eastbound traffic turning left. Photo by J. Reed.

This photo shows a new left-hand turn signal for westbound traffic at 17 Mile and White Creek. There is also a signal on the other side for eastbound traffic turning left. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Kent County recently installed two new traffic signals at White Creek and 17 Mile Road that will hopefully cut down on crashes in that intersection. Drivers that travel eastbound on 17 Mile and wish to turn left (north) on White Creek and those traveling westbound who wish to turn left (south) on White Creek now have a left-hand turn signal to help time their turn.

“Our Traffic and Safety Division had received a number of concerns regarding the intersection and had been monitoring the location,” explained Maura Lamoreaux, communications spokesman for the Kent County Road Commission. “Integral to the decision to install the signal was data that included the types of crashes occurring and the volume of traffic at the intersection, particularly the volume of eastbound left turns coupled with the lack of gaps in opposing westbound traffic.”

Lamoreaux said that the most recent 24-hour count showed approximately 19,000 vehicles travel through that intersection every day.

People might also be happy to know that another busy intersection in the area will get a stop and go signal later this year. The Michigan Department of Transportation will put in the signal at M-57 (14 Mile) and Myers Lake Avenue. “The traffic signal study showed significant delays on Myers Lake Rd, high enough traffic volumes, and a lack of gaps in the M-57 traffic stream,” explained John Richard, with MDOT. He said the signal will be installed sometime in their 2017 fiscal year, which means by or before September 30, 2017.

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