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Warbirds at Sparta Airport

Photo from yankeemuseum.org. This B-25D Mitchell, a twin-engine bomber from World War II, will be at the Sparta Airport and available for rides on August 12 and 13 during their annual Build Off and Fly in.

Photo from yankeemuseum.org.
This B-25D Mitchell, a twin-engine bomber from World War II, will be at the Sparta Airport and available for rides on August 12 and 13 during their annual Build Off and Fly in.

By Judy Reed

EAA Chapter 704 is bringing the 4th annual Great Lakes Aviators Build Off and Fly In to the Sparta Airport, 9100 Vinton Avenue, on August 12-13.

Admission is free to the grounds for an up-close look at vintage warbirds and show planes.

There will be a juried competition of home built and restored aircraft, and an exciting opportunity to see and ride in the B-25 Mitchell twin-engine bomber, a plane that became standard equipment for Allied forces during World War II. According to Boeing.com, it became “the most heavily armed airplane in the world, was used for high- and low-level bombing, strafing, photoreconnaissance, submarine patrol, and even as a fighter and was distinguished as the aircraft that completed the historic raid over Tokyo in 1942.” Nearly 10,000 were produced between 1939 and 1945. It was named after Brigadier General William “Billy” Mitchell.

The plane that will be onsite is a real bomber that saw combat but was not harmed. To reserve a ride visit http://yankeeairmuseum.org/fly/b-25-rides/.

There will also be a hearty pancake breakfast for $7 on Saturday morning, and free flights for Young Eagles (ages 8-17) from 8 a.m. to noon. There is a pre-event party on Friday night, where pilot campers can pitch a tent on the field, and food, music and drinks will be available.

Hope to see you there!

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Save on Everything for Back-to-School with these Smart Tips and Tricks


(c) HaveZein - Fotolia.com Back-to-school shopping for students of any age can be expensive, but with the right knowledge, there are plenty of ways to save time and money.

(c) HaveZein – Fotolia.com
Back-to-school shopping for students of any age can be expensive, but with the right knowledge, there are plenty of ways to save time and money.

(StatePoint) Whether your kids are school playground-bound or college-bound, the back-to-school season can be an expensive time of year. Families with children in grades K-12 plan to spend an average $673.57 while college students and families with children in college plan to spend an average of $888.71, according to a National Retail Federation 2016 annual survey.

Where are their dollars going? The top five back-to-school supplies searched for are Crayola ColorStudio iMarker, BIC Pencil Xtra, TI 84 graphing calculator, Brita filtration water bottle and Crayola Washable Erase, according to Qmee, an online shopping companion.

So how can you save on these popular items and more when shopping?

“Whether it’s a calculator, backpack or dorm furniture, before making a purchase, it’s important to do your research. Educated shoppers always get the best deals,” says Jonathan Knight, Co-Founder and CEO, Qmee.

Shopping online is the best way to save time and be sure you’re getting a good deal, says Knight, who recommends a few strategies for how parents can get more bang from their back-to-school buck:

  • Price check: Price comparison tools can help you know for sure whether you’re getting the best deal on any given item. These tools automatically research what you’re searching for to show you the best prices available.
  • Use coupons. These days you don’t need to spend hours scanning the paper with scissors. Online coupons and discount codes can help you save big at checkout. Before clicking “Purchase,” always verify whether any such deals are available.
  • Connect: Brands are looking to connect with their consumers online. In some cases, you can earn cash for your everyday searches by clicking on relevant ads. Likewise, by sharing your valued consumer opinion through surveys, many brands will reward you with cash.
  • Use shopping tools: Download a free browser app which will automatically allow you to earn cash for your everyday searches, and also find the best coupon codes while you shop online. For example, online search and save companion Qmee unobtrusively becomes part of your browser to work with search engines and commerce sites such as Google, Bing, Amazon and Walmart, to help you search for what you want, compare prices, secure discounts and offer opinions while earning cash. It’s a good tool to help college kids stick to a budget while shopping for everything from books to dorm supplies. For more information or to download, visit Qmee.com.

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Hawks close out regular season with loss in Ohio

Photo by Marcie Crouch

Photo by Marcie Crouch

By Shae Brophy

In a game that made very little difference in the final standings, the Hawks traveled to Ohio on Saturday, July 30, to close out their regular season with a matchup against the Lima Warriors. With a berth in the playoffs already clinched, and a Battle Creek Coyotes victory on Saturday, the Hawks were already locked in as the five seed in the Big 8 division.

The Hawks battled in Lima, but ultimately came up on the short end of a 53-32 final score. Wide receiver Monta Swanigan led the way offensively for West Michigan, finishing with yet another three-touchdown game. One of Swanigan’s touchdowns came in the first quarter when he struck from 65 yards to give the Hawks their first points of the game. Running back Eric Woodfork also found the end zone in the first half for the Hawks, scoring on a three-yard run.

The Hawks trailed by a 28-16 margin at halftime, but were never able to get back into the game. Swanigan’s two second-half touchdowns kept the score respectable, but West Michigan would not see the lead again on the evening.

“This was a very tough game opponent in the Lima Warriors, and they played their hearts out,” said head coach David Lange. “We made some good plays, and had chances to make more plays, but in the end we were not able to make the big plays we needed to get back in the game.”

Despite the loss, the Hawks will make their first playoff appearance in franchise history. As the fifth seed in the Big Eight division, the Hawks will travel to Battle Creek for a rematch with the Coyotes. Battle Creek won the first contest earlier this season by a score of 30-20. The game will played on August 13.

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Inspired to get outdoors


Kid-friendly tips to encourage more outside play 

BLOOM-Get-inspired-to-get-outdoors(Family Features) In today’s digital world, creating memories with loved ones and experiencing the joys of Mother Nature are some of the best reasons to turn off the TV, put down the tablet and get outdoors. From picnics to wild adventures to simple backyard games, there are dozens of ways to help kids explore all the exciting ways to live life outside.

A generation ago, 75 percent of American children played outside daily, but according to the National Recreation and Park Association, only 25 percent do the same these days. Not only are today’s youth missing out on a pastime treasured for generations, repeated studies have shown that children who play outside are more physically active, more creative in their play, less aggressive and show better concentration.

From camping in your backyard to planning a scavenger hunt, these tips from the outdoor experts at TruGreen can help provide inspiration to get your family on track toward living life outside more often.

Edible entertainment. Dining al fresco is one of the greatest ways to enjoy the outdoors. Invite family, friends or neighbors over for a barbecue, and be sure to save room for dessert with the gooey goodness of marshmallows roasted over a fire pit (add graham crackers and chocolate for a timeless campfire favorite in your own backyard).

Delight after dusk. Streetlights were once the signal that it’s time to head indoors, but once kids are safely home, take them out back to explore the outdoors at night. Stargaze under the open night sky, watch for nighttime critters such as lightning bugs or pitch a tent for a backyard campout. Ask the neighbors to join you, and organize a game of flashlight tag or enjoy a movie under the stars.

Home-grown experience. Even many adults don’t fully understand where food comes from. Help foster a greater understanding by encouraging kids to plant a mini garden they can tend themselves until the produce is ready to harvest. Inspire the project with a trip to the local farmer’s market, where together you can wander outdoors while selecting fresh produce to prepare for dinner.

Physical fun. If you don’t already have them, take kids along on a quick shopping trip to gather the items they need for more physical activity outside. Bikes, helmets, bats, balls – the possibilities go on and on.

Artistic expression. Turning the imagination loose outdoors can result in magical artistic creations. Pull out a tub of oversized chalk and watch a masterpiece emerge on the sidewalk, or let the sun’s rays melt old crayons into funky new colors and shapes. And, for a fun arts and crafts project, try making homemade bird feeders.

Imaginative play. Away from all the digital distractions, kids’ minds are free to wander. Let them set their imaginations free by assembling their own backyard games. Make water toys with sponges, create a “river” out of rocks or dirt where homemade boats can sail or plan a scavenger hunt to explore every corner of the yard.

For more outdoor activity ideas, visit TruGreen.com and Pinterest.com/TruGreen.

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Super fit reading program parties in the park


Kids had a splashin’ good time on the water slide at the summer reading celebration party. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

It was a super celebration Wednesday, July 27, when the Cedar Springs Public Library celebrated the end of their summer reading program at Morley Park.

At least 500 people (and possibly more) attended the finale to this summer’s reading program. “It was an awesome turn out,” said Library Director Donna Clark.

The heat didn’t keep people away. Clark said that 400 bottles of water were gone within the first hour of the two hour program.

The theme for this year’s reading program was Super Fun and Fitness. They had 1,031 people sign up—734 kids and 297 adults—the most ever, and held 25 different programs over a six-week period.

In keeping with the fitness theme, the grand finale celebration was a field day program set up with lots of activities for kids to do. Kids had a riot playing games, jumping in the bounce houses, slippin’ and slidin’ on the water slide, getting their face painted, munching on popcorn, and cooling off with ice cream and ice water.

The Kent County Sheriff Department’s Mounted Unit was a big hit with kids of all ages at the summer reading celebration. Photo by J. Reed.

The Kent County Sheriff Department’s Mounted Unit was a big hit with kids of all ages at the summer reading celebration. Photo by J. Reed.

Also on hand was the Kent County Sheriff Department’s Mounted Unit, a Kent County Sheriff Deputy from the Cedar Springs Unit, a petting zoo, and the Cedar Springs Fire Department to hose kids down.

The kids who won prizes also picked them up at the event.

The event was staffed and sponsored by dozens of people and businesses in the community. “I love my community partners—the businesses, service organizations, and individuals—they make this all possible,” remarked Clark.

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Family seeks answers in dog shooting

Gage, a six-year-old friendly German Shepherd, was shot in the face and killed last week in Nelson Township.

Gage, a six-year-old friendly German Shepherd, was shot in the face and killed last week in Nelson Township.

By Judy Reed

A Nelson Township family is grieving after their beloved German Shepherd was shot in the face last week and later died.

Tammy Boughton can’t believe that someone could do this to one of the friendliest, loving dogs she’s ever known. “He never showed any aggression, and was very friendly—maybe too friendly. He was always wanting to lick everyone,” she said.

It was early in the morning last Friday, July 22, when Boughton let Gage, her 6-year-old German Shepherd, and Bella, their Brittany Spaniel, out into the backyard to go to the bathroom, as was her custom while getting ready for work. The family has seven acres in the area of 16 Mile and Stout. Boughton said she tries to keep the dogs on their property and they rarely run off.

On that Friday morning, she heard a gunshot at 6:08 a.m. Then she heard another gunshot. “I immediately looked to see where the dogs were out back. They don’t like gunshots, or fireworks, or anything like that,” said Boughton. But she didn’t see the dogs.

She called for the dogs, and then heard one running toward the house. It was Bella, the Brittany Spaniel, and her side was bloody. Gage was not with her. Boughton jumped in her car and began to search for him. When she returned home a second time, Gage was there by the porch.

“His tongue was hanging out his mouth, all bloody. It looked like a butchered piece of meat,” she recalled, trying to choke back the tears.

N-Dog-shooting-Gage2Boughton took him to the Emergency Animal Hospital. He had severe injuries to his tongue, and they suspected broken jaws. They told her they could amputate his tongue, but it would need to be done further back than they normally did and that dogs that had only half their tongue amputated had a better chance of adjusting. The other option was too put him to sleep.

“I called a friend and we talked it over and decided to give him a chance,” said Boughton. “So they amputated his tongue.” She added that during surgery, they found a one-millimeter entry wound, broken teeth, and his lower left jaw was broken. X-rays showed shrapnel in his mouth.

“When he came out of surgery, the vet said he was doing fine,” shared Tammy. “But about an hour later, his heart rate went down, and they couldn’t save him.”

In the meantime, Tammy had called the Kent County Sheriff Department, and they turned it over to Kent County Animal Control. “When I told the Animal Control Officer that my dog had passed, he didn’t seem to have any sympathy. He basically told me that a property owner has a right to shoot a dog for two reasons: if they are attacking livestock, or if they are attacking them.”

Boughton said she has reason to believe that it was one of her neighbors. Another neighbor had told her of threats a neighbor had made about shooting other dogs if they came on his property.

The Post checked with a spokesperson for Animal Control to find out what was being done about the shooting, and what the law said regarding it.

“Our officer did make contact with a neighbor who the dog owner had identified as a possible person of interest,” said Steve Kelso, with the Kent County Health Department. “This person denied that he had shot the dog and declined to provide further information. That individual did tell us that he had chickens but they are confined and that he has never had any trouble with any animal bothering them.”

He said that no citations have been issued in the incident.

Animal control regulations state, in section 701, page 7, under Dogs running stray, that: A person who owns or has custody or control of a dog shall prevent the dog from running at largeA person who owns or has custody or control   of a dog shall, at any time the dog is off that person’s property, restrain the dog with a lead or leash no greater than six (6) feet in length.

“This regulation is in effect county wide,” noted Kelso. “Basically anytime your dog is off of your property without you it is running at large. In this case our officer did not issue a citation even though the dog’s owner told our officer that she had let them roam.”

As the Animal Control officer told Tammy, Michigan Law, under the Dog Act of 1919, states that a person may kill a dog if it is attacking livestock or people. If it is not, it is unlawful to injure or kill a dog which bears a license tag for the current year.

If you have any information about the killing of this family’s pet, please call Animal Control at 616-632-7304.

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Sand Lake woman elected president of 8 et 40

Christine Merlington, second from the left, is the new president of 8 and 40 in Michigan.

Christine Merlington, second from the left, is the new president of 8 and 40 in Michigan.

Christine Merlington, of Sand Lake, has been elected as the 2016-2017 State Chapeau (President) of the 8 et 40 Departemental de Michigan.

The Eight and Forty is a fun organization whose members are eligible to join under an eligible military veteran, and have been given the task of assisting in the prevention and control of all respiratory diseases in children; providing scholarships for nurses continuing their education in this field; supporting National Jewish Health’s pediatric needs; and the Morgridge Academy for Chronically Ill Children.

The organization sponsors volunteer programs on the nationale, departemental, and local levels, focusing on children and the community, and to offer aid and support with the prevention and control of lung disease(s) in children.

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Post travels to Atlanta, Michigan

N-Post-travels-Atlanta-MI-COUMC--youth-groupFor the second year, the Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church youth group, God Squad, joined their leaders for five days at Canada Creek Ranch, a private hunting and recreational club just north of Atlanta, Michigan. And this year they took The Post along!

The God Squad youth group is made up of (R-L): Sarah Galloway, Nicole Dionne, Tressa Hall, Allison Dionne, Cade Hall, Derek Wedge and Kevin Galloway. This year COUMC Pastor Robert Eckert also joined the group for a day. The God Squad youth group leaders are Carol and Don Bailey.

They spent this time planning out the 2016 and 2017 monthly meeting activities; meeting with the pastor about membership confirmations; and observing wildlife such as elk, deer, turkey, eagles and fox. There was also some time for swimming, baseball, volleyball and tennis. Along with good food and fellowship around nightly campfires, they spent some time in discussions with other Canada Creek Ranch visiting youth from throughout Michigan.

Thanks so much for taking us with you to Canada Creek Ranch!

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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Drive away distractions to protect teens behind the wheel


(BPT) – Today’s teens face more distractions than any generation before.

Many don’t recall a time when they were not continuously connected to their friends. Cell phones, which might have been provided as a safety precaution in case Mom or Dad was running late picking them up from school, are now the source of constant messaging, sharing and media consumption.

Teens send texts instead of passing notes in class. They share moments with their peers and the world in the form of photos and short videos. Music, food and transportation can arrive on demand, all with the swipe of a finger. Being away from their phones, even for a short period of time, can even cause a form of separation anxiety expressed in the acronym FOMO (fear of missing out).

So it should come as no surprise that cell phone use is the offense most commonly associated with distracted driving. However, it’s not the only type of distraction.

“A lot of people think they’re better drivers than they actually are, which is why they take unnecessary risks when they’re behind the wheel,” said Randy Petro, chief claims officer for Mercury Insurance. “We see a lot of claims related to distracted driving, including parents turning to scold arguing children, adjusting the infotainment system, and even taking photos while driving. Your first priority once you start piloting any vehicle should be to focus on the task at hand—driving.”

Ten percent of all drivers ages 15 to 19 who were involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA also reports that 660,000 people drive distracted every day.

Teens aren’t the only ones who feel the need to be connected; adults are guilty of it, too.

Many of the teens who are glued to their smartphones have witnessed their parents answering emails at the dinner table or have seen them shoot a “quick text” while driving. Teens have grown up learning that this type of behavior is acceptable and maybe even expected. However, there’s a right time and a right place for everything.

“The first thing parents need to do is practice what they preach. Teenagers won’t always be receptive to ‘because I say so’ or ‘because I’m the adult,’ especially if they witness their parents actively engaging in a behavior they’re being told is bad,” adds Petro. “We as adults need to set a proper example – after all, we do have the advantage of more life experience.”

Parents should set a powerful example by committing not to drive distracted if they want their children to do the same. If necessary, parents can also invest in technology to monitor and disable phones while their teens are driving to eliminate the temptation altogether.

“No Instagram post, bite of a burger or playlist selection is worth someone else’s life. People are mainly in a car to get from point A to point B, and our wish is for them to do it safely,” says Petro.

There are several excellent online resources that provide tips and information to help prepare teens for life behind the wheel, including Mercury Insurance’s Drive Safe Challenge and NHTSA’s Distraction.gov.

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What does the fox…eat?


By David A Kieft, Howard Christensen Nature Center

I suppose the fox eats whatever he wants to eat, when it’s available. But that is indeed just the simple answer. As a child I was always outdoors, something I know my own daughter cannot say nearly enough. As I spent time outdoors, I learned things that aren’t often “well known” facts about our wildlife, habitats, plants and the multiple ecosystems we have in Michigan.

I grew up in Jenison with gravel pits (and an abundance of wild nature) right in my backyard. It was here, in my adolescent traipsing, that I learned such useless facts as: groundhogs can climb trees; Blandings turtles use their yellow necks to attract insects for lunch; goldfish can survive in Michigan’s waters; I can’t swim against the current of the Grand River; and the Eastern Hognose snake backs down when you call his bluff. At the family cottage near Baldwin, I continued learning about animals like Purple Martins, Red Head Woodpeckers and yep, more snakes. I would spend every waking minute outdoors (or reading about it when Mom wouldn’t let me out) and to this day my favorite thing to do when I’m not cooking or sitting at my HCNC desk is to get outside and continue learning (mostly about snakes because they are awesome).

But it also saddens me that in today’s day in age, less than 35 years from my good ol’ days, we have seen a shift in the characteristics of youth; liability seems to be a hot topic for businesses like gravel pits; and parents guard their children ever more. One can no longer roam the gravel mines; after hours problems have shut parks down earlier; funding has closed some of the greatest places we’ve known as kids ourselves; and parents feel safer with their kids at home more (even I can attest to that). But, that is where Howard Christensen Nature Center comes in.

OUT-Nature-center2Now, I may be biased, but hear me out. HCNC has been no exception to the current times, as a not for profit, we too struggle with funding and after hours problems. But our first priority is to get people outdoors more, to learn, to teach and enjoy. Did you know that our weekly Wild Wednesday programs offer-learning experiences that will enhance your child’s senses, interest and knowledge of the wild world around us? Were you aware that once a month we host family friendly programs that aren’t always “nature oriented” but are still designed to get you out? Have you heard that a walk in the woods can ease anxiety and stress? Did you know that even though I keep bees I am deathly afraid of insects in general? If you answered no to any of the above, the answers await you at HCNC. If you think you are too old for Wild Wednesdays, check out “Mom’s Night Out” where we make a few premade frozen meals to lighten your schedule at home or simply stop in and take a walk on some of our dozen miles of trails, visit me during the day and ask to see my bees! There are so many things to do at Howard Christensen that I cannot share them all here, but I urge you, beg you even, to come out and visit; buy a membership and visit often or bring your young ones to a day camp.

Here are some pictures from a couple of our recent day camps that show the joy on the faces of those who get out to learn and enjoy nature at HCNC. Ask them, I’ll bet they know what the fox eats!

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