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Veterans Day

Saturday, November 11, is Veterans Day. We set this day aside to thank the men and women who have served and are still in the service of our country. We thank them for the sacrifice that both they and their families have made, so that we can remain the land of the free, the home of the brave.

President George Washington showed remarkable insight when he spoke about the country’s treatment of veterans: “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”

What have you done for a veteran you know?

In this week’s Post, we have a special section featuring the men and women who have served during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These are the Hometown Heroes that we run in our paper throughout the year. There are also a few veterans recognized from other wars or times of service. If you see one of these veterans, or know of others who have served, please be sure to thank them! 

Click link below to download our special Veteran’s Day pullout section.


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It’s never too late to thank a veteran 

Honoring service men and women at end-of-life

Ron Nitchie, spiritual care advisor for Hospice of Michigan and US Air Force veteran, pins an American flag on Nicholas Smith, a 100 year old who served from 1941 to 1946 in the United States Army Air Corps. The veterans pinning ceremony is part of the We Honor Veterans program, of which Hospice of Michigan is a Level Four participant.

From Hospice of Michigan

All his life, Lewis Woodruff was proud of his service as a United States Army Air Forces crew chief. Between 1944 and 1946, he worked on the B-17 and B-28 bombers used during WWII, sacrificing and dedicating his life to his country. After his discharge from the Army Air Forces, Lewis built a house in Southfield, where he and his wife, Helen, would spend the next seven decades raising seven children, who gave them 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Lewis lived a good life.

He enjoyed being a veteran and was a member of AMVETS and the American Legion. While he never spoke of the details, Lewis would fondly remark about his time in the service.

Ron Nitchie, a United States Air Force veteran and spiritual care advisor for Arbor Hospice and Hospice of Michigan, had the privilege of supporting Lewis in his final days. Coupled with his own military experience and clinical pastoral education training from the VA hospital in Detroit, Ron provides special assistance and spiritual guidance to help veteran patients, like Lewis, at the end-of-life.

Veterans who work or volunteer with hospice have the unique ability to relate and connect with other veterans at a critical time in life due to their shared military training and history. They share a cultural bond that opens a door of trust and communication, as they understand each other’s physical (war injuries) and emotional needs (survivor guilt, post-traumatic disorder, etc.).

Part of support Ron provides to veteran patients involves pinning ceremonies for members of all the military branches. When Ron learned of Lewis’ service to his country, he offered his family the opportunity to honor Lewis with an American flag pin and a certificate to honor and thank him for his service.

With Lewis in his hospital bed, located in the family room of the house he built in 1946, his wife Helen, and daughters Lori and Lisa, gathered with the HOM care team at his bedside, as Ron read the words of appreciation on the certificate aloud.

“We pay special tribute to you for your military service to America, and for advancing the universal hope of freedom and liberty for all,” said Ron as he placed an American flag pin on Lewis’s hospital gown. Asked if he still loved his country Lewis, holding back tears through his closed eyes, responded with a resounding “yes.”

During the final moments of that pinning ceremony, Ron succeeded in getting Lewis to open his eyes for a moment to see Ron saluting him. Lewis proudly saluted back, as a WWII Army Air Forces veteran.

According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), one out of every four dying Americans is a veteran. For Hospice of Michigan, veterans account for 25 percent of all its patients. The nonprofit hospice agency offers enhanced care specifically designed to meet the unique needs of veteran patients, celebrating and honoring those who have served in the U.S. military through pinning ceremonies, like the one that paid tribute to Lewis Woodruff.

Through We Honor Veterans, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Hospice of Michigan integrates veteran-specific content into training staff members and volunteers, and educates its patients and their families on services and benefits offered to members of the military. The organization makes every effort to pair veteran patients with those who have a military service background. Hospice of Michigan is proud of its Level Four status with We Honor Veterans, which signifies the organization has met the highest standards set by the VA and NHPCO for this national program.

As America celebrates Veterans Day on Nov. 11, Hospice of Michigan extends special appreciation to all military service members and their families for their sacrifice to protect the freedom of others. For information about Hospice of Michigan and its involvement with We Honor Veterans, please visit www.hom.org.


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Guns stolen in business break-in

Family Farm and Home was the site of break-in early Saturday morning, with 89 guns stolen. This photo of the store was taken last summer during a power outage.

Derrek Banks, was arrested on several firearms charges, but there is no evidence to show he was involved in the original break-in.

The Kent County Sheriff Department is investigating one of the biggest gun robberies in Kent County, and it happened last weekend in Cedar Springs.

According to Sgt. Joel Roon, with the Kent County Sheriff Department, 89 guns were stolen from Family Farm and Home in Cedar Springs early Saturday morning, November 4.

According to police, they responded to a break-in at the store at 4175 17 Mile Rd at about 7:30 a.m. after management discovered the guns were missing. It’s unknown when the suspects entered or how long they were in the store.

Grand Rapids police recovered some of the guns while investigating a separate case, and two suspects were arrested on receiving and concealing stolen property charges. 

“GRPD was of great assistance during the investigation and the arrest is a result of a collaborative effort between KCSD and GRPD. The investigation remains open and active,” said Roon. Currently 13 guns have been recovered.

Derrek Banks, 42, of Grand Rapids, was arraigned on Tuesday, November 7, in 61st District Court, on four firearms charges—possession by a felon, receiving and concealing a stolen firearm, altering ID marks, and felony firearm. He was also charged as a habitual offender, 4th notice. His bond was set at $200,000 cash/surety.

Charges against the second suspect were dismissed. According to Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker, there was not sufficient evidence to file charges against that suspect. He also says he doesn’t have evidence that either one was involved in the break-in. 

“We charged Mr. Banks with receiving and concealing a stolen firearm along with other charges. At this time, we have no evidence that he was involved at all in the actual break-in at the Family Farm and Home. The Kent County Sheriff Department continues to work on that case and we will see how it develops, but at this point in time, nothing has been presented to us that either of these two were involved in any way with the break-in,” explained Becker.

Anyone with information involving this incident is advised to call the Kent County Sheriff’s Department at (616) 632-6100 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

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The Post travels to Beijing

From October 4-13, The Post traveled with the Bauer family and others to China. “We were in Shanghai and Beijing on a business trip,” explained Tim. “While in Beijing we visited Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City, along with The Great Wall and The Temple of Heaven. This picture was taken in front of the wall that surrounds the Forbidden City, which was the emperor’s palace.”

Pictured from left to right is Tim Bauer, Shelley Bauer, Ana Bauer, Melissa (Bauer) Dykman, and Randy Badge. 

Thanks so much for taking us with you!

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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Solon Fire recognizes firefighters

Two newer Solon Fire Department firefighters received their pins last month. From left to right: Firefighter Nick Grady, Solon Fire Chief Jeff Drake, and firefighter Jordan Nielsen. Courtesy photo.

On October 1, 2017, Solon Township Fire Department hosted its Second Annual Firefighter Appreciation Dinner at Sparta Lanes in Sparta, MI. Two of the newest firefighters also received their pins at the dinner.

“This event is an opportunity for the personnel to stand down from emergency alarms as a group and enjoy some recreation time and a dinner,” explained Solon Fire Chief Jeff Drake. “It is also an opportunity to acknowledge the sacrifices and contributions of the members’ family when the member responds to an incident. Ask any responder and they will tell you the alarm never rings at a convenient time. It seems to always ring when you are sitting down for dinner or maybe some simple family time. We recognize that the sons, daughters, spouses, and the extended family of our members are an integral part of our organization.”

The night includes a buffet dinner (paid by the Township), lane rental (donated), and door prizes.

During the four-hour dinner, Solon’s mutual aid partners provided coverage for emergency incidents in Solon Township. These partners include Algoma, Cedar Springs, Kent City, and Sand Lake Fire Departments.  

Drake explained that due to a scheduling conflict over the summer of 2017, the annual Badge Pinning Ceremony also occurred at this event rather than at a regular Township Board Meeting. This ceremony recognized the efforts of two of the newest graduates from the Michigan Fire Fighter Training Council Firefighter I & II Academy in May of 2017. At this ceremony, these two individuals took the oath of office, affirmed the FF Code of Ethics, and had their badges pinned by someone of their choice.

One was Nick Grady, age 25, of the City of Cedar Springs. He has been a member of the Solon Fire Department since September 2016, and was pinned by his wife, Rachel.

The other firefighter was Jordan Nielsen, age 19, of Algoma Township. He has been a member of the SFD since May 2016, and was pinned by Deputy Chief Chris Paige.

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Tips for a safe, enjoyable hunting season

As the Nov. 15 firearm deer season opener nears, Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers encourage hunters to brush up on safety tips and hunting regulations to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience.

“Firearm deer season is a special time of year in Michigan,” Cpl. Dave Painter said. “It brings family and friends together in celebration of our state’s great outdoor heritage. Staying safe, knowing the laws and being good stewards of our resources will help hunters have a memorable outing.”

Painter reminds hunters that a mandatory deer check is in place within certain areas of the state due to the confirmation of chronic wasting disease, a fatal neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose. Hunters harvesting a deer in these CWD areas must bring it to a DNR check station within 72 hours. Visit mi.gov/deercheck for a map and list of check stations.

Regardless of where deer are harvested in Michigan, the DNR encourages all hunters to voluntarily take them to the nearest check station to help with disease surveillance. In addition, big-game hunters who travel outside of Michigan should be aware of new regulations restricting the importation of harvested cervids. 

Painter also offered the following general safety tips:

  • Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
  • Keep your finger away from the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you are ready to fire.
  • Keep the safety on until you are ready to fire.
  • Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
  • Be certain of your target, and what’s beyond it, before firing.
  • Know the identifying features of the game you hunt.
  • Make sure you have an adequate backstop. Don’t shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.
  • Unload the firearm before running, climbing a fence or tree, or jumping a ditch.
  • Wear a safety harness when hunting from an elevated platform.  Use a haul line to bring the unloaded firearm up and down the raised platform.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages or behavior-altering medicines or drugs before or during a hunt.
  • Always wear a hat, cap, vest or jacket of hunter orange, visible from all sides, during daylight hunting hours, even if hunting on private land. The law also applies to archery hunters during firearm season.
  • Make sure at least 50 percent of any camouflage pattern being worn is in hunter orange.
  • Always let someone know where you are hunting and when you plan to return. This information helps conservation officers and others locate you if you become injured or lost.
  • Carry a cell phone into the woods. Not only does it let you call for help if necessary, but newer phones emit a signal that can help rescuers locate you. Also consider downloading a compass or flashlight app.
  • Program the DNR’s Report All Poaching (RAP) line (800-292-7800) in your phone contacts so you can alert conservation officers to any natural resources violations you may witness.

“These are simple, common-sense tips that can help prevent accidents and save lives,” Painter said. “The DNR encourages all hunters to review the Michigan Hunting and Trapping Digest for other essential information before taking to the field.”

Michigan conservation officers are elite, highly trained professionals who serve in every corner of the state. They are fully commissioned peace offers with authority to enforce the state’s criminal laws. Learn more at  www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

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Boys cross country finishes 10th at state finals

The Cedar Springs Cross Country Boys team finished 10th at state finals last weekend. Courtesy photo.

The Cedar Springs boys cross country team made the long trip to Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, November 4, for the MHSAA LP Division 2 Finals. Mother nature was not kind. The boys’ team was on the starting line when claps of thunder and lightning meant a 30-minute delayed start to the race. This did not stop the Red Hawks from earning a top 10 finish, however. 

The conditions were muddy with light rain but the boys pushed through. Freshman Corey Bowers came away with a personal best of 16:26, placing 37th overall. Dallas Mora finished out his senior season with a time of 16:31, placing 43rd, and earning his best time and highest placing in three years of racing at MIS. Sophomore Jaydon Moleski came in next for the Red Hawks with a time of 17:01, placing 94th, followed by sophomore Dilan Sargent, with a time of 17:04, placing 104th. Coming in 183rd and 184th were sophomores Gavin Braciak and Daniel Vermulm, with times of 17:50 and 17:51 respectively. Freshman Austin Mann came in next for the team with a time of 19:08, placing 237th

The boys cross country team was a the starting line when a thunder clap caused a 30-minute delay last Saturday. Courtesy photo.

The boys also earned team academic all-state honors at MIS this past weekend with a cumulative team GPA of 3.190. Jaydon Moleski also earned it on an individual basis with a GPA of 3.834. 

I am very proud of our boys’ team performance this weekend at the state finals,” stated Coach Garrett Lacey. “They all faced a lot of adversity on a cold, rainy, and windy day, accompanied by a few weather delays, but all performed admirably. We are thrilled to come away with a top 10 finish in the state with this young team. We were hoping for a little higher finish, but still happy to finish 10th with six of our top seven runners returning for next season.”

Lady Red Hawk junior Carolanne Merlington also made the trek to MIS to finish out her season with a very respectable time of 20:58, placing 172nd. It was her third fastest time of the season. Coach Marie Covey stated, “I’m very proud of Carolanne’s performance. She worked hard all summer and during the season for the opportunity to run at the state finals. I know she will be back next year and will have some teammates along with her.”

Congratulations to everyone on a great season.

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Football playoff journey ends at district final

The Red Hawks scored early in the first quarter against the DeWitt Panthers, but lost the game 36-12. Photo by K&R LaLone.

By Kayleigh Boomgaard 

On Friday, November 3, in the city of DeWitt, Michigan, the Cedar Springs varsity Red Hawks faced off against the Panthers of DeWiitt, in their second round playoff game for the district chamionship. With a final game score of Cedar Springs 12, DeWitt 36, the Red Hawk boys of fall brought their season to a close. They finished with a record of 5-1 in conference play (2nd place in the OK-White) and 7-4 overall.

With touchdowns scored in the first and third quarter, the Red Hawks left the stage to their opponents, but put up a tough fight throughout the game’s entirety. The first Red Hawk touchdown, and the first touchdown of the night was scored by Cedar Springs running-back John Jacob Todd. Todd ran left for 32 yards. After his touchdown, he attempted a pass to teammate Jordan Lyon for a PAT (point after touchdown) that was incomplete. 

The Hawks’ second and last touchdown of the night was run in by Ryan Ringler in the third quarter with 4:29 seconds left to play in the quarter. This touchdown also followed an incomplete two-point conversion, which Todd attempted to run in. 

Panther players Noah Koenigsknecht, Jack Horn, Alan Smith, and Darron Weber scored for DeWitt throughout the night, with passes assisting these touchdowns thrown by Blake Gatfield and Anthony Joseph. 

In spite of their defeat, the varsity Red Hawks were greatly supported by the Cedar Springs community, who took great pride in how far their team had come in the 2017 season. The Cedar Springs High school filled three spirit buses, bringing students to fill the stands at DeWitt high school, nearly two hours away from our hometown. 

Although this game was a last for many seniors, it was only the beginning of the varsity journey for others. The future team of 2018 looks forward to what next season has in store. 

Congratulations on a great season!

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Benefit show raising funds for Veterans Facility

Rocky Jett, left, and Mike Taylor, along with rest of The Guinness Brothers Band, will perform alongside local classic rock favorite The Boyfriends Nov. 17 at a benefit concert to raise funds for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. This is the third year the group has organized the effort, so far raising about $10,000 for special activities for facility residents.

For the third year in a row, two area bands are hosting a benefit concert to raise funds for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Slated for Nov. 17 at the Knights of Columbus KC Banquet Center, 5830 Clyde Park Ave. SW, doors open at 6 p.m. with live music running from 7 to 11 p.m.

Hosted by West Michigan band The Guinness Brothers, this year’s event also features longtime local headliner, The Boyfriends. Both classic rock groups have been together for decades and have strong local followings; turnout is expected to be strong.

Funds raised during the past two years’ shows totaled just shy of $10,000, with 100 percent of profits gleaned going to the Home for Veterans. According to Guinness Brothers drummer, Calvin Weeks, who is organizing the event, the funds help supply “extras” for the vets.

“Last year, the money went to things like the facility’s Vegas Day, trips for the guys, the vet’s carnival and several trips to Whitecaps baseball games,” Weeks said. “Funds are tight at the facility and without efforts like this, the vets often don’t have much to do. Considering what they gave to this country, I think this is the least we can do.”

There is no cost to attend the benefit, but a free will offering will be accepted at the door. Additionally, several fundraising activities—a silent auction, grab bags and similar happenings—are planned throughout the evening.

Items to be auctioned include signed NFL jerseys, signed photos of professional athletes, tickets to ride the ferry (USS Badger) out of Ludington round trip to Wisconsin, and more. 

Those wishing to donate or who want more information can contact Weeks at (231) 923-6024 or visit the Guinness Brothers Band’s Facebook page at facebook.com/GuinnessBrothersBand. 

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Red Hawks beat undefeated Pioneers

Red Hawk Ryan Ringler leaps over several Pioneers as he scores a touchdown. Photo by K&R LaLone photography.

Community pep rally Thursday evening

By Judy Reed

Before last Friday evening, October 24, the Cedar Springs Red Hawks Varsity Football team had only played the East Grand Rapids Pioneers a handful of times—four times to be exact, and none were wins for the Red Hawks. Two of those games were play off games. As a matter of fact, the last time Cedar Springs faced them was 10 years ago, in 2007. It was also a pre-district game at East Grand Rapids, and the Pioneers went on to win the state championship. But the Red Hawks turned up the heat Friday night, and gave the Pioneers (who were undefeated) a run for their money with a 41-40 win. And now the Red Hawks will face DeWitt in the district final on Friday, November 3, at 7 p.m. at DeWitt. Read more here.

There is even more to celebrate than the Varsity football team, and Cedar Springs High School invites everyone to come out for a community pep rally tonight (Thursday, November 2) at 8 p.m. at Red Hawk Stadium. They will celebrate band and cross country going to state, and other great things going on. The event is free. Come on out and show your spirit!

UPDATE: from Cedar Springs Public Schools… The Community Pep Rally for tonight has been moved from the Red Hawk Stadium to the Cedar Springs High School gym due to the weather.

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