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Make 2015 your year to improve financial fitness


Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Family Features


Lose weight, quit smoking, find a new job and get out of debt…does this sound familiar? Millions of Americans will resolve to change their lives in the New Year, but few will stick with their goals.

In fact, a recent survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) finds six in 10 people will strive to improve their financial well-being in 2015. Changing your financial habits is a resolution you cannot afford to overlook. It’s time to flex your financial muscle.

The experts at the nonprofit National Endowment for Financial Education offer these seven tips to help make your financial resolutions stick:

Do it now. Many will wait until they feel the time is right to begin new behaviors. If you wait until after the big party to start watching your diet, or until after that big purchase to start saving money, the ideal time will never present itself.

Write down your financial resolutions. The NEFE survey finds setting a budget, making a plan to get out of debt, and boosting retirement savings are the top priorities for Americans in the coming year. Clearly articulate why you think your resolution is a good idea, steps you can take to reach your goal, and what you hope to gain. Post your list where you will see it each day.

Identify your money morals. Understanding your values and attitudes about money will bring clarity to the decision-making process. NEFE offers various online tools, such as the LifeValues Quiz, which will help you identify your values and make resolutions based on those values. You can find the LifeValues Quiz at www.SmartAboutMoney.org.

Recruit a “financial buddy.” Share your resolutions with a trusted family member or friend who can provide support in helping you meet your financial goals. Find someone who will hold you accountable and will set a good example for you to follow.

Vary goal intensity. Give yourself a short-term objective such as paying more than the minimum on one credit card this month. A long-term goal could be setting up – and adding to – the emergency savings account you know you should have but didn’t get around to starting last year.

Monitor your progress regularly. If you are trying to reduce debt, make sure you check your balances often. Set aside a couple of hours each week to address your finances. Over time this will become second nature and part of your normal routine.

Address conflict logically. If you find yourself breaking a financial goal by reverting to old spending habits, identify what value might be causing you to stray and take the time to ask yourself if the decision is appropriate given your current financial situation.

For help with setting goals and getting your finances in order in 2015, visit www.SmartAboutMoney.org.

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Make for Change


This past December, the CTA elementary and middle schools participated in a “Make For Change” campaign in which the students brought in coin change from home. We mixed things up this year by allowing the winning class to choose the charity that would receive the funds. In order to win, one class needed to have the most positive or least amount of negative points; pennies were worth 1 point, nickels were worth negative 5 points, dimes were worth negative 10 points, quarters were worth negative 25 points, and dollars were worth negative 100 points. Each morning, students were given the opportunity to put silver coins in other grades’ jars, and then put their copper coins in their own class’ jars. During a period of nine days, the students of CTA came together and raised $920!

Each morning it was such a pleasure to see students walking up and down the hall with their bags of coins. The teachers did a fantastic job of hyping-up the contest; for example, teachers would pretend to get angry when students would bring in coins to add to their classroom’s jars. Yes, students and staff got caught up in the competition of the contest, but we also knew the underlying reason for the contest: to raise money for a specific charity.

The seventh grade came up with the win! Their class raised a positive $50; every other class end up in the negative. Nice job, seventh grade! As a result of their win, the seventh grade class had to make the hard decision of where to donate the funds. With a lot of deliberation, the students decided to donate the money to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital’s Child Life! Child Life is an area of the hospital that helps the patients and their parents/families feel as much at home as possible; they provide arts and crafts, books, and games for everyone involved!

We are happy to have had another successful “Make for Change” campaign! Great work showing others what Chargers look like, CTA elementary and middle schools!


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MS Cheer team conference champions


The Middle School cheer teams both earned championships last week.

Red earns conference title; White gets first championship at Hudsonville

The two teams representing Cedar Springs Middle School Competitive Cheer traveled to Thornapple Kellogg High School in Middleville for the Conference finals on Tuesday, January 13. There were 16 teams competing for the 2015 Conference Championship title. The teams in attendance were: Allendale, Caledonia, Cedar Springs Red, Cedar Springs White, Coopersville, Comstock Park, Hastings Blue, Hastings Gold, Kenowa Hills, Lowell, Northview, Sparta, Thornapple Kellogg, Wayland, Wyoming Black and Wyoming Purple.

Cedar Springs White took the mat and earned a score of 88.90 after Round 2, placing them 5th overall. After the completion of Round 3, an additional score of 237.10 advanced them to 4th Place with an overall score of 324 points. “Some last minute adjustments were made to the routine and the team had a few hours to learn new material,” said Head Coach Cassandra Chartier. “I am so proud of the hard work and dedication these girls continue to show each week. I couldn’t have asked for a better performance! Great job White Team.”

Cedar Springs Red immediately took the lead after Round 2 with a high score of 129.68. Keeping the lead with a score of 257.80 after Round 3, Cedar Springs Red secured another Conference Championship with an overall score of 387.48. This is the third consecutive year in a row that Cedar Springs Middle School Competitive Cheer has secured the Conference Championship Title. “I love the Cedar Springs Cheer Community! I couldn’t be more proud of this group of athletes and their supporters,” said Head Coach Amy Arnold. “The girls work extremely hard, on and off the mat and I am thankful to have such supportive parents and fans to cheer us on! It’s a defining moment for me when other coaches compliment my teams’ performance and their representation of this sport.”

CS White gets championship at Hudsonville

Both Cedar Springs Cheer teams traveled to Hudsonville to compete last Saturday, January 17. Twenty-six teams competed and they were split into six different pools. Cedar Springs White competed in the 7th/8th Grade Pool B, which had seven teams competing. After Round 2, Cedar Springs White was in 4th Place with a score of 71.78. They gained momentum and earned an additional 239.9 points with an overall score of 316.68 points. Cedar Springs White finished their day with their first championship of the season. “My girls brought me to tears this week. Their hard work and dedication has paid off with an almost flawless Round 3,” said Head Coach Cassandra Chartier. “Their pride and excitement after hearing their team’s name called for their first championship was a proud moment of my coaching career.”

Cedar Springs Red competed in the 7th/8th Grade Pool A, which also had seven teams competing. Cedar Springs Red had a score of 122.96 after Round 2, putting them in 2nd Place. The completion of Round 3 earned an additional 261 points with an overall score of 383.96. This score secured a 2nd Place for Cedar Springs Red, after Mona Shores’ championship and final score of 384.28. “I am so proud of my girls. They are a fun and hard working group of young ladies that always encourage each other to do their absolute best,” said Head Coach Amy Arnold.


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Vacant lot to get new life

Digging began this week on a new house to be built at 40 E. Maple. Post photo by J. Reed.

Digging began this week on a new house to be built at 40 E. Maple. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed


A lot with historical significance in the City of Cedar Springs, but has sat vacant for five years, is getting a new lease on life.

On February 7, 2010, a once beautiful and elegant old house that had been turned into apartments was destroyed by fire. The house at 40 E. Maple, located on the southwest corner of Maple and First, had long ago been the home of Sally Wall, who for years had sewn the city’s famous Red Flannels both in her home, and then later, in her remodeled barn next door at 36 E. Maple (which is now the Cedar Springs Post).

The previous house at 40 E. Maple was destroyed in a fire five years ago. Post photo by J. Reed.

The previous house at 40 E. Maple was destroyed in a fire five years ago. Post photo by J. Reed.

When the house burned, in the wee hours of the morning, it was a total loss, and what didn’t burn was torn down. There were a few inquiries into the lot; but nothing serious until last year, when Inner City Christian Federation, an organization similar to Habitat for Humanity, decided it would be a good lot to build a home on for someone who needed it. Their mission is to “provide housing opportunities and services that encourage family responsibility and independence, thereby helping to build stable communities.”

“I like to call us Habitat on steroids,” joked Don Fredricks, Construction Volunteer and Special Projects Coordinator for ICCF. He also happens to be a licensed builder. “We have a whole education department that they go through,” he explained. He said potential homeowners are educated in home maintenance, how to manage credit, family values, etc. “They have to know the why and how to take care of a home,” he added.

N-40-E-Maple-blueprint-3The house will be a three-bedroom, two-story home, similar to others in the area. The house will face Maple Street, with the driveway off First. Digging out the basement began this week.

“We really wanted to start this last year, but it didn’t work out,” said Fredricks.

He said that with the cold weather, the first few stages would be subcontracted out instead of using volunteers. “We will be subcontracting the framing, roofing, siding, mechanical, electrical and heating work. With this cold weather, we need to make sure it’s done correctly.”

Volunteers will be needed when they start on the trim, carpentry, painting, landscaping, etc. If anyone would like to volunteer for that, they are welcome to call Fredricks at (616) 336-9333. He said they are shooting to be done by the end of June, or the end of August. “The way our financing works, the owner has to be working at the time, and since she works for a school, she doesn’t work during the summer,” he explained.

The owner of the home will be a single mom who lives in the area. Fredricks said there is definitely a need in the area for this type of housing.

“The County has been after us for years to do in the rural community what we normally do in the inner city,” he explained. The catch is that the community has to have city water and sewer, so it can’t be just anywhere. They also built a few homes in the City of Lowell several years ago. “Cedar Springs and Lowell both seem to be the two communities that could really use this,” he noted.

They are also looking at a city-owned lot on Pine Street. That will still have to be approved by the City Council, however. City Manager Thad Taylor said it would be taken up at the next City Council meeting.


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CBDT begins cleanup on new property

Members of the Community Building Development Team began a cleanup last Saturday of some recently acquired land

Members of the Community Building Development Team began a cleanup last Saturday of some recently acquired land

Nick Andres working the chainsaw.

Nick Andres working the chainsaw.

The Community Building Development Team, a local non-profit looking to make a positive difference in Cedar Springs, began a cleanup last Saturday of some recently acquired land.

The clean up along the White Pine Trail and storage area that previously belonged to Tony Johnson, located at the west end of Maple Street, began on a cold and windy January 10, when a bunch of supermen from the area got to work. Nick Andres, Kurt Mabie, and Dave Ringler, from the Community Building Development Team, pulled the event together. The West Michigan Hawks, a semi-pro football team in the Minor League Football Alliance league and based in Cedar Springs, brought 10 of their finest guys to help out. Several other men from the community came along for a total of nearly 20 guys wielding chain saws and basic brawn to cut down trees and brush.

Everyone got started at 9:00 a.m. and had made a huge dent by 11:30 a.m. Dave Ringler and Rose Powell opened the Brewery and former Red Flannel Festival offices for a warm place to eat and Little Caesar’s Pizza of Cedar Springs donated enough pizza to feed everyone.  Dave provided beer (of course!) and Rose provided hot chocolate. There was also pop and coffee for all the workers.

CS Manufacturing recently purchased the property from the Tony Johnson Estate and plans to donate a portion to the CBDT. Permission from the appropriate organizations had been granted to the CBDT for a clean-up prior to Saturday’s work.

There will be lots of other opportunities to work together as a community to plant rain gardens and stream buffers, clear land, clean up Cedar Creek and much more. You, too, can join the team of volunteers working under the name of Community Building Development Team and help to make a positive difference in Cedar Springs. The team meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month in the board room on the 3rd floor of Hilltop School at 6 pm. Facebook fans can also “Like” the Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team or check out the website at CSCommunityCenter.org to get information as it becomes available.


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The Post travels to Red Flannel Deer Camp

N-Post-travels-to-Red-Flannel-Deer-campAl Kensil wrote to let us know that The Post traveled with several Cedar Springs area residents to Red Flannel deer camp this past fall. The camp is located near Melstrand, Michigan, along the Pictured Rocks Lake Shore. The late Don and Sue Johnson dedicated the Red Flannel Deer Camp about 35 years ago, current owners Mary Johnson (wife of the late Tony Johnson) and son Bradley are carrying on the deer camp tradition to the fourth generation with Brad.

Pictured (L to R) is Derick Carvers, Chris Powell, Travis Hoffman, Scott Albertson, and Brad Johnson. Al is not in the photo because he took the photo! Thanks, Al and crew for taking us with you to Red Flannel deer camp!

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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Sweet strategies for a healthier you

Watermelon Pistachio Sundae

Watermelon Pistachio Sundae

Family Features


When celebrating the past and looking forward to the future, the New Year is a perfect time to set goals for a better, healthier you.

Setting yourself up with a strong nutrition foundation is essential for long-term success. An expert on helping others attain healthy lifestyles, registered dietitian Elizabeth Somer offers these four time-proven skills for permanent weight loss and health management.

1. Balance calories

Seek the right mix of calories in from your diet, versus calories out from exercise and daily activity. Your goal is gradual weight loss of no more than two pounds per week, which ensures you lose fat weight, not water or muscle weight. Daily exercise is a must to maintain the loss. If you can’t lose weight on at least 1,500 calories a day, you need to move more, not eat less.

2. Focus on plants

Emphasize colorful fruits and vegetables, with at least half of every plate heaped with produce. Complement with whole grains and moderate amounts of foods that are calcium-rich (nonfat or low-fat milk) and iron-rich (extra-lean meats, chicken, fish or legumes). Snack on watermelon cubes rich in vitamins A and C, as well as the antioxidant lycopene. This juicy treat is available all year, even in the winter. In addition, a real food such as watermelon contains at least two of the magic three ingredients for weight loss: protein, water and fiber. These nutrients fill you up before they fill you out, so you are satisfied on fewer calories.

3. Eat regularly

When you eat these calories is also important. Large, infrequent meals result in big-time hunger, which can cause you to lose control of your appetite. Eating regularly and when you are comfortably hungry keeps you in control of your appetite, allowing you to make wiser decisions. Here is an example of a day’s menu:

• Breakfast: 100 percent whole grain cereal topped with nonfat milk and berries

• Mid-Morning Snack: A bowl of watermelon with a 6-ounce tub of low-fat yogurt

• Lunch: A turkey sandwich on 100 percent whole grain bread, baby carrots and an apple

• Mid-Afternoon Snack: 1 ounce of nuts with a glass of watermelon juice

• Dinner: Grilled salmon, baked sweet potato and green peas

• Evening Snack: 2 cups air-popped popcorn and 1 cup of fat-free hot chocolate

4. Commit to Health: Keep in mind that your ultimate goal is not just a certain figure or a number on the bathroom scale; it is a lifelong commitment to be the best and healthiest you. This plan requires a lifetime commitment; not to lose weight and keep it off, but to modify habits so they support health and maintain the best weight for you for life.

For sweet recipes to help you stay on track, visit www.watermelon.org.


Watermelon Pistachio Sundae

Servings: 6

1egg white, lightly beaten

2tablespoons maple syrup

2teaspoons brown sugar

1/4teaspoon salt

1cup roasted, salted and shelled pistachios

6watermelon scoops (using ice cream scooper)

6scoops raspberry sorbet (using ice cream scooper)

1cup marshmallow sauce


To candy pistachios, preheat oven to 300ºF. In medium mixing bowl, combine egg white, syrup, brown sugar and salt. Stir in pistachios until evenly coated. Spread on foil lined baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes, stirring once, until crisp and lightly browned. Cool. Break apart.


Using ice cream scooper, arrange watermelon at bottom of 6 sundae cups or martini glasses. Top with scoops of sorbet. Drizzle sauce over sorbet and sprinkle candied pistachios over sundaes and serve immediately.


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Cedar Springs Cheer continues to dominate

Cedar Springs Varsity Cheer took first-place at their own invitational last weekend.

Cedar Springs Varsity Cheer took first-place at their own invitational last weekend.

Cedar Springs Cheer hosted an invitational this past Saturday, which included the Middle School, Junior Varsity and Varsity teams. This is the first event of the season where all four teams were able to compete at the same time and location.

Cedar Springs Middle School White team took second-place at last weekend’s invitational.

Cedar Springs Middle School White team took second-place at last weekend’s invitational.

Due to inclement weather, schools had to back out last minute, which cut down the Middle Schools competition to three teams. Cedar Springs White took second-place after Round 2 with a score of 95.04. They secured a second-place ranking after gaining an additional 226.4 points after Round 3 and overall score of 321.44. “The girls were excited to cheer in front of their home town and I am proud to be a part of the Cedar Springs Cheer tradition,” said Head Coach Cassandra Chartier.

Cedar Springs Middle School Red team took first-place at their own invitational.

Cedar Springs Middle School Red team took first-place at their own invitational.

Cedar Springs Red earned a high score of 129.40 to take the lead of first-place after Round 2. With an additional score of 270 points and an overall score of 399.4, Cedar Springs Red remains undefeated, with another first-place Victory. “This crazy Michigan weather left us with one day to practice a new round, and these girls performed absolutely amazing with the time they had to work with. I pushed them pretty hard and I had confidence they would rise to the challenge,” said Head Coach Amy Arnold.

Cedar Springs JV Cheer took first-place at the Cedar Springs invitational.

Cedar Springs JV Cheer took first-place at the Cedar Springs invitational.

Again, with the last minute school cancellations, the Junior Varsity team, coached by Katy Baird, also had three teams to compete against. Coach Baird is returning to Cedar Springs and bringing with her nine years of coaching experience. She has been part of Cedar Springs Cheer for four years prior to her return. Round 1 of competition brought a score of 170.7, taking the lead of first-place. Round 2 gained an additional score of 152.06 and bringing their subtotal score to 322.76, which kept them in the lead. Securing another Championship and remaining undefeated, the JV team earned an additional score of 202 points, giving them an overall score of 524.76. “Due to the nasty weather this week, our team missed two practices after learning a new routine. There were a lot of challenges but these girls stuck with it and did very well. I am very proud of them,” said Head Coach Katy Baird.

The Varsity Team, coached by Anne Olszewski, had five teams competing against each other. Coach Olszewski has 31 years of coaching experience, the last 10 years has been here at Cedar Springs; seven years with our Competitive and nine years with our Sideline. She has coached or been involved at every level of the Cedar Springs Cheer Program and still serves as League Director to Northern Rocket Cheer. Round 1 earned a score of 218 points taking the lead. Round 2 kept the lead with an additional 179.48 points bringing their sub total to 397.48. Round 3 gained an additional 258.6 and secured the Championship with a score of 258.6 and an overall score of 656.08.

“Part of my job as coach is to pick out the wrong but to also find the good, recognize the good and how to improve the good.  Each week we are making small improvements, contributing to the overall success, we are making the good into great. We are really kicking butt and they rise to the challenge with everything that I throw at them. The Varsity team has 2 twisting full layouts on the team and we have not had this since 2007. I am extremely proud of my team and honored to work with them every day,” said Head Coach Anne Olszewski.

Cedar Springs Cheer is building a tradition where the collective efforts of the athletes, coaches, parents and community make championships possible. Please keep supporting Cedar Springs Cheer, “faith over fear, this is our year!”


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RAP hotline connects conservation officers with public

Conservation Officer Terry Short uses a plat map to cross-reference information he receives from the RAP (Report All Poaching) Line dispatchers while on patrol during deer season in Menominee County.

Conservation Officer Terry Short uses a plat map to cross-reference information he receives from the RAP (Report All Poaching) Line dispatchers while on patrol during deer season in Menominee County.

From the Michigan DNR

The sign—Law Enforcement Communications Section—is as nondescript as the standard office door on an unadorned white wall deep within the recesses of Constitution Hall, in the state building complex in Lansing, Michigan. But inside that secured door is a non-stop center of activity: the RAP Room.

The RAP (Report All Poaching) Room is staffed 24/7 by as many as seven personnel at a time. It is the main link between the public and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division.

The Report All Poaching hotline was created in 1980 when the state Legislature designated a small percentage of the money raised by hunting and fishing license sales toward developing an easy method for citizens to report illegal hunting and fishing activity to the DNR. It has grown into a 1,000-square-foot room, outfitted with the kind of high-tech equipment one often finds at county or state regional dispatch centers. At each of the workstations, six computer screens give dispatchers as much information as they could possibly need to direct the state’s conservation officers to the scene of a complaint—and what the COs need to know once they get there.

Lt. Steve Burton and dispatcher Jarrod Fletcher work out the details of a call to the RAP (Report All Poaching) Line.

Lt. Steve Burton and dispatcher Jarrod Fletcher work out the details of a call to the RAP (Report All Poaching) Line.

Computer screens display information on the current location of COs (through the GPS monitoring equipment on their patrol vehicles), as well as access to the state’s Law Enforcement Information Network, the state’s licensing records, the radio system, the Internet, and even the criminal history of those whom the COs contact.

“Our dispatchers try to gather the best information they can and send it to the officer as quickly as possible,” explained Lt. Steven Burton, who runs the RAP Room as part of his duties.

Each of the roughly 6,500 criminal complaints that come in by phone call or the Internet into the RAP Room each year is recorded. Some of them are so vague or untimely that nothing can be done to resolve them, but the DNR’s success rate in responding to these complaints is outstanding. So far, nearly 30 percent of the complaints (5,665 through the beginning of deer season) this year have resulted in an arrest.

“Recently, we’ve made quite a few illegal deer cases,” Burton said. “We are well upwards of $50,000 in reimbursement to the state and many of those cases haven’t been completed, as they are still under investigation.”

As many as 50 percent of the calls that come into the RAP Room do not involve a criminal complaint, Burton said. “We get a lot of calls about general rules or policy or people just seeking information,” he explained. “When people want information they often call the RAP line. We encourage these types of callers to try their local offices first, as this frees up phone lines for ongoing criminal complaints.”

“Our dispatchers are required to know all of our laws, rules and regulations—hunting and fishing, ORV, marine safety, land use—even environmental laws,” Burton said. “Lots of laws.”

The RAP Room is busiest from October through December, during hunting season, Burton said, with seasonal bumps during other periods of high outdoors activity—fish migration seasons, holiday weekends, snowmobile season, etc. Calls tend to come in most often during early-morning hours or the first hour or so after dark, he said, though they filter in all day long.

“Noon is busy, too,” Burton said. “People who don’t have cell phones and are out hunting in the morning might make their calls when they come in for lunch.” Calls also come in after people return home from work for the same reason. Dominique Clemente, a RAP Room emergency dispatch supervisor and an 18-year DNR veteran who has spent 16 years working at the hotline, calls it an interesting job. “It’s never the same day twice,” said Clemente, adding that the line receives a wide variety of complaints, including an occasional supposed Sasquatch sighting.

Sometimes it takes some coaxing to get the information they need out of callers, Clemente said. Callers are reminded to stay patient during the call as dispatchers ask very pertinent questions related to the specific crime being reported. “They want us to know about something illegal that’s going on but they don’t want to be a snitch,” she said. “I just remind them the violator is stealing from you and me.”

The Report All Poaching program also offers rewards. Information leading to an arrest for a hunting or fishing violation reported through the hotline can net a caller up to $1,500 or even more depending on the case.

Clemente said the staff’s main concern is giving the conservation officers the best information they can to help them do their job effectively and safely, though they do their best to satisfy the customer, too. In many cases, that involves answering broad questions—such as where’s a good place to fish—or advising some callers that their reported complaints are, in fact, not crimes. “The best we can do is point someone in the right direction,” she said.

As with any other office, the RAP Room is constantly changing, taking advantage of new and emerging technology. Right now, Burton said, the staff is figuring out how best to take complaints sent in by text messaging. A person sitting in a blind may not want to make the noise of the phone call, but is willing to text in a complaint. Other states have adopted this method of reporting violations and have seen a surge in contacts with the public. “I think it will increase the timeliness of our response, as well,” Burton said.

Besides interacting with the sporting public, the RAP Room also takes phone calls from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Pollution Emergency Alerting System. This line alerts the DEQ to emergency spills and releases in Michigan.

More than a dispatch center, the RAP Room is a lifeline for officers patrolling remote areas of Michigan, often participating in critical search and rescue operations involving lost children, hunters or imperiled boaters on inland waterways or the vast waters of the Great Lakes. Being a conservation officer is a demanding job. It takes focus, dedication and professionalism. Every day a primary concern of the RAP Room is to ensure that all Michigan conservation officers return safely at shift’s end to their families and communities. Those dispatchers play a vital role in Michigan’s natural resources protection team.

To report a natural resource violation, please call the Report all Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800. To learn more about the work of conservation officers or to access the online RAP reporting form, visit www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

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Family loses home to fire

This fire in Oakfield Township burned the home of the Doug and Tonia Zain family on New Year’s Eve. Courtesy Photo

This fire in Oakfield Township burned the home of the Doug and Tonia Zain family on New Year’s Eve. Courtesy Photo

By Judy Reed

An Oakfield Township family had a tragic end to 2014, when they lost their home in a fire New Year’s Eve.

Firefighters were called to the home of Doug and Tonia Zain, 10638 15 Mile, on Harvard Lake, at 8:13 p.m. on December 31. According to Oakfied Fire Chief Sam Peterson, a neighbor saw the fire and called 911. The Zains, who own Zain’s Party Store on 14 Mile Road, were not home at the time, but arrived shortly after the firefighters arrived.

“Fighting the fire was really difficult,” said Peterson. “The winds were really strong, and battled against us. It just pushed the fire through the house.”

He said the fire started in the corner of the dining room/living room. A fire investigator was scheduled to investigate the scene Wednesday, to try to determine a cause.

courtesy photo

courtesy photo

Peterson said the home was likely a total loss. “We stopped the fire before it got to the bedroom section, but it was already in the attic, and there was a lot of water and smoke damage,” he explained. An unattached garage was also damaged.

The damages were estimated to be at $175,000.

There was one pet in the home, but Peterson said the neighbor opened the door and let it out before firefighters arrived.

Assisting Oakfield at the scene was Courtland, Grattan and Spencer Fire Departments.

At last report, the family was staying with friends.


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