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DNR confirms cougars in eastern Upper Peninsula

This trail camera photo of a cougar was taken on public land in western Mackinac County in early November. Another photo was confirmed in Chippewa County in late October. 

Cougar evidence confirmed in U.P. 26 times since 2008

 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has confirmed two recent photos of a cougar in the eastern Upper Peninsula, marking the 25th and 26th times cougar evidence has been verified in the U.P.

One of the photos was taken with a camera phone in late October on private property near Chippewa County’s Raber Township. The other was taken in early November by a trail camera on public land in Mackinac County near Garfield Township (see above). The DNR has not received permission to release the Chippewa County photo.

With the verification of these two photos, the DNR has now confirmed the presence of cougars in 11 Upper Peninsula counties 26 times since 2008. The animals are believed to be young individuals dispersing from established populations in the Dakotas in search of new territory; there is no evidence of a breeding population of cougars in the state.

The DNR’s Wildlife Division welcomes citizen reports of possible cougar evidence or sightings. Cougar photos and other evidence, such as tracks, scat or cached kills, should be reported to a local DNR office or through the DNR’s online reporting form at www.michigan.gov/cougars.

 

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WWII Veteran takes flight of a lifetime

WWII Vet George Hesley, right, and his escort, National Guard Captain   Brian Anderson.

WWII Vet George Hesley, right, and his escort, National Guard Captain Brian Anderson.

 

WWII Vet George Hesley

WWII Vet George Hesley

It was in the early 1940s when a young George Hesley was called from building B-24 bombers in Ypsilanti, to bear arms in World War II.

On Saturday, September 27, the 91-year-old WWII Army Veteran from Cedar Springs was found winging his way to Washington D.C., on one last mission, along with 79 other Veterans, courtesy of Talons Out Honor Flight. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for most of the men to visit the memorial to them for service to their country.

Each Veteran was accompanied by a Military member “Guardian.” George’s escort was National Guard Captain Brian Anderson, son of Rex and Kathy Bremmer, also of Cedar Springs.

Talons Out Honor Flight is Southwest Michigan’s hub for the national Honor Flight Network, a non-profit charity organization, whose purpose is to honor our World War II Veterans with an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. Each Guardian donates funds for the privilege of escorting their Veteran, helping to make it possible, for as many as possible, to make the journey.

George was greeted by two columns of military personnel standing at attention upon arrival at the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport. Check in time was a very early 5:30 a.m. and breakfast was served as the Mall City Harmonizers sang the Armed Services Military Songs, God Bless America, America the Beautiful and other patriotic songs in the background.

Throughout the event, there were retired and active duty Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard personnel interacting with the Veterans and attending to their every need.

Following breakfast the Veterans boarded a Delta MD90. The jet then rolled through a water cannon salute on the tarmac, which was lined with Military, Talons Out Volunteers and families standing at attention to honor those on board as the plane passed by.

The Veterans also enjoyed water cannon salutes upon landing and takeoff at the Reagan International Airport and were amazed at the groups of people who were there to greet them at every turn.

The first stop on their tour was the World War II Memorial followed by the Lincoln, Vietnam and Korean War Memorials. The bus tour also included all the various landmarks around Washington D.C. and the Veterans and Guardians alike enjoyed a full police escort, complete with sirens and flashing lights, throughout the tour.

The next stop was Arlington National Cemetery for the changing of the guard where over 220,000 of our dead are buried. George was especially touched when thinking about those men and women who gave their all for America; some of whom he most likely trained for war. Visits were then made to the Marine Corps Memorial, the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon and the Air Force Memorial.

Upon arriving back at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport, the Veterans’ buses were led to the Air Zoo by fire trucks with sirens blaring, passing through an archway made up of two ladder trucks holding a huge American Flag and a stunning display of hot air balloons that were lit up for the occasion.

They were then escorted along a pathway to the Air Zoo lined with hundreds of people of all ages, who clapped, whistled and thanked them for their service as they rolled by. The crowd of people reached out and shook the Veterans’ hands, expressing how much their sacrifices were appreciated and welcoming them home from that “One Last Mission.” There were tears of joy and smiles on all faces as they drank in the love that was shown by one and all.

Veterans remarked over and over at the numbers of people who came out to greet them and most of all with the sincerity with which they were thanked. One Veteran remarked that it would take a week to wipe the smile off his face, while George mused it had taken 91 years for him to become a celebrity!

Read George’s personal story on page 8.

For more info, visit their website at http://talonsouthonorflight.org or their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TalonsOutHonorFlight.

 

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Eighty recruits become State Police Troopers

N-MSP-photo

 

Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue announced Monday, November 3, that Michigan citizens will soon benefit from the services of 80 new troopers following the graduation of the 127th Trooper Recruit School. Governor Rick Snyder served as the keynote speaker at last Friday’s ceremony.

“These new Michigan State Troopers should all be proud of their accomplishments in proving they have what it takes to enter this elite force,” Snyder said. “We’re so proud of these men and women devoting their careers to public safety and we thank them for their courage and professionalism in service to all Michiganders. We wish them all long, safe and fulfilling careers in the service of our great state.”

“As you accept the honor of becoming troopers, I expect you to keep sacred the public’s trust in you and in the Michigan State Police,” Etue said. “The department demands and the public deserves nothing less than your very best performance every day. It is your duty to provide service with a purpose, serving those citizens who choose to break the law and those who choose not to break the law.”

Tpr. Tara LaMilza, of St. Clair Shores, who was elected Class Orator by her fellow recruits, spoke on behalf of the graduating class. Other award recipients included Tpr. Michael Thomas, of White Lake, who received the Team Building Award and the Outstanding Performance Award; Tpr. David Deuman, of Sault Ste. Marie, who received the Marksmanship Award; and Tpr. David Williams, of Rockford, who received the Academic Achievement Award.

The 127th Trooper Recruit School began on June 8, when 98 prospective troopers reported to the MSP Training Academy. For the past 21 weeks, recruits received training in firearms, water safety, defensive tactics, patrol techniques, report writing, ethics, first aid, criminal law, crime scene processing and precision driving.

In order to be selected to attend the academy, all applicants had to pass a stringent selection process that included a physical fitness test, background investigation and hiring interview.

As part of the department’s commitment to “Providing Service With A Purpose,” the recruits participated in community outreach projects with the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing, Woldumar Nature Center and Potter Park Zoo.

Graduating recruits will report to their respective MSP posts across the state for duty this week. Area grads include Tpr. David Williams, of Rockford, who will report to the Lansing Post; Tpr. Chadwick Bloom, of Rockford, reporting to the Metro Post; and Tpr. Lance Veldkamp, of Rockford, reporting to the Hart Post. Three other recruits will be assigned to the Rockford Post: Tpr. Andrew Rothermal, of Wyandotte; Tpr. Kevin Sanders, of Dearborn  Heights; and Tpr. Kyle Sanford, of Muskegon. Reporting to the Lakeview Post will be Tpr. Jarrod LaBelle, of Bay City; and Tpr. James Yates, of Goshen, Indiana.

The MSP is actively recruiting; interested candidates should visit www.michigan.gov/mspjobs for more information on how to apply.

The next trooper recruit school is expected to start early next year.

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Red Hawks win first ever playoff game at Red Hawk stadium

Regional final this Saturday at Muskegon at 1 p.m.

Kaden Myers in the endzone, untouched.

Kaden Myers in the endzone, untouched.

 

On Friday, October 31, the Cedar Springs Red Hawks took on conference foe Forest Hills Northern in the first round of the division three state championship playoffs. This was the first time a playoff game was ever hosted at Red Hawk stadium, and what a game it turned out to be, on a windy, cold Halloween night.

The Red Hawks jumped out to a one-touchdown lead in the first quarter and then added two more scores in the second. The Red Hawk defense became a very nasty Halloween monster and manhandled the Huskies, by keeping them scoreless throughout the first half. It ended with the Red Hawks leading 30 to 0.

The Red Hawk defense shut out the Forest Hills Northern Huskies 36-0. That’s the first time the Huskies have been shut out since 2010.

The Red Hawk defense shut out the Forest Hills Northern Huskies 36-0. That’s the first time the Huskies have been shut out since 2010.

The second half started with the Red Hawks once again scoring in the third quarter to make it 36 to 0.

To the dismay of the normally fast paced Forest Hills Northern Husky offense, the Red Hawk defense became even uglier as Halloween night went on, and the bitter cold wind continued to blow. The Red Hawks conjured up a spell binding effort each time the Huskies attempted to navigate the Cedar Springs defensive house of pain.

At the end of this chilly night, with many Red Hawk fans watching, it was the Cedar Springs Red Hawks who received the best treat of all, with a playoff win over the Forest Hills Northern Huskies of 36-0. That’s the first time the Huskies have been shut out since 2010.

The Red Hawk offense was once again led by the offensive line that allowed MavRick Cotton to rush for 90 yards and two touchdowns, Kaden Myers added another 55 yards rushing and one score, and Collin Alvesteffer ran for another 54 yards and a touchdown, with Zach Wamser adding the final touchdown with his rushing effort for 45 yards. Anthony Topolski, Lane Gott and Jacob Hooker all added to the total rushing effort of 300 yards compared to the Huskies 70 yards on the ground.

The Red Hawk defense front line.

The Red Hawk defense front line.

The Red Hawk defense was led by Demarcus Barnett, with 10 tackles, while the defensive front line maintained pressure on the Huskies quarterback and the defensive secondary held up with a strong effort against the passing attack. The Husky offense was held to zero third down conversions out of nine attempts during the contest.

The Red Hawks football players would like to invite everyone to travel to Muskegon with them, as they advance to play The Muskegon Big Red on Saturday, November 8, at 1 p.m. Please come out and support the Red Hawks as their playoff run continues.

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2014 Homecoming

CSPS-HOME-Homecoming-Court

Freshman Dominic Topolski and Sophia Mihlethaler

Freshman Dominic Topolski and Sophia Mihlethaler

Sophomores Raegan Hickok and Christian Twichell

Sophomores Christian Twichell and Raegan Hickok

Homecoming Court

Freshmen:

Dominic Topolski

Sophia Mihlethaler

 

Sophomores:

Christian Twichell

Raegan Hickok

 

Juniors:

Charles Twichell

Kaylee Mihlethaler

 

Juniors Kaylee Mihlethaler and Charles Twichell

Juniors Kaylee Mihlethaler and Charles Twichell

Homecoming King and Queen Justin Davis and Bayley Wolfe

Homecoming King and Queen Justin Davis and Bayley Wolfe

Seniors:

Justin Davis (King)

Bayley Wolfe (Queen)

Shayne Mann

Cameron Mitchell

Mavrick Cotten

Aubree Mouthaan

Joshua Valentine

Katie Schumann

Alec Lachniet

Krystyn Messersmith

Homecoming Dance

Homecoming Dance

King Justin Davis and Queen Bayley Wolfe showing off their dance skills

King Justin Davis and Queen Bayley Wolfe showing off their dance skills

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CSHS Marching Band places 8th at State Championship

 

CSPS-Band

Congratulations to the CSHS Marching Band who placed 8th in Flight III at The Michigan Competing Band Association’s State Championships at Ford Field!   Go Red Hawks!

 

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Red Hawks RULE the OK-Bronze

Red Hawk MavRick Cotten takes down the Eastern Hawks’ ball carrier. Photo by R. LaLone.

Red Hawk MavRick Cotten takes down the Eastern Hawks’ ball carrier. Photo by R. LaLone.

By Judy Reed

 

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks Varsity football team did something this season that they haven’t done since the late 1970s—take a conference title in football. While this season marks the fifth time that the Red Hawks have made it to the playoffs since 2000, this is the first time since 1978 that the Red Hawks have earned a conference title. That year they shared it with Sparta, in the Tri River Conference. We knew last week that they had earned a share of this year’s title, but last Friday’s win over Forest Hills Eastern gave Cedar Springs sole possession of first place, with a 5-0 record in conference, and an 8-1 overall record.

This Friday, they host Forest Hills Northern in the first playoff game at 7 p.m. at Red Hawk Stadium. Turn to page 9 for more info on last Friday’s game.

 

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Bridge recognized as historic, one-of-a-kind

N-Bridge-New

By Beth Altena, Rockford Squire

 

Did you know that the Pine Island Drive Bridge, just north of the Pine Island and Ten Mile Road intersection, in Algoma Township, is the only one of its kind in the country? Built 90 years ago, the bridge has never been more beautiful. It underwent a lengthy restoration, and was recently recognized by the State of Michigan with a historic marker detailing its unique qualities.

Julie Sjogren, of Algoma Township, described the long process of recognizing the bridge among the state’s historic landmarks, a process begun in 2006 with the help of Tom Byl, with the Kent County Road Commission. Sjogren spoke at the dedication on Friday, October 17, at the site of the marker, before its unveiling, and practically in the shadow of the bridge it references.

N-Bridge-signAlgoma Township Deputy Supervisor Nancy Clary was the next speaker at the event, addressing a crowd of onlookers and news cameras. “This bridge has always been the jewel and crown of Algoma Township and its never shined brighter than it does since it was restored.”

James Carr spoke about the research he undertook to better recall the bridge’s history. “History means so much more when it is local,” he stated. Construction for the bridge began in 1922, and the county still has copies of the original plans. He said he looked to find his father’s initials on the project because at that time his dad was director of the road commission. “Many individuals had a hand in making this happen,” he said.

David Groenleer, P.E. Vice Chairman for the Kent County Board of Road Commissioners spoke next. He said the bridge was completed in 1924. “If you look at the plaque on the bridge, you’ll see Townsend, Johnson and Ramsdell. Townsend was Warren Townsend of Townsend Park.” Johnson was another notable public servant, recognized by the park in his name in Grand Rapids. Ramsdell, although lacking a park in his name, is the individual after which Ramsdell Road is called.

“I thought that was pretty neat, those three guys were pretty important to this area.” He also recognized another local of note, Otto Hess. “Otto was the driving force behind the organization of the Road Commission,” Groenleer stated. He said the road commission was organized in 1911. Hess was later recognized by the State of Michigan for his implementation of many of our lovely roadside parks.

Groenleer said he can picture Hess at his former place of work, sitting, tie loose, undoubtedly with a cigar in his mouth. Back in those days, Hess had some options when a new bridge was needed, and at the time, a replacement to the old 14-foot-wide steel truss bridge was needed.

N-Bridge-Old“This was a state reward bridge, where the state designed it and paid half,” Groenleer described. He said Hess was reluctant to put in another steel bridge because he had just paid $5,000 to repair the North Park steel bridge. That bridge, finally replaced with the current bridge in the 1980s, was a segmented steel bridge. When it was replaced in the 80s, one of the conditions was that a section of it be preserved. That one section from the original seven or eight, is now in Riverside Park.

“They floated the section down, but what you might not know, is that when they got it where they were supposed to, they pushed a spike into the riverbottom to stop it but it just kept going.”

Hess knew that if he put in another steel bridge, he was going to continue to see maintenance costs, so he considered the concrete camel back bridge design, similar to one in Ada, which is now gone. Another Michigan camelback bridge can be seen from I-96 near Nunica.

The Pine Island Bridge, however, is unlike either of its Michigan cousins because of the unique braces across the top, joining it all the way around. The low banks of the Rogue River under the bridge required an additional structural component, to keep the bridge from failing if the river floods it.

In this respect the Pine Island Bridge is unique from any other camelback bridge in the entire United States, a structure both beautiful, but built for purpose.

“The concrete was shipped by rail from Englishville,” Groenleer said. “A lot of towns have gone away but this one is still there if you want to look it up on a map.”

Groenleer quoted the Grand Rapids Press at the time the bridge was built. It read: “The Algoma/Solon Road bridge will last indefinitely.” He said he looked in Webster’s Dictionary for a definition of indefinitely and failed to find one. “Well, for sure we know indefinitely means at least ninety years.”

“Now in 2014 for ten times the cost of the 1920 construction it has been renovated.” He praised the contractor and noted some details. The concrete was cleaned with baking soda blasts to remove graffiti and grime. He said damage to the superstructure, such as chipping and pitting, was hand-repaired with epoxy seal silicone and the rail on the northwest corner was replaced.

He credited the Kent County Road Commission and staff, specifically Wayne Harroll for “all their efforts on this historic structure that is also an important transportation structure.”

Larry Wagenaar, Michigan Historical Commissioner, had the honor of unveiling the historic designation marker for the bridge. “I am here wearing three hats,” he stated. First he was present for the State of Michigan on behalf of the Historic Commission. Second, he is the Executive Director for the nonprofit Historic Society of Michigan. Finally, he stated, he was there as a resident of Kent County, specifically Ada, which lost its own camelback bridge.

“This is a unique span of 100 feet and is the only one like it in the country. I hope it stands another 90 years, gets restored again and stands another 90 years,” he said.

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The Post travels to the Outer Banks

N-Post-travels-North-Carolina-Steinebach

The Steinebach family took the Post with them on a family vacation to Rodanthe, North Carolina this past summer.

Pictured is Cayden Steinebach, age 10, and sister Monica Dean, 26, children of Curt and Carol Steinebach. They spent a week in a house on the beach of this Outer Banks town.

“As the picture shows, there was a lot of time spent riding the waves on their body boards and soaking up sun on the beach,” said Curt.

Cayden was pictured previously in the January 31, 2013 Post, with a picture of their trip to Walt Disney World. “He thought that was pretty cool and wanted to make sure we brought the Post for our trip to North Carolina this year,” explained Curt.

Thank you, Cayden, and the rest of the Steinebach family, for taking us with you on your vacation! It sounds like it was fun!

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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Walkathon raises money for PTO

Post photo by J. Reed.

Post photo by J. Reed.

Post photo by J. Reed

Post photo by J. Reed

The Cedar Springs Elementary PTO held a Walk-a-thon Friday, October 17, which was their one fundraiser for this year. They raised $24,192.96, which will go directly to the four elementary schools that participated—Cedar Trails, Beach, Cedar View and Red Hawk.

According to Liz Grice, with the PTO, the money will go toward playground equipment, library books and other educational items.

“We had 2,119 participants, including students, staff and volunteers,” said Grice. “We accepted sponsorships from companies in and around Cedar Springs to purchase a t-shirt for every student at these four schools. The day of the event the students and staff all wore their matching red shirts and walked the stadium.”

The students took pledges from friends and family prior to the event. On the day of the Walkathon, classes walked to Red Hawk Stadium at the High School, and then around the track for a half hour while music played. The top classes in each grade won $200 for their class.

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