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Girls Basketball season ends with loss to Forest Hills Central

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Cedar Springs girls varsity basketball ended their season with a loss in a close game in their district, and on their home court against Forest Hills Central on Monday, Feb. 24.

The girls played hard and stayed close for most of the game. Cedar Springs went into half time only trailing by 2 points. Forest Hills Central came out strong and extended their lead in the 2nd half ending on top with a final score of 45-52.

It was a team effort with all contributing.  Scoring for the Hawks were Brittany Todd, Aubree Mouthaan, Mikenzie Francis, Sam Taylor, Taylor Baker, Sayge Wight and Allison Snavley. Aly Hamiliton grabbed several rebounds and Nikki Matzke and Alysha Chaney chipped in with great defense.

Out with injuries were Mary Monterusso and Jessica Kriekaard, who gave encouragement to all. All in all it was a great effort put out by everyone and it was sad it had to end.

Overall for the season the girls were 6-14, 4-6 in the OK Bronze conference.  Through all the ups and downs the girls played tough and came up just short on several games. Having 9 seniors out of 12 on the team made it very tough for it to come to an end. Playing together for 9 years and knowing that this was the final game they would ever play on their home court at Cedar Springs High School made it even harder. Congratulations on completing the season with a great game.

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Red-winged blackbird arrival

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

OUT-Nature-niche-red-winged-blackbirdEncourage family members to predict the arrival date and first sighting of Red-winged Blackbirds. For decades it has been an annual activity for me. It helps us tune in to nature occurrences. I wait until mid February before making a final hypothesis. The hypothesis is different than a wild guess. I could make a guess in September. Instead I gather available evidence to make an educated guess on an annual basis. My friend Greg and I always try to guess the closest date and hope our own is the most accurate. It is a fun activity.

It is somewhat like predicting weather. Daily variations are going to impact the actual arrival day.

Evidence from previous years indicates early March is usually when they arrive in our area. With evidence from past years, we can make a hypothesis months early. For a more accurate prediction, I like to gather additional information. I look at long-range weather forecast, current snow depth, the amount of frozen water on lakes, and spring progression in plant communities. The final critical piece is determined by when a good south wind will facilitate bird flight. I make a prediction before information on wind direction is available. I once predicted February 28 and hit it right on and have gotten it right on at least one other time. I usually do not hit the date exactly but I am quite close.

It is mid February and already willow tree branches are turning brighter yellow. Silver Maple buds are beginning to swell just a little. This is occurring despite this winter being much colder than usual, snow depth much deeper, and winter storms persisting. The plants are anxious for their seasonal spring work. A few sunny days have warmed tree trunks and branches causing sap to start flowing. This afternoon the first sapsickle has formed on the sugar maple. Time to go sample the sweet taste of spring before the squirrels start licking it.

Frost may still be moving deeper into the ground, but a higher sun and longer days indicate spring is near. Male Red-winged Blackbirds want to claim the most productive breeding habitat available. First arrivals get first dibs. They will choose cattail marshes where they can broadcast claim to breeding territory, with a vocal konk-a-ree and by flashing as much as possible of the red wing patch bordered with yellow.

For 10 to 14 days, males vie for the most desirable territory, before females arrive. Amid male territory challenges, females arrive to compete for ideal nest and feeding habitat, with other females. Females are drab brown flecked with tan for a camouflage appearance. We tend not to notice their stealth arrival without effort.

Beautiful males are loud and stand in open exposed areas that capture our attention more than many bird arrivals. It is always a fun bird to anticipate and to watch changing season signals that help predict arrival most accurately. My prediction for this year’s first arrival is March 7. I need to leave Ody Brook to see the first arrivals. They come here and visit feeders but not until they have first inspected breeding habitats and filled the air with konk-a-ree in favored nature niches.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433.  

 

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Preserving history—museum restores 1911 sculpture

Marie Patin after her work was complete on the 1911 bas relief donated to Hilltop School by the class of 1929. Post photo by J. Reed.

Marie Patin after her work was complete on the 1911 bas relief donated to Hilltop School by the class of 1929. Post photo by J. Reed.

 

This 1952 yearbook photo shows the sculpture hanging on the wall in the stairwell at Hilltop, with students lined up on the steps.

This 1952 yearbook photo shows the sculpture hanging on the wall in the stairwell at Hilltop, with students lined up on the steps.

By Judy Reed

 

For years a 1911 bas relief of the signing of the Mayflower Compact hung on the wall of the old Cedar Springs High School—at Hilltop. It was bought and donated to the school by the class of 1929, and hung on the walls at least into the 1950s. Cracked and dilapidated after years of being neglected, it was eventually donated to the Cedar Springs Historical Museum, where it has now been given a new birth by volunteer Marie Patin.

The plaster relief, with a copyright of 1911, was sculpted by Pietro P. Caproni and Bro., Boston. They were manufacturers of plaster reproductions of classical and contemporary statues. These cast reproductions were, in an era before commercial photography, an integral educational tool in teaching people the history of art and antiquities.

Patin said they moved it out of storage when they did the haunted house at Halloween, and someone suggested that they try to clean it up, although it was in bad shape. There was a crack running all across the top, with a triangular hole in the top middle, more cracks throughout, peeling paint, and even some key pieces missing.  But Patin felt up to the challenge. “I paint ceramics at home, and have experience filling holes, and fixing things. I’m a crafty person.” Patin had her work cut out for her. In addition to the holes, cracks and missing shoes, fingers, etc., the work had been painted over several times—and not by an artist.

Marie Patin working on the project.

Marie Patin working on the project.

Historical Society President Fred Gunnell worked part time as a student worker doing janitorial work in the summer when the picture was hanging at Hilltop. “We used to take it down to paint the walls, then one year the janitor, Bert Hawkins, said to just paint over it, so we did,” he recalled.

A picture in the 1952 yearbook shows the sculpture hanging in the hallway at the top of the stairs, where several students are lined up. Gunnell recalled that there was also a duplicate—or at least another similar relief, that also hung at the school, along with some busts in the library. But this particular bas relief is the only one that the museum has.

DM White made a special frame for the artwork. “The back is hollow and there is no support for the body parts,” he noted. “So we shimmed it up from behind.”

Patin used powdered plaster of paris and worked on the relief tediously one day a week at the museum—for 2-1/2 months. “I’m tickled. I like the way it turned out,” she said. “It was kind of fun because I like to see things come to life—it’s rewarding. It was an achievement, history preserved,” she explained.

The Caproni brothers—Pietro and Emilio—supplied major universities and museums with quality reproductions. The firm operated under their ownership between 1892 and 1927, the year the company was sold and a year before Pietro’s death.

The museum, located at Morley Park, on Cedar Street in Cedar Springs, plans to display the relief behind the counter, and it will be ready for patrons to see next Wednesday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

 

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (1)

The Post visits The Baths National Parks

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

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The Virgin Gorda Baths is a collection of massive granite boulders that lie in piles on the beach and is among the most spectacular natural wonders in the British Virgin Islands.

Michele and Doug Loper visited Virgin Gorda, BVI in February and hiked a trail, leading to Devil’s Bay beach, through the huge rocks, caves, and pools which required some ducking down and maneuvering through crevasses, ladders and bridges. Michele said it was very scenic and remarkable! Thanks for taking the Post with you on your adventure!

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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Owl pays a visit

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This barred owl was seen in Solon Township.

Kathy Dempsey, of Solon Township, has had two visits from this owl in the past week.

She thought maybe it was a snowy owl, but we’ve had a few people identify it as a barred owl. After looking at photos of both types, it does look more like a barred owl. One way you can tell is that snowy owls have yellow eyes and a black beak. Barred owls have brown eyes and a yellow beak – which this one does.

Barred owls are common to this area, and have a distinctive call. Robert Stegmeier, with the conservation group the Izaak Walton League in Belmont, said, “The Barred is an easy bird to call in in the spring, with the ‘who who who cooks for you’ call. Anyone can do it. You can tell their call.”

Snowy owls normally stay further north, although there has been an influx of them into West Michigan since December. Wildlife biologists theorized there may have been a disruption in their food supply.

Barred owl

This is a barred owl.

See photos to compare:

Female Snowy Owl. The male is more white.

Female Snowy Owl. The male is more white.

 

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (2)

Reward offered in Rite Aid robbery

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A $5,000 reward is being offered for information about the robbery that occurred at the Cedar Springs Rite Aid on September 13, 2013.

A man with a handgun and wearing what appeared to be a wig and fake dark rimmed glasses robbed the Rite Aid store on 17 Mile of an undisclosed amount of cash. Employees were threatened with harm if they did not comply. The suspect fled west on foot with a customer following and then ran south behind Subway and into the wooded area behind the stores in the strip mall. Police arrived quickly and a Michigan State Police K-9 unit was on scene within minutes tracking the suspect through the heavily wooded area. Eventually the dog lost the track after crossing back and forth over a creek.

According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, police speculate that the suspect may have had an accomplice waiting with a vehicle on White Creek Ave.

“A number of tips called into the police department and other tips provided through Silent Observer have been looked into,” said Parent. “Unfortunately, we are once again asking for any additional information that someone may have that will help bring this investigation to a close.”

The Rite Aid Pharmacy Corporation is offering up to a $5,000 reward based on information provided that leads to an arrest for those responsible.

“We continue to ask the public to call in your tips to Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345 or directly to the Cedar Springs Police Department at (616) 696-1330,” urged Parent. “Over time suspects will talk or brag about what they have done and we feel there might be someone willing to provide us with information knowing there is still a hefty reward being offered. Our goal is to keep this investigation active.”

 

 

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Red Hawks lose to Greenville, Northview

Photo by K. Alvesteffer

Photo by K. Alvesteffer

Cedar Springs boys varsity basketball suffered two tough losses last week. On Tuesday, February 18, the boys took on the Yellow Jackets of Greenville high school. Last time the boys played Greenville the Red Hawks defeated the Yellow Jackets 88-55. This time around, the tables were turned and Greenville took home the win 61-55.

“We didn’t play well defensively for 32 minutes, which is our goal, and that ended up being our eventual downfall,” commented head Coach Jeff Patin.

The lead changed a total of 9 times throughout the game and was tied a total of 6 times. In the first half, Greenville led Cedar Springs 35-32. And then in the second half, Cedar Springs added on 23 more points making their final score 55. But it wasn’t enough because Greenville came back and added on 26 more points making the final score 61-55.

Junior Brad Brechting led the team in total points coming in at 25 for the game. Brechting went 9 for 14 on his shots. Senior Cameron Link also contributed to the Red Hawks score by scoring 9 points for the game, making 2 of 6 on shots. Also scoring for the Red Hawks was senior Austin Hilyer with 6 points, senior Aaron Mabie with 5 points, and sophomore Taylor VanDyke with 4 points.

“Our defensives lapses put more pressure to score on each offensive possession.  We were able to cut our deficit to 2 points on a couple of occasions, but couldn’t get the big stop to get us over the top,” stated Coach Patin.

Also the Red Hawks took on the Wildcats of Northview. The game was originally scheduled for Friday, February 21, but due to the weather the game was moved to Saturday February 22. The first time the Red Hawks played the Wildcats, Northview defeated Cedar Springs 66-49. And the same outcome happened once again with Northview beating Cedar Springs 65-36.

“Northview came out defensively this game and really pressured the ball.  We allowed the pressure to take us out of what we wanted to do offensively,” said Coach Patin.

In the first half, Northview scored a total of 37 points while Cedar Springs scored 21. Then in the second half, Northview took hold of the lead even more by adding 28 more points while Cedar Springs scored 15. Northview took home the win by defeating Cedar Springs 65-36.

“It was disappointing. We didn’t come out and play anywhere near our best.  We have to put it behind us and get ourselves ready for the remainder of the season,” exclaimed Coach Patin.

Senior Cameron Link led the team in points coming in at a total of 14. Link went 3 for 4 on his free throws and had a shooting percentage of 62.5% for the game. Junior Brad Brechting also scored 9 points for the Red Hawks. Brechting went 3 for 5 on his free throws and had a shooting percentage of 42.9%. Also scoring for the Red Hawks was senior Dakota Bekins with 4 points, Mitchell Kooiman with 4 points, and Nate Sorenson with 2 points.

This week the boys varsity basketball team take on their last conference game of the season. On Friday, February 28, the boys go up against Forest Hills Northern. The boys are looking to defeat the Huskies once again. Also, the boys first district game is on Monday, March 3, at Cedar Springs High School against Rockford High School. Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. for both games so come on out and support your Red Hawks!

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Avoiding air bag fraud

It’s a good idea to check any used car for properly functioning air bags.

It’s a good idea to check any used car for properly functioning air bags.

(NAPS)—The next time you’re thinking of buying a used car, remember, what you don’t see can hurt you.

We’re talking about air bags. Be sure they’re present and working properly.

As many as 250,000 counterfeit air bags may have been used to replace deployed ones, according to the federal government. But that’s not all.

Air bag fraud also can involve:

• Stuffing things in the air bag compartment (newspaper, packing peanuts)

• Air bags found in junkyards

• Stolen air bags

• No air bags at all.

What To Do

Start by simply turning the ignition. If the air bag indicator doesn’t come on at all or stays on, there may be a problem.

Also, check Carfax for reported accidents and air bag deployments, and get a mechanic’s inspection.

Learn More

For further facts and reports, visit www.carfax.com.

 

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Did you know: Probiotics can improve more than just stomach health

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Monticello - Shutterstock

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Monticello – Shutterstock

 

(StatePoint) If you’re familiar with probiotics, you probably know that these “good bacteria,” found in such foods as yogurt and pickles, are associated with good digestive health.  But the health benefits of probiotics are more extensive than just improving digestion. Experts now say that paying attention to your probiotic intake, including the use of probiotic supplements, can potentially help you achieve better health — from developing a stronger immune system to reducing stress.

“Probiotics have formed a vital part of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern diets for thousands of years and are credited, in part, for the remarkably low rates of chronic, age-related diseases that prevail in those regions,” says Michael A. Smith, M.D., senior health scientist with Life Extension in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and host of Healthy Talk on www.RadioMD.com.

Gut Health

The human gastrointestinal system has the all-important job of digesting food and absorbing nutrients. If it fails at this, you’ll quickly become malnourished. These tasks are managed mostly by bacteria and not by your own body. Foods and supplements that replenish important bacteria are called probiotics.

Additionally, probiotics are said to ease inflammation by decreasing production of inflammatory proteins called cytokines.

Immunity

Your gut system is exposed to lots of dangerous bacteria, molds and fungi. A vast majority of your immune defenses are right there in the gut. Probiotics can help keep these critical defenses functioning properly.

Stress Management

Have you ever experienced “butterflies” in your stomach? This sensation isn’t just “in your head.” The gut contains over 100 million neurons. One particular nerve, the vagus nerve, communicates directly with your brain. When you’re stressed, your digestive system suffers as a result. But new research shows that probiotics can potentially alleviate these symptoms.

Though more research is needed in this area, scientists are uncovering new ways that your mind is connected to your gut.

Reaping the Benefits

Start by incorporating more probiotics into your diet. Sources include yogurt, sour pickles, certain soft cheeses and miso soup. While these foods do supply a small dose of beneficial bacteria, Smith says that if you’re not already doing so, you should consider supplementing your diet with probiotic supplements or foods with added probiotics.

“Thanks to new research and the emerging field of pharmabiotics, you can increase your intake with a broad spectrum of probiotic products, as well” says Smith.

Remember, not all probiotics are created equal — there are many strains and preparations on the market. One of the complications many commercial probiotics face is their inability to overcome hurdles in the digestive tract before hitting their target area, which can limit their beneficial effect. Additionally, some supplements only provide one type of bacteria. It’s important to get clinically effective strains in whatever product you choose. To learn more, visit www.Lef.org/FlorAssist or call toll-free, 1-855-870-0682.

An improper balance of good-to-bad bacteria can wreak havoc throughout the body. But by being proactive about probiotics, you can better achieve optimal health.

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Common Grackle may no longer be common

 Photo by Phil Hauck.

Photo by Phil Hauck.

Prior to European settlement the Common Grackle was likely not common. It wasn’t until settlers started clearing land for agricultural uses that the species start expanding, and rapidly. By 1974, the species global population had reached 190 million individuals (National Audubon).

The Common Grackle is part of the blackbird family and if you live in an urban area chances are you have seen one or an entire flock. This grackle looks black from a distance but up close they display a glossy purple head, a bronzy-iridescent body and bright golden eyes. In Michigan, they prefer larger cities including Detroit, Lansing, Jackson, Grand Rapids, Gaylord, Clare and Sault Ste. Marie. The species is most often found in open to partially open areas with scattered trees, usually along forest edges. The Common Grackle particularly prefers human-altered habitats.

Although once widespread, the species has witnessed a 61 percent decline in population numbers since 1974, making the current global population roughly 73 million individuals (National Audubon). In Michigan, the decline is not as drastic, with a 2.5 percent decrease annually from 1988 to 2008 (Michigan Breeding Bird Atlas I & II). Partners in Flight estimates that in the state the Common Grackle population is around 1.6 million individuals, making it one of the more common birds in Michigan.

Its commonality along with its current population decline has landed the Common Grackle on National Audubon’s list of “Top 20 Common Birds in Decline”. The species decline is due to two different elements.

Common Grackles often roost in large numbers around agricultural food sources such as corn, soybeans and cherries, which has caused the species to be considered an agricultural pest allowing it to be legal to eliminate the bird in some areas. According to the Michigan Breeding Bird Atlas the depredation order, “allows the control of Common Grackles in agricultural situations when found committing or about to commit depredations upon ornamental or shade trees, agricultural crops, livestock, or wildlife, or when concentrated in such numbers and manner as to constitute a health hazard or other nuisance.” (Depredation 2008). When grackles roost at the same site for several consecutive years the site has a chance of harboring the fungus, Histoplasma capsulatum, which can be fatal in humans because it causes histoplasmosis, an infection of the lungs.

The second reason for the population decline is due to the bird’s shrinking habitat. In the late 1800’s and into the 1900’s land was being cleared at an astonishing pace, opening up an abundance of habitat for the grackle. Now with reforestation in full swing, the Common Grackle is witnessing a large, quick habitat loss.

To help the Common Grackle improve its population numbers check into the federal, state and local regulations on agricultural pests. If you live in an area with large numbers of blackbirds investigate what the protocol is regarding blackbird control and then contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or your state wildlife office; if permits have been issued report the information to the stateofthebirds@audubon.org.

Additionally, participating in bird surveys such as the Christmas Bird Count, Great Backyard Bird Count and the North American Breeding Bird Survey will help scientist get a better idea of the species overall population. Lastly, if you submit checklists to Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s citizen scientist project eBird, make sure to include all birds you observe, even the species you think are common, you never know when they will be in decline.

 

 

 

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