web analytics

Archive | Featured

Dedicated & Talented Middle School Art Student

Eilena Lopez shows off some of her artwork.

Eilena Lopez shows off some of her artwork.

Jennifer Swift, Art Teacher

I would like to take the time to celebrate an extraordinarily talented artist at Cedar Springs Middle School.

Eilena Lopez is an eighth grader who consistently demonstrates dedication, perseverance, the ability to think outside the box, and the artistic skills to create incredibly unique works of art.  She typically takes on more than the project requires, doing multiple projects, adding intense details, and even working from home.  She is thoughtful and reflective in every project and a great inspiration to her fellow classmates.

CSPS-Art2Eilena is skilled in a variety of art mediums, but her passion is drawing with value.  Eilena’s work will be on display at the administration office if you have a chance to see her work in person.  The attention in detail in her portraits is absolutely stunning!  I feel so very grateful to get to work with such an incredible person and artist every day.  Cedar Springs is very lucky to have Eilena here!

CSPS-Art3

Posted in Cedar Springs Public Schools, Featured, NewsComments Off on Dedicated & Talented Middle School Art Student

Free youth rabbit hunt Jan. 16 in Belding 

Participants in the Flat River State Game Area’s 2015 youth rabbit hunt. This year’s hunt is set for Jan. 16.

Participants in the Flat River State Game Area’s 2015 youth rabbit hunt. This year’s hunt is set for Jan. 16.

Register by Jan 12

The Department of Natural Resources is teaming up with the Mid-Michigan United Sportsmen’s Alliance, the Belding Sportsman’s Club, the Montcalm County Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association and several other sporting groups and local businesses to sponsor a youth rabbit hunt at the Flat River State Game Area Saturday, Jan 16.

The day will kick off with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and will conclude with lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Belding Sportsman’s Club, located at 10651 Youngman Road in Belding, Michigan.

There is no fee to participate, and maps of potential hunting hot spots on the 11,000 acres of nearby public hunting land will be available. Participating youths will be eligible for a number of raffle prizes, including several firearms.

“This event is possible thanks to the cooperation of many partners with an interest in keeping Michigan’s hunting tradition going strong,” said DNR wildlife biologist John Niewoonder. “We hope that getting new hunters out in the woods and exposed to the fun and camaraderie of rabbit hunting will encourage them to become lifelong hunters.”

Hunting parties should register by Jan. 12 and must have at least one member younger than 17 years of age. For more information or to register, contact the Flat River State Game Area at 616-794-2658.

Participating hunters must have a valid base license or mentored youth hunting license, available online at www.mdnr-elicense.com or anywhere hunting licenses are sold.

To learn more about youth hunting, visit www.michigan.gov/mentoredhunting.

Posted in Featured, OutdoorsComments Off on Free youth rabbit hunt Jan. 16 in Belding 

TOP STORY 2015

post photo by J. Reed

post photo by J. Reed

New businesses, non-profits bring revitalization and growth to Cedar Springs

BY JUDY REED

The Cedar Springs area received a shot in the arm this year with several new businesses moving in, and even more growth is on the horizon, thanks to the partnership efforts of the Community Building Development Team with the Cedar Springs Library and Cedar Springs City Council.

The big success story of the year is the Cedar Springs Brewing Company, which finally opened its doors at 95 N. Main, in mid-November. It was the culmination of a 25-year-dream for David Ringler, a.k.a “Director of Happiness” at the brewery, and it’s the first time in recent history that a new building has been built on Main Street in the heart of downtown Cedar Springs.

N-Top-Story-CS-Brew2The brewery/restaurant features a variety of craft beers, focusing on German styles, along with a full food menu (which includes German dishes), wine and their homemade Cedar Creek Sodas, which are non-alcoholic beverages.

Since their opening, the brewery is jam-packed every night and it’s amazing to see so many vehicles in downtown Cedar Springs.

“We’ve had a wonderful reception from the community and been very pleased to welcome many people from outside our community who’ve come to visit, often multiple times,” remarked Ringler. “Some of this is to be expected, given that we’re new and over the holiday season, but we’re hopeful that we’ve made a positive impression and people will continue to visit.”

In the beginning it was difficult to keep up with the demand for beer, but people came anyway.

“We’ve remained very busy, which is a blessing,” said Ringler. “As we’ve progressed over the past six weeks, we’ve been able to adjust our inventories to keep up on beer production, which means we’ll be able to fill growlers soon.”

Ringler talked about some things customers can expect in the coming year. “Our beers will rotate and expand regularly, and our food menu will see the addition of daily specials and be updated at least 3-4 times over the course of the year. We will begin hosting live music regularly and we also have a number of events planned throughout the year (with details coming soon).”

He said they will also begin hosting “Community Giveback Nights,” beginning January 11, where they will be giving back 10 percent of food sales to the Cedar Springs Band Boosters on that evening. Other organizations will follow.

He said they will also begin growler sales, and canning their product for sale in the marketplace, so we will be able to find their beers in stores, bars and other restaurants.

“Our spirits line will also be launched, beginning with Wodka and White Lightning products,” added Ringler. “We will also add additional season sodas and soft drinks to our lineup.”

One of the big things will be the outdoor Biergarten, which will open in the spring, and add 70 to 80 seats.

Ringler is grateful to the community for how they’ve embraced the brewery. “Thank you. We’ve been humbled by the warm reception, encouraged by the enthusiasm, and we’re working hard to earn your continued support,” he said.

The brewery is one of several businesses to come to Cedar Springs this year. The brewery bought the Liquor Hut building, which they then leased to Cold Break Brewing, a home supply brewing company; Family Farm and Home bought the old Family Fare building; and Advance Auto built a new building on the site of the old Family Fare gas station. Since Advance Auto had bought Car Quest previously, they took in all the employees from the Car Quest shop on Main Street.

Another company coming to Cedar Springs is Display Pack, who bought the Wolverine World Wide warehouse at 660 West Street. Wolverine’s lease is up in 2017, and Display Pack is slowly taking over the building as Wolverine vacates the premises. Display Pack, employs 225 people, and up to 275 people seasonally. Since many of their employees live in Grand Rapids and those who walk won’t make the commute, they may hire as many as 60-80 people from this area.

Another group who is revitalizing Cedar Springs is the Community Building Development Team, through their partnership with the Cedar Springs Library and the City of Cedar Springs. Over two dozen organizations and businesses in Cedar Springs, along with dozens of individuals, have been working together for the past three years to develop eight acres of land, within the City limits, into “The Heart of Cedar Springs.” This place can be called our own “Town Square,” where the local citizens and visitors can enjoy a new library building, a community building, a recreation center, and an amphitheater, all placed among beautiful rain gardens and sculptures along a board walk on the banks of Cedar Creek.

Donations of land and cash, as well as pledges, as of November 2015, total over $2,555,000. The overall project is expected to cost approximately $10,000,000.  The plan is to raise funds for each individual project and to break ground for each facility when funds are adequate. Donations may be designated.

The Cedar Springs Library building is scheduled to be built first, breaking ground early next spring. A Capital Campaign Committee was appointed by the CBDT and they are in the process of writing grant proposals to large corporations and foundations to raise the funds needed to complete these projects.

Checks can be written to the Cedar Springs Public Library and either sent to Box 280 or dropped off at the Library. They can also be written to the Community Building Development Team and sent to the treasurer of the CBDT, Betty Truesdale, 141 S Main Street, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on TOP STORY 2015

Sparta man dies after ORV accident

Derek Bellows died following an ORV accident Christmas eve morning. Photo from gofundme page.

Derek Bellows died following an ORV accident Christmas eve morning. Photo from gofundme page.

A Sparta man who died following a tragic ORV accident early Christmas eve morning has given the gift of life to others.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, Derek Bellows, 23, of Sparta, was driving a 2000 Yamaha quad westbound on 14 Mile Road NW, west of Phelps Avenue NW, in Sparta Township, when he hit a tree that had fallen across the road. He was thrown from the quad and found lying in the roadway. He was not wearing a helmet, and suffered a severe head injury.

Police believe the accident occurred between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. He was discovered about 6:25 a.m. It was unknown whether alcohol or excessive speed was involved.

Derek was transported to the hospital, where he was put on a ventilator. He died on December 26.

According to a gofundme page set up in his memory, Derek’s organs were donated to save the lives of several people. It was reportedly close to Derek’s  heart, because his grandfather received a new heart eight  years ago.

According to the gofundme page, “Derek was an amazing young man and full of life. He loved the outdoors, riding horses, snowmobiles, four-wheelers or whatever he could drive fast.  He also had a huge heart for people and animals. Derek loved horses and especially his dog.”

His funeral will be January 2, at 1 p.m. at Ballard Church of Christ. To make a memorial contribution, visit the gofundme page at https://www.gofundme.com/9ygj28qk. Contributions will benefit the Wounded Warrior project.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on Sparta man dies after ORV accident

Coloring contest winner

N-Coloring-contest-winner-Mollien

Our Christmas coloring contest winner, Kirk Mollien, 9, of Kent City, stopped in Monday morning to pick up his prize—a droid featured in the new Star Wars film—The Force Awakens. Congratulations to Kirk and to all of our winners!

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on Coloring contest winner

Busy year for Blue Star Mothers

N-Blue-star-mothers1

N-Blue-star-mothers2As 2015 winds down, the Michigan Blue Star Mothers are looking forward to a busy 2016. The year for our Michigan chapters has been a busy one, and the photos shown here indicate some of the work done by local chapters all around the state of Michigan.

Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. will celebrate their 74th year operating as a military support organization, on February 1, 2016. Most members are mothers of military personnel working together in an organized mission. Local chapters are the “feet to the pavement.” It’s where the work is done. Our missions include taking care of our troops and veterans, coming along side of the families of our fallen, and supporting each other. We have local chapters all over the state of Michigan.

December proved to be a busy month for our chapters. Chapters continued to collect items to be shipped in care packages to our troops overseas. Stockings were filled to be passed out at the VA hospital in Battle Creek. Fundraisers and donation drives continued to support the mission, and the Ionia, Kent, and Montcalm chapter was honored by WXMI-TV 17, Walmart ,and by folks in the city of Ionia with large donations. Wreaths were laid at cemeteries all over Michigan and Blue Star Mothers were there. We also became family to heroes who had no known family.

Work is being done to start chapters in Muskegon County, Isabella County and mothers are being contacted to start another chapter in Newaygo County. If you read this article and you are a mother of someone serving in the United States Military you can contact me and I’ll put you in touch with our membership chair and she can direct you to the place where these mothers are meeting or help you start a new chapter in the area in which you live.

Thank you to our service members, whereever they are serving. Thank you to their mothers wherever you are. Blue Star Mothers of America is here for you. If you are interested I can be reached at:  989-814-0650 or president.deptmi@bluestarmothers.us.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on Busy year for Blue Star Mothers

Cold weather a hot time for minnow harvesters

 

Cut netting: A seine pulled tight to shore that contains minnows for sorting and harvesting. The net had been positioned in a cut off Saginaw Bay.

Cut netting: A seine pulled tight to shore that contains minnows for sorting and harvesting. The net had been positioned in a cut off Saginaw Bay.

From the Michigan DNR

Falling water temperatures can mean a lot of things to those who enjoy the outdoors.

Cold water increases interest in steelhead fishing, for instance, and decreases the focus on bass fishing. However, to Jeff Slancik of Bay County, cold water means just one thing: It’s time to catch minnows.

Slancik, 49, of Pinconning is a bait dealer whose business heats up when the weather cools down.

In cold weather, the baitfish head inshore from the Great Lakes and that’s when Slancik can catch them in large volume and keep them alive in ponds for the winter.“You have to wait until the water temperature comes down,” Slancik said. “I’d say in a typical year we start around Nov. 1 and you’re lucky to see past Dec. 1. We lost the first week of November this year because it was too warm. Once that water gets down to 40 degrees, you can catch minnows. The colder it is, the longer we can keep the minnows.”

Slancik has operated Jeff’s Bait Co. in Pinconning for 25 years. He’s one of a number of Michigan commercial bait wholesalers who catch minnows and sell them to distributors, who then get them to the bait shops anglers depend upon.

Picking: A worker inspects the contents of a dip net, picking out nontarget minnow species as the crew works a cut off Lake Huron in Michigan’s thumb area.

Picking: A worker inspects the contents of a dip net, picking out nontarget minnow species as the crew works a cut off Lake Huron in Michigan’s thumb area.

Minnow harvesters are licensed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Tom Goniea, the DNR fisheries biologist who oversees the program from Lansing, said there are about 80 licensed minnow catchers in Michigan, but only a handful of large operators like Slancik.

“Most of the catchers’ licenses belong to guys who own retail shops and may catch minnows every now and then to sell to their customers,” Goniea said. “Ninety percent of the state’s bait harvest is coming out of Saginaw Bay, the St. Clair River, the Detroit River and Lake Erie. It’s mostly emerald and spottail shiners. Your fatheads, golden shiners and suckers are largely imported.”

Minnows: A perch is removed from a dip net full of minnows taken from a cut off Saginaw Bay.

Minnows: A perch is removed from a dip net full of minnows taken from a cut off Saginaw Bay.

Minnow harvesters are restricted to the types and size of gear they can use.

“On the Great Lakes, they can use a 125-foot seine,” Goniea said. “Inland waters have different regulations that vary by water type. In Michigan, most waters are open to minnow harvest unless they are specifically closed.”

For Slancik, a recent day began on a cut (a nonflowing man-made channel connected to a larger body of water which aids in getting boats access to open water) along Saginaw Bay not far from home.

Two of Slancik’s employees manned the ends of a seine stretched across the cut, one on the bank, the other in a float tube along the edge of the deeper side of the cut.

Slowly, they pulled the seine toward the inside end of the cut, where Slancik directed them.

When they reached a point a couple yards off the back end of the cut, Slancik sprang into action, bringing dip nets and a larger floating pen net with him.

The trio began scooping up minnows, weeding through them to toss out the non-minnow captives, mostly perch, and transferring the minnows into the net pen.

The fish were then filtered through a grader— a floating device with a slotted bottom that allowed the smaller fish to slip through to the pen, but contained the larger fish.

From there, they again dipped the minnows up with hand nets and sorted, tossing out perch or other non-target species, transferring the minnows into 5-gallon buckets.

Slancik took a bucket to his truck, which is equipped with numerous, oxygenated tanks. There, he sorted one more time, removing any non-minnow fish before he transferred the minnows to the truck tank.

Slancik said sorting takes a lot of time. Had they found many more perch or other unwanted specimens in the seine, he said he would have dumped the whole load back into the cut and gone elsewhere.

Slancik has been catching minnows his whole life. He started working for his great-uncle Frank, of Frank’s Great Outdoors in Linwood fame, who Slancik called “the Fred Bear of minnow-catching.”

Slancik works a territory from Pinconning north and east along the thumb of the state to Port Austin in Huron County. More than half the minnows he takes are used in the local Saginaw Bay area. In a cold winter, with good ice, 75 percent of his minnows are sold locally.

“From November first to December, it’s go, go, go, sometimes 24 hours a day for five days straight,” Slancik said. “On a good day, we’ll get 300 gallons of minnows, about 700 per gallon.” Minnows are sold by the gallon commercially in Michigan. In some others states, they’re sold by the pound.

Like most fishing pursuits, Slancik’s minnow catching luck runs hot and cold.

“I’ve had catches of 1,000 gallons, no problem. One time we caught 10,000 gallons and I only needed 1,000 gallons. I let the other 9,000 gallons go,” Slancik said. “But I’ve had times when I’ve worked all day and only caught 20 gallons.”

Slancik said he puts between 7 million and 10 million minnows in ponds, which he keeps aerated, for the winter season.

“I can keep up to 2,000 gallons in a pond, but I want to back off a little this year because we might have a warmer winter,” he said. “Bigger minnows survive better in the ponds. The smaller minnows don’t have the strength to be caught in warmer temperatures and held until spring.”

State law prohibits minnows caught in Michigan to be exported out of state.

“Any minnow that is harvested in Michigan is meant to meet the local demand of Michigan anglers, without disturbing the food chain for our predator fishes such as trout, walleye and smallmouth bass,” Goniea said.

Goniea said minnow harvesters are not doing any damage to the fisheries resource.

“In almost all cases, human harvest has little to no effect on available resources,” he said. “On a place like Saginaw Bay, a million emerald shiners is a minute part of the population. Walleyes, bass and the other predator fish control the bait population. Human harvest is a drop in the bucket, and minnows are capable of explosive growth and reproduction.”

This fall, Slancik has mostly caught emerald shiners, the minnows anglers call “blues.” Spottail shiners, known as “grays,” were down a little.

“Spottails tend to run larger than emeralds. Lake trout fishermen like spottails, just because of their size. But big emeralds will work just as well,” Slancik said. “We noticed that last year because nobody caught spottails. But people get it stuck in their heads that they want spottails. These days, there are more emeralds than spottails. It used to be the other way around.”

Slancik said there are more baitfish in Lake Huron now than ever.

“Lake Huron is like a big fish tank — you can only put so many fish in an aquarium,” Slancik said. “When one is up, the other is down, but spottails are slowly coming back.”

Slancik said he’s seeing more gizzard shad and alewives lately, too.

The DNR monitors the minnow harvest to make sure invasive species and those that can carry diseases — such as viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) — aren’t spread.

In the summer months, when minnows can’t be kept in ponds, a lot of minnows are imported.

But in winter, if you’re seeking a Pure Michigan experience—say walleye fishing through the ice–you’re likely using minnows caught right here in Michigan, by commercial bait harvesters like Slancik.

For more information on Michigan minnows, visit the DNR’s webpage at www.michigan.gov/fishing.

Posted in Featured, OutdoorsComments Off on Cold weather a hot time for minnow harvesters

Kids shop with a Sheriff

Three of the officers on hand for the Shop with a Sheriff event included (L to R) Sgt. Jason Kelley, Chief Deputy Kevin Kelley, and Sheriff Larry Stelma.

Three of the officers on hand for the Shop with a Sheriff event included (L to R) Sgt. Jason Kelley, Chief Deputy Kevin Kelley, and Sheriff Larry Stelma.

On Sunday, December 13, the Kent County Sheriff’s Office hosted their annual Shop with a Sheriff Program at the Cedar Springs Meijer. Thirty kids from the Cedar Springs and Kent City school districts were selected to shop with Deputies and experience law enforcement in a nontraditional role. Approximately 35 Deputies volunteered their time to participate in the event.

Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause made an appearance at the Shop with a Sheriff event. Photo by P. Conley.

Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause made an appearance at the Shop with a Sheriff event. Photo by P. Conley.

Before shopping, the kids were able to ride in police cruiser, playing with the lights, sirens and other electronics. After the cruiser ride, each child was placed with a Deputy and they were able to shop throughout Meijer. The children select items of need—coats, boots, and clothes. They are able to select some toys as well. Once the shopping is complete, the kids were treated to donuts, juice, a special t-shirt, and a surprise visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

This program started in 2003 and the kids are identified by referrals from the schools. Deputies participate on a volunteer basis and help the kids shop for the items on their list. The program is fully funded through gracious donations made by businesses and members of the community.

Kids shopped throughout the store with a deputy.

Kids shopped throughout the store with a deputy.

Donations for this program can be made to the Kent County Community Action Fund and mailed to:

Kent County Sheriff’s Office

Community Services Unit – Sandi Jones

701 Ball Ave NE

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on Kids shop with a Sheriff

Giving back

N-Rotary

Cedar Springs Rotarians teamed up with St. John Paul 2 Parish in Cedar Springs to serve up an extra special Thanksgiving meal at the community dinner provided each Tuesday.

The young people involved are part of the rotary interact group.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on Giving back

Coloring Contest Winners

Coloring Contest winning entry by Kirk Mollien, age 9.

Coloring Contest winning entry by Kirk Mollien, age 9.

The force was strong this year with those who dared to enter into our 2015 Cedar Springs Post Christmas Coloring contest (say that three times!) Children from Cedar Springs and beyond grabbed their trusty crayons, markers and set about creating the best, most colorful Christmas tree in an effort to win the coveted Star Wars Droid featured in the most recently released film, The Force Awakens.

StarWars-BB8-droidCongrats go to 9-year-old Kirk Mollien of Kent City for taking home the winning prize. Good job Kirk! The creative force is strong in you.

Only one lucky winner was chosen out of the nine finalists in three different age groups. Although there was only one prize-winner, Santa said he’d stop by and give us consolation gifts for the eight other finalists. Thanks Santa!

Our finalists were:

Hannah Sevey, age 5, of Cedar Springs

Lauren Coblentz, age 6, of Cedar Springs/Brown Deer, WI

Jacob Totten, age 7, of Kent City

Austin Castle, age 10, of Cedar Springs

William Miller, age 10, of Cedar Springs

Cloe Shoffner, age 11, of Rockford

Eden Ader, age 12, of Sand Lake

Charlie Ellick, age 12, of Cedar Springs

Prizes may be picked up on Monday, December 28 or later.

Star Wars Droid is valued at $150. Sponsored by Northwest Kent Mechanical of Cedar Springs and area businesses like: All About Heating & Cooling, Gould’s Mini-Mart, Grand Rental Station, Hessel-Cheslek Funeral Home, Little Caesars, Robinson Septic, Rockford Ambulance.

Posted in Featured, Hometown HolidaysComments Off on Coloring Contest Winners