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Sparta Town & Country Days: July 18-21, 2018

Sparta Town & Country Days are soon upon us… click the link below to download the festival schedule or visit https://www.spartafair.com

Sparta Town N Country Days.pdf

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Group builds ramp for veteran, helps other vets

Purple Heart Michigan built this ramp for William Gregones on Saturday, July 7. Courtesy photo.

Solon Fire and members of Purple Heart Homes. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

Purple Heart Homes West Michigan Chapter and Team Depot made life easier for some of our veterans over the weekend.

On Saturday, July 7, the group met at the Cedarfield Community on 17 Mile Road, next to Meijer, to build their first Dale Beatty Memorial Ramp for U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran William Gregones. The also assisted three World War II veterans with cleaning up around their homes by trimming bushes, mowing the grass, cleaning out and raking flower beds, and power washing their homes.

According to spokesman Doug Pickel, they built the ramp to make it easier for Gregones to get in and out of his home. “That’s what Purple Heart Homes is all about, removing the barriers in their home to improve their quality of life,” explained Pickel.

While planning to build the ramp, he discovered through discussions with community manager Marilyn Doane that there were also three World War II veterans in the park: Tom Sharpe, Clarence Carlon, and Louis Milewski. 

“So I talked with Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 of Muskegon, as well as Combat Vets MC and Solon Township Fire and asked them for help with this random act of kindness for all four. The veterans were very happy for the company and hard work, but most of all the kindness and friendship of the whole day,” remarked Pickel.

Solon Township Fire posted about their experience helping with the project on their Facebook page. “It was a great experience that we were glad to be involved with in our community. Thanks to everyone who was a part of today’s experience,” they wrote.

The ramp was built in memory of Dale Beatty, a founder of Purple Heart Homes and a veteran. Courtesy photo.

The ramp was built in memory of Dale Beatty, one of the founders of Purple Heart Homes who passed away unexpectedly on February 12. “Dale always had a huge heart for our veterans, being a double amputee from the US Army himself, and one of my good friends. So we’re doing these wheelchair ramps in his honor, something he always wanted to do,” explained Pickel.

After the work was done, they held an ice cream social for everyone, and had a special cake for one of the veterans and his wife, Tom and Shirley Sharp, who celebrated their 64th anniversary July 10.

To follow what they are doing, like their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PHHWM/.

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Big Rapids bank robbed

This man is wanted in connection with a bank robbery in Big Rapids. Surveillance photo courtesy Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office.

by Judy Reed

UPDATE July 13: Police arrested the suspect in Chicago, Illinois earlier today, according to Mecosta County Sheriff Todd Purcell.

ORIGINAL STORY:

The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office is looking for the man who robbed a bank in Big Rapids Thursday. 

According to D/Sgt. Drew Nielsen, the robbery occurred at 12:48 p.m. July 12, 2018, at the Isabella Bank on Perry Street in Big Rapids Township. A white male in his late twenties demanded money from the bank staff, then fled in a dark blue vehicle (possibly a four-door Volkswagon) with an undisclosed amount of cash. 

The man is described as about 5 feet 5 inches tall, medium build, brown hair, brown beard, and wearing glasses. According to the Big Rapids Pioneer, police have identified the suspect as Nicholas Max Nelson, 23, of Newaygo. Anyone who knows where the suspect is hiding out is asked to contact Meceola Central Dispatch at 231-796-4811.

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July Summer celebration starts next week

Are you ready to have some fun next week? The Cedar Springs Community Summer Celebrations for July runs July 16-22, and offers a little something for everyone!

Some of the events include archery for tweens at the Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club (a Cedar Springs Public Library event); Bike nights, live music, and a farmer’s market at the Cedar Springs Brewing Company; Salsa dancing at Kin of Hope Natural Health Dance and Fitness Studio; a painting class at the CS Library; fun in the park with a bounce house and water balloon toss; movie at the Kent Theatre—Ocean’s Eight; sidewalk sales; concerts in the Heart of Cedar Springs, and more. See their ad click here for dates, times and locations, and follow their Cedar Springs Community Summer Celebrations Facebook page for any schedule changes.

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New superintendent takes the reins

Superintendent Scott Smith begins a new era in Cedar Springs. Post photo by J. Reed.

by Judy Reed

Scott Smith, the new superintendent at Cedar Springs Public Schools, is ready to take on the challenge of building trust, collaboration, and healing within the district. “I’m excited,” he said.

Smith took over on July 1 from interim superintendent Mark Dobias.

So how does Smith plan to proceed? He said he plans to first start getting to know staff. “It’s about having conversations with people, getting a sense of their needs, and how we can best serve their work,” he explained. “Conversations with an elementary principal will be different than conversations with a grounds supervisor.”

Smith sees his role as someone that helps people maximize their talent, time, and ambition. “We need to make sure people have what they need to be wildly successful,” he explained.

He knows some people on staff and in the community will want to get things off their chest. He said that the healing piece would start with him listening. “I’ll listen to better understand the whys behind the way people felt; apologize for the district in cases where it’s needed; and take action to correct that,” he said.

What is Smith’s favorite thing about being an educator? “Educators help people to connect their gifts and talents to make a difference in their community and other people’s lives,” he explained. He said that he worked at Prince for a time, and learned things there that he still takes with him—things like putting others first, and adding to the bottom line. “There it was adding to the profit margin, but that’s what’s so cool about this work—here you are adding to the bottom line of a human being.”

Smith was born in Kalamazoo, but the family moved to Jackson when his dad, who worked for Consumers Energy, was transferred. So he grew up there, and graduated from Jackson Northwest High School. He came back to this side of the state when he attended Western Michigan University, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics/Earth Science in 1998. He has stayed in West Michigan ever since, working at Holland Public Schools as a middle school science teacher; at Hamilton Community Schools as both an assistant Jr./Sr. high principal and middle school principal; and then Asst. Superintendent of Human Resources at Hudsonville.

Smith said that Cedar Springs has been on his radar as a district he would love to work in for some time. He applied for the Superintendent job in 2014 as well. “I was incredibly selective in the districts I applied to,” he explained. “Kent and Ottawa County is the best place in the world. I didn’t want to leave this part of the planet.”

Smith noted that he didn’t let the problems the district was having scare him away. “Everyone I talked to about Cedar Springs said that yeah, they might be going through a tough time, but that Cedar was known for its strength and richness of community,” he said.

Smith and his wife Sarah are currently getting their house in Hamilton ready to sell so that they can move to Cedar Springs. The couple has been married since 2001 and has two boys, ages 25 and 22, who are on their own. “We felt like it was a good time to reestablish roots somewhere else,” he said.

Sarah works at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital as a schoolteacher and liaison to patients there. She both teaches children and has teams of volunteers she oversees that come in to help.

Smith said that he plans to be active in the community, and get to know residents, by engaging in things like Rotary, the Chamber, and other groups. “Living here will be a big help,” he said.

He is also always open to talking with people. He said that people can reach him however they think best—through the suggestion box on the website, through email, or they can call the office. If they want to meet, he can do that. He also plans to be on hand at school activities such as band concerts, plays, and sporting events.

What would Smith like to say to residents in the district?

“Thank you for this opportunity to serve. If you have a question, reach out to us—to our teachers, principals, and district. It’s our job to take care of the needs of this community from an educational perspective. Let us know how we can help you.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Solon receives opportunity for matching grant for park

Solon Township’s Velzy Park Committee received some exciting news recently. The committee, under the direction of Solon Township, has been attempting to raise funds to complete Phase One of Velzy Park, which includes a playground and restroom facility. The park is located behind the Township office at 15185 Algoma Ave.

Recognizing the need, a Solon Township family has pledged $25,000 as a matching grant in an effort to finance the restroom. The planned structure is slated to be a 3-season unisex unit, which will be open to the public during park hours. In order to fully utilize the grant, the committee will need to acquire an additional $25,000 in donations. They are planning various fundraisers and looking into creating a gofundme page in an effort to match the grant.

The committee is asking for your help. Timing is limited, as the window for the matching grant closes on October 31, 2018.  If you would like to make a contribution, or to volunteer at events, please call the Solon Township office at 696-1718. Watch our facebook page or the Post for upcoming events.

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Artists, authors, and you

This work of art by artist Nancy Clouse are on display in the Cedar Springs Public Library. Courtesy photos.

This work of art by artist Nancy Clouse are on display in the Cedar Springs Public Library. Courtesy photos.

Have you seen the art work on display in the new library?

There is a continually changing art exhibit sponsored by the Cedar Springs Public Library, and it’s currently featuring the works of Nancy Clouse. These are oil and collage on particle board paintings titled “Return of Alice” (Alice in Wonderland) and “Tulip Festival Klompen Dancers.” 

Nancy Clouse graduated in Art Education from MSU in 1960. She taught art from elementary to college level students, including exhibiting in local shows such as the Methodist Church Celebration of the Arts; the Grand Rapids yearly Art Festival exhibition; Lowell’s West Michigan Regional; and the Muskegon Regional. Many of her works are in private collections. Since retiring, she is enjoying the continued learning and teaching involved in providing tours as a docent at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Nancy says that, “After teaching art for more than 30 years, I continue to be interested in many different media. I am currently interested in combining literary works or phrases with abstract or semi-abstract imagery. I like to entice the viewer to find details that relate to the historic or literary idea expressed in the work.”

The new installations will be on display at the Cedar Springs Library through the end of August, but come early to see these intriguing paintings. 

The Artists, Authors & You! Program will continue to offer the community new works of art each quarter of the year. If you’re an artist who is interested in participating in the program, or you own a piece of art you’d like to share with the community, please come into the library to obtain a “Request to Participate” form or send your information to:

Artists, Authors & You!

Cedar Springs Community Library 

107 North Main Street

Cedar Springs, MI 49319 

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Two crashes in two days

 

This crash occurred at 15 Mile and Shaner Ave on Sunday, July 8, when a motor home hit a Volvo. Photo courtesy of Ron Parker.

By Judy Reed

There were two crashes in just over 48 hours at a rural intersection in Courtland Township this week.

The first crash occurred at 15 Mile Rd and Shaner Ave on Sunday, July 8, at about 12:25 p.m. According to Deputy Tim Essig, with traffic and safety at the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred when an 80-year-old from Whitmore Lake, Michigan, who was traveling westbound on 15 Mile Rd, ran the stop sign at Shaner Avenue and collided with a Volvo station wagon driven a by a 52-year-old from Grand Rapids. Neither driver was injured.

This crash occurred at 15 Mile and Shaner Ave on Tuesday, July 10, when a Ford Focus ran the stop sign and was hit by a Dodge Ram truck. Photo courtesy of Ron Parker.

The second crash occurred on Tuesday, at 5:53 p.m. Deputy Essig said that the crash occurred when a 61-year-old woman from Grand Rapids, who was traveling eastbound on 15 Mile in a Ford Focus, failed to stop at the stop sign at Shaner Avenue and was hit by a 21-year-old Cedar Springs man driving a 2010 Dodge Ram. The drivers only suffered minor injuries. Neither were transported to the hospital. 

Both Courtland Fire and Rockford Ambulance assisted at the scenes of both crashes.

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Year’s second Adopt-A-Highway cleanup coming

Motorists should be on the lookout beginning Saturday as thousands of Adopt-A-Highway volunteers fan out along state roadways from Calumet to Kalamazoo picking up litter. Participants in the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) program will clean highway roadsides from July 14 to 22 during the second of three scheduled pickups this year.

Every year, Adopt-A-Highway volunteers regularly collect 65,000 to 70,000 bags of trash. The popular program began in 1990 and has grown to involve more than 2,800 groups cleaning 6,300 miles of highway.

Getting involved in the program is straightforward. Volunteers include members of civic groups, businesses and families. Crew members have to be at least 12 years old and each group must include at least three people. Groups are asked to adopt a section of highway for at least two years. There is no fee to participate. Adopt-A-Highway signs bearing group names are posted along the stretches of adopted highway.

When working in a highway right of way, Adopt-A-Highway volunteers wear high-visibility, yellow-green safety vests required by federal regulations. MDOT provides free vests and trash bags, and arranges to haul away the trash.

Sections of highway are available for adoption all over the state. Interested groups can get more information on joining the program at www.michigan.gov/adoptahighway.

The year’s final Adopt-A-Highway pickup is scheduled for the fall, from Sept. 22 to 30.

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Consumer Alert: Smishing

 

Smishing, a blending of the words SMS and phishing, is when scammers send text messages pretending to be from trusted sources

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced this week that his Consumer Protection team has released a new consumer alert on “Smishing.” Smishing is when a scammer sends text messages to consumers appearing to be from a trusted source.

Smishing scams are like phishing scams for emails except they arrive as text messages. The scammer’s goal is for consumers to respond to the texts with personal information or to click on links that install malware.

“Dishonest individuals are always trying to find new ways to obtain our personal information,” said Schuette. “My Consumer Protection team continually works to stay current on the latest scams, so they can make sure Michigan residents are aware of these scams and know how to identify the scams and avoid them.”

With more than 20 billion text messages sent every day in the United States, a growing number of those are from thieves trying to scam consumers. Smartphone users are three times more likely to fall for fake text messages than computer users, therefore text message scams are on the rise. 

Common Smishing Scam

A common smishing tactic involves a text warning about a problem with one of your accounts and asking for your information to correct it.

In addition, some scammers, will pitch offers that seem too good to be true such as promises of free gifts and trips.

It is important to not respond to these texts, either by clicking on a link or providing information. You may download malware or become an identity theft victim.

The easiest way to avoid being scammed: delete the message.

How to Spot Smishing Scams

It is important to look out for the following: 

* A text message that appears to be your bank and states there is a problem with your account. A phone number is listed for you to call right away;

* A text message from an unknown sender asking for you to call a number, click on link or respond with personal information;

* A text message that reads: “REAL ROLEX 90% OFF, click here.”; and

* A text message that says, “click here,” enter “x,” or reply “stop” to opt out of future messages.

How to Prevent Smishing Scams

* Don’t respond to any suspicious numbers. Instead once you report it, delete the text and block the number;

* Don’t share your phone number unless you know the person or organization well;

* Beware of the fine print in user agreements for products or services that may use your phone number, like mobile apps and free ring-tone offers;

* NEVER follow a text’s instructions to push a designated key to opt out of future messages; and

* Report scam texts to the Federal Communications Commission online, by phone 888-225-5322; or by mail: FCC Consumer Complaints, 445 12th Street S.W., Washington D.C. 20554.

What You Need to Know

Neither the State of Michigan nor the federal government will contact you via text message. Federal law makes it illegal to send commercial text messages to a mobile device without the recipient’s permission. This law even applies if you haven’t put your name on a “Do-Not-Call-List.” Downloading apps and ringtones on your smartphone put you more at risk for your number to get in the hands of scammers. It is important to read the terms of agreement carefully before downloading anything to your device. 

REPORT FRAUD

If you are a mobile subscriber with AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or Bell you can report spam texts to your carrier by copying the text and forwarding it to 7726 free of charge.

If you cannot use 7726, then consumers can report smishing texts to your service provider and the Federal Communications Commission

Learn more about robocalls, phone scams, and government imposters with our Consumer Education materials, including our Consumer Alerts on Michigan Telemarketing Laws and Telemarketing Fraud. 

To report a scam, file a complaint, or get additional information, contact the Michigan Department of Attorney General:

CONSUMER PROTECTION DIVISION

P.O. Box 30213 Lansing, MI 48909

517-373-1140

Fax: 517-241-3771

Toll free: 877-765-8388

To file a complaint online, go to michigan.gov/ag/ and then click on “about,” and then “duties,” and then “complaints.”

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