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Ranger Steve Mueller answers the call

By Judy Reed

Ranger Steve Mueller, local naturalist and columnist for the Post, passed away Thursday, June 16.

On Thursday, June 16, Steven Joel Mueller, 72, a local naturalist better known to readers as Ranger Steve, completed his circle of life and said goodbye to the earth he had so fondly nurtured and cared for.

Ranger Steve was a longtime contributor to the Post with his Nature Niche columns, opening the eyes of his readers to the wonders of nature and challenging us all to be better stewards of God’s creation.

EARLY LIFE

Steve’s fascination with nature began at an early age. In his column, The Making of a Naturalist, he revealed the beginnings of his interactions with wildlife.

“Before I was five, we found a turtle and placed it in a confined pen in the backyard. Maybe we were going to keep it as a pet. My mother discovered it missing and learned I released it. It wandered off to live free and happy. I do not recall if that was my intent or if I got it out of the pen and it escaped. We had a chameleon and a goldfish that died because they received inadequate care. Those were difficult lessons that were hardest on the animals. Proper care for life was developing…A squirrel entered and left a tree cavity. I climbed the tree and felt babies in the hollow. I dropped naked blind squirrels to my friend Jimmy who caught them. I planned to raise them but mom said no and to put them back in the nest. We did and hopefully the mother reared them. I was learning how to live with nature.”

He said that scientific inquiry began before age five. “I can recall the timeline because we moved to a new home after ours burned. I pushed a metal paper clip into an electric wall socket in our first house. I got a U-shaped burn on my thumb and it burned a paperclip shape into the wood floor. It was the first time I thought I died.”

Mueller grew up in Saginaw, and graduated from Arthur Hill High School. He was active in cub and boy scouts. Through Camp Rotary, he was exposed to nature and developed naturalist skills.  In 1958, his family took a trip out west to national parks. It was life changing for Steve. “We experienced bears in parks and fed deer salt from our hands…I was greatly impressed when I met a park ranger at Glacier National Park. It was then I decided I wanted to become a ranger,” he said.

PROFESSIONAL LIFE

This moth species, “Brilliant Virgin Tiger Moth,” or Grammia brillians, was discovered in Southern Utah by Ranger Steve Mueller. Courtesy photo.

Mueller held several different jobs related to the nature field over the years. He was a high school science teacher in Alpena, Michigan, Dry Ridge, Kentucky, and Kenosha, Wisconsin; and while teaching in Manistique in the 1980s, Mueller discovered a breeding colony of butterflies previously unknown in Michigan called the Northern Blue. He was also an urban forester for Dow Chemical in Midland; a state park ranger in Traverse City; a ranger/naturalist at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, the same place he later iscovered a new species of moth—the Brilliant Virgin Tiger Moth; a teacher at Jordan College in Cedar Springs; and did some adjunct college teaching at Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State University.

Many know him best as the director of Howard Christiansen Nature Center for over 20 years. When that temporarily closed in 2005, Lowell Schools hired him to direct the program at the Wittenbach/Wege Agri-Science Environmental Center. He retired from there in 2008 due to bone cancer. Besides those programs, Mueller has been President of the Grand Rapids Audubon Club, President for the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education, West Michigan Butterfly Association, and Grand Rapids Camera Club.

Ranger Steve won the Thomas Say Naturalist Award in 2015. Courtesy photo.

He has won many awards, including the prestigious Thomas Say Naturalist Award for Excellence in 2015. “It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by colleagues,” Mueller told the Post at the time. “Colleagues throughout my career mentored me and made it possible for me to excel. I have worked diligently to become competent in a broad spectrum of natural history subjects and to hone interpretive skills.”

FAMILY LIFE

Mueller met his future wife, Karen, at Bemidji University, when she was an undergraduate and he was a grad student. They spent time together while working in the Lutheran Campus Ministry there.

“Karen and I spoke personal wedding vows on Aug. 10, 1977 by Water Canyon Falls (in Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah) and our official wedding was on Sept. 10, 1977,” wrote Mueller. “Twenty-three years later I discovered the new species at the site in August 2005. A Lepidopterists said I am likely the only person on Earth to discover a new species at the site where I previously spoke wedding vows.”

The couple had two children, Jenny Jo and Julianne. I asked them what it was like growing up with a naturalist for a dad. Karen laughed and said that by two-years old, Jenny Jo had learned 200 animal cards. “You could ask her to find a certain animal and she’d pull it out.”

The girls had this to say: “Growing up with a naturalist for a dad meant that our phone was always ringing with questions about our natural world, while we spent many days as a family hiking, camping, and enjoying Creation. He taught us young to love all creatures, that none were lesser or greater than others.  Whether plant or animal, all are ‘people.’  He taught us to think critically about the world.  And he taught us love.”

I also asked what he was most proud of. Jenny Jo and Karen told me about an international conference he went to, where they had trivia over dinner, mostly about butterflies. And the question came up, “Who is Steve Mueller?”

“There were many experts there, but he is the only one they singled out to recognize,” said Jenni Jo.

“He had a significant impact,” said Karen. “They might not know who Steve Mueller is, but they know who Ranger Steve is.”

They said he was once recognized by someone in Costa Rica. “It was just a random chance,” they said.

Ranger Steve leading a group at Howard Christensen Nature Center. Courtesy photo.

Surrounding his home, he established Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, a nature preserve for enhancing biodiversity and cultivating native species. The site is a hotspot for birds and butterflies. Rare federally threatened American Chestnut trees live in the sanctuary, including the largest one most people have seen. With the support of the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, the sanctuary has recently acquired a conservation easement ensuring that the land cannot be developed.

Ranger Steve welcomed visitors who valued and respected the needs of plants and animals. Many local nature groups made regular field trips to the sanctuary, and college interns gained work experience under his guidance. The sanctuary not only provided purpose for his life but was essential medicine while combating Multiple Myeloma, as important as his chemotherapy treatments and bone marrow transplants.

People are still welcome to come to visit the sanctuary, as long as Karen is home. Just park in the driveway at 13010 Northland Drive and call 616-696-1753.

Ranger Steve had been battling multiple myeloma, for 25 years, and fought it bravely. He created a bucket list while on hospice and managed to complete each task. I asked if there was anything he had  wanted to accomplish, but didn’t get a chance to. What was his heart’s desire?

“His parting thought was that 1,000 lifetimes are inadequate to provide service for the benefit of others or for project completion, so carry on his efforts to ensure future generations inherit a sustainable planet. Make your actions for ‘we’ and not ‘me’ and you will enjoy a prosperous purpose and meaning for your life.”

Godspeed Ranger Steve. You were a great example of how to be a good steward of God’s creation..

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Goodbye Mr. Horowitz

Steve Horowitz with his horse, Isabel.

by Lois Allen

The heartbeat of Red Flannel Country skipped a beat with the passing of one of its most infamous residents, Steve Horowitz. It was unforeseen and unexpected.

Steve’s infectious enthusiasm was contagious. He approached life with a passion.  A Grand Rapids native, he furthered his education at Western Michigan University, eventually landing a teaching job at Cedar Springs schools. For two and a half decades, until his retirement, his passion for teaching was great. He educated literally hundreds of Cedar Springs children. His unconventional style for teaching made learning fun. His students loved him and many others wanted to be in his class. And it seemed that he remembered every single one of them. You couldn’t walk down Main Street without someone honking their horn in greeting with a wave for their former teacher. And he would know exactly who it was! “That’s so-and-so…They were in my class,” he’d say.

Adopted as a baby to a Jewish family, he was raised Jewish but ultimately embraced the Amish Community in his later years.

He adopted Cedar Springs as his—the people, the town, and all things Cedar Springs. Steve enjoyed nature and the beauty of it, which kept him trekking up to Mackinaw Island where he spent much of his time in the summer. He would write down and memorize all the people he encountered there. He never forgot your name. He would see the “special” part of you, and you would truly feel special when you were with him, because to Steve, you were.

You couldn’t know Steve without the experience of his hugs. Big hugs! After one, the faint smell of his aftershave would linger reminding you throughout the day that you had gotten a Horowitz hug. This reporter has had many Horowitz hugs and I could use one right now.

Steve made national headlines when he displayed a huge sign in his front yard asking for “Wife Wanted” which was featured in the Rockford Squire, The Cedar Springs Post, on Good Morning America and other news networks. Although he never found a wife, he had many friendships with women, as well as guys, but the longest relationship he had with a female was with his horse, Isabel. Don’t know the story on how this city-slicker ended up with a horse, but it’s not surprising as he was a bonified rescuer of animals in need. He was dedicated to her until the end of her horse life at a staggering 35 years old.

He kept Isabel while he resided in the big blue house on the hill next to Cedar Springs Public Schools. After she died, he sold the home, which was ultimately torn down. Later, he purchased the old school house in Coral where he lived with his many rescues. Len Allington and his wife, Kim, long-time friends, took those rescues and will do their best to find loving forever homes for them. Allington is also in the process, along with volunteers, to mount a special memorial event for him here in Cedar Springs.

Steve also founded the Horowitzonion Institute. Not sure what that is, but you can always Google it and see! One never needed TicTok when around him. He was one big, long TicTok video wherever he went. He was civic minded and would fight for causes he believed in.  This reporter accompanied him to many protests and fundraising events, and if he was there, it was a party! Steve had a great heart and worked every day to make the world around him a little better. 

His perpetual kindness affected others in a big way and will be a great loss (click here to read story).

He sent me a special text when my mother passed away, and it meant a lot to me. Click here to read.

Steve Abe Horowitz touched so many people in such a big way. The fact that he will never know how much is sad. It’s sad that he never really knew…

Read more about Steve Horowitz in his obituary, click here to view.

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Man killed in crash

A man was killed in this crash when his Jeep left the roadway and hit a tree. Courtesy photo.

A 51-year-old Edmore man died Monday morning when the Jeep he was driving struck a tree.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred about 11:34 a.m. on Monday, June 13, on Crystal Road, at Lake Montcalm Rd, in Richland Township.

When deputies arrived on scene, they found that a 2015 Jeep Cherokee had struck a tree head-on. Their investigation showed that the driver, a 51-year-old man from Edmore, was traveling southbound on Crystal Rd, and did not negotiate the curve at Lake Montcalm Rd. Instead, the Jeep continued south, left the road to the left, and struck a large tree. 

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police do not believe speed was a factor in the crash. There were no indications the driver was under influence of alcohol or controlled substances. He was not wearing a seatbelt.

Assisting with the crash was Montcalm County Central Dispatch, Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services, and Richland Township Fire Department.

The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

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County restructures animal shelter and operations

Changes reflect best practices in animal welfare and public safety

Grand Rapids, Mich. (June 14, 2022) Kent County will soon restructure its animal shelter and animal control operations. On July 1, the animal shelter will move out from under the Kent County Health Department and will be structured as a stand-alone county department reporting directly to the administration. At the same time, animal control operations will be reassigned to a dedicated, specially trained team at the Kent County Sheriff’s Office.

“Best practices in animal welfare and animal control are Kent County’s top priority in restructuring these operations,” said Kent County Administrator Al Vanderberg. “We consulted subject matter experts and community members and commissioned extensive research into county-level animal shelter and animal control operations before recommending these changes. These decisions are data-driven and reflect nationwide best practices in animal welfare, as well as public safety.”

Kent County Animal Control

Animal control will be reassigned to the Sheriff’s Office because these operations are largely a function of law enforcement. The team will be led by certified law enforcement officers including a KCSO Enforcement Division lieutenant and two Enforcement Division sergeants who will oversee daily operations and staff. Staff will include a civilian animal control supervisor and civilian special deputies who will be supported by community outreach, media relations and training staff already at the Sheriff’s Office.

At a meeting on June 9, the Kent County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved recommendations from its Legislative and Human Resources Committee and Finance and Physical Resources Committee to create and fund the three full-time animal control unit supervisors at the Sheriff’s Office.

“For years, KCSO officers have worked cooperatively with Kent County animal control officers in response to calls and to carry out the law enforcement aspects of these operations,” said Kent County Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young. “With these changes, animal control operations will be led by sworn law enforcement officers trained to provide oversight and to protect due process in rapidly unfolding legal and civil rights matters.”

While the animal control officers will be civilian positions and will not have arresting authority, the certified Sheriff’s deputies in the animal control unit will have authority to make arrests when there is cause to believe a crime has been committed.

To prepare for these changes, the Sheriff’s Office is developing a new Kent County Animal Control Ordinance to replace the Kent County Health Department Animal Control Regulations that have been on the books for over 20 years. Starting July 1, the new ordinance will apply anywhere in the county where local city, township or village ordinances are not already in place. Existing local ordinances will supersede the Kent County Animal Control Ordinance.

How and When to Contact Animal Control

If a Kent County resident encounters an animal emergency—an animal is attacking a person, or a pet is in immediate danger—they should call 911. Otherwise, residents should call the Kent County Sheriff’s Department dispatch at (616) 632-7310 if they encounter a stray dog, in the case of a dog bite, or to report a suspected case of animal cruelty or neglect.

Kent County Animal Shelter

With the restructuring announced today, the Kent County Animal Shelter will maintain primary responsibility for the care, shelter and feeding of lost and abandoned animals in Kent County. The change in reporting directly to the administration will allow the Kent County Health Department to focus more exclusively on human health.

“Our mission hasn’t changed. We remain keenly focused on reuniting pets with their families and finding safe and loving new homes for animals when needed,” said Kent County Animal Shelter Director Angela Hollinshead. “We value the assistance that many community leaders and animal welfare agencies have provided in support of that mission and of the animals in our care over the past several years. We look forward to working with these leaders and organizations to formalize and increase community support in the months ahead.”

Following the restructuring, County administration and the animal shelter will explore the possibility of establishing a foundation and “friends group” to increase financial and volunteer support for the shelter.

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Summer reading kicks off at the library

Cedar Springs Public Library kicked off their summer reading program with a special Facebook event.

Summer Reading Program Launch Day at the Cedar Springs Public Library was a grand success!  This past Monday, June 13, the Library started their “Oceans of Possibilities” themed Summer Reading Program, which is open to babies through adults. On Monday, 425 people registered, and numbers continue to increase throughout the week.  As an incentive to register during Launch Week (June 13th – June 18th), anybody that signs up will be automatically entered into a raffle to possibly win a John Ball Zoo Family Membership to use this summer! One lucky winner will be announced on June 20th so be sure to sign up for a chance to win.  To register for the Summer Reading Program, visit https://cedarsprings.readsquared.com/ or download the READsquared app.  

The Cedar Springs Public Library will be offering a Comic Art event on June 20 from 2-3 p.m., and an Animal Magic event on June 28 from 1:30pm-2:30pm.  Both events will be held at the Library, free to attend, open to all ages and no registration is required.  For more details about their Summer Reading Program, to see a full list of events or to sign up for select programs, visit their website at cedarspringslibrary.org. You can also see their launch video on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CedarSpringsPublicLibrary.

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Pickleball season kicks off

Approximately 50 area residents recently gathered for the 2022 Cedar Springs Pickleball Kick-off at the newly renovated courts located just north of the Cedar Springs Public School’s (CSPS) administration offices. 

All four of the courts were enjoyed after a brief welcome and expression of appreciation to Cedar Springs Public Schools and the many community volunteers. CSPS has allowed community volunteers to refurbish the old tennis courts into new pickleball courts. The Community Building Development Team was acknowledged for their recent donation to this community project. 

Attendees included Kevin Klecha, from Panama, who is residing in the area for the summer; City Councilor Rose Powell and her grandson Turner Powell; and many others of all ages. Snacks were enjoyed while people visited between games. 

Pickleball lessons for new players are being offered through the North Kent Community Enrichment (NKCE) that began 

June 13. Check their website or call for details. To find out when people are playing in Cedar Springs just download the GroupMe app or check on www.PlayTimeSchuduler.com. Or, if you have questions, please call Sue Wolfe 616.696.8432.

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BBB Scam Warning

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina 🇺🇦 on Unsplash

New sextortion scam making its rounds on social media, preying on teens

BBB Serving Eastern Michigan is warning against a new sextortion scam making its rounds on social media, preying on Michigan teens. BBB first heard of this scam in a news article where a seventeen-year-old from Marquette, MI, committed suicide after being the victim of the scam, which has now made its way to the lower peninsula.

How does the scam work?

A teen receives a friend request from an attractive stranger on social media. They appear to be similar in age and have similar interests, so the teen accepts the request. What is really happening is the scammer has first researched the teen by looking at their social media accounts and finding their interests, they then create a fake profile for another teen with similar interests. Once the victim friends the scammer, they create a relationship, eventually sending a nude photo of the fictitious teenager, asking for one in return. Once the scammer receives the nude photo, they then blackmail the victim, threatening to share the photo with friends and family if they don’t pay. Once the victim pays, they ask for more money and the harassment continues.

According to the Daily Press, in the case of the Marquette teen, the scammers released the photos, once he stopped responding.

“This is a very scary social media scam that is affecting our youth,” said Melanie Duquesnel, BBB president and CEO. “Once the photo has been sent, it’s impossible to get back. These scammers are very savvy and use your interests against you to create a fictitious person you can connect with. That’s why it’s so important to prevent scammers from finding as much information about you as possible.”

BBB Serving Eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula has the following tips to help protect you from social media scams.

Too hot to be true. Scammers offer up good-looking photos and tales of financial success. Be honest with yourself about who would be genuinely interested. If they seem “too perfect,” your alarm bells should ring.

Don’t friend people you’ve never met. It is easy to want to accept every friend request that you receive on social media, but scammers will often use social media to gain access to your personal information. Regardless of what a person’s social media says, if you have mutual friends, went to the same school, etc. don’t friend someone you have not met in person.  

Share with care. Posts on social media last a long time. Consider who will see the post, how it might be perceived by readers, and what information it might reveal about the individual posting it. 

Manage privacy settings. Check the privacy and security settings on web services and apps and set them to your comfort level for information sharing. Each device, application or browser used will have different features to limit how and with whom you share information.

Implement two-factor authentication on accounts and devices. This adds another layer of security to your logins. Two-factor authentication sends a code to your phone or email to check the account owner is the one logging in.

Consider a password manager. A written list works, but if you’re worried about losing it, type up an electronic list and label it as something other than “PASSWORDS.” Keep the list updated and organized as well as secretive. Avoid keeping the list on the device, as it will only make it easier for the thief to access the apps and personal data stored on it.

Still not convinced? Consider a reputable password manager to store your information. These easy-to-access apps store all your password information and security question answers, in case you ever forget. However, don’t forget to use a strong password to secure the information within your password manager.

Personal info is like money: Value it. Protect it. Personal information, such as purchase history, IP address, or location, has tremendous value to businesses – just like money. Make informed decisions about whether or not to share data with certain businesses by considering the amount of personal information they are asking for and weighing it against the benefits you may receive in return.

Look closely at the content. Scammers and spreaders of false information often fill their feeds with stock images, memes or other recycled images that are not original. Scroll through and see how far back their posts go, if it is only a couple of days, that’s a huge red flag.  They may use profile pictures that are not of an actual person, or simply an avatar. Be wary of accounts with no original images. Posts that contain no written content at all, or written content with many spelling or grammatical errors, could be signs of a fake account as well.

Regardless of whether your social media is private, there are other ways scammers can gain access to your personal information. They can send you phishing links that, when you click on them, it downloads malware to your device, giving them access to anything on it, which is what has happened to other victims. If it’s not something you want falling into the wrong hands, be wary about storing it on your device.

For more tips on how to secure your social media and protect yourself from scams, visit bbb.org.

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Construction to start soon on city projects

By Judy Reed

While many are already familiar with the reconstruction of the bridge over Cedar Creek at Oak Street, there are two other projects set to begin within the next couple of weeks.

On or about July 5, 2022 there will be construction work beginning in the following locations:

Main St. and Cedar Springs Ave., from 18 Mile northward. They will be installing utilities for Phase 2 of the White Pine Trails neighborhood at 14085 Cedar Springs Ave. It is expected to take about two weeks. The project as a whole is slated to continue into late October. According to Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack, this phase should not affect or increase any traffic inside either the Pines or Prairie Run neighborhoods, construction access remains off of Cedar Springs Ave.

Utility and road work on the south end of West St. The utility and road work is for the creation of a business park at the end of West St. The project is expected to last through the end of October. According to Womack, West St., north of the project area, should remain unaffected by construction, but the area will see increased construction traffic. The Skyhawks flying field is expected to remain open throughout most or all of the project.

More on the West St. project next week.

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Michiganders to receive additional food assistance in June

LANSING, Mich. –Gretchen Whitmer announced that all Michigan families who are eligible for food assistance benefits will continue to receive at least an additional $95 monthly payment in June to help lower the cost of groceries and ensure Michiganders can keep more of their hard-earned money. The additional assistance will help approximately 1.36 million Michiganders in more than 700,000 households. 

“Michiganders will continue to be able to put food on the table thanks to our ongoing partnership with the federal government. In addition to helping Michigan families lower their out-of-pocket food costs, this collaboration has helped us continue to grow our economy by returning federal dollars to Michigan,” said Governor Whitmer. “I know Michiganders need real relief right now, which is why I have put forward proposals to send a $500 rebate from our additional revenue back to working families and suspend the sales tax on gas to lower prices at the pump. I will work with anyone to lower costs for Michiganders and get things done that make a real difference in their lives.” 

In April 2020, some Michigan residents began receiving additional food assistance under this program. In May 2021, all eligible households began getting extra monthly benefits. Federal approval is necessary every month. 

Eligible clients who receive food assistance are seeing additional benefits on their Bridge Card from June 11-20. These benefits will be loaded onto Bridge Cards as a separate payment from the assistance provided earlier in the month. 

All households eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) receive an increase of at least $95 monthly, even if they are already receiving the maximum payment or are close to that amount. Households that received more than $95 to bring them to the maximum payment for their group size will continue to receive that larger amount. 

Below are the maximum allowable benefits for SNAP customers based on their respective household size: 

One Person: $250 

Two Persons: $459 

Three Persons: $658 

Four Persons: $835 

Five Persons: $992 

Six Persons: $1,190 

Seven Persons: $1,316 

Eight Persons: $1,504 

Secured by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow as Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, the federal government is providing additional funding to states for food assistance under House Resolution 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. 

Eligible families do not need to re-apply to receive the additional benefits. People who receive food assistance can check their benefits balance on their Michigan Bridge Card by going online to www.michigan.gov/MIBridges or calling a consumer service representative toll-free at 888-678-8914. They can ask questions about the additional benefits by calling or emailing their caseworker. 

Customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Spanish and Arabic service is available. If you are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing or speech-impaired, call the Michigan Relay Center at 7-1-1.

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Whitmer vetoes bipartisan Michigan tax-cut bills

Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Photo from state of Michigan.

By Bruce Walker | The Center Square 

(The Center Square) – Michigan’s personal income tax will remain 4.25% for the foreseeable future after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday, June 10, vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have lowered it to 4.0%.

House Bill 4568 and Senate Bill 784 were vetoed or, in the case of SB784, vetoed in effect on Friday. The bills were tie-barred, which means neither bill could pass without acceptance of the other bill under consideration.

According to a House Fiscal Analysis, the bills aimed to:

Reduce the individual income tax rate from 4.25% to 4.0% beginning Jan. 1.

Increase the personal exemption amount by $1,800, after inflation adjustments, beginning with the 2023 tax year.

Increase the earned income tax credit from 6% of the federal credit to 20% of the federal credit beginning with the 2022 tax year.

Provide a $500 nonrefundable child tax credit for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1.

Increase the standard deduction against all types of income for taxpayers who are 67 years old or older to $21,800 for a single return and $43,600 for a joint return beginning Jan. 1.

Require limitations on deduction amounts for certain taxpayers to be adjusted annually for inflation beginning with the 2024 tax year.

Provide a mechanism for the state to reimburse local units of government for the property tax exemption available to veterans classified as 100% disabled and their surviving spouses and extend those exemption provisions to include the surviving spouses of servicemembers killed in action.

Provide a credit of up to $2,000 (adjusted annually for inflation) for property taxes paid by veterans who are at least 50% disabled.

The costs of the bills would have been offset by the state’s $6 billion surplus.

Legislators noted with opprobrium the governor’s vetoes of their most recent attempts to lessen the one-two blows of inflation and high gasoline prices.

For example, Whitmer had also previously vetoed House Bill 5570, which would have imposed a moratorium on the state’s 27-cent-per-gallon gas tax from April 1 to Sept. 30.

“As opposed to the governor’s targeted relief tactics that will only result in more money being printed and worsening this economic crisis, our plan would have provided broad relief to all Michigan taxpayers during these extraordinary times of high inflation,” Rep. Steve Carra, R-Three Rivers, said in a statement. “Many of our neighbors cannot continue to bear the rising costs of gas and groceries, leading to both Democrats and Republicans supporting this plan. Our governor is simply choosing to work against our Legislature, and thus, not for the people of Michigan.”

The House and Senate had reached a compromise on Senate Bill 768 in early March, but it too was vetoed by the governor. As The Center Square reported, that bill would’ve included a reduction of the state’s corporate tax rate from 6% to 3.9%.

The bill also would have provided a $500 dependent child tax credit and more than tripled the Earned Income Credit. In addition, the bill would allow exemptions for income of individuals aged 62 and older on savings of $40,000 as a single filer, or $80,000 filing jointly, and expanded property tax relief for disabled veterans.

“High prices, raised by inflation, have distressed northern Michigan families and strained their budgets,” said Rep. Ken Borton, R-Gaylord. “While legislators approved a bipartisan, commonsense plan to save Michigan taxpayers their hard-earned dollars and cents, Governor Whitmer has again shown she is completely insensitive to the sting of inflation felt by working Michiganders.”

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A glimpse of Steve Horowitz

Post publisher and owner Lois Allen received this text from Steve Horowitz when her mother, Alice Allen, passed away a year ago, and it left a lasting impression on her.

To Lois Allen from Steve Horowitz via text: 

I am so sorry that I didn’t visit Alice more often. I still can see her face, hear her voice and hear her laugh. She and Roger did a fine job raising you children. Please have a public memorial service for her. The older I get the more sadness I feel. It is difficult for me to realize that I won’t see people that I know ever again. I shall always remember the care she gave your sister Chrisy. Her love and care that she gave to FLEA [my mother’s horse] for so many years is commendable.

Steve Horowitz, April 21, 2021

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Steve Horowitz: the raffle winner story

Not everyone knows this story about Steve Horowitz giving his raffle winnings to a college student while on Mackinac Island. The original story is below, with credit to the author and publication.

Second Place Raffle Winner Gives Winnings to Restaurant Hostess

June 20, 2019

By Allison Schuster

(This story was originally printed in the Town Crier, a weekly newspaper serving the Mackinac Island community, www.mackinacislandnews.com)

“We all just have to help each other out” is a motto that Steve Horowitz lives by. Driven by random acts of kindness, he chooses to share joy, and whatever else he can, everywhere he goes.

Sunday at the raffle drawing following the Lilac Festival’s Grand Parade, Mr. Horowitz won the second place prize of $3,000, and he split the money with the hostess who seated him at Mary’s Bistro Draught House, Hannah McKeen, who resembles a girl he once had in a class he taught. Before he entered the raffle, he asked for her name and wrote it on the ticket, thinking the kindness of sharing would bring them luck. Once his name was announced, he told Miss McKeen she won $1,500, and the surprised and overjoyed Ferris State sophomore burst into tears. This, in turn, brought Mr. Horowitz to tears.

“The big thing was her crying,” he said. “Just to see someone so happy, I’ve never seen such a thing. This girl is really happy and really deserves this.”

After going back to St. Ignace where he stayed for the night, Mr. Horowitz thought it over and determined he did not need the money as much as Miss McKeen. He asked Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau Executive Director Tim Hygh to give her the other $1,500. He didn’t want to do it himself because he knew he would get too emotional. Even telling the story of Miss McKeen to his friends, Mr. Horowitz said, might get him choked up remembering how happy she was.

He went to Western Michigan University, but school was much less expensive at that time, and he wanted Miss McKeen to have the chance to pay off her schooling.

Steve Horowitz’s love of Mackinac Island goes back to 1987 when he first sailed here and met Tom Walker, who worked at the marina. After going to the Island on vacation as a child, he determined that if he ever got a sailboat, he would sail to the Island. Mr. Walker helped him get his boat and the two became good friends. Because of this positive experience, Mr. Horowitz brought his entire 4th grade class, and their parents, from Cedar Springs Public Elementary School to the Island for field trips each year for seven years, until 1996. He retired the following year.

Now, he visits the Island for three days every month, and he credits all his trips to Mr. Walker. He keeps photographs in his house to honor his friend.

“As humans, we don’t know how we influence others,” he said, “but that man did a great thing.”

Beginning around 1993, Mr. Horowitz would take his inflatable boat and go camping on Round Island for 15 days. He said not enough people know about it and they should see how beautiful it is, so he took an ad out in the Town Crier to let people know. Back then, he said, Great Turtle Kayak Tours was not around to take people there.

He came up once a week during the summers of 1995 and 1996 and stayed at McNally Cottage, where the innkeeper also gave tours of the Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence. So Mr. Horowitz wanted to help her out and gave tours as well. Tours were only two hours, so he also volunteered his time at Fort Mackinac helping the archaeologist.

Since meeting Mr. Walker, he has met many wonderful people on the Island, he said. One of the memories he has is from one Fourth of July when he had the Town Crier interns on his sailboat to see the fireworks. They spotted a boat with no lights, went over, and helped the people with their dead battery. Afterward, the man on the boat offered to give Mr. Horowitz money, but he declined. He told the man, “we all just have to help each other out.”

“You have such a good feeling in your heart,” he says, “and if more people would do that, it would be a nicer place.”

On his most recent trip to the Island last weekend, Mr. Horowitz wrote down the names of all the people whose help he appreciated – the taxi driver, the ferry boat employees – so he would never forget them. He wrote the names on his hand and later transferred them to his phone. When he makes his monthly trips here, he likes to call them all by their name.

Mr. Horowitz recalled a show from the late 1950s, “The Millionaire,” in which a wealthy man had his butler seek out people who looked in need and gave those people money. Then the show would examine whether they were good or bad with the money. The show inspired Mr. Horowitz. He wants to have that ability to give to people who deserve money and will use it to better themselves.

One way he achieves this is through buying lottery tickets. Every week he buys lottery tickets and has the cashier or whoever else he thinks looks worthy sign it with him, as he did with Miss McKeen, and it brings him joy to pass money onto people who need it. The joy he receives, he said, is all he could ask for.

In part, he says, his philosophy springs from his upbringing. His parents adopted him as a child and exposed him to family and friends who he would not have met otherwise, and he said they are all giving people. Kindness is the hardest thing to give away because it always returns, Mr. Horowitz’s grandmother taught him. He found this to be true throughout his lifetime, and it drives him to do more good deeds.

His parents were Jewish and had connections through an agency to help refugees escape Nazi-occupied Austria during World War II by sponsoring them to come to the United States. They didn’t know any of the families before they arrived here, and part of the sponsorship involved helping the family find new lives here, so, at first, some of them lived with the Horowitz family. Mr. Horowitz later visited many of them and became family friends.

Years later, when the father of one of his students died, he discovered that her grandmother, grandfather, and parents were among those refugees from Austria that were sponsored by Mr. Horowitz’s parents.

It was acts like those of his parents that inspired him to lead a life of giving.

Other random acts of kindness Mr. Horowitz employs include leaving extra bridge tokens for the cars behind him when crossing the Mackinac Bridge and driving his Amish friends around, since they don’t drive cars.

“If more people would be kind, they could help a lot of people,” he said. 

(Steve Horowitz is a Grand Rapids native and the son of the late Sam and June Horowitz)

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