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Police seek info on shooting in mobile home park

By Judy Reed

Shots were fired in the early morning hours of December 12, in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates, striking several homes and vehicles, and police are asking anyone with information to come forward.

According to Sgt. Eric Brunner, with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a shots fired complaint in the 400 Block of Allan St NE in the City of Cedar Springs on December 12. Witnesses told investigators that several shots were heard in the area around 2:30 a.m. Witnesses also reported seeing some vehicles in the area at the time, but it is unknown if these vehicles were involved or not.  No one was injured during the incident and only damage to property occurred.

One person said he was walking on Main Street and heard it. “When I heard the shots go off, I was walking with some friends heading south on Main St. right next to the Vanderhyde Ford dealership. There were several bangs in rapid succession, then silence. Probably no more than three minutes later, a Kent County deputy pulled over next to us and asked if we had heard any gunshots. I believe he wrote down a statement, but our interaction was cut short when another deputy sped past on Main going towards the trailer park. The officer that was speaking with us promptly got in his vehicle and sped towards the scene, followed by more squad cars.”

One of the victims did not know about the shooting until a neighbor told them about it and then they later found damage from the bullet.  “We did not notice the damage to our property until Jan 9 when we were in our daughter’s room moving things around. Luckily she was not in her bed the night it happened or she would have been shot in the head.” They found a bullet hole in a bag of pop bottles on their daughter’s bed, and later found the bullet holes in the home. “It’s very scary and unsettling for sure,” the person said.

If you have any information on the shooting, you can submit an anonymous tip by calling Silent Observer at 1-616-774-2345, leaving a tip on their website at silentobserver.org, or using their app. You can also call the Kent County Sheriff’s Office detective bureau at (616) 632-6125 or leave a tip in their app.

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Two die in Montcalm crash

Two people were killed Monday, January 17, after a driver lost control during icy road conditions and hit another vehicle.

According to the Michigan State Police, troopers from the MSP Lakeview Post were dispatched to the scene at approximately 1:23 p.m. Monday on Sidney Road, east of Fitzner Road, Montcalm Township, Montcalm County. 

Their preliminary investigation showed that a 2002 Dodge pickup was traveling west bound on Sidney Road when the driver lost control on the icy roadway, crossed the centerline, and struck an eastbound 2009 Ford head-on.  The driver of the pickup, a 67-year-old female from Edmore, and the driver of the Ford, a 64-year-old male, also from Edmore, were both declared deceased on scene.  

The passenger in the Ford, a 66-year-old female from Edmore, was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.  

Troopers were assisted on scene by Life EMS, Montcalm EMS, Montcalm Township Fire, Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office, and MSP Sixth District Accident Reconstructionist.

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Soccer coach saves player’s life

Team decides to learn CPR to honor teammate

A Cedar Springs soccer team took a course in CPR last week after almost losing one of their teammates to a heart attack during a warm up session last fall.

In October 2021, the Cedar Springs Area Select Association (CASSA) ’07 boys team met at the Algoma Sports Plex, 10401 Algoma Ave, for a regular practice. But it was anything but normal.

The team, made up of 13 and 14-year-old boys, began running a warmup lap. Jeffrey Soules, 14, the son of Matt and Kristi Soules of Courtland Township, was running with his team when he started to slow down. The team runs the lap together and doesn’t leave anyone behind. The goalie dropped back to wait for Jeff but Jeff wasn’t able to keep up, and soon collapsed. The team quickly went into action, calling 911 and running to get the coach.  

Coach Adam Petty performed CPR on Jeff for several minutes, saving his life and drastically improving the overall outcome.  An on-call fire fighter arrived on the scene and administered an AED.  Additional emergency services arrived on scene moments later.

Jeff was taken via ambulance to Helen Devos Children’s Hospital where he received emergency care and treatment.  According to Jeff’s mom, Kristi, Jeff has a rare genetic heart disease, closest to a cardiomyopathy. He had a dual defibrillator / pacemaker implanted into his chest and has since miraculously been cleared to return to the soccer field and play with his teammates who ultimately saved his life.

“We are blessed to be a part of such a wonderful soccer family,” said Kristi. “We are humbled to have had the team do all they could that day to save Jeff’s life.”

The team has been supportive of Jeff and his family and of each other as they have endured this reality.  The teammates began to ask the coaches what they could do and wanted to learn CPR so that they could potentially save a life in the future.

So, on Wednesday, January 12, Jeff and his teammates took a three-hour CPR course to get their certification, compliments of Life EMS Ambulance. Jeff already had his certification through a swim class, but wanted to be there with his team.

The Post asked Coach Adam Petty how he felt about being able to help save Jeff. He told us that until the Life EMS training last week, he had no formal CPR training, other than during Boy Scouts, 45 years ago. “I was at the right place at the right time to help Jeff. I am very happy that I played a part in helping save him,” he said. 

Coach Petty was pleased the team wanted to learn CPR. “The boys did not like the feeling of being helpless. The CPR training was 100 percent their idea,” he explained. “I am very proud that their response to this situation was ‘How can I be prepared to help if this every happens again?’ We are a good soccer team made up of great young men.”

How do his parents feel about Jeff returning to soccer? “Jeff is young and his passion to play soccer alongside of being cleared for sports allows him to be back on the field with his teammates doing what he loves. #FaithoverFear,” said Kristi.

“It’s hard to talk about all of the feels!” she added. “(I’m) mostly relieved it’s over. It was scary and hard for the team to watch such an event occur. I’m just glad that the teammates want to learn more and be helpful if ever in a situation such as this again.”

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Cedar Springs Community Players choose One-Act Plays

The Cedar Springs Community Players have chosen the top five original one-act plays to be performed March 4, 5, and 6, 2022, at the Historic Kent Theatre in Cedar Springs, Michigan. Original entries were submitted from local and out-of-state playwrights. The plays chosen are:

“Always” by Dana Hall

“Back There” by Maripat Allen

“Beware the Ides of Mars” by Erin Osgood

“Hamlet & Eggs” by Scott Philips

“Xeirnon from Glixtar” by Maripat Allen

Also as part of the One Act Festival, the Community Players will present a featured piece by an up-and-coming 11-year-old local playwright, Olivia Wilbur. Olivia has participated in the Players’ summer kids musical for the past few years and is very passionate about theatre and storytelling. The Players are excited to work with her to put her idea on the stage.

The following five original one-act plays were runners up and the playwrights will receive a pair of tickets to any Cedar Springs Community Players Show in 2022 or 2023:

“Hurricane of Love” by Maripat Allen

“I Can Fly” by Gary Sironen

“Solemates” by Anthony Targan

“The Choice” by Denise Lemon Knapp

“The Substitute” by David Vander Zanden

The Cedar Springs Community Players thank all those who submitted their original works for consideration. The selected one acts will be performed at the Kent Theatre in Cedar Springs, Michigan on March 4, 5, 6, 2022.

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Kent District Library lends one million-plus ebooks and audiobooks in 2021

Top 60 public library system worldwide in total digital circulation 

Kent County, Michigan – Kent District Library (KDL) announced that it reached a record-breaking one million digital book checkouts in 2021. This milestone illustrates the continued growth and importance of library digital lending of ebooks and audiobooks, especially after a prolonged period of building closures due to the global pandemic. KDL is one of 121 public library systems worldwide that surpassed one million digital checkouts (complete list at https://company.overdrive.com/2022/01/12/over-120-library-systems-reach-1-million-digital-checkouts-in-2021/).

KDL has been providing readers 24/7 access to ebooks and audiobooks for several years through OverDrive, and more recently through the award-winning Libby library reading app. Reader interest and usage has grown every year.  

“Digital access continues to be the fastest growing segment of public library resources,” said Lance Werner, Executive Director of Kent District Library. “We’re thrilled to be able to meet people wherever they are, to provide them with books, movies, audiobooks and more.”

The highest-circulating title KDL readers borrowed in 2021 was The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. The top-circulating genre, romance, represents the most popular in a vast catalog that also includes mystery, biography & autobiography, children/young adult and more.  

The top five ebook titles borrowed through Kent District Library’s digital collection in 2021:  

1.  The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

2.  The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

3.  The Four Winds by Kirstin Hannah

4.  The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

5.  People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry  

The top five audiobook titles borrowed through Kent District Library’s digital collection in 2021:  

1.  The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

2.  Atomic Habits by James Clear

3.  The Guest List by Lucy Foley

4.  Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

5.  The Four Winds by Kirstin Hannah

KDL residents just need a valid library card to access digital books from KDL’s OverDrive-powered digital collection. You can use any major device, including Apple(R), Android™, Chromebook™ and Kindle(R) (U.S. only). Download the Libby app or visit kdl.overdrive.com/ to get started borrowing ebooks and audiobooks anytime, anywhere.  

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AG Nessel reissues consumer alert amid increase in fake COVID-19 test kits

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is amplifying new warnings related to reports of fake at-home COVID-19 tests being sold online. 

Both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently released warnings related to fraudulent tests, so Nessel is reissuing her Websites Selling COVID-Related Products That Are Fake or Never Arrive Consumer Alert to highlight important reminders for consumers. 

“As the pandemic continues to grip our nation, bad actors are finding new ways to take advantage of our current reality,” Nessel said. “Right now, there is a huge demand for at-home COVID-19 tests, so it’s important to understand there will be attempts to capitalize on that demand. The best way to combat criminal attempts to defraud consumers is to educate yourself on the latest scams.” 

The Department of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team is seeing an increase in calls and complaints related to at-home test concerns. At this time, complaints are being reviewed to determine if additional action is necessary. 

Remember the following tips from the FTC if you’re shopping online for COVID test kits and related items: 

Make sure the test you’re buying is authorized by the FDA. Check the FDA’s lists of antigen diagnostic tests and molecular diagnostic tests before you buy to find the tests authorized for home use. (EUA is “emergency use authorization.”) 

Check out a seller before you buy, especially if you’re buying from a site you don’t know. Search online for the website, company, or seller’s name plus words like “scam,” “complaint,” or “review.” 

Compare online reviews from a wide variety of websites. You can get a good idea about a company, product, or service from reading user reviews on various retail or shopping comparison sites. Think about the source of the review. Ask yourself: Where is this review coming from? Is it from an expert organization or individual customers? 

Pay by credit card. If you’re charged for an order you never got, or for a product that’s not as advertised, contact your credit card company and dispute the charge. 

In April, Nessel warned about fake advertisements and too-good-to-be-true treatments related to COVID-19, which issued her COVID-19 Vaccine Scams Consumer Alert. 

The Department provides a library of resources for consumers to review anytime on a variety of topics.   

Your connection to consumer protection is just a click or phone call away. Consumer complaints can be filed online at the Attorney General’s website, or if you have questions call 877-765-8388.

You can now get free covid tests. Click here to see story.

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Cold weather pet tips

Photo from Unsplash

Owners urged to protect pets from dangerously cold temperatures

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (December 9, 2021) – The Kent County Animal Shelter (KCAS) released an updated video about the special care your pet needs during the cold weather. (See https://youtu.be:443) While Michigan law does not prohibit dogs from being left outside in the cold, state law requires that all dogs who spend time outside have access to adequate shelter, fresh water, and dry bedding. The statue also stipulates separate shelter requirements for livestock.

“The best place for our pets is in our home next to us, but we know that is not always possible. We encourage all pet owners to take appropriate steps to protect those animals that may be left outside for long stretches of time,” said Angela Hollinshead, Kent County Animal Shelter Division Director. “Many pets are not equipped to handle the effects of cold temperatures, so we want to remind pet owners of their responsibilities to care for them during the winter.”

A few of the cold weather requirements in State statue include:

1. Maintain adequate shelter, which can be one or more of the following:

a. Inside the owners’ home.

b. An enclosure or shelter with at least three sides and a roof that is appropriate for the size and breed of the dog. A structure, including a garage, barn or shed, that is sufficiently insulated and ventilated to protect the dog from exposure to extreme temperatures, or if not sufficiently insulated and ventilated, contains a doghouse inside the structure.

c. Structures or natural features such as trees or topography for livestock

2. Provide dry bedding, such as straw, when the temperature is or predicated to be below freezing. Avoid using blankets or cloth bedding as these materials will likely get wet and freeze.

3. Provide water that is safe to drink and suitable for the age and species of the animal. Owners are encouraged to check every few hours to ensure the water is not frozen.

Although Michigan law does not directly address free-roaming or community cats, the KCAS encourages residents be mindful of their needs as well. Cats are typically well adapted for living in colder climates, but they greatly benefit from having access to a shelter. Simple cat shelters made from a storage tote lined with foam and stuffed with straw make great places for cats to escape from the cold. An instructional video for creating your own cat shelter is available on the KCAS website.

“Michigan winters are certainly beautiful but can be dangerous for some animals if they do not have appropriate resources. We encourage pet owners to watch our educational video and learn about these dangers, so your pets are safe and happy this winter,” concluded Hollinshead. “If you cannot keep your pet indoors and need resources, we urge residents to reach out to the KCAS to so see how we can help.”

The KCAS is also prepared to investigate all reports of animal neglect throughout the winter. Residents are encouraged to call the KCAS at (616) 632-7300 if they notice an animal being kept outside for an extended period without adequate shelter, water, and bedding.

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Free radon test kits in January for National Radon Action Month

Free radon test kits are available at the Kent County Health Department. Photo courtesy of the Kent County Health Department.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Jan. 7, 2022) – The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is offering free radon test kits to County residents, while supplies last, as part of National Radon Action Month. You cannot see, smell, or taste radon but the radioactive gas can kill. Next to smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States claiming the lives of more than twenty thousand Americans every year, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.

The KCHD recommends that all homes be tested for radon every few years. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated January as National Radon Action Month, a perfect time for you to protect your family by testing your home as this is the only way to know if radon is present.

“Testing for radon is an easy and important step in protecting the health of your family,” says Rusty Flewilling, Supervising Sanitarian with the Kent County Health Department. “The kit is easy to use. Simply hang a filter inside your house for a few days, then send it in a self-addressed, pre-stamped envelope for testing.”

Test results will be sent to residents and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. People can use the information when deciding on how best to pursue remediation, and the State gains a better understanding of the prevalence of radon in Michigan. For help understanding the test results, residents should contact the KCHD Environmental Health Division at (616) 632-6900.

Radon occurs naturally in the ground and seeps into buildings through cracks or openings in the foundation of floors and walls. It occurs in both new and old homes. The EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey have developed a map of risk zones for the United States which can be viewed by clicking here. Kent County is typically categorized as having a moderate to high levels of radon.

The KCHD podcast “A Matter of Public Health” recorded two episodes dedicated to educating people about the issue. In the first episode, residents will discover what radon is, how prevalent it is in Michigan, and how often testing should be done in homes. In episode two, we dig deeper to uncover how to get rid of the radon, how to select a contractor, and how to avoid getting ripped off by unscrupulous contractors. Guests include KCHD subject matter experts, Michigan’s top radon expert, the President of the National Radon Safety Board, and the Better Business Bureau of West Michigan. A Matter of Public Health, the podcasting service of the KCHD, is available wherever you get your podcasts.

Testing kits are available Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the KCHD’s main clinic location at 700 Fuller Avenue NE, Grand Rapids.

More information about Radon can be found at https://www.accesskent.com/Health/radon.htm.

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Free COVID-19 tests available to residents

 LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Whitmer urges Michiganders to take advantage of the federal government’s free COVID-19 testing program. At-home, rapid COVID-19 tests are available for free at COVIDTests.gov, with every household eligible for four free tests that will be shipped directly to Michiganders’ homes.  

“The federal program to deliver free tests to every family is simple, easy, and effective. It will remove barriers to testing including time and cost and make it easier for Michiganders to get tested,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Testing is a crucial tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and I encourage every Michigander to claim their free COVID-19 tests at COVIDTests.gov.”  

“Testing in addition to getting vaccinated and wearing masks are extremely effective tools in preventing the spread of COVID-19,” said Elizabeth Hertel, director of MDHHS. “We are grateful for the efforts the federal government is taking to make testing easy and accessible for all Michiganders. We hope all households in our state will take advantage of this resource.” 

COVID-19 testing in Michigan is at an all-time high and these at home tests will provide the necessary tools directly to Michigan residents to limit barriers to testing access and empowering residents to take immediate action after receiving a test result. 

When to use an at home test: 

  • if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 
  • if exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 (ideally 5 days after exposure or after experiencing symptoms) 
  • prior to or after traveling or attending a large gathering 

The tests will be shipped by the United States Postal Service.

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Additional angling opportunities created by successful fall fish stocking season

Eight different species, 672,478 fish, weighing in at nearly 13.5 tons—those are the totals from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ fall 2021 fish stocking efforts at 123 locations across the state.

“It was another outstanding fall fish stocking season that will provide enhanced opportunities throughout Michigan,” said Ed Eisch, DNR fish production manager. “When added to our successful spring and summer stocking efforts, that brings the total for 2021 to more than 18.2 million fish put into Michigan’s waters.

The number and type of fish stocked vary by hatchery, as each facility’s ability to rear fish differs because of water supplies and temperature. In Michigan, there are six state and three cooperative hatcheries that work together to produce the species, strain and size of fish needed by fisheries managers. These fish must then be delivered at a specific time and location for stocking to ensure their success. Most fish in Michigan are stocked in the spring.

Fall fish stockings in 2021 consisted of eight species that included: brook trout, brown trout, channel catfish, coho salmon, lake trout, Eagle Lake and steelhead strain rainbow trout, walleye and muskellunge.

According to the DNR’s fish stocking chart, over 1,600 walleye were stocked in Wabasis Lake, in Kent County, in October. It was the only body of water in our area to receive fish this fall. (The Rogue River received over 60,000 fish during spring stocking in April 2021, including brown trout, rainbow trout, and Coho salmon.) 

Marquette State Fish Hatchery (near Marquette) stocked 38,003 fall fingerling and adult brook and lake trout that weighed a combined 8,018 pounds. These fish were stocked at 46 locations, both in the Upper and Lower peninsulas.

Oden State Fish Hatchery (near Petoskey) stocked 37,000 Wild Rose brown trout and 113,863 Eagle Lake rainbow trout fall fingerlings that weighed a combined 4,093 pounds. These fish were stocked at four locations.

Platte River State Fish Hatchery (west of Traverse City) stocked 70,194 fall fingerling coho salmon weighing 2,999 pounds. These salmon were stocked in the East Branch of the AuGres River located in Iosco County.

Thompson State Fish Hatchery (near Manistique) stocked 349,213 fall fingerling steelhead that weighed 3,810 pounds at four locations. In addition, the first year of musky production was a success at Thompson, stocking 20,037 fish at 12 locations.

Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery (west of Kalamazoo) stocked 9,850 Great Lakes strain muskellunge fall fingerlings that weighed 1,083 pounds and were stocked at 13 locations.

Several fisheries management units (Northern Lake Michigan, Southern Lake Michigan, Central Lake Michigan, Lake Erie and Southern Lake Huron) also stocked fall fingerling walleyes in 2021. The Northern Lake Michigan management unit stocked 4,927 Bay De Noc strain fall fingerlings weighing 730 pounds, while the Lake Erie and Southern and Central Lake Michigan management units stocked 23,133 Muskegon strain fall fingerlings weighing 2,108 pounds.

Three sites were stocked with a total of 5,035 channel catfish from Ohio, with a total weight of 1,014 pounds. These fish were part of an annual agreement that includes Michigan providing Ohio with steelhead eggs in exchange for fall fingerling channel catfish.

Also as part of an annual cooperative exchange, 2,123 Northern strain muskellunge from the Wisconsin DNR weighing 685 pounds were stocked at four locations in both the Upper and Lower peninsulas. The Michigan DNR provided Wisconsin with Great Lakes strain muskies in exchange for these fish.

In general, fish are reared in Michigan’s state fish hatcheries anywhere from one month to one and a half years before they are stocked.

The DNR welcomes visitors to its state fish hatcheries and interpretative centers to witness firsthand the fish rearing process and to learn about Michigan’s waters. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/Hatcheries. For everyone’s safety, masks are recommended for all visitors entering public buildings.

To find out if any fish were stocked in your favorite fishing spot, visit the DNR’s fish stocking database at MichiganDNR.com/FishStock/.

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