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New library taking shape

This photo is a view of the side entrance, which leads into the community room.  This area is where the circulation desk will be located. Photo courtesy of the Cedar Springs Library.

This photo is a view of the side entrance, which leads into the community room.
This area is where the circulation desk will be located. Photo courtesy of the Cedar Springs Library.

By Judy Reed

Work is humming along on the new Cedar Springs Library and residents can’t wait to get a peek inside.

Library staff and others took a tour of the inside this week to see how it was looking. “I’m really excited,” remarked Library Director Donna Clark. “I was surprised to see how far along they are.”

Clark said that the drywall is up and they have started painting. The metal roofing also arrived this week.

“There is also going to be an area with a beautiful fireplace, which will be very warm and welcoming, comfy chairs, and a table with chairs on either side,” she remarked.

There will also be 12 public computers, a classroom, three tutoring rooms, an enclosed children’s area with glass panels, and a playroom area. There will also be four stations for children’s computers. Teens will also have their own area.

This area is where the circulation desk will be located. Photo courtesy of the Cedar Springs Library.

This area is where the circulation desk will be located. Photo courtesy of the Cedar Springs Library.

Another draw will be the community room, which will hold up to 75 people with the tables and chairs, and 100 without. A complete kitchen will open up into the community room. People can walk out of the community room to a patio, which will be facing the creek, where the retaining wall will be.

The retaining wall is being funded by the blocks that the library is selling. They have sold 18 of the 25 they need, so are looking for more people or businesses interested in helping fund this part of the project. The 10×8 retaining wall blocks are $1,000, and will have a brass plaque insert with 8 lines available. Logos are also possible with a block.

They also are still selling bricks. For $50 you can get a 4×8 brick with 3 lines, or an 8×8 brick with 6 lines for $100, and inscribe it as you wish. Bricks will be placed at the Library entrance and a few other places, as needed.

Pick up a brochure to order a brick or block at the Cedar Springs Library or visit http://cedarspringslibrary.org/news/bricks-and-blocks-for-new-library/ to print one out.

They library is expected to be completed sometime in the spring.

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Black and Gold Patrol Cars Coming to MSP


N-MSP-100th_Anniversary_Patrol_CarCars to celebrate 100th Anniversary 

Fifty special edition black and gold patrol cars joined the Michigan State Police (MSP) patrol fleet this week in honor of the department’s 100th Anniversary. The fully equipped 2016 Dodge Chargers are painted to resemble the department’s iconic 1937 Ford Model 74 patrol car.

The 1937 Ford Model 74 patrol car was one of the department’s first patrol cars and is the oldest vehicle in the department’s historical fleet. This unique patrol car had a siren that ran off of the fan belt and a radio that was “receive only.”

N-MSP-1937-Ford-Model-74The MSP used black and gold patrol cars until 1954 when Commissioner Joseph A. Childs changed the department’s patrol cars from black and gold to the bright shade of blue that remains the standard today.

“These black patrol cars with their distinctive gold striping and 100th Anniversary door shield are a throwback to our past and one of the ways in which we are ‘Celebrating 100 Years of Service’ this year,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. “Because we are known for our ‘Blue Goose,’ we expect these black patrol cars to turn heads when drivers see them on Michigan roads and at events, providing us with opportunities to talk about our centennial and interact positively with the citizens we serve and protect.”

Each of the MSP’s 30 posts will receive at least one 100th Anniversary patrol car for use on general patrol and at community events.

These patrol cars were purchased as part of the department’s annual fleet replacement so no additional money was expended for them, nor is there an additional cost to purchase a black car versus a blue car.

These 100th Anniversary patrol cars will remain in the department’s fleet until they reach their maximum mileage and must be replaced, like any other patrol car.

For more information about the MSP’s 100th Anniversary, visit www.michigan.gov/MSP or follow the conversation on social media using #MSP100.

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Break-in at Cedar Chest


The Kent County Sheriff Department is currently investigating a breaking and entering complaint that occured at The Cedar Chest, 61 N Main Street, Cedar Springs.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, the incident was reported on January 3. The business was closed and locked, and the suspect(s) forced open a locked door. He said a small amount of items were taken from inside.

The Kent County Sheriff Department Scientific Support Unit processed the scene for physical evidence. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Kent County Sheriff Department at (616) 632-6100 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

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Winter fun


Leah Brooks sent us this cute photo of Jonathan Brooks, age 2, and the snow bear he built with grandma and grandpa at Ritchie and 18 mile. Good job, Jonathan!

If you have winter photos you’d like us to consider for publication, email them to news@cedarspringspost.com with “winter fun” in the subject line. We publish them as space allows, and do not guarantee publication.

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Board of Education votes in new board president

Matt Shoffner, right,  is the new president of the Cedar Springs Board of Education.

Matt Shoffner, right, is the new president of the Cedar Springs Board of Education.

The Cedar Springs Board of Education held its annual reorganization meeting on Monday evening January 9 and elected new officers to various positions.

Matt Shoffner was elected as board president for 2017. He has not previously held that position. Brook Nichols was voted in as vice president; former president Patricia Eary as secretary; and newcomer Heidi Reed as treasurer. Rounding out the board as trustees are Michele Bayink, Shannon Vanderhyde, and newcomer Ted Sabinas.

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Creative Technologies Academy names new business manager

Lori Oestrike, new Business Manager

Lori Oestrike, new Business Manager

Kim Burge, retiring Business Manager

Kim Burge, retiring Business Manager

Creative Technologies Academy completed a search and announced the appointment of Lori Oestrike as the Business Manager of the Ferris State University-authorized public school academy.

Oestrike began her new position January 4. She succeeds the school’s current and outgoing Business Manager, Kim Burge, who is retiring but will remain in the position until the end of January to ensure a seamless transition.

CTA School Leader/Superintendent, Dan George believes Oestrike is well-suited for this position.

“We are excited to welcome Lori Oestrike to fill the Business Manager position,” shared George. “Lori comes to us with all the credentials and experience we are looking for and we look forward to working with her.”

Oestrike comes to CTA from Ionia County Intermediate School District where she served as their Fiscal Services Coordinator for eight years. Prior to that, she served with Central Montcalm Public Schools for six years. She received her Masters in Accounting at Liberty University and completed her undergraduate degree at Davenport University. Oestrike has earned the Chief Financial Officer certification through MSBO (Michigan School Business Officials).

“Creative Technologies Academy is dedicated to developing students in character, scholarship and leadership as stated in their mission,” commented Oestrike. “I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to effectively integrating my skills and education with that of the team at CTA to meet future goals and learn and grow together.”

Burge, who has been with CTA since its founding year in 1998, was one of the schools’ first hired employees. While overseeing the finances of the school, she also handles human resource responsibilities and oversees the Food Services department and the Energy and Maintenance department—all of which Oestrike will now assume responsibility for.

“Kim has loyally served CTA since the first year of the school’s existence, and she has served our community as CTA’s representative in Rotary,” commented Dan George. “We wish her the best in her retirement.”

“It was a challenge when the school was first founded to get it up and going. The school has grown and stabilized and I’m glad that it is in a good position both financially and academically,” shared Burge. “I’m confident that it is being left in good hands with Lori.”

Oestrike is married to Richard Oestrike, and they have one son.

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Celebrate Michigan’s 180th birthday with Statehood Day 


The Michigan History Center’s Statehood Day celebration Jan. 28 will include displays on Native culture.

The Michigan History Center’s Statehood Day celebration Jan. 28 will include displays on Native culture.

At the Michigan History Center Jan. 28

Join the Michigan History Center in Lansing Saturday, Jan. 28, to celebrate 180 years of rich and diverse Michigan history. Special guests and staff will commemorate the people who created our state, including First peoples, statesmen and eager citizens. Admission to the Michigan History Museum is free for the day, courtesy of the Michigan History Foundation.

The Michigan History Center’s special celebration, starting at 10 a.m. and concluding at 3 p.m., will include opportunities to:

  • Enjoy a slice of birthday cake while listening to folk tunes performed by violinist and ethnomusicologist Laurie Sommers.
  • Try out book-making and ink penmanship with special guests from the Library of Michigan.
  • Learn about Native culture and traditions past and present with Nokomis Learning Center.
  • Practice surveying with the Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors Reenactment Group.
  • Participate in historic craft and trade demonstrations—make a corn husk doll, learn how wool becomes clothing and churn some butter.
  • View statehood documents, including Michigan’s first constitution, a letter from President Andrew Jackson and a rare manumission document.
Visitors will have a chance to investigate historic spices that would have been available to 1830s cooks as part of the Michigan History Center’s Statehood Day celebration Jan. 28.

Visitors will have a chance to investigate historic spices that would have been available to 1830s cooks as part of the Michigan History Center’s Statehood Day celebration Jan. 28.

For those who can’t make it to Lansing, some of these statehood documents are available to view online at seekingmichigan.org/discover/early-documents.

On Jan. 26, 1837, more than a year after Michigan adopted its first constitution and elected its first governor, President Andrew Jackson signed the bill making Michigan the nation’s 26th state. The delay was caused by a disagreement and subsequent “war” over the port-town Toledo. The compromise that gave Michigan the western two thirds of the Upper Peninsula shaped Michigan’s future of copper and iron riches, as well as timber and other natural resources.

The Michigan History Center encourages people across the state to celebrate the initiative of the leaders who first sought statehood, the compromise they made and all the extraordinary people who have built Michigan since then.

In recognition of this special 180th anniversary, the Michigan History Center will unveil several new digital education tools designed for schools, teachers and young learners. Statehood Day will serve as the public premiere for the new Mistories of Michigan video entitled “How Lansing Became the Capital.” Mistories of Michigan is a series of videos for school-age learners that aims to answer some of Michigan history’s most interesting questions. These videos are made possible, in part, by a grant from the Capital Region Community Foundation.

Attendees will also receive information about the new “Learn” section on SeekingMichigan.com. Still in development, this unique online portal will provide teachers and students with essential resources for studying Michigan history—classroom activity ideas, primary sources and maps, engaging videos, artifacts and more.

The Michigan History Center is located at 702 W. Kalamazoo St. in downtown Lansing. The museum and visitor parking are on the north side of Kalamazoo Street, two blocks east of M. L. King Jr. Boulevard. Weekend parking is free.

The Michigan History Center’s museum and archival programs foster curiosity, enjoyment and inspiration rooted in Michigan’s stories. The center includes the Michigan History Museum, 10 regional museums, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve, and the Archives of Michigan. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/mhc.

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Greenville man arrested for child sexually abusive activity

Craig Alan Albright

Craig Alan Albright

Investigation involves the exploitation of minor children 

The Michigan State Police (MSP) Computer Crimes Unit, Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, conducted an investigation that led to the arrest of 55-year-old Craig Alan Albright, of Greenville.

Albright was investigated after the MSP ICAC received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). On Dec. 8, 2016, a search warrant was executed at Albright’s home. Evidence was recovered that connected Albright with child sexually abusive activity and material at his home.

An arrest warrant was obtained and Albright turned himself into the Montcalm County Jail on Jan. 9, 2017.

Albright has been arraigned on the charges issued by the Montcalm County Prosecutor’s Office. They include Child Sexually Abusive Activity, Child Sexually Abusive Material (Possession) and Using a Computer to Commit a Crime.

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Montcalm Sheriff appoints new Undersheriff

Lieutenant Brian Waber has been promoted to Undersheriff for Montcalm County.

Lieutenant Brian Waber has been promoted to Undersheriff for Montcalm County.

As of Tuesday, January 8, residents in Montcalm County have a new Undersheriff.

Lieutenant Brian Waber has been promoted to Undersheriff for the Montcalm County Sheriff Department. He replaces Michael J. Williams, who was voted in as Sheriff.

Waber graduated from Ferris State College in May 1986 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. He was hired at the Sheriff’s Office in 1986. He was promoted to rank of road patrol sergeant in 1996 and to Road Patrol Lieutenant in June 2013.

“Brian was pivotal to the development of our current Field Training (FTO) program and was department Field Training Officer for over 20 years,” said Williams. “He has served as the department LEIN TAC and also a MISSION investigator through Michigan Sheriff’s Association. He currently sits on the Central Dispatch Technical Advisory Committee as well as the Montcalm County Drug Disposal Coalition.”

Waber previously worked part time with the Howard City Police Department for over 21 years.
His official duties began on January 8.

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Missing CS grad found 30 years after disappearance


Charles “Chuck” Cornell graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1974. He disappeared from his Battle Creek apartment in 1986.

Charles “Chuck” Cornell graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1974. He disappeared from his Battle Creek apartment in 1986.

By Judy Reed

A former Cedar Springs family received some bittersweet closure last week on a 30-year-old mystery: where was their son and brother, Chuck Cornell? And it was DNA samples from the family that helped police solve the mystery.

Charles Cornell, a 1974 graduate of Cedar Springs High School, was the son of Pastor Richard and Hattie Cornell. Richard was pastor at Calvary Assembly of God, then located in Rockford. According to Chuck’s sister, Rachel Valkeo, Chuck was the third child in a family of six siblings.

“He was quiet, liked baseball and nice cars,” remembered Rachel, who is a younger sibling. She said some might remember him working at Great Day while in high school.

Charles “Chuck” Cornell served in the U.S. Army from 1975-1979.

Charles “Chuck” Cornell served in the U.S. Army from 1975-1979.

After graduation, Chuck joined the U.S. Army in 1975, and received an honorable discharge in 1979. Eventually, Chuck moved to Battle Creek, where he found employment. Rachel said that he had a few friends from high school he kept in touch with, and that he also had a girlfriend in Battle Creek. But as time went by, the family heard from him less and less.

So, on Chuck’s 30th birthday, in April of 1986, his parents drove to Battle Creek to see him. But what they found was an empty apartment that looked as if it had been vandalized.

Rachel said that other news articles have reported that the last time they saw Chuck was at his 30th birthday party. “That party never happened,” she said. “They drove down to see him for his birthday—but he wasn’t there.”

Richard and Hattie reported the empty apartment and vandalism to police and that their son was missing. And for 30 years, the family thought police were looking for him, just like they were. But they weren’t. Instead, they found out that law enforcement thought he was voluntarily missing and had no record of his disappearance.

“My mom and dad believed they had filed a missing persons report. But in May 2016, we found out it was never actually filed. Police didn’t believe any disruptions in the apartment showed he should be missing,” explained Rachel.

Richard passed away in 1991, without ever knowing what became of his son. But Hattie, who is now 88 and resides in Rockford, and the others still searched. In May of this year, when D/Sgt. Sarah Krebs, of Michigan State Police Missing Persons Coordination Unit heard about Cornell, she encouraged his family to file a police report. A detective at the MSP Post in Rockford then investigated, according to a news release from the MSP.

Hattie and one of Chuck’s sisters submitted DNA that was tested in a national database of unidentified remains.

The samples pointed the MSP to a 1989 John Doe case out of Arkansas, almost 900 miles from Battle Creek. Cornell had been walking on the highway and was struck by a semi-truck and killed. Recognizable photos, medical and dental records and fingerprints were on file, but the cases were not connected until the crucial DNA was submitted.

“Cases like this highlight the importance of families of missing people getting their DNA on file in CODIS. It is never too late,” said Krebs. “Without that link, the Cornell family may have never known what had happened to Charles.”

The family was told about the match on Tuesday, December 27.

Rachel said both she and her mother have mixed emotions about the news. “We don’t have a lot of answers. We have the main answer, but we are still trying to connect the dots.”

One of the things they would like to know, is why was Chuck in Arkansas? “If there is anyone out there who knows why he ended up there, we’d like to know,” said Rachel. She said they were unable to locate the girlfriend. “She had children of her own, I don’t think it was a super serious relationship.”

Rachel said she is working with other agencies and authorities to work out exactly what occurred and with the coroner in Arkansas to get Chuck’s body home. They can then hold a memorial service.

Rachel is grateful for the support from law enforcement in finding her brother. “The authorities in Michigan—Det. Denise Bentley and D/Sgt. Sarah Krebs—and all the authorities in Arkansas, have been a tremendous help to my family,” she said.

The MSP said that the Cornell case marks the 67th identification that the MSP Missing Persons Coordination unit has made, and the 32nd one by DNA alone.

For information on how family members can contribute DNA or report a missing person, email MSP-MissingPersons@michigan.gov.

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