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Spring takes area by storm

 

The Cedar Springs Post took a direct hit when winds blown in by a fierce spring-turned-winter storm ripped through our area last Saturday.

Owner and Publisher Lois Allen received several calls at her home about it. “The Post is under attack!” said one caller. And indeed, the Post was in the path of destruction as the high winds lifted the roof of Len Allington’s brick building on the corner of Main and Maple Streets and sent it airborne across the alley between the buildings. It landed on top of the Post, wrapped around a utility pole and entangled in electrical wires.

Consumer’s Energy cut the wires on Sunday and left the scene, leaving three businesses and several apartments without power until Tuesday afternoon.

“The more you depend on technology, the more helpless you become when it fails,” said Allen. “You can quote me on that.”

What many people thought was a tornado turned out to be straight line winds. The first storm rolled into our area at about 4:30 p.m. and was followed by several others throughout the night.  The National Weather Service said damage across West Michigan was consistent with winds gusting 75 to 85 mph, and lasted 3-5 minutes. The winds were equivalent to an EF-0 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

The winds blew in, and hail rained down, damaging cars, mobile homes, and other outside objects. The size ranged from a dime to a quarter. Some mobile homes were pelted with hundreds of holes. It covered the ground to a depth that looked like snow.

Trees were ripped out of the ground or broken all across the area—Sand Lake, Cedar Springs, Sparta, Kent City, and surrounding townships. The wind even blew the roof off of the gymnasium at Kent City.

In the aftermath of the storm, rivers and creeks were swollen and many areas are still under a flood watch.

Thanks to the many readers who sent us your storm photos!

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School board approves new superintendent contract

The Cedar Springs Board of Education tabled the contract for their incoming superintendent Monday evening, but made changes and approved it 6-0 in a special meeting Wednesday evening, April 16.

Concerns in the contract included putting a cap on moving expenses and clarification on the contract period.

The board selected Laura VanDuyn Ed.D., of California, late last month. To replace retiring Superintendent Ron McDermed.

VanDuyn is executive director of the State SELPA, Contra Costa Special Education Joint Powers Authority, a cooperative program providing special education services for school districts within the region. The Contra Costa Special Education Joint Powers Authority is located in Concord, approximately 22 miles northeast of Oakland, CA.

According to the contract, VanDuyn’s salary will be $147,000 for the 2014-2015 year; $149,800 for 2015-2016; and $152,796 for 2016-2017. She will also have 25 days of paid vacation. The contract also specifies up to $8,000 in paid moving expenses.

VanDuyn was chosen from among five candidates interviewed by the Cedar Springs Public Schools Board as potential replacements for retiring Superintendent Ron McDermed.

The other candidates were Assistant Superintendent David Cairy, a finalist in the interview process; Gibraltar/Shumate Middle School Principal Brad Coon; Boyne Falls Public Schools Superintendent Karen Sherwood; and Hudsonville Human Resources and Assessment Director Scott Smith.  They were selected from a pool of 15 applicants.

VanDuyn has served as executive director of the Contra Costa Special Education Joint Powers Authority from 2010 to the present.  She held a variety of administrative and leadership positions at the site, district and county levels from 2001-2010, and was an administrator in Minnesota from 1999 until moving to California.

She holds a doctor of education degree in organization and leadership from the University of San Francisco, a master’s in education administration from Minnesota State University and a bachelor’s in education from the University of Nevada.

“I’d like to convey my appreciation to the many staff and community members who took the time to come to the meetings and share their thoughts,” said Board President Brook Nichols.  “This was a very difficult decision because … the candidates brought different things to the interview and both (VanDuyn and Cairy) were very qualified.  Ultimately, the majority of the board felt that Laura VanDuyn would be a great leader for our district.”

 

 

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Man facing animal cruelty charge

Michael Stackhouse

Michael Stackhouse

A Cedar Springs man was arrested last week for killing a cat that had wandered into his home in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates.

According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, a call came into police dispatch on Monday afternoon, April 7, with the caller telling them that a cat had jumped over a partial door barrier to their mobile home on Susan Street, and then went inside home and was now fighting with their dogs. Later the caller said the cat was dead and that her husband may have killed it.

When officers investigated, they found that the man had thrown the cat into the street, in front of children and neighbors. He admitted to then stomping on the cat’s head, because it was twitching from seizures.

Police arrested Michael Patrick Stackhouse, 35, of Cedar Springs, on Wednesday, April 9 on a charge on a felony charge of animal cruelty causing death. He is also being charged as a habitual offender-3rd offense. Bond was set at $100 cash or surety, and he later bonded out.  A preliminary exam was set for Monday, April 21, at 9:45 a.m.

 

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Easter bunny visits the library

N-Easter-bunny-at-library1-webKids in Cedar Springs are excited about Easter. It was easy to tell that last Friday, April 11, when ninety-five kids and adults visited the Easter Bunny at the Cedar Springs Public Library.

Inside they had three different craft stations, stories, a basket full of Easter Eggs with candy treats. Outside was a mama goat with 2 babies (just born one week ago), four other small goats, baby chicks and four different kinds of bunnies, all courtesy of Cindy Karafa and Double K Farms.

“This event came about because Cindy suggested it,” said Library Director Donna Clark. “It turned out so well, we are going to make it an annual event.”

When the Post interviewed the Easter Bunny after the library event, she said that she really enjoyed the children in Cedar Springs and wanted to thank them for the pictures with her.

 

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Eggcellent!

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The Mike Cook home at 3240 17 Mile, Solon Township, is a bright spot at Easter time each year. The Cooks have been decorating their yard with these colorful eggs for the past eight years. Luckily they didn’t lose them in last Saturday’s storm. Take a drive by and see for yourself!

 

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Post goes to Montreal

N-Post-goes-to-Montreal1-webKen and Tammy Norris, of Oakfield Township, spent mid-March in Montreal for their 20th anniversary, where they were also married. And they took the Post along to celebrate with them!

They sent us two photos. One is The Post with a statue. According to Ken, Les Chuchoteuses (The Gossipers) is the official name for the bronze sculpture by Rose-Aimee Belanger, on Rue Saint Paul, in Vieux (Old) Montreal.

Tammy Norris with The Post in front of the Bucky Ball.

Tammy Norris with The Post in front of the Bucky Ball.

Ken said that the second photo is Tammy in front of what is often called the Bucky Ball, a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. Its official name is The Biosphère, an environmental museum located at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Sainte-Hélène in the former pavilion of the United States for the 1967 World Fair Expo 67.

Thanks for taking us with you to Montreal!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

 

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Sparta resident turns 102

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It’s doubtful that anyone today remembers living in the year 1912. Many think of it as the year the Titanic sank. But something else happened that year—just one week before the Titanic sank, Zelma Sally Lundquist was born. That makes her 102 years old!

Sally celebrated her special birthday on April 8, at Meadowlark Retirement Village in Sparta, where she now resides. The community, as well as family and friends, gathered to celebrate with her.

“There were flyers all over the room giving facts about the year 1912,” explained Konika Van Drie, of Meadowlark. “For example, who was President (William Howard Taft), who won the World Series (Boston Red Sox), where were the Summer Olympics (Stockholm, Sweden), how much was a loaf of bread (5 cents), and so on,” explained Konika Van Drie, of Meadowlark. They also had both Sally’s wedding dress and some wedding photos on display.

Zelma, who most now know her as Sally, was born and raised in the Sparta area. She graduated from Sparta High School. She married Van Lundquist. She has 3 kids, several grandkids and great grandkids.

“Sally is kind, has a wonderful sense of humor and a smile that can brighten anyone’s day,” explained Van Drie. “She is still very active and takes advantage of the activities here at Meadowlark. The one thing Sally loves besides her family and the Lord is a nice hot cup of coffee. And what goes well with a cup of coffee—a nice warm cookie!”

Congratulations, Sally, on your 102nd birthday!

 

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Cedar Creek cleanup April 26

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It’s time again for the annual Cedar Creek Cleanup/Earth Day Celebration in Cedar Springs.

The 7th Annual Celebration will be held on Saturday, April 26, from10:00 a.m. until noon. The city will give away commemorative t-shirts to the first 50 participants who register for this event. The participants will meet at the Fire Barn at W. Maple and Main on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. to receive their clean-up assignments and shirts. Pizza will be available at noon for all participants.

An e-waste collection trailer, staffed by Cedar Springs Rotarians, will also be available behind City Hall, for anyone wishing to dispose of electronic waste, including computers and old televisions.  Computer hard drives will be wiped and/or destroyed by Comprenew.  The e-waste trailer will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. (or until it is full).

The City of Cedar Springs Police Department will conduct an auction of surplus items, including 15 bicycles, beginning at 1:30 PM.

Registration forms are available on the City of Cedar Springs website at http://www.cityofcedarsprings.org. Pre-registration is not mandatory to participate in the cleanup. However, it will allow them to assign clean-up locations ahead of time as well as purchase trash bags and pizza.

Please call 696-1330 or email Rich Pajak at adminasst@cityofcedarsprings.org with any questions.

 

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Vandalism and arrest update

HandcuffsMore suspects have been identified in the recent graffiti vandalism in Cedar Springs, and the case has also expanded to include recovery of a stolen rifle and a spree of stealing from unlocked vehicles at night.

Besides the arrest of Cody Steven Quay, 19, and two juveniles for the most recent vandalism, another three juveniles were referred to juvenile court for their involvement in tagging and vandalizing a vehicle, some buildings, and City of Cedar Springs street signs.

According to Police Chief Roger Parent, during the investigation on tagging, Cedar Springs officers recovered a stolen assault style weapon from a 15-year-old who lived in Cedar Springs. That firearm had been stolen from a vehicle during the night in northeast Kent County. At least four other individuals have been identified as being involved with a crime spree of stealing from unlocked vehicles. The firearm and investigation was turned over to the Kent County Sheriff Department who had taken the original larceny complaints.

 

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Robbery suspects to be sentenced

Thaddeus Frazier

Thaddeus Frazier

Two men suspected of robbing the Instant Cash Advance in Cedar Springs last summer have made plea agreements with the Federal prosecutor.

Thaddeus Frazier, 32, and Mujo Bektas, 26, are suspected in several bank robberies and a string of Instant Cash Advance robberies in Wyoming. The crime in Cedar Springs occurred on July 24, 2013.

Frazier pled guilty to two counts of bank robbery by force or violence; two counts of use of a firearm during a crime; and possession of a stolen firearm. He will be sentenced June 3, and should receive 25 years if the judge follows the guideline.

Bektas pled guilty to bank robbery and using a firearm during a crime. Detectives believe he was possibly the driver in most of the robberies. He will be sentenced May 28, and should get 10 years.

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