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Are you ready for some football?

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks take on the Comstock Panthers in Comstock Park tonight (Thursday, August 28) 7 p.m. The photo above is from the last time they played them in 2011.

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks take on the Comstock Panthers in Comstock Park tonight (Thursday, August 28) 7 p.m. The photo above is from the last time they played them in 2011.

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks hit the gridiron this week for the first football games of the year. The varsity will take on last year’s OK-Blue champ Comstock Park, on the Panther’s home turf, Thursday, August 28, at 7 p.m., in the first of four non-conference games.
This game should be a great matchup between two highly competitive teams. An Mlive.com article predicted that Cedar Springs will finish second in the OK-Bronze behind Forest Hills Northern, and that Comstock Park will finish second behind West Catholic, which moved from the OK-Bronze to the OK-Blue.
The Wyoming Wolves were moved into the OK-Bronze to take the place of West Catholic.
The Red Hawks have played the Panthers 26 times since 1950, for a record of 11-15. They competed against them regularly when they were both part of the OK-Blue between 2005 and 2011, and as non-conference rivals between 1998-2002. They also competed yearly between 1960 and 1969, when they were both in the Tri-River Conference, and 1950-1953 in the Kent-Ottawa Conference.
The Red Hawks, under Coach Gus Kapolka, will need to be at the top of their game from the first whistle. In their first four games, the Red Hawks will face four teams that all made the playoffs last year—Comstock Park, Sparta, Belding, and Grand Rapids Catholic Central. Last year Comstock Park went 12-1, losing to South Christian in the Division 4 semi-final game.
Head out Thursday night, August 28, and support your Cedar Springs Red Hawks at Comstock Park. Game time is 7 p.m.

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City Police Chief retires

Police Chief Roger Parent

Police Chief Roger Parent

By Judy Reed

The City of Cedar Springs will lose one of its most respected and well-liked employees this week, when Police Chief Roger Parent retires after a 40-year career in law enforcement.
His last day is Friday, August 29.
Parent came to Cedar Springs 6-1/2 years ago, after a 33-1/2-year career with the Kent County Sheriff Department. He grew up in Alpine Township, graduated from Sparta High School, and joined the KCSD in 1974. He spent 20-plus years on road patrol in the northern area of Kent County, and worked on the E-unit out of the north substation. He became Lieutenant of Support Services, and then for the last year he was employed there, he was Lt. Commander over road patrol at the central sector and north substation, overseeing six sergeants and 20 patrol deputies.
But when the opening came here in Cedar Springs for a chief, Parent was ready for the challenge. “I’ve really enjoyed being the Chief in Cedar Springs,” remarked Parent. “It was busier than I thought it would be. A Chief has to take care of every aspect of the department. That was a change, but it goes with the position of being a Chief in a small city. It was a great choice and I’ve never regretted it.”
Parent said the thing he felt most pleased about was the knowledge and expertise he was able to bring from the KCSD to Cedar Springs. They converted to doing more things electronically, such as gun permits, and electronic crash reporting. And when he passed out memorandums to officers on the way he wanted to do things, he said many of the officers were already on board. “The officers were seasoned and they made my job easier. They just needed new leadership,” he explained.
City Manager Thad Taylor had high praise for Parent’s leadership skills. “Roger has a unique ability to bring a high level of professionalism, background experience, and skills and make it work in a small community,” explained Taylor. “He knows the job. He is professional, ethical, and has high standards. He is an effective communicator, a people person. He treats people correctly. He’s done a fabulous job for our community.”
Treating people right is one of Parent’s goals. He always tries to take their concerns seriously. “I believe in customer service. I’m not afraid to come out to the front counter to just sit down with people and give advice, even if it’s not a criminal situation,” Parent explained. “I’ve always told my officers to treat people the way they would want their parents to be treated. I’ve tried to treat people well throughout my career.”
Parent said that what he will miss most is his interaction with his co-workers—both City Hall workers and the officers. “You make friendships, and share things. I will miss that. You can keep in contact through social media, but it’s not quite the same,” he noted. “The other thing I will miss is—well, it’s the ending of a whole 40-year career.”
While Parent stays busy at City Hall—he is a working Chief, who also takes calls—he said he wouldn’t have any trouble relaxing at home, and is looking forward to spending time with his twin preschool grandchildren. And he has two more twin grandchildren on the way. “I’ll adjust fine,” he said with a chuckle.
The Post asked Parent what advice he would give to either a new police chief or the Kent County Sheriff Department—whoever takes over law enforcement for the community. He didn’t hesitate. “Keep our level of service to what it has become,” he said. “They would have to connect with the businesses and the schools. The schools know we are to work with them and the relationship has been great.”
He also added that they should continue to go to private property accidents and help motorists with lock out. “We do about 50 lockouts a year,” he explained. “We have the tool, so why not do it?”
There is a possibility that Parent will come back in civilian clothes as a consultant, a couple of days a week, if the City votes to go with the KCSD for policing. If that happens, he will come back to help dissolve the police department, doing the behind the scenes work to make that happen.
In the meantime, Officer Chad Potts, a 14-year veteran with Cedar Springs Police, will become acting Chief. “He will do a great job,” said Parent.
The Cedar Springs Post wishes Chief Parent the best in his retirement and we hope to see you in our neck of the woods again soon!

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Brewery approved for downtown location

N-Cedar-Springs-Brewing-Concept-entrance
It’s been a longtime coming, but the Cedar Springs Brewing Company has finally purchased the property at 95 N. Main (corner of Main and W. Maple) to build a full-menu restaurant and outdoor biergarden that will be both family and community-friendly, according to owner David Ringler.
When the Cedar Springs City Council officially approved the purchase last Thursday, the entire room erupted in applause. “The final approval was both a relief and thrill,” said Ringler. “The culmination of a long process and the start of another.”
Ringler said it’s been a 25-year dream to have this brewery. “I started home-brewing and became involved in hospitality and the brewing industry when I was in college,” explained Ringler. “I lived in Germany for nearly four years, where I apprenticed as a brewer, before returning to Michigan where I remained in the brewing industry for several years and took the brewing course at Seibel Institute of Brewing Science in Chicago. Despite leaving the industry for a while, I had friends and family in Cedar Springs who encouraged me to take a look if I was still thinking about starting a brewery. We started this current process in December 2013 and have been working towards this final approval since then, as there have been moving parts behind the scene, both in Cedar Springs and the State of Michigan.”
He said the brewery would produce a full range of craft beers, focusing on German styles, and other drinks as well. “We will also serve our own spirits and wine, for guests who prefer, and create a few craft sodas and soft drinks for both the young and young at heart. Our chef and head brewer will be announced as we get closer to opening and we will utilize local and sustainable ingredients whenever possible.”
Ringler will be meeting with the design and construction teams the next two weeks, and they hope to break ground once paperwork and permits are in place. They plan to demolish the current building and build a new one. He said construction will depend somewhat on the weather, but he hopes the brewery will be open early next year.
“We’ve been encouraged by the wonderful support we’ve received from everyone in town,” remarked Ringler. “If the community supports us once we open, I certainly believe that this project can serve as a catalyst for future growth, development and jobs and can help draw commerce from outside the community to Cedar Springs. We’re excited to be a part of that.”
Check out their Facebook page to keep updated on progress. Their full website at www.cedarspringsbrewing.com will also soon be launched. It will feature a live camera of progress, club membership information, and promotional items such as t-shirts and hats from a local supplier.

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City continues discussion with Sheriff Department

By Judy Reed
The Cedar Springs City Council voted 7-0 last Thursday, August 21, to direct the City Manager to continue discussions with the Kent County Sheriff Department regarding them taking over law enforcement for the city.
But it’s not a done deal. The council wants to see a contract before they decide.
Councilor Bob Truesdale said he was disappointed in the rumors going around, and that no officers had come to him to complain. He also said that they had never questioned the police department’s work.
Councilor Patty Troost angrily asked Truesdale whether he had ever asked the officers how they felt about the change. “You need to go to them, not wait for them to come to you,” she said. She also noted the number of domestics in our community, and said she feels that the city needs the level of care our current officers provide. “As an impoverished community, we may need more officers, in my opinion,” she said.
“There are a lot of emotions [on this issue] and rightly so,” said Councilor Jerry Hall. “We need to see hard numbers. I won’t make a decision until we do.”
Mayor Mark Fankhauser expressed similar sentiment. “I know we have a fine police force here. It doesn’t discredit them to look at outsourcing. We need to have the manager move forward with discussions to get solid facts.”
Councilor Ashley Bremmer seemed hesitant to endorse the plan. “Even if the decision is something I don’t want to do, we have to do what is in the best interest of the city,” she said.
Councilor Dan Clark said he doesn’t think the city would get as good of coverage going with the KCSD, but questioned whether we could afford to continue running our own department. “I think we have a great department, and Chief Parent has done great. But as a community, just out of poverty, can we afford to spend as much as a [more affluent] community like Charlevoix? Can we afford that?”
“Our officers do a lot of social work,” remarked Councilor Ken Benham. “But we have dipped into our fund balance the last few years. At this rate, it will be gone, so we need to look at this.”
Chief Roger Parent said that there are pros and cons to the change. “Most of these officers took the job here because they wanted to do small town policing,” he said. “And they have stayed because they like it.”
He said that even though they may get a raise as soon as hired into KCSD, it would still affect them. “They will have higher co-pays, and their vacation will probably start at about a week, when some of the officers are already at 3 weeks here,” he noted.
“What the officers are getting is good. It’s not the best, but it is good. It will work as well as it has in other communities. And Sheriff Stelma, being a resident, will make it work,” remarked Parent. “Our officers will adjust.”
Once the City Manager brings back a contract from the KCSD, the Council will vote on whether to make the switch.

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The Post travels to Schroon Lake

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The Post traveled to Word of Life island in Schroon Lake, New York, with 12 teens and seven leaders from Maranatha Baptist Church, located at 12786 Algoma Avenue. The teens spent six days camping on the island, while the leaders stayed at the word of Life Inn and family campground. The teens were also participating in “Teens involved” during the week (which is now called Engage). If you want to learn more about Engage, call the church at (616) 696-3560.
Thanks so much for taking us with you!
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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Area churches stand United

Nine area churches suspended regular Sunday services and united for a joint worship service together at Morley Park, in Cedar Springs, on Sunday, August 24. This is the 6th year the churches have held the joint service, which they call “United.”
About 500 people attended the event, which included contemporary worship music, a sermon by Pastor Craig Owens, of Calvary Assembly of God, prayer, lunch, and a worship concert.
Churches attending included Calvary Assembly of God, Cedar Springs United Methodist, Crossfire Ministries, Grace Evangelical Free, Hillcrest Community, North Kent Community, Pioneer Christian Reformed, Solon Center Wesleyan, and The Springs Church.
To learn more about this event, visit http://unitedcedarsprings.com.

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Clarification

In an article last week, The Post ran a story about a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Main and Cedar Streets. Police reported that a 17-year-old driver pulled out of Cedar Street in front of a southbound car driven by an 18-year-old. The 17-year-old driver was not technically pinned in, but was extricated because she complained of back and neck pain. “We felt it was safer to pop open the driver’s side door rather than try to get her out the passenger side,” explained Fire Chief Marty Fraser. She was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Police Chief Roger Parent noted that people need to look north twice at that intersection before pulling out. Neither victim was ticketed.

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New branch manager at Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library

 

Craig Bruno

Craig Bruno

By Tom Noreen
 
On June 18, Craig Bruno joined the staff of the Nelson Township Library as the Kent District Library Branch Manager. Craig started as a circulation assistant for KDL at the Gaines Township branch. He comes to us from the Cascade branch, where he was the adult librarian offering programs for all ages. Most of his programming for adults has centered on teaching computer classes and performing outreach to senior centers and retirement homes. Craig has hosted several author talks at Cascade.
Craig was born in Sheffield, England and grew up in Pickney, Michigan. He has a Masters of Library and Information Science degree from Wayne State. He and his wife, Danielle, live in Grandville and have two yorkiepoo puppies. Craig follows English football, does genealogy, enjoys folk music and brews his own beer.
Stop in and see him at the library at 88 Eighth Street, Sand Lake.

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OUT OF THE ATTIC

Post office clerk in a mail car ready to make an outgoing-incoming mail exchange.  Photo courtesy of Cedar Springs Historical Society.

Post office clerk in a mail car ready to make an outgoing-incoming mail exchange. Photo courtesy of Cedar Springs Historical Society.

The R.M.S. Railway Mail Service

By D.M. White, Cedar Springs Historical Society

I was one of the federal employees who worked and guarded the U.S. Mail on the trains. We carried all the Federal Reserve cash and registered mail. We handled all the revenue from the Mackinac Bridge each week and it was no small amount!
Here is an example of how the mail service used to work. We lived on R.R. #1-Rockford and when my mother mailed a penny postcard on a Monday morning to Sears Roebuck in Chicago for an item, the item would be delivered to our house on Wednesday—two days later, every time!
After I entered the mail service in 1957, I found out how this speedy response was possible. In 1957, there were 82 employees in the Grand Rapids office. We had our own office separate from the regular post office. Our civil service exam was different from the regular postal workers and on a different pay scale, as our jobs were considered hazardous. We were required to carry a .38 caliber pistol and to qualify every six months with the gun. In 1957, there were also highway post offices that did the same things as the railway post offices.

 

Sorting mail for the Railway Mail Service. Photo courtesy the Cedar Springs Historical Society.

Sorting mail for the Railway Mail Service. Photo courtesy the Cedar Springs Historical Society.

Our runs out of Grand Rapids at that time were as follows: Grand Rapids to Cadillac, Grand Rapids to Ludington, Grand Rapids to Saginaw, Grand Rapids to Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids to Detroit, on the C&O Railroad, three times each way daily; Detroit and Muskegon two times each way daily; Port Huron to Chicago three times daily; Grand Rapids to Petoskey, Jackson to Bay City, Detroit to Mackinac twice daily; and Detroit to Saginaw and Grand Rapids to Chicago, twice daily.
My favorite run of the day was the Detroit and Mackinac. One problem with that was it never got to Detroit or Mackinac. It terminated on each end at Bay City and Cheboygan. As you can see, it was easy for my mother’s order to Sears Roebuck to have reached Chicago so fast with all these daily runs.
An interesting part of the R.M.S. was when we caught the mail on the fly. Smaller towns on the run were not stopped at but we would catch and dispatch the mail at 60 miles per hour, more or less.
A device called the mail crane was owned by the railroad and was on a pole alongside the train tracks. The postmaster would hang a catcher pouch on it. The catcher pouch was a heavy canvas bag that was re-enforced with leather and steel. This hanging bag would go from 0 to 60 mph instantly as we grabbed it and, at the same time, we would dispatch a pouch containing their mail. The complete transfer technique (tossing out the outgoing mail a second before grabbing the catcher pouch) required much skill and potentially could cause harm or even death for those not trained properly or anyone near the passing train.
One funny mishap occurred on a cold icy winter day in Valparaiso, Indiana. Freezing rain had turned everything to ice. The local clerk knew the dispatched pouch had to hit something or it would never stop on that ice. As we approached, we saw that the mail messenger was hiding behind his car, so we threw the pouch and it slid under the car. It hit the messenger, and the pouch and the man went sliding down the street together.

 

Detailed view of the mail hook on CBQ 1926, a RPO preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. Photo courtesy the Cedar Springs Historical Society.

Detailed view of the mail hook on CBQ 1926, a RPO preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. Photo courtesy the Cedar Springs Historical Society.

We stood and sorted mail as the train was running down the tracks and had to know how to direct a letter to all the towns in Michigan. When I started in 1957, Michigan had 1,080 post offices in the state. We had to put up an exam for each state we worked in. I had to know Indiana, Michigan, and New York. I don’t remember how many post offices Indiana had, but New York had over 2,000. There were no zip codes then so we had to know the towns in each state. We were required to score 95 percent on each exam to keep our jobs. To explain why were not robbed is easy—nobody knew we carried this valuable cargo—nobody.
We were issued four items that were to be protected no matter what. One was an L.A. key. This opened all first class mail pouches. Number two was a registered key that opened all registered mail pouches. Each time it was opened, a dial, like an odometer, would record this opening. Each time this locked pouch was transferred to another unit, it was accompanied by a bill bearing these numbers, and the signature of the man who dispatched it. Number three was your pistol, and number four was your badge. You were inspected regularly. If any of the above were missing, or in bad shape, you were in real trouble.
With large shipments of cash, the post office Detroit or Chicago would notify the police and they would escort the truck down to the depot. They in turn would alert the Grand Rapids police to meet the train and escort it to the post office. I have a comical story about what happened to me one dark night during this event. Ask me and I’ll tell you about it sometime. Like the man said, “you gotta stop sometime.”
If you would like to visit the Cedar Springs Historical Museum or get a group together to visit, I would love to tell you more of the story and give a demonstration. Just call the museum to make arrangements at 696-3335.
Visit the museum Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and other times by appointment to see the Railroad Mail Service exhibit.
Article and photos used courtesy of the Cedar Springs Historical Society.

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Education Foundation awards grants

By Tom Noreen

Each year the Cedar Springs Education Foundation reinvests the dividends it earns on its investments back into the schools. This year the foundation returned over $15,000. Of this, over $5,000 was used to provide each of the 205 teachers with a $25 gift card from Schuler’s Books. The other $10,000 was divided up among the individual schools based on student enrollment for projects, programs, and equipment selected by the staff and faculty of each school. The grants awarded are listed below.

CEDAR TRAILS—$1,900

Benefits 625 students. Purchase additional Mentor and Grade Level Text books to support Reading and Writing Workshop

BEACH–$1,500 of $1,700 fee

Benefits all 520 students. Subscription to Raz-kids.com website, a personalized on-line reading support program that challenges all students at their reading level.

CEDAR VIEW

4th Grade—$750
Benefits 270 students. Purchase leveled American Revolution books for students use in researching “Museum of Knowledge” writing project. Also purchase tri-fold boards and other supplies for project.
5th Grade—$750
Benefits 260 students. Purchase math manipulatives to complement Everyday Math curriculum. Purchase current book titles to enhance literacy instruction.

 

RED HAWK—$700

Benefits 250 students. Purchase books that emphasize visual literacy and present same core concepts for varying reading levels that align with social studies and science units.

MIDDLE SCHOOL—$1,500

Benefits all students. Materials for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) inventions which allow students to take theoretical engineering concepts to the design, build and testing phases.
HIGH SCHOOL-$2,700 towards $35,000 total cost
Benefits 700 students. Partnering with Athletic Boosters to replace 20-plus-year-old equipment used for strength training and conditioning by physical education students and athletes.

NEW BEGINNINGS HIGH SCHOOL—$550

Benefits 68 students. Purchase books in a wide range of reading fluency levels for student’s use in the school library.
To learn more about the Cedar Springs Education Foundation, visit them online at http://www.csredhawks.org/csef.

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