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Santa Claus is coming to town

 

Santa parade, tree lighting and more next Saturday, December 3 

n-mingle-with-kris-kringleAre you ready to have yourself a merry Christmas Cedar Springs-style? Come on out and experience a day of goodwill and cheer on Saturday, December 3, when the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce presents “Come Mingle with Kris Kringle.”

The day will start at 10 a.m. with families able to make and take Christmas ornaments at the Cedar Springs Library from 10-1, then do kids crafts at the Cedar Springs Historical Museum from 1-3 p.m. You can also enjoy a story time with Mrs. Claus from 2-3 p.m. at Perry’s Place llc for herbs, teas, and more, all before the mini-parade that brings Santa to the corner of Main and Ash Street at about 4:30-4:45.

Following the parade will be a live nativity scene, tree lighting, caroling, and mingling with Kris Kringle at the American Legion Hall.

Bring the whole family out on Saturday, December 3, for a fun, community Christmas celebration! See the Chamber advertisement here for complete details on times and locations.

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Cedar Springs teacher wins Excellence in Education Award

Brett Burns poses for a photo with (left to right) Cedar Springs Middle School principal Sue Spahr, his daughter Cylie, wife Heather, and daughter Cassidy, after accepting his Excellence in Education award from Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.

Brett Burns poses for a photo with (left to right) Cedar Springs Middle School principal Sue Spahr, his daughter Cylie, wife Heather, and daughter Cassidy, after accepting his Excellence in Education award from Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.

A Kent County educator known for his dedication to helping students improve their math skills and for using technology and current events to help them grasp concepts and increase their understanding has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Brett Burns, teaches mathematics at Cedar Springs Middle School, part of the Cedar Springs Public Schools district. He also serves as the basketball coach for the eighth grade teams.

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public school educators across the state during the school year.

Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school or school district. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Each winner also is featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations:  WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, and FOX 47 in Lansing. The news segment featuring Burns aired Tuesday evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing and will air Thursday in Detroit.

Brett Burns talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting his Excellence in Education award.

Brett Burns talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting his Excellence in Education award.

For the Excellence in Education awards program, the Lottery has teamed up with Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo, who recently presented Burns with the award at the Breslin Center.

Burns said he was attracted to a career in education because “it gives me the opportunity to make a difference every day. When I first started teaching math, I had a lot to learn about how to educate middle school students. I have grown and perfected my craft, but I’ve never stopped learning. Every year, I have to change with the new group of students that enters my classroom.

“As I look back, I remember how I used to assign 20 to 30 math problems as homework each night that didn’t require much thinking from students about the how and the why of solving the problems. Now my assignments are much shorter, but incorporate deep thinking and exploration,” he said. “Math is one of the most difficult subjects for middle school students, so my goal every year is to change their mindset about math. By the end of the year, I want them to see that they can do math and can be successful. That’s not an easy job, but I love the challenge and look forward to it each and every year.

“I am willing to grow and change and learn who my students are as people first, before I ever teach them a math lesson. I make that a priority and my mission is to earn their trust and show them that I care about them as people. This creates a mutual respect between myself and my students and helps me to be more effective as a teacher. The students know that I truly care about them.”

A colleague nominated Burns for the Excellence in Education award, saying: “High energy, integrity, collaboration, leadership and high relationship are just a few words that describe Brett Burns.

“Every day, he arrives at school at about 4:30 a.m. and works diligently to review student work and prepare quality lessons. Setting aside this time allows him maximum efficiency, so when students arrive, he is totally focused on them. Mr. Burns can be seen fist bumping, joking, complimenting, and welcoming the students each day. The students form a huddle around him, smiles all-around.

“Mr. Burns has dedicated many hours to improving math achievement at Cedar Springs Middle School. He has collaborated with a vertical team of sixth grade through 12th grade teachers to align instruction with the Common Core standards and the latest research on thinking mathematically. He also works to incorporate technology and current events into instruction to deepen engagement and conceptual understanding,” the nomination said.

“Mr. Burns breaks his groups down in collaborative teams, working in small groups with them to question, prompt, and cue them, not give them answers and direction with their struggles. Frequent emails to parents keep them informed of student opportunities to improve their mastery of the standards.

“Outside of the classroom, Mr. Burns pours his energy into coaching basketball for the eighth grade students. He continues to inspire and build relationships with students, encouraging them to break through barriers in their thinking that stop them from exceeding their own goals.

“His dedication to the students, staff, parents, colleagues, and community inspires everyone to be selfless in their work.”

Burns earned a bachelor of arts degree from Sienna Heights College and has been an educator for nearly 20 years, all with the Cedar Springs Public Schools.

Outstanding public school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at http://bit.ly/ExcellenceInEducation or through the websites of the Lottery’s media partner stations.

Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:

Excellence – Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement.

Dedication – They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed.

Inspiration – Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations either academically or professionally.

Leadership – They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts

Effectiveness – The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.

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Post to collect toys for needy

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n-toys-for-tots-trainlogoWould you like to do something special for families in need this Christmas? You can partner with us to provide toys for needy children in Kent County. The Post is participating in the Toys for Tots program again this holiday season, as a drop off site for toys.

Toys for Tots is a volunteer organization whose goal is to collect new, unwrapped toys for kids 0-16, and distribute them to children who would not otherwise receive a gift during the holiday season. Toys for teens are always especially needed.

The program runs now through December 14. Just bring a new, unwrapped toy to our office at 36 E. Maple Street in Cedar Springs, Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Fridays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you can’t make that time, call us to make other arrangements.

Together we can make this Christmas special for many children!

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Letters to Santa Claus

Hey kids, it’s time to write a letter to Santa! Photo courtesy of S. Read.

Hey kids, it’s time to write a letter to Santa! Photo courtesy of S. Read.

It’s that time of year again, when kids can’t wait to mail their letters to Santa! To help parents out, the Cedar Springs Post will have a special North Pole drop box. Every year dozens of kids use our special box for express delivery to the North Pole, and we make sure Santa reads each and every one! So, if you’d like to send a letter to Santa, and maybe get it printed in the newspaper, just drop off your letter, in the bright red box labeled “Santa Mail” outside our office at 36 E. Maple Street, or mail your letter to: Letters to Santa, c/o the Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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The Post travels to China

n-post-travels-to-china

Almost 70 Chinese high school students visited Cedar Springs last summer and took a little bit of Red Flannel Town home with them.

Tim and Shelley Bauer, directors of Network 153, a local nonprofit organization, teamed up with Pine Ridge Bible Camp for the third summer in a row, worked with Lu He Cultural Training Center in Beijing to bring the students here for a three-week English immersion program. They spent two weeks with host families and one week having fun at camp.

When the students left, they each took a copy of the Post back to Beijing, and took a group photo.

Thanks so much to the Chinese students for visiting, and then taking us home 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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Tom Mabie recognized by CBDT for community service

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Tom and Claudia Mabie (seated) with other members of the Community Building Development Team. Tom was honored at this month’s meeting for his vision and support of the CBDT.

Life-long resident and community supporter Tom Mabie was recently thanked for his service on the Community Building Development Team (CBDT) as well as his efforts toward the library. Tom and his wife Claudia Mabie have supported numerous organizations in our community for many years.

Tom served as the Vice President and as one of the founding board of directors for the CBDT. He has been instrumental in establishing the vision and direction of the board. His eternal optimism and “let’s make it happen” attitude have inspired and motivated many in constructing the new library and other public facility enhancements for the Cedar Springs community.

Mabie’s passion for reading and learning began as a young child when his mother, Estella Mabie, would consistently read to him from a variety of genres and authors including Edgar Allen Poe. Mabie’s love for reading still continues when he is not tending to his organic garden, writing poetry, or exploring new places with his wife or family.

In 2003, the Mabies met with Librarian Donna Clark to discuss the need for a larger library to better serve the community. While various options were discussed, real progress seemed out of reach. Then, on December 1, 2006 they donated $300,000 toward the construction of a new library in an effort to kick start enthusiasm for the project. Since then, they have tirelessly continued to give of their time, wisdom, and resources to help make a new library a reality for our community.

In December 2013, Tom was instrumental in creating the Community Building Development Team. This group of over 60 community and business volunteers met with the various governmental and community organizations to determine if a library should continue to be a primary focus. The City of Cedar Spring’s Master and Recreation Plans were reviewed which included a long list of possibilities to include an amphitheatre, boardwalk along the creek, community building, and recreation center.

“Tom is often described as a visionary with a unique gift to see the possibilities,” shared Kurt Mabie, CBDT President and nephew to Tom. “He has always held strong to his belief that dreams do come true.”

In December 2016, Tom will complete his term as a CBDT Board Member and Vice President. He is ready to pass the torch to someone else. He and Claudia believe the mission to create the “Heart of Cedar Springs” will continue. They will always support and encourage but Mabie will no longer serve on the board.

The CBDT recognized Tom at the November CBDTeam Meeting and presented him with a Certificate of Appreciation that reads, “This certificate is awarded in recognition of your contributions to our community and the CBDT. You have generously given of your time, talents, and resources for the enhancement and enrichment of the Cedar Springs Area. You have led by example and we are grateful for your leadership!”

Following the presentation Kurt Mabie added, “We all want to thank Tom and Claudia. You are a very important reason this is library is coming to fruition as well as a tentative site plan for the “Heart of Cedar Springs. You never allowed us to give up!”

The CBDT is accepting letters of interest from anyone wishing to serve on the board. The term begins in January 2017 with board meetings held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 a.m. and team meetings held on the third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. Letters can be submitted to Carolee Cole, CBDT Secretary, at CaroleeCole@gmail.com no later than December 20.

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Gas Prices drop as motorists gear up for Thanksgiving travel 

 

National average gas price on Thanksgiving projected to be third lowest in 11 years 

n-gas-prices-thankshistMotorists preparing to travel for Thanksgiving have something to be thankful for: falling gas prices. According to GasBuddy, prices in 44 of the 50 U.S. states are lower than a week ago, coming just in time for when millions of Americans will be hitting the road.

GasBuddy projects the national average gas price this Thanksgiving will be the third lowest in over a decade at $2.11 per gallon. Average prices have only been lower for Thanksgiving in 2015 ($2.05) and 2008 ($1.81). Monday’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline was $2.14, some 65 cents less than the average price on Thanksgiving merely two years ago ($2.79).

In Cedar Springs, gas was $2.11 Tuesday.

“Over the Thanksgiving travel period, Wednesday, Nov. 23, to Sunday, Nov. 27, motorists will be collectively spending nearly $1.7 billion less at the gas pump than the five-year average,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. “This year will go down as the first in over a decade that no state—not even traditionally pricey Hawaii or California—has seen its average daily price breach $3 per gallon. We can thank global oil production that continues to outpace rising demand for the low prices.”

Consumers are taking advantage. According to GasBuddy’s 2016 Thanksgiving Travel survey, 52 percent of those traveling this year will be on the road for at least 4 hours; 20 percent of which will be driving 10-plus hours.

The survey also found that “running out of gas” is the third biggest fear when it comes to being on the road for the holidays this year, ranked behind 1) sitting in traffic and 2) needing to use the restroom but unsure where/when the next one will be available.

Additionally, travelers are on a mission. Fifty-five percent said they only make stops when absolutely necessary. When they do make stops, gas prices and location are the top deciding factors, followed by the cleanliness of the gas station convenience store.

“Travelers will be journeying a long distance this year. It is evident that consumers are looking to save time and make quick stops that can fulfill all their needs from affordable fuel, to clean restrooms, to good food,” said Michael DiLorenzo, vice president of marketing at GasBuddy. “The newly redesigned GasBuddy app is made to help with this journey. With enhanced search filters and station ratings, travelers will now be able to quickly and easily find what they want right in the palm of their hands

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Sabra Dipping Co. issues recall of  hummus products

Sabra Dipping Co., LLC is voluntarily recalling certain hummus products made prior to November 8, 2016 due to concerns over Listeria monocytogenes, which was identified at the manufacturing facility but not in tested finished product. The recall includes products that were distributed to retail outlets, including food service accounts and supermarkets, in the U.S. and Canada.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. The company is issuing this recall out of an abundance of caution.

Varieties include various sizes of carmelized onion, classic, garlic, jalapeno, olive, pine nut, red pepper, supremely spicy, basic pesto, spinach and artichoke, sundried tomato, tuscan herb, taco, and more.

Sabra products not included in the recall are: Sabra Organic Hummus, Sabra Salsa, Sabra Guacamole and Sabra Greek Yogurt Dips.

Consumers with any product with a “Best Before” date up through January 23, 2017 are urged to discard it. Consumers can find code and “Best Before” date on the lid of each package. Visit http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ to find the hummus recall and review specific products recalled.

Consumers can contact Sabra Consumer Relations at 1-866-265-6761 for additional information from 9:00 am to 8:00 PM eastern time. For product reimbursement, consumers can contact www.sabrahummusrecall.com.

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Former Survivor contestant found guilty of child porn charges

 

Michael Skupin

Michael Skupin

Michael Skupin also pled guilty to a larceny charge

An Oakland County jury convicted Michael Skupin, 54, of Farmington Hills, of four counts of possession of child sexually abusive materials in front of Oakland County 6th Circuit Court Judge Wendy Potts last Friday, November 18.

“The children in these videos and images were exploited, and each time the images were shared and viewed continued their suffering,” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. “My hope is that today’s conviction will bring some closure to the families and the children that are victims in this case.”

Skupin, a former contestant on the television reality show Survivor, was charged by Schuette in February 2016 with both the counts of possession of child sexually abusive materials and financial crimes of larceny by conversion and racketeering. He pled guilty to one count of Larceny by Conversion on Monday, November 21, and agreed to pay $30,000 in restitution to his victims. He entered his plea in front of Oakland County 6th Circuit Court Judge Wendy Potts.

Each charge could bring up to four years in prison. Sentencing will be held on December 27, 2016 at 8:30 am.

Case Background

An investigation began into Skupin after victims from his alleged Ponzi scheme contacted a local news reporter. It is alleged that Michael Skupin recruited investors and friends to take part in his “gifting scheme” called Pay It Forward. Victims allegedly made $10,000 cash investments in the scheme. Their money would then cycle through a chart in which participants were eventually paid out of other new investors’ money. The scheme was discovered when eventually there were no new investors signing up and most people in the scheme lost all of their money.

Skupin’s laptop was searched in conjunction with the Ponzi scheme investigation. During the search, investigators discovered images of underage children in sexual situations. The images are alleged to belong to Skupin.

Skupin was on two seasons of Survivor—Survivor: Australian Outback (2001), and Survivor: Phillipines (2012). Many remember him as the man who passed out and fell into the fire on live TV and was medivaced by helicopter to a hospital in Australia.

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Deputy’s car hit by impaired driver

 

A Kent County Sheriff Deputy was investigating a hit and run in Oakfield Township when his car was struck by another vehicle on Sunday, November 20.

The deputy, who was not named, was investigating a hit and run on Podunk, south of 14 Mile about 3:54 a.m. He was seated in his patrol car, a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe, when a 2005 Buick Lacrosse headed southbound ran the stop sign and struck the deputy’s vehicle.

The was transported to Spectrum Butterworth by Rockford Ambulance with non-life threatening injuries and released a short time later.

The driver of the Lacrosse, a 20-year-old Belding man, was also transported by Rockford Ambulance to Butterworth with non-life threatening injuries.

Alcohol and speed are believed to be factors in the crash.

The crash is under investigation by the Michigan State Police.

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