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Car rear-ends school bus

A car ran into the back of a Cedar Springs School bus this afternoon that had stopped to drop off a student. Post photo by J. Reed.

A car ran into the back of a Cedar Springs School bus this afternoon that had stopped to drop off a student. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

A Nelson Township mom saw the Cedar Springs Public Schools bus stop in front of their home on 17 Mile, between Shaner and Stout, about 2:45 p.m. to drop off her son. She said she looked away for a moment, and when she looked back, she saw a car crash into the back of the bus.

“I heard the airbags deploy from inside the house,” she remarked.

The Kent County Sheriff Department, Cedar Springs Fire and Rescue, and Rockford Ambulance all responded to the scene.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the school bus was stopped on the roadway with its lights activated, when the driver of the at-fault vehicle became distracted and was unable to stop before striking the bus.

According to 911 dispatch, the 16-year-old driver of the car and her 16-year-old passenger suffered bumps and bruises. The driver was able to get out of the car early on, but it took some time for the passenger to get out, who was originally reported as pinned in. According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, both the driver and passenger were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Superintendent Laura VanDuyn said 15 high school and middle school students were on the bus at the time of the accident. One was standing and waiting to get off when the bus was hit.

“All the kids are fine,” said VanDuyn, who was at the scene, along with Transportation Supervisor Jerry Gavin. She said that two students bumped their heads, and one of them was going to the hospital to be checked out, due to having some surgery the week before. “It’s just to make sure the stitches haven’t been disrupted,” she explained.

VanDuyn said they did an all-call to notify parents in the district of the accident, and also notified staff and the Board of Education.

“We are very thankful to the Kent County Sheriff Department, Cedar Springs Fire Department and Rockford Ambulance for their coordination in making sure all the kids are safe,” said VanDuyn.

Another bus picked up the kids to finish the route.

The Sheriff Department said that they would review their investigation, and issue the appropriate charges to the at-fault driver at a later date.


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Sparta police seek info on armed robbery


Police are asking for the public’s assistance to identify two suspects that robbed a Sparta gas station Monday, January 12th.

The robbery occurred Monday, January 12, about 10 p.m., at the AGO gas station, 560 E. Division in Sparta.

Sparta Police Chief Andrew Milanowski said the suspects are believed to be in their late teens to mid 20′s.  A black revolver type handgun was used in the incident, and the suspects obtained an undisclosed amount of cash. No one was injured. There was no further information available.

If anyone has any information on these suspects please contact the Sparta Police Department 24 hour dispatch at 616-887-7331 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.


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Cedar grad dies in car vs bicycle accident

Jackie Remmele

Jackie Remmele

A Cedar Springs graduate died Tuesday of injuries he suffered after he was hit by a car last week while riding a bicycle.

According to the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post, the accident occurred about 6:08 p.m., on Friday, January 16, 2015, on Montcalm Avenue, north of M-57.

An initial investigation reports that a 2008 Buick Enclave, driven by Charles Bliss, 32, of Cedar Springs, was traveling north on Montcalm Ave (W. County Line Rd.), and collided with 37-year-old Jackie Remmele of Greenville, who was riding a bicycle. The victim was transported to United Memorial Hospital in Greenville by Montcalm County Emergency Services, then to Spectrum Downtown, Grand Rapids by Aeromed, in critical condition. He died Tuesday, January 20.

Jackie Remmele was a 1995 graduate of Cedar Springs High School, and had been a volunteer with the Cedar Springs Fire Department. (See obituary here)

State troopers are continuing to investigate the incident. The driver and passenger of the Buick were not injured. They were wearing safety belts, no airbags deployed, and there was no alcohol use. An independent witness was at the scene.

State Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash to contact the MSP at 855-677-9178.


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Brad Brechting nominated for McDonald’s All-American games

Brad Brechting

Brad Brechting

Local student-athlete in the running to play in prestigious high school basketball event in Chicago

Cedar Springs Red Hawk Brad Brechting, a standout on the Varsity basketball team, is among the list of high school seniors who have been nominated to play in the 2015 McDonald’s All American Games. This year’s list includes players from 47 states and the District of Columbia who have been selected by high school coaches, athletic directors, principals and members of the McDonald’s All American Games Selection Committee.

Brad is the son of Bradley and Tracy Brechting, and has already signed on to play at Oakland University next year.

Eyes have been on Brad for awhile. As a sophomore, he averaged 12.6 points per game; as a junior it was 15.5 points; and this year he has averaged 20.8 points per game (through nine games). He currently is approaching 800 career points. Brad also averages between 9 and 10 rebounds  and 4 blocks per game.

“Brad has put a lot of time into improving as a basketball player and you can see the results,” remarked Jeff Patin, head coach of the Red Hawk Varsity basketball team. “He is a pleasure to coach because of the energy he brings every day. We will be sad when his career as Cedar Springs comes to a close, but we look forward to watching him play at the next level.”

N-Brechting2Athletic Supervisor Autumn Mattson was glad to hear about Brad’s nomination. “Brad is a great kid and it has been fun watching him over the past four years develop into a great basketball player.  We are excited and looking forward to hearing of his future success at Oakland University and are proud that he will continue represent Cedar Springs High School at the next level,” she said.

A complete list of 2015 McDonald’s All American Games Nominees is available at www.mcdaag.com. McDonald’s will name the final roster of 24 boys and 24 girls who will be selected to play in the 2015 Games during the McDonald’s All American Games Selection Show on ESPNU, airing Jan. 28 at 6 p.m.

The 38th Annual Boys Game will tip-off on Wednesday, Apr. 1 at 9:00 pm ET from Chicago’s United Center and will be broadcast on ESPN. The 14th Annual Girls Game will precede the Boys Game, beginning at 6:30 pm ET and will broadcast live on ESPNU. Information regarding tickets for the 2015 McDonald’s All American Games is available at Ticketmaster. Tickets for the 2015 Games go on sale Saturday, Jan. 17 at 11:00 am ET.

Net proceeds from the Games benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC).



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The Post travels to Rome

N-Post-travels-to-Rome-HendgesGary and Gail Hendges, of Nelson Township, traveled to Rome, Italy in May to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, and took along a copy of the Post. Here they can be seen in front of the Trevi Fountain, in Rome. They also saw the Vatican and other sites in Italy.

Thanks to Gary and Gail 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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Solon staffs full-time firefighter

Lt. Chris Paige. Photo by J. Reed

Lt. Chris Paige. Photo by J. Reed

By Judy Reed


There have been times in the past when it was hard to find a volunteer firefighter curing the daytime in Solon Township that was available to answer an emergency call. That is no longer the case, since the residents in Solon Township approved a half mill (.50) last August to fund the salary of a full-time firefighter to man the station 50 hours a week. Lt. Chris Paige, took on full-time duties after the first of year.

“It’s been a good thing,” said Paige, “to have someone here that can answer those calls. It’s not just that way here; it’s everywhere. Most people work during the day. A lot of departments wish they could have someone full time,” he added.

Paige, a graduate of Cedar Springs High School, started his career in the fire service in 1993. He worked at both Courtland Fire and Spencer Fire before hiring on at Solon nine years ago. In 2010, he was promoted to Lieutenant. In March of 2014, he was hired to man the station part time, on a trial basis.

Paige now mans the station Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. He answers emergency calls, maintains equipment, does paperwork, and maintains the facilities.

Chief Jeff Drake was pleased that the residents approved the millage to fund the position. “We hope to fill a void of alarms not being answered,” explained Drake, who is starting to see some of his plans come to fruition. Drake also applied for and got a partial grant to have a feasibility study done on ways to improve the department, including a possible consolidation with the Cedar Springs Fire Department. Both Solon and Cedar Springs approved the grant award in December.


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Police arrest one brother and seek another


Jason Andrew Butler

Jason Andrew Butler

Joseph Clayton Butler

Joseph Clayton Butler

The Kent County Sheriff Department is asking for the public’s help in finding a suspect charged with copper wire theft.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, of the Cedar Springs Unit of the Kent County Sheriff Department, an area business reported the theft of valuable copper wire on January 12, 2015. The wire was later sold in Grand Rapids, which led them to the identity of the suspect—Joseph Clayton Butler, 34. Butler was also arrested on wire theft two years ago.

On Wednesday, January 21, the Kent County Prosecutor’s office authorized charges against Joseph Butler of buying/selling stolen scrap metal, a 5-year felony.  Police are currently looking for him, and if you have any information on where he is, please contact Detective Rob Porter at (616) 632-6017, Detective Mike Hopkins at (616) 632-6015, or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

During the course of the investigation, they came across Joseph’s brother, Jason Andrew Butler. On January 15, the KCSD investigated the theft and unlawful use of a credit card in the City of Cedar Springs. Jason Butler, 36, of Cedar Springs, was identified as the suspect, and was arrested on four warrants out of Ionia County, including forgery, a domestic charge and two contempt charges. He was lodged at the Kent County jail and then transferred to Ionia County.

On Wednesday, January 21, the Kent County Prosecutor’s office authorized charges against Jason Butler for two counts of stealing/retaining a financial transaction device. He will be arraigned in Kent County after facing the Ionia County charges.


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Gowen woman dies in accident



Police identified icy road conditions as a factor in a car accident that killed a Gowen woman Sunday.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, they were called to the scene of a one-car accident on Sunday, January 18, in Oakfield Township. Police determined that Debbie Lee Rauch, 56, of Gowen, was traveling southbound on Lincoln Lake, about 7:42 a.m., in a Jeep Wrangler, when she attempted to pass another vehicle. She then lost control of the Jeep, which left the road and struck a tree. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police determined the icy roads were a factor and alcohol was not involved.

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Library hires new children’s librarian

Kelly Roach started as the new children’s librarian at the Cedar Springs Library this week.

Kelly Roach started as the new children’s librarian at the Cedar Springs Library this week.

When business owner Kelly Roach decided to close her coffee shop, Alpha Omega Coffee and Games, she wasn’t sure what she was going to do. It didn’t take her long to find something. Kelly started this week as the new children’s librarian at the Cedar Springs Public Library.

Kelly replaces Shannon Vanderhyde, who took a job at the Rockford branch of Kent District Library, as a children’s parapro. Shannon had worked for Cedar Springs Library since 2008. “We enjoyed her storytimes, and wish her well at Rockford,” said Donna Clark, Cedar Springs Library Director.

Donna is excited about Kelly joining the library and the new ideas she is bringing with her. “I think there could be lots of new programs coming. She can do all ages. She’s great with adults, and loves teens as well as the younger kids. I am really thrilled to have her,” said Clark.


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Vacant lot to get new life

Digging began this week on a new house to be built at 40 E. Maple. Post photo by J. Reed.

Digging began this week on a new house to be built at 40 E. Maple. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed


A lot with historical significance in the City of Cedar Springs, but has sat vacant for five years, is getting a new lease on life.

On February 7, 2010, a once beautiful and elegant old house that had been turned into apartments was destroyed by fire. The house at 40 E. Maple, located on the southwest corner of Maple and First, had long ago been the home of Sally Wall, who for years had sewn the city’s famous Red Flannels both in her home, and then later, in her remodeled barn next door at 36 E. Maple (which is now the Cedar Springs Post).

The previous house at 40 E. Maple was destroyed in a fire five years ago. Post photo by J. Reed.

The previous house at 40 E. Maple was destroyed in a fire five years ago. Post photo by J. Reed.

When the house burned, in the wee hours of the morning, it was a total loss, and what didn’t burn was torn down. There were a few inquiries into the lot; but nothing serious until last year, when Inner City Christian Federation, an organization similar to Habitat for Humanity, decided it would be a good lot to build a home on for someone who needed it. Their mission is to “provide housing opportunities and services that encourage family responsibility and independence, thereby helping to build stable communities.”

“I like to call us Habitat on steroids,” joked Don Fredricks, Construction Volunteer and Special Projects Coordinator for ICCF. He also happens to be a licensed builder. “We have a whole education department that they go through,” he explained. He said potential homeowners are educated in home maintenance, how to manage credit, family values, etc. “They have to know the why and how to take care of a home,” he added.

N-40-E-Maple-blueprint-3The house will be a three-bedroom, two-story home, similar to others in the area. The house will face Maple Street, with the driveway off First. Digging out the basement began this week.

“We really wanted to start this last year, but it didn’t work out,” said Fredricks.

He said that with the cold weather, the first few stages would be subcontracted out instead of using volunteers. “We will be subcontracting the framing, roofing, siding, mechanical, electrical and heating work. With this cold weather, we need to make sure it’s done correctly.”

Volunteers will be needed when they start on the trim, carpentry, painting, landscaping, etc. If anyone would like to volunteer for that, they are welcome to call Fredricks at (616) 336-9333. He said they are shooting to be done by the end of June, or the end of August. “The way our financing works, the owner has to be working at the time, and since she works for a school, she doesn’t work during the summer,” he explained.

The owner of the home will be a single mom who lives in the area. Fredricks said there is definitely a need in the area for this type of housing.

“The County has been after us for years to do in the rural community what we normally do in the inner city,” he explained. The catch is that the community has to have city water and sewer, so it can’t be just anywhere. They also built a few homes in the City of Lowell several years ago. “Cedar Springs and Lowell both seem to be the two communities that could really use this,” he noted.

They are also looking at a city-owned lot on Pine Street. That will still have to be approved by the City Council, however. City Manager Thad Taylor said it would be taken up at the next City Council meeting.


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