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Let the sun shine in

 

N-Sunshine-weekWe may have had some much-needed outdoor sunshine in the past week, but we are also celebrating sunshine of another kind. March 12-18 is being celebrated as “Sunshine Week” across the nation. Sunshine week is a week dedicated to shining a light on the importance of freedom of information, transparency and openness in government.

In this week’s paper, stories marked with a sunshine week emblem show that they were made possible through the Freedom of Information Act or Open Meetings Act. We hope this will bring awareness to how much we depend on an open, honest government.

It is important that citizens participate in our local government meetings and exercise their right to know. As responsible citizens working to keep our community strong, healthy and vibrant, we need to keep the focus on having an open government.

For more information on the FOIA and OMA acts visit the Open Government Guide at www.rcfp.org/open-government-guide. You can learn about both federal and state guidelines.

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Teen charged in business break-in

 

N-Sunshine-logoA suspect has been charged in the breaking and entering of a local business earlier this year.

On January 3, the Kent County Sheriff Department responded to a business burglary at the Cedar Chest, located at 61 N. Main Street, in the City of Cedar Springs. An employee contacted the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, after finding the back door damaged and that entry had been gained. KCSD Deputies responded and processed the scene. It was reported that some items had been taken from the store.

Through investigative leads, detectives were able to locate a potential suspect in the case. Additional interviews and searches were conducted leading to 18-year-old Alexander James Hirst being identified as a suspect.

Hirst, a resident of the City of Cedar Springs, was charged by the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office with one charge of breaking and entering, and one charge of safe breaking.

Alexander Hirst is currently in the Newaygo County Jail on unrelated charges and will be transferred to the Kent County Jail upon release.

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More snow fun

N-Winter-fun-Harington

This is three-year-old Lucas Harington, enjoying the snow recently at his grandma and grandpa’s house, Lester and Pamela Cooke, of Nelson Township. It doesn’t look like he had much snow for his sled, but that didn’t appear to dampen his enthusiasm! Thanks so much, Pamela, for sending us your photo!

If you have winter fun, wildlife, or Post travels to… photos you’d like to send us, please email them to news@cedarspringspost.com. Include some information about the photo, and include your name and contact info. We will publish as space allows. Publication not guaranteed.

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Odyssey of the mind teams head to state finals

Odyssey of the Mind Team 1.

Odyssey of the Mind Team 1.

Three Odyssey of the Mind teams from Cedar View Elementary will be heading to the state finals this weekend after placing at regionals in February.

The three teams traveled to Greenville on February 25 to compete at Regionals and finished with one first place and two second places, which allowed them to move on to State Finals.

The first team that took first place at Regionals did Problem 2 Odd-a-Bot: Coryn Wiles, Ember Briggs, Brielle Sarniak, Walker Glyshaw, Nathanael Slager, Devin Jobson, and Silas Cartwright, all in 5th grade.

Odyssey of the Mind Team 2.

Odyssey of the Mind Team 2.

The second team which took second place at Regionals did Problem 3 It’s Time, OMER: Dominic Vanderhyde and Michael Stevens, 4th grade; and Emily Stevens, Kendall Fisk, Alana Wiles, Jeremiah Slager, Logan Redes, 3rd grade.

The third team took second at Regional as well and did Problem 1 Catch Us If You Can: Kyla Robinson, Derek Bordeaux, Kaden Kirkwood, Riley Robb: all in 5th grade; and Gavin Kirkwood in 4th grade.

State Finals will be held on March 18 at Thornapple Kellogg High School. By visiting the miodyssey.com website fans can see when they are performing that day.

Odyssey of the Mind Team 3.

Odyssey of the Mind Team 3.

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Be part of a focus group at North Kent Community Services

Be part of a focus group at North Kent Community Services

North Kent Community Services (NKCS) has partnered with the Dorothy A. Johnson Center’s Community Research Institute at Grand Valley State University to complete a community needs assessment for northern Kent County. This initiative, funded in part by the Sparta Community Foundation, Cedar Springs Rotary, and Rockford Rotary, will give insight to how NKCS can best address the needs in our community.

The Community Research Institute will be facilitating and gathering information from three community focus groups. These groups will be made up from individuals in the community whose households’ income are at or below the 200 percent federal poverty guidelines and who have never received services from NKCS. The focus groups will be held on:

Wednesday, March 22 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Friday, March 24 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Friday, March 31 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

If you or somebody you know are interested in attending one of these focus groups, please call (616) 331-7585 to sign up. Attendance is limited to the first 30 people who reserve a spot. Those who reserve a spot and participate in any of these focus groups will receive a $20 Meijer gift card.

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First grade library card celebration

Mike Metzger, who founded the First Grade Library Card drive 20-plus years ago, is shown here with two of the attendees of the March is Reading month celebration at the Kent last week. Courtesy photo.

Mike Metzger, who founded the First Grade Library Card drive 20-plus years ago, is shown here with two of the attendees of the March is Reading month celebration at the Kent last week. Courtesy photo.

The First Grade Library Card Roundup ended with a Grand Party at the Kent Theatre last week to celebrate “March is Reading Month.” The Cedar Springs Public Library and Kent District Library Branches from Nelson and Spencer Townships each sponsored a free ticket for all first graders from the Cedar Springs Public Schools and Creative Technologies Academy to see “Lego Batman.” Invitations were for Monday and Tuesday nights,  6 pm on March 6 and 7. The Kent Theatre offered free popcorn to all first graders with a library card, counting 81 over the two evenings. Family members, who shared the fun, numbered in at 258.

(L to R): Sara Magnuson (Youth librarian at Nelson Township/Sand Lake branch of KDL); Mary Shallman (Youth Paraprofessional at Spencer Township branch of KDL); teen Sierra and her mom, CS author Amanda Litz; CS Librarian Donna Clark; and Mike Metzger, found of the First Grade Library Card roundup. Courtesy photo.

(L to R): Sara Magnuson (Youth librarian at Nelson Township/Sand Lake branch of KDL); Mary Shallman (Youth Paraprofessional at Spencer Township branch of KDL); teen Sierra and her mom, CS author Amanda Litz; CS Librarian Donna Clark; and Mike Metzger, found of the First Grade Library Card roundup. Courtesy photo.

This year marked 20 years of celebrating first grade readers since the inception of the program in 1997, when Library Board Member, Mike Metzger, put his idea in motion.  As a part of this year’s celebration, Mike, at the request of Cedar Springs Library Director Donna Clark, sponsored a free book giveaway for all first graders.  Students had the choice between “Pirate’s Treasure,” “The Great Gumshoe,” and “Medieval Quest,” all by Cedar Springs Children’s Author, Amanda Litz.  Amanda and her two teens, Sierra and Jacob, were on hand both nights to celebrate.  Kent District Youth Librarian from Nelson Township/Sand Lake, Sara Magnuson, and Mary Shallman, Youth Paraprofessional from Spencer Township, brought several items for first graders to take home as well.

First grade teachers Mrs. Doncis, Mrs. Brussow, Mr. Avink, Mrs. Sendler, Mrs. Holtrop, Mrs. Graf, Mrs. Shepard, Mrs. Boggiano, Mrs. Upham, Mrs. Benham, Mrs. Tiffany, and Mrs. Schmidutz all welcomed their students with hugs, while keeping track of attendance for the libraries.

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Sheriff Department crime stats

Kent-County-Sheriff-logo

N-Sunshine-logoThe Kent County Sheriff Department has issued their crime statistics for the year for the cities and townships they patrol. Over the last few weeks, we have been sharing some of those statistics. Below are statistics from the last three townships in our area.

Spencer Township: Population: 3,960. Had 535 dispatched calls, 45 traffic stops. The top five dispatched calls were for suspicious conditions/noise/subject (50); assists (47); traffic crash-property damage (37) and alarms (27); domestic argument-no assault (22). The top five criminal offenses were domestic simple assault (19); obstructing justice (12); OUIL or OUID (9); driving law violations (9); non-aggravated assault (8). The highest number of calls occur on Monday, then Saturday; the peak time of day is a tie: 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. The hotspots for service calls are in the areas surrounded by Hemlock and Verlin.

Sparta Township: Population: 9,110. Had 934 dispatched calls, 221 traffic stops. The top five dispatched calls were for assists (110); suspicious condition/noise/subject (93); traffic crash-property damage (71); domestic argument-no assault (60); alarms (41). The top five criminal offenses: domestic simple assault (33); obstructing justice (27); intimidation/stalking (15); damage to property (15); driving law violations (13). The highest number of calls occurs on Sunday, with about 8 p.m. being the peak time for calls. The hotspot for service calls are in the area of Viking and Long Lake Drive; Glen Park; and the area of Alpine, Schultz, and Vinton.

Tyrone Township: Population 6,107. Had 946 dispatched calls, 91 traffic stops.

The top five dispatched calls were for assists (87); suspicious condition/noise/subject (77); traffic crash-property damage (71); domestic argument-no assault (56); domestic assault (36). The top five criminal offenses were domestic simple assault (23); obstructing justice (19); intimidation/stalking (13); violation of controlled substance (8); driving law violations (8). The highest number of calls occurs on Friday, with about 8 p.m. being the peak time of day. The hotspot for calls is in the area surrounding M-37, Main Street, and Ball Creek; and the area of 17 Mile, Daily and Nellie.

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Rotary Club honors 5th grade essay winners

Pictured are the Cedar Springs Rotary 4-Way Test essay winners. From L to R: Sally Odren, Makenna Nichols, Jack Cairy, Analiese Van Harten, and Josh Trendt. Courtesy photo.

Pictured are the Cedar Springs Rotary 4-Way Test essay winners. From L to R: Sally Odren, Makenna Nichols, Jack Cairy, Analiese Van Harten, and Josh Trendt. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Rotary handed out awards to students last week in their annual Rotary 4-way test essay contest. They invited fifth grade students from Cedar View and Creative Technologies Academy to participate. All essays were written in 200 words or less. Teachers chose the 2 best essays from their class and submitted them to the committee, which included Julie Wheeler, Carolyn Davis, Donna Clark and Bea Hesley.

Clark and Rotary president Tom Noreen spoke with each of the classes ahead of time, and gave them some background on Rotary. “We talked about having integrity and the 4 way formula (is it the truth, is it fair, will it build goodwill, will it be beneficial) and how it ties in with habits of mind,” explained Clark. “People who live by these have integrity and impact their community in a positive way. We told them to think about one of these that they practiced in their own lives—a real life situation that would touch us, and told them to write about it.”

The students were then on their own to write the essays. And the students who won had a good grasp of what the committee was looking for. Out of 14 essays, they chose five. There were ties for second and third place.

“We feel like these essays were the best ever,” said Clark.

The two second place essays were about volunteering to feed hungry families. The third place winners wrote stories about how a community can work together to benefit one another, such as the fundraisers for the Rickers.

The first place winner spoke about how things people say can be cruel, but we can choose to be inspired rather than let their words have a bad effect on us.

The first place winner was Sally Odren, of Mr. Moleski’s class at Cedar View. She won $50.

Second place winners were Jack Cairy, of Mrs. Kahler’s class, and Makenna Nichols, of Mrs. Miller’s class, both at Cedar View. They each won $25.

Third place winners were Josh Trendt, of Mr. Moleski’s class at Cedar View, and Analiese Van Harten, of Mrs. Norman’s class at CTA. They each won $10.

“We as Rotarians are aware of the example we set as individuals and as a Club in our community,” said Noreen. “As community leaders and partners, we are mindful of what we think, say and do.”

The 4-Way Test was adopted by Rotary in 1943 and is a code of ethics each Rotarian aspires to live by both in their business and personal lives. It says: “Of the things we think, say or do: 1. Is it the TRUTH? 2. Is it FAIR to all concerned? 3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? 4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

This is the ninth year that the Rotary has partnered with local schools on this project.

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High winds blow across state

Jeannie Larsen sent us this photo of a tree that was blown down Wednesday and blocked Myers Lake Rd, near Pringle, in Nelson Township (near Sand Lake).

Jeannie Larsen sent us this photo of a tree that was blown down Wednesday and blocked Myers Lake Rd, near Pringle, in Nelson Township (near Sand Lake).

Firefighters, police, and other first responders were kept busy Wednesday as high winds swept across the area, toppling trees and taking down telephone poles and electrical wires. There were various reports of trees blocking the roadway, falling through roofs, electrical wires down, and sporadic brush fires.

Power outages were also a big problem for many in the area. Power went off early in the day for many residents (about 10:30 a.m.). At 5 p.m., 38,000 in Kent County were without power, and 210,000 statewide. Consumers Energy said that harder hit areas may not have power back until late Saturday.

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MDOT to redo US131 between 14 and 17 Mile 

 

MDOT plans to reconstruct the stretch of US131 from south of 14 Mile to two miles north of where it crosses over White Creek Ave.

MDOT plans to reconstruct the stretch of US131 from south of 14 Mile to two miles north of where it crosses over White Creek Ave.

Public meeting March 16 at Cedar Springs High School 4-6 p.m.

By Judy Reed

Are you tired of driving over the rough spots on US131 between 14 Mile and 17 Mile Road and wondering (probably for the millionth time) when they are going to fix this road? You won’t have to wonder much longer.

The Michigan Department of Transportation announced details on Friday, March 3, of their plans to reconstruct that stretch of highway. The project will begin on April 15 and should be open to traffic on November 5.

There will be a public informational meeting about the project at Cedar Springs High School, 204 E. Muskegon, in the cafeteria, on Thursday, March 16, from 4-6 p.m.

According to John Richard, spokesperson for MDOT, the construction influence area will begin with warning signs on US131 two miles south of 14 Mile and continue to two miles north of where it crosses over White Creek Avenue. The influence area will also include one mile east and west of intersection roads and ramps.

The work will include hot mix asphalt (HMA) reconstruction and rehabilitation of three bridges, including concrete curb, gutter and culvert, drainage, signing and pavement markings.

Traffic impact

Two lanes of traffic will be maintained in each direction on US-131 with the use of temporary crossovers and a split-merge traffic shift. Southbound US-131 will have a single lane closure while maintaining one lane of traffic for one week to place top course of HMA. Northbound US-131 will have a single lane closure while maintaining one lane of traffic for one week to place top course of HMA.

Ramp closures

Ramp closures for ramp reconstruction will be allowed for a maximum of 14 calendar days per ramp. Ramps to be reconstructed include all 17 Mile Rd ramps, northbound 14 Mile Rd on ramp, and southbound 14 Mile Rd off ramp.

Detours when ramps are closed:  

  • 17 Mile NB US-131 off ramp: drivers will get off at 14 Mile instead and take White Creek Ave. north.
  • 17 Mile NB US-131 on ramp: Drivers will get on SB US-131 instead and get off at 14 Mile Rd, then back on to NB US-131.
  • 17 Mile SB US-131 on ramp: drivers will take White Creek Ave to 14 Mile Rd. and get on SB US-131.
  • 17 Mile SB US-131 off ramp: drivers will get off at 14 Mile Rd and back on to NB US-131.
  • 14 Mile Rd NB US-131 on ramp: drivers will take White Creek Ave to 17 Mile Rd. and get on NB US-131.
  • 14 Mile Rd SB US-131 off ramp: drivers will get off at 17 Mile Rd. and take Algoma Ave. to 14 Mile.
  • When SB US-131 outside lane is under construction, the 17 Mile Rd off ramp, 17 Mile Rd on ramp and 14 Mile off ramps will each be closed for 14 days. A pre-detour will utilize 22 Mile Rd to White Creek Ave to 14 Mile Rd.
  • When NB US-131 outside lane is under construction, 14 Mile Rd on ramp, 17 Mile Rd off ramp and 17 Mile on ramps will each be closed for 14 days. A pre-detour will utilize 14 Mile Rd to White Creek Ave to 22 Mile Rd. That detour could change to Algoma.

Traffic Restrictions:

  • 14 Mile on ramp and 17 mile on ramp cannot be closed at the same time
  • 17 mile on ramp and 17 mile off ramp cannot be closed at the same time

Shoulder closures

14 Mile Rd and 17 Mile Rd will have lane/shoulder closures but will maintain two-way traffic at all times with the exception for the paving of ramp terminals, when traffic will be maintained using traffic regulators.

When the bridge over White Creek Avenue is being worked on, it will require access to the bridge from down below, so White Creek Ave will have one lane maintained for two-way traffic by utilizing a temporary signal. Bridge work will include substructure reinforcements, joint replacement on the bridge deck and painting.

Be sure to attend the meeting at the high school on March 16 and get your questions answered.

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