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New health service for students

 

N-CherryHealth-logoBy Judy Reed

Parents of middle and high school students at Cedar Springs Public Schools now have a new option to address their kids’ medical needs. Cherry Health received a grant to open a new office at Red Hawk Elementary and now offers services to students ages 10-21 and their siblings. The Cedar Springs School Health Center opened April 13.

According to site manager and nurse Kristina Paliwoda, they offer a pediatrician, registered nurse, counselor/social worker, and support staff. They do well-child checks, sports physicals, treat minor illnesses, rashes, vaccinations, and provide assistance with chronic health issues such as asthma, diabetes, etc. They can also do blood draws, urine testing, write prescriptions and phone them in, and make referrals for urgent care if needed.

Their onsite social worker offers individual counseling or family counseling, if that’s appropriate.

Also offered is onsite Medicaid enrollment for the child and family.

“We provide services regardless of the ability to pay,” explained Paliwoda. “If they have insurance, we will bill it. If not, we will charge it to the grant.”

Students could be referred for things that happen during the school day, or parents can call for appointments. “We are open 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and we will be open year-round, even during the summer months,” said Paliwoda.

Grant funding is primarily for the adolescent population. But Paliwoda said that once an adolescent is a patient, their younger siblings could be seen there also. “It’s just part of the grant,” she said.

Paliwoda said that Cedar Springs is the first school outside of Grand Rapids Public Schools to have this service by Cherry Health.

To make an appointment or get more information, call 616-696-3470.

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The Post travels to Israel

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The Post recently took a trip to a 55-acre archaeology site in Israel, known as Biblical Tamar Park, spanning 4,000 years of Israelite occupation, from Abraham to the present.

Pictured are Cedar Springs residents Dan Clark (left), his wife Donna (center), and Dr. DeWayne Coxon. The Clarks are among the hundreds of volunteers taken by Dr. Coxon to Israel over the span of 30 years to engage in worthy projects there.

The Clarks previously worked in projects in this desert region for 13 years, and returned to Cedar Springs in 2001. “It was great to be back ‘home’ in the Arava with our good friend, DeWayne, and our hometown paper, the Cedar Springs Post!” said Donna.

Anyone interested in Dr. Coxon’s work in Israel can visit www.blossomingrose.org.

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Program helps kids become money smart

Bank teller Genda Farnsworth working with kids on their piggy banks during the money smart program at the Cedar Springs Library. Courtesy photo.

Bank teller Genda Farnsworth working with kids on their piggy banks during the money smart program at the Cedar Springs Library. Courtesy photo.

The Cedar Springs Library partnered with ChoiceOne bank and the Kent County MSU Extension to educate preschoolers about money on April 18 and April 22. Age-appropriate books, including Max and Ruby in “Bunny Money” and the Berenstein Bears in  “Dollars and Sense” were the delight of 32 children and their parents.

Every child had “Bunny Money” amounting to $10. Throughout the book, Max and Ruby spent a dollar here, a dollar there until all their dollars were gone. The children were very engaged as they spent their Bunny Money a bit at a time, handing it in to ChoiceOne Bankers Stacey Helsel and Genda Farnsworth, as Children’s Parapro Kelly Roach took them through their $10 shopping spree.

Children received gift bags from the bank, a copy of “Dollars and Sense” from MSU, and made a piggy bank to take home, along with 10 pennies each to drop in the slot on top.

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Brownie troop donates to Fire departments

Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser accepts donation from Brownie troop #4282. Photo by J. Reed.

Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser accepts donation from Brownie troop #4282. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Girl Scout brownie troop #4282 recently sold Girl Scout cookies at cookie booths in Cedar Springs and Sand Lake, with the intention of donating proceeds to both towns’ fire departments.

On May 11, the troop made their donation of $50 to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, along with several boxes of cookies. “There’s not too many young girls that would donate their money to the fire department,” commented Fraser.

They also gave them $15 they raised at the cookie sale, through a donation jar, for people who didn’t want to buy cookies.

Sand Lake will also receive $50, cookies, and an extra $13 they received through donations at the cookie booth in Sand Lake.

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Morel mushroom hunters 

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Mike Cook stopped by the Post this week to show us some of the morel mushrooms his dogs recently found. Cook has a blind wiener dog named Toby that hunts and finds the morels. He also has a bloodhound, named Dozer, that he’s training to hunt morels.

“He eats more than he finds,” said Cook.

Cook said that he found these morels under dead lilac trees and live Ash trees, and can usually find them under dead elms, as well.

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City to approve budget tonight

 

N-City-logo-webBy Judy Reed

The City of Cedar Springs has a lot on their agenda tonight, Thursday, May 14, including approval of the 2015-2016 budget.

This year’s proposed budget—$3,928,874—is coming in almost $284,000 less than last year’s budget of $4,212,502.

“Last year we took more money out of the fund balance to balance the budget,” explained City Finance Director Deb Brunett. “This year we are only taking $8,600 out of the fund balance to fund the additions to the budget that the City Council asked for at the budget meeting.”

Those additions included money for the joint fire study with Solon Township, Earth Day, reinstatement of beautification awards, and the Model-A Fire truck restoration.

There are two areas where residents may notice a difference: in their water/sewer bills, and in maintenance of major and local streets. But the differences are tied to a big sewer project on tap for this summer.

As part of the 2015 proposed fee schedule, the City will approve a rate hike in city water and sewer fees. “The fees are being raised so the city can make payments on the bonds they are purchasing for the sewer project,” explained Brunett. She said the average household should see an increase of about $5.99 a month on their bill.

Sewer rates will rise from $15.35/unit to $19.35 unit; sewer usage fees will increase from $4.66/1000 gallons to $4.67/100 gallons; water debt will increase from $4.69/unit to $6.44/unit; and water usage fees will go from $3.65/1000 gallons to $3.68/1000 gallons.

The major and local streets section saw a big reduction in maintenance revenue, but Brunett said that many streets will be redone where the sewer project takes place. Other than that, no new street projects will take place except for Beech Street, which was already planned.

Other items up for a vote tonight include: approve 2015-2016 millage rate (did not change); the new fee schedule; approve bids for sewer project; reinstate council finance committee; and approve standard policy for recording of council  meetings.

There are many other things on the agenda to be discussed, including hearing a Freedom of Information Act appeal; approving a contract for Christmas decorations with a supplier; a new FOIA policy for the city; and a  dispatch agreement with Kent County.  There will also be discussion on requests from the Community Building Development team regarding a trade of properties; a use agreement for the proposed amphitheatre; a use agreement for rain gardens, sculpture, and wetland delineation on city property; and use agreement on a proposed boardwalk on city property. There will also be discussion on a possible agreement with the Red Flannel Festival over licensing and in kind services. (click here for story)

To see what else is on the agenda and get all the info, visit www.cityofcedarsprings.org then click on Meetings/minutes, then 2015 council documents, then the May 14 agenda packet to get complete information.

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Penny Darling named Woman of the Year

Penny Darling was named Cedar Springs Women’s Club Woman of the Year. Courtesy photo.

Penny Darling was named Cedar Springs Women’s Club Woman of the Year. Courtesy photo.

by Sue Harrison

Each year the Cedar Springs Women’s Club recognizes one woman for her exemplary spirit and contributions during that Club year. The candidate is an enthusiastic supporter in the promotion of the Cedar Springs Women’s Club and is actively involved in community activities. That honor has been bestowed on 46 women in the Club since 1969.

The Women’s Club honoree is usually recognized and honored at the June meeting.  However, because she would be on a field trip in June with her grandchild, a very surprised Penny Darling was presented with that honor at the May meeting.

Caroline Bartlette, 2013 winner, read a short biography about Penny, including information about her family, her service as secretary to the Women’s Club and involvement in Club activities as well as her involvement in Red Flannel Festival as chaperone for the Red Flannel Queen and Court for many years.

Many of Penny’s family attended the ceremony, including son Joe and his family, daughter Stephanie and her children, and Sarah, a good friend of Penny’s. They presented her with flowers, and, after a lot of tears and hugs, Penny was presented with  a plaque commemorating her choice as Cedar Springs Women’s Club 2014-2015 Member of the Year, a certificate, and a dozen roses by 2014 recipient, Sue Harrison.

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Red Cross offers summer scholarship program

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This summer, high school and college students can win a scholarship by hosting an American Red Cross blood drive through the Leaders Save Lives program. Registration is now open to host a participating blood drive between June 1 and Aug. 31, 2015.

The Leaders Save Lives program encourages community-minded 16- to 24-year-olds to host blood drives to help maintain the blood supply over the summer months. Students who participate as a blood drive coordinator are eligible to win a scholarship up to $2,500 for higher education and to earn a gift card.

“The Leaders Save Lives program is a great way for students to learn valuable leadership skills while helping hospital patients in need of lifesaving blood transfusions,” said Red Cross spokesperson, Todd Kulman.  “Summer can be a challenging time to maintain a sufficient blood supply. With this program, students are helping the community by recruiting their friends and family to donate during this crucial season.”

A total of 10 scholarships will be awarded via drawing to students who achieve 100 percent of their blood drive collections goal. All students who achieve the designated blood drive goal will receive an electronic gift card to giftcertificates.com

For more information and to register to host a Leaders Save Lives blood drive, visit redcrossblood.org/leaderssavelives.

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

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Earthquake rumbles West Michigan

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By Judy Reed

Something happened last Saturday, May 2, that most of us in Michigan had never before experienced: an earthquake.

It was about 12:23 p.m. that the ground began to shake and lasted for several seconds. It originated about 5 miles south of Galesburg, in Kalamazoo County. Tremors were felt in most of lower Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, and southern Ontario.

People all around our area felt the tremors. Reports came in to our Facebook page from Howard City, Gowen, Trufant, Sand Lake, Solon Township, Nelson Township, Cedar Springs, Harvard, Greenville, Grant, Kent City, Baldwin, West Olive, Byron Center, Grand Rapids, and more.

Linda Hovey reported that she felt it out by 20 Mile and Tisdel, in Nelson Township. “I heard a loud noise, the house kind of rumbled and shook,” Hovey wrote on the Post Facebook page. “TV was really moving. I thought someone hit the house. Crazy. Husband was napping and never woke up.”

Jessica Gentz, of Cedar Springs, said she had two picture frames fall off the wall. Meri McCarthy, of Sand Lake, said it felt like her washer was off balance. Monique Grice, of Solon Township, said her family noticed the couch and a light fixture moving.

Teri Cegellas, of Kent City, was sitting on her back deck. “I thought someone was shaking it from underneath, my husband playing a prank on me. Then I saw my birdfeeder swinging and knew that it was no prank,” she wrote.

While it was only a 4.2 earthquake, it was deemed “significant” because of the fact that not many happen here, and because of the number of people that felt it.

It was the biggest earthquake here since the 4.6 earthquake in August 1947.

Scientists have confirmed Saturday’s earthquake was not caused by fracking. Some scientists believer there is a fault line there that also caused the August 1947 quake.

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Voters kill road-funding proposal

 

By Judy Reed

Hopefully the legislators have ears to hear what the voters told them in no uncertain terms Tuesday—go back to the drawing board and figure out a better way to fix Michigan’s roads.

Proposal 1, one of the most confusing proposals Michigan residents have ever voted on, was soundly defeated with 1.4 million voting no, and less than 350,000 voting yes. It is the most one-sided loss ever for a proposal – 80 percent no, 20 percent yes.

Kent County voted 72 percent no, 27 percent yes. Turnout ranged from 4 percent to 49 percent. The City of Cedar Springs had a turnout of 17 percent.

The proposal would have raised the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, removed the sales tax from fuel sales, increased fuel taxes, and raised vehicle registration fees. The changes were estimated to raise tax revenue by $2 billion, with most going for roads; it would also have increased funding to schools, local governments, and mass transit; and given a tax break to some lower income families.

But voters weren’t convinced that the government would do what they said they were going to do with the money.

“In some ways we feel like road agencies and Michigan’s crumbling transportation system were road kill due to an overly-complex ballot proposal,” said Denise Donohue, director of the County Road Association of Michigan.

“The road funding message was an easy sell. Michigan drivers, bus riders, bicyclists, truck drivers and businesses all get the deplorable condition of our roads,” Donohue said. “But the unfounded charges of too many special interests in this bill, and the fears that the Legislature would somehow divert these dollars from road repairs proved too much to overcome in a 10-week timeframe,” she said, alluding to the 10 weeks the County Road Association (CRA) spent trying to educate voters. “But in the end, voters have spoken: they wanted a cleaner road funding solution dedicated specifically to road and bridge repair.”

The CRA estimates it would take $2.5 billion to fix Michigan’s roads. “County road agencies are doing absolutely the best job we can, but we’re working with band-aids, pothole patch and too many temporary solutions,” said Burt Thompson, PE, president of CRA, and engineer-manager of Antrim County Road Commission in northern Michigan. “As a licensed professional engineer, I can attest that our roads require more holistic treatments like resurfacing, milling up existing surfaces, repaving, and replacing thousands of weakened, rusting culverts.”

Gov. Rick Snyder issued the following statement after Proposal 1 failed to garner a majority of votes on Tuesday:

“It’s essential that making Michigan’s infrastructure safer remains a top priority. While voters didn’t support this particular proposal, we know they want action taken to maintain and improve our roads and bridges.

“The ‘relentless’ part of relentless positive action means that we start anew to find a comprehensive, long-term solution to this problem. Doing nothing isn’t an option as the costs are too great. Michiganders need to be able to get behind the wheel and not worry about dodging potholes or seeing plywood to catch crumbling concrete under overpasses.

“We appreciate that this bipartisan plan was supported by so many groups—business leaders and unions, public safety officials and local governments, teachers, and the list goes on. I plan to work with my partners in the Legislature on a solution that gives Michigan residents the safe roads they need and deserve and bolsters our growing economy.”

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