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Teacher’s legacy spurs acts of kindness


N-Random-acts-of-Hazel2-shirtBy Judy Reed


Scotty Hazel, a teacher at Cedar Springs for 20 years, was loved by his students for his encouraging, selfless, and giving attitude. That legacy has lived on, even after his death last month from cancer.

Soon after his death in July, a Facebook page was created called “Random Acts of Hazel.” The intent is to honor Hazel by performing random acts of kindness and dedicating them to him. The page already has over 3100 members, and countless acts of kindness have been chronicled there. They even have t-shirts for sale that will benefit the Hazel children’s college fund.

One Cedar Springs grad honored Hazel last weekend by creating a beautiful tree with chalk art. One of Hazel’s poems, Remember Me, is written in the tree. Justin Balczak, a 2011 graduate, spent 12 hours bringing the tree to life on the side of the Edward Jones business in the strip mall on 17 Mile. You can see the whole process on YouTube by going to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJahTq0ceFA.

The random acts of kindness that people have performed are reaching everywhere. Some of the messages on the page are being left by people who experienced a Random Act of Hazel.

One woman wrote: “Today in Versailles, Kentucky my Dad and I were the recipients of a Random Act of Hazel in a drive thru Starbucks line. To the man in the silver truck who bought our coffee…thank you. Not so much for the coffee but for the adventure of finding out about Hazel, for finding this group, and for inspiring the acts of Hazel we hope to pass along. What a great man he must have been. My Dad, who is 85, said…now that is a legacy I would like to leave behind.”

A woman from Wisconsin said they were visiting their favorite Farmers Market in Muskegon, when a cute little boy held a beautiful bouquet of flowers out to her. “His mom said that he wanted me to have the flowers. I was so touched and could not believe it. Then he handed me a note that explained Random acts of Hazel! What a blessing! We are from Wisconsin and were leaving the next day so I decided to gift the flowers to someone else. A wonderful young couple with small children were walking toward us and I decided this mom might really enjoy the flowers as much as I did so I gave them to her. I explained about the little boy and gave her the note. She was thrilled as I was and said I made her day! What a wonderful feeling! Thank you Random Acts of Hazel! You are now expanding to Wisconsin!”

Another woman wrote that she was buying groceries in Grandville, and had left her debit card at home. The woman behind her told her she wanted to pay for her groceries, as a Random Act of Hazel.

A family from Holland, Michigan heard about Random Acts of Hazel and decided to come to Cedar Springs after church Sunday to see the chalk art tree. They spent time in both Cedar Springs and Rockford, picked up some RAH t-shirts, a copy of Hazel’s book, and then performed some Random Acts of Hazel in Grand Rapids. “It was lots of fun to pop quarters in candy machines to give others a free turn, play some arcade games and then give the tickets to a young boy to turn in, and tip our servers a little extra and tell them we greatly appreciated their service. It will be fun to continue to think of ways to bring a smile to the faces of others. I’m looking forward to reading his book and seeing more about the kind of man he was to leave such a legacy behind,” she said.

T-shirts with encouraging sayings from Scotty Hazel can be bought at Main Street Restaurant in Cedar Springs, and Aunt Candy’s Toy Company in Rockford.

To read more about the Random Acts of Hazel being performed, search for Random Acts of Hazel on Facebook.


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Motorcyclist killed in crash

A Rockford man died early Tuesday morning, August 12, when a car turned in front of the motorcycle he was riding.

According to information released by the Michigan State Police, N-Motorcyclist-fatal-Thomas-Clemson, 56, of Rockford, was traveling west on 17 Mile Road, near Barber Creek Avenue, in Tyrone Township, just before 6 a.m. when the accident occurred. A Chevy Impala driven by Cody Jerls, 28, was traveling eastbound and attempted a left turn into a driveway. The motorcycle struck the Impala broadside.

Clemens was pronounced dead at the scene.

He is survived by his wife, 8 children, 18 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.  A memorial fund has been set up for the family at http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/tom-clemens-family-support-fund/218204.

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Good Samaritan found


By Judy Reed

Emily Scott, left, was rescued by Renee Doren (right), both of Solon Township, after Emily’s horse bucked her off and Emily broke her arm. Post photo by J. Reed.

Emily Scott, left, was rescued by Renee Doren (right), both of Solon Township, after Emily’s horse bucked her off and Emily broke her arm. Post photo by J. Reed.

Last week, we ran a story saying we were looking for the Good Samaritan who stopped and helped Emily Scott, of Solon Township, who suffered a broken arm and fractured shoulder when she fell off her horse on Albrecht recently. Emily had asked for the woman to stop by and see her so she could thank her.

We received a call from someone (who wished to remain anonymous) that the Good Samaritan was Renee Doren, of Solon Township, and the manager at Verizon  Wireless in Cedar Springs and Caledonia.

“Renee is an absolutely wonderful person who goes above and beyond no matter what she does,” said the tipster.

The Post met up with both Emily and Renee, who have since visited.

According to Renee, she was on her way home from work when she saw a horse walking down the road without a rider. “Then I saw her on the side of the road and stopped and asked if she was ok. She said no, that her arm was broken bad. So I flagged down a passing truck to take her home, and then I walked her horse home about a half mile and put him away,” she explained.

By that time, Emily was on her way to the hospital.

Renee said that after we ran the story in last week’s Post, she received a Facebook message from a friend saying that the Post and Emily were looking for her, so she looked up the story online. She then stopped by Emily’s house, and struck up a new friendship. “I’m glad she’s ok,” said Renee. “We might even go out to dinner sometime.”

Renee, who also owns horses, didn’t feel like she did anything special. “I just did what I hope anyone else would do for me,” she explained.


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The Post travels to Portugal


Julie Crandall, of Cedar Springs, recently went to visit Sandy, her missionary daughter, who teaches at an international Christian school near Lisbon, Portugal. Sandy just finished her first year of teaching abroad and is home for a few weeks to visit family and raise financial support. While in Portugal, Julie and Sandy visited castles, palaces,14th-century churches and the beach. In the photo taken with The Post, they were at Cabo Da Roca which is the westernmost point of Europe.

Thanks, Julie, 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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Sunflowers stand tall

N-Sunflower-AugustJennifer August sent us this photo of daughters Danielle and Lizzie standing beneath a 12-foot-7-inch sunflower their grandpa is growing in Algoma Township. That’s a towering flower! Thanks so much sending us a photo!

How tall are your sunflowers? Send them our way! Email your photos with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com. Tell us your name, who is in the photo, and what city/township you live in, how tall your sunflower is. Also tell us anything special you do when planting to make it grow tall.

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Band readies for competition


The Cedar Springs High School Marching Band has been working hard on their 2014 marching show titled “Through the Bayou.” The band held their annual band camp last week, which consisted of 115 members attending 12-hour days, playing challenging music, marching in intense heat, and of course, hanging out with friends.

The Cedar Springs Fire Department made an appearance on Thursday when they cooled the band off with their fire hose. The week culminated in a community performance, where the band performed the first three songs from their upcoming season. CSHS Marching Band begins its season on Friday, September 12th at a home football game, so be sure to come out and cheer them on, along with your Red Hawk football team.

The band will be competing at four competitions this fall and then at State Finals at Ford Field.

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How tall is your corn?



Last week we ran a photo of someone standing in corn that was ten feet tall and asked how tall is your corn? We received this photo of Scott Fisk, of Solon Township, standing in his corn. While they didn’t give us an exact measurement, they said that Scott is six feet tall, and the corn is way over his head, and even taller out in the field! Thanks for sharing your photo with us!

How tall is the corn where you live? Send them our way! Email your photos with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com. Tell us your name, who is in the photo, and what city/township you live in. Also tell us anything special you do when planting to make it grow tall.


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CS girl arrested for part in rave

Brittany Johnson

Brittany Johnson

A 2012 Cedar Springs graduate is one of three people being charged for their part in Project P, the party in Mecosta County that drew 2,000 people from across the state earlier this month and resulted in several overdoses, charges for drunken driving and a possible rape.

Brittany Johnson, 20, of Cedar Springs, Daniel Misner, 21, of Howard City, and James Taylor, 21, of Hinton Township, are each accused of maintaining, operating or furnishing a location and collecting fees for parking at the party where alcohol was being served without a liquor license.

The party was reportedly held on property owned by Taylor, in rural Hinton Township, in Mecosta County. When alerted to the party, police formed a perimeter around it, but did not break it up, for fear of possible rioting, drunk driving, and kids wandering away and getting lost, according to statements made by the Mecosta County Sheriff to news media.

The Post spoke with another Cedar Springs grad, who also attended the party. He said he only went because some of his friends needed a designated driver. “We got there about 9:00, and there probably wasn’t 2,000 people there yet, but it was really packed,” he said.

He confirmed that they did have to pay for parking. He also said that there were some pretty crazy things going on. He noted that his friend’s girlfriend was one of the people that needed to be taken to the hospital. “Someone gave her something,” he explained. “And the ambulance couldn’t come in to the party because of the police, so we had to take her down to it.” He said he and his friends left the party about 2 a.m. to go pick up his friend at the hospital. He said they would have left before that, if the police perimeter hadn’t been set up.

The charge for the three young people is a one-year felony offense with a maximum fine of $1,000. Police are on the alert for other possible raves, after several copycat ones have sprung up.

Another Cedar Springs grad said he was invited to one that was to be closer to our area. He was also invited to the one in Mecosta County, but didn’t attend. “Big parties just aren’t really my thing,” he said.


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Beijing students travel to Cedar Spring

N-Chinese-exchange-photo2N-Chinese-exchange-photo1A group of students from the prestigious Peking University Affiliated High School, in Beijing, arrived July 19, at the Gerald R Ford Airport, to begin an American adventure. They were greeted by area families who volunteered to host one or two students for the two-week program. Peking Affiliated High School was founded in 1901 and has many graduates that have gone on to become leaders in China.

The students, aged 12 to 15 years, were here to learn about U.S. culture and also use their English language skills that they had been learning in China. The schedule provided for classes in the morning at the Solan Center Wesleyan Church on Algoma Ave. The afternoons were spent touring West Michigan. Every week day morning the students would be dropped off at the home of Susan and Mark Hughes and would then be transported to class in a large van. Some of the places visited were the museums and gardens of West Michigan and also included Grand Haven, SkyZone, Craig’s Cruisers, Country Dairy in New Era, John Ball Park and the Rockford Police and Fire Station. The evenings and weekends were spent with the host family for more cultural exchange opportunities.

The program concluded on August 1, at the Solon Center Wesleyan Church, with a presentation by the students about aspects of the Chinese culture and a luncheon that included traditional Chinese dumplings. The dumplings were prepared by the parents of some of the students that had traveled with them, from China, to tour U of M, Princeton and Columbia Universities. We also received a special surprise, when the children played classical piano music, as well as a rendition of “Jingle Bells.”

While here, the students shared with us details of their lives in China. They were amazed by our clean water and clean air. Their school was shut down for three days last winter due to pollution. The students are constantly under pressure to perform at the highest levels. If they fail to meet expectations, they are not permitted to receive further public school education. They then would become the responsibility of their families to educate (if they could afford to) or become part of the labor pool.

If you have an interest in hosting exchange students contact Sue Hughes’ at 616-307-9244 email: sueBhughes@yahoo.com.

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New director at Nature Center

David A Kieft and his daughter.

David A Kieft and his daughter.

Lily’s Frog Pad, Inc., the operating entity of Howard Christensen Nature Center located at 16190 Red Pine Drive, Kent City is proud to announce the election and appointment of David A Kieft as the new Executive Director.

Cindy Perski, former director and founder of Lily’s Frog Pad, resigned July 14 to enjoy retirement with her husband. “She has done many wonderful things and has made a tremendous impact at Howard Christensen Nature Center (HCNC),” said a spokesperson for Lily’s Frog Pad. “Although she will remain on staff teaching and volunteering, her retirement will leave her daily presence dearly missed.  She has left very big shoes to fill, thank you Cindy for all you have done, we cannot express our gratitude enough!”

Those big shoes will be filled by David A Kieft, “DK”, of Kent City. David is a father to an outgoing 8-year-old daughter Skylynne, and many pets. David’s educational background certificates and degrees include Culinary Arts, Accounting and Business finance and he will be transferring his graduate credits to a state university this fall. David is the general manager of Kieft Hospitality Company (a local caterer and concessionaire). He is an avid outdoorsman, and graduated from a Colorado Springs Community College affiliated naturalist guiding and survivalist program, before taking up work in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness as a guide and camp cook.

He also enjoys volunteer work, especially with children and youth, and is a long-standing board member and coach for Grant AYSO region 1472, assists Sparta United Methodist Church’s youth pastor with youth group, is vice-chairman of the Kent City Village Board of Zoning Appeals and served as a board advisor for HCNC until his appointment to executive director July 14.

In his spare time, David enjoys spending time at his weekend home on Ryerson Lake, working in his organic garden at home, hunting and fishing. As an experienced chef and caterer, cooking is also an enjoyable activity for David.  When asked what he enjoys doing most, David responded, “I just love working with kids, and really anything outdoorsy.”

We welcome DK, and wish him luck in his new position as executive director at HCNC.  Stop by and welcome him and see what HCNC has to offer as well. Dave will have a large pot of coffee on as long as he’s on the grounds!


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