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Fun at the library with edible trees

Kids also had the opportunity to make a fun holiday ornament.

Kids also had the opportunity to make a fun holiday ornament.

Children and adults decorated Ice cream cones with frosting and various candies to resemble a Christmas tree. Photos courtesy of the Cedar Springs Public Library

Children and adults decorated Ice cream cones with frosting and various candies to resemble a Christmas tree. Photos courtesy of the Cedar Springs Public Library

Children and adults alike had some holiday fun at the Cedar Springs Public Library last Saturday, where 14 adults and 34 children decorated edible Christmas trees.

“They used frosting, licorice, and even coconut to create and decorate,” explained Children’s Librarian Shannon Vanderhyde.

She said that each person was given two trees. Some children chose to decorate them the same, some gave each its own theme. Each child also had the opportunity to make a fun ornament.

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The Post travels to Cancun

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The Post recently traveled with Ken and Connie Mitz, of Pierson, to Cancun, Mexico on their honeymoon. They visited Mexico for eight stress-free days in September. While there, they saw many sights, and saw first-hand how different their lifestyle is from ours.

Ken was especially amazed by all the small motorcycles they use for transportation. He saw women and children—two and sometimes three or four people—on a motorcycle. He said that a lot of the motorcycles were interesting, although not allowed in the states because of emissions.

“Another interesting thing is that all the bus drivers’ last names must be Andretti because they all drive like they are qualifying for the Indy 500,” he said.

Ken and Connie both took time out of their vacation to read their favorite newspaper, and are talking about returning to Mexico for their anniversary.

Thanks, Ken and Connie, 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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Correction

N-Mingle3-Shepherds-by-Judy-webIn last week’s Post, a caption on a photo for the Christmas tree lighting article was incorrect. A photo of shepherds with their sheep noted that Calvary Assembly of God had a live nativity—which they did, but the shepherds and sheep in the photo were part of 4H Animal Junction. We appreciate them being a part of the event, along with Double K Farms, and hope they continue to be a part of it for many years to come!

 

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American Legion presents checks 

Pictured (from L to R) is Pastor Steve Lindeman, Commander Bill Gregones, food pantry volunteer Caroline Bartlett, and food pantry volunteer Sue Harrison. Post photo by J. Reed.

Pictured (from L to R) is Pastor Steve Lindeman, Commander Bill Gregones, food pantry volunteer Caroline Bartlett, and food pantry volunteer Sue Harrison. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

 

The Cedar Springs American Legion Glen Hill Post #247 presented checks last week to both the Cedar Springs Ministerial Association and the Cedar Springs Community Food Pantry.

American Legion Commander Bill Gregones presented Pastor Steve Lindeman, representing the Ministerial Association, with a check for $200, to help with the requests they receive at Christmas time.

Gregones presented Sue Harrison with a second check for $100 for the Community food pantry, which is located at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, on Main Street, where Lindeman is pastor.

The American Legion makes the presentations annually. “They do quite a bit to make sure the unfortunate have something on the table for the holidays,” noted Gregones.

The Community food pantry serves up to six families per day, up to 30 families per week. The pantry can always use donations. They have needs for personal care products such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper, etc. Foods they are currently in need of include dry milk, eggs, milk, butter, margarine and venison. “We received no venison this year,” said volunteer Sue Harrison. Any venison would need to be processed through a commercial processor in order for them to use it.

If you’d like to drop off food, the pantry is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Food can also be left near the church office. Anyone wishing to become a client at the center must be referred through North Kent Community Services.

 

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Flu illness on rise in Kent County 

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The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is seeing more cases of suspected flu reported from area emergency departments and health care providers, in comparison to what is typical this time of year. More than 10 percent of people visiting emergency departments in Kent County last week were suffering from flu-like illness, and 6 out of ten patients presenting with flu-like illness were under the age of 18. So far this season, there have been 74 confirmed cases of flu reported to KCHD, but not every person who is sick with influenza goes to a health care provider or gets tested, so the actual number of illnesses is likely much higher.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and in some cases, it can be deadly.

Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). Not everyone with flu will experience all of the symptoms.

The flu can have serious complications for children under the age of five, the elderly, and people with already-weakened immune systems. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age to protect against flu viruses. “We know there has been some mutation in the flu virus that was expected for this year when the influenza vaccine was produced,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “But the flu vaccine is still very useful and the best protection you can get against influenza. Even in those cases where people get the flu, the illness is not as severe as it is in those unvaccinated.”

Now is the time to get you and your family vaccinated. It can take about two weeks for the vaccination to become effective. The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. The cost of the vaccine ranges from $39-$55; FluMist nasal spray (a live, preservative-free, four strain vaccine) is available for $41.

Children from six months through eighteen years who have no insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines, will pay a sliding scale administration fee of up to $15. The Health Department can only bill Medicaid and Medicare; private insurance is not accepted. Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover are accepted. To make an appointment at any of our four clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200.

You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com.

 

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New superintendent impressed with community pride

 

Dr. Laura VanDuyne

Dr. Laura VanDuyne

By Judy Reed

 

It’s now been five months since Dr. Laura VanDuyne, a Detroit, Michigan native, and her family moved from California to take over as Superintendent at Cedar Springs Public Schools. For them, she says, it’s like coming home.

“We love the cold weather, the snow. We longed for that—the seasons, the culture, the friendliness,” she explained. “We’ve been here five months and never looked back. It almost feels like you never left.”

VanDuyne was born in the suburbs of Detroit and graduated from Memphis High School, which is about 60 miles north of Detroit. So the west side of the state is new to her, but not to her husband, who grew up in Jenison, and remembers participating in the Red Flannel Marching Competition and marching in the parade in high school. In fact, she said he had grandparents who owned 40 acres on Myers Lake Road near 14 Mile—Roy and Elizabeth Reynolds.

VanDuyne said she met her husband eight years ago, after getting her doctorate. They had always planned to come back to Michigan; but after they had their two children—Izzy and Vance—she said they started making a concerted effort to get back here—where the grandparents are. “I had checked out the district, and it looked like a location we’d like to be. So when the opening came up, I threw my name in the hat and never expected to get the call, but I did, and here we are! It’s an amazing place,” she said.

After graduating from Memphis High School, VanDuyne went to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she also taught. She then came back to the Midwest and received her masters in education administration from Minnesota State University, and a post-MA in educational leadership from St. Mary’s University in Minnesota. She was also a teacher and principal there. From there she moved to the San Francisco bay area, where she earned her doctorate degree from the University of San Francisco. She was a full-time principal there, and for the last four years, was executive director of the State SELPA, Contra Costa Special Education Joint Powers Authority. “That’s similar to an Intermediate School District superintendent,” explained VanDuyne. “I was responsible for overseeing 16 school districts—10,000 students—in regard to special education, such as funding and other things.”

So how does that compare to being Superintendent of a 3,800-student district? “That’s the fun part of being here,” responded VanDuyne. “I always wanted to be a superintendent and I knew I wanted to be back at the local level,” she explained. And she hasn’t been disappointed.

“The board, the staff, the community, the parents are all working towards a better future for our kids. It’s such a close-knit community, and they are so proud. We have great innovative teaching, and the support staff is totally invested. It’s all about the children, and that is energizing for me,” she explained.

She noted that she is also impressed by the level of heartfelt interest by the Board of Education. “It’s all about the kids. I have not seen agendas, and that has left an impression with me. They have had to make some tough decisions.”

While some on the Board of Education thought it might be a large learning curve for her, coming from another state, VanDuyne said that hasn’t been the case. “This is the third state I’ve been an administrator in; making those changes are not difficult. They all have similar tenets, with some nuances in local legislation,” she noted.

VanDuyne said the biggest thing she has focused on is getting to know the teaching and support staff—faces, names, what they teach, etc. She said she likes to meet with every individual and get to know them. “That’s been wonderful; I’ve learned so much,” she remarked. “That’s where I’ve gleaned pride in the community.”

VanDuyne said she is big on input and grassroots information gathering. An example of that was the recent selection of a website vendor. She said they wanted something that would highlight the district, yet be easy to use for parents and staff. They had 30 employees and citizens from all areas of the school system—all people who would use the website—and had them watch four presentations from web vendors. They then selected the vendor, without input from either VanDuyne or Asst. Superintendent David Cairy.

“When you can bring bright minds together that’s powerful. They will do more, they will buy into it,” she explained.

VanDuyne also wants residents to know that her door is always open for them. “I answer my own emails, and take my own calls. I want a personal connection,” she explained. “I value face to face discussion—a handshake. I want to hear your concerns.”

VanDuyne said their family is enjoying being here with friends and family, something they have long looked forward to. And she noted that the community doesn’t need to worry about her going anywhere anytime soon. “I plan to be here a long time, to become an integral part of Cedar Springs and Red Hawk pride.”

 

 

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More than 1,800 seat belt citations issued 

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Officers from more than 150 local police departments, sheriff’s offices and the Michigan State Police issued 1,814 seat belt and child restraint citations during the Click It Or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign Oct. 27-Nov. 9.

“Officers from local, county and state agencies conduct seat belt enforcement zones to remind motorists that seat belts are your best and primary defense in the event of a crash,” said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP). “These efforts are about saving lives and preventing injuries.”

For the first time since 2009, seat belt use in Michigan increased slightly in 2014, from 93 percent to 93.3 percent.

During the two-week effort, officers also issued 512 citations for speeding, 319 citations for driving with a suspended license, 258 citations for red-light running and 445 citations to uninsured motorists. Officers arrested 119 fugitives and 142 others for misdemeanors. Of the 180 arrests for drunk driving, 23 had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.17 percent or higher.

A seat belt enforcement zone in Berrien County resulted in an arrest for a concealed pistol violation. In Wayne County, a driver arrested with a BAC of 0.17 had an infant in the vehicle. In addition, a teenage driver in Marquette County was arrested for drunk driving.

According to preliminary reports, there were six traffic fatalities Oct. 31-Nov. 1. One of those involved alcohol and two drivers were not wearing seat belts. There were 13     fatalities during the same period in 2013.

Law enforcement officers from Allegan, Berrien, Calhoun, Chippewa, Delta, Eaton, Genesee, Grand Traverse, Houghton, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Marquette, Monroe, Muskegon, Oakland, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, Van Buren, Washtenaw, Wayne and Wexford counties participated in the Click It Or Ticket campaign.

The traffic enforcement effort was paid for with federal traffic safety funds coordinated by OHSP.

Grant-funded seat belt and drunk driving enforcement is part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in February 2013.

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Man arrested in hit and run

Albert Alan Ferrier

Albert Alan Ferrier

 

A Stanton man was arraigned Wednesday on charges stemming from a hit and run in Montcalm County Tuesday.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office, the accident occurred about 2:21 p.m. December 15, on Sheridan Road, near Pakes Road, in Evergreen Township. Joseph Pruitt, 27, of Greenville, was riding his bicycle southbound on the east shoulder of Sheridan Road, when a vehicle traveling north on Sheridan Road left the roadway and struck the bicyclist. The vehicle did not stop at the crash scene, and continued northbound.

A witness followed the suspect and was able to get a vehicle description and the number on the license plate, and another witness stopped and administered first aid to the bicyclist. Pruitt was transported to Sheridan Community Hospital by Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services, and later flown by Aeromed to Spectrum in Grand Rapids in serious condition. He was upgraded to good condition on Wednesday.

Central Dispatch operators broadcasted the information on the license plate to area officers. A Michigan State Police Trooper was near the home of the registered owner of the vehicle and made contact with the suspect vehicle near that location. The driver, 72-year-old Albert Alan Ferrier, of Stanton was arrested by Sheriff’s deputies Tuesday and arraigned Wednesday on charges of Operating While Intoxicated causing serious injury and leaving the scene of an accident. Bond was set at $10,000.

Assisting agencies at the scene of the accident included the Montcalm County Emergency Services, the Stanton Police Department, and the Michigan State Police.

 

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Tree lighting brings holiday spirit downtown

By Judy Reed

 

The annual “Mingle with Kris Kringle” in downtown Cedar Springs gets a little bigger every year, and is starting to become a tradition for families in the community.

Last Saturday’s event, sponsored by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, was a day-long affair, and kicked off with about 40 kids and adults showing up at the library to make decorations to hang on the tree. Perry Hopkins, who organized the event for Chamber, said there was also a great turnout for the story time with Mrs. Clause at Perry’s Place llc for herbs, teas and more, and the Christmas Puzzle time with Santa’s Elves at Alpha Omega Coffee and Games.

There was one glitch—the parade started a half hour late because Santa was running later than expected. But on the bright side, the parade had more participants this year, with the American Legion walking in it, and the cheerleaders leading Santa. Mayor pro-tem Pam Conley also walked in the parade, and helped Santa with his countdown for the tree lighting.

The Red Flannel Queen and Court mingled with residents near the tree, while waiting for Santa, and there was also a petting zoo, and a live nativity by Calvary Assembly of God Church.

The Cedar Springs Historical Society held a tour of the museum after the tree lighting (see page 2).

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Prosecutor: deadly force justified in Greenville death

Montcalm County Prosecutor Andrea Krause said in a press release this week that Greenville resident Jess Braman was justified in using deadly force when he shot and killed a naked stranger that broke into his home and would not leave on September 6, 2014.

The Greenville Department of Public Safety received a report at 6:55 a.m. of a naked man running through a Greenville neighborhood who was attempting to gain entry into a home at 303 West Grove Street. Officers began to look for the man. At 7:23 they got the info that the man was inside a home at 105 South Barry (Braman’s address). That was followed by the info that Braman had shot him.

Jess Braman had gotten up at 6:40 a.m. and let his dog out the back sliding door, and did not relock it. Soon after, his neighbor, Chris Harrington, told Braman that his (Harrington’s) wife had seen a naked man in their backyard. Braman then went upstairs to take a shower. When he came down he found the naked stranger on his couch, covered in a blanket.  Braman went up and got his 17-year-old stepson and asked him if it was a friend of his, and the teen told him no.  Braman then got a shotgun from an upstairs closet and loaded it.

Braman woke up the man, John Russell, 27, and told him several times to get out of his house.  Braman also yelled out his front door for his neighbor Harrington to call the police and come over to his house.  Harrington arrived and entered Braman’s home.  Harrington, along with Braman, told Russell to get out of the house.  Russell made another statement at that time that “There ain’t three cops out there that can go toe-to-toe with me and take me down.”

Russell reportedly stood up and went at Braman and Harrington. Braman raised the shotgun and Russell grabbled the barrel and started to pull, and Braman fired. He also said that when Russell stood up he immediately noted that Russell was bigger than him and felt he would be overpowered.  Braman also feared for his family and did not want to see anything happen to them. (Living in the home with Braman was his wife and four teens. All were home at the time.) He also stated that Russell had a look in his eye that put him in fear.

Police learned that Russell had been at the bar the night before, and had become very intoxicated. He later went to a friend’s house where he knocked over a TV, punched holes in the wall, threw tables around and broke a fish tank. He was described as out of control. He later left the home, and was seen by a homeowner between 3 and 4 a.m. stumbling around. A couple of friends were trying to talk him into going back with them. He reportedly fell and hit his head, and stumbled down a hill, possibly into a swamp. Police later found his clothes there.

The toxicology report showed his ethanol level at .26, and he tested positive for marijuana.

Krause said that even under the Self-Defense Act, self-defense is not justified simply on a belief that deadly force is needed to repel an attack. “Rather, the actor’s belief must be both honest and reasonable. The belief does not, however, have to be correct. Self-defense justifies the use of deadly force in response to an honest and reasonable belief that such force is required to prevent death or great bodily harm, even if that belief is in error.”

“The evidence in this matter is overwhelming that John Russell presented an immediate danger of death or great bodily harm to Jess Braman and Chris Harrington and Braman acted properly in self-defense,” said Krause. “Braman repeatedly told Russell to leave his home. Instead of leaving peacefully, Russell attempted to grab and/or push or pull the gun. Braman, fearing for his own life and that of his family and Harrington, especially in light of the perceived size difference between the men, fired one round into the chest of Russell killing him.  Under these circumstances, Braman was justified in using deadly force against what would be perceived by any reasonable person as an imminent danger of death or great bodily harm.”

 

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