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Give blood, win a tank of gas

Weather, sickness creates urgent need for blood donations

An urgent need for blood donations could result in a full tank of gas for blood donors. For the rest of February, Michigan Blood is raffling off five (5) $50 Speedway gift cards each day. Anyone who donated blood that day, whether at a mobile blood drive or a donor center, could win.

“We always have fewer blood donations during the winter,” said Alicia Barry, manager of community relations for Michigan Blood, “But the bad weather has forced some blood drives to shut down or kept donors from driving out. That, combined with all the sickness that’s been going around, has pushed our levels even lower than usual.”

There is currently an urgent need for all blood types, but O-Negative blood, the universal donor, is especially needed.

Beginning Tuesday, February 13, and running through Wednesday, February 28t, five donors will be drawn from a daily raffle to win a $50 Speedway gift card. The winners will be chosen and announced the next day.

Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) may be eligible to donate, although there are height and weight restrictions for people 16 to 18 years old. Anyone 19 and older must weigh at least 112 lbs. Blood donors should bring photo ID. To schedule an appointment, please call 1-866-MIBLOOD (642-5663), text MIBLOOD to 444999, or schedule online at miblood.org.

Places you can donate blood through the end of February:

Cedar Springs: You can donate at The Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, on Tuesday, February 20. The church is located at 140 S. Main St. The blood drive goes from 12:30 to 7 p.m. and is held in the gym. You will need to call Michigan blood to make an appointment or schedule online.

Grand Rapids Area Donor Center

1036 Fuller Ave NE

Sundays: 7am – 2pm (appointment only)
Mondays through Thursdays: 8am – 7pm
Fridays: 6am – 1pm
Saturdays: 7am – 2pm

Grandville Donor Center – Grandville United Methodist Church

3140 Wilson Ave
Wednesdays: 7am – 2pm (appointment only)
Thursdays: 12pm – 7pm
Saturdays: 7am – 2pm (appointment only)

 

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Winter Fun 

 

We’ve been asking for your winter fun photos, and we’ve had many to choose from. Here are a few more of your photos showing how much fun the snow can be! 

Do you have a winter fun photo you’d like to share? Send it to news@cedarspringspost.com, along with some info about it, and where the person in the photo is from. Please include your contact info. Photos will run as space allows.

 

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Courtland woman dies in crash

 

Henrietta Mead

A Cedar Springs area woman will be laid to rest on Saturday, February 17, after dying in a two-car crash last Friday.

According to Michigan State Police Rockford Post, the crash occurred about 12:50 p.m. Friday, February 9, in Courtland Township. The investigation showed that James Henry Mead, 87, of Courtland Township, was traveling westbound on 14 Mile Rd (M-57) in a white 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe, when he crossed the centerline just east of Stout and was struck by an eastbound 2015 Buick Regal. 

James Mead was evaluated on scene by Rockford Ambulance and released with minor injuries. His wife, Henrietta Mead, 85, was a passenger in his vehicle, but did not survive, despite the efforts of Fire and Rescue workers and Rockford Ambulance.

The driver of the eastbound vehicle was evaluated by Rockford Ambulance at the scene and released with minor injuries. The driver’s name was not yet released.

It is unknown whether drugs and/or alcohol was a factor, or whether road conditions were a factor. The crash is still under investigation.

Assisting MSP at the scene was Courtland Township Fire and Rescue, Oakfield Township Fire and Rescue, Rockford Ambulance, and Premier Towing.

A memorial service for Mrs. Mead will be held at 4:00 p.m. Saturday, February 17 at Oakfield Baptist Church, 11128 14 Mile Rd. NE Rockford. See her obituary on page 5.

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School saves taxpayers $368,000

 

That’s over $3.5 million the last three years

The Cedar Springs Public School district took advantage of a low interest rate and refinanced a portion of their outstanding 2008 refunding bonds, saving taxpayers over $368,000 over the next six years. 

The 2018 refunding bonds were sold in the amount of $6,415,000, at a true interest rate of 2.015 percent with a final maturity in 2024.

In preparing to sell the 2018 Refunding Bonds, the School District, working with their financial advisor, PFM Financial Advisors LLC, requested that S&P Global Ratings, acting through Standard and Poor’s Financial Services LLC (“S&P”) evaluate the School District’s credit quality. S&P assigned the School District the outstanding underlying rating of “A+.” The rating agency cited the School District’s stable enrollment trend, strong reserves and moderate debt in their rationale for rating of the School District at this level.

“I’m so thrilled that for the third year in a row we were able to refund bonds and save the taxpayers of Cedar Springs an additional $368,000 over the next six years!” said Dr. Laura VanDuyn, Superintendent. “When added to the savings of $680,000 in 2017 and $2.5 million from the 2016 refunding, that’s over $3.5 million dollars in total savings for the taxpayers of Cedar Springs.”

The School District’s financing was conducted by the Michigan investment banking office of the brokerage firm, Stifel, the financial advising firm, PFM Financial Advisors LLC and the law firm serving as bond counsel, Thrun Law Firm, P.C.

Jeffrey Zylstra, Managing Director with Stifel stated, “Cedar Springs Public Schools’ Bonds were well received by the bond market. We were able to take advantage of current interest rates that met the goals of the District and resulted in a nice savings that will be passed on to the District’s Taxpayers.”

According to Mike Gresen, with Thrun Law Firm, P.C., the school district currently has six outstanding bonds, and after May, there will only be five left to pay off. He told the Board of Education Monday evening that with interest rates going back up, he didn’t see any other opportunities in the future to refund any of the remaining bonds. “You have reduced what you can for your taxpayers,” he said.

The 2008 refunding bonds were sold for the purpose of refinancing the outstanding 1998 refunding bonds, which they sold for building projects. At the time, they went from a rate of 4.98 percent to 3.74 percent, with a prediction to save taxpayers $2.5 million over 16 years (until 2024). 

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The Post travels to Fellsmere, Florida

Mayor Gerald Hall from Cedar Springs and Mayor Joel Tyson of Fellsmere, Florida pose with The Cedar Springs Post.

The Post recently traveled with Mayor Gerald and Amy Jo Hall to Fellsmere, Florida, where they visited family. The Fellsmere Frog Festival, each January, has been a local favorite for 26 years. Fellsmere is part of the Sebastian-Vero Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area.

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Velzy Park fundraiser a delicious success

 

Those attending the Velzy Park fundraiser dinner had a fun night out despite the weather. Photo from Solon Township Facebook page.

Winters’s stormy weather didn’t keep the community from coming together for Velzy Park’s third annual Spaghetti Dinner and Dessert Auction last Friday, February 9.  

Desserts and other items were part of a silent auction to raise funds for Velzy Park in Solon Township. Photo from Solon Township Facebook page.

The popular fundraiser attracted a crowd of Park supporters, pasta lovers and sweet seekers vying for the choicest desserts. Joe Watson called the auction, rousing the crowd to enthusiastic bidding for the sweets and raising $430.00 towards the park. The fundraiser netted over $1400.00 for continuing construction of the park.  

Guests were treated to live vocals from Monique’s Quality Entertainment as well. It had all the elements of a successful evening. For a few hours folks were able to ignore winter’s ravages and bask in the warmth and glow of camaraderie and friendship. It gave us the opportunity to thumb our noses at the weather with a nod to St. Valentine.

The dinner was made possible through the combined efforts of a host of volunteers, from the young servers from Creative Technologies Academy to the people and businesses who donated desserts, talent and time, to the Park Committee, to the community who graciously came to help celebrate a common dream. 

Phase One of the park continues with a restroom and playground slated for the near future.  Donations can be made to Solon Township Velzy Park and sent to Solon Township Office, 15185 Algoma Ave., Cedar Springs, 49319. Please check Solon Township’s Velzy Park facebook page for future events or to volunteer in their efforts or call the township at 696-1718.

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Women urged to prevent congenital heart defects in newborns 

 

More than 333,000 babies screened for heart disease since 2014 

To help prevent congenital heart defects, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Newborn Screening Program is urging women to take preventative steps before, during and after pregnancy, including newborn screening. 

Congenital heart defects are one of the most common birth defects and leading cause of birth defect-related deaths. Present at birth, the defects affect the structure and function of the heart. These defects can be detected with a pulse oximeter during newborn screening. Since April 2014, when this screening became a part of the Newborn Screening Panel, more than 333,000 babies born in Michigan have been screened for critical congenital heart disease. 

 “Michigan babies are greatly benefiting from a simple, painless screen done at 24 hours of life,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS’ chief medical officer. “With technology and treatment for these conditions improving, if diagnosed early, children with serious congenital heart defects have the potential to lead normal, healthy lives. “ 

It is important for parents to know that newborn screening cannot identify every child with a critical heart problem. Warning signs that all parents should watch for are: bluish color of the lips or skin, grunting, fast breathing, poor feeding and poor weight gain. 

Some congenital heart defects have only a minor and brief effect on a baby’s health and some have very serious and life-long effects and can cause early death. Public awareness, accurate diagnosis and expert medical care are all essential for adequate management of these all too common and deadly conditions. 

Studies have reported increased risks for congenital heart defects associated with maternal obesity, diabetes and smoking. 

 “The heart forms in the early weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman realizes she is pregnant,” Wells said. “Diet, genetic and environmental factors, life-style choices, health conditions and medications all can play a role in preventing or causing congenital heart defects.” 

As part of Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week, Feb. 7-14, MDHHS is advising women who are pregnant or may become pregnant to: 

  • Avoid all alcohol and illegal/recreational drugs. 
  • Avoid exposure to smoke, chemicals and toxins, both at work and at home. 
  • Take a folic acid supplement throughout the childbearing years and check with their healthcare provider to confirm that they are getting adequate amounts of all the essential nutrients. 
  • See a physician prior to pregnancy, especially if there are medical conditions which require medications, any known metabolic conditions including diabetes, obesity, phenyketonuria (PKU), or a family history of congenital heart defects. 
  • Receive regular medical check-ups and learn about their family history and potential genetic risks. 

For more information about Michigan’s Newborn Screening Program, visit Michigan.gov/newbornscreening

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FFA teacher receives honorary degree

State FFA advisor Mark Forbush (left) with Cedar Springs FFA advisor Larry Reyburn. Photo from Cedar Springs FFA Facebook page.

Cedar Springs High School teacher Mr. Larry Reyburn, advisor for the Cedar Springs FFA, received his Honorary American FFA degree on Wednesday, February 7. He was one of 59 recipients chosen in 2017 to receive the degree from the National FFA Organization, and the only person in Michigan. Usually this award is received at national convention, but state FFA advisor Mark Forbush made a special trip to deliver it personally. Congratulations, Mr. Reyburn.

In other FFA news, the Cedar Springs FFA will hold a fundraiser at Tractor Supply Company on Saturday. Stop by for baked goods, meat sticks, and homemade maple syrup. The store is located on the corner of 17 Mile and White Creek Avenue. 

Also this month, Tractor Supply Company stores in MI will collect donations during National FFA Week to support grants for FFA chapters in their community.

Coinciding with National FFA Week (Feb. 17-24), Tractor Supply customers can donate $1 or more at checkout Feb. 16-25 while shopping in-store, online at www.tractorsupply.com or by calling Customer Solutions at (877) 718-6750. Donations will fund the national Grants for Growing program, supporting FFA chapters in MI that are making a difference in their communities through unique and sustainable agricultural projects. The program is coordinated through a partnership with the National FFA Foundation and Tractor Supply, the country’s largest rural lifestyle retailer. 

“Through the generosity and assistance of our customers and team members, we are honored to support local FFA chapters across the country through our Grants for Growing program,” said Christi Korzekwa, senior vice president of marketing at Tractor Supply Company. “This initiative not only allows us to invest in the next generation of agricultural leaders, but also the future of agricultural education.”
Since its start in 2016, Grants for Growing has raised more than $1.4 million for the National FFA Organization. The initiative has funded a total of 692 grants supporting projects involving more than 69,000 students. 

Earlier this year, FFA chapters submitted applications detailing how they will start or expand on a project that will benefit their communities as well as both current and future FFA students. Funds have been requested to purchase vegetation, trees, seed, chickens, feed, mulch and tools for projects ranging from greenhouses to aquaculture labs. 

Grants, awarded to winning FFA chapter initiatives in the spring, have a minimum value of $500 and a maximum value of $5,000. All donations remain within the state in which they were raised. 

For more details about the program, visit www.ffa.org/grantsforgrowing

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Human remains in Montana not missing children from Michigan

Alexander, Andrew, and Tanner Skelton are still missing, and were last seen November 26, 2010. These age-progressed photos show how they might look at 13, 15, and 11. Photos from National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Investigators announced last week that the remains of three children found in Montana are not those of Andrew, Alexander and Tanner Skelton, who were reported missing from Morenci, in Lenawee County, the day after Thanksgiving in 2010.

In December, the Michigan State Police learned that human remains were found in Montana in September, and were likely the skeletal remains of three children. The MSP First District Special Investigation Section then began working with Missoula police to determine if there was any connection to the Skelton brothers.

The Missoula County Coroner’s Office has now received updated information in regard to the three sets of facial bones fragments and teeth discovered in a shed at a local Missoula residence in September of 2017. 

The Coroner’s Office working in conjunction with Missoula City Police Detectives, Pathologists at the Montana State Crime Lab, Anthropology Department of the University of Montana, the University of North Texas (UNT) Center for Human Identification, and Investigators with the Michigan State Police have ruled out the partial human remains discovered in Missoula as being those of the three juvenile brothers who went missing in Michigan in 2010. Investigators have also been able to rule out a missing 11-year-old male, from Washington State. 

Utilizing advanced radiograph technology and dental record comparisons, Anthropologists from the UNT were conclusively able to exclude the remains of the aforementioned children. 

The UNT report is suggestive that the submitted bone samples from Missoula are historical and archaeological in origin and therefore over 99 years old. The report suggests that the bone fragments and teeth had been buried for some time prior to being uncovered and exposed to the elements. The report narrows the age windows for the three sets of human remains as follows: Individual 1, 2-5 years of age; Individual 2, 5-9 years of age; Individual 3, 6-8 years of age. The UNT report suggests that Individual 1 and possibly some of the loose teeth are of Asian derived Amerindian ancestry. 

Given the limited amount of bone specimens recovered and submitted to the lab, additional information confirming the sex, stature, or ancestry of the three remains is inconclusive. 

The coroner’s office in conjunction with other investigative agencies has requested the remains to be turned over to the UNT Human Identification Evidence Control section for DNA testing in an effort to scientifically confirm the remains are not a match of any known missing juvenile. Unfortunately due to the large number of cases at UNT, the DNA testing results are projected to be 6-8 months out 

The Missoula County Coroner’s Office hearts and prayers go out to the families of those who live with the pain and loss of having a missing family member.

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Red Hawk wrestlers move on to regionals

Lucus Pienton looks to shoot against his Lowell opponent.

Wrestling is often coined as the “toughest six minutes in sports.” Six Red Hawk wrestlers proved their toughness this weekend as they advanced to the Division 2 Regional Finals.

Ryan Ringler defeated Austin Engle (#2 migrappler.com) to win his second District Championship and reach the 150-win milestone.

Meanwhile, Aaron Smith, Trevor Marsman and Lucus Pienton placed second for the Red Hawks. Pienton lost in a close match to #1 ranked Alec Rees from Sparta and will look for vengeance at the regional final. Marsman finally broke 100 lbs but still couldn’t handle Nick Korhorn of Lowell in the finals. Aaron Smith will make his second trip to individual regionals looking for a sweeter ending and a trip to Ford Field.

Jacob Galinis and Anthony Brew finished the day with consolation victories to move on in the tournament.

The Regional Finals will be held in Byron Center​ on Saturday, February 17, with wrestling starting at 9 a.m. The top four from each weight class will move on to the State Finals at Ford Field.

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