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Learning to speak the language of flowers

Each type of flower can be used to convey a message all its own.

Each type of flower can be used to convey a message all its own.

(NAPS)—For centuries, people have used the beauty and fragrance of flowers to communicate with others.

Even today, flowers remain one of the most popular ways to send sincere, unspoken messages of affection, thanks, peace and more.

For example, they can be used to encourage someone who is facing a difficult time, to share joy during a time of celebration or to let someone know he or she is not alone during a time of loss. Flowers can also serve as a way to share a message that otherwise may be difficult to speak.

For instance, daisies can be used to communicate loyal love, while a solid-color carnation can be used to communicate the answer “yes.” Even the prickly cactus can be used to send a message of endurance.

To help consumers become more familiar with the language of flowers, a company called Blooms Today has selected a few of the more popular flowers often given as gifts and created a guide. The company suggests keeping it in your wallet so you can use it the next time you need a little help translating or framing a message with flowers.

To learn more or place an order for Valentine’s Day, visit www. bloomstoday.com or call 800-323-5819.

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Victim in shooting suffered from mental disorder

Jonathan David Sper had been battling a mental disorder for about a decade. Photo from a NAMI page set up in his memory.

Jonathan David Sper had been battling a mental disorder for about a decade. Photo from a NAMI page set up in his memory.

By Judy Reed

The Kent County Sheriff Department and the family of Jonathan David Sper released a joint statement Thursday detailing some of the events that led to Jonathan’s death on Tuesday evening, January 24.

According to the statement, he had been diagnosed with bipolar schizoaffective disorder, and had been trying to rehabilitate himself for the last 10 years.

“We know that Jonathan is in a better place–a place where he no longer has to wrestle with mental illness,” said his family. “Even while dealing with this disorder, he was a great friend to many people. He was a dreamer, full of life, and had a fierce entrepreneurial spirit.”

Jonathan had been in jail for six days, on charges of ordering food and not paying for it, and not identifying himself to a police officer. Records at 61st District Court show his appearances before the judge were canceled several times due to being uncooperative. He finally was sentenced to the six days time served and released on Tuesday, January 24, just hours before the shooting.

Jonathan David Sper. Facebook photo from November 2016.

Jonathan David Sper. Facebook photo from November 2016.

Sper was reportedly dropped off in a manic state at his brother’s home in the 4000 block of Summit Ct, in Algoma Township, about 5 p.m. According to the statement, this is what happened next: “His brother did his best to confine Jonathan and to deescalate the situation with the intent of peacefully removing him from the property. After two hours, and a brief physical altercation, it was obvious that the brother needed assistance from law enforcement, at which point he called 911. The 911 operator was informed of Jonathan’s manic state. When the police arrived, the two brothers were already separated. The officers were again informed of Jonathan’s manic state from his brother. Jonathan was in the garage when the two officers arrived. Upon approaching Jonathan, the officers issued orders that were not followed. A struggle between the officers and Jonathan ensued which ended in Jonathan’s death.”

The Wyoming Police Department is investigating the shooting. It is standard procedure to call in another police department when an officer is involved in a shooting death. They have not released the name of the officer who fired the shots.

The Spers also asked for people to remember the officers involved. “In addition to the thoughts and prayers going out to our family, please keep in mind the officers who were involved in this tragic event. While serving our community and risking their lives every day, members of law enforcement must confront mental illness in its worst form. Although there are already tremendous efforts in this community to provide resources for the mentally ill, the Office of the Sheriff and the Sper family have a desire to advocate for continued improvement in how mentally ill people are handled by the criminal justice system and by community mental health providers so that this tragedy is not repeated. Through this advocacy, we hope to achieve a safer community for everyone, with a safety net for those living with mental illness, enabling them to live their lives in peace.”

The family will hold a memorial service at Ada Bible Church on Knapp St., Saturday, January 28, at 11 a.m. Visitation will be at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, so they can continue to support hundreds of thousands of families, advocate for better resources and tools for mental health providers, and lead awareness activities and events to encourage understanding and prevent situations like this from occurring in the future. A memorial fundraiser has been created for Jonathan Sper and can be found on NAMI’s website http://ifundraise.nami.org/campaign/sper.






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Police seek info on gas drive off


N-Gas-drive-off1-Sand-LakeWesco and the Sand Lake Police Department is asking for help to identify this vehicle. They said this vehicle has driven off without paying for gas at Wesco in Sand Lake for the last month. As you see in the picture, vehicle has a ball hitch and a yellow sticker in the rear side window, and there also appears to be some stickers on the rear of the vehicle.

If you have any information please contact Sand Lake Police Department at 616-799-1900.

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Snow shot


Kristen Smith, of Kristen’s Flashback Photography, took this photo Monday during some of our recent snow. She explained on her Facebook page: “Life gets busy. I realized when I passed the Veterans Memorial Park in honor of our home town hero Timmy Brown, that I don’t stop on the side of the road as much as I used to when something catches my eye. The world is crazy right now, so I decided to make a stop, say a prayer for Timmy, his family, our military, and snap a couple of pics in the snow.”

That’s a great shot, Kristen! Thanks so much!

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Board rates Superintendent highly effective 


Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn

Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn

Dr. VanDuyn’s contract renewed through 2020

Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn has been rated “highly effective” by the Board of Education for the third year in a row, and they have extended her contract through 2020.

According to a release from current Board of Education President Matthew Shoffner, they met with the Superintendent in closed session on December 12 for her annual evaluation. They used the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) superintendent evaluation tool/rubric, and rated her in areas of performance that include: Governance & Board Relations; Community Relations; Staff Relations; Business & Finance; Instructional Leadership; Student Growth. Board members were trained by the MASB in best practices of evaluating the superintendent.

“Dr. VanDuyn received the highest possible rating of ‘Highly Effective,’ said then-Board President Patricia Eary. “She’s taken on many difficult situations, but has done so with grace, courage, servant leadership and professionalism. She’s a champion for all students and a firm believer in and supporter of our staff. Highly effective does not mean there is not room for growth. We can all improve; therefore, the Board sets goals for the superintendent each year. One such goal moving forward is a focus on the culture and climate of the District.”

Dr. Laura VanDuyn began as Superintendent of Cedar Springs Public Schools in July of 2014. She replaced retiring Superintendent Ron McDermed.

“Since that time there has been notable progress throughout the District,” it says in the Board statement. “At the State of the Schools presentation on January 23, 2017 it was evident once again that the superintendent, administration, teachers and support staff are working hard to provide for the best education for our Cedar Springs students. Accomplishments from all areas of the District were presented. Dr. VanDuyn continually thanked the fine staff, students, parents and community for their collaborative efforts to produce such impressive results.

“Some highlights of the great work this year include:  high-quality professional learning for staff in math instruction, Responsive Classroom, Adaptive Schools and Cognitive Coaching; completion of strategic planning; a high school ‘silver’ rating by US News for two consecutive years as well as being selected by the College Board to be on the AP Honor Roll for the first time this year; high-quality special education professional learning and improved compliance ratings; implementation of new K-5 math curriculum; implementation of a counseling/mental health/crisis plan; the award of two State grants—one for early intervention and one for our first-ever robotics program; the well-deserved ‘lime green’ rating with the state of Michigan—that is a remarkable 2-level improvement in state assessment scores in just 2 years; many advancements in operations and business for effective and efficient practices.”

Newly appointed Board President, Matthew Shoffner, would like to see continued forward progress in the District and said, “Dr. VanDuyn came to CSPS with immense background and knowledge in educational leadership, along with a variety of experiences, which have begun to strengthen and temper us. I am committed to working alongside Dr. VanDuyn to continue to improve our great district. As we move ahead Dr. VanDuyn will gather survey data from all stakeholders to inform her and the Board of Education of the direction we all want to see for our CSPS. We look forward to using that data to continue our growth.”

Per standard practice, the Board also reviewed the Superintendent’s contract at the same time as they did the evaluation. A special board meeting was called for December 15, 2016 for the Board to discuss and vote in open session on the contract. The Board moved to make revisions to the contract that included firming up or adding language to meet the legal requirements, such as the definition/components of Michigan Revised School Code 1249b. One of the components under 1249b says that if the Superintendent has been rated highly effective for three years in a row, the evaluation shall be biennial, as long as the performance remains highly effective.

Additionally, the superintendent was granted three additional vacation days (to make it 28) and two additional sick leave days (to make it 12). “The superintendent contract was extended another year through 2020 as a result of her performance and commitment to our CSPS,” it said in the release.

According to the contract, Dr. VanDuyn’s salary is $152,796 for the 2016-17 year, $155,852 for 2017-18; $158,969.04 for 2018-19; and $162,168.42 for 2019-20. If the Superintendent’s contract is automatically extended for a year through 2020-21 as a result of being highly effective, her salary would be $165,411.78 for that year.

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The Post travels to China


The Post traveled on a special adventure in January with Kelly Tompkins, of Solon Township, and her mom, Jan Brower. The two went to China to finalize the adoption of Kelly’s son, Jase. Here they are shown at their hotel in Zhengzhou, China.

What a cutie Jase is! Congratulations to Kelly and her family, and thank you 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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5th annual quilt show for library

This quilt will be raffled off at the Cedar Springs Friends of the Library quilt show on March 18. Get your tickets at the library.

This quilt will be raffled off at the Cedar Springs Friends of the Library quilt show on March 18. Get your tickets at the library.

The Cedar Springs Friends of the Library will be having their 5th Annual Quilt Show fundraiser on Saturday, March 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cedar Springs Middle School. Admission is $2 per person, and under 12 is free.

The Friends will once again be raffling off a beautiful quilt that was designed by Barb Grutter, pieced by Louise King, and quilted by Aerie Quilting. Raffle tickets are available at the Library or at Luv 2 Quilt for $1 each or 6 for $5. The quilt will also soon be on display at Independent Bank and they will have raffle tickets as well.

The Friends are also taking registrations for people who would like to show their quilts. They have changed and added categories to have better variety and competition. The categories are: King/Queen; Full/Twin; Crib/Wall-Hanging; and Table Topper/Tote. There is a limit of three items per person, and you will need a registration form for each quilt shown. Quilts should not be shown that have been shown previously. Quilt registration forms are available at the library or by calling either Barb Grutter at 616.263.9500 or Louise King at 616.696.1376.

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More winter fun


Kids love the snow and ice that comes with winter. Icicles are a such a “cool” thing to play with! Just ask Eli Redder, 5, the son of Reba Redder, of Cedar Springs. He is shown here after our first snowstorm, earlier this winter.

If you have winter photos you’d like us to consider for publication, email them to news@cedarspringspost.com with “winter fun” in the subject line. We publish them as space allows, and do not guarantee publication.

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Groundhog day

N-GroundhogThursday, February 2, is Groundhog Day, the day that Punxsutawney Phil appears at sunrise at Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania to make his annual prediction on the rest of winter. According www.groundhog.org, it is a legend that traverses centuries. “It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.

If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole. If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe, and for centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.”

Either way, it will probably still be cold here at least through March!

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Two plead guilty in heroin overdose death

Jordan-Luke Vandenbosch

Jordan-Luke Vandenbosch

Bonnie Lee Price

Bonnie Lee Price

A Nelson Township man died last May of a heroin overdose, and the two people involved in his death pled guilty this week as part of a plea deal.

Bonnie Lee Price, 43, and Jordan-Luke Ibrihim Vandenbosch, 30, faced charges in the death of Price’s husband, Joshua Price 43. The incident occurred in May 2016, in the 6900 block of 17 Mile Road, west of Myers Lake Ave. Bonnie Price reportedly bought $60 worth of heroin in Grand Rapids, which she gave to Vandenbosch. He then mixed it and put it into syringes, and injected both the woman and her husband, and himself. When Joshua Price began to show signs of an overdose and difficulty breathing, the pair did not call 911 right away. Instead they tried to find narcan, which can reverse an overdose, from people they know. Bonnie Price reportedly also shot video of her husband, showing him in a distressed breathing state. She finally called 911 when he stopped breathing.

The pair tried to get rid of the drug paraphernalia, and later tried to get rid of Joshua’s phone and text messages about drugs by throwing it away at the Meijer on Alpine.

Price pled guilty this week to delivery/manufacture of heroin less than 50 grams, and tampering with evidence. In exchange, the prosecutor did not charge her with delivery of a controlled substance causing death. The agreement calls for a minimum term of just over three years in prison.

Vandenbosch pled guilty to the delivery of a controlled substance causing death, a possible life offense. The prosecution then dropped two other charges, and recommended a minimum term of seven years in prison.

The pair will be sentenced on March 9.

If someone you know appears to be suffering a heroin overdose, the best thing is to call 911 immediately. All Sheriff Deputies are trained in how to administer Narcan.

Heroin overdose affects a number of different body parts and systems.  Some of these effects are more obvious than others. Warning signs include:

• Bluish nails or lips.

• Depressed breathing.

• Weak pulse.

• Pinpoint pupils.

• Disorientation or delirium.

• Extreme drowsiness.

• Repeated episodes of loss of consciousness.

• Coma.

• Dry mouth.

• Constipation or spasms of the stomach or intestines.

• Low blood pressure.

To get help with addiction, visit https://network180.org/en/substance-use-disorders/programs/treatment-services or give them a call at 616.336.3909.

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