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Blood donors help save lives of baby girl’s parents

 

When they needed it most, blood transfusions were readily available

N-Blood-donors-Grace-Brunett-Family-OutdoorsGrace Brunett is not only a regular blood donor, but helps host a blood drive in her hometown. And as if that weren’t enough, this tireless cheerleader works for Michigan Blood as a phlebotomist.

Grace can trace her commitment to her days as a student at Cedar Springs High School, where she learned in anatomy class the power of O-negative blood—her type and a universal option for anyone in need.

Just nine percent of the Michigan population has O-negative blood, which puts Grace in a class by herself. But her story is even more compelling since the day nearly six years ago when, while pregnant with her firstborn, she developed chorioamnioitis.

She eventually underwent an emergency Caesarian section. During her ordeal, which lasted nearly five hours and included an emergency hysterectomy at the age of 21, she required a blood transfusion.

“I almost died,” she says, noting that she was conscious during the entire trying episode. What she took away from that traumatic experience, however, were two rewards: One, a daughter Charlotte, now going on six years old. And two, a personal story to share about the importance of stepping up to donate blood and blood products.

Grace actually began donating blood as a student at Cedar Springs, where, coincidentally, she met Cory Brown, the father of their child. “I was a sophomore and he was a senior,” she relates. Both were members at the time of Business Professionals of America, which was sponsoring a blood drive at the high school.

Little did they know then that not only would Grace lean on blood donors for her own vital needs, but that Cory, too, would come to require multiple transfusions. “He was in a car accident before we had Charlotte, back in 2007, and then in 2011, he was hit by a drunk driver,” says Grace. In both instances, her common-law husband needed donor blood.

Today, the happy trio makes its home in Cedar Springs, where Charlotte – described by mom as being “bubbly, fun and smart” — is a whiz at jigsaw puzzles and is set to start kindergarten this comi.ng fall. Grace is diligent about giving blood for obvious personal reasons, and also because it’s just the right thing to do. She enjoys tracking her progress, pint by pint, acknowledging that she just passed the 6-gallon mark this past March.

It’s fun for her to travel back in her mind to those days in anatomy class, when the instructor mapped out how “With O-negative blood, you can basically save anybody,” she says. “It’s kind of awesome, that the whole world is basically eligible for my blood, and so that has spurred me to action.”

“It’s one hour out of one day just every two months of your life,” says Grace. “You can be selfless in that single hour and make a huge difference.”

Michigan Blood is the sole provider of blood and blood products for more than 60 hospitals in Michigan, including Spectrum Health, Metro Health, and Mercy Health St. Mary’s. Donations given outside of Michigan Blood do not have direct local impact. Donating blood with Michigan Blood helps save the lives of patients in Michigan hospitals. Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) who weighs at least 110 pounds may be eligible to donate. Blood donors should bring photo ID. We are currently in urgent need of O-Negative blood donations.

The next blood donor drive in Cedar Springs will be on August 23, at Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, Gym, 140 S Main St., Cedar Springs, 12:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. For more locations, visit www.miblood.org.

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Meet City Manager Mike Womack

Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack started August 1. Post photo by J. Reed.

Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack started August 1. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

It took nine months, but the City of Cedar Springs finally has a new full time City Manager overseeing operations at City Hall.

Mike Womack, 34, started in his new position August 1.

Just prior to coming to Cedar Springs, Womack was an Executive Intern for the Village of Lake Orion, Michigan, which is located on the east side of the state,

and a Graduate Assistant, in the City Manager’s office in the City of Eastpointe, Michigan. He was also working as an Attorney at Womack & Womack P.C., in Shelby Township.

Womack said his time at EastPointe and the Village of Lake Orion was valuable. “I learned a lot. There is no substitute for the mentoring you get through internships. It helped me to prepare for this job,” he explained.

Womack was born in Rochester, Michigan, and grew up in Troy. He graduated from Eisenhauer High School in Shelby. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Oakland University; his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and his Masters of Public Administration from Central Michigan University.

As a lawyer, Womack defended felony and misdemeanor cases, probate, and juvenile law. He also worked in oil and gas, and property law for a time in Pennsylvania. During that time, he would commute back to Michigan for classes. “I was always going, but began to feel worn out,” he said.

So why did he decide to make a career move into small town government?

“After seven or eight years of being a lawyer, I decided I wanted to do something else,” he explained. “As a child, I thought I might do something in government. I first thought of politics, but then realized I could do more good behind the scenes.”

Womack met his wife, Glenna, when they were both undergrads. They married in 2013, at the Beach and Yacht Club at Disney World, in Florida. The children they have are of the furry variety. “We have four dogs and a chinchilla,” he said.

Womack said he was somewhat familiar with this area of Michigan, from going camping up in White Cloud, and traveling up and down the west coast of the state, and visiting the Grand Rapids area. “During college I had a few buddies who went to school here,” he explained.

What does our new city manager like to do during his free time? “I’m a bit of a policy wonk,” he admitted, “I like to go home and read a white paper on best practices.” The Post asked him what he likes to do when he’s not reading white papers. He said he likes to do some shooting, though he doesn’t like to hunt. “That doesn’t mean I don’t look forward to a bit of venison jerky every now and then,” remarked. He also likes to do some long distance running and triathalons occasionally. “I used to do some amateur astronomy, but there was too much light where I was,” he explained. He also likes computer and video games, playing softball, and watching baseball. “I’m really looking forward to enjoying some White Caps games,” he said.

Womack has been living in a hotel, but was moving into an apartment this week. He said it would be about six months before his wife is able to join him. She needs to close up her law practice first. He said that they would look at buying a house somewhere in the area within a  year.

What does he think of Cedar Springs? “I think the city is on an upward trajectory. I’ve interviewed at places where people are losing jobs, and things are going downhill. I don’t see that here.” He said he’s excited about the “Heart of Cedar Springs” project at Main and Maple. “It will be great for the community. And I love libraries, and sculptures, and sculpture parks. If I can walk there on my lunch hour, get my mile in, it will be great,” he remarked.

His first priority, he said, is to get some city positions filled: both a full time clerk, and a finance director. A temporary clerk was hired to fill Linda Christiansen’s position until Womack can find someone, and the finance director will be leaving for another job in the near future.

Womack wants residents and business owners to know that he has an open door. “I’m happy to talk about problems. There may not always be an easy solution; we have to work within the personnel and financial constraints. But I’ll do what I can.” He said that the preferred way to reach him is through email: manager@cityofcedarsprings.org. But you can also reach him by phone at 696-1330, ext. 104.

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Principal Ken See leaving Cedar Springs

Ken See and family.

Ken See and family.

By Judy Reed

Beach Elementary Principal Ken See is leaving Cedar Springs Public Schools to be principal at Grandville Middle School.

That position will take him back to what he was originally doing when he first came to Cedar Springs almost 12 years ago.

See was hired in November 2004 as the Middle School Assistant Principal and Athletic Director. “I started at the old Middle School (what is now known as Red Hawk) the day they came back from Thanksgiving Break,” he recalled.

In 2007, he became the Middle School principal, and in 2010 he moved to the high school as associate principal. Three years later, in 2013, he became principal at Beach Elementary.

“I have so many great memories,” remarked See. “Meeting the students coming from the buses every morning; middle school students and staff performing at the spring talent shows; high school and New Beginnings graduation ceremonies; all staff tailgate parties at homecoming football games; and powerful conversations with other principals around teaching and learning.”

See said he will miss the people the most. “I have made so many friendships with teachers, administrators, support staff, students and parents throughout the district. Teaching is all about relationships and I am blessed to have worked with such wonderful and dedicated people,” he remarked.

It was not an easy decision for See to make. “Leaving Cedar Springs was a difficult decision,” he explained. “I have been blessed with so many wonderful friendships, experiences and growth opportunities throughout the years. They have shaped me to be the person and professional I am today. Having a distinguished district like Grandville contact me to go through the interview process was affirming. Knowing I would be joining a team that valued my skill set and knowledge felt good. I have jokingly compared it to the feeling of being picked first for the recess kickball game. Now I am just excited to have this opportunity to start the next chapter in my professional life.”

“I feel sadness in leaving,” added See. “It’s a natural part of any change like this, but I trust that God was looking out for me with this new opportunity. I leave with best wishes and hopes for my friends and colleagues in the Cedar Springs Schools and community.”

Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn had praise for See in an email she wrote to staff about his resignation. “Ken has served students, staff and families at CSPS with heart and enthusiasm. To that point, a tribute to Ken came from a graduate from 2015, Tamara Tiethoff, as she gave her graduation speech. She remarked that she always remembered Mr. See sharing each day on the morning announcements, ‘Be your best today!’ Ken’s work with students, staff and families over the years is much appreciated and won’t be forgotten,” she said. “Ken, we thank you for all you did at CSPS and we wish you the very best in your new endeavor!”

VanDuyn said plans are underway to find new leadership for Beach Elementary.

See is the second elementary principal to leave this year. Cedar View principal Andy Secor also left a vacancy at the end of the school year when he took a job at Hudsonville Public Schools.

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Post travels to Adirondack mountains

(L to R) is Angela Swinehart, Kelli and Jessica Hamilton on Weston Mountain.

(L to R) is Angela Swinehart, Kelli and Jessica Hamilton on Weston Mountain.

The Post went mountain-climbing in late July with Kelli and Jessica Hamilton, Angela Swinehart, and 10 others at Adirondack Adventure Camp, in New York, through the United Methodist Church Conference.

The photo shows Weston Mountain/nun-da-ga-o ridge, with an elevation of 3,195 feet, on July 26.

“The Post also climbed Hadley Mountain, Cook Mountain, and Peaked Mountain, July 25-29,” said Kelli.

Thanks so much for taking us with you on your mountain-climbing adventure!

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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Runners rest in Cedar Springs

 

Running teams represented include JFR (Grand Rapids), All Night Express (Kalamazoo), Cross Train (Macomb Township/Detroit), Rat Pig Lover Railroad (Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo) along with CTA workers.

Running teams represented include JFR (Grand Rapids), All Night Express (Kalamazoo), Cross Train (Macomb Township/Detroit), Rat Pig Lover Railroad (Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo) along with CTA workers.

The Cedar Springs White Pine Trail staging area provided a resting and revitalization point for the 2016 Fred 200/100 Mile Running Relay participants on Saturday, August 6. The overnight relay included 36 “spurs” or legs each ranging from two to 9.5 miles in distance, spanning the entire Fred Meijer White Pine Trail. It began on Friday, August 5, at 6 a.m. in Comstock Park and continued up to Cadillac and back again. The 60 percent paved and 40 percent dirt trail served as the course for 51 teams participating this year.

Carolee Cole, Community Building Development Team (CBDT) volunteer board member and Lindsay Woodard, a member of the West Michigan Trails & Greenway Coalition and marathon runner, recently met during a volunteer CBDT cleanup project of Cedar Creek. The two ladies immediately began discussing how the Cedar Springs Community might support The Fred Meijer Relay runners as they passed through our Red Flannel town.

Runner nears transfer station during 2016 Fred 200/100 mile running relay on the White Pine Trail last Saturday.

Runner nears transfer station during 2016 Fred 200/100 mile running relay on the White Pine Trail last Saturday.

West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition Executive Director John Morrison was on hand to see for himself not only his organization’s runners but also the development of the “Heart of Cedar Springs.” CBDT board member John Ensley showed Morrison where the North Country Trail, White Pine Trail, and the Fishing Line all intersect in the city owned property located on the northwest section of Main and Maple Streets. Morrison explained how unique and valuable this type of crossover is for all outdoor and trail enthusiasts. An additional asset includes Cedar Creek, the second largest and one of the coldest trout habitats in Michigan, which runs along these trail areas and is nestled right in the heart of Cedar Springs. A CBDT proposed project includes a boardwalk and pathway running along Cedar Creek from Main Street near the new Library location out to 17 Mile Road.

“The CBDT is always looking for opportunities to showcase our community and extend a friendly welcome,” explained Cole. Fellow CBDT Members Mark Laws, John Ensley, Autumn Mattson, and David Ringler were quick to jump on board with Cole to pull together the people and provide a bit of cheer, shaded resting areas, drinks, and food for those participating in this year’s run.

Laws was quick to thank the many businesses that provided food, drink, ice, a tent, workers, and chairs. “Our local business owners generously supported the event,” shared Laws.

Community member and 13-mile relay participant Teri Marsman was quick to thank all those involved by saying,  “This is a classy way to welcome folks to Cedar!” She went on to say, “My kids have been dropping change into Librarian Donna Clark’s ‘new library change jar’ for 16 years. Our family is so excited to see the library actually being built and know more good things are on the way for our community.”

CTA staff and student athletes welcome runners to refreshment stand

CTA staff and student athletes welcome runners to refreshment stand

CTA Athletic Director, Autumn Mattson asked CTA Cross Country Coach Miss Davies for help from her team distributing refreshments on Saturday as runners headed toward the final stretch of the relay.

“We were happy to help because it is the right thing to do,” said Casen Armstrong, a member of the CTA Cross Country Team.

Gail Zemmol, JFR team runner and captain, was quick to add, “Cedar was our best stop and we are very grateful.”

Ensley and Laws responded by promising an even better Cedar Springs welcome for next year’s event.

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ArtPrize meets Amazing Race

 

N-ArtPrize-meets-amazing-race1The sixth annual Michigan Adventure Race: ArtPrize Edition presented by Community West Credit Union will be held October 8, 2016 in Grand Rapids. The race will weave through the massive and massively popular ArtPrize festival and feature mental and/or physical challenges, many related to the ArtPrize exhibits and venues. Part bike race, part running race and part Amazing Race, the ArtPrize Edition is believed to be the only sporting event on the planet that blends a major, world-class art festival into its race course.

N-ArtPrize-meets-amazing-race2Two-person teams will start off from Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids and bike or run to checkpoints pre-marked on a map—kept secret until just before the race—collecting as many points as they can within four hours. Racers will encounter Amazing Race-like challenges in popular downtown spots and out-of-the-way venues. Past challenges have included riddles that racers must solve related to art installations, a Pictionary-like challenge where one teammate had to draw a piece of art well enough for their teammate to enter an exhibit hall to identify, and a giant egg launch at a target.

“We’re excited that ArtPrize endorses this race as part of its social experiment. It’s a great way to expose people to out-of-the-way exhibits as well as to the electric atmosphere of the downtown venues,” says race director Mark VanTongeren. “Racers love getting in a great workout, experiencing a fun and challenging race with an Amazing Race feel, and seeing a good deal of ArtPrize all at the same time.”

Friends, family and the general public are welcome to experience the race. Maps and a guide provided at the start will direct people to the most entertaining challenges. It is a challenging race to follow however as racers head off in dozens of directions.

The charity partner selected for this edition of the race is the Purple Community, which gives 100 percent of funds raised in this race and all events to support biomedical research in the fight against cancer and neurodegenerative diseases at the Van Andel Institute.

For more information about the race, go to www.miadventurerace.com or www.facebook.com/MiAdventureRace/. They will also be holding the Michigan Adventure Race: Sleeping Bear Edition on September 17.

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Grassfields Cheese recall

 

From the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture

(Coopersville, MI) – Out of an abundance of caution, Grassfields Cheese LLC, is conducting a voluntary recall of approximately 20,000 pounds of organic cheeses due to possible contamination with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), a bacteria that can cause serious illness in humans. The recalled cheeses were sold from the firm’s retail store located at 14238 60th Ave., Coopersville MI 49404, to wholesale and retail customers, and to consumers nationwide via sales through the firm’s website: http://www.Grassfieldsscheese.com/.

This recall involves all types and sizes of organic cheeses manufactured by the firm between December 1, 2015 through June 1, 2016 including: Gouda, Onion ‘n Garlic, Country Dill, Leyden, Edam, Lamont Cheddar, Chili Cheese, Fait Fras, Polkton Corners and Crofters. The cheeses were sold as wheels, half wheels, and wedges of various sizes.

The potential for contamination was identified during an ongoing investigation of seven cases of human illnesses occurring between March and July 2016 caused by a same type of STEC. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Geagley Laboratory confirmed the presenceof STEC bacteria in a sample of Grassfields cheese collected by MDARD food and dairy inspectors.

E.coli infection symptoms vary by individual, but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. If there is fever, it usually is not very high (less than 101˚F/less than 38.5˚C). Most people get better within 5-7 days. Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening. Around 5-10 percent of those diagnosed with Shiga-toxin producing E.coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Signs that a person is developing HUS include decreased frequency of urination, feeling very tired, and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. Persons with HUS should be hospitalized because their kidneys may stop working and they may develop other serious problems. Most persons with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent damage or die. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

Consumers who have purchased any of these recalled products are urged to return them to the place of purchase. Consumers with questions may contact Grassfields Cheese at 616-997-8251 Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm EST orGrassfieldscheese@gmail.com.

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Road construction on M-46 near Howard City

N-Construction-M46-near-Howard-City

Travelers should be aware that road construction started on Monday, August 8, on M-46 near Howard City.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will invest $2 million to resurface 2.4 miles of M-46 from west of US-131 to east of Federal Road, and add a center left-turn lane between US-131 and Edgar Road.

Lane closures under flag control will be in effect throughout the project.

The project is expected to be completed by Saturday, October 15.

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Construction on bridges on White Pine Trail begins

 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced that construction on bridges over Rice Creek and Tamarack Creek on the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail in Howard City (Montcalm County) was set to begin Monday, Aug. 8.

The White Pine Trail is actively traveled by nonmotorized users throughout the year and snowmobile users during the winter months. Bridge construction will include abutment replacement and pier removal, as well as placement of a 60-foot prefabricated bridge over Rice Creek and an 84-foot prefabricated bridge over Tamarack Creek.

The White Pine Trail has been temporarily rerouted to Federal Road, bypassing both bridges. The detour is posted. Construction is anticipated to be completed in November.

Questions about the trail closure may be directed to Scott Slavin, DNR unit supervisor at White Pine Trail State Park, by calling 231-775-7911 or emailing slavins@michigan.gov.

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Suspects arrested in armed robbery

 

Gabriel Taylor

Gabriel Taylor

Emilio Melton

Emilio Melton

Javier Hernandez

Javier Hernandez

Two weeks ago the Post ran surveillance photos of the suspects that committed an armed robbery in the early morning hours of Wednesday, July 27, at the Circle K gas station at 4811 West River Drive, in Plainfield Township.

Last week, the Kent County Sheriff’s Department arrested three male suspects in the robbery and charged them with armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Gabriel Taylor 21; Emilio Melton, 19; and Javier Hernandez, 17, have all been arraigned, and their bonds were set at $100,000. All are currently residing in the Kent County jail.

Two of the suspects reportedly entered the store about 4:40 a.m. armed with a gun and masks over their faces, and demanded money from the clerk before fleeing in a getaway car. No shots were fired during the robbery and no one was injured.

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