web analytics

Archive | News

Voicemail from an IRS imposter?


by Andrew Johnson, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

You get a call or voicemail from someone claiming to be from the IRS. You’re being sued and this your final notice, the caller says.

Don’t panic. And don’t return the call. It’s a scam.

Here are a few facts about the IRS to keep in mind if you get a similar call:

If the IRS needs to contact you, they’ll do it by mail first.

The IRS won’t demand personal information like credit card or Social Security numbers over the phone.

The IRS won’t threaten to arrest or sue you, or demand that you pay right away. The IRS also won’t tell you to use a specific form of payment like a money transfer from MoneyGram or Western Union, a cash reload from MoneyPak or Reloadit, or a gift card from iTunes or Amazon. Scammers ask you to use those ways to pay because they’re hard to track or cancel payments.

If you or someone you know receives a call like this, report it the FTC and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Include the caller’s phone number, along with any details you have. If you’re not sure whether a call is really from the IRS, you can double-check by calling the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Heart of Cedar Springs growing

View of the new library as of Wednesday, Sept. 7. Photo from Community Building Development Team Facebook page.

View of the new library as of Wednesday, Sept. 7. Photo from Community Building Development Team Facebook page.

If you’ve driven down Main Street recently, you can’t help but notice that the walls are up on the new Cedar Springs Public Library at the corner of Main and Maple Streets. It’s coming along quickly! Also installed on Thursday was a new metal dragonfly sculpture in the area near the flowing well (behind the library), which will be part of the new rain garden area. Watch next week’s paper for more on that piece, created by local artist Steve Anderson.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

Towering sunflowers


It’s that time of year again for giant sunflowers, and we were happy to receive this photo from Tracy Skelonc. Pictured are brothers Andrew (8) and Coty Jr. (10) Youngs, standing in front of their Grandma Darlene Brewington’s 12-foot 6-inch sunflowers she grew this summer at her Sand Lake home. Nice photo, and the only sunflowers we’ve received this summer. Thanks so much for sending it!

Do you have photos of flowers or wildlife you’d like to submit? Email them to news@cedarspringspost.com with a little info. We will print as space is available.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

Cedar Springs Schools focus on suicide prevention

csps-hawk-logoBy Judy Reed

The excitement of the beginning of a new school year for Cedar Springs Public Schools was muted this year as the district is experiencing a disturbing trend—three student suicides in less than a year. One happened in August 2015, one in May 2016, and the most recent in August 2016. Each one has left the families, students, staff, and community reeling—and asking, “Why is this happening?”

According to the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan, Suicide is the third leading cause of death in children ages 15 to 24, in Kent County.

“We want this to be exposed,” explained Dr. Laura VanDuyn, Superintendent at Cedar Springs Public Schools. “You don’t realize how many may be contemplating it. It’s really scary.”

In May, Van Duyn began to work on pulling together experts in the field and agencies that could help with prevention and treatment.

They district had already implemented the OK2Say program earlier in the spring, which is a Michigan program created by Cedar Springs Curriculum Director Jo Spry, as well as a peer listening group, to help combat bullying, violence, crime, and suicide. According to VanDuyn, OK2Say has saved lives in the district.

“There have been several calls in the last couple of weeks,” said VanDuyn. “Our new school resource officer has personally escorted three children to the hospital after getting tips through the program.”

But this year, the district is doing even more. The experts in the field that VanDuyn contacted in the spring had their first meeting on September 1 to meet each other and begin to come up with a plan to respond in a crisis situation, as well as how to educate staff and students on suicide prevention. Included in the group was Arbor Services Kent School Services Network, the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan, Cherry Health, school mental health counselors, psychologists, and more.

“Our goal is to create a model on how to best utilize the services everyone offers to best serve kids,” explained VanDuyn. “We will meet again to define our roles and what each can offer.”

Other things they will do is expand the b.e. n.i.c.e. program to high school (in addition to middle school); teach the Live Laugh Love curriculum in some of the higher grades (from the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan) and also offer the Healthy Kids series, three free events.

They also have an event coming up next week that they hope the public will attend. They will be showing the free movie “Hope Bridge” on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. The movie is about a young man whose father commits suicide. (See ad on page 2.) Christy Buck, Executive Director at the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan, will also be on hand to speak at the event.

The school district is also encouraging people to attend the “Walk to fight suicide” at Millenium Park on Sept. 18 at 1 p.m. For more info you can visit afsp.org/walk.

“It would be great if we could get a big showing from Cedar Springs,” said VanDuyn.

She said that she has been overwhelmed by the amount of community support she’s getting from people calling and asking what they can do, and saying that they will help in anyway that they can.

And VanDuyn is determined to do something to help stop kids from considering suicide as a solution to their problems. “All of these kids were unique. They were good kids. The only way to work towards stopping this is to expose it,” she said.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Post travels to Europe


The Steinebach recently traveled across Europe on vacation and took the Post with them. They visited cities and sites in Italy, Germany and France, including Michaelangelo Park in Florence, Italy; the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy; the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany; and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

Travelng with the Post was Curt and Carol Steinebach, their daughter Christina Dean, and their son Cayden Steinebach.

Cayden is an incoming 7th grader at Cedar Springs Middle School. Christina is a 2013 graduate from Cedar Springs.

The family had a lot of fun visiting sites in Europe as well as researching ancestral roots in Germany.

Thanks so much to the Steinebach family for taking us with you!

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Red Flannel decoration contest

Last year’s Red Flannel Decoration Contest winner was Gary Nead.

Last year’s Red Flannel Decoration Contest winner was Gary Nead.

The Red Flannel Festival is right around the corner, and what better way to show some Red Flannel pride than by decorating your home or business?

“Show your Red Flannel pride in the 2016 Decoration Contest, which is open to homes and now businesses,” said Trey Reed, Chair of the event. “This is the perfect way to welcome in all of the festival guests and participants to Cedar Springs.”

There will be two categories—home and business—and winners will receive cash prizes. Applications and information are available online at redflannelfestival.org. Judging will take place between September 21 and 23.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Decrease in traffic deaths for Labor Day weekend


The Michigan State Police (MSP) announced Wednesday, Sept. 7, that preliminary reports indicate traffic fatalities decreased this Labor Day holiday weekend, with nine traffic deaths in nine separate traffic crashes. Over last year’s Labor Day holiday weekend, there were 12 traffic crashes and 15 deaths.

“These numbers are preliminary and only reflect those fatalities reported to the MSP as of 1 p.m., Sept. 6, 2016,” stated Capt. Thomas Deasy, commander of the MSP Training Division. “For the safety of everyone on the road, the MSP continues to urge motorists not to drink and drive, to always use proper restraints and to avoid distractions behind the wheel.”

The 2016 Labor Day holiday weekend ran from 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2, through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Summer winds down for FFA


By Chapter Reporter Madison Strain

Summer has come to a close, the Cedar Springs FFA Chapter is taking time to reflect on their eventful summer. The officers have worked hard with monthly meetings to get prepared for the upcoming school year. Over the past few months, the members obtained personal growth and portrayed grit through numerous events.

Chapter officers travelled to Lansing, on July 9, where they spent three days at the State Leadership Conference for Chapter Officers (SLCCO). The seven members spent many hours interacting with other chapter officers all over Michigan. Their time was split between three sessions. During each session, the state FFA officers presented a different way to deal with current agricultural issues. Those issues ranged from educating the youth to dealing with agricultural haters. Each session had the same recurring theme, “to be an advocate for agriculture.” The trip wasn’t all business for those young officers; there was plenty of time for fun and relaxation too. The officers tore it up at Thursday night’s dance, with the boys stealing the show with their dance moves. Cedar Springs’ officers were sure to make many friends along the way. SLCCO was a trip that resulted in strengthened communication skills and lasting memories for the Cedar Springs chapter officers.

On July 14, Cedar Springs sent four chapter officers back to Lansing where they participated in a livestock judging contest. Vice president Adam Parker, Sentinel Cade Hall, Historian Diane Howe, and Reporter Madison Strain judged a total of eight animal classes. They were later brought before a judge individually to give reasons on their ranking order for that class. Livestock judging tests the officer’s memory skills, organization skills, and speaking skills. The team received 12th place overall, with individual places of: Adam Parker- 19th, Diane Howe- 54th, Cade Hall- 63rd, and Madison Strain- 64th. Each member contributed to the team with their work ethic and positive attitude.

The Cedar Springs chapter was also reaching out to our community with their garden project. This year reached a total of 11 plots for numerous members of the community. A big thank you to the Solon and Cedar Springs fire departments for filling their water tank. Along with the successful community garden project, the land lab project is also flourishing. The corn is tasseled and growing strong, as is the bean field. Members owe a big debt of thanks to our boosters for their help with tillage and planting.

Many of the chapter’s members participated in the showing of livestock at the Kent County 4-H Fair. Two of the chapter’s officers worked a booth selling meatsticks to help fund the chapter scholarships. The chapter also had multiple members show livestock at the Montcalm County Fair.

With the 2016-2017 school year just beginning, the officers are taking every opportunity to get more students involved in the FFA. They have prepared a booth, provided flyers, and taken the time to talk with students about the benefits of joining their club at the school orientation. The chapter has high hopes of gaining new members this year. Please stay tuned to future articles for upcoming activities.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

Document spotlights mental illness 


n-open-minds-ending-stigmaSuicide prevention awareness in statewide broadcast campaign 

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, with statistics showing that 90-percent of those who take their own lives had a mental illness. “Opening minds ending stigma,” a statewide campaign of the Ethel and James Flinn

Foundation and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, presents a new mental awareness broadcast in September in conjunction with National Suicide Prevention Month.

“Opening Minds Ending Stigma: Saving Young Lives,” a 30-minute documentary, airs the weekend of September 9-11 in Detroit and Grand Rapids. The documentary features candid and inspiring stories of young Michigan residents and families impacted by mental illness, who, following treatment and recovery, are actively involved in mental health advocacy and support.

Exact show times include:

Friday, September 9, at 7:00 p.m. on WXSP in Grand Rapids

Saturday, September 10 at 7:30 p.m. on WOOD-TV 8 in Grand Rapids

Sunday, September 11 at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 62 in Detroit

The program explores the factors that may increase risks, and provides information to identify warning signs and effectively respond to assist a family member, friend, or ourselves. It also aims at ending the stigma of mental illness which can prevent young people from seeking help, visiting Michigan schools and universities to reveal programs that offer support to students, particularly those in the highly vulnerable 14 to 24 age range. Mental health professionals team with educators, and peer support specialists to provide information and insight designed to bring greater understanding of the importance of early intervention.

“Mental health is just as important as physical health but too often stigma associated with mental health issues still stands in the way of people seeking the help they need,” said Brian Calley, Lt. of the State of Michigan. “The Opening Minds Ending Stigma campaign is a great resource, helping stomp out stigma so that everyone can live healthy, self-determined independent lives,” said Brian Calley, Lt. Governor of the State of Michigan.

“One in five young people will experience a mental illness, and our statewide campaign recognizes that we all can play a part in ending the stigma that prevents many young people from seeking help,” said Andrea Cole, executive director and CEO of the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation.

Following the September broadcast premiere, “Opening Minds Ending Stigma: Saving Young Lives” may be accessed without charge for educational and community use at www.endingstigma.org. The conversation will also continue with an on-going web and social media campaign, including public services announcements.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Michigan legal self-help celebrates 4th anniversary


Adds new toolkits to website, sees spike in number of visitors 

LANSING, MI, September 6, 2016 – The Michigan Legal Help Website at http://michiganlegalhelp.org, created to help people handle simple civil legal problems without an attorney, provides information and assistance to individuals representing themselves. Information and accompanying forms about family law, taxes, housing, employment, estates, and more, plus videos and 59 toolkits are among the subject matter available online to help individuals navigate Michigan’s court system.

Between the launch of the site in August 2012 and August 2016, the website has had 8.4 million page views, 2.58 million visitor sessions, and 1.8 million users. In July 2016, visit rates averaged 21,000 per week.

“With the addition of new resources, Michigan Legal Help is providing a helping hand to residents who need assistance with many different legal questions,” said Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack. “With this service, Michigan is a national leader in helping all residents access our legal system.”

New resources added to the Website include:

  • Food Stamp Calculator Toolkit
  • I Wasn’t Paid for My Work: Wage Claims Toolkit
  • I Need to Make a Will Toolkit
  • Small Estates: Transferring Property When Someone Dies Toolkit
  • Two new articles about Child Protective Services: “CPS and Your Family” and “Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry.”

Many existing toolkits have been updated or modified. Forms previously known as “Automated Online Interviews” have been renamed “Do-It-Yourself” tools.

LiveHelp, a chat-based feature where visitors can get assistance navigating the website (but no legal advice), is available weekdays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. In July 2016 alone, LiveHelp agents conducted 427 chats and replied to 237 after-hours emails. In the first two quarters of 2016, users started 77,851 Michigan interviews, and from these interviews, 38,594 sets of forms were completed—an average of 214 per day.

Information and assistance to individuals is also available through local self-help centers in the following counties: Alcona, Allegan, Calhoun, Macomb, Marquette, Monroe, Muskegon, Oakland, Oscoda, and two centers in Wayne. Livingston County will have a new center this fall.

Posted in NewsComments (0)