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New sign identifies Heart of Cedar Springs

From L to R: David Ringler (DDA), Carolee Cole (CBDT), Donna Clark (CS Public Library), Jerry Gross Sr. (City Council), Mike Womack (City Manager), Perry Hopkins (Chamber of Commerce and CBDT), Rose Powell (City Council), Renee Race (City Council). Courtesy Photo

The City of Cedar Springs unveiled the new sign last Friday that officially identifies the park surrounding the Library and amphitheater as the “Heart of Cedar Springs.”

The sign was unveiled at 5:30 p.m., just prior to a concert there in the park.

On hand for the unveiling were several people representing the Downtown Development Authority, Cedar Springs City Council, Community Building Development Team (CBDT) and Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

City Manager Mike Womack gave a short speech thanking the DDA and CBDT members for the work that they are all doing to improve the downtown and the Heart of Cedar Springs area.

“The sign dedication is simply an acknowledgement of all the hard work that has been put in by businesses, charitable organizations, the Library and citizens to create an area worthy of being known as the Heart of Cedar Springs,” said Womack. “When I came to Cedar Springs in 2016, there was no library, there was no amphitheater, there was no meadow, there were no sculptures and there were no benches in the park. Where do you think the City will be in three more years?” he asked the crowd.  

The small crowd that was there responded optimistically with lots of talk about all the projects going on in the City, all the business development and people looking forward to the new fire station to be built.

The sign was purchased by the DDA and the installation cost was $321.50. It was approved by the City Council in March. 

This area has been named the “Heart of Cedar Springs” because it is believed that this is the area where the first establishment in Cedar Springs was built, near a flowing spring, when woods covered the area and the only road was a path through the woods between here and Laphamville (Rockford).

According to the Cedar Springs Story, by Sue Harrison and Donna DeJonge , Ora Lewis related that when his grandfather, Dennis Lewis, lived in Grand Rapids, he heard of a place far north called Cedar Springs. Near the road by the creek was a tavern, and close by were some Cedar trees and a large spring, giving the town its name. It was probably owned by John and Lydia Smith, who settled here in 1851. He ran a sawmill and their home was a log cabin in the forest, and also served as a pioneer hotel.

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Post travels to Idaho

The Post traveled to Idaho with David Ringler at the end of May. Ringler and a friend personally drove samples of his beer from Cedar Springs Brewing Company to Idaho Falls for the International Beer Awards after his samples were lost in transit. The event was held by the North American Brewers Association, and a member of the board personally flew here to deliver the medals awarded to two of the beers. Küsterer Bier was named among the best weissbiers/hefeweizens in the land, taking Gold with the Küsterer Dunkelweizen and Silver with the Küsterer Original.

Are you going on vacation? Be sure to take along a printed edition of the Post and get someone to snap a photo of you or your family with it. Send it to us along with some info about your trip (where you went, who went along, what you saw) and send the photo and info to news@cedarspringspost.com. We will print as space allows. If you forget the Post, please do not photoshop it into the photo. Just take it with you next time!

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Community celebrates LifeWalk 2019

From Alpha Family Center

Above: Alpha Family Center’s LIfeWalk banner for 2019. Courtesy photo.

June 15 was a perfect day to celebrate life with Alpha Family Center’s 24th annual fundraising event—LifeWalk! This year’s theme was “Precious in His Sight!” which relays the message that no matter how big or how small, all human life is precious in His sight. 

The day began with three cyclists completing the 10-mile LifeRide course, and then 10 runners took part in Alpha’s 6th annual 5K LifeRun. LifeWalk began with a welcome, and an opening prayer from this year’s emcee Sharline Winell. Sharline has a passion for the sanctity of human life and has been involved for over 30 years in various roles with Alpha. A crowd of over 100 walkers followed behind the LifeWalk banner for the 2 mile walk down through the heart of Cedar Springs, stopping at key points to pray for our community leaders, churches, schools, and Alpha Family Center. This year the walk once again included a prayer stop at Metron Senior Citizen Center to help emphasize life is precious at all stages. The walkers returned to the park for a time of refreshments, as well as a report that included the total amount raised this year, which was over $17,000!   

Walkers supporting Alpha Family Center walked two miles through downtown Cedar Springs on Saturday, June 15 during LifeWalk. 
Photo by S. Reed.

LifeWalk covers a major portion of Alpha’s operating expenses, which allowed them to provide assistance over 657 times to families, with over 13,000 baby and maternity items in 2018. Alpha also offers free pregnancy self-testing, parenting classes, support for abuse, miscarriage, post-abortion, and Adult Education classes for both GED and high school diploma. Alpha also hopes to complete a child care area for our clients and acquire a gently used Stow N Go mini-van for the ministry.

Teresa Hathaway, Executive Director, and Chuck Smith, Alpha’s board president, awarded prizes to the five names selected from a random drawing of those who collected over $500 for LifeWalk.  Congratulations to Ruth Ann Evans who was awarded the Grand Prize of the $500 Great Wolf Lodge gift card. Alpha wishes to offer a special “Thank you” to the local communities for their ongoing support of Alpha throughout the years. LifeWalk ended with a closing prayer and the sky filled with colorful balloons that were released in memory of the over 56,000,000 babies that have been aborted since abortion became legal in 1973.  

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Record-breaking 48.9 million Americans to travel this Independence day

Almost 1.7 million Michiganders expected to travel this year

More Americans than ever recorded by AAA—nearly 49 million—are making plans to take an Independence Day getaway this year. (AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000.) For Michigan, almost 1.7 million are expected to take a vacation over the holiday, which is up 4.4percent compared to last year. Additionally, nearly 1.5 million Michiganders are planning road trips to celebrate America’s birthday. For the record-high 41.4 million Americans who will travel by automobile this Independence Day, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute, with Wednesday, July 3 the worst day on the roads.

In addition to lower gas prices compared with last summer, broader economic fundamentals remain strong. Low unemployment, robust consumer spending, and rising disposable incomes are all encouraging more consumers to invest their hard-earned money in travel this summer.

“As Independence Day approaches, it’s time for the much loved family road trip and this year will be one for the record books, with more Americans than ever planning vacations,” said Paula Twidale, Vice President, AAA Travel. “This holiday builds on the strong travel demand seen for Memorial Day, and with schools now out of session across the country, families coast to coast are eager to travel.”

Independence Day holiday travel, by mode

Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers in Michigan–1.5 million–will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and 4.7 percent more than last year.

Planes: Almost 72,000 Michiganders will take to the skies, about 5 percent more than last year.

Record-level drivers equals record-level delays

For the 41.4 million Americans traveling by automobile this Independence Day, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Wednesday, July 3 as commuters mix with holiday travelers. In major metros, drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute. Nationwide, delays are expected to increase by approximately 9 percent.

“With record-level travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around our major metros,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, hands down, Wednesday afternoon will be the worst time to be on the road.”

Region Worst Day for
Worst Time for
Atlanta Friday, July 5 5:00 – 7:00 PM 2.5x
Chicago Friday, July 5 1:00 – 3:00 PM 2x
Detroit Wednesday, July 3 2:00 – 4:00 PM 2x
Houston Thursday, July 4 1:00 – 3:00 PM 3x
Los Angeles Wednesday, July 3 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM 2.7x
New York Wednesday, July 3 1:45 – 3:45 PM 3.8x
Washington, D.C. Sunday, July 7 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM 2.4x

Lower gas prices motivating millions of road trippers
With today’s Michigan average of $2.69, gas prices are 20 cents less year-over-year and expected to drop even lower into the summer. This is motivating record numbers of travelers to take road trips for the holiday weekend.

“Gas prices are, on average, 19-cents cheaper than Memorial Day weekend, which is welcome news for motorists hitting the road to celebrate the July Fourth holiday,” said Adrienne Woodland, spokesperson, AAA-The Auto Club Group. “More so, summer gas prices are poised to continue dropping even lower in coming weeks.”

Travelers paying more for July 4 car rentals and airfares
Some of the savings travelers are enjoying from lower gas prices will go toward other travel costs this holiday, which are trending higher. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares on average are 10% more expensive compared with last Independence Day, while average car rental rates are 5% higher than last year, at $69 daily. Meanwhile, midrange accommodations are expected to cost travelers between $153 for AAA Two Diamond and $189 for AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels.

Top Independence Day travel destinations
Fun-in-the-sun locales like Orlando and Honolulu lead the top 10 the list of popular destinations for American travelers this Independence Day, based on advance AAA Travel bookings:

Orlando, Florida

Honolulu, Hawaii

Seattle, Washington

Las Vegas, Nevada

Anaheim, California

New York, New York

Boston, Massachusetts

Maui, Hawaii

Anchorage, Alaska

Chicago, Illinois

For those travelers planning an international vacation, Europe is the destination of choice. Rome, London, Dublin and Paris are the most popular spots for international vacations this Independence Day, with Vancouver, Canada — a top departure port for Alaskan cruises — rounding out the top five.

According to Hertz, a 40-year AAA partner, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers renting a car this Independence Day are expected to be Orlando (MCO), Los Angeles (LAX), Denver (DEN), Las Vegas (LAS) and San Francisco (SFO). The busiest day for rental pick-ups is expected to be Wednesday, July 3.

AAA to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists
AAA expects to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists at the roadside this Independence Day holiday. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. Additionally, before hitting the road, motorists need to be prepared for emergencies by taking along a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.

AAA reminds travelers that it’s not too late to plan an Independence Day trip. Visit AAA.com/Travel to get started.

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Kentwood man sentenced for interstate threat to injure U.S. senator

U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced last week that Rick Lynn Simmons, 52, of Kentwood, Michigan was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff for making an interstate telephone call to the Camden, New Jersey office of U.S. Senator Cory Booker and leaving a voicemail message with a threat to injure Senator Booker. Simmons will serve 15 months of confinement, 2 years of supervised release, and pay a $2,000 fine. 

Judge Neff commented that this threat does not necessarily reflect an isolated incident based on Simmons’ Internet searches of contact information of other public officials following this incident. 

Simmons admitted at the plea hearing that he placed a call in the evening of October 26, 2018 from his Kent County, Michigan home to Senator Booker’s office and left a voicemail message from that call. Simmons further admitted at the plea hearing to leaving a vulgarity-filled message in that call during which he threatened to put a nine millimeter gun into the face of Senator Booker and put “guns a blazin.” 

“This conviction and sentence should serve as a warning to others who, like Simmons, stoop to such threats of violence,” U.S. Attorney Birge said. 

“The FBI has zero tolerance for anyone who threatens to do harm to others,” said FBI Detroit Field Office Special Agent in Charge Timothy R. Slater. “We hope this sentence sends a strong message that the FBI, working in conjunction with our federal, state, and local partners, will investigate these threats thoroughly so we can keep our citizens safe.” 

The case was jointly investigated by the U.S. Capitol Police, Kentwood Police Department, and the FBI – Grand Rapids Violent Crime Task Force – which includes the Grand Rapids Police Department, the Michigan Department of Corrections, and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay M. West prosecuted the case.

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Spring seat belt enforcement results released

Nearly 3,000 citations issued during the Click It or Ticket campaign

With Michigan’s Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign now complete, preliminary reports indicate law enforcement officers from 109 local police departments, sheriff offices, and Michigan State Police (MSP) posts in 38 counties conducted 8,145 traffic stops resulting in 2,930 seat belt and child restraint citations between May 20 – June 2.

In addition to issuing seat belt violations, officers during the Click It or Ticket campaign, issued 693 speeding citations, made 13 alcohol-related arrests, and 45 other felony arrests.

In one instance, a deputy from the Calhoun County Sheriff’s office pulled over a vehicle for driving in the wrong lane, almost going head-on with another vehicle. Upon investigation, the driver had multiple warrants and was arrested for operating under the influence of alcohol. In another incident, a trooper from the MSP Wayland Post made one traffic stop that led to four misdemeanor arrests, three felony arrests, and four fugitive warrants.

 “Thank you to all the law enforcement officers who are working hard to encourage seat belt use – every trip, every time,” said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP). “Motorists need to remember that buckling up is the easiest thing they can do to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries on Michigan roads. Our goal is to save lives, not write tickets.”

Seat belt use in Michigan stands at 93.4 percent, slightly higher than the national seat belt use rate of 89.6 percent in 2018, according to the statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Buckling up can reduce the risk of serious injury or death by 45 percent.    

The Click or Ticket effort is funded through federal highway safety grants and coordinated by the OHSP. Michigan law requires drivers, front seat passengers, and passengers age 15 and younger, in any seating position, to be buckled up. Children must be in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4’9” and children under 4 years old must be in the backseat.

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Sand Lake: 150th Fourth of July celebration

By Judy Reed

Sand Lake is getting ready to host its 150th Fourth of July celebration, and they chose new royalty Sunday evening at their pageant at the Sand Lake VFW Hall.

The title of Little Miss Firecracker went to Tayla Hamilton.
Courtesy Photo

The 2019-2020 Miss Sand Lake Queen is Alexandra Walkwitz, and her court members are Chloe Coar and Nikkita Coar. The Jr. Miss Sand Lake Queen is Stephanie Pierce, and her court members are Morgan Williams and Madelyn Ringler. The title of Little Miss Firecracker went to Tayla Hamilton.

This group of Sand Lake royalty will be in the parade, along with 22 former queens, all there to celebrate 150 years. One of the queens is from 1969—50 years ago.

The celebration kicks off on Friday, June 28, with a parade of lights at 9 p.m. to honor area firefighters, police, and other emergency responders. On Sunday, July 30, is the Sand Lake classic car and antique tractor show. The Midway opens July 3 and stays open through July 6. Other events include the Sand Lake Rodeo, the Grand Parade on July 4 with fireworks finishing off the night, and kiddies day on Saturday, July 6. See below for a complete schedule of events. 

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Celebrating summer

Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack gets dunked on a chilly Saturday during the Red Flannel Festival dunk tank and yard games. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

There’s been a flurry of activity in downtown Cedar Springs since the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce’s Community Summer Celebrations event kicked off last Saturday, June 15, with sidewalk sales, a Red Flannel dunk tank and yard games, the annual Rotary cow plop, and more. Sunday there was worship in the Heart of Cedar Springs, and Monday was super busy with the kickoff of the Cedar Springs Library summer reading program and all of its individual events, and City Impact Community Dinner. Tuesday was the first of two family fun nights in the heart of Cedar Springs, with a group of princesses, bounce houses and food trucks, and Wednesday was the second night, with music and food trucks. 

Kids enjoyed meeting their favorite Royal princesses Tuesday night. Photo by M. Kleyn.
Royal princesses graced Cedar Springs with their presence Tuesday during one of two family fun nights. Courtesy photo.

“We had an awesome time at the CSACoC Family Fun Nights,” said Perry Hopkins, of the Chamber. “Thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors for making the event happen.” 

There is more fun coming up Thursday, including the farmers market at Cedar Springs Brewing Company from 3-7 p.m.; a Drive 4UR Community fundraiser on Thursday, June 20, from noon to 8 p.m. (next to the farmer’s market), where Vanderhyde Ford will donate $20 toward a natural playground in the Heart of Cedar Springs for every Ford you test drive; a concert in Morley Park at 7 p.m. put on by Parks and Recreation; Jeep night and live music at the CS Brewing Company from 6-8 p.m. Some of the events on Friday and Saturday include unveiling of the new Heart of Cedar Springs sign at 5:30 p.m. Friday; a concert in the Heart of Cedar Springs on Friday from 6-8 p.m.; a sidewalk chalk event at the library on Saturday from 9:30 to 11 a.m.; and on Sunday, summer worship in the Heart of Cedar Springs from 5-7 p.m. with live music, snacks and family activities. For a more detailed listing of events, pick up last week’s Post, or check out the brochure on their facebook page by searching Cedar Springs Community Summer Celebrations.

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Summer reading kicks off

Rufus works some Minecraft magic on one of the attendees at the library’s summer reading program. 

By Judy Reed

Summer can finally begin now that school’s out and the Cedar Springs Public Library’s summer reading program, a Universe of Stories, officially kicked off Monday.

Activities were planned throughout the day to keep kids and families entertained after they filled out their registrations for this year’s program. According to Librarian Donna Clark, they had 1,147 registrations by the end of the day.

Kids enjoyed petting the animals at the summer reading program. Post photo by J. Reed.

Kids enjoyed free popcorn, ice cream, a petting zoo, a 13-year-old ventriloquist, and Rufus, the man on stilts who amazed everyone with his agility. Author David Stricklen was also there promoting the library’s book club meeting with his new book. 

To download a complete listing of events happening during the summer reading program, visit their website at http://cedarspringslibrary.org/news/2019-summer-reading-program/.

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Band director to be inducted into the ASBDA

From Gregory VanStrien, of the ASBDA

Cedar Springs Band Director Adam Borst. Courtesy photo.

This summer Cedar Springs Band Director Adam Borst will be officially inducted to the American School Band Directors Association or ASBDA. 

ASBDA is an honorary and research organization dedicated to the promotion of the American School Band. Members of ASBDA will nominate outstanding educators that have demonstrated consistent excellence in their field. Mr. Borst was nominated by four Michigan ASBDA members to be considered for membership. The next part of the process was to have every ASBDA member vote on the candidates, and Mr. Borst was unanimously accepted. The final process involved ratification of his membership at the national level.  

Mr. Borst will now join a distinguished group of educators who will continue the work of research and promotion of school music throughout the state. Cedar Springs Public Schools is fortunate to have such an outstanding and nationally recognized educator on their staff.

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