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CBDT installs clock tower near library


Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

The Community Building Development Team installed a new clock tower at the corner of Main and Maple Streets this week, a perfect accent to the new Cedar Springs Community Library.

According to CBDT president Kurt Mabie, Dale Larson, of North Kent Mechanical, made and donated the clock tower, which would have cost the CBDT thousands of dollars to purchase. The dark red paint perfectly matches the accent on the new library, as well as the Cedar Springs Brewing Company across the street.

Jerry Gebhardt, also of North Kent Mechanical, oversaw the design and building of the tower, which is 20 feet high.

Mabie said the current clock faces are only temporary, and they are working with the American Legion to get other faces that may honor veterans.

A new clock tower was installed this week on the northwest corner of Main and W. Maple St. Post photo by J. Reed.

A new clock tower was installed this week on the northwest corner of Main and W. Maple St.
Post photo by J. Reed.

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Howard City chooses new Village Manager


N-HowardCity-logoBy Judy Reed

The Village of Howard City chose a new Village Manager at its meeting Monday evening, April 3.

The vote was 7-0 to select Michael Falcon, of Gladstone, Michigan, as their new Village Manager. He has been employed at Northern Michigan University since 1999.

The Village Council interviewed four finalists for the position, and interviewed three of them last week, on March 27: Wally Delamater, Village Manager in Suttons Bay; Charles Watson, a former Cedar Springs Mayor and City Councilor; and Thomas Raymond, former Manager for the Village of Lexington.

Falcon was interviewed Monday evening, April 3 at the beginning of the meeting.

“All the finalists would be good choices for Howard City, but Mr. Falcon stood out above the other candidates, with a great vision for Howard City,” remarked Randal Heckman, who has been doing double duty as Village President and Village Manager since 2014.

Heckman said that the background check is complete, and that the next step would be drawing up his contract with the Village attorney.

Falcon is slated to start working a couple days a week starting in May, and then full time around June 1.

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Red Flannel Festival names 2017 Grand Marshal


Tom Anderson will be the 2017 Grand Marshal of the Red Flannel Festival. Courtesy photo.

Tom Anderson will be the 2017 Grand Marshal of the Red Flannel Festival. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed 

The Red Flannel Festival board of directors has chosen Thomas Anderson, a long time Cedar Springs attorney, as the 2017 Grand Marshal for the 78th annual Red Flannel Festival.

Tom, who is now 82, was born in Grand Rapids, but raised in northern Kent County. He graduated high school from St. Patrick’s, in Parnell, Michigan, which is in Grattan Township. His father was an attorney in Rockford, and Tom decided to open up an office in Cedar Springs. “I knew my father got a lot of business from Cedar Springs, so I thought it would be a good idea,” he explained.

And it was. He opened up his office here in 1961, and continued working until he sold it in 2011—50 years later. During that time, he worked as Cedar Springs City attorney for many years, served as Kent City’s attorney for 30 years, and was attorney for the Village of Morley.

In 1963, Tom began announcing the Red Flannel Parade, and continued through 1990.

In 1962 he became a Rotarian, and has been one now for 55 years. Most years you can find him working at the Rotary Chicken BBQ on Red Flannel Day.

How does Tom feel about being selected as Grand Marshal? “I was surprised,” he said. “I guess it’s a good thing. I thought they had forgotten me.”

Not by a long shot.

“The Festival is extremely proud and thankful for the many years of Tom’s outstanding dedication to the Cedar Springs community,” said Randy VanDuyn, President of the Festival. “It’s very obvious Tom loves the Red Flannel Town, and especially the Red Flannel Festival! The Red Flannel Town is a better place because of his involvement and extraordinary volunteerism!”

Tom’s family also has close ties to Cedar Springs and Red Flannel. His wife, Jean, taught at Cedar Springs Public Schools for 30 years. And the couple’s three children all went to Tri County High School, participated in band all four years, and all marched in the Red Flannel parades.

This year’s Red Flannel Festival weekends will be September 30 and October 7. Anderson will reign this year, the Festival’s 78th, over the two weekends of the 15th oldest Festival in the state of Michigan, sharing the Red Flannel warmth of our community to visitors and residents.

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Friends of Library hold Quilt fundraiser

Kat Pont, right, with Louise King, left, was the winner of the quilt that was raffled off at the library fundraiser.

Kat Pont, right, with Louise King, left, was the winner of the quilt that was raffled off at the library fundraiser.

The Friends of the Cedar Springs Library held their 5th annual quilt show fundraiser on Saturday, March 18, at Cedar Springs Middle School.

Louise King and Barb Grutter chaired the event.

The Friends raffled off a beautiful quilt that was designed by Grutter, pieced by King, and quilted by Nancy May of Aerie Quilting. The winner of the quilt was Kat Ponte.

There were also awards for quilts entered at the show.

Deb Gasped was winner in the King/Queen category

Deb Gasped was winner in the King/Queen category

Deb Gasped was the winner in the King/Queen category. She made an 85×96 inch bed quilt named Starry Night.

The winner in the Table topper/tote category was Deb Westveer with her Christmas table runner.

Sherri Pipenger was winner in the Full/Twin category.

Sherri Pipenger was winner in the Full/Twin category.

Winner from the Full/Twin category was Sherri Pipenger. She made an embroidered red work quilt from the pattern American Jane’s Playmates.

Sherri Pipenger was also winner in the crib/wall hanging category.

Sherri Pipenger was also winner in the crib/wall hanging category.

Pipenger also won the Crib/Wall-Hanging category with a wool applique quilt. She used the Elegant Garden pattern by Edyta Sitar.

All proceeds go to fund the new Cedar Springs Library.

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We have a winner!

Felicia Smith, of Nelson Township, was our April Fools fast cash winner.

Felicia Smith, of Nelson Township, was our April Fools fast cash winner.

Our April Fools edition was last week, and the lucky winner in our fast cash contest was Felicia Smith, of Nelson Township.

To get in the drawing for the contest, readers had to correctly identify five fake stories and the fake ad. The stories included The tale of two barbers; The new 51st state; Kayaking comes to Cedar Springs; New trolley set for Rockford-Cedar Springs route; and The eagle has landed. The fake ad was Learn to fly drones.

We had a few little “Easter eggs” too, such as the Post highlights, the masthead with fake titles, and the Post advertising policy. But as long as you got the fake stories and ad, you were in the drawing!

Congratulations to Felicia on winning the $20, and thanks to everyone who played! We look forward to doing it again next year!

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Locker rooms at Skinner Field vandalized


By Judy Reed

Vandals have once again taken aim at Skinner Field, this time vandalizing the outside of the locker room with graffiti.

According to Jerry Gross, a member of Friends of Skinner Field, the damage was discovered Wednesday, March 29. He said it cannot be washed off, and will need to be repainted. No one reported seeing the crime.

“They (the vandals) are defacing public property,” said Gross. “Skinner Field belongs to the City, and we oversee the property and are trying to keep it nice. We would really like to ask for the public’s assistance with that.”

The Skinner Field concession stand and several outbuildings were also broken into last fall. No one reported hearing anything at that time either, though there would’ve been some noise to break open the back door. The suspects were caught after police distributed surveillance footage of them that was taken inside the concession stand.

Why is Skinner Field important?

The short answer is that it is a piece of Cedar Springs history and worth preserving.

Skinner Field was named after J.A. (Bert) Skinner, a leading citizen and businessman. He owned Skinner’s Drug Store, which was located at 43 S. Main Street, the vacant lot where we now hold the Christmas tree lighting. According to the Cedar Springs Story by Sue Harrison and Donna DeJonge, Skinner started work at the age of 13 in a local drug store, and later set a record as the youngest person to pass the state pharmaceutical board. He was given his pharmaceutical license when he turned 18.

Skinner served as village president for 25 years, and was president of the board of education for 25 years. He was a state senator for two terms, and involved in Republican politics all during his life. On Friday, July 6, 1948, the Village of Cedar Springs paid tribute to Bert Skinner, and part of the tribute was the dedication of Cedar Springs Public School’s lighted athletic field, on the west side of Morley Park.

In 1991, a gift was given to the school district, to construct a running track at the field. An agreement signed by both the school and city made it available for both school athletic events and the community to run on. It was created partly on school property and partly on city property, with the school district responsible for maintenance for a period of 99 years, or until they relocated the field and running track, which they did, in the mid-2000s, when they built Red Hawk Stadium. The City later took ownership, but did not have the money to maintain it. The Friends of Skinner Field was formed, and they have renovated the field, which hosts many athletic events, including Rocket football.

If you see or hear anything suspicious at Skinner Field, please contact the Kent County Sheriff Department by calling 911. If you know anything about the vandalism, you may contact non-emergency dispatch at (616) 632-6100 and ask for an officer to take a report.

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Two pediatric flu deaths confirmed in Michigan


First of the 2016-2017 season 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recently confirmed the first two influenza-associated pediatric deaths of the 2016-2017 flu season. Influenza claims the lives of children every year across the United States, which is why MDHHS is reminding residents that it’s not too late to get vaccinated for protection this season.

The reported deaths involve one child from Kalamazoo County, and one from northern Michigan in District Health Department 10, which includes 10 northern Michigan counties.

Although this flu season has been moderate in Michigan so far, flu viruses are circulating in the community and can cause serious illness, hospitalization, and death. MDHHS strongly recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine.

“The flu vaccine this year is a good match to those viruses circulating in our communities, meaning it offers more protection than it may have in recent years,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for MDHHS. “It is not too late to get vaccinated. And remember, if you or your child is sick, stay home to help protect others.”

More than three quarters of the positive influenza specimens confirmed by MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories this flu season have been an H3N2 virus. This virus can cause severe flu infections in children, as well as in young- and middle-aged adults. Flu vaccine is the best way to prevent getting the flu and can also reduce the severity of flu illness.

Vaccine is especially important for persons at increased risk for complications from flu, including children, adults aged 65 years and older, persons of any age with underlying medical conditions, and pregnant women. Children less than 6 months of age are too young to be vaccinated and need to be protected by vaccination of their close contacts, including parents, siblings, grandparents, child care workers, and healthcare personnel.

In the 2015-2016 flu season, only 42.2 percent of Michigan residents were vaccinated against flu, putting Michigan in 42nd place in the country. MDHHS urges residents to make sure they protect themselves and their families against getting flu this season.

There is still plenty of flu vaccine available. To find flu vaccine near you, call your healthcare provider, local health department, or check the Health Map Vaccine Finder at http://flushot.healthmap.org. For more information about the flu, visit www.michigan.gov/flu.

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Anniversary of deadly tornado outbreak in Michigan


By Judy Reed


This past Monday, April 3, was the 61st anniversary of the worst tornado outbreak in western Michigan, which spawned the Hudsonville/Standale tornado, one of the few F5 tornadoes ever in the state. Several other tornadoes occurred that day, including an F4 and an F3.

The Hudsonville/Standale tornado traveled a 48-mile path from Vriesland (just east of Zeeland) to Trufant on April 3, 1956 in just one hour. It was as wide as four football fields at one point, according to meteorologist Bill Steffen. There were 17 deaths and 340 injuries.

It was photographed near Baldwin and 28th in Hudsonville, from about 2 miles south. The photo shows a large tornado funnel, in contact with the ground, along with the yellow sky and greenish storm clouds that were mentioned by many eyewitnesses.

Do you remember this tornado? Please send us an email at news@cedarspringspost.com, or send us a letter to PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319 with what you remember.

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Tornado/high winds warning sirens start testing Friday


April 16-22 is Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Week 

In 2016, the August 20 tornado outbreak across West Michigan caused over five million dollars in damage. The National Weather Service determined that six tornadoes touched down in a matter of hours, including two EFO tornadoes in Grandville, Wyoming and Grand Rapids. The State of Michigan was hit by 16 tornadoes last year, just slightly higher than the average 15 per year. Kent County has a system of sirens to alert residents of high winds or tornadoes. Starting Friday, April 7, 2017 and continuing on the first Friday of every month at 12:00 noon through October, tornado alarm testing will be heard in Kent County homes and businesses.

It is important to plan in advance for disasters to know how you and your family will get to a safe place, how to contact each other and what to do in different situations. “Traffic was a dilemma in the initial hours after the tornadoes hit Kent County last August,” said Jack Stewart, Kent County Emergency Management Coordinator. “Trees and debris in roadways made getting around difficult. Determine a location where you will meet your family during an emergency, both near your house and further away, in case your neighborhood streets are closed.”

If a disaster occurs, it may be easier to make a phone call to a designated out-of-town contact, as phone lines may be overwhelmed. Make sure that person is aware that he or she is the designated contact. Pet owners should have a disaster plan for pets as well. This is a great time to review severe weather plans, refresh supplies and make sure preparations are complete. Check flashlights and stock up on fresh batteries. Homes should have enough fresh drinking water and canned food items for three days, a can opener, an all-weather radio, and a first aid kit.

If you don’t hear the sirens April 7, 2017 at noon, please contact your local township or city office. Be vigilant whenever severe weather is in the forecast. While no location is completely safe from a tornado or severe thunderstorm, it is important to seek all possible protection. For more about severe weather, go to http://www.michigan.gov/documents/msp/SWApacket_554981_7.pdf.

Smartphone apps are available that will provide notification of weather watches and warnings. Severe weather watch means the potential exists for the development of storms/tornadoes, so be mindful of changing conditions. Severe weather warning mean that storms are imminent or occurring. Move indoors to a place of safety. If it is a Tornado Warning, take shelter in a location on the lowest level of the building, such as the basement, or in a small, windowless room at the innermost part of the building.

While some communities in Michigan plan to test their severe weather alerts on Wednesday, April 19, at 1:00 p.m., Kent County will test sirens on the first Friday in April, as has been a long-standing policy in the County. We encourage businesses owners, school officials and families to set aside April 19 as a day to review emergency plans and procedures.)

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American Legion donates to food pantry

N-Legion-Donation-YunkerThe American Legion Post #287 gave a check for $500.00 to the Cedar Springs Community Food Pantry in January as part of the Legion Service program. The Food Pantry offers groceries and personal care items for the needy members of our area. Pictured are Gordon Frost, Post Chaplain, Bill Yuncker, Post Commander, Steve Lindeman, former pastor of the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, where the Pantry is located, and Paul Schrier, Post Finance Officer.

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