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Council approves easement for brewery

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By Judy Reed

Construction is underway again on the Cedar Springs Brewing Company, at 95 N. Main, after the Cedar Springs City Council approved a right-of-way easement last Thursday, May 7, allowing them to move the building two feet to the north.

Excavation of the site was started two weeks ago, and temporarily halted, when they discovered that the building next door, Liquor Hut, did not have a foundation, and they could not construct their building with a zero lot line without possibly damaging that one. The Liquor Hut building was built in 1900, and it’s unknown whether it was built on a slab, or if there is foundation under other parts of the building.

City Manager Thad Taylor told the Council that the most feasible plan was to move the proposed construction two feet to the north, on the city-owned property (where the sidewalk is.) They approved the easement 6-0.

Owner Dave Ringler said there will still be parking, and they are still looking at a late summer/early fall opening.

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City and Red Flannel Festival work on agreement

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N-red-flannel-logoBy Judy Reed

Will Cedar Springs be known once again as the Red Flannel Town? If an agreement between the City and the Red Flannel Festival is approved, the City could once again use that nickname at no charge.

A City committee made up of Mayor Pro Tem Pam Conley, and Councilors Dan Clark and Molly Nixon, met with Red Flannel President Michele Tracy and her committee, to work out an agreement. The RFF lawyer then drew up the agreements that the City Council will discuss Thursday evening, May 14, for the first time.

Under the agreement, the City would trade in-kind services in order to license the various logos owned by the Festival. They would not bill the Festival for any services.

“That type of agreement—the trading of in-kind services—seemed to be the most popular way of handling this, according to the West Michigan Municipal League,” commented Clark.

Tracy is pleased with the progress they are making. “The Red Flannel Board is thrilled to have open, honest, sincere dialogue with the City Ad Hoc Committee,” she said. “Our first meeting went smoothly.”

Since the City no longer has their own police department, the Festival would need to contract for their own security, and, according to Michele Andres, they have met with Sgt. Jason Kelley, of the Kent County Sheriff Department’s Cedar Springs unit, and are waiting for an estimate.

The City will discuss the agreement tonight, Thursday, May 14.

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New health service for students

 

N-CherryHealth-logoBy Judy Reed

Parents of middle and high school students at Cedar Springs Public Schools now have a new option to address their kids’ medical needs. Cherry Health received a grant to open a new office at Red Hawk Elementary and now offers services to students ages 10-21 and their siblings. The Cedar Springs School Health Center opened April 13.

According to site manager and nurse Kristina Paliwoda, they offer a pediatrician, registered nurse, counselor/social worker, and support staff. They do well-child checks, sports physicals, treat minor illnesses, rashes, vaccinations, and provide assistance with chronic health issues such as asthma, diabetes, etc. They can also do blood draws, urine testing, write prescriptions and phone them in, and make referrals for urgent care if needed.

Their onsite social worker offers individual counseling or family counseling, if that’s appropriate.

Also offered is onsite Medicaid enrollment for the child and family.

“We provide services regardless of the ability to pay,” explained Paliwoda. “If they have insurance, we will bill it. If not, we will charge it to the grant.”

Students could be referred for things that happen during the school day, or parents can call for appointments. “We are open 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and we will be open year-round, even during the summer months,” said Paliwoda.

Grant funding is primarily for the adolescent population. But Paliwoda said that once an adolescent is a patient, their younger siblings could be seen there also. “It’s just part of the grant,” she said.

Paliwoda said that Cedar Springs is the first school outside of Grand Rapids Public Schools to have this service by Cherry Health.

To make an appointment or get more information, call 616-696-3470.

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The Post travels to Israel

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The Post recently took a trip to a 55-acre archaeology site in Israel, known as Biblical Tamar Park, spanning 4,000 years of Israelite occupation, from Abraham to the present.

Pictured are Cedar Springs residents Dan Clark (left), his wife Donna (center), and Dr. DeWayne Coxon. The Clarks are among the hundreds of volunteers taken by Dr. Coxon to Israel over the span of 30 years to engage in worthy projects there.

The Clarks previously worked in projects in this desert region for 13 years, and returned to Cedar Springs in 2001. “It was great to be back ‘home’ in the Arava with our good friend, DeWayne, and our hometown paper, the Cedar Springs Post!” said Donna.

Anyone interested in Dr. Coxon’s work in Israel can visit www.blossomingrose.org.

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Program helps kids become money smart

Bank teller Genda Farnsworth working with kids on their piggy banks during the money smart program at the Cedar Springs Library. Courtesy photo.

Bank teller Genda Farnsworth working with kids on their piggy banks during the money smart program at the Cedar Springs Library. Courtesy photo.

The Cedar Springs Library partnered with ChoiceOne bank and the Kent County MSU Extension to educate preschoolers about money on April 18 and April 22. Age-appropriate books, including Max and Ruby in “Bunny Money” and the Berenstein Bears in  “Dollars and Sense” were the delight of 32 children and their parents.

Every child had “Bunny Money” amounting to $10. Throughout the book, Max and Ruby spent a dollar here, a dollar there until all their dollars were gone. The children were very engaged as they spent their Bunny Money a bit at a time, handing it in to ChoiceOne Bankers Stacey Helsel and Genda Farnsworth, as Children’s Parapro Kelly Roach took them through their $10 shopping spree.

Children received gift bags from the bank, a copy of “Dollars and Sense” from MSU, and made a piggy bank to take home, along with 10 pennies each to drop in the slot on top.

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Brownie troop donates to Fire departments

Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser accepts donation from Brownie troop #4282. Photo by J. Reed.

Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser accepts donation from Brownie troop #4282. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Girl Scout brownie troop #4282 recently sold Girl Scout cookies at cookie booths in Cedar Springs and Sand Lake, with the intention of donating proceeds to both towns’ fire departments.

On May 11, the troop made their donation of $50 to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, along with several boxes of cookies. “There’s not too many young girls that would donate their money to the fire department,” commented Fraser.

They also gave them $15 they raised at the cookie sale, through a donation jar, for people who didn’t want to buy cookies.

Sand Lake will also receive $50, cookies, and an extra $13 they received through donations at the cookie booth in Sand Lake.

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Morel mushroom hunters 

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Mike Cook stopped by the Post this week to show us some of the morel mushrooms his dogs recently found. Cook has a blind wiener dog named Toby that hunts and finds the morels. He also has a bloodhound, named Dozer, that he’s training to hunt morels.

“He eats more than he finds,” said Cook.

Cook said that he found these morels under dead lilac trees and live Ash trees, and can usually find them under dead elms, as well.

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City to approve budget tonight

 

N-City-logo-webBy Judy Reed

The City of Cedar Springs has a lot on their agenda tonight, Thursday, May 14, including approval of the 2015-2016 budget.

This year’s proposed budget—$3,928,874—is coming in almost $284,000 less than last year’s budget of $4,212,502.

“Last year we took more money out of the fund balance to balance the budget,” explained City Finance Director Deb Brunett. “This year we are only taking $8,600 out of the fund balance to fund the additions to the budget that the City Council asked for at the budget meeting.”

Those additions included money for the joint fire study with Solon Township, Earth Day, reinstatement of beautification awards, and the Model-A Fire truck restoration.

There are two areas where residents may notice a difference: in their water/sewer bills, and in maintenance of major and local streets. But the differences are tied to a big sewer project on tap for this summer.

As part of the 2015 proposed fee schedule, the City will approve a rate hike in city water and sewer fees. “The fees are being raised so the city can make payments on the bonds they are purchasing for the sewer project,” explained Brunett. She said the average household should see an increase of about $5.99 a month on their bill.

Sewer rates will rise from $15.35/unit to $19.35 unit; sewer usage fees will increase from $4.66/1000 gallons to $4.67/100 gallons; water debt will increase from $4.69/unit to $6.44/unit; and water usage fees will go from $3.65/1000 gallons to $3.68/1000 gallons.

The major and local streets section saw a big reduction in maintenance revenue, but Brunett said that many streets will be redone where the sewer project takes place. Other than that, no new street projects will take place except for Beech Street, which was already planned.

Other items up for a vote tonight include: approve 2015-2016 millage rate (did not change); the new fee schedule; approve bids for sewer project; reinstate council finance committee; and approve standard policy for recording of council  meetings.

There are many other things on the agenda to be discussed, including hearing a Freedom of Information Act appeal; approving a contract for Christmas decorations with a supplier; a new FOIA policy for the city; and a  dispatch agreement with Kent County.  There will also be discussion on requests from the Community Building Development team regarding a trade of properties; a use agreement for the proposed amphitheatre; a use agreement for rain gardens, sculpture, and wetland delineation on city property; and use agreement on a proposed boardwalk on city property. There will also be discussion on a possible agreement with the Red Flannel Festival over licensing and in kind services. (click here for story)

To see what else is on the agenda and get all the info, visit www.cityofcedarsprings.org then click on Meetings/minutes, then 2015 council documents, then the May 14 agenda packet to get complete information.

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Penny Darling named Woman of the Year

Penny Darling was named Cedar Springs Women’s Club Woman of the Year. Courtesy photo.

Penny Darling was named Cedar Springs Women’s Club Woman of the Year. Courtesy photo.

by Sue Harrison

Each year the Cedar Springs Women’s Club recognizes one woman for her exemplary spirit and contributions during that Club year. The candidate is an enthusiastic supporter in the promotion of the Cedar Springs Women’s Club and is actively involved in community activities. That honor has been bestowed on 46 women in the Club since 1969.

The Women’s Club honoree is usually recognized and honored at the June meeting.  However, because she would be on a field trip in June with her grandchild, a very surprised Penny Darling was presented with that honor at the May meeting.

Caroline Bartlette, 2013 winner, read a short biography about Penny, including information about her family, her service as secretary to the Women’s Club and involvement in Club activities as well as her involvement in Red Flannel Festival as chaperone for the Red Flannel Queen and Court for many years.

Many of Penny’s family attended the ceremony, including son Joe and his family, daughter Stephanie and her children, and Sarah, a good friend of Penny’s. They presented her with flowers, and, after a lot of tears and hugs, Penny was presented with  a plaque commemorating her choice as Cedar Springs Women’s Club 2014-2015 Member of the Year, a certificate, and a dozen roses by 2014 recipient, Sue Harrison.

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Red Cross offers summer scholarship program

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This summer, high school and college students can win a scholarship by hosting an American Red Cross blood drive through the Leaders Save Lives program. Registration is now open to host a participating blood drive between June 1 and Aug. 31, 2015.

The Leaders Save Lives program encourages community-minded 16- to 24-year-olds to host blood drives to help maintain the blood supply over the summer months. Students who participate as a blood drive coordinator are eligible to win a scholarship up to $2,500 for higher education and to earn a gift card.

“The Leaders Save Lives program is a great way for students to learn valuable leadership skills while helping hospital patients in need of lifesaving blood transfusions,” said Red Cross spokesperson, Todd Kulman.  “Summer can be a challenging time to maintain a sufficient blood supply. With this program, students are helping the community by recruiting their friends and family to donate during this crucial season.”

A total of 10 scholarships will be awarded via drawing to students who achieve 100 percent of their blood drive collections goal. All students who achieve the designated blood drive goal will receive an electronic gift card to giftcertificates.com

For more information and to register to host a Leaders Save Lives blood drive, visit redcrossblood.org/leaderssavelives.

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

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