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Consumer Advisory: Serrano peppers May be contaminated with Salmonella

This photo shows unripe serrano peppers. They can be varying shades of green, red, orange or brown upon maturity.

This photo shows unripe serrano peppers. They can be varying shades of green, red, orange or brown upon maturity.

If you bought serrano peppers from Meijer last week, you will want to return them.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) issued a consumer advisory on Wednesday, October 22, for serrano peppers supplied by Bailey Farms Inc. of Oxford, North Carolina and distributed by Meijer stores in Michigan because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. No illnesses have been reported to date.

These serrano peppers were sold in Meijer stores from October 14 to October 19, 2014. Serrano pepper was shipped on Bailey Farms labeled boxes with a 3×4 barcode label on the outside of the box containing the lot code 33714 and 1460410.

A random sample was taken by MDARD on Oct 13, 2014; and the sample tested by MDARD’s Lab Division confirmed it positive for Salmonella on October 18.

Consumers who have purchased serrano peppers during said dates are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditic and arthritis.

Consumers who have recently eaten raw serrano peppers or foods containing raw serrano peppers and are experiencing any of these symptoms should contact their health care provider. All Salmonella infections should be reported to state or local health authorities.

 

 

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Man dies while hunting

Kent County Sheriff badgeA Courtland Township man died Tuesday morning, October 21, while hunting on private property in Cannon Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the 58-year-old man, from Courtland Township, had been bow hunting with his cousin. At about 9:45 a.m., the cousin went to meet up with the Courtland man and found him deceased.

The Kent County Sheriff Department, Cannon Fire Department, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Rockford Ambulance responded to the scene.

The deceased has been identified as Michael William Jonkman. Police said he had an extensive medical history, and the medical examiner’s office ruled that he died of natural causes. An autopsy was not performed.

 

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LOCATION CHANGE FOR CANDIDATE FORUM

 

Tuesday, October 28, 6:30 p.m. at Hilltop Admin building, 3rd floor boardroom

The November election is right around the corner, and there are seven people vying for four positions on the Cedar Springs City Council. There will be a candidate forum open to the public on Tuesday, October 28, at 6:30 p.m. in the 3rd floor boardroom, at the Hilltop Administration building (corner of Main and Muskegon). The forum will be hosted by the Community Action Network and the Cedar Springs Post.

The candidates will be asked several questions, and the public will also have a chance to ask some questions through the moderator. There will also be time to talk one on one with the candidates at the end.

Ken Benham, who served for 8 years, is not running again, so his position his open, along with incumbent Mark Fankhauser’s, who is running again. Fankhauser, former council member Pamela Conley, and DDA Chair Perry Hopkins, are all competing for those two seats. As part of the recall side of the election, incumbent Ashley Bremmer is running against Molly Nixon, and incumbent Patricia Troost is running against Rose Powell.

To check out candidate info click here.

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Candidates for Cedar Springs City Council

 

There are seven people running for four seats on the Cedar Springs City Council. This year’s ballot will look a little different, however. It is the first election under the new law dealing with recalls. There will be three people vying for two seats, and then the two candidates facing recall, Patricia Troost and Ashley Bremmer, are each running against another opponent. The voter simply votes for one or the other.

Running for two seats:

Mark Fankhauser

Mark Fankhauser

Mark Fankhauser was appointed to finish out another councilor’s term in 2012, and is now up for election. He has served as mayor for the last year, and is seeking reelection to continue serving the people of Cedar Springs. Fankhauser has lived in the district 33 years, and is a Captain-EMS Coordinator for the Grand Rapids Fire Department.

The Post asked, what previous experience/skills do you have that you could use in this office? He said he has attended multiple Michigan Municipal League Conferences, which are designed to educate public officials. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the Rockford Community Credit Union for the last 14 years. He has also been active with the Labor movement, holding several officer positions within the organizations he has worked for.

Fankhauser feels the most important issue facing the City of Cedar Springs is proactive improvement of the infrastructure, which protects the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Cedar Springs.

The accomplishments he is most proud of in his term on the Council are: First, seeing a dynamic re-purpose of the property at 95 N. Main Street, now the future home of the Cedar Springs Brewing Company. This was once a vacated building/lot in need; now a unique business that will complement the other businesses within Cedar Springs. Second, would be the recent transition to the Kent County Sheriff Department providing police service. Albeit unique changes, yes; these changes were based on facts, not opinions or emotions.

Perry Hopkins

Perry Hopkins

Perry Hopkins has lived in Cedar Springs since 2010. He is a naturopath, therapeutic body work practitioner, Dr of Metaphysics, and owner/operator of Kin of Hope Natural Health & Perry’s Place llc for herbs, teas, and more…!

The Post asked what previous experience or skills could he use in office? He is involved with multiple boards/ committees in the Cedar Springs community, including a trustee on the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, a trustee on the Kent Theatre Board, the Community Action Network Board, Cedar Springs Planning Commission, and Chairman of the Cedar Springs DDA. He also serves on various event committees in Cedar Springs. He said he is most proud of being a part of the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and bringing more events and happenings to the Cedar Spring Community.

Hopkins said he was prompted to run for office when he noticed there was a shortage of nonbiased citizens running for city council.

Hopkins feels the most important issue facing our district is being divided. “As a community we need to work together and help the community as one entity grow and become strongly united. The only way to make this happen is to work with every person, business, committee, board, group, or organization that has the community’s best interest in mind,” he said.

Pamela Conley

Pamela Conley

Pamela Conley has lived in Cedar Springs 15 years. She is a teacher and coach at  Forest Hills Central High School. The previous skills and experience she brings include one term on the City Council, as well as terms on the Cedar Springs Board of Education, Cedar Springs Library board, PTO Board of directors, and the Cedar Springs Garden Club.

Conley said she is running for office again because she feels a strong responsibility that citizens need to participate in local government, and she was asked by a large number of neighbors and fellow citizens to seek another seat.

What does she think is the most important issue facing the community? “We have the perception that the local citizens are not being including in the decision-making process in our community. Decisions about the image of the community as well as the control of and management of Skinner Field have been made with little or no opportunity for input from the citizens.”

What was she most proud of accomplishing while on council previously? “During my term on the council we established Veteran’s Memorial Park and made substantive improvements to the water/sewer system,” she said.

Running for one seat:

Ashley Bremmer

Ashley Bremmer

Ashley Bremmer, one of the council members named in the recall, is running for her seat. She has lived in Cedar Springs 9-1/2 years. Previous experience/skills include serving on the Council since 2011, and serving on the planning commission prior to that.

Bremmer said she initially decided to serve on council because a member resigned and there was a seat that needed to be filled for the remainder of that term. “I decided to apply and I was the only applicant. That November I ran, unopposed, for the election. I decided to be on city council because I wanted to see the direction of where the city was going, be a part of the positive changes for the city, and make sure that the city was a good and safe place to raise my family. I had no, and still have no hidden agenda to be on city council. I take each issue as it comes, and try to make the best decision at the time, for the city.”

Bremmer says there are many important issues facing the city. “We have a tight budget, the streets and sidewalks need work, we have a new contract with Kent County Sheriffs Department that are all important. I think the really important issues that are facing the city are being sidetracked by personal agendas, hidden motives, hurt feelings, and people that are making a mockery of our council and city.”

There are several things Bremmer is proud of accomplishing while serving, including the bathrooms at the staging area, the Cedar Springs Brewery coming to town, and the sidewalks that did get replaced. What she is personally proud of is “representing my city and the council in a respectful and dignified manner. I have not lashed out when lies were spread, the council became divided and even took part in recalling me. I have been present for council meetings when there were tough decisions to be made. And most importantly, I respected the diversity of our council, without trying to influence them or use outside sources to get my way.”

Molly Nixon

Molly Nixon

Molly Nixon is running against Ashley Bremmer. She graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 2001, and moved back to Cedar Springs in 2008. She is living in a home her family built in the 1800s, and that she grew up in. She is a Central Station Dispatcher at EPS Security, and a nursing student at Grand Rapids Community College. She says that her interactions with the general public through her employers for the last 15 years have given her skills she can use on the council. “I have learned to keep my professionalism and hear what is being said in the face of anger, fear, and character attacks. I bring a civility that the council has lacked at times. In the event that I do not persuade other council members to see things my way we are still neighbors, and we will leave the meeting respecting each other. I believe that facts, not people, are up for discussion.”

What prompted Nixon to run for Council? “I have been in support of coming to an arrangement with the Red Flannel Festival since it was first an issue. In the time that I have been engaged with the political process, I have noticed that the council operated on pride and secrecy. Calling closed meetings in situations that are questionable at best. They also rely too heavily on attorney client privilege. In sorting through the council documents I found property bought by the city for no reason other than it was a good deal, decisions against the express wishes of residents, placing restrictions on parking vehicles on private property, and property that was bought with the purpose of building a new library left vacant for reasons that I still do not fully understand. Some of these issues have been resolved, but that is only because the public has been voting in council members who are accountable.”

Nixon thinks the most pressing problem is that City Hall is “a place of secret meetings and make it up as you go rules.” But she sees another problem as well. “I also seek to reclaim Cedar Springs as my home. It always was, and always will be Red Flannel Town, USA. I want to put that back on every street corner of this town. The personal pride of a few people alone erased that. Feelings were hurt and the discussion was ended prematurely to suit the personal comfort of the city officials involved.”

Running for one seat:

Patricia Troost

Patricia Troost

Patricia Troost one of the council members named in the recall, is running for her seat. She is currently serving as Mayor Pro-Tem. She has lived in Cedar Springs for five years, and is a Paralegal, at Reisinger Law Firm, PLLC . She said that skills and experience she brings to council include, “Research knowledge and being able to look at both sides of an issue and not holding a grudge if I don’t agree or if there are different of opinions.”

What prompted her to run for office? “The code ordinance officer came to my home and told me I couldn’t park in my driveway- front of my garage as my drive-way was gravel at the time with weeds/grass growing and according to the ordinance that was considered my lawn. I asked who made up this stupid rule and was told the planning commission and then City Council made the final ruling and I stated that I needed to run for city council then.”

What does she believe is the most important issue facing the community? “A lot of our residents are still trying to recover from the recession and meeting basic needs.  I believe that we as a community can come together and help each other where we can and not just me it’s an US. There are resources that residents may not know about and we as leaders can assist in getting them.” She is working with The City of Cedar Springs Area Chamber and North Kent Community Services with their Seats and Feet’s Campaign (and personal items). They are collecting underwear, pajamas, socks and items you cannot get with a food stamps card with drop offs of donated items at various businesses. “The Chamber and business owners care about Cedar Springs and are here 365 days a year and I think it is great how they have agreed wholeheartedly to help me promote this campaign, as well as with North Kent Community Services…they are a great resource.”

Troost said she is most proud of when a young Eagle Scout came to City Council with a plan and idea for a new pavilion at Morley Park and asked if the City would partner with him. “It was amazing to see this young man wanting to give back to his community at such a young age and I believe that my fellow council members and I encouraged young Kevin to look outwards at others and see a need and that if we all work together we can make a difference and that he carries that with him as he grows up and continues it as well and passes it on.”

Rose Powell

Rose Powell

Rose Powell is running against Patricia Troost. Powell has lived in the City of Cedar Springs since November 1970, and has been a registered voter since 1971. She is recently retired. She graduated from Cedar Springs High School, as did her husband Chris, and their children, Gina, Brynadette, and Christopher. Powell said that previous experience includes serving on the Cedar Springs board of elections, DDA, planning commission, Chamber of commerce, and being a Rotarian. She was also a downtown business owner, and also employed as an office manager/sales person for 2 other Cedar Springs businesses.

Powell is running for council because: “I decided to get involved again, when I realized our City council voted to take down our Cedar Springs City flag and destroy it. I trusted our councilors to do what was right for the citizens, tax payers, and voters of Cedar Springs and surrounding community. The destruction of $4000.00+ of our people’s property, paying a law firm $11,000 to defend those actions, while telling us it was for the good of our city was appalling. After spending many…many hours studying CS. city Budget, I came to one conclusion. There’s something rotten in Red Flannel Town.”

Powell says her goal is, with the help of fellow citizens, to “guide our CS City policies, finances, and reputation in a positive direction. There will always be problems to solve. Together our community can do it, and do it well.”

 

 

 

 

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The POST Pumpkin Coloring Contest 2014

Hey KIDS,

Click and print out and then color the pumpkin (below) with crayons, markers, or colored pencils, and make your funniest or scariest face. There will be one winner from each age group: 3-4 years, 5-7 years and 8-10 years. All winners will be announced in the October 30th edition of the Cedar Springs POST. So, hurry, pumpkins have to be to the POST by October 27 at 5 pm. Our office is located at 36 E. Maple St., Cedar Springs. Our office hours are 10 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday. If you would like to mail it, you can mail it to P.O. Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

 

 

Halloween-ColoringContest

 

Coloring Contest Rules:

Only one entry per child.

Only one winner per family.

We are not responsible for lost mail.

All entries must be at our office by October 27, 2014 by 5 pm.

Use crayons, markers, or colored pencils. Be creative!

Click and print the entry form below and submit with your colored pumpkin.

Halloween-EntryForm

 

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City approves contract with Sheriff Dept

N-pull-quoteBy Judy Reed

 

This time next month, officers in the Cedar Springs Police Department will be wearing Kent County Sheriff Department uniforms.

The Cedar Springs City Council voted unanimously Thursday evening, October 9, to approve a contract with the Kent County Sheriff Department for police services. Council member Jerry Hall was absent, and Council member Ashley Bremmer asked to abstain, since she is employed by the Sheriff Department.

Undersheriff Jon Hess and Chief Deputy Michele Young were on hand to explain the contract and answer questions from the council. Sheriff Larry Stelma was also there, as was Sgt. Kelley, who will be the transition sergeant and most likely the supervising sergeant once the transition takes place.

Young said she expects the savings to the City to be about $119,000 for 2015. She explained that by using the township pool, their costs would be lower, since there will be 34 officers in the pool. Our five would make up about 15 percent of that. “They are joining us at a mid-range (on the pay scale),” explained Young. “That’s a minor raise for them. But with the pool you won’t see those high spikes.”

Kent County Sheriff DeptThe five full-time officers were given welcome packets, which also contained an application. The Sheriff Dept. hopes to give them an offer of employment by the end of this week. The target starting date is November 7. Those officers will stay in the Cedar Springs unit unless they decide they want to move elsewhere. Many residents did not want to lose their officers, and with the offer for the full time officers to stay here, residents will still see familiar faces. 

While the part time officers don’t get that same offer, Undersheriff Hess said they have a lot of part time positions open. “We have some openings we have purposely kept open in case they want to apply,” he explained. He also mentioned that there are opportunities for the reserves as well.

The Cedar Springs unit will use the current Cedar Springs Police offices at City Hall. Officers will begin and end their day there. The sergeant will be there daily, five days a week, and serve as the supervising officer for the patrol deputies. A sector lieutenant will also give oversight to the unit.

There will be on deputy on patrol each 12-hour shift. If Cedar Springs decides they need to add a deputy for a short time period, they can do that, but there would be a charge.

The officers will enforce all the city ordinances, like they do now, as well as all other laws. They will also respond to private property accidents, help unlock cars, and respond anytime an officer is requested, the same way they do now. Those were some things Cedar Springs specifically asked for.

All police equipment will be turned over to the KCSD and used for half of the allocation costs. The other half are being waived for the 5-year agreement.

The agreement can be rescinded anytime with 60 days notice.

The city and the Sheriff Department have worked on this agreement for several months. The City Council asked the City Manager to look into possibly contracting with the Sheriff Department after Police Chief Roger Parent announced his retirement earlier this year.

The City thanks our police officers for their years of dedication to the community, their patience and understanding during this difficult time and most importantly, wishes them well going forward,” said City Manager Thad Taylor.

This is the first time anything like this has been done in Kent County.

“The city manager and the city council took a bold, innovative and progressive step as they seek to collaborate with the Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement services,” said Sheriff Larry Stelma, who also lives here in Cedar Springs. “I thank them for the trust and faith that they have placed with us and we look forward to serving the Cedar Springs community.”

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A new chapter begins

Conceptual rendering of front and side view of Cedar Springs Brewing Company.

Conceptual rendering of front and side view of Cedar Springs Brewing Company.

Cedar Springs Brewing Company breaks ground

By Judy Reed

Dozens of people turned out this week to witness something that hasn’t happened here in downtown Cedar Springs in a long time—a groundbreaking for a brand new business at the corner of Maple and Main Street.

Excitement was in the air Tuesday, October 14, as the Cedar Springs Brewing Company ceremoniously broke ground.

“It was a lot of fun and I was tremendously encouraged by the wonderful turnout for the event,” remarked owner David Ringler.

On hand to give remarks was John Wheeler of Orion Construction, Mike Corby of Integrated Architecture, Jason Parker of Choice One Bank, Mark Fankhauser, Mayor of the City of Cedar Springs, and 73rd District Representative Peter MacGregor, who said Rep. Rob VerHeulen couldn’t be there and so he was representing them both.

Groundbreaking at Cedar Springs Brewery Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014.

Groundbreaking at Cedar Springs Brewery Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014.

MacGregor, who has been instrumental in helping with legislation regarding craft brewing, said it’s a win-win for the craft brew industry, which keeps growing. “They’ve figured out that if we offer a great product, they will come. And it’s also a win-win for the agriculture industry with the products that are used. So, it’s a win-win for the state, and another reason for people to stop here in Cedar Springs,” he said.

The brewery is expected to be complete in the spring of 2015. Orion Construction began site work after demolishing the existing building earlier this fall. “We have a few housekeeping issues still in progress, including the completing of our environmental reports and some organizational issues, but we’re beginning the physical construction as soon as possible, with hopes to have the outside shell enclosed before the weather slows us down,” explained Ringler.

The project involves new construction of a 5,700 sq. ft. steel, brick and glass building, along with an outdoor biergarden, providing a beautiful environment along the White Pine Trail trailhead in Cedar Springs. The site is oriented to provide room for future growth of the brewery. The design features large windows allowing for natural light in the dining facility, along with both traditional American and traditional European-style seating. The concept is intended to complement the surrounding buildings on Main Street and provide a gateway to the north for future growth. The exterior treatments (international-style flags, signs and open-air spaces) are designed to attract visitors and become a focal point of Main Street.

Cedar Springs Brewing Company's biergarden.

Conceptual rendering of the back view of Cedar Springs Brewing Company’s biergarden.

The brewery/restaurant will feature a variety of craft beers, focusing on German styles along with a full food menu, in-house made spirits, wine and non-alcoholic beverages. Ringler (a.k.a “Director of Happiness”) lived in Germany for four years where he apprenticed with local brewmasters. After leaving Germany, Ringler continued his brewing education at the renowned Seibel Institute of Brewing Science in Chicago. In 2013, Ringler began the formal process in Cedar Springs and received all permits and approvals to proceed. “This project is the result of a near 25-year dream,” said Ringler. “Our final approval was both a relief and a thrill. This is the culmination of a long process and the start of another. We’ve been encouraged by the wonderful support we’ve received from the town of Cedar Springs and we are ready to serve this community upon completion of construction.” Ringler added that he believes with continued support of the local community that this project will serve as a catalyst for future growth, development and jobs in Cedar Springs.

“We know there are many excellent brewers in Michigan and we look forward to being a part of that. We’ve done a lot of research into the atmosphere, menu and experience most craft beer fans hope for when visiting a brewpub. We are confident in our understanding of our audience and we are proud of our entire menu. We hope locals and visitors will love Cedar Springs Brewing Company and we are honored to have the support of Cedar Springs as we move forward,” said Ringler.

 

 

 

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Local non-profit looks to improve area

N-CBDT-Cedar-Springs-Community-Building-Project-Logo-web

By Judy Reed

 

There are a lot of plans in the works for the corner of Main and Maple Streets and the Community Building Development Team (CBDT) hopes to be a big part of it.

In addition to the new Cedar Springs Library, on the northwest corner, and the brewery on the southwest corner, the CBDT hopes to build an ampitheatre on the city’s property (the old foundry property) to the west of where the library will be. The team was at the Cedar Springs City Council meeting last Thursday, October 9, to pitch the project.

“The Community Building Development Team is a group of people who want to make the community better,” explained CBDT trustee Tom Holloway, and Pastor at Solon Center Wesleyan Church. “We believe this fits with the prior library board’s plans in 2007 of having both a library and ampitheatre.”

Holloway asked the City Council to let the group build the ampitheatre—and they would do it for free. “All we ask is for the city to maintain it,” he said, “and pay the utilities.”

He explained that they hope to develop the whole area—on both the east and west side of the trail. They are currently buying the Johnson lumberyard property to that end. Besides the ampitheatre, they are working towards helping to restore wetlands, and install walking bridges, to give kids a place to fish. On the lumberyard property, they hope to build a community center and recreation center. Other plans include a boardwalk along Cedar Creek, rain gardens, skate park, spash pad and playground equipment, campground, and fish hatchery.

They have already been working on rain gardens along Cedar Creek with Trout Unlimited, and other groups, and recently voted to take advantage of a matching 3 to 1 grant opportunity. They voted unanimously to pledge  $20,000 towards Trout Unlimited’s Department of Environmental Quality 319 Grant Proposal, which will restore and enhance wetlands in downtown Cedar Springs and elsewhere in the Rogue River watershed, if funded. The project will look to develop future conservation projects in the Rogue River watershed, including other wetland restoration projects, buffer strip plantings, and other efforts directed at improving the health of the Rogue. According to the CBDT, the grant could be worth $300,000 to $400,000 to the community.

The group’s mission is to retain the small-town character of Cedar Springs, incorporate natural features, link neighborhoods and people, enhance characteristics that already define our community, and make it easy for families, youth, senior citizens, organizations, and all community members to gather, celebrate and serve each other.

With that in mind, they’ve adopted a railroad theme for their group, since two railroads ran through the community in its early days. They have chosen an old photo for their logo. In it you can see Lute Fullington’s carriage. His livery service transported people from the trains to hotels, businesses, and homes in our area.

The Cedar Springs City Council heard the CBDT’s presentation, but no agreement has yet been made on whether they will allow the ampitheatre to be built there. Holloway said that after the library is built, they would try to match it in design.

Members of the CBDT are Kurt Mabie, President; Tom Mabie, Vice President; Betty Truesdale, Treasurer; Carolee Cole, Secretary; and Sue Wolfe, Dale Larson, Sally Howland, Nick Andres and Tom Holloway, trustees.

The public is invited to attend their meetings the third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Amish Furniture Store, 141 S. Main Street, Cedar Springs.

 

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Candidate forum for City Council

 

Please note location change

Tuesday, October 28, 6:30 p.m. in the Cedar Springs Hilltop Boardroom, 204 E. Muskegon

The November election is right around the corner, and there are seven people vying for four positions on the Cedar Springs City Council. There will be a candidate forum open to the public on Tuesday, October 28, at 6:30 p.m. in the Hilltop 3rd floor Boardroom, at Cedar Springs Public Schools. The forum will be hosted by the Community Action Network and the Cedar Springs Post.

The candidates will be asked several questions, and the public will also have a chance to ask some questions through the moderator. There will also be time to talk one on one with the candidates at the end.

Ken Benham, who served for 8 years, is not running again, so his position his open, along with incumbent Mark Fankhauser’s, who is running again. Fankhauser, former council member Pamela Conley, and DDA Chair Perry Hopkins, are all competing for those two seats. As part of the recall side of the election, incumbent Ashley Bremmer is running against Molly Nixon, and incumbent Patricia Troost is running against Rose Powell.

Check out next week’s paper for more election info.

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The Post travels to Zimbabwe

Esther Couturier at the orphanage in Zimbabwe.

Esther Couturier at the orphanage in Zimbabwe.

By Esther Couturier

This summer a life long dream recently turned into reality for me when I was able to travel to Zimbabwe, Africa. Since I was 12, God has been cultivating a desire in me to someday live in Zimbabwe. I have continued to believe that despite my circumstances, and of not knowing how it would happen, that one day God would provide a way for me to travel to Zimbabwe.

God orchestrated this through my meeting a young man, in my church, who was visiting from Zimbabwe last summer. He invited me to stay with his family. I was able to travel to Zimbabwe on May 31 and stayed for eight weeks! It was the best eight weeks of my life, so far.

While I was there, I took the Post on many adventures, from reading to children in an orphanage, decorating cupcakes with foster children, helping feed the elderly and visiting a Government Hospital. We also visited Gonarezhou National Park, where we saw hippos and rhinos. At a game reserve we rode elephants and petted a lion. We also experienced Jackal hunting, hiking Victoria Falls, and white water rafting on the Zambezi. We also toured a butchery and shopped at the flea markets.

My favorite part of the trip was staying on a farm. Besides enjoying the absolute beauty of the place, I also enjoyed vaccinating mombes (the word for cows in Shona—Zimbabwe’s native language), riding motorbikes, and teaching at the school. I helped teach math to eight-year-old children and English to 14-year olds. I also climbed gomos (mountainous terrain), and I talked with many of the employees, who helped teach me Shona.

Everyone I met along the way was exceptionally nice. The families I stayed with are very relational and enjoy talking over tea and rusks. I really loved just listening to everyone’s stories. Some tell of just the hardships in the past, others tell of hope for restoration, while most tell of both. There are so many different aspects and cultures in Zimbabwe. Life is different there. Even though there are power outages daily, lack of variety in food and supplies, potholes galore along with insane driving, and a corrupt government, I loved every bit of it!

God answers prayers and He fulfills His promises. He is a God who has a plan for everyone’s life, because He formed us and loves us. I know without a doubt I will return to Zimbabwe. The vision God has placed in my heart is not yet fully fulfilled.

Thank you to everyone who supported me, prayed for me and encouraged me. I hope to continue to share this journey.

I was not able to, or had forgotten take photos with the Post everywhere I went, but it was in my back pack everywhere I traveled.

Thanks, Esther, for taking us with you on your 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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