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Quilt raffle winner

 

N-Quilt-Winner-Bengtson

Diane Bengtson holds up the quilt she won from the Friends of the Library. Photo from Donna Clark.

The Cedar Springs Public Library raffled off a quilt as a fundraiser on Red Flannel Day, and raised $301. The lucky winner of the quilt was Diane Bengtson, a longtime resident of Cedar Springs.

Library Director Donna Clark related that when Friends of the Library President Louise King called her, Diane was flabbergasted, and clapping could be heard in the background as her family cheered for her. She reportedly said, “I never win anything! I wanted to support the library, so I bought some tickets.”

Members of the Friends of the Library sold tickets for five hours on Red Flannel Day, and the drawing was held at 5 p.m.

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Man illegally shoots deer during youth hunt

 

A man who allegedly shot deer while being a mentor during the youth hunt has pled guilty. It is the first case of a violation meeting the new enhanced sentencing guidelines for poaching that became law in Michigan earlier this year.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, conservation officers responded to a complaint phoned in to the Report All Poaching (RAP) Line on September 21, involving an adult suspect who allegedly killed two trophy white-tailed deer in Montcalm County during the 2014 Youth Hunt, while acting as a mentor to an 8-year-old hunter.

After receiving the information from the RAP Line dispatcher, three DNR conservation officers (Sgt. John Jurcich, Officer Cary Foster and Officer Dave Rodgers) began an investigation in Lowell and Grand Rapids attempting to locate Jacob Powers, 25, of Lowell, and the two deer. They located Powers at approximately 3 a.m. at his workplace. Officers obtained a confession to the incident and returned to his residence, where they were assisted by the Lowell City Police in recovering evidence to complete their investigation. Officers seized two large antlered heads, meat and a shotgun used to take the animals.

It was determined Powers had taken both deer himself that morning in Bushnell Township, Montcalm County, while accompanying an 8-year-old youth on his first hunt. Powers illegally tagged one deer with the Mentored Youth Tag issued to the young hunter and procured a second license tag from a 6-year-old female family member prior to transporting the animals. Officers established Powers had captured trail camera images of the deer prior to the hunt and knew trophy deer were present in the hunt area. Officers concluded their investigation by issuing an appearance ticket with a court date and left the home.

Five days later, a conservation officer discovered two hides and evidence of deer processing that had been dumped in a parking lot at the Lowell State Game Area, in Ionia County. Having not recovered these items on the night of the original investigation, the officer returned to meet with Powers and obtain a confession to the littering on state lands, leading to an additional charge.

Powers was arraigned October 3, on the charge of taking two white-tailed deer during the closed season before a magistrate of the 64B District Court at Stanton, in Montcalm County. At arraignment, Powers entered a plea of guilty to the charge and was sentenced. He was assessed $335 in fines and costs, $12,000 in restitution for payment to the state’s Fish and Game Protection Fund, and five days mandatory minimum jail time to be served as community service. In addition, Powers now faces up to five years of hunting license revocations in Michigan and 41 other states that participate in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. Powers has yet to appear on charges in Ionia County for littering.

“The tougher poaching penalties were developed last year and approved by the Legislature and governor, and represent the first major changes to poaching laws in our state since 1990,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler. “Concerned hunting organizations and conservation officers have noticed an increased interest and demand for large antlered deer, which are frequently targeted by poachers who trespass, hunt at night and without a license. This is the first case prosecuted under the new law to enhance penalties and represents a great case of our officers and the local justice system working together to bring justice to individuals targeting trophy animals.”
Recent changes to penalties increased fines in this case by $10,000 and added two years of additional license revocations. Under the new law, antlered deer are assessed an additional $1,000 in restitution plus the standard $1,000 for illegally killing any deer. Deer with eight points but not more than 10 are $500 a point, while deer with 11 points or more are assessed a penalty of $750 per point.
“Ethical hunters, wildlife viewers and our officers are hopeful that increased penalties will cause potential violators to rethink the temptation of poaching a trophy deer while providing additional protection for this valuable wildlife resource,” Hagler said.
For more information on the laws and regulations for hunting and fishing in Michigan, go to www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

 

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It’s Only a Barn

The old Stout horse barn, behind Solon Township Hall. Should it be torn down or the roof repaired?

The old Stout horse barn, behind Solon Township Hall. Should it be torn down or the roof repaired?

By Vicky Babcock

There is a controversy brewing—a decision to be made, studies to be done, directions to be given. At the heart is the Stout horse barn. Its fate is in your hands.

Tucked away behind the new Solon Township offices, at 15185 Algoma Avenue, the barn is easily forgotten, hacked away by the needs of progress—neglected for lack of funds.  Yet, this barn has a story to tell.

Is it a historic presence? If time is a factor in writing history, one could argue that it is not. In the scope of time it is a young relic, dating back only some 30-40 years. But if love, ambition, memories, events and dedication play a part, it is pure gold.

It was somewhere around 1971, when Leon and Billie Stout purchased the old Mactavish farm, the land where the stable now stands. They had raised horses before, but traded country life for the city when daughter, Katherine, was conceived. That all changed when Katherine caught the (horse) fever. At age 9, she began taking riding lessons through 4-H and, through her enthusiasm, the bug spread to the rest of the family. Before long, a 23,000 sq. ft. breeding and conditioning facility, Katherine’s design, was constructed; the Stout Barn was the culmination of a dream.

Built by Standard Lumber, the facility became one of the leading breeders of quarter horses in the area, spawning champions such as Smooth Speed, Smooth Splendor, Comet’s Chip and Liberty Jet Line. The stable became a hub of activity in its heyday, for both horses and horse lovers. It hosted pig roasts and music, 4-H and Mountie training and one memorable auction. There were cattle as well, though these were likely not housed in the stable. And there were visitors from around the world.

Leon did not come late to horses; he grew up with them. He owned his first horse at age nine and he bought and sold horses as a boy. At one time, he even built and owned his own race track, through the combined efforts of a group of friends and a bottle of whiskey, the price for grading the track.  The site was the host for the Red Flannel Derby in the late 50’s.

The farm had peacocks at one time, escape artists who wandered to the western edge of the property on a regular basis. The tail of the peacock is another story—ask the barn—it knows. It was there when the prize bull went through two fences to visit the ladies.

That bull, a favorite, was one of the Galloways that the Stouts raised, beginning with 30 head of registered cattle purchased from a neighbor. At auction, that number totaled around 500. The quarter horses, numbering around 65 at one count, were sold off privately for the most part. It was a sad day for the Stout family.

For the barn itself, it was the beginning of an end. No longer in the Stout hands, its new stewards fell behind on its upkeep. Hard times and the economic downturn have taken their toll. For a brief time, it earned its keep as a rental, housing other people’s horses.  But it was not enough. With no funds to put back into its upkeep, the Stout Barn, once young and proud, was losing its battle against the elements. Time and apathy became insurmountable barriers—its fate seemed inevitable.

When the property—less than half of what it once was—came up for back taxes, Solon Township picked it up with a new township office in mind. Under the township’s stewardship, the stable and arena has heard the laughter of children once again. Horses—Ford and Chevy, enjoyed respite from the sun’s relentless rays in its vast shadowed interior. Solon Market had its birth there, and continues to use the stable for events today. It has seen a wedding, and it has sheltered a camper and a wagonload of hay. It is available for storage now. And still its roof continues to decay. Without some necessary repair, this chapter of history will end.

Only a barn? Some say so. But listen with your heart and you’ll hear a child’s laugh, the call of a new foal, the gentle wicker of its dam, the challenge of its sire. You may see the vibrancy of a young girl with determination and spunk as she graciously speaks of her passion—and of her champion horse, Big Boy—and of her crown. There is joy here and pain, life and laughter, smiles and tears and memories of a lifetime. There is pride and potential and hope. So much hope.

Vicky Babcock is a resident of Solon Township.

 

The Stout Horse Barn awaits the Township’s decision to either repair the roof (which the insurance company has agreed to pay for) or to tear it down. The Township needs your direction. Tear it down? Repair the roof and look into viable uses for it? It’s your call. Please come to the next Township meeting on Tuesday, October 14, at 7:30 p.m. and voice your opinion.

 

 

 

 

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City approves contract with Sheriff Department

N-City-logo-webBy 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.”

N-Car vs Motorcycle Kent County Sheriff badgeThe 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 next 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.

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 their 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.

 

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City to vote on police contract Thursday night

N-City-logo-webby Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs City Council will vote Thursday evening on whether to contract with the Kent County Sheriff Department for police services.

Both the Kent County Corporate Counsel and the City Attorney approved the form of the draft agreement.

According to City Manager Thad Taylor, the agreement covers the specifics the City asked for, including hiring their full-time officers, and leaving them in the Cedar Springs unit. “They didn’t use the word ‘guaranteed’ but they are basically saying, ‘if you meet the criteria, we’ll hire you.’ They are accelerating the hiring process for them and they won’t have to go up against 400 other officers.”

Under the contract, Cedar Springs would have police coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They would supply one sergeant five days a week, eight hours a day, to supervise deputies. One deputy would patrol each eight-hour shift. Shifts would begin and end at the Cedar Springs Police Department. A Lieutenant at the Kent County Sheriff Department would help oversee the Cedar Springs unit.

Officers will still respond to calls for unlocking vehicles, private property accidents, and for any other reason a person calls requesting for a police officer.

One thing that did not come out quite as estimated was the cost savings. Initially, the cost savings were estimated at $100,000 to $120,000. In the agreement presented to the City, expenses used were estimated using actual Byron Township billing, and an estimated 6 percent inflationary factor. This brought the savings down to $57,809. However, Chief Deputy Michele Young wrote that she thinks they could still realize a savings of $111, 176 by changing the way some of the costs are calculated. She will be on hand Thursday evening to help explain that to the City Council.

Taylor said that he had spoken to Chief Deputy Young, and that the lower savings was a worst-case scenario. “She has shared some more realistic costs, and I have full confidence she will explain it,” said Taylor. “It’s made more difficult to estimate because they are on a calendar budget year (January through December) and ours starts in July.”

If Cedar Springs transfers equipment (such as vehicles, weapons, radar units, etc.) to the Kent County Sheriff Department, they will face no allocation costs in the initial five-year agreement, but they will in subsequent terms. “That’s a pretty standard accounting practice,” noted Taylor.

The agreement can be rescinded anytime with 60-day notice by either party.

The City Council meets Thursday evening, October 9, at City Hall. Workshop at 6:15, and meeting at 7 p.m.

You can download the agenda packet, which includes a copy of the contract at the city’s website www.cityofcedarsprings.org. Click on meetings, then 2014 council documents, and scroll down to 10-09-2014 and click on agenda packet.

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Arrests made in Spencer Township homicide

Brent Luttrell

Brent Luttrell

The Kent County Sheriff Department arrested six people Tuesday and Wednesday for the murder last month of Brent Luttrell, of Gowen.

Police said that Luttrell, 34, was sleeping at his home, at 12849 Pinewood N.E., in Spencer Township, on September 8, when three armed masked males entered the residence about 1 a.m. Luttrell immediately ran outside and was confronted by at least one of the suspects. He was then forced into a red passenger vehicle with a loud muffler (driven by a fourth person) and transported to the area of Lincoln Lake and Pinewood, where he was later found in the roadway with multiple wounds. Luttrell was transported to Spectrum Health Butterworth, where he died as a result of his injuries.

An autopsy was conducted and it was determined Luttrell died from multiple gunshot and stab wounds.

Police reported there were three other adults in the residence (one male and two females) and a juvenile male. The adult male, reported to be a cousin of Luttrell, received facial injuries and was treated and released from the hospital.

Arrested this week was:

Duncan, Christopher Paul

Christopher Duncan

 

Christopher Paul Duncan, 29, of Lakeview. He is facing charges of Conspiracy to commit home invasion and habitual offender, 2nd notice.

Zachary Bennett

Zachary Bennett

 

 

 

Zachary Wayne Bennett, 21, of Lyons. He is charged with conspiracy to commit home invasion; conspiracy to commit armed robbery; armed robbery; home invasion; and habitual offender, 3rd notice. He was sentenced in May to probation for committing larceny from a motor vehicle and breaking and entering a building with intent in February of this year.

Jaman Parish

Jaman Parish

 

Jaman Amr Parish, 34, of Ionia. He is charged with felony murder, armed robbery, unlawful imprisonment, home invasion, felony firearm, and habitual offender, 4th notice. Parish was on parole, as of May of last year, for assaulting a prison employee, and breaking and entering with intent.

Tyler Rohn

Tyler Rohn

 

 

Tyler Coty Rohn, 25, of Ionia. He is charged with felony murder, armed robbery, unlawful imprisonment, home invasion, and felony firearm.

 

Isaac Fezzey

Isaac Fezzey

 

Isaac Michael-Paul Fezzey, 21, of Ionia. He is charged with with felony murder, armed robbery, unlawful imprisonment, home invasion, felony firearm, and assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder.

 

Kevin Berry

Kevin Berry

 

Kevin Carson Berry, 21, of Saranac. He is charged with with felony murder, armed robbery, unlawful imprisonment, home invasion, and felony firearm.

The Sheriff Department said that the investigation is ongoing, and other people may be arrested in the future.

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A new Red Flannel Queen reigns

The 2014 Red Flannel queen and court, from left to right: Kaleigh Keech (court), Melissa Maguire (Queen) and Ellie Ovokaitys (Court).

The 2014 Red Flannel queen and court, from left to right: Kaleigh Keech (court), Melissa Maguire (Queen) and Ellie Ovokaitys (Court).

Excitement was in the air at the 2014 Red Flannel Queen Scholarship Pageant, held Saturday, September 27, at Cedar Springs High School, where six girls competed for the title.

Chosen as this year’s Red Flannel Queen was Melissa Maguire, daughter of Brian and Teresa Maguire. Court members are Kaleigh Keech, daughter of Amanda Keech and niece of Aaron and Melissa Armstrong; and Ellie Ovokaitys, daughter of Thomas and Donna Ovokaitys. Ellie was also chosen as Miss Congeniality.

According to pageant director Kaleigh Rosenberger, this year they focused on celebrating the Diamond Anniversary (75 years) of the Red Flannel Festival, and 70 years of the Red Flannel Queen’s Scholarship Pageant. To open the show each of the six contestants was assigned a decade from the past 75 years. The contestants dressed in decade wear, chose a song from their assigned decade to play behind them as they gave some fun facts about things that happened in their decade around the country, in Cedar Springs, and within the festival.

The pageant emcee was Andy Rent, radio personality for 100.5 The River. He has helped crown over 10 Red Flannel Queens since the 1970s.

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Before the pageant there was a reception for all past royalty to reconnect and reminisce, and during the pageant they were all invited back on stage and were individually introduced. Rosenberger said that there were over 30 past Queens and Court Members in attendance. There was also a video presentation looking back at all 70 years of Red Flannel Pageants, starting with our first Queen Maxine Smith. A highlight of the evening was the presence of Jean Thrall Erickson, our 1941 Red Flannel Queen. She was the third Red Flannel Queen chosen.

See the new Queen and Court this Friday and Saturday at the Red Flannel Festival. Check out the schedule and other information on our Red Flannel Post pages.

 

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Red Hawk senior honored in National Merit program

Gabriella Schatz

Gabriella Schatz

Cedar Springs High School principal Ronald Behrenwald announced this week that Gabriella Schatz, a senior at Cedar Springs, has been named a Commended Student in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program.

The principal will present a letter of commendation from the school and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which conducts the program, to this scholastically talented senior.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2015 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2015 competition, by taking the 2013 preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

“The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” commented a spokesperson for NMSC. “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishment, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their education opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.”

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The Post travels to Moose Jaw

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Thelma Sovereign-Taylor, from Cedar Springs, recently went to visit a friend, Lori Benson, in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada and took along a copy of the Post. Lori is Thelma’s golfing partner in Casa Grande, AZ in the winter months. Thelma spent a week with Lori touring the city and the tunnels under the city, which are rumored to have been used as part of Al Capone’s bootlegging operation in the late 1920s.

Thanks, Thelma, for taking us with you!

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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Post travels to Dollywood

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Dollywood, here we come! Another graduate in the Dibble family means another trip.

We stopped first at Camp Nathanael in Kentucky, to visit family and friends and to get some horseback riding in. After the weekend there, off we went—13 of us in all, with Grandma Brace, Uncle Tim and Aunt Beth tagging along.

Upon arriving at the park in Tennessee, there was much to see, much to do, and it was much too hot! In between sights and rides, we people-watched from shady spots, with ice water in hand.

Then it was on to Gatlinburg for a day of fun. Of course, we had to take in the “Dixie Stampede.” After a week, our tired group caravanned back home to Michigan, and of course the Post went with us!

Thanks so much for taking the Post with you to Dollywood!

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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