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MSP urges caution during snow, freezing rain

The Michigan State Police (MSP) is encouraging Michigan residents to use caution at home and on the roads tonight (Tuesday) through Thursday when a forecast wintry mix of snow and freezing rain could result in hazardous travel conditions and localized power outages.

Map from National Weather Service Grand Rapids.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for much of the Lower Peninsula that remains in effect from 10 p.m. tonight through 1 p.m. Wednesday. This wintry mix looks to include at least a glazing of ice for most of the area, but some locations may see enough for accumulations on trees and power lines. A second round of light freezing rain will be possible late Wednesday night into Thursday.

Map from National Weather Service Grand Rapids.

“Accumulating ice and snow can cause dangerous road conditions and some downed tree limbs,” said Capt. Emmitt McGowan, deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD). “If you must travel, we ask that motorists allow extra time to get to their destinations and, if you see a downed power line, stay away from it and report it to your utility company.”

Power outage tips:

• Stay at least 25 feet from any downed lines and assume that every line is “live” and dangerous.

• Do not call 911 to ask about the power outage. Report outages to your utility company.

• If clearing trees or limbs, make certain they are not in contact with a power line. Trees and branches can conduct electricity and electrocute you on contact.

• Never run a generator indoors. Ensure it is outside – far away from windows or any other area where exhaust can vent back into a living area. Carbon monoxide can cause injury or death.

• Have an emergency preparedness kit ready with supplies to last three days per person (e.g., food, water, first aid kit, hand-crank flashlight and radio, extra clothing and blankets).

• Check on elderly and disabled neighbors to ensure they are safe.

• Use battery-powered lanterns, if possible, rather than candles to light homes without electrical power. If you use candles, make sure they are in safe holders away from curtains, paper, wood or other flammable items. Never leave a candle burning when you are out of the room.

• Dress in warm clothing and layers, keep doors shut and never use the stove or charcoal as a source of heat inside a home.

Safe winter driving tips:

• Motorists are reminded to take extra precautions when stopping and turning. Remember to do all your braking before the turn is made and take the proper line of travel through the turn to reduce the potential for skidding. If your vehicle begins to skid, let off the throttle and brakes and turn the front tires in the direction you want to go.

• DO NOT crowd snowplows. Give snowplow drivers plenty of room to clear snow from the roads.

• Keep tires at the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure and routinely check tire pressure during cold weather.

• Make sure the windshield solvent reservoir is full and check the condition of all wiper blades and replace when necessary.

• Wash your vehicle for better visibility to other drivers. Remove ice and snow from all lights, windows and license plate before driving.

• Periodically check all lights and replace when necessary.

• Keep an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle stocked with a cell phone charger, batteries, battery powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, windshield scraper, jumper cables, shovel, blankets, first aid kit, non-perishable food and bottled water in the event you get stranded or stuck.

• If you are stranded, do not leave your vehicle. Stay with the vehicle and wait for help.

The MSP reminds motorists that even during inclement weather, drivers are responsible for maintaining control of their vehicles at all times. Additionally, when drivers see a stationary emergency vehicle or tow truck pulled over with its flashing, rotating or oscillating lights on, passing motorists must move over at least one lane or two vehicle widths, if it is safe to do so. If moving over is not possible, motorists must slow down and pass with caution.

Motorists are encouraged to check travel conditions and weather reports before driving at www.michigan.gov/roadconditions. Major road closures can be found at www.michigan.gov/drive. The MSP/EMHSD asks that you tune into local news and/or view these websites rather than calling your local MSP post or 911 for travel conditions.

For more information on how to prepare before, during and after an emergency or disaster, visit www.michigan.gov/miready or follow MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS.

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Sludge spill at Cedarfield

by Judy Reed

Gary Osborn, of Infrastructure Alternatives, reported to the Post on Monday, February 4, that a check valve on a sludge storage tank at Cedarfield Mobile Home Community malfunctioned over the weekend, allowing about 1,200 gallons of partially treated sewage to seep out of a pipe and on to the ground.

Osborn said it was in a fenced in area, and was being treated with lime, so would not affect anyone.

Protocol says that when something like this happens, they are to notify the Michigan DEQ, the local newspaper, and the Kent County Health Department.

Osborn noted that some companies might not take those steps, but they do. “Infrastructure Alternatives is all about the environment,” he said. “We always do the right thing.”

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Fire destroys Sand Lake home


Solon Fire Chief Jeff Drake was first on the scene. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

What started out as a chimney fire in a home in Pierson Township last week soon spread to the rest of the house, engulfing it in flames.

Four fire area departments responded to the fire at 23326 W. Stanton Rd on Thursday, January 24. Sand Lake was toned out for the fire at about 2:40 p.m. with mutual aid from Solon Fire, Howard City Fire, and Cedar Springs Fire.

According to Sand Lake Fire Chief Ed Holtzlander, the family used a wood stove to heat the home, and the fire began in the chimney. He said the homeowner tried to put out the fire himself before calling to report it. But it soon spread into the walls and attic. 

First to arrive on scene was Solon Fire Chief Jeff Drake. 

“When he arrived on scene, there was heavy, thick smoke coming out,” said Holtzlander, “and flames were through the roof. It went from smoke to flames in 5 minutes.”

Holtzlander said that the roof and the first floor eventually collapsed into the basement. 

Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser said the intensity of the flames made it difficult to attack from the inside. “It wasn’t safe for anyone to go in. We had to attack it from the exterior,” he said.

Holtzlander noted that everyone got out safely. The family dog was missing afterward, and it is unknown whether it made it out of the house.

The home belonged to Jerry and Marilyn Beemer. The Red Cross was called in to help, and Holtzlander said they were staying with family in Sparta. The home was reportedly not insured.

Holtzlander did want to remind people to call 911 before trying to put out a fire on their own. “I don’t know if it would’ve made a difference here, but it may make a difference on another fire,” he said.

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Winter storm puts us in deep freeze


This was the scene in Cedar Springs this week due to a winter sotrm. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Michigan and many states in the Midwest have been in a cold weather pattern over the last six days that has gotten progressively worse: we have had icy rain, sleet, snow, blowing and drifting, zero visibility, temperatures below zero, and wind chills as low as -30. 

On Monday we had a winter storm and on Tuesday we transitioned to lake effect snow. We were already experiencing frigid temperatures and a foot of new snow when the Polar Vortex descended on us Tuesday night and sent temperatures plunging even further below zero. There were dozens of crashes on roads Wednesday and several parts of the highways were shut down.

According to local meteorologists, we haven’t experienced these types of temperatures since 1994.

With meteorologists and the state of Michigan telling people to stay off the roads, hundreds of schools have been canceled all week; colleges and universities have shut down the last few days; state, county and local offices have shut down; along with hundreds of businesses. The Postal Service even stopped delivering mail Tuesday and Wednesday. The governor has declared a state of emergency. 

Check out two stories on page three that will help you stay safe and warm during cold weather, and give you some tips on using space heaters and keeping your pipes from freezing.

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Man charged in death of brother

Justin Walsh

A Mecosta County man was arraigned earlier this week and charged with murdering his brother.

Justin Michael Walsh, 33, of Barryton, was arraigned in 77th District Court on January 28, where he was formally charged with the murder of his brother Nathan Walsh, 35, also of Barryton. Justin Walsh was also charged with habitual offender second offense. 

According to the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office, the incident was investigated at the Walsh brothers’ residence in Sheridan Township on Saturday, January 26, where Nathan Walsh was found to have been murdered. Justin Walsh was subsequently arrested for the murder of his brother. He remains lodged in the Mecosta County Jail without bond.

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Polar vortex brings sun dogs


Sun dog photo by Dina Rowland.

Sun dog photo by Dave Slater.

The polar vortex may have put Michigan and other Midwest states into a deep freeze but it also brought something beautiful. Residents throughout the Midwest reported seeing a “sun dog” this morning as the sun rose, including here in Cedar Springs.

The Post received photos taken by two different people. Dina Rowland took a photo of the sun dog over her field on Simmons Avenue. Dave Slater also sent us a photo.

According to the National Weather Service, “sun dogs are colored spots of light that develop due to the refraction of light through ice crystals. They are located approximately 22 degrees either left, right, or both, from the sun, depending on where the ice crystals are present. The colors usually go from red closest to the sun, out to blue on the outside of the sundog. Sun dogs are also known as mock suns or parhelia, which means ‘with the sun.’”

Thanks to Dina and Dave for sharing  your photos with us!

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Winter fun in Greenville


This funny looking snowman, made by Tom and Kathy Fuhrman, of Greenville, gives a whole new meaning to the toast “bottoms up!” 

“We are great-grandparents that just never grew up,” they said. 

A big thank you to the Fuhrmans for sending us your winter fun photo!

If you have a winter fun photo you’d like to send us, you can email it to news@cedarspringspost.com and include some info about the photo—what’s happening, who is in the photo or who made what’s shown (names and ages), and what city/township you live in. We will print as space allows.

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Writers group celebrates local poet

By Donna Clark


George and Bea Hesley

On January 17, the Cedar Springs Public Library Writers Group met at the home of George and Bea Hesley to celebrate George’s poetry and George himself, who turned 96 on January 27. The group of twelve included George and Bea’s eldest daughter, Robyn Cowherd, who flew in from Oklahoma just in time for the celebration. George was the life of the party reciting several of his poems from heart with Bea at his side, prompting him if he forgot a line or two.  

 George’s poems have a variety of themes, including battle, world travel and love. Some favorites were Smoke, Lilacs & You, and Permission Granted. The group took turns sharing their poems with George, as well. Two members of the group—Terry Fales and his sister, Mary Bronkema—shared their writings in honor of George. 

The surprise of the evening was the poem that Robyn shared. She had been working on a poem for her father for two years titled Flights of Fancy, and decided to complete it for this occasion as a surprise birthday present. She took a line here and a line there from several of her favorite poems her father had recited to her over the years of her life. It was very touching and inspired everyone. 

It was a magical evening, in the old historic home of George and Bea Munro. It is interesting that all these years later, George and Bea Hesley entertained a Cedar Springs group of writers in much the same fashion as it had been done so many years ago. 

If George is able, he will recite a poem or two at the Poetry Event being sponsored by the Cedar Springs Public Library and Kent District Library Branches from Sand Lake, Spencer Township and Tyrone Township. The event will be held at the Kent Theatre on April 30, starting at 6 p.m. All are welcome to come and celebrate “April is Poetry Month” by reading a poem that they have written or one that they love. Poetry workshops are being planned at all participating Library locations for teens and adults. Stay tuned for more details.

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More moon photos


Last week we asked readers on Facebook for their Super Blood Wolf Moon photos that they had taken Sunday, January 20 into Monday morning, January 21. We ran one on our front page last week and wanted to show you a couple more this week.

Photo by Larry Campbell

Larry Campbell took this photo from his front yard, close to the corner of 3 Mile and East Beltline. “Except for totality, every photograph was taken 15 minutes apart. Exposures varied, depending on the available light from the lunar surface,” he said. Campbell is a member of and past president of the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association (GRAAA).

Photo by Kristina Hemstreet

Kristina Hemstreet took this photo in Coopersville. “I do still have all the individual pictures. I just took them and created them into one picture to show the changes throughout the night,” she said.

Thanks so much for sending  us your photos!  We will try to fit in a couple more next week, if space allows.

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Police seek hit and run driver

Deputies are looking for information on the vehicle and driver that hit a garage in Montcalm County and then left the scene. Courtesy photo.


The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office responded to a hit and run crash on January 20, 2019 at approximately 10:20 a.m. near the intersection of Almy and Hillman Roads in Belvidere Township. The driver has yet to be identified and the Sheriff’s Office is asking for help from the public.

The investigation revealed that a southbound vehicle failed to negotiate the curve at Almy and Hillman Roads. The vehicle left the road and struck a garage. The vehicle then left eastbound. Witnesses indicate the vehicle may be a white SUV or short box pickup with a cab over the box. There were no reported injuries as a result of the crash.

The Sheriff’s Office has continued to investigate the incident but the driver and vehicle have not been identified. Anyone with information is requested to contact Deputy Germain at 989-831-7590.

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