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Solon barn sold at auction

The old Stout barn will soon be torn down. Photo by Len Allington.

The old Stout barn will soon be torn down. Photo by Len Allington.

By Judy Reed

The long-running campaign to save a Solon barn came to an end last week, when the barn was sold at auction for $300.

The barn, known as the Stout barn, is located on property that Solon Township bought in a foreclosure sale several years ago. It is located behind the Township hall, at 15185 Algoma Ave. It is one of several barns on the property.

The barn has been a bone of contention since the Township bought the property. They originally investigated putting money into it for the new township hall, but decided to build after finding out what needed to be done.

The barn has been used for the flea market portion of the Solon farmer and flea market in the past, and this past winter was used for storage of RVs.

In March, the Solon Township board voted to remove the barn, and have Supervisor Bob Ellick facilitate the removal as economically as possible.

Ellick said that the demolition could start as early as next week, and should only take a few days, according to the buyer, a Mr. Bonthuis, of Ravenna. Under the agreement, he has 120 days to complete the job, and gets everything, even the concrete.

The buyer has to show proof of liability and comprehensive insurance, and the payment has been put into escrow. “If they do something wrong, then we keep the money,” Ellick explained.

According to current drawings for the park to be built on the Solon property, it shows a barn in the spot where the old one is. Ellick said the idea is to relocate the other three barns on the property, although he didn’t know where they were going to be put. He also said it’s also possible they could build a new one, but the plans have not yet been completed.

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Health Department launches mosquito surveillance 

A Gravid trap, lures pregnant female mosquitoes by creating a false breeding environment.

A Gravid trap, lures pregnant female mosquitoes by creating a false breeding environment.

For West Nile Virus study 

Most people would like it if mosquitoes would just go away. Staff at the Kent County Health Department is collecting them by the thousands and they want more. Now through Labor Day, KCHD will place, monitor and maintain 11 mosquito traps in the following zip codes in the county 49503, 49507 and 49519. The goal of monitoring is disease prevention, specifically West Nile Virus (WNV).

The trap, called a Gravid trap, lures pregnant female mosquitoes by creating a false breeding environment. A pungent bait of grass clippings and yeast fools the insects by attracting them with carbon dioxide, a gas found in the exhaled breath of mammals. Mosquitoes end up sucked into a nylon net by a battery operated fan.

Each week, the mosquitoes that get trapped will be returned to KCHD where they will be pulverized and tested for West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Results will be logged along with geographic information that will provide a nearly real time picture to health authorities.

N-West-Nile-Virus-study-gravid-trap-2“We have selected these areas because we know that in the past they have been hot spots for the West Nile Virus,” said Sara Simmonds, Supervising Sanitarian with the department’s Environmental Health division. “Given our past experience, we fully expect that we will find the presence of West Nile Virus within our community. Early detection is critical to help people protect themselves from contracting the virus.”

“Knowing where the virus is located will allow municipalities to make more informed decisions about eradication practices,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer with KCHD. “West Nile Virus is a potentially debilitating illness and we know that it is largely preventable through surveillance, education and action.”

West Nile Virus was first detected in the United States in 1999. Since the first case was diagnosed in Michigan in 2001 more than 1100 people have been diagnosed with the disease and 92 people have died. In 2001 and again in 2012, Kent County had the second highest number of West Nile cases in the state. More about West Nile Virus can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/ 

The best treatment for WNV is prevention. The Kent County Health Department recommends wearing a mosquito repellant that contains 10-35 percent DEET; wearing light colored clothing; and staying indoors during dusk. You can help stop mosquitoes from breeding by removing any standing water in your yard and keeping your lawn and shrubs cut.

More information about prevention can be found at https://www.accesskent.com/Health/CommDisease/pdfs/westnile_qa.pdf

A grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is funding the project.


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Muskegon River task force keeps violators in line


A law enforcement task force made up of multiple agencies will help keep things safe and peaceful on the Muskegon River in Newaygo County this summer.

Last summer, the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office partnered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan State Police, and the Newaygo Police Department to create a Muskegon River Multi Agency Enforcement Task for increased presence and enforcement on the Muskegon River. The task force was created in response to complaints on the river including trespassing, disorderly conduct, underage drinking, littering, and other violations of the law.

The task force allows more resources and personnel to be assigned to enforcement on the Muskegon River. They also created a “River Watch” program to utilize homeowners along the river and volunteers to assist in spotting law violators on the river, and reporting to enforcement officers patrolling the river.

They have been working with community members, livery owners, the County Board of Commissioners, the City of Newaygo, and the townships along the river to put the project together. Their goal is to change the culture of the river and expectations of those that use the river.

The Muskegon River is approximately 40 miles long, from Croton Dam to Maple Island Road, in Newaygo County. The enforcement plan calls for more patrol craft on the river, as well as patrol cars on the river corridor.

“We have deputies, conservation officers, and police officers working on the river in patrol boats,” said Newaygo County Sheriff Pat Hedlund. “In addition, the Michigan State Police and the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office are patrolling roads along the Muskegon River. These officers will be proactively looking for people who are violating laws regarding trespassing, indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, drunk driving, drugs, underage drinking, and other violations.”

During the summer of 2014, police made 234 traffic stops along the river corridor and at river access sites. They issued 276 traffic citations. There were 136 total arrests and/or appearance citations on the river. Overall, officers gave 322 verbal warnings where citations could have been issued but were not.

There will be upwards of five patrol boats on the water each weekend all summer long. Each boat will have two officers on board. The officers in boats are from the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office, the DNR, and the Newaygo Police Department.

“We want people to have fun and enjoy themselves, but we also want people to know that we will enforce the law in order to protect people and property,” Hedlund said.

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Man ejected in crash

N-Accident2 N-Accident1

Two people were injured Wednesday afternoon, shortly before 4 p.m., June 10, when a vehicle disregarded the red light at the intersection of White Creek and 17 Mile Road.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, of the Kent County Sheriff Department’s Cedar Springs Unit, witnesses at the scene said that a woman driving a white pickup truck was driving eastbound on 17 Mile, when she disregarded the stoplight, and struck a red Blazer that was southbound on White Creek. The truck then careened off the roadway to the right and drove down the hill into the BP gas station lot.

The driver of the Blazer, a Sparta man, was ejected.  His front seat passenger, a woman was also injured. Both were sent to the hospital by ambulance, with unknown injuries.

The driver of the pickup, a woman from Sand Lake, was not transported.

The Cedar Springs Fire Department assisted at the scene.

No other details were available at press time.

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Unique whitetail deer draws world-wide attention

Dragon, a pie-bald deer, was rejected at birth by his mother.

Dragon, a pie-bald deer, was rejected at birth by his mother.

By Beth Altena

A Dragon in the wild wouldn’t stand much of a chance. Even under the close supervision of Deer Tracks Junction ranch, in Courtland Township, on Fourteen Mile Road (M-57), it was a close call. Dragon is a rare pie-bald whitetail deer born three weeks ago with coloration so startling that his mother would have killed him if Kelly and Hillary Powell had not removed him shortly after his birth.

Although the deer are bred and raised in captivity, their natural instincts remain. “If they think there is a problem they won’t waste their time on them. They abandon them or stomp on them,” said Hillary.

Luckily for Dragon, who is the offspring of a mother who also sports white coloration, he was able to spend his first days in the Powell home and is now penned nearby with others of this year’s new fawns. Hillary posted pictures of Dragon on the Deer Tracks Junction webpage, like they do of all new animals on the wildlife ranch, and received a surprising amount of attention.

N-Deer2Dragon appeared as a news clip on AOL, and the national coverage on CNN and the Huffington Post was not as far as Dragon’s fame spread. Hillary said a journalist from England called asking for a link to the drop box where Hillary posted Dragon’s newborn photos. A cousin of Kelly Powell also called to say he’d heard about the special white fawn in his hometown news—in Germany.

Hillary said the news coverage has brought plenty of people out to see Dragon, as well as the other deer, elk and assorted farm animals at the ranch. One woman said she had to have Dragon at any price, but was told he is not for sale.

Visitors are welcome to snap their own pictures of Dragon, when they see him on the evening wildlife tours. He is not available during the ranch’s day hours, however.

At three weeks old, Dragon is slowly being accepted by the other animals in his pasture, including another yearling pie-bald deer, and his own mother, who is happy with Dragon’s twin, who is normal colored. The older pie-bald deer, whose markings are extremely similar to Dragon, was born last year but garnered no fame, much less news coverage across America and overseas. Hillary said she isn’t sure what makes Dragon different, besides the fact that he is so pretty. Perhaps he is magical.

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Renaissance Faire this weekend


June 12-14

The Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for their first summer celebration event this weekend—the 2nd annual Renaissance Faire.

The fun will start Friday night at 6 p.m. at Morley Park with an outdoor Celtic dance class, and grilled brats and hotdogs catered by the Cedar Springs Lions Club. At 6:30 there will be a meet and greet with Renaissance Faire Queen Victoria and cast (bring your camera for photos). At about 9:30 p.m., or as soon as it’s dark, there will be a showing in the park of Disney’s “Robin Hood,” with 100 bags of popcorn donated by the Kent Theatre. Bring the family for fun, food and excitement!

Saturday there will be sidewalk sales all along Main Street from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; ice cream with Queen Victoria and cast at 11 a.m. at KC’s Kones and Coneys; a petting zoo from noon to 4 p.m.; live entertainment, dunk booth, vendor and food booths from noon to 8 p.m.; and a royal dinner and entertainment from 6-8 p.m. at Morley Park. And even more fun on Sunday!

Dress up is optional but a big part of the fun! See more details in the ad on page 2.

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Bears sighted in Algoma, Newaygo

This photo of a bear was taken at the US131 exit to 14 Mile Road. It appeared on Woodtv.com.

This photo of a bear was taken at the US131 exit to 14 Mile Road. It appeared on Woodtv.com.

By Judy Reed

Bears are on the move, and have been seen recently in communities closer to home.

On Monday, June 8, deputies from the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report that a vehicle had struck a bear in M-37 near 24th Street in Newaygo County. The bear died at the scene, but the driver was not injured. They turned the bear over to the DNR, along with three cubs they found in the area, that they presumed were hers.

On Tuesday, June 9, a man sent a photo to WoodTV.com through reportit, saying he had spotted a bear just off the US131 exit at 14 Mile, in Algoma Township, about 4 p.m. Alan Brunges snapped the photo with his cellphone.

It’s not the first bear spotted nearby. A few years ago the Post ran a photo from a surveillance camera that caught footage of a bear in a yard in Nelson Township.

Bears have also been sighted in Ottawa County and even further south.

To keep bears away from your yard, remove bird feeders, garbage bins, and other sources of food.

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Hometown Hero

N-Hometown-Hero-LarsonSparta native serves at Navy missile defense base in Romania

by Lt. Cmdr. Mike Billips

Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Seth Daniel Larson, from Sparta, Michigan, recently completed an assignment at Naval Support Facility Deveselu, Romania.

Larson, a 2004 graduate of Sparta High School and the son of Mike and Rhea Richardson of Sparta, served as part of the security force for the new installation, which was established in October 2014. He has served in the Navy for nine years.

NSF Deveselu is home to an Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System tenant command. Aegis Ashore is a land-based version of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System currently deployed on U.S. Navy ships, but deploys the SM-3 missile only.

Larson also attended Central Texas College. His home duty station is Naval Station Everett, Washington.

NSF Deveselu is located in south-central Romania in Olt County, near the city of Caracal. When completed, about 200 U.S. military, government employees and contractors will work at the base.

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The Post travels to Hoover Dam


Loralee Nauta, of Kent City, and Harriet Sturim, of Wyoming, traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, to visit family in March. Harriet’s daughter, Becky, and grandchildren, and Loralee’s stepmother, Nita, stepsister Sandi, and niece Kelsey, all live in or near Las Vegas.

Loralee, Harriet, Nita and Sandi all took a road trip to Hoover Dam. “It was a beautiful, warm day, and an awesome experience,” said Loralee. “It’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and to learn how they built the dam is amazing. It’s something all should see.”

Thanks, Loralee and Harriet, 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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Summer reading kicks off at library

Kids enjoyed superheroes at the Cedar Springs Public Library’s kick off program. Post photo by J. Reed.

Kids enjoyed superheroes at the Cedar Springs Public Library’s kick off program. Post photo by J. Reed.

It was a record-setting day Monday, June 8, when over 802 people visited the Cedar Springs Public Library, for the kickoff of the annual summer reading program.

“Opening Day was amazing, with crowds swarming in and out of the library, signing up, getting reading logs and free themed book bags stuffed with goodies and the library’s open hours,” remarked Library Director Donna Clark.

She said they gave out 490 of the 500 bags they had on hand. So far 575 kids and adults have signed up for the summer, and more will come. “We normally end up with over 700,” explained Clark.

At least 10 people got new library cards and bags full of books were taken home.

Kids enjoyed ice cream at the Cedar Springs Public Library’s kick off program. Post photos by J. Reed.

Kids enjoyed ice cream at the Cedar Springs Public Library’s kick off program. Post photo by J. Reed.

Outside, more books were offered at the Friends of the Library Book Sale. They made $294 for the day and were happy that books were heading to area homes.

Children enjoyed free ice cream, and some adorable bunnies, pigs, goats, and sheep from a local petting zoo and 4H club. “It was so much fun to watch the young students share about their favorite animal with other community children,” remarked Clark.

Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser was there with his team to show off the fire truck and rescue squad vehicle. Stacy Velting, Fire Dept. volunteer, said that the kids loved crawling through the back of the rescue truck and she thought that just about every child made his/her way through.

“I love doing these events for the community,” said Fraser.

Overall, 38 volunteers helped out at the event.

Kids enjoyed a petting zoo at the Cedar Springs Public Library’s kick off program. Post photo by J. Reed.

Kids enjoyed a petting zoo at the Cedar Springs Public Library’s kick off program. Post photo by J. Reed.

Reading logs through grade 6 have 5 weekly coupons. Each coupon is filled with 30 minute blocks to 2.5 hours. Each coupon gives students a weekly reward from local restaurants. Beyond those prizes, other large prizes are waiting for the big Celebration Carnival, when all the big prizes will be given out. The grand local prizes include a Kindle Fire, two bicycles, and more.

Clark said that at the end of the day, their door People Counter registered 802 persons. “That’s the closest we can get to the actual number, as most people came in the side door and never passed through the front door,” she explained.

The most they have ever had previously was 650.

“We made history June 8 at the Cedar Springs Public Library,” said Clark. “We all envision how great it will be to have this event at our new location on Main Street, in a library five times the size of this one, and with a fabulous wide-open yard and an amphitheater at the back of the property along the Meijer White Pine Trail! It will happen…we have the location, a site plan, an architect and around half the money raised already. Ask how you can get involved with the community group who is assisting the library and others in dreaming big dreams for Cedar Springs – the Community Building Development Team at CSCommunityCenter.org.

For a complete lineup of all the programs featured during the summer reading program, download our special “Beat the Boredom” pullout  or visit www.cedarspringslibrary.org.

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