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Free recycling of older-style TVs ends soon


Grand Rapids—Kent County is partnering with a manufacturer-supported recycling program to accept cathode ray tube (CRT) electronic devices and other electronics at no charge. The fee-free program began on July 18 and, to date has drawn nearly 300,000 pounds of CRT devices out of basements, garages and closets. This equals approximately 4,800 televisions. The County’s goal is to collect 500,000 pounds by the end of September.

“We’re thrilled that the community has responded so positively to this limited-time opportunity to recycle TVs and computer monitors but we know there are still some out there that are ready to be recycled,” said Darwin Baas, Director of the Kent County Department of Public Works. “We’re offing one last call for anyone who has CRTs to recycle to bring them to one of Kent County’s three drop-off locations before September 30th.”

To make the offer even sweeter, Kent County has collaborated with local electronics recycler Advanced Technology Recycling (ATR) and electronics retailer Decker & Sons to give away a brand new flat screen TV to one lucky recycler before September 30.

“The person to bring in the 6,000th CRT TV or monitor will be given a brand new TV to take home and enjoy, thanks to our community partnership,” said Baas. The winner will be announced on Kent County’s ImagineTrash Facebook page, @imaginetrash.

Though it seems most households have purchased flat-screen televisions, many may still have an older cathode ray tube (CRT) television in their home, either still in use or stashed away in the garage or basement.

CRT devices and other electronics are processed by ATR, a third-party recycler in Grand Rapids. CRT televisions contain approximately 5-10 pounds of lead, a toxic component for our environment that can cause a variety of health issues.

Kent County’s facilities for electronics recycling are located at North Kent Recycling & Waste Center at 2908 Ten Mile Road in Rockford; Kent County Recycling and Education Center at 977 Wealthy SW in Grand Rapids; and South Kent Landfill at 10300 South Kent Drive in Byron Center. For facility hours and directions, visit www.recyclekent.org.

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SUV hits motorcycle

This SUV rear-ended a motorcycle Monday, in Solon Township. Post photo by J. Reed.

This SUV rear-ended a motorcycle Monday, in Solon Township. Post photo by J. Reed.


A Newaygo man was sent to the hospital on Monday afternoon, August 29, after the motorcycle he was driving was hit from behind.

The crash occurred on 17 Mile, just east of Pine Island. According to Deputy Lecuru, a SUV rear-ended the motorcycle. Both vehicles appeared to be eastbound.

The driver of the motorcycle, a 28-year-old Newaygo man, was not wearing a helmet. Deputy Fire Chief Chris Paige, with Solon Township Fire and Rescue, said that the man was alert and talking, and showed no obvious signs of severe trauma. He was transported to the hospital by Rockford ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries—mainly bumps and bruises.

The driver of the SUV, a 54-year-old woman from Casnovia, was not injured in the crash.

Deputy Lecuru said that alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the crash. The crash is still under investigation.

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Red Hawks battle it out with Zeeland West

Red Hawk quarterback Collin Alvesteffer runs with the ball.

Red Hawk quarterback Collin Alvesteffer runs with the ball.

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks Varsity football team showed everyone last Thursday night that they won’t back down from a challenge. They needed someone to play the first week, and state champion Zeeland West needed an opponent. So they said yes. And come game time, they surprised a lot of people with how well they kept the Dux at bay. In fact, the Red Hawks did something no other team has done in two years—they kept them scoreless in the first half, and only allowed 14 points the whole game. And that’s on a team that generally scores 30-70 points each game. The Red Hawks went into half leading 3-0, but ultimately lost the game 14-9.

“I couldn’t be happier with the effort of our team, but obviously we are disappointed in the result,” said Head Coach Gus Kapolka. “We had opportunities to win the game and just came up a little short. This game will make us stronger moving forward, and we will be a better team for having played a team the caliber of Zeeland West.”

Click here for an article on the game by student reporter Maddie Nichols.

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Hit and run driver charged in bicyclist’s death

Charles Driggers died Friday August 26, nine days after being struck in a hit and run crash.

Charles Driggers died Friday August 26, nine days after being struck in a hit and run crash.

A Grand Rapids man that struck a bicyclist on August 19 and then left the scene, is now being charged in the man’s death.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, Benjamin VanderPloeg, of Grand Rapids, was traveling westbound on Cannonsburg Road, east of Chauncey Avenue on August 17, about 8:19 p.m., when he struck bicyclist Charles Driggers, 66, from behind. The driver then left the scene.

Benjamin A. Vander Ploeg

Benjamin A. Vander Ploeg

VanderPloeg was later arrested and charged with driving while license suspended causing serious injury, and failing to stop at a serious injury accident in relation to this incident. However, the victim died on August 26 of his injuries, and two new charges were added Wednesday, August 31: driving while license suspended causing death; and failing to stop at a serious injury accident causing death.

Bond was set at $200,000. The suspect is still in custody.

Driggers was reportedly training for an Iron man competition when the crash occurred.

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Rockford football team forfeits due to illness


Kent County Health Department Investigating Potential Cryptosporidiosis Outbreak 

The Rockford Rams forfeited the first football game of the season last week after several dozen people associated with the team, including players, became ill.

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is investigating a likely outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis among approximately 30 people who are closely associated with the Rockford High School varsity football program. On Wednesday, August 24, 2016 health department staff was made aware that these individuals were suffering symptoms of a gastrointestinal illness.

On August 26, the KCHD received laboratory results that confirm the diagnosis of cryptosporidiosis in a second person associated with the team. Laboratory tests confirmed the diagnosis of a previous case on Wednesday, August 24, 2016.

On Thursday, August 25, 2016, KCHD conducted an onsite assessment at Rockford High School as part of its investigation. In light of that assessment and the fact that the outbreak is not significantly affecting other groups on campus, KCHD does not believe at this time that the school or its water supply are the source of the infection. The Kent County Health Department continues to work closely with the Rockford School District to monitor, investigate and mitigate the situation. The investigation is focusing on exposures and activities that are unique to the varsity football team.

Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal disease that is caused by the microscopic parasite Cryptosporidium. Commonly referred to as Crypto, the parasite lives in the gut of humans and animals and is shed through feces. While the parasite can be spread in many ways, water is the most common method. This can happen when animal waste contaminates a water source and that water is eventually consumed as drinking water or is used as recreational water for swimming. Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of waterborne disease in the United States. More information on Crypto can be found here https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/crypto/general.html. Cryptosporidiosis generally begins 2-10 days after becoming infected with the parasite. The most common symptom is watery diarrhea but can include stomach cramps, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, fever and weight loss. KCHD recommends rigorous personal hygiene and sanitation in the home environment. Good handwashing is important and sick people should not be preparing food for others. KCHD also encourages sick individuals (vomiting and/or diarrhea) to contact their family physician and inform them that they are ill and associated with the Rockford football team. KCHD has notified local physicians of the situation and testing recommendations.


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Act of kindness overwhelms family

The Comstock Park Varsity Soccer team showed solidarity with the Cedar Springs Soccer team by giving each one of them a shirt showing their support for a cure for Brison Ricker.

The Comstock Park Varsity Soccer team showed solidarity with the Cedar Springs Soccer team by giving each one of them a shirt showing their support for a cure for Brison Ricker.

Back row (L to R): Comstock Park coach Jamie Bogart, Kim Ricker, Brian Ricker, Cedar Springs coach Kyle Avink. Front: Brison Ricker.

Back row (L to R): Comstock Park coach Jamie Bogart, Kim Ricker, Brian Ricker, Cedar Springs coach Kyle Avink. Front: Brison Ricker.

A year ago, 15-year-old Brison Ricker was playing on the Cedar Springs Red Hawk Varsity soccer team as a freshman. Just a few short months after the season ended, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and has been fighting for his life ever since.

This year, Brison and his family traveled to Comstock Park to watch and support the Varsity Soccer team for their first game on August 24 against Comstock Park. But what happened at the game was something unexpected.

“It was tear-filled start to the night as the ‘opposing team’ showed our family amazing support, with a t-shirt for Brison and all the players on the CS team, a signed game ball and a donation to our family,” wrote Kim Ricker on her Facebook page. “Over $800 was raised from this team who does not even know our family personally. This shows incredible sportsmanship and what a great coach and team they are! Tonight was so much more than a game, and we are so grateful to coach Jamie Bogart and the Comstock Park Varsity Team!”

The t-shirts given to the team and to Brison had a number one on the front with Cedar Springs vs Comstock Park 8/24/2016 over it, and on the back it read: Opponents on the field; teammates for a cure. #Rickerstrong

Thank you for sharing that wonderful act of kindness!

Do you have an act of kindness you’d like to share with our readers? Shoot us an email telling us the details of what happened, along with a photo (if you have it) and your contact info, and we’ll print it as space allows.

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The Post travels to Japan


Christine Merlington, of Sand Lake, recently returned from a week-long visit to her son Robert Burmeister, who is in the U.S. Navy and stationed on the U.S.S. Antietam in Yokosuka, Japan.

Christine is standing in front of the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine in Kamakura, Kanagawa prefecture.

Thanks for taking us with you, Christine!

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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Mushroom eating time

Barry Arthur with the giant puffball mushroom he found in Spencer Township. Post photo by J. Reed.

Barry Arthur with the giant puffball mushroom he found in Spencer Township. Post photo by J. Reed.

Barry Arthur, of Cedar Springs, stopped by the Post this week to show us a giant puffball mushroom he found out by Lincoln Lake, off 18 Mile Road. “I was just driving around when I saw it,” he said.

Giant puffball mushrooms are whitish balls that feel like Styrofoam. They can be as small as a softball, or as large as a beach ball, with short, root-like fibers connecting it to the ground. Most giant puffballs grow to be from 3 to 27 inches in diameter, although occasionally some can be much larger.

Arthur estimated this one to be about 20 pounds, and 26-28 inches around.

“You slice them like bread, and cook them in butter over low heat until they get rubbery like other mushrooms,” explained Arthur. He also noted that if they were light green on the inside or brown on the outside, they were going bad and not good to eat.

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Labor Day wraps up cheapest summer at pump in 12 years


N-GasPrices-chart$18.9 billion saved 

With summer drawing to a close, motorists have enjoyed the cheapest summer at the pump since 2004, saving $18.9 billion over its duration versus last summer, a sweet note as they take to the roads to celebrate Labor Day.

“As the holiday approaches, it’s true that gasoline prices have risen across the country due in part to rumors of production cuts from OPEC which could begin to correct the balance of supply and demand, but take note—it could be just the third time in a decade prices are rising ahead of Labor Day,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “While today’s trend may lead to some frustration, gas prices are likely to soon revert, leaving behind what has been the cheapest summer at the pump in over a decade.”

According to GasBuddy analysts, gasoline prices have remained low even in light of high gasoline demand due to rampant oil production, leading supply to outpace demand for several years, causing oil inventories to bulge and depressing oil prices.

In addition, as U.S. production has increased over the last several years, oil producing countries have been fighting to win back market share. Saudi Arabia was a key player in driving oil prices down by announcing a new strategy to pump as much as they could late in 2014. The downturn accelerated when sanctions on Iran were eased, leading Iran to boost production and fight for market share against Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The U.S. national average for a gallon of gasoline is likely to close out the summer driving season having averaged $2.24 per gallon compared to 2015’s summer average of $2.70 per gallon. For Labor Day, GasBuddy expects the national average to be $2.19 per gallon, a slight decrease versus the current national average of $2.21 per gallon and far lower than prices during the early part of the decade.

Interestingly, GasBuddy data shows that since 2005, gas prices between the end of August and Labor Day have dropped seven out of ten times, with prices averaging a 2-cent decline. The largest jump was in 2005 when gas prices shot up 20 cents as Hurricane Katrina hit the U.S. and oil rigs in the Gulf.

With the conclusion of Labor Day weekend comes the end of the summer driving season in the world’s largest gasoline consuming country, setting the stage for gasoline demand and prices to fall. In addition, EPA’s summer gasoline requirements end September 15 in much of the nation, opening the door for cheaper winter gasoline to return to pumps—a double whammy of downward pressure just in time for autumn—a yearly trend that’s unfazed by upcoming elections.

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129th Trooper Recruit School Graduates 


Forty-seven recruits become State Police Troopers 

N-MichiganStatePolice-logoLast Friday, August 26, Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police (MSP), administered the Oath of Office to 47 new Michigan State Police (MSP) troopers at the graduation ceremony of the 129th Trooper Recruit School at the Lansing Center.

“The troopers graduating today have demonstrated a dedication to hard work and perseverance to join the ranks of the elite Michigan Department of State Police,” stated graduation keynote speaker, Gov. Rick Snyder. “I commend their commitment to public safety and service to their fellow citizens of our great state.”

In her address to the graduates, Etue said, “As you accept the honor of becoming troopers, I expect you to uphold the department’s proud tradition of service through excellence, integrity and courtesy. In all things, do what’s right, do your best and treat others the way you want to be treated.”

Five of the graduates will be stationed in the Sixth District: Michael Antuma, of Rockford, will be stationed at Rockford; Nicholas VanderMolen, of Allendale, will also be at Rockford; Kelly Julin, of Houghton Lake is at Lakeview; Jarrod Osborn, of St. Johns, will also be at Lakeview; and Megan Symonds, of Saline, will be also stationed at Lakeview.

Tpr. Dijon Ware, who was elected Class Orator by his fellow recruits and received the Team Building Award, spoke on behalf of the graduating class at the ceremony. Other award recipients included Tpr. William Robbins, who received the Academic Achievement Award, Tpr. Javon Strickland who received the Marksmanship Award, and Tpr. Peter Oskvarek who received the Outstanding Performance Award.

The 129th Trooper Recruit School began on March 27, when 60 prospective troopers reported to the MSP Training Academy in Lansing. During their 22-week training, they received instruction in firearms, water safety, defensive tactics, patrol techniques, report writing, ethics, first aid, criminal law, crime

As part of the department’s commitment to “Providing Service With A Purpose,” the recruits participated in a community service project in which they collected and then delivered personal hygiene items to the City Rescue Mission of Lansing.

In order to be selected to attend the academy, all applicants had to pass a stringent selection process that included a physical fitness test, background investigation and hiring interview.

The 129th Trooper Recruit School is the first of four trooper recruit schools this year, as well as a motor carrier officer recruit school:

  • 130th Trooper Recruit School began June 5, 2016; will graduate Nov. 4, 2016.
  • 131st Trooper Recruit School began July 17, 2016; will graduate Dec. 22, 2016.
  • 21st Motor Carrier Officer Recruit School starts Aug. 28, 2016; will graduate Jan. 6, 2017.
  • 132nd Trooper Recruit School starts Aug. 28, 2016; will graduate Feb. 3, 2017.

The MSP continues to recruit; interested candidates should visit www.michigan.gov/mspjobs for more information on how to apply.

Including these new troopers, there are approximately 1,000 troopers assigned statewide.

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