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Imports and pickups are most popular stolen vehicles 


Drivers reminded to Lock It or Lose It 

Imports and pickups were the most popular vehicles stolen in 2014, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The top 10 most stolen vehicles in America in 2014 were:

  1. Honda Accord 51,290
  2. Honda Civic 43,936
  3. Ford Pickup (full size) 28,680
  4. Chevrolet Pickup (full size) 23,196
  5. Toyota Camry 14,605
  6. Dodge Pickup (full size) 11,075
  7. Dodge Caravan 10,483
  8. Nissan Altima 9,109
  9. Acura Integra 6,902
  10. Nissan Maxima 6,586

To avoid becoming a victim of automobile theft, the Michigan Automobile Theft Prevention Authority (ATPA) is teaming with the NICB to encourage motorists to use four layers of protection:

  1. Common Sense – Lock your vehicle and take the keys with you. Many thefts occur because owners make it easy for thieves to steal their vehicle by leaving it unlocked.
  2. Warning Device – Using a visible or audible warning device helps ensure your vehicle remains where you left it.
  3. Immobilizing Device – Kill switches, fuel cut-offs and smart keys are effective theft deterrents.
  4. Tracking Device – A tracking device that emits a signal to police or a monitoring station can help authorities recover your vehicle if it is stolen.

Since the establishment of the ATPA in 1986, it has helped to reduce motor vehicle theft in Michigan by 66 percent. The ATPA awards grants to law enforcement agencies, prosecutors’ offices and neighborhood organizations for the investigation, apprehension, prosecution and prevention of auto thefts.

During the 2014 grant year, ATPA grant-funded auto theft teams recovered 4,198 stolen vehicles, worth approximately $36 million. For more information about the ATPA, visit www.michigan.gov/atpa.

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Remembering 9/11

The World Trade Center towers were one of the targets in the 2001 terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

The World Trade Center towers were one of the targets in the 2001 terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

By Judy Reed, Editor

Some things are just hard to forget.

September 11, 2001, was a beautiful day. The kids were in school, and I was at home, living the life of a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom. Feeling safe and secure. And then the phone rang. It was my mother, telling me I better turn on the television, that something was happening. When I did, newscasters were trying to make sense of why a plane had hit the World Trade Center. It looked like a bad accident. Only, a couple of minutes later, I watched as another plane flew into the other tower and burst into flames. I thought for a second that I was watching a replay. Then I realized in horror that I wasn’t. We were under attack from some unknown source. And I didn’t feel so safe anymore.

Most people I’ve talked to have similar stories. They know where they were and what they were doing at 8:45 a.m. when the first plane hit. The second one hit 18 minutes later. Then at 9:45 a.m., a third jet slammed into the Pentagon. What we didn’t know at the time was that each of these planes had been hijacked by Osama Bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist group and they were filled with American people—innocent victims, just like those killed in each of the buildings. Each one of those travelers thought they were going to California that morning.

Another target was The Pentagon

Another target was The Pentagon

Less than 15 minutes after the terrorists struck the Pentagon, the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed in a massive cloud of dust and smoke. At 10:30 a.m., the other Trade Center tower collapsed. Close to 3,000 people died in the World Trade Center attack, including 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York City police officers, and 37 Port Authority police officers who were struggling to complete an evacuation of the buildings and save the office workers trapped on higher floors. Only six people in the World Trade Center towers at the time of their collapse survived. Almost 10,000 other people were treated for injuries.

A fourth plane never made it to its target, thanks to the heroic efforts of some of the passengers, who attacked the hijackers in the cockpit. One of the passengers, Thomas Burnett, Jr., told his wife over the phone, “I know we’re all going to die. There’s three of us who are going to do something about it. I love you, honey.” Another passenger, Todd Beamer, was heard saying, “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll” over an open line. That plane’s target was unknown, but the people aboard probably saved many lives while sacrificing their own.

The attacks left many feeling hopeless. But the people in Cedar Springs showed they were made of sterner—and more compassionate—stuff. In the days immediately following, churches everywhere opened their doors for prayer meetings. A national day of prayer was decreed, and churches were open to help those looking for divine strength and understanding. Even the schools observed a moment of silence on that day. More people turned out for the monthly blood drive at the United Methodist Church than they could handle. A special salute was done before the Friday football game in honor of the rescue personnel lost. A separate memorial service was organized and held at Skinner Field to honor and remember victims of the tragedy. Wolverine World Wide sent 2,100 pairs of boots to New York City firefighters.

Cedar View students made this special flag, shown in the photo, which featured their hands, with words of kindness. It hung in St. Paul’s Chapel, and then was moved to the Smithsonian Institute. Post photo by J. Reed.

Cedar View students made this special flag, shown in the photo, which featured their hands, with words of kindness. It hung in St. Paul’s Chapel, and then was moved to the Smithsonian Institute. Post photo by J. Reed.

One of the acts of kindness that will live on indefinitely was created by students at Cedar View Elementary—fourth and fifth graders. The flag they created stretched from the ceiling to the floor in the school hallway. The stripes were made up of hand cut outs on which the students had written special messages such as, “I’m sorry for all the people who lost their family members,” “Thank you survivors who went back and tried to save other people,” “Thank you for donating blood, thank you for putting out fires,” “We are praying for the police, fireman and doctors,” and “I’m glad to be an American.” They sent the banner to New York City when it was completed, and it hung in St. Paul’s Chapel where rescue workers went to take breaks. Someone even sent back pictures of it hanging in the chapel. When it was taken down, it went to the Smithsonian for their 9/11 exhibit, and the special picture shown on the front page was sent to Cedar View Elementary, thanking them on behalf of all the rescue workers and one million visitors to St. Paul’s Chapel who were touched by the school’s gift of love, creativity and compassion. Those students graduated in 2009 and 2010 and can proudly say they were part of something special.

When we remember 9/11 this weekend and honor the memories of those lost, let’s try to remember more than just the horrible event. Let’s try to remember the feeling of camaraderie, of loving our neighbors, helping those less fortunate, what it means to be kind to one another, what it really means to give. I think the people who lost their lives that day would want it that way.

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Man arrested for Sparta break-in 



Michael Anthony Slater

Michael Anthony Slater

A 26-year-old Ravenna man was arraigned on multiple charges this week for breaking into a Sparta business.

According to Sparta Police Chief Andrew Milanowski, the Sparta Police Department was dispatched to the Sparta Sport shop 169 N. State Street, last Friday, September 4, on a Breaking & Entering complaint. A door had been pried open at the back of the building, and at least one firearm was missing.

Police checked video surveillance footage and found that a white male appeared to enter the building alone and started casing the area. A short time later the interior alarm went off and the subject fled the building. While fleeing, the man grabbed a rifle.

The investigating officer put out a broadcast to area departments informing them of the incident and a short time later received a call from the Muskegon County Sheriff Department and the Kent County Sheriff Department. Both shared information on a possible suspect, who they were also looking at, in similar type incidents.

A search warrant was obtained for the subject’s residence and his vehicles. The firearm stolen from Sparta Sport Shop was recovered in the search. Police interviewed the suspect, and he was then arrested and lodged in the Kent County Correctional Facility.

The suspect, Michael Anthony Slater, 26, of Ravenna, was arraigned on Tuesday, September 8, on charges of Breaking & Entering a Building with Intent to Commit Larceny, Possession of Burglary Tools, Larceny of a Firearm, Felon in Possession of a Firearm & a Misdemeanor Warrant out of Muskegon County.

This case was a joint effort of the Muskegon County Sheriff Department, Kent County Sheriff Department and the Sparta Police Department.

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The Post travels to the North Pole and the Arctic Circle


N-Post-travels-to-North-Pole2-Misner-Conolly-webThe Post traveled 15,000 miles with Mary Ann Misner and John Cornell this summer, starting May 31, when they crossed into Canada at Sault Saint Marie, and traveled northwest across Canada to the Alaska Highway at Dawson Creek. Their trip included a side trip into the NW Territory, posting a sign “2,856 miles from home” at Ft. Watson, Yukon home of over 80,000 signs in a two-block area. At Skagway, Alaska they followed the gold rush prospectors route up over White Mountain Pass, to Dawson, Yukon. They ferried across the Yukon River and traveled the “Top of the World Highway” to Chicken, Alaska, back down to the Alaska Highway, then on to Delta Junction the end of the 1,400-plus mile highway. Their trip took them to the North Pole, Fairbanks, and finally the Arctic Circle in Alaska.

They traveled south through Denali Nat’l Park and Anchorage, and their trip included visits to the Gulf of Alaska seaports. They rode two days on the Alaska ferry highway down the inside passage to Prince Rupert, B.C., and then down into the lower 48 states. They visited several western National Parks and drove down the Pacific Coast, through the redwood forest and across the California, Mojave Desert into Arizona, then to Roswell, New Mexico to visit a niece. They drove across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, to Graceland at Memphis, then on to Knoxville, Tennessee to visit a granddaughter. They arrived home in Michigan, near the end of July, a seven-week fun-filled trip.

Thanks for taking us with you on your Alaskan 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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Vendors arrested at flea market


Hundreds of people attend the Burley Park flea market, in Howard City, on summer holidays. Patrons who attended the flea market this past Labor Day got a little extra excitement while shopping for bargains.

Detectives from the Michigan State Police (MSP) Sixth District Tobacco Tax Enforcement Team were inspecting the Burley Park Flea Market in Howard City, on Monday, September 7, when they discovered several vendors selling counterfeit purses, perfume and headphones.

Over 400 items were seized, including counterfeit Beats headphones and MK purses. The goods were valued at approximately $10,000. Two of these vendors were arrested and their inventory of goods seized.

One of the suspects fled on foot from the scene, but was captured by troopers.

Detectives determined the two suspects had traveled to the yearly event from Chicago. The two men, ages 17 and 19, were lodged on felony charges at the Montcalm County Jail.

“Intellectual property crimes are not victimless crimes because they threaten legitimate Michigan businesses and commerce,” the MSP said in a news release on the crime.

For more information on intellectual property crimes, visit the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at www.iprcenter.gov.

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Human cases of West Nile Virus reported


Michigan health officials have identified the state’s first confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) for 2015 in Macomb, Monroe, and Ottawa counties, and are reminding people to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

“We have clear evidence that West Nile virus is present in the state again this summer,” says Dr. Eden Wells, Chief Medical Executive at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “Even late in the season, remembering to take a few minutes to protect ourselves and our loved ones from mosquito bites when outside can make a big difference.”

Statewide, 57 birds have tested positive for WNV so far this season, and 11 WNV positive mosquito pools have been detected form Bay, Kent, Oakland, Saginaw, and Wayne counties. Infected birds and mosquitoes can provide an early warning of WNV activity in a community. For the most current information on mosquito-borne virus activity in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/westnilevirus.

Michigan residents are encouraged to take the following steps to avoid WNV:

  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.
  • Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.
  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA approved product to exposed skin or clothing, and always following the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.

Take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours between dusk and dawn. Use repellent and protective clothing, or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.

Choose a repellent concentration rated for the time you will spend outdoors. When applying repellent to children, apply it to your own hands and rub them on the child. Avoid the eyes and mouth and do not apply to children’s hands because they sometimes put their hands in their mouths. Do not apply repellents to infants under 6 months of age and instead place nets over strollers and baby carriers.

Most people bitten by a WNV infected mosquito show no symptoms of illness. However, some become sick three to 15 days after exposure. About one-in-five infected persons will have mild illness with fever. About one in 150 infected people will become severely ill.

Symptoms of WNV include: encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord and brain linings) include stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, muscle weakness, convulsions and paralysis.

People 50 and older are more susceptible to severe WNV disease symptoms. Physicians are urged to test patients for WNV if they present with fever and signs of meningitis or encephalitis, or sudden painless paralysis in the absence of stroke in the summer months.  For more information and surveillance activity about WNV, visit www.michigan.gov/westnilevirus.

According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, people can stay healthy by using simple, effective strategies to protect themselves and their families by reading and following all repellant label directions. MDARD also urges residents to consider using biological controls for small lakes and ponds you own, such as Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), which is available at many stores.

There is an effective vaccine for horses and MDARD reminds horse owners to work with their local veterinarian to determine appropriate vaccination status. Because dawn and dusk are worst time for mosquitoes, it is also recommended that horses be kept inside at those times, and it’s important to remove any stagnant water from the premises.

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Mackinaw Striders raise $33,000 for MS

The Mackinaw Striders made a stop in Cedar Springs on August 26 on their walk from Grand Rapids to the Mackinac Bridge.

The Mackinaw Striders made a stop in Cedar Springs on August 26 on their walk from Grand Rapids to the Mackinac Bridge.

Multiple Sclerosis affects people in the prime of their lives, between the ages of 20 and 50. Every hour someone is newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. More than 2.5 million people worldwide live with this unpredictable disease. The symptoms of MS are different for everyone; the only certainty is that it will affect yet another person every hour of every day.

The Mackinaw Striders set a goal to walk from Grand Rapids to Mackinaw City in 11 days, and to raise $25,000, which they later changed to $33,300, for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

They set off on August 26 from Grand Rapids and walked to Pierson, making a stop at the White Pine Trail staging area in Cedar Springs.

Sari Swets, 50, who suffers from MS, walked the whole 222 miles to the Bridge.

Sari Swets, 50, who suffers from MS, walked the whole 222 miles to the Bridge.

Sari Brummel Swets, 50, a former teacher who was diagnosed with MS in 2007, had previously finished four MS walks of 50 miles, but had never walked this far. She, along with her father, Roger Brummel, and brother-in-law Paul Katerburg, and team member Sandy Johnson, walked the whole way and then over the bridge for 225.7 miles. Other team members accompanied them along the way.

“I will make my mark and do my part to make a difference in the lives of those living with MS,” wrote Sari, on her support page. “By supporting me you too will make your mark in this pursuit.”

They fell short of their goal by $300. To see the team page and to donate, google “Mackinaw Striders.” to learn more about MS, visit http://www.nationalmssociety.org/.

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Michigan Reads! features “Do unto otters”


A children’s book about good-mannered forest creatures by Michigan author Laurie Keller has been named as the featured title in the 2015 “Michigan Reads! One State, One Children’s Book” program, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced last week.

Keller, who grew up in Muskegon and now lives on the state’s southwest side, wrote and illustrated Do Unto Otters (Henry Holt, 2007). The book tells a story of how Mr. Rabbit learns, with sage advice from Mr. Owl, to get along swimmingly with his new neighbors, the Otters, by simply treating them the same way he would want to be treated—the Golden Rule.

“Reading can be fun and entertaining while teaching us something at the same time,” State Superintendent Brian Whiston said. “Having all children reading at grade level by the end of third grade remains a top priority of the MDE.”

Cedar Springs Library Director Donna Clark said they will be celebrating the book this month during their weekly story time and with grades K-5 CTA students who come in for library visits throughout the month. “It’s a cool book,” said Clark.

Keller has written and illustrated a number of children’s picture books and also illustrates books for other authors. She presents on her work for children and adults at schools, libraries and other events.

The Library of Michigan (LM) coordinates “Michigan Reads!” The program is devoted to increasing early childhood literacy and pre-reading readiness. Programming, events and author visits are scheduled throughout the state in September and October. The program’s official launch is Tuesday, September 15 at the Beagle Elementary School in Grand Ledge.

Michigan Reads! is modeled after the “One Book, One Community” concept and is designed to emphasize the importance of shared reading practices with babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and young school-age children. These practices set the stage for fluent reading achievement in children as they enter school.

“This year’s Michigan Reads! program should help prompt Michigan residents of all ages reading aloud to children, inspiring a love of reading in both readers and listeners,” said State Librarian Randy Riley. “Do Unto Otters is a really fun way to bring children and parents together, reading and learning.”

The program is supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and partners with the Library of Michigan Foundation. Additional contributions come from Jackson National Life Insurance and Macmillan Publishers.

As a result of the Institute of Museum and Library Services support, the LM will provide a hardcover copy of Do Unto Otters and programming materials to all public libraries, elementary schools, Head Start and Great Start Readiness programs across the state. In addition, Keller will tour a number of Michigan libraries and schools.

“Michigan Reads!” provides librarians, early childhood educators, parents, and caregivers with ideas to help children develop literacy skills through play-based activities. Since its inception in 2004, the program aims to promote the value and benefits of reading early and often to children, to encourage family bonding through reading and to increase awareness and usage of Michigan’s libraries as excellent resources for learning.

More information about “Michigan Reads!” – including dates and locations of author visits and materials for parents, teachers and caregivers – is available at www.michigan.gov/michiganreads.

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State Police investigate credit card fraud


The Michigan State Police and the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office are investigating reports of fraudulent credit card activity. Numerous Ionia County residents’ credit card information appears to have been compromised. The investigation is ongoing, but investigators believe the credit card information may have been compromised at pay at the pump gas pumps in the Ionia area.

The Michigan State Police and the Ionia County Sheriff’s office strongly encourage citizens that have used pay at the pump gas pumps to closely monitor their bank statements and report and fraudulent purchases to their local law enforcement.

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Red Hawks fall to Panthers in GRidiron Classic

The Red Hawks and the Comstock Panthers faced off last Saturday in the GRidiron Classic. Their game was one of the three hosted at Grand Valley’s Lubbers Stadium in Allendale. The games were put together by the West Michigan Sports Commission. Football photos by K. Alvesteffer and R. LaLone.

The Red Hawks and the Comstock Panthers faced off last Saturday in the GRidiron Classic. Their game was one of the three hosted at Grand Valley’s Lubbers Stadium in Allendale. The games were put together by the West Michigan Sports Commission. Football photos by K. Alvesteffer and R. LaLone.

It was an offensive battle last Saturday, August 26, between the Cedar Springs Red Hawks and Comstock Panthers, in the first ever GRidiron Classic, at Grand Valley’s Lubbers Stadium. Both teams had something to prove, but it was the Panthers that came out on top, 48-38. The Red Hawks will take on another non-conference rival Thursday (tonight), when they host the Sparta Spartans at Red Hawk Stadium. Come on out at cheer on your 2014 OK-Bronze champions! Game time is 7 p.m. Click here to read about Saturday’s game.

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