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A message from the Cedar Springs Fire Department

 

By Fire Chief Marty Fraser

The members of the Cedar Springs Fire Department would like to remind the citizens of the community that when approaching an incident scene, whether fire or accident, to please use caution and pay attention to the area.

This department recently had a structure fire and a citizen drove around fire apparatus that was blocking the street, and ran over a section of fire hose. Not only could this have caused damage to the hose, but could possibly endanger firefighters actively fighting fires. If, in this case, the hose would have ruptured, causing failure, the firefighters on the nozzle could have lost water in their suppression efforts.

Please be observant as to the situation and DO NOT drive through an area shut down to normal traffic flow. The firefighters of all communities thank you for being observant and cautious.

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Winter wonderland

Post photo by L. Allen.

Post photo by L. Allen.

The unusually warm weather we had in December left some feeling (or hoping) that winter would never come. But now that it’s January, winter weather warnings and advisories, with blowing snow and windchills below zero, have shown us that we are firmly in the grip of winter. No matter how cold it is, it can still be beautiful, as you can see in this photo.

Do you have photos of winter nature scenes or winter fun you can send us? We’d like to see your landscapes, snowmen and other fun activities. Email them to news@cedarspringspost.com.

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Man involved in standoff gets prison time

Adam Lee Dickinson

Adam Lee Dickinson

The Cedar Springs man who choked his girlfriend and was involved in a standoff with police for several hours last summer has been sentenced to serve between two and 10 years in prison.

The event started on Wednesday, July 22, 2015, when police received a frantic 911 call from a woman at 348 S. Sarah Street, in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates, who said that her boyfriend, identified as Adam Lee Dickinson, 24, had choked her and that he was armed with a shotgun. He had forced her out of the home, holding the gun in one hand, and their one-year-old girl in the other.

The Kent County Sheriff Department, assisted by the Michigan State Police, responded to the scene, shortly before 8 p.m., July 22, and secured a perimeter around the residence. They also blocked off intersections leading to the residence. Several hours were spent giving verbal commands through a loudspeaker. Police repeatedly told the man to exit the home, but they got no response. Kent County Sheriff Department Hostage Negotiators were also called to the scene to assist, however, Dickinson refused to communicate with them.

The Kent County Sheriff Department Tactical Team also responded and utilized several methods, including the deployment of cameras, to monitor Dickinson and ensure the child was not injured inside the home.

After a several hour standoff, the Tactical Team entered the residence and took Dickinson into custody. The one year old child was rescued and in good spirits when she was turned over to her mother. The Sheriff Department said two members of the Tactical Team suffered minor injuries while taking Dickinson into custody.

Dickinson was originally charged with unlawful Imprisonment; two counts of Assault by Strangulation; two counts of Resisting and Obstructing a Police Officer Causing Injury; and child abuse-3rd degree. As part of a plea deal, all but three of the charges were dismissed. Dickinson will serve one to four years on each of the resisting and obstructing a police officer counts, and two to 10 years on the assault by strangulation charge.

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Former Johnson Lumber property to be site of community building

This map shows the land dedicated to developing the heart of Cedar Springs. The parcels outlined in green belong to the CBDT, and the parcel outlined in blue belongs to the city, but will be developed by the CBDT. The area in red is the White Pine Trail.

This map shows the land dedicated to developing the heart of Cedar Springs. The parcels outlined in green belong to the CBDT, and the parcel outlined in blue belongs to the city, but will be developed by the CBDT. The area in red is the White Pine Trail.

Plans by the Community Building Development Team to build up “the heart of Cedar Springs” in the area of Main and Maple Streets are coming together, and the latest involves a new community building.

“Over the last three years, an enormous amount of discussion and collaboration between the City Council, Planning Commission, Library Board, Solon Township, Chamber of Commerce, North County Trail and White Pine Trail Boards, and the Community Building Development Team (CBDT) members have taken place,” according to CBDT Chairman Kurt Mabie. “The focus thus far has been on gathering input and guidance from all supporting governmental units, community groups, businesses, and residents so that a comprehensive plan could be developed that will best serve our community residents for years to come. Our new year begins with some significant announcements.”

CS Manufacturing has made the final transfer of ownership for the property to the west of the White Pine Trail at the end of Maple Street, to the CBDT. The property was purchased by CS Manufacturing a year ago with the express purpose of transferring ownership of a large portion of it to the CBDT for use in construction of a new Community Building.

Plans for a new Community Building nestled up next to the Creek, are in the works for this perfect piece of property. Between the new Library, Amphitheater, Boardwalk, and Community Building, a vibrant “Heart” of Cedar Springs is becoming a reality.

To complement this beautiful gift from CS Manufacturing to our wonderful city through the CBDT, the CBDT has purchased two more lots at a reduced price through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Sommer, along with assistance from realtor Leon Stout. This additional property will be used to fulfill the CBDT mission to, “incorporate natural features and enhance characteristics that already define our community while assisting in the construction of buildings and spaces where the greater Cedar Springs community can gather for cultural, educational, recreational, commercial and family/community events.”  These lots are both to the north of Cedar Creek, one with frontage on Pine Street and bordering the White Pine Trail to the Creek, and the second behind the most recent purchase, 157 Main Street, up to the White Pine Trail.

Approximately 6 acres of land has now been donated and/or purchased by the CBDT. These pieces are adjoining to the city owned property on the northwest corner of Main and Maple Streets. All properties will be used to serve and benefit the citizens of the greater Cedar Springs community.

“On behalf of the CBDT, I would like to particularly thank our city council and staff for their countless hours of hard work in bringing this community together and leading the way in making our community the best it can be!” continued Mabie. “The council’s leadership in promoting unity and providing quality services continues to pave the path for significant growth and improvements within our community.”

The CBDT is a non-profit 501c3 organization comprised of community volunteers. “All community members’ ideas and input are needed. Please help shape the future of Cedar Springs by attending meetings and getting involved,” said Mabie. The group meets on the third Tuesday of each month in the Board Room of Hilltop School at 6 pm. The next meeting is January 19 and everyone is welcome.

More information can be found at www.cscommunitycenter.org or like Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team on Facebook.

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OK2Say received 2,000-plus student tips in 2015

N-Ok2SaySchool safety initiative saves lives and helps kids struggling at school 

A school safety program that emphasizes that it’s ok for students to tell when someone’s being bullied, self-harming, threatening suicide, carrying weapons, etc., received over 2,000 tips in its first full year of operation.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Michigan State Police Director Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue announced the 2015 results of the OK2Say student safety program this week.

In 2015, the school safety initiative generated over 2,165 tips in 30 categories, including:

  • 536 tips on bullying;
  • 396 tips on suicide threats;
  • 261 tips related to depression or academics;
  • 252 tips on cyberbullying, and;
  • 158 tips regarding self-harm.

“The results show OK2Say is making a difference for Michigan kids. We have stopped violence, saved lives, and helped make it a little easier for students across Michigan to walk through the hallways at school,” said Schuette. “OK2Say is one more tool in a school’s safety box. We will continue our commitment to building a responsible and safe culture for all Michigan students.”

“The Michigan State Police is pleased to find that as more students learn about the OK2Say program, more students are using it,” stated Etue. “All tips are taken seriously; nothing is too small or insignificant to report.”

In 2015, more than 1,000 OK2Say presentations reached 130,000 students across the State of Michigan. Eighty-six percent of the presentations were done in schools with students in grades 6-12. Other presentations were held at community-wide events.

OK2say: Breaking the culture of silence among students 

OK2Say is a student safety initiative operated through a partnership between the Department of Attorney General, Michigan State Police, state agencies, schools, parents, law enforcement, and community leaders available to Michigan students in grades K-12 and enables students to confidentially report potential harm or criminal activities aimed at students, teachers, staff or other school employees. Modeled after Safe2Tell, a Colorado program started after the 1999 Columbine tragedy, OK2Say enables students to confidentially report potential harm or criminal activities aimed at students, teachers, staff or other school employees. By comparison, in Safe2Tell’s first year of operation only 100 tips were reported. Michigan has received 20 times that number in the same time period.

Key Features of OK2Say: 

Confidential Reporting: State law protects the confidentiality of the reporter’s identity. The identity of the reporting party will not be disclosed to local law enforcement, school officials, or the person against whom a tip is offered, unless the reporter voluntarily chooses to disclose his or her identity. However, to address any false reports to the program, prosecutors do have authority to seek a court order to review records when investigating false reports.

-Comprehensive Technology: OK2Say is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. The program accepts tips by phone, text message, email, mobile application, and website form, accessible at www.mi.gov/ok2say. Photos, videos and links to additional information are encouraged.

-Coordinated Intervention: Upon receipt of a tip, specially trained OK2Say operators at the Michigan State Police address the immediate need and, as necessary, forward the information to the appropriate responding law enforcement agency or organization. Tips go to schools, local law enforcement agencies, community mental health agencies or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

-Accountability & Complete Disposition: To ensure tips are acted upon, agencies receiving tips are required to submit outcome reports to the Department of Attorney General. An annual report on the program’s impact will detail the types and numbers of tips handled throughout the year. The 2014 report is available on the Attorney General’s website.

How to Submit a Tip 

Students, teachers, parents, school officials, friends and neighbors can all submit tips, if they are aware of a threat in school. Tips can be submitted though the following ways:

Call: 8-555-OK2SAY (855-565-2729)

Text: 652729 (OK2SAY) *

Email: OK2SAY@mi.gov

Mobile App: Google Play iTunes

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Thrive program to start in Cedar Springs

 

North Kent Community Services is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Cedar Springs Public Schools. Beginning in February, NKCS will offer its successful Thrive Empowerment Program on the Cedar Springs campus, thanks to a generous offer of classroom space from Superintendent Dr. Laura Van Duyn.

“This is an excellent opportunity to help women with children living in Cedar Springs achieve their livable wage and educational goals,” said NKCS Program Director Chérie Elahl.

NKCS launched the Thrive Empowerment program in September 2014. Since then, several women have obtained or are working toward obtaining their high school diplomas, some are furthering their post-secondary education, and others have found better paying jobs.

“One of our participants described Thrive as a family of women,” said Cherie. “Thrive is an opportunity for the group members to work on their goals without the distraction of everyday life and with the support of other women who are in very similar situations. It’s powerful and beautiful to see what happens when our participants start to believe in themselves.”

The program sessions include financial literacy, connections to resources in Kent County, and time to work on goals in a group environment. One of the favorite classes involves mindfulness for parenting; the participants learn how to parent without anger and have a calmer home environment. Thrive is open to all women with children who live in northern Kent County. There are no income guidelines. “Having participants from different walks of life really enriches the group dynamics as well as the Thrive experience,” explains Chérie.

To learn more about the Thrive Empowerment Program, contact Chérie Elahl at cherie.elahl@nkcs.org or at 616-866-3478 ext. 105. The new cohort will begin in February 2016. Make a New Year’s resolution to reach your goals in this life-changing program. Class sizes are limited so call soon!

 

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Cedar Springs Women’s Club Scholarship Applications

 

by Sue Harrison

Each year the Cedar Springs Women’s Club awards a $1000 scholarship to a female of any age who resides in the Cedar Springs Public School District and plans to attend college. The recipient may be considering any type of skill training or degree program. The scholarship is awarded without regard to race, creed, color, religion or national origin. The scholarship is awarded at the June Women’s Club meeting.

Applications for the scholarship are available at the counseling offices at Cedar Springs High School, Creative Technologies Academy, and at the Cedar Springs Library. All applications along with the required attachments must be mailed to the Cedar Springs Women’s Club and postmarked by March 15, 2016.

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Kent County offering free radon test kits

N-Radon1

You can’t see, smell or taste radon but the radioactive gas can kill. Next to smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, claiming the lives of more than 20,000 Americans every year, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) recommends that all homes should be tested for radon every few years. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated January as national Radon Action Month, a perfect time for you to protect your family by testing your home. Testing is the only way to know if radon is present in your home.

N-Radon2While supplies last, KCHD is offering free radon test kits to Kent County residents. “Testing for radon is an easy and important step in protecting the health of your family,” says Sara Simmonds, supervising sanitarian with the Kent County Health Department. “The kit is easy to use. Simply hang a filter inside your house for a few days, then send it in a self-addressed, pre-stamped envelope for testing.”

Residents using the kits and the State of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality will both receive the results. Residents can use the information when deciding on how best to pursue remediation, and the state gains a better understanding of the locations and prevalence of radon in Michigan. For help understanding the test results, please contact the KCHD Environmental Health Division at 616-632-6900.

Radon occurs naturally in the ground. It seeps into buildings through cracks or openings in the foundation of floors and walls, around sump openings, or spaces around plumbing. It occurs in both new and old homes. Radon has been found in houses built over a basement, over a crawlspace or built on slab-on-grade. The EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey have developed a map of risk zones for the United States. You can view the risk maps by going online to http://www.epa.gov/radon/find-information-about-local-radon-zones-and-radon-programs#radonmap. Kent County is typically categorized as having a moderate to high levels of radon.

The kits are available Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the:

  • Kent County Health Department, 700 Fuller Avenue NE, Grand Rapids KCHD
  • North County Clinic at 4388 14 Mile Road NE, Rockford
  • KCHD South Clinic at 4700 Kalamazoo SE, Kentwood

Only one kit will be given per household.

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Man sentenced in mobile meth lab arrest

Derek John Rider

Derek John Rider

A Sparta man will spend time in prison after a traffic stop last spring turned up components of a mobile meth lab in his vehicle.

Derek John Rider, 31, was traveling along 17 Mile in Cedar Springs, east of US131, on May 9, 2015, when he was pulled over by police. They found methamphetamine and items to make it in his vehicle.

Rider pleaded guilty last month to manufacturing meth, and in exchange, a charge of maintaining a meth lab involving hazardous waste and a habitual offender charge were dropped. He was sentenced to a minimum of four years and three months and a maximum of 30 years in prison.

Rider was previously convicted in 2014 on a charge of possession of methamphetamine and sentenced to two years probation. Most recently he has served time in the Kent County jail for operating while intoxicated and operating while intoxicated with a blood alchol content over .17.

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MDOT looking for West Michigan road watchers

N-FastFacts

With the return of Michigan’s winter fury, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is bringing back its “Road Watchers” program. MDOT is recruiting returning and new Road Watchers in the 13-county Grand Region to participate in periodic surveys measuring winter highway conditions during the 6-9 a.m. commuting period on some key routes in their area:

  • I-196 in Allegan, Ottawa, and Kent counties
  • I-96 in Muskegon, Ottawa, Kent, and Ionia counties
  • US-131 in Allegan, Kent, Montcalm, Mecosta, and Osceola counties
  • US-31 from Grand Haven to Muskegon
  • M-6 in Ottawa and Kent counties
  • M-37 from M-46 to M-82 in Muskegon and Newaygo counties

“Volunteers from last year provided excellent feedback for us to improve our winter maintenance efforts,” said MDOT Grand Region Associate Engineer for Operations Tim Little. “Our region grew from 8 to 13 counties and we’ve added new routes for volunteers to watch this year.”

Road watchers are polled randomly for each storm event and asked to participate in an online survey about the road conditions they encountered. Surveys should only take a few moments to complete and all results will be anonymous. MDOT compiles the survey results to track winter highway conditions with the goal of improving winter maintenance practices and response time.

To volunteer, visit www.michigan.gov/roadwatchers.

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