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Man jailed on bomb threat charge

Jeff Klein

Jeff Klein

By Judy Reed


A former Cedar Springs man, who claimed health problems related to his weight prevented him from appearing in court on a bomb threat charge, is now in custody, after being arrested last week on a warrant for failure to appear.

Klein was charged with the bomb threat in August 2012. Cedar Springs Police took the call at 2:02 a.m. August 25, 2012. The male caller told dispatch that a bomb would go off at Cedar Springs Mobile Estates in four hours. Officer Mike Stahl alerted management and a property check was done at the office building and surrounding grounds. They were told to alert police if they did find anything suspicious.

The dispatch center pinged the cell phone, which provided information on the subscriber. Officer Stahl made contact at the address and asked about the cell phone and where the female owner of the phone was. He knew the call was made by a man and questioned the person at this address who denied making the bomb threat.

Officer Stahl spoke with management and learned that this male resident had a number of violations/issues with management. The next day, after listening to the recording of the call, Officer Stahl knew the caller was the man he questioned the night before. The officer returned and questioned Klein, and he eventually admitted that he made the bomb threat because he was upset with management.

A felony warrant was issued by the Prosecutor’s Office, and because Klein had a number of medical problems, he was allowed to appear at court. He did arrive at court on the scheduled date, but, while still outside in the parking lot, he presented court staff with a medical condition and was transported to the hospital. The following week he arrived and was arraigned on his charge in 63rd District Court. When he heard they would be remanding him to jail, he presented court staff with another medical condition that required him to be transported to the hospital. The warrant for failure to appear was then issued.

Klein then moved to Grand Rapids. According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, of the Cedar Springs Unit of the Kent County Sheriff Department, Klein was arrested last week by the Grand Rapids Police on the warrant for failure to appear, and turned over to the Kent County Sheriff Department.

Klein was finally remanded to jail on the bomb threat charge, and will be sentenced in February.




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The Post travels to Bogota

A group from The Springs Church with children in Bogota, Colombia. Front row (L to R): Karen, Mayerly, Jennifer Middle row: Jeimy, Phil Moore, Nathaly, Shane Jewell Back row: Heather Ellsworth, Pastor Barry Briggs, Bill VanOss, Cathy VanOss

A group from The Springs Church with children in Bogota, Colombia. Front row (L to R): Karen, Mayerly, Jennifer
Middle row: Jeimy, Phil Moore, Nathaly, Shane Jewell
Back row: Heather Ellsworth, Pastor Barry Briggs, Bill VanOss, Cathy VanOss

Last fall, a team from The Springs Church visited Bogota, Colombia and took the Post with them.

From October 11-18, they worked on tiling two bathrooms in a school for local girls. The girls who attend there have been rescued from difficult situations, and live next door to the school, where they are cared for by volunteers.

While The Springs team was there, they had the opportunity to not only work on the school, but also spend time with each of the girls.

A spokesperson for the team said that the trip had its difficulties, but each member of the team was happy they had the chance to go and each one was changed by the experience they had in Colombia.

Thank you to The Springs Church 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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Gas prices hit new low, rise again

Gas in Cedar Springs dropped to $1.68 last weekend, before shooting back up to $2.09 Monday. But that is still better than the $3 to $4 we saw last year.

“As we’ve welcomed in the new year, gas prices have stayed at their bargain basement levels in most states, with just a few seeing minor gas tax increases,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. “2015 will be a far better year at the pump than what we saw in 2014, and motorists will fare substantially better, shelling out $96 billion less this year at the gas pump with motorists in most states seeing far more $2 gas than $3 gas.”

“And while gasoline consumers have been celebrating, diesel consumers have been slowly joining the party, with diesel prices declining an average 44c/gal in the last month. And while the party is nearing an end for falling gasoline prices, the diesel price decline has much catching up to do. I see diesel prices declining another 35-50 cents a gallon nationally over the next month or so,” DeHaan noted.


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Man injured in fall from tree

Steve Shears and family.

Steve Shears and family.

By Judy Reed


A Solon Township man suffered severe injuries when he fell out of a tree last month.

According to Solon Township Fire Chief Jeff Drake, the call came in at 9:55 a.m., December 14. He said that Steve Shears, 43, fell about 15 feet from a tree he was trimming at 3291 Wiersma, and was sent to Butterworth Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

According to Steve’s sister, Brandie, he was helping his father take down a tree for someone when the accident occurred. She said he was unconscious for about 20 minutes, and suffered some memory loss. He also is receiving some therapy for help with walking, speech, and some special therapy for his eyesight on his left side. He spent several days at Mary Free Bed after leaving Butterworth, and is now home with his family.

According to Brandie, Steve works in construction but he won’t be able to work for several months. If anyone would like to help financially, Sue’s Country Kitchen, located at 12 N. First Street, is taking donations for him.

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Do you know this woman?


The Kent County Sheriff Department is investigating a larceny that occurred at a convenience store in the greater Cedar Springs area and is asking for the public’s help. They are trying to identify the woman shown in this surveillance photo. If you can identify her, please contact Detective Rob Porter at (616) 632-6017, or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2344.


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North Country Trail: the next step


By Tom Noreen


December 13 dawned cool, gray, and misty. Not the ideal weather for a hike through the woods but better than blazing a new trail in the rain or snow. A group of folks met at the North Country Trail (NCT) trailhead on Red Pine Drive to map out a proposed new route from that location to the east boundary of the Rogue River State Game Area (RRSGA). This field rendezvous began the next step in routing the NCT through Cedar Springs before it turns west to join the existing trail in RRSGA.

Jeff McCusker from the National Park Service (NPS) met with NCT volunteers Chuck Vannette, Paul Haan, Jim Charvat, and Jim Bradley and community representatives Rose Powell, Kurt Mabie, Carolee Cole, and Tom Noreen. The goal of the day for the NCT volunteers was to blaze a new trail, identified earlier by Paul, across the lower RRSGA (see map) that would avoid a 1/2 mile section along Red Pine Drive, add some scenic views, and place the end of the trail a mile further east than its current terminus. For the Cedar Springs community representatives, the objective was to give both the NPS and the NTC group an outline of possible routes that would connect this new trailhead to Cedar Springs.

The group pushed out east from the trailhead through the oak-hickory forest with its understory thick with red maple and a scattering of white pine. The party trekked up the rise of a low glacial moraine. On one side was a fair size bog and on the other the forest. At the south end of the bog someone had built a dam at one time blocking what appeared to be the natural outlet of the bog. From there we headed east towards Division Avenue.

As we walked along, members of the group pointed out things like the delicate red berry of the partridge berry, with its two red dimples formed from the fusion of the double partridge flower. Then there were the thickets of autumn olive, an invasive plant introduced as an ornamental and cultivated for wildlife habitat and soil erosion control. Thickets of it grew along the openings, crowding out the native vegetation.

On the other side of Division, the RRSGA is much narrower and less interesting to traverse until you join up with Duke Creek about half way across. The amber colored creek flows swiftly through this area and ranges in width from 10-30 feet. The walk along the creek was pleasant. It was easy to see where deer had come down to either cross or drink and we found the bank side den of muskrats. At one point, the creek makes a sharp bend undercutting a steep, sandy moraine.

Just before we reached the east end, we encountered the remnants of what appeared to either be another dam or the embankments that would have anchored a railroad trestle. We speculated that the dam could have been built as a cofferdam to create a pond in which to float logs down to the Rogue River. In the spring, the dam pond would be full of logs from the winter harvest and water from the snow melt. The dam would have been blown, allowing a wall of water and logs to surge downstream to the Rogue. While we really couldn’t see a good approach from the south side for a railroad, the north bank was relatively flat and wide. Narrow gauge railways were built out into the forest that logs could be directly shipped to the mills. At one time there were 25 mills within a five-mile radius of Cedar Springs.

Farther up the creek, we came to the concrete remains of the old Lime Lake Road bridge abutment. In the past, Lime Lake Road was a two-track running north from its current terminus on Solon Road to Sherwin.

After the hike, we met for lunch and discussed options for the routing west of Cedar Springs. At the conclusion of the meeting, Jeff announced that we were now at the point where we should formalize the Optimum Location Review (ORL) process. With that, the group could begin the process of coordinating with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to reroute the trail through the RRSGA and working with landowners on gaining easements to route the trail off the road across private land.

Unlike the White Pine Trial, which is a multiuse trail, the NCT is a single use trail for hiking. Only in a few places are bicycles allowed. The goal is create a 4,600-mile trail that links upstate New York with western North Dakota. Much of the trail has been included in part of Governor Snyder’s Governor’s Showcase Trail.

While much has yet to be done, we have taken the next step to bring the NTC to fruition.



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American Legion state officers to visit

Harley “Butch” Maxwell

Harley Maxwell

Nancy Lynn Knox

Nancy Lynn Knox

Jim Wallace

Jim Wallace

As the new year begins, American Legion Glen Hill Post 287 is busy with the arrival of American Legion State Officers to Cedar Springs.

Jim Wallace was elected as the American Legion State Commander in Livonia, Michigan for 2014-2015. Commander Wallace, a Viet Nam War era veteran, served in the US Army from 1966-68. He has been a member of the American Legion for 42 years at the Pinckney Memorial Post #419 in Pinckney, Michigan. He has served in various positions from Chaplain to Post Commander. He is a charter member of the American Legion Riders Chapter #419. At the District level, Jim has served as District Commander, Zone Commander, and as chairman of the Department Committees. On the National level, Jim is a graduate of the National American Legion College of 2012 and has served as vice chairman for National and Homeland Council 2012-2013.

Jim retired as Assistant Chief of the City of Ann Arbor Fire Department in 2001. He has been married to Linda Wallace for 46 years, has two daughters, one son and daughter-in-law, and five grandchildren. All are Legion family members. He will attend the Early Bird dinner at the American Legion on Saturday, January 10. At the dinner, he will bring news of the progress he has made as Department Commander for the past six months.

Nancy Lynn Knox was elected as American Legion Auxiliary Department President for the 2014-2015 year at the same convention. She is a 43-year member of Victor I Rieck Unit #351 in Utica, Michigan. She and her husband, John, a former Department Legion Commander, reside there. She is a former school bus driver for Utica Community Schools. She has served in all the Unit, District and Department offices, and now has the highest honor of leading the Department of Michigan as President. She has three children and seven grandchildren. Her theme this year is “Small changes make a big difference for our veterans.” Her special project is the Dorothy Pearl Scholarship for our Girl’s State Program.

Delegates to the Michigan Sons of the American Legion State Convention, held in South Haven, Michigan, on Sunday, June 1, 2014, elected Harley “Butch” Maxwell, of the Squadron #216 Milford Sons of the American Legion, of Milford, Michigan, as the Detachment Commander, representing over 20,000 members.

Maxwell, a life member of the Sons of the American Legion, is the son of a Korean War Veteran. He has held many offices in his squadron, district and detachment. He has served as the 3rd zone commander since 2011. He co-founded the American Legion Riders #216, and served on its board for four terms.

Butch has been married to his high school sweetheart, Linda, for 33 years. Linda and Butch have two children and reside in Milford.

The Cedar Springs American Legion Post #287 will welcome all past and present state officers, along with the Post #287 current membership, and will present Commanders Wallace and Maxwell, and President Knox, with traditional Red Flannel undergarments, and will parade them around the dance floor to the chicken dance song.

The American Legion was founded in 1919 and based on the four pillars of veterans’ rehabilitation, Americanism, child welfare, and national security. The Legion’s mission above all is as an advocate for veterans.

For more information check out michiganlegion.org and glenhillpost287.org or on Facebook: American Legion Glen Hill Post 287 Official.


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Protect yourself, loved ones during cold weather 


From the Kent County Health Department

Temperatures will be in the single digits and teens in the coming days. The Kent County Health Department encourages residents to bundle up and be aware during the cold temperatures and wind chills. Be sure to keep an eye on your family, and check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly.

The cold can cause problems for many, especially young children, people with pre-existing medical conditions, and seniors.

If you are going outdoors, wear layers of light, warm clothing, mittens or gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots. “Frostbite can happen in just a matter of minutes in these frigid temperatures,” says Adam London, Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department. “Redness, numbness or pain, white or grayish-yellow skin, or skin that feels unusually firm or waxy may be frostbitten. Have the affected person get into a warm room, and immerse the skin in warm (not hot) water.”

Frostbite most often affects the extremities: nose, ears, cheeks, fingers, or toes. If the person appears to be very tired or lethargic, is having trouble breathing or talking, shivers or fumbles his or her hands, or seems confused, call 911 immediately. Try to keep the person warm until help arrives.

Respiratory issues can occur from breathing in cold air, such as asthma attacks. Be sure children with asthma are wearing a scarf, and if they appear to have trouble breathing, get them to a warm, sheltered area immediately. Exercising in extreme cold can cause breathing problems; consider keeping your workout indoors.

While indoors, take steps to protect your family from carbon monoxide. Never use grills, camp stoves, and generators inside of the house, the basement, and the garage. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any generators, grills, or stoves.

If driving in these conditions, make sure your car has more than enough gas to reach your destination. Keep a cell phone and phone charger in the car, and keep an emergency kit and blanket within your reach.

Keep pets indoors as much as possible. Make sure they are on a leash or in a fenced in area when they need to relieve themselves. The smaller the pet, the quicker the cold impacts them. Puppies and kittens are especially sensitive to the cold, as are older pets. Watch out for community cats that might crawl under the hood of your car to keep warm. Bang loudly on the hood before starting the car, and never leave pets in a car during the winter. Temperatures can be just as cold inside the car as they are outdoors.

If you have a non-emergency need due to the cold, call the United Way 211 line for assistance.


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frontpage4414By Judy Reed


What was your favorite moment of 2014? What was important to you? Here at the Post, we went over the stories we featured in the Post. In this issue, you will see not only brief blips about some of stories, but will also see some of our favorite front pages scattered throughout the paper (not just in the news section). We couldn’t possibly feature every important story or each front page that we liked, so we apologize in advance if a story you thought was important is not listed here. You can visit our website at www.cedarspringspost.com to read all past articles, or download an e-edition of that week’s paper. Here’s to 2015!


*One of the biggest and most exciting stories of 2014 was the way our varsity Cedar Springs Red Hawks football team took charge on the gridiron and blazed their way to an outright conference championship. It was the first conference championship since 1978, when they shared it with Sparta. They went on to win the first district game at Red Hawk Stadium, before losing to the Muskegon Big Reds in a close game at Muskegon. Coach Gus Kapolka was named Detroit Lions Coach of the Week in early September, and sophomore quarterback Collin Alvesteffer was named MVP of the season by fans on WZZM13.

*Two Cedar Springs Cross Country runners—Kenzie Weiler and Austin Sargent—made an outstanding appearance in the state finals, for the second year in a row, when both took second place in the Division 2 Cross Country finals.


*The area had its share of fires this year. One of the worst was the one at Harvard on Tuesday, February 11, which destroyed the old Harvard Fire Department. The fire could be seen for miles, as flames licked the sky and thick, black smoke coiled upward. The Harvard Fire Department was disbanded in the 1980s, when Oakfield built a new township hall, and the firefighters and equipment was split between Oakfield and Spencer. The building was being used for apartments at the time of the fire, but everyone got out safely.

*The Cedar Springs Post took a direct hit when winds blown in by a fierce spring-turned-winter storm ripped through our area on Saturday, April 12. High winds lifted the roof of Len Allington’s brick building on the corner of Main and Maple Streets and sent it airborne across the back alley where it landed on top of the Post, wrapped around a utility pole and was entangled in electrical wires. It was one of several storms that night, and what many people thought was a tornado turned out to be straight line winds. The winds blew in, and hail rained down, damaging cars, mobile homes, and other outside objects. The size ranged from a dime to a quarter. Some mobile homes were pelted with hundreds of holes. It covered the ground to a depth that looked like snow. Trees were ripped out of the ground or broken all across the area. The wind even blew the roof off of the gymnasium at Kent City.


frontpage3814*The Cedar Springs Historical Society restored a 1911 bas relief sculpture of the Mayflower Compact that was donated to Hilltop School by the class of 1929. It hung on the walls of Hilltop at least into the 1950s. A photo in the 1952 yearbook shows students standing by it. Cracked and dilapidated after years of being neglected, Marie Patin restored the piece, and DM White made a frame for the artwork. It was one of a set, but the museum does not own the other piece.

* The building at 95 N. Main—almost as old as the town of Cedar Springs—made way for a new chapter of history to begin at the corner of Main and Maple Streets.

Built in 1890, it housed a flourmill and was used for hay storage. Later it housed several grocery stores, including the IGA store that many of the older folk in town remember. In its last days, it was an auto parts store—Cedar Springs Auto Supply. It was sold for unpaid taxes in 2009 to the City of Cedar Springs.

The dilapidated building was demolished Thursday, September 18, to make way for the development of the Cedar Springs Brewing Company—a new business featuring a full-menu restaurant, with full kitchen, and outdoor biergarden that will be both family and community-friendly, according to owner David Ringler. A groundbreaking was held on October 14, but building has not yet begun. They are still waiting on some site approvals and looking for it to be completed in summer 2015.

*The Red Flannel Festival celebrated 75 years this year, and 70 years of the Queen’s pageant. There was a reception for all past Queens and royalty, and all were invited on stage during the pageant. Over 30 past Queens and court members attended the event, including the 1941 Queen, Jean Thrall Erickson. Named Queen this year was Melissa Maguire, with Kaleigh Keech and Ellie Ovokaitys as court members. John Teusink was named Grand Marshal, and brothers Bill and Bob Pollock were named honorary Grand Marshals.


*Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent Ron McDermed retired after 25 years with the school system, the last five as superintendent. He also served as both an elementary principal, and assistant superintendent. Taking his place as Superintendent is Dr. Laura VanDuyne. She was chosen from among five candidates interviewed by the Cedar Springs Public Schools Board as potential replacements. The other finalist was Assistant Superintendent David Cairy. VanDuyne served as executive director of the Contra Costa Special Education Joint Powers Authority in the San Francisco Bay area from 2010 to the present. She was born in the suburbs of Detroit and graduated from Memphis High School, which is about 60 miles north of Detroit. Her husband was raised in Jenison, and they have family in the area.

*Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent retired at the end of August after a 40-year career in law enforcement. Parent came to Cedar Springs 6-1/2 years ago, after a 33-1/2-year career with the Kent County Sheriff Department. Parent said he really enjoyed it here, and never regretted the decision to leave KCSD. He brought a lot of knowledge, professionalism and expertise to the police department and would obviously need to be replaced. The announcement in February of his impending retirement started a chain reaction of events that would bring about one of the greatest changes in the city in years.

*After Parent’s initial announcement, the city began to search for a new Police Chief. However, that was put to a halt after the City Council asked the City Manager to speak to Kent County Sheriff and Cedar Springs resident Larry Stelma about contracting with the Kent County Sheriff Department for law enforcement services. It took several months, but the City Council finally approved a contract with the Sheriff Department that would not only save the city money but enable the city’s current full time officers to be hired on and to stay in the Cedar Springs unit if they wished to. The former CSPD officers are being trained in all aspects of being Sheriff Deputies, and the city police department is being utilized not only by our own officers on patrol, but by other KCSD officers as well, which means a greater presence of officers in the area. The program is the first of its kind for the KCSD. Sgt. Jason Kelley is now supervisor of the Cedar Springs unit.

*Howard City also negotiated a contract with the Montcalm County Sheriff Department for services, and their three officers became Sheriff Deputies.

*The Family Fare grocery store, formerly Great Day Foods, closed in September. The store originally opened in the 1960s when Meijer moved out of town. Great Day moved into the store space vacated by Meijer (where the current American Legion is on Main Street). Later the store moved to the larger location on 17 Mile. In 1999, Spartan Stores acquired Great Day, and it became a Family Fare in 2008. Rumors of its closing began earlier this year, when the property went up for sale, but SpartaNash would not comment. The property was recently sold and the deal closed, according to inside sources, but an announcement has not yet been made and paperwork not yet publicly recorded on who the new owner is.

See more Year in Review next week!


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Gas prices continue to fall

Photo by J. Reed.

Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed


After a year that saw the average price of gas stay between $3 and $4 per gallon, drivers are finally getting some much needed relief at the pump. Last week the Post reported gas had dropped to $1.94 in Cedar Springs, from $2.13 the week before. As of Tuesday, December 30, gas in Cedar Springs is now $1.79 per gallon. That’s the lowest it’s been since early 2009.

According to GasBuddy.com, the average price of gas, as of Tuesday, in Grand Rapids is $1.86; the state average is $2.00; and the national average is $2.26.

“The dramatic decline at the pump continues to reap significant savings for the motoring public—over $525 million less spent every day versus this past summer, or $375 million less than the same time last year,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. “The slump in crude oil has wavered slightly and we’re in the fourth quarter of the game. However, there is still a chance that crude prices resume their slump again, and carry the pump plunge into overtime,” DeHaan said.

According to DeHaan, as of Monday, gas prices had fallen $1.85/gal in Michigan since June 28, the largest drop in the nation. Following close behind: Kentucky, down $1.66/gal, Indiana, down $1.62/gal, Ohio, down $1.61/gal, and Illinois, down $1.60/gal over the same time frame.


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