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Earthquake rumbles West Michigan

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By Judy Reed

Something happened last Saturday, May 2, that most of us in Michigan had never before experienced: an earthquake.

It was about 12:23 p.m. that the ground began to shake and lasted for several seconds. It originated about 5 miles south of Galesburg, in Kalamazoo County. Tremors were felt in most of lower Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, and southern Ontario.

People all around our area felt the tremors. Reports came in to our Facebook page from Howard City, Gowen, Trufant, Sand Lake, Solon Township, Nelson Township, Cedar Springs, Harvard, Greenville, Grant, Kent City, Baldwin, West Olive, Byron Center, Grand Rapids, and more.

Linda Hovey reported that she felt it out by 20 Mile and Tisdel, in Nelson Township. “I heard a loud noise, the house kind of rumbled and shook,” Hovey wrote on the Post Facebook page. “TV was really moving. I thought someone hit the house. Crazy. Husband was napping and never woke up.”

Jessica Gentz, of Cedar Springs, said she had two picture frames fall off the wall. Meri McCarthy, of Sand Lake, said it felt like her washer was off balance. Monique Grice, of Solon Township, said her family noticed the couch and a light fixture moving.

Teri Cegellas, of Kent City, was sitting on her back deck. “I thought someone was shaking it from underneath, my husband playing a prank on me. Then I saw my birdfeeder swinging and knew that it was no prank,” she wrote.

While it was only a 4.2 earthquake, it was deemed “significant” because of the fact that not many happen here, and because of the number of people that felt it.

It was the biggest earthquake here since the 4.6 earthquake in August 1947.

Scientists have confirmed Saturday’s earthquake was not caused by fracking. Some scientists believer there is a fault line there that also caused the August 1947 quake.

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Voters kill road-funding proposal

 

By Judy Reed

Hopefully the legislators have ears to hear what the voters told them in no uncertain terms Tuesday—go back to the drawing board and figure out a better way to fix Michigan’s roads.

Proposal 1, one of the most confusing proposals Michigan residents have ever voted on, was soundly defeated with 1.4 million voting no, and less than 350,000 voting yes. It is the most one-sided loss ever for a proposal – 80 percent no, 20 percent yes.

Kent County voted 72 percent no, 27 percent yes. Turnout ranged from 4 percent to 49 percent. The City of Cedar Springs had a turnout of 17 percent.

The proposal would have raised the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, removed the sales tax from fuel sales, increased fuel taxes, and raised vehicle registration fees. The changes were estimated to raise tax revenue by $2 billion, with most going for roads; it would also have increased funding to schools, local governments, and mass transit; and given a tax break to some lower income families.

But voters weren’t convinced that the government would do what they said they were going to do with the money.

“In some ways we feel like road agencies and Michigan’s crumbling transportation system were road kill due to an overly-complex ballot proposal,” said Denise Donohue, director of the County Road Association of Michigan.

“The road funding message was an easy sell. Michigan drivers, bus riders, bicyclists, truck drivers and businesses all get the deplorable condition of our roads,” Donohue said. “But the unfounded charges of too many special interests in this bill, and the fears that the Legislature would somehow divert these dollars from road repairs proved too much to overcome in a 10-week timeframe,” she said, alluding to the 10 weeks the County Road Association (CRA) spent trying to educate voters. “But in the end, voters have spoken: they wanted a cleaner road funding solution dedicated specifically to road and bridge repair.”

The CRA estimates it would take $2.5 billion to fix Michigan’s roads. “County road agencies are doing absolutely the best job we can, but we’re working with band-aids, pothole patch and too many temporary solutions,” said Burt Thompson, PE, president of CRA, and engineer-manager of Antrim County Road Commission in northern Michigan. “As a licensed professional engineer, I can attest that our roads require more holistic treatments like resurfacing, milling up existing surfaces, repaving, and replacing thousands of weakened, rusting culverts.”

Gov. Rick Snyder issued the following statement after Proposal 1 failed to garner a majority of votes on Tuesday:

“It’s essential that making Michigan’s infrastructure safer remains a top priority. While voters didn’t support this particular proposal, we know they want action taken to maintain and improve our roads and bridges.

“The ‘relentless’ part of relentless positive action means that we start anew to find a comprehensive, long-term solution to this problem. Doing nothing isn’t an option as the costs are too great. Michiganders need to be able to get behind the wheel and not worry about dodging potholes or seeing plywood to catch crumbling concrete under overpasses.

“We appreciate that this bipartisan plan was supported by so many groups—business leaders and unions, public safety officials and local governments, teachers, and the list goes on. I plan to work with my partners in the Legislature on a solution that gives Michigan residents the safe roads they need and deserve and bolsters our growing economy.”

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Beat the Boredom – Family Summer Survival Guide 2015

Playing at an area park is just one of the ways for kids and parents to beat the boredom of long summer days until school starts again. 

Playing at an area park is just one of the ways for kids and parents to beat the boredom of long summer days until school starts again.

By Judy Reed

When you’re a kid, the long, hot days of summer seem to go on forever. It’s not long before kids exhaust their ideas of what to do and moms hear the familiar refrain, “There’s nothing to do! I’m bored!” Well, don’t you believe it. With a little searching, you’ll find hundreds of activities taking place in West Michigan where families can have fun and spend some quality time together. In this week’s special pullout section of “Beat the Boredom,” you’ll find just a fraction of the many things going on this summer—festivals, summer enrichment programs, camps, plays, and more! Download link below to see what’s on tap for you this summer!

BeatTheBoredom2015.pdf

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The Post travels Kentucky Bourbon Trail

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Ken and TJ Norris, of Solon Township, took a driving tour of Kentucky in March, traveling around and between Lexington and Louisville. As part of their trip, they traveled the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, with a stop at the Jim Beam distillery, where Mr. Beam was very intoxicated with the Cedar Springs Post.

Thanks to Ken and TJ 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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Queen and Court Sighting at the Cedar Springs Library Booth

 

N-LibraryRed Flannel Queen Melissa Maguire and Court Kaleigh Keech and Ellie Ovokaitys, stopped by the Cedar Springs Library booth Community Night, April 16, to see which of the library’s 25 Summer Reading Programs set for June 8-August 5 would suit their fancy as volunteers.

Each year since 2001, it has become a tradition that the Red Flannel Queen and Court would be the Library’s featured guests at one of their many programs. Courts of the past have done everything from reading stories, sharing what it’s like being Red Flannel Royalty, and helping other entertainers out with dance moves or crafts.

This year’s Queen and Court plan to help out on Opening Day of the Library’s annual Summer Reading Program, Monday, June 8, starting at noon. Normally around 600 people come to the library that day to register, get their reading logs and free ice cream and free book bags stuffed with goodies.

Double “K” Petting Barn will be there, as usual, with their cool animals, assisted by students from Animal Junction 4H Club. The Friends of the Library always say, “600 people?! Let’s have a book sale!” All funds go to build a new library in Cedar Springs! And did we mention that the Cedar Springs Fire Department will also be there?

This is one event you will not want to miss, along with the other 24 exciting programs this summer!

You will also want to save the date, August 5, Wednesday from 2-5 for the Finale Reading Celebration Carnival at Morley Park. This year the Kent County Sheriff’s Department will be in the parking lot at the Museum with their various vehicles, including an armored car, their mounted police, robot and more. Giveaways include a bike and helmets!

For more details on this year’s CS Library summer reading program, turn to our Beat the Boredom section on page 13.

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More than 500 drunk drivers arrested 

 

N-MichiganStatePolice-logoduring MSP spring enforcement campaign

Law enforcement officers from police departments, sheriff’s offices and the Michigan State Police in 26 counties made 532 arrests for drunk driving during the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign March 17-April 7. Of those arrested, 78 were charged under the state’s high blood alcohol content (BAC) law with a BAC of .17 or higher.

“Enforcement efforts like this save lives by putting extra police officers on the road to stop and arrest impaired drivers,” said Michael L. Prince, Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) director. “During this campaign, these officers removed 500 impaired drivers from our roads who otherwise might have gone undetected.”

During the crackdown, officers also issued 682 citations for driving with a suspended license, 653 citations for uninsured motorists and made 350 drug arrests.

Two of the drunk driving arrests in Cass County were a result of law enforcement officers observing dangerous behavior:  crossing the center lane and disregarding a flashing red light. Law enforcement officers in Washtenaw County determined a driver was impaired by drugs, and found several bottles of prescription medication in the vehicle.

OHSP coordinated the enforcement effort, which was supported with federal funds, in Allegan, Berrien, Calhoun, Chippewa, Delta, Eaton, Genesee, Grand Traverse, Houghton, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Marquette, Monroe, Muskegon, Oakland, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, Van Buren, Washtenaw, Wayne and Wexford counties.

In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, although motorists can be arrested at any BAC level if an officer believes they are impaired.  Motorists face enhanced penalties if arrested for a first-time drunk driving offense with a .17 BAC or higher.

Grant-funded impaired driving enforcement is part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013.

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West Michigan Hawks fall to Havoc

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The West Michigan Hawks held their first ever pre-season game last Saturday evening, May 2, and came up short 55-21 against the Lake Michigan Havoc.

“There was a lot of adversity that we as a team had to overcome,” noted Hawks Coach David Lange. “We came out of the gates playing a team who won the championship last year and stuck with them for most of the game. To put up 21 points in your first game, with people you’ve never played with, against a team like the Havoc, is outstanding. There were mistakes that were made, which is to be expected, as a first year team. We will correct these mistakes and move forward. I was beyond pleased and grateful for the fan support that we had,” he added.

The Cedar Springs Fire Dept. was also in attendance with their fire trucks to support the Hawks. “When those trucks hit the sirens and blew the horns, you could see the excitement on the players faces, which I think helped keep them motivated,” remarked Lange.

N-West-Mich-Hawks2The West Michigan Hawks look forward to hosting the Detroit Diesels this Saturday May 9, 2015 at Skinner Field at 7:00 pm. The Cedar Springs Fire Dept. will also be in attendance for the game.

When asked what the team will do differently for this game coach Lange stated, “We are going to correct the mistakes, as well as build on the positive things that we did last week. We have made some position changes defensively in the secondary that I think will give us the edge. Offensively we need to mix up the plays a little better so we are not so one dimensional.”

Come support your West Michigan Hawks this Saturday at Skinner Field, gates open at 6:00pm with kickoff at 7:00.

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Undersheriff to retire from Kent County

 

Undersheriff Jon Hess

Undersheriff Jon Hess

Undersheriff Jon Hess announced last week that he plans to retire June 1.

“My years at this wonderful organization have been an absolute blessing. My many positive experiences both professionally and personally will always be remembered fondly,” said Hess. “The Kent County Sheriff Department is a tremendous organization with a strong, adhesive management team that has a clear strategic direction for the future. This Department is second to none. It has been a privilege and a pleasure serving the citizens of Kent County the last 36 years.”

Hess graduated from Ottawa Hills High School, and received an Associate of Science from Grand Rapids Community College. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice from Southern Illinois University.

Hess started his career in the Grand Rapids Police Department in 1980, and then became a Corrections Officer at the Kent County Sheriff Department the same year.

He moved up through the ranks in corrections, being promoted to Corrections Sergeant in 1987, Corrections Lieutenant in 1994, and Corrections Captain in 1996. He was promoted to Undersheriff in 2001 by Sheriff Lawrence Stelma.

Over the years, Hess took several educational courses to help him in his career: He graduated from Northwestern University Staff and Command, 1994; became a Certified Jail Manager in 1998 through the American Jail Association;  graduated Kalamazoo Valley Community College Police Academy in 2000;  graduated Federal Bureau of Investigation LEEDA Session #3825, 2004; graduated the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy Session #221, 2005; and is a graduate of General Electric’s Executive Leadership Class—November 2014.

Hess took part, along with Chief Deputy Michele Young, in the planning and presentations to the public, when the Kent County Sheriff Department took over law enforcement in Cedar Springs.

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Man arrested for threats against police

Sylvester Jacob Estes

Sylvester Jacob Estes

A man was arrested in Cedar Springs last month for threatening to hurt police and others.

The incident occurred on April 23, when Sylvester Jacob Estes, 32, called police dispatch, from a location in Kent County (not the City of Cedar Springs), and said he was going to harm police officers and others, and that he was going to get weapons.

He was later found by Kent County Sheriff Deputies on Main Street in Cedar Springs, and allegedly told officers that he wanted to “blow up a cop shop.” According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, of the Kent County Sheriff Department’s Cedar Springs Unit, the man didn’t specify to deputies what “cop shop” he wanted to blow up, but a witness said he heard him say the Grand Rapids Police Department.

Estes was arraigned on charges of making a false report or threat of terrorism, and a charge of being a habitual offender. He stole a car in Kent County in July 2009, and was convicted and sentenced to prison in November 2009. He was released in July 2012.

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Red Cross seeks blood donors 

 

*N-Blood donors needed redcross-logoDonations decline during summer months

The American Red Cross asks eligible donors to help ensure blood is available for patients in need by giving blood in May before the busy summer season kicks in.

Blood and platelet donations often decrease when regular donors are vacationing and school is out of session, but the need for blood is constant. Donors are needed in the weeks leading up to summer to help alleviate this seasonal decline.

Donors of all blood types—especially those with types O negative, A negative and B negative—are needed to help ensure blood is available for patients this spring. Those who come to donate blood between May 23 and May 25, 2015, will receive a limited-edition Red Cross-branded RuMe® tote bag, while supplies last.

To make an appointment to give blood, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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