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Time to vote in Red Flannel art review

Dean Stephens’ quirky take on Cedar Springs is titled “Home is where the heart is.” If you look closely, you can see he lists many of the businesses in Cedar Springs.

Dean Stephens’ quirky take on Cedar Springs is titled “Home is where the heart is.” If you look closely, you can see he lists many of the businesses in Cedar Springs.

The Red Flannel Festival is holding its own version of ArtPrize here in Cedar Springs. The Red Flannel Art Review opened earlier this week, with 19 Cedar Springs businesses featuring 19 artists.

Residents will determine the winner by their vote. Voting will end on Wednesday, September 18, at 5 p.m. and winners will be announced September 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Barn, at the corner of Main and Cherry Streets.

According to Jen Leonard, Chair of the RF Art Review, there are local artists from all over the area, including Cedar Springs, Sand Lake, Howard City, Greenville, Lakeview, and Grand Rapids. “Several of our artists are also involved in Art Prize,” she said.

Artists include Andrea Martin, Dean Stephens, Debby Walker, Doug Gordon, Frank Haik, Helen Johnson, Hector Padilla, Chris Powell, Julie Ketchman, K Purol, Kathy Gebhardt, Lisa Spielmaker, Lacy  Proctor, Michelle Embs, Michelle Donk, Roy Bills, Sarah Schmiedicke, Sandy Filer, and Sarah Jean Anderson.

This mosaic, titled “Forever Connected,” is from second-time Art Review artist Michelle Embs.

This mosaic, titled “Forever Connected,” is from second-time Art Review artist Michelle Embs.

Many of them will be at the Craft Beer and Wine Tasting tonight (Friday, Sept. 5), which is also the artists’ reception. Cost is $25.

Leonard said that anyone may vote (including children), and each person is allowed to vote for as many art pieces as they like, but may only vote for a piece once.

Cash prizes for the artists vary from $50 to $200. “We have 1st and 2nd prize in 2D juried vote, 1st and 2nd prizes in 3D juried vote, popular vote, and a new one this year is our Red Flannel Theme prize,” explained Leonard.

Look for the art review symbol (a paint palette and paintbrush) or sign displayed in a window to see who might be featuring a piece of art, or pick up a Red Flannel brochure for a complete listing of the businesses and artists. Brochures are located at various businesses around town and on the website at redflannelfestival.org.


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Courtyard gets a makeover



N-Hawks-nest2Just in time for the start of school, the courtyard at Red Hawk Elementary received a facelift thanks to several local groups. Work crews wheel barrowed black mulch through the hallway to spread around the memorial garden initially established in May of 2006. The original mulch around the bushes and in the seating area had decomposed and was overtaken by an immense bed of weeds.

“The Cedar Springs Garden Club has been coming in the spring and fall for the last 3 years to help maintain the garden, but last year, members told me that the job was overwhelming unless we controlled the weeds,” explained Red Hawk secretary Mary Gardner. She asked Pastor Craig Owens, pastor at Calvary Assembly of God and director of the after-school En Gedi program housed at Red Hawk, if his students would be willing to help with the project. Last spring, En Gedi volunteers and students joined Gardner in pulling and digging out weeds until school ended in June.

N-Hawks-nest3On August 22 and 29, in cooperation with Cedar Springs Operations Director Jerry Gavin, children and adults from En Gedi, Calvary Assembly of God Church, Cedar Springs Garden Club and Red Hawk staff laid down plastic, spread 3 yards of mulch, pruned bushes and trees, and made plans to add more perennials.

The Memorial Garden was originally planned by Shaner Nursery and planted by the Cedar Springs Garden Club and the Boy Scouts. What was a grassy lawn in the west end of the Hawk’s Nest courtyard was transformed into a beautiful oasis of perennial flowers, bushes, and trees with benches for relaxing. It was created as a way of memorializing many students who had died in 2006.

Although the Cedar Springs utility workers cut the grass in the lawn, school funds were not available to keep the garden in order. That doesn’t mean the garden was completely forgotten. Several years ago, the Red Hawk PTO donated 2 picnic tables made by the High School shop class and last spring New Beginnings teacher Mrs. Niederer and her class painted the tables and did some maintenance yard work. When weather permitted, a Red Hawk staff member could be seen pruning or weeding at lunchtime.

Pastor Owens plans to use the courtyard for several after-school games and activities along with other Hawk’s Nest projects. A former shop teacher will work with the En Gedi students to make lightweight benches. By coordinating with the Garden Club, students will take an active role in keeping the flowerbeds in top shape by learning about the plants and how to care for them.

Red Hawk staff and students will also benefit from the renovated Hawk’s Nest when classrooms gather outside for silent reading, science projects (like cooking with solar ovens), and sketching nature during art class. Some staff members frequently eat lunch in the courtyard, absorbing the sun and quiet beauty.


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Rain, rain, don’t go away


Presentation at The Kent Theatre, September 25

N-Stormwater1-rain-garden-planting-webDo you know where the rainwater after a storm goes?  Or how this rainwater sometimes disappears so fast off our yards, sidewalks, and streets? Did you know that stormwater runoff is the leading source of water pollution in West Michigan?

A presentation at the Kent Theatre on September 25 at 6:30 p.m. will help you learn how some community groups are addressing it and what you can do about it in your own yard.

Before development occurred, most rainfall soaked into the ground and contributed to groundwater or evaporated back into the atmosphere. Modern drainage systems, which collect runoff from impervious surfaces (roofs and roads), ensure the water is efficiently carried to waterways through pipe networks. This is called stormwater runoff.

N-Stormwater2-rainbarrel-workshop-webStormwater runoff is the leading source of water pollution in West Michigan. Every time it rains, salt, lawn chemicals, oil, pet waste and other pollutants are carried to the Rogue River and Lake Michigan through contaminated stormwater. These pollutants are able to flow through storm sewers and drains into our lakes and rivers within minutes of rainfall. Along with carrying pollutants, stormwater runoff can also lead to increased flows and unstable water temperatures. This can have a negative effect on cold water trout streams, like Cedar Creek.

The Cedar Springs DDA and the Community Building Development Team have been working with Trout Unlimited, as part of the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative project, to protect and improve Cedar Creek so it can become a more visible and enjoyable attribute of our town as well as a defining characteristic of our community.

There are many things that you can do on your property to decrease the amount of stormwater runoff you are generating and keep it pollution-free. Stormwater treatment practices, like rain gardens and rain barrels, are used to treat the stormwater on site. They capture runoff from roofs, driveways, patios, and lawns and infiltrate it into the soil. The plants and soils filter and remove stormwater pollutants. Infiltration reduces the volume of stormwater running off of a property and also reduces the potential for stormwater pollution in our local waterways.

In July, a rain garden and stream buffer was planted at the corner of Fifth and Cherry by these community groups. The stream buffer was planted to protect the stream bank from eroding into the Creek. Both the stream buffer and the rain garden were planted to shade the Creek and to filter storm water as it runs off the roads and parking lots as well as to cool the water before it enters the Creek. Plants selected have long roots, are natural to the area, and grow tall enough to provide some shade. Over 2,000 plants were put in to the ground at this site.

If you want to get in on the next planting opportunity or learn more about how we’re working together to develop Cedar Springs into an even more amazing community and what you can do on your property, join us for a public presentation on Wednesday, September 25th at 6:30 p.m. at the Kent Theatre. You can also get connected by liking the Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team on Facebook.  If you would like to find out more about the Trout Unlimited Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative project please contact Nichol De Mol at 231-557-6362 or ndemol@tu.org.

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DNR employees return from fighting Oregon fires


After spending nearly three weeks in the northwestern United States, the Department of Natural Resources welcomed home 31 employees trained as firefighters who had been diligently working to suppress the wildfires that burned in Oregon, California, Washington and Idaho.

Under an interagency agreement, the DNR sent a hand crew comprised of 20 DNR employees to Medford, Oregon. The crew was assigned as an initial attack force tasked with suppressing a 20-acre fire burning in rugged terrain. Another 11 carried out essential fire-line leadership positions assigned to numerous wildfires.

“Fighting wildfires is an arduous and dangerous job,” said Paul Kollmeyer, manager of the DNR Forest Resources Division’s Resource Protection section. “We’re pleased to report that all DNR employees dispatched to other states have returned home safely. The skills our staff gained during the time out west will be instrumental during suppression efforts back home in Michigan.”

The DNR will continue to provide assistance to national fire efforts when conditions are critical. Nationally, there are eight large, uncontained fires currently burning in northern California and Oregon.
When sent on out-of-state assignments, the DNR is fully reimbursed for all costs associated with the support.
“The recent wildfires in the northwest are just another example of why interagency agreements are so important,” Kollmeyer said. “Due to the favorable weather in Michigan this spring and summer, the threat of wildfires was low, allowing us to lend out our services and expertise to other states. When the time comes, we’ll receive the same assistance.”
Because of Michigan’s national cooperative agreement, the DNR received fire suppression assistance from other states and federal agencies during two critical incidents in recent years. This occurred in 2007 on the 18,000-acre Sleeper Lake Fire and two years ago on the 21,000-acre Duck Lake Fire.
For more information about the DNR’s fire management efforts, visit www.michigan.gov/firemanagement.

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New officers provide security at Capitol


N-MSP-Security-officers-webMSP actively recruiting


Michigan State Police (MSP) Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue announced the addition of four new MSP state properties security officers following the graduation of the 21st State Properties Security Officer Recruit School on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014.

“This is a significant day because it marks the continuation of an important investment in the security of our State Capitol,” said Etue. “I’m honored to welcome the members of the 21st State Properties Security Officer

Recruit School to the Michigan State Police.”

Graduates are Sec. Ofcr. Lauren Bielak, of Grosse Pointe; Sec. Ofcr Kevin Cook, of Howell; Sec. Ofcr. Sonya Hiser, of Iron Mountain; and Sec. Ofcr. Jonathan Wetters, of Bay City.

The 21st State Properties Security Officer Recruit School began on June 8, 2014. For nine weeks the recruits received training in firearms, first aid, defensive tactics and physical training. Recruits also received specific training in explosive recognition, executive protection and terrorism awareness.

To be selected to attend the recruit school, applicants had to pass a physical fitness test, background investigation and hiring interview.

The Michigan State Capitol Security Section was established in 1970 to provide security and police services at the State Capitol and surrounding state offices. Today, state properties security officers are responsible for the safety of nearly 24,000 state employees and visitors to state buildings in the city of Lansing. The 14 state properties security officers of the Capitol Security Section patrol on foot, bicycle and by vehicle, answering over 300 calls for service per year.

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

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Are you ready for some football?

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks take on the Comstock Panthers in Comstock Park tonight (Thursday, August 28) 7 p.m. The photo above is from the last time they played them in 2011.

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks take on the Comstock Panthers in Comstock Park tonight (Thursday, August 28) 7 p.m. The photo above is from the last time they played them in 2011.

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks hit the gridiron this week for the first football games of the year. The varsity will take on last year’s OK-Blue champ Comstock Park, on the Panther’s home turf, Thursday, August 28, at 7 p.m., in the first of four non-conference games.
This game should be a great matchup between two highly competitive teams. An Mlive.com article predicted that Cedar Springs will finish second in the OK-Bronze behind Forest Hills Northern, and that Comstock Park will finish second behind West Catholic, which moved from the OK-Bronze to the OK-Blue.
The Wyoming Wolves were moved into the OK-Bronze to take the place of West Catholic.
The Red Hawks have played the Panthers 26 times since 1950, for a record of 11-15. They competed against them regularly when they were both part of the OK-Blue between 2005 and 2011, and as non-conference rivals between 1998-2002. They also competed yearly between 1960 and 1969, when they were both in the Tri-River Conference, and 1950-1953 in the Kent-Ottawa Conference.
The Red Hawks, under Coach Gus Kapolka, will need to be at the top of their game from the first whistle. In their first four games, the Red Hawks will face four teams that all made the playoffs last year—Comstock Park, Sparta, Belding, and Grand Rapids Catholic Central. Last year Comstock Park went 12-1, losing to South Christian in the Division 4 semi-final game.
Head out Thursday night, August 28, and support your Cedar Springs Red Hawks at Comstock Park. Game time is 7 p.m.

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City Police Chief retires

Police Chief Roger Parent

Police Chief Roger Parent

By Judy Reed

The City of Cedar Springs will lose one of its most respected and well-liked employees this week, when Police Chief Roger Parent retires after a 40-year career in law enforcement.
His last day is Friday, August 29.
Parent came to Cedar Springs 6-1/2 years ago, after a 33-1/2-year career with the Kent County Sheriff Department. He grew up in Alpine Township, graduated from Sparta High School, and joined the KCSD in 1974. He spent 20-plus years on road patrol in the northern area of Kent County, and worked on the E-unit out of the north substation. He became Lieutenant of Support Services, and then for the last year he was employed there, he was Lt. Commander over road patrol at the central sector and north substation, overseeing six sergeants and 20 patrol deputies.
But when the opening came here in Cedar Springs for a chief, Parent was ready for the challenge. “I’ve really enjoyed being the Chief in Cedar Springs,” remarked Parent. “It was busier than I thought it would be. A Chief has to take care of every aspect of the department. That was a change, but it goes with the position of being a Chief in a small city. It was a great choice and I’ve never regretted it.”
Parent said the thing he felt most pleased about was the knowledge and expertise he was able to bring from the KCSD to Cedar Springs. They converted to doing more things electronically, such as gun permits, and electronic crash reporting. And when he passed out memorandums to officers on the way he wanted to do things, he said many of the officers were already on board. “The officers were seasoned and they made my job easier. They just needed new leadership,” he explained.
City Manager Thad Taylor had high praise for Parent’s leadership skills. “Roger has a unique ability to bring a high level of professionalism, background experience, and skills and make it work in a small community,” explained Taylor. “He knows the job. He is professional, ethical, and has high standards. He is an effective communicator, a people person. He treats people correctly. He’s done a fabulous job for our community.”
Treating people right is one of Parent’s goals. He always tries to take their concerns seriously. “I believe in customer service. I’m not afraid to come out to the front counter to just sit down with people and give advice, even if it’s not a criminal situation,” Parent explained. “I’ve always told my officers to treat people the way they would want their parents to be treated. I’ve tried to treat people well throughout my career.”
Parent said that what he will miss most is his interaction with his co-workers—both City Hall workers and the officers. “You make friendships, and share things. I will miss that. You can keep in contact through social media, but it’s not quite the same,” he noted. “The other thing I will miss is—well, it’s the ending of a whole 40-year career.”
While Parent stays busy at City Hall—he is a working Chief, who also takes calls—he said he wouldn’t have any trouble relaxing at home, and is looking forward to spending time with his twin preschool grandchildren. And he has two more twin grandchildren on the way. “I’ll adjust fine,” he said with a chuckle.
The Post asked Parent what advice he would give to either a new police chief or the Kent County Sheriff Department—whoever takes over law enforcement for the community. He didn’t hesitate. “Keep our level of service to what it has become,” he said. “They would have to connect with the businesses and the schools. The schools know we are to work with them and the relationship has been great.”
He also added that they should continue to go to private property accidents and help motorists with lock out. “We do about 50 lockouts a year,” he explained. “We have the tool, so why not do it?”
There is a possibility that Parent will come back in civilian clothes as a consultant, a couple of days a week, if the City votes to go with the KCSD for policing. If that happens, he will come back to help dissolve the police department, doing the behind the scenes work to make that happen.
In the meantime, Officer Chad Potts, a 14-year veteran with Cedar Springs Police, will become acting Chief. “He will do a great job,” said Parent.
The Cedar Springs Post wishes Chief Parent the best in his retirement and we hope to see you in our neck of the woods again soon!

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Brewery approved for downtown location

It’s been a longtime coming, but the Cedar Springs Brewing Company has finally purchased the property at 95 N. Main (corner of Main and W. Maple) to build a full-menu restaurant and outdoor biergarden that will be both family and community-friendly, according to owner David Ringler.
When the Cedar Springs City Council officially approved the purchase last Thursday, the entire room erupted in applause. “The final approval was both a relief and thrill,” said Ringler. “The culmination of a long process and the start of another.”
Ringler said it’s been a 25-year dream to have this brewery. “I started home-brewing and became involved in hospitality and the brewing industry when I was in college,” explained Ringler. “I lived in Germany for nearly four years, where I apprenticed as a brewer, before returning to Michigan where I remained in the brewing industry for several years and took the brewing course at Seibel Institute of Brewing Science in Chicago. Despite leaving the industry for a while, I had friends and family in Cedar Springs who encouraged me to take a look if I was still thinking about starting a brewery. We started this current process in December 2013 and have been working towards this final approval since then, as there have been moving parts behind the scene, both in Cedar Springs and the State of Michigan.”
He said the brewery would produce a full range of craft beers, focusing on German styles, and other drinks as well. “We will also serve our own spirits and wine, for guests who prefer, and create a few craft sodas and soft drinks for both the young and young at heart. Our chef and head brewer will be announced as we get closer to opening and we will utilize local and sustainable ingredients whenever possible.”
Ringler will be meeting with the design and construction teams the next two weeks, and they hope to break ground once paperwork and permits are in place. They plan to demolish the current building and build a new one. He said construction will depend somewhat on the weather, but he hopes the brewery will be open early next year.
“We’ve been encouraged by the wonderful support we’ve received from everyone in town,” remarked Ringler. “If the community supports us once we open, I certainly believe that this project can serve as a catalyst for future growth, development and jobs and can help draw commerce from outside the community to Cedar Springs. We’re excited to be a part of that.”
Check out their Facebook page to keep updated on progress. Their full website at www.cedarspringsbrewing.com will also soon be launched. It will feature a live camera of progress, club membership information, and promotional items such as t-shirts and hats from a local supplier.

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City continues discussion with Sheriff Department

By Judy Reed
The Cedar Springs City Council voted 7-0 last Thursday, August 21, to direct the City Manager to continue discussions with the Kent County Sheriff Department regarding them taking over law enforcement for the city.
But it’s not a done deal. The council wants to see a contract before they decide.
Councilor Bob Truesdale said he was disappointed in the rumors going around, and that no officers had come to him to complain. He also said that they had never questioned the police department’s work.
Councilor Patty Troost angrily asked Truesdale whether he had ever asked the officers how they felt about the change. “You need to go to them, not wait for them to come to you,” she said. She also noted the number of domestics in our community, and said she feels that the city needs the level of care our current officers provide. “As an impoverished community, we may need more officers, in my opinion,” she said.
“There are a lot of emotions [on this issue] and rightly so,” said Councilor Jerry Hall. “We need to see hard numbers. I won’t make a decision until we do.”
Mayor Mark Fankhauser expressed similar sentiment. “I know we have a fine police force here. It doesn’t discredit them to look at outsourcing. We need to have the manager move forward with discussions to get solid facts.”
Councilor Ashley Bremmer seemed hesitant to endorse the plan. “Even if the decision is something I don’t want to do, we have to do what is in the best interest of the city,” she said.
Councilor Dan Clark said he doesn’t think the city would get as good of coverage going with the KCSD, but questioned whether we could afford to continue running our own department. “I think we have a great department, and Chief Parent has done great. But as a community, just out of poverty, can we afford to spend as much as a [more affluent] community like Charlevoix? Can we afford that?”
“Our officers do a lot of social work,” remarked Councilor Ken Benham. “But we have dipped into our fund balance the last few years. At this rate, it will be gone, so we need to look at this.”
Chief Roger Parent said that there are pros and cons to the change. “Most of these officers took the job here because they wanted to do small town policing,” he said. “And they have stayed because they like it.”
He said that even though they may get a raise as soon as hired into KCSD, it would still affect them. “They will have higher co-pays, and their vacation will probably start at about a week, when some of the officers are already at 3 weeks here,” he noted.
“What the officers are getting is good. It’s not the best, but it is good. It will work as well as it has in other communities. And Sheriff Stelma, being a resident, will make it work,” remarked Parent. “Our officers will adjust.”
Once the City Manager brings back a contract from the KCSD, the Council will vote on whether to make the switch.

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The Post travels to Schroon Lake


The Post traveled to Word of Life island in Schroon Lake, New York, with 12 teens and seven leaders from Maranatha Baptist Church, located at 12786 Algoma Avenue. The teens spent six days camping on the island, while the leaders stayed at the word of Life Inn and family campground. The teens were also participating in “Teens involved” during the week (which is now called Engage). If you want to learn more about Engage, call the church at (616) 696-3560.
Thanks so much 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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