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School board member resigns

Brook Nichols

Board seeks applicants to fill vacancy

By Judy Reed

If anyone knows what challenges the Cedar Springs Board of Education has faced over the last several years, it’s Brook Nichols. She served 14 years on the board—weathering both the good times and the bad—before resigning earlier this month to move closer to jobs and family. Her seat was up for vote again this November.

Nichols served two four year terms, and one six year term. “Being on the board was so much different than I thought it would be, but I learned a lot about myself, working with others and most importantly, I learned how much people in this community truly care about their students,” she told the Post. “Many things have changed over the 14 years I served on the school board and we have gone through some tough times and had to make difficult decisions, but I feel very optimistic about the future of CSPS and am excited to see what happens from here.” (See her entire letter to the community click here.)

The Board of Education is now looking for applicants to apply for her seat. The individual appointed will fill the vacant position through December 31, 2018 and will be replaced by the individual elected to the position (based upon the November 6, 2018 election results) on January 1, 2019.

Interested persons must submit a letter expressing interest in a board position and their qualifications for the position to the superintendent no later than Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. Any person who has previously applied as a candidate must resubmit their qualifications to the superintendent by the deadline.

Following a review of the submitted materials, the board will identify a pool of candidates to interview. Not all interested persons for the board vacancy will be interviewed. The interviews will take place at a Special Meeting of the Board of Education open to the public. The date of this meeting is Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. See public notice on page 17 of our e-edition.

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Squash plant takes over yard

A storm earlier this week destroyed part of the squash plant, and you can now see the tire where it originally started. Courtesy photo.

This squash plant traveled across the yard and up to this family’s front door. Courtesy photo.

When the Reeves family put an old tractor tire out in their front yard for flowers to grow in, they had no idea what was about to sprout.

“One day a small pumpkin or squash-like plant started to grow,” said CheriAnn Reeves, of the City of Cedar Springs. “We didn’t know what it was. We didn’t plant it; squash had never been planted in that spot before. We left it alone, and it just started getting bigger and bigger. Soon we discovered it was a crooked neck squash and it had started to take over the front yard. It crawled up the front walk and to the front door!” she said. 

Their harvest has been bountiful. “My daughter Rabeka started handing them out to the neighbors because we had so much,” remarked CheriAnn. “We have had a few dinners and it is still going.” 

CheriAnn reported to us earlier this week that storms had destroyed some of the plant, which now makes the tire visible again. We hope you still have some squash left!

If you have a nature photo you’d like to send us, please email it to news@cedarspringspost.com with some information about the photo, where it was taken, and your contact info. We will print as space allows.

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The Post travels to Colombia

The Post recently traveled to Colombia with Shana Poll. While there, Shana visited the cities Guatape, Medellin, and Nuqui.

In the photo, you can see her standing among some ruins. “Hello, from Guatape, Colombia. I’m on the pool house overlooking the burned out home of Pablo Escobar,” she said. And if you look closely at the photo, you can see she is pointing at a picture of herself from her last “Post travels to” earlier this summer when she went to China.

Thank you, Shana, 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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MacGregor donates flag to library

(L to R) Carolyn Davis of Rotary, Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack, Library Director Donna Clark, Senator Peter MacGregor, and Louise King and Tony Owens, both of the Cedar Springs Library Board. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

In early July, Senator Peter MacGregor donated a State of Michigan flag to the Cedar Springs Library. On Wednesday, August 29, he donated another flag to the library—this one with the Cedar Springs Public Library’s logo on it.

When he was here previously, he had asked what the third flag pole was for, and Library Director Donna Clark explained that they’d like to get a flag with their logo on it. MacGregor said he could do it. “We had to complete the set,” he said.

“I was glad to do it,” he added. “If you need anything, all you need to do is ask,” he told Clark.

The flag was personally donated by MacGregor and his team. No taxpayer dollars went into the purchase.

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West Nile virus claims life of Kent County resident

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) has learned that a Kent County resident who was hospitalized with West Nile Virus has died due to complications of the illness.

As the Labor Day weekend holiday approaches, KCHD wants people to know that it is vital to continue to protect themselves from the bite of a mosquito. Through surveillance, KCHD has noted a 400 percent increase in the number of Culex Mosquitoes trapped by the agency so far this summer. The Culex mosquito is the species that transmits West Nile Virus to humans. KCHD believes these increased numbers may signal higher numbers of human West Nile Virus cases for the 2018 season.

There is no vaccine or cure for West Nile. The best treatment is prevention. KCHD recommends the following:

  • Applying insect repellant that contains the active ingredient DEET and always following the manufacturer’s directions for use on the label.
  • Draining standing water in the yard. Empty water from flower pots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, buckets, barrels, and cans. Anywhere water can collect, mosquitoes can breed.
  • Avoid being outside at dusk and dawn when mosquito activity is high.
  • Wear light colored long- sleeved shirts and long pants.

Only about 20% of the people infected will notice symptoms that may include headache, body aches, joint pains and fatigue. Most people with this type of West Nile virus completely recover. West Nile can develop into a severe illness that can affect the central nervous system. Some damage to the central nervous system can be permanent. In rare instances the disease can lead to death. 

More info can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html.

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FFA concludes a busy summer 

By Chloe Boomgaard

Summer has gone especially fast for the Cedar Springs FFA this summer. It all began when the High school FFA officer team had the chance to attend the State Leadership Conference for Chapter Officers (SLCCO) in Lansing on July 9 and 10. The eight members of the officer team attending include Dylan McConnon, Olivia Martinek, Chloe Boomgaard, Carly Dunham, Angel Shears, Trevor Marsman, Jared Smith,and Mr.Reyburn. These students had the opportunity while at the conference to attend three different sessions that were themed with different points of leadership: how to set goals, how to work as a team to achieve goals, and communication skills that will help the officers step up to the plate and become the best leaders possible.

Just days after returning from SLCCO, a group of FFA members returned to the MSU campus. The group included Alyssa Marshall, Dylan McConnon, Alyssa Roelofs, Axel Anderson and Trevor Marsman, and coaches Brent Willett and Cade Hall. They had the chance to participate in a Livestock Judging competition on July 12. They spent many countless hours practicing and going to fairs to practice judging livestock being shown by other people. The team put all they had into the competition and placed 11 out of 27 different teams. Great job team! 

The land lab work began with Wayne and Trevor Marsman planting the corn in the field by the high school and Dylan McConnon spreading the fertilizer on the field. Dave Dunaven and Steve Smitz helped the FFA by tilling and planting the soybeans and making sure that everything was set in order to have a great crop this season. Jerad Smith and Dylan McConnon applied herbicides to both of the fields. Along with this great group of people we had Jake Gebhardt, who helped both groups of people to prepare the field for planting. 

Dylan McConnon and Tyler Schoen represented the FFA and Cedar Springs well in the state tractor driving contest. Dylan finished in first place,and Tyler followed behind in fifth place. Many of the chapters members participated in the showing of live stock at the Kent County Youth Fair while other officers worked a booth selling meat sticks, maple syrup, and work gloves along with running the Agricultural Adventure barn to help younger kids learn about the many areas of agriculture. The barn was not only run by the Cedar Springs chapter but the Lowell and Caledonia chapters as well. All student entering the High school and returning high schoolers keep a lookout for the FFA at orientation with some games for everyone to enjoy. 

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Marching band to compete in two competition tracks

 

By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs marching band students and their parents were surprised last week Monday, August 20, when it was announced that the band would be competing in the Scholastic Marching Band (SMB) competitions and not the Michigan Competitive Band Association events. The MCBA events can lead to the state finals.

Parents asked the administration to reverse the decision. As it turns out, the decision was made last May, but not communicated to band students. Principal Ron Behrenwald sent out a letter last Thursday, August 23, to students letting them know that because of the problem with communication, they would move forward with a competition schedule that would include both the SMB and MCBA events. 

“This provides you an opportunity to earn a chance to compete in the 2018 MCBA State Finals. One of our aims has and still remains to provide our marching band students with adjudicated performance opportunities that will enhance your experience and showcase your talent as a musician,” he wrote.

He said that at the end of the competitive season, “a review of the marching band experience and overall program success criteria will be conducted with input from a variety of stakeholders. Please be assured that we will pass along any changes for the 2019 competition season to you and your parents/guardians as soon as those decisions are made, but no later than May 2019.”

He then apologized for the frustration of the timing of the announcement.

The band has not always competed in MCBA events. For many years they competed only in SMB competitions. They have been competing in MCBA events since 2009.

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Detroit FBI warns of posting hoax threats 

#ThinkBeforeYouPost

The Detroit Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is announcing a campaign to educate the public on the consequences of posting hoax threats to schools and other public places, and reminds communities that these hoax threats are not a joke.

“We take every threat seriously. The FBI Detroit Field Office continues to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners in assessing any and all threats to our area”, said Timothy R. Slater, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the FBI. “As always, the FBI Field Office will work together, sharing and acting upon threat information as it comes to our attention. We continue to urge the public to please remain vigilant and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately.”

In the aftermath of tragic shootings such as the ones at Santa Fe High School and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the FBI and law enforcement around the country often see an increase in threats made to schools and other public forums.

Federal, state, and local law enforcement then employ a full range of tools to mitigate those threats that are deemed credible. These investigations drain resources and cost taxpayers a lot of money. When an investigation concludes there was a false or hoax threat made to a school, or another public place, a federal charge could be considered, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. If a federal charge is not warranted, state charges can be considered.

Public assistance is crucial to our efforts to curb these hoax threats. We ask that the public continue to contact law enforcement to report any potential threats or suspicious activity. If there is any reason to believe the safety of others is at risk, we ask that the public immediately reach out to their local police department by calling 911, or contact the FBI via tips.fbi.gov or over the phone (1-800-CALL-FBI). As always, members of the public can call the Detroit FBI field office to report a tip (1-313-965-2323).

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It’s time for football!

Red Hawk Ryan Ringler leaps over several Pioneers as he scores a touchdown against East Grand Rapids in 2017.

Michigan high school football starts this week, and fans are looking forward to a great season for the hometown team in the OK-White. In 2017, the Red Hawks went 7-4, which included some exciting moments, such as 28-14 win over Lowell during the regular season, and a heart-stopping victory over East Grand Rapids 41-40 in a pre-district game. Cedar Springs will have two non-conference games before Labor Day that will test their mettle. The first is tonight, Thursday, August 23, at Saginaw Swan Valley. They went 12-2 last year, losing to West Catholic in the Division 5 state final. Then next Thursday, August 30, the Red Hawks will host Caledonia, who went 4-5 last year in a tough division—the OK-Red. Watch for a complete schedule in an upcoming issue. Come on out and cheer your Red Hawks! Hope to see you there!

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Catholic parish breaks ground on new, larger church

Saint John Paul II Parish broke ground on a new church last Sunday. Photo by Sue Wolfe.

 

By Sue Wolfe

A Rite of Beginning Work on the Building of a Church (commonly known as a groundbreaking) was held on Sunday, August 19 following the 10:30 a.m. mass for a new Catholic church to be built near the existing Saint John Paul II Parish located at 3110 17 Mile Road, Cedar Springs, just west of Meijer. 

The Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak, Bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids, presided over this historic event in the presence of the parish’s first pastor Father Lam T. Le and many joyful parishioners.   

“It is an exciting moment when a bishop has the opportunity to break ground on a new church in his diocese,” said Bishop Walkowiak. “This growth shows the vibrancy of the Catholic faith in West Michigan.”

Since opening in 2013, the community’s first Catholic Church has done extensive remodeling of the sanctuary and added a commercial kitchen, classrooms, offices, storage area, and a large gathering room/dining area. The current church will remain as a holy chapel for weddings, funerals, and daily mass. The adjoining facilities will continue to be utilized for faith formation and an outreach center of the parish.

The Bishop cited the good works and powerful ministry being done through this small community church to include a free Tuesday night meal serving an average 70 people per night. The parish has youth ministries, faith formation programs, and outreach programs, as well as collaborating with other community Christian groups and organizations to address needs within the area schools and community. 

Following the opening words of Bishop Walkowiak, he then sprinkled holy water over the boundary lines of the proposed church and a corner piece of the foundation. Approximately 300 parishioners and guests attended the ceremony followed by a feast in the gathering room where they shared stories of celebration and hope. 

“Over the past five years, I have witnessed how God has been working through the faith community in Cedar Springs,” said Reverend Lam Le, pastor of St. John Paul II Parish. “I have seen a great number of people coming to this parish for the sacraments of Christian initiation. I have also observed families who have joined our parish and joyfully offered their stewardship of time, talent and treasure to the Lord. Truly, St. John Paul II Parish is living its mission of being the hands and feet of Christ.”

Construction of the new church began on Monday, August 20 and is scheduled to conclude in November 2019. The parish expects to have 600 families by the end of 2018. Church leaders believe their ability to grow is dependent on the space they have available. The rectory will wait until after the church is complete.

Saint John Paul II Parish welcomes all those who wish to explore and deepen their faith to include those who may have practiced the Catholic faith in the past, are currently practicing Catholicism, and those who may want to explore and learn what the Catholic faith involves. The office is open Tuesday–Thursday 9–4, and Fridays 9–noon.  Weekday Mass times are Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Thursdays at noon. Sunday Masses are: Vigil at 4 p.m. (on Saturday), on Sunday 8:30 and 10:30 am and 5 pm. You can call 616-696-3904 or visit the website www.JP2-MQA.org for more information. 

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