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Man arrested on CSC charges

 

Jeremy Geselman

Jeremy Geselman

A Montcalm County man was charged on Tuesday, June 24, with six felony charges related to inappropriate sexual contact with minors.

The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office conducted a lengthy investigation that led to the arrest of Jeremy Edward Geselman, 33, of Crystal. The charges stem from the allegations of two young women, ages sixteen and thirteen at the time of the offenses.

The charges included two for Criminal Sexual Conduct-First Degree, one for Criminal Sexual Conduct-Second Degree, two for Criminal Sexual Conduct-Third degree, and one for Criminal Sexual Conduct-Fourth degree. The maximum sentences for those charges range from two years to life.

Geselman remains behind bars and is being held on a $100,000 bond.

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Fourth of July drunk driving crackdown kicks off

Eight area counties step up enforcement

To truly celebrate our freedom this Fourth of July holiday, motorists need to designate a sober driver or risk ending up behind bars. A statewide night patrol impaired driving enforcement crackdown kicks off July 1, with nearly 150 law enforcement agencies in 26 counties participating.

In 2013, 354 people died in Michigan as a result of alcohol and/or drug-involved traffic crashes, a 3.5 percent increase from 2012. To help prevent these tragedies, law enforcement agencies from local police departments, sheriff offices and Michigan State Police posts across the state will conduct extra drunk driving patrols throughout this popular summer holiday period.

The effort runs through July 13 and is paid for with federal funds administered by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP). Grant-funded counties in West Michigan are Allegan, Berrien, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa and Van Buren.

“Alcohol-involved fatalities have increased during the last few years resulting in more families mourning the preventable loss of a loved one,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. “The officers are taking part to encourage drivers to make smart decisions and plan ahead to ensure a safe way home. Make no mistake, if you drive drunk, you will be arrested.”

During the 2013 Fourth of July holiday period, 19 people died on Michigan roads. Six of the fatal crashes were alcohol-related. The official holiday period began at 6 p.m. on July 3, 2013 and ran until midnight on July 7, 2013.

In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, although motorists can be arrested at any BAC level if an officer feels they are impaired. Under the state’s high BAC law, motorists face enhanced penalties if a first-time arrest is for a .17 BAC or higher.

This project is part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013.

 

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Scammers pose as Deputies and demand money

The Kent County Sheriff Department took a report on June 16, 2014 from a resident who reported they were contacted by the KCSD advising they had a warrant for their arrest and they had to pay hundreds of dollars to take care of the warrant. The scammers spoofed the Sheriff Department’s phone number so on their caller ID it appeared the phone call was from the Kent County Sheriff Department. The scammers also used an actual employee’s name from the Kent County Sheriff Department in the scam. Luckily, the victim thought it was suspicious and called to report it.

This type of scam is similar to many others that are being done where scammers pose as an employee of the IRS or a utility company and even family members in need of cash. Scammers convince people to purchase gift cards (Green Dot prepaid Visa card or something similar) and give them the security numbers off the back of the card. This gives the scammers access to the money on the card.

The Kent County Sheriff Department (KCSD) wants citizens to be aware of these types of scams and warns never to give out personal information or credit card information over the phone unless you initiated the call and you are absolutely sure you know who you are speaking/dealing with.

The Kent County Sheriff Department would never contact a citizen and request credit card information over the telephone.

If there is ever any doubt if you are speaking with a member of the Kent County Sheriff

Department, you are encouraged to ask for credentials and then hang up and call our Dispatch Center at 616-336-3113.

 

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Community steps up for Lifewalk

N-lifewalk1-photo-webN-Lifewalk3-overhead-webA stream of lime green T-shirts wove its way down through the heart of Cedar Springs on Saturday, June 14. Alpha Family Center held its first 5K LifeRun early with 12 runners participating, and 14 children taking part in the FunRun around the Skinner Field track. Then 180 walkers came out at 10 a.m. to celebrate Alpha’s 18th Lifewalk!

Chris Anton, youth Pastor at The Springs Church, opened the fundraising event with a hearty welcome to everyone for taking time out to support life and to help this worthy cause. He gave the walk instructions, which included stopping at key places to pray for our area churches, schools, city hall, the police station and Alpha Family Center. He reminded everyone to return to Morley Park for a short time of fellowship and heart-felt prayer for the unborn.

The walkers returned to the park for a time of refreshment, door prizes, face painting, a clown, and a report that included the total amount raised this year, which was $11,300.

N-Lifewalk2-group-webLifewalk makes up a huge portion of Alpha’s operating expenses each year. Alpha helps over 100 families per month, and gives away 14,000 baby and maternity items per year. They also offer free pregnancy self-testing, parenting classes and support for abuse, miscarriage, post-abortion and sexual integrity classes.

Kim Ferguson shared her experience as a new peer counselor and the rewards she receives being a part of an organization making a difference in our community.

Jenn Anton, Alpha’s new Lifewalk Coordinator, shared the good news about abortions being down in the state of Michigan. Her closing prayer was for protection of unborn babies as colorful balloons filled the sky in memory of the 54,000 babies that have been aborted since abortion became legal in 1973.

If you didn’t get a chance to donate, you can contact Alpha Family Center at 616 696-2616, or donate at their website:  www.alphafamilycentercs.org.

 

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City hears Sheriff’s policing proposal

 

N-City-logo-webBy Judy Reed

 

It was standing room only last Thursday, June 12, when people poured in to the Cedar Springs City Council chambers to air their views on how they feel about the city’s police department, and to hear what Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma had to say about what his department could do for the city.

It was just the beginning of a discussion on whether the city should hire a new police chief to replace retiring Chief Roger Parent, or contract with the Kent County Sheriff Department to save money.

At least a dozen people took the podium to talk about why they felt the city should keep the current police force intact. Their pleas were heartfelt and often poignant. Many of them had firsthand knowledge of the department—either the police had arrested someone in their family and then set them on the right path, or had helped them by paying special attention to their kids. One woman talked about the turnaround her daughter made, from hating school to graduating. “They are involved with us, they know us. If these officers didn’t have my back, my daughter could be sitting in juvy. It’s not just a parenting issue, it’s a community issue,” she said.

Another woman talked about how the officers had gotten her through so much growing up, and had helped her mother during domestic assaults. “Without these officers, my mother would probably be dead,” she said. “We lived near the Kent City substation, and took three hours for Kent County to get there on a domestic.”

A girl who just graduated said she had been in jail, but Officer Tucker straightened her out. “I’m afraid to go back,” she said.

One of the most moving was a 12-year-old boy who talked about how Officer Mandy and Sgt. Good had helped him through some tough times.

Sgt. Good also spoke about the good community policing the department does, and the fact that they have over 60 years of experience in the full time officers alone. “You just can’t buy that kind of experience and knowledge (about the community) ,” he said.

Mayor Mark Fankhauser made it clear that the city had contacted the Sheriff Department about what kind of proposal they could give the city that was as near to the services they currently had as possible.

Sheriff Stelma was humble at the podium. He told the council and audience that he had been a member of this community for almost 50 years. “It’s my community, too. I’ve raised my family here, I feel safe here, I do business here. I have great respect for the police in our community.” He went on to say he was a little surprised when contacted about supplying law enforcement for the city, and in no way wanted to degrade the professionalism of the city’s police officers. “Chief Parent has done a tremendous job. He’s a good friend and a former employee. I think this community enjoys one of the finest police departments anywhere,” he said.

Under the Sheriff’s proposal, the city could save over $100,000. They would hire our full time force, and many would receive a raise. And, if the officers wanted to stay working in Cedar Springs, they could do that. They would provide a sergeant or community policing officer at the station Monday through Friday during the day, and one patrol officer, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Currently the city has two from 9 p.m. to 3 p.m., which means there is usually one to back the other up if needed. Under the Sheriff’s proposal, a backup car would come from a nearby township if needed.

The Sheriff said that many things would be included and absorbed into the Sheriff Department such as vehicles, detective work, crime lab work, radio work, etc. “In general we would provide over 300 extra hours of law enforcement,” he said. “We are here to work with you, not against you. We are here to benefit the community.”

Chief Deputy Michelle Young said that one thing this would offer current officers is depth in their careers. “Someone with more years in may want to try to move up to detective. Or an officer may move to a different township and want to try out a new area,” she explained. “We can work with them on that.”

She explained that officers are assigned to a car for one year. She feels that the officers wouldn’t necessarily stay in Cedar Springs forever. “It would shake out in about 10 years,” she said, noting that the officers would probably move on to other areas.

The City will be creating a survey for residents, and scheduling a couple of town hall meetings in July to get the public’s opinion on the proposed changes. The entire proposal will be made available along with the survey.

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Summer Celebration: Renaissance Festival

 

N-Renaissance-festival-webThis weekend June 20-22 at Morley Park

 

Have you ever wanted to dress up like a historical figure? Maybe a pirate, gypsy, King, knight, prince or princess? The Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce invites you to join the fun this weekend at their first ever Renaissance Festival in Morley Park. Come dress up and be a kid again! The event takes place Friday, June 20, Saturday, June 21, and Sunday, June 22. There will be Pirates, Mermaids, Knights, Royalty, Gypsies, Middle Eastern Dancers and more!

Friday night starts out with a Zumba dance fitness demo at 6 p.m., followed by Riccardi’s pizza in the park ($1.50 to $2.00 per slice depending on toppings) at 7 p.m., and then a showing of “The Sword and the Stone” about 9:30 p.m.

Families will want to bring their own chairs. If it rains, the movie will be shown under a big tent.

On Saturday, even more events are lined up. There will be dance demos, a fight demo (at the encampment), food available by the Grilling Company, and much more. The Cedar Springs museum will also be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check out the activities in the ad on page 2, and on the event’s Facebook page. Just search for Cedar Springs Summer Celebration Renaissance Era.

 

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Cedar Springs Superintendent Ron McDermed retires

 

Superintendent Ron McDermed

Superintendent Ron McDermed

By Tom Noreen

 

From theatre major to superintendent, Superintendent of Cedar Springs Public Schools Ron McDermed, has dedicated his life to the education of our children. As a threatre major at Western Michigan University, Ron visited local schools during improv performances with fellow thespians. His experience working with students inspired him to change majors and pursue a degree in education. A decision he has not regretted in his 40 years of teaching and administration.

“I would absolutely do it again, no question,” he remarked.

Upon graduation from WMU, McDermed taught at Portland for twelve years and then applied to be the principal at Fowler where he was for three years. He has been with the Cedar Springs Public Schools district since 1989, serving as an elementary principal from 1989-1997, and then as associate superintendent over curriculum and instruction from 1997 until 2009, and Superintendent from 2009 to 2014.

McDermed said he had no intentions of competing for superintendent when Andy Booth retired, as he had no aspirations for the position in any school. However, then School Board President Carolee Cole convinced him that he should put his name in the hat and try.

McDermed said his biggest challenges were working with the State to understand local issues, especially economic ones during the past five years.

As to accomplishments, Ron said, “We have come together as a school system of continuous learning and collaboration. We have professional learning communities with coaches to help. As a result, the school has developed a culture allowing it to be a better school district.”

McDermed went on to say, “I have been blessed with a wonderful staff and administrative team.”

His most memorable events are graduations as students, staff, and families celebrate the culmination of 13 years of growth and learning.

He has been a great asset to the school and the community. Through his leadership, the budget is balanced, improvements are being made to the infrastructure, and the school’s relationship with the community and local organizations is great.

McDermed has been active in Rotary and is the current club president.

He has no definite plans for the future other than to spend more time with his family and dust off some neglected hobbies, one of which is painting.

McDermed’s wife, Irene, taught in Lowell for many years. Their daughter, Alina, is a medical doctor working for Spectrum Health in Fremont. Their son, Michael, lives in California, where he works in music production and photography.

“We have loved Cedar, being a part of it,” said McDermed. “It is a great town with great people.”

 

 

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The Post travels to Israel

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Dave and Nancy Jensen, of Cedar Springs, traveled to Israel in March, and took a break from sightseeing to get this picture of them with The Post in front of a historic body of water—the Sea of Galilee!

Thanks, Dave and Nancy, for taking us with you on your travels!

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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Missing man found near Cedar Springs

Martin Leep had been missing since Wednesday, June 11.

Martin Leep had been missing since Wednesday, June 11. He was found just north of Cedar Springs.

A 91-yearold man who was missing for almost 24 hours is back home with his family thanks to two good Samaritans.

According to Cedar Springs Police Officer Mike Stahl, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Workman, of Pierson, came upon a vehicle on the side of the road Thursday evening, near Northland Drive and 19 Mile Road, just a mile north of Cedar Springs. The car had run out of gas, and the couple decided to help out the elderly driver.

“The wife thought he looked like a picture she had seen of a man that was missing from Barry County, so she looked at Facebook on her phone and it was him,” explained Stahl.

The couple then called 911 and reported that they thought they had found the missing man. A Kent County Sheriff car was not immediately available, so Cedar Springs Officer Mike Stahl took the call.

He said he checked the man’s license plates and his ID and asked the man who he was. Stahl called it in, and the man’s family was notified. He waited with the man for his family to arrive. “They were so happy they were hugging him and hugging me,” said Stahl.

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office said that Martin Leep, 91, had left the Delton area at 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, June 11, on his way back to Martin, but never made it. Deputies said he stopped at a Hastings gas station and asked a clerk for directions home about 10 p.m. The clerk gave Leep directions to his home via M-179 through the Yankee Springs area.

Officer Stahl said he didn’t know where all the man had been, but he mentioned going over the bridge.

Other than not knowing where he was, Leep appeared to be in good condition.

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New Beginnings students make a difference

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N-Picnic-Tables2-Group-web

It’s no coincidence that the picnic tables at Morley Park are looking good as new.

New Beginnings High School students took the time on June 3rd and 4th (the last days of school) to paint all the picnic tables at Morley Park. White Creek Lumber donated almost $200 worth of paint and materials, and students provided the man (and woman) power to get the job done.

Way to go!

 

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