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Cedar Springs to hold City Manager interviews 

N-City-logo-webThis is a reminder to citizens of Cedar Springs that the Cedar Springs City Council will be holding interviews on Monday, May 9, to select a candidate to replace former City Manager Thad Taylor. These interviews are open to the public and will be held at Cedar Springs City Hall.

They will interview five candidates starting at 9 a.m., with their last interview scheduled for 3:30 p.m. After the last interview, they will break for dinner, then come back and narrow it down to their top candidate that evening.

The following individuals were chosen from a pool of 45 candidates:

9:00 a.m. Steven Buter, Budget & Management Analyst for the City of Greensboro, NC

10:30 a.m.  Andrew Potter, Downtown Development Authority Executive Director/Main Street Manager, Holly MI

12:30 p.m.  Kurt Perron, Veterans Service Community Coordinator, Altatum Institute, Ann Arbor, MI, self-employed contract investigator for MSM Security Services LLC, San Antonio, TX and former Village Manager of Baraga, MI

2:00 p.m.  Michael Burns, Assistant City Manager, Fenton, MI

3:30 p.m.  Richard Marsh, Jr., former City Manager, Inkster, MI

The Michigan Municipal League has been conducting the City Manager search. Clerk Linda Christensen has been doing double duty as both the City Clerk and City Manager since Taylor left last November for a job in Manistee.

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UPDATED FOOD SAFETY ALERT: Organic frozen vegetables recalled

True Goodness by Meijer organic green peas and white supersweet corn are being recalled.

Several varieties of True Goodness by Meijer organic vegetables are being recalled, along with hundreds of other fruit and vegetables products produced at a Washington facility.

UPDATED MAY 3, 2016

Last week CRF Frozen foods issued a recall on organic frozen corn and peas, including Meijer True Goodness, Organic by Nature from Costco, and several other brands, because they could be contaminated with listeria. They are now recalling ALL organic and traditional fruit and vegetable products manufactured in their facility since May 2014. Seven people from three states have become ill and been hospitalized due to listeria. Two later died, though not from listeria. Please visit the link below to see if you have any of the products in your freezer.

Recall on frozen vegetables

ORIGINAL STORY (April 25, 2016):

Organic frozen peas and organic white supersweet corn sold through various retail outlets, including Meijer, Costco and Schwan’s, are being recalled.

CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington is voluntarily recalling 15 frozen vegetable items that have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Organic by Nature white supersweet corn and peas sold at Costco are being recalled.

Organic by Nature white supersweet corn and peas sold at Costco are being recalled.

No illnesses have been reported to date, but the company is recalling the products as a precaution. The Listeria was discovered through routine testing by state health officials in Ohio. Listeria monocytogenes was found to be present in one lot of Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) organic petite green peas and one lot of IQF organic white sweet cut corn.

Recalled items were sold in plastic bags and are marked with Use By Dates located on the back of the package. Listed below are details regarding the recalled items:

True Goodness by Meijer 10 oz organic petite green peas and 10 oz organic white sweet corn.

Organic by Nature 4 and 5 lb packages of organic green peas, organic vegetable medley with shelled edamame, and organic white superweet corn.

Organic by Nature – Canada 2.5 kg organic green peas.

Schwan’s 16 oz organic supersweet yellow and white cut corn.

Wellsley Farms Organic 4 lb packages of organic mixed vegetables and organic green peas.

The recalled frozen vegetables were distributed to retailers and distribution centers between September 13, 2015 and March 16 in the following states, and may be redistributed in other states nationwide: AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NV, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, and in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan of Canada.

Consumers are urged not to consume these products. Consumers who purchased these products may take them back to the store where they purchased them for a refund or simply discard them. Consumers seeking information may call 844.551.5595 Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Pacific Standard Time.

To check out specific UPC codes recalled and use by dates, visit http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/default.htm.

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Consumers urged to throw away potentially contaminated foods

mdard-horizontal-logo-no-background_originalIf you’ve done any shopping at food stores in the Ann Arbor, Midland, or Flint area in the last month, you will want to know about this.

The Michigan departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Health and Human Services are cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement in Ann Arbor on an investigation involving intentional food contamination at retail grocery stores in Ann Arbor.

Thanks to citizen tips, the suspect was apprehended by the Ann Arbor Police Department. During interrogation, the suspect admitted to intentionally contaminating salad bars and/or produce sections of at least three grocery stores in the greater Ann Arbor area—Whole Foods, Meijer, Inc. and Plum Market—at least twice in the last month. The suspect claims to have sprayed the food with a mixture of a commercial mouse poison, alcohol-based hand-sanitizer and water. Samples have been sent for further laboratory analysis to determine concentration.

The chemicals found in this mixture are a form of anti-coagulant, similar to what is found in medicines that have an anti-clotting function. Based on the known ingredients in the mixture at this time, MDHHS does not anticipate any adverse health effects on individuals who may have ingested potentially contaminated products.

The stores involved have been contacted and additional samples have been collected by law enforcement for further testing. MDARD food inspectors are in the stores this evening conducting follow-up assessments of the potentially affected stores.

“Out of an abundance of caution and to protect public health and food safety, I encourage consumers to dispose of any foods purchased from salad bars, olive bars and ready-to-eat hot and cold food areas from these stores between mid-March and the end of April,” said Jamie Clover Adams, MDARD director. “Although most of these types of foods may have already been eaten or disposed of, some may still be in refrigerators or freezers.”

Based on FBI investigation, there is the potential that other stores in Michigan may also have been targeted. These stores include:

Busch’s
2240 S Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI

Cupcake Station
116 E Liberty
Ann Arbor, MI

Family Fare
2026 North Saginaw
Midland, MI

Kroger
3838 Richfield Road
Flint, MI

Meijer, #108
7300 Eastman Ave
Midland, MI

Meijer, #64
3145 Ann Arbor-Saline
Ann Arbor, MI

Meijer, #213
9515 Birch Run Rd
Birch Run, MI

Millers Mini Mart
3001 Bay City Rd
Midland, MI

Plum Market
375 North Maple
Ann Arbor, MI

Target
2000 Waters Road
Ann Arbor, MI

Tsai Grocery
3115 Oak Valley Drive
Ann Arbor, MI

Walmart
910 Joe Mann Blvd
Midland, MI

Walmart
7000 E Michigan Ave
Saline, MI

Whole Foods
990 W Eisenhower Pkwy
Ann Arbor, MI

Whole Foods
3135 Washtenaw Ave
Ann Arbor, MI

“While the risk for adverse health effects appears to be low, more investigation is being done to determine what level of exposure may have occurred,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive, MDHHS. “If you have any health concerns, contact your healthcare provider or call Michigan Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 with questions.”

The departments would like to acknowledge the diligence of employees at Whole Foods, the quick response of the FBI, law enforcement agencies, and local health officials, and those who provided tips via social media, which has led to a speedy resolution to this issue.

Food industry employees and consumers are reminded to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activities. Remember, “If you see something, say something.” Any suspicious activities should be immediately reported to local law enforcement.

Examples of things to watch for include employees or strangers who:

*spray unknown substances in your store

*enter or exit your operation through the wrong doors

*hang around display cases, exposed food displays (e.g., produce or salad bars) or cold/hot food displays

*loiter in aisles

*leave suspicious materials in your store

MDARD and MDHHS will continue to coordinate with all agencies involved, along with Washtenaw County Health Department and Michigan’s retail grocery industry. Updates will be provided as new information becomes available.

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Social Security benefits U.S. citizens outside the U.S.

V-SS-US-citizens-benefitsBy Stephanie Holland, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

Over half a million people who live outside the United States receive some kind of Social Security benefit, including retired and disabled workers, as well as spouses, widows, widowers, and children.

If you’re a U.S. citizen, you may receive your Social Security payments outside the United States as long as you are eligible. When we say you are “outside the United States,” we mean you’re not in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, or American Samoa. Once you’ve been outside the United States for at least 30 days in a row, we consider you to be outside the country.

If you are traveling outside the U.S. for an extended amount of time, it’s important that you tell Social Security the date you plan to leave and the date you plan to come back, no matter how long you expect your travel to last. Then we can let you know whether your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will be affected.

You can use this online tool to find out if you can continue to receive your Social Security benefits if you are outside the United States or are planning to go outside the United States at www.socialsecurity.gov/international/payments_outsideUS.html.

This tool will help you find out if your retirement, disability, or survivor’s payments will continue as long as you are eligible, stop after six consecutive calendar months, or if certain country specific restrictions apply.

When you live outside the United States, periodically we’ll send you a questionnaire. Your answers will help us figure out if you still are eligible for benefits. Return the questionnaire to the office that sent it as soon as possible. If you don’t, your payments will stop.

You can also read the publication titled Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

Social Security is with you through life’s journey, even if that journey takes you outside the United States.

Stephanie Holland is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 455 Bond St Benton Harbor MI 49022 or via email at stephanie.holland@ssa.gov  

 

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Bicycle donations needed for kids’ event

Find your old bike a new home.

Find your old bike a new home.

Has your child outgrown his or her bicycle? Would you like to have another child enjoy it as much as yours did? How about donating it for an event that gives away bicycles to kids that need one?

Almost 50 kids that didn’t have a bike received one at last year’s Blessing of the Bicycles event at The Springs Church. About 40 used ones were given away, as well as eight brand new ones. This year, organizers of the event are looking for more bikes to give away to kids who need one.

Dozens of kids and parents showed up at last year’s event to take advantage of the free bicycles, helmets, face painting, and other goodies. On hand was the Kent County Sheriff Department, Cedar Springs Fire Department, and Rockford Ambulance. They will be all be on hand again at this year’s event on June 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Springs Church, with fun for kids and their families. But in order for the event to be a success, they need bicycles to be donated.

Bicycles can be dropped off any time at 5581 17 Mile Road (at Ritchie) at the Bike Exchange. Or, if you need someone to pick up the bike, please call 616-799-2850.

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The eagles have landed

Tim Hindenach sent in this photo of the eagles at Pine Lake.

Tim Hindenach sent in this photo of the eagles at Pine Lake.

Randy Johnson snapped this shot of an eagle at Sand Lake

Randy Johnson snapped this shot of an eagle at Sand Lake

We continue to get eagle photos from area readers. This week we received clearer photos of an eagle sighting at Pine Lake that we ran last week (thank you Tim Hindenach) and a new sighting at Sand Lake. Randy Johnson took his photos on Friday morning, April 22. “I was able to get a few reasonable photos (low light/foggy conditions) from the north shore of Sand Lake, of this beautiful bird,” he wrote. Thank you, Randy!

We have gotten photos from Algoma, Solon, Nelson, and now Sand Lake. The Post asked Ranger Steve Mueller about whether there were now quite a few eagles here, or whether these could be the same birds.

Eagle numbers have increased significantly during the last several decades due to the Clean the Water and Clean Air Acts and the discontinuance of chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides like DDT,” explained Mueller. “It is likely that some eagle pictures may be the same individuals by different people because eagles are wide ranging.”

Eagles can often be found near bodies of water, since fish make up over half of their diet. They also consume other birds, mammals, and small prey.

Do you have wildlife photos you’d like to send us? Email them to news@cedarspringspost.com, along with your contact info and some information about the photo (what’s in it, where it was taken, etc.) We will print as space allows.

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Sen. MacGregor reads to CTA students

State Sen. MacGregor

State Sen. MacGregor read to the kindergarten and first grade students at CTA

N-MacGregor-reads2Michigan Senator Peter MacGregor stopped by Creative Technologies Academy for a visit on Friday morning, April 22, and read to the kindergarten and first grade students. He read “Bobby Bramble Loses His Brain” by Dave Keane. Senator MacGregor discussed the difference between fiction and non-fiction books with the young students and encouraged them to read with their peers, siblings and adults. He made sure to allow time to answer the many questions the students had, such as: How did you get elected, who’s your boss and what’s your favorite food?

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The Post travels to Colombia

N-Post-travels-to-Colombia-Springs-ChurchThe Post recently traveled to Colombia with The Springs Church mission team. Members of the team included Matt Goehler, Pastor Barry Briggs, Cindy Mason, Cathy VanOss, Bill VanOss, former Springs Pastor Gary Cruce, Johna Alexander, Floretta Reighn and Shane Jewell.

The group traveled to Bogota, Colombia on Saturday, April 9, and then on to Medellin, Colombia on Thursday April 14. They did some painting at a church, and spent time with the girls at an orphanage called Findesin, which means “the end of without.” They also handed out the Gospel of John and tracts to people in both communities. “There were a couple of people that came to know Christ through this activity,” said Cindy Mason.

Cindy described the area around the orphanage. “There are homeless people that sleep in the median along the road of the orphanage, and people pulling around carts, picking through trash.”

She said they took the girls on a day outing. “We enjoyed the arcade and lunch with them, and then purchased each of them a new outfit. We gave them homemade new dresses, snacks from the U.S. and crocheted stuffed animals. We gave them donated backpacks and shoes. We gave the girls love. Although verbal communication was tough, we were still able to spend time with them and show them how much we all cared for them through playing, photo taking and lots of laughter. And in the end, we shared tears with them. We have no idea whether or not those same girls will be in the orphanage when we return or if they will be back with their parent(s). Therefore, the good-bye that we experienced could very well have been good-bye forever.”

Thanks so much 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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Beware: you may be visited by pink flamingos

Flocking is a new way for Rotary Interact members to raise money for their organization. From left to right: Holly Scheer, Kaylee Klompstra, and Alec Falicki.  

Flocking is a new way for Rotary Interact members to raise money for their organization. From left to right: Holly Scheer, Kaylee Klompstra, and Alec Falicki.

By Randy VanDuyn

On Sunday afternoon, April 24, a flock of pink flamingos took up residency on the front lawn of Marge and Jack Clark’s home. The flamingos allegedly escaped from the Cedar Springs Rotary Interact Club. Jack and Marge were surprised and entertained to see the exotic pink birds in their yard with a hot pink sign stating, “You’ve been flocked!”

The Clarks now have a unique opportunity to pay a small fee that supports the Interact Club and they get to select the next recipient to flock. This is confidential until the chosen recipients see the flock of pink flamingos in their yard! It’s a great way to support our local kids, community, and to have fun throughout Cedar Springs.

The Interact Club, sponsored by the Cedar Springs Rotary Club, is made up of high school students from CSHS and CTA. This is exciting, as it’s the first year Cedar Springs has had an Interact Club. Other communities with Interact clubs include Greenville, Rockford, Lowell and Kenowa Hills.

The Interact Club is a great service organization, like the Cedar Springs Rotary Club. It’s all about our youth learning to lead and be great community volunteers. This will help to build our community with a philosophy of “service above self.”

Some students of the Interact Club were part of the Rotary Life Leadership Conference last June. The CS Rotary sponsors student participation in the Life Leadership Conference each year. Students are selected by CS Rotarians Julie Wheeler, of Independent Bank, and Aaron Gauger, of White Creek Lumber. Selected students attend a camp with approximately 140 other young leaders from Rotary District 6290.

The CS Interact Club was spearheaded by Dr. Laura VanDuyn, Cedar Springs Superintendent of Schools, after joining the local Rotary Club and working alongside local Rotarians. The Interact Club is now led by Rotary advisors, Nicole Kozminski of Independent Bank and Randy VanDuyn, who serves on the Board of Directors for the CS Rotary and the Red Flannel Festival. Josh Cooper, CSHS teacher, assists the Club leaders and offers his classroom as the meeting place for the Club.

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Montcalm educator wins excellence in education award

Kathy Maguire poses for a photo with Baldwin Heights principal, Mike Walsh, and her mother, Elizabeth Fraser, after accepting her Excellence in Education award from Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.

Kathy Maguire poses for a photo with Baldwin Heights principal, Mike Walsh, and her mother, Elizabeth Fraser, after accepting her Excellence in Education award from Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.

Kathy Maguire talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting her Excellence in Education award.

Kathy Maguire talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting her Excellence in Education award.

A Montcalm County educator known for her commitment to encourage students to read and explore new books and for devoting her own time to help teachers and students has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Kathy Maguire, is a media center specialist at Baldwin Heights Elementary School in Greenville. The school is part of the Greenville Public Schools district.

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education award program in 2014 to recognize outstanding public school educators across the state during the school year. 

Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school or school district. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Each winner also is featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations:  WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, and FOX 47 in Lansing. The news segments featuring Maguire aired last week.

For the Excellence in Education awards program, the Lottery has teamed up with Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo. Izzo met recently with Maguire at the Breslin Center and presented her with the award.

Maguire said her favorite part of being an educator is “helping teachers and students find the resources they need to excel. It’s also seeing the joy on students’ faces when they find just the right book and it clicks with them and changes their lives.”

Maguire said she was attracted to a career in education because of her father, Morley Fraser, who was a football and baseball coach and teacher at Albion College. “He instilled the love of education in all six kids in our family. In fact, the whole family entered the education field.”

She said she’s motivated to do her best each day because “my father taught me to help ‘win the game’ in every job, so I go the extra mile to help the teachers win the game in their classrooms and to win the game with students so they know they are valued and respected and that I’ll help them in any way that I can.”

The Excellence in Education award nomination for Maguire described her as “the most upbeat person on our staff” and who “always goes beyond anything that is expected.”

Our media center is a welcoming, friendly place to be thanks to her caring, diligence and the love of the staff and kids. It’s not unusual for students to stop in the media center after school just to talk to her. Taking time for students never stops for Kathy,” the nomination said, adding that “volunteers are a common sight in our media center because she is so accepting and appreciative of anyone who might want to help.”

Maguire has been an educator for 15 years, the last 11 with the Greenville Public Schools.  She attended Alma College and the Moody Bible Institute.

Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:

Excellence – Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement.

Dedication – They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed.

Inspiration – Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations either academically or professionally.

Leadership – They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts

Effectiveness – The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.

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