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Labor Day holiday enforcement effort helps save lives  


The results are in, and according to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, officers from police departments, sheriff’s offices and Michigan State Police posts across the state arrested 349 drunk drivers during the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown. The stepped up drunk driving and seat belt enforcement began Aug. 18 and ran through the Labor Day holiday weekend.

According to preliminary reports, there were nine traffic fatalities during the 2016 Labor Day holiday period. Only one of those deaths involved alcohol.  This is a significant decrease from the 2015 Labor Day holiday period when 15 died in traffic crashes and nearly two-thirds of the crashes involved alcohol.

“Many law enforcement officers spent the holiday weekend away from their families to make our state a safer place, said Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) Director Michael L. Prince. “The preliminary report of a decrease in drunk driving fatalities is a good indication their efforts are having a positive impact.”

Reports also indicate officers issued 3,911 seat belt and child restraint citations and made 141 drug arrests during the nearly three-week effort. Of the 349 arrests for drunk driving, 53 drivers had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .17 percent or higher.  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. Michigan law requires drivers, front seat passengers and passengers 15 and younger in any seating position to be buckled up. Children must be in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4’9” tall, and children under 4 years old must be in the back seat.  The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign was supported with federal traffic safety funds coordinated by OHSP. Grant-funded impaired driving and seat belt enforcement are part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013.

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Red Flannel royalty chosen for 2016

The new 2016 Red Flannel Queen is Mumina Ciise (center), and court members are Kaley Louck (left) and Madison Case (right). Photo courtesy of the Red Flannel Festival.

The new 2016 Red Flannel Queen is Mumina Ciise (center), and court members are Kaley Louck (left) and Madison Case (right). Photo courtesy of the Red Flannel Festival.

The Red Flannel Festival is officially underway, and the traditional crowning of the Red Flannel Queen is a big part of the excitement. This year was no different, as more than a dozen girls competed for the coveted title on Saturday, September 24, at Cedar Springs High School.

“We had 15 contestants looking to be crowned the 2016 Red flannel Queen. They did a wonderful job and didn’t make it an easy decision for the judges,” said Pageant Director Kaleigh Rosenberger, who was the 2007 Red Flannel Queen.

Crowned Queen this year was Mumina Maxamed Ciise, daughter of Max and Maryan Ciise. Her court members are Kaley Louck, daughter of  Roger and Amy Louck; and Madison Case, daughter of Marissa Shaw and Anthony Shaw.

This year there was a tie for Miss Congeniality, which is voted on by the contestants themselves. This year they chose Autumn Hinton, daughter of Timothy and Kelli Hinton; and Myla Umphrey, daughter of Michael Umphrey and Mistie Bowser.

Emcee for the 72nd annual Red Flannel Queen’s Scholarship pageant was Dave Stuart Jr., a well-known and loved Cedar Springs High School teacher. “He did an excellent job assisted by the 2006 Red Flannel Queen Rebecca Tackmann Cronin,” said Rosenberger.

Local resident Missy Armstrong, who is also a national bluegrass recording artist, provided entertainment.

The Queen and her court will appear at activities all throughout the Red Flannel Festival, and will represent the RFF at activities throughout the coming year. They will also each receive a portion of the scholarship money donated by community members to use for the college or continuing education of their choice.

The 2016 Red Flannel contestants. Photo courtesy of the RFF.

The 2016 Red Flannel contestants. Photo courtesy of the RFF.

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Sand Lake man killed in ATV accident

Tyler Francis Butler

Tyler Francis Butler

A Sand Lake area man died last weekend when he was thrown from his ATV while riding on Drummond Island in the Upper Peninsula.

The accident reportedly occurred shortly after midnight, on Friday, September 23. Tyler Francis Butler, 24, of Sand Lake, was riding his ATV on Lincoln Road, north of Johnswood Road, when it left the road and struck a tree.

Butler was thrown from the ATV and died of his injuries at the scene.

Police are still investigating the accident, and believe that alcohol and speed were factors in the crash.

According to his obituary, Butler proudly served his country as a Sgt. in the U.S. Marines for four years in Japan, Afghanistan and the Philippines. He leaves behind his wife, Mica and their 6-month-old daughter, Athena. A gofundme page has been set up to help the family with expenses. You can visit it and donate at  https://www.gofundme.com/2qvfy5g.

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Car drives into Pine Lake

This car missed the stop sign at 17 Mile and Pine Lake Avenue Wednesday evening and drove into Pine Lake. Post photo by L. Allen.

This car missed the stop sign at 17 Mile and Pine Lake Avenue Wednesday evening and drove into Pine Lake. Post photo by L. Allen.

Another driver took the “Pine Lake plunge” Wednesday evening, September 28.

A call came across Kent County Dispatch at about 9:20 p.m. saying that a car had driven into Pine Lake at 17 Mile, in Nelson Township. They then reported the driver was crawling out of the car.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, Clinton Felkner, 57, of Oakfield Township, was traveling eastbound on 17 Mile Road when he failed to stop at the stop sign at Pine Lave Avenue and drove his 2009 Buick LaCrosse into Pine Lake.

The driver was not injured and was able to exit the car.

Cedar Springs Fire and Rockford Ambulance also responded to the scene.

Alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the crash, which is still under investigation.

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Two injured in Nelson Twp. crash


Alcohol is believed to be a factor in a crash that sent two people to the hospital earlier this month.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, of the Kent County Sheriff Department Cedar Springs Unit, the crash occurred on Friday, September 16, at 10:16 p.m. at the intersection of 18 Mile Road and Shaner Avenue. Deputy Emily Canda was reporting officer at the scene.

Investigators found that Tami Link, 44, of Cedar Springs, was travelling northbound on Shaner Ave in a GMC Acadia, when she disregarded a stop sign at 18 Mile Road, and collided with a westbound Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Bailey Poling, 18, of Grand Rapids. Poling and her passenger, Troy Poling, 51, of Grand Rapids, were injured in the crash. Both were transported to Butterworth Hospital via Rockford Ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries.

Tami Link also sustained minor injuries in the crash, but was not hospitalized. As a result of the investigation, Link was arrested. Charges have not yet been authorized, pending the lab results. Alcohol is believed to be a factor. The case remains open and under investigation.

Cedar Springs Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene.

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The Post travels to Pictured Rocks


The Post traveled to the Upper Peninsula with Austin and Alyssa Balcam, both Cedar Springs Public Schools students, toward the end of July. They stayed in the Curtis and Newberry area.

One day they went on the Pictured Rocks cruise in Munising with their parents, Al and Sandra Balcam and grandparents Don and Nancy Hanna. The kids left their Post in the truck, and had to go back a block to get it for the picture they wanted.

Thanks to Austin and Alyssa for including us in your trip!

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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Red Flannel Trivia  tidbit

Madison Case wore the same dress for this years pageant that her mother wore in 1998.

Madison Case wore the same dress for this years pageant that her mother wore in 1998.

Marissa Case-Shaw wore this white gown in 1998 at the Red Flannel Queen pageant.

Marissa Case-Shaw wore this white gown in 1998 at the Red Flannel Queen pageant.

Participating in the Red Flannel Scholarship Pageant can often be a family affair. One of this year’s winning court members took it one step further than that. Madison Case wore the same dress for the pageant that her mother Marissa Case-Shaw did in 1998 when she competed in the pageant! And it looks just as lovely now as it did then.

Thanks for sharing that with us!

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Thorval “Bo” Nielsen honored at RF Rod and Gun Club


TOP: This plaque was dedicated in memory of Thorval “Bo” Nielsen at the Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club. BOTTOM: Don Boezwinkle (left) and Bob Townes (right) at the dedication ceremony for Bo Nielsen.

TOP: This plaque was dedicated in memory of Thorval “Bo” Nielsen at the Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club.
BOTTOM: Don Boezwinkle (left) and Bob Townes (right) at the dedication ceremony for Bo Nielsen.

Thorval “Bo” Nielsen

Thorval “Bo” Nielsen

By Judy Reed

The Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club, located at 7463 18 Mile Rd NE, recently held a ceremony in memory of lifetime club member Thorval “Bo” Nielsen, who passed away last year. They dedicated a plaque in his honor.

“It was in memory of the all the help and advice he gave for the buildings there,” explained Club founder Bob Townes. “We wouldn’t have them without him.”

Board member Don Boezwinkle and Townes led the event, where members talked about Nielsen.

Townes said he has fond memories of all the fishing trips on Lake Erie and Lake Michigan with Nielsen, and camping trips as well.

He noted that Boezwinkle had stories about hunting moose, elk and pheasant with Bo. Townes said the big rack of moose antlers over the club’s fireplace was from a moose Bo got on one of those outings.

Townes noted that Dick Capek bought a boxcar of damaged brick and that Nielsen paid him for it and went through it and used the bricks on the building at the Club.

“He was also instrumental in helping with the stone fireplace. It’s huge in regard to most—it fits a four-foot log,” explained Townes. “Jim Doyle and I salvaged huge stones out of the old depot that was torn down several years ago (from where the staging area is now at W. Maple and the White Pine Trail) and put them in the base of the fireplace. It’s nice that we could do that in memory of the old depot and Bo gave us advice on it,” he said.

The Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club was founded in 1952 by Townes, his father Jim Townes, and Jim’s brother, Edward Townes. The Club has approximately 40 acres of land, with Pistol, Rifle, Trap and Bow Arrow ranges.

For more information about the Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club, visit their website at http://www.redflannelrodandgunclub.com/.

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Meet Randy VanDuyn: New Red Flannel Festival President

Randy VanDuyn

Randy VanDuyn

From the RFF Board of Directors

On October 1, 2016, the Red Flannel Festival will celebrate its 77th year as our hometown tradition and landmark event for Cedar Springs. What a proud tradition we have that shows our community support for fun loving times together to highlight and celebrate this great city.

Ms. Michelle Tracy served the past 15 years as the President of the Red Flannel Festival and has made the festival a great success as she and her all volunteer Board of Directors dedicated several months of the year to keep this tradition alive.  She is thankful for her Board and all other contributors of their time, sponsorships, and community support.  Hats off to Michele for her tireless volunteerism and successful leadership.

Randy VanDuyn is proud to take over the reigns as President. He has a great investment in Cedar Springs, as he and his family have been a part of Cedar Springs for decades.  His great-grandmother and great-grandfather, Roy and Elizabeth (Libbey) Reynolds, lived at 14 Mile Road and Myers Lake Road. Randy spent his childhood years coming to Cedar Springs and playing at their farm. Randy’s mother has fond memories of shopping on Main Street. Additionally, Randy’s aunt, uncle, cousins, and second cousins reside in Cedar Springs to further the VanDuyn connections.

The Red Flannel Festival is near and dear to Randy and his family as he shares the story of being in the The Red Flannel Marching Band Competition at Skinner Field and then carrying the big bass drum in the Red Flannel parade. Randy’s father, Lloyd VanDuyn, volunteered his time and talent as the artist who created the RFF 2016 logo. Lloyd has also dedicated his time as a judge for the car show and has been a judge for the Art Review the past two years. He also volunteers each year for Art Prize.

Randy is a full-time volunteer in Cedar Springs devoted to doing all he can to serve the great people and community of Cedar Springs. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Cedar Springs Rotary Club. In fact, Randy, along with Independent Bank’s Nicole Kozminski, are responsible for beginning the first ever high school Rotary Interact Club at Cedar Springs High School. From the Interact Club, Randy helped students and high school counselors begin the Peer Listeners Club in order to help students develop life leadership and help other students needing a listening ear for any variety of reasons.

As you are around town you may find Randy and his family volunteering at Metron, at PTO events, serving food at God’s Kitchen, working with the Scouts (his daughter is a member of Beach Elementary’s girl scout troop), or simply spreading good cheer and good will as that is what Randy does so well.

Randy grew up in Jenison. He is married to Laura VanDuyn, the Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent of Schools. They are blessed to have two healthy and kind children, Isadora (8) and Vance (5). They take great pleasure in being an integral part of the Cedar Springs community where they devote much of their lives to serving in many capacities.

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MSP Troopers receive bravery award

Sgt. Brian Keely of the Rockford Post

Sgt. Brian Keely of the Rockford Post

Tpr. Carlos Fossati of the Wayland Post

Tpr. Carlos Fossati of the Wayland Post

At a special ceremony held in Lansing last week, Michigan State Police (MSP) Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue presented Sgt. Brian Keely of the Rockford Post and Tpr. Carlos Fossati of the Wayland Post with the MSP Bravery Award for their diligence and perseverance under uncommon circumstances and for going beyond what is typically expected of most law enforcement officers.

On November 18, 2015, a subject abducted his ex-wife from work at gunpoint and held her hostage in a hotel room in Benton Harbor. The MSP Emergency Support (ES) Team responded and initiated negotiations. Within 30 minutes, a reactionary team assembled in the hallway of the hotel, of which Keely and Fossati were part.

While waiting, they heard a gunshot and a scream, at which time they entered the hotel room to perform a hostage rescue.

Upon entering the doorway, the subject fired on the team, striking Keely in the ballistic vest. Despite the gunfire, Keeley and Fossati continued to advance into the room while returning fire, killing the man and rescuing the woman.

In awarding the department’s Bravery Award, the MSP Board of Awards found that the courageous and heroic actions of Keely and Fossati undoubtedly saved the woman’s life.

Keely enlisted with the department in 1998, graduating as a member of the 117th Trooper Recruit School. Prior to serving at the Rockford Post, Keely was assigned to the Ypsilanti and Detroit posts, as well as the Recruiting Section and Second District Fugitive Team.

Fossati enlisted with the department in 2004, graduating as a member of the 120th Trooper Recruit School. Prior to serving at the Wayland Post, Fossati was assigned to the South Haven Post.

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