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Hometown Hero

Army Pvt. Alisha M. Irwin

Army Pvt. Alisha M. Irwin

Army Pvt. Alisha M. Irwin has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C. During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches and field training exercises.

Irwin is the daughter of Lisa and Kevin Irwin of Cedar Springs, Mich.

She is a 2013 graduate of Cedar Springs High School.

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Show birds some love on Valentine’s weekend

Snowy Owl. Diane McAllister-GBBC

Snowy Owl. Diane McAllister-GBBC

Join the Great Backyard Bird Count

Give Mother Nature a valentine this year and show how much you care about birds by counting them for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). The 18th annual count is taking place February 13 through 16. Anyone in the world can count birds at any location for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count and enter their sightings at www.BirdCount.org. The information gathered by tens of thousands of volunteers helps track changes in bird populations on a massive scale. The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada.

Common Redpoll. Missy Mandel-GBBC

Common Redpoll. Missy Mandel-GBBC

Bird watchers fell in love with the magnificent Snowy Owl during the last count when the birds were reported in unprecedented numbers across southeastern Canada, the Great Lakes states, the Northeast, and down the Atlantic Coast. Expect Snowy Owls to show up in higher numbers during this year’s GBBC, too.

“It’s called an ‘echo flight,’” explains Marshall Iliff, eBird Project Leader at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “After a huge irruption like we had last winter, the following year often yields higher-than-usual numbers as well. The abundance of lemmings that produced last year’s Snowy Owl irruption likely continued or emerged in new areas of eastern Canada, more owls may have stayed east after last year’s irruption, and some of last year’s birds that came south are returning.”

“This may also be a big year for finches,” notes Audubon Chief Scientist Gary Langham. “GBBC participants in North America should be on the lookout for larger numbers of Pine Siskins and redpolls. These birds also push farther south when pine cone seed crops fail in the far north of Canada.”

Bird watchers from 135 countries participated in the 2014 count, documenting nearly 4,300 species on more than 144,000 bird checklists. That’s about 43 percent of all the bird species in the world! In addition to the U.S. and Canada, India, Australia, and Mexico led the way with the greatest number of checklists submitted.

“We especially want to encourage people to share their love of birds and bird watching with someone new this year,” says Dick Cannings at Bird Studies Canada. “Take your sweetheart, a child, a neighbor, or a coworker with you while you count birds for the GBBC. Share your passion and you may fledge a brand new bird watcher!”

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a great way for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with nature and show some love for the birds this Valentine’s Day. Participation is free and easy. To learn more about how to join the count, download instructions, a slide show, web buttons, and other materials, visit www.birdcount.org. While you’re there, get inspired by the winning photos from the 2014 GBBC photo contest.

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Keep sidewalks and fire hydrants clear of snow and ice

Snow often piles up around fire hydrants, especially after a snowstorm. Post photo by J. Reed.

Snow often piles up around fire hydrants, especially after a snowstorm. Post photo by J. Reed.

Kids walking to school, customers shopping, firefighters putting out fires, and postal workers delivering mail all have one thing in common—they depend on residents and business owners to make sure ice and snow are cleared away.

In the City of Cedar Springs, every occupant of every lot is required to remove the snow and ice from their sidewalks.

Area fire departments would also appreciate residents keeping fire hydrants free of snow.

Our firefighters often spend several hours shoveling out hydrants after a snowfall, and if an emergency should arise (such as in the case of a house fire), hydrants need to be in clear view. So if you have one near your house, a few extra minutes shoveling might make the difference! You could save a life.

Postal workers also need help from residents to keep snow and ice from piling up around their mailbox. Your carrier needs a good clear approach and path on leaving the box. Also, if your mailbox needs to be repaired or replaced, ask your carrier or call the Post Office for the required height.

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Model T snowmobile 

Does anyone know who owns this Model T Ford snowmobile?

Does anyone know who owns this Model T Ford snowmobile?

Reader Olie Johnson got a photo of this unique vehicle heading north toward Sand Lake this week. Not many may have ever seen a Model T “snowmobile,” a name coined and copyrighted by Virgil D. White in 1917.

According to the Model T Ford snowmobile club online, White was a Ford dealer in Ossippee, New Hampshire and built his first snow attachment in 1913. He put it on the market in 1922, and sold the attachments through Ford dealers. Skis made of metal and wood and rear mounted tracks converted the cars into snow machines. They were used by anyone needing to get through snow—rural mail carriers, doctors, etc. Some photos show cars with only skis on the front, and others show cars with both tires and skis. The attachments were expensive—from $250 to $395, depending on the year and type of car.

White eventually sold the company to Farm Specialty Manufacturing Company of New Holstein, Wisconsin, which began to market its version of the product in 1926. It went out of business in 1929, and the factory burned shortly afterward.

Does anyone know who the Model T in the photo belongs to? Give us a call at 696-3655 or email us at news@cedarspringspost.com.

Update: We now know who the owner of the snowmobile is… watch for more in next week’s issue!

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BBB Top ten scams of 2014

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Better Business Bureau hears from thousands of consumers and business owners every year about a variety of scams and frauds. Many are new twists on existing scams, but scammers get more sophisticated every year in how they spoof trusted names and how they fool consumers.

While BBB doesn’t have specific numbers about how many people were defrauded or for how much, here are the scams we think were most pervasive this past year:

#10 Sweepstakes Scam: You’ve won a contest! Or the lottery! Or the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes! All you have to do to claim your prize is to pay some fees or taxes in advance so they can release your prize. This is not a new scam, but it is a perennial problem.

#9 Click Bait Scam: This one takes many forms, but the most notorious of the past year was when the Malaysian Airline plane went missing (“click here for video”). Other click bait schemes use celebrity images, fake news, and other enticing stories to get you to unintentionally download malware.

#8 Robocall Scam: The notorious “Rachel from Cardholder Services” made a resurgence in 2014. This scam claims to be able to lower your credit card interest rates and takes personal information—including your credit card number—and then charges fees to your card.

#7 Government Grant Scam: You get a call saying you’ve been awarded a government grant for thousands of dollars. It may even mention a program you’ve heard about in the news. They say all you have to do to collect your grant is pay a couple hundred in fees by wire transfer or prepaid debit card.

#6 Emergency Scam: This one is sometimes called the “grandparent scam” because it often preys on older consumers. You get a call or email from your grandchild or other relative who was injured, robbed or arrested while traveling overseas and needs money ASAP.

#5 Medical Alert Scam: Another one that preys on older folks. You get a call or a visit from a company claiming a concerned family member ordered you a medical alert device in case you have an emergency. They take your credit card or banking information but you never receive anything.

#4 Copycat Website Scam: You get an email, text message or social media post about a terrific sale or exciting new product. You click through and it looks just like a popular retailer’s site. But when you order, you either get a cheap counterfeit or nothing at all… and now they have your credit card number!

#3 “Are You Calling Yourself?” Scam: Scammers can make a call look like it’s coming from anywhere. The latest trick puts your number in the Caller ID, which piques your curiosity and gets you to pick up the phone or return the call and then they’ve snagged you in whatever scam they are running.

#2 Tech Support Scam: You get a call or a pop-up on your computer claiming to be from Microsoft (or Norton, or Apple) about a problem on your computer. They say if you give “tech support” access to your hard drive, they can fix it. Instead, they install malware on your computer and start stealing your personal information.

And the top Scam of the Year, because it’s just so terrifying, is:

#1 Arrest Scam: You receive an ominous phone call from someone claiming to be a police officer or government agent (often the IRS in the United States or the CRA in Canada). They are coming to arrest you for overdue taxes or for skipping out on jury duty but you can avoid it by sending them money via a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. Another variation on this is that you’ll be arrested for an overdue payday loan. Whatever the “violation,” it’s scary to be threatened with arrest, and many people pay out of fear.

Why Scams Work:

There is a science to scams, and it may surprise you to know that scammers use many of the same techniques as legitimate sales professionals. The difference, of course, is that their “product” is illegal and could cost you a fortune. Here are the major techniques they use to draw you in:

Establishing a connection: The scammer builds rapport and a relationship with you. This is usually used face-to-face, as in home improvement scams and many investment scams, but also online romance scams.

Source credibility: The scammer uses techniques to make themselves look legitimate, such as fake websites or hacked emails that come from a friend’s account. Most email phishing scams spoof real companies, and many scammers pretend to be someone they are not in order to add credibility.

Playing on emotions: Scammers rely on emotion to get you to make a quick decision before you have time to think about it. An emergency situation or a limited time offer is usually their methodology. They count on emotional rather than rational decision-making.

What You Can Do:

Don’t be pressured into making fast decisions.

Take time to research the organization. Check them out on bbb.org, search online, etc.

Never provide your personal information (address, date-of-birth, banking information, ID numbers) to people you do not know.

Don’t click on links from unsolicited email or text messages.

If you are unsure about a call or email that claims to be from your bank, utility company, etc., call the business from the number on your bill or the back of your credit card.

Never send money by wire transfer or prepaid debit card to someone you don’t know or haven’t met in person.

Never send money for an emergency situation unless you’ve been able to verify the emergency.

For more information:

For more information on these and other scams, go to BBB Scam Stopper (bbb.org/scam). Sign up for our weekly Scam Alerts to learn about new scams when we do. You can report scams here, too.

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The Blizzard of ‘78

This photo, taken by Ed Bremer, shows the snow on Main Street in Cedar Springs after the 1978 blizzard.

This photo, taken by Ed Bremer, shows the snow on Main Street in Cedar Springs after the 1978 blizzard.

Do you remember THE BLIZZARD? When people who remember it talk about it, it’s usually with a kind of awe. And with good reason—meteorologist Bill Steffen said on his blog that  “The Blizzard of 1978 ranks as the #1 snowstorm ever for Grand Rapids and much of Lower Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.” This past Monday, January 26, marked the 37th anniversary of that memorable snowstorm, when Grand Rapids received 15 inches of snow in 15 hours, with 19.2 inches total. Muskegon received 52 inches over four days, and Traverse City 28 inches. Over 100,000 vehicles were abandoned on highways in Michigan, and more than 20 people died, many of exposure. Schools were canceled for several days, but the snow lingered well into March, with some drifts 15 feet high.

What do you remember about the blizzard of 1978? Do you know how much snow fell here? Did you abandon your car? Tell us on our Facebook page, comment on our story on our website, or email us at news@cedarspringspost.com.

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Kapolka receives coaching award

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Cedar Springs Varsity Football Coach August (Gus) Kapolka was recently named Coach of the Year in Region 6 by the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.

Coach August (Gus) Kapolka with his Coach of the year award.

Coach August (Gus) Kapolka with his Coach of the year award.

He received the award in Lansing on January 16.

“It is my privilege to announce that your Head Football Coach, August (Gus) Kapolka, was named 2014 Regional Coach of the year (Region 6) by the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA),” wrote Kelly Luplow, president of the MHSFCA, in a news release. “The efforts of your coach, his staff, and team have brought a great amount of pride to your school and community. We know that to reach this level of excellence requires numerous hours of work throughout the year.”

Region 6 covers all the teams in the Ottawa-Kent Conference.

This is the first time Coach Kapolka has been named Regional Coach of the year, and he was humbled by the honor. “I’m very appreciative to the members of my coaching staff and our players for allowing me to receive this recognition. It’s always gratifying to receive recognition individually, but the award is due to the hard work of everyone involved in our program. Hopefully we can continue the success we had on the field this year, and bring more accolades to Red Hawk Football.”

IN 2014, Kapolka led the Red Hawks to their first conference championship since 1978, when they shared it with Sparta. This year the Red Hawks went 9-2, winning their first playoff game at Red Hawk Stadium, and finally losing to the Muskegon Big Reds, who went on to the state final championship. Kapolka was named Coach of the Week early in the season by the Detroit Lions.

Kapolka came to Cedar Springs in 2013, after being head Varsity coach in Manistee from 2004 to 2012. In his first season there, he coached the Chippewas to a 4-5 record, breaking their 32-game losing streak, and was also named 2004 Class B Associated Press Special Mention Coach of the Year. In 2007 he coached the Chippewas to their second MHSAA state play-off appearance in school history with a 6-4 record. He continued to make school history in 2011 & 2012 when the Chippewas qualified for the MHSAA playoffs in back-to-back seasons. He also spent four years as an assistant at Boyne City and four years as an assistant at Warren Lincoln. 

Congratulations Coach Kapolka!

 

 

 

 

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Man sentenced on bomb threat charge

 

By Judy Reed

 

Jeffrey Klein

Jeffrey Klein

A former Cedar Springs man, who claimed health problems related to his weight prevented him from appearing in court on a bomb threat charge, has been sentenced to 18 months to four years in prison.

Jeffrey Klein, 44, was charged with making the bomb threat against Cedar Springs Mobile Estates in August of 2012. He reportedly had a number of violations/issues with management there, and admitted to police that he made the bomb threat because he was upset with them.

A felony warrant was issued by the Prosecutor’s Office, and because Klein had a number of medical problems, he was allowed to appear at court. He did arrive at court on the scheduled date, but, while still outside in the parking lot, he presented court staff with a medical condition and was transported to the hospital. The following week he arrived and was arraigned on his charge in 63rd District Court. When he heard they would be remanding him to jail, he presented court staff with another medical condition that required him to be transported to the hospital. A warrant for failure to appear was then issued.

Klein then moved to Grand Rapids. He missed several court dates, claiming his weight prevented him from appearing. He was arrested earlier this month when caught driving a vehicle and remanded to jail on the bomb threat charge.

According to The Grand Rapids Press, Klein promised the judge he would abide by all probationary terms if set free, but Judge Dennis Lieber cited Klein’s 14 felonies, 13 misdemeanors, and a pattern of non-compliance, before issuing the prison sentence.

 

 

 

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Person sought in home invasion 

 

Sparta Police are searching for a suspect that reportedly invaded a home in Sparta last Friday.

According to Sparta Police Chief Andrew Milanowski, police responded to a home invasion complaint on Alma Street in the Village of Sparta on Friday, January 23, about 8:55 a.m.

A female occupant of the home was present and detained during the incident. She managed to break free and fled to a neighboring home. She was not injured during the incident.

Milanowski said they do not have any suspect or vehicle information.

The Kent County Sheriff Department Major Case Team was requested to assist in the case, and they are currently investigating along with the Sparta Police Department.

 

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The Post travels to Runaway Bay, Jamaica

N-Post-travels-to-Jamaica-ButlerJill Allen daughter of Kevin and Tammy Allen of Jackson and Cassidy Butler, son of Jeff and Connie Butler of Sand Lake were married in a sunset wedding ceremony on the beach of Runaway Bay, Jamaica on Monday, December 15, 2014. Surrounded by friends and family, Cass and Jill exchanged vows in a ceremony complete with liquid sunshine—a blessing and sign of good fortune, according to the locals. And of course, they took along a Post for the celebration!

Congratulations, Jill and Cassidy, and thanks 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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