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FFA members show dedication to fall activities


Rain or shine, FFA members show their dedication to agriculture. Cedar Springs FFA held their annual Fall “Drive Your Tractor to School Day” on September 30. The men and women braved the storm to participate in their favorite event. Over 15 members drove their tractors to school that Friday. Those who drove received a complimentary breakfast featuring FFA made syrup and will be receiving a free t-shirt for participating. Drive Your Tractor to School Day is among the favorite events the club puts on throughout the year.

n-ffa2Along with braving the storm on Friday, many members were also out in the elements Saturday morning, October 1, to make last minute preparations to finish the Red Flannel Day float. With a lot of help through the two weeks prior, the float turned out wonderfully. Red Flannel Day was an exciting opportunity to get members involved with one of the oldest festivals around, with the Cedar Springs FFA chapter being only six years younger than the festival. Thank you to all members who participated in Drive Your Tractor to School Day, and those who worked especially hard on the Red Flannel Day float. Everyone knows that tractors are one of the most distinguishable tools in agriculture; they are staple in many of the FFA’s activities like Harvest Day.

n-ffa1On October 14, the club hosted Harvest Day—a day dedicated to agriculture—for the second grade students at Beach Elementary. While fall is typically associated with picking apples, corn mazes, and celebrating the new season, the club took this time to celebrate agriculture, educate, and have fun with tomorrow’s agriculturists. Each class was picked up by tractor and hay wagon, where they climbed aboard to travel to the corn maze. A big thank you goes out to the tractor drivers, David Schoenborn and Nathan Schoen, for keeping the students safe and smiling while traveling to and from school. Pictures soon followed as the second graders got broken into small groups; each FFA member helper on the wagon was assigned four students to lead. The high school helpers found small groups allowed them to talk and learn more about the students in the short amount of time they had together. As each group entered the FFA corn maze and wandered to its exit, they received an apple and milk as a reward. As they munched their apple and drank their milk, they were able to tour an amazing children’s barnyard put on by FFA members with help from Brayden Bigney. By the smiles on each of their faces, it was evident they had a wonderful time in the maze and the barnyard. The Cedar Springs FFA put hours into planning and setting up this wonderful event. Thank you to to FFA chairperson Madison Strain for heading up the entire event. Each second grade class spent 45 minutes going through the rotation. Before they climbed back on the wagon, each student received a coloring book -it was put together by a club member- all about crops and animals. The smiles on the second grade students showed the success of the event. A big thank you goes out to all who helped and supported the event from around the school and community.

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Whooo cooks for you?


Have you ever heard a sound in the woods or forest that sounds like a barking dog or the hooting call “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?” That is the call of the barred owl, a creature that lives in mature woods and mostly comes out at night to hunt. So it was a rare sight for Jean Smith, of Kentwood, when she spotted one during the day in Courtland Township.

According to Smith, she was recently out on Russell Road east of Northland Drive and looking to capture photos of the leaves turning color. “To my surprise, I looked up and saw an owl in the afternoon daylight,” she said.

Ranger Steve Mueller confirmed to the Post that it was a barred owl.

According to allaboutbirds.org, their preferred habitats range from swamps to streamsides to uplands, and may contain hemlock, maple, oak, hickory, beech, aspen, white spruce, quaking aspen, balsam poplar, Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, or western larch. They prey on many types of small animals, and hunt by sitting and waiting on an elevated perch, while scanning all around for prey with their sharp eyes and ears. They may perch over water and drop down to catch fish, or even wade in shallow water in pursuit of fish and crayfish. Though they do most of their hunting right after sunset and during the night, they sometimes feed during the day.

Thanks, Jean, for sharing your photo with us!

Do you have a wildlife photo you’d like to send us? Email it to news@cedarspringspost.com, and include some info about what’s in the photo, when and where it was taken, and your name and contact info. We will use as space allows.

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Students study Cedar Creek health with Trout Unlimited


Trout Unlimited’s Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative has worked with over 1,500 local students just this past year and they are not slowing down when it comes to engaging our youth in science and water conservation. Throughout this month, Trout Unlimited got the opportunity to work with 250 new students from Cedar Springs High School to monitor the health of Cedar Creek in downtown Cedar Springs.

High school teachers Steve Vree, Eddie Johns, and Larry Reyburn reached out to Trout Unlimited to continue their successful partnership because they appreciate the importance of getting students out of the classroom and into their community. Thanks to their support, students from 8 science classes have designed experiments studying the effects of stormwater pollution, trees, and, excess sedimentation on the cold water trout stream using the Leaf Pack Network experiments. They created artificial leaf packs and placed them somewhere in the creek depending on their experimental conditions. The students waited for the leaf packs to stay in the stream for four weeks so that they could be colonized by macroinvertebrates. Students worked in the lab to identify the macroinvertebrates that they use as indicators of water quality. The data, which varied from scores of excellent to fair, will be uploaded to the Leaf Pack Network where schools from all over the country have entered local stream conditions.

n-trout-unlimited2To date, the Home Rivers Initiative has worked with over 800 students on the Leaf Pack Experiment. The experiment is a great way to give students hands-on, real world research experience while raising awareness of the importance of streamside forests to the ecology of rivers and streams and to promote their stewardship.

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Child on bike hit by car


A 10-year-old girl was sent to the hospital Monday after she was struck by a car while riding her bike across the street in the City of Cedar Springs.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred at 5:57 p.m. on Monday, November 7, on Muskegon Street, just west of Main Street. The investigation showed that a 10-year-old girl was riding her bicycle northbound across Muskegon Street, when she was struck by a westbound 2010 GMC Pickup, driven by a 51-year-old male from Cedar Springs.

Police said that the girl suffered a broken leg, and was transported by ambulance to DeVos Children’s Hospital. The Cedar Springs Fire Department assisted at the scene.

Police said that alcohol and speed were not factors in the crash, and that the girl was not in the crosswalk, nor was she wearing a helmet.

The crash is still under investigation.

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Voters pass 911 dispatch surcharge increase


Funding to pay for 911 Technology and Fire Dispatch Operations

Residents in Kent County approved the 911 Public Safety Dispatch surcharge increase in Tuesday’s election by a 3-1 margin.

The measure will allow the County to assess an additional 70 cents per month, per line for phone service in Kent County, making the new monthly levy $1.15 per phone. That works out to $13.80 per year per phone.

“This is more than a quick fix. This is an investment in our future, in the safety of our first responders, and the ability to respond quickly and efficiently to residents who call 911,” Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma said. “We can now provide communications towers and new radio equipment that will place all Kent County dispatchers and first responders on the Michigan Public Safety Communications System. This will improve our ability to communicate with most of the state’s 911 call-taking centers, including Michigan State Police, and Ottawa, Allegan, Ionia and Newaygo counties.”

Kent County 911 dispatch currently operates on eight different radio systems, which hampers public safety efforts in some situations because emergency responders cannot communicate directly—even if they are working on the same incident. The 70-cent increase will address issues with current 911 technology and fire dispatch operations. New technology will allow for inter-agency communication and other upgrades.

Part of the surcharge covers costs associated with countywide fire dispatch, which has become more complex technologically and more labor intensive than in the past.

“We are very pleased that voters saw the need and responded positively to the surcharge request,” said Curtis Holt, director of the Kent County Dispatch Authority and Wyoming City Manager. “Their vote for public safety will allow us to invest in new technology and equipment that will improve the safety of all County residents, including those who regularly put themselves in harm’s way.”

Several cities and townships in Kent County adopted resolutions urging the County to place a surcharge question on a ballot in 2016.

“Kent County cities, townships, and villages, law enforcement, firefighters and emergency response communities, as well as various community stakeholders have been very supportive of this plan,” said Jim Saalfeld, Chair of the Kent County Board of Commissioners. “Now the voters have spoken as well. I am proud that our community pulled together at all levels to improve the lives our citizens in the most effective and efficient way possible.”

The surcharge is a “user-based” fee directly charging devices that use 911 service. Even with this surcharge increase, County residents will continue to pay on the low end for dispatch services compared to other, like-sized counties within the state.

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Area trees display color


Area trees popped with color last week, proudly showing off deep red, glowing orange, and bright yellow leaves against the blue sky. Several readers sent us their photos, including the one here of Upper Lake in Solon Township from Cherri Rose. While the color show is winding down, there are still some trees that haven’t yet lost their leaves. Get out there and see them while there is still time!

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Police recover fallen soldier’s monument, arrest suspects

The Kent County Sheriff Department has recovered the stolen monument dedicated to fallen soldier Timothy Brown and arrested three suspects in connection with that crime and others.

The Kent County Sheriff Department has recovered the stolen monument dedicated to fallen soldier Timothy Brown and arrested three suspects in connection with that crime and others. Photo courtesy of the KCSD.

by Judy Reed


Four Cedar Springs men were arrested last week in connection with two acts of theft and vandalism that recently occurred in the city.

Three of the men—David Edgar Sommerville, 17, Austin Lee Coleman, 20, and Justin Lynn Rossman, 27—were arrested Thursday, October 27, for a break-in at Skinner Field, and the theft and desecration of the monument of fallen hero SPC. Timothy Brown from Veterans Park. A fourth man, Tracy Lyn Coleman, 45, the father of Austin Coleman, was arrested on Friday October 28.









The break-in at Skinner Field was discovered Friday morning, October 21. Pieces of cooking equipment were taken from the concessions stand, as well as food items. The suspects also took items out of the cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer and scattered them all over the floor. Other buildings on the property were also broken into.

The Brown family discovered the monument was missing Saturday, October 22, and called police. They also appealed to the public to have the suspects return the statue, no questions asked, but that never happened.

Police took video from the trail cam at Skinner Field and displayed video and photos of the suspects on their Facebook page and distributed the information to media, who also posted the photos online. Police received several tips in the investigation, which helped them to identify the three suspects shown in the video.

Police obtained a search warrant for a home owned by Tracy Lyn Coleman, in the 100 block of E. Muskegon. They found several items in the home from the Skinner Field break-in, and the stolen monument was also found on the property.

After they completed the search, they arrested David Sommerville, 17, and Austin Coleman, 20. The search then led them to arrest Justin Rossman, 27, who resided at Red Flannel Acres on Maple Street.

The three were arraigned on charges of breaking and entering a building with intent (for the Skinner Field break-in), and Rossman and Sommerville were also both charged with receiving and concealing stolen property worth more than $1,000 but not more than $20,000 (in relation to the stealing of the monument). Rossman is also being charged as a habitual offender.

On October 28, police arrested Tracy Lyn Coleman and he was arrested for receiving and concealing stolen property. He reportedly admitted to police that he knew the rifle and helmet were stored in his shed, and that he had told one of the defendants to get it out of there. Rossman reportedly told police that Sommerville stole the rifle and helmet and hid them in the storage shed.

“We are proud of the work of our investigators as they worked tirelessly to bring SPC Brown’s Monument back into safe hands,” said the Kent County Sheriff Department in an announcement on their Facebook page.

The Brown family is relieved that the monument has been found. “It’s great news!” said Dan Brown, who is Tim Brown’s uncle and the man who helped create Veterans Park and Tim’s monument. “I’m glad it’s back. The Kent County Sheriff Department did a great job.”

The community raised $10,000 in donations several years ago to fund the creation of the monument for Timothy Brown, who died in November 2005 in Iraq (see his memorial on page 5). Residents were outraged when they heard the monument had been stolen, and not only shared the suspect photos, but offered the Browns their support. “The community has been great,” remarked Dan Brown. “There has been such an outpouring of people just asking what they can do to help.”

According to Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack, the monument is city property, so they will pay to have it repaired. “We have been in contact with someone to fix the monument, which will cost the city approximately $500. We are thankful to the Sheriff’s department for the recovery of the monument that was stolen, otherwise it would’ve cost the City approximately $10,000 to replace,” he explained. “We will likely pay the $500 out of pocket and then seek restitution as part of any sentencing that might occur with the three individuals who were arrested for the crime.”

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Woman killed in head-on crash

N-Kent-County-Sheriff-carA Howard City woman died Wednesday when another vehicle slammed into her car head-on in Solon Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the crash took place about 4:14 p.m. at Pine Island Drive and Lime Lake Rd. Carol Tubergen, 69, of Kent City, was headed northbound in a Jeep Liberty on Pine Island and was passing another car when she collided head-on with a southbound Kia Soul, driven by Sandra Williamson, 65, of Howard City.

Williamson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Tubergen was transported to Spectrum Butterworth and is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Solon Fire and Rescue, Kent City Fire and Rescue, and Rockford Ambulance all assisted at the scene.

The crash is still under investigation.

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Things that go Boo! In the night


_n-halloween2Hundreds of little ghouls and goblins (and some big ones, too!) hit the city streets on Monday evening, October 31, when the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual Halloween Spooktacular. Businesses, churches, the museum, library and fire department all stayed open to hand out treats to little ones and to make their night much safer and a whole lot more fun!

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The Post travels to Sweden

Joyce Jones, left, traveled to Sweden to visit former exchange student Sonia Frangsmyr-Dermes, right. 

Joyce Jones, left, traveled to Sweden to visit former exchange student Sonia Frangsmyr-Dermes, right.

At the end of August, Joyce Jones traveled to Umea, Sweden, to visit a friend and former Cedar Springs High School foreign exchange student, Sonia Frangsmyr-Dermes. Umea, located in northern Sweden, is the cultural capital of Europe, and also known as the “City of Birches.”

“We met in high school as she came from Sweden as an exchange student, and then graduated from Cedar Springs High School together in 1963,” explained Joyce. “Sonia has been here many times to visit and renew acquaintances, and I have visited her in Sweden numerous times. Some members of our graduating class meet once a month over breakfast, and Sonia was able to join us this past August.”

Thank you, Joyce, 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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