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City changes water meter reading schedule

Many residents in the City of Cedar Springs will notice that this month’s water bill shows that it is an estimated reading. That is because the City will temporarily go to quarterly manual readings, with two months estimated and the third month being an actual reading, while they continue the process of upgrading all water meters in the City.

According to information from City Hall, some water meters have been in use for 50 years. The Department of Public Works has been replacing meters that become defective with the radio read style meters since 2014 as funding was available.  City council has approved $35,000 for the purchase of radio read meters each year, but there isn’t enough funding to keep up with the demand for the new style meters as the Rockwell meters age.

Currently the city has 742 Rockwell manual read meters and 236 Neptune radio read meters. It takes a DPW worker approximately 40 hours per month to read the manual meters and the new radio read meters take approximately 2 hours. 

Currently the Department of Public Works obtains actual reads for the nearly 1,000 homes and businesses in the city.  This change will generate an estimated bill for two months and an actual read will be taken on the third month. The savings generated by saving staff time would then be used to purchase new Neptune radio read meters.

Residents should not see a significant change in the price of their bill with this change. The estimate of water usage will be based on the usage for the same month 1 year ago. If the estimate is larger than your actual use you will receive a credit on your third month. If your estimate is less than your actual usage you will be charged for the additional usage in the third month of the billing cycle.

This change will eventually bring an end for estimated bills and in turn allow the DPW to get actual meter reads in a fraction of the time it currently takes.  It is expected that by 2020 all meters will be replaced and will begin receiving actual read bills each month.

This change became effective Wednesday, November 1, 2017:

Water bills will still be sent MONTHLY and Payments will still be due on the seventh of each month and can be paid in person, online, or automatically through your bank account.

The new bill will clearly state when your bill was an estimate or an actual read.

Citizens concerned about this change can monitor their water usage each month. Residents can manually read all manual and radio read meters.

How to read your meter:

Locate your water meter (generally in the basement or crawl space closest to the road).

Record the number displayed on the meter. (New meters require a flashlight to activate the digital display. Shine a flashlight at the digital display for 3-5 seconds to activate the display.)

Example: May 1st 2018 Meter Displayed: 0000220

In 30 days record the number displayed on the meter.

Example: June 1st 2018 Meter Displayed: 0000224

Take the number that you most recently recorded and subtract it from the number that you recorded at the beginning of the month.


00000224 -00000220= 0000004

Water usage is billed for every 1,000 gallons used. This number never gets rounded up.

****Your number on your water meter will never go down. It is like the odometer on your car it will always go up showing you how many gallons have passed through since it was installed.*****

Example: Meter reading * 1,000 = gallons used since meter installation

8/16/2016 –  10*1,000 = 10,000 gallons used since installation

8/16/2017 – 224*1,000= 224,000  gallons used since installation

8/16/2018 – 1457*1,000= 1,457,000  gallons used since installation

For more information on the water bills, please visit: http://dev.cityofcedarsprings.org/hrf_faq/water/ 

Customers with specific concerns about their bill should contact the City’s Department of Public Works Director at 616-696-1330 Ext. 108.

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Dangerous Months for Deer/Vehicle Crashes 

The three most dangerous months for deer/vehicle crashes are October, November, and December, and motorists should be aware that these crashes cause more than just damage to the vehicle. Deer/vehicle crashes resulted in 1,240 injuries and 14 deaths last year. Nine of the fatalities were motorcyclists.

In the Great Lakes State, there is an average of 128 deer/vehicle crashes each day. Although reported deer/vehicle crashes in Michigan declined in 2016 to 46,870 from the 47,001 crashes reported in 2015, many crashes also go unreported, so actual crash numbers are much higher.

In 2016, Oakland County had the most deer/vehicle crashes with 1,847 crashes. The remaining top nine were Kent (1,481), Lapeer (1,308), Jackson (1,254), Sanilac (1,119), Ottawa (1,116), Ingham (1,096), Calhoun (1,056), Genesee (1,000), Eaton (998), and Isabella (980).

All motorists should “think deer” whenever they are behind the wheel, and drive defensively, as if a deer can appear at any moment, because they can!

Safety experts say motorists can help avoid dangerous encounters with deer.

“Deer crashes can happen to any driver,” said Lori Conarton, of the Insurance Alliance of Michigan and a partner in the Michigan Deer Crash Coalition. “Your best defense is to look out for deer, especially at sunrise and sunset, and always wear your safety belt. Don’t swerve to avoid a deer because too often you’ll end up hitting something more dangerous like a tree or another vehicle.”

The state has a 1.75 million-strong deer herd. Deer frequently travel in groups. If you see one deer cross the road, chances are there are more nearby.

The Michigan Deer Crash Coalition recommends the following safety tips:

*Watch for deer especially at dawn and dusk. They are most active then, especially during the fall mating season. In spring, deer will move from cover to find food, and back to cover. Often, deer will feed along road rights-of-way, where grass greens up first. If you see one deer, approach cautiously, as there may be more out of sight.

*Deer often travel single file, so if you see one cross a road, chances are there are more nearby waiting to cross, too. When startled by an approaching vehicle, they can panic and dart out from any direction without warning.

*Be alert all year long, especially on two-lane roads. Watch for deer warning signs. They are placed at known deer-crossing areas and serve as a first alert that deer may be near.

*Slow down when traveling through deer-population areas.

*Always wear your seat belt.

*If a crash with a deer is imminent, don’t swerve, brake firmly, hold onto the steering wheel with both hands, come to a controlled stop and steer your vehicle well off the roadway.

The MDCC–a broad affiliation of groups representing law enforcement, traffic safety, insurance, natural resources, higher education and strategic regional planning in the public and private sectors—seeks to increase awareness of the problem among the driving public and reduce the number of deaths and injuries occurring each year on state roads. Members are AAA Michigan; Insurance Alliance of Michigan; Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Michigan Department of State; Michigan Department of Transportation; Michigan Sheriffs’ Association; Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning; SEMCOG (Southeast Michigan Council of Governments); State Farm Insurance; and Traffic Improvement Association. For more information, visit the coalition’s website at www.michigandeercrash.com. 

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One killed in rollover crash on Northland Drive

Police believe that alcohol and poor road conditions contributed to a fatal crash Thursday evening on Northland Drive, north of 18 Mile Rd, in Nelson Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, Patrick Todd Brecken, 21, of Plainfield Township, was headed south on Northland Drive, about 10 p.m. on Thursday, November 9, when his 1999 Ford Mustang left the roadway and rolled several times before landing in the ditch on the northbound side of the road. Brecken was ejected from the car and suffered fatal injuries.

The two teenage passengers in the vehicle, Jonathan Michael Brecken, 15, of Grand Haven, and Trey Brian Street, 17, of Cedar Springs, suffered minor injuries and were transported to Butterworth Hospital by Rockford Ambulance.

The Cedar Springs Fire Department assisted at the scene.

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Suspect stabbed during domestic assault

Kent County Sheriff Deputies responded to a stabbing in the 400 block of Sarah Street Friday morning, November 3. Post photo by J. Reed.

Tyler John Bouwens has been arrested on domestic assault charges.

A Cedar Springs man underwent surgery Friday morning after he was reportedly stabbed with a knife during a domestic assault. On Saturday, he was arrested.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, they were dispatched to a call about 7:30 a.m. Friday, November 3, on a stabbing that occurred in the 400 block of Sarah Street, in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates. When deputies arrived they found Tyler John Bouwens, 25, of Cedar Springs, with a stab wound in his upper torso. He was transported by ambulance to Butterworth Hospital where he underwent surgery.

Detective Joe Abram told the Post at the scene that they had people in custody but the investigation was not complete. 

According to a news release issued by the KCSD, police spoke to two people near the scene, and detectives later interviewed them at the Kent County Sheriff Department. They were then released.

According to a family friend, Bouwens was assaulting his ex-girlfriend, and threatening to kill her and their children and blow up their mobile home. The friend said that another family member of the woman reportedly stabbed him to get Bouwens off of her. Just prior to the incident, another male at the scene was also reportedly assaulted by Bouwens.

The friend said that the police had also escorted Bouwens out the day before for threatening the woman.

The KCSD Scientific Support Unit and a KCSD K-9 deputy also responded to the scene. Also assisting on scene was the Cedar Springs Fire Department and Rockford Ambulance. 

Bouwens was arraigned on Sunday, November 5, and charged with interfering with a 911 call; then on Monday, November 6, he was charged with one count of domestic violence; one count of assault and battery; and one count of assault/resist/obstructing a police officer. His bond was set at $10,000 cash/surety. As of Wednesday evening, November 8, he was still in custody at the Kent County Correctional Facility. According to police, no other charges will be brought against anyone in the case.

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Veterans Day

Saturday, November 11, is Veterans Day. We set this day aside to thank the men and women who have served and are still in the service of our country. We thank them for the sacrifice that both they and their families have made, so that we can remain the land of the free, the home of the brave.

President George Washington showed remarkable insight when he spoke about the country’s treatment of veterans: “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”

What have you done for a veteran you know?

In this week’s Post, we have a special section featuring the men and women who have served during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These are the Hometown Heroes that we run in our paper throughout the year. There are also a few veterans recognized from other wars or times of service. If you see one of these veterans, or know of others who have served, please be sure to thank them! 

Click link below to download our special Veteran’s Day pullout section.


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It’s never too late to thank a veteran 

Honoring service men and women at end-of-life

Ron Nitchie, spiritual care advisor for Hospice of Michigan and US Air Force veteran, pins an American flag on Nicholas Smith, a 100 year old who served from 1941 to 1946 in the United States Army Air Corps. The veterans pinning ceremony is part of the We Honor Veterans program, of which Hospice of Michigan is a Level Four participant.

From Hospice of Michigan

All his life, Lewis Woodruff was proud of his service as a United States Army Air Forces crew chief. Between 1944 and 1946, he worked on the B-17 and B-28 bombers used during WWII, sacrificing and dedicating his life to his country. After his discharge from the Army Air Forces, Lewis built a house in Southfield, where he and his wife, Helen, would spend the next seven decades raising seven children, who gave them 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Lewis lived a good life.

He enjoyed being a veteran and was a member of AMVETS and the American Legion. While he never spoke of the details, Lewis would fondly remark about his time in the service.

Ron Nitchie, a United States Air Force veteran and spiritual care advisor for Arbor Hospice and Hospice of Michigan, had the privilege of supporting Lewis in his final days. Coupled with his own military experience and clinical pastoral education training from the VA hospital in Detroit, Ron provides special assistance and spiritual guidance to help veteran patients, like Lewis, at the end-of-life.

Veterans who work or volunteer with hospice have the unique ability to relate and connect with other veterans at a critical time in life due to their shared military training and history. They share a cultural bond that opens a door of trust and communication, as they understand each other’s physical (war injuries) and emotional needs (survivor guilt, post-traumatic disorder, etc.).

Part of support Ron provides to veteran patients involves pinning ceremonies for members of all the military branches. When Ron learned of Lewis’ service to his country, he offered his family the opportunity to honor Lewis with an American flag pin and a certificate to honor and thank him for his service.

With Lewis in his hospital bed, located in the family room of the house he built in 1946, his wife Helen, and daughters Lori and Lisa, gathered with the HOM care team at his bedside, as Ron read the words of appreciation on the certificate aloud.

“We pay special tribute to you for your military service to America, and for advancing the universal hope of freedom and liberty for all,” said Ron as he placed an American flag pin on Lewis’s hospital gown. Asked if he still loved his country Lewis, holding back tears through his closed eyes, responded with a resounding “yes.”

During the final moments of that pinning ceremony, Ron succeeded in getting Lewis to open his eyes for a moment to see Ron saluting him. Lewis proudly saluted back, as a WWII Army Air Forces veteran.

According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), one out of every four dying Americans is a veteran. For Hospice of Michigan, veterans account for 25 percent of all its patients. The nonprofit hospice agency offers enhanced care specifically designed to meet the unique needs of veteran patients, celebrating and honoring those who have served in the U.S. military through pinning ceremonies, like the one that paid tribute to Lewis Woodruff.

Through We Honor Veterans, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Hospice of Michigan integrates veteran-specific content into training staff members and volunteers, and educates its patients and their families on services and benefits offered to members of the military. The organization makes every effort to pair veteran patients with those who have a military service background. Hospice of Michigan is proud of its Level Four status with We Honor Veterans, which signifies the organization has met the highest standards set by the VA and NHPCO for this national program.

As America celebrates Veterans Day on Nov. 11, Hospice of Michigan extends special appreciation to all military service members and their families for their sacrifice to protect the freedom of others. For information about Hospice of Michigan and its involvement with We Honor Veterans, please visit www.hom.org.


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Guns stolen in business break-in

Family Farm and Home was the site of break-in early Saturday morning, with 89 guns stolen. This photo of the store was taken last summer during a power outage.

Derrek Banks, was arrested on several firearms charges, but there is no evidence to show he was involved in the original break-in.

The Kent County Sheriff Department is investigating one of the biggest gun robberies in Kent County, and it happened last weekend in Cedar Springs.

According to Sgt. Joel Roon, with the Kent County Sheriff Department, 89 guns were stolen from Family Farm and Home in Cedar Springs early Saturday morning, November 4.

According to police, they responded to a break-in at the store at 4175 17 Mile Rd at about 7:30 a.m. after management discovered the guns were missing. It’s unknown when the suspects entered or how long they were in the store.

Grand Rapids police recovered some of the guns while investigating a separate case, and two suspects were arrested on receiving and concealing stolen property charges. 

“GRPD was of great assistance during the investigation and the arrest is a result of a collaborative effort between KCSD and GRPD. The investigation remains open and active,” said Roon. Currently 13 guns have been recovered.

Derrek Banks, 42, of Grand Rapids, was arraigned on Tuesday, November 7, in 61st District Court, on four firearms charges—possession by a felon, receiving and concealing a stolen firearm, altering ID marks, and felony firearm. He was also charged as a habitual offender, 4th notice. His bond was set at $200,000 cash/surety.

Charges against the second suspect were dismissed. According to Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker, there was not sufficient evidence to file charges against that suspect. He also says he doesn’t have evidence that either one was involved in the break-in. 

“We charged Mr. Banks with receiving and concealing a stolen firearm along with other charges. At this time, we have no evidence that he was involved at all in the actual break-in at the Family Farm and Home. The Kent County Sheriff Department continues to work on that case and we will see how it develops, but at this point in time, nothing has been presented to us that either of these two were involved in any way with the break-in,” explained Becker.

Anyone with information involving this incident is advised to call the Kent County Sheriff’s Department at (616) 632-6100 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

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The Post travels to Beijing

From October 4-13, The Post traveled with the Bauer family and others to China. “We were in Shanghai and Beijing on a business trip,” explained Tim. “While in Beijing we visited Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City, along with The Great Wall and The Temple of Heaven. This picture was taken in front of the wall that surrounds the Forbidden City, which was the emperor’s palace.”

Pictured from left to right is Tim Bauer, Shelley Bauer, Ana Bauer, Melissa (Bauer) Dykman, and Randy Badge. 

Thanks so much 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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Post to collect toys for needy

Would you like to do something special for families in need this Christmas? You can partner with us to provide toys for needy children in Kent County. The Post is participating in the Toys for Tots program again this holiday season, as a drop off site for toys. 

Toys for Tots is a volunteer organization whose goal is to collect new, unwrapped toys for kids 0-16, and distribute them to children who would not otherwise receive a gift during the holiday season. Toys for teens are always especially needed.

The program runs now through December 18. Just bring a new, unwrapped toy to our office at 36 E. Maple Street in Cedar Springs, Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Fridays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you can’t make that time, call us to make other arrangements.

Together we can make this Christmas special for many children!

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Amash to host Academy night 


Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) announced Academy Night details for third district high school students interested in learning more about the U.S. service academies. Academy Night is scheduled for Monday, November 20, 2017, at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, from 7-9 p.m. The museum is located at 303 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids.

Officials from the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, and the United States Air Force Academy will provide information about the academies and the application process. Representatives from the offices of Senator Debbie Stabenow and Senator Gary Peters also will be available to answer questions. 

Admission to the academies, except for the Coast Guard Academy, requires a nomination from the vice president, a U.S. senator, or a U.S. representative. Students typically begin the admissions process in the spring of their junior year of high school. More information about the academy nomination process can be found at amash.house.gov

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