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Expect extra patrols for Thanksgiving

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State Police conducts largest Operation C.A.R.E. enforcement effort

 

As motorists across Michigan prepare for a Thanksgiving holiday filled with travel, food and family, the Michigan State Police (MSP) is conducting Michigan’s largest Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) traffic enforcement initiative November 26-30, 2014.

“Our goal is to prevent traffic crashes and fatalities so every family can celebrate a safe holiday season,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. “With extra troopers on patrol, make sure your Thanksgiving to-do list includes wearing a seat belt, designating a sober driver and avoiding distractions like talking on your phone while driving.”

Thanksgiving is the second deadliest holiday in Michigan for traffic crashes. In 2013, there were 12 traffic fatalities during the Thanksgiving holiday; a 30 percent increase from nine fatalities in 2012.

Beginning Wednesday, troopers across the state will conduct high-visibility enforcement focusing on impaired driving, seat belt use, careless driving and speeding. The extra patrols are paid for with federal traffic safety funds coordinated by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.

The effort is supported by the Give thanks. Drive safely. public awareness campaign that includes a public service announcement available at www.youtube.com/OHSP.  Each campaign element features illustrations of traditional Thanksgiving items to create a connection between driving safely and enjoying the holiday.

In addition, the Michigan Department of Transportation will display safe driving reminders on its freeway message boards and at rest areas throughout the busy travel weekend, and Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is supporting the effort by placing campaign materials in her branch offices.

Operation C.A.R.E. is a nationwide initiative aimed at reducing traffic crashes and fatalities on highways across the country. It began in 1977 as a collaborative effort between the MSP and the Indiana State Police. Today Operation C.A.R.E. is one of the nation’s longest running traffic safety initiatives and includes state and highway patrol agencies from all 50 states, as well as some American territories and Canadian provinces.

 

 

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Man sentenced in cat killing

Michael Stackhouse

Michael Stackhouse

A Cedar Springs man convicted of killing a cat outside his home was sentenced last week to serve 16 months to nine years in prison.

Michael Patrick Stackhouse, 35, killed the cat in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates last April by stomping on it. It had reportedly jumped over a partial door barrier and entered his mobile home on Susan Street. His wife called 911 and reported it was fighting with their dogs, then told dispatch her husband may have killed it. Officers found that the man had thrown the cat into the street, and killed it in front of children and neighbors. He admitted to stomping on the cat’s head, because it was twitching from seizures. He told reporters that he did it to put it out of its misery.

He rejected a plea deal in May that would have reduced his sentence if he pled guilty to a charge of animal cruelty causing death. Under the plea deal, he would not have been charged as a multiple felony offender and would have faced no more than a year in jail.

 

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Early snowstorm slams West Michigan

Blowing snow, wind chills in the single digits and icy roads put the area in a deep freeze, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, causing hundreds of schools to close and many drivers to slide off the road.

Heavy lake effect snow piled up across the area, with most areas getting somewhere around a foot. According to WOOD-TV8, Tuesday’s high temperature of 19 degrees was the coldest high temperature ever recorded for that date in Grand Rapids. That’s 27 degrees below average. At this same time last year, on November 17, we had severe weather that even spawned tornadoes across the state.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Kent County was under another winter weather advisory until early Friday morning, with another 6-8 inches of snow expected. By Saturday and Sunday, temps are expected to climb above freezing again.

Now that winter seems to be here, Kent County Emergency Management reminds everyone to pay attention to weather conditions before heading out the door. Give yourself a few extra minutes to arrive on time.

The cold can cause problems for many, especially people with pre-existing medical conditions, young children, and seniors. “Be a good friend or neighbor. Check on those who are elderly or have a medical condition,” says Jack Stewart, Kent County Emergency Management Coordinator. “Making a daily call or visit part of your routine could really help someone in need.”

If you haven’t shut off water to your outdoor spigots yet, do it now. Make sure you have emergency kits in your car and home this winter. The Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness recommends you keep the following items in your home: Battery-powered flashlight, Batteries, Weather and/or portable radio, Extra food (canned or dried food is best) and a can opener, Bottled water (at least 3 gallons per person), First aid kit.

“If you lose power in your home and use a generator, be sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning,” Stewart says. “Also know the hazards if you need an emergency heating source, like a space heater.” Keep emergency supplies in your car as well. A small battery powered radio and extra batteries, a cell phone, and a blanket should always be kept within reach.

This early in the season, pets may be more vulnerable to the cold. Keep pets indoors as much as possible. The smaller the pet, the quicker the cold impacts them. Puppies and kittens are especially sensitive to the cold, as are older pets. Watch out for community cats that might crawl under the hood of your car to keep warm. Bang loudly on the hood before starting the car, and never leave pets in a car during the winter. Temperatures can be just as cold inside the car as they are outdoors.

More tips on winter preparedness from the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness can be found at: www.mcswa.com/Winter-Hazards.html.

 

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Former city employee becomes Mayor

Jerry Hall is the new Mayor of Cedar Springs, and Pam Conley is Mayor Pro-tem. Post photo by J. Reed.

Jerry Hall is the new Mayor of Cedar Springs, and Pam Conley is Mayor Pro-tem. Post photo by J. Reed.

by Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs City Council, made up of four new members and three returning members, chose a new Mayor and Mayor Pro-tem at their meeting on Thursday, November 13.

Four new members were sworn in—Rose Powell, Molly Nixon, Perry Hopkins and Pam Conley. Conley, who previously served, lost her seat last year in a close election.

Three members of the Council were nominated to be Mayor: Jerry Hall, Pamela  Conley and Dan Clark. Conley declined the nomination. The Council first voted on Hall, and the motion passed 5-2, with only Hopkins and Bob Truesdale dissenting.

Nominations were then opened for Mayor Pro-tem. Both Clark and Conley were nominated. Clark was voted in 4-3, but then refused the nomination. The vote was then taken on Conley, and it was unanimous.

Hall is retired from the City of Cedar Springs, where he was formerly the Superintendent of Public Works. He also served on the City Planning Commission and six years on the Cedar Springs Board of Education.

“I appreciate the confidence put in me, and I hope I can do it justice,” said Hall. “I think we can all move forward. That’s the direction we need to go,” he added.

Conley also previously served on the Cedar Springs Board of Education before coming to City Council. She thanked everyone for electing her back to the Council. “You seem to want me here,” she said. She also urged people to come to her with concerns. “Please talk to me about what you want,” she said.

One thing that Hall made clear to the Council and the audience was that he was going to be strict about enforcing time limits for public speaking, as well as the content. “I will not tolerate personal attacks on Council members or city employees,” he remarked. Hall had told the audience early on that if they happened, he would adjourn the meeting.

 

 

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Red Hawk’s Alvesteffer voted WZZM13’s MVP of the season

Cedar Springs sophomore Collin Alvesteffer (center) receives the 2014 Season MVP award from WZZM13 and sponsor Mercy Health during last Friday’s edition of “On your sidelines.” Brent Ashcroft, left, and Dan Harland, right, are the show’s anchors. Photo by K. Alvesteffer

Cedar Springs sophomore Collin Alvesteffer (center) receives the 2014 Season MVP award from WZZM13 and sponsor Mercy Health during last Friday’s edition of “On your sidelines.” Brent Ashcroft, left, and Dan Harland, right, are the show’s anchors. Photo by K. Alvesteffer

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks Varsity Football team had a great season, going 9-2 and winning the OK-Bronze Conference Championship outright. They won their first playoff home game at Red Hawk Stadium, against Forest Hills Northern, and were defeated by Muskegon in the district regional the following week. They scored an average 35 points per game.

One of the sparkplugs that fired that success was sophomore quarterback Collin Alvesteffer, who was equally efficient on both offense and defense. He received a great honor last week when he was voted by fans as WZZM13’s 2014 Season MVP. WZZM listed 10 nominees for the award, and fan voting online narrowed it to three. Fans then voted again, and Collin came out on top. He was given the award on their final “On your sidelines” show of the season last Friday evening.

Collin was selected as a MVP of the week earlier in the season, and also voted to MLive’s defensive dream team. That’s a lot of attention for a 15-year-old. The Post asked how he was dealing with all the attention.

Collin Alvesteffer scored both touchdowns against the Muskegon Big Reds. Photo by K. Alvesteffer.

Collin Alvesteffer scored both touchdowns against the Muskegon Big Reds. Photo by K. Alvesteffer.

“It’s all exciting, but I just try to focus on the team’s success instead of my own,” said Collin. The attention was not something he was expecting. “I knew I was not the best football player that we had, so figured they would get all the attention,” he added.

Football is in Collin’s blood. He started playing flag football at ages 4-6, and then Rocket at age 7. He’s continued to play ever since.

The Post asked him if he did anything special to prepare for this season. “I just tried to become the best player and teammate that I could,” he remarked.

And it seems to have paid off, not just for him but the whole team. “We had excellent team work and effort in practice and during the offseason,” he explained, when asked why he thought the team did so well.

Collin knows his success was made possible by those around him.

“I want to thank my teammates and coaches for always pushing me and making me better,” said Collin. “But most importantly, I want to thank my Mom and Dad, because they support me no matter what and are my biggest fans.”

Collin’s Mom, Kelley Alvesteffer, won’t argue with that. “Collin has always excelled at football and I have always been proud of him for that. However, this year he learned that it is not about him. He learned to play for the team—not for himself. He learned good sportsmanship and learned to be truly humble.”

Congratulations to Collin, and we look forward to seeing what the Red Hawks can do in 2015!

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The Post travels to the Arctic Circle

N-Post-goes-to-Alaska-AGAINThe Cedar Springs Post traveled to the Arctic Circle last summer with John Osburn, of Nelson Township. Thanks so much, John, 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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Do you remember the 1965 Palm Sunday tornado? 

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The National Weather office in Grand Rapids needs your help. April 11, 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak and they  are looking for photos, home movies and eyewitness accounts of the tornadoes to be documented as part of their commemoration event. They are especially interested in details on the tornado that struck from near Marne to Comstock Park on that day. If you have firsthand accounts of the tornadoes or film of the event, please contact them at w-grr.webmaster@noaa.gov. You can also leave a phone message with your contact info at 616-949-0643 extension 356.

 

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Avoid the “Second Shovel”

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Fundraiser brings in cash for camp

A live auction raised over $25,000 for Pine Ridge Bible Camp.

A live auction raised over $25,000 for Pine Ridge Bible Camp.

With Christmas songs playing in the background and holiday decorations on every table, 250 people shopped at the Pine Ridge Bible Camp’s 11th annual auction, held at Cedar Springs High School on November 8. A beautiful display of free Hors d’oeuvres and slices of layer cake added to the festive atmosphere, and shoppers tried to outbid each other during the silent and live auction.

Director Kevin Grifhorst spoke halfway through the live auction and read portions of letters describing what going to Pine Ridge Bible Camp means to children and their families. Bidders were given the opportunity to contribute towards scholarships for children. In a matter of minutes, over $7,000 was raised to help send children in need to camp.

In just one evening, 380 items were sold to raise a record-breaking $25,500. Then, an anonymous donor matched that amount and doubled it to $51,000. With $14,000 set aside for the camp scholarships, the rest will be used to help finish the lower level of the VerLee Dining Hall & Retreat Center at Pine Ridge Bible Camp.

 

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Task force investigates missing person cold case

Margaret Maureen Heuser wearing glasses.

Margaret Maureen Heuser wearing glasses.

Margaret Maureen Heuser without her glasses.

Margaret Maureen Heuser without her glasses.

A task force of detectives formed earlier this year to investigate a missing person complaint from 2005 is now investigating the case as a homicide.

Detectives from the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office, Oceana County Sheriff’s Office, and the Michigan State Police are actively investigating the case of Margaret Maureen Heuser, born December 9, 1960. She was reported missing to the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office in August of 2005 and was last seen on the night of July 19, 2005.

Heuser’s husband, whom she was separated from at the time, reportedly told police that she called and asked him to pick her up from a bar in Hesperia, because her boyfriend’s truck had run out of gas. He refused, and she got a ride home with someone else. The husband said she called him two hours later, and that was the last time he heard from her.

Margaret was reported missing on August 10. Her car was found in her driveway, burned out. She is presumed to be the victim of a homicide.

Police recently got a tip that her body may have been put in a barrel and dumped in a lake.

In an attempt to locate Margaret and identify the person(s) responsible for her disappearance, a dive operation was held in Oceana County, near Walkerville, on November 13. Divers from the Michigan State Police, Oceana County Sheriff’s Office, and Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office searched two lakes by diving and using side scan sonar equipment. Nothing was found, however, investigators are planning more dives in the future in other lakes.

Margaret was 44-years-old when she disappeared. She had brown hair and green eyes, and wore glasses. She was wearing jeans, a black halter top, and boots.

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call Silent Observer at 231-652-1121, the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office at 231-689-7303 or the Michigan State Police Hart Post at 231-873-2171.

 

 

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