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Task force to investigate unsolved homicide  


From Michigan State Police, District 6 headquarters, Rockford

Tustin resident Esther Gaffney

Tustin resident Esther Gaffney

A task force of investigators from the Michigan State Police, in conjunction with Osceola County Prosecutor Tyler Thompson, is focusing on the 2004 homicide of Tustin resident Esther Gaffney.

Eighty-year-old Esther Gaffney lived alone at her residence on Tustin Rd., north of the Village of Tustin (which is about 20 minutes north of Reed City). On July 12, 2004, Esther was found deceased inside her home. An autopsy concluded that the manner of Esther’s death was homicide.

N-Cold-Case2-Tustin-Screen-ShotFor the past 12 years, detectives have continued to investigate the case following up on numerous tips. Task force members are confident that advances in forensic science and information technology will generate new leads and aid investigators in bringing this case to a successful conclusion.

Cold cases are often solved because the passage of time allows witnesses and persons with information to come forward. Investigators feel that there are persons with information that will be pertinent to this case. Detectives are asking anyone with information regarding the homicide of Esther Gaffney to contact the cold case tip line of the Michigan State Police Mt. Pleasant Post at (989) 775-9302.

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Fatal motorcycle crash due to medical condition

Post photo by M. Ford.

Post photo by M. Ford.


Dale Gene Anderson

Dale Gene Anderson

A Solon Township man died Tuesday evening, June 28, after suffering a medical condition and crashing his motorcycle.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, Dale Gene Anderson, 63, of Solon Township, was traveling westbound on 18 Mile Road, near Simmons Avenue, about 9:30 p.m., June 28, with his wife, Elaine Rae Anderson, 63, as a passenger. She reported to police that the motorcycle began to slow down, and her husband became unresponsive and fell forward. She tried to gain control of the motorcycle, but it left the roadway, and they crashed into a ditch.

Passing motorists stopped to assist and performed CPR on Dale until Sheriff Deputies and Solon Fire and Rescue arrived and took over, but the rescue attempts were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Elaine was not injured.

Police said that the crash remains under investigation, and that alcohol and speed do not appear to be factors in the crash.

Click link below to view obituary:


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Red Cross responds to deadly West Virginia floods 


Red Cross disaster teams are working around the country and the clock to help people affected by disasters big and small this summer. 

Red Cross disaster teams are working around the country and the clock to help people affected by disasters big and small this summer. 

Michigan sends volunteers, supplies to support relief efforts; help urgently needed 

The American Red Cross is responding to a massive flooding disaster in West Virginia. There have been at least 24 deaths reported, and thousands are still without power, gas service and even water. As many as 60 roads are closed to flooding and flood damage. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared state of emergencies in 44 counties, and President Obama declared a Disaster Declaration for the state. Dozens of people have had to be rescued and search and rescue missions are still ongoing. Officials continue to estimate that thousands of homes have experienced damage from these tragic floods.

Red Cross workers opened numerous shelters in Fayette, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Nicholas, Pocahontas and Roane counties, and are providing meals, relief supplies and other assistance to those affected, as well as meals for first responders. On Saturday night, June 25, the Red Cross opened or supported 17 shelters where more than 400 people slept overnight.

This is a difficult time for many families unexpectedly forced from their homes. Red Cross workers are providing meals, relief supplies and other assistance to those affected as well as meals for first responders, while disaster mental health workers are helping people cope. Health workers are helping to replace needed items like prescription medications and eyeglasses.

“Our Michigan volunteers are already helping people affected by the terrible flooding in West Virginia,” said Kimberly Burton, Red Cross Regional Chief Executive Officer. “We have been mobilizing much-needed resources since these devastating storms hit and are monitoring the situation with local and state officials to make sure people get the help they need.”

HOW TO HELP: These are large relief responses and the Red Cross needs the public’s support now. Financial donations are the quickest way to get people the help they need. Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like flooding, wildfires and countless other crises can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-

RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org.

Or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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Register to vote in August primary by July 5


Residents will vote on several issues in the Tuesday, August 2 primary, including state and township representatives, Kent County Sheriff, Prosecuting Attorney, County Clerk, Treasurer, Drain Commissioner, County Commissioner, Delegates to political conventions, Circuit Court Judge, and various millage proposals (depending on your township).

People who aren’t registered to vote have until Tuesday, July 5 to register at any Secretary of State office, or at their county or local clerk’s office.

Check your registration status at the Michigan Voter Information Center at www.Michigan.gov/vote.

You also can view your sample ballot if your community is holding an election as well as find your polling location and track your absentee ballot.

How you can get an absentee ballot

Voters who qualify may choose to cast an absentee ballot. As a registered voter, you may obtain an absentee ballot if you are:

  • Age 60 or older.
  • Physically unable to attend the polls without the assistance of another.
  • Expecting to be absent from the community in which you are registered for the entire time the polls will be open on Election Day.
  • In jail awaiting arraignment or trial.
  • Unable to attend the polls due to religious reasons.
  • Appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.

Those who wish to receive an absentee ballot by mail must submit the application by 2 p.m. Saturday, July 30.

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Sand Lake 4th of July Celebration

Independence Day is a time to celebrate our freedom and Sand Lake has all the activities and events for a fun filled family weekend. Starting Thursday, June 30th through Monday, July 4th, 2016 come out and enjoy some of the great events including the Firemen’s Parade of Lights, Kiddies Day “The Spirit of Freedom” with Kids parade and activities, book sales, carnival rides, live music, die cast car races, a greased pig contest, antique car and tractor show, Grand Parade, demolition derby, bingo, FIREWORKS and MORE…


Download the Sand Lake 4th of July Celebration schedule below…


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Cedar Springs Public Schools 2ND Semester Honor roll 2015-2016

Red-Hawk-art-webCalling all proud parents and grandparents! The Cedar Springs Public Schools 2nd Semester Honor Roll is available for download. It includes Middle School 7th and 8th grades and High School 9th – 12th grades. Just click the link below and find your Honor Roll student’s name, print it out and keep it as a keepsake.


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Cedar Springs chooses new city manager

Michael Womack

Michael Womack

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs City Council met Friday, June 17, to interview candidates for the City Manager position.

They chose Michael Womack, Executive Intern, for the Village of Lake Orion, Michigan, which is located on the east side of the state.

Womack is also currently a Graduate Assistant, in the City Manager’s office in the City of Eastpointe, Michigan; and an Attorney at Womack & Womack P.C., in Shelby Township.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Oakland University; his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and his Masters of Public Administration from Central Michigan University.

The vote was 6-1, with Councilmember Dan Clark dissenting.

So how does Womack feel about relocating to the west side of the state?

“I am very excited for the opportunity to come to Cedar Springs and contribute to the community,” he told the Post. “I grew up vacationing on the west side of the state and I spent many summers in the area when I was younger. I look forward to reacquainting myself with the area and the chance to help Cedar Springs grow and improve. I hope to make many new friends and good working relationships in the next several months and hope to provide the skills and energy needed in the city managers chair.”

The Michigan Municipal League has been in charge of the interview process, and they are currently doing a background check on Womack. No start date has yet been set.

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City clerk to retire July 1

Cedar Springs City clerk Linda Christensen’s last day is June 30.

Cedar Springs City clerk Linda Christensen’s last day is June 30.

By Judy Reed

Linda Christensen has been a fixture around Cedar Springs City Hall for just over 22 years. She has worked for five City Managers (not including the current interim manager Barb VanDuren); worked alongside five treasurers/finance officers; three Department of Public Works Directors; several fire chiefs and countless employees, police officers, Mayors and City Councilors. And it will all end next week Friday, July 1—when Christensen finally retires.

“It’s time to go,” she said.

Prior to working for the City of Cedar Springs, Christensen was a freelance writer for the Advance Newspaper, and then the Grand Rapids Press for 10 years. After that she worked as part time Deputy Clerk in Solon Township.

She realized she was going to need some full time employment with her two sons going to off to college, and was hired in March 1994 as both a secretary to Cedar Springs City Manager Frank Walsh, and as deputy clerk. Amber Bailey was then clerk.

“I had covered the City and schools as a reporter, and knew what was going on,” explained Christensen, “so it was a natural progression.”

She was a secretary until Walsh left, and when Bailey left a year later, she became the full time clerk. “I really learned a lot from them. They were both great mentors,” she said.

Of all the things she has accomplished over the years, there are a couple things that she is especially proud of. “I was the city’s first certified municipal clerk,” she said, referring to an ongoing educational program relating to the specific duties of city clerks.

The other thing has to do with the city records. “Record keeping is important to me; I’m a very detailed person,” she explained. “So I worked on a record retention policy for the city. I got all the minutes indexed from the time the city was incorporated in 1957.” Christensen said that includes minutes from all the City Council, Planning Commission, and Zoning Board of Appeals meetings. And the index is set up on her computer.

“It makes it a lot easier to find things when people want them,” she remarked. “All I have to do is look at the index, then go find it in t he archived minutes book.”

The record retention policy also notes how long to hold on to certain papers, and when they can be shredded. She and the staff have spent countless hours going through boxes and boxes of paper from days gone by. “I don’t think anyone around here ever threw away a piece of paper,” she said with a chuckle. “But now the boxes are labeled with when they can be shredded.”

For Christensen, the best thing about her job is the people she works with. “When my (first) husband died (after 30 years of marriage), work became my salvation. Sometimes I’m sure they didn’t want to see me come in. But they never said anything; they were always supportive. They are like a second family,” she said.

The thing she likes least about her job has to do with elections. “I detest the electronic poll book,” she said. “By the time you get the instructions, it’s out of date. Clerks don’t have a lot of patience the week before an election, and when you are trying to get the computer to work and it’s not, it’s stressful.”

Christensen said she would miss the people the most. “I’ve made some great friends here in the office, and met some great people who come in as well,” she said. “But I’ll also miss the routine. You always plan out your work for the day, but some days you don’t get any of that accomplished. The work is always interesting.”

She said she learned the most from her early bosses, Amber Bailey and Frank Walsh. “Especially Frank. He has stayed a friend,” she said.

Christensen said she’s learned something from all of the City Managers she’s worked for. “You kind of learn to meld your ways with their ways. You pick up the way they do things; even if it’s not the way you would do it. Of course, I’ve never been afraid to speak my mind,” she said with a chuckle.

During some of the tough times, Christensen said she has consulted with her son, Benjamin, who is a City Manager in Greenwich, Connecticut. Benjamin actually worked for Cedar Springs before his mom did—both in the front office and on the DPW crew. “He created the city’s first webpage,” she noted.

Christensen said she plans to relax this summer, and then possibly look for part time work. She said she might also go back to writing, or do some scrapbooking.

She said that the city would temporarily hire someone to take the minutes at the meetings, and handle the upcoming election. A new City Manager will hire the new permanent clerk.

What does Christensen have to say to the residents of Cedar Springs? “I think it’s a great community. There is a lot going on in the future, and I am excited for the possibilities. I hope everyone gets engaged, and is comfortable with what is going on, and knows what is going on,” she said.

Christensen’s last day on the job is June 30.

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Coming soon — a new library

This rendering shows the new Cedar Springs Library building.

This rendering shows the new Cedar Springs Library building.

The building contractor will be chosen on Monday, June 27, which means building should begin sometime in July. The project is estimated to take 6-8 months, and cost just under $2 million.

The Library Board, Community Building Development Team (CBDT), and the City of Cedar Springs collaborated to make this lifelong dream come true. The vision of the Library Board, the drive of the CBDT, the support of City Council, and thousands of hours given by many people from our community, have made this extraordinary effort a reality.

One of the final approvals needed was from the DEQ. That approval came through this month. This had been a major hurdle because the Cedar Creek and attendant wet lands run through the ten-acre project site, now being referred to as the Heart of Cedar Springs, where the library building will be constructed.

Between Maple and Pine Streets, on the northwest side of town, ten acres is being developed, which will include the new library building, an amphitheater, a boardwalk along the Creek, with rain gardens and sculptures, a community building and a recreation/fitness center. Complementary to this Town Square development, the White Pine Trail and the North Country Trail will intersect right here in Cedar Springs.


In The Post last fall, the Library Board announced a fundraising opportunity for people local to Cedar Springs. While several folks have already participated, there are still bricks—available in two sizes—4”x8” for a donation of $50 and 8”x8” for a donation of $100. Bricks will be engraved with the name or message of your choice and will be used to pave the walkways into and around the Library.

In addition, there are a very limited number of retaining wall blocks available for a donation of $1,000 each as well as capstones for a donation of $2,000 each.  Retaining wall blocks and capstones, about 36 inches high, will have an inset engraved metal plaque to recognize donors, as individuals, organizations, or businesses. The donation may also be in honor or in memory of someone.

Over $3,000,000 has already been raised towards the whole ten-acre project—the Heart of Cedar Springs. A good portion of those funds have been designated to the new library building, and unless otherwise designated, all donations will be directed to the Cedar Springs Community Library until it is completely and totally funded. At that time donations will be directed towards other parts of the Town Square project.

“We want to take this opportunity to thank all donors and volunteers for their dedication to make this dream come true for Cedar Springs,” said Community Building Development Team chair Kurt Mabie. “It has taken years of planning by the Library Board, the City of Cedar Springs, the Community Building Development Team and various sub-committees to get to this point. We are now hoping that others in our Community will step up to the challenge and help make all of this possible.”

All gifts are tax deductible.  Both the CBDT and the Library are non-profit organizations.  The CBDT is a 501 (c) 3 and the Library is a 170 (c) 1. Checks should be made out to the Community Building Development Team and sent to the treasurer of the CBDT, Sue Mabie, at 15022 Ritchie Ave, Cedar Springs, Michigan, 49319

To obtain the forms for donating towards a brick or a block, you may call Donna Clark, Director of the Library, at 696-1910 or email her at ceddc@llcoop.org.  Checks for these fundraisers should be made out to the Cedar Springs Community Library. General contributions will be recognized inside the Library.

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Three injured in crash

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, three people were sent to the hospital with serious injuries on Friday morning, June 17.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, three people were sent to the hospital with serious injuries on Friday morning, June 17.

Three people were sent to the hospital with serious injuries on Friday morning, June 17, after a crash in Courtland Township.

The crash occurred about 9:08 a.m. on Myers Lake Avenue, south of 15 Mile Road.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, a red 1995 Chevy extended cab Silverado driven by James Byrne, 75, of Greenville, was southbound on Myers Lake Avenue. A black 1998 Chevy Cavalier driven by Jarrid Thrush, 24, of Edmore, was northbound on Myers Lake Avenue. The black Cavalier crossed the centerline and struck the Chevy Silverado head on.

The occupants of the Silverado—driver James Byrne and front seat passenger Jennifer Carroll, 50, of Sand Lake—suffered serious injuries and they were transported by Rockford Ambulance to Butterworth Hospital. The driver of the Cavalier, Jarrid Thrush, also suffered serious injuries and was transported by Rockford Ambulance to Butterworth Hospital.

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