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Auditions for King Klong


Actors del Arte Ensemble of West Michigan is holding auditions for King Klong, a giant ape comedy. You can be on stage with a 10-foot gorilla!

Auditions are Tuesday, Jan 26 and Thursday, Jan 28, from 6-8 p.m. at Rockford Reformed Church, 4890 11 Mile Road, Rockford.

Looking for men, women, teens and children of all ages. Call (616) 874-5264 with questions.

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Empty house catches fire

This empty house at 157 N. Main caught fire Wednesday, January 13. Post photo by J. Reed.

This empty house at 157 N. Main caught fire Wednesday, January 13. Post photo by J. Reed.

A house that is scheduled to be demolished soon was the site of a structure fire on Wednesday, January 13.

According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, the call came in about 8:28 p.m. on a structure fire at 157 N. Main, which is just north of Cedar Creek. When they arrived, flames were seen on the second story. Fraser said they cut in around the chimney on the south side to go in and stop the fire, which burned through the wall and floor.

The building, which was purchased by the Community Building Development Team in October, is scheduled to be torn down soon, and all utilities had been turned off.

“We can rule out natural gas or electric as being a cause,” remarked Fraser.

He noted that the Fire Marshal was expected later today to investigate the fire.

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Couple escapes mobile home fire

This home was a total loss. Photo by J. Reed.

This home was a total loss. Photo by J. Reed.

Photo by J. Reed.

Photo by J. Reed.

By J. Reed

A Cedar Springs family made it to safety early Tuesday when their mobile home caught fire on the coldest night of the year.

According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, the call came in at 2:11 a.m., on January 5, for a home at 365 Sarah Street, in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates. Fraser said that the homeowner got up during the night and saw smoke, and was able to get his wife and dog out.

Fraser said that the fire started in the hot water heater/furnace room area, but they do not yet know the cause. He said the fire was mostly contained to the room of origin, but some flames, smoke, and heat escaped to other areas. He said that due to the age of the home, it was probably a total loss. “There was some structural damage,” he explained. He added that the home was insured.

The fire did not reach a cargo van parked in the driveway, nor a shed that was next to the home.

The home did have two operating smoke detectors, which Fraser said were going off when they arrived on scene. “Unfortunately some flames that spread across the ceiling melted them,” he said.

The Sand Lake Fire Department assisted Cedar Springs at the scene.

Fraser said that it took about 20 minutes to get the fire knocked down, and a total of 2-1/2 hours before they cleared the scene. “The cold temperatures factored into the cleanup,” said Fraser, who explained that hoses stuck to the ground, and one was impossible to fold. “The cold also takes its toll on the firefighters,” he said. Temperatures dipped to about 10 degrees overnight.

Fraser said that the couple has family in the park that they are now staying with.

The fire is still under investigation.

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Crystal man arrested in break in


Branden Miller

Branden Miller

A Montcalm County man was arrested on Thursday, December 31, and remains behind bars, for breaking into a family member’s home and damaging property.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office, the call came in to Montcalm Central Distpatch at 9:34 p.m., December 31 (New Year’s eve). The caller, a 67-year-old Crystal woman, said that a family member, later identified as Branden Miller, 26, of Crystal, had broken into her home, in the 8000 block of East Sidney Road, in Crystal Township.

Police said the investigation showed that Miller was intoxicated and tried to find the woman’s car keys. When she tried to stop him, Miller shoved her to the floor, causing her to suffer some minor injuries. Police said that Miller took a bottle of alcohol from the home when he left, and went to a nearby home where he was apprehended without further incident.

Miller has been charged with First Degree Home Invasion and Malicious Destruction of Property Less than $200.00. He remains behind bars on a $5500.00 cash/surety bond.

Montcalm County Sheriff’s Deputies were assisted in the arrest by Carson City Police and the Michigan State Police.

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Amazing race on snow


Last  year’s race drew 350 participants.

Last year’s race drew 350 participants.

Largest winter adventure race in U.S. to take place in Rockford

The Michigan Adventure Race: Winter Edition returns to Camp Roger in Rockford on February 6, 2016. Last year’s race drew 350 participants, making it the largest winter adventure race in the U.S. four years running (and slipping and sliding).

Registration is now open at www.miadventurerace.com.

Two- or three-person teams will set out running through the woods to hidden checkpoints pre-marked on a map, collecting as many points as they can within three hours. They’ll encounter Amazing Race-like challenges throughout the area along with short snowshoe and fatbike/snowbike sections. Snowshoes and fatbikes will be provided.

Newer racers find that the challenges and checkpoint hunting give them just enough of a break to catch their breath before they run or walk to the next checkpoint. Experienced adventure racers looking for a greater challenge can try for checkpoints far from the start/finish, requiring good map reading and basic compass skills (free clinic on January 23; details on the website).

“West Michigan has a culture for challenging outdoor sports like adventure racing, trail running and mountain biking that does not exist in many other areas in the nation. These races draw far more people than larger cities do to similar events,” says Mark VanTongeren, race director. “Camp Roger gives us beautiful terrain and a warm place to hang out, get a free massage and eat pizza and chili after the race.”

Friends, family and the general public are welcome to experience the race, although keeping up with the racers in the snow is an adventure in itself. Spectators can get copies of the race maps that will direct them to the challenges, many within easy walking distance.

The charity partner selected for this edition of the race is Camp Roger. Proceeds will fund a scholarship for kids who cannot afford summer camp. Camp Roger offers a weekly overnight summer camp experience for young people and serves 10,000 participants in the fall, winter, and spring.

For more information about the race and to register, go to www.MiAdventureRace.com and www.facebook.com/MiAdventureRace.


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American Legion state commanders coming to town

Sue Verville

Sue Verville

Fred Ruttkofsky

Fred Ruttkofsky

Mike Buda

Mike Buda

The American Legion Post #287 in Cedar Springs is proud to welcome the State Commanders and Presidents to our home for the annual Early Bird dinner this Saturday, January 9.

This dinner is held the first week in January to show our appreciation to the members of our Post, Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion who have paid their dues by Veterans Day of the previous fall. It is our tradition to invite the leaders of our state to attend this event. It is also our tradition to give them each a set of red flannels. In the past it was given to prepare them for the Upper Peninsula trip, which usually follows directly after our dinner, in an attempt  to keep them warm during the cold and often snowy conditions of the UP in January.  The past presidents and commanders all bring the red flannels they were given during their year and put them on so they can all dance together in their red flannel finery.

This year the American Legion Commander for the State of Michigan is Michael Buda. He was elected and installed as Commander at the 2015 Annual Summer Convention held in Sterling Heights, Michigan, June 25-28.  Mike is from Post #364 in Dearborn Michigan. He has worked tirelessly for the cause of veterans in this state, holding many offices and chairmanships along the way. His special project for this year is the Patriot Fund Project.  This project is part of the American Legion on a State level. It was created to provide Emergency Temporary Financial Assistance to Veterans, Active Duty Service Members and their families in time of need. It is specifically intended to help veterans who do not qualify for other existing Financial Relief programs. The Patriot Fund is one of the few, if not the only fund available to non-wartime veterans in our state. Commander Buda is a US Marine Corp veteran, serving in the Viet Nam era. He has retired form Chrysler Corporation. Mike and his family live in the Dearborn, Michigan area. At our dinner, Commander Buda will be speaking about his project and bringing update on the legion activities of the past year. We welcome Commander Mike to our Post.

The American Legion Auxiliary president for the 2015-2016 year is Sue Verville. She was also elected at the State Convention held this summer. She and her family are from the Iron River area in the Upper Peninsula. Sue has held many offices and committee chairmanships on her way to the office of President. She has been busy this year traveling around our state visiting the many Districts and Posts. Her theme for this year is “Branching out as a Legion Family.” Her symbol is a tree with the roots and branches intertwined. The tree is stronger this way just as the Legion, Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion and the Legion riders work together, the organization will be stronger, too, making our service to veterans better and more viable than ever before. We welcome Sue and her husband, Dwaine, Past Sons of the American legion Detachment Commander, to Cedar Springs.

The Sons of the American Legion Detachment of Michigan is proud to bring Fred Ruttkofsky to our Post as the Commander for the State of Michigan, 2015-2016.  He is an honorary life member of Squadron #300 of Lake City, Michigan. Fred has a long history with the Sons of the American Legion. He too has held many offices, serving as 4th Zone Commander for 6 years. He and his wife have 5 children, all Legion family members. Fred will be speaking on the current successes of the SAL and his special project:  Wilwin Lodge. Wilwin is located in the Upper Peninsula near Trout Lake. It is used as a retreat for veterans returning from deployment who may need a place to reconnect with their families, or those suffering from PTSD.   We welcome Commander Fred to our Post and look forward to his time with us.

Auxiliary Honorary Junior President Taylor Townes

Auxiliary Honorary Junior President Taylor Townes

Our Auxiliary Honorary Junior President this year is our own Taylor Townes. Taylor is having a busy year leading the over 800 girls who make up our Junior Auxiliary. She is a junior at Greenville High School. Choir is her favorite subject. Taylor’s special project for this year is “Be Nice.” This is a program to stop bullying among our teenagers. We are very proud of Taylor and the project she has chosen.

The Dinner will be held Saturday night at the Post at 80 S. Main Street, Cedar Springs.

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Former credit union manager sentenced for embezzlement


Kathryn Sue Simmerman Embezzled Almost $2 Million From Shoreline Federal Credit Union 

A Muskegon woman will serve time in prison for stealing money from a Norton Shores credit union.

According to United States Attorney Patrick Miles Jr.,  Kathryn Sue Simmerman, 55, of Muskegon, Michigan, was sentenced to 78 months (six and a half years) in federal prison Monday, January 4, for embezzling $1.9 million from her former employer, Shoreline Federal Credit Union. She was also ordered to pay $1.9 million in restitution and serve two years of court supervision following her release from prison. U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell imposed the sentence. He remanded Simmerman to prison immediately after issuing the sentence.

For more than 15 years, Simmerman embezzled $1,945,000 from Shoreline by removing cash from its vault and placing it in her purse. She deposited some of the cash into Shoreline accounts she controlled, and took the remainder of it home to spend on her own use and enjoyment. She hid her activity by manipulating Shoreline’s books and records.

The case was investigated by the Norton Shores Police Department and Special Agents from the FBI and IRS. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Stiffler.

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Ski resorts try to set/break Guinness Records

You could help set or break a record Friday at a Michigan ski resort if you get a ski or snowboard lesson. Photo courtesy of Crystal Mountain Ski Resort.

You could help set or break a record Friday at a Michigan ski resort if you get a ski or snowboard lesson.
Photo courtesy of Crystal Mountain Ski Resort.

For Largest Ski and Snowboard Lessons

More than 160 U.S. ski areas have registered to host a Guinness Book of World Records event in pursuit of four separate records. The event takes place at 10 a.m. on Friday, January 8, 2016.

For the first time, records will be set for the world’s largest multi-venue ski lesson and the world’s largest multi-venue snowboard lesson. From this group, the largest ski lesson and the largest snowboard lesson record at one particular ski area will be determined. Ski and snowboard lessons are not taught together. The single venue records for both disciplines are approximately 500 people.

“We are not talking about giant lessons at each ski area,” said Mary Jo Tarallo, director for the snow sports industry’s Learn to Ski and Snowboard (Month)/Bring a Friend. “If a ski area has 100 people that may mean 10 lessons with ten people. It depends on the ski area.” Some ski areas are charging a modest fee for the lesson and others are providing this for free.

“It will be fun whether we can set all four records or not. Who wouldn’t want to set or break a Guinness Book of World Records?” Tarallo added.  “We hope current skiers and riders will tell their newcomer friends and family members who want to learn.” Lessons are for true beginners.

Details and a list of participating ski areas are posted at learntoskiandsnowboard.org.

Mickey MacWilliams, executive Director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association, suggests that interested participants call one of the ski areas listed at the website above to make a reservation in advance.

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Planning commission OKs PUD rezoning


By Judy Reed

The building of a new public library and other recreation facilities on properties near Main and Maple Street in Cedar Springs came one step closer to reality this week. On Tuesday evening, January 5, the Cedar Springs Planning Commission passed a motion approving the rezoning of several parcels to B-3, Highway Business/PUD Planned Unit Development, and recommended approval to the City Council.

The rezoning was requested by the Community Building Development Team, a group made up of individuals and representatives of various organizations in the community. They have been working for the past three years to develop eight acres of land, within the City limits, into “The Heart of Cedar Springs.” It will be a place where the local citizens and visitors can enjoy a new library building, a community building, a recreation center, and an amphitheater, all placed among beautiful rain gardens and sculptures along a board walk on the banks of Cedar Creek.

Some of the property is owned by the City of Cedar Springs, such as where the library and ampitheatre will go; other parcels are owned by the CBDT. The rezoning of the parcels was requested to allow for a unified public facility development for the entire site. An associated preliminary PUD site plan will help ensure a single cohesive development, although the construction will be done in phases.

The parcels included were:

180 N. Fifth St. (41-02-25-426-020)

116 N. Fifth St. (41-02-25-426-010)

69 W. Maple St. (41-02-25-427-017)

65 W. Maple St. (41-02-25-427-019)

107 N. Main St. (41-02-25-427-016)

113 N. Main St. (41-02-25-427-015)

125 N. Main St. (41-02-25-427-014)

139 N. Main St. (41-02-25-427-013)

157 N. Main St. (41-02-25-427-012)

37 W. Maple St. (41-02-25-427-007)

City planner Carmine Avantini, recommended approval with the conditions that the property ownership will be under the single control of the Community Building Development Team; and that there was a waiver to allow a maximum three-foot front building setback from N. Main Street. The properties located in the PUD will be under the single control of the Community Building and Development Team (CBDT), with ownership being maintained by the City of Cedar Springs through a use agreement.

Avantini noted in the agenda packet that the PUD meets goals in the city’s master plan and the PUD article. He said that the primary goal of the Cedar Springs Master Plan under “Community Facilities” is to “Maintain and develop parks and recreational facilities to enhance the visual character of the city and promote active lifestyles.” He said this PUD will meet this goal and the Master Plan anticipated public use for the site.

He also noted that one of the purposes of the PUD Article is “to encourage development of convenient recreational facilities.” This PUD will be located on the edge of Downtown Cedar Springs and will be in close proximity to residential neighborhoods, a major thoroughfare (Main Street), the White Pine Trail, and a mixed-use traditional downtown. The proposed library and recreation facilities will therefore be highly accessible to most residents of the city and also be available for special events in the downtown area.

The next step in the process will be for the City Council to take action on the PUD rezoning request at their next meeting, on Thursday, January 7, 2016.

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Pedestrian struck by vehicle


A Coral man was sent to the hospital in critical condition after being struck by two vehicles on December 23.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff Department, Samantha Burden, 21, of Pierson, was headed south on Bailey Road, north of McBride Road, in Maple Valley Township, about 10:34 p.m. December 23, when she saw something in the road.

She determined it was a person, later identified as Daniel Rizor, age 48, from Coral, bent over near a bicycle. Burden braked and swerved in an attempt to avoid a collision, but still struck Rizor. She went to a nearby home to call Central Dispatch, and before she returned, another vehicle struck Rizor, as he lay in the roadway.

The second vehicle, a 2011 Ford Edge driven by Katrina Billin, age 41, from Gowen, was travelling south on Bailey Road. Billin saw the bicycle in the road but did not see Rizor and struck him. Billin also called Central Dispatch.

Rizor was transported to Spectrum by Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services with serious injuries, and in critical condition.

The drivers of both vehicles were wearing seatbelts, were not drinking, and there are no other known factors in the crash.

The crash remains under investigation.

The Post contacted the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office for an update on the condition of the bicyclist, but had not received an answer by press time.

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