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Chinese students visit Cedar Springs


Submitted by Shellie Bauer

On Monday, July 11, 24 students and two chaperones arrived in Cedar Springs from the city of Chongqing, China for a two-week cultural exchange.

The city of Chongqing is situated in the southern part of China and has over 30,000,000 people. They were amazed at our small town.

The two weeks consisted of English class in the morning, followed by activities in the afternoon. The students all stayed with host families that were from Cedar Springs and the surrounding area. Many students shared that they attended middle school five days a week, for 10 hours each day, so they really enjoyed the interaction they had with their host family and with each other. China has a “one child” policy so they also enjoyed having siblings.

The students commented on the friendliness of the people and were amazed at the smiling faces they saw. Many people asked them where they were from.

The activities included Mac Dune Rides, a trip to Country Dairy (which some will not forget), shopping, a White Caps baseball game, several picnics, a sports day with a brief golf lesson at Cedar Chase, a scavenger hunt, and a family softball game.

Families and students shared with the group the fun they had together in the short time they were in Cedar Springs. Many of us hate to see them leave. We know we may never see them again. We’re reminded of the quote that says, “You can meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes those people you can’t forget. Those are your friends.”

Our lives have become richer because of our friends from the other side of the world!

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Cars collide on Main Street


Two people were hurt Friday afternoon, June 17, in a two-car accident on Main Street in downtown Cedar Springs.

Main Street accident in Cedar Springs Michigan

Two vehicles collided at Elm and Main Street in Cedar Springs Friday, sending two to the hospital. Post photo by J. Reed.

According to Sgt. Ed Good, of the Cedar Springs Police, a vehicle headed west on Elm Street pulled out in front of a SUV heading south on Main Street a little after 2 p.m.
Joycelinn Haff, 23, of Sand Lake, was turning south on to Main Street off westbound Elm, when she failed to yield to the SUV that was southbound on Main. The SUV, driven by Mary Johnson, 55, of Cedar Springs, then crashed into Haff’s car.

Both drivers complained of neck pain and were transported to the hospital by Rockford Ambulance.

The Cedar Springs Fire Department assisted at the scene.

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CASSA U11 boys win division


Congratulations to the U11 boys team for an outstanding season and year overall. They play for the Cedar Area Select Soccer Association (CASSA), a local travel soccer club based in Cedar Springs. They competed in the Grand Valley Soccer Association (GVSA), which covers the greater Grand Rapids area, and they traveled from Middleville to as far north as Ludington. The team was a blend of four different school districts, with boys from Greenville, Cedar Springs, Sparta and Tri-County. Many of these boys were playing up an age group, which meant that in most cases they were playing against competition that was one to two years older than them.

U11 Boys Soccer

The team is Front L-R Derek Egan, Mason Miller, Ryan Dreyer, Aidan Walker, Eli Paulen, Luke Doyle, Joey Kolenda. Back Row L-R Coach Dreyer, Jett Elerick, Brayden Marvel, Jared Hause, Dallas Mora, Brison Ricker, Jose Mosqueda , Coach Ricker.

They faced a tough, challenging year and rose to the challenge. They had an overall record of 11 wins 1 loss and 4 ties, for both the fall and spring season, which including winning their division outright in the Spring 2011 season. Many of these boys had not played together prior to last fall. They tallied 79 goals while giving up 32. This team experienced tremendous improvement in not only individual technical skills, but learned how to play as an outstanding unit.  Great TEAM effort boys!

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Gas prices near $4


Gas prices hit a high this week that hasn’t been seen since the summer of 2008. Gas was $3.96 in Cedar Springs, with Admiral being $3.95 at press time on Wednesday.
Michigan is one of several states seeing the high end of the gas prices, but gas is approaching $4 per gallon around the country.
There are signs, however, that Americans may be cutting back on driving because of the high prices. Sales dropped 3 percent at most of the nation’s major gas-station chains, according to a March survey by the Oil Price Information Service.
What are you doing to offset the high gas prices? Write and tell us at news@cedarspringspost.com.
Click here to see what you can do for your car when the gas prices rise.

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Rockford Springs or Cedar Rock?


by Bob Fitzgerald

As sales manager for The Post I sometimes find myself learning about things before they actually happen. One example is starting to pick up a full head of steam. Due to the economy, there have been record numbers of foreclosures in northern Kent County. It seems the amount of taxes coming in from homeowners has dropped significantly and that has really caused problems in two of the best known towns in the area—Rockford and Cedar Springs. The rumor has begun to circulate that the two cities are in talks to combine into one. Could it be?

From what we have been told it may happen—Rockford and Cedar Springs may soon become one. City officials in both municipalities confirmed there have been many meetings behind closed doors about the two cities merging. One source said that the Rockford and Cedar Springs police departments would combine into one department and be relocated in a new building to be built on 14 Mile Road next to the movie theater. That merger alone would save close to $1 million for the cities.

“The closing of the Rockford court house would not have happened if we had been one,” said a judge who asked not to be named.

Discussions are also underway to decide what the name of the city would be. Rockford Springs or Cedar Rock are two names that have been mentioned. We even saw preliminary drawings for a new mascot to represent the cities—a hush puppy wearing red flannels with the drop seat unsnapped.

“I’ve always wondered what it would be like to wear red flannels,” said a Rockford councilor.

We also found out that Sand Lake has also been a part of the discussions and may want to be included in the merger of Rockford and Cedar Springs. “Cedar Rock Lake has a nice, affluent ring to it,” said one Village official. “I can see that name alone bringing in big business and new development. Of course, we might have to create a lake with the same name so people aren’t always asking, ‘Where’s the lake?’” he noted.
He also added that if Sand Lake becomes part of the merger, they wouldn’t have to worry anymore about being de-villaged. “We’d get the respect we deserve,” he said.

The school officials we talked with said the school systems would remain unchanged except for the possibility of having the busing done by a private company. Or, they may just cancel busing all together. “We tried that once in the 1980s and it worked pretty good,” recalled one former school bus driver.

The municipalities are scheduled to discuss the merger at a joint meeting on Friday, April 1.

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City gets new warning siren


By Judy Reed

Post photo by J. Reed

Residents of Cedar Springs now have a brand new siren to warn them of severe weather this spring and summer. It was installed Tuesday at North Park, at the north end of Cedar Springs.

The city sought a grant for the siren through Kent County a year and a half ago, after the original siren tower outside the Cedar Springs Library was deemed unsafe. Burns said they were notified last week that they had received the $19,900 grant for the siren tower, which would be turned on through Kent County’s central dispatch. The old siren was manually turned on at the pole.

A poll on the city’s website showed that residents are in favor of continuing the tradition of blowing the siren at noon everyday. That is not covered in the grant, however, and the city will cover the $500 cost with money from their 2007 bond proceeds.

According to specs, the siren will be heard over most of Cedar Springs, including all the way to White Creek to the west, and Ritchie to the east. To the south, however, it will only cover to just north of Dio Drive. “We hope to someday qualify for another siren to cover the south end (of the city),” said Burns. She previously explained that the siren was erected at North Park to cover the area with the greatest density.

The old siren was scheduled to be torn down immediately, and possibly given to the Cedar Springs Historical Society if they want it.

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Old postcard shows Main Street


By Judy Reed

When cleaning out his great-grandmother’s house after her death, Keith Coalter, of Nelson Township, said they came up with an interesting find—a postcard sent to her with an old-time picture of Cedar Springs on the front.

His great-grandmother, Mrs. Herman (Pauline) W. Grey, was from this area, but living in Grand Rapids at the time the postcard was mailed to her from someone named “Wanda.” It was postmarked Greenville, with a date of October 28, 1950, and carried a one-cent George Washington stamp. “Wanda” was thanking Mrs. Grey for telling her about the death of a mutual friend.

The postcard photo appears to be a picture of Main Street in the early 1900s. Off to the left there is a couple with the woman wearing a long dress, and one of the early cars is parked on the left side of the street.

Craig Cole brought in the same postcard as part of a collection. His postcard was not hand-colored, however, but a sepia-toned card. The message was signed by someone named “Sam,” and addressed to his parents, J.H. Echelberger, in Tustin, Michigan, announcing that they had a new boy, born at 5 a.m. May 23. It was postmarked Cedar Springs, and the year looks to be about 1915. The last number is illegible.

If you have an old photo you’d like to send us, email it to news@cedarspringspost.com, or drop it off in our office at 36 E. Maple St.

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Water tower to finally get Red Flannels


Post photo by B. Fitzgerald.

By Judy Reed

The water tower in Cedar Springs is going to get a makeover.

The city recently approved the repainting of the water tower this spring when it is taken offline for repairs and maintenance. According to the contract that the city has with Utility Services for maintenance, it includes one free logo at no additional charge. At their meeting on February 10, the city council approved putting a red flannel logo on the tower—something an earlier city council nixed.

According to the Cedar Springs Story, by Sue Harrison and Donna DeJonge, when the new water tower was built in 1971, that city council voted not to use red flannels, which upset a few people in town. A letter appeared in the April 15, 1971 Clipper saying: “It’s a shame that Red Flannels, the symbol of Cedar Springs, which is known far and wide, will not grace the new 300,000 gallon water tower. We think the Council should have voted to use the red flannel design. We believe that everything possible should be done to preserve and enhance Cedar Springs’ special place in the long list of small Michigan cities. The use of the red flannel paint design on the water tower would have cost very little, if any more than the tear drop motif that the Council adopted. We urge the council to reconsider their decision…”

Thirty years later, city council did just that.

City manager Christine Burns said that it would probably be sometime in May before it’s repainted. The company will perform routine maintenance and repairs, painting inside and out, check for bullet holes, corrosion, etc. “It will be inspected yearly and repairs done on an ongoing basis,” explained Burns.

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DIGGING OUT—BLIZZARD 2011


Local meteorologists got this one right.

Snowblowing and shoveling was a common sight Wednesday morning after the blizzard the night before. Here Tyler Felty snowblows a path from the driveway to the front door of a home. Photo by J. Reed.

Over 1,000 schools, businesses, and other agencies were closed Wednesday after much of southern lower and central Michigan was paralyzed by the biggest snowstorm we’ve received in several years.
snow mapThe blizzard began Tuesday afternoon and continued into Wednesday morning, with heavy snow, winds, and blowing and drifting that made most secondary roads impassable. Driveways were covered, and four to five foot drifts could be seen up against area homes. WOOD-TV reported that we received 17 inches of snow in the Cedar Springs area, and the National Weather Service unofficial map showed about 14 inches. The City of Cedar Springs did a good job plowing city streets, and most were fairly clear Wednesday morning.
Do you have storm pictures? Send them to us at news@cedarspringspost.com, or upload them to our Facebook page, with a brief explanation, and we’ll post them on our website.

Wait—where’s the driveway? The driveway to Cedar Springs High School disappeared under a heavy blanket of snow. Post photo by J. Reed.

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City receives $200,000 brownfields grant


Four area governments formed a coalition and received a $200,000 brownfields assessment grant. Signing the agreement: (L to R) Kirk Thielke, Sand Lake Village President; Charlie Watson, Cedar Springs Mayor; Glen Armstrong, Nelson Township Supervisor; Denny Hoemke, Algoma Township Supervisor.

The City of Cedar Springs has been awarded a $200,000 Community-Wide Brownfields Hazardous Substance Assessment Grant by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA.)
The City, along with the Village of Sand Lake and Algoma and Nelson Townships, formed a coalition to apply for the grant.  The City and Coalition members formalized a Memorandum of Agreement describing the process by which the Coalition partners will conduct grant tasks and disburse grant funds.  The funds will be used to conduct environmental assessments within the coalition region to support redevelopment and reuse of brownfield sites.
Coalition members met Tuesday, Dec. 7 to sign the agreement at Cedar Springs City Hall.
“This grant application is a perfect example of northern Kent County communities working together to improve the quality of life for our residents,” said Cedar Springs City Manager Christine Burns.
As the lead coalition member and grant recipient, the City will manage the grant program and report to the USEPA. The City has retained Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc. (SME, Inc.) of Grand Rapids, as its brownfield environmental consultant.  SME, Inc. will assist the City with grant management tasks, perform environmental assessments and prepare technical documents.
Grant projects must be located within the jurisdictional limits of one of the participating coalition communities.  The grant is intended to fund environmental assessment activities at properties where known and/or suspected releases of hazardous substances or comingled hazardous substances and petroleum products have occurred.
The Coalition is currently accepting applications for projects to be considered for funding.  The project period for the grant is Aug. 1, 2010 through July 31, 2013.  Applications will continue to be accepted during the grant project period or until all of the available funds are expended.  The City will review and approve applications for site assessments.
Forms for submission for potential projects are available at Cedar Springs City Hall, 66 S. Main St., Cedar Springs or can be downloaded from the City’s website http://www.cityofcedarsprings.org/.

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