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Tag Archive | "cedar springs"

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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City Council Clips


By Judy Reed

Mayor Hunt retires

Mayor Linda Hunt and Rockford Mayor Janiece Rogers

Mayor Linda Hunt and Rockford Mayor Janiece Rogers

The Cedar Springs City Council held a surprise retirement party for Mayor Linda Hunt last week, who is retiring after a total of 24 years on the council. She retired once before, back in 2004, but was urged to run for office again after Mayor James Charon died in 2005. “I think the party means more to me this time than it did the first time, because I did come back, and they felt strongly enough to do it again,” remarked Hunt. “Either that or they were glad to get rid of me,” she said with a chuckle.

Attending the party were 30 to 40 well-wishers, including Cedar Springs staff and community members; Wyoming City Manager Curtis Holt, who once served as an assistant manager here; former Cedar Springs City Manager Frank Walsh, who is now City Manager for the city of St. Joseph; and Rockford Mayor Janeice Rogers.

Former CS City Manager Frank Walsh gives Mayor Linda Hunt a hug.

Former CS City Manager Frank Walsh gives Mayor Linda Hunt a hug.

During her time on the council, Hunt served as mayor five times, and mayor pro-tem on numerous occasions. She said that she feels the greatest accomplishment achieved while she was on the council was the building of the wastewater treatment plant. “It allowed growth and development of the community (not just the city) and will continue to allow growth and development in the future,” she noted.

Hunt said she thinks the biggest obstacle facing the council this year will be learning to live without revenue sharing. “I think it will just get worse,” she said.

Hunt admitted that while she’s ready to retire, she will miss it. “I will miss the connection with the progress of the city—how it evolves, and not making decisions on how we develop,” she explained.

As for future plans, she’s going to spend winter in Florida for the first time. “I’m going to learn how to relax,” she said. And then, as an afterthought, “I heard they need a lot of help down there, too,” she joked.

Make a difference awards

Sonya Conkright revieves "You make the diffference award."

Sonya Conkright revieves "You make the diffference award."

The Cedar Springs City Council awarded two “You make the difference awards” at last Thursday’s council meeting. The first went to Sonya Cronkright, owner of Reflections by Design. “She walked door-to-door and obtained approximately 40 letters of support from area businesses for the MNRTF grant for the staging area project on the White Pine Trail,” explained City Manager Chris Burns.

Youth pastor Joe Sturgeon accepts award on behalf of The Springs Free Methodist Church.

Youth pastor Joe Sturgeon accepts award on behalf of The Springs Free Methodist Church.

The second went to the Springs Free Methodist Church, for their community-wide clean-up project the Sunday before Red Flannel Day. “Thank you for what you did,” said Mayor Linda Hunt. “That was really neat.” Pastor Barry Briggs was out of town, and youth Pastor Joe Sturgeon was on hand to receive the award for the church.

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Right number, wrong street


Man enters wrong home while intoxicated

Joshua Clark Vann

Joshua Clark Vann

A Solon Township man is facing charges of third degree home invasion after he entered the wrong home while intoxicated and became aggressive toward the homeowner.

According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, Officer Jason Schaefer responded to a home invasion on Sarah Street in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates on Wednesday, October 7, at 5:30 p.m. Upon arrival, he heard voices inside the mobile home, with one person sounding very upset.  Officer Schaefer entered and confronted the intruder, Joshua Clark Vann, 30, of Solon Township, who was intoxicated and arguing with the homeowner through a closed bedroom door.

After the suspect was arrested and placed into the patrol car, Officer Schaefer interviewed the homeowner. He learned that the suspect entered and confronted the homeowner but would not leave when he clearly knew he was not inside his friend’s house. It appears the address he was looking for may have had the same house numbers, but he was on the wrong street.

The 19-year-old homeowner said he was able to get the man outside but was then chased by the intruder, and the man then followed him back inside the mobile home. At one point, he said Vann was grabbing at him and threatening to assault him.

The homeowner’s wife was able to grab her purse and retreated to the rear bedroom calling for help. The two of them were holding the bedroom door closed to keep the subject from getting into their bedroom when the police arrived.

Due to the unusual circumstances, Officer Schaefer removed the subject from the scene and sough a warrant for Home Invasion 3rd Degree, a 5-year felony. This charge requires the suspect to have entered a home being occupied and committing a misdemeanor violation once inside. In this case he did not enter to steal but committed a simple assault by grabbing the homeowner and threatening him.

Van was arrested on Tuesday, October 13. He was arraigned in 63rd District Court, Rockford on Wednesday, October 14. His bond was set at $3,000 cash/surety, and his preliminary exam was scheduled for October 28 at 10 a.m.

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Flowing well dedicated


Flowing well dedicated
By Judy Reed
One of Cedar Springs oldest natural landmarks has been restored.
Cedar Springs was named after the naturally flowing springs and Cedar trees that dotted the area. One of the first settlements was reported to have been a tavern near Cedar Creek, and nearby were some Cedar trees and a large spring. It is thought to have been behind the current firebarn on Maple Street, where a large spring still flows. Or at least it did, until a year and half ago, when it was capped to avoid contamination from the old foundry that was being torn down.
Members of the Cedar Springs City Council thought it was important to get the well uncapped, but there were costly steps that needed to be taken to get the work done properly. With the same economic problems facing the city that faces other municipalities across the state, they weren’t sure they would get it done in this year’s budget. But volunteers stepped forward to make sure it happened.
The spring was uncapped Friday, October 2, and the well formally dedicated.
“This is a project that is dear to the hearts of several council members since it was capped 1-1/2 years ago,” noted Cedar Springs City Manager Christine Burns.
Mayor Linda Hunt showed a photo of the well from the book The Cedar Springs Story by Sue Harrison and Donna DeJonge, and told the story of the first settlement. “It reminds us that it’s a place in history for us,” said Hunt. “It’s a pleasure to see the well uncapped again. It looks like it did long ago.”
Hunt also presented a “You make a difference” award to Craig Merlington, of North Kent Well Pump, for the work he did on the well.
“This has been a long time coming, and is a huge passion for many,” noted Burns.
Though many people say they remember drinking from the well, it is labeled as “non-potable.” The city hopes to eventually turn it into a fountain.

By Judy Reed

One of Cedar Springs oldest natural landmarks has been restored.

Photo by J. Reed

Photo by J. Reed

Cedar Springs was named after the naturally flowing springs and Cedar trees that dotted the area. One of the first settlements was reported to have been a tavern near Cedar Creek, and nearby were some Cedar trees and a large spring. It is thought to have been behind the current firebarn on Maple Street, where a large spring still flows. Or at least it did, until a year and half ago, when it was capped to avoid contamination from the old foundry that was being torn down.

Members of the Cedar Springs City Council thought it was important to get the well uncapped, but there were costly steps that needed to be taken to get the work done properly. With the same economic problems facing the city that faces other municipalities across the state, they weren’t sure they would get it done in this year’s budget. But volunteers stepped forward to make sure it happened.

The spring was uncapped Friday, October 2, and the well formally dedicated.

“This is a project that is dear to the hearts of several council members since it was capped 1-1/2 years ago,” noted Cedar Springs City Manager Christine Burns.

Mayor Linda Hunt showed a photo of the well from the book The Cedar Springs Story by Sue Harrison and Donna DeJonge, and told the story of the first settlement. “It reminds us that it’s a place in history for us,” said Hunt. “It’s a pleasure to see the well uncapped again. It looks like it did long ago.”

Hunt also presented a “You make a difference” award to Craig Merlington, of North Kent Well Pump, for the work he did on the well.

“This has been a long time coming, and is a huge passion for many,” noted Burns.

Though many people say they remember drinking from the well, it is labeled as “non-potable.” The city hopes to eventually turn it into a fountain.

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City councilmember receives award


City councilmember
receives award
Patricia Capek, mayor pro tem on the Cedar Springs City Council, received a special award of merit from the Michigan Municipal League at their annual convention last week.
The award recognizes outstanding leadership and service to the League and municipal government.
Capek has been a resident of Cedar Springs since 1975. She is currently serving her 4th term on the Cedar Springs City Council, where she held the position of Mayor Pro-Tem on two separate occasions. She currently serves on the Cedar Springs Public Library Construction Committee and serves on the MML Elected Officials Academy Board and is a past president of MML Region III.
According to the MML, Pat has been a tireless supporter of the League since 1995. It was noted in the awards program that “She not only received the highest Elected Officials Academy award, the Level III Governance Award, but she also served as EOA board president in 2007-08. She has been and continues to be a vocal cheerleader for continuing education and the EOA program.”
City Manager Christine Burns was pleased to see her honored. “If people ask her to serve on a committee, she does. And she gives 110 percent. She’s very visible, everyone knows her. It’s a pretty cool thing.”
Capek was humble about it. “Anytime anyone gets recognized, it’s a reflection on the community, and I am privileged to be part of it,” she said.

Patricia Capek, mayor pro tem on the Cedar Springs City Council, received a special award of merit from the Michigan Municipal League at their annual convention last week.

The award recognizes outstanding leadership and service to the League and municipal government.

N-capek-wins-awardCapek has been a resident of Cedar Springs since 1975. She is currently serving her 4th term on the Cedar Springs City Council, where she held the position of Mayor Pro-Tem on two separate occasions. She currently serves on the Cedar Springs Public Library Construction Committee and serves on the MML Elected Officials Academy Board and is a past president of MML Region III.

According to the MML, Pat has been a tireless supporter of the League since 1995. It was noted in the awards program that “She not only received the highest Elected Officials Academy award, the Level III Governance Award, but she also served as EOA board president in 2007-08. She has been and continues to be a vocal cheerleader for continuing education and the EOA program.”

City Manager Christine Burns was pleased to see her honored. “If people ask her to serve on a committee, she does. And she gives 110 percent. She’s very visible, everyone knows her. It’s a pretty cool thing.”

Capek was humble about it. “Anytime anyone gets recognized, it’s a reflection on the community, and I am privileged to be part of it,” she said.

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