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En Gedi fundraiser a huge success

The recent 2019 En Gedi Anniversary Fundraiser Auction was deemed a huge success by the En Gedi Team earning the organization over $40,000 between event income and matching funds from CS Manufacturing. 

Pastor Tom Holloway and family.

This year’s event commemorated 10 years of En Gedi serving the community. En Gedi is a Christ-centered non-profit Cedar Springs 501(c)3 organization formed in 2009. The organization is dedicated to strengthening the community of Cedar Springs and surrounding areas through the building up of families. En Gedi provides a free after-school youth center for 6-8th graders, community/family events, scholarships to camps, conferences, and mission trips, along with supporting existing organizations such as the Hand2Hand Food Program, V2 High Schoolers, Ladies and Men of Honor and others. 

Pastor CJ Maurer and family.

Founding En Gedi board member and previous youth center director Pastor Tom Holloway flew home from South Carolina to help celebrate and honor the organization. Holloway explained how he and the other founding members, Pastor CJ Maurer, Marilyn Magnuson, and Julie Jancek felt called to give kids a safe place to hang out while at the same time providing encouragement and an opportunity to know Christ. The first community meeting had great attendance where he asked for support and money to help get things started. Those who came forward had their first few meetings at The Springs Church and things started moving forward. 

Pastors Holloway and Maurer knew they could best reach students if they could meet right after school and in a location closer to school. They met with school administrators and learned both organizations shared similar missions and visions. 

“Many people came together to help this thing, that nobody could pronounce—En Gedi—become a reality. Tim Mabie stepped in with his leadership skills and support to bring the organization stability and success, “ explained Holloway. 

“The Bible says that for the lack of vision the people perish. Please don’t forget that En Gedi has a purpose and the purpose is kids and families of the Cedar Springs community. Seeing this mission continue to serve 10 years later is a great blessing,” he added. 

Pastor Maurer also shared his memories of early days and wondering if this would all come together. “There were lots of challenges but always solutions as we believed and trusted in God,” Maurer said. 

Rite Aid officials Melinda Silliman, Store Manager, and Sharlene Kent, staff, were recognized for the support from the Rite Aid Kids Cents Program. Darci Frostick was instrumental in submitting an application three years ago for En Gedi to become a recognized organization. 

Randy Badge, En Gedi board member and director of the Men and Ladies of Honor Kent County Chapter, shared statistics supporting the need to have safe and supervised opportunities for middle school students during those hours between school being out and parents coming home from work. 

“Factual statistics show the staggering number of middle school students who often make bad choices during these unsupervised afterschool hours supporting the need for En Gedi’s youth center,” Badge stated. 

Badge also explained the two scholarship funds (Marilyn Magnuson and En Gedi) available to those attending a Christ-centered camp, conference, or mission trip. Sandy and George Waite shared stories from the Polestar group, 2018 recipients of scholarship funds, and how their adventure out west showed them God’s goodness through nature. 

Auction attendees enjoyed a delicious buffet of appetizers while browsing a wide selection of silent and live auction items. 

Jody Coxon, volunteer event coordinator, was pleased with this year’s 10th Anniversary Fundraiser Auction saying, “We are fortunate to have tremendously supportive businesses and community members coming together to continually making this event successful so that En Gedi can better serve our community.” 

More information about En Gedi can be found on the website of www.EnGediYouthCenter.com or by contacting any En Gedi Board Member Robert Frostick, Tim Hullinger, Randy Badge, Autumn Mattson, Brendan Fitzgerald, or Sue Wolfe as well as the Youth Center’s Director, Pastor Craig Owens. 

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En Gedi holds auction; creates memorial scholarship


The En Gedi Auction is always a successful event.

The family of Marilyn Magnuson was on hand to share stories about her at the En Gedi Auction. From L to R: Craig Carter, Michelle (Magnuson) Carter, and Matt Magnuson.

The 2018 En Gedi Auction held at the Cedar Springs High School on Friday, March 23 was another successful event. Numerous donations from area businesses including furniture, wood pellets, tools, home furnishings, food and entertainment certificates, and collective sports memorabilia were some of the items included in the silent and live auctions. En Gedi is a Cedar Springs non-profit Christ-centered organization focused on building community and providing our young people with a safe and fun place to hang out. 

“Our community continues to support the En Gedi Mission, which the entire team is very grateful for,” commented John Huffman, Chairman of this year’s event. “We want to thank all those who participated and especially CS Manufacturing for their leadership and matching donation.”

The Silent Auction helps fund En Gedi throughout the year.

Appetizers from Red Rock Grill were served and games were available to play prior to the live auction.  

En Gedi announced the creation of the Marilyn Magnuson Memorial Scholarship. Magnuson was a founding member of En Gedi in 2009 and continued to serve both at the youth center and on the board until health issues forced her to resign. Some of the Magnuson Family were on hand to share stories of the late Marilyn Magnuson and her passion for introducing Jesus to young people. Magnuson was an art teacher and evangelist with a special heart for the youth. Memorial donations were requested to be made to En Gedi along with funds earned from her various art featured at the 2018 auction. The scholarships will be awarded to young people needing funding assistance to attend a Christ-centered camp, mission trip, or conference in varying amounts. Applications can be obtained from Pastor Craig Owens, the En Gedi Youth Center Executive Director or from Randy Badge, Chairman of the Scholarship Committee. 

The Men and Ladies of Honor directors presented information about their programs as they continue to work with En Gedi. This program offers students the opportunity to deepen their faith and build meaning relationships with other young people on their faith journey.

Along with providing a free after-school youth center for 6-8th graders at Red Hawk Elementary, En Gedi will be showing the movie God’s Not Dead 2 on Tuesday, May 29 and Wednesday, May 30 at 6:30 p.m., and then God’s Not Dead 3, if available, on June 11 and 12 at Kent Theatre in Cedar Springs. All movies will be provided free of charge. A summer concert featuring the group Out of Darkness is also planned for Thursday, July 26. Watch the Cedar Springs Post for more details.

The En Gedi youth center continues to look for community members willing to share their hobby, interest, or skill with our young people. Past presenters included teaching wood carving, guitar, various art forms, and sail boat building. Please contact Pastor Craig Owens at EnGediYouthCenter@gmail.com or at www.EnGediYouthCenter.com if you can share a few hours of your time.

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Crystal M. Pike 85 of Sand Lake, passed away Thursday, October 12, 2017 at her home. Crystal was born May 3, 1932 in Lake City, Michigan the daughter of Harry and Helen (Thomas) Proctor. She was a bookkeeper working for CS Manufacturing over 20 years. She loved to knit, crochet, and spend time with her grandchildren. She enjoyed fishing and living on the lake and had wintered in Florida for over 25 years. Surviving are her children, Alan (Pam) Pike, Steve (Sandy) Pike, Darryl (Teresa O’Brien) Pike; grandchildren, Haley Pike, Tracy (Joe) Cooper, Shana (Brad) Hambelton, Jessica Pike, Cory (Brittany) Pike, Cody (Elizabeth) Pike, Casey (Emily) Pike; 11 great-grandchildren; sister, Barbara (Jerry) Hansen; sister-in-law, Guelda Schultz. She was preceded in death by her husband, Eugene in 1990; brother, Melvin Proctor; daughter-in-law, Sandy Pike. The family greeted friends Sunday at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service was held Monday 11:00 a.m. Interment Trufant Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Team Cora.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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Community supports En Gedi fundraiser

Pastor Craig Owens and some of the En Gedi youth at their fundraiser last weekend. Courtesy photo.

Pastor Craig Owens and some of the En Gedi youth at their fundraiser last weekend. Courtesy photo.

The Cedar Springs High School cafeteria was bubbling with excitement last Friday when approximately 175 attendees gathered for the one and only En Gedi annual fundraiser event. En Gedi is a Christ-centered Cedar Springs non-profit organization focused on keeping kids in our community safe, encouraged, and mentored. A free afterschool youth center is provided for students in grades 6-8th grades, along with special events throughout the year for high school students and community members.

This year’s event brought in proceeds totaling $20,995.50, with those funds being matched by CS Manufacturing and equaling almost $42,000. “Once again the business owners and community members have been extremely supportive of En Gedi. This event continues to be a humbling experience due to the outpouring of support,” explained John Huffman, En Gedi Board Trustee and Event Chairman.

The evening began with 12 tables lined with a wide variety of items ranging from college sports tickets, home furnishings, outdoor and hunting equipment, games, tools, collectable dolls, athletic training items, subscriptions, and many more items attendees could bid for through a silent auction.

The En Gedi 8th Grade Student Leaders gave testimonials on why they appreciate the after-school youth center. While the program is free to all students, the estimated cost is $150 per student per year. The center serves an average of 75 students per day and approximately 130 different students per school year.

The last segment of the event included a live auction with opportunities to Sponsor-a-Student and then bid on the larger items, which included a speed bike, kayak, leather recliner, Tiger tickets, guided pheasant hunt, and more.

En Gedi is dependent upon donations to achieve the organization’s mission of “building up families in our community.” In addition to Huffman’s leadership on this year’s event, he was assisted by Kevin Pike, Jodi Coxon, Liz Pigorsh, Chris Mabie, as well as all the En Gedi board members.

A Free Family Day at the Belmont YMCA is currently scheduled for Friday, April 28, an early release day for Cedar Springs Public Schools. Please check out the En Gedi Facebook page or contact Pastor Craig for more details and to register. All families in the area are welcome.

Pastor Craig Owens serves as the Youth Center Director, assisted by Pastor Josh Schram and Tabi Carter, along with volunteer adult and high school honor society students.

“Part of our goal at the youth center is to introduce various hobbies, life skills, and special interests to our young people. If community members would like to get involved, please contact me at Craig@CSCalvary.org,” said Pastor Owens.

Huffman added, “The entire En Gedi Team would like to thank everyone who has and continues to support this local mission within our community. Your commitment to the youth of our community is greatly appreciated. Mark your calendars now for next year’s event in mid-March!”

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Land donated to city by CBDT, CS Manufacturing 

The City now owns all of the land in the Heart of Cedar Springs project after it was officially donated to them earlier this week. From left to right: Kurt Mabie, CBDT President; Carolee Cole CBDT Secretary; Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack; and Mayor Gerald Hall.

The City now owns all of the land in the Heart of Cedar Springs project after it was officially donated to them earlier this week. From left to right: Kurt Mabie, CBDT President; Carolee Cole CBDT Secretary; Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack; and Mayor Gerald Hall.

The Community Building Development Team (CBDT) and Cedar Springs Manufacturing officially donated land that is part of the “Heart of Cedar Springs” project to the City this week.

Over the past three years, the CBDT, comprised of two dozen organizations and businesses in Cedar Springs, along with dozens of individual volunteers, has acquired six parcels equaling approximately 7.5 acres of land through a donation from CS Manufacturing, and from land that was bought at a substantially reduced price from Rob and Jodi Coxon. The donated land connects to the City-owned property on the northwest corner of Maple and Main Streets where the library is being constructed.

The entire area will be part of the ongoing development that will be known as the “Heart of Cedar Springs.”

In an effort to better serve the Cedar Springs Area, the CBDT decided now was the best time to donate the land to the City of Cedar Springs. Cedar Springs is quietly taking its place as the next up-and-coming community in Kent County, and entrepreneurs and developers have noticed. The official closing documents were signed with donated services of Jodi Ellis of Sun Title on Monday, October 17, with City Manager Mike Womack, and Mayor Jerry Hall, representing the city, and Kurt Mabie, CBDT President and Carolee Cole, CBDT Secretary.

“The City is grateful for all the hard work already put in by the CBDT on the Heart of Cedar Springs project and we look forward to working together to make downtown a better experience for everyone,” commented Womack.

Donating the land to the City not only benefits the community, but it also opens many new avenues for grant-funded projects. Once the DEQ permits are finalized, the CBDT and City hope to submit an April request for the Michigan DNR Recreational Grant for up to $300,000. The exact projects to be requested will soon be determined, but will focus on fulfilling the City and the Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation Plan. The City is a participating member of the Cedar Springs Areas Parks and Recreation (CSAPR), which is in the process of updating their Recreation Plan. For many years the plan has included a boardwalk/walking trail along Cedar Creek and bridges over the creek. Lack of funding has prevented the City from completing this portion of the jointly supported plan. Other features of the Recreation Plan include an amphitheater, which is the CBDT’s next project, as well as a Community Center and Recreation Facility.

“The City is excited to help invest in improvements that benefit the entire area, City and Townships included,” explained Womack.

Hall added that he was “Happy to take another step forward” in improving the City.

The CBDT has met monthly over the last three years and continues to meet on the 3rd Tuesday of each month (except December) in the board room of Hilltop School at 6 p.m. This is a time when community members come together to share ideas, formulate sub-committees for specific projects, and pursue the dream for better community facilities and opportunities.

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Green team upgrades rain gardens

This group of students did some upgrading on the rain gardens at CS Manufacturing last week.

This group of students did some upgrading on the rain gardens at CS Manufacturing last week.

N-Green-team1A Green team of high school students working with Trout Unlimited did some work upgrading the rain gardens at CS Manufacturing last week (located at Fifth and Cherry Streets).

This group of students is spending the summer learning about the Rogue River and creative ways to manage its major pollutant—stormwater runoff—with green infrastructure. During their four weeks, the students will be working on public and private lands to install and maintain rain gardens, bioswales, and other native landscaping techniques in Rockford, Cedar Springs, and Sparta.

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4C obit johnson

Sandra A. Johnson, 73, of Cedar Springs, passed away Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at her home surrounded by her family. Sandra was born March 13, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. She was a dedicated employee of CS Manufacturing in the accounting department with 20 years of service. She loved spending time with her children and grandchildren, which was very important to her. She loved animals, sunshine, enjoyed gardening, and made amazing dill pickles. Surviving are her children, Bob (Paula) Johnson, Tim Johnson and Kathy Kay, Kathy (Ken) Coleman; grandchildren, Ryan Coleman, Kate Coleman, and Logan Armstrong; sisters, Kathy Carlson, and Ricci (Larry) Freeman; two nieces and their families. She was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Luella Stine; sister, Judy Carlson Alden; infant sister, Nancy Jo. The family greeted friends Sunday, January 24 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home Cedar Springs, where the service was held Monday, January 25. Pastor Robert Eckert officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to the Humane Society of Kent County or the American Cancer Society.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home

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Former Johnson Lumber property to be site of community building

This map shows the land dedicated to developing the heart of Cedar Springs. The parcels outlined in green belong to the CBDT, and the parcel outlined in blue belongs to the city, but will be developed by the CBDT. The area in red is the White Pine Trail.

This map shows the land dedicated to developing the heart of Cedar Springs. The parcels outlined in green belong to the CBDT, and the parcel outlined in blue belongs to the city, but will be developed by the CBDT. The area in red is the White Pine Trail.

Plans by the Community Building Development Team to build up “the heart of Cedar Springs” in the area of Main and Maple Streets are coming together, and the latest involves a new community building.

“Over the last three years, an enormous amount of discussion and collaboration between the City Council, Planning Commission, Library Board, Solon Township, Chamber of Commerce, North County Trail and White Pine Trail Boards, and the Community Building Development Team (CBDT) members have taken place,” according to CBDT Chairman Kurt Mabie. “The focus thus far has been on gathering input and guidance from all supporting governmental units, community groups, businesses, and residents so that a comprehensive plan could be developed that will best serve our community residents for years to come. Our new year begins with some significant announcements.”

CS Manufacturing has made the final transfer of ownership for the property to the west of the White Pine Trail at the end of Maple Street, to the CBDT. The property was purchased by CS Manufacturing a year ago with the express purpose of transferring ownership of a large portion of it to the CBDT for use in construction of a new Community Building.

Plans for a new Community Building nestled up next to the Creek, are in the works for this perfect piece of property. Between the new Library, Amphitheater, Boardwalk, and Community Building, a vibrant “Heart” of Cedar Springs is becoming a reality.

To complement this beautiful gift from CS Manufacturing to our wonderful city through the CBDT, the CBDT has purchased two more lots at a reduced price through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Sommer, along with assistance from realtor Leon Stout. This additional property will be used to fulfill the CBDT mission to, “incorporate natural features and enhance characteristics that already define our community while assisting in the construction of buildings and spaces where the greater Cedar Springs community can gather for cultural, educational, recreational, commercial and family/community events.”  These lots are both to the north of Cedar Creek, one with frontage on Pine Street and bordering the White Pine Trail to the Creek, and the second behind the most recent purchase, 157 Main Street, up to the White Pine Trail.

Approximately 6 acres of land has now been donated and/or purchased by the CBDT. These pieces are adjoining to the city owned property on the northwest corner of Main and Maple Streets. All properties will be used to serve and benefit the citizens of the greater Cedar Springs community.

“On behalf of the CBDT, I would like to particularly thank our city council and staff for their countless hours of hard work in bringing this community together and leading the way in making our community the best it can be!” continued Mabie. “The council’s leadership in promoting unity and providing quality services continues to pave the path for significant growth and improvements within our community.”

The CBDT is a non-profit 501c3 organization comprised of community volunteers. “All community members’ ideas and input are needed. Please help shape the future of Cedar Springs by attending meetings and getting involved,” said Mabie. The group meets on the third Tuesday of each month in the Board Room of Hilltop School at 6 pm. The next meeting is January 19 and everyone is welcome.

More information can be found at www.cscommunitycenter.org or like Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team on Facebook.

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Timothy Lee Scott Sr. age 49, of Cedar Springs, formerly of Saranac, passed away December 8, 2015. He was born June 28, 1966 in Saranac. Tim attended Saranac Public Schools. He worked at CS Manufacturing in Cedar Springs. Tim loved hunting, fishing, animals, and was very gifted at working on cars. Tim is survived by his children, April Hekman of Lowell and Timothy Scott Jr. of Kentucky; mother, Patricia Carigon of Saranac; fiancé, Carrie Johnson of Cedar Springs; siblings, Christina (Tom) Ranky of Grand Rapids, Brenda Leffler (fiancé, Dwayne Kingston) of Texas, Cindy (Dale) Hawkins of Saranac, and Michael Carigon of Saranac; grandchildren, Brayden, Liam, and Angel; many nieces, nephews, friends, and co-workers. He was preceded in death by his father, Ray Carigon and grandparents, Clifford & Bessie Scott. Memorial Service will be held Saturday, December 12th, 11:00 am at Lake Funeral Home in Saranac with Pastor Kenneth Harger officiating. Those wishing may make contributions to the Relay for Life. Online condolences may be made at www.lakefuneralhomes.com.

Arrangements by Lake Funeral Home, Saranac

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Community development team buys property

The Community Building Development Team purchased property last week from Rob and Jodi Coxon. Shown at the closing from left to right: Jodi Coxon, CBDT president Kurt Mabie, Sun Title closing agent,  Rob Coxon, realtor Leon Stout, and CBDT treasurer Betty Truesdale.

The Community Building Development Team purchased property last week from Rob and Jodi Coxon. Shown at the closing from left to right: Jodi Coxon, CBDT president Kurt Mabie, Sun Title closing agent, Rob Coxon, realtor Leon Stout, and CBDT treasurer Betty Truesdale.

With the purchase of a parcel at the corner of Fifth and Pine Street in Cedar Springs last week, the non-profit Community Building Development Team is making headway in its mission to advance the “construction of buildings and spaces where the greater Cedar Springs Community can gather for cultural, educational, recreational, commercial, and family/community events.”

The 2.28 acre parcel with road frontage on Fifth and Pine Streets, was purchased on February 25, from Jodi and Rob Coxon, at a greatly reduced price. The property was appraised at $37,500 and sold to the CBDT for $15,000, according to CBDT treasurer Betty Truesdale.

“We are impressed with the involvement of so many people in our community to make our community a better place. It is our privilege to contribute part of the value of our land for the projects being planned by the CBDT, Library Board, and En Gedi Board. A new library and community building will be great assets for Cedar Springs. We are very happy to be a part of these efforts,” explained the Coxons.

Also joining in on donations toward this process were Thomas Cronkright II, owner of Sun Title Agency, who waived all closing fees and Leon Stout, of Stout Group Ltd, the real estate agency handling the sales transactions, waived a portion of his fees.

“It continues to amaze me on how people are jumping on board to be part of the movement to improve the quality of life in our community,” said Kurt Mabie, president of the CBDT. “Jodi and Rob’s support is greatly appreciated, along with Thomas and Leon’s assistance. It takes a group effort, a partnership of many, to bring about big things. That is exactly what is happening now,” he continued.

The exact use of the land has not yet been determined. According to Mabie, CS Manufacturing plans to donate a large section of land that adjoins the Coxon property to the CBDT next fall. Once that land is secured a site plan will be created.

All community members are invited to the CBDT Meetings held on the third Tuesday of each month at Hilltop School on the 3rd floor. The meeting run about one hour and begin at 6 pm.

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