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Tag Archive | "Donna Clark"

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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CTA students clean up library

Raven Fleet with her technique of cleaning shelves and books in a way to be sure they were returned to the shelf in proper order.

Raven Fleet with her technique of cleaning shelves and books in a way to be sure they were returned to the shelf in proper order.

On Thursday, April 29, twelve CTA 6-11 grade girls descended on the Cedar Springs Public Library with their teacher/mentor, Samantha Liscombe, and worked from 3-5 p.m.

The girls pulled books off the shelves all over the library from front to back, cleaned the shelves and wiped germs off the books, DVDs and books on CD. The girls called for the section of the library they wanted. Shouts were heard, such as, “I get the young adult section,” and “I want the DVDs”, “We want the children’s section,” and so forth.

It was a massive undertaking and was accomplished with the passion and energy of youth. Director Donna Clark was on hand to enjoy the fellowship and to supervise the volunteers. Those helping out were: Sophyna Ross, Willow Sidlauskas, Kristina Wilhelm, Raven Fleet, Alyssa, Autumn and Ashley Shelagowski, Tatyanna Lawson, Olivia Martinek, Kaeala Bucholtz, Destiny Batchelder and Samantha Harris.

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Donna Clark named 2016 Red Flannel Festival Grand Marshal

Donna Clark on her first Red Flannel Day after returning from Israel.

By Judy Reed

When there is community group doing something good in Cedar Springs, there is a good chance that Donna Clark, our town’s head librarian, is a part of it. Her dedicated involvement in the betterment of our community is being recognized with her selection as the 2016 Grand Marshal for the Red Flannel Festival.

“The Festival is extremely proud and thankful for the many years of Donna’s outstanding dedication to the Cedar Springs community,” said Michele Tracy, President of the Festival. “Donna has volunteered for Red Flannel Festival for many years. She is also a great leader in the community, serving as Secretary of the Cedar Springs Rotary Club, 2nd Vice President of the Cedar Springs Women’s Club and Secretary of the Community Action Network. Donna is also very active as a volunteer for the Community Building Development Team. She has also been the Librarian at the Cedar Springs Public Library for the past 15 years.”

Donna Clark (far right) with the 2015 Red Flannel Queen and Court and Red Flannel Festival President Michele Tracy after announcing Donna would be Grand Marshal of the 2016 Festival.

Donna Clark (far right) with the 2015 Red Flannel Queen and Court and Red Flannel Festival President Michele Tracy after announcing Donna would be Grand Marshal of the 2016 Festival.

Donna has a heart for Cedar Springs, and it shows through in everything she does.

It’s very obvious Donna loves The Red Flannel Town, and especially the Red Flannel Festival!” said Tracy. “This year, with the ground breaking of a new library, is the perfect year to honor Donna for her many years of community service. Her personal volunteerism on the Red Flannel Queen Scholarship Committee and over 10 years of directing the Festival’s “Read to Ride” Program are instrumental to the success of the Festival. The Red Flannel Town is truly a better place because of her exceptional community involvement and extraordinary volunteerism!” said Tracy.

Being selected as Grand Marshal was the last thing Donna expected.

I was shocked when I heard that I had been named 2016 Red Flannel Festival Grand Marshal,” explained Donna. “My second reaction was to think of others more worthy. I then realized that 2016 is going to be an epic year for the Cedar Springs Public Library as the Community Building Development Team moves to initiate Phase I of their master plan—to build a beautiful, spacious new home for its “Red Flannel Town” Library.

Tentative plans are for the library to begin construction this summer at the corner of Main and W. Maple, near Cedar Creek.

In 2016 we are trading out 2016 sq. ft. for 9,998 sq. ft. How about that? Our Community Library will also celebrate 80 years since the 1936 millage was voted in to provide stable funding, thanks to the inspiration and hard work of the ‘Clipper Girls’ and others. I share this honor with those who have gone before me and those serving with me today. Let’s celebrate as we ‘Build the Heart of Cedar Springs!’” remarked Donna.

Donna came to Cedar Springs in 1971 from her hometown in Mustang, Oklahoma at the age of 18 to go to the tiny Bible school on Pine Street, Wesleyan Bible Institute. Her pastor, one of the founding members, encouraged four of his local youth to go and study in Cedar Springs. The following year Donna married a talented fellow from Ohio, Dan Clark. WBI was reborn as Jordan College, where Donna eventually graduated and took her credits to Grand Valley State University to graduate with a B.A., certified to teach English to grades 7-12. Donna stayed on at Jordan College and taught a few English-related courses.

Donna thrived here in Cedar Springs, got her education and in 1978, she and Dan started a family. They have four children, Daneille, Shianne, Josh, and Tamar; and two grandchildren, Clark and Oaklee. The couple went to Oklahoma for 10 years, and then lived in Israel for almost 13 years. They returned in November 2000 for Dan to take a job at Creative Technologies Academy.

Imagine my delight and surprise when 23 years after leaving Cedar Springs for Oklahoma and then almost 13 years in Israel, our family of six ended back here in Cedar Springs! After only two months, a job found me through my Cedar Springs friends from the 70s—the Cedar Springs Public Library! In all we have lived in Cedar Springs for 22 years.”

Donna will reign this year, the Festival’s 77th, over the two weekends of the 15th oldest Festival in the state of Michigan, sharing the Red Flannel warmth of our community to visitors and residents. Visit www.redflannelfestival.org to volunteer or for additional information.

Watch the Post for more announcements about the new library, and what to expect at this year’s 2016 Red Flannel Festival.

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Families celebrate at Mingle with Kris Kringle

Post photo by J. Reed.

Post photo by J. Reed.

Photo by by Craig Owens

Photo by by Craig Owens

By Judy Reed

Last Saturday, December 5, was a beautiful day to be out and about in downtown Cedar Springs, to celebrate the annual Mingle with Kris Kringle, sponsored by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

According to Chamber president Perry Hopkins, the first weekend of the 2015 Cedar Springs Christmas went really well, with a lot of people turning out to make and take ornaments at both the Cedar Springs Public Library and the Cedar Springs Historical Museum, and to see Santa at the end of the day.

Photo by Donna Clark

Photo by Donna Clark

According to Library Director Donna Clark, 70 people—old and young alike—attended the “Make and Take Ornament” morning at the library. They created an ornament for the town Christmas tree and one to take home. They created lots of pine cone ornaments filled with birdseed, so that they would be environmentally and bird friendly.

At 4:30 p.m., a mini parade made its way down Main Street from Maple to Ash, with Sgt. Kelley, of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department Cedar Springs unit leading the way, and a horse-drawn wagon carrying Santa Clause at the end.

“Having the cheerleaders in the parade again this year singing, as the mini parade escorted Santa to the tree, was great,” said Hopkins. “And the Chamber was happy to have royal courts from both the Cedar Springs Renaissance Faire and The Red Flannel Festival in our mini Christmas parade this year.”

Photo by by Craig Owens

Photo by by Craig Owens

The American Legion Post #287 Honor Guard also marched in the parade.

After the parade, the Jubilee quartet led the singing of Christmas carols, and Calvary Assembly of God put on their live nativity, assisted by the Double K Farms petting zoo. “The awesome voices of Jubilee leading the caroling added a new touch  to this year’s Christmas tree lighting,” remarked Hopkins. “As always, the petting zoo and live nativity scene were awesome.”

Mayor Jerry Hall addressed the crowd, and then it was finally time to light the tree. Afterward, children lined up to sit on Santa’s lap in the heated tent.

Hopkins said they are already making notes of ways to improve the event for next year, and they hope more businesses, organizations, and community members will be in the parade next year.


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Library kicks off capital campaign


Goal is to reach $750,000 by year end

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Public Library has been in the same building—at the corner of Cherry and Second Streets—since 1951. And, according to Library Director Donna Clark, the growing demand for programs and services for patrons of all ages has surpassed the capacity of the existing building for at least 30 years.

“We cannot physically grow our collection beyond the average 22,000 items,” she explained. “We now store 5,000 items in the cloud, representing our eBook and eAudio book collection, shared with other W. MI libraries.” She said that the handicapped rarely try to get in, and families with young children and strollers struggle to get in, as do the elderly or those on crutches.

And once they do, seating consists of 8 chairs around two tables in the adult middle aisle and three over stuffed chairs. Not what you’d expect for a library that had 802 people visit in one day for the opening of the summer reading program earlier this summer.

Over the last 15 years, there have been attempts to begin a fundraising program for a new library. They have started with gusto, only to die out from lack of support. But in recent months there has been a resurgence of support for building a new Cedar Springs Public Library, and a Capital Campaign Committee has been formed to raise money through grants and other local fundraising efforts. The anticipated cost to build the library is approximately $1.75 million dollars.

Committee Chair Nick Andres commented, “To date, nearly $1 million dollars has been raised and/or pledged in one form or another to the construction of the library. With an end in sight, now is the time to raise the remaining construction funds.” He went on to explain the construction funds need to be fully secured prior to requesting bids from contractors.

The Committee has set a goal of raising $750,000 by the end of 2015. The goal is to break ground in the spring of 2016.

About $62,000 was raised at the kickoff campaign dinner last Saturday evening.

Site plans have been updated, design drawings are currently underway and access has been granted by the City for the completion of soil compaction and DEQ soil borings.

Plans are to build a new library at the corner W. Maple and Main Street, behind the current fire barn. The size of the library would increase from 2,016 sq. ft  to 9,998 sq. ft. and include a wide range of books and materials; be handicapped-accessible; have separate men’s and women’s bathrooms; additional seating; study rooms for small groups; a children’s library with expanded space for activities, crafts and story time; a young adult/teen area; a multipurpose room for library programs and community use, with a kitchen; a computer lab/classroom for workshops/training; twelve computer workstations; and more.

The capital campaign committee said they are planning several fundraising activities that will be easy and exciting for local residents, businesses and corporations to take part in. Keep watch for these to be announced in the coming weeks.

The Library Capital Campaign Committee is made up of members of the Library Board of Directors, the Friends of the Library, members of the Community Building Development Team and other local citizens and has room for others to serve. To become involved please contact Nick Andres at nicksandres@charter.net.

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The Post travels to Israel


The Post recently took a trip to a 55-acre archaeology site in Israel, known as Biblical Tamar Park, spanning 4,000 years of Israelite occupation, from Abraham to the present.

Pictured are Cedar Springs residents Dan Clark (left), his wife Donna (center), and Dr. DeWayne Coxon. The Clarks are among the hundreds of volunteers taken by Dr. Coxon to Israel over the span of 30 years to engage in worthy projects there.

The Clarks previously worked in projects in this desert region for 13 years, and returned to Cedar Springs in 2001. “It was great to be back ‘home’ in the Arava with our good friend, DeWayne, and our hometown paper, the Cedar Springs Post!” said Donna.

Anyone interested in Dr. Coxon’s work in Israel can visit www.blossomingrose.org.

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Library hires new children’s librarian

Kelly Roach started as the new children’s librarian at the Cedar Springs Library this week.

Kelly Roach started as the new children’s librarian at the Cedar Springs Library this week.

When business owner Kelly Roach decided to close her coffee shop, Alpha Omega Coffee and Games, she wasn’t sure what she was going to do. It didn’t take her long to find something. Kelly started this week as the new children’s librarian at the Cedar Springs Public Library.

Kelly replaces Shannon Vanderhyde, who took a job at the Rockford branch of Kent District Library, as a children’s parapro. Shannon had worked for Cedar Springs Library since 2008. “We enjoyed her storytimes, and wish her well at Rockford,” said Donna Clark, Cedar Springs Library Director.

Donna is excited about Kelly joining the library and the new ideas she is bringing with her. “I think there could be lots of new programs coming. She can do all ages. She’s great with adults, and loves teens as well as the younger kids. I am really thrilled to have her,” said Clark.


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Quilt raffle winner



Diane Bengtson holds up the quilt she won from the Friends of the Library. Photo from Donna Clark.

The Cedar Springs Public Library raffled off a quilt as a fundraiser on Red Flannel Day, and raised $301. The lucky winner of the quilt was Diane Bengtson, a longtime resident of Cedar Springs.

Library Director Donna Clark related that when Friends of the Library President Louise King called her, Diane was flabbergasted, and clapping could be heard in the background as her family cheered for her. She reportedly said, “I never win anything! I wanted to support the library, so I bought some tickets.”

Members of the Friends of the Library sold tickets for five hours on Red Flannel Day, and the drawing was held at 5 p.m.

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Summer reading kicks off at library

Cindy Karafa, from Double K Farms, talks to the children about the animals.

Cindy Karafa, from Double K Farms, talks to the children about the animals.

Hundreds of people signed up for the summer reading program Monday.

Hundreds of people signed up for the summer reading program Monday.

It was a great day Monday, June 9, for the Cedar Springs Library’s Summer Reading Kick-off party! According to Library Director Donna Clark, over 500 people came to sign up, celebrate and participate in festivities, which included the Double K Petting Zoo, Kelly’s free ice cream, and the Friends of the Library Book Sale.

“People were pouring in from all over Cedar Springs,” remarked Clark. “564 have signed up for the Summer Reading Program so far and 372 of those registered on Opening Day!”

Local merchants, service organizations, school students and local families support the Library’s summer reading outreach. “Prizes, publicity, performers, crafts and supplies have been secured for what is to be the very best summer ever,” noted Clark. “Programs are for all ages, babies to adults. Family programs will be held at the Cedar Springs Middle School on Wednesdays at 2 p.m.”

If you didn’t get signed up yet, you can still sign up all month. The more you read, the more chances you get to win prizes to be given out at the

The Cedar Springs Fire Department made a guest appearance at the summer reading kick off party Monday.

The Cedar Springs Fire Department made a guest appearance at the summer reading kick off party Monday.

Reading Celebration Carnival, Wednesday, July 30, at Morley Park from 2-4 p.m.

Wednesday is the big day for family programs. Preschool story times are set for 11:15 at the library on the lawn, so bring a beach towel! The family programs are at the lovely Cedar Springs Middle School from 2-3pm. Two special programs with pizza are planned for the following groups: 4-6th graders, 7-12th graders and adults. Check the library’s new website at cedarspringslibrary.org to view all programs online.

“A special thanks to all of the staff and volunteers who made this event run smoothly!” said Clark. “We are blessed by a generous community.”


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Cedar View students make a difference

Raise money for library

Ms. Jennifer Kahler’s 5th grade class.

Ms. Jennifer Kahler’s 5th grade class.

When teachers encourage their fourth and fifth graders to scope out their community for worthy projects to support, it is a very good thing. Leading the way this year were Cedar View teachers Ms. Dawn Nielsen (4th grade) and Ms. Jennifer Kahler (5th grade). Arrangements were made with Cedar Springs Library Director Donna Clark to receive what turned out to be massive FUNds, according to the creativity and dedication of these students.

Ms. Dawn Nielsen’s 4th grade class.

Ms. Dawn Nielsen’s 4th grade class.

Ms. Nielsen’s class focused on raising donation dollars through their annual Read-a-thon. To add incentive, the Library promised a Red Hawk Beanie Baby to any student raising $35 or more. Twenty-two students collected a Red Hawk, including one student from Ms. Strumk’s 4th grade class. Students raised….DRUMROLL…$1,067! Half of that was given to the Library ($533.50) and half will be used for new books for the classroom.

While Clark was still rejoicing, another call came into the library, this time from 5th grade teacher Jennifer Kahler, informing her, “I have some very good news for you.  Room 12 has a surprise for the library. The students selected the Cedar Springs Library to be the recipient of their new fund raising effort, a store.  I gave each student $5 and their job was to come up with a product to make to sell at the store. With any luck, they would turn their $5 into a profit.” The conversation ended with Friday, April 30 being set as the day that Ms. Kahler’s class would present the Library with a check representing their creativity and hard work.

Mrs. Clark showed up at the appointed time, 9 a.m. The class chatted with Mrs. Clark about their store, consisting of everything from bookmarks to slime, and then asked her to guess how much they raised.

She guessed that doubling their $5 would mean a $300 donation for sure. Amidst grins and wiggles, it was clear that the class had raised much more. At that time two of the young ladies came forth and took turns sharing about how the money was raised.  The big moment arrived…DRUMROLL…a check for $496.11!  Shock,  smiles, and congratulations all captured on video. It was a moment to celebrate.

How will the money be used? Mrs. Clark encouraged the students to come up with a thorough list of books that they would like to check out from the library over the last weeks of school. By checking the Library’s website, cedarsprings.llcoop.org, students can check to see if the book they want is already owned by the Library. The Library also has a wish list of various things that are needed to improve the library and its services. Some of the money may be used for the Library’s annual Summer Reading Program, June 9-July 30. All are invited to Opening Day of the Summer Reading Program Monday, June 9 from noon to 6pm, to sign up for a summer of 20 programs, receive a free bookbag  (Grades K- 12), eat free ice cream, check out the petting zoo and storybook characters and the Friends of the Library’s annual book sale.


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