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A Legacy of giving


Mike and Alice Holton


Holton family gives generous gift to Education Foundation

By Tom Noreen

For many years, Mike and Alice Holton were generous patrons of Cedar Springs. Their gifts to the city and the public schools were instrumental in improving the facilities and capabilities each had to offer. Many of their contributions were given anonymously. Their gifts included building the pedestrian bridge over Main Street; renovating Skinner Field with new bleachers, lights, fencing, and a composite running surface track; paving the new section of the Elmwood Cemetery; key sponsors of Boomer Field; Cedar Springs Public Library projects; and the band shell used in the High School auditorium. The Cedar Springs Public School Board named Holton Drive on the school campus in honor of their generosity to the school.

Mike first came to town as a kid when his father was assigned as pastor to the Cedar Springs Free Methodist Church (now The Springs). They then went to Big Rapids but his sister, Lois, stayed and later married Elwood Larson.

It was in Big Rapids, according to Lois, that Mike met Alice. Alice lived across the road from the parsonage. After a tour in a US Navy Construction Battalion (SeaBee), they married and moved to Cedar Springs.

Kathy (Holton) Raudenbush wrote, “They moved to Cedar in the late 40’s and started the bottled gas business. We think the reason for their choice of Cedar was that Dad had gone, briefly, to high school here, and his sister and her husband, Lois and Elwood Larson, were living here. Their storefront was on Main Street across from what was then Skinner Drugs. Mom kept the books while Dad was out delivering gas and making sales. The business moved out to its present location in the early 60s when it became Holton’s LP Gas. It is important to know, from our perspective, that Dad’s biggest priority was always the comfort and safety of his customers. There were many nights and weekends when he would be out delivering gas when someone ran out, or going on a service call when someone had a problem.”

Lois said the business was initially in the building where the Fast Tax Service is now and then they built another building just to the north now occupied by the Reflections by Design hair salon.

According to Kathy, Mike was active in a number of local civic organizations. Alice spent many happy years volunteering in Marge Clark’s kindergarten classroom. She noted, “Dad and Mom had a great respect for education and what it could do to increase a person’s chances of success in life, and that is why they were so interested in helping the school whenever they could.”

It was in this environment that Mike and Alice reared their children, Kathy, Karen, Kevin, and Kris. The legacy of supporting education continues. The Holton family, in honor of their parents, decided to donate the Holton home on Northland Drive to the Cedar Springs Education Foundation so that the proceeds would go to the schools.

Bill Tucker, past president of the Cedar Springs Education Foundation said, “I was contacted by Kevin Holton in late 2013. I actually met with the family in February 2014 to discuss the details of the transfer.” The deed was transferred, some needed repairs were done, and the house put up for sale. Once on the market, the house sold quickly and the Education Foundation received a net of $171, 554 after expenses.

Once sold, the Foundation decided to make an initial grant to the school of about $25,000 for a significant project to recognize this tremendous gift from the Holton family. The school was asked to propose a number of projects for the family to choose from. These included a covered playground pavilion for Cedar Trails, a computer-learning lab for Cedar View, and a new sound system for the High School auditorium. After reviewing the projects, the family turned it back over to the foundation to make the selection. Kathy said, “They as a group would be happy with any of the options and felt the foundation would be better able to determine what would be most beneficial to the school.”

The Foundation met at a special meeting on February 4 to make that decision. After much discussion, moderated by Foundation President Jeni McIntyre, the board chose the High School auditorium sound system, for a number of reasons. Sue Spahr, board member and Middle School principal, said that the sound system would have a greater impact on both students and the community. Board members Audrey Debri and Chad Wight noted that each proposal was excellent and should be considered again at a later date.

The Education Foundation and the Cedar Springs Schools greatly appreciate this gift and the Holton family’s legacy of giving.

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Beauty and the Beast starts tonight


Shows Feb. 5-8 at Cedar Springs High School

Alexis Lucarelli as Belle reading to Brandyn Kirchoff as the Beast.

Alexis Lucarelli as Belle reading to Brandyn Kirchoff as the Beast.

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and love is in the air, along with some good old-fashioned fun, as over 60 cast members take the stage tonight at Cedar Springs High School for their winter musical, Beauty and the Beast. 

This classic tale is a charming love story about a young woman (Belle) who falls in love with a beast, who happens to be a prince placed under a spell. In order to escape the spell, the Beast must learn to love and be loved. If he doesn’t learn this before time runs out, he and his home will be under the spell forever.

Remington Sawade as Gaston performing with many of the cast members.

Remington Sawade as Gaston performing with many of the cast members.

Leads include Alexis Lucarelli as Belle; Sean Murphy as Maurice; Brandyn Kirchoff as Beast/Prince; Remington Sawade as Gaston; Dallas Mora as Lefou; Alec Falicki as Lumiere; Roland Nulph as Cogsworth; April Roberts as Mrs. Potts; and Sam Owens as Babette.

Shows are February 5, 6, and 7 at 7:00 p.m., with matinees on February 7 and 8 at 1:00 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Tickets are $10, and can be bought at the high school main office, online at http://www.hprodcshs.com, and at the door.

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Fine Arts Holiday Concerts

12/4 Middle School Band Concert  – High School Auditorium 7:30pm

12/9 6-8th Grade Choir Concert  – High School Auditorium 7:00pm

12/11 High School Band & Choir Concert – High School Auditorium 7:30pm

12/13 Cedar View Chorus – Kent Theatre Community Holiday Concert  3:00pm



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NOVEMBER 20, 2013

Cedar Springs High School Auditorium

5:30pm 6th—8th Grades

7:00pm High School

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Travel to Louisiana through pictures and music

Do you like music? Are you looking for a night of entertainment at a low cost?

Come and hear two musicians from Louisiana, Monty and Marsha Brown, (whose music was featured in the movie “Steel Magnolias”), on Monday, April 11, at 7 p.m. at the Cedar Springs High School Auditorium.  The duo will give a musical and multimedia presentation about the connection of music and culture in their state as part of the Cedar Springs Area Parks and Rec’s Virtual Travel Adventure series.

This adventure will take you on a journey through the bayou, through the northern parishes of the state and listen to bluegrass, then take you into the sections of the state’s French heritage where the waltz will be played and danced to, before coming to rest in New Orleans and listening to the famous sounds of blues and jazz.

In recent years they have seen turbulent times due to Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill. They will be answering questions regarding these matters and how that is affecting the state and its relationship with the music community.

There is an intermission during the travel adventure that will include snacks and beverages. The event is held at the Cedar Springs High School Auditorium with the doors opening at 6 p.m. and the adventure beginning at 7 p.m. The adventure fee is $8.
Information on this and other programs are online at www.csaparksandrec.com or you can follow us on Facebook for up to date information. Please feel free to call us at 696-7320.

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