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Tag Archive | "Red Flannel Acres"

Year in Review 2019


Top story for 2019: City Impact to the rescue

By Judy Reed

An ice storm in early 2019 left over 100,000 people without power or heat. Post photo by J. Reed.

There were a couple of big things that happened here in Cedar Springs in 2019, and one entity that had a big part to play in how they both turned out.

In the first week of February, the Cedar Springs community was hit hard by two back to back ice storms that hammered West Michigan, leaving a path of ice, snow, downed tree branches, and downed power lines in its wake. Many were without power on Wednesday, February 6, after the first ice storm, and on Thursday another one hit, causing widespread outages, including most of the Cedar Springs area. Over 100,000 people were without power.

Consumers first predicted Sunday evening to have everyone’s power restored, then changed it to Monday at 11:30 p.m. That was bad news for those without power, including the entire City of Cedar Springs, who lost power when a transmission line at the substation at Fifth and Church Street exploded. Schools remained closed, restaurants and gas stations had no power, and Meijer was on partial power. On top of that, the wind chill took a dive below zero on Friday. What could people do?

They pulled together, that’s what they did. And City Impact of Cedar Springs, a brand new outreach center that is a ministry of Resurrection Life Church in Rockford, played a major part in it.

They were slated to have a grand opening that Saturday, February 9, at 288 N. Main St. Instead, they opened their doors on Friday, February 8, as a warming center to serve people in our community. They were also without power, but someone bought them a 10,000 watt generator, and both businesses and citizens stepped up to donate supplies to help those in need. They received cots and blanket from the Red Cross; a woman in Grand Haven made 40 lbs of bbq to feed people; Lean on Me provided food; others donated snacks, fruit, donuts, bottled water, coffee, and more. 

“We had people coming in all night long to get warm and/or to sleep,” said Kelley Bergsma, who runs the center with her husband Jon. “And these weren’t the people we usually serve.” Instead, she said that a lot of the people they usually serve were in the center serving others. “It’s just amazing the way we came together as a community,” she said.

About 50 people spent the night that Friday at the center. But the volunteers didn’t wait for people to come to them. Several of them walked the dark streets of Cedar Springs Friday night, looking for any house that might have a candle or flicker of light in the window. That’s how they found a 100-year-old woman sitting in the dark, with only her four burners on the stove for warmth. They then brought her to the center. 

They closed the center on Sunday after most of the area’s power came back on.

Others in the area also showed compassion in various ways. As power slowly came back on, some posted on social media that their homes were open for those that needed to get warm or take a shower. One area hair salon offered free shampooing. 

At the time, Bergsma told the Post that she is still in awe of what happened in our community. “It was amazing seeing the entire community come together to help those in need,” she said.

This apartment fire at Red Flannel Acres left seven families homeless. Post photo by J. Reed.

Disaster struck again on August 13, when a fire at the Red Flannel Acres apartments on Oak Court in the City of Cedar Springs left seven families homeless. 

According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, the call came in at 4:31 p.m. that there was smoke in the building, and the second tone said that there were flames showing through the roof. 

Cedar Springs, Sand Lake, and Solon Fire Departments were on scene, and they called for Sparta’s aerial truck to help douse the flames of the two-story building. Courtland was on standby to take any Cedar Springs calls while they were busy fighting the fire. It was later determined that a discarded cigarette had started the fire.

The Springs Church and City Impact stepped up to help families affected by the devastating event, by offering them dinner, a place to go and make phone calls, collect themselves, talk to a social worker, and even sleep. The Red Cross was also on scene. Lean on Me Outreach and North Kent Connect were on site at City Impact to help provide people with food and other essentials. City Impact then compiled a list of needs and has posted it on their Facebook page. They worked with the displaced residents to make sure all their needs were met.

Bergsma is happy with what City Impact accomplished this year. “This was our first year in operation with our completed building, and this building has helped us organize and focus our outreach into the community,” she explained. “We believe that a large impact was made through the many relationship building activities and programs that we offer through the center. We believe this is just the beginning, and we are going to continue to see the Cedar Springs community come together and be an example to other communities of what working together looks like. We welcome 2020 with open arms and we cannot say it enough—Cedar Springs you rock!”

We have many great resources in our community. A big thank you goes out to City Impact for the way they have become a catalyst and hub to help all of these organizations work together. They hold all kinds of events and programs for the public, including Celebrate Recovery!,exercise classes, community meals, and more. For more info check them out on Facebook. Just type in City Impact Cedar Springs.

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Agencies reach out to families affected by fire


by Judy Reed

Seven families lost their home when a fire consumed one of the apartment buildings at 323 Oak Ct. in Cedar Springs on Tuesday, August 13.

“I’ve lost everything,” remarked Kathy Lazar, as she watched the building at Red Flannel Acres being consumed by flames. She didn’t know what she was going to do. She is normally on oxygen, but had left it behind, along with other medical supplies, such as her nebulizer she uses for breathing treatments, when someone knocked on the door of her bottom floor apartment and told her she needed to get out.

Until that moment, she didn’t know the building was on fire. “I could smell smoke in the hallway after I opened the door,” she said.

According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, the call came in at 4:31 that there was smoke in the building, and the second tone said that there were flames showing through the roof.

Post photo by J. Reed

Cedar Springs, Sand Lake, and Solon Fire Departments were on scene, and they called for Sparta’s aerial truck to help douse the flames of the two-story building. Courtland was on standby to take any Cedar Springs calls while they were busy fighting the fire.

Post photo by J. Reed

“I called in Sparta’s aerial truck because we had to do an exterior attack,” explained Fraser. “We couldn’t get inside because we weren’t sure about the integrity of the roof. We couldn’t do much with the hand lines on the ground. If it wasn’t for the aerial, the building would just be a basement,” he added.

Fraser said he thinks the fire might have started on an upper balcony. The state fire marshal will be coming in to help determine the cause of the fire and where it started.

Post photo by J. Reed

The fire was knocked down by 6 p.m., and they then began cleanup and extinguishing hot spots.

Out of the eight apartments, one was vacant. Everyone that was home at the time got out safely. Three cats were also recovered from two different apartments. “They were scared and wet, but they were all alive,” noted Fraser.

He said the building was most likely a total loss. “The roof is gone and the apartments on both floors were damaged with a lot of smoke and water,” he said.

Fraser was appreciative of all the firefighters that fought the fire, directed traffic, etc. “I’d like to thank all the firefighters and their departments that responded with their assistance,” he remarked. “It was hectic and everyone that responded did well and I appreciate it.”

The Springs Church and City Impact stepped up to help families affected by the devastating event, by offering them dinner, a place to go and make phone calls, collect themselves, talk to a social worker, and even sleep. The Red Cross was also on scene.

On Wednesday, City Impact, at 288 North Main, was open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and two other agencies, Lean on Me Outreach and North Kent Connect, were on site there to help provide people with food and other essentials. City Impact is compiling a list of needs and will put that out to the public as soon as it’s ready.

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Boil water advisories lifted


 

The City of Cedar Springs had its share of water problems last week with at least one leak and two water main breaks that forced the city to issue two separate boil water advisories. Each one occurred in areas of construction.

The first problem occurred early Wednesday morning, October 14 at Park and Ash Street. According to Al Kensil, with the Cedar Springs DPW, a fracture in a pipe caused a leak. Residents still had water, so there was no need for a boil water advisory. The construction crew had to turn off the water, however, about 7:30 a.m. to fix the leak.

The second problem occurred later on the same day at Red Flannel Acres. There was a water main break during construction, and residents had no water. A boil water advisory was issued about 1:45 p.m.

On Thursday evening, October 15, the crew was working at Park and Ann Street, when another water main break occurred, leaving residents at the east end of Ash Street and Meadowcreek apartments without water. The construction crew worked to fix the break, and Kensil explained that they decided to just continue the job and finish the rest of the work they needed to do, rather than returning at 4 a.m. They worked quite late into the evening to get the job done. One resident reported they were still working at 11:30 p.m.

Early Friday morning, DPW Director Tom Stressman called the Post and left a message that another boil water advisory had been issued for the prior night’s water main break.

The boil water advisory was lifted Saturday afternoon for Red Flannel Acres, and Sunday afternoon for Meadowcreek apartments and the residents at the east end of Ash Street.

Dean’s Excavating has been replacing the antiquated sewer lines, storm sewers and water mains. They have been working on the project around the city since late July.

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