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Tag Archive | "Skinner Field"

West Michigan Hawks fall to Havoc


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The West Michigan Hawks held their first ever pre-season game last Saturday evening, May 2, and came up short 55-21 against the Lake Michigan Havoc.

“There was a lot of adversity that we as a team had to overcome,” noted Hawks Coach David Lange. “We came out of the gates playing a team who won the championship last year and stuck with them for most of the game. To put up 21 points in your first game, with people you’ve never played with, against a team like the Havoc, is outstanding. There were mistakes that were made, which is to be expected, as a first year team. We will correct these mistakes and move forward. I was beyond pleased and grateful for the fan support that we had,” he added.

The Cedar Springs Fire Dept. was also in attendance with their fire trucks to support the Hawks. “When those trucks hit the sirens and blew the horns, you could see the excitement on the players faces, which I think helped keep them motivated,” remarked Lange.

N-West-Mich-Hawks2The West Michigan Hawks look forward to hosting the Detroit Diesels this Saturday May 9, 2015 at Skinner Field at 7:00 pm. The Cedar Springs Fire Dept. will also be in attendance for the game.

When asked what the team will do differently for this game coach Lange stated, “We are going to correct the mistakes, as well as build on the positive things that we did last week. We have made some position changes defensively in the secondary that I think will give us the edge. Offensively we need to mix up the plays a little better so we are not so one dimensional.”

Come support your West Michigan Hawks this Saturday at Skinner Field, gates open at 6:00pm with kickoff at 7:00.

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West Michigan Hawks open preseason Saturday


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N-West-Michigan-Hawks2There’s a brand new semi-pro football team in town—and unlike past semi pro teams, many of the players are from right here in Cedar Springs.

The West Michigan Hawks are associated with the Minor League Football Alliance (MLFA), and will be hosting their first pre-season game on Saturday, May 2, at 7 p.m. at Skinner Field, against the Lake Michigan Havoc. Tickets are $3 a person and children ages 8 and under are free.

According to owner and coach David Lange, the Hawks have been very involved in various community service activities. Not only have they donated money to organizations such as the Down Syndrome Awareness, but they have put in their time and effort in helping Cedar Springs with various clean up events as well.

“It’s not just about playing football. It’s about making a positive impact within your community. It’s about creating a team that strives for excellence on and off the field. Cedar Springs has been an amazing place for the Hawks and we could not be more proud to represent Cedar Springs and West Michigan. Community service is not a punishment for our guys. It’s a privilege and it’s our way to thank the community for their support,” remarked Lange.

Fans will recognize some of the names on the roster. Austin Hilyer played quarterback for the Cedar Springs Red Hawks. Jeff Newland played linebacker and fullback. Kameron Snyder also played for Cedar Springs. According to Lange, several players are from Cedar Springs, and the rest are from Sparta and Grand Rapids. And two members of the team are veterans—head coach Lange, who served seven years with one combat tour in Iraq, and middle linebacker Stan Scott, who is still serving.

Lange said that the West Michigan Hawks have been hard at work for seven months in hopes to have a successful first season. They are determined to make every game an exciting one—a game to remember. “Without a doubt the work has been put in,” said Lange. “The only thing left to do is strap the pads on and play.”

On top of the great food that the Skinner Field concessions offers, you may also run into the Lady Hawks, otherwise known as the Hawkettes. The Hawkettes are not only there for entertainment, but also will have pictures taken with the fans, which will be posted on the West Michigan Hawks Facebook page. The Hawkettes will have T-shirts and other apparel for sale, which will go towards the funding of the West Michigan Hawks.

Come on out and support your West Michigan Hawks football team! The gates open at 6 p.m. at Skinner Field, next to Morley Park.

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A Legacy of giving


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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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Skinner Field: should it be improved?


OUT OF THE RUNNING—The rubberized track at Skinner Field, once state of the art, is showing some age. The question is, who has the money to repair it?

By Judy Reed

 

When SSGT Charles Towns comes home to Cedar Springs from Georgia, he runs on the track at Skinner Field—and wonders what will become of it. He was recently upset to hear that the school was seeking a sinking fund millage for school repairs, and there was no mention of repairs for the track at Skinner Field. “I just want to know what their plan for Skinner is,” he said in an email to the Post.

On Friday, July 6, 1948, the Village of Cedar Springs paid tribute to Bert Skinner, a leading citizen and businessman. Part of the tribute was the dedication of Cedar Springs Public School’s lighted athletic field, on the west side of Morley Park. In 1991, a gift was given to the school district, to construct a running track at the field. An agreement signed by both the school and city made it available for both school athletic events and the community to run on. It was created partly on school property and partly on city property, with the school district responsible for maintenance for a period of 99 years, or until they relocated the field and running track.

PEELING PAINT—The school district only has the budget to do basic maintenance at Skinner Field.

That happened in the mid-2000s, when Red Hawk Stadium was approved by the voters as part of a bond issue. Most school athletic events are now held at Red Hawk Stadium, although the middle school still uses the track at Skinner, as do members of the general public.  Red Hawk stadium is not open for the public to run on. Other groups also use Skinner Field, such as Rocket football and semi pro teams.

In 2007, the school transferred the last parcel they owned at Skinner Field to the city of Cedar Springs, but the school has continued to do maintenance on the field, such as mowing, trimming, picking up trash, maintaining the turf, watering, and paying the water bill. According to Asst. Superintendent David Cairy, they spend about $10,000 to $15,000 per year on Skinner Field.

Neither the city nor the school system, both with shrinking revenues, currently has money budgeted for repairs at Skinner Field. Under the terms of the contract, the school could remove the improvements if the cost to repair exceeded the cost of removal. The visiting side bleachers were removed due to safety issues several years ago.

“As a voter I would go with a compromise that would allow them to save up for several years. I do not want to sink the school district, but if their plan for Skinner is not to even be concerned, and just let it fall apart, while they maintain Red Hawk Stadium, I find that unacceptable. The whole community uses that track, and they promised to maintain it,” said Towns.

Cairy said that repair of a track is allowable under a sinking fund millage, but they need to look at what their most urgent needs are. He noted that repair of the track could cost as high as $20,000.

Emails by Towns to both the school and the city has gotten the two entities to begin discussing what the future of Skinner Field might be. “In the past 10 years we’ve worked pretty closely together, and share many of the same goals,” said Cairy.

The two groups plan to meet in the near future to discuss the issue.

Do you use the track at Skinner Field? Email us and let us know what you think of the issue at news@cedarspringspost.com.

 

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Chinook helicopter lands at Skinner Field


Jack Price Jr.and his wife Patty (left) with sister Dawn standing in front of the Chinook Helicopter last Friday.

By Judy Reed

Hundreds of people turned out at Skinner Field last Friday, November 11, to see the landing of a Chinook helicopter for Veteran’s Day.
It came about because a resident wanted to honor his younger brother—2nd Lt. Jack Price—a Cedar Springs man killed 42 years ago, at the age of 28, while taking a Chinook helicopter on a test flight in South Vietnam.
Jack’s brother Wayne spent many hours researching what happened to his brother, and met several soldiers who served with him. One of those contacts led him to a Chinook instructor pilot, Timothy Miller, based at the Selfridge Army National Guard Base in Michigan. Through both the pilot’s efforts and City Manager Christine Burn’s request to the Pentagon, the Chinook helicopter landed at 11:00 a.m. at the field located adjacent to Morley Park in downtown Cedar Springs.
On hand to greet the crew was Col. Tom Noreen, Cedar Springs Mayor Charlie Watson, Mayor Pro-tem Christine Fahl, City Councilor Ken Benham, and City Manager Christine Burns. Also on hand was the immediate and extended family of Jack Price, including Jack’s daughter, Dawn, and his son Jack Jr. with wife Patty. After the greeting, the public was allowed on the field to take tours of the helicopter and meet the crew, who along with the helicopter, will all be deployed to Afghanistan December 11.
Wayne and his wife June were pleased with the way it turned out. “It was awesome, much better than I expected,” said Wayne. He said that many people thanked them for doing this for the Veterans.
Other events that day included a special military display at the Cedar Springs Historical Museum, and a special ceremony at Veterans Park.  The Cedar Springs Veteran’s Memorial Remembrance Committee coordinated all those events.
The ceremony at Veterans Park included music by the Cedar Springs High School marching band, a vocal performance by D. and Nita White, a history of Armistice Day by Earl Tefft, commander of the Cedar Springs American Legion, a speech by Colonel Tom Noreen, the Kent County Honor Guard, Taps, and prayers by Pastors Mary Ivanov and Craig Owens. Pastor Craig Carter was master of ceremonies.
City Manager Christine Burns was also pleased with the event. “I was absolutely amazed at the number of people who showed up to view the Chinook.  You never know how many people to expect when you are organizing these types of events and I could not have been happier,” she said. “It was a great “team” effort to get the helicopter and crew here and I enjoyed the time I got to spend with them.  They were so grateful for a warm “Red Flannel” welcome and were equally impressed with the ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park. It made all the work that went into the event worthwhile. I hope we can do it again next year!”

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Chinook helicopter to land here for Veteran’s Day


Wayne and June Price are shown in front of a Chinook helicopter.

Cedar Springs will honor past and present veterans with the landing of a Chinook Helicopter at Skinner Field on Veteran’s Day, November 11 and a special memorial service at Veteran’s Memorial Park.
CW3 Instructor Pilot Timothy Miller, Army National Guard, based at Selfridge Army Base near Mount Clemens, and five other pilots will man the helicopter scheduled to land at 11:00 a.m. at the field located adjacent to Morley Park in downtown Cedar Springs. It will be on display for the general public following the landing.
The twin engine, tandem rotor Chinook Helicopter was first used by the U.S. Army in Vietnam to transport ground forces, supplies, ammunition and other battle critical cargo in combat and other operations. It is being brought to Cedar Springs through the efforts of resident Wayne L. Price and City Manager Christine Burns.
Price’s brother, 2nd Lt. Jack L. Price, was killed July 16, 1969 in South Vietnam while piloting a Chinook Helicopter on a test flight. Price had been in his 10th year of service in the U.S. Army and on his second tour of duty in South Vietnam when he lost his life. Read more about that in next week’s Post.
Events to take place following the landing of the helicopter at 11:00 a.m. feature a special military display at the Cedar Springs Historical Museum from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. as well as a memorial remembrance service at Veteran’s Memorial Park at 1:00 p.m., including a prelude by the Cedar Springs High School Band; an invocation, an Armistice Day History, guest speaker Tom Noreen, U.S. Army Colonel, a firing squad and benediction.

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A special man


Dear Editor,
A special man that lived his life in Cedar Springs has passed on. Mike Holton has left this town a better place. Mike and Alice have been so gracious in their gifts to this town. The new track at Skinner Field, the crosswalk from school to Morley Park, new computers for our scholars, paving the roads in Elmwood cemetery and many other kindnesses that they have given us. Mike was proud of his children that they raised and so are we.  Mike Holten was a hard working self made success that young people can learn from. I was and am proud to know him.

Steve Horowitz,
Cedar Springs

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