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Archive | November, 2009

School and city agree on Conley case

By Judy Reed

Pamela Conley

Pamela Conley

The attorneys for Cedar Springs Public Schools agree with the attorneys for the City of Cedar Springs that having Pamela Conley serve on both boards causes a conflict.

According to Cedar Springs Superintendent Ron McDermed, the attorneys will work together on a resolution that will be sent to the prosecutor’s office. “We will be moving forward with a letter that asks the prosecuting attorney to look into it,” noted McDermed.

Two weeks ago Conley was sworn into office on the Cedar Springs City Council, and also holds an office as trustee on the school board. The city lawyer, Jeff Sluggett, of Law Weathers, offered his opinion that Conley holding both offices constituted a breach of public duty, under the Michigan Incompatible Offices Act. He said that a long list of attorney general opinions have ruled that a trustee may not sit on both boards when entities have contracts with each other. He also said he thought that her taking the oath of office meant she would vacate her seat on the school board. He then recommended the case be sent to the prosecutor’s office for a ruling.

The school agreed there is a conflict, but stopped short of saying that Conley had vacated her seat. McDermed said she would continue to serve on the school board until they get clarification on the issue.

Conley has said that she has two lawyers who disagree, and she does not believe there is a conflict as long as she abstains from voting on issues where the school and city are both involved.

According to McDermend, Conley abstained Monday evening from voting on the school board’s resolution to let the City of Cedar Springs collect the summer taxes for the district.

“I really don’t think it’s her intent to cause disruption or make this a big legal matter,” said McDermed. “She just believes in the principle of the thing.”

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Holiday celebrations begin

By Judy Reed

N-Holiday-celebrations-SantThis week is Thanksgiving, and that means that area communities are kicking into high gear for their annual holiday celebrations.

Cedar Springs will once again be having their tree lighting and visit with Santa called “Come Mingle with Kris Kringle.” The event will take place Friday, December 4 this year instead of Black Friday. Santa and his favorite elf will arrive in the antique fire truck, at 6 p.m. at the corner of Main and Ash, and then he and the Red Flannel Queen will light the tree. About 6:30 p.m., Santa will head to the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, on the corner of Main and Church Street, where he will hear the wishes of all the boys and girls. But instead of waiting in line for a long time, the kids will be able to sign in, and then go and enjoy an activity provided by an area business while they wait for their name to be called.

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Letters to Santa

N-Letters-to-Santa-It’s that time of year again, when kids can’t wait to mail their letters to Santa! To help parents out, the Cedar Springs Post has set up a special North Pole drop box. Every year dozens of kids use our special box for express delivery to the North Pole, and we make sure Santa reads each and every one! So, if you’d like to send a letter to Santa, and maybe get it printed in the newspaper, just drop off your letter in the bright red box labeled “Santa Mail” outside our office at 36 E. Maple Street, or mail your letter to: Letters to Santa, c/o the Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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Santa Party

Dec. 1: 6-8 p.m. Visit Santa at the Santa Party and decorate cookies, take pictures with Santa, create crafts, airbrush tattoos, enjoy a hot dog dinner and music! Only $1 per person at the Sparta Civic Center (75 N. Union, Sparta).

Pet Night with Santa in Santa House

Dec. 10: 6-8 p.m. Bring your furry friend to visit Santa in the Santa House!  (80 N. Union, Sparta) Prepare to wait outdoors while waiting your turn. Pet food, blanket, or cash donations will receive a free photo of your pet and Santa!

Santa Train, Santa Parade & Visit with Santa

Dec. 12: 10:15 a.m.-1 p.m. (Bring your camera for photos with Santa!) Watch as Santa, Mrs. Claus, and their elves arrive on Marquette Rail into town!  Follow Santa in a Kids Parade to the Santa House. Arrive between 9:45 a.m. to 10:10 a.m. to enter to win a free chance to ride with Santa in the Parade! Each child must be present to enter. Drawing will be held at 10:10 a.m. Train arrives at 10:15 am; parade begins at 10:30 am.  (Train 240 E. Division; Santa House 80 N. Union Street, Sparta)

Two of Santa’s live reindeer will be visiting near the Santa House after the parade until Noon. From 11 a.m.-1 p.m. enjoy free Horse Drawn Wagon Rides!

Visit with Santa

Dec. 15, 17, 22: 6-8 p.m. Santa House is Open. Bring your camera!  (80 N. Union, Sparta)

Christmas craft and story time

Dec. 15: 6:30-7:30 p.m. Christmas Craft and Story time at the Sparta Township Library with snacks and Christmas book raffle!

Visit with Santa

Dec. 19: 11–1 p.m. Santa House is Open. Bring your camera! (80 N. Union, Sparta)

Free horse-drawn trolley rides

Dec. 24: 6-9 p.m. Free Horse Drawn Trolley Rides through a luminary wonderland on Harper Drive! Load and unload at the Sparta Fire Department (70 N. State, Sparta). Free cider & treats provided by Hessel-Cheslek Funeral Home.


Brazilian Connection

By Tom Noreen

Tom Noreen (Youth Exchange Councilor), Aaron Gauger (president), Gi, and Gabrielle Warner (Youth Exchange Officer).

Tom Noreen (Youth Exchange Councilor), Aaron Gauger (president), Gi, and Gabrielle Warner (Youth Exchange Officer).

Cedar Springs High School exchange student Giovana “Gi” Paim recently updated the Cedar Springs Rotary Club on her activities since arriving from Brazil in late August and told the club about her family and Brazil.

Exchange student Giovana “Gi” Paim and host mother, Cherryl Rosenberger

Exchange student Giovana “Gi” Paim and host mother, Cherryl Rosenberger

Gi’s home is in Presidente Prudente, which is located in the State of São Paulo over 200 miles to the west of the City of São Paulo. Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world covering over half of South America. The average temperature is 68 degrees F. Gi has never seen snow, even in the mountains to the east, which lie between her city and the coastal region. Because Brazil is so large, there are many parts of the country she has not seen.

Her father, Geraldo, is a businessman and her mother, Eliane, is a teacher. She has a younger sister Mariana. She attends a private school and plans to become a physician. Gi said that that the public schools were not very good but the public colleges were far better than private.

Since she has been here, Gi has attended two conferences Rotary Exchange Conferences. There she has had a chance to meet with other exchange students and with US students who plan to go abroad next year.

The Cherryl and Brian Rosenberger family are currently hosting Gi. Around Christmas she will move to her second host family, Dan and Anna Bekins. The Rotary Club is still looking for a third host family for the spring. If you are interested call either Gabrielle Warner at 616.732.9000 or me at 616.696.5186.

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Hometown Hero

Derrick P. Bowman

Derrick P. Bowman

Air Force Airman Derrick P. Bowman graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Bowman is the son of Bryan and Kerri Bowman of Crawford Lake Trail, Cedar Springs, Mich.

He is a 2009 graduate of Cedar Springs High School.

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Thanksgiving meal cost declines

Price drops for turkey, milk are largest contributors in decrease

Menu items for a classic Thanksgiving dinner—including turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the basic trimmings—dropped 4 percent in price this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

AFBF’s 24th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $42.91, a $1.70 price decrease from last year’s average of $44.61. This is the largest year-to-year decrease in the cost of a Thanksgiving meal since 2000, when a 4.3 percent decrease was reported.

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey.

Declines in the average price of a turkey and gallon of whole milk are the main drivers behind this year’s decrease. The cost of a 16-pound turkey, at $18.65 or roughly $1.16 per pound, reflects a decrease of 3 cents per pound, or a total of 44 cents per turkey compared to 2008. Milk, at $2.86 per gallon, dropped 92 cents and was the largest contributor to the overall decrease in the cost of the 2009 Thanksgiving dinner.

The inventory of whole turkeys in cold storage increased through most of 2009, helping to support a slightly lower average retail turkey price, according to AFBF economist Jim Sartwelle. Meanwhile, milk prices have plummeted over the last year due to the global economic recession driving down domestic and international demand for milk and other dairy products.

In addition to the effects of the economic slowdown, consumers are also benefiting at the grocery store from significantly lower energy prices, which affect processing, packaging, refrigeration and shipping costs for food, said Sartwelle.

“Again this year, the cost per person for this special meal is less than a typical ‘value meal’ at a fast-food outlet,” he said.

Other menu items showing a price decrease this year were: a half-pint of whipping cream, $1.55; a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, $2.08; a 1-pound relish tray of carrots and celery, 72 cents ; and a 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries, $2.41. A combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (onions, eggs, sugar, flour, evaporated milk and butter) also dropped in price, to $2.50.

Items that increased slightly (less than 5 percent) in price this year were: a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.65; two 9-inch pie shells, $2.34; and a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $2.45. Retail prices for highly processed foods such as these, which include costs for transportation and packaging, have been slower to decline compared to minimally processed foods like milk and whole turkeys.

Two items, green peas and sweet potatoes, stayed the same in price: $1.58 for 1 pound of green peas and $3.12 for 3 pounds of sweet potatoes.

The AFBF survey was first conducted in 1986. More than 200 volunteer shoppers from 35 states, including Michigan, participated in this year’s survey.

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Deer injures hunter driving ATV in Sand Lake

By Heidi Fenton | Muskegon Chronicle

Steve Hellman stands next to the ATV he was riding when he collided with a deer last week Tuesday. He received six broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and a hairline fracture in his neck.

Steve Hellman stands next to the ATV he was riding when he collided with a deer last week Tuesday. He received six broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and a hairline fracture in his neck.

Stephen Hellman is known for being a prepared deer hunter.

Each time he heads out to his tent in Sand Lake, Hellman carries a backpack and enough extra materials to be ready no matter what the circumstance.

“He’s got all the comforts of home but the toilet,” jokes his father, Donald Wiltemburg

But on Tuesday, November 17, the Fruitport Township resident found himself in a circumstance that no amount of supplies could have prepared him. He ended a 12-hour hunting trip with six broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and a hairline fracture in his neck.

Covered in bandages and sitting in an armchair just hours after leaving the hospital, Hellman recalled one of the most frightening experiences of his life.

He and Wiltemburg spent last Tuesday hunting on a friend’s farm in Sand Lake, then packed their supplies into a vehicle as darkness fell around 6 p.m.

Hellman realized he’d forgotten his “rattling horns” at the hunting site and jumped on an all-terrain vehicle to grab them before heading home. On the return trip to where his father was waiting, Hellman caught a blur moving past him out of the corner of his eye. Suddenly, there was a sharp thump and Hellman flew off the side of the vehicle. Before he knew what hit him, he felt fur, and the sharp blow of hoofs stomping across his back.

A large buck, jumping from a clearing of 6-foot tall brush, had run into the path Hellman was traveling and collided with his all-terrain vehicle.

“When it hit me, I could feel the fur and everything— it came down in front of me on the ground,” Hellman said. “I kind of was trying to get up, and I was trying to push it off.”

Lying on the ground in the dark, still several yards away from where his father was waiting inside, Hellman knew his options were limited. He slowly pulled himself up and gathered the few materials that had scattered across the ground. The deer had gone off into the brush, though Hellman knew its leg was severely injured.

“I had to get back to where people were so I wouldn’t go into shock,” he said. “I’m yelling for help as loud as I could, which wasn’t very loud because I couldn’t catch my breath.”

He slowly pulled his leg over the side of the ATV and sat back in the seat, beginning the short trip back that Hellman says felt like years. The pain he felt was almost unbearable.

Minutes later, Wiltemburg, still waiting in his vehicle, saw the lights from Hellman’s “quad” come through the brush. But something was wrong, he realized. Hellman was coming in at only a slow crawl.

He got out of the vehicle and headed over to where his son was approaching. Wiltemburg remembers hearing him yell out “I’m hurt,” and asking him how bad.

Hellman uttered only a two-word response: “Real bad.” It was all he could do to stay seated.

Wiltemburg, a. U.S. Army veteran, wouldn’t let his son move until emergency personnel arrived on the scene.

Hellman was transported to Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids where he later learned the extent of his injuries. He realizes now the difficulty he had speaking was from the broken ribs he had from the scuffle.

Doctors estimate it’ll be about two months before Hellman is back on his feet, but he doesn’t hesitate to talk about his next trip to the woods.
“I respect the deer just as much as I did before,” he said. “It’s just a freak thing.”

This article reprinted with permission from the Muskegon Chronicle.

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Don’t be a statistic this holiday

Holiday travelers will see higher gas prices this year than last year, when it was $1.57 at Thanksgiving time. The price of gas in Cedar Springs Tuesday afternoon was $2.46 per gallon.

Holiday travelers will see higher gas prices this year than last year, when it was $1.57 at Thanksgiving time. The price of gas in Cedar Springs Tuesday afternoon was $2.46 per gallon.

AAA is estimating that 1.2 million Michiganians will travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving holiday, with about 87 percent of travelers driving. And if the five-year average stands, there will be about 14 deaths from traffic crashes.

“While the economy presents challenges for many Michigan residents, the desire to spend time with family and friends is strong. Our highways and airports will be busy this holiday,” said Claire Lockley, Travel vice president with The Auto Club Group, which includes AAA Michigan.

But, according to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, there’s one sure recipe that can turn a joyful holiday into a tragedy: failure to buckle up and driving drunk.

Over the past five years, Michigan has averaged 14 traffic deaths during the Thanksgiving holiday period. During the 2008 Thanksgiving weekend, 13 people died in traffic crashes in Michigan. Ten of those fatalities involved alcohol and eight of those who died were not buckled up.

“Seat belts are the single most important safety device in your vehicle and they have saved countless lives and prevented untold numbers of injuries over the years,” said Michael L. Prince, Office of Highway Safety Planning director. “Be safe this Thanksgiving by making sure everyone in the vehicle is buckled up before you start your trip.”

Michigan’s seat belt use rate has steadily climbed over the past decade and currently stands at a record-high 97.9 percent, the highest in the nation. But last year, of the 841 vehicle occupants who died in traffic crashes, 244 were not restrained.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belt use is the best defense in a crash. Research has shown that when lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent.

Motorists are also reminded to designate a sober driver this holiday season. About 35 percent of all traffic fatalities in Michigan involve alcohol and/or drugs.

A first-time drunk driving conviction carries heavy penalties including up to 93 days in jail, up to a $500 fine, up to 360 hours of community service, six points on a driver’s license and up to 180 days’ license suspension.

In addition, convicted drunk drivers will be subject to a $1,000 fee for two consecutive years, for a total of $2,000 in additional costs. Anyone who refuses a breath test the first time is given an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension.

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Silver Paws Society

Humane Society of Kent County

We’re excited to launch our new pet adoption program for senior pets—the Silver Paws Society.

_N-Silver-paws-headerThis exclusive club is for those special, loving pets in their “silver” years who are looking to find their forever homes! All Silver Paws Society pets are 7 years old or older…and as members of this special society are available for special adoption prices at the HSKC!

Here’s how the program works: All Silver Paws Society pets that were spayed/neutered before they came to the HSKC will have their adoption fee waived. And, all those that need to be spayed/neutered at our facility are available for just $50.

Why adopt a Silver Paws pet? Well, older animals make great companions. First, what you see is what you get, so you know what to expect with an older animal. They’re also easy to train, they adjust well and they’re not a 24-7 job. And don’t forget, they’re super loving and enjoy the easy livin’—they’re also house-trained so there’s fewer messes!

Plus, these pets are often overlooked next to their younger feline and canine friends, so adopting a senior pet is truly saving a life.

Below are two society members looking to find their forever homes. But, they’re not the only ones…make sure to check out our web site to view all our SPS members!

To learn more about the Silver Paws Society visit our web site at http://hskc.org/ or call (616) 453-8900.

Silver Paws Members: Bear & Buddy!

_N-Silver-paws-bearHi! I’m Bear!

Meet Bear and Buddy, two Silver Paws Society members. Buddy (pictured below) is a 7-yr-old Husky mix gal who is laid back, easy going and loves to hang out with just about everyone. Bear (pictured on top) is her younger “brother” who is a little on the shy side, but still has a loving personality. Both Bear and Buddy are currently staying with our friends at Whiskers Resort & Pet Spa and looking to find a forever home together!

_N-Silver-paws-buddyHi! I’m Buddy!
As members of the Silver Paws Society both Bear and Buddy are available for adoption and the normal adoption fees will be waived upon approval. If Bear and Buddy sound like they’d fit into your family give us a call at (616) 453-8900. More information available at our web site at http://hskc.org/.

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Post to collect toys for needy

Would you like to do something special for families in need this Christmas? You can partner with us, The Cedar Springs Post, to provide toys for needy children in Kent County. The Post is participating in the Toys for Tots program this holiday season, as a drop off site for toys.

Toys for Tots is a volunteer organization whose goal is to collect new, unwrapped toys for kids 0-16, and distribute them to children who would not otherwise receive a gift during the holiday season. Toys for teens are needed.

The program runs now through December 24. Just bring a new, unwrapped toy to our office at 36 E. Maple Street in Cedar Springs, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Together we can make this Christmas special for many children!

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Restaurant offers free meals to those affected by economy

Michelle Worden (left) and Missy Brower (right), owners of the Halfway Restaurant on M-57, are happy to provide Thanksgiving dinners free of charge to those in need.

Michelle Worden (left) and Missy Brower (right), owners of the Halfway Restaurant on M-57, are happy to provide Thanksgiving dinners free of charge to those in need.

A Thanksgiving meal shouldn’t be an occasion to dwell on temporary financial setbacks, and sisters Michelle Worden and Missy Brower, owners of the Halfway Restaurant, 10792 14 Mile Road, intend to make sure there is a hot meal for all this Thanksgiving. The sisters have owned the restaurant for 12 years. They offer the free dinner as their way to give back to the community and to express their concern for neighbors in need in these tough economic times.
The restaurant is serving a dinner at no charge to those whose financial situations have made the traditional event unaffordable. The restaurant will be serving dinner Thursday, November 26 from noon to 3 p.m. Those who wish are also invited to drop off donations of nonperishable food items now through December 14. These donated goods will be dropped off at local pantries to be given to those in need.

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