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Archive | June, 2010

Maranda rocked the park

Over 4,500 kids and families filled the Cedar Springs Public School campus Thursday, June 24, for a free afternoon of food, fun, games and prizes. It was the kick off event for Maranda’s line up of summer park parties, and went off without a hitch.

“It was a beautiful day and a beautiful event,” said Maranda. “Thousands of families joined us for a day of free fun.  It’s such an honor to work with an amazing team of volunteers, interns, co-workers and corporate partners.” WOOD TV8 and WOTV4 sponsored the event, and worked with Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation to make it happen.

The fun started at 11 a.m. with a free lunch for kids, and the other activities kicked off at noon. The stage rocked all afternoon with great entertainment from local kid performers including martial arts sensation Mariah Moore, Next II None and Dance Central.  The Cedar Springs Park Party also showcased a fun new attraction—the ropes course! Other activities included the climbing wall, Super Slide, Dixie Twister, and bounce house. Tables and booths were set up all over the campus with free activities, prizes and information. The Cedar Springs and Solon Fire Departments were on hand to keep the kiddies cool with their fire hoses, and Rockford Ambulance, the Kent County Sheriff Department mounted unit, the Cedar Springs Police Department, and the City of Cedar Springs were all on hand to let kids explore their vehicles.

“It was a great day, great weather and a lot of fun to see so many families out and enjoying the activities, entertainment and free items,” said Parks and Rec director Amanda Gerhardt.

She noted that they learned from the last party and made a couple of changes. “We tried to improve upon a few things from 2008, such as more shuttle busses and a clearer line and system for the free lunches,” she explained. She said that they served just under 2,000 lunches. People parked at some of the surrounding schools and were shuttled on school buses to the grassy area between Cedar View and Cedar Trails by school bus drivers.

Some people complained about the long lines for the high profile rides. But Gerhardt said that’s to be expected. “We saw lines at all the events, which is to be expected at an event like this or even at places like Michigan Adventure or Cedar Point, but we saw them moving quickly and kids being able to participate,” she said.

Gerhardt was grateful and thankful to all the volunteers who helped and participated in the event, including The Cedar Springs Department of Public Works, who helped set up and clean up the aftermath.

“It is amazing that within one hour of the event the area looks almost back to normal,” she said.

Gerhart was honored that Cedar Springs was chosen twice to be host for a park party. “We appreciate WOOD TV8 and WOTV4 for choosing Cedar Springs and hope they will do so again in the future,” she said.

More pictures…

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4-H Fair celebrates last year at fairgrounds

75th Montcalm fair starts July 4

A local rodeo legend and a country music star are teaming up to write the final chapter for the Montcalm County 4-H Fair during its last event at its current location.

Country music star John Berry will perform July 10 during the fair’s traditional Saturday night rodeo, both at intermission and following the show. A favorite event for fairgoers, the rodeo is produced by fair alumni and former PBR rodeo clown/bull fighter Brandt Clark.

Berry said during the course of his career, he has “developed some special friendships” with several people in the area, including Kim Thomsen, president of the Montcalm County 4-H Council. He said he was thrilled when he was invited to be part of a special farewell celebration as the fair ends its 75-year run at its current location during the week-long event, July 4-10.

On June 21, the fair broke ground on a $4 million construction project at its new location north of Greenville. Fair officials plan to hold next year’s fair there.

“This fair has been on these fairgrounds for 75 years. It’s wild. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event,” Berry said. “It really is a monumental moment for a lot of people who have been very involved with this fair. There are people who grew up in the area and have been going there since they were kids. You have grandparents, parents, generations of families who are involved,” Berry said. “To be the closing entertainment for that…let’s just say we’re going to see if we can come up with something special.”

Berry is known for such hit country singles as “Your Love Amazes Me,” “Kiss Me in the Car,” and “Standing on the Edge of Goodbye.”

His acoustic show will feature his wife, Robin, their 15-year-old son Caelen, and their bassist. “It’s an unplugged kind of show, an intimate evening,” Berry said.

A wilder side of the evening will feature classic rodeo entertainment as the cowboys and cowgirls test their mettle against the bulls and barrels. They’ll cut up the dirt—or eat it—in events like barrel racing, bull riding and the crows favorite team bull-fighting.

Fair board member and public relations coordinator Lisa Johnson said rodeo organizer Brandt Clark brought new life to the rodeo when he took over the show a few years ago.

“He’s a local guy and he has a passion for the sport,” she said. “There’s something to be said for putting on a rodeo in your own backyard at the fair that your family has always been involved with.

“We’re really proud of him,” Johnson said. “Here we have a national-champion caliber bull fighter who is back here with us putting on the rodeo at the fair where he grew up showing horses.”

The action starts at 7 p.m. July 10, in front of the grandstand. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children age 12 and younger and includes both the rodeo and John Berry’s performances. Advance tickets go on sale July 8 at the box office under the grandstand.

Other fair events include a variety of youth animal exhibits, still exhibits, a horse pull, team penning, demolition derby, carnival rides and games, natural horsemanship shows and the annual livestock auction.

Although the fair officially starts on Sunday, things really get to rockin’, rollin’, and roarin’ Tuesday evening, July 6, when the carnival presented by Skerbeck Brothers gets underway. A quarter scale modified garden tractor pull begins at 7p.m. in front of the grand stand and is free to everyone. These modified tractors and motorcycles may be small, but they can really put out the noise and the power.

On Wednesday, July 7, children and their families can enjoy Kids’ Day with special events from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dozens of sponsors will be on hand featuring a kids pedal pull, bicycle raffles, a limited supply of free bicycle helmets, games, prizes and giveaways, and visitors can ride all the carnival rides they want from 1 to 5 p.m. for $12 per person.

Visit www.montcalm4-hfair.com/ for more information about the 75th Montcalm County 4-H Fair.

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Mobile home fire considered arson

By Judy Reed

The fire that destroyed this home is being investigated as an arson.

The fire that destroyed this home is being investigated as an arson.

A Michigan State Police fire investigator has agreed with local authorities that a mobile home fire in the Cedar Springs Mobile Estates on June 26 was caused by arson.

The Cedar Springs Fire Department was dispatched to a single wide home at 368 Allan at 12:04 a.m. Saturday, June 26. They called Sand Lake Fire to assist at the scene.

They were initially told that children might be in the home, but a full search was done and the home was clear. “Within 15 minutes we had searched and knocked down the fire,” said a fire department spokesperson.

No pets were injured, and no one was home at the time of the fire.

According to Fire Chief Jerry Gross, the fire started in a back bedroom. He officially labeled the fire of suspicious cause and circumstance earlier this week.

Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent said that even prior to the fire investigator’s ruling, they knew it was a possible arson. “It definitely wasn’t electrical,” he said. “We will continue to investigate.”

Parent said he doesn’t believe this fire is connected to the arson of the mobile home that occurred in May at 329 Sarah Street. “But that one is still under investigation,” he noted.

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Sand Lake crowns new queen

A new Miss Sand Lake 2010 was crowned Friday night, June 25, at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Sand Lake.

Serenity Bashore

Serenity Bashore, 18, was selected to represent Sand Lake in this year’s Fourth of July festival, and throughout the year. She is a recent graduate of Tri County High School, and the daughter of Randy and Cindy Bashore. She plans to attend Ferris State University to study Nursing and Spanish in hopes of one day becoming a Bilingual Neonatal Nurse at DeVos Children’s Hospital.

According to pageant director Sherry Wheeler, contestants were interviewed and asked to deliver a speech using the theme “Sand Lake:  Growing up in a Small Town.” They were asked to explain the values and ideals that growing up in a small town (Sand Lake) has instilled in them and how they would be beneficial to them in their future endeavors.

Bashore’s court members include:

Erica Traxler, 18, a 2009 graduate of Sparta High School who has lived in the Sand Lake area for about 5 years. She is the daughter of Brenda McCuaig. Erica is currently attending Ferris State University where she is studying Diagnostic Medical Sonography, and Health Care Systems Administration;

Kimberly Hayden, age 18, a recent graduate of Tri County High School and the daughter of Eric and Jeri Hayden.  Kimberly plans to complete her studies of Early Childhood Education at Muskegon Community College in the fall, and continue on to Alma College to pursue a degree in Special Education;

Meghan Warren 16, a senior at Tri County High School. She is the daughter of Jim and Becky Guthrie. Upon graduating, Meghan plans to attend Aquinas College to pursue a degree in Pediatric Nursing.

Miss Sand Lake and her Court will be very busy during the annual 4th of July Celebration in Sand Lake, which starts July 1, and will be making several appearances throughout the summer.

Former Sand Lake Fire Chief Bob Hawkins and his wife Ruthan are grand marshals for this year’s festival.

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Camel races top off VBS event

It’s not a common sport in this part of the world, but if you had been at Solon Center Wesleyan Church on June 18 you would have seen two good-natured guys racing each other on camels.

The church held their Vacation Bible School June 14 through 18 called “God’s Treehouse,” where “kids learned how might God is.”

According to Marcia Helton, they had a goal of raising $500 at VBS to be able to purchase Christmas presents for needy families. “If we raised the money, then our pastors would race the camels,” she explained.

The kids came through, and they raised $501 to purchase Christmas presents.

They ended the VBS on Friday night with a family night, which included an ice cream social and the camel race. Kids were also able to ride the camels.

Pastor Tom Holloway raced against stand-in Todd Huizen, since Pastor Doug DiBell was sick. The Post was not told who won the race. It might have been the camel. But overall, we think it was the families who gave, and the needy families who will benefit that are the real winners!

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Hometown hero

Army Pvt. Danniel R. Frens has graduated from the Basic Field Artillery Cannon Crewmember Advanced Individual Training course at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla.

The course is designed to train service members to maintain, prepare and load ammunition for firing; operate and perform operator maintenance on prime movers, self-propelled Howitzers, and ammunition vehicles; store, maintain, and distribute ammunition to using units as a member of battery or battalion ammunition section; perform crew maintenance and participate in organizational maintenance of weapons and related equipment; and establish and maintain radio and wire communications.

Frens is the son of Mike Frens of Oak St., Cedar Springs, Mich., and Tammy A. Frens of Peach Ridge, Kent City, Mich.
His wife, Casey, is the daughter of Russ Harris, and Marianne Harris, both of Sparta, Mich.
The private is a 2005 graduate of Creative Technologies Academy, Cedar Springs.

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Grads hold 50-plus class reunion

About 300 Cedar Springs graduates returned to the area June 14 for their annual 50-plus years class reunion. This year the class of 1960 became eligible for the reunion for the first time.

“Every class was represented all the way back into the 1930s,” said Jim Opperman, secretary for the reunion committee.

There were even some attendees from the 1920s. Velma Stout Brown, who will turn 102 in the fall, was the oldest attendee, from the class of 1926. She came from Battle Creek and attended with her granddaughter.

The group meets every year at the high school on the first Monday after school gets out. “The cafeteria prepares a nice lunch for us. They do an excellent job,” said Opperman.

Superintendent Ron McDermed spoke to the group this year.

“It was really a nice gathering,” said Opperman.

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Walkers celebrate life

By Judy Reed

Over 165 walkers turned out to show their support for the Alpha Family Center at their 14th annual LifeWalk at Morley Park June 18. About $9,000 was raised to help support their yearly budget of $60,000.

While the center fell short of their $14,000 goal, Executive Director Lorrie Shelton thinks people will step up to fill in the gap. “We have a great community that cares about what we do,” she said.

Shelton thinks the economy has a lot to do with the drop in support. “Sometimes people have to make tough choices between their families and giving to charities,” she explained. She added they are brainstorming ideas for possible fundraisers to help offset expenses.

Besides the operating shortfall, Alpha is also looking for about $5,000 to help fix a leaky roof, and a problem with their water freezing. “There are some possible grants out there, but we need to raise some matching funds,” she noted.

For those wishing to give, please contact the center at 696-2616, or mail or visit them at Alpha Family Center, PO Box 450, 6 N. First Street, Cedar Springs, Michigan 49319. Visit the Alpha Family Center online at http://www.alphafamilycentercs.org/.

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Men arraigned in Admiral robbery

Two suspects have been arraigned in Kent County’s 63rd District Court for the armed robbery that occurred at the Admiral Gas Station in Cedar Springs on May 13.



Christopher Jay Ridgeway, 35, of Sand Lake, and Zachariah Raymor, 19, of Lowell were both charged with one count of armed robbery, and Ridgeway was also charged as a habitual offender. Bond was set at $50,000 cash or surety for both suspects, and they were bound over to Circuit Court.

According to police, a man reportedly walked in and pulled a knife on the female clerk at Admiral at about 9:59 p.m. May 13 and demanded all her money. The suspect then fled on foot to a waiting vehicle. Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent said that Ridgeway was the alleged robber, and that Raymor was driving the get away car.

The Kent County Sheriff Department sent out a broadcast alerting law enforcement that an armed robbery with similar suspect information had taken place earlier in Newaygo County. Then, at 10:10 p.m., the KCSD saw a vehicle matching the description at North Country Store on Old 14 Mile at Lincoln Lake. The four people in the vehicle were arrested and charged with the Newaygo County robbery.

Only Ridgeway and Raymor will face charges in Kent County.

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Fun at the library

Readers are making a splash at the Cedar Springs Library!

According to Library Director Donna Clark, 772 people have signed up for this year’s program, Make a splash @ your library—read!

They are averaging about 200 for their 2:00 Tuesday fun event for all ages, and had another 52 for their preschool storytime Tuesday.

Last week 41 adults turned out for a luau, complete with Minnie Morey and the Pacific Island Dancers, and great food.

“Things are going great at the library!” said Clark. “Our professional performer, Puppeteer, comedian and magician Eugene Clark said that ours was the biggest audience he has ever had. He was fantastic, very engaging and involved the audience a lot.”  She said he had young volunteers to be fish, an octopus, a Princess Mermaid, and magic helpers.

They are averaging about 175 a day at the library, after having their biggest opening day ever on June 14, with 562 people. “It’s very busy at the library, and we like it like that,” said Clark.

Check the library’s website for a complete listing of programs at www.cedarsprings.llcoop.org.

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Keep your “Thumbs on the Wheel”

Driver texting ban goes into effect July 1

Beginning Thursday, drivers who text behind the wheel risk not only a traffic crash but a $100 citation under provisions of a new state law designed to keep drivers’ eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.

To encourage awareness and compliance, the Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) is launching a “Thumbs on the Wheel” campaign that will feature billboards, public service announcements and posters. OHSP will use federal traffic safety funds for the campaign aimed at reducing driver distractions.

“The state’s ban on texting while driving recognizes the potential danger when drivers are not fully focused on the road,” said Col. Eddie L. Washington, Jr., director of the Michigan State Police. “As with all traffic laws, law enforcement officers will take appropriate action when witnessing violations.”

Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent said that they would also actively enforce the new law. “We’ll watch for it, just like everything else,” he said.

The primary enforcement law prohibits drivers from reading, manually typing or sending a text message while driving. Driving is defined as: operating a moving motor vehicle on a street or highway. Exceptions are in place for reporting crashes, crimes or other emergencies. Drivers face a $100 fine for a first offense and a $200 fine for subsequent violations. No points are assessed or posted to a person’s driving record.

Michigan is the 24th state to ban drivers from texting.

Parent said they might stop someone if they have no hands on the wheel, if they have a phone in their hand and appear to be looking down, or otherwise appear distracted.

Nationally, driver distraction is a major focus of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There are three main types of distraction:

* Visual – taking your eyes off the road
* Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
* Cognitive – taking your mind off what you’re doing

While all distractions can endanger drivers’ safety, texting is the most alarming because it involves all three types of distraction.

Michigan crash data captures information relative to cell phone use but does not differentiate whether a driver was talking or texting at the time of a crash. In 2009, the state recorded 947 people were using cell phones at the time of a crash.

While it’s not covered in the bill, Parent said that another problem is that when people are talking on cell phones, they often don’t use their turn signal. He said that the Supreme Court ruled last year that a change in lane does require a signal to be used. “Remember to continue to use the rules of the road,” he cautioned.

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Fireworks explosion injures man

A 42-year-old Stanton man had a commercial firework explode in his hand while at a friend’s house Tuesday.

According the Montcalm County Sheriff Office, Blaine Kortes, 42, was at 1379 W. Klees Road in Douglas Township when the accident occurred, about 7:34 p.m., June 29.

The blast caused serious injury to the victim’s left hand, and burns to his body. Montcalm Emergency Services transported Blaine to Spectrum Butterworth in Grand Rapids, where he underwent emergency surgery.

Deputies remind the public to use caution when handling fireworks during the July 4th holiday. Fireworks that explode or leave the ground are still illegal in Michigan. No one else was injured in the blast. The incident remains under investigation.

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