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Archive | March, 2011

Crash sends four to hospital

Four people were injured in this head-on accident on Algoma Avenue north of 14 Mile Tuesday. Post photo by J. Reed.

A head-on accident in Algoma Township Tuesday afternoon sent a Wyoming family, including an infant, to the hospital.

According to Kent County Sheriff Deputy Jason VanDyke, the family was driving a blue escort southbound on Algoma Avenue about 4 p.m., after visiting their parents in the Cedar Springs area, when a northbound GMC Jimmy, driven by a Cedar Springs woman, tried to turn west (left) into a driveway and hit the escort head on.

The front seat passenger in the escort, a woman, was pinned inside and had to be extricated. She and the other three passengers, including a baby in a car seat, sustained injuries and were transported to the hospital. The driver of the GMC Jimmy was not transported.

Deputy VanDyke said he does not believe alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Both Algoma and Courtland Fire Departments assisted at the scene.

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Fire ravages Solon Township home

Flames consumed this home in Solon Township Friday morning, March 25. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

A Solon Township home went up in flames Friday morning after a fire rekindled from the night before.

Firefighters were first called to the scene on Ja De Drive, north off of 16 Mile, and west of Algoma, about 4 p.m. Thursday, March 24. Solon, Cedar Springs and Algoma Fire departments knocked down the fire and cleared the scene by 10 p.m.  According to Solon Township Deputy Fire Chief Brian VanderLaan, they had made a good save on the structure, with it mainly suffering heavy smoke damage.

“We spent hours double checking to make sure it was completely out,” noted VanderLaan. “I even crawled through the attic.”

Fire departments were called back to the scene about 5:45 a.m. Friday morning, March 25. “It was fully involved when we got here,” said VanderLaan.

Solon, Algoma, Cedar Springs, Sand Lake, and Kent City Fire all fought the blaze, and Rockford brought in their aerial trucks so they could douse the flames from the top. Most of the firefighters had cleared the scene by 11 a.m.

The family was not home at the time of the fires, and no one was injured. VanderLaan said that the fire appeared to originate in the basement, but the cause was still under investigation.

He explained that you never know where a spark might linger, and that’s why they spent hours the night before making sure the fire was out.  “This is what I didn’t want to happen last night,” he said while looking at the burned out house. “We did everything in our power we could have done.”

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Burnin’ down the house!

By Judy Reed

Six area fire departments got a chance to sharpen their firefighting skills Sunday when the Cedar Springs Fire Department hosted a controlled burn at an old house on Pine Street.

The house, located west of the Wesco Station, was donated by the Verduin family for the practice burn. Cedar Springs Fire Chief Jerry Gross said that one of the owners, Todd VerDuin, a Cedar Springs graduate, is a firefighter in Ionia. “He’s well aware of the help that the practice burn is to local fire departments,” said Gross.

Gross said the 37 firefighters from Cedar Springs, Solon, Sand Lake, Courtland, Algoma, and Alpine participated in the burn of the two-story house and several outbuildings. He noted that one of the things they do inside is note the structural weaknesses of a dwelling and how it changes during a fire. He said that this particular home was an older home, without any fire stops in the walls. “The walls were wide open, like an open shell where the fire runs right through the walls,” he explained. “So it went up pretty quickly.”

They started the burn early Sunday morning about 7:45 a.m. and cleared the scene about 2:30 p.m. “I think it went well,” remarked Gross. “It gave us practice and gave the opportunity for some council members and city employees to see first hand what we do.”

Photos by L. VanderLaan

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City gets new warning siren

By Judy Reed

Post photo by J. Reed

Residents of Cedar Springs now have a brand new siren to warn them of severe weather this spring and summer. It was installed Tuesday at North Park, at the north end of Cedar Springs.

The city sought a grant for the siren through Kent County a year and a half ago, after the original siren tower outside the Cedar Springs Library was deemed unsafe. Burns said they were notified last week that they had received the $19,900 grant for the siren tower, which would be turned on through Kent County’s central dispatch. The old siren was manually turned on at the pole.

A poll on the city’s website showed that residents are in favor of continuing the tradition of blowing the siren at noon everyday. That is not covered in the grant, however, and the city will cover the $500 cost with money from their 2007 bond proceeds.

According to specs, the siren will be heard over most of Cedar Springs, including all the way to White Creek to the west, and Ritchie to the east. To the south, however, it will only cover to just north of Dio Drive. “We hope to someday qualify for another siren to cover the south end (of the city),” said Burns. She previously explained that the siren was erected at North Park to cover the area with the greatest density.

The old siren was scheduled to be torn down immediately, and possibly given to the Cedar Springs Historical Society if they want it.

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Cedar Springs on YouTube

Adam Kenyon (above) and Randy Tate shot a music video in front of the Kent Theatre.

By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs might not be giving out tax incentives to make movies here, but it didn’t stop two Cedar Springs residents from filming a big band music video on Main Street.

Adam Kenyon and his long-time friend, Randy Tate, shot the video in front of the Kent Theatre, for an internal talent competition at Meijer, where Kenyon works. It’s also been uploaded to YouTube.

Kenyon performed the song “We are in love,” while Tate stayed behind the camera. “This could not have happened by any stretch of the imagination without his talented eye for visually pleasing film shots and his technical knowledge of how to capture them correctly,” said Kenyon.

So why big band? “I’ve always loved big band music,” explained Kenyon. “It’s a style that seems to excite almost everyone no matter what age they are. It makes toddlers and their grandmas want to move around, sway and snap their fingers. The good vibrations of songs like this are contagious.”

He said they picked the Kent to be the background for several reasons. “We love the fact that the video showcases a nostalgic landmark from our home town…but also the Kent Theater just looks amazing in the night shots with those dazzling neon lights, and for the record I rarely use the word dazzling. Having the Kent in the video is a little like Back to the Future. The exterior of that building takes you back to the era of big band music. It was a perfect fit for a lot of reasons.”

Kenyon said that the feedback he’s received from people has been positive, and he recently found out that he’s made it to the finals of the talent competition, which means he’ll be performing live at the anniversary celebration. “I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve performed as a singer quite a bit in my life, but this is the first time I will have gotten to do big band stuff,” he said. “I can’t wait. I might need a new suit though.”

Kenyon doesn’t rule out making a big band CD someday. “It sure was a great time recording the song and making this video, and I am certainly interested in doing more of it at some point down the road, but I coach soccer here in town so it will at least have to wait at least until the spring season is done,” he said with a smile.

To see the video, go to www.youtube.com and type in “Adam Kenyon we are in love” and it should bring it up. Or go directly to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OKrBbsbPjE.

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Woman killed in two-car crash

Photo courtesy of WOODTV.com

Alcohol is believed to be a factor in a crash that killed a 74-year-old Howard City woman Monday in Nelson Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the accident occurred about 6:17 p.m. on Pine Lake Avenue, just north of 21 Mile Rd. Police said Todd Matthew Urbanski, 39, of Nelson Township, was southbound on Pine Lake in a 1996 Oldsmobile Aurora, when he lost control and crossed into the path of a 1996 GMC Safari van traveling north on Pine Lake. The driver of the van, Lorraine Jean Bradford, 74, of Howard City, was pronounced dead at the scene. Urbanski was found lying in the roadway with minor cuts and abrasions, and transported to Butterworth Hospital.

Roads had become icy, but police believe alcohol was a contributing factor in the crash. The accident remains under investigation.

Assisting at the scene was the Michigan State Police, Cedar Springs Fire and Rescue, Sand Lake Fire and Rescue, and Rockford Ambulance.

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Reviewed by Tom Noreen

Delightful is the best way to describe the opening performance of the Cedar Springs High School’s production of Lerner and Loewe’s classic musical Camelot, under the direction of Linda Martino. Ryan Shaw directed the pit and Kassandra Brott was the student director.

Strong performances were given by the leads Jenna Johnson (Guenevere), Justin Balczak (Arthur), Jared Kelley (Lancelot), Jeff Meinke (Pellinore), Steve Reed (Merlin), Miles Johnson (Mordred), and Emily Marckini (Morgan Le Fey), all seniors.

All of the cast did a wonderful job, with the jousting scene being the best, as everyone urged their favorites on, only to be bested by Lancelot.

The set was well designed and as a result scene changes took a minimum of time and effort. Lighting and sound were also well done.

It is apparent that a great deal of passionate effort went into the performance, for which they can all be proud.

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Main Street celebrates grand opening

The Main Street Restaurant, 151 S. Main Street in Cedar Springs, celebrated their grand opening on Monday, March 21 with entrée specials, ice cream and cake, balloons and all kinds of goodies for customers.

Owners Ron and Arlene Seabolt first opened their restaurant on Post Drive under the name Lickity Split in 2006, and opened the restaurant in its new location earlier this year.  “We’ve gotten 2-1/2 times the business we got at the old location,” noted Ron. “It’s a true welcome to Cedar, it’s been amazing. It’s a gift from God.”

The Seabolts are long-time residents in the area. Ron grew up and graduated from Cedar Springs High School, and Arlene graduated from Rockford. The couple’s three children are also Cedar Springs graduates.

The inside of the new restaurant has a warm, welcoming décor, and includes a beautiful red hawk sculpture created by local metal sculptor Steve Anderson. Arlene said they could not have gotten the inside ready without the help of her brother, Jerry Taylor, father-in-law Jerry Miller, and another friend. “I’m extremely grateful to them,” she said.

The restaurant has an extensive menu of delicious sandwiches, soups, salads, entrees and desserts. The homemade cinnamon rolls are a big hit with customers, and they also have a large variety of ice cream to choose from.

The restaurant gave away prizes every hour Monday, and at the end of the day raffled off two 19-inch flat screen TVs that were won by Bob Johnson and Dan Darling, and a mountain bike that was won by Mayor Charlie Watson. Flora Kosten won free ice cream for a year. Proceeds from the raffle will be given to Cedar Springs Public Schools. To see a complete list of Monday’s winners, check out Main Street’s ad in next week’s Cedar Springs Post!

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Amash to hold town hall meeting

Third district U.S. Representative Justin Amash invites residents to a town hall meeting on Saturday, March 26, from 10:00-11:00 a.m. in the auditorium of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.

Amash will give an introduction and discuss current issues facing Congress. There will be a question and answer session to follow.

“I look forward to answering questions you may have and engaging in a thoughtful discussion about the direction of our country,” said Amash.

This event is free and open to the public.

The museum is located at 303 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504.

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Looking back

Steve Hegedus sent us this old photo awhile back that looks like it was probably from the Life magazine photo shoot over 60 years ago.

In 1949, Life magazine sent a photographer, Walter Sanders, to Cedar Springs to take photos for a feature on Red Flannel Day that was published on December 19, 1949. One of the most famous photos, that of an old-time photographer (John Pollock) taking photos of a group of school children in Red Flannels, hangs in the Cedar Springs Historical Museum. It was donated to them in October 2008 by Bill Pollock, son of John Pollock.

Does anyone know who the women are in the picture above, or where this photo was taken? Give us a call at 696-3655 or shoot us an email at news@cedarspringspost.com.

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Sheriff’s deputy honored for distracted driving awareness program

Deputy Tim Erhardt

Kent County Sheriff’s Deputy Timothy Erhardt was be honored at the Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission (GTSAC) annual awards luncheon Wednesday at the Kellogg Conference Center in East Lansing for initiating a distracted driving awareness program.

Each year the commission honors organizations, programs and individuals for outstanding contributions to traffic safety. The awards luncheon is part of the 16th Annual Michigan Traffic Safety Summit. Six 2010 traffic safety and three long-term awards were presented.

In 2008, Erhardt initiated a distracted driving awareness program for Kent County high school students. The program begins with an education segment and then challenges students to create their own distracted driving awareness campaigns.

These projects are judged by fellow students and winning projects are publicized through the local media. Winning projects have included a television public service announcement (PSA) that was aired on WOOD TV-8 for a month, a poster that was made into a billboard and posted along US-131, and a radio PSA that was played on local radio stations.

The program has grown to 11 schools involving more than 12,000 students. Local businesses and media outlets fund the program.

The GTSAC was formed in 2002 to serve as the state’s forum for identifying key traffic safety challenges and developing and implementing plans to address those issues. The GTSAC is comprised of representatives from the departments of: Community Health, Education, State, State Police and Transportation, as well as Office of Services to the Aging, Office of Highway Safety Planning and the Office of the Governor. There are also three representatives from local government appointed by the Governor.

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Setting a Good Example

Winners of Rotary 4-way test essay competition

By Donna Clark and Tom Noreen

Eight classes participated this year in the Cedar Springs Rotary’s Annual 4-Way Test Essay Contest with the 5th grade at Cedar View Elementary. All essays were written at school in 200 words or less. Teachers chose the two best essays from their class, and from those 16, our 4-Way Committee, Julie Wheeler, Carolyn Davis and Donna Clark, were to choose three.

It was very hard to choose just three, so we didn’t—we chose five. We had a tie for 4th place!

The top three stories talk of the great example that was set by someone and then how that special example inspired them to change or respond in some way.

We read some great stories on the theme of Setting a Good Example, like my Grandma wrote the meaning of my name and put it on a plaque and I look at it every day; Kyanna encourages her little sister to do her homework, get a good education, and a good career; boredom can do strange things to boys, such as cause them to throw berries at Mrs. Penny’s house, run off when she appeared, and then later coming back to apologize and clean up the mess. Needless to say, it was very interesting for our committee to have the chance to read the top two essays from each class.

Rotary has developed a meaningful partnership with Principal Mike Duffy and the teachers and students of the 5th grade class over the years. Mrs. Boverhof has been our contact person for the essay writing partnership between Rotary and Cedar View for four years now.

Mrs. Boverhof noted, “Every year something new pops up. This year when I introduced the topic of ‘Setting a Good Example,’ I was met with blank stares.” She explained they could give examples. Hopefully as a result of these essays we will have “given the kids an awareness of what ‘setting a good example’ looks and feels like.”

This year’s winners are in order Nicole Kukla, Peyton Elliston, Mariah Reich and tied for fourth Blake Williams and Brandon Owens. You can find Nicole’s essay below.

One of the most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics in the world is the Rotary 4-Way Test. It was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 when he was asked to take charge of the Chicago-based Club Aluminum Co., which was facing bankruptcy. Taylor looked for a way to save the struggling company mired in depression-caused financial difficulties. He drew up a 24-word code of ethics for all employees to follow in their business and professional lives. The 4-Way Test became the guide for sales, production, advertising and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company was credited to this simple philosophy. The 4-Way Test was adopted by Rotary in 1943.

Nicole’s essay:

My Mom My Hero

By Nicole Kukla

Incredible! That is what I think about my mom. She is a single mom who takes care of two kids, works Monday through Friday, and still has time to do exciting things with us. She has taught me so many things and is always setting a good example for me. One of the most important things she taught me is to never give up. It’s something she never does. She probably doesn’t even think about it. I have watched her do so many things, but the thing I never saw her do is give up.

My mom takes care of my sister and I all by herself. She feeds us, pays for sports, and most importantly puts a roof over our heads. I don’t know how she does it. She works so hard to make sure we are successful in everything we do. My sister and I are sometimes very hard to take care of because we argue. But we get along fifty percent of the time. On top of all of the other things she does, she works. I have never seen anybody work so hard before. My mom also has to make a ton of sacrifices for us. On the weekends, my mom takes us to sports. My sister has winter guard and I have soccer. She could be hanging out with her friends but she doesn’t. These are her famous words, “my kids come first.”

Sometimes my sister and I make sacrifices for our mom. Sometimes on the weekends, we like to hang out with her. It is like our way of saying thank you for everything that she does. Our sacrifices aren’t really important though because it is fun to spend time with her. When I’m older, I want to be like my mom and set good examples for the people around me.

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