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Archive | April, 2011

2011 Easter Egg Hunt Winners!

Click photos to enlarge…

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Easter egg hunt rocks

By Judy Reed

Almost 400 excited kids and their parents turned out Saturday for the annual Post Community Easter Egg Hunt at Red Hawk Elementary Saturday, April 23.
The day was gray, but we didn’t get snowed or rained on! The kids had fun picking up eggs, finding coins, and getting either a winner’s basket or a consolation candy cup. (See photo collage on page ??) We had 16 winners, and you can find their pictures on our website at www.cedarspringspost.com.
The Post couldn’t put on this fun, family-friendly event without all the help it receives from the community! A special thank you goes out to: all the parents for making it out in the chilly weather; Cedar Springs Schools for allowing use of the field; Family Fare for providing the candy for the consolation prizes; McDonald’s for the coupons for free items; Julie Wheeler of Independent Bank, Donna Clark of the CS Library, Shelly of Family Fare, and Tracy Van Heck for helping Post staff member Bob Fitzgerald put together 400 candy cups; Classic Kelly’s Restaurant for providing 120 dozen eggs; The Cedar Springs Rotary for cooking and coloring the eggs; Cedar Springs United Methodist Church for the use of their kitchens; the Keystone Kops and the Cedar Springs Fire Department for running the hunt; Dan Randall for his donation of coins, and use of tables; the Red Flannel Queen and Court for helping with the hunt; all the Post staff members and their spouses who helped at the hunt (especially Bob for heading it up), and of course, The Easter Bunny! A special thank you also goes out to all those who helped sponsor the hunt with a monetary donation.

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Fleeing police lands man in jail

Willie Williams

A high-speed chase and crash that resulted in a burning car has landed a Grand Rapids man in jail.
According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, Officer Mike Stahl noticed a vehicle on Monday, April 25, about 11:40 p.m., that matched an earlier report that he had investigated where a vehicle left without paying for gasoline from a Cedar Springs gas station. When he followed this vehicle north on White Creek Ave to check the license plate, the vehicle ran a stop sign at Solon Street and sped away from the patrol unit.
The pursuit crisscrossed northern Kent County until the vehicle attempted a high-speed turn onto Wildwood Valley NE, a private drive that runs south off 20 Mile Road, west of Albrecht Ave. in Solon Township.  The driver lost control, went off the paved roadway and rolled over in the ditch.
The vehicle was resting on its sides, and the two occupants refused to exit the vehicle. Officer Stahl waited for additional units and then officers (CSPD Officer Mandy Stahl and Kent County Sheriff Deputy Warren Hansen) began a slow safe approach to the overturned vehicle. Officers noticed a fire had started on the undercarriage and alerted those inside.  The two suspects quickly exited the vehicle and were taken into custody.
Solon Fire and Rescue was called to the scene.  Both men declined medical care and were transported and lodged in the Kent County Correctional Facility.  The fire completely destroyed the 1998 GMC Jimmy.  This vehicle was reported stolen from the City of Grand Rapids on April 21, 2011.
The prosecutor’s office approved charges of “Fleeing and Eluding 3rd Degree for one of the two men involved.  Willie Lee-Wilson Williams, 19, of Grand Rapids was arraigned this Tuesday in 63rd District Court for the felony fleeing and eluding charge and as a habitual offender.  His bond was set at $5,000.00 cash surety.  The second subject involved was released from jail.  Investigating police agencies will continue to work this case gathering evidence to support additional charges.

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Burn baby burn

Photo by R. Kompstra

Smoke was in the air Saturday as flames surged through the roof, but it was nothing to be alarmed about. The fire was planned, and was due to a practice burn that Algoma and Courtland Fire Departments participated in at the corner of Algoma and 15 Mile Road. Thanks to Rebecca Klompstra for letting us use one of her photos!

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Rainbow in the midst of the storm

Post photo by J. Reed

Severe storms with heavy rain, wind, lightning, hail and funnel clouds raced across West Michigan Tuesday, leaving some damage and rising water in its wake.
Tornado sirens went off here in Cedar Springs and all across Kent County, when clouds with rotation were spotted southeast of here, heading in a line from Grattan to Greenville. Pea and marble-sized hail was seen in isolated spots across our area, and even bigger south of Grand Rapids.
In the midst of the storm, a rainbow appeared to the east of Cedar Springs, which we managed to capture on camera, despite the rain.

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Celebrating community night

Residents, businesses, school groups, and other non-profits came together last Thursday, at Cedar Springs High School, for the 25th annual Community Night.
“It really was a good event,” said organizer Isabelle Brace, of the Community Action Network (CAN). “Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and we had a lot of good comments.”
There were 125 vendors, including the Post, that bought tables to showcase their business or group, or provide a service to residents. There were some free food samples, such as ice cream and cake, and a free sloppy joe dinner.
“It was a nice family evening,” said Lori Ostrom, of Cedar Springs. “We were able to get the information we needed on how our family can volunteer at the Red Cross. We also enjoyed the ice cream and free sloppy joe dinner. Thank you!”
One change in this year’s Community Night was that the ever-popular AeroMed helicopter did not make an appearance. “They said they couldn’t do it this year due to budget cuts,” explained Brace.

Many booths had drawings for a free product. The Post gave away a digital camera with memory card. Congratulations to Cedar Springs High School senior Tyler Felty, who won the camera! You can see some of his photos on page 2 with the drinking and driving story.

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Students see consequences of drinking and driving

Horrified bystanders look on at the staged drunken driving accident.

By Tyler Felty

Most everyone knows someone who drinks. And most everyone knows someone who drives. But when the two are done together, the results can be deadly—as students at Cedar Springs High School saw earlier this week.
Cedar Springs High School juniors and seniors were invited to an assembly Tuesday morning, April 26 that stirred an emotional response in many students. With prom coming up Friday, the students heard a speaker from the Kent County Sheriff’s Department on the risks of drinking and driving. He showed a graphic video consisting of police photos of accident scenes, reenactments, an interview with a coroner, and after interviews with people involved in drunk driving accidents.

The drunk driver is arrested by the sheriff’s deputy.

However, what really drove the message home was the final still-life image made by Justin Harnden’s advanced drama class hiding behind the curtain. When the curtain parted, there was a crushed four-door vehicle, with the actors portraying the tragedy of a drunk-driving accident. Students’ bloody, mangled bodies were strewn around the scene, while the bystanders looked on in horror. The driver appeared to be uninjured, and was being arrested.
There was complete silence in the audience as they witnessed the gruesome scene.
The administration wrapped up the assembly by saying that this message wasn’t just for prom or graduation, but a lesson to remember well beyond high school.

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School board election May 3

Residents in the Cedar Springs Public Schools district will vote on Tuesday, May 3, to fill two board positions and vote on whether to accept a one-mill sinking fund levy to help fund maintenance of school buildings and grounds. The sinking fund would last 10 years, and cost a homeowner with a $100,000 property value $50 per year. It is a pay as you go plan, and there would be no finance charges or interest. School officials say that with proposed cuts in the state budget and increased costs, they are looking at a $2.4 million in cuts, and that without additional funding to support infrastructure, they will be forced to cut programs for kids. For a flyer on the issue, click link: Sinking Fund Flyer.
There are three candidates running for two positions on the Cedar Springs Board of Education. Running are two incumbents—Joe Marckini and Jeff Gust—and newcomer Mistie Bowser.

Joe Marckini

Joe Marckini, a journeyman sheet worker, has lived in the district 15 years. He is currently board president. He has also served as vice-president, treasurer and trustee. He has served as the board’s legislative liaison and a member of the National School Board Association (NSBA) Federal Relation Network (FRN).  He has earned through the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) a level one certification, award of merit, award of distinction, and an advocacy skill specialty award.
“I am seeking another term because I believe in providing all our students with a 21st century educational experience and look forward to working with our community to make this happen,” said Marckini. He noted that Cedar Springs Public Schools is a unique district, one that is collaborative and totally focused on student achievement.
Marckini said there were two major issues facing the district. “One is funding and the other is the new Nationwide Common Core Standards. I will continue to advocate on behalf of our district for full funding of both state and federal mandates. Although I commend our nation’s attention to educational issues (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)), I will continue to advocate the educating of the whole child when it comes to the implementation of the Nationwide Common Core Standards,” he explained.
Marckini said that he is not against sharing services or administrators with other districts to contain costs as long as it did not harm the district. “Our district is currently sharing services with Sparta and Kent ISD to save money. We are also moving forward with our neighboring districts in developing other possible shared services,” he said.

Jeff Gust

Jeff Gust, owner of Gust Construction, has lived in the district 43 years. He has served on the board for 16 months, and has owned or operated his own local business for 20 plus years. He has also coached in the school district for over 12 years.
Gust said he is seeking another term for several reasons. “I have three children who are currently attending CSHS or have graduated from CSHS, my wife is employed at the HS, and I wanted to have a say in the quality of their education and workplace,” he noted.
Gust said the major issue facing the district is funding from the state and federal governments. “We are on a very tight budget and it seems to be getting tighter every year. I think it is our job to ensure that the cuts we make are in the best interest of our students. We have an excellent teaching staff and support staff, along with administrators that all care about our students. We have been working with each of these groups on trying to make the right cuts that are in the students best interest,” he explained.  “We are currently asking for a sinking fund millage to be passed by our community that would be used for repairs to roads and energy upgrades, etc.  If the community sees fit to honor us by passing this bond we would have the duty to be good stewards of the money and spend it as wisely as we can.  I would like to be a part of that process.”
Gust noted that he is not against sharing services or administrators with other districts. “I am all for it if we can save money by doing it and provide the same or better services to our community and students. We would need to do this carefully as to not burn our employees out with the added responsibilities,” he said.

Mistie Bowser

Mistie Bowser has lived in the Cedar Springs district for 10 years. She currently is unemployed, but her previous job was as an account executive in business sales. She said she has at least 10 years of experience in participating on boards or committees. She was on the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Kent County board, with the last 8 years holding the positions of Vice President and President. She also served on the Michigan Public Policy Committee that successfully got the blood alcohol content level of .08 passed, and is currently the spokesperson for this side of the state for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Bowser said she decided to run for the Cedar Springs School Board because she wants to ensure her four children get the best education possible. “I look forward to listening to my friends, neighbors and people in the community and sharing their ideas or opinions with the board so an educated decision can be given,” she said.
Bowser sees budget issues and class sizes as two major issues facing the district. “A couple of issues that I’m seeing is the obvious budget cuts and it seems that our students are the ones paying and I find it disheartening. I’m irritated by the size of classes that my kids are in and I feel that this is hindering our children. We need smaller class sizes,” she noted.
Bowser said she would have to research sharing services and administrators with other districts before giving an opinion.
Voters should vote at the city or township polling place where they usually vote. Polls normally open at 7 a.m. Call your local government agency for more information.

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Gas rises above $4

The price on Wednesday, April 27.

Drivers across the area were stunned Monday when gas prices surged to $4.17—the highest they’ve been since summer 2008, when they hit $4.25 per gallon for regular.
There does not appear to be a shortage, and the rise in price is being blamed on legal speculation. Whatever the reason, drivers are taking steps to minimize the impact on their pocketbook.
Landon Case told us on Facebook that he now lives in Los Angeles, and their price is $4.50. He says he has been using public transportation, and that it would affect how much he travels this summer.
Victoria Gonzalez said her family won’t be going far from home this summer either. A “staycation” and pool parties will be more in line with their budget.
Dan Webb recommended driving more fuel efficient cars, but others noted that they should make them more affordable. Another reader said he donates plasma twice weekly to help pay for gas.
Other readers have noted that they go slower on the expressway to save on fuel.
Several readers told us that they think the government should be doing something to stop the rising prices.
Do you have any hints for drivers? Email us at news@cedarspringspost.com.

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Potpourri of poets this Saturday!

Poet Robert Frost once said, “Poets are like baseball pitchers.  Both have their moments.  The intervals are the tough things.” Join us Saturday evening, April 30, at the Kent Theatre, 8 N. Main, in Cedar Springs, as we celebrate the “moments” of some of your favorite and lesser-known poets. Residents, teens and community leaders will read both classic and original poetry. Hear some humorous poems like Pat Capek’s reading of T.S. Eliot’s “The Naming of Cats,” or Jack Clark’s reading of Pete Seeger’s poem “My Get Up & Go has Got Up and Left,” or enjoy more serious poetry such as teen Steve Reed’s original poem “Ungrown Flower,” or teen Chuck Hyde’s “Kids these days.”
Organizers say they have a fun program lined up, and you won’t want to miss it! The show starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are only $3.

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Happy 65th Anniversary

Royal and Ruth Cooper

April 6, 1946
Sixty-five years of wedded life were observed April 6 by Royal “Pete” and Ruth (Joslin) Cooper. A family celebration will be held at a later date. Children of the Rockford couple are Kenneth and Debbie Cooper, Steve and Helen Smith, Donald Cooper, David and Joann Fowler, Nancy Sampsel and Dale Cooper. They have 13 grandchildren and many great grandchildren.

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Happy 80th Birthday

Frances Hoxie!

Please join us in celebrating Frances’ 80th birthday on Saturday May 7th at 9378 – 120th (south corner of Newcosta and 120th) in Sand Lake from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

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