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Archive | December, 2014


frontpage4414By Judy Reed


What was your favorite moment of 2014? What was important to you? Here at the Post, we went over the stories we featured in the Post. In this issue, you will see not only brief blips about some of stories, but will also see some of our favorite front pages scattered throughout the paper (not just in the news section). We couldn’t possibly feature every important story or each front page that we liked, so we apologize in advance if a story you thought was important is not listed here. You can visit our website at www.cedarspringspost.com to read all past articles, or download an e-edition of that week’s paper. Here’s to 2015!


*One of the biggest and most exciting stories of 2014 was the way our varsity Cedar Springs Red Hawks football team took charge on the gridiron and blazed their way to an outright conference championship. It was the first conference championship since 1978, when they shared it with Sparta. They went on to win the first district game at Red Hawk Stadium, before losing to the Muskegon Big Reds in a close game at Muskegon. Coach Gus Kapolka was named Detroit Lions Coach of the Week in early September, and sophomore quarterback Collin Alvesteffer was named MVP of the season by fans on WZZM13.

*Two Cedar Springs Cross Country runners—Kenzie Weiler and Austin Sargent—made an outstanding appearance in the state finals, for the second year in a row, when both took second place in the Division 2 Cross Country finals.


*The area had its share of fires this year. One of the worst was the one at Harvard on Tuesday, February 11, which destroyed the old Harvard Fire Department. The fire could be seen for miles, as flames licked the sky and thick, black smoke coiled upward. The Harvard Fire Department was disbanded in the 1980s, when Oakfield built a new township hall, and the firefighters and equipment was split between Oakfield and Spencer. The building was being used for apartments at the time of the fire, but everyone got out safely.

*The Cedar Springs Post took a direct hit when winds blown in by a fierce spring-turned-winter storm ripped through our area on Saturday, April 12. High winds lifted the roof of Len Allington’s brick building on the corner of Main and Maple Streets and sent it airborne across the back alley where it landed on top of the Post, wrapped around a utility pole and was entangled in electrical wires. It was one of several storms that night, and what many people thought was a tornado turned out to be straight line winds. The winds blew in, and hail rained down, damaging cars, mobile homes, and other outside objects. The size ranged from a dime to a quarter. Some mobile homes were pelted with hundreds of holes. It covered the ground to a depth that looked like snow. Trees were ripped out of the ground or broken all across the area. The wind even blew the roof off of the gymnasium at Kent City.


frontpage3814*The Cedar Springs Historical Society restored a 1911 bas relief sculpture of the Mayflower Compact that was donated to Hilltop School by the class of 1929. It hung on the walls of Hilltop at least into the 1950s. A photo in the 1952 yearbook shows students standing by it. Cracked and dilapidated after years of being neglected, Marie Patin restored the piece, and DM White made a frame for the artwork. It was one of a set, but the museum does not own the other piece.

* The building at 95 N. Main—almost as old as the town of Cedar Springs—made way for a new chapter of history to begin at the corner of Main and Maple Streets.

Built in 1890, it housed a flourmill and was used for hay storage. Later it housed several grocery stores, including the IGA store that many of the older folk in town remember. In its last days, it was an auto parts store—Cedar Springs Auto Supply. It was sold for unpaid taxes in 2009 to the City of Cedar Springs.

The dilapidated building was demolished Thursday, September 18, to make way for the development of the Cedar Springs Brewing Company—a new business featuring a full-menu restaurant, with full kitchen, and outdoor biergarden that will be both family and community-friendly, according to owner David Ringler. A groundbreaking was held on October 14, but building has not yet begun. They are still waiting on some site approvals and looking for it to be completed in summer 2015.

*The Red Flannel Festival celebrated 75 years this year, and 70 years of the Queen’s pageant. There was a reception for all past Queens and royalty, and all were invited on stage during the pageant. Over 30 past Queens and court members attended the event, including the 1941 Queen, Jean Thrall Erickson. Named Queen this year was Melissa Maguire, with Kaleigh Keech and Ellie Ovokaitys as court members. John Teusink was named Grand Marshal, and brothers Bill and Bob Pollock were named honorary Grand Marshals.


*Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent Ron McDermed retired after 25 years with the school system, the last five as superintendent. He also served as both an elementary principal, and assistant superintendent. Taking his place as Superintendent is Dr. Laura VanDuyne. She was chosen from among five candidates interviewed by the Cedar Springs Public Schools Board as potential replacements. The other finalist was Assistant Superintendent David Cairy. VanDuyne served as executive director of the Contra Costa Special Education Joint Powers Authority in the San Francisco Bay area from 2010 to the present. She was born in the suburbs of Detroit and graduated from Memphis High School, which is about 60 miles north of Detroit. Her husband was raised in Jenison, and they have family in the area.

*Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent retired at the end of August after a 40-year career in law enforcement. Parent came to Cedar Springs 6-1/2 years ago, after a 33-1/2-year career with the Kent County Sheriff Department. Parent said he really enjoyed it here, and never regretted the decision to leave KCSD. He brought a lot of knowledge, professionalism and expertise to the police department and would obviously need to be replaced. The announcement in February of his impending retirement started a chain reaction of events that would bring about one of the greatest changes in the city in years.

*After Parent’s initial announcement, the city began to search for a new Police Chief. However, that was put to a halt after the City Council asked the City Manager to speak to Kent County Sheriff and Cedar Springs resident Larry Stelma about contracting with the Kent County Sheriff Department for law enforcement services. It took several months, but the City Council finally approved a contract with the Sheriff Department that would not only save the city money but enable the city’s current full time officers to be hired on and to stay in the Cedar Springs unit if they wished to. The former CSPD officers are being trained in all aspects of being Sheriff Deputies, and the city police department is being utilized not only by our own officers on patrol, but by other KCSD officers as well, which means a greater presence of officers in the area. The program is the first of its kind for the KCSD. Sgt. Jason Kelley is now supervisor of the Cedar Springs unit.

*Howard City also negotiated a contract with the Montcalm County Sheriff Department for services, and their three officers became Sheriff Deputies.

*The Family Fare grocery store, formerly Great Day Foods, closed in September. The store originally opened in the 1960s when Meijer moved out of town. Great Day moved into the store space vacated by Meijer (where the current American Legion is on Main Street). Later the store moved to the larger location on 17 Mile. In 1999, Spartan Stores acquired Great Day, and it became a Family Fare in 2008. Rumors of its closing began earlier this year, when the property went up for sale, but SpartaNash would not comment. The property was recently sold and the deal closed, according to inside sources, but an announcement has not yet been made and paperwork not yet publicly recorded on who the new owner is.

See more Year in Review next week!


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Gas prices continue to fall

Photo by J. Reed.

Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed


After a year that saw the average price of gas stay between $3 and $4 per gallon, drivers are finally getting some much needed relief at the pump. Last week the Post reported gas had dropped to $1.94 in Cedar Springs, from $2.13 the week before. As of Tuesday, December 30, gas in Cedar Springs is now $1.79 per gallon. That’s the lowest it’s been since early 2009.

According to GasBuddy.com, the average price of gas, as of Tuesday, in Grand Rapids is $1.86; the state average is $2.00; and the national average is $2.26.

“The dramatic decline at the pump continues to reap significant savings for the motoring public—over $525 million less spent every day versus this past summer, or $375 million less than the same time last year,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. “The slump in crude oil has wavered slightly and we’re in the fourth quarter of the game. However, there is still a chance that crude prices resume their slump again, and carry the pump plunge into overtime,” DeHaan said.

According to DeHaan, as of Monday, gas prices had fallen $1.85/gal in Michigan since June 28, the largest drop in the nation. Following close behind: Kentucky, down $1.66/gal, Indiana, down $1.62/gal, Ohio, down $1.61/gal, and Illinois, down $1.60/gal over the same time frame.


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Grand prize winner 

N-Doll-winner-webJessa Riley Patin, 10, a 5th grader at Cedar View Elementary, was all smiles as she picked up her American Girl Doll, Saige, at the Post Tuesday. Jessa was the grand prize winner in our Christmas coloring contest. She even wrote a note thanking both the Post and the sponsors for the doll, and telling us how excited she was to get it! Congratulations, Jessa! And thanks to everyone who entered!


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The Post travels to Turkey

Rachel and Josh Hunt in the region of Cappodocia, Turkey.

Rachel and Josh Hunt in the region of Cappodocia, Turkey.

Rachel and Josh Hunt recently traveled to Turkey, a country not often thought of as a modern destination, but one rich in history.

They traveled with a tour of about 40 people and 1 guide. The people were all from Canada, the U.S., or Australia, but ranged in nationalities. “We counted around 15 nationalities ranging from Bosnian, to Argentinian, to Palestinian, to Indian, Slovakian/Czech,” explained Rachel.

She said they covered 2,200 miles in 13 days by bus around the western half of Turkey. “We started in Istanbul, the only city in the world that straddles two continents—Europe and Asia. We then drove down the coast of the Aegean Sea and visited the ancient city of Troy, and the battlefields of Gallipoli from WWI. Next stop was Pergamum, an ancient city started by Alexander the Great as a military base. Then we visited the ancient city of Ephesus, as referenced by Paul in the bible. The Pamukkale hot springs and city of Hieropolis were next, a UNESCO world heritage site.

“The next stop was the region of Cappadocia, with a stop at a Turkish carpet factory. In Cappadocia we saw the famous volcanic rock formations, caves, and underground cities.” That’s where they took their photo with The Post. In the background you can see many decorative blue eyes hanging from the tree. Those are called “evil eyes,” and are to protect people from evil, or bad luck. It is a popular souvenir in Turkey, and many shops and homes have them.

Their last stop before heading back to Istanbul was the capital city of Ankara and an Ottoman Hittite museum. Back in Istanbul, they cruised the Bosporus straights between Europe and Asian and visited the well-known spice market there.

“We had a great time,” said Rachel.

Thanks so much for taking the Post with you!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!




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The Post travels—everywhere!

It’s been a great year for our “Post travels to” feature. The Post traveled far and wide this year, and most of the year we had them scheduled several months out. Alaska seemed to be a popular place to visit, and we ran several of those. It even traveled to an underwater destination in Findlay, Ohio! Other places the Post traveled included: Turkey; Europe (Netherlands); Cancun; Austria; Gettysburg; Belarus; Arctic Circle; Montana; Outer Banks of North Carolina; Washington; Zimbabwe; Saskatchewan, Canada; Mt. McKinley; Dollywood; Curacao; China; Boise, Idaho; Beckley, West Virginia; Schroon Lake, New York; Augusta, Georgia; Portugal; California; Geneseo, New York; Kenya; Orange County, California; Rivira Maya, Mexico; Prescott, Arizona; Rome, Italy; Paris, France; Assateague Island, Salisbury, Maryland; Sea of Galilee; Nashville, Tennessee; Bull Shoals, Arkansas; Hawaii; Israel; Kansas; Haiti; Montreal, Canada; Birmingham, Alabama; the Alamo (Texas); Lakeland, Florida; British Virgin, Islands; Costa Rica; Pasadena, California; and Beaver Creek, Colorado.

We only have a few left for this year that haven’t yet been published, so if you have one, please send it in!

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Over 800 cases of confirmed flu in Kent County



The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) has received 813 reports of influenza that were confirmed by rapid tests by health care providers this flu season. Nearly 17 percent of people visiting emergency departments in Kent County last week were suffering from influenza-like illness. This is the highest percentage tracked by KCHD since the H1N1 Influenza season in 2009. From September 1, 2014, through December 22, the number of confirmed cases of flu reported to KCHD was 415.

Flu viruses spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. “The virus can live on some surfaces for up to 48 hours,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “If you are sick, stay home until you recover, and limit contact with people who are not sick. The absolute, best protection from the flu is vaccination.”

There is no cure for the flu, but there are anti-viral medications that can help people recover faster if they are taken within the first 24-48 hours of getting sick.

The flu can have serious complications for children under the age of five, the elderly, and people with already-weakened immune systems. Signs and symptoms can include:

• Fever

• Chills

• Cough

• Sore throat

• Runny or stuffy nose

• Muscle or body aches

• Headaches

• Fatigue (very tired)

• Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age to protect against flu viruses.

The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. The cost of the vaccine ranges from $39-$55; FluMist nasal spray (a live, preservative-free, four strain vaccine) is available for $41.

Children from six months through 18 years who have no insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines, will pay a sliding scale administration fee of up to $23. The Health Department can only bill Medicaid and Medicare; private insurance is not accepted. Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover are accepted. To make an appointment at any of our four clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com.

Most primary care providers and many local pharmacies also provide influenza vaccinations and can bill private insurance.

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Two arrested after fleeing police

Gabriel Cavasos

Gabriel Cavasos

Two teens were arrested and a third suspect fled after leading police on a chase Sunday evening.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, deputies attempted a traffic stop on a vehicle about 11:17 p.m. Sunday, December 28, on Plainfield Avenue near Woodworth in Plainfield Township. The vehicle had been reported stolen out of the City of Kentwood earlier in the evening.

The vehicle fled northbound on Plainfield Avenue and was pursued by deputies to Northland Drive and then continued northbound. The vehicle ran over spike strips, on Wolverine Blvd at Belding Rd, that were deployed by a Rockford City Police Officer. Deputies continued to pursue the vehicle into the city of Rockford and the vehicle became incapacitated due to striking the spike strip.

Three male suspects ran from the vehicle on 10 Mile near Courtland and went northbound. A perimeter was set and an Michigan State Police K-9 was used for a track. Two of the three suspects were located approximately 1.5 miles north of the scene and were taken into custody. The third is still outstanding.

An 18-year-old male from Wyoming and a 17-year-old male from Kentwood were both lodged on multiple charges.

The 18-year-old, Gabriel Jose Cavasos, was arraigned on Tuesday, December 30, and charged with resisting and obstructing a police officer, a probation violation, and with being a habitual offender, second offense. A charge of receiving and concealing stolen property-motor vehicle was dismissed.

His bond was set at $2,500 cash surety on the resisting/obstruction charge, and $100,000 on the probation violation. He is still in custody.

No info had been released yet at press time on the other suspects.


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Now it’s time to focus on growing the economy

V-Lee-HamiltonBy Lee H. Hamilton

Recent economic news has been broadly reassuring. Retail sales are strong, November saw the best job gains in three years, the federal deficit is shrinking, the stock market is robust, and the Fed is expressing enough faith in the economy that an interest rate bump next year is considered a certainty.

Yet the public remains unconvinced. This is partly because perceptions haven’t caught up to reality. For many middle- and lower-class families, economic circumstances have not changed very much.

Strong numbers do, however, offer one unambiguous piece of good news: The pressure on policy makers to focus on near-term or immediate problems has eased, which means they can now focus on the fundamental question of economic growth. As Princeton economist Alan Blinder, political strategist Al From and others have pointed out, now is the time for policy-makers to concentrate on creating the environment in the country for sustained, non-inflationary economic growth.

To begin with, we have a chance to get our fiscal house in order and pursue long-term deficit reduction. This means modernizing entitlement spending and shaping a tax-reform package that focuses on investments to boost productivity and help the economy to grow for everyone. It also means eliminating public subsidies to individual enterprises—that money can better be spent on boosting the economic skills of ordinary Americans through education and training.

There are other steps government policy-makers can take to improve broad economic growth. We need to expand trade through open markets and simplify the regulatory structure so that it protects Americans without burdening companies beyond reason. And we must address our nation’s deferred infrastructure needs, which hinder the smooth functioning of every business that relies on transporting its goods.

The same applies to reforming government itself. A government that does not work well—that wastes money, fails its regulatory responsibilities, and cannot make timely decisions—undermines economic growth. Finally, policy-makers need to remember that economic growth means providing a ladder out of poverty for the truly needy. Providing opportunity for low-income Americans through the Earned Income Tax Credit and programs to upgrade their skills is vital. No one who works full time should be poor in this country.

Free, competitive markets are the best way to deliver goods and services to Americans. Government must not get in the way of that system. Nor should it stand idle. The right response by government to our economic challenges is not to focus on the immediate economic problems of the day, but to invest in economic growth for all.

Lee Hamilton is Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

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Where’s the full story?


Dear Editor,

Referring to the article on page 3 of last week’s C.S. Post: Fourteen paragraphs without one word in defense of those previous council members who had worked hard to do their best and had their reputations put to question while being publically disdained, without having yet received an unbiased report from our local newspaper? Seems to me the full story has not yet been presented in the Post for people to be able to hear all sides. My opinion.


Registered Voter,

Sharon Magoon, Cedar Springs


Post Scripts Notice: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.


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Resolutions for every day of the year

Courtland-OakfieldUMCPastor Robert Eckert

Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist

10295 Myers Lake Avenue

Rockford, MI 49341



One of the privileges of being a pastor in this area is taking my turn when it comes around to contribute to this column in the Post. I have no idea whether anything any of us writes ever has the impact we hope it will when we’re writing it; still, the opportunity to gather, sift, arrange and present one’s thoughts on what it means to be a person of faith in the 21st century, even in a brief format such as this, helps keeps those of us who do so accountable and attentive to the message of God’s grace that each of us, in our own way, hopes to convey.

So you’d think this spot in the rotation, the week when we’re all turning the corner from one year to the next, would be especially attractive. With 2014 getting one last look before we say farewell and forecasts for 2015 being made, this would seem to be the perfect context for insights on tying up loose ends and stepping forward with bold conviction. You know, the whole New Year’s Resolutions thing.

But how tedious and predictable is that? We’re all capable of googling what the most popular resolutions are and the low success rate people have meeting the goals they set in January. Is there anything at all that a pastor could offer that isn’t just another bow to the clichés of pop culture?

Maybe a different take on resolution would be worth something. Traditionally, during days of auld lang syne, the operative definition of the word involves statements of firm determination relative to particular actions, either to be taken or to be avoided. One might resolve to lose weight, for example, or quit smoking.

Another definition of resolution has to do with problem-solving. Resolution is the just and equitable settlement of a dispute or controversy.

There’s nothing wrong with self-improvement. All of us would do well to take better care of our emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual health and we have nothing to lose by declaring our intentions to do so. In fact, “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.” (That comes from one of those google searches, http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/)

But an article that I, or any of our area pastors, could write no matter what time of year it is would speak to the need for the employment of every resource of grace—forgiveness, compassion, reconciliation, redemption. It would encourage us to “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream” (Amos 5:24, NRSV) and it would remind us that Jesus called peacemakers blessed.

We don’t need to wait until it’s time to flip a page of the calendar to “learn to do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:16b-17, NRSV). New Year’s resolutions? Let’s make New Day’s resolutions, every day, always to be part of the solution, actively and intentionally.


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Nothing to Prove

by Ronnie McBrayer

by Ronnie McBrayer

Nikos Kazantzakis was a Greek writer and philosopher who penned the fabled book, “Zorba the Greek.” He was an incredibly astute, wise man with much to offer, even in death. You’ll find his grave on the island of Crete. It’s a simple, plain site, a capstone with ten Greek words. Translated into English it reads, “I want nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.”

This is timeless wisdom, for the things we desire, want, and chase imprison us. The pursuit, the game of acquisition—and we’re usually chasing after emotional rather than material things—actually steals our happiness and freedom.

Now, if a Greek philosopher’s epitaph is too highbrow for your tastes, then maybe you will be better served by the words of Kris Kristofferson (as sung by Janice Joplin, of course): “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” And usually the last thing we lose is our wretched insecurity that has us forever chasing after fool’s gold, playing for the fickle crowd’s applause, or trying to climb some unsurmountable mountain to showcase our strength.

No, there’s nothing wrong with ambition, for it has its proper place. The problem is when we go scrambling for accolades and approval, when we become something of stage actors trying to obtain that elusive appreciation, recognition, and validation. The problem is when we feel we have to prove to others that we are capable or lovable. Then, we have imprisoned ourselves. Only when the striving ends will we be free.

The good news is, we can quit doing and saying things we don’t mean, clutching to approval we don’t need, wasting time and energy we don’t have. We can be free from the merciless crowd, free from our own pride and insecurities, free to become people who no longer need the flattery of others; others who are as fractured as we are, others who give their approval which lasts for about five minutes, and then the exhausting, self-caging exercise must begin again.

Stay on this kind of treadmill and you will be an ego-driven, self-centered maniac; or you will be as fragile as glass, a needy little imp that never experiences a single moment of rest. Either way, you will never be free. It’s only when you have let everything go, when you have nothing left to prove, that you will have something truly to live for.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, blogger, pastor, and author of multiple books. Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.



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C-obit-WolfeHeather Wolfe, 47 of Cedar Springs, passed away on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 at home surrounded by her family. Heather was born August 2, 1967 in Greenville, Michigan, the daughter of Donald and Lynne (Grannis) Zank. She enjoyed being a wife, mother, working on the farm, raising calves and being a 4H Mom. She had worked for Cedar Springs Public Schools Food Service and Latch-Key Child Care for 16 years. She was very involved in East Nelson United Methodist Church and had been Treasurer, a Trustee and President of the Women’s Group. We will all miss her smile, infectious laugh and positive spirit. She will be a bright ray of sunshine from Heaven. Surviving are her husband, David; children, Brandon (Ashley), Bayley, Brock; stepchildren, Nathan (Lynette), Jessica, April; grandchildren, Carter, Brynlee, Dawson, Felix, Alexis; mother, Lynne Zank; sister, Heidi (Steve) Reed; brother, Hod (Kris) Zank; several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her father. The family greeted friends Sunday, Dec. 28 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where services were held Monday, Dec. 29. Pastor Herb VanderBilt officiating. Interment East Nelson Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Tri-County Country 4H or Celebrate Recovery at Blythefield Hills Baptist Church.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs


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