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Archive | April, 2015

Prescribed burns


The Michigan DNR conduct several prescribed burns on April 28, with three of them in Montcalm County.

Two burns were in Fairplain Township. One 160 acres and the other 41 acres. They burned timber and grass for the Karner blue butterfly habitat, and grass for upland bird habitat.

The third burnwas in Eureka Township (62 acres), also for Karner blue butterfly habitat enhancement.

The Karner blue butterfly is a federally listed endangered species in Michigan.

Other prescribed burns in the state occurred in Arenac County (red pine management), Monroe County (upland bird habitat and native grasses), Oakland County (to stimulate oak regeneration), and Otsego (grass and shrubs for elk, deer and turkey).

Prescribed burns are planned to achieve specific objectives—often simulating the benefits of natural fires. The burns are conducted by highly trained DNR personnel in designated state-managed areas during appropriate weather conditions and in cooperation with the proper authorities and local units of government. Public safety is a top priority during all prescribed burns. Prescribed burns are used to:

• Enhance wildlife habitat.

• Help with forest regeneration.

• Restore and maintain native plant life.

• Control invasive plant species.

• Reduce the risk of wildfires.

Although prescribed burns are planned, they can be canceled at the last minute due to careful monitoring of weather and wind conditions.

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West Michigan Hawks open preseason Saturday


N-West-Michigan-Hawks2There’s a brand new semi-pro football team in town—and unlike past semi pro teams, many of the players are from right here in Cedar Springs.

The West Michigan Hawks are associated with the Minor League Football Alliance (MLFA), and will be hosting their first pre-season game on Saturday, May 2, at 7 p.m. at Skinner Field, against the Lake Michigan Havoc. Tickets are $3 a person and children ages 8 and under are free.

According to owner and coach David Lange, the Hawks have been very involved in various community service activities. Not only have they donated money to organizations such as the Down Syndrome Awareness, but they have put in their time and effort in helping Cedar Springs with various clean up events as well.

“It’s not just about playing football. It’s about making a positive impact within your community. It’s about creating a team that strives for excellence on and off the field. Cedar Springs has been an amazing place for the Hawks and we could not be more proud to represent Cedar Springs and West Michigan. Community service is not a punishment for our guys. It’s a privilege and it’s our way to thank the community for their support,” remarked Lange.

Fans will recognize some of the names on the roster. Austin Hilyer played quarterback for the Cedar Springs Red Hawks. Jeff Newland played linebacker and fullback. Kameron Snyder also played for Cedar Springs. According to Lange, several players are from Cedar Springs, and the rest are from Sparta and Grand Rapids. And two members of the team are veterans—head coach Lange, who served seven years with one combat tour in Iraq, and middle linebacker Stan Scott, who is still serving.

Lange said that the West Michigan Hawks have been hard at work for seven months in hopes to have a successful first season. They are determined to make every game an exciting one—a game to remember. “Without a doubt the work has been put in,” said Lange. “The only thing left to do is strap the pads on and play.”

On top of the great food that the Skinner Field concessions offers, you may also run into the Lady Hawks, otherwise known as the Hawkettes. The Hawkettes are not only there for entertainment, but also will have pictures taken with the fans, which will be posted on the West Michigan Hawks Facebook page. The Hawkettes will have T-shirts and other apparel for sale, which will go towards the funding of the West Michigan Hawks.

Come on out and support your West Michigan Hawks football team! The gates open at 6 p.m. at Skinner Field, next to Morley Park.

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Woman grief-stricken over poisoned pets

Blue pellets (believed to be rat poison) found in the yard of the beloved pets.

Blue pellets (believed to be rat poison) found in the yard of the beloved pets.

Ruby, the family’s other pet.

Ruby, the family’s other pet.

Kobe, the Watson’s black lab.

Kobe, the Watson’s black lab.

By Judy Reed

A Cedar Springs woman lost two beloved family dogs within hours of each other last weekend, apparently the victims of poisoning.

Nancy Watson, who lives in the City of Cedar Springs, said she woke up shortly after 8 a.m., when she heard her black lab, Kobe, stumbling around in the dining room outside her bedroom door. She knew something was terribly wrong as she watched Kobe stumble around the fenced in backyard and finally lie down, where he died. “He was just the sweetest dog,” said Watson.

Kobe had vomited something bright blue, and had bright blue dog droppings.

Watson’s father came and picked her and Kobe up, and they buried Kobe on her father’s property. Watson said that when she returned home, about 9:30, she let her other dog out, a small dog named Ruby, while she called her daughter to tell her that Kobe had just died. By 10:20, Ruby was dying at her feet, and gone within a few minutes.

Watson called police, who referred her to animal control. “The first question they asked me was, ‘is anyone out to get you?’ I’ve never had a problem in the five years I’ve lived here,” she remarked. “I love my neighbors.”

Animal Control visited Watson Tuesday. She said they did find what she believes is rat poison pellets inside the fence. The Post called Animal Control Tuesday to find out if there have been other reports of poisonings in the area, but had not yet received a call from them at press time.

Watson cannot understand who would do this. “They would’ve had to have thrown it over the fence,” she said.

Her father is also upset. “What kind of a person would do this to a family pet? They both had a very vicious, toxic death within two hours,” he said.

Anyone with information should call Animal Control at 616-632-7300.

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Eagle Scout breaks ground on new pavilion


By Judy Reed

Sixteen-year-old Kevin Galloway hit a new milestone in his Eagle Scout project last Friday, when he held a ceremonial ground breaking for the new 20×36 pavilion that will be built in Morley Park, behind the Cedar Springs Museum.

The sophomore at Cedar Springs High School has been working on the project for two years. He originally wanted to repair the gazebo that used to be in the park. However, it was deemed structurally unsafe, and torn down, so Galloway had to start from scratch. The community rallied around Galloway’s project, and he was able to raise $18,500 to fund the project. Several business people in the community are also working with Galloway on the project.

“I want to thank the City of Cedar Springs and the community for their encouragement and support,” remarked Galloway.

He said that the 20 x 36 pavilion would add endless possibilities of different uses in the park. “I can vision many family and community events here in the future. The pavilion, with its maintenance free design, handicap accessibility, and capacity to hold 10 picnic tables, should serve this community well,” he added.

Galloway said that the pavilion kit is on order, and should be here in six to eight weeks.

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The Post travels to Graceland


Former Cedar Springs resident Val Palmer traveled recently to Memphis, Tennessee, where she visited Graceland, the home of the late Elvis Presley, as well as Loretta Lynn’s home. And she took a Post with her! Val traveled with Gary Tripp, Becky Evans, and Victor Evans. Thanks so much for taking us 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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Cedar Trails teacher wins “Cool Teacher” award

Mary Graf, right, received the WGVU “Cool Teacher” Award.

Mary Graf, right, received the WGVU “Cool Teacher” Award.

N-Cool-teacher-Graf2Mary Graf, a first grade teacher at Cedar Trails Elementary in Cedar Springs, was named the latest teacher to receive the WGVU “Cool Teacher” Award. WGVU honored Graf and her class with a pizza party on Thursday, April 23, which also happened to be Graf’s birthday. Graf has been teaching first graders for 37 of her 38 teaching years, all having been in Cedar Springs.

Cedar Trails Elementary Principal Mike Duffy, cited Graf as a “Master Teacher always growing, learning, and looking for ways to improve educational techniques for her students.”

Sienna Wolfe nominated her teacher, Mrs. Graf, for the award because “she is kind, caring, and makes learning fun! She even allows us to dance in the classroom as one way of expressing ideas.” Several other students from the class also submitted letters of support in naming her a “Cool Teacher.”

WGVU honored Graf and her class with a pizza party on Thursday, April 23.

WGVU honored Graf and her class with a pizza party on Thursday, April 23.

Bradley Gordon, WGVU Marketing and Special Events Coordinator noted, “We receive several hundred applications each month from our 2.1 million viewers, within 28 counties. A committee comprised of educators and other professionals from GVSU judge the nominees based on the students evidence of learning. Just 30 teachers, from grades kindergarten thru eighth, are selected each school year. Graf met all the criteria and had strong support from her students.”

Gordon and WGVU photographer Zack Limiewski video-recorded the celebration and various activities of Graf interacting with classroom students. A twice-a-day airing of this recording will begin around mid-May on WGVU TV 35 and TV 52 as well as on the website WGVU.org.

Graf and Wolfe were presented with four vouchers each from Amtrak for a trip from Grand Rapids to Chicago. On May 7, WGVU will host an Education Celebration with a dinner and award presentations to be held at the Eberhard Center honoring the 2014-15 winning “Cool Teachers.”

When Graf was asked what she enjoyed about teaching, she responded, “I love the enthusiasm that first graders have for learning. Every new lesson is a new adventure for them! First grade is such an amazing grade to teach because they are just discovering the incredible world of reading and writing. I feel so lucky to be part of this journey with them. To see the pleasure and joy on their faces after they read a great book or write a new story is so rewarding. I feel so blessed to have the best job in the world! I am humbled and honored to receive this award.”

The “Cool Teacher Award” promotes the positive and good things that teachers are doing with our youth. This program is an example of WGVU’s mission to provide educational, informational, and entertaining programs and events to the West Michigan Community as a service of Grand Valley State University.

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Brewery begins site work


N-Brewery2The Cedar Springs Brewing Company finally began site work at the southwest corner of Main and Maple Streets Monday. They encountered a delay, however, when, according to owner David Ringler, they discovered during the course of the work that the building next door, which houses Liquor Hut, has no foundation. He said they are taking care not to damage the building, and had their engineers out at the site Wednesday morning to work out the location before they begin to pour concrete.

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Two area artists to showcase work 


Alena Gray from Howard City will exhibit “Animals,” a needlework piece

Alena Gray, of Howard City, will exhibit this needlework piece titled “Animals.”

Public can vote in competition for artists with disabilities

Two area residents are among 85 Michigan artists who will showcase their artwork in the 2015 Legacy Trust Award Collection for a chance to be sponsored in ArtPrize.

For the sixth consecutive year year, Legacy Trust is sponsoring a statewide art competition for adult artists with disabilities, in an effort to bring their voices and vision to ArtPrize, an international art competition that draws tens of thousands of visitors to Grand Rapids each year. Artists from Ada to Zeeland across the Lower Peninsula and into the UP have submitted artwork.

Bradley Hall, of Sand Lake, will exhibit his painting “Spring Rain.”

Bradley Hall, of Sand Lake, will exhibit his painting “Spring Rain.”

Alena Gray from Howard City will exhibit “Animals,” a needlework piece, and Bradley Hall, of Sand Lake, will exhibit “Spring Rain,” a framed painting.

Four winners will be chosen—one by a panel of celebrity judges, two by public vote and one special juried award—and sponsored in ArtPrize, the world’s largest art competition.

The public is invited to view the art and cast their ballots on Tuesday, May 5 and Wednesday, May 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Grand Rapids Art Museum in downtown Grand Rapids. Meijer has graciously provided free admission to the GRAM on both days of public voting. Votes can also be cast online. Online voters may visit the LTAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/LegacyTrustAwardCollection, on May 5 and 6 for a link to online voting.

Winners of LTAC 2015 will be announced the week of May 11.  Along with having their artwork entered into ArtPrize, the winning artists will each receive a cash prize of $500. All entry fees and promotion expenses for ArtPrize will be paid by Legacy Trust, which has secured the high-profile DeVos Place venue for the winning artists during ArtPrize.

ArtPrize, an international art competition that draws tens of thousands of people to West Michigan each fall, returns to Grand Rapids for its seventh year on Sept. 23 through Oct. 11. It debuted with much enthusiasm in 2009 and participation has soared in the following years. This year is expected to see a continued increase in community engagement and entries.

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Renter charged in murder of landlord

Murder victim Janna Kelly

Murder victim Janna Kelly

Robin Root

Robin Root

A 52-year-old Kent County woman was arrested Monday, for the December 2007 murder of Janna Kelly, 60, of Grand Rapids.

Kelly, a Vice President at Burr & Company Insurance Agency, 3351 Claystone SE, just off the East Beltline (near Burton), was last seen leaving her job there on December 4, 2007, about 6:30 p.m. Co-workers became worried on December 5, 2007, when she didn’t report for work, but wondered if she had gone Christmas shopping. Later that afternoon, the company received a call from a nearby car wash on Burton Street that said they found her wallet there. Her purse and jacket were also found there in the dumpster. Her credit cards were still inside the wallet. Her car was discovered in the 2100 block of Plymouth Avenue, but no clues were found inside.

Kelly was missing for three months. Her body was found on March 13, 2008, in Grand Haven Township, Ottawa County.

According to Capt. Mark Bennett, of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff’s office detectives and investigators from the Grand Rapids Police Department talked to many individuals and ran down numerous tips and leads over the years. But in June 2014, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Team began a more intense review of this case.  Sheriff’s investigators were assisted by an investigator from the Grand Rapids Police Department.

“Many hours were spent looking over documentation and data from the initial time period and also re-interviewing people surrounding the case,” explained Bennett. “In addition, members of the Ottawa County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office have been involved in reviewing case information.”

On Monday, April 27, the Sheriff’s office arrested a former tenant of Kelly’s and charged her with open murder. Robin Root, 52, had rented a home near Kelly, and fell behind in rent. Kelly reportedly took her to court and was awarded $3,000 in March 2007.

Root told police she went to Kelly’s home the evening of December 4. She admitted she pushed Kelly, and she was knocked unconscious. Root said she put Kelly in Kelly’s car trunk and left her overnight. When she returned the next day and checked on her, Kelly was dead. So Root drove her car to the land in Grand Haven Township to dispose of her body.

It’s unknown whether Root had any accomplices. Capt. Bennett said that the investigation is still ongoing.


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FFA celebrates busy winter


By FFA Reporter Riley Ross

When most people think of farming and agriculture in winter, they envision downtime and “mending your harness.” But for members of the Cedar Springs FFA, winter is a busy time.  Leadership is a focus in the Cedar Springs FFA and the future belongs to those who prepare for it.

Each fall kicks off with a Big Buck contest. Everyone in the high school is invited to enter. Trophies are given, and this year’s winners are John Shaw and Zack Cardinal. Congratulations!

After the first of the year, Nate Schoen organized and led the FFA fishing tournament. Members gathered at Bass Lake and fished all day. Winners were determined by dividing fish weight by length. This year’s winners were Kevin Galloway and Dylan Tanis.

N-FFA2-kids-on-stairs-webSeveral members showed their leadership skills by earning honors and participating in Leadership Contests. There are levels of competition that have to be achieved to advance. First level is Districts, then Regions, then on to the State level.

Cedar hosted six schools in their districts and Nicole Kaupa and Justin Davis competed in the Job Interview contest. Kaupa earned the Silver Award. Justin Davis earned the right to compete at Regionals with a Gold Award. Also polishing their leadership skills were Adam Parker and Ian Savickas who competed in the Demonstration Contest. Parker and Savickas earned gold at the regional event in Lowell competing against the winners from the 3 districts.  The pair went all the way to the State finals to compete against the 11 other winners from around the state earning a silver award. Congratulations to all of our FFA members for a job well done.

Leadership is not just leading a group of followers. It is helping your fellow classmates to learn how to make a difference in our world—by giving direction, a helping hand, and learning with others how to be the leaders of tomorrow. The FFA motto is “Learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, and living to serve.”

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Don’t forget to VOTE on road funding May 5


A special statewide election will be held on Tuesday, May 5, to decide whether to increase taxes for road maintenance and its outcome will affect every household in Michigan. Some school districts also have proposals on the ballot, but here in Cedar Springs and the surrounding area, we will only be voting on Proposal 1. The Post is rerunning an article we published recently by The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which breaks down the proposal, and there is a link at the end for further information.

New study analyzes impact of Proposal 1 on taxpayers

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy published a new analysis of Proposal 1, which voters will be asked to approve or reject on May 5. The proposal increases taxes by $2 billion and aims to dedicate most of that revenue for future road construction and maintenance. In addition to reviewing the proposed constitutional and legislative changes, this new study estimates how Proposal 1 would impact the typical Michigan household.

James Hohman, author of the study and assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center, used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to estimate that Proposal 1 would increase the tax burden of the typical Michigan household by about $500 in 2016.

“These estimates rely on assumptions about the average price of gasoline and other factors, but they’re about as close as one can get to figuring out about how much taxpayers would pay if voters approve of this plan to increase funding for roads,” Hohman said.

Proposal 1 would make four changes to the Michigan Constitution: increasing the allowable sales tax rate to 7 percent, exempting fuel purchases from sales and use taxes, prohibiting public universities from receiving revenue from the School Aid Fund and earmarking a portion of use tax revenue for the School Aid Fund.

These changes are “tie-barred” with eight legislative bills that will go into effect if voters approve of Proposal 1. These laws would hike the sales and use tax to 7 percent, create a new wholesale fuel tax of 41.7 cents per gallon and earmark this revenue for roads, increase the state’s earned income tax credit, boost spending on one public school program and create new rules pertaining to road construction projects for the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Regarding the proposed wholesale tax on fuel, it is likely that prices at the pump for gasoline consumers will be higher if Proposal 1 passes. Based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average national gasoline price in 2015 will be $2.39. At this rate, consumers would pay about 10 cents more per gallon in taxes at the pump.

“The difference between the proposed gas tax and the current one depends a lot on the price of gasoline. But only when gasoline prices exceed $4.20 per gallon will consumers start to pay less at the pump under Proposal 1,” Hohman added.

The analysis found that the proposed new wholesale fuel tax will increase at a rate that will outpace inflation. The mechanics of the formula prescribed in the law to adjust the tax rate based on inflation ensures that the rate will grow faster than inflation.

“The way the fuel tax formula is designed, taxpayers can expect to see fuel taxation rates rise faster than inflation,” Hohman said.

Even though the earned income tax credit would be increased under Proposal 1 (from 6 percent of the federal EITC amount to 20 percent), low-income households in Michigan may not experience much of a tax benefit overall.

“The average EITC recipient’s tax burden will likely be reduced slightly if Proposal 1 passes, but there will be EITC recipients whose overall tax burden will still rise,” said Hohman.

The full study can be found online here: www.mackinac.org/21128

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Michigan citizens by promoting sound solutions to state and local policy questions. The Mackinac Center assists policy makers, scholars, business people, the media and the public by providing objective analysis of Michigan issues.

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Road becomes runway


Montcalm County Sheriff Deputies briefly closed M66 in Montcalm County last Friday, April 24, between Lake Montcalm Road and Cannonsville Road so an airplane could take off.

The crop duster, owned by Heritage AG Aerial Application from Lakeview, had to make an emergency landing on M66 on April 7 due to engine troubles. The plane had been parked at a nearby apple orchard, while repairs were made to the engine.

The pilot was able to make a successful take off and M-66 was then reopened to traffic.

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