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Archive | May, 2015

Former CSHS track athlete is national Champion 

Justin Balczak captured the 2015 NCAA Division II decathlon national championship, picking up his second individual national title. Photo by Joe Reinsch, Asuza Pacific University.

Justin Balczak captured the 2015 NCAA Division II decathlon national championship, picking up his second individual national title. Photo by Joe Reinsch, Asuza Pacific University.

Justin Balczak (center) on winner’s stand. Photo courtesy Jeff Myers.

Justin Balczak (center) on winner’s stand. Photo courtesy Jeff Myers.

Grand Valley State University hosted the NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships on May 21-23. Former state champion hurdler, Justin Balczak (class of 2011), who attends Azusa Pacific University in California, competed in the decathlon, a grueling two-day event.

The event accumulates points based on how close the decathletes come to the world record mark in each event. Upon the conclusion of each event, the athletes are given 30 minutes to prepare for their next. There is very little mental and physical rest.

On day one, Justin competed in the 100m dash, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400m dash. Balczak posted an 11.37 in the 100; long jumped 23’ 2”; threw the 16lb. shot put 42’ 8”; won the high jump event at 6’ 7.5”; and ran the 400 in 50.36 seconds. After the first day of competition, Justin led the field of 15.

Day two started with the 110m hurdles, followed by the discus, pole vault, javelin, and concluded with the 1500m run. His 14.71 seconds in the hurdles placed him second; he struggled in the discus by throwing 116’ 3”; placed second in the pole vault with a jump of 14’ 11”; threw the javelin 175’ 10”; and finished the 1500 in 4:43.99. His points earned declared him national champion in Division II.

This was Justin’s first outdoor national championship, while he won the heptathlon this past winter. “It’s terribly taxing on the mind and body,” remarked Justin. “You learn that you have to forget the last event and prepare for the next.”

He is coached by former Olympic decathlete, Brian Clay.

In July, Justin will compete in the Pan-American Games in Toronto. With success, he can earn a roster spot on the U.S. National team.

Balczak is a well decorated collegiate athlete. He has earned All-American status four consecutive years competing in indoor track and field (three at Lake Superior State University and one at Azusa Pacific), while being awarded All-American three times in the outdoor season (two at LSSU and his first at A.P.U.). He has one season of eligibility remaining in outdoor track and field.

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Man dies in auto accident

Terrance Gage, of Courtland Township, died last week after his Jeep was struck at the intersection of Indian Lakes and Pine Island. Photo by woodtv.com.

Terrance Gage, of Courtland Township, died last week after his Jeep was struck at the intersection of Indian Lakes and Pine Island. Photo by woodtv.com.

Terrance Gage

Terrance Gage

A Cedar Springs man was killed last week in a two-vehicle accident in Algoma Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, Terrance Gage II, 39, of Courtland Township, was traveling westbound on Indian Lakes, about 3:30 p.m., May 21, in a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee, when he ran the stop sign at Pine Island. His vehicle was then struck by a northbound 1997 Saturn, driven by Johnny Castellanos, 42, of the City of Cedar Springs.

Gage was pronounced dead at the scene.

Castellanos was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.

Algoma Fire and Rescue and Rockford Ambulance both assisted at the scene.

Police said that both drivers were wearing seat belts, and alcohol did not appear to be a factor. The crash is still under investigation.

Funeral services were  held for Terrance Gage this week. See his obituary here.

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Funnel cloud sighted near Greenville

This photo, submitted by a reader, was taken in Greenville near the old Meijer store. Courtesy photo.

This photo, submitted by a reader, was taken in Greenville near the old Meijer store. Courtesy photo.

Thunderstorms rolled through West Michigan on Tuesday, May 26, and residents in the Greenville area snapped photos of an ominous-looking funnel cloud.

The photo here was taken looking northeast, near the old Meijer store.

According to woodtv8 meteorologist Kyle Underwood’s report at woodtv.com, a weak but rotating storm produced the funnel cloud. “A funnel cloud is a rotating parcel of condensation and is often the precursor to a tornado; a tornado occurs when the condensation funnel is reaching the ground or debris can be seen swirling on the ground,” he explained.

The storm produced heavy rain and gusty winds, but he said that no tornado was reported and no damage was reported in the area. Minor damage was reported in Newaygo County, with some trees and a power line down.

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Have you seen this bike?

This photo shows the suspect taking the bike. Courtesy photo.

This photo shows the suspect taking the bike. Courtesy photo.

This bike was stolen at the end of W. Ash Street, just off the White Pine Trail. Courtesy photo.

This bike was stolen at the end of W. Ash Street, just off the White Pine Trail. Courtesy photo.

Michelle Hawley sent us a message this week letting us know that someone stole her bike on Sunday, May 24, from the end of W. Ash Street, near the White Pine Trail. The bike is a Zigo Leader X2. She also had surveillance footage of the suspect, though it is a bit blurry. If you have seen this bike or have any information on who might’ve stolen it, please notify the Kent County Sheriff Department Cedar Springs Unit at 696-1311 or Detective Hopkins  at 616-632-6100.

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The Post travels to Maui


Kathy Corwin, her parents Dave and Diane Taghon, and her daughter, Katia, traveled to Maui over spring break and took along The Post. They stayed at the beautiful Ka’anapali Beach Club, where they relaxed at the pool and ocean, enjoyed wonderful Hawaiian food and entertainment at the Royal Lahaina Luau, and were in awe of the famous 60-foot high banyan tree in the center of Lahaina town. They snorkeled at Molokini, whale watched, took the curvy road to Hana as far as Twin Falls, journeyed many miles along the ocean view road to Blow Hold and watched surfers on the big waves.They also made the ride up to Haleakala Crater—elevation 10,023 feet—only to have it be so foggy, rainy and windy it was hard to see anything. But they made it! They embraced gorgeous weather and time together, in a Mustang Convertible, traveling the island that was truly a trip of a lifetime!

Thanks Kathy, 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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Memorial Day services at the Legion


By Judy Reed

The threat of rain forced Memorial Day services to be held inside the Cedar Springs American Legion Glen Hill Post this year instead of at area cemeteries. “The flags are made of wool and are hard to get dry,” explained Commander Bill Gregones.

The Cedar Springs Marching Red Hawks were in attendance, and this year’s speaker was Nelson Township Supervisor and longtime resident Colonel Tom Noreen. “Standing with the Marching Red Hawks (band) 45 years ago, as a tuba player, at a similar Memorial Day ceremony, little did I realize I would be speaking at it in the future,” he said. Noreen also didn’t imagine at that time that he would serve 26 years in the Army.

“Scripture tells us that there is no greater love than a man laying down his life for his friends,” Noreen told the crowd. “The men and women we honor and remember today have proven that they are not just friends to us Americans, but they are friends to men and women around the world.

“I’ve seen the endless crosses at Normandy, the markers in the Punchbowl and the tombs at Arlington. The changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown, as they honor the fallen heroes without name, and those who rest in places unknown. They each have stories to tell. From our founding Revolution to today’s Global War on Terrorism, over one million men and women in the Armed Forces have sacrificed their lives, while defending America in time of war.”

Noreen said he felt that there is one thing that people tend to gloss over about Memorial Day is that these people died for our freedom. “While the semantics of how they died, why they died or where they died can become blurred by those seeking to minimize their sacrifice, the reality is that they died in serving the very country that allows for the freedom to belittle their heroic actions.”

Services were scheduled all across the area, including Algoma, Sand Lake, Pierson, and Howard City.

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Calling all kids: the blessing of the bicycles


N-Blessing-of-the-bikesA fun family event

By Judy Reed

Does your child have a bike? Do they need one? All kids are welcome at the Blessing of the Bicycles, in the parking lot of The Springs Church, on the corner of First and Maple, in Cedar Springs, Saturday, June 6, from 1-3 p.m.

According to organizer Johna Alexander, there will be stations set up with fun stuff for kids. Kids are welcome to bring their bike and helmet if they have one, and if they don’t, some gently used bikes will be given away, as well as helmets. There will also be a drawing to give away four new bikes.

There will be a blessing said over the bikes, a station to decorate them, free t-shirts, a bike safety handout, a station for minor repairs that need to be made, info on helmet safety, chalk art, face painting, and possibly the Cedar Springs Fire Department.

Johna said she would love to see the blessing of the bicycles eventually become an annual community event. “We just really are hoping to get kids and families out to do some fun stuff,” she said.

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Help NKCS provide summer lunches


While children across the county are counting down the days until summer vacation, North Kent Community Services is preparing to distribute additional food to families through its Summer Lunch Bag Program.

Nearly 50 percent of students in Kent County are eligible for free or reduced lunch. The additional cost to the parents, many who are working low-wage jobs just to make ends meet, can result in a family having to choose between buying food and paying their bills. That’s where North Kent Community Services comes in.

The Summer Lunch Bag Program provides additional food for children during the months of June, July and August. The bags contain nutritious items such as milk, peanut butter, soup, lunch meat, cheese, juice, cereal and fruit. Each Summer Lunch Bag helps to keep children’s brains and bodies healthy and alert during the summer so they are ready to learn in September when school begins.

North Kent Community Services is asking for donations for its Summer Lunch Bag Program. A special effort is taking place this year to ensure that families are receiving healthy, nutritious food in place of overly-processed and high-fat options. Please donate:


Lunch Meat

String Cheese


Whole Wheat Pasta Meals

Canned Fruit in Light Syrup/Juice

Low Sodium Soup

Whole Grain Pancake Mix

Low-Sugar Cereal

Granola Bars

Real Fruit Snacks

Raisins/Dried Fruit

100% Fruit Juice Boxes

Nuts/Trail Mix

Healthy Snacks

North Kent Community Services is also in need of grains such as pasta, rice, cereal and more for its regular food pantry.

Donations can be dropped off Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Please visit our website at www.nkcs.org for more information and a complete list of needs.

North Kent Community Services is the largest food pantry in northern Kent County, serving families and individuals from 5 Mile to 22 Mile Roads and east and west to the county lines. We provide food, clothing, senior meals on wheels, tax preparation and more to those in need.


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City Council discusses agreement with Red Flannel


N-City-logo-webBy Judy Reed

At their regular meeting on Monday, 14, the Cedar Springs City Council discussed their concerns with a potential agreement with the Red Flannel Festival .

Under the two-part agreement, the City would offer in kind services (mainly DPW) to the RFF, and be able to license the various logos owned by the Festival free of charge. No money would change hands.

City Councilor Rose Powell said that she talked to Rockford City Manager Michael Young, and they provide in kind services to 50 festivals held there. She noted that Sparta does the same, with an in-kind cap of $5,000.

City Manager Thad Taylor said that with the way the agreement is written, his concern was that there was no way to determine what the cost would be. “I am also extremely concerned about a unanimous vote to get out of the agreement,” he noted.

Mayor Pro-tem Pam Conley, who is on the committee working on the agreement, said that they didn’t put a number in there (a cap) and that they needed direction from Council.

Councilor Perry Hopkins said that if they do this, they need to be ready to do it for all events, and he felt that they should leave trademarks out of it. “Just use the in kind services. I think it’s taking a step backward (to use the logo),” he said.

Mayor Jerry Hall said he thought they should wait on the trademark and just work on the agreement for services for now.

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Solon Township park plans to be unveiled


The Solon Township Parks Committee will unveil the latest design for the Township Park on Algoma Avenue on opening day of the Solon Market, June 6, 2015, from 9:00-1:00. A committee member will be available to answer questions, gather ideas and share refreshments.

The new drawing developed by the design team was created with input from the May survey of Solon Township residents and from prior surveys and public meetings. After the June 6 unveiling, the design will be displayed for viewing at the township hall for one month, before the Master Plan documents are submitted to the Township Board for approval.

The Park Committee would like input and opinions from all Solon Township residents, with the hope of creating a park that offers amenities to be utilized and enjoyed by everyone. Please visit and like them on facebook.com/SolonPark.


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Car bursts into flames after crash


A Howard City man was injured Monday, after his vehicle crashed into a tree and later caught fire.

Shortly after 5:30 p.m., Montcalm County’s Central Dispatch received several reports of a possible single vehicle crash near the 8400 block of Garbow Road, in Reynolds Township. Upon arrival, the responding Deputy found a Tan Toyota Corolla that had hit a large tree. The vehicle was also on fire.

The driver of the vehicle, 46-year-old Scott Huff of Howard City, was found lying in the grass, near the burning vehicle, and appeared to be unconscious. The Deputy and a bystander were able to drag Huff to a safe location, as the vehicle became more engulfed in flames. The Deputy was later told that two other bystanders had removed Huff from the vehicle prior to it catching on fire.

The initial police investigation found that Huff was traveling northbound on Garbow Road, prior to veering off the roadway and striking two mailboxes. After striking the mailboxes, he veered back onto the roadway, traveled a short distance and collided with the tree, which caused his vehicle to catch fire. The vehicle airbags deployed, as a result of the collision.

Huff was later transported to Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids for treatment of injuries sustained from the crash. He was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the incident. Alcohol is believed to be a factor and the accident remains under investigation.

The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the Howard City Fire Department and Montcalm County Emergency Services.

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Animal shelter urges caution during canine flu spread 


Many people are contacting the Kent County Animal Shelter with concerns about Canine Flu. The flu has been confirmed in 1,200 dogs in 10 states, with two cases here in Kent County, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. This H3N2 virus can cause a fever, make dogs lethargic, and symptoms can last two weeks.

The Kent County Animal Shelter (KCAS) said they don’t have any cases of illness at this time, but they urge dog owners to take steps to protect dogs. Most importantly, avoid contact with other dogs that might be carrying the virus. “As a dog owner, I think it’s reasonable to be concerned,” said Chris Buckley, DVM, staff veterinarian at KCAS. “But it would be unreasonable to avoid dog parks, grooming, or boarding and daycare facilities at this time.” More information from the American Veterinary Medical Association can be found here: https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/FAQs/Pages/Control-of-Canine-Influenza-in-Dogs.aspx

Use caution at dog parks, by making sure your dog doesn’t play with a dog that looks tired or ill. Talk to your boarding facility to see what measures they have in place to safeguard pets from illness. “If your dog gets loose and has an updated tag, our Animal Control Officers can, in many cases, immediately return the dog to his or her home,” said Carly Luttmann, Kent County Animal Shelter Supervisor. “If the dog must be brought into the shelter, we vaccinate immediately for other illnesses, but there is no vaccination from canine flu. We know viruses can quickly spread. Make sure your dog is licensed to avoid a trip here.”

A dog license helps to get your dog home safe if they become lost. Dog licensing provides funding for animal control in Kent County. This allows us to investigate and prosecute animal cruelty and neglect, as well as responding to loose or aggressive dogs. Licensing protects the community by ensuring dogs are vaccinated against rabies. Michigan law requires that all dogs over the age of four months are licensed and all new dogs are licensed within 30 days.

Numerous veterinarians are offering One-Stop Vaccinations and Licensing. You must contact the veterinarian’s office directly for pricing and to make an appointment. Many township and city offices provide licensing, as well as the Kent County Animal Shelter, Humane Society of West Michigan, C-Snip, or online. For more information on licensing locations, pricing, or to buy your dog’s license online, go to www.accessKent.com/KCAS.

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