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Archive | July, 2015

Sewer and water construction begins

Work began late last week to replace old sewer lines in the City of Cedar Springs. This photo shows construction on E. Cherry Street. Post photo by J. Reed.

Work began late last week to replace old sewer lines in the City of Cedar Springs. This photo shows construction on E. Cherry Street. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Area residents driving through the east side of the City of Cedar Springs probably couldn’t help but notice that the city’s utility reconstruction work has begun.

The city is replacing antiquated sewer lines and will construct a new water main on Muskegon Street.

Phase one of the project started with E. Cherry Street, and runs to just east of Park Street, and then south on Park to Ash Street. Asphalt was removed from those streets late last week, and work began in earnest this week on Cherry Street.

Phases 1 and 2 will include removing the existing road surface, aggregate base and sub-base, and installing new sanitary sewer, storm sewer and water main and reconnection of sewer and water services.

Phase 2 of the project will include reconstruction of Ash Street, from Park Street to Ann Street, Ann Street from Ash to Beech Street, and Linda Street from the Beech Street intersection.

Phase 3 will be water main construction along Muskegon Street from Red Hawk Drive to the well fields.

Phase 4 will include sanitary sewer lining and spot repairs around the city.

During phase 1 and 2, residents will be able to get in and out, even when the road is torn up. “Dean’s Excavating (who is doing the work) has to provide access at all times,” explained DPW Director Tom Stressman. “At least one side will be passable.”

The United States Post Office on Cherry Street is still open. You can access it by parking behind the Kent Theatre and walking across the street; parking in the alley behind the Post Office; or parking in their lot off First Street.

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Kent County Youth Fair 

Participants in the Little Britches Rodeo at the Kent County Youth Fair must be 18 and under.

Participants in the Little Britches Rodeo at the Kent County Youth Fair must be 18 and under.

August 10-15

The first ever Kent County Youth 4H Fair was held in Lowell, Michigan, in 1935. It was a two-day fair that replaced the West Michigan Fair, five years after it had shut down. And now, 80 years later, the Kent County Youth Fair is still going strong—and it has a lot more than just live and still exhibits.

Each year, the Kent County Youth Fair provides an exciting opportunity to over 1000 exhibitors and more than 40,000 patrons. This year’s fair takes place August 10-15.

Racing pigs are back at the Kent County Youth Fair this year.

Racing pigs are back at the Kent County Youth Fair this year.

Besides the exhibits, there is a carnival, daily themes, free entertainment, and special attractions such as the Little Britches Rodeo, racing pigs, tractor games, pulls, children’s barnyard, dodgeball, princess tea, goat milking contest, clown judging, bingo and much more to see and do. Check out the full schedule here.

Admission is free, daily parking passes are $6, or $18 for the week. Parking fees are the fair’s main source of revenue, since they don’t charge a gate fee.

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Juveniles arrested for stealing from cars

 

Four Cedar Springs area youth arrested for stealing items out of cars have confessed to over 50 larcenies from automobiles since June.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the thefts took place in Grand Rapids, Rockford, Kentwood, Sand Lake, Cedar Springs and Kentwood.

The juveniles, ages 15-16, were caught after rifling through staff cars parked outside the Plainfield Township government offices. A staff member saw the teens and called 911, and another one chased them down the White Pine Trail. The teens had been using the White Pine Trail to get to their destinations.

The Sheriff Department said that when their investigation is complete, they will be asking for charges in juvenile court.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff Department at (616) 632-6357, or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

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The Post travels to Utah

Tom and Char Dubridge of Sand Lake travelled to many parts of Colorado and Utah earlier this month. This picture was taken at Glen Canyon, Lake Powell, Utah.

Tom and Char Dubridge of Sand Lake travelled to many parts of Colorado and Utah earlier this month. This picture was taken at Glen Canyon, Lake Powell, Utah.

Tom and Char Dubridge of Sand Lake travelled to many parts of Colorado and Utah earlier this month. This picture was taken at Glen Canyon, Lake Powell, Utah. They also visited their daughter, Sherri Innis, in Vail, Colorado, and relatives in Grand Junction Colorado, and a brother in Ticaboo, Utah.

Thanks, Tom and Char, 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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Cloud formations are pure Michigan

N-Cloud-Michigan-MittenReader Andrea Martin took this photo last Saturday evening, July 25, at the West Michigan Hawks football game at Skinner Field. It’s a great shot of what looks like the Michigan mitten! Thanks, Andrea, for sending it our way!

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Summer reading carnival next week

 

Last year’s summer reading carnival was loads of fun! Get ready for this year’s celebration in the park next Wednesday, August 5, from 2-5 p.m.

Last year’s summer reading carnival was loads of fun! Get ready for this year’s celebration in the park next Wednesday, August 5, from 2-5 p.m.

Wednesday, August 5, 2-5 p.m., Morley Park

N-Library1-program-Master-Arts

Last week’s summer reading program with Master Arts Street Theatre was just one of many fun programs that have been part of the Cedar Springs Public Library’s offerings this summer.

It’s been a great summer of reading and special programs at the Cedar Springs Library, but there is still a grand celebration to attend and prizes to be given away!

The Cedar Springs Public Library’s Summer Reading Program is heading into its Grand Finale Reading Celebration Park Party on Wednesday, August 5 from 2-5 p.m., at Morley Park. Beyond the normal fun offerings the Library provides, such as music by Deb Eadie; the Double “K” Petting Barn and Animal Junction 4H Club; popcorn by Independent Bank; a game by Metron of Cedar Springs; a waterslide and four games by Diana Merritt; Ice Cream by Country Fresh; free tours of the Museum; and the hose down by the CS Fire Department, there are two new events!

The Solon Wesleyan Church recently built a brand new Obstacle Course, complete with a climbing wall. Word has it that it takes 1-½ hours just to set it up!  Youth of all ages will enjoy this event.

We are also very excited about the free expo that the Kent County Sheriff’s Department is hosting in the parking lot area on the east side of the Cedar Springs Museum! They will have on hand their Mounted Police (yes, horses), an armored car (you can’t believe how thick and heavy that vehicle is), a Police Robot (wow!), as well as a variety of equipment they use everyday to keep Cedar Springs safe. The Sheriff’s Department will also be giving away two bicycles and two helmets to two lucky winners that day.

The Library will be giving away around 50 other prizes at the Park, everything from a wagon, karaoke machine, manicure, oil change, Legos, to a Kindle Fire, two bikes and a refurbished Xbox 360. You can imagine that Summer Readers have been pouring it on this summer, banking their chances to win the prize of their dreams.  This year every coupon was marked by readers with the number of the prize they wanted to win.  Reading is up. Excitement is way up.

Come to Morley Park next Wednesday, August 5 and share in a great time! A huge thank you to our local heroes who give so much every year to make this the Library’s premier program of the year! A special Hero Banner will appear in next week’s Post. You know who you are and so does your community!

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North Country Trail holds public forum 

N-North-Country-Trail-logo

Approximately 25 area residents attended a Public Forum presented by North Country Trail (NCT) and hosted by the Community Building Development Team (CBDT) at Hilltop Administration building on Tuesday, July 21. Representatives from North Country Trail included Chuck Vannette, West Michigan NCT President; Mark Weaver NPS, NCNST Superintendent; Chris Coudenslager, NPS/NCT Planner; and Luke Jordan, NCT Planner.

The NCT presenters are considering bringing the northern route of the longest walking trail in America through Cedar Springs, and also naming the City of Cedar Springs as a North Country Trail Town. These two distinctions could prove to be an important community asset according to Luke Jordan, a NCT Planner.

Two possible and tentative trail routes were presented connecting the White Pine Trail Russell Road Trail Head and Red Pine Trail Head/Rogue River State Game Area. Both trail options would be approximately 15 miles and would most likely be considered a 2-day hike. An important part of the final decision rests on community and property owner’s consent as well as the DNR’s permission to use some sections of the White Pine Trail.

Jordan explained the team’s objectives include characteristics of the trail being scenic, natural, cultural, and historic. A certified trail must be permanent and legal, and would be attached to any land deeds to protect the investment of the trail. Officials look for services and facilities, as well as accessibility. Partnership development and safety are also key in the final decision of a trail route.

Presenter Mark Weaver, NPS Superintendent, asked those in attendance to provide them with a “cool route plan through the city highlighting 10 activities, special events, points of interest, and all other information that would allow both hikers and those perhaps driving to Cedar Springs a pleasant hike experience through downtown.”

The NCT representatives were pleased with the community input and hope to have a final decision with a few months.

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Chamber to giveaway two kids bikes

boys bike

boys bike

girls bike

girls bike

Shop in Cedar Springs at five different businesses and get in the drawing to win a kids bike! The Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce is giving away two bikes—a boy’s and a girl’s—at its Movie in the Park next Friday, August 7, at 8 p.m. in Morley Park. They will be showing ET.

All you have to do to be entered in the drawing is to turn in five receipts from five different Cedar Springs area businesses to receive one entry. Enter as many times as you wish, but no more than five receipts from the same business can be entered over all. Entries may be dropped at Curves/Jenny Craig, Perry’s Place for Teas LLC, or Cedar Chest.

Bikes are on display at Choice One and Independent Bank.

For more information, email president@coc.org or call (855) 627-2262.

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National Stop on Red Week

 

N-Stop-on-red-weekIn 1995, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) created the Stop Red-Light Running Program to help educate the public on the dangers of red-light running and increase enforcement at a grassroots, community level. A key platform of this effort is National Stop on Red Week, which takes place annually the first week of August, and during which communities across the country bring national visibility to this deadly traffic problem and step up enforcement efforts. This year National Stop on Red Week is August 2 to August 8, 2015.

Top 10 Reasons to Stop on Red:

1. Red-light running is dangerous.

2. Between 2004-2013, an estimated 7,799 people were killed from red-light running incidents.

3. The cost to society of all crashes exceeds $230 billion annually.

4. One in three Americans know someone who has been injured or killed in a red-light running crash.

5. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children age 4 and the second leading cause of death for children age 3 and 5-14.

6. About half of the deaths in red-light running crashes are pedestrians, bicyclists and occupants in other vehicles that are hit by the red-light runners.

7. In 2013, more than 697 people were killed and an estimated 127,000 were injured in crashes that involved red-light running.

8. Motorists in urban areas are more likely to be injured in crashes involving red-light running than in any other type of crash.

9. Red-light runners are more than three times as likely as other drivers to have multiple speeding convictions on their driver records.

10. More than 36 percent of drivers continue to run red-lights and take risks, despite the fact that 55 percent of the participants said it is a very serious threat and 73 percent acknowledged that running red-lights is unacceptable.

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Beware of people posing as DTE reps

 

From the Better Business Bureau

A Grand Rapids consumer reports to BBB that a person knocked on her door stating he was there on behalf of DTE Energy to discuss an incorrect charge that might be on her DTE Bill. He asked if her most recent DTE bill contained a “Gas Recovery Fee” and, if it did, that the fee was charged in error.   The representative asked to take a copy of the bill and stated he could have the charge removed from future bills and obtain a refund on any “Gas Recovery Fees” already paid to DTE.  BBB advises consumers to beware, and don’t be fooled! The company’s true intent is to switch your natural gas service to Direct Energy.

Direct Energy representatives are currently canvassing in West Michigan; however, they may be identifying themselves as “with DTE” or “on behalf of DTE” with no mention of the true company, Direct Energy.  Direct Energy is based in Houston, Texas, and is licensed with the Michigan Public Service Commission as an alternative gas supplier. Typically, alternative gas suppliers contact consumers and entice them to switch natural gas providers by offering a lower gas rate than the consumer’s current provider for a specified contract term. Often the rate increases dramatically after the contract term expires.

As for the Gas Recovery Fee, according to the Michigan Public Service Commission, this is a legitimate charge; this charge reflects the actual cost incurred by your natural gas company to purchase the gas you use.  The fee will vary depending on the actual amount of gas you use.

Direct Energy has a “C” grade with BBB, with more than 600 complaints on fileThe company uses a variety of business names: CPL Retail Energy, Energetix, Inc., First Choice Power, Gateway Energy, Gateway Power Services, Hess Energy Marketing, New Leaf Energy, NYSEG Solutions, Vectren Source, WTU, WTU Retail Energy. In Michigan, the company uses Direct Energy Services.

The BBB Business Review identifies a pattern of complaints alleging the following:

Door-to-door salesmen do not properly identify themselves as Direct Energy employees; instead they are stating that they work for various other energy companies in an attempt to switch consumers without their knowledge.

Increasingly aggressive sales people; consumers state the door-to-door salesman have repeatedly come to their homes, sometimes up to 3 times daily.  One recent complaint alleges that the sales person actually pushed the consumer’s door open.

Senior citizens may specifically be targeted.

Consumers are being asked for their bills but think they are actually talking with the utility since the salesmen are not identifying themselves as with Direct Energy.

BBB suggests the following when approached by a door-to-door solicitor:

Do not be pressured into providing personal information or sharing your bill

Request proof of employment with company/Employment ID card

If someone shows up at your house unexpectedly and claims to work for a utility company, call the company and confirm that it authorized the person to visit your home.

Check the company’s BBB Business Review.

If you suspect something is amiss, contact BBB.

Be sure to always research any organization you are considering doing business with by visiting www.bbb.org/western-michigan!

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Changes coming to Kent District Library

 

By Judy Reed

Residents in the Cedar Springs and surrounding area may be glad to hear that as of September 17, they can have two “home” libraries where they can pick up books they’ve put on hold.

In 2010, members of the Lakeland Library Cooperative, an organization consisting of 41 libraries (81 if you count all branches), of which Kent District Library and the Cedar Springs Public Library are both members, voted that patrons had to go to their “home” library (where they paid their taxes) to pick up holds. This decision, along with some others relating to non-print materials and new books, was made due to cuts in revenue across Michigan.

However, Kent District Library is making a big change come this fall that opens up the opportunity for a patron to have a “home away from home” library as well. Currently, all the materials available at Kent District Library, Cedar Springs Public Library, and the other 38 Lakeland Cooperative members (excluding Grand Rapids) are available for viewing in the Lakeland Catalog. But, on Thursday, September 17, Kent District Library will launch an exclusive new KDL catalog, much as Grand Rapids did in 2008.

With the passing of a new millage of 1.28 mills, Kent District Library decided it was time to make a KDL specific catalog (Symphony) that would give KDL cardholders easier access to KDL materials. Having their materials mixed in with the holdings of 38 other libraries in the Lakeland-shared catalog was sometimes confusing and required extra steps to hold eMaterials.

“For the library to make the significant service improvements our customers want and that the library promised to them during the 2014 millage campaign, KDL needs to offer an improved catalog experience,” says Lance Werner, KDL Executive Director.  The new catalog allows KDL to offer better customer service to KDL patrons, such as integrated access to the library’s significant digital collection, an improved searching experience, and more user-friendly policies, including increasing the number of holds allowed on physical items from 15 to 25 and allowing customers to renew material up to three times if there are no holds.

While KDL will still be a member of the Lakeland Coop, other Lakeland Coop patrons, such as those who are Cedar Springs Library members, will no longer see the materials available at KDL when perusing the Coop’s catalog, much the same way they can’t see Grand Rapids. The catalogs are not integrated.

KDL, however, is offering a compromise. They have offered that on or after September 17, all libraries in the Lakeland Coop can choose one of their 18 branches as their KDL “home away from home.” They can then enter the KDL catalog through their website, kdl.org, place up to 15 holds on print materials and pick them up at their new KDL Home Library. New books, audio, music, dvds, blue-ray, and video games cannot be placed on hold, but can be checked out when a non-KDL patron visits a KDL library. Due to licensing restrictions, digital items are limited to KDL members.

The Cedar Springs Library is also offering to KDL patrons the same privilege. Their patrons may enter the Lakeland Library Catalog though the Cedar Springs Library website, cedarspringslibrary.org, and order books to be sent to their Cedar Springs Library “Home away from home.”

“This arrangement will make a lot of people happy,” said Cedar Springs Public Library Director Donna Clark. She explained that many patrons who used both Cedar Springs and KDL were not happy with the 2010 vote to choose a home library. Now they will be able to pick up materials at both places.

However, until September 17, there will be some service interruptions. One to be aware of is that after July 31, non-KDL patrons will not be able to place holds on KDL materials, and KDL members will not be able to place a hold on materials in the shared Lakeland catalog. That can resume on or after September 17, once their catalog goes live, and patrons of the Cedar Springs Public Library and the other Coop libraries physically visit a KDL location and make it their home library.  For more information, visit www.kdl.org.

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About those 10 commandments

Courtland-OakfieldUMCRobert Eckert, Pastor

Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church

10295 Myers Lake NE, Rockford

 

They are found in the 20th chapter of Exodus and the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy. They are posted in courtrooms in the United States and the subject of lawsuits heard within courtrooms in the United States. They represent the pinnacle of what is universal, timeless, and sacred for some. They are historical artifacts to others. And what about commandment number six? Does it prohibit killing? Does it prohibit murder? Is there a difference?

If we were playing a word association game any one of those thoughts might have popped into your head when you saw “10 Commandments” in the title of this piece. By any chance, did “thou shalt not” come to mind? My perception is that the 10 Commandments have a reputation for being restrictive, judgmental, and damning. People read “thou shalt not” but hear “THOU SHALT NOT!!” Both Exodus and Deuteronomy describe the Decalogue as having been written by the finger of God and depending on how they’ve been delivered to us, they just might have come across as divine finger wagging.

With that kind of notoriety, the 10 Commandments could use some good press. I was pleased to encounter what I found to be a refreshingly positive take on these ancient injunctions recently. I was reminded that recitations of the 10 Commandments often omit their introductory sentence, their preamble, if you will: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exodus 20:2, New Revised Standard Version).

In the context of remembering where they had been and what their circumstances were while there, the 10 Commandments sound less threatening and more entreating. “I just brought you out of slavery; don’t slip back into it by worshiping false gods or by taking me for granted. Don’t go back to trying to solve your problems by means you already know to be ineffective. Don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t kill.”

Contributors to the Bible frequently speak of humankind as God’s children. Sometimes a parent has to say to a child, “Didn’t I just tell you [fill in the blank]?” Maybe the 10 Commandments are God’s way of saying, “C’mon, we’ve been through this. You’re free now. Don’t make yourselves slaves again.”

Human beings are plagued with self-destructive tendencies, bad habits, and addictions. We are trapped in cycles of behavior governed by the rubric that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. But there’s a wonderful little sentence in Galatians 5:1: “For freedom Christ has set us free” (NRSV).

Unlike what the Egyptians were to the Israelites, and unlike what our own insecurities and lusts are to us, God has no interest in being our task master. God desires to bring us out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. If the idea of commandments seems harsh to you, consider them as compassionate, heart-felt reminders that God loves you and truly desires only what is best for you.

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