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Archive | November, 2018

Letters to Santa

It’s that time of year again, when kids can’t wait to mail their letters to Santa! To help parents out, the Cedar Springs Post has set up a special North Pole drop box. Every year dozens of kids use our special box for express delivery to the North Pole, and we make sure Santa reads each and every one! So, if you’d like to send a letter to Santa, and maybe get it printed in the newspaper, just drop off your letter in the bright red box labeled “Santa Mail” outside our office at 36 E. Maple Street, or mail your letter to: Letters to Santa, c/o the Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. 

Hurry, all letters must be in Santa’s Mail box by Monday, December 17th to reach him in time for Christmas.

Posted in Home for the HolidaysComments Off on Letters to Santa

Courtland man dies in crash

Chadwick Perry Kogelschatz

Courtland Township man died on Friday evening, November 23, in a crash in Plainfield Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred about 11:16 p.m. near West River Drive and Samrick. The initial investigation revealed that a Ford F-350 pickup truck was traveling westbound on West River at a high rate of speed when it crossed over the eastbound lanes and struck a cement wall for the White Pine Trail bridge over West River.

The driver and only occupant of the vehicle died at the scene. He was identified as Chadwick Perry Kogelschatz, 36, of Courtland Township.

Assisting at the scene was Plainfield Township Fire and Rescue, Rockford Police Department, and Rockford Ambulance.

It is unknown whether alcohol was involved. The crash is still under investigation.

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Vote for your favorite gingerbread house

One of the gingerbread houses at the Cedar Springs Library.

The Animal Junction 4-H Club would like to invite all of the Cedar Springs community to visit the Cedar Springs Library until Friday, December 7, to view the wonderful confectionary creations that their 4-H members have made to kick off this year’s holiday season.

They would like the community to vote for the gingerbread house they like the best. The winners will be announced on Saturday, December 8, at 10 a.m. at the Cedar Springs Library, at the corner of Main and W. Maple Street in Cedar Springs.

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Post collecting Toys for Tots

Would you like to do something special for families in need this Christmas? You can partner with us to provide toys for children in Kent County. The Post is participating in the Toys for Tots program again this holiday season, as a drop off site for toys. 

Toys for Tots is a volunteer organization whose goal is to collect new, unwrapped toys for kids 0-16, and distribute them to children who would not otherwise receive a gift during the holiday season. Toys for teens are always especially needed.

The program runs now through December 17. Just bring a new, unwrapped toy to our office at 36 E. Maple Street in Cedar Springs, Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Fridays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you can’t make that time, call us to make other arrangements.

Together we can make this Christmas special for many children!

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Service runs in the family

From left to right: Max Hoven (Air Force), Michael Hoven (Army), John Karafa (Army), Zachary Boorsma (Navy), Tracy (Perea) Beegan (Army), Rockford Beegan (Army), Terry Hoven (Army), Dan Hoven (Air Force).

Cindy Karafa recently sent us this photo that was taken at a family reunion. 

“There are three generations of family represented in this photo and three branches of the military,” said Karafa. “Mr. Max Hoven traveled from Nevada for this family reunion and Mr. and Mrs. Beegan traveled from Washington state. Dr. Tracy Beegan is a Captain in the United States Army and she is also a former Red Flannel Queen Court member. She and her husband are currently still in active duty in the military. Everyone represented here is from Cedar Springs. These are my hometown heroes!”

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Traffic fatalities stay the same during Thanksgiving weekend 

The Michigan State Police (MSP) announced that preliminary reports indicate 11 people lost their lives in 10 separate traffic crashes during the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the same as during the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday weekend which resulted in 11 fatalities from 11 traffic crashes. 

Out of the 10 deadly crashes this year: 

• Restraints were not used in three crashes and unknown use in three. 

• Alcohol use was a known factor in two of the deadly crashes. 

• One involved an off-road vehicle where a helmet was not worn. 

• Two victims were pedestrians. 

 “These numbers are preliminary and only reflect those fatalities reported to the MSP as of 11 a.m. today [November 26],” said Spl/F/Lt. Jim Flegel, State Services Bureau. “The preliminary numbers show the same number of fatalities from this holiday period last year. The MSP continues to urge motorists not to drive while impaired, always use proper restraints, and to make responsible driving decisions.” 

The 2018 Thanksgiving holiday weekend ran from 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21, through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. 

Operation C.A.R.E. is a nationwide initiative aimed at reducing traffic crashes and fatalities on highways across the country. It began in 1977 as a collaborative effort between the MSP and the Indiana State Police. Today, Operation C.A.R.E. is one of the nation’s longest running traffic safety initiatives and includes state and highway patrol agencies from all 50 states, as well as some American territories, Canadian provinces, and the Virgin Islands. Operation C.A.R.E. also includes participation from police agencies affiliated with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) as well. 

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Prepare and wait for Jesus to show up and show off

Prepare and wait are two words that stand out at this time of year.  The Christian Calendar marks this season as Advent. Advent literally means “coming” or “appearance.” During the four weeks before Christmas we celebrate both the coming birth of Jesus and his eventual second coming or “appearance” to set the world right.  We prepare and wait for both.

Our world seems particularly chaotic these days. Some days we can become so overwhelmed by the acrimony and division surrounding us we’re tempted to shout, “Come, Lord Jesus—NOW!”  Those, in fact, are some of the last words in the New Testament. Strife and conflict are nothing new.  Christians have been praying for Jesus to return to calm the tumultuous seas of our lives for 2000 years.

In these days and weeks before Christmas, we can get ready for Jesus to arrive. We can prepare to be less contentious with those whom we disagree. We can prepare to reach out to a lonely neighbor. We can prepare to offer words of healing to a broken relationship. We can prepare to forgive someone who has hurt us. And, as we prepare, we wait. We wait for Jesus to “show up and show off!” To be sure, Jesus will eventually come back and all will be right with the world some time in the future, but Jesus also “shows up and shows off” today—when we do the prep work.

The good news is that Jesus shows up everyday when we’re prepared to receive him. Jesus is the one who empowers us to reach out, offer words of healing, and forgive. Jesus is the one who gives us hope that peace, compassion, and forgiveness can be experienced right now. Jesus is the one who calms our hearts and souls while we wait for everything to be made new again.

May this season of Advent be filled with the promise that Jesus will show up as we prepare and wait to receive him!

Posted in Church Connection, From the PulpitComments Off on Prepare and wait for Jesus to show up and show off

DENNIS R. VERBURG

DENNIS R. VERBURG

Dennis R. Verburg, age 68, of Sand Lake passed away on Monday, November 26, 2018 at his home. Dennis was born January 23, 1950 in Sand Lake, MI the son of Ervin and Donna (Adams) Verburg. He was a volunteer firefighter in Sand Lake for 25 years and a truck driver for over 20 years. Surviving are his wife, Cherry (Mosher) Verburg; daughter, Amy (Sam) Rodriguez; grandchildren, Hannah and Maya Slagel; mother, Donna Verburg; sister, Sharon Knapp; brothers, Richard and Bob Verburg; mother-in-law, Velda Mosher. He was preceded in death by his brother, Tom. There will be a visitation at the VFW in Sand Lake on Sunday from 2:00-5:00 p.m.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Sand Lake Fire Department.

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

Posted in Church Connection, ObituaryComments Off on DENNIS R. VERBURG

ROBERT HOOVER

Robert Hoover, age 84, of Greenville, formerly of Howard City, passed away November 22, 2018 at Metron of Greenville. He was born January 22, 1934 in Grand Rapids, the son of Raul and Gertrude (Potter) Hoover. During his working years he worked in the factory industry for 25 years. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and spending time with his family and never missing a grand kids ball game. He was a member of the Howard City VFW Post #3306 where he served for two years as commander. He also served as a volunteer fireman for 25 years, as a Keystone Cop in Cedar Springs for 41 years and as the grand marshal in 2009. In 1964 he married Eva Potter, who survives, also surviving are his children, Kathy (Scott) Poole of Howard City, Bob (Tammy) Hoover of Greenville; 5 grandchildren, Clinton & Tayler Hoover, Allisan (Edward) Rayes, Mike Hoover, Zachery & Rachael Hoover,  Aaron Poole; 4 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; a half brother, Ed, and a son, Clifford. Funeral services were held on Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the Howard City VFW Post, Pastor Teri Cummins officiating with burial in the Reynolds Cemetery. The family greeted friends at the Heckman Funeral Home on Monday evening from 7-9 p.m. and prior to services at the VFW.

Arrangements by Heckman Funeral Home, Howard City

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Out of the loop

Mr. Norton was in the hospital recovering from an operation, when the nurse on duty received a call from a man who asked how Mr. Norton was doing.

“Oh, quite well,” she told the caller. “We expect he’ll be released in the morning.”

“Very good, thank you.”

“May I ask who is calling so that I can tell Mr. Norton?” inquired the nurse.

The man chuckled. “This is Mr. Norton. The doctors don’t tell me anything!”

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, Joke of the WeekComments Off on Out of the loop

Postal Service ready to deliver holiday cheer

Including more than 900 million packages

The U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver nearly 15 billion pieces of mail and 900 million packages, for a total of nearly 16 billion cheerful deliveries this holiday season–the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

“The Postal Service is ready to deliver for the holiday season. We have increased our operating capacity to include additional transportation and extended our delivery windows,” said Megan J. Brennan, Postmaster General and CEO. “Our dedicated employees are proud to deliver more packages to homes than any other shipper.”

Once again the Postal Service is expanding its Sunday delivery operations to locations with high package volumes beginning Nov. 25. The Postal Service already delivers packages on Sundays in most major cities, and anticipates delivering more than 8 million packages on Sundays this December. Mail carriers will also deliver packages on Christmas Day in select locations.

Delivering for the Troops and Overseas

The Postal Service also processes mail for overseas Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of State (DoS) recipients. Interestingly, the DoD measures their mail volumes in pounds not pieces, and it’s expected that the Postal Service will process more than 16 million pounds of mail for DoD and DoS recipients between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

Busiest Mailing and Delivery Days

With an increase in early and online shopping for gifts, there is no longer a “busiest day” for holiday shipping. Instead, the Postal Service’s busiest time is now two weeks before Christmas. Starting the week of Dec. 10, customer traffic is expected to increase, and the Postal Service expects to deliver nearly 200 million packages per week during these two weeks. The week of Dec. 17-23 is predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week, when nearly 3 billion pieces of First-Class Mail, including greeting cards, will be processed and delivered.

Skip the Trip and Ship Online

 Consumers don’t even have to leave home to ship their packages, simply visit usps.com. The Postal Service anticipates Dec. 17 will be the Postal Service’s busiest day online with more than 8 million consumers predicted to visit usps.com for help shipping that special holiday gift. It’s predicted that nearly 105 million consumers will visit our website between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. And usps.com is always open.

It’s estimated nearly 400,000 consumers will use the Click-N-Ship feature and other online services on Dec. 17 to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup.

What’s New this Year

Informed Delivery is the Postal Service’s free daily digital preview of what’s coming to your mailbox. This holiday season not only can you manage your packages and sneak a peek at cards headed your way, you can also see some exterior images of magazines and catalogs—all from your mobile app, dashboard, tablet or computer. Informed Delivery is one more way the Postal Service is helping you anticipate, communicate and celebrate this holiday season.

2018 Holiday Shipping Deadlines

The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines*:

Dec. 4 APO/FPO/DPO (ZIP Code 093 only) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail

Dec. 11 APO/FPO/DPO (all other ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail

Dec. 14 USPS Retail Ground

Dec. 18 APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express

Dec. 20 First-Class Mail (including greeting cards)

Dec. 20 First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)

Dec. 20 Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail

Dec. 20 Priority Mail

Dec. 20 Alaska to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail

Dec. 22 Alaska to mainland Priority Mail Express

Dec. 22 Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail Express

Dec. 22 Priority Mail Express

*Not a guarantee, unless otherwise noted. Dates are for estimated delivery before December 25. Actual delivery date may vary depending on origin, destination, Post Office acceptance date and time and other conditions. Some restrictions apply. For Priority Mail Express shipments mailed December 22 through December 25, the money-back guarantee applies only if the shipment was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted, within two (2) business days.

Additional news and information, including all domestic, international and military mailing and shipping deadlines, can be found at the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom at usps.com/holidaynews.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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How birds stay warm

This winter might be a good time to feed the birds if you haven’t done so before.

Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche

By Ranger Steve Mueller

Many birds stay warm by migrating to warmer climes. Even more important for migrators is locating to places where they can find adequate food. Many birds that depend on insects, worms, and other invertebrates find moving to a winter home with adequate food is essential. Some that eat invertebrates stay in cold country but change their diet to vegetation and feed heavily on berries or even buds in winter.

American Robins that stay in our area move from our yards to swamps. I have been seeing robins during the last week of November and I am sure we will find many during the Christmas Bird Count on December 29. Come join us and discover what species are around in winter.

One of the most important ways birds stay warm in cold weather is by eating enough calories daily to maintain body heat. It appears this winter has a scarcity of food farther north. Evening Grosbeaks that we have not seen locally in years are making an appearance. Common Redpolls arrived in open country. Pine Siskins arrived at feeders after Thanksgiving. I did not expect them to arrive this early. Saw-whet Owls are reaching southward. This might be a great year to begin feeding birds if you haven’t maintained winter feeders.

As for staying warm, watch birds at your feeder on warm and cold days to notice differences in appearance and activity. I have not timed the frequency of birds returning to get seeds on cold verses warm days to learn if their foraging behavior changes. It seems they come and go more rapidly on cold days. It is difficult to keep track of a particular bird to monitor its behavior when several of the same species are visiting. Perhaps one will have feathers that make it distinguishable from others of its kind. Watch that bird and note the frequency of visits. Hopefully you will be able to observe it on both cold and warm days.

One of the most obvious things to notice is how birds look heavier in cold weather. They fluff their body feathers called contour feathers to trap air. The trapped air insolates and reduces heat loss. Small contour feathers are numerous and more abundant in winter. If feathers get wet they pack and do not insolate. You may have noticed this with a down sleeping bag. Birds have a preening gland at the base of their tail. They use their bill to gather waxy oil from the gland and spread it on feathers much like we use waterproofing oil on our boots.

Waterfowl, like ducks, geese, and swans, have a massive quantity of down feathers that keep them warm in winter while they float or swim in frigid water or lay on ice. If their down gets wet, the bird’s life will be short. Another vital adaptation to their aquatic nature niche is how blood circulates to and from their feet. Warm blood traveling in arteries to the feet flows adjacent to veins carrying blood from their feet. Heat from hot blood on the way to feet is transferred to cold blood returning from the feet. Cold blood is warmed by the veins touching warm arteries before blood reenters the body. The hot blood in route to feet is cooled. Instead of losing the heat to the environment, some heat is conserved by being transferred to the cold blood before it returns to the body.

It might not seem like a big deal but having moderately warmed blood entering the body instead of cold blood means the bird does not need to consume as many calories to maintain its body temperature. Watch birds like gulls standing on the ice to notice they often stand on one foot and tuck the other to the body. When watching behavior, determine if birds are facing the wind or away from the wind. When facing the wind, the air flows over the feathers and they are not ruffled to let cold air enter like when the wind approaches from behind.

Little things spell life and death. Like us, they can generate heat by increasing physical activity but this is only effective when they have enough food to replace lost body fat. During the night, a bird can consume its fat and starve in extreme cold. Black-capped Chickadees can go into a hibernation-like torpor where their heart rate and metabolism are reduced on long winter nights preventing too much body fat loss causing starvation.

These are some major methods employed to survive cold weather. Birds do not directly say thank you for us providing black oil sunflower seeds and suet but increased use of feeders in cold weather tells us they are appreciative.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

Posted in Outdoors, Ranger Steve's Nature NicheComments Off on How birds stay warm

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