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Archive | December, 2018

Suspects captured in Florida

By Judy Reed

A pair of suspects sought by the police for a string of larcenies in West Michigan were captured Saturday in Florida.

Bradley Johnson, 33, and Tauna Parfait, 33, were arrested in Jupiter, Florida on December 22, 2018 after a vehicle pursuit. Police in Jupiter, Florida located Johnson and Parfait driving the stolen Toyota Avalon they took from the Pizza Hut on 10 Mile Road in Plainfield Township on December 15. The discovery of the stolen vehicle by Florida police resulted in a vehicle pursuit. The vehicle pursuit ended when Johnson and Parfait crashed and were taken into custody.

They have been lodged in the Palm Beach County Correctional Facility. Johnson was lodged on 10 new charges, including three counts of Aggravated Battery on a Police Officer, three counts of Hit and Run–Leaving scene of crash, Vehicle Theft–Grand Theft of Motor Vehicle, Flee/Elude Police, and others. These offenses do not include any Michigan charges. Parfait was lodged on 1 charge of Vehicle Theft–Grand Theft of Motor Vehicle.

The Kent County Prosecutor’s office has authorized a nationwide pickup of both Johnson and Parfait, who will eventually be brought back to Michigan where they will face numerous outstanding warrants, including from 61st District (City of Grand Rapids), Kent County 63rd District, and 59th District in Walker (which processes criminal cases from Walker and Grandville).

The two suspects were wanted in gas station larcenies in various parts of Kent County and as far north as Morley.

The two were obtaining money from gas stations by convincing the clerk that they were associated with management, and then got money from the till. We ran their surveillance photos on Facebook and in the printed edition after a larceny on December 3 at the Morley Depot (Marathon), and some readers commented that it looked like the same man that walked into a Grandville gas station and did the same thing earlier this fall. It was.

Police believe substance abuse was a factor their crime spree. Deputies located the pair at a gas station in southern Kent County on Monday, December 10. After refusing to comply with verbal commands, Johnson rammed a Kent County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle and they fled at a high rate of speed.

They later abandoned the vehicle. They then stole a gold 2002 Chevy Silverado 2500. The vehicle was reported stolen just south of the Kent County line shortly after officers had contact with the couple on Monday, December 10.

On December 15, Parfait and Johnson stole another vehicle. The Kent County Sheriff’s Office was called to the Pizza Hut on 10 Mile Rd on a stolen vehicle on December 15 and recovered the 2002 Chevrolet Silverado stolen earlier in the week. Stolen was a 1996 Toyota Corolla Avalon. 4 This is the vehicle they were driving when captured by police in Florida.

The Post also received information that Parfait and Johnson stole over $2,000 from the gas station where Parfait worked in Byron Center over Labor Day weekend, and have scammed or attempted to scam other gas stations in several parts of Kent and Ottawa Counties. They would sometimes call and pretend to be from upper management and authorize the clerk on duty to give money to a customer who was “over charged.”

In the Byron Center case, Parfait is facing charges of embezzlement of $1,000 to $20,000 and false pretences under $200. Johnson is facing a charge in that same case of receiving and concealing stolen property $1,000 to $20,000.

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Coworkers, community help family in need

By Judy Reed

Friends and coworkers of a Solon Township man recently showed his family what the true meaning of Christmas is.

According to Robert’s wife, Melinda (Mindy), her husband was injured on the job at Gordon Food Services, in Wyoming, on December 11. “His forearm was broken in six different places and he went into surgery for repair on Wednesday the 12th.  His restrictions have left him not able to lift, push or pull for 6-8 weeks,” she told the Post.

An injury like that is hard on anyone. But the family of five lives in a fourth generation farmhouse in Solon Township that they heat only with wood. And Mindy knew that with Robert unable to use his arm, getting enough wood to last was going to be a tough obstacle to overcome. 

“We only heat with wood, and due to a busy schedule we were unable to have a stockpile of wood for the winter,” she explained. “My husband had been cutting wood on the weekends prior to the accident but never enough to get us longer than a week or two.”

 When Robert’s employer visited the hospital, he asked what they needed and how he could help. “I had told him my biggest concern was to find split dry wood immediately. Little did I know that statement was going to get the ball rolling with a plan of action from Robert’s supervisor and fellow coworkers,” she said.

The plant started a collection to buy wood for the family.

“I had secured two cords of wood on Thursday because I a heard rumor that some guys were coming on Saturday to help split and stack. A family friend dropped off a rick of wood for us on Wednesday night (December 12), which was a lifesaver. Another friend dropped off a trailer load of lumber ends. Plus, a family friend donated a truckload of wood. This community we live in rallies and I’ve never had to ask for this type of help but we are so blessed with the people around us,” remarked Mindy.

Then, on Saturday, December 15, just a few days after Robert’s accident, 15 guys from GFS rolled into the driveway with four cords of wood they had purchased with the collection they took up. “They came ready to split, haul and stack. In just two hours they had all 6 cords of wood split and stacked in the barn,” explained Mindy. 

“It was an amazing act of kindness. We will never forget what they have done for us. The outreach and genuine concern for our family was overwhelming. I struggled to fight back tears thanking them all for the generosity they shared with us.”

But that was not all. They also gave the family an envelope with money and told them to go out to eat when Robert was feeling up to it.

“December 15th has a special meaning for our family now for two reasons,” said Mindy. “It is our adoption anniversary for our two sons and now it will be a day we remember the generous hearts of employees of Gordon Foods Services.”

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Drunk driver causes crash

Alcohol is thought to be a factor in the crash at 18 Mile and Algoma Wednesday evening, December 26. Photo by Brynadette Powell.

By Judy Reed

A 43-year-old Grand Rapids man reportedly drove through several yards before running the stop sign at 18 Mile and Algoma in Solon Township Wednesday evening, December 26, and crashing into another car about 8:30 p.m.

According to Deputy Tim Essig, with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, they had received a report of a man driving through yards and were looking for him when they received the crash call.

The driver, identified as a 43-year-old man from Grand Rapids, was reportedly eastbound on 18 Mile Rd in a 2004 Ford Explorer when he ran the stop sign at Algoma and struck a northbound 2004 Toyota Camry, driven by a 16-year-old male from Newaygo. 

Deputies said the driver and vehicle matched the description they had received of a vehicle driving through yards in the area. A breathalyzer taken on scene showed his blood alcohol level to be almost three times the legal limit.

The 16-year-old complained of a possible head injury, but sought his own medical help. 

The at-fault driver was transported to the hospital by deputies to be checked out, and was then lodged in the Kent County Jail. He was later released pending blood test results.

Solon Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene.

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The Post travels the world in 2018

The Post traveled with the Anielski family in August when they took a trip out west on Route 66.

It’s been another great year for our “Post travels to” feature. The Post traveled far and wide this year, with travelers taking us along to destinations in Michigan, the United States, and all over the world. 

The Post traveled to Alaska; Arizona; Bavaria; China; Colombia; Mexico; Delaware; Finland; Florida; Greece; Hawaii; Indiana; Israel; Las Vegas; the Netherlands; Ohio; the Soo Locks; Africa; Empire, Mich.; Fiji; Yellowstone; Peru; and even a trip out west following Route 66.

The most popular place this year was Florida, with at least three readers traveling there. 

Have you sent us your vacation photo with the Post? What are you waiting for? When 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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Eagle Scout revamps garden

BEFORE: This is what the garden looked like before Zach Kerr’s Eagle project. 

Zach and the completed garden
AFTER: This photo shows Zach and the completed garden and walking trail. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

When Zach Kerr, 18, the son of John and Cherri’ Kerr, of Courtland Township, began looking for a project two years ago to complete for his Eagle Scout badge, he knew he wanted to do something related to the new library, which was under construction. So he and his dad, John, approached the Community Building Development Team, who threw out some ideas. One of them was to help with the walking trail just north of Cedar Creek, on a parcel known as Mrs. Brown’s garden.

“It was formerly owned by a Mrs. Brown, and the plan was to redo it. There were flowerbeds that hadn’t been maintained, and it was covered with leaves and vines,” explained John.

Zach, his family, friends, and other Scouts all pitched in to help. They cleared out all the brush, tilled the dirt in front for green space, reestablished the flowerbeds, and created another flowerbed, which they lined with fieldstone from the Kerr property. They also brought in crushed stone for the walking trail.

The entire project took a total of 20 workers and 76 hours. They received a $500 donation from the Eagle Riders Club for the projects along with donations from several local businesses and families in Cedar Springs. All the plants for the garden were donated by Zach’s grandmother.

“We really appreciate all the donations and help that everyone gave,” said Zach. 

Zach completed the project last year, and his dad worked to maintain the garden last summer, but noted that the city owns the property so they or the CBDT should be taking over in the future.

Why does Zach think it’s important for Eagle Scouts and others to give back? “I think it’s important to give back to the community because the community does so much for us, such as Red Flannel Day and various other events that happen and for the most part it’s free—everyone is welcome,” said Zach. “But someone has to make the park; somebody has to build the library; somebody has to make the memorials; and someone is needed to clean the White Pine Trail. And the best people to do it are the people who live here, who are in the community. Without people helping out and volunteering, we would not have a very nice town.” 

Zach has been a scout for the whole 12 years he has been in school and is looking forward to the court of honor, where he will officially receive his badge. His parents are proud of the hard work he’s put in to finally achieving his goal.

“Zach showed an interest in scouting while attending an Eagle Court of Honor for a friend’s son,” explained his mom, Cherri’. He decided that very day that he wanted to be an Eagle Scout, too, someday. John and I got him signed up as a tiger scout, and he and his dad have been in scouts ever since. Zachery has been steadfast and faithful in achieving his goal. We have seen him grow through the hard work and various relationships he has built over the years. It was not a surprise when he sought to rebuild Mrs. Brown’s garden for the Eagle project. He loves the outdoors and wanted people to have a place where they can sit and enjoy nature in downtown Cedar Springs. We are proud of Zachery for his hard work, perseverance through the years, his concern for others, and for achieving his goal to become an Eagle Scout.”

Congratulations to Zach on a job well done!

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Suspects charged in drive-by shooting

Two men taken into custody in connection with a drive-by shooting in Reynolds Township early Friday morning could be facing up to 10 years in prison.

(L to R): Kody Rankin 23, of Howard City, and Jeramy Slagel, of Morley, are charged with a drive-by shooting last Friday in Reynolds Township.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff Department, the suspects were charged and arraigned in 64B District Court of Montcalm County on Friday, December 28.

Kody Gene Rankin, age 23, from Howard City, has been charged with three counts of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle, one count of felonious assault, one count of felony firearm, and one count of possession of a controlled substance. All of the charges are felony charges with the maximum sentences ranging from two years to 10 years. Rankin is currently being held in the Montcalm County jail on a $500,000.00 bond.

Jeramy Clinton Slagel, age 23, from Morley, has been charged with one count of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle, one count of discharging a firearm in or at a building, and felony firearm. All of the charges are felony charges with maximum sentences ranging from two years to ten years. Slagel is currently being held in the Montcalm County jail on a $250,000.00 bond.

According to police, they were dispatched at approximately 1:25 a.m. on Friday, December 28, 2018, to an address in the 18000 block of West Church Road in response to a report of shots fired at the home. The shots were reportedly fired from a passing vehicle.

The 37-year-old male homeowner was outdoors at the home during the shooting but was not injured. There were two other residents in the home that were also not injured. A house, a vehicle and an outbuilding were damaged as a result of the shooting.

While deputies were on scene, the suspect vehicle drove by. Deputies pursued the vehicle but were not able to apprehend the suspects.

At approximately 2:53 a.m., a domestic was reported in the 8000 block of North Federal Road. The possible suspect in the shooting had returned to his home on Federal Road and argued with his wife. As deputies arrived at the domestic scene, the suspect fled from the home running into the nearby woods.

Several Sheriff’s Office deputies and troopers with the Michigan State Police converged on the area to search for the suspect. With information that the suspect may be headed into Howard City, the search area was expanded. At approximately 5:11 a.m., Kody Gene Rankin was located near the intersection of Orton and Cherry Streets where he was taken into custody without incident. A search of a nearby home revealed a second suspect and evidence of the crime. The second suspect, Jeramy Clinton Slagel, a 23-year-old Morley man, was also taken into custody without incident.

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Jennie-O ground turkey recalled

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2018 – Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, Inc., a Faribault, Minn. establishment, is recalling approximately 164,210 pounds of raw ground turkey products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Reading, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Friday, December 21.

The raw ground turkey items were produced on October 22, 2018 and October 23, 2018. The following products are subject to recall: 

• 3-lb. packages of “Jennie-O GROUND TURKEY 93% LEAN | 7% FAT” with “Use or freeze by” dates of 11/12/18 and 11/13/18 on the side of the trays.

• 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O GROUND TURKEY 93% LEAN | 7% FAT” with “Use or freeze by” dates of 11/12/18 on the side of the trays.

• 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O TACO SEASONED GROUND TURKEY” with “Use or freeze by” dates of 11/12/18 on the side of the trays.

• 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O ITALIAN SEASONED GROUND TURKEY” with “Use or freeze by” dates of 11/12/18 on the side of the trays.

• 3-lb. packages of “Jennie-O Ground Turkey 85% LEAN | 15% FAT” with a “Use or freeze by” date of 11/13/18 on the side of the trays.

• 2.5-lb. packages of “Jennie-O Ground Turkey 93% LEAN | 7% FAT” with a “Use or freeze by” date of 11/13/18 on the side of the trays. 

• 3-lb. packages of “STATER BROS. 85% LEAN | 15% FAT ALL NATURAL Ground Turkey” with a “Use or freeze by” date of 11/12/18 on the side of the trays.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. P-579” inside the USDA mark of inspection or on the side of the tray. These items were shipped to retail locations nationwide.

FSIS and its public health partners, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, have been conducting traceback activities for a sample of Jennie-O brand ground turkey in an intact, unopened package from a case-patient’s home. The patient tested positive for Salmonella Reading and the samples from the case-patient and from the ground turkey are closely related genetically. 

This investigation is part of a larger effort involving FSIS, the CDC, and state public health and agriculture partners, who have been working together on an illness cluster involving 216 case-patients in 38 states and the District of Columbia. Patients have reported eating different types and brands of turkey products purchased from many different stores, handling raw turkey pet food and/or raw turkey, or working with live turkeys or living with someone who handled live turkeys. FSIS continues to work with the CDC and state health and agriculture departments on this larger investigation and will provide updated information as it becomes available. Based on the continuing investigation, additional product from other companies may also be recalled.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume raw poultry product that has been cooked to a temperature of 165°F. Safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential in preventing foodborne illness. You can’t see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness. In every step of food preparation, follow the four guidelines to keep food safe:

Clean—Wash hands and surfaces often.

Separate—Separate raw meat from other foods.

Cook—Cook to the right temperature.

Chill—Refrigerate food promptly.

Consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact Hormel Consumer Engagement, at (800) 621-3505.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

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City of Cedar Springs year in review

Mike Womack

By Mike Womack, City Manager

The City of Cedar Springs has had a busy and productive year with staff and members of each board putting in lots of work to move the City forward. City Staff have been able to reduce operating costs in several ways while simultaneously seeking out and receiving multiple grants.

The Citizen Survey that was sent out earlier this year has been enlightening and contained feedback that is directing the focus of the City’s actions. The compiled results of the survey were presented to the City Council at their October Regular Meeting and are available on the City’s website under the NEWS tab. https://cityofcedarsprings.org/2018/12/03/citizen-survey-results/

The City sidewalk project is nearly completed and has greatly increased the interconnectivity and mobility of the neighborhoods east of Main St. The City hopes to do more sidewalks west of Main St. as grants become available.

The City has changed a number of zoning ordinances to reflect our desire to promote business growth within the City, while also improving safety and aesthetic concerns. The 2018 sign ordinance allows more and bigger signs, allows new pole signs to be constructed in the HC district, allows digital signs in some districts, removes some signs from regulation and is overall a much better and easier sign ordinance than before. The City passed a new landscaping ordinance, lighting ordinance and parking ordinance, which will help beautify new businesses and keep customers safe in their parking lots. The City reorganized its site plan requirements to make them easier to understand for new businesses looking to come into the City and removed some of the more burdensome regulations on businesses looking to retrofit existing buildings for new business use. The City also passed a new accessory building ordinance which makes it easier to put new sheds, garages and other accessory buildings in your side or rear yards.

The newly reorganized Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has worked on creating a new appearance for downtown signage and expects to install new street and parking lot signs in the downtown area soon. The DDA has also found opportunities to team up with the Chamber of Commerce to add a little fun to the downtown, most recently with the Adopt a Flower Pot contest for Halloween and with the lighting of trees along Main Street. Mayor Hall graciously donated his time to string the lights along Main Street.

The City worked with the CS Brewing company to have a Farmer’s Market each Thursday over the summer in the Heart of Cedar Springs, authorized food trucks and carts to operate in the City and worked with the Red Flannel Festival to organize another fun and safe event in October.

Finally, the City continues to work with the Community Building Development Team (CBDT), to develop an amphitheater and playground in the Heart of Cedar Springs. The CBDT has also been an integral partner in developing the new fire station building.

The November 2018 election brought a new face to the City Council and created a five of seven majority of women on the Council. The Citizens of Cedar Springs voted in favor of allowing recreational marijuana by 59 percent and also voted to approve the fire station millage. Many voters felt that the estimated costs of the building were too high. As a result the fire station committee is working to reduce those estimated costs. It is the hope that actual construction costs will be less than estimated. Over the coming months the City will be working on reducing estimated costs of the new fire station building, preparing the site, removing the old library building and lining up the work of the building itself. It is estimated that the fire station will begin construction in the Fall of 2019 or Spring of 2020.

The City Council recently passed a ban on the sale of commercial marihuana in the City until the State is able to issue its regulations. With such a massive and fundamental change in marihuana policy and with much of the State’s regulations unwritten and unknown at this time, the Council simply wants to review State regulations before allowing marihuana to be sold in the City. The City expects to have a public meeting seeking community input about potentially reversing the ban at some point in the future.

The City is also planning the development of a business park on West Street that should come at little to no cost to the citizens of Cedar Springs. The City has hired a contractor to finish up the water meter replacements with all new radio read meters. This will end the much-disliked estimated water bills once and for all and the City will once again go to actual reads every single month. We appreciate everybody’s patience as we have worked to complete this overhaul of the system. Citizens should expect to be contacted by the City’s contractor to set up appointments for meter replacement in early January. 

Finally, citizens are always welcome at City Hall and are encouraged to visit with questions, thoughts or concerns. City Hall has recruited several new employees over the last two years and we look forward to meeting with citizens who haven’t stopped by City Hall in the last couple of years.

You can contact Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack by email at manager@cityofcedarsprings.org, or call him at 616-696-1330. Cedar Springs City Hall is located at 66 S. Main Street, Cedar Springs.

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CBDT update on projects

breaking ground of amphitheater
The Community Building Development Team recently broke ground for the new amphitheatre in the Heart of Cedar Springs, near the library. Courtesy photo.

By Sue Wolfe

So many things have happened this year to bring Phase I of the “Heart of Cedar Springs” closer to reality. Since the gala had to be delayed, we thought we would update you on where we are.

*The DEQ has signed the paperwork approving the location of the amphitheater. Work will start either this late fall or in the early spring.

*We have obtained easements to route the North County Trail through the “Heart of Cedar Springs” and out to White Creek Avenue on its way to the Rogue River State Game Area. Trail building will begin in the spring. We hope you will volunteer to help!

*Another beautiful sculpture, “Springs Eternal,” designed and sculpted by Andrew Kline, Sculptor and Assistant Conservator at Frederik Meijer Gardens, has been made available, has DEQ approval for placement, and will be placed in the “Heart of Cedar Springs” within the next several months.

*A new rain garden was planted between the library and Cedar Creek. Over 600 plants were installed and will do the work of cleaning and cooling the rain water run off before it goes back into Cedar Creek. 

*Twelve benches have been purchased and will soon be placed throughout the area now defined as the “Heart of Cedar Springs.”

*The North Park wetland restoration, made possible by a grant pursued in part by the CBDT, has been approved by the DEQ and work will be started late this fall or early next spring. This wetland area will provide significant relief for the water runoff concerns the City of Cedar Springs constantly has to deal with.

*The American Legion has taken on the project of developing the area around the Clock Tower as a Veteran’s Tribute Park. They have established a fundraiser selling engraved bricks commemorating veterans. 

We are gratified to be another year closer to having an amphitheater for our talented musical and theater groups, dance troupes, and other performers and to have made so much progress in protecting Cedar Creek and enhancing the trails in and through Cedar Springs. The Community Building Development Team (CBDT) has truly made an amazing difference in the face and heart of our beautiful city. We are still pinching ourselves that through the leadership of the Library Board and the well-targeted support of the CBDT, we have a beautiful library, completely paid for and serving the needs of our residents. We are proud to have acquired approximately six acres of property that has been subsequently donated to the City for public use. We are in love with the replica of a historic bridge that was built by Northwest Kent Mechanical and placed over Cedar Creek and are excited to have another beautiful bridge in the planning stages!

The CBDT sees itself as an ad hoc group supporting the ambitions of well-established community clubs and organizations such as the Rotary, Women’s, and Lions Clubs, Downtown Development Authority, Chamber of Commerce and many others as well as helping to fulfill the master plan of the City itself. An excellent example is our partnership with the American Legion to develop the Veteran’s Tribute Clock Tower and Park and of course building a new library did not start as a dream of the CBDT!

As we look forward to 2019 we are excited to have a few specific projects that are ready for focused work! We could use the help of those of you who have a bit of time to volunteer on one of these projects. The projects ready for focused work and likely completion in 2019 are:

*Build the amphitheater.

*Build the North Country Trail between the White Pine Trail Head and White Creek Avenue.

*Pursue grants and plans to replace the White Pine Trail bridge over Cedar Creek expanding the size of the culvert to further assist the movement of water through the City.

*Support the efforts of Creative Technologies Academy in planning a new athletic facility.

*Continue to support the American Legion as they develop the Veteran’s Tribute.

Projects that will continue in the planning phase for completion in future years are:

*Pursue plans to build a natural children’s playground between the library and the amphitheater.

*Continue the development of plans for a community building.

*Continued development of trails linking the Northeast and Southwest parts of the city.

Cedar Springs is rapidly growing with people and businesses moving into town to join an active and progressive community with a Big Vision and a Big Heart! Which of these projects interest you? With only a few hours per month you could make an impact on the wise use of land, protecting our natural resources, providing for community needs for infrastructure and meeting places, or other projects and opportunities that you might have in mind. Each person is needed in some capacity whether to help financially and/or by sharing time and talents.  

The CBDT has scheduled four Team Meetings for 2019. All meetings will be held at the library on the following Tuesdays; January 15, April 16, August 20, and October 15. All meetings start at 6:30 pm. There are 15-25 people who regularly attend and several others who come as they are available. Please attend these collaborative meetings and add your insight to the various projects. The Board of Directors will meet at 6 pm, in an open meeting, on those same nights, also at the library. 

Raising funds for the projects is, of course, one of the biggest challenges we face. Our leaders have done an amazing job of obtaining materials at reduced amounts, putting their own labor and time into projects, pulling work bees together to get chunks of work done and other ways of reducing costs and making wise use of the funds that have been raised. The focus of our capital campaign for 2019 is to fund the building of the amphitheater. Financial donations of any amount, accumulated together, will get the job done. 

We appreciate all of your help and your donations in past years. If you can, please make a donation before the end of 2018 by using the enclosed pledge card. The CBDT is a 501(c)(3) and will provide a tax receipt.

New ideas and energy are greatly appreciated so join the team in building the “Heart of Cedar Springs.” Please contact any CBDT board member with questions or suggestions. Those members are Kurt Mabie, Dale Larson, Sue Wolfe, Fred Gunnell, Danette Bailey, Perry Hopkins, Sue Mabie and Carolee Cole.

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by Pastor Dick Nichols, Cedar Creek Community Church, 2969 14 Mile Road, Sparta

If you are reading this article, then you have made it through what Charles Dickens would call “it was the best of times, the worst of times…” Not that the season advent should in any way be identified with the worst of times. One thing most of us can agree on is that Christmas is a time of giving.  

There is no better time than now to consider how blessed humankind is that giving is characteristic of God, and the greatest gift that could ever be given; a gift promised from the beginning and fulfilled in the first century AD. Scripture tells us “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,” (Galatians 4:4 King James version). A time that Jesus says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16 KJV).

Throughout history, God has shown his extravagant desire to give grace and faith, the greatest being what we celebrate at Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, who brings the promise of hope, peace, joy and love. But why don’t we see more evidence of these in a world that is suffocating in bad news? Why don’t we hear more good news?   Maybe you’ve wondered some of the same things.  

I have been allowing my thoughts to consider how much of the billions of gifts given and received just might be identified by the recipient as being in the category of what was he or she thinking?  This is one of the main reasons that this new season has morphed into our culture: the season of re-gifting.  Statistics show that this has become more than just an occasional time for a few people; it’s a celebration of its own.   

There was a time when returning a gift to the place of purchase and re-gifting were done quite secretly, with just a smear of guilt because it seemed so inconsiderate to reject something that someone has put thought and expense into purchasing. Now, according to polls, more than 40 percent of Americans own up to having returned or regifted in the last two years, a trend that will only increase with time.  

As Christians, we are known to have a history of murmuring that “Christmas isn’t like it used to be,” or some other phrase we may have learned, like “people have forgotten the Reason for the season.”  Now, today is the time to start working toward the next celebration of Christmas. God’s gift of salvation, to be born again, is the ultimate gift for mankind. Jesus stepped away from the majesty of heaven to touch and heal this broken, sin-sick planet, coming as a helpless and vulnerable baby, to die for the pardon of our sins. This is a gift that keeps on giving.  

You see, there’s more! God’s gift of grace is the basis and foundation of the story, “God so loved the world,” but like any gift, the transaction isn’t complete until the recipient (us), receives and keeps the gift given. The wonderful thing about God’s giving is that even though we have received his promise, God’s gift is one we can re-gift repeatedly. His salvation freely given is enough that his promise is for “whosoever;” the promises of hope, love, joy and peace, can be found only when the gift is truly received in our heart.  

This isn’t meant to be something we keep to ourselves, it’s meant to be a gift from such an extravagant God, that when we give of the love he has given us, it can’t diminish the love we have received from God.  By my simple calculations, if we would truly take this to heart, we have over 350 days before Christmas rolls around again, and if we desire to see Jesus in the Christmas season, then this is ample time to make a world of difference. How Christmas plays out depends on what people do with the gift God has given. 

Jesus is the one gift meant to be re-gifted, over and over. The message of Christmas is love and forgiveness; God’s peace that passes understanding, bringing love, joy and hope to those who freely receive.  We can’t fix the past, but we can surely be about our Father’s business today.  

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off on Re-gifting


Steven J. DeMull, age 59, of Cedar Springs, died Sunday, December 23, 2018 at his home. Steve was born July 24, 1959 in Cedar Springs, MI the son of John and Helen (Crowley) DeMull. He loved his granddaughter, dogs, farming and tractors. Surviving are his wife of 28 years, Diane (Davis); son, Simon; granddaughter, Laney Furhman; mother, Helen DeMull; siblings; in-laws and their families. The family will greet friends Saturday, December 29, 2018 from 5-8 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the MS Society.

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

Posted in ObituaryComments Off on STEVEN J. DeMULL

Youth wrestlers have strong showing at Rockford tournament

By James Streeter

Forty-six CS Youth Wrestlers traveled to Rockford last Sunday, December 23, to compete against 29 other teams. The Red Hawks had a strong showing, taking first in total pins with 31 (42:24) and match points with 511. They were also 3rd in tech falls (2:02) and finished the day with an overall record of 68-76). 

Coach Jake Marsman was happy with the performance saying, “It shows a great amount of commitment on behalf of these wrestlers and their families that they came out for a tournament during the holidays and performed at such a high level!”

Opening things up in the 2012-14 Open division 43lb weight class Deacon Reynolds took 3rd place while having the 2nd (:09) and 9th (:13) fastest pins of the day. In the 46lb weight class Brycen Alber was the 1st place champion. In the 49lb weight class Henry Galinis took 4th place, with Sierra Streeter turning in a 2nd place finish. The 52lb weight class saw a couple of Red Hawks place as Taylor Crystal finished 4th,  with the 7th fastest pin of the day (:12) and Hudson Cassidy finished 3rd.

In the 2010-11 age division Karsen Roelofs brought home a 3rd place finish in the combined 49/52lb Novice weight class. Jayce Karafa also took 3rd place in the Novice 77lb bracket while Tanner Wood took 4th in the combined 82-97lb Novice bracket. Also securing 3rd place finishes in the Open divisions were Brandon Mortensen in the combined 46/49lb class and Bryson Streeter the 55lb weight class. In the Open 64lb weight class, Tucker Crystal took second place and in the 67lb weight class Jaxon Fitzgerald took home a 3rd place finish. Rounding out the 2010-2011 age group Benjamin Streeter took 2nd in the combined 72/77lb weight class.

The afternoon session of wrestling saw much of the same with the 2008-2009 wrestlers winning a number of medals. Spencer Shoenborn took 1st in the Novice 69lb bracket and Caleb Austin turned in a 3rd place performance in the Novice 72lb bracket. Dayton Reynolds took 3rd place in a combined bracket of 81/85lbs. In another combined bracket of 90/95lbs Liam Kelley brought home a 4th place finish. Finishing up the Novice division Zachary Vu took 1st in the combined 100/110lb weight class while recording 3 pins (3:11) which was good enough for 9th overall for the tournament. In the Open division at 78lbs Blake Falan and Alexander Hanes were a pair of Red Hawks that medaled taking 3rd and 4th respectively. Jonathan Libera finished 2nd place in a combined bracket of 81/85lbs to round out the Open division. 

For the 2006-2007 wrestlers Rory Shoenborn took 1st in the Novice 85lb bracket and finished 13 overall for the tournament with 3 pins (3:57). In the combined 65/70lb bracket Branson Wood turned in a 4th place finishand Gavyn Byxbe was the 100lb 1st place champion. Wyatt Cooper had a solid outing as he took 2nd place in the HWT bracket.

In the 2004-2005 age group Carter Falan and Logan Troupe battled it out in the combined 130/138lb bracket to finish 1st and 3rd respectively. Maston Wood rounded out the wrestling for the day securing the 1st place title in another combined bracket of 170/195 pounds.

Looking ahead the Red Hawks will be traveling to Byron Center to take part in another MYWAY West Region Tournament on December 30.

Posted in SportsComments Off on Youth wrestlers have strong showing at Rockford tournament



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