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Archive | September, 2019

The festival—a look back

From the Red Flannel Press, the official publication of the Red Flannel Festival

By Nina Babcock

This story was first printed in the Cedar Springs Clipper on October 4, 1977. Nina Babcock and Grace Hamilton owned the newspaper and were instrumental in having our town be known for Red Flannels, and in the creation of the Red Flannel Festival in 1939.

You’ve gone a long way…Red Flannels…a long, long way. None of us  here at the beginning could envision what the years would bring 35 years and more.

When red flannels burst on the scene in our small town, the attention of the news media was focused on us. We had advice from metropolitan papers and nationally circulated magazines.

Their advice was: “You’ve got something there in Cedar Springs. It can mean a lot of publicity for your town. Play it hard for five years, that is about how long it will  last.” Oh, shades of error!

Governor William Milliken gives Nina Babcock an award naming her Ambassador or Michigan tourism. From the book “The Making of a Town—A Historical Journey Through Cedar Springs, Michigan, 1857-1970” by the Cedar Springs Historical Society.

Through the years Cedar Springs and its red flannel drawers have claimed space in such publications as Life, Reader’s Digest, Time, Kansas City Star, International Trail, World, Success Unlimited, newspapers across the country, and on radio and TV. And folks still get a chuckle at the mention of red long johns.

Only five years. How they did miscalculate. Here we are on the eve of another Red Flannel Festival.

Do you recall the early days of the lumberjack supper? Crisp fried salt pork, milk gravy, boiled potatoes, corn bread, applesauce. Those first suppers were served in the Solon Township hall on Main Street, in the building now housing Dykwel’s Store. Lona Knickerbocker and Bill Jamieson prepared the food and served it to hundreds of folks. Some came back for second and third feedings, paying each time. Later it was served at the school auditorium, always to large and hungry crowds. The Lions Club now serves the lumberjack supper with the same fine old-fashioned food.

Many celebrities have been here to participate in Red Flannel activities. Governor G. Mennen (Soapy) Williams came to crown one of our queens and to stay for the square dance in the Streeter Garage on Main Street. The Governor called the dance, and took turns tripping the light fantastic.

Governor William Milliken has been here. U.S. Senator Homer Ferguson enjoyed the fun of Red Flannel Day. An editor of the Chicago Sun Times, Nat Laddin, crowned one of our queens, as did Benny McCoy, of baseball fame.

There was Newaygo Newt, Poet Laureate of Michigan, who came as queen crowner and also put on a spitting contest on Main Street. He had the contestants all lined up and ready to perform when the fire siren blew. Newt’s audience vanished in pursuit of the fire engine, which went north along Main Street then east a block, where Chic Sales (outhouse) was on fire. It was generally believed that the fire was set by some of our hyperactive boys who thought it fit for the red flannel setting.

Congressman Gerald Ford was always with us on this day, through his long tenure in the House of Representatives, He did not disappoint us the day after he was named Vice President. He had said he would be with us, and he was. Before another Red Flannel Day he had become President of the United States.

I recall the time Life magazine came to Cedar Springs. The editorial offices in New York advised us that they wanted to see the town in red when the photographers came. Well, they saw nothing but red. Hundreds of our folks came out in brilliant red. The event was of intense interest to all of us. Life magazine came out with a double spread of color from Cedar Springs.

Yes, folks, our town has gone a long way with red flannels. It’s good to look back and recall, but it is better to keep our sights on today and the future, Red Flannel Day 1977.

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The Post travels to the Grand Canyon

Samantha Avery displays her POST at the Grand Canyon

The Post traveled to the Grand Canyon at the end of August with Samantha Avery, of Cedar Springs. But it wasn’t just a vacation; it was actually done as part of a charity fundraiser for the Project Athena Foundation.

“I hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim from the south rim to the north rim, which is about 25 miles…about 9 miles down, across the bottom ‘box’ of the canyon, and up about 14.5 miles with about 6,000ft of elevation gain,” explained Avery. “The temperature in the canyon was about 150 degrees that day and it was miserable. You have to move quickly because you’re basically being cooked alive while you hike. I made it rim to rim in about 15 hours, with no serious injury, but did lose a toenail and a lot of skin from my feet and some of my gear melted.”

At the request of her parents and grandmother, Sam carried a copy of the latest Cedar Springs Post through the canyon with her and snapped photos at the bottom and the top. 

“Over 5 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year and only 1 percent of those visitors hike down to the river, and only 1 percent of those hikers hike across the Canyon and up the other side. It may not be the first time the Post has been to the Grand Canyon, but I’m willing to bet it’s the first time that it’s gone rim to rim!” she remarked.

Avery explained that the hike was done as a fundraiser for the Project Athena Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps cancer survivors and victims of other medical ailments live out their adventure goals and achieve difficult physical goals after suffering from debilitating circumstances. 

“This cause is near and dear to my heart since both my grandma and sister are engaged in an ongoing battle against breast cancer. I trained for a year to do this difficult task in solidarity with my older sister, who is currently in her own difficult task of fighting stage IV cancer.”

Sam said this is her grandmother Peggy Avery’s second bout with it, and she’s beating it. However, Sam’s sister, Sarah Brygal, recently lost her insurance, and needs help raising money for her treatment. She gave us a link to her sister’s gofundme page if anyone would like to help her out. Sarah was a teacher but is no longer working. She and her husband, who is a firefighter and septic tank inspector, live in Greenville with their four children. https://www.gofundme.com/f/sarah-brygal-cancer-relief

Thank you so much, Sam, for including us in this project, and for taking us with you!

Are you going on vacation? Be sure to take along a printed edition of the Post and get someone to snap a photo of you or your family with it. Send it to us along with some info about your trip (where you went, who went along, what you saw) and send the photo and info to news@cedarspringspost.com. We will print as space allows. If you forget the Post, please do not photoshop it into a photo. Just take it with you next time!

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Students honored in 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program

Jadon Grifhorst

Two students from Cedar Springs High School are being honored in connection with the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Jadon Grifhorst was named a semifinalist in the program, and Kaeleigh Casavant was named a Commended Student.

Grifhorst was one of 16,000 semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Those academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level. Over 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to obtain finalist standing, and about half will win a scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

Kaeleigh Casavant

Casavant was one of about 34,000 named as Commended Students. Principal Ron Behrenwald will present a letter of commendation to her from the school and the National Merit Scholarship Cooperation. Commended students are recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2020 competition for awards, commended students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.5 million students who entered the competition by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

“Those being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” commented a spokesperson for NMSC. “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.”

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Michigan dog wins AKC humane fund award for canine excellence


A Michigan dog, JoePete, has been named the recipient of the 2019 AKC Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) in the search and rescue dog category. The ACE Awards are presented to five dogs in different categories each year to celebrate loyal, hard-working dogs that have significantly improved the lives of their owners and communities.

“JoePete,” also known as “JP” is an eight-year-old Doberman Pinscher owned and handled by Cris Bean, of Eaton Rapids, Michaigan. Together they volunteer with the Michigan Search and Rescue. JoePete received a very early diagnosis of Wobbler’s disease, a catchall term referring to several possible malformations of the cervical vertebrae that cause an unsteady (wobbly) gait and weakness in dogs and horses. Despite his diagnosis, JoePete achieved certification with Michigan Search and Rescue and went on to achieve certification with two national organizations as well. He has since participated in 29 missing person searches, helping to bring closure to many grieving families. He has also aided in local graveyard reconstruction projects by Historical Societies and landowners by helping to locate burial sites in forgotten cemeteries in and around the state of Michigan. 

The award will be presented Saturday and Sunday, December 14-15, 2019,  at the AKC National Championship at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

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Secretary of State offices will close if state shuts down

Get transactions done now at ExpressSOS.com, on kiosks or by mail

Secretary of State offices, including the Office of the Great Seal, will be closed Oct. 1 in the event of a state government shutdown and residents are strongly advised to complete their transactions in advance of that date by going online to ExpressSOS.com.

Tab renewals may also be done on the department’s self-service kiosks across the state or by mailing in the renewal form.

“A government shutdown will close all Secretary of State offices from Oct. 1 until a budget is in place,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said. “We want residents to know that even during a closure, many services will still be available at ExpressSOS.com and they can also renew their tabs by kiosk or mail.”

Secretary of State offices will be open until 5 p.m. Sept. 30 but customers are urged to complete their transactions using alternative services if possible as many branch offices are expected to be exceptionally busy in the last days of September.

Customers who have made appointments for a day that Secretary of State offices are closed will receive a notice of a shutdown with instructions on rescheduling. Those who have an administrative hearing or driver reexamination scheduled need not take action. These appointments will be rescheduled and a notice with a new date and time will be mailed to all parties.

If a customer’s driver’s license or license plate expires during a shutdown, they will not be charged a late fee if they renew as soon as possible once Secretary of State offices reopen. The department will ask law enforcement to exercise discretion when dealing with motorists whose license or plate has expired during a shutdown. However, it is up to the specific law enforcement agency as to how it will handle such incidents.

For a list of frequently asked questions about a government shutdown, any updates, and information on kiosks and other Secretary of State services, please visit Michigan.gov/SOS.

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Fingerprint technology helps solve cold case

An examiner checks fingerprints at the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

Two decades later, perpetrator sentenced for kidnapping and assault

From the FBI

After the abduction and sexual assault of a young girl in the small community of Cairnbrook, Pennsylvania, law enforcement searched tirelessly for the perpetrator as the community feared for children’s safety.

But for nearly two decades, the offender eluded the FBI and the Pennsylvania State Police—until earlier this year.

After the September 19, 1999 assault, the state police, with FBI assistance, chased down every lead. They pulled over cars that matched the description the victim provided, searched through sex offender registries, and conducted forensic interviews with the victim.

Despite these efforts, the assailant could not be identified. But when the victim guided police to the exact location of her assault, police found key pieces of evidence, including a paper bag with the offender’s fingerprint.

Examiners at the FBI’s Laboratory tested the evidence, but there was no match on the partial fingerprint—another dead end for investigators.

Even after transferring to another job in the department about 10 years after the crime occurred, Pennsylvania State Trooper Jeffrey Brock continued to investigate this case for another decade. “There was a sense of duty to finish the investigation,” Brock said. “Any investigator has that one case they wish they’d finished, and that was mine. I just kept working on it. I wanted to get justice for that girl and her family.”

In trying to find new approaches to move the investigation forward, Brock asked a now-retired FBI agent for advice. As one of the investigative steps they tried, the agent had the fingerprint re-checked in fall 2018.

Soon after, Brock received the call he had been waiting for—there was a hit on the fingerprint. Timothy David Nelson, Jr., of nearby Cumberland, Maryland, was arrested, and he later pleaded guilty to kidnapping and sexual abuse charges. Subsequent forensic analysis proved that Nelson’s DNA was not only a match for the 1999 Cairnbrook kidnapping on September 19, 1999, but was also a match to two separate kidnappings/sexual assaults on minor females from 1988 and 1989 in Maryland.

Last month, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

In the years following the crime, the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division launched the Next Generation Identification system to enhance its biometric capabilities. Now, the system’s search algorithm can pick up the most minute detail on fingerprint fiction ridges. The new system leads to faster and more accurate results.

So although no match could be found in 1999, the FBI’s advancements in fingerprint technology helped investigators solve the case after almost 20 years.

“For months and years after this crime, people were afraid,” said Robert Allan Jones, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office. “Working these cold cases allows us to bring some closure to the victim and the community.”

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State Police launches free smart phone mobile app

MSP Mobile provides news and information from local Posts

Michigan residents can now download a free mobile app that allows users to follow the MSP post that covers their area to receive breaking news and information. The app, called MSP Mobile, is available for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store by searching for “Michigan State Police.”

With 30 MSP posts statewide, MSP Mobile was designed to allow users to follow the post that serves their community or any post of their choosing. Users can opt to receive push notifications that will instantly alert them to traffic crashes, arrests, criminal investigations, community events and other education and prevention information.

Notably, the app also allows users to submit crime tips direct to the MSP, allowing for the easy upload of photos or video to support the tip.

Other key features of MSP Mobile include:

• Profiles of Michigan’s most wanted fugitives

• Search the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry

• Help solve cold cases

• Contact information and driving directions for MSP posts and districts statewide in a format that is GPS-enabled and sortable by city/address.

“It’s our goal to make connecting with the MSP as easy as possible,” said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the MSP. “This new app puts important public safety information literally in your hand and allows each user to customize their experience and interaction.”

To view a video tutorial of the features of MSP Mobile, go to www.michigan.gov/MSPmobile.

In addition to MSP Mobile, the MSP maintains a variety of social media accounts. Visit www.michigan.gov/MSPconnect to find all the ways you can connect with them online.

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Water and sewer rates

By Mike Womack, Cedar Springs City Manager

Water and sewer rates are about to be raised and you deserve to know the numbers and why the rates need to be increased. If you’re like me, you don’t want it sugar coated and you want “just the facts ma’am.” The facts are that the City is changing a few things about our water and sewer billing practices and rates. 

The first is a minor rate adjustment of 3 percent on water and 5 percent on sewer.  The rate for 1000 gallons of water is now $4.70, up from $4.56 and the rate for sewer is now $7.05 per 1000 gallons, up from $6.71. Water and sewer rates were last adjusted in 2016. Since 2016, the State of Michigan has mandated new expensive testing and water safety requirements (Flint and PFAS) and the billing system has not accounted for the three years of inflation, which represents a 2 percent loss (approximately $35,000) in value each year.  

The monthly flat rate is going to be changed in two ways; we are converting from the Residential Equivalency Unit (REU) system of measurement to the Ready to Serve (RTS) system of measurement and the flat rate will also see the same 3 percent water rate increase and 5 percent sewer rate increase for residential customers.  This means that residential customers, those homes using a 5/8 inch water meter, will see their water flat rate go from $9.35 per month to $9.63 a month and their sewer flat rate go from $21.35 per month to $22.42 per month, changing the complete flat rate from $30.70 to $32.05 per month.  A family that uses an average of 6,000 gallons per month will see their monthly bill go up from $98.32 to $102.55, an increase of $4.23 per month or $50.76 per year. This means that the price of water to be pumped to your home and then cleaned after use increases from 1.638 cents to 1.709 cents per gallon.

The other part of the rate change is going from the REU system to the RTS system. The overwhelming majority of single family residential homes will feel no effects and see no additional changes to their bills due to the switchover from the REU to RTS system, which almost entirely affects businesses alone. The 2-3 single family residential homes that might be affected by this change will be contacted by City Hall to discuss what their best options might be moving forward. The basics of this change are that the REU system is very outdated and it set water rates for businesses based upon certain factors such as how many cash registers a restaurant had, how many square feet a warehouse had or how many exam rooms a doctor’s office had.  The REU system was the standard method of setting water rates for many years until the more modern method of charging by meter size (the RTS system) was developed.  Under the new RTS system, rates are set based upon the size of the water meter servicing the property. The RTS system is systemically more fair and levels the playing field for businesses. This change modernizes how Cedar Springs sets water and sewer rates and will ultimately be better for businesses and the community moving forward. 

If you have any thoughts, questions or concerns about these changes please contact City Hall at 616-696-1330 or you can contact the City online at https://cityofcedarsprings.org/contact/

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In Loving Memory of Benjamin C. Hyrns and Helen M. Hyrns

Benjamin C. Hyrns

April 28, 1930 – October 4, 2004


Helen M. Hyrns

May 6, 1929 – September 23, 2018

They were married nearly 56 years, they taught us how to live life, about love and laughter. We hold on to a lifetime of wonderful memories.

Deeply missed by Steve & Kathy Hyrns, Sue & Bill Bryant; grandchildren, Kamie & Stephen McGuire, Jason & Michelle Hyrns, Ben & Jen Hyrns, Lindsey & Matt Baczewski, Zeb & Janell Bryant; great-grandchildren, Hudson, Faith, Hunter, Benjamin, Jolene, Stella, Lucas and Ezekiel, as well as many friends and family

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Kenneth Wayne Tovey, age 60 of Baraga, MI passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, September 15, 2019 at Baraga County Memorial Hospital. He was born September 23, 1958 in Grand Rapids, MI son of Willis and Marcella (Hendrickson) Tovey Sr. Ken graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1976. He married Brenda Sue Niswonger on October 16, 1999. They resided in Baraga and owned and operated the Side Track Bar; until he sold it in 2012. Ken was currently employed at Pettibone. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, being at his camp and spending time in the woods. Being with his son Bruce brought him great joy. Ken was an avid NasCar fan and a sports fan. Surviving are his son Bruce Tovey of Baraga; mother Marcella Tovey of Cedar Springs, MI; brothers, Willis Tovey Jr. of Cedar Springs, Ray (Janet) Tovey of San Antonia, TX, Larry (Diane) Tovey of Maricopa, Arizona; sisters-in-law Betty Niswonder of Luther, MI, Bonnie (Donn) Miles of Carol, MI; nieces, Lorraine (Dale) Massie of Baraga, Alexis Niswonger of Hancock, Kianna Schroeder of Keweenaw Bay; several other nieces and nephews from all over; girlfriend Leslie Swartz of Baraga; and his right hand man Andy Kincaid of Baraga. Preceding him in death are his wife Brenda Tovey; infant son John Tovey; father Willis Tovey Sr; sisters-in-law and brother-in-law, Pearl, Jim, and Alice. Visitation and the funeral was held on Saturday, September 21st with Rev. Judy Mattson officiating. Burial will be at a later date in the Baraga Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, family & friends are asked to consider a donation to help with funeral expenses and Bruce’s future education. Friends may sign Ken’s guest book or send condolences at www.jacobsonfuneralhome.com.

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Thank You

Ensley Crime Watch Board and Members want to say “Thank You” to all the contributors and people that attended our Annual 2019 Race and Picnic on July 27th at Baptist Lake. We had a very successful event and a good time was had by all. We could not have asked for better weather. The Newaygo Sheriff was well represented by the K9 Patrol, Marine Patrol, Service Vehicles and the Sand Lake Fire Department had several pieces of equipment for everyone’s review. Of course the children enjoyed this along with the new bounce house from the Fremont Police Department. With the help of the volunteers and everyone attending we are able to turn over $3,000.00 to the Sand Lake/Ensley Township Fire Department to buy necessary equipment.

Ensley Neighborhood Crime Watch 

Thanks You.

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Pastor Bill Dixon 

Solon Center Wesleyan Church

 15671 Algoma Ave, NE, Cedar Springs 

Most families have traditions that they have learned from their parents or they developed as adults. My family has several traditions but one that stands out was started about four years ago. It’s called “hero week.” Each of our four kids are given a week out of each month where they are the one who gets to pray for each meal, get to stay up a little longer than the other kids at the end of the week (extra hang out time with mom and dad), get to choose what we eat for one meal during the week, and they get to pick the movie on family night. 

This past week, it was my oldest daughter’s hero week, and she picked one of her favorite meals, noodles with alfredo sauce and shrimp. The girl loves shrimp. For her movie, she chose to watch one of the Spy Kids movies. We have seen this movie multiple times but this time something stood out to me. The bad guy in this movie was known as the “Time Keeper.” As I paid attention to the movie this time around, it stuck out to me that everything this bad guy did was for a reason. What this bad guy wanted most of all was to get back to the time that he had lost with his dad growing up. So, he builds a time machine to take him back to the past to spend more time with his dad, but things didn’t end up the way he thought.

Watching this movie, I realized how important it is for us to use wisely the time we have been given. We have to realize that our time on earth is relatively short (Psalm 144:3-4) and if we are not careful, time will fly by and we will miss out on a lot of things that we will regret when we reach the end of our lives.

Up until three months ago, I had not used my time wisely, especially with my children. Instead of spending time with them, I spent more time working, hunting, or consumed with whatever was going on in my own world. My son is almost 13 years old and I finally taught him this past summer how to mow a yard, shoot a basketball (properly), and how to hunt. If you were to ask me six months ago, I probably would have given you several reasons as to why this was, how busy I was, etc. After I put aside all of the excuses, I realized that I was not using wisely the precious time that God has given me. After I realized this, I began to make some changes. Here are my new priorities. 

• My relationship with the Lord. This is my first priority because it is the most important (Matthew 22:37). 

• My family. Above work and hobbies is my family. Instead of making excuses, I am actually being intentional about spending time with my kids. Likewise, I’m intentional about my time with my wife and immediate family, making the most of the time that I have with them. 

• Work. My third priority is my work. I love what I do but what I have had to learn is that at the end of the day, what I do is only a job and should never take priority over my relationship with the Lord or my family. I encourage you to have the same attitude. 

Like the bad guy in the movie that we watched this past week, I had to learn a hard lesson. I had to rethink how I’m using my time here on earth. Three months ago, I was not using my time wisely but now I’ve made the decision to make the most of my time, especially with my family. I would like to tell you that it’s been an easy process but that would be a lie. I’ve had to ask for forgiveness from my family and the Lord and have had to reprogram the way I think and do things. In other words, I had to get my priorities in order. The good news is that because I have started to use my time wisely and have kept my priorities in check, I’ve experienced more joy than I have in a long time. You can too. 

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