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Archive | August, 2020

Old postcards from a bygone era

By Judy Reed

Karen Hayden, of Ensley Township, sent us photos of three old postcards that showed pictures of local areas here in the early 1900s.

“My cousin and I were going through family memorabilia yesterday and we found these cards featuring area attractions or locations. Most of the cards in the album were from the very early 1900’s, ie. 1912, ’10, etc.,” she explained.

Colorized postcard of Hartts Resort, Whitefish Lake.

Did you know that Whitefish Lake was once the site of a popular vacation resort? One of the postcards Karen sent was an early colorized postcard from Hartts Resort, located at Whitefish Lake. Hayden said she remembered her dad talking about it but didn’t know anything else about it.

We did some online research and found that Hartts Resort is one of the places listed in a 1913 publication called Michigan Summer Resorts Including the Michigan East Coast Resorts: a Guide to the Summering Places in the Lake and River Region of the State of Michigan. It is listed on page 37.

Hartts is also listed in Polk’s Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory, of 1921. It lists businesses in Pierson, and lists Hartt, C W., hotel at Whitefiesh (sic) Lake and also lists another hotel belonging to a Martin, J E at Whitefiesh (sic) Lake.

Clarkes Historical Library, of Mount Pleasant, has another old postcard of Hartts Resort on their facebook page with a bit of info. It says that “Hartts Resort was a known summer escape for residents of Michigan. At only $2 a day and $10 a week families could afford to return year after year. As a young girl Betty Ford spent her summers here with her family.”

Boating on Baptist Lake, Ensley Township.

Another photo Hayden sent us was of Baptist Lake. “(This is) Baptist Lake taken from the north end where the Simcoe family has lived for 150 years,” she said. She added that the photo was probably one of the Simcoe boys. “My maiden name was Simcoe, and my husband and I have a portion of the original Simcoe acreage and a bit of lake front on the nw part of the lake. Been here 51 years,” she said.

TS&M Railroad depot in Cedar Springs.

The final postcard photo she sent was of the old TS&M railroad depot here in Cedar Springs. It was one of two railroads that ran through town. The Grand Rapids & Indiana line ran north and south, and the TS&M ran east and west. The depot was located on the south end of town. The Cedar Springs Historical Museum has a book you can purchase that tells the history of the railroad here, and is full of photos, such as this one.

Thanks so much, Karen, for brightening our day with your photos!

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School bond proposal results certified

Passes by 13 votes

By Judy Reed

The election results of the Cedar Springs Public Schools bond proposal have been certified, and the results show that it did indeed pass, although by less votes than originally indicated.

The bond election was the closest contest in the August primary, and initial (unofficial) results showed the Cedar Springs Public Schools bond proposal passed by only 20 votes with 2,369 yes (50.21 percent) and 2,349 no (49.71 percent). 

In a letter from Kent County Clerk Lisa Lyons, dated August 18, the certified results show that it passed with 2,371 yes votes to 2,358 no votes—a difference of 13 votes.

The $68,000,000 bond proposal for school improvements is not expected to raise residents’ taxes. Instead, it will extend the District’s current tax levy of 7.0 mills through 2036.

The Post asked Superintendent Scott Smith when they expect to start making improvements. 

“We will start the design work immediately on the High School classroom addition and the secure office at Cedar View. Other projects will fall into the queue based on level of priority,” he explained. 

He added that he would keep us updated on the timeline and hold quarterly project updates for staff and community members.

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Dancing the night away

Lucille Middleton, 95, dancing with Jim Tol.

Even during a pandemic you can’t keep Lucille Middleton down.

Lucille Middleton, 95, of Cedar Springs, loves life, people, and a nice party. In the photo above, she is “trying to teach an old guy with two left feet how dance while having the patience of a saint, the smile of an angel, and enough energy to get the old chicken coop re-opened,” explained Jim Tol, who sent us the photo. 

This was last Thursday evening at the Tol home, with a four-piece band. Rick Eyers on keyboard and his band played on, while Lucille tired out all the guys.

 The old “chicken coop” where Lucille Middleton used to dance.

“Lucille and her late husband Clare wore out the floor of the old chicken coop (located on 19 Mile Rd, east of Algoma). Both enjoyed dancing very much. Cedar Springs has a winner in Lucille and everyone around her seems to have a brighter smile. Thank you, Lucille!” said Tol.

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Crash takes two lives in Sheridan Township

A Kent City woman and a Fremont man both died in a two-car crash last week that also sent several others to the hospital.

According to the Michigan State Police Rockford Post, the crash occurred at approximately 7:43 p.m. on August 20, 2020 at the intersection of Maple Island Road and West 80th Street, Sheridan Township, Newaygo County. 

Initial investigation showed that a Jeep traveling west bound on 80th disregarded the stop sign and crashed into a GMC pickup traveling north on Maple Island Road.

The driver of the Jeep, a 35-year-old Kent City woman, was pronounced deceased on scene. Three passengers were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

The driver of the GMC, a 65-year-old Fremont man, was transported to the hospital by Aero Med and was later pronounced deceased at a Grand Rapids area hospital. The two passengers in the GMC were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and are expected to recover.

The crash remains under investigation by the MSP Rockford Post. Names of the drivers have not yet been released.

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Party bus rolls over at mud bog event

OSCEOLA COUNTY, MICH.  On Saturday, August 22, troopers from the Mount Pleasant State Police Post responded to an address on 15 Mile Road (in Osceola County) in response to reports of a large modified party bus having rolled over at a mud bog event.  Troopers responded with members of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  

Officers and emergency response personnel provided care to multiple individuals injured when the vehicle rolled over. Two people were air lifted to advanced medical care. Seven patients were transported by ambulance for treatment.

The incident remains under investigation.  Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the incident. 

No further information had been released to us at press time.

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Court of Appeals rules in favor of Whitmer in GOP-led legislature lawsuit

Republicans vow to continue fight

By Scott McClallen | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – The Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision Friday, Aug. 21, ruled in favor of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency powers.

The Court of Appeals upheld the Court of Claims’ decision three months ago that Whitmer could act through the 1945 Emergency Powers of Governor Act (EPGA) without the Legislature’s approval in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whitmer has used the power to issue over 160 Executive Orders impacting almost 10 million Michiganders, some of which carried the threat of misdemeanor charges and up to 90 days in jail.

Judges Kirsten Frank Kelly and Jane Markey signed onto the majority opinion, penned by Markey. Judge Jonathan Tukel dissented.

The dispute hinges over two laws that authorize emergency powers: The Emergency Management Act (EMA) of 1976 requires the governor to get legislative approval after 28 days, while the EPGA has no such restraint.

Markey wrote the Legislature, through the EPGA, gave the governor “broad power of action.”

“We hold that the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency, her extension of the state of emergency, and her issuance of related executive orders fell within the scope of the governor’s authority under the EPGA,” the court wrote.

The majority ruled the EPGA constitutional and declined to address whether the EMA authorized Whitmer’s actions, calling the matters “moot.”

Republicans had argued the 1945 law only applied to local emergencies.

The court ruled “the plain and unambiguous language” of the two laws didn’t support that argument.

“We find it more than a bit disconcerting that the very governmental body that delegated authority to governors to confront public emergencies – and holds and has held the exclusive power to change it – steps forward 75 years later to now assert that it unconstitutionally delegated unconstrained authority,” the majority wrote in the opinion.

Tukel dissented, citing the EMA, which specifically names “epidemic.” The EPGA doesn’t.

Whitmer’s press secretary Tiffany Brown said in a statement that the “Court of Appeals handed the governor a complete and decisive win in her efforts to protect the people of Michigan from this once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic. This decision recognizes that the Governor’s actions to save lives are lawful and her orders remain in place.”

The fight isn’t over yet.

Whitmer could lose her powers through an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court or through the Unlock Michigan campaign seeking to repeal the 1945 rule.

House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, tweeted Friday that the “The Court of Appeals got it wrong today.”

“Our Constitution is clear, and separation of powers is real,” Chatfield said. “No Governor, Republican or Democrat, can have unilateral control over a state based solely on their judgment. This precedent is extremely dangerous. We will now go to the MSC.”

Unlock Michigan spokesman Fred Wszolek told The Center Square that within five weeks, they have gathered 200,00 signatures out of the 340,047 required to repeal the law.

“The Court of Appeals has made it clear that the only way to add checks and balances in government is for the people to take charge and insist upon it with this petition,” Wszolek said. “COVID is still a problem, but the emergency has ended. What hasn’t ended is the governor’s state of emergency that allows her to rule by decree.

“That’s not the right way to govern. We have to get back to the normal order where elected representatives debate laws, and the public gets input.”

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy also criticized the rule.

“The separation of powers prevents the governor from having unlimited, unilateral and indefinite power,” Patrick Wright, vice president of legal affairs at the Mackinac Center, said in a statement. “Contrary to the Court of Appeals decision, the Legislature cannot pass laws that effectively amend this doctrine, which is established in the Michigan Constitution. The separation of powers doctrine has existed for centuries to enhance liberty, protect freedoms and lead to better policy decisions.”

You can read the official decision at https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/MIEOG/2020/08/21/file_attachments/1523443/COA%20Ruling.PDF.

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FEMA approves Michigan application to provide an additional $300 per week to unemployed

On Friday, August 21, the United States Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) approved the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency’s application for funding that would provide an additional $300 per week payment to Michiganders receiving unemployment benefits.

“This is good news for the thousands of Michiganders who are still without work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s still a short-term band aid that falls short of what’s needed,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She called for the President and Congress to put partisanship aside and pass a bipartisan recovery package. “Michigan families, frontline workers, and small business owners are counting on the federal government to do the right thing and work together on their behalf,” she said.

The UIA estimates that under the program, about 910,000 Michiganders would receive at least $300 per week in supplemental benefits. The program allows for existing Unemployment Trust Fund payments delivered by Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency to count as 25 percent matching funds required for participation. Eligible claimants will be paid benefits retroactive to August 1. It is unclear at this time how long funding for the program will last.

“This additional $300 a week will provide some much needed support to those who are still struggling to make ends meet during this time of extreme need,” said Steve Gray, Director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency. “Our goal now is to work as quickly as possible to implement this new program to get people the benefits they need.”

At this time, claimants do not have to take any action to receive the additional benefit amount provided by the program. The additional benefits will be added automatically for all claimants who are eligible to receive at least $100 in weekly unemployment benefit payments. This includes claimants receiving any type of regular unemployment insurance benefits as well as those receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits.

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Vermontville man pleads guilty to exploiting children

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced last Friday, August 21, that Dustyn Wayne Olmstead, 31, of Vermontville (Eaton County), pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation and attempted sexual exploitation of children, and distributing child pornography. Sentencing before Chief U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker will be on December 1, 2020. At sentencing, Olmstead will face a mandatory minimum of 15 years’ imprisonment and a combined maximum of 50 years’ imprisonment, restitution, fines, and other penalties.

Olmstead pleaded guilty to using text-messaging services to communicate with multiple minors, including a 13-year-old girl from Allegan County and a 14-year-old girl from Ottawa County. Olmstead manipulated one girl into sending him naked pictures of herself and he tried to get the other to do the same. As part of the process to desensitize the girls to sexual material, Olmstead sent a video of a girl, approximately 9 years old, engaging in a sex act with an adult male. Olmstead communicated with numerous individuals he believed to be children. Persons who believe that they or someone they know may have been a victim of Olmstead’s should call the FBI at (616) 456-5489.

This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, county prosecutor’s offices, the Internet Crimes Against Children task force (ICAC), federal, tribal, state, and local law enforcement are working closely together to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children. The partners in Project Safe Childhood work to educate local communities about the dangers of online child exploitation, and to teach children how to protect themselves. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit the following web site: www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

This case is being investigated by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI working together as part of the West Michigan Based Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force (WEBCHEX) and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Mekaru.

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Allowing multiple marijuana businesses ignores master plan

Our quaint little town of Cedar Springs is facing a major threat to the character and values of its citizens and businesses alike.  By potentially opening up our downtown and the city as a whole to multiple marijuana businesses, the City Council has completely ignored our Master Plan’s vision for our fair city. 

The Master Plan Vision states, “Cedar Springs will build upon its small-town character by upgrading and reinforcing the downtown as a quaint center for community gatherings, recreation, specialty shopping and governmental services.” Its economic goals, in part, are to “Attract specialty businesses downtown that will enhance the unique character of the area.” Housing plans are to promote the single-family character of Cedar Springs and also provide a broad mix of housing types downtown. The plan calls for making it comfortable and easy for people to walk and bicycle throughout the city.

The City Council totally ignored the Planning Commission’s recommendation against allowing marijuana businesses in the downtown area. Our leadership is convinced that flooding the downtown with those businesses, for the purpose of renovating old buildings, is worth the risk to our community’s health, safety and general welfare. They are willing to try this “experiment” with little regard as to the possible damage it could do to our recently improved reputation in the area, our property values, and to current businesses.

Marijuana does not fit in our downtown. It does nothing to “enhance the unique character of the area” as described in the economic plan’s goals outlined in the Master Plan.  The word “quaint” means charming, sweet, attractive, and old-world.  That is what Cedar Springs is, a quaint little town where kids ride bikes, families walk downtown, and seniors feel safe.  There is nothing quaint about armed guards standing outside a building on Main Street. There is nothing quaint about people lining up to be registered to go inside a marijuana shop. 

A three-year study in Denver showed an increase in property crimes in the areas surrounding a marijuana shop, 83 a year over normal, or 1.6 a week and it is in our neighborhoods that the threat would exist. Because it is a cash only business, there is a further threat of criminal activity. Those businesses would be detrimental to the unique character and safely of the entire area.

The Planning Commission can stop this from happening downtown. If they follow the guidelines for a special land, use there is no way they could approve a marijuana business downtown. Those standards are listed in the City’s Ordinances.

Kathryn Bremmer

City of Cedar Springs

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Richard Shinew went to be with our Lord on August 21, 2020, after a long bout with Cancer. Richard was born on December 19, 1963, lived with his mother, Margaret and helped tend to family farm. He was a simple man with a caring heart. Other than his bond with family and friends, Richard is well known for his sense of humor and enjoyed working on vehicles. He is survived by his mother, Margaret Shinew; siblings, Suzanna Dines and Robert Shinew; half siblings, Charles Shinew and LeAnne Obersig. He was proceeded in death by his father, LeRoy. Richard’s final wishes were to be cremated. A celebration of life will be determined later.

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Roger D. Fifield age 70 of Pierson died Thursday, August 20, 2020 at his home. Roger was born April 28, 1950 in Grand Rapids, MI the son of Harold and Marguerite (Flintoff) Fifield. He retired from Denton Well Drilling but never slowed down. He was a hard worker who was always helping others in the neighborhood. He was the best dad and grandpa in the world. Surviving are his wife, Nance (VanOeffelen); children, Todd (Becky), Stacey (Josh) Meyerholtz; granddaughters, Sierra Fifield, Avery Meyerholtz; siblings, Robert (Lynn), Richard (Alice), Bonnie (Gary) Woodruff, Gary (Dixie), Jim (Sherry), Mary (Rix) Robinson, Gerald, Wayne (Terri), Janet (Gerald) Skelonc, Nancy (Jeff) Olsen, Dennis, Donnie, Patty (Jack) Price, Mark (Annette); many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and a nephew, Wayne. Visitation was held Tuesday, August 25 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. A private family service was held Wednesday. Rev. Fr. Lam Le officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital or the Renucci House.

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

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Pastor Dallas Burgeson

The Springs Church

135 N. Grant St., Cedar Springs

I’m a little obsessed with books, and many of my favorites were written by people who have long-since died. So it pains me whenever I think about this incredible library that was once housed in Alexandria, Egypt. At its height in 200-300 B.C., this library supposedly housed anywhere from 40,000 to 400,000 scrolls. Legend has it that at some point it all burned to the ground in a great battle—possibly between the Romans and the Egyptians.

One conflict, now all that history is gone.

On another occasion during the American Civil War, Union general William T. Sherman marched his more than 60,000 soldiers for well over a month from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia, leaving a trail of utter destruction among Confederate civilians. This was meant, according to Sherman, to “make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war” (https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/shermans-march). He employed this “scorched earth” plan in hopes of bringing the war to a speedier end. But again, at what cost?

A number of years ago, the curse we all now feel from the fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter 3 was really weighing on me, and I ended up writing a song of lament. Something similar to the book of Lamentations, only shorter (and not as good). I called it “Alexandria to Atlanta,” and the lyrics go like this:

This march has left us nothing sound

Its scent doth blanket wilderness

Its taste has tinged the cellar’s best

It’s found the springs beneath the ground

The masterpieces share our wounds

Our beauties, they must always lack

Each buttress bears a fatal crack

Our poems smolder ‘neath the ruins

Nothing sacred to the slaughter

All must bow to violence

It’s in our blood, and poisons hence

The lives and work of son and daughter

Writers much better than I don’t have to dream up sad situations to write sad songs. It seems that too often, before we will turn to the hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ, we feel the need to exhaust all our other hopes first. At this stage of 2020… how many of these other hopes are you still trying?

God never meant for sorrow to remain forever. Jesus was a man of sorrows, well-acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). He knows that if we will face up to the sadness of our situation, learning to lament what has been lost can be healing. Even more, it has a way of helping us reorganize the priorities we had before sorrow came along.  

There’s no doubt that many of the marches that humanity has been on have not been sound, and perhaps 2020 was a year that something had to give. Instead of trying to meet every wave of bad news with anger, how about another posture instead? What if we hit our knees in sorrow? Even consider that we might be part of the problem? Lament might do us some good.

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